Moved to Action

 This is sweet EmmaLeigh.

This is sweet EmmaLeigh.

At the end of my treatments in June, I handed out my A Place for Sam books like candy thanking each person for their ‘piece of the puzzle.’

I received a note back from one of the people I gifted it to saying that he and his wife were in the process of adopting and Sam’s book came at a perfect time.  He also shared:

“I wanted to let you know I bought 5 more of your A Place for Sam books and gifted them to the Judge, social workers and foster mom that all worked so hard for our child and were there to see him adopted.  Their job is to find puzzle pieces for so many children and I wanted to let them know how thankful I was that we found ours with our child who we adopted last November.

Lastly, at such a young age, I was amazed how our child understood the book.  He often tells us how he loves us and will never leave us because he wouldn’t fit in any other home.  “You are my puzzle piece” is what he says to us.”

When I read these words tears were flowing and I had chills all over for hours... I have said it before and I’ll say it again, if I needed to walk with cancer so one heart could be infused with hope in some way, it was worth the walk through it.   To know there is a child who heard Sam’s message and believes in his heart that he has found his place in the world with his new parents just brings me so much joy my heart could burst.

I had never looked at Sam’s message through this lens and I am so grateful for this perspective. Yet with it, now it has me thinking about how many children are out there who are in foster care or in orphanages who feel like this boy did, and Sam, wondering if they’ll ever find their place in a family puzzle.

His story now has inspired me to take action and help a child find their place in the world in their forever home. We are not planning to adopt but I do have a dear friend who is in the process of adopting.  The day after I received this note, she happened to share that they are raising money to bring their daughter, Emmaleigh (pictured) home from India.

I share this with you in case any of you too are inspired to take action and help a child be connected with their family.  

I invite you to join me to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

There are many ways we can do help a child.  We can send our prayers their way.  We can give our time to volunteer.  We can give our energy and look into fostering or adopting a child.  Or we can help someone financially bring a child home.

For me, what I can do now is contribute financially.  And if you are interested in coming beside me to help my friend Anna to help bring Emmaleigh home, here is the link to help.

If everyone of us who receives this note donated only $5, we would raise $10,000 of their goal of $10,000.  Wouldn't that be incredible to a part of bringing Emmaleigh home together

There is absolutely no pressure but this boy’s story grabbed my heart and I wanted to offer a plan of action in case any of you were moved to action too.  Also, Anna has offered to talk with any of you who may be interested in adopting.  You can connect with her HERE

Thank you for doing whatever you can do friends, from prayers to a financial contribution,  I wholeheartedly appreciate it💕🙏💝 And may we pray for every child out there to find their place in the world with their forever family.

With gratitude and hope,

Shawn

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him" - Romans 8:28

 
 

Life Changing Meeting

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I have shared about Gabe’s inspiring story here before. She had a chance meeting with Chip Gaines earlier this year in NYC. From that meeting Chip decided if Gabe could be a runner, while fighting her fourth occurrence with cancer, her third with ACC, he could run a marathon. Yesterday she was there to cheer him on and together they raised $250,000 for rare cancer research like ACCRF for adenoid cystic carcinoma. It hit me today as I was driving that this type of money going to research may save a life, including mine someday. I couldn’t help but let the tears of gratitude flow.

Thank you @gigrunewald @chipgaines for taking this chance meeting and making something life changing out it. I am grateful to witness the beauty in all of what they have done, and Gabe continues to do through her non-profit, @bravelikegabe. Yes, Chip ran a marathon but his why behind it is what captures my heart. We continue to pray for Gabe, and every other ACC fighter, that someday we will have a cure for this life altering disease.

No matter your struggles, I invite you to join me to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

And may we trust that our struggles have purpose, like Gabe shows us. They don’t have to hold us down, but help us rise up into our greater purpose, which usually includes helping others💝

With gratitude and hope,
Shawn

 

 
 

Weeding Our Garden

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My five-year-old: Mom, look at the roots of these weeds. We need to get them out of here so they don’t take the water away from the seeds.

