Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Laynie Lessons: Forgiveness

I have screwed up so many times in my life, I can't even count them.  I lived so out of the will of God for so long, that I had it in my mind that I was unforgiveable.  That there was NO WAY that God could ever love me and the problems and heartache that I brought on myself.

Boy was I wrong.

Imagine my surprise, when after years I wrote a precious person that I wronged terribly and asked her forgiveness.  She didn't even hesitate in saying, "I forgave you years ago."

Years ago.  I carried guilt and shame for years.  and years.  And my wronged person, had forgiven me.

That is truly God's love, speaking through her.  It's so easy to carry anger and animosity and build bitter resentments for past wrongs.  And when you start doing that, your life cup fills up with the wrong things.

Resentment, bitterness, shame, guilt, remorse, anger, sorrow.  And the cup overflows, and your heart is so heavy, there is no room for the fruits of the spirit.

Joy, Love, Peace, Righteousness, Goodness and Mercy.  Everything we all long for.

There is a wonderful line in this song that resonates with me, and every time I hear this song on the radio, I tear up ..

It'll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it's power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Forgiveness..... take a listen....

I was already on the road to understanding "self-forgiveness" when Laynie arrived.  But being constantly in the word, and immersing myself in truly KNOWING Jesus Christ, was when I realized that the only thing standing in the way of a love relationship with HIM AND MYSELF, was my own self-loathing.  

Goes for you too.  NOTHING is too big or too ugly for God.  In fact, that's the ones he pursues and loves the hardest...the broken.

Thank you God for Forgiveness and Grace....because through these things in you.... I am made new.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Laynie Lessons: Living through Loss

I attended a memorial service for a beautiful young man today.  He was born in September after I had my Lacey in June, and I  enjoyed their youngster friendship that they shared.  He was a BIG baby, and he had a tiny, skinny mama and watching her haul him around was just great fun.

He died July 5 at the age of 27.  How do you say goodbye to someone that has just started their life?

What do you say to parents that are just "coping" through the loss? and the family?  Where do you find  the words?

Really, there are  no appropriate just show up, and love them.  That's all people did for us, they showed up.

When people would cry talking to us and ask us how in the world we were coping with the loss of Laynie, Lacey would tell them... "You know, we signed up for this."  We knew going in that our days  would be short.  We  reveled in every single second of her life.

When you have a healthy child, you kind of take for granted "normal".  And I am here to  tell you, that NORMAL is just a setting on your dryer.

I watched another friend lose her brother around Easter, reeling in the suddenness of the loss.  Loss is ever present, never ending.

And the thing is, you never know when it's going to happen. One minute it's life as 'normal',and  the next is over. .  And how we chose to live our lives up until that moment,  counts for everything.  How you show your love, and share your life.... it's everything.  I've never heard one person say  on their dying bed, "Man, I wish I had worked more at the office.  I wish I had spent more time getting that big account." It's all about family, and love, when it all comes down  to it.

Every single day of your life is a gift.  Every single day.  Laynie taught us that you don't live in the future, rushing along, pushing ahead,  you live right in the  minute, so when a loss does occur, you've showed up.

I got to hold Laynie #2  today.  Her mama shared with me how her daddy heard that name, and snapped it up, and said, "That's her name, no more discussion" and, yep...that's our girls' name.  I told Miss Laynie  Belle today that she has a lot to live up to, and she whispered  back to me that she was going to so something big, and I believe her.

For every  loss, there is new life.  It doesn't ease the pain, but  it gives us new Hope. New joy.

Life is short.  Love  is eternal.  Show it, and live it.

That's what Laynie taught me.

And that's what Laynie #2's mommy will teach her.  

Colonoscopy 101

I put this ridiculousness off for a year.  Before I even turned 50 my OB/Gyn started in on me.  "You really need to get this done at 50 so we will have a good base line".   Base Line?  Who gives a flippin' rip about the base line?  I've read Dave Berry's Column.  I know what happens.

Get ready to spew pop out your nose funny

So being the johnny on the spot person that I am, (I am SO BUSY) I promptly forgot about it.  Until my next visit and she stared me right in the face and made me feel 2 years old.  "It's not hard to do, what is your problem?"   "Have you ever read Dave Berry's column?" I feebly ask her, losing my confidence in my decision the whole time the words were coming out of my mouth.   Felt guilty as I left her office, then promptly forgot again.

