Back to school 2007

     It's BACK TO SCHOOL, BACK TO BASICS, BACK TO focusing on the IMPORTANT THINGS in LIFE.  As evidenced by the date of my last entry, it is obvious that we have been too busy to sit at the computer. We have spent the last days of Summer trying to cram in the most fun possible before getting back to our routine. I remember a day when we couldn't count on a routine.   So, we adopted that attitude at the end of our break and spent our time at the pool, at the movies, at the driving range, at the mini-golf course....just anywhere but home.

Our last official Summer weekend was spent at the Spotleson's Lake Cabin. It was an awesome weekend filled with wonderful images. Joey was covered in dirty smiles. At any given moment, he could be found lurking in the bushes with his twin cousins. The three of them made rifles out of sticks and tapes.  Their missions were limited only by their imaginations.

Gina was my beautiful swan gliding across the lake in Mitchell's kayak. She really mastered it by the end of the weekend. It was so wonderful to see her smile.

The weekend itself was just beautiful. Often, we found ourselves relaxing in the shade, catching a glimpse of a butterfly or listening to the sounds of nature. It was the butterflies, in particular, that caused me to think of all of life's many cycles. We start out a little fuzzy, go into a cocoon type of period for shelter from some storm, and finally emerge, changed, with hope to make a difference.

The butterflies and their journey mirror so much of what we experience. Our lives are just circles to arrive, live and return. Joey is very mindful of the circle of life and the hope for salvation. This was again apparent to me when this past weekend, he and his cousins found a dead fish. Imagine my "joy" when he emerged from the bank with this fish on a stick.  Yuck! I jokingly said, "Give that thing a funeral and be done with it." Well, Joey, Matthew and Michael did just that. They dug a grave, made a stick cross and laid flowers. They respectfully said goodbye to "Musko" the fish. I was very moved at how simply they took my statement.

My hope was compromised lately due to the loss of a very special child. Like you, I follow these
"chosen" children...the ones God has picked out to teach all of us to focus on life's gifts. Caroline A. Carter passed away from neuroblastoma 3 weeks ago.  She was 7.  And, the world will never be the same without her. She was very found of nature, particularly ladybugs. My heart grieves for her family. But, we all know she is in a beautiful place enjoying all of God's splendor.

Joey, my chosen child, constantly reminds me to take note of beauty and be thankful. Last night, he said, "Mom, I am SO thankful that God gave me a good body."

This struck me as so amazing knowing what his body has been through. He is thankful to have it. I am blessed to be around him. He looks at each day with Hope and appreciation. He went on to say, "I can't WAIT until I get to Heaven because Lizzie and I are the youngest in the family and you, Dad, and Gina will all be there before us. So, I don't have to worry. I am so lucky."   We are all lucky that God gave Joey such a good body.

He shows us HOPE in the miracle of each day. HOPE is why I continue to write. HOPE is what got me through many of our storms. HOPE is why I am so thrilled of an upcoming event for our family. The American Cancer Society is going to honor Joey this year as one of their Hope Award Recipients. He will receive it at an upscale ball on October 6th. This award means more to us than any trophy or plaque. It is why he made it.  It is why he will continue to inspire others to make it. He personifies HOPE.

I HOPE you have a great Fall, filled with many beautiful images and the gifts of everyday life.

Love,   Laura



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