"Our Little Trooper"

"Our Little Trooper"
"Let me live, that I may praise you!" Psalm 119:175

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter..."He did it so we would KNOW...."

This Good Friday, Rowan, his nurse Cindy and I went out to visit our friends the Patterson's
at their Ranch. The following are some pictures of our special day. 
One of the first things Rowan wanted to do was go visit Chrissie's grave. (For those of you who don't know, she is his special angel friend who died in PICU when she was just four years old and Rowan was just three, and they had just spent a month straight there in the hospital at the same time)
Rowan marched straight down the hill, not even really waiting for me to go with him. 


Once he got down to her beautiful pink gravesite, he turned and smiled.
He was so excited to see the special rock he had painted for Chrissie a while back, 
which he placed on her grave on her birthday, at the same time he released some butterflies that he had grown from caterpillars.  It used to have a beautiful, colorful butterfly he had painted on it,
but at least you can still see the "C" for Chrissie and the "R" for Rowan.

Rowan paused to pray for his special friend in heaven before heading back up to the house
to color eggs with her brothers and sisters.
Together they colored almost 100 gorgeous eggs! So beautiful!

Rowan did one extra special Easter Egg with a heart on it,
which he asked Lorraine if he could please go put on Chrissie's grave.

You have never seen someone take such tender loving care to carry an egg.
He cradled it with both hands, blew on it "to keep it warm" he told us, kissed it repeatedly, etc.
 Once there, he lovingly layed it on the very special stone at the foot of her grave.
This picture just makes my eyes well up with tears....
At sunrise service this morning they talked about the women who went to Jesus' tomb
to annoint him with oil, and how special a task that would have been. 
Rowan handled this moment in the same way I imagine they would have. 
He felt so honored to bring that one little humble egg to Chrissie's grave this Easter.

And of course he kissed he stone after he layed the egg there.
What a tender moment we witnessed.

  No words necessary here...

After we made our way back up the hill, Rowan spent a few moments with one of the dogs, Bluebell.  He loves this dog, especially because he loves his one blue eye and one brown eye.
He told us, "Bluebell really likes me, and knew I needed some lovin' today too."
Rowan was so happy when he left the Patterson's Ranch.
Once home, I asked him what was the best thing about visiting them for Easter.
His response, "All of it...but most of all, since I know Jesus raised up and went to heaven, and died for our sins, then it makes me happy to know that even though Chrissie is gone,
I know she raised up to heaven too, and she is up there with Jesus now!"
When I asked him what Easter was all about he said, "Jesus died on the cross and then he raised up to Heaven, and God did that so we would know." I asked him "So we would know what?" and his response was just "Mom, so we would KNOW!"
The rest of the weekend was great too, as you will see in the pictures below. 
However, the biggest message we heard and the best gift we recieved,
came from a visit to a grave...kind of ironic isn't it...or is it?

Blessing of the Easter baskets Saturday at Gruene United Methodist Church in New Braunfels,
at their AMAZING Helicopter Egg Drop.

Rowan waving to Steve the Helicopter Pilot.

Here it comes!


Though they dropped over 5000 Easter Eggs, Rowan just wasn't very aggressive, so he only ended up with one pack of candy that another girl gave him when she saw he didn't have any:-)

Rowan never cried or complained though, as a matter of fact when we got in the car he told us, "Well I didn't get a lot of candy but I got to spend time with my Mom and my Dad."  So of course, proud as can be, Dad had to take Rowan to the store and fill that basket up with candy.

Rowan's most favorite hospital staff person ever, Logan,
came out to spend the weekend with him too...what a treat!
And then it was time to decorate some more eggs...


his brother Ian

his sister Zoe

Zoe and Bobby hard at work:-)

Their finished work.

Thank you once again Matt and Lorraine Patterson for opening your hearts and your home to Rowan so he can stay connected to Chrissie here on Earth, and continue to make those Heavenly connections with her as well.  We all learn from each and every experience he has,
but immeasurably from the ones he has in your home and at your ranch:-)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

When life gives you lemons...sell lemonade to help others!"

As you know, Rowan and our family had the amazing opportunity to go to Disney World with 50 families of chronically or terminally ill children and their families in November of 2011.  This trip came just 2 weeks after Rowan left the hospital once again, after 2 weeks in Pediatric ICU, following a vp shunt malfunction and revision.

The Kidd's Kids orgainization are the ones who sent us, like they do for 50 families every year.  We had the time of our lives.  A trip we would never have been able to go on without them.  They took care of every last detail, including making sure he had the necessary medical equipment for the plane ride and hotel, doctors and nurses assigned to each child, and 5 days of fun at all the Disney parks in Orlando, Florida. Not to mention Rowan got to meet and hang out with J-Si and some of his other favorite radio celebrities from Mix 96.1 and the Kidd Kradick in the morning show.

