Today marks our 22nd day in the hospital. It’s hard to believe how quickly it has gone by and how painfully slow it has been, all at the same time. Evan is still in acute inpatient treatment, but if all goes well and according to plan, he will begin day treatment tomorrow. That would make tonight his first night at the Ronald McDonald House. It also means he will be able to come home for Christmas and return to day treatment on the 27th. What an amazing Christmas present that would be.

We have continued to be blown away by the kindness of everyone around us, and we are reminded daily of how blessed we are to have such incredible support from the medical team, the Ronald McDonald House, our friends and family. I have received over 100 emails and comments expressing your prayers and support…thank you from the bottom of my heart.

As you begin your family traditions this week and embark upon my favorite holiday of the year (who knew a little Jewish girl from Jersey would love Christmas so much), there are a few things I hope you’ll keep in mind:

1. Your family will drive you crazy, and they are supposed to. If you are lucky enough to be annoyed by your parents, siblings, children, or extended family this holiday season, please be grateful. There are many families who won’t be so fortunate.

2. Invest in a board game. Every night during family time at the hospital, all of the kids and their families play some type of board game, card game, or puzzle. It doesn’t matter if the kids are 7 or 17, but every night, there is time dedicated to doing nothing else than playing together. While our family tries to make this a regular part of our routine at home, we’ve never played as much as we have in the last three weeks. Games provide a great way to really connect with each other. Buy a board game or two this Christmas.

3. Count your blessings. Literally. Last week, Evan had a bad day, and as a result, mine wasn’t all that great. In an effort to pick myself up, I started listing all of the things I am grateful for. I couldn’t believe how long the list got, and I am still adding to it. It is an interesting exercise, and it really helps you put things into perspective.

4. We have little problems. After seeing the kids in Evan’s unit, the families at the Ronald McDonald House, and countless children at the hospital, I have been reminded of how little most of our problems really are. There is a nine-year old girl in Evan’s unit who is so thin from anorexia, her fingers began to turn blue, and she had to be in the ICU for 2 weeks before getting strong enough to begin treatment. There are families at the Ronald McDonald House who have oxygen machines hooked up to their babies as they walk through the hallways. And there are children in the hospital who will be lucky to live past Christmas. Most of our problems just aren’t that important.

5. Commit a random act of kindness. We have seen the most amazing love and compassion in people. It has really had a tremendous impact. It has truly reshaped my view of things. I cannot count the random acts of kindness I’ve witnessed or experienced. I am enjoying giving them back.

From myself, my family, and the SSG team, we wish you a happy holiday season and a wonderful new year.


  1. Dearest Anne, You are in my heart and my prayers this morning. I’m grateful to you for you bravery, honesty, caring, and sharing. You bless all of us who are lucky enough to have found your blog. May your Christmas be filled with peace and joy.

  2. Wish you and your family the very best this week. You will be in my thoughts and prayers every day. Your strength and perspective is “contagious” and will touch many people.

    • Thanks, Dan. I admire your strength and am sure this time of year is very hard. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as well. Merry Christmas.

  3. Dear Anne,
    I think of you every day! My family went thru some pretty major challenges the last three years and I hope we are on the mend. It is hard to want to believe we are as just about everytime I thought we were over a hump something else would go wrong. Love your family and mostly love your self as we often forget to love ourselves. Merry Christmas and I wish a Happy New Year for you and your family.

    • Thanks so much, Julie. I hope you and your family are on the mend as well. It’s true…when it rains, it pours!

      I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  4. Anne, thank you so much for thinking of others while you are going through these difficult times. Your strength and bravery are wonderful to behold. Love your family and enjoy your Christmas. I wish you a happy and healthier new year.

  5. Yes, I am thankful that none of my family members are dealing with what you are having to go through. I could not imagine! My husband and I have gone through many money issues the last couple years and are in the process of trying to not have our house foreclosed on. We go see the financial couselor about that tomorrow, 4 days before Christmas. Both my husband and I went through a divorce with our ex-spouses and then found each other, which is wonderful, but it has been very financially challenging because of our divcorces and child support. Today I feel just pretty plain ol’ worn down by the whole situation, but if I had to deal with sickness or anything else on top of that, I don’t think I could handle it. So, I’m trying to remain positive, that even though we have bill collectors constantly calling at work, on our cells, through the mail, hassling us and may lose our home, we have our health, we have a job, we now have wonderful spouses, our children aren’t sick, they don’t go to bed hungry, they get along great, they are good children, I love my job and the people I work with, I try to remember there are still many blessings in my life. As the saying goes, “Be kinder than neccessary, everyone is fighting some kind of battle.” I was in Hobby Lobby the other day shopping for Chritmas gifts for our girls and a woman said to me, “I need to quit shopping and just go home.” I said, “Yeah, I’m sure my husband wishes I would go home and quit shopping too.” She said, “Just be glad you have a husband to go home to.”

    • Hey Angela,

      Great to hear from you. I’m sorry to hear times are tough…I’ve been there (and with all the hospital bills will probably be there again soon), and I know it’s no fun. Just be thankful you have such an amazing husband and a beautiful, healthy family. Tell the group I said hello! Merry Christmas.

  6. Anne,
    I appreciate the updates. My prayer is that Evan will indeed get to be home for Christmas. We deal with children everyday who do not have a home or family that they can be with during the holidays. Because I come from a large family there will be many of us gathering on Saturday to celebrate. There will be laughter, food, and discussion of Christmas when we were children.
    I trust that your Christmas and the days to follow are good. Thanks for your courage and the love you exhibit for your son and family. He is blessed to have you as his Mom.

  7. Anne,
    I will continue to pray for Evan. My hope and prayer for you and your family is that you will enjoy Christmas in your home. I Pe. 5:7 tells us place all our cares on Him. Continue to call on Him and I know that His grace will be sufficient for you and your family. Evan will be on our prayer list at church and we will continue to check regularly for updates on him. God Bless you guys.
    Yours in Christ,
    David deanda

  8. Anne,
    You may have seen this. It was sent to me and I wanted to share it with you.
    Heaven’s Special Child
    A meeting was held quite far from earth,
    “It’s time again for another birth,”
    Said the Angels to the Lord above,
    “This special child will need much love.
    His progress may seem very slow,
    And he’ll require extra care
    From the folks he meets way down there.
    He may not run or laugh or play
    His thoughts may seem quite far away,
    In many ways he won’t adapt,
    And he’ll be known as handicapped.
    So let’s be careful where he’s sent
    We want his life to be content.
    Please, Lord, find the parents who
    Will do a special job for you.
    They will realize right away
    The leading role they’re asked to play,
    But with this child sent from above
    Comes stronger faith and richer love.
    And soon they’ll know the privilege given
    In caring for this gift from Heaven,
    Their precious charge, so meek and mild
    Is Heaven’s very special child.”
    Author Unknown.
    You are in my prayers. Hope you,Evan and the whole family have a wonderful Christmas.

    • Hi Eddie,

      I haven’t seen this before, and it’s beautiful. Thank you so much for taking the time to send it. I love it.

      I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

  9. Anne, thank you for sharing your journey. None of us know the impact we make on others. You are making a positive one by sharing your feelings and your steps – like making a list of things to be grateful for. No one would wish to be on the path you are on right now, but you are enriching other’s lives by what you are doing. May you and your family have a blessed Christmas full of evidence of God’s love.

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