A Lesson in Unity From the Playground

hands-together

The election we have been waiting for (most likely because we just wanted the political ads to stop) has finally come to a close.  The results have thrilled some folks, scared others, and probably just confused the rest.  Regardless of which category you woke up in to today, you most likely noticed how ugly the whole process was.  There are people all over espousing wildly conflicting perspectives.  The vote is divided neatly with Red being Rural and Blue being Metro America.  Just like 2 children in a disagreement.  Based on the noise flying around the last year, I think that is a pretty good analogy.

Experiment time!

Let’s kick things off with a little experiment.

  1. Go to Facebook and look up a political post (right or left – it doesn’t matter)… Go ahead.  Right now.  I will wait.
  2. Count how many times there was a negative, derogatory or demeaning comment or implication about the opposing view in the post / article / comments.
  3. If it was less than 5, you hit Internet gold!

You see, even though we “communicate” more than ever we are more divided than ever.  We talk, talk, talk, but do we listen?  What is the purpose of our talking?  More often that not, we talk for self-affirmation.  That is, we say things that our like minded friends will agree with so we feel better about ourselves.  “Yay we won, we sure showed those idiots.”  or “Four years of pain and suffering, because people are idiots.”  Self-affirmation in communication is not communicating.  Believe it or not, it is bullying.  Yes, you read the right.  You are being a bully when you post or say derogatory comments about people that do not agree with you.  You are building your self-esteem at the expense of others.  That is the definition of bullying.  It is disrespectful, demeaning and destructive.  You will not persuade others with that kind of dialog.  But, then again, if it is self-affirmation you are after, that was never your intent was it?  If you are seeking to persuade, you will find that Aristotle did not include insults in his rules of Apologetics for a reason.

Teaching our Children to do Better or Learning from our Children.

Both major parties made a hash of their rhetoric, insulting and demeaning their opponents and their opponents followers, apparently forgetting all along, that they would be the leader of those  Americans too.  They were good examples of what not to do.  I have said it before, and I will say it again:  You must do what you want your children to learn.   So, if we want our children to obey the playground rules, we need to as well.  In case you forgot what they are, here is a refresher. 

