Are you Weary?

Tonight I did homework with my children, cooked dinner, cleaned the kitchen and sang my baby boy to sleep.  It may not seem like much but It's been almost 2 weeks since I've done that and I have missed it so much.

While the Auction and Dinner was worth every amount of sacrifice, I am glad it is over.  The day after the auction, our school's Headmaster had to unexpectedly resign due to health problems (please keep him in your prayers.)  As a school board member, I've been doing some extra duties around the school to help out.  We've had lots of meetings and its taken me away from home.

I am thankful for what I have termed "body amnesia."  (Is there an official term for this?)  I think God has programmed our bodies with a certain form of amnesia that allows us to be pushed to extreme limits and then forget about how hard it was.  Like childbirth, for example.  If we remembered how hard it was would we really ever have a second child?  Or caring for a new born?  If we remembered how utterly exhausted we were during that time we would ever be willing to do it again.  Stop now and think honestly about your memories of those time.  I bet you can't remember just how bad it was, can you?

I can tell you that I honestly don't remember many details about the first month of Lucy's time in the hospital after her diagnosis.  I was going on multiple days without sleep and it was only by the grace of God that I even put one foot in front of the other.  And while I know I was tired, I don't remember it.  That's how I feel right now about the Dinner and Auction.  I am thankful tonight for my body's amnesia so that I can plan the next one!

This past week was hard with the resignation and then us, as a board, trying to find an Interim.  I know I am opening myself up for criticism.  Well, let me just save some of you the trouble.  "Why would you ever think about agreeing to serve on a school board  when you have so many obligations at home that you constantly talk about."  I won't deny that that is a good question.  The answer, however, is a little complicated.

You see, when we decided to move to our town, we knew that Christian education was something we wanted for our children.  I love the public schools here in town.  They are the schools I attended growing up.  They are the schools where my best friends teach.  Our schools are filled with amazing students and administrators.  Our High School has been wining awards left and right as one of the best in Tennessee.  However, what Erik and I wanted was a Christ centered education, so that is the decision we have made.  It hasn't always been the most popular with others, but it's whats best for our family.

Our school started as a tiny vision of a few people and it has grown by leaps and bounds.  I am so excited about its future and its potential is off the charts.  The only problem is that it takes the work of a lot of volunteers to make it happen.  Erik and I give a lot of time and energy to ensure that the school is a success.  But recently, the school has become so much more to us.  While I know that God will always provide for our needs, right now TCA is the school we NEED, not just want, for Lucy.

With TCA having small class sizes and academic achievement worthy of high accolades, Lucy is thriving.  She is able to get the one on one attention that she needs on a daily basis.  I'm not saying that Jack and Ella aren't important or a part of the equation, I am just acknowledging that when you have a child with special learning needs those priorities often have to be considered fore most.  Lucy has surpassed so many expectations and continues to surprise us on a daily basis.  So, we put a lot of time into the school because it is so important to and for our family.

(No, its not what you think it is.  There are no surprises coming our way)

I continue to be amazed at what God can and will do when we ask Him.  I am amazed how he has worked in our family's life, in the life of our school and in the life of Lucy.  Every day I am reminded that there really is a master plan for us all.  Don't believe that?  Well, that's unfortunate.  I could not imagine walking around every day with no greater purpose in my life.  I think that would be a lonely road to travel.   I find so much comfort in knowing that there is a greater being who holds the keys to my future.  I sang this to Jack tonight, and I find myself humming it throughout the day..." I sing because I'm happy.  I sing because I'm free.  His eye is on the Sparrow.  So I know He watches me."

I will sleep tonight, laying my burdens at His feet because I know he cares.  He is ready to carry them and can certainly handle them better than I ever could.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

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It's Been a While

Well Hello! Let me reintroduce myself.  I'm Kate.

Good Golly Photography: Go Lucy Go &emdash;

The past 2 weeks have been nothing but a blur.  A fun-filled, action packed, sleepless blur.  Our Go Lucy Go Dinner and Auction event was bigger and better than I could have ever imagined.  It far surpassed my expectations.  I am happy to report that we reached our goal of raising $50,000 for the Neuroscience Institute, although I am still waiting on a final number.  We have a few outstanding invoices that I am expecting Monday.  A blog post of thank-yous will follow this week.

