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Happy Sunday to you, Friends!

Here in upper East Tennessee, where we live, it’s been a week of rain! Rain happened most days, and we have the mud to prove it! Of course our plants are kind of happy about that! Cucumber plants

I’m afraid I may have overdone it on the cucumbers, and now they’re going great guns, so if they keep up at this rate, we’ll either have a lot of pickles and gazpacho (although we’ve never tried that) or I’ll be sharing baskets at church! Last year, our cucumbers did nothing, so we overcompensated. I love cucumbers!

Sad News/Saying Goodbye to Lauren Grace

For the last few years, aside from the partial year I took off with my dad, I’ve worked in a private duty nursing job for a dear family and super sweet patient.

Lauren Grace was seventeen. She had a challenging life filled with health interventions, surgeries, and 24/7 nursing care. She never knew the joy or running and jumping, never learned how to speak. She lost her sight and lived in a hazy world of light and shapes, but she could not see her sweet mama’s face.

Lauren had a hard life. But I’ll tell you a secret. She had a joy that most of us can’t relate to, and an innocence that I envy. I can’t tell you how, but she radiated love and cheer to all of those around her. Every therapist and nurse, doctor and friend could see the joy that this sweet girl carried with her.

And how?

She was disabled. She was completely dependent on others for her every need. She could not do anything of her own free will–except one thing. She could smile. And even laugh.


Lauren’s smile was the reward we all sought for. Our nursing communication to each other rather our days by how smiley Lauren was that day. A good day was full of sunshine and smiles. A bad day was devoid of that–and we all knew something was off–because Lauren was just a girl full of smiles.

I rode on many trips out of town as Lauren’s nurse–dr visits–some four to five hours away. There Lauren would be–strapped to a stretcher or wheelchair. But when we hit a bump–big laughs! Huge smiles! We could have been at Six Flags, because I’m pretty sure she thought it was a roller coaster ride! It made the time in the ambulance fun, and even the paramedics aboard started to watch for the smiles!

At some point during the last few months, Lauren lost her smile. She lost her zest, and it broke everyone’s heart. Because if there was anything we did not want to see was her frown, and especially not her tears.

Sadly, and even a little unexpectedly, Lauren lost the fight. Her body just got worn out, and her light went out.

That’s the sad news. But the sunshine in this time of shadows is that her light will shine again. We believe that on the day when God makes all things new He will do that for Lauren. She will wake up in a better land.

For for first time, Lauren will open her eyes and see nothing but beauty. She will feel the cool water splashing her face and laugh out loud! She will pick the never-fading flowers, and she will run with the little dogs! She will finally get to tickle her brother back and play the flute with her sister! I know she will kiss her mama’s face and thank her for every selfless act, every night without sleep, and every little thoughtful trinket brought with her happiness in mind.

Lauren will leap for joy! She will take walks with Jesus, because I know He is her friend! Somehow, even though her mind could not comprehend here, I believe her heart knew He was always there for her. He gave her that joy inside.

Lauren was a gift. Not with outward flashy packaging–no–she was the kind of gift that you unwrap to find the hidden treasure. But once you find it–you hold on and cherish it.

Why else would the nurses refuse other patients? Why else would they choose to stay, even if they could go somewhere else for more lucrative pay? It was her joy that held us. I think we all just had a weakness for her smiles!

Lauren Grace. We will miss her. We already do. But I can speak for myself and for the other nurses in saying that our lives are so much richer for the time we spent ministering to Lauren’s needs.

Goodbye, little friend. We will meet again. Until then…sleep sound in Jesus.

Smiling girl in wheelchair
My favorite picture from a walk we took.

Welcome to the Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop!

The Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop

This is a place to share some love and spread some sunshine!

The focus of this blog hop will be: anything related to making our homes more sunny and happy! If that’s through homemade cooking, a health tip that will help another, homesteading tips, homeschool successes or real-life struggles, or just whatever God is impressing you with in your home journey, please share it!

