Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Oh, how God is good!!! Lily is 7!

Lily is 7 today!!
9/22/08  23 weeks  1lb. 6 oz.

Lily holding Greg's ring...that's how small she was!

Take the time and listen to this song!  So powerful!

This day every year I am reminded of God's goodness to our family.  I wanted to take time and just reflect back on the last 7 years.  7??? Really???  How can this be? 

When I look at my precious, growing, healthy, complete, fun, creative, amazing, beautiful Lily, I just can't help but break down and say thank you Lord!  Thank you first for being all I need!  Thank you for hearing our prayers 7 years ago for you to heal our baby girl.  Thank you for hearing our specific prayers and not only hearing them but seeing them come completely to fruition.  Thank you for ordaining our steps and plans and having our precious Lily be born in one of the most amazing hospitals and NICUs in the country.  Thank you for hand picking her doctors and nurses each and every day! 

As I read back through my journal during that time I see my specific prayers and I read how God heard and answered every one!  I look back on our pain, sorrow, inflictions, scares, cries for mercy and now I know and can say fully and whole heartedly, it was worth it!  He had a plan for her which included her early entry into this life.  He has a plan for her and no matter what I do, He will carry it out! 

Just like He has a plan for each of us.  Even if you are in your darkest, deepest sorrow right now.  Even if you feel as though you are worth nothing, that you've been or done the most shameful things, God has a plan for you!  We don't have to bring anything or do anything.  He is enough!  He loves us no matter what and will use our pain and suffering for His glory and to produce hope in us!  All we have to do is cry out to Him. 
He was enough for me when I cried out for Him to heal my tiny baby girl.  He has been enough through all of the difficulties we've gone through as a result of her being born early.  He is enough to get us through losing our precious DidiPop.   And He will be enough to get us through our daily, struggles and trials.  "Be satisfied in Me..."  Nothing in this life will truly satisfy us but Jesus. 
"I will give thanks to the Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."
Psalm 9:1-2
(This was the verse I read the morning after Lily was born.  I remember praying, "Lord please heal our precious baby and I will tell of all you have done.")

Another favorite song right now.   Click the link below.

Have a great day!  Praying you know you are loved and that you don't have to be perfect!  You are loved! 
Happy Birthday to our precious Lily!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Exemplifying True Love...Even during our Toughest Times

Today Ed and Helen would have celebrated 42 years of marriage.  All day and even the days leading up to today I've been thinking about how Helen must be feeling and how I would feel when this day approached each year.  I have felt lead to share something that I wrote on the plane on our way back to AL the day after Eddie died.  I originally wrote it as an update/potential blog post but I've never shared it with anyone and even I haven't read it since I first sat in that plane seat thinking about Eddie.  I share it now only to try and honor my loving father in law and to recognize my amazing mother in law.  I can only pray that my words might exemplify the love I have for them both and the impression they have and continue to leave on me.

