Yesterday I spent almost the entire day in Orlando with a group of lady friends celebrating one of their birthdays :) We went and played putt-putt golf, walked around two shopping centers, and went out to dinner at Carabbas before coming home at close to 10 pm! It was a lot of fun and something I don't have the opportunity to do very often so I especially enjoyed the fun and fellowship of these ladies :)
Then today we got up and went to church since that was an hour earlier than we're used to (because of the time change). We came home, fed everyone lunch and got them down to naps and Emma and I went to a friend's baby shower. The baby was born about 4 or 5 weeks early, so she happened to be at home but Momma came with pictures since the baby is a preemie. I was blessed to be able to pass along the "lending basket" of preemie clothes that we gathered when Brianna was a baby and we had a nice time at the shower and being able to once again spend some time with other moms. I must admit, though, when I got home I was glad to be HOME! I missed my kids :)
Let me tell you a little about the 'lending basket'. It's become a ministry for us in a way we wouldn't have guessed, which is always fun when God does that! When Brianna was born she was just 5 lbs 2 oz and 18" long. Even some of the preemie clothes were big on her and we bought maybe 4-5 outfits that she wore every day. When she got to be a month old and was still in preemie clothes we bought a few more and others got some for us as they found them so she had about 10 outfits to wear. She began to outgrow the REALLY small preemie outfits around 6-8 weeks and we then bought some of the 'bigger' preemie outfits. She was sill less than 6.5lbs. When Brianna was 8 weeks old is when she was diagnosed with Down syndrome and an AV canal. She continued to grow very very slowly, often gaining less than the 'required' 5 oz each week. At 5 months old she weighed just over 8 lbs when she went in for her heart surgery and she was still wearing size newborn and 0-3 months clothes.
Because of the longevity of her time in preemie clothes and her very slow progression through it and through the seasons in the preemie clothes as well (January until April she wore only preemie clothes and then in May she could wear some newborn) we ended up with a full 'wardrobe' of preemie and newborn size clothes! The lending basket now has over 50 items in it including onesies, sleepers, little pants and shirt outfits, and even a few matching hats for some of the outfits. It also has some 'sleep bags' for nighttime and a bib or two that came with the outfits. This lending basket has now visited more than 5 homes in the past 3 years and each time has come back with many of the clothes that it began with and often an additional outfit or two that were added in.
Babies are babies and some of the clothes have become stained around the neckline or sleeves, so those may have to be cycled out soon. This has become a neat way for us to connect with parents that are facing the birth of a baby that is born premature or with a lower birth weight and to be able to minister to them just a little bit and share some support with them. I would have never guessed that God had this in mind but even the very simple gesture of 'passing on' the lending basket has become an instant connect with us and the 5 families it has visited. We are thankful for each of those opportunities and the friendships that have come out of them!
I thought I'd share this because you never know when God may be speaking to another person's heart to do something similar- whether it begins with finding preemie clothes on clearance at the end of the season of clothes or something else, I don't know :) But thought I'd share our experience with the lending basket!