Do you believe in miracles?

I used to think that miracles all happened 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ physically walked the earth as a man. Since December 25, 1978, I’ve known better.

My brother’s family (him, his wife, 12-year-old son, and 10-year-old daughter) drove from Georgia to North Carolina for Christmas. Beth – the daughter – had been sick and they’d given her aspirin and put her to bed at the home of my sister-in-law’s parents. It was the afternoon before Christmas.

A couple of hours later, they tried to wake Beth up, but she was unconscious. They rushed her to the nearest hospital. The doctors and nurses were baffled as to what could be wrong with Beth. At random times, she would scream out and it would take several adults to hold her in the hospital bed.

Suddenly, on that evening – Christmas Eve – the pediatrician on the case suddenly remembered having seen a similar case while in medical school. He ordered specific lab tests and rushed the vials to the lab himself.

When he came back to Beth’s room, he told her parents and brother that there was an ambulance waiting to take Beth and her mother to Duke Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. He told them that Beth had Reyes Syndrome. He told them that some children survive it and some don’t. There was no cure for it, and he couldn’t guarantee that Beth would survive the trip to Duke.

My brother and nephew drove the 125 miles to Durham after being told not to even think about trying to keep up with the ambulance.

Arriving safely at Duke, Beth was placed in the intensive care unit for children. The family was told there was nothing to do but pray and wait. Pray, we all did.

The next morning was, of course, Christmas Day. After a sleepless night, my mother, sister, and I rose early and drove to Durham. This was before cell phones and texting, so during that two-hour trip we had no idea what was happening with Beth. We didn’t know if she would still be alive when we got there.

When we arrived at Duke Hospital’s pediatric ICU, we were greeted with smiles. While the nurse was in the room checking on another patient that morning, Beth woke up and asked, “Has Santa Claus come yet?”

Little was known then about Reyes Syndrome. The connection between it and children taking aspirin had not been established. None of us had even heard of the illness.

The doctors at Duke kept Beth for more than a week to continue to test and observe her. They followed her grades in school for a year. They were looking for any sign of brain damage. There was none. They told Beth’s parents that they had never seen a child come out of a Reyes Syndrome coma so suddenly or completely. They said there was no medical explanation for it.

Beth returned to Georgia and continued to have a perfect record in school. She went on to university and earned a degree in math before having a rewarding career in Information Technology with a major airline. She married and is the mother of two high school and college age daughters.

I cannot imagine how our lives would have changed if Beth had died in 1978. She is a joy in the life of everyone she knows. I can’t imagine life without her husband and their two daughters.

And I can’t let a single Christmas pass without remembering Christmas of 1978 when I learned that miracles do still happen.

Janet

I Forgot to Blog!

I try to plan most of my blog posts in advance. My ideas for my blog post yesterday included my thoughts about finding time to write during the holidays and just taking the easy way out and posting a photograph. The caption was going to be optional.

Did you notice I said, “My ideas for my blog post yesterday….?” There was no blog post yesterday. Not only have I squandered time for writing in December, I forgot to post a blog yesterday. No rambling thoughts about writing. No photograph. No caption. No blog post.

Squirrel 4
Who, me?

For those of you who hang on my every word and look forward to Monday mornings just because you know you’ll have a Janet Morrison blog post to read, I apologize. To the rest of you (and you know who you are) I join you in asking, “Who knew Janet blogged on Mondays?”

I forgot to blog, and the world continued to turn on its axis and revolve around the sun. Time did not stand still.

Next Monday is another holiday, but I’ll try to get back on track. On January 1, 2018, I plan to blog about how successful I was in meeting my 2017 personal reading challenge. There are holes like in Swiss cheese in my reading accomplishments this year. I could fill some of those holes by reading the rest of this week. I want to read, but I also want to sew. I also want to get my dulcimer out of its case and see if I still know how to play it.

I decided to take a few minutes today to reflect on the pros and cons of participating in a reading challenge.

The pros:

(1)  A reading challenge can prompt you to read something you might not otherwise read. Hence, the word “challenge.” For instance, one item on my personal reading challenge this year was to read a science fiction book. I’m not a fan of sci-fi. Sorry, I’m just not. I thought putting it on my challenge would force me to read a sci-fi book. It did not. I procrastinated for 12 months. It didn’t happen.

(2) A reading challenge nudges you to read a variety of books.

The cons:

(1)  I can only think of one. You can get so wrapped up in meeting your reading challenge that you miss the chance to read books you’d rather be reading. If you are a competitive person, you might let the challenge become more important than the reading. If that happens, the purpose of the challenge has been hijacked.

Your thoughts

Where do you stand when it comes to participating in a reading challenge? Do you find them helpful? Do you think they’re fun? Do you find them to be freeing or restraining? I invite you to comment about your reading challenge experiences below.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time.

On this day after Christmas, I hope all my Christian readers had an Advent season filled with blessings and a Christmas day overflowing with joy as you remembered the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

May the love, compassion, and joy of the season continue in our lives in the coming year.

Janet