TG TruGlory

Haircuts for the homeless.  Pizza for the hungry.  Trendy clothing for those on a budget.

Who spends their Tuesday nights making this happen?

Tito Garcia.

Last week, my dear friend, Jackie, wore a cool black shirt bearing the letters TG.  I asked her about it, and she smiled wide as she explained it to be part of the TG TruGlory clothing line.

“You know,” she said, “TruGlory?”

I shook my head.  “Nope.”  Keeping pace with fashion has become a distant memory.  With three children under ten in my house, I feel I’ve accomplished a major feat if all the laundry is sorted, washed, and folded neatly in baskets before midnight on Mondays.

“Well, you know Tito, the drummer at church?”  I nodded.  “It all started with him.”

As Jackie shared with me about the ministry, my jaw hit the floor.  How had I not heard about this?  The more Jackie said, the more blessed I became by one man’s vision and how, in 2012, God grew his desire into a reality.

Today, TG TruGlory serves the homeless of Hoboken, NJ and impacts lives in immeasurable, important ways.  Grooming and haircuts to lift the spirit, pizza and sandwiches to satisfy and strengthen, attractive shoes and apparel to meet everyone’s budget.  TG TruGlory’s kindness and compassion shines clear and bright through its generous acts of love.

The story moved me deeply.

Last year, my husband and I celebrated out 15th Anniversary in NYC.  Even though we live ten minutes from Manhattan, we rarely go into the City but took the opportunity for this special occasion.  Our hotel stood near Times Square, and as we approached it, I couldn’t help but notice the sidewalk lined with the homeless.

Tears filled my eyes.

Throughout the course of the weekend, my eyes searched them out, laying on benches, huddled along alleyways, sleeping on church steps.  I couldn’t escape the wrenching-of-heart, the anguish of soul.  I felt their pain as my own and wanted to somehow ease theirs.  All of it.  Unrealistic, I know, but the “wanting to” never left me.

“You’ll get used to seeing them around,” some might say, “and then it won’t bother you so much.”

Get used to it?  I pray not.

I pray that the suffering of the wounded bothers me long into the night and drives me to my knees on their behalf.  I pray that the broken hearts of strangers compel me to deny myself a pleasurable evening and do something to impact the eternity of another human being.  I pray that concern for those who have no hope would fill my heart and embolden my prayers.

Every day.

Whenever I look into the eyes of the homeless, I see what could have been my future.  I have a heart condition, which for years was disabling, and without supportive family and friends to help me through that time . . .

I could have been homeless.

Perhaps that why I can’t look past and ignore.  I can’t walk by and not be moved.  Some don’t want help, but many do.

I want to always remember them.  I want to always stop and “see”.  I want to treat others the way I wish someone would’ve treated me had circumstances forced me to walk miles down their road.

Thank you, Tito, for proving an incredible example of a man who lives out his faith in humble, practical ways, transforming time and talent into an eternal investment.  Thank you for showing how simple it is to offer the gifts God has given back to Him by serving others.  Thank you for inspiring me to do more with everything breath that He gives.

I love what you’re doing, Tito, and am honored to call you my brother in Christ.  I appreciate the sacrifice your wonderful wife, Taina, and boys make every Tuesday night to be apart from you, making them partners with you in ministry.

May God richly bless this amazing family, TG TruGlory, and all those touched by their faithful service, both today – and beyond.

 

Captain Morgan

When people asked me during the 2016 election period who I thought would be the best President of the United States, my first answer was Jesus Christ.  My second choice elicited smiles, nods, and many times, for those who know my candidate personally, solid agreement.

He didn’t run for any office that year and sadly has no intention of doing so in the future, yet I believe he would prove a compassionate leader, fierce protector, and amazing hero.

He already is.

Nearly three years ago, this particular candidate harnessed the guts and gusto to step into a sinking ship with a marvelous resolve to right it and propel it along a prosperous new course.  Many had attempted this daring feat and failed, but after much prayer and prudence, he determined to set sail.

Within months, he surpassed his goal and gained the favor of kings.  The unwavering loyalty of his diverse crew spoke volumes about his management style and his ability to bring people together, unify a motivated team, and build them up with strength, vision, and purpose.

