Team Fundraiser $2135

(Please click on each picture to read the captions)

Team Peace, Love, LAF

Julie Alston, Ragin Cornelius, Robin & Brody Hamil, Russell Harvey, Tracy Portwood, Bryan & Suzanne Alston

On a cold Sunday morning, November 15, 2015, a group of dedicated friends participated in the East Texas Half Marathon, to raise scholarship funds for the Lauren Alston Foundation.  I can’t say enough about my group of friends…it moves me and humbles me that they want to help continue Lauren’s legacy of helping others.  That they gave their time, energy, money, lots of sweat, a couple of tears and some pushed their bodies further than normal and some started with injuries.  They came from Austin, Corrigan, Lufkin and Yoakum to participate in this run in Nacogdoches.  This is the second year for Team Peace, Love, LAF.  Ragin came to Bryan and I last year about making this a fundraiser run for LAF.  We hope you will join us in November 2016.

Ragin and Russell were the two brave souls who participated in the half marathon…that is 13.1 miles folks.  The race started at 7:30 am…but they had to be there about 1 hr earlier to park, warm up their legs and then race…on top of driving 30 minutes to get there.  Ragin is a seasoned runner but was dealing with shin splints, from his training, before he even started the race…but he pushed himself those last few miles and finished.  Russell just started running last year before this race/fundraiser.  Russell ran the 5K last year but challenged himself and moved up to the half marathon this year.  He enjoys running 8-9 miles most days but pushed through to complete his first half marathon…for Team P, L, LAF.  I am so proud of these guys…they took on the hardest part…the bigger challenge!!  They rock…they are awesome…they have huge hearts!!…and nice legs from running…lol.

Now us 5K’ers are another story…lol…we are walkers…not runners.  We also aren’t early risers…especially on cold, rainy mornings…thank goodness the rain stopped before the Half’ers got started.  The 5K race started at 7:45 am…but we had decided beforehand to have our “own” start at 8:30 am.  For two reasons…we aren’t early risers…yes, I’m saying it again…and we wanted to finish sometime close to when Ragin and Russell would be finishing their Half.  So Tracy, Brody, Robin, Bryan, I and Julie, our sister-in law, who was able to join us last minute…started our 3.1 mile walk or stroll.  We enjoyed visiting with each other, cheering on the Half’ers we passed… who were running toward us on the route and we got to see Ragin and Russell whom we “high fived”…looking at the houses in the neighborhood we passed through and commenting on all the clothes thrown on the sides of the road.  I guess some runners shed their clothes as they got hot and would later come back to get them.  We could have had some really nice jackets, gloves, t-shirts and leg warmers had we picked up all the items we saw.  Too bad there wasn’t any warm-up pants…cause someone in our group was walking in his fleecy pajama bottoms…I won’t name you Bryan Alston…and could have changed along the way…lol.   We finished in under an hour…barely…but we weren’t in it for an “official” race time…just the company….6 across the line.  We weren’t there but maybe 15-20 minutes when Ragin showed up across the finish line….Yay, 7 cross the line!!  Then we were looking for Russell, who we knew was struggling just a bit that last mile.  And because you never leave a man behind, Ragin went back to run with him across the line…the friendship, encouragement and Russell’s perseverance brought tears to our eyes…we all loudly cheered him on.  YAY!!! All 8 of Team Peace, Love, LAF had finished…we were together and hugging it out.  Again…I am so proud of this team!!  And a “shout out”… of thanks… to our cheer team of Kathy, Elise, Sharron and Roy Dean!

Because of this Team and all of their gracious sponsors…22 fabulous Supporters from Texas, Florida, Alabama and even Japan…we raised $2135 for scholarships.  Thank You…Thank You…Thank you all!!

We are so thankful to the Runners, Walkers and the Sponsors for your support.  We hope to continue this fundraiser next year and would love for more people to join us…yes, you reading this.  You can Run…Walk…Skip…Hula Hoop it…we don’t care…just join us…in mid November 2016…you know you want one of those cute Team t-shirts.

Our love to all…we are blessed by you.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Garage Sales and Godwinks

I realized recently that I hadn’t posted about the Garage Sale fundraiser we had in late August and September.  It was a huge success because of many helping hands, the generous donations of items, many long hours sorting and tagging, guidance from an estate sale pro and with a little blood, lots of sweat and mucho love… poured into the event.  We are so blessed to have generous and loving family and friends who are always willing to lend a helping hand, give us hugs, listen to our troubles and wipe our tears…they are the “hands and feet” of Christ.

