Friday, December 21, 2012

Eli waiting on Friday to be called for sedation to prep for MRI.
South Korea made history recently by electing its first female president. The democratic state placed 60-year-old conservative Park Geun-hye in the executive branch of its government on December 19, 2012. Geun-hye is of political royalty. Her father served as president in the sixties and seventies before being assassinated, and she has followed a political career path that led her to being the most recognized and influential politician in her country, according to Wikipedia. She was leader of the Saenuri party before being nominated to represent it in the presidential elections which she won with the largest margin of any democratic election in the history of South Korea, the site said. Like all politicians, some people like her, some don’t. The media portrays her as being a clueless princess having privileges and opportunities as the daughter of a president beyond that that is available to the populous.
Eating oreos from sedation recovery.
She is highly educated and culturally experienced, and she didn’t help the princess image by not knowing the country’s minimum wage when asked during an interview along the presidential campaign trail. When she was young, her mother was assassinated while her father was in office, so Geun-hye was popularly accepted as First Lady during the remaining years of his presidency until he was killed by a North Korean assassin. As the 15th leading economy in the world, Wikipedia describes South Korea as a modern, developed country with a low crime rate and high education expectations. It has a constitution that gives citizens rights and one of those rights is to religious freedom. About half of the country claims no religion; the other half is split between Christianity and Buddhism with the former leading by a slim margin. The site said South Korea is second to the United States in the number of Christian missionaries sent abroad. Geun- hye is an atheist. I came across an unintended souvenir a couple of days ago. As a patient of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Eli has to register each day that he has an appointment. He is given a blue bracelet with a barcode, his name, number, and date on it. I’ve saved a couple along the way that have survived him yanking them off his
Eli handing out the cards from kids at home.
wrist, but I’m not much of a “keeper” in general. Yesterday, as I was cleaning out the bag that I carry around the hospital, I found one. I went to toss it in the garbage and caught a glimpse of the date, 12-14-12. That day was a fork in the road for our family and we were blessed in our continued journey. But, when I caught sight of that date, oddly it was not Eli the jumped into the front of my thoughts. Eli had early prep for sedation that morning of the 14th for his MRI, so we were at St. Jude by about 815 hours or so. The rest of the morning I spent wandering the different waiting areas, nervously passing the time until he was done sometime after lunch. During those hours, I slowly became painfully aware of the massacre in Connecticut. I kept a safe distance from the news, so as not to stress my emotions any more than they already were while waiting on our own news of the MRI that would tell us if Eli was still cancer free. But, having been surrounded by the victimization of children by the Evil One over this last year, I couldn’t help but feel a sympathetic devestation for this community. I’ve witnessed, nay, experienced a community’s love for even just one child, so the pain pounding on the hearts of these families and their friends and neighbors is nothing
We ALL got to stay at Jellystone this time.
 short of torture in a most heinous form. As the media began its usual dance of providing the facts with a sensational twist of spin-off coverage and commentary, I saw a disturbing trend developing. “Where is God?” said one headline. Then I saw a quote, “Why didn’t God do something?” I began to feel a little protective of God, although, I know He can speak for Himself. But, why is it that when evil happens, no one asks “Where is Satan?” When evil does what it does, how is it that Satan slithers away unnoticed? I think it is pretty obvious where Satan was on 12-14-12. Peter said in his inspired writings 1 Peter 5:8 that the “devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” and Adam Lanza had been devoured. The Evil One walked into those brightly-colored halls and pulled the trigger of “high-powered, military-style
Eli in front of our fav pastime - our Go-To-Zoo.
 rifles,” according to Fox News, and preyed upon the weak and innocent as is his usual way. Our journey to heaven, whether you are 6 or 96, is through this world of sin, and Satan is in it and active. He is looking for someone. But, the original question is “Where is/was God?” My four-year-old can answer that because it is simple. He is in heaven. He has prepared a place for us to go when evil does what it does. The inspired writer Luke tells us that Jesus told the thieves on the cross that they would be with Him “in paradise.” He knew where he was going after enduring the evil of this world. God stood at the open gates of that paradise Jesus spoke of for these souls of Sandy Hook offering them refuge from the Evil One. That’s where God is. Our humanity sometimes makes us short-sighted when it comes to
Abbey getting pointers for her eating habits.
 eternity and ignorant when it comes to comprehending the realm in which God acts, especially when we see others being granted earthly blessings. But, through Isaiah, God told the children of a divided Israel that “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God has prepared a safe haven from evil at the end of our journey, but faith in His ways and His thoughts is our comfort for the in-between. Yes, that is easy for me to say on 12-21-12 looking at the abyss behind us having been carried across nestled in the safety of God’s own hand to where our path is resumed. I kept that bracelet with 12-14-12 on it because that day is significant in our family’s history, and in the history of