Good Golly Photography: Go Lucy Go &emdash;

I honestly feel as if I have been walking around in a haze this week.  The culmination of a wonderful night has left me honored and very humbled.  Thank you all for supporting our family, LeBonheur Hospital and more importantly, I think you for loving my daughter.  I often still wonder what this was all for.  Cancer, that is.  But on nights like Tuesday, when 250 people were gathered for a common goal, all because of one little girl I am reminded.  Through the suffering of one little girl we are brought together for one unified cause.

Good Golly Photography: Go Lucy Go &emdash;

Good Golly Photography: Go Lucy Go &emdash;

Be it a tiny difference, we...YOU....are making a difference.  You may never know what child or family your donation will affect or what life you may change by your contribution of time, but just know; know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it DOES make a difference.

Good Golly Photography: Go Lucy Go &emdash;

 Tom and Karen, a reporter and photographer from the Memphis Commercial Appeal, put together an amazing story about Lucy.  It ran today in the paper and actually was placed on the front page.  Imagine my surprise to see the story with such prominent placement.  What I loved about today's story is that Tom didn't try to change my words.  He didn't try to play down my words.  He allowed me to tell our family's story with all mentions of Christ in a way that makes me forever grateful.  Thank you, Tom, for allowing me to speak from my heart.  Thank you for capturing a part of our life that changed our family forever.  You can read the story HERE.


Good Golly Photography: Go Lucy Go &emdash;

(All photos courtesy of Good Golly Photography.  If you attended the even you will be able to access these by next week and purchase them.  I will send out specific instructions.  Thank you Molly!!!!)

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Can I Ask a Favor?

Can I ask a big favor from you all?  My blog has been nominated by the Memphis Parent Family Choice Awards as a favorite blog.  I am so humbled and honored.  I have to admit that it would be a cool honor to receive.

You do have to complete at least 50% of the survey, so I'm not sure if out of towners would be able to vote.    Go HERE to vote or paste this link in your browser:                         http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JCHPF76

The countdown to our Dinner and Auction has almost made it to the hour mark.  My chest is getting heavy but I am so excited.  For you Memphis fans you might be excited to hear that you will be able to bid on your child being a Ball Kid for one of the Memphis basketball games OR you could bid on a 30 min Fed Ex flight simulator ride!  Those items just came in today and I am pumped!!  Buy your tickets at golucygo.org.

Also, don't forget you still have time to enter to win a Keurig Coffee system and a basket of Green Mountain Goodies!  Visit HERE.
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Today I should have been printing name tags, working on registration packets and organizing over 100 of the most wonderful silent auction items, but instead I spent the afternoon at the Memphis Zoo with my kiddos.  The weather was wonderful and the animals were so active.  The best part was my phone lost all its charge (thanks iPhone update) and I couldn't even take calls or answer emails.  It was everything we needed today.

I know what I am stressed when the bad dreams start.  I have horrible nightmares when I am stressed or feel out of control and that's how I am now.  This is the single most biggest even I have ever steered.  The 5k is huge, but I have 2 partners in crime with it.  The Go Lucy Go Dinner and Auction has really been my baby.   Don't get me wrong, I have had a ton of wonderful help that I couldn't have made it without.  I am so very grateful for the ladies who have tirelessly given of their time to pull this event together.

But just like Jack in the picture below I am tired.  Very tired.  I needed a break today and the Zoo was just what the doctor ordered.  I absolutely loved seeing Jack run from exhibit to exhibit saying "Wow" and "Wook Momma."  Lucy walked her little legs off today and Ella continually amazed me with her knowledge of animals, their habitats and the ecosystem.  All in all it was a great day and I don't regret walking away from the Dinner for a few hours at all.  After all, we only live one life and we aren't guaranteed tomorrow.

Tonight I am back to work on the Dinner and Auction.  There is so much to be done still.  I want to encourage you to purchase your tickets if you haven't yet.  It is going to be a great night and I know you will not want to miss it.  

Follow the link HERE if you need to still buy your tickets to an exciting night of dinner, drinks, live music and a fabulous live and silent auction!

**Be sure to visit the Dove website to get your conversation starters that can be a huge help when talking with your daughter.  You can read more about this on my blog HERE.  

