Author Archive for Warren Pfohl

Sit With Me in the Dark

Have you ever wondered what to say or what to do when someone you love or know has a child with a special need or is fighting for their lives with a life-threatening disease?   You fear to say the wrong thing so you say nothing at all.

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The Power of Siblings

Wendell, Warren, Wayne, and Walter!  Sons of Albert and Ruby Pfohl.  Four brothers, each unique in personality, experiences, gifting and calling.  One always says he is the better looking!  You be the judge.

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A Dream Come True

David’s Refuge is truly a dream come true. It is a dream we longed for and has now been achieved. It was a prayer and a wish we didn’t know if it would ever get off the ground yet this year we will serve 350 families.

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Pea Brain Theology

Someday I am going to write a book.  I’m not sure if anyone will buy it or read it but I am still going to write it.  It’s going to be called Pea Brain Theology by The Highly Esteemed Most Reverend Warren Pfohl.  Ok, let’s get rid of the Highly Esteemed Most Reverend part and just say by Warren Pfohl, a self-proclaimed Pea Brain. 

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Renewed! Refreshed! Restored!

Would you do something for me?  Two days ago Dan and BrandiLee Schafran, along with their two boys and Dan’s mom landed at Fort Myers airport for a few days of refreshment, renewal, and restoration.  Brenda and I have the privilege and honor to host them for a few days.  I don’t know why but I feel like I did hosting our first couple at David’s Refuge seven years ago.

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The “F” Word

Young man, look at me in the eyes!”
These words often haunt me.  David was only eight years old.  I don’t remember what he had done wrong, but I wanted him to look at me so I could talk to him, teach him, and discipline him.  But no matter how many times I asked him to look at me in my eyes, he continued to look at my forehead.  Sadly, I spanked him

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Please Share Your Story

Everyone of us has a story that should be shared.  I love telling our story.  Sometimes I come to the end of our story and I feel as if I have been gutted and beaten, but more often I feel elated and privileged to be one of the protagonist in a story I would have never written or signed up for.  I love telling our story.

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The Stocking

Putting away our Christmas decorations I found this. David’s stocking. (We named him David after the shepherd boy David who was a man after God’s heart.)

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Facetime Live With Warren and Brenda

Just a quick blog to invite you to join Brenda and me tonight (11/7/18) at 8:30 PM EST for a Facebook Live event. November is National Caregiver Month and David’s Refuge will be hosting 4 Empowerment sessions to encourage, teach, and support you in you role as a mom, dad, and caregiver.

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Make A Memory

It almost feels like it was yesterday.  In my mind’s eye I can see my bride, Brenda, walking down the aisle, gorgeous, white dress, veil covering her face, her dad confidently walking by her side, moments away from entrusting her to me as her husband.  It is a memory I will never forget. Twelve years … Continued

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Hijacked Again

  “1988, that was the year I was born!”  Eight little words, a short sentence spoken with no malice and my heart and emotions were immediately hijacked.  Fighting back tears, I told the technician who came to fix a leak under my sink about my David who also was born in 1988.  I’m sure the … Continued

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OUR NEW NORM

We have a new normal.  Here is what it looks like. Sleeping in five different beds over the past 15 days Waking up each morning having to orient yourself to which direction the bathroom is Running through the airport like OJ Simpson to catch your next flight, only to have them close the door as … Continued

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OOPS

Oops!  I accidentally sent out tomorrows blog before it was finished.  Please ignore it!  Stay tuned for tomorrows blog! Warren

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NEW NORMAL

We have a new normal.  Here is what it looks like. Sleeping in five different beds over the past 15 days Waking up each morning having to orient yourself to which direction the bathroom is Running through the airport like OJ Simpson to catch your next flight, only to have them close the door as … Continued

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Celebrate, Party! It’s good for you

I love a great party!  People laughing, celebrating, eating and drinking, storytelling, dancing, and yelling with arms raised high as your team scores the winning touchdown.  Who doesn’t enjoy a good party?  In fact, I think we were created by God to excel at celebration.  He wants us to celebrate life, each other, events both … Continued

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Every Now And Then You Have To Boast

Would you mind if I took a couple minutes to brag?  I know Mom always said no one likes a bragger.  Even the Good Book, the Bible, says, “Don’t brag about yourself—let others praise you.”  Proverbs 27:2  But I can’t help myself!  I feel like I’m going to explode if I don’t brag a little … Continued

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Defining PROUD

Today’s Blog is brought to you by Sarah Watson – David’s Refuge Event Manager   Definition: proud/ adjective 1. Feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated. 2. Having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of … Continued

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Sleep Deprivation

Yesterday my doctor looked me in the eyes and said, “You have to work on your hygiene!”  No, I’m not my talking about my personal hygiene.  My appointment was with a sleep specialist who talked about the importance of good sleep hygiene.  I have struggled with sleeping for many years.  As the parent of a … Continued

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Do Something.

