Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Playing for Pauley

At the end of last year's soccer season, never would I have thought, I'd be back in the stands rooting for my players on the field.
Yet.. here I am.
Jake decided to switch from playing football to soccer. Luke has also decided to play.
They have no previous soccer experience, really. Just the longing to honor their brother's memory and learn the sport he so loved.

Their first scrimmage at home is tomorrow.
After four years of cheering on my E out there, it will be difficult, no doubt... as the memories of those times will flood my mind, heart and soul.
But now it is their time....and I will be there to cheer them on.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 
Philippians 4:13

Pictures courtesy of Impressive Studios

Posted on Facebook: 8/14/16

1st Annual EP7 Memorial Cruise-In

48 cars were entered in the 2016 EP7 Memorial Cruise-In. 
Well over 100 people stopped in throughout the evening. 

This is just one set of pictures taken. I will be posting more pictures and all the sponsors soon.
The Cruise-In was a large effort taken on by many in order to help our high school graduates seeking a career in the skilled trades.
Thanks to Bill Mullins of Ohio River Street Rodders and friends for assisting with parking, and getting the word out. They made quite the grand entrance too.
Another thanks to all those who entered their cars and were so generous with their donations supporting the scholarship fund and all who came out to show your support!

A huge thanks to all those who helped us..
Vickie McCormick Hunt and Paul Hunt Jr. for helping to set up, take down, announcing, running needed errands, and taking these great pictures.
Aimee Ramsey Hall for handling shirt orders. Her husband Matt for cooking hot dogs and allowing us to borrow their grill.
Matt Dahm for setting up a table to hand out books donated by Kenny Estep of Shawnee Hills Baptist Church.
Chris Prater and the Porter Township Fire Department for filling up the dunk tank.
Laurie Livernois Willis and James Willis for helping as needed.
Members of the Wheelersburg Pirate Soccer Team (Joshua Russell mostly  and Coach Michael Kitts for agreeing to be dunked in the tank.
Alan Payton, Tammy Blankenship Humphrey and family for helping in the initial stages and getting the word out.
Baleigh CrawfordBrittany SwimMorgan WilloughbyAlyssa Holcomb, Angie Fannin and Jeremy Fannin for face painting and/or selling 50/50 tickets.
Bailee Fannin, Tanner Bivens, Ethan McCain, and Mitchell McFarland for judging the Best of Show trophy.
Kevin Hoops of Impressive Studios for setting up a photo booth though I didn't get a chance to utilize it since I was gabbing to everyone. Kevin also was so kind to give us some wonderful pictures of E awhile back that he took last fall for soccer.
Bailee and Morgan also came up with the shirt design and Shawn Meade Jordan for putting the design together to submit to Johnson's Shirt Stop.
Hopefully I've included everyone that has been hands-on throughout this event.
It took a multitude of support to make this Cruise-In a success...and as always you....our community came through 
Praise God for the beautiful weather and great turnout.

Posted on Facebook: 8/7/16:

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Weaver

The Weaver
My life is but a weaving

between my Lord and me;

I cannot choose the colors

He worketh steadily.
Oft times He weaveth sorrow

And I, in foolish pride,

Forget He sees the upper,

And I the underside.
Not til the loom is silent

And the shuttles cease to fly,

Shall God unroll the canvas

And explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful

In the Weaver's skillful hand,

As the threads of gold and silver

In the pattern He has planned.
-Benjamin Malachi Franklin

Posted on Facebook: 7/12/16

6 months without our son

Six months have passed since our lives were torn apart. Our boy we loved so dearly, was taken from us in an instant. We didn't even have a chance to say goodbye.

I remember that night so vividly.

It seems just like yesterday, yet in so many ways it feels as though he’s been gone forever. A lifetime, really. 

The desolation we have felt is beyond any I could ever describe or have imagined.

While I have experienced much in my forty something years, from serving in a foreign war at 19, losing my mother when she was just 55, to leaving our home and moving several states away with five young boys to a place I knew not a single soul. Those trials did not prepare me for the unexpected loss of a child I spent eighteen years loving and raising.

His wake, the funeral, even months after are a blur to me. Yet there are a few things that stand out.

One is the story from a mother who had a young teenage boy with her at the wake. She told us that awhile back her son was contemplating suicide. Around the same time, E had an encounter with this boy, and spoke kind words to encourage him. Hearing this from an upperclassman he looked up to, made an impact on this woman’s son. She told us how it is Ethan she credits for saving his life. Giving others encouragement and kindness was something we hear time and time again about our son.

Living without E has been an insurmountable burden we have no choice to bear.

There will never be a day that goes by…no, not a moment we aren’t thinking of him, feeling his absence and missing him.

We’ve had to make many adjustments in our lives. He was a part of every single detail in this family. We reluctantly move forward, yet always looking back. Never truly moving on.

And six months later, here we are forging an unknown and uncharted path full of a grief we never expected to know.

I'm really not sure how we will fill the void left in our hearts without him here physically. We probably never will. We're still hurting.. more than ever, but are grateful for the family, friends and community that continue to support us.

What I am sure of is that we could not cope without leaning on the Lord’s strength and guidance through every step.

I must remind myself daily that we are not created for this world.

And the best way I can honor our E is to advance the kingdom of which he is now a part of.

"My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life."
Psalm 119:50

Posted on Facebook: 7/22/16

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

2016 Softball Champions honor E

The girls immediately after winning their game.

It has been awhile since I've watched a softball game. Actually, to be honest, probably not since high school.

