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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These just arrived, and you will definitely want one!
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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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.
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Somehow I have not spent a lot of time being angry after Eden’s death. Somehow God saved me from that. But there are times, like this very moment at 2:35 am. Excuse my French but $@%& gets real. I don’t cuss. Really ever. I used the F-bomb once in my life. It was 1996. So there you go. But at 2:35 am. Right now. The only word that I can use to describe how I feel is pissed. (If this word offends you, you might as well move along now.)
I am often told, “you are such an inspiration.” Well, am I still an inspiration if I told you that sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep because I’m pissed that Eden isn’t here, even almost 3 years later? I’m pissed that childhood cancer exists, and that I’m neck deep in a world I don’t want to be in. I’m pissed that I lose sleep about what to do during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. It’s too big a burden, and I want to scream because I have to carry it. I’m pissed because I never got to hear Eden talk except to hear her scream “Mama” or “Daddy” in pain. I’m pissed because I lied to her over and over and over again and told her that “it was okay.” And it just wasn’t. I’m pissed because Eve and Jude were robbed of a sister. I’m pissed that I didn’t have to buy Eden Pre-K school supplies this week or meet her new teacher. I’m pissed that I can’t mention Eden without people getting an uncomfortable look on their face. As much as I’d like not to admit it, I’m pissed that I played the praise song “Mighty to Save” repeatedly in Eden’s ear as she lay dying, and, at least in the natural, her rescue never came. AND I’m really pissed that I’m sometimes jealous of families of children who have conquered neuroblastoma. I hate it that these words creep up in my head, “Why couldn’t that have been Eden?”
So there you go. Quite the inspiration. There really isn’t much inspiration going on at 2:35 am. I know that with the sun, things will seem brighter. Tears will dry, and I’ll have a more optimistic, faithful prospective. But, to be real, there are moments of raw emotion. Heartbreak. Sorrow so deep that it actually hurts.
Childhood cancer is real. It causes real pain. Real terror. It affects real kids, real parents, real siblings. Real kids die. I sometimes can’t even believe it. Eden died. That’s real.
You want to know what else is real? God’s love. I have not shared this with everyone, but the reason I can say this with so much confidence is that in the very moment of my worst heartbreak. THE moment Eden took her last breath. God’s love poured into that hospital room. I can’t explain it but to tell you that I felt it tangibly and that I miraculously had the wherewithal to recognize it. That same feeling of tangible love and goodness – like almost a weight on my shoulders, except that it was a comfort and not a burden – stayed with me for several weeks after Eden’s death. It was there as I planned her funeral. It was there as I buried her. It was there as I adjusted to life without her. Some may say that I was delusional, that in my despair I was not quite right in the head, but once you have encountered such love and goodness, you can’t deny it. And it is still there. At 2:35 a.m., when I need it the most. In the dark, raw minutes of the night when life’s injustices seem the most exaggerated, God’s love is still there, and, to my relief, no matter how pissed I am. I realize everyone quotes it, but I KNOW He really truly never leaves nor forsakes. And there is another thing I know. If He did it for me, He can and will do it for you. So if you have never encountered His love. For real. Ask Him.
So in my realness, in the middle of the night, I’d like to say…..Don’t let me inspire you. Let God’s love inspire you. It’s the only real reason I seem to be a fairly functional adult at this point. Let His love inspire you to love more. To love better. To love deeper. And, in turn, others will be able to love more, love better, love deeper. It REALLY is cliche, but His love IS all anyone needs. Especially at 2:35 am. (and maybe since I got all of this off of my chest, I can go back to sleep.)
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Months ago I saw a friend’s photo on Instagram of a group of ladies at a glow in the dark run in another city. My sister and I had been talking about doing some kind of run in Eden’s honor since right after we lost her. I remember thinking that the glow-in-the-dark theme would go perfectly with our trademark “fireworks”, and so the planning began. I have planned a lot of parties, recitals, dance performances, etc, but never a 5K. Stumbling in the dark, the event came together and on Saturday evening, August 10, as I watched the firework show after the run with tears in my eyes, I thought, “We did it, Eden!” Because the planning had consumed my thoughts and time all summer, I really hadn’t had a chance to really think about what the event represented, until I saw the fireworks hit the sky. We had the 5K because we didn’t have Eden. Had Eden been a healthy four-year-old at this moment, planning a glow-in-the-dark run would have never, not in a million years, been on my calendar.
But this was the hand we were dealt, and, in turn, we dealt it to God. And a beautiful thing happened. Over a hundred runners/walkers/observers came together to celebrate life and love, all in the name of an amazing little girl. Yes. My heart is sad. I’d rather have her with us. But it is amazing how God’s goodness works. It’s so good that it soothes over all the rough edges of the bad. Words fail me to explain, but it somehow happens. When you let it. The event was bittersweet in part, but, at the same time, I have never felt more accomplished, blessed, and loved.
Of course, I couldn’t have done it without my wonderful board members, who continually to blow me away with their generosity and determination, – Tatum Marlatt, Rita Barney, Donna Olson, Kristi Johnson, Delaina Jeter, and, of course, my hubby Justin Spaeth. I had a blast planning this with you, and I can’t wait until next year! And, Justin, I look forward to walking the trail in the dark over and over, brainstorming over what cool additions we can add to the course.
I would like to recognize our Comet Level sponsors: Durango Services (can’t get their logo to load to the page)
And a special thanks to our other sponsors: Competition Sports, Signs of Life, Woodward Wellness Center, Impact Casing, Preston Manufacturing, SPC Office Products, Western Enterprises, and Senator Bryce and Mrs. Tatum Marlatt
Also, a big thank you to all of the volunteers that helped set-up, tear-down, and make the event run smoothly!
And here’s proof that many choose to be fireworks:
Board Members: Kristi Johnson, Donna Olson, Me, Rita Barney, Tatum Marlatt (not pictured – Delaina Jeter, Justin Spaeth)
Fastest Man – Sheldon Meliza
`Fastest Woman – Heather Hague
Me, my mom, and our favorite hair stylist who came from OKC to run
Right before take off.
Other Awesome Fireworks……….
Began with Glowing Bubbles. Ended with Fireworks.
Can’t wait until next year! Continue to Look Alive!
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