2017 Scholarship Recipients…..

I wanted to provide my annual update on the 2017 recipients of the Fischer, Benjamin and Hayes Dowdy Scholarship and the Elizabeth Herro Dowdy Memorial Scholarship.

Fischer, Benjamin and Hayes Dowdy Scholarship

On May 16, 2017, I had the honor and privilege of presenting the Fischer, Benjamin and Hayes Dowdy Scholarship for the 4th year.    As I shared with the group that gathered on awards night,  how very much my daughter loved the Salado community and how the boys looked forward to being Salado Eagles.  This spring, Fischer would be finishing 2nd grade and Ben would be completing 1st grade.  I love this event, Salado does an amazing job for a 2A, small community.  This years Seniors have received to date $857,568.00 in scholarships!  I also have the opportunity to award a $1,000 scholarship to a Salado HS Senior that in a some small way carries their memory and legacy forward through the lives of deserving students.  Previous recipients are Chase Manning (Lamar University), Shelby Tepera (Texas A&M), and Hayden Ebeling (Texas A&M).  This years recipient will also attend Texas A&M in the fall.  She is an honor student (look at those cords!) and very involved in FFA.  Please let me introduce you to this years recipient of the 2017 Fischer, Benjamin and Hayes Dowdy Memorial Scholarship Ms. Kylar Combs!



Julie Diem (L) and Kylar Combs (R), 2017 Recipient of the 2017 Fischer, Benjamin and Hayes Dowdy Scholarship


FBH Scholarship RecipientsThere were also several memorial scholarships given this year.  Some by families who had recently lost loved ones and as the principal said, the presentations for these scholarships are always very emotional.  I am honored to stand with parents who have chosen to honor their children through these lasting legacies as we pay it forward.

Elizabeth Herro Dowdy Memorial Scholarship

Elizabeth’s scholarship is endowed with the Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) in Waco Texas.  MCH was my daughter’s chosen charity that she honored John and I through Christmas gifts prior to her death.    So, it seemed appropriate that we would honor her at MCH by endowing a scholarship.    So, I am thrilled when the MCH board informed me that they are re-awarding Elizabeth’s scholarship to the 2016 recipient, Maegan Wells!   Mae was the Salutatorian of the MCH graduating class of 2016.  I was excited to hear from the MCH board that she is progressing well.  John and I are so blessed to have a “fingerprint” of my daughter on her journey.  Here is Mae from her MCH graduation as she delivered her Salutatorian address.



Mae Wells, Recipient of the Elizabeth Herro Dowdy Scholarship for 2016 and 2017


My thanks and gratitude to everyone that has supported these scholarships by purchasing wreaths through Twentycoats Wreath Creations.  My wreath sales are the way these scholarships are funded.  You are grafted to the tree and are part of this journey.  I am honored to have you be a part of this mission as together we make an impact to others while also honoring my blue eyed daughter and three grandsons.



Mother’s Day 2017……

“Maybe our stories aren’t simply about suffering.  And maybe life isn’t separated neatly into chapters.  Maybe joy and heartache bleed together, spilling out into the binding of each page.

Because even when heartache doesn’t have a clear beginning and end, we can be certain that neither does love, goodness, and joy.

And maybe that is life and the truth of our stories; they aren’t one thing or another.  They are a glorious mess of it all.” – Lexi Behrndt

This quote describes my life everyday……but more especially on holidays like Mother’s Day when joy and heartache bleed together.  Part of this day is a stark reminder of what you have lost and the joy that remains.  There is the grief of Lizz and the boys, and yet, there is the joy of Jennifer, Lauren, Ava, Eli, Marshall and Camryn.  It truly is a messy life, with these two truths coexisting simultaneously in my heart….in this messy life of mine.  That being said, it is that messiness and sharp edges of grief and tenderness of joy that keeps me anchored to the One who redeems….to His love and His amazing grace.

So, I started this Mother’s Day at the cemetery.  I want to spend time at the place that marks their life and their death.  It screams to the world through the words on their headstones, that they existed, they were loved and they are still important.  I lay a wreath to honor Lizz and the amazing boymom that she was here on earth and remains in heaven today.

Elizabeth 2017IMG_7361

I then attended church to watch Elizabeth’s namesake be dedicated and blessed by the church.  Camryn Elizabeth….you carry an amazing name with you.  Your family will make sure that you know her through pictures and stories….that amazing aunt whose name you carry.    You already are the center of attention as evidenced by your dedication.  As Jennifer said, we are confident that Camryn got to meet Elizabeth before God entrusted her to us.


After church, I met Lauren for lunch and we shopped and shopped and had the best time.  Just us.  Something we hadn’t done in a long time.  It’s hard to carve out these moments with the demands of life, three children, work, etc., etc.  So this is why this was so very special.  You chose to spend those precious hours with me.


I will store both of these events in my heart forever.

So what has God taught me thus far?  There is beauty in the mess….and that my mess allows me to have a heart for other’s that are experiencing child loss.  And I am a work in progress…..even now at 59.  And He is restoring me piece by piece, like a broken pot, or an old painting.  The restoration is hard, painstaking work.  But this I know.  I wouldn’t trade a thing.   For the two daughters I still have here and the amazing grandchildren, or for the 25 years I had Lizz and the few short years we had with Fischer and Ben, I am blessed beyond measure.  I am grateful.   Some would say grateful?  Yes.  I am grateful.    I am who I am because of my children and grandchildren.  I can’t imagine my life without every single one of them in mine.  No matter how long I was blessed to have them.  Even though this is surely not the path I would have chosen for us, it is one I have been asked to travel.    And so, I carry them with me…..always.

As Lauren and I were reflecting that Ben would be 7 this year and finishing up 1st grade if he were still here with us and Fischer would be turning 9 this October and completing 2nd grade, she said:  “We have lived several lifetimes in the last 5 years Mom”……yes, Lar oh my we sure have.  And even through the bumps in the road when things were so washed in the early overwhelming pain of grief, we can now see much clearer.  Our eyes see what’s important.  What’s not.  To love hard.  To be intentional with those in our lives that are most important.  And you know what?  It’s okay to have “messy” bleed over into everything else.

To other Mom’s that this day is emotional and difficult, I hope my words and ramblings help it become a “hopeful” day.  Here’s to embracing our glorious and messy lives!