Friday, December 6, 2013


Finding out we were pregnant with a second set of twins was overwhelming.  I was already the mommy of three little children.  Rourke was just three and Frannie and Lydia were still not two...three babies.  I knew I would love them, but how could I care for two more?!  Two twin pregnancies....I was certain I would end up on bed rest.  What if these babies were premature?  We were trying to find a house on a shoestring budget.  There were just a few in our price range and they needed work.  We were getting discouraging comments and concerns from people around us.  We couldn't sell our townhouse because we were underwater, so we had a renter lined up, who fell through.

To the west of our house is a big open space.  As we drove to this house for a second showing, babies growing my belly, my eyes wet with worry, I looked east across the open space and between me and our house were two.  Two rainbows.  God's promise to all of creation, we won't drown.  I'm generally not very swayed by signs, but it did bring peace.  

The house ended up being a perfect fit, I was never on bed rest, Zinnia and Esther just a little early, but fine, we found terrible renters.  It all worked out.  Our friends and community rallied around us, we made it.  

When Esther was first diagnosed I remembered these rainbows and struggled.  I wanted them to mean that everything was going to be white picket fences and good grades.  

Esther's scans were perfect.  There has been a mystery spot on her lungs since diagnosis, it never lit up with MIBG, it was just there, it's gone too.  Perfectly clean scans.

Esther drank her CT contrast like a champ.

Add caption
When we pulled up to our house, Esther sleepily told me to look.  There it was.  A rainbow.  It was faint, but still there. I didn't have a smart phone when I saw the rainbows in the field five years ago and this isn't the best picture, but you can see it....
I've been thinking about these rainbows since yesterday afternoon.  Should I take signs more seriously?  I am unwavering on the sovereignty of God, but signs?  Perhaps my faith is weak right now, I don't want to be one of those crazy people wearing animal skins eating grasshoppers and honey.  God sent a rainbow as a sign that he promised to never flood the earth again, but what about our lives?   

It was just a year ago Esther was about to enter the hospital for her stem cell transplant that a dear woman, with her husband a few other friends prayed with me in the lobby at church for Esther's life.  This woman shared with me a few months ago that later in the night God woke her, and she was burdened to pray for Esther.  In the cold hours of the night, she was certain God said He had done it.  He had answered our prayers in the lobby that day.  I didn't know how to respond, I was scared to believe that God would say yes.  Why is it easier to live in doubt and fear than in confidence and freedom?  I don't to live life preparing, fearing the next blow anymore.  Living life in fear of what might happen isn't going to make it hurt less anyway.  I don't know the future.  While this is not heaven and there will be pain in the future, Esther is cancer free!  She is alive today and our family is together.

I am not ready to proclaim this rainbow as God's sign that Esther will never have to face cancer again, because she might.  The only certainty is that if she does, God will carry us through.  There's a song we sing at church, "Ready Now" by Desperation Band.  Here's the lyrics and a video to listen to it...we don't do the wicky, wicky, woo part, but that'd be okay with me if we did. 


You come like You promised You would
I want to surrender for good
I know that I need You 
And I don't want to keep living life alone

So take my heart
and make it new
make it true
And make it like You
Take my hands
I lift them high
They're Yours not mine to do
Do what You will 
Do what You will
Do what You will

I feel like a blind man in Your sight
I know that im wicked in Your eyes
So wash me and make me shine like the sun
I want to tell everyone
that You're the only one

So take my heart
And make it new
Make it true
And make it like You
Take my hands
I lift them high
They're Yours not mine to do
Do what You will 
Do what You will
Do what You will

Im ready now
Im ready now
Im ready now
Do what *You* will
Im ready now
Im ready now
Im ready now
Im ready now
Im ready now
Im ready now
Do what You will
Im ready now
Im ready now
Im ready now

So take my heart
and make it new
make it true
And make it like You
Take my hands
I lift them high
They're Yours not mine to do
Do what You will 
Do what You will
Do what You will

Im ready now
Im ready now
Im ready now
Do what You will
Im ready now
Im ready now
Im ready now
Do what You will
Im ready now
Im ready now
Im ready now
Do what You will
Im ready now
Im ready now
Im ready now

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Surgery, Snow, and Scans

Esther's surgery went well yesterday, so that is a praise. Tomorrow is scan day. I am have been battling anxiety and am not sure if it's related to scans or the snow. I'm nervous to drive to Denver early in the morning on roads that could be icy. Probably a bit of both. Esther will have a CT scan, lab work, and a pulminary function test. Hopefully we will learn more about why her recent cold so quickly turned into bronchitis. I can't remember if I wrote that before, but she was treated for bronchitis after a chest x-ray last week showed some thickening in her lungs.

