It's now 3:22 am and I'm finally getting to post; not because I had software problems, though. Thank you to those of you that recommended www.slide.com. You will see my first attempt with them below. I was sad I couldn't add music like I could with Visual Slide... but I'd rather you SEE these pictures than HEAR anything; I don't have music playing when you enjoy any other pictures on the blog. I like the idea of making it a collage in iMovie like I have done with other projects... I just wanted the pictures on the blog page itself this time.
There is so much to share and say about the day, that I won't be able to do it justice. It was a wonderful day. Patrice was amazing (don't bother telling her, she already knows! ;P); there were close to 50 adults and kids there and there was FOOD GALORE! My apologies for us getting there a little late; we lost track of time today visiting.
It was SOOOOO NEAT getting to put faces and smiles and eyes with names on the blog. When someone would say who they were, I recognized just about every single name, and hugs were shared, as well as a couple of tears. We all ate a bunch of food, introduced ourselves to each other, found bizarre ways that people knew people who knew people, etc. I sang a couple of songs, shared a little, as did Ang, and invited a couple of people to come up and share about this experience (Patrice and my blog community) and what it has meant.
Patrice shared the most heartfelt comments about this journey and relayed how important our online family is, not just for information exchange, but as Angelique said, for inspiration exchange. There is power in groups, and when I use the word power in this case, I mean that we can walk longer, stand straighter, and reach higher when we are a part of something bigger than ourselves than we can when we're alone.
Thank YOU (the person reading this in your chair right now) for being a part of THIS group, and thereby helping Angelique and me to be stronger than we would be/could be on our own.
The reason I'm posting so late is that I stayed up for probably 4 hours tonight delighting in a philosophical marathon with my brother-in-law, Tom. Man, we had so much fun. He and I are kindred spirits, and really enjoy going down the rabbit hole of thought. We were doing some scuba diving we went so deep tonight! I love Tom, and always have, and was SO HAPPY to get to spend so much time together tonight. Living on opposite coasts, and them having 6 kids and me being on the journey I've been on... well, I haven't gotten to spend much face time with him, and tonight was just so great. I think Ang is going to need to pull a shift driving tomorrow!
Our Dallas EB Gathering:
Community Christian Church
1300 Holly Drive
Richardson, TX 75080
Tuesday, Nov. 2 @ 5:00pm
If you are planning on coming, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please offer to bring a dish for a potluck meal. Please, do not email me if you can't attend; please understand that I have very limited access to email on the road and need to keep the lines open. Thank you for understanding.
We picked this venue because it is small, intimate, and in a DOC/UCC church (our denomination) and Richardson is sort of in between Dallas and Plano, the two cities with the largest concentration of blog followers in TX collectively.
Please. We are driving a long way to see you. We want to meet you. You mean so much to us; you don't even know. I know that 5pm on a Tuesday night in Richardson will take something unreasonable or maybe even extra-ordinary for you to make happen, but consider that traveling the countryside for two weeks with a 4.5 year old is a little unreasonable and extra-ordinary just to meet y'all! Please come. Please make it work. I thank you in advance for whatever it will take on your end to rearrange things to be there, but these are not ordinary circumstances and this is not an ordinary event. Today was soooooo healing for us. Please come and hug us, tear up, fumble over words, but mostly, just come and share a meal together, as Christ did so long ago. Let us break bread together. Let us be with one another, if for only a couple of hours on one particular night. Please come.
Someone asked specifically how Ang and Ali are doing. Unfortunately, Ang is battling a little bit of a cold right now, and is (as we all are) perpetually tired. Still, she is in good spirits, and delighted in (re)connecting with you all in person today, and has had fun meeting my sister's family for the first time. Ali is simply magical. She is NOT 4.5 spiritually, and I dare say even intellectually. She is just handling this all sooo well, it is inspiring. She is a thing of beauty. She has really enjoyed getting to know her cousins, and playing with them. She is something special, says her unbiased dad.
P.S. To the person who chose to share her opinion that it would be tacky selling Bella's book at Bella's event... um, I can't think of a more appropriate place to share it. It was not her memorial; it was a gathering of Patrice and my blog followers to celebrate our community and celebrate Bella and the way she brought us ALL together. In addition, have I not provided my heart and soul nightly to you all? Has that not produced value for both of us? I don't have the right to try to earn a little income to 1) offset the tremendous amount of income I have given up over the past 17 months and 2) donate a few more dollars to Ronald McDonald House? Please. Why would it be tacky to earn some gas money to help support my wife who has shouldered the financial burden of caring for our family alone since June of 2009? Sorry to belabor the point here for all of you that didn't think the same thing, but we have weird emotions about money in our society, and I don't understand some people's notions about it. Let's face it. It's a hot topic; a topic that drives many, many couples apart, and did so long before this recession. Money has no meaning in and of itself. It is simply a tool. Use it for good, and brings good to the world i.e. providing for your family, supporting charitable organizations, FINDING A CURE FOR EB. Use it for bad, and it can do nothing, or maybe even bad things for the world.
You all earn money somehow. What value do you provide the world, either for the money you make, or with the money you make? God knows my heart and knows the difference I am out to make in this world for others, and YES IT WILL TAKE HEAPS OF MONEY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN, so get used to me talking about, and flat out asking for money, as I have already many times.
I apologize, I didn't have time to edit and post pictures from today, I have a feeling I'll be making another slideshow for you all for tomorrow night! Now, for your pleasure... the Biltmore House, and the picture of me with Bella in "the sleeper hold." (Sorry Denise, I can't find the other one right off hand...)