2017 Finale Video

Monday, April 30, 2012

One More Day

Last August, a month after Lincoln's diagnosis with cancer, I was at the hospital walking down the long hallway towards the clinic for his appointment. We passed the oncology unit where Lincoln spent the first 6 days of July and I remember passing two people wearing yellow shirts that looked like this.

As I walked further down the hall I felt a presence that I could only describe as angels walking the halls near me. It was at that moment that I knew that another child was lost to cancer.

Today is a special day because it is that young boy's birthday, and as the family gathers together for his first birthday in heaven, I wanted to share this song in memory of the first boy that earned angels wings since my son's journey began. Happy Birthday Ethan, this song is for your family as you are missed today.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Day in the Life of Mr. Jones

I was working the other day as I do many day, just digging a hole for a fence post as I do hundreds of times a month and I realized that my life is very much the same every day. So I wanted to write down some of the things that I experience or think about every single day. By the time I am done writing I will hope that my new experiences of today, such as my cup of frozen grapefruit, is ready to eat, because what would a life without some unexpectancies be like?

I wake up, early, but not super early, on average 6 am.

I go straight to the coffee maker, something I will always do until I retire and then I will only go to it at night to stay up late because old people just wake up early anyways.
I don't like making lunch in the mornings but I know what happens around 10am if I don't have any, so most of the time I take a lunch to work.
During the school year my kids are waking up about the same time but I only have about a half hour to get through my routine to get to work, so mommy takes care for the most part.
I get into my Honda Civic and for the last 5 years, drive Almost one mile to work. Don't hate, I used to drive 22.3 miles to work the 5 years before that. Gas prices are still to high in my opinion.
Work is work and I do it from about 7-5 everyday. Building fences is much the same but has many challenges too. I also have build decks, covers, pergolas, trellis's, gates, steps, ramps, gazebos, swings, bridges, and retaining walls.

Mostly wood, a lot of vinyl, some composite, steel, iron, aluminum and field wire. I drive my work truck, with a 16 foot flat bed which gets 8 miles to the gallon. I don't pay for gas, thank God!
Everyday I work with people from my boss to my helper, people at my shop and my customers who I love to install fences for. They like me too, at least most of them ;)
After a 10-12 hour day of work I really need to unwind, but there is little time for that because the drive home is so short from the shop now. When I get home I usually get a greeting from my favorite little boy Lincoln who wants to play anything with me. Most of the time I want to fall on the floor because 10 hours of physical labor is a lot, but I find a way to play.

After dinner and some family time, about the time enterainment news comes on, I get on my laptop which I got less than a year ago so I can look at facebook. Sometimes I put on the head phones so I don't have to hear about the latest celebrity trainwreck and I can put some focus time into kids who fight for their lives and who deserve some real recognition on the Red Carpet Kids for the Cure page I created last September during childhood cancer awareness month.

I usually find kids that my other friends have discovered during the day and I feature them on the Red Carpet for everyone to LIKE. I also let the kids themselves know that they are featured on the Red Carpet today because its all about them. Birthdays and Celebrations of No Evidence of Disease are common and Celebrations of Life happen a few times a month too.
If I still have time in the night I look at the rest of facebook while playing poker.
Its about the only entertainment I allow myself anymore since I rarely watch movies or TV unless its reality competition TV shows like DTWS, the Apprentice or Shark Tank. I keep the laptop open when watching tv or kids movies because I want to find and recognize kids fighing cancer and other life threatening diseases as they appear on my facebook news feed.
I am a night owl but not too late when work picks up during the season. I like to listen to music while writing on my blog and chatting with friends who seem to stay up late on facebook too.
The weekends are a nice change of pace when I can mow my lawn and spend time outside working on projects around my house. The kids play and sometimes help me build something but I like to keep things safe so I don't let them run around with the hammer and nails.
We like to have a movie, popcorn and candy Saturday nights but still to bed on time for church on Sunday. That is one thing I have not done much of in the last 9 months since Lincoln's diagnosis, but since I went to Bible College for many years I typically open the bible myself and read it. I also like to write sermonettes sometimes on Sundays while Jenny and Emma go to church, to share with my friends some spiritual insights I have discovered. Sunday nights can seem a little hectic sometimes, trying to get the most out of the weekend, but I tuck the kids in bed, read books and get ready for another repeat with new challenges, discoveries and unexpected events during the week.
Now that my grapefruit is gone, and it wasn't too bad frozen, althought I don't know how it got that way, I will go mow my lawn and when Lincoln wakes up from a rest we will spend the rest of the night just hanging out as family.

