Pray for Oklahoma

(all images from stock photos)

I’m an Oklahoman therefore I’m used to our severe storm season – a.k.a. Tornado Season. But nothing could prepare me for today’s storms that have claimed the lives of dozens and dozens of people, many of them children from the Plaza Towers Elementary School or the devastating amount of destruction that some are labeling as “the worst tornado damage in the history of the world.”

This shot is when the tornado was only about 1/4 mile wide (it would grow to 1 mile wide and slow down to 10 mph creating a very deadly combination).

This shot is when the tornado was only about 1/4 mile wide (it would grow to 1 mile wide and slow down to 10 mph creating a very deadly combination).

But as I sat crying for the children, teachers and parents of Plaza Towers Elementary, I was once again reminded of what makes this state so great – its people. The same people who rose to the call when our way of life was attacked by a madman or the ones who worked tirelessly in the aftermath of the past two tornadoes that took almost the same exact path as today’s horrific storm. The same people who sent aid to New York, New Orleans and survivors of Hurricane Sandy. A people who work, cry and heal together.

We are strong; we are Oklahomans!

We are strong; we are Oklahomans!

A child being rescued from one of the two schools completely destroyed by todays tornado. These two, Plaza Tower and Briarwood Elementary, were just two of five schools to suffer damage)

A child being rescued from one of the two schools completely destroyed by todays tornado. These two, Plaza Tower and Briarwood Elementary, were just two of five schools to suffer damage)

But we are not alone in the category of selfless people. Already teams are pouring in from all over the United States. And from our sister countries of Great Britain and Australia! To these people, I say thank you!

A small sampling of the total destruction.

A small sampling of the total destruction.

An image of Briarwood Elementary School

An image of Briarwood Elementary School

The image from Tower Plaza Elementary was like a war zone.

The image from Tower Plaza Elementary was like a war zone.

During times like this, my faith in people is always restored, renewed, invigorated. When things are at its worst, humankind always steps up. For this I am thankful. In the midst of heartache, there is love. In tragedy – kindness. In despair – hope.

A main highway, I-35, was littered with debris and vehicles when the tornado crossed it in Moore, Oklahoma.

A main highway, I-35, was littered with debris and vehicles when the tornado crossed it in Moore, Oklahoma.

I can not even begin to understand the why; why God allows things like this to happen. Some religious fanatics (not true Christ followers – nuts) would say its God’s punishment for some (fill in your own blank here). But even though we do live in a world full of sin and unspeakable acts, I know God has a plan and He uses these events for good rather than orchestrates them. I won’t get into a big theological debate here, because this is about the awesomeness of people, people God created. A people who have already given over $20,000 for relief in just a few short hours following the storm. A people who will work through the night, days, months and even years to help rebuild and restore communities, homes, lives.

At this point, the more than 1 mile wide tornado was wrapped in a debris cloud making it over 3 miles wide. This fooled people and motorist into thinking it was simply a large rain cloud, which they drove into.

At this point, the more than 1 mile wide tornado was wrapped in a debris cloud making it over 3 miles wide. This fooled people and motorist into thinking it was simply a large rain cloud, which they drove into.

I do ask that each and everyone of my blogging friends please remember to Pray for Oklahoma and her people. This will not be a short fix. The devastation will take much time to clean up. The lives will take even longer to rebuild and heal. Especially remember the City of Moore (and my small community of Newcastle) as this is the third time in 14 years that tornadoes have plagued these cities.

Pray for Oklahoma

Pray for Oklahoma

I thank you in advance for your prayers and your encouragement.

May Photo-a-day Challenge: Day 17 Favorite Song

Trying to choose a favorite song is like trying to choose a favorite child, it is impossible. With the thousands of songs (if not tens of thousands) I have heard so far in my lifetime, I have many favorites. But when I was going over some of them in my head, Margret Becker’s Look Me In The Eye is one that has continually spoke to me over the decades. Her music never ceases to amaze and uplift me. So here is my photo representation of that beautiful song! Do yourself a favor, look it up and either read the lyrics or find the song to hear!

Day 17: Favorite Song "I found a letter I wrote to you, in the bottom of my drawer. A simple letter, a point of view . . . Look me in the eye, tell me what You see . . .

Day 17: Favorite Song
“I found a letter I wrote to you, in the bottom of my drawer. A simple words, simple a point of view . . .
Look me in the eye, tell me what You see . . .

