A song to sing….

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In life I believe God has given us all a song to sing…a cause, an organization, a charity, a calling that we are passionate about.  Some of us have known that song for years, and pursued professions in order to sing it.  Some of us have been led to our song by some of the hard choices and rough paths our lives have mapped out.  Yet even some, like us have found our song through a set of difficult circumstances we could have never imagined….

September is officially pediatric cancer awareness month…gold ribbons will fill social media, statistics about funding or lack of will pop up on your timeline.  Walks, runs, lemonade stands, fundraisers galore will be shared and you will be invited to give/participate more than you would probably like.  The songs written for the causes that have begun in tragedy and injustice are often the most passionate and difficult to write.  When our daughter was diagnosed we never could have imagined the road we were about to go down…we suddenly were in the middle of writing a new song, one that is hard to sing.  During Kiara’s fight with cancer we became members of a community unlike one we have ever experienced.  We met the most amazing families, forged special friendships.  Cancer parents connect with other cancer parents on a level that is hard to comprehend, it is a level of hell that you wouldn’t wish upon anyone.  You see no bad decisions went into our Warrior Princess Kiara getting a brain tumor.  It is the ultimate injustice- and an assault on innocence…so we sing this song.  We sing it everyday, not just in September.  Keren and I sing it differently, than some; not better, not worse, just different…

While there is much work to be done…so much work to be done- there are many who are doing amazing things.  The Purple Society is an organization that helped us get into St Jude for the clinical trial that saved Kiara’s life.  The Conti family started and carry on the mission in memory of their sweet daughter Nitalia…you see someone lost their life and the work done after that tragedy helped saved our Kiara.  St Jude Research Hospital- a place that is beyond me to describe by words in a blog…some of the best people in world work there and do work that matters daily.  The Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore- where strangers became family.  We have seen friends, family, strangers, dr.s’, nurses, and therapists (at 3 different hospitals), companies, corporations…all move from
“Awareness” to “Action” on our behalf.  The generosity show to us would fill a book…but thank you to the doers.  Thank you to those who took a break from your songs to sing ours.

So, before you get annoyed by our song or anyone else’s song for that matter- seek to understand why we sing it.  Friends- seek to understand, there are many songs that need to be sung.  And if the tune of our song isn’t sweet or appealing to your ears- that’s okay!  Go sing the song that God has put in your heart, and don’t get distracted by the ones He hasn’t!  Lastly, I encourage you- move from Awareness into action!  Remember: Love looks like something- it is always in action!  Thank you to all who have been and continue to be a love experience for Warrior Princess Kiara and the Grindrod5.  If you would like to follow WPK (Warrior Princess Kiara) she has a Facebook page where we share her progress and updates:  fb.me/WarriorPrincessKiara

Ciera, MaKennah, Zion, Nitalia…..we promise to do what we can to keep singing your songs.

If Pediatric Cancer is pulling on your heartstrings we would like to suggest these 3 organizations for your donations:

St Jude Children’s Research Hospital:  https://www.stjude.org

The Purple Society:  https://werpurple.org

Ronald McDonald House Baltimore:  http://rmhcbaltimore.org/ways-to-give/


Reflections on a year and maybe a start?..

I enjoy how Facebook reminds me of memories from the years past, I like to reminisce on status updates, and pictures from different points of my life.  I love to see how much my kids have grown, I cringe at some of my posts, and laugh at other ones- appreciating how timeless my sense of humor is..(this is where you nod in agreement).  This year is different however…I am not looking forward to the reminders of the beginning of the past year.

I want to be honest, I want to tell you all honestly what I am going through- I am just not sure I can appropriately capture the past year…It is a challenge to feel secure in the emotions that come- I don’t know how to communicate the peaks and valleys that come wave upon wave, sometimes from one moment to the next.  How can I be frustrated? Kiara is the one going through the battle…How can I be distraught? Kiara is still fighting and countless others are not…How can I celebrate the small progress when just a year ago these tasks were completed with ease now take fight, determination, and assistance.  Our faith is strong, but something I stole from Levi Lusko fits so perfectly…”hurting with hope, still hurts.”

