Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Talitha!

It's hard to put into words the feelings I have that Talitha is with us to celebrate her second birthday.

Gratitude and joy certainly come to mind.

We received word that last Wednesday's spinal tap analysis came back showing no cancer cells again. Can't think of a better birthday gift than that even if it wasn't wrapped in pretty paper with a bow.

The gift of healing was made possible by a loving Savior that is able to help us physically and spiritually. It has been and continues to be a miracle.

Tali truly enjoyed her special day.

She loved the singing, the presents, the food, the candles, and all the enthusiasm that comes with a heartfelt celebration.

I think that may be why there was an extra special feeling in the air today. This birthday was more than a milestone; it was a celebration of life and all that the Lord has taught us, done for us, and helped us with.

A very happy birthday, Talitha, and a wonderful year ahead!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fuzz turning to hair

As I sang to Talitha tonight before putting her to bed, I lightly rubbed the back of her head where her hair is starting to grow back and cover the 5 inch scar from her brain surgery.

There's quite a bit of fine hair that's growing in thick enough that I was able to rub it backwards "against the grain" and actually feel hair not just fuzz.

Oh, the little things that get me excited these days.

Speaking of "little" things...

...Tali's "big" day is tommorrow!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Please and thank you!

Before Talitha was diagnosed with a brain tumor back in December, her older sister had taught her a few words in sign language. One of these was the word "please".

Many of you may remember that this early connection to a few signs proved invaluable when we were waiting and praying for Talitha to regain her capacity for speech following the first operation.

Since then, our friends--whose daughter Sada has also been battling brain tumors--let us borrow some Signing Time DVDs. What a blessing it has been for Talitha to learn many more words in sign language as she's been learning and relearning words in English.

In one of the Signing Time DVDs the words "please" and "thank you" are taught with a very engaging song that kind of gets stuck in your head.

Lately, when Talitha is very adamant about getting something she really wants, she doesn't stop at "please" to get it. In fact, she unknowingly engages the law of attraction by speaking as if the thing she wants has already happened.

She does this by speaking and signing "please and thank you" all together as if intended to be one phrase. And once that potent phrase is invoked it cannot be denied.

Her success rate in using this inventive combination of words simultaneously (instead of the normal before and after) is high enough I don't envision her dropping the approach any time soon.

She does fill our home with smiles!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

First post-aqua-guard bath

Bath time without the aqua-guard shield!

I guess it's not really that big of a deal. But sometimes little things you took for granted in the past mean a little bit more when you see life from a different perspective.

Talitha had a great time and there wasn't the stress of keeping the central line from getting wet.

(Bubble Mohawk compliments of older sister Madeline.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Meltdowns and manipulations

Talitha woke up at around 3am for some reason.

Her favorite--and only--beverage of choice is rice milk. So that's what she wanted to drink at 3am, of course.

I got her water instead, not wanting there to be any kind of "reward" associated with her getting up at 3am. Well, that was totally unacceptable to her.  And she quickly reduced herself to a pitiful pile of pathetic tears.

To say that the unyieldingness of her parents was a deep disappointment to her is an understatement.

After a while, peace was restored and her mean parents retired to their room once again to see what rest if any could be salvaged from the remnants of the night.

Because of the age gap--8 years--between Afton and Talitha, having a youngest child is not exactly a new experience. But because of the cancer circumstances, we have for some months now been more concerned about waiting on her hand and foot than is normally advisable.

I guess we should have expected a fair amount of push back in our attempts to un-spoil our little angel.

We're ever so grateful she's still with us.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dillies gone

Audrey asked Talitha where her "dillies" were this morning--that's what we called her central line tubes. Tali instinctively looked under her shirt and was a bit perplexed that they were no longer there.

She's had those "dillies" for over one fourth of her life. It occurred to me that she doesn't remember not having a central line.

Tali's physical therapists came today to help move things toward Talitha walking again. Usually shy around people other than family, Tali was in an entertaining mood and even started showing off with a little dancing jig she made up on the spot.

