Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Got Your Number!

Thank you all so much for your kind words and great response to the non-profit. (See below post regarding the non-profit if you haven't already). I really have to credit CJ with this because it is his heart to always want to help others that made us want to be more like him. It is the struggles that we have watched him and his siblings go through that make us want to ease this burden for other families in similar situations. It is the joy we have seen him experience from small gestures of kindness during this trial that make us want to share this same kindness with others.

CJ, and Children Battling Cancer, were featured on the news the other evening. That was an unexpected blessing and we hope it brings awareness to our cause. God has already done more than we could have asked or imagined in a such a short period of time and we have only just begun.

I have to share one particular story with you that really affected us. We were at an orientation at a local church for a new program we are adding to our homeschooling schedule this year. This church is hosting us by allowing us to use their facilities for a minimal fee and while we were there my girlfriend leaned over and said, "You know, I visited this church a few times and I remember a child with cancer mentioned when I was here." I thought, Wow, what a coincid...... and then before the word could completely form in my head, I heard, "There are no coincidences Dawn!"

Chris and I spoke with the Pastor to ask him about the child. We were surprised to discover that this child was also a 9 year old boy. Sadly, he passed away after a four year battle with cancer. These types of stories are extremely difficult to hear because I realize that somewhere along the way in that battle the child was probably doing really well, like CJ. Then the pastor went on to share that they also had a little girl who passed away after a long battle with cancer. He then walked us outside and showed us two bricks in the breezeway that had been placed there in their memory. Their names and the dates of their short lives were etched into the bricks. This was unexpected and I had to guard my heart carefully. Staring at the brick, I was surprised and ashamed of the sudden thought, I never want CJ's name to end up on a brick. But I realize that is not in my control so I had to surrender that selfish thought immediately. Chris and I went on to share with him about CBC and what we are doing through the chemo bag fundraiser and other projects to help these families. This church definitely has a heart for this ministry and has been touched deeply by the effects of childhood cancer.

I am so grateful the Lord brought us to this specific church for this program and I am acutely aware that I, and CJ, will walk over those bricks every Tuesday for the next 24 weeks. I pray that I will do it in a way that honors those two precious children and their families.

_______________________________________________

On a lighter note, CJ's baseball season has officially begun! He came home from practice last week and ran through the door and said, 'Mom, you will never guess what number I got." So of course I shouted back, "What number did you get?" He answered excitedly, "I got the number 3! Can you believe that?"

He wanted the number 3 because that is the number of his go-cart and was chosen specifically to represent the Trinity. Having that number reminds him that an all powerful, all knowing, strength giving God is with him at all times. He sees it as a symbol of his faith as you or I would wear a cross on our neck or place a fish on our car. It serves as a constant reminder of who he represents when he is out there on the field. He was so happy to have it and I was so happy for him.

CJ pitched a bit in his first game and it was so exciting. I can not even express the feelings of seeing him out there playing his heart out. I kept thinking that 11 months ago I was sitting in an office listening to the list of things CJ would have to go through, the list of things he could not do, the list of medications he would be taking, the list of complications that were possible and at that time this day felt so far away. I remember when the doctor told me he would lose all his hair. I was so sad. Then he said that within 6-9 months it would be coming back and CJ would be out playing like other kids. I did not believe him. I just stared at him and thought he was trying to be optimistic or cheer us up.

Now, here we are 11 months later and CJ's hair is back and he is out playing like other kids. It is still surreal in so many ways. I know his fight is not over and I live with that reality everyday. It is always with me that the next scan, the next blood test, the next ache or pain could be the beginning of this battle all over again. But at the moment I am simply grateful and astonished at how far he has come in so short a time.

Admittedly, there are times it is more difficult for me that he looks like all the other kids because his physical presence does not betray our inner battle. I guess my heart has not caught up with his physical progress yet. This became evident on Saturday during his first game. My mother was there with me and we were so excited watching him pitch that we could not sit still. I just could not believe I was watching him pitch in a baseball game.