Today, other captains, both near and far, have noticed and called upon my candidate for advice, comraderie, products, and employment.  While blessed by finding favor, he vigilantly keeps his heart in check, knowing that humility permeates a truly successful man.  He couldn’t be labeled an ivory tower poster boy, as he never hesitates to toss his collared shirt aside and grab a pair of gloves, working the lines alongside his team when the call arises.

Fully aware when in the presence of his betters, he embraces opportunities to learn and grow rather than cower in fear or wallow in a pit of insecurity, asking, “Who moved my cheese?”  Respecter of persons, giver of grace, he takes responsibility for his actions, rights his wrongs, and makes it a practice to take the high road.

For years, he faithfully provided for a family with significant challenges.  This man has sacrificed much for the sake of many.  He is adored and appreciated far more than he knows.  Through wind, sleet and hail, he’s climbed uphill battles, the kind that separate the men from boys, clashes that cost him nearly everything dear.

He’s a man, one that stands in the gap.  When the going gets tough, he hits his knees and prays God would enable him to get tougher.  I’ve seen this Man of Steel fight fires and chase down giants, carry groceries for elderly ladies and visit men behind bars, befriend the outcast and weep with the homeless.

What kind of candidate does such things?

No, he’s not Jesus.  My candidate would detest the comparison and declare his shortcomings.

Yet, it’s Jesus’ heart I see in him.

Every man falls.  Faced with the choice stay down or rise up.  Learning from the “falling” and re-charting his course accordingly have defined the man he has become.  This post, this resume of character, reflects the heart of a man dedicated to living a life worthy of the words, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”

Who does such things?  My nominee.

Movie-making, drone-flying mad scientist, this seafarer of mine.  Relentlessly-cycling, steadilyy-swimming, marathon-running machine.  Former skydiver and electrician turned poet and friend.

A leader who leads leaders.  A warrior who protects at all costs.  A chosen vessel who commands his ship with the wisdom of Solomon and the love of Christ.

A devoted father, husband, and friend.

Christian T. Morgan

The name Morgan means “of the sea” and well-fits this able and excellent Captain.

O Captain, my Captain!  Thank you for not hesitating to steer our ship straight into the storms of life, fearless and bold, loving to the end.  From the Bronx to the White House, I’ll hold up your sign, wear your t-shirt, and campaign across the USA, proud to be by your side.

And to nominate you for the office of President of the United States.

Happy Birthday!  We rejoice in God’s gift of you!

It Ate Roast Beef

To the delight of the kids, Christian had taken a random August Wednesday off to pack the SUV to the gills with snacks, sunscreen, and beach toys, and when it could hold no more, we piled in and zipped off to enjoy Morgan Family Beach Day 2017.

Who could have known a ruthless assailant lurked nearby?

We pulled into the Point Pleasant lot, gathered up our “Fun Gear”, and headed toward the shoreline.  The kids squealed with delight as they ditched their flip-flops and immersed their feet in the glistening sand.  We pitched our camp.  Colorful towels and sandcastles, beach ball and snacks, seagulls and water.  It was all fun and games.

Until.

Hannah asked me to swim with her, and I gladly obliged.  We swam out past the littles dipping buckets for castle-building and past the knee-depth adventurers seeking shells and creatures, settling into the deeper water rhythm, letting the waves push us up, then gently letting our bodies fall.

After a mere five minutes, I felt an object strike the middle toe on my left foot at such high speed that my entire leg shot out and swung me 180-degrees.  Pain almost immediately replaced the shock.  I awkwardly lurched forward and clutched my ankle but then nearly face-planted in the salty water..

“Hannah,” I gasped, “are you okay?”  My mama bear instincts kicked in.  I initially thought I’d somehow kicked her shin and worried that she suffered a worse injury than mine.

With a sweet, faraway look, she took a minute to paddle around and face me.

“What?”

“Didn’t you feel that?”

“Feel what?”

“I don’t know,” I said, amazed she hadn’t sustained an injury.  “Some strong current or a rock . . . something hit me so hard that I spun around.  I couldn’t tell if I whacked your shin.”

