Rhett’s 16th

This past weekend was spent in Houston, celebrating my SonShine’s 18th birthday:

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In just two short months, my Angel Girl will turn 16.

These are huge milestones and fun, momentous occasions!

It’s hard to believe that my sweet, little baby boy can now be drafted and would proudly serve our country.

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It’s tough to envision my delicate, tiny baby girl behind the wheel and in the driver’s seat.

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The only thing more difficult to imagine is them NOT.

NOT turning 18 and NOT receiving that Selective Service letter, NOT growing into a special, strong, and significant young man in this world. NOT turning 16 and NOT taking that nerve-wracking driver’s test, NOT tasting the beginnings of independence in this world.

I simply can not fathom NOT doing these big things with my precious kids.

Our sweet friends are facing just such a difficult, bittersweet day. On July 5th, one of their angels, Rhett, should be celebrating his 16th birthday, but he is not. They should be standing in ridiculous lines at TXDOT, teasing him about smiling for the camera, getting him his very first truck, taking pictures of his contagious grin while he enjoys his day, and commenting on what a spectacular young man he is becoming right before their eyes.  His big brother should be handing out advice on high school and driving and girls.  His little sister should be riding to school with him, messing with his radio, and giving him a hard time just because it is so fun to do so.

They should be doing these things with Rhett and so much more.  But they are not.

They are not doing these big things with Rhett because he was taken from this world far too soon. Far, far too soon!

I am not sure how they will make it through July 5th. With the same faith, grace, love and devotion that they’ve illustrated every other single day since December 28th, I am sure. I will not pretend to understand what they feel as Rhett’s 16th birthday approaches.  I can not comprehend how deeply they miss him nor how desperately they want to hold him and hug him on his special day.  I can not begin to grasp the emptiness that July 5th will bring their family.

But, I also can not pass up the opportunity to celebrate such a beautiful, albeit brief, life.  Rhett will forever stay 15.  And yet, we can still honor him on a day that will be a reminder of a bright student, a passionate athlete, a loyal friend, a shining light, and a hugely loved, profoundly missed young man.

So, here is what I need…

First, I am asking everyone I know – THAT MEANS YOU – to give $16 in honor of Rhett’s 16th birthday to his educational scholarship:  THE RHETT HERING REVOLUTION SCHOLARSHIP.

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Rhett was a fun, spirited, friendly student-athlete who touched every classmate, teacher, neighbor, and friend who was blessed to know him.  His scholarship continues to bless others with his goodness and spirit.  Facebook claims that I have 1008 friends.  I think that is overstating it quite a bit, but I do think I have at least 250 friends out there, and if each of them finds 3 more friends then we will reach my goal of 1000, $16 donations before his birthday on July 5th.

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To make your donation, either click here to send your $16 through GoFundMe, or mail your $16 check to The Rhett Hering Revolution Scholarship at this address:

McGregor High School
c/o Karen Tucker
P. O. Box 356
McGregor, Texas 76657

Secondly, I am auctioning off a special quilt that I made just for Rhett’s 16th:

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Now, Rhett was an Aggie fan:

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BUT he and his family have also been a huge support to Coach and our family through the years, especially during our time in Waco when we lived closer to one another and our boys played baseball together.  Furthermore, I have it on very good authority that they also love the Bears.  And seeing as how I have absolutely ZERO maroon but lots and lots of green and gold, I’ve created a Baylor Bear Log Cabin combo quilt that is open for bidding on eBay:

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The quilt measures approximately 78″ x 102″ and is perfect for a full or queen sized bed, a stadium blanket, or snuggling on the couch for a movie or a ballgame.  There are 35, 12″x12″ blocks:  18 are BU t-shirt panels and 17 are traditional log cabin patterns.  I pieced the log cabins using a brown center and a wide variety of greens and golds for the logs to give it a unique and “scrappy” feel.  I machine pieced the top and am having it professionally machine quilted by Ann Olson of Ann’s Quilt N’Stuff in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

Please take a look at the quilt on eBay, share this information and the auction with your friends, and be sure to pause along the way to send your $16 to celebrate that Rhett’s 16th.

