Whitney Cerak

We, the Cerak family, are elated beyond description at Whitney’s return home. It is so much more than we ever imagined three months ago.We would like to restate our plans of not speaking to the media. There is still much on the road to Whitney’s full recovery. We want to thank the media for the respect they have shown of our privacy in this time. And ask that the same courtesy given us would be extended to our family and friends.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 5, 2006 "Because of the Lord's great love..."

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV

God is ever faithful and we wait on Him for our hope is in Him. And His compassions are new every day, what God has done for us in the past He will do for us again and again. He continues to uphold us in His grip. Even in the midst of our strife and trials He is with us. Praise be to God, the creator of heaven and earth!!

We are not great parents by any means. We have stumbled along as many have. We trust God and His word! And while we have made and will make mistakes and sin, the one thing we ought always try to avoid is taking our eyes off Him. With the Holy Spirit’s help we can keep looking up to God. We will continue to experience His forgiveness and mercy as we move along.

Holidays are great! You get to sleep in and change your routine for a few hours or maybe a few days. Today Whitney got to do one of her favorite things again…sleep in. When she did get up we had a great family breakfast time together. After some more rest we had a visit from Jen who was on her way to Chicago. Then we loaded up for a fireworks show. Our very good friends took us out on their boat at Grand Haven. Whitney’s anxious anticipation was satisfied with a spectacular show. We were able to get the front row on the river (if you can do that in a boat) and it seemed as though we were right under the fireworks. Feeling every whoosh and explosion as they shot up and covered us in a bright colored glow was an awesome experience. Whit’s smile was the best glow to look at and we counted our blessing again and again. It did turn into a very late night before we got back, but according to Whitney, “It was worth it.” It was a fabulous 4th of July, one we will not forget. It was good to see her enjoy herself…it was good to see her smile and eat caramel popcorn.

We pray you had a good holiday. We are finding that just another day is a good day – holidays or not. Another day here on earth is another day to live for Christ and to praise Him.

You are in our prayers

In Christ alone, Whitney’s dad


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ceraks,

I just made an amazing discovery! We have been following this blog so faithfully that I now can tell who is writing (Newell, Colleen or Carly) without looking down to see the signoff. You each have a distinctive 'voice'. I can hardly wait to 'hear' Whitney's 'voice'.

Hope you are out enjoying this beautiful, beautiful Michigan day! God bless you all.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We love you and praise God with you for His many blessings!

10:12 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

I rejoice with you as you spend precious family time together! Okay, we've heard a lot about Whitney's beautiful smile, please post a picture if she's willing. Whitney's increasing independence sounds like progress to me! Keep moving forward Ceraks!

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grand Haven! Excellent! I hope Whitney can soon indulge in a Pronto Pup. :-)

10:26 AM  
Blogger Jody said...

So glad that you continue to "rest in the Lord" each step of the way. I would argue that simply because you and Colleen seek God with your hearts is reason enough to make you (and many others) great parents to your kids! Our family enjoyed making some holiday memories along the Grand Haven waterfront too. What a perfect day to enjoy the creation and family God has given us. We are blessed- as are you. Continued prayers for all. That "sleeping in" sounds like a great idea each day...I wish my kids would try that sometime! =)

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so happy your family had a wonderful holiday. Hopefully Whitney will be coming home soon and you will have plenty more of the special family time together. Keep up the good work Whitney, we're all pulling for you to get home as quickly as possible!

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord for such a wonderful weekend...

I would love to see pictures of any or all of you...and when ever Whit is ready a picture of her....she is still a beauty i am sure...God doesn't make any junk..

Keep working hard and we are still praying for you.

I sometimes wonder if the VanRyn's and your family will be involved with each other...I sorta think a special bond must have been formed all of those weeks..

Much love from a mom in mt zion

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to take a minute to let you know that quite a few "old" friends are continuing to pray for your family. Eph. 3:20 is so very true - how God . . .is able to do far more abundantly beyond that we ask or think. . .
Your blog is great to read and a wonderful way to share Christ's love with searchers.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad you all had a good time on the 4th. Still in our prayers here in Gaylord. We love hearing of the updates on everything. Tell Whitney Hi, from all of Gaylord.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you had a great 4th. Tell Whitney Hi for us from Gaylord, and hurry home. You all are still in our prayers daily.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three cheers for you Whitney....such good work you are doing..

You will be going home soon...you are always in our prayers....

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been faithfully following your blog and I wanted to tell you how happy I am for Whitney and your family that she seems to be making great progress and that you have found each other. It truly is a miracle and your situation gives others hope and encourages faith in God. My best wishes and prayers are with you for strength and for Whitney's complete and speedy recovery.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Heather Bush said...


I am so happy that God blessed you with such a special day for Whitney and for your family on the 4th. Holidays are wonderful, but Michigan holidays are the best!! And to get to have such a special time with Whitney is a blessing you richly deserve!! Also, I am so thrilled that God blessed you with being able to worship at church together on Sunday. You are in my prayers everyday, and thank you for letting us share in your lives and Whitney's miraculous recovery!!

