2017 Finale Video

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Childhood Cancer Champions

Childhood cancer awareness in 2012 is continuing to grow and social media is making that possible now more than ever. Here are some facebook pages who are going forward into battle as Champions against childhood cancer. I HIGHLY recommend that you Subscribe to each one so you can keep up with the hundreds of kids who depend on your support and prayers every day 365 days of the year.


A documentary film to raise awareness to about the lack of funding our children desperately need at the national level

Watch the film
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oljTL1iuMmY&feature=youtu.be
Like the page
http://www.facebook.com/theTruth365film

The lives of these children have become the face of childhood cancer this year
http://www.facebook.com/theronanthompsonfoundation
http://www.facebook.com/JessieReesFoundation
http://www.facebook.com/PrayersforLaneGoodwin
http://www.facebook.com/TeamEthanJostad
http://www.facebook.com/EthanJostadFoundation
http://www.facebook.com/pages/I-BACK-JACK-FOUNDATION
http://www.facebook.com/HealingHunterFoundation
http://www.facebook.com/yellowandgoldforcole
http://www.facebook.com/rjtoughguy

My personal pages
http://www.facebook.com/RunningForLincoln
http://www.facebook.com/speakuptosilencecancer
http://www.facebook.com/redcarpetkidsforthecure
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-new-face-of-Young-Adults/152426124786354

My friends pages
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Arms-Wide-Open-Childhood-Cancer-Foundation
http://www.facebook.com/ACowboysHopeForACure
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pediatric-Cancer-Awareness/311527862263075
https://www.facebook.com/JesusIsBiggerThancancerFoundation

Children still in the fight
http://www.facebook.com/angelsfortalia
http://www.facebook.com/HopeForJohnathon
http://www.facebook.com/brookesblossoms

Well known Champions
http://www.facebook.com/PeopleAgainstChildhoodCancer
http://www.facebook.com/StBaldricksFoundation
http://www.facebook.com/alexslemonade
http://www.facebook.com/curesearch

More Champions
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nicole-Ricken/225044864192937
http://www.facebook.com/melinda.marchiano
http://www.facebook.com/taylorkleinfan

You can also subscribe to my blog page for everything else I like to share with the world
http://www.facebook.com/briansphirstblog

Friday, December 28, 2012

America's Providence

Writing this blog today has been about as difficult as all of the events of this year combined. There is so much on my mind right now that is making me think the world actually did end in 2012. After asking friends how they would describe this year, I heard a lot more negative than positive, and I don't blame them. What should feel like a country united, feels like a country on the verge of imminent collapse. Between this so called fiscal cliff and the massacre of 20 children, we still have kids dying of cancer and other life threatening diseases that are out of control. To say the least our country has been stripped down to its core and our emotional state is raw from the loss and pain that we are suffering.
 
I think people are looking forward to this next year only to see 2012 placed in history as a year that would have better been forgotten. Since the world did not end this year I think we need to find some new motivation and we need to find it fast. I have been searching the internet for something that would give me inspiration but everything currently happening feels too much like a hot topic issue.
 
 
Today I went to the one place that this country should go to take a good look and remember that in order for us to be a nation united again, we need a renewed faith in our "Declaration of Independence." As I read it from beginning to end, I felt the heart of our founding forefathers beating inside of me like I was part of this great historical enactment. The unity of our leaders declareing their freedom from a tyrannical king took my fears and turned them to faith again. The words that resonate are the words that our country needs to feel as I did today: A firm reliance on the protection of "Divine Providence."
 
 
I urge you to watch this video tonight and share it with people that you know. I hear the voices beyond the grave of those who wrote this declaration: "We Need God in America Again!"
 
 
 
 
Make a difference in 2013
Join the Facebook Event
Sign the Petition to our Government
Watch the original music Video again and again
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ovq6gP2x9vc

 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Our 2012 Family Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Jones! Its that time of year when we want to look back at all that has happened this year, and be thankful for the gift of life we receive each and every day. This year has had its abundance of life sized challenges but we are still here and there are many who have helped along the way. As we look back on this year, we have seen the results of what it means to feed your faith and not your fears. When we don't know all of the answers, we still have a lot of...
 