Never a dull moment, I tell ya.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 93 post-BMT; Central line removed

Much to her parent's delight--and the doctors' relief--Talitha's counts finally climbed out of the neutropenic danger zone.

Today was day 93 post-BMT (bone marrow transplant). Day 100 is the critical point if the counts don't show signs of recovery.

I'm saying a lot of "thank you" prayers.

The white blood cell count is still low but it climbed from 2,300 on August 11th to 4,500 today. (6,000 is the low end of the reference values.)

The ANC number is looking great!  It was stuck in the 700-900 range ever since Tali left the hospital. Suddenly it decided to join the party and jumped up to 2,900! (1,500 is the low end of the reference values.)

The only problem spot in today's blood tests is the liver readings. They show that Tali is still processing an abnormally large volume of stuff her body is fighting to get rid of. I guess that's understandable given the assault on her system for all the past months. I pray that her liver will be strengthened and enabled to bear the burdens placed in its care.

The hearing test came back with some mixed results. Her right ear has normal hearing now in the low, mid, and high ranges. First time that's been the case in any of her hearing tests.

The left ear is fine in the mid range but is showing issues with the low and high ranges. The type of readings they were getting indicate a strong probability that Tali has fluid in her ear.  Hopefully, the fluid is from an infection and not from permanent damage. She was sneezing quite a bit this morning and had a runny nose so she may have picked up a bug. (She also had a slight fever this afternoon and evening.)

Interesting that she was spared any illness while her infection fighting blood counts were dangerously low. And now that the counts are higher, she's showing some signs of infection. We're so grateful the angels kept the bugs away for so long and that her immune system is finally starting to come back on line.

After Audrey met up with a very sleepy Talitha in the recovery room, she was a little shocked to see no central line apparatus protruding from her little girl. It's just been there so long it became a part of her. And now that part was missing. A very strange sensation.

No mesh top, no cords hanging down, just a little bandage covering a small hole where the tubes had been.

For the first time in a long time, Talitha is sleeping peacefully without bulky baggage tucked in netting around her torso.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Maintaining faith

I watched Audrey change—for the last time hopefully—the dressing that covers Talitha's central line.

Talitha cried as the adhesive pulled her skin. Changing the bandage and cleansing the area around the central-line-entry-point is not a fun operation for Tali or her mom. It has become as routine as giving Tali a bath.

In fact, it's hard to remember back to when Talitha did not have a central line.

Now, if all goes well tomorrow as we expect, the daily saline flushes, heparin locks, dressing changes, mesh-netting tops, aqua-guards for bath time, and emergency clamps on our key chains will suddenly become a thing of the past.

And gratefully so.

I find that I've been a bit anxious about Tali getting another spinal tap. If they didn't find cancer cells in the last spinal fluid exam they won't find cancer cells this time either, right?

Seems that faith is like doing dishes. No matter how clean I wash the dishes today, those same dishes require washing tomorrow and the next day and so forth.

So it is with faith. No matter how much I believe in God and trust Him today, I still need to believe and trust tomorrow and the next day and so forth.

Prayer is like that too.

So is reading the scriptures.

So is keeping the commandments.

Like breathing oxygen, if I stop doing certain things it can get bad...fast.

Even at this moment, I'm reminding myself of that beautiful phrase I heard back in April and have repeated many times since: "our faith is in Jesus Christ and is not dependant on outcomes."

Getting bad news about Talitha (or any of our children) would be difficult--as we've already experienced. But losing my faith because something didn't go the way I wanted it to or thought it should would be tragic.

That's why it's so important to seek the Lord early and build upon the rock of Christ before the storms of life rage. Come what may, the Rock will not budge for Christ is stronger than it all.

But build on the sand or the philosophies of the world and even a mild storm can shake you and break you. I can't think of anything more perilous than a faith that waits and depends on how things may or may not turn out.

So please, Lord, help me get all the way off the sand and all the way onto the Rock.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Of all the foods we'd love Talitha to like, tomatoes would have to be high on the list.

