Support For Christi Thomas

This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Holiday

The night I ordered Christi's grave marker, I didn't sleep well. At one point, I went to my computer and pulled up Facebook. Imagine my surprise - the very first thing I saw was a few pictures of Christi I don't believe I had ever seen before posted on the site of Traci (aka "Harriett") just a couple of hours earlier - wild. I found it very comforting. I told myself it was the sign from Christi saying, "You did it, mom! Yes! I'm finally getting a marker!" (Christi absolutely adored everything about the wonderful Traci so it just had to be my sign!)

Ironically, Traci also posted a few of our pictures taken together at Disney World in 2004. Little did Traci know that in a matter of hours the Thomas team would be heading back there for Thanksgiving. Thank God for Traci and for the many blessings of comfort I've received over so many years! Thank you!

Waiting for the Electrical Light Parade to begin, December 2004

With Mickey Mouse!
Thankfully, Traci's stomach could handle the tea cups - and boy can that girl spin a fast teacup! Impressive!

My birthday was sweet! Thursday after school Shayla asked me to drop her off at the Christian bookstore. (Thanks to Shayne cluing me in, I agreed to do so.) I parked on one side of the street and she had to cross the street (by herself) to get to the store on the other side of the street. Shayla had never crossed the street by herself before and as I sat there watching her walk to the light, wait and then cross I just kept thinking how we've protected her and now she was probably going to get hit and killed by a car. We protected and cared for Christi just as much and yet she died too. Oh, watching Shayla take such a big step, right before my eyes, was really odd. Because we were flying to Florida very early Friday morning she wanted me to open my gift Thursday night so I did.

She drew me an awesome picture and gave me a wonderful bible saying, "See mom! I am giving you love letters, hundreds and hundreds of them from God!" For weeks she had been asking me what I wanted for my birthday and I continued to say over and over, "You know I love your writing, and there's nothing more personal or that I could ever treasure more. Write me a letter. Write me a love letter."

Months ago I learned my proposal to present a session at the National Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (NCTE) was selected. What was thrilling to me was that the conference was to be held at the Walt Disney World Resort and that it was incredibly close to Thanksgiving break. Shayne agreed to go along and we spent an incredible time soaking up the sun and really enjoying each other's company. It was amazing, definitely one of the very best vacations we've ever had! What a blessing! I hope you enjoy some pictures!

Taking a break during my NCTE conference and relaxing at the resort with sweet Shayla. While we had been to Disney about six times, we'd never stayed at a Disney property before. Thanks to this conference we did! And we loved it! (OK, throughout the week all three of us took turns reading "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins so we pretended Disney was the Capital and we couldn't escape - we were trapped (wink). What fun my family is! (OK, a bit warped too, but it's ok by me!)

With Jack Gantoz (author of the Joey Pigza books)

Meeting one of her favorite authors, Margaret Peterson Haddix author of "Found" "Sent" "Among the Hidden" and others Shayla has read, loved and recommended to my college students.

(With Gennifer Choldenko, the author of "Al Capone Does My Shirts" and a few others) This is her new book.

Shayla got to meet another one of her favorite authors, Ally Carter. Shayla was incredibly surprised to see her. She said, "I was just reading 'Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover' last night in my bed and now here you are!" (I thought she was very young and incredibly beautiful. What an awesome inspiration for Shayla to get to meet her as she's pondering careers.)

I'm really not sure who enjoyed my conference more! hee hee! For the little writer wanna be it was awesome! As she visited many of the exhibitor's booths with me she made a great analogy, "This is like Trick or Treating for teachers." I too was surprised at how many free books were being given away by various publishers. I actually mailed over 23 pounds of free books back home - amazing! When we saw Gordon Korman (author of Swindle, Zoobreak, and many other hilarious books), our mouths dropped as we said, "Gordon Korman!" She also got to see Lois Lowry (Author of "The Giver", "Number the Stars" "Gathering Blue" and probably others). I told Shayla many teachers go all their careers without meeting more than a few authors and there we were, author after author after author of many of our beloved books, too cool!

