Leaving A Legacy Taylor Read, A Life Well Lived

Taylor’s cousin, Catherine, from Georgia, along with her friend, Kayleigh are ready to hit the Virginia Creeper Trail to ride the 8.2 miles to Taylor’s Shelter.
Taylor’s buddy since 2nd grade and into college, Josh Barker, cools off in the Holston River next to Taylor’s Shelter. So many of Taylor’s friends joined Josh for the day.
Taylor’s sister, Megan tries her hand at corn hole alongside the beautiful Holston River adjacent to Taylor’s Shelter. A shelter designed by Megan in memory of her brother.

How does one leave a legacy?

Like Taylor Read,

a legacy is left by a life well lived.

'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.' Alfred Lord Tennyson

This past weekend, we traveled to Abingdon, Virginia.  The 4th annual Virginia Creeper Trail Rails To River Ride For Taylor Read took place on 10/6/18. We have known and loved the Read Family for four plus decades. This October journey to southwestern Virginia has become a yearly tradition for us.

You might like to click here to read about Taylor’s Ride in October 2017.

Click here to see images of Taylor’s Shelter under construction, along with details about the very first Rails To River For Taylor Read in 2015.

The crowd was moved by a brief word from The Virginia Creeper Trail President, Wayne Miller. Following are a few of his remarks:

I only knew Megan and Taylor Read as children while many of you were privileged to know them and watch them grown into bright, talented young adults—ready to leave their legacy in life.

Friends from near and far surround The Read Family in Taylor’s Shelter.

Each one of us leaves a legacy, a mark on the lives of the people we touch.  Today, the whole Read Family is leaving a Legacy of Love. And, I would like to acknowledge the love that Megan has shown for her brother. That love is reflected in this beautiful structure that brings shelter and comfort to those who pause here on their respective journeys. Megan designed it in love to honor Taylor and we can enjoy the benefits of her excellent work now and for years to come. Thank you, Megan, for this gift. It serves its purpose well. May God continue to bless your family.

On a beautiful blue sky Saturday, 10/6/18, Cheryl and Billy Poe are ready for the 8 mile ride to Taylor’s Shelter on the Virginia Creeper Trail.

Following the passing of their son, Taylor, age 23, 2015, our dear friends, Paul and Kelly have traveled a road none of us would have asked for. Along with their daughter, Megan, they have traveled it courageously, demonstrating strength beyond measure. They have leaned on each other, their faith, their family, and their many friends who love them. Fervent prayers have also played a significant role in their pilgrimage…prayers of their hearts and prayers of countless others. Prayers for this tumultuous journey The Reads have been called to travel. They have learned the truth that when we love much, we will grieve much and for always. We will also smile and laugh as countless memories are recalled by this community of Love for Taylor.

So thankful for my girlfriend, Kelly.

Reaching my sixth decade, I am noting that I have lost many whom I have loved, including both of my parents. Many that have passed have been between the ages of 20-45, years before their 60th birthday. This thought brings a few things to mind…my missing of these souls, these sons, like Taylor, Matt, Brendan and our nephew, Brad, daughters, mothers like Jule Furr, daddies like Doug Rives, Steven Rahn, and Rick Gray, they are missed by so many.

I have much gratitude that I am here today. Though my body and my brain are aging, I still have breath and energy to go forward. An affirmative attitude, my perspective at the start of each new day have become more important than ever. Seizing moments has become vital. My faith in a Living God has become an integral part of a courageous existence. I have learned that when I allow discouragement or anxiety to sneak into my days, circumstances seem even more out of control.  I am also learning that when I seek joy, I find it and I am drawn to it like a magnet.

Taylor’s Grandparents, Aunt Allison, and Mom, Kelly at the trailhead. Jess Heald, Taylor’s Grandfather was excited to hit the trail at age 84 on his electric tricycle.

Back to our recent Virginia weekend. When I chatted with both Paul and Kelly individually, we talked about the joy, adventure, fellowship, laughter, fun, food, football, and Blue Grass Music.

