Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ACA Optimist Rose

I'm about to head to bed, but before I do I wanted to share something neat that happened to me today. Arlington's biggest cheerleading program is done by ACA Optimist. Recently, they started something called the ACA Rose Charity which pays for a monthly bill of single parents, and next month it will be mine. Two neat things are the person who called and told me that I had gotten it is a single mom of one of my former students and four people nominated our family for it. I am very blessed to live in a community that is constantly thinking about us and a big thank you to those of you have Optimist cheerleaders.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I have to start by thanking Aunt Diane for giving me a day off today. The Yikes will have a wonderful time with her all day today and I get I'm enjoying a break that will last until tomorrow afternoon.

I went to Bryn's award ceremony/ kindergarten celebration Thursday. As we parents watched them sing "First Grade" and do a little dance, you could just hear one word whispered over and over, "cute." She was indeed cute and super excited about going to first grade although she will miss her kindergarten teacher Mrs. Maurer.

Here in Arlington, Texas baseball has become worth watching again, in a big part because of an addition to the Rangers, Josh Hamilton. I had heard a little about him before, but today I finished reading his autobiography, Beyond Belief. I read about how he was a star even in Little League throwing so hard that he had to play with an older team because parents were afraid there boys would get hurt. With age, he got even better and was the number one draft pick right out of high school. However, his professional career got put on hold when his life started spinning out of control because he began using drugs, including crack. Failed drug tests led to him being suspended for longer and longer periods of time and it looked like he would never play baseball again. Finally, after a hard road Josh came to know Jesus in part due to the persistence of his grandma. That faith allowed him to get clean, get back into baseball, and now have a resurrected career with the Rangers. What's neat about Josh is he is frank about his disappointing past while at the same time giving credit to God and supportive people in his present to helping him in the present.

I'm writing about Josh because in the last chapter he talked about how people react to him. Some people are angry at him while others are proud of him. Many of these people are touched emotionally because they love someone in their lives who has fallen under the influence of drugs. It took a book about a baseball player struggling with drug addictions for me to understand people's reactions to me, a teacher, and my struggles with Jessica's journey with cancer. Just like Josh's life is not just about baseball, because of Jessica's cancer, my life is no longer just about teaching or being a father.

Because they know someone who has been influenced by cancer, people's emotional reactions to me may be similar to Josh's. Sometimes people look up to me because of the way I am living my life. They know the struggles I have been through and the problems I continue to face, and yet they see I have peace and joy. They often tell me a little about a much loved person who got cancer.

Others are angry and after reading, Josh's book I get why: they have been deeply hurt by cancer. Someone they love has or had cancer. Josh has inspired me to look past the angry exterior and look at the hurt inside. Cancer hurts. It takes away daughters from their parents, nieces from aunts and uncles, wives from husbands, friends from loved ones... Perhaps you are one of the hurting, and if so I'm sorry that you are suffering. I wish I could take your pain away.

Finally let me say, that my joy and peace are not despair and chaos because I am a follower of Jesus with lots of supporting people.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Better Week

So far, this week is better than last. Last week I felt like my family's world was zooming out of orbit into the sun. This week it is more like riding a comet past the sun-- no crashes but still hectic. It's the end of the year for my girls and me which in some ways has been frantically checking off the list of things to do.

One of those things is award ceremonies. We went to Katlelyn's ceremony on Monday where she was honored for being a member of the National Junior Honor society and for earning academic letters in English, Math, and Science. Given the stressful year she has had I'm proud of her success. Tonight was the award ceremony for my students. As I looked out into the crowd of teenage faces I realized how much I am going to miss the 8th grade class from this year. It was pretty neat seeing my kids from my classes and ones I've gotten to know that I don't have get well-deserved awards. Then I found out the surprise the faculty and yearbook staff had for me. This year's yearbook is dedicated to me. One of my students who is on the yearbook gave the sweetest speech about me. I got to unveil this year's yearbook which commemorates Young's 30th anniversary. I was very surprised and humbled especially when someone told me to look over to my left and there was my family lined up against the wall. It meant a great deal to me that my family and my school had taken time and effort to honor me.

Team CouraJess!

Hello Friends, Natalie Dickey here. I have (with permission) hijacked the blog once again! The last time I did anything over here I was busy making the Kaylor's space on the Internet just a little bit prettier. Today I didn't do any major making over, I just added a little piece of information that I thought you might be interested in knowing!

