Kip, Angie, Noah and Lily

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Remembering the Ones"

"You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world-like a city on the mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:13-16

I hope this post finds everyone doing great. Thank you again for the comments, emails, messages, prayers and cards that you have sent our way. We are truly blessed and overwhelmed with your thoughtfulness.

Life never seems to slow down and it never seems to be easy. The one constant is change and that we can never go back and live today again. The one thing we can do is live tomorrow. It is never to late to change your future decisions. It is never to late to do things differently than you have in the past. I have no idea why this is on my mind so much over the past few days but it just seems there might be someone that reads this blog and needs a little encouragement. I know I need it often.

I named my last blog "decisions, decisions, decisions" because we make decisions every day that could have an enormous impact on our life. Some of those decisions might not seem big and some might not seem important but if you think about them... all decisions are important!

One of the decisions that I have made is to start a website that is going to "remember the ones". I am very excited about what God is doing right now with this vision. There is something that is telling me to do this. I believe that it will be a blessing to many people. I pray that God will use it for tremendous good. I started this blog in January with the "ones" on my heart and now I am going to finish the website. It will take about a month before it is ready to go "live" and I can't wait.

I believe that every baby born into this world is special and that every baby born into this world "different" than the norm is even a little more special. I know that I wouldn't have had this passion or drive to recognize the ones if it wasn't for Hogan's life. I believe that there are so many life stories out there that can inspire others.

I had lunch with a business friend of mine on Friday in Watkinsville at "Chops and Hops". I knew that my friend has lost his child at the age of 10 but I hadn't really asked many questions until Friday. My friend got married young in California. He and his wife had a child that had a disability. The child had a random condition that is very rare. She wasn't able to walk and she wasn't able to communicate much. She was only supposed to live a year after birth. She lived for 10 years. Her life was cut short by an accident. She loved water and was playing in her bath with a small amount of water. Her mother had gone downstairs to do laundry when she heard the water running. My friend's daughter was left handed and turned on the hot water by accident. This was a new house and they didn't realize that the water heater was turned up much higher than normal. She couldn't turn it off... by the time the mother ran upstairs to turn the water off.. the damage had been done. This precious little girl was badly burned. The mother called 911 and rushed her daughter to the hospital. The child lived for a while and was improving until one weekend when she turned much worse and passed away in her dad's arms a day later. I saw a picture of his beautiful daughter at lunch on Friday. I can only imagine the pain that he and his wife have to live. My friend is a special person and he had a special daughter.

This is another reason I am starting this website. I want to focus on parents and children that have beaten the odds or that are fighting for life. I am a healthy adult that has been blessed with great health so far in my life. I wonder if I am really giving God my best. I wonder if I can do more with the talents that I have been given. What is my excuse? It is never too late to change my life. It's never too late to make better decisions. I can't change yesterday but I can change tomorrow. I am so thankful for everyone that reads this blog and hopefully it isn't a waste of your time. Please pray that this website will make a difference in many lives and that it will be a good tool that will be used for good. I pray that God will use the website like he used Hogan's life on earth.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions....

July 4th at Bear Lake Reserve!

I stand silently before the Lord, waiting for him to rescue me. For salvation comes from him alone. Yes, he alone is my Rock, my rescuer, defense and fortress. Why then should I be tense with fear when troubles come? Psalm 62:1,2

I hope this post finds everyone staying cool during this hot summer! Angie and I went to the WNC mountains for the 4th and had a great time. It was actually a nice, cool weekend at Bear Lake Reserve and we were very thankful for time to relax and enjoy Noah and Lily. It was a big weekend for Noah because it was the first time that he didn't want to run screaming to the car or van to hide and get away from the fireworks. We drove over to Cashiers on Saturday night to see their fireworks with some friends of ours. I think being able to see other children playing and having fun looking at fire trucks and running around put Noah in a position to be able to handle the fireworks! He did great. Noah became an expert by the end of the night and was telling me which ones he liked the best. He even told me that the fireworks were made up of "rocks" and that was what was lighting up! I love to hear the things that little ones say!

