I am thankful:
~ to be DONE BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING. It only took me 3,647,447,262 trips to 78,226 stores to get what everyone needed.
~ for our wonderful, kind teachers at Grace Community School, and how thrilled each of the children are with the classroom they were placed in. I love the aroma of eagerness and hope at the beginning of the school year. There is just so much promise: new friends, new skills, new adventures. There are few things that thrill my kids more than strapping on a brand spankin’ new pair of tennis shoes and a 86 pound bulging backpack to go see friends they have missed all summer and meet their teachers.
~ for a good first day of school. Everyone popped out of bed with a grin, gobbled up fresh baked banana muffins for breakfast, and doodled up in their favorite outfit to start off their new year. (I may have chosen Sawyer’s shirt…) We read our morning devotional, like always, and prayed over our day and our family and our teachers, like always. Josh headed off to take Cooper to his first day of high school while I walked into the elementary school with 6 of my babies. And walked out with just one. I’m infinitely grateful for a school filled with people who love Jesus and love our family, and who give a whole lot of grace to this mama who has a very hard time letting go. But God.
~ and as if that were not enough, Wednesday was the day to drive Carson Grace back to ETBU, this time for good. Tatum K and I made the drive with her, and when we arrived, the dorm was HOPPING! When we moved her into her dorm before her mini-mester 2 weeks ago, there were just a handful of students on campus. But this week was Tiger Camp, ETBU’s Freshman Welcome Week. All of Carson Grace’s suite-mates were there, and it was great to meet them and their parents. I can already tell they are a really special group. We did the few last updates to her room, went on a quick grocery run, and a hurried Subway lunch, as I had to rush back to Tyler in time to pick up Littles from school. This meant I didn’t get to participate in the parent part of Tiger Camp, attending the first Chapel service of the year with Carson Grace. But I know God’s timing is better than mine, and I trust that it was best for me to get on the road when I did. Oh, it was so hard to drive away. I could tell though, that she was excited and ready. Much more so than the first time we dropped her off, all alone in the dorm. This time her room and the campus were already familiar, and she was surrounded by classmates ready to dive in right beside her. Hard hard for Mama, not so much for my girl. And that’s how it’s supposed to be, praise God.
She has sent lots of pictures since Wednesday: scavenger hunts, team challenges, and community service projects. She’s making lots of friends and looks like she’s loving it. She and her camp group went to a local church this morning together, and classes start bright and early in the morning. Proud of her. But I sure do miss my girl. I’ve spent a lot of time in her room this week, thinking about her, praying for her. (I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying….)
~ for traditions. If you know me, you know I’m big on traditions. Every year on the first day of school, we go to our very favorite snow cone shack in Tyler, Shivers. Tatum K shared her piña colada snow cone with me…she loved her “pink-alada”!
~ for kind friends. Thoughtful friends. For old and new friends. For truth-telling-even-when-it-hurts friends. For tried-and-true, gone-through-the-ringer, here-for-the-mountains-and-the-valleys friends.
~ for steady Giddy up & Whoa work. I truly love to paint, and our little home business is such a blessing to our family. And I needed the diversion. Thursday was even harder than Wednesday with the kids gone. On the first day, taking Carson Grace to Marshall took the whole day. I was too busy to think about anything. (WHICH WAS MERCY). Thursday was a different story. It was a different kind of quiet. Not a TRUE quiet, because Tatum K is a wild little fireball and a constant chatterbox. I know this year will be a sweet time with just my Tater Tot at home. But for now, the empty house is echoey. Too much space. As much as my Tribe drives me crazy and I’m always exhausted with their questions and their squabbles and their needs…they are MY PEOPLE. And I miss them when they’re gone. So anyway, it was a blessing to have 5 sign orders that needed my attention during Tatum’s naptime. And I’m pleased to say I got them all done!
~ for a good evening and meal with Colton. The Littles were thrilled to swim with him and climb all over him. Always good to spend some time with my boy.
~ for a nice start to our Gold Network Toy Drive for the prize closet at Children’s Hospital. A group of sweet ladies all went out and purchased nearly 100 toys and donated them in honor of one of their friend’s birthdays! What a great idea! Last year we donated more than 1400 toys to Children’s. We are collecting toys through the month of September.
~ for excitement brewing over all our upcoming Gold Network events. August 29 is Go Gold Tyler, our annual Childhood Cancer Awareness night on the Tyler Downtown Square. I’ve been reaching out to our cancer families and have been thrilled by the overwhelmingly positive response! It is so special to have all these Hero families together. And then Tyler Gold Run is coming up September 21. For our big 5 year celebration (how can it be 5 years!?) we are thrilled to have added a 10k route and moved to a new, larger park. I am always amazed at how our friends and family and the community rise up in support of all these brave kids and their families. Please consider being a part of these special events, or donating toward the cause.
~and this is just INCREDIBLE! One of our Hero families has a cousin who is an amazing artist. She created an original watercolor painting and has DONATED IT FOR AUCTION TO GOLD NETWORK!!! This priceless painting takes my breath away. Please check out the auction and bid or donate if you feel led. The auction is open until August 29. Click here for details.
~for good baseball memories with my Love. Josh is one of the biggest Texas Rangers fans that has ever lived, and he has passed this passion on to his family. I learned early in our marriage that if I was going to have any quality time with my husband from April until October, I needed to learn to speak baseball. So I asked a few questions, and it was his greatest delight to teach me the ins and the outs of the game. So this week, it was very special to glue ourselves to the TV screen to watch a momentous milestone for our all time favorite player, Josh Hamilton, as he was inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. Josh is one of the greatest talents to have ever played the game, but we love him because of his story. He has battled drug and alcohol addiction for his entire career, and although he found salvation in Jesus Christ, he has continued to fall back into those self-destructive patterns. But seeing him back on the field, hugging his old teammates, and hearing his bold and honest speech that gave all glory to the God who continued/continues to love him in the midst of his failures….we cried our eyes out. It. Was. Awesome. He closed his 14 minute speech with these words of encouragement for when we get knocked down, “Don’t you dare stay down. The God of the universe sent His Son to die so that we have the right to GET BACK UP IN JESUS!”
Our friend Harold needs your prayers. He was allowed to go home from the hospital Wednesday, only to have hydrocephalus symptoms return Thursday, causing his parents to rush Harold back to Dallas for his FIFTH surgery. Please pray for healing and wisdom for the team of doctors treating him. And for grace and strength for his precious family. Thank you for continuing to lift up the parents and family of sweet Lucas, who went to heaven last week. Someone I love is recovering from a dreadful injury, and 3 family members are battling cancer. So many people hurting. Oh how I hate cancer. Jesus come….
Friends, life is hard. It is hard and good and beautiful and horrible and excruciating and glorious. Live well. Love large. Give freely. Forgive. See people. Pray for one another. Share Jesus.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”” John 13:34-35
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV