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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Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Amazing Weekend

Attending the funeral for one of Shayla's 4H friend's moms last week, once again put a lot in perspective for us. Gayla will be missed! She always had a camera around her neck was always so sweet to Shayla; Shayla wanted to go to the funeral home when she was asked. The death of a 45 year old was yet another wake up call and reminder for us to embrace loved ones and to live and enjoy life with family while you can.

Shayne and I definitely did that this weekend with an early 20th Wedding Anniversary weekend in Las Vegas. I booked a plane ticket for Aunt V to come and take care of Shayla and Shayne arranged for us an incredible room with a fountain view at the Bellagio (see picture). He also booked our tickets to see "O" on Saturday night. I've seen a lot of shows, but never one as amazing as that. We are both still in awe! Thanks, sweet Aunt V for giving us some much needed couple time!

(Check out our incredible desserts at the Bellagio! They wrote "Happy 20th Wedding Anniversary" on our plates - amazing!)
I was recently asked by my boss and my "boss boss" to apply for something very exciting going on in teacher education at Stanford University so I did that on the plane (fingers crossed). Before taking off for the weekend I received word that I grant I wrote to study middle grades ELL students (English Language Learners) in NYC was approved for funding so I'm totally psyched about that! It's an area I only have "book knowledge" about and my awesome BGSU student deserve more than that from me. I called sweet Olivia right away and said, "I'm coming to see you!" because of course I will squeeze that in too! Boy am I blessed! Thank you, Lord Almighty!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

(PIC: Age 4 - Shayla, on Shayne's shoulders, March 17, 2003 enjoying the St. Patrick's Day Parade in NYC) What an incredibly lovely St. Patrick's Day here in Ohio! Of course I can't think of St. Pat's Day without reflecting upon March of 2003 when we were living in the Ronald McDonald House in New York City. Christi was to be in treatment that day, but we did not know it - until they called looking for her about 3PM - oops! Now I'm glad we spent the day enjoying the parade and some Irish food as I realize that one extra day of harvesting her stem cells, she never ended up needing, would have just been one more worthless day spent in the hospital when we had a glorious one that day in NYC! (And she did get in enough treatment days. In fact, she still has her stem cells in storage at CHOP. Actually, I really like knowing a little bit of her is still alive, even if its in the freezer. It was those stem cells which were to "bring her back" if she ever became cancer free. And somewhere in my warped mind I think about cloning her and having her here with me - LOL! Just kidding! I'm not serious, but I'd give anything to have her back in my arms!) Regardless, once you have a loved one fighting cancer you realize how very precious every single day is and I'm glad we spent that day outside of the hospital - March 17, 2003!

(Pic: Shayne explains the United Nations to Christi) All is fine here! Shayne and I have been cuddling up enjoying some great movies each weekend. "Dinner for Schmucks" and "Tenure" are just a couple of the videos he's recently brought home after work the past few Fridays that we really enjoyed. We are looking forward to getting away together in the near future. Can you believe it's almost our 20th wedding anniversary?! Shocking! We've decided to celebrate early and often!

(Shayla on St. Pat's Day 2003 in our little Ronald McDonald House room where we lived for over 8 months - yes, two twin beds. Shayne and Shayla spent every night sleeping on the floor.)We've decided not to keep the horse. The folks at Lane of Dreams told Shayne many times how brilliant it was of him it was to arrange for a one month lease with intent to purchase instead of just buying this stubborn mare. "Slick Assets" has been anything but that. She's still unable to be saddled up. She makes me incredibly nervous when Shayla is with her and the trainers at the barn can't believe she is so bad (rearing, striking, unlikable). Shayne sent me a text one day saying, "If she were only as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside." (I think he was talking about the horse - hee hee!) Shayla has grown tremendously as a result of this. She realizes the horse isn't safe, not only for her, but for others who may be at horse shows or the fair. This has been an excellent learning experience for her; I'm just very sad it didn't work out and she will not own a horse. She's looking to lease "Dusty" for the fair. Shayne took lessons on him last year and we know his previous owners. We're all disappointed, but think it's for the best. Sadly, there really isn't time to try to find a new horse for her and to make a commitment. With 4H rules, she has to declare her horse by May 1st.

My deepest thanks to a colleague who helped me "wrap up and get out" a research proposal I was stumbling on. When I recently shared with my dad what I thought to be my weakest area of work for the university, he said, "Can you ask a friend to help you? Find someone who's really good at what you need to do and I bet with a little guidance you'll master that too." Well, I asked for help - and got it! I'm a lucky lady! Hopefully, the reviewers will identify my proposal as one worthy for them. Fingers crossed! Thanks to a sweet BGSU professor for picking me up, pumping me up and helping me out!

Our prayers continue for the tragic situation in Japan and for our dear friend, Lori, recovering from a horrible surgery. May God help heal these situations quickly!