Well, as luck would have it, she doesn't like tomatoes...

...she LOVES tomatoes!

Our neighborhood has been blessed with an abundance of tomatoes this year so Tali should have an ample supply. Lots of miniature yellow and red tomatoes are ready for harvest. Our neighbors have been kind both in supplying tomato plants to us early in the season which are now producing fruit and also in giving Talitha these little ripened tomatoes to hold and to eat.

Foods like tomatoes that keep nasty cancer bugs away will be a real support to Tali throughout her life. We pray she will completely heal now and also avoid secondary cancers that lurk in the shadows of cancer survivors.

Thank you all for your continuing prayers and support.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Play time

Tali and Daddy had lots of play time today.

We played on the trampoline for a while just looking up at the beautiful sky and white clouds. Then we went on a walk, read books, played with toys and even put pretzels in between Tali's toes.

She thought the pretzels in the toes thing was pretty silly but then decided she liked it and wanted to keep them there.

So many fun things to do in the summertime.

Tali was so excited to see the children walking by after church. As long as the crowd isn't too big, we're trying to let her get closer to people. She loves children and gets so excited to visit with "friends".

Please, please, please let her counts be high enough this week so she can start being around lots and lots of kids and people. She needs it and yearns for it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Reflections on refinement

Audrey and I took our oldest daughter to Cedar City today. She begins her second year at Southern Utah University on Monday.

Plenty of windshield time today. Lots of opportunity to talk and reflect.

While our oldest begins her second year of college, our youngest is a week or so away from finishing up her second year of life. So much to be grateful for at both ends of our children spectrum.

The refining fire is more than a little warm at times but we're grateful all the same. We have seen the Lord's hand again and again. He has set the boundaries beyond which the trials cannot pass. That's why He is the master refiner.

While driving home tonight, we talked about what refining does to precious metals. One of the most important things happens when the metal is heated. It becomes malleable. That means it is capable of being formed in the refiners hands into a thing of beauty and great worth.

Also, when the impurities have been removed, the metal is stronger than before.

We agreed in the end that just like fire does to precious metals, refining trials can make us more malleable in God's hands and strengthen us on the way toward becoming better sons and daughters of Christ. Nowhere have the fires of affliction been hotter than in the Atonement's Garden of Gethsemane and on its cross of Calvary.

As the one who paid the price for each of us individually, Christ is uniquely positioned to know exactly what we are going through. And that's why He is able to control the elements, including the fires of challenge through which we must each pass.

I love Him for it and will be eternally in His debt.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another countdown

Next Wednesday is another milestone point for Talitha.

Besides looking for an uptick in her white blood cell count, she will be sedated for another spinal tap and hearing test. Then, while she is still asleep, they will remove the central line from her chest.

I don't feel the same anxiousness about this upcoming spinal tap. But I will continue to pray that she remains cancer free.

It will be strange at first not having the daily maintenance to perform on the central line. It won't be so easy to have blood tests done but the extra risks of having a portal opening right to the heart will be eliminated.

One step closer to Tali re-entering society.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Improvised walking

I've started noticing Talitha trying a different, more stable approach to walking.

Instead of crawling everywhere, she has started moving around here and there on her knees. It's a bit like a waddle but it seems to work for her. It also allows her to hold things in her hands while transiting from point A to point B.

I heard a saying once that goes something like this: A man never stands as tall as he does when on his knees praying.

It's interesting how many times in the scriptures the Lord invites, even commands us to "pray always". Our relationship with God is everything--both quality and quantity.

I haven't tried Tali's walking waddle but I do try to stand tall on my knees at least for a few minutes each day. That sure keeps me going even when I don't feel much like going.

Pretty amazing when you consider that every one of us has a direct channel of communication right to God. He can comfort and help us so we don't have to feel alone or helpless.

I've found that prayer takes effort but it sure does work.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In school again

Afton and Madeline started school today.