“I’m fine.”  She returned to her dreamy, relaxed floating over the wave tops, focusing her gaze back to the shoreline.

I’m not!  I didn’t want to intrude further on her reverie and vowed to hang in there a while longer, but I wasn’t sure how long I could last.  All attempts to catch and hold my ailing appendage were inhibited by the waves, so it hung down in the water, fluttering and flapping with the current.

Ouch.

Instead of resembling a solid, weblike flipper, my left foot had become a prong-like, inefficient painful mess.  Time to pull the plug.

I hobbled back to camp while Hannah reported the news to Christian.  Lifeguards gathered and the EMT assessed.  Christian packed up the no-longer-fun gear.  The kids oscillated between disappointment and concern, and a beach wheelchair carried me to the gate, where we loaded up and headed home.

Early.  Way too early.

I tried to console myself and my blessed carload with Pollyanna thoughts.  At least we got to go.  I’ll only visit the ER, not be admitted.  The drive isn’t long.  We can come back another time.

Then I glanced in my little spy view mirror.

Speckles of sand stuck to their faces and necks as they stared out the windows, open-mouthed and nearly nodding off.  They’d so looked forward to this day.  I glanced at Christian sideways, the set of his jaw, the sag of his shoulders.

I changed course.  Tossing my power of positive thinking to the wind, I spoke the words they needed to hear most in that moment.

“I’m sorry, everybody,” I said, my voice breaking with sobs.  “I’m sorry we had to leave early.  I didn’t want to either.  It really stinks.”

Hearts melted and small smiles covered their faces.

“It’s okay, Mommy!”s and “You couldn’t help it”s erupted throughout the vehicle.  Christian grasped my hand and squeezed with a chuckle.

“It’ll make for great footage.”

Great.  Just great.

Hannah accompanied me to the ER.  Christian had thought it might need to be set, but alas, I received the standard tape, ace bandage, and crutches.  I could’ve used the ones from last summer (when I broke my right foot) if one arm pad hadn’t fallen off.

Six weeks later, it still isn’t healed.  I’ve probably been walking on it too much, but with three young kids during the summertime, it’s hard to keep this girl down.  I’ll try to be good for a bit longer . . .

To this day, I have no idea what struck my toe.  The podiatrist following up with me said that the break was bad, running diagonally down the length of my bone.  Abby had attended the initial visit with me, and when he’d asked which toe I’d broken, she giggled.

“It ate roast beef.”

For the full and complete video of Morgan Family Beach Day 2017, click here.

 

What Love Looks Like

“What does love look like to you?”

I asked my five-year-old Abby Mae this question one day.  She responded by quietly smiling and hopping off her chair.

“I need my art box, Mommy.”  With titled head and thoughtful gaze, she poured over a simple sheet.  I expected something with hearts and flowers, maybe butterflies and family, but her final masterpiece took my breath away.

“Jesus on the cross.”

My eyes filled with tears as had hers.  I took in her glowing countenance, her tender gaze.  Her love for Him was beautiful.

“Sweetheart, this picture is wonderful!  Please tell me all about it.”

“There’s Jesus on the cross,” she said, her small finger tracing his form, “and all of those circles are his boo-boos.”

The week prior, I’d searched online for Easter movie clips and briefly previewed a scene of The Passion of the Christ, which portrayed Jesus’ agony immediately after Roman soldiers scourged Him.  Abby had passed through the room at that moment and froze when her eyes landed on the screen.

“Why is Jesus bleeding?  He’s not on the cross yet.”

I explained to her that the beating was part of His punishment, the one He bore but never deserved, for her, for me.

It bothered her.  To her core.

“I don’t want Him to bleed, Mommy.”  She wept and wept.

It had obviously affected her in a profound way, for as I sat with her, gazing at the picture, something about it further struck me.

“Abby, I’ve never seen Jesus smiling while He’s on the cross.”

“He’s smiling because He loves me.”

I had the privilege of leading our children’s Sunday school class in their Palm Sunday song, The Salvation Poem, on Sunday.  We’d practiced for several weeks, and even though Abby had always sung with a smile, the difference was marked after we’d seen the movie clip.

