Y’all, do you know one of the things that is just so awesome about God? With him, nothing is impossible. He loves to flip the script and shake up all our paradigms and small in-the-box expectations. His specialty is the unlikely.
That is such a picture of my life. (and of course I know it’s a picture of many others…most others in fact… But of course my own life is just my personal frame of reference.)
I know who I was. I know where I came from. I know what I’ve done. LEAST LIKELY TO SUCCEED in every area.
He still sees me as His precious child, made in His image to praise Him and bring Him glory.
I know what I can do… and it’s not much to speak of. I know what I can’t do, and the list is a mile long.
He sees Jesus, what Jesus can do, and what Jesus CAN’T do (NOTHING!)
God specializes in hand-picking the most unlikely, the most shocking, the most broken individuals.
Moses, the murderous hothead
Rahab, the prostitute
Sarah, the barren doubter
David, the murderer, adulterer
Paul, persecutor of the Church
Do you see yourself in that category? Do you think you are beyond reach? Unlovable? Unsalvageable? Too hard, too lost, too far gone? Perfect. You are right where He wants you. (and if you don’t identify with that category, you might want to look a little closer)
Humbly thankful for a God who never gives up and for a Savior who gave all.
Thank You Lord, for inviting us to a place at Your table.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”” (Mark 2:16-17)
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” (Matthew 19:26)
~ for the cutest little artist in all the land. Tatum K drew these on the ipad: “McDonalds, Mama!”
She also cracked me up this week when she hopped in the car with me and said, “Hey Mama, let’s play ‘Rock-Paper-Scissors’ to see who gets to drive!” That girl is a NUT! Love her so much!
~ for safety and warmth in the midst of the recent Texas ice storms. We experienced constant rain for days: cold rain, freezing rain, slushy rain, and straight up ice. We missed one day of school, but were blessed to never lose power, so we just enjoyed snuggling in for cocoa (on National Hot Cocoa Day, no less), movies, and popcorn. So many experienced power outages and issues for days, so we don’t take these blessings for granted.
~ for puppies that get bigger and cuter every day. They are enjoying their blended puppy mush (SO STINKY AND MESSY!) and it’s so fun to watch their little personalities developing. Thankful that so many have been chosen by their forever families. Just three little cuties left!
~ for an awesome double date with friends. So grateful for the ones God has given us to do life with.
~ for THE MOST exciting basketball game I have ever attended! Sawyer and his team played a real nail-biter, down to the buzzer and WON by 1 point! Their FIRST VICTORY OF THE SEASON! It was so fun to watch, and Sawyer’s sheer JOY at playing and (finally) winning was priceless. Colton took our MVP and all his fans out for ice cream to celebrate. Sawyer said it was the best day of his life.
~ for an unexpected day of rejoicing. We were able to pop over to Carthage to New Life Baptist Church to meet some really precious visiting missionaries and to be present as they officially ordained Justin as an elder and preacher of the church. Justin has been faithfully fulfilling those roles for years, but to be there as he was prayed over and formally set in was moving and so very special. So proud of our family’s passion, commitment, convictions, and faithfulness to the Word. What a gift.
Grateful to report that Liam’s foot amputation surgery was successful, and that he is home recovering well. Liam’s attitude and his family’s firmly anchored faith are just astounding – nothing less than a MIRACLE. The family is truly encouraged by the prayers of so many that continue to be lifted on their behalf. There is quite a journey ahead, so keep praying!
And sweet Trenn is battling along. His mama reports some areas of improvement, including sitting up in his bed and improved respiratory status. We rejoice over every glimmer of positive progress. Please continue to pray for complete healing for our brave friend.
Hold close the ones you love. Be present. Be grateful for EVERY VICTORY. We’re all in this together, so let’s lift one another up along the way. GOD. IS. FAITHFUL.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”” (Exodus 14:13-14)
“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” (Psalms 13:5-6)
“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,” (Psalms 92:1-2)
~ for reaching 3 1/2 weeks with the puppies. 3 1/2 weeks means I get to move from the floor next to the puppy pen BACK INTO MY BED! The pups can nurse on schedule instead of on demand, and they are finally large enough for the larger puppy pen in the garage. I now just set an alarm to get up and let them nurse twice during the night instead of all night long. Yahoo! I treasure these precious hours in my comfy bed! Just a few more weeks and I’ll be able to sleep through the night again!
