Dawn of Life (poem)

She lays in bed

and says, “why, mom, why”

She lays in bed

trying to be strong, trying not to cry

He hangs his head

wanting to fight so hard

He hangs his head

a tear drips onto his scar

Childhood taken from the children

Dreams stolen away

as they fight to remain strong

as they fight for another day

Radiation and chemotherapy

instead of tree climbing and bikes

Blood work, scans, and doctor visits

replace everything in a child’s life

Parents smile to hide their fear

They hug, comfort, and reassure

But who comforts the scared parent

Who helps them to endure

The man who prayed to a saint

who made a promise he fulfilled

The man who built a hospital

where children could be healed

Where researchers work tirelessly

to save our boys and girls

Where doctors and nurses offer hope

offer another chance at the world

Maybe one day the doors will close

Maybe the research will be done

No more treatments, test, and scans

Maybe one day Cancer will be gone

Until that day the battle will wage

Night and day St. Jude will fight

Danny’s promise will remain their heart

“No child should die in the dawn of life”

By:  Carrie Leigh

03.27.15

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Country Cares-Songs about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (part 3)

Darren Warren is a country artist.  He has a beautiful song called Miracle In Memphis.  He is a former St. Jude patient.  According to Wikipedia, “Warren was 16 years old when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. The doctor’s prognosis was dire, Warren was given less than a 50-percent chance of survival. He spent the next three years at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee seeking treatment. Warren began treatment at St. Jude on January 5, 1999. Over an almost three-year period, he endured over 120 rounds of chemotherapy. In 2001, Warren was diagnosed as cancer free.”

When people think of Memphis they think of Elvis, Beale Street, bar-be-que.  But the real heart of the city sits right next to the highway.  It stands big and tall and beautiful.  It’s campus is bright and colorful and inviting.  It looks like a haven of relaxation, a vacation destination, a good place to throw down a blanket and lay down under the warm sun with a book.  It doesn’t look like a hospital.  It looks like a place to enjoy life, and that is exactly what the hospital does.  Children and their families are given the opportunity to grab life and live it to the fullest.

When people think of the patients of St. Jude they think of the small children, but Darren Warren was 16-years-old when he was diagnosed.  He was at the age when he should have been driving around with his friends, flirting with girls and asking them out on dates, playing football at school, and cramming for tests.  Instead his teenage years were interrupted by cancer.  He beat it, and now supports the hospital that gave him his life.

The hospital was not opened to make doctors or some healthcare conglomerate rich.  It was opened on February 4, 1962 to treat, and hopefully one day eradicate, cancer.  Danny Thomas opened the original little 5-wing hospital for the kids.  Because of, and based predominantly on, donations from people around the world St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has grown to a huge campus that never closes.  Research is able to continue because people like you believe in Danny Thomas’ dream as much as he did.

Country Cares-Songs about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (part 2)

Country artist John Rich (yes, half of the duo Big & Rich) is an avid supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  In 2011 he released an e.p. with the proceeds of its sales going to the hospital.  There are two songs on that ep that never fail to bring me to tears.  In part one of this post I included the video and lyrics from For The Kids.  It’s an amazing song about why St. Jude exists.

This one is about one family.

John Rich-“Where Angels Hang Around”

A hundred miles out of Little Rock

Windshield full of rain
I-40 eastbound drivin’ while I pray
She’s asleep in the backseat
Holdin’ tight to her teddy bear
She’s got her daddy’s smile and her momma’s hair
And one word knocked our lives off track
Just one word keeps us comin’ back

Across the Mississippi
A mile or two from Beale Street
Not too far from Graceland
Where the king of rock and roll sleeps
To a place for children
Where God sends his mercy rainin’ down
In the heart of Memphis
Where angels hang around

All the deals that I made with God
The conversations that we’ve had
Tryin’ to accept the things I could not understand
I wanna walk her down the aisle
While those church bells ring
See her get the chance
To live all her dreams
But one word knocked our lives off track
Just one word keeps us comin’ back

