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He left the table and headed for the door without saying a word. As he walked out the backdoor, I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs, “NO! Don’t go. Stay here.” But I could not speak or move – literally. It was as though some unexplainable great force planted my feet into the ground with no mobility. All I really wanted to do was run after him, chase him down, tackle him to the ground and keep him with me, forever. But I could only watch him go. I walked away and passed the feeling of uneasiness off as just my imagination. Or was it?


Several minutes passed. Twenty? Thirty? I cannot be sure. The Andy Griffith Show was on TBS. My youngest baby brother, eleven months old, was in his swing and I was close beside him.
Mom and Dad came rushing through the back door. Screaming. Yelling.  "Call 911!"
“Why?” I yell back. “WHY?” I demanded. 

 No answer. Silence. Their faces showed that something was not right. 

............
At the age of eleven, I experienced the tragic death of my six year old brother that set into motion a lifetime of trying to understand why bad things happen and why I had so many challenges to overcome. Adopted at 3 days old, lost my brother at 11 years old, dealt with addiction in my family until I left for college, found myself in a marriage that was as disconnected as the family I grew up with, and then sat in the pain of divorce. 
At my lowest point, I decided to look around at those closest to me hoping that something they were doing was working and would work for me, but for the most part all I found was even more negativity. 
I decided if no one else was going to lead, I would. I sat in my car before going into my job one morning and decided to start the 40 Days of Thankfulness Challenge. At first, I only did it for me but during the first year, a few friends joined. Years later, we have had over 2,000 people participating in the 40 Day Challenge. 
For 6 years, I've been writing here about my experience as the adopted child, the sister trying to make sense of the hole in my heart, the wife who saw a marriage ending and the daughter who struggled with the feeling of abandonment. 

In the middle of my attempt at writing my story in book form, I came to a stopping point. I closed my computer and told God, "If this book gets written, you'll have to give me the words because I've got nothing else." 

Months later, I heard the words that would change the course of my life as I held my youngest, Jace, in the emergency room one cold January night in 2013. 

"It's leukemia." 

I knew in that moment that God and I were on a bigger journey of victory than I ever could've imagined. I've had a front seat to His miracles for my entire life, but what I was about to experience was nothing. Jace was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2013 and has been in treatment since. He won't finish his last chemo infusion until 2016. 

A misconception of childhood cancer is that REMISSION equals CURED. It doesn't. Remission is just the first step in a long line of chemo, surgeries, and other treatments. Many of the effects of these treatments last the rest of the child's life. 
For more on our journey from the beginning: www.caringbridge.org/visit/jaceponcio  
To keep up with Jace's current progress: www.facebook.com/graceforjace

Why am I here? 


Bad things DO happen to good people, but all people can RISE above the worst thing that has happened to them. We just have to make a choice everyday to grab what God has for us. 

My saving grace was and is my God and my gratitude. 

This little corner of the world is where you will find me, my story and my truth as I navigate life being a wife, mom, daughter, and friend. 

© 2013 On The Wings of Gratitude

~tisha poncio