Some of you may know our song 'Strong and Courageous', but I want to tell you more of the story behind the song and why it is so special to us.
This song was originally born out of us leading worship on a Sunday morning at a local church for the kids Sunday School large group time. The theme verse one particular Sunday was Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. That week Michelle challenged me to write a song for the service that weekend based on the theme verse. So, I sat down and scratched out a simple little chorus and we used it that weekend. It was a hit! We liked it and the kids LOVED it so we decided to work on it some more and come up with some verses and a bridge and voila 'Strong and Courageous' was born! It is a hit with kids and adults, and it is so much fun to see everyone doing the brave, strong and courageous motions!

Well, that is not where the story ends. Our daughter, Gabriella, has a friend named Sadie whom she calls her 'best friend.' Whenever they are together they pretend that they are princesses or fairies or ballerinas, something very girly, it is so cute! A little over a year ago Sadie and her family found out that she had a giant tumor growing in her abdomen. She and her family have gone through so much in the last year with Sadie having multiple surgeries, chemo, radiation and being in and out of the hospital. However, long before anyone knew that Sadie had cancer, her family had adopted a family verse, and that verse is Joshua 1:9, the same verse we based our song 'Strong and Courageous' on.
As Sadie has gone through all of this she continues to hold on to the truth in Joshua 1:9, "God is always with you." She is brave and strong and courageous and does not let anything hold her down! She is an incredible testimony of God's love!

As we were recording our "Live to Love" CD, we asked if Sadie would come in and say the scripture at the beginning of the song, 'Strong and Courageous'. She was a little reluctant at first, but then when she heard her voice on the recording she was very excited! It is so beautiful to hear her say the verse and know that she is living it out! You can listen to the song by clicking on it below. Enjoy!


There is one more part to this story that I don't want you to miss. For the last few years, instead of having a birthday party, Gabriella has wanted to do a fundraiser. She has such a compassionate heart, (just like her mother) and loves helping people. This years fundraiser is going to be on March 1st at Fralo's Art of Pizza in Leon Springs. Instead of bringing gifts, Gabi wants everyone to come out to Fralo's to eat pizza and enter the raffle to raise money for new bedding, art supplies and games for the kids receiving cancer treatments at the facility where Sadie gets her treatments. All of the details are below in the flyer. We would love to see you there! And remember....Be brave and strong and courageous, because God is ALWAYS with you!
AuthorJustin Graves
The other night while on our road trip across America we stopped for dinner just outside Kansas City. We had been in North Dakota and were driving to Kansas City for the night. We had been in the car for about 13 of our 15 hour drive and stopped to eat at Olive Garden. Gabi was so excited because one of her favorite foods is pasta! Well, if you have ever eaten at the OG you know that at the end of the meal they bring you an Andes mint, who doesn't love chocolate and mint!?! Gabi may have had one before but did not remember what they were, and when she ate hers, she loved it! Michelle ate hers and John, who was playing with us over the weekend, ate his. I was so full I could not even think of eating another thing, not even a little piece of chocolate. So I decided to give mine to Michelle, and she said to go ahead and give it to Gabi.
Now, the other day when Gabi came home from school she was telling us that they had learned the 3rd person rule, Jesus - Others - You. JOY. She told us how we should always put Jesus first, others second, and ourselves third. That goes right along with what we are always talking about with Gabi, Loving God and Loving Others, and how we can do that every day even in little ways.
So, Gabi takes the candy, opens it, and without giving it a thought, she takes it and breaks it. She looked at it and saw that it didn't break exactly in half. She examines the pieces and takes the smaller piece and puts it in her mouth and hands the bigger half to Michelle. My heart nearly burst out of my chest! I could not believe this amazing little girl! We all immediately told her how proud we were of her for wanting to share, but more than that, how she decided to give the bigger piece away. She looked at us and said, " I was using the 3rd person rule. Jesus, Others, You." Which blew me away even more.
I realized how often I don't practice this simple rule. I like to keep the bigger, better piece for myself. I often times get the 3rd person rule backwards. Y - O - J. I think of myself before others. I am learning so much from my sweet 5 yr old!
I will never look at an Andes mint the same!
AuthorJustin Graves
CategoriesKid Stuff