Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hello Friends and Family,

I wanted to take a moment to write our amazing supporters and extend my gratitude to all of you for your years of faithful support to our family. This message can also serve as a notification to those who may not have heard of Lauren’s recent illness resulting in her death on June 7, 2008.

Schedule of services:
Tuesday, June 10th 1-3 pm Receiving of Friends at Simpsonville First Baptist
Tuesday, June 10th 3pm Memorial/Celebration Service at Simpsonville First Baptist
Grave-side Service immediately following at Cannon Memorial park in Fountain Inn.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Lauren’s Hope Foundation, P.O. Box 80081, Simpsonville, SC 29680

Andy and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary on Thursday, June 12th. This is by far the hardest experience of our married life. Right now, there is no doubt that God’s grace is sustaining us, but I am sure the coming days will bring much grief. The only request of our family is that you pray for healing not only for our immediate family, but for this community as well…especially the children.

I have heard in the last 24 hours the careful attention that many of you as parents have used in telling your children of the news. It is very difficult to describe to them why this would happen. My suggestion to you as we have discussed with our boys is that Lauren fulfilled the purpose in which He created her. For some reason, God chose that His purposes for Lauren’s life only required 10 years on this earth to be accomplished, but what impact those 10 displayed! Please hear these words, God has a sovereign plan for each life He creates, yours and your children’s included. We MUST trust His timing and His sovereignty. He will reveal all of the “why” details to us when it is our turn to see Him. God has GRACEFULLY revealed to Andy and I many of these “why” questions over the course of Lauren’s illness. All of these questions result in the same answer: It is all accomplishing GLORY for God in eternity. We all cannot look at a situation like this with human eyes, it can only clearly be seen through God’s eternal eyes.

When we chose to name this foundation, “Lauren’s Hope”, careful thought was expressed through the word “hope”. We wanted people to see that all of us have hope to face whatever circumstance when we trust in Christ as our Savior and Lord. Christ has REVEALED this hope to Lauren! She can clearly see that His ways are higher than our ways, and she is REJOICING in the fruits of her labor! Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the GLORY that will be revealed in us.” This verse has been posted over Lauren’s bed for years to serve as a reminder that her suffering would PALE in comparison to the amazing gifts that God was storing for her in eternity. The primary gift being eternal souls that were reached and brought into heaven with her because of her faithfulness to Him, and her spirit reflecting God’s love to others.

Even though we are all sad and we are going to miss her desperately, let’s REJOICE with her in knowing that he is revealing those gifts to her as we speak.

God’s Grace to you and your family,
With all our love and gratitude, Cindy McCraw, Andy, Cayden, Braylen, and Kyron.

Cindy McCraw
Lauren's Hope Foundation
PO Box 80081
Simpsonville, SC 29680

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Life's Challenge...

I was challenged in my bible study this week to consider how my life can make a difference for God's kingdom. I have pondered this thought all week and would like to share with you a prayer that I recorded in my journal. I don't usually share this type of personal information here on the site, but I really felt God's nudge to publish it.

How Can I Make a Difference for God?

God, I ask you to fulfill this scripture through my life.

1 Thessalonians 5:16
"Be joyful always! Pray continually! Give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus!"

I ask that the Holy Spirit fill my life so fully that others will physically see His presence in my spirit. Even though life is not always happy, keep me EVER mindful of your presence, so that I can experience true JOY daily.

I ask for a grateful that can experience a peace that passes all understanding. Help me to be grateful in ALL circumstances even when the pain is sometimes more than I can bear alone. I am truly grateful that you meet us in that hour of need!

Father, I boldly ask that you fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit to defend me and my family against the enemy's schemes. I pray for a fire that Moses witnessed in the burning bush. I pray for a passion for life like this fire that doesn't burn out or destroy us, but gives us a VEAL for life!

I commit to "love the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength." Mark 12:30. "I pray also that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened in order that I may know the HOPE to which you have called me." Ephesians 1:18

Open my eyes father, to opportunities, so that I can make....
an eternal difference for you!

Truly yours,
Your servant.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy July 4th!

It is so nice to have a day off! We are full steam ahead in preparing for the upcoming foundation events.

July 19th is our Dinner and Silent Auction. I am so grateful that the community has responded to this new event. We have 27 tables available for the dinner and almost all of them are already hosted. We certainly didn't expect to sell out our first year, but it seems that this may become a reality! We are truly grateful for God's blessing and your support. SO much planning has been involved in pulling off this event. Please pray in the coming weeks for the final preparations.

Just around the corner is the 4th Annual Golf Tournament.
August 20th at Musgrove Mill in Clinton, SC
We have availability to host 18 - 20 teams, so please make us aware if you are interested in placing a foursome in the tournament. We are also accepting raffle items. Items that are usually donated: golf equipment....bags, clubs, towels, gift certificates for golf outings, gift certificates for golf shops, artwork, signed sports equipment, restaurant gift certificates, etc.

Announcement about profit sharing:
We have tickets available for sale for a day at Pump-It-Up...inflatable zone. August 16th from 4 - 5:30pm in Greenville, SC
Then, we will be heading over to Chick Fil A on Woodruff Road for dinner. Chick Fil A is donating a portion of their proceeds to LHF! Hope that you will join us! :)

These are the upcoming events that we hope you all will be praying for. Starting this month through the end of November the foundation will be very busy. Please pray for Lauren's endurance and our strength.

