Thursday, October 27, 2016

Coming next Friday: 48 Acts of Kindness

My favorite day is a week away!

A quick reminder:
1. Perform an act of kindness in memory of Steve on Nov. 4.
2. Leave the note, explaining the special day. (Click here for the note.) (Click here for a page with four copies.)
3. Take a photo if you can/like and send me your story. (Email me at Text me at 972-489-4344. Or post on the Facebook page.)
4. I'll share your story and photo (with your permission) on the blog.

Need some inspiration? Read about previous years:

Buy subway cards for tourists
Donate to the Red Cross
Make soup for a neighbor
Give food to a family in need
Say thank you to your garbage collectors
Help a colleague
Take breakfast to the office
Say thank you to a nurse
Leave a generous tip

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

48 Acts of Kindness

On Nov. 4 this year, we will celebrate 48 Act of Kindness -- our family's way to honor Steve's birthday. Cooper, Katie and I look forward to sharing Steve's joyful, slightly mischievous spirit with friends and strangers, and we hope you will join us!

One list can't possibly do justice to the thousands of acts of kindness performed each year in Steve's memory. A small sampling:

Leave treats/drinks for lifeguards at your pool
Pay for coffee for the person behind you
Make a donation to your favorite nonprofit
Deliver breakfast to coworkers
Surprise your local firehouse or police station with treats
Make care packages for the homeless
Yield to drivers on a busy street
Open doors for dozens of strangers
Buy groceries for a stranger
Leave a generous tip

Check back each week until Nov. 4 for more ideas and a card you can leave behind when you perform your act of kindness!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A whole lot of a prayer and a big change

Steve and I started attending Holy Covenant United Methodist Church in Carrollton in early 2000.

It was about two miles from our first home. The people were incredibly friendly. We loved the messages and the music and programs.

It was the perfect fit for us.

When we moved to Frisco in 2002, we briefly -- and I mean for about 30 seconds -- considered finding a church home closer to home. But we were at home at Holy Covenant. Our roots were already deep.

Holy Covenant is where both children were baptized. Where they attended preschool. Where I taught Sunday school to third-graders and middle-school kids and teenagers and adults. Where Steve sang in the choir and played trumpet. Where he was chair of trustees. Where I served for more committees and VBS summers than I can count. Where I served as preschool board chair and lay leader. Where Cooper performed in musicals and piano recitals and was confirmed.

It's the home where almost every single adult knows Cooper and Katie -- not just their names but their life story. Holy Covenant is filled with people who knew and loved Steve and who loved on us while he was ill and took care of us when he died and who hugged me when I needed it most.

It's a family that doesn't just talk about social justice -- they live it. It's the family that encourages Katie each year to share her talents and raise money for the causes she believes in.

It's where Steve's memorial bench sits, engraved with his name and birth year and death year and Micah 6:8, our family verse.

I've never "lived" in one place so long in my whole life. Never.

Yet ...

I've been a single mom for seven years now. I work full time, I freelance write and edit, and I tutor students on the side. I drive Cooper and Katie all over town. I volunteer when I can (which isn't much).

All this time, we've been able to faithfully attend Sunday morning worship services and Sunday school. I've been able to attend some evening meetings. But I simply couldn't fit in roundtrip drives for choir practices and youth group activities.

Cooper and Katie desperately wanted to participate, and I desperately wanted to make it happen, but there's only one of me and 24 hours in a day. And they already have their own full schedules.

They also wanted to have friends at church who they might see during the week at school. That wasn't happening with our Carrollton church friends.

After months and months of prayer and many tears, we decided as a family in May to start visiting the Methodist church that's about two miles from our Frisco home.

We've tried almost every worship service (except Saturday nights -- just haven't embraced that yet). We each have a favorite. Cooper and Katie are attending youth on Sunday afternoons and sometimes during the week. Katie has started confirmation classes. I'm attending the parent confirmation class. (As a bonus, Grandma and Papa are visiting and singing in the choir, too!)

The mission and message of Grace Avenue fit our family.

We know a few members already because they've been our neighbors and friends for years. We're slowly meeting new people.

Not a single person there knows us like our Holy Covenant family. They don't remember toddler Katie yelling, "Hi, Daddy!" from the pews as he stood in the choir loft. They don't know to ask Cooper about his path to Eagle Scout. They don't know why certain hymns make me tear up or smile.

There's not a Steve bench on which the children sit every Sunday morning for a photo.

Change is tough. But we are tough, too.

Youth choir of Grace Avenue United Methodist Church

This morning, on World Communion Sunday, Cooper and I sat near our dear friends Katrina and Jay while Katie stood in the choir loft for the first time. She lifted her voice with the youth choir to sing "In Remembrance of Me."

I like to think of Steve saying, "Hi, KT!" as he spots her in the choir loft. I know that he'd totally support the choice we've made to change our church home. I know that we can always visit Holy Covenant. I know that Holy Covenant will always live in our hearts, even as we build new relationships.

Katie, first row, second from right