125 year celebration at MCH….Chip and Jojo and Beauty in the mess…….

IMG_2253October 10th was a glorious and beautiful fall day in our beloved state of Texas.  It also meant that 800 people gathered in Waco, Texas to remember the past, look forward and celebrate 125 years of Methodist Children’s Home.

This celebration also meant there would be key note speakers.   Waco residents Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV Fixer Upper fame would fill that role.  A ballroom full of people who also purchased tickets had an opportunity for Q&A’s with Chip and Joanna (heck yes, I was one!).  The Gaines’ shared how they met and their life before HGTV.  Here were some of the answers and my observations:

  1. They are just as they are on TV.
  2. Chip really does worry about his hair.
  3. Their faith and love of Christ is obvious.
  4. They compliment each other.  Chip is the risk taker.  Joanna is the structure that keeps Chip grounded.  Together they have a great personal and professional relationship.
  5. They are so well grounded during this busy season in their life.  They talked about their commitment to each other and their family no matter what.
  6. Balance.  They spoke about how crazy their life is right now.  There is no balance and yet that is OK because God is providing them the capacity to get through it.
  7. Joanna’s favorite neutral paint color:  Sherwin Williams Silver Strand
  8. Joanna’s favorite gray:  Sherwin Williams Mindful gray

There was one question/answer that really spoke to me:  Why is Fixer Upper so popular with viewers?  Joanna’s response was that yes, Chip is funny, and yes, people like her design.  But she felt what really resonates with people is the concept of restoration and transformation.  We as humans long to be restored and transformed.  So the Gaines’ take the abused, forsaken, dilapidated, ignored, deserted homes and every week we watch her and Chip with love and grace transform and restore.  And I believe she is right.  Much like the homes on their show, we also have hearts that are broken, abused, and forsaken that desperately seek restoration and transformation.  But instead of Chip and JoJo rebuilding a house, it is Christ that rebuilds our heart and restores us and transforms us.  She also stated several times throughout the Q&A that there is tremendous beauty in the mess if you will look for it.  There is beauty in the mess……beauty in the mess if you look for it.

After the Q&A, we got to take pictures with Chip and Jojo and then headed to the large white tent with 800 seats to have BBQ and the planned program on a gorgeous fall day.

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Chip and Joanna Gaines doing the Baylor Bear claw sign and me flashing the Hook ‘Em Horns!

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MCH grounds for the 125 year celebration lunch!

Joanna was the keynote speaker for lunch.  She is a terrific public speaker!  It’s a casual style but honest, passionate and transparent.  Chip sat nearby and was ready to take the microphone if she was not able to carry out her duty (Chip’s humor!).  Again, during her keynote, God used her to speak to my heart.  Once again, she spoke about there is beauty in the mess.  How true that is!  It doesn’t matter if it is a house or our lives……there is beauty in the mess.  She then likened that to what MCH does.  She then directed some of her thoughts to current students and MCH alumni that were in attendance.  She encouraged them that their personal story is extraordinary and because of that, they have experienced the grace and love of Christ in a way many of us will never know.  She encouraged us to take our life stories of the beauty that came from the mess and share it with the world!

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Introducing Chip and Joanna Gaines at the luncheon

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MCH logo metal sign created by Jimmie Don Holmes of Fixer Upper

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The celebration agenda

She ended her message with James 1:27:  “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (emphasis added) She thanked MCH for caring for Waco’s children and being the hands and feet of Christ.

I was also moved by the personal testimony of the MCH alumni association president, Dan Moore, class of 1991.  He spoke of his personal conditions that brought him to MCH and how MCH had changed his life….again a message of restoration and transformation.  He is who he is today, because of the ministry of MCH.

Congratulations to MCH on your 125 years!  It was a wonderful day celebrating a tremendous legacy and praising God for the blessings He has bestowed upon your organization.

In closing, yes, there is beauty in the mess…….if you look for it…… and if you let the One, Christ, restore and transform it and share it with the world.  Amen.

Julie

An Eagle Scout Project, Lake Louisa State Park in Florida and a Random Act of Kindness……..

I received a message tonight with pictures attached of marker 35 at Lake Louisa State Park in Florida:

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If you will look closely, you will see that the marker is given in memory of Elizabeth, Fischer, Benjamin and Hayes!  An Eagle Scout in Florida by the name of Riley Cowell decided for his Eagle Scout project to replace the markers in the state park. The cost of supplies was raised by sponsors.  An amazing friend and co-worker, Kim Laney-Gonzalez sponsored a marker in honor of Lizz and the boys.  She shared with me that she specifically picked a campsite marker because we know how much the boys and Lizz loved camping!

Additionally, they have ordered a waterproof box that they will mount under the marker and keep it filled with their “Random Acts of Kindness” cards for people to take and pass on to others while doing an act of kindness in their memory.

Words are inadequate to explain what it means to a parent to see your child’s name honored in this way and for people to read and say their names out loud.  I am so blessed, honored, and overcome with emotion.

Thank you Kim for thinking of me and remembering my daughter and my grandsons!

If you are ever in the Orlando area, Lake Louisa state park is not too far.  Maybe you will be camping or hiking and see marker 35!  If you do, take a picture and send it to me!  I too hope to see it one day!

To Riley Cowell, good luck on your Eagle Scout.  What a wonderful project!

Check out his Facebook Page about his project:  https://www.facebook.com/RileysEagleProject

God’s grace is amazing……

Julie

Fischer turns 7……

Oh Fischer Phillip…..our first grandson…..you turn 7 today.  Your blue eyes, your infectious spirit, your joy in the small things…..like lizards, frogs, fish, and any stick within reach.  So blessed because you helped me see and experience the world through the eyes of how God created little boys.  You made my youngest daughter a Mommy for the first time.  And because of that, you had half of her heart.

I loved how you ran. Head down, arms swinging.  That image still makes me smile.

Fischer running bases Sandlot

I loved how you were eating everything green because you wanted to be like the HULK.

Hulk Fischer

Thank you Fischer for showing me what God created little boys to be.

So today, I will lay your birthday wreath at the earthly place that honors you……

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I will also hang a wreath on my door …….

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You were with us here this side of heaven for 3 years and 10 months.  Not long by many, but in that short time what amazing lessons in life you gave me.  You would fly (jump) from couch to chair to coffee table to floor to start the exercise all over again, again, and again.  When I mentioned it to your mom, because I was horrified you were going to get hurt, her reply was:  “Mom!  There is no stopping a little boy with a cape!”  And that action and your mom’s response has been a life lesson for me.  There is no stopping when you have a cape!

So on this day, I celebrate what you taught me in those three short years:

  1. Look for the wonder in God’s amazing creation….always.
  2. Laugh, laugh, and laugh some more.  It is good for the heart and the soul.
  3. Find joy in everything
  4. Be a super hero to someone.
  5. And in the words of Jerry Jeff Walker, “Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape.”   Thank you Fischer for teaching me how to do that.

To celebrate your life, here is your birthday video, music by Jerry Jeff, “The Cape”:

I love you Fischman…….hug and kiss your momma and wrestle those brothers for me.

Nana