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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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shrine and Cedar Point Sunday

After mass on Sunday we took the "Stations of the Cross" walk through the gorgeous woods at the Sorrowful Mother Shrine in Marywood. It was lovely.

Shayla remembered lighting a candle for Christi at the shrine, shortly after she died. She lit another one for her sister. (Blue, Christi's favorite color at the end of her life.) Within minutes of doing so, a butterfly came swooping by our family. We laughed and said it must be Christi's spirit. Very cool!

After a nice meal, we drove back home, picked up a friend for Shayla and off we went to enjoy the afternoon at Cedar Point.

What is this? Where is my sweet little girl? Shayla was curious, but too frightened to enter any of the haunted houses, but she really enjoyed riding all of the coasters with her 4H friend.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


If you’re in the Tiffin area, please come to the Kids Cancer Crusade Scrapbooking Fundraiser on Saturday, Oct 2, from 9 am – 9 pm at Sentinel. Unfortunately, we will be unable to attend. Shayla, the Scrapbook Queen (wink) was pretty disappointed! Kids Cancer Crusade is a non-profit organization serving children affected by cancer and their families. It’s $25 for a large workspace, really great food, door prizes, and more.

$25.00 Includes
*½ round table
*Panera Bread bagels & coffee for breakfast
*Ballreich’s chips and beverages for snacks
*Pizza and dessert for dinner
*Door Prizes

Location: Sentinel Career Center
793 E. Twp. Rd 201
Tiffin, OH

Also available:
*50/50 drawing
*Additional side raffles
*Scrapbook supplies from vendors:
*Scrap Happy Scrapbook Store
*Creative Memories
*Close to My Heart
*Scrapbook Attic Scrapbook Store

Register by calling:
*Jodi Roszman 419-448-8059 or
*Jennifer Lehmann 419-559-9807
*$25 fee is due upon registration.

*Kids Cancer Crusade is a non-profit organization serving children affected by cancer and their families (

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Falcon Game in the Big House

When I brought home the BGSU Football schedule and Shayne saw that the falcons would be playing the University of Michigan in the Big House he wanted me to get tickets. I did! Knowing Shayla would want to take a friend, I got four. I don't need to report the final score of the game, but at halftime BG was only down by about six points. (We left in the third quarter, no need to say why, hee hee.) It was also really neat to get to watch one of my students march with the band. The BGSU band is falcon awesome!

BGSU's President attended the BGSU Alumni Tailgate party with us, on the golft course, across from Michigan Stadium. After having season tickets to the Buckeyes for the past three years, this was really a refreshing break! It was wonderful to see how another Big Ten school embraces their football.

Here we are in the Big House, about an hour before the game started. We had an amazing Saturday in Michigan and then went to the home of Christi's chemo angel (Chris) to visit with her and her family (and to watch the Ohio State game). They are so sweet! It's really odd how Christi brought so many new friends into our lives, amazing people we never would have met without her. Thank you, sweet Christi!

Friday, September 24, 2010

7th Annual Heidelberg Education Department's "Christi & Alex's Lemonade Stand"

Thank you, sweet Heidelberg University and community! WOW! What an amazing day - quite emotional and overwhelming for me actually, more so than I thought it would be. After the event, I dropped Shayla off at the middle school, went home and crashed. I could not believe how drained I was. It was FANTASTIC to see everyone - really, really unbelievable, but it was also gut wrenching as I tried so hard not to think about why they were doing all of this, how we desperately need a cure and how terribly much we miss Christi.

The two links posted here today are from our favorite news reporter - Jill Gosche from the Advertiser Tribune. It was so nice she also came to cover the event, sweet!

My beautiful friends: Thanks, Jill! Thanks, Lori!

(PIC: Two of my former kindergarten and middle school students - now in college both studying to be teachers at Heidelberg! Certainly, I can't be that old, but they will be awesome teachers. It was awesome to see them on campus, what a treat!)