We were down by 20 points at this point in the game and it was 100 degrees outside. All the other parents were sitting quiet and still in the shade and had to be wondering what in the world was wrong with us as we paced back and forth cheering him on, our excitement obvious. I looked over at Chris who was struggling to contain himself as well and I said, "Can you believe we are here?" I thought I should cry or shout or do something but instead I just thanked God silently.

There was this strange temptation to look back at all the parents and say, "Please excuse our excitement. He has cancer and this is a miracle you are witnessing." I didn't do it of course. I know God will show me the appropriate time to share our story with each parent. I do want them to know because I believe God can use CJ's story to benefit and bond this team in a special way. Even if it is a simple as one little boy being kinder to his teammates, or one parent being more patient with their own child's progress, then it will be a blessing to share our story.

During his second game he struck out and went back into the dugout positive and cheering his teammates on. This was a surprise because I know the amount of time he spends practicing and I know he wants his game to reflect that. This was also different from last year when he would get really frustrated with himself for striking out. I told him I was proud of his attitude and he said, "I don't care if I strike out as long as I go down swinging and trying my best." I sure hope that attitude lasts all season!

I realize most of our readers are not local but many that are have asked for his baseball schedule so you can come to one of his games and cheer him on. I will attach it to this post for anyone interested in attending a game. Email me for directions to the park if you need them.




___________________________________________________

On a more serious note, I would like to ask for prayer for CJ as he rediscovers the beautiful truths of the gospel all over again, like we all do when we come face to face with the depravity of our minds and our flesh. CJ found himself in a situation that lead him to come to me immediately and confess his sin and ask for prayer and accountability. (I still can not believe a 10 year old can walk through these truths better than I can at 35) . As I prayed with him, he thanked God over and over through tears for sending his Son to die for him. As a mom, I suffered and yet rejoiced at what I was witnessing. I was saddened by his pain but so grateful for his spirit. He asked me why he still felt so bad after prayer and confession and I told him it was important that he accepts God's grace and forgiveness but if God removed all memory of the sin and the consequences for it we would just continue to do it over and over again.

I also told him that since he was very little I have believed that God has plans for him. Now I realize God has plans for all our lives and that is a promise in Scripture we can all claim but I am talking about something more, something I have sensed since he was a child. I don't know if it was the cancer or something more and the cancer was just an attempt to destroy those plans. I have not theologically worked through all of this yet but I do believe CJ has suffered attack after attack untypical for a child his age. It began when he was a small child and suffered severely with anxiety unlike anything I had ever seen. Even a seasoned teacher whose class he was supposed to take, who assured me he would be fine, came out 10 minutes later and told me she had never seen fear in a child like that before and felt I should not enroll him in the class. Then, when when he was about 6 or 7, he suffered a fiery trial that nearly pulled me from the church. And now at 9 he is diagnosed with cancer. Sometimes I wonder if all these attacks are to divert him from the plan God has for him or just to prepare him for it. Then, I shudder as I realize that if they are just to prepare him for a life of serving God, we are probably not talking the "good life" working for Christ but the "to live is Christ and to die is gain kind of life." The real good life that includes sacrifice and often suffering. Then I think back on all the years of praying and continuing to pray for God to set CJ apart for His glory and wonder if I knew what I was doing when I prayed that. Maybe I wasn't well enough versed in the New Testament to pray that kind of prayer. Maybe I had not taken a good look at what being set apart for God's glory really looked like. I am tempted to to ask God to take my ignorance into consideration? But deep down, I know it wasn't done in ignorance. I knew what I was praying for and even so, I still say Yes and Amen although through tears and a heavy heart now.

As I close this post, I confess I am tempted to apologize to those of you who I may sound like some religious wacko to but my conscience won't allow it and it is probably way too late for that if you have followed this blog for any extended period of time. Instead, I will boldly ask for continued prayer for CJ both spiritually as well as prayer for his continued healing physically. I will admit I am stunned that anyone actually reads these posts. I am humbled that you would allow me this portion of your time to share our families burden and blessings with you through my inadequate words yet I am grateful for it and pray that it blesses you.



