Happy Birthday Cole!

My sweet little brother turns TEN today!

I can’t believe it! He is getting so old! I remember him as a thick, strong willed, little two year old we called “Co Co Bubba” ūüôā I drove up to Prosper on Sunday to spend the day with him and my family. I had so much fun with him and it was great to spend some time with Chandler and Kennedy.

Cole might be the smartest 10 year old I know. He makes great grades, plays baseball like a champ (even if he gets a black eye), and has an ear for the piano. It amazes me to hear him play the piano sometimes. He is SO talented! I can’t wait to see what he does in the next ten years.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUDDY! I love you!

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September Eleventh

Dear Whitney,

Today your eleven year old eyes will feed images into your head and heart that you won’t quite understand. You will get a sinking feeling in your stomach when your sixth grade math teacher can’t exactly explain what is going on outside our school walls but you know it is bad. He is shaking and someone said planes flew into buildings. Your friends will leave school early and you’ll ride the bus home wondering what all the fear is for.

You will sit on the floor in the living room with the horrific images from the day playing over and over on the television. Your mind won’t even be able to comprehend the amount of people dead, wounded, and lost. You will cry because death is a familiar thing. Why would someone do something like that? Why so many people? Why couldn’t we stop it? Why?

You won’t know what “terrorist attack” even means and you¬†will have never heard of “Osama bin Laden” until after today.¬†The thought of someone having the desire to hurt a country so deeply is incomprehensible. You will admire the first responders that work for hours and hours¬†on end to¬†make something of all the damage done.¬†You will also feel sad for the people who were behind the attacks. You will be conflicted with the right way to handle it all. You will hurt for the people who lost loved ones but secretly thank God that it was none of your family or friends.¬† You will see your country come together in grief and fear. You hope that it all ends and everything will go back to normal soon.

Then there is a war.

Soldiers deploy to places on the other side of the world. The news has stories of soldiers dying all the time and the idea of war is not just something that you read about in your history book anymore. It is real life Your country is fighting.

You still won’t truly understand the weight of what happened that day.

In seven years, you will fall in love with a boy in the Army. He will charm you and love you well. It won’t be easy though.¬†The thought of him being in the¬†Army, going to war, coming home from war, among other things¬†will scare you and you will push him away¬†one summer. Take my advice. Skip all that. He is¬†totally worth it.¬†You will force yourself to face the fact that he will be fighting in the war that started ten years ago. When you were eleven. You hear and read about friends of friends who have died in the war and¬†you will meet women whose husbands are deployed and they are home by themselves just trying stay busy and make it through the next year until he gets home.¬†Only then will the¬†respect and admiration¬†for the people whose¬†loves are¬†risking their lives for our country and your sorrow for the people who¬†lost their husbands, wives, moms, dads, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters…only then will that set in.

In ten years, there will be a thousand cinderblocks on your chest today as you think of the immense pain caused by September 11, 2001. It will hurt you¬†deeper than you expect. Ten years ago you would have never guessed that¬†the events of that day would have any effect on¬†you.¬†But don’t be afraid because you have hope. You have hope in a God that can restore brokeness. You have a King that will make all things new.

                                                                                                                                                 It will be ok,

                                                                                                                                                        Whitney

September 11 will not define us as a country.¬†It¬†may infiltrate many of our lives but¬†it will not define us. We have a God who is bigger than¬†the events of that day¬†and the after effects of it and we have a country that we should have¬†much confidence in. 9/11¬†will be remembered as a day of great loss but also as a day that the United States came together in hope and love. We are forever changed. Thank you to all of America’s heroes.

Entering Haiti

The few days leading up to Haiti were probably the most stressful days I’ve had in my entire life. I’m pretty sure I cried multiple times. Once I was sitting in the van with no power to do anything but sit, I took a big breath.

I really had no expectations of what we would be doing in Haiti. I really had no idea what Haiti would even look like up close. I had my backpack  on my back full of the list of suggested items and my pillow. Because you know Americans. Comfort first right?

The second we stepped outside the airport in Port Au Prince I was overwhelmed. People yelling at you trying to take your bags and asking for money. I tried to keep a step behind Michael so I wouldn’t be left behind. We all threw our bags in the back of a big truck and my team jumped into the bed of the truck to sit on a bench for the next two hours as we made our way through the crazy traffic.

Fourth World Poverty slapped me in the face as we drove to our host house in the mountains.¬†We saw starving people on the side of the road. People with ripped up clothing and shoes that were practically falling off their feet.¬†Little kids who looked like they hadn’t eaten in weeks. Trash covering the street and so many people trying to¬†make a living selling things that¬†Haitians can’t even buy.¬†The hardest part was when they would look you right into the eyes. I can’t even describe the amount of emotions that rushed through my heart and all the thoughts I had. Spiritual warfare was¬†invading as I sat there holding back tears for the brokenness passing by. That night I wrote,

“I felt so silly sitting in the bed of this truck among all our luggage with my pink pillow in my lap and wide eyes. I’m sure the Haitians laughed at the little American girl taking in their poor country.

Oh. My. Gosh.

I wanted to throw everything I had in my hands off the truck and appologize.

This place is heartbreaking”