Trials reveal foundations…so often the fingerprints of God are unseen, unacknowledged until you look back in the rearview mirror.  So much of this past year applies to what we have walked through.  Faith must be tested and tried before it becomes real in your life…

So, thinking about the past year- so many have asked how we came to find out Kiara had a brain tumor…dare I say “The beginnings of Chapter 1”…..

Halloween for Christians…..what a conundrum for so many parents.  Can our kids dress up, can they trick or treat, or should we stick to the church harvest party, or better yet turn the porch light off and hide from all the sinners?  I laugh as I write these because we have been all over the board on this issue.  Ultimately, we have settled on letting the kids dress up.  We sometimes trick or treat, we sometimes go to a church function and sometimes both.  We aim to get back home to pass out candy- the kids seem to enjoy this the most- seeing all the other kids and celebrating the cool costumes.  Keren is amazing- she speaks life and love to every trick or treater and parent, we get backstories on costumes and try to be generous with the candy. She does it with such a genuine heart, it touches people.  We are aware of the origins of Halloween, I think, unless the internet has misled me.  We also get a Christmas tree, and sometimes eat chocolate bunnies on Easter for those judging at home.  Halloween 2014 was the “tipping point” for Kiara getting diagnosed, it is such an important part of our story because in addition to realizing something was severely wrong; we met a family while we were trick or treating with some friends from church. It was a brief introduction, but one that God would use to answer prayers and be a part of our story in the days, weeks, months, and forever to come…..

I’m not sure if this is a start to a book or just a start to organizing my thoughts about the past year…anyway, thanks for reading.

12,328 days…..



As I write this, I have been alive for 12,328 days….the book pictured above was a gift to Keren and I from Richard and Sherry Wright (President & CEO and his wife of AdvoCare), and if you will let it, this book will change your life- get it and read it today.

The New Year is a time for starting over, starting fresh, making a resolve to do better, do more, achieve those goals- it is a time that most Americans become very introspective.  The book was timely for the new year, and some other things I often wonder and think about….thanks for partaking in my thoughts..

What are your dreams and are you pursuing them or have you given up on them?  I will be bold and state for most of you reading this blog that: There is more to life than what you are currently living!  The challenge is for you to find out what is missing?  What is your plan for the future?  You see, tomorrow is not promised and if today was your last day, what would your legacy be?

While your time is limited there is plenty of it if you begin living life on purpose, with a purpose!

There are 8,765 hrs in a year, roughly 2,000hrs spent working (40hr/wk), 2,190 hrs sleeping, this leaves 4,575 hrs left to do what you want.  SO, what is it that you want?  Tony Robbins once said “Life will pay whatever price you ask of it”.  Often times in our culture we don’t want to work for it, we seek the immediate reward.  We cannot put down the good in order to sacrifice and achieve the greatness God has in store for us.

As you move forward into 2013 I encourage you to take action!  Take serious self-inventory about what needs to change in your life and go about doing it.  What are you allowing in, that derails you from your goals, and dreams?  What are you reading, what are you watching, listening to, and most importantly who are you hanging around.  IT DOES MATTER, in fact more than you think.  I love this quote:

  • Watch your thoughts, they become words.
  • Watch your words, they become actions.
  • Watch your actions, they become habits.
  • Watch your habits, they become your character.
  • Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Lastly, who do you allow to speak truth into your life?  Not agreement, not comfort, but truth.  If you don’t have a friend, spouse, loved one, or mentor who will speak truth into your life find one.  Seek counsel (wisdom & experience) rather than opinions (ignorance).

Here is to a great 2013!  God Bless you all, now go get and read the book!  Please share your honest thoughts and feedback.