Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Grape Escape 2015

You may remember previous posts about us attending the Jackson Center's annual fundraiser in 2014 & 2013, Grape Escape.  It is an awesome night celebrating our kids and raising money to keep the Jackson Center serving our families.  This year, there was a western theme and it was a beautiful night (so I heard!)

I actually couldn't attend this year, as I had already committed to be the social chair (ha!) for a weekend with my college girlfriends.  BUT, Elena had plenty of support this year in our friends and family.  Over $125,000 was raised, which goes directly to help serve our kids and keep this wonderful place in operation.

Unfortunately, Chad can never be trusted to take ANY pictures EVER, so there are no photos of the evening.  But, we were happy to be involved in making this year's video.  I'm always excited to share our love of this place and what it's given our family.

I'll let the video do the talking.  But, I promise I'll share a picture of Elena's painting in a later post.  The kids paint pictures to be auctioned off each year...Jackson (yes, he's the namesake) had a painting this year that sold for $7,000!  While Elena's didn't go for that much, it's still a "Picasso" to us!

**Excuse my man-voice in the video-I had a horrrrrrrible cold when we filmed!


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Answered Prayers at Cracker Barrel

The other day I overheard someone say in response to a tragic story that it was "hard to believe that's God's will in a situation like that".  I immediately found myself offended.  Later as I was relaying the story to Chad I explained that there is NO WAY that it is "God's will" for ANYTHING terrible to happen to ANYONE.  You could never convince me that it was God's plan for Elena to be injured and suffer the way she has.  Never.  Rather, I fully believe that when terrible, inexplicable things happen, God weaves that tragedy into something really beautiful.  It doesn't necessarily mean easy, but beautiful nonetheless.  I have prayed so often the last few months for God to continue to use me and use our sweet Elena to continue to be a light for Him.  I want so badly for people to see that my strength doesn't come from some internal powerhouse that was genetically bestowed upon me, but my strength comes from my faith.  And without it, this story wouldn't exist.  I would have never survived the last four years the way that I have.

I'm going to be honest with you.  In the last couple months, I've been struggling with the fate of my blog.  It's been such a part of our family for the last four years.  These days I have much less time to devote to real, meaningful posts.  Most are done on the fly and out of guilt because I haven't blogged in awhile.  I've wondered who actually reads anymore, what kind of light, if any, are we shining?  I've wondered if I share too much.  I've thought about devoting my time to compiling our entire story, start to finish, about all of what we've experienced.  I've felt as though it's time for something else.  It's been on my mind so often lately that I've really been praying about it.

Why am I telling you all this, you ask?  Because, last night at Cracker Barrel, God answered my prayer.

Before you go thinking I've lost it and officially a cuckoo Christian, let me explain!  Chad and I took the kids to Cracker Barrel for dinner last night (yes, we live a very fancy, exciting life).  Soon after we sat down a sweet woman came up to our table and said this:

Hi, you don't know me.  But my name is
Judy Russell.  I live in Lafayette and I read
your blog.  My Bible Study and I have been
praying for Elena and your family for years.
You have a sweet family and we will
continue to pray for you.

It was all Chad and I could do to keep from bursting into sobs.  No, I didn't know Judy and I don't know how she found my blog but that was the answer that I have been praying for.  It came from the sweetest woman at Cracker Barrel over meatloaf and chicken n' dumplings.  I mean, how awesome is God?  

Elena's story, our story IS still shining a light.  God isn't done with us.  There's more to share.  I don't want to let my self-doubt and insecurity interrupt the continuation of our story and the glory that it will bring to Him.  So bear with me folks.  I'm a busy Mom these days and have little time for anything other than feeding, transporting and cleaning children, but don't forget about us.  We are STILL humbled by your love and prayers.  And we most definitely want to keep shining a light.  

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
God is our fortress."
Psalm 46:10-11