Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mattawan Kicks Out Kid Cancer - The Morning Show with Ken Lanphear - FM 106.5 Music Variety from Yesterday & Today

Mattawan Kicks Out Kid Cancer - The Morning Show with Ken Lanphear - FM 106.5 Music Variety from Yesterday & Today

THANKS to Ken Lanphear!  He made me feel so calm and welcomed.  Right when I walked in he informed me that his wife and daughter have been following my blog, soooo... THANK YOU, ENTIRE LANPHEAR family for the support and love.  I pray that this interview generates interest and, with that interest, more donations to CureSearch.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Odd Life is a GOOD life

I had no idea "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" would be such a tear-jerker.  Of course, this is a boy who understands the meaning of life.  As he says, "What's the use of having gifts if you can't give them away?"  And every single time the sun would shine, he would stretch his arms out, lift his face to the sky, and smile.  He also understood that our "time with those we love is short."  And so, I bawled for basically the entire movie.  I kept wondering why I brought my boys and I felt like it was just too emotional for them.  But, as we left, Gideon said, "That Timothy has the light.  And he's not gone for good, mommy.  No one that good goes away for good.  They last and last and last."  So, all three of us talked about life and the way we live it.  Now, I can safely say, it was a great idea that we saw that movie.

Why were we watching a movie on a pretty Sunday afternoon?  Little Gideon is in a lot of pain from this round of chemo and steroids.  His legs cramp up, his head hurts, his tummy hurts...everything.  I wanted to do something that would get his mind off of it all.  So, what did I do?  Brought him to see a movie about a glorious little boy whose time on earth is short.  Ugh.  But, I am stopping myself.  It stirred up a lot of talk and love for us.  Remember?  I remember.  And, Gideon is beating his beast!  I know he is.  He doesn't have leaves falling off his Timothy.  He just has all of that light and then some.

So, Gideon had chemo on Tuesday.  By Thursday, his kindergarden teacher came to me to say that he was too worn out and uncomfortable from it all.  She brought him into my classroom during his recess, and Gideon laid on my beanbags and drifted to sleep.  He hurt too much to eat.  He didn't want to go home, but he wanted to be by me.  I asked Derek, our principal, if it was okay for Gideon to stay on the beanbag while I taught the rest of my classes that day.  He looked at me and said, "Of COURSE it is!  Kids' needs come first here!"  And they do.  Really.  I am blessed to work in a place who understands what matters and why.  I adore our school culture.

Speaking of school culture, Mattawan had a GOLD OUT for Kids' Cancer at Friday night's game.  And we won!  The gold shirts were a success, and I am hoping that will spur on people to sign up to play in the kickball tournament (or donate money).  THANK YOU, Mattawan advocates.  I am ever-so-grateful that so many people get it.

For the rest of our Sunday, we are going to live like it is always fall and we need to make the most out of every sunny moment.  What's the use in having gifts if we can't give them away?  <3 nbsp="nbsp" p="p">

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What Makes You Alive

I thought I would share our morning song with you.  We listen to it most mornings, and it has become our go-to question when we feel ourselves get a little greedy or selfish or pouty.  All I have to do now is ask, "What makes you alive?"  and my boys will answer, "It's not what you get, it's all that you give."  Then the sharing commences... I hope this works forever.  If not, I better find another potent-messaged song to use as my teachable tool.

School for my boys has been great.  Both of them adore their teachers, and I love-love-love running into them in the halls.  Those surprise hugs and smooches just make my day.  At the end of the day, they both come into my classroom, immediately open their bags and show me what they accomplished.  Brody is my little filer.  As soon as Gideon takes out his math or art, they get scattered in a mosaic of Kindergarden fun on the floor, Brody promptly starts stacking and putting them away in Gideon's folder.  He even puts the math related things together, then the art, and so on... I am sticking him in my closet to organize my shoes pretty soon.  The boy has skills!

 First DAY of SCHOOL!

I have been very busy with Mattawan Kicks Out Cancer Kickball Tournament.  As you know, we raised over $10,000 last year, and that is pretty intimidating since we are having a slower start this year.  I have faith, though!  My worries are nothing compared to those of some of my friends... I just talked to a cancer mom today who was told she has to hold off on giving her daughter anymore chemo because her little body can't take the poison anymore.  So, what's the only other option?  Wait for the cancer to come back with a vengeance so that chemo MUST be used again.  She was told they could only get her little sweet girl "stable," but not "cancer-free."  Okay.  Why are we holding this kickball event?  For girls like THIS ONE.  The work is worth it if ONE drug is made to her benefit.

