I am thankful:
~ that Tatum K and Sawyer are both feeling so much better. Still some ever-lingering hacking coughs, but no more fevers. Thank You Jesus! It’s amazing how this virus knocked them down. They have been so completely exhausted all week. I snapped pictures in the car each day after school.
~ for so many people sharing how they are Going Gold. Profile pictures, wearing gold, sports teams, or making generous donations to the prize closet. It encourages my heart so much to see that people really do care, and that the word IS SPREADING! You are MAKING A DIFFERENCE, FRIENDS!
~ for hot, cheesy, gooey homemade pizza.
~ for our sweet, OLD, grumpy grandpa dog, Cricket. He turned 14 this week. He is deaf as a post, halfway blind, and HATES Bear. But we sure do love him. Happy Birthday, Cricket.
~ for good help right when I need it. A sweet friend called to say, “I have a free day. Let me ride around and ask businesses for giveaway prizes. I could sell ice to an Eskimo!” What a blessing! And he was right! In a few short hours, he stocked us up with FABULOUS prizes for the post-race drawings! Thanks Jarrod! And we also had a super efficient morning filling race bags, organizing medals, and sorting t-shirts. The student volunteers worked steadily to get it done, and the support from the school maintenance staff was OUTSTANDING. I also had a friend help me get Cooper to AND from his Pine Cove work retreat with his youth group. Not only THAT, I found out that my son went to camp WITH NO BEDDING OR TOWEL, and she took care of him for me! Thank you, Emily!!!! (I‘ll check his packing next time!)
~ for a new milestone for Cooper – his first “ask” to a dance. Thankful for his creative big sister who made his poster, and for a sweet friend to go to Homecoming with in a few weeks.
~ for great time for Sawyer at Donuts With Dad this week. When the note came home about it, he was bouncing OFF THE WALLS. And it’s ALL he talked about ALL week. “FOUR more days till Donuts With Dad!” “Only THREE more days til we have donuts, Daddy!” “You know what TOMORROW is????” The actual event did not disappoint. Josh and the other dads had good times with their kiddos. And Sawyer’s teacher commented on how much his face lit up when Daddy walked in. Moments like this are such a big deal for us. Maybe you can’t understand. But when you’ve done these fun little milestones and events with all your other kids, the kind of events that you really do take for granted….and you were never quite sure if you were going to get to do it with this one… I don’t know what else to say. It’s just a really big deal.
~ for the simple sweet moments that refuel the heart. Friday was INSANE. In the course of the day I fielded more than 20 emails and 152 text messages. We scoped out Bergfeld Park to map out our new layout. I put out more posters and signs. Picked up 800 race shirts in 10 GIANT BOXES and crammed them into our bus like a Tetris game around the 7 kids and dog. It was 90 to nothing ALL DAY. But then I had a moment. In the afternoon there was this tiny little window of time to sit and put my feet up and be quiet. And then a little boy woke up from his nap. Sweaty little curls on his neck, he crawled up into my lap and put his head on my chest. “I love you mama.” That was the reset button I needed. I squeezed that boy a little too tight for a little too long.
~ and can I just say, I am SO THANKFUL and EXCITED about our new Tyler Gold Run t-shirts! We wanted to change up the design for our 5 year anniversary, and our talented graphic designer did a terrific job! Aren’t they great!!??
~ and Friday STILL wasn’t over! We had fun taking the kids to Elementary Night at the GCS varsity football game. They bounced in the bounce houses, ran around with their friends, and formed a spirit line for the players to run in through. I’m not sure if any of them watched any football.
