Saturday, August 28, 2010

Acacia's 9th Birthday

Where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday I was changing Acacia's diaper and now she is already 9! That means I must be getting older too, but that can't be right, could it? Pretty soon Acacia will be changing my diaper. Not looking forward to that day. We continue the tradition of number shaped pancakes for the birthday breakfast. I think for my birthday we will have to make a double batch of batter.

Acacia posing with her plethora of gifts. She was a happy camper this morning. She woke to a number 9 pancake, presents on the table and a room full of balloons.

One of Acacia's presents proved to be quite popular. She has been wanting in-line skates for some time now. Here she is demonstrating her prowess.

This year Acacia wanted to have a bowling party with a few of her friends for her birthday party. 2hrs of non-stop bowling fun!!! Here is Anna showing her excellent form for delivering her numerous strikes. It helps to have bumper guards too.

Acacia would literally run up to the line and throw the bowling ball down the lane. She was pretty darn accurate sometimes. On her 3rd game she broke the 100 barrier. Sweet!!!!! Great job honey!

Bowling is exhausting! If you don't believe me just ask Anna.

One of the coolest presents Acacia got was this Goliath beetle. Her friend Jonathan gave it to her. They are sold everywhere this time of year in Chiang Mai. They are huge, hence the name Goliath. He is tethered to a stick of sugar cane, his constant food source. The Thai's often have the male Goliath beetles fight with each other and they bet on the outcome. Good times! Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another Life

I spent the better part of the day with an amazing woman named Dodo, who showed me what true compassion and selflessness looks like. Dodo is Burmese and lives on the border of Thailand and Burma in a town called Sangkhlaburi. Dodo is a medical worker that has started an HIV/AIDS project in this small border town and has been here since 2003. She takes care of 62 adults and 14 children all with HIV and all are living on the edge of society. We visited a small home where Dodo takes care of 3 boys and a 12 year old girl living with HIV. Dodo was on her way to the hospital with a little boy and I was lucky enough to tag along. The little boy has been sick lately with diarrhea and nausea. Dodo takes all of her patients to this hospital since she has built up a rapore with the Doctors and Nurses and can trust them to take good care of her marginalized loved ones. The main reason for this visit was to get a CD4 count to better assess his HIV status. If he drops below 200 he will be started on anti-retro viral medications that he will have to take for the rest of his life. We won't know the results for a couple of weeks, so we are praying and crossing our fingers.
The poor little guy was set up on the chair to have his arm outstretched and have his blood taken. He was trying to maintain a brave face, but his dirty little chin was quivering and his eyes were starting to tear up. Dodo promptly started to distract our sick little one and I threw my two cents in to help create a diversion away from the needle stick. We were pretty successful and it was short lived.

I am often amazed at the resiliency of the people that I am walking on this journey with. I don't know if I would have as much grace and understanding as they have shown. I don't know what the sick little boy's future holds, but I do know he has someone that cares for him deeply. Thank God for people like Dodo. Please pray for Dodo and all the people that she has dedicated her life to helping.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Memorial to Mai

A Time of Tears and a Time to Trust
It is with great sadness that we tell you about the death of Mai. Mai was the young boy with cerebral palsy that lived in a bamboo cage for 12 years before coming to Hope Home. Mai was a special boy whose smile could light up the room. Although this past year he lived in a new home for boys with special needs, I still continued to visit Mai, take him on outings and bring him to special events held at Hope Home. Mai taught us all so much about unconditional love. No matter what kind of day I was having, whether I was stressed out or worried or had a headache, after spending time with Mai I always had a smile on my face and my burdens were lifted and seemed insignificant. Last Sunday Mai suffered a seizure and died in his sleep. Although our hearts are mourning his passing, I trust that Mai is safe in God’s loving arms. Mai was a sweet, sweet boy who will hold a special place in our hearts forever.
~Shelly and Brett

Please click on the link below

Memorial to Mai

Friday, August 6, 2010

What dreams are made of

I woke up at about 6am this morning and stumbled downstairs and made my way to the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee. I sat in front of the computer for a few minutes and went through some emails. Morning's are the only time I get to myself and I like to savor the quietness and calm before the storm. I heard Acacia strolling down the stairs and plop down on the couch at about 6:30

I got up from my desk and joined her on the couch. I started to joke with her a little bit. Acacia unfortunately acquired my sarcastic sense of humor and we love to go back and forth with the jokes. However, this morning when I was talking to her I noticed that her eyes were welling up and her little chin was quivering. "What's wrong honey"? "Nothing Dad", as she turns to try to hide her face and avoids all eye contact. "Hey Acacia, I want to show some pictures of the kitties we saw yesterday on the computer".

She follows me to the office and climbs onto my lap to look at the pictures. I ask again, "Acacia, what's wrong sweetie". She covers her eyes and keeps trying to change the subject. My interest is really peaked. "Are you sad about something or have a bad dream"? Her bottom lip and chin start to quiver and her eyes are getting glassy and moist. "I dreamed of a wonderful place, but I am so sad it will never really happen." "What kind of place honey." She begins to describe the dream all the while on the verge of tears. I cradle her in my arms and I encourage her to tell me more about this dream.

In Acacia's own words.

My dream started when I woke up in a small tent it was bigger inside than outside. I was going to a special camp in heaven. The first day at camp we swam in the ocean, it was wonderful. Then we went to a cabin and played go-fish in the cabin. Day 2, we went surfing on whales and I heard God's voice trying to tell me something, I tried to figure it out then the door opened. It was a big treat...My family: Anna, Shelly and Brett were there. I gave them a seashell made of rainbow gold. Then we kissed and hugged and I went to my tent.

Day 3: I went mountain climbing and saw God's face (I can't remember what it looked like) I was shocked, then I went to a cove where God's face was carved in the stone. Then I woke up startled.

She seemed relieved to talk about it and I asked her to draw some pictures of what she saw and experienced in her dream. This dream seemed to profoundly affect her and I felt it was an incredible bonding experience with my little girl. Did she see heaven? I don't know, but I saw heaven in her. Love you with all my heart honey!