Showing posts with label God Is Good. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God Is Good. Show all posts

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fuel for life

"That's it, we're out."

The bad news came from Travis, the driver of the vehicle, and he delivered the news to his wife with a slightly disappointed voice, although he tried to maintain a carefree demeanor.

"We're not out," she replied. "There's always more in these old trucks, the gauge never tells you the truth. Try it again."

Travis tried it again. The engine coughed, sputtered, tried to come to life, but then didn't, and as it ground to a halt it ground the hopes of ever making it out of The Pit.

Funnily enough, Travis had created The Pit, back when he had too much time on his hands. He'd borrowed a backhoe from a friend, took it slow and steady at first, and then when that hadn't produced the results he'd wanted, he'd bought some dynamite and blasted a hole deeper than he'd intended, but it was a hole nonetheless, something he could be proud of. It all seemed like a great idea at the time.

Now that pit was a trap.

It wasn't just Travis and his wife in the truck, their three kids were with them. They'd stocked enough water and snacks, as well as more diapers than you can imagine, for the trip, but not enough to account for extra time.

Help wasn't on the way. Travis had spent many hours alienating friends while digging the hole, so no one would be coming around to check on them. Not hearing from Travis was more common than hearing from him.

Travis looked at his wife.

"I think that's it. It's just not going any further. I don't know what to do. I know we're close to being out, but it's still too steep for us to climb."

Then he finally admitted, "Also, I don't have any clue what to do when we get out."

His wife was slow to reply, but when she did it was with a smile.

"Hang on, let me check something," she said.

She hopped out of the truck—the truck he'd driven so recklessly—and went to the back, rummaged in the bed for a few moments, removed something, and then walked back to the cab.

Smiling that same, calm smile, she motioned to the item she'd pulled out of the bed of the truck.

It was a gas can.

"Where did you get that?" Travis asked.

"I don't know," she answered. "I just thought you might need it. You think it'll be enough to get us out of here?"

"We don't need much," he said. "So I bet it will. At any rate, it'll get us closer than we are now."

As Travis refueled the truck from the can, he thought about all the times he'd wondered whether God actually heard his cries, his pleas, his fervent whisperings in the night for a woman he could spend his life with, a woman who'd share his fears, his happiness, his life.

Looking up, he caught his wife's eyes in the rearview mirror. She winked.

He closed the gas cap, slapped the side of the old truck—the truck he knew he'd miss—and hopped in the driver's seat.

"Alright," he said, glancing at his wife. "Let's try to get out of this pit."




Monday, February 10, 2014

A Sloat Family Growth Chart.

Just under two years ago I posted this blog.

I was full of resentment and hurt and all of those things that can make a very bitter person out of you if you hang on to them. You see, I was having trouble walking the walk I talked about so much when it came to other people.

I will assume you're familiar with the phrase: "Just pray for God's will." You may have even spoken those words to someone, hoping they'd give comfort and peace.

I can assure you that living that phrase is harder than saying it. And I'm just about positive that you already know that, because undoubtedly you've lost a loved one, a job, or have been in a situation where you desperately wanted your will done and not God's.

If you aren't a Christian or don't believe in God, that's fine, I have to figure this would be the equivalent of someone telling you "Things will work out, just give it time."

So fast forward to a few months back. The Missus and I got a phone call. The bouncing baby boy born back in 2012 was needing a new home. You were on the list. Be ready. He's coming to you.

We might have freaked out just a bit. The Missus did a deep cleaning of the house the likes of which I have never seen in my life. Things were stored, things were bleached, things were thrown away, things were painted. Rooms were changed. My brother came over and threw his back out hanging up a ceiling fan, God love him. We were going to be prepared.

Then came an email.

"We're going to give him to someone else instead. We'll keep you posted."

The pain The Missus felt was extraordinary. I felt empty. I was disappointed. I felt like nothing good would ever happen again. We cried, we yelled, and we questioned the very God whose will we were supposedly praying for all along. We sat down and had a giant pity party. We broke the news to the kids, and then everyone in the family was broken hearted.

I do not claim to know why that happened. I don't know why we needed to feel that pain, and why we had to explain to our children that the new baby, their brother, was not coming to us after all. But we did. And we moved on.

Then we got another email.

"The someone didn't work out. He's coming to you." 

After swearing we would never get our hopes up again, we...well we got our hopes up again. We cleaned. We did background checks and home studies and physicals. We decided not to tell the kids until we were a bit more certain. Then we told the kids.