This morning a package arrived from the North Pole and Lincoln and Emma can't wait to open it. I feel like the Grinch telling them they have to wait, but Lincoln usually has a way of making me give in. How could anyone resist with a smile like this.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lincoln is doing as well as can be expected with his treatment this year. We have taken him more places this year and he got to see all of his cousins on Thanksgiving. If I had to ask for a Christmas miracle for Lincoln this year, it would be that he could stay as far away from the hospital as possible. He spent the 4th of July in the hospital when he was diagnosed in 2011 and also ended up there this year with a high fever and infection. Since then nothing other than a normal ear infection has kept him from feeling like the little cancer warrior that he is. He still has two more years until he is declared Cured, but the prayers of over 1500 people on his facebook page will get him there. http://www.facebook.com/prayingforlincoln
 
Emma is getting taller, smarter and more beautiful each day. She is doing good in school and still loves to come home and search for frogs outside after school. One of the highlights of her year was when we went to the Butterfly Farm which is like a green house full of plants and butterflies flying around everywhere. She also has a facebook page where you can see some of her favorite things @ http://www.facebook.com/EmmaAJones0812
 
 
 
 
 
People often ask me if I am busy at work since its feast or famine in construction. The funny thing is, I have been out of work for nearly 6 weeks this year. January is always slow and I work 3-4 days a week, then in July I had a few days off to go to the hospital with Lincoln. Later in October we went on vacation which ended up being a full two weeks and now I am off for the rest of this year. When people ask if I am busy I tell them I average 57 hours a week which at this point has added up to 2000 regular hours and nearly 500 overtime hours! When I am done with my days outside I spend more time doing what I love, spending time with my family and speaking up to silence cancer.
Jenny is just as busy if not more when it comes to being a mom with a child going through a cancer treatment. Driving up the the hospital at least once a week and keeping Lincoln on track is one of the many challenges I am thankful that she is willing to take on. She has had many friends step up to support her this year even in the middle of their own busy lives. 
 
2012 has been a lot like 2011 and even 2010 in some unexpected life altering events. In less than 3 years we have lost 3 of our immediate family members, grandma Shirley early in 2010 and my nephew Conner a few months later from cystic fibrosis. 2011 surprised us with Lincoln's diagnosis and after a year of treatment 2 other family members were diagnosed with cancer. Finally in October 2012, during Lincoln's Make a Wish trip, his papa Bob passed away while with us, after the first night of our trip. After my grandma, I knew the next 10 years would see fewer relatives each Christmas, but never would we have expected to be without Jenny's dad this Christmas. It was a difficult loss and always will be but we knew his mission on earth was complete and all of those he inspired over the last 40 years will continue through us. 
 
 
Sometimes I wonder what our lives would be like if we had not taken the road less traveled. We are on a journey that is never easy but where we will always find light guiding us. While the world is becoming more and more darkened around us we keep hope alive because God never breaks his promise. We believe that we have a purpose to fulfill and we believe that time is on our side as God wills it, but as we realize how fragile life can be, we still wish that we can hold onto what we have for as long as we can.
 
For those of us who have loved and lost this year, even those children that we have never met,  I want you to remember that God gave his own Son, to a man and a woman to love and raise him as their own child, but who knew that he would give the greatest sacrifice known to man, laying down his life for the freedom of others. This is nothing less that the True Meaning of Christmas.
 

 
I wish I could share so much more but take some time this week and catch up on my blog posts from this year to see all that has happened.
 
Also special thanks to Julie Mullins and her family, Tonya Miller and Lisa Boyd who independently raised hundreds of dollars to help in Lincoln's medical expenses. Thanks to all of you who donated time and money to help our family this year.

 
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Crossing the Threshold

I will never understand why the world is the way it is today. Whatever has been right is now left, and whatever used to be up is down. The days have become night and the world feels like it is spinning in the opposite direction than it has been for thousands of years. Everyone has a way of explaining their point of view with a truth like logic, but even with the most persuasive arguments, the truth seems nowhere to be found. This week when children lost their lives, the world cried out with excuses. First it was this and then it was that, and then when everyone was up in arms about the matter, this tragedy was trampled on by even more hate and disgust for each others opinions. I am even more disturbed by the way that people want to go off accusing so many different things and refuse to just share the weight of the world with this small undeserving town in the middle of the holiday season. "Why" may be the hardest question we have yet to see the answer to.

