Friendship · Relationship

Giving their lives

Can you imagine every time you go off to work you’re putting yourself in harm’s way?

(And here I am afraid of roaches.) 

Having met hundreds of Firefighters, every time I watch them work together, I am stunned by their compassionate Souls.

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And their instinct to rescue, anyone or anything that is in danger.

It’s in their DNA. These remarkable people are a breed apart.

A blind man can see that.

So, let me ask you, “Would you consider running into fires for a living?” They do. Everyday.

I’m not saying they’re gods.

They are human beings like us.

But it’s their passion that sets them apart. It is their curse and their blessing.

They live between a rock and a soft place. 

Trust me, I know what I’m talking about here.

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I live in the South. In Alabama.

Can you believe that we’re ranked #2 in Firefighter suicide over work-related deaths in our country? And it’s prevalent nationwide. 

In the face of all this, I feel ashamed for not observing that these quiet heroes, imprisoned by workplace heartache and trauma, want to end their lives.

Why don’t they just ask for help? Because…

It’s not in their job description. Their job is to save others, not themselves.

Which means that it’s our job to support those who risk it all to rescue others.  

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Next week, I’d like to talk about how Ryan Shines offers support.

dawn

BTW-(If this is something that you would like to support, please visit us at www.ryanshines.com or follow us on FB and IG @dawnraymondhirn)

 

Encouragement · Faith · Hope

The First American Dream(1630)

“We shall be a City on a Hill; the eyes of the people of the world are on us. We must delight in each other, and make our neighbor’s condition our own. 

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“We must rejoice together, cry together, work and suffer together; always having the Promise of Independence in our sights.” —John Winthrop, “The First American Dream”

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We’re on the cusp of 2020 and members of that same holy dream.

We are citizens of the City on a Hill.

This original dream lifts us up beyond ourselves so that we stand on the shoulders of our first American heroes(our first families) and catch their Spirit of Freedom. 

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My nieces on Lake Martin!
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Trenton, Luke, Jake & Tyler-Lake Martin

Let’s celebrate the 4th and our Independence!

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dawn

Encouragement · Hope · Relationship

Hero-to-Hero

In 2018, we expanded our ‘Blessings umbrella’ to include Firefighters.

I had no idea how much our Firefighters go through emotionally and physically. Even sacrificially.

All I really knew is that they like to fish.

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Heroes&Hooks/Catching Courage Bass Fishing Tournament 2019

So, we created a fishing event called “Catching Courage,” including both Burn Survivors and Firefighters at the same event.

Part of our mission at Ryan Shines Burn Foundation is to get both groups together at one place for bonding, healing, and serious fun!

We are creating a safe place where our Survivors and Firefighters can be together, fish together, and reconnect after the fire.

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Catching Courage 2018 – Survivors & Firefighters

That’s why our mission is so rare.

I wish you could see both groups enjoying each other and asking each other real life-questions.

We didn’t know what to expect.

I thought the kids might be shy but they talked with each other on the same level: Hero-to-Hero!

This year, we continue honoring both groups in a Saltwater Fishing Tournament (“Catching Courage”).

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It will involve multi-state Firefighters and it will be hosted by our ‘First Mates,’ our youth Burn Survivors.

Our hope is that every youth Burn Survivor and Firefighter leaves for home with a full heart; encouraged and more courageous as they learn to tell their story and catch everyday courage from each other.

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Catching Courage 2018  Islamorada, FL

dawn

PS- Next time, I’d like for us to talk about ‘the sacrifices our Firefighters make.’

BTW-(If this is something that you would like to support, please visit us at www.ryanshines.com or follow us on FB and IG @dawnraymondhirn)

Faith · Hope

Hearts and Minds working together

Once upon a time, in the days just after receiving God’s Original Blessing, it hit me that my Blessing wasn’t mostly for me to keep in a mid-sized Safety Deposit Box.

It wasn’t mine to hide or hoard.

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Ryan

So, I freed my mind to move around wherever it wants to explore.

It went directly to my heart. Pretty awesome combo, ‘hearts and minds’ working together side-by-side!

Everywhere they went I followed with no idea where we were going.

But at every turn, I kept seeing children.

Children that had been burned, but had survived.

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I suddenly KNEW my Blessing was for these courageous burn survivors and our uniformed heroes who ran into burning buildings to search and rescue.

My dream was beginning to multiply like rabbits. 

My next brainstorm was The Foundation.

We named it after our seven-year-old boy, Ryan, who was killed in our burning car.

Here was a deeper dimension to my Blessing: ”Ryan Shines Burn Foundation.”

And our mission is to advise and help pediatric burn survivors with scholarships for their education and for attending Burn Camp; and to nurture the hearts and minds of Firefighters across the country.

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photo by Janelle Anderson

Thank you for helping Ryan shine on and on…

dawn

Next week, I’ll share another lovely part of my Blessing.

BTW-(If this is something that you would like to support, please visit us at www.ryanshines.com or follow us on FB and IG @dawnraymondhirn)

Family · Relationship

I found it in the Dark

I’m thinking about the big Blessing that happened to me.hand dark

I’m still not sure if I found it or it found me.

But I’ve got to tell you what was weird about it.

I found it in the Dark, not in the Light.

I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.

Do you remember the story of the policeman who was going out the door to work the night shift and dropped his keys in the grass?

His wife came out to help him look.

He was walking up and down the curb.

His wife asked him, “Is that where you lost them?”

He said, “No, but the light’s much better here.”

I think that’s true for all of us.

We assume our Blessing is dancing in front of us in the light because that would make it easier to find.

But don’t forget, it took me 14 years to find it, and when I found it I knew immediately that the Blessing wasn’t for me to keep.

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I was Blessed to be a Blessing to others.

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Dawn          

 

 

 

 

I’ll tell you how the Blessing grew next time…

 

Encouragement · Faith · Family · Relationship

Count your Blessings

I started counting my Blessings: being a mother, enjoying a long and loving marriage, our healthy sons, and a purposeful life.

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We’ve all experienced tragedies that we thought would follow us forever and stop the beating of our heart.

When Ryan was killed in the fire, my heart stopped and all I could see and hear was, “NOOOOO!”

There was no Blessing there on the frontage road in South Texas.

And it was emotionally exhausting to search for the Blessing.

It took me 14 years to get my ‘focus’ back.

But once I found it, it was like hitting a gusher.

I let it run down my face like oil and all the way down to my toes.  

A record-breaking gusher of Blessings!

One big “Yes” overpowering the “NO!

I want to tell you the secret of how I found my big “YES!”

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The Blessing that’s bigger than any Curse.

We’ll look together here next time.

Dawn           

Encouragement · Grief · Hope · wounded healer

Becoming a Blessings-girl

We finished talking about “Hope’s” answers to my deepest questions.

I hope you have learned as much as the boys and I have.  

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Colton & Trenton studying in the shadow of the Taj Mahal

Today our focus is about living in Blessings instead of crumbling under a Curse.

I usually think that it’s one or the other.

If you feel cursed, we tend to believe that it is the only reality within us.

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Like if you are angry, anger is the only reality in your life.

But you are MORE than your anger!  

I am MORE than my grief.

Getting through my own loss took more than a decade.

But I’ve changed. (It’s never too late).

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I am a Blessings–Girl now.

Dawn                  

To be continued…