Then we made the drive. Just under two hours, and we had a Tahoe full of toys and clothes and baby, whose name I cannot give you for a while, for the same reason I couldn't give you the others' back in 2010. It'll take a little bit. We don't know how long, that's up to the state and the Lord. This situation isn't as fluid as the other one. There are a lot of extraneous factors that could result in us not getting to keep him.

However, I serve a God who is in control of this situation. He knows what's going to happen already, in fact He saw it from the beginning of time. And what's more important, He knows what I can handle. He knows what my family can handle. And if it's His will that my family should now number five, then so be it. If not, somehow, with His help, we'll get through it.

But right now the boy is home. He's at our house, with his brother and sister, and they love him. We love him. He loves all of us. In fact, on the car ride home, he said something, and I turned and looked at him. He pointed right at me and said "Dad."

"Dad."
"Dad."

He hates nap time. He hates bed time. He loves bananas. He has the reddest, curliest hair you've ever seen and looks exactly like a Sloat. Hates to be told no. Can high five with the best of them. Loves the rabbit, doesn't really care for Fabulous, but he's warming up to her. Loves to say "Bye" and act like he's walking out the door. He cries when I leave for work or school, which breaks my heart. Gives pretty good hugs. Is calling The Missus "Mom," and his brother and sister "Bubba" and "Sis."

The addition to our family has also created an imbalance of sorts, as represented by the following pie charts.

This seems natural and right and in complete harmony and accord with all things.

THE PURPLE AREA IS GROWING HELP ME BABY JESUS.

In the past two weeks I've taken hundreds of pictures, the majority of which I can't put on social media or my blog. I forwarded one picture to about 20 different people before I realized that it had my boob in it, clear as day. Here's one that makes me proud, but I can't tell you if it's him.

This could be him, this might not be him. I'm not telling you for sure.
It seems as though he's had a hundred visitors. Family, friends, and everyone who meets him loves him. They play with him, hold him, talk to him. God has blessed us with people in our lives who genuinely love us and who want good things for our family. It amazes me that He would take so many terrible situations: broken families, infertility, abuse, drugs...and combine them into something so amazing. Something I'm able to call a family.

The other day, the day after we brought him home, he was screaming his lungs out about taking a nap and I was there beside him to make sure he didn't abscond from the crib. As I watched him tire himself out by crying, something struck me as humorous and I looked down at him and laughed. Then, the comparison hit me, I started crying while I was laughing. So I stood there like an idiot, chuckling silently while giant tears slid down my cheeks.

God throws me a lot of curveballs. And sometimes, when I'm right smack in the middle of something God knows I should be going through, I lay down and I kick my feet and I scream about it. I say "No" a lot and I think God is the worst person in the world for handing me the situation or set of circumstances. It's so unfair. The world is unfair. It's the worst.

And then I calm down. I realize that what I'm going through is what's best for me. I realize all those things I wish I would have realized sooner. I realize that I serve a God who can handle me when I'm having my biggest screaming hissy fit ever, and he's looking at me saying, "It's for the best. Trust me. Just trust me."

So yeah, I'm hoping God works His will in this situation. And even more than that, I actually believe that His will is best for all of us, including the new guy. Do I want things to work out the way I think is best? Absolutely. But what do I know?

I know that God is big.

I know that I am His. I know that my family is His. I know that you are His.

And I know that The Missus and I are officially outnumbered, and we wouldn't have it any other way.


Friday, July 20, 2012

An Open Letter to the Folks in Aurora, Colorado.

The words that we use to comfort one another in times of need can sometimes seem pointless, tactless even, to those upon whom tragedy has been heaped. Keeping that in the forefront of my mind, using it to guard the bottleneck between my brain and my fingers, I will attempt to share my sympathy and comfort with the victims of this senseless attack, and their families.

As near as I understand it, a young man by the name of James Holmes walked into the 12:05 premier of the The Dark Knight Rises at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. He lobbed a canister of tear gas into the air, and he then opened fire on the crowd with a rifle, killing twelve and wounding numerous others. He was then arrested in the parking lot without resistance.

There are rumors of cellphone videos that have been posted online already, that depict the violence and its aftermath. I will not be watching any of those videos. I have no desire to witness the brutality, and to do so would make a mockery of those who were forced to live it. To those posting and watching those videos, I would ask you to please consider the families of those who have lost loved ones. Ask yourself, if it was your family member lost in the crime, would you want others watching it?