July 23, 2012
About a month ago Greg, the kids and I were able to go to AL for 3 weeks.  We asked many of you to pray for us, and for our visit home.  About this time, Eddie began to decline and we began fervently praying that God would sustain him for our visit so that we could have one last good visit with him.  I asked many of you to join us in praying for this as well.  I wanted to tell you that God heard our prayers and was faithful to answer.  With some minor changes to our original travel plans, we were able to visit with Eddie early.  Even in his weakened state he still knew all of us by name and face, even the kids!  Even though his mind wasn't always clear and he was disoriented at times, God still blessed us with some great time with him, creating lasting memories.  He even made us laugh several times in only a way Eddie could.
The toll the disease was taking on his body became more evident.  Each day we saw him decline a little more but, yet through it all he continued to fight, never complaining, and went about his day with his "sweet Eddie charm".  Several times he would even ask if he could help us or if we were OK.  I loved watching his face light up when one of the grand kids would come to his side or crawl in bed with him.  
I know he was prepared to go but I know and he even stated that leaving the grand kids this early was one of the hardest parts for him.  As our time in AL was coming to an end, Greg and I had a really really hard time leaving.  We debated about staying another week or two, but in the end we truly had a peace about going home and living out our lives as Eddie would have wanted.  The day we were leaving Eddie called Greg and I in to him one by one.  During this time it was like he knew we were leaving and that it was his last chance to say good bye.  During those moment as sad and emotional as they were, I was able to tell him what I wanted him to know, how I felt about him and how thankful I was for him.  Thomas and Lily each had a special time with him too.  I'll never forget it!
When Greg and I were finally able to make ourselves leave, since Eddie was sleeping soundly, Greg whispered to him that I was going to pray for him.  Without saying a word, he simply reached out for my hand.  Such a precious moment and gift God gave us that day.
As I look back at our time there with him, I think one of the most amazing sights was watching Helen care for him.  She made sure his every need was met even before her own.  She would drop whatever she was doing if he said he was hungry for something and she would go cook it.  I watched her lay in bed with him, loving him, repeatedly telling him how much he was loved by so many and how proud she was of him, how he had worked so hard to always take care of them.  I saw her pray over him asking God's mercy on him.  And through it all she did it with a supernatural strength and grace that I can only dream to achieve.  I learned more about what it means when two people truly love each other. What it truly means when they say "I do", "in sickness and in health, for better or worse, till death do us part." Praising God for allowing me the chance to witness His work, and to watch an earthly example of serving the way Christ commands us to do.   
For those of you who knew Eddie or had ever spent any time with him know that it was an honor to be in his presence.  He wasn't often a loud talker or boaster but if you spent any time talking to him you realized his depth of wisdom and might walk away with a new tidbit of knowledge about something he had most likely recently read about.  I loved how he knew so many random but interesting facts and stories.  And if he didn't know the answer for sure he left you thinking he did or at least made you think twice about questioning him.  He had such an easy spirit with an attitude that if you want something you need to work for it.  I love that he grew up on a farm basically poor by today's standards.  But through his amazing parents love, dedication, and hard work he graduated from Auburn and worked his way up the corporate ladder to the success that he had never losing sight of who he was and where he came from.  I grew to love and appreciate his love for Auburn.  He wasn't just a football fan, he truly loved Auburn.  He was truly and Auburn man living out the Auburn Creed.  He realized and appreciated what Auburn had given him and he always found time to give back with his time and money.
I am beyond thankful for having the privilege of knowing Eddie and being a part of his family for over 17 18 years.  I am so thankful and blessed beyond words because of it.  But I am most thankful for the way he exemplified to Greg what it means to be a good dad and husband.  I am forever grateful...
I can only hope and pray that God might bless Greg and I with a marriage and lifetime together like Eddie and Helen had.  And if one day my kids can say only half the things that I feel about Ed and Helen, I will consider myself lucky and feel I did my job.  May God continue to comfort us all as we continue to miss Eddie and may we always choose to live life to the fullest in a way that Eddie did on a daily basis!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Missing Eddie...Eddie Dickinson 1948-2012

