Thursday, December 13, 2012

Power of Perspective : Lettington Update


 I teach my students about the power of perspective and getting out of their comfort zone all the time, but sometimes I need to listen to my own “preaching.”   Gavin and I have been preparing for a major move 4700 miles away from our cozy Alaskan home.  Gavin has earned a position as Director of Medical Simulation at the College of Medicine for the University of Central Florida, and I will be teaching at the most academically prestigious high school in Florida, Hagerty High School. We are actually enroute on our newest adventure from the Alaskan Tundra to Florida beaches.  It will be quite a change in scenery and climate, but after the -17 degree temperature we had last week, 75 sounds heavenly.  Outside of the weather, I have had mixed emotions about the move, but have cast my burdens upon the Lord.
I have been keeping this move quiet for a while in an attempt to transition my students, families and to help prepare my replacement at school.  However, as it all began to pick up in speed with movers, working through the stress of getting a new teaching license in another state, and finding a job for myself, I began to feel scared, worried, fearful and anxious. My heart was clouded with emotions and I was despondent that I would be leaving my students in the middle of the school year.  I found myself unable to sleep, having nightmares, and sick to my stomach. I even started losing weight and having headaches daily.
 However, just as I started to feel flooded with fear of the unknown, and worrying about the details I was given a touch of perspective. Not only from my students who have been very helpful, kind, and caring through everything, but also my colleagues who were constantly bringing me warm wishes throughout the entire process.   I keep reminding myself there are people who need much more than just relief from stress found in moving a family of five and a classroom across the country.
There are many people who do not have jobs, or family and friends who care for them. There are families out there without their health and the resources necessary to get through the month. I know there are families who do not have enough to eat or adequate money to provide warm clothing for their children.  I know this because I see it daily in my profession. Many of my students, past and present, come from impoverished homes and need more than just an academic education. They need their basic needs met, and more often than not, this becomes my first priority in my room.  How can you teach about the degrees of adjectives if the child is thinking about a rumbling stomach?
However, this was not the only perspective I have been given the past few weeks. When I felt overwhelmed I thought of all the love pouring out around the world for Loren Lettington and his family. This young family needed prayers and support and we wanted to help in any way we could.  The response has been breathtaking. There are over 5000 views on my blog and this is coming in from all around the world. 12 countries have viewed the blog and about 30 individuals have sent in donations.  My own children handed Gavin and I cash they wished to donate from the money they have worked hard to earn.  The selfless acts by many have been awe-inspiring, and the love radiating from this family is truly remarkable. I hope that we can continue to raise money for Loren. I know that God is in control as He has carried this family this far in this terrifying journey, and will be with them daily.
Loren has made it through so much already, but the prayers cannot stop now. He and his lovely wife flew home on Monday and are in Iowa City at the University of Iowa Hospitals. They are receiving excellent care around the clock and family support is definitely more hands on now that they are back in the United States. However, Loren has now developed pneumonia and needs continued support and care.
The family wanted to relay a message to everyone out there praying and sharing in this arduous journey with the family.  

At this point we just ask that people continue to pray, as a family we have begun to understand the power of prayer. Even though we believed in His love before we just have come to see His great glory over the past two weeks.  So many amazing things have happened over the past two weeks and we know it is because of prayer and our AMAZING God! Loren is getting settled in Iowa City, but has been diagnosed with pneumonia. Megan and the kids will be staying up there close to him during this time. The rest of the family will be making trips to visit and will continue helping with the care of Briar and Hadley. We are very thankful for all the prayers and support that we have received. The love and support is simply overwhelming and very humbling. Loren is an amazing young man and we are so truly blessed to have him in our lives. Also, we ask that you continue to pray for Loren's coworkers who were with him at the time of the accident, as this has been extremely difficult on them as well.”

I am reminded of the verse in James 1: 2-4, “ Dear brothers and sisters whenever trouble comes you way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For you’re your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when you r endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”  This family has had their faith tested, endured much, and have developed a character that can be admired. They are struggling with their own needs, but seek prayers for others. I am amazed at their humbling faith in the Lord and reliance on prayers.

