Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Break

I absolutely love Thanksgiving and Christmas break.  I love when time slows down for a few days and we can be in charge of our schedule.  It has been a great few days off.  Thanksgiving always brings back some sad feelings for me from those early days of David's diagnosis when we were gearing up for chemo to start the Monday after Thanksgiving.  I remember my Mom sent me and Mike out to Walmart on Thanksgiving day after we ate our chicken tenders and fries in the cafeteria.  I remember Mike and I both were just so sad what David was facing and we just wandered aimlessly around  Charlottesville Walmart. 

Blessedly this year we were home and woke up to a gorgeous winter wonderland!  It was the perfect snow-three or four inches in the trees to make for a beautiful drive to Radford on a clear and plowed interstate. 
We spent Thanksgiving day in Radford with my family.  My brother and his clan could not join us because the flu bug had set up residence in their home.  My 95 year-old great aunt Louise joined us!  She is such a blessing and a precious soul.  We all laughed how tall Kyle looks next to her.  Kyle has grown a few inches, but Louise is tiny. 

Maybe next Thanksgiving David will be as tall as she is too?!  We just love Louise! Louise has been a widow for many, many years and her two children died within a week of each other many years ago.  Can you imagine coming home from one child's funeral to learn that the other one has passed as well?  Tragic, but Louise is a woman full of faith, love for her family, and the funniest personality EVER! 
My grandmother, Louise, and Hope sitting  down to eat Thanksgiving.  My Mom is an awesome cook and we ate well for Thanksgiving. 

My pictures are totally out of order, but we did get some decorating done this break and most of our shopping and wrapping has been done.  That trip to Williamsburg helped me get way ahead of the shopping game this year. 

Thanksgiving has also given everyone in this family some much needed downtime.  Mike and the little kids played Life and I enjoyed hearing them laugh and chat as they played.  Mike was a brain surgeon in the game and Hope was a teacher and she still beat them all!  David had to get married per the game, and he said "oh lord no!" 
Friday night my Dad, my Mike, and my boys bundled up to go watch UVA and VT battle it out for the Commonwealth cup.  I grew up a Hokie and my boys are Hokies but Mike got his doctorate at UVA and we are all UVA fans because of what UVA did for David.  The boys and my Dad were rooting for Tech and Mike rooted for UVA.  They stayed warm and were treated to a great game.  VT did pull out  a win and the boys got home around 2 in the morning! 

Mike sent me this picture and it made me tear up.  We have some wonderful memories with Pops at Lane Stadium and I was overwhelmed that three years ago David was gearing up to fight cancer and this year he was bundled up talking smack and cheering for the Hokies.  David and Pops are true BFF's and this picture made me smile.

My handsome Kyle!  Despite 19 degrees, they didn't get too cold thanks to snow pants, foot and hand warmers, and thick blankets.  I know they made memories they will never forget.  It was a huge game with a lot on the line for both teams.  Both teams played their hearts out and miraculously when the whistle blew Tech was ahead. 

The Robinson girls stayed home and wrapped presents.  This girl has a servant heart the size of Texas and she is always under my feet wanting to help me. She has helped me wrap, cook, and clean.  God made her heart full of gold when He created her. May she keep a sweet heart and use it for God one day.

Advent season is upon us.  This morning at church I was touched so much.  Advent is so special as we prepare our hearts for Jesus.  The praise band at church rocked it this morning and blessed me.  Our sermon series for the next four weeks is four men and a baby.  Each week we will talk about the birth of Jesus from four different perspectives.  Today we focused on my very favorite story from the bible-Zechariah and Elizabeth's pregnancy with John the Baptist.  It has always tendered my heart to think of a teenage Mary and a grandmotherly aged Elizabeth both pregnant with John the Baptist and Jesus at the same time.  Only God could have woven those two women together for two very special purposes.  I could have wept this morning at church.  I love that David (our pastor) is using a very familiar story but making us focus on perspectives that we typically do not consider.  Next week we will focus on King Herod. 
So, our bellies are full of turkey and all the yumminess we have eaten, we have made some precious memories, and we are in the process of preparing our hearts to welcome the baby in the manager that changed us all.  Pretty awesosme Thanksgiving break!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A lil Getaway !

