Tuesday, December 1

Such a gift

It's December 1! The countdown has begun! Today is the day we start using our Advent calendars. The tree is up and twinkling with lights. The wreath is hung. The halls aren't decked yet, but they're getting there.

Today is Tuesday, though, so (thanks to Emily) it's time for me to stop and unwrap a moment from this past week.

I want to share a special triumph from this past week, but it involves a story. A story about my middle son, Preston. Preston is a giant of a boy--6'8" in his sock feet. Here he is this past spring, all dressed up for the Spring Formal:

Preston is big and strong and healthy. But the healthy part is something that we don't take for granted. You see, in April 2008, Preston was not healthy. In fact, his heart was most decidedly not healthy. At the age of 14, Preston had to have open-heart surgery. I'll never forget that day: surgeons at Duke removed Preston's ascending aorta and replaced it with a polyester graft and replaced his aortic valve with a stainless steel valve.

Preston's always had a heart of gold. Now he has one of gold and stainless steel and polyester. We tell him that he's the Six Million Dollar Man.

Preston came through the surgery brilliantly. He was released from the hospital after five days. But he was very weak. Friends gave him magazines and books and movies to help him pass the time. But he was too weak to concentrate on any of those things. He could sit up just long enough to watch a short show on TV, and then he would fall asleep again.

So all during that recovery process, guess what Preston watched? Day after day, as he regained his strength, he watched episodes of Alton Brown's Good Eats. He had episodes recorded on the DVR, and he simply scrolled through all the recorded shows. He'd watch one, then sleep for an hour, then watch another one.

The good news is that Preston recovered well enough to be able to rejoin his class at school and finish his freshman year. Last year at this time, I found the perfect Christmas present for him. We snapped this photo on Christmas morning:

Yep. Good Eats on DVD. He was a happy boy.

Last week, Preston cooked our Thanksgiving turkey. All by himself. Well, he and Alton did it together. Preston pulled out his copy of I'm Just Here for the Food and watched a couple of episodes of Good Eats for direction, and he proceeded to brine and roast the BEST turkey we've ever had. Honestly. I'm usually responsible for cooking the bird, but I admit that his was better than mine have ever been.

And as we tucked into that delicious bird, you can imagine how thankful we were.

I'm glad that Thanksgiving comes just before Christmas. It's a good thing for me to enter this holiday season fresh from a time of giving thanks.

Grace to you,


  1. Oh, what a delightful post today, Richella. That is such a great story. And you've succeeded in making me love Preston......um, I have a daughter his age....hmmm...........:)


  2. What an amazing story and an amazing son! Thanks for brightening my day!

  3. What an amazing story. I love it! I have a cousin that is 33 and just had her fourth open heart surgery this week. It is a scary thing, but the technology and doctor's can do amazing things with God's guidance.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My little ones are excited to start to move their magnets on their advent calendars today, too.

  4. Wow, what a proud Mamma you must be:)

  5. That is absolutely awesome and such a blessing...that he is healthy and has the energy now to do that. I hope you and your family revel in health, joy and blessings this coming holiday season.

  6. Thanks for the wonderful story today, Richella. Your son is beautiful and he sounds pretty awesome. My 13 year old daughter is a Food Network and Alton Brown fan...I think we should introduce them in about...hmmm...10 years. :0)

    So thankful with you that everything work out so well with Preston's health. Praise God.

  7. Thank you for sharing this! Perfect timing in my life. One of my good friends (in our small group Bible study) delivered a baby boy yesterday with heart defects. He's a miracle, truly, and he gets to go home Friday, needing other surgeries as he ages but he's surpassing all expectations.

    I'm going to share this with her so that she sees what God and good doctors can accomplish. I'm so happy your son is a big, handsome, healthy young man.

  8. What a handsome younng man he is...so happy he is healthy!!

  9. Now that is gift!
    Wishing for his continued good health, and many more turkey days.
    And I love the red hair of course, although none of mine are blessed with it. Perhaps the grandchildren some day.
    Thanks for sharing a wonderful story.

  10. Enjoyed reading this wonderful post! What a great guy! What a beautiful grateful heart with which to enter the Christmas season!


  11. This is an amazing story. I'm so glad you shared this. Your son is a handsome guy. His red hair rocks! I think it's so awesome that he made the turkey this year. :)

  12. How inspiring. What a precious gift of a healthy son to celebrate this year!!! I love Good Eats too!!!

  13. What a handsome son, and a wonderful story of victory.

  14. Thank you for sharing this story about your beautiful son. I have a smile on all day now...AND he made the turkey? -wow!

  15. Now THAT'S a blessing and something to reallly be thankful for on Thanksgiving. I'm so glad he's doing well.

    Warm blessings,

  16. Richella, I love this post! Preston is AWESOME! I can't believe he brined and roasted a turkey on his own -- that man is going to make a wife happy someday! Love the red hair too -- I have a red-headed Rowan, so naturally I think red-headed boys are the best.

  17. What an amazing story! And this: I'm glad that Thanksgiving comes just before Christmas. It's a good thing for me to enter this holiday season fresh from a time of giving thanks. is something I hadn't thought of before, so I have to thank you for giving me new insight!

  18. How like God to pour a blessing in through the cracks of a big trial. I love your thought about preparing for Christmas with a time of Thanksgiving--it's so true! I'm looking forward to following your blog!

  19. Definitely something to be thankful for!

  20. Thank you for letting us have a peek into your life as you count your blessings!!! It is an honor. (And I just realized that I haven't yet hung my wreath! The fall arrangement is still on the door, even though all the other decorations are up.) Blessings!

  21. That right there, ma'am, is one precious post. What a wonderful, wonderful story. I'm thankful right along with you!

  22. God does amazing things during times like you have experienced!

    Celebrating your healthy son with you!

  23. thankful, thankful, thankful!
    i know how scary open heart surgery can be (my husband @ 28) but to have to have your child go through it... i cannot imagine. i have told you before... i think you are a brave lady. and one who had an awaesome turkey dinner!


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