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep praying for all families involved in this accident, especially the Cerak & Van Ryn families. I certainly hope you all are finding solace in counseling/therapy for all the difficulties you have faced with this. It's why your entire family is in my prayers.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is good to hear that your holiday went well. You are all still in the prayers of all of us from Upland.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your strong faith. You and your family...as well as the Van Ryn's have been an inspiration to me! God Bless you all!

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So happy to hear of Whit's improvment....we are praying for her...we love her and have never met her....the Lord is so loving and good to you and to us...

keep up the positive work....

much love from a mom in mt zion

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Der Whit and All,

I am so glad that your fourth was a great one. I must admit mine was also great as I watched the fireworks go off over Lake Charlovox in Boyne City with both of my grandsons, my daughter, and her husband. It is wonderful to spend time with family and now it adds even a lot of more meaning.

The boys got there ahead of us so my daughter took me trail riding in her Jeep Wrangler on the way to Boyne.

OH MY!!!!!! What a ride that was coming home. COLD!!!!! But yet it was so awesome because the wind blew thru your hair (and you got to smell the dust of every car in front of you including the skunk and the leftovers from a dog :D ) and the view at night was so wonderful. The trees were so thick and green. It put a whole new look on God's precious land. And I would not have missed it.

My daughter said to me "Now don't be afraid if we see a bear!" and I replyed to her "as long as I am in something that is faster than that bear, I am alright!"

So Whit I am so glad that you are able to get out a bit here and there to enjoy God's world again. I think that it also helps the healing to be out in the fresh air.

So my dear you hang right in there. I enjoy reading how you are doing EVERY day.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear that your 4th of July was enjoyed! Mine was rather uneventful, but nice none-the-less! I will continue to keep you in my prayers as I have been since the accident! Your updates are so up-lifting and exciting for me!

I know you all have strong faith, so if you don't mind keeping me and my husband in your prayers. We are a young couple, 24 and 23 and we got married last Aug. We have been living here in NY with my in-laws for almost as long as we have been married. We are currently looking to move back west, to Columbus, OH and we are looking at apartments next week. If you can just pray for safe travel and open doors, I would really appreciate it!

Deni and Drew Northern!!!

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you have added the blog appoval to this site. Whitney and the family do not need to have such negative comments to deal with. I am thankful that the holiday was filled with Whitneys smile and joy. I live in Grant County, near Taylor and I have come to the conclusion that with that accident the county has been changed.I know that the entire community was touched deeply by this event and all that has followed. Your Blog and Praise with continuous focus on God has taken a sad life changing and ending event and focused it on God.
I grew up in the Wesleyan Church the grandchild of a Wesleyan minister. and Your Faith has redirected my life's focus. Thank You Cerak family for reminding me.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

It was definitely a day to celebrate freedom for you guys. And think about the kind of freedom you'll celebrate next year! Props to Whitney though. I can't stand doctors and therapists (they freak me out for some reason), and it makes me cringe (and then pray for you!) every time I think about all your sessions. I know you'll get through with flying colors...you'll probably be able to fly too by the time you're done! Love you all!!!!!

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again I am starting my morning with reading this blog. I am so thankful for your faithfulness in keeping us updated about Whit. I realize this is time consuming for you which makes me all the more pleased. Your scriptures add to my morning and carry me throughout the day. What a precious family Whit has.

Much love & respect from a mom in mt zion...

3:59 AM  
Blogger Darcy Keith said...

Ahhh, weekend/holiday passes are the best!

Please don't worry that you all aren't there in her rehab sessions everyday...my parents weren't allowed to come but only one day per week. the independence to learn things and have the needed concentration without parental supervision was very important to me, as it may be with Whitney.

After talking with my parents, I can imagine what it would feel like not to watch over your child during the rehabilitation stages. Speaking as a parent, it would be hard for me, too. But I also know that God is in control, and he is always looking out for us while allowing our free will. Rest in the fact that God is watching over Whitney when you can't be there, and Whitney will be gaining confidence in her ablities.

A part that you can play is helping her with her short term memory by asking her what she did and learned during therapy since you weren't there to experience it with her. This is where I kept my memory book and my parents (and therapists) would ask me what I did in earlier therapy sessions. Just a thought... :)

Thank you for keeping us updated with Whitney's progress!

Connected by the One,
Darcy Keith, www.DarcyKeith.com

4:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the couple moving to Columbus, Ohio - - - Deni and Drew . . . check out Cypress Wesleyan Church 377 Alton Darby Creek Road, Galloway, OH (near Hilliard) 43119
Phone 614-878-2174. Services are Saturday night at 6pm, Sunday morning at 8:30, 9:45 and 11:00. Amazing music, Awesome messages! Alot of young adults!! Active ministries!! www.cypressonline.net
Hope to see you there!!

6:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a prayer request for everyone who reads this blog and to be passed on to anyone else. Below is a story from wave3.com in Louisville, KY. This little boy needs alot of prayers....

(LOUISVILLE) -- An 8-year-old Louisville boy continues to fight for his life at Kosair Children's Hospital after being hit by a pickup truck Monday evening. The accident happened not far from young Brandon Bramel's house. Now neighbors say they are distraught over the child's condition and the impact the tragedy will have on his family as well as the man behind the wheel. WAVE 3 Investigator Eric Flack has more.