3 1/2 weeks also means the pups move to Stage 1 of sold food training. It’s messy and adorable. So fun to watch these sweet babies grow up.
~ for fresh flowers on my table.
~ and the reason for the fresh flowers; our Gold Network CONNECT support group. These courageous moms and dads are battle-worn and weary. But there’s something so special that sparks when shared trauma knits hearts together. People trust the others within the group with their big hurts. With their secret pain. We ate great food and laughed and cried together. It never ceases to amaze and inspire me that these couples go to the trouble of getting a babysitter for the evening and choose to use that evening of freedom to come to CONNECT. Some of them drive over an hour. Because the connection and fellowship and support really matter to them. Thank You Jesus for the ministry of Gold Network ETX, and the beauty You have brought from the ashes of so much pain.
I come tonight to ask for prayers for two of our precious families.
Our friend Trenn is 16, and he’s been in the hospital with severe cancer-related complications since November.
And our friend Liam, a happy, handsome 9 year old cancer survivor, is facing a test that would overwhelm the mightiest of warriors.
The surgery that removed his cancer and saved his life back in 2017 left him with permanent nerve damage which has resulted in additional surgeries, leg braces, muscles atrophy, and excruciating sores.
The doctors and family have together agreed that the best option to improve Liam’s quality of life is to amputate his foot. When I first heard the news from Liam’s mama, I felt like the wind had been knocked from my body. BUT GOD. Instead of being scared and devastated, LIAM IS EXCITED! He is ready to finally be pain-free and can’t wait until he can get his prosthetic SO HE CAN PLAY FOOTBALL! Isn’t that the most incredible miracle?! But even with their faith deeply anchored and their inspirational attitudes, there is a long and challenging road ahead for this family. Will you please lift them in prayer? You can follow Liam’s story here: https://www.facebook.com/liamwilmeth?mibextid=LQQJ4d
I’m so grateful for this space, for the opportunity to share my heart and for your faithful support and encouragement. God is ever faithful. He is big enough for our fears, our doubts, and our questions.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”” (John 6:68-69)
“Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”” (Mark 9:24)
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalms 56:3-4)
~ for so many kind words, messages, and prayers after last week’s blog post. I know I’m not alone in dealing with anxiety, especially during the holidays. The range of emotions and the breakneck pace are a volatile combination. But God is so good.
~ for grace during the Christmas CRUNCH! Last minute shopping, searching frantically for the gifts I KNOW I BOUGHT but somehow can’t find (because I tucked them somewhere SO SAFE), the returns of the duplicates I bought to replace the gifts I couldn’t find (but then found🤪)…traffic that makes me need extra Jesus, and 10,364,292 Christmas activities/events/parties that are all scheduled back to back to back.
~ for a fun road trip to celebrate Grandmommy’s birthday! Which also is the annual kickoff day for a favorite tradition: the 12 Days of Christmas! Grandmommy is so thoughtful and creative to come up with 12 gifts for our family, and we all have a blast singing the song each night and opening a new surprise! So grateful for such a special tradition.
~ for the incredible opportunity to make a special trip to Dallas representing Gold Network of East Texas for a long-awaited, IN PERSON check presentation. Each year we donate toward ongoing pediatric cancer research projects at Children’s Health/UTSouthwestern. The past two years we have helped fund research being conducted by one of Sawyer’s most beloved oncologists, Dr. Sam John, but hospital pandemic precaution protocols prevented us from donating in person. A virtual check presentation just isn’t the same. So it was priceless to actually make the trip to Dallas and reunite Sawyer the Warrior with Dr. John, look him in the eyes, and thank him for the important work he is doing.
And we always love the Hero’s Welcome Sawyer receives when he walks his old halls. These doctors and nurses are so very dear to us.
~ for a great trip for Josh and Cooper to watch the Carthage Bulldogs claim their 9th State Football Championship. The kids and I watched and cheered from home. Way to go, Bulldogs!
~ for lots of good progress and backbreaking hard work going on in and around the casita. Septic went in this week! Looking forward to a REAL POTTY soon!
~ for beautiful encouragement from our Father. It’s so easy to let “the season” sweep us away from the Truth. To get off track, lose heart, lose faith in people (and yourself), and see the ever-darkening darkness creeping in around us.