After she’d noticed Jesus bleeding.

Her every word flowed past thoughtful lips, her misty eyes closing at times.  Her little hands moved fervently as we made a cross with our arms and hung our heads to die.  Radiant joy spread across her face as we sang the news of Jesus rising to save the lost and forgiving our sins.

At only five years of age, this sweet girl loves her Savior and feels deeply loved by Him.

May we all bask in the precious love of the Savior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunchbox Calamity

One blustery November school day, my older two children burst through the door at 3:05 pm, slightly before their typical arrival.  By the way they dumped their backpacks, castoff their coats, and yanked at their shoes, I knew something was terribly wrong.

“Hey, guys!  Is everything okay?”

With eyes widened and hands on hips, they stared at me, raging like a silent storm, their faces brooding and ominous with dark clouds gathering and rain threatening to pour.  Their collective countenance shook me, their silence even more.

“Sweethearts, what’s wrong?”

John found his voice first.  “You didn’t put a note in my lunchbox.”

“Me neither!”  Hannah nodded vehemently.

I gasped.  “Really?”

“Really!” they said in unison.

“I’m sorry!”  Thankfully, those were the words that fell from my lips, and my wounded children instantly forgave me.  Relieved smiles and, “That’s okay, Mommy!” surrounded me as I found myself all covered up with kids.

As we embraced each other, my mind reeled, attempting to take in what my children’s direct confrontation had brought to the forefront.  I’d had no idea how much my scribbling on a napkin during the wee hours of the morning had affected my children, little by little, day after day.

And it blessed me.

When they’d first started the school year, I’d planned to just pop a note in now and then, not necessarily every day.  But the writer in me found myself enjoying the process, so a personalized napkin made it into their boxes daily.

Until this particular November day.

A little finger tapped my forearm, poking me back into the present.  I turned to see Abby standing off to the side, crossing her arms and jutting her chin.

“Oh yeah, Mommy!  That’s right!  I remember now.  You didn’t put one in my snack box at preschool, too!”

“I’m sorry, Abby!”

“That’s okay, Mommy!” And she jumped with glee into the middle of our wonderful mayhem.

Because Abby doesn’t yet read, I typically draw something simple that she can decipher herself, so it’s a nice way to let her know Mommy loves her.  But that’s about it.  I can’t go very deep without words.

Looking back, I’m thankful for my oversight because in so doing, the forgotten lunchbox note put a big memo in mine, declaring loudly from the schoolhouse steps that one of the most important things I do each day is to take five minutes and write something meaningful on cheap white paper napkins with colorful markers.

It’s a megaphone into the hearts of my children.

They don’t mind if it’s cheesy or that I can’t draw like Picasso.  They don’t care if I misspell or screw up the punctuation.  They’re not picky about Bible translations or verb tenses.  They simply want a personalized message to them from me.

From Mom.

How powerful is the word of a parent into the heart of their child!

One time, I put multi-colored pre-printed cards I’d cut out of a magazine and then laminated into their boxes, thinking it would be something special.  Both kids came home, saying, “Thanks, Mom – but where’s my note?”

I dropped the whole fancy card bit.

We also had to have a talk about actually using the napkins after John came home with remnants of lunch around his mouth.

“Didn’t you use your napkin, Buddy?”

He gasped.  “Why no, Mom!  I would never wipe my mouth with my special lunch note!  Really – I never use them.”  He smiled and puffed out his chest at this great accomplishment and symbolic act of respect.

I now pack two napkins for him.  I keep telling my thrifty side that it’s an investment.

One I can’t afford to stop.

My kids and I laugh now about that first episode, for it’s happened another time or two.  My younglings realize I’m not perfect and still deeply love them.  Instead of their initial  emotive reaction, all I get is a playful scolding followed by a forgiving hug and grin.

And a, “Please don’t forget tomorrow, Mommy!”

 

The Influence of a Child

When’s the last time a child influenced you in a meaningful way?

