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Old 04-20-2010, 12:08 PM   #641
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Latest post - part I

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 1:26 PM, CDT


Good morning (actually afternoon...internet connection failed me this morning!),

Once again, I am past due fulfilling my desire to sit down and write. You wouldn't believe how long it takes me sometimes to get the thoughts to come together, work together and flow onto the computer screen. I still wish someone would invent a USB port for my head so all I have to do is think my thoughts and they'd end up recording themselves into the computer. Anything worthwhile is worth a little work, so my fingers will have to keep exercising and stretching across the keyboard!

I had an “Ah-Ha” moment on Sunday. It was more like a “DUH” moment than an “ah-ha” one, actually...a little of both. As we prepared for church early in the morning, I quickly sat down to read the entry dated for April 18th in my “Jesus Calling” devotional book. I wrote about this book way back when (exactly when, I'm not sure) I stumbled on it at Sam's (Barnes & Noble also carry it) one afternoon when I was supposed to be shopping for groceries. Little did I know that this book would serve as “food for my heart and soul” and has been one of the crutches I have used to help me wobble along our path. The title of the book just jumped out at me as I pushed my shopping cart through the book isle on the way to checkout. Okay, it was a bit of a detour, but it was worth it. The book is by author Sarah Young and in the introduction she gives in detail how she came to write it. Again, like the music of Kari Jobe, I feel this book was written to help me...and it has, tremendously. It is not a book of stories. It is simply a devotional written for every three hundred and sixty-five days of the year...one for every day. Sarah writes in the first person using “I, Me and Mine,” referring to Jesus as if he were speaking directly to you. It takes me less than a minute every morning to read what she has written but the inspirational words trigger thoughts and emotions that continue to work with me and for me throughout my day.

As I read Sunday's entry, that “ah-ha/duh” moment hit me...it was truly an epiphany, if you will. I've written about how I feel like I need to seek my faith on a daily basis and I've prayed that the peace I have achieved continues with each passing day. That is exactly what God wants from us and that has been His plan all along. He wants us to seek and need Him daily, never to think one moment that we can make it on our own, with out His guidance. This is the exert from Sara's book:

“Peace is My continual gift to you. It flows abundantly from My throne of grace. Just as the Israelites could not store up mana for the future but had to gather it daily, so it is with My Peace. The day-by-day collecting of manna kept My people aware of their dependence on Me. Similarly, I give you sufficient Peace for the present, when you come to me by prayer and petition with thanksgiving . If I gave you permanent Peace, independent of My Presence, you might fall into the trap of self-sufficiency. May that never be!

“I have designed you to need Me moment by moment. As your awareness of your neediness increases, so does your realization of My abundant sufficiency. I can meet everyone of your needs without draining My resources at all. Approach My throne of grace with bold confidence, receiving My Peace with a thankful heart.”

Sarah then lists versus that relate to what was written. My “ah-ha/duh” moment was when I realized that I AM SUPPOSED TO SEEK GOD'S PRESENCE AND PEACE EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE! I was mistaken thinking that once I felt I “owned” this feeling of peace that it would be mine forever. It is only mine for today, if I ask God to give it to me. He did not promise it to me tomorrow, but He will give it again, for every day for the rest of my life, if I ask. He will not let me gather it up and store it like a squirrel gathers and saves acorns to help it survive the long winter months. God will only give me what I need to get me through today. Not tomorrow...not next month...not a year from now when we continue to experience our lives without Sicily's physical presence entertaining our days! I have what I need for today, and I thank God with all my heart. I FINALLY, and truly, think I figured it out. Better late than never, I guess!

So I will wake each morning and ask God to be my guide for the day...to help me climb the high mountains that will surely rise in front of me and to offer me His hand to pull me out of the quick sand I sometimes fall into. He will help me swim through the rivers created by my tears and will give me a piggy back ride when the desert sand is too hot for my bare feet. He will do all of this and more...as long as I allow Him to lead and I promise to follow! I will also continue to ask God if I can have peace with my little girl's death EVERYDAY, for that day, and all the other situations and circumstances in life that leave us battling with the threat of lingering pain and heartache. He never said He would protect us from pain...be it physical, mental or emotional. He only said that He would comfort us through it and help us overcome it.

As I learned from my old roommate who wrote me and said she thanked God for “the gift of suffering” for me. Who would ever think that suffering would be a gift? But, it is, if you allow yourself to embrace it and grow from it, which is what I believe she sees in me. We shared an apartment for a couple of years in our early twenties and she knew me about as well as anyone could, so her words and prayers of thankfulness mean a lot to me! Thanks, dear friend!

Sunday morning, as my “ah-ha/duh” moment was setting in, we were at church and our opening hymn was “Sing With All the Saints in Glory.” This is an old hymn I even remember singing at church during my protestant upbringing. It's comforting. My favorite verse contains the words, “God has promised, Christ prepares it, there on high our welcome waits.” Beautiful! As a Catholic convert, I feel like I embody the best of both worlds, if I may call them that.

I was raised in a small Methodist church surrounded by the love of grandparents, great aunts and uncles and church members that even to this day feel like family. I sat across the table at Sicily's funeral dinner with a lady who could boast she remembers me in diapers in the church nursery. She and her husband are still close with my parents even though they live in another city. I was so touched they made the trip to be with us all for Sicily's funeral. My little family currently belongs to a rather large Catholic parish, but that same sense of family closeness has been found once again, mainly due to one special little girl who had the ability to steal hearts, as many precious children do. I feel a bond and particular closeness with our priest, who like me, is not a cradle Catholic. I love when he feels so full of the Holy Spirit that his “fire and brimstone” appears and I leave church feeling like “I got something!”

I don't mean to get too personal or give too much info that doesn't seem to pertain to anything in particular. I guess for some reason I've felt the need to explain this part of my life, though I don't know why. I've lived my life thinking that a Christian is a Christian, we just practice our faith in unique and different ways, but together we are all brothers and sisters in Christ!


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Old 04-20-2010, 12:09 PM   #642
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Part II

I just wanted to share how last week, on Thursday, we celebrated Sicily's 5th birthday. I had serious mixed emotions about the day before it even arrived. In fact, I spent half of Wednesday, the day before, shedding tears and feeling very blue, despite God's presence. I just look back and think how worse I would've felt if I hadn't asked God to help me get through it! We had read in the church bulletin that mass would be offered in Sicily's name Thursday morning by the preschool and church office staff. There wasn't a place in the world I'd rather have been that morning. It was the best way to start a day that turned out to truly be nothing short of a beautiful experience! I was able to be around and hug those who loved our little girl as much as we did.

A very sweet preschool mother made us a cake with pink and yellow butterflies on it so we could celebrate appropriately. It was chocolate. Sicily would have loved it! I also decided to face one of my biggest fears and obstacles in my grief process by making a visit to our Children's Hospital. I felt like it would be beneficial in my own healing process and the need to see the faces of the people we befriended and who cared for us over the past nineteen months became something I found myself craving. I had intended to make cookies or something to take to them so they could help us celebrate Sicily by remembering her on her special day, but time always gets away from me so I did the next best thing and bought cupcakes...really goooood cupcakes! As I approached the sliding glass doors of the hospital, cupcake box in hand, heart in my stomach.

I ran into one of the clinic doctors who we had gotten to know over the course of Sicily's treatment. My heart felt happy to see his kind face and that's when I knew that this was going to be more than okay. He walked me to the clinic and to my dismay, I found the waiting room to be full. I had honestly hoped to walk in and see the room almost vacant and the nurses twiddling their thumbs (not like they ever truly do that, it was just a vision I had hoped for). My heart sank a bit seeing how many lives are so affected by cancer...and such young precious lives at that. I was heart broken to hear how many new diagnosis have been recently made. Each one hurts me as only a mother who has been there knows! I want to cry for all the new families!

I continued to visit the back of the clinic to find our sweet nurse so I could have her get the rest of Sicily's “Beads of Courage” beads so I could complete her sixth and final strand. It was very important for me to collect the remaining beads that she had earned, as well as a glass butterfly that would symbolize Sicily's total and complete freedom from cancer. Even though things were hustling and bustling that morning, I got to see about everyone at the clinic that I had hoped to see, except for one person who was off (as she shared Sicily's birthday and I was hoping to give her a birthday hug...another day, I guess) and Sicily's oncologist, Dr. Hum, who was upstairs on the floor. It just so happened that I needed to go up to pick out the glass butterfly so I was able to see and hug her, as well.

I ran into a friend who does work at the hospital and we had a nice talk. Through our conversation we discussed the possibility of me doing some work by being trained and serving as a parent support volunteer to help other parents through difficult times. I might also help by serving with other parents who make recommendations and offer ideas on how to improve the hospital from “our” point of view. I would be honored to serve in those roles, if and when they decide they might need me. Needless-to-say, I walked out of the hospital with air under my feet. It felt so good. I was so glad I made the decision to face my fears of being there. As strange as it may sound, I miss the weekly and most often bi-weekly trips that were needed for so long. I miss the people. I miss the atmosphere. I miss the need to be there...the feeling of hope we carried with us each time. I can honestly say, despite the ending result, ours was a good experience. I will not look back in horror or dismay for what we all endured. I will use it for yet another reason to thank God for what He helped us get through!

I left the hospital and met Patrick at Elias' school were we shared lunch with him as he was the “star student” of the week for his class. Patrick and I aren't used to shoveling our food into our mouths and down our throats in such a short amount of time. Can we say, “indigestion?” The rest of the day we completed a couple of projects around the house and ordered pizza for dinner in honor of Sicily. I made sure to order half a pizza with sausage on it for Patrick so we could reminisce how Sicily would always grab a piece first and in her usual ornery voice yell, “I'm eating your pizza, daddy!” We sang happy birthday to her and snapped pictures of the kids holding angel wings with the butterfly cake. The perfect ending to the perfect day. I was glad it went so well but I was also glad for it to be over. We can now check another “first” off the long list that we will experience over the upcoming year.

