Encouragement · healing-over-pain · Hope · wounded healer

“All I wanted was to get my life together.”

Preston is the burn-survivor whose vulnerability is from head-to-toe.

IMG_5568 copy

He could have cried easily but he kept it together.
 
“The best thing that happened to me because of my burns was, ‘I NEVER GAVE UP!'” 
bs-Preston
 
“I DO feel like a hero because I want to inspire other kids who are burned like me and give them hope.
I want to show them that their scars don’t have to stop them from doing anything.
I want to let every burn-survivor know that they don’t have to worry about their burns, but that they can feel normal like I do. 
That’s how I want to help everybody who is like me!”
I can’t imagine feeling like a hero at 15-years-old like Preston. 

Preston heroes a little bit every day.
It’s not a one-time thing.

IMG_5460

dawn
#catchingcourage #ryanshines

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 · healing-over-pain · Hope · Relationship

“All I did was pray in the ambulance.”

I’m going to tell you a story, but the star of our story is way bigger than a simple story.

IMG_0772
Jadah at Camp Conquest ’18

She’s a capital “S” Story!

Jadah is the girl, and she is God’s ‘S’tory!

The secret word here is one of the best words ever:  MIRACLE!

Jadah was burned over much of her body.

She and her cousins woke up early and went out back to re-light the bonfire of the night before.

One of her cousins opened a can of gas to help the fire along.

Suddenly, the fire backed-up into the can, he dropped it and it exploded on Jadah!

She ran into the house on fire and somebody called 911.

The hospital was 45 miles away, and it took that long for the ambulance to arrive.

Jadah sat her burning body down in a chair to wait.

cc john:jadah
Jadah & Cpt. Cheeney Catching Courage ’18

There was so much pain she began to think she wouldn’t make it.

“All I did was to pray in the ambulance,” she told me.

Jadah said, ”It was so rough fighting in the hospital.

All the medicine they shot in me made me feel really weird and not myself.

I remember the pain.

Nothing could reach it.

It was all over me, and it was so horrible and so hard!

But it also really made me fight.

And even while I was fighting I realized God was busy working on me, too, inside and out!”

CC Jadah fish

Spoiler alert! Here comes the MIRACLE!

“I was miracle-healed!” (I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!)

She began to cry and said it again: “I was miracle-healed. God took most of my scars away!

God was giving me a second chance.”

Finally, she said, “I want to thank the firefighters, the paramedics, and the police officers.

They are all heroes!

My dad is a firefighter, and I know it hurt him almost as much as me!”

There was so much Courage sitting across from me.

Jadah dolphin
Jadah’s new friend  Catching Courage ’18

But more than anything, her deep gratitude.

dawn

#catchingcourage #ryanshines

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 · Family · Hope · wounded healer

Seen through her baby’s eyes

I’m Dawn.

The mother in this story is me. Our little family was boxed-in by a fire in our car.

We skidded across the access road off the Interstate and rolled the car three times.

Three of us survived. My seven-year-old son, Ryan, was burned alive, to death.

I realized last night that I haven’t told you very much about our baby boy, Tyler, who was freed from the flames along with Ron, and me. (We three were burned over 25% of our bodies).

This was–no-contest–the worst experience of my life.

Everything in me died on a slab that day, but my breathing wouldn’t quit.

I only wanted one thing . . . to be with my Ry-Ry immediately.

About Tyler.

My 2-year-old gave me the best Gifts of my life. (He’s a sophomore at Auburn now).

He gave his gift every morning of every month of every year after “the accident.”

 

He saw me beyond his own pain. He saw beneath my scars.

He saw the heart of a mother who didn’t deserve to be called “mother” anymore.

For him, nothing had changed.

We were still Team Tyler!

And every morning he pushed my bedroom door open, he saw the one thing he needed most. Mommy-Me! I was all he needed.

I was haunted by my consummate failure at the ‘’scene,’’ Tyler wasn’t.

I was more than my scars.

That’s what he taught me again and again, and he hardly knew how to talk.

fullsizeoutput_3d7f

Forget words he knew me ‘by heart.’

I was all-mother, not his ‘scarred’ mother.

I was the mother who knew just what he needed, and when.

He showed me I still had the Goods.

He never once bailed on me while I was bailing on myself every day.

How can a 2-year-old do that?

I think about the ”Little Prince” and what he said, “

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.

What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Tyler saw me rightly and I grew into his vision of me.

He took me every day by the hand into the kitchen for breakfast.

IMG_8005
Tyler

He led me to the window to show me, in a loving way, that Life goes on.

It didn’t matter to him if I was ready to see it or not. God only knows how saw my strength. God only knows how he knew me.

Tyler will always be God’s best Gift to me!

IMG_4708
me and tyler

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 · Hope · wounded healer

It just didn’t matter anymore

Everybody knows Brody won’t take off his shirt.Brody2 CC

He won’t swim when all his friends are swimming because when he was a little boy he was horribly burned.

It was his chest that was seriously mangled.

He finally realized he can’t escape his scars unless he wore a shirt 24/7!

He could hide his scars under a shirt!

But what does Brody do when everyone goes shirtless?

Brody at hose CC

A few weeks ago I met Brody face-to-face at our “Catching Courage” event in Florida for burn survivors and firefighters.

To say he was in a league of his own would be an understatement.

He had something.

Don’t ask me what it was except to remind us that “The Lord works in mysterious ways!”

Brody is a wonder boy straight from the Heart of God. 

Ask anyone who knows him!