Across the Mississippi
A mile or two from Beale Street
Not too far from Graceland
Where the king of rock and roll sleeps
To a place for children
Where God sends his mercy rainin’ down
In the heart of Memphis
Where angels hang around

So sleep tight baby while these four wheels roll
’Cause just beyond the clouds there’s a ray of hope

It’s a place for children
Where God sends his mercy rainin’ down
In the heart of Memphis
Where angels hang around

When people think of Memphis they think of Elvis, Beale Street, bar-be-que.  But the real heart of the city sits right next to the highway.  It stands big and tall and beautiful.  It’s campus is bright and colorful and inviting.  It looks like a haven of relaxation, a vacation destination, a good place to throw down a blanket and lay down under the warm sun with a book.  It doesn’t look like a hospital.  It looks like a place to enjoy life, and that is exactly what the hospital does.  Children and their families are given the opportunity to grab life and live it to the fullest.

The hospital was not opened to make doctors or some healthcare conglomerate rich.  It was opened on February 4, 1962 to treat, and hopefully one day eradicate, cancer.  Danny Thomas opened the original little 5-wing hospital for the kids.  Because of, and based predominantly on, donations from people around the world St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has grown to a huge campus that never closes.  Research is able to continue because people like you believe in Danny Thomas’ dream as much as he did.

Country Cares-Songs about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (part 1)

Country artist John Rich (yes, half of the duo Big & Rich) is an avid supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  In 2011 he released an e.p. with the proceeds of its sales going to the hospital.  There are two songs on that ep that never fail to bring me to tears.  One is called For The Kids.  The quality of the video isn’t that great.  It looks like whomever posted it on youtube recorded it on their cell phone while watching it on television.  It doesn’t lose any of it’s power though.

John Rich-“For The Kids”

There’s a little girl
And she’s in for the fight of her life
Only six years old
Facing down the future, no fear in her eyes
Her mamma and daddy are praying down on their knees
For a miracle in Memphis
Lord won’t you help them please

For the kids, we’d trade all our tomorrows
And for the kids, we’d give our heart and souls
‘Cause they’re the heroes of our lives
Fighting to survive
So give all you can give
For the kids

And there’s a little boy
And he’s sittin’ in his daddy’s lap
He smiles and laughs
And covers his head in a St. Jude ballcap
It’s been a long battle but he’s gonna beat the odds
He’s gonna make it outta there ‘cause people care
And by the grace of God

For the kids, we’d trade all our tomorrows
And for the kids, we’d give our heart and souls
‘Cause they’re the heroes of our lives
Fighting to survive
So give all you can give
For the kids

And I sing for the ones
Whether far or near
We’ve got to lift
So we can give that all the world may hear
Music in their ears

For the kids, we’d trade all our tomorrows
And for the kids, we’d give our heart and souls
‘Cause they’re the heroes of our lives
Fighting to survive
So give all you can give
You gotta give all you can give
For the kids
Yeah, for the kids

The hospital was not opened to make doctors or some healthcare conglomerate rich.  It was opened on February 4, 1962 to treat, and hopefully one day eradicate, cancer.  Danny Thomas opened the original little 5-wing hospital for the kids.  Because of, and based predominantly on, donations from people around the world St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has grown to a huge campus that never closes.  Research is able to continue because people like you believe in Danny Thomas’ dream as much as he did.

Invisible except to God

I have something that has been on my mind for a few weeks, and I have been debating with myself whether or not to write anything about this subject.  This week it has been especially heavy on my mind.  I’ve decided that the best way to get it out of my head is to purge it through my keyboard.  After all, isn’t that why A Tale Of A T-Rex was born?

I want to start off by saying that I love my church.  In the past year my church has helped me grow in my relationship with Christ more than any church had in the preceding 37 years of my life.  I knew that I had found my church home the first time I walked through the doors.  With it’s contemporary music, dedication to being the hands and feet of Christ, the pastor’s real-world style of preaching, and the acceptance of people that would be looked down on at traditional churches . . . I no longer felt like a trapezoid trying to fit into a round hole at church.  Yet, over the last few weeks . . . maybe it’s not the people at church.  Maybe it’s something in me.  I no longer feel that same welcoming atmosphere.  There are a few people that I genuinely look forward to seeing each Sunday morning, but most of the time lately I am back to feeling like that same old trapezoid.

