Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #24

I will be traveling by train from Southern-Central California to the Bay Area today.  I haven’t done that in a while, but I am somewhat looking forward to it.  That will start my Thursday Thumbs Up today!

Traveling by train.  I used to travel by train a lot more in college.  I haven’t done it in a while, but it just worked out to be convenient this time to get back to the Bay Area to help out my mom this weekend without having to make my husband and DD leave his parent’s house early.  I’m looking forward to it.  I love being able to get work done while traveling.  Trains have plenty of space (versus an airplane, where I often feel cramped and restricted).  I can work on my laptop, read, sleep, and enjoy the view at certain points.  If the prices were more reasonable and the schedule more friendly from my hometown, I would choose to travel by train all the time.  But, it is a little too expensive to do all the time (versus my hybrid car, especially for a family of three).  But, it will be a nice change of pace.


I am literally on the train right now!  And it is extremely pleasant.  And productive.  So, serious thumbs up to traveling by train.  I just wish it were cheaper!  I also got a reply to my tweet from Amtrak:

Not bad!

Organ Donation.  Six years ago today, my DD was officially listed for a heart transplant.  She was one of thousands on the list, with 100s of children.  But, we waited less than one month.  She was listed on June 11 and received a heart on July 7.  It was truly a miracle.  She was not doing well health-wise and I’m not sure how much longer she would have lasted.  There was a Berlin Heart in the hospital for her (which required an FDA compassionate use exemption because they had not been approved for infants).  She had been moved from the PICU to the CVICU because she was doing so poorly.  Here she is six years ago, following a respiratory therapy treatment, right before we got confirmation that she would be listed:

June 11 - Day she was listed

No medical procedure is perfect, but this one saved our daughter’s life.  And because of that, the anonymous donor (who was also a child – we don’t know any information other than that) holds a special place in my heart.  And the organ donation system is definitely personal to me!

Summer storms.  We have had a few doozies in California lately.  But, I certainly didn’t expect one in Bakersfield in early June.  But here it was last night:

Awesome.  Cooling.  And just plain relaxing.  I felt like I could have sat out there listening to it and watching it fall for HOURS!  Unfortunately, some places had some flash flooding, but there were no injuries or serious damage that I heard of, so that is good.  I do love me a good summer storm though.

So, those are my Thursday Thumbs Up for this week.  What about you?  Anything you would give a Thumbs Up to this week?

Thursday Thumbs Up - Canva

Giving Thanks and Expressing Gratitude

Give thanks. Give life.


Thanksgiving was good yesterday.  Settling for simple definitely worked.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was very enjoyable.  My in-laws drove back a day early today because there was a big rain storm coming in (it is here now and we’ve had some much-needed downpours).  So, we now only have one house guest left (an ex-student of my husband’s who could not go home to Minnesota for the holiday) and it is blissfully quiet around here.

I did want to publicly give thanks for something very special.  For those who may be relatively new to this blog, my daughter received a heart transplant at 5 months old.  She is now 5 years old and is thriving.  Although we wrote a letter to the donor family, we never heard back, which I can understand.  But, I like to publicly thank that anonymous donor family and all donor families out there on these holidays when it must be especially tough to miss your loved one.  We are so very grateful that we have had five years with our beautiful daughter that we would not have had without that anonymous gift.  So, please, give a prayer of thanks or send out positive thoughts to all those who have lost someone.

If you have not already done so, please consider registering as a donor.  Not all children are as lucky as my daughter.  And many, many children and adults are waiting in a hospital room for the chance at a new, healthier life.  It is pretty simple to register – just visit and type your state in the upper right hand corner.  It will give you instructions for your state.

Thanks for reading, thanks for registering and thanks to our donor family for giving us the gift of life for our daughter.



Happy Heart Day #5

I thought in honor of my DD’s heart day (the day she received her heart transplant and was given her second chance at life, only five short months after being born), I would take a photographic walk through the last five heart days…and, as always, her donor family is in my heart and mind today.

July 8, 2009 - heart day pic

Because she spent most of July 7 in surgery, I don’t have any pictures.  But, here she is on the morning of July 8, with the myriad of medications and the bandages on her chest (they read 7/7/09 as they mark each bandage with the date it was placed).  She was giving what some said was her “I’m #1” hand signal.  🙂

Here she is after our big one year “Transplantiversary” where we had balloons, cake and friends over.

Transplantiversary #1

And, heart birthday #2 at my in-laws in Bakersfield…she grows so much each year:

Heart Birthday #3 (day after)

And heart birthday #3 in 2012:

Heart Day #3

And last year:

heart day 2013

And finally, here she is five years post transplant, with one additional heart surgery and many, many biopsies and a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, a ton of X-rays, IV pokes, blood draws, a few bouts of pneumonia, and a whole lot of other things.  But, she is thriving and she brings so much joy to my life!  Please send some prayers to the donor family and please register to donate your organs if you have not already done so!


Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thought Sundays

This week was a long one.  I was in three different states on Monday (flying back from Michigan) and was far, far behind when I returned from almost a week away.  But, I had to jump right back into things with an event for 200+ being hosted at my work yesterday.  The year is almost over…I just have to keep telling myself that as I try to dig myself out of the deep hole of to-dos that the end of the semester brings.  But, I do have some stray thoughts to share:

One week ago, I was with my Speech and Debate team at NFA Nationals, Eastern Michigan University.  Although these trips are long and sometimes difficult, they create exceptional memories:

NFA Nationals 2014 - Water's Great       Motown Museum - Detroit 2014 NFA Nats

When I’m at home, I watch primarily Netflix with a bit of Amazon Prime mixed in, so commercials are not really in the mix anymore.  But, while staying in Michigan last weekend, I watched a bit of TV in the hotel.  One of the things I watched was a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie and the commercials were all tear-jerkers.  Many movies can’t get to this level of connection.  Check them out if you want some sentimentality in your day!

I questioned this hot dog recall on the grounds that it was just giving consumers a little bonus surprise!

This gem, reminding of us of the importance of using proper English, made me laugh.

One of my favorite blogs, Kindness Blog, had this “greatest hits” post that reminds us “Human Beings are all kinds of Awesome-sauce”.

As the mom of a heart transplant recipient, I have to highlight this amazing effort by Ellen DeGeneres to help a little boy and get the word out about organ donation.  April is organ donation month.  So, please get registered if you have not already done so.

Those are my stray thoughts for this Sunday.  What are yours?