Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Happy 15th B-Day, Parker!

Parker, my firstborn son, you are a rare treasure.  I remember back when you were just two and three years old, you would beg me to allow you to fly to China so you could be a missionary and share the Good News with others who might not know.  You wanted to start a Bible study for your preschool class.  You loved the Lord from such a young age, but you also always wanted to serve Him, and I felt so unworthy to be your mom.  You wanted to do more for the King of Kings than I ever did, and most of the time, you taught me by example how to live a life for our Savior.

When you were younger, we always called you "grandpa" because you were such an old soul, born in the wrong era.  You've always been an outdoor kind of guy.  You shot your first deer when you were just six years old, all by yourself.  You shot a bird with your bow when you were just seven years old.  You've shot all kinds of animals with your guns and bows, always being mature and responsible with your decisions. 

I remember the days when you and your buddy, Clayton, used to hang out on the ranch like survivor men, when y'all were just eight years old.  You would shoot frogs and cook frog legs for lunch over an open fire, that you created yourself using sparks and Cub Scout techniques to build your fire!  I remember for your sixth birthday party, you begged me to allow you to spend a week in the woods by yourself, just you and a weapon to be able to kill your meals.  (I said no, of course, but you continued to beg for permission to do this for years!)  

And then it seemed like just overnight you became a man.  A man I am so very proud to call my son.  You are not only handsome, you have a heart like no other 15-year-old "man" I've ever met.  A heart for justice.  Justice for the orphan.  A heart for the underdog.  A willingness to give up your position as the oldest in the family for the sake of a 17-year-old Haitian orphan.  You graciously share your heart, home, room, and all of your belongings with your siblings.  You are the first one to the van to unload groceries, and you always carry the heaviest items that no one else wants to touch.  You honor God with your choices, your actions are a reflection of Him.  You've delivered sermons publicly, and you've stepped out of your comfort zone numerous times for God.  You do so much at Forgotten Saw Ranch, it's impossible to list everything, but please know that we are so very proud of the man you've become, Parker Matthew Patterson, our firstborn son.

We love you!  Happy 15th birthday, "Parkey"!

PS  Do you remember this essay (see below) that you wrote two years ago?  I sure do!  I pray God will always hold you close, and that He will keep your heart turned toward the things that matter to Him.  I wish you many blessings throughout your 15th  year of life, Parker.  Love you!

What Adoption Means To Me
by Parker Patterson, 13 years old

A lot of people like to be critics and say that our parents are just forcing us to adopt all these kids.  Those people are way off track; adoption is not just a good thing to do and everybody shouldn’t do it.  God has to call you to it and the people who say it’s not fair to us kids or that it is a burden are completely wrong.  I think it is a huge privilege and a great joy!

It is a privilege because it is rare for God to call a family to adoption like He has with ours.  A good analogy would be diamonds.  Diamonds are rare and special; if everyone had diamonds, they wouldn’t be all that special and it wouldn’t be a privilege to own one.

Adoption has also been a very big factor in developing my character.  It has taught me so much about myself.  I think adoption has been almost as good for me as it has been in the lives of the kids we have adopted.  It would be so selfish to say ‘well, I know the kids in Haiti are starving, but I want more Christmas presents, so too bad for them.’  That would be so wrong!

In my opinion, the people who say we are being deprived are looking at it from a worldly point of view.  I would much rather have more siblings and less presents.  If these people are so narrow minded that all they can think about is how much worldly stuff we can accumulate, they must have never met our family!  It seems to me that they need a change of heart.  How about thinking about the starving, dying, orphans that actually are deprived.  They have nothing, not even love from parents!  The least we can do is give them that.  Worldly things are temporary, short-lived, fading and not all that great.

Joy, true joy, is lasting, satisfying and fulfilling.  For me, that comes from two things: God, and knowing that we are saving kids’ lives.

Before God even called us to adoption, I had started to notice that even all the cool stuff we used to get at Christmas didn’t ever bring me joy.  And it’s the same with most worldly things, they just don’t last.  But joy is way different.  It is deeper and more lasting.  I think hope and joy go hand in hand, kind of like a cycle.  You get joy from the hope we have in Jesus.  And you also get joy from doing God’s will.  But without hope, there is no joy. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is it is much more rewarding to help orphans than get worldly things.  I think 2 great verses that our family definitely lives by are Matthew 6:20 and 19:21.  Both kind of say that you should store up your treasures in heaven where they will last and that will bring true joy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday's Meditation, A Boss Your Heart Devo {Not of This World}

Thank you, Kirsten Walkup, for your message today!

Not of This World
By Kirsten Walkup

One of the things I love to do is take pictures. When I’m not working at my regular job that pays the bills, I’m plotting ways to be able to actually make money with my photography. While I’ve made a little money doing various shoots for people, I have yet to make enough to cover the cost of the gear I use (photography is a ridiculously expensive hobby). It’s a labor of love though so I take it all in stride. Lately I’ve been busy and have had a few shoots lined up. This weekend was a big one. I had a large family portrait session on Friday evening and then a fashion show to shoot on Sunday. The two couldn’t have been more different and it turned the weekend into one of the more surreal experiences I’ve ever had.