I have always been a fairly insular person.  I am just as happy being alone as I am being with people in a social setting.  As a matter of fact sometimes I prefer to be alone.  I need quiet time to recharge, especially after being in a social setting.  Yes, I have tendencies toward introversion.  Because of those introverted tendencies I have a difficult time starting new relationships.  I have people that I would truly call friends, and those few people I consider to be very close friends.  But after a little more than a year at my church most of the people there probably couldn’t even tell you anything about me other than I sometimes wear pink sparkly shoes to church.  That’s sad, but I don’t know what’s sadder, that they haven’t reached out to try to include me in their lives, or that I haven’t reached out to them.  They are keeping me at arms length just as much as I am doing the same to them.

I recently tried to step out of my comfort zone and went to church one weeknight for a meeting of a women’s group.  When I got there I was looked at like I was a bug, and one woman actually spoke to me as if I was not welcome there.  I was cutting gift-style ribbon for a project we were doing and she tossed a length of it back at me and very curtly informed me that the particular length of ribbon was unusable, as if I were hired help.  It hurt.  It reinforced my belief that me reaching out in friendship to those people would be as welcome as the plague.

I am currently taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class through my church.  My class meets on Wednesday nights, and this past Wednesday not one person spoke to me while I was there.  The son of one of the other class attendees was talking to me, and we were playing together with his cars, but his mom was trying to get him to leave me alone, and make him sit next to her.  It made me feel very small, like she thought something was wrong with me.

Most of the people at my church have known each other forever.  They grew up together, went to school together, work together.  I am a complete outsider.  I am not originally from Kentucky.  I don’t even live in the county where the church is and most its attendees are from.  Our pastor is always stressing how much we need to welcome new people to our church, but after the “new” wears off then what?  New people get a handshake, a warm smile, maybe even a we’re-glad-your-here-hug, but after a few Sundays the “new” people are shoved aside for the comfort of the established relationships already formed in the church.  Yes, it’s that evil and much dreaded work . . . clique.

I am determined not to let these feeling (of insecurity?) drive me to leave the church.  I love it there, but I feel like I am missing an important aspect of the church family . . . the church family itself.  Instead I feel like the weirdo that crashed the family reunion and stole the last hotdog.  I don’t know how to breach that barrier between them and me, and it’s frustrating.  My pastor is always talking about the people within the church “doing life together,” but most of the time I am invisible inside those four walls to everyone except God himself.  How do I process and deal with that?

Until next time . . .

Not working at work

It’s Friday.  The work week is almost over, but motivation to get real actual work done ran out sometime on Wednesday.  So, in an effort to help you kill time while waiting for the end of the work day here are a few amusing and entertaining articles from one of my favorite workplace-time-killing-websites . . . Mental Floss!!!

elvis

When Colin Powell Met Sergeant Elvis Presley

peeps

20 Delicious Facts About Peeps

11 American Behaviors That Are Considered Rude Around The World

8 Drivers Who Blindly Followed Their GPS To Disaster

doc and marty

Back To The Future Co-Creator Bob Gale Explains How Marty And Doc Became Friends

atticus finch

30 Best Parents In Literature

Dirty Etymology Of 9 Everyday Words

mgm lion

6 Cats Who Made Their Mark On The Silver Screen

Pick Real US States

50 Facts About The Earth From Top To Bottom

I was only going to go with these 10 articles, but then I found two more that I just could not pass up.  After all, no day is complete without some happy little clouds.

bob ross

5 (Happy Little) Things You Didn’t Know About Bob Ross

What Happened to Bob Ross’ Paintings?

Until next time . . .

Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery

We all remember when Angelina Jolie wrote the article two years ago for the New York Times about her double mastectomy.  The article was posted May 14, 2013.  In case you missed it you can read it here.  The article chronicles her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy due to her high risk of developing cancer.  It was a powerful and very moving article.  It was not one that was written because she wanted to show off the trials and tribulations of being a celebrity.  She was not seeking pity.  She was not seeking accolades for being so strong in the face of her fame.  She wrote the article to empower women who are facing, or may someday face, that same situation.

