The picture to the left was me this time one year ago, happy as can be with my son and with my sweet Ella on her way, just one and a half months before my life was turned upside-down.
Each holiday or special occasion that has come and gone since the day I died is special. There may not be anything new about these special days, but I see things with fresh eyes. It is as if these days are landmarks—landmarks of another day lived!
The day this will post, June 15th, is my birthday. Since I am the youngest of four, my older siblings used to exclude me from hanging out with them when their friends were over, wearing their clothes, and sometimes using their older advantage to pick on me. But, that was never allowed on my birthday! So, I got wise to this realization that my siblings would be nice to me and dote on me if it was my special day, so I monopolized that, and began claiming my ” birthday week.” I am not sure how I ever got away with it, but since I was in junior high, I have had a birthday week and all my family and friends know about it and have even enabled it, so even in my thirties, I claim the week. Why ruin a good thing!
This year, I have a lot to be thankful for! I could only dream, 10 and a half months ago when I was unable to breathe well and hardly able to move, that I would feel this good on my birthday. There is nothing that I can wish for my own self this year because I have it all, my life, my family and my health. There are no greater gifts.
I said in my blog last week that I do have a birthday wish. Well, I actually have three and it requires others to get involved.
My first wish is for everyone I know to donate blood. One of the things that saved my life almost a year ago was that others gave of themselves in such a way to donate their own blood to another unnamed, unknown person. They faced the discomfort and gave of their time for another human being, and that human being was me! I had two transfusions and was given 30 units of blood products. All of that to save one life! When I was recovering, I decided that on my birthday instead of giving me gifts that my friends, family and all those I can ask, would find a way to donate blood for another who may need it—I am living proof that donating blood saves lives!
Now on to my second wish! Amniotic fluid embolism is a mystery that could easily be solved by a little prayer and a lot of funding to the AFE Foundation. Since my untimely death and survival from AFE, I have offered myself to help this organization lead in the discovery of the cause and cure of one of the world’s leading causes of maternal death. As the new Communications Director for the AFE Foundation, I am committed to helping raise awareness and funding for a new and necessary study. As I have become more involved in the organization, I have met other survivors all with their own miraculous stories! I have also met others who lost their wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend to this tragic condition. As a survivor, I owe it to those families who lost a loved one to help uncover the truth about this deadly embolism. In addition, it is imperative that we dedicate prayer, time, energy and research towards AFE so that women in the future, who you may know, never have to face this life threatening pregnancy complication. If you have it in your means to financially support, please consider partnering with the AFE Foundation by making a donation to www.afesupport.org.
My third wish is for people to spread the word about my book when it comes out in the next month. (The picture is the bottom of my book–I can’t show you the whole thing yet!! Oh the suspense!!) This story is so special and one handed down to me by my family and friends since I have no memory of it. To hear the whole story of this miracle and what God has done in my life this past year could bring the most wandering of souls back to the Lord! The story is truly inspiring! I knew the moment I woke from sedation that this was a story I had to share, and soon it will be available! When it is ready, I pray you will help me spread the word about it. Also, if you want to read the quotes on the back of the book click on the “Books” tab at the top of this webpage!! Another tidbit of information for you is that Patrick Madrid, amazing author and speaker, wrote the foreword!)
Even though I no longer need a whole birthday week to celebrate “me” as I did when I was a kid, I will still claim my birthday week, but it will be my week to focus on ways to give to others in some way. Pope John Paul II said that “Man cannot fully find himself , until he makes a sincere gift of self.” I believe serving and giving to others is truly the ultimate joy in life and the unsought, ultimate reward is–finding one’s self. This week I will make my birthday about others and try to make myself a sincere gift–not sure what exactly I will do each day, but one thing I will do for sure will be to pray for all of you! Even if I don’t know your name or have never met you, God knows who you are and will lead me in prayer! If you have any specific prayers that you feel open enough to share, please leave them in the comments for this blog and allow all of us to unite in prayer for you!
Thanks for allowing me to share my birthday wishes with you! I hope my birthday will always be a reminder that life is a gift–the day you and I were born was a gift from God and everyday that follows is one too! Let’s honor this great gift by giving others the gift of ourselves, by serving as Christ did!