NICU Awareness Month

 

Good morning friends,

 

September has become a very important month for me. It is NICU Awareness Month! Perhaps you don’t know my story, so today I thought I’d share a little about why this is so important to me.

 

In August 1982, I gave birth to my first child. A son. I anxiously awaited the birth of this child. I didn’t know if I was having a boy or a girl, but I knew this babe would be loved and cared for to the best of my ability. Finally the morning arrived and I was heading to the hospital to welcome this child into the world.

 

It went fast. At 12:30 pm Philip Daniel Fairchild arrived on the scene. While I was being cared for, they whisked Philip off. I didn’t know why at first, but finally they told me that he was in serious condition. The small hospital where he was delivered couldn’t care for him, so they quickly transported him to the NICU at Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio.

 

I was in shock at this point. Philip was moved so quickly that I didn’t even have an opportunity to hold him. Once they had him in the NICU they knew what was wrong. Philip had been born with meningitis. My doctor visited me and told me the news. He also said that they didn’t expect Philip to survive the night, so he released me to go be with my son. I left the hospital at 6:30 pm. What a day that was!

 

Being in the NICU was so overwhelming. There were multiple isolettes scattered throughout a large room. There were bright lights and beeps from monitors. Nurses were working diligently with all the babies and when I finally saw Philip I was overcome by it all. The picture of my beautiful baby boy in this situation was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced. And probably the worst thing was that I couldn’t hold him. I could touch him, but that was all.

 

I know I heard lots of details and statistics, but all I really remember is that they didn’t give us much hope.

 

Unfortunately, I got very sick almost immediately. A high fever kept me from spending any time with Philip for several days. I really don’t know the first day I was able to hold him…he was a few days old. But what I do remember is how wonderful it felt to have him in my arms.

 

By this point the antibiotics were doing their job and his body was healing from the infection that had taken up residence in his body. They could assure his survival, but still the statistics were not very promising. After two weeks in the NICU, I walked out of the hospital with Philip in my arms. That was a day to remember.

 

So how did I survive this difficult situation?

 

Prayer. A lot of prayer. Not only was I praying, but there were friends and family members praying for Philip from the moment they moved him to the NICU.

 

I leaned in to God. God provided the strength and courage to wake up each day and fight the battle that I faced each day.

 

And I’ll never forget the way my family and my friends surrounded me with love and support. I couldn’t have made it without them.

 

What is my encouragement for you if you’re facing a similar situation? Do the same things I did. Lean in to those who love you most. Remember, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 – NIV) And “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12 – NIV) There is no reason to do life alone. Circle up with those who desire to help you through these most difficult situations.

 

I would also encourage you to find wonderful organizations like Little Lambs of Hope (littlelambsofhope.org) who have some encouragement for you. I am so blessed to be part of Little Lambs of Hope and know that it is our desire to come along side anyone who is in need. As a quick plug, if you have a desire to help us help others, your financial gift to Little Lambs of Hope would be a special blessing. Would you be willing to help?

 

36 years later, I see my first-born child as a loving husband and father. Philip is walking with the Lord in a daily relationship with Him. I am so proud of the man he has become. I can’t say it’s been smooth sailing, but I know on this side of it, that God has been with me through it all. As I’ve learned to lean and depend upon Him more and more, I know that His grace and peace covers me sufficiently (2 Corinthians 12:9). I pray the same for you.

 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,

 

Donna

 

PS – I recently read a wonderful book by Kelly Balarie called “Battle Ready.” What an amazing read! If you are in need of finding a way to be battle ready, this is a read for you. 

 

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The Journey Together Summit & Fresh Grounded Faith

 

Hello Friends!

 

I can hardly believe that September 1 is upon us. Well, I shouldn’t really be surprised…Pumpkin Spice Latte’s have arrived! This is my favorite time of the year. The leaves changing color. Cooler temps at night. Pulling out those beloved sweaters. Drinking a mug of hot tea (okay I do that all year long). And switching all my summer decor to autumn colors. Yes, this is a beautiful time.

 

September also brings routine to my life (and to most people). Bible studies will begin. Connections will be made. The lazy days of summer are gone and the joy-filled life of fall stirs an excitement within my soul.

 

There are two things I’d like to share with you today.

 

First, I am thrilled to be joining Kelly Balarie, and 34+ fabulous published authors and ministry leaders for The Journey Summit.  During these 40+ interviews, you’ll discover how to stand firm and full of faith when the hardest times of life hit. This event centers around becoming battle ready. It goes live September 11-14. Sign up today by clicking here to access over 40+ video interviews for free. Can’t attend in September? You can still access all the videos post-event with the All Access Pass. #JourneyTogetherSummit #FearFighting

 

Secondly, our Women’s Ministry at Rocky would love for you to join us at the Fresh Grounded Faith Women’s Event in Fort Collins, Colorado on October 12 and 13. Jennifer Rothschild, Karen Kingsbury and Michael O’Brien will lead us as we laugh, learn and worship together. If you’re only going to one event this fall, you should make it this one! You can purchase your ticket by going here.

 

I would also mention that it’s not too late to get involved in a Bible study. Anywhere. Wherever you are. Get connected with a group of like-minded ladies who love Jesus, who can encourage you through God’s Word and help you deepen your relationship with Jesus. If you live near me, let me know how I can help you get connected. Don’t allow another season to pass you by. I can guarantee that you will be blessed.

 

Until next time…

 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,

 

Donna

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Where Has the Time Gone?

 

Happy Thursday morning!

 

My life has been a whirlwind since January. I’ve been super busy with work, preparing and leading multiple Bible studies. I’ve loved every moment of getting into God’s Word. But summer has arrived, and I am entering a “slower” time. Not quite the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, but I feel like I can relax a bit and allow my mind to stop occasionally.