Pray for Trey

(all images provided)

Trey is an adorable little seven year old boy, who loves video games, putting puzzles together and his family.

Trey at six

Trey at six

Clowning with his big brother during a family photo shoot!

Clowning with his big brother during a family photo shoot!

He is also VERY sick. He has a rare autoimmune disease and now an even rarer form of Leukemia!

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 10.22.20 AM

Trey has gotten very good at putting together puzzles.

With his mommy, Emily

With his mommy, Emily

Trey needs all our FERVENT prayers and our help. The First Baptist Church in  Newcastle, OK (where Trey’s daddy pastors) is holding a bone marrow match search on Wednesday evening from 5-8 p.m.. He desperately needs a  non-familiar match for his third bone marrow transplant! If you live in the area are between the age of 18-44, please come and get screened. It is only a mouth swab to locate a suitable donor. If you don’t live in the area – PLEASE PRAY FOR HEALING!

A local group of 8th graders praying for Trey

A local group of 8th graders praying for Trey

I am too old, but I’m trying to do what I can by raising awareness of this need for a donor and for seeking more prayer warriors! As many of you know, my own granddaughter, Isabelle, is nearing the end of her treatment for Leukemia and will be considered in remission on December 28, 2013! I thank God and give Him all the praise for her healing, and I’m asking Him to bless Trey as well.

With the local Jr. High basketball team

With the local Jr. High basketball team

A local news channel did an interview and story on this, please visit the link below, it will touch your heart! If you can’t click on the link, please copy and paste in your browser, it will touch your hearts.

http://www.news9.com/story/22167269/doctors-family-help-7-year-old-newcastle-boy-fight-for-his-life

This is a post that his daddy, Jeremy Freeman posted on the Pray for Trey group page on Facebook. It is so hard to understand why this little guy has gone through so much. I know he has blessed so many people with his awesome faith and the faith and his positive outlook. AGAIN, PLEASE PRAY WITH A FERVENT HEART!

With his daddy, Jeremy

With his daddy, Jeremy

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. (Psalms 34:7, 17).”

From Jeremy Freeman:

Trey Freeman was born on April 13, 2006. He was born with X-Linked Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome (also knows as the bubble boy disease/SCIDS). Two weeks after birth, he received a bone marrow transplant from his sister who is a perfect HLA-typed match. Trey did pretty good for about six years. Last fall (September 2012), Trey began to get really sick. It took our doctors some time to figure out what was happening to him, but they soon discovered that his sister’s cells had begun to act like a cancer in his blood, much like lukemia. He was diagnosed with a form of LGL (large granular lukemia). Our doctors have told us though that there is no other known case like Trey’s that they have been able to find. To develop LGL 6 years post transplant is unheard of…and Trey doesn’t even have true LGL, just a variation of it. There are few facilities and doctors that are even aware of this type of disease, much less treat it.

The first step was to get the abnormal, lukemia type cells, that were growing wild in Trey’s body under control. The next step was to condition him for another transplant (using chemotherapy). The final step was to have his sister donate bone marrow again and hope that it would work this time for good. 

Trey received his second bone marrow transplant on December 27, 2012 after ten days of chemotherapy preparation. His sister donated for the second time. Soon after the transplant, it was discovered that the abnormal cells had returned..they really never fully left. Our doctors began and have been working hard over the past several months trying to keep these fast growing abnormal cells under control. They have tried numerous types of treatments, all of which have slowed the growth, but not stopped it. They recently finally found a drug called Campath that is working, and getting these abnormal cells into remission. In spite of that, our doctors still believe that Trey will need another transplant…this time from an unrelated donor. The reason is that while they have been working to kill the bad cells, there has also been damage to the good cells. So, even if the bad cells were to stop growing right now, it is not likely that the good cells from the transplant would recover. There has just been too much damage. Trey will also have to have his spleen removed because the treatments are not destroying the abnormal cells that are residing there, and his enlarged spleen continues to plague him.

This is a very sweet and loving family. PLEASE PRAY FOR ALL OF THEM!

This is a very sweet and loving family. PLEASE PRAY FOR ALL OF THEM!