I’m not talking about the “Adorable!”, “Grandma’s gotta have a picture of that!”, cutesy kind of way.  I’m talking about a child, simply by being who they are, reaching deep down into the core of your being and stirring something profound inside of you, a movement powerful enough to fuel passion that changes the way you think, act, or feel.

I remember a time when Hannah, my ten-year-old, bounded down the basement stairs and found me with slumped shoulders and downcast countenance, staring at my beloved craft corner.  The once-inviting studio bore what visually appeared like the aftermath of a grenade attack, its basic structure still in tact but the remaining clutter tossed violently askew.

Disheveled stacks laid atop the “Creation Station”, a lovely table, intended for the arts of painting and sewing, it now served for sorting and filing.  Boxes of mementos and crafts crammed together beneath it, and bits of this and that – markers, paper scraps, fabric squares, glue sticks, etc. – lay scattered about every remaining surface area.

“What’s wrong, Mom?”

In a rare moment of discouragement, I blurted out, “I feel so disorganized.”

Hannah briefly surveyed the situation and then returned her gaze to me, smiling.  “But, Mommy, that doesn’t mean you are disorganized.  Look at the rest of the basement!”

My mouth fell open.  I obeyed her kind directive and surveyed the oversized plastic containers  of toys and activities.  My eyes took in the household supply racks, freshly sanitized foam tiles, and the multi-bin organizer of homeschool supplies and activities.  Even the play kitchen held a brimming plastic food basket, carefully placed appliances, and neatly stacked plates and cups.

I grinned as I wrapped my arm around her.  “Thanks, Sweetheart.  I needed that.”

Her gracious encouragement inspired me in many ways.  It reset my perspective.  It fueled my determination to get the job done.  It also reminded me of the importance of separating feelings from truth and not allowing those misconceptions to shape my identity.

Just because I felt disorganized didn’t mean it was true.

In that moment, I realized that Hannah had spoken to me the very words she longed to hear when her room is messy, revealing how much she values encouragement when she’s feeling disorganized.  Not a lecture, not bossy directives birthed from parental frustration.

The entire interaction grew me as a parent, and I had my sweet daughter to thank for it.  Thank you, Hannah, for being who you are and for reminding me what’s true, what’s important, and how to best encourage you during the challenges you encounter.

Thank you for making a positive impact on me, both as a person and a parent.

Thank you for being a wonderful leader.

What if we as adults realized and helped develop the great potential within every child to lead and influence others in powerful ways – not only when they grow up, but also – today?

I had the privilege of attending TEDx Morristown yesterday and hearing my friend, Dr. Yvonne Bleam, give a wonderful presentation (which will be online in roughly six weeks) about encouraging leadership at an early age.

The influence of a child can prove powerful when coupled with the careful cultivation of loving adults attuned to the value every person can give.  Dr. Bleam has written an outstanding book titled A-Z of Being the Best Leader You Can Be:  Leading Through the Alphabet, which gives parents and teachers an effective tool that encourages children to pursue leadership in everyday settings and circumstances.

Each chapter focuses on a different character quality and tells a story that every kid can relate to, even the quiet and shy, the unlikely leader.  For example, Quinn, the quiet listener, leads by listening to the teacher while other kids are talking and hearing the assignment that’s due the following day.

Whether used at home, school, or church, A-Z of Being the Best Leader You Can Be gives a message of hope and well explains how kids can influence others – even adults – by simply making good choices.  Questions and activities at the end of each chapter drive each character trait home and provide fodder for good conversation, enabling kids to think through their responses to particular situations.

Dr. Bleam is the perfect one to write this book because she leads by example.  I’ll never forget one particular time when she and her husband, Brian,  reached out to my family.  We were in the thick of a traumatic season of life, constantly gasping for air and desperate for reprieve.  When Yvonne caught wind of it, she invited us over for dinner.  The entire Bleam Family blessed us that night, listened to us, fed us, encouraged us to press on through some of our darkest moments.

What especially impressed me that night was the way the Bleam children, Hunter and Brooke reached out to my little Hannah (only about four years old at the time).  Because most of her remembered life experience centered around her brother’s nearly fatal birth, visits to the hospital, and his home health needs, Hannah didn’t know how to be, how to act, or what all of this over for dinner “thing” was even all about.

