Sunday, September 21, 2014



Ei's Choice from the car show.
We have been at full-throttle for several weeks now, but really… when are we not operating at  high energy levels it seems like. September is Childhood Cancer month, so we are heavily promoting and participating in events and projects to help raise awareness for that. Though it is tiring, stressful and distracting, I am so thankful to do it. My mind can easily consider what I thought in January that we would be doing in September of this year, and it wasn’t walking around with Eli taking pictures of his new favorite superhero War Machine, or discussing what his favorite car is at a car show. It humbles my heart to be at this place in our “journey” when so many mothers have a piece missing from theirs. And, then today, I saw news that a girl that I have followed for a while after her relapse, has relapsed a second time. The first relapse
Eli at the fall festival at his new school, the cover for homeschool.
 was three years ago, original diagnosis was six years ago at age 10. Her mother has messaged me personally before and been so positive in her comments and in sharing what they have faced after being cancer-free from relapse. Please, include this teen, Baylee, in your prayers. With little kids, even with Eli, you can guide their thoughts some, but a teen has a mind of her own and I’m sure is cognizant of the situation. This disease is just such a monstrous evil, aggressive and there just doesn’t seem to be anything that can stop it. I am just so sad to hear this for many reasons.

This post may be long because I have been working on it for a while, and just kept having to add to it. First, I want to share with you an opportunity tomorrow night, September, 22, at Chili’s restaurant.
Ei is all about some War Machine now.
He was fantastic!
The company hosts a Donate Profits Day each year where it donates profits on that day to St. Jude. Chili’s has several “arms” by which it reaches out to the community to support childhood cancer research efforts, and tomorrow is one of those times. The Chili’s Care Center is a facility at the Memphis campus in which most of the “action” happens at St. Jude, so Eli and I are very familiar and thankful for what Chili’s does for childhood cancer. Even though it is a school night, our family plans to be at the new Chili’s in Madison on Highway 72 in front of the new Wal-mart tomorrow evening at 4:45 p.m. for dinner. We would love to see you there, or if you can stop in and buy gift cards (get some Christmas gifts out of the way), that counts, or take-out, that counts. If you visit another Chili’s double-check that they are participating, but here is your reason to eat out tomorrow night. Post of a picture of your and your family at Chili’s on Eli’s page to say hey.

So, I’m really nervous. Now that Superhero stuff is over, my next distraction and concentration is a ladies class at church that I’ve been asked to speak at. For this quarter, a different lady each Wednesday night is speaking on a different subject within the realm of “Being Broken”. Most of the ladies are not
Eli got to meet a real hero: Astronaut Bill Stewart who was
a member of a space shuttle mission.
 teachers, but just people who have faced issues and have agreed to tell their tale in hopes that it will help someone, or help someone help someone. I am not a teacher, and am uncomfortable speaking in a group larger than four. I prefer to write out my thoughts, then if someone wants to read it they can, and if they don’t, they don’t have to. And, so many things related to “presentation” play a part in the success of relaying the message. Presentation and I go way back, but we are not agreeable. We have had some absolutely outstanding lessons. I am very last as of right now. So, you may not see many detailed updates because I will be preparing that lesson. Please, say a special prayer for me as I prepare, and I apologize in advance for the short updates that will be from now until I finish my lesson.

Our wonderful staff at St. Jude HSV for Superhero Day.
Eli is doing pretty well. He has gotten a full dose of the entire chemo cycle last month, and he got the full dose Friday, the top of cycle 10. His body is starting to tire of the regimen, so he has needed blood products three times in the last month - once blood, and twice platelets. He seems to feel decent, has had a juicy nose in the mornings, sometimes with some blood in it, but not bad. His ANC has been ok, and his energy level has been normal for him, and his eating has been normal for him. He sleeps well, except for the night he has chemo, and is otherwise, in general, normal for him.

Superhero Fun Day - which really, I’m calling the entire month Superhero September - appears to have been successful and popular. Last year, Vic and I “hosted” a Superhero Fun Day at school just kind of as a thank you for everything the kids do.
A couple of Supers at Superhero Day.
 They are all so good to pray for Eli, and remember him, always have been. We rented a blow-up to be used during elementary P.E. and brought in a snack. The kids wore superhero t-shirts and we gave out stickers. It was a lot of fun, and then just a couple of days later we found out about Eli’s relapse, so I didn’t have a lot of hope of ever doing it again. So, you can imagine, how wonderful it was to even be here for it and to see it grow. We are guessing that we might have had about 1500 people participate on Saturday, but we had many businesses and individuals kick it off on Friday by dressing up at work and school, including the doctors, nurses and staff at the St. Jude clinic in Huntsville. The idea and the event was well received by the community and we will be making about a $6,000+ donation to Children’s Oncology Group, a research organization that supports St. Jude and Children’s of Alabama. The donation includes money from local cycle groups, Kreme Delite Krushers, Athens-Limestone Cyclists and North Alabama Cylists. The groups gave a donation of $250 to COG on behalf of its sponsors U.G. White, Holt's Pest Control, Kreme Delite, Village Pizza, Madison Chiropractic, Canebrake Club, Madison Cycles, Southern Carnage Mobile Bicycle Services, and Fort Hampton Outfitters

The families involved in the event are hopeful to grow something that our town will enjoy and something that will benefit efforts toward fighting and eventually curing childhood cancer. We tried to contact as many childhood cancer victims as we could think of in our county and we think we have
Eli got to see Bumblebee of Transformers.
 14, plus four that we have lost in recent years. Of the group, I think four of them are currently on treatment. The ages range from, I think, 2 years old to 20, and the cancers are diverse. I have seen wonderful pictures of the event from several sources. I was pretty busy that day, and didn’t really take but just a couple of my own, so I don’t have many pictures of Eli. But, I have pulled some together of what I have of him and just in general of the event so that you can get a little bit of an idea of how it went and made a little quick slide show. This was a fun run and other activities, including appearances by Superheroes.

