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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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She Smiled For The First Time Today'.: An Update, MacKenzie Grace.
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Saturday, January 26, 2008

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MacKenzie Grace Hollister, now going on eight years of age, is learning to walk and even talk again, much to the delight of her parents and brothers.

MacKenzie Grace Hollister was featured in an earlier story, "The Little Girl Who Was Frozen Solid: MacKenzie Grace".

You may not remember us; it's been quite a long while since you last heard from us. I thought an update was in order.

My name is Heather Hollister. I live here in Nashville, Tennessee, with my husband, Chuck Ryan, and our four children, Gage (5 1/2), MacKenzie Grace (seven-and-three-fourths; she'll be eight next month), Tyler Robert (three), and one-year-old Lewis Charles.

We were a typical family with one adopted child when our only daughter suffered brain damage as a result of wandering outside in the cold. Mackie (whom we adopted just a few short weeks before from China) was only two years old at the time; she nearly died; yet by a miracle, she survived despite incredible odds.

Prior to the accident, Mackie was a laughing, walking, talking toddler; she is now in a wheelchair, and she is just learning how to talk again. She is even learning to walk again; it's been a time of incredible ups and downs for our family. Yet Mackie is determined to overcome her handicaps, and try to function like a normal little girl.

Mackie is now in school, in the second grade. She's in the special needs class, and her teachers just love her. Right now they are working with her to get her to recognize numbers, letters, animals; she's doing pretty good, but Mackie still gets mixed up sometimes. The teachers are very patient with her, which is good.

Mackie still has physical or occupational therapy three times a week at the house, once a week at the hospital (usually on Fridays). She didn't have therapy yesterday or the week before due to adverse weather conditions; it's set her back a little. She doesn't want to do her therapy (what child does??), especially if it involves stretching her limbs; that makes them hurt, and she cries.

If it wasn't for the therapy, Mackie would still be lying down in her bed, unable to do anything but blink, see, or hear. Now she's moving, and she can sit up without help, can even take a few shaky steps (with her walker), that with help. She's become toilet trained, and no longer has to wear diapers; she can wear "big girl underpants" again!

Mackie is even eating again, no longer on tube feedings!! She eats like a little horse: there's nothing she doesn't like! She loves ALL food: set it in front of her, and she's like an eating machine!! LOL (One word of warning, though, about Mackie and food: if you DO set food in front of her, watch your fingers! LOL)

Our church family has been overjoyed at seeing the progress our daughter has made. She is a visible part of the worship services; one can hear her squealing with joy during the worship service; she's hard to miss! She can't talk that well yet, so everything is "La, la, la!"

Mackie can say "Mama", "Dada", "Bobo" (her word for "brothers"), and "Gog'" ("dog"), as well as "ca-ca" ("cat"); she will learn more words in time. She smiled for the first time today; that is another huge milestone because before today she just sat there, face expressionless (unless she cried).

Now she smiled a real smile, and now it seems once she started, she can't stop; she's still smiling as I write this!

Mackie's lying in her bed looking at me as I type this, and there's a huge grin on her face. It melts my heart every time!

God has been good to our family, and there's even more good news: we've applied to adopt a fifth child, another little boy, this time one from Africa! So our family will soon be bigger, and we can give a new child the love he needs. Don't worry: we have more than enough love to go around!!

I will be writing in here again soon; I just wanted to shaer the good news about not only MacKenzie, but our whole family as well! We are growing by leaps and bounds! God has been faithful; we have been so blessed!

~Heather Hollister, MacKenzie's mother (and also Mamma to Gage, Tyler, and Lewis). :)

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Reviewed by Axilea MU 5/5/2008
You have done very well with this story, it has a strong documentary feel.

Reviewed by Carole Mathys 1/27/2008
There is nothing more precious than the smile of a child...this is
such a touching story line Karen, great writing!
love, Carole~
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 1/27/2008
Sometimes a sincere smile is more powerful than the most powerful of medicines. Uplifting the sick spirits is to get them half way to recovery.

Reviewed by Regino Gonzales, Jr. 1/26/2008
God so blessed the Hollister family and that He entrusted them to look after a jewel of a child, MacKie. I so am inspired by this Story and the way it is presented. Thank you my Karen for your energy and patience in sharing this and your many other uplifting stories. GodBless my friend.

Reviewed by Mary Coe 1/26/2008
Very touching story. Well done.
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 1/26/2008
I love this beautiful upbeat story, thank you for sharing...
God Bless
Reviewed by Joyce Bowling 1/26/2008
A touching write my friend, a smile brings hope, life, and an abundance of love to one's heart! Thank God for caring people, with compassionate hearts who are willing to give special needs children a home and for those teachers who take the time to care. We now have a nurse and physical therapist at our school who can help assist in the special care and needs our students who require it. A wonderful write and glimpse into the life of this lovable family....well done my friend, enjoyed!
Joyce B.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 1/26/2008
Took a while, but the sunny personality is beginning to emerge after nearly being frozen. :) Well done, Karen, most encouraging!

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Felix Perry 1/26/2008
The smiles of children are parents rewards all throughout their lifetimes, but when they see it in the face of a sick or disabled child it has no comparioson.

Reviewed by Gwendolyn Thomas Gath 1/26/2008

Karen this is such a heart warming story, I almost cried. This narrative takes one through a lot of emotions as love is the stable cord that weaves throughout the entirity of your presentation. Congrats to you for sharing such an outstanding write indeed.

Many blessings to you for even more work.

Peace and lots of love,

Reviewed by Rose Rideout 1/26/2008
And people will say there are no such thing as miracles. I'll argue anyday. Thank you karen for sharing a special precious story.

Newfie Hugs coming your way, Rose

Books by
Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

with a little help

Awakening the Genie Within by Bettye Johnson

A Journey of Discovery of the great potentials in each of us...  
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Thought Boosters: How to lift your spirits by enhancing your thoughts by Allen Smith

A book of inspirational essays designed to enhance your thoughts and lift your spirits...  
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