He was and is and always will be the Light of the World. He’s STILL HERE. There’s always HOPE. We will always have questions, but HE IS THE ANSWER. And not just in heaven, when this broken world has been made new. He is the answer RIGHT NOW. As long as we are breathing, we have work to do here: repentance to own, people to encourage, the gospel to share. He has peace and FULLNESS OF JOY for us on this earth, when we take His Hand and offer Him His rightful, Righteous place. Emmanuel, God with us.
May we seek Him.
May we find Him.
May we share Him.
I’m so grateful for you, friends.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” (Matthew 1:21-23)
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said; “For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.” (Christmas Bells, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
~ for a truly remarkable week! This week has been so full of BIG blessings and the tangible presence of God, my heart is truly BURSTING.
~ for a victory! We moved to our rental back in May, and ever since school started in August, when we left the house each morning we noticed a young man sitting in a chair outside his house, presumably waiting for his ride. Wanting to be neighborly, we would all wave. Every morning, he would turn his head away. Every. Day. I told the kids I was not giving up. I said, “Before the school year is up, that boy is going to like us!” So we kept waving. Every school morning for 4 months. And this week – HE SMILED,, and EVEN WAVED BACK!!!! We all cheered with joy and a couple of us softies shed a tear! It was just the coolest thing, and the perfect opportunity to remind them to never give up being kind. EVERYONE longs for kindness. And the Lord moved on our hearts and the heart of our NEW FRIEND with the Love of Jesus. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
~ for another miracle milestone: Sawyer the Warrior turned 9! I just can’t wrap my mind around it. We never dared dream of NINE.
Sawyer continues to beat every odd and amaze us with his quick wit, tender heart, and sparkling eyes. Sawyer started his day with a tower of 9 donuts (don’t worry, he didn’t eat them all),
special lunch with Mom and Dad and Tatum K (Whataburger of course),
passed out birthday snacks to his classmates (lovingly made from scratch by my good friend, Little Debbie).
His menu of choice was lasagna, garlic bread, and chocolate cake with orange buttercream icing, and we celebrated at the farm! It was 50° so we bundled up and served out of crockpots and ran the gas heater and had a blast! Thank You Jesus for the gift of this miracle boy and 9 beautiful years.
~ for finally catching the Christmas spirit and getting the house decorated. I usually struggle a bit during the holidays, and all the changes we have experienced over the last year seemed to add to my emotional overload. So I pulled out a few boxes at a time, and gradually added festive sparkle to our little abode. We cranked up the carols and watched Frosty and Home Alone (again), and now the place finally feels like the Ruckers-at-Christmas.
~ Bear and Birdie caught the Christmas bug as well, sending the excitement and probably some familiar smells from the old house. They eagerly watched when I showed them “their” ornaments,
and stayed by my side and underfoot every moment I was decorating. Bear especially seems to be captivated by the festive atmosphere.
~ for an amazing blessing for Gold Network ETX HEROES from some generous new friends in the community. NobiliTea and Haute Totz partnered to sponsor a Christmas Extravaganza for our 12 and under kiddos and their siblings, as well as a group of local foster families. Hot cocoa, Santa and Mrs. Claus, live reindeer, and a shopping spree were provided for each of the children. It was such a blessing to see all these deserving families enjoying themselves, laughing and visiting and just getting to be kids. So incredibly grateful.
~ and for a surprise blessing that Josh and I will never forget. If you know my husband, you know he has an intense phobia of heights. So his obligatory role in holiday decorating is laced with fear and loathing: putting Christmas lights on the house. But if you know my husband you also know that he would never, EVER consider paying to have that done. So he faces it every year, knowing how much the lights mean to the kids (and to me). This year, in a smaller single story home, he was pretty optimistic, so that was his task for Saturday morning. After organizing the strands of lights and the clips and figuring out his approach, he climbed up on the roof. He did one side of the house with no problem, but when he began to begin the pitch of the garage, he started to shut down. He (not very gracefully) dismounted, and came inside to tell me it wasn’t happening. At least not from on top of the roof. He’d have to get the extension ladder from the farm and just move it around the edges. So we left the lights and headed to the farm with the kids for a day of projects. We finished up, loaded up the ladder, picked up some pizzas, and headed home so he could finish up the lights. When we rounded the corner of our street, we couldn’t believe our eyes. OUR HOUSE WAS FULLY DECORATED, WITH FLAWLESSLY INSTALLED LIGHTS!
