We are celebrating the one year anniversary of "Waiting for Heaven" by giving away 3 free soft back copies of "Waiting for Heaven!" To enter click on enter to win button. May 31st is the last chance to enter to win a free signed copy!
We will be celebrating the whole month of May! Keep checking the Bowen's Facebook page and blog for updates. Anyone who purchases a copy of "Waiting for Heaven" through the Bowen's Hope Store will receive a free Hope bracelet and packet of forget me not seeds to plant in honor of a loved one. There will be encouraging posts and quotes on Thankfulness to celebrate how grateful I am for those who have purchased, read, and written reviews for "Waiting for Heaven." I am so blessed and thankful for you all! Thank you for your encouragement and good luck!
Happy Mother's Day to all the Mother's everywhere. And to all the Mother's of children who are in heaven. Celebrating all the moms today, you're love is irreplaceable.
You're love is so patient and kind,
It gives me comfort when I am sad or scared,
It believes in me even when I don't,
It gives me hope even when I doubt,
It never gives up one me even when I do,
You're love keeps me grounded amidst the chaos,
You're love always gives the best hugs,
And has the best ears for listening,
When I had a bad day, you're love gives the best
encouragement and advice,
It's always just what I need,
I am so thankful you're in my life,
I don't know what I would do without you!
Happy Mother's Day Mom! You're the Best!
I can't believe it has been one year already since the release of "Waiting for Heaven" this Mother's Day! I am so thankful for those who have purchased and read "Waiting for Heaven." I pray and hope that this book can help others in anyway get through loss and see hope on the other side of grief. Grief will always be apart of someone, but it doesn't have to take away who you are or the life that one lives.
To celebrate the year anniversary of "Waiting for Heaven" whoever purchases a soft or hardback copy in the month of May, through Bowen's Hope Store, will receive a free hope bracelet and a packet of forget-me-not seeds to plant in honor of a loved one. We will never be able to replace our loved ones, but we can create new happy memories in honor of them. Planting these seeds will help create a new memory that will inspire and encourage new growth, new beginnings.
For the whole month of May we are going to celebrate "Waiting for Heaven" through thankfulness. Thankfulness has been a big part of our journey that has brought us to where we are now. Thankfulness has gotten us through some very tough times. It has showed us that there is always something to be thankful for and has allowed us to see the joy in our sorrows. Thankfulness can make a heart rich and happy. It can for sure put things into perspective. We are so thankful to be able to be able to share our story and embark on this journey along with you. I will be posting some blog posts on thankfulness and encouraging quotes on the Bowen's Hope Facebook Page. So stay tuned!!!!
"Whatever I am facing, whatever I am going through, God's love is all I need." pg. 165 "Waiting for Heaven"
Thank you for your support, encouragement and reviews they are much appreciated! We would love to hear from you. Leave your comments below. Thank you!!!
"From the fullness of grace, we have received one blessing after another." John 1:16 NIV
I hope you all had as much fun as we did doing Acts of Kindness during our 13 Day Challenge! It is not only a good way to spread kindness, but to do something in honor of our son that makes a positive difference. We now look forward to his birthday, instead of dreading that day when it comes. Acts of Kindness are such a good way to replace our memories with new joyful memories, it is a way to celebrate our son Bowen's life.
What is so amazing about these acts of kindness are, we think we are the one's going to help brighten someone else's day by being kind. What actually happens is that we are the one's who become blessed. We receive more by giving acts of kindness than we do by receiving them.
"From the fullness of grace we have received one blessing after another." John 1:16 NIV
What I love so much about acts of kindness, when given, they stir a person's heart to want to do the same. Acts of kindness become contagious, and a chain reaction starts. There is no end to kindness, it is endless. It all starts with one act, one person. I love how kindness knows no boundaries, it has no limits and it speaks to everyone's hearts. It is the language "the deaf can hear and the blind can see" (quote by Mark Twain). Kindness is genuine, a gift that comes from the heart, it makes a person's heart rich.
Everyone deserves kindness no matter who they are, who they were or who they will be. Kindness is what can build and bring communities together. It can make a person's heart grow bigger than ever. Kindness is the very thing that help mend a person's heart. Kindness teaches us so much. It has been a such a big part of our journey, that has taken us places we never thought possible.