Since the older girls were getting their pictures taken to commemorate their first day of the new year, Talitha assumed everyone was posing for pictures so she came crawling over for her turn.

Then she got herself all ready with a nice smile and even folded her arms. (Prayer time, picture time...any time's a good time to fold those arms.)

Some days I'm not sure if Tali is the student or the teacher.

She's certainly been the subject of a few hundred lessons the Lord has been trying to teach me.

(There hasn't been much of a summer break at that school.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Platelets and mothers

Talitha is doing a lot of climbing these days.

This age can make a parent nervous for a number of reasons. In Tali's case, she doesn't have enough balance to walk again yet so why should she have enough balance to climb up on things and not fall down?

I guess she doesn't.

Even though someone was sitting next to her, Tali still managed to fall off a kitchen chair this evening and get a little cut in her chin. She cried like more than her chin was hurt.

One of my first thoughts when I saw the cut was how grateful I am that her bone marrow is once again producing a good supply of platelets. It's easy to take for granted or forget that important ingredient in blood that magically stops the flow when there's a minor injury.

Tali's mom put her back together and all was soon peaceful again.

So tonight, I'm grateful for platelets and mothers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The grass is always greener...

Audrey stepped away from the dinner table to slice some bread and while she was gone, I noticed Talitha sitting in her high chair just a plate away from where Audrey had been sitting.

Tali hadn't shown much interest in the dinner on her plate, but the food on her mom's plate? Now that's an entirely different story.

No sooner had her mother left the table than Tali began shoveling food from her mom's plate into her own mouth. If she had possessed a larger mouth I'm sure she would have engaged in this nefarious activity with even greater abandon.

What is it about human nature that invites discontent with what we do have and ravenous appetite for what we don't?

This little poem seems to capture the essence of the quandary:

As a rule,
Man's a fool.
When it's hot,
He wants it cool.
When it's cool,
He wants it hot.
Always wanting
What is not.
Never wanting
What he's got.

When the subject of the "want" and "don't want" dilemma is found in identical food whose only difference is the location on two different plates at the dinner table, we think it rather amusing.
But when the subject shifts to less discernable irony, the world has a way of clouding our view to keep us if it can from the truth that would otherwise set us free from chains of envy, even jealousy.
What a blessed antidote is found in the two great commandments:
1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
2. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Last Friday, I had the chance to go on a father's and son's outing up in the mountains about an hour from where we live. Trevor and I don't get out very often but we both love to fish when we get the chance. The lake near where we camped is stocked with trout throughout the summer so there's plenty of action if you know the few tips our friend who is a scoutmaster showed us.

Fun as the fishing was, the most inspiring part of the trip was lying on the ground, looking up at the star-filled sky. With no city lights to compete with, the Milky Way Galaxy was simply incredible. To make it even better, there were shooting stars every couple minutes. One of these meteors reached hundreds of miles across the sky leaving a streak of light that you could see clearly for several seconds.

There's something about the massive universe with its billions of galaxies that makes me feel both small and inspired at the same time. When I consider God's endless handiwork, I realize in a penetrating sort of way that no problem or challenge of this world even comes close to beginning to overwhelm Him. Tough as life can seem when I can't see beyond my little bubble, God--every once in a while--helps me see that He has it all in control and that He hears and answers ALL my prayers.

Knowing that God is in control doesn't make the hardships go away, but it does fill me with hope and courage to keep going knowing that there is a plan and a purpose. I think it's easier to do hard things when you know the effort is not in vain.

Oh, there is so much to learn.

Talitha is having about as normal a childhood at the moment as what I could hope for. Yes, she has a central line attached to her chest and yes there are a lot of medicines and vitamins to take every day, and no she can't be around tons of people yet. But she's playing, and laughing, and crying, and doing about what you'd expect healthy, little, almost-two-year-olds to do.

For that and all of God's mercies, we're grateful.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

                          –Rudyard Kipling

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gearing Up for the Terrible, Two's

Talitha had a napless day (!). I made the mistake of putting her down with 2 teddy bears, never again. She talked and sang and giggled with them for a long time until I finally went in there and then immediately realized she needed a diaper change :O).

