Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Climate of Joy

My students were doing a project the other day on emotions and one group asked me if joy and happiness were the same thing. I said for the project's sake it was, but to me they were not. That happiness is temporary, but that joy is everlasting. I think this peaked their interest because they started asking lots of questions. One boy said, "So, do you think you can be sad and joyful at the same time?" And I replied back with such certainty, "I KNOW you can be sad and joyful at the same time." They sat for a moment pondering this and I thought the conversation was over, but then the same boy turned to me and said, "So... happiness is like the weather, and joy is like the climate?" I looked at my student and smiled, "Yes, that's perfect." I went home and looked up what the Bible said about Joy and all the verses containing joy revolved around what Jesus did for us and how we serve others:

Hebrews 12: 1-3
             "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything
              that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked
              out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY set
              before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne
              of God."

Psalm 51: 10-12
             "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from
              your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the JOY of your salvation and
              grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

Philippians 2:1-4
              "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any
               fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my JOY complete by
              being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish
              ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should
              look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the
              same as that of Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, with "Celebrate QUINNcidence" His joy was made complete and so was mine, even in the midst of sorrow. I could feel the "like-mindedness", the "same love", and people all over being "one in spirit and purpose". People put aside their selfish ambitions and put others in front of themselves. Most of you did not look at your own interests, but the interests of others. I know God was glorified Tuesday because those whom He created and loves came together for one purpose... to bless. I know I was not the recipient of all the random acts, but it didn't matter because EVERY LITTLE THING YOU DID for someone else touched my heart, and Tim's, in such a deep way that I could never describe in words. Yes, I was bold enough to put the idea out there, but God did HUGE things with it. Thank you for showing love in big and small ways, thank you for joining us, thank you for supporting us, thank you to those of you who know us and love us, and thank you to those of you who celebrated Quinn without knowing any of us. You will never know how much it meant to us. Quinn was NOT forgotten, Quinn was celebrated, Quinn moved people, people's lives were changed because of my daughter and THAT, that is the greatest birthday gift.

Yesterday, God brought the word "showers" to mind. The last 8 months have seemed full of gloom and showers of tears but just for a moment this week the clouds parted and God decided to shower down blessings through all of you.
Isaiah 45:8
              "You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open
                wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD have created it."

So my prayer for all of you who joined with us is that you were showered with blessings and righteousness, despite the clouds in your life and that salvation and righteousness will spring up. That through the "weather" of rain you have a continual climate of joy. A joy that will not fade and is made complete through serving others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making our joy complete through your acts of kindness.

**I thought I would post highlights from the day below**
Here are students and staff who stayed after school to make posters to promote the day...

 This is what I came into when I walked into my room on Tuesday. 15-20 students and a few staff members came at 7pm the night before and decorated my room to show their support. It was beautiful.
 "We love you Terhorst"
"March 12th Quinncidence"
 "We are Washington"
 Random candy left on lockers with encouragement. This one says "You are amazing. Celebrate QUINNcidence"

 Students were asked to write down on a post-it note what they had done throughout the day and post it on the counseling windows.
 My Desk in our Teacher Planing Center
 A colleague's door that was decorated, she also handed out pink cupcakes to students
 The Counseling office windows towards the end of the day
 This is what I came home to... A dear friend had special kids (cousins, friends, neighbors, church friends) in our life that would've been invited to Quinn's Birthday write birthday cards for Quinn. She then hung them to balloons that represented the prayers gone up from their parents for us. We later released them in the sky.
  Flowers that had been delivered

A compilation of the day:
Now we get into the pictures of others who had posted them for us...
Quarters left in a college dorm laundry room

The following links are what was on the news about Quinncidence:

Blogs written about Quinncidence:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Celebrate Quinncidence

As I look out the window at a fresh blanket of snow that has fallen over the great plains of South Dakota, I am reminded of the somber blanket that has fallen over my heart with the calendar changing to March. In just a week Quinn would've been one. It is so hard to wrap my head around. In my mind she is still a baby, I have a hard time picturing her eating birthday cake... she's not old enough to be eating cake! Tim & I have discussed what we are going to do on March 12th to celebrate Quinn's life. It is so easy to say that we are just going to stay in bed for the day and feel sorry for ourselves. But if I stay in bed, Quinn isn't getting what she deserves... I have this little light and I would be keeping it to myself. I have said time and time again that I just want my daughter to be known. I just want her life to affect others and if I stay in bed on the day she was born, her life and what she was to me stays in bed for the day and she deserves more than that. So on Tuesday March 12th Tim & I have decided to do random acts of kindness all day. We want to take the money we would have spent on cake, ice cream, decorations, and presents and bless the lives of others like Quinn blessed ours. At first we wanted this to be an intimate thing between the two of us, but the more we think and talk about it, the more we know that there are so many special people in our life that have walked this road with us that would want to do this with us. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I now know that it takes a village to bury a child too. We couldn't have done this alone, Not without the support of so many special people that God has placed in our lives. So many people have told us if they could do anything we should just let them know. So... we want to open this up to you and we wanted to tell you in advance so you can start thinking & praying about what you might do. We are deeming Tuesday March 12th as "Celebrate Quinncidence" day. A day to celebrate Quinn, a day to celebrate her life, a day to randomly bless. It doesn't have to be big, you could write a nice note to someone who you appreciate, pay for someone's gas, coffee, or groceries, leave a big tip for a waiter, leave quarters on a vending machine or car wash, put flowers on someone's car, bring donuts to work, etc. I am opening this up my school, Washington High School, as well and will kick it off at the end of the week there. On Tuesday I will post pictures on the blog of what the students there did and how Quinn's birthday went. We would love to hear from you too and what random act of kindness you did on Tuesday to remember Quinn. Post it as a comment below.  And please keep us in your prayers for an abundance of grace this next week and a sense of peace in a time that feels so unfair. Thank you everyone in advance.