Beauty In The Wake of Irma

Often you will hear me say we live in a beautiful yet broken world.  Sadly the brokenness surrounds us here in Bonita Spring, Florida.  Hurricane Irma was vicious and destructive.  Homes are still flooded, trees uprooted, electricity is still off for thousands, water needs to be boiled, and countless people are left wondering how they are going to survive.  The brokenness is visceral.  It smells.  It’s overwhelming.

Yet beauty still exists.  It came in the form of chain saws, cases of water, diapers and wipes, food, gas cans, propane, bleach and rags.  Groups of volunteers came from Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida.  Steve Gill, our pastor from Turning Point Church , sent out one email and within two days over 35 volunteers from four different churches drove 12-16 hours to come and help.  They were young and old, male and female, bearded and shaved, bald and hairy.  They were beautiful.  They passed out over 1200 meals, they transported people by boat to their homes, they helped clean up local schools, they cut up trees that had fallen, and hugged any and all that needed to be reminded they were not alone.  In their simple acts of kindness, they brought hope.  They were the hands and feet of Jesus.  It was a beautiful picture of what the church should really look like.  Our neighbors brought over meals and offered any help they could give.  Everyone they came in contact with were reminded they were not alone and loved by God.

Brenda put together a video that captures the beauty and the brokenness here in South West Florida.  As you watch it please pray for those who have lost so much.

 

PS: Some have asked how we are doing.  The only damage we sustained was water damage to our bedroom floor.  It will have to be replaced.  We have water, internet, and electricity.  We have much to be thankful for.  We were able to host many of the volunteers in our homes here in Bonita.  It was a real honor.


Please Pray for Us!

I just got off the phone with our pastor in Bonita Springs, Florida.  He is kayaking around his neighborhood, his phone is about to die, there is no electricity, all the stores are closed, and he can’t find gas for his car.  I can only imagine how overwhelmed he feels.  While the storm has passed, and it could have been much worse, there are many who still need our help and prayers.

Thankfully, Brenda and I are safe and sound in New York with our family.  We have had neighbors tell us that there is no visible damage to our house but we don’t know if there was any roof damage or if water got into our home.  We sit glued to the TV watching report after report of loss and devastation.  We pray for our friends, we wonder how long it will take for life to return to “normal”, and we wrestle with a low grade anxiety in the pit of our stomachs that won’t go away.  We would appreciate your prayers.

I am going to keep today’s post short but wanted to share two things with you that hopefully will help you with whatever “hurricanes” you are experiencing. The first is a song Brenda and I have listened to over and over again called the Eye of the Storm by Ryan Stevenson.  The first line says,

In the eye of the storm You remain in control

The second is an editorial written by Max Lucado, an author, pastor, and man I greatly respect.   The three points he makes are very helpful no matter what storm we face.  I hope it is as helpful for you as it was for us.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/08/31/max-lucado-what-harvey-teaches-us-as-christians.html

 


Just One Taste

Can you remember a time when someone said to you, “Just one taste!  I promise you’ll like it.”  Slowly they dip a fork into their concoction, twirling the bite size morsel into the sauce with all the bits and pieces.  As they raise the sample to your mouth, your nose is working like a basset hound trying to determine if you will like it or not.  While no one else can hear your thoughts, you are very aware of the voices saying, “Don’t eat it!” or “One bite and you will throw up on your friend!”  Wanting to be brave and not offend, you open your mouth and allow them to shove the food into your mouth.  For a few seconds all thoughts and sounds cease.  Slowly you you begin to chew and allow your taste buds to explore the spices and flavors of the “one taste.”  Without even knowing it, a thought enters your mind, “Hey, this isn’t bad!  In fact it is delicious!”  Our friend was right,  “Just one taste!  I promise you’ll like it.”

Over the past several years we have promised many parents, “Just one weekend!  We promise you will like it.”  Sadly, many parents will listen to the voice in their heads that says, “You don’t deserve a weekend away” or “There are others who deserve it more than we do.”  Very often we will hear moms and dads say, “We feel guilty taking time for ourselves.”  Some will say, “I don’t think my child will like it if we go away for a weekend.”  Money, lack of child care, and fear are other examples that we often hear.  Some will never overcome these reasons and register for a weekend of respite.  But for those who who are brave and willing to “taste” something new we often hear, “Hey, this isn’t bad!  In fact it is wonderful.”  All they had to do is try one taste.

