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:


  1. Such a beautiful outpouring. and can be sad, and have joy at the same time...while my heart breaks for you, unable to fathom the physical, mental and emotional pain you and tim have had to bear, it is also flooded with joy for the impact your angel has had on all of us. You Ali, are an inspiration. i pray for you all of the time, and i know God has an amazing plan for you.

  2. The balloons.....beautiful. What a lovely show and reflection of the day. What a lovely gift to a girl whose spirit still lives and breathes in you and now amongst others. Absolutely incredible.

  3. Isaiah 61:1-3
    1"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
    2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.
    3 To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of JOY for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."

    I know you are wondering why I wanted to share these verses with you and Tim because you are thinking this is in reference to Jesus and you are right, Jesus did read part of this passage in the synagogue at Nazareth and interpreted it as a reference to Himself (Luke 4:16-21). This passage also reveals the positive nature of the ministry the Lord wants His people to perform and through this past year, you and Tim have been HIS faithful servants ... the Lord has been and will continue to protect you and He has been and will continue to pour His oil of JOY all over you and Tim. God is being glorified in your testimony and in your journey ... that is as it should be. Keep sharing your beautiful and heartfelt words with us ... Oh the chapters you will write in your book of how God moved and worked in your life. God does have marvelous plans for you ...
    Thank you for sharing your Quinn with all of us.

  4. I went to our local library and selected a book in Quinns honor. You are so loved even from miles away God Bless

  5. So incredibly beautiful!!! The kindness and outpouring of love from all of those people, that is where I believe God is, in the beautiful way in which we touch each others lives and pour goodness into the world. What an incredible impact Quinn has had in this world and the love & kindness shown in her honor will only continue to ripple out further into the world! So glad you guys were embraced with loving gestures throughout the day!!

  6. So Amazing! Here are some more ways Quinn was remembered and honored at my work place: (1) one co-worker ananomously paid for a student's drivers education class (a $300 fee) during a financial and familial hardship (2) another co-worker anonymously purchased a $50 grocery card for a family in need after sustaining multiple injuries in a car accident leaving the father unable to work and provide for their family of 7 (3) my mom had a busy week but after reading Quinn's story, decided that she was NOT too busy to go visit her mom in the nursing home (4) another co-worker brought coffees and lattes for her co-workers and (5) another co-worker brought homemade salsa for all of us as well as hand-delivering 8 other jars to friends and family sharing Quinn's joy and story with each jar of salsa she distributed.

    Tim and Ali - you are amazing! thanks for your awesome testimony. What a beautiful demonstration of God's goodness and love!

  7. Today I did another RAOK in honor of Quinn....even though it's not her birthday- I want to continue to spread the love and joy in her name. When I decide to do it, my day gets better and I feel more alive...I imagine the person receiving the RAOK feels the same way. God Bless!!!