At the end of last week my parents, GG and Pops, came down and stayed with the kids for two nights while I accompanied Mike to the annual Virginia School Boards Association conference in Williamsburg.  On Thanksgiving Day in a few days is our 15th wedding anniversary!!  Mike has been a school superintendent for eight years and  this was the first year I have ever attended this with him.  It was a total blast with our awesome school board folks and a few of their wives. 

Basically the school board members went to the conferences and sessions while we, the wives hit the loal outlet mall.  I am not a huge shopper, but by golly I rocked it out while I was there.  I did probably 75% of my Christmas shopping in one day.  It is amazing what you can get down without dragging three children around with you!  I missed them like crazy but it was nice to shop solo, eat good seafood, and enjoy some quiet time with my husband of 15 years! 

The first night of the conference was a banquet in a large room with lots of people!  The room was set up audtorium style where the floor wasn't flat-there were step downs every few feet.  I turned around as we were walking to our table to tell one of the other ladies to be careful and next thing I knew I was flat on my face.  I had to laugh at myself and pray the fall was at least graceful!  Ha!

The next day shopping, I was buying the CUTEST princess boots for Hope and another friend and the sales lady asked me if these were for my grandbabies?  Excuse me?  I know I am not a spring chicken but I wasn't clear that the vibe coming off of me was grandmother.  You just have to laugh! 

It was such a fun getaway with some great folks.  We ate great seafood, shopped so much it was a logistical nightmare getting all of our goods home with everyone's suitcases and  purchases, and it was great to reconnect with my man.  It has been a wild and crazy fifteen years and I am thankful he has and will be beside me through it all.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vt Hoops and Three Years

Today my emotions are all over the place.  The last few days have been brutal with a severe toothache for me and some emotional heartaches.

Friday night Virginia Tech had their basketball home opener and because of our wonderful experience with this team and Coach Buzz, we were there with bells on!  Here is David happily reuniting with his best friend, Seth Allen.  Seth is red-shirted this year since he transferred from Maryland. 

David was so excited to see him again!  We were blessed with some tickets from a wonderful local couple and a few from a family member in Radford.  We really had a wonderful night cheering on this team. 

David even ran into the Hokie Bird!! 
David got to sit with Dr. Bill which was a treat for him.  David loves Dr. Bill, our dentist!  Bill is one of the sweetest and kindest men ever and he takes care of all of our teeth) Dr. Bill fixed my toothache early this morning by 9 a.m.  Whoever would have thought a stuck popcorn kernel could have caused such agony for me this past weekend?! 

Even Hopie girl had fun at the baseketball game! 
Seth pointed out his parents to us before the game.  We went over and got to meet them after the game.  Seth came out of the locker room with a plate of chicken tenders which he shared with Hope and David.  Here are David and Seth doing their victory dance! We had such a fun night cheering on the Hokie hoops players that we got to meet through Buzz's Bunch.  Whatever their record is at the end of the season will only be icing on the cake-they are already true winners! 

Saturday GG and Pops stopped by to watch the VT football game with us!  Amazingly we won!!  After the game, my Mom helped me get fall leaf pictures of the kids.  We do theses every year and they are emotional for me because they remind me of our pre-cancer life three years ago.  The day before David was diagnosed with cancer, we took leaf pictures and Ashley and I both remember David telling Kyle to be easy with his belly.  We had no idea it was because there was a ten centimeter tumor hiding in there. 
So today is the day.  Three years ago our world stood still as this sweet doctor in our local ER drew me a picture of my son's kidney.  Three years later I am thankful that David survived treatment and that he is still here with us today-all 82 pounds of him now!  I will never doubt God's goodness and grace because his handiwork was so evident in those dark and scary days at UVA hospital.  He used you, our blog readers, friends, and family to encourage us and love on us when we were so scared.  Cancer taught us to never doubt Him and His faithfulness. 
Here is my blog post from three years ago today.  (click here) .
We as a family have come a long way in three years.  We praise God that He never left us and that His grace was truly sufficient.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Church Rockstars and Challenger

At church we are so blessed with some amazing musicians.  Bryan is our worship leader and today in the afterschool program he had roughly 50 children worshipping and praising God by singing I Am by David Crowder.  Wednesday afternoons singing along to Mr. Bryan's keyboard with fifty elementary kids is one of the holiest times of my whole week.  He is a rockstar to all the kids and to me too!  If you love contemporary christian music please join us on Sunday morning at 10:00 in in the sanctuary.  Come as you are and be ready to be blessed by Mr. Bryan's gorgeous voice. 