"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body whether by life or by death. For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."
(Philippians 1:-20)





Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's Official...



Ever wonder what the C-B-C on the Pray for CJ bracelets stood for? You may not have known this but it had a double meaning. First, it was a reminder to pray for CJ's CBC's (complete blood counts). As you may well remember that was, and still is, of significance for CJ as he continues to take medications that affect his blood levels. He is constantly monitored through the CBC (blood tests) to see how his body is handling the chemo and how his immune system is holding up.

What you may not have known is that CBC also stands for Children Battling Cancer. Way back when CJ was first diagnosed God put that name on our hearts as a reminder to pray for CJ and other children battling cancer. It was our hope that one day that name would become a symbol of the battle children face when they are diagnosed with cancer. We never could have imagined how soon it would do just that.

What you definitely do not know is that ever since CJ was very little I have prayed that the Lord would lead our family to a family ministry we could pour our lives into together. I have specifically prayed for it to involve our whole family, effect our whole family, and that the Lord would use our family to build His kingdom and glorify Himself through it. Obviously, I could never have dreamed or imagined that it would involve Childhood Cancer in any way shape or form. I am still perplexed, yet surrendered, to God's ways. Regardless, we believe this is the beginning of that family ministry so we are steadily following His lead.

Children Battling Cancer, Inc. is now an official non-profit corporation in the State of Florida. We have been busy building the website www.childrenbattlingcancer.com and organizing our first official awareness fundraiser. Now, we want to introduce CBC to you and ask for your prayer and involvement in this huge leap of faith.

Before I begin, let me say that we have sought advice and guidance from our pastors, other church leaders, personal mentors, other non-profit organizations, other parents of children with cancer, and most importantly, the Lord. At this point, we are taking each step on faith while trusting Him for guidance and direction. I must confess that at one point I tried to pass off the ideas I felt the Lord was giving me to other ministries. Instead, God made it clear that they were not for other ministries and I was not going to pass them off that easily. So here we are humbly yet boldly moving forward.

We realize that Children Battling Cancer, Inc. would not be here today without all of you. We see all of you as a huge part of what we stand for. You are the reason we want to offer support to families going through this. It is what you have done for us that we so jealously want to see other families receive. To be perfectly honest, we can not accomplish what we believe God has called us to do through Children Battling Cancer without you. That is because we see CBC as a bridge from you directly to the families in desperate need. That will become clear through our mission statement when you check out the website.

I don't want to spend too much time repeating here what you will see on the website but I do want to reiterate that our goal at CBC will be to 'bridge the gap' we believe God has shown us between the community and families with Children Battling Cancer.

What we want to make clear first and foremost is that we see Jesus as the most desperate need these families can have if they are not already in Christ. However, we believe the opportunity to fill that need will come as we meet the practical felt needs these families also so desperately face. We realize that it is of "no value if a man profits the whole world and yet loses his soul," (Mark 8:36). We believe this scripture is going to keep us accountable when we plan each and every event, fundraiser, and service CBC will offer. Yet the other scripture that comes to mind that has been a driving force behind CBC is James 2:15-17. "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go I wish you well, keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?" We want to go beyond wishing well and do something about the physical need we consistently see. We want to "comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God," (2 Cor1:4 ) and we want to share this amazing opportunity with all of you.

This is where you jump in and become a part of CBC right where you are. We are kicking off this brand new ministry with a Chemo Bag Awareness Fundraiser during the month of September. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month so we are going to use the month to do just that by bringing awareness to the community and in turn using that awareness to bless these hurting families and let them know they are not alone.

