The last few weeks have been collectively insane for me.  I am behind on everything, struggling with my household chores and trying to keep my head from spinning off.  I have been hard on myself.  Scolding internally the woman who can not seem to get back on track and get things done.  Whether it be reviews for the blog or toilets that needed cleaning last week, I have taken my lack of progress as a personal failure.

But in the midst of the chaos I have been put in my place more than once.  I don’t know if this is God’s way of telling me to wake up and see what is really important or just chance luck that I heard about all of these things during a time when I needed to be reminded of the appreciation I should have every day.

The first event that happened that shook me, literally, to the core was the birth of my dear friend’s grandson.  Expecting a healthy baby boy that ultrasounds confirmed, he was born with no left eye and a facial deformity on his nose.  No one knows why.  No one understands.  His parents, Megan and Christopher were truly stunned!  As was grandma and her friend.

It made no sense to me, in this day and age of knowing everything about babies when born, that this was not at least hinted at in the tests.  But he is healthy and gorgeous.  However, it is going to be a long, expensive road to help him get that left eye and fix the issues with his face.  So, generous friends have set up a Scentsy Fundraiser to help the family.  And watching everyone’s generosity and the love these parents have for their amazing little baby boy makes me feel a little selfish.

Because here I am upset about the pile of laundry my husband left me to fold.

Another story that captivated me was at the tail end of an amazing trip with Disneynature to the Red Carpet Premier of Chimpanzee.  I’d met amazing bloggers, had once in a lifetime experiences and was headed home to a beautiful family.  Yet, I was already feeling overwhelmed with what was awaiting me on my desk at home.

One of the bloggers, Jaime with, offered to drop me at the airport on her way home in Florida, thus saving me an outrageous cab fare.  As we drove I learned that my impression of her – the she was a quick to laugh, warm hearted, truly appreciative woman – was sealed.  I wished at the time that I had been able to spend more time with her on our busy trip.

And then I asked her about her kids.  She has two daughters and a son who passed at 24 months from cancer…  less than six months after his diagnosis.  Through – very understandable – tears she told me how she was using his life to impact other children and families and has started the organization,  Basically, she is, in the name and honor of her son, making sure that families of the youngest fighters of terminal illnesses get their dreams met.  Some organizations have age limits on the children they will help; no child under 3, for example.  She wants to make sure that no matter the age of the child, the whole family gets some joy and lifelong memories with their precious baby.

By the time she was done telling her story and impressing me with her resolve and dedication, I was in tears.  I did not let her see them – her emotional journey is her own in my opinion – but I was deeply moved and appreciative of people like her who take a real tragedy and turn it into someone else’s hope.  If only all of us had her heart.

And here I was worried about what came in the mail in my absence. 

And then there was the horrible story that came across my news screen a few days later.  That a mom of a 3 day old little boy was gunned down in her pediatrician’s parking lot after taking her baby for a check up.  Hanging, with 7 bullet holes in her, from the window of the car that the woman who shot her and kidnapped her son drove, screaming, “My baby, My baby!”, she did not give up trying to save her baby. The final insult of being rolled over took her from her three kids and angered me to the point of tears.  When they found the baby boy a few hours later, tears were flowing again.

The thoughts of what this woman went through, three days after having her third child, knowing her one and three year old waited at home for her, as she lay dying on the concrete watching a random person speed away with her son humbles me and my complaints about anything.

 And here I was worried about when I would clean the shower.

And finally, after digesting all of this, I find out that a little girl in my daughter’s preschool was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor just weeks ago.  You can read and follow Makayla’s battle and donate to her family on their Facebook page.  My Sarah told me of making a picture of a puppy dog for Makayla and her teacher’s sending it to her.  She says she is at the doctor and they pray for her a lot.  As my 4 year old discusses her friend – who is in Ms. Cheryl’s class, she says – in a childlike tone with obvious concern and confusion in her voice, I can only imagine what Makayla’s family is feeling right now.  And I drop to my knees and pray hard for Makayla.

And here I was worried about when I would be able to hire help so that I would not be so overwhelmed with my kids this summer.

It’s funny.  We all have our battles and they are all valid.  And all of our stresses are real and our experiences and abilities to handle them unique.  But when it comes down to it, the truth is that no matter how bad I feel about not living up to expectations or not being able to handle even the smallest tasks in my life, someone out there is handling something huge and meaningful and doing it with grace.    And so maybe I can learn and know that the little things really don’t matter.

And when I start to think that they do, I can open my ears and know that hearing others stories helps me appreciate what is important.

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