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Our Higher Calling

This week I will be laying low on the blog.  With the dinner and auction just 1 week away I am going to be up to my eye balls in planning and details.  I would love for you guys to keep this event in your prayers.  The proceeds from this event will be given to LeBonheur to help purchase some amazing and very sophisticated imaging software.  The Neuro ICU would be so blessed to receive it.

photo courtesy of Pinterest

I want to say thank you for all your comments on my recent post about health insurance.  It is and always has been so comforting to know that others have walked in the same shoes.  I want to be clear that our family was able to provide this medicine for Jack.  That was not the point.  What I was trying to convey was empathy and sympathy for families who are struggling to make ends meet and who often have to make very hard choices between medicine and other necessities.  From the very beginning I have been nothing but honest about our situation and life circumstances.  I plan to remain that way, too.

photo courtesy of Pinterest

God has used this platform in a manner that has united mothers all across this country.  Through our virtual friendships we have felt validated, encouraged and loved by thousands of people we have never met.  This is truly a blessing for us all.  Who would have ever thought this would be possible?

Tonight I am grateful for your encouraging words, your prayers and your friendships.  Life is already too hard and filled with trials and troubles to allow hateful words to bring us down.   We were put here to encourage each other and build each other up.

Hebrews 3:13 tells us to "encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” and Galatians 6:2  says "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."  I know it sounds crazy but we can do this.  Even 1000 miles apart, we can do this.   We can be each other's shoulders to cry on and ears for listening.  

photo courtesy of Pinterest

I want to leave you with a picture of one of my favorite quotes.  Oh how true this is.  The next time your are at the grocery and you see "that" mom yelling at her kids, pray for her.  Maybe she isn't upset with her children but more worried about how she will put food on the table.  And when "that" mom doesn't show up to volunteer for school functions just maybe she is the only provider for her family and is working to make ends meet.  The list could go on and on.  We all have burdens to carry and crosses to bear.  Be mindful of this....ever ready to lend a hug not an ill comment.   

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

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Lucy and I have a BIG question to ask you.

Have you bought your ticket to the First Annual Go Lucy Go Dinner and Auction?  Well, if you haven't you better do it quickly!  The tickets are going fast and we want you to be a part of the event.

The night is going to be filled with dinner, live entertainment and a live and silent auction.  There will be over 150 items silent auction items and some really great live auction items.  In the live auction you can expect to see a vacation in Winter Park, Colorado, a vacation to Panama City Beach, Florida and my favorite...1 carat princess cut diamond earrings.

Most importantly, you have a great opportunity to support the work of the NeuroScience Institute at LeBonheur.  We hope to see you October 22nd.

You can go HERE to purchase your tickets today.

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It Was a Day

Yesterday I sat in line at the local pharmacy, waiting to pick up 5 prescriptions, with tears streaming down my face.  "Hey Kate.  Umm.. Have you ever gotten this prescription filled for Jack before?  It's showing you are going to have to pay $600 out of pocket for this."  My friend continued on with the price of all of the other prescriptions until he reached a grand total.  It was close to $1000 dollars.  I just cried.

For a moment I was in the position of making some really, really hard decision.  Jack was sick and needed the $600 medicine.  Asthma is something you just don't play around with.  What was I going to do?  All I could think to do was lash out to the pharmacist about how stupid health care was and that cancer had done this to our family.  Struggling to find an insurance carrier to cover us with a premium we could try to afford.  Much less what those premiums are doing to our small family business.

I was angry, embarrassed and scared.  Then, just as quickly, I was humbled and ashamed that I ever took for granted the medical care we are able to provide our family.  All I could think about was being "that" mother who would have to make unconscionable decisions.  What kind of country do we live in where we allow families to be put in such positions.  The hard working families who put in their 40+ hours, pay their premiums and then bam!  Get treated like the plague when tragedy hits your family?

Listen, this is not a political commentary or a public bashing of any political party.  I'm just putting into words how I felt yesterday.  It truly was one of the most vulnerable moments I have ever lived through.  Luckily for me there was a happy ending.  There was a glitch in the system and my co payments will be lowered.  However, this whole event has been a huge wake up call for me.