I have always had a lot of respect for Angelina Jolie.  She is an amazing actress.  God gave her a servant’s heart which she has embraced as a Special Envoy to the United Nations.  Then when she wrote that article two years ago she opened herself up about such a private matter with the hope that women would hear her story and add it their arsenal when fighting their own cancer battles.  She could have very easily turned the whole situation into a pity party like so many other celebrities do.  “Give me attention!  I need attention!  LOVE ME!!!!!”  But instead she said, “here is what I did, why I did it, what I learned, and what you can do also.”  She gave us her story so that we would stronger should we face the same situation.

This morning I got into my studio at the station and the t.v. was on.  Kathie Lee ad Hoda were smiling and laughing from the muted screen, but I could see a headline at the bottom of the screen that said, “Angelina Jolie Pitt:  Diary of a Surgery.”  Surely they weren’t referring to the article from two years ago, so I Googled it and came across a new article.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it I urge you to.  It beautiful, and very moving, and adds another weapon to the arsenal of knowledge that women can use if fighting their own cancer battle.

I lost my grandmother to cancer in 2003.  It started as lung cancer.  She had a portion of one of her lungs removed, endured chemo and radiation, went into remission for a short while, and then the cancer came back.  More chemo.  More radiation.  It eventually metastasized to her breasts and into her brain.  I lost her in July, 2003.  I still miss her to this day.  She never got to meet the man who became my husband.  She never got to meet my step-daughter or my son.  I never got to tell her goodbye.  When my grandmother was going through her own cancer battle she researched as much as she could and she never lost her faith in God.  In the end the cancer was stronger than the treatment though.

Could her cancer have been caught early?  Could it have been prevented?  I don’t know.  But how many women will read the articles written by Angelina Jolie and insist that their doctor look deeper into their blood work and family history?  How many women will take control of their medical treatment and ask questions about things they didn’t know they could ask questions?  How many women will be saved from cancer because of these two articles from Angelina Jolie?  How many mothers, aunts, sisters, friends, cousins, granddaughters, wives, grandmothers?  Losing even one woman is one woman too many.

I applaud Angelina Jolie on her courage and candor in writing both of these articles.  I pray that somebody reads them both and goes to their doctor and says, “She did this and so can I!”

Until next time . . .

Blissfully exhausted

It’s Monday.  That means the weekend is over and it’s back to work.  I’m sitting in my studio at the radio station right now with plenty of work to do, but it has to wait because I have to wait for my intern to get here this afternoon so that she has something to do.  That’s alright though, because honestly I have no motivation to do any real work right now anyway.  I am exhausted.  I could lay down right now and take a nap on the floor in the studio.  If I could get away with it I would absolutely prerecord my airshift and grab a few winks.  Would anybody actually notice?

I’m exhausted, but it’s a good kind of exhausted.  I had a wonderful weekend.

I am a geocacher, and left work a smidge early to head down to Paris Landing in Tennessee.  I had gone down there on a geocaching adventure back in February and managed to find 4 geocaches.  I was in the process of searching for cache number five when my phone died.  Many geocachers use a gps unit for caching, but I prefer to use the app on my phone.  I was just a few feet away from the cache when my phone shut itself.  No more battery power.  I had sucked it dry in my quests for caches.  So with a full charge on my phone I headed back down to Paris Landing.  It was not that I particularly wanted to find this cache.  It had become a vendetta.  I HAD to find this cache.  I would NOT let it get away.  I had to hike into nature (and I am not a nature girl at all); climb over, under, and around trees; climb gigantic hills; slosh through mud . . . all in a quest to sign a piece of paper inside an ammo can hidden in a tree stump.  It took me a while and a few wrong turns, but I found that stupid thing.  It was no longer the cache that got away.

I hiked back out, satisfied that I had conquered nature, and make the hour-and-a-half long drive home.

Saturday, after sleeping blissfully late, I headed out on another geocaching adventure with the children of a friend of mine.  We found 4 caches, but had even more laughs.  We acted silly, took goofy pictures, and just a fun time together.  We made memories that no amount of money can ever buy.