Elizabeth dances to the awesome Bluegrass band at Taylor’s Shelter with grandson, Cooper.
Brooks, age 2 cools off in the Holston River, adjacent to Taylor’s Shelter while his Daddy looks on.

There was enthusiasm for the weekend, even as we missed the presence of our Taylor not being with us. The thing is, he was with us as we celebrated his life well lived, his legacy, with a rigorous 8.2-mile bike ride on the scenic Virginia Creeper Trail to Taylor’s Shelter at Alvaredo Station. We clinked our glasses as we announced “Cheers!” at the nearby Abingdon Vineyards Winery.

Taylor’s friends from high school and college gathered at The Abingdon Winery following their bike ride to Taylor’s Shelter.

In unison, in and around Taylor’s Shelter,  with over 200 strong voices together, we said the blessing Taylor said at family meals:

“Dear God, Thank You for everything we have and

we hope everybody’s okay. Amen.”

Yes, Taylor was with us, with many of his friends from both high school and college, many now married and a few are new parents. Taylor was with us, with his cousins, his Aunt Allison and Uncle Brian from GA, his grandparents from VA, TN, and GA. Taylor was with the dozens of The Read’s friends who watched him grow from a baby into a handsome young man. A guy who loved his family so much. Taylor loved people, golf, baseball, and God. A student who worked hard in school and loved hanging out with his friends. Taylor was with us as we remembered the day we received the shocking news of his passing, but more than that, we recalled the days that he lived, laughed, and loved.

Taylor’s Legacy Lives On in so many hearts.

From start to end, this was a weekend to remember. Our weekend started with a visit to the famous Barter Theater to see the play Singin’ in the Rain. I had a chance to spend lots of time with my college friends, Delo, Debby, Becky, and JoAnn at the shelter.  Kelly’s husband, Paul brought our weekend to an amazing end with a Surprise Sunday Brunch for Kelly’s recent birthday on October 2nd. Yes, the weekend was filled with many remarkable blessings, circumstances that Kelly has come to call “Taylor Winks”.

Paul Read toasts his wife of 36 years at a Surprise Sunday Birthday Brunch on October 7, 2018.

Previous Posts You May Have Missed:

Run To The Roar

Authentic Prayer

Four Questions For God

How The Soul Grows Through Loss

A Grace Disguised

Add To Your Faith Goodness

Four Ways To Best Help The Bereaved

Hurting Hearts Painful Paths

Standing At The Crossroads Trying To Read The Signs

We’ve Got Your Back

It Is Well With My Soul

How Do We Describe Grief?

Fighter, Jule Furr Takes Her Leave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Wholehearted Wednesday A Time To Look Inside Your Heart

Words cannot describe how proud I am of these two as they have become first-time mommies in the past month.

June 2018, St. George Island. Our daughter, Leah in navy and our daughter-in-law, Jessica in stripes. Neither family wanted to know if they were having a boy or a girl, so we waited in suspense all summer as their babies grew in the secret, safe place.

It’s Wholehearted Wednesday on Pages From Joan, and I just have to share,
Twenty-Six Days ago, our hearts were changed, and Love was Everywhere.
Our family has spent most of 2018 watching two of our girls as they grew,
Then summer came to an end, our time grew short, our slow days just a few.
Our daughter and our son’s wife were due in September, two babies we would meet,
After 36 years of marriage, we’d be Grandparents, we’d carry babes in our backseat!

Since August 24th, 2018, I’ve lost count, I may have held a newborn for at least 60 hours,
One for each year of my life, I turned sixty August first, the blessings have come in showers.
I know that you know this, but I must remind you, holding a newborn is like holding a flower,
Fragile, sweet-smelling, a flower needs water, while it’s Mom’s milk the baby devours.
The neck, hold the neck, all will proclaim, soon the baby’s strong and wiggles out of your hold,
How could this be, wasn’t the child just born? Before our eyes, this one begins to transform.

Our first grandchild, Michael Scott Andrews, lll “Tripp” was born on Friday night, 8/24/18 in our hometown of Marietta, GA.
Elizabeth Noel Page followed her cousin’s birth two weeks later on Friday, 9/7/18 in St. Louis, MO.

