I am so very, very sorry you're just now getting to hear about OUR boy! I was aghast when I opened Caring Bridge for the first time in almost a month and it asked for my password. I've never had to do that. I guess when you open the site regularly it doesn't need your password but it's been so long that it made me identify myself. THAT's sad enough but then I clicked on the guestbook and there were all of these "Praying that everything is ok...", "There hasn't been an update in a couple of weeks and I'm concerned about you all...." I've gotten text messages, e-mails and Face Book messages from so many people worried. I've even gotten e-mails from my FAMILY because they haven't heard from us. I feel just TERRIBLE!!! I'm so sorry.
Life at the SHOR continues to be a roller coaster on many front mostly with Joseph's status. Our skin has toughened with our entire team and myself having become a lot more resilient and a little less terrified of the storms that we are called to battle. Even sweet Lindsey who I think is the most vulnerable of us all has toughened. This is NOT the type of patient care that she studied in school (she has degrees in Kinesiology, and nutrition). Joseph continues to experience brain storming 2-4 days/week which is just outrageous in my book. I would much prefer they NEVER haunted Joseph nor us but it is the road we have been called to walk. Never did I imagine Rob and I would be spend our latter years with such stress filling every minute of every day. There is NO break. It's a daily battle. Our lives are consumed with not only Joseph's critical state but our sanity with all that it takes to keep the boat afloat. Rob walks out the door every M-F to earn a living to keep the SHOR running and I put on my boxing gloves to go to battle on MANY fronts. I have no idea why God has so much confidence in us. We are NOT this strong but we cling to His mercy and grace that is new every morning. There are many mornings that I just don't want to walk out the door of our bedroom to face the storm that our nurses have been waging all night long waiting to go home. I know Rob is leaving for work and it leaves me in charge. It's a little like stage fright.....you KNOW you HAVE to do it as the people on the other side of the curtain are counting on you but none like your precious son who battles like the greatest warrior you've ever heard of. When Rob and I sit back and think of the battle he fights every single day just to stay alive it is truly indescribable. Who on earth would continue to take the torture he does day in and day out. It's not enough that he's stuck in a body and can't express himself to even tell us what is hurting him. He can't tell us what he wants, doesn't want, desperately needs, or how he feels. We see many tears that fall from his cheeks and it tears us all up. We have a will to live and at some point people loose that will to live. I saw it recently with my sweet Aunt Lena. She just decided she was finished with this life and told her family so. It was only a short while until her body just succumbed to her desire. She really wasn't ill, no life threatening disease. She just decided it was time to begin her next journey with her Father, Abba. Thomas Joseph Pio Stanton has a tremendous will to live. It is really miraculous and Rob nor I understand how he can do it. That's why we know the LORD's promise in Jeremiah 29:11 was written for him. I was digging up a story today for one of Joseph's caregivers called The Refiner's Silver, based upon Malachi 3:3. I cling to this story in times of question and it has reminded me of God's promise. The story closes with these words: "God's purpose? His purpose in pain is the same as His purpose in joy; His purpose in tragedy is the same as His purpose in a colorful sunset; His purpose is that we are "conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans8:29). His purpose is that we walk with Him, hand in hand, learning to trust Him and love Him through ALL things, both good and bad. His plan and purpose is a relationship! No, God is not the cause of this cancer. Tragedy is not part of His perfect plan. But our Heavenly Father is being a wonderful comfort to each member of our family, moment by moment! And we know that as we walk through this trial, with Him, learning to trust Him and drawing closer to His side, we will surely be accomplishing His purpose in pain."
I will put the entire story at the end of this update.
