The husband and wife thought they were prepared. With elderly parents, they even expected a cancer diagnoses sooner or later. They had discussed what to do in the event of the eventual death. They thought they were prepared, that they couldn't be surprised. In the end, it wasn’t the diagnoses that was surprising, it was who had received the diagnosis.
They never thought it would be her. Kira had not seemed that sick when she went to visit the doctor. She had fallen and received lump and some bruising. But a week later the lump was still there. They went to the doctor, who seemed unconcerned but ran some tests, just to be safe. The results were nothing they expected. Kira was only two-years-old. How could she have cancer?
As her parents later learned, Kira became one of the approximately 43 children in the United States diagnosed with cancer that day. Childhood cancer affects all ethnic, gender, and socio-economic groups. They also learned that thanks to today’s medicine, Kira’s chances of survival were high. Eighty percent of children diagnosed with cancer will survive. Sadly that means one in five children diagnosed with cancer will not survive into adulthood. Often, survival rates depend upon the type of cancer, with some being more deadly than others. Also unfortunately, most survivors of childhood cancer will end up with at least one significant, life-long health problem.
September has been designated as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Take some time this month to pray for children with cancer. Pray for strength for their parents and family. Pray for wisdom for scientists working to cure cancer.
“Dogs are man’s best friend,” so said Frederick II, King of Prussia, in reference to his Italian greyhound. The phrase, so commonly used today, was popularized by its use in a poem by Ogden Nash. For Cody, this phrase is more than just a phrase. His dog is not only his best friends, but also an assistant, caregiver, companion, and family member. For Cody, is blind.
September is National Guide Dog Awareness Month! Beginning in 2008, the month of September is dedicated to raising awareness and funding for accredited guide dog organizations.
It is estimated that there are approximately 10,000 individuals in the United States who use the services of a guide dog. Guide dogs are most commonly associated with blind or visually impaired individuals, however only about two percent of visually impaired individuals use guide dogs. Guide dogs specifically refer to dogs used by the visually impaired, however, service dogs are used by many individuals with a variety of disabilities.
By using a guide dog, Cody has found it easier to get around in public areas. It has given him confidence to do more activities by himself and even try new activities! Just last week, he felt confident to walk to a local ice cream shop by himself, something he never would have attempted prior to owning a guide dog. He has even found that his dog encourages people to approach and talk to him.
But there is one thing of which Cody has to be aware: people thinking that his guide dog is a pet. Many people fail to recognize that a guide dog, when guiding, is working, just like you do! Petting, or in any way attracting the attention of a guide dog can place both the dog and owner in danger. Cody’s dog loves attention and Cody is happy to let people pet his dog, so long as the dog is not working! If you wish to pet a guide dog, or any service animal, ask first! And walk away if the answer is no!
This month, National Guide Dog Awareness Month, increase your knowledge about guide dogs and other service animals. If you have children, educate them about proper behavior around such animals. Perhaps go to a training facility and let them see the important work guide dogs and other service animals perform. What you learn can help others!
Is there something in your life that you want to improve? What better time to start a change in your life than now?! September is National Self-Improvement Month! Usually there is a list of things people want to change about their lives. Many items on that list are often things over which we have no control. Stop dwelling on them and focus on what you can change - You!
Stop and think - really think - what in your life do you have control over that you want to change? Perhaps it is your everyday attitude. An anger problem. Time management. Learning to say no. Caring more about others. Developing a deeper relationship with Christ. What ever it is, make the decision that this month - September - you are going to actively work at changing everyday!
Congratulations! You have taken the first step towards change and self-improvement! Now you need to develop a plan! What steps can you take towards your goal? Write them down, put them on calendar! Make a poster for your bedroom! “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it on my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind, straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal.” (Philippians 3:13-14a, ESV) Remind yourself everyday of what you are trying to achieve and how are you are going to achieve your goals.
Looking for a place to start? Struggling in your transformation? Feeling discouraged after a mistake? Encouraged by success? “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV) Turn to the Scriptures! There is a psalm for nearly every emotion you may be experiencing! Paul offers advice on a variety of topics, along with other writers of the New Testament. We can also take comfort in knowing that we are not alone; Jesus has been in our position before. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, ESV) We are not alone!
Improving yourself will also strengthen your relationship with the Lord, no matter your goal! This September, embrace self-improvement! And see who you can be!
Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. (Proverbs 24:27, ESV)
“Be prepared.” Growing up and participating in the Boy Scouts, Alec heard this motto frequently. Scout organizations around the world have been using this as their motto since 1907. The motto became a part of Alec’s everyday life. In high school, Alec was the guy who kept jumper cables, sand, chains, food, water, and an all weather blanket in the back of his car - just in case. In college, he was always the guy that had the tools to fix just about anything. In his professional career, he was always looking for what could go wrong with a presentation or project - so he could have the necessary tools or information to fix the problem immediately. When going on business trips, Alec ensured his wife had all the necessary phone numbers and knew when he should be calling. Alec’s children had several “safe” questions, in case anyone tried to pick them up from school that they did not know. In case of an emergency, Alec’s children knew where to go and whom to call. They knew where the emergency kits were in the home. Alec was always prepared for whatever life may throw at him.
Are you prepared?
September is National Preparedness Month! Established in 2004 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency within the Department of Homeland Security, National Preparedness Month is dedicated to reaching out and educating people on the importance of begin prepared to respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.
In recent years, preparedness has become even more important with disasters seeming to increase every year. Families need to be prepared to regroup at a safe location if their house is destroyed. They also need to be prepared to survive if they become stranded in their homes with no power.
Are you prepared?
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. (Romans 10:9-10, NLT)
Alec was physically prepared for life’s events. He prepared his family for life’s events. But what about spiritually? If Alec were to die of a heart attack tomorrow, would he be prepared to face God’s judgment? There is so much more to life than being prepared for the physical events that may be thrown your way. We must also be prepared for spiritual disasters. Preparation begins with salvation. Accepting that Jesus Christ came to this earth as a man, experienced the same temptations and trials that we face everyday, and did not fall into sin. Accepting that Jesus Christ, a sinless man, was killed - brutally executed - for you, for me, so that we could spend eternity with Him.
In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15, ESV)
After accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we must be prepared to be a witness for Him. Daily study of His Word, the Bible, is a key part of our preparation. As a follower of Christ, Satan will attempt to entice us, to snare us, to cause us to sin. We must be prepared to stand against Satan, to stand against the world, and to stand for Christ, because, one day, He will return!
Are you prepared?