Okay, take a second, stop reading and glace over to your left.

Do you see that? Isn't the Team CouraJess t-shirt great!

Do you need want one? Do you want to help the Breast Cancer 3-Day Team CouraJess meet their fundraising goals?



They will get you one of these fabulous shirts for a minimum $20 donation!

Here is a picture of the front and the back!

And now that you have seen that I know that you can't wait to get one for yourself! I love mine!

Go ahead, send an email to placing your order.... I'll wait.

Are you back? Good.

Thanks for placing an order and thanks for coming back to finish reading my rambling this post.

The Kaylor's and Team CouraJess would like to say thank you for supporting them on this challenging but blessed Journey!

Oh and thanks Jake for letting me hijack your blog to write this post!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rough Week

I wasn't really prepared for Mother's Day. I thought this was something I've got to do and even though the pool may have sub-zero temperatures in it and sharks in it, I've never been one to lay out on the beach chair, so I'm diving in. There were two things I knew I couldn't do because sometimes kindness just kills whatever control you're trying to keep in your life. I knew it would be a day that I would have trouble keeping myself together somewhat and not falling apart completely, so I know from experience that a kind word can crumple whatever walls I have built up like and aluminum can on a frat boy's head. So the two things I knew I couldn't do were go to church and be around Jessa's family. We went to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival instead of church and that went OK. My brother-in-law Garett and my mother-in-love went with us. I wasn't sure if I'd be up to going to Jessica's headstone, but I felt like I could. Aunt Jacque had given me a helium balloon kit so I brought that too. When we got there the Yikes wrote messages on the balloons and let them go right at the grave site. Judy wiped the stone free from dirt. I think at some point the memories of Jessica erupted like a volcano and control got vaporized by the molten lava. Even at the end of the week I'm not sure if what was good or bad. I had felt like I was getting our family's life back on track, but maybe sometimes it's important to revisit the grief by off-roading. This week has been a week of nightmares, bathroom accidents, grief, anger, and hopelessness. The thing is though we never had control of our lives, God always did, and today I can see clearly how as I turn control over to him that these emotions are normal and part of us loving Jess and letting go of her not being with us anymore. I appreciate you dear reader for praying for us and sticking with us as our journey continues.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Jess did these Ten Things That Made her a Great Mother

1. She made a big deal over the little things like when she put notes in Jadyn's lunch box she spent a long time thinking about the perfect thing to say and when she decorated Katelyn's paper lunch sack with a fancy way of writing "Katelyn" she acted like she treated it like she doing a museum masterpiece.

2. She never went to work on a day when the kids had school activities. She was there for Katelyn's graduation and for the girls' parties

3. She fretted over spending money on herself but never her kids Our kids went to camps while someone finally had to buy her a cell hone

4. When the kids got in trouble she always took the time to explain to them why what they did was wrong and what they should do in the future

5. When she threw a birthday party for one of our girls she made everything was perfect from the invitations to the party favors

6. She did the hard stuff, Staying up with sick kids. Changing Jadyn's diapers when she was in a body cast.

7. When the girls faced problems, she always talked to them about a way they get through it

8. She prayed for the girls fervently

9. She loved them more than she loved herself

10. She left things so the girls wouldn't forget her. Birthday, wedding, and first baby cards for the girls and a memory book written to each one of them

These are things that made her a great mom; they didn't earn her any worldwide fame, but she captured the hearts of three very special daughters. I miss her terribly and I miss her for my girls.

I am very grateful to the four women who have been a loving mother to me: Judy (mother-in-law), Cindy (step mother-in-law), Donna Jean (biological mom), and Donna Lucy (step-mom).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

DC Pics

These are some pictures Heidi took. My camera unfortunately is broken.

Bryn the birthday girl.

Jadyn and grandma

The big family (actually half of them aren't even in this picture)

Tim and I

Bryn and Vanessa

Bryn and Jadyn

Saturday, May 2, 2009

East Coast Fun

Bryn got to have birthday party number two here at my sister Sarah's house who lives just outside of DC in Virginia. First we played games at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore and then travelled south. Tons of family who live here drove in today to celebrate.Bryn turning six. My family is so much fun and getting us all together is like setting a big chaotic ball of party down a hill.Heidi made Bryn a princess birthday cake which she was super excited about. I love my family.