This Friday we are hosting our fourth Taste of David’s Refuge event.  It is one of our premier fund raising events.  While its primary purpose is to allow us to raise funding so we can offer the gift of respite to our wonderful and amazing families, it is so much more.  Our hope is that those who attend and support our mission will experience and taste what we offer all our families.  Brenda and I want to say a huge thank you to every individual, family, and business that is supporting and/or coming to the event.  We hope you will leave refreshed and renewed and even more motivated to continue supporting David’s Refuge so we can continue to offer a taste of respite to those who really need it.

I am looking forward to introducing Jeff and Jennifer Rubin, our honorary Co-chairs, to those who are coming to this Friday’s celebration.   Jeff and Jennifer got a “Taste” of David’s Refuge as they watched the impact and stress of raising a child with special needs on one of their employees.  You will not want to miss how this one taste not only changed this families life but also theirs.


We Have Needs Too

Rocky Balboa got it!  He didn’t try to hide it; he didn’t pretend; he simply admitted he had “gaps.”  In fact, when asked by his brother-in-law Paulie Pennino why he liked Adrian so much he said,

“I dunno, she’s got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.”― Sylvester Stallone-Rocky

Rocky understood having “gaps” is a part of what it means to be human.  No one is perfect.  Everyone has need.  We all have “gaps”.

Sadly we spend a great deal of time trying to convince ourselves and others that we don’t have any needs or gaps in our lives.  Someone asks you, “Hey, how are you doing?” or “Is there anything I can do for you?” and the first words out of our mouths is, “No, everything is good!”  Yet just yesterday you cried yourself to sleep feeling desperately isolated and alone.  You haven’t balanced your checkbook in three months, you haven’t been on a date for over a year, and you haven’t had a full nights sleep for over four weeks.  “No, everything is good!”

Why are we so unwilling to admit we are in need?  I thought of a few reasons: Pride, fearing we will be a burden to someone, wondering what others will think of us when they see how broken our lives really are, potential rejection, admitting we can’t do it on our own, and many others.  What would you add to this list?

Today I simply want to encourage you to heed the words of the great philosopher Rocky Balboa and admit that you have gaps!  I have gaps.  You have gaps.  And instead of trying to hide them or deny you have them, admit that you have gaps.  Say out loud, “I HAVE GAPS!”  Name them out loud.  Say them out loud to yourself.  If you are feeling really brave, share them with your spouse, your friend, or partner.  I have discovered the more willing I am to be honest about the needs I have, the more often I find ways to solve them.  You see when I admit I have a gap and you admit you have a gap, very often together we fill the gaps!

Ellen Stumbo, mother of a beautiful daughter who has Down Syndrome, author, and blogger, shared the following video on her Facebook page titled “We have needs too.”  I hope you take minute to watch it.

https://www.facebook.com/ellenstumbowriter/videos/1455153904577645/


Together We Can Help Each Other

More often than not moms and dads who have enjoyed a weekend at David’s Refuge ask the question, “What can I do to give back?”  Our normal response is to encourage them to develop a regular rhythm of respite so they can take better care of themselves, which means they will better be able to love and care for their children.  They quickly nod their heads in assent but once again ask, “No really, what can we do to help other parents experience the gift of respite?”

It was that question that motivated Brenda and me to start David’s Refuge.  Over and over again people generously and lovingly offered us the gift of respite.

  • Donna would stay with David so we could go to church
  • Jacquie and David cared for David so we could celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary
  • Bruce and Carol shared their lake side cottage and Florida home
  • Howard and Liz shared their Adirondack lodge
  • Countless families sent us on a trip to Focus on the Family and on a Make a Wish trip
  • Peter and Sandy let us stay in their lodge in the mountains in Colorado
  • Wendell and Maryann would stop in to remind us we can press on even though we didn’t feel we could
  • Kelley spent 1:1 time when David went he went on a missions trip in North Carolina, allowing us to unplug and rest
  • Rick spent countless weekends with David at youth group events, allowing us to pour into our other two boys
  • Dave and Peg sent us to New York where we watched the Yankees and the Lion King