Go to a new doc (a general practice doc) and get my foster care workup exam.  "You haven't had your 50 year old colonoscopy exam yet?"   What the crap?  Is this a colonscopy conspiracy?  Again,  "Have you read Dave Berry's column"?   Then she got me... "Yes I have, and it's funny as can be, but you need to get your colonoscopy."   Oh, dang it.  And she was persistent.  Even made the appointment with the gastroenterologist while I was out of the country doing good in Haiti, when I couldn't cancel the appointment when I got back.  How sneaky was that?   Conspiracy.  I tell ya.

So the first slap was when I took my piece of paper with the prep kit prescription to Walmart to get it filled.  "Oh, we don't keep that on hand here."   What?  This is walmart.  You have everything here.  "No, not this brand."

That should have been my first clue.

I put it off 3 days going to get it.  But walmart has that nagging persistent text messaging option that sends you an "Hey, IDIOT, Your freaking prescription has been ready for 2 days and you need to drag your sorry procrastinating butt up here and get this stuff that we don't carry"  every 30 seconds or so.

I go into Walmart to pick it up, and it is $75.  It was like buying a tire for your car.  I said, "WHAT?"  I had a 20% off coupon (how nice of the gastro doctor to think of me in this way) and I have insurance!  The poor technician, (who looked to be about 12), called the president of the united states (felt like it took that long) and came back and said,  "Well, your insurance paid $8  (side note, Don't get me started on stupid insurance) and with 20% off, it takes it down to $60."    $60 for something I don't even want.  Neat.

I take it home and hide it behind my potato chips and try to ignore it for the 3 days prior to my "Clean Out".  I am not happy.  I had a clean out in my 30's, and I had to drink gallons and gallons of some lemony stuff, it wasn't horrible, it wasn't delightful, just too much for a body to hold. And it took hours and hours and hours. I would fall off the toilet seat onto the tile in my bathroom, and with my cheek on the tile, whimper for my mommy.  Then another wave of "poopage" would hit and I'd crawl back up on the toilet and ride it out.  So I have Vietnam flashback memories of what will happen.  And none of them are good.

At our yearly hen party at my friend and classmate Fonda's house the weekend before the dreaded clean out, we talked all things colonoscopy.  Everyone there had had theirs.  All but the big sissy na-na, me.  I got a ton of good advice.   The one thing I took away that I really did was not eat anything too harsh on Monday and Tuesday before my big clean on Wed.   "Trust us, you'll be happy you did that."  So I ate soup, and drank a ton of tea and water on Monday and Tuesday.  No big deal.

Then Tuesday night, Hallie and I met with our foster placement person, and had our final home study.  She knew what was happening.  She saw the bottles on the counter, and hurried to get out of the house as fast as humanly possible.   "Good luck with that", she threw over her shoulder at me, as she fled my home.

Hallie was amazing.  Everyone needs a Hallie when prepping for a colonoscopy.  She urged me to play cards with her, whilst I drink my brew.

I thought it was going to be all lemony and stuff.  People said "Put Crystal Light in it, it will taste like lemonade."

I poured the first bottle into the little tiny plastic cup that had a "Fill with water to this line" and filled with water.  Wow, that's not too much.   This is going to be EASY.   (famous last words).

One sip.  I dropped the cup on the counter and went into convulsions on the floor, it was so nasty.  Even typing this reliving it, I am shuddering.  That was Satan's noxious brew, abso-stinking-lutely.

I threw ice cubes in it, I grabbed a straw, I held my nose, I filled a "Chaser" glass full of non-sweet tea, because any more sugar anywhere in that combination of nastiness would have made me hurl it all on the floor.   It was obnoxiously vile.

I facebooked about it, and had people giving me wonderful advice.  They had no idea what was happening.

Hallie and I would play cards, so I could pretend it was just a really bad drink, and Hallie would chant, "CHUG, CHUG, CHUG" and beat her fists on the table so I would think it was funny.  And it was funny, so it helped.  Kind of.  Until I had to swig that vile swill.

I posted a picture of the box of the nasty brew of Satan, and my cousin Dora Sue FINALLY knew what was happening at my house.   "Oh, Laura, that is the worst prep in all of the world of history of mankind, ever ever ever".   Uhm, yes, yes it is.

The thing is.  You don't need much vile brew to get your stomach pissed off.  When you ingest something so heinous in your body, it will reject it quick as lightning.

Hallie fixed the bathroom up for me.  She had me set for the long haul.  She thought she had time.  I thought she had time.  She barely escaped before the carnage started.

The instructions clearly state that you are to stay close to the toilet facilities.

They aren't kidding.  At all.

It was almost one hour of drinking and gagging the dregs of Satan, and it took less than 15 minutes for my body to reject it.  15 minutes.

1 1/2 hours, and two episodes of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix later, I stumbled/crawled/skipped out of the bathroom.

It was only 8:30.

