I am in a constant state of amazement how prayers are keeping Natalie from sickness. Here we are in the middle of winter and God has allowed sickness to be kept at bay. Natalie is such a strong little girl with an incredibly strong will. It's almost funny how being held down for medicine is often harder for her than any treatment or the medicine itself. She wants to do what she wants to do, when she wants to do it. I think to myself that is both a blessing and a curse. A curse that I will have to work with her to help her understand that her way is not always the right way. Conversely, however, this is what gives her the fight not to give up and to keep going. I am always happy to see her uppity spirit because I know that may keep my worst fears at bay.

As Thanksgiving passed this year both Dana and I have much to feel thankful for. Beyond the obvious, we have so many supporting family and friends. I am still amazed how many people are continually rooting for us and looking out for our best interests. I knew early-on that fighting Leukemia would be a long term battle (I didn't think quite as long as 2.5 years) but we are thankful for all the love and support that everyone has and is still lending to us.

This Thanksgiving we had a wonderful time at my Grandmother's house. She had some friends over and we all went around the table sharing what we were thankful for. It was such a sense of joy to hear people sharing things from the bottom of their hearts. During our share time 4 people teared up thanking God for his goodness. This year I will always remember how important family and friends have become.

To all of you outside our area. Thanks for being faithful to check back with us. Please know that your prayers have rescued us too many times to count. To that we are eternally Thankful. happy Thanksgiving everyone!

A miracle is when God intervenes in our lives in inexplicable ways. This week our family saw a miracle from God. It all started this last Sunday when a couple members of our Church felt a strong need to pray for Natalie. They wanted to arrange a time where they could come over an pray for her in person. We are they type of people to always welcome prayer and yet sometimes God even surprises us after we have seen so many prayers answered.

Throughout the diagnosis of Natalie's Leukemia, we have been working at slowly getting our lives back to where it was before (or as close as we can). There are many who have prayed to heal her of her disease (and we have no doubt that God can heal her) but we always have wanted to keep a rounded perspective that God is God and He can do what He wants. We didn't want to be let down if it wasn't in God's will to heal her. So when some people came to pray for Natalie, I just assumed it was for healing of her disease.

Over the previous few days Natalie developed a deep chest raspy-ness in her breathing. When she would cough her pour little lungs and throat would make a horrible croup-like sound -- similar to a seal barking. When they arrived we had no furniture in our living room except two chairs. Dana was not home yet and I was holding Nicole (who was crying). When they started praying they were praying for her little body being able to recover from her disease. They also prayed that they imagined someday that when all of this is behind us a day when Natalie could share how faithful God has been to her throughout this trial.

We socialized a little bit more and just like that they had gone. For one reason or another my Dad kept checking on Natalie through the night. My mom must have told me he got up nearly 10 times throughout the night. He told us that around 4:00AM in the morning the raspy breathing just went away! Gone. The next day, day after that, and the day after that there was and is no sign of the deep chest infection. Totally gone. Now a week later and she is still running strong. She was just dancing to Jingle Bells (with some impressive vigor I might add) this morning.

God works in amazing ways through those who are obedient to Him. Who knows why God did what He did. I stopped guessing why many years ago. But for us Dad & Mom and Grandma & Grandpa, we are glad He showed up that winter night in November.

Special Note:Sometimes we get feelings that in retrospect turn out to be significant. It can be as simple as checking in with someone or maybe being obedient to pray for someone for reasons you don't even know why. But, when you respond to God's call (making sure the call is from God), I think it brings God Joy to see the beautiful reflection of your obedience.

It's an incredible thought that God is working to draw us together as a community. How He is not leaving the dealings of our our daily lives up to us alone. He is calling on family, friends, loved ones, and sometimes vague acquaintances to build into each other. To look at each other with respect and dignity. Not to see what we see from a condemning perspective but a loving and patient perspective. It is truly amazing how if we just softly listen to His (sometimes whispers), He will heal our brokenness and the brokenness of others. All we need is the love of Jesus in our hearts and we will be able to stand strong together.

Special Sidebar:As an aside to be clear there are many acts claimed in the name of God. In any event we will be held liable for our actions, that's why the Bible is clear that we are to test the spirits because the Bible says not all spirits are from God. A few verses later in 1 John chapter 4 gives us clues as to what types of acts (in Jesus' name) are from God.

"7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

Sorry, we have not had as many updates lately. Things are slowing down to a regular pace now so news isn't as readily available. We will continue to update as new information comes in.

Here is the latest from Dana.

"We have been playing a little bit of a waiting game lately. Each time Natalie receives chemo, the treatment makes her blood counts go down (as it is suppose to) but then, we must wait for the counts to come back up for her next treatment. She was suppose to receive chemo this last Monday but her counts were low, so we moved it to Wednesday and still, low so now we will have her blood count done again Thursday to see if we can go in on Friday. We are told that this is common, but it's a bummer to see Natalie having to get her port accessed soooo often. She really does not like it.

We are finally receiving the carpet that we are replacing this Friday. It will be nice to get our surroundings back in some order and for Natalie and Nicole to be able to play freely on the floor with their toys.

Overall, Natalie is still happy and playful. Nicole is growing fast, soon I think she will pass up Dominick!"

Natalie Orlando

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