Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lessons From Heart Camp!

     My reunion with Cora on Friday wasn't how I imagined in my head!  Don't get me wrong it was good wasn't the yelling of my name, running to me so I could swoop her up in my arms hugging and kissing her. was a quite "Hi Mom.", and is it time to leave already?  I did however get a hug and a joyous smile from her. 

     On our travels home Cora began telling me all about her week.  Something was different this year....I looked at her no longer seeing the little camp girl....I saw a young lady sitting next to me wanting to share her week with me!  As she began to talk she seemed so grown up.  How could I have dropped off my little 13 year old daughter on Sunday, to come pick up a young lady on Friday?

     She began by stating, "Mom I learned a lot at camp this week." She proceeded to inform me that she learned about miracles!  She felt that the little camper girl that passed out and went into cardiac arrest, would die.  She said she openly cried and prayed for her.  Cora was amazed that within 24 hours the little gal was sitting in bed Skyping with her and her fellow campers.  Cora simply said it was a miracle.  "They do exist Mom!"
  She continued to tell me her second lesson learned.  She went into a lengthly explanation about a difficult counselor at the camp, and how she had a hard time of it.  Then she fell silent.  I thought for sure she began crying.....leaning to the side of the window I heard her take a deep breathe.  She perked up and spoke once again...."You know Mom I didn't like this counselor's attitude, or the way she spoke to me but....she taught me the most.  Don't open your mouth if you are going to cut someone down...she hurt my feelings all week, but, I do that too."  She went on to tell me that this counselor was very harsh and rude.  This counselor's behavior finally got to Cora, making her cry while she was at camp.  But she said she's done the same things to friends and especially her sisters.  She concluded with "That must be what God wanted.  Mom you've said it and I ignored it.  So guess God had to do it."

     Now I know it's only been a few days but Cora has retracted quite a bit that has come out of her mouth, and I have seen her cover her mouth a few times in attempts to stifle the mean.  This is new chartered territory for her...being so blunt has always been filter and the lack of recognition  of her statements.  BUT...these past few days I have seen God's work within her.  She has become aware of those words and the impact they cause.  I know she'll stumble a lot....we all do....but seeing the acknowledgement of others feelings, and working to do better is all I can continue to pray for!

     Who knew you could learn so many life lessons at Heart Camp?!  I am so grateful for The Lord's work within my daughter this past week.  I continue to be amazed at the blessings he grants each of us, and our family as a whole!  As for our home, we WILL continue to serve The Lord!

Blessings until next time.


Thursday, June 26, 2014


     As I sit here this Thursday evening, my anticipation is growing by the hour.  Tomorrow I will be picking up my darling daughter at Heart Camp.  I have prayed so much this week for all the campers and their little hearts. 

     I anticipate that moment when I get to see her sweet little face.  Her warm joyous smile, and her voice calling out Mom.  I simply can't wait to grab hold of her and shower her with kisses and hugs.  Like each year I'm sure I will be praising God for keeping her safe and returning her back to me!  Funny to say but, I am as excited as a child on Christmas morning.  The inspiration Cora gives me everyday is really indescribable.  She gives me courage to try things, she brings me joy in the little things, but mostly.....she make me proud to be a Mom...specifically, her Mom!!

     Now don't get me wrong, I like time away from my children.  I enjoy "me" time, but I want to selfishly enjoy every minute I can with her....really with all my children.  It's just I don't know what the time frame of togetherness with Cora will be.  So I try to soak up all I can...just like a if I am faced with days, or years without her, I will have used every minute God gave me with her to the best of my ability.

     So as I retire for the night I am excited for an afternoon, evening, and probably as week full of stories and wonderful memories my CHD daughter has made!  These are moments that carry me when I fall short, and feel like I just can't do another day!

Blessings until next time!

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Reality Check!

     This morning started like any other Monday morning.  Prayer, coffee, kids, and out the door for our day's journey.  Having Cora at heart camp, my day would surely run a little less to keep focused and on track.  Instead today was my Reality Check!

     As I sat to read through my emails this morning, there sat an eye catching email. An email from Heart Camp!  My heart skipped a beat as I opened it.  As I read each and every word, out loud, the words disappeared in a tear filled well.  Blinking quickly I finally could focus again.  I finished my email and instantly felt a rush of emotions.  I felt sorrow, worry, fear, and relief all at once.

     This year I told myself I would approach Cora going to Heart Camp differently.  Every year I constantly think about her and pray crazily that someone is looking out for.  Someone is helping remind her of the simple things we take remembering for granted.  This year I decided I'd try to look at it as my little mental vacation from the everyday care and reminding, with my dear CHD daughter.  Instead I was met with a slap across my face this morning.  

     You see no matter where your CHD child is, you can't ever really forget that you have a child with a heart defect.  Whether they are at home or at camp, they are always at risk of sickness, or cardiac arrest.  This morning my heart broke when I read of a heart camper who went into cardiac arrest while at camp, just trying to be a kid!  At that moment I understood, for the first time, when my Cora tells me she can't ever get away from being a heart matter what she does, or where she goes, she is faced from the moment she awakes the knowledge that her heart is fragile.  I do not know who this sweet CHD child is but, I have been praying all day for them.  I have been praying for all those campers who were there to witness a peer go through this.  I pray the camp has staff to help these sweet children coop with what they witnessed, and possibly feel daily.  I have been praying that the children are watched closely with this high heat this week.   I even prayed a very guilty thank you for it not being my Cora.  I am embarrassed to admit but, I was so full of sorrow for the camper and Mom who is dealing with this, but so relieved it was not Cora!