Every time we were able to unplug from our role as David’s caregiver we were reminded that we were not alone, what we did to care for David was very important, and that God loved us extravagantly.  So, out of Dave’s and Peg’s and Rick’s and Kelley’s and Wendell’s and Maryann’s and and Peter’s  and Sandy’s and Howard’s and Liz’s and Bruce’s and Carol’s and Jacquie’s and David’s and Donna’s love for us, David’s Refuge was given birth.  We simply paid forward what had been lovingly shared with us.  So I get it when moms and dads ask, “What can we do to help other parents experience the gift of respite?”

If you are asking that question, there is something you can do!  It’s called the Parent’s Pledge: Parents Helping Parents Provide the Gift of Respite.  One of the moms we served contacted our office with the idea, the development team loved it, and now you can participate in it.

The Parents Pledge has 3 basic goals:

  1. Provide our parents and friends with an opportunity to give back at a level that they are comfortable with
  2. Raise $10,000 with hopefully finding a company or business that would match the $10,000
  3. Generate awareness of our mission to Care for the Caregiver through social media

Here is what you can do!

SHARE – Tell people about David’s Refuge.  Encourage them to visit visit our Website!

ASK – Repost Parents Pledge campaign information to your Facebook page beginning August 19th – help expand our circle so that others can connect with our mission.  Share a story of what David’s Refuge has meant to you personally and why you’re asking friends to come alongside you in support of our mission

GIVE – one time or monthly, $5 or $5,000 – give in the amount that feels right to you so that another caregiver may experience the gift of respite.

MATCH – Does your employer match charitable gifts?  Now would be a fantastic time to find out…and double the impact your gift will make in the lives of a local family!

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call the office at 315 682-4204.  I unashamedly ask you to seriously consider supporting David’s Refuge.  Together we can help each other.


Warndell

Without a doubt he is my best friend.  We shared a common womb, we were born on the same day, we both came to faith in a God who loved us in the same year, and we are both ordained ministers.  Sadly, we both had children whose disabilities took their lives.  There is little doubt that we were both tenderized and shaped by the privilege we had of raising and caring for and releasing our children back to God.  Thankfully we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we will see Melody and David once again in heaven.  I am privileged to call Wendell, my twin brother, my best friend.

While we don’t have “Twin Telepathy”, we know each other so well that with a twitch of an eyebrow or the tip of a head we can communicate with each other.  We are both wannabe foodies and love describing the meal we prepared the night before.  When we go out to breakfast with each other, we order the same food: two eggs over easy, corn beef hash crispy, rye toast, and orange marmalade jam!  We often run into people who think I am Wendell or Wendell is me.  We call it a “Warndell” sighting!  Wendell will often tell people he is the better looking twin and asks my friends to tell me he said so.  When they do, I ask them to tell him, “While that may be true, please let Wendell know that I told you I write all his sermons!”

Wendell was an incredible help and support for me as we cared for David, especially though the last few months of David’s life.  Having cared for his own severely disabled daughter and then experiencing her death, he understood like no one else what I was going through and how I was feeling.  He personally lived out the verse in 2 Corinthians 1:4 that says, “He (God) comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”  God often used Wendell to bring me comfort, healing, and hope.

When we thought of starting David’s Refuge, Wendell was one of our greatest cheerleaders.  He listened for hours as we brainstormed together how to make David’s Refuge a reality, he was one the founding board members, and he and his wonderful wife Maryann were excellent and sought after hosts.  His fingerprints are found all over our mission of breathing life into moms and dads just like him and Maryann.

When I describe Wendell to people who don’t know him, I often say he is a “Renaissance Man.”  He brews beer, makes wine, bakes his own bread, roasts coffee, loves to smoke home made sausages and bratwurst, grows a garden, raises chickens, and makes his own pickles.  He loves people, is passionate for others to know how much God loves them, and is an excellent husband, father, and Bappa to his grandchildren.

I am thankful to call Wendell my best friend.  The next time you see him please tell him how much you enjoyed the sermon I wrote for him!