I want to tell you a story that sounds very much like the one you heard about this week. It begins with a young man who when growing up only called one or two people his friends. He left high school early to go out on his own but didn't find love or great success or much of anything else. It was a very dark time for about three years until one day he walked into a building full of kids and his life was changed forever.

After nearly meeting his Maker and feeling his world had been spinning out of control, his life was finally beginning to turn in a new direction, but before this paradigm shift was to take place he had to reach the point of no return and his heart had to be completely broken.

He knew the life he had could no longer be lived and the one he was seeking meant he would lose everything he had, but on that day when he crossed that threshold...

...I did it without looking back as I put MY Hope in grace of God.

This is the Truth that I live by and the treasure that I share with the youth and young adults of the world, but just like the man I used to be I pray the world would be willing to face the pain of change. Tonight I cry out for mercy for the things I am responsible for and ask with this song, Jesus break our hearts for what breaks yours.


 
 
 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

One Voice for Kids Fighting Cancer

I woke up at 5:55am and went straight to the computer to find The Truth 365 film ready for the world to see. This is one of the biggest social media moments for our kids fighting cancer. Please take some time today, and if you can't watch it all at once, come back to my blog and watch the movie completely and think about my son Lincoln.
We are reaching out more than ever for a cure and we need Your Voice to share this movie with the world. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hungry for the Truth

Its still a few days away but I'm sure many people are already thinking about Thanksgiving dinner with their families. The turkey, the stuffing, the potatos and the rest of the spread that my mind is trying to trick me into smelling right now! Now I'm hungry.
 

I just received a message that is sure to be a teaser, but I got a little taste of the something else many have been waiting for. The highly anticipated film about childhood cancer, "The Truth 365" is being prepared like a feast for a King. As one of the volunteers for releasing the film into social media, I have been preparing for months to serve this message about our kids fighting cancer. The time that it has taken will be well worth the wait and those with an appetite for the Truth will especially be satisfied when they see the entire film (18 minutes of which I have been able to preview.)
 
In preparation for the Big Feast, here is a short film that is sure to make you smile. Jack made a big impact before he finished his journey, but did not leave without a sharing a message to fight for kids in their battle with cancer.
 

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Monday, November 12, 2012

The Great Divide

The greatest country in the world will never be great if it is 100% divided like it feels like it is right now. Everybody thinks they got it right with the side they are choosing, but what kind of help are those who choose one side or another doing with the power they now have? There are about 20 states right now that just want to cut themselves off from the rest of the country because they feel the decisions being made will never make this country whole again. The church has no say in these matters since separation of church and state have allowed anything and everything to go as the people say. So what do we to with a country who is divided wider than the Grand Canyon? What does it mean to be the greatest? What do we do when we fail? How shall we treat those who need mercy? What are the consequences of our personal agendas?
 
 
The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
 
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
 
2He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
 
3And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
 
4Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
 
5And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
 
6“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
 
7Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!
 
8If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.
 
9And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
 
10“See that you do not despise one of these little ones.
 
11For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
 
12“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?
 
13And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.
 
14In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
 
15“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.
 
16But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
 
17If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
 
18Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
 
19“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
 
20For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
 
21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
 
22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
 
23“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
 
24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.
 
25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
 
26“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’
 
27The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
 
28“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
 
29“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
 
30“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.
 
31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
 
32“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.
 
33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’
 
34In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
 
35“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Don't forget to SHARE!
 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Little Veterans

When you think of Veterans day, you think of all the men and women who have served and even sacrificed their lives for our countries freedom. I used to I think of Veternas day as my brother's birthday and how he used to get the day off of school every year. Today on Veterans day I have found a whole new meaning for those who have given themselves, even to the very last breath, to serve children of the future who are still searcing for a cure in the war on cancer.
As all Veterans know, freedom has never been free, liberty has not been without sacrifice and those who fought hard and still came home to their families have many battle scars that will remain in their lifetime. As one who was afraid to join the armed forces, I took my freedom as a youth and ran around like it was a free trip to Disneyland, never counting the cost. Now as I meet real people, even younger than me who have served so that I could live another day without fear, I feel a deep respect and honor for these who gave years of their life away from their families.