Tomorrow will be the first full month. Some days it doesn't seem like it's been that long, while others seem like it was forever ago that I held my precious little girl in my arms and said, “I love you the mostest!” And she would say, “I love you all the way to heaven!” She did, didn't she? And I know she still does.

Last Friday, my sister and niece drove the two hour drive from Oklahoma City to help me do a little work in Sicily's bedroom. I was ready to start to tackle her closet, though my sister admitted she wasn't sure she was. None-the-less, they came to help and we ended up having a wonderful day. We had lunch with my adopted little sister, Walgreen's Kelli, and her sweet mom visiting from Texas. It was good to laugh and enjoy the company of others. We did not get a lot done in Sicily's room, but about as much as the three of us could handle. I just needed my sister there to be with me when I pulled out clothing and embraced my memories of when Sicily wore them or what I remember her doing while wearing them. We laughed at some of her favorite things and cried over some of the memories they triggered. They are just articles of clothing. Pieces of fabric made of cotton and pieced together by threads but they symbolized a young life. A little girl who was only meant to be on earth for a short while.

I am setting aside a bunch of our favorite things to have made into a quilt. Other pieces I need to just keep so I can touch them and hold them up so I can visualize her in them and imagine her size. She was a long, tall drink of water for a girl. She inched her way up to about four feet despite drugs that could have altered her growth. In my eyes, she was the tallest person I ever met when measured in bravery. I just hope I can live the rest of my life being half as brave as she was, no matter what I may encounter!

I've been sitting at the computer for the past three hours non-stop typing, reading, re-reading, correcting, analyzing...I wish it didn't take me so long to organize my thoughts. I guess I could be called a “turtle writer!” I'm about as slow as they come. This week will continue to be busy, which is good. We are beyond excited about Sunday when we will be participating in the 10th annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon (walking...not running, yet!). This means the world to us to see the amount of support and involvement that has evolved over the past year. It will be a time when we will gather and celebrate Sicily's life and how she has and continues to inspire us. We, Patrick and I, along with our kids (angel wings, included) are walking the 5K this year but I want more than anything to be able to run the 5K of a relay team next year, at least that is my goal. I am not a runner. It will be a challenge for me, but with Sicily by my side, I will try!

I will hopefully be able to jump back on here before Sunday to let those of you who plan on being there know where the rendezvous point is. It's in front of a bicycle shop about a quarter of a mile from the finish line. It's where we gathered last year, but I'll post the exact name and address soon.

Love to you all and have a blessed beautiful day!

Kerry
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Old 04-22-2010, 05:56 PM   #643
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Thinking of my sweet Sicily tonight
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Old 04-23-2010, 05:44 PM   #644
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Friday, April 23, 2010 8:17 PM, CDT


Evening all,

We lost our little girl, but in the process, I found God. I love Him so much...not despite Sicily's dying, but instead, because of her living. The life He gave her gave me life...a spiritual life.

It's funny, as parents, we are credited for giving this little girl life. As a mother, I physically carried her and nurtured her with my own body and accepted the pain of child birth, or a c-section as I had with all four of our kids, but it still took a toll on my body. While looking back, as hindsight is most often twenty-twenty, my rear view observations don't get any more clearer than perfect vision. I know why Sicily lived. I know why she died. I know why God chose me to be her mommy. Though this was never how I pictured my life to be, nor did I have this clarity of mind while living in the reality of our circumstances, it doesn't matter. What I had pictured or envisioned what I would be or do with my life and what God planned were two separate and completely different paths.

Sometimes we try our own way of living first. When we find ourselves lost and wondering aimlessly about, we then decide to give God's way a try. It's time to stop the defiance and ask God, “What is Your will?” “What do You want me to do?” “What direction are You wanting me to go?” Answers for some who allow themselves to ask these questions may come immediately while others find themselves wondering and questioning and waiting for endless amounts of time. Some of us He has to teach patience...a very hard lesson to teach and an even harder one to learn. Look at me. It's taken over forty years for me to understand that my life has a purpose beyond what I thought I was meant to be.

I am what I always wanted to be...a wife and a mother. I think I turned out to be a pretty decent daughter, sister and friend. I try to emulate the good I see in others and hope my actions stir others to emulate me, as well. I remember being told once that imitation is the highest form of flattery. That doesn't always apply to every situation in life, but when it comes to copying the good deeds of another, I would hope we could all consider ourselves a bunch of “copycats!”

Our priest shared a sweet story last Sunday that was very moving yet began with the simplest action of a teenage girl foregoing her school lunch money during lent. Instead of using the five dollars a day her father gave her to use on lunch she chose to take a peanut butter sandwich everyday and save the money for a church donation. Her father called upon Father Joe and delivered money in the amount of two hundred and thirty dollars. After explaining his daughters actions and turning over the funds, Father Joe had one question about the amount he now had in his possession. His calculations determined that he should only have one hundred and fifteen dollars, not the two hundred and thirty. The father of the teenage girl explained that he was so moved by his daughters accomplishment that he decided to match the money she had saved.

Father Joe shared this story and the next thing he knew, someone had slipped four hundred and sixty dollars under his office door. After that, someone gave nine hundred and twenty dollars. It didn't stop there. He soon had a check written for eighteen hundred and forty dollars, all because a young girl came up with a way to give something of herself...a routine daily expense was donated and ended up turning into almost a thirty-five hundred dollar donation to our church. I found this gesture and the domino impact to be so amazing. Once again, I have to call it beautiful...one of my favorite words in the English language!

On Wednesday the 21st, the first full month without Sicily, I spent my morning at Elias' elementary school as a monitor for state assessment testing. I was basically needed to hand out the tests to a fourth grade class and observe the students to make sure they did what they were supposed to do and none of what they weren't. The room needed to remain as quite as possible so I did not get to interact with the teacher or the students other than for just a short period when they took a break and after they were all completed. The class had about twenty students in it with only five boys.

After all the tests were collected I found myself surrounded by about four or five young girls who were eager to talk to the stranger in their classroom. They noticed the silver fingerprint necklace I wore around my neck and I briefly explained to them the importance of this necklace. The fingerprint is that of Sicily's and was made the day she passed away...before I knew she was going to. The print was made in a little piece of clay and then was sent off to be made into a silver charm. I am able to wear this beautiful piece of jewelry right next to my heart. Though I knew these young girls most likely could not grasp the magnitude of my loss, they were so very sweet and expressed their apologies in a very mature manner. I did not stick around the room long even though that sweet class of fourth graders and their teacher made me feel comfortable and welcome, I knew they had other school work to tend to and my presence there would detour their attention.

Before I headed towards the door, one of the girls handed me a piece of paper that she had drawn on and said, “Here, you can have this.” It was folded over and when I opened up the paper like a card, in it was written, “The 3 F's...Faith is Fate and Forever.” On either side of these powerful words she had drawn a couple of pictures. One was of a cross with a thorny crown hanging on the top and nails present on the sides and bottom. On the other side of the page were a pair of hands with holes visible in the palms. I left the classroom with a chill up my spine and goosebumps on my arms. God makes himself known to me in the most amazing ways. The only reason I ask “why” is, “Why am I so lucky to be the recipient of these beautiful gifts?” I am forever grateful for these endowments!

My day ended with another amazing event. Patrick, Isabella, Elias and I escorted Corinthian to the Masonic lodge where he received his “Student of Today” award. We are so proud of him. The selected students were recognized along with a teacher from each of their schools. When the name of the teacher for Broken Arrow Senior High was called, the name sounded so familiar to me. When I saw this tall attractive woman go up to accept the award, I sat there with this sort of de-ja-vou feeling of “I know this person.” She looked like someone I should know. Before we left the ceremony and after all the awards were given, I realized that I had indeed known this teacher...she was one of my high school English teachers from Enid High School back around 1986 (Broken Arrow and Enid are over 120 miles apart in the state of Oklahoma). I came home and dug out my high school yearbook to double check and it was her, Ms Joan Kelly. I woke up yesterday morning and felt compelled to contact her, knowing full well that she most likely would not remember me. I emailed her to let her know that the seeds of writing she planted some twenty odd years ago are still at work in my life and have been my therapy and salvation for the past two years. I told her I was proud to be called one of her students. Who wouldn't be? She is still being recognized by her students and peers for her gift. I am never short of amazement at how peoples lives can cross paths multiple times in life. Another God thing!

We are all excited about Sunday and the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. I don't have a count yet as to how many runners/walkers/spectators are proudly donning the Wilm's Warriors shirts, but I will report when those numbers come in. Our meeting spot for the day when running and walking is complete or for those spectating and cheering is at The Bicycle Shop on Broadway between ninth and tenth streets. It should not be too hard to locate...just look for the area glowing with bright yellow shirts. It's going to be so amazing! I am bringing Sicily's angel wings to take as many pictures as possible with family and friends holding them. I bought little butterfly charms and attached them to small safety pins for anybody who want to pin one on their bib so Sicily can help you “fly” along. We'll try to get them to as many people as we can who want them before the race.

Pray that the weather is nice and that every one traveling to and from the event remains safe. Say an extra prayer for Patrick, if you'll please, as he is walking the 5K with the kids and I and then is filling in on one of the relay teams for the final 10K. He wants to be able to run past the sea of Wilm's Warrior supporters and through the finish line. He hasn't trained very much for the additional mileage, so please pray he'll do okay! I am already planning on driving home and will have a bottle of Tylenol on hand! ; )

Everyone have a wonderful weekend and I'll be excited to give details
next week about ours!

Love to you all!

Kerry

PS- “Sicily...we miss you! You are with us every second of every day! Stowie cries for you...as do we all, but we know you are where you are supposed to be. If you can't be beside us, we want you beside Jesus!!! We continue to love you all the way to heaven! Save a place for us, okay?”
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:49 AM   #645
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Kerry's post-script brought tears to my eyes, which is pretty normal reaction to her writings! I am still sending up prayers for the family. Reading her entries are like my daily devotion, except they aren't daily, but thats OK. They still help me feel closer to God. Thanks Kerry and thanks Caterina for continuing to post them.
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:04 AM   #646
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelsmom View Post
Kerry's post-script brought tears to my eyes, which is pretty normal reaction to her writings! I am still sending up prayers for the family. Reading her entries are like my daily devotion, except they aren't daily, but thats OK. They still help me feel closer to God. Thanks Kerry and thanks Caterina for continuing to post them.