     I learned so much today, all before 7:30am!  I learned that it so very important to hug your children as many times a day as they'll let you...even when they are on your last nerve and you wished they'd go away for a little while!  Because this morning I felt a what if!!!  What if this would have been my Cora?  Did I tell her I loved her?  Did I show how aggravated I was by her obnoxious behavior when I dropped off for camp?  Did I hug her more than once, and kiss her?  

     So please do me a favor!  That moment when you think you just can't take another minute remind could be worse!   What if that little sweet miracle of yours wasn't there at all?

Blessings until next time!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Heated Summer!

     I bet every child is so very ready for summer, and every Mother is getting themselves prepared to keeping the kiddos busy for several months now that school is out!
     Personally summer is another transitional time of the year in our home!  With the heat arriving very soon, a new set of obstacles emerge for Cora and myself.  While many children are encouraged to play outside and enjoy the day....My daughter has to monitor her day outside...playing outside in spirts.  

     For Cora the heat, well..... it just isn't her friend!  As the temperature rises through the summer, Cora faces more issues.  The inability to breath well with any real physical activity, leads to a lack of oxygen, that then turns Cora's lips bluish purple, which leads her to begin breathing shallow quick breaths.  This is her way of trying to catch her breath but, it really leads to additional issues for her.  She'll begin to feel lightheadedness and dizziness. All of this results in extreme tiredness from being outside a short time.  

     For the most part she has been good at knowing when to take a break and go inside.  However lately....not so much!  In the spring I began to see Cora pushing herself more.  I see her trying harder to keep a connection with other kids.  I can see her pushing her limits even though her body is telling her to slow down.  Now that summer is around the corner, I am faced with a Momma teaching moment.  To express to a child that she has limits is not easy for any parent...especially one who deep down already struggles emotionally with the discovery of her uniqueness.  So here I am, at a moment where I need to sit down and explain the true effects that may happen if she doesn't listen to her body.  How do I this?.......well I haven't figured it exactly out yet.  I do know however I will continue to pray and ask God the guide me in this delicate conversation.  A conversation that needs education for Cora and understanding from her Momma.

Blessings until next time,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Harsh Reality!

     Oh where do I start?.....It is so emotionally difficult when you see a sweet heart child struggle, to eventually lose their battle.  Today I sit reflecting on the miracles of God and sifting through my emotional confusion I face, each time a heart child is called home to heaven.  I am saddened because I feel guilty that my child is still here, while another is grieving the loss of their baby.
  It is so hard to describe the emotions I go through every time the harsh reality surfaces, that these little heart children are so fragile.  It's a wake up call reminding me that my daughter is fragile!  

     The most difficult part for me is sitting Cora down to share this news.  To delicately express to her another heart child has been called home to heaven.  I wish I could say it has gotten easier over the years, but honestly as time goes on it is such more difficult.  Watching her eyes tear up, and seeing her is so very difficult to keep my own emotions intact. I can't imagine what Cora thinks each time she loses a friend, an acquaintance, a camp buddy.  The only thing she seems to say more often than not is "it could be."  I long to tell her differently but she knows.  I do what I feel in my heart God is guiding...we pray, we talk, and we praise for the glories God has given us.

     So with a tearful eye we say Good Bye to another heart child today, and we smile through our tears knowing God is happy to see her.  

Blessings until next time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Countdown to Camp!

     "Is it time yet?"  "Mom is it time to go it, is it?"  For two months this is the question of the day from my Cora.  Every year she is so overly excited to embark on her journey to Heart Camp. Her infectious smile is all day long, and her excitement everyday is like Christmas morning.  She jumps around like a crazy goose, and tells anyone who will listen to her, that she LOVES Heart Camp.  

     Camp Joyful Hearts, the actual name, is sponsored by Cincinnati Children's Hospital, (, and every year they offer the opportunity for children, like Cora, to go be a normal kid!  They are surrounded by children with the same health ailments as them.  Nurses are there the entire week assisting with medications and at hand if needed for anything else.

     For Cora, it is dream come true each and every year.  As she has said so many times, it is a safe place for her to be her.  She is surrounded by children who can relate to her struggles, who encourage her, wait on her when she falls behind, and loves her unconditionally.  She doesn't have to go into long explainations trying to make others understand her and her flaws.  She can share things she keeps pent up most of the time, and she can be free to be "normal" without being judged!

     For me....I am so overjoyed there is a place like this for children with congenital heart defects.  A place to go and experience camp without the concerns!  But it is also sad...knowing this is the only time of the year my sweet child feels she is accepted by others.  It pains me to think so many adults and children judging someone who doesn't fit their idea of norm!  Will it ever stop?  I pray so often that a little bit of Jesus seeps into them, shedding light upon the dim, and breaking a mold created by a society, who needs to learn to just love unconditionally!

     As we countdown to Heart Camp, less than 24 hours, I will join Cora as she basks in anticipation and giddiness, for the moment she can be free to be herself for 6 days out of her year!

Blessings until next time!