Thankful today and every day, an intimate story

Every Thanksgiving is special in its own way and this year is no exception. In this article I’m going to depart from my usual teaching posts to share my family’s intimate story of gratitude with you. Despite challenges we have a renewed appreciation for our blessings and are thankful today and every day.

It’s so important for each of us to count our blessings on a regular basis. It’s fairly typical in our world to have each conversation interwoven with something we are not pleased about. This makes it very easy to forget things that are beautiful, heart-warming, comfortable, secure and so very special.

Year of the baby

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that this year has been very different from those in the past. I am calling 2019 our “year of the baby”.  This is because my granddaughter, Raegan Laine was born January 12, 2019.

Raegan Laine swaddled at 1 month

She had a very difficult start in life because she was born a NAS baby, addicted to 5 illicit drugs. Her first month was spent in the hospital heavily medicated and on February 12th, she was sent home with Evan and me, to live in our care until either her parents were allowed to resume custody or an adoptive family could be identified.

Before we brought her home, the nurses did not tell us that she was still in severe withdrawal. Tiny Raegan was now off her withdrawal meds so all she had left to comfort her was our arms and body heat as she fought through each tearful day and night, month after month.  

We were incredibly blessed and thankful that our dear friend, Debbie Stankovich, a Master Christian Life Coach and trainer for this academy, flew from her home in Washington State across the country to Florida to spend 12 critical days with us in the first month, taking the night shift so Evan and I could have uninterrupted sleep. She told us on arrival that she knew praying for us was not enough. She had to be here to help however she could. That is truly being the hands and feet of God.

This academy had to take second place as Evan and I took turns caring for her around the clock. And when I wasn’t cuddling Raegan, Evan was, so we had to try to get rest whenever we could because the schedule was grueling. That’s why you haven’t heard from me as often as you did in the past.

Thankful and Blessed

The GOOD NEWS is Raegan, while still a special needs baby, is 95% better now. She laughs, giggles, plays, crawls and is beginning to walk.  Sunday we took her to the park where she loves to swing and climb up and down a small slide. We have SO much to be grateful for.

We’re grateful Raegan survived.

Raegan at 10.5 months swinging in park 

We’re grateful we had the time and provision to give her a safe, loving home.

We are thankful for knowledgeable doctors, nurses and therapists, who have been there for Reagan to help her each week. They often tell us that Raegan would not have made as much progress without our continuing to work with Raegan through her therapeutic exercises and special care each day.

We’re grateful for her remarkable healing and recovery.

We’re grateful she is a very alert, curious and happy child.

We’re grateful that God has blessed this academy with wonderful students who are diligent with their tuition payments and a phenomenal support team, who keep things running even when we must be absent. And we’ve been absent a lot because we can’t hire a babysitter unless they can pass a state background check and fingerprinting. (Most people don’t want to go to that trouble.) So in all this time, we have hired a babysitter one time for 3 hours.  This leads me to …

We’re grateful for the opportunity to have had a delicious steak and lobster dinner without precious Raegan this one time and just relax. Thankfully, nowadays she is so much better, we get her dressed up and she just comes along to dinner with us. She eats her baby food and takes a bottle while we have our restaurant dinner. Everyone is happy. 😀

Urgently Need Your Prayers

Things are really good now in the Bush household but the story has not ended yet. Despite both parents’ addiction and not changing their behaviors, the state is trying to reunify the baby with her father. The system is even trying to silence Evan and me so we can’t fight for her welfare.

Please, please pray for Raegan’s safety and for her to remain in the only home she has ever known.

I want nothing else for the holidays, but Raegan’s liberation from a system that cares far more about coddling the errant parents than saving little Raegan. We pray for Raegan to have permanency and a forever home.

On the morning of December 10, there is a judicial review, where her future will be determined. Please pray God shows up mightily for her.

I want to report to you, that Raegan’s story is on its way to a happy ending.

Even in the midst of difficulty, we can be thankful today and every day if that's our chosen focus. We have not been promised a perfect world if we believe in Christ. Rather we have been promised that we’ll never be left alone, forsaken and that with our living God, anything is possible. In the midst of the storm, we have the ability to change our focus so that we can maintain the peace needed to navigate through rough waters.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, 

whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is
admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.”
Philippians 4:8 NIV

We welcome your thoughts and prayers in the comments section near the bottom of this page.
If you know anyone or have any information that can help Raegan, please comment below or email me at

Have a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!
Leelo and Evan Bush

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