DICKINSON, EDDIE "ED" FRANK 1948-2012 Eddie (Ed) Frank Dickinson finished his race on July 20, 2012 at home with his family on Lake Martin in Alexander City, AL. Ed was born August 14, 1948 in Sylacauga, Alabama to Thomas and Mildred Dickinson. He grew up in Goodwater, AL and married his hometown sweetheart, Helen. He was described by Auburn Magazine as "Part Publisher, part outdoorsman, part armchair quarterback, part Sunday School teacher, a keen family man, and a rabid Auburn fan. Above all, Ed is one of those rarities who shares his life with ease, accepting newcomers with a mixture of stereotypical Southern charm and grace and open-ended inclusion." He had a passion for life, an infectious smile and always wanted to make sure everyone had a good time. Ed and Helen both graduated from Auburn University and shortly after were married. Both of their children, Leah and Greg, were born in Montgomery and they all enjoyed following Ed through his dream job and career; from Chicago to Atlanta and Birmingham where Dickinson retired as Vice President and Publisher of Progressive Farmer magazine. Ed grew up on a farm and gave back to the community by creating Farm Safety Day Camps that helped educate and save lives of people across the nation. Ed also served on the board of the Auburn Magazine, 4H and Southern Crop Protection Association, as president of National Agricultural Marketing Association, and as a member of the Ag Round Table, Samford Society, Ag 21 club and the Auburn Agricultural Association. While working and serving, Ed passed his deep-rooted love for Auburn, the farm and the lake onto his children and grandchildren. Ed cherishes a heritage closely tied to both the farm and lake. When he wasn't fishing or boating, you could find him on his farm at his family home place in Goodwater. He found solace at the farm and loved sharing it with his grandchildren. He was a beloved grandfather (DidiPop) who taught them how to bait a hook, cheer for Auburn, plant a garden and serve the Lord. Ed is survived by his wife, Helen Hawkins Dickinson. His daughter, Leah Dickinson. His son, Greg Dickinson and his wife Holley. His four grandchildren, Owen Yntema, Thomas Dickinson, Ethan Yntema and Lily Dickinson. His sister, Ann Hardman and her husband, Johnny Hardman. His uncle, Richard Thompson and his wife Ruth Thompson. His mother-in-law, Elizabeth Hawkins. He was predeceased by his parents, Thomas and Mildred Dickinson. The service will be held at the Alexander City First United Methodist Church on July 23, 2012 at 2:00. Dr. Todd Henderson and Reverend Don Cross will be officiating. Visitation is from 12:30-2:00 at the church. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Children's Harbor on Lake Martin or the Alexander City First United Methodist Church (please note it is to go to 'Feast of Sharing'). Memorial messages may be sent to the family at: www.radneyfuneralhome.com. Radney Funeral Home, Alexander City, Alabama is in charge of the arrangements, 256-234-2511. -

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Holley and I recently had a chance to share part of Lily's story at our Church in NC. We were asked to share how we were cared for by our Church during the time of need. So, I want to quickly say thanks to the leadership at Christ the King Presbyterian, Houston, the church body and our small group - you all really helped us prosper despite the situation we were in.

For the talk, we put together a video with some of our favorite pictures. We would like to share it with you too.

Love, Greg for Holley and the Dickinsons.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Eddie Dickinson - Greg's Dad

Friends, as some of you may know, my dad has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and will begin his journey through final diagnosis, prognosis and deciding on the course of treatment this week at M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas. Both he and my mom have been strong so far and I believe are determined to maintain a positive attitude throughout this next challenge. I firmly believe that in conjunction with smart doctors; having a positive attitude will lead my dad down a path of healing. In this challenging time, it is difficult to maintain a positive outlook, but I am always reminded of what is said in Romans 8:28 – and believing that God will work all things for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.

We really appreciate your friendship and ask with confidence in the power of prayer and in the power of our God that you would pray for healing for my dad and peace for my mom. There will be a lot of travel to and from Houston, so we would also ask that you pray for God to clear the paths and provide safe travel for them both.

They will be maintaining a Caringbridge site and you can find the link "Eddie Dickinson" to the left.

Again, thanks for each one of you and your prayers and support in the past for our family!

With much love, Greg (and Holley)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lily's 2nd birthday party

Lily and big brother Thomas posing at Lily's party...

Singing happy birthday to Lily...

Cake table...

Silly Lily...

My beautiful birthday girl...

Pumpking pinata...

Painting pumpkins...

kid tables...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Praying for my precious Papaw

A week and a half ago my 91 year old Papaw (my dad's dad) was trying to fix his mailbox with some type of welding type tool and a spark flew on to his shirt that had some gas on it and it caught on fire. They live out in the country in Mississippi. Thankfully the lady that comes and helps them during the week was there and helped put the fire out and drove him to the hospital. He was later air lifted to a burn center in Augusta, GA where he has been since. 9% of his body was burned with most of it being 3rd degree. He made it through a 5 1/2 hour surgery the following Saturday where they did 3 different skin grafts. He has numerous other health issues including diabetes and heart problems so the doctors have been amazed at how he has done so far.
Today they are wanting to send him home feeling like he will recover at home much better than being somewhere so far from home and away from my mamaw (they've been married almost 75 years). I am asking that you pray for him today and for my dad and step mom. The doctors are wanting my dad to drive him home. Currently he can barely stand up or walk and my dad is just very concerned and stressed wondering how they are going to make the drive with him and take care of him. Please pray for wisdom for all involved. For patience, understanding, strength, and safe travel. I know God has brought him this far and will continue to be with them. Praying for a full recovery and that through it all God will get all the glory! Thanks so much!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lily Cate one day old...1lb. 6oz.
Lily Cate...one year old...14lbs

