I've been trying to get back into the habit of blogging. Words seem to flow much more naturally when Wesleigh Anne was alive and I didn't have the stress of working to keep me from thinking of things to say. So, I'm trying to write at least once a week or so to get back into it.
These past two weeks have been crazy for us. First, we took our youth to ChilliPepper in Gatlinburg, TN. If you work with youth and have never been to ChilliPepper, I highly recommend it!!! We got to see Fee, Rush of Fools, StellarKart and Derwin Gray. They were all absolutely amazing! I think it made our students really think about their relationships with God and each other. On Saturday, we also got some time on the ski slopes. I was super excited to ski because it had been two years since I had been able to do so. Unfortunately, my time on the slopes was cut short due to one of the youth breaking his leg. I felt so terrible for him because I know he must have been in terrible pain, but he was such a trooper. He dealt with going to a strange ER 8 hrs away from his family and letting the nurses do whatever they needed to to set his leg. He got a temporary cast and his parents came to drive him home so that he wouldn't have to ride in the church van. As an update...he got a new temp cast when we got home and expects to get a permanent cast on Tuesday, which I hear I get to be the first to sign!!! He really is a champ!!!
This past weekend, we traveled back to TN to attend the Southeastern Conclave. This is a gathering of 6 baptist state conventions to provide a HUGE youth ministry conference. We have been planning to attend since September, but had no idea at the time how much it would mean to both of us to be able to get away for a weekend. Fee led worship (yup...two weeks in a row of Steve Fee!!!) and Ergun Caner, Ed Stetzer and Clayton King were the main speakers. There were also a ton of break-out sessions and an exhibit hall. We got to hang out a lot with the guys from Concoxions (they do SeeSalt and ChilliPepper) and really enjoyed spending some time with them. Unfortunately, we skipped Clayton King on Saturday morning to get back to SC before the roads got too bad.
I know it sounds like we would be exhausted after all this traveling, and we are, but I think we are also really refreshed. Quality time with our students is an amazing gift, one that I missed for the greater part of last year. I also missed getting to spend quality time with Trey as he was rushing back and forth from Conway to Charleston each week. So really these last two weeks have felt the most normal of any we've had since Wesleigh Anne was born. Of course her death still hurts, especially in the wake of Josiah's passing, but it's more like a back injury to us now. It hurt like crazy at first and we didn't think it would ever stop hurting. But, now we are noticing that we have good days. Then we get kinda comfortable after a couple of good days and something funny twists and it hurts all over again. I have a feeling we will be in this up and down process of healing for quite a while. But, we did get the opportunity at Conclave to meet a man whose wife had died of cancer, leaving him alone to care for two small children. He said that he was very angry for a long time, but that once he was honest and admitted that he was angry, then he was able to heal. He said it's still a process, but that he wakes up every morning and chooses to be joyful. I had never thought of joy as a choice before, but more as something you just had. It really put a different spin on it to think of choosing to be joyful. So, that's what we're trying to do...choose joy!