If you are willing to donate to this event with ALL proceeds going to CureSearch for Children's Cancer, please visit Brody's fundraising page or Gideon's fundraising page and make a donation online.  If you have something we could auction in our silent auction, please contact me:  If you want to hang something pretty on your window, please buy a Gideon's CureCatcher, as pictured below. I make these with Gideon's help, and we pray on which bead for a cure to childhood cancer.  I am selling them depending on size, but the average price is $50 and all proceeds go to CureSearch.  The problem is, I don't think I can ship them.  SooOOooOooo...if you live around here and want one, I would be more than happy to get it to you!

Click here to see more about Mattawan Kicking Out Childhood Cancer!

Monday, September 3, 2012


I know. I know. I know. It's the last night of summer and my baby, my Gideon, is starting Kindergarden TOMORROW. I should be bawling my eyes out due to the fact that my tiny boy is being unleashed into this world known as growing up and attending ALL DAY school. I should be gazing at him in his bed while tears fall silently as I say again and again, "Where has the time gone?" But, here I am with tears of concentrated thankfulness. I remember when Gideon's heartbeat was slowing waaaay down, when the chemo was doing horrendous things to his brain, when I clutched his three-year-old hand and begged God to fill him with more-more-more light of life. I remember in that moment wanting to see him survive one more day. One more week. Just more time on this planet, is all I wanted. Now, here he is: a big boy Kindergardener, and I am guzzling down a soul-float. (This is like a root beer float, only my heart and soul is just breathing in the air around me and it is giving me the same jolt of happiness as the ice cream snack.)

He is doing so well, everyone. He recently had the EXACT same reaction to his chemo as waaaay back when during the "Clear poop" incident, but it was strange how I was all, "Oh, yeah. I remember this" about the situation. You blog readers since the beginning remember it too, I am sure. I'll spare the details this time. His numbers are doing well, he is still struggling with his internal issues due to the longtime chemo usage, but we are battling back with Prevacid. He is also currently obsessed with Chinese food during steroid time. You should see this boy with a set of chopsticks at three in the's baffling the dexterity he has while managing rice granules at such an hour.

Brody is just growing in incredible ways, too. He smiles more. He understands how he can contribute and help those around him. He is just too fun, and his dry-witty sense of humor makes me guffaw sometimes. Really, I never knew a first grader better at the side-long-adult-look of sarcasm. He is still more grown-up than I am.

My classroom is smack-dab in the middle of my boys, and I can't tell you how wonderful that truly is going to be. Life this year is sure to be amazing, I know it. Gideon says he thinks Mr. Wheaton made a perfect choice in choosing his teacher since she "loves to cuddle" just like him! Move over, Mattawan...You've got a lover headed your way. Hopefully he'll take breaks in hugging to do math, learn to read, you know...that stuff.

Now I am looking up to God and saying, "You knew all along where I would be...where my boys would be, and we are all headed to where we are supposed to be." I feel that. I feel this release of wow at all of the life changes that have occurred for us, and how this spot we are in at this instant is where we are meant to be. I'm going to run with it. Or just breathe it like it's ice cream. Yeah, ice cream sounds better than running.

Gideon is now obsessed over the idea of "healing people" and being a doctor. I see it. His nature/science smarts are there, and if all of this poking and prodding he has had to endure brings him to that profession, that would be a blessing to those patients. Empathy? Yes. He would have it. His imagination and the way he is naturally outside of the box will help him find a cure for cancer. I know it.

Speaking of a cure, September is CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS month. Mattawan is hosting the kickball tournament again to raise money for CureSearch, and I am out on the prowl looking for a sponsor(s) for the event. I'll keep you posted.

With all that I am grateful for, I heard a song tonight that just set me off into my tears. A family has been heavy on my heart, a kid-cancer family. I adore them and they are faced with choices no parent should be forced to make. It makes my insides roll. It makes me feel like all of it is NOT fair and that MORE needs to be done. "I'll Stand By You" by The Pretenders came on and I puddled to the floor. I am thankful for these friendships, for these families who get it. I want more people on the outskirts to step in and become active in the fight. I want all of Mattawan, Kalamazoo, Michigan, the nation to rally around this family and so many like them this month and beyond to become advocates so that there are more options for these little ones.

Decorate your car with gold ribbons. Your Facebook page. Volunteer your time for the kickball tournament. Donate something to the Silent Auction. Donate to the cause. Seriously, if you feel moved to do something, here is my invitation to move: email me. I promise to offer a cornucopia of ways you can make a difference this month, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.