I am thankful:
~ for a wonderful awesome trip to Dallas to deliver the abundant bounty of toys that you all generously donated to the Gold Network of East Texas Toy Drive! I’ll be completely honest. I didn’t think we were going to even meet last year‘s number. A week before delivery day, we had about 800 toys. And $300 to spend. A number isn’t what it’s about. I know that. And 800 toys is a lot of toys. But I am so amazed at how God worked in so many hearts over the last week. We collected more than 700 more dollars and ended up with over 1600 toys! Every hour another donation would come in. It just blew my mind! And I had the neatest experience at the Dollar Tree in Tyler. I went in with $400 to spend, and found out that since it was our first time registered as a tax exempt nonprofit, we got 10% off our purchase. So that gave me almost another hundred dollars to spend! It was so fun! I’ve never bought so much in my life, filled up 3 buggies! The receipt was as long as Samantha is tall! All the toys just barely managed to fit, crammed into our bus. I was thankful that the 4 “Middles” were able to spend the day with their cousins, because there was literally no room for them in the car! So I made the trip with just Sawyer and Tatum K. We were met at valet at Children’s Hospital by 2 child life staff members with giant rolling bins, which we filled to overflowing! Sawyer delighted in pushing and pulling them to the elevators and then he gleefully assisted in stocking the shelves. He quickly learned which bins were for which toys, and chattered nonstop as he worked. It brings me such joy to see him happily giving things away. He knew none of those toys were for him, that they were all for his friends. A sweet little girl came to pick out her prize after a hard, exhausting day of chemotherapy. The same age as Sawyer, she was completely bald and it was clear that she felt miserable. She picked out a baby doll, and then Sawyer picked out a second prize for her, which brought a tiny smile. Seems like yesterday that Sawyer was the one weak and frail. Sawyer has prayed for his little friend Charlie every day since. A million thanks to everyone who helped with this blessing.
For the best bonus to an already great day. We drove around the corner from the hospital and met our precious nurse and now dear friend, Brittney, for lunch. We haven’t seen her in several months because our appointments didn’t line up with her schedule, and now she has an additional job: Mama to a beautiful two-month-old baby boy! It’s absolutely amazing to see her as a mama. I’ll never forget meeting Brittney and sawyer’s hospital room in the early weeks of his trip treatment. She knelt with me to pray before administering his chemotherapy. She became my sister immediately and a favorite. I remember thinking what an she was an expert seasoned nurse she was, and I didn’t find out until years later that she was brand new, and she admitted to being terrified that day. It’s so beautiful the way the Lord purposely braids people into our lives that will change us forever.
~ for the most incredible neighbors! One day I got a knock on the door and a neighbor had a donation for Gold Network. They had wanted to come to the Gold Run but were crazy busy. So they just wanted to make a donation to support. Another day, another knock on the door. A different neighbor had 4 large Bruno‘s pizza left over from a party they were having! Have you ever? We are so blessed in our neighborhood.
~ for the miraculous power of prayer. Monday, an article was published by the New York Times regarding an impending shortage of the cornerstone chemotherapy drug for childhood cancer, Vincristine. Tuesday, social media was buzzing with the news, and a couple local moms contacted the Dallas hospital, and received the report that the shortage was not expected to affect our kids. But Wednesday. Wednesday our own sweet Hero, Jase went to Dallas for his routine monthly chemotherapy treatment for leukemia. And he was not given his scheduled dose of Vincristine. His family was understandably livid and very concerned. HOW CAN CRITICAL DRUGS THAT WE DEPEND ON TO SAVE OUR CHILDREN’S LIVES NOT BE AVAILABLE???? So we all used the only 2 tools we knew to use: the power of social media to incite people to apply the greatest power tool of all – the power of PRAYER. People everywhere were praying. And at the end of that all-day clinic visit, doctors came back to Jase’s family AND GAVE HIM HIS MEDICINE!!!!! The very same thing happened with several other patients that day! And shortly thereafter, a press release was issued stating that the drug company responsible was expediting the production of Vincristine several weeks sooner than previously scheduled. We are so grateful that Jase received the life-saving medicine that he needed, but we ask for continued prayers that this crisis does not happen again. Every type of childhood cancer requires Vincristine for treatment. Our kids MUST have access to the drugs they need to LIVE!
~ for the remarkable convenience of online grocery shopping! I was skeptical at first, wondering if I would get good produce, or if they would accurately fulfill my shopping list. But I have been very pleased with the service I’ve received from all 3 grocery stores that I have to use. Now a task that used to take me all day can be completed in less than two hours. It’s truly a game changer, especially with a family our size.
~ for kids who love to help!
~ for a super productive week of Giddyup & Whoa sign painting. I cranked out 7 signs for the upcoming Vintage & Co Fall Barn Sale. If you are local, you MUST come check it out! They have the most wonderful collection of unique vintage and refurbished items, and beautiful handmade merchandise as well. This year they’ve even added a different food truck each day to make it an even greater experience! Check them out Wednesday through Saturday!
~ for a tasty and free food truck lunch hosted by our mortgage company for customer appreciation. Tatum K entertained the crowd with her street dancing, and the juicy fried fish hit the spot!
~ for a very special birthday! Cooper turned 15 this week! How in the world is my sweet, blue eyed mess of a Coopy a 15 year old? We feasted on his menu of choice: biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs and bacon, and rich chocolate cake. Love that kid! (He also played a great football game this week).
~ for an amazing photographer that bravely and expertly tackled the gargantuan task of capturing a picture of Nana and Pop and ALL 23 GRANDCHILDREN! We have been adopted into an amazing extended family here in Tyler, and it is one rowdy bunch, ranging from age 20 down to 5 months! The photographer, Lauren Ashley, not only got the prized whole family picture, but each individual child, every family, and all the couples! All in one hour! She is a MACHINE! I can’t wait to see how the pictures all turned out! (These pics are just snapshots from my phone)
More than anything this week, I am thankful for God’s Mighty Hand. I talked last week about how overwhelming the pace and the pressures of life can be. Well it’s not letting up. It’s been a rough week as far as my anxiety goes, and we’ve been hit with brutal punches to the gut from out of nowhere. That really is what it feels like sometimes. Like a fighter in a ring getting HAMMERED. Only there’s no timer, no bell. No break to let you catch your breath. Just hit after hit sending you reeling against the ropes. Sometimes the hit looks like it’s big enough to destroy you.
No matter what is going on, I know He’s with me. I know He’s fighting the battle for me, in front of me, behind me, and IN ME. He built me for this battle. He has prepared me for it. If I’m in it, it’s because He has a plan for the battle and a plan for me. He is the God that holds my children. He holds their hearts and their future. He has a plan for their lives as they find their way. And every trial that comes our way will be used for our good and for His glory. And when things look like they can’t ever be ok, I will turn my eyes to Him. When I can’t take one more step, He will carry me. When my heart is broken, He will hold me.
It’s a big week for Casa Rucker, and we are counting on God to do some incredible things. Will you please pray for us? I look forward to sharing many great praise reports in next Sunday’s Gratitude!
Love one another, seek Jesus, and GIVE HIM PRAISE!
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; Fighting all day he oppresses me. My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” Psalms 56:1-4
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”” Exodus 14:14