Friday, February 18, 2011

Doubt not

In this world of chaos and uncertainty it's hard to always have a positive out look. As we've had some major trials in our family this last year, sorrow and fear seemed to continuously loom around us. When you constantly expect bad things to happen it's hard to accept the good.

We have had some pretty uplifting experiences recently while trying to help Connor. It's been so wonderful to be a part of the miracle that is taking place. Last night as I realized how close we are to reaching our goal I started to feel this little twinge of doubt. This inner struggle that rages on in my head. Are we doing more than we should? Am I worthy of such a marvelous gift? As the night went on this feeling of unease took over me. What's wrong with me why can't I just be happy?

Late last night I was once again on my way to meet my mom to deliver cinnamon rolls. As I sat in my car waiting everything was quite and still. As I pondered all of the recent events several thoughts came to my mind. We've been having all of these amazingly spiritual experiences that I forgot for a brief moment that the adversary was out there fighting against us. That the fear and doubt was not from me but from one who wants us to be unhappy.

Suddenly a warm feeling came over me as I sat there in the quite of the night. And this still small voice impressed upon my heart, "Be still and know that I am God. I shall open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." In that moment I realized that the Lord's plans for me and my family are bigger than my own. That I have to have the faith that He will lead me where He wants me to be.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I believe in miracles

A few weeks ago I had an idea. I wanted to help my son. I wanted to make him feel more empowered, to help him know that he can set big goals and that he can do hard things. So as a family we decided to hold a garage sale/ bake sale fundraiser to help Connor raise the money he needs to get an insulin pump. We started the planning process, picked the dates, and started our journey. I had realistic expectations. Honestly how much can you make at a garage sale? The amount we needed seemed so big. But, we felt it was better to be proactive. To try and do something and not just sit and wait for something to happen. And what has occurred since we started has been nothing short of miraculous.

The first week we made between $400 and $500. This was more than I thought we would ever receive total let alone in the first week. Not only were we blessed that so many people were willing to help but I started noticing something begin to change in our home. Connor still has his bad days. Days were the depression seems to get the better of him, but as we would talk about the things that were starting to happen with the fundraiser something started to change in him. He had something to look forward to again. He gets excited when he comes home everyday and asks, "So how did we do today mom?" When I inform him of our progress he just smiles, gives me a hi-five, and says, "I can't believe that so many people want to help me."

At the beginning of last week I met my mom at a half way point between our houses to deliver all the cinnamon rolls I had just finished making. It was a marathon event. 168 cinnamon rolls made in 2 days. We sat in the parking lot and talked for a while about how amazing this experience has been. How much it has touched each of our lives. This process has been more emotional than I thought it would be. Every time someone would give so freely and so willingly whether it was money, or buying some of our bake sale items, or donating things for us to sell at our garage sale I would be overcome with emotion. My heart would be so full and in such disbelief that people would be so generous. As we were getting in our separate vehicles to return to our homes my phone went off. I had just received an email. I quickly started to read the words CONGRATULATIONS and your son Connor and $1000. I jumped out of my car and stopped my mom. As I tried to compose myself I read the email out loud. It was an email from a representative from The Prayer Child Foundation. They are a charity that was formed by Gold Canyon Candles to help children in need. A wonderful lady in my parents ward had contacted my mom about PCF and told her that I should apply. That Connor met the criteria for children that they help. We got our letter submitted a few days earlier and this email was what we had been waiting for. It said that our request had been considered at a recent meeting and that our son Connor had been approved for $1000 donation from The Prayer Child Foundation to be put toward purchasing Connor's insulin pump. I could hardly get the words out through the tears streaming down my face. We hugged each other and said our goodbyes. I sobbed the whole way home. Once I reached my house I gathered my family together. Brent read the email out loud for the children to hear. I was still so overcome with emotion. As Brent read the words Connor looked at me and started to cry. Once again I held my son on my lap, tears running down each of our faces, just like I had done a few weeks before. Only this time we cried for joy. In a weeks time we had already raised half of our goal.

We had already raised more than I had ever dreamed possible but we still had a long way to go. In the last week people continue to show their generosity. Our front room is filled with items donated with love for us to sell. My parents garage is also half full. People are still buying our bake sale items and making donations to help my son. I don't know if I have any tears left to cry but they always seem to come. I am astounded at the kindness of others. Strangers who don't know me, who don't know my son but  feel compelled to help.

This whole experience has been so healing. It took me a long time to realize that I was in mourning. I still have my child and he is still for the most part healthy and happy. However, life has completely changed for our family. Things aren't so simple. Everything is meticulously calculated and planned out. I didn't realize how simple things had been before. We had been stuck in survival mode just trying to adjust to the new day to day tasks that I never actually took the time to think about how much this all, for the lack of a better word, SUCKS.  I was mourning for the loss of the carefree life of my son. I was mourning the fact that my child was now faced with more grown up things, that he has been faced with his mortality, that he now sees a therapist, the fact that he has more doctors than the rest of us combined. Life seemed difficult before but I now long for the simplicity of being able to say, "Just grab something to eat," to my hungry child. Our life these last few months has been defined as before and after. Now we are slowly being able to say once again, here and now.

