Our longtime friends, Jeff, Sheryl and Spencer from Fort Mill, SC were busy spreading some Christmas cheer and honoring sweet Riley this Christmas season! They left a little something extra for their server at lunch and dropped off some pizza for the always busy pharmacy staff at CVS.
I am sure both the server and the busy employees at CVS were beyond grateful for your #randomactsforriley as I know we are! Blessings to all of you and please know how thankful we are that you are honoring Riley in these thoughtful ways. We miss you guys so much and I know Riley is smiling down from heaven on each one of you! #rileysrainbows
Meet Ty....The precious gift our sweet angel, Riley, sent to us straight from heaven. This is a long story but I promise if you read it you will be amazed and probably get a few chill bumps in the process so hang in there if you can...
Riley had been wanting a dog for quite a while before he passed away. We were planning on getting one once a few things were settled concerning a possible moving date, and a few other items. You never in a million years imagine that something like this will happen to you, so we thought we had plenty of time to make the decision to bring a pet home when the timing would be the best for all involved. We wanted to avoid bringing a new pet home only to have to uproot and move him or her soon thereafter, etc.
Our son, Riley gained his angel wings on April 19th, 2016, before we were able to make his wish for a new family dog come true. A few weeks ago, I prayed and spoke with Riley asking him to please let me know what kind of dog he wanted for us and what to name him. Before his passing, this was a daily discussion between us that changed often, so I wanted some confirmation.
Later that night Rob and I were in the kitchen and I flipped the calendar over to May from April, to write down an upcoming appointment. I saw Riley's handwriting on the calendar for the day of May 18th saying simply "get ty". One of our discussions had been to get a Teacup Yorkie and name him Ty (abbreviation for teacup yorkie and an adorable name we all agreed).
I had been searching for a Yorkie, teacup or otherwise (Riley would never discriminate on that point!) ever since that day we saw his writing on the calendar. My sister found a picture of this adorable pup about a week after and I immediately contacted Saving Grace Adoptions to see about making him part of our family. I knew in my heart that this dog had to be ours. I filled out all of the paperwork, called and emailed. They probably thought I was a crazy person, but I didn't care because I knew we HAD to have this dog. A week or so passed by and I still had not heard back and was beginning to panic. They are a super busy place and also had a big adoption event coming up that coming weekend that they were preparing for, so it was completely understandable that it took some time.
At 3:41 pm on May 17th my sister and her sweet friend Kathi, who had previously adopted from Saving Grace and was helping me get in touch with them, were on the phone talking about our situation when Kathi got an email from the email address JohnRiley@championsSG.com with the subject line simply saying, "It's almost time". John is the name of Kathi's beloved father that passed away, Champions could stand for many things, the first thing I thought of was Champions for God and SG are the initials for Saving Grace. Coincidence? I think not. Six minutes later, at 3:47 pm, I received an email from Saving Grace stating that I could come see Ty (they had named him Scotty at the time - notice the last two letters!) I immediately went to see him fully prepared to take him home with me that very night. They informed me that he had to get a heartworm shot the following day so I could not take him home with me and I would not be able to pick him up until that was done - the next day on May 18th! The Lord works in mysterious ways and I truly believe God and my sweet angel, Riley, sent Ty straight to us. We are so blessed to have Ty as the newest member of our family. Ty Fighter Coenen is his full name. Our beloved angel not only loved dogs but he was also a Star Wars fanatic so we thought it fitting to give him a middle name that Riley would love. #rileysrainbows
Our new friend, Tara, along with her young sons, were busy spreading lots of Christmas cheer and honoring our sweet Riley this holiday! In honor of Riley, Tara and her oldest son delivered pizza to the York Police Department. Her other son made a card thanking the officers for keeping everyone safe and he also gave them all of his allowance he had earned - WOW! If that is not a display of Christmas kindness, I don't know what is!
Tara, we cannot thank you enough for sharing your kindness and honoring Riley. The sweetness and generosity that your sons displayed show what a caring and kind family you are raising!
Thank you so much to our friend Lisa for making a donation to a charity near and dear to our heart, Saving Grace NC, in Riley's name. Riley was an animal lover to his very core! Anything four-legged and furry was his friend!
