Friday, December 3, 2010

Our 15 minutes of fame

It was an honor to share our family story with the local newspaper. I have copied and pasted it here or you can follow this link to read it.
Our family is the third story highlighted starting with FIRESTONE.

(Update: Today's weekly freebie newspaper came out. Imagine my surprise when I took it out of the little baggie and found a ginormous picture of our family on the cover! Apparently they re-ran the story for the weekly insert but they cut out the other two stories and just focused on our family. As I drove out of the neighborhood, I could even see my kids faces on my neighbors driveways. It was weird! Then we went to lunch at a local restaurant and saw the paper with our ginormous family picture right there at the front door for all to take. It was a fun but weird experience. I know it is only the local newspaper but it is fun to feel special for a day! )

Residents share stories of personal miracles, the flip side of tragedies

By Magdalena Wegrzyn
© 2010 Longmont Times-Call

LONGMONT — Miracles celebrate the improbable, the unexpected and the joyful.

So often, they spring from calamities and disappointments, evolving from heartbreak and devastation.

Really, miracles are the flip side of tragedies.

Hanukkah commemorates such a miracle — an unexplained moment of joy on the heels of a would-be disaster.

The Jewish Festival of Lights, which began at sunset Wednesday and lasts through next Thursday, celebrates when the Maccabees, a Jewish force, took back the city of Jerusalem from the invading Syrians during the second century B.C.

To rededicate their temple, the Maccabees needed to burn consecrated oil for eight nights.

Although the oil supply they had would normally burn for only one night, it miraculously remained lit for eight nights, according to the story.

So in honor of the holiday, we’re bringing you three stories of miracles from various faiths.

What’s left behind

BOULDER — After the Fourmile Canyon Fire engulfed their home in the foothills of Boulder, the Davidoffs weren’t left with much.

But what the Boulder family did find in the ashes of their former house on Melvina Hill is something Alice Davidoff can’t explain.

“The few things that survived were all spiritual items,” said the 36-year-old Spanish teacher at Monarch High School in Louisville.

A metal menorah she and Mike, her husband and a social worker at the high school, received from a cousin at their wedding was spared. One of the candelabra’s candle holders broke, but Alice was able to replace the piece.

The family also salvaged a mezuzah, a small case that holds a scroll inscribed with passages of Scripture. The scroll was scorched, but the mezuzah still held small shards from the glass goblet Mike broke under the chupa at the couple’s wedding.

The family returned to their property to say a prayer for their two cats, Smoky and Eagle, who died in the fire.

Alice fled the burning canyon at about 10:30 a.m. Sept. 6 after packing her twins, 5-year-old Noah and Lily, into the car along with the family’s two dogs, a great Pyrenees named Yeti and a Rottweiler mix called Wally.

Ten minutes later, Mike, 38, followed with a few possessions — hard drives, instruments and a ketubah, a traditional Jewish marriage agreement from the couple’s wedding.

The family drove the dogs to a relative’s home in north Boulder, then took their twins to a baby sitter in Superior.

By the time they arrived at the baby sitter’s, they had heard from a friend that their home had burned to the ground. Of the 14 houses on their hill, the fire destroyed 10, Alice said.

After staying with friends in Niwot, the Davidoffs recently bought a house in Boulder.

During their first Hanukkah in the new home, they are using the menorah that was saved from the fire.

“It symbolizes the survival of the Jewish people, and that’s really what Hanukkah is all about,” Alice said.

Despite their losses, Alice said the fire brought certain miracles to light.

“One of the miracles is recognizing that even though we lived in a very isolated place, we’re not isolated at all,” she said. “We’ve been so supported by the community of Boulder County.”

A new beginning

LONGMONT — For most of his adult life, Tom Baker believed medicine was the most noble profession.

“You get to a point where you don’t believe there’s a life outside the operating room,” said Baker, 58.

But after a career-ending neck injury in 1996, the former anesthesiologist and specialist in pain management found a new road.

Today, he and his wife, Annette, 52, are ordained Christian ministers and run Baker Family Ministries, a parent church organization that supports Christian ministries.

After surgery on a ruptured disc in his neck, Baker started to lose feeling in his right hand and wasn’t able to practice medicine. Ironically, the man who was double board-certified in pain management became a chronic pain patient.

And he started searching for something more.

“I was drawn back to my roots, and I knew what I needed to do was pursue God,” he said. “And it was clear but nebulous at the same time.”

Baker said his faith healed his neck and upper-back pain, helped him regain movement in his arm and cured his longtime asthma.

“I was delivered from being a chronic pain patient by prayer,” he said.

The path to a new career and a new perspective wasn’t easy, Baker said. But his miracle stems from getting through the darkness.

“That light at the end of the tunnel, it’s not a train trying to run you over, but it’s actually my future. ... But you have to walk through that tunnel to get there,” he said.

One big, happy family

FIRESTONE — When Tirsa and Blaine Allen wed 10 years ago, they knew their dream family of four children might not come easily.

Relatives had struggled with fertility and, sure enough, the young couple received grim news early in their marriage: unexplained infertility.

“When you are going through something difficult, like infertility, you just can’t see around the corner,” said Tirsa, 34. “But God can. My faith has been strengthened as I have learned to trust in his plan for me and my family. He has blessed me beyond what I ever could have imagined with my three miracle babies.”

Undeterred by the diagnosis, she and Blaine, 33, pursued adoption, and three years into their marriage, they welcomed Bella, who is the biological daughter of a distant relative not related by blood.

One year later, the Allens started the adoption process again with help from the family service arm of their church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

By the time Bella was 3, they were set to adopt another baby, a girl with special needs. But after the family drove to Utah to pick up the infant, the birth mother opted to keep the child.

Distraught and heartbroken, they returned home to Firestone.

Shortly after that, the adoption agency found another baby for the couple, this time a boy. He weighed 3 pounds and 13 ounces and was born with life-threatening gastroschisis — a condition in which an infant’s intestine protrudes outside the body — but the couple fell in love with baby Ezra and took him home after surgery.

A little more than a year later, the couple received unexpected news: Tirsa was pregnant.

“It just was something that wasn’t in our minds anymore because we were so happy with the way our kids were coming into our family,” Tirsa said.

After seven years of infertility, she gave birth to Calista, who is now 16 months old.

Along with Bella, 6, and Ezra, 3, Tirsa said she considers all three of her children miracles.

“I don’t believe (God) makes mistakes when he’s forming families,” she said. “I believe 100 percent that he intervenes. He always knew that all three of these children would be ours.”

Magdalena Wegrzyn can be reached at 303-684-5274 or

1 comment:

Moose and Family said...

Wow!! What a nice article. Thank you for sharing it with us. :D