My Friday shoot (May 13) was with the Patterson’s (our very own Lorraine) and their wonderful (and quite photographable) family. With the exception of forgetting to bring a reflector I always use for outdoor shoots, their portrait session couldn’t have gone better. The lighting was perfect, the family was beautiful, and everyone there really seemed to be joyful. I don’t mean a superficial type of bubbly “joy”, but a peaceful contented joy that only the joy of the Lord can grant. The setting was perfect and I was really in my element. It shows in the final product as the pictures turned out really well.

Saturday was an entirely different matter. I know a guy who’s involved in the fashion industry. He’s a good guy and he’s great to do business with. He also knows a ton of people that could really further my career as a photographer. He asked me to shoot a fashion show for him (think runway and models) and I agreed. When you agree to shoot an event, it’s a big deal because if you back out you can get sued. A photographer has to be extremely certain that they will show up and do a job before they agree to it. It wasn’t until a few days before the event that I realized I was to shoot this thing at a night club (for clarity, this place was a bar, not a strip club).

I wasn’t really happy about the venue but again, I agreed to shoot it so I had to honor my word. I’ve worked in restaurants that had huge bars and have been in environments similar to this before so I didn’t really think it was going to be that big of a deal. Walking into this place, however, it really felt like I was entering a place totally foreign to me. On every level; mentally, physically, and especially spiritually, I encountered people who I was not like and who were not like me. To quote the book of Ruth “there people were not my people, and their god was not my God”.  I truly was a stranger in a foreign land.

Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I am not an insular Christian and that I reach out and befriend the lost. A few of my “biker buddies” are pot-smoking borderline atheists who are in desperate need of salvation. I’ve always believed my role in their life is to be a living example of what God’s grace can do. It’s the fact that I’ve been around the block a few times and have some fairly “rough” friends that made this experience so shocking to me. I firmly believe that out of the 500 or so people in that club that night, I was the only one who knew Christ as Savior. When I left the club to go back to my car, I probably passed another couple hundred who were in the same hopelessly lost state. The whole situation was nothing short of heart-breaking.
The shoot went okay. Photography is really nothing more than interpretation of light and that’s what I set my mind to do amidst all the clutter around me. But the environment was so loud, most of the people were so into the “party”, and the whole event seemed so self-aggrandizing, that on the drive home all I wanted was silence. I had a lot to think about and process, too. At first I was thinking about how strange the place was and how odd most of the people seemed until I realized…I was the odd one, the foreign element out of his environment. The comfy life I’ve crafted for myself and the bubble that I live in has enabled me to forget that there are billions of people in this world who live their lives in utter darkness and despair. They fill their lives with empty pleasures that further their dependency on physical stimulation to fill the spiritual void they dwell in. In short, they are lost in darkness and most of them have yet to encounter a “foreign element” that can show them the way into the light.

I’ve really taken two things away from this whole experience. First, I’m extremely thankful to God whose cleansing salvation has spared me of a life devoid of meaning. Also, as long as the Lord allows me to work with people who are in such need of His Truth, I will do my utmost to demonstrate God’s grace in my life. When my mind begins to get irritated with sinners for being sinners, I will boss my mind to remember where I would be were it not for God’s redeeming grace. When my body tires from working the long hours some of the jobs require, I will boss my body to recall that others have suffered far more than have I. And when my heart breaks at the hopelessness that the lost reside in, I will boss my heart to remember that there is only One who can bring the lost Hope.
Matthew 6:19

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Boss Your Heart!


{Here's a link from Lorraine on the subject of being in the world, but not of it:  click HERE to read more about it.}

Friday, May 20, 2011

Slight Change of Plans...

Well, the Hays County Civic Center recommends we cancel the team roping (due to the horse virus outbreak), but still have the benefit with all of the other fun stuff we had planned.  So, it is with heavy hearts full of hope that we announce the team roping portion of the memorial benefit is cancelled/postponed.  However, the rest of the benefit is still ON as scheduled.  Satan's not going to get away with preventing everything from happening!

We encourage everyone to come out and support the event!  

We've got a day of family fun for everyone!  We have a HUGE silent auction with over 100 items!!!  We have TONS of awesome baked goods, yummy BBQ/food, even cotton candy!!!  We have an awesome message to be delivered by a local pastor, we have fantabulous decorations by Carrie Windham (with adorable photos of Chrissie on everything!).  We have a HUGE inflatable slide, a HUGE inflatable obstacle course, a 5-in-1 inflatable combo, plus face painting by artist Zoe Windham, creator of the Boss Your Heart logo.  We also have Boss Your Heart t-shirts and the Boss Your Heart books for sale!  It's going to be an awesome day, despite Satan's attempts to ruin everything.

