Saturday, February 6, 2010

Leap of Faith

Mason and his beautiful baby blue eyes!!!

At this time I feel I am not only WALKING BY FAITH, but also taking the largest LEAP OF FAITH I have ever taken in my entire life. And, hopefully will ever have to take in my entire life! Decisions have been made, dates have been set, airline tickets purchased, childcare plans confirmed, and an agreement in place w/ Mr. Mom (Mark) to take over VERY SOON.

For those of you who don't know me very well, or only through the blog, I will explain how HUGE this is for me to leave my other four kids behind as Mason and I head to Stanford to await his new heart! I NEVER take girls' nights outs, let alone a girls' weekend away. I can count on 2 fingers the times Mark and I have taken an overnighter away from the kids. & the only other times I've spent the night away from my kiddos is when I've spent the night in the hospital with Mason. But, even then I never went more than 24 hours without seeing them. Since Primary's is only a 45 minute drive they could just come visit with Dad or Grandma. Now, don't feel sorry for me because this has been my choice not to get away...... I LOVE more than words can express my job as a full time mother and just have always found it hard to leave my kiddos, even for 1 night!!! (To those of you who do take girls' nights out etc...I do admire you though...because I know it's good for the soul!!!)

So, to leave my children for an infinite number of months in the care of someone else is going to be VERY hard for me!!! It makes me cry right now just writing about it. Mason and I will miss the kids and Mark very much.

But, to help my Miracle Mason receive a new heart with hopes of a much better quality of life and more time here on earth with us, I feel will be All WORTH IT!!!

I know I could not do this with out the knowledge of a Heavenly Father and without faith that He will comfort us as we are away from our family, and comfort those at home whom we are leaving behind.

Here are our plans:

On February 16th Mason and I will head to the airport with 2 suitcases, a carry on, a feeding pump, and a portable O2 concentrator. Yes, that's right, we will be living out of 2 suitcases for MONTHS. (I almost feel like I'm going on another mission like I had at age 21., when for 18 months I lived out of 2 suitcases. Only worse, It will be 2 of us using 2 suitcases!!!)

We will hug and kiss our family at the gate and board a plane to Stanford (well, to San Jose California) with I'm sure many, many tears!

Stanford University
(picture copied from

I will leave my kiddos during the day (before and after school) in the care of Sammi. Whom my kids LOVE!!! She was our full time babysitter two summers ago. We couldn't be more thrilled or excited that she is moving back from Vegas to help us!!!! Grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors will also help and be of great support, but with Sammi they will have consistency everyday in our own home. ("THANK YOU SAMMI, MORE THAN YOU'LL EVER KNOW!!!!")

In the evenings, Mark will put on a new hat as 'Mr. Mom' after a long day at work. To him I want to also say "Thank you! Thank you with all my heart for all you do, and especially right now that you will be here to give the kids your love AND mine while I am gone!" He will most certainly fly to Pal Alto when Mason goes in for his transplant surgery, and other times to visit when he can sneak away.

I must say I'm overwhelmed with emotions at this time. Happiness, because I feel so strongly this is the right thing to do. Sadness, because I will miss extremely everyone at home. Stressed, because I have so much that I need to get done in the next 10 days ( not to mention celebrating Braiden's and Ammon's February birthdays). Grateful, because of the outpouring of support we are continuously given. Nervous, because Mason still has to have a positive Chest CT once we get to Stanford before they will list him. Hopeful, because we have been given new HOPE w/ an amazing medical option that may save our baby's life.

I recently read a talk by President Gordon B. Hinkley titled "The Faith to Move Mountains" and I found the following quote to be very appropriate to our families LEAP OF FAITH at this time:
"May the Lord bless us with faith in the great cause of which we are a part. May faith be as a candle to guide us in the night by its light. May it go before us as a cloud in the day."

Thank you for all your prayers which I know have given our family the strengthened FAITH and HOPE we have needed to move forward into our newest chapter of MIRACLE MASON'S JOURNEY

*********************And an additional extra special thank you to a wonderful friend who purchased mine and Mason's airline tickets with their flight miles as a gift to us!!!*************************

****One last thing, because many of you have been asking.....................The new date of Miracle Mason's Benefit Dinner will be announced soon on our blog. Keep checking back in for the details. I'm assuming some time in March or April.


Kimmie said...