Since meeting our two grandchildren, Tripp and Elizabeth, I’ve been studying the unborn child,
‘Cause as I’ve held these two-hour after hour, the miracle of each, all I can do is smile.
The Word says that our bodies are knit together in our Mother’s womb, a secret place,


That we, each one, are fearfully and wonderfully made, our fingers, our toes, our face.
As I’ve held these two young ones, tight against my chest, they both like to be in a tiny little ball.
For that is how they lived out their months in their Mommies, safe, thriving, heart beating and all.

I do not consider myself a poet, not in any shape or form, this comes straight from my heart,
This poem is not about a political issue, a choice or an organization that appears to be so smart.
Wanted or not, it is about a little innocent babe who makes a start when a sperm meets an egg.
And if all goes well, as nature has planned, this one will soon be Sue, Jack, Fran, or Greg.
A child or a choice, the argument goes on, despite the value and beauty of each one,
Either way, we know that once conception occurs, in “the oven” growing is a tiny little “bun”.

Our two “buns” are now done and we couldn’t be happier or more full of joy.
Our son and Jess have a daughter, our daughter and Scott now have a boy.
Who will she become? Who will he be? The future is so incredibly bright,
The devoted parents of these two will work real hard to always ease their fright.
We vow to love these two new ones with all of our hearts, no doubt about it,
We will pray for them, read stories, and spoil them a lot, we must admit.
‘Cause we’ve been told that’s in our job description, our duty, our responsibility and our right,
We promise to support these families as they journey on their ways, loving with all of our might.

Two of my sisters meet their great-nephew, Tripp.
I have loved spending this week with our new granddaughter, Elizabeth.
Author, Carl Sandburg said, “Babies are God’s Way of saying the world should go on.” I agree. Newborns can remind us to be more hopeful, and less fearful, no matter what.

If you are not already following me on my Facebook Page, please consider searching for

Pages From Joan

and liking my page.  I would love for you to join me on the journey where I post weekdays Monday Mood, Tuesday Thoughts, Wholehearted Wednesday, Thursday Talk and Friday Food For Thought.

Fighter Jule Furr Takes Leave This Inspiring Angel Will Be Missed

This passage in Romans 5 perfectly describes the wonderful and brave woman I am lucky enough to call my mother. Even on her worst or saddest of days, she still shines the brightest light and takes refuge in her faith. I would never come close to the person that I am without you as my Mom! Jordan Furr

My friend, Jule Furr, took her leave just before Thanksgiving on November 22, 2017. Jule and I were heart friends and this inspiring angel will be sorely missed. You can read her brief bio here.

You can also read a blog post about Jule’s life story, Part 1 that was written in 2014 by Melony Brown: Courageous Women Overcoming Life’s Tough Challenges.

And you will find Part 2 of this blog post by Melony, here.

Her Celebration of Life Service is on this Saturday, December 9th at 1:00 p.m. at Eastside Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence, by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.' Eleanor Roosevelt

Jule faced cancer early in her life as a junior high student. Battling the disease for decades, when others asked how she was feeling, she was in the habit of responding, “Oh, it ain’t nothing but ‘a thang’!” with a courageous and joyful smile on her face. Whether she was dealing with loss of hair, bells palsy, or any other yucky side effect of her continual treatment plan, Jule maintained her sense of humor and her determination to live.

I've always thought I was touched by God and He chose me for a reason. Because of my struggles, my faith is stronger. I want people to see Jesus in me. We are here to shine a light. Jule Furr

Jule was treasured, loved, and fought for her life daily to be with her family, husband, Bryan, daughter and son, Jordan and Christian (called Fuzzy). Jule Furr considered these three her greatest gifts! The Furrs were married over thirty years. She felt blessed to have him as her husband and best friend.

Over time, many of us came to call her “Jules”. When I asked her about this, she proclaimed, Well, I am ‘a jewel’ you know, I’m a ‘Daughter of The King’!!”