Thank you sweetie for your faithfulness in praying.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:15 PM   #647
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Please visit sweet Sicily's site and leave some encouraging messages for her mommy. Thanks

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/sicilyevelynzeka


Monday, May 3, 2010 12:47 PM, CDT

Hello all,
I apologize for my long absence. I promise to sit down and update more later...sooner than later, I hope. I just wanted to jump on here quickly to say that we have not fallen off the face of the earth, but I feel like I've come close. Last week was very hard for me. I fell off the mountain that I was so successfully climbing. I didn't just cry every day...I bawled. I'll try to explain more later. I will also attempt to share the wonderful Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon experience.

For now I am just trying to keep my head above water...the flood of my tears that seem to overpower me at times. Today, despite being a Monday, which is usually very hard on me, I am doing okay. I'm motivated to clean house and stay busy. I'm trying to purge things that we don't need anymore and aren't using, but if it happens to be something that belonged to Sicily or reminds me of a memory of her, it slows me down and gets hard to stay on track. I'm still taking baby steps and am trying to pick myself back up, dust myself off and head back up that mountain.

Thank you all for continuing to pray for us...as you can see, we are still in need! I am counting the days left that the kids have school so I won't have to face the weekdays alone for awhile. I'm ready to have them with me all day. I need them!

I hope you'll continue to be patient with me as I figure out this "mourning thing!"

Love to you all and God bless!

Kerry
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:47 PM   #648
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Caterina- Thanks for sharing Kerry's story. I am so moved. I have goosebumps.
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:37 AM   #649
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Even though I have never met Kerry, I feel as if I have seen into her heart through her writings.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful family with us, Caterina! I will ALWAYS keep them in my prayers.
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:07 AM   #650
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Thanks so much Janie for your prayers. Am so very blessed to have spent time with the family last summer and to attend Sicily's celebration of life. They are a remarkable family who are close in my heart.
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:32 AM   #651
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Ditto what Janie said!!!! From reading her journal and all the pictures on the caring bridge site, I feel like I know them too. I think about them everyday, its hard to understand how a heart can feel like this for people you have never met. And I have left a couple messages on the site, but I have to wait til God gives me the words to say. But I am gonna go and say Happy Mothers Day to Kerry. And while I am here,, Happy Mother's Day to everyone here also.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:29 AM   #652
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To mom's of all kids, both 2 or 4 legs!!!

Caterina, I wanted you to know I'm feeling much better! It's been crazy lately with way too many events going on at the same time. BUT, I will give you a call, hopefully, next week!
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:20 PM   #653
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Monday, May 10, 2010 1:01 PM, CDT


Good Monday,

First, I'd like to wish all women a late “Happy Mother's Day.” I don't think you have to be an actual mother to celebrate the honor. We have been blessed with the maternal aspect of the female persona through so many women in our lives...grandmas, aunts, friends, teachers...so many have personally helped us “mother” our children and it became very apparent to us of their importance and their presence during our journey with Sicily's cancer. Thank you for helping us and for sharing with them your love!

It is no secret that these past two weeks have been very hard for me, personally. Patrick and the kids are doing okay...good but not great, yet. Patrick has such an even keeled personality, yet he is no where near running through the finish line on this marathon of grief yet. He has miles yet to log. The thing about him is that he doesn't let himself climb too high or fall too low in this grieving process, yet he will still admit that the happiness we tell ourselves we are responsible for acquiring is still not in his grasp. We have for so long both believed that we should be responsible for our own happiness, in other words, other people or materialistic objects should not be what makes us happy. We should be able to decide that no matter what our circumstances, we can find happiness in life somewhere. God wants us to be happy!

I think in our current situation we tend to feel guilty if we let ourselves feel happy right now, like the act of personal happiness diminishes how much Sicily meant to us or that her death really didn't affect us as much as it should have. It is quite the opposite, but like I have written before, Sicily was not our only source that we allowed to help us be happy...we have three other incredible gifts named Corinthian, Isabella and Elias, that do everything in their power to help us quench our thirst for that much desired and needed happiness!

I recently read literature sent to me by our Hospice providers that explains and divides grief into seasons. The first season of grief listed is Fall...”disbelief prevents the person from accepting what is true.” It continues to list the various possibilities that a person may feel or experience. Some of it I related to, but for the most part, when I first read this I did not see myself fitting into this description. During the first four or five weeks after Sicily's death, I think I was more like in a honeymoon stage. I was truly doing good. I did not feel like I was in any sort of denial. I did, in fact, question why was I doing so good? I talked with our church nurse over the phone and expressed my own concern as to why did I not feel the need to cry? Why was I so accepting of Sicily's passing and all that had happened? Why did I feel like I was passing by so many of the grieving milestones that everybody else seemed to be experiencing? She did make a comment that did make sense to me at the time. She said, “Kerry, you have basically been in a state of mourning for the past nineteen months since Sicily's diagnosis.”

Even though we consciously made every effort to not mourn Sicily while she lived and breathed every one of those five hundred and seventy-seven days between diagnosis and death, the unconscious mind still held tight to the thought of her mortality. So, as I thought to myself, “Maybe I will not experience what others do at a time like this.” I was glad I had held onto that article so that when the other shoe fell...the bottom dropped out...I came tumbling down that mountain...all of the above and more, then I would understand that I wasn't' going crazy. I wasn't losing it and I was truly in the midst of the most difficult stage of the grieving process.

The next season to hit, and I mean HIT, is winter. The words under this title are longer in description than all the other three seasons put together. It begins with, “When the reality of the death sets in, you may feel that you are worsening because you acknowledge that the death really did happen...” It continues to explain that, “Confusion tampers with your sanity...you are disorganized and impatient with yourself.” I actually felt alarmed when I woke up one morning and the tears began to flow, and they would not stop. They would not let up for anything. Every single thought, picture or memory I would have, see or feel of Sicily would crush me like a two ton asphalt roller. I felt complete frustration with myself that I could not figure out a way to be consoled. I couldn't do it and if I couldn't, surely no one else could, either. I did not want to talk to or see very many people. I did not shut out everyone, but I did many. I know, or at least I hope I know, that others did not take my avoidance or absence personally.

Grieving takes on such a personal identity...as we are all so unique in our own way, the way we grieve is unique, too. I put on a good front if I needed to. I might have been up for an academy award if others around me truly knew how good my acting skills were. I finally stopped trying to hold onto the idea that I was okay...as I truly was for awhile, but when I wasn't, it was time to come clean. Part of my personality is to not want to bring others down. I wanted to spare and hide my sadness so others would not feel what I felt. I didn't want anyone to have to feel what I was feeling. It was a very painful place!

Truth be known, I found out that others were already there with me in this struggle, like my mom, for instance. She admitted, like myself, that she felt like she was taking steps backwards in her own grieving journey. It helped knowing I wasn't the only one who came tumbling down...and it wasn't like I grabbed her in the midst of my fall and brought her down with me. She hadn't climbed as high as I had, yet, but she still found herself losing her footing. I read her the “winter season of grief” and we both agreed to be somewhere on that leg of the journey where we feel the coldest and bluest.

I know the seasons of spring and summer, both figuratively and realistically speaking, are near and shortly around the corner for all of us. I have to try very hard to let go of the desire to find the “fast forward” button for this time in our lives as I want so much to feel more happiness in my coming days than sadness, but I also know I need to experience every bit of this journey to heal properly...the bad, the ugly and the down right darkest that grieving tends to drag our tired and worn out minds and hearts through. I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. I know that the sun still shines brightly even though it is deeply hidden behind the severe weather threatening skies.

I know that God has not forsaken me. Maybe He decided that since I was doing so well, He would put me down and let me try out my weak and wobbly legs. He was there when I tripped and feel down that mountain. He caught me so I am not as injured or hurt as what I could have been if I had not asked Him to be with me every day! And even though I feel as if I am crawling on my hands and knees, He is here beside me every second cheering me on and telling me, “You can do this!” I will not let Him down. I feel humbled when I am told that I am brave and strong and that I have set a good example. In all honesty, I am so very broken. I just love God so much and am so thankful for everything He has given me and done for me that I am just trying to do the best that I can. I know that is all He asks of me right now. He is just so patient with me...I need to be just as patient with myself. He will take all the hurt and all the pain and turn it into something good someday. That could happen next week, next year or years from now during my lifetime. All I need to do is trust in Him...and I do! He will provide! ; )

One of these days I will be able to sit down and share all the wonderful things that have happened and continue to be shared with me. Though these past two weeks have been rough, so many beautiful things have occurred. Even though I may be crawling around and feeling low to the ground, I have at least tried to keep my head looking up and my eyes forward as to not miss out on what is inevitably aiding me in my healing.

Last week something was shared with me that truly began to pull me back up. God extended His hand through someone when they shared a beautiful gift with me. It is not the right time for me to write about it, but rest assured I will. It is nothing short of beautiful! I had actually begun to feel weighted down with my own desires to write a book. I second guessed the need and the purpose, as I often do when I strive to do something. The sharing of an incredible story changed all that and I am more excited than ever. I am also beginning to feel bolts of happiness striking my heart from time to time. I will continue to be patient for it's full return, but will take what I can get when I can get it!

I'm going to go ahead and sign off for now, but plan on writing as much as time will allow me this week so I can get caught up on all the recent occurrences. I will try not to bombard with too much all at once, but that's sometimes the only way I'm able to conquer.

“Sicily, we love you all the way to heaven!!!”



Love and blessing to you all!

Kerry
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:36 AM   #654
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Thinking of my sweet Angel Face and her wonderful family. Please pray for her mommy, Kerry, as she continues to miss precious Sicily.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:02 AM   #655
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Hi Caterina! My prayers are with you and her family. There is a giant box of cards for Cole's Kids sitting in my stamp room - 4ever!!! I will do my best to get them out this week.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:54 AM   #656
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debbies View Post
Hi Caterina! My prayers are with you and her family. There is a giant box of cards for Cole's Kids sitting in my stamp room - 4ever!!! I will do my best to get them out this week.