One thing I've learned is that the closer we walk with God on His path, the more fiery darts Satan throws.  At times, it's comical, but other times, it's just plain ole maddening.  We are in a constant battle against that evil serpent, but I'm relieved the battle isn't ours, it's His.  A battle in the heavenlies.  I used to think that if God called us to do something that He would just bless it and make the path easy and everything would come together beautifully without any bumps in the road.  I now realize that if that happens to be the way something turns out for us, it probably wasn't something God called us to do in the first place because that means Satan didn't think it was worth messing with.  So, we try to count it all as joy when Satan interferes because that means it was "big stuff" that was worth Satan's time, plus God's Word tells us to count it all as joy, so we try to focus on that instead of the frustration.

Here are just a few of over 100 items that will be up for auction tomorrow:

  • Antler chandelier, value $2,500
  • Assorted jeweled flip-flops, value $50/each
  • Hand-made heart with wings jeweled sign, value $80
  • Guided bay fishing trip for 4 at Rockport Texas, value $700
  • 4 tickets to Round Rock Express game with overnight stay at Homewood Suites, Round Rock, Texas
  • jewelry galore
  • apparel
  • personalized Boss Your Heart gifts and gear
  • artwork
  • toys, toys, toys!
  • gift certificates
  • baked goods
  • and so much more!!!
  • And take a look at these precious princess hand-decorated cookies that say, "Boss Your Heart":

{Thanks, Carrie!}

Spread the word!

Thanks everyone!

Take That, Satan

Agency seal of the Texas Animal Health Commission.
Texas Animal Health Commission press release:

“The TAHC has not recommended the cancellation of any events or imposed more stringent interstate entry requirements at this time, but that decision will be re-evaluated daily”, added Dr. Ellis.

Keep praying that God will pour out His abundant blessings upon the benefit Saturday.  Keep praying for protection of horses and for the hearts of cowboys in our area to be turned toward adoption and Jesus, for His glory, in memory of Chrissie.  While I know Satan will try use this outbreak to scare ropers from entering our memorial roping, I pray that God will triumph over Satan's evil ways.  Pray that despite the number of ropers supporting the event on horseback, that God will pour out His blessings upon this event in ways we never imagined, with miraculous support that brings glory to Him as we remember Chrissie and keep her legacy alive, helping orphans around the world in memory of our princess. God promises to work all things for good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose; I stand firm in my belief that God's got this, despite the fiery darts Satan likes to throw.

Thank you for praying!

Happy 3rd B-Day, Kiefer Thomas!

Kiefer Thomas Patterson
Born in Thomas, Haiti, May 20, 2008
Adopted into Patterson Family April 3, 2010
Happy 3rd Birthday, "Kowboy Kiefer"!

Kiefer, I don't know if we can ever adequately express what a blessing you are to our family.  God delivered you to us just two weeks before your big sissie, Chrissie, had open-heart surgery.  We felt God's timing was less than perfect, but only God knew how truly perfect His plan and timing was.
Kiefer, as a 2-year-old, May 19, 2011, standing atop Enchanted Rock, Fredericksburg, Texas.
Kiefer climbed the entire mountain all the way up, and all the way down, never being carried once!

Kiefer successfully roping a dummy from his hobby horse on Christmas morning 2010 when he was just 2 and half!

You are such a "kool kid", Kowboy Kiefer, and you bring so much joy to our family.  You are all boy, all "kowboy", Kiefer, and you are so very talented.  I've never met a 2-year-old who could rope anything he sets his mind to, who beats kids in dummy roping competitions in the age 6 and under category!  I've never met a 2-year-old who could hike a mountain, all the way up and all the way down, without help.  I've never met a 2-year-old who has your strength, your determination, your talent.  You are not only a survivor of the Haitian earthquake, you are KOWBOY KIEFER, a talented boy who is treasured and loved by his Texas family.  I can't wait to see God's plan for your life, as I know He's got something incredible planned for you, Kowboy Kiefer.  Looking forward to watching you grow and learn and shock us all with your Kowboy Kiefer talent in your 3rd year of life.

We are beyond grateful that God chose to bless our family with the gift of YOU, Kowboy Kiefer.   Happy 3rd Birthday!  WE LOVE YOU!

Prayers Needed

As you all know, the 1st Annual Boss Your Heart Memorial Benefit and Team Roping is tomorrow, Saturday, May 21.  The purpose of the event is to raise money to help orphans around the world, in memory of Chrissie.

Of course Satan would like nothing more than to destroy anything that helps orphans and glorifies God.

There's a huge viral outbreak with horses that Satan is cheering about.  The horse virus is NOT contagious to humans, only horse to horse, but many horse owners are not wanting to take their horses to public places right now because of this viral epidemic, and many states are advising all horse events be cancelled.  Our area of Texas is still OK, as of right now.

The team roping is the heart of the benefit.  Our guys have been SOOOOOO excited about the benefit roping, in memory of their sister.  That has been the one thing they could look forward to as we walk through this first anniversary of Chrissie going to heaven.  Of course Satan is trying to steal that.

I ask you to pray, in Jesus' name, that God would pour out His abundant blessings upon the benefit.  That He would send crowds to support orphans.  That He would protect the horses and all of the people He sends to the benefit.  That His name would be glorified through it all, and that Satan would be stopped in his evil schemes as he tries to devour this benefit.