I spent this past weekend searching for a missing boy with autism. I was notified early Saturday morning that volunteers were being requested to help search for a 14-year-old child who left school property after getting off the bus on Thursday morning. Due to an alarming number of systemic and human errors (to include multiple … Continued

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My New Habit

  I’m working on developing a new habit.  It’s going to take time and effort, but I am confident that I will succeed.  You see,, for the past five or more years I have wasted some of the most productive hours of my day with brainless activity.  Like a gerbil running in circles on his … Continued

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Defining a year…

Today’s Blog is brought to you by Sarah Watson Year yir/ noun 1. the time taken by a planet to make one revolution around the sun. 2. the period of 365 days (or 366 days in leap years) starting from the first of January, used for reckoning time in ordinary affairs. I watched a super … Continued

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Pray For The Schafrans

“Hey Warren…wanted to text you…Just talked to doctors…test indicate positive for rhabdomyosarcoma…Finn’s cancer is back.” Come on God!  We prayed for the Schafrans.  Finn was in recovery.  He was getting better.  Life was getting back to normal.  He was gaining weight.  But now it’s back.  It’s not a cyst; it’s not scar tissue; it’s not … Continued

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Love, Marriage & a Side of Grief

Apart from the occasional humorous anecdote or good-natured jab at his expense, I don’t often write about my husband. Sure, I write a lot about life and family in general, but I don’t think I have ever written about marriage or romance. Since I am guest-blogging here for the first time ON Valentine’s Day, it … Continued

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HELP: It’s Valentine’s Day

I need your help!  Last year I dropped the ball big time.  I’m sitting in my office, sipping coffee, checking out what’s happening that day on Facebook, and I start noticing all these people leaving comments for Brenda.  I think to myself, “I wonder what’s causing all the excitement?”  So I click onto her Facebook … Continued

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Defining a mother…

Today’s post is brought to you by Sarah Watson – David’s Refuge Events Manager Mom. What does that word mean to you? To me “mom” is pretty much everything. A name, a person, a feeling, a comfort, an emotion. Mom is wisdom, guidance, happiness, strength. The Dictionary defines mother as – Mother – mothered; mothering  … Continued

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Two Of My Favorite Things!

Yesterday I had the following symptoms: I had this nagging feeling I didn’t belong I was more emotional than usual I had a hard time getting motivated I was a little sad I was a little less confident than usual If you were my doctor what would your diagnosis be?  Pregnant?  I don’t think so.  … Continued

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Change is Good: A New Blog Routine

I’m back!  It was good to step back and take a few weeks off.  We enjoyed Christmas in New York with our whole family and just sent Dan and Katie back to snowy Rochester after a week with us here in Florida. We are looking forward to a great 2018.  I would like to share … Continued

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Merry Christmas!

  As you are reading this post we will be gathered with our family to celebrate Christmas in New York.  I can’t wait!  We will all be together on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  I will not be posting until the New Year.  Brenda and I pray your Christmas and holiday season is blessed and … Continued

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On The First Day of Christmas….

I posted this last year and wanted to share it with you again this!  It is a great one to share with folks who ask the question, “What can we give you or do for you this holiday season?”  Merry Chrismtas. Every year a few weeks before Christmas friends and family would begin to call … Continued

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Warren’s Sermon: Beauty from Brokeness

Today will be my final blog entry on the “The Story of David’s Refuge.”  It has been fun, therapeutic, and at times difficult to wade through some of the more difficult parts of our story.  Thank you for taking the time to read it.  It is truly a picture of beauty coming from brokenness. In … Continued

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I am Thankful!

“How can you say you are grateful for your son’s death?”  This father’s anger and grief over his son’s diagnosis was raw.  All he could see and feel as we sat in the living room was the loss, the fear, the unknown, and the dreams that would never be fulfilled.  Sadly, he misunderstood me when … Continued

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David: A Man After God’s Own Heart

It was 3:02 and our first guests had not yet arrived.  Pandora was playing a quiet jazz station.  The flower arrangement was placed in the vase in the bedroom.  The gift basket was filled with gummy bears, chocolate, cheese and crackers,  and a bottle of Pinot Noir.  Now all we needed was for the guests … Continued

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The Story of David’s Refuge

I love telling the story of David’s Refuge.  It is a story of hope, a story of redemption, a story that reminds all of us that we are not alone and are loved by God.  It’s the story of a mom and dad who experienced the greatest fear of any parent, the loss of a … Continued

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The Power of Forgiveness

  There is only way to live and never be hurt and that is to choose to never love another person.  If you are in a relationship with anyone, you will be hurt.  And the more you love that person, the deeper that hurt will go.  Unfortunately, we often enter marriage thinking if we simply … Continued

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The Crazy Cycle

Do you remember the first “stupid” argument you got into with your spouse?  I do!  It was about whether chili is considered a soup or not.  We had only been married a few weeks and Brenda made her version of chili which included celery, not many chili beans, and spaghetti.  After taking my first cautious … Continued

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Marriage: Overcoming The Challenges

I miss many things about being a pastor, but one of the greatest things I miss is participating in a couple’s wedding ceremony.  Months and months of planning and dreaming and hoping have finally come together.  The cake has been made, the guests selected and invited, the church reserved, the honeymoon planned and greatly anticipated, … Continued