I did the job, then put her down again. For another hour she did more playing. It was late enough that I thought maybe letting her stay up and put her down early for the night would be the best idea. She was a "handful" the last hour, but we stuck it out.

She is certainly growing up into her two-year-old position just fine (and she wont even be officially two until the 31st!).

Tali is more of a climber lately. She is starting to pull herself up onto chairs and if on the couch will climb on the arm rests. We almost had a bad fall but she ended up being rescued just in time.

She also insists on going down the stairs--with someone holding 2 hands--and then climbs back up by herself. Then wants to repeat.

We are getting more and more two-year-old attitude when things don't go her way. We are glad for the "normalcy" of it, even though it has challenging moments.

You know parenthood is not for wimps.

Bravo to all who love, teach, and parent children, whatever the age. And thanks to all who have had an influence on our children and/or have helped us, the parents, stay sane.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two hands?

I mentioned that Talitha seems a bit more careful about taking chances with her walking. She's very reluctant to let go of the hands she's holding even if the person she's walking to is only a step or two away.

Her little voice says it all, "two hands?"

We’ve tried offering her just one hand but that just doesn’t cut it. Something as important as walking—even short distances—is clearly a two-hand endeavor.

It got me thinking about some areas in my life that I need more than just a little help with. I found myself praying for help and asking with a similar tone to match Tali's, "two hands?"

To think that God loves each of us even more than I love Tali gives me a lot of hope. If I'm so willing to help Tali walk, imagine how much more willing God is to help each of us walk.

And with two hands when needed!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Not Sure What to Think

The report from the hospital is mixed.

Talitha gained about a pound and is now 12.2 kilos (26.9 pounds). Yay!

But her white blood cell count dropped. (?!)

The doctors are still pretending not to be concerned but want to see her in two weeks again instead of moving us to a monthly schedule.

There doesn't appear to be any explanation for why the white blood cell counts and ANC are not recovering or even improving at this point.

Please pray for Talitha that her bone marrow may be strengthened to produce white blood cells abundantly. It's vital that her immune system come back on line.

Otherwise, Tali is looking great!

She's got lots of energy, is getting a little bit taller, doesn't throw up anymore, has a great appetite, is getting better color, etc...

And, she's got a beautiful smile and isn't afraid to use it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Talitha goes in for another follow-up visit to the hospital tomorrow.

She's not had a runny nose for a while now so we hope to see a better jump in her white blood cell count. Audrey is so good and giving Tali a daily regiment of liquid vitamins and other fabulous concoctions sure to chase away the lingering bugs and help rebuild her immune system.

One of my mom's favorite scriptures refers to the fact that people in ancient times were able to overcome many illnesses "because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases..." (Alma 46:40)  My mom has studied for many years to learn ways in which we too can use what God has given us in the form of many plants and natural remedies to promote health and overcome sickness.

We've been very fortunate to have both natural remedies and medical protocols to draw from in doing all we can to help our daughter. We've seen God's tender hand in guiding us to use every inspired means available while trusting in His omnipotent hand and will.

I've realized time and time again that I know nothing; I'm weak when it comes to my own strength.

But my confidence in God and His power continues to grow.

Our family theme for the year has been a tremendous reminder of this: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philip. 4:13)

It's true!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Patience is a virtue

Talitha's verbal skills are showing steady improvement. But her re-learning to walk...not so much. If anything, she seems more nervous to let go of our hands and prefers less risk taking that way.

However, she loves to make us smile and laugh and has few struggles doing that.

The "fuzz" on her head is getting more noticeable from further away. Bit by little bit, it does look like the hair is beginning to grow back.

Patience is a virtue...

...that I'm working on.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

He is a God of miracles

I love teaching songs to the children at church. The song I'm teaching them this month is one of my favorites from the Children's Songbook (p. 228) and is called "My Heavenly Father Loves Me":

Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by a lilac tree,
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heav'nly Father created for me.