I can't think of to many other details but I like it just the way it is and I feel bless by the Almighty God of Heaven and thank him for my family and all of my friends, especially those who take the time to read my blogs, THANKS!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Moment of Silence

It was quiet when I got home tonight. A 13 hour day at work makes the evenings very short and this one seems over already. Lincoln had already gone to sleep which is unusual because he is usually the night owl like his daddy. Emma was quietly playing a game and Jenny was reading a book. I like to come home and see my son run up to the door like he had been looking out the window for me all day, but tonight was quiet and it was nice for a change. I usually watch the news before dinner and look at facebook but since it was so late I made some food and clicked on the little blue "f" at the bottom of my screen to see what my friends were talking about today. Nothing could have made the night more still than it already was except what did, when the very first thing I read was that a little boy that I have been following for a long time had finished his fight with cancer early this morning. I was speechless for awhile and didn't want to read anything else until I could completely let my mind understand that another little life was taken too soon. I could have just kept scrolling down the page and said, "that's sad" and then started playing poker or reading about someone elses happy moment today, but I wanted to let my heart feel what the community of people with kids fighting cancer was feeling. This is something I will probably do for the rest of my life because kids with cancer cannot be ignored and passed by like that off beat friend you mostly scroll past on your facebook feed. I have experienced the loss of a child in my family and have had friends who have lost children to miscarriages and now I know of more than 400 kids who are currently fighting cancer. I have to say, I like my facebook friends, but sometimes I like my facebook Kids more and I want to know what is going on with them before anyone else. My son Lincoln will not be one of those kids who will have 25,000 LIKES on his page, because he was lost to cancer, but he may have 25,000 fans someday because he will fight into his adult life until a cure is found.

I am tired and I have more to say soon but until then remember that life is just a small portion of time and time an even smaller portion of eternity in which we will enter in free of pain to see our kids again.
Please pray for my friends who are suffering their loss and light a candle in the still of the night for this little boy in heaven.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hello World

In the beginning of time a man and a woman were given a gift, the breath of life. This gift that is breathed in and out each day is often forgotten as a gift because it comes so naturally. It is so abundant that no one ever really says that they need more breath. Instead the things that people say they need more of are things that never seem to give life. Who ever said when they won the lottery that they now have a purpose? No one, why? Because as long as we have breath, we have a purpose that drives us to keep breathing in and out. Instead of abusing the gift of life and always running so hard that our lungs are burning, let the breath of life keep humility in our hearts because we never know when our last breath will be. Life is a precious gift, one worth more than all the gold in the world, but it is often wasted and burnt up with so many meaningless things. If you were asked each day what gift you received, something that you could not give yourself, you could at least say you took another breath, but I'm sure you could name a few more things than that too. If you have children of your own or in your life, you know how much of a gift they are and you could not imagine that gift being taken away from you. Tonight there are children though that struggle to hold on to their breath of life, and parents that would give their last breath to let their child live on instead. Watch this music video and realize that your life is as a breath that comes in and goes out and then it is gone forever and remember that with every gift there is a Giver.

You can now LIKE my page @ http://www.facebook.com/briansphirstblog

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"Heaven is the Face"

I have felt some emotions as I sit here Saturday night listening to music and reading about kids who I have come to know through facebook and caring bridge pages. A little boy diagnosed at 10 months was recently diagnosed with a secondary cancer is preparing for heaven. A young boy with in inoperable brain tumor is resting in peace now as he finished his fight Sunday (both he and another little girl have passed away today). A birthday is being celebrated for my 9 year old nephew in heaven again this year. Needless to say I found a music video that sums it for me tonight. If you don't know the story behind this song, Steven Curtis Chapman who is widely known in the Christian music industry, lost his 5 year old daughter in a tragic accident right in front of their home when their 17 year old son struck her in the family car. Listen and believe that if he and his family can make it through, you can too. Heaven is the face of these children.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

All that Its Worth

Everyday I wake up and as my heart beats and I take a breath my mind fills with thoughts for the day. Thinking can be hard sometimes but when something has got your attention its hard to stop thinking about it. Most of my days I think about the one thing that consumes my mind the most, my job. I am required to work 57 hours a week between March and October and I think about it from the moment I get up until I go to sleep. That isn't all that I think about because I try to block it out as soon as I finish the day, but its hard to get it off of my mind completely. Right now I am thinking of something that deserves a little more thought than most things but is not recognized by most people on a daily basis. I was thinking about an 8 year old boy named Gage who is suffering from an inoperable brain tumor called DIPG. Out of all the things that I could think of in this world why would I choose to focus my thought on a child dying of cancer? Because my child has cancer, that's why. Its kind of like when you get a new car, you see that car all over the place, but its not that same because I am thinking about someones life.

