Thursday, February 28, 2008

The bead queen.

Those bracelets are certainly doing their jobs! So many have purchased these beauties that we've put in for a second round from another of Kyrie's newest friends, Terry Casley! Without a doubt, the Kyrie Foundation Bracelet Collection would not exist without Terry.

A proficient and prolific beader, she has single-handedly made all the bracelets from her home in Cheney, KS. So to all of you who are wearing yours today, know that what decorates your wrist is the loving result of a woman who has the gift of cathartic goodness. She has poured her caring feelings into making these bracelets, which has become a way to spread Kyrie's story. You wouldn't believe how well done these bracelets are. Such attention to detail and precision.

Terry is in the process of building a Web site for her budding home-business, Creative Jewelry with TLC. In the meantime, you can meet Terry and look over her creations at the upcoming craft show at St. Peter's in Schulte, KS on March 8, 2008. That's next Saturday for those of you in the area!

Even though we've never met, we thank you, Terry. All of us thank you for extending your time & talent to create a vehicle to carry Kyrie's story. So thankful for Terry & Amy today.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A new friend.

Not sure if you all caught a relatively new commentator here on Kyrie's blog, but Amy Nelson has fast become a new friend of Kyrie's.

It is rare that someone outside an intimate circle of family & friends allows himself or herself to partake in their journey, but we've witnessed it over & over again here in the last year. In fact, we've wanted and prayed for just that. But how to make that invitation real? How to connect in a way that alters someone's thinking and that initiates action not for our benefit but for their good?

Somehow, some way it has happened.

This past Sunday, Amy spoke at the Mulvane United Methodist Church during their JAM (Jesus And Me) service. It's a casual, contemporary program sustained by incredibly talented musicians and a community of Christians sharing the Bible as it applies to everyday life. As the keynote speaker for that Sunday, Amy shared her introduction to Kyrie and subsequent series of godwinks, which could be described as divine coincidences, but frankly, I don't really believe in coincidences. ;)

For Amy, a mother of three boys, it started with a simple e-mail forward about our pink bracelets and escalated into finding a brand new friend in Melissa and carrying Kyrie's story into a public presentation. Can you believe that?!?!? Amy shared how conflicted she had been deciding whether or not she was the right person to tell Kyrie's story as well as the story of her dear friend who tragically lost a teenage daughter last summer. Amy had not lost a daughter. She was not a family member. Who was she to deliver a message about these girls?

She was precisely the right person, that's who.

Her experience, her message, I believe, was the message of empathy and compassion. She, a total stranger turned kindred spirit, is an example for the person who just stumbled onto this blog today, who is reading this story for the very first time and who is wondering what on earth this little girl means to him or her.

Of course, the presentation was difficult to get through, both for us and for Amy, but the comfort came as fast as the tears. Delivered with such kindness and love, it was as if Amy had been with us the whole time. She was just as confused and hurt by God's will as we are, and she, too, is trusting in the promise, just as we are.

That's why, at the close of her presentation, she beautifully sang Natalie Grant's "Held." When I say "beautifully," I mean "incredibly," "amazingly" and "wonderfully." How she got through it, I'll never know. To the person at the light switch: Thank you for dimming the lights. It helped all of us.

Amy says that there is a photo of Kyrie hanging on her fridge now. Just like family, no? Thank you, Amy. Thank you for caring, listening and answering your call. Amazing.

That's the take-away from all of this. The Kyrie Foundation was started because we want to end the decimating pain that pediatric brain cancer causes families. We began the foundation with an order of t-shirts and a truckload faith that others may want to join the fight. This open invitation is really an open door into our spiritual home, where our hearts struggle, our ideas materialize and our hope prevails. And one by one, the others are coming. Thank you. Oh, you have no idea how we thank you.

With Kyrie, she wasn't the first child to be lost to brain cancer, and as breathtakingly painful as this reads, she will not be the last. However, as a result of Jordan & Lacie sharing her story with us, she has become a touchpoint, a symbolic reference for all children battling this disease, an open door to a dialogue with God and reminder to those of us left behind that we can be a conduit for goodness & grace, if we so choose.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Day 7

Continued ...

