Saturday, August 30, 2014

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

During college, Pete Frates was one of the team captains for the Boston College baseball team.  In March of 2012, at 27 years of age, he was diagnosed with ALS, a disease that offers no cure or hope.  Not content with that outcome, Pete decided to do something to try to help.  He started a campaign that has seen remarkable results.  Supporters are challenged to take an ALS ice bucket challenge, where a bucket of ice water is poured over their head, and then encourage others to do the same.  If the person chooses not to accept the challenge then they are to make a donation to the ALSA.  When accepting the challenge, the participant first acknowledges the person who challenged him, then in turn nominates others to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Next he has someone record the ice water being poured over his head and then posts the video on social media.  At first, only the ones who did not choose to accept the challenge were to make a donation, but it did not take long before the participants sent in their donations as well.  The challenge has been a huge success in raising awareness and funds for the ALS Association.  Athletes all over Boston and the country have participated, along with former President Bush #43, celebrities, individuals, families, children, teachers, administrators, business people and even people with ALS.  A teenage daughter of a man with ALS accepted the challenge, even though she had not been nominated.  Her father then participated as a way of showing his gratitude.

The news reporters have interviewed people who have been diagnosed with ALS to record their reaction to the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Every one, that I have read about or seen questioned, has been most grateful that the disease is being highlighted.  They feel validated that so many are willing to accept the ice bucket challenge, learn about their disease, as well as make a contribution the ALSA.  So far $94 million has been given compared to $2.5 million a year ago at this time.  Although only 28% of the funds received go to research, that is still $26 million more, and adding to the amount daily, than they have previously raised to help find a cure for ALS.  May they now be wise stewards of the money that has been entrusted to them.  My prayer is that they find a cure for ALS and that it will also be helpful in aiding people with arthritis, Parkinson’s, Lupus, MS, and other diseases as well.

Things I’m thinking about:
* Sometimes it takes just one person not giving up on hope to share hope with others.
* One man’s dream can make a difference for others, too.
* Sometimes we need to be educated about a situation so we can find ways to be part of the solution to help.
*Several methods may be used to accomplish the same goal.  Water was either poured on by the person participating or he had someone else pour it on him.  It was poured quickly or slowly.  There were different sizes and number of buckets used, but all accomplished the intended outcome.
* Children, teenagers, and adults participated.
* People are willing to endure something uncomfortable for a greater cause.
* When reminded of or taught about the debilitating disease ALS, people wanted to give even though they completed the challenge. Children gave money from their banks.
* When your heart is involved, sacrifices are willingly made.

As believers, we need to constantly be sharing that no matter the circumstances Jesus is and always will be our hope.  That’s good news the whole world needs to hear and know.  Sometimes we may need to offer a cup of cold water to people to drink, for Jesus' sake, to remind them of that. 

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 25:5

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
Psalm 31:24

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Psalm 62:5

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.
Ephesians 3:20

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Little Out of My Comfort Zone

Last week Larry and I flew to Virginia for a conference with some of the staff and volunteers of Gracewood, a ministry that rescues single moms and their children across the Greater Houston area by providing home, hope and healing.   Larry has been on the board of Gracewood for several years now.  On the way to the airport, we decided to park at one of the lots by the airport and thus began our adventure.  The shuttle arrived to pick us up and I carefully and slowly climbed the steps to go to a seat.  I’m not sure graceful was ever a word to describe me in the past, but it’s definitely not one of the first to come to mind these days.  Climbing steps of different heights can be a challenge at times.

Even though we took my walker, I used the wheelchair once we were at the airport for speed and to save on energy.  The attendants that pushed the chair were so kind and helpful and knew exactly where we needed to go.  That was especially nice when going through security and when we arrived at the unfamiliar Dulles Airport.

Once we arrived at Dulles, my comfort zone diminished a little since we relied on the hotel shuttle service for transportation.  Now there were several opportunities to practice getting in and out of the different shuttle vans while people were waiting to go.  Larry was so patient and helpful, especially when he would have to help pick up a foot when it was such a high step to get into the bus.

The conference was held at the hotel where we were staying.  We had the evenings free and went into Reston each night with the group to eat and visit.  Knowing we would be walking quite a distance once the shuttle dropped us off and needing to walk at a fast pace, Larry recommended that I use the hotel’s wheelchair.  I knew it would be best, but I still took a big breath before I said that would be OK.  Pride could have said we would just stay at the hotel and eat, (Larry had already befriended the chef), but we would have missed out on great times of fellowship.  I was not fast, but by the third day I was getting on and off the shuttle bus a little easier.  Then one night our mode of transportation back to the hotel was a large, tall van.  That was one more challenge to conquer since there were no safety bars to help me pull myself in and the driver decided the front seat would be the best place for me to ride.  As my 3 year old great-nephew Eli would say, Larry and I needed to “Engineer a better solution” to help get me in.  And we did!

