Family · Friendship · Parenting · Relationship

Love in the Lockdown

I am going to take a break from writing my blogpost every week. We’ve been at it for more than 4 years!

Can you believe it? Me neither.

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Like most every college student, Tyler is home from Auburn and our family is all together here in Alexander City, Alabama. Every chair is filled with remarkable young men, and a couple of ol’ schoolers.

Our blessings outweigh any of our own fears because we know that God has the whole world in his hands.

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My singular priority during these uncertain days is my family. Talk about limitless family time!

I will return when everything is clear.

In the meantime, we, at ryanshines.com, will continue to abide with you in unbreakable faith, hope and love.

dawn

Encouragement · Friendship · healing-over-pain · Hope · Relationship

Flying without Fear

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I’m sitting here tonight thinking of the Asian artist who was commissioned by a Texan to paint a picture. When the picture was complete, over in the left corner of the canvas was the branch of a blossoming cherry tree, and a small bird was perched upon a branch. The whole rest of the painting was a vast white space. The Texan was very unhappy with the outcome. “Please fill up this canvas. That’s what I am paying you for!”

But the artist refused, saying, “Sir, if I do that, there will be no room for the bird to fly.”

In our rewarding work at RyanShines we welcome so many fragile little birds who have been grounded by their burns.

Each one is an original–a one-of-a-kind Child of God. Every pediatric burn survivor is sent to us without “operating instructions.”

We discover their unique needs by loving them, listening to them and by witnessing their innate instinct to spread their wings and fly.

Not one of them has lost their wings. No fire can touch the gift of wings they were born with.

It takes tender care and fierce love to help them grow. These are all normal little children no different than yours and mine.

We work with them and their parents to restore their dreams of flying without fear.

In the past year, we have introduced you to Jenna, Brantson, Cameron, Kaleigh, Louie, Jadah, Brody, Lucas, Lovely, Alex, LeDreshia and so many more of our burn children.

These brave girls and boys have shared their frighteningly sad stories to hundreds of strangers. They have endured unimaginable pain.

Many will undergo multiple surgeries that could continue throughout their childhood.

Every week we will paint their profiles in courage for you. As always, you will admire them and draw rich inspiration from them.

But every last one of us must take a step beyond admiration.

To be blunt, we cannot meet the deep needs of these special children without you.

As you invest your time and treasure in what you believe in, allow your personal vision to include the earthy and air-born mission of RyanShines.

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Decide now to join our team. 

Just ask me how!

dawn

www.ryanshines.com

https://www.instagram.com/ryanshinesburnfoundation/

Encouragement · Friendship · Hope · Relationship

Kaleigh: opening like a rose

Nobody knows how it feels to be a child on fire except other burned children. 

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Though I wasn’t burned as a child, I understand that many pediatric burn survivors turn into turtles.

They start hiding for a good reason.

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Kaleigh

Public scarring.

One of Ryan Shines’ burn kids, Kaleigh, was burned in an electrical fire.

She was severely burned on her arms, stomach, and upper legs.

She tended to keep her head down, feeling great shame.

Humiliation tried to take her down.

But our “Catching Courage” events raised her up.

I want you to meet the new version of Kaleigh.

She has spent much of her young life trying to come to terms with her burns.

And she is.

Even though the pain in her eyes was obvious, now you can see something new being born in her.

Kaleigh found her Sparkle. 

Let me give you an example.

She met a fellow 13-year-old burn survivor named ‘Lovely,’ and they began a wonderful friendship.

Every time they get together at one of our Catching Courage Events, they are inseparable and the sparks fly.IMG_7001

Their ‘God-sparks’ shine like polished steel. 

Let me tell you what happened to these girls early this month. 

One of our firefighters had overheard Kaleigh and Lovely talking together about their dreams of the future(this was at our Catching Courage family weekend).

They were saying how they wish they could be models someday but knew it would be impossible because of their scars.Kaleigh caught CC

Our firefighter shared how sad he was when he heard these two 13-year-old girls talking about their dreams of the future and what is not possible anymore.

A friend of his, who happens to own a dress shop–Jo Wells in Montgomery–decided to step into the situation, and open her shop and her heart to them.

“I want those girls to model my clothes in my shop,” she said.

So, she arranged a photoshoot and called us at “Ryan Shines” to invite the girls to come model for her.

The word spread like a great party.

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Heroes of Montgomery, AL Fire & Rescue

Countless firefighters from Montgomery climbed on board with us and even brought their big red firetruck.

Suddenly, there was an influx of new friends we didn’t know we had!