He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart:
I thank him rev'rently
For all his creations, of which I'm a part.
Yes, I know Heav'nly Father loves me.

Such gentle music and sweet words. There's really nothing quite like knowing God loves us.

After music time, the children learn stories from the scriptures and other lessons about following Jesus.

Each month there is a theme for these special lessons. The theme for August is "Jesus Christ Is the Son of God, and He Is a God of Miracles."

Guess what today's lesson was about?

Jesus raising the daughter of Jairus from the dead. (Our favorite--especially during Talitha's birthday month!)

How grateful I am that Jesus is a God of miracles. He raised people in ancient times and we know firsthand that He raises people in our modern times.

I think this scripture says it best:

"And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles." (Morm. 9:19)


Saturday, August 7, 2010


If you've spent any time around a child in the 2 years-old range you might appreciate what I'm about to share.

Little children are human recorders and will repeat back whatever they hear--reverent or otherwise.

Lest you get the wrong impression that Talitha does nothing but serenade us with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and other niceties, let me set the record straight now before we find ourselves in church with her again and the "play" button gets pushed for a replay of something less lovely.

Her older siblings--especially her older brother--like to repeat certain lingo and have her repeat it back to them. This makes them laugh and encourages Tali to keep going.

It's one thing when it's simple, innocent repeat-after-me-type stuff. But then there's the times when she's picking up the "lingo" in context of when it's supposedly appropriate to say.

Much to some of the older children's delight and her parent's dismay, Talitha was holding something the other day and dropped it. And then like she must have heard others of us say in similar situations, she responded by saying, "crap".

So there you have it. At the end of the day, we're as human as they come.

We're just grateful that God has a plan to help us all make it back to Him in spite of our many imperfections and flaws.

We love Him and are relieved that He loves us!

Friday, August 6, 2010


When I arrived home this evening, Talitha was quite tired and fighting the notion that it was bed time.

She reluctantly switched from her mother's arms to mine.

I gave her a hug and she laid her head on my shoulder and then her little arms hugged me back.

I was in heaven.

Not many things in life beat the hug of a child.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for children.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Carpe Diem

A dear friend of ours sent us these thoughts on the value of time (I took the liberty of condensing it)...

To realize
The value of four years:
Ask a graduate.

To realize
The value of one year:
Ask a student who
Has failed a final exam.

To realize
The value of one month:
Ask a mother
Who has given birth to
A premature baby.

To realize
The value of one minute:
Ask a person
Who has missed a train, bus or plane.

To realize
The value of one-second:
Ask a person
Who has survived an accident.

Time waits for no one.
Treasure every moment you have.

Hold on tight to the ones you love!


Never before have we felt this to be so true. Time is definitely precious. Sometimes you learn this the hard way.

How important it is to "seize the day." To live each day full of hope, faith, gratitude, and joy. I think little children come knowing how to do this. We just somehow grow out of it, and need to (or should) relearn it.

Talitha's love of learning and life is contagious. I witnessed this very expression of taking in the moment when I watched Malorie take Talitha out to play, dance, and splash in the rain yesterday. Neither of them wanted to come back inside. I was envious of their spontaneous and animated play.

William and I have always felt like our children make us want to be better. With everything we have been learning and growing from, what better opportunity than right now do we have to "seize the day."

"Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary." --from the film Dead Poets Society.

"Open the gates and seize the day. Don't be afraid and don't delay." --from Newsies.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mommmy...where are you?

Talitha woke up WAY too early this morning. (The early morning thunderstorm didn't help.)

She started calling "Mommmy...where are you?"

I couldn't help smiling just a bit as I rolled over and tried to keep sleeping as Audrey got up to change Tali. (If she wasn't so cute...)

The ratio of "Mommy...where are you?" to the Daddy equivalent is about 10 to 1 at this point. Tali loves, loves, LOVES her mom.