And Hallie was no where to be found.  She totally turned on all the Scentsy's in the house and "Peace Out"'d over to her grammie's house.  Poor kid.

And, joy of all joyousness, I had to get up at 6 am and drink a whole 'nother bottle.  Bubba called me while I was propped on the toidy, and told me to get that noxious brew cold for the second round.  "Put it in the fridge and get it cold as you can".

The second round wasn't as fun.  No facebook comments, no Hallie banging on the table, just me, the glass and the awaiting toilet.

I only managed to gag down half a glass.  I drank 2 gallons of water during that 6 oz of brew.  Anything to get that taste out of my mouth.

I kept thinking about the advice that Lisa Essary had given me on FB the night before.  "That kit is made for a 300 pound man.".  Yay, I'm only gagging down half then.   Took me one hour to get that done.  And 30 minutes to evacuate it.     I was also given the good advice of having wet wipes.  Though at the end of that onslaught, a water hose pointed at my behind would have worked even better.   Don't even TOUCH me.

Yep, the prep sucked.  Where was the crystal light goodness?  It was NOT happening at my house.  I looked up the main ingredient (Sodium sulfate and potassium sulfate and magnesium sulfate) and you know what I found??   Pictures of goat urine, and middle school kids armpit sweat, mixed together in a cup.

I have really funny friends.  Abby Webster posted this on my page during the course of my evening toilet stay.

But the very very funny one came the next day from my 16 year old cousin, Austin.  Every single time they come to our house, the conversation ALWAYS ends up on poop.  Always.

I'm pretty sure that was exactly how I looked.  Only watching Netflix while I transformed.

I was a big girl and didn't ask for a Valium before my IV, and mom and I chatted waiting on the doc to start the 17,000 mile journey up my exit door.

He met me in the room where the procedure was done, asked me about Dale Rogers Training Center, and before I could answer him, I was waking up with a nurse saying to me, "Hello, would you like something to drink?"  Now that's what I call service.

Come to find out, they had to use 20,000 feet of tubing because I have a 'Long' colon.   Couldn't have proved it by me, with the way that brew blew through my body.   But it's beautiful and non-polyp-y, and best news of all... I don't have to do it for 10 years.  I might actually have it paid off by then.

Awwwww, the joys of growing older.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Laynie Lessons: Living Unselfishly

I've been a pretty selfish person my whole life.  I like what I like, and I want what I want.  That is just the way I rolled.  

Then a tiny little sunshine angel popped into our lives, and all the sudden selfishness was not an option.  Babies tend to do that to you anyway, but, when you have a special needs baby, there really is no room for selfishness.  Anywhere.

I finally understood what life was like when you open your heart to different things.  And to different types of people.  And to letting GOD have you.  Completely and without question.  Just handing yourself over to God, and letting Him take the reins of life.  

It's very easy to be selfish.  It's "Your life" and "Your time" and "Your stuff".  I get it.  I totally get it.  But when life gets so overwhelming and nothing seems to be right anywhere you turn.... then maybe it's time to turn it over.... to someone that can take that selfishness away.

Because until you realize that life isn't about you and your stuff, it's about doing God and His stuff.  Then everything becomes less stressful and more simple.  

And life should be simple.

Life is a gift, and we get ONE shot at it.

Fostering some Love

When I decided to step out of CASA and become a foster parent in May, I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into.  The first few classes freaked me out, to say the least.

Now, today, almost 3 months later, I found out I am a licensed therapeutic foster parent.  How 'bout them apples?

I am SO ready to get started with the deal.  Hallie is SOO ready to get started with this deal.  We are foster family ready.

I want to give you some sobering facts about foster kids.  When I started this adventure 3 months ago, there were 8200 kids in foster care.  Today there are over 9000.  Just today 10 more kids went into the overcrowded shelters in OKC.

I know there are PLENTY of wonderful people out there that have love and compassion to give.  These kids need love and compassion.  These kids need stability.  These kids need a LIFE with someone that can help them have one.

Let me ask you a hard question.... Can you help?  Why not?

Insane courage... That's all it takes.  And a whole bunch of love.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, I suggest you start with contacting Grant Johnson at  His phone number is 405-818-3749 and he can tell you all about it.  Their website is  .   Check it out.

What is stopping you?  God calls us to take care of the widows and orphans.  HE CALLS US.

Be called, and make a difference in lives.  Make. A. Difference.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Laynie Lessons: Living with Courage

We are in the series "At the Movies" at church right now, and it's our favorite one of the year.  I mean we have a LOT of favorites, but this one is numero uno for us.  Our pastor takes movies and shows clips and brings biblical truth out of them.  It. Is. Stupendous.

