Eden: A Hero for Her Older Sisters Speech II

Posted by tom | Nov 19, 2010

As I mentioned in Eden: A Hero for Her Older Sisters, it's speech time for 5th graders and the twins picked their younger sister Eden as their "hero."

Below is the second speech. 

My sister is a model to me, cause even though her day is hectic with a lot of therapists and school, she still makes time to greet me when I get home from school each day.

Note 1:  Today Eden accomplished some significant tasks we've been desiring for quite some time.  Pray that they'll become habits.  To God be the glory!

Note 2:  I'll have to scan the medals which she received from her sisters and post them.  


Eden: A Hero for Her Older Sisters

Posted by tom | Nov 17, 2010

It's speech time for 5th graders.  Who did the twins pick for the topic of "hero"? 

Their younger sister Eden.

Below is the piece which came home, the other was finished at school and I'll have to wait to read/share. 

Five years ago, I became a big sister to Eden.  Eden was not born like everyone else.  She was disabled and needed careful surgery.  She fought to live but has her right side of her body not working fully.  Right now she does things that kids her age did when they were three years old.  She needs extra attention and special care.  She still is a person and even though people ask me questions, she is still my little sister and now is attending the Kindergarten Center.  Eden is now five years old and very tall.

Note:  Eden just burst into the house with a headdress made at a school Harvest Party.  She's full of joy and ready for lunch.  Later today she will receive a medal from their sisters.  To God be the glory!


"My Heart -- Christ's Home: Retold for Children"

Posted by tom | Nov 11, 2010

At breakfast, Eden and I prayed the Lord's Prayer and then read My Heart -- Christ's Home: Retold for Children (Robert Boyd Munger with Carolyn Nystrom.  Illustrated by Jerry Tiritilli.  InterVarsity Press. 1997). It's been quite awhile since we read the book and she loved returning to it.  Below's a challenging section for all of us:

My Heart's -- Christ Home:  Retold for Children.  By Robert Boyd Munger with Carolyn Nystrom.  Illustrations by Jerry Tiritilli.  InterVarsity Press.  1997.

After breakfast Jesus said, "Well, my friend, we have work to do.  It's time to tackle your closet."

"But it's my closet."  I tried not to yell.  "Those are my things.  I like them just the way they are."

"If you want me to live with you," Jesus said, "we will have to get rid of that stink."

We walked down the hall together.  I could smell something awful even before we got to the door.

I crawled into the darkest, farthest corner of the closet.  Slowly I put my hands on my wooden box.  Slowly I brought it out. ...

Jesus looked a long time at all things in my box.  His face was sad.  But in a funny way, he looked like he loved me.

"I'm sorry," I said.

"I forgive you," Jesus answered.  And he held me with a huge hug.

"Do you want me to stay with you always?"  Jesus asked.

"Yes," I answered.  This time I was sure. ...

Join Eden and myself in offering what is "in the closet" to the Father, receiving his forgiveness through His Son Jesus the Christ, and joy in walking with the Lord.  As a child of God, may the Spirit fill each step of the way as you are shaped more and more into who you were "created"/intended to be.  To God be the glory!

Note:  If you've not read the original My Heart -- Christ's Home booklet (Robert Boyd Munger. InterVarsity Press), I encourage you to do such.


Posted by tom | Nov 4, 2010

The first word that Eden spelled and sounded out for me was "Stop."  She was so proud of herself.*  So much so that she began spelling/sounding out other words on the calendar, e.g., November, December.  Her pronounciation is getting so much better!  What a special moment.  Kindergarten has been such a good "step up" for Eden.  To God be the glory!

*We'll see how well she listens the next time she's asked to "Stop."

QUAN is for Quandary

Posted by tom | Oct 9, 2010

Every week Eden checks out a new stack of books from the library.  Not sure whether Theresa or Eden picked out "On Beyond Zebra!" by Dr. Suess ..., but it was on the stack and I put Eden to sleep with it somewhere around Wum or Nuh.

As it's always hard to tell whether Eden has truly gone to sleep (because Eden's left eyelid never completely shuts) and I don't recall reading the "On Beyond Zebra!" by Dr. Suess ... before, I kept on going. I particularly appreciated Quan

When you beyond Zebra,
Who knows .. ?
There's no telling
What wonderful things
You might find yourself spelling!
Like QUAN is for Quandary, who lives on a shelf
In a hole in the ocean alone by himself
And he worries, each day, from the dawn's early light
And he worries, just worries, far into the night
He just stands there and worries. He simply can't stop ...
Is his top-side his bottom? Or bottom-side top?

