Austin isn’t here anymore to imitate Jesus Christ,
but we are. This is our moment.
but we are. This is our moment.
18. Can I just say that I'm not too happy about Austin not being here for his 18th birthday! It really sucks! OK, I got that out of the way. Turning 18 is not suppose to be like this. We had many more plans. Of course, Austin did NOT want a party for this or graduation. So, his birthday comes no matter what. He's not here. We are. So, we remembered and honored Austin.
Bitterstweet. You know the bitter part. Here's the sweet part:
- Friends giving us a photo album with many pictures and letters. (come see it anytime!)
- Playing some fun tennis in Austin's honor. (Suz and I won!)
- Enjoying some buntinis with all our favorite Wranglers at school. (I never tire of the Wranglers or buntinis)
- Chowing on some Cane's chicken with senior Wrangler moms. (even though Javar says Bubba's is better)
- Visiting Austin with the family at Sparkman-Hillcrest (all five of us together for a few minutes)(marker coming soon!).
- Hanging at the Breedloves with community and Austin's friends. (best party favor...the air fresheners Austin had in his car!)
- The love we share with all of you...for Austin and each other!!!
Coming home, looking at some photos (turning 17 below), a short cry, then off to bed. We never stop missing Austin continually. Always thankful for every moment we were with Austin.
"I thank my God every time I remember you." Phil 1:3
I really didn't mean to raise Austin to be a loyal Texas Longhorn fan, but he became one. Well, he and I do have a man crush”, Colt McCoy, and I did let him and the others stay up late to watch Vince Young defeat USC in the Rose Bowl. I give up. He was a Longhorn through and through.
I'm sad to say he didn't see the best days of Texas football. Honestly, he was a better fan than me. That's because he was an optimistic guy. He believed in the coaches and the players. I've always been a fair weather fan, and I have a tendency to bail out of a game that is going south. I'm ashamed of it, and he called me out! Austin was better than me. We’d be down by 3 touchdowns, then maybe get one back. Then, lose. He might hit his fist in a pillow, but he would be there till the end. Austin once again showed me how to be a good fan, and reminded me how to live a better life. See it through to the end. Loyalty matters.
While there's a chance he might have ended up at Texas A&M...or some other school, I don't think it would've happened. I love our non-burnt orange friends and family, and I’ll always cheer them on. I am thankful for those who carry his spirit down to Austin since he didn’t make it there. As far as Austin is concerned, I think it is Hook’em Horns all the way from Heaven.
Here’s to seeing things through and loyalty…..and to a better football season!
“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” - Ecc7:8
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” - 1 Cor 13:7
Austin had a positive outlook on life. If he was here, he'd want me to pick myself up and he'd say, "Come on old man, lets get going!". I'm not sure he would know how hard actually is to get going after something like this, but one part of getting going is reading books on grief. It's a special section that you don't read unless you're confronted with this challenge. Nevertheless, these are good reading for everyone.
We all know that we will face some challenge one day. It may be a long way away or maybe soon. Ultimately, the Bible is my primary source of truth. There is much to be learned from Job, Joseph, and many others. In addition, here are a few books that I've been in my path. I'm not gonna post full review here, but I'm happy to share my views with you if you ask.
A Grace Disguised, by Jerry Sittser
A sober look at grief.
Through the Eyes of a Lion, Levi Lysol
A difficult journey of loss, but uplifting approach to dealing with grief.
Room of Marvels, James Bryan Smith (fiction)
A view of heaven written by someone who experienced losses over multiple years.
Holding onto Hope, Nancy Guthrie
(not read yet, but Suzanne has enjoyed)
Let Me Grieve, But Not Forever, Verdejo Davis
(a very helpful book, but not quite finished yet)
I'm sure I'll add more....
Even with this list of books, I choose to not just read book after book after book. Even just a handful of these books listed have much of the truth I need to move forward. I need to remember that God's word has all the teaching I need. I need to ask myself, am I satisfied with God's answer alone? Am I looking for a better answer that in the end really won't satisfy? The more books I read, the more color in insight I have, but it doesn't necessarily add to the truth.
Lake Highlands Tennis!
It all started in 7t h grade. Early cold mornings in the dark with Mr. Hensel. Over the years, we watched the boys battle and work together. So many tournaments, matches, Newks, College Station, and Longhorn Tennis camp. This year, Coach Helms has guided this team and is working to make them one. We look forward to watching the seniors lead the way!
Love 18 represents a lot. Love is a tennis term, but it also represents the way the LH tennis team has loved Austin and our family this summer. 18 represents the fact that he would have graduated in 2018 and that so many praying on the 18th minute of every hour during the darkest hours and in the days that followed. This year, the Love 18 symbol is on uniforms, on the back of cars, and in our front yard.
