Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thank you, Blue Skies!

Two weeks before Joey's scan, we went to Blue Skies Ministries, which is a week long family retreats to bring the hope of Christ to families living through the challenges of pediatric cancer. I hesitated first when this opportunity came because I don't know what to expect when he sees other children with cancer. He actually never saw one, without hair or with port, in the clinic. Will that scare him? The night before the retreat, I decided to sign up at the last minute. We can't avoid this. He is 9 years old. This is part of his life and he needs to deal with it. 
To my surprise, this summer turned out to be his best summer because of Blue Skies. Joey said, "Blue Skies is the best week ever in my life!" Thank you all, Blue Skies volunteers, for bringing tremendous support, comfort, fellowship, fun and the love of God to my family. Joey made so many friends and so did I. Blue Skies is in our wonderful memory.
Day 1
When the car arrived in the facility by the ocean in the quiet city of Port St. Joe, we saw people wearing Blue Skies shirt cheering. Got off the car, we were surrounded by big smiles. Joey was excited. I saw my mom tearing up. She doesn't know any English. Love is universal, no matter what color the skin is and what language we speak. I smelled the air of the ocean and God's love is in the air.
After dinner, we joined the lantern release. 12 families lighted and released sky lanterns. Gone with the wind is our worries, fear, anxiety... 
hula hoop race
Dear Lord, we are throwing our burdens to you. No matter how huge the burden is, it is never going to be bigger than you. Your love NEVER fails. Please heal our hearts. We will suffer well. We will suffer well together.
Day 2
While Joey was having fun making new friends, we met other parents sharing our journey. Every time when we sat down and got ready to talk, I saw tearing eyes. Every family's story is so different, yet the spirit is the same. These families have been fighting for years. I admire their courage, faith and strength. I sobbed my heart out when they talked about chemo, surgery, pain, radiation, drug, side effect, relapse...I hate it. I just hate it so much. Cancer, you mess up these people's life. You take away so many things from these children: their physical abilities, food they love, graduation, even friendship. But you can't take away their smile. I wish you would vanish from the face of the earth and we would never need to utter the word again. I wish these children could live with their healthy bodies with loved ones, not to fear of you coming back. 
Day 3
This is Joey's first horse-riding experience by the ocean. He is just so excited. These horses are well trained. Joey feels very proud of himself.
Walking behind them on the beach, I saw the coming storm. But no one cared. They were laughing and moving forward, with confidence. They are not afraid, even big waves are pounding and clouds blowing wind. They would never fall.
Day 4
Beach is always Joey's favorite family time. He still takes chemo pill during this trip, but his energy is contagious.
I forgot the name of the game. We were doing flour fight on the beach.

Day 5
Today is Joey's first experience of snorkeling. We caught some sea creatures that we never see before, like puffer fish, sea dollar. The other group even saw shark.

Look at what we found!

Day 6
Kids put on a huge parade today. They decorated their scooters, bikes, wagons with shinning ribbons and put on face-painting, necklaces, bows to show their love to their country. Local police cars sounded the sirens to start the parade. 

Day 7
Time to say good-bye to our new friends. Joey asks when we can come again. I feel released seeing him enjoy playing with kids of same disease, but do not feel scared. I hope he can understand he is not along fighting. Life is tough and we will struggle. Or we can choose not to, but to enjoy the blue sky everyday.
Thank you, Blue Skies, for your efforts to provide families of pediatric cancer with fellowship, love and amazing support!


  1. Excited journey! No matter how hard life is, we'll need to enjoy at least part it. With our family.
    Jia1 You2!

  2. Touching! Yes, Jia1 You2!

  3. Joey is in our prayer.
    Go Joey!

  4. It is an absolute blessing to be a part of the Blue Skies family with you! We love your family and are continually praying for all of you. Please tell Joey that Griffin says "hi"! :)