As with many of Dr. Suess' musings, it sounds like a philosophical exploration of "where do we find our sense of identity, place, meaning, reality."  Pray, as I have an appointment today which explores the possibility of a Veritas Forum in our Central PA, for the opportunity to create an outreach which will point students to the One which enables us to find our true identity, sense of place, understanding of meaning, grounding in the reality.

Eden's eyesight continues to improve!

Posted by theresa | Sep 25, 2010
Join our family in rejoicing that Eden's eyesight continues to improve!! And for the quickest eye doctor visit ever -- in and out in 20 minutes! I'm not sure which stuns me more. -- 9/23/2010

What job do you want to have when you grow up?

Posted by tom | Sep 17, 2010

The other day "My Very First Devotional Bible" posed the question, "What job do you want to have when you grow up?" as an introduction to the story of Samuel's call (I Samuel 3:1-10).  What was Eden's answer as we ate our breakfast?

  • Orange Juice
  • Vitamins
  • Egg sandwhich
  • Oatmeal w/grapes, banana, & brown sugar

"I want to be a doctor."

Was she persuaded to change her mind by the pictures of a firefighter, a teacher, or an artist?  No and no doubt that is only reinforced by her many books about doctors/hospitals, visits to doctors/hospitals, time with the PSU-Hershey Christian Medical Society, and 'the call to care' which is placed on her heart.

What do you want to be when you grow up?  If you have children (grandchildren, or great-grandchildren), what do they desire to be when they grow up?  The lesson focused on reminding the reader that our first job is to love God and others. 

"Speak. I'm listening." -- Samuel, I Samuel 3:10

May we likewise reply to the call of God (and the instruction of our elders) in our daily walk with God. 

"Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.' -- Eli, I Samuel 3:9

May we as Eli (who comes through in this story) likewise encourage family, friends, brothers/sisters in Christ to listen to the voice of God.

Note:  I desire to become more and more like Christ each and every day ... in each and every way ... as I was created to be.  And I long to see others to do likewise.  What a joy first to follow Christ and be a part of His Body/people directed by His Father, Spirit, Word, Way, Truth, Life, and then to have a practical overflow through family, friends, Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship! 

The Wonder Drug of Kindergarten

Posted by tom | Sep 11, 2010

On Friday morning around 6 am, Eden shared her lack of interest in going to Kindergarten.  This was overcome by a dress-up time in one of twins old cheerleading outfits.  Dressed as a cheerleader, Eden quietly emptied some kitchen drawers and began designing "a project to bring to school."  What was she doing?  She was trying to write her name on some storage containers with a pencil.  After further discussion, she opted for writing her name on the back of a piece of paper.  When she saw I handed her the backside of a worksheet she brought home from school she responded, "You're in big trouble." (Note:  She's concerned about this trend of seeing her papers from school used as scrap paper).  And then proceeded to draw a picture of a cat and dog instead of writing her name.

Once her new project was finished, she was ready to dress for school and have "what we had for dinner last night" (i.e., french toast).  While Eden ate her french toast without syrup (so she didn't get her school clothes sticky -- her idea!), we finished a "call/response" reading of Phil A. Smouse's I Can Read God's Word. She choose the book because she "loves the pictures." During some of the sections she answered the questions, instead of repeating the text after me. But it was good to hear what she had to say.  FYI: PDF excerpt from I Can Read God's Word posted here.

As Theresa shared on Facebook, "I'm beginning to think that Kindergarten is a wonder drug for Eden! Yippee!!"  After some comments, she expanded, "[Eden's] Not sleeping any better, but just acting more her age.  Becoming more independent and a wee bit more reasonable.  I love hearing about her morning when she gets home.  She's always SO excited to tell everyone what she did.  I wish I was a fly on the wall at kindergarten.  I'm fortunate to have "Aunt Lois" there to spy for me :)"

Comment from Tom:   It's also been a wonder drug for Theresa ;-)  BTW, Eden has been sleeping later in the morning, even going back to bed some.  Where does that come from?

