Thursday, September 29, 2011


previously published on

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
 Luke 12:48

Familiar Scripture came to mind today as we arrived at Duke's Children's Health Center for Thomas to give away the Sasha Bears. These nearly two dozen bears were bought in honor of Thomas from Linda's friend Brenda Herrick, a "Scentsy" consultant . Those who purchased the bears, did not take them but donated them to Thomas so he could share them with other children in treatment for Brain Cancer at Duke.

Today, Thomas, along with Social Worker Rebecca McIntyre, met children in the Day Hospital and Clinic and Duke Children's Hospital who are receiving treatments. Also, Katie from Child Life spent time with Thomas and took a couple of bears for some children who were not present today.

Children who were both older and younger than Thomas seemed to really like the bears. They were able to choose the scent pack they liked as it was stuffed into the bear. Sweet smiles were all around.

As I served as the official photographer of the day, I could not help but think back on the journey we have traveled. As we walked the now familiar halls, passed the elevators and PICU and Step Down Units that consumed our days, I remembered the days after surgery. I remembered the tubes and machines and procedures. We showed Thomas the way to the PICU. While he did not really remember his days there, the MRI, the decisions made, I did.

As I watch him smile and tell the story of the Sasha Bears, help each one choose a scent pack, and give bear after bear away, my heart is humbled. How great and good is our God! He is healing Thomas in many ways. Prayers are being answered, side effects have been marginal, energy has improved.

Today, wearing his Duke Medicine T-shirt and matching bandanna, Thomas smiles his way along the halls, meeting each child at eye level. There are those who are older and those who are younger than Thomas. There are those who suffer in different ways, with different problems after their surgeries. There are those who must take both radiation and chemotherapy. There are some who remain in isolation, some who must return to stay in the hospital over and over. Some have permanent shunts; all have their own scars.

As I look at the miracle God is doing, my eyes see just how much God has given, and my heart knows that God expects us to give in return. God has truly given more; today, Thomas gave MORE! I wonder, just how much has God entrusted to Thomas, to us? How will we ever be able to give enough to express our gratitude?

A two year old name Dillion said it all without speaking: he smiled, hugged the bear then signed: THANK YOU!

To God be the Glory ~ dho

IF you want to order a Scentsy bear (or other products), see Brenda's site below. For all the Bears sold, a portion of thSe proceeds goes to the Ronald McDonald House and ALL COMMISIONS for these bears through September go to Thomas's FUND!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ordinary Time

from my Caring Bridge post on Sunday September 18, 2011 ~

This is the Lord's Day! I went to St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church with Linda, Mike and Thomas this morning. Wearing his long white robe and a bandanna with stars, Thomas was an altar server today. He takes his service very seriously and finds deep satisfaction as evidenced by his expressions

This is the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. "Ordinary Time" is all the time during the liturgical year, excluding the season of Advent (Christmas through Epiphany) and Lent (Ash Wednesday through Pentecost). I always forget about this phrase but like the image evoked, because we all live most of our lives in ordinary time.

After the reading of the Scriptures from the Old Testament and the New Testament, familiar words are spoken: The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. However, before the reading from The Gospel the response is different: A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew. Glory to You, Lord. I like the reply of the people: Glory to You, Lord.

As is custom, the Lord's Prayer is sung in community. The ending words were my soul's valediction: For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours, now and forever. During communion, these words from the song echoed over and over in my heart as my prayers of thanksgiving were laid on the altar: All my being, bless the Lord, remembering the goodness of God.

The last song sung was one I had never heard but the words spoke to the core of this journey we must take. It does not feel like it, but we are walking in ordinary time, despite extraordinary circumstances. This journey is not unlike our faith journey, mostly lived out in ordinary time, always seeking an extraordinary Savior. Read the words to the song Enter the Journey and follow the vision, carry the cross.

  Enter the journey, come to the song.
By God you are chosen, by name you are called
To follow the vision, carry the cross.
Enter the journey of faith as the family of God.

Enter the journey, the way may be long.

Enter the journey, yet we are made strong.

God's Spirit will guide us, God's gifts will unfold.

Enter the journey of hope!

Enter the journey, though lost and unsure.

Enter the journey, God's peace will be yours.

And all who are thirsting will be filled with God's grace.

Enter the journey of faith!

Enter the journey, dark is the way.

Enter the journey, do not be afraid.

For God's great compassion will give you new sight.

Enter the journey of light!

Enter the journey, the old and the young.

Enter the journey, the kingdom is won.

By faith now united, as servants we come.

Enter the journey of love!

(by Mark Friedman and Janet Vogt)

Glory to You, Lord! ~dho
you can follow the journey of Thomas as he fights brain cancer:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

God's Glory!

Then Moses said, "Now show me your Glory." And the LORD said, "I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
Exodus 33:18-19 NIV
Thomas, head through the sun roof! Simple joy!

As our family has prayed its way through this journey of brain cancer, surgery and radiation, we have asked God to heal, to strengthen, to comfort Thomas. Our prayers and the countless prayers of family and friends and friends of friends have asked for encouragement and energy, for patience and peace, for calm and courage. Holy praises have been offered to the Lord for joy in the simple things, for small victories,and for laughter. We have not asked God like Moses, "Now show us Your Glory", but He has! God's great goodness has passed in front of us! His Glory is evidenced in moments and minutes and memories of His Presence during this journey.

The question of why there is suffering and who is healed can not be adequately answered with our finite minds. The fall of humanity from the beginning allowed sin to stand between mankind and God. It is only through Christ, the Son, that we find a way back to God, the Father. In between the beginning and the end, there is uncertainty and chaos and questions, but before the beginning and after the end, there is Certainty, Peace, and Truth. We find this possiblity in God, the Creator himself, who has all authority. Not bound by time or distance or circumstance, we must accept this God, for He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient.

Not knowing why, nor understanding His Ways, I can say for certain that we have felt God's mercy and compassion, that we have witnessed God's mercy and compassion, that we will tell of God's mercy and compassion. For as every petition rises like incense to this Holy God, each one is full of thanksgiving for such undeserved, unmerited mercy and compassion. Truly the Goodness of God has passed in front of us, too!
To God be the Glory ~ dho

Sunday, September 04, 2011

New Places and Opportunities

Almost a year ago, I recorded the following in my devotional journal. These are the words of Dennis Kinlaw from his devotional book, This Day with the Master.
 [God] is waiting to explode our smallness and put us in places of which we have only dreamed. . . Do not settle for smallness, . . . God is waiting to take you into places and open you up to opportunities that exist only in your wildest dreams.
Kinlaw goes on to point out that these opportunities do not come from our own making, rather "you must let [God] give you the opportunities and move you into new places."

Why is it that we  complain about the smallness of our lives, the smallness of the moments? When does our complacency allow us to be content with our smallness? How often do we go in search of new places and opportunities by ourselves? Do we seek God's will for our moments or charge ahead, desperate to create our own?

These are questions that wrestle with my mind. The many possibilities can create conflict for me, and other times, the waiting stagnates my willingness. If these words are true, that God desires to put us in places of which we have only dreamed, dare I not wait with Him? Likewise, if we must let God provide the opportunities and move us to these new places, dare I not trust His leading?  I must trust Him absolutely! ~dho

God, the One and Only - I'll wait as long as He says.
Everything I need comes from Him,
He's solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul.
. . . So trust Him absolutely.
Psalm 62:1-2,8 The Message