Debbie, thanks soooo much! You are a sweetheart!
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Old 05-20-2010, 09:18 AM   #657
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Thursday, May 20, 2010 11:24 AM, CDT


Hello all,
We are still living one second, one minute, one hour and one day at a time. I guess that is what you would call survival mode. I have so much in me to write but just haven't had the time frame to be able to accomplish it. I will. Patience is the virtue I am constantly trying to chase down but have yet to keep it in my grasp for long period of time. God is still working and molding me in that area, among others.

Today, I needed to sit down more than anything to write about, or more accurately, plead for action to do one simple and easy task. Please go to www.doodle4google.com and vote for Kaylie McFerrin's entry in Region 8 (under Regional Finalists). Without rambling incoherently I will try to convey why this means the world to me and many others.

Google sponsors a contest for the temporary redesign of their famous logo. Kaylie, who is the older sister of a little girl named Emma, with whom we met her and her mom in Oklahoma City at the pediatric oncology clinic a few months after Sicily's diagnosis. Emma, like Sicily, had been diagnosed with Wilm's tumor just a month after Sicily and our meeting in the clinic that day could be considered a fluke, but in our eyes, it was God's doing and all part of His timing. Emma's mom, Alicia, and I became part of a network of parents online who shared information and support with one another on our journey with Wilm's. Many families, like Emma's, had siblings involved in following the journeys of other children during their battles. Emma's sister, Kaylie, did just that with Sicily. So when her third grade teacher assigned her class to enter Google's redesign contest, what she did came straight from her heart. She watched first hand what her little sister had to endure as she battled cancer, and she was along for the journey as Sicily did, as well. She was affected very much by Sicily's terminal diagnosis and subsequent death and was moved beyond her feelings into action. She redesigned Google's logo to reflect her desire to become a chemist and find a “Forever Cure” for cancer. This is more than just a contest for this nine-year-old girl...sure the thought of prizes is alluring and motivating to an extent, but Kaylie sees beyond those to what this does for the platform of pediatric cancer and the need for a cure! The thought gives me goosebumps that it may take the actions and desires of a child to bring this cause to the forefront.

As adults, we can stomp our feet and wear the soles out on our shoes as we pound the pavement...we can speak and plead for funds until our voices are hoarse and weak...we can punch buttons on phones and computer keyboards until carpal tunnel and arthritis stiffens our movements...but all that could change if this little girl could win this simple contest. Her drive and ambition to communicate the need for more pediatric cancer research could be heard nation wide. The contest rules only allow one vote per household computer. We, fortunately, are a household with more than one computer so I will be placing more than one vote. We need as many people as possible to vote for her entry and let her artwork and accompanying essay say what we need it to say. As you can see, this has me very excited and keyed up.

Once again, it gives Sicily's life meaning, as well as all of the precious children that died before her because of this dreaded disease. I don't ask people to do things like this very often. I'm not a very good salesperson and prefer not to be pushy...hence the “bad salesperson” description, but when I feel so strong as I do about this, I will clear my voice and firmly put in my request. This whole story has many details and one day, maybe when I actually sit myself down long enough to write the book I so desperately want to write, I will be able to share how incredible God is for allowing so many people be so important and vital to my life! Please check out Kaylie's entry and the story behind it and pass the word so we can help her make a difference!

Again, I can't thank everyone enough for all the love, support, encouragement and actions that have been given and expressed on our behalf. We are still very behind on our formal thank you notes and please forgive us if you don't receive one in a timely manner. Please know that no one has been overlooked on purpose. It has been an overwhelming task, I admit, and we are doing the best that we can. I can't express enough how much we appreciate everything!

Last weekend we were able to hear Sicily's name read as the first scholarship was awarded in her memory at the Wellington High School graduation ceremony in Kansas. I did not even try to hide my tears that flowed both from the deep emotion I was feeling along with the pride. Our goal is that a scholarship will be awarded until at least the year that she would have been a graduating high school senior (the year 2023) and so far we are close to having that be a reality. The only prerequisite we have placed on the recipient be that they are pursuing a degree in the medical field or some aspect of healthcare.

Also, a first last weekend, was our visit to Sicily's graveside since the day she was laid to rest. It was so much harder than I even fathomed it would be. I had to fight the desire to fall down on my hands and knees and start digging the rain softened ground with my bare hands to dig my own grave. On Saturday I was there along side Isabella and we were by ourselves. She was so sweet and supportive as she held my hand as I stood in front of the still noticeable unearthed rectangle shaped patch of soil. Patrick had gone earlier with Elias, his mom and two of his sisters while Isabella and I were running an errand. He reported feeling the same way. It is so hard imagining her being there. I know it is not her anymore, but it was the last thing that belonged to her while she was here on earth.

I still struggle with the thoughts I have to myself and the title I now carry as a mom who lost her daughter. But then I start to think about that word, “Lost,” and what it exactly means. In a sense, I did not “lose” Sicily. I know where she is now...I know exactly who she is with and I know she is cancer-free and happy! I also know where her physical earthly vehicle is...I can drive directly to it in a cemetery. She is six feet under ground in a pretty white box with pink satin lining and is only feet away from her Grandpa Zeka. So to say I “lost” her is not truly accurate. I lost her physically living beside me for the rest of my life, but once she graduated from high school, who knows how far away from me she may have decided to physically be. I haven't lost the sound of her voice or the vision of her spunky movements as I am able to pop in a DVD and watch her silly dance moves and goofy antics whenever I want or need to. True, it is not the same as having her here and watching her grow into the amazing young woman I know she was bound to be, but I can't help but struggle with the thought of admitting that she is “lost” to me. I know in the future I will still catch myself saying that phrase and using that terminology, but I know that God will continue to remind me that she is with Him and since she can't be with me, there is no place on earth I'd rather her be! I know, as well, that she is indeed an angel. I have proof that I will share someday, but rest assured, she is guarding many who loved her...whether she knew you personally or not, she is making her rounds and will forever!

I could continue to write all day once I get my typing fingers and over thinking mind in sync, but I need to do some other things. I'm not going to stop writing for some time so just keep checking back in every once in awhile, if you can. I will hopefully figure out how I want to start my book writing process soon, but in the meantime, some chapters are still being written. I'm kind of waiting for God to give me the sign He is ready for me to begin. I just need to remember to keep my eyes open so I can see it when it comes.

Love to you all and may many blessings flow!

Kerry
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:02 AM   #658
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PART One

Friday, May 21, 2010 12:20 PM, CDT


Hello, again...

Not to alarm anyone as I'm sure many are probably falling out of their chairs to see that I am journaling for the second day in a row, which has not been habit for me since Sicily was here and receiving treatment. I just have so much in me that I don't want to keep it all bottled up or continue stirring it around in my head as I may risk the chance of forgetting it all, which I have done many times in the past.

I finally broke down and bought a little Sony MP3 recorder so I could quickly capture those random thoughts that seem to find their way into my mind at the most inopportune times. And guess what, it came with a USB jack so I can plug it into the computer and save my ramblings on iTunes if I need to. That's about as close as I am going to get to having a USB port in my head like I've always dreamed about. The problem with this little scenario is that the cute little red recorder arrived on Tuesday and is still sitting on the kitchen counter neatly packed in the clear plastic box it arrived in. I made it as far as cutting three sided of the plastic open with scissors so that it would be easy to remove, but it remains in the same spot that I left it on Tuesday. I did ask Corinthian if he would mind reading the directions and then teaching me how to use it.

In my defense, this is not an act of laziness on my part...Corinthian is just our little techno whiz and I thought he might enjoy figuring it out for me. I'm also masking this as a little opportunity for a chance at some mother/son bonding time, if you will. When a boy hits those teenage years and prefers to be off texting or interacting on the computer with anyone other than his mom, these moments sometimes need to be created and worked on. Once again, the recorder still sits on the kitchen counter. Maybe this weekend it will magically fight its way out of the box and appear in the palm of my hand. It's at least worth wishing for! ; )

Meanwhile, the work I need to do around the house will just have to wait. I will apologize to my husband and kids as the condition of the house will look the same way it did before they left for work and school this morning and that tonight's dinner will come in the form of cashing in a restaurant gift card (which the kids will love, anyway!). Some things just need to take precedent! Okay, so I've spoken my peace and cleared my conscious (sort of) to allow myself to peck away at the keyboard for awhile. Therapy is now in session.

I guess one of the reasons I feel so strongly to write again today is because I woke up this morning with that heavy feeling weighing down my heart, soul, mind and overall physical state. Every day when my alarm clock goes off at that all too early setting (at least for this night owl) of a little after 6:00 am, I sit up in bed and wonder what kind of day my psyche is going to let me have. Will I feel full of God's presence immediately or will I have my work cut out for me before my feet hit the floor? Honestly, that's how I know whether my day is going to be an easy one or a hard one...just seconds after the alarm sounds and my eyes open.

This morning, partially due to my need to stay up past eleven to watch the end of a Law and Order episode...I see no need in starting to watch one if I'm not going to be able to let myself finish it...I awoke with less than enthusiastic emotions. Though today is the last day of school for the kids and that alone feels like an accomplishment and a reason to be happy, that heaviness was already present before I even opened my eyes. Being the type of person I am, I need to dissect this feeling and try to figure out if there is a specific reason today is going to start out this way over other days. It took me several hours before “it” finally hit me and I truly do deal better if I can have an explanation.

Today is May 21st...today marks two full months without Sicily firing up everyone's spirits around the house. Today is really no different than yesterday and probably will not alter too much from what tomorrow brings, but the date on the calendar glows with that number twenty-one...that number that will forever be etched in my mind and engraved in my heart. Even though the only thing written on the calendar, in pen, is the acknowledgment that today is the final day of school for Corinthian, Isabella and Elias. It's Corinthian's last day as a middle school-er...it's Isabella's last day as the youngest class of kids at middle school...it's Elias' last day to be considered as one of the “younger grades” in elementary. Really, none of that seems to affect me one way or the other. I'm most affected just knowing that two months and a day ago Sicily was still physically present in this house and in my life. I pray that as each twenty-first day of each of the following months hereafter arrive, I will feel less and less “heart heavy” and will see it as just another day to celebrate all of God's blessings. Acknowledging this as something I hope that happens is, at least for me, the first step in actually letting that happen. It's all about keeping my heart open...allowing the good to still happen along with the bad...letting God continue to be the captain of my forever sailing ship.