There are few reasons why, I suppose. I’ve never been a real sports fan, in school I lacked that coordination to participate. But mostly, it was that I just never took the time.

So it drew my attention when I was told the senior girls requested Ethan's initials be put on the sleeve of their uniform. I felt that with such a kind gesture, I really should take the time to attend one of their games.

The first one I watched was their last played on home field. I have to admit I was quite surprised.
It certainly wasn't the same game I remember watching in high school.

This...was so much more.

I watched a dynamically orchestrated symphony of team members working in sync to create a fast paced, intense competition. These girls played together as smoothly as a well oiled machine.
I was in awe of the impressive talent and determination displayed on that field by these young ladies.
So it came as no surprise to me when they made it to the state championship.

I thought of how proud Ethan would have been to see them make it there. He cared so much about his schoolmates succeeding at whatever their hand found to do.
And I know he would have been right there for their championship game, cheering his friends on in their success, their sportsmanship.

So on Saturday, Jim, the boys and I traveled to Akron to watch these girls play in the state championship game.
The momentum going into that game was SOMETHING.

And in the end, The Wheelersburg Lady Pirate Softball Team won the state championship for the first time since 1983.

Afterwards, we watched as this team ran onto the field shouting “EP7” with such emotion while they huddled together. It was truly humbling to see the same passion and love of the game that our E had when he played soccer.

Their winning season was not only because of their talent, hard work and determination, but because of their heart and soul.

And that not only makes them winners on the field...
It will carry them through life’s ups and downs to be... winners in life.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”. Ecclesiastes 9:10

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Plans For E's Graduation

As the days lead up to graduation, my thoughts wander to what E would be doing, should he still be here with us.

I imagine things such as getting ready for graduation ceremony, sleeping in, going to graduation parties with his friends, and leaving soon on his senior trip. There were many plans.

Plans made for a day we shall never see.

Taking for granted he would always be here....

And though I try not to focus on how this was taken from him, at times it is almost impossible.

I cannot do it on my own, so I must rely on the scriptures and promises thereof from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

That is where my hope and strength comes from.

As heart wrenching as it will be not to see him walk with his Wheelersburg High School Class of 2016, I am attending the graduation later this evening. We will present the scholarship established in E’s name.

Though I’m not sure I will have the strength, I won’t be doing it alone. The support of family, friends, community, and my faith in Christ will guide me through.

“And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died. “ I Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT
Posted on Facebook 5/27/16

E and the Cheer Block

The 2016 Wheelersburg seniors recently voted for their class Superlatives.  
Ethan was elected the class ‪#‎Social‬ Butterfly.

I wasn’t certain what this meant, so I asked his fellow classmates. They explained this meant he was one who spoke first to everyone, was friendly towards all, and was active on social media platforms.

Quite fitting, really.

During his junior year, E became aware of the need to revamp the high school cheer block. Participation had dwindled down in the previous years, and almost ceased to exist.

It was a task he set out to address.

Enlisting the assistance of his fellow classmates, he began messaging them to remind them to attend that week’s game, the theme of the block, and to wear the relevant attire.

He went as far as including the younger students as well in an effort to make the cheer block bigger and better than ever before. He came up with many of the ideas for the weekly cheer block theme through the networking of many students.

At first, it took a while to get a crowd of students there. There were a few that would show up. Then if the scoreboard wasn’t in their favor, they would leave. To keep the team from giving up hope, E would stay until the very end.

Even when he was the only one left, he was there cheering them on.

He so loved to see others succeed and had a knack for using that to uplift others to strive for their best. Time and time again, I hear this so often.

One weekend, he worked on a “hype” video for the football team. It took him the entire day. While he was working on it, I thought how dedicated it was to see a teenage boy, work so hard to motivate and inspire others. He posted it on his You Tube page for all to see. I recall how proud he was of them, even though he wasn’t even the one playing. He had no vested interest other than to encourage his friends.

The Burg cheer block he worked hard to help build quickly grew to have a large body of students. There were high schoolers of all ages participating to cheer on whatever team played that week. At some point, E learned of a statewide cheer block competition, called the Golden Megaphone Award. It was a dream of his for them to win it.

Although he was not able to fulfill that dream, they decided to honor his memory, and continue the Block with full intentions on doing just that.

The first basketball game after E's death. The Pirates with their missing "E".

Together, they decided on a theme, and numerous students showed up in full support (and costume) to shoot a video to submit for the award.

On March 18th, a few of his closest senior friends who were instrumental in helping organize the Block, represented the school at Ohio State. Although they didn’t win, they earned the award of one of the top four high school cheer blocks in the state of Ohio by the OHSAA. E would have been so proud.

While I only know of these details through the stories of others, it serves as yet another reminder that I should have taken the time to get to know these little things about my son. How I wish I would have attended one of those games, to experience this cheer block, he worked so hard to make a success.

It is now only through the pictures of him and his beloved friends in “The Block” that I can only imagine how good it must have felt to be on the receiving end of those cheers.

Memories of yet another time that seems so long ago.

There is always a lesson we can learn from something or someone. For me as an adult, I know sometimes we feel we can only do this from our peer group.

I have found that not to be true.

In fact, there are the times, that if we pay close enough attention, we just may learn that lesson… from our very own children.

“And let us consider how we can spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

Just a few pics of our beloved E and the cheer block he so loved, courtesy of Ruth Boll.
Link to E's Burg State Semis Hype video:
Link to the Wheelersburg Schools website about the Golden Megaphone Award:

Posted on Facebook 5/23/16