"Our Little Trooper"

"Our Little Trooper"
"Let me live, that I may praise you!" Psalm 119:175

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Guardians of the Children's 2017 Ride to the Empty Cross...in memory of Rowan, a.k.a. "Hope" Windham

The Guardians of the Children Von Ormy took Rowan into their family, as a Lil' Guardian, over a year ago.  He chose the name "Hope" as his road name, and was so proud to wear his leather vest.  He wore it at their different charity events, and even during his first transplant. 

He wore it on his first ever motorcycle ride...on the back of "Batman" 's orange bike, the day they adopted him into their family.  Rowan was nervous as he left, but returned from that ride, laid back, comfortable, and feeling immediately like one of the guys.

Saturday, Rowan's vest rode with Batman, in the back of that same orange motorcycle. This time, the name Hope had been stenciled on the bike, in Rowan's memory. 


Thank you for that honor Batman...I don't have the right words to describe how much it meant to us.

After everyone arrived, registered, and enjoyed their breakfast tacos and coffee, they encircled Brian and I and prayed over our family and for the safety of the riders.

Then it was time to line up the bikes and cars, and begin the ride...

(I will share an awesome story about the riders on this last bike down below...)
I know Rowan was there with us all... on the back of Batman's bike, as well as flying high above us all.  He was everywhere...encircling us with love, reminding us to love our lives, and protecting all of the riders. 


Here are just a few of the reasons why I know Rowan was there:

1.  The last motorcycle in the picture above, and it's two riders, showed up minutes before we left Helotes for Kerrville.  They asked "Is this the group riding to the winery?"  See, there had been another group of motorcycles that had gathered in the same spot and left maybe 30 minutes before.  We told them no, that they had just missed their group but that they were welcome to join our ride to Kerrville. They said sure, in an instant, and they didn't just ride out to Kerrville. They joined in the tribute to Rowan in the parking lot, and the prayer before we walked up the hill.  They walked around the grounds with us all, and they joined in the group photos, with their fists held high...just like Rowan.  Before they left (after more than 2-3 hours with our group) they stopped Brian and I to let us know that they had to leave, but thanked us for allowing them to join in.  We told them how happy we were that they did.  Arturo and his wife told us, "Everything happens for a reason.  We were supposed to be late today, so we missed our group, and came here instead.  We needed this.  We needed to be here."  Isn't that just so Rowan?  Complete strangers spent the day with us, drove 62 miles with us, prayed with us, and left prayer rocks at the foot of a 77 ft cross in the Texas hill country with us.  Thank you Rowan;)

2. On the way to Kerrville, one rider lost control on the highway and his bike went off the road right in front of our car, going over 70 miles per hour.  I avoided hitting him. We all pulled over immediately, jumped out of our vehicles and ran to the scene...both the rider and the bike were unscathed.  He had miraculously flipped off the bike as it hit the ground in the median.  He hopped to his feet and was fine!  I couldn't believe it at first, but then I imagined Rowan's angel, grabbing his shoulders and pulling him to safety as his bike went down.  The rider was able to restart the bike and continue the rest of the ride. We were all so relieved and thankful, praising God for that protection, so that each and every rider arrived safely at the cross. 

3.  As the artist and creator of the cross was explaining the design and reason he created this sculpture, he told us that he had a recent dream that "one million souls would be saved" here.  Several of us turned to each other, smiled and nodded.  It sounded just like Rowan, and his dream of "one million lives saved" through the "one million bone marrow matches" he hoped to find.  Briana "Half-Pint" and I turned to each other and mouthed the word "Rowan" instantly, with huge smiles:)

4.  After our time at the cross, I was telling several of the GOC that I wish we had known about this place before, so we could have brought Rowan to see it.  Just as I said, "He would have loved it here." A huge, bright yellow Monarch Butterfly, didn't just fly by us, it flew through us...weaving it's way through our crowd.  Again, Briana and I looked at each other, smiled and said, "Rowan".  He was showing us that he was indeed there.


When we got to Kerrville, we were blown away.  Brian and I had never been there. 

We didn't walk straight up to the top right away though.  First, all the bike and car riders gathered in the parking lot.  The artist who created the cross had heard that we were all coming, so he was there to explain the purpose of the cross, and the prayer garden all around it.  He asked me more about Rowan's story, everyone prayed over Brian and I, the Guardians of the Children, and then for the staff and the work being done there at the Empty Cross.

The GOC had a few surprises for Brian and I...they played two of the songs from Rowan's memorial service and burial, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Hallelujah".  It was beautiful.  Then they presented us an amazing stone dedicated to Rowan, with his pictures on it, signed by all of them.  They made it for us, so it could be left there at the gardens, in his memory.  It was gorgeous.  We were so moved.

(You girls did a wonderful job...the stone is perfect!)

The grounds and the view were breathtaking...God's beauty was there, both up close and far away..  Bluebonnets everywhere this time of year... Large sculptures...  Scriptures in the sidewalk... A gorgeous fountain... the vast hill country views all around...

Over time, the area on top of the hill, has apparently spontaneously become a place for people to write their prayers on stones, and leave them there at the cross.  There are thousands of prayer rocks now, all along the paths surrounding the cross. 

It was so emotional to walk around reading them.

And of course... "Hope" was giving us signs everywhere...


We wrote one for the young daughter of a friend of ours and placed it along the path ourselves, as she battles a life threatening brain tumor.  It brought such peace, calm and hope to lay it at the cross...literally and figuratively.

Brian searched for the perfect spot for Rowan's stone.  He and I took a moment to write our own message to Rowan on the back first.  Then we placed it on the ground, amongst the others. 

There were tears, of course, because we miss our son so very much every minute of every day...but we felt his presence, urging us all onward, reminding us "Love your Life", "Make the Good", "Hope". 

The fellowship with this amazing group of people, the Guardians of the Children...was priceless.  It is so evident, the love they have for Rowan, and our entire family, and how much they have kept "Hope" in their hearts and minds.

Thank you sweet Briana, "Half-Pint" for taking most of these photos for me, and for still wearing the necklace Rowan gave you for your graduation.  He loved and admired you so very much...still does of course...just from Heaven now.

We took a wonderful group photo...

followed by another one in true Rowan fashion, fists raised high...

After nearly 2 hours there at the cross, we headed back down the hill, continued the ride, and stopped for lunch together. 

A beautiful day to sit outside, eat, drink and share our memories of Rowan.  We laughed, and we cried...but we truly enjoyed the day together with each other, and with "Hope" in our hearts.

If you get the chance to, I strongly suggest you make the trip to The Empty Cross.  It is well worth the drive.  And I'm pretty sure we all have things that are weighing on us, that we could stand to leave there... I know we did.

Thank you Guardians of the Children, and Rowan, for giving us "Hope" and for leading us...in more ways than you know.



  2. I have so many tears I can't see! We all love you, and miss you Rowan!!!!!