Have you read this week’s Featured Story? “The Magic of a Sister,” by Christina Newell, is the powerful story of her sister’s eleven-year struggle and eventual death due to neonatal leukodystrophy. Despite grief and fear, Christina held onto hope for her own children. She is now the proud mom to Adalayde and she just discovered that she is pregnant with a second child! This is a story about hope against the odds. If you need some inspiration today, you’ve come to the right place. Also, if you haven’t read Christina’s story yet, you need to head over there right away—we’re sure it’ll make your day. Then come back here, since God Makes Lemonade recently had a chance to catch up with Christina.
GML: What have you been up to lately, Christina?
Christina: Well, I live in Aurora, Colo. with my husband, Matthew, our daughter, Adalayde, and our two dogs. I am lucky enough to be able to stay at home with our daughter. When I have a free moment, I love to bake, sew, or craft. I also blog about our adventures and create one-of-a-kind belly castings for soon-to-be mommas.
GML: What are belly-castings?
Christina: [Smiles] I plaster-cast pregnant bellies to create a sculpture of an expectant mom’s baby bump. Then, I decorate the sculpture with fabric and whatever else seems appropriate and unique for the mom. It’s nice. I think it’s a good way to capture the beauty of pregnancy and that special time, and belly-casts aren’t too weird to hang in your home.
GML: What inspired you to write your lemonade story?
Christina: A friend shared a link to the GML website with me. I took a look at the site, and I thought, “I have definitely had some sour moments in my life.” But I feel like I have a blessed life too. I thought, “Maybe someone else can be inspired by this chapter in my life when a lemon turned into lemonade.” I felt like I barely met the format requirements, and I didn’t tell anyone I was submitting my store to you until I got the final draft back. It just wasn’t real to me. It’s still kind of surreal to me that my story has been published. It’s good to re-share something I’ve been pretty open about, though. Most of my friends already know the story, and some of my friends even knew Meagan. It was right after I graduated from college that she passed away. I was able to reconnect with a lot of those friends.
When I met my husband, I was in my 30s so we immediately started thinking about family. Meagan’s story resurfaced for me. The possibility that I could have children with neo-natal leukodystrophy is really scary. But that’s part of our story. We have one child, Adalayde, and she is perfectly healthy and wonderful.
GML: What was it like to see your story printed in the book?
Christina: I couldn’t believe that my story was picked! When the book came in the mail, I was still in shock. In fact, I still can’t believe it. When I was in high school, we had an assignment to write a bucket list of 100 things we wanted to do before we died. Getting something I had written published is something I’m proud that I can cross off that list.
GML: Have you been able to share your story with friends and family?
Christina: I’m not really one to boast about things, but my husband has told everyone we know. He’s so proud of me. I have shared the book with a few close friends that were excited and wanted to read the story, and because this story is about my sister, I shared it with my mom and my stepdad (Meagan’s dad). They were deeply touched.
GML: Do you have any updates on your lemonade story since it was published?
Christina: Hmm… We give thanks each and every day for Adalayde. We hope that we will continue to be blessed as a family. It’s very emotional for me. I feel like choosing to have Adalayde makes Meagan’s story her story too. Hopefully, Meagan’s story will be a source of courage for her. I guess that when you have kids, it’s something you hope you’re giving them—tools to be strong and to be confident who they are.
Probably our biggest update is that we’re going in for a 12-week ultrasound for our second child this week! We have the same hope for a healthy baby and are trusting this path that we’re on. It’s really exciting.
GML: Just for fun, If you could go on vacation anywhere today, where would you go and why?
Christina: Definitely Europe. My husband keeps telling me about how beautiful Europe is and how much I will love it. We are still a few years away from being able to run off on that adventure, but I can’t wait!
Thanks for stopping by and getting to know Christina a bit better. Come back next week—we’re already working on another interview with the author of our next featured story. Or you can pick up a copy of God Makes Lemonade, where you’ll find more than eighty inspiring stories like this one.