Tali's early rise time gave way to a 3.5 hour nap this afternoon. So, she's still not asleep tonight and it's nearly 10:30pm. (Yikes!)

Maybe she'll sleep in past 6am tomorrow? :-)

Right now she's sitting with her mom coloring and being anything but tired. (I can't stop yawning.)

I'm grateful we are "tired" at home instead of at the hospital. When we first met with Oncology back in January, they warned us that we would likely be going through treatments for a good 13 months. (?!)

We've been so blessed.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hip, Hip, Hooray!

A local author wrote an endearing children's story called, "Hip, Hip, Hooray for Annie McRae."

It's about a little girl whom everyone cheers for whenever she does something good. Be it making her bed, not spilling any milk, volunteering at school, or practicing the piano without being asked...everyone cheers, "hip, hip, hooray for Annie McRae." She feels great about all her efforts and the wonderful acknowledgement that she receives. It motivates her to do more nice things.

Until one day, no matter what she does, no one cheers for her. They are either too busy, or not around, etc. She feels lonely and hurt.

This is where she decides for herself what she'll do. She could get angry and bitter and lash out with resentment. After all, she was doing so much good and no one cared, no one noticed.

But the next day she gets up and changes her attitude. She doesn't stop doing all that good just because no one says anything. She decides that, "The only one who needed to cheer for Annie was Annie."

There's a great lesson in that I think. We are all given "cold prickly's" some days. It's just how it goes. We need to recognize our worth. We need to realize it is not conditional on how many times someone else cheers for us. We need to realize that it is only our Father in Heaven's opinion of us that matters most.

It's so funny to see Talitha cheering for Talitha. Lately before we can say "thank you" to her for any number of things that she does, she does it first. Whether she gives us a hug, puts something away, gives back any-number-of-things she'll cheerfully say "thanks" before we even have a chance. It's so funny.

It's nice for all of us to get a little pat on the back once in a while. And while there are so many of you that we've been able to thank personally, we know there are probably just as many that we have not, for whatever reason. Please know how grateful we are for all the kindnesses that have been (and continue to be) poured out to our family.

We gratefully and loudly cheer for you
HIP, HIP, HOORAY for All of You Today!!

We couldn't do it without you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Get back up again

I’ve thought a lot about the purpose of opposition in life. Opposition seems to be a definer. The bigger the hole dug, the higher the mountain of soil stacked up. The low defines the scope of the high and vice versa.

I’ve not found anyone yet who has lived a life without trials of some kind or another--although some do a pretty good job of hiding it for awhile.

My friend Roger Anthony is well versed in the trials of life. He told me of a particularly low time when it seemed everything was combining against him to put him down and keep him down.

As he sat in his office feeling the world closing in around him, a large man by the name of John Carlisle from an office down the hall suddenly came striding in to Roger’s office as if sent with a direct message from heaven.

John hammered Roger’s desk with his pointer finger like a hammer and with a booming voice said,
"When they knock you down, you get back up again. When they knock you down again, you get back up again. When they knock you down again, you get back up again. Pretty soon they're going to get sick and tired of knocking you down."

And with that said--almost through clenched teeth at the end--John turned and walked out without another word.

I think the Lord is telling each of us the same thing. He reassures and invites us to keep going and to never quit. He tells us that those that are with us are more than those that are against us. He encourages us to have faith not fear. And no matter how hard it gets, He promises to save us if we will just hold on and never give up following Him:

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)

This journey with Talitha has shown me again that it’s worth getting up one more time. And one more time after that. And one more time after that…

No matter how hard it may be to see it in the moment, I know that God lives and keeps His promises.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Talitha is turning flattery into an art form.

My favorite is when we're together as a family and Tali hears us laugh. At such a moment, one of two things is sure to happen:

     1. She'll start laughing with identical intensity to the rest of us, or
     2. She'll repeat the words that preceded the laughter, get us to laugh again, and then join in laughing with us.

Sometimes I wonder what her real age is.

She definitely gets who we are…

… and fits in perfectly.