Chase Fireflies


Okay Sounds Phenomenal

Yesterday I received phenomenal news. Benign.

At a routine dermatologist appointment two weeks ago, my doctor removed two moles. Not a big deal in the least, since I’ve had countless of these biopsies. But never to this degree of immediacy. (Usually I make an appointment for 2-4 weeks later.) I had never heard my doctor say, “These need taken off now.”

Of course, I balked initially, and attempted to use the, “But I just had major surgery excuse,” even though I really wasn’t in tremendous pain at the time. To which she responded, “They need taken off now.”

So I got a few shots (in the leg and in the head.) And they didn’t hurt in the least. I was especially squeamish of the shots to the head. So much so, that after she completed the procedure, I told her that it felt awesome and I was giddy with the negative pain element.

We waited 13 long days to get these results back. They were supposed to take 7 days, but they saw abnormal cell activity, so we had to wait longer.

The amazing news was that the abnormal activity was not melanoma this time. Both were still considered benign. And they’ll just keep an eye out for the abnormality on my head. (Which is rather amusing. I suppose there are lots of abnormalities in my head:)

Anyhow, I got the results over grilled cheese star shaped sandwiches, circle tomato shapes, and square apple chunks. (It’s shape week here at the Charles’ home thanks to MOPS:) My kids were thrilled with their shape lunch (well, just Selah.) And I was thrilled that Mommy was going to be okay. Selah and Adden can’t comprehend that yet.

But I can.

Okay sounds phenomenal to me.


$300 and She Loves Nebraska

I love our youth group students. Absolutely love them.

I love the could care less about God students, the ceiling dwellers hanging upside down, the students who get it – like really get it and live it, the Mountain Dew drinking spitfires, the kids with questions – hard questions, the athletes and band members and artists and AP everything students…

I love that we have students who are living out their faith now as twenty somethings and desperately seeking after God. I love that we have former students who are struggling to find their way. But they write and sometimes call and we hang on their words and hurt with them too. And those students, well, we couldn’t love them more. There is always grace at the cross. Always.

Tonight we had our regular small groups. There was a badly sung birthday song, gooey yummy brownies and soda, Paul rambling with the announcements ( I love you honey and I can’t think of anyone who loves our students better than you:) There was great insight into Luke 9:25, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” There were random, out of nowhere, “I love Nebraska” comments and giggling and story telling.

And then there was the $300 that the students raised in a week and a half!!!!!! Ahhh!!!!! Since Ruth’s mom passed away (their Compassion child), we challenged them to raise the maximum amount of money that we could give Ruth’s family (in honor of her mom.) $300 and a bunch of teenagers and a week and a half and a girl loved on in Bolivia. Beautiful…

If that weren’t enough, I sat in Heather’s small group today. These girls have been raising spare change of their own accord. There were these little falling apart decorated Styrofoam cups with money in them. I think they called them Cups for Causes. Money for a crisis pregnancy center, a local family who had a fire, Operation Christmas Child boxes, and former students now in the military. The girls were giddy over them and brainstorming ways to love people… with quilts they didn’t know how to make, brownies, baby clothes, and more talk of whipping up quiltage.

I’m really not sure what God has in store for these students, but I’ve got to say there’s a good bit of hope, faith, and love going on. Stored up in simple prayers, big dreams, and spare change in little Styrofoam cups with wings.

I love our youth group students. Absolutely love them.

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Three Year Old Princess Party

Waking up to Three Years Old!
A Pink Breakfast with Mimi and Papa

A Princess Lunch with Grandma, Grandpap, Daddy, Aunt Ashley, and Kayden

Blowing Out the Candles at the Party

Snow White and the Princesses

Waking up to a room of pink balloons (thank you, Court!)…

A sleepover with Mimi and Papa…

Celebrating with family and ice cream sundaes and princess crowns…

Princess party with Snow White… (thanks to Sarah!)

Sifting through sand for “jewels” (loved the history of this game from late 1800’s in Newport)…

Dressing up in gowns with all her friends…

Great looking princess cake (not so great taste)…

All in all, quite the princessy celebration for a girl we said would never wear pink. At least her only birthday request was a Steelers jersey? (Um, a pink one.) Even Paul wore pink in her honor. Now that’s a dad head over heels for his little girl.

