Monday, December 29, 2008

Owl Tree Roasting

S.O.S Update 12/23

12/23 SOS Update
To members of S.O.S.

December 23 at 9:43pm
Greetings and happy holidays! I hope this email finds you well. I came home and sat down with the last few journalistic updates I did for S.O.S and did some editing and finished with the below novella still in journal style--- but condensing the last week+ and attempting to dictate Sam's strength through this process this just seemed the most senseful. Jump to the bottom for the latest update or read the process if you're one of the many who have been so eager to know and help and keep up to speed on Sam's progress....thank you for your patience in my lengthy response.
And again and again- THANK YOU for SUPPORTING OUR SAM!

Wednesday, December 17, 1:15am
First of all, Sam, his family and I wish to thank you for continuing to keep Sam in your thoughts and prayers, and for continuing to share the site with your friends. The out pouring of love, kindness and generosity in and around and through Sam’s ordeal have been astounding, and the grace being shown via such is not only humbling but encouraging beyond words.

Sam's surgery on Monday, 12/15, was incredibly complicated and intense but ultimately went wonderfully. An arduous 6 hour procedure—yet 2 hours less than expected—the doctor said it couldn't have gone better. The largest of the tumors in the back of Sam’s head was "enormous"- so much so the surgeon could put his whole fist in the hole it left directly above Sam’s brain stem. They were able to remove 98% of the tumor; the remaining 2% will hopefully be destroyed via radiation—the same procedure they’ll use to eradicate the remaining tumors surrounding his ear canal.

Despite his pain and hardship, Sam has remained positive throughout this ordeal. Even on Monday morning, just moments before the surgery, laying in the cold, sterile, fluorescent-lit room, Sam looked up at us, his family—the creases of age and wisdom around his eyes deepened from fatigue and damp with tears of tenderness and fear—and said quietly yet firmly, "We have so much to be thankful for."

Late last night in the ICU, I looked down at Sam who seemed so small and meek laying there in his cramped hospital bed. With his lips chapped and swollen from the feeding tubes, his throat and neck muscles constricted from the pain, straining to breathe and struggling to relieve his extreme discomfort, Sam tried to speak. Barely audible over the hissing of the oxygen tank and the beeping of various monitors all aglow, he asked for some ice to wet his dry lips and dampen his parched pallet. And once again, tears of pain now running down his cheeks, Sam whispered softly, "I am so thankful."

Tonight, it's now just past 1AM and I am sitting beside Sam’s bed. A freezing wind blows noisily outside, a small clock radio on the nightstand, per Sam’s request, softly plays the likes of Chopin and Debussy. Sam has been asleep a few hours now—a brief moment of calm for him amongst these recent weeks of storm, a deserved peace from the past days of chaos and the coming days of difficult recovery. My laptop softly ablaze, I post this message and think...we have so much to be grateful for.
And I am so thankful.

Thurs 12/18- 7pm.
As expected, the days immediately following his surgery have been extremely painful—and emotional—for Sam. By our taking shifts throughout the days and nights, Sam is never without family by his side to help ensure proper care and comfort. It's awesome and moving to watch a family come to arms in such an instinctive manner.

After two days and nights in ICU, Sam has moved to the recovery unit of the neurosurgery unit. Tonight has been a relatively good one and he’s needed less pain meds than before. The doctors and nurses are all astounded at his progress. His mind and thoughts are keen and clear and his dexterity is superb. Within the last 12 hours he has gotten up from his bed, walked with a walker and, true to form, is spending time getting to know all his doctors and nurses and thanking them for their help and attention.

Sam was expected to stay at the hospital for at least another week+ for physical therapy aftercare. But when the doctor saw him today he said he'd likely discharge Sam tomorrow or Saturday. What the?!!? Damn, all of the prayers, thoughts, good wishes and good energy being sent to the “405” (for all you non-Okies, that’s the Oklahoma City area code) are definitely making a HUGE difference. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR SUPPORTING OUR SAM! Keep spreading the love and I'll keep you posted.

Monday 12/22/08 5:45pm
Sam was released from the hospital today, just one week after brain surgery—and at least one week sooner than expected. The doctors are blown away by the speed of his recovery. Of course Sam’s family and good friends are not quite as shocked. I say this because throughout his life and ministry, Sam has always been the strong, silent type who always gets the job done. His particular trick is to do so ‘old-school’—under-the-rad
ar, without drawing attention to himself or his actions. So it’s no surprise he’s approached his illness and recovery in the same way—with determination, willfulness, gratitude and without complaint- always without complaint.

When Sarah spoke to Sam earlier today, he told her he was grateful to be going home so soon, especially with Christmas almost upon us. He attributed his good fortune to all the prayers and support he and Jenny have received—and quietly wept. It’s clear he’s incredibly moved and humbled by the outpouring of love and, honestly, probably feels somewhat undeserving. Actually, I know he does. He told us he "doesn't deserve this grace."

