Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder.

We were privileged to be a part of the Starlight Children’s Foundation’s Great Escapes Program last night. It was a Christmas dinner cruise on the Sternwheeler, which we had been a part of last year. Thankfully, it wasn’t as crowded this year, but we did end up on the bottom floor where most of the families with children in wheelchairs have to sit. The upper deck was completely full by the time we climbed aboard.

We’ve been taking part in Starlight for over a year now and I often wonder why we continue. Not because it’s not a good organization, but because it takes effort on my part. It takes energy, planning, gas and time to participate, but I am NEVER disappointed. I ALWAYS come home with lifted spirits, yet surrounded by the sadness of the harshness of real life. Since Josh’s diagnosis, I’ve come to realize it’s IMPOSSIBLE to separate joy from sorrow.

As my husband, two daughters and Joshie got settled around the far back table, I wondered what the Lord had in store for us this year. Last year, I felt His love and spirit in a tangible way as I watched the families file out at the end of the trip each one hugging Terri and Yvonne, the leaders and planners of these events. My husband and I literally FELT God’s love as we watched the procession of physically broken children and their weary families leave with joy, laughter and happiness written on their faces. We both had stood side by side, marveling as our eyes filled with tears. And I wondered what would happen this year…

Then I saw them, the last family to arrive. There wasn’t really any place for them to sit. We quickly offered to shuffle ourselves around making room for their small wheelchair filled with a precious little girl, their mentally disabled high school aged son and themselves. Once they were settled, the mom and I began to talk, while the father listened. This was their first outing with Starlight and she commented on how hard it is for her to go anywhere with the wheelchair in tow. Full of gratitude for our willingness to make room, she quickly told me her son had been born at 24 weeks gestational age weighing one pound and had suffered many brain bleeds, thus his mental disability. Then she introduced us to her three year old granddaughter, who had also been born at 24 weeks and was unable to walk, talk or even swallow on her own due to brain bleeds! They had adopted her instead of letting her become a ward of the state. I was stunned.

My mind quickly went to my precious first born. Twenty-one years ago she was born by an emergency c-section at 25 weeks weighing only 1 and ½ pounds. But unlike these two children, she NEVER had one brain bleed. She had her share of complications and problems, but she left the NICU fairly whole. In fact, my oldest will soon be graduating from college and will be giving birth to her first child. There was a time when we wondered if she would ever even be able to conceive because of the multiple x-rays, scans, steroids and her prematurity. She definitely had mild physical consequences of her prematurity and sometimes suffered through being teased by her peers because of them. But she always had a healthy knowledge of who she was and where she had come from and what could have been. As an adult now, many people don’t know about her beginning. They don’t know they are looking at a miracle.

As I sat across the table talking with that mother, I knew that could have been me. I knew that was a road the Lord could have had me travel down, but for whatever reason, He didn’t.

Instead, I was given a beautiful miracle…

Thursday, December 4, 2008


A chance happening, an accident, fluke, or happenstance. But are there really such things as twists of fate? Or are there reasons for the why and how of things?

I believe in a reason and purpose, because I believe in the God of the Universe.

I wrote a blog last June about a very disappointing and tearful day for Josh and me. It was the day we were sure Josh’s trach tube was going to come out. We went to the hospital full of expectations and hope only to be disheartened by the failure of his trach removal. Finally, exhausted and spent, we began to drive home in the late afternoon each of us in the silence of our own sadness. Suddenly we noticed “The Jumper”. She was dressed in white painter pants and a button-up shirt, sporting a Mohawk. Anger etched her face as she fought the two officers trying to pull her down from the bridge railing. Her backpack sat on the ground beside her feet. This quick glimpse of desperation was gone in a flash as we drove by, propelling Josh and I into prayer for this stranger’s life, our own distress easily forgotten as we pondered the despair that would push someone to such a point.

Now fast forward to October. It was the month my husband and I spoke in our large church sharing our journey through childhood cancer with our son, Joshua. I had noticed them in the audience before, young street kids filling up an entire row of seats. The ministry is called Transitional Youth and a young couple drives downtown each Sunday morning picking up the homeless kids who want to go to church. I didn’t notice them in the crowd that day, after all the lights were bright and I was nervous. But the following Sunday, a young woman with a Mohawk came towards me after the service was over. She introduced herself and asked me to pray for her brother who had had cancer when he was a baby.

“The doctor’s think the cancer is back now” she said. I promised to pray for her brother. We talked a little longer and I asked her how I could pray for her too. After she shared, we parted.

A couple nights later deep in sleep I startled awake. "The Jumper" was the same mohawked girl I had met at church! Though I haven’t confirmed it, I’m almost 100 percent sure. I’ve seen her there every Sunday since. Sometimes we speak, sometimes we don’t. She’s touched my heart. A million questions have filled my mind: how did she end up on the streets, what’s her family like, how did she find Transitional Youth, what was happening when I drove by her that day?

Coincidence? Yeah…right…

"Transitional Youth provides outreach, support, and housing to positively transform the hearts and lives of homeless youth through compassion, guidance and the grace of God."