The news stories recount gruesome details. They speculate the reasoning behind the crime, and as I am writing, people are finding ways to manipulate this into blame for political parties. There are suggestions for new laws, new policies, and even talk of raising the national security level.

But no one has expressed any interest in comforting those who have lost loved ones, innocence, or faith in our country.

I make no bones about being a humor blogger, and I try to leave no doubt that I am also a Christian. And, having seen our recent community turn to God in times of tragedy, I would suggest that you all do the same. However, I will not spend the entirety of this blog forcing my beliefs down your throat.

"But Travis, why would God let this happen? How can the God you serve claim to be all-knowing, all-powerful, and merciful still let those people die? Why didn't he stop it?"


Some, in recent days, will tell you that this is God's punishment on the nation for sin. Be aware, that this is small fringe group of Christians, and do not represent the whole, much like the small group of Muslims that want to destroy America don't represent the whole Muslim religion.

I do not believe that God caused this to happen. I do believe that He allowed it, simply because He allows everything to happen, and for a reason. As for why He'd allow it, I'm afraid that answer still eludes me. I have no idea why God allows bad things to happen to us, except to cite several biblical examples of people who endured great suffering only to be used mightily by God.

Will this terrible event be turned ultimately into something that glorifies God? Since God doesn't do anything without glorifying Himself, then the answer to that is yes. How will that happen? I have no idea. I simply have faith that it will.

I am praying for the victims and their families. I am praying for the town of Aurora. I am praying for the state of Colorado. I am praying for the United States, and I am praying for those who lead our nation and how they will handle this terrible loss of life and trust.

I want those families to know that I love them. I've probably never met you, and I'm sure you've never heard of me. However, I extend my thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, and sincere condolences to you. As someone who has experience great personal loss, I can tell you that while time never fully heals wounds as advertised, but it does dull the pain. I hope you can look back at the lives of your loved ones and see how awesome they were, how much of a friend they were, and how good they made you feel.

There is no doubt in my mind that this event will draw the people of Aurora and even Colorado closer together as a community and state. Use that time wisely. Your state is no stranger to tragedy on a national scale. You are experienced in pain and suffering. Gather together and help each other through this, just as you've done before. Don't argue over gun control and security levels. Comfort one another. Draw strength from the unity. Encourage and uplift one another with kind words and helping hands.

And if you don't feel that your comfort needs are being met, email me. Facebook me. Text me. Call me.

Talk to me.


I will gladly spend any amount of time I have crying with you, remembering with you, comforting you. You are special to me. You are special to God.

You are His. 


Friday, June 1, 2012

The Walk: Part Two.


From "The Walk," a blog I wrote about two years ago.

"There are lots of walks that people make in their lifetime. Some are important, some are not. Some of those walks are tougher than others, and some seem like they take forever, because you know you can't wait to have what's at the end. Some are painful, some are joyous. Some are profitable, some will end with you losing everything."

Today I want to talk to you about another walk I recently made.

I am convinced that there is a serenity that comes from floating in the ocean that cannot be achieved by doing anything else. Maybe it's because I live in a landlocked state, or maybe it's just something that I feel. Regardless, our story begins with me, floating in the ocean, and listening.

My family was with me as I peacefully reflected on thoughts of life, the Universe, and everything. Aven was splashing around with Jennie, and Keeli and The Missus were floating as well, but I could tell they were involved in a deep discussion. They passed within earshot, and through a lull in the breakers, I overheard my wife telling our daughter about Jesus.

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."
 -Proverbs 31:30

Keeli has been asking questions about the Lord's Supper and baptism quite frequently, and we've been doing our best to answer those questions without using the phrase, "You have to be a Christian first." You see, I don't want our children to think that they need salvation simply so they can eat crackers on the last Sunday of the month or take a dip in the baptistery. I want them to know they need salvation for the right reasons.

I paddled closer for a listen, and then I realized that I needed to be praying for the whole situation. It wasn't too much longer before The Missus said, "Well, let's go get your daddy and we'll go have a talk." Then she looked at me and said, "Travis?"

"I've been listening," was my reply. "Do we need to go up to the condo?"

"Yes."


And so began The Walk.

I walked through the water, praying feverishly. "Lord, give me wisdom. Lord, please give me wisdom. Lord, please don't let me screw this up."