When people say that cancer affects the whole family, this is what they are talking about.  The other 4 of us have been generally healthy our whole lives.  What happened to Lucy--the unimaginable--put us in a position to fight for insurance possibly for years and years to come.  What were we to do?  Deny her the treatments that have thus far saved her life?  That would have been murder.

Where are the laws in place to protect the families?  What are lawmakers doing to make sure that families aren't thrown into bankruptcy when they utilize the medical care available to save a family member's life?  Should a Dad lose his job when he has been a dedicated, hard working employee just because the company can't afford to keep him employed?

I have a hard time getting my head around this whole issue.  Friends of ours that we've met along the way have continued at jobs to provide for their families, all the while missing what could be the last days of their dying child's life and for what?  To be laid off by their company a few months later when their insurance renewal comes along?

I'm struggling tonight.  I'm struggling with anger, sadness, sympathy and pride.  Lord Jesus, bless our country.

***All political comments will be promptly deleted.  That is not what this post or blog is about. Please be understanding of where I have been and what I have lived through the past few years.***

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Finding Relief

I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Advil®, as a part of the Advil® Relief in Action campaign. I received compensation for this post. While all opinions stated are my own, I make no claims about Advil® as a product or its effectiveness.

I think one of the greatest opportunities we have in life is to do something to change the life of another human being.  It's the feeling of doing something really good...something worthwhile.  It's not even about the feeling you get from knowing you did something nice, but rather the feeling of making someone else happy.  It's like that old adage "giving is better than receiving." 
When Lucy was diagnosed with cancer, it honestly felt as if the world rallied around us.  The support and overwhelming show of love was indescribable.  The monetary gifts, the prayers, the dinners and the phone calls were honestly the things that got us through the most devastating situation of our lives.  We knew when Lucy got better and our lives began to resemble "normal" again we would have a huge debt to repay.  

Funny thing is, it never seemed like a debt or obligation.  Finding a way to pay forward what was done for our family was a natural progression that just occurred.  Our friends had established a 5K race in Lucy's honor and we had the chance to join in that effort to raise money for LeBonheur Children's Hospital.  Our love for the hospital continued to grow and so did our desire to raise money.  

Through the Go Lucy Go Foundation (a 501(c)3) countless volunteers work throughout the year to raise money for our amazing Children's Hospital as well as the families of children who are facing life threatening diagnoses of brain tumors.  From our personal experience, we know how much a hot meal, food pantry or monetary grant can mean to a family who is spending days upon weeks in a small hospital room with no family there to help.
Feeding the NeuroScience floor at Christmas.
Families are being nurtured and fed, nurses are being educated and individuals around the country are all learning what it means to have a volunteer spirit.  All because of one little girl and our family's desire to see her struggles to survive inspire another child to do the same.  We take no personal credit for anything we have done, but rather see every opportunity we are given as another chance to make a difference in someone else's life.

But honestly, sometimes pain can get in the way.  Sometimes the pain is heartache and only time can heal that wound.  But other times, like in the 7th inning stretch of 5K preparations, physical pain begins to take its toll on our bodies.  That's why the Advil® Relief in Action campaign honors and supports people who don’t let pain get in the way of helping others. Through partnerships with Habitat for Humanity® International and Wounded Warrior Project®, Advil® is recognizing volunteers’ hard work and relieving the tough pain that comes with giving back.
If you want to know more about this awesome program, please read about it here.
You can also
- Follow @Reliefinaction on Twitter and Instagram,
- Show Advil® how you see Relief in Action by posting a photo on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ReliefinAction.

No matter what it is that you do to help others,  just keep up the good work!

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I've been doing some more "conversing" with Ella.  Be sure to visit the Dove website to get your conversation starters that can be a huge help when talking with your daughter.  

Cousins.  Sweet, precious cousins.  Born 6 months apart.  Jack and Maddie.  The little embodiments of my sister and me.

I love watching these two play together.  What they have is more like a love/hate relationship.  Thankfully, their love/hate steadily grows into all love the older they get.

If Maddie had been the only other child at Jack's party he would have been as happy as could be.  He hardly played with any of the other friends at his party.  The only one he cared about was Maddie.  I had a hard time doing anything else at the party other than taking their pictures.

Jack and Maddie.  This is the love that only cousins share.  

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