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Asa Rowan Pfohl

I would like to introduce you to my new grandson, Asa Rowan Pfohl!  Asa and his mommy and daddy will be home in about an hour.  His brothers, Ezra and Levi, can’t wait for his arrival.  Nonnie and Poppie are a little tired but happy to be here to help and to celebrate Chris and … Continued

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#AdamsActs

Today I want to introduce you to a fellow blogger, a mom of a child with special needs, a David’s Refuge guest and host, and friend, Lara Capuano.   I love her honesty, transparency, and genuine faith.  Listen to how she is described on her website: Lara also makes you feel bipolar because while you are … Continued

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Standing For You

To stand or to kneel, a question that seems to be dividing our country.  Turn on your TV, open your Facebook News  Feed, or listen to the radio for just few moments and you will be barraged with commentary, opinion, hatred, fear and debate.  Each side vehemently believes in their perspective.  Some of the debate … Continued

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Beauty In The Wake of Irma

Often you will hear me say we live in a beautiful yet broken world.  Sadly the brokenness surrounds us here in Bonita Spring, Florida.  Hurricane Irma was vicious and destructive.  Homes are still flooded, trees uprooted, electricity is still off for thousands, water needs to be boiled, and countless people are left wondering how they … Continued

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Please Pray for Us!

I just got off the phone with our pastor in Bonita Springs, Florida.  He is kayaking around his neighborhood, his phone is about to die, there is no electricity, all the stores are closed, and he can’t find gas for his car.  I can only imagine how overwhelmed he feels.  While the storm has passed, … Continued

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Just One Taste

Can you remember a time when someone said to you, “Just one taste!  I promise you’ll like it.”  Slowly they dip a fork into their concoction, twirling the bite size morsel into the sauce with all the bits and pieces.  As they raise the sample to your mouth, your nose is working like a basset … Continued

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We Have Needs Too

Rocky Balboa got it!  He didn’t try to hide it; he didn’t pretend; he simply admitted he had “gaps.”  In fact, when asked by his brother-in-law Paulie Pennino why he liked Adrian so much he said, “I dunno, she’s got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.”― Sylvester Stallone-Rocky Rocky understood having “gaps” is … Continued

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Together We Can Help Each Other

More often than not moms and dads who have enjoyed a weekend at David’s Refuge ask the question, “What can I do to give back?”  Our normal response is to encourage them to develop a regular rhythm of respite so they can take better care of themselves, which means they will better be able to … Continued

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Warndell

Without a doubt he is my best friend.  We shared a common womb, we were born on the same day, we both came to faith in a God who loved us in the same year, and we are both ordained ministers.  Sadly, we both had children whose disabilities took their lives.  There is little doubt … Continued

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“We Know David Was Smiling Down On Us”

I spent sometime this week reading through comments our guests made after their weekend get away with David’s Refuge.  As I read them I couldn’t help but think of how proud David would be if he knew the difference his life was making in the lives of so many people.  Despite his blindness, disability, and … Continued

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Now What?

Do you realize you were created to make a difference?  You are a force to be reckoned with.  Out of the 7.5 billion people who call planet earth their home, there is no one just like you.  In fact, I would go so far as to say you are a masterpiece.  You have been given … Continued

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A Change of Perspective

A couple weeks ago Brenda started working on a puzzle.  She loves the challenge of finding all the flat pieces, forming the frame, gathering all the same colored and patterned pieces, and then fitting the 750 unique pieces into a cohesive beautiful whole.  I, on the other hand, can work on a puzzle for five … Continued

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Survival Skills For The Weary Caregiver

Last week I watched my nephew and my niece’s boyfriend riding a paddleboard on some very wavy water.  They balanced and paddled and battled the waves, both enjoying the challenge.  Every time a wave would knock them off they would get back on the board and try again.  I was ready for a nap after … Continued

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My Final Letter to David

For the past four weeks I have shared some very personal letters I wrote to David.  As Brenda helped edit my posts she would often quietly cry as she was reminded of the joy of being David’s mom yet also the pain and struggle of watching her son lose so much.  I am so glad … Continued

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Dear David I Feel Helpless Today

One of the battles I struggled with as we cared for David was a sense of helplessness.  I couldn’t stop the disease from progressing, I couldn’t make David’s pain go away, and I often felt I was failing as a father.  A dad’s job is to protect their children from harm.  Sadly there was nothing … Continued

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Dear David, I’m thankful for your Mom!

One of the greatest blessings I have in my life is my wife, Brenda.  For 33 years we have enjoyed the highs and lows of living together in this beautiful yet broken world.  By far the greatest challenge we have faced together was watching the devastating effects of David’s disease and his ultimate death.  It … Continued

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Dear David…

For the next four weeks I am going to share some letters that I wrote to David near the end of his life.  One of the greatest struggles I faced as David lost more and more of his cognitive abilities was my inability to communicate to him my how much I loved him and ached … Continued

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Are You a “Leaker” Or a “Gusher?”