Eden's enjoying Kindergarten

Posted by tom | Sep 7, 2010

Praise God for a good first four days of school for the girls! All three girls have found their teachers to be great matches. 

AND Eden was ready to go. Your prayers moved the heart of God. He worked through all the prep/patience/training of the past several years and summer focus.  Thank-you to all those who helped along the way in our family context, local congregation activities, the community, preschool programming, and the Kindergarten itself.

  • Eden's first impression of the bus:  "Isn't it illegal not to have seatbelts."  Note:  we rode on a regular bus for the Kindergarten Open House the week before school started.  She was so relieved to have a seat belt on her bus.  A parent's dream with regard to car safety?
  • Eden's first impressions of Kindergarten: They have a library!!! And she got to bring home a book! And it's about going to the doctor! Could life get any better? AND, she was so busy she didn't even remember that she wasn't getting a snack (she had been very upset to find out there was no snack).
  • Key to getting her to go with joy to the last day of the first week:  Art class.  She couldn't wait for this opportunity and it was good.  She couldn't believe when I was using the backside of one of her pieces for directions.  BTW, she loved music the day before.
  • Last day of the first week: "Mom, Mom! Listen to this. This is amazing! Today, our teacher, brought a snack and said we could have some animal cookies if we wanted them!!!" (This kids likes her snacks; can you tell?)

Continue to pray for good sleep for all in the house as we enter the next four days of school. And for each & every one of us to wake up filled w/the fruit of the Spirit, growing more into the likeness of Christ Jesus every step of the way.

Eden's a Preschool Graduate!

Posted by tom | Jul 31, 2010

Last night Eden graduated from preschool today. Wow!  Can you believe it?  It's amazing how much improvement Eden's made and that she can't wait to go to kindergarten. Praise God!

Your prayers and care for Eden (and our family) continue to be a rich blessing and great encouragement.  Thank-you.

Update from the visit to the eye doctor

Posted by tom | Jun 23, 2010

Yesterday on Facebook Theresa shared her hope for "good news and a cooperative kid" as she entered Eden's eye doctor appointment.  Many of our friends/family stood with us in prayer.  Theresa's report from the appointment:

Thanks for your prayers. I was pleasantly surprised at how cooperative Eden was, despite a long visit. And the good news is that her eyesight continues to improve! Hurray!

Praise God!

Donut Man & Madeline

Posted by tom | Jun 1, 2010

Do you have a hit film in your house? 

Eden and Lily enjoy rotating between various Donut Man with Duncan and the Donut Repair Club videos and Madeline (1998). I've really enjoyed watching them hang out together with lots of song, dance, hiding during scary parts, and looking for the lost (e.g., cup, nook, snack, doll, etc). Kids bring so much joy to the house and Lily is a special blessing to Eden.  Can you believe Lily will soon turn two years old?

Eden's the best when she's the worst?

Posted by tom | May 1, 2010

I'll have to ask my mom if I did the best in school when I gave the most resistance to drop-off at the classroom door, sometimes without any signs beforehand.  That is data we're compiling as we read the reports from the preschool instructors (and therapists) after tough drop-offs, such as Friday's.  Anyone else have similar experience?

Note:  It's not a universal rule which has carried over to Sunday School drop-off :(  We'll see what's in store for tomorrow.  Ready to head out to Maytown celebrations!  Hope everyone's cheerful after their naps.

God took care of Snow White

Posted by tom | Apr 11, 2010

The Hide-and-Seek-Prince. By Mary Manz Simon. Illustrated by Dennis Jones. Concordia Publishing House, 1994. Based upon II Kings 11:1-12:16.The other day while getting ready in the morning, Eden asked me to recount the story of Joash and then Snow White. While reading The Hide-and-Seek-Prince* this week, I've emphasized the call of God upon Joash and the responsibility which he received at 7 years of age. Note: In our culture, there is an ironic encouraging of children to their full potential while discouraging their ability to make decisions, strike out on their own, get it done, and take leadership.  Eden really enjoys the drama of the story. 

