A.J.’s Christmas Dinner

21 12 2011

You’ve probably read about my buddy A.J. from my posts about Riley.  Today will be ALL about A.J. because today, A.J. proved once again why he is a remarkable kid.

When A.J. was diagnosed with Lymphoblastic Leukemia, he spent three and a half years in Riley during treatment.  A.J. was released from the hospital Christmas Eve.  He remembers how crummy it was to think of spending Christmas in the hospital and made it his mission to make Christmas special for all of those kids and parents who didn’t get the same luxury he did.  For the last four years, A.J. has prepared a home-cooked meal, driven it all the way from Marian, IN to Indianapolis to serve it to the families right before the holiday and has even brought along thousands of dollars in toys to hand out to the patients.  He is a rock-star!

I attended A.J.’s Christmas dinner this year to help in any way I could.  Seeing the faces and smiles light up on everyone’s faces as they filled their plate with homemade noodles, mashed potatoes and their choice from dozens of sides, filled my heart with so much joy.  To top it all off, A.J. never once asked for glory.  When patients and parents would ask who was responsible for this grand feast, A.J. would remain quiet and we would have to shine the spotlight on him.  Even his parents wouldn’t take any of the glory.  They gave it all to A.J. even though he never asked for it!  I love the Stringer family and am so blessed to have them in my life.  A.J. has taught me so much about giving back and loving life!  I am forever grateful!

Lord, you work in mysterious and marvelous ways.  The gift of your love through relationships with others never ceases to amaze me as I go through life.  You send angels that surround us everyday and Lord, I believe that A.J. is an angel!  He is a blessing sent by you to this earth to touch the lives of thousands.  Thank you Lord for your unfailing love, hope and guidance.


Another Day for Riley!

13 12 2011

Today was another grand day for Riley in South Bend, IN, reaching out to the students in the area to give them a huge thank you for their efforts with Kids Caring and Sharing.  A.J. and his parents joined us once again as well as the current Miss Indiana, Jackie Jerlecki.  What a joy it was to savor each moment celebrating these students who understand the meaning of giving back.  I have to admit, one of the most special parts of the trip was getting to spend the evening at the Jerlecki household.  The best and most hospitable family on the planet.  I love them all!

The Center Piece of Christmas

1 12 2011

Christ is the center piece of Christmas.  To help celebrate, I was able to spend some time with the kind folks at Southland Community Church in Greenwood, IN.  I was to give a presentation and sing several of my favorite tunes; mostly holiday.  My husband was actually able to attend this event with me, the first in a while.

I was completely blown away by the decorations the ladies put together.  Christmas trees, ornaments, ribbon and nativity scenes in every direction.  It was such a pleasure spending some quality time with these ladies celebrating the reason for the season.