I want to ask for prayer for clean scans, for no cancer, and I do. At the same time, I don't want to ask anymore. Although the daily tasks related to cancer are finished, it is never far away. I want to ask for it to just be gone...all gone. There are things I am so, so thankful for. For the people we met, and the love we've been shown. For the nearness of God and the simplicity of choices for that day. I never want to forget the grace poured over us.

We've been working to live life, to choose faith, to just put one foot in front of the other. I may have said this before, but it's kind of like when you've been working really hard and then you sit down, sometimes it's so hard to get back up, to keep going. But you have to, so you pick yourself up and move forward. We can all remember a time when tragedy entered and everyone kept going when you just want everything to stop. Sort of like those strange dreams where you've forgetten to get dressed, but no one notices. You're there, freaking out because you're naked, but everyone just keeps walking. I'm striving to be paitient for rest and to look for the graces and mercies around in our daily lives. Here are a few...


Rourke chose St. Basil's cathedral, one of areas of study this year.

Rourke chose St. Basil's cathedral, one of areas of study this year.
Lydia chose a Clara and her Nutcracker


Frannie's pick, royalty!


Zinnia's looks like a delicious Christmas cake ball


Esther wanted a blue candy cane
I love the creative practicality of boys. Rourke put all the trains and cars on a track of tinsel.


Coloring before surgery, with bunny's help!

Esther did amazing yesterday. She even let them start an IV. She hardly flinched. This was both relieving and disheartening that a 4 year has had to be so brave. She shouldn't be used to pokes, she should've fought and screamed. At the same time, her trusting, brave nature has carried her well and has been a grace over her life.

Our Christmas lights are especially pretty in the freshly fallen snow.


Tomato cages turned upside down make great trees!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Surgery is Delayed

Just a quick note to let you know that Esther has come down with something. She had some high fevers over the weekend and then again on Monday. It's not really safest to put her under general anestesia, so her plate removal is re-scheduled for next Tuesday. Her next follow up scan is next Thursday, December 5th, at Children's in Denver.

On a different note...there is a neat, EASY, opportunity to support families at Brent's Place who are living there over the holidays. A home building company is giving $10, up to $4000, for every new like on their facebook page. This will go toward making the holidays away from family and friends special with gifts and meals. Head over to the Cardel Homes Denver facebook page, and give 'em a thumbs up.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Don't Worry, Mommy, I Won't Let You Fall

Frannie and Lydia have been taking piano lessons on Monday afternoons. Rourke has been asking if we could take a drive up to Horsetooth, so this last week during their lessons, Rourke, Zinnia, Esther and I took a little hike on the east side of Horsetooth Reservior. It was COLD, but the kids didn't care. They were happy to romp around the rocks and trails. Zinnia asked if she climbed a mountain. Rourke wanted to climb into every crevass he could find.

I was holding Esther's hand because she's still a bit unsteady with her broken leg and a couple of the trails had a bit of a drop off. I had her on the inside of the trail, and when we got to the parts with an edge, she told me not to worry because she wouldn't let me fall.

While we do not yet feel normal, our days, for the most part, are. Little things can bring everything rushing back. Today during our homeschool program we got to learn a little about and launch rockets. As we walked the trail over to the lot where the rockets were launched I was catapulted right back to a year ago. Just about a year ago on a school day we took a nature walk right on that very same trail. I have a picture of one of our girls and Thomas' sister. The temperature, time of day, light, and landscape are nearly exact. This year I am so thankful to say that hair on the heads of Thomas and Esther is not.

F and M one year ago.

Oh, I just wanted to stop and cry and call the girls over for another picture. I wanted to rejoice and tell the story of what a year has brought, that God brings us back to these places and we can remember. Last year I would've been on my knees, pouring out my fear. We were on hyper alert for germs because Esther was gearing up for a stem cell transplant. I was scared. This year I could've stood on that trail, hands lifted high with thankfulness. Alas, as with life, my class was running ahead.

