I am thankful:
~ for conversations overheard in the car:
“I really wanna go to Massachusetts!”
“Well I really want to go to Chinese!”
“I want a really cheap car.”
“No, you can’t have that. Cheap cars are really, really expensive!”
~ for my Coop. I got a pretty terrifying phone call from Josh Tuesday evening. Cooper got hit hard during football practice and at the moment I was called, there was an ambulance and firetruck on the field. Thankfully, a trip to the ER confirmed that nothing was broken. Only a hyperextended hip and some torn ligaments. We are disappointed that he will miss a few weeks of playing time, but so very thankful that the injury wasn’t worse.
~for my first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season. And it was even better because Colton showed up with it on my doorstep!
~ for a GOLDEN WEEK. Oh my goodness, it was insanely busy and so much work. I ate, slept, and breathed Gold. Very little sleep actually. The “to-do” list always runs and runs through my head and won’t let me rest. But God gave me so much grace to keep it all rolling. And blessed me with such wonderful and thoughtful encouragers who lift me with prayer and kindness.
So thankful for my incredible husband, who shares the vision and drive, and is willing to put his hands to the work behind the scenes. I envisioned a wall of our Hero kids’ pictures, and he built exactly what I described. IN ONE AFTERNOON! He is just amazing. And he’s a great sport about all the little gold sparkles that have spread from one end of our house to the other.
~ i’m thankful that I have the most wonderful and generous people in the world to work alongside. And the absolute most incredible Childhood Cancer community to serve. I met several families for the first time on Thursday. Many of them I’ve only corresponded with by phone or email. I’ve seen the pictures of their precious children, and prayed for them, but it is still so overwhelming to actually meet face-to-face and hug one another. It is the worst, best group of people to belong to.
~ for such a special night at Go GOLD Tyler. We had more than 20 Childhood Cancer families represented, and so many loyal supporters. Our Heroes and their families walked the Gold Carpet, and we released balloons for the children who are now in heaven with Jesus. And I genuinely believe families are realizing that they are not alone. That others understand their pain, that others really care, and that their children and their personal struggles MATTER. Awareness and family connection is spreading, and that has been exactly our hope and prayer for Gold Network of ETX. You can watch our HERO video here.
~ for a successful online auction and for the remarkable generosity that landed that stunning painting EXACTLY where it was meant to be. God’s orchestration is just indescribable!
~ for the best hamburger I have ever had in my hamburger-loving-life! Thank you C Rojos!
~ for endless cups of coffee and a day of pajamas-on-the-couch on Friday (the day after Go GOLD). I Could. Not. Move. Seriously, it took about 3 days to recover.
~ for the very best surprise! My doorbell rang, and it was MY GIRL! Carson Grace came home for the holiday weekend! Oh how I’ve missed her, how we have all missed her! And it makes my heart happy to know she’s missed us a little too!
~ for such a special family day today. We wanted to get to attend ONE MORE Texas Rangers baseball game in our beloved Globe Life Park before everything is moved over to the new state-of-the-art venue that will replace it. That ballpark holds such special memories. Josh and I went when it was known as The Ballpark at Arlington on one of our first dates. It was both of our first Rangers game. We’ve been with the kids, with youth groups, and celebrated birthdays there. We’ve toured the park behind the scenes and run the bases. We’ve sat in the premium seats and the nosebleeds. So today was the perfect day. EVERYONE was able to go, so we started the day with a hearty Dad’s Special Breakfast, and headed for Arlington. Oh, let me tell you…it was H-O-T! (We know that will be the one thing that we won’t miss when we visit the new stadium. It will be air conditioned.) But we ate our packed picnic and snacks and cheered for our team. We even bumped into one of Sawyer’s oncology nurses! I know the kids didn’t REALLY have that great a time: it was way too hot and a lot of sitting. But we were together. And it really meant something to Josh and I to be there all together one last time. And I’m so thankful the kids are SUCH great sports. They were a little whiny and squirrely during the game, but afterwards, they couldn’t quit thanking us for “the best day ever!” We will all laugh at the memory of the hottest, stickiest, stinkiest ballgame of all time!
Today September 1. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I know, people are like, “oh brother, here she goes again.” I get it. Kids with cancer is a real downer. Trust me. I agree. And I didn’t used to know or care ANYTHING about childhood cancer. Until July 23, 2014, when I was told, “your baby has cancer,” and I became another statistic. It wasn’t my life until all of a sudden, it was.
Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children in the United States. 700 children are diagnosed each day. And 1 out of 5 children diagnosed with cancer will not survive. It takes more lives than AIDS, Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, and Diabetes combined. Yet somehow, out of the $5 billion federal budget of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), less than 4% is designated toward research specific to all the types of pediatric cancer combined. That’s why you’ll hear parents of kids with cancer use the phrase, “more than 4.”
So what can you do?
1) GO GOLD! Awareness is the first step. If you are reading this, childhood cancer has come across your radar. Whether it was because of Sawyer, another special child, or a friend of a friend of a friend…you have entered the world of pediatric cancer. What you do with it is up to you. Be creative: put up a gold wreath, paint your nails gold, carry a gold purse for the month of September. Wear gold shoes, or switch to gold shoelaces. Start wearing gold (or your Sawyer shirt, or whoever you are supporting) every Friday, and get the conversation started! Use social media! Use Sawyer’s picture, or find your own! I’m so blessed by several of you who have already changed your profile pictures!
2) If you want to support a national organization on behalf of Childhood Cancer, I recommend Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Both of these focus solely on pediatric cancers, and primarily research. If you want to support a non-profit for East Texas kids and families, I am personally a fan of Gold Network.
3) Register for Tyler Gold Run on September 21. Start a team. Run it, walk it, or just show up for lemonade and to cheer on the participants! Proceeds support East Texas families as well as Childhood Cancer research.
4) DO SOMETHING! Pray and ask God to show you what is your part. Maybe you’ll be the one to visit kids in the hospital. Or take a meal to a cancer family. GIVE BLOOD!! Kids with cancer need numerous life-saving blood transfusions throughout treatment.
Thank you for letting me share my heart with you. Five years ago, I didn’t know or care about childhood cancer. And in an instant, everything changed. Now, the Lord has allowed me the honor of being an advocate for Sawyer and so many others. My most important message is and will always be sharing the love and hope I have found in Jesus Christ. So to me, sharing that Love with hurting families while raising awareness for these precious children is the perfect combination. I challenge you: GO GOLD for SEPTEMBER!!
Thanks for giving thanks with me!
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”” Revelation 21:3-5