The Gift of Another Breath {CELEBRATE This Week: 223}


Amidst Christmas cards, there are always a handful of birthday cards for Andy. This year, he received a card from an old babysitter. It took him a few days to figure out who it was because of her name change and that it’s been more than three decades since they’ve been in contact.

Inside the card she included newspaper clippings, reports and updates on Andy  after a farming accident. At 10 months old, Andy had complete reconstructive chest surgery.  The babysitter wrote a note in the card about how his life always reminds her that miracles are possible.

A few days later, our neighbor sent an article reporting on the convoy that was used to rescue newborn Andy in the middle of a snow storm. She found it as she was going through some old files.


I read the articles and remember the gift Andy has been given of one more breath and another. After the reconstruction, surgeons didn’t know if Andy would live long enough to go to kindergarten. When Andy hit his growth spurt as a freshman, he ran into new complications. After the third time of collapsing, the coaches said no more football. Andy spent a lot of time at Mayo clinic and they finally determined the high pain levels from stretching scar tissue was shutting down Andy’s heart. There was nothing that could be done except to tough it out.

One of the things I admire most about Andy is his perspective on life. You tough it out and make the best of it. If you’ve been given the gift of another day, then you should make life better for someone else. This is how you show gratitude for another breath.

There’s nothing glamorous about the way Andy decides to spend each breath. He taxis kids and does dishes. He cheers for his favorite teams and takes Sam to bowling on Saturday mornings. He tells me he likes that I write and it’s okay to fold words instead of clothes.

Every now and then, in the midst of the ordinary, we are reminded that each breath is precious. When this happens, let’s celebrate by making life better for someone else.

This post is part of a weekly offering to celebrate in the middle of the muddle. I hope you join the celebration!

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Whenever it fits in your life, add your link.  Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

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  1. The timing of these messages is definitely divine. As is Andy’s outlook on life, gratitude, and giving. You two make an incredible team!

    • Thank you. I often think that Andy sees life through the spectacles of an old man. Sometimes we do a lot of living in a short amount of time.

  2. Wow! I didn’t know that accident happened when Andy was so young. God had plans for that boy. Andy’s life is a testament to those plans.

  3. Happy Birthday, Andy! I couldn’t read this without remembering the photo of Andy and his mom with the . . . was it a shark head? She must feel so blessed with the miracle of this son each time she looks at him. I’m so glad you have this sweet partner who gives you the freedom to fold words instead of clothes (although I’m sure you fold a few clothes too)!

    • Oh yes, Ramona, you are right…I fold plenty of clothes, too. Lol. Thanks for celebrating each week.

  4. What an example for us all. We should not have to go through such trauma it be grateful for the ordinary moments we have. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I am so happy for Andy’s family, and now his “grown-up” family that those miracle workers didn’t slow down, persisted in getting that baby to the hospital! Happy Birthday, Andy. It’s a special miracle story. Thanks for telling us, Ruth.

  6. What an amazing story and that these clippings showed up to remind you of the miracle of life. Thanks for sharing and reminding us, too.

  7. I always say that life is fragile and uncertain. But there is a God who watches over us and keeps the miracles coming. Andy’s story is an uplifting one that should be a movie showcasing the gifts God brings us. Wow! “Every now and then, in the midst of the ordinary, we are reminded that each breath is precious.” Thank you for sharing this so I can feel the wonder of the breathe Ruth.

  8. The Blizzard of 1978. You and Andy were babies. I was in college. Gosh, I feel old! It is obvious that God had special plans for Andy… which included you and 4 children on a journey

  9. Such fascinating artifacts of a life story – and the celebration of life. I marvel at the clippings’ arrival this way, as if a voice from beyond whispered in these ladies’ ears to send these NOW … what are the odds?

    Joy to you all in your celebration of another breath – every breath.

    Tonight I celebrate memory, its power and its glory.