Me: Absolutely.

His statement made me think about all the ‘weeds’ in my life that have grown deep roots through habit that are taking water from my seeds and inhibiting me from growing into the best version of myself.

How about you? Do you have any weeds stealing the water and blocking your seeds from sprouting too?

Today I invite you to join me to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

And let’s take an honest look at our lives. Let’s see if there are weeds that need to be uprooted so we can grow more freely into the person we were made to be.

Once we know what they are, let’s put a plan into action to remove them.

Knowledge is knowing what to do. Wisdom is doing what you know you need to do.

May we all be filled with wisdom and grow into the person we were made to be. The world needs YOU, not the weeds💕🙏😘

With love and hope,
Shawn

 
 

You Have A Gift

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Take a moment to pause from scrolling and absorb these words.

There is a gift inside of YOU. A unique gift that is only yours that the world needs, and ONLY YOU can bring to the world.

As we scroll through our social media feeds or walk through our days, we may subconsciously start wanting to try on other people’s gifts as our own.

Yet they will never fit.

Let’s be sure we fill our social media feeds with people who will inspire us to nourish our gift and not distract us from using it.

I invite you to join me to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

And let’s all choose to say out loud...yes, I said out loud..., “I have a gift and I will nourish it, not neglect it.”

Shine bright today friend, the world needs YOUR light.

With love and hope,
Shawn

 

 
 

Remember Your Why

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Writing and publishing your own book means taking the computer with you to get your oil changed😊

It may sound like fun but truth be told, it’s a lot of patience, perseverance, determination and endurance because it isn’t an easy journey.

Yet my hope is this book will someday encourage someone whose heart is struggling and remind them that their struggle has purpose too.
And it’s that hope that is the fuel in my tank⛽️

And if you too have a goal you are working towards, take a moment to remember your why.

My why is that someday my kids and grandkids will have these words as an encouragement for their hearts when they needs it.

When we uncover our why, we can overcome the obstacles and move towards goal with greater focus.

I invite you to join me to..

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

And may we all remember it’s not what we are working towards, but the why behind it that will get us there.

With love and hope,
Shawn

 

 
 

It's Okay Not To Be Okay

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I posted this on my wall yesterday.

Why?

I woke up feeling dizzy but instead of going back to bed, I got up and did my usual routine. When Stephen woke up and realized I wasn’t feeling great he insisted on my going back to bed. I said I was fine...

And then my mind flashed back to Sunday. I had shared at a talk that one of my children scraped their knees really bad this winter. Their knees were bleeding and purple...but they insisted they were “fine.” 🙃They weren’t fine! I used this story to encourage the people listening that it’s okay to not be okay.

Also, another story I shared was one I heard last week by an inspiration guy, @bobgoff. He shared in the sermon I was listening to how he gave a sermon one day about practicing immense patience. The next day when he went to return his rental car the person was v-e-r-y s-l-o-w. By the time the person got to him, he’d missed his flight. Yet when the rental car person said goodbye to him he also said, “great sermon yesterday.” He has taken his message about immense patience and although tempted to lose it in the rental car person, he chose to live out immense patience towards him💝

When I said “I’m fine” to Stephen in a flash I heard my child say they were fine when they were not and I saw that I was not practicing what I preached. I was not okay.

Humbled, I walked myself back to bed and I wrote myself this note.

It’s okay to not be okay.

I share this with you in case you need permission, as I guess I did, to not be okay. And maybe like me yesterday, you too need to spend the day in bed, or doing whatever you need to do to move towards healing.

I invite you to join me to....

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

May we know it’s okay to not be okay and may we also set the example to those who are watching and listening to us that it’s okay for them to not be okay too and to do what is needed to move towards healing.

With love and hope,
Shawn

P.S. The rest helped and I am truly okay today

 
 

Free To Live

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Yesterday I was driving down the road in our minivan listening to songs with my middle child who was playing dj. He popped on Kenny Chesney’s new song, Get Along.