“We Know David Was Smiling Down On Us”


I spent sometime this week reading through comments our guests made after their weekend get away with David’s Refuge.  As I read them I couldn’t help but think of how proud David would be if he knew the difference his life was making in the lives of so many people.  Despite his blindness, disability, and death, David’s love for others and God continues to remind many that they are loved and not alone.  David lived his short life on purpose!  I want to do the same thing.

Last week I mentioned we started David’s Refuge with three hopes: 1) People’s lives would be changed, 2) David’s story would live on, and 3) God’s extravagant love would be shown and experienced.  I hope the following quotes from just a few of our guests will show how our hopes have become a reality.  If you are one of the hundreds of people who support and believe in our mission, Brenda and I want to say thank you!

People’s lives would be changed

  • We are eternally grateful for the weekend of respite David’s Refuge provided to us. We were able to hit the pause button as parents and get back to basics as husband and wife. We had no idea how desperately we needed a minute to nurture our marriage. Our weekend away afforded us the realization that our strength as a family is deeply rooted in a strong marital foundation, and our foundation needed some tending to. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting couples with similar daily struggles and gained strength from each other when sharing stories. Our hosts, David and Judy, were the kindest, most supportive couple who’s resilience after tragedy demonstrated to us that with hard work and a commitment to each other, we too have much to be thankful for! 
  • Words can’t even describe how thankful we are that you started such an amazing organization such as David’s Refuge.  I think as parents of our kids, it is so easy to lose sight of us and pour all our energy and attention into them.  But you have brought that sight back to us.  We have remembered this weekend why we fell in love and why we chose each other to share our lives together.  You have shown us how important it is to take time out for ourselves; you have re-energized us as a couple.  For that, we thank you!  You are truly amazing people and are doing a truly amazing thing for couples like us!  We needed this!

David’s story would live on

  • Sometimes you don’t know how much you really need something until you get it!  That was definitely the case with this weekend.  Though Tony & I looked forward to it, we needed it more than we were aware!  The tension in our body is gone and we are refreshed  and looking to get back home to our Marco and his sister, Ava.  Thank you for honoring your dear David in a way that extends beyond anything you could have dreamed.  We know he was smiling down on us as we enjoyed our time away.
  • Thank you will never be enough for what this weekend has done for us.  We were able to reconnect, restore, rejuvenate, and just be us again after several years.  Every detail of the weekend was well thought out with passion and love.  David’s presence of his love for life and others was felt all weekend.  Even though we had never met David, it was felt through the belief, the vision and the love from the two of you.  So thank you for the wonderful people you are who came into our lives and have such an impact on others.  You truly restored our marriage and we can go back to our “loves” at home with a clearer mind and rejuvenated energy.

God’s extravagant love would be shown and experienced

  • This is our fifth time writing in this book, but the emotions we have as we write seem to be different every time.  Sometimes we needed a place to rest from our crazy life, and David’s Refuge provided that in spades.  Sometimes we needed a place to rekindle our relationship, or gain perspective, or break up our routine… or all of the above!  This weekend was an “all of the above” kind of weekend.  Steve and Gail were amazing hosts.  Each couple contributed to our great weekend, and we felt the smile of God from start to finish.  Thank you for providing the environment to allow us to be better spouses, parents and people.
  • Thank you so much for another wonderful and restoring get away weekend.  Bill and I looked forward to it all year because of the wonderful first time experience we shared.  The message again about how God loves you, you are not alone and what you do really matters was reinforced on this weekend.  We seemed to experience God’s love for us at an even deeper level.  It had been another hard year with many low points, but these weekends truly help to remind me that God does have a purpose and a plan in all of this suffering.  It is so important to learn to love ourselves and our spouses so we can go home and continue to love our family and to be truly present to them.  Thank you for caring enough to care about us.  We also loved Melissa & Kevin-they were so wonderful, kind & open.  Their story connected us with them and I am so glad they were such an important part of our experience.

Now What?

Do you realize you were created to make a difference?  You are a force to be reckoned with.  Out of the 7.5 billion people who call planet earth their home, there is no one just like you.  In fact, I would go so far as to say you are a masterpiece.  You have been given the ability and the opportunity to make a unique impact and difference in the world you live in.  All of us have been given gifts, passions, abilities, personality, and experiences that uniquely shape us.  Our mission, if we so chose to accept it, is to discover the best way to maximize our unique God given shape to impact the world we live in.

