Thursday, February 23, 2012

Good-bye to Izzy

Izabella "Izzy" Blaine McManaway

2007 ~ 2012

Isaiah 11:6  

She led many to Christ!

She is the child that made people say, “Keep Smilin’” because of her beautiful spirit and unwavering determination to live life to the fullest.  She touched and inspired thousands, as evidenced by the stacks of mail she received every day for weeks over the 2011 Christmas holiday and the continuous stream of well-wishers and visitors.  Izabella “Izzy” Blaine McManaway, of Fayetteville, WV, would have turned 5 years old on March 12, 2012.  She     passed on to the Kingdom of Heaven on February 22, 2012 after a lengthy battle with rhabdomyosarcoma.

She would not wish you sadness, but rather to celebrate her brief, yet fulfilled life.  Remember her words, just a day after surgery to amputate her left leg: “If I cry and don’t smile, then the devil will be happy.  So I’m gonna smile.”  Izzy would want you to remember her smile and laughter and how beautiful she looked in her cheerleading uniform as she cheered for the Pirates at Fayetteville and the Patriots at Mt. View Christian School.  She would want you to know how it pleased her to paint the toenails on her artificial foot and how she learned to ride her bicycle with her new leg; how she never gave up the enjoyment of life just because of cancer.

Izzy leaves behind a strong and faithful family: her loving parents, Corey & Jenny McManaway and her two beloved older sisters, Zavery and Zoe McManaway;  Great-grandparents, Nancy Barnett of Middlesboro, KY and Hazel Hannigan of Oak Hill, WV. Grandparents, Terry & Connie McManaway of Oak Hill, WV and Dale & Linda Clonch of Fayetteville, WV, as well as many cousins, aunts and uncles who adore her.  Izzy says good-bye to two special friends, Kerrisyn Feazell and Trace Crumb, and the loving church family at Fayetteville Baptist.  She also leaves behind 3 faithful pets, two dogs and a kitten who rarely left her side:  Charlie the Faithful Protector, Trixie the Clown and Smokey the Curious.  Perhaps she will greet another favorite in heaven, her Aunt Amy’s horse, Jack, whom she loved to visit at the farm.  

Izzy would like for you to know of the things she loved most in this life, aside from her parents and sisters.  Things like 4-wheelin’ with her cousin, Ben, jumping on the trampoline with numerous friends, playing with her baby doll, Elizabeth Sally, listening to Justin Bieber’s music, swimming at her grandparent’s pool and having popsicles in the warm sunshine afterwards.   She loved shopping, especially for purses and carried all the essentials in them. You know, like full sized liquid hand soap, lotions with sparkle, hand sanitizer in various scents, lip balms of every color and crayons.  She was always ready to go to Crossroads Mall to get a cookie from the Great American Cookie Co. or to Wal Mart to greet most of Fayetteville. 

Izzy endeared many people to her through her gorgeous smile, her faithfulness to God, and her zest for life.  Although very young, she was a spiritual giant and prayed often and at length for other friends and family right up until the end.  Through her struggle, many souls have come to know Christ, as this was her purpose on earth. (Is 11:6) Her time with us may have ended but her life is not over because Christ has defeated death and love is eternal.  She completed her earthly purpose in just under five short years.  May we all take heed of St. Matthew 18:3 that implores us to become like little children in our faith and relationship with Christ so that we shall see the Kingdom of God, for that is where this beautiful child now resides.

Special services to celebrate her life will be held at Grace Baptist Church in Fayetteville, WV beginning at 11:00 am, ceremony begins at 1:00 pm. on Monday, February 27, 2012.  Private graveside services will be held at a later time.  To help celebrate her beautiful life, think about wearing her favorite colors, pink and purple, to the service.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to Timmy’s Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps families with children at WVU Children's Hospital.  Timmy's Fund has been very instrumental in supporting the McManaway Family not only financially, but emotionally and spiritually as well;  thank you Joe & Tara Quigley: 

Dodd-Payne-Hess Funeral Home is handling all arrangements and online condolences may be left here or at 
A special thank you to Dr. Paul and the wonderful team of physicians and nurses at WVU Children’s Hospital who demonstrated skill and professionalism and even more importantly, generosity, patience, understanding and genuine love.  This team of healthcare providers went above and beyond the call and they are most appreciated.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for Izzy and expressed your concern in numerous ways; by your prayers God continues to sustain Izzy’s family with grace and peace that passes all understanding.  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kudos to Kylie!