Casey is also another  talented musician that plays in our praise band.  He and David are tight buds and David is now dressing like Casey with plaid shirts and jeans:)  Casey has an amazing band called Forsaken Hero and today they released this new video.  You. must. check. this. out!  We are all belting their latest song out around here tonight.  This video was filmed at church and this song gets stuck in your head.  Every Sunday morning I watch this young twenty-something guy offer his talent back to the Lord and is inspiring.  I am not sure how many hits their song had on youtube earlier today, but after David found it this evening I am sure that number has now doubled!  Check this video out and leave some positive comments for his young, local dude and his band for giving their all to God. 

Pretty awesome song huh?! 

Besides all of my children being diagnosed with strep throat in the last week, two of them tonight at our urgent care, I have been super busy writing a grant for our Little League fields to be handicapped accessible so we can offer Challenger League baseball this spring. 

Every child deserves a chance to come up to bat and make memories on the baseball field.  Click on the link below to learn more about the program we are trying to offer to special needs children in all of southwest Virginia! 


If you have a few dollars to spare, we would be so thankful for your support of Challenger baseball.  After seeing David sit at the front door and cry last year when Mike didn't take him to sign up for baseball, I committed myself to move heaven and Earth to make this program available for David and other awesome kiddos like him.  If you would be interested in volunteering in this program, leave me a comment with your email and I will get back to you.  I promise however you become involved in this program you will receive a blessing! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Strep Throat and Life

I have been a blogging delinquent and I am sorry.  Poor David has been fighting a nasty case of strep throat.  He was pretty pitiful over the weekend:(  Because of his kidney issue (he just has one that functions somewhere between 40-50%) anytime he gets sick we take note.  He made it through it okay, but just a little more spoiled from all the extra attention and loving. 

I have been knee-deep in writing a grant to Little League international to get money to upgrade our current fields and dugouts to make them handicapped accessible because (drum roll.....) we are offering Challenger Baseball in Marion this spring!!!  I am so over the moon excited about this I can hardly sleep. 

Challenger Baseball is Little League baseball for children ages 4-18 that have physical or intellectual disabilities.  Last year Mike came home one evening and told Kyle and Hope that it was Little League signup night and he was taking Kyle to signup for baseball and Hope Tball.  David literally sat at the front door and bawled because he wanted to play too.  Because of his kidney issue and slower reflexes, it is not safe for David to play with his peers.  He can; however, play modified baseball which is what Challenger is all about.

This past summer God worked it out beautifully that I literally ran into our District person for Little League when I was volunteering in the concession stand.  I started quizzing him about Challenger ball and where is the closest place for David to play ball.  No one basically in Southwest Virginia from Marion to Gate City in our area) offers Challenger so I am going for it with the support of our local little league board. 

It is awesome to think about the idea that all children will be able to truly play baseball, BUT the reality is that our dugouts are not handicapped accessible.  I have been writing a grant (which I love to do) to get some of the money for this process to begin.  So I have been writing, just a grant and not on the blog:) We are hoping to do some local fundraisers to raise the funds so that all can will truly be able to play ball! 

Yesterday at church our pastor preached on the scripture from Luke 12:48 from everyone who has been given much, much will be required.  I cannot talk Mike into the missionary field in Africa at this time at all, but I do love local missions like our food pantry at church and my new mission of every child being able to play baseball.  I love that scripture and it is our new family scripture on our board. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Life is more than Wins and Losses

Dear Hokie Nation,

I know your heart is broken over the loss that the Hokies suffered again yesterday.  The weather was terrible, the crowd was the lightest we have ever seen in Lane Stadium, and once again the team lost.  We look down the schedule at our remaining games and scratch our heads knowing that the Commonwealth Cup is in Jeopardy as well as our bowl eligibility. 