It is honestly difficult to describe this woman who changed the world with her birth on February 27, 1964. Number five, she  joined four sibs, sisters, Mary Ann, Kathy, Linda, and one brother, Chris. Funny story, upon her birth, her Daddy announced that he would nickname Jule “Banana” as the 5th one in the bunch, but the kids disagreed!

First living in Charlotte, North Carolina as newlyweds,  Jules and Bryan Furr soon moved to Georgia where they raised their two babies in Marietta.

My story with Jules began when we were Moms together at Eastside Christian School in the late nineties . Though I lost touch in recent months due to the severity of Jules progressive disease, our friendship is one I will cherish in my heart forever.

Here, I will share a few anecdotes from our time together.

In 2000, I was preparing to raise money for the Avon Breast Cancer 60-Day Walk from Gainesville to Atlanta. Having gone through this cancer herself, Jules was not strong enough to participate. However, she did want to help me raise funds. A participant was required to raise a minimum of $1,500.00 and our children held a Dog Wash to help. (I still laugh when I recall our son, Walker, age 8 at the time asking me if he could put out a “tip jar”!)  Along with my friends who were walking with me, Kathy Owen and Jil Cain, we raised nearly 10 grand! Jules, alone gave me a total of $820.00 the week of our walk! While registering on Day One, a woman in front of me was dismayed because she was unable to reach her financial goal. You guessed it, she was right at $820.00 short and I happily gave her Jules donation funds. Wow, was that a cool, God Wink!?!

Also, in 2000, when battling breast cancer, Jules’ fear for her two young children’s reaction,  soon gave way to inspiration. Soon, she penned an original story called, “The Scarf Game”, and it was published just a few weeks later. The 23 page story book which never mentions the word “cancer” was written from her daughter, Jordan’s perspective. The creative story line explains how both Jordan and Christian learned to tie scarves on their Mom’s bald head to help her when she was not feeling so well. This is just another example of the courageous and positive outlook this dear friend held in life.

During a particular season of illness, during the school year of 2007-2008, Jules and I would talk on the phone often. She shared with me that when she felt down and discouraged, she would list the things she was most grateful for…her husband, Bryan, Jordan, 8th grade at the time, and their son, Christian, 4th grade.

One time when I was at Chemo treatment with Jules, her nurse, Cindy Deminsky, said about Jules, “She is a treasure, treasure, treasure!” In Jules’ usual humored way, she quipped, “No, you are! I’m just an addict!”

Jules always expressed to me how much she valued her girlfriends. Back in the day, she thoroughly loved her “Southern Living Ladies Lunch Club”. They would dress crazy for gatherings and when Jules was ill, they took two-hour shifts to stay with her.

We must meet the unknown future by bringing to bear everything that has been shaped by us in the past. John O'Donohue, Irish Writer (1956-2008)

I am convinced Jules relied strongly on her faith as she journeyed through life, and she would want everyone to know this!

Jule Furr defined life and never allowed life to define her. Her smile changed the world, but she never let the circumstances of her world change her smile.

Jules favorite verse can be found in Romans 5:1-5. Emphasizing both peace and hope, it is definitely worth taking the time to read.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to an all-knowing God. Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983)

Those who knew Jule were blessed, and those who did not have an opportunity to meet Jule will be inspired by her life and adopt her stories to strengthen their own hearts.

It is now time to celebrate the life of this unique and special daughter, sister, mother, wife and friend to countless gals who will miss this inspiring angel so very much, including me!

Loss is loss, and I will be praying for this precious family during this time of grief. I will also be lifting up the many others I know and love who have lost in 2017.

RIP my dear warrior friend, Jules Furr. See YOU Later!

Related Post You May Have Missed:

Four Ways To Best Help The Bereaved

Standing At The Crossroads, Trying To Read The Signs

How Do We Describe Grief?

It Is Well With My Soul

How The Soul Grows Through Loss

Run To The Roar

Hurting Hearts, Painful Paths

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Peace Like A River Attendeth My Way

IMG_3235
The Toccoa River in North Georgia, so peaceful!

Last month, I wrote about the famous hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul”. The first line starts like this:

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll.”