Their entire family is out of their comfort zone, and the unknown is scary and daunting. The traveling between the hospital and home is very taxing on the budget as well as on their emotional and physical well being.  So, get yourself out of your comfort zone and share this link. Let’s raise even more and give a gift of compassion to a family in need.  I am imploring you to please, look inside your hearts and see if you can meet the challenge, and give a dollar, five or ten.
OPEN YOUR HEART, and spend time in prayer, and I promise as soon as you hit the donate button your perspective will be altered. I know this because God is living and breathing through the followers of this blog. After all in 1 Peter 4: 10 the Word tells us; “God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.”  So, manage your gifts God has given to you this season and allow generosity to flow around the world.  Gain a new perspective that spreads comfort and joy to a family who need peace and the gift of miracles.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Wrestling to Make a Difference Update

Family Portrait
Education is more than just reading, writing and arithmetic; it is learning how to solve problems that will inevitably arise in your life. Education is developing the tools to figure out how to survive in the world, and how to become a citizen of humanity. Therefore, education, is not something you obtain just from sitting in a desk while listening to an expert in the field. Education is learning how to deal with the road that lies ahead, and overcoming the obstacles, which block your path. In the past few days I have learned so much about reaching the impossible and fighting for love because of the Lettington family. I am a believer in Christ, and have faith in the love of His people. However, I never expected the outpouring of love and support for this young family. I received an education in the last two days about the power of prayer, and the love of people. 

Celebrating Life's Moments
There have been 1755 viewers scattered across the U.S., Germany, South Korea, Japan, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, and Mexico.  We have raised $800 to help this amazing family, and all the messages coming in have been so uplifting. This was more than I ever could have anticipated, and I am blown away by the sheer number of supporters across the world who are praying for Loren. I decided this large number of prayer warriors may want an update on his condition. Therefore, I will be breaking from my normal classroom reflection blog, and will try to piece together a story of love, determination, and hope based on the interaction from the family.

I am too cute!
Loren Lettington is a fiery soul with a sense of humor that eats away at the darkest of facades. His smile is genuine and sincere, and he is a hard working man. He is madly in love with his wonderful wife, and the love for his beautiful baby girl and sweet little boy is very evident.  He is one of the kindest, most caring individuals anyone could ever meet. This week, while at work in Germany, some very heavy equipment fell on him. It caused some major injuries to his head and spine. His brother, Richard Lettington and Loren's wife, Megan Lettington, flew to Germany to be by his side. The doctors have worked feverishly to stabilize him, and the prognosis was bleak from day one. However, he has improved faster than anticipated and is stronger than anyone even knew.

Here is the latest update from the Lettington family:
Sleepy little girl.
Loren has undergone long surgeries to stabilize him. He has no movement in his arms or legs, and was not able to breathe on his own so he had to have a tracheotomy. He was given a 30% chance of walking again. The doctors stated there was blood in his eye, but he should regain full sight. They completed a surgery on Monday to strengthen Loren's vertebrae between C-2 and C-3. Everything went very well even though it was a high risk surgery. He was responsive and wide awake.   This surgery was intended to help stabilize him enough so that he can be transported back to the U.S., and back to his family who so desperately want to hold his hand, talk to him and kiss him.

This all seems scary and overwhelming, but Richard and Megan are both sharing the tiny miracles God has given to them all.  Richard writes, "Today has been an awesome day with first us finding out that Loren will be able to eat in the future. It might seem small, but it was the first good news we've heard in awhile. " This is a blessing that we all take for granted, and I can tell you that this family is not asking for pity they are seeking prayers and support.

Together Forever
 Loren is a strong young man, and is definitely proving that now. After his surgery, the doctors slowly reduced Loren's medication so that he would wake up in 7-8 hours. However, about an hour after surgery Megan told Loren she loved him and he opened his eyes several times as he listened to her voice. The doctors stated that he shouldn't be responding because he was still heavily medicated, and Richard informed them they did not know Loren. Not only is he a fighter, but love is a powerful thing, and this is one of the best things about this young couple. Their love is pulling them through the impossible.

The frustration in learning to communicate with Loren has been difficult, but kissing seems to be a way he has found to reach out to his wife. He puckers up for a kiss repeatedly, and Megan is happy to comply with this very basic, but powerfully moving and loving request. Megan writes, "I cannot even begin to describe how much love I have for Loren. We have a long road ahead but I am already so proud of him! He continues to pucker up over and over for kisses, which is breathtaking and seems to have his sense of humor still. Richard told him no kisses from him and he smiled. We are trying to get the communication down, but this may take awhile. He is simply amazing and I cannot believe God blessed me with such a strong man."

Daddy and his little man.
Daddy's girl for life.

I leave with you with this quote from a wrestling icon and legend, Dan Gable: 

"Most men stop when they begin to tire. 
Good men go until they are going to collapse. 
But the very best know that the mind tires
before the body, and push themselves farther
and farther, beyond all limits.
Only when these limits are shattered

can the unattainable be reached."

 So lets, reach the unattainable and shatter some limits together. Donate today, pray today and remember that as human beings we are to love one another with all our hearts. Reach out to those around you and tell them how special they are. Also, if you read this blog today post a comment that Richard and Megan can share with Loren to help him know we are all praying for his recovery. 

"Thank you to everyone for all the prayers and support we couldn't do this without you.
 God Bless!!!!!!!" Richard Lettington.
 Professional pictures by Digital Galleria Designs