Category Archives: Family

When Your Beloved Pet is Diagnosed with Cancer…

Friends! It’s been several sad weeks here in the Hoagland household. Our beloved Gracie, our wire-haired fox terrier who was only 7 1/2 years old, got sick on Christmas Day and got worse and worse, week after week, until we discovered she had liver cancer and lymphoma. Only five days after that hard-to-believe diagnosis, we knew “it was time.” Beyond awful.

I know many of you have been thru’ this. One of our dear couple friends dropped off a new-to-us children’s book you need to know about: It’s called Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant.

The book is super sweet and we will enjoy sharing it with our grandchildren later while it helped comfort us immediately.  Additionally wonderful, our six children commissioned a super talented local artist to create a watercolor of our Gracie. What a keepsake.

Special thanks go to Taylor Grimm! Find her on Instagram at: Taylor_Leigh_Grimm

Since we’ve been empty nesters, Gracie has been our little shadow, going everywhere with us, especially my better half. We logged miles and miles a day walking with her, she chased a thousand and one squirrels, and was quite the mole hunter and conqueror.

Claire “calms” Gracie before bedtime…

Gracie perches over Poppy’s shoulder while he reads to Claire Bear.

Gracie’s favorite hangout, by the fire…

The Great Squirrel Hunter…

Thankfully, I remembered an invaluable resource we read years ago in book club: Heaven by Randy Alcorn. It’s a tome, and is seminary-worthy. Even tho’ we read it over the summer to discuss once we resumed in the fall, it was a little more than we bargained for.

We howled when the children’s version came out about the time of our meeting. However, the adult version is truly a resource readers can consult over and over for just about any topic you’d be interested in. (Try 12 sections, 46 chapters!)

Yes, there’s a chapter called, Will Animals, Including Our Pet’s, Live Again? You can bet I went to grab the book and reread this chapter.

Let’s read the first paragraph (Ch 40):

“Christ proclaims from his throne on the New Earth: ‘Behold I am making all things new’ (Revelation 21:5 ESV). It’s not just people who will be renewed but also the earth and ‘all things’ in it. Do ‘all things’ include animals? Yes. Horses, cats, dogs, deer, dolphins, and squirrels—as well as the inanimate creation—will be beneficiaries of Christ’s death and resurrection.”

Two well-known authors are also quoted in this chapter. First, let’s hear from Joni Erickson Tada from her book on Heaven:

And you all will LOVE to read this poem from none other than John Piper:

Randy Alcorn’s chapter on pets also includes answers to:

“How closely are animals tied to our resurrection?”

“Will extinct animals live on the new earth?”

“Will our pets be restored on the new earth?”

“Is it wrong to grieve a pet’s death?”

“What future is God planning for animals?”

“Might some animals talk?”

You can tell these are deep questions, Likewise goes the rest of the book. You’ll get to see and read Scripture after Scripture on animals (in this particular chapter) and see the wonder and the love the Lord gives us through our pets, ultimately created for God’s glory.

Already John and I’ve been asked the big question, “So, will you get another dog?”  To which, for today, I’ll answer “no.” We wish (!!!) to hold off until our future grandchildren arrive (two grandsons super soon, Lord willing!) and we see how much time we’d have to raise a puppy!?!

Meanwhile to those of you who’ve survived losing a pet, we’re with you. Gracie’s our third terrier and it gets much more difficult each time.

So, as Bob Hope would sing, Gracie, “Thanks for the memories…”

‘Til next time!

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor? What We May Have Missed from Mister Rogers…

Friends!  I’ve just discovered a wonderful book that’s chock full of “spiritual toast sticks.”  Grab a cup of joe and join me…

Whether you were a fan of Mister Rogers growing up or not, I predict you’ll become one after diving into this book:

The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers:  Spiritual Insights from the World’s Most Beloved Neighbor

Author Amy Hollingsworth takes us on a journey where we gain a birdseye view of her relationship with Mr. Rogers.  She worked in television with CBN and has written five books. She’s also a pastor’s wife.

