Remind me next time I go to the thrift store to not bring Billy along. Over the years, I've turned shopping at the thrift store into an art form, and last week when he thought it might be fun to join me, years of hard work were ruined. I cannot even bring myself to speak to you about his new Mr. T tee shirt, or the other one that says, "Who are these kids and why are they calling me Dad?" That one is particularly painful as it also says, "Playa Del Carmen" under the dad comment. As if we've ever gone to a resort as a family. No, that's not quite how we roll. We don't do exotic. We don't do passports. We don't do expensive. What we do is Cheyenne, Wyoming.
We are all completely beat from the past four days in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It happened to be Cheyenne Frontier Days, and yes, we did get in on some major events, but the real draw for us was to spend time with our sweet extended family. There were 20 of us in all, and we made the most of our short time in that dusty little town.
The first big event we attended was a concert! We managed to get 12 seats together to see Rascal Flatts, and sang as loud as we could to all our favorite songs. Laura, cousin Sandra, and I "nailed it" as we made up moves to the lyrics, and impressed those around us with impromptu choreography. We laughed and danced as much as we could in our tight little seats, and watched our family get into the beat as well. Even cousin Tim cut loose, footloose, as his hand began to pat his knee vigorously. It was a great concert, and Rascal Flatts delivered!
The next morning we had to walk downtown about 2 miles to the free pancake breakfast. There tends to be complaining and whining when there are 20 people walking that long. In the heat. And hungry. We let the two oldest women in the group find a nice place to sit with the two youngest kids, as we went through the long and windy line to our free flapjacks. As we approached our food, Roger quickly explained how the pro's do it. He said, "As you get the pancakes on your plate, you have to flip them back for the girl to put butter between each one". He was right. They were divine. Not to mention we looked like locals.
That night we hit the town again for another concert. This time only eight of us went, as the older folks opted out of seeing Jason Aldean. The crowd was huge—apparently breaking a record for the largest concert in Wyoming's history. As the music rocked on, Laura, Sandra, and I pulled out more sic moves and wowed ourselves once again. Jason's music is sassy and loud, drawing in the tight jeans crowd, and as we left, my sister told us next year she's starting a "sweater ministry" for all the young girls who seemed to forget to wear a shirt over their bras.
For all the fun and excitement of Cheyenne Frontier Days, the real reason we were there was to spend some time with our newest family members. My sister and her husband are in the process of adopting four siblings ranging from age 8 to age 5. There are two boys and two girls. And they are simply amazing. Seeing them brought into their new family full of love, joy, safety…well, words can't do it justice. They already had three kids, almost all grown up, so adding four more at this point in their life is a sacrifice. But Laura and Roger would never say that. They would admit it's going to be hard. And that there are going to be a challenges. And that they are going to be bone weary at times. But they would also say it's completely worth it. They can't wait to see the story of these kid's lives played out, and watch how God can make something beautiful out of something that wasn't. For the last few days we marveled at these four little people who have changed our lives.
I don't believe in coincidence. I don't believe in luck. I believe there is purpose in each one of us, and this weekend my family saw the miracle of God's timing in our lives. We witnessed our loved ones living out their gospel, and celebrated with them as we join alongside this crazy, terrifying, breathtaking journey of faith. God is good. All the time.