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Thursday, January 26, 2012

asher's best friend

i don't know where to start this post.  i have tried to write it several times.  typed, deleted, tried again.  sometimes the words are hard to find.  sometimes the posts are not easy to write.  sometimes, life is just hard.  but i share this with you because it is my heart.  because a precious, amazing family needs a miracle and because i know you will pray with us.

so meet rusty.  he's asher's best friend.  they have been best friends since either of them can remember.  they are two peas in a pod.  they are rough and tumble.  they sword fight and run and jump.  they would entertain their mothers this summer jumping on the trampoline and practicing their karate moves.  they are all boy and they are all boy together.  rusty is like another son to us.  he blends into our family so easily when he's with us {so does his older sister when she is here with our mia}.  he outwardly is all boy and all tough.  but he is so sweet and so caring.  he always checks on ethan and is always the first ones to defend the girls or the mommies from the forces of evil.  you should see him with his mama ~ would melt your heart right there.

defending everyone from the forces of evil
well right before Christmas we got a surprise.  not the fun kind.  not the nice kind.  the kind that scares you.  the kind you hope to never get.  rusty had been having headaches for a little while and just not feeling right.  a little sleepy.  so his parents took him to the doctor and a scary, nightmare began to unfold.  over the next several weeks we learned that rusty had a brain tumor.  then we learned it was also along the entire length of his spine ~ on both sides.  then we learned it was definitely cancer.  then we learned the name.

it's pineoblastoma. it's incredibly rare.  and it's mean and it's nasty and it's not nice to kids ~ at all.  if you are under three they don't even treat it.  they tell you to take pictures and cuddle and enjoy every second that you have left.  if you are over eight your odds are better.  but rusty is only 4 1/2.  and the doctors were honest and they talked about all the facts and the course of treatment {there are only a very few doctors in the whole country who work with this horrible thing and all of them have seen rusty's tests and data and all of them have weighed in and work together}.  and then the doctors asked if his parents wanted the odds.  and as gently as they could they told them that asher's best friend has a 20% chance of being here next Christmas. 20%

and we talked that night.  over kleenex and wine.  and my heart broke as i watched my friend's do the same.  and i listened as they told other family.  and my already broken heart shattered even more.  i watched as dad pulled his sweatshirt hood over his head and watched video of his son and mama would get quiet and i thought the emotion would choke me to death.

and i went home in the wee hours of the morning. after hugs and prayers and plans.  and i cried.  and i got angry.  and i got still.  and i called out to my Father who loves me.  who loves rusty ~ more then any of us can even imagine or begin to.  and i placed rusty in His arms.  in the arms of Jesus and i prayed for a miracle.

and i know God heard me.  and i know He is working.  there are signs of it already.  and the support has been amazing.  the outpouring of love for this family will undo you ~ i promise.  i am overcome when i stop long enough to think about how much God is pouring out His love for this family through the community around them.  through people all over the country and even all over the world.  rusty's story is spreading and the number of people praying on his behalf is a true testimony to the LOVE God has for him.

he is strong enough to beat this!
and i share all of this to humbly ask you to join with us.  his parents are not shy about stating the facts or sharing rusty's story {and they are okay with sharing it here}.  we believe in God.  we believe in Jesus.  we believe in miracles.  and rusty needs a miracle.  he needs it now.  will you please join with us as we go after 20% like no group of people has ever gone after 20% before?  will you pray with us for rusty's miracle?  because God is good.  because is bigger then cancer.  because God loves this little boy.  and because with God, nothing is impossible.  from the bottom of my heart thank you.  thank you.  thank you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

snow day

weird weather here.  i mean weird.  it's winter.  usually it's cold and snowing and it stays that way for awhile.  but this winter has been totally different.  it's been unusually warm.  then over the weekend it snowed.  i mean it s.n.o.w.e.d.  lots of it.  all white and soft and perfect for playing outside.  the first really good snow we have had this year {even though we are already halfway through january!}.  and so the outdoors began to beckon us as the snow drifted down through the evening sky.
the whole family

away zooms asher
go eli go
so when we woke up to the beautiful blanket of white {and nice clear roads} we grabbed the sleds and my dad and headed out to go sledding.  it just made me think of all those norman rockwell, childhood memory kind of moments.  the kids all bundled up until only their eyes are sticking out.  rosy little cheeks from the cold.  mittens and gloves and snowpants and boots.  and giggles and smiles and crisp white snow everywhere.
papa, ethan {hiding in the middle} & asher
pushes from papa
and down the hill they went.  solely or in pairs or in any combination they could come up with.  up they would come dragging sled behind.  only to quickly zoom down again.  who could go the farthest, the fastest, the longest?  and ethan even went down ... a few times.  then he was all about being in arms and then being warmer in the van.  so we watched his siblings zoom down the hill again and again until it was simply time to eat and warm up.  to pile back into the van and blast the heat and head to mana and papa's for hot chocolate with marshmallows.
love how they love each other ... and how little they look

bye for now

Friday, January 20, 2012


it was my lunch hour.  i ran across the highway to grab lunch quick at the gas station before the afternoon's patients arrived.  it was cold and snow crunched under foot.  the kind of cold that cuts through you and numbs hands in seconds.  i am hurrying back to my car.  away from the cold.

and he stops me.  bundled in his coat, looking a bit disheveled.  tells me he has lost his job.  he and his girlfriend have lost their trailer home and are headed to his parents to try to get back on their feet.  do i have any money i could spare for gas to get them to his parents in a town an hour away.

and i pause. and the lies of society and the walls of self-above-others scream to get in my car and leave.  rationalize that he is running a scam for money that is heard about on the news or in email.  feel almost offended that he asks me because i am so sure he is going to take advantage of me.  but i stop. and slowly my heart takes over. 

