Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Motivated by Mercy

My morning began like so many others. Dragging myself out of bed and through the shower. Making coffee. Waking up the children. Negotiating treatments, packing lunches, finding something for breakfast, loading the car. Going back upstairs for the thing I forgot. Making more coffee. Dropping one kid off at the sitter, back in the car, off to work!

I love this time of year. The crisp air in the morning reminds me that cold weather, favorite holidays, fuzzy pants and warm coats are right around the corner. This morning I was sipping my peppermint coffee, singing along to the song on the radio, and thinking about the day ahead. The sun had just begun to rise so it was still a little dark, but not so much that you feel you should still be in bed.

Blue lights. In my rearview mirror. Crap.

I looked down at my speedometer and cringed. There were no other cars around me. No chance that he was pulling someone else over. I found a good spot, pulled off, and waited for the hammer to fall.

Those of you who know me well know that I have had this coming for, like, EVER. The (very nice, very TALL) police officer called me "young lady," took my driver's license, and went back to his car. I sat there tearfully thinking about how much we do NOT need an increase in our car insurance rates right now, not to mention the inevitable fine.

It occured to me that it must really stink to be in a job where you routinely ruin someone's day. I kind of felt sorry for the officer, although it probably doesn't bother him as much as it would bother me.

What happened next was totally unexpected. I had been traveling at an ungodly speed in a 45mph zone. I deserved an ungodly ticket and probably at least two points on my license. At a minimum, I deserved a stern lecture about safe driving and about how nobody needs to get anywhere that fast.

What I got instead was mercy.

That wonderful, heaven-sent, saint of an officer gave me a warning and sent me on my way. And I can tell you, his mercy motivated me to obey the rules of the road far better than any fine or points could have ever done. In the moment I was overcome with how much I did not deserve the reprieve that I got. "Relief" does not even begin to cover how I felt.

And then it hit me: who in my life needs a little mercy? The cashier at the grocery store who keeps screwing up and taking forever? The high school kid working his first day in the drive through at McDonald's on a morning I'm running late? The kid at my school who routinely disrupts her class? The parent who can't seem to trust that I have his child's best interest at heart? My own children? My husband?

As the beautiful fall sunrise slowly turned the sky pink this morning, I thought of how much grace is afforded me on a daily basis. I fail over and over again. I can be selfish, vain, petty, arrogant, mean. I miss opportunities to encourage others because I am so focused on my own "stuff." I lack patience with the very people who need it from me most. I complain. I whine. I am ungrateful.

And yet I am daily blessed with the fellowship and encouragement of good friends, the love and support of family, the beauty of creation. God's grace is not only sufficient for the day, it is a never-ending spring of renewal. When I mess it up, in His mercy, God gives me another opportunity to make it right. Every single day is a gift. Today, I was touched by the actions of a man who, I hope, will be blessed for the mercy he showed to me. And tomorrow, I hope I remember the impact a simple act of mercy can have on the life of someone else.

Monday, April 9, 2012

GREAT Day!

Today was a GREAT day!

First, we got up early to attend Choate Construction's Monday Morning Meeting at their offices in Sandy Springs. Choate's "charity of choice" is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and this year, Caleb is the "CF Ambassador" for their fundraising campaign. I personally can't think of a better "face of CF" to raise some funds!! I had the chance to share a little of our story and to thank Choate for choosing to raise money for CF. Caleb was all smiles and dimples, of course. He behaved himself for about a nanosecond and then was off running around the office building. Trying to appear somewhat professional and polished while chasing after your two year old is, let's face it, an impossible feat. But we still had a great time.

On the way home from our visit at Choate, I called the CF Center to check on the results of Caleb's most recent throat culture. And Hallelujah, NO PSEUDAMONAS!!! Thank you, God, for your healing! Every month Caleb goes without that crap in his lungs is another month closer to Kalydeco. My primary goal as his mom is to keep his lungs as healthy as possible for the moment the cure arrives. And no pseudamonas is an AWESOME step in the right direction!

