Thursday, November 27, 2008

Two quick answers...

The first answer is about the Giving kit. A few of you have asked if you can use it for your family Christmas card. Please feel free! And if you do, I would love to see what you create...it's fun to put faces to names!

The second answer is in regards to my baby Claire. She is doing SO GOOD!!! Since she had the tumor removed during brain surgery in August, she has been seizure free (that's 108 days to be exact...but who's counting?...um, me!!!) We've started cutting back on one of her medications, and she'll do another EEG in a couple weeks to see if we can completely eliminate one medication (they want her to stay on the other for a year).She's growing great, she's eating well, she's developing normally...it's truly a miracle. And we experienced one more miracle with her. If you want to read it, click here. Thank you for asking. We are just enjoying her perfection for the moment. For those who didn't know, with the Tuberous Sclerosis disease that she has, at any moment her body can grow tumors on organs such as brain, eyes, kidneys, heart. So far the brain was the only thing affected and after her surgery it looks like although she's got a larger then an egg hole in her brain, it is functioning perfectly and she is doing well. The fingers are crossed, the prayers never stop, and our love for her grows more and more each day.

Thank you for caring, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving kit

You are all such examples to me. I cannot believe how many of you have given donations and prayers to my friend and her baby Bree...and the donations and words of encouragement just keep coming. This is what the holiday seasons are all about - GIVING. When I was a little girl it was all about receiving. But I have learned throughout the years that giving to others is what brings pure happiness. And during the holidays, giving just comes naturally. I hope that as you give of yourself to others, be it a prayer, a plate of goodies, a hug, your time, etc. that you will experience a feeling of warmth that a fireplace doesn't hold a candle to. Enjoy the holidays!

Summer Driggs

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You are all so wonderful!

I first wanted to say a big "thank you" to all of you for your donations, prayers and thoughts for my friend Kari and her sweet baby Bree. I was able to go this past Thursday to Kari's house to bring her the "gift basket." My original plan for a small gift basket of goodies, food cravings and time-passers became so much more. Many have asked me to post pictures of what we got. So I will post them after I tell you about that day.

My sister Jaimee and I went to Kari's house. As she welcomed us inside, immediately she asked us if she could get us a drink of water. She then proceeded to ask me how Claire's appointment went that day. She also asked Jaimee how her back is doing. Kari is so selfless and she is just always thinking of others. After we talked for a little bit, we told her that some people had made some donations to go towards a "little gift basket" and that we were going to go get it from the car.

We came back with bags and bags and each time Kari's face looked more and more amazed. She kept saying, "There's more?"

Here are the things we got:

Hospital Toiletries
When I stayed at the hospital during Claire's surgery, I missed having REAL shampoo and conditioner, not the body wash/shampoo combo that the hospital offers. So we got lots of travel size toiletries for Kari and Justin (including "Stress Relief" lotion!!!) Also a journal and pens for when she is at the hospital.

Winter Church Clothes
Of course we had to have the kids matching! Bree got this beautiful silver dress and matching headband, and the boys got a shirt and vest.
Thank You Cards and Stamps
After Claire's surgery I didn't have enough Thank You notes for the things people had done for us. So we got them plenty of those along with some stamps so they don't have to worry about postage.

Snacks and Cravings
Some of the snacks are just for the boys. But I got other stuff for Justin and Kari. Kari loves Trail Mix and Luna Bars and Justin is all about Diet Coke.
Books
We found out from siblings that the boys like Elmo and Dora so we made sure to find some books with those characters.
Educational Toys for the Boys
With Caleb having Down Syndrome, we know that music is an important part of his life so we found some musical toys. We also found some toys for Gunner that he could sit down and do quietly. (Not pictured is the Kung Fu Panda DVD that Angie (Mighty-Nice) from Illinois had her donation go towards).
Gifts for Bree
Some PJ's, diapers & wipes (MAJOR NECESSITY!), and some toys that Claire loves (since they're the same age, I figured Bree might love them too!)
Home Decor
I got these things from my favorite little store called Real Deals, where they really do have the best deals as well as the cutest stuff! If you have a Real Deals store in your area, check it out! Luckily everything we got her matches her colors and style.
Willow Tree Statue
I just love these statues (I collect them), and I hadn't seen this one yet. When I saw it, I knew this was the one to buy. It's called "Our Gift."
Homemade Quilt
My dear friend Sarah has a gift. I have never seen quilts like hers. She is just amazing. She has made one for my Claire, and I loved it so much I paid her to make a large one for our guest bed. Yes, I am taking a moment to "put in a plug" for Sarah. She is currently in the works of starting her own quilt pattern business. She is so creative. And Kari just loved the detail. On the back in the corner she had this quote that said, "There is no obstacle too great, no challenge too difficult, if we have faith." (Quoted by our church's late prophet President Gordon B. Hinckley).
Baby Bling
My sister Shanon's sister-in-law Tasha (who just found out that she has cancer) made this beautiful necklace for Bree. When Kari opened it, she immediately put in around Bree's neck.
Temple Picture
This is a vintage picture of the Mesa Arizona Temple which is where Justin and Kari were married. The size of it is 24x47" (She LOVED this).
So after she opened all of these gifts and we were visiting for awhile, I said, "Oh wait, I forgot something from the car" and I came back with this memo board of gift cards. Kari's jaw dropped to the floor.