I have not had time to update much as we prepared for the event, but rest assured that if there was anything really important, I would run to you here first to get the prayer train moving. We were blessed to also be a part of a local car show that is to benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. I am not very familiar with the organization, but I hope to look into it and help the local effort. It just happened to be scheduled for September, which worked out great, and it just happened to be run by a member of the local Mustang club, which worked out great. My personal hope would be to eventually have three big events - three weekends in September - dedicated to Childhood Cancer for the
Eli waiting for his clinic appointment with Dunkin' Donuts
munchkins for the nurses and staff.
 community to enjoy. I already have an idea for a third event and have made first contact to get the conversation going. It will round out the efforts of the month beautifully if it works out, and if things in our household continue to be stable - well, what is stable for us.

The car show had a good turn out with some gorgeous machines. Eli and Molly, a girl from Scottsboro who fought medulloblastoma when she was two and has been cancer-free for 11 years, were honored and presented awards for their choice for a favorite. They had great-looking trophies to give out for several categories, and Eli, of course, chose a 2013 GT 5.0 Coyote in grabber blue that was beautiful. It was detailed out! It was in close competition with a huge Ford F150 Raptor truck. Eli loves the trucks, but the grabber blue with black stripes is his favorite and the red accents put him over the top. Jeremy Stidham from Hamilton, Alabama, drove the almost 100 miles with his kids to be a part of the
The 2015 Mustang Hot Wheels.
 show. A lot of special people everywhere we go, and we are having fun meeting so many of them. Caleb chose his favorite, a ’57 chevy. He loves the old cars, especially those from the 50’s. Eli was able to get a Hot Wheels 2015 (that he could open, we would not let him open one that Bill Ford autographed for him), and Caleb picked one of the old ones then, too. It is always fun to see the car enthusiasts that love to show off their work. Eli was given gifts sponsored by Brian Wiggins with State Farm, including a War Machine bobble-head. The kids and I (and I’m sure many other people after attending Superhero Fun Day) recently learned about War Machine, a character from Ironman 3 movie and from the Ironman comic book series. War Machine, powered by it’s costume creator Russ Meyerricks, came to Superhero Fun Day and was a huge hit. Eli has since been a huge
He will pick an old one every time. He gets it.
 War Machine fan, and has been looking for War Machine stuff. The Super is not quite as mainstream as Spiderman or Ironman, himself, so it was fun for him to get the Bobblehead, which, Lisa Bass, the car show organizer found at The Deep Comics, one of our sponsors for the Superhero Fun Day. War Machine was amazing last weekend and was the lead off for the rest of our Superheroes for the day. And, they were just wonderful! It was so exciting, and the kids and the adults were all wound up to get their picture with them and the kids to get autographs. It was a lot of fun. I think I might have already said that Vic was Spiderman, so he was holding babies and doing a lot of pictures. I think he actually had fun.

Eli and Molly also received a handmade quilt each from Quilts of Compassion, a non-profit organization that makes quilts for people who had faced catastrophic events. Beautiful handiwork,
Eli and the quilt from Quilts of Compassion.
 and Eli’s was themed with old trucks and a road down the middle. He and Caleb were both excited about it because of the road down the middle looked like something they could run their cars on.

I am hoping for a more normal week, trying to crack down on homeschooling. It continues to be overwhelming, and I feel like the kids are getting short-changed. Hg is doing pretty good with hers, and I do love that we are able to participate with church activities and other things without the pressure of homework. I feel like they are both a little bored, and Eli really needs a math teacher. I just don’t feel like he is progressing and not because he can’t but because I don’t know how to propel him forward. Vic says he doesn’t want to get him a teacher, he wants to do
Eli drew a picture of War Machine.
it ourselves. Vic knows math, but I just don’t think he is what Eli needs. Eli needs a teacher. He needs someone that knows teaching, not necessarily math. Anyway, please, beautiful people, do not write me telling me that you will be glad to tutor him, because I know that all 4,000 of you would be more than happy to, but Vic wants us to do it and not be “beholden” to anyone more than we already are for things. So, I am just sharing my thoughts about me wanting him a teacher, and Vic not wanting him a teacher. I’m going to need to be able to share my thoughts without ya’ll offering a solution each time. If I have to hold back my thoughts, this blog is going to get real boring. Ya’ll are too kind, and I already know that you were thinking it. I may have to veto him, and see if Eli’s former tutor can see him once a week just to check our progress and look him in the eyes to see if he is getting some basic concept.

We’ve got Johnny Appleseed day, an overnight field trip, dentist appointments, lab appointments, basketball try-outs, karate, Bible Bowl class and Chili’s fundraiser this week, so busy week as usual.

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