I am thankful:
~ for breathing easier. You might remember that Cooper was injured at football practice about a month ago. His hip is fully recovered, but we had another issue hanging over our heads with his health. The EMT on site that day was concerned with Cooper’s heart rhythm, and said we needed to follow up with our primary care physician. We did, and THAT doctor felt it best to err on the conservative side, referring Cooper to a pediatric heart specialist. That appointment was this week. When we arrived, the nurse noted Cooper’s blood pressure as slightly elevated (which could easily have been caused by his anxiety about the appointment). But also, the repeat EKG showed the same concerning abnormality, and prompted the doctor to do an echocardiogram. Thankfully, the anatomy of Cooper’s heart looked perfectly healthy, and the doctor said Cooper is fine. He has an electrical dysrhythmia, an abnormal electric impulse in his heartbeat, but it is not causing any issues. The specialist wants to see him back in a year to make sure nothing is developing into a problem, but otherwise cleared him for all activities, including football! Those were the magic words Coop had been waiting to hear. So it was very special to get to see him take the field with his team Thursday night. Thank You God for taking care of our boy!
~for the sound of little voices lifted in praise. I love that my Littles love Christian music. It’s mostly what we listen to in the car every day. I don’t say that to sound preachy or to brag that we are doing something good. It’s just a choice that I’ve made after hearing my kids sing some less-than-wholesome lyrics that just didn’t sound right coming out of their a little mouths. So anyway, even Tatum has a few songs that she knows, and I love to hear her tiny “hallelujah,” and see her lifted hands. My middle girls are entering the preteen years, and they love music so much. So they sing out with ALL THEIR MIGHT. And I have to hide my giggles when the tone is more enthusiastic than melodious. I know it all sounds beautiful to the Lord.
~ for a reprieve from the oppressively hot weather. We have had a few days that almost feel like fall is coming.
~for one of our most amazing and inspiring experiences since creating the Gold Network of East TX. One of our sweet Hero girls, Aneesa, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in the first grade. She bravely fought through her treatment, and is now an 8th grader at Moore Middle School here in Tyler. She asked her principal to do a Go Gold fundraiser at their school. He said no. Disappointed, but determined, she wrote him a THREE PAGE LETTER explaining what she had been through as a child with cancer, her compassion for other kids with cancer, and shared with him the maddening statistic that less than 4% of federal research funding is directed toward childhood cancer research.
She told him about Gold Network of ETX, and how we have supported her family and her other friends with cancer, and asked him to reconsider and Go Gold. He agreed! Aneesa got on the announcements at her school, shared the news that she was celebrating being 7 years cancer-free, and asked them to pay $2 to wear gold or yellow on the designated day. Her classmates and the faculty were incredibly supportive, and raised over $1000!
I was invited to their pep rally this week (as was the local news station) where Aneesa presented me with a giant check in front of her whole school! I could not have been more proud! What an inspiration this young lady is! She is taking the biggest challenge of her life and turning it into a blessing for others – and is refusing to take “no” for an answer! She didn’t give up! Josh told her he could envision her being the first of our Hero kids to join our GNET board one day. Aneesa was absolutely GLOWING. Love that sweet, sweet girl.
~ for a wonderful evening with some of our Tyler Gold Run volunteer team. We gathered at our big table around a feast of C Rojos decadent tacos and burgers and visited and laughed and just encouraged one another. Then we busted out some delicious pies and coffee and talked about the high points of Tyler Gold Run 2019 and goals for improvement for next year’s event. We got such great feedback, and I just treasure each one of these dedicated individuals who give of their time and energy to support the vision and mission of GNET. I am STILL more exhausted than I have ever been in my life. Another year older, I find I just don’t bounce back the way I once did. But I am so excited to see all that God has in store for us in the upcoming year, and all the lives GNET is going to touch.
~ A friend texted me the most touching and surprising note. She keeps a Sawyer shirt in her classroom as a reminder to pray for him, and so many others of course. We don’t often think about that most of our prayer requests are not one and done. It’s always a process, always a journey. when someone is sick, we pray for healing, but do we continue to pray for recovery? When we know someone is about to have a baby, we pray for the pregnancy and a healthy delivery. Do we continue to pray for the momma during the sleepless nights? And that the baby will grow strong and healthy? That momma is never going to stop needing our prayers. I’m so grateful for the friends who don’t stop praying. The ones who continue to pray more than five years after Sawyer was diagnosed. Who pray for my adopted children for the different things that they are working through. That pray for all of my kids, that pray for my marriage, and pray for me. We have to be faithful to lift one another up. Don’t give up!
~ for a fun day watching our yummy 1 year old cousin, Emmett. He loved the Bear, and kept me on my toes with his exploring. Tatum K surprised me with her jealousy and how decidedly and passionately she hoarded “HER” things. Our prissy princess had quite the furrowed frown! I also got some good baby sugars from baby Coby this week. I’ve been itching to get my hands on him for a long time.
~ for so many generous donations for the Children’s Hospital Toy Drive. We are so excited to refill the prize closet at the clinic next month. There’s still time to donate!
~ for an unexpected surprise. Looks like it is large item pick up week again! Already this evening just running an errand, I have seen pile after pile on the curb. In less than 20 minutes I scored a pair of shutters, and antique file box, and a set of finials off a bedframe. It’s going to be a great week!
I know I am not alone in saying: this parenting stuff is HARD, y’all. HARD!!! No matter how many kids you have, or what their ages, whatever you’re walking through, it’s just a different flavor of hard. Our family is in a unique situation with so many kids on so many points along the timeline. Not many parents are training toddlers, navigating Littles, preteens, teens, and young adults simultaneously. The needs are relentless. I can’t remember a time when ALL NINE of them were all doing solidly OK at the same time. Somebody’s always mad at us or at each other. Somebody’s in trouble. Somebody’s sick. Something is falling apart with at least one of them at all times. It’s like whack a mole. But I’m the one who consistently takes the mallet to the head. Parenting HURTS. I know we will get through it, and I know God is always at work. But I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I just feel like I want to run away. But God. I am thankful for new mercies every morning, and I’m thankful that the outcomes are not up to me doing everything right. God knew what He was doing when He chose me to be the Mama for each one of my babies, and He has faithfully, consistently, and without fail given me the grace to walk through sleepless nights and cancer, fostering and rebellion, adoption and selfishness and defiance and everything else that life has thrown at us. And no matter how weary Josh and I get, we are never giving up. We won’t ever give up on any of our kids, and we will fight for them on our knees and in our hearts as long as we have breath. Don’t lose heart friends. Don’t give up when it’s hard. Read the extra story. Give the extra hug. Say you’re sorry when you screw up. And don’t be so hard on yourself. God is working on them and He is working on you. God is doing His thing. Let Him. Anyway, I needed to say all that to encourage myself, and I figured maybe somebody else needed it too.
Let’s love one another well this week.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31