2017 Finale Video

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Giving Up

I was watching a commercial on TV about the newest and most powerful devices in technology and started to feel the need to get my hands on one. Bigger, better, faster, mobile I WANT IT, I NEED IT, I'LL DO ANYTHING TO GET IT. At least that thought crossed my mind until

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Exceptional Expectations

September 17th, 2011 is a day I never thought I would see the way it was, not 30 years ago, not 10 years ago, not a year ago and especially not After my son, Lincoln's diagnosis. Today was a day I would never believe would happen in my life, but let me go back in the beginning for awhile.

Over 30 years ago, I was Lincoln's age, nearly 3 years old. The only care in the world was how much time I could play outside, that is until I found out my brother would be born very soon. Now I had something to look forward to. Someone I could go to the park with and run around the neighborhood with and cause trouble with. We could walk to school, play soccer and go fishing with our cousins. We would become teenagers together and sneak out at night and get caught together. We would find girlfriends and get married and have children. This is something I could foresee as part of my life and for 30 years I saw a lot of what I expected.

We married our wives only a month apart 10 years ago. Getting married was a little hard for me to believe. I never really had a girlfriend but I knew I would find the only one I wanted. I had a couple of friends named Jenny but I thought the name Jenny Jones was too good to be true. Nonetheless, I found her and only a year and a half after meeting her we were married. I knew we were meant to be together and I knew she had mommy written in her future. Almost 3 years later we had our daughter Emma and after a few short years we would expect our son Lincoln. Another 10 years that were not to hard to predict.

During this last year watching our daughter and son grow into brother and sister, we expected to have moments of joy and frustration. Letting our daughter grow up from being our baby into a big sister, and watching our son walk, talk and eat on his own were things we had to adjust to but we knew would happen as they should. Everything in my life was just as straight as could be until July 1st cut the high wire, tight rope we had been walking, and our families world came tumbling down because of cancer.

From that day until now the only thing we could expect was that we would breath in....breath out....and take one day at a time as we focused on our sons journey. We knew that we had everything and nothing that we needed for this battle, but we would fight for him anyways. Everything was going as planned since the day of his diagnosis except for one thing. The one thing we have not come to expect was what I realized today: THE UNEXPECTED.

I have been reading about so many children with cancer that I have lost count. After reading so many stories of the horror that these children have to endure and all of the unexpected challenges they have had to face, I can humbly say, we have been blessed. Our little Lincoln, although he suffered through his first month of chemo, has what I believe is the Favor of God on him. God has sustained his little body and kept his side effects nearly nonexistent. He has never been sick or thrown up, he has not lost his hair, and he has not had a fever of 100.4 yet. He is eating, sleeping and playing as a little boy should. He is doing So Well, that I never expected it to be this great. It makes me feel like it's too good to be true, but I know now what to expect. I expect that as my world has been exposed to those fighting for their lives with cancer, I will use every resource available to see to it that these kids feel the Favor of the Lord God Almighty, wether they expect it or not. I'm sure the next three years will have many twists and turns but when I count up all the blessings that could not be expected, it gives me hope for our journey and the completion of it. This is the Hope I have for you and for me: For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:24, 25 NIV)

Hope for what you do not see, expect the unexpected and you will find blessing in disguise.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Two Towers

Today started out as an above average Monday as far as being motivated. I was heading to the beach for work but I had to go alone. The weather was great, cool and no sun. I had to stop for gas since I was driving 95-100 miles so I checked Facebook and found what I would describe as the first plane hitting tower one, a little girl was taken by cancer, this after having it for only four months. Since this is not the first child that I have been aware of earning their angels wings, I went on about my day and worked until 5:30 with a 2 hour drive home.

When the focus was off of work I Became Angry! Each day I learn of another child or two through the children's cancer community, but in the last 4 weeks I have heard of 8 kids who have died from this disease. I started to fume at the ignorant lives people live and the money they worry about, but they have no clue that children are dying from a disease that has so little attention. I remember how different I, myself was before Lincoln's diagnosis. I didn't know so I didn't care about anything but me and my life. I needed money for this and that but now I hate money for what it was and I wish I could just give it all away like a bad gambling problem to children's cancer research. What I am realizing is that it all begins with awareness. With the powerful tools we have these days we can communicate so fast and to so many, but we need to be effective because people can even become numb to it on Facebook.