Yesterday at church, we saw the movie, "We Bought A Zoo".  We saw this on our Dallas Christmas Adventure, and we LOVED it.  I should have known that Craig would totally pick it for one of the movies this year.  

I think one of the most amazing things about Laynie's whole journey was Lacey's courage.  I heard the doctor say "Termination" and the first thing that passed my mind was "We are going to have to terminate"...the first thing through Lacey's mind was.... "No way".   That was full out, full blown courage.  To embrace the unknown, the path less chosen, the HARD way.   My 23 year old chose it. 

Laynie never realized it, but she gave us all Great Courage.  I stand in front of groups of people now and share her story.  I blog to literally TENS of people every day and share her life.  Her mom shares her story every day at Children's Hospital Foundation, and people are moved, and people are changed.  

Another family lost a sweet angel today...Aiden ... another precious little boy I have been watching and praying for.  I got in a little late, but from what I understand he developed pertussis (whooping cough) at 2-3 weeks of age, and was just not strong enough to fight it, and succumbed to it today.  He has a phenomenal amount of following on his facebook, and will be featured on most of the tv channels today, and it makes me sad AND happy all the same time that another sweet baby has left this world for their heavenly home.  I know Laynie was waiting to greet him!  

It took unlimited courage for that family to reach out and ask for God's grace and their ultimate acceptance of the outcome.  

I always had such a hard time understanding what I was reading in scripture.  It was like I was forever caught in Spanish II with Mr. Diaz.  Seeing the words, but never really understanding them.  

Laynie changed that.  Consistently going to church, and immersing myself in the bible changed that.  God won't send you to a trial without a reason.  You NEVER appreciate the beauty of a peaceful, joyful time, without the trials to offset them.  If you are in the big middle of a trial and can't see the end, have this peace, please have this will be over, and when it will be forever changed.  God refines you to make you better for future plans.  

People think I have lost my noodle when I tell them I am going to foster kids.  Just like Benjamin Mee, when asked WHY in the world would he buy a rundown house with a run down zoo...he thought for a minute and smiled and replied... "WHY NOT?"   That's how I feel about being a foster parent... WHY NOT?   I'm not here just to buy shoes and eat bon bons, and just blog to you guys all the time (though the thought has crossed my mind)... I am here to shine God's light on the broken and the lost.  That's my job.  And that takes massive courage.  

Given to me by a tiny babe.

What are you doing in your life to be insanely courageous??

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Laynie's Lessons: Finding Humor

Our family is weird.  That's just all there is to it.  We are weirdos.

We dance in Old Navy, and Lacey slaps my butt and then we remember that we are in public, and look around and find people laughing and pointing.  That is a true story.

We really laugh a LOT in our family.  Laugh and laugh and laugh.

I think laughter is what got us through the hard days.  It's hard to find something to laugh about when everything looks so bleak, but I urge you to try it.

I love this video of Laynie with her hand stuck in her sleeve.  Her body was basically running out of blood every few weeks, and yet her spirit and laughter remained until the end.

The day we found out about Laynie, we were went to Chili's to try to process it, and we hadn't even smiled at this point.   To say we were devastated is putting it mildly.  We talked and talked about every possibility that day, and after we had talked for a couple of hours, I made the statement, in all authority and "mom"-ness, trying to calm my children's souls..."Well, just think about it this way... WE WON'T KNOW TIL WE KNOW, THEN WE"LL KNOW."   Now before those words came out of my mouth, I thought it would be a great thing to say.  But the minute they rolled out... giggles started bubbling out of all my kids.  We laughed and laughed and laughed.  We accepted God's plan for us in that moment.  The moment we took "US" out of it and our worry and our "SELVES" and just let God have it.... it was profound.

The original diagnosis for Laynie was holoproencephaly (I think that's how you spell it), but when we first heard it, no one could comprehend it (we weren't experts at medical terms at that point), so Lacey just called it "Holy Moly".   I will never forget when she called me and yelled in my ear.. "MOM, the doctor read the xrays of her brain and they are pretty sure it's NOT HOLY MOLY".   Laughter, tears, and laughter.

In Steel Magnolias, at one of the most intense moments in the movie, Sally Field is just losing it over her daughter dying, and her friends diffuse the pain with humor.  "Laughter through tears" is the best feeling in the world, they exclaim... and it's so true.