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Old 05-21-2010, 10:03 AM   #659
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Part Two

I've recently had this reoccurring rambling thought...as most of my thoughts prefer to present themselves this way and rarely organize themselves to where I can easily convey them without thoroughly confusing those I am trying to share them with...but this thought won't go away so I guess it is my signal to write about it and try to give my mind the rest it needs from it. It has to do with two harmless words that I have personally said to myself, used to personally describe myself in hopes of making myself feel better, and many times I've innocently attached these two words to others about their life's circumstances. The two words are simply, “At least...” My mind started to get very deep when I began to dissect and analyze what “at least” means when used at the beginning of a sentence.

As an example of my own life, when speaking of Sicily's death and the emptiness that is felt and left behind by her absence, I, myself, have said to myself time and time again, “At least I still have three incredible kids to love and take care of,”... “at least I am still married to my best friend and feel safe and secure in our marriage,”... “at least we still have a roof over our heads and plenty of food on our table, among other things,”...the “at least” list could go on and on. I think what gets hard for some people is when others start to use the “at least” scenarios and attempt to make them feel better about what they have lost or what may be missing or going on in their lives. Those handing out the “at leasts” are merely trying to help those on the receiving end find reasons to continue to pursue hope and to remember the joys and gifts that still remain in their lives. I honestly think no malice is intended when an “at least” is spoken, even though the receiver may feel that the depths of their situation may not be taken as profoundly as what they are feeling when someone attempts to help them refocus on what is still positive and abundant in their life. I personally find comfort in sitting back and looking for all the “at leasts” in my life.

It is not a materialistic examination of things or possessions...it is not meant to be an exclamation of bragging or boasting or comparisons in any way...but it is merely a chance to take an inventory of God's blessings and gifts. My heart would truly ache if someone failed to find a few “at leasts” in their life. Some may find numerous, overflowing and obvious “at leasts,” while others may find theirs to be simple and somewhat inconsequential (in their own minds), but they are still present if looked for. They still provide a reason to get out of bed every morning...a reason to continue to cherish the life that God gave them...a reason to exist! I think I could verbally roam on this subject until days end but I guess I would sum it up by saying to those who find themselves trying to comfort another with an “at least,” just be mindful, if you can, of how they may take or perceive your means of consolation. And to those on the receiving end of an “at least,” please try letting yourself enjoy, relish and take delight in the “at leasts” you still possess in your life. Also, please do not hold animosity towards someone who may want to help you find or share the possible “at leasts” in your life. It is all about the healing process. It's all about realizing that even though God may have closed a door on you, or many doors for that matter, “He has many rooms in His mansion...” therefore, you have the opportunity to find many other doors that He has waiting to open up for you! “At least” that is my two cents worth!

Okay, I feel a little less waited down now. I think I can go about my day and attempt to accomplish some of the many things on my “to do” list. Or, I could take a nap. Right, like that ever happens! ; ) What I wouldn't give to live the life of our cat, Stowie, for one day! I have feline jealousy, that's for sure! She has it rough! I am thankful the months ahead won't be filled with too much alone time. I think Stowie gets tired of me waking her from her slumber just so I can ask her how she's doing. ; ) Come August I'm sure I will be ready for the quiet atmosphere to return, but for now, I need to feel the presence of life in this house during the day...other than the constantly sleeping lazy kitty cat! ; )

Everyone have a wonderful weekend!

Love to you all!
Kerry

PS – Please remember to vote for Kaylie's doodle at www.doodle4google.com (Region 8 ) so we can have our pediatric cancer rallies heard...through her precious nine-year-old artwork and voice! I have more information to share soon about a fund raiser taking place in Wichita Falls, Texas on Sunday, May 29th for the Pablove Foundation...I will be there! ; )
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:54 AM   #660
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Thinking of my sweet Sicily and her family. Asking the Lord to give Kerry, Patrick, Corinthian, Isabella and Elias a blessed Memorial Day.
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:31 AM   #661
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Default And you, too!!!

Also keeping you in my prayers, Caterina!!!! God Bless you for all your thoughts and prayers!!!

Jane
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:42 AM   #662
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Thanks, Jane, you are such an awesome sweetheart.
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:08 PM   #663
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PART ONE


Monday, June 7, 2010 4:26 PM, CDT


Good afternoon,
It has been over two weeks since I last sat down to process my ongoing thoughts and emotions. This absence has been due to several reasons, one being that the kids are out of school and that has helped fill the void and loneliness. Two would be that life just seems busier when they are around. And three, sometimes I just don't even know where to begin...like when trying to organize a messy room...it's not always easy to find a starting point. Sometimes you just have to dive in, so I will try that approach.

The kids have been home now for two weeks and it has been nice. In fact the first week I could even chalk it up to being a pretty pleasant week. It started out a little questionable as Elias had to begin summer vacation with an injury. Nothing serious at all, but par for the course for our little guy who lives his “boy” life to the fullest. The Saturday after the final Friday of school he was at his best buddies house across the street jumping on the trampoline with him and some how indeed up with a nice little gash on the top of his head. Apparently, they both fell and one fellas front teeth found the other fellas newly shaven burr cut head. The preceding Thursday evening I had shaved Elias' head, per his request so he could “look” and “be” cool for the last day of school and their fun day. Had he still been sporting his longer locks, his buddy may have just ended up with a mouth full of hair. But minus the cushion of his former thick rug, a nice little puncture wound appeared. So dad, with big brother Corinthian in tow, made the familiar trip to the minor emergency clinic once again with Elias. Due to the location of the wound, stitches or butterfly bandages were not an option so he ended up with a staple in his head.

As you can imagine, we had fun coming up with nicknames for our “staple headed son!” He reported, in case anyone wants to know what it feels like to have a staple stuck to your head... “it feels like a fly landed on it.” I can imagine worse. After the anesthetic wore off, it didn't feel much like a fly anymore. Maybe a fly with razor sharp legs. The following week was spent on penicillin along with daily q-tip baths of peroxide on the wound. He's recovered well. Elias can now mark another injury off his list. He's had stitches, a cracked wrist (on the growth plate) and now a staple. He has plenty of experiences to share during playground talk next year and can probably be pretty high up in the competition with other schoolmates on “who's been injured the most!” I think I'm good for now and don't need any more of this type of excitement! Unfortunately, the summer has just begun! Pray Elias' luck will change and he will soon be through with his accident prone nature! My gray hair is coming in nicely! ; )

Like I said, the first week with the kids home was really nice and I felt a sense of light heartedness. Last week, the heaviness returned and it was a tough week for me personally. It wasn't one thing in general that made it hard, but a combination of several different things. On Sunday, Corinthian and I traveled to Wichita Falls, Texas to be present for a fundraiser benefiting the Pablove Foundation (www.pablove.org). It was hosted by a family of another little girl who battled Wilm's that we were fortunate to meet in October of 2008 at the pediatric oncology clinic in Oklahoma City. Emma is the little sister of Kaylie who drew the doodle4google and wanted to find a “forever cure for cancer.” Kaylie's entry did not win the grand prize, but her efforts helped us by providing a spotlight for us to talk about how driven we are to fund pediatric cancer research. It is so hard, without getting overly emotional about the topic, to explain how desperate we...a group of parents who've walked down that unimaginable road of a cancer diagnosis with our child...how desperate we are to push the boundaries and the limits to find a break through that could hopefully help someone else's child down the road! I wouldn't wish the pain that I am feeling on my worst enemy, if I had one.

Some how God hasn't allowed me to have enemies, that I am aware of. Honestly, it is something I've worked at...I try to forgive those I feel might have done me wrong...I do everything I can to turn it over to God if I feel angered by another's actions. It doesn't always work, but I truly can't think of anyone that might hold any animosity to me. My only enemy in this life appeared the day we were told our daughter had cancer. I can only think mean and horrible thoughts towards a word, “cancer.” A word that too many people, adults and children alike, are having to attach to a description of themselves.

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Old 06-07-2010, 03:10 PM   #664
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PART TWO


I've thought about this for a long time, how to explain decisions and desires on my part towards who I chose to support in the vast arena of cancer research. The American Cancer Society is a wonderful organization that does great things for many, including families with children battling the disease, but as far as helping research pediatric cancer, only three percent is allocated towards pediatric cancer research. I don't know if anyone realizes how many different types of pediatric cancers there are.

I have for a long time wished there would be some way to have the equivalency of a Susan G. Komen type of organization to stimulate the awareness that leads to the support needed for the type of research we need to help children. It's too late for our precious daughter, but it's not for others. Every person reading these words could find themselves on this journey one day. I believe in being proactive but am forced to be reactive due to our circumstances. The desire to create an umbrella for research for pediatric cancer is a very complicated subject. It's like having the idea of a universal form of currency...it's just something that does not seem feasible or could ever happen. Each country wants to be represented in their own way and wants their currency to receive the most attention and have the most value. In addition, each country's needs and purposes concerning their currency may differ from all the other countries. That is how I explain why there are thousands of wonderful organizations and foundations named after the children who fought and died so bravely. But for me, personally, I have to find one that helps me deal with the pain of our loss, and the fear I carry of other families going through exactly what we did. That is why you will hear me speak of the Pablove Foundation often. Pablo and Sicily were cancer soul mates...they were a couple of blessed children who ended up with the shortest end of the straw where their cancer diagnosis were concerned.