Then go hug your loved ones extra tight.  Smother them with kisses, even if they fuss and fight and resist.  Make everyday with them a big one…one in which they know how treasured and adored and loved they are in every single moment.

Because every day together is a gift!

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With hugs and love,

Ashli

PS:  Please, please, please leave a comment on this post with your name when you submit your $16 donation so that we have a running list of how close we are to my goal of 1000 gifts!!

 

Are you there, God? It’s me, Ashli.

This week I had an opportunity to read ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET. by Judy Blume.  I read it with my Angel Girl for a mother-daughter book club meeting we wanted to attend.  I thought I had read it as a youngster, but I didn’t remember the story, and now I am sure that I had not read it before.

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The book was first published in 1970, and its accuracy and spot-on illustration of life as a preteen girl in the 2010’s says a lot about our failure to make growing up any easier!

The story resonated for me through several threads…being born to a multi-religion family, growing up as a female in this world, and the challenge of discovering who I will be when I grow up.

The lesson I loved most in the book is that no one is perfect, so we should love them in spite of that fact.  Margaret is hurt to find out that her friends are not perfect; in fact, they are just as vulnerable and desperate to protect themselves as anyone else.  Then she learns that grown ups are not perfect when her parents frustrate her and her grandparents just plain infuriate her.  And finally, Margaret realizes that she, too, is not perfect when she “unloads meanness” (that is my own phrasing) on a school mate.

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I am embarrassed to say that I have those same moments of meanness, and I had one yesterday towards the most precious, kindest hearted, sweetest soul that I know:  my Angel Girl.

Yesterday I taught my first full yoga class.  And I botched it badly.  Everything was rolling along pretty well until the final long-hold pose…Malasana (Standing Frog Pose):

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This pose is a fabulous hip, groin, and chest opener.  It is one that is pretty do-able for most people, thus a good choice for ending class on a successful note.  UNLESS God gifted you with legs that have the tightest, least flexible, most severely contracted ligaments, tendons, and muscles on the planet…just like he gave to my Angel Girl.

It is no secret that while I was blessed with natural flexibility but no muscles or strength, Angel Girl was gifted with pure muscle, lithe strength, but very little flexibility.  I have never – and I mean NEVER – watched a person work year after year to overcome an obstacle like she does.  Cheerleading is her sport, her hobby, and her true love.  She refuses to let her natural limitation hold her back from what she loves.  I’ve seen her tendons strained to the point of snapping when pushing into her splits.  I’ve seen tears streaming down her face when overstretching.  The thing that I have never seen is her giving up.

So when I made a hurtful remark that her Malasana was [and I quote] “the worst one out here” I was just like Margaret in our book:

I did an awful thing today.  Just awful!  I’m definitely the most horrible person who ever lived…

I wish I could turn back time and not say that cruel thing.  I wish I didn’t try to build some up by tearing others down.  I wish I was a better yoga leader, mom to my precious gifts, and human being:

  1. In yoga there is no measurement, no comparison, no good/better/best, so my rude comment was totally fabricated in a petty attempt to be funny.
  2. A mom is her child’s biggest fan.  PERIOD!  No qualifications, and no quantifications!  EVER.
  3. Humans should be a source of support and encouragement, never an influence that causes self-doubt or feelings of unworthiness.

In that moment yesterday, I failed at all of these in a big, miserable, un-erasable way.

But, Angel Girl (and all others who might read this confession), you go be YOU regardless of me and my mistakes.  You keep overcoming your obstacles, fighting through your struggles, and seeing the good in everything and everyone around you.

And I will work harder to be part of that good!!

I love and adore you, sweet girl, and I really am your biggest fan.

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Love and hugs to all,

Ashli