We have sooo many funny stories to share, I could write a book just on those.  A few that pop out in my memory are how Lacey reacted when we found out that Laynie was going to have to have glasses.... "Well, if she already isn't weird enough, let's slap some glasses on her"  *laughing as I'm typing that*

If I thought anyone was staring too long at her out in public, and Lacey was getting uncomfortable, I would catch their eye and look at Laynie, and tell them.. "She just needs the glasses for reading"  and they would laugh and move on, or the braver ones would ask "IS she a preemie???"   Nope, just a little dollop of sunshine, sent to us to teach us all.

Even at the hospital, those last few times up there for Laynie's transfusions, we tried to find humor.  Lacey was so exhausted from being on her feet and taking care of Laynie, and Laynie's insistence on moving during that transfusion, we had to get creative.  Normally she would sit in the wagon and we could pull her, but as she got weaker, she knew, and wanted to be held every second, and of course, we were going to hold her no matter what.  Lacey and I rigged the wheelchair and the iv pole, and walked and walked those halls.  Funny and sad all wrapped up in one memory.

She even worked it so she could push it with her feet so she didn't have to hang her arm.  We are very talented people. is so hard.  There is PLENTY to make us sad and worried.  PLENTY.  But God asks us to give HIM those worries, and to live JOYFUL and abundant.  

Laynie taught us that through all the pain of life, keep your sense of humor.  Laugh and Laugh and Laugh.  She LOVED to laugh.

Imagine our delight and surprise when, after being told she would never be able to respond to us, when this started happening.....  Laughter.... probably not even 4 pounds, about 12 weeks old here, and anytime I show this video to my mom....she still tears up.  We couldn't believe we were going to have a laughing baby.... Still gives me chills....Boy did she show us.... Boy did God show up.  

Laynie may not have taught us how to laugh....but we learned to laugh through hard times.... That's what our girl taught us.  


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Laynie Lessons: Live in the Moment

I'm very guilty of growing my kids up at lickety split speeds.  When they were born, I yearned for them to sleep through the night.  When they were laying on the ground, (not like outside in the driveway, but on a blanket in the front room, come on people) I yearned for them to crawl.  When they crawled, I couldn't wait for them to walk.  When they started walking, I wished they were still crawling. And so on and so on.

Never could be happy "in the moment".

That all changed with Laynie.

With Laynie, that was all we were guaranteed.  That moment.

Our cousin, Janet Harbolt, upon meeting Laynie for the first time, said... "I think the girls doll clothes will fit her" she ran home, grabbed her American Girl "Itty Bitty" doll clothes, and we got to have clothes for Laynie.  Nothing was small enough.  Preemies swallowed her.  We finally bought "off the rack" for her when she was about 6 months old.  

This picture just cracks me up, because by now, she was like... "REALLY..another outfit, and what is with these bows????"   We were loving it!   The only thing about pictures, is you CANNOT truly grasp how tiny she was.  Full term baby... just a tiny little dink.  

We learned to live FULL OUT, in the moment.  That was a life lesson and TOUGH for me.

I'm continually planning a month out, what's for dinner next week, who's coming to see us at Christmas, what are we doing next summer... never taking full advantage of TODAY.... and Laynie changed all of that.

My friend asked me, "What about when she's 5? What size do you think she'll be"... and I seriously was taken aback.  I NEVER thought forward with Laynie.  What was, just was.  

And seriously... isn't that how God wants us to live??  "Don't worry about tomorrow..." rings through the bible.  Life is such a whirlwind of activities, we get so caught up in the "Doing" and "Planning", that we forget about the "Living".....

Don't forget about the "Living"....  that's the very best part.  

In her fun itty bitty pants.... we were pumped to get her some fun clothes.

Showing Laynie her new clothes.  Soaking in the minute.

4 months old 4 pounds.  Defying odds, living in the moment.

Even when they were hard... they were a gift.  

Laynie Lessons.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Laynie Lessons- Defying Odds

As I was driving to work this morning, I was struck with an idea.  Especially after reading all the countless beautiful comments on Laynie's page, and mine and Lacey's pages.

Laynie made a difference.

She made a huge difference.

Lacey wrestled with the idea of closing Laynie's page a couple of months ago, and I argued with her about it.  "We don't use it anymore, mom"..... "BUT, what if we do?"   So, I've decided to write a series of "Laynie Lessons:  Things that an Angel Taught us"... and share them with all of you.  Filled with Laynie stories, pictures and the lessons this magnificent gift taught us in her 30 months on earth, and still teaches us today.  From the comments and stories you share with us, on how she impacted you.  Real life lessons from you guys.

I remember the day Laynie died, even the week and months preceeding her death, when I was writing faithfully of her journey.  People loved to read about Laynie.  They loved to hear how she was defying all the odds.  She made a difference.

So I have to start with a true Laynie lesson....What this little girl had to do even before she was born...