Doing one act of kindness can open many doors of opportunity. Heather Gillis
During the 13 Day Challenge our family had the opportunity to give acts of kindness to teachers, military families, the Fisher House, The Blood Bank of Alaska, the Alaska Rescue Mission, Rice and Beans Ministry, Compassion International, The YMCA, friends, family and strangers. Kindness is not something we just do during the days of kindness, it something we try to do all throughout the year. Kindness Makes a Difference and It Changes Lives. Start your day with kindness and see how far it takes you! Kindness is contagious, Pass it On!
If you are interested in helping Bowen's Hope to give Kindness to Kidney kids and their families, please contact us at email@example.com. This year we will be making goodie bags for the kids to take to Camp in the fall and finding sponsors for families during Christmas. If you are interested in helping either by donating items or monetary donations please visit the Bowen's Hope store page. Thank you for your Kindness! You make a Difference!
Today we start our 13 Days of kindness. Every day for 13 days we are doing acts of kindness in honor of our son Bowen. It is not only a good way to spread kindness but to bring something positive out of tragedy. Every year Bowen's birthday will come. We may not be able to throw birthday parties for our son, but we can show some kindness. It is a great way to celebrate his life and create new positive happy memories. To share our love for him with others.
Everyday we will post a kindness challenge to do for the day along with a positive kind quote. We hope that others will join us to spread as much kindness as possible. Kindness is a language everyone can speak and understand. Being kind to others opens one's heart to be the light in someone else's day. It is a gift that keeps on giving, that is contagious, that is healing. You will never lack anything by being kind, but gain everything. A little kindness goes a long way and can make a person's hope become alive.
I hope that you will make time today to spread a little kindness. Kindness is something to be shared. We would love to hear all the ways that kindness has been spread. Please post your acts of kindness on Bowen's Hope FB page! Have a blessed day! Be Kind!
Kindness is contagious pass it on!
I've always wondered what it would be like to be able to walk into a bank and make a deposit or withdrawal not from an actual bank account with money, but one that had accounts filled with hope or peace. Wouldn't it be nice to go up to the teller and fill out a deposit slip for more hope, because my account is running low, or please make a withdrawal from my peace account, when I am in need of some more peace.
March ends National Kidney Month, where 4 stories were shared from some amazing families. All of them had to fight a battle in one way or another against PKD. Each family had to find their own way to not allow PKD to beat them, but to find a new life of love to live. PKD isn't just a disease, it is something that can very much take one's life, allow one not to live by being fearful of the what if, and it can depress a person's spirit. Interviewing each family has given me a piece of hope from how they choose to live, which gives me peace of hope.
We may not be able to walk into a bank and make a deposit or withdrawal for what we need, but we sure can receive hope from others. Life can be so hard sometimes and it is good to know that there are others who come along side us who go through hard times themselves to help us along our way. To give the piece of hope we may need to get us through our day. Sometimes having that little bit of peace is what one needs to escape life's hardships, just for a moment.
I hope you will join us in the month of April for our 13 Days of Kindness. We will be celebrating the life of our son by doing acts of kindness for the 13 days he was on this Earth. We may not be able to celebrate his birthday, but we can share the love we have in our hearts for him, with others. Everyone deserves a little kindness in their day. We hope that these acts of Kindness will bless others and bring them a piece of hope that they need that will bring them a peace of hope.
Bringing Others What Everyone Needs Some Hope
Download the flyer below to participate in the challenge
Meet The Smith Family. You would never know by looking at their family picture that 3 out of 5 family members have PKD. The previous 3 posts have talked about ARPKD the recessive form that affects babies and in today's post we are talking about a ADPKD, the dominant form that affects 1 in 500 adults.
I wanted to share Nikki's story with you to show that PKD is not just a disease that affects a person's kidneys, but is also a mindset and a way of life. Since the year 2000, Nikki has struggled off and on with her health as a result of PKD. Growing up Nikki knew little about PKD, only that her father had a kidney disease and died at the age of 44. When she was diagnosed, she was terrified to know she had what her father had and could possibly die at an early age. Fortunately for Nikki, there has been much more research to learn about this disease to help find treatments and hopefully a cure one day.
When a person is diagnosed with PKD, they are catapulted into a whole new path of life. They now have to get genetic testing, visit the nephrologist, monitor blood pressure and kidney function, get periodic ultrasounds to monitor kidney cyst growth, and try not go crazy with all of the numbers of lab results or blood pressures going up or down. Then there is the genetic component. If a person is diagnosed then which type of PKD do they have, PKD1 or PKD2? It matters to know which one because each has a different onset of end stage renal disease (kidney failure). Nikki has a strong family history of PKD, so her disease was able to be diagnosed and monitored early. If a person diagnosed with PKD decides to have children, there is a 50/50 chance their child will have PKD. As a result, 2 out of 3 of the Smith children have PKD.
