When we arrived at Lincolnwood High School, and the usual orange and black school colors had been traded for purple and white.
|Amid purple decorations, Katelyn and her friend sold Grace-filled baked items.|
The second Volley for Grace night this season was held on Monday, Oct. 3, when the Lady Hiltoppers of Hillsboro traveled to Raymond to compete against the Lady Lancers of Lincolnwood. It was Lincolnwood who actually started the Volley for Grace events two years ago, when Kyle's cousins, Kayley and Kensey Armour, were playing on the junior high team, and the tradition has grown since then.
|Special "BEAT INAD" jerseys were a highlight of the game.|
The cafeteria was decorated with purple and white signs with information about INAD and photos of our sweet Grace. Kyle's cousin, Katelyn, and her friend were selling purple princess crackle and purple ribbon cookies for donations to INAD. They also graciously agreed to sell A Grace-Filled Journey scarves for us too, and they seem to be a hit with the little girls.
|Check presentation from the kindergarten class.|
|Check presentation from Raymond Grade School.|
|Check presentation from Lincolnwood Junior High School.|
Although Kyle's dad and sister were already inside the gym, it took us awhile to make our way in as we enjoyed visiting with some of Kyle's friends who had come to the game, wearing their purple and white shirts. It was so much fun to catch up with everyone and Grace enjoyed watching all the kids.
|A special visit from some special friends.|
When we finally stepped inside the gym, the Lady Lancers were clad in special purple jerseys that read "BEAT INAD" on the back. There were also purple balloons in each of the basketball hoops, and the teams had borrowed purple and white game balls from Litchfield for the special event.
|Check presentation from Lincolnwood High School|
|Check presentation from the LJHS volleyball team, including a special photo of Grace with the team.|
|Check presentation from the Lady Lancer volleyball team.|
We found some seats in front near the large fan, and Grace loved the breeze, as well as sitting right next to her cousin, Quincy, and other members of both of our families.
|The amazing prayer circle around Kyle and Grace before the game.|
As the junior varsity game ended, Athletic Director Josh Stone invited the three of us to the center of the gym. Throughout the entire school district, classes competed in a Change Wars for Grace, and the winning class in each building got to present the check to Grace, which for the students is a highly sought after honor.
|Kyle got to share our story with the crowd.|
|Someone sure likes being the center of attention!|
Class by class, the students and their teachers brought a check tied to a purple balloon to Grace and Kyle, including volleyball players from both the junior high and high school teams. A grand total of nearly $5,000 was presented to us that night, and Kyle and I were completely blown away.
|Kyle and Grace with the Hillsboro and Lincolnwood volleyball teams.|
Usually, Kyle and I are both able to maintain our composure, but this one seemed to slip away from us. Kyle took the microphone to thank everyone for coming and for their generous contributions. He got a little misty eyed in talking about our Grace, and we are so grateful for everyone that has adopted us into their family.
|Kyle in his valiant attempts at the serving challenge.|
They had one final fundraiser that night, called Serving for Grace, that the team does at all the home games. Participants pay to put their name in the bucket, then several are selected with a chance to serve the volleyball and hit a target to win a prize. My favorite was when they called Kyle to be the last one to serve. He's gotten to serve at the last three fundraisers, and though he has yet to win a prize, he always entertains the crowd. This year, he even served one facing the wrong way. Ironically, it was the only one that went over the net.
|Hanging with the Elvidges and cousin Kayley at the game.|
Just before they announced the starting line-ups for the team, both teams made a giant prayer circle around Kyle and Grace and Greg Neisler offered a beautiful prayer. I couldn't keep the tears from streaming down my cheeks a little as a I watched the love and support going up for our beautiful Grace. It was such a special moment for our family.
|Family cheering section.|
|Smiles for Aunt Mikaela|
After the prayer, we settled in to watch the game, cheering for both sides throughout the game. Ultimately, the Lady Hiltoppers would come out with the win in two games, but everyone on the court was a true winner that night for their love for Grace.
You still have one more chance to see the Volley for Grace teams in action on Tuesday evening, Oct. 18, when Lincolnwood hosts the Lady Mohawks of Morrisonville. No matter which team comes out on top that night, I can promise you an inspirational night you will never forget. Come out and Volley for Grace!