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Death: Perspective from a Mother Who’s Lost a Child

In the wake of a legendary celebrity’s passing, we are all at a loss for words.  Whether we are a true fan or not, we are usually saddened by the end of one’s talent and the gifts that he/she gave the world, our nation, or our community.  Yesterday, I was talking to another mom who has lost her child.  We messaged our thoughts back and forth about the latest news of Robin William’s death.  I was in awe at the words that this mom spoke of death, and the clarity of which she spoke about it.  I, too, have had some of the same thoughts since Eden’s passing, and I have been thinking about these words all day “….for me it is my reality.  My life.  I forget to notice it’s not normal or comprehensible to others…….It’s part of who we are.  Our life.  Our reality.  No.  It’s not all we are, but it is part of who we are now.”

It is as if we mothers of lost children have a new understanding of death.  We understand it more, while, at the same time, understand it less.  We feel the loss again and again with every new news of someone passing, young or old, natural causes or accident, no matter.  We easily empathize with all the victims and feel their pain deeply.  Death is no longer something we view lightly.  Yes, it is a part of life, but we have faced it head on.  Face to face as it tried to claim us in its path to take our children.  It is somehow personal.  When our children died, so did part of us, but, miraculously, something else was born in its place.  A strength.  A softness.  A grace.  A passion.  A wisdom.

Grief never truly disappears, but as time goes by a resolve covers it like a vine covers the rails of a fence.  It is a strength that says “I survived this…..I can survive anything.”  It is a strength that proclaims that we will not be conquered……strength that gets us out of bed in the morning when we are heartbroken.  A bravery arises to make those aware, to honor those lost, to reach goals, to make dreams become reality.  Strength that dares others to look at their own lives…..to right the wrongs, live to the fullest, jump to new heights.

Beneath the strength is a new softness.  A new appreciation for the little things cultivates an abundance of grace.  We realize that under the smiles might be pain, under the bad days might be real struggles that need love and not irritation.  We can go to the grocery store and deal with the rude cashier because once we needed grace, too, and there will be days we will need it once again.  When sickness, tragedies, and funerals arise, we are the first to answer the call for food, flowers, comfort, listening-ears.  We know not to say things like “God works in mysterious ways” or “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”.  We understand that a word not need be spoken, but support is all that is needed.  A hug.  A tear shared.  A presence felt.

You might have met one of us and encountered a passion like no other.  A fire to make a difference.  A fire to change the world.  A passion to let the enemy know that we will not be destroyed.  That we will not succumb to death and its destruction.  We buried a child so we can do anything. We seek a new order.  An order for change, an awareness, a crusade, a cause is not looked upon as something unachievable, but an Everest that can and must be climbed.  With each passing of a new soul, the drive to climb accumulates.  Love must be shared.  Grace must abound in this world, and we are just the ones to do the spreading.

Death kills us but somehow makes us wise.  We have a discernment about what it must have been like for God to look upon His child as He lay dying, because we have done the same.  Heartbreak.  Devastation.  We do not take for granted the sacrifices God and others have made for us.  We choose to do the sacrificing in return.  To be the miracles that we need in the world.  To take up the cross.  To change the status quo.  We grasp the concept that life is, indeed, too short.  If we know better, we should do better, and that’s what we aim to do. We are not afraid…..of our peers, of opinions, of death.  We are smarter than that.  We are wiser.

All of this is our new reality.  Birthdays missed.  Graduations uncelebrated.  Lives remembered instead of lived.  This is who we are now.  We did not choose it, but we seek to make good of it.

Because of loss we may be stronger, softer, more full of grace and wisdom now, but, oh, that we could make a trade…….

 

 

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Glow in the Dark 5k is Here!!! Register Now!

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It’s that time again!!!  Be a Firework! Glow in the Dark 5k fun run is Saturday, September 20, 2014!!  We are ecstatic about this year’s run and are adding even more glow and black-light elements to the course.  You won’t want to miss it!  I know all of you are clamoring to know how you can participate in such a “glowing” good time.  Here’s how…..

Click on this:

5k Runner form

Then fill the form out and email the registration to fireworks5k@yahoo.com

or mail it to
Eden’s Fireworks Foundation
PO Box 2017
Woodward, OK 73802

*To insure you are properly registered, all registrations MUST go through this email or this PO Box, please.

Make all checks payable to Eden’s Fireworks Foundation.  You may pay via credit card by going to our Be A Firework tab and clicking on Donate.  Please leave us a note with a reference to the 5k.

New this year!!!   Families of 4 or more who register together will receive a discount of 20%.

Deadline for early bird registration and guarantee of your very own glow-in-the-dark t-shirt, plus glow-in-the-dark items and VIP pass is Friday, August 22.  So don’t delay!!!