  1. Respect those in Authority.  Whether it is YOUR candidate or THEIR candidate that wins, after the election they are OUR President-elect.  Every President, especially ones I disagree with, will always be referred to with their honorarium: President Soandsuch. Don’t resort to the lazy, familiarization of the media that likes to refer them only by their last name like they are part of some sports team.  You don’t call your teacher by their first name like they are one of the gang and you certainly shouldn’t treat those officials in the civic sphere that way either.
  2. Listen to others. If they have a different perspective, have you listened?  I mean truly listened to why their perspective is different.  Do you seek to understand what experiences caused them to think that way?  They may not even be able to articulate why they feel the way they do, but they are people and chances are they have reasons to believe like they do.  Have you put yourself in their shoes?  Have you walked a mile in them?  Johnny might have a valid reason why he needs that ball now and not later.  You have 2 ears and 1 mouth.  Listen twice as much as you talk.
  3. Don’t insult people. Yes, you may actually be right, and they may really have a lower IQ than you, but that does not give you the right to demean them because you were blessed with more intelligence.  Apparently, you haven’t figured out that greater gifts mean more responsibility to help others, not belittle them.  What kid would ever get away with insulting or demeaning kids who are less intelligent?  But, here is a newsflash – chances are that kid you thought was so dull, is really gifted, and you missed it completely.  BONUS:  A corollary to #2.  For every defect in others you identify, find 2 in yourself (trust me, they are there for all of us).
  4. Don’t Exclude. If your little circle looks just like you, talks just like you and thinks like you, then you are probably a little insecure. Expand your world.  Go ahead.  You might find that you didn’t know as much you thought you did AND you might discover some REALLY GREAT people that you would have otherwise missed out on.  So, don’t horde the slide to your little clique of friends.  Those other kids would certainly enjoy it, and you will benefit from your time with them.
  5. Apologize.  When you mess up, fess up.  Then do your best to make it like it never happened.  Own your mistakes.  Learn from them.  Become a better person.  Help those you hurt. If you knocked Billy off of the swing, apologize and make sure he is okay.  Get him the help he needs, if he is not.  Learn not to run past the swing when kids are getting on.
  6. Accept Differences.  We seem to tolerate anything these days but someone that disagrees with us.  We are all different and that is part of what makes life together great.  That doesn’t mean we have to agree.  It also doesn’t mean that if you disagree with me that you are somehow phobic or a bigot.  Yes, it is possible to disagree with someone different than you and the disagreement has nothing to do with fear or prejudice.  It just means you think differently.  At the same time, some ideas are genuinely bad ideas.  If you want to jump off the top of the slide, that is a bad idea.  If I feel compelled to tell you, as a friend that I think your choice is dangerous, that doesn’t mean I don’t like you, respect you or that I am afraid of different ideas.  It just means I care and wish better for you.  In the end, it is your choice, I respect that, but you should also respect that my disagreement and warning is out of compassion, and not fear.  Likewise, I hope that when it is my turn to have a dumb idea (because we all do) you will feel like you can tell me so.  I might not agree, but I won’t be offended.  That is what sharing the playground is all about.
  7. Learn to Laugh.  Seriously, we all need to lighten up and stop taking ourselves so seriously.  We need to learn to laugh at ourselves.  When we trip on the sidewalk and nothing is there, that is kind of funny.  Enjoy it.  Let others enjoy it too.  We cannot be so self-absorbed to believe that every thought and action that we participate in is a blessing to human history.  We need to get over ourselves and enjoy life.  If what we have is so good, it ought to show by the joy and peace on our face.  If you look like you just downed a bottle of prune juice, then you might want to reconsider whether you are cut out for the playground police.  Perhaps you should spend more time on the slide, the swing, or my favorite (which is really hard to find these days) the merry-go-round, and less time telling others how to enjoy them.   

  Pass the Baton…

Another generation is watching us.  They are looking to see how we handle these differences between us.  We have a choice to make.  We can be hypocrites and break all of the playground rules or we can do what we tell them to do.  They look like they are having a lot of fun so the rules are clearly working.  For my part,  I will enjoy my time while it is my time, and I will play by the playground rules.  I look forward to sharing the playground with you all and when my time is done, I look forward to watching the youngsters enjoy it (of course they will have all of the cool, new stuff that is “safe” to play with).  That is entirely different blog post…

5 Weeks–5 Boys

Before

Beautiful decided that the updates I was providing were not nearly complicated enough and we need to make them more challenging.  Well, okay, that is not what she said, but it makes a better story.  She wanted to have some fun with the numbers as we hit the home stretch.  So, here goes.

We are down to 5 weeks of Chemotherapy.  That also coincides with the 5 Boys (4 of them our children and one recently married to one of our children – who by the way does not yet have a nickname for this space).  So this installment will be sort of like a superhero story arc without the superheros.  To be specific, a story about one of our boys and Chemotherapy fun.

What you see in the picture is what we call “Before.”  Yes, that is Beautiful’s  hair before she puts it on.  Occasionally, she decides not to wear it and goes with a hat or such.  And so begins our tale.

Yesterday, while we were at her Chemotherapy session, we received a text from Thunder with that picture.  Apparently, he was walking through our bathroom to get to the overstock pantry (that is another story for another time), and freaked because he thought there was an animal on our counter.  I have seem him spook once in a while and it is pretty dramatic.  I wish I could have seen that one, but I have a pretty good idea what it looked like.  Imagine this massive young man sauntering along and then yelping out a “WOAH!” as he makes an unplanned evasive maneuver (e.g. jumps out his shorts).  Yeah.  It is pretty funny to see.  Mind you he is not the shrieking type, like his younger brother, but he does startle pretty well.  Needless to say, we all got a kick out of that one.

