Colorado is one of our most favorite places to visit. The raw majestic beauty of the mountainous landscape takes your breath away. We have many dear friends, business acquaintances, and family that live there. Unfortunately the elevation is very hard on Derek’s condition, which really limited us visiting people. He spent the couple of days we were there, resting, icing his head, and taking it easy.
The much needed break in Colorado rejuvenated us. It was the first time, I personally had time to even begin to process what is all happening. Quiet moments to reflect and pray is when an ‘aha moment’ happened.
A craving for something sweet came over me. Snickerdoodles and cupcakes made my mouth water. Finding comfort and divine pleasure in sweet snacks. Satisfying a sweet tooth became my obsession. However this a whole different kind of sweetness.
Snickerdoodle our dog is a mini golden doodle. If you aren’t a dog lover, just humor me and read this. For three years, she has blessed our family with her love, loyalty and cuddles. When Gavin needs a wrestling mate, she is right there. When I need a lap dog, Snickerdoodles is beside me. In Derek’s time of suffering and comfort is greatly needed, Snickerdoodle is there with her reassuring licks, and warm body to stroke. She is an ever present reminder that God gives you what you need when you need it. Though Snickerdoodle isn’t a registered therapy dog, she could be. Snickerdoodle IS apart of our family and has made me understand the importance of therapy dogs.
We aren’t the only one with a sweet tooth. Derek’s Aunt has a huge sweet tooth. No doubt she loves her sweets, especially for cupcakes.
Aunt Linda has always encouraged us to think outside the box. ‘Go big or go home’ is the attitude she has lived her whole life. She has always graced us with her presence by her example of going all in to reach your dreams. Her love and passion for animals inspired our children their whole lives. Pouring her knowledge and love for animals into each of us became incredibly inspirational to us over the years.
So, it was of no surprise to us, when our Aunt heard this story for the first time, that without an ounce of hesitation, just knew she would adopt this sweet little morsel and name it “Cupcake”.
Let me introduce you to Cupcake. A Maltese mix. Probably a Maltipoo. Someone abandoned her when she was a puppy. More than likely because she was lame. By God’s grace, someone found her, and took her to a shelter. Unfortunately her front leg had to be amputated. This small three legged little puppy, was truly a miracle to even survived.
The first time we met Cupcake I was taken back by the complete joy and humorous attitude this little three legged dog had. Her presence alone, wagging tail and gentle nature just couldn’t help but put a smile on your face. Though she hobbled around, and every step was harder for her, she didn’t care. Nothing stopped sweet Cupcake. Running around, keeping up with the other dogs, is just what she did. Dogs do smile. When you see Cupcake, you will know what I mean.
The moment I met this sweet morsel, I knew that I would write about Cupcake.
Cupcake doesn’t just have an amputated leg, she also has bad hips and this past year, has suffered greatly from pain. She will be undergoing a total hip replacement. Nano size. The smallest they make.
Her scheduled surgery is, May 4th.
The exact same day and morning of Derek’s surgery.
Cupcake has become Derek’s mascot. As the two go under surgery on the same day, and though they have multiple complications, and suffer from their conditions, it’s their sweet personalities that real you in.
The Snickerdoodle Cupcake theory is this.
No matter what harsh circumstances you have been dealt with in life, it’s the sweetest attitude of never giving up and letting your circumstances defeat you that counts.
Just keep wagging your tail.Surround yourself with true treasured friends, that despite your disability,
only see your ability.
A true friend you can share your most inner thoughts.
They will always listen and love you. No matter what.
Who you surround yourself in life, does matter. Choose your friends wisely. Age, shape, size, breed, or talent doesn’t matter.
The sweetness of the heart is what matters.
Thank you Aunt Linda. For teaching us
‘The Snickerdoodle Cupcake’ theory of life.
Our friends Andrew and Janelle are a shining example of this. Treasured friends who have walked this journey with us from the beginning. The week before Derek’s first surgery four years ago, we were with this couple in Africa. And though our lives have changed drastically, they have never once left our side. Part of our original prayer warrior group, countless hours of prayers from these amazing friends have been prayed over Derek’s unfolding miracle. They are great warriors by our side as we searched for a diagnosis and cure for Derek around the country.
They do not see Derek’s disability. Only his ABILITY!
Their gift to us was a sign they had made for our 5th Wheel. My sweet friend and amazing photographer Amy Hall, from Wisconsin took this photo. It’s my hands, holding onto the acorns from the author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s farm in Missouri. The oak tree that dropped these acorns shaded Laura’s house where she wrote all her books. For those of you who don’t know… I’m about as obsessed as they come with ‘Little House on the Prairie.”
Andrew and Janelle are one of the first people to encourage me to write. And now we will show off God’s glory on the road, as people pass us.
