Grateful

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 5.47.52 PM

I am so deeply grateful to be celebrating my fourth “transplantaversary” today. Yesterday marks the day I entered surgery to receive a new liver, and today marks the day that I awoke for the first time with new life within me.

Without my gift of life, I wouldn’t have received the opportunity to love again, complete my education, visit new countries across the world, become a godmother, meet new friends, touch more lives, or savor every ordinary day.

The journey has – at times – been treacherous and almost too much to bear. There has been fear and pain. But today, I live a beautiful, charmed life that has only been possible due to the generous gift of my organ donor and his family and the support of my family, friend, and even strangers around the world.  There aren’t enough words to express my gratitude.

Please consider signing up to be an organ donor, if you’re not already. It’s a pretty simple, yet empowering thing.  Just go to this website and sign up. Next time you renew your license, make sure that they put the tiny heart symbol on it, signifying your wishes. And most importantly, tell your family so they can authorize it when you’re not longer able to do so yourself.  120,000 people are waiting for what a lot of us take for granted.  18 of them die each day because there aren’t enough organ donors.  By signing up to be a donor, you can save up to 8 lives and heal up to 50.  Once you die, you won’t need any of your organs anymore, so why not share them with someone less fortunate than you? Think about it…  Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

With love and gratitude,

Amanda

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 5.48.08 PM

Advertisements

Seeing God’s back

Author Ann Voskamp’s blog and book One Thousand Gifts (New York Times Bestseller) has often been a hope to me on long days and an ever-present reminder on all of the rest.  She challenge readers to be grateful for every moment with “a dare to live fully right where you are.”

No matter how dark that place is.

I was reading one mother’s account of losing her daughter at 18 weeks gestation.  Her thought-rendering words express such emotion, such grief, and in her blog entry, A Star Hung on My Soul Sky, she shares a comment Ann posted on her blog.  Once again, Ann’s words move me exactly where I am in my life right now, exactly as I am in this moment.  I pray they will move you as well – wherever you are, however you are, even if you are glancing up right at God’s back, crying to see His face.  God’s in the tremors.  Read…

In time, years, dust settles.

In memory, ages, God emerges.

Then when we look back, we see God’s back.

Wasn’t that too His way with Moses? “When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back” (Ex. 33:22).

Is that it? When it gets dark, it’s only because God has tucked me in a cleft of the rock and covered me, protected, with His hand? In the pitch, I feel like I’m falling, sense the bridge giving way, God long absent. In dark, bridge and my world shakes, cracking dreams.

But maybe this is reality:  It’s in the dark that God’s passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God’s abandoned, but the exact opposite: God’s passing by. God’s in the tremors.

Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by.

In the blackest, God’s closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can’t see and our world seems to be free-falling in and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us, eye beam supporting in earthquake. Then He will remove His hand.  Then we will look.

Then we look back and see His back.

He is close […] even in the blackest grief…
A gift in the grief… The Glory of God passing by in the dark.

I love you … and so pray.

[…] Love, the star that never falls…

A road trip, visitors & a splenectomy

It’s 10pm Wednesday night.

I’m sitting in a wheelchair in the backseat of an ambulance being driven by an attractive EMT.  We’re driving on the highway, under the stars, talking about life, love, roadblocks, choices and pain.

He controls my temperature and the car stereo system while he speaks words far more valuable than the gas in his tank or equipment in his trunk.

I’m excited yet petrified to be going to the Clinic.

Excited because it’s my favorite hospital, excited because my doctors are here, and excited because there’s a chance I will be on the transplant unit, able to see some special familiar faces.

Petrified because this is my last chance for answers on my low WBC and platelets. Scared because the next couple days are critical to the rest of my life.

I’m finding out – once and for all – if I need a splenectomy or not, if I want to deal with the side effects or even what those side effects may even be.

Forget the pneumonia hanging out in my chest… My problems now are much more important than that. Or maybe not – what if the worst – or praise the Lord, best! – is yet to be seen?

Either way,

Psalm 23.2-3
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Amen.

And thank you for all of the sweet friends who came to see me pretty much all day today.  You are all so precious to me.  Thanks for all the words of prayer and thoughts of kindness coming at me from so many places.

Love love love
Amanda

Kelly Clarkson – Up To The Mountain

I went up to the mountain
Because you asked me to

Up over the clouds
To where the sky was blue
I could see all around me
Everywhere
I could see all around me
Everywhere

Sometimes I feel like
I’ve never been nothing but tired
And I’ll be working
Till the day I expire
See sometimes I lay down
But no more can I do
But then I go on again
Because you asked me to

Some days I look down
Afraid, afraid I will fall
And though the sun shines
I see nothing at all
But I hear your sweet voice
Come and then go
Come and then go
Your telling me softly
You love me so

Turning 23

Poppop and his granddaughters

Poppop and his granddaughters

Me & Sissy

Me & Sissy

tumblr_l6p82pKdkS1qc81o3o2_1280

The family

tumblr_l6p82pKdkS1qc81o3o1_1280

Me & Grandma

Me & Grandma

tumblr_l6p82pKdkS1qc81o3o10_1280

Nah, this cake didn’t last long 😉

Me and my "Aunt" Vonnie

Me and my “Aunt” Vonnie

tumblr_l6p82pKdkS1qc81o3o7_1280

Besties

The guys

The guys

tumblr_l6p82pKdkS1qc81o3o8_1280

Nikki & her hot boyfriend

As I turn 23, it’s a little obvious my life is far from where I thought it’d be.  There’s a lot going on I would never have expected or even been able to imagine 5 years ago.  Yet here we are.  I wasn’t too keen on the idea of having a party this year, but my mom encouraged me to at least invite some close friends and family for a dinner out at Bravo Cucina Italiana, my favorite restaurant.  I have to admit, it felt good to dress up, go out, and have a wonderful night with some of the people I love most, celebrating not just my life, but life in general.  Who knows where I’ll be in a year, who knows where I’ll be tomorrow.  This life is all we have, so soak it up, love it hard, and don’t be afraid to really live like there’s no tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who came to my party and made my night special, and thank you to those around the world who are reading this blog and have been sending get well and birthday cards.  I am so blessed to have all of you in my life.

Much love,
Amanda