Today I would like to honor my 4 year old son Lincoln as a veteran in the war on cancer. With blood, sweat and tears, he has spent the last 16 months enduring chemotherapy and fighing in a war zone inside his own little body. He is one of over 13,000 that began this journey just this year, and will continue his battle for a two more years before he can be in the safe zone again without the need of these chemicals of mass destruction.

For the 2500 children who's battle ended this year, your sacrifice will not be forgotton. For kids like Lane, Jessie, Jack, Gabby, Lennon, Lilly, and Brennan, just to name a few, this fight will not end without honoring your sacrifice for those who still seek a cure.

Since there is no Veterans day for children fighting for their lives, let today remind you that those who served for our countires freedom, serve for children who want so badly just to be kids again, free of cancer.
 
 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Redirection

I had a dream a few nights ago where I was driving down a long highway where the road was about to turn before coming into the town I was driving to. I remember it was late at night, dark and hard to see when all of a sudden I would find myself in trouble. As dreams usually become twisted, the road I was driving on just fell out from under me like I was in some sort of video game. My vehicle fell about 20 feet within the 20 foot segment of road that was between the curves and would be difficult for any cars coming down the highway to see. Somehow I ended up above the fall out and I knew I had to redirect traffic to keep people safe. That is about all I remember in the dream.


As I look back on many of the events of this year I feel like the lights at the intersection have been turned off and people are desperate for directions. Everyone wants to get going but no one really knows if they should stop, go, yield or just put the petal to the metal and hope they survive. Looking for directions should be as easy as downloading an app on your smart phone, but finding what we truly need may mean holding the reset button on our current devices.


Proverbs 1:20-33

20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall at noisy street corners she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:
 
22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.
 
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30 Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
 
 
When those who are foolish claim to be wise, they deceive themselves and those they persuade with their silver tongues. True Wisdom must be sought and when found will reveal a treasure greater than all of the wealth this country possesses.

33 But whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
 

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Giving Thanks Day 1

Its that time of year when people began to give thanks for all of the wonderful things they have in their lives. This year in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, being thankful for something as simple as a roof over our head is something to be recognized.

On Day 1 I am thankful for one of the most difficult things to be thankful for. Its something we all experience every day, and there are different degrees that we each face. Most of the time we want to reject it and just move on to the finer things in life, but without it we live a self indulgent life full of everything we hate to see in those who seem to have it all. Without this there is no trophy, no victory and no reward.

Today I am thankful for the Struggle...
 
...because without the climb, there is no view from the top
 

 
 
 
 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Hurt and the Rain

Every year about this time, for as long as I can remember, the rain returns from its summer vacation and settles back into the pacific northwest. This year has been no different, even with an Indian summer giving us two weeks of extra dry weather through half of October. The early morning daylight if finally getting a chance to sleep in as I go to work in the dark, and soon I will be coming home to my newly installed motion lights shortly after 5pm. Now with the average rainfall already more than double and the rain across the country causing chaos of another kind, the recent loss of my wife's father and my sons battle with leukemia keep us searching for a brighter day.

I just read this story from a friend who lost his son to cancer this year. The pain of losing a child is greater than a Super storm of rain, wind, flooding and snow, but when you read this, remember

"The Best Way To Heal...Is To Heal Someone Else"

Just about nine months ago I thought my life had ended. When my five year old son Cole took his last breath and the doctor said "He's gone" I thought I too would soon follow. I could not imagine where I would find the strength to carry on without my "little buddy." The pain of losing him was so terribly deep. I tried my best to put on a brave face for his twin brother Troy and big sister Tara because I knew they needed me. I was afraid to console my wife Michelle, because she was in the same dark place I was. I feared if I felt her pain on top of mine it would push me over the edge. For months I walked in a dense fog, not caring very much for a world that would let children suffer and die from cancer without doing more to prevent it. I truly believed the misery and grief that filled my heart would be fatal. I was holding on by a thin thread. The only thing that kept me going was the thought that I could not let my children and wife feel the hurt of more loss on top of the despair they were already suffering. Also keeping me alive was remembering how hard my son Cole fought during his journey through the hell that is Childhood Cancer; and his final words to us, "Smile, Be Happy"

I would go down in the basement to hide from Troy and Tara when the crying spells would hit. I would dissolve in tears and tell Cole how much I loved him, missed him, and was so very sorry that I didn't always appreciate how precious each moment of his life was before he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer. I promised Cole I would try to "Smile, Be Happy" someday, but for now I needed time to weep.