LESSON #1 -- Defying Odds

Before she was born, even at 20 weeks, she started defying odds.  The doctors advised Lacey to terminate, because the "Unknowns were great"... her quality of life outside the womb wouldn't be "Viable"... terms you never want to hear used when you are discussing your unborn baby.

But when she was 37 weeks.....she came out fighting.   She was here to change lives.

She wasn't bigger than the palm of your hand, and her little tiny head wasn't much bigger than an orange.  Her feet were totally tucked up under her booty, and she captured my heart the first breath she took.
This picture is scary...looks bad, but in reality it's not that big of deal.  They were giving her oxygen in her nose, through the equivalent of a C-Pap machine.  The big apparatus around her head, just helped keep it on.  That's it.  They had her wired for her blood pressure and heart rate, but our little miracle breathed on her own from the beginning.  They removed the oxygen hour 5.  She was a rock star.

It's hard to stay in perspective with how tiny she was.  This is a better idea of what we had on our hands.  Just gaze at your palm and look at your hand for a minute.  Go ahead.  Do it.  That was how big our baby was.  Just a tiny little smidge of a thing.  3 lbs 6 oz.  When the doctors told us that her kidneys were going to ultimately fail, and she would probably be blind and deaf, it was hard to take.  But we accepted it, and took her home to "love her".  She liked going home.  She thrived and defied odds.

I loved how she would hold your finger when she took a bottle.  When I say bottle I mean her 6 cc's.  Not 6 oz. (like most babies)... 6 cc's over a 20 minute period.  It was a painstaking, LOUD (for our baby was a squeaky eater) 20 minute task, for she wasn't a very vigorous sucker at the beginning and it had to be done about every 2 hours.  

Take a look at your ball caps laying in your house.  Turn it upside down and imagine a baby sitting inside of it.  After Payne Train's first bath (in a mixing bowl, no doubt), we tucked her in her dad's hunting hat and took about 100 pictures.  We weren't expecting to keep her more than a few days, and every second was precious.   She showed us how to defy staggering odds.  Again and again.  She showed doctors, she showed nurses, she showed everyone.    The baby that wouldn't live through the weekend....lived almost 30 months. .   Finally growing to a weight of just 13 pounds when she earned her angel wings. 

30 months later.....Defying odds.  That was this girl's strong suit.  She taught us that there is NOTHING you can't do with Christ on your side.   

So many people look at what seems to be a problem in their, marital, family, job, friendship, addiction, and think...."I just can't overcome that....I'm going to walk away from this and start over."   I am here to tell you people.....

What Laynie taught me.....

You Can Defy Odds.  One day at a time, one foot in front of the other.. being brave and moving forward.  

Keep God firmly in your sights...Keep your prayer life viral.....Keep your eye firmly on your goal...and just do it.  

Defy the Odds. 

Laynie did it, and she weighed 13 pounds.  I think you can, too.

We had so many wonderful things written on our wall, and I want to share some precious words from Trapper Sutterfield, our "Brother" from another mother....he summed it up so perfectly for a 16 year old genius....

Well, it's that day of the year again, July 10. Just a normal, insignificant day to most of you, but for some of us is one of the most celebrated, memorial days of the year. on this day, 2 years ago, believe it or not, my beloved niece, our beloved angel, passed away. And as sad as that may sound, and was at the time, this is a happy day. 
I've told many of you the story of Laynie, and some of you more than once (I do that a lot) and I wish I could re-tell it again and again because every time i tell it, not only does it bring her joyful memory back to me, but I feel like everyone who hears it takes a little something of their own from it. And thats what makes Laynie beautiful. How a little infant girl with too many handicaps to count, could take all of her troubles, and put them aside. And then replace them with something amazing. Her smile would make you tear up from straight cuteness, and knowing even with her disabilities, all she did was smile (Unless you end her bath time).
She brought you so much humbleness and humility, she did nothing but better people. Although I miss her, and can't wait to see her again one day in paradise, I am happy that she has passed. Not in the sense that she died, but in the sense that she finally started living. And I know she's up there just runnin' runnin' runnin'. I love you Laynie Bug. Thank you for everything ♥

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10, 2012 .. Wear Purple Day

I was dreading this day.  I think I just slept through it last year, and didn't really even think about it.  This year, however, Lacey had an idea.

"Let's have a WEAR PURPLE" day and post it on her page and see if anyone will do it, mom."

Ok.  Let's do it.

So we posted these on our facebook pages, and sat back and watched what happened. 


It started early this morning. Sweet posts, loving Lacey and loving me, and reminding Lacey how important and overwhelmingly awesome her decision about Laynie was.  And they just kept coming, and kept coming, and kept coming...on Laynie's page, on my page, on Lacey's page.   Outstanding.  