Saving Grace Animal Adoption is a non- profit organization dedicated to helping homeless animals in our community find permanent, loving homes where they will be treated as family members for the rest of their lives. This is where we found our beloved Yorkie/Scottie, Ty. We could not love Saving Grace and their organization more and are so thankful that Lisa decided to honor Riley this Christmas in this kind and thoughtful way.
If you haven't read about our sweet doggie, Ty, and the miraculous story of how he came to us, please visit our blog to read all about it here:
Lisa also had another fabulous idea that is so easy to do and I definitely need to add to our Kindness List once I update it! She left quarters at the car wash after vacuuming her car. I love this!
Thank you so much for your #randomactsforriley, Lisa! They mean the world to us and we wish you and your family blessings for a Happy New Year! #rileysrainbows #savinggracenc
The Duke Children's Hospital Toy Drive of 2016 was a huge success! Thank you so much to my dear friend Katy who was the sweet lady behind the idea to donate the toy in honor of Riley and Riley's Rainbows in the first place! She truly has a heart of gold! Of course, when she brought the idea up to us we were thrilled and jumped in wholeheartedly. Anytime we have the opportunity to put smiles on deserving children's faces and honor our angel at the same time is a win-win!
And what a win it was! Thanks to Katy's co-workers, family, friends, Cub Scout Pack 511, Bad Daddy's Burger Bar at Seaboard Station and their generous employees and patrons we made two separate deliveries to Duke to deliver gifts! Unfortunately, Katy was not able to get any photos the day she delivered the first round of gifts but yesterday my husband, Rob, and the amazing Amanda from Bad Daddy's, delivered a LITERAL truckload of toys! My Expedition was truly filled to the front seat with toys!
When I went to Bad Daddy's at Seaboard Station Sunday night to see the tree and all of the donations I was overwhelmed with emotion. (Can we say ugly cry?!) Cov DeRamus of Bad Daddy's and his awesome team did an amazing job of collecting toys, decorating their beautiful tree and even making a very special handpainted banner!
Words cannot express how happy it makes me that the children at Duke Children's Hospital will have so much love and kindness to look forward to soon. Here are some photos for now and we should have some others coming soon once the parents get the chance to go choose gifts for their kids to receive.
This Christmas is a very tough one for Rob and I but I can tell you that my heart is so full thinking of all of the people that came together to make this happen in honor of Riley. Thank you to all and blessings for a very Merry Christmas!
Since Riley's passing we have been blessed with countless treasures in memory of Riley in the forms of letters, drawings, gifts, jewelry, paintings, etc. Many of them have been from children and each one truly makes my heart smile.
One of these treasures is a drawing from a girl named Anna that I hold so dear to my heart. She is a former student of mine at All Saints Academy. Actually, we were a one-on-one classroom and we became very close. Her mother also taught Riley and he loved her dearly. It made me so happy that this mother and I were able to share our children in this special way. I also had the pleasure of teaching her two older daughters in another classroom. This precious family moved to New Jersey so I don't get to see them but I think of them often.
Anna, the girl who drew the picture above, is a very talented artist and I have no doubt that her artistic future, or any future she chooses for that matter, is very bright indeed. I want to share a drawing that was on the front of the card that she mailed along with her family's sympathy card. I see it each day as it has been hung on a bulletin board in my office area. I am now redoing the board to add some of my favorite bible verses, but can assure you this drawing will be put right back up where I can view it at anytime.
Thank you so much sweet Anna. You and your family mean the world to me and I know Riley loves your beautiful drawing as he sees it from heaven just as much as I do.
I wanted to share a few email messages that I received from Riley a month or two before his passing. He loved sending me love messages via email and I loved receiving every single one! The last one I included shows his endless imagination and fun-loving personality. It was written to a female classmate of his that he enjoyed chatting with and I love her response, a simple, "yes Riley".
Hello, and welcome! My name is Sonya. I am forever Mom to Riley, our sweet angel in heaven, a photography lover and Founder of Riley's Rainbows Foundation.