After Amy’s first interview with Fred Rogers, they forged a long-time friendship. They wrote to each other for eight years, until Fred’s death from stomach cancer in 2003. Many excerpts from their letters are shared. Beautiful Scripture is expounded on plus great anecdotes are included in each chapter, including the story of Mr. Rogers’ car being stolen, and then returned, once the thiefs realized who it belonged to!

Amy tells us of Mr. Rogers’ first friendship he recalls when he was but five years old.  It was with an elderly neighbor, Mama Bell, who taught him how to make toast sticks.  He loved being able to make something for himself, popping the bread into the toaster, then buttering it and putting jelly on it prior to cutting it into four sticks.

His words of wisdom became what Amy calls “spiritual toast sticks.”  She says they are “sustenance to be shared.” She divides them into three parts in her book, each with three beautiful chapters:  Toast sticks for the heart, eyes, and hands.

We learn Mr. Rogers intended to attend seminary after college, but he landed in tv before that could happen.  He did later become a Presbyterian minister, thanks to studying during his lunch hours. (Don’t miss that story!) His degree in music composition came from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida,  which I happened to have also attended. (Only for one year before going to UK.)

Mr. Rogers’ degree from Rollins obviously came in handy considering he wrote over two hundred songs and filmed more than nine hundred episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

The first three chapters under the first spiritual toast stick happen to be my favorite.  The other six chapters are excellent as well, tho’, don’t miss them, especially chapter nine on “Heading Toward Heaven.” I’ll give you a few teasers to get you going…

Chapter One is called, “The Importance of Taking Time. The Importance of Silence.”  I was reminded each episode of his show opened with “a shot of a traffic lights flashing in yellow caution mode. That message is the essence of every episode:  It’s time to slow down.” He also warned his audience against hurry, and often sang the song, “I Like to Take My Time.”

You may be as shocked over this as I am:  Yale psychologists compared Mister Roger’s Neighborhood to Sesame Street, which was much more fast-paced than Fred’s.  They concluded, “Children who watched his show were more likely to be patient in waiting for materials or for an adult’s attention, saying there was an increase in ‘tolerance of delay.’”

One of Fred’s favorite writers was Henri Nouwen. They became close friends.  He quotes him often. Fred said, “Even though most of the world knows Henri best by his words, I’ve come to recognize his deepest respect for the still, small voice among the quiet of eternity. That’s what continues to inspire me.”

Fred believed everyone should experience silence daily.  He went so far as to suggest a moment of silence when he was invited to the White House on one occasion.  He declared, “Would you please just have a half-minute of silence to think about somebody who has helped you become who you are?”

After the meeting, a guard approached Fred and told him of his grandfather’s brother being so kind to him, offering him a fishing pole.  He said he probably loves to fish today because of that gift when he was so young. He was about the same age Fred was when he learned to make toast sticks from Mama Bell.

Silence is a gift as well as a legacy when you share it with others.

Chapter Two is entitled, “A Presence Transformed by Prayer.” With an emphasis on daily rituals, not only on his show, but in his personal life, Fred stuck to the same schedules. We learn predictability also brings comfort.

His personal routine included rising at 5:00 a.m. for “prayer, reflection, and Bible reading; followed by a 7:30 swim (where he weighed in at 143 pounds daily); followed  by his usual workday routine; keeping a 9:30 p.m. bedtime. Each morning he prayed for his family and friends by name.”

He sang a song his friend, Henri, taught him called, Jubilate Deo prior to diving into the pool.  Before the taping of his show, he’d say, “Dear God, let some word that is heard be Yours.”

Scores of people agreed Mister Rogers had a calming effect on those he encountered, whether in person or via the tv.  Amy called him “Mother Teresa in a cardigan.”  (My poker face just left the building.)

Don’t miss the story about the Sturgis Pretzel House where Mr. Rogers took his viewers one day.  It’s a memorable lesson on prayer.  (Not spoiling it!)