Check some of these out.... just precious...

1st picture in ... our friends from church, Sheree Cordray and her daughter Chandler.  Her husband, Landon, went to school with Lacey and has helped us with our Team Hope shirts every year.  If you need tshirts for your organizations or for ANY reason, Landon Cordray is your man.  Iron7 Screenprinting and Apparel (yes a shameless plug from Lolly)

Sliding in right behind her was Lacey's longtime school friend, Shelly Anderson Terry and her cute husband, Bryan..
Love men that are brave enough to wear purple....

Like these guys...

John Willeford and his little princess, Paisley

and Austin Greenhaw.  (swearing that his shirt is PURPLE, not blue)

This family came through for us.(as always)... The "SMITH" Family in all their beautifulness
Lauren..wearing her OU backpack on the way to school, and teasing her hubs that he totally wore purple briefs, but advised him NOT to take a picture and post it.  :)

And lovely Ashlee, who helps us out anytime she can, and is just an adorableness all by herself with the coolest wallpaper ever...I mean, really.

And the mama of the pack, unwilling to put her face in, but shows off her bling.  Peggy. :)

Speaking of bling....FOR.THE.LOVE. of DIAMOND RINGS...

Hello Krystal Watson Skeens.  Check out that massive rock ness monster.  Whoa.

And Linzy Hall's ADORABLE purple ring... how perfect was that for today?

And Missy Burrough (daughter of Mary Sykora Zuech) sent me this lovely..

We reached a few countries.....

Japan, from Lacey's friend...Kristy Taylor

and from our precious Kip, in Panama....

and one of Kip's BFF's all the way in Australia!!

Megan Wilson
She said she only took a few tshirts with her, and this was one!!  Oh yeah.  Rocking it Down Under.

Keri in Canada sent me this lovely of her precious one...all decked out in perfect purple.

And my precious friend, Lisa DiPaola sent this all the way from Long Island, NY

Moving right along to people that are close as family....
I especially love this one, because Free Jordan was the only person in the world I would have entrusted Laynie to after she passed away, and Free came and got her and loved on her when we couldn't.  Free is very very very very special to our family, and I love her with all of my heart.  In fact, she is family.  End of story.  One of the very best funeral directors in the world.  And I know a bang load of Funeral directors.

Speaking of funeral directors... this gal cracked me up.

Sent me this picture first.

Which I totally loved....even though she totally slammed herself saying something about "Self Portraits".  At least her head is in hers.  I cut mine totally off in my self portraits.  

Then she quickly sent this one.

because she was determined to get the bracelet in there too.  Made a crack about the Geek Squad or something, being jealous of her talent.  Methinks she should stick to funeral directing.  She's really really good at that.  Amy Astle makes me giggle every single day.

More friends that are basically family sent me two fast ones this morning..

Cyndi Bracy from her bathroom, it seems...

Followed shortly from her mom, (my mom too) sister, Sara, and her daughter Holley (which happens to be grandma's name too)
totally love this family like they're mine.  Well they are.  SO never mind.

Speaking of children that I believe are mine....
Payten and Saylor Sutterfield win for just the dog-gone cutest picture ever.  
Love love love these little jewels.  Lolly's girls.  

Lacey's co-workers and friends made for some lovely pictures....

Lacey's posse from work, Linzy, Lacey, Nona and Kati.  

Miracle mom, and friend, Malena Trulson, in the picture with Lacey, and Jan Dunham.  I have to say, Lacey rocked her purple dress.  She looks ah-ah-ah-ah mazing.  (Jan and Malena look pretty good too)

Kelsey Jones (fellow miracle mom) and sister rocked some pretty purple today!  

Now this gal...

Funniest caption of the day came from my cousin, Nina Geschwind.  I kidded the stuffing out of her about the "Random parking lot" that she picked to take her picture.  She retorted that only for Laynie would she ever put a picture on Facebook, anyway.  Plus that she was a lonely old retired woman that had to ask random people in parking lots to take pictures of her.  My whole family rolled.  I think she got something crazy like 23 likes on her picture.  A fun family fact...she babysit Lacey for me when she was a newborn- 18 months.  Lacey belonged to Nina and just stayed with me on the weekends.  It's true.  Ask her.  

And Nina has the cutest little patootie grandson on the planet in Jaxon.  (ok, I love that name).  Check out his purple/white.  Thanks Karey, for putting him on the page.  Loved it!

This friend always shows up for our parties, be it garage sales, clothing donations, runs, or pictures on facebook.  Lisa Essary is a forever kind of friend.  And a big Laynie lover.  We dig that about her. 

