I'm not sure if I've ever experienced something quite like the last three days.
Friday...Got up at 2:15 and 5:45 for Chaia care. Then stayed up at 5:45 and finished the little picture slide show. Shaina got up and began work on baking Chaia's SIX birthday cakes! I was on Chaia duty, vacuumed, got together some of the birthday essentials and then worked on a Sticker design for our big community outreach for Sunday night. My cousin Staci came and was on Chaia duty (Staci you're awesome!) and I went to Staples to print said stickers. Came back from Staples because stickers were wrong size...redesigned and went back to Staples on a 100+ degree sunny day. When I came out 20 minutes later with my stickers, there was no longer a sun...it had gotten nasty quick. Drove home to find another assistant, Kristie helping with party prep as well (Kristie you're awesome!) Shaina pulls sixth cake out of oven at about 5 pm and boom the power goes out.
Me, Shaina, Staci, Kristie, Chaia and Shadow the dog went into the basement where it was pitch black and there was a good sized leak pouring into the basement. Storm ends up being a pretty severe one. Kristie's husband Matt comes to our place from work because roads are a nightmare. We tag team the kiddie bags for the bday party. Still no power. Shaina's parents arrive to help out (They are awesome!) Staci, Matt and Kristie call it a day. We realize Shaina hasn't pumped and needs electricity to do said pumping. We call friends all who either live 30 minutes away or don't have power. We end up going to Matt and Kristie's neighbors who we've never met who do have power. In perhaps one of the five most awkward introductions ever made, Shaina pumps in the neighbor's living room. We see firetrucks, ambulances, fires, trees, powerlines, non-functioning street lights, etc. Make it home safely. Still no power. Did I mention it was 100 degrees. We go for an ice run. Only Kroger and WalMart are without power too. Finally find a gas station with ice. Get home and get essentials into coolers with ice. Chaia plays with glow in the dark toys in the dark. We go to bed.
Saturday. We wake up...still no power...think of a friend who is close by and wake her up with a 7 a.m. text. Shaina goes to Steph's place (Steph you're awesome) and has a less awkward pumping experience! We pack up as much stuff as we can and headed to the zoo. The zoo was expensive, so we just got a 12 month membership with the option to bring two free guests with us anytime (let us know if you want to make a zoo trip!) We walk around in 100 degree heat. We run into some good friends from our Kohls Days for lunch (Loretta and Katee you're awesome!) We run into some prayer warriors in the food court during said lunch (Price family you're awesome!) My sister Mary Beth from South Carolina calls me which wasn't the ideal time...we had a bday party to pull off! But as I answered the phone I looked up and my sister from South Carolina wasn't calling me from South Carolina, her and her family were calling me from the other side of the food court. They had made the trip. (McKinneys you're awesome!) Got perhaps the most epic, inappropriate auto-correct fail text message from someone who was trying to find us at the zoo (you're awesome...you know who you are!) Headed out for party decorating, ran into more friends at the zoo (Satinks you're awesome!) and then ran into someone we had not actually met but who had linked in to the Mustard World through Chaia's story and drove a 7 hour trip (that turned out to be 11) from Charlotte just to be part of a tangible miracle (Stephanie you're awesome!)
Dropped Shaina and Grandpa off at park with all decorations. Drove with Grandma and Chaia back to house to get cakes and food. Still no power. Drove back to park. Helped set up, picked up City Barbecue for our main course, returned to see the masses arriving for the party. From Dayton (Longs you're awesome!), Wadsworth (WUMC you're awesome!), Wayne County (Franks, Dilyards, Hinkles again with the awesomeness), Columbus Area, (Murphys, Hostetlers you're awesome!), Michigan (Sharon, you're awesome), Springfield (Harts, you're awesome!),Canal Fulton (Shenemans + Winans = Awesome!), Kentucky, (Slones you're awesome!) and Cleveland (Simmelinks, you're awesome!) the Cleveland Clinic (Jackie, Tim, Travis and Kaitlin, you are awesome!) Had a two hour whirlwind of food eating, squirt gun shooting, cake kneeing, Birthday blessing, Tear-down executing fun and we headed home. Our good friends who I get the honor to marry in a little over a week helped us unload at the house (Jay and Brandie you're awesome!) (still no power) and Grandma and Grandpa removed everything from our freezer and headed to their place to try and salvage it. 10 minutes after they left, 7:30ish in the evening, the power kicked on. It was 85 degrees in our house with the windows open at that point. Jay and Brandie accompanied us to Chipotle where we had our final premarriage counseling session. They went home. We went back and had Chaia open her presents that people weren't supposed to bring (you guys are awesome!) Bed time.
Get up and get Chaia, the one year old a bath and get her ready for church. We meet up with Trevor and Leslie who were heading up to Cleveland from Durham, NC and wanted to meet Miss Chaia. We worshipped together and then went to lunch where we met up with another couple, Sam and Monica (all four of you guys are awesome!) Then we went to Kroger to pick up supplies (they had no power still!) went to Giant Eagle instead and then came home at 3 and got into C3 community outreach mode. With the help of Matt, Kristie, Staci, Whitney, Logan, Matt, and Sarah (you guys are beyond awesome!) we cooked out for between 60 and 70 people who were hanging out at the pool in our neighborhood community. They were floored that people would just give them free food. Can't wait for them to be floored by the love shown at the cross! We got cleaned up, packed up and back into our house before the storm came. Ate dinner and reflected on our first ever outreach event. People left and then one of our friends and neighbors came over to shoot a video for CityCampusChurch (stay tuned in coming weeks!) We shot video for that from 8-9:30. Chaia finally wound down from the weekend about 11, we prayed blessing and thanksgiving over this one year old miracle and it is now 11:49.
It has been one of the most amazing, humbling, fun, surprising weekends ever.
And Chaia is ONE.
I thought back today about when we were told that Chaia's heart damage was absolute. And it was absolute that it would not get better. And I just can't help but worship.
Because the only absolute is that nothing is impossible for God.
And hearts find rhythm inside of His grace.
One year is a gift. But we are asking for a lifetime.
One year is a miracle. But we want more.
Whirlwind weekend? Exhausted? All worth it when a miracle is upon us.
That's the absolute truth.
You've prayed us to this point friends. You've spoken life into dead things. You've raised our arms for us when we had no strength. And for that all I can say is