Shayla enjoyed swimming in the Coronado Resort's pool with her awesome daddy.
Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) Shayla enjoyed this attraction so much we had to do it twice - what fun for her!

Happy Thanksgiving, Mickey Mouse!

Waiting for the parade and enjoying some Mickey shaped ice cream, so special!

with Donald Duck

Our last day at the hotel, a beautiful rainbow formed over the pool. Shayla reminded us that it was the sign for God's promise.

When my awesome conference ended, we moved to Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort - wow! This was the view from our balcony! Each morning we woke up and enjoyed the zebras, etc. right from our balcony. It was amazing! Christi would have absolutely loved staying there too!
At EPCOT Shayne enjoyed sharing his love of history with Shayla. Then we proceeded to tell her the story of when we were in college, the traveling exhibit came to Columbus. We scraped together our money and went. At the gift shop, we wanted to purchase one of the little replica terra solider for sale. We didn't have the money then. We told her how we even looked in the tub of the broken ones because they were cheaper, but we just didn't think we should spend any money on that. Then of course we did our usual, get good grades, get in to a good college and get a good job and life is much eaiser talk. Poor Shayla, she's so tired of hearing about our poor college days I think.

Animal Kingdom

Enjoying our Segway Tour around Celebration - Disney's planned community/town. We all loved it!

Shayne took Shayla to a shooting range where she shot a pistol and a machine gun. She's not yet sharpshooter Olympic caliber, but she wants to learn more about the sport and to try again. "Oh" I said, trying to be an open minded (yet totally freaked out) mother.

Shay with Mickey and Minnie Mouse (Sadly, she did not remember any of the previous times she had been to Disney with Christi. We were really surprised and she kept asking questions and questions, "Did I ride that with Christi?" "Did I like the parade?" It was really interesting (and heartbreaking at times) to say the very least.

On Thanksgiving night we got her a turkey "holiday" meal at the hotel. It was very awkward. Other than sharing what we were all thankful for, (health, family/friends, work) we ate in silence. Sometimes we just miss Christi so bad it hurts. I think going away for the holiday helps, but she's still not with us. After dinner we went to Downtown Disney and took in "Tangled" - a hilarious movie we all enjoyed.


At 27/11/10 9:32 PM, Blogger Holly said...

Happy Thanksgiving to the Thomas Team! You guys are the rainbow in my life! You are a sign of God's promise, that he is good and he carries us through the storms. I remember once when Christi was ill and Shayla so little, and she comforted Shayne by reminding him it was almost Easter and that meant hope ... and Christi rallied again and came home. What a treasure she is! You guys are always in my thoughts, my prayers, and my heart!

Much love,
Holly Hart in Katy, Texas

At 28/11/10 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend. You are blessed with each other and with your Angel Christi. I can only imagine the pain that you feel with her here on earth. I can only say that I am sure she is your angel watching over you. Perhaps she also sent the rainbow your way...

Blessings to you this holiday season, and thanks for sharing your traveling and educational experiences!

Kathryn C

At 29/11/10 7:50 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

I'm so jealous you got to meet Margaret Peterson Haddix. I love her book Running Out of Time! I too love Ally Carter's books. They are so good :)

At 1/12/10 2:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My goodness, is it an optical illusion, or is Shayla nearly as tall as you, Angela?! I remember when she was a tuckered out toddler during Christi's make-a-wish trip to Japan! She's growing into an inspiring young adult, another testament to her amazing parents.


At 3/12/10 3:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am terribly sorry for your loss...I can't begin to imagine how hard this ordeal must have been for you and your family. My heart and prayers go out to you. May God grant you patience, and may you keep unwaivering faith in His plan.

At 3/12/10 3:45 PM, Blogger Sammie Ryan said...

Im glad you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving !
I loved those pictures of very sweet !

Take care.
Love Sam (Ireland)xx


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