Hg is convinced she can read lips.
 our country. I want to remember the parents who on that day were assaulted by evil and robbed of precious gifts given to them by our Creator. My prayer for them is to understand who is responsible for evil, and to have confidence in where God is. It’s difficult to see through the carnage, but Evil lost that day. Souls were added to the number of citizens in heaven, and one little light on earth continued to shine. If I ranked among the greatest writers of any time period, I would still fall short in accurately expressing or describing the feeling of having Eli in his rightful place in our family unit. We are mundanely exciting in our daily events now, but there is an aura about him, like a reminder illuminating from him that prayers have been answered, work has been rewarded, God is listening. Eli seems to be doing exceptionally well, except the eating
Eli is a lil' Trojan again!
 continues to trouble me. Our biggest news is that we registered Eli for school. He will join his class; take his seat among his peers which has been kept warm with prayers for his return. The timing couldn’t be more perfect under the circumstances. A teacher, whom we love and loves Eli, will be conducting individual classes for students that need extra attention. He will get what he needs, and we will work him into a school day slowly and adjust as he needs things adjusted. We love our school family and we are excited to be back full-force among the members. We have been enjoying home with a renewed sense of energy and appreciation since our return from Memphis on Saturday. Friday, after Vic and the kids arrived at St. Jude, we all sat in the waiting room after Eli came out of sedation recovery for our appointment about the scan. I have sat in the waiting room of E clinic many days, but no wait was longer. A few posts back, I wrote about a little boy’s mother who received devastating news as she stood there in the hallway of that same clinic. A crowd of St. Jude personnel gathered around her ready to heed her bidding. I had been calm all day, cautiously confident in our expected results, until I was sitting in the waiting room and a crowd of St. Jude
Eli and Principal Adams.
 personnel began to gather in the clinic hallway. I didn’t recognize any of them, and we were the only ones left in the waiting room on that late Friday afternoon. The scene began to look familiar. My breaths got deeper and I began to sweat. I whispered, “They are gathering.” I thought my chest was going to burst open. As those people slowly dispersed, we were called back to a room. We waited again, relaxing in thought some, when Dr. Robinson walked in and said, “Hey guys, wow, everyone’s here, great. Yes, so, the scans looked good. They were clear.” I wanted to throw myself onto the ground. Hallelujah! We spent the rest of the evening just enjoying each other’s company at the cabin where we were staying at Jellystone Campground in Horn Lake, Mississippi, which is where the kids and I stayed in the summer. The burden lifted, finally, even though it is only for a moment, we will take that moment. The next scan is already set for March 14, 2013. On Saturday, before we came home, we were determined to go to the zoo despite the rain and chill. The rain slacked and the chill warmed; the crowds stayed away and the animals came out, so it was one of our best zoo trips. Eli is able to keep up with everything we do within the limits of the other kids, so we
We are gender-neutral with toys. This Barbie Jeep will now tow.
 went from one side to the other easily. Also that day, we delivered the gift cards to some of the parents at Target House, and we delivered the cards to the kids from some homeschooling friends. We came back late Saturday and were excited to be worshiping as a whole family at our home congregation with no immediate threat of any of us going anywhere but home. I didn’t dare think about Christmas until the 14th passed because I didn’t know what kind of a Christmas it was going to be, and my brain just couldn’t focus on anything beyond that date. So, when we got back, I was in a bit of a scramble. But, I have a permanent smile on my face hearing Eli laugh and joke with his siblings, watching Eli play outside, hearing all the kids play Legos together, and helping Eli learn to ride a bike because he feels good! I even love hearing Eli fight with Abbey. We have truly
Boys playing race.
 come full circle. And, yes, Eli is driving a Barbie Jeep. It still works, and we are gender-neutral even when our toys are not. And, yes, that is a girl’s bike that he is learning on with a flower basket. The rule is that no one gets to pick his or her own bike until he or she learns to ride one. He has always been so low energy that he would never put forth the effort to push a pedal, and he was so heavy that I couldn’t hold the bike up for him to even try to learn. So, for him to be trying to ride at all is unfatomable. I never thought he would before he was sick, I certainly did not think he would after treatment. Riding bikes is one of my absolute favorite things to do, as I have mentioned before, so it will be an exciting day if he learns. In any other household these things are common and unremarkable, but in our house it is heaven on earth.
I can't believe he even wanted to get on one. Yes, that is a girl's
bike with a flower basket. When they learn to ride, then they can
pick out their own bike. Until then, we'll see how bad he wants it.

The boys playing tag on their ride toys.

I am attending class parties with a new sense of

Eli thought it was funny that Cam is wearing his bracelet.
We were given the bobblehead by Auburn Athletic department.

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