I got home tonight to hear the crash of the second plane into the second tower, another little girl has finished her journey. At this point I was a little more sad. Everyone else was posting about her too. She was a close friend of another little boy who died a month ago.

My son is in remission, these two girls are also cancer free, but their families are devastated.

My goal right now is to effectively bring awareness to the world. Facebook pages are a great way to do it. This is what our goal should be, get all Facebook Support Pages that started in September or before to 1000 likes by the end of the year. This will take a combined effort of the community to share it until it happens. Not everyone sees everything, everyday on Facebook or Caring Bridge so since this is our month to do it Facebook will be our soap box and we will overwhelm it until Gold becomes the new pink.

Children's Cancer awareness must happen so more kids can have a Christmas this year and birthdays next year. Let's make it happen, we can do it if we do it together.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Personal 9/11

Have you ever had a day when everything was going just perfect? You wake up in a good mood, your plans for the day feel relaxed and you have time to sit down and enjoy your coffee without spilling it on the way out to warm up the car. The sun is shining and even though it's early it's not too cool? I remember a day like this about 10 years ago. It was a day when my wife and I could wake up and go to work without a care in the world. Everything was so much at peace that morning of September 11th, until I heard the phone ringing. It was my mom calling in tears asking if I had the tv on. I had no idea that this would be the biggest tragedy I had ever experienced as I watched the horror of the twin towers in flames, people screaming and jumping from buildings and finally the collapse and the smoke and the news of the other planes crashing elsewhere. The memories still seem so close and the entire country feels the pain still today on the 10th anniversary of our nations greatest attack within our own borders.

While the events of 9-11 cannot be compared, there are many feelings that have reappeared over the last ten years. Only a month after this happened my wife and I went out of town for the weekend to my parents house in Washington. On Sunday morning my wife got a phone call and was struck with emotion as she received the message that our apartment had caught fire starting in our unit. We would find out later that no one was hurt but a lot of property was damaged and we were liable. We tried to fight it but the evidence was too strong and we cut a deal to pay $12,000 in damages. We could only bear the burden and turn to God for comfort. It was quite the blow after 9-11, this time very personal.

The next spring I lost funding for my job and had to take something at minimum wage until I started working at the RV factory. My wife also lost her job and our brand new car payments seemed to big even though it was the only debt we had. My car also died and I had to drive 45 miles a day to work.

These personal upsets would not compare to what would happen the in these last few years. My wife's grandpa passed away after a stroke, her other grandpa would lose his leg, my grandma passed away, two of my aunts had cancer, my mom was diagnosed with  Parkinson's, and to top the list of tragedies my 7 year old nephew Conner would finish his life long battle to cystic fibrosis. These were all the beginning of what I hoped would be the end of a very long and difficult ten years. I tried to convince myself that this curse was over and we would not see anything like it for a long time.

I surprised my wife on her birthday this year by going to a concert of a favorite American Idol contestant, Danny Gokey, and we went out together on June 30th for our anniversary not knowing this would be a little break in our lives until the very next day that our own son was diagnosed with leukemia.

While I have experienced such pain and suffering from my personal 9-11, I know these things are a world away from what so many are experiencing with their kids and cancer. At this moment a little girl is preparing for her angel wings. A little boy who went ahead of her yesterday, is free of cancer and suffering, but his family is reeling from his passing only four months after his diagnosis . A teenager is leaving videos of herself singing on You Tube because her time is short. A grandma  is taking her grandchild in for surgery because the parents have to work to keep their insurance. There are So Many in need today because they are having a personal attack from this terrorist we call cancer. There is No Cure, but there Is a way to get closer to finding one.

On this September 11th, the same month that is Children's Cancer Awareness month, I want to pledge to myself and those reading, that I will fight the terrorism that comes to the families of these children. I will promote awareness, raise money for expenses and I will be a part of the community that Will find the cure to end cancer once and for all.

As September 11th approaches and we remember all those lost on that day, let's not forget that we all fight for our freedoms, but we do not fight alone. There will be many battles and we cannot fight them all, but we will fight for the ones closest to home and we will win if we do not give up. Our kids are our future and we must fight for them first and foremost. Let's begin with the end of childhood cancer.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Waves and Wildfires

The destructive force of children's cancer is like the tidal wave that overtook Japan's shorelines last year. If you watched any of the footage like I did in the middle of the night, you saw how there was no escape from the mighty ocean waters.