The past 24 hours has been a whirlwind.
Our family was privileged to be invited to Skyball last night. Skyball is a fundraising event for Snowball Express.
And, Snowball Express is an amazing project with a clear and simple mission.
"Snowball Express is the charity for the children of our fallen military heroes. We started in 2006 with a simple idea: Provide hope and new memories to the children of our fallen military heroes who died while on active duty since September 11, 2001."
It was a sweet night for me. Ali, Sarah and Zac were there with me. And, many of the folks on the trip to Iraq in April were at the event. It was like a family reunion.
It was also a tough night for me seeing the many young men and women in uniform. Pete was one of them at one time, but he wasn't with us. It dug a hole in my heart.
Missy, Pete's fiance, was with us along with her sweet Mom and Dad.
The family that they were going to be still dances around our thoughts everyday.
Today was the last day of hot in Dallas.
We have two seasons.
And with the front that rolled in tonight with the hail and wind and thunder, we are now into cold.
This season change reminds us of when Pete deployed. And the events that followed.
I struggled today.
I went to the cemetery in Melissa, Texas where Pete is buried. I wept. I cried like a baby.
Almost two years, and the wound is still fresh.
When I got home, the most amazing series of goodness happened.
All my grown kids were here. It was like Thanksgiving.
There was an awesome, scary storm that came thru. We got the grandkids out of bed and we all got into the safe room under the stairs together. It rained sideways for about 15 minutes accompanied by nickel sized hail.
I got to hold 11 month old Liam Peter thru the storm, and then rock him to sleep.
And then more magic began to happen.
I got an email from a friend of a friend that is on the board of IAVA. He was an advertising maven, and is also a friend of the military.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is headed by Paul Rieckhoff. Paul wrote an amazing book about his experience during the invasion of Iraq. Chasing Ghosts. If you want to read reality about Iraq, read the book.
Paul is one of the most passionate men on the face of the earth. He has dedicated his life to representing the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans and has made amazing things happen.
I can't wait till tomorrow to connect with my new friend who is on Paul's board.
Then, I got a phone call from another friend that is going to the Middle East in December to bring a taste of home to our troops.
How would you like to serve a home cooked steak to one our folks in the Middle East?
You can with ten dollars. http://steakteammission.org/
As though that weren't enough, Missy received this email tonight from one of the men that was with Pete on that day.
Date: October 25, 2009 9:58:38 AM CDT
Subject: LT Burks
I know you probably don't know who I am but I am one of Petes soldiers, SPC Higbee, and I just wanted to first appologize for taking so long to write you. It was a hard day for all of us there with him and we can't imagine what it must of been like back home for you and his family. He gave me hope and gave me a new sense of motivation when he showed up to lead us. He was an inspiration to all of us and he will always be a part of me. Thank you for allowing him to come lead us and be a part of our family.
Thank you, Lord.
Just when I think I can't, you show me I can.
I hope you and Pete had a good laugh at us from the other side of your storm.