Journal Entry

Sunday, April 18, 2004

"I am the bread of life.
Whoever eats this bread will live forever......."

(John 6:35-58)

After a very hectic few days spent with a pain free child, the most important and incredible day ever in Christi's life arrived. (When Christi was first diagnosed and all through the tough treatment never did I think she'd actually make it to her first communion and what a glorious celebration it was today!!! We thank and praise the Lord!) I'm filled with such joy having watched this special young lady receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist in a loving church PACKED with prayer warriors and filled with great individuals. Our deepest thanks to the tremendous individuals who made the beautiful day even more lovely! I should have known we were in for terrific blessings last week when as the girls and I walked into a business a lady said, "Christi! Christi Thomas! I am mowing the lawn at church so it's nice for your first communion." (I didn't know the lovely woman, but was so very touched by her kindness.)

In order to avoid leaving out the countless folks who bent over backwards to make this blessed day even more special, I shall not mention any one specifically; however, when flowers arrived from Connecticut and Texas we knew who was responsible. (Christi came home and immediately planted the yellow rose bush in the front yard this afternoon in honor of the blessed event.) For a sweet, beautiful, loyal prayer Warrior (Spring - who gave Christi the quilt she made for her sweet precious baby girl now in Heaven Above for Christi to have a comfort item during her MIBG radioactive procedure knowing fully it would have to be destroyed) thanks for driving all the way from Nashville, Tennessee just to finally meet Christi and to witness this blessed event with her husband; we are deeply touched. Thanks to Tom and Lori friends from Uncle Dudley's Restaurant for their INCREDIBLE kindness and generosity with the delicious and fabulous meal. Oops! I'm mentioning names, I shall stop. For everyone's kindness, love and support we shall forever be grateful! "Close by or far apart you hold a place in my heart!" Christi S. Thomas Again I'll say we can't pay it back, but we can pay it forward and we shall!! We've been richly blessed! Thank you!!

Communion Prayer:

My Lord Jesus Christ, I firmly believe that I am about to receive, in Communion, Your Body, Your Blood, Your Soul and Your Divinity. I believe it because You have said it, and I am ready to give my life to maintain this truth.

Also, our deepest Thomas Team thanks to Christi's preferred photographers - The Picture People for taking the most incredible pictures of Christi for her first communion and for her upcoming 7th birthday! It was TREMENDOUS to have the photos just taken yesterday morning, to spend an hour with Christi shopping and eating in the mall and then to take home the finished photos to be able to distribute to our family and friends attending First Communion today! ALL of them were so lovely. (I'm certain Eric will have them appearing on Christi's site soon!) One individual told me today, "Never will a photo be more treasured than this one."

Not that I didn't choke up here and there, but the following is the prayer I read before lunch - thanks to the work of the Baker Bunch for crafting and putting together what Shayne and I wanted to say:

Dear Heavenly Father,

What a glorious day! Thank you for today, and our precious Christi. She is a blessing in the lives of her family, and all of those who have come to know her. Praise you, Heavenly Father for making her in your likeness. In your word, you say in the book of John "All who receive him, to those, who believe in his name, he gives the right to be called, children of God." (John 1:12).

Lord, we are grateful for your provision, for your gifts, and for your grace. We are grateful for your nature, your knowledge, and your desire to know each one of us personally. On this special day, we look to your word for continued direction and celebration. In the book of Isaiah you tell us "He gives us strength when we are weary, and increases the power of the weak. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:29,31) May you be with Christi, and touch her body and mind, never having her fall short of searching and reaching for you in her life.

Finally Lord, you have given all of us instruction, to have the wisdom, insight, and understanding of a child in order to understand your love for us.

In the book of Mark we are told a story about the nature of children. Jesus says, as parents were bringing their children to him to be blessed "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, will never enter it. And he took the children into his arms, put his hands on them and he blessed them. (Mark 13-16) Lord, this is what Christi has done, She has come before you, with the blessing of her parents, family, friends, and all of those who love her so dearly, and she has come to you for your blessing Lord. We pray that you will use your hands on her, bless her, keep her, and love her for all of the rest of eternity.

It is our prayer that today, as Christi has taken her first Holy Communion, she will desire to know you personally as her Lord and Savior. Lord, please bless this special day, this meal, and all of those who are here to share this special day. We give thanks to you dear Lord for this incredible little girl…In Jesus name we pray, Amen….

On the medical front it's been a whirlwind of planning: On Wed. or Thursday we agreed to start a new oral chemo drug called ABT - 751 for Christi's next plan of attack. On Friday about 2:00 PM, we learned that we needed to be at CHOP early Wednesday morning to start treatment. Well, with approximately 125,000 miles on my van and not wanting to make the ten hour trip with just Christi and I, I immediately starting frantically searching for air fare. The CHEAPEST fare I could find was $800.00!!!!!!! On Saturday, my sweet friend Caroline even had AAA frantically searching, but again with less than one week's notice the cheapest fare they could find was over $700 - PER ticket. I had remembered that we had met a beautiful woman who helped host the "Fantasy Flight" that we were invited to back in December and that I had her home email. You know I was desperate that I emailed to see if the airlines offered any sort of special help in a very unique case like this. After some calls and emails back and forth, I received word late this afternoon that we could purchase tickets for $232.00 each. PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!! I happily gave her my credit card number. Therefore, Christi and I shall fly from Columbus to Philly on Tuesday afternoon with US Airways!! Wednesday morning she'll check into the hospital where there will be MANY tests. She will require an inpatient stay. If all goes well she'll start the ABT drugs on Thursday and we are scheduled to fly back to Columbus on US Airways late Thursday afternoon.

Late this afternoon Christi looked up and said, "There's a cross in the sky." When we all gathered to look she said, "I think it's Grandpa Vince." Need we say anymore?!! Very profound! What a perfect ending to a most blessed day!

We can't possibly end this glorious day without saying thanks to you all!! Your kindness, love and support as Christi made her first Holy communion was simply unbelievable! I don't want to mention any specifics for fear of accidentally overlooking someone, but I will say we saw God's goodness shine through without question and we know those of you who were unable to join us in person were still with us in our hearts! Thank you! In closing I shall say, more than one person told me today, "There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Christi delivered the hosts to the alter." And one sweet friend wrote in their First Communion Card: Christi - you spell your name like Christ and an "i", now you have Christ in I! (Oh, wasn't that deeply profound!!!! Thanks, Mike!) Thank you all!!!

In His love,

Christi's Comment: After receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, Christi leaned over to me in the pew and whispered, "That wine wasn't half bad."