Christmas Gifts Not Under the Tree

My gifts this year won’t be found under the Christmas tree, mainly because they aren’t things. My gifts came all year long in everyday blessings.

This year I’m most grateful for:

-My oldest daughter graduating from high school and finding a job helping others at AdventHealth until her mission to Spain next year.

-My youngest daughter choosing to live with me her senior year in high school, and her father being amicable and allowing it.

-God giving me the determination, courage, and words to finish writing my book ALL ABOUT HOPE and blogging it on In a year full of big stuff happening, I’m grateful to finally have a book out there I can share to help others in their times of need.

-God providing a team of prayer warriors to storm the gates of Heaven and guide me through the unknowns of COVID this past summer, unlocking timely insights at just the right time. 

There are too many of you to name, but please know I love each of you beyond measure.  There are a few I must acknowledge and say thank you to, though.  I literally wouldn’t be here without you:

Todd Chobotar: “Have you heard about the monoclonal antibody infusion?” God used you to intervene in the exact moment my oxygen started to tank August 1, 2021. Your courage to share and not be silent allowed me to know of a treatment that I have no doubt saved my life.

Lorenne Braden: “Infusions are what have saved my life.  That’s how I know they work.” You’ve poured many hours into me on the phone, explaining a shared family history of health issues which helped me feel educated enough to make important decisions in the middle of my health crisis regarding my own care.

Michelle Nash and Angel Schiermann: “The sooner you’re seen, the better. Don’t wait. Get ahead of the cytokine storm.” Hearing your words helped me stay one step ahead of complete disaster.

Katelyn Cobb and Deirdre Goulard: “It’s all about gut health and getting your inflammation under control.” You introduced Triplex at the perfect moment I needed help detoxing from COVID and curbing the sensations that were overloading my nervous system and taking over crucial mental processing. I’m so beyond grateful for being given insight into why it’s so important to have this critical tool in my wellness belt.

I also reconnected with my cousin Ashton Laursen after years of living different lives in different states across country from each other. I wish it didn’t take a death in the family to bring us together, but I’m so grateful God is using everything for His good, despite the circumstances. I cannot begin to say how much it meant to me to get regular texts from him in the middle of the night while I fought off the worst of COVID. It was a blessing to know I had someone with a medical background checking in on me on a regular basis. (Guess there was a reason God arranged for Ashton to work the night shifts/being awake during that time. I know nothing is a coincidence.)

Dana Smolder innocently suggested I contact her brother, David Koliadko, when she heard of my illness: “I’m sure he can help you.”  For starters, who knew oregano oil could give you your taste and smell back in less than 24 hours??!  And I’m just beginning to learn about all the natural foods and supplements God has given us to allow our bodies to heal naturally. I have a new-found interest in functional nutrition now that I’m dealing with the collateral damage left behind in my body. It’s been an honor to meet people who share the same passion—even if it’s only been over phone calls and WhatsApp. I’m healing more every day…naturally.

Stacy Ramey shared my new favorite Bible texts that got me through panic attacks and late nights pleading for God to spare my life.  Did you know? We were made to live! I will testify of this and His goodness as long as I have breath. Psalms 118:5,17.

Grandma and Grandpa Bixby (Dean Bixby)  stepped up and filled in the gap August 2021, allowing Adrienne to live with them for three weeks the beginning of her school year, driving her across town so she could attend her new school in person while I dealt with complications from COVID.

Lee Bennett held my hand, prayed for me, over me, and with me, plus cried along side me through some very scary moments. He slept on the recliner many nights so he’d be near by if I stopped breathing or started gasping for air while treating at home. Come to find out, my oxygen levels had been DANGEROUSLY low during COVID.  This had been detected during a sleep study done the first night COVID presented symptoms in me, before I even knew I was positive. Lee, God gave you a great task of riding some pretty crazy roller coasters neither of us would’ve ever imagined riding 11 years ago, and you’ve taken the wild ride like a champ. Thank you for being my stability during all of the loop-de-loops and medical challenges!  I’m so blessed to have you in my corner.

Late this year, after surviving COVID, we celebrated my mom and dad being married 50 years on December 12, 2021, with family who flew in from Colorado and Texas to surprise them. Very special memories, for sure!

I thank each of you for your friendship and commitment to being Christ’s hands and feet to those around you.  I have felt the difference because you’ve cared. 

This year Christmas may look and feel different, but I pray the significance of Christ’s sacrifice isn’t lost in the new norms that surround us. Jesus is the reason…for everything!  And He’s closer than ever.  I encourage you not to give up while waiting for His return. Lean into His strength, and trust Him with the unknowns. Wishing you continued hope during your journey! Praying you find peace, joy, and contentment resting in His love. Just think: it won’t be long, and we’ll be going Home. I can hardly wait!!  Keeping the faith….


Lori B 😊

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