This is a fitting analogy to how we're doing right now. Life is running ahead and we're keeping up, but wishing we could sit by the edge of the trail for a bit. Just to breathe it all in and then let it all out. Hiking around the hills at Horsetooth was a bit of that breathing for me. Refreshing. Now if only I can give myself some space to do it. My hands are clenched pretty tightly to our days. I know I can't make up the time I missed last year, but I just don't want to share. Partly because I want to want to settle deeply into the relationships, to see the hearts and needs of my husband and children, but also because I don't know how many days I'll have with any of them. I want to hug them and love them and teach and train them every opportunity I get. When there is five little hearts, there's not a lot left for anything else. I'm sure this swing is natural, and I'm recognizing the need to sit at the edge of the trail.

We've been growing a thankful tree, a simple way to sit by the trail. The reflection occurs every day for about an hour as the sun illuminates our gratitude.

Esther had her lab work done today, and it looks great. Her leg is healing and the plate will come out November 26th. Her scans will be the following week. The words that ring in my ears from the neurosurgeon we first saw at the beginning of this road get a bit louder every now and then. He said neuroblastoma usually melts away with chemo, but the problem is that it comes back. For now, it's quiet, making it much easier to choose to not live in constant preparation for the next blow.

Here's a bit of our normal and a few of some not so normal, but really cool, days....

Fun at the pumpkin patch with our school friends. We enjoyed a hay ride, pet the farm animals, played on a giant pile of hay, and hiked out about 1/4 mile to the far edge of the patch and found our pumpkins.

Snake Eyes, two ballerinas, Alice in Wonderland, and Sofia the First!
Sometimes breakfast is just fun.
Esther made her wish!

This past weekend a nice fairy godmother and fairy godfather came to our house to ask what her wish would be. Her first wish was to go to Disneyland and have a fancy ball with all the princesses. Her secondary wish was to have a castle bed for her and all her sisters. We should find out what will happen in the next few weeks.

Tomorrow night we're even going to a concert! The organization, Blue Star Connection, that gifted us with our piano is having a concert in Ft. Collins on Thursday night. They have some awesome cigar box guitars that a bunch of elementary aged kids built available to purchase and it should be a fun night. We'd love to see you there at the Blind Pig, can buy to sell. It starts at 7pm and should be awesome. The Mayor even declared November 14th, 2013 as Blue Star Connection Day in Fort Collins.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I keep telling her to put her shirt back up.

Esther's port surgery was a piece of cake yesterday.  No nausea, she enjoyed a purple slushy, left the port behind and came home with a scar covered in that clear skin glue stuff.  We're hoping she doesn't peel it off like she did with her broviac.  She is showing everyone that her port is out...I guess sometimes it's okay for a four-year-old to show off her scar.  She's certainly earned the pride for enduring with such grace and courage.

Yesterday was so sweet.  I've got a little cold, so Anthony took her to the hospital.  She was so excited to see her "noirses" and doctor friends.  I woke her up early so she could eat a little before her food and drink restrictions kicked in.  She did that sweet thing babies do when they curl up their legs, arch their back, and stretch their arms so high.  Then she said, "Mommy, I'm going to tell Dr. Amy I'm gonna be like her when I get big."  I commented I thought she was going to be like Miss Rebecca.  She said that she will be like both and take care of kids with cancer.  Sometimes I just marvel in her sweetness.  One of my most consistent prayers through this has been that God would keep her sweet.  Grace upon grace has been poured over this mommy.

Esther ate some cereal, drank some milk, and then got ready to leave.  The kids are thrilled for Esther.  I can forget how concrete they are sometimes.  This port coming out is clear evidence their sister is better.  They've been counting down the days until her it came out,  pointing out the date on our kitchen calendar to anyone who came into our home.

Excited to leave!

Her little hand was waving with such gusto as they drove off!

Zinnia has been particularly affectionate and eager for her sister.  Zinnia is smart and incredibly perceptive.  Over the last couple of weeks we've observed a new freedom in her heart for Esther.   I can't help but wonder if she's been reserved over the last 17 months, protecting herself from the pain her sister, her twin, was experiencing and the fear she might loose her.  During some of Esther's sickest days, Zinnia would throw up for no apparent reason.  I really do think she was just sick with worry and compassion.  Being little children certainly brings a hedge of protection from what is going on around them, but I do believe the hurt, pain, and fear they experience is as real as an adult.  They are graced with an ignorance of childhood, but are not immune from the effects of their experiences.