This past week, Donny and I took the most peaceful adventure, a tandem kayak, with Blue Ridge Mountain Kayaking. We kayaked for 3 hours down the beautiful Toccoa River in North Georgia, and this song, the tune, the lyrics kept coming to my mind.  I was reminded of a word my Daddy used all the time: equanimity, calm amidst a storm. I considered how important it is to have faith, in good times and in bad times.

Hope is like a yeast, you know, rising under warmth. Leif Enger, author of the novel, Peace Like A River

As we paddled leisurely, my cell phone, in the dry bag, rang with the news that Donny’s Dad’s condition is changing again. Dad Page has been struggling quite a bit since March 14, 2015. He continues to be under the care of Hospice, and Wendy, his R.N. wanted us to know he seemed to be declining, again.

Life is hard, sometimes, no doubt.

These outfitters, located in Morganton, Georgia, were awesome and we highly recommend them.  They offer fishing trips and many other adventures, in addition to kayaking. This is close enough to Atlanta, Georgia to make a day trip out of it. And with the summer season heating up, the ice cold waters of the Toccoa feel oh, so good, although we were thankful we didn’t flip our tandem kayak!

Contact them at 706-258-2411. You won’t be disappointed.

Here are a few more pictures from our adventure.

Wherever you find yourself this Summer 2016, be safe, have fun,  keep the faith, and stay cool!

IMG_3203
My husband, Donny. We’ve been married 34 years on 10/2/82.
IMG_3229
This large group of geese wanted to float with us.
IMG_3213
We saw quite a few fishermen in the Toccoa River.

IMG_3236

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul

Chorus

It is well
With my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul

Repeat Chorus

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul

Repeat Chorus

IMG_3167
Peace Like A River

St. Louis With Family

Commercial airplane

Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow. Anita Desai

Donny and I took a short trip to St. Louis, Missouri this past weekend to visit our son and his bride of nearly two years. Though the flight was short, the turbulence was worse than usual, causing the attendants to suspend beverage service for awhile. In addition, the landing was one of the most tumultuous we’ve experienced. Still, as we exited the plane, as always, I thanked the attendants, and I looked straight into the Captain’s eyes, saying, “Thank you for the safe travel.” Some of them are surprised by my statement, but all seem to appreciate it. You may want to try this the next time you step off an airplane! I never want to take traveling mercies for granted, another lesson my Mama taught me.

IMG_0456
Dinner at Central West End
The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see. G.K. Chesterson

Arriving at 3:00 p.m. on a Friday gave us a nice long visit with our children, Walker, a Ph.D Philosophy student at SLU (Saint Louis University) and Jessica, a nurse at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Jess is also working on a Masters in Nursing Education. Jessica’s birthday was the Wednesday before our arrival, so we got to celebrate with her! Both carved out time from work and studying to play with us for the weekend! We love the old architecture and homes scattered through this Midwestern U.S. city. We visited them Easter 2015 and you can read about that visit by clicking here.

Did you know? In 1904, St. Louis hosted the 1904 World’s Fair and the 1904 Summer Olympics, becoming the first non-European city to host the Olympics.

IMG_0459
happy Mama

The best part of our entire weekend away was just being together. Whether we were sharing a meal, getting a haircut, loving on Louis the cat, planting flower pots, playing cards, hanging out talking, or heading to church.

IMG_0508
favorite post-church lunch spot
IMG_0466
A cold beer is included with your cut!
IMG_0492
LOUIS!
IMG_0470
“Being a good Dad starts with presence, not presents.” anonymous
IMG_0486
our gift: wind chimes from Pier One Imports
IMG_0460
Saturday brunch/lunch farm-to-table…a “must-try”
PKTR1386
With 100% chance of rain, we were happy with a short break in the weather!
IMG_0500
These tall pink hibiscus will bloom soon!
IMG_0505
time out for worship at Memorial
IMG_0503
reflection for congregation at Memorial
IMG_0513
It is always so fun to hang out in St. Louis!
I sustain myself with the love of family. Maya Angelou

After a special time with our family, it was good to return to our home, even with all the congestion and traffic. “There’s no place like home.”

