Sunday, November 7, 2010

Twenty Dollars.....

$20 dollars…most of us don’t have second thoughts about that $20 dollar bill sitting in your wallet. Zachary has been holding on to this same $20 since his birthday in January. Every once in a while he would want to spend it on this new toy or his new all time favorite Hot Wheels. Well guess I should say he would spend a little bit at the store promising to give me that $3 or $4 when we got home, heck I guess over the past 10 months he has spent that $20 by spending a little here and there. But we never pushed the issue and asked for the money from him. So he has had this same $20 bill…guess he was waiting for the most perfect thing to spend it on. Disney has been on his mind lately, as we are going at Christmas and he decided that Disney was the best place to spend that $20.

At school, they have been having a food drive. Turkey’s Tackling Hunger, it’s the Hays county food banks annual food drive. The kids have been told that a $20 donation will feed a family this Thanksgiving. I knew that it was going on; however I had never discussed it with the kids. Well Thursday he came down to the office and handed me a $20 bill. My first thoughts were great someone lost $20, how am I going to find the owner of this money. Then he told me that he had “accidently” taken his Cars wallet to school and his teacher had told him he needed to come down and give me the money. She was afraid that if he put it in his backpack it might not ever make it back home. I took the money and gave him a short lecture on how that is wayyyy too much money to bring to school, and that he shouldn’t ever take money without talking to me first. He agreed, and gave me a quick hug and headed back to class; never once mentioning the real reason for taking his wallet to school.

It wasn’t until later that morning that I learned the whole story. His teacher came down and asked if Zachary had given me the $20. Then the whole story came out. He wanted to give is money to Turkeys Tackling Hunger, he wanted to make sure that a family had a good Thanksgiving. She said the other kids in the class were surprised that he would give away his money—they were telling him what all he could buy with it. Of course he told them that he had planned on taking that money to Disney. Apparently she could tell that he was having second thoughts, the other kids were making him feel a bit uncomfortable, and she wondered if I even knew what was going on. So that is when she gave him his money back, told him to come talk to me and give me the money.

When she told me what he had wanted to do, I wanted to cry. I was soooo proud of him. During his lunch I went down to take him to the book fair that was currently going on at school. I casually asked him about that money, and he so “matter of factly” told me that he wanted to give it to Turkey’s Tackling Hunger…he wanted to make sure that a family could have a good Thanksgiving because “you know Momma, there are families out there that won’t have a Thanksgiving dinner”. “My $20 will buy a family a whole Thanksgiving dinner.” I was beaming with pride. I did ask him about not having money to spend at Disney and he said “Momma its okay. I really want a family to have a Thanksgiving dinner. And there really isn’t anything that I NEED from Disney”

Never was he pushed by his teacher, never did he come to us and tell us that he wanted to donate money and ask us for the money. He put this all together on his own. He had to have been thinking about it for a while, to remember that he had $20, to make that unselfish decision to help out someone else. He did tell me he wanted to think about it over night. Later that evening he told his Daddy about what he wanted to do, even Daddy was surprised by his generous act. Daddy knew how long he had been holding on to his money. He offered to still donate $20 and let Zachary keep his money. Zachary told him No, we can both donate $20 so TWO families can have Thanksgiving.

The following morning shortly after school started he came to me and said he wanted to take the money to the teacher in charge of the collection. We walked, hand in hand, up to the 5th grade class that she teaches, and he handed her that crumpled up $20. At first she thought the donation came from my wallet, and then he explained the whole story to her. Well she fought back the tears, and so did I. As we walked out, he looked at me and gave me the biggest smile and said “Momma I feel good! That made me happy! Oh!! and Momma we now have to get $20 from Daddy—so we can help TWO families!”

As he skipped down the hall I couldn’t help but smile and to be soooo proud of my 6 year old son, who had decided on his own that he wanted to help out others. Little does he know now how many people have been touched by his little act of kindness. Nor will he ever see the faces of those 2 families who will have a Thanksgiving dinner because of him, but he learned that by doing something so selfless a true feeling of happiness, one that can’t be gotten from the newest latest toy but a feeling from doing something AMAZING!

I’m sooo proud of you Zachary! May you continue to be a blessing to others! I love you!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Its Garden time!!

We have decided to give the garden another try.  Our first year was amazing!!  Then the drought in Texas started.  We planted year 2 and we lost it all....well I think that we might have harvested enough green beans for a meal or 2 but that was it.  We fought until the bitter end...spending hours and hours and hours watering it.  The Texas heat (one of the hottest on record) was just too much for it and we had to quit.  It was hard to take that loss...yes its only our garden and not our livelihood but it was still hard to let it go.  Year 2 was such a dissappointment that we didn't even try in year 3, plus we were still in the middle of a drought.
Year 4 appears to be pattern seems to be alot like it was our first year. So we are giving it a shot!! Now this isn't your normal backyard we like to do it up BIG!!  So far we have planted 5 80ft rows of sweet corn, 12 20ft rows of green beans (3 varieties), 5 25ft rows of black eyed peas, 5 25ft rows purple hull (cream peas), and about 15 mounds of zucchini done. We got a good steady rain on Tuesday so hopefully we will see some sprouts by early next week.  Still have a lot to get into the ground!!  But this is a great start!!

Kids and their friends helping pull the weeds out.