After David died Brenda and I spent almost two years healing, grieving, and seeking to discover how our “mission” had been shaped by our past and by David’s life and death.  Here are some notes we took as we wrestled with the question, “Now What?”

  • Warren worked as a Recreational Therapist
  • Brenda worked as an Occupational Therapist
  • Warren worked as a pastor with his primary focus being caring
  • David’s faith in a loving and caring God never wavered with all his losses
  • All around us were families and marriages that were breaking down
  • Brenda and I have the “gift of hospitality”
  • We were blessed to go on a Make a Wish trip
  • Our church sent us to Focus on the Family where David and his brothers were treated like a king
  • Friends shared their vacation homes with us
  • We had a family and church that reminded us all the time we are not alone and that God loved us

When we added all these things together it became clear to us that we were uniquely “shaped” to start a place of respite for moms and dads just like us.  We wanted parents to unplug from the demands of care giving.  We wanted them to be loved on and cared for.  We wanted them to know the importance of self care.  We wanted them to leave knowing they are not alone, what they do as they care for their child is the most important thing in the world, and that God loves them with an extravagant love.  David’s Refuge was given birth!

We started David’s Refuge with the following hopes:

  1. People’s lives would be changed
  2. David’s story would live on
  3. God’s extravagant love would be shown and experienced

To be honest we wondered if anyone would ever come.  We were two ordinary people who had the privilege of caring for our son, the trial of letting him go, and the faith to believe God could take our brokenness and turn it into something beautiful.  And he did!

I hope today you believe that you are a masterpiece that is making a difference in the world you live in.  You don’t have to be anybody but you.  Your mission is not my mission and mine is not yours.  It is unique to each of us.  But it does require reflection, determination, and a little bit of faith to believe God can use ordinary people like you and me to make a difference.   You are a force to be reckoned with.

 


A Change of Perspective

A couple weeks ago Brenda started working on a puzzle.  She loves the challenge of finding all the flat pieces, forming the frame, gathering all the same colored and patterned pieces, and then fitting the 750 unique pieces into a cohesive beautiful whole.  I, on the other hand, can work on a puzzle for five or ten minutes and find my self thinking I would rather have a root canal without Novocaine!  I do enjoy the banter with everyone gathered around the table, the excitement of finding a piece no one could, and the victory of putting the last piece in.  If you have a few minutes I would love to have you stop in and help us finish our puzzle.

Last week I was helping Brenda try and find a piece to complete the blue vase.  We looked and looked and just couldn’t find it.  Out of frustration we both got up and switched places which changed our perspective.  Almost immediately we found the piece.  It was right there in front of our faces.  We just needed to look at the puzzle and all the pieces from a different perspective.  This of course is a lesson that can be applied to many different areas of life.

Often in our role as David’s caregiver we applied the power of intentionally changing our perspective.  We often found ourselves paralyzed from exhaustion, fear, work demands, and the challenges of raising our two other boys.   Without deliberately doing something to change our perspective, we would spiral into despair.

I remember one day sitting at a high school football game with David.  All around us were teens laughing and joking and enjoying each other.  Out on the field were healthy young men playing football, girls with pompoms cheering the team on, and my son was stuck next to his old man due to his blindness and disease.  I was miserable.  I felt sorry for my son.  I was a little angry at God.  And then I looked over at David.  He was laughing, cheering, and filled with joy.  He was having a great time.  As I looked through the lens of my own personal loss of all the things I had hoped for David, I was overwhelmed and sad.  I made a decision to change my perspective.  I thanked God that David was enjoying himself.  I looked at David and realized that despite the fact he would never play football, he was a unique and beautiful masterpiece.  I reminded myself there was nothing more important than sitting next to my son cheering the Hornets on to their next victory.  And guess what?  I started to enjoy myself.

Here are a few things we learned that may be helpful if you are finding it hard to change your perspective.