My toes hit the beach, and then the powder-fine white sand. My wife and our daughter in tow, and still I prayed. "Lord, it's been way too long since I've lead someone to salvation, or even used words to witness to someone face to face. Please give me the words she can understand."

The sand turned to wood, signaling the closeness of our destination. Just a few more steps. Likewise, my prayers turned as well, to thanks. "Thank you God, for a wife who can effectively minister to our children. Thank you for Jennie and her family, who have been stoic Christian examples in the turmoil of their lives. Thank you for this gift that You've given us that I have the privilege of sharing with our daughter."

And then we were there. We walked through the door, and I grabbed my Bible and told The Missus to give me a minute to myself so I could prepare for this. She nodded, and I walked out on the balcony, hit my knees, and repeated everything I'd prayed in the last five minutes.

On June 28th, 2003, a door opened, and my bride to be walked through, radiant, beautiful, and a gift from God.

On May 20th, 2011, a door opened, and our children jumped out and ran to meet us, radiant, beautiful, and gifts from God.

On May 25th, 2012, another door opened, and my wife and daughter walked through, radiant, beautiful, and absolutely gifts from God.

They sat beside me, and I started asking Keeli questions about her knowledge of salvation. I made it two sentences in, and I started crying. Keeli, the ever-empathetic child, started crying as well. It took a few minutes, but I finally explained to her that I wasn't sad at all, I was happy, and very proud.

In the end, we joined hands and prayed together as a family, and our beautiful daughter accepted Christ as her Savior. I promised her we'd talk to our pastor about baptism, which is something we're going to do this Sunday. I fully plan to be the one to baptize her, and I fully plan on being the biggest blubbering mess in the world whenever I do it.

And so The Road continues, and so do The Walks. For our daughter, this walk has consisted of being a baby born to a twelve year old kid, a six year walk through hell on earth, the life changing event of being given to new parents, and now securing a spot with Jesus in eternity.

I'll never understand why they went through what they did, and I'll never understand why we've gone through what we have. All I do understand is that the Lord has a Plan, and it's a plan for good, and not evil. A plan to give us hope, and a future.

And this little family He's given me is the best Plan I could have ever asked for.

We are His.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On Tragedy.

 "Travis, are you okay?"

When I get a phone call from my wife that starts out like that, I know there won't be good news in the conversation. Especially if it sounds like she's been crying. However, nothing could have prepared me for the words after my reply.

"I'm fine babe, what's going on?"

"Travis, Kambrin has been in a car wreck."

"Travis...she's dead."

I only know one Kambrin. A last name wasn't necessary.



"Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth,
would care to know my name, would care to know my hurt."

It certainly wasn't the first time I'd heard Kambrin sing. But it was the first time where the lyrics of a song she had sang moved me the way that it did. The song is by a band called Casting Crowns, and Kambrin did it justice. I remember crying, and asking myself why in the world God cared about me at all. But this isn't about me or what I felt or when. This is about a seventeen year old girl, taken from this world too soon, and how God can be glorified by it.


"I am, a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow..."

When a young person dies, it leaves a lot of people confused, hurt, and a lot of times, angry. They get upset about the unfairness of it all, and they start to ask questions about why it happened. Those questions rarely get answered. You can look to the Bible and see that God has everything laid out in a perfect plan, but the main issue folks have with that is that they aren't properly filled in on that divine plan. That's when the anger sets in, which quickly turns to bitterness, which can ultimately lead to hatred. In order to stop that chain of events, there has to be something that fills that disconnect between the plans we had for a person, and the plans God had for a person.


"A wave tossed in the ocean...vapor in the wind." 

Kambrin knew Jesus. We all know that. If we all try really hard, we can even push all the negative out of our minds and turn her into some sort of angelic personality, someone without blemish, who lived a perfect life and had no problems whatsoever. And yet, all of us realize that isn't true. Kambrin was a normal teenage girl. I listened to her own mother talk tonight about how none of us had ever truly lived a perfect day. The part we need to focus on is that Kambrin, right now, is sitting in heaven with Jesus. She cashed in on that promise we have in our salvation. We are absolutely guaranteed that heaven is way cooler than anything on this earth. So why do we want her to be back here with us so badly?


"Still, you hear me when I'm calling..."