I have been doing as much research as possible on this situation. There is very little out there by the way. I found a doctor in Hershey, PA who is the one who discovered LGL. I contacted him, shared Trey’s story and put him in touch with our doctors. He is an expert on LGL, but he was quick to say that Trey does not have true LGL, therefore his situation is more complex. Here is a portion of an email he recently sent me after he talked to Trey’s doctor:

<blockquote></blockquote>
“We discussed possible diagnoses and plan for treatment. This is not a typical patient with LGL leukemia for many reasons. Another possible diagnosis is hepatosplenic T cell lymphoma, which is often difficult to diagnose. We discussed the possibility of taking out the spleen for two reasons: 1. To help make an accurate diagnosis, and 2. To possibly help control the disease.
I did agree with the long term plan of another transplant with a full conditioning regimen. We also recently have made some progress in characterizing a “new” illness which looks like LGL but has an atypical clinical presentation and clinical course
There are some similarities with the illness that your son has, including the features of an aggressive clinical picture, considerable enlargement of liver and spleen and cells with the phenotype that your son has in the blood: ie CD3+CD56+. All 5 of the patients that we have seen like this have a mutation in a gene called STAT5.”

As you can see, Trey’s situation is unique and complex. As our doctor’s have said, “We are in uncharted waters.” By the way, I hate uncharted waters. So, right now, our doctors are working to get these abnormal cells into remission, then they plan to take out Trey’s spleen, and finally do chemotherapy and give him another transplant. It is essential that we find a matched donor to help Trey. We know God is in control and are asking him to provide an unrelated match to help aid Trey’s transplant process. Trey could have a transplant from a half match from me or Emily, but a full match is best. Please continue to pray for Trey, our family and our doctors. The next few months will be incredibly important. 

I know that’s a lot, and I hope it helps.

Prior to Trey's illness

Prior to Trey’s illness



“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust in Him.” -Nahum 1:7

Daily Prompt; That Stings – The Shack

I don’t usually grab onto the WP Daily Prompt – I usually can find enough stuff to babble or rant about without a prompt, but this one caught my attention.

It said to talk about the last book you read that bit or stung. Several come to mind, but the absolute last book I reread was The Shack by William P. Young.

Screen Shot 2012-12-28 at 9.51.52 AMThe Shack “is a metaphor for the places you get stuck, you get hurt, you get damaged…the thing where shame or hurt is centered,” Young said in an interview. We all have a shack in our lives, and as I read this, mine was shown to me in all its technicolor horror. Things that I had tried to bury in the far recesses of my mind dug its way up to the surface, reopening wounds that weren’t all that too well healed.

Then why would I encourage you to read this book? Because, while you are dealing with the pain of the protagonist and recalling your own bitter memories, you soon become transformed into the story and the healing that follows.

Yes, there is a lot of sadness, bitterness and grief in the pages of this NYT bestseller, but there is also unsurmountable joy, peace and above all healing.

As I cried with Mac over his own unimaginable tragedy, and shed tears over my own scars that have haunted me for nearly my entire 53 years, I began to hope. Hope for a better place than this horrid world we now live in. I also began to see that sometimes bad things do (more often than not) happen to decent people, and although I can’t (and probably never will) see the big picture, God knows, and I have to trust in His plan. This lesson was made crystal clear to me as was the ‘one piece of clarity’ that I gleaned from this particular reading – “Love without an agenda!” Wow, what a concept.

This nugget of wisdom first stung me greatly, because when I examined myself closely, I realized, that I always have some kind of an agenda. Whether it is something as benign as getting more hugs from my grands, I have an agenda. To love without an agenda is to understand the depth of God’s love, and to understand the depth He went to to ensure that none of us perish in this evil world. Sorry, didn’t mean to get preachy, but this book will change the way you look at God, Jesus , the Holy Spirit – The Trinity. This concept has always eluded me (and I was raised Catholic). If you struggle with the concept of the Trinity, The Shack might just help to solidify its reality in your mind.

Although The Shack was written as fiction, you cannot help but hope to dream that this encounter did truly happen, and that everyday people like you and me can actually physically wrap ourselves in the arms of Papa. I hope you will pick up a copy if you haven’t already read it, and if you have, maybe decide to reread it again. Some people get all wrapped up in the imagery of God as a robust black woman – but not me. For Mac to accept God, He had to appear in a form that Mac wouldn’t shy from. After all, we are ALL created in God’s image – so I imagine Him as a kaleidoscope of character and personality traits. But one thing is always constant: His love never waivers, never changes and He never apologizes for it. HE LOVES ALL OF US WITHOUT AN AGENDA!

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