We just returned from the ultimate weekend getaway! A trip honoring the recovery Ryan made from the nightmare that was 2012. His healthy, thriving, and holistic comeback into life with an ostomy and Crohn's diagnosis was recognized and awarded by the international organization, Great Comebacks.
As we went to bed last night in our own home, we prayed and thanked the Lord for the healing this program has brought us, the connections, the relationships, the purpose, and the blessing.
They put us up in the Omni Hotel in downtown Nashville which pretty much rocked our socks off. We ate phenomenal food, enjoyed the music and loud nightlife of downtown and enjoyed the weekend's agenda.
Of course, here is a shirtless picture of my hunky husband about to enjoy his room service :)
This dude LOVES surprsies and he got a gift basket delivered to his room with southern candies and treats. He pretty much lived in this bathrobe.
Can you read the screen in the picture below? This is a shot of our TV when we checked into our room-a personal greeting for Ryan.
Friday night we came together as a group, Rolf (the founder), Walt (last year's National winner) and his wife, the trip organizers, all the regional winners, and our families/guests. We were stuffed at Bob's Chophouse with delicious food and a wonderful night of sharing stories and catching up.
Saturday afternoon we did some filming for an video that will be used for Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse encouragement and patient support. They asked us about our story, Ryan's ostomy experience, marriage and more.
Really fun! It's esepcially a gift to encourage young men and women that they CAN date, be married, enjoy intimacy, etc with an ostomy. We probably overshared...meh! Then Ryan did a dress reherasal for the evening's events while I recharged in the hotel room.
Saturday night was the BIG event hosted at the famous Wild Horse Saloon. Over 580 nurses showed up for the Great Comebacks dinner (our event is hosted in conjunction with a WOCN national conference). We mingled with nurses to say thank you, they awarded nursing accomplishments and then the main event...
The videos recorded in North Carolina were shown one by one. It was so moving and very emotional! They turned out SO well! I will post that ASAP as it is a large file and takes forever to upload.
Each Regional winner was honored and celebrated, just as they should be for all they have endured to survive and now LIVE. Here are a few pictures from the night:
The stage was beautifully set
From L to R: Walt (last year's National Winner), Amy, Joe, Jearlean, Stephanie, Ryan, and Rolf (the founder)
We SO enjoyed the evening-delicious food, incredible company, and a very humbling and honoring night for Ryan's journey
The saloon was enormous and filled from top to bottom with nurses, ostomates, and a desire to celebrate the comebacks these individuals have made.
Our dear and beautiful friend, Jearlean Taylor was awarded the National Great Comebacks Award. We are SO proud of her! She is a model, CEO of the modeling agency she founded, author, and inspiration to us. We could not have been happier for her!
I cannot put into words how beautiful our Great Comebacks experience has been. The heart behind Convatec and Great Comebacks to invest into ostomates is so sincerely moving. What global, billion dollar company cares about the lives and stories of the people who use their products??
Having a chronic illness and ostomy is such a big deal. To live fully and without fear and obstacle is certainly something to celebrate; we are grateful for a company and program that sees to it nothing in life is impossible.
We are so expectant of how God will use this new chapter and award to expand his Kingdom. It's a platform of responsibility we will take on gladly and with a deep desire to share the gospel where it might not have been taken before. Our ultimate life comes from Jesus, and that hope combined with the hope Great Comebacks highlights is a powerhouse for life change!