Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Race Day

Saturday The Joy-Hope Foundation debuted with a 5k Run/Walk. We were so excited to have a great turnout. There were 275 registered racers and at least 300 turnout for the overall event. It was so amazing to see the whole vision I had come together. We were able to raise over $11,300 for our efforts as well!

There was no way that this event could have been pulled off if it weren't for the 30 volunteers that day and leading up to that day. That was one of my favorite parts. It really blew Allan and myself away. We could not believe that there were so many people willing to work their tails off for our foundation. So very cool indeed.

As we were cleaning up, the niece of one of the volunteers found a bright red ladybug on her leg. Perfect. I showed my bugs, they were delighted. That was so very special.

This race was held the weekend of the Anniversary of Ava's infant dedication. Not intentional, but that is when it was. As a fatter of fact it was the Anniversary of Eric's as well. This is when Allan and I promised to put God's Plan for our children ahead of our own. What ever it may be.

I remember how she was not having a great day that morning and I wondered if I was going to need to take her to the hospital instead of the church. I felt sick to my stomach. Then she perked up and did great. We came home and had a huge party. We were celebrating Emily and Alexa's 5Th birthday and Ava's dedication. Although the party was a few weeks before their Birthday, they insisted that they share their special day with Ava. They still talk about how important that is to them. Who knew that a short 12 days later she would go to the hospital?

For the all of our children's infant dedication's my Mom makes a cake. She usually picks the scripture for the cake. It represents each child's theme, so to speak. She's really good at that by the way, hitting the nail in the head each time. For Ava it was a team effort. We settled on Isaiah 40: 29-31: "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

I could write a whole paper on the power that these words have for me right now. In this moment. In light of Ava, the Joy-Hope Foundation, Eric, parenting, grieving, holding Ava's hand at her bedside and being amazed by her inner strength and tenacity, having a 5K and running one for the first time in my life.

Ava's name means bird. I remember wondering why God wanted me to name my baby bird. It's not so glamorous you know.

As you can well imagine, race day was very emotional for me. To hear my husband stand before all of those people, some who came for the sport and most who came to support the vision of the Joy-Hope Foundation, and tell who we are, why we are hear, and what we've lost was surreal. We had a germ of an idea 11 1/2 months ago. Here it is. Where do we go with it now?

My questions are numerous as to what the next steps are and the "how's" of those steps. My mind was full on the way home of those things. Plus we were flat out exhausted, physically, emotionally, mentally. As we drove down route one south, I saw a Bald Eagle soaring, effortlessly, majestically, right outside my car window.

The Ladybug was for my bugs, the Eagle was for us.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Planning and Training to run the Have Joy. Spread Hope. 5K on Saturday is teaching me a lesson in endurance.

You have a deadline. You have tasks that must be completed before the date. There are your regular responsibilities and the pop up surprises along the way. There is always a snafu, you can count on that.

To finish you have to bear down, set your mind to it and pace yourself. If you go out too fast, you won't be able to sustain until the end.

I am finding that there are times I need to step back and take a break. I need to recharge and make my bugs the priority. Not the training schedule or the 5K. Not my job. My family.

In the middle of the chaos of life I am reminded not to loose sight of the 3 little goals who are usually right on top of me or under my feet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Strength and Energy

Ever have a day where you sit down to do something at the computer, get up and hour later and realize that you never accomplished your original intent? There you go. That is why the Blog has been silent.

I always knew I wasn't Super Woman. When I was 5 I knew I was Wonder Woman. I had the underoos to prove it too. Now 30+ years later, no super powers and sadly, no invisible jet.

There seems to be a new rhythm in the house these days. There is a lot of missing Ava and play about death. The heaviness of grief is not there. Last week I felt it creep in for me personally. I knew what it was and was so disappointed that it was coming back for a few days. I rather enjoy grieving with out that heavy laden feeling. Especially when there is so many tasks to accomplish in a day right now.

The bugs are all about making sense out of Ava being gone. They won't ever make sense out of it, but they try to wrap their little minds around it to the best of their abilities. After a week of Lain playing "I have to hold my baby because she is going to die soon", she told her daddy, "I'm tired of Ava dying and going to Heaven and I'm tired of Ava being sick."

Us too, Ladybug. Us too.

Layer these emotions and thoughts with daily living- laundry (always there, am I right ladies?), meals, groceries, cleaning, bills. Add bath time, snuggle time, play time, discipline time the mitigation of the emotions of 3 ladybugs (hmmm maybe Daddy is secretly happy about the mandatory OT). Add 16 hrs/week for work, homeschooling and the Joy-Hope Foundation. Sprinkled with a training program to run the Inaugural 5K which is in 11(GULP) days. The cherry on top? Things I like to call "mini commitments"- you know the ones that would usually consume you but since you are so busy they become items to check off the list. Season the schedule with post season baseball where the two house favorites are making a run the the ring. As it simmers the smells of fall and the annual events bring us right back to a time when Ava "was here". When she "came with us" to what ever event we are attending at the time.

Welcome to life at ours house. (OK, Lain doesn't say that anymore, but I love it so I pretend she still does).

I find myself in the middle of all of these things to do, that need to be done, and I want to get done. Oddly enough, they are being attended to. Some more than others, depending on the day. Some days we feel the emotions of our loss bubble to the surface so we stir and turn down the heat so it doesn't boil over and make a mess out of everything. Other times we let everything else go so they can boil over and see what mess there is to clean up.

As I was running the other morning I realized that there is no way that I can do all that is on my plate right now. Yet I have energy. I have drive. I have a team of people who God put in my path that I could not do this without. My ability is not my own.

He is orchestrating all that is happening in my life. I have energy and stamina because of Him. Wisdom? Him. Desire and Drive? Him. 3 living Ladybugs? Yup. Him. A wonderful teammate (except in baseball)? You got it. He did that too.

My life and my commitments are for Him and because of Him. The Joy-Hope Foundation is His. We are just simply obeying. It's not so simple when you are tired and out of juice. But then He propels us on to the next step. Then "Oh look here we are now".

It's quite a ride. I am happy to be on it. I will also be happy to have a bit a of a reprieve after the 5K. I can't wait to see how it will all turn out and how it will come together. This alone is amazing to watch unfold. It's such a neat way for me to see who really is in Charge and how we are all instruments for His plan.

Although I once REALLY REALLY believed I was Wonder Woman, and dabbled with the notion of being Superwoman I know that I am just a women standing is the arms of her Lord, putting one foot in front of the other, learning to use my energy for those who can't.

Check out the Joy-Hope Website! www.joyhopefoundation.com