We as humans are selfish creatures. It's been a part of our nature since the Garden, and it will remain a part of our nature until the end of the earth. Even with the knowledge that Kambrin is now with the Author of our Salvation, we still wish we could hug her, talk to her, laugh with her, or just sit with her one last time. So ask yourself this question? Would you pull her out of heaven for that? What do you think she would want, right now? I've known Kambrin for literally her entire life, and I think I can speak to what she'd want. She'd want people to turn to Jesus in all of this. She'd want to know that her life...her death, and everything in between led people closer to the Lord, because that is a sure fire way for her to get to see you again. We have been assured that Kambrin did not suffer. Death was instantaneous, which means that in less than the time it takes you to read this word, Kambrin was in the presence of our Lord and Savior, filled with a new understanding and knowledge about everything she'd ever had a question about.


"Lord you catch me when I'm falling." 

Romans 14:8 says this: "If we live, it's to honor the Lord. And if we die, it's to honor the Lord. So whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord." I've seen videos posted on Facebook of Kambrin singing "I Can Only Imagine" at SYATP. It's obvious that Kambrin lived to honor the Lord. But can we have faith enough in God to believe that even in death, Kambrin was honoring the Lord? Having that faith is instrumental to us dealing with the hurt we feel now, the hurt we'll feel on Monday, and the hurt we'll feel in a month when her fellow seniors walk across the stage without her. In her death, she will honor the Lord. The Lord will have his glory. Amen.


"And you've told me who I am..."

I spoke with her mom the night of the accident. She was in the midst of hundreds of people, packed into the Okay First Baptist Church parking lot, each one there united with the other, family, friends, students from school, faculty, administration, and many others. Lorena grabbed my arm and looked me in the eye and said, "Travis, I really want you to pray that this doesn't hit the ground without God being glorified." In that moment, spirit sodden with grief, she spoke about the peace she had. How many of us were at peace in that parking lot? How many of us were concerned with God being glorified? And so that's what I'm going to do now. I'm going to make sure that you readers understand how, in the end, God can be glorified in the midst of such immense tragedy and pain.


"I am yours. I am yours."

We are His. Kambrin is His. And so, life will go on. Ultimately, the world will not stop in remembrance of Kambrin, not even for a moment, even though we all think it should. The seconds will tick indisputably towards tomorrow, and then towards the day after. And maybe you've read this and you wonder how I'm so certain that I'll see Kambrin again in heaven one day. Maybe you want that assurance too. I'm here to tell you, you can have it as easily as she did, as easily as I got it. All it takes is the recognition that you're a sinner, and separated from God because of that sin. Then you have to believe that Our Loving God, upon recognition of our separation, sent the ultimate sacrifice to earth for us in the form of His Son, Jesus. You have to believe that Jesus lived a flawless life and was brutally murdered on a cross as a payment for all of our sins. And lastly, you have to accept that gift of salvation, knowing there is nothing in this world you could ever do to earn it. Then...tell someone else about it. And just like that...God will be glorified in Kambrin's death.



My thoughts, prayers, condolences, and deepest sympathies go out to the Dennis family. My thoughts and prayers are also with Kambrin's friends, her senior class, her fellow students at Okay Public Schools, and the faculty and administration as they try to encourage and counsel the students during this time of tragedy and loss.

In closing, if you have something you'd like to say about Kambrin, feel free to share it in the comment section down below. If you are an outside reader with no knowledge of Okay except for those funny Christmas videos I post once a year, I'd ask that you take the time to share an encouraging word to the home town folks that read this. Family, friends, students, etc., you can post whatever you want to anonymously, without having to create any sort of account or worrying about someone identifying you. If you want to leave your name, that's fine too. I love each and every one of you, and always remember, The Lord will take us through this.

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11

Kambrin Sophie Grace Dennis
5/2/94 - 4/17/12
You are His.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Miracle on...41st and Garnett.

Disclaimer: When you tell a story often enough, a lot of times you can pick out the high points, the funny parts, and the lines that make people gasp, and sensationalize those moments so that they have an even bigger effect on your audience. The story I'm about to tell you has no doubt been told a lot, and when it was told to me was probably modified slightly to emphasize the "high points." Please understand that before reading. 


It constantly amazes me how I am placed in situations where I meet new and interesting people. In fact, one of the things I've learned is that when you just open up to someone, ask them their name, and be genuinely interested in what they have to say, you'll usually be blown away by their story. Last night, that happened.

It started as a night just hanging out with Kid Funk. We had some sushi, a couple of beers, and then we went back to the hotel he was staying at to hop in the hot tub. I feel like I should add that this was a completely hetero-sexual event.

