Daystar, or “the Little Yellow House,” as we like to call it, has been an absolute godsend for our family. Years ago, Daryle and I started going to Daystar to meet with one of their amazing counselors, David Thomas. I had actually seen him a few years prior at a mom-conference through our church. We wanted to learn how to help the kids deal with the world as Christians. The boys were in kindergarten at the time and were coming home with questions. It really kind of shocked us, bad behaviors and language. Honestly we were very taken aback that this was happening at such an early age. So we met with David because he also has twin boys, and we felt like he could help guide us through the uniqueness of raising twins; how that is different and how we can help them with coping skills.

When Daryle passed away, David reached out to me and asked to meet with the boys. I loved the fact that David had met with Daryle and knew the kids’ personalities. You know, we had previously sat on David’s couch and talked about our boys together. That history created a bond for me, and it also gave the Mercer and Jonah a sense that David really knew their dad. David was able to tell stories to the boys about their dad talking about his love for his sons, which created an automatic connection with Mercer and Jonah.

They started counseling a month after Daryle had passed away. I felt that was crucial in their development and their life moving forward. They needed someone they could talk to about what they were feeling, and for that person listen and give them professional feedback. The girls started going at the same time. They see a young lady named Catherine. She specializes in their age group but also specializes in play therapy with Charlotte, which is wonderful for her age.

When you walk into this place we lovingly call “the little yellow house,” it is a house full of healing, joy, and happiness. It is beaming with positive energy. Even as an adult, I walk in and immediately feel that I am being greeted with love. Everyone there is so kind and caring. I often say I wish that Daystar offered an adult camp, because it’s a feeling that you want to take with you and keep forever! I feel so very blessed to be a part of this counseling program. It really has been crucial in our life and moving forward after losing Daryle.

The first year we were there, the boys went to Hopetown, which is three day store in Kentucky. I was very hesitant to let them go. They had never been at a camp. But David felt it would be an amazing opportunity for the boys to create bonds with other other campers. That year in particular, they had older counselors, and most of those counselors had been at Daystar and done the program many times. It’s just one of those places you keep coming back to. To see it live out before your eyes it’s very precious.

The boys loved all of the volunteers, but created a special bond with one counselor in particular. This is how Daystar works, they are so specific in who is paired with whom, and the boys were paired with a counselor who had lost his mother as a child. Mercer and Jonah often say they’re the only people they know who’ve lost their father, so getting to know another young man who had lost a parent was important. They were able to connect with someone on a level that they had been missing. That connection allowed them to open up in ways they hadn’t been able to with others, and I think that was a big relief for the twins.

They were at camp for five days, and then the parents were able to visit. The kids put on a program for us parents that gave insight on what their week had been like. Let me just say, it touched my heart. There was a lot of tears, but joyful tears. To see how much the kids evolved after just one week at camp was truly inspiring. Even their spiritual awareness of our Maker was clearly heightened. At the end of the day, the counselors presented their child with a special token. Each child received a wooden heart with a word carved into it. This word represented the child’s unique gift, given to them by God to share with the world. Mercer’s heart showed the word “Humble,” which was so spot on. When you get to know him, Mercer’s humble heart is clear as day. Next was Jonah, and his heart read “Encourager,” which again, is so true. If you go to one of his baseball games, you’ll be sure to hear Jonah encouraging his teammates with enthusiasm. That’s one of the many things that makes Daystar special. The counselors truly care, and take the time to get to know the kids as individuals. This creates an atmosphere where the children feel understood, accepted, and even celebrated. Let me tell you, my mama heart burst with pride seeing my boys being recognized for their wonderful qualities. And I believe that type of acknowledgment can really inspire a to child flourish.

Now we go to the Little Yellow House once a month to continue our healing journey and stay connected to our beliefs. We used to go every couple weeks, but camp is coming up again and this year Nora wants to go. That was a surprise to me because she’s not one to venture far from mom! I’m so excited that she wants to take this step, I cannot wait to hear what she learned. This camp, more than anything, they love on the children. It sets the fire in their soul to learn the word of God, to be godly, to be Christlike. I am so grateful to have a village helping to teach my children these values. It truly does take a village and we are so blessed to call Daystar home.

This will be a lifelong process for the kids. They lost their father, there’s not a day that goes by that we don’t talk about him or think about him. Some days are happy and some days are sad. We’re still learning how to navigate through this, but going to Daystar has been tremendous, and we will probably keep going for a very long time. As I told the kids many times: life is hard, and we all need someone we can talk to. I encourage you, even as just a maybe, reach out. The connection we gained from Daystar was such a wonderful thing and played a crucial part in our lives. I am and will always be an advocate for therapy and counseling. You should definitely check out Daystar’s website to learn more about their programs and their outreach because they have such a huge ministry.

Happy Thursday, Friends!