We are still looking for run sponsors so if you are interested, please contact us.  Sponsorship deadline is August 4, and all donations are 100% tax-deductible.

Thanks for being a Firework!  Look Alive!

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Project Stuff Eden’s Stocking Happening Now!

Our 2nd Annual Stuff Eden’s Stocking is upon us!  I know that each one of you wants to spread a little love to some sick kiddos this Christmas!  Here’s how you can:

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Don’t let Eden’s stocking go empty!

Eden’s Fireworks Foundation

is collecting donations of stockings, gift cards and stocking stuffers. 

Stockings will be delivered to

OU Children’s Hospital

Cancer Floor on

Monday, December 16.

Deadline for donations:

Wednesday, December 11th

Stuffer Suggestions:

Gift cards – Wal-Mart, Target, iTunes, Restaurants, etc. – stocking caps, travel games, coloring books, crayons, markers, paint and art sets, Silly Putty, CD’s, DVDs, books, lip balm, hard candy, stickers, Hot Wheels, small toys, puzzles, socks.

ANYTHING THAT WILL FIT INTO A STOCKING

UNISEX ITEMS ARE GREAT!  WE NEED GIFTS FOR ALL AGES -

INFANTS TO TEENS

Donations may be mailed to

Eden’s Fireworks Foundation
PO Box 2017
Woodward, OK 73801

OR

Simply click on our BE A FIREWORK tab to donate money via PayPal

Monetary donations are very helpful, too!
We will be purchasing as many Kindle Fire HDs as is possible to deliver, as well.

If you are located in NW Oklahoma, you may use the following drop-off locations:

CAFE EDEN – 1018 Main St in Woodward
CRAFTS N SCRAPS & MORE – 911 Main St in Woodward
LAVERNE DENTAL CENTER – 703 S Oklahoma Dr #4 in Laverne
MOORELAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in Mooreland

WOODWARD EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER has agreed to do a stuffer drive for us, while they aren’t an official drop-off site, if you have a student at the ECC, you may send your stuffers to school with them.
ECC parents – watch for a flier sent home from the school.

Several groups around the state are using Stuff Eden’s Stocking as their community project.  Contact us if you are interested!

            

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Eden’s Fireworks Bracelets Are Here!

These just arrived, and you will definitely want one!

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100% silicon, 3/4 inch bracelets.
Two options:  Ignite Hope. Look Alive. OR Be a Firework.  $3 or $5 each (special bulk pricing for those wanting 10 or more – message for price quote)
How to order:
Easiest:  Go to our Donate tab on our Be A Firework page.  Pay for your bracelets via PayPal and leave a comment in regards to quantity and address for shipping (if local, email TeNeil Spaeth for pick up instructions).

Easier:  Email TeNeil Spaeth (Be A Firework page) quantity and shipping address.  Mail a check to P.O. Box 2017 Woodward, OK 73802.  Once the check clears, you will receive your bracelets.

Easy:  If you are local, the bracelets are available at Cafe Eden on Main St in Woodward.

This is an easy way to Be A Firework, spread awareness, and begin a dialogue with others about Childhood Cancer!  Thanks for your support!

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Tweets vs Prayers: My two cents on the Miley, Robin, and Twerking it out…

I don’t really want to beat a dead horse, but usually when I can’t stop thinking about something, I have found that writing about it stops my inner-dialogue, at least for a couple of minutes.

I really didn’t think a whole lot of the situation, at first.  I usually watch the VMAs.  If for no other reason that it makes me feel a little less old than I am….or scratch that; maybe it makes me feel older.  But, at any rate, I like to keep up with pop culture.  That’s my excuse.  I actually forgot about the award show this year, but every year there is something controversial.  Ridiculous.  Uncomfortable.  And, quite frankly, something I wouldn’t want my children to witness.  Remember Madonna crawling around in a wedding dress singing “Like a Virgin”?  Or the Chris Rock proclaiming something like “get to church now, before we burn in hell” after Marylin Manson’s performance?  I do.  So when I saw all of the hysteria on FB, Twitter, and even the main stream news, I honestly did not think much about it.  It wasn’t until yesterday morning, after discussing it shortly with my mom, that I even sat down and watched the award show (that I had DVR’d).  I want to previse this by saying that I ONLY watched the VMAs.  I have been told there where other shots and camera angles shown by other resources.  Those I cannot commit on.  Anyway, I discovered that I have an opinion about this.