In September, I was still struggling each day to just barely function. My daughter Tara approached her mother and said she wanted to do something to honor her brother for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. They sat down and came up with an idea they called, "Coins For Cole" They decided they would make up canisters and ask local businesses if they could leave them on their counters to try to raise funds for Childhood Cancer Research. This small idea soon became overwhelming, many businesses and friends began requesting the canisters. Friends and family began to offer to stand in front of stores and collect donations. My wife who had gone back to teaching was becoming stressed, she was working so hard to prepare for the school year, organizing the "Coins For Cole" effort, and most of all, mourning the loss of our beautiful young boy. I decided I needed to snap out of my darkness, man up, and help her. I began to work with her on delivering the containers, calling businesses to schedule collection times, and creating ways to get the word out on our efforts to help children with cancer. I began to feel alive again, helping others was pulling me out of the depths of sorrow.

Mid-way through September, while going over the schedule to determine where I would be dropping off the containers the next day, one of Michelles co-workers sent her a message asking if she would mind if the teachers at her school could pick a day to wear something yellow or gold to honor Cole and other children for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Immediately it struck me! Where was all the Gold during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? Where were the commercials talking about the need for increased awareness? Where was the Gold on the football and baseball fields? Where were the Gold ribbons on the lapels of the politicians? Why was there so little talk about how children were dying and suffering every day from this monster? WHAT GOOD WAS CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH IF NOT ENOUGH WAS BEING DONE TO RAISE AWARENESS? I started to call my friends and ask them if they would be willing to wear something Gold on September 28th to show support for our young Heroes and Angels. Many said they would but that they had nothing Gold, they asked if Yellow would be OK? From this idea I created the Facebook page, "A Day of Yellow and Gold to Fight Childhood Cancer" My original thought was that this page would just be a way to get my friends and family to help spread the word that we would like people to wear something Yellow or Gold on the 28th of September to at least see some semblance of support for Childhood Cancer Awareness. Little did I know that this would also be the beginning of my Healing!

I started to find people "Liking" my page and sharing stories familiar to my own family as they described their children's battle with cancer. I was meeting many other parents who were similarly discouraged with the lack of attention given to our Heroes and Angels during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. People began thanking me for speaking up for the need for more awareness. People began telling me my stories of Cole's life (a life filled with love, joy, and courage) were helping them heal from their grief. I went from someone desperate for help, to helping others. I learned that the "The Best Way To Heal...Is To Heal Someone Else"

In the past it had always been difficult for me to accept help from others, I let my pride get in the way of allowing people to do something that would make them feel good. I have now learned that life is more about what you give than what you get and that you must allow people the opportunity to give. Giving is what makes us good. Too everyone who has given so generously to my family; in time and gifts, during our most difficult times, Thank You, we are eternally grateful! And to those who are hurting, I pray you will gain what I have discovered, "The Best Way To Heal...Is To Heal Someone Else"

Let's all commit to work together to Heal the children and families who have been afflicted with Childhood Cancer by doing all we can to increase Childhood Cancer Awareness!
Please Share, let's build our mission!

