"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

04 November 2013

Cornerstone Ranch: GIVEAWAY!

B's first time carving pumpkins
We recently joined a Life Group through our church, and it has truly been a blessing to us as a family. The timing of our bi-monthly, Saturday night meetings are perfect; with N getting home so much later than he did when we were in NY, it just wasn't realistic for us to join a Life Group that met during the week. It also helps a lot that B was already familiar with the three children of our group leaders from Kindermusik. He still doesn't particularly like being left with a sitter and a bunch of kids, but he has talked about "our friends," and he is especially fond of Thomas, one of the "big boys."
A haunted house and Yoda's head
N even carved out all the little scribbles B had drawn onto his pumpkin.
It was particularly fun to trick-or-treat with our Life Group friends last Thursday. I felt a bit of nostalgia as I remembered B's first trick-or-treating experience last year, soon after we had moved to Texas. We only went to six houses, but he caught on after the first couple, and he loved it. We had given him a little bucket in which to collect his small amount of sugary loot. He had his first lollipop that night, and for days afterward, he would call out, "Tick-or-teet! Hao-een!" through the day.
A happy bunch of trick-or-treaters
This year, a much bigger and chattier Little B happily ran down the sidewalks to keep up with "our friends" (mostly the bigger boys), greeting each friendly homeowner with "Happy Halloween!"

One of my favorite moments was when a man didn't hear him say, "Thank you" because he was putting candy in another child's bucket. B waited a moment, then he leaned in so he was nice and close, and said louder, "THANK YOU!" When he was acknowledged, he came hopping back down the steps, satisfied. 

This past weekend, our Life Group had the unique opportunity to attend an art auction and dinner at Noah's of Fairview to support Cornerstone Ranch Ministries, an organization that provides a vibrant home for adults with special needs. Our group has had an on-going relationship with Cornerstone, making it a point to bring dinner and visit with the residents at least once a semester. When our church has our annual service day, our Life Group goes to Cornerstone to help out in whatever way needed.

I can't even begin to describe how special this place is, from the story of their founders to all the opportunities they provide to ensure a rich and active lifestyle for their residents and day programmers. Apparently, it is very much a one-of-a-kind ministry in this country. So much so that they have residents whose families brought them here from the east coast because there is no other place like it.

The silent auction was for art created by the residents and day program participants. All their works were vibrant and lovely, but the ones that caught my eye were of a single cardinal perched amongst snow-laden trees. How delighted I was when we were handed this little keepsake at the door as we left that night!

Until I find a better place for it, this is hanging in our kitchen window, where we will see it every day
(and, as N teased me, where I can pretend we're having a real winter).

Chuck Swindoll was the guest speaker for the evening, and there was also a live auction that took place following dinner. N and I looked at each other with increasingly wide eyes as bids went higher and higher for original artwork by Noah Elias and Michael McWillie, an all-expenses-paid trip for four (including first class airfare!) to Scotland, and a Dallas Mavericks VIP package. At some point during the bidding for the Scotland trip, we started jokingly whispering to one another, "Well, honey, there goes our children's college fund, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip!" 

It's a good thing they put our group in the back of the room.

The absolute best part of the night for me, though, was hearing the heartfelt testimonies given by the parents of Larsen, one of the day participants at Cornerstone. Her father shared her birth story, how a team of doctors entered the room after she had been whisked away out of sight, saying that they had "very bad news" for her parents. In a choked up voice, he said that Larsen is the joy of their lives and the "glue that holds our family together." He said that if he could see any of those doctors now, he would tell them that he would "take that kind of bad news any day." 

Of course I teared up.

Our Life Group bid on a beautiful painting of Joseph leading Mary on a donkey through a velvet night, hoping to secure it to donate to our church, but someone sneaked in a final bid at the very end, and we didn't get it. But two of our friends did win the paintings that they had had their hearts set on.

Anyway, I would love it if you would check out Cornerstone Ranch's website. Look around, and you can even donate to the beautiful kingdom work that they are doing there or buy some of the residents' artwork in the form of greeting cards ($10 for a pack of 5 cards!).

If you do end up making a donation to Cornerstone Ranch Ministries or purchasing a set or two of greeting cards, would you please leave me a note in the comments to tell me you did? You will be entered into a drawing to win your own beautiful little snowscape that I showed you earlier, signed by the artist herself!

Thanks for reading today! I look forward to sharing more about Cornerstone with you as our family joins the efforts of our Life Group to continue building relationships with this beautiful ministry and the residents that live at the Ranch.

This post linked with:
Messy Marriage


  1. Hannah this is so special!!! I love seeing your perspective on our recent events!! We still owe you a prize for LG pumpkin carving contest! :) SO happy to have you in our lives!!

  2. Sounds like you've had some great moments with family and friends this fall season, Hannah! Thanks for sharing about all of them and letting us know about Cornerstone Ranch too. I'll have to check out their website next. And Larson's story, like so many blessings in disguise, is so inspiring. I'm lifting up her and her family as they continue this adventure of a lifetime!