After hearing my brief recounting of Snow White, Eden pointed out God took care of Snow White.  Amen!  Then she asked, Did Snow White know God?  What would you say?  I responded that it was my prayer that someone such as us went to their castle to share God, His Life, and His Story, just as I go to campus. Furthermore, it's our responsibility to share God, His Life, and His Story each and every day with all whom we meet.  A conversation to be picked up, a life to be lived, and a Snow White Part II to be imagined/written by Eden in the coming months ... in the mean time how do you discuss God in relationship to the traditional tales of our culture? 

PS. Brian Godawa’s Word Pictures: Knowing God Through Story & Imagination (InterVarsity Press, 2009) has some great insights on storytelling. Material from this book coming, to wet your appetite visit my ESN blog post Recognizing the Messiah.

*By Mary Manz Simon. Illustrated by Dennis Jones. Concordia Publishing House, 1994. Based upon II Kings 11:1-12:16.

Eden's Eyesight Improving

Posted by theresa | Mar 27, 2010

[insert Hallelujah Chorus] Eden's eyesight has improved to such an extent that she only needs to wear a patch for 2 hours a day instead of 6!!!! -- originally posted Facebook, 3/26/2010, 3:11pm.

Eden's Ride in the Virtual Ambulance

Posted by tom | Mar 17, 2010

Over the past several weeks, Eden's found ambulances of great interest and used her medical kids toys to exam family members numerous times.* On Sunday, we passed by an accident with an ambulance arriving and followed a second ambulance for about a mile.** So when we arrived at my parent's she went straight to the computer to find a picture of the inside of an ambulance and find out just what the bed looked like.  We looked at several sites, but she particularly liked taking the 360 tour of Rescue 53: Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad again and again.

*With Lily trailing behind her and copying her every move.

**For part of ride, Eden desired to be a veterinarian. That was probably based upon Hayley sharing her vocational interest. But Eden moved from being a veterinarian for animals to being a veterinarian for animals/humans to being doctor for humans.

Embracing and celebrating the gift of Eden

Posted by tom | Feb 22, 2010

Below are some reflections, taken from my Spiritual Autobiography

But first swing by this album for some photos of Eden's growth/development and click here for some birthday party pictures.  To God be the glory!

Eden's birthday cupcakes. She requested carrot cake cupcakes. Dad's favorite ;-)

On February 22, 2006, our family rejoiced in baby Eden’s first birthday as a child who continues to improve in health. As a sleepy newborn in her first several weeks of life we did not observe the way she twisted her neck and the misalignment of her eye. Maybe the bleed in her brain occurred shortly after the birth and was not immediately apparent. But after about a month, we had significant concern and before we knew it, Children’s Hospital had become a regular destination. On Good Friday, our doctors advised us to begin chemotherapy just after Easter to halt the growth of what at the time was considered most probably a brainstem tumor.


Eden turns 5

Posted by tom | Feb 22, 2010

What a joy to celebrate Eden's 5th birthday and her continued growth, development, healing.  Do you remember when she was a baby? Check out her baby pictures. Note: Some of her story is posted beginning here -- follow the Eden thread backward.  To God be the glory!

Eden's Early Intervention Progress Report

Posted by tom | Feb 4, 2010

Yesterday, Theresa discussed Eden's Early Intervention Progress Report with those giving specific attention to Eden's development.  In brief, Eden has made much progress over the past year.  Praise God!  Pray for Eden's continued growth in physical, social, communication skills as she prepares to enter kindergarten next fall. 

P.S. Eden turns five on February 22.  How about that?  Not what we were told to expect early on in the journey.  To God be the glory! What a privilege to be entrusted with raising this precious gift of God. 

Intergenerational worship and the messy realities of crying babies II

Posted by tom | Dec 20, 2009

Driveway plowed (Thank-you Rodney & Landon!).  Roads look ok.  So we're heading out to the 11:00 am simple service of songs and carols at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ.

Due to the snow, the 8:30 service and extended Fellowship Time for today was cancelled. The Christmas Service, with full orchestra, choir, and refreshment time between services, has been moved to December 27th.

Due to Urbana 09, I'll miss the full scale Christmas service on December 27th.  But I'm really looking forward to having the whole family participate in a simple service of songs and carols.  To expand upon that further, Eden's already shared her desire to be with us at worship this morning and what better Sunday than Christmas Sunday to have all the kids in the mix. ... So I'm bringing Lily along, whether nursery is available or not.  Praying for the Lord's blessing as we worship as a family, part of the family of God. An Advent Sunday full of anticipation. ... expect an update w/more thoughts on the larger topic.