Thinking about the other four children, Zinnia stands out as the one most effected.  While her brother and sisters have brought her into their play, and special relationships formed that may not have otherwise, she's been a bit alone in it all.  She's played the part of one of the big kids, but you could tell she wasn't quite there.  She still much younger and didn't have the vocabulary or discernment to communicate her experience.  Seeing her this last week has, I think, revealed some of the weight she's been carrying.  She has not wanted to leave Esther's side.  Zinnia is a "daddy's girl."  She LOVES her dad.  All day yesterday she didn't ask once if she would see Daddy when they got home, but told me several times she couldn't wait for Esther to be home so she could hug her.  Heart.  Melted.  They've been cuddling, holding hands wherever they go, playing together in a way that is different and so very sweet.  When they pulled in the driveway, Zinnia did that thing where kids form fists, hike up their shoulders, and runch (run/march) with a facial expression none too different than pop-eye.  She was sprinting to her goal, yet displayed tender self control and hugged Esther gently knowing she'd be sore.

There were many neat things about yesterday.  One of them came through an experience with an accounts manager in the billing department from the lab.  For some reason, the lab does not have our insurance right and there is seemingly no way to correct the error.  We have received a bill for every lab draw Esther has had...inpatient and outpatient.  I am not exaggerating when I say the total is well over a thousand, probably much more.  I have one of those portable file boxes, stuffed, with at least one ream of paper's worth of statements.  The other quirk is that every new lab encounter is a different account number.  There are fewer of those because one encounter generally has a minimum of 4 labs, but the number is still rediculous.  All this has played out in me calling on every. single. bill.  Thankfully the number is dwindling down now!

I've been delaying on the most recent few bills.  When I called the woman who answered recognized Esther's name right away.  She said she'd been worried because there had been so many bills come through and that they've pretty well dropped off.  She said Esther stood out to her because she too has an "old lady name," saying, "it stole my breath a bit when I saw she was just a four-year-old."  I was humbled by the realization that even the accounts managers care for the patients they "meet" along the way and thankful for the chance to tell her that Esther's doing well, in fact, getting her port taken out the same day.  God's kindness to orchestrate this encounter is just...ugh...difficult to express.  I keep singing the line from "Mud Song"..."Isn't it just like you" to bring us to this day.  "Isn't it just like you" to reveal to this stranger that a little girl she'd never met, but knew was so sick, was okay.  Oh...."Isn't it just like you?!"  God is completely in the details, coincidence is nice to bring up, but I just don't buy it.  Over and over in our lives it is clear God is orchestrating "all things for the GOOD of those who love Him."

Esther's little celebration with Dr. Amy, Miss Kerri, and her
beloved Mr. Ricardo.

Waiting.  Waiting. Waiting.  Sweet girl.

Waking up from anesthesia  Minnie keeping her company
under the covers!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Just one more big step

I love fall. LOVE fall. There was a frost Tuesday night that made for an enchanted Wednesday morning. As I was driving to our homeschool program each tree I passed brought wonder, and I felt like a little girl. From each tree, golden colored leaves fluttered down, catching the light like glitter. Maybe a bit of fairy dust, as Francesca would say. My friend commented it was like it was snowing, but only under the trees. If I didn't have to prepare for a morning instructing seven young boys, I would've kept going to Mountain Avenue and walked right down the middle.

Being a task oriented "A-type" personality, cancer has caused me to just pause and notice the beauty around. Not just notice, but really breathe it all in. In my perfectionism and to do lists, I've often observed "free spirits" to posses a lot more joy than I do. I kind of wonder if it's because they aren't afraid to twirl under the falling leaves outside all the fancy houses on Mountain Avenue.

We are all plugging along. Anthony is working with CDOT to help with the rebuilding of the roads destroyed by the flooding Colorado experienced last month. This means a new desk at the "incident command center" in Loveland and a work schedule that includes Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Since he works at the "incident command center" I might start calling him Jack Bauer. He will be mostly off Tuesday-Thursday, but will need to check in at his office weekly on one of those days. It's just for a few months and is a neat opportunity to be part of the flood restoration process across Northern Colorado. I'm excited to take our kids to Estes Park and be able to point out...your Daddy helped rebuild these roads.

With this schedule, it feels a bit like figuring out new "normal" is taking a back seat, and God is helping me to lay that agenda down and just go kick the leaves. Life is still a daily choice. For me, each morning is a deliberate, and sometimes not so easy, choice to get up and do the day. I don't know how long this weariness will last and it's getting better, but my mind is still so scattered and foggy. I feel very irresponsible and flakey and can only handle a small disruption to the day without being completely overwhelmed. Outside of doing school and feeding my family, I really struggle to emotionally handle even an errand or walk around the neighborhood. I appreciate the patience of my sweet friends in this. Many have reached out and I've struggled to return phone calls or emails. This is not natural to this extrovert who once thrived a midst an overflowing plate. I think it's getting better, but takes a lot of energy to continue to engage.

