Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving thanks...

Time slips by so quickly as things seem normal.

We have loved being home. I know I say this every time Levi has a visit home, but it’s true. Our joy is complete when we are together as a family. There’s not really a whole lot of “new” news to report on, other than the fact that our little Levi loves to be home and is playing as hard as he can. He’s enjoying being able to get out of the house every once in awhile, and was even able to cheer on his Fort Wayne Komets last Friday night during an evening out with our great friends the Bennetts. We don't really know yet what the plan moving forward will be; as of right now, we are still planning on taking Levi down to Riley next Tuesday for his bone marrow tests. From there, the doctor should be able to advise us on how we proceed.

On Sunday, we were able to head south to Kokomo to visit Steph’s grandma and celebrate Thanksgiving with her. We had a good meal and a great time seeing her; it has been awhile since she’s been able to see Levi in person, but she’s been one of his strongest supporters since day one. We love you grandma, and it was so nice to spend the day with you. We are happy that it’s a short work week; later this week we will head down to celebrate Thanksgiving with Steph’s family, then down to my family after that. We are all looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday. It has always been my favorite. In my mind, it seems to be the last pure holiday. I know the crazy shopping commences the day after, and some families seem to jump right over it to get to the craziness of Christmas quicker, but maybe that’s why I like it so much. The day is what it needs to be. It’s a day set aside to give thanks for who you are, who you’re with, what you have, and where you’re going. It’s about family, community, and reflection. Add in a great meal and spice it with a little football, and there you have it. The perfect holiday. And I thank God that I can spend it with my family complete.

I have so much to be thankful for. I am blessed beyond all measure. Most of all, I am thankful for the people in my life.

I am thankful for my daughter. She is the strongest preschooler I have ever known. She meets every day head on with a tenacity and love for life that I wish I could share some days. She will often ask in the mornings what we are going to do with her that day. Sometimes, I have to tell her that she is going to stay with someone that day, and she steels herself for a flurry of packing and traveling. Other times I get to tell her that she can stay home with mommy and daddy that day. This always brings a welcome smile to her face. I love her sincere concern for her brother, and her prayers in which he is always mentioned. I am thankful for the innocent sunshine she pours into my life.

I am thankful for my little hero. The battle he is waging is a fight for his young life, yet he is concerned only with playing with his sister and trying to make mommy and daddy smile. He has taught me what it means to be a father and fight from my knees. He has taught me that if I truly love something, I have to let go of it and give it to God. He has taught me to never take anything for granted and to soak in every moment, every smile, every laugh, every tear, because you can never go back. Levi has pointed my life back in a direction that matters, and I am thankful for the opportunity to be his father and to help him fight his battle.

I am thankful for my beautiful bride. There were over a hundred mornings this year where she woke from fitful sleep to a dark hospital room lit only by the strange glow of IV lights and monitors instead of to the comfort of her own bed. On most of these mornings, she woke up without me there. Each time, she met the day with determination, because her sole focus for that day lay in a crib a few feet from where she slept. She has been a relentless ally in Levi’s battle, providing him the tender love, nurturing, and a caring mommy shoulder on the days when he didn’t feel well enough to even lift his head. I love my wife, and I love her love for my children. I am thankful to have her on the front lines in the trenches to fight alongside my son.

I am thankful for my family. Stephanie and I are very blessed in that both sets of parents are still with us, and that both families are complete. The marriages of our parents light our paths and show us what it means to love each other regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. They have offered tearful encouragement when I’ve been so weak and overcome that I can’t pick myself up off the floor, and they shared the joy and praised God alongside us when we experience victories. Our siblings are never further than a phone call away, and have been our emotional stronghold through the past several months. Levi’s network of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins love him like their own, and are some of the fiercest prayer warriors I have ever met.

Finally, I am thankful for you, our friends. The ranks of troops in Levi’s battles are filled with people from our past, present, and future. Some we’ve known for years, others we may never meet. But we count all who have offered our son up in prayer as dear friends, and I hope that here in this life or someday in heaven to be able to greet each of you face to face and thank you. You have provided us with food, money, fuel cards, help at home, cards, encouraging notes, and so much more. Thank you for continuing to fight alongside us in Levi’s battle.

We love you all. Please pause a moment and reflect on Thursday; offer a prayer of thanks for where you are, and whether you’re in the midst of the flurry of meal preparation, the busy holiday roadways, or the excitement of the games on TV, it will become clear to you what really matters.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Michael, Stephanie, Caylee, and little Levi


  1. Michael,

    It seems like only yesterday we were tearing it up together in the pool. Now, we've been called to our 2 greatest purposes in life; to be Godly husbands and Father's pointing their children to Christ. Your blog is a piercing reminder to me of what I should be and am thankful for. Christ is so good and faithful that in the midst of Levi's battle, you and Steph have been a profound example. Bro, I can't imagine going through, as a parent, what you and Steph are enduring. I do know this though, we both serve and love a God who is so richly in love with us and is faithful to us in all circumstances. I am so very thankful for Kristie and our 3 little blessings, but this year, I'm especially thankful for Levi, you and Stephanie for your steadfast faith and rock solid strength and determination to pray and fight. I hope our paths can cross soon brother, but until they do, know that I think of you guys often and lift you up to the Lord when He brings you to my mind.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving! What a sweet post. You are both great parents! Glad you were able to have a night out with Megan and Wally. Praying for Little Levi's next step.

  3. Dear Michael,
    You probably don't even remember me, but your parents and I were friends back in Bible college, and your family was such a blessing to me. I was better known as Ronnie Fay then, but most people call me Veronica (Ingvaldsen) now. I think you were like twelve the last time I saw you and I had just had my firstborn son, who is almost 19! Your mom shared this blog on fb and I wanted to get the scoop on Levi so I read it. I have not only gotten his story, but yours as well. You have grown into such a fine young man, Michael. I will be praying for you and your family as you fight this battle.

  4. We just want to let you and Steph know again how much we love you and your beautiful Children. We are so thankful that the Lord led us to be able to meet and know you. We do pray for you and the Children and will continue.