Beautiful is doing great.  They take blood before each session to make sure everything is functioning properly and based on where we are at, the Oncologist believes we shouldn’t have any complications through to the end.  We are hopeful, but we are also mindful that God knows what is best for us.

After

Until next week where we discuss the number 4.  By the way, here is the “After.”

Sing a Song of 6…

Number 6

I am sure you all remember (well those that are our age anyway) the number song from Sesame Street.  We have a new appreciation for number 6 in our house.  That is the half-way point for Beautiful’s severe Chemo.  She will have another 9 months of chemo that is significantly more mild (and we are told will actually boost her immune system), but that is the future and 6 is now.

Chemotherapy is an amazing process.  The doctors are essentially infusing controlled poisons to suppress the parts of the complicated system that is the patient’s body.  In way of analogy (because who doesn’t love an analogy), think of your body like an orchestra and Cancer is a very bad drummer.  In order to quiet that particular participant, the entire percussion section must be silenced.  The  conductor cannot call upon any of them without calling for all of them.  Chemotherapy does exactly that.  It shuts down (or significantly slows down) the parts of the body that contribute to cell growth, etc.   I know this is a massive oversimplification, but that is the point of analogy after all.

Of course when you start shutting down things in the body, you are going to have some challenges.  We are right in the thick of those.  Beautiful has started to loose her hair.  Since her hair was so thick before chemo, after a few weeks of that, she now has the hair that most ladies do.  She did cut it down to a pixie cut to help with scalp irritation, but otherwise, it is hard to tell.  Her heart is working harder now (ah the wonders of FitBit) because she has fewer cells in her blood to get the work down.  She is also taking medicine for nausea constantly (as well as a few others) but for the most part, she can still eat fairly normally.  Where we all notice it the most is her energy.  She doesn’t have the same energetic buzz that she used to have.  Thunder and I do what we can so she doesn’t have to worry about the smaller children, but we all know what a couple of guys are like as replacements for one Supermom.   It is sort of be like the difference between what we were all hoping for in this presidential election, and what we actually get to chose from.  I know, pathetic right!?

Needless to say, the entire process continues to be a faith building experience for all of us.  God has given us many new friends and plenty of opportunities to talk about what God is doing in our lives.  Most days we are all doing pretty well trusting the Lord for His provision and protection.  When one us is in a funk, usually the others are able to pick them up again.  So far, we have not had any days where ALL of us are in a funk.  That could get noisy (or nosier than our house usually is).  I pray that day does not come!

Jesus said each day has enough trouble of its own and we are learning to live that.  Yesterday’s troubles are gone with the sun and each day is a new opportunity to hit reset and give our all.  For now, we are content to be half way, so we will keep singing our song of 6 and enjoying the time we have.

12 Days and only 10 Left

pink-awareness-ribbon-hi

Part of the spice of life is that some days are unique and stand by themselves as special markers in life.  I am not referring to days that sneak up on you unexpectedly, like baby’s first steps or a lost tooth.  I am referring to those days that are marked on the calendar well in advance.  Sometimes they are circled in a different color or have some other embellishment that declares to all that that particular day is special.

We have 12 of those days.  Since I have been off the blog lately 2 of them have already passed so, we have 10 ahead of us.  Those days are Chemo days.  While that might seem like an odd thing to have on your calendar as a special day, you have to be here, in this place to understand.  I know a year ago, I wouldn’t have understood.  Walking the cancer journey gives you a different perspective about a lot of things.  For instance, your definition of a good day goes from something really great happening, like being in the neighborhood when Krispy Kreme is HOT NOW (once you have you know what I mean), to Beautiful managed to put together 5 continuous hours of sleep.  It goes from, “did the kids get ‘A’s on their work” to “did they get their homework done and actually turned in.”  Your focus goes from “did they have on a coordinated outfit” (Beautiful is the amazing at this – me, not so much) to “did I manage to get the baby dressed today.”