Some people have the strength, abilities, connections and drive to make changes in the world...changes that some one like me wants so much to see in my life time. Pablo's daddy and mommy, Jeff and Jo Ann, are two such people who can do just that and that is why I so strongly want to see the Pablove Foundation be one of those names that becomes synonymous with pediatric cancer research, among other things. As I have said before, I am not a salesperson, but when something means a lot to me, I will be persistent. I could turn into an insurance sales woman...I'm selling the possibility of life insurance for other people's children. Life insurance in the form of cancer research. I know that sounds a little crazy, but isn't that what discoveries in science and medicine are...insurance that life will continue because findings allow for us to continue living?

I'm jumping down off my soap box now. Thank you for letting me practice rallying the troops for a minute. For my sanity and my healing, I need to
support this!

I knew last Monday, being Memorial Day, would not be easy. It wasn't. It's still such a raw experience visiting the small patch of earth our daughter's little body is buried under. Seeing all the sweet things that family members and strangers alike have left there really affects me. Some items we know who left, while others we haven't a clue. Each one is special and meaningful. My parents, Sicily's Grandma and Grandpa Parker, drove up to be with us at the cemetery as well as Aunt Bett. We all brought colorful flowers and butterflies to decorate her piece of the earth. Her grave is hard to miss and not easily mistaken for another, that's for sure. We stayed the night in Wellington and Patrick and I visited the local monument company to start discussing the plans for the grave stone. I had an idea or two in my head, but once I sat down and saw a picture of a white angel kneeling as she held onto a black heart on one side, I was completely drawn to it. I just felt like that was what should be there for Sicily. It's what I want to see when I go visit her. Since she is buried between the plots that Patrick and I have for ourselves, we had already decided to go ahead and purchase a stone large enough to cover all three. The angel and heart is actually meant to cover two plots so we are supposed to be able to add two more black hearts on either side of the main one and all will be set on one base. The stones have to come from overseas so it may take four to five months before it can be put in place. The price tag was quite a shocker, too, but it will be worth it. This is the last thing we will ever buy for our little girl. It's hard not to think of this money as money we should have used to buy her a car, or help pay for her college education or her wedding. I have to get past that. That is why we have to get what feels right for her, no matter the cost! She deserves it!

So, after all of that, the week just continued to weigh me down. I still feel God's presence and am comforted by Him. I can only imagine how horrible this all would be if I didn't ask Him to help me get through it. I will say that as time goes by, for some reason, and maybe this is just the phase of grieving that I am at, it seems to be getting harder and not easier. I have been disheartened a little as I recently read on some other angel's sites that I have followed since our own journey began that their parents, too, have not felt this pain getting any easier. Being the some what non-conformist that I occasionally claim to be, I want to break out of this box...this confinement that keeps me swimming in the sadness of my own tears. The tears just won't stop. I'm to the point that I want them to, at least for awhile. But rest assured that I am still capable of experiencing happiness. My life is not completely void of it. If it was I would have to chalk that up to selfishness. I cannot NOT be happy when I am blessed to share my life with the wonderful people that I do, my husband and our three kids. The sadness just seems to like to hang around more that I wished it would. I may dance the two-step for quite some time...two steps forward and one step back. As long as I can gain a little ground every once in a while, I know I will get through this.

Thanks for continuing on our journey. God Bless!

Kerry
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:21 PM   #665
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PART 1

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 7:59 PM, CDT


Hello,
We are fast approaching another change in seasons, from the cool comfortable spring climate to the sweltering tropical heat of summer. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration for east central Oklahoma, but I don't do humid well and when you mix in a little heat, uuuugh! I need ice water and an air conditioner!

This will be another first for us...our first summer without our sun lov'in, water splash'in, strawberry pick'in, sunflower seed chew'in, bike ride'in, sidewalk chalk'in, popsicle lick'in little munchkin. But as I catalog these activities...some of Sicily's favorites which only scrape the top of the list that described her energy and love for life (especially during the summer months)...attached to each activity lives the memory of this rambunctious little girl whose life ended just as it was beginning to become an adventure. In my life, as well as others, she was a source of happiness. She embodied the true essence of living life to the fullest, no matter what the circumstances. She wasn't perfect, as none of us are. I have said before, “Perfection, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.” But she was a perfect daughter in her daddy and my eyes! I treasure thinking about her orneriness as often as I love to think of her sweetness. It was all a part of who Sicily was. She was our resident “pot stir-er”...meaning, she liked to see how fired up she could get those she loved the most, ie, her siblings and her parents. Often times it meant telling her siblings when they were doing something wrong (in her law abiding eyes) and making sure mom and dad were aware of the criminals acts. It also included telling one parent what the other parent had done wrong, like daddy unbuckling his seat belt too early upon entering the neighborhood and not waiting for the safe confines of the garage, like she was so appropriately trained to do by mom.

We have to remember the “hard to deal with” aspects of Sicily's personality along with the “beautiful and brag-able” traits, as well! One thing is for sure...I can't let Sicily's death rob me of the happiness she gave me! I must find ways to cherish these memories, all of them, and let them cast a positive light on the remainder of my life. I have to work at allowing these precious visions, that are thankfully still fresh and easy to recall to mind, be the liable forces that make me smile, laugh and feel Sicily's presence versus the sadness that tends to have an overpowering affect. It is truly a constant battle between the two, the happiness and the sadness, everyday. Sometimes, fisticuffs break out on an hourly basis! I can look at a photo of Sicily or recall a memory and it will either make me happy and smile with warm emotions, or the tears form faster than a flash flood in the plains of the Midwest and begin to roll down my cheeks before I can even attempt to barrier them by looking away or changing my train of thought. I know this is normal. I know that time will soon soothe all the raw edges. I know that this is undeniably one of the hardest parts of life to endure, but something that everyone, at some point, must attempt to do!

I feel blessed to have so many people still journeying on this road with us...so many people. Though many may not have had any biological ties to Sicily, she was loved as if she were their own daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece or cousin. I know Sicily was loved beyond physical boundaries. She did not need to be physically seen or personally known to evoke the greatest emotion that God could bestow upon us...Love! Our experience these past almost twenty-two months has continued to be nothing short of beautiful in how love has been shown and shared. All because a little girl had cancer! ; ) Great title for a book, don't ya think? ; )


I have an overpowering need to share a little more in depth information concerning the workings and mechanics of pediatric cancer, particularly where treatment choices are concerned. Part of this need stems from my desire to explain a little more in detail why Patrick and I had to make some of the decisions that we were basically forced to make, only because time ran out for us, not that I feel anyone is passing judgment on us. Please know that we have never felt anything but love and support from everyone, but I do suspect some wonder why we didn't seek treatment someplace else. Maybe this is also just a cleansing of my conscience so others will understand how much of a “dead end road” we had come to and that we truly ran out of options concerning the attempt to save Sicily's life. This will reinstate our desire to increasingly support pediatric cancer research. It also goes hand in hand with my last journal entry in explaining why I so strongly want to support the Pablove Foundation, which is still in its infancy in the vast arena of cancer based foundations, but I feel it has the potential to make an impact!


continue to next post
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:31 PM   #666
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PART II


Friday, August 22, 2008, Patrick, Sicily and I sat in bright green chairs in the waiting room of the pediatric oncology clinic while Dr. Hum and her nurse sat directly across from us. As Dr. Hum began to explain Sicily's diagnosis of bi-lateral Wilm's, Patrick and I both began to think ahead and asked the question, “Should we see about going to St. Jude's?” St. Jude's, as most people know, is synonymous with the known fact that they have treated and saved thousands of children whose lives have been affected by cancer and other life threatening diseases. Their reputation is incredible and well deserved. Upon asking this question, Dr. Hum began to illustrate to us how cancer treatment works in the world of children.

She started by explaining the COG...the Children's Oncology Group. This is a vast international network of doctors who participate together in a clinical trial cooperative. Their mission is to study childhood cancers and share their findings and discoveries with one another. What this boils down to is simply this...what treatment plan St. Jude's would offer for Sicily in the beginning was going to be the exact same treatment plan that The Children's Hospital at St. Francis in Tulsa would be able to offer us. Why would we need to travel five hours away when we could receive the same thing twenty-five minutes away? Pediatric cancer treatment follows protocols that are developed through research hospitals, one, among many, is St. Jude's.

We hit our first brick wall when we were told that there were no open trials...no current studies being performed on Wilm's tumor when Sicily was diagnosed, so the treatment we would receive would be one of the protocols that was established through research years and years ago. That was when we made our first decision to stay close to home if we were going to get the same treatment plan. We could maintain our family life as much as possible. What became discerning to us, especially later down the road when Sicily's pathology came back as “worst case scenario,” was that Wilm's tumor is considered a success story. I will agree that from what I researched, the high statistical chance of survival compared to what was reported decades ago is numerically impressive. This disease has a good chance of responding to present day treatments, but it is still a very long way from being considered curable for all. So this explains why it is not currently being studied. I hope this is all making a little bit of sense!

Wilm's needs continued studies because children are still dying from it. I won't go too much deeper into the different pathologies that Wilm's carries, but Sicily's was indeed listed as the worst. What is sad and heartbreaking is that children who “should have” responded to treatment because their pathology was of the lesser severe type, are still dying. I know of two more such deaths since Sicily's passing in mid-March. I have to say that I seriously struggle with this. And this is also where I have to explain, again, why we did not seek treatment at St. Jude's.

When Sicily's cancer spread to multiple organs and the reality that her life was in serious jeopardy...truly terminal, but no parent wants to give up when they are told that...we looked to St. Jude's for help in the aspect of a trial or study. Everyone has heard the statement made in their commercials when they say, “no child is ever turned away...” but many don't really pay much attention to the remainder of that statement that says, “due to inability to pay.” I think that is so awesome that they are able to do that as it has helped a multitude of families deal with this crisis, which bares down heavily on finances. But the honest fact is that children are turned away BECAUSE they are not currently studying their particular type of cancer...such as Sicily's type of cancer. We would have packed our bags in an hour if they had said they could help us try and save her life. But since a study was not in progress, they could not offer us anything.