Yesterday was my favorite day of every week . . . Sunday . . . church day.  Sunday used to mean nothing more to me than a day to sit on the couch and do nothing except watch television.  But in the past year Sunday has become the day I look forward to more than any other day of the week.  To spend time with my church family raising our voices in praise and worship to God, and delving into the Word . . . I never knew what was missing from my life until I found it at church.

Yesterday the spirit was moving through the congregation in a big way.  It was such a beautiful sound to hear all those voices raised together in song.  We had a wonderful sermon from one of our fellow church members that recently surrendered to preach, and he did such a good job.  During the invitation several people made the decision to make their fresh start with God, and that has been happening more and more the last several weeks.  Hearing that people are turning to God, and then seeing them baptized never gets old.  It moves me to joyous tears every single time.

Last night our church Lifegroup (smaller groups within the church) met.  We had a wonderful meal and talked and laughed until our bellies ached.  We shared conversation about that mornings message, and continued to grow in our relationship with Christ, and with each other.  Again I say, I never knew what was missing from my life until I found it in Christ.

It was a busy weekend that left me exhausted today, but it’s a wonderful exhaustion that I wouldn’t trade for the world.  My heart is full and there is a smile on my face.  There is no better way to start a week.

Until next time . . .

Kicking myself in the pants

So, I just missed a perfect opportunity to invite someone to church.  GRRRR!!!!!

Today I wore my church t-shirt to work.  In big letters across the front it says, “No Perfect People Allowed,” because nobody is perfect no matter what they think.  We are all a giant messy ball of sin and imperfections.  Hence, “No Perfect People Allowed.”  Only the imperfect are welcome at my church.  So, basically EVERYBODY is welcome.  One of my co-workers saw my shirt and read the front of it and said, as he laughed, “No perfect people allowed?  Maybe I need to show up then.”  I, along with a couple of other co-workers who were also standing there, laughed and then went on our merry way to getting back to work.  As I walked away I realized, “I just missed the PERFECT opportunity to invite him to church!”  AGGGHHH!!!

A few weeks ago I was able to go see Casting Crowns in concert in my town.  It was quite possibly the best concert I have ever been to, and it was an unbelievable worship experience.  To see a venue that has hosted all manor of performances get turned into a house of worship, and to join in with a few thousand of my brothers and sisters in Christ as we raised our voices in praise and worship to the Lord . . . AMAZING!  I found a few friends in the audience that I expected to see there.  As I was leaving I saw someone I NEVER expected to see . . . the “no perfect people” co-worker.  He was standing right by the exit.  I had to do a double-take when I saw him.  And to be truthful, when he saw me he had to do the same thing.

So, today when he made the joke about my shirt I knew I had missed an opportunity to invite him to my church.  I don’t know the status of his church-going.  He may already have a home church that he is perfectly happy with.  But then again he may have no home church, or may be unhappy with his current church.  All I know is I was given an opportunity today that I totally missed.  I’m kicking myself in the pants.

O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.  (Psalms 34:3)

O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  (Psalms 95:1-2)

‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.  (Revelation 3:20)

I pray the Lord presents me with another opportunity.

Until next time . . .

We will be the church and rise

By now you know about my trip to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital back in January.  I’ve told you what a life-changing moment it was for me as I walked through those colorful and life-filled halls.  But what I haven’t told you about was the Sunday morning I returned home from Memphis.

St. Jude had arranged for all the Country Cares Weekend attendees to wrap up the weekend with a tour of Graceland on Sunday morning.  As an avid fan of Elvis Presley I was super excited about that even though I have already toured Graceland twice.  But it’s GRACELAND and ELVIS!  How could I pass up a free tour of Graceland?  I had every intention of staying in Memphis for the Graceland tour and then heading back home.  Saturday night though my mind started to change.  I knew I needed to leave Memphis early Sunday morning.  There was only one place that I need to go to wrap up my Country Cares weekend . . . church.

