Archive for January, 2014

IMG_0034“This place is beautiful.”  Even without sight David knew the potential beauty that Frog’s Whisker Lane, the birth place of David’s Refuge, contained within its borders.  On his first visit to the property David stood in the open field, wondering why we had to leave the house and neighborhood he loved.  As he stood there he heard a noise and said, “What’s that?”  Mom said, “That’s a flock of geese flying overhead.”  He then turned his head as he heard something run by him and he asked, “What’s that?”  Mom said, “That was a deer running into the woods.”  He then turned his head and he heard water running somewhere and he asked, “What’s that?”  Mom said, “That’s a creek that runs through this piece of property.”  David said, “This place is beautiful!”

Despite his blindness and disability, despite his fear of having to leave the home he loved, David was able to see and express the beauty around him.  Since his death over four years ago we have been able to share that beauty with Moms and Dads who are on a similar journey we were on.  David taught us to love life, to love people, and to love God.  We now have the opportunity to help others do the same thing.

Thank you David Pfohl!  Your life, your struggle, your joy, and even your death is now being used to encourage and pour life into families who desperately need it.  Your story lives on!


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sherwood inn

The founders of The Sherwood Inn had one goal when they welcomed a guest.  They wanted to provide “respite for the weary traveler.”  Built as a stagecoach stop in 1807, the Sherwood Inn has been a favorite resting place for travelers and locals for over two centuries.    Located in beautiful Skaneateles, NY, which is known as the “Eastern Gateway to the Finger Lakes” guest can unplug from the daily cares of life, be pampered, enjoy excellent food, and find respite.

It almost sounds like a commercial for David’s Refuge, and in fact it is!  The Sherwood Inn has partnered with us  in offering “respite for the weary traveler”.  There isn’t a single parent of a special needs child or child fighting a fatal disease that doesn’t doesn’t fit the description of being a weary traveler.  This past weekend we hosted three couples at Hobbit Hollow, a beautiful Bed and Breakfast that the Sherwood Inn manages.  Hobbit Hollow 003We were treated like royalty.  Jean, the Inn Keeper greeted us, helped us carry our bags, kept a fire burning in the fireplace, served us appetizers, cooked us breakfast, and made our dinner reservations.  No one wanted to go home.

Almost a year ago Brenda and I were having lunch at the Sherwood after serving three families in our home.  We were exhausted and weary.  As we sat out on the porch having our lunch we gazed out at the lake.  All of a sudden Brenda yelled out, “David’s Refuge at the Sherwood Inn.”  A new vision of how to grow David’s Refuge without having to build or buy new buildings, without us having to cook, clean, change beds was born.

We met with Dennis Dunden, the Director of Marketing and Nancy Ranieri, Hotel Operations, and a new friendship and partnership was formed.    They loved our mission and wanted to help.  Financially we would have never been able to afford sending our guests to Hobbit Hollow.  Dennis and Nancy worked with us and made it possible for David’s Refuge at Hobbit Hollow to become a reality.

While we were there a local TV station, Channel 9 did a story on David’s Refuge.  If you haven’t see it you can watch it here: David’s Refuge at Hobbit Hollow.  Our guests left knowing they were not alone, that what they do everyday as a caregiver matters, and that God loves them.  They came as a weary travelers, and they left refreshed and ready to love and lead their families.  Thank you Sherwood Inn! 


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michelagelo david

This past weekend I read the following in a daily devotional I often read called Our Daily Bread:

For almost 100 years, a huge piece of flawed Carrara marble lay in the courtyard of a cathedral in Florence, Italy. Then, in 1501, a young sculptor was asked to do something with it. He measured the block and noted its imperfections. In his mind, he envisioned a young shepherd boy.  For 3 years, he chiseled and shaped the marble skillfully. Finally, when the 18-foot towering figure of David was unveiled, his student exclaimed to Michelangelo, “Master, it lacks only one thing—speech!”

It made me think of the blog I wrote last week, You are a Masterpiece.  After reading the devotional I wrote the following in my journal,

We are all flawed, yet beautiful.  God’s image seeking to burst forth through our cracks and brokenness.   We are like the piece of flawed marble Michelangelo used to carve David.  Too often we focus on the flaws, the cracks and imperfections, missing all the beauty and potential.