How it will work: You will order your chemo bags. Yes, I said Chemo bags, the actual bags chemotherapy is often delivered to a child in before it is administered. We are going to take these bags and use change to change them from a bag that causes fear and pain, into a bag of blessing and joy. Each bag contains a brochure and label explaining the fundraiser clearly.
You will pass them out to your friends, family, co-workers, or even better, your church! You will have a bag for yourself as well. You will place your bag on your counter at home, desk at work, in your car, or wherever you think best. Throughout the month of September you will use it as a reminder to pray for Children Battling Cancer while dropping your spare change, coins, dollars or even a check into the bag at the end of each day. We encourage you to add a note or card in the bag letting a hurting family know they are not alone in this battle. Imagine a family being handed a stack of cards from strangers with words of encouragement, scripture or prayers along with whatever form of support the receive from CBC! That is powerful.

At the end of the month you will collect the bags you distributed and we will pick them up from you. (If you are not local you can count it all up and send us a check in place of the change)
It is simple, yet extremely powerful!

Get your local church involved. This is a wonderful fundraiser for a church. If you are interested in submitting a proposal to your local church to host the Chemo Bag Awareness Fundraiser please contact us so we can walk you through that and send you the proposal forms.

We are so excited to partner with you in making a lasting difference in the lives of these families. There is so much more I want to say and share but I will instead refer you to the website www.childrenbattlingcancer.com There you will see more clearly what we believe we are being called to do and see further ways you can get involved. We want your input, your prayers, and your support. Pray about your involvement with this fundraiser as well as other opportunities presented through CBC. Share your ideas with us. Please let us know how many chemo bags you would like us to send you. We want to get them out to you for the month of September.

For those churches already involved, we are so grateful for your support and look forward to partnering with you in making a difference in the lives of these children and their families.


CJ preparing chemo bags for delivery.


Brett adding labels to the bags.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Two Worlds, One Heart


CJ had chemotherapy today. He did really well considering he had not been to the office in almost a month and his usual nurse was on vacation when we got there. This is always so awkward and an immediate point of tension for us. We get comfortable with the nurses we see regularly who have grown to love him and we have grown to love. They know his personality and his preferences. They know what works for him and what doesn't. And then suddenly, someone new is there and we have to adjust all over again. I was so nervous for him and I really thought this was going to be a huge cause of anxiety when it came time to access his port. Thankfully, I think God had mercy on our apprehension because instead of the new nurse being the one to access him, one of his other, more regular nurses came in and did it. And she was awesome with him! What a blessing!

I think he also did well today because his Uncle Shawn (daddy's brother) was with us. CJ is very close to his Uncle Shawn and admires him immensely. We could not be more pleased with his choice in a role model. We are so blessed to have him in our family. There is nothing like having a walking, talking, breathing, redeemed miracle around to increase your faith. Thank you, Uncle Shawn, for your love for the Lord and for sharing that with CJ today. You were so encouraging to him and it meant a lot to both of us to have you there. Thank you for spending part of your vacation at a Children's Oncology unit.

Although I knew it would be a blessing for CJ to have his Uncle Shawn with him while he was having chemo, I did not realize it would be such a huge blessing to me as well. Having him there increased CJ's strength in that he did not break down or panic before having the port accessed. This usually wears on me and drains me emotionally. With Shawn there he wanted to be brave. CJ does not like others to suffer by watching him cry so he tries to be strong for them. But we all break for our mothers, don't we!

I think it also helped that all he had to have was a push of the chemo med Vincristine and then they could de-access him. In this way, he did not have to have the port taped down and left on for a long period of time which is what he hates the most. It may also have helped that the nurse worked as fast as lightening. There was literally no time for him to get upset. Even I lost track of her and the needle was out of the port before we knew it. CJ told her she was "sneaky" when he realized how fast she took it out. That was cute.

