Monday, December 26, 2011

The most wonderful time of the year...

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! A couple of months ago I made the statement that all I wanted for Christmas this year was to have my little boy home and my family all together. And I’m happy to report that I got exactly what I wanted. The chrome for my Harley and all the great food we enjoyed were just icing on the cake.

What an awesome Christmas celebration we’ve had this year. On Friday evening we headed out for another visit with Santa in Pierceton with the Bennetts. We stood in line for about an hour to submit our Christmas requests to him and Mrs. Claus, but once our time in queue was finally up and it was our kids’ turn to sit on his lap, Caylee immediately turned ultra-shy and hid behind me, and Levi stared at him with a steely look of disdain. Needless to say, we didn’t talk to him much, and slinked out of the building after grabbing our juice and coloring books with our heads down, once again the proud parents of the kids who hate Santa.

Fortunately, the conversation they had with Santa down in Indy a couple weeks ago (not to mention the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and vanilla soy milk the kids left out for him on Christmas Eve) must have done the trick, because he sure left them quite a payload of Christmas presents. Caylee got her blue dolphin and Jessie doll (from Toy Story), as well as several other presents including puzzles, dolls, and a few dozen tubes of chapstick. Levi also made out like a bandit with his haul including, among other things, a fire truck, Black & Decker toy tool kit and workbench, and a couple good movies. Both of our kids got more presents than what they needed, and a special thanks goes out to all of those who helped make our Christmas an abundant one.

We didn’t do a whole lot yesterday, and we loved every minute of it. Caylee woke us up around 8:30, and we all had to go in and rouse Levi around 9 so the morning madness could begin. We read the Christmas story out of Caylee’s children’s Bible, then opened our gifts. After a big brunch of Mickey Mouse and smiley-face pancakes, we tried to take naps, but the kids must have been too amped up on Christmas candy and gift-induced hysteria to sleep much longer than 20 minutes each. All in all it was a great day of playing with and loving on our precious little ones; the time together as a family was very special.

We were able to head down to Steph’s parents’ house today to celebrate Christmas with her side of the family. We had a special time there. All the kids played very well together, and it was even nice enough outside that we got a little sunshine and fresh air, not to mention a wide open space for the kids to release some pent-up energy. We had a great lunch and dinner, although the two meals really weren’t discernible from each other, as it felt like we ate pretty much the whole time we were there. Everything was great, and the kids loved playing with their toys once we got home.

We are looking forward to the rest of the week together. I don’t have to work this week, so we have some fun little events planned, including a trip to a Fort Wayne Komets game and maybe even some ice skating (which means that I very well may be writing my next post with a cast on). We are heading down to southern Indiana later this week to celebrate Christmas with my family later this week; looking forward to hanging out with them for a couple of days.

As for an update on Levi… Well, we haven’t heard the final results from his MRD test that they ran on the bone marrow they took last week, but we did get the preliminary results late last week, and they came back clean. We are taking our encouragement in that, and trusting that the MRD test will also come back negative. We are not sure at this point when we will need to take him back down to the hospital to start Round V, but I am guessing that we will hear something this week. I promise to let you know as soon as, or at least pretty soon after, we find something out.

Well, the kids are in bed, so it’s time to find a movie on Netflix and hang out with my beautiful wife for a little while. I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas with your families, I know we did. Something that has been weighing heavy on my mind lately - please keep the families in your prayers who weren’t able to wake to a warm house on Christmas morning or a tree full of presents. Many families out there have to forego the exchanging of gifts to make sure there is enough food on the table. There are so many families in need around us; as we move toward the New Year, please pray and be thinking about the ways you can reach out to those who are less fortunate. God has blessed us with so much abundance, more than we will ever need. I pray that He breaks my heart for what breaks His this next year.

Finally, I just wanted to say thanks for all the comments we get on our blog. They are very special to us, and we read them all at least a few times. We don't always get a chance to respond, but we do want you to know that they mean a lot. You have no idea how much the encouragement you provide fuels our motivation and increases our energy to keep fighting this fight.

We love you all,
Michael, Stephanie, Caylee, and little Levi


  1. Michael&Stephanie
    LOVE THE PICTURES! Wishing You All a Happy and Safe New Year and one of the Best things about 2012 is THE WONDERFUL,REMARKABLE,THANKFUL and PRAISE GOD HEALING that Levi RECEIVES!!!!! Love You GUYS! xoxo (CONTINUALLY PRAYING)Brenda&Gene

  2. Hello Whitesell family,including Grandma Sharlene.I am praying for you now,asking for some rest and comfort for all of you. I have spoken with Grandma Sharlene on the phone the last 2 days,and she told me of your blog.I am so glad that Levi had a time to rest before new treatments had to be done. His little body is a pleasure to God and to everyone who hears your story. "Be still", and you will hear God talking to you. Life must be so hard and complicated for you all now, time to "Be Still" is probably almost impossible. Sometimes a hymnal has the words you need to hear, I have found comfort in reading that as well as reading the Bible. Catch your breath so that you will have the time to hear God, and refresh yourself for even a few moments. Sharlene does not know yet that I met her before. She told me about the family and the hardship of illness, the sadness that comes with all of that. It is hard to understand how such a burden is on you and God has promised us all that He will not put more on us than we can handle. Your blog is drawing unknown Christians to rally with you for all means of help and comfort for your entire family. I am thankful that you had a wonderful Christmas. Keep these good memories in mind. That is one of the things God has given you. I hope this blog stays online forever to help all the others that battle disease and hardships. You are right about how illness causes couples to focus so much on the illness that they have trouble in their personal lives. It is a beautiful thing that you praise you wife and that she is there to help you, and you help her. Please read Ephesians. Each person can be given an exact verse,you will find yours their. God's children are more important than the sparrow, and God protects the sparrow-He does more for humans. Little Levi is a testament to what faith and love can do. Keep your eye on your faith, keep your ears available to what God has to say to you, know that you are not alone in this battle. Put on the Armor of God, and keep it on. Even when anger and heartache is pushing so hard, that Armor God gives will bring you through each step. Every step is followed by another, we continue to grow in God's loving hands. Your love for you Little Levi and the rest of the family is a gift you are sharing with everyone that comes to this site. God bless you, I thank you for posting this, it is a gift to me and to others to see that love continues in hard times and things that we don't understand. It is alright to have questions to ask God, because He will give you answers. Keep your Bible reading past particular areas, you will find something in a different scripture that will help. The road chosen by you to make sure you connect with your spouse in private moments is the right thing to do. Husband and wife are allowed time apart for prayer-and then are supposed to re-connect with each other. That will give you strength and comfort. Continue to tell God when your burden is too heavy, and he will continue to provide a source of comfort to you. Sometimes it is really hard to recognize that comfort because of things in this world. Hand it to God, as He told us to. I will keep you in prayers. What a beautiful family you have, God is with you. My name is Diane.

  3. Dear Michael, Stephanie, Caylee and Levi,

    So glad you had a wonderful Christmas. We did too. Byron, Michelle, Luke and Zach were ill during Christmas so they came up and spent New Year's weekend with us. Some of us got together on New Year's Eve and actually made it to midnight. That doesn't happen very often. We must be getting older. HA!
    We pray that your New Year will be blessed and that you can finally enjoy a normal life with each other, well and happy.
    Thanks so much for this blog. It is so special to us.
    We love all of you very, very much.

    Love and prayers, Grandpa and Grandma G.

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