Guidelines for the Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop 🌤

  1. Click on the “Add your Link” Button below and add a great image of your project or recipe. Make sure you link to the page of your family friendly post – not the main page of your blog.
  2. Link up to three posts each week.
  3. Try to visit at least a few other blogs at the party. Be sure to leave a comment to let them know you stopped by.
  4. Link your post back to the Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop. If the hop isn’t linked to your post then you cannot be featured. All featured posts will be shared on my Pinterest/Social Media.
  5. Please link up posts that you haven’t linked to the hop before. You are welcome to link old posts from your blog.
  6. By joining the party, you are giving me permission to use one photo from your post with a link back to your site if it is selected as one of next week’s Features.
  7. This is a family-friendly link up! You are welcome to share home and family-oriented blog posts, focusing on homeschooling, homesteading and homemaking. Christian-friendly content, highlighting healthy life choices to encourage others!

Features for this week!

Coconut maple granolaCoconut Maple Granola
Healthy crunchy cauliflower salad

Healthy Crunchy Cauliflower Salad

Journaling prompts for anxiety Journaling Prompts for Anxiety
Thank you to everyone who came to participate. ♥️ Have a great week, and feel free to share the hop with others!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Ridge Haven Homestead Blog, Home-Tested Faith, Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop ☀️

19 Replies

  1. Reading about Miss Lauren brought bittersweet tears and a lump to my throat. May we all have the previledge to love and care for such a wonderful person. Bittersweet because I miss so many of the folks I held dear in my last 20 years of working in Healthcare. Thank you for hosting, I appreciate it.

  2. I am so very sorry for your loss, Lauren sounds like an amazing young woman. Now she is free to laugh, run and enjoy her time with the Lord. Thank you for sharing her.
    I lost a friend unexpectedly this week, the last 5 years had been hard on him…cancer which took his jaw, teeth and part of his nose. 5 years of chemo, radiation, surgery and reconstruction. He was never down and never cared what he looked like, he was happy to be here and with his family. Sadly he had a heart attack and passed. I am heartbroken but know that he is with God.

  3. I’m so sorry about Lauren, my heart goes out to you and everyone that helped care for her. And thank you for featuring my Bible Journaling prompts for anxiety. I hope you have a blessed Sunday afternoon.
    xx – Maria

  4. I couldn’t help but tear up just thinking about how abdolutely amazing it will be for her to wake up and walk by a Savior’s side , experiencing and enjoying everything around her in the fullest capacity.
    Prayers with all of you-nurses, parents and family.

  5. Laurie, I am so sorry. Lauren sounds like she was a such a joy ♥ to you although her life was very challenging. There have been patients I took care of thru the years that brought much joy ♥ to me and I will never forget them. Thanks so much for hosting. My entry numbers are 14 and 15.

  6. Laurie,
    I know how you feel about sweet Lauren grace….I did private duty for a short time on a girl who graduated one year after me from high school who was hit by a drunk driver on her way back to college at Temple University…She was left paralyzed from the waist down, feeding tube and was initially trached….With closed head trauma, she was reduced to the mentality of a 6 year old who was barely able to speak…So sad because I knew her before the accident…Her parents passed away before she did and her brothers and sisters had to put her into a nursing home after that…She passed away a few years ago…Such a shame…
    Thanks again for hosting this charming party every week! I know how much time goes into doing so and I want you to know that it I truly appreciate it!! I hope you have a great week!

  7. I’m feeling so so sad after reading about Lauren Grace… I do believe, Laurie dear, that she’s enriched your life, people needing us enrich our days of meaning, and I’m sure that now that she’s an Angel, she’ll went on following you and sending you her blessings from up above!
    Hugs, hugs, hugs
    X Dany

  8. Oh wow thanks so much for featuring my Healthy Crunchy Cauliflower Salad this week. I am out of town but promise to add the badge to the post next week. I truly appreciate the opportunity to share and link here weekly.

  9. What a blessing you and her other providers must have been to Lauren Grace and her family over the years! Thinking of you as you continue to celebrate and honor her in the days ahead!

    Thanks, as always, for providing this opportunity to share! Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

What is your experience? 💜 I read every comment, and so many times I find that I gain encouragement from what’s shared. ❤️