My daughter-in-law, Brittney is from California.  She pronounces apricot as “āprəkät.”  I pronounce it as “aprəkät”  Who is right?  We both are!  There is no right way.  No matter how you pronounce it, they are delicious.  The same can be said for the way we process and deal with grief and pain.  Some people store … Continued

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Alajuelita: Costa Rica

As you are sipping your coffee reading this blog Brenda and I are in Alajuelita, Costa Rica with our wonderful church, Turning Point Church on a short term mission trip.  We are joining with a local church, Iglesia, Cristiana Alajuelita, to help build a home for a wonderful family.  Karolina and her four children live … Continued

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Transitions

Today I am believing in the phrase, “Shorter is Better!” Tomorrow we are returning to Florida so we can pack up and fly to Costa Rica with our church on a short term missions trip.  Seven days later we return to Florida to supervise a construction project, then fly to Door County, Wisconsin for our nieces … Continued

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Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

w How do you calculate the value of a volunteer?  According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, last year about 63 million Americans gave 8 billion hours of volunteer service worth $193 billion dollars.  That’s a lot of money and time! Eight billion ordinary people doing extraordinary things for others.  They are not paid or coerced. … Continued

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Kate Houck: One Year as Executive Director

Last week I was talking on the phone with a potential board member for David’s Refuge who would bring great value to our organization.  During our conversation I shared how blessed we are to have Kate Houck as our Executive Director.  Without prompting, this person said, “In all my years of working with nonprofits in the Syracuse … Continued

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Hosts: Recycling Experts!

I want to introduce to you two good friends of mine, Jeff and Bitsy Namy.  Jeff and Bitsy have been volunteering with David’s Refuge for the past several years and have just joined our host team.  They are compassionate, selfless, and caring people who have been shaped and prepared to be excellent hosts by experiencing first … Continued

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Home: A Vessel That Holds Memories

Have you ever heard of the “Bonita Bay Shuffle?”  If you had to guess, what do you think it is?  If you guessed a new dance move Brenda and I are learning out on the dance floor, you would be wrong.  If you thought it was a new card game we play at the Community … Continued

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Grandsons!

My son and his family arrived yesterday for a week of vacation with Nonni and Poppi.  For the next seven days we will play with our grandsons at the beach, cook and eat together, read books, go for walks, and simply enjoy time together.   The time will go all too quickly.   Thankfully we know we will see them … Continued

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Happy Easter!

(WARNING: Warren has his “Pastor” hat on today!) As many of you know I was a pastor for 15 years.  I taught, counseled, married, buried, baptized, prayed,  encouraged, and helped people who were far from God draw closer to him.  I loved my job and at times really miss it.  From time to time I … Continued

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The Power of Saying and Hearing “I Love You.”

Last week I spent a few days in New York visiting family and catching up on some David’s Refuge business.  Before leaving I hid a note for Brenda to discover.  The note was short.  It simply said, “I love you!  When you find this note email me with three reason why you still love me.” … Continued

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Matt Schmidt: 1990-2016

It is hard to believe that this Friday will mark one year since my nephew Matt Schmidt died in a car accident on his way to begin training as a missionary with Youth with a Mission.  In the blink of an eye his family and friends lives were turned upside down.  The empty chair at … Continued

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How Many Children Do You Have?

“How many children do you have?”  It’s a question I ask often as I meet new friends here in Florida, and it’s a question that is often asked of me.  On one hand it is a very simple question to answer.  We have three boys: Christopher, David, and Daniel.  But here is where it gets … Continued

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Grief: The Price We Pay For Love

I love and hate this quote on grief. “Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love.  The only cure for grief is to grieve.”  Earl Grollman I love it because it reminds me of how much I loved … Continued

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Why Me?

Like many of you I have a morning routine that helps me enter into the day. I get up, grind my coffee beans and make the coffee. While the coffee is brewing, I put out my vitamins for the day and set out everything to make oatmeal later in the morning.  I pour and bring Brenda … Continued

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A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Have you ever had a day like Alexander’s, a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day?  From the moment Alexander wakes up everything goes south.  He finds gum in his hair, he trips on his skateboard, there is no prize in his box of breakfast cereal, the dentist finds a cavity, the elevator door closes … Continued

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Exhaustion

ex·haus·tion [iɡˈzôsCH(ə)n] noun a state of extreme physical or mental fatigue. the action or state of using something up or of being used up completely drained of one’s physical or mental resources PLEASE NOTE: THIS BLOG WAS WRITTEN IN A STATE OF EXHAUSTION For the past five days Brenda and I have had the privilege … Continued

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Will You Be Mine?