As of now, the team roping is still scheduled as planned.  We will prayerfully watch the warnings about the epidemic, and if we feel we need to cancel the roping portion, we'll announce it here.  The other parts of the memorial benefit WILL happen, no matter what!  We have a huge silent auction with AWESOME items, plus FUN activities for the kids, including a HUGE inflatable slide, HUGE inflatable obstacle course, and a HUGE 5-in-1 inflatable combo!  Plus fabulous face painting by Miss Zoe, the artist of Chrissie's Boss Your Heart logo!  And kids' horse rides, too!  We also have tons of food and concessions, an awesome message with a special guest speaker, the fantabulous Boss Your Heart t-shirts, and decorations that are out of this world with photos of Chrissie everywhere, compliments of Carrie Windham and her family.  It's going to be a GREAT day in Him, a day to remember our Princess Chrissie, a day to help orphans while having a fabulous time!

Please pray for the benefit, for God's glory!  Join us if you can!  Thank you!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Up the mountain we go ...

Happy Heaven Day, Baby Girl! {God's Gotcha Day}

{Don't miss the giveaway and announcements at the bottom of this post!}

One year ago today, Chrissie went to dance with Jesus.  Forever.

Thank you, Anastasia, for making this video in memory of Chrissie.  Truly a blessing to our family.
Day 31 of Chrissie's 31-day battle, May 19, 2010:  Post 1 (Boss Your Heart Necklace), Post 2 (lungs bleeding lots), Post 3 (coded), Post 4 (not looking good), Post 5 (more compressions), Post 6 (still doing compressions), Post 7 (dancing with Jesus), Post 8 (I Don't Wanna...)
In the adoption community, many refer to the day that you "get" your child via adoption as "gotcha" day.  God "got" Chrissie on this day last year, and I know there's gotta be a big ole heavenly party to celebrate God's "Gotcha Day", the day He sprung Chrissie from this earth, the day He "got" Chrissie with Him in heaven, for all eternity.  Oh, what a tremendous blessing God got on this day last year.

We miss Princess Chrissie more than words can express.  There's not a single day that has passed that we haven't thought of her countless times.  Really, I don't think there's even a 5 minute increment that has ever passed that we don't think of Chrissie.  I'm very serious when I write that, and while that may seem crazy, it really is true.  I know that all parents who have lost a child know exactly what I'm talking about.  

Some people have said that we only knew Chrissie for six months, so that must equate to less pain.  Or something.  So, how does one feel when they give birth to a stillborn child?  Or miscarry?  Or their newborn dies of SIDS.  Does that make the pain any less because they only knew their child for a short time?  Some might think yes, but the answer is no.

Because Chrissie was our daughter and we experienced life with her, as a beloved family member, we know the depth of love that God gifted us with.  A depth of love in such a short amount of time that is difficult for others to fathom.  It's OK for others not to understand because we know that our relationship with Chrissie was something truly miraculous.  Every single member of our family (who was with us before Chrissie went to heaven) continues to express how each of us feels like we never missed out on a single day of Chrissie's life.  We all feel (and felt) as if she had been knit in my womb, with us since her first breath on this earth, as if we had known her from the time she was just a tiny seed growing in the womb.  It's such a miraculous thing that can't be adequately explained, but we all feel so utterly grateful that God blessed us with such a deep and authentic relationship with Chrissie that doesn't normally happen "overnight" with adopted kids.

Others have said that we walked into this adoption knowing the risks, so it should make it easier since we knew death was a possibility.  A common response from people when they ask if we adopted Chrissie knowing that she had heart defects is for people to brush things off as if we were the fools who made such a choice.  Yes, we knew Chrissie had severe congenital heart defects, but we wholeheartedly believed God would heal her heart and give Chrissie a long and abundant life on earth.  We knew that might not be His will, but either way, we knew without a doubt that God asked us to adopt Chrissie.  Our obedience to God was more important than protecting our own hearts from possible pain.  God gave us the greatest blessing ever by allowing us to be Chrissie's forever family.  We didn't experience less because of the risks, we experienced more because of the blessings Chrissie brought to our family.  Regardless, the pain isn't lessened just because we knew Chrissie had congenital heart defects.  Does the parent of a child who is diagnosed with cancer hurt less when/if that child goes to heaven simply because they knew he had cancer and cancer is a risk?  No.

Even with all of the pain in our hearts from walking a full year without our Princess Chrissie in our family, her life was worth it.  The 7 months that Chrissie was in our family was truly the best 7 months of our lives, and each of us agrees that we'd do it over again in a heartbeat.  We would NEVER want to miss out on the joy, love, and life we received from the treasured gift of Chrissie.  She was truly a blessing beyond description, and there's no amount of pain that could ever trump the joy of Chrissie.  Christyn Joy.  Precious angel.  Deeply loved.  Deeply missed.

As we have grappled with how to define our new lives, God has held us.  He has grown us.  He has shown us more about who He is than we ever realized.  Having no choice but to trust in God's sovereignty, grace, love, and faithfulness, we have learned a different depth of reliance upon our Abba Father.  While we still don't understand the "ending" of Chrissie's story, God assures us that this is really the beginning, not the ending.