It was so incredibly touching to see the wonderful Bridges students and two amazing teachers attend too. Shayla was also glad to see them and I'm so touched they still remember Christi and came. THANKS, BCA!!

Made it Through the Week - THANK YOU!

A BILLION THANKS for your kind, loving and compassionate support over Christi's 4th Angelversary! We are so blessed. I would not say it was easy at all, but knowing others were keeping us in their thoughts and prayers during such difficult days was heartwarming to say the least - THANK YOU!

We started the weekend off with Shayne's dad arriving at our home. It was FABULOUS to see him! Shayne was flying back from Canada, where he had been for his company, so I suggested we go to a pumpkin patch to get some fall decorations. We had a blast!

Unfortunately, Grandpa only makes it to Ohio about once a year so it was awesome to get to spend some time with him - not enough time however.

This beautiful little kitten came up to Shayla while she was picking out her pumpkins. Ironically, a similar gray cat showed up at our home. Shayla was LOVING IT! She really felt like it was Christi's spirit with us. Some may remember, in August, before Christi died in September the three of us gals were talking about what we would try to send back to earth, if we died and were able to send messages to loved ones from Heaven. Christi said something like, "If I die and you ever find a stray cat on the porch or something, that would be my sign." Shayla came bursting in the house one afternoon upon finding a gray cat under a bush. "Mom! This is the fourth time since Christi died that a stray cat showed up for a few days! Do you think it's Christi letting us know she's ok?"

At one point during mass on Sunday (September 19th - our dreaded day) I thought I saw tears welting up in Shayla's eyes. After church she did not feel well and just wanted to go home. that was totally out of character. Thankfully, she felt much better after I fixed lunch so we grabbed some sweet neighbor kids and took them to the Heritage Festival. They enjoyed the Living History and we enjoyed visiting with many friends who were there.

It was very interesting to hear from a friend that when asked to name a wish Shayla's was to have Christi back.

I was very blessed to spend some time outdoors this week enjoying the incredibly lovely weather. One day Shayne called me and said, "What are you doing?" "Grading papers," I replied. "Oh, I wanted you to meet me and some friends out on the deck at the Pioneer Mill for drinks and snacks, but if you have to grade papers now, I understand." "Ha!" I said, "I will meet you there in 10 minutes. I can finish grading later."

On Thursday I went to the shrine in Carey with mom and dad. I had never been there and really wanted to explore it. After mass we had a picnic. The weather has been absolutely amazing!

I had two items that were personally exciting (ok, downright thrilling) for me this week. #1: Throughout the summer, I had been emailing with and talking with an impressive superintendent regarding some literacy consulting they were interested in having me do this year if they received one of the $100,000 "Race to the Top" grants. They got the grant so I sat down and met with them, and shared proposals, etc. recently. I'm happy to say that I will be working, through my consulting business I established with the state last February, with this school district one day a week throughout the year. I'm very grateful to have this opportunity and I think I will do a really good job for them. Both BGSU and this school district are on board to allow me to conduct research as part of my research agenda as well. My teaching schedule in the spring is just to teach two classes like I did last fall. (Since I'm Junior Faculty - first three years, I'm only allowed to teach two classes one semester and three classes the other seemster. I asked to teach a third class for more money, but I was told that was against BGSU policies and I couldn't do it.) So I'm teaching two classes with one of them being an online class I taught last summer. I was afraid I was going to be bored, but God is good and this consulting and researching opportunity fits the ticket! (There will be no boredom now! Whew!)

