Saturday, May 30, 2015

21 Years of Together

Today Shaun and I celebrate 21 years of marriage and what feels like a lifetime (in a good way!) of being together.

I think of all the days and months stacked up in those 21 years and my heart fills to overflowing. To know, day in and day out that he's shown up and think of the countless moments that have made up the re-define romance again, and again.

Recently a nurse at the chemo place was asking how Shaun was, since she hadn't be there for a while. I smiled and told her what a warrior he's been, what an incredible caregiver, what selfless love I've received day after day, what an incredible burden he's shouldering without a word of complaint.

She told me she was so happy to hear that. She said what often happens during a trauma like cancer is that the marriage falls apart. Naively, that surprised me but it also made me so very thankful for the man who so bravely stands by my side. Cancer has brought us closer together, causing us to cherish our days together, living in full awareness of how fleeting life is. Today, after all these years we appreciate more and more that we simply have each other.

Shaun is God's gift to me and I'm thankful. So thankful.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Peaceful Assurance

Peaceful assurance--a peace you can sense deeply, even when chaos is swirling around you. Like an anchor holding a ship steady, God's peace gives security. Its a peace that doesn't flutter for a few seconds and then evaporate into thin air, but one that refuses to go away, hours later, days later, months later--even when the path ahead is blocked by all kinds of challenges, risk, and danger, and even if you'd rather not go in the direction it is pointing you. Your own heart, left to itself, might quiver and hesitate and ultimately fail, but the Spirit's peace soothes and strengthens you, giving you confidence to accomplish the task He's sending you out to perform.

~Priscilla Shirer


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Doing Battle, Week 35

How are you feeling? Is currently the most common question for me, so I thought I should address it. Plus, its the good part of my story right now, or at least, the part I like the most. :)

I'm feeling great!! Better than I have in over a year. (Impossible to believe I've been messing around with this for that long already.) I am mainly pain-free and I have energy. (No more naps!...though I miss that snuggle time with Aiden.) I'm not taking any medications and I'm working out six days a week. I'm running the kids all around and living life!

For the most part, I'm dwelling in a place of gratefulness for all of the above, because those things are a BIG deal. All answers to prayer.

But then I have whiny moments too and I just. want. to. be done. I don't want to post yet another week of cancer updates. I don't ever want to see another doctor again.

And then God will put someone in my path who is dealing with cancer and even though it was never my plan to be able to "talk shop" with a cancer patient, I find purpose there in the sharing of their pain. I saw beauty in his plan even this week, as I was leaving Shaun's softball game. I walked by a woman who had no hair so I stopped to talk to her and in 3.3 seconds we were having a more meaningful, in-depth conversation than I've ever had with some friends I've known for years. We were complete strangers and did zero small talk...I don't even know her name but I know her heart. There is such grace in that!

This week I accompanied a friend to her colonoscopy screening at the same hospital where I did mine at the end of last summer. It was quite strange to be back in that waiting room where I sat in pain last September, completely clueless that I had cancer and hadn't even considered .

The nurse who was there when I woke up from the anesthesia was the same nurse prepping my friend. She was there when the doctor delivered the news to Shaun and I that she'd found "a mass". The nurse told me there were many of them crying behind the curtains that day. It was so surprising that in this assembly-line colonoscopy place, where dozen of patients come through everyday, there would be those who would note my state with compassion and shed tears for a complete stranger.

But really, that's been the theme of all these months many others carrying the burden for me so it wouldn't be so heavy. I've had to do the work of it, but I haven't shouldered much of the burden of it. That is equal parts humbling and mind-blowing. Thank you for doing this with us!

This guy? I wear this shirt so I can feel like Superwoman. He wears the shirt because he IS Superman. Love him!

I got down a little on Friday because I spoke at length with the surgeon's office. The nurse re-phrased what we'd talked about the week prior in the office and it was hard to rehash all of the surgery talk.

As is God's way, cards of love and encouragement arrived for me the very next day. I can't wrap my mind around the fact that He's the God who keeps us in orbit yet cares enough about me personally to prompt people to think of me and pray for me. Amazing love!

But my life means nothing to me. I only want to finish the race. I want to complete the work the Lord Jesus has given me. He wants me to give witness to others about the good news of God’s grace.

Acts 20:24

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Project 365, Week 21

May 17
I picked up a nerf gun for Aiden so he could hunt pesky squirrels. It was a big hit all week.
We gathered for a picnic at Shaun's mom's house...such a great day to be outside and we are so blessed to have family who are friends.

May 18
R turned 19! I sent him and his girlfriend to dinner with a gift card after he opened presents at home. This is going to be a big year for him.

May 19
R walked his girlfriend out when her mom came to pick her up. The kids were peeking out the window and were giggling that they kissed.
 May 20
Earth Day at school and everyone worked together to beautify the school property.

Aiden hung out in the cafeteria for a popsicle, with his sister doting on him. Come fall, he's going to be one cool cat, being "in" with those big 4th and 5th graders.
May 21
Both girls had teeth cleaning appointments. Amanda said, That feels SO good...I could stay here all day! And when we got out to the car with new toothbrushes and toothpaste and stickers Avery just kept exclaiming what a great that is and what a good job they do. :)
We visited the cemetery and checked in on Grandpa's grave. The kids declared it "the nicest one there".

May 22
Sometimes a man's got to get right to work and there's no time for breakfast or getting dressed or putting shoes one.
May 23
My soccer girls.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Florida- Day 6, 7 & 8


A quiet sunrise before heading to a day at Busch Gardens.

Shaun and I marveled at how easy the kids were this trip. We are anxious for an empty nest enjoyed the benefits of having older children. For the first time, there was no stroller or diaper bag to schlep and it was ok if naps didn't happen. Shaun and I even went out for a long, early-morning walk together, leaving sleeping children at home, but knowing if any one of them woke up, they'd be fine without us for a bit. We've had nearly ten years of vacationing with little ones and its noticeably pleasant to do it with not-so-little ones.
 We all love this park...there are plenty of good things for everyone.

 Props to grandparents who do roller coasters!

Nathan and Shaun are both it wasn't surprising that they met a real estate agent to look at a rental house in the area. It wasn't a good fit, but their wheels got turning.
 Nana made her traditional blueberry pancake breakfast, along with her lovely assistant. So yummy!

 Nathan + John = Trouble.
 The family that plays poker together stays together.

 Per tradition, Nana and John treated us to a dining experience at The Melting Pot...a grand finale to a wonderful week. After, I bugged everyone for a couple group pictures.

 I didn't really grow up with grandparents, but when Shaun and I started dating, I was happy to adopt his grandparents as my own. I've been so blessed to call this lady "Nana" for nearly 25 years. She is smart, has an amazing memory and is a whiz at crossword puzzles. She is brave and strong...she has faced much adversity and come out with her head high and meeting each new day with a smile. Nana's always ready with a hearty laugh and truly delights in watching her family succeed. She's also the reason my husband and kids are chocolate fiends.

I love that she requested a picture, just us girls.

One last sunrise....
 ...and time in "my spot".
 ...and a dip in the ocean.

 ...before hitting the road.

We're so grateful to Nana and Grandpa John for making this trip possible for us each year. Many great memories have been made over the years but for sure this one will always stand out.