One question that I’d like to ask is that if this had been, say, Lady Gaga’s performance instead of Miley Cyrus’s, would our reaction have been different?  I certainly cannot predict everyone’s reaction, and I’m sure had it been Gaga, there would still have been comments made.  But I am willing to bet that we had such a huge reaction to the performance because what we expected was Hannah Montana (who may I remind you, doesn’t exist) and what we got was more Jenna Jameson (Yes, I know who that is.  Don’t crucify me.)  Expectations play such a huge part in how we react.  What I expect from you depends upon how crazy I react to your sins.  If I don’t expect very much, my reaction is minimal.  I will blow it off to you didn’t know any better.  But what if my expectations are high, well, that leads to all kinds of disappointments, hurts, and criticisms.  This is possibly going to sound harsh, but as a Christian community, we have got to lower our expectations.  Why did we expect ANYTHING different from a child who was raised by the entertainment industry?  A parent who told her that she is only worth as much as her latest Tweet volume, Google searches, FB followers.  That to continue her career, she must break away from the good-girl image and be more sexy, more shocking.  Sadly, we must have expected this type of behavior from Robin Thicke, because people were seemingly not as shocked by his addition to the performance.  I don’t know if this is because we have a double standard for men in our culture or if it is because his music leans toward the controversial. (This is clearly a whole new debate, so I will leave that to another blogger).  Why do we hold people to such high expectations and then yell “crucify!” when those expectations aren’t met?  We do it all of the time with pastors, family, children, friends.  Why do we hold people to expectations of which they aren’t even remotely capable?  And then act so high and mighty upon their failure.  I’m sorry, but this pretty much defines hypocrisy.  The only reason people aren’t posting about our sins most of the time is because we have chosen not to air them on national TV.  But they are mistakes, just the same.  I think Jesus Christ himself has had many a run in with our expectations.  We all know what happened when He didn’t meet the Pharisees’ expectations as the “Coming King”. Furthermore, I don’t think God was even shocked at her performance. And I don’t think that He was shaking His head at Miley saying, “What am I gonna do with you?”  I think He thought, “I love you, and I’m gonna love you through this identity crisis until you see the truth.”  Of course, I’m speculating, but I’m pretty sure it went something like that ;) .

Do not get me wrong.  I am not condoning her behavior.  I am not saying that we should support her by praising her performance (Honestly, I was more offended by her pitchiness than anything else).  You don’t have to jump on iTunes and buy her latest single.  I won’t be pushing my children to listen to her latest album.  And I realize that she, as a celebrity, relinquishes part of her right to not be ridiculed as she chose to make the statement she made in front of millions.  And choices have consequences.  However, I don’t think Miley is a dumby.  I think 300,000 Tweets about her DURING (not after) her performance alone (is exactly what she wanted.

Which leads to my second question, how many of you sent up a little prayer for Miley instead, or along with, your criticism on social media?  She obviously is a mixed-up girl who needs an encounter with the love and grace of Christ.  What if we prayed as much as we criticized?  Believe me, I’m preaching to myself.  One of my many flaws is that I can be harshly critical.  Just being honest.  And I have been convicted of my harsh criticisms many a time.  So this is not me calling out your sins.  I’m calling out my own sin.  What if 300,000 prayers just for Miley had been sent up in those few minutes instead of 300,000 Tweets?  Honestly, I hope there were.  Maybe I’m being cynical, but I kind of doubt it.  We love to see another fall for some reason.  It’s sickening.  And it shouldn’t be.  We know better.  Are not we told over and over….”Love is patient.  Love is kind…….IT KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONG DOINGS.”?  Was your Tweet or FB post about Miley kind?  Did it mention her wrong doings?  Ouch.  Where’s the love, people?  What about a little love given when our expectations aren’t met instead of criticism?  What about a prayer that LOVE touch that person who is not meeting our expectations?

I want to tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved the music of Michael Jackson.  She stared at his Thriller Limited-Edition album many a night right before going to sleep.  Once upon a time, that same little girl was a teenager at a Super Bowl Party at her church.  Michael Jackson performed the half-time show.  Most of the Christians at the party began calling Michael names and ridiculing him for his alleged mistakes, etc.  That teenage girl announced that she prayed for him all of the time to find the love and grace of God and that they should do the same.

Once upon a time, that teenage girl grew up to be the mom of a little girl who died of childhood cancer.  And one night that mom had a dream that her little girl came back from heaven with news that there were so many people in heaven that most would be shocked to find out “made the cut”.  She excitedly proclaimed, “Michael Jackson is in heaven, Mom!  I knew you would want to know.”  And off the little girl went…..back to heaven.

Maybe the dream was prophetic.  Maybe it was a delusion of a heartsick mother.  Maybe it was a message from God saying that we will be spending a whole lot of eternity with people that did not live up to our expectations, but, by a miracle and a lot of prayers, came face to face with the unexpected magnitude of God’s grace that covers a multitude of sins.  Including criticism.  And twerking.

Look Alive!

 

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