Janelle is also flying out to Los Angeles and meeting up with us next week. She is a former recovery nurse and will be with us during Derek’s surgery. Her passionate spirit and empathetic attitude is so nurturing during a time like this. Andrew, God bless you for staying home with the four kids and giving up your beautiful wife for a few days to be with us.
Andrew also took Gavin hiking, which was a total treat for him. Thank you Andrew. We love you. both.
Then there is sweet Fern. Gavin was able to have another fantastic art lesson with his amazing teacher and best friend Fern, who is an outstanding artist. The two worked for hours. Another highlight for Gavin. I love seeing all the new friends Gavin has developed. The best part is, his Rolodex of treasured friends are of all ages. Thank you Fern. You have made such a difference in Gavin’s life. Your gift of art supplies to Gavin put the biggest smile on his face. Gavin at a young age is living ‘The Snickerdoodle Cupcake Theory”.
Colorado had several ‘aha moments’.
We have absolutely no idea what the next few months hold for us. But we were reminded that we have 2 choices in a situation like this.
To let the unknown paralyze you.
Or to embrace it.
Before this all happened, we were planners.
Now we are pioneers. Sometimes our lives are too planned and we miss amazing opportunities right in front of us.
Leaving Colorado, we were rested and ready to take on the final leg of this journey. Driving through the the next set of mountains, the Rotan mountain pass, proved to be eventful. Construction, driving through mountain blast sites, in hopes to not be hit by falling debris and boulders made us realize to never get to comfortable in life. Just when we thought we had the hang of this pioneering thing, we were wrong.
The comfortable zone is for the birds. Getting uncomfortable is where growth takes place.
Our drive down to Arizona was nothing shy but a miracle in the high winds we had to drive. But we made it by God’s grace safely. s
Stopping in Arizona for a couple of days allowed Derek to rest again. And make another check on his bucket list of life.
We went to the Grand Canyon. Which led to him setting more goals for the future. Next year, we plan to return and hike for a few days. Whitewater rafting and backpack through the canyon made his new list. Derek also wants to check off the seven wonders of the world on his bucket list. Miss Cupcake, made Derek dream again big time.
Anyone want to join us?
A pit stop to visit Derek’s cousins Kurt, Jen and their five children was way over due. The kids were awesome, so very quiet for Derek’s ears and loved on him. Amazing how with the right pioneers, you can go for years without seeing each other and literally pick up where you left off. Jen and Kurt, we love you and are so proud of you. It was an honor to pass on a covered wagon that we brought with us from Wisconsin. This symbolic wagon was Kurt’s Moms. Sally was a true pioneer, and a woman I truly admired. She passed away 20 years ago from breast cancer at too young of an age. Her feisty amazing spirit and beautiful personality lives on in all her grandchildren. And her covered wagon will stay in the family as it should and be passed on to little Sally who was named after her amazing grandma. Kurt and Jen, you are both true pioneers, and we can’t wait to hike with you all one day.
The last leg of our trip, we hit more mountains, high winds, and a parting of the Red Sea when it comes to wind. Prayers were answered. The gusty winds subsided. Our air condition died in the Mohavi Desert. Oh well. Pioneers didn’t have air conditioning. Just hang your head out the window. Gavin’s humor, awesome attitude, and gift to make the most of situations, graces our journey with pure laughter.
And then, after our long 33 plus hour drive;
The eagle has landed.
We rolled into California, and our new home, Souldad Canyon Campground Saturday late afternoon. Exhaustion, overwhelming emotion, and a starving teenage son, led me to set up camp quick and grocery shop. We will be here for as long as it takes to get the job down.
I personally have great faith that Derek is going exactly where he needs to go. His decline assures us that these surgeries are part of God’s plan. He did amazing on this trip, even though it was so difficult on him. He NEVER complains. When the high winds, sucked my courage up from driving, he took over. I do not know how he did. I married an amazing man.
It is with great faith and hope that God has led our covered wagon exactly to where we need to go.
The surgery is four days away. There are moments fear wants to set in. The unknown and uncertainty want to shadow the hope. But remembering the pioneers we have met along this four year journey, and each everyone of you, fuels us with your prayers, love and support . We have so many to thank. And believe us, we appreciate EVERYTHING.
Derek is scheduled for several appointments starting May 2nd. We find out if insurance officially goes through Mat 1st. Talk about nail biting. Pray for him as he will undergo many tests, and appointments in the next few days. His first surgery is scheduled for:
Thursday May 4th. 7:30 am. (Pacific Time)
Cupcake’s surgery is May 4th 9:30 am (Mountain time)
Mark your calendars for prayers!
Thank you Jesus for bringing us safely across the country. Keep praying for insurance to go through. Keep praying for Derek’s #theunfoldingmiracle!
And may you all be blessed with “The Snickerdoodle Cupcake Theory’ of life.
Enjoy the ‘sweetness’ of life.
Rise up,even when you only have three legs. Surround yourself with amazing pioneers, for they will fuel you to do and accomplish amazing things.
Sarah Hein the Pioneer