I know that God is weaving a beautiful tapestry, but I'm totally stuck on the back side of that tapestry.  I'm tangled among all of the other strings, in knots, where nothing looks pretty or organized or predictable, no matter what angle I look at it.  But to those standing on the other side of the tapestry, they stand in awe of the beauty that exists on the other side.  Right now, I think the other side of the tapestry is heaven.  I'm not sure I'll ever see the beauty of this tapestry here on earth, but what a glorious day it will be to actually see the tapestry and appreciate its beauty.

For now, while I'm still tangled in the back side, I will choose to do all I can to create beauty from ashes here on earth.  While this is ultimately God's job, I have a responsibility in my attitude, my outlook, and my actions here on earth.  I can choose His joy, regardless of circumstances, or I can choose to be defeated.  I WILL NOT LET SATAN STEAL MY JOY.  This I know.  So, I press on with the Lord as my strength, asking Him to show me His beauty, His joy, His love, His grace, His blessings.  I ask Him to help me keep Chrissie's legacy alive.  None of us wants Chrissie's life to ever be forgotten, so it is our job to keep her memory alive.

Believe it or not, the stories you share with us (and the world) are a way of carrying on Chrissie's legacy and keeping her memory alive.  Your stories are a balm to our hurting hearts, and we are grateful when you take time to share with us how Chrissie has touched your heart.  There's nothing too large or too small; every single comment or story is medicine for our souls.  Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

We would like to have a GIVEAWAY today in memory of Chrissie, in celebration of her new life in heaven, in remembrance of who she was on earth, in hope of spending eternity with our princess.  Please leave a comment on this post today, May 19, 2011, as a way of keeping Chrissie's legacy alive while sending hugs to our hearts.  We'll be giving away a Boss Your Heart book, in memory of Chrissie.

In addition to your comments/stories, God has given us some other specific ways to carry on Chrissie's legacy.  We feel so honored to announce to you today the following:

WOOHOO!  It's FINALLY here!!!
Today ONLY:  25% discount on the Boss Your Heart book!
The book is HUGE:  8.5x11" format, 424 pages, but I'm SOOOOO happy with how it all turned out.  I think you will be, too. :-)  I'm sorry it's such an expensive book, but because it's so big and so long, it's just plain ole expensive.  There's no way around it.  Even my cost (as the author) is expensive.  That's why I'm applying this special 25% off coupon that's good for today only, the day Chrissie went to live with Jesus.
Thank you, Phil Rankin, for all your help in getting the book ready for release today, and thank you, Mia Carter, for all your hard work in designing the interior.


Boss Your Heart Orphan Ministries!
We are in the process of creating a non-profit organization in memory of Chrissie that will help orphans around the world.  We don't know exactly what God has in store with this, but we know God has a plan to help orphans in memory of Chrissie, and we are ecstatic.  Praise Him!

Click HERE to visit the new
Boss Your Heart Orphan Ministries website!

Like us on Facebook:

And, last but not least, I wanted to share with you a story that 4-year-old Rowan's mom emailed me last night, May 18, 2011:
From Carrie, Rowan's mom:  Rowan just came up and asked me who I was emailing.  I told him you and he said, "Oh good, tell her that Chrissie was in my dreams again last night and she misses her Mommy but she wants her to know that she feels fine." He said she was playing dolls and she was pretty in one of her princess dresses.  Then he said, (and I swear I have not told him tomorrow was "the day") "Chrissie only wants her Mommy to cry happy tears tomorrow, because heaven is actually better than here."
I am bawling Lorraine.  I wanted to call you and tell you, but I can't talk right now.
I asked him how it was to see her in his dreams and he said "Great, she was so happy like it was the first time we ever seen each other good."  To add to this Lorraine, he just said "Mommy you know whats weird?  I usually can't remember any of my dreams, but God said I could keep this one, so thats good."
As if that wasn't enough, I shared with Carrie that we decided to go hike Enchanted Rock as a way of our family "celebrating" Chrissie's heaven day.  I told her that it was the closest place to heaven (altitude wise) nearby, and I felt God wanted us to go there on this day.  Carrie shared with me that on Rowan's last visit to Enchanted Rock, he shared that he felt he was closer to heaven at the top of the rock/mountain, and he said he could almost feel Chrissie when he was up there.

Oh how I'm praying we have the same experience. :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 30 of Chrissie's Battle, May 18

It's really a strange feeling when I get butterflies, sweaty palms, and anxiety when I see that Chrissie's battle is coming to an end.  Only one more day.  What's really strange is that as I've been re-reading each post, it almost feels like Chrissie's still here, but this time I know the ending of the story, and I want to do anything in my power to stop it.  It's really strange, and I'm probably not making any sense.  I know Chrissie's been with Jesus for almost a year now, but right now, as I re-read each post daily, I almost feel like we're in that moment again.  Does anyone else feel that way?!?!

