Friday, March 31, 2006

Blue Jeans for Babies Day

Today is Blue Jeans for Babies Day here in Columbus, MS! My son and the Mayor signed a proclamation last week declaring it so. It was even on the news. Today around the city we saw lots of people in their yellow shirts honoring all the premature babies who were lost, those who are still fighting, and those like my son who are survivors!!! The Golden Triangle's WalkAmerica is this Sunday with Alex as the ambassador. It has been a hard 3 month push raising funds up to this point. Last year I personally brought in $1,350.00 my original goal this year was $1500.00 and then I got crazy and upped it to $2500.00, then even crazier and took it up to $3500.00! On Thursday I banked my GOAL!!! So for the rest of the year I am now shooting for $4,000. This was our first year with a team, "Team Alex", so when I set our goal at $4,000 the people on our team thought I had lost my mind. Well I am proud to say we brought in just a hair over $5,300.00! Can you imagine how many babies that money can save!!! Thank You Jesus! All things are possible thru Christ! I am mentally exhausted after the past month. Sunday is all about enjoying all that we have done, riding the wave so to speak. If you can give even just the change in your car to the March of Dimes.. Why not step up and give?

It's for the babies.........................

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A moment of Silence.........

Yesterday I got sad news, news I knew was coming soon yet was unprepared to deal with. My friend's niece Ashleigh took her last breaths here on earth. Ashleigh was 4 years old and had been battling neuroblastoma (cancer) for more than 1/2 her young life.
Honestly I had never gotten the chance to meet Ashleigh face to face. Yet her smile reaches out from her pictures grabs your heart and never lets go. Her story has touched thousands upon thousands. Her life will be with so many people forever.
I am thankful as Ashleigh is no longer in agony and her parents no longer have to watch her suffer. Amy & Jeff have been through and seen more in the past 2 years than any parent should have to. I am finding peace in knowing that Ashleigh's last breath was taken in the arms of her loving parents just as she took her first.
It is a comfort to my heart picturing Ashleigh sitting on God's knee with her Angel wings, pain free. No needles, no tubes, no braces nothing but the incredible body God has blessed her with. She is happy and warm at home with her father. I know she is reaching down comforting her family praying for them to go on and find hope knowing they will see her again.
What makes me sad and afraid is that I do not think Amy & Jeff have accepted Christ into their hearts. Who are they finding comfort in? Who is being their rock during this painful time? Do they believe Ashleigh is in heaven sitting with our Father? I am praying for their hearts and for comfort for them.

Please join me in a moment of silence for Ashleigh...............

Let us Pray

Dear Heavenly Father,
Please pour out the light of your presence on all those who love Ashleigh. Let them see You in a real and tangible way. Father, use her death to open their hearts to You that they may know You are the Comforter and that You have healed their daughter completely and fully.
Father, reveal Your plan for their future. Give them comfort and hope in the midst of their sorrow. Please send someone into their lives that can show Your love and comfort to them. Let their memories of Ashleigh fill their hearts with joy so that they may laugh aloud at the thought of her. Use her precious life and sweet memory for Your honor and glory that Amy and Jeff and others in Ashleigh's family may come to know You.
Father, Your word says that all of our days were ordained before one of them came to be. We also know that You use all of the circumstances of our lives to work Your greatest good in us. Father, I claim these promises for Ashleigh's family, that in the midst of these circumstances, they will seek You with all of their hearts, that You will set their feet on the rock, and that You will be their joy, their peace, and their hope when they have none.
In Jesus Name,

(Thank you to my friend Renee for hearing Christ and writing this for me)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Midnight and I should be in bed!

My friend Stacy in Kansas city, MO sent me an IM the other day (before my computer crashed) telling me I needed to update my blog that she felt that was the only way she knew what was happening in my life lately and it had been too long.

Then my friend Alyssa in Sacramento sent me an e-mail telling me she felt disconnected and was growing in unrest in the miles between us. She then filled me in on all the happenings in her life. All the yuck and joy I was missing out on.

To top it all off tonight my friend Lori now in Colorado Springs sent me a blip from my blog from February saying she needed "some familiar time with a dear friend - so I found it in your blog".