For the past thirty three years I have had only one Valentine, my beautiful, wonderful, talented, godly, funny, artistic, kind, and generous best friend, Brenda Bell Pfohl.  We have lived in thirteen different homes, two countries, had three wonderful sons, lost one, changed jobs four times, started David’s Refuge together, became grandparents and are now living … Continued

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God Has Not Forgotten You

On Sunday I watched a video in our church that told the story of D’Brickashaw and Kirsten Ferguson.  D’Brickashaw played left tackle for the NY Jets.  Like many of us they started life out with the dream that they would get married, buy a house, have children and live happily ever after.  Sadly brokenness entered their life when … Continued

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Joy and Sadness Mingled Together

Have you ever been really sad but at the same time filled with a sense of incredible joy?  It’s a really a strange feeling.  Yesterday an article in the Daily Orange  was published about David’s Refuge and our story of how and why we started it.  While reading it I was overwhelmed by a sudden rush of … Continued

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You Are What You Eat

One of my personal goals this year is to do a better job of taking care of myself.  I am slowly starting to realize that I am no longer a 23 year old man who can stay up late, eat ice cream and Doritos for dinner, and sit like a couch potato watching 4 episodes of Blue Bloods … Continued

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THE POWER OF GRATITUDE

How would you like to experience the following? Improved physical, emotional, and social well-being Greater optimism and happiness Improved feelings of connection in times of loss or crises Increased self-esteem Heightened energy levels Strengthened heart, immune system, and decreased blood pressure Improved emotional and academic intelligence Expanded capacity for forgiveness Decreased stress, anxiety, depression, and … Continued

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Can One Weekend Really Make a difference?

Six years ago Brenda and I bought a pound of bacon, a dozen eggs, some fresh fruit and a gift certificate to a local restaurant to prepare for our first guests at David’s Refuge.  We were filled with a mixture of apprehension, excitement, fear, and wonder.  Would parents come?  Would we accomplish our mission of “Caring for the … Continued

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Wednesday With Warren

Every Tuesday I sit down at my computer and ask myself the question, “What should I write about this week?”  Often I have been chewing or ruminating on a thought all week like a cow chewing its cud and I know exactly what I want to share.  Unfortunately, there are also some weeks that I shut … Continued

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Problem with last blog

For some reason the video message I posted did not appear in today’s blog.   I am going to try and post it again here.  Sorry for any confusion!

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Warren’s Prayer For You

2016 was a year of many changes and transitions for Brenda and me.  We are grateful for the many friends who have walked with us through both the good and the bad.  I’m closing out this year with a personal message and prayer for all of us.  May God bless you in 2017!  

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Words of wisdom from Linus

Sadly, fear is a part of being human.  It is always uninvited, unwanted, and limiting.  Ask twenty five people what they fear most and more than likely each one will have something different on their list.  I have a fear of falling, very different than the fear of heights.  I can stand on the observation … Continued

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On the first day of Christmas….

Every year a few weeks before Christmas friends and family would begin to call and ask, “What can I get David for Christmas?”  Each year David would lose more of his sight, physical ability, and cognitive skills.  While his love and passion for the holiday never waivered, his ability to express what he wanted and our … Continued

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Be Still!

I want to give you a gift.  I know you need it and want it.  In fact, your health and your ability to be a good parent, husband, wife, or best friend depends on your willingness to unwrap this gift and apply it to your life.  It’s so allusive yet vital to our wellbeing that God … Continued

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Three Stories – One Lesson

It’s story time!  So grab a cup of coffee and take just a moment to find a comfortable place to sit and see if you can find the one simple lesson found in these three stories about a snow shovel,  bang bang shrimp, and a painting. The first story starts this way:  Once upon a time, in … Continued

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Where’s “Warren and Brenda?”

Where’s Waldo?  I’ll be honest I never liked looking for Waldo.  I would spend about 45 seconds looking for the little man with his red and white striped shirt, knit pom pom hat and glasses and give up.  While some people find it challenging and relaxing, it always stressed me out and frustrated me.  I would think … Continued

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We All Need An Encouraging Word

For the past three weeks my pastor in Florida has been preaching a series on the power of encouragement. Isn’t it amazing how one word of praise, an unexpected note or email, a smile or hug just at the right time can actually be life changing?  The dictionary defines encouragement as “the action of giving … Continued

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Our Hosts: “Kintsugi Masters”

Have you ever heard of Kintsugi?  It is the ancient Japanese art of mending broken objects with gold, silver or platinum.   I love the way Kintsugi artists actually embrace the brokenness of the vessel instead of trying to hide it.  They visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece resulting in something more beautiful than the … Continued

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I Am A Difference Maker!

Have you ever been hijacked by the lie that you are a nobody? You begin to compare yourself to others around you and you think, “What have I ever done that has really made a difference in the world I live in?” You see people who have started successful businesses, neighbors who have prospered financially, … Continued

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Remind Your Kids They Are Not Alone!

Every summer I went to Boy Scout camp.  While I enjoyed the hiking and fire building and working on my merit badges, I often felt a little lonely.  Night time was the worst.  I loved it when I got a letter from home.  They were always brief; filled with what mom was cooking for dinner that night, how the tomatoes … Continued

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A Siblings Reflections: Words from Chris and Dan

  Do you remember the first time you drove a car all by yourself?  Do you remember what you were doing and where you were when the planes hit the twin towers?  Can you recall your first kiss?  Some of our memories are seared so deeply in our heart mind and soul that they become a … Continued

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My Three Sons

Brenda and I bought our first real painting for our home in Door County, Wisconsin. It’s entitled “Mischief Afloat” by Pamela Murphy.  She is a local artist who collects old photographs and chooses figures from them for her paintings.  She oftentimes doesn’t paint the faces of the people in the photographs allowing the viewer to … Continued

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“Easy Peasy”: Like David’s Refuge

Did you know that the saying “Easy Peasy” comes from the phrase “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy?” It was coined in the 1950s in a commercial for a Sqezy, a British detergent brand which was sold in a squeeze bottle and had a lemon scent.  It simply means it is something easy to do.  No effort.  … Continued

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You are loved: No Doubt About It!