It was also a blessing for me to have my brother-in-law there because this has become such a huge part of my life and sometimes it feels so separate from the rest of my life and those that are close to me. At times, it feels as if I have two lives. I feel like there is this 'other world' I go to that no one really understands. It is a world where kids have life threatening diseases, infants are already on their 4th and 5th surgeries, children are going to die without bone marrow donor matches being found so they can have a transplant, orphans have cancer, kids who were doing well and excited about the future suddenly relapse and start chemo all over again with less chance of survival the second time around. A world where hearts and breaking and people are suffering.....and my kid walks among them. Then I come home and live in a world where neighborhood kids ride their bikes, boys play sports at the park, siblings are fishing in the lake, kids are swimming in the pool, siblings argue and pick on each other......and my kid walks among them.

There is the world I go to where I can do nothing but wait, pray, think, watch, listen and surrender. In this world I am helpless against all that surrounds me. Then I come home to a world of chores that need to be done, meals that need to be prepared, groceries that needs to be purchased, lessons that need to be taught and discipline that needs to be administered. In this world I am responsible for all that lies in front of me. Often, when I am in one world, its priorities force out the realities of the other one. Sometimes when my physical presence is in one, my heart or mind is in the other. Somehow, I am a continual part of both worlds or they are both a part of me. It is a dichotomy I can not fully explain.

So you see why it was nice to have someone come be a part of my 'other world'. Even better that it was not only my brother-in-law, but also my brother-in-Christ to encourage me in my faith and remind me that all of this must be viewed with the backdrop of God's Sovereignty in place or my perception will be wrong.
___________________________

Although the appointment went well, CJ struggled all afternoon and this evening with side effects from the chemo. He has not been feeling well and he is really tired. The itching of his face started again and is driving him mad and causing him to be really frustrated because we can not seem to make it go away. He took three showers since being home from the hospital. We just don't know what is causing it and the fact that it happened without having had a spinal tap really confuses us. We thought it was related to one of the medications he receives during the spinal tap procedure but he did not receive that today. Hopefully, he will wake up tomorrow completely refreshed and itch free as the other times it has happened. Please pray we will determine what is causing this reaction so we can find him some relief and he won't have to endure this continually throughout his treatments.

On a better note, he is doing really well and enjoying his baseball practices. I was able to express my concerns to the doctor today about his inability to rotate his hips and run properly. She said that the baseball was just like physical therapy for him and would help him a great deal. That was a relief and a wonderful way to look at it. I am going to cling to that when I struggle with watching him at his games and am tempted to think it is too much for him.

Thank you to all of you who continue to press on in prayer for CJ and our family. We are pressing on in beating this cancer. Press on with us. We are so grateful for all the prayers and we hope to one day paint a picture for you of the fruit of your prayers. We see it constantly. We see the need for it and feel the benefits of it. We don't deserve them and yet we are grateful and greedy for them. Thank you! We have a lot of exciting news to share with all of you soon so keep posted! I will be updating soon.


By the way, today's added guest at CJ's appointment afforded me the rare opportunity to step back, take some pictures and record a bit. So now you get to come with us as to CJs appointment and understand a little more clearly what I am talking about when I say 'CJ had his port accessed or de-accessed'.

It may take a while to load the video so check back as I will be working on it today. Here are some pictures until we can figure out how to get the video up.




Sterilizing the port to be accessed.
She has the needle in her hand ready to go.
This is where CJ gets nervous.



Needle is in the port and she is about to start the chemo



Uncle Shawn putting cream on CJ's itchy face

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lift Up Your Eyes!

Baseball tryouts are over and CJ is on a team! He had a exhausting day of chemo and a spinal tap the day before tryouts, yet was still able to go out there the very next day and give it his all. I was a little worried because it was so hot out there on the field that day and he had a really hard time getting to sleep the night before after his chemo. The lack of sleep was due to a reaction he seems to be having every time he gets the spinal tap. His face gets painfully itchy. There is no rash but he says it itches like crazy. As I mentioned, it kept him up pretty late that night but that did not stop him from putting out 100% the next day on the field.