I am in no way trying to blemish their reputation as I firmly believe in what they do, but felt compelled to explain why we did not, or could not, go there. I know personally that they have performed surgery on other Wilm's kiddos and these families had nothing but awesome things to say. Surgery was not an option for Sicily anymore once the cancer began to spread like wildfire. I pray that those who support St. Jude continue to do so! I am still in the learning phase of how non-profit cancer foundations work and know only the bare minimum, but know enough to still want to throw my support behind one in particular. Briefly, I will attempt to explain my understanding of them.
Like many foundations that are set up as not-for- profit (501(c)3 status), they allocate funds through grants. There are already dozens of foundations operating now that are appropriating money to various study ventures. Some “favor” certain types of cancers over others, but I think as a whole they still support whatever comes their way.

The Pablove Foundation will grant money, as well, to various cancer research through a scientific advisory board that will be led by a very reputable pediatric oncology physician. My desire to be on this bandwagon that is just beginning to enter the parade is because Pablo passed away from the exact same rare diagnosis as Sicily. There, immediately, forms a bond. I know this foundation will have an impact down the road on research for ALL aspects of pediatric cancer, including Wilm's tumor. Where other foundations may pass or overlook someone wanting to study Wilm's as it is considered “a success,” the Pablove Foundation will do it's best to support those efforts. They are not “cancer specific” as the Susan G. Komen foundation is for breast cancer, but they will be “pediatric specific.” Again, I hope that makes some sort of sense. I want to re-iterate that I am still “pro-St. Jude's,” but until they are able to help another family faced with the crisis that we were, I need to pour my heart and soul into something I believe wants to make an attempt at funding anaplastic Wilm's tumor and finding better and more successful treatments!

“Whew!” This post has challenged my ADD! I hope I made some sense and did not add to the confusion or boar everyone completely to tears with too much information. Thanks for continuing to let me unload some of my baggage. I always feel a sense of relief when I am able to write. Good 'ole keyboard therapy!

We will soon be venturing out on a little summer excursion and enjoying some strong family bonding time. I'm looking forward to it and feel it will assist in our healing process. I'm very proud of our kids lately, especially today...they are getting along very nicely and actually enjoying each others company. It's times like this when we really notice how much Sicily liked to stir things up. I sure miss my little instigator...my little “pot stir-er!” And daddy still unbuckles his seat belt as he enters our neighborhood...just for old time sake! ; )


All my love,
Kerry
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Old 06-20-2010, 08:36 AM   #667
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Thinking of sweet Sicily's wonderful dad, Patrick, today and pray God gives him a very blessed Father's Day.
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:10 PM   #668
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Hard to believe sweet Sicily has been in heaven three months today.
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:32 PM   #669
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Default Hi Caterina!

JCI to say Hi and also to say that it does seem hard to believe that it has been three months. I have been busy with weddings, birthdays, and funerals this last month. My husband's nurse lost her 36 yo husband to a brain tumor after a long year of fighting the week after Lydia Ford passed. My sister also turned 60 and I was able to fly down to florida for the weekend and celebrate with her. And, our best friend's daughter just got married in Chicago this past weekend. No births, but a new addition to the family because I took in another little weeniedog. This is a foster dog, hopefully, we will find her a new forever home shortly.

Life just keeps going. It doesn't stop just because you've lost someone you love, and that is probably a good thing.

I've also been busy with Ronald McDonald house cards. I'll talk to you again soon.

Keeping the Zeka family in my thoughts and prayers for a busy summer.
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:30 PM   #670
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Monday, June 28, 2010 7:41 PM, CDT

Hello everyone,

Happy Summer! Just wanted to jump on here and say that we are still around...well, not completely as we have been on vacation and are preparing for a couple of more little travel trips. But I wanted to say that we are doing okay. Still shedding tears when we need to and missing the heck out of our little pocketful of sunshine. When things slow down I will sit down and continue to write all the thoughts that are building up one on top of another in my head.

I actually sat down last night after everyone had settled into bed and began working on "the book" that I began to write on Sunday, March 21st. Unknowingly, I started to write the introduction on what turned out to be Sicily's last day on earth. I sat on our bed with the laptop in front of me so I could remain by her side and started the beginning of what will hopefully be her courageous story and God's underlying message! Wish me luck.

It will take me awhile and I do best when I don't rush myself, so I will be patient with this project, even though I am anxious to accomplish it. I'm allowing myself to work in God's time and not my own. When the time and opportunity arises for me to write, i.e., when God sees fit, I will work on what it is He wants me to do. I have to say it feels good to have a starting point. I sat and read over what I had written on that day and it blows me away to think that after I wrote down my varied thoughts, emotions and feelings, Sicily breathed her last breath only a few short hours later. It's one of those things that in hindsight, I can truly see God at work...I can understand His timing...and I can feel peace with what turned out to be His will. I hope and pray that I will have the ability to convey how beautiful this whole journey was for me, through meager and humble words. Again, I will do my best to keep my heart open and let God take over as He has done so many times before!

I'm anxious to share more about our California adventure later. I say "adventure" because calling it a vacation is not completely accurate. When I conjure up thoughts and fantasies of what a vacation entails, I think of calm and relaxing visions...this was none of that. We had a ball, mind you...but restful it was not. Patrick turns into a man on a mission with ideas of conquering as much ground as possible in as little time as possible. I'm having a hard time keeping straight and remembering at times everything we did get to do. It was great. And as for Sicily, she accompanied us every step of the way via her Angel wings...from visiting Pablo's grave at Forest Lawn Cemetery in LA, to the massive gigantic Sequoia trees. From Glacier point in Yosemite, to the sloped streets of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge...she was with us at all times.

The pain of missing her has not eased much yet as I had thought it would by now, even though I know it has only been three months...but we are all finding it a tad bit easier to smile and giggle at our memories of that spark plug of a little girl instead of always dabbing the tears away. Sometimes I still do both, but that is okay. I still wait patiently for her to visit me. She has visited some very special people who have relayed to me that she is "okay!" I will take that for now, but will continue to keep my eyes open wide and my heart open even wider.

Thanks for still thinking of us. Thanks, too, for continuing to think about Sicily! The more I know she is still being carried in the hearts and minds of others, the better my healing process goes. Honestly! ; )

Love to you all!
Kerry
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Old 06-30-2010, 05:12 AM   #671
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Glad to see the Zekas are healing and living life as best they can under the circumstanses. I still think of them very often and have them in my prayers. I hope Kerry can write her book, I know I will place an order for my copy.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:51 AM   #672
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Glad to see the Zekas are healing and living life as best they can under the circumstanses. I still think of them very often and have them in my prayers. I hope Kerry can write her book, I know I will place an order for my copy.
God Bless them and God Bless the people who continue to keep the Zeka's in their thoughts and prayers!

Jane
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Old 07-04-2010, 03:14 PM   #673
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Thinking of sweet Sicily's family on this patriotic day of July 4th!
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:10 PM   #674
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Thinking of sweet Sicily as tomorrow will mark one year that we went to visit her and her wonderful family in Oklahoma.
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:45 PM   #675
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Thinking of sweet Sicily as tomorrow will mark one year that we went to visit her and her wonderful family in Oklahoma.
I remember when you told us of that trip.....praying for you all.
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Old 07-13-2010, 09:57 AM   #676
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I remember too Catrina, I asked you to give Sicily a hug from me, its hard to believe she isn't with us being her typical little self. I need to put them a card in the mail to just let them know they are still in my prayers.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:17 AM   #677
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I remember too Catrina, I asked you to give Sicily a hug from me, its hard to believe she isn't with us being her typical little self. I need to put them a card in the mail to just let them know they are still in my prayers.


That is so sweet of you and am sure they will appreciate it.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:45 PM   #678
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PART ONE

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 4:39 PM, CDT


Hello!

Easier? That is the question of the day, or days, as in the past several weeks that I have asked myself and have been asked by others. Is “it” getting any easier? The answer, to no one's surprise is, “no.” In fact, the world “easier” will probably be expelled from my own personal vocabulary, at least for now, when used in any sentence pertaining to the loss of Sicily! Not for the reason that I have found myself to feel so low and so sad that I don't think things will get easier, but I have come to the honest realization that “it,” life in general, probably won't. But on the flip side, I have learned what can and often times does happen. I'll explain shortly.

To be honest, writing these words today feels a little bit out of place since I am having a really good day. Truly a blessing! The past two weeks found me in the opposite condition feeling very blue and down right depressed...not due to one obvious reason but as a result of several not so apparent reasons. I am in the deep throws of grieving and I am letting myself stomp through these trenches at my own pace. It stinks at times because I get tired of the tears and the constant heartache and the physical pain. Grieving is exhausting. It sucks the motivation and drive out of simple daily tasks and responsibilities. It is hard and somewhat debilitating at times, but it has to be experienced and confronted.

One incredible lesson that I am just now learning is that grief and happiness can co-exist. Two emotions on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum, but they can be experienced together, sort of. My pendulum is in constant motion these days, swinging from sadness to happiness within minutes of each other at times. Some days it swings as fast as those little silver balls on one of “Newton's cradles”...that little contraption that demonstrates conservation of momentum and energy. Don't ask me to explain any of that. I just know what a Newton's cradle is and find it an intriguing device to stare at and an easy way to describe my emotional state these days. Yes, I will also admit that this constant change in emotions sometimes makes a person feel a little on the crazy side, which is utterly draining! I am supposed to be here...where I am currently at...in this process. This is part of my path to healing. One day I will regain control, for the most part, of my swinging pendulum and it will rest once again in its equilibrium position. In other words, I won't cry one minute and bust out laughing the next the way I seem to be doing now. But like I said before, happiness is still present and grief is letting it appear from time to time. I grab those moments and enjoy them to their fullest knowing they may disappear and not resurface for awhile. I'm just thrilled I am able to find them at all!

Our vacation was wonderful, and I would still like to touch on a few aspects of it later, most likely in another journal entry. It was difficult for me, even though I enjoyed it for the most part, but at the same time I just missed the heck out of that spunky sixth member of our family. The number five just feels strange. We returned on Friday evening, unpacked multitudes of suitcases, conquered mounds of laundry, and repacked once again to tag along the following week on Tuesday to accompany Patrick on a business trip to Kansas City. I used to actually enjoy packing and organizing our belongings for trips. Nowadays, packing has become an activity that I find myself loathing. Packing for a hospital stay every third week became wearisome! Maybe someday this new found hostility towards a sometimes necessary act will fade and I won't dread it as much as I do these days. Time will only tell on that one.