I think my first real wake up call was during Beautiful’s first chemo session.  She had received a whole battery of drugs to “prepare” her for the cancer killing ninja drug, so we were there for a while and the nurse had come and gone.  A little while later, she came back in a full surgery gown, complete with face shield.  At first, I assumed she had been assisting in surgery some where because this is a Cancer Center after all.  Once she hung the I.V. bag, I put it together.  No, she was not just in surgery.  The ninja had arrived.  Complete with warning labels all over it about special care, and disposal precautions that were necessary for the safe handling of this particular drug.  That is when it hit me.  This is poison.  It is so dangerous that you cannot get it on your skin, and they were about to put this right in my bride’s veins.  Wow.  That was a full brain freeze moment.  Later I learned that for 48 hours after the ninja has done its work, body fluids like sweat are toxic.  Yeah, your perspective about a lot of things is going to change at that point.

When you have time to process all of that, you start to put some other things together.  Like the fact that somewhere, someone thought to do this and tried it on people.  You know they got it wrong at least a few times and your heart goes out to the families of those people.  There are those that had too much of the Cancer Ninja and suffered horrible side effects.  Then are the other ones that didn’t get enough and lost the fight.  I am grateful to our Lord, those doctors and those brave souls that endured those trials.  My bride is benefiting from all of that learning, testing and suffering.  So, here we are, celebrating the 12 weeks of chemo with 10 more Chemo days in front of us.  Every Tuesday for the next 10 weeks will be a small victory party.  Each will be one session closer to being done.

Yes, my definition of a good day has changed.  The bar will probably drop lower still as the effects of the chemo build, but we will cross that bridge if we find ourselves in front of it.  For now, we victor in the small things.  To celebrate this particular 12 / 10 day, I will leave with you 2 Corinthians 12:10

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Yes, my definition of a good day has changed.  We are content in our weakness, hardship and calamity, for when we are weak, then we are strong!  10 more days of hardship to strength ahead of us!

Beautiful’s Burden

Harvest Asparagus

I was blessed growing up in many ways.  One of those blessings (although at the time, it didn’t always feel like one) was having a job harvesting asparagus. It started in the spring, and we would get up early before school, (when the temperatures were just above freezing) to be ready to work as soon as the sun provided enough light to see.  I remember my first trip down the row.  It dropped down a hill so I couldn’t see the bottom.  If I looked up to try to see the end, I was overwhelmed with the task.  Everyone else had done this before and they all seemed so capable.  The size of the job and my lack of experience was crushing down on me.  I remember my sister telling me, “Just look down at what your doing and you will get there before you know it.”  That was the key.  Focus on the individual asparagus, knife, grab, and on to the next.  Before I knew it, I was at the first dump bin.  Then the next. Then the next.  And finally the end of the row.  It turns out my sister’s advice is pretty good regarding most things in life.

Beautiful is in that exact situation now.  We felt like we had this cancer thing pretty well in hand.  Yes, she is still in pain and yes she has a lot of healing to do, but we felt like we were managing it pretty well.  The medicines were mostly happening on time (I missed one last night for her and that created a lot of extra pain).  The kids, with the help of neighbors and other friends are being cared for. Our neighbors, friends and church family are providing meals so I can focus on the rest.  All in all it seemed like things were going pretty smoothly.  The best part is all the reports we received were incredibly positive.  The surgery was an incredible success.  Her pathology reports showed the cancer had not spread and all seemed well.  We were starting to look down the row to see how far we were before the end.  That was when we discovered, we still can’t see the end.

We met with the Oncologist today and he explained that she had the best type of cancer you could get.  She had a very small cancer that had only invaded a small area.  It was not aggressive and it tested positive to respond to hormones (which means it can be controlled by reducing them).  Fantastic news!  But there was an anomaly.  Her cancer also tested positive for HER2  which is most often found with large aggressive cancers.  There are no studies for effective treatment of HER2 positive cancers that are very small because it is very rare to ever have that situation.

