January 2, 2013

We knew 2012 was going to be a tough year when we “celebrated” NYE on a couch in a Riley hospital room.  Elena’s stay was short that time and we are thrilled it has been a year since we’ve spent time there.  We’ve had a healthy year, but it hasn’t been easy.  When I reflect about where we were January 1st, 2012, I’m so happy to know how far we’ve come.

Last January, Elena screamed and cried HOURS out of the day (and night).  She ate mere drops of food  from a eye dropper.  She projectile vomited her g-tube feeds every day.  She was rigid, stiff and could barely move.  She didn’t smile.  She didn’t laugh.  She wouldn’t look at us.  She couldn’t hold her head up for one second.  Our house was a pharmacy of powerful medications.  We were sad.  Exhaused.  Heartbroken.  I cried and cried and cried, so much so, that I barely remember feeling happy at all.  We were just trying to survive.  I was so scared of what the year would bring.

Thankfully, it brought progress.  It brought hope, smiles, laughter and happy tears.  It hasn’t been easy.  Every step of the way has been hard fought, each of us pushing ourselves to the brink of what we thought was possible to bear.  But, it feels sooooooooo good to say we are a million gajillion times better off than where we were last year.  My prayer is that I can say that every year for the rest of my life.  I can’t possibly imagine a year harder than the last.  We trust that God has a plan for us, for Elena.  There will continue to be examples of God’s love and grace.  We continue to cling to each other and to the unceasing support from our loving family and friends.

I’m grateful to not have to “hope” for God’s blessings this year.  I know they’re coming.  They may not always come with a giant bow on your doorstep, but when I look, when I reflect, I can see them lining our every step.  I pray that this year, you will take a moment every day to see the wonderful gifts you have been bestowed.  I pray you take time to be grateful not for the “stuff” in your life, but for the people, the relationships, your health, the things the actually matter.  And if you find yourself in a dark time, I pray that you too will find a shining light to give you hope and know that you are never, ever alone in your struggles.

Happy 2013!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

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This is Elena. Our Light. You can see all the goodness and joy that shines from those deep blue eyes. She loves sneezes, yawns, industrial toilet flushes, automatic paper towel dispensers and The Star Spangled Banner. Music is her everything, specifically Moana, Frozen (really all Disney), Queen & Taylor Swift. Nothing makes her squeal quite like swimming, fast boat rides and her two brothers in trouble. In addition to her megawatt smile, Elena reminds us to cherish the smallest of victories, to live in the present, and to daily dwell in a posture of gratitude for every breath and every blessing.  

More About Our Story

I’m Emmalee, an ordinary gal born and raised in the Heartland. Wife to Chad, and Mom to Elena, Calvin & Turner, I spend most my days ridin’ dirty (literally so much trash) in my minivan carting kids to and fro. When I’m not being a Momager, I excel at self-care, cooking gourmet meals my kids won’t eat and deep-diving all the feelings. Most days, my attitude is gratitude, just taking life one step at a time.

Emmalee & Elena

Meet The Gals