Amy said of this toast stick on prayer:

Finally, Chapter Three is “The Wondrous Work of the Holy Spirit.” In this chapter, we readers are introduced to an interesting concept, that of holy ground.  Fred believed, “…the space between the television set and the viewer is holy ground.”

Words from an old pastor friend Fred enjoyed builds on this concept:

“What is offered in faith by one person can be translated by the Holy Spirit into what the other person needs to hear and see. The space between them is holy ground, and the Holy Spirit uses that space in ways that not only translate, but transcend.”

This quote is followed by several testimonies from celebrities who viewed Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and were moved for one reason or another, usually markedly changing their lives forever.  Don’t miss Lauren Tewes (who played Julie McCoy on The Love Boat) or Beth Sullivan who during a long-term illness discovered Mister Rogers’ show and later went on to create and produce Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman!

The Epilogue centers around 1 Timothy 6:20 which says, “guard what has been entrusted to your care.” It hadn’t occurred to me the huge responsibility Amy must’ve felt in writing this book about Mr. Rogers.  She discovered the word “trust” is translated in the Greek as “deposit.” Thus Paul’s words to Timothy challenged her to greatly render what she’d learned from Mr. Rogers and share it with the world.

Great job, Amy!  I learned so much and I know anyone who reads your book will do the same and enjoy the journey. Thanks for being brave enough to write it!

Here are the other chapters to further entice you to read the whole book:

4 – The Best Gift:  Your Honest Self

5 – Who is My Neighbor?

6 – The Power of Forgiveness

7 – The Least of These

8 – Difficult Times

9 – Heading Toward Heaven

A favorite quote by Saint Francis of Assisi, which I first learned when attributed to President George Herbert Walker Bush, is also said of Mister Rogers:  “Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary, use words.”

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab this powerful book.

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

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Grab This Devotional for You, Your Kiddos, and Grands! You’ll Learn More Than You’d Ever Guess…(with help from Louie Giglio)

Friends!  This past Christmas, I bought FOUR copies of Louie Giglio’s devotional for our grands and our library. Let me tell you why…

You may be familiar with pastor, speaker, teacher, and writer, Lou Giglio. He’s who started the Passion conference for 18-25 years olds and their leaders.  These conferences have been filling arenas for years.  Just a week ago, four different arenas sold out to thousands who got to hear messages from Louie, Christine Caine, and Matt Chandler, with worship being led by David Crowder and Kari Jobe, among others.

Louie and his wife, Shelley, pastor Passion City Church and make their home in Atlanta, Georgia.

Louie says the Passion movement “exists to call a generation to leverage their lives for the fame of Jesus.” Early on, their story connected to the confession found in Isaiah 26:8 (now known as the 268 Declaration) which says,

So, let’s dive into this eye-opening devotional aimed at kids, but equally interesting for us adults.  It has 100 devotions based on four categories:  Space, Earth, Animals, and People.  Each entry opens with a Scripture, a brief devotional with pictures, always ending with a fun fact called, “Be Amazed,” and a simple prayer.

Louie tells us, “My prayer is you’ll be truly amazed and in awe as we learn that the God who created Betelgeuse, one of the biggest stars we know about, also created YOU—from the number of hairs on your head to the color of the skin on your toes. This indescribable Creator knows you better and loves you more than anyone on Earth ever  could.”

One of many favorite entries is #36, called “The Eyes Have It.”  Our Scripture is,

In this entry, we learn that at five months into a baby’s life in utero, his/her eyes will have two million optic nerve endings. (“One million stretched out from your brain to meet and match up with another million optic nerve endings stretched out from your eye.”)

Louie asks, “Can you imagine matching up two million different wires and getting them all exactly right?” He teaches us that’s what God does when making our eyes. This is just one of many reasons each and every baby is an absolute miracle.

And while at five months, babies can’t see yet, at six months, the skin covering of the eyes separate, giving us eyelids. How beyond wild is that?

Now, let’s “Be Amazed: Chameleons have some of the coolest eyes around.  A chameleon can see in a total 360-degree circle—all the way around its body. Each eye can move separately from the other, so it can look in two different directions at once!”