I would also love suggestions from you all about what we might be able to do on May 19, the day Chrissie went to live with Jesus.  I'm just not sure what to do on that day.  We've never faced this before, and I've been thinking and praying, but I still haven't decided what we should do.

I've heard a variety of things from moms who lost their children.  Some do nothing on the day their child went to heaven, as it's the hardest day out of the whole year for them, and they just want to survive the day.  Others have released balloons, but I haven't gotten to visit with enough moms to get other ideas.

We're so busy planning and preparing for Chrissie's memorial benefit that coming up with something to do on the 19th has been set on the back burner.  We talked about going to the zoo, going to Natural Bridge Caverns, having a  picnic, going to the river, basically doing something together as a family, but we still haven't decided what to do.  Any suggestions?  I'd love to hear your thoughts! :-)

Day 30 of Chrissie's 31-day battle, May 18, 2010:  Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4 (Chrissie's sutures in her side, rant :-(, Post 5, Post 6 (pray for silent night :-(

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Remembering Chrissie's Battle: Day 29, May 17

I truly cannot believe we only have 2 more days of remembering Chrissie's battle.  :-(  I so wish her battle ended differently. 

Day 29 of Chrissie's 31-day battle, May 17, 2010:  Post 1 (lungs), Post 2 (heart/septic), Post 3 (stable), Post 4 (almost lost her...oh, the stress), Post 5 (thank you to our Mighty to Save God), Post 6 (such extremes!)


I want to thank you all for hanging in here with me as we walk through this time.  I ask you all to pray for us, as I know Satan would love to destroy what God intends to use for good.  We know the power of prayer, and we ask that you bathe us in prayer as we quickly approach May 19, the first anniversary of the day Chrissie went to live with Jesus.

I also want to thank you all for the support you gave to each of our 4 focus families during the Boss Your Heart Memorial Blitz!  Thank you for donating, praying, sharing, and supporting each family.  Y'all rock!

I know I need to draw winners for each week's giveaway during the memorial blitz, but I will probably wait a little longer to do so because I'm crazy busy as we are preparing for the upcoming benefit on May 21.  Stay tuned!

Thank you all for everything.  Love y'all!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Reach Out to Rowan (Final Day), B&B Day 28, May 16

Today is the last day of our focus on "Iron Man" Rowan Jameson Windham.  If you haven't had a chance to donate to this 4-year-old superhero, I encourage you to do so today.  I wish each of you could meet Rowan and his mom, Carrie.  They are truly amazing, inspirational people.


Day 28 of Mission Boss Your Heart Memorial Blitz, Focus #4 (Final Focus): Reach Out to Rowan! View his mommy's blog HERE. View his foundation HERE.

Day 28 of Chrissie's 31-day battle, May 16, 2010:  Post 1 (E's obituary), Post 2 (lungs bleeding big time), Post 3 (back on oscillator), Post 4, Post 5 (such a complicated case; planning of heart cath to break up clot in pulmonary artery)

I feel so very blessed that God chose to connect our family with the Windham family.  It's crazy to think that Rowan occupied the PICU "suite" just before Chrissie, yet I didn't know him or his family at that time.  Carrie found out about Chrissie the second day of her hospitalization, and from that day on, Carrie has blessed Matt and I (and our entire family) in ways that far exceed anything what seems humanly possible.  I'm not exaggerating either!

I already told you about the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G photo memory quilt that Carrie made for us last summer., so let me share a few recent things Carrie's been doing to bless our socks off!  You know how we have Chrissie's memorial benefit this Saturday, right?  Well, Carrie isn't the type to sit back and hope someone else pitches in.  Carrie JUMPED all over helping with the benefit.  I'm quite certain she's doing WAY more than I am. 

Let me just share a FEW of the recent things Carrie has said/done (this is just a small sampling):
  • Oh, I'd love to help with the auction, and I have a good friend who would like to help, too.  We'll be the chairpersons for the auction.
  • Oh, wow, I saw you needed someone to decorate!  My daughter, Zoe, and I would LOVE to take that on!  We want you to approve everything, but, if it's OK with you, we'd like to just purchase everything and not worry about being reimbursed.
  • (Did I mention that Zoe, Carrie's daughter, is the artist who created the fabulous Boss Your Heart logo?!?)
  • Hey, I found a custom stamp making company online, do you mind if I order a Boss Your Heart stamp?
  • And what color stamp pad should I purchase to go with it? 
  • Do you mind if I make some signs and posters for the event?
  • Let me show you some of the things I'm making for the silent auction!  I love making aprons and customizing them.  I'm also putting together some gift baskets that we're going to donate.
  • Zoe and I love to bake.  Are you having a cake or cookie walk?  Oh, a bake sale, that would be perfect!  I just texted and emailed about 25 people who are going to bake, and we'll make a ton of things, too.  It's covered, don't you worry about a thing!
And, just in case you're curious, Carrie is fabulous at everything she volunteers to do!!!  Pictures are worth 1,000 words, so let me just share a few of the recent texts that Carrie has sent me (I know you're going to be in awe, just like I was/am!!!) 

Thank you, Carrie, for always going above and beyond to bless my socks off.  You are a rare and beautiful gem, and I'm so very grateful that God chose to bless me with a friend like you!