Just keep doing it, no matter what. You’ll encounter obstacles, and falter and fall. Just get up and keep going. You’ll face temptations and give in. That’s OK. Just keep going. You’ll make mistakes and get discouraged. No matter … just keep going. Learn from your mistakes, and … keep going. No matter what happens, keep going. If you’re taking baby steps, you’re holding yourself accountable, and you’re actually doing something, you’ll get there.

Perhaps this is something that we need to remind ourselves of everyday. Each day is fraught with total imperfection. The bills will come, the flu will invade, the washer will spew, the trash will smell, the gas tank will be on E, that person will irritate you, you will be tired, you will feel stressed and you will fall short. Se la vie. Such is life. But keep going. Keep trying. Keep listening. Keep growing. Keep developing. Use those moments of brilliance to cross the current of uncertainty.

In younger days, others would often ask when I was going to settle down, and I would always think to myself, "Why do we have to settle down? Why aren't we all settling up?" Maybe all those setbacks are really steps up, steps to a new level of living, a heightened call and blossomed existence.

Together, let's make this journey, this foundation, one that is onward & upward.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Day 6

Thankfully continued ...

Motivate yourself. We’ve already discussed accountability and commitment, which are ways to put positive pressure on yourself — a form of motivation. Those are great, but you also want other types of motivation. You want to find ways to make your progress feel great … either through rewards, or the positive way you feel about your progress, or the positive way you feel when others see how well you’re doing. Find a few different ways to motivate yourself — the more the better. Incorporate these into your plan. Tell people about them. Let them help push you along.

We've written here before about how good goodness feels, how refreshing & replenishing giving can be. In the last year, we know many people reading this blog have experienced the exhiliration of actively participating in something real, something big, something new and something good. Plus, there is great satisfaction knowing that you've done something that matters, really matters in the long run as a touchpoint in the life of another. Those good feelings, that zeal is a great motivator, isn't it? You feel enriched somehow, don't you? As if you're living in the flow, on the right road, in His light. I feel it in my face and in my skin, like each cell is glowing sunset pink. Those funny little commercials tell us that Red Bull gives us wings. Really? We know of a few alternatives to develop wings other than a tiny soda that tastes like liquid baby aspirin.

How would you describe the feeling of doing good?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Day 5

Continued ...

Hold thyself accountable. You’ve committed yourself publicly … but it’s not enough to tell people your goal. You have to make it clear that they must hold you accountable to reporting to them your progress. Then report your progress to them regularly. Daily is better than weekly. Reporting to them makes sure that you will think twice about being lazy and forgoing your action plan.

We'll go even further to say that it's not just others that hold you accountable, it's you and the Big Guy. You know what you have or haven't done. And He knows what you have or haven't done. End of story. What fritters away your time? What keeps you from putting time toward your purpose? What needs extra focus? What can you let go? What brings out the best in you? What matters? What will make a difference? What answers His call to you?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Day 4

Continued ...

Baby steps, baby. Again, inertia is a very strong force. I’ve said it before, but this is a very important step here: the best way to change is through baby steps. One small step at a time. Don’t try to bite off too much. How is this different from the above step, setting a small and achievable goal? It’s the same concept, but extended beyond the initial goal. It’s taking things one little goal at a time, a bit at a time. For example, let’s say you want to run a marathon, but currently your running regimen consists of running to the bathroom during commercial breaks while you’re watching Lost. So do you go out and start a marathon training plan? Nope. You start by walking 10 minutes a day. Then, when that becomes a habit and too easy, walk 15 minutes. Then 20, then 30. Then jog a minute, walk a couple minutes, jog a minute, and so on, for those 30 minutes. Then jog 90 seconds, and so on, until you’re running for 30 minutes. Do these steps a week or two at a time, so that all of a sudden, you’re running for 45 minutes every other day … and you barely noticed the progression. That’s the way you get to a goal … small progressions that are barely noticeable. Not by killing yourself the first day out.

Nobody's saying you have to be a saint today. Nobody's going to ask you to do everything right now. In fact, nobody may prompt you at all. You may not get an invitation, an opportunity today to do something obviously good, like for your church or for your family. And often we respond to those kinds of invitations out of obligation or responsibility. But what if we responded because we wanted to participate? What if you doing your specific kind of good nourished, empowered and enriched you? What if it gave you energy & purpose & drive? What if you couldn't get enough of the good that you were doing? What if it set an example? What if it became your legacy? Whew.

