I know some of you may be thinking this will be about the new Pixar movie “Brave”. While I’ll admit to having seen it and also admit that the lead character Merida bears many haunting similarities to Lia from Muirwood, this isn’t about the movie.

We just returned from a 3,800 mile round trip to South Dakota. A single van with five kids. And while someone has told me I deserve a medal of courage driving that distance with so many little ones in the car and constant potty breaks, it is still not the topic of this blog. We loved seeing Mt Rushmore and roaming the gorgeous Black Hills country. But the best part of the trip was visiting my one year-old nephew Michael and his family.

Little Michael, you see, has brain cancer. I’ve written before (Manifesto on Virtue) that I admire the concept of Virtus. I am so proud of my brother and sister-in-law for how they have faced this enormous challenge, and I’m so awed by my little nephew who has handled it with amazing courage and bravery. Not every person gets the humbling challenge in their life of facing their worst fears. Cancer strikes old and young. It has literally stolen his smile.

In my years as a church leader, I’ve seen times like this happen many times and not everyone handles it very well. Sometimes in our lives, we face knee-buckling predicaments that test the very marrow of our courage and our faith. My family will always be grateful to have been in Colorado just after Michael’s 1st birthday to share a portion of the road, if but a few steps of it, with his amazing family.

Here is a video a family member did to celebrate his b-day. What a hero! What a smile!

Love ya, Tim & Liz! Hang in there!

Jeff Wheeler

Jeff Wheeler

Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty epic fantasy novels.

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