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Our Beautiful

Dear Selah,

You’re three today! Is it true? Just tonight you asked me why a watch always runs. “Why doesn’t time ever stop Mom, Mom? It just keeps going around and around and around.”

What a funny question to ask your Momma today! Time just keeps playing chase with us, like in our backyard. Somehow, mommy can never seem to catch you. I run and run and you giggle and giggle but you’re just too speedy. And mommy never was a fast one, about anything!

Well let’s pretend… you certainly adore that these days. You are Cinderella. You are a doctor (lovin’ those bandaids!) You are a mommy to babies who don’t have mommies. You are a gymnast.

Let’s pretend that we could freeze our watches at two. If time stopped, here is what you would see. Here is what mommy and daddy see every day you slumber out of that big girl’s bed of yours.

We see a little girl with brilliant sensitivity and compassion. You want to know how the boy broke his arm and if he’ll be okay. You want to know why you have lots of toys, babies, and clothes and some kids have none. You want to know why the guy in the Bible story comes through the roof (via his friends.) And then you ask if you can do that too. (Don’t let your brother convince you to try it!)

And then there’s the sharing and giving. You get that completely from your Dad. If you’re given three bracelets, you want to give one and maybe two away. If we’re out shopping at the thrift store, you want to buy all of the clothes for the kids who don’t have any. I love that about you, as I love it about Daddy.

Even the Starbucks lady says that you have a knowing way about you. “When she looks at me, I see love in her eyes. Like she knows more than a two year old should.” (We won’t discuss how much we see of Miss Deedee, okay? It’s bad enough that you plead with daddy to stop for “mommy’s coffee” every time we go home… as if it’s a routine we have:)

“Knowing more than a two (now three!) year old should” may come from asking all those crazy questions….Do spiders have bums? Did me have a seatbelt on when me in your belly mommy? (No.) Well, then did me fall out? Oh no! Did you stretch Adden to make him bigger? How he not a little baby anymore? What that lady’s name is? May you always ask questions, always, always, always. Never stop learning and reading and knowing people’s names and seeking, ever.

Last of all (for now), there’s your fun. You beg for mommy to put your window down in the car. And then you laugh with the wind in your face and sing your heart out. A sweet medley of “I May Never…” and “This Old Man, He played one…”, “It’s raining, it’s pouring,”, and Jesus Loves Me. You adore our runs to the park and jumping through the dandelions and spinning around till you fall down. You like scaling climbing walls and dancing and dressing up and meeting new friends. And you love laughing with (or at) your brother, even though he makes you crazy sometimes. There’s nothing better than hearing you two giggle. (Unless it’s in the toilet bowl.)

When time stopped at two, you wanted to be just like mommy. You wear my flip flops, say you’ll run fast someday, and cook like me (not sure if that’s beneficial for you or not!) And it’s funny, cause I see myself in you – my own strengths and weaknesses, all over again. It is my prayer that your strengths will make you humble and that your weaknesses will make you strong. And that ever and always, you’ll seek the One who came to bring you life beautiful.

Life beautiful. I like that. That’s you. And that’s us, because of you.

Happy three, Sweet Pea.



These Highs and Lows


*My parents blew in from RI last night with Ike. Delighted to have them!

*Paul and I had a sweet date tonight – Capellini Pomodoro, Barnes & Noble, and us:)

*Princess party planning, much adored by me. (Elementary teacher in me I suppose?)

*Adden’s mischievous laugh and subsequent mad dashing around.

*Celebrating Selah yesterday with family and good friends.

*A Dr. reiterating today, “You know, you’re lucky to be alive, young lady. I’ve heard about you.”

*Hardly any pain anymore. Neither am I hobbling around. Returning to normalcy.

*Spending time at youth group again. I love our students. Love, love, love.


*Fatigue. Still can’t sleep at night. So frustrating cause I’m wiped out. And the circles under my eyes just can’t be concealed with trickery.

