Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Carrying out a legacy

Last Saturday, October 13, 2012, we held the 2nd Linda A. Ferguson Memorial 5K, carrying on my mom's legacy to help others by using the funds raised for a scholarship in her memory.
 The week was full with details of picking up shirts, putting together bags for all the participants, marking the course, picking up signs, excitement building, hundreds of texts between me and my team (Alyssa and Kevin), and very little sleep, as my mind could not shut down very well. Most nights I would lie awake making lists in my mind and I would wake up early, unable to contain my thoughts and excitement.
 The day of the event, I was up at 3. The coffee on, I decided to take some moments to spend in prayer, dedicating the day and the event to God's glory. Then I pulled out pictures of mom and did a lot of remembering. Those were my time to be quiet and reflect and remember and pray before the chaos of the day kicked in. Those were moments I savored. I watched this video of my mom, almost feeling her there next to me. I missed her deeply, but I also felt such a peace in that as well. And an excitement, knowing that although she may roll her eyes at the attention, she would also love what we are doing.  And as always, she would be my biggest cheerleader, no doubt.                                                                                                                                          
 Around 4:30, I began packing up last minute stuff in the car and at 5, the rest of the house began waking up. at 6, we were out the door. I did a quick stop in at dad's to say goodmorning and grab some last minute things, and share a good hug, then it was off to the park to watch the day unfold in special ways.
 Volunteers met me and we began the event. The raffle table was set up, registration bags lined up and the time clock set up began. My husband began the set up of the sound.Many small details, many willing hands, many excited people. The finish line crew (AKA-Mike from the New Balance store of Dayton, one of my sponsors) showed up and set up our finish line, a fun component to our event. Soon the runners/walkers began showing up. Milling about, talking, doing their best to stay warm on a chilly October morning, the excitement was evident. At 9 am, all were lined up, prayer began the event and then the air horn went off....and the runners took off, and walkers also enjoyed the company of each other, all out for a good cause. Around the 18 minute mark, my first runner came in and slowly, they all trickled in, finishing the event. What a neat experience to be a part of! It was special to have so many people from all walks of life, and from different categories of my life-growing up, family, customers, church there to support this cause.
 61 came out for it, but over 90 were registered, doubling our participants from last year. We raised more money this year than last. We didn't have any bad snafus, but we learned a lot and want to do some things better. A dream is growing-to see the 5K grow bigger each year, but also and even more so, to watch the scholarship in memory of mom grow. We are excited and ideas are growing. God is good. Below are pictures from the event. It is really tough to put all the words that fill my heart into tangible explanations here in this blog. I love doing this event. I love feeling a dream planted and watching it grow. I love having my family be a part of what we are doing. I love seeing what God can do. He says "Ask, and you shall receive, seek and you shall find. Knock, and the door will be opened" And we have taken that verse and applied it to this scholarship, in memory of mom, to bless another student, and we hope for generations to come....We asked, and we watched a student recieve, and pray to do this in all the years to come. We sought, and we found ways to put on this event. And we knocked, and are watching all kinds of doors open. Glory be to Him. And we are going to keep asking, seeking, knocking---to grow this legacy.
Our family

Alyssa and Tony

My planning team

Good buddies

The CareSource Customers, out to support

The start line

My son, finishing in 32 minutes



More good buddies

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Beauty from Ashes

There are defining moments in everyone's life. For me, I have had more than I ever would've expected by age 30. But life is often full of events we don't expect. Losing my mom at age 28 was definitly an event I never expected. But with a lot of faith, time, prayer, and trust in God, we have the ability to see the good that He promises He will bring of some of those unexpected life moments.  Beauty from Ashes.
Romans 8:28
The Message (MSG)
26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

This Friday, I had the privelege of seeing good come out of a really crappy life event. Losing my mom has been one of the ugliest events I ever walked through. Grief was a long journey for me and took me to some dark places. I am happy to be on the other side of those now. Saying goodbye was a long winter season for me. But in patience and perseverance, I have been able to see how God can use that for His good. As I said, Friday was one such moment. 
 As I have written before, last year, we started the Linda A. Ferguson Memorial Fund in memory of mom, and began a 5K in the process as a piece to raise funds for the scholarship fund. We had 45 participants last year. This year we are at nearly 80 with more still coming in. Last year we gave out the first Linda A. Ferguson Memorial Scholarship. On Friday, I was invited to attend a banquet for all scholarship donors and recipients at Cedarville University. My husband and I were able to attend this and meet last year's recipient, Elisabeth Ware. What a special, life defining moment that was for me. The scholarship awarded last year came to life in a new way. To hear what she is studying and how her future plans are unfolding was touching for me. And to have a piece in it. My heart is full and yet I am almost left speechless as my fingers fly across the keys trying to put into perspective what seeing the life of that scholarship was like for me.It brought on a flood of emotion for me.Remembering my mom in the way of having a scholarship in her memory, knowing how she'd love the girl who was the recipient last year. Missing my mom and wishing that she were here for it all, but also realizing that if I hadn't lost her, that scholarship wouldn't even exist right now. And seeing good come out of the bad situation was a life defining moment for me. Having my husband there with me was also well defining and special for me. The entire evening was so special. And Reflective as well. And also energizing as the 5K is less than a week away. I feel a new excitement in our goals. Seeing the product of what came out of last years efforts makes me want to push harder on this years. It brought on more dreams of what I want to see unfold in years to come.....good brought from the bad. Beauty from Ashes.
 I do not think I will ever say I am thankful I lost mom. I miss her with a deep heartache and tears more often than not still. But, I can now say I am thankful for all that God is teaching me  in the process, for the scholarship we are seeing come to life in carrying out her memory, and for some beautiful friends He has brought into my life through this connection of losing my mom: Courtney, Teresa, Angie, Jontae....
 He is able to bring beauty from ashes, good from bad. And I am seeing the proof of that. 
 Below are pictures of the banquet and pictures of the recipient. Also is our website included. Please check it out, pass it along. People can register/donate online. Thank you!

 Glory be to God who unfolds beautiful things from ugly situations. 
Me and Elisabeth, last years recipient

Me and My wonderful husband,Michael

My dad, Roger Ferguson, and Elisabeth

My wonderful mom, Linda A. Ferguson