I ran 2 marathons (26.2 miles each) at Disney World several years ago to raise money to fight cancer. Abe is not a runner, but he wanted to be a part of this worthy cause. He ran the second marathon with me. We ran in honor of my sister who passed away from cancer and in honor of my mom and Abe's dad who are both cancer survivors. We ran in honor of many other loved ones as well. Their names were written all over the backs of our shirts.
Although we trained for 5 months leading up to this race, my poor husband hurt his knee at mile 8 and ran with a limp and an ice pack the remaining 18 miles!!! He was in excruciating pain, but he kept going. We were running in honor of the many people in our lives who had fought cancer so valiantly.
I have only seen Abe cry a few times in my life, and finishing this marathon was one of those times… not because of the pain but because the goal had been reached. A woman came up to Abe at the finish line and with deep emotion told Abe, "I ran behind you the entire time. When I got tired and wanted to quit, I kept telling myself that if he can finish, I can too!"
Wow! I know Abe had no idea that amidst his pain he was inspiring others to keep going. He felt weak, but his strength through that weakness gave strength to others.
As you can see from the picture, I was blessed with extra energy that race. I cheered for Abe, and I cheered for joy almost the entire race. At the end of the race somebody approached me as well. He said, "You weren't just his cheerleader. You were mine too!! Thank you!!"
I had no idea that anybody was paying attention to my shouts of joy and encouragement. In fact one goofy man along the way told me to leave my husband because he was slowing me down!!! I protested, "…but he's my husband!!" He said, "I'm not talking about life. This is a RACE!!"
Oh but to us it was about life!! It was about all those who were fighting for their life against cancer. It was about the glory and the agony and how God can use us to glorify HIM at every stage of our development in life.
Because of this race, Disney World will forever hold an EXTRA special place in our hearts.
Going to Disney World last week was a beautiful feeling knowing that we were ONLY able to go because of the loving, giving heart of another. That made our experience even sweeter and our hearts fuller.
We stopped by my friend's house who was giving us the tickets. The plan was that she was going to announce where we would be going for the day. Instead, our friend decided she wanted the kids to be surprised by driving up to the entrance. It sounded like a GREAT plan, so we told the children we would be following our friend around for a little bit so that we could see some possible homes for rent in the area.
Believing our story, the children all settled back in their seats and looked around. As we got closer to Disney World, signs were popping up all around us. The children started to quietly question, "Are we going to DisneyWorld? Are there homes over here?" I said, "No, I'm sure we're not going to DISNEY WORLD for goodness sakes." As we got closer and closer I couldn't deny it any longer. They started to scream, "We ARE going to Disney World!!!"
Tyson yelled out, "I'm going to throw up I'm so excited!!" Once we pulled into the parking lot, they leaped over each other (forgetting all manners I might add) and piled all over our dear friend before she could even get all the way out of her car.
Our sweet friend had free passes for our parking and for 2 strollers!! ...AND she brought juice boxes for the kids. She even had hopper passes!! That meant we could choose 2 of the parks to visit. She first took us to Epcot for a few hours.
Of course the day was wonderful in every way, but there were a couple of moments that made our day end on an even more magical note.
Jackson's Popcorn Blessing
I felt bad for him- especially because he didn't complain about not getting the popcorn. I could just tell he had a STRONG craving for it. It was in his eyes!!
We have been trying to save every penny we can, so I told him the popcorn was way too expensive to buy enough for the entire family. It wouldn't be worth the money in the end.
It was hard to turn it down; however, especially when we had already eaten all of our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cheerios and dried fruit.
Near the end of the night, we passed one of the stands cleaning out the popcorn. Jackson asked them if they were going to throw the popcorn away. They said they were… Jackson was too scared to ask the next obvious question until I nudged him a bit.
A bit hesitant, he asked if they would be willing to give it away instead of throw it away. It was against their rules, but they WERE able to give each of the children a large, complimentary, overflowing cup of popcorn. After the children thanked the popcorn lady about one hundred times each, they buried their faces into their cups eating every last drop… as if we had starved them the whole day! They were just THAT grateful for the popcorn!! :-)
For me, it wasn't so much about the popcorn itself, but it was more about the details that God provided to make it just a little bit more perfect… especially for the birthday boy.