The pool always get warm faster when you just JUMP in quickly, rather than tip-toe in slowly. I am in complete admiration as you take this huge leap of faith!

Again, I feel so strongly that you are doing the right thing, even though it will be hard to be away from your kids and Mark.

You are a wonderful mother, and your children know that and will continue to feel it in a new and different way, even though you are apart.

Kyle and Alli said...

Oh my. Let this all begin! We will pray not only for you and Mason, but for everyone still at home during this time. We love you guys!

Jamie said...

Summer I admire you so much! I left 2 of my 3 kids for 3 weeks this summer and it was so hard to be away from them, so I can understand your feelings there. We are cheering for you and Mason that everything will go well with you in Stanford and that the Lord will comfort you through this leap of faith. We will be praying for you guys!

The Simmons Family said...

Summer.. I am in tears for you right now. I know just how you are feeling. I am SO happy that Sammi is able to help out and that things are falling into place. It is a HUGE leap of faith!! We are praying for a great CT scan, a quick wait for his new heart.

If you need anything.. let me know. We'll be there the first of May and I can't wait to meet you and the Miracle Mason!!

I am SO excited for your new journey.. although difficult.. it will be the most WONDERFUL time spent with Mason!!! There are a bunch of little hiking trails around campus and a free little zoo close by. You're an amazing mom Summer.

PS I have never been able to leave my kids.. even for an overnighter. I'm with you on that one.

Anonymous said...

Much love and many prayers to you, Mason, Mark, and your wonderful family. I would love to meet you, if you are going to be at Paul's concert on 2/15. Take good care.

dmg said...


Wow! You are just amazing!!! I'm so excited for Mason and this second chance at life. Oh how I hope that all will go well with his Chest CT so that he will be listed and will receive a heart quickly!

We will be praying not just for you and Mason, but also for the rest of your kiddos and Mark that they will be blessed and strengthened as you are gone from them.


Family Scads said...

It is just to familiar to read this post. My son received a heart transplant when he was 16 days old, and it was so hard to be separated from my daughter and husband. My daughter was only 13 months at the time, and still a baby who needed her mommy. I would cry at the hospital because I missed her so much, and more than that, I needed her. I also had to send her to stay with our parents in Utah (we are from Utah, but live in Iowa) because we do not have family that lives close by.

All I can say is that your faith will carry you. It has carried my family so many times. We have literally had to completely put everthing in the Lord's hands - not an easy thing to do, but worth it!

Lots of prayers for ALL of you! I will also keep you all in my fast tomorrow! Please feel free to contact with anything!

Christina said...

You don't know me, just an anonymous lurker who found your blog through a friend who I met while my baby was in the NICU. Good luck with everything! You and your son and family will be in our prayers. I've loved following your son's story. And thank you for your faith. It helps us all see our trials in a positive light as well.

PS. We had the same pediatrician as you have for Mason when we were in Utah. He was the best. We wish we could have taken him with us!

Becca said...

Wow! I know this is a huge step for you guys. It's always hard when the moment arrives. We will be praying for all of you to get through this. Just know how many of us are here for you.

Becca-Ellie's mom

She Made Mention said...

Summer-- this is Jess. I was wondering if you could email me one of your favorite pics of Mason, so I could make that blog button. I'm excited to get it out there. Your family will need as many prayers as you can get--- you can't ever have too many praying for your sweet family. I just want to send you the biggest, warmest-- hugs of comfort. My heart just aches for you Summer. I'm rooting, praying, and continually thinking of you ALL. I wish I could do more... Love you with all my heart.


cici said...

Mason Andrew Strickland...we are praying our hearts out here for you and your loving family.
God Bless you baby boy!

Cassie and Chad said...

Oh wow Summer!!! Good luck with everything, may the Lord bless you and your family. We are thinking and praying for you. Hope all goes well and we look forward to constant updates. Your family will be blessed and taken care of, you are such a wonderful mother!!!
Love you!!!

MamaOtwins+1 said...

I cried for you reading this post - leaving your children will be hard, but the benefit will be amazing. So glad you were able to get the tickets and have someone you trust to help out!
We're all praying for your family!

Waite Family said...

I will be praying for your Miracle Mason and your whole family. I know how hard it is to leave children at home to put the needs of another first. I had to leave my 8 other children in Wyoming and stay at Primary's with a new baby last year. I am praying that your family won't be separated for too long. Thanks for your faith and sharing your Miracle Mason's journey with the rest of us.