The ladder and supplies were neatly stacked next to the house. WHO could have done this!!??? We had no idea. We thought MAYBE our next door neighbor, who is exceptionally kind (and who had joked with Josh while he was out there struggling that morning) could have done it. Nope. Wasn’t him. But our neighbor said, “I saw your boy up there…”
So Josh called Cooper on speaker phone, and asked him if he knew who had hung our lights.
“Yeah, it was me. I thought it would be kinda funny if you came home and all the lights were up.”
We stood there in shock, staring at the lights, while he continued.
“I had no idea what I was doing, and I almost quit because it was way harder than I thought it would be. But I psyched myself up and I figured it out. Took me about 3 hours. Dad, it’s pretty bad, I can see why you don’t like getting up there! But I was glad I could do it for you.”
We just stood in the yard and cried. You just don’t expect an 18 year old kid to be thoughtful and self motivated. Cooper is a terrific kid, but he’s never done anything like that before. And the very Cooper-esque fact that he was honest that he “thought it would be funny” instead of having an underlying self-serving motive to impress us with a grand gesture showed his genuineness and humility in a way that truly knocked our socks off. To say we were blessed and proud as parents is the greatest of understatements. And of course, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Wow. Just WOW.
So very thankful for big blessings. We should always be on the lookout, tuning our eyes and our hearts to see the little blessings that are everywhere. But when those BIG BLESSINGS come, the ones that sweep you off your feet; the ones where Light is created by a Word and the Red Sea parts…those moments can jolt us out of our sleepwalk and thunder, “Be still and know that I am God.”
He’s really there.
He really sees.
He really cares.
And He’s really good.
In the small and the big. HE IS.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”” (Psalms 46:10)
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”
“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.” (Psalms 40:3, 5)
~ I’m always thankful for November 1 for two reasons. #1) I am NOT a Halloween fan, so I’m thankful when the holiday and its decor and streaming video choices finally go back into hibernation. And for a favorite extended family tradition: The Thankful Game. Inaugurated by Susan K, aka Grandmommy, we share something we are thankful for each day via group email. Such a blessing to encourage one another to look for the blessings all around us! And I love how excited the kids are to participate.
~ for every quiet moment, however brief, that I get to spend just plain enjoying our farm. Usually we are hustling: cleaning, clearing, building, hauling. We are DOING THE WORK. But sometimes I sit with my coffee in the rocking chair. Or sometimes it’s a quick snuggle in the hammock with a kitty. But I just love to stare at the wide open sky and the massive trees and just breathe it all in.
~ for an exciting project started – the kids want goats, and we can’t have goats without a FENCE! With the right tools and a few hours of back breaking labor, Josh has made some good progress.
~ for a romantic date with my Love. A trip to Lowe’s and out to the farm to look at his fence at sunset. Not a joke.
~ for another very special tradition: GCS Jr.Kindergarten Noah’s Ark Parade and our tiger costume. The tiger costume was purchased for Cooper’s Noah’s Ark Parade back in 2008, and has since been worn by every subsequent Rucker Jr. Kindergartener. And it was finally Tatum K’s time to shine! Love those bright blue eyes shining on her special day with her class. Where did this big girl come from?
~ for God’s protection during a crazy scary storm. The lightning strikes were intense and CLOSE, and a number of tornadoes were all over East Texas, but thankfully we experienced no damage. Prayers for all those who did not fare so well.
~ for a perfect fall day for a Gold Network ETX HERO Hangout. These quarterly outings are for childhood cancer kids, siblings, and parents; just a carefree day that has nothing to do with cancer. We took a group of 46 to Yesterland Farm, the most charming and festive local theme park. Kids and parents alike screamed on rollercoasters, launched apple cannons, rode ponies, and navigated a corn maze. Watching smiles of joy on these faces is indescribable. It was a perfect day. So thankful for the mission and ministry of Gold Network, and these incredible warrior families.
~ for hot, salty sweet fresh popped kettlecorn.
~ for a great evening at the farm for a tasty dinner and good football. Succulent BBQ chicken sliders and the most delicious buttery apple crisp with vanilla ice cream and homemade salted caramel sauce. The perfect combination.
Definitely focusing my heart on gratefulness this season. When things are hard, I’m trying to take a deep breath and ask the Lord for my part to play. Am I being patient? Gracious? Am I loving like Jesus? Did I take the initiative to speak the kind word? Did my tendency toward iron justice overshadow an opportunity to show Christ’s mercy? I feel like I fail every single time.