As we drove along listening a couple of lyrics really gripped my heart as we sang...

“Scared to live. Scared to die.”

Wow.  

I hadn’t realized it until that moment but it hit me that I am scared again.

What do I mean?

Through my walk with cancer I arrived at a place where faith consumed me and I had let go of the fear of dying. I know this is strange to say but I lived in the most peaceful place in my heart when I had cancer. I felt free to love with no excuses and write whatever was on my heart without fear of someone’s response to it.

Yet as I have moved further from treatment I am seeing how fear is slowly trying to weave itself back into my heart and mind and yes, I can say in some ways, I am afraid to live fully as the person God made me to be.

When I heard those words, “scared to live, scared to die” it hit me that if we live in this place, we will never live the full lives God has planned for each of us.

Life is too precious for fear to be a part of my life...and yours. I invite you to join me to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

May we let go of any fear that has woven its way into our hearts and minds. May we root ourselves deeply in faith so we may live this life fully, with meaning and purpose. When our time does come, may we have lived so close to the purpose God has for us that we have no regrets. And when fear tries to creep in, making us scared to live, may we instead choose to “always give love the upper hand.” For me, God is love and therefore another way of saying this is to always give God the upper hand.  

I know that a life of freedom and peace exists. I experienced it. I know what it is like to not fear living or dying. And it is a beautiful place. My hope for each of us is that we will live a full life, close to our God given purpose and that we all ‘get along’, encouraging each other on our unique paths along the way💕🙏💕

With love and hope,
Shawn
 


“Do not fear, I am with you.” - Isaiah 41:10

 

 
 

They Inspire Me

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Twelve teens slept in the rain last night in cardboard boxes to experience what a homeless person has to do everyday. They have been fasting as well for 30 hours, uncovering a strength within themselves they may have not uncovered otherwise.

I am inspired by their dedication, patient perseverance and willing hearts.

I had the privilege of speaking truth into their hearts this morning. 12 more teens now hold a piece of this puzzle as a reminder that their piece of the puzzle matters.

I hope you will join me to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

That these teens grow into the people they were made to be and use their unique gifts to shine their light into this dark world.

With love and hope,
Shawn

 
 

Focus On What Is Important

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My little guy asked to ride his bike to school today. It was drizzling. The old me thought, nope, another day. The new me thought nope, and then shifted to why not?!

So he geared up and I got Georgia and the umbrella and off we went.

About a 1/4 mile in, between helping him start riding once he stopped, holding the umbrella and keeping Georgia close I thought to myself I can’t do it all. Something has to give. 

It can’t be the child, or the dog, so the umbrella rested against the fence while we continued on.

Isn’t that so true about life? We try and juggle a few things at once, we feel discombobulated and aren’t able to give our full attention where it is needed?

I share this with you in case any of you feel like I did today, taking on too much and not being able to focus on what’s most important.

I invite you to join me to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

May we choose to lay down what isn’t necessary so we may focus our attention on what is necessary and important.

After patiently persevering, Matty, Georgia and I arrived at school. I am thankful for this memory and for this awareness. I hope to carry it with me moving forward, starting first by putting my phone down now and spending time talking with Stephen😊

With love and hope,
Shawn

 
 

Find Joy In The Ordinary

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My five year old: “Mom, what did we do this weekend?”

Me: “We had a relaxing weekend at home.”

My five year old: “I need to write about something we did this weekend at school today.”

Me: “Okay, let’s go through our weekend together and see what you can write about.”

Together we can up with all the things we did...

- family pizza and movie night
- mulching and planting
- riding his bike
- family basketball game
- coloring
- game time with Dad
- listening to music
- family meals
- telling jokes
- Etc.

We laughed and smiled together as we remembered the ordinary events that made up such a joyful weekend together.

I share this with you because so often nowadays the ordinary seems to be not enough.

I invite you to join me to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray. 

And may we remember that it is the joy we find in the ordinary that make up our extraordinary lives.

With love and hope,
Shawn