In the last 2 weeks we have raised over $2000 and it's growing more everyday. I know we have not come this far on our own. I know the Lord's hand has guided us every step of the way. I was reminded of this the other night as we were having family prayer before bed. It was Connor's turn. As he went through the normal, thank you for this day, thank you for our family, etc. I was overwhelmed when I heard my sweet son say, "Please bless those that have helped us with my fundraiser. Please help them to know how thankful we are for them." And I am, SO thankful for them. I will never be able to fully express the gratitude I have for the many people who have so greatly blessed our family.

These last few weeks I have been taught so much. My family has been strengthened and brought closer together. The tender wounds we all bear have begun to heal. I have been reminded of the power of prayer. I have learned to have faith in what the Lord can do. And, to dream bigger. I have learned that even though it is hard to ask for help that people are kind and more generous than I thought possible. That in order to bear our own burdens we must sometimes lighten the load for someone else. I have always believed in miracles. But, I now can say I've have been witness to one. That we have come so close to reaching our goal in such a short amount of time and how it has impacted our lives forever truly has been miraculous and it makes my soul want to cry out, "My God how great Thou art."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Faith, Hope, and Cinnamon Rolls?

A few weeks ago on a not so cold night in January, Connor and I went on a "mother/son date." As we sat in our car and talked over frozen yogurt my son began to share the burdens of his heart. Missing his best friend, the loneliness he has, how he now feels different than everyone else, how he hates having Diabetes and the constant fear he has that he's going to mess something up or not do something right and in turn that he might die from it. As he sat on my lap and sobbed such a deep mournful sob I couldn't contain my tears. As I hugged his little body tighter my thoughts were instantly filled with anger. I hate Diabetes! I hate the bruises the needles sometimes leave on his body. I hate that he can't eat when and how he wants to without having to weigh, measure or count every carb. I hate that I have to poke my sleeping child's finger in the middle of the night. I hate that I have to worry about such things as seizures from low blood sugar, DKA or dead in bed syndrome. (We have never told Connor about any of these!) I hate that his body sometimes can't do everything that he wants it to. I hate that I'm slowly loosing a part of him to the depression that often accompanies Diabetes. I hate that my 9 year old son is faced with his mortality. And most of all I hate that I can't fix it for him. I can't take the pain away from him and I can't bear the burdens for him that he must face daily for the rest of his life. In that moment as I grieved with my son I thought of my Savior as He was in the Garden of Gethsemane. I thought of my Heavenly Father. How He must have wept as His Son cried out to Him in pain and with a heavy heart, knowing there was nothing He could do to ease the burdens that His Son must bear. How His arms must have ached to hold and comfort Him.

In the days that followed I struggled to know how to help my child. The sadness that crept into my heart is at times overwhelming. Brent and I discussed what we could do. We prayed about it, and talked some more, and then prayed again. We came to the conclusion that the help Connor needs is beyond what we as parents can give him alone. Our children look to us for everything and it's hard to remember that we don't have super powers and sometimes we have to call in reinforcements. We also decided to have a garage sale and bake sale to raise the money we needed to be able to afford an insulin pump for Connor. I strongly feel that this will not only help him physically but mentally give him strength.

We started spreading the word about what we were trying to accomplish. So many people have offered of their time, their talents, and their generosity. My dad has turned into quite the sales man. The first day we raised just under $50. As I told Connor his eyes just lit up. You could see that little glimmer of hope in him. A few people have come up to my dad and gave him what they could and simply said, "This is for your grandson." A simple statement that has touched all of our hearts. By the end of three days and everyone's combined efforts we had raised 10% of our goal. And I now have 30+ orders of cinnamon rolls to fill. Friday afternoon I went to El Rico's to see if they would be willing to donate some of their salsa for us to sell like they had done previously for our ward girls camp fundraiser. As I pulled into the parking lot I said a simple prayer. "Heavenly Father please help me to know what to say that I may touch their hearts." It's so hard to ask people for help especially people you don't know. As I walked into the restaurant I asked to speak with the owner/manager. I was guided to the manager and I began telling him my story. The manager tells me to wait just a moment. As I turned around there stood a man with tears in his eyes and said, "Hi I'm Rich. My grandson was just diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a week and a half ago and I would be happy to help you in any way that I can." We both stood there eyes filled with tears. That look of knowing on each others faces. We spent the next several minutes sharing our stories about the children that we loved. I left my name and phone numbers and offered my support to his daughter and her son. Having spent the last 114 days coping with our new life I have slowly come to realize what it means to be the parent of a child with this disease. I walked away in pure amazement at what had just happened. This couldn't have been just coincidental. I knew Heavenly Father had lead me there and I was overcome with gratitude. I sat in my car and cried.

This started out as an idea. A way to help my son. I thought that by doing this I could teach not only him but my other children that they can do hard things, that they can set goals and work to achieve them. I thought it was a way to show my son that it's ok to ask for help when you can't do things on your own and that there are many people out there that care about him. I also thought it was a great lesson in service, but what I didn't realize was that in trying to help my child I've really been helping myself. Every step of the way there has been some spiritual reminder that we are doing what we are supposed to. Uplifting moments that change you forever. That open wound that has made a home in my heart has slowly begun to heal.

I hope that we will be successful in our efforts. As I continue to pray I'm reminded time and again to have patience and to have faith. I know everything will work out the way it needs to. I am and will be forever grateful to those that have given to help our family. And even though my arms are sore from kneading a lot of dough I'm thankful that so many people like cinnamon rolls.