We are meeting friends later to celebrate this day! We don't get to spend enough time with FRIENDS - people who have known you forever and who love you just because! Like Becky (pictured here) who came to help out in NYC! I can't wait to see her tonight!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you and yours! Enjoy!
Angela O' Thomas

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Praise God! Our Japanese Friends are OK!

PIC: In Japan with Miyuki, Christi & Mika (Make a Wish Trip, July 2003)

Whew! What a tremendous relief! Shayne and I have been watching the TV news coverage about the horrific quake, tidal wave and nuclear disaster with intent, so worried about our Japanese friends. With Miyuki's response back, we have now heard from the three former Japanese exchange students and exchange teachers we love and still keep in contact with. (We lost contact with our other two years ago: Hidenori and Mariko. I pray they are ok too!) Although Saiko is without power and aftershocks continue for her, she is ok - they all are! THANKS for letting us know, beautiful Miyuki! We were so worried about you. We are so sorry! May God help our sweet friends recover from this horrific disaster.

(PIC: Christi and Saiko - Tokoyo Disney, Make a Wish Trip, July 2003)
(Christi & Miyuki, July 2003)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Heidelberg University $1,000 Christi Thomas Scholarship

Just a friendly reminder to any Heidelberg Juniors who may yet want to apply for this year's Christi Thomas $1,000 Scholarship. Applications are due today!

Thinking of You - Miyuki!

All our love to you and yours.

Praying you are ok,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

That was the perfect break for clearing my mind and resting my body! My deepest thanks to mom and dad for talking with me, listening to me, praying with me, sharing their thoughts, guidance and wisdom and as always helping me. I don't know what I'd do without them! I am richly blessed!

As it turns out the young mare wasn't quite what we thought she was. Now that the old mare (smile) is back home, the young mare is about to be kicked out of the barn!
Needless to say, there's been some stress!

Monday, March 07, 2011

A New Addition

Perhaps Shayla is one of only a few 12 year old girls to ever ask for a horse for her birthday and actually get one. For her 12th birthday, we bought her a horse, an 8 year old quarter horse. She’s 14 hands. Slick Assets is her registered name and I’m not sure what Shayla will rename this girl, (let us know if you have a good name) but perhaps that will happen once her feet hit the ground. Shayla is well aware of that fact that this is a one month trial. If the horse doesn’t work out, get along with the other (nearly 30) horses in the barn where we are now boarding her, or she isn’t the horse we think she is, we will return her to the owner.

Shayla learned of this amazing news on her 12th birthday. Aunt Marty brought her birthday cake over with a picture of Slick Assets (Roamy) on it. Shayla looked at the picture and thought it was one of Aunt Marty’s horses, then Skeeter, THEN she got it and when she got it I said, “And do you know why there might be a picture of Roamy on your birthday cake?” She knew and hugged her daddy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed this works out for her. Her safety is my only concern. Time will tell if this horse will stay or head back to Findlay.

I had a ball today with mom and dad, enjoying the Florida sunshine and the wonderful animals and shows at Busch Gardens. I also submitted my first grant proposal through BGSU this morning (Whew, what a learning experience. Thankfully, all positive, the folks in the Dean's office and Research & Grants office are amazing! We will see if I nail this grant for the univeristy, or not. Fingers crossed.) To the students in my online course, I promise to grade your assignments you submitted yesterday tomorrow! I hope you are having a fabulous spring break!

I continue to hope and pray my sweet friend's recovery from her surgery will be uneventful. My deepest thanks to her sweet daughter for texting me throughout the day with updates regarding the surgery. May God completely and fully restore her body to good health. She is truly a Saint and should not suffer!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

I couldn't take any more. After driving through a cold and wicked rainstorm yesterday afternoon, I boarded a plane to spend some of my spring break in Florida. While we were deicing, and I was afraid I wouldn't get to take off, the captain told us it was 75 and sunny at our destination. The plane broke out in thunderous applause. Shayla texted me this morning and said that there is snow everywhere at home. I'm thankful I got out just in time. Something about being in mom's care always makes you feel better!

I went to the most amazing Catholic mass I've ever been to this morning. I know why mom loves her church! After church I lit a candle for a struggling woman from home. This week will be a difficult one for her and her family. May God grant her wellness, peace and happiness.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


It was a crazy week, unlike no other. Finally, Friday came! Shayla took a friend to the Art Museum with her last night. We had a lot of fun! There was a ballet performance - based on museum pieces, an Egyptian exhibit to go along with what the girls are studying in school and an art participatory experience - sweet!

(PIC: I can't believe how big she's getting!)

I am so blessed that Spring Break has finally arrived! Just like last year, I told my BGSU students, I was their mother speaking: "May the choices you make today be the ones you can live with tomorrow." I hope they all return rested, safe and ready to continue working hard when they get back to campus.

Here's wishing you and yours a great week! We have very exciting news coming! Shayla is nearly bursting out of her skin!