Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It's finally here!

We are so excited!!!  Tomorrow we leave, bright and early, for our big family vacation!  We have been looking forward to this for months, planning for it for weeks, and stressing about it for days now. :-)  The kids have worked ahead in their school books; Chad has taken off work; I've arranged for a substitute; and Amanda has flown in from California.  We've found someone to watch our dog; we've checked in for our flight; and we've already put out our garbage and recycling bins.  We are so ready to go to Florida!

We are so thankful to the Sunshine Foundation and their wonderful donors for providing this amazing vacation opportunity for our family.  I realize this all came about because of Dale's accident nearly four years ago, and, given the choice, I would never choose to have my son drown just to get a chance to go to Disney World.  But the Sunshine Foundation is the kind of organization that steps in when life doesn't go as planned and does what they can to help alleviate the everyday stress of dealing with the aftereffects.  They pledged a long time ago to help the chronically ill, the tragically injured, and even the abused to get a glimmer of hope and light by giving them a chance to get away from their everyday lives and make some fun memories to carry them through the days and years ahead.  They put together fundraisers and websites to encourage donors to give generously so that people like us can benefit with a much-needed vacation.  There is no way we can properly express the depth of our gratitude to the people of the Sunshine Foundation for their generosity and compassion.  Without them, this would not be possible.

We have tried to plan our days to get the optimum fun out of our vacation, but it is inevitable that we will leave something undone or not have time for some activity.  If, after our vacation, you hear us talking about the super fun things we did, PLEASE do not say anything like, "Oh, you  should have done ____________.  You really missed out!"  Lol!  We'll be lucky to get out of Florida alive!  Chad's mom and stepdad live about thirty minutes from where we'll be staying, so we'll get to spend some time with family while we're there.  Plus, we get to be a part of the Sunshine Foundation's Dream Village 25th Anniversary celebration.  What a blessing!

But, the real reason we're so excited is that it is obvious that you all have been praying for our son, Dale.  In my last post, I talked about his anger at God and his lack of desire to exercise or improve his outlook.  People have prayed and encouraged; they have talked to us and to Dale.  Chad and I have spent more time praying for and talking to our son, and he's been very open and honest with us.  And he's begun putting effort into his exercise program each day!!!  Katie put together a good routine for Dale, and he's been doing his exercises regularly without (much) complaint.  These are exercises designed to improve his muscle tone and balance, which in turn improves his confidence and attitude.  He even asked if he could go out on teen soulwinning again!  We're still working out the details for that one, but I'm excited that he's wanting to go.  I'm still praying for Dale's spiritual health, that he will be willing to let go of his anger and trust that God still has a plan for his life.  But, for now, I'm just thankful that Dale is taking an interest in his own life and welfare and not just sitting around playing video games and stagnating.  We all feel relieved and pleased and less angry at Dale, and, what's more, we are more inclined to be encouraging and helpful with him when he's having a shaky day.  Thank you to everyone who has prayed along with us for this wonderful step forward.  We see the results of the prayers of God's people and cannot thank you enough!

Gotta go---we need to finish packing for our trip!  God bless you!

Psalm 146: 1-2  "Praise ye the LORD.  Praise the LORD, O my soul.  While I live will I praise the LORD:  I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being."