Friday, April 29, 2011

Pocket Prayers - {By My Mom}

So I have a no-giveaway policy currently in place for my blog...that doesn't mean that it may not change from time to time when a good reason arises. The reason today happens to be my mom! Let me give you some history before I explain what I'm giving away:

You see about 10 years ago, my dad was the senior pastor at a church called Superstition Springs Community Church (which is now Mission) when he started to have some serious health problems. It started with some small things like tingling in his hand, and some small loss of motility and feeling in his limbs. After some X-rays and a little more research, doctors informed him that he had a bone spur on one of his vertebrae that was putting pressure on his spinal cord and was most likely the cause of his symptoms. He went into an emergency surgery that weekend and had it removed...but that didn't stop all of his problems.

After time passed and more research was done and more doctors consulted, it was discovered that my dad has a rare disease called Neural Sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis, generally, is when someone has swelling in a particular area of their body, like the spinal cord or lungs. It's very common for swelling to occur in the lymph nodes and respiratory system. It is also an autoimmune disease, so the immune system is very compromised. My dad has swelling in a few areas, but the majority of his is in his spinal cord.

The only options to treat Sarcoidosis are pain medications and steroids to decrease the swelling. (My dad opted not to do steroids and oddly enough, I've actually heard rumors that people who chose to do steroid treatment may now have a shorter life expectancy, specific to the use by Sarcoid patients.) Researchers and doctors don't know what causes it, or how to cure it, and a lot of times people die due to secondary illnesses related to poor immune function (celebrities such as Bernie Mac and Reggie White died of complications related to Sarcoidosis). We have been so fortunate to have my dad stay as healthy as he has (considering).

So what does all of this have to do with a giveaway on my blog?

Well during this time, our family had a really hard time adjusting and my dad's condition was very uncertain. He ended up stepping down from his position as senior pastor and retired early. With his health drastically changing in a short period of time, he became very tired and lethargic, he was limited in a lot of his physical abilities and he started having panic attacks and serious depression issues. While all of this was going on, my mom did what she knew how to do best which was...pray!

Every day my mom would get up early and go for walks. On her walks she would take note cards with bible verses and inspirational prayers. She would read them over and over to try and memorize them so that in times of crisis, she could find peace. It was funny because over time her cards started to morph...first they were note cards, then smaller cards similar to business cards which turned into hole-punched cards with a key ring holding them together and finally she just had to be so creative and she started printing them on fancy scrapbook paper and with cute fonts. People would see her pull them out at a Starbucks or at church and ask her about them. She began making repeats decks and giving them to friends what were going through hard times as well. They became very inspirational and she started creating more of a demand as well.

I think that as my mom's pocket prayer repertoire grew, so did she, and I truly think her dedication to prayer and scripture got my family through some very dark times.

Fast-forward about 9 years; now my parents run both a non-profit organization called 'Something's Gotta Change' where they help small churches and communities in Malawi build up their leadership, as well as 'Pocket Prayers' their prayer deck ministry. My mom has started taking requests for different decks. She has choices like 'Loving Your Husband' or 'Loving You Wife,' 'Fear Not,' 'Love,' and her newest 'A Teacher's Prayer.'

'A Teacher's Prayer' was a pocket prayer that was requested, and with the school year coming to an end, it's actually a really great gift to give to your child's teachers to say thank you. It's also a way to buy handmade and support a good cause. The decks are good gifts even if you're not sure whether or not someone is religious, because they have other encouraging words as well and each topic has been carefully planned out to help people along in their struggles. Sometimes, people just like that you thought of them too. :) 

I'm giving away one of the teacher decks, and here's how to enter the give away if you would like to win it:

Leave a comment below telling me who you would like to give pocket prayer to (or you can tell me that you want it for yourself too if that's the case). Leave your email after the comment so that I know how to contact you if you win (if you are not comfortable leaving your email, you can put a link to your Facebook page or twitter so that I can contact you). On May 5th I will announce the winner and you can claim your prize!

Even if you don't enter the contest, I really encourage you to check out the Pocket Prayers site and see what it has to offer...there really is something for every need!

Keep it real,


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Anonymous Vanessa said...  

This is so incredibly sweet Kelsey. My grandparents are going through some major health problems right now. My grandpa is due to have surgery at the end of the month on his heart and my grandma(who just had surgery last week) finds out if she has cancer in her bladder on Monday. If she does, this means they have to remove her bladder completely and she has to walk around with a colostomy bag for the rest of her life. I'm not religious at all but they are, and even if I don't win your giveaway I just ask that maybe you and your family can say prayers for them. Our family has been extremely healthy and this is honestly one of the first times we've ever had to deal with someone having health issues or being in the hospital so I'm finding it extremely difficult to handle and I try not to dwell on it but it's just really....hard. Something I've never had to do you know? Anyways, I'm telling you this only because you've been a GREAT friend to me the entire time I've known you and I appreciate our friendship so much. Please keep them in your thoughts<3

Blogger Lori said...  

Hey Kelsey ~ great post! I just linked your blog post on my blog, hope that's ok!! :)

Anonymous Panda Pez said...  

I'd give it to my friend, Hollie, whose grandmother just passed away.

Anonymous Anonymous said...  

My mom just gave me the teacher-pocket prayer that she got from your mom. I keep in my desk at school and read one each morning, I love it, please tell your mom thank you!!!-Jill Sheldon

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