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What We Got For the Guy Who Has Everything

 

If you tell me your husband is hard to buy gifts for, I will have zero sympathy.  I’ve honestly never experienced anything like trying to choose something appropriate for a man on hospice who can’t eat, drink or leave the house.  Videos were good for awhile, but now we mostly use Netflix and apple TV, so DVDs tend to sit on a shelf and never get opened.  This year, though, is a special birthday.  Steve fought hard for this birthday and I didn’t want to let it slide by without presents.  So, we bought ’em – we just didn’t buy them for Steve.  Instead, we bought them in honor of Steve. The only guideline I gave the kids was to spend money on something or someone they felt Steve would want to bless.  Last night , after reading a few of the (hundreds!) of emails that came in for him (thank you!), we gathered around him and gave him his gifts:

 

Corey, Whitney and Grey gave money to a young couple’s dream of becoming missionaries.  Steve was a missionary kid in Africa for the first part of his life, so this is dear to his heart.

 

Casey supported some friends’ project to provide school supplies for needy children.  We loved how this gift touched so many layers of people.

 

Tessie gave money to Charity Water (one of my favorite organizations out there), and in Steve’s honor helped provide clean water for 2,000 people.

 

Victoria researched and found an organization working to empower women in third world countries and they have a strong presence in Nigeria (where Steve grew up.)  One of the things I love about Steve Stern the very most is the way he believes in women. Perfect gift.

 

Josiah gave money to Sparrow Clubs – an organization here in our community that provides help to children with profound medical needs, and uses public schools to do it.  Man, I love Sparrow and love that Joe thought of them.

 

Tess’ boyfriend, David, chose to bless a friend who needed help with his tuition.  Exactly the kind of thing Steve would have done because he’s just a dad like that.

 

As for me, I knew right away what I wanted to do.  When Steve can’t sleep, he lays in bed and prays.  He prays for us, for our family, for all kinds of personal things – but he has also spent long hours praying about the situation in the middle east and for the victims of ISIS.  It’s deep in his heart.  After researching several organizations, I gave to Samaritan’s Purse, earmarking my money to go towards displaced Kurds who have fled the violence in their region. In doing so, I felt like I was putting feet to Steve’s prayers and it was so fun.  And I didn’t have to wrap it!

 

As we each told him what we had done his honor, it struck me that this is much like Steve’s life.  Though he feels so stuck in his chair and his house all day, the effect of his faith and compassion ripple out all around him through those who know and love him.   After gift-giving, we watched American Idol with him, all stuffed together in the room where he spends all his waking moments, critiquing the Idol voices and outfits and just generally making it really hard for him to hear what was happening on his show.  It truly ended up being the best birthday ever.

 

 

With hope,

 

Bo

April 23, 2015 - 7:12 am

Kathy Field - What an amazing day, what an amazing family, what an amazing man, what an amazing way to honor him!!!!!

April 23, 2015 - 7:16 am

Kim - What a beautiful way to honor your hubby!

April 23, 2015 - 7:41 am

kathy - Such an example of the love of God flows from you all. The Man, the Woman, and the children, I hear singing in the heavens. God bless you all.

April 23, 2015 - 8:15 am

Deb Garber - Bless you, bless you , bless you is all I can say through my tears. Hugs to you all!!! ~Deb~

April 23, 2015 - 9:05 am

Teresa B - Beautiful! What a birthday to remember! Love you all and all you selflessness. Just awesome 🙂

April 23, 2015 - 9:27 am

Lori - Thank you Bo for sharing your family’s journey.
I am taking the journey of ALS with my mom right now.
Your Blog and book have been an amazing inspiration.

April 23, 2015 - 9:30 am

Michelle Watson - Oh Bo. What a beautiful way to once again go the real deep place and create a birthday for Steve that celebrated him, celebrated the God he loves, celebrated life, celebrated giving, celebrated people, celebrated the intangible because that’s all that lasts, and on it goes. Thank you once again for teaching me about how to embrace life and death in meaningful ways right to the very end. I love you and your family so much!

April 23, 2015 - 1:50 pm

Shawn - So blessed by this post. Happy birthday, Steve. What amazing plans and purposes God still has for you!

April 23, 2015 - 4:40 pm

Brandon Wyllie - Awesome, powerful and inspirational story! Thanks for taking the time to share about this celebration. Happy birthday, Steve! -Brandon Wyllie

April 23, 2015 - 5:06 pm

Doug - God has really blessed Steve with a wonderful family and God has blessed many through you, Bo, and how you are honest with your life through this trial. You are helping me through my days living with ALS.

Thank you for your love for Christ.