It could happen just by taking a baby step today.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Day 3

Continued ...

Commit thyself, big time. It’s this commitment that will keep you going after you overcome inertia. Sometimes we get filled up with enthusiasm, but then a few days later, that enthusiasm wanes and we submit to our old buddy laziness. Now, I’m not anti-laziness — just the opposite, I assure you — but we can’t let it stop us from making our dreams come true. So instead, make a commitment, publicly. State your small, achievable goal, and tell it to as many people as you can. Call or email friends and family, tell all your coworkers, join an online forum related to your goal and tell all of them. Put it on your blog. However you do it, make sure people are aware of your goal, and that there’s sufficient pressure to overcome laziness.

Sometimes we have to overcome ourselves, don't we? We have to check our laziness, our habits, our genetics, our upbringing, our examples, our relationships and our deficiencies at the door. No excuses to do good things, to think better thoughts, to say better words. It's easier to commit to a new idea when you have a buddy who supports you and might even like to join you in your goodness, kind of like a walking pal, a prayer friend, a buddy who's good with sheetrock and who owns a pick-up. When you share your plan for change, when you say it out loud, the plan becomes very real. The mere breath it takes to convey the sentence is a breath in the right direction. Whatever good idea you have waiting to be put into motion, take hold and own it today.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Day 2

Continued ...

Set a small, achievable goal. Remember, inertia is a powerful force. If you haven’t been exercising for a couple years, it’s hard to get started. You’re used to the way things are, and even if you want to change, it’s difficult. So don’t start out trying to conquer the world. Just conquer something exceedingly small. It might sound wimpy to say, “I’m going to walk for 10 minutes” or “I’m going to do 10 pushups and 1 chinup”, but those are much more likely to beat inertia than, “I’m going to exercise for 45 minutes today.” Be realistic, and make it very very achievable. It’s the only way to beat inertia.

So maybe today you set a small goal for yourself. I'm not going to assume the worst about someone. I'm going to come up with an idea. I'm going to come up with some other word for my favorite foul word. I'm going to let a car in front of mine. I'm going to stop making excuses. I'm going to reprioritize my schedule. I'm going to tell someone about the Kyrie Foundation. ;) Whatever small step you can manage to consider, set it in your brain today.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Day 1

As continued from Leo Babuata:

Given those strategies for beating the obstacles to making your desires become reality … how do we implement them? How do we go from theory to actual action steps? Easy. Seven simple steps, that you can do today. Really. Do them today.

Make a date. Right now. All the good intentions in the history of the universe mean nothing if you don’t actually get started. And the only way to get started is to take action, right now. Not tomorrow, not later today, not in an hour, not when you finish reading this article. Right now! Look at your calendar, and make an appointment to create your action plan, or to take the first action (”Go walking at 5:30 p.m. today in the park,” for example).

What's the first action you can take to make something good happen? Is it writing a letter? Making a phone call? Making a list? Meeting with someone? Researching an idea? Is it a quiet conversation with yourself? Whatever it is: make an appointment on your schedule to address this first step. This is just as important as an appointment with the doc or a meeting with your boss. Every story must have a beginning.

The Kyrie Bracelet Collection is selling like silly! We have limited quantities available right now, but are working on stocking up again--great for special spring birthdays, Easter baskets and Mother's Day gifts! Please e-mail for more details on ordering, reserving and shipping (please add $1 for snail mail shipping.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

One week.

When given the opportunity to do good, the most common obstacle is that of habit, meaning the habit of precedence and today's inertia. We do what we do today because we did what we did yesterday. We often plow through our daily cycles with crumbs of ideas to change: I'm going to get more organized. I'm going to start excersing tomorrow morning. We're going to eat more vegetables. But then the oomph, the sizzle, the spark of enthusiasm snuffs to a puff of smoke and spreads into nothingness. How to break that cycle? How to dig in and make change, make good stick?

Author of Zen Habits, Leo Babauta, has some strategies to share:

Get moving, a bit at a time. Inertia is beat only by movement. Once you get going, momentum builds up and inertia is no longer a factor. So the key is to get started, and you do that not by trying to go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds, but by trying to go from 0 to 5mph in a day or two. That’s doable. It’s all about baby steps. Once you get going, you’re golden.

