Friday, October 24, 2008

Has It Really Been Almost 3 Weeks?!?!

This is terrible!

I can't believe that it has been almost 3 weeks since I last made a post! The only reason I can give is . . . well, let me put it to you this way:

Have you ever watched a juggler juggle? Have you ever noticed that his eyes are on each ball and yet at the same time not seeing them? He's just making sure it's right where it needs to be so he can keep it moving. If you're an expert juggler, I'm sure you don't lose track of any detail . . . or maybe you do and are just able to cover it up really well. As for me, suffice it to say that I'm NOT an expert juggler and some details get overlooked sometimes.

What I haven't overlooked is my list of prayer concerns. This ministry is very important to me and I'm going to vow right now to update the list of prayer concerns, if nothing else, weekly.

So what has caused me to lose track of my . . . juggling objects? My priorities, I guess. After I made the last post, I had parent/teacher conferences that I had to prepare for, which went very well, but is still always a little nerve wracking for a teacher. Then most of last week we spent in Ohio visiting our family and friends. It was great to visit with everyone. We kept up some old traditions (Chris got out his dad's guitar and we had a little jam fest in his parents' living room) and started some new traditions (My granny, grandpa, and Chris taught me how to play pinochle. It was Grandpa and me vs. Granny and Chris. Who won? GRANDPA AND ME . . . but the important thing is that we had fun, right???) Fall was in the air and it was very inspiring creatively.

So now, though I've had to revise my personal writing goals, I'm invigorated and ready to work steadily on it again starting this weekend. I know I promised you a snippet last time, but today I want to tell you another story of a little boy to touched my heart very deeply. I hope you don't mind.

This little boy was a nominee in my contest - his grandmother nominated him and his mother. Now, mind you, all of the entries that I received were very touching, truly, but this story touched me especially because little Kole would be about the age of my oldest daughter. He didn't win, but his story (and his mother's) is one of courage and perserverence and in these troubled times I think our world needs a little more Kole. These are the words I read from Kole's Grandma Nancy:

My nomination is Kole, my 6-year old grandson, who died 4/9/07 from a brain tumor. He touched everyone’s heart – especially Grandma & Grandpa’s. Because of what he went through and the pain he had to endure, I’ve developed a deeper meaning for our short life on earth and life after death. On 12/1/05, Kole (who was 4 at the time) was diagnosed with a growth in his brain. He was immediately transferred to Cleveland Clinic and on 12/2/05, Kole underwent surgery to remove the tumor. At first he was afraid. What he had to go through, no one was prepared for – especially Kole. After the tumor was removed, he couldn’t walk any more. But by Christmastime at St. Jude’s Children’s Cancer Research Hospital, he mastered his skill to walk again. Poor Kole had so many setbacks. Just when we thought everything was going in his favor, he had another setback. He never complained or asked, “Why me?” He just dealt with whatever was handed to him, and kept moving forward. He was a VERY smart little fellow. They tested him (now at the age of 5) during his stay at St. Jude’s, and his reasoning skills were that of a 5th grader. I had the pleasure of taking care of Kole by myself for a weekend at St. Jude’s without his parents being present. He’d have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and it wasn’t easy moving slowly along with his IV, and I expected to help him, but at the age of 5 he did it by himself and was proud of himself that he could. I praised him and told him, “Kole, you never cease to amaze me.” It brought a great big smile to his face. I also had the privilege to give him a shot in his internal port. Even though I’m not nurse material, I felt honored to help with Kole’s medical needs. And when I say I’m not nurse material, I truly mean it. As I was giving Kole his shot (breaking out in a sweat from nervousness), he pointed out to me that I was doing it wrong. At first I didn’t believe him, but he was right. He observed every move and learned from every experience. Grandma & Grandpa had the honor of allowing Kole and his family (Mom, Dad & his 2-year old sister) to live with us while their new house was being built. Kole loved life – he loved his trucks, he loved writing notes and mailing them, he loved making gifts for others, he loved learning and was working on mastering his reading skills. All this he did while he was recuperating from the surgery, the radiation and the chemotherapy. He even re-learned to ride his bicyle without training wheels. If Kole was faced with a challenge, he stepped up to the plate with much courage, and accomplished the task at hand. Kole hung on to this life to see his new brother, Judah, enter into this world. Judah was born April 1, 2007 and Kole was delighted to see him and hold him. He shared in the joy of Judah’s birth even though Kole’s days were numbered (now just 8 more days with his wonderful family on this earth). He turned 6 two days before his death. Even though he had been comatose for a short while, two days before his birthday he asked that my friend bake his birthday cake with Superman, Spiderman and Batman all on it. He was delighted with the cake (his last cake) and even asked for a few of his friends to stop by and celebrate with him. When they arrived, he knew exactly who they were and why they came. He even asked that the mother of his friends sing his birthday song solo to him (she is a music major with a beautiful voice and he even had enough faculties two days before his death to know this). On his 6th birthday, he and his family moved into their new home. He was able to enjoy the bedroom he helped decorate. It was blue (to match the colors of his Dad’s school colors) and was decorated with all his gifts from so many loving people who honored Kole throughout his illness. Two days later he died in his bedroom. It was his dying moment that probably touched us the most. After struggling with his breathing for a whole day, he cried two tears and smiled a BIG smile. When that happened, we all knew that he had seen something glorious and was happy to be with his heavenly Father. Thank you Kole for your bravery, your courage, your positive attitude and especially for your gift to us of that one last wonderful smile.

