Birthdays and Anniversaries (and this year’s Hearts for Hannah)
Every time I see this picture, I have this idea that Hannah Grace must be enjoying moments like these in Heaven. I remember her jumping on my aunt and uncle’s trampoline… her 1st real “trampoline” experience. She was just the image of pure joy once she figured out she could jump high. I only wish I could imagine the purest joy she is experiencing now with God.
I was looking back through old blog posts, and I ran across this (from a month after this picture was taken, and 5 months before she got sick):
“Tonight as I tucked Hannah in, I asked her if she wanted to pray first or if she wanted me to (I usually get to go first). She wanted to pray first this time- she said “Dear God, thank you for being in my heart”. I just thought that was the sweetest thing ever- children are amazing sometimes through their simplicity.”
I am not good at remembering little moments (one of the things I wish I could “fix” about myself), so I am so thankful that I recorded that one.
Now, on to my original plan for this post… we have just endured another “anniversary” and are getting ready to face another birthday. I never thought I would be using the words “endured” and “faced” in connection to what most consider happy events… but here we are. As I mentioned in my last post, God is really continuing to impress on me the differences between happiness and joy. Happiness- situational… fleeting… dependent on circumstances… changing; joy- deep… abiding… constant (even when it’s hard to feel it)… and that’s how I know joy only comes from God. As a weak human, I know it would be impossible for me to have that joy on my own. Something I heard at church that really stuck with me: joy is peace dancing… peace is joy at rest. I don’t always (or even sometimes often) feel truly joyful, but when I don’t I have that blessed peace that temporarily takes its place.
So, as we enter February and approach what would have been Hannah Grace’s 7th birthday on the 15th of this month, we want to honor her life and memory with another “Hearts for Hannah” project. This year, we have chosen to provide some needs for the EOA Children’s House in Springdale. This is an amazing place that offers all kinds of assistance for children who have been involved with the court system and/or DHS. These kids have endured hard things that no child should have to face- as is also true of cancer. Some children who receive services there are in foster care; some are with their biological parents who are also receiving help to make their families healthy and whole. The EOA Children’s House offers everything from physical, occupational, and speech therapy to counseling and academic services. Government funding for agencies such as this has been drastically cut, so they rely on United Way and private donations to make it. I had heard of this organization at random times over the years that I have taught in Springdale, and God started bringing it to my mind when I began thinking about what we should do this year. Then, I attended the Springdale Schools United Way kick-off campaign as my school’s representative this fall. The gentleman who spoke was the director of the EOA (I believe), and he talked about how EOA Children’s House had changed everyone’s life who had come in contact with it. I immediately knew that this was the affirmation that I needed.
So, during the month of February, we are going to collect items that the EOA Children’s House needs. You can visit their site at http://www.childrenshousenwa.org/ and click on the tab that says “current needs”. The full list is there, but I will give you a few ideas: kids’ birthday supplies, bleach, vacuum cleaners, play-doh, black sharpies, post-it notes, career-related dress up clothes, books (hardback/board), etc. So, there are a variety of needs big and small. They can also always use a monetary donation so that funds are available when something comes up.
So how can you donate? Here are a few ways: visit the website and donate money via the “donate now” link… there is a drop down menu on the donation page that says “please direct my donation to”… you can choose the Hearts for Hannah campaign there. Or, you can send items to us at 5761 Garnet Drive, Springdale, AR 72764. Of course, if we see you in person, feel free to load us down! If you do not live close and do not want to use their website link to donate, you can mail a check to me and I will deliver it or buy actual items if you so desire.
We are going to collect things during the entire month of February and then take everything we have collected at once. We see such value in helping children who are still here on this Earth have a chance to be loved and taken care of…. and we would love to have your help. Please e-mail me with any questions- firstname.lastname@example.org.