Lily Cate...two years old...22lbs

I can't even believe that my tiny miracle baby is two years old today! I have been so emotional leading up to this day. A part of me is sad because my last baby is getting so big and growing up so fast. And another part of me is so filled with amazement at God's grace and work in Lily's short life. This morning I couldn't even get through my prayers without just breaking down. I was so overwhelmed with how many people sent messages remembering it was Lily's birthday before I even mentioned it. It just reminded me of how her tiny beginning was such a testimony of God's grace and mercy and how even the tiniest and youngest person can be used by God.

It really seems like yesterday that this whole saga began. Being put on bed rest after having a recovery cerclage placed and spending several days in the hospital on that lovely magnesium drip. I remember being in bed and thinking I can do this. Whatever it takes I can keep her in as long as she needs to be. Then barely two weeks later Houston gets hit with a hurricane and everything is a mess and so crazy. I remember going to the doctors office for my first appointment after being on bed rest and knowing that something was wrong but never would have dreamed it was that wrong. I will absolutely never forget the doctor looking at me after examining me and saying her bag of water was coming through my cerclage and asking what I wanted to do. I remember thinking what do you mean what do I want to do...I want to keep her. Whatever it takes I'll do it.

I'll never forget the high risk doctor assigned to me at the hospital downtown saying that he would be surprised if I made it another day without having her and how annoyed I was at his negative attitude. I will also never forget the NICU doctor/resident coming and going over statistics on Lily's chances of surviving being born this early. As soon as he left the room I told Greg to throw it away! I wish I could show him how wrong he was!!!

I remember seeing her for the first time and thinking am I dreaming? Is this really my baby? I personally was really sick/weak at the time (although I didn't know it yet) and it was just so hard to process anything those first few weeks. But somehow I never doubted that God was with her and that I would take her home!

And now my feisty 1lb 6oz. baby is almost 22lbs and absolutely doing amazing. She is talking like crazy and even started asking "Why". Her favorite phrases are "I do it" and "I got it." She is fearless, an amazing climber, very funny, she loves being outside and getting dirty and absolutely LOVES her big brother. She is finally on the growth charts and has blown every medical professionals mind at how well she looks and how well she has developed. There is no other explanation except that she is a miracle of our loving, healing, powerful God. To Him be the Glory forever and ever!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Prayers for Lily tomorrow

Lily following big brother to her first day of preschool!
Thomas was way too cool for pictures with little sis!

Lily's classic face!

She is seriously too much!
Almost 2 going on 16!
Lily started preschool one day a week last week. She did great and made it through the day without vomiting at school! I was so excited to pick her up and see that she was in the same outfit she started in!! She has great loving teachers. I know she is going to love it!
Tomorrow we go back to Duke for Lily's endoscopy. Please pray that everything goes smoothly and for the doctor and nurses to be compassionate and knowledgeable and to be precise. She will be under general anesthesia which is always a little scary but the worst part is that she can't eat anything until after!
I will update as soon as we know anything. Thanks so much for your prayers!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Myrtle Beach trip

This past weekend we went on our first family of four vacation. All of our vacations in the past have been with extended family or friends. It was also our first time to visit Myrtle Beach. It was so nice to only live 3 1/2 hours away from a beach but it simply isn't the same as the Gulf Coast beaches that we are used to. We had a great time and the kids loved the beach and pools. It was really hard to get used to the dark sand and the changing tides each day. We learned our lesson the first day about setting up on the beach too close to the water. By the tame we came back out after the kid's naps the water was coming up under our chairs! Luckily all of the kids toys were still there and nothing got too wet! I guess we should have caught on when we saw the rented chairs so far back on the beach! The second day we learned our lesson and just started way back and had a long walk to the water the first half of the day.

Thomas enjoying the water...

Lily's signature "cheese" face...

Thomas kissing a little fish that some boys caught and gave to him...

This one cracks me up...Lily saying, "I don't know"

Lily's sweet face again...

Our two silly monkeys...