Poor little baby, she is battling her 4th case of pneumonia this year. She is completing her 2nd week of antibiotics. Her progress has been steady in the last few days and she seems much improved! Her pediatrician was able to hear nice breathe sounds in her lower lobes. We feel certain that the deterioration in Lauren's ability to swallow is what is causing the reoccurring pneumonia. Even though Lauren is tube feed, she still has to protect her airway from secretions. It just doesn't seem that her brain is giving her the message that her airway has been compromised until she has already aspirated.

So, please pray for our girl! This is a harsh reality of her disease that we did not anticipate this early. Lauren will turn 10 years old this month! :)

Many of you are so polite to ask about my mom. Her cancer is progressing. She is taking 3 different types of chemo every other week. All of which seem to be holding her numbers steady. She is very weak and sick a lot. She is the most determined woman that I have ever met. She has battled this disease for over 2 years now and still has an incredible drive and desire to live! I pray for God's grace and HIS presence for her in the coming months.

Last but not least, I celebrate our INDEPENDENCE today! Praise God, for HIS love of our land! Thank you men and women who sacrifice for our freedom.
Forgive us Lord, when we take this for granted. Please forgive our enemies who try to compromise this freedom. Help us to all see life as a gift given from You. If only we could see each individual as You created it, with Your purpose and desire for each, then we could see beyond our differences.

Thank you God, for all your blessings! :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lauren is feeling much better! Thank you all for the love and support. The pneumonia has resolved and she is back to her cute little self again.

Work with the foundation has been dramatically changing in recent weeks.
We would like to welcome on board our new employees:
Trish Cummings, Marketing Director
Betsy Hinson, Financial Director
Lori White, Communications Director

You guys will be receiving emails from these ladies from time to time, so please know that their emails are valid and are supported by Andy and I.

We also have moved the foundation from our home to a new office location. My husband has graciously donated space for us to use in the upstairs of his office so that we all have accessible work space and our own computers! Thank you so much community for the many items that have been donated to get the office operational.

These changes are bringing much needed organization to the cause. God is truly blessing the effort and we are incredibly grateful for His continued guidance. Please pray for the LHF staff as we make these transitions. I am so eager to see what God has in store for us as the journey continues! :)

Hope that your kids enjoy their summer....I know mine sure are excited that this is their LAST week! :)

May God keep you safe during your vacation travels.
Cindy :)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!!

Lauren decided to give her mommy an unforgetable Mother's Day. We ended up spending the last few hours of mother's day in the emergency room.

Lauren developed a little tummy bug last week with fever. Even though the stomach bug resolved itself in just a couple of days, Lauren developed a fever on Saturday. This was our first indication that there must be a secondary infection to the virus. With the progression of her disease, her brain does not do a very good job of relaying to her gag reflex that there is fluid close to her airway. When she throws up, fluid is able to "leak" into her lungs causing bacteria to form an infection. Unfortunately, the vomitting typically leads to aspiration pneumonia.

The pneumonia was confirmed last night. Lauren's fever last night caused her to have a seizure which lead to further vomitting. This episode of vomitting was a little different than in previous occurances. The volume was much larger as if she had not processed her formula all day. This is something new that we have not faced before. It seems like her stomach is not unloading as it should. Maybe if there are other Sanfilippo parents who have already experienced this, you could provide us some insight.

I do want to document for parents out there...that our suction machine has been a life saver....literally! If you have not made the investment in such a device, please take our advice and add this machine to your medical supply list. As your child advances in the disease, this will be a most have to clear secretions.

Thankfully the addition of 2 antibiotics (Cleocin and Omnicef) appear to be doing the trick for the pneumonia. Even just 4 doses appear to be making a difference.

Even with the struggles of the day, I am so grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Mother's Day...what a blessing! My children are the light of my life and I feel so fortunate that God has chosen to give me the honor of being mom to two of His most prized possessions!

Give your children an extra ounce of patience, love and support today! :)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Please pray for Isabel Jurado in the photo above. Isabel is one of Lauren's Sanfilippo friends... living here in S.C.

Isabel had her first seizure tonight and I am sure her family would grately appreciate your prayer support. There is nothing like feeling the comfort that only God can provide.

Thank you so much!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Boy it has been busy these last few weeks...but isn't that the story for all MPS families!! :)

Please pray that our technical issues with the networking of our computer system goes smoothly! :) We are in the middle of transitioning our entire system to a new server, so I hope that this process will make things much more efficient for the foundation.

Things are really rolling along. We have had two recent profit sharing events... you guys are the greatest supporters! The attendence in March was 166 and the attendence in April was 251! Wow! We can not say thanks enough!

Next on the list...
We are making preparations for our annual meeting, May 3, 2007 at 7pm to discuss:
>updates from 2006
>the calendar of events for 2007
>volunteer opportunities... etc.

This is open to the public. If you have ever considered becoming a part of LHF, we would love to have you in attendence. Please check out the details from our home page under Board Meeting!

Hope to see ya there!