#2: My boss boss is incredibly awesome. We have totally different personalities, but I totally respect how hard she works, what she accomplishes, etc. she's just not the bubby, warm and fuzzy type. One day this week she said, "Dr. Thomas, how much time do you have? We need to talk." (Oh, yikes! Was she really going to change my whole teaching schedule or something.) I told her I had 12 minutes. She said, "Let's go for a little walk." (Oh, again, I couldn't imagine what she had up her sleeve and what I was going to be asked to take on!) She led me down the hall, keyed into this room that was stacked with boxes and furniture. I thought, "This is odd. This is really, really odd, what is this room?" Then she said, "Welcome to your new office." For half of a second I thought, "What? I love my office. It's the cutest one on campus. I'm not moving." THEN I SAW IT - a floor to ceiling window with a gorgeous view of one of the older lovely buildings on campus, one with beautiful ivy growing up it - amazing! I said, "I was told someone has to die around here before you can get an office with a window!" She laughed and suggested some different places I could place my desk, etc. Like I wasn't already blown away, then she said I needed to see my secretary to pick out what colors I wanted it painted, to select whatever carpet I wanted and to order my new furniture. They will have it ready for me over winter break and I can take my time moving in. I just need to be out of my current office by summer - April 30th. Yipee! She said, "Any problems?" I said, "Yes, I'm floating now and I have to teach in 30 minutes. It's going to be a little hard for me to do that since my feet aren't touching the floor." She laughed and I said, "Don't worry. I will make it really nice!" She said, "I know you will," and walked away. God is good! (No one died and I got a window!)

(PIC: September 23, 2005) In a short while I will pick Shayla up from school and head to the great Heidelberg University where they are so kindly having their annual pediatric cancer research fundraiser (Alex's Lemonade Stand Fund) in Christi's memory. Because I've always had to work during the day, or last year because I was defending my dissertation right now (So grateful that is behind me!), this will be the first year I will really get to go and partake. I'm so very happy! One year my principal let me quickly run over on my lunch break so I got to see Christi "in action" but this is the first year I can really go and savor, help and share my deepest thanks. I know I will be in tears. I'm tearing up just thinking about it all. God is good! Thanks, Dr. Lori Grine and the Berg!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy 4th Angelversary, Sweet Christi

Oh the day we've been dreading has arrived. And obviously, I'm not sleeping. Missing you terribly, sweet, beautiful Christi.

Thanks, Eric for updating Christi's .org site with the 2010 donations given in Christi's memory.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

We Love a Parade!

I was very surprised that last year's festival royalty was asked to ride with this year's court. Shay had a ball! I won't say I thought the situation was safe, I didn't! But she had a great time being in the parade!

My Favorite Picture: Shayla accidently (I think - hee hee!) hit me with the candy she threw. She felt so bad. I thought it was hilarious!

Congratulations to the 2010 Heritage Festival Royalty!

Shayla was happy to see Paige, last year's little princess from the festival. We were all laughing when we saw they almost had matching dresses on for the crowning! What a hoot!

Shayla ended up crowning one of her 4H friends as the new Jr. Princess for this weekend's Heritage Festival. Congratulations, sweet Nikki! We hope you have as much fun in your year of "reigning" as Shay Shay did!!

Shay was "not so into the pageant" this year. As soon as she was done she was off the stage and into her blue jeans and a sweatshirt ready to get to the football game to hang out with her friends.

Congratulations to the 2010 Heritage Festival Royalty!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Weekly Update

(PICTURE: Shayla at Sunday's 4H Awards Banquet, honoring those who earned Top Awards at the State Fair)

As we approach the four year mark of Christi's "Angelversery" we are keeping ourselves very busy. I think that helps tremendously as we do ache with the loss of our precious Christi. She really was amazing and it's so hard not having her here with us. I will never understand WHY while here on earth so I've pledged to live my life in a way that will get me to a place where I will know the answer one day. (When none of it will matter anyway, smile!)

I was incredibly blessed on Monday (so much so that I drove home from BG wiping tears here and there just thinking how very, very lucky I am). In the morning I met one of my former students at Starbucks on campus. I hadn't seen this young man for many years. I think the last time I saw him, we were probably looking eye to eye to each other. Arriving in the union, I immediately was struck by how tall he was. He gave me a big hug and we chatted. Finally I said, "So how tall are you now, 6'3"?" He said, "No, Mrs. Thomas! I'm 6'5"!" I replied, "Oh, well let me buy you some coffee so we can sit and talk because you are hurting my neck!" I don't think we, as teachers, often enough get to find out what happens to our students down the road so this was particularly wonderful.

