Thursday, January 12, 2017

We are enjoying some “normalcy” around the house, which is in a mess, but goes right along with the “normal”… or “normal” goes right along with “mess”… either way it’s appropriate. I think this New Year’s Eve was first where we were not all together to start the new year, it seems like Eli and I were gone one time, but I can’t think of where it would have been, but this year we had a teenager with something better to do than party with her parents. Since Hg was in a cradle in our room, I’ve always recorded what we were doing on the first seconds of the new year, which is usually me just recording everyone sleeping, ha!, except the last couple of years, but I missed not having her with us this year for the
recording. We did hit a little church party for Caleb’s youth group that night, but we left a couple of hours before midnight, then Abbey, and Caleb joined me for a sleepover downstairs. The kids played video games together a lot, we went to the movies, did some Wal-mart browsing of clearance, put away Christmas decorations, and that’s it. Eli and I go to Augusta next week for the day to begin cycle number 10. As long as he has no symptoms of any changes, his next MRI will be at the end of February.

With a break in school, the kids, sans Eli, have been working on spearheading a program under our non-profit to encourage siblings of cancer kids who are in treatment. The girls, and even Caleb to an extent, do not care anything about car shows, but I wanted them to be involved in what we were
doing to support childhood cancer, to find their own way to contribute, but it still be something they were interested in. So, I sat down with them, and we talked about their own journey these last five years, the challenges, the encouragement, or what was something consistent that should be addressed. After much rambling discussion, and some bargaining, some reigning in and focusing of direction, we all settled on them providing siblings of cancer kids with a backpack filled with an encouraging note, and some of their own favorite things to help while waiting in doctor’s offices, or traveling to appointments. How many times I have said, “Go, get a bag ready to carry.” The program is called Sibling Survival Sacks, and they want to fill a backpack with a toy, a book, a journal/drawing pad, and a snack, and maybe some kind of small electronic music player, or a game, but we’ll see on that. They are in charge of it, with my hand close by. They have set a goal of nine backpacks each month, and set up an application for parents to apply for a bag to be shipped to their children. We haven’t opened up the application yet just because I don’t want them to get overwhelmed while they are
learning how to organize it, but if there is a parent on Eli’s page that meets the requirements for a bag(s), please apply, I’ll share the link at the bottom. The cancer kid must be in treatment, with siblings that live with him or her between the ages of 2-17. This is just getting started, they are fundraising for the bags, electronics, snacks and shipping costs now (I’ll share that link at the bottom as well), but have engaged the youth groups at church to collect the books, have talked to student organizations at their schools to collect the toys, and Abbey (who is currently the lead…. I know, we’ll see) will talk with the ladies ministry at church about helping to provide the notebooks, journals, colored pencils, crayons, etc. They are getting ready to initiate a brown-bag challenge, so I’ll let you know when that is ready. I’m hoping this will be a good experience for them, that they will exercise their charitable hearts, and learn about organization, learn to deal with people, and be project-driven. If you have any ideas for them, let me know, and I will get Abbey to email you.

Please, say a prayer of thanksgiving for Riley. She was on the Houston trial that Eli was on, and stopped treatment a couple of months ago because she had been having clear scans, and was experiencing some neurological symptoms. She continues to have clear scans out of treatment, so we are very thankful for that, and so happy for this sweet girl, and her tough mama.

If you would like to participate in the Brown Bag Challenge (take a lunch from home to work instead of eating out) and help raise money for Sibling Survival Sacks, go to . If you are a cancer parent with a child currently in treatment and would like to apply for a bag for your kid’s siblings, go to . If you want to learn more about our foundation, go to

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