Long before the book was birthed, Brian and Yvonne had done a great job encouraging leadership traits with their own kids, and it was evident by the way both Hunter and Brooke did an amazing job of entertaining Hannah that night.  They exhibited grace and compassion through the gentle way they spoke to her, played with her, and did their best to make her comfortable in their home.  Their kindness evidenced a maturity beyond their years.

Little moves me more than kindness given to my suffering child.

Thank you, Hunter and Brooke, for leading through your thoughtful words and actions that showed compassion to my hurting little girl.  You may not have known until today how much that evening meant to us.

To me, an adult.

Thank you, Brian and Yvonne, for being faithful friends through the storms of life and for raising your children in a way that brings tremendous blessing to others.

Thank you, Yvonne, for creating a practical resource that ignites and inspires the hearts of young leaders to make choices that influence others in a positive way.  Thank you for making it easy and enjoyable, meaningful and lasting.  Thank you for investing in the future of our homes, our community, our world.

Thank you for the sacrifice you and your family have made in order to lead us all to sow into the lives of others.

I look forward to using A-Z of Being the Best Leader You Can Be: Leading Through the Alphabet with my kids.  Hannah got a jumpstart – she’s halfway through the book already.

I caught John on the sofa with it this morning, pen in hand.  Methinks I need another copy!

3-16

My little Abby Mae turns five today.

Tears blind me now, for I cannot recall her birth without remembering how close she came to death.  Many, many times.

We praise God for the gift of her life and love.  Although we celebrate today with butterflies and flowers, sparkly ribbons and bows, strawberries and sunshine, my heart trembles under the crushing weight of memory, ushering in mingled wonder and sorrow, hope and pain, joy and suffering.

And to think, the first specialist to diagnose Abby’s heart defect recommended I abort her.

I distinctly recall gasping at the mere mention.

“Mrs. Morgan, really!  Think of it.  The baby’s heart is a mess, her organs are positioned backwards . . . ”  The doctor shook her head and folded her arms with disgust.  “Why rush to CHOP (the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) and make them go through all sorts of heroics to try and salvage this?”  She swallowed and softly said, “Besides, haven’t you been through enough already?”

She referred to my son, John, who’d received his diagnosis in the same office some two years earlier, a boy with intestines forming outside a large hole in his belly, intestines that were also blocked and likely damaged severely if not fatally.

The doctors had given him a 15% chance of making it.

I numbed out as the specialist built her case.  The inconvenience, the expense, the unknown outcomes.  As the doctor prattled on, I inhaled deeply.  I looked full into her fiery eyes and calmly said, “We’re going to CHOP.”

I will not lie.  Christian and I had both looked forward to a pregnancy without problems, a wondrous time we could spend with our children and heal from John’s traumatic birth and infancy experience.  What a crushing blow.  Thrust into the nightmare once again, same storyline, different details.

After extensive testing, CHOP informed us that our daughter did indeed have a severe heart defect, as well as Heterotaxy Syndrome (where the organs are abnormally placed within the body).  This five person team, although not nearly as blunt and insensitive as the first physician, waited for my decision about procuring further care.

I swallowed hard.  Then I smiled as tears rolled down my cheeks.

“We’re cheerleaders.  And besides, we already know where to park, the cafeteria menu cycle, and how to avoid the construction traffic.”  I cried a little, and then I said, “As long as there’s hope, we’re in.”

My father sat at the table in lieu of my husband’s presence, his tears saying it all.  I knew I needn’t call Christian, for I knew what he would have me do, what God would have us do, what the mother in me longed to do, and what the warrior in me was destined to do.

FIGHT!!!

On our knees, day and night, night and day, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, fight for this little life we did.  Born with little chance in this world, but oh, how her cries and the prayers of all those who loved her moved the Heart of heaven.

And today SHE TURNED FIVE!

My thoughts began to swirl a few weeks ago when my church sent out a general email announcing the annual fundraising banquet of Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center (LPRC).  In the past, our family had participated in various support opportunities, and since we continue to lay down roots here in NJ, I spoke and prayed with Christian at length about contributing.