Monday afternoon I received the most joyous email a tenure track professor at a research institution could receive! "Your manuscript has been accepted as submitted and will appear in our August 2011 edition." Ahhhhhhhhh! It's a journal with a circulation of over 30,000 so I was completely blown away and THRILLED by that! (And it made the rejection I received from another journal on Tuesday super easy to swallow.) I will share more later, but right now I continue to Praise the Lord. (I needed three publications in three years and I now have four - in one year, YES!!!)

On Monday, I met eight Seneca East 2010 grads for dinner on campus. I couldn't believe they would show up to meet me - their old teacher. ("Perhaps it was the fact they knew you were buying," a loved one told me, smile.) Regardless, it was ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC to see them and to know they are all doing super! (Despite the one young lady who whipped up her shirt and said, "I just had my belly button pierced three hours ago. What do you think?" Ahhhhhhhh, teachers are also actors at times, smile. I said, "Did it hurt?" not what I was really thinking, "Are you crazy?!" Hee Hee!) Having dinner with those great kids - one of those little "Rewards of Teaching" you can't put a price on, but knowing you've touched their lives and made an impact is absolutely priceless in my book.

Work has been keeping me way too busy, but I am just loving it all - really, really loving it all! In addition to my three classes on campus, one day this week I was able to teach a middle school's faculty some literacy strategies for a few hours of their in service day. I put a TON of time and preparation in to my presentation and I'm so glad because it really went well, the evaluations were so sweet and I think they will be trying some new things in their classrooms to better help their students.

On a personal note, I was still able to squeeze in a breakfast and two lunches with friends and family this week. Sweet people I don't ever get to spend enough time with. Shayla and I also went to the Wyandot County fair where we had a fabulous time with Nonee and Grandpa. I was also able to get in some walks around town (which I really enjoy because it's so nice to see all of the lovely fall porch decorations). The weather has been AMAZING so I'm taking advantage of it when I can!

(PICTURES: With mom and dad at the Wyandot County Fair)
Shayla continues to thrive and love everything about middle school. She will bring her progress report card home this afternoon, but she said she knows she has all As, except she's not sure about one subject (math). Shayne arrives back home from Canada today where he's been for business. And we really can't believe September 19th is arriving so soon - despite the fact we try to ignore that dreaded date. (And do I really NOT yet have a grave marker for that precious little gal? I'm embarrassed to say yes, however, I did take a baby step in that direction this week.)

(PIC: Shayla and I love watching "Cupcake Wars" on the Food Network. On Sunday we pretended we were in our own competition. Check out Shayla's "Signature Swirl"!

MARK YOUR CALENDAR AND JOIN US IF YOU CAN! My sweet friend, Dr. Lori Grine and her Education Students at Heidelberg University are honoring Christi by holding their Annual Lemonade Stand in her memory on Friday, September 24th from 11-1 on the lawn in front of the Education Building (on Greenfield Street, beside National Machinery). I am thrilled that this is the first year I can join them and be there. Praise be to God! Thank you, Lori! Thank you, Heidelberg! "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade - and raise money for pediatric cancer research!" It's sickening to know the survival rate has not increased for neuroblastoma stage IV since Christi was diagnosed (September 2002 - 8 years). The evil beast needs stopped.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cheers to our Ironmen!