We're going to watch a puppy for a whole week!!

Posted by tom | Nov 24, 2009

Due to our opportunity to help out a friend by dog sitting for about 1 week, Eden didn't sleep much on Sunday night.  On Monday morning, Eden exclaimed, "We're going to watch a puppy for a whole week!!"  Theresa reports, "Much excitement getting acclimated the first day, but all in all, a good day. Sadly, she's better trained than my kids..." 

In day two, Eden can hardly contain her nervous enthusiasm as she spins around and tries to pet Daisy. She moves and licks a little too much, too fast for Eden.  Good prep to have been around dogs on our trip to Austin, TX. Time with Daisy now provides leverage for Eden accomplishing tasks.  It's great to see how well Eden manages balance around Daisy in the living room and the stairwell between floors. 

Note:  Ellen has been a great help sitting with and walking Daisy. Also, I have tried to remember to close the doors behind me to make sure I accomplish as much as possible before Thanksgiving celebrations begin ;-)  Although right now I'm watching the Eden while Theresa hits the grocery store before the Great Thanksgiving RushDaisy is in the basement.  Later in the morning, I'm heading over to PSU-Hershey Christian Medical Society's lunch outreach.  I don't think Lily napped and she's having a fit.  Gotta run. ...

Little Miss Muffet

Posted by tom | Oct 21, 2009

When Eden requested reading Little Miss Muffet during her afternoon quiet time on Monday, I was struck by how seldom I've read Mother Goose to my girls.  Going through the upstairs book collection, I found Richard Scarry's Best MOTHER GOOSE Ever (Golden Books, 1964).  Eden loved it and drifted off to sleep. 

As always, Richard Scarry delivered a creative depiction of the stories being told.  What a joy to read through the whole Richard Scarry's Best MOTHER GOOSE Ever and leave Eden with

Good night,
Sleep tight
Wake up bright
In the morning light,
To do what's right
With all your might.

May it be so! 

PS.  Much better than Good night, sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite. ... I wonder if the bed bugs bit next door as Lily woke up shortly after I left Eden's room and started writing this post.  Gotta go, maybe I should give Lily a reading of Richard Scarry's Best MOTHER GOOSE Ever ;-)

A Child's First Book of Prayers

Posted by tom | Oct 19, 2009

Over the past several weeks, Eden and I prayed from Prayers for little hearts (Prayers by James Galvin of The Livingstone Corporation, Design by Catherine Berstrom, Tyndale House Publishers, 1996) before turning to a devotional. Just the other day we finished Prayers for little hearts and have now turned to A Child's First Book of Prayers (By Lois Rock, illustrated by Alison Jay, Augsburg Books, 2002).  Here's the Introduction, pray that it will be so ...

Learning to pray is learning to see the world as it looks from heaven.  It means learning to believe in the power of faith and hope and love... the unfailing love of God.

May these simple prayers be a first step in your journey.

Is the worm your friend?

Posted by theresa | Sep 19, 2009

While I was weeding and finding many earthworms, Eden asked me, "Mom, is the worm your friend?"

"No, I don't think a worm can be your friend." (Theresa)

"But it's my best friend." (Eden)

Then Eden proceeded to sit on the chair and sing and talk to her new best friend for a good 10 minutes. Then she tried to feed her not-so-best-anymore-friend to the rooster who wasn't so interested in a now-lifeless-not-so-best-anymore-friend. -- Based upon a status update from Facebook. 

Eden's ready for the fall term

Posted by tom | Aug 29, 2009

Over the past couple weeks, Eden has mentioned again and again how much she can't wait for her new teacher.  And the first week of preschool has been great, not only with the new teacher but also with her therapists.  Recently Eden's begun mentioning her enthusiasm for her new Sunday School instructor.  Praise God! 

Pray for her ability to stay on her two feet as kids run around at Sunday School, Preschool (Tuesday & Friday mornings), Children's Choir (Wednesday evening), and Playhouse (Thursday morning).  And join us in rejoicing for how well Eden's playing inside/outside at various intergenerational social events, such as today's pool party with some friends from Grove City College.  Note:  there were 9 adults, 11 kids. Pics coming, but at present it's time for some rest.  

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