The doctor was well into the treatment he was recommending before it registered that he was talking about Chemotherapy.  That was a “I just want to sit down in the row and not move until they plow the dirt over me moment.”  Everyone has seen the results of chemotherapy, but not everyone has lived it.  We haven’t yet, but we have done enough reading to know it is hard.  It is hard to endure and it is hard to watch your loved one endure it.  What made it harder still was the fact that it was so unexpected.  It seemed like things were going so well.

And truly they are.  We are still stuck in the middle of the row we can’t see the end of, but we know who made the row.  We know that He made that row just for us.  He made it so we would be perfected in ways that we could not be otherwise.  Today, I don’t know what that future work will be or how this will change us, but I know it will and it will make us better fit to serve Him.  We just need to keep our heads on what we are doing.  Knife, grab and on to the next one.  The glorious end will be here before we know it.

Tomorrow, You’re Only a Day Away!

pink-ribbon

We have always tried to teach our children to plan for the future, but live in the present.  People waste their entire lives thinking about tomorrow and when they wake up, they find it is still another day away.  Lately, we have been in that mode ourselves.  Fortunately, there has been plenty to keep us focused on today so Tomorrow didn’t  seem so BIG.  You know, little stuff, like a wedding, children starting 3 different schools, cabinet making (okay, I only made one – it turned out pretty well, but I don’t have time for more), etc.

Well, our tomorrow will truly arrive when the sun comes up.  It is the day that has loomed large on our calendar for over a month.  It has been talked about, prayed about and planned for.  Tomorrow is the day Beautiful begins treatment.  When we wake up, Beautiful and I will scurry around getting ready, we will wake the kids for school and we will head for the hospital before they are fully awake.  She will get prepped for surgery and after an hour or two, they will get started.  Five hours later, it is supposed to be over.  It all sounds so simple and clinical when you think about it like that.  The reality is that it is far from that.

Thunder asked me the other day, why I thought God allowed Beautiful to get cancer.  Part of his question is a desire to know, but part of it is also a desire for the comfort that everything will be okay.  I explained to him that we may never know the answer while we walk this earth, but we do know that God does.  God knows because He allowed it.  He only allows things into our lives that make us more like Christ. So, I explained that what He allows either tears down the part that is not Christ in us, or it builds up the part that is Christ in us.  The good and the bad are all part of that process.  We don’t understand the how anymore than we understand how prayer changes us, but it does.  So, we are prepared for our tomorrow.

“…what He allows either tears down the part that is not Christ in us, or it builds up the part that is Christ in us.”

Our tomorrow is based on what the doctors think  they know.  They will be the first to admit, that they can’t know more until tomorrow.  That means we will go into surgery with one plan, and we may leave surgery with a completely different plan.  That will depend on what they find tomorrow.  If Beautiful’s tumor turns out to be in the state they believe it is, she only need endure months of recovery and the frustration of not being able to care for her children the way she would like, and the way they are all used to.  It is difficult to Mommy effectively when you can’t raise your hands over your head or pick up more than 5 pounds.  If the tumor is not in the state they believe it is, there will be many more tomorrows of treatment before she can consider herself on the road to recovery. 

One of those Tomorrows will be tough.  Many more tomorrows will be MUCH harder to endure.  So, we go to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask that He provide the Tomorrow that He knows is best for us.  We ask that you will pray with us.  Pray that Beautiful, and our entire family would direct the world to God tomorrow.  Pray that the children will seek comfort in Him tomorrow.  Pray the that doctors will know wisdom and will see God’s design in all that He does tomorrow.  Pray for patience for us, while we wait out what His will is for us tomorrow.  Tomorrow we will find out.  It is good that it is only a day away.   

Butterfly Kisses

Mr and Mrs

Our Princess and her Prince Charming were wed yesterday.  I couldn’t be happier!  Everything, and I  mean everything, was perfect.  Yes, it could have been a little cooler.  It might have been nice to have had more cool beverages on hand for guests to enjoy.  The cake could have been a little fluffier.  I am sure if I dwelt on things long enough, I could come up with a list of things that were not perfect.  But those things don’t matter one bit.