And finally I handed her an envelope and said, "And this is because I ran out of time and ran out of ideas." Inside was some leftover cash for them to do what they wanted with.

Kari was just in shock. I wish I could have seen the look on Justin's face when he came home from work that day...he is known to cry...in a manly way of course!

And Kari sent me an email with a "thank you" for me to post on my blog to all of you. Here is what she said:


I feel like I cannot express enough through words what an incredible gesture of thoughtfulness, love, and service this was.Our family has been so humbled by this outpouring of love from so many people. When you gave us the list of people that donated to your “gift basket" we were blown away.

We were filled with such gratitude towards you and everyone that donated and even for those that didn't but who are praying for our family. The variety and thoughtfulness of the gifts took our breath away but what filled our home with joy and warmth wasn’t so much the gifts but the fact that so many kind and Christlike people rallied behind us to support our little girl. Each gift, donation, and thought represents a faithful person praying for Bree. That means so much to us, especially since so many are complete strangers. We are strengthened and comforted knowing that people all over the country and even in different parts of the world are concerned for our family. One day when Bree is older it will be so fun to show her how many people knew her and prayed for her. We don’t feel like our words are enough to show how grateful we feel. The only way to show our gratitude will be to serve our fellow men as well. Out of this trial we truly have seen the goodness of God shown thru other people. Thank you for playing a part in that. We will always remember this!


For those who want to read an update on Bree, CLICK HERE for the Cook's blog.

For those who are still wanting to make donations, please feel free. Once a week I will mail them off to the Cook family. You are all angels!

(Bree gets her second round of chemo on Friday the 21st. Kari said this should be an intense treatment. If you are willing, please pray for her on this day).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Baby Bree Update...

I am just amazed at the outpouring of love you have all shared. The donations, the prayers, the thoughts, the emails have just been amazing. You are all so wonderful!

Bree had her first round of chemotherapy last week. This is a picture of Justin and Kari with their boys trying to still keep life "normal" for their sons. They took the boys trick-or-treating, and then headed back to the hospital to be with Bree.I just spoke with Bree's grandma who is answering calls at the house. Bree is in the hospital right now because her white blood count is too low. They've given her a growth hormone stimulating factor (neucopene) to stimulate her white blood cells to grow new cells (neutrophils) that would bring her back up. Her red blood count also dropped so she had a blood transfusion this morning.

On Friday they received results back from an MIGB scan which basically let them know that the cancer had spread into the long bones of her arms & legs, shoulder bones and pelvis.

She will have her next chemo treatment on November 21st so Kari has asked that people pray extra hard that day.

Kari said, "Despite all of this Bree has been very content. She is laughing and smiling more and doesn’t seem as nauseated. Her personality has been a breath of fresh air for us. Her sweet temperament brings a smile to our face as we deal with this disease."And the last comment Kari made at the end of her post is such an example to me. She said, "So we had a few set backs this week. But we also realize that is part of the deal. If it were all easy then it wouldn’t be a trial of faith. If everything always went as planned then there wouldn’t be room for any miracles."

I am planning on going to deliver the gift basket this Thursday (November 13th). You truly have been amazing and I am so excited to bring a little bit of sunshine to the Cook family that came from so many amazing people....most of them complete strangers to the Cooks. If any donations come for their family after this time, I will be sure and get it to them. Thank you so much!!!!

Summer Driggs