The doctors have warned us that despite Sam bouncing back so quickly after surgery, the next phase of his convalescence promises to be long and difficult. Pain will be constant—some days better than others, to be sure—but without immediate relief. Sam will be restricted to bed-rest for at least a month or more and will need constant monitoring and attention, which of course is not his most choice lifestyle ;-). Beginning as early as February, Sam will be in and out of the hospital for radiation to destroy the remaining tumors. Like the surgery itself, this process holds an unseen process for Sam and is of course not something we necessarily look forward to.

At this point extended family is prepared to take turns watching him, and many close friends are selflessly offering to cook, grocery shop and help with other chores (please consult the “Care Calendar” at the bottom of the website). Even with the incredible help daily from friends and family, Jenny will be unable to return to work for the entire length of Sam’s continued treatment and recuperation. Basic living expenses will be difficult to come by, much less Sam’s ongoing—and increasingly overwhelming—medical bills.

But please know that neither I nor other family members—particularly Sam and Jenny—want anyone to feel sorry for them or have pity on their situation. We are completely blown away by the help, support (financially and emotionally and spiritually) and prayers already sent Sam’s way. Many of you have already planned, brought meals, offered transportation, made repairs (including repairing and re-tiling their bathroom!). However, numerous needs will arise—including, of course, Sam and Jenny’s financial obligations. And that's a main part of the lifeline in sending out this "S.O.S" in the first place. And why it has been so freaking amazing thus far...people have answered our call for help. YOU have answered.
So please do whatever you can, and I encourage all of you to ask friends and family members if they might want to help as well. The amount of people that have told me how good it feels to give and share the love thru this opportunity has been mind blowing. And I don't think we even realize yet how far reaching this cause will be.

A lifetime of unparalleled giving returned with exceptional and unexpected giving.
A man whose whole mentality is overrun with love for others returned with unprecedented love from others.
And most of it from men and women whom he's never met...
it doesn't get much more beautiful than that.

I know I speak for the entire family when I say thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU—even though words cannot do justice to how we feel about everything that’s been done on Sam and Jenny’s behalf. I’ll post another update very soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"
- George Eliot

sam and sam
I hope this blog post finds you well and in the holiday spirit.

I'm afraid this letter is not the usual cheery (some might say cheesy ;-) Progress news full of good laughs, sneak peaks of great offers and fun stuff happening in and around the cafe'.

Instead, what I'm about to share with you is sad family news that's weighing heavy on my heart. So as you indulge me, please forgive me for using the Progress Posse Newsletter in this way. However, I'm confident you know and hopefully have experienced the purpose and power of the Progress Posse which is all about community and support as well as spreading goodness and kindness in ways that benefit us all.

With that thought in mind, I'd like to introduce you to my father-in-law, Sam Broughton (my wife Sarah's dad and our son Samuel's namesake- pictured together here). Sam and Sarah's mom, Jenny, live in Oklahoma City where Sam has been a Southern Baptist minister for most of his 30 year ministry.

After several months of increasingly painful headaches, sinus pressure and hearing loss in one of his ears, Sam underwent an MRI two weeks ago. Sadly, it revealed several brain tumors in the back of his head towards his brain stem as well as around his ear canal. A biopsy showed that the larger tumors are benign and operable, which was the answer to a lot of prayers. However, Sam must under go major surgery on December 15th to remove three tumors followed by a course of radiation which may render him deaf in that ear.

True to his nature, Sam remains positive and is holding up well. Of course, it's been damn hard on the family to say the least. Sam is a wonderful father and grandfather who has taken great care of and is very much loved by Jenny and their three amazing daughters: Jana, Sarah and Abbie. As for my wife Sarah, the news has been hard because she and her dad are extremely close. Sam is a strong, loving presence in her life (as he is for her two sisters and their husbands and kids), and since my marriage he's had a profound impact on me as well. For instance, Sam's support and encouragement were instrumental in the creation of Progress (he even helped me build the main bar at the café).

In fact, Sam has made his career all about being an anchor in other people's lives. Like his father before him, Sam has served multiple communities over the course of his ministry. He began as a youth minister in Texas and acquired his theological degree in seminary while working full time and being a strong and supportive husband and father.

Throughout his ministry, Sam has selflessly served his congregations while also working behind the scenes in his neighborhoods and communities, which for him were not defined by geography. A self taught carpenter, he has spent dozens of summers all over the U.S. and South America leading young people in building and repairing houses for those less fortunate. Sam has visited thousands of sick people in their homes and at hospitals, bringing them
hope and peace. He has stood by many at their death beads, holding their hands, praying for them, providing kindness and comfort, and sharing with them the love in his soul.