A few doors down from the accident scene, Dawn Spurlock counts her blessings: 6-year-old Jalen and 7-year-old Justice, who are "about the same ages as that little boy," Spurlock said of her neighbor. "So it really is a scary thought because that could have happened to anybody."

Police say 8-year-old Brandon Bramel rode his scooter into the path of Ben AuClair's pick up truck a little after 7 p.m. July 3rd. AuClair's wife called out for help as she rushed to the scene from the family's home down the street.

"And she's running down the street," Spurlock recalled. "I ran out here, and I was like what happened? And she said, 'Ben hit a little boy.'"

Neighbors say Brandon was riding his scooter down a neighbor's driveway, which wasn't visible to oncoming traffic because it was blocked by a hill and a couple cars. When he popped out into the street, the pickup truck hit him.

"The driver probably didn't see him," Shane Amato said. "He hit the brakes, obviously, right away."

The truck dragged Brandon about 25 feet before coming to a stop. His arm was trapped under the wheel and neighbors say emergency crews had to use air pumps to lift the pickup off him so as not to cause further injury.

As EMS treated Brandon, Amato went to the driver.

"I comforted him in the front yard," Amato said. "He was keeled over in the front yard and I patted him on his back I told him it was going to be ok."

AuClair, who has two young kids of his own, said he was too emotionally and physically drained to comment.

Dawn Spurlock hopes she never has to feel what any of them are feeling.

"What did I say yesterday?" Spurlock asked of her daughter Justice.

"No riding down the driveway or riding down that hill," Justice replied.

Spurlock said AuClair is extremely safe behind the wheel, and never speeds. And one neighbor told WAVE 3 the boy had been warned in the past to stay out of the driveway where he was hit.

Police say no charges are expected to be filed. Brandon remains in critical condition at Kosair's Children's Hospital.

Brandon's father, Brad Bramel, talked with us by phone on Tuesday about his son's condition. "He's on a ventilator. There's a little bit of blood on his brain. They've done CTs. He's got fractures going from his ear down to the nose area along the cheekbone line."

Bramel said his son has "opened his eyes only once here in the hospital," and it's too early to tell if his son will pull through. He told us they have "a lot of family and friends around us right now, and a lot of prayers. Anybody that hears it, keep him in their prayers, please."

Bramel says he doesn't blame the AuClair. "This morning, I had to go back home to get some things and drove the route myself that the driver came down," he said. "And I can see where the driver would not have seen Brandon, and Brandon would not have seen the driver coming."

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good morning Colleen and Newell,
It is wonderful to hear about Whitney's progress. What a blessing! Lynn has been trying to reach you by phone and understandably is not finding you there. She asked me to write and if you have a moment to call her. You have been in her thoughts and prayers daily. Carolyn K

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Dianne in Missouri said...

Beautiful, lovely comments here. I look forward to the comments as I do the updates on Whitney. They are like an ongoing conversation. I keep thinking back to the negative ones made last week and the responses to those. What a witness to God's love were those responses. There was nary a hateful word said back to those bitter posts. Instead people offered to pray for the person and
offer advice for others who were hurt by the comments. Such is the effect of God's loving forgiveness on humanity.

I continue to pray for the other families who lost their loved ones in the accident. Does anyone know where a note can be sent to the Van Ryn family? Is there a general P.O. box set up for them to receive mail?

Mr. and Mrs. Cerak, I have two daughters and a son, the youngest daughter will be a senior in college this fall. I cannot imagine the roller coaster ride you folks have been through. What an emotional time. If nothing else comes from this other than for parents to keep their children in prayer and to give tighter hugs, that, my friends, might be an improvement over yesterday. I suspect, however, that much more will result from your family's experience. Lives are being touched, the far reaching effects of which may never be fully known, except by our Lord. Thank you for keeping us informed of Whitney's update. We will all rejoice with you on the day when you can take her home.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous A Taylor Mom said...

To Dianne in Missouri....Thank you for asking about an address for the VanRyn's. I, also, have been wishing I had access of sending them a card. I hope there might be someone out there who reads this that can pass on their address.
Thank you.
A Taylor Mom

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Cerak family for the daily updates. I am a TU prof. and receive strength every day from your entries along with those that write each day on the blog. I am lifting Whitney up daily along with the other families. God is being glorified through your daily updates. Thank you for taking the time each day to write. Many are being touched by your entries. We are praying that Whitney gets to go home soon. I know God has an amazing future planned for her. To God be the Glory!
A TU prof.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that this can be posted for the wonderful and thoughtful people that want to know the VanRyn's address.

Colleen and Newell if this reveals to much personal information then by all means do not let it be published. I sure do not want anyone hurt again over a post.

Don and Susan VanRyn
9555 Kraft Ave. SE
Caledonia, Michigan, 49316

God Bless ALL of you in Christ name.

6:02 AM  
Anonymous A Taylor Mom said...

Thank You, Thank You...to the person who posted the VanRyn's address and Thank You to the Cerak's for allowing the post.

God bless all of you.

A Taylor Mom

11:29 AM  

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