I checked out of my hotel at 5 a.m. and drove straight from Memphis to my church.  I only made two stops . . . one was a fuel and potty break, and the other was because I got pulled over by a Tennessee State Trooper.  I’ve always had a lead foot, and when you are the only one on a road and you’re speeding, the cops are going to get you.  Lesson learned.

I arrived at church about an hour and a half early, but I was just in time to hear the Praise Band practicing their songs for the worship service that morning.  As I listened to them practicing I knew that I was absolutely in the right place.  Here are the lyrics to the song they were practicing . . .

 THE NEW LIFE WORSHIP

WE WILL

Our hearts are desperate to know You more
Our burning passion is for You Lord
Consume us with Your Kingdom’s cause
And we will shine where darkness falls
And we will shine where darkness falls

Nothing can stop Your church when we are one
Unified we will show the world Your love

We will open up our eyes
We will not ignore their cry
We will be the church and rise
We will seek out the forsaken
We will not be found complacent
We will be the church and rise

Set our hearts on fire
Burning bright for You
Be our one desire
May our love be true

We will open up our eyes
We will not ignore their cry
We will be the church and rise
We will seek out the forsaken
We will not be found complacent
We will be the church and rise

(lyrics courtesy of http://www.newreleasetuesday.com)

God knew what that weekend in Memphis had done to my heart.  He had worked within me as I toured St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and then I come to church to hear this song.  That sealed it for me that I needed to do more for St. Jude than just my radio station’s annual radiothon.

When we sang that song in our worship service that morning I was so moved that I couldn’t even get the words out of my mouth.  All I could do was pray that the Lord would show me what I could do.  After all St. Jude is a hospital with a 2-million-dollar-a-day operating budget, and it is all done on donations.  The hospital does not bill the patients and their families for anything.  NOTHING!  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital does not even have a billing department.  With daily operating costs of 2-million-dollars what could I do to help the hospital?  Could I even do anything that would make a difference?  All I could do was pray.  I had to trust the Lord to show me what he wanted me to do.

A few days later a dear friend of my General Manager passed away after a year-long battle with Leukemia.  Everyone at the station was very brokenhearted.  This man had been a part of the station family for years.  We had all followed his battle and prayed for him from the beginning.  We cheered when he went into remission, and cried when the cancer came back.  And then one day we had to let him go.  My general manager was shattered by the loss of a man who had been one of closest friends, a man who had been through everything with my general manager, who had continued to believe in my general manager even when he hit rock bottom in his life.  Over the course of that weekend I knew what I needed to do.

I went to my general manager the Monday morning after his friend had passed and told him my idea.  I wanted to collect some of my poems and publish them on Amazon and give all the royalties to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  And since I would incur absolutely no costs in publishing the book that mean that every single penny in royalties could go to the hospital.  I expected my general manager to think it was a stupid idea, and I would have done it no matter what he thought, but he loved the idea.

On Monday I uploaded it and waited patiently for the book to go live on Amazon.  And then around 12:30 p.m. it appeared in the Amazon Kindle store.  My little book for St. Jude had started its work.  My station’s radiothon is about 6 months away.  That is when I plan on making the book’s first donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

I am not telling you all of this to try to drum up sales for my book, although I would appreciate it very much if you found it in your heart to make that purchase.  I am telling you this as a reminder that the Lord gives us each talents to use to glorify him and advance his kingdom.  He will show us how to use those talents if we are patient and just listen for his direction.

We will open up our eyes
We will not ignore their cry
We will be the church and rise
We will seek out the forsaken
We will not be found complacent
We will be the church and rise

I write this blog under the pseudonym of Carrie Leigh.  I originally did that so as to maintain a level of anonymity should anyone I know happen to stumble across any of my posts.  I have been toying with the idea of coming out from behind the pseudonym for quite a while.  I guess now is as good a time as any . . . This book was written under my real name, so if you look it up on Amazon don’t be surprised by a different name than you are used to seeing here.  To go directly to the book on Amazon just click on the picture of the book cover below.  Thank you ahead of time for your interest, and please feel free to share this post with anyone that you think might also be interested in this book.

cover

07 St Jude logo

Until next time . . .