Beautiful and I focused on preparing her for this day for as long as I can remember.  You see for each of our children, we try to prepare them to be a good spouse.  Our world is geared around teaching them to be good at everything else, but very little preparation is ever given to ready them for committing to another person, by choice through thick and thin.  On the contrary, we live in a society that seeks to eliminate any kind of responsibility for anything.  Commitment is not something  that we hear a lot about.   That makes the lessons we teach as parents all the more important.

Yes, there was the usual household skill training that Beautiful imparted to her.  I tried to help Princess understand and engage as an equal partner that alien species called “Men.”  I like to think we did a  pretty good job.  Princess is excellent with her household skills, but she will clearly do it differently than Beautiful.  Princess is also great at spotting logic fallacies, articulating an excellent position and dialoging in challenging ways, while simultaneously enjoying things that normally interest those MEN.  Together we tried to model working together and sacrificing for one another.  Most importantly, we tried to show her that true harmony together, comes from true harmony with God.  Some days we did better than others.  All of that preparation culminated in a brief, beautiful and inspiring ceremony.     

You see this was the perfect transition from one story to a new story.  Our Princess has grown and blossomed.   Our Princess went from being one of many in our story, to being a partner in their story.   Yes, she will still be part of our family, and now, so is he.  But, it will not be like it was.  They have their own story to write, their own songs to sing and their own paintings to paint.  We are here as a foundation and a bulwark of sorts, but we are not central to their story.  They, and their relationship with Jesus Christ, are central to their story.  They will make decisions together.  Some we will applaud with fervor, while some will baffle and frustrate us.  But our approval no longer matters.  That all changed, when I placed her hand in his yesterday.

Our Princess went from being one of many in our story, to being a partner in their story.

For my part, as father of the bride, I was good with all of it.  I have watched her grow and blossom, and I was excited more than anything for her.  I was good with it all until the Father – Bride dance.  She selected Butterfly Kisses as the song.  I didn’t know she even knew that one.  It was my theme song for her for many years.  It describes exactly what took place yesterday.  My little girl spread her wings and became the Great Queen alongside her Great King.  I thank God for His mercy and blessing me to see this day.  That is why everything, was perfect, despite, the heat, and the cake, it was PERFECT.  I look forward to the chapters they will write together.

The Weatherman Missed by a Mile

pink-ribbonWe all know the drill.  You wake up, check the weather and prepare for the day.  It used to be you had to look out the window or if you were more sophisticated, you might have a barometer around to take a check (if you knew how to use it).  Now, we just roll over in bed and check our smart gadget of choice to see what our day will hold.   Even in a place like North Carolina were the weather will be predictably, unpredictable, the weather gurus generally get it in the ballpark.  Once in a while, they miss by a country mile.  We prepare for a picnic at the beach  and it is freezing and wet.

We have had one of those weeks.  Beautiful called me on Thursday and asked me to clear my calendar because the doctor called and asked her to come in for additional tests.  He wouldn’t give us any more information.  That is always, an “Uh oh,” moment.  After arriving, they explained that they noticed some anomalies in her tests and needed more detail to be conclusive.  After the procedure, the physician explained that he suspected there may be cancer and they would need to do more tests to be sure.  That was when the rain really began to fall on our little picnic.  After a long weekend where Beautiful ran through all of the emotions one would humanly expect: fear, hurt, anger, etc., and a very painful biopsy, I continued to pray and support my normally cheerful bride.  It pained me most that this incredible flower seemed to be withering before her time.  That was when the prayers rained down.  Almost like a light switch, she went from anger and fear to peace and joy.  I cannot tell you how much of a blessing it is see that kind of a transformation.  On Wednesday we received the verdict.  Without a doubt it was the “C” word: CANCER.  But my wife wasn’t overwhelmed with tears when they told her.  She was resting in her faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  She cried, but it wasn’t out of fear or anger.  She cried because of God’s faithfulness in friends, family and in really, really good doctors.  You see she understands this for it really is: an opportunity for our Lord Jesus Christ to receive glory and an opportunity for our faith to grow.