We decided to attend the banquet, but I neglected to make the necessary connections until after the deadline had passed.  As I sat up late one evening reviewing past emails, I discovered my error and froze.  I hadn’t realized until that moment how important it was to me but couldn’t explain why.

I had no idea how personal the connection would become.

Believing that God would make a way if He wanted us to attend, I shot an email to the Lighthouse events team, expecting to be graciously turned away.  Then I clicked to Facebook to check my most recent blog post picture.  Somehow as I scrolled along, a man’s voice came over the speaker, startling the daylights out of me (I thought I’d muted it).

Our family friend, Eric Bugbee, had shared a link to Wildcard’s video of Tim Tebow’s recent interview about keeping his priorities straight, which greatly aided him in keeping his cool on the field.  He recounted picking up castaways in Haiti, not mincing words as he declared his desire to be known as one who emits faith, hope, and love rather than as a  successful ball player.  While thankful for the platform sports has given him, his obvious passion is serving others, namely those who have no voice.

I was highly impressed.

I continued scrolling over the next few days and found that another family friend, Aegis Boyer Stuart, had posted a link to a live event at none other than the Tim Tebow Foundation!  Riveted, I viewed her video.  Again, Tim spoke from his heart, sharing his vision to supporters and proclaiming undying devotion to “those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”

I’d heard Tim mentioned among our homeschool community and knew he played ball, but I didn’t know about his foundation nor the parties it served around the world.  Curiosity caused me to thoroughly investigate, and sure enough, what I discovered blew me away.

Hospitals and play rooms.  Proms for the mentally challenged.  Dreams fulfilled for the terminally and chronically ill.  Outreach to orphans.  Surgeries for the sick and disabled.  Rescue for victims of human trafficking.

All totally up our alley.

Everything I saw and viewed resonated loudly with the call God’s placed on my life, and witnessing others living it out in such amazing and far-reaching ways stirred me to the core of my being.  Not only Tim but also his parents and siblings have long been involved with these causes, in years past as missionaries in the Philippines and currently in different countries and capacities.

As I researched the amazing Tebow family, I grew more excited about the possibility of attending the Lighthouse banquet.  It seemed a wonderful way to take another step forward in the same direction as they, a way to serve families in crisis with no voice.

I checked my email one more time after my research binge and read the Lighthouse event flyer one more time.  Lo and behold, I’d glossed over the name of the banquet speaker earlier in the evening, but now, it jumped out at me as if arrayed in Broadway lights.

Pam Tebow.

By the grace of God, two seats opened up.  Christian and I headed to the Venetian awed and humbled, for I had shared with him all that had transpired that week.  We knew that He had something special in store.

Pam shared her testimony about how, when she was extremely ill in the Philippines and carrying her fifth child (Tim), her obstetrician recommended an abortion in order to try and save her life.  She obviously declined and gave birth to not only an incredible athlete but more importantly, an amazing servant.

She also told of how her son wore the reference John 3:16 on his eye black during the 2009 college football national championship, during which 94 million people googled John 3:16. Exactly three years later to the day, Tim led the Denver Broncos to a win in the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and after the game, his rep informed Tim that all of his stats included the digits 3-1-6.

He threw for 316 yards.  Yards per rush: 3.16.  Yards per completion 31.6.  Ratings for the game: 31.6.  Time of possession: 31.6

No coincidence.

Thank you, Pam Tebow, for sharing your story around the world.  Thank you for all you are doing to encourage mothers to give their babies life and inspire them to bravely face the challenges ahead.  And thank you for the reminder that every life is precious.

Even the most delicate of hearts.

Thank you, Abby Mae, for lighting up every room with your smile and song.  For the way you curl up in the arms of grizzly bears and melt their hearts like butter.  For the way you paint away problems, encourage the pessimist, and dance into the loneliest of hearts.

Young in years, yet a wise old soul.  Mistress of joy, deep and unspoiled, lavishly given and freely enjoyed.  Forever may you blossom and grow, little girl, spreading your sunshine and adoring ways.

Thank you, God, for this precious life.

Born on 3-16.