Here are the photos from recent texts from Carrie:

Yep, that's what I said!  Can you even believe the HEART and TALENT of this awesome lady?!?  And, remember, she is mom to Iron Man Rowan, who requires extra TLC due to his rare syndrome, plus Carrie has 2 other awesome kiddos.  Amazing!

Carrie, you bless me more than you'll ever know with your kindness and generosity.  I pray for God to shower His abundant and glorious blessings upon you and your family.  Love you!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Reach Out to "Iron Man" Rowan, B&B Day 27

Day 27 of Mission Boss Your Heart Memorial Blitz, Focus #4 (Final Focus): Reach Out to Rowan! View his mommy's blog HERE. View his foundation HERE.

Day 27 of Chrissie's 31-day battle, May 15, 2010:  Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4, Post 5, Post 6 (clot in heart discovered; high risk, hard day)


I know you're going to LOVE today's "Iron Man" story, written by Carrie Windham:

One of Rowan's medical conditions is that all lines of blood cells in his blood are affected at some point.  One week his platelets are low for example, then his clotting factors are extended, then his white count may be low, causing him to be nuetrapenic, and he is almost always anemic.  He goes to the Children's Cancer & Blood Center for labs, iron and IvIg infusions and transfusions routinely.  He has received plasma as well, and gets neupogen infusions twice a week to boost his immune system.  We never know which part of his blood is going to be affected next, so he gets lots of routine labs drawn to monitor it all.  Here he is getting some of his iron infusions.  He gets very pale and lethargic right before these iron infusions are needed, and he is actually the one who usually tells us he needs them.  On these days we spend 6-8 hours there receiving all the medications and  then the infusions through his central iv line in his chest, all at a very slow rate while he is monitored for any reactions. He sits in these cute little recliners, "attached" for hours...and has never ever complained about going, not even once.

One of Rowan's first hematologists aptly named him "Lack of Iron Man" when he was very young.  It was an ironic nickname, because Rowan's favorite movie and action figure toy was "Iron Man", and he wears "Iron Man" t-shirts all the time.  When the second movie "Iron Man 2" was due to come out, Rowan and I made a paper chain to count the days until it came out at the theaters.  Every day he pulled another link off that chain, and was so excited as it got smaller and smaller.  Unfortunately Rowan went back into the hospital, on another emergency trip, septic once again.  He spent several weeks in again, and ended up having repeat complications that kept extending his stay.  He asked his Daddy to bring his paper chain up to the hospital and he did, reluctantly though because we realized he would most likely still be stuck in the hospital when the final day arrived and the movie premiered. We did let Rowan continue to pull the links off there in the hospital though, and he continued to do so with a smile each morning.  Every time a nurse or doctor walked into the hospital room, Rowan blurted out "Hi, only 4 more days til Iron Man 2!" "Only 3 more days til Iron Man 2". and so on, and so on.  When the last day came and he pulled the last link off we were worried how he'd react, but he wasn't upset at all.  He simply smiled from ear to ear and said "Great! Now, as soon as we get outta here, we can go see it!"  What a kid, what a great attitude! He didn't feel sorry for himself that he was having to wait, he was just glad that he could go soon.  We were very impressed with our own little iron man.  Patience can be hard, especially for 3 year olds, but not for Rowan.  Here he is, still in the hospital, wearing his Iron Man gear- the movie already released, him anxiously awaiting his own release.

Here is proof that good things come to those who wait... Evidently, word got out through a friend of a friend, about how badly Rowan wanted to see Iron Man 2, and we heard from the Manager of a local theater.  He arranged for Rowan and 40 of his friends and family members to come see the movie in the VIP private theater, whenever he did in fact get out of the hospital and was well enough to come.  It was such an honor and a gift!  Here are some pictures of Rowan at the theater (about 2 weeks after it originally came out).  He was decked out from head to toe, our little "Iron Man".  The News station came out to interview us and his story aired on the news that evening.  The best part of the day was that nearly a dozen of his favorite nurses and hospital staff were there too, sitting right along side him, wearing their Iron Man shirts too!  Rowan had never gotten to see them on the "outside", nor had they ever seen him any way but laying down in a hospital bed.  It was such an awesome treat for us all! Notice he has on his little g-tube pump backpack with his costume, because he wears that all day for his gi-feeds.  He didn't mind wearing it over his Iron Man costume though.  He just said it was his "Iron Man jet-pack".

(Rowan with Logan, his favorite nurse from the hospital.  He works in the post anesthesia care unit)

(Rowan with more of his favorite nurses.  These ladies work in the surgical unit.)

(Rowan and his big brother, in their Iron Man shirts of course, after the movie.)

So call him "Lack of Iron Man" or call him "The Real Iron Man", but either way, he is our hero.  It may take a lot of iron, blood, neupogen, ivig and plasma to keep him going, but he is a fighter and a hero in our book.  We are constantly amazed by how well he adapts to his health issues and constraints, and how well he fights back and bounces back from hospitalizations and surgeries.  Here are a few more pictures of Rowan climbing Enchanted Rock, both times just a short time after being released from the hospital, both times "hooked up" wearing his little back-pack (or jet-pack:-).  He doesn't walk either, he runs, and climbs with all his might and rejoices when he makes it to the top.  Wish we all could be like him...