After competiting in a half Ironman competition (with 11,000 other athletes from around the USA competiting for $100,000 in prize money), Shayne and Eric relax and celebrate back at the camper. Congratulations, Eric & Shayne! (PIC: Sunday Afternoon)

Shayne's transition area. (He said, "I never had my name printed on my transition area before." See picture. Of course I responded, "You've never paid a $250 entry fee for a race before either.") PIC: Saturday afternoon - setting up for Sunday's 7AM competition

This was "The Biggie" Shayne had been training hard for this since April. He didn't know if he would be able to finish the competition. His goal was to do it all in less than six hours - he made it! I was worried sick about it. While I'm incredibly proud of him and happy for him, I hope he never does such an intense event again. It was really "too much" in so many aspects. Praise God he finished!

They did it! 1.5 mile swim, 56 mile bike followed by a half marathon (13.5 mile run) for the Ironman Competition held at Cedar Point. Impressive!

POST RACE: Enjoying Cedar Point

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Your Daughter is a Daredevil" - Middle School Open House

(PIC: Christi, August 2002, first day of school - first grade) Shayne and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the Open House held last night at Shayla's middle school. The parents followed their middle schooler's schedule spending ten minutes in each class and having two minutes to change classes. Wouldn't you know it, we were late to 7 out of 8 of her classes, because we were sidetracked talking, so I'm sure we racked up some detentions for Shayla to serve for us! Hee hee! Shayne was also caught by the principal using his cell phone, but the principal said, "No problem. You can have Shayla's warning and then Shayla will just get her phone taken away if she ever tries to use it during school." We thought that was perfectly fine too. Hee hee! During the "lunch period" we enjoyed cookies in the cafeteria. When Shayne helped himself a second time, I said, "Are you trying to bully the 8th grade parents by eating all of their lunch?" He said, "No, just doing the teachers' waists a favor so that these don't all end up left over in the teachers' lounge tomorrow."

(PIC: August 2003, 2nd grade - back after a long year away) We learned a little bit more about Shayla's days at middle school from her teachers and from other parents. As soon as we sat down in the first class, the mother sitting beside us leaned over and whispered, "So I hear your daughter is quite a daredevil." (Trust me, that's not exactly what you want to hear, especially as the very first thing any one says to you upon arrival!) I picked my jaw up off the floor, smiled and replied, "Oh, you must tell me more. I have no idea what you are talking about, but I'd really like to hear all about that." She said, "Oh, my son is in advanced science with Shayla and today they were trying out their egg containers to see who made one that would keep the egg from breaking. My son is afraid of heights so when he said he didn't want to climb up the ladder to drop his Shayla said, "I'll do it!" so she did. Oh, whew! That was a perfect response. Shayla is no longer in trouble! That was a long 30 seconds.

(PIC: August 2004, third grade) As we are nearing "difficult" days/anniversaries, etc., we are trying to keep distracted and busy. I had another awesome week enjoying my work immensely and also walking every day and enjoying some precious time (never enough) with friends and family.

(PIC: August 2005, Christi, fourth grade - *year wrong on photo date stamp)Shayla continues to love and thrive at her school. We could not be any more pleased with her middle school. We are so grateful she's where she is! It's a terrific blessing! Tonight we will attend our first football game as Shayla has been invited to join some friends.

(PIC: August 2006, open house, fifth grade, arranging her desk she would get to attend school for the first five days before she died)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

(PIC: Shayne, Angela & our beautiful niece - Shelby!) I thank the dear Lord for helping to focus my mind off of "Christi" on Labor Day weekend. I was afraid there would be more thoughts of that absolutely horrific Labor Day weekend, 2006, than time spent with family this year. I did it! I only let my mind "go there" a few times. Time has helped immensely with my healing (as does keeping busy and being with family).

My sweet sister and her beautiful family again came up to the lake as they have done every Labor Day weekend since Christi died. Despite very cold weather, it was fabulous to see them. I enjoyed their visit very much.

Tina and I rode the "thrill rides" at Cedar Point (the train and the boat - the sky lift was closed due to the wind) while the rest of the gang headed the other way for more mild things (hee hee) like the: Dragster, SkyHawk, Mean Streak, Mantis, etc.