~ for a fantastic evening of fellowship. We have stepped out in faith to be a host home for a 10-week Small Group Bible study. It’s been a LONG TIME. Hosting and opening up our home has been a central part of our lives for most of our married life. We had 50 people in our home EVERY. SUNDAY. for YEARS. And LOVED IT. But everything stopped when we started fostering our 3 Littles in 2013. Small group, church, Sunday school, school activities. Basically anything outside the home. That season was just so hard, and we had to focus all our energy on their needs. Then Sawyer was born. And just when we thought we had caught our breath and were about ready to rejoin society…then cancer stole everything away. And it’s taken a really long time to get back into normalcy. There’s the emotional side – my anxiety kicks my butt and keeps me from wanting to be in social situations; we feel so DIFFERENT, because the war we’ve been through over the past 6 years has changed us in pretty much every way. But then just the practical side – we have a giant family, and opening our home or going to someone else’s is both intimidating and a ton of work! But man! Stepping out of the comfort zone, stepping out into a scary place in obedience….it is SO right where God wants us! It is stressful and stretching and sometimes uncomfortable and sometimes even inconvenient. And the fruit it bears is LIFE GIVING AND LIFE CHANGING! Letting people into our lives and our homes is where LIFE HAPPENS. It was a great night. So very thankful.
~ and for my sweet girls who Go Gold without being told. They just instinctively chose gold/yellow outfits for church today. So sweet.
This week, I connected with 2 more cancer mamas. They have both had children diagnosed in the last couple months, and both in East Texas. Reaching out to them and adding their pictures to our wall of Heroes at the upcoming race was such a powerful paradigm shift for me. Talk about a reset button. It’s so easy for me to get swamped by the mountainous to-do lists: clearing our route with the police department, making sure we have volunteers, health department, street department, water, signs, SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS THREE TIMES A DAY….there is just so much to do. But then is the staggering reminder: these 2 families lives are falling apart right now. And one of our sweet friends who is almost done with treatment had to be unexpectedly hospitalized due to fever and low counts. And tomorrow is Lucas’s birthday, and instead of enjoying a smash cake and taking a zillion pictures, his mama and daddy are away on a trip, trying to comfort one another. It is these staggering heartbreaks that help me focus back in on the WHY. These are WHY we do what we do. These families are WHY I wear gold every single day and cover my bus with gold magnets and spend hours a day on my phone. These are such small, insignificant things that on their own mean very little. But alongside everything everyone else is doing….and fueled by the UNSURPASSABLE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST…. I genuinely believe it makes a difference to these families. Because they all deserve to be SEEN AND HEARD AND RALLIED AROUND. They need to know they are not walking alone.
It’s gonna be a BIG WEEK! I have interviews and morning shows, elementary chapel, and Friday night will be Go GOLD night at the GCS football game. And then Tyler Gold Run is SATURDAY!!!! I’m totally thrilled and completely overwhelmed. It’s not too late to register as a runner, walker, or just give a donation. And we also have lots of volunteer opportunities as well. And as always, I’m so grateful for your prayers over all the big and the small details. At least the weather forecast looks better than last year’s….AND, Sunday is the Opening Ceremony for the Lone Star Circle of Life Bike Tour, an incredible organization/event that raises awareness for Organ Donation in the state of Texas. Our pastor and his wife have been involved for years because of their son Josh, who was an organ recipient as a teenager, and then later an organ donor when he passed away. Because of our relationship with them, we have been big fans of the Circle of Life for years. But this year, Brother Joe reached out and informed me that they also honor people who have received blood transfusions; and that they wanted to honor and ride for Sawyer! Talk about humbled and overwhelmed! Another of our precious Gold Network Hero kids, Jessi Brown, who passed away 2 years ago is also being honored, along with many other donors and recipients. Did I mention it is a BIG WEEK!!???
I’m also excited about the unique opportunity presented by our school through the ministry of World Vision: the Matthew 25 challenge. Perhaps another “Reset Button,” if you will. As parents and students, each day has a different specific challenge based on Matthew 25:35-40.
Monday – “I was hungry” : Fast from snacks and desserts, and only eat rice and beans for dinner.
Tuesday – “I was thirsty” : Give up all drinks today except for water.
Wednesday – “I was a stranger” : Sleep on the floor tonight.
Thursday – “I needed clothes” : Wear the same clothes to work/school that you wore yesterday.
Friday – “I was sick … I was in prison” : Reach out to someone going through a difficult time.
Our kids are all very eager to participate. We’ll see what they think by the end of the week. I’m blessed to walk beside them as we talk about what is REALLY MEANS to love and serve the least of these.
Let LOVE OTHERS WELL this week.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
““Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:34-40