I’m so thankful for His mercy toward me. I know who I was, who I am without Him.
I’m thankful that although I’m a million miles from perfect, I’m being perfected day by day. I’m thankful that even though my capacity to love falls short time after time, the God who is Love personified LIVES IN ME.
He’s just so good, y’all. Right where I’m at.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” (1 John 4:15-17)
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:10-12)
~ for sweet smiles from this sweet girl. She did this puzzle all by herself!
~ for a deliciously ooey-gooey grilled fried-green-tomato-pimento-cheese sandwich on buttery sourdough.
~ for an exciting surprise in the mail for Sawyer. He received an official championship ring from Derek Holland and his friends from the Celebrity Softball Classic that we attended back in June. Watching his gleeful amazement was priceless!
~ for a new baby calf next door.
~ for a fun Homecoming week for Cooper. He had the honor of being asked to emcee the Homecoming Pep Rally, and did a FANTASTIC JOB. He is so in his element on a microphone in front of an audience! And then he had a great time in the pouring down rain cheering Cougars to a Friday night victory and then a great night with his friends at the Homecoming Dance on Saturday. How is this his Senior Year???
~ for the most delicious homemade tamales with fresh salsa.
~ for new growth. Last weekend we spread grass seed and wildflower seed: Texas bluebonnets, red poppies, black-eyed Susan’s, crimson clover, and other assorted native wildflowers. 7 days later, we have sprouts!
~ for a fun night hosting our church youth at the farm. Two-touch football + volleyball + a bonfire + hot dog and marshmallow roasting made for a lively evening with a terrific group of kids. So special to be able to share our Happy Place. I can only imagine how many gatherings we’ll get to host. Thank You Jesus for this ever-unfolding-dream-coming-true.
I’m thankful for the discipline of Sunday Gratitude, and the accountability to meet here each week to count my blessings. Y’all, sometimes it’s not easy. The world weighs. Irritations mount. Another fire flares up as soon as I put one out.
This week felt more yucky than good.
I was having a long talk with one of my kiddos who was having a hard time. I shared about starting Sunday Gratitude 8 years ago, when I realized I needed to look past the insurmountable trials that were all around me and focus instead on whatever blessings I could thank Jesus for, however small or insignificant they might seem. To transform my self-focused lowly attitude (however justified it might have been) to one of humble gratitude in the midst. I told my child, I could write about (insert current trial) and (insert current irritation) and (insert current disappointment). I could write about sickness and building delays and gas prices and politics. AND ALL THOSE THINGS ARE TRUE.
Because all the blessings are true too.
So where should I focus my gaze, focus my energy?
If we become what we consume, do I want to fill myself with grumbling and self-pity; or rather with praise and thanksgiving?
My faith is small, but my God is BIG.
I am weary, but He is FAITHFUL.
Whatever you are facing, friend, hold fast. You do not walk alone, and better days are coming. See the good. It’s there, if you only look.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5)
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (I Chronicles 16:34)
~ for another fun week of volleyball and cross country for our girls. The season is nearing its end, and it’s been a great experience for both Kora and Samantha. So fun to watch them enjoying their teammates and doing their best.
~ for glorious cool mornings. So it may still end up in the 90s by lunch, but I’m digging the sweatshirt for an hour in the morning!
~ for an unexpectedly dramatic milestone at the farm. We realized we needed to create a more definite driveway on our dirt path, so we ordered a couple dump truck loads of crushed rock. The whole process of expertly applying the rock along the path took MINUTES, but INSTANTLY transformed a pasture to a driveway! It was the coolest thing!
I’ve not been very good at updating our progress, but we’ve come a long way! Now that I’ve made it through September, I’ll try to do a better job!
This week was concrete-busting and shelf-building. Love these adventures with our Tribe.
~ for Bear and Birdie’s first trip to the farm. They are city slickers like us FOR SURE, but I think they’re going to love the country!
~ for a great evening of Friday Night Lights watching another Carthage Bulldog victory!
~ for a wonderful day of great food and fellowship at our church Friends Day. One of our favorite long-standing TCF traditions, a church-wide potluck picnic on the grounds, complete with Chili cook off and volleyball. The East Texas fall weather was absolutely perfect, and we had the best afternoon with old friends and new.