Green beans planted on the right and left of this path, along with blackeyed peas and cream peas

Kinder Rodeo Days

Last Friday was Rodeo Days for the Kindergarteners!!  Zachary counted down the days until he could go to school dressed like a cowboy!!  Ya know boots are one of his favorite things to wear, so boots and a the boy was in heaven!  They played lots of cowboy games and ate cowboy food--a good ol hot dog and cactus juice.  They even ate some real cactus later that afternoon. 
He really wanted to wear Pa's hat....I really wanted him to as well, but I was soooo afraid of someone mistreating it.  So we opted for Daddy's well used and abused hat.  I can't tell you how many of the teachers stopped me and told me how much they LOVED his hat!!

Watch out ladies....he is gonna be a killer cowboy!!

Don't ya just wanna grab those cheeks?!?!!

He came home and know all he has talked about is wanting a horse.  Maybe one day we will have a horse up here again.....honestly I miss having one here.....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cards for Heather....

Last week a dear friend of mine, Cindy, told me about a little girl at her church who has Ewing's Sarcoma (cancer)....she is 11 and her name is Heather. She is at the end stages of this fight for her life....with limited activities one of her highlights of her day is getting mail. The plan is to send cards to from all over. She wishes that she could visit other places, but its not going to happen. She doesn't know that the end for her is soon.

I sat down and told the kids about Heather and her fight to live. I want them to see that sometimes, even Children of God are taken from their family way too soon. I wanted them to think about the bigger picture. I think that we all sometimes get caught up in our every day life, and all its complaints, and forget that there are people out there who are hurting way more than us. Makes our little every day complaints seem senseless. I wanted to be able to remind them of Heather when they are arguing with their sibling...when they are complaining about washing the dinner dishes and homework....and even those days when they think that they hate their parents.

It was hard for them to sit down and write to Heather. I didn't prompt them and let them say what was laid upon their hearts. I asked if I could share their words with you and they agreed. The following is what Alexandria had to say:
Hi my name is Alexandria. I am 12 years old. I am from Texas. Kyle Texas to be exact. You have inspired me so much. I hope you get to feeling better. Keep fighting. I believe in you. I will do my best to spread the word and hope that you get tons of cards. I am praying for you. I wish you the best.

Andrews card read: Hi I'm Andrew from Kyle, Texas and I'm 9 years old. I saw your pictures and noticed you like hunting, guess what I like hunting too!!! That buck is big, even my Dad says it is. I'm sorry that you are sick. My mom has told me about you and you are very strong and brave. I hope God can wrap His arms around you.

Zachary's card read: I wish that you feel better. I am sorry that you feel bad. I am praying that you feel good. From Zachary. I am 6 (his 6 was backwards)

Lessons learned? After the kids were all done making their cards and after we had eaten dinner I asked them what this project meant to them.

Alexandria said:
Make a encourage people to help other people...even people they don't know. That no matter if you know someone or not you should still try to help so they can feel like someone is appreciating them. I learned that things can change in the blink of an eye. Even one card can make someone's day.

Andrew said: Life can always change and we should treat each other nicer. It made me feel that I need to treat Lex and Zach better because I can never take back something hurtful after I have said it. When things aren't going my way I will think of Heather and how she is suffering from cancer and that she is going to soon die. It made it think that I need to treat people nicer because some day they are going to die and I can't take back the bad things that I have done to someone. Heather made me think that I should respect people and that I need to respect people. Heather is a fighter who has not given up.

This was hard for Zachary to understand....It makes me think about everything that has happened to me...meaning like...I don't want anyone to die. And it makes me sad what she is trying to fit in for the last of her lifetime. It makes me think about my brother and sister and when we fight it makes me sad because they are fighting so makes me sad. It taught me that life changes very fastly...and she is a young age to die.

Alexandria texted several of her friends who are making cards tonight and bringing them to school with them tomorrow. She is so excited to be able to send even more cards to Heather. Here are the cards that the kids made....Daddy picked out a special FROG to send to Heather. Heather loves frogs....but even more loves the saying Fully Rely On God....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A little bit of catching up to do…

Well here we are....the beginning of another year.  I thought that this would be the best time to start our family blog....I have had intensions of starting a family blog for well over a year just never took the time to do it. So I'll catch you all up in the happenings of the Collins' family.
PhotobucketAlexandria turned 12 in September. She is in the 6th grade and is doing better than we could have hoped for! 5th grade seemed to be somewhat of a struggle for her and we were dreading a new school year….but she has turned it around and made A/B Honor roll all year long! She is playing trombone in the band and has made it all the way to FIRST chair!! Her band director pulled her aside and told her that he sees so much potential in her and that she could really go far with this…he is encouraging her to take some private lessons. We are sooo proud of her!


Andrew is 9 and in the 4th grade. He is still a whiz in math and enjoys challenging himself to math that Alexandria is doing. He is still interested in paleontology and is also showing some interest in archeology. He applied and was accepted to the Robotics club and looks forward to every Monday's club meeting. One of the leaders said that see an engineer in the making!! He hasn't played ball since last fall….we took a break to go to Disney this past summer and he hasn't begged to go back so for now its just Robotics.


Zachary will be 6 tomorrow! I can't believe how quickly time has flown! He is enjoying Kindergarten and is reading! He has become quite the ladies man….he HAS to have his hair done just right each morning and must must must put his cologne on as well. He has a few gals that are his "girlfriends"…one is Sophie (she has been his love since he was 2) and Zoe (she is in his class and he is quite smitten with her as well).

We added some chickens to our family last fall…we have 1 rooster named Rocky and 6 hens. The hens don't have any names….we just call them all "ladies". Having Rocky crow every morning is a great reminder that I am blessed to be living in my family home. It was built by my great grandfather in 1920 and we are so proud to call this home!