So what is a person to do? Live life according to the statistics and their lab results? A person cannot change their diagnosis, but they can change how they respond to their diagnosis.
PKD will Not Beat Me
PKD has affected not only Nikki's life but her entire family's life as well. Her brother is in his early 30's and is on dialysis as a result of his PKD. Now her two children have to be monitored as well. Even though PKD has entered her life, she will not let it take away the life that she has to live now. Knowing that her dad and others in her family died at such an early age has fueled her to live life to the fullest with the time she has. PKD is not a death sentence, but can weigh heavy on a person not knowing what the outcome will be. She doesn't want to waste time being angry at the disease but live the life she has now. Nikki will not let PKD ruin her life. Instead of focusing on the pain and struggles she chooses to focus on the finding the joy in each day. I asked Nikki "What would you like to see happen to PKD in your lifetime?" She said she would love to see a cure, so others families don't have to experience pain from losing a loved one to PKD.
Life is a precious gift. We may not always get to choose to have good health, but we can sure choose to enjoy the life we have.
Nikki has found ways to adapt her life to still enjoy it. Everyday she is discovering the 'New Healthy.' She has altered her diet to less meat and more veggies and it has lowered her blood pressure drastically. Adapting healthy lifestyles of living such as eating right, exercising, spending time with her family and friends, and her faith in God, can make a heart happy. There are many ways to fight PKD and having a Happy heart is good medicine.
March is National Kidney Month. For more information about PKD and how it affects you go to www.pkdcure.org. Be Kind to someone with kidney disease! Leave your comments below!
We are more than conquerers fighting a battle
There are many ways to fight a battle. Families that lose a child to a horrible disease such as Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is not only devastating, but goes beyond understanding. We live in such a technologically advanced world, to think there is not a cure for a disease such as PKD, that takes not only the lives of babies but adults as well, is unimaginable. Families that endure a loss of a loved one can fight a lifetime of grief that can grow a spirit weary. I love sharing stories of families who have taken the steps to become Overcomers. There will still be days that are difficult, but their lives are not defined by the battle, but defined by their evolving journey of discovering joy amidst their storms.
Meet the Golay Family. Their PKD journey started 4 years ago when their son Baron was born. The Golays found out that their son Baron was diagnosed with PKD, when Amber was 32 weeks pregnant. They discovered that she did not have any amniotic fluid left and that their son had kidneys that were filled with cysts. When a baby is given a diagnosis of PKD before they are born the chances or survival are not the greatest. The reality is some families do not get to meet their baby alive before they are born. The Golays experienced Baron being born into this world at 34 weeks, to experience only 4 days after his birth, the unimaginable, Baron taking his last breath while holding him in their arms.
Even though the passing of Baron was heartbreaking, they are still his parents, just in a different way. They celebrate his life by doing things in honor of him, such as releasing balloons, making a cake on his birthday, keeping a picture book with his foot and handprints, and by visiting his grave.
Leaving the hospital without your baby can be one of the most horrific tragedies a person faces. Amber could not bare that anymore families go through what her and Travis did. In Amber's passion to comfort others in their loss, she dreamed of the idea of Baron's Bears. Baron's Bears is just getting started this year and she hopes that through Baron's bears, that it lets other families know that they are not alone in their loss. That no family should ever have to leave the hospital empty-handed. When a family loses a child at childbirth, Baron's Bears are a way to fill their arms with something. It does not take away the loss of their baby, but fills their arms with a hope that others have gone through what they went through, to give comfort in their hurting.
Comforting others who are hurting, despite our hard times, creates hope, brings encouragement, and takes the sting of death away just for a moment. Baron's footprint has been forever placed in the heart's of his parents. By comforting others in their loss, it shows others their love that exists for Baron, it makes his legacy alive. Even though Baron lived a short life, he had a purpose. To show us how valuable and precious life really is. Through Baron's Bears, it not only helps others, but keeps Baron's memory alive by showing others that there is more to life than fighting the battle, but a life of joy to be lived.
I feel that the Lord chose Travis and I to be his parents and to speak of our struggles in order to be strength for others. Amber Goetze-Golay
There is no doubt that God hand-picked Baron to be their son. His parents are so inspiring how they help others even in their loss. If you are interested in a Baron's Bear for someone who has lost a baby you can email Amber at Baronsbears@gmail.com or visit www.baronsbears.com. Any donations that they receive will be put towards the purchase of more bears so that they can make more families smile.