Sam never talks about his actions, nor does he complain about the many sacrifices he and his family have made in service to others. He truly is the altruistic archetype who are seemingly born to dedicate their lives to bringing joy and security to others-usually at great cost to themselves. They're the rare benevolent ones who have so much concern for others that it's as if kindness is the lifeblood rushing through their veins and love is the very marrow in their bones.

And even in times of great distress, the hearts of these chosen ones are still somehow filled with gratitude. When I called him on Thanksgiving, shortly after his diagnosis, he told me multiple times how "many things we have to be grateful for." He's a wise man, seemingly quiet and stoic, yet full of joy, love, peace, passion and grace.True role models like Sam are welcome gifts to those of us lucky enough to cross their paths.

It's an understatement to say that Sam has been a blessing in my life, and as you now know has blessed many people's lives. Knowing him as I do, I believe Sam truly never expected any "reward" in this lifetime, only that God might forever keep him close to His heart. But Sam now faces an unthinkable medical and emotional trauma that no one-not even Sam-could possibly be prepared for. And let me be blunt-very few of us are financially prepared to deal with such a situation-particularly those among us who've completely dedicated their lives to others.

So that's the reason for this letter-to ask that you now join me in supporting Sam and Jenny in their time of need.

So, if you're willing and able to help financially-or any other way- my brother-in-law Mauricio and some close friends and I have put together a fundraiser called S.O.S.- Support Our Sam. sos2
Click here to go to the site.

If you feel it in your heart to help, then you can click on this link to donate. All donations are tax deductible charitable donations that will be processed through their church (info and address below)

Thank you for helping us help Sam. Our world is a much better place because of him- and you.

May your Holidays be blessed.

My Deepest Gratitude,

Sam & Jenny Broughton E-Church
6020 Marlow Lane P.O. Box 2555
Oklahoma City, OK 73132 Edmond, OK 73083
(405) 330-1700

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Sound the alarm---it's time for the friggin'
progress C
HRISKWANZUKKAH Rumor Patrol!?!?!

And Happy Holidays!
Below is an important progress CHRISKWANZUKKAH Rumor Patrol filled with invaluable information to help you bring in the season and to know what's what about what's up with what.

"But Joshua, what in the heck hole is CHRISKWANUKKAH?!?" You might ask.
Simple- it means that no matter what holiday you celebrate this season you get a free gift from Progress every time you come in the cafe' for the month of December.
Yippee skippee! Presents rule! It could be a free coffee, a dollar, 5 dollars, 10, 20, 50---up to $200 in Progress bux! Sweet!

So now it's time to get your favorite sweater, a warm lil' blanky, a hot cup of cider or cocoa or Progress Coffee, snuggle up and read away. And get an extra pair of wool socks, cause some of these rumors are gonna blow the ones you're wearing right off! (seriously)

Feliz Navidad!

  • Progress is now serving hot soup- TRUE
    Caramelized Onion Gorgonzola soup. Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup, Black Bean soup, and Hot & Sour soup.
  • The fam and I were cutting down a Christmas tree in Elgin and we saw the washed up lead singer of the band CREED- FALSE (True about the tree but the dude was just me)
  • Progress is in a Dell commercial- TRUE! click here to see it!
  • Lindsey Lohan was spotted wearing a progress posse shirt- FALSE
  • I gave a dude $500 for wearing a Cafe' de Progress t-shirt- TRUE!
  • The first 100 customers that come into Progress next Friday, 12/12, will receive a coffee in a sweet KEEN travel mug- FREE! - Double True!keen
  • Grandma got run over by a reindeer. -FALSE
  • Christopher Royal King, lead singer of the bodacious band This WIll Destroy You is showing his artistic creations at Progress before the end of this year! True and False- The band has no singer but Chris is in the band and he is showing his art at Progress. Awesome!
  • Ice Cube will be at Mohawk on the 14th of December. -TRUE DAT!!!
  • I am trying out for Austins next top model.- Double FALSE
  • Progress has lil' cute wrapped gift bags for you to give as presents chalk full of goodies.-TRUE! (ie- Prog t's, coffee, travel mugs, gift cards and oh so much more!)
  • The Smiths were going to do a Christmas reunion show at Red 7- (will have to call the Chief on this one)
  • The Progress Power Hour is where the Power Team comes back from the 80's and tears up telephone books and blows up hot water bottles in the cafe'!- FALSE- The Progress Power Hour is 1/2 OFF all espresso and coffee drinks every weekday from 3pm-4pm
  • Although Progress Coffee will make you Strong Like Paul Bunyan!- TRUE! Try it for yourself and get a Paul Bunyan t-shirt to tell the world how massively strong you are.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

strong like Paul Bunyan

Get your Progress Paul Bunyan t just in time for Christmas and show the world how freaking ripped you are.