Hello everyone, and thank you for continuing on this journey with us and with Catie. She is doing great, school is just so exciting and fun for her. The teachers, staff, and the kids themselves have just been wonderful. She has pains in her face from smiling so much. At times however, we look at her and see a veil of sadness come over her, and we know that she is thinking ahead to the time when she will be going back to Memphis. It is not what she is going back to that makes her sad, but what she will be leaving behind, most notably, her school, her friends, and her home. Thankfully the moment passes quickly and she is back to smiling again. Those moments however started me thinking. We have talked a great deal in this prayer journal about having the “eyes of faith” that allow each of us to see the blessings that our loving Father places in our lives and on our pathways each day, and many have awakened to this way of seeing their life and gaining perspective. There is another side to these blessings, and it is the bombardment of temptations that assault us. Our “eyes of faith” need to be just as keen to recognize these temptations for what they are and not fall prey to them. For example: right now, Catie could not look any more healthy, vibrant or alive. I must fight the temptation to call St. Jude’s and tell them that she is not coming back to complete the treatment. Temptation whispers in my ear, “she’s fine, why would you subject her to chemo? The cancer’s gone and she is having so much fun with her friends at school, how can you send her back? What kind of father are you that you would let your precious 7-year old daughter be chemically tortured?” It gives me a glimpse of how hard it must have been for God to watch His innocent Son hang on a cross for our sins. Temptations. Many people have assisted us, prayerfully, logistically, watching kids, making food, financially, and many temptations arise from that. Temptations to reject assistance because of ego. Temptations to accept the assistance without the appropriate level of gratitude because it may not correctly address the need. Temptations on the part of those who are assisting to not bother. Temptations to give up. There are days that I wake up and am 100% sure that Catie will beat this and outlive me and I will have that dance with her at her wedding. There are also days that I awake just as sure that this journey and all of its lessons will end with my sweet little angel looking down on me and seeing if her suffering really did make a difference in how I live my life. Which one is the temptation?

What I do know is that every day provides me with a new opportunity to live that day as if it were my last day; to cherish the time that I have with my beautiful bride while she is still home. To spend time as a family while we have the opportunity to do so. To spend time with as many of you as we can before they go back to Memphis. That is why we fought so hard to make sure that the “Catie’s Cure” event on the 14th was held. Thank you to all of you who will be able to be with us that night. Thank you to all of you that supported the event even though circumstances will prevent you from attending. And thank you all for your prayers that we would be able to hold the event. Once again, Catie’s prayer warriors came through! I can spend the days between today and the 29th when Christine and Catie fly back being sad that they are leaving, working to make sure that all of the preparations for their departure are solidified, or I can bask in the glow of their presence while they are still here and store up the treasures of the moments we have together as a resource for the dark days when we are apart. I can either be tempted to wallow in the fact that they are leaving, wallow in the circumstances of Catie’s illness, or I can see the beautiful blessing of the time we have left and make the most of it. I do not believe Catie is going to die, yet we have filled the time home with special events, trips to Hershey Park, welcome home events, a trip to the beach, family celebrations, gatherings of family and friends in church halls and convention centers, trips to grottos, churches and cathedrals. Why? Because life is worth celebrating. The people in our lives are worth celebrating. I pray that I hold on to this most valuable lesson and celebrate with all of the people that God has placed in my life and that I do not give in to the ultimate temptation; holding on to rather than sharing God’s blessings.

May the peace of God fill your hearts and homes this day and always,

Kevin, Christine, Maggie, Max, Catie, Mia, Molly, and M.E.

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