Five years ago this month, our son Jack was diagnosed with a rare disease called Kawasaki that brought our normal world to a stand still as we circled together searching for answers and praying for his healing.
The disease inflames the blood vessel, and if untreated, it can be fatal. As I look back at his recovery years later, I remember how overwhelmed my wife and I were at the time. I remember seeing our little boy in his hospital gown, hooked up to tubes and wires. When he went into shock during treatments, he had to rest for several days while his medical team reevaluated. Eventually his condition stabilized enough for him to receive the helpful IV solutions he needed. After ten long days, treatments normalized his body, and he was finally healed.
It was a Thanksgiving I won’t forget as we celebrated having our little boy home again.
The good side of this difficult season was that it brought me back to all those areas of life that matter most: faith, family, and friends. I remember during those days, how encouraged we were by the flood of love and support from others: our friends, school, and church. We were thankful for an expert team of doctors and nurses. We were thankful for my school, where my team worked hard to protect me from interruption and sacrificed every day to fill in the gaps. We were thankful for so many prayers and visits.
Memories are often good reminders of the many reasons to be thankful. As you start the holiday season, here are three very quick “thank-you’s” to keep in mind today:
1. Your family
Don’t forget to thank your better-half who sacrifices for you every day. For little ones in your life who provide you with both encouragement and challenge. For your extended family members who hug, call, or send messages. God gave you your family for a reason so be grateful for the ones you have.
2. Your friends
For old and new friends who make time to check-in and visit. For the blessings of meals or just catching up during good and hard times. Give thanks for the community that surrounds you and reminds you that you are not always strong enough alone.
3. Your calling
For work that is more than a job but is an extended family. For educators who care more about relationships than they do about compliance or legislation — everyday heroes who unify around what matters. Not everyone has the privilege of working with people dedicated to building better communities.
Let’s Wrap This Up
This past week as I watched Jack, who is now 13, walking around the house, I was struck by how tall he is becoming. His long legs and arms are outgrowing all his clothes. He is healthy and enjoys running cross country or playing Fort-Nite with you his friends. I’m thankful to watch him grow up. And I’m thankful for the many prayers, visits and supports from our friends, family, and teammates who surrounded us then and still support us today.
This week, please take time to reflect on what matters most. And in case you haven’t heard it lately: Thank you for the part you play every day in serving your families, schools, and communities. Happy Thanksgiving!
I also wanted to share some joy from my family to yours. A little background info:
My wife and I have four children: three girls and one boy. During Thanksgiving break a few years ago, I took time to record a couple of songs that I wanted to include as podcast bonus tracks.
During Thanksgiving, we host family members including cousin, Joy, who is one year older than our oldest daughter. When the girls were little, our two oldest and Joy were very close, and we wrote a song together called “3 Little Girls.” When Joy grew up and attended college nearby, we were singing the song one day when we decided to record it together at the kitchen table with a microphone, their voices, and my guitar.
Here are the lyrics and a direct link to the recording of the song:
Three Little Girls
by William D. Parker
Music recorded Thanksgiving 2016
1. One time there were three little girls
They played in a make-believe world
Oooh, ooh, ooh
Pretending they were mommy’s then
They held their Barbies and their Kens
Oooh, ooh, ooh
And they wrote a little song
And everybody sang along
oooh, oooh, ooooh
2. One day the three grew into teens
They shared their make up and their dreams
oooh, ooh, ooh
They laughed and dreamed of life away
Where they could span the globe someday
oooh, ooh, ooh
3. A few years later and they met
At the church where one was wed
ooh, ooh, ooh
They laughed and cried some happy tears
As they thought back on those years
oooh, ooh, ooh
O Holy Night
That same day, Joy also blessed us with a solo of O Holy Night, one of my favorite Christmas songs. If you want enjoy this simply beautiful song, listen in here. Happy Holidays!
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