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The Big Red Dinner & Paris

   I haven't updated CaringBridge in quite a while.  Lauren is doing very well and we have been focused on finishing school and getting off to a great summer.  In fact, this summer actually feels like a normal summer.  We are completely moved in to our house.  We celebrated on June 4th by having our house blessed.  June 4th marked one year from when Lauren left the hospital.  So, we had a delicious dinner and had a ceremony at our house to bless the house and celebrate all being back together in our home. 
     The next day, we were picked up by a limo and driven to Lincoln to be the guests of honor at "The Big Red Dinner."  This is "Make a Wish's" fundraiser in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Lauren was the guest of honor and her "wish" was unveiled in front of the audience.  All of the Nebraska coaches, except Bo Pelini and the Head Volleyball Coach, were there to celebrate, raise money, and honor some special children.  We had an incredible night.  Phil and I spoke at the dinner and talked about how a child goes about the process of making a wish.  We spoke about the healing that occurs through the process and the relationship that forms with the Make A Wish "Wish Granters."  It was easy to speak from the heart as we feel very connected to the Wish Granters and the people at Make a Wish.  I have a feeling that our family will always be connected to this incredible organization.  We hope to help make wishes happen for other kids like Lauren. Before we spoke, a video played at the dinner that Zach Sieff of Clear Frame Media made for us and for Make a Wish.  Zach made Lolo's video that went out to Taylor Swift and convinced her to come see Lolo in the hospital.  He did such an incredible job, so we asked if he would make this video.  We figured Lo might be a bit too shy to speak in front of 400 people, but she could talk to Zach. The video says it all.  Coach Miles enjoyed the video, but picked up on Phil's devotion to Creighton and his poor wardrobe choice.  Coach Miles was the MC for the night.  If he ever needs a second job, he could be a stand up comedian.  He was hilarious.  Please share the video. If you really like it, please comment on Zach'a work and if you feel compelled....please help another kids's wish come true and make a donation to your local Make a Wish chapter!!!
     So, Lo's wish was unveiled and we will be heading to Paris in the not to distant future.  They have all the plans taken care of and it seems to be an adventure pulled straight from Lauren's imagination.  Each coach present at the dinner gave Lolo a bon voyage gift.  She has Eiffel tower stuff coming out her ears.  It is heaven!  We will let you know all about the trip. 
     In the meantime, our summer is off to a good start.  Jonathan is caddying at Omaha Country Club and taking Driver's Training.  Phil is keeping the world safe for democracy and becoming a gardening fool....of the best variety.  Lo is busy with Creighton Volleyball Camp, swim team at Field Club, and making nutty videos with her friends.  I started working at Methodist Labs and realized I was in too much pain from my hip.  I got it checked out and unfortunately, I am having surgery in a couple of weeks.  I will be out for most of the summer.  But, you can't keep a good woman down for too long.  I will be tough, just like Lauren. 
     It is sometimes hard to believe that our life changed so drastically from 12/12/12 to now.  It seems we have always had this life.  We look like the same family.  Lately what I have  noticed is that even though we were always an affectionate family, we linger a lot longer when we hug each other, my kids are more in tune with the needs of other kids lately, and we have a lot of unexpected friends that we have over even when our house is a mess.  It is hard to care about housework and perfection when being connected to people seems much more important.  We have been lucky to have become connected with some kind and inspiring people.  A year away from the hospital is letting us sift out the bad memories and the fears and focus on life and love.  Well, I better bust a move, I have a lot to get done to get ready for Paris!  The trip will be here before you know it!!!  Please sign our guest book.  I am going to print all of it and give it to Lauren.  Please share your wishes with her.  A Bientot! 
19 people hearted this

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Vicky Mainzer
By Vicky mainzer
This is an incredible story of love and support! Joyous
Elizabeth Israel
By Elizabeth Israel — last edited
Have fun in Paris, Lauren. I had a stem cell transplant 14 months ago for multiple myeloma. I am taking my first trip in October to London, so I have an idea of your excitement. Have a great summer! My love to you and your family.
Theresa Bench
By Theresa Bench
Sam, Seth and I are super excited for your family to experience a Make-A-Wish trip. The organization goes above and beyond to make every memory a glorious one. Sam was 4 when he was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia. He was too sick to make any kind of trip. In 3rd grade, over Christmas break, his wish was granted and we went to Disney World for 7 days and stayed in the "Give Kids The World Village". We experienced everything Disney and will never forget the kindness and compassion that our wish-granters showed us. Have a great time in Paris.... your whole family deserves every moment! ENJOY!
Judi Muller
By Judi Muller
Hi Lauren - I really enjoyed the video. How exciting that you are so close to seeing your dream come true! Have a wonderful trip. See all the sights & do all the things you have been waiting to do in Paris.
Happy Travels!
Jessica Loontjer
By Jessica Loontjer
What a beautiful video!!! Enjoy your trip sweet Lauren!!!!!
meg heine
By meg heine
Tres bien! Bon Voyage! You are so deserving of this beautiful wish! We'll keep you in our prayers!
Cynthia Teegarden
By Cynthia Teegarden
So very tickled that you are going to be enjoying Paris this summer. You'll love it and you and your family will have so much fun together. Bon Voyage!!
Chris Kostrzewa
By Chris Kostrzewa — last edited
Dear Lauren and fam, I am so happy to hear your summer is off to a great start! Wishing you wonderful adventurous travels abroad. Don't forget to ask "Puis-je avoir un autre profiterole s'il vous plait?" while you are there! Live, love, and laugh lots, Lauren! All my best!
karen bell
By Karen Bell
Can't wait till you get to see the Eiffel tower at night with the lights you deserve this trip!
Denise Slaughenhoupt
By Denise and Jay Slaughenhoupt
Enjoy every minute! We want to hear all about it when you return!