I Choose to think about kids facing cancer because that is my life choice and I will face it with them. I have experienced loss of life both old and young and I know its harder than anything else but it gives me perspective. I want to know what it is like to live life to the fullest, and to see a child fighting cancer is like nothing you have ever seen before. The courage to face the monster inside, the hope that they will one day get to play outside of a hospital again and the faith that we all long for deep inside, that is what I choose to think about. Here is a music video, listen to the words closely and ask yourself, what do I really think about each day and is it allowing me to live my life for all that its worth?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Between the Lines

Today as I read through my facebook news feed I see things like:
A family trying to raise money to pay for hospital bills
A child who is no longer responding to chemotherapy
A mother pleading with God to save her child dying of cystic fibrosis
A child having pain from chemotherapy
A mother who lost their 31 day old baby to cancer
A boy relapses with a new kind of cancer
A child recently diagnosed with DIPG an incurable brain tumor

I don't know what your facebook new feed looks like but I hope you read between the lines sometimes, or maybe its time to just eliminate some of the nonsense that seems to plague your heart and rob your attention to things that matter the most. What if it was your child in the thin lines between the shouting about the latest movie that broke records at the box office while childhood cancer research is still suffering.

Take a look at my links for a cure on the left side of my blog to see how you can get involved in the AMAZING RACE that we run for a CURE.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Today is Easter Sunday which is a day of celebration for people all over the world. In America the stores are filled with Easter treats that the kids look forward to on Easter morning. Emma and Lincoln were awake before they normally are on a school day because they know that something special is waiting for them. This Easter morning I am greatful for life itself because no matter how good or bad it is, I have the greatest gift to look forward to.

When I was young the Easter bunny always came to my house before we went to church with my grandma and grandpa that morning. It felt like an eternity waiting through the church service knowing that I had candy and something new to play with. On one such Easter Sunday though, I realized that Easter was not only about toys and candy when my dad got up with his guitar and sang a song with some of his friends. This songs tells a story of two young boys, like my brother and I, who went on a journey with their father, into an unexpected turn of events that would change the way they looked at the simple pleasures of life. Please watch this music video today and keep the tissues nearby.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lincoln update part 2

Lincoln just walked in the door and is home, that's the good news. The doctor told us that the rise in temperature is most likely from  a virus or something common. His blood counts are still going down from the chemo last week but that is to be expected. He is not too low though for him to be admitted and have to be on antibiotics but he will likely stuggle with a temperature for a few days. Lincoln does not feel well at all but with prayer and support he will make it through, thank you all for caring. We will keep you updated through this blog and Lincoln's facebook page linked to the left side of my blog here.

Quick update on Lincoln

I got home early again because both Jenny and Lincoln have not been feeling well. Since Lincoln made it through yesterday after he spiked a temperature of 103 we were hoping he would start to feel better. When I got here his temp was rising again and up to 101. Our doctor just got back from vacation and wanted to see him so Jenny and her mom took him to Portland while Emma and I wait to see if they will release him again in a few hours. Last night I didn't get a lot of rest because Lincoln was still coughing. I will rest up for awhile until we hear from Jenny to see if we need to go up to the hospital too.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Mind of Gold

When it comes to life most people have their minds set on things like time, money, work, love or fun. Me, I have these things on my mind, but there is one thing I can't get off of my mind since July 1, 2011. Today I was over 30 miles away from home when I got the phone call that my son was going to the emergency room 30 miles away in the other direction. Since my son Lincoln was diagnosed with leukemia last year I have not wanted to be far from home when I got that phone call because I didn't know what would happen to him next. I was between job sites but I got on the freeway and drove straight home hoping to catch them before they left. Fortunately when I got home the emergency was lowered to a high alert after some tylenol and a night of rest.

You see, when cancer is on your mind, it is on your mind forever. I can forget about work on the weekends, I can forget about money on payday, and I can forget about time when I am sleeping, but I can't get cancer off of my mind. It would be great to be able to watch a movie or a tv show or sports without thinking about it but even then it comes back to mind. Last night I was watching a talent show, yes I like talent when it is good and yes I was watching Dancing with the Stars...by myself. All of the dances were in memory of people that the Dancing Stars knew that had passed away. The one that stuck out the most was Donald Driver, who happens to be a football player on my favorite team, the Green Bay Packers. He was dancing for a friend who died of cancer and I have to say he showed off more than his football footwork with a very sentimental dance that even moved him emotionally.

When cancer is on my mind it is like competing for a golden trophy. (The ribbon for childhood cancer is golden too) The trouble with competing with cancer is that it has many ways of getting an edge. It does everything that would be illegal in a normal competition, from cheating to taking cheap shots those fighting against it. Since I know there is going to be some feirce competition I am going to need a Mind of God to focus on the prize that is my sons life.

It doesn't matter who you are, cancer comes in uninvited and steals, kills and destroys. That is why I can't get cancer off of my mind, but you know what? Why would I take my eyes off of my enemy when it can overtake me in a moment of weakness. No matter where I am or what I am doing, whether it is work or fun, I will be aware that cancer is affecting someone. By keeping focused I will keep my competitive edge and claim the victory against this proven champion.