Friday, September 19, 2008

A Must Read Story.

WOW!  Read this and don't skip a line.  Connie works with Charlie's
Grandma Cheryl and we can't thank her enough for taking the time to
share this w/ us.

Charlie is such a great inspiration to me. It is uncanny the effect he
has had on my life and the strength that I have gained from your family.
I have followed Charlie's story since he first became ill. What a
privilege it was to work with Grandma Cheryl . She has been so patient
to keep me informed and to invite me to visit Charlie in his home. I
LOVED holding sweet Charlie and feeling something so special about his
strong spirit. I came away from that experience filled with so much
faith and such a feeling of peace. It is difficult to explain. I have
kept his bracelet close by ever since Grandma Cheryl shared one with me.
I continually pray for him and all those who help care for him. I am
so grateful that you are willing to share your story and lives with all
of us!

This summer I spent five weeks teaching English in Vietnam. I was a
bit nervous and I wore Charlie's bracelet every day. There were many
long days that I needed to be reminded to take "Charlie Steps". Many
people asked me about the bracelet and I shared Charlie's story with
many people. Everyone that heard the story was touched and wanted to
know more about this little boy. They were all stunned at the strength
your family possesses.

I have taught in China for several years and I was anxious to go back
and help where the devastating earthquake hit earlier this summer in
Chengdu. I have many friends there and I know that they have suffered a
great deal. I spent six days in a remote village working with the
Chinese Red Cross doing relief work with many of the victims. The
school that I had taught at was totally demolished and many friends were
killed. I lived in a tent with a family that I was close to several
years ago. They lost two children when the school collapsed as well as
their house and everything they owned. I cannot imagine that kind of
total loss. I was overwhelmed at the devastation I saw. They are such
humble people and willing to accept what has happened to them. They
invited me to share everything they had. We worked together cleaning up
and building some new homes around the collapsed school. I found such
strength as I looked at my wrist and thought of Charlie and his
strength. My friends asked about the bracelet and I told them the
story. We spent several hours talking about life and our attitudes about
facing adversity. The mother, Thien Ann, was moved to tears as we
talked and shared a very spiritual time in that little tent. The night
was stifling hot, but we sat close and shared our tears and our hope for
the future. As I prepared to leave and fly back to my comfortable home,
I gave Charlie's bracelet to Thien Ann. She sobbed as she accepted my
simple gift and asked me to tell you that she understands heartache and
she hopes you will all find peace in your heart as Charlie continues to
teach all of us. She wanted me to be sure to tell you about her love for
the lessons of "Charlie Steps" and that she will always think of you and
your strength. I left her with a hug and my promise to pass along her
empathy and admiration for all of you.

All of your family continues to bless our lives. You have inspired
people around the world with Charlie's story. I am overwhelmed at the
great blessings I enjoy and so often take for granted. I have committed
to be more full of gratitude and to share my blessings with others who
need help. I know your "Gammy" is proud of you. She was quite a lady.

Thank you for the new bracelets. I treasure them. I am truly grateful
for the opportunity I have had to get to know you. Your faith and
strength is an inspiration to all of us. May Heavenly Father continue to
watch over you and wrap you in His arms when you need comfort.



Jolene said...

Wow, Connie, that is amazing. I can't believe your strength and giving of self. You are an example of selflessness. You have done so much with your life. I always admired you as a kid, and that admiration just continues to grow. I'm blessed to call you friend.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Connie Your STORY IS GREAT!!

Kelly said...

Connie and Charlie & Co,
What an awesome story of paying it forward! How an innocent little child can impress upon so many people a feeling of peace, love, encouragement, God's Love, etc. is so far beyond my grasp. That was an amazing story! I've shared his story with friends of mine but have never received a reaction such as that.
Please keep paying it forward!

Anonymous said...

Connie is one of the strongest women I have ever known. She has had struggles with her health for many years but no one who works with her would ever know she wasn't 100% all the time. She is a master teacher and teaches the most challenging students to be successful 1st graders.

When she was in Vietnam and China this summer, she lived under the most difficult circumstances ever. She slept on the ground in a tent, showered with a small amount of water using a hose and taught English to children and adults in temperatures above 100 degrees with high humidity for many weeks.
That she would get strength from Charlie's little bracelet indicates her love and compassion for children.

Connie told me more details about the mother who lost her children in the earthquake. Tears filled her eyes as she shared some of her experiences with us. That Charlie's bracelet would give strength to a mother who had lost all of her children, her home and every worldly possession, is a testament to me of the universal love and commonality we humans share.

Every time I hang out with Charlie and with Connie, I leave determined to be a stronger person. I learn from their example about endurance, patience and love. They give me courage to handle my little challenges.

Thank you, Connie, for letting me learn from you how to be unselfish with your time and energy as you serve your fellow man.

When I get as strong as you are, can I go with you to China?
Grandma Cheryl

Meghan said...

wow miss connie, that moved me to tears. what a humbling story and great woman you are.

Trish and John said...

Thank you connie for your selfless love and sharing. I too am brought to tears by your words of dedication and the story of your friends accepted devastation. Oh to be so strong... Thank you for your love.

ashlan said...

That is great!! I know this is off subject, but......Kennadee was telling me all about Britt's brother from his special day. Its amazing at how in tune these little ones are with eachother. She wanted to know so much about the little guy she was really concerned at first. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to teach my child how to be loving and compassionate towards others who may have different challanges than our daily struggles, she is know more understanding, as much as a five year old can consume to him. You have no idea how greatful I am for this. I appreciate your family being so willing to be open with your little ones health that it has been such a blessing to ever know him, as little as we do.

whitney said...

Thank you Connie.

Brandi said...

WOW! That is amazing to know your sweet little boy is giving strength and inspiration to people on the other side of the world. He has touched our lives as well.

Ginny said...

more tears and love. thanks connie for sharing. ...and grandma cheryl...and ashlan...and of course, you who share Charlie with us all!!!!