~ and most of all, completely thankful for an uneventful trip with Sawyer to Dallas for his biannual oncology appointment. And I’m happy to report with great joy, Sawyer remains CANCER FREE! Glory to the Lord!
Sawyer had a great, full day with lots of favorites.
•Favorite stop for favorite breakfast and CANDY (Buc-ee’s).
•Favorite co-pilot and snack-master extraordinaire (Aunt Gina)
•Favorite strange hobby (drawing his own blood)
•Favorite people (got to see 8 of his nurses from his cancer team as well as beloved Dr. Winick. I love hearing how encouraged they are after seeing him. They walked us through his terrifying darkest days. To see him thriving brings them so much joy.)
•Favorite use of his gifts (got to chat with four other East Texas HEROES that were also at the hospital today.
•Favorite thing to do on the way home (EAT! This time we tried out In-N-Out Burger for the first time)
Sawyer had a perfect oncology visit and will return in 6 months. He was due for a heart echo (to monitor his heart’s function and watch for any long term damage caused by several of his chemotherapy drugs). Results were NORMAL! Glory to God!!!
And the most incredible, mind-blowing thing I witnessed today happened when we saw 2 of his former nurses who had heard about the recent Gold Network ETX nurse training we did a few weeks ago. One nurse (who is now a nurse educator) wanted to show me another option of a simulator. Sawyer started asking questions, and before I knew it, she was teaching him HOW TO ACCESS A PORT! AND HE GOT IT ON HIS FIRST TRY!!!! Even flushed it and got blood return.
Watching my miracle boy, the one no one thought would live, who has overcome every obstacle that has come his way his whole little life…watching him do the unfathomable, from SPRINTING the 1 mile Gold Run and coming in 2nd place overall on Saturday,
to successfully performing a complex medical procedure that many adults cannot successfully master, one that he endured himself as an infant and toddler more times than we can count (and while still wearing his own hospital bracelet, mind you)….
There are just no words.
Thank You Jesus.
Thank you for continuing to lift Sawyer and our family in prayer as we continue this walk that never ends. We never take the good news for granted. Every day is a gift.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” (Psalms 126:3)
“I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” (Psalms 9:1-2)
For people who are generous with their time, their gifts, and their resources.
For new friends and old friends.
THANK YOU to everyone who came to Tyler Gold Run, who donated, who volunteered, who helped behind the scenes, and who prayed. You have truly made a difference by going gold.
September is almost over. Our mission is not.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Luke 10:2)
“David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.” (1 Chronicles 28:20)
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”(Hebrews 10:23-25)
~ for a delicious traditional gyro smothered in tzatziki sauce.
~ for a crisp, fresh new candle.
~ for my new diffuser running nonstop with eucalyptus oil.
~ for new Tyler Gold Run shirts! Always exciting to open the boxes and see the latest design. And it doesn’t hurt that I have the cutest models in all the land!
~ for a week of all things GOLD: hours of putting out Tyler Gold Run signs, Run Committee meeting, radio interview, speaking to 3rd graders about Gold Network and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month,
and for the arrival of my long-awaited custom GOLD glitter chucks!
~ for the conquering of an IMPOSSIBLE SATURDAY. Talk about a day when we needed a few clones! We had one sister with a cross country meet in Longview at 8am. One sister with a volleyball tournament in Gladewater at 8:15am.
And mom had Tyler Gold Run swag bag filling in Tyler at 9am.
SuperDad expertly shuttled the girls where they needed to be, and the rest of the Tribe helped me. Then we headed to the barn to hang sheet metal for 9 hours! Days like that harshly remind me of my age. But God!
~ for wonderful fellowship with dear friends at church and afterwards. What an awesome gift.
We are all systems GOLD this week. Speaking to schools, several interviews, last minute details, coordinating volunteers, and every big and small detail leading up to our 8th Annual Tyler Gold Run 5K. I can’t believe it’s been 8 years! What a ride!
We’ve learned so much and met the most incredible people along the way. I will never understand why Sawyer got cancer, but I will never stop thanking God for the undeniable beauty He brought from those painful ashes. You can learn more about Gold Network of East Texas or register for the run here. Local or not, runner or not, you can make a donation at any time via our website. Do it for Sawyer. Do it for Bristell. Do it for Sophie. Do it for all the children around the world who need someone to stand up and say that kids with cancer need better care and more funding. Together we can make a difference.
Hope to see lots of you Saturday!
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)