I now have one more name to add to the short list: Kylie Bisutti.  In case you missed it, this beautiful young lady is even more gorgeous on the inside:  a woman standing in an international spotlight choosing to go against the stream and glorify God.  She has relinquished her contract with Victoria’s Secret because her career in modeling lingerie clashes with her Christian convictions to honor her husband with her body.  In at least one interview, she cited a poignant encounter with her 8 year old cousin as a turning point.  Kylie said her little cousin was watching her put on make-up and fix her hair one day and was admiring her.  The little one then remarked, "I think I'll stop eating so I can look like you.." and it broke Kylie's heart because she didn't want her little cousin to think this was the way to be beautiful.
God’s blessings to you, Kylie.  By the enormous strength you’re displaying, you will be influencing MORE young ladies to seek true beauty and worth in God’s sight.  What you’re doing now takes more guts, more hard work and endurance than winning that lucrative contract to wear the wings.
Case in point, dealing with this chaff: The Blemish. This anonymous writer for the Blemish is a prime example of a priest of the church of secular humanism.  Out of one side of his mouth, these liberal types will praise the famous who, under fire, will ‘buck the norm’ and come out about their homosexuality, and out of the other side, will tar and feather someone like Kylie for ‘bucking the norm’ for taking an unpopular stance because of Christ.   Your article embodies the hypocrisy of your ilk, being willing to consume women as a commodity for your insatiable pleasure.   I’d say, deep down, far removed from any news or web print, you men would be overwhelmed and humbled to experience the kind of devotion, love and honor that Kylie is showing to her husband in front of the world.
Kylie, may God grant you & your husband many, many joyful years.  You are an inspiration to millions!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Praying to the Saints

Since I’m thinking of St. Kendeas today, it’s probably a good time to share some thoughts on another Orthodox practice that leaves Protestants scratching their heads.  Why do they do that?  Don’t they know we can speak directly to God without going through any intercessors?
Well, yes, we do know that.  We pray to God directly all the time:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner... among other prayers.  Like Protestants, we also ask our church family, friends, or other christians to remember our loved ones in prayer circles.  Why do we ALL do that?  Why do we ask others to pray for us if we alone can speak directly to God?   1 Timothy 2 speaks to this.  St. Paul urges that “entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.”  
Just as we ask our loved ones on earth to pray for us, so too, do we ask the prayers of the saints, who are alive in Christ, members of the Church Triumphant (2 Corinthians 5:8 says when we are absent in the body, we are then present with the Lord.)  Death is no defeat for the Christian! Why would Christians stop praying for one another because they have crossed over to the Kingdom of Heaven?  Jesus is there interceding for us (Romans 8:34) and Revelation 5 tells us of the prayers of the saints in heaven.  
It’s really as simple as that.  
Back to St. Kendeas.  He is a little known saint from the small island of Cyprus, although that may be changing in America thanks to Chrissi Hart.  She is the author of Under the Grapevine:  A Miracle by Saint Kendeas of Cyprus.   In her book, she recounts the true story of how her grandmother was helped and healed by God through this Wonder-Working Saint.  It is a beautiful story and I encourage you to add this title to your bookshelf.  My children love the story and so do I.    I think of St. Kendeas and ask his prayers for my niece because I know he has care for the little ones, for those who are ill and love Jesus Christ.  

Icon of St. Kendeas, Wonder-Working Saint of Cyprus
(lived between the 7th and 10th century)

Troparion (a special hymn composed for this saint on his feast day - Oct. 6)
Having hallowed through struggles the Jordan wilderness and the island of Cyprus,  You shone out upon all through remarkable battles as a fixed star.  
Therefore, having seen the fullness of your wonders, O God-bearing Kendeas, we lift our voices:  
Glory to You, O Christ, through him who extols.  
Glory to You through him who magnifies.  
Glory to the One who through you heals illnesses for all.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Blessed St. Brigid's Day to you!

St. Brigid is my patron and I've made quite a few entries about her and her cross made of rushes, as seen in the icon at left.  You can check the links listed at the bottom of this entry, on the sidebar, or type in "St. Brigid" in the search bar at upper left.   Typically the children and I weave these crosses out of pipe cleaners and share them, but this year there's no time.  Too many school projects due at week's end and we've been nursing colds and sore throats as well.  Here is a link to my favorite icon of St. Brigid,  one of several in our home.  I'll be cooking our traditional menu to celebrate this 5th century Celtic saint this evening:  Boxty pancakes, Spring Herb Quiche and Beacan Bruith with black Irish tea.  May your table be blessed with plenty and may generosity overtake your heart! 

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