March 28, 2017

For Benefit Of

I've written :FBO a few times on checks or envelopes- however, never has For Benefit Of shown quite as much definition as this past weekend.

Back last year I shared that a few family members had gotten some unexpected news. Well, one of those was one very close to me- we grew up as close as cousins could.  Not many days went by that we didn't see each other and spend some form of time together.  Seems like a lifetime ago on some days- and others I can vividly remember us making mud pies and decorating them with blooms from Grandma's yard!

This past year a diagnosis came of - you guessed it- cancer.  That evil word that so many of us shudder at.  Growing up that word was not part of our family dinner table discussions- I mentioned that to some friends this past weekend and they asked- 'What's changed?' My response- 'our diet'  Plain and simple more Cancer diagnosis coming daily than ever before.  Diet is the only thing that has changed drastically in the past 25 years.  I'm sure that I'm not the only person that's noticed there are fast food restaurants on 'every corner' available- and lines of vehicles in them!  I was quite taken back the past 2 weeks while in Houston for Stock Shows to see that every night while heading back to our hotel that E-v-e-r-y Single Fast Food place I drove by had Lines-- Some even 2 Lines of people waiting to have their late supper handed to them out a window.

I shall digress on the issue of diet and get back to 'For Benefit Of'
This diagnosis has come with months of appointments, surgery and more appointments- all putting drugs into a body that wasn't quite designed to have all this 'stuff' put into it.  My kids were learning about cells and germs in science in regards to our immune system. We were able to discuss how a healthy immune system can fight away bad germs- and how 'shot' the immune system can get when overloaded.  So this cousin is a teacher - married to a teacher- has 4 kids and a schedule that keeps them running in more directions than I can keep up with.  I'm one that likes some margin in my life and not totally overwhelmed with activities (although some of you that know me are wondering what the heck I'm talking about...)  I do believe all the kids activities have kept this cousin going through some really difficult days.  I know there was one time at the beginning when at a treatment and they witnessed another patient come in for chemo that was pregnant- any pity party that was happening on my cousins end pretty much stopped right there. They realized they already had 4 healthy kids at home and this person was having to go through a stage with a child growing inside them. wow.

When asked how they were doing the response would be 'good'- never any complaints.  I cannot imagine.  What a great example this person has been for others- and a great friend too.  This was all put back to a blessing this past Saturday.  I'd like to think we held a 'For Blessing Of' kind of event. This cousin is not the type to Ever ask for help- period.  So when friends and family members started speaking of a benefit to assist with medical expenses (because I don't think you can ever really pay off those sorts of bills) they of course did not want any part of it.  Too proud to 'ask' for help- so this was not their idea by any means.  I listened for 2 months as my Mom spoke of progress of the event. Hours of work went into the planning and preparation- all for a cause to bless someone who by the end of the night told me 'I don't deserve this' to which I responded.... 'That is Satan telling you that and you can kick him out of here.'

Y'all- I cannot begin to express the love that was poured out for my cousin.  Several of you even donated Items  and purchased raffle tickets- and you don't even know them- but you've known someone else who has battled the disease and wanted to honor them by supporting this cause- and for that I am forever grateful. We come from a big farming family- so there are connections from generations of families working together, connections from my cousins in high school/college/ teaching careers, connections from their kids and their activities- 4-H/sports/stockshows all of this came together with a hall full of people wanting to show their support of this family.  Multiple times Saturday my eyes welled up with tears. 

Anyone wondering where the good in the world is today- I saw a whole lot of good Saturday evening.  My cousin was amazing on the microphone thanking people for their support from the beginning of the diagnosis- then they said something that humbled me.... They thanked everyone that had been praying for them and said that they don't pray for themselves but for everyone else they know struggling!  Selfless- turned their situation over to God to handle and live life as best as they can. 

Y'all have heard me be thankful for my  'tribe' and encourage each of you to 'find your tribe' - well a Giant Tribe pulled together to Benefit a very special family and help them in their time of need. Over and over we see family and friends pulling together to bless others- whether from fires or famine- use your gifts, time, talents and resources to benefit others less fortunate than you as often as you can.  Treat others the way you would want to be treated.

There was definitely a Benefit for my cousin Saturday night- but I think everyone there was either blessed or benefited from being part of it.  When you are part of something bigger than yourself God shines through! 

My cousins kids and mine get to play together now at family functions- although I don't think they've ever made mud pies together- but they are making memories together.  One memory is watching their parents support and encourage each other through different stages of life. Have you encouraged someone lately- if not- take the time today to do it!

This cousin of mine has come to several Barn Sale's- they would not allow the photographer to get a picture of us last year- said next year.  So, I am fully expecting to take a picture with them this year- when the hair is all back and hopefully a clear prognosis has been made.  Only time will tell. For now- I am thankful 'For Blessing Of' family and friends.  I cannot imagine life without them.

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