When we got home, Rowan immediately said, "That was so awesome! I want to help even more kids get to go next year." I asked him how he'd like to raise money for them, and at the time I expected him to say something like have a lemonade stand.  That's what most 5 year olds would say, right? Not Rowan.  Last year Rowan's idea was, "I know! I'll sell my autograph." After I stopped laughing, that is what we helped him do.  He ended up signing several hundred autographed pictures of himself on his Disney Trip in this photo...

And you know, Rowan ended up raising well over $4000 for Kidd's Kids in the process.  We were blown away, and so proud to have Rowan present that check at Chuck and Mindi Hartzog's Annual Kidd's Kids Golf Tournament in New Orleans last July, and on his 6th birthday:-)  Pretty big accomplishment for a 5-6 year old, especially since it was all his own idea.


This year when I asked him how he wanted to raise money for them again, he said "Well, you all thought I would sell lemonade last year, so I guess I could do that this time." I told him it would be extremely hard to raise over $4000 selling lemonade.  His answer, "I could if my picture was on it". We laughed at his awesome confidence, and then once again decided to support him in his idea. So............


This year Rowan will be making and selling lemonade at several locations and times in and around San Antonio and New Braunfels in May and June (to be announced soon).  They will be lemonade stands raising money by donation only, with all the proceeds going to Kidd's Kids.  For the people who do not live in our area though, Rowan decided that he could just send them an autographed copy of his lemonade recipe with his picture on it, in exchange for their donation to Kidd's Kids.  Those donations may be mailed in starting any time now, and up until June 30th, to Rowan Windham: 420 River Chase Drive, New Braunfels, Texas 78132.  Checks should be made out to Kidd's Kids though, and Rowan will forward them all together to Kidd's Kids.  He will once again present the overall donation check to the Hartzogs at their annual Kidd's Kids Golf Tournament in New Orleans this July.


Thank you for helping Rowan give back to such an awesome charity, Kidd's Kids.  Check them out at their website http://www.kiddskids.com/. They made a difference in his life, and continue to make a difference in the life of chronically and terminally ill children every year.

On a side note, Rowan's favorite store bought lemonade is Hubert's Original Lemonade. And they are fans of his as well:-)

They have so kindly and generously offered to send us some give-away packages of Hubert's Lemonade products, to benefit people who donate to Rowan's fundraising efforts for Kidd's Kids.  Everyone who sends a donation check to Rowan for Kidd's Kids will be entered into a drawing, and Rowan will hold a drawing for the Hubert's lemonade give-away packages.  Winners will be announced the first week of July!  Thank you to everyone who donates, and to Hubert's Lemonade.  If you haven't tried their delicious products, check out their website www.hubertslemonade.com and look for them at your local grocery store.

So remember, to make a donation to Kidd's Kids in Rowan's honor this year, please mail checks to Rowan Windham: 420 River Chase Drive, New Braunfels, Texas 78132.  Checks should be made payable to Kidd's Kids.  He will in turn, enter you into the drawing for the awesome Hubert's Lemonade give-away packages and send each of you a copy of his signed personal lemonade recipe with his picture on it:-)

To update you all on Rowan, he has unfortunately been back in the hospital numerous times since his trip to Disney World, spent about a hundred more days there, and undergone about a dozen more surgeries, including repeat brain surgery. 

But, Rowan never feels sorry for himself or his situation.  Instead, he continues to think about how he can help others. Just like his plans to raise money with these lemonade stands for Kidd's Kids.

Some people say, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."
Rowan says, "When life gives you lemons, sell lemonade to help others!"

Monday, March 18, 2013

"I know all about faith Mommy!"

A good friend of ours contacted me about a week ago, and asked for a favor.  She was preparing to give a talk about faith at an upcoming retreat and kept thinking about Rowan. She asked me to have him define faith in his own words.  This weekend I asked Rowan, and had an incredible conversation with him.  I'm pretty sure I won't be the only one blown away by his response and his unbelievably mature grasp on the concept of faith.  As an adult, I don't think I could have explained it better than he does:

"Rowan, can you help me explain faith?"

"Sure, I know all about faith Mommy!"

"Ok, what is faith?"

"Well, faith is believing God and believing IN God...but no matter what, because God makes good things happen, and bad things happen AND even just ok things happen too."

"Why do you think he lets bad things happen?"

"If he didn't ever let bad things happen, then we would never try to help each other, and there would be no compassion in the world."

"Ok, is it hard to have faith?"

"Is it hard to have faith? NO! It's actually harder NOT to have faith."

"Why do you say that?"

"Think about it Mom, if I didn't have faith, my life would just be sad and miserable!"

"And it's not, right?"

"Not at all. I have faith in God so I know it's all part of his plan, even the bad, and that's easy to understand."

Wow, just wow! I am blessed and blown away that my six year old son can explain things so well. More importantly, I am so proud that despite all the pain and suffering he has endured in his short life, he still has faith like no one I've ever met before.  Wish we all could see things as clearly as he does, trust like he does, have faith like he does.