 

Someone asked me yesterday what I did for fun or to relax. My first thought was my creative Bible journaling. I enjoy that quiet time with God, as well as leading a group of ladies through the summer. But then it hit me. I love to write. And what better way to get all that’s in my mind out?

 

So, I’m back this morning! Writing! It feels good. Really good.

 

Here are a few updates that you might not know about:

 

Women’s Ministry at Rocky is growing at a fast pace! I will be stepping out of our Thursday morning Bible study group (called WBC) and a wonderful team will be taking that program to new heights. I really can’t wait to see what happens.

 

I will be jumping into MOPS this fall. What a lovely group of mommas we have at Rocky! And the leadership is outstanding. I will enjoy being a mentor mom and helping in leadership.

 

There are lots of other opportunities at Rocky for women to get connected. I am truly amazed at what God is doing through this ministry. If you are local and want to find connection, just ask. I can help.

 

I still work closely with our Lead Pastor, Shan as his executive assistant. Sometimes I feel inadequate, but he assures me I’m not. I’m so thankful for him.

 

So that’s my ministry update. I could say a lot more, but I don’t want to bore you on my first day back.

 

Personally, I’ve had some health issues. Last November (the week before Thanksgiving), I was diagnosed with gall stones and acute pancreatitis. They settled my system and then gall bladder surgery. I still can’t eat a lot of fried foods but doing well on this side of gall-bladder-less-ness.

 

And then my husband and I had been looking for a dog to adopt. We finally found Lady. Oh, my heart is smitten. She’s so adorable (except when she escaped and chased a rabbit to the other side of the neighborhood) and I enjoy being her mom. She’s a great companion for my husband who is home (retired) while I’m off working 12-hour days. We are truly blessed.

 

Another wonderful thing that has happened in the past few months is that I was asked to be on the board of a local non-profit that helps NICU families and supports them while their fragile babies are in the NICU. If you have a desire to find out more about Little Lambs of Hope, check out our website: www.littlelambsofhope.org.

 

I am not going to promise to write every day. But I will promise to be more mindful of the length between blog posts. I have more to share, but I’ll save that for another day. Until then, I leave you with this verse. “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17 – NIV)

 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,

 

Donna

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Seven Years

 

Seven years. It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years. Thinking of you today Archer. You’ll always be in my heart.

 

I raise my eyes toward the mountains.

Where will my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to slip;

Your Protector will not slumber.

Indeed, the Protector of Israel

does not slumber or sleep.

The Lord protects you;

the Lord is a shelter right by your side.

The sun will not strike you by day,

or the moon by night.

The Lord will protect you from all harm;

He will protect your life.

The Lord will protect your coming and going

both now and forever.

Psalm 121 (HCSB)

 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,

Donna

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One Word

 

Happy New Year!

 

I know, you haven’t heard from me in a while, but have been thinking on this for a few weeks and thought I’d share.

 

It is a new year and maybe you’ve thought through the idea of resolutions or goals or something else to do for this upcoming year. If you recall, there was a book that came out several years ago called “One Word.” It could be something that needed to improve in your life or where you wanted your focus to be for the year.

 

This idea has caught on and it seems everyone is doing it. So, I thought I’d try it this year. I did a couple of tests online to see if I could find the right word. Nothing. I prayed about it. Still nothing. I even did a week-long analysis of my life to find my word. Nope, not there either. None of the words I read about or thought of on my own really captured what I felt was the most important word to work on for this coming year.

 

Then it happened.

 

In my “Thoroughly Equipped” group, we had some discussion on spiritual disciplines. One of the big questions we discussed was, “How can I find time?” We looked at Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and the account of when she sat at Jesus’ feet instead of helping Martha in the preparation for the meal.

 

Do you recall Jesus’ words? He told Martha that Mary had chosen what was better.

 

Here’s what the “Thoroughly Equipped” authors had to say about this idea. “This phrase ‘Mary has chosen’ does not mean that Mary was blessed with a more spiritual sensitivity than her sister. Rather, she chose to set aside pressing demands to spend time with Jesus.

 

“The phrase, ‘what is better,’ means that Mary chose based on her discernment of what was more valuable. The Greek word used communicates the idea of choosing the best dish on the table. Mary had plenty of choices, yet, she chose what would nourish and satisfy the most.”[i]

 

The Best Dish on The Table. Let’s say you’re at a family gathering and all the wonderful cooks in your family have prepared a massive feast for the group. But you can only choose one dish to take food from. Which dish is the best dish on the table? How do you determine the best dish? Taste? Nutritional value? What is your criteria for making that choice?

 

Clearly Mary made the right choice. She spent time at Jesus’ feet listening to and learning from him. Martha made a good choice…we will always need Martha’s in our world. But Mary made the better choice.

 

Back to my one word. As soon as read this article and these words, I knew my one word for the year. Choice. I need to work on the choices I make. And as I’m thinking about choices, I always need to relate back to choosing the best dish on the table.

 

Maybe you have thought about this and have your one word. YAY for you! Maybe you have already given up on your one word. Or maybe you’ve never thought of it before.

 

Wherever you are in this process, I would encourage you to not only come up with your one word, but that you would also share your one word with someone. Your best friend. Your spouse. A co-worker. Your dentist. I don’t know, share it with someone. What I do know is whether we make resolutions or goals or choose one word for the year, we do better at reaching or maintaining them when we share with another person.

 

I pray that you will allow God to be part of this process. I know that by spending time with Him daily and digging deep into His Word, I found my word. Now to get on with making the best choices this year.

 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,

 

Donna

[i] “Thoroughly Equipped: Developing Co-Laborers,” Kurt Sauder and Eric Schansberg, Further Still Ministries, 2014.

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