Yesterday, however, there was an amazing thing going on at Lane Stadium way beyond the score on the scoreboard at the end of the cold, wet, and damp game.  Special Spectators is a nonprofit group that partners with colleges around the United States to provide magical days for seriously ill children and their families.  Our family was blessed and got to participate in this program when our son David was battling stage IV cancer at UVA two years ago.  We were so blessed with our participation in this two years ago that we have signed on to be host volunteers to host other families.

Yesterday was Special Spectators day at Virginia Tech.  Yesterday three families whose children are fighting life-threatening illnesses were blessed with a magical day at Lane Stadium.  My family acted as the host volunteers welcoming the families and spending the day with them. 

We were the host family and here is our son, David, meeting Bill Roth in his radio tower for our first stop on our magical day.  Mike and Bill were amazing with this group of kids and they even let them try on their headsets and sit in their chairs.  I am not sure what was better up there-the beautiful view of the field or the kindness and hospitality from Mike and Bill. 
My boys, Kyle and David with Bill Roth.  Bill and Mike allowed the kids in our group time to ask questions, look around, take pictures, and despite their hectic game days, they were so kind and gracious to all the kids in our group.  These two are true class acts.
After Bill Roth's tower, host from VT took us on the field via the tunnell!  Here is my David pretending to be a player running through the tunnel. 
All the kids from our group got to go on the field touch the infamous Hokie stone, and take pictures. 
It was cold, rainy, wet, and damp but the kids could have cared less!  They were on the field sitting on the bench in Lane Stadium!!!
We got a little off schedule and the team was suppose to be in the locker room any minute.  The amazing VT reps, did not want our group of kids to miss anything, so they told our kids if we could move quickly and not touch anything we could go in the locker room for a picture!  It was gorgeous in there and the guys were so welcoming and kind. 
After the locker room, our kids were ushered into the Merryman Center and we waited a few minutes for Coach Beamer!  On a busy game day, he took several minutes and spoke to each of our kids in our group, posed for a group picture that was later used on the Jumobtron during the game, and....
even paused to take a selfie with one of the kids from our group!!  This kid was amazing and was there with his two buddies, one of whom is fighting Leukemia.  He was using his Mom's borrowed iphone for his special day at VT and he was not too quick working it.  Coach Beamer, who obviously had a lot on his mind 1.5 hours before kickoff, paused and patiently let this kid navigate his Mom's phone to take a selfie.  Coach Beamer is an amazing guy!  This kid was so proud of his selfie with Coach! 
Virginia Tech hosted our group at one of the corporate tailgates and the Hokie bird and cheerleaders stopped by our tailgate! 
David with the cheerleaders!
Okay, if your eyes mist when you read sweet things, get a tissue ready.  Yesterday the weather was miserable and we were worried that our kids in our group would not be able to stay for the whole game due to the cold temps and rain.  The marketing rep brought us our tickets during our tailgate and the bomb was dropped on us that due to the weather that they were upgrading our entire group's tickets to inside the club box so our kids would stay warm and dry.  That was a game changer for these kids fighting cancer and other serious medical issues.  Instead of shivering and freezing, we were inside warm and dry with free concessions during the entire game. When the marketing rep told me about the ticket upgrades, I grabbed him and hugged him.  As the volunteer host for the day, it was amazing to share that news with the families. 
So, Hokie Nation, I know you are totally heart-broken over another football loss, but please know that Virginia Tech may not have come away with a win yesterday, but they rolled out the red carpet and blessed some amazing kids fighting some huge Goliaths in their own lives.  They treated these kids and this volunteer host to a day that none of us will ever forget.  Coach Beamer patiently paused several minutes on a game day to allow a special needs child using his Mom's iphone to pose for a selfie.  Marketing reps shuffled and got permission from who knows where to upgrade 16 tickets so sick kids would stay dry and warm.  Virginia Tech may have lost a game yesterday, but they won a whole lot more-they truly made a difference in the lives of some sick kids.  So Hokie Nation, be proud!