  1. Learn to be content with small victories.  Do you remember the joy of finding the one piece of the puzzle no one else could find?  Everyone is looking and looking and all of sudden someone shouts, “Here it is!”  One piece found of a 750 piece puzzle and there are high fives all around the table.  The more we learn to celebrate small victories, the more you find joy in both the small and big and the difficult.
  2. Don’t do it alone.  I have observed that the more people who are gathered around the puzzle table, the longer they work on it together.   We were crated to be in community with others.  Who are you connected to?  Is there a church or synagogue that you could connect or reconnect to?  There are support groups and Facebook groups that are filled with people just like you.  Maybe its time to sign up for your next weekend with David’s Refuge.
  3.  Recognize the unique masterpiece your child is.  Your child is an amazing beautiful human being that reflects the very image of God to the world around them.  They are as unique as each piece of the puzzle, no one just like them.  They are unique and fearfully and wonderfully made.
  4. Serve someone else.  It doesn’t have to be something big; a phone call, a short note, a cup of coffee shared with someone will remind them they are not alone and are loved.  When you practice these things it is like turning the light on over your puzzle.  It changes the way you look at your own situation.

 

 


Survival Skills For The Weary Caregiver

Last week I watched my nephew and my niece’s boyfriend riding a paddleboard on some very wavy water.  They balanced and paddled and battled the waves, both enjoying the challenge.  Every time a wave would knock them off they would get back on the board and try again.  I was ready for a nap after just watching them for thirty minutes.  They were determined and up for the challenge.  Eventually they got tired and hauled the board back to shore.  Oh to be young again!

As I watched them I was reminded of the number of times I was “knocked off the board” as we cared for David.  There were days I jumped back on the board as easily as Andrew and Andre did, ready for the next challenge.  But there were many other days I was knocked off and felt as if there was no way I could get back on the caregiving paddleboard again.  I would watch another ability disappear, a friend no longer calling or stopping in to say hello, a fall, an aide calling at the last moment to say they couldn’t work leaving us to cancel a night away and I felt like giving up.  I didn’t have the strength nor endurance to get back up again.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the choice of simply saying, “Hey I’m tired, let’s call it day and go get a beer!”  As David’s dad and caregiver I had to press on in loving and caring for him.

Over the thirteen years of caring for David, Brenda and I developed some practices that helped us get back up when we didn’t feel like we wanted to or felt so overwhelmed we couldn’t.  Here are a few that I hope will help you:

  • Take one day at a time! 

The moment you add tomorrow or next week’s challenges to today’s struggles you are guaranteed to be knocked down.  Guaranteed!   You have enough in your bucket with today’s “waves” so why add tomorrows IEP meeting, next week’s doctors appointment, or who will be your child’s teacher next year?  Worrying about something that is going to happen in the future that you have no control of until it comes is a wave you can not paddle through or conquer.  I like how Jesus taught this same principle in Matthew 6,

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Did we always succeed?  No.  But as we practiced living and embracing and enjoying the day, we always did much better.

  • Cling to what you know to be true! 

Very often when the waves of caregiving are high and scary we can easily loose perspective and get disoriented.  All of our energy and attention are focused on the waves and not on the person we are caring for.  When this happens we are prone to believing lies about ourselves, God, and even the one you are caring for.  So Brenda and I had two or three bible verses that we held tightly to to remind us of what is true.  Here are a few that really helped us.

  1. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble…He says “Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:1,10)
  2. Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
  3. Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Mathew 11:28)
  • Always believe there is nothing more important than what you do as your child’s caregiver!

I believe with all my heart that David was entrusted to me by divine appointment.  I had the privilege to be his dad.  I fed him, bathed him, taught him to ride his bike, read to him, and disciplined him as a child.  Little did I know that later in his life as an adult I would still feed him, bathe him, give him rides on a tandem bicycle, read to him, and at times discipline him as a little child.  Everyday we reminded ourselves that there wasn’t anything more important than loving and caring for all three of our boys.

So tomorrow when you set up the feeding tube for your son, remind yourself there is nothing more important for you to do.  Tomorrow when you daughter needs a diaper change, do it knowing that there is nothing more important than meeting her need for a dry and clean diaper.  Tomorrow when your son throws a fit in the middle of Tops grocery store and everyone is gawking, remind yourself there is nothing more important than helping your son know he is safe and that you are there for him.

How many times have the waves knocked you over this week?  Seven?  Get up and stand up!  You can do it.