 I love how the author of the story in Our Daily Bread said Michelangelo “noted its imperfections.”  He sought them out, he accepted them, in fact he embraced them and he used them to create a masterpiece.  Too often we try to hide or deny the “imperfections” that are a part of us.

Kathy O’Connell in her book, Firewalk: Embracing Different Abilities, challenges us to totally embrace who we are, the good and the bad, the different.  She writes in her prologue that when we can do this,

We release the struggle to be anything other than who we are, and in doing so, we enter into the perfection that has always been within us.

I love that!  I am a masterpiece and I don’t have to be anything other than who I am.  Yes I’m middle age, yes I am balding, yes I have to use reading glasses to read, yes I take blood pressure medicine to lower my blood pressure, but I am a masterpiece.   And so are you.

Who in your life needs to be reminded that they are a masterpiece?  Tell them.  When you tuck your child into bed tonight tell them they are a masterpiece.  Tonight when you roll over and turn your lights off, roll back towards your spouse and tell them that they are beautiful, that they are a masterpiece.  Look into the eyes of your teenager and tell them they are awesome and that you see the fingerprint of God in their lives.  As you hold your child with special needs, take note of the imperfections and ask God to show you the beauty and majesty in those imperfections.  And then tell yourself, “I am a masterpiece.”

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Beautifully Imperfect

Today I found this beautiful video that celebrates the power and beauty of imperfection.  “Beautifully Imperfect” is a celebration of our idiosyncrasies, and how they can wind up making our relationships beautiful. In this video, a woman relays her husband’s imperfections and just what they meant to her.  Please take the time to watch it.

I hope today you can see the beauty of the imperfect and celebrate!


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You are a Masterpiece

dan cermamicMy youngest son Daniel is an artist.  Specifically he is a ceramicist.  He loves to make pottery.  He loves to throw, beat, mold, and shape clay. His hands, strong yet gentle, manipulate the clay as it spins on the wheel.  From a lump of ugly clay he forms and creates a masterpiece.  If you walk through our home you will find a number of his pieces.  I am so proud of him.   I love showing my friends everything he has made.

My favorite piece is found in the living room of David’s Refuge on Frog’s Whisker Lane.  Here is a picture of it.

dan's vaseIt sits in the room that used to be David’s bedroom.  What I like about it is that it isn’t perfect.  In fact it has all kinds of imperfections that would have caused many artists to start over.  But Daniel didn’t.  He saw the masterpiece within the imperfections.  He realized that beauty and worth is not defined by perfection, but is often created out of the most broken and imperfect parts of our lives.

If you buy one of Dan’s ceramic pieces he includes a business card that says the following:

I learned to make pottery while going through the worst pain in my life.  It was during these trials that I began developing my skills and found a love for working with clay.  I create  my pottery with dimples and imperfections to signify that beauty can come out of the most broken situations.  Daniel Pfohl

Daniel watched his older brother become his younger brother.  He watched him lose his ability to speak, feed himself, and ultimately he watched him die.  Clay and glazes and kilns and throwing wheels became a place he could process his emotions, beat out his anger at God and the world, and find a safe place to grieve and cry.  From this place of brokenness Daniel discovered the beauty of imperfection.   While it took time to heal and grieve Daniel was once again able to see that despite David’s blindness and other severe disabilities David was a Masterpiece.  The dimples and imperfections made him beautiful.

I love it when I can learn from my own children.  Daniel helped me see the wonder and beauty and majesty of David’s life.  Out of his struggle, losses, and death a masterpiece was created.  Now in the bedroom that watched the slow and cruel demise of David we serve and pour life into parents who are struggling to see the beauty in their own child’s disability.  His brokenness, our brokenness is now a thing of beauty.

I’m not sure what dimples, bumps, or imperfections you are dealing with, but I hope and pray you will have the patience to see the beauty that can come from them.  Your child is a masterpiece.  Your spouse is masterpiece.  You are a masterpiece.

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