IMG_0515

Thanks, Walker and Jess for your awesome hospitality! We look forward to our next trip when Leah and Scott can join us!

On a side note, our baby birds flew away and into their own journey while we were in Missouri. Click here to read about some of our bird adventures at our home this Spring.

IMG_0414
Mommy or Big Baby, I’m not sure!?!
IMG_0413
The wreath where the nest was built.

A Father Is More Than A Sperm Donor

CIMG2778
Daddy’s hands reached out to many in his time…to his wife, to his six kids, to the countless babies he delivered as an OB doc, and to the poor in Africa between the years of 1950-1955. He was always looking out for others, and one of the things I miss most is holding this hand.

Have you ever wondered, like me, why there has never been a required manual written for both new mothers and new fathers? I know this is a crazy idea, but Donny and I sure would’ve loved to read it before we conceived our two!  Though it is not a complete list, read here 10 things loving fathers can do for their children.  There is also a website for DADS at National Center for Fathering/How To Be A Good and Loving Dad.

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.” Pope John XXIII

 A father is more than a sperm donor, that’s for sure, and my family was blessed with a daddy who loved me unconditionally, provided for me well, prayed for me, and never turned his back on me.

Today, November 11, 2015 marks Dad’s third anniversary in Heaven. Daddy passed away on a Monday, Veterans Day, which was poignant, since he served in the Army as a med-tech many years ago. He was 93. I know where he is, and that helps to keep the grief at bay. I choose to look at the life he lived with all of us as an enormous blessing. As I grow in my age, I know I am that much closer to the day I will be reunited with both of my parents and that gives me such JOY!

IMG_7376
Daddy in November 1987 ready for my brother, Billy and Lisa’s wedding.

Some of Daddy’s grandsons are now fathers themselves, emulating their GoodDaddy.

In honor and memory of my Dad, I will share a few characteristics I have come to see as important while living with the two fathers I know best, my Daddy and my husband.

It is a wise father who knows his own child.” William Shakespeare 

This list comes from my own personal experience. I do realize that some folks grow up never knowing their father or perhaps they lost their Dad at a young age.

  • vigilant and present

  • funny

  • strong

  • faith-filled

  • problem solver

  • discerning

  • love for his child’s mother and arranges frequent dates with her 

  • unconditional love for his family

  • provider 

  • loving disciplinarian

As you consider my list,

what characteristics might you add?

Share this with the fathers in your path today.

IMG_5272

SaveSave

Blended Tears Live Love Laugh

IMG_7238
Luma, one of our classroom interpreters comforts a crying student on our final day in Rio.

Yesterday, our team flew safely into Atlanta, Georgia at 6:00 a.m. EST, just as Delta had promised. By 7:30, most of us had reached our homes, hugged our loved ones tightly, and relaxed in a hot shower or luxurious bath. Me… I was tearful, and I couldn’t seem to stop the tears.

...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4

While my family was finishing up a relaxing weekend in North Georgia, I came home to a quiet home, but that is not what I was tearful about…My tears were for many reasons…tears of Elation for reaching our homeland after serving in an unimaginable, impoverished community, tears of Gratitude as I walked into the radiant building that is my church home, Piedmont Church, tears of Joy as I hugged tightly many of the friends who had been thinking of us this past week, tears of Anguish as I later visited Donny’s Dad, who has been under the care of Hospice for the past week, tears of Grief as I considered the truth that 11/11/15 marks the third anniversary of my Daddy’s passing at this same place- Wellstar Tranquility Hospice, off of Kennesaw Avenue in Marietta, and blended tears of Hopefulness and Despair as I thought of each boy and girl I had touched in the past week.IMG_7164

Tears come from the heart , not from the brain. Leonardo daVinci

Now, I am quite sure that my tears were also related to fatigue from an all-night flight, but WOW! They sure were flowing yesterday!