God Bless,
Tony Stoddard (Cole's Dad)
CLICK AND LIKE http://www.facebook.com/yellowandgoldforcole

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Celebration of Life

Yesterday we celebrated the life of Pastor Bob Swope. Here are a few pictures and videos of family and friends.
 Randy and Jenny, Bob's favorite son and daughter kicked it off to honor their father
 The stage was set with some of Bob's favorite scenes that we saw every year
 Some of Bob's puppet team members sang the Laughing Song
 
Pastor Chris who knew Bob since he was 11 years old and spend many years in many churches with the Swopes. 
Pastor Scott, Bob's cousin and friend growing up 
 Pastor Book, Bob's senior pastor who knew Bob his whole life
 Pastor Marshall singing and speaking in honor of his senior pastor at VLC
 
 Kelle and Geri, Bob's sister and mom spilling all of Bob's secrets
 The worship team with Russ and family
 
Charlies final act and goodbye to Bob 

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Birthday Wish

Thank you all for so many birthday wishes today. My phone sends me a text message everytime someone posted on my facebook.
As I was working today I began to think about all of the things that have happend in the last 36 years, from my birthday parties when I dressed up as Spider man, to the last 36 months that have challenged my faith to the core. There have been so many defining moments that I have lost count, but I made it this far. God is still in control.
 
 
Today is my birthday and for the first time ever, I am going to share my birthday wish. This year I have only one wish. I'm not going to have a cake or candles to blow out, but I am going to close my eyes and make it a big one. There is nothing else that I can think of than to make a wish that will last all year long, but there is only one way I can get this wish...to give it away.
 
 
This is my wish...For You.


I hope the days come easy
and the moments pass slow
and each road leads you where you want to go
and if your face with the choice and you have to choose
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you
And if one door opens to another door closed
I hope you keep on walking till you find the window
If its cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile
But more than anything, more than anything

My wish for you
is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold
and while your out there getting where your getting to
I hope you know somebody loves you
and wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish

I hope you never look back but you never forget
All the ones who love you in the place you live
I hope you always forgive and you never regret
and you help somebody every chance you get
Oh, you find God's grace in every mistake
and you give more than you take
But more than anything, more than anything

My wish for you
is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold
and while your out there getting where your getting to
I hope you know somebody loves you
and wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish

Birthday Boo

My daughter Emma reminding me how to "Boo" out the candles

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Temporary Home

On Friday my wife's family were visiting together at her aunts house talking about her dad and remembering the good times we had together. It was raining outside and the afternoon coffee hit the spot as we sat on the big couch next to the fire place. It was a good place to be together after the small private funeral we had for my father in law that afternoon. The shock of his sudden passing still lingers, but the support we have from family, friends and the church keep our broken hearts together.

I find it ironic that during our vacation, in our home away from home, is where he was taken away to heaven. I have heard countless sermons from Pastor Bob in 13 years and I think his final sermon is one that I have heard before. He would say that our lives on earth are like visiting someones house for a family event. There are many people and things that make us feel comfortable during our short stay, but this is just a short visit in this temporary home. (note the snow at the end of the music video)

 
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
 

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Thousand Memories part 3: Gone Too Soon

Everyone's talking about the weather and the weather has been changing fast, but you would never have guessed what happened while we were in California at Disneyland. On the third day of our vacation for Lincoln's Make-a-Wish trip, we were expecting rain in the forecast, but in the middle of the night in the most magical place on earth, there would be snow flakes falling over our hotel room.

Before I tell the whole story I want to share the last few pictures that I was able to take during the unexpected final day of our vacation of a Thousand Memories.

Lincoln's trip to Lego Land
 


 
Green Hulk as Lincoln calls him
 
Beauty and the Beast
 
A special breakfast with lots of food and friends
 
 
 
 
 
A Princess kiss
 

A Thousand Memories...
...that will never fade.
 

 
Lincoln's wish was granted in Disneyland and a Thousand Memories were made that will last a lifetime, but one such memory will be of his Papa Bob who suddenly and unexpectedly passed away while on the trip with us. In the middle of the night, the snow in Heaven began to fall as the angels of God welcomed Pastor Bob Swope into his eternal home above. Bob always loved the snow because it reminded him as a child that God would never leave us or forsake us. He was our Heavenly Father and would always take care of us if we were good, bad, sick or in need. Today our family has suffered a great loss and as we have always asked you to Pray for Lincoln, please keep my beautiful wife Jenny and her mom Mary in your thoughts and prayers as well. This has truly been a life altering event for us all and we will miss Bob like a child who misses Disneyland after the very first visit feels like its gone too soon.