Be accountable. Laziness, the second culprit, is beat by a bit of public pressure. We all get lazy from time to time (or, to be more honest, all the time), and there’s nothing wrong with that. But to beat laziness, we must apply a bit of pressure, in the form of accountability. There’s nothing wrong with a little pressure, as long is it’s not overdone. Pressure is a motivating thing, especially when it’s positive. Positive pressure includes encouragement from family or friends, an online forum, a help group in your neighborhood, or the readers of your blog.

Ignore failures — giving in to temptation is OK. We will always give in to temptation. Plan for it, accept it, move on. There’s no need to beat yourself up.

Motivate yourself. Most importantly, you want to really want it. It’s not enough to feel pressure to do something — you have to really desire it. I mean, really desire it, not just think it’s something you should do, or that you’ll be a better person for doing it. If pressure gives you the push toward your goal, motivation gives you the pull.

Over the course of the next couple of days, we'll come up with ways to make your do-good ideas stick. Get ready.

You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so you learn to love God and man by loving. Begin as a mere apprentice and the very power of love will lead you on to become a master of the art.

St. Francis De Sales
17th Century Bishop of Geneva

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A lovely poem.

Known for his unconventional style, e.e. cummings was one of the most prolific and popular poets of the 20th century. Here's one poem that, I think, really conveys the essence and the manner in which love exists. (You may have to read it a couple of time to let it sink in.)

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart
(i carry it in my heart)

e.e. cummings, 1894-1962
American Poet

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Kind Reminder

As Valentines Day approaches, don't forget to let your loved-ones know how you feel; a hug or a simple phone call can mean a lot.

We would also like to remind everyone that The Kyrie Foundation bracelets are going fast! Please refer to the previous post for pictures. Prices range from $15 each for the individual bracelets and $20 for the paired version. If you are located somewhere that will require the bracelets be mailed to you, please include $1 in addition to the cost of the bracelet to defray some of the postal expenses.

Thanks to all of those continuing to visit this blog, using with The Kyrie Foundation as your designated charity and as well.

"Goodness is the only investment that never fails." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for sharing friends. Today's post is a transcribed interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Drive Life. A sharing friend passed it our way. Thank you, Sheila.

People ask me, what is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act, the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ's likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. I used to think that life was hills and valleys. You go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.

If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is "my problem, my issues, my pain." But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her. It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy. It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our
lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from
the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace
Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the
sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years
since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating
to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes for my life?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thank you.

Thank you for all logging into Kyrie's little blog for the past year, for reading these words, for allowing yourself to feel something, for being connected to a community of people you may have never met yet all feel the same way you do, for commenting here, for passing the word along, for buying a shirt, for saying a prayer, for just being present and for walking this arduous road.

Let's keep going. It's the ol' one foot in front of another thing. We're just going to keep going, inspired by each other, remembering the love, making things work, making time to make things work and achieving what seems impossible. Kind of like what is before us with the next 40 days, no? Keep going. Carry your cross. Remember the love. Just keep going. Keep going on this path and what seems like the end—He has promised—really brings us all back to the very first beginning.

There are two rules on the spiritual path: Begin and Continue.
-a Sufi expression

Friday, February 1, 2008

A sweet idea.

If you're looking for something special to give to a pretty Valentine this year, you're in luck. Presenting ...

Three styles of bracelets have been lovingly handmade by a woman who has followed Kyrie's story since this time last year. All time & materials have been GENEROUSLY donated by very kind, very caring souls. Photos are just a tad blurry, but you'll get a good idea.

The first is an adult-sized, toggle-clasp bracelet with alternating pink crystals, clear square crystals and pearly spheres for $15.

The second is an adult-sized, toggle-clasp bracelet with silver contour bars and pink crystals for $15.

And the third is a Mommy & Me set much like the one Lacie & Kyrie have. One adult size with toggle clasp, one child size with spring clasp, both styled the same with alternating pink crystals, pearly spheres and silver beads between each for $20. Great for Grandma & Me, Auntie & Me, Godmother & Me, Big Sister & Me, too.

Here's Kyrie's Grandma Jan modeling the set.

Each comes in a gift box with a special tag that conveys Kyrie's story and that of the Kyrie Foundation. To purchase or for more information, please feel free to e-mail