By Saturday, I was more comfortable getting up and down the steps.  And just at the right time!  When we arrived at our gate to fly home we found out that we had to walk out onto the tarmac and up the stairs to get into the plane.  Because of the practice all week, what could have been a difficult situation was accomplished with confidence and a smile that they didn’t have to lower a ramp for me to get on the plane.

Being willing to branch out of my comfort zone brought gifts of fellowship, strength in doing what was difficult, and a reminder that even more important than being graceful is to be grace filled.  Those gifts, and so much more, are also waiting for me when I am willing to branch out of my comfort zone for Jesus’ sake.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.   
Philippians 4:19

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Beach Week 2014

Galveston Beach Week 2014 has come and gone and we're already looking forward to next year!
4 generations
24 people
2 nephews with fiancés
Celebrating 30+ years of family traditions and cherished memories
There is so much that happens during beach week that we don't take time to stop, pick up a camera and record with a photograph...talks on the deck, games on the beach, working puzzles, playing inside games, Mom making scrubbies, the tradition of having 3 friends come and visit who are family members at heart, lots of laughter, rounding up toys at the end of the day, mealtimes, late night games and discussions...but those times are permanently recorded in our hearts and minds.  My brother-in-law, Mark, and Larry served as our main chefs for the week.  That is probably why Mark was able to avoid the camera. 
With over 200 pictures to choose from, these are a few of my favorites.....
Grandson David
Chad and David with the traditional
swinging in the water.

Granddaughter Ryen

Chad and Ryen
Great nephew, Eli, and his Uncle Andrew
Great nephew Josiah
Eli and David
David and Eli spent hours digging
with the diggers.
David, Chad, Ryen
Ryen, David, nephew Adam, Eli
David digging
Eli digging
Ryen digging
David and my niece, Sarah
Learning about erosion.  They dug a river and made
it deeper by pouring water in it several times a day.
Making a volcano.
Digging to make a car 
Granddad helping David prepare the dirt for the car.
The car
 My Mom and Josiah
Ryen and Larry
A working vacation for David and Ryen
With two tents set up, a cool breeze, and Larry 
and Chad to carry me over the stretch of soft sand,
I was able to enjoy the beach and see the action.
After Granddad finished taking pictures with
my phone, Ryen needed to make some calls.

Nephew Adam, Jordan, Josiah, Eli

The walker was shared often this week
by Ryen and Josiah
Ryen and Josiah
Eli and Josiah
 When you celebrate your birthday during
Beach Week, sometimes you get to open one
(or maybe 3) of your gifts from grandparents early.
We celebrated David's upcoming 4th birthday.
Reminded me of all the years we did the same for
Brad and Chad during Beach Week.
David opening gifts.
My sister, Robin, Kirk, Josiah
Brad and Melinda having dinner out one evening.
Nephew Andrew and Melissa
Melissa and Andrew took most of the pictures this week.
Nephew Kevin and fiancé, Amy
Sister, Micki, and Ryen
One of Beach Week traditions is a game of miniature golf,
at Magic Carpet, with snow cones afterwards.
The dark skies were a blessing.  The rain held off, there was
 a cool breeze, and it was enjoyable to watch our golfers.
Magic Carpet Golf
Nephew Erich and fiancé Brittany
David and Larry
Lori and Ryen

Lots of sweet times, with some
 even captured by the camera.
Psalm 133
How good and pleasant it is
    when brothers (and families) live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

With Blessings Overflowing

These past two weeks have been full of blessings and celebrations for our family.  On July 27th, First Baptist Church Gatesville, Texas called Chad to be their pastor.  Larry and I were able to hear Chad preach on his last Sunday at Sienna Ranch Baptist Church and then be with his family for the reception on Sunday night.  As the tributes were given on Sunday evening, it was a sweet time to remember God’s faithfulness, love, leadership and guidance in Chad’s life through the years.   Their first Sunday in Gatesville will be August 24th.  David will attend preschool at the church, with the first day of school being August 25th.  Yes, we will dearly miss having them live so close, but there is great joy and contentment in knowing that they are choosing to be obedient to where God is leading them.  We will watch with great interest to see the ways God works in and through Chad and his family in the years ahead. 

Then on July 28th, Scott and Abby announced that they will be adding a son to their family.  Abby is due around the middle of January.  We are thrilled about God’s provision for expanding their family.  Once again, I am reminded that it sure is better to share good news rather than to have to keep it secret. 

This week, within 5 days of each other, we celebrate 4 birthdays in our family.  Our family is blessed with David and Mary through adoption and Brad and Chad through God’s gift of sparing their lives when they were born two months premature.  What precious blessings all four are to our family.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:5

Scott, Mary, Abby

 Happy 2nd Birthday, Mary!


Happy 4th Birthday, David!

Ryen modeling one of David’s gifts
from Uncle Brad and Aunt Melinda