*Random crying moment today. Thought I was done grieving till my Dr’s appointment…

In the waiting room, I flipped a magazine to a photo of a 6 week old baby – with beautiful form and kidneys. Kidneys at 6 weeks. I didn’t know…

As I was leaving, I asked if I had to pay for the visit. The receptionist said, “No. It’s included in your insurance. This is a Postpartum appointment.”

Postpartum? No, I thought. No…. It’s not. I wanted to argue. A postpartum appt is 6 weeks after a baby is born. There is no baby… It didn’t make it.

Me and myself didn’t make it to the elevator without crying. I was so not prepared for me to still have issues with this. It can’t even be blamed on percucet anymore.

Maybe grief comes and goes, much like the seasons. Right now, I’m wanting it to go far away. Tears are a tough, tough comfort.

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A Need for Compassion

“Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.”
– Wess Stafford

Monday night, we received this heartbreaker from our youth group’s other sponsored child, Ruth. Excited to receive another letter from her, I ripped it open and began to read aloud:

Dear Mr and Mrs Charles,

We send many greetings to you. We thank you for your letter you sent to me. Always I pray for your good life. I send my greetings to all of you in your family and youth group.

I am fine but sometimes sad with my siblings because the death of our mother. She dies in last April in the hospital. She was so sick.

How are you and Selah and Adden?

I ask you to pray for my father Juan please. Also for my siblings and me. Our life is so hard without our mother. She was so kind. I know that the Lord is my strength. I love a lot Jesus as I loved my mother.

In my Student Center we the children play sports. My team was defeated but we hope to win next time.

With all my heart, I love you. Please write soon.

How are you all?

With Love,

We wish we could fly to Bolivia and cry with Ruth right now. And take her to the park and take her pain and make her smile. And love on her like we would our own kids.

But we can’t.

What we can do, is ask for compassion. Please pray for a broken heart to be healed. Pray for her requests earnestly.

Pray also that our youth group students can scrape up $300, the maximum gift we can give her family, in honor of her mom. Ruth’s child development center staff will buy items her family needs – new beds, livestock, food supplies, whatever.

That kinda gift would be way cool.

Thanks for holding out Ruth’s needs to Jesus.

Much Love,


Saran and Leaching

My organs are covered in Saran wrap, of sorts.

So says my surgeon. It helps prevent blood clots after major surgeries.

This new personal fact is rather amusing. And cool.

And disturbing.

I’ve been raging my own private war against plastics. (Avoid #3, #6, and #7)

I tossed away sippies, bottles, plates, and everything else that was “leaching” out BPA.

So they’re not in my cupboards, but they’re coating my organs.

Maybe the plastics have leached out at me?

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Rodean’s Letter

Here is our most recent letter from one of our sponsored children, Rodean.

Rodean is sponsored financially by our youth group students, with help from us when needed. I try to write the children the day I receive their letters (otherwise it never gets done.) As you will read, I have neglected this over the last few months and it turns my stomach that I didn’t take 10 minutes to write.

Dear Mr and Mrs Charles,

Warmest greetings to all of you there my beloved sponsor. I’m so happy upon receiving your letter. And I really understand why you are not responding sooner to my letters.

Don’t worry for it. It doesn’t matter. I’m here waiting for your reply.

This vacation, I’m staying at home and enjoyed playing with all my friends. I also helped my parents gathering firewood and accompanied with me are my older siblings.

About our family, thanks God He never leave us. He always meet our needs. And we’re happy serving the Lord.

Please continue praying for my good health always. Thank you for always keeping me in your prayers.

And I am hoping that my sister Selah and brother Adden are happy.

About us here, typhoon just left but thanks God we’re all safe, no damages happened. How about you?

“For the upright will live in the land, and the perfect will remain in it.” Proverbs 2:21

God bless you all.

Love, Rodean

Isn’t he a sweetheart? I love how he says, “God always meet our needs. And we’re happy serving the Lord.”

If God has met your needs, would you consider providing for a little guy named Van? Van is 6 years old and in kindergarten. He loves basketball, swimming and singing. His birthday is March 11.

Van has been waiting to be sponsored for over 6 months now.

That’s too long to wait for basic needs to be met.