Friday, December 28, 2012

Rest in Peace, Jillian

Jillian Hayes, at the tender age of 23, passed away from complications of melanoma.  Such a sad day for all those who know her, love her, and even those (like me) who don't know know her personally, but read about her on the blog her sweet mother, Susan Hayes, writes.  It always hits home for me when one of my 'comrades' loses their battle with the exact same disease that I have.
Jillian was truly an inspiring person who lived life with great joy, who gave back, who fought long and hard with determination, and who wanted everyone to be happy.  Everytime I read her blog, I am in tears reading Susan's beautiful words.  Here is an excerpt from her latest post after Jillian passed away:
"I don’t know where I'm going yet. But I do know this. Jillian would stand. She would not let life’s circumstances break her. Jillian would live her life each and every day fully. She would have fun! I’m terribly sad, but I’m not broken. I’m lost, but I’ll find my way. God hasn’t let me down so far, not once. I’ll listen for His voice, and wait for His exciting plan for me.
In the meantime, I’ll take Jillian’s lead. In honor of what she has taught us, I’m going to Fall Seven Times, and Stand Eight. Or eighty eight."
May you find great peace and comfort during such a difficult time, Susan.  I pray that your family will feel of God's constant and infinite love.  I pray that you will be able to slowly heal, that you will find new meaning to life, and that you will fill your life with happiness and always remember the important life lessons your daughter taught you.  God bless.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  This year for Christmas we are surprising our kids and taking them to Disneyland, along with the rest of my family!
We hope you are celebrating life and all its blessings and the birth of our Savior.  We have much to be grateful for this year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Be a Helper

 I saw this picture on Facebook shortly after the Sandy Hook shootings and loved it.
Perfectly said, Mister Rogers. 
You were right, there are still a lot of good people and 'helpers' in this world.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prayers for Sandy Hook

One of the most devasting and tragic events happened today. 26 people, 20 of which were first graders, were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Conneticut in a mass shooting. Their faces will be engraved into my heart forever.

Unfortunately, there have been too of these shootings in the last decade or so. All terrible and tragic, but for some reason, the Sandy Hook shootings struck me emotionally on such a different level, one that I cannot fully put into words. When I heard the news, I couldn't take my eyes off the computer, reading and watching the latest breaking news. I was in tears, MAJOR tears. I just couldn't believe it. How could this happen to such innocent, beautiful, sweet people who have so much life left to be lived? I kept thinking about these little children, all who go to school everyday thinking they are safe and then the unthinkable happens. They are gone. And then I thought about the survivors of that event and what they witnessed and experienced. Horrible. Nobody should have to experience those events, and especially children. And then I thought of these childrens families, who I'm sure sent their children to school that day, just like any other day, not thinking twice about their safety or the fact that they might not see their child again.

My mind wandered all day to what I would do in that situation. I honestly cannot even imagine the pain and sorrow that these families are feeling right now and will continue to feel for a long time. I thought of my own children, one whom is near the age of these school children and I tried to picture that scenario happening to my own child and I just couldn't. It was just...well, unimaginable.

All I wanted to do that day was go pick up my son from school and hug him tight and never let go. I wanted him home safe. I wanted him to always know how much I love him and how important he is to our family.

Dec. 15th was a tragic day for all of us, I think. I know it hit everyone hard, and for me, it put things in perspective for me once again. With Christmas approaching, I thought about what this holiday is about. I thought about what we are celebrating, and what is most important in life. Gifts, parties, Santa and all the "stuff" that tends to take over at Christmas time doesn't matter. What matters is our families. What matters is the people in our lives. What matters is our relationship with God and his Son, Jesus Christ.

I saw this picture on Facebook, and after feeling such a heavy heart all day, this picture eased my mind and gave me so much peace. I knew that our Lord and Savior was waiting to greet these little children today with open arms and embraces. I knew that these children of God had returned home to live with God and were once again happy. I knew that only through our Savior, can these families' hearts be healed someday. For only He knows what and how we feel and what we go through. Only Jesus Christ can take the pain away and mend our broken hearts with His infinite and unconditional love.

I am so thankful for that knowledge. It brings me so much comfort during a time like this. I am also grateful for the reminder of what is important in life, and to never take my family for granted. I was reminded to hold my children closer and always tell them that I love them each and every day.

Life is a gift. We must always remember that.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Prayers for Jillian

One of the blogs that I follow, Jillian's Journey with Melanoma, is the story of a vibrant 23 year old young woman fighting Stage 4 Melanoma.  Her mom is the author of the blog and it is truly inspiring, yet heartbreaking to read.
Jillian recently was told that the chemo treatments she was getting were not working and that there was pretty much nothing else the doctor's could do.  I can't even fathom hearing those words from my doctor.  CANNOT.
Jillian is in the fight for her life and needs a miracle.  Please read a little of her story because it is truly moving.  And then I ask that you please pray for her.  Pray for peace and comfort for her and her sweet family.  Pray that Jillian feels the love from so many people praying for her on her behalf.  Pray that Jillian story will continue to touch lives.
Here are some inspiring thoughts from the Jillian's mother.  I am in awe of her attitude, grace, strength, and courage.
"My family has lost its innocence in everyday living. We will always walk with cancer as our companion. Although none of us know what the future holds, and there is always fear and uncertainty, maybe it’s not such a loss after all. Perhaps it’s a blessing and an opportunity to share and to give hope and encouragement to those who are experiencing similar trials. Yes, that’s how I’m choosing to look at my future."

"I’ve learned much these last two years. I’ve seen firsthand the resilience, determination, and joy, coming from a young 21 year old woman who has been handed a cancer card. I’ve seen what love can do. I’ve seen how extended family members and friends rally around us. I’ve been blessed to have met so many new, wonderful people along this road as we meander along with melanoma as our partner."

"I’ve also seen a darker side, and have taken some hard hits because of it. But my faith remains strong through it all, and I KNOW without a doubt that we will see the other side of this with love, compassion and a peace that surpasses all the darkness that threatens to suck us in."
"I will continue to fight for my daughter and for all of those Faces that are currently battling this war against melanoma. And in doing so, spreading awareness where ever I go. That is my quest, my focus. My mission. Nothing will deter me, or my family from achieving this goal."

One more thing.  Take a minute please and sign Jillian's petition to ban teen tanning.  It is her last request and will make a difference in getting the word out about the dangers of tanning.