And, let’s pray:

There are ninety-nine more equally fascinating entries in this devotional.  It’s impossible to choose a favorite. Each can be a great topic at your dinner table! (The day after Christmas I read another fascinating entry about the starfish, entry #90, to all six of our adult children who loved it. Boys and girls, young and old will gobble this devotional up. The challenge will be to only read one at a time!)

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why We Must Consider the Legacy We’re Leaving… (With help from the Green girls of Hobby Lobby)

Friends!  Just wait ‘til you hear about this life-changing, must-read book…

It’s written by Jackie Green and her daughter, Lauren Green McAfee. (Jackie’s husband, Steve, runs Hobby Lobby and their stories woven throughout are incredibly fascinating.) The book is called Only One Life:  How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy.

I heard the authors interviewed on the Eric Metaxas show recently (www.metaxastalk.com ) and promptly ordered the book. What intrigued me is the book’s format.  Each chapter focuses on an attribute of what makes a good legacy:

What’s super cool is how the girls introduce you to a Biblical character, a historical character, and a modern-day character for you to meet and see how their lives exemplify these attributes in each chapter.  Some I was familiar with, while others were lovely discoveries.

For example, Winston Churchill’s nanny, Elizabeth Anne Everest, was a very strong Christian and had a huge influence on him, teaching him to memorize Scripture, giving him a personal faith.

Let this soak in for a minute:

“It can be argued that because of her, the Nazis did not come to rule Europe, and because of the way she carried out her duties, the Soviets would not realize their aspirations to extend their brand of Communism to the world.”

The Green girls said Churchill “would attest that the prayers and spiritual principles he had absorbed from Elizabeth Everest were the anchor of His soul.”

Another new-to-me historical figure is Elizabeth of Hungary who’s in the chapter on the legacy of generosity. Elizabeth’s mother is who gave her such a strong faith.  She was born in 1207.  Her father was King Andrew II of Hungary.

She was highly influenced by Francis of Assisi who said,

Elizabeth married at age 14, having been betrothed to Prince Ludwig of Thuringia at the ripe age of 4! Amazingly, she “helped establish a monastery in Thuringia. She also used her dowry to found eastern Europe’s first orphanage.” Her story is full of intrigue you won’t want to miss.

You also don’t want to miss Jackie Green’s relation to Queen Elizabeth II!  This is in the chapter on the legacy of wisdom, Queen Elizabeth being our modern-day character. Other modern-day women we meet include fireball Christine Caine on the legacy of rescue, wise teacher Kay Arthur, and on loyalty, the one and only Ruth Bell Graham. (These are just 4 of the 12!)

We also learn that Marie Green “imparted her faith and values to David Green” (Jackie’s father-in-law) who then left his faith to his children, one being Steve, Jackie’s husband.  She adds, “There is nothing more important than to point a child toward their Heavenly Father and the redemption available through Christ.

You’ll learn how Hobby Lobby came to be as well as their thoughts on generosity, how they run the company, and even the details about the Supreme Court’s ruling over their health insurance, regarding their pro-life beliefs.  Your jaw will drop more than once over the details the Lord helped them overcome in an excruciatingly long trial, especially with such intense scrutiny from the media.

Also in the chapter on generosity Jackie discusses “the legacy-building power of a lifestyle of generosity.” We glean pearls from their family discussions.  She shares,

“A committee reviews and makes decisions on giving corporately,

…viewing each request through a specific lens

Will it advance God’s Word?

Will it save a person’s soul?”

We readers also get to learn about the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., that the Greens started.  It’s a wild journey you won’t want to miss.  The Museum is at the top of my Bucket List. (www.museumofthebible.org )

Further details on the museum can be found in another book the Greens wrote called, This Dangerous Book:  How the Bible Has Shaped Our World and Why It Still Matters Today.

Of all the Biblical characters we meet and learn about in Only One Life,  my three favorites are:  Huldah the prophetess, Hannah, and Ruth (but then how could we leave out Mary the Mother of Jesus, and Esther, and the seven others??!!!).  The chapter on teaching stands out to me perhaps because I love to teach.

