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Alice

Alice in the Palace

At the urging of some very dear people I have compiled, edited, and formatted the “Alice blogs” into book form, and am happy to say that Alice in the Palace is, to the best of my abilities and with the help of a few good friends, done and ready to go. As many of you know because you walked the journey with us, this is the story of my four-year-old daughter Alice from the first mysterious symptoms until her death from a brain stem tumor 8-1/2 months later. Along the way, I recorded a fairly raw account of what we were experiencing and feeling, for better and for worse, along with my own reflections on Alice, wrestlings with God’s involvement, thoughts about the prayers of his people and the fate of children who die. I also wrote an epilogue on the anniversary of Alice’s funeral, which was just last week.

Thanks to everyone who followed Alice’s story and encouraged us along the way, and if you’d like a nicely organized pretty good looking (if I do say so myself) record of Alice’s story you can get one, or it might be an encouragement for a friend who’s going through “the stuff.” I don’t know why you might want to buy one, but if you do, now you can!

For what it’s worth, I bought a copy myself and I really like it. And (far) more importantly, Michele approves. By the way, Michele drew the cover picture for a card she sent to Alice’s best friend Kenzie, and I loved it so much that I took a picture of it before she dropped it in the mail.

The book is available at Amazon.com in paperback for $10, Kindle for $5. If you purchase a print copy you can get the kindle version for free.

jr

My Confession: I Have a Thing for Old Ladies

Regarding the title of this piece, I must make an admission up front, which I only offer because you already know, and it would be highly insulting of me to presume you didn’t. The title is provocative; after all, that’s what I’m supposed to do in this age of cacophonous digital voices straining to stand out from the congested landscape of social media, frantically trying to grasp your attention. Then, in true clickbaity fashion, once curiosity has enticed its victim to give a little peek into this rabbit hole, what is discovered is rather mundane and boring. The lion doesn’t bite the man’s head off, the couple getting engaged don’t fall off the cliff, you won’t really be shocked at what she looks like now, and though I’ve never checked into it, I’m sure that secret the casinos don’t want you to know probably has more to do with the quality of the lobster on the buffet than the secret to victory over the slot machine. We are not fools; you and I. It’s merely a game we play, but pretend we don’t. I pretend my writing needs no suggestive title to be read; you pretend that you are immune to such juvenile tactics, yet here we are, and both rather embarrassed about the thing. Continue reading “My Confession: I Have a Thing for Old Ladies”

How Alice Entered Wonderland, or What Happens to Kids when They Die?

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Mark 10:13-15

I wasn’t sure I’d ever get this written, but it really is the only additional thing I wanted to write concerning Alice, so after a few attempts, here goes…

I believe Alice is in the Palace, or if you like, she is truly Alice in Wonderland. What I want to do is attempt to explain why I think she’s there. And in doing so, I want to be an encouragement to the many other parents who have lost little ones. One thing this ordeal has taught us: we are not alone in our sorrow. If I have wondered about Alice’s whereabouts, perhaps others have too. Hopefully this helps, it’s helped me. At Christmastime, we need something to be cheerful about, because there seems to be more tears than smiles in our house this year…
Continue reading “How Alice Entered Wonderland, or What Happens to Kids when They Die?”

Alice: Missing

On the seventh day the child died… David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. 2 Sam. 12:19b-20

The record of King David losing his infant son was never too far from my mind during Alice’s final weeks. The passionate prayers and sorrows before death, followed by a seemingly immediate return to “normal” life sort of laid out a simple pattern for me that I hoped to follow.

The night Alice died, after I’d lifted her lifeless, already stiffening body off our bed, carried her through the kitchen, out the front door, and set her in the back of that shiny black minivan, laid her on a cot that was far too big for her little body, kissed her cool forehead one last time, pulled up the zipper of that adult size bag – after all, this ride wasn’t designed for kids – I walked back into the house where my Dad was seated at the table, and with reference to David that I knew he’d understand, I said to him, “Time to take a shower and eat something.” Continue reading “Alice: Missing”

Alice and the Vault of Unanswered Prayer

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
– David on a really, really bad day, Psalm 56:8

Statistically speaking, children who develop Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, have a 0% chance of surviving for five years after diagnosis. On average, the time between diagnosis and death is nine months. Continue reading “Alice and the Vault of Unanswered Prayer”

Alice: Honor

Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him.
Acts 8:2

Pay to all what is owed to them:
taxes to whom taxes are owed,
revenue to whom revenue is owed,
respect to whom respect is owed,
honor to whom honor is owed.

Owe no one anything, except to love each other,
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:7-8
Continue reading “Alice: Honor”

We welcome you to worship our God, mourn our Alice, and rejoice in her homegoing with us.

Service will be at Lewis Lake Covenant Church Thursday, June 14, 1:00PM

Family visitation 11

Visitation at noon

Committal and lunch to follow.

We want to encourage children to attend. We have asked Pastor Bob to take a few moments to directly address Alice’s siblings, cousins, and all her friends who knew and loved her.

-Joe and Michele

Alice in the Palace

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:15-16

Consider… the happy condition of a Christian! He has his best things last, and therefore in this world he receives his worst things first. But even his worst things are “later” good things, hard plowings yielding joyful harvests. – Spurgeon, ed. by Alistair Begg

Continue reading “Alice in the Palace”

Alice: Walking Through the Valley

For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.
Psalm 72:12-14

Continue reading “Alice: Walking Through the Valley”

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