Next Tuesday, October 22, will hold one big last step for Esther. Her port is coming out! It is a short, simple surgery, but one with great importance. She will have officially completed her treatment of stage 4, high risk, neuroblastoma. It's a big deal.

Her leg is healing and she's up and about walking pretty well. She has a follow up appointment with the orthopedic surgeon next week, and we should know more about when her plate will come out then.

We know you'll be praying for her surgery and continued healing, that her cancer will never return. Would you also please pray for a few kiddos we've met along the way? Justin is facing neuroblastoma for the 7th time and he's having a hard time with his current treatment. He is so brave. Boden is getting close to the end of his treatment for a brain tumor and there are many things that are it gone, what does life look like for them now? Coming off of an intense year of treatment is a shock to the system and the time to breathe and reflect can be difficult. Isaiah is a friend from Brent's Place and he is recovering from a second bone marrow transplant to treat relapsed AML (leukemia). His immune system is quite weak and he's struggling to fight a couple of viruses. Pray for his family, and his mom, Amber. Her weariness is so heavy, and my heart aches for her. And one more kiddo, Izaac. He is fighting a relapsed brain tumor.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

From Sunrise to Sunset

As we left yesterday morning, we were ushered out by a beautiful sunrise. Even today as we drove down to Denver Esther asked if we could see the sunrise again.  I told her we can only see that if we wake up really early in the morning, and we wouldn't see it today.

Tonight, as we exited the interstate, we were blessed to wait through two cycles of the light. Esther sighed, "Look at the sunrise, Mommy."  The sunset to close our journey home almost brought me to tears.  What a sweet, sweet day.  

You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.
Psalm 65:8b


Psalm 65
Praise is due to you,O God, in Zion,
    and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
    to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
    you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
    to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
    the holiness of your temple!
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
    O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
    being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.
You visit the earth and water it;
    you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
    you provide their grain,
    for so you have prepared it.
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
    settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
    and blessing its growth.
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
    your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
    the hills gird themselves with joy,
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
    the valleys deck themselves with grain,
    they shout and sing together for joy.

The scans said...

Esther's CT scan, bone marrow, and MIBG scan revealed no cancer! She has one lab that will take a few days to process, but this is great, great news!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Scans are Wednesday and Thursday

Esther's scans are tomorrow, Wednesday the 25th and Thursday the 26th.  With dentist appointments, well child check ups, orthopedic surgeon appointments, supportive care, and Esther's scans our family will have had about 25 doctor or dentist visits in about 4 weeks. It wasn't supposed to be that way but things keep being rescheduled for various reasons, and now they're all piled up.

I will probably wake up in the middle of the night anxious, but for now, I'm SOOOO looking forward to mid-October when all of these appointments are finished.

We will post updates as we get them.  Please pray Esther would be cancer free and remain that way for the rest of her life.  Thank you for running with us through this finish line.

Monday, September 23, 2013

48 bald heads

Just a quick note to say the St. Baldricks shave-a-thon was amazing. Over $13,000 were raised to support childhood cancer research. 

There are some great pictures coming, but for now, look at the beautiful woman who did a fantastic job planning the event. I love you, Robin. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Scans are next week! And...what are we going to do with all that hair?!

First...Esther's scans have been rescheduled for next Wednesday and Thursday, September 25 & 26th.  Please be praying.

Now...on to the hair!

There is an impressive list of people ready to shave their heads Sunday, September 22!  I hope there's a lot of people who come to watch and cheer on these brave men, women & children!  Even if you're not planning to shave or donate, please come.  It's going to be a celebration and I can't wait to see the final total a humble group of people can put together to help cure kids with cancer.  The event is nearing $7,000 of online donations.  I know there are other checks coming the day of.  Wouldn't it be amazing to raise $10,000?  There are some AWESOME raffles, and it will be a great time!

Sunday, September 22nd at 2pm
Summitview Community Church Gym
1601 Drake Road, Fort Collins 80526

Thomas and Esther in August 2012
It is such an encouragement to see how many people are shaving their heads, I think there will be over 30 people!  My sister, her husband, and their kids, my dad, my grandpa, our pastor, and lots of old & new friends. I've also had reports of people who aren't ready to shave, but are going to get a significant trim to donate their hair. There is also a very dear family participating...our friend Thomas, who was in treatment about 6 months before Esther was diagnosed, and his three sisters are all shaving their heads.