I have no idea why this week was so difficult but for some reason Hogan was on my mind even more than normal. I always try to analyze things in my mind and maybe it was the fact it was the first time Angie and I had traveled to the mountains to stay at Bear Lake since we found out about Hogan last year. I put a few pictures of our July 4th trip on facebook and was thankful for all of the nice comments about our "family picture" and we were happy that night but isn't it interesting that although you smile and enjoy things that inside you could be hurting like nobody would guess. You just never know what someone is going through or what someone might have on their mind. I know we should be thankful for the time we spent with Hogan and I know that we have 2 other beautiful kids but it doesn't take away the pain sometimes. I believe you are either coming out of a battle in life or you are about to go into one. We are very thankful for our family and friends. We are so thankful for the people that read this blog and offer encouragement through comments, prayers, cards and phone calls. You have no idea how much it means to us.

I titled this blog post "Decisions, Decisions, Decisions" because we are always making them in life. We wake up in the morning deciding to get out of bed. We decide what to wear for the day. We decide what to eat for breakfast. We decide if we take a shower.... or not!? Hopefully you take a shower! You get the point I am trying to make. I mentioned some easy questions that we have to make a decision on every morning but they can also get very tough. I know because it seems I am always making what seems to me are important decisions! I can look back and see that some of them were good ones and I can look back and regret many that I have made as well. Some are pretty blatant that many people might know about while others are ones that I know were the wrong ones that nobody might know about. It doesn't matter how many people know what choices we make but the important thing is making a choice that honors God.

We are all human and are all going to make bad choices but if we pray about the little ones we will probably be in good shape to make wise decisions when it comes to the big ones. I mention this because many of you from Georgia that read my blog are either Georgia fans or fans that root against Georgia! UGA's athletic director made a bad decision a little over a week ago that cost him his job. Obviously, it wasn't a good one and if he could go back to that night I am sure he would now choose to make a different decision. It is easy to pick on him for making this decision but unless we were in that situation do we really know what decision we would make? The easy answer is "I would never do that"..... I think we are all human and that we could all make the wrong choice. Again, some choices are easy ones and some are tough ones. I have made many decisions in my life I wouldn't have wanted on the front page of the Atlanta Journal and I am sure that many that read this blog have done the same. The sad thing is that this probably happens many times in Atlanta and many other towns across our nation every night. It isn't easy to make some decisions. The easy decision is to "go with the flow" and make the decisions that honor others and that don't honor God. It's almost like once you decide to follow Jesus and honor God in your walk that you know that you will be tempted even more!

I have to decide that I will trust God in my walk every day. It doesn't always seem like it would be the most fun or the most exciting but every day that I make good decisions it is amazing how I feel at peace and have the joy that comes from honoring God. I had a dream about a week ago that I was sitting in a doctors office and found out that I had cancer. The doctor told me that I only had a year or two to live. I can't tell you how much that dream has been on my mind over the past few days. If you have actually lived through that diagnosis in real life or have been close to someone that has... my heart goes out to you. Although it was a dream it was real in my mind. It brought back memories of my childhood when I would wake up and it would take a few minutes to realize that the dream "wasn't real". It has been hard to decide to honor God over the past week because my heart has been hurting and because my natural instinct was to feel sorry for myself because of life events and because of Hogan's death. I could easily stick with this thought process and not be a good friend, father, husband etc. or I can decide to trust God and to honor God with my life. My desire is to be that good friend, father and husband no matter if I have one day left on this earth, 365 days or 30 years!

a couple of updates...

I wanted to ask for your prayers about the website and the book. I have gotten initial feedback on the book and am going to take the step that I was told to take. I am also getting the "remembering the ones" website started soon. This website will be to honor those babies, infants, toddlers and little ones that are special. These "ones" are the "ones" that are the "ones" in statistics. They are the 1 out of 1000 or the 1 out of 100. These are the ones that you might not think about unless you were part of the club. Hogan was one of these statistics. God used his little life to open my eyes to these "ones" and their families.

I do still miss my "guys night out" in the NICU with Hogan. I also miss writing my letters to Hogan and blogging from St. Mary's. I feel that God was with us through Hogan's journey and I pray that God will continue to be with us now that Hogan's journey took his last turn on April 18th. The thoughts that continue to inspire me to do great things are the things that Hogan showed me in his journey here on earth. When he was diagnosed I realized the only way to live was to focus on the "point" (Jesus). I also realized not to take anything for granted. I encourage whoever stumbles onto this post to live your days like they are your last days on this earth.

In His Love,

All their life in this world..... had only been the cover and title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before. C.S. Lewis, THE LAST BATTLE