April 24, 2015 - 11:06 am

Vangi - Crying for the beauty!!

April 26, 2015 - 1:15 pm

Crystal Tolentino - Dearest Bo,

I just wanted to tell you I am praying for you. We all have our crosses to bear don’t we, and aren’t they to refine us as gold? Sometimes what a cross to bear… My cross as a psychiatric nurse working at a state hospital is to witness to the totally debased and decrepited, staff and patients alike, some are even devil possessed. However, God has put me there for some reason, where the light is barely shining, sometimes I feel all alone, like last night. I pray for strength. I pray for courage, I pray to be that lampstand of light even if it is barely glowing. Sometimes I question, sometimes I wonder, why? Why me? There are different levels of pain, but to me it is all the same. You and I are about the same age, I was born in 63, and your words penetrate me because as a nurse I do understand more than you will ever know. I had to quit medical surgical nursing way back when because I had no boundaries do to my childhood abuse; I took on all my patients’ sufferings. Nightmares abounding atlas, I took refuge in psychiatric nursing, attempting once or twice in the last 36 years to help those medically, only to see my weakness in that area has not changed. I save worms before they drowned or dry up. Who does that? I save any living thing I can; only to lose so many in the process, i.e. birds… In any case, I lose a lot more patients to being lost spiritually than I even want to count or remember. My refuge come with one or two possibly that God has chosen to know Him and come to Him. I know how it feels to feel like the tide is coming in too fast and I am drowning in sorrows of the lost. I Thank God this lost and fallen world can ravage the body but those who are His, the fallen one, the ruler of this world cannot steal away their souls. Because He said, “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.” John 17:11, and 17:24 “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.” I take comfort in this. Satan or living in this fallen world may cause death through sin, but He cannot take what our and those who He has chosen spirit.
We will all be in Heaven one day where there is on more suffering, pain, and all the old things have past away. Thanks be to God Amen! And Amen! You and Steve and family are in my prayers.

In His love and mine
Crystal….

April 26, 2015 - 1:21 pm

Crystal Tolentino - Dearest Bo,

I just wanted to tell you I am praying for you. We all have our crosses to bear don’t we, and aren’t they to refine us as gold? Sometimes what a cross to bear… My cross as a psychiatric nurse working at a state hospital is to witness to the totally debased and decrepited, staff and patients alike, some are even devil possessed. However, God has put me there for some reason, where the light is barely shining, sometimes I feel all alone, like last night. I pray for strength. I pray for courage, I pray to be that lampstand of light even if it is barely glowing. Sometimes I question, sometimes I wonder, why? Why me? There are different levels of pain, but to me it is all the same. You and I are about the same age, I was born in 63, and your words penetrate me because as a nurse I do understand more than you will ever know. I had to quit medical surgical nursing way back when because I had no boundaries do to my childhood abuse; I took on all my patients’ sufferings. Nightmares abounding atlas, I took refuge in psychiatric nursing, attempting once or twice in the last 36 years to help those medically, only to see my weakness in that area has not changed. I save worms before they drowned or dry up. Who does that? I save any living thing I can; only to lose so many in the process, i.e. birds… In any case, I lose a lot more patients to being lost spiritually than I even want to count or remember. My refuge come with one or two possibly that God has chosen to know Him and come to Him. I know how it feels to feel like the tide is coming in too fast and I am drowning in sorrows of the lost. I Thank God this lost and fallen world can ravage the body but those who are His, the fallen one, the ruler of this world cannot steal away their souls. Because He said, “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.” John 17:11, and 17:24 “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.” I take comfort in this. Satan, or living in this fallen world, may cause death through sin, but he cannot take what belong to Him and those who He has chosen, their spirit.
We will all be in Heaven one day where there is no more suffering, pain, and all the old things have past away. Thanks be to God Amen! And Amen! You and Steve and family are in my prayers.

In His love and mine
Crystal….

April 28, 2015 - 9:54 pm

Crystal Tolentino - Dearest Bo,

Forgive me, I was emailing you and almost through when the post went into outer space. If it is somewhere forgive me for saying this again.

I just wanted to let you know that I saw a movie on Net-Flex tonight, it was called “You’re not your own.” Hilary Swank played the one with ALS. It was basically a story about redemption. The girl who took care of her was like someone I take care of at my hospital…

It was a redemptive story for her, however, sadly, the Lord was not in it, or God. I felt it expressed someone with ALS accurately enough though.

I cried through practically the whole movie, and thought of you and Steve.

Please know, you and Steve are in my prayers continuously. Thank you for being such an inspiration. May the Lord be with you always, and may he shine His face upon you in this time

In His love and mine
Crystal…