CourthouseI cannot think of a better way to have spent Memorial Day Weekend. Ryan and I returned to our hometown of Mt. Pleasant, Texas. This small Northeast Texas town has more than charm and natural beauty for the two of us high school sweethearts…it has roots that helped shape us and form us into the adults we are today. Traveling down memory lane evoked emotions that brought about laughter and even tears, but it mostly brought about a deep sense of gratitude for this faithful community that has poured out love in more ways than we can count.

My houseWhen we get the opportunity to come into town we like to retrace our steps back to our homes, our elementary school, middle school and high school. It’s amazing how some things have changed and some have remained the exact same. This is the house that I lived in from 4 years of age until I graduated high school. I am so proud to have lived in this house. My parents worked so hard to provide for our family. We can remember washing many cars in that front yard and the countless family football games. You can still see the track our dog, Zach, made running up and down the fence line chasing cars even though it’s been over 15 years since my parents lived there. I drove up our street naming each of our neighbors by name and thanking the good Lord for each one of them. They helped shape me.

Then we drove by our schools. They have definitely changed with outward facelifts, but the halls within are the same. There is even a brand new building that is now the new Middle School that we drove by and were pleasantly surprised to see 2 coaches that we both had in school have their names in their memory on the building. I love seeing them being honored in this way. They both just did their thing and did it well. They loved kids, and we loved them right back. They helped shape me.

Our next stop was really special for my man. Ryan had the opportunity to walk back onto his high school baseball field for the first time since his Senior Year. They have a whole new stadium of seats, but it’s the exact same baseball field where he played 1st base. I had him walk over and stand by 1st base just like old times and visit the dugout too where he waited to bat and cheered on his teammates. We recalled all of his team by name, nicknames too, and smiled. We even reconnected with one of Ryan’s baseball coaches a few weeks back. Coach Jerry Baker was an Honorary Guest at our wedding almost 20 years ago. To say that these boys…now men have helped shape Ryan is an understatement.

Beth and NicoleI got to spend a lovely breakfast with two very special friends catching up, sharing laughter and remembering the good old days. It’s amazing how even though there has been time apart of not seeing each other we can pick up as though time has stood completely still. Our “Catherine Elizabeth” is named after these two beauties. They will ALWAYS be a part of me no matter what. I am so grateful for their friendship and how we still pray for each other and love each other through the many ups and downs. There are so many others too that I didn’t get the chance to see, but I did take the time to remember them all by name and give thanks for them. They helped shape me.

FreedomOur last stop on our visit was our favorite. We never fail to stop by to see our Taylor Brooke Coe. This is when the tears start to flow. When we lost our first daughter, this community that had loved on us all of our lives rallied around us during some of our darkest days. I will never forget the generosity given to us to allow us to bury our daughter at Neville’s Chapel. They donated three plots to us. One for our girl and the other two for us. It’s the most beautiful and peaceful place. When we drove in this is the flag and sign that met us at the entrance. I’m so grateful to live in this beautiful country, to have been raised in a beautiful community with amazing people and to be continuing to do the same for our own children. I can only hope and pray that one day my girls will walk back down their own memory lane and remember it as well as Ryan and me.

May we all REMEMBER and be full of overflowing thankfulness for our many many blessings. When you have time today, take a listen to the song “We ARE” by Kari Jobe. This is WHO WE ARE, so get out there and just do your thing and do it well. You may never know the people you are shaping, but I promise you this you are making a differenece in the lives of others. SHINE ON!

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and OVERFLOWING with THANKFULNESS.” Colossians 2:6-7