Today was our first day back at school after spring break. I like to call this week of school "the beginning of the end." Even though the next six weeks promise to be exhausting (they always are), the fact remains that THERE ARE ONLY SIX WEEKS LEFT OF SCHOOL. Thirty two more days, six more Mondays, six more Fridays. And after that.... summertime awesomeness.

I love days like today. The sky is blue, the weather is warm, a gentle breeze is blowing, birds are chirping, my kids are laughing and everyone in my family is healthy. I close my eyes and let these feelings of joy and contentment settle in my soul. I know the calm won't last... but I choose to revel in the feeling while it's here. God is so good and I am grateful for every little miracle.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!


I know it's trite, but I can't believe it's already April! Spring Break has been very relaxing, with lots of time to read, couch, Facebook, Pinterest, and otherwise waste time. Since I have a little extra time, I thought I'd update with the latest "happenings" in our little family.

Joshua's bi-annual ENT appointment was last month and praise the Lord, his hearing has remained the same. We will visit the audiologist again in 6 months, but we won't have to see the doctor for another year (unless something changes).

Caleb finished up a month of TOBI treatments at the end of March and we went to the CF Center this past Tuesday for a re-swab. We are praying that the pseudamonas is completely gone and we won't have to continue the TOBI. We are looking forward to the Great Strides walk in May. I don't think it's possible to over-state how much I enjoy raising money for the CF Foundation. With every dollar donated, I am filled with the hope that a cure will be found for this dreadful, life-stealing disease. I found this nifty little widget on the Foundation's website; it links directly to my Great Strides page. Check out our progress! I'm so proud of our little team!

donate to my cause

This Sunday is Easter and today is Maundy Thursday. I have been thinking about the suffering that Jesus endured for our sake and the fear that his disciples must have felt. Even though he tried to tell them in advance, they did not know that Sunday was coming.... all of their hopes died with Jesus on that Roman cross of execution. But Sunday morning arrived to find him risen from the dead, hope restored, and a new age dawning. We can live our lives full of hope and joy because we know how the story ends. We have reason to be full of courage. No matter what happens in this life, we have the hope of eternal life through Jesus. I thank God for his plan of redemption so that we can be restored to relationship with him. "There may be pain in the night, but JOY comes in the morning." AMEN and AMEN!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Words I Thought I'd Never Write

Fundraising is a tricky business. Growing up, I hated any kind of fundraising. I usually just begged my mom to contribute the minimum required amount or I paid it out of my own pocket. If I was required to get donations from people other than those who gave birth to me, I would ask my grandparents, maybe aunts and uncles, but absolutely no one else.

But when "the cause" is saving the life of your own child, everything changes. Even for someone like me, who is not a natural "fundraiser." The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has been instrumental in the development of new, life-saving drugs that treat the underlying genetic defect of CF. Our own "miracle" is right around the corner (see previous post) and it's all because of the tireless efforts of the CF Foundation and its countless supporters.

Another CF mom put it this way: If you have a kid with CF, you no longer have to think about your "wish" before blowing out birthday candles or when you see a shooting star. Your wish is always the same. Let my son live and be healthy. Let there be a cure for this disease. Please don't make me attend my own child's funeral.

So here I am... doing the very thing I hated all those years ago. Making a "plug" for my cause. Asking for donations. Hoping you'll join with us in fighting this horrible, crippling, life-stealing disease. Supporting those who are making this "wish" for so many into a reality. Here's how you can help:

First, you can make a donation directly to our Great Strides team, Sprinkle's Soldiers. It's not too late to join the team if you'd like to walk with us in May!

Second, you can purchase a Satin Hands skin care set from Celeste Denmark with Mary Kay. She is donating $15 from every set sold (each costs $34) to our Great Strides team. These sets make great Easter and Mother's Day gifts, so stock up and support a great cause! For online orders, visit Celeste's page and enter promo code CALEB at checkout.

