Wednesday was his bi-annual oncology follow up appointment, and he got an A+. It’s always wonderful to see his care team, they are family to us. And I know it brings them so much joy to see Sawyer growing and thriving today. They saw him through the darkest, scariest days that we all wish we could forget. It’s always on my mind how difficult their jobs are. These doctors and nurses see the unthinkable and keep coming back anyway. They fall in love with their patients even when they try to guard their hearts, which is why their care is so personal and so compassionate. But that depth of compassion means that the hurts cut more deeply than they ever let anyone see. But still they keep pouring themselves out, caring for the sickest of the sick every day. So humbly grateful.
So anyway, the visit was great. And we found a fantastic new-to-us burger joint, and thankfully made it home before all the tornado warnings.
But the rest of this week…y’all. Y’ALL.
This week’s theme: God is good no matter what. No matter the circumstances. No matter the bumps in the road.
We had a lot of bumps this week.
And I didn’t handle it well. In the middle of a stormy, raging sea, I was sinking fast. Because I kept taking my eyes off Jesus.
Everything, JUST EVERYTHING, felt hard and discouraging. Being a farmer is hard. Being a mom is hard.
No matter what’s going on, from the big tragedies and losses to the maddening everyday irritations we face, God is good.
I can sit in my rocker and listen to the whippoorwill.
I can see a family where there once was none.
I can see His beauty in a wildflower.
I get to fall asleep beside my best friend in the whole wide world.
I can look in the mirror and see the lost girl He redeemed.
So I’m thankful. I’m thankful that He reminds me of Who He is when I start to forget. He doesn’t let me drown and just say, “Guess you should’ve trusted Me. You had your chance.” He reaches out His hand to me and says, “I know this is hard, but it’s not gonna stay this way. Let Me hold you a little closer through this part. It gets better, you’ll see. JUST WATCH.”
If our hope is in Jesus, our best days are always before us. Because we know the end of the story.
No matter what bumps lie ahead. It’s gonna be GLORIOUS.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
““Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”” (Matthew 14:29-31)
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus / Look full in His wonderful face / And the things of earth will grow strangely dim / In the light of His glory and grace” (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus)
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 one good week completed with Birdie’s sweet pups. If you’ve been here a while, you know puppy season is an intense one for me. It means round the clock observation, making sure everyone gets nursed and cleaned, and no one gets accidentally crushed. Birdie is a great mama, but she needs a little help with 10 pups! I sleep on the floor beside them for a full three weeks to make sure we don’t have any accidents. They are precious, but the commitment is no joke!
~ for Elsa noodle soup when my little missy was not feeling good. It was just what she needed! Who knew!?
~ for lots of laughs as I have gone round and round with some (nameless) members of my family who claim that I completely made up the concept of a colorful cake with a plastic baby baked in it. Sorry fam, I DID NOT concoct the tradition of the Mardi Gras King Cake! It’s really a thing!
~ for an awesome, HIGHLY ANTICIPATED, and LOOOONG AWAITED addition to the barn: a back door! So excited as this giant project continues to take shape.
~ for my sweet and thoughtful husband who SURPRISED ME by calling in dinner for me when he had to be out of town for work.
~ for Sawyer’s first basketball game. What a hoot! It’s his first time to play (as well as most of his teammates) and they are all learning as they go. So fun to watch him skipping up and down that court, playing his heart out. It never ceases to blow my mind to see Sawyer living a full and normal life after all he has been through and all the obstacles he has overcome. BUT GOD! God is so good. I will never stop praising Him for his mercy and protection; and I never stop testifying of the miracles I have witnessed with my own eyes.
It’s been a good week to count my blessings and rest in His goodness.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” (Psalms 143:8)
“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (Psalms 106:1)
~ for a wonderful Christmas break, celebrating Jesus and enjoying our family traditions.
~ for a first-time-ever Christmas trip! We surprised the kids with a trip to a cabin in Branson, Missouri right after Christmas. We had never been before, so it was brand new for all of us. Sadly, our two oldest were not able to join us (growing up is tough!). And even though it was a 9 hour-one-way drive, we made incredible memories all along the way!
~ and to safely make it back home BEFORE Birdie has her pups (yep! Expecting ANY DAY NOW!)
We also made it back JUST IN TIME to host a dozen or so teenagers for New Year’s Eve out at the farm.
It’s been a good year.
A year of radical change.
A year of listening to the Lord and trusting where He is leading our family. A year of letting go of the expected and waiting expectantly for a new chapter to unfold.
A year of literally building a new life.
And now we stand upon a path laid out before us, and we say “YES!”
Yes, Lord, we will go. Yes, Lord, we trust You. Yes, Lord, we will lay down our plans, desires, dreams, and expectations and submit ourselves to YOUR PLAN ALONE.
This is not “our year.”
May we love like Him; forgive like Him; serve like Him. May we look more like Him at the close of 2023 than we do today.
Happy New Year, friends.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
““Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“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)
~ 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)
~ for an amazing evening representing Gold Network of East Texas at a benefit concert hosted by our friend, Derek Holland. His 60 Feet 6 Foundation is dedicated to helping military veterans and kids with cancer. I love how kind he is to Sawyer, and how clear it is that he really cares. Casey Donahew put on a fantastic show, and the kids had a blast. And pretty proud of Sawyer for bravely speaking to HUNDREDS of people from onstage!
~ for a special weekend celebrating our niece, Jackie, and her fiancé, Nick, at the most beautiful wedding shower. So grateful to be a part of such a fun and loving family, and for the godly heritage we are blessed with.
~ and to continue the LoveFest, later that same day we got to attend the wedding of a young couple from church. It was a lovely outdoor service, but SO SO COLD thanks to the abrupt Texas cold snap! Thankful for blankets and propane heaters and DANCING and lots and lots of laughter to keep us all warm.
~ for a warm and delicious pumpkin muffin that was my dinner tonight.
Thank You Lord for the big and the small gifts. Thank You for children who are actually listening more than you realize. Thank You for glimpses of fruit. Thank You for always showing up.
And to all of you who read each week, for whatever reason I never quite understand, thanks for caring about our family. It’s the season of giving thanks. If you’re not used to it, now’s a great time to start. Begin exercising your gratitude muscles, and you’ll be amazed by how quickly your perspective begins to change.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalms 23:6)
“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them! Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:31-34)
~ 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)