Grateful Heart

This post is one of true gratitude.  So many things have happened this week that have stirred my soul to its very core.  The most memorable one occured on Friday.  TCA had its annual Thanksgiving Feast and we all went to watch Ella perform.  Her class dressed as Pilgrims and sang the song "Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart."  It was the most moving and amazing moment of my life.  It really was. 

When we arrived at the school, I parked and started getting Lucy, her walker, Jack and his stroller out of the car.  Along with the diaper bag, the movie camera and my still camera.  I got Lucy's walker out first and told her to start getting herself out of the van while I got Jack settled.  By the time I got back around to her side, she was gone.  Seriously, gone.  I panicked.  I quickly gathered my things and ran inside, only to find that she had made it to the front of the cafetorium with the rest of the kids.  She was putting on the pilgrim costume and finding her spot in the performance.  Now, mind you, she had no previous knowledge of what was going on.  She didn't even know why we were going to school in the first place that day.

The program started before I even had time to get my camera or video camera out.  I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen.  My sweet Lucy stood up, steady and strong, and sang.  She sang with all her heart.  Did she know the words?  Of course not.  But that didn't stop her.  She sang along and tried to copy the motions.  I sobbed like a baby, my mom was crying and Erik was doing his best not to loose it, too.

It was amazing.  As they sang the words "Give thanks with a grateful heart for what the Lord has done for us," I was moved beyond giving thanks.  I honestly think I experienced a mountain-top moment that cameras or video could never do justice.  I will have this image of a 5 year old embracing life with all she has forever.   For that moment, Lucy was not hindered by any obstacles that have been placed in her life.  She had no idea that she was different from the other children.  And with the innocence of a child, she sang with a grateful heart to God because she didn't even realize that she had anything to be mad at Him about.  She was truly grateful to be there, and so was I. 

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give Thanks because He has given
Jesus Christ His son.

And now let the weak say I am strong
Let the poor say I am rich
Because of what the Lord
Has done for us.

Give Thanks.

My heart sang out with gratitude for that moment.  I am still crying about it even now.  I am also grateful for today.  For the first time since Easter, all 5 of us were at church.  Together as a family.  We almost made it all the way through Sunday School before Lucy's teacher called to say she was getting tired.  It was a wonderful start and I was so thankful to be there today.  Lucy was so excited about going that she was dressed and sitting on go long before it was time to leave.  I am so thankful my children enjoy going to church and learning about God.  What a blessing.

As I think about this week and Thanksgiving, I am more aware today than ever before of how very much I have to be grateful for.  Yes, I was dealt a bad hand this year and justifiably have some things to be upset about.  Amazingly, instead of having a bitter heart I feel more grateful than ever.  This week I am going to write about some of these things and spend some time reflecting on the lessons I have learned in 2011. 

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  1. Hi Kate, I'm local to the area. Been following your blog since I met your grandparents a few months ago. I am running in the St. Jude Race in two weeks, and have been praying for your little family. Thank you for sharing your heart.
    Rejoicing with you,

  2. I have no words! I, like you, sit here with tears streaming down my face. Give Thanks to the Holy One! What an amazing and beautiful moment! WOW!!! Thankful right along with you, Kate!!

  3. Oh, I am so happy and joyful for the five of you! The last picture is great. Lucy looks the best I have seen since February.

  4. Oh Kate, I am so happy for you. Your heart needed that moment. I hope this holiday season brings healing over Lucy, but over you as well. It is so hard being a Mommy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

  5. Awesome!
    Kate, I have been following and praying for you all almost since the beginning of the news of cancer. I have read your ups and downs and have cried with you. I have pressed in with prayer and have even fasted for Lucy. I have witnessed you grow, change, be angry and now I see joy and thankfulness.
    I am so proud of Lucy and how she is growing through this whole ordeal. It is a rough walk yet joy, thankfulness and peace are the feelings I am getting as I continue to read about your journey.

    Always praying,

  6. Awesome post. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Awesome post. Thanks for sharing.

  8. HI Kate, My name is Amy Thomas. I have also been following your journey for some time now and have been so moved by your experiences. After reading your post today about thankfulness, I wanted to suggest a book that I just finished reading. It is called 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It is all about being thankful- even when it is hard. Her book has made such an impact on me and I thought that you might enjoy it also. I will continue to pray for sweet Lucy and Emma and Jack. Is it so very strange that a stranger knows your family by name? :0) Thank you for sharing your life with your readers. You are touching peoples hearts through your words. May God Bless you all.

  9. Lucy is just truly amazing. What a sight it must have been!

  10. Lessons learned! You are going to be writing along time I think! How does anyone make it through life Jesus by their side? Thing is he is there even when they don't have a clue! I have a grateful heart too!