Third, you can shop the wonderful world of Tastefully Simple. If you have never tried Tastefully Simple products, you are in for a treat! We are having another party in April, but you can go ahead and shop now, entering my name (Erin Sprinkle) as the hostess during the checkout process. You'll receive your items now, and our party will get the credit for your order! Our February party resulted in a donation of $335 to our team, and I'd like to shoot for $500 in April. Click here to start shopping!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting the CF Foundation. I am so proud to be fundraising for them.... and those are words I thought I'd never write!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Big Picture

A lot has been happening lately in the CF Community. Last month, the FDA approved a drug called Kalydeco, the first drug to address the underlying genetic defect of Cystic Fibrosis. To read more about that ground-breaking event, click here. Words cannot adequately express the excitement I felt reading that press release; I can only imagine the hope and joy that other CF parents have felt since then.

(I recently found this blog, which describes the science of CF and Kalydeco in great detail. This lady understands the mechanics a lot better than I do, and she believes that scientists have "solved the puzzle...now it is a matter of time and money to see it through to the market" - truly exciting.)

Caleb's most recent CF visit was last Tuesday. He is still looking good on all the growth charts, and his BMI is in the 75th percentile. His CF doctor talked about a new clinical trial that will begin this summer looking at the benefit of Kalydeco in people with at least one copy of the r117h mutation (Caleb has one). He also said he wouldn't be surprised if we are giving the drug to Caleb in another year or two.

I really could not believe what he was telling me. I was anticipating a much longer timeline. It seems very unreal that the "miracle drug" we've been waiting and praying for could be coming so soon.

I asked how the drug would affect our day-to-day lives. Of course, no one really knows yet. People are just now starting to use Kalydeco and it will be months, years before anyone can really speculate about it's long-term effects. Will we still do daily vest treatments? Probably. Will we still do Pulmozyme (inhaled treatment) at age five? Maybe. Will this make Caleb less susceptible to pseudamonas, etc? We certainly hope so. Will it slow down and even prevent lung damage? Almost certainly. The day-to-day may look the same, but it's the anticipated long-term gains that everyone is excited about. The Big Picture looks very promising.

The here-and-now, however, is a different story. We got the results of Caleb's throat culture today, and once again, he tested positive for pseudamonas. Not good for his overall lung health. It has been almost a year since we stopped TOBI treatments and we are not looking forward to reintroducing them to a now very strong, very stubborn two year old. These treatments add thirty minutes to our morning routine, and thirty minutes to our bedtime routine. Please don't misunderstand, I am grateful that a medication exists to eradicate pseudamonas. I am thankful for the 10 months Caleb apparently went without it's destructive presence. But I am weary to my soul just thinking about the struggle that we are about to begin. I can't help but sometimes wonder why we have this cross to bear.

And that got me thinking about the Big Picture. In the coming days I will literally fight with my child to complete these treatments. I will no doubt have to hold him down, kicking and screaming, while I attempt to keep a mask on his face and pseudamonas-killing antibiotics flowing into his lungs. He will not understand why I am holding him, hurting him. He will struggle against me and he will be mad at me. And he will not realize that even though it hurts me to hurt him, it is all for his benefit.

Isn't it the same with our Heavenly Father? We struggle and fight and resist and turn away from him. We rail against him and insist that he doesn't care about us because our lives are not easy and comfortable. We ask why innocent children must suffer and get no discernable answers. But God has the Big Picture, the Eternal Picture. Everything that happens can and does ultimately fulfill His purposes. He never said our lives would be easy. He DID promise to always be with us, fighting alongside us, carrying us when our own strength is gone. And even in the midst of a storm, we can find peace.

As I struggle with my son in the coming month, heart-sick at the suffering I am causing him, I hope he knows on some level that I only do it because I love him. And I hope I remember how much God loves me, even when I lack the perspective to thank him for these trying days.