Huldah is introduced to us in 2 Kings, chapter 22, Mary Lyon, who started Mount Holyoke College is the historical heroine, choosing Psalm 144:12 to be the college’s motto:  “That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” (KJV), and Kay Arthur is our modern-day teaching example, having started Precepts Ministries International with what the Greens call an “unlikely start.”

The legacies left from Huldah, Mary, and Kay are astonishing.  Don’t miss the details included.  Seeing their impact on countless souls makes you think in each case, “Wow, that is just from one woman!”  Exactly the point of the book.

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Only One Life.  You’ll find yourself sharing story after story with your friends and family, and the best part is they’re all true!

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is Barefoot Hope?

Friends! I learned a new, fantastic-n-fun phrase this week. The crazy thing is the phrase popped off a page I was reading in a book I’ve read more than once. Huh? How did I miss this?

The phrase is barefoot hope.  Its inspiration came from a winsome and bright four-year-old little girl.

Author Kay Swatkowski had her four-year-old granddaughter, Nikki, over for a visit. It was a cool, crisp spring day. Kay had just let Nikki out in the backyard to play. Within seconds, she noticed Nikki had plopped down on the ground, immediately taking her shoes off and “flinging her socks through the air.”

(This story comes from Day 43 of a Grandmother’s Prayers: 60 Days of devotions and prayer. This is one of my favorite daily reads, thanks to my sis-in-love, Margee, who gave it to me when our little Claire Elizabeth was born. I read it, and when I complete the 60 days, I start all over. It’s a superb gift for new grandmothers!)

Kay said Nikki was barefoot and dancing with joy. Nikki hollered to her, “Grandma, where is my pool? Can Papa put up the swing? Summer is here!”

Kay told her summer wasn’t here yet, that it was too cold, and she best put those shoes and socks back on. Clearly determined and overly astute (!!!) Nikki said, “But Grandma, look at the trees! Summer is here.”

Kay couldn’t argue with that as many of their maple tree’s branches were dotted with green buds. Nikki correlated the buds with summer.

Kay said, “Nikki was filled with hope. Barefoot hope—a hope that made her act in faith on the promise of warmth, sunshine, and hours on a swing.”

We readers are then shown Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:32,

Kay said Jesus “shared this parable to encourage His followers to be as observant about watching for the signs of His coming as they were about anticipating the coming of summer.”

As if reading my mind, Kay confesses she wishes she had a barefoot hope not only for the coming of summer, but more importantly for His coming, Jesus’ return. She said her hope is “more of a wouldn’t-it-be-nice hope that does little to change my daily life.” My excuse is I simply forget. Ouch!

Now she shows us how to tie this subject to our grandchildren, defining barefoot hope as a prayer for them, praying they will:

“Hope in His promises.

Hope in their future.

Hope that God will always be with them, even in their struggles.

Hope for forgiveness.

Hope for divine intervention.

Hope for healing hurts and broken relationships.

Hope that Jesus is coming again to right the wrongs of this world and to take us to live with Him.

…as they trust in Him, they will overflow with a barefoot hope that makes them sing and dance with joy.”

Kay’s love for God and His Word permeates all of the pages of her book. She blesses us readers with numerous Scriptures which pertain to the day’s subject matter, and  in this case, hope of all kinds.

To learn more about Kay’s book, CLICK HERE for my post from last August.

Run, don’t walk, and grab this book! And kick your shoes off while you’re at it!

‘Til next time!

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Humans Go on Summer Vacation, Can Goldfish??? (Check out this new book by Sally Lloyd Jones!)

Friends! I’ve got a mini-vacation for you even if you’re not vacationing anywhere any time soon.  After this discovery, you’ll feel as if you’ve been to New York City on a summer vacation…no foolin’.

Author Sally Lloyd Jones has created an adorable children’s book which she says is a “completely true made-up story,” as parts are true, parts are amazing U.S. history, which history buffs will chew on, and the characters represent Sally’s relatives, however they live in England, not in New York City. Us adults will be charmed as well.

