Monday, January 26, 2015

Doing Battle, Week 18

Most of this week went really well and cancer was a second thought then later in the week I started to think about what's after this, and what the next steps will look like....there's a whole lot there looming.

On Saturday a friend reminded me that Monday, today, is a day to celebrate and I was glad because I'd kind of lost that thought and its a good one to pause at. There is reason to celebrate!  Many who start this regiment don't finish it. I haven't gotten sick since before October and my blood counts have always been "perfect" or "good". I'm so grateful for those things!

My first treatment began when the trees were still spectacularly autumn-y, which feels ages ago. To use an over-used cliche, its been a "roller coaster ride" filled with way too much drama for this simple, does-not-do-rides girl.

Though I've woken up each day not entirely sure what to expect from my body, there's at least been a rhythm.  But after this treatment is over we'll head into a familiar, yet unpredictable phase, one that involves more tests and consultations and waiting by the phone to determine time frames and action steps. And this time it will be without Shaun, who will be working crazy hours for the next three weeks.

But this morning, even as I type, my Team, my people are sending me messages rejoicing with me that we, ALL of us, have made it to this point. Eight of eight is GOOD!

Also, God delivered a gift to us yesterday. Its such a God-thing that its not even anything we could have known to specifically pray for.

Back in the fall my cousin Melody applied and was accepted for a semester sabbatical (she's a professor at a college in NY). When she was here for Christmas she offered herself to us. So many have, but what is great and unique about Melody is that she can live here but still continue with the writing she needs to accomplish (and get published!!) this semester. Therefore, my guilt at tying up someone's time is eased. For us, its the perfect situation and nothing we could have dreamed up or asked for. SO like God to just arrange that for us!

I'm so thankful that even though there are so many unanswered questions, so much of the journey left, that I don't need to be worried, troubled or anxious. I can abide in His peace and know that the Lord cannot be overcome because He has overcome.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Project 365, Week 4

It is a beautiful day where we are...sunny, with a covering of white. We were able to get outside quite a bit with "mild" temps in the 30s. Hey...its January...we take what we can get!

January 18
Apparently kids cooking pancakes on Sunday morning is becoming a tradition.
It was a quiet, lazy day of hanging out, building forts and Amanda being sick.
January 19
Martin Luther King Day "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."

(photo credit:??)

We have our very own pond/skating rink right in our yard.

Amanda helped me do school with Aiden.
January 20
Happy boy, happy dog.
January 21
If you are at our house and you can't find Aiden, he is most likely sitting on his feet in the living room  building ships and aircraft (equipped with copious guns)...hours and hours a day with legos.
This picture was taken at exactly 5:30 PM. See that light?? We're getting minutes added each day!!
January 22
All three kids had cried at some point in the day for various reasons, so we did something crazy and not recommended on a daily basis...we left mid-homework to hit the drive-thru for $1 cones. On this day it changed the tide.
January 23
Our second littlest cousin came for a visit...
...he brought his mom along, too. :)
Mom, this is the size bread that Jesus and his buddies ate at the Last Supper.
January 24
It was literally an answer to my kids' prayer that there were a couple inches of snow when they awoke. I was happy it was on a Saturday so we didn't have to spend a school day. They threw on their snow gear over their pajamas and were out in a flash!
Later in the afternoon Alayna came over.

Hope you have a great week!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Signs of Life

Happy Friday!! I'm so grateful today. The sun came up again this morning...and a thousand other reasons, including the little people living under my roof who relentlessly make messes.

Instead of seeing imperfections as thorns in my decorating flesh, I want to open my eyes and see them as signs of life.  These messes all stem from gifts in my life.  I still clean the mud off shoes (or make my boys do it), but I also know that if a neighbor walked in and saw a trail of mud, I wouldn't need to be embarrassed.  Its just proof of lives being lived, and houses are for living.  My home is a reflection of our life, and life's messes can be gloriously beautiful. ~The Nesting Place

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My 40th Birthday

My plan for turning 40 was to travel to Los Angeles and run the marathon that supports the efforts of the DreamCenter. Obviously those plans changed, so after Christmas I implored Shaun to not do anything for my birthday, knowing it would land on a treatment week and, quite frankly, just being really sick of feeling like every day is Lisa Day.

However, my warning went unheeded and he gave Amy permission to forge ahead with a surprise party. Since I can't go out anywhere, she decided to bring the party to me. Literally, she brought decorations, food, everything and, with the help of some trusty assistants, had it all set up in the time it took me to get ready.  And really, even though it had to be, the perfect location was in my home...I love having the walls filled with people.

Aiden came to escort me downstairs for the "surprise before the surprise".
I was shocked to find my friend, who just days before I'd Facetimed with from her home in Denver, standing in my dining room. Shocking! Shelva flew across the country on days notice just to see me and to be at my party! Such love!

Maddy was a big help, keeping her mom on track, helping the girls look presentable and doing my makeup.
Lil and Meg have been steadies in my life for many years now. They have such servant's hearts and helped make everything happen flawlessly "behind the scenes". Meg is also the one who took all these pictures.
Heart. Breaker.

Amy lined up several people to share dad, my mom, Shaun, my brother Tim, Amy and Shelva. I was blown away. They told stories from many years ago and spoke generously and lovingly about me (and didn't give away too many of my childhood secrets ;). Very touching. The girl they described is not the one I bring before the Lord each morning and beg Him to "make me more like You".

I kept looking around the room, marveling at the 35 or so people gathered in my dining room. These people have stepped in really close to us over the last four months when it would have been easier to just take a quiet step back and wait til this whole cancer thing blew over. They are beautiful, amazing people who are so quick to give and love. They are inspiring and make me want to be better and live with a heart wide open.

I'm so grateful to Amy for all the work and thought she put in to making the evening as special and perfect as it was.  At just 22 months apart we were each other's first friend and we've been through a whole lot together. She knows me like no other. I joke that I'm glad we're sisters because there's no way we would have been friends otherwise. She truly is a rare treasure and I'm so thankful she's mine.

Many people have asked me how I feel about turning forty and I actually have two slightly varying answers to that, one pre-September 19th and one post. My pre-September 19th answer would have been that 40 feels feels right. Though my skin is saggier and my hair grayer, there are many things I had to worry about and work through in my 20's and 30's that are settled now. God has changed me and grown me in so many areas. Shaun and I are reaping the rewards of time and effort we've invested in our marriage and our love, though not perfect, has never been sweeter. I love being a mom and am enjoying these school-age years. I think of the song that inspired my blog name:

I have been blessed
And I feel like I've found my way
I thank God for all I've been given
At the end of every day
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones
That love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed

My post-September 19th answer can be summed up in the words of my father-in-law, who has done his own battle with cancer:

As I got older, I started dreading birthdays. Now I consider each one a precious gift from God.

So true. We all think we have this big long road stretched before us and, though we know in theory that life ends at some point, we don't actually live that out in reality. But when you come face-to-face with something that makes you realize for certain that life is indeed terminal, you begin to look at each new day, each new birthday with a certain amount of awe and wonder and gratefulness.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will 
dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 
Psalm 23:6