Brody is his own highlight reel on ESPN!

I could tell you BrodyStories all night, but let me just answer the earlier question about when things suddenly go shirtless.

Brody CC

Oh, I forgot to tell you about the dolphins.

We were in the dolphin pool at “Theater by the Sea,” during Catching Courage.

Brody, hanging back, looked at the other burn kids in the dolphin pool and you could see his brain working, you could feel his internal struggle.

He hesitated.

Then looked at the kids again and suddenly he stripped his shirt off.

He made a decision.

And with a big dose of courage, he ran into the water to swim with the dolphins!

The scars didn’t matter, and the insecurity was gone.

We all cheered him!

The Gift he gave us was his whole self!

IMG_6885

Hey Brody! You light my fire!

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 · Hope · Relationship

New Kids in Town

There’s a new breed of “hero” in the country.

I’m pretty sure you’ve seen a few but you didn’t know what you were looking for.

Wait.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

First, I want to talk about the heroes that have flown in and out of your life.USA womens soccer 2019

Think back to Superman, or George Lucas, astronauts or police officers?

How ’bout our World Champion USA soccer team?   

So who and what is this new breed of heroes I’m talking about?

These heroes are “Pediatric Burn Survivors”!

They survived the fire that was consuming them and they are surviving the emotional handicap of growing up scared.  

But how are these ‘child burn survivors’ heroes?

For one thing,  most face multiple surgeries, over multiple years since every growth spurt requires “skin-release’ surgery so they can keep growing. 

Next, they take their scars to school with them and are then ridiculed.

Many are bullied or laughed at.

One child I know was tagged with  a new name–“Freddy Kruger.”

I want you to take that in and feel the shame that lingers. (And we thought the sky was falling when we had a ‘zit’ on our forehead.) 

fullsizeoutput_526b.jpeg
Catching Courage ’19 Pediatric Burn Survivors

These young burn survivors are heroes because daily they walk into school never knowing who would hurt them with words or everything going on behind their back.

Think about the everyday insecurities of ‘growing up’, especially in puberty.

Then, on top of their fears, add physical deformities.

Be mindful that most of their peers will never understand. Not even me–an adult burn survivor–even I don’t understand.

It’s all so unfair.

CC- brody:kaleigh
CC ’19-Brody and Kaleigh
IMG950696
CC ’19–Alex
IMG_0185
CC ’19–Lovely
Brantson
CC ’19–Future Firefighter Brantson

These kids are the new breed of “heroes.”

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 · Hope · Relationship

Who rescues the rescuers?

How does Ryan Shines help support our Firefighters?

We’re building a community at Ryan Shines that recognizes that Firefighters are stronger when they face their daily internal reality together and head-on.

ff-peer support

We want this community of trust to be available to every Career&Volunteer&Retired Firefighter in America.

We want to show them that Firefighters don’t ever have to live or die alone.

ff-peer

So we will join their band of brothers and sisters from across the state to form a support network for the mental and physical health of their fellow Firefighters by providing trained assistance through a  “Firefighter Peer Support” Team.

Let me tell you the story about a Fire Chief in Alabama. His name is Mark Sealy and he oversees 24 fire stations in Mobile.

mark sealy

His best friend, a fellow Firefighter, suffered and died from PTSD.

All he knew was to self-medicate.

That’s the day when the Chief really ‘got it.’

His friend had survived every emergency that Firefighters face but his ‘internal Civil War’ took him out.

So, Mark not only knows everything first hand about firefighting but he has also been at the center of personal tragedy himself.

And he’s so open and eager that our common dream of ‘Peer Support’ take root and grow.

ff-peer6

 

In other words,  we ‘drank the kool-aid.’

I wish I could clone him and send him to every fire station in the country.

This is what we are developing in our own circle of influence.

We have created our first of many statewide Support Teams called “Alabama Firefighter Peer Support” at Ryan Shines.

Now, I am not fluent in ‘Firefighter,’ but I do understand personal trauma and the aftermath (PTSD), and the importance of finding friends you can trust.

You’ll find men and women with whom you can speak in a kind of  ‘shorthand’ because they intimately know the words and the feelings that have been burned into their brain since their first fire. 

Ryan
Ryan

Every day I wish Ryan was here. But when I look at all we’re doing together, he is no less than the engine driving us, and his is the Shining that lights our way.

 

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)

education · Hope

The Gift Firefighters give ordinary people every day

Do you know any firefighters personally?

I do.pktsxzhqcerykzsohqswg-e1563280056635.jpg

I’ve spent the last six months with over 500 Firefighters.

As we have learned at Ryan Shines fighting fires could cost them their life, or their health, their family, their security, or their future.

Whatever else it is, it is risk, pure and simple.

Firefighters risking their lives.

Do you remember this? 

“There is no greater Love than to sacrifice ourselves for others’’(John 15:13). That single sentence should be carved on the front of every Fire Station in every city. 

RIO CHRIST

Some say that “sacrifice” is weak.

But think about your parents’ sacrifices for you.

It was a sign of strength. It is the opposite of self-centered.

It is ‘sacrificial generosity.’

Most Firefighters would tell you: “It’s never about us!

It’s about the ones we are rescuing.”

And that is the way they live their lives. 

One Firefighter said, “I was born for this! To risk my life for others. For strangers.” 

 And then they’ll tell you they’ve never met a stranger.

ff-firestation

 

There is a Brotherhood among these Firefighters, and everybody they rescue joins their Station House of Courage.

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)