The book?  Goldfish on Vacation

I predict those of you anywhere close to NYC will go hunting for this fountain we’re about to learn about. I will for certain next time we visit.

Once again, I learned of this book thanks to Eric Metaxas on his radio show, www.metaxastalk.com This particular show aired 5/3/18. You don’t want to miss Sally and Eric’s banter, how this book came to be, plus her adorable accent.  (She’s the very same author who penned The Jesus Storybook Bible among many other books.)

Goldfish on Vacation opens with three children, “H, Little O, and Baby Em,” proud owners of three goldfish, “Barracuda, Patch, and Fiss.” The children go round and round in their New York City apartment just like the goldfish go round and round in their bowl. Not such a fun way to start your summer vacation.  Stuck.

At the end of the street where the children live, there’s an old, abandoned fountain which in its day was a place for horses to drink from…until cars were invented.

Because of the cars, folks no longer needed horses and the fountain became overgrown, abandoned, and a place for people to dump trash, sadly.

But, a curious thing happens. To the children’s great discovery, a sign is posted one day at the nearby Hamilton Fountain Water Garden:

“COMING IN TWO WEEKS! CALLING ALL GOLDFISH LOOKING FOR A SUMMER HOME!”

Out of the blue, a man begins cleaning up the fountain, restoring it, complete with plants such as lily pads, suitable for a LOT of goldfish to inhabit. The children’s Grandpa marks their calendar accordingly.

The fourteen days fly by and before they know what’s happening, the children can no longer see the man working on the fountain. It appears ALL the children living close by have arrived with their goldfish, swimming in their bowls, more than ready to let them have their own summer vacation.

Let me pause here to say the illustrator, Leo Espinosa, brilliantly captures the  plot of this story, offering the reader of any age to delight at the wonders on every page. (www.studioespinosa.com) You can see and feel the excitement of all the characters!

Scores of parents, grandparents, and children all become friends because of their goldfish. Fever pitch jumping up and down, in and out of the fountain ensues, and suddenly, summer’s over and school’s about to begin.

You may wonder HOW H, Little O, and Baby M get EXACTLY Barracuda, Patch and Fiss back home. Ah, my friend, you must read the book to find out.  You’ll be grinning ear to ear.

If by chance you live in NYC or near, head to Riverside Drive and 76th Street. You’ll find the real-live Hamilton Fountain which is named after Robert Ray Hamilton (who lived from 1850-1890).  He gave the fountain to New York and believe it or not, he just happens to be the great-grandson of one of our founding fathers of the United Sates:  Alexander Hamilton. Don’t you history buffs just love that?

Sally tells us a man by the name of Brad, who’s a volunteer for the Riverside Park Conservancy is who cleaned up the fountain.  Bravo, Brad! Thanks also goes to someone who gave money for the fountain to be restored in 2009.

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Goldfish on Vacation.

You’re welcome.

Smile.

‘Til next time!

 

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Books to Help the Grieving Process in the Death of a Loved One (with help from Anne Riley) Part 1 of 2

Friends!  Anyone besides me ever feel helpless when your friends lose loved ones?  Sorry to say I’m the babbling fool at visitations where the bereaved has to comfort me.

I know.

Good news!  I have a few remedies up my sleeve I’d like to share in the form of a children’s book this week, and several other books for us grown-ups next week.

John and I were blessed to have dinner with old and new friends in Lexington this past April.  We learned about a book where a family lost two of their children. I immediately thought of Nancy Guthrie in Nashville who experienced such. (We’ll talk about her books next week.)

To my surprise, Nancy was not who our friends were talking about.  Surely there’s not another family who’s also lost two of their children? Sadly, there is, and a family friend has written a beautiful children’s book to help families cope with losing a child.

The book?  Voyage to the Star Kingdom

Author Anne Riley was so moved by her friends’ story, she and her cousin, Amy Grimes (who’s also friends with the family), put this beautiful book together.  Anne wrote the story (www.annerileybooks.com ) while Amy created the beautifully charming illustrations. (www.storypaintings.net ) Anne says Amy came up with the “essential story elements” and God wove the rest of it together.