  11. GO LUCY!!! Praise the Lord for the work He has preformed in Lucy's life! Thanks for this post...so encouraging!

  12. Absolutely love this! Tears! Go Lucy, Go! Much love to all of you. Have a most fabulous Thanksgiving.

  13. Kate,
    What a beautiful way to start my day! Our children are precious to us mothers!
    I cannot imagine the feelings that you all had, our children are so innocent, which makes all of this trial that you are going through harder.
    My prayer for your family is that you all will have Blessings heaped upon you this next year and that you all will see each and every one of them.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  14. Wow! My heart was full seeing Lucy & watching all of the kids sing out in thanksgiving, but I didn't know Lucy coming to sing WASN'T part of the plan! Amazing! She is beautiful, inside & out... and, again, it was GREAT to see you & your whole family at the school event! "Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done!" We are all so truly blessed... HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

  15. How amazing is this!!! I'm having a hard time holding back tears (I'm at work). Lucy is such an inspiration to so many people and she is an AMAZING little girl!! I of course have only seen Miss Lucy in pictures, but I can honestly say she as a sparkle back in her eyes- she looks so good! :)

  16. such a great post and so thankful for your family!!

  17. I am all smiles as I picture Lucy's participation in the program. How awesome!
    As we sat in Sunday school this morning, I thought about how awesome it was and was very thankful that ALL of you were there today. You have been sooo missed!!!!! Love you all!

  18. An extra special Thanksgiving this year for your family. Praise God whom all blessings flow.

  19. Kate,
    I have been a silent follower of your blog throughout Lucy's journey. I suffered the emotional loss of an adopted daughter two years ago and am still trying to find a way to heal from it. I read your post and cried as I read about your treasures singing their hearts out. Today, I have yet another court date for my "lost daughter". I have found myself not only humming this song all day, but imagining your little Lucy singing it in spite of what she has endured. Today, you provided me cause to stop and think as well as a sense of peace. My mom asks me all the time why I have a blog and I tell her jokingly it is because one day my words might touch someone in a way that I never know. Your words, and willingness to share did just that for me today. Thank you.

  20. Reading this brought me to tears. So beautiful. Lucy is an awesome little girl and I pray for her/your family every night. You all are an inspiration to me and your love for and faith in God is amazing. Thank you for this story, it started my week off right!

  21. Wow! I'm moved to tears by the strength of your family. How amazing!!! God bless and Happy Holidays.

  22. It's a wonderful testament to your faith, to see her embrace faith so readily. He tells us to come to Him like a little child, and she does. He tells us all we need is faith the size of a tiny mustard seed, and still we struggle. What a great moment for you, and for her! You needed and deserved that moment, and He provided it.

  23. This is the post ever!! I have been following your blog since February and have prayed for you daily!!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  24. Reading your post gave me chills over my entire body. What a wonderful blessing to see both of your daughters up there and to Lucy feeling such strength to participate without hinderances! Blessed you are, my dear!

  25. Wow!!! Out of the mouths of babes!!

  26. Kate,

    I've been reading quietly since June or July and never commented, but this, as several other posts about your strong little Lucy just moved me to tears... You deserved this moment so much. Lucy is doing an incredible job fighting that horrible cancer, and she's looking so much better in the above picture. Me and my family wish you all the best, a very happy Thanksgiving, a wonderful Christmas that's coming up and a better & healthy new year... You are in our thoughts constantly. Much love all the way from Germany.

  27. Wow. I got goose bumps reading this. What a wonderful experience. Every time I lace up my shoes to go for a run while training for this half marathon, I think of Lucy, Kellan, and the families at St. Jude. We did our last ten mile run before the race Saturday night. The hubs was out of town (whole other story), the kids were about to drive me crazy, the house was a mess- all I could focus on was all the negative in my life. It was crazy and self centered. When the mail came, I opened up the mailbox to find two items from St. Jude. The first was my Hero's singlet for raising money, and the second was the Christmas campaign asking us to donate money. When I opened the campaign letter, I lost it. The letter was all about Kellan's journey. There was also a card from Sarah and John. I was bawling like a baby as I text Sarah and asked if SJ did that because I was on Kellan's team or if it was sent to everyone and she told me about Kellan being a spokesperson (or whatever it's called) for the Christmas campaign. Reading the letter made me realize that my bad day wasn't a drop in the bucket to what you and Sarah have faced. I felt guilty for being mad at the world that day over the pettiest of things. With renewed vigor, I set out on the 10 miler (it was still a bad run) and put things into perspective. All of this to say that on this Thanksgiving Eve, I am thankful for the lessons that St. Jude and their families have taught me- even though I think my situation may be the worst, I am reminded that He is in control! I've learned to look at my children differently and Thank God for their laughter, spunk, energy, and even their misbehaviors! ;o) I'd LOVE to meet you at the race!
    Tina McMurray
    (Sarah's friend)