The other bit of news that plagues me every day is that Hernan gave me his notice of resignation a couple of weeks ago. I knew that one day we would loose him and even though it kills me I couldn't be more proud of him and excited for his future. He was delivered from heaven over 3-1/2 years ago as a innocent young 19 year-old who'd only volunteered with disabled nuns and had contemplated the priesthood. It wasn't an event that I questioned God over and over about. It was actually pretty comical looking back on it. I immediately thought "this kid has a heart, I can teach him skills!" It's hard to change the inner framework of a person but it's easy to teach them skills. It may take a while but I've always told Rob to hire people for WHO they are. You can always teach people how to do things but it's almost impossible to change a person. Hernan has been so many things to Joseph, Rob, I and our girls I can't even begin to tell you. He has completed course work in EMT I, EMT II and will be finishing up his training in Paramedics in January. Besides that he has become a Volunteer Fire Fighter all the while working 60 hours/week until the last 3 months but still working 36-40 hours/week. We are not going to tell Joseph until about the week before Hernan leaves because I know it will be VERY hard on Joseph. He's been not only Joseph's most trusted Caregiver but a true brother. Soooooooooo.....what I need from all of you is your HELP in finding another angel to take his spot. We are still blessed to have Lindsey and Katy holding down the SHOR by day but they only staff the 6:45 AM to 11 PM M-F shift and we need more help. For me to run a rehab hospital I need 2 people from 6:45 AM - 6:45 PM then we can float 6:45 PM to 6:45 AM with just 1 staff. We only receive 84 nursing hours so that gives us four 8-hour shifts M-Th then three 16-hour shifts F-Sun. Please, please, please think of every single person you come into contact with weather it be a friend, family member, neighbor, friend of a friend, the hard working stock boy, car wash attendant, etc.... I don't look for what they've necessarily DONE but the heart that they have, the work ethic they display, the compassion you can see in their eyes and the selflessness they display. Hernan is a tremendous example of what you can accomplish in 3 short years coming from nothing with a bleak future to becoming what I always tell him is "a doctor on wheels" as the paramedics command their unit on wheels until they reach the hospital where they loose their "doctor's" privileges. He has always given Joseph 100% every day that he's here. He's been a brother to not only Joseph but our girls too. Everyone who's met him at the SHOR loves him tremendously. He's very famous in this part of the "woods" as everyone knows what an angel he has been to all of us. Please, please, please, keep your thoughts going for who you think might be a good fit. I'll tell you right off the top, this is not a job for the faint of heart, lazy, nor someone who only wants to give 95%. We only employee "one-hundred and ten-percenters" at the SHOR. They're ALL superstars! We run every minute of our day tending to every need of "our prince." I have hours and days for almost every shift so especially if you know someone who is interested in the health professions (occupational, physical, or speech therapy, respiratory therapy, physicians assistant, doctor, nurse, EMT, or paramedic) that may even be attending school right now please give them my e-mail address (email@example.com
) and ask them to send me their resume or letter of introduction. I prefer young people as this is very much a physical job and I need them to be flexible. Some of Joseph's friends have said he needs a little more testosterone around here since we will be a complete female staff after Hernan leaves so young men will definitely receive a little more preferential treatment too. I ask all of our staff to commit at least a year to us as it takes a good 4-6 months to train someone and we've sadly invested in several people who have only stayed a very short while which eats up our time and resources in finding the right person. We have them come spend some time with us to make sure they know what they would be getting themselves into first. We would be forever indebted to you for your help in finding the perfect person to be our next "angel" at the SHOR.
I have a more news but am wiped out so will close for now. Hopefully it won't take me so long to bring you an update next time. Again I'm so sorry if I worried any of you. May Go continue to bless you in abundance for the blessing that you are to US!
><///> The Refiner of Silver
Malachi 3:3 says:"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offeredto find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver int he middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it." If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.
"Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith intothis grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
God's purpose? His purpose in pain is the same as His purpose in joy; His purpose in tragedy is the same as His purpose in a colorful sunset; His purpose is that we are "conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29). His purpose is that we walk with Him, hand in hand, learning to trust Him and love Him through ALL things, both good and bad. His plan and purpose is a relationship! No, God is not the cause of this cancer. Tragedy is not part of His perfect plan. But our Heavenly Father is being a wonderful comfort to each member of our family, moment by moment! And we know that as we walk through this trial, with Him, learning to trust Him and drawing closer to His side, we will surely be accomplishing His purpose in pain.