It started with Ms. Betty…I only wanted to borrow some tables…but she went way above and beyond that request.  She gave of her time helping sort, price and set up…her talents of organizing a sale, making sales and running the cash register each day…her generosity of letting us use her tablecloths, signs, cash registers, and more.  And with her gift of listening… hearing our worries, pains, doubts and hurts…she shared with us bits of wisdom and His love that we needed to hear….she was a priceless gift.

We held the sale in one of our rent houses that was unoccupied at the time…and being indoors and having A/C  was a huge help.  One day as I was wiping out the kitchen cabinets, so we could display items in them, my rag pulled out something that I heard hit the counter.  I looked until I found it…a small purple flower pierced earring…for a little girl….I sucked in my breath…it looked like one Lauren had as a little girl…when we lived in this house.  I showed it to Bryan later and he immediately said “it looks like one of Lauren’s earrings”…how could it be…it had been 20 yrs since we lived in that house.   It was…a Godwink…a message from Him and her…they are with us.

The first day of the sale was a Friday.  Bryan’s parents came over early that morning from Nacogdoches to help with the sale and they brought their local newspaper.  A little later in the morning, when there was a break in the action, Bryan started reading the paper.  The first section he read…on the second page…was a picture….of Lauren….yes, Lauren…how could it be.  She had been asked to be a “pretty girl”  in some promotional pictures for an up and coming Texas country musician…JD Newbury…and he was appearing that night in Nacogdoches.  Bryan brought it to me with a shake of his head and tears in his eyes…I had to “show and tell” all the workers…and soon we all were crying…tears of disbelief…sadness… and then tears of joy…for the Godwink…we felt she was with us and telling us she approved of what we were doing.

JDLaurenLauren is the girl on the left.

Later, as I was going to the different rooms checking on the workers stationed there, I saw one of Lauren’s friends, Maegan aka Skippy, with tears in her eyes.  I hugged her and asked if she was ok.  She said… “A few minutes ago I was looking out the window thinking of Lauren and the fun times we had together…and I know you aren’t going to believe me but I saw her name written on the window…like a child would have.”  I started to cry and told her I did believe her…because we were in Lauren’s bedroom….it was another Godwink.  You see we had left the A/C running all night and there was some condensation on the windows…and Lauren had probably written her name on the only window in that room….and Skippy didn’t know, until then, that we had ever lived there.

One of Lauren’s friends, MJ, had made posters with our mission statement and pictures of the scholarship recipients.  We had those above the check out station so everyone could see it, we told all who entered the purpose of the garage sale and we passed out slips of paper with the LAF website address so they could look us up online.  Some people were moved by our story and her legacy of helping others, that we are trying to continue, and gave more than what they bought.

Between 2 different garage sales totaling 3 days and Ms Betty selling our “best left-overs” in one of her estate sales…we raised right at $4500.  We also have a brand new SS KitchenAid Double Convection Oven (valued at $2300) that a special friend, Beth, donated that we trying to sell at the highest price and money from clothes that were donated to Rose Cottage Resale that will be added to this awesome total….for an even bigger grand total.  🙂

*If you wish to still donate there are several ways you can always do so…anytime of the year*

You can make a donation on this site by clicking the “To DONATE Online” button and use your PayPal account.  OR mail it to: LAF  PO Box 152535  Lufkin, Tx  75915   OR you can take your nice, gently used clothes, jewelry, shoes and purses, anytime to Rose Cottage Resale, located in Lufkin, and tell them to put it under the account/name of Lauren Alston Foundation.

**In case you missed one of my earlier post about Godwinks and you are wondering what that means.  It is from a book I highly recommend called ~ When GOD Winks at You~ by Squire Rushnell     Here is what they are:  messages of assurance that no matter what is happening in your life or how uncertain things may seem at the moment, God is with you and will help you move toward certainty. “When God Winks at You is an amazing array of real-life stories that will help you begin to recognize the godwinks in your own life and attain an unshakable confidence that you are never alone…and never have been.”  He has several books on Godwinks and I just downloaded a new one I am fixing to read called ~ Divine Alignment ~  How Godwink Moments Guide Your Journey