George Burns who lived to be 100 was the master of humorous quotes – especially about his age. I remember watching an interview of his years ago. The host asked him how long he thought he would live. I can’t remember his exact answer, but it was something along the lines of, “Well at least through next year. I’m already booked until December!” That’s a little of how I felt when I found out the neurosurgeon came by to see Justus. After looking at him for less than a minute, he simply said he looks good. He said he wanted an MRI in 3 weeks and then they’d schedule surgery to put the flap (the piece of his skull that was removed) back on. So Justus has an appointment with the neurosurgeon on September 16th. Making an appointment out a couple of weeks is just such a stark (and welcome!) contrast to where we were not so long ago. Justus had another good day. He made improvements again. In some ways they were little improvements – in many ways they were huge gains! Today his eyes continue to focus better. That’s why I included the sweet picture of him looking into his mom’s eyes. He’s also tracking a lot more consistently. His mouth is moving more – he even looks like he’s smiling. The respiratory therapist said he’s swallowing better than ever. The physical and occupational therapists did another amazing job with him. Today they actually got him up to a standing position for the first time in over 30 days!!! Of course a big ball supported him on his front and his therapist was behind him. But to see him on two feet brought tears! So it was a day of cheers and high fives and happy faces.I had tears and a happy face too, but I also had sadness. For the first time in over 30 days, I wasn’t there with Justus. Kelli and I decided it was best for me to run back to Lakewood for a couple of nights. I’m thankful for the chance to do this. Everyone back home has been incredibly graceful. Our church has been unbelievable and my youngest four kids have been so understanding. But school started today and I had a couple of really important meetings (tonight and tomorrow morning) for some fall launches our church is doing. So, I’ll head back to Portland tomorrow afternoon, but it meant missing all of what I described above. Kelli has been feeding me information and pictures and videos of Justus all day long. But I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to be away. It’s hard because things that used to be important, just don’t seem quite as important. One of the hardest things is running into other people. I’m standing in line at Starbucks and no one cares that Justus has just fought the fight of his life. And if I’m honest, I want to get back to our little onsite #TeamJustus team and hug them. Because that’s who I’ve seen everyday… that’s whose shoulders I’ve cried on… that’s who’s stayed up nights with Justus… that’s who’s slept in the waiting room with me… that’s who’s prayed with me all those days. But here’s the really cool thing. I ran into some friends who have been a part of #TeamJustus back in Lakewood, and we hugged! They cared about Justus. They asked about Justus. And I realized that some of these people had seen the updates everyday… they’d cried tears with us (albeit from afar)… they’d woken up in the middle of the night to pray for Justus… they’d prayed with us all of these days. I promise, one of the reasons God has us pray is because of the way it unites His people. My friend and Senior Pastor prays every other week for every person in our church by name. I promise he’s not informing the Lord about anything God doesn’t already know. But, God wants him to pray, so he prays. But here’s my point. His heart is drawn closer to the people in our congregation because he is praying for them. Some of you genuinely love a little boy you have never met. If that isn’t a miracle of prayer, then I don’t know what is! So I have to remember that not everyone I run into feels like I feel about my grandson and that’s ok. In fact, it’s better than ok, it’s the way it should be. But I also now know there are a bunch of hearts joined closely with mine because of prayer for this little ninja. I hope that is encouraging enough to keep you praying until you take your last breath here on earth. Please keep praying that he is able to fully cough and swallow and protect his airway. Pray for him as he comes off of the last bit of pain medicine he is on. He’s having withdrawal symptoms, which is very painful. And please continue to pray for his physical and occupational therapists and the hard work of complete recovery he must go through. And be proactive about finding what people in your life need prayer for… and pray! Thanks again for being a part of #TeamJustus. We love and appreciate you!