I was a very shy boy growing up especially around girls.  One word or a question from a member of the opposite sex and my ears would begin to glow red, my tongue would grow thick, and my heart would begin to beat so hard I was sure anyone within ten feet of me could hear … Continued

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Brenda Pfohl: My Favorite CoFounder

This past Saturday we held our third annual Taste of David’s Refuge.  It was an elegant, extravagant, food and fun filled evening celebrating the legacy of David’s life and the impact of David’s Refuge in our community.  Our Executive Director, Kate Houck, wanted to invite someone special to be the key note speaker.  She wanted … Continued

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The Man Behind The Mission

This Friday is The Taste of David’s Refuge.  Yes its a fund raising event but it is so much more.  It’s a celebration of success, of a life giving mission being accomplished with excellence, and of a  community that believes in and loves the moms and dads we serve. But I really like to think of it … Continued

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Finnsfans

Many of you have asked how Finn is doing.  If you are interested in following their journey and want updates please follow them on their new blog  at www.finnsfans.wordpress.com.  This is a great way to communicate with them.  Lets overwhelm them with the knowledge that they are loved by God and not alone. PS: Please … Continued

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Getting the Diagnosis

For the past week many of us have been praying for Finn and his family.  Almost daily I think about them sitting down with the doctor and hearing the words, “Your son has cancer.”  The weight of those words are almost unbearable.  Every parent of a child with special needs or those who are struggling with … Continued

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Finn Needs Our Prayers

Cancer. Just typing the word makes me feel sick. Sadly our dear friends, Dan and BrandiLee Schafran’s little boy, Finn was just diagnosed with a rare malignant cancer called rhabdomyosarcosis. The battle has begun. Finn needs our prayers. Who are the Schafrans you ask? They are: Our friends. Wonderful parents. Followers of Christ. Guests of … Continued

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Stress…when things are out of control!

I took a stress test online today and scored 443!  When I looked up what this meant it said, “You have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.”  Some of the biggies for me were the death of two close family members, retirement, and a change in residence.  Thankfully … Continued

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Because of you…

I’m sorry but I have to boast about something today.  David’s Refuge is where it is today “Because Of” the support, hard work, and dedication of our Board of Directors.  This week Brenda and I had the privilege of taking our board out for a nice dinner at the Brae Loch to say thanks and … Continued

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Mary’s Meadow B&B: Home Away From Home

Have you ever walked into someones house and thought, “I feel like I’m home?” It smells like home. The stairs creek just like home. The way the table is set makes you feel like home. The nick knacks on the book shelves remind you of home. The pictures of past family members, grandchildren, parties, and … Continued

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10 Fitch: Elegance, Tranquility, & Romance

10 Fitch understands.  They get it.  Everyone needs a little elegance, tranquility, and romance.  Ask any guest who has stayed at this beautiful bed and breakfast and they will tell you 10 Fitch understand the importance of getting away, of unplugging, of respite.  They have mastered the art of hospitality.  On their homepage you will find the … Continued

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Bitter or Better: It’s Our Choice

Have you ever wondered why it is some people can walk through adversity and actually use it to become better, while others go through a trial and they become bitter?  One person takes the lemons handed them in life and turns them into lemonade.   Another person gets the same bag of lemons and they allow … Continued

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Stinking Thinking: You are what you think

This past weekend I was privileged to be a part of a panel discussion on “Caring for the Caregiver” at the 2014 Accessibility Summit.   This is an annual conference that joins families, caregivers, faith based organizations, service providers and teachers who care for and support those with disabilities.  We enjoyed meeting others who have a … Continued

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2013 Annual Report: A Story of Hope and Love

Have you ever read a book that you just couldn’t put down? Each chapter draws you deeper and deeper into the story as the plot takes twists and turns you could never have imagined. It’s only when you get to the end of the book that you realize how each person, event and place fit together so … Continued

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Looking to the Future: Where do you see us?

Have you ever had a question stuck in your head that just won’t go away?  Here are a few that have been bumbling around in my mind for the past six months or so. How big should David’s Refuge grow? Who do we need to hire to accomplish that growth? As we expand our sphere … Continued

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It’s Time to Fill Your Tank: Marriage

The voice on the telephone line was obviously stressed. “I’m sorry but we are going to have to cancel our reservation this weekend at David’s Refuge.” After a painful few moments of silence the tears began to flow.  Rory just listened as the woman poured out the brokenness of their marriage.  She then said, “I … Continued

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This Place is Beautiful!: Words From My Blind Son

“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 … Continued

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Respite For The Weary Traveler: The 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 … Continued

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You are a Masterpiece: Part II

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 … Continued

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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. … Continued

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You are a Masterpiece

My 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 … Continued

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2013 in Review: A Look Back at my Blog

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for my blog.  I thought you would enjoy seeing it.  After looking through their findings I would love to know what you would like to see more of in 2014.  May God bless all of you with health, contentment, joy, and peace as you look … Continued

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You Gotta Kick the “Shouldof” out of Should Have

My good friend and pastor Doug Bullock once said, “You gotta kick the “shouldof” out of should have!”  Living under the burden of “should have” sucks the life from you.  I should have shopped earlier.  I should have invited my neighbors over for a Christmas party.  I should have baked cookies.  I should have sent … Continued

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Join David’s Refuge: Change a family’s life!