I can not express what a mercy it was to have seen the Maeda's faith and white knuckle grip on the deep faithfulness of the Lord.  I don't know why it happened that two students in the same home school program would be fighting cancer at the same time.  Maybe God knew we'd need each other... We love you, Maeda family!

Now, what are we going to do with all that hair?!

I've hesitated to bring this topic up for some time because I know hair is quite personal. However, I've decided it's worth the uncomfortably because I would want to know. Over the last year several of you have cut your hair and donated it while thinking of kids like Esther.  That is great! Unfortunately the most commonly known hair donation organization, Locks of Love, isn't all that great.

They do give away wigs to kids, and that is great!  They can't use all the hair that is donated for various reasons, so they end up selling a lot of it.  Understandable.  However, the organization needs a lot more accountability in the way their executives are paid and what is done with the money they make from the hair that is not to their standards.  The part that gets me is that they ride the coat-tails of misunderstanding about who gets the wigs.  I've read articles and seen news stories about people regularly donating their hair to Locks of Love for "kids with cancer"; however, they don't actually provide wigs to kids or adults with cancer.  They have kids with permanent hair loss from things like burns or alopecia as a target population. I think a wig would be a wonderful gift to a child in those circumstances; however, I'm not okay with them utilizing this secondary marketing of oncology patients.  As I've learned more about their finances, it just makes me sad.  A simple google search will give you lots of things to consider.

There are several organizations that are better options.  A few suggestions are Pantene Beautiful Lengths, Children With Hair LossWigs For Kids, and the Childhood Leukemia Foundation.  There are also other organizations that may be unique to your area of the country like Wigs 4 Kids in Michigan.

I think the first need is for your hair to be dry, dry, dry!  The second is it should be braided with a band at the top and bottom.  Unfortunately, colored hair is often unusable in these circumstances; however, I read one suggestion about selling the hair on ebay and donating the money.  Apparently wig makers who don't have as many requirements buy it this way.

I guess this is a reminder to research organizations you aren't sure about.  It is infuriating to me that many organizations are at the least are not responsible with donations or profit from other's suffering.  Here's a list demonstrating this horrible practice, and here's an article that gives some thoughts on being wise with your giving in case you aren't sure it's a good organization.

Thankfully, St. Baldrick's is an awesome organization with lots of accountability.  I hope we get to see you Sunday!!!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Blue Stars in the Making

As part of our new normal, we wanted to give the kids something special to do/learn.  When our friend posted about some openings for piano lessons, we knew Lydia and Frannie would love the opportunity to play.  Rourke wants to do a soccer skills class and Zinnia hasn't decided yet.  She has an extreme, irrational fear of dogs, so we might have to get a puppy, just for her to get over it!  Probably not...I think we have enough going on, a sweet, huggable puppy will probably add more chaos than I could handle.  Anyway, back to piano lessons.

When we lived at Brent's Place we learned about a really neat organization, Blue Star Connection.  They are a great non-profit supported by musicians and music lovers alike that gives instruments to kids with various diseases and to their siblings.  I went back & forth for a few days debating if we should contact them or not for a keyboard for Frannie and Lydia to practice.  After some prompting from Miss Rachel at Brent's Place, I asked.

The director, John Catt, emailed me back right away and said he had just the keyboard.  We made plans to go to Denver to pick it up.  The next day he received an email from a family who wanted to donate a digital piano and he wondered if we had room.  Well, we had the perfect place!  The couple donating the piano even delivered it to our home a couple of weeks ago!  We are so thankful for all the generosity.  I'm excited to have something all seven of us can learn to play.

Mrs. Amy and Mr. Mike, the generous
givers of the piano

This was pre-broken leg.
Everyone loves the piano!

Because of Esther's broken leg, Frannie and Lydia just had their first lesson this Monday and have been practicing finding middle C and practicing their C-scale.  They are thrilled and can't wait to learn more.  They keep asking when will they be able to play "fancy songs" aka classical music and the Charlie Brown song that Mr. Jimmy played at Brent's Place.  Next summer at the Blue Star Music Festival, maybe they will have a piece to play!


As the girls have plinked out the notes on the keyboard, I have been struck with how peaceful a simple scale can be.  While normal is very relative, the notes sounded sweet, just perfect to represent what a day should be for little girls.  We are thankful for an opportunity for them to learn and an avenue of healing for everyone.