Share. Connect. Love.

Posted 2019-09-08T22:45:00Z

Late Summer 2019

A few days ago, a text arrived on my phone from my friend Autumn in Vegas demanding “I want to know how Ben is.” Okay, okay!  As summer winds down and the autumn is before us, it does seem like the right time to reflect and share with all of you.  Honestly, it feels harder to write because our days are becoming less about Ben’s spirited determination and bad ass triumphs and more about the effect of this horrible disease on him and upon the life of our family. 
 
I will report that the Anderson’s had a successful summer.  It wasn’t easy or without struggle, but it was good, and for that we are grateful. Ben’s summer was filled with friends, tons of swimming, tandem cycling, a road trip to Wenatchee Washington to visit good buddies, a hang-gliding venture off of Slide Mountain, and a culminating week at Rincon Point in Southern California- one of our very favorite places.  He cultivated a new and kindhearted friendship with an outstanding college kid named Myles.  However, most days, the Three Amigos—Matt, Ben and Spike— found themselves chilling together in the small quiet spaces of our house loving each other and making meaning in all sorts of ways that fill Ben’s bucket as much as is humanly, and in Matt’s case, supernaturally, possible.
 
Luke’s summer was action packed!  Together we crisscrossed California several times road tripping to be with family and friends in Studio City, Shaver Lake, Carmel, Santa Cruz, Carpinteria and Lake Almanor.  He camped on the shores of Lake Tahoe with Northern Nevada 4H and backpacked around Carson Pass for a week with Zephyr Point High Camp.  And, when he was home, he worked!  The Abbi Agency hired him to help around the office. The agency’s owners—Abbi and Ty Whitaker- have reached “favorite parents” status for Luke and any time he spends with their family, work or play, leaves him smiling.  We marathon watched all three seasons of Stranger Things and on August 19, Luke officially joined the Adolescent Community as a 7thGrader at Mountain View Montessori.  The school year is off to a tremendous start and Luke is relieved to know that middle school teachers “understand my personality!”
 
Something you may have picked up on is that there isn’t a lot happening with us as a family. Because of the completely different needs of our two boys, Matt and I find ourselves sort of functioning as single parents to Ben and Luke respectively.  While we have peace and total understanding around this reality, it is, for me, one of the saddest parts of our story.  Luke and Ben share moments where their deep love for each other is evidenced but the necessary separateness takes a toll on my heart. Loving our boys, the way they need to be loved has become something totally different than we ever conceived.  (And, my deep regards to all the single parents out there who fiercely go at the project of parenting alone. You are so strong!).  
 
Still, I find myself firmly footed in the camps of optimism and gratitude.  It’s harder on some days when the suck-level (nice descriptor, eh?) of our life somehow manages to increase, and things feel more overwhelming than we ever thought possible. However, I am stilldelighted in the goodness I am engulfed in— Reno and all of our incredible relationships, my extended family, the extravagant natural beauty that we are surrounded by 24/7, evening walks, an inspiring podcast, oat milk lattes and good dark chocolate, an evolving yoga practice that has taught me to breathe and settle and trust, bumping into friends around town and sharing a moment and a hug.  These are a few of my favorite things. 
 
 
As down as I may be in given moments, I also practice being thankful for the trials we face daily. Two concepts are leading me through this practice.  First, a verse in 2 Thessalonians encourages me to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all circumstances.” FYI, it works—things look brighter when you see the many silver linings.  And second, Rumi said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”   Breathing through my own pain and fears and anxieties and trusting God to have my back—and my heart, and my boys, and my marriage— is scary and mostly out of my control at this point.  However, the faith I’ve practiced for the last twenty-seven years—with all of its twists and turns and as untethered as it can feel, has rooted me in deep understanding that “Love Wins” in the end because God is Love.  It is only by resting in the reality of Love that I can forfeit my fear and choose to trust.  Psalm 91 from the Old Testament is pretty amazing, actually.  Scattered throughout it are phrases likening our security in God to a shelter, a refuge and a fortress.  God promises to protect us and be with us in trouble, to rescue and to honor and to satisfy us.  I’m choosing to lean into this truth for Ben and Luke and for Matt and myself as we journey through these next months.  How am I doing?  Better some days than others for sure but I, and really we, keep on keeping on. 
 
Thank you for reading our updates and being a part of our journey.  Thank you for praying and for thinking of us.  Thank you for giving to us.  Thank you for the notes and treats we still receive in our mailbox and cooler. Thank you for the very many kindnesses we receive daily.  Thank you. 

