Our family truly believes their are angels among us, and we have proof!
On Monday, January 19, 2009, the kids and I were out of school for MLK day. Since I was with the kids it meant my parents had the "day off" from babysitting. My dad made an appointment in Gaffney, SC to have some work done on his motor home. Mom and Dad took the motor home to Gaffney, towing their car behind because the work on their motor home would take at least a week. On their way home they decided to eat dinner at the Olive Garden in Greenville, SC.
While waiting on their table, my mom sat down beside a lady with a child in her lap. My mom began talking to the lady about her little girl (mom doesn't meet a stranger). They made small talk with mom mentioning that she had a grandson close in age to the little girl. She also mentioned a little about having grand kids and keeping her granddaughters while Dayna (my sister) and I teach school. Their conversation was cut short due to an available table awaiting.
On January 25, 2009 I received an email from Mrs. Manning, a woman who found my blog while researching the medication her daughter is taking for acid reflux. Mrs. Manning mentioned in her email that her almost 2 year old daughter had several bouts of illness, some that included positive bacterial throat cultures. She said that the doctors suggested having her tested for CF, but when the bacteria went away on its own, they decided not to test her. One of the last things Mrs. Manning asked was about about a picture she saw on my blog. The lady labeled "Gigi" was the lady she thought she saw at the Olive Garden in Greenville, SC.
Before Mrs. Manning's email, I didn't even know my parents stopped at the Olive Garden in Greenville on their way home. I immediately called my mom to inquire about her encounter with Mrs. Manning. She confirmed that she spoke to a nice lady with a very calm (she noticed that because my 2 year old is far from being calm!) little girl sitting in her lap. We could not believe my blog brought her back into our lives for a second time. Was it a coincidence or was God trying to tell us something?
We emailed back and forth several times. Mrs. Manning had several questions about having her daughter tested for CF. Her daughter was ill again and they wanted to find the root of the problem. I encouraged her to go through with testing, if for nothing other than peace of mind. I checked my email every hour to find out the results. When I received the email with her daughter's results, a overwhelming sense of relief came over me. Her daughter's sweat test was negative! She does not have CF. Mrs. Manning's email also mentioned that she had something else to share with me, but she was really busy and would tell me later. The kid in me really likes surprises and suspense, and once again I found myself checking my email every hour.
On Wednesday, February 4th, after a long day at work, then church dinner, parenting class, bathing the kids, and getting them ready for bed, I finally had the opportunity to work on my taxes. I watched my favorite show, LOST, while working on my taxes. After my favorite show was over, I went downstairs to make lunches for the next day, when I spotted the mail. The anticipated wedding invitation to Chris and Kelly's wedding had arrived! There was also an envelope with my name from someone in South Carolina. Without thinking twice about the fact that I don't know anyone right off hand that lives in SC, I quickly opened the envelope (back to the excitement of getting mail!). A letter, a picture, and a check were enclosed in the envelope from SC. This is what the letter said...
DeAnn & Family,
In my last email, I made reference to something else I needed to tell you. I decided to mail this letter explaining an answered prayer that I have recently experienced.
Please accept this gift as the Lord has asked us to give it to you. I understand from your blog that you are a Christian family. Therefore, I am sure that you have the knowledge of the spiritual gifts of giving. We are a Christian family from Laurens, SC. We moved to Chapin, SC in October 2004 and attended Chapin Baptist Church during the four years that we lived there. We moved back to Laurens in June 2008 and have been attending NewSpring Church in Greenville, SC since our last move. Our faith has recently grown stronger. Your mother (Gigi) initially made contact with me in Olive Garden, Greenville, SC (January 19, 2009). I didn't realize it at the time but I have been praying for God to intervene and help us with a financial decision. We sold our house in Chapin in August 2008 and fortunately made a small profit during this time of economic crisis. We have been trying to decide where to contribute a portion of God's gift to us (housing profit). I received a book from NewSpring Church titles 'The Blessed Life' by Robert Morris. In regards to offerings over and above tithing, I learned that we are not to decide where to give but we should pray and ask God where He wants us to give. Prior to meeting your parents in Olive Garden, I just completed reading this book and have been in prayer over the material I have read. On January 25, 2009, I started an internet search on my daughter's reflux medication, Axid, and ended up on your blog. When you initially responded to my email on January 26, 2009 with the confirmation that I had met your mother- I knew that God was at work in this connection.
I called my husband at work on Tuesday (26th) and told him about my answer from God. I cried with joy. My husband, without hesitation, agreed that God is at work and is responding through this connection.
Your family blog and your email's with me have so greatly touched my heart. I really appreciate your communication with me through my daughter's sweat chloride test this past week. I have not ever developed an internet friendship such as this. I plan to pray for little Lainey and your family and keep in touch with her progress. She is such a beautiful baby and she deserves such a great family that you are.
Please accept this gift and Thank You and Your Family for allowing God to work through you in response to my prayers.
With Love, Prayers, and Thanks!
I was in tears reading this letter! Seeing their family picture helped put a face with their names. As if I was not already totally amazed in how God works and his intentions of bringing our families together, but the check that was enclosed with the letter and the picture was written to me in the amount of $1,000.00. I immediately handed the letter over to my husband, who was already thinking I was nuts because I was crying over this letter I received in the mail. Needless to say, he was balling after the second sentence! All he could say was, "Call your mom!"
Before my mother could say hello, I said listen to this letter I got in the mail (she was not shocked to get a call like this from me because I always call her like that when I have something important I need to tell her). She was totally taken aback. We were sure then that there are really angels among us. There is still good in this world. There are still people that truly believe in God's intentions.
Without hesitation, I blurted out my intentions of what the money would be used for ~ CF research! The Manning's gave the money to us, but in the long run what will make us the most happy? ~ A cure for CF. A good bill of health for our precious baby girl. A normal life for her in this not so normal world. A story for her to tell of the people who God led into her family's lives. The Manning's money could be the $1,000.00 that buys the ingredients that are mixed together to find the cure for Cystic Fibrosis. How could I ever keep that money for our usage? Yes, we have expenses we never thought we would have. Yes, we have medical bills that we are paying on. Yes, Lainey's monthly expenses are beyond what we financially are able to provide, but we make it. God has helped us this far and we know He will not let us down. I am sure He also wants us to donate the money to the CF Foundation.
In addition to the money the Manning's sent us, they also donated $200.00 in Lainey's honor to the CF Foundation. Lainey has her own gift registry through the CF Foundation http://www.cff.org/GiftReg/DeAnnSmithson with a current goal of $1000.00 by her first birthday to help fund Cystic Fibrosis research. With the $1,200.00 total donation from the Manning's and a donation from our friends The Childer's, we are well above our goal. We will also be going beyond this goal even farther with the help of our friend's, The Rock's. Their daughter, Campbell, will be turning 1 on March 25, 2009. In lieu of gifts, they are asking for donations to be made to the CF Foundation in Lainey's honor! We will also be doing the same for Lainey's 1st birthday. Our family is in awe over the number of people who are supporting us and the research that will ultimately save the people with Cystic Fibrosis. With this being said, I will be raising our goal this week from $1000.00 to $2,000.00 in donations by Lainey's 1st birthday.
Thank you so much Manning Family! God has shone His abilities through our connection. We are eternally thankful for your thoughtfulness and your donations, but more importantly for your friendship. We love you! :)
Sid, DeAnn, Logan, Liam, and Lainey