In just a few weeks we will be  opening the doors for 2014!  It is going to be a very exciting year.  Our goals are: To double the number of families served To identify, train, and release 10 couples as hosts To create a long range business plan that will enable us to reach more … Continued

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A time to give thanks!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  My son is wrapping a turkey with bacon and then slowly roasting it with apple wood chips in his Weber grill!  Excuse me as I wipe the drool off my keyboard.  I can’t wait to sit down at their table and enjoy a meal shared with my family and friends.  I love … Continued

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What Will I Experience at David’s Refuge?

After weeks of anticipation our guests finally arrive at their Bed and Breakfast or Inn.  They are greeted by the Inn Keeper and shown to their room.  As they enter the room they see the fresh flowers, the gift basket, the wine, slippers, and robe.  Our goal is to overwhelm them with extravagance so that they … Continued

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A Lesson on Prayer: Not a sign of weakness

“Brenda I don’t think we are going to be able to come to David’s Refuge this weekend. I have tried everyone I know to cover a hole in our childcare.” It was a cry of desperation. Everything was set except for a four hour hole. It looked hopeless. Brenda said, “We will pray for you.” … Continued

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“David’s story isn’t finished!”: Part 3 Guest Blog

I love how David’s life story continues to ripple, touching and blessing and healing families.  I want to thank Jolene for giving me an opportunity to share our story about David’s Refuge.  Make sure you check out her website at: http://www.differentdream.com/ or you can follow her on Twitter at @jolenephilo. Here is the third and … Continued

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It is Well With My Soul: Part II Guest Blog

“Are you serious? David is dead. For thirteen years Batten Disease robbed him of every ability he had and we are singing that all is well?” Read today’s post to see why we can say, “It is well with my soul! http://www.differentdream.com/2013/11/davids-refuge-story-pt-2-it-is-well/

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Check Out My Guest Post!: Part 1

I am beginning to love the possibilities and power of social media.  Several months ago my friend, Kathy Schreiber, told me I should check out @jolenephilo on Twitter.  According to her Twitter page Jolene is a: wife, mom, teacher, special needs advocate, author, blogger, national speaker, & Downton Abbey fan from Iowa Jolene is a gifted … Continued

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Four Years! We miss you David

Four years!  Some days it feels as if it never happened, others like it was just yesterday.  As a family we huddled together in the hospital room.  Waiting.  Praying.  Struggling.  We knew we were going to be saying good-bye very soon.  His breathing was irregular.  He no longer wanted food or water.  The meds kept … Continued

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It Takes a Village to Remind Us We Are Not Alone!

One of the most common cries we hear from parents who come to David’s Refuge is an overwhelming feeling of isolation and loneliness.  Without fail when I tell our Moms and Dads we want them to leave knowing they are not alone, their eyes well up with tears and they begin to quietly weep.  It … Continued

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The Power of Generosity: Paying it Forward

Today I experienced the power of generosity.  Brenda and I had lunch at Gordon-Biersch at Destiny USA in Syracuse.  We had a wonderful conversation with Matt Swanner, the General Manager, about David’s Refuge and how we could send our guests to his restaurant to enjoy a quiet meal and a tasty authentic German lager.  When … Continued

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@DavidsRefuge: Like Me

Have you ever learned a new language?  Almost twenty years ago I learned to speak Polish while living in Wroclaw, Poland.  We learned by being totally immersed in the culture and in the language.  While it was painful and stressful at times we learned to speak Polish. Once again I feel like I am back … Continued

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Our Hosts: Comfort Experts

Fred and Ellie’s twenty nine year old son died suddenly of a heart attack.  Fred started one the first special needs programs in the school where he was the principle.  Eric and Daidra were blessed with twins.  One of their boys has Cerebral Palsy.  Margot leads Capernaum, a Young Life outreach to students with special … Continued

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Laughter: Medicine for the Soul [Part II]

The healing benefits and power of laughter is not a new idea.  Almost 3,000 years ago Solomon, the King of Israel, wrote the following words in the book of Proverbs: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Proverbs 17:22 A good laugh, a joke, a little humor is … Continued

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Laughter: Medicine for the Soul

One night I returned home from a late meeting to discover that something or someone was in my basement.  Brenda wanted to call 911 but I thought the baseball bat under my bed was sufficient to deal with the situation.  As I got to the bottom of the stairs we heard a loud banging sound … Continued

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1+1=3: The Power of Community

Many moons ago I studied Greek in seminary.  Sadly I have forgotten most of it, but today I want to introduce you to a Greek word I really like: συνέργια (synergia).  It means synergy.  It actually comes from the Greek word συνεργός (synergos) which means “working together.” Wikipedia defines synergy as: “the interaction of multiple … Continued

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Thinking about David

I’m often asked by our guests if it is hard to talk about David over and over again.  His life and death is an integral part of David’s Refuge.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t mention his name, tell his story, or think about the privilege I had to be his … Continued

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A Lesson from Yams

Last week I met with an incredible group of parents who were part of a pilot project called CHAT, Communication Hope through Assistive Technology. Its mission is to assist youth with disabilities who communicate using technology to open their voices to the world. The kids attended a camp and the parents all met together to … Continued

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Be Still!