Thank you Amber for sharing your story and being so strong in helping others in their loss. It is evident that Baron's life is touching the lives of many through his amazing parents! You remind me of Mandissa's song Overcomer because you have become an Overcomer!
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You're not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it's hopeless
That's when He reminds You
That you're an overcomer
Lyrics from the Song Overcomer by Mandissa
March is National Kidney Month. See how you can help raise awareness for PKD by taking the PKD Challenges by visiting www.pkdcure.org/31days. Do not let PKD overcome you, but overcome PKD by taking the challenges and making a difference! We would love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below!
1. Briefly tell your story.
Juniper was our first child. My husband Courtney and I had no indication that our baby was sick, besides my own nagging sense that something wasn’t quite right, and we were terrified when I went into labor six weeks early. We got transferred to a hospital with a better NICU facility and it was there, the night before she was born, that we first heard of ARPKD. Her kidneys were full of cysts, she had no fluid, very little lung development and heart defects. They told us that her chance of making it was zero. When she was born on December 10, 2008 we were able to hold her and love her as she passed away; she lived for 20 minutes.
2. What things do you and your family do to honor Juniper?
We love to get out and do acts of kindness together. When we go out to dinner we like to pick up someone else’s check and the kids—Mackenzi, 11 and Magnus, 4-- have fun choosing which table. We make it a point to do them all year, not just for Sweet Juniper Day. It’s sweet when we all are able to pause and remember her while we are going about our day. It’s helpful for us as we teach our other children about Juniper and how she’s still a big part of our family. That’s especially important for our son because he came along after Juniper. We want him to feel like he knows his big sister too, even though he never met her.
3. Why did you choose acts of kindness to honor Juniper? How many people participate in Sweet Juniper day?
Juniper herself was small, sweet and beautiful. Random acts of kindness are the same, often just small and sweet but they leave a huge impression. That seemed to fit so well. Kindness is really powerful and it can absolutely change the world for the better.
Last year, when her 5th birthday was coming up I felt like I was in a place where I could really celebrate her and Sweet Juniper evolved from that. Grief is so private, it was years before I could even speak her name aloud without crying and it felt great to talk about her so much and share her spirit. We decided to hold Sweet Juniper Day on her birthday, December 10. Initially I had just envisioned some of my Facebook friends helping me out and doing a few acts of kindness but what actually took place was so much more. Thousands of people participated and the first Sweet Juniper Day event was a huge success.
4. Who has benefited from acts of kindness inspired by Juniper? What has been your most favorite act of kindness?
SO many people have benefitted from acts of kindness in honor of Juniper! I can’t even put a number on it and that makes me giddy with joy! Countless coffees and lunches bought for the next customer, groceries and Christmas gifts purchased for those less fortunate and sweet little gestures of love given just because. I wish I could personally hear about every single act done in her name.
My favorite act of kindness happened last year. I had decided to adopt a cat from the local animal shelter for Juniper’s birthday. It seemed perfect because what five-year-old-girl wouldn’t love a kitten for her birthday? When I went to pick up our newest addition, a little white thing with blue eyes, I was informed that someone had paid for all of his adoption and vet fees, as an act of kindness inspired by Juniper! His name is Phillip and, even though he is pretty naughty, I still smile when I think about how he came into my life.
5. Do you raise money or accept donations in honor of Juniper? If so how much have you raised and whom do the donations go to.
Last year at our Sweet Juniper Day event we sold cookies with the proceeds benefitting the Perinatal Bereavement Program at the hospital where Juniper had been born. We had about 200 cookies to sell and raised $1,200! Everyone was so generous! For 2014, we decided to take a different direction and we raised coats and toys for local people who needed them at our event. Our boxes were overflowing! The generosity of people always astounds me and I am so proud to live in a community so willing to help.
6. Why is it important that people know about Juniper's life? How has Juniper's life affected your life?
The thing that I’ve learned from starting Sweet Juniper and talking to so many people about my daughter is that Juniper mattered. Her life and death weren’t just an unfortunate fluke. She was important to the world at large. There is a quote from the movie Steel Magnolias that resonates with me and I think it explains why I want people to know about Juniper’s life. “I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that beautiful creature drifted into my life and I was there when she drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life.” I realize as a woman how lucky I am, to have been entrusted with something so beautiful. How can I not share her with everyone?