YIKES people..... This was a wake up call clearly I have been FAR too busy. I promise all 3 of you I am still very much alive and kicking. The past month God has sent me on a journey. Because of my son Alex we are the Ambassadors for the March of Dimes WalkAmerica here in Columbus. God has deeply stamped it on my heart this month to get out there and give the gift He gave me back to others. This was WHY he gave me Alex. It was a tool..
So.. Off I went on a fundraising mission of sorts! It started with a little yard sale that grew and grew and grew until you could no longer see out my son's play room windows. My kitchen table, floor, and counters became tagging stations full of pink, green, yellow little dots with prices on them. I lost pens, tags, cups, the house and often my mind in the pile of stuff that people began donating for this "little" yard sale. Yet god pushed me further. He kept whispering in my ear to drive on when I thought I had no strength left. He cleared my mind when exhaustion set in. He lifted me up when I became disappointed. He clearly told me in no uncertain terms this was my mission. Soooo I drove forward at 100 mph. Several times I wanted to bag the entire idea and then he would send an angel my way often in the form of an 80 pound red head full of His raw energy and love. It never failed to make me smile.
So on Saturday I pulled off my largest fundraising to date! A HUGE GIGANTIC yard sale! The greatest gift I got was people who were getting nothing in return showing up at 6am with huge smiles to work for the day donating their time, sweat and love. This was more than I could ask for. The newspaper came and took pictures, over 100 people came up my driveway several on numerous trips, and over $1300.00 passed through our hands. $500.00 was raised for the March of Dimes and donated to "Team Alex".
During the past month God kept scolding me that my personal goal was not high enough. I originally started it at $1500.00, because last year we raised $1300.00 and I thought that was a goal I could "handle". When fundraising started off really slow I dropped my numbers down to $700.00 thinking maybe after hurricane Katrina and all maybe I needed to offer a lot more Grace to those hurting. Then God and I spoke and I moved it to $2500.00. My husband thought I was mad, He still thinks I might be. Yet God assured me it was "doable", he prompted me that this was my mission. IF by speaking out about my near death experience some like to call child birth, could raise money and help prevent one Mamma from having to experience the agony of the NICU, I HAD to do everything in power to make it happen. Even if I don't hit that $2500.00 goal by Thursday morning (bank day for my walk), I know God has helped me shift minds and hearts. I know that together we have touched lives, minds and hearts. For many people I pray prematurity is just a word they will only be able to relate to "the Hocutts", but for those who will unwillingly be sucked into the ugly world of fear called the NICU I pray the memory of my sons face, laughter, and light will give them strength, hope, and faith in their darkest hour. THANK YOU God for the incredible gift of my son Alex.

To my friends... Stacy, Alyssa & Lori... Thank you! Thank you for allowing me time to wander into my March of Dimes world knowing I would return to you a better and deeper person. Thank you for allowing me to ramble at times and make no sense. Thank you for forgiving me for not being the best of friend during moments you may have needed me. Thank you for loving me, giving me strength, and reminding me why I do what I do. I know none of you will be physically here with us next Sunday as we drive off after church to "do" the walk, but you each will be with me in my heart.

I often pray for each one of you, thanking God for the blessings he has given me. You each have played very key roles in my life, ones that are unforgettable. So as I wake up next Sunday morning sad that you all won't get to experience the day with us I will remind myself of all the things God has blessed our friendship with.

Alyssa - you drove over 500 miles with a 2 month old to hold my hand at my baby shower, 2 days after out finding how sick I was you sat on the floor while I laid with my feet up on the couch scared, afraid and crying. You worked your butt of when I gave birth sending "lil" hand made hats for my tiny little son. You sent my first sign of God in the form of a St. Christopher pendant to pin to Alex's blanket in the incubator.

Stacy - You listened as my colicky son drove me over the edge, as the throw up spilled time and time again to the floor you promised me it would get better. You made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry. You gave me hope when I thought there was none. You gave me advice when I truly had no one else to turn too. You flew miles to be make good on a bet you had lost (smirk). You prayed like never before with each visit to the doctors, hospital and neurosurgeon showing me God's answers to prayers before I even realized it.

Lori - My soul shaker.... You helped me lift my hand, my heart and my son to God. You helped me put answers to my most painful questions. You were there as I met Christ face to face. You gave me faith when I had none. You lifted me up and placed me on my rock reaching out to catch me every time I started to slide off. You became my sons second mother, offering him advice, love, and laughter. You became the older sister I had wished for all my life.

THANK YOU to my deepest set of friends.... For loving me with the good, the bad and the ugly! Thank you for sharing my deepest fears and my happiest moments with me. Thank you for loving me when I have felt unlovable. You each have stamped yourselves in my soul forever.

I AM BACK..... (of course it's 1:00am so I think I better go back to bed)!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Day 2 and I'm a Lent Failure!

Yep.. I blew it.. Day 2 and I drank soda. Picture an ostrich sticking it's head in the sand right about now! But.. In my meek and horrible defense I have been up since 4:30 am with my whiney 3 year old who was crying for milk. .... Gulp .... Soooo I really drank the soda out of desperation for caffeine. I HAD to have it for the safety of my family. Would have it been better if I went and had a coffee (which I don't drink) because I didn't give that up for Lent? Technically your really not suppose to trade one bad habit for another. I guess... I ask for forgiveness for being weak, broken, selfish, and for not having an ounce of self will power. Tomorrow is a new day with a new sunrise and a new beginning! Thank you Lord for that.

Ohhh and did I mention that my lovely 3 year old then proceeded to whip a hanger across the room with the accuracy of a sharp shooter nailing my soda, spilling it's glorious wild cherry Pepsi contents all over my keyboard??? Ohhhh yeah... God showed me, through my child no less. Gotta love that! Gone... Wasted away.... And NOW to make matters worse my letters are sticking and my F barely works. Good thing I gave up swearing because that F would be really useful about now. Grrrrrr...............