Jantsen's Gift

Jantsen's Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue and Grace

Last Monday, I had the privilege of attending a local non-profit's fund-raising dinner. This is an organization that I have recently become contracted with in my counseling practice. They also have a very large adoption program.

The speaker that presented at the dinner was named Pam Cope and she has written a wonderful book entitled, Jantsen's Gift. In this book, Pam writes about a lot of tragic things, namely the sudden death of her 15 year old son several years ago. Through this tragic death, and God's hand, Pam now has been able to save, literally, hundreds of children across the world, including Vietnam, Cambodia and Africa.

I bought the book and had her sign it and eagerly dug in. I finished it yesterday and to say I was moved by the book just doesn't seem like enough. This book will make you think. And cry. I could barely get through the chapter on her son's death. Being a mom myself and putting myself in that situation, well, I don't see how she and her husband made it, but she was very transparent in her grief and her relationship with God. She is real.

And it is amazing to see how God used such pain, grief and tragedy to help others. Greg and I are still "talking" about ways to cut money from out budget and wanting to raise our kids with a perspective of simplicity rather than all this "stuff". This is a great book to get me motivated to do more. It is one thing to talk about doing something, or to just give money, but Pam, her husband and her family actually sacrificed A LOT to help orphans in need.

We have so much but there are poor, innocent children who have NOTHING. And not only do they have nothing they are beaten, abused and starved. We have a strong connection to Haiti because we have friends that have ministered to that country for several years, then the earthquake hit in January and it personalized the country for us even more because people we knew had loved ones there. Then, Greg went on a mission trip to Haiti last March. It was a truly life changing experience for him. And we want our kids to know how blessed they are, truly blessed.

This has always been in our hearts. And I am praying that we can really take some actions steps in the next few years with them to show them that even if we had nothing...we would have more than some children across the world. And, if we don't happen to get their favorite kind of cereal this week, well, at least they still have food to eat.

This is a excerpt from the book. Pam was writing about this very issue regarding her kids...how are we going to teach them that they have SO MUCH. They were blessed to be born into a free country and have parents that love them and provide for them,

The concept of a bad day for my kids is when the cable goes out, or there’s a not enough milk for their Lucky Charms. I want my kids to know a different life than that; to have a different understanding of what constitutes hardship. The best way for me to do this is to do what I regretted not having done for Jantsen: teach them, through the way I live my life, that the world is not as big as we think and it’s my responsibility–and will someday be theirs–to take care of people who need our help, even if those people look nothing like us, or live someplace that seems far away and foreign. I see many of my friends trying to shield their kids from pain and disappointment the way that I did when Jantsen and Crista were young, but I can’t continue to do that. I don’t want them to be crippled by fear. I want them to take chances and live adventurous lives. I want them to live their dreams, and the best way I can teach them to do that is to let them watch me live mine.

That is a good word! Period. Lots on my mind. Lots to pray about and ponder. Praying the Lord works in my heart and that my heart will put my feet into action. And it really all comes down to training the next generation that it really isn't all about them. But what we can do for others!!

If you would like to learn more about Pam's organization, click HERE.

To order a copy of her book, which I highly recommend, click HERE.

HERE is a link to Pam's story on Oprah.

Race for the Cure

I had the privilege this past Saturday to walk in the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure. We were celebrating my friend, Tracy, being a survivor. There was an estimated 20,000 participants (I believe it because there were LOTS of people there, I mean....A LOT!!!)

The above picture really doesn't do the crowd I saw justice....

Below are some more of the pictures from the race. It was very inspiring to be walking among survivors. It gave a real perspective on how blessed I am to be in good health. As my friend walked through the survivors finish line, I saw a woman who was obviously very weak being held by her husband. She was walking through the survivors lane. I can only imagine that she is currently going through treatment or has just finished. She was moving very slowing, with assistance from her husband. It was very moving seeing her determination to walk. She is a survivor...for now. My prayer is her cancer is beat, and she is in remission.

There were some people there who were 20 year, plus survivors. There were mom and daughter survivors, walking hand in hand. My friend Tracy, and another friend of hers, currently going through treatment, finished the race together. Cynthia is on her third chemo treatment out of four and had not one hair on her head. One of her friends walked behind her the whole race holding up a gigantic sign that had Cynthia's picture on it with hair. I have to say that Cynthia is beautiful with or without hair. Both Tracy and Cynthia's prognosis is very good.

I think it would impossible not to be moved by the days event's. I was honored to be a very small part of it. I would encourage anyone and everyone to participate in a race near them. We did the 5K walk, but they also have a 5K run, and they have a 1 mile fun walk.

Anyone can do this. Anyone can support this. Anyone can walk a mile. Or you can pay $10.00 extra for registration and "sleep in". However, I wouldn't want to miss the excitement in the air, the inspiration on the faces of the survivors, and the reminders of how fragile this life really is.

The beginning of the race for the walkers.

Me, Tracy and Nellie before the race. Our friend Sandy was there also.

Me and Nellie

Tracy going through the survivor's finish line with Sandy in the background.

WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tracy and her friend, Cynthia. Two fighting survivors!!!

Welcome Fall!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is undoubtedly my most favorite time of the year!!!!! FALL!!!!!!!!!!!

I am loving the cooler weather, getting ready for pumpkin patches and apple picking. The beautiful leaves falling off the trees. Bonfires are good too, if I can have the s'mores that go along with them. Ahhhhhhhhh.....

It has been a very busy couple of weeks for me. This is the first time I have actually had time to myself to focus on writing a little bit. Unfortunately, it probably won't get transcribed in today's post, but hopefully, I can work on some future posts.

Here are the ideas my current brainstorming has brought to me:

1. The stress of being pulled in too many directions. As a wife, mom, employee, volunteer, etc. how do you handle being good at all those things??? I don't really think we can. How do we balance all the responsibilities in today's world?

2. Using scripture to bring home the training and discipline points you are trying to teach your children. This is something that I really, really want to do with Carter and Griffin. I just bought a book entitled, Parenting with Scripture and I have a few other resources that I want to review and see how I can apply this to every day life.

3. The baby blues and Post-partum depression. How can you tell the difference?? When should you get help?

I'd say that is enough to keep me busy for a while. I am going to sit and enjoy my coffee. Pray and reflect on scriptures for a while and hopefully get creative before it's time for me to jump back into reality.

I hope you have an awesome weekend with your family and enjoy this fabulous weather!!!! I think middle Tennessee's forecast is pretty sweet the next few days!!!