This is a picture of a painting that hangs in David’s Refuge.  It was painted and given to us by our dear friend, Alison Fisher Cullen the day after David passed away.  Someone else owned it, but Allison went to them, told them David’s story, and they gave it back to her so she could … Continued

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Hope Was Born

I want to introduce you to some new friends of mine, Mark and Bethany.  I have known them for close to two year now.  We have laughed together, cried together, ate together, sipped wine together, sang together, and poured out our stories together.  We share a common bond in that they too are parents of … Continued

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Hospitality: Comfort Food for the Soul!

My church has been doing a series on hospitality for the past four weeks.  One of the pastors defined hospitality as a tangible expression of God’s love.  He said hospitality is like comfort food for the soul.  It’s like a bowl of mashed potatoes covered in butter, or a grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl … Continued

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A Holy Nap

On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.  Genesis 2:2-4 (NLT) According to the “Good Book” rest is a holy pursuit.  … Continued

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Solidarity…to be in the same boat!

Today marks the fifth international Rare Disease Day.  It is a day that unites families, communities, and nations together with the common hope and belief that one day the disease that has touched their life or the life of someone they love would find a cure.  The theme this year is “Solidarity.”  It speaks of … Continued

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I Love My Wife!

Today I am writing to share with the world my love for my wife, Brenda Pfohl!  She has been my partner, wife, and best friend for close to 28 years.   We have walked together through both thick and thin.  We were blessed with the privilege of raising three wonderful boys who we love and are … Continued

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“Someone else deserves this more than I do.”

Whenever I meet a family who has a child with a special need or who has a potentially life threatening disease it doesn’t take me very long to start talking about David’s Refuge.  I explain who we are and quickly invite them to consider coming to spend a few days as our guest.  Each family … Continued

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Guests

Guest:  “One who is a recipient of hospitality at the home or table of another.” David’s Refuge’s success rises and falls on having guests.  No guests, no hospitality.  No guests, no refreshment.  No guests, no breakfast.  No guests, no David’s Refuge.  You see, we love guests!  We love inviting them, serving them, and allowing them … Continued

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God Loves You

I love the Christmas season because it is filled with traditions we have been forming for the past twenty seven years.  Whether it’s the stringing of popcorn and cranberries, putting the little candle lights in all the front windows, filling the advent calendar with candy, or reading the Christmas story from the Bible as a … Continued

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We made the local Newspaper

Just a quick post to let you know about the article in the Syracuse Post Standard.  Please let those you know who could use some respite about the article! http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2011/12/couple_opening_manlius_bed-and.html Have a great day!

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What You Do Matters

One of the challenges we are facing at David’s Refuge is getting people to actually sign up and make a reservation to stay at the Refuge.  When we explain to parents or guardians of special needs children who we are and how we will care for them I almost always see this longing in their … Continued

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You Are Not Alone

Often people will ask us, “What do you hope the couples who stay at David’s Refuge will walk away with.”  Our response is always the same, “We want them to leave David’s Refuge knowing they are not alone, that what they do really matters, and that they are loved by God.”  Let me share a … Continued

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What a Wonderful World

In an hour we are driving to pick up our son, Daniel at SUNY New Paltz for Thanksgiving.  Chris and Brit will arrive late tomorrow night.  I can’t wait to have my family home.  We have been so busy the last few weeks I haven’t had time to really sit down to pause and think … Continued

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CNY Horn of Africa

If you and your family are looking for a practical way to give thanks this year during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season I would love to encourage you to give to CNY Horn of Africa, a network of Central New York organizations, churches, and people united together to bring awareness and relief to the famine … Continued

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Helping to Better our Community

Last week I received a letter from the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation letting us know David’s Refuge had been awarded an $8,000 grant to help pay or offset the cost of childcare while parents get a much needed break at the Refuge.  At the top of the letter is the foundation’s tag line, “Helping … Continued

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Open House

November 2nd would have been David’s 23rd birthday.  To celebrate his life and to remind ourselves that we are not alone we had an Open House for David’s Refuge.  We invited supporters, board members, local businesses, and community organizations to see where our guests will be staying and to introduce them to our mission.  Over … Continued

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Ripples

Welcome to You’re Not Alone!  My hope is that you will come here often, and as you pause to read and reflect that you will discover community, friendships, and hope in the journey of caring for your children with special needs or those who have a potentially life threatening disease.  It goes without saying that … Continued

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