And then, THIS picture here below was posted by my friend, Stephanie, in celebration of their 4th child while I was away. Part of the caption especially moved me …

“The world stopped for a moment as your daddy held out his hands to meet you and I waited to hear your first cry. ‘As for me, I will always have hope. I will praise You more and more.’  Psalm 71:14”

Good thing I didn’t try to wear any eye make-up yesterday.12189675_10207824332148795_2391057791809491018_n

When I was looking through the mail Donny had set aside for me, I noticed I had received yet another book.  In case you didn’t already know this about me, I LOVE books, and I usually start one each week. Anne Lamott, being one of my favorite authors, wrote a book in 2013 which I had not had a chance to read and it arrived in my hands at just the right time for all of these tears!  Just think with me for a moment about these words from Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair printed right in the flap:

“What do we do when life lurches out of balance? How can we reconnect to one another and to what’s sustaining? In this book, Lamott explores how we find meaning and peace in these loud and frantic times; where we start again after personal and public devastation; how we recapture wholeness after loss; and how we locate our true identities in this frazzled age. We begin by collecting the ripped shreds of our emotional and spiritual fabric and sewing them back together, one stitch at a time. It’s in these stitches that the quilt of life begins, and embedded in them are strength, warmth, humor, and humanity.”

As I move forward into this week of transitioning from living in a developing community like Rio de Janeiro for a week, to now back to living here in America, where I so easily forget how very blessed I am, I pray that my blended tears will continue. Some may say I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I believe that my blended tears are confirmation to me that there is still plenty for me to do while I am here on this earth. How about you?

IMG_5650

This once again reminds me of my friend, Cathy, who has chosen a life of helping others, using the loss of her collegiate son, Matthew Benjamin Dyas on October 1, 2011, to make a difference in the world while there is still time.

The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say 'O God, forgive me.' or 'Help me. Billy Graham

 Cathy, along with Matt’s father, David elected to donate $500.00 towards art supplies for my recent Rio Journey, because their Matt loved foreign mission trips, going on many trips, himself, before he left us too soon at the age of twenty.

IMG_3603
Cathy encouraging a group of friends to make 1,000 lunches for MUST ministries summer lunch program at the 2015 Matt Dyas Golf Tournament.
IMG_3637
Young boy wears his “Still Doing It” t-shirt to honor Matt Dyas.

Read more here. Cathy is forever challenging others and herself to make a difference however you can, and I so appreciate this challenge that she gives to me.

Make A Difference, Like Matt Did!

JUST DO IT!

IMG_0797

good hYOUman

CIMG2589
It’s plain to see the deep roots that are planted in The Novek Family.
[pullquote]

The day that changed my life…That was it. I knew he died. David Novek. The greatest man you could meet. Gone. I had to walk back in to help everyone gather his belongings. I grabbed his shoes. What do we do now?

I started this company in memory of my dad, the man I strive to be, the man whose memory will never be forgotten.” Brett Novek

[/pullquote]

IMG_5431Recently a whole bunch of our adult friends, along with many of our married or engaged young adults gathered to play together, to eat together, to worship together all in the same weekend and in the same place. There were 24 of us in all. [pullquote]Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. From an Irish headstone” [/pullquote]My dear friend, Rita’s daughter, Calli wore the shirt pictured here, introducing us all to good hYOUman, a company she had heard about. What Calli shared with me, moved me, so of course, I had to check it out for myself, and I hope you will, too!

Soon after Brett Novek’s father passed away from cancer, in the depths of despair and hopelessness, he determined one day to start this business in honor and in memory of his Dad. He screen-printed his first t-shirt in the bathroom of his apartment in New York. Quotes like, “My Life Story Will Be A Good One”, “—thankful—”, “Won Day At A Time”, “Forehead Kisses Are Underrated”, Novek’s company has gained interest from retail stores all across the United States for the positiveness that his clothing items portray. [pullquote]God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.” James M. Barrie[/pullquote] The whole company is based around Brett’s Dad and has philanthropic collaborations. A current collaboration involves the purchase of the BEFREE Collection, which then provides a donation to The A21 Campaign to end human trafficking.  The fabrics are incredibly soft, too, which makes them really awesome!

I plan to order some things from

good hYOUman for unique gifts.

How about YOU!?!

IMG_5445