Our trip to Kansas City is one we have ventured on before and we are somewhat familiar with our surroundings. The kids and I entertained ourselves while Patrick attended to his business needs. I was already experiencing my emotions as such where it probably would have been better if I'd have just stayed home, but it was also going to be my birthday the following day and I needed for our family to be together, no matter where we were.

Patrick, only knowing a couple attendees at this meeting, went to dinner along with others who were there from different parts of the country . He found himself sitting next to a stranger, a man from New York. He said something caught his eye on this man's jacket and after several glances realized it was a small shiny gold ribbon that was pinned to his lapel. Pediatric Cancer Awareness is represented by a gold ribbon. This stirred Patrick's intrigue and forced him to ask the man if he'd mind sharing the significance of his gold ribbon pin. Although most people don't realize what it may stand for, Patrick knew perfectly well. I can only imagine when asked, the man looked down at the pin he had placed there himself before he explained it's meaning to my husband. He said it is for his son who died eight years ago from a rare children's liver cancer. I think Patrick was caught speechless for a moment. With all the other people he could have sat next to at dinner that night, Patrick sat next to a man who knew his pain. He truly knew. They talked for awhile, probably not as long as either one could have on the subject, but Patrick was able to proudly share Sicily's story through loving words that fell on empathetic ears.

Patrick was excited when he returned to our hotel room to share with me his experience and some of the wisdom this veteran griever had to share. His message, in brief, was that “it,” meaning life, does not get easier. The loss of a young child does not appear to be healed by time, like we are told by others who are trying to help us see to the end of the grief tunnel. Time healed my heart when I lost each one of my grandparents. Time has healed my once teary-eyed (and still occasionally so) emotional state over the loss of my beloved father-in-law, Frank. I can now look at pictures of all of them and recall memories without soaking through a box of Kleenex like I do when I think of Sicily.

The father seated next to Patrick continued to explain what can and does happen further down the road. We will learn, over time, to adjust and adapt. Easier, no...adjust and adapt...yes. “Easier,” by definition...as if I need to really explain to anyone, but it helps to understand the point if I do...means: capable of being accomplished or acquired with ease; requiring little effort or endeavor, posing no difficulty; free from worry, anxiety, trouble or pain. Those words seem to fit no where in how I perceive my grief process. The other two words, adapt and adjust, seem to fit perfectly! “Adapt” means to adjust to a specified use or situation; adaptation is something that undergoes change to fit new circumstances.

“Adjust” means to change so as to match or fit; to conform or adapt, as to new conditions. I like how each definition contains the other complimentary word. It makes sense to me. I know and believe and accept now that life will not get easier without Sicily, but I will one day look forward to being able to Adapt and Adjust! That goes for anybody who has or will ever have to deal with a life changing situation. The word “easier,” at least in my future, will now be used to only describe the level of a Wii game and not the condition of my life! I will try, as well, to ask others if they are finding themselves adapting and adjusting to their new life. I welcome the same question to be asked of me and my answer, as of today, is, “Not yet, but I will!” Hope still reigns at the mercy of God's Hands!
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:47 PM   #679
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PART TWO

6/13/10


I have to explain that last week started with my continued emotional downward spiral when we went to celebrate the 4th of July weekend at Patrick's sister's house a two hour drive away. This has become a family tradition and one we all look forward to and enjoy. Soon after Sicily's death, I told Patrick that I didn't think being around other children of her same age or with whom she was close to would affect me much. Sadly, I was wrong. I am learning to not make many predictions these days concerning “knowing” or “thinking” how I may feel down the road. It's nothing I have any control over, despite trying not to let certain things affect me. But I am strong enough to admit that it is hard to be near precious little four and five year old little girls without becoming overwhelmed with the loss of my own precious princess! I hate it! I don't want to feel this way. More over, I don't want others to avoid me due to this struggle. I struggled being around two of Sicily's little cousins who she adored and who adored her. After awhile, I was okay. I know my sister-in-law and other family members could read me and feel this and at the same time, continued to feel helpless. Like I said, I don't want to avoid situations. I don't want to alienate anyone or feel alienated myself. I guess it helps letting others know that I may be having a hard time. I know the level of compassion and understanding that is there for me so I will accept it! It also didn't help that is rained pretty much the entire day and altered our celebration. Another lesson in learning to just go with the flow.

One reason last week ended up being so difficult was because Corinthian left the 4th of July celebration with his aunt who drove him up to spend the week with his Grandma Zeka in Wellington. It turned out to be a wonderful week for him, but a true struggle for me. I need to be around our kids right now. Having lost one, I want to draw the other three as close to me as possible, but realize that I can't smother them. Their lives, as was Sicily's, are in God's hands. It wasn't that I worried about Corinthian's safety...nothing along those lines at all...I just struggled not being able to see him every day and get one of the many hugs he offered me when he knew I was desperately in need of one. He is like a third adult in our family and is so easy to converse with and share an occasional laugh. I wasn't ready to be separated, but knew it was what he wanted and deserved. Once again, I survived, but not without going to bed each night with a headache from all the boo-hoos!

The week ended with us traveling to Wellington, KS to be with family and celebrate Patrick's 25th high school class reunion during the famous “Wheat Festival.” It did my heart good. One thing that made me happy and permeated the pride I feel in my heart to be tied to a community such as Wellington was being a spectator for the first annual Wilm's Warriors Tot Trot. A dear friend sponsored this cute little run for children ages two to seven with the proceeds of the event going to Sicily's Memorial Scholarship Fund. Sicily was a very active little girl who loved to run with her daddy. She would have loved this! Honoring her in such a way truly brought me happiness AND I found myself loving being around all the kids...especially four and five year old little girls. God continues to heal me in little ways and big ways all the time! It was a great weekend!

I apologize, as I do so many times, that my writing tends to get pretty windy when so much time has passed between entries. I promised my mom that I wouldn't over do it today so I will sign off on this one but plan to continue writing and post another day. I will enjoy this good day and share the reason behind it another time. I will say for now, “To Be Continued...”



Blessing to all,

Kerry
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:54 AM   #680
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010 10:50 AM, CDT


Hello all,

I just wanted to jump on here this morning to invite anyone in the Wellington, Kansas area to join us at the cemetery Wednesday morning, July 21st at 11:30 to release some butterflies at Sicily's grave (located in Sumner Memorial Gardens...look for our navy blue Nissan mini-van).

Tomorrow will mark four months since Sicily's “angel wings earning day.” The kids were gifted a butterfly kit from a dear friend and we now have seven Painted Lady butterflies, that we've personally raised, ready to be released into freedom. The timing could not have been more perfect for these butterflies to come into maturity and for us to be able to release them on one of the “monthly” anniversaries we are compelled to notice, celebrate, recognize...not sure what to really call them! This specie of butterfly only has a life span of two to four weeks, so we've had to make plans rather quickly. This will be a quick and simple little event, but meaningful for us, all the same.

The kids and I are making and decorating butterfly sugar cookies to share with those who want to be there with us. Again, this is in no way going to be any sort of big production. We wanted to release butterflies at the cemetery back in March when we first laid Sicily to rest, but do to the cool temperatures and questionable weather conditions, we had to opt for balloons instead of the butterflies. This is just a delayed small dream of mine, so we are just going to fulfill it. We are only driving up for the day and will head back home to Broken Arrow, OK by late afternoon.

We continue to “adjust and adapt” on a daily basis. I'm still working at living in “the day” and not thinking, worrying, or planning too much past this day. Some things require a little thinking, worrying and planning, but I'm trying very hard to eliminate a couple of unnecessary words in that process and letting God handle those tasks. Today is manageable. I am capable of handling the needs of today, whatever they may be...but only today's! Tomorrow should not weigh on my today! It will have to wait its turn!

I still have pages and pages of things I want to share and write about. Fear not, for I will conquer that personal need one of these days. Last week I found myself writing constantly. I stopped periodically to read what I had written and discovered a chapter of the book was just composed. So instead of journaling every single word that comes to mind and posting them on this site, I am actually “writing the book!” I said I would do my writing in God's time, but who knew He'd put me to work right away? Every morning last week I was scribbling away and jotting down words before they ran each other over by the next sentence of words wanting my attention. It was a bit frantic, but I later stood in awe of the connection to God that I truly feel and how He continues to inspire me.

I reported last Tuesday to having had a really good day. Without “spoiling” the chapter I already seemed to have written, I will say that it was because I was able to be around some people that I love dearly and who seem to reciprocate my emotions. I was only around them for a short period of time, but when I am around these people, who were intrinsic players in Sicily's short story of life, I can't help but to find myself happy! I feel like crying because they were a gift to me from Sicily. Without consciously knowing the path her life would take or when her physical existence would expire, she found ways to surround me, her mommy, with people who would bestow unconditional love upon our entire family.

All because of Sicily. “All Because A Little Girl Had Cancer!” This was part of her purpose in life. So much of her purpose in life is just now being discovered in hindsight, but at least we are able to discover these amazing purposes and let them help continue to heal our broken hearts. And the beauty of her life just continues to bloom brighter and brighter every day! This is what God does for those who believe and trust in Him! Once again I find myself humbled by His love and His sufficient grace! If I could bottle this feeling, I would inject it into every person who needs a little lift, like a B12 shot. A friend sent me a cute email that said, “The best vitamin for a Christian is B1.” I will admit that I am feeling pretty high on B1 these days.

I need to start rolling out the cookie dough and mixing the multitude of rainbow colors needed to decorate butterfly cookies so I'd better pry my positively charged fingers off of this magnetic keyboard. The chair at our computer desk is getting more and more comfortable the longer I sit in it which makes it even harder to walk away. Once the kids are back in school, I think I will hire myself to write this book and fulfill an incredible dream!

Everyone have a blessed day and we'll see some of you tomorrow!

All my love,

Kerry
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