Friday, July 31, 2009

last day

As I drove into work today, I realized that it was my last time making the drive from University area to Cotswold, where my office is. How exciting!!
For the past 2 years we've gotten to live right by UNCC at a discounted rate while Adam was in school. He's been able to walk to class and meetings. It's really been a gift to us. But is the only transition word I can think to use, yet it implies negativity. Oh well. But, our time there is over. No more frat parties. No more close quarters. No more steps. No more pool. No more apartment living (for now). No more taking our recycling to Reedy Creek park. We are moving "in town" as I like to say. And we are both so excited. It's going to be great (& more grown up feeling) to be in a house. It's going to be HUGE to be close to church, my work, and friends. It's going to be great to take walks in a neighborhood instead of a campus. It's going to be fun to be so close to places like Sir Ed's and Ben & Jerry's. Mostly, it's going to be fun (& a little strange at first) to have a nursery. We were fortunate to find a rental with enough rooms to have a separate "study" for Adam and a nursery for baby girl patwa. And I'm thankful for that.
I know this seems dramatic. It kinda is.
We hope to have people over come anytime!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

24 hours of Booty

This past weekend we participated in 24 hours of booty, a 24-hour cycling event to raise money for cancer. When I say participate I mean that I volunteered & cheered and Adam rode with some guys on a team called Hope for Sydney.

Adam with the team jersey on getting ready to start
Our friend, Sydney, was diagnosed in December with a significant brain tumor. This event was amazing. I remember one time going to a Race for the Cure race with my mom and seeing all the survivors of breast's completely overwhelming. I realize that both my parents are cancer survivors, and for that I am so grateful. This event was similar...there are teams biking for loved ones who have lost their battle, who are in the fight, and who have won their battle against cancer. Cancer really does affect just about everyone.

Hope for Sydney Team

What made this experience even more incredible was doing it with Sydney.
me & Syd before our shift on Friday
We decided to volunteer together Friday & Saturday. Sydney said to me, "Everyone is here for a reason and I want to find out why they are here." Let me just say that Sydney is friendly and super bold. I realized my own inability to ask questions of strangers. Not Syd. She has no shame in asking, "so why are you here?" During our volunteer shift on Friday we met a handful of folks and got to hear their story (mainly b/c Sydney asked them why they were here). We met a man who lost his wife, Christine, to breast cancer in February. He shared his story so freely that I had this moment of awe that here the 3 of us were in the middle of "bootyville" as this guy shares what cancer did to his wife's body and spirit. It was heartbreaking. Then there was the teacher from Hickory who started "Team Jordan" for one of his students diagnosed in 2007 with Leukemia. This is just one of many races they ride in. Jordan is doing well and still under intense chemo. We later met his dad too. And there was Brian, a cancer survivor himself, who matched Sydney in spunk and energy. Later he took Sydney to meet his family and they totally embraced her. It was fun to cheer for him as he rode the Survivor's lap. These are just a few stories from the thousands that were there. Watching Sydney with other people is amazing. I wish I had the boldness she does. I wish I even had the desire she does.

Syd working hard! (notice the cool tat & free t-shirt)
Adam and Hope for Sydney did great too. They rode at different times throughout the 24 hours; some even through the night. They raised a bunch of money for cancer research. But ultimately they rallied around this amazing family, the Gaylords. It was so fun to see so many people come out to cheer on the cyclists and to love on Todd, Sydney & the girls. I love seeing our community in action. I imagine it's exactly what God desires for all of us.

Vail & Haven sporting their Hope for Sydney tees! so cute!
Next year you may see me and our little one on a bike. (it may be safer for her to ride with Adam) But I know I want to ride on Hope for Sydney team every year!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

my girls and their amy

When I was 13 I moved with my mom, sister & brother into a house in a neighborhood in Cotswold area. It was the turbulent 9th grade...jr. high sucked and my parents were recently separated. We moved next door to this family with 2 beautiful & adorable little girls. I spent the first couple months stalking them...not in that creepy way, but in that I'm 13 (almost 14) and have no life so I babysit all the time kind of way. You know.
Me & the girls at Carowinds...probably 12 or so years ago.
Anyway, early that spring it snowed and I finally got the nerve to go out and meet them. McKendree was 3 and a half and Barret had just turned 1. We played in the snow and I fell in love with this family. I started babysitting for them right away and often. They became my family away from my family. I went to the beach with them and other families for about 4 years and spent every New Year's Eve babysitting them. As I got to see these wonderful girls grow up, they got to see me grow up. Burley and Nancy loved me like their own daughter. And they always called me "my Amy." I love this family.

me & the girls with Isaiah at a gra
duation party for me in 2001.
In 2005 Burley was tragically killed in a traffic accident. I was heart-broken...not only b/c I felt the loss myself, but b/c this family lost a huge part of them. I can't say enough good things about Burley...he was an amazing husband and an incredible father. It's been a new journey to walk through with "my girls" as now they are older (20 & 17) and dealing with major life issues..including the loss of their dad.
About 2 weeks ago Nancy got remarried. She found love again and for that I am so grateful. I can't imagine the hope that brings to her. I got the privilege of being there celebrate with them and read some poetry at the wedding. Remarriage is bittersweet, and all I want is for Nancy to be happy and for my girls to be happy.
Nancy & her new husband, Mike, exchanging their vows.
I love these girls. I want them to know that God loves them deeply and I pray that in the midst of this journey they experience His healing and His love.

Barrett, me & McKendree @ their mom's wedding (aren't they beautiful!?)