For any of you who’ve read my blog over the past few years, you may remember we have a grandson living in Grand Rapids who was a micro-preemie. His survival was in question and the source of unceasing prayers for months. Three years later, Samuel is still almost off-the-charts small, but the doctor has signed off on his needing any more speech assessments and says Samuel has completely caught up intellectually and physically (as far as coordination and skill go), for which we are all deeply grateful to our merciful heavenly Father, who loves us all even more dearly than we can imagine loving one another! Samuel has a passion for “Dude Perfect” and anything that has to do with balls, and so he asked if he could have a bowling party for his birthday. I haven’t been to many parties for three year olds (since all our other grand kids live pretty far away), but I can say that this is one of the most fun birthday parties I’ve ever attended where a small fry was center stage! Sammy carried his own ball and learned how to roll it down a little ramp to give it enough momentum to make it all the way to the end of the lane. I’d never seen one of these contraptions before, but what a great way to get toddlers going! We had four lanes’ worth of family (Brianna’s family also lives in town), and everybody got to bowl a couple of games, but I think we all enjoyed watching Sammy, who was so excited he was practically ecstatic the whole time!Sammy’s mother was a heroine that day, carrying Baby Sister the entire time to keep her content and then making sure Sammy was happy even when it was someone else’s turn now and then (although I think he not only had his own turns, but he got one of his mom’s and one of his dad’s each round as well).Brianna’s dad handily beat the rest of us, although her brother-in-law Sam had unbelievable power! Most importantly, everybody had a ball…including sweet Samuel! He even got a few balls among his birthday gifts! 🙂 Samuel wanted a carrot cake shaped like a ball for his birthday. The cake was moist, full of carrots and walnuts, and had cream cheese frosting. We all loved it (at least, those of us with teeth), but it made me consider the fact that Sammy is very unusual! However, isn’t every child unique and wonderful?!?In a day and age when fewer people are investing in children and more people are lavishing their love on pets, I’d like to encourage married couples who are considering whether or not they want children to go ahead and take the plunge! Sure, they’re a huge amount of work and life will never be the same, but it will be better! Through all the sleepless nights and struggles, you’ll become less selfish and emotionally richer. Most parents I know wouldn’t trade their kids for anything, even if they do roll their eyes at times and tease about it! In fact, I don’t think there’s anything more precious on earth than a home with children.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” (Psalm 127:3-5).
(P.S.—I took the photos from the bowling alley, but the three portraits of Samuel were taken by his mom and used by her permission. Thank you, Brianna!)
Posted in Activities in the Greater Grand Rapids Area, Around home, Bringing up kids, Grandchildren, Life with Toddlers, Premature Baby's Journey: Samuel
Tagged Are kids worth all the trouble?, Bowling party, Bowling with a toddler, carrot cake, Pros and cons of having children, Psalm 127:3-5, Spectrum lanes in Grand Rapids MI, What's a preemie like three years later?
Today is our grandson Samuel’s first birthday. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this chunky, happy, healthy, playful, sturdy little pumpkin weighed in at 1 pound 8.5 oz. just one year ago today …a micro preemie with translucent skin who looked more like a sci-fi ultrasound come to life than a viable newborn. Samuel means “Asked of God.” Hannah testified: “For this child I prayed,
and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him” (1 Samuel 1:27).
That was the cry of our hearts—most of all Daniel and Brianna’s—for five years. I think sometimes God makes us wait a long time
for things He knows will be very hard, so that when the going is super challenging, we’ll remember that we asked for it. 🙂 But what a wonderful gift Baby Samuel has been for all of us! Last weekend was the joint celebration for our son Daniel’s 30th birthday and Samuel’s 1st birthday, and we had SO. MUCH. FUN! There were lots of family and friends, lots of yummy food, and lots of presents. Every child is precious, and every birthday is special, but I think the harder to come by, the more we appreciate the miracle of life and health. This Thanksgiving, I am just bursting with praise to God, who has blessed us with such an abundance of good things, best of all grace— the wondrous mercy that enables us to persevere through the ebb and flow of life’s joys and tribulations.
“God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work…Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God… Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:8,11,15).
Posted in Around home, Baby Pictures, Family News, Grandchildren, Health Issues, Memoirs, Premature Baby's Journey: Samuel, Thankfulness
Tagged 11, 15, 2 Corinthians 9:8, Baby Samuel's First Birthday, Micro preemie's journey to health, Praising God for healthy children
This is Labor Day in America, but no matter where you live, I hope you have a really happy, restful day! Stephen and Joel are both out east in grad school today,
so Alan and I are celebrating without any of our children…a first in 40 years. I was thinking back to past Labor Days and all the fun we’ve had over the years. God has been so merciful and kind in my family’s life! This year our little miracle man preemie is alive & not just doing well, but great! I was working on a post about our “Roots Tour” stop with Jon’s family at Jilbert Dairy in Marquette and realized our family pretty much makes our own “Brown Cow” sundaes now (which was our favorite sundae at Jilbert’s from 25 years ago). I think Daniel may have even improved the recipe some! (Here’s a picture of Dan’s Brown Cow creation from Labor Day a few years ago.) At any rate, reminiscing about Jilbert’s and past Labor Days made me feel deeply grateful to God, who is the author of every blessing and the source of my rest. It is my prayer that both you and I find our rest, comfort, and joy in God today. My soul finds rest in God alone (Psalm 62)
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.”
(The picture of Samuel is by permission of his mom, Brianna. The Labor Day flag greeting is from the internet…”Thank you, whoever made it!” The rest are mine.)
Yesterday I mentioned that Brianna (and my son, Daniel) served as photographers for a wedding last weekend, but today I want to share a precious story that Brianna wrote last week. Those of you who know our family well have heard many stories about Samuel, their little miracle baby who was born at 27.5 weeks and had a huge struggle for survival. He is now so round and sturdy that he reminds me of a little Winston Churchill (only immeasurably sweeter in disposition). But, without further ado, I’ll share what she wrote: “364 days ago, I was eagerly anticipating/anxiously awaiting my first ‘normal’ pregnancy appointment ever… hoping to hear our baby’s heartbeat at the 10 week check-up, but scared that there wouldn’t be one. That same week, I watched the lilies fade in my backyard and wondered what would happen to the lone one that lay fallen over on the ground, unopened. The morning of my appointment, it blossomed in the dirt. My very favorite flower in the whole world- a stargazer. Daniel and I were delighted. “I sometimes struggle with trusting that the Lord’s plan is good, even when it’s hard. What a sweet reminder from our Creator. This morning the stargazer gave us this year’s bloom.
“‘And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?…’
‘Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?’
– Matthew 6:27-30″
Well, who do you suppose has come home in time for dinner? Samuel came through his surgery with flying colors, so somebody lent him a cap and gown& the doctor approved his discharge without any oxygen, tubes, or extra “stuff!” So, Daniel and Brianna just whisked him away to their home, sweet, home, and little Samuel is a bonafide NICU graduate and glad to be home body!
I was so excited that I couldn’t wait until next Saturday to share the good news!
Thank you once again for your prayers, love, and concern during this journey!!!
“But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.” (Psalm 59:16)
(P.S.—Starting next Saturday, Lord willing, I may start sharing from a book I wrote called Bless Your Baby, which will give weekly ideas for how to be a blessing to babies during their first year of life.)