Have you ever gone to church and felt like your pastor's sermon was being directed right at you?! All the time right? Well last Sunday, our pastor at CUMC gave a sermon about what it means to be blessed. I have ALWAYS considered Hunter and I to be living a very blessed life, and I have always felt just as thankful. His sermon looked at redefining what it meant to be blessed. Those that are blessed are not always the rich and healthy, but also those that are struggling or suffering in some way. For the first few weeks after Jackson was born, I struggled with being thankful. I felt sorry for myself, for Hunter, and our families. There were lots of tears and asking "why us?" and "this isn't fair." I still get emotional and want to cry when I see a woman in her third trimester or a chunky full term baby that is heading home, even seeing pictures of friends' healthy babies on Facebook makes my throat get tight and my eyes tear up. I want that. I NEVER thought I would be jealous of a woman that is nine months pregnant. My friends can even attest that month nine, and probably the third trimester in general was the thing I was least excited about while pregnant. Now, at times I feel guilty about those feelings. But days like today those feelings are gone, and instead of feeling sorry for myself or Jackson's situation, I feel thankful. Thankful for a boy strong enough to tackle his prematurity and make tremendous strides. Thankful that he is in the NICU not because there was something wrong with his development, but because of my condition. Jackson has had a neighbor for the last week that was born at full term, but has had some heart and lung troubles. I've spent mornings talking with his mom and watching nurses, practitioners, and doctors attempt to help his little body get better. If his mom was ever there when I wasn't, she would tell me about something Jackson did while I was gone. Mostly, she told stories about the cute faces or sounds he made when they would give him a bath or when changing a diaper. I would keep an eye on Baby K while she was gone, but I never felt that I could reasure her about his progress like she did for me. Poor Baby K was on a ventilator and sedated, he was pale and horrible looking fluids were sucked from his stomach and lungs. Seeing sick babies like Baby K have made Hunter and I feel so blessed to have a "healthy" baby. Jackson is healthy, he is slowly gaining weight, breathing on his own, taking some of his food from a bottle, and close to maintaining a good body temperature on his own. God willing, it will all continue. He is doing way more than he is supposed to be doing for a baby that was conceived less than 34 weeks ago. We might not have a chunky 8 lb baby who is at home with us, but we are blessed. When I got to Jackson's crib this morning, Baby K and his parents were gone. Last night he was sent to Brenner's, and that is never a good sign. We will never know what happened last night, or even about his future. We are praying for Jackson's first little friend and I'm asking for all of you that have been praying for Jackson to do the same. Pray for his mommy and daddy, that they have the strength to deal with what ever it is that they are facing. Pray for all the NICU babies and their families. Pray for the wonderful nurses and physicians that take care of our babies in a way that we cannot. Pray that God continues to bless all of us and all of you. Thank you all for praying for Jackson, our prayers continue to be answered with each passing day. We have been in NICU 1 the longest of any other babies here, one whole month. Most have gotten healthy enough to go home, and we are happy for those families. One day that will be us taking home a chunky baby!! Thank you, we love you all!