The Palmers said...

Your family will continue to be in our prayers. As long and difficult as it is right now I can honestly say looking back that "this too will pass".

Mindi said...

So many prayers headed your way. We hope you will feel the power of so many, many people who will be cheering you on.

All the best,
Mindi and McKay

Mindi D said...

My heart aches for you sooo much. I am just like you. I have never left my kids for longer than 24 hours. My hubby even planned a surprise weekend getaway right after Libbi was born and i had a slight panic attack and we came home :( So i can't even imagine leaving them for long. I truely believe Heavenly Father will help you do this. Your kids will be just fine i bet, you will have a harder time than them. (As i'm giving this motivational speech i am crying just thinking about it) You can do it! Do it for Mason! You are in my prayers and i will check in often! Hang in there, you have many praying for you guys!

Jennifer said...

I have no experinces in my personal life that could come even close to what you and your family are embarking on. All I can do is pray that everything will go as well for you and your family as it possibly can.

I have to say though that some California sunshine is sounding pretty good right now. I hope that you have good weather and find new friends there.

Ryan and Hilary said...

Oh what an adventure! There will be many many prayers coming to you. Angels will attend you and your family. This will be the best and worst of times as I am sure you already know. You and are family are an amazing example of Faith. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Sending LOTS and lots of prayers.

♥Stef said...

We will keep praying for you and your family. You are making a great sacrifice for Mason. He will thank you someday, I am sure. We will be anxiously awaiting any news!

Jennifer said...

P.S. Summer....I feel like a stalker to your blog. At least I leave comments right??? :} My blog is private but if you'd like an me.

rudysbeat said...

Been quietly following your journey and taking strength from it as we navigate our own. It is amazing to see what our children's needs will drive us to do and how it can impact our lives, careers, etc. Bless you for the parents you are to ALL of your children. We'll be reading and praying.

Rolf and Trish, Parents of Rudy HLHS
Santa Barbara, CA

PS--Be sure to have a milkshake at the Peninsula Creamery in the Stanford Shopping Center--they don't fix everything, but they sure help ;-).

Kristi Vega said...

What an overwhelming but joyous post! I will definetly keep Mason in my prayers, as well as the family that will give him the gift of life! I cannot wait to read the coming posts! God is amazing and powerful and it is so exciting how He is using Mason for his glory!

(I am starting to think I should have chosen Stanford for Gabriella's transplant, since both Mason AND Owen will be up there! LOL... it's the cool place to be!)

Staci said...

You have been in my prayers and I have wondered what path would be chosen. I understand completely, the need to give your child every chance at a better life. What an example you are to your children and all those around you. I will keep Mason and your family in my prayers as you begin this next journey. It will be hard to transition to all new staff and doctors (the first night in Texas, I balled), just keep reminding yourself these new faces are on a mission to save your beautiful boy.

the timothy's said...

you will ALL be in our thoughts and prayers!!! PLEASE let us know if there is ANYTHING we can do for you guys! ANYTHING at all!!!

the timothy's said...

you will ALL be in our thoughts and prayers!!! PLEASE let us know if there is ANYTHING we can do for you guys! ANYTHING at all!!!

Foulgers said...

We love you guys!!! We are praying for you!!

Megan and Devin said...

There is no doubt in my mind that if anyone can do this, it's you! It's the Strickland family!! I wish you the very best of luck on the next step in your journey. Mason deserves the very best as do you!
I wish Devin and I lived in California right now just so I could help out. You and Mason could just move right into our little apartment here in AZ if his surgery was here! If you're ever in Phoenix for some odd reason please call me!! I will do anything to help.
Best of luck to you...all of you. I can't imagine what you're going through, but you are loved and respected by so many!

Megan Bland

♥ Michele ♥ said...

Good luck to you and your sweet family! We will continue praying for you!! I will check your blog often!

kj10e said...

Summer, I'm not sure if you remember me, but I was Mark's manager when he worked for Lincare in the late '90's?

I came upon your blog about 6 months ago, and have been following you guys ever since.

I have to say that you have the most amazing strength as a mother to go through all you've been through with your sweet boy.

You all will be in my thoughts and prayers as you begin this journey!!

Best of luck for the most positive outcome possible!

Karen (Norton) Tenney

Kimmie said...

thinking about you all TODAY!!!!!

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Jennifer said...

Hope your trip to CA was a good one!