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Comments (24)

  • michelle kinnaman
    michelle kinnaman

    My heart is overwhelmed with emotions that don't have words. I feel your pain, your bravery, your faith, your frustration, your fears, your love and everything in between. God is faithful thru it all. We don't get to choose what happens to us or those we love. We do get to choose what we do with it each day. I can't imagine how you all do what you do, but I know God knows every need, every hurt, every tear and every emotion you all must face daily.. I love you Katie, so proud of you and the Strength you have shown to all who are watching. My prayers are for you all, that God will meet you at every turn and at every hour.. YOU ARE ALL HEROS to us. Much love, Mikie

    3 years ago · Reply
    • Elizabeth Morrow
      Elizabeth Morrow

      I'm trying to put into words an encouraging response, and Mikie covered it beautifully. The Andersons continue to be in our prayers. Love, Lance and Liz

      3 years ago · Reply
    • Grandi
      Grandi

      Thank you Mikie for putting it so well. Love to you! 💗

      3 years ago · Reply
  • Mary Japel
    Mary Japel

    Love n prayers, ❤️🍀❤️Mary Japel

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Michelle Christy
    Michelle Christy

    Thinking of you all always ❤️ Sending you so much love and strength😘 let’s coffee soon

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Brooks Mancini
    Brooks Mancini

    I try to remember all of you in my prayers each night. God bless you! Brooks

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Katie Coombs
    Katie Coombs

    Your openness and honesty is beautiful Katie. I can feel your pain and hope. Your doubt and your courage. I think about you daily as I put Miles to bed in Luke’s old bunk bed. You are loved deeply by so many and we are all here for you daily. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. We all have so much to learn from you. ❤️

    3 years ago · Reply
  • KARI LEVASSAR
    KARI LEVASSAR

    Thank you for bravely sharing your heartwrenching journey, Katie. Mikie eloquently expressed what I believe many of us feel. May God continue to help you find peace and refuge. Our love and prayers are with you and your family. <3 Kari Levassar

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Maryann Zucker
    Maryann Zucker

    Beautifully written Katie... thank you for sharing your heart, your soul and your story of the unimaginable with all of us. Love always.. The Zucker Fam

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Lisa craner
    Lisa craner

    So beautifully written Katie. Thank you for sharing your life, love, pain....really all of it with us. My heart, love and prayers are with you and your family, as always.❤️

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Stephanie Blume
    Stephanie Blume

    You continue to amaze us. I know you hear that a lot, but I am constantly humbled by your outlook and strength. Your words are honest and answer the many thoughts we hold, but feel we can't ask. Mark ran into Ben and Matt at Long Lake and was moved to tears of joy when telling me. We think of you all so often. We love you.

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Melanie Galvin
    Melanie Galvin

    The courage of your vulnerability is overwhelming. Thank you for sharing your reality through it all. God is good. Praying for you all in continuing to remember the memories in the making. 🙏💕

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Barbara Jaime
    Barbara Jaime

    Wow ..such words of strength, wisdom, sadness and fear and faith! You are such a wonderful family and I wish you all the peace and strength to you guys today and every day !!! Love you Katie !!

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Tomoko keilholtz
    Tomoko keilholtz

    💙

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Daniel Snell
    Daniel Snell

    Thank you for your update Katie. I'm sure trying to put all that is happening into words is not easy. We are praying for you over here. I was just reminded of one of Nathan Johnson's songs. Choose Hope, hope in something greater something more. It seems you are definitely living that out

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Kindra fox
    Kindra fox

    Thanks for the update Katie. I have been thinking about you and the boys! Sending lots of prayers and love your way.

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Danielle Williams
    Danielle Williams

    What a truthful and joyful description of your summer, and of your love for one another. You all are so strong, resilient, and admirable. Thank you for sharing. I am sending you love, continued inspiration through the challenges, and hugs, from my family to yours.

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Jackie Peacock
    Jackie Peacock

    You are truly always in my thoughts and prayers. Your family is an inspiration on so many levels... everything that's been said above... I really have no words to express the admiration and love for you all. Thank you for sharing. ♥️

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Susan poggione
    Susan poggione

    You all are amazing. Love you. Susan

    3 years ago · Reply
  • David Sayer
    David Sayer

    Thank you Katie for your eloquent update. Your messages give us specific needs to remember when praying for the Anderson family. It is clearly evidenced by the tangible joy and thankfulness you conveyed that you are living out James 1:2 with grace and beauty. God bless you old friend and God bless your wonderful family.

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Susan Spear
    Susan Spear

    I went to high school with Ben's grandmother, Andrea. I've been following your story but have never left a comment. I want you to know I keep you all in my prayers. I too admire your strength and grace with which you handle what you've been given. I love my children and grandchildren so much and I can't imagine going through something like this. God bless your beautiful family. <3

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Melissa Martinez
    Melissa Martinez

    Deep breaths y'all.. Katie, those sweet moments no matter how they transform are so precious and thank you for sharing so bravely what is the natural evolution of your story. May you continue to walk in peace and show all of us the path towards love and salvation. To Ben, Luke, and Matt, you are loved beyond measure and my thoughts are with you. Take care, family, with love...

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Kelly
    Kelly

    God is Love. Such strength you have, Katie. Love you ❤️

    3 years ago · Reply
  • Lisa Hampton
    Lisa Hampton

    Hello Katie, your Costa Rican acquaintance here... your posts and updates always tear at my heart as I remember how sad I was the day we met and how you gave me such hope and a bit of perspective. I pray God provides you an angel of hope and perspective as well that will give you comfort in your times of despair. Your strength and optimism are truly inspiring and although I am sure the “suck-factor” can be overwhelming at times please know you are in the hearts and prayers of those you have touched and inspired literally all over the world.

    3 years ago · Reply