In fact, I have a lot of Laynie lovers that I can always count on...for ANYTHING.

Amanda Blackwood. (she rocks my face off)

and her niece and nephews, kids of Josh and Jamie Cope..

Dr. Ashley Lanman.  She keeps our teeth in tiptop condition.  
And likes us all a little.  Almost as much as we love her.  

Wendy Groshong, and daughter, Jacelyn are from our Lifechurch in OKC, and we love and adore them in a special way, because Wendy gave Lacey so much encouragement right after we found out.  Wendy reminded Lacey over and over that "God was bigger than any diagnosis". 
Her faith and unwavering stance was instrumental in those early days.  
Love us some Wendy.

More church friends....

Taylor Boso..

Jaime Waldenville

Cissa Newberry and her sweet daughter..

We got a PLETHORA of cute kid pics....check them out...

Lily Alexander...daughter of Jennifer George Alexander

Brinlee Bartlett-  daughter of Jen Bartlett

Olivia and Tucker Davis-  kids of Julie Davis

Sydney Lucas-  Daughter of Sarah Lucas

Lanie Badger's grandbabies...

I adore, with sugar on top, this precious pic of Kera Don Skidmore and her son sporting their Laynie bracelets.  Just makes me all kinds of happy.

Sassy pants.. Avery Webster... daughter of Abby Webster..

Amber Hines and her little "Girl" that turned out to be a "Boy" Jackson.  LOVED this picture.

Pretty new to the planet, uber adorable Miss Saylor Aynes...daughter of Stephanie Aynes.

And these two princesses belong to Stacy Wakley...

And Sara Tedford and her purple crew..... love it!  North Dakota represent!!

Allie McLaughlin is sacked on her mom's VERY PG belly (and Team Hope tshirt)
daughter of Katy Kincannon McLaughlin

I especially love this picture, because this little dollop of sunshine is named after our Laynie.  Daughter of Samantha Burk Stiles, granddaughter of Susan Hunter Burk, they decided to spell her name like "Laynie" after reading about our little angel.  

What a blessing...her name lives on in this little beauty.

DO YOU SEE WHY WE WERE SMILING ALL OVER our FACES today??? We never stopped smiling all day.  What could have been a terrible day, was made full of rejoicing, from the loving outpouring of our friends and family.

Speaking of family....

Look who wore purple to work.  and sent a picture of himself to Lacey on her phone, and of course, I got hold of it, and had to put it on here...

Yep.  Daddio Deaton.  Rocking purple for his G-baby.

Speaking of wearing purple to friend Tami Mariano rallied her people at work to wear their purple scrubs, so Dr. Tracy Gasbarra's (in Choctaw) staff totally wore purple for our girl...

and small world, Alisha (in the pic) knows Lacey.  Small wonderful world.  :)

My friend, Mike Askins, wore his bracelet to work at KGFF radio, and maybe even talked a bit about our angel....

The Wall Family represented....Kelsey in Tulsa

 and Shelley's arm in Shawnee, along with her pup, Roxie's purple collar.  Representin the love.

Old friends are some of the best friends, and these girls go waaayyy back with me...

Meg Brownell

MaryJane Wasson Hughes and her beautiful look alike mini mi- Kelley Hughes...

And Brigid Wammack...I remember her as a 1st grader.  No lie.  

Cash, Katy, Audrey & Sarah Matthews..and several of 
Cash's people in Solomon Group, totally rocked purple today.  Jennifer Eskina knew about it (
(far right), but the others....divine working.  :)

And then, some people are so close as family, well, because
they just are family...

Crystal Jarvis.... everyone gave her a hard time because of her blue shirt (which really is purple) and because eveyone says she still looks 25.  I'd like to be given a hard time because I look 25.  Go ahead, I don't mind.

Last, but certainly not least is my mama, and Hallie.  My mom has been in a funk for the last few days.She's pretty much not come out of her pj's.  It's ok.  I like to have those kind of days too.But she saw all the pics of  purple representing our girl flying out all over facebook, she snapped out of it, and got herself up and fancified, grabbed Hallie and took one of my favorite pics of the day....check out her beautiful flower bed.  

To say Lacey and I are overwhelmed is just an understatement of vast proportion.  Lacey had wanted to make a collage of all the pictures that were on Laynie's wall...but you can see, that would be the world's biggest collage.  Ever.  In the world.  

So, I blogged about it.  and Am overwhelmed with love.  

Thank you for loving our baby.  

Thank you for cheering our hearts today.

Thank you for telling her story and understanding that 
God's plan for you is perfect...