Last year, on October 12, we visited the State Fair of Texas as a family. Everyone was there–Dad, Mom, and six “kids.” We did our typical things: attended a few shows, went to see the butter sculpture, watched the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps perform, and of course stayed to see the parade and the Illumination Sensation light show at the end. In 2016, it was during those last two that Dad starting having pain in his stomach. We thought it was from eating poorly by having one of those dollar dogs at the fair for dinner (other than planning for that splurge, we always bring our own food and snacks)…

If you know our story, though, you know Dad’s pain was not really from the hot dog. It was the first significant sign that he was having a very unusual type of abdominal aneurysm. The pain didn’t go away, so he went to multiple doctors for it those next couple of days, and by Saturday morning we were calling an ambulance to come pick him up for a crazy journey that would leave us all feeling like we had been hit by a ton of bricks emotionally. The story of what happened can be found here.

Suffice it to say that I was a bit nervous about going to the fair and reliving that experience again.

It was a rainy day yesterday. We laughed, celebrated, and made jokes about how different it was from 2016 all day. We walked everywhere in rain ponchos and stopped at all our favorite places. The hermanos still ate hotdogs for dinner, but Dad did not. (I told him it wasn’t even a choice. 😆) We saw the parade and light show, and a couple of us even watched it while relaxing on the grass where Dad’s pain had gotten so much worse last year. Ultimately, we had a fun day together, reliving the memories and thanking God for all that He had brought us through this year.

Where Mom had been in a wheelchair last year because she was not yet able to walk around all day, this year she walked everywhere with us. Where Dad had been unknowingly getting close to the stages of an aneurysm where symptoms start to manifest themselves loudly, this year he was pain free and living normally again. (Of course, they were both walking s-l-o-w-l-y and Dad still has plantar’s fasciitis–that’s how we had so much time time for memories and jokes! 😄)

This year, we celebrate life. We enjoy better wellness and thank God that we can plan things like a gigantic family vacation to Disney World. We reflect and see all that God has brought us through, and we’re so grateful. Has it been hard? Sure. Is it still hard sometimes? Absolutely! But through it all, God’s faithfulness to us has never wavered. It is indeed new every morning. Had the outcome of anything gone differently, this still would have been true. I can’t even begin to imagine how differently all our lives would look right now if things hadn’t turned out the way they did, but I am thankful that no matter what happens in our lives, God is still God. When life feels upside-down and like it’s spinning out of control, God is still God.

I am glad we went to the fair yesterday, rain and all, because I needed that reminder.

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