Hi there my lovelies. Today is Nattie Day, as many of you know. Today marks 8 years since Nattie died, and each year her friends do a variety of things to honor her memory on this day. I give away books, and my friend Pattie specifically gives away a copy of Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons. If you haven't read it, you should. Some of us paint our nails and/or toenails purple. Drinking a Diet Coke is a great way to toast Natalie. When in the hospital, Nattie wore a t-shirt that said, "Kiss my Tiara," and I now have one I wear in her memory. Usually, I also don an actual tiara (that I won as a toddler in a tiara), but I must have packed it already because it is missing.
This year, I also did a new thing. My husband has done two mission trips to Honduras and he absolutely fell in love. One of the things our current church does is to raise money to build houses there. It cost $1500 to build a home for a family in Honduras, and I decided I needed to build one in Natalie's memory. I did not have $1500 and if I'd told my kids I was canning their Disney trip they might have murdered me. So I needed a plan. My plan was to ask you for help.
And boy did you all come through.
Between money I earned selling Jamberry nails the last few months and all sorts of donations from Natalie's family, friends, and my family and friends... churches and individuals... we have raised MORE THAN ENOUGH to build a house in Natalie's memory. MORE THAN ENOUGH! The extra will, I believe, go to school supplies for kids in Honduras next school year.
When the last checks came in, I cried and I cannot tell you how happy it made me. The verse I chose for the plaque that will hang in the Nattie house is from Job. I asked for it to be written in Spanish: Vivirás tranquilo, porque hay esperanza; estarás protegido y dormirás confiado.
In English, it is...
You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
Hope was a big deal for Natalie, and I never saw her lose it. Her Aunt Anne had a beautiful print made for a group of us, a print showcasing something Natalie wrote:
So I picked a verse that drew on the hope Natalie clung to and the safety of a roof over one's head. Also, it came from Job, and we teased Nattie some about being Job the year she got sick. That sweet girl... so much piled on her at one time, and she bore up under it with grace and beauty. When something is hard for me, I close my eyes and remember Nattie's last few years of life and I say, "Girl, if you could do THAT I can do THIS."
But, there is more. I said this post would have two announcements. One is that we raised the money for the house. Two is..
I GET TO GO TO HONDURAS.
I didn't plan to go on the trip. It cost $1500 and I chose to raise the money for the house instead of the money for a ticket. Corey promised me lots of photos of the house being built and the family that will live there, and I made peace with not getting to go myself.
Last week, one of the people going on the trip found out he cannot go. His wife called Corey and offered us his ticket. And I already have a passport because of our Israel trip in 2014.
I will get to go and help build this house and meet the family that will sleep under this roof. And so I woke this morning, on Natalie's 8th heaven-birthday, and I grinned. Because she isn't gone at all. Natalie is still here with all of us, and she is still praising Jesus and helping others and pointing out joy in the little things.
And now she's going with me to build a house in Honduras. And I may cry today too, but mostly I will dance and I will sing and I will do what Natalie did best...
I will be grateful for my life and for each of you that God has put in it.
Happy Nattie Day, y'all!