Friday, August 14, 2015

I can't make this stuff up!

Our hearts are with our friend, Kira (Miss America 2015) right now, as its the last month of her reign as Miss America. On September 13, Kira will crown the next Miss America. We are both sad that her reign is coming to a close and also excited to see what new adventures await her in life. You wanna know something extremely cool? This little guy is going to walk with her on stage on the last night of preliminary competition at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City:
Obviously, we are beyond excited! Nate doesn't mind where we go as long as he gets to see Kira. I am just so blown away by the incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences this little guy has had!

And to add to this incredible series of events, one of our dear friends is Miss Florida and will be competing for the title of Miss America! We have known Mary Katherine Fechtel (affectionately known as MK to us) through Dance Marathon at UF, where she has been a Family Relations Captain the past couple of years. She has become very dear to each one of us during this time, but probably none dearer than to Emma. MK has been such an amazing role model and friend to our children, and we have been so thankful for the role she has had in the lives of all of the kids involved in Dance Marathon at UF.

Until Sept 10, we can vote for America's Choice for the Miss America Competition. The state title holder with the most votes through social media will automatically make it to the Top 15 in the competition. All we have to do is vote via Facebook or Twitter with the phrase "Florida #MissAmericaVote".

And make sure you watch the Miss America Competition Sept 13 at 9:00pm EST on ABC!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Answered Prayers

Life is comprised of a series of relationships from the time you are born until your last days on this earth. How these relationships affect you and what you do with them will change you as you grow.

Through a series of speeches, presentations, and personal talks lately, I have willingly been encouraged to recollect and expound on the actions and emotions from the first few months of Nathan's life. Oftentimes portraying these emotions help those going through a new diagnosis or help others in the medical field giving new diagnoses to children and parents.
Those first few months of our son's life were excruciating. The fear. The unknown. The new "medical" language. The confusion. The guilt. The exhaustion. The turmoil. The sadness. It all seemed so insurmountable, and I know that it was only by God's mercy that we were able to see the light in the seemingly overwhelming darkness.

We knew early on that Nate had an illness that was serious and would more than likely be incurable. Each day as I would hold my sweet baby boy in my arms, I would look into his dark eyes and pray: "Lord, please give us wisdom and guidance to raise our son in a way that his life will touch everyone he meets. Let his light shine through this earth."

7 years later, the thought of this prayer brings so many tears. It is 7 years later that we see just how God has answered these prayers.

This boy with a joyous spirit, the tenderest of hearts, and a smile that lights up any room has literally traveled across our country this year truly touching the hearts of those he has met. In his short few years of life, he has accomplished more than most people have in a full lifetime. And every step of the way, he has created relationships that will last his entire life.

None of these relationships seem dearer than his friendship with Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev...or in Nate's affectionate calling: "Miss Kiwwa". From the moment Nate and Kira met this past November, their relationship formed and grew...and grew...and grew.
There was something truly special about the relationship these two quickly formed. Their personalities clicked, and they both seemed to understand one another. It wasn't about titles, honors, disabilities, or was a love that was kindred. Insurmountable. Pure. It was a relationship that has affected not only Nate, but our entire family, as we see this incredibly influential and amazing young woman as part of our family and love her as one of our own.
So when I think back on the fearful, debilitating emotions during those first few months of Nathan's life, I am humbled and comforted in the prayers that have been answered in ways that we NEVER expected. Our son's life has been used to touch innumerable people throughout all the ends of this earth. My goodness, what a humbling thought. And likewise, his and our lives have been touched by so many that we hold quite dear to our hearts now. So many we will love deeply and dearly for the rest of our lives.
Life is comprised of a series of relationships from the time you are born until your last days on this earth. How these relationships affect you and what you do with them will change you as you grow.

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