Thanks for reading about our Iron Man, our hero, Rowan, from the Windham family

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reach Out to Rowan, Part 4, B&B Day 26, May 14

We are so blessed to know The Windham Family in real life.  They have been such a blessing to our family, in ways we never imagined.  Rowan is our real live superhero who God works through to send us so many messages about Chrissie.  I had never even heard of Rowan or his family until Carrie reached out to us at Methodist Children's Hospital this time last year, and now they are some of my most treasured friends.

Today's message is with regards to the Rowan Jameson Windham Foundation, as written by executive director, Carrie Windham, supermom to the valiant superhero Mr. Rowan Jameson Windham.  You'll see photos of these superheroes at work through their foundation.  They're such amazing folks!

Day 26 of Mission Boss Your Heart Memorial Blitz, Focus #4 (Final Focus): Reach Out to Rowan! View his mommy's blog HERE. View his foundation HERE.

Day 26 of Chrissie's 31-day battle, May 14, 2010:  Post 1, Post 2 (about "E" going to heaven, please pray for E's mom as she walks through the 1-year anniversary of losing her son), Post 3

To "Reach Out to Rowan", in memory of Chrissie, please click the blue ChipIn on the blog or at the top of this post.

Now, be blessed by the following inspirational story and photos, shared by Carrie Windham:

After several years of finding our way in the dark, trying to figure out how to coordinate care with multiple doctors, survive repeat long hospitalizations, and deal with insurance companies, all while struggling to keep Rowan healthy and alive, we realized that we could not be the only people going through this.  We started a foundation in Rowan's honor, The Rowan Jameson Windham Foundation, in the hopes of helping other children and families like ours, battling life long, chronic and/or terminal illnesses.  We hope to connect families so they can help each other through shared experiences, as well as using our foundation to make life even a little bit easier for those families and their children.

There are many resources out there to help families, but usually, finding someone else who has been there is the best resource of all.  We had lots of scary moments and near misses, and we made lots of mistakes, which we learned from of course.  But a lot of the time we discovered crucial information, that it sure would've been nice to know ahead of time.  As a friend of mine once put it (one who lost a child with a medical disability, at the age of 13), "You don't know what you need to know, until you need to know it."  And she's right, there is no handbook for raising a child with special medical needs.  I leaned on her for support while learning to care for Rowan's special medical needs, and learned more from her than any doctor...because she'd been there, done that already.  I would love to be able to help others in that same way.

Our foundation is just in it's infancy stages right now.  We have big plans for the future, but we have been able to help some children and families at Methodist Children's Hospital already, as well as blessing some of the nursing staff that care for these precious warriors every day.  This past Christmas Eve we took beautiful blankets from the Linus Project, and some warm fun Christmas socks and flavored chapsticks up to the hospital for children who were stuck there for the holidays (as Rowan had been in for so many holidays before).  We donated enough goodies for 60+ children there.  We also took homemade baked goods to the nursing staff in 4 different wings of the children's hospital where Rowan spends a lot of his time. We were so grateful to be out of the hospital ourselves at that moment (Rowan had just spent 3 weeks straight there again and had his 2nd brain surgery a month or so before), but fully understood how hard it can be to keep a child's spirits up during times like those, when they should be spent at home with family.  Below are some pictures of Rowan and friends, along with the Rowan Jameson Windham Foundation's Board of Directors, delivering the goodies to the hospital.

(Rowan, on the way home, wiped out from delivering all the Christmas goodies)

That day was one of the most precious gifts we could have had for Christmas, being able to give back to others in need, and to the staff that cares for our son so often.  It was more of a blessing to us, than to them I'm sure.  Now ironically, Rowan woke up that Christmas morning running another fever over 104 degrees.  He laid on the floor and wouldn't open his Christmas presents, so off to the hospital I rushed him again.  He was going into septic shock by the time I arrived at the hospital...again.  Here is a picture of our little angel, barely a day after he had played Santa to so many other kids, and now he was back in, seriously ill himself.

Thank God, Rowan recovered and started improving pretty quickly, but he did have to stay another week there in the hospital again, until New Year's Eve.  Here he is a few days after Christmas, surrounded by some late Christmas presents of his own, donated from others who had given to the hospital. 

The tables turned several times for us this Christmas.  Thankfully, we got through it all, the good and the bad.

I have mentioned to Lorraine before, that my motto has pretty much been: "Do what you can, when you can."  I think I should add to that though. "Do what you can, when you can, and accept what you need when you need it." We felt great joy in the giving, and much prefer to be on that side of things, but we are ever so grateful for the gifts we received as well, and appreciate those doing the giving:-) Thanks to everyone who has blessed our family, and thanks to those who allow us to bless them as well.  I firmly believe that it all comes full circle, and God is always glorified when we help others.
blog comments powered by Disqus