When Anne first heard of Frazer and Dana Gieselmann and their plight to fight Batten Disease, she was so moved she literally couldn’t move.  She kept praying about how or what she could do.  It was in church the Holy Spirit convinced her to use her gift of writing to tell their story.

Blessed with three beautiful daughters, Frazer and Dana were completely thrown off guard when their daughter, Milla, began having seizures in August of 2013.  By October of 2014, Milla was diagnosed with a disease that’s very rare, and so far, incurable. It attacks the brain, causing loss of sight, mental impairment, worsening seizures, and a decline in motor skills. The dreaded disease is known as Batten Disease. Milla passed away November 26, 2016, just three weeks after her 6th birthday.

Unbelievably, Batten Disease possesses a genetic nature, thus docs suggested Frazer and Dana have their other two daughters tested.  Soon afterward, they learned their youngest daughter, Elle, also has the disease. Elle began having seizures not long after the discovery. You see now why Annie felt compelled to do something. (Miraculously, their eldest daughter, Ann Carlyle, does not have the disease.)

Thanks to extensive research at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, Elle is receiving new treatments, infusions, and surgeries. Their long, hard, ongoing fight is explained in detail on their blog:  www.thegieselmann5.blogspot.com

Warning:  The family’s daily battle will tear your heart out, however the book is so well done, you’ll want to share it with your friends. Huge favor:  Please pray for this precious family.

The Gieselmann’s live in Memphis, Tennessee, so upon discovering Milla was treated at Le Bonheur Hospital, I immediately reached out to a friend of our kiddos who went thru’ an excruciating ordeal, also at LeBonheur, when their baby boy only lived two months.  I told her about this book and she said her NICU nurse gave her a copy. She and her husband, like the Gieselmanns, thankfully live with an eternal perspective. (See Revelation 21:1-5)

The grandest news of these sad stories comes as a reminder from Anne: “Milla and Elle will receive their prize early. Yes, we will suffer greatly in their absence. But this life is so short compared with eternity, and one day very soon, Frazer, Dana, and Ann Carlyle will be with Milla and Elle forever.”

My other favorite aspect of this book is it speaks matter-of-factly about real-life issues.  You’ll see the family undergoing multiple storms.  Two of their three daughters have to leave their family on earth, per the request of the Star King. Anne emphasizes, “The rest of the family will follow soon, but for now, they must say a temporary farewell.”

A beautiful angelfish escorts the girls to Heaven. (Don’t miss the part where they learn about how to fight evil on their journey.) Upon their approach, they see a man coming out of the Radiant Palace, waiting for them.  “Are you the Star King?” the youngest girl asked.

He smiled and said, “I have many names: Elohim, Jehovah, the Alpha and the Omega, the Prince of Peace, the Good Shepherd. And yes, the Star King.

Oh, my beloved children, I am so glad you’re here.”

The story gets even better as the King shows them He’s set a table for five. You must read this book to witness something beautiful!

One hint arrives from the Angelfish: “You will be together again sooner than you think. The Star King is not bound by time.”

This is a beautiful picture of 2 Peter 3:8 in the NIV that says,

That verse reminds me of a time when I read about a young Mom who knew she was dying of cancer. She asked her pastor to verify the above Scripture, promptly proceeding to do some mind-blowing math.

She said, “I figure if a thousand years is like a day, then forty years is like an hour. I’ll be leaving my husband and children soon. He may live another forty years, but that’ll be just like an hour to me in heaven.

…My children may live another seventy or eighty years, but that’ll be like two hours to me.” Just before she died, she told her husband, “I love you. Take care of our children and I’ll see you in an hour.” (from One Month to Live:  30 Days to a No-Regrets Life by Kerry and Chris Shook.) Now that’s some sweet eternal perspective!

Soak in 2 Peter 3:8, and you will sleep well tonight. And every other night.

‘Til next time!

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