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Faith and Family, An American Hero Keeps Giving,And Dogs, A Gift From God *Weekend Open Thread*

October 14, 2017

Here we are, another weekend, thank God. It has been a long week, both with all that has been going on in our country, and personally as I continue to recover from surgery with physical therapy. Whew. So, yeah, it’s time to take a step back from the craziness for a bit.

Many of us here are big fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines, the stars of the HGTV show, “Fixer Upper.”And many of us are very disappointed that they have decided that this year is their last. “Say it ain’t so!” was the response of many.

Well, it is so, but for all the right reasons. This just makes me love these two even more. From Faithwire:

In the article (People), the couple shares that since Fixer Upper debuted in 2013, they have been filming 11 months of the year, while also managing their 500-employee strong company, Magnolia, which includes a real estate division, retail store, wallpaper and furniture lines, a quarterly magazine, luxury vacation rentals, books, an upcoming restaurant, and a product line for Target.

“Nobody told us that that was unique,” Chip told the magazine of the production schedule. “Nobody told us that that was a little bit irrational.”

With their children getting older, they realized the pace was unsustainable.

“The kids were so young when we started,” Joanna said. “Fast-forward to today and our oldest is almost a teenager — they’re all growing up so quickly.”

 “They would ask, ‘Mom and Dad, do you guys have to film again today? When is this going to be over?” Chip added.

Wow – I had no idea the size and scope of their business. I also didn’t realize that they filmed for 11 months a year. How hard that must have been on them, especially given the size and scope of their business, but on their adorable children:

Ultimately, through their faith and commitment to family, the Gaines seem to have realized something that few others in the entertainment industry do: sometimes it is best to walk away when you’re on top.

“We would rather stop here, where we still feel we’re in a really good place,” Chip explained. “We have the chance to regroup and refresh and find out in two years, thank God we stopped and gave each other time and energy and loved our family more than we would’ve had the resources to do otherwise. Hopefully that will pay dividends down the road.”

“We really want to focus on this break and take a step back to let this all soak in,” Joanna concluded. “Regardless of what the future holds, we are hopeful for what God has for us and our family in this next season.” […](Click here to read the rest.)

Well, amen to that. I gotta give them huge props for that – putting their faith and their family first. That speaks volumes about who they are as people, I think. They are something special.

And speaking of special, that is what veteran Marine Taylor Winston is, as evidenced by his heroics, and that of his girlfriend, Jenn Lewis, during the insanity that erupted in Las Vegas. You may have heard about this young man and what he did. But just in case, here’s the story from The Veterans Site:

The shooting persisted for several minutes while the 22,000 people at the country music festival ran or covered for safety and shelter. Winston and Lewis, however, ran towards the danger instead of away from it. Taylor found a nearby work truck that had the keys inside and commandeered the vehicle. Finding the most critically wounded victims and carrying them to safety, Winston used the pick-up truck as a makeshift ambulance.

In two separate trips, Winston was able to get around 30 critically wounded victims to Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center. The truck was later returned to its owner, who praised Winston for his swift actions to save lives.

Can you imagine the bravery and courage of these two to commandeer a vehicle and to race back into the sheer mayhem not just once but twice to save the lives of total strangers. That speaks volumes.

The bravery of Marine Corps vet Winston did not go unnoticed. And even then, Winston went above and beyond:

B5Motors reached out on social media with the hashtag #HelpB5MotorsfindTaylorWinston, and soon they got in touch with Winston himself. After working out the details of getting the new truck to the courageous Marine Corps veteran, Winston said he would be selling his current truck and donating the proceeds of the sale to help the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas.

“We are honored to play a role in this full-circle story as now Taylor will be selling his current vehicle and donating those funds to the Vegas victims,” B5Motors later posted on Facebook.

Oh, but wait – there is more about this young man that shows what a tremendous young man he is:

[…]

“It’s been nearly a week after the mass shooting at Route 91 and have finally returned home to San Diego,” Winston said on Facebook. “I’ve been fortunate to spread positivity and light through media platforms, helped Stoney’s Rockin Country with a benefit concert, and met some other amazing heroes since then. The most important thus far has been visiting the survivors who have not been as fortunate as I, and giving them hugs and looking them in the eye and thanking them for being so strong. It’s been emotional and humbling to know how many amazing people are out there. This is something no one should have to go through, but I feel more prepared than ever to get back into the grind and bring joy, love, and positivity to others. Can’t wait to see y’all out there and give ya a big ol hug at events to come.” […](Click here to read the rest.)

It says a lot about him that he wanted to provide comfort and support on top  of it all.

But Winston is not the only one who has been providing support to those affected by the terrible attack in Las Vegas. That would be the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs. From HuffPo:

The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs are a furry crew affiliated with Lutheran Church Charities, nonprofit based out of Northbrook, Illinois. The group has trained therapy dogs stationed in 23 states. The dogs work in their local community at places like hospitals and nursing homes and often travel to the scene of crises like the Las Vegas massacre.

The canines offer emotional support to grieving people and can help victims open up after a tragedy. People can pet them, talk to them, and use them as a furry shoulder to cry on.

“Dogs show unconditional love,” Tim Hetzner, the president Lutheran Church Charities who founded the K-9 program in 2008, told HuffPost. “They’re good listeners, they’re confidential, they don’t take notes.”

I mean, really – how could those smiling faces not bring a smile to someone’s face, or those soft coats some comfort?

“They’re a fantastic bridge in helping people,” Hetzner said, adding that the people of Las Vegas are dealing with many kinds of trauma, including survivor’s guilt and the pain of losing loved ones. Others are struggling through severe injuries that may leave them with permanent damage.

[…]

“Dogs are an incredible gift from God,” he said. “They sense when someone is hurting.” (Click here to read the rest.)

Hey, is it an accident that dog is God spelled backward? I don’t think so!

Here is more about these cuddly comforters:

Aren’t they wonderful? What a blessing those pups are…

That’s it for me, friends. This is your Weekend Open Thread.

 

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