Rereading it now I have tears in my eyes. You know I have a weakness for kids. I cry for the pain and suffering Kole had to endure, but I'm also reminded that the Bible tells us that Jesus cried before He was crucified but He told His followers that He wasn't crying for what was about to happen to Him. He was crying for His friends stuck here on this sin-filled earth. (Of course, I'm paraphrasing.) Still, I cry. I cry for the shame I feel at knowing I couldn't have been so brave. I cry for his family as I'm sure they still deal with heavy grief everyday. I cry for Janni, his mother, who was nominated by Grandma Nancy for the female entry. Janni had to go through Kole's sickness with him while caring for Kole's younger sister AND becoming pregnant with Kole's little brother! I don't know if you caught it or not, but Janni had Baby Judah just 8 days before Kole went Home to be with his Heavenly Father. 8 days!!!! I don't know about you, but I can't go there mentally - the extreme joy coupled with the extreme grief. Truly this is a remarkable family and I thank you, Nancy, so much for sharing your precious family with me and giving me permission to share Kole and Janni with my blog followers.

: I don't have any new requests this time, but I do have some updates. Amanda Belsich unfortunately has not had a good report. The cancer was found in lymph nodes all throughout the 16-year-old's body. Please pray for healing for this young lady, that the Lord will do a mighty work in her and all will know the power of God! Pray for strength for her and her family. Please pray for wisdom and guidance for her doctors. Also please pray mightily for my very dear friend from high school, Patty Smith. She had a chemo treatment last Friday and I think she had one today, but in between she also had to have a blood transfusion because her hemoglobin count was down. Also, she asked for prayer specifically because her "cancer marker" was up and they suspect that the cancer will be a tougher opponent than they originally hoped. Please, please, lift my friend Patty up. Pray for her strength and healing. She has a son, three step children, and a foster child that they are wanting to adopt. Patty MUST be healthy to care for these little people who need her! According to 1 Kings, when Elijah prayed for the Lord to bring rain and end the famine, he prayed tirelessly and sent his servent up the mountain 7 times to look for rain clouds, but he also thanked God IN ADVANCE for the mighty work that He was going to do. And on that seventh time, the servant reported that there was a cloud the size of a man's hand on the horizon. By the time it reached Mt. Carmel it was a full out rain storm!!! I thank God in advance for the healing that is going to come to Patty and I pray that the tiniest sign of hope will multiply exponentially until she is receiving showers of blessings. I saw my grandma, Angela Dominick, while we were visiting in Ohio and she seems to be healing little by little. I think she has almost graduated from the walker to just using a cane. She still has some pain so please pray for that and she is still adjusting to her lifestyle change as she was a very active person. Carie Lawyer's father is home from the hospital and still recovering after having a stroke. I believe he is doing well, but please continue to pray for complete healing for him. I have had several families on the list who have lost loved ones. After speaking with the contact person for each family, I can report that they are all doing "as well as can be expected". Anyone who has ever lost a loved one knows that it's a long road ahead filled with some good days and plenty of hard moments. The Lord will continue to heal their broken hearts as the days go by. I believe our prayers got these families through the very difficult and most likely shocking devastation before the rebuilding has to come. So, I am going to take these families off our list, but I will continue to update you on them as I receive updates. Until then, if you or someone you know has a prayer concern (even if it is unspoken - God knows all of our needs after all) please email me personally through my profile and I will be more than happy to post it. There IS power in prayer!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Jen, so glad you had a wonderful fall break. This time of refreshing will be evident in your writing, I'm sure. Thanks so much for sharing those who are on your prayer list as I can add my faith with them.