What a celebration!

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Lovely, Kaleigh and me

 

We were celebrating Kaleigh and Lovely!

And the dreams they were dreaming were already beginning to blossom. 

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Don’t you just love that?!

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 @Ryanshinesburnfoundation)

Friendship · healing-over-pain · Hope · Relationship

Undercover Agents of Love

You’re not going to believe what happened to me last week in California!

I was attending the Phoenix World Burn Conference for burn survivors.

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Steve Joyner

There were about 800 of us.   

I say ‘us’ because I’m a burn survivor too, along with my husband and son, Tyler, who was a baby when we had the car accident.

It was that car fire that changed our lives completely because we lost our 7-year-old son, Ryan, in the fire. 

About the conference…I had come here with an agenda.

Like sharing Ryan’s Burn Foundation with my  ‘burn-survivor Tribe.’

My peeps.

Let me tell you about something that happened every day of the conference and it was pretty scary.

You know the term ‘Open-mic,’ right? We could volunteer to stand-up in front of more than 300 people and tell our story.

 

It was raw.

The wounds became fresh again, but this time in a room without judgment.

Everybody was just Honest-to-God.

Our only currency was the truth… and trust.

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Junior, Esme and 2 aunts

I could tell you about Esme and Junior(90% burned) who lost their 12-year-old big brother in a house fire. 

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Sam “no-hands bandit”

Or, I could tell you about Sam, the “no-hands bandit,”  who was electrocuted by so much voltage that it fried both his hands off. 

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Joe, Carrie and I

I could tell you about Joe.

He was in the middle of a nightclub fire that killed his girlfriend and 99 other people who were just dancing to the music and the next thing they knew they were on fire. 

Wait!

You know what I’m going to do?

I’m going to introduce you to these heroes in my next few blogs. One-at-a-time.

You must meet these Undercover Agents of Love.

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me, Jason, Sam, Sarah and Billy(worm)

Come open-hearted and ready to trust.

I guess it always comes down to a matter of trust, doesn’t it?

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)

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.

firefighting group

 

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)

 

Family · Friendship · Relationship

Com-PAN-ioning

“The word is ‘’pan.’’

It means ‘’bread’’ in most every language.

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Trenton & Colton w/ Singapore friends

It suggests that ‘’breaking bread” together is at the heart of our companioning with God, family, and friends.

This is the center of our journey together that we’ve talked so much about.

There is an episode in the Book of Revelation where Jesus says, “I am knocking at your door. If you will answer and let me come in, we will eat together” (Rev. 3:20).  

What if Jesus is saying that eating together is a key to building relationships?

That he would choose food that we are homesick for?  A table is heavy with good grub. Think back for a moment over all the great meals you’ve shared. 

Did you ever feel that the one sitting across from you is the richest choice on the menu?

bread companioning.jpgIt suggests that ‘’breaking bread” together is at the heart of our companioning with God, family, and friends.

This is a part of our journey together that we’ve talked so much about.

There is an episode in the Book of Revelation where Jesus says, “I am knocking at your door. If you will answer and let me come in, we will eat together” (Rev. 3:20).  

Jesus might be saying that eating together is key to building relationships. Think back for a moment over all the great meals you’ve shared. 

Did you ever feel that the one sitting across from you was the richest choice on the menu?Screen Shot 2019-02-20 at 3.39.44 PM.png

dawn

Exclusive Instagram content @dawnraymondhirn. Loved for you to join me there.

Encouragement · Friendship · Perfecting Dysfunction · Relationship · Travel

If it is to be, it is up to me

The theme of my life used to be, “If you want a job done right, do it yourself.”images-2

And if I’m honest, and I am, it’s still mostly the theme of my life. 

You get what I’m saying, right?

When I think about all my years of mothering, I realize that most of it was on me.

In other words, partner or no partner, life is a ‘’Do it yourself.’’

So, what in the heck am I doing pushing all of us to make this “important’’ move from “I” to “We”?

Is it even workable in a mother’s life?

Most of us want a partner who’s really a partner.

That means moving from “I” to “We”.

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Which necessitates moving from “I” to “We”.

But I hesitate to say that because it might turn into one more thing on our ‘to-do’ list.

Then I remember we are traveling together on this Adventure, and the way I look at it, there’s no mountain we can’t climb.

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Here’s what I know for sure.

Not even Jesus could “do it himself.”

He had to find 12 friends.

dawn

 

These are my thoughts today. Is there anything–dreams, thoughts, adventures–that we share today?

Daily IG @dawnraymondhirn