Save Our Dad: Jelly Belly's Candypalooza and A Sweet Miracle

9/25/2016 House of Geekiness 0 Comments

Candypalooza at the Jelly Belly Factory today was a blast! We went on the obligatory factory tour (Erik and I can't even count the times we've been on the tour, we know it by heart), wore the silly paper hats, and got our free package of Jelly Bellies.

Stacked trays of Jelly Bellies in the factory
Any bean counters out there? ;)
I will say that it was very nice being able to walk at our own pace in the tours are self-guided now. The kids loved the activities that have been added but we did miss being able to try the Jelly Belly beans at their different stages. The kids missed hearing about how they make them and especially missed the cowboy Jelly Belly that always showed the welcome sign on the machine he was riding.
Miniature horses from Angels for Minis
There was a fun carnival and car show outside the factory, but the miniature horses were our favorite part. Angels for Minis brought some of their adorable and sweet horses for us to meet. We just discovered them, but Angels for Minis is an incredible nonprofit that not only rescues miniature horses but has therapy programs for special needs children (like our own)!

Since the factory tour involves a lot of walking and standing, Den rode in a wheelchair today. Erik asked if his dad wanted to be moved closer to the horses so he could pet them, he replied, "No, because then I'd want to take one home with me." I tell you, now I really see why my husband is so loveable. He gets it from his dad!
But the ladies of Angels for Minis wouldn't let Den be left out. They offered to bring a horse to him and he loved every second of it.

Our oldest in the cafe section of the Jelly Belly Factory. He's so proud of how tall he's getting!

Now, for the miracle part. I knew that Den was getting better everyday (read about Den's fight against cancer and our family's move to save him), but until I saw this picture, I had no idea. See how filled out he looks? Now, look at this next one from about a month ago, right after we were able to move here to California to take care of him:

You can tell he's a bit thin and he had to wear suspenders because all of his pants were too loose to stay on him. Here's Den just a month before that, when we first saw how sick he was:

 He was so thin and frail and it scared us to death! He couldn't even take a short walk through the grocery store without having to ride in a motor-cart. Now, take a look at the first picture again next to the first:

THIS is our miracle. Just weeks ago, we thought Den, Erik's dad, was going to die from terminal cancer. If you remember, I even wrote a post (which you can read here) about how unfair it was that a man this wonderful who has spent his life serving others could get so sick. But we've (especially Den) trusted in God and He has truly blessed our family. Through the help of friends, family, and even complete strangers, we were able to quickly relocate our family from Utah to California, despite some overwhelming obstacles.

Den has had two rounds of chemo, and, against all odds, has actually gained weight and strength each day. So far, he hasn't had a bit of the nausea, exhaustion, or weight loss we'd been expecting
just some hair loss and occasional fogginess. The suspenders aren't needed anymore and he's getting out almost everyday to play pool with his friends at the senior center. He also gets to go to church every week for the whole three hours, just as he wants. In fact, last Sunday, he ended up spending four hours at church, then coming home for a short rest/lunch before going out to visit some fellow church members!

Our oldest kid enjoying a game of cribbage with Grandpa Den, about 20 days ago
We are so thankful that Heavenly Father given us the privilege of being here with him. He has already been such an example of strength, kindness, and faith to us that he has changed our lives completely. He is such a joy to be around!

The cancer isn't gone yet, but we already consider this a victory. Thank you all for your endless prayers, help, and love. Thank you for being God's hands and helping us save our dad/grandpa! I'll update you again soon.


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