During the tryouts, one little boy standing next to him said, "It is so hot out here, I would rather be home watching TV." CJ looked at him with huge eyes and said, "Not me! I would rather be out here playing." Of course, that little boy could not know what CJ has gone through or how special it was for CJ to be standing there getting ready to try out for a team. But CJ knew. He was grateful to be standing there and he knew it was a privilege, blazing heat and all.

As I listened to other parents around me eagerly discuss what level their kid would play or what team they wanted I watched CJ and realized I did not care what level he was picked for or what team he landed on. All I really wanted was for him to have a great coach. I knew that would be important. So instead of worrying how he would perform and what team he would get, I prayed that CJ would get a good coach. A kind coach!

The next week we got the call that CJ was picked for a team and a team meeting was arranged to meet his coach. Within five minutes of listening to the coach talk, I was already thanking God. Somehow, I knew he was a Christian. Sure, there were outward signs. But more importantly, there were inward signs. Let's just say... it takes one to know one. Maybe it was my spirit confirming what I had hoped and prayed for. Nevertheless, the coach's peace was obvious. Later that night, I shared my suspicions with CJ about our shared faith and he agreed.

The coach was so kind at the first practice that I started to wonder if he already knew about CJ. I thought maybe the news had spread through some of the other coaches who knew our family. I wondered if it would effect his opinion of CJ's performance and if he would be able to be objective towards CJ in considering his ability.

It became obvious that he did not know about CJ and we decided to not say anything until he had a chance to see him play and make a fair decision in position placements. I confess, it was a little awkward for me watching CJ practice and knowing the coaches knew nothing. It was almost as if he was like every other kid out there and nothing changed from the last time he played. But in my heart I know he is not, and everything has changed. As I watch him play, statistics ring in my head reminding me what a small category he actually falls in and all the risks involved. As the statistics begin to scroll through my mind, I force myself to counter them with Scripture to combat the anxiety and fear they can cause.

Without the luxury of knowing about CJ, the coach saw him play, noted his ability, and placed him at third base as well as began working with him at pitcher. CJ is thrilled of course! At one of the practices, I had the opportunity to talk with the coach about his faith. As suspected, he and his wife are committed Christians. What a blessing! Thank you Jesus!

Once the position placements were made and the coach was already working with CJ at pitcher, we realized we had to tell him. It would only be fair to him and everyone involved. However, it is not the easiest thing in the world to pull someone aside and say, "By the way, our son, the one you will be coaching, he has cancer and is currently receiving chemotherapy. Just thought you should know." It doesn't come out as easily or naturally as, "When is the next practice?"

CJ decided he was ready for his coach to know. So at the end of one of CJ practices, his dad explained the situation to his coach. Coach Alex took it perfectly and told CJ he would treat him just like all the other kids and that he believed CJ would be okay. He took it so well that I almost wondered if he understood the seriousness of what we were telling him. After all, CJ does not look sick on the outside. Now that his hair is back you would not even know a thing. But even as I internally questioned his understanding, I remembered that this coach was an answer to prayer. I know God hand picked him for CJ. Therefore, I know God had already prepared his heart and mind in advance for the news that he himself did not even know he was about to receive. But God did!

"But it is the spirit in the man, the breath of the almighty,
that gives him understanding."
(Job 32:8)

CJ is having a blast and pouring himself 150% into it as usual. Our biggest challenge as parents when CJ is involved in any sport is not allowing it to become too consuming in his life while still encouraging him to give it his best effort. We tend to spend a lot of time on the topics of idols and loving the world during sports seasons. If I could just get him to pour himself into his schoolwork with that same level of enthusiasm I could graduate him by 10th grade!

Just when I worry he is too focused on baseball, he does something for his teammates that helps me see beyond the game itself. As usual, CJ is already taking a liking to the 'odd man out'. Last time he played baseball it was a kid who was noticeably larger than everyone on the team and had no baseball experience and struggled throughout the season. CJ befriended and encouraged him. This year it is a a kid who is much smaller than everybody else and also noticeably different than everyone on the team. CJ talks about him and is already making plans on how he will befriend him, encourage him, and look out for him during the season. Today he handed out packs of baseball cards that he spent all day making for his teammates by going through his collection. He rubber banded them and gave them each a set with a piece of gum. These are the things that I pray he will remember in the years to come when baseball seasons are over. Not the scores, or the hits, or the strike outs, but the difference he made in the life of another kid by simply being kind.