She has shared that she is really excited to see what God does through all of this.  It has given her an additional level of boldness to talk about her love and faith in God.  If you have been around us “bible” people very much, you have probably heard someone quote Romans 8:28 when there is a trial.  The funny thing is, that we usually get it wrong.  I have known my bride a long time, and I know where her hope is.  She gets it.  You see that verse is connected to bunch of others.  Here is the frame around 8:28:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8:18-19

Paul has a larger discussion about creation and our hope and brings it home with:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:28-29

When you bring these together you see clearly what Paul is NOT saying.  He is not saying that our skies will always be “Sunshine and Lollipops.”  On the contrary, he is telling us that when the rain comes we need to embrace it because it makes us more like Christ. 

She is in for a lot of pain.  Our lives will be very different for at least a few months.  But, we know that there is good in the pain as there is joy in the rain.  We are all going to grow and it will be glorious.  I don’t know how much rain we are going to get and I am sure we will all be sick of it before we see the sun again.  But this much I know, our Lord will never leave us and my bride will be loved through it all.

And so it begins…

20150613_140931471_iOSThis cute little girl is our little Bright Eyes.  She is a miracle in many ways and her life is the inspiration for the next chapter of ours.  That is why I wanted her to do the honors.  You see this little girl has already done something twice, that only a small portion of the population can claim, but it is something we will all do at some point.  She died.  Twice.  She spent five days on life support and had every drop of her blood removed from her body, filtered, and put back in.  For the first four months, she couldn’t cry to tell you she needed something.  For the first three years we had to thicken everything she drank or she would aspirate her liquids.  When she was four, we didn’t know if she would ever be able to attend school.

You would be hard pressed to know that by visiting with her.  To most, she is a curious, energetic girl that is living at a different speed than the rest of us.  She has many nicknames.  Butterfly, Bright Eyes, Purple Tornado, etc.  She is the only girl that I know that needs 4 changes of clothes before she makes it out the door for school (yes that really happened).  We praise God, she is attending school and just completed Kindergarten.  We lived all of her first years with her and we have to remind ourselves now where she came from.

She is a miracle.  A miracle by God, shaped with the hands of skilled physicians and therapists.  She is living proof, what a dauntless heart, with the right treatment can become.  We have watched her grow into a beautiful young lady full of life and curiosity.  We have seen her struggle and overcome with the help of the right therapies.  She is victory embodied.

Our other young ones have similar triumph stories, although not as severe as hers.  They had big obstacles to overcome, and all of them will have to wrestle with those challenges the rest of their lives.  But, they are learning how to overcome, cope and subdue those challenges so they can enjoy life and contribute in positive ways.  That is what therapy can do.

I have a confession.  I wasn’t a fan of therapy initially.  It was inconvenient.  It took a LOT of Beautiful’s time and I was skeptical that it would ever accomplish anything.  It didn’t take long to move me from skeptic to, “How do we get more kids benefitting from therapy?”  And that is exactly the next chapter of our life.

Bright Eyes, and her victory inspired our quest to bring the right therapy to the right children.  That is why she was the one I chose to put the application for our Nonprofit Corporation into the mail.   Our new quest is to start a Therapy Farm to provide just the right therapy for every child.  I pray you will stick around for the next chapter.  I expect it will be even more exciting than the last.

Don’t use it all at once

GenerousSampleWe all know the helplessness of discovering that you are out of “personal tissue” (AKA Toilet Paper) after you have found yourself in the state where you need personal tissue.  After you have been there, you learn to be a bit more proactive and replenish supplies before someone is stranded.  Yesterday, Beautiful was giving directions to Bright Eyes in order to avert future catastrophe.

I wandered into the master bath in time to hear the directions Beautiful gave her in order to find the T.P.  After she was gone for at least twice as long as she should have, Bright Eyes arrived with her contribution, all smiles and pleased as punch that she could help.

Yep, you guessed it.  That little 2 ply square is what she brought to replenish our depleted supply.  It might not be effective, but she sure had fun bringing it.