There was a couple in the hot tub when we got in, and they had four children running around in the kiddie pool. At first I couldn't get my mind off how lame that was, because kids around a pool are usually absolutely retarded, and they yell and scream and try to just generally ruin your relaxing in a hot tub. I pressed on, however, and was soon relaxing very peacefully.

That wasn't good enough for me though, so I started talking to the couple. I asked where they were from, and they said Shawnee, Oklahoma. Just as I was about to ask why in the world they would be staying in a hotel 50 miles from where they lived, they told me. The man explained to me that the Make-A-Wish Foundation was putting them up in the hotel, and that tomorrow night, their daughter was going to meet Taylor Swift as her wish.

When I hear "Make-A-Wish Foundation," I immediately think that someone is going to die. When I saw the girl, she appeared to be about 10 or 11, and I soon found out that not only was she 7, she was also over five feet tall! The mood in the hot tub changed from introductory to somber in a hurry, as the parents explained that she had cancer, but was in remission.

Since my dad was diagnosed with cancer back in 2000, cancer has become general to me. When I hear the adjectives before the type of cancer it is, I just sort of block them out. I know what killed my dad was Carcinoma, and all I heard from the woman explaining things to us was Leukemia. Then she went on to tell a story that inspired this blog post, and also made me think about how blessed we can be if we'll only see it.

The girl's name is Brianna. I'm not sure about the spelling. As near as I can piece together, Brianna was having some growth spurts, and started to have pain in her knees. A routine check-up by a doctor revealed the worst possible thing a parent can hear about their child. It was Leukemia. They immediately started chemotherapy, and they put her through a solid month of that. Folks, I watched my dad go through chemotherapy, and I'm here to tell you, it was no picnic. It destroyed him, and he was beast. I can't even imagine what it did to a  7 year old girl who weighed maybe 70 pounds. Added to this burden were over 30 spinal taps and other invasive tests.

The mom went on to explain how they had her tested at the end of the thirty days, and that seventy percent of the cells in Brianna's body were still infected. The doctor said that they would wait a week, then test again, then they would talk about surgeries, stronger chemotherapy, and survival chances.

Around this point in her story, the mom looked over and said, "Hey! Get off of that!" She was talking to Brianna, who had somehow managed to climb onto the outside of a water slide, and was busily making her way to the top. Her bobbed haircut and pink swimsuit made her out to be as cute as a button, even though I recognized that haircut was one of someone who was trying to grow their hair back out after radiation had caused them to lose it all in the first place.

Then the mother continued. She explained that the day of the testing, Brianna had walked in to the kitchen and boldly exclaimed that she had talked to God the night before. She went on to explain that she had told God she wanted to get better. She said that she told God she wanted to be better today, tomorrow, and every day. The mother, admitting herself that she was not a particularly religious person, had a bit of trouble digesting all of this.

From here, I'm sure you can guess what happened, because it's that kind of story. If we're not careful, we can even make it out to be anti-climatic, completely destroying the incredible miracle that took place. They went to the doctor, submitted Brianna to a battery of tests, and she came back negative. That seventy percent count from a week before had been reduced to zero. She was, in essence, cured.

The doctor explained that he had never seen or read anything like it, and told them that with this particular kind of cancer, the chance of it coming back was less than one percent. She has to have check-ups frequently, and I'm sure there will be more tests over the years that won't be enjoyable. However, she's cured.

Tonight Brianna gets to meet Taylor Swift, and she's taking her best friend with her. I can tell you that this completely upset my youngest brother, who wishes Brianna was taking him instead. I'll admit that I'm a little jealous of her myself. I guess this Make-A-Wish thing was set up before she was cured, and I'm sure you can't just take something like that away from a young girl when a miracle happens.

I don't know about you, but I'll be praying for Brianna. As a matter of fact, I'm sure she'll cross my mind every time I hear a Taylor Swift song for a long time. I know that sometimes the nature of my spiritual life on this blog can seem incredibly dichotomous, and I know that there will be times in the future where I'm labeled a hypocrite, but all the glory in the world has to be given to God here. He is the author of miracles, the conductor of healing, and the kind of guy who puts you in a hot tub on a Tuesday night with a couple of people who are harboring a story like this one.

In the off chance Taylor reads this, I'd just like to tell her how lucky she is to get to meet Brianna and her family. Also, I have to tell her that my brother says hi.