Tennis has been such a part of our lives the last year. As the year started, we mourned not being part of the tennis family...even though we knew we were always welcome. Due to some other issues, Samantha decided to try out and made the team. So, we are thankful we get to cheer her on!
Lake Highlands Tennis, we love you!
"And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." - Colossians 3:14
So thankful for Samantha and Charlie and all the great things ahead. Junior year will be busy and hard. 8th grade will be over before we know it. These kids are gonna take us on a journey that is both exhausting and so fun.
This has also been so hard. Seventeen years of back to school photos. Little did I know he would not be here for a picture. So many memories. So sad. What do I do with all of this? We would welcome more chaos in our house if Austin was here. His absence is glaring. He is missed. It's not suppose to be this way.
We're going back to school. We're not gonna crawl back in bed (at least not today). We're gonna cheer on our kids and all the kids we love. Yes, its hard. We may cry on the spot. We don't care. We're gonna trust that the waters and flames of this very difficult journey will not overwhelm us!
“"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” - Isaiah 43:2 NASB
A few years ago, Austin and I visited Mission of Hope in Haiti along with some other families to serve them. Later, here in Dallas, we were able to participate in packing meals that were destine for Haiti. One of Austin's charities he loved was Mission of Hope. In the time since Austin's passing, friends thought it would be a good idea to partner with Feed My Staving Children again and this time do it in Austin's honor. This Saturday, we had a great turnout and great fun.
In our 2 hour window, we packed 590 boxes with 127,440 meals that will feed 349 kids for a year! Everyone made such a huge gift and impact! And we so appreciate those that were not able to join who sent in $ for the meals! Our family loves to serve together and this is a fun way to do it. Who doesn’t love to wear hairnets anyways??!!??
We are so thankful for everyone who has come along side us remember Austin and doing something that will help so many others!
Why do we run? Forest Gump said he just felt like running. We know he had another reason...probably something to do with Jenny. I ran long before Austin did. I had another reason....it gave me time to work out things in my head. Austin loved to run. One day he came home from church and said, "I'm gonna loop the lake today." He did. Why? I think he wanted to be in shape and have another thing he accomplished. I also think he just enjoyed it. He loved to have a good work out. He loved top look at the views over White Rock Lake. He didn't need any big reason. I do. Austin ran the half marathon and this year he wanted to run the full. I need to work some things out while running, So, no better reason to run the Dallas half-marathon. That's right...half-marathon. My full marathon days are over. Javar was planning on running with Austin. He still plans to run it. So, we'll be training most Saturdays. Run the marathon. Run the half-marathon. Run the relay. Come cheer us on. Or, join us for a breakfast taco afterwards!
"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." 1 Cor 9:25
The Lake Highlands Wranglers are family! We were so excited at the end of Austin's sophomore year when he made the Wranglers. They had an awesome year that peaked at the Presidential Inauguration early in 2017. We sat on pins and needles this spring as Samantha and Austin both tried out. We were all so excited they both made it! Then came June. We miss Austin so much, and 2016-2017 will forever be etched in our memory. He had fun and carried himself with poise. We love that Samantha can participate in 2017-2018....she is so beautiful and fun to watch! With much love we watch her perform! We are forever thankful for the Wranglers for their love and support. Bittersweet as fresh memories being made....that is our journey. We love you!
Before Austin was out of the ER and moved to ICU, there were a cloud of friends and family at our side. The thing is, they have been by our side since the beginning.
It's so easy to live alone. No one to bother me and no one for me to bother. Living alongside with others is messy. I'm in their business and they're in my business. We sometimes rub each other the wrong way. We sometime step on each others toes. We forgive each other. We love each other. It requires patience. It requires a commitment. This is community.
Yes, there were countless people in waiting rooms and lobbies at the hospital. We love them all. There were so many at the celebration service. There are so many we run into every day. They are just the people from church, from school, from our home towns, from work, etc. Our community.
You just can't through this without faith. You can't get through this without friends.
"let us not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." - Hebrews 10:25
After everything we had been through, we were ready to go to Frontier as adult guests. We weren't allowed by Austin and Sam when asked, but eventually Sam made an exception for us. Charlie was at Kanakuk, and it was kinda painful for us to be home. So, we came.
The first part of the week, we were flooded with thoughts of Austin and what it was like for him just one year earlier. I could just see his face in the crowd with his buddies as Sam was with her friends. We were touched by Tim Halprin's music which Austin heard one year earlier. In fact, last fall, he went and heard him with some friends in Dallas (we're gonna do the same thing).
Sam had a great week. She was taken on a rough spiritual journey with her small group. She was able to re-affirm her faith and come alongside friends who decided to dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ. For us, it was a little rough as we had to leave early to pick up Charlie. So, we missed out on the uplifting part of the week. Nevertheless, we thankful for all the hard work and love put into the week by the Young Life staff.
We look forward to Colorado another day under better circumstances.