I am beginning to realize that CJ's placement on this team may not only be for his benefit, but for his teammates as well. How many of you played ball with a kid who had cancer when you were growing up? Catch my meaning? It obviously has the potential to impact their lives greatly as well.

I will admit I am nervous and yet looking forward to seeing CJ play come mid August when the games start. My mother heart worries about any setbacks this could cause him. I can not help but calculate the risks involved and wonder if we should have waited just a little longer. I have already experimented and constructed three different port protectors for him to wear to cover his port. We think we finally got it figured out. I sewed a little pocket onto his undershirt right where the port is and we slipped an old elbow guard in the pocket and there you have it...a homemade port protector!

Mostly, I struggle with watching him play as he struggles with his legs. I wish his body would cooperate and respond to what his mind is asking of it. The last we were told by the Orthopedic and the Oncologists was that this was some kind of muscle weakness and joint stiffness and was common for kids on chemotherapy and that it would gradually get better when he was off the medications. But something inside me feels that same feeling I had before he got diagnosed. That feeling that says something is wrong even though I am being told everything is okay. There is that tug on my heart that won't go away that says 'this isn't normal'. In those moments I have to remind myself that I may not know why he is limping, the doctors may not even know why he is limping, but God knows! And He will reveal it in His time. So in the meantime, I settle my anxious heart by fixing my gaze upward. I have been reminded recently that I need to "Lift Up My Eyes" more often. It is amazing how different the view is by simply shifting my gaze from the horizontal to the vertical.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of the earth will grow strangely dim,
in the light of His Glory and Grace.
"
lyrics by: Michale W. Smith



Here is a peek into my mind while at baseball practice:

How I Counter Statistics with Scripture:

Childhood Cancer Facts:

Fact: Each school day, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer
Truth: "Even the very hairs on (CJ's) head are all numbered" Matt 10:30

Fact: Each year in the US 12,600 kids are diagnosed with cancer.
Truth: "All the days of (CJ's) life ordained for (him) were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16


Fact: Childhood Cancer occurs randomly, regularly, and spares no ethnic, socioeconomic, race or region.
Truth: " For you created (CJ's) inmost being. You knit him together in my womb. I praise you because he is fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139)

Fact: Although the 5 year survival rate is steadily increasing, one quarter of all children diagnosed with cancer will die 5 years from the time of diagnosis!
Truth: "Do not listen to what the (statistics) are prophesying to you, they fill you with false hopes..(which are) ...not from the mouth of the Lord." Jer. 23:15

Fact: Cancer remains the number one disease killer of America's children-more than Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Asthma and AIDS combined!
Truth: "Praise the Lord, O My Soul, and forget not his benefits who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases." Psalm 103:2-4

Fact: Late effects of childhood cancer treatments are common in survivors, and approx. one third are moderate to severe.
Truth: "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer. 29:11

Fact: Children diagnosed with cancer are more likely to experience secondary cancers than adults diagnosed with cancer.
Truth: "We wait in hope for the Lord, He is our help and shield." Psalm 33:20


I prefer the days that I sat at ballgames and went over my grocery list in my head but I was never really able to counter them with Scripture quite as effectively!






CJ's home-made port protector



Prayers:
As always, thank you to our prayer warriors. We are humbled and honored that you would use some of your precious time before the throne of God on our family's behalf. Pray for wisdom for our family as we step out in faith and allow CJ more freedoms. Pray his port will remain protected and not need replaced until this is finally over and it can come out once and for all. Pray for continued healing in his body and that the cancer will not come back. Please pray that if there is anything more to what is going on in his little legs and hips that it would be revealed and God would enlighten the doctors to know what it is.