"let me see what i have in my wallet."  knowing i have about $4. then i go further against the protesting in my head.  ask him where his car is. {and the protesting justifies the asking, the involvement ~ if he can't answer then he's lying}. and he shows me a car next to a pump.  and i pull my car around.  and inside the girlfriend sleeps.  and i get out.  and i ask him how much gas he needs.   how full is the tank?  and he looks puzzled.  and responds they have only a little bit. 

and with the protests screaming and my mouth not speaking in the nicest tone me heart pulls out my wallet.  and my fingers are cold in the air.  and i see his breath as he watches me.  the girlfriend wakes up ~ our talking having woken her.  and she watches too.  and i lift the nozzle.  and with frigid fingers i swipe my card and begin to fill his tank.  and he watches.  and as the amount nears $40 he begins to protest.  "no really, that's plenty.  you don't have to do that. i'm sure that's plenty." he says.

and the lies that have been taught scream out.  see ~ he feels guilty because he's scamming you and you just spent 10x what you had in your wallet.  see ~ if you were going to fall for this you should have just gone with the $4.  and my heart wrestles and i fill his tank.  close the cap and replace the nozzle. and he starts to ask for my name and address to repay me.  and i stop him.  and the tender finally comes in my voice.  "no.  you just do the same for someone else when you get back on your feet."  and i smile.  and he blesses me. 

and before the protests can come the heart obeys God and i kneel next to him in his car.  ask to pray for them.  bless them with protection, provision and peace.  seat them in the lap of God and ask that He watch over them.  shut them in the car and watch them drive away.

and the cold comes back fierce and the wrestling continues the rest of the day.  i will have to tell pete.  tell him i spent $40 ~ might have been a scam.  but he rejoices when i tell him {and oh i am blessed}.  maybe it was a scam.  maybe it was not.  but he points out to me ~ what led me?  what did i listen to?  and i talk of my tone and my hesitation and my reservation.  and he talks of my action despite the conflict.  and he talks of a heart breaking forth with the walls of self-preservation down.  a heart that chose others over self.  and we talk of Jesus.  Jesus who reminds us that when we clothe the naked, feed the hungry, care for the poor we are really doing these things for Him, as if He were the one we were caring for.  and really if i'm going to make a choice don't i always want to chose Him?  maybe it was a scam.  maybe it wasn't.  but in the end don't i always want to chose to care for others.  to love others.  isn't that what He asks of us?  others above self.  love above all.  maybe, just maybe i am learning this lesson.  i am choosing this choice.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

have you seen...

i've seen this weekend.  i've seen Him all around me.  in little moments.  in simple acts that would have gone unnoticed.  have you seen?

i saw Him. i sat in church and i watched as members long away returned.  watched as they sat down in an empty place.  as they stood to worship.  watched as families who have prayed, who have maintained the connection despite the distance, who love slowly heard His voice and realized the long gone presence.  and slowly they moved from their seats, surrounded those long gone.  hugs, handshakes and a simple return to worship.  watched as God poured out His love and welcomed the prodigals home in simple gestures.

i saw Him.  i saw Him call His people to arms.  watched with already tear stained cheeks as an entire church family encircled a family believing for a miracle for their son.  watched as the prayers, declarations and expectations of God's mountain moving miracle went out.  watched as this mama locked eyes with her son amid the prayers.  watched the bond between the two of them breath of love and connection and home.  watched as she spoke into him life and destiny and love and peace and the miracle the grown-ups around him believed for.  and felt my heart nearly explode from the love and faith and presence of the Lord.

i saw Him.  as my youngest screamed in frustration at me and pointed.  as i lifted him up again realizing where he was pointing.  and in my tired arms he felt heavy.  and we went over to see.  countless times we had already done this.  countless times i had already lifted him up.  countless times we had talked over and looked at each little piece.  but we went again.  over we went to the nativity set.  and we looked and we saw.  as he yelled in his frustration for lack of words.  as he begged to see "gee-gee" {aka Jesus} one more time.  to point to and have each piece named ~ wiseman, ox, shephard, goat, sheep, angel, mary, joseph, star, camel, baby Jesus.  and as we did this countless times i thought of this post and thought of His presence.  and i saw.  a simple desire to see more of Him.

i saw Him.  as we sat for breakfast.  a treat for our family to all go out for breakfast.  bagels and warm gooey cinnamon rolls and laughter and talking.  and a gentleman stops.  and his wrinkled face leans in close to ethan and he comments.  and he smiles.  and we all share a moment.  and he ruffles baby hair and gets his coffee and returns to his table.  and soon a few minutes later another member of his table rises.  and comes over.  and stops. and comments.  we have spoken to every member of their table in turn by the time we leave to continue our surprise ride.  and in their eyes i see Him.  see Him looking to see if we will take some time for Him.  say a kind word to Him.  and i wonder what is it that they see?  what draws them over?

i have seen Him.  i am blessed.  have you seen?  He is there, around you, loving you.  i have seen.