All I want (and I think it’s safe to say that every parent would agree with me here) is for each of my children to make their own positive impact on the world. It breaks my heart that Juniper isn’t here to do that herself but it’s become my mission to do it for her. Her life, even though it was so brief, has painted every possible space of my own existence with her lovely little spirit. I love to soak that up…and seeing it reflected back at me in others makes me prouder than I’ve ever been!
You can help spread the love by spreading kindness! Visit facebook.com/sweetjuniper08 and send Mandy a message to request some Sweet Juniper cards of your own! See how her acts of kindness affected her community click here. Kindness is contagious pass it on!
I am so inspired by Mandy's story how she is not going to let PKD win but uses acts of kindness to share the love they have in their hearts for Juniper with others. I love how Mandy says it is an honor to be Juniper's mother. Juniper's legacy is living on in a big way. Thank you Mandy for sharing your story and Juniper's life with us! #endPKD
Be Kind and Loving to One Another Ephesians 4:32
March is National Kidney Month! It is a great time to raise awareness about PKD and share stories of the lives of the families that it affects. Living with and dealing with PKD can be very devastating, but our response to how we deal with it can be life changing.
This is the Waibel family. Their lives have been changed forever by PKD when their son Colton was born almost 5 years ago. The Waibel's were expecting their second healthy child, and that all changed when Colton was born and diagnosed with ARPKD. Colton lived for 6 days. One in 20,000 babies are affected by ARPKD, the recessive form of PKD. Over thirty percent of newborns do not survive. ARPKD occurs in babies when both parents are the carriers of PKD. The Waibel's longed to have another child, but were concerned with the risk of every time they became pregnant they had a 25% chance of having another child with ARPKD. Even though the chances were somewhat high, they decided to go against the odds and try for more children. They did suffer another loss when ARPKD was confirmed in their third pregnancy. Despite their odds, In May of 2013, they were blessed with a beautiful healthy girl, Kaylin, who does not have ARPKD.
Just a few month's after Colton's passing, The Waibel's decided to start raising money for the PKD foundation to not only honor their son's life but to celebrate it as well. Once they started they never looked back. They have held events from Silent Auction fundraisers, to selling hoagies, to selling lottery tickets, to hosting walks and a golf tournaments. Even though Colton is not physically here with them, his life still lives on in the hearts of his parents. Just because Colton is not here, doesn't mean they are not his parents. They are still his parents, just in a different way. They may not be able to host birthday parties and watch him meet his milestones in life, they host fundraisers instead. Colton's legacy indeed lives on through the love of his parents. PKD took a big part of their life away when when Colton died, and it is now The Waibel's mission to help put an end to PKD through fundraising, so no other families have to go through what they went through.
It is important that the Waibel's continue to fundraise, as a way to remember him and let others know how much he touched their life, to keep his memory alive. To date they have raised over $45,000 for the PKD foundation. The Waibel's hope that through their fundraising efforts that one day they will see an end to PKD, that one day there will be a cure, so no one will ever have to suffer from this disease again. They hope that through their efforts, that their living children, will never have to be affected by PKD ever in their lifetime.
Colton has definitely impacted their lives tremendously. There is not a day that goes by that they do not think about him and wish that he was here with them. There are days that are a struggle, but they are thankful that they have their two healthy children here with them, that help them get through the tough days. The fight for PKD is a journey that looks different for everyone. But it is a fight worth fighting. I am thankful for people like the Waibel family who have poured their grief into something positive like raising money for PKD to make a difference in the PKD community so that one day we may see an end to PKD.
We may not have all the answers of why PKD takes the lives of so many too soon, but we can be encouraged to know that our efforts are not without a purpose. That together we can encourage others to make a difference through raising awareness and money for the PKD foundation , so that the PKD researchers can make the possibility of a cure a reality.
Thank you Melissa for being so brave in sharing your story! Colton is one lucky boy to have such loving parents, that are making the difference in the lives of many. We would love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below!
What to expect from Bowen's Hope Blog: Our Blog is a place to empower others to be the difference, for the journey of grief, celebrating Life, and the wonderful kidney kids at Phoenix Children's Hospital. It is a place of Hope and Spreading God's love. Stay tuned there is more to come.....
Heather Gillis is the founder of Bowen's Hope, an outreach devoted to helping kids with kidney disease, and their families. She is the author of Waiting for Heaven, the inspirational story about losing her infant son to polycystic kidney disease.