Sunday, March 27, 2016

Taking flight

Our Easter celebration started early today.

Cooper, Katie and Tyra on Steve's bench at Holy Covenant UMC, after the sunrise service
Cooper played the part of Jesus in our youth-led sunrise service in Carrollton. We shared a potluck breakfast at church. We rested at home for about an hour. Then we drove to North Dallas to celebrate with Jim and Betty.

It was a bittersweet Easter service at Schreiber Memorial United Methodist Church. Easter is the most joyous of Sundays for Christians. The very day and the belief in the Resurrection define our faith. And yet this Sunday was the final worship service for the Schreiber congregation. After years of declining membership, the church was forced to make the difficult decision to close.

Highland Park UMC is taking over the campus and will eventually reopen the church as a satellite ministry.

Schreiber Memorial is the church that Jim, Betty, Jimmy and Steve attended during the 1980s. When Jim and Betty returned to the Dallas area in the early '90s (after a few years in Miami), they rejoined the church.

Steve and I were married in the sanctuary there in July 1994.

It was tough to say goodbye today.

At the end of the service, congregants were invited to join the choir to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Cooper left the pew and sang next to Grandma -- a bass and soprano, side by side.

Cooper is the tall guy in the front.
As we left the sanctuary, we were given the opportunity to take a small paper package. Inside each package was a monarch butterfly. When we stepped into the sunshine, we were asked to gently open the package and to allow the butterfly to acclimate to the outdoors. Each beautiful insect would spread its wings and take flight.
Katie and her monarch 
Cooper and Betty (in her choir robe) coax their butterflies to freedom.
We all gingerly opened our packages and peeked inside, hoping that our butterflies would still be alive and eager to fly.

My package contained not one but two butterflies.

They each warmed in the sunlight. They each began to flutter their wings. One took flight about two minutes before the other. And I thanked God for transformation and comfort in times of distress and tiny miracles.

Tyra and two butterflies
Later we enjoyed an egg hunt at Jim and Betty's house. We ate a delicious lunch. And Jim allowed Katie to dress him up in her handmade rabbit ears.

Katie and her patient Papa
Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Cooper in Corral 1 at the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Dallas this morning
Cooper completed his first half-marathon today. He ran 13.1 miles in 1:50:47, placing ninth in his age group (out of 36 runners).

Watching him cross the finish line this morning was one of the most joyful moments in my 14-plus years as his momma.

It was also bittersweet, as is every milestone around here. What if Steve could have been racing with him? (Though, to be honest, Steve never ran races as fast as his long-legged son.) What if Steve could have been standing on tiptoe on the grassy hill next to me, craning his neck to spy Cooper turning the corner and sprinting toward the end?

The first 5K that Cooper ever ran was the Resolution Run in Addison in January 2009. He was part of a group of friends running in support of Steve, who was there at the finish line despite a host of cancer-related struggles.

Steve, Sharon, Allison, Katie, Holly, Kris, Liz, me and Cooper in January 2009
Stuart welcomes Cooper across the finish line at his first-ever race.
Cooper today, moments after finishing 13.1 miles
I've lost track of the races in the seven years since. 5Ks. Triathlons. Cross country meets. Track meets. He gets a little better each time. He never gives up. He's always smiling when he's done.

This 6-foot-3, 14-year-old son of mine is determined and hard-working, kind and funny. I am incredibly proud of his character and heart and the joy he finds in all circumstances. He, no doubt, has a whole lot of his daddy in him.

Uncle Jim, Katie, me and Cooper, in the very cold hour before the race began
You can always count on Katie to (1) make a sign and (2) shout the loudest of any fan if her brother's competing. 
Uncle Jim came in from D.C. to cheer for his nephew.
I love this gentle giant.

Monday, March 14, 2016

God is here

Katie was reading a novel (Under Wildwood) upstairs yesterday. 

She was sitting next to Steve's trumpet case. She decided to open the case and have a peek. As she was looking, she realized that something smelled good. She investigated a little more.

She discovered an old Tic Tac case, mostly full.

"They're cinnamon!" she exclaimed. "I've never had cinnamon!"

Katie loves Tic Tacs. Her favorite is orange. She discovered her fondness for the tiny mint sometime in elementary school.

Steve loved Tic Tacs. He would carry them in his suit pockets. They were often in his car. And, appearantly, in his trumpet case.

Until yesterday, Steve never shared a Tic Tac with his daughter. He died when she was 4 -- too young for such a treat. 

I like to think of how tickled Steve would be to know that more than six years after his death, he did get to share Tic Tacs with his Katie.

Also in his trumpet case? Sheet music for a song he must have played with our church choir: "God is Here."

Katie, Steve's trumpet, cinnamon Tic Tacs and "God is Here"