Friday, April 29, 2016

Project 365, Week 17

Lots of hugs shared, and smiles and lighter shoulders as we finished up another tax season and headed south!

April 18
First day of school vacation for the kids! Pop and Kiki love to share their passion for bike riding with the kids. Fun adventures!

April 19
First day of no taxes and after spending the morning in the office Shaun was happy to put on his manual labor clothes and do a brake job on the car. With a helper, of course.

April 20
At 6 pm we hit the road, Florida-bound! We've gone to New York City dozens of times this past year, but this time we just kept driving right past it without stopping.

April 21
We arrived at our beach rental in the late evening. First order of business was getting wet!

April 22
A day of sun, sand, pool and cousins...the life!

April 23
A fresh morning, full of possibilities.

April 24
This six year-old and his great-grandma spent hours playing poker together. True story.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Alive and Well

Yesterday a sweet friend texted me to make sure I was ok since I hadn't blogged all week. It was only then I realized that, given my current condition and past history, its not really fair for me to drop off without explanation.

Some people have to do "unplugged" challenges or "Facebook fasts" to give themselves time away from the world inside the web. Since my diagnosis, its a challenge for me to stay plugged in. Very often, the "noise" of the internet is too loud for me. I haven't been on FB for 18 months+ and I've unsubscribed from a pile of emails I used to get without even giving it much thought...even blogging is more challenging. I need to have quiet in my days to think and pray and just be and am easily overwhelmed by social media. When I'm on vacation and want to be present with my family, my desire to be online is even further decreased.

Thankfully, I am not in NYC tucked away in a hospital room (valid guess though), but instead we took our annual family vacation to Florida to visit grandparents and recover from tax season. I am so grateful for our time away and also so happy to be home!

Thanks for caring about what goes on around these parts...I'll be back at it soon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Living Fully

Maybe this is the true secret to being fulfilled and content--living in the moment with God, defined by His truth, with no unrealistic expectations for others or things to fill me up.
 Not reaching back for what was lost in my yesterdays. And not reaching for what I hope will be in my tomorrow. But living fully with what is right in from of me. And truly seeing the gift of this moment.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Project 365, Week 16

One more tax day to go! We are ready to change our pace a little and take a deep breath. 

The kids and I are thoroughly enjoying spring around here...its quite an amazing time of year watching things flower and bloom. 

April 11
No picture. I spent the day burdened for friends going through a difficult time, taking it to my God who is sovereign and good.

The three kids and I also enjoyed an impromptu date night. We went shopping for a few summer items and had a cheap dinner out. They were so happy and appreciative...I'm the parent who despises shopping and is always saying no to spending money so they were quite surprised and blessed by the evening. Made me consider that I should probably "let loose" just a little more.

April 12
This boy is so passionate about baseball and is enjoying practice twice a week with his team. I couldn't even take him this day...he grabbed one of Shaun's batting gloves and stuck it in his back pocket.

April 13
Homework having them back home after a school day.

April 14
My sister's kids had spring break this week, so she got a group together to gather at the park. I surprised my kids and pulled them out of school early. It was a beautiful day to play and run and smell fresh-cut grass. Spring...we love you! (Six families represented here with 8 kids missing!)

April 15
If you are a tax preparer, there is no worse day to have a birthday than on April 15th. That's the day Shaun was born and we all miss being able to celebrate him on his day. He somehow managed to find two 45-minute chunks of time. During the first one we gave him his present and hugs, during the second one he showed up at the field to coach his team.

Avery and I filled in for Coach Shaun who was working. I've never played a soccer game in my life but I know how to do running drills. :) Between Avery and I (and Shaun) we had a fruitful, fun practice. We have a ragtag group of 2nd-4th graders and if anyone can pull a "W" out of them, its Shaun.

April 16
The kids and I went up to the high school. We timed each other on the track and practiced taking grounders. Its exhilarating to be out and active with them.

April 17
The kids and I, including R had a nice breakfast together to kick off a quiet day at home.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

War and Peace

Mom, I'm having trouble deciding what I want to be when I grow the army or a priest. Or a zookeeper.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Marking The Time

There are so many dates and markers in time with cancer...the date you find out, the date you end treatment, the date of surgery, the day a big test comes out positive or negative. The day you wish you'd gone to get things checked out but waited it out instead. So many really, really important dates along the way and some that I thought would be important at the time but turned out not to be. 

One year ago today, I completed my final day of radiation. I wasn't sure I'd survive the last couple weeks of it but I did and when I walked out there was a crowd of friends of family waiting in the parking lot to celebrate with us. It was an emotional time recognizing that mile marker and what we thought was the end of chemotherapy and what we hoped was the end of cancer. There is no way we could have known last April 13 all that we'd face in the following year.

Its truly more than my mind can wrap itself around so I don't even try yet. I just keep fighting to bring it all back to gratitude. Regardless of all that unfolded after this day, its still an occasion I hold close to my heart. Such love I have known all these nineteen months!

But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. Psalm 13:5

Monday, April 11, 2016

Project 365, Week 15

Garfield had it all wrong about Mondays, I think. Mondays feel like a new start, sprinkled with an extra measure of grace and mercy. Its the celebration of another week of being alive and is filled with an expectant hope of things to come. Yay Monday! :)

April 4
April nonsense! Thankful they didn't call a snow day though. 

On rare occasions when I drive the kids, I stay and watch until they are in the door. Amanda always looks back and waves several times.

After school snack. ;)

April 5
A two-hour school delay and the kids made good use of it, knowing the snow would be gone when they returned.

Opening Day for the Red Sox. Shaun snuck home for a little bit so he and Avery could catch some of the game.

April 6
I hugged Avery in the kitchen and caught a glimpse of us in the mirror. It won't be long before she passes me in height...I have no idea how this happened!

USA vs. Columbia women's soccer, right in our backyard!! Shaun and Avery braved the cold to cheer them on.

April 7
Because we are crazy, and the need is great, Shaun and I agreed to coach Amanda's soccer team this spring. This night I attended the scheduling meeting and got some nice time with just the three kids. They are so easy and enjoyable right now!

April 8
I was at the high school four out of five days this week, I think for meetings about H. We are the first time in 14 years where daily homework is an expectation, where a high school diploma is presumed (and celebrated!), where common decency to all mankind is the norm.

As one might imagine, there are many challenges in such a transition....its very hard on all involved. But there are glimmers of hope, too. For instance, one day this week when I was asking H how his day went he looked at me sheepishly, "I didn't show grace to someone. He [did this] so I got in his face and told him to [blank]. So the teacher called security and I got written up."

Sigh. But, I thought, four months ago the word "grace" was not in his vocabulary. Some times we have to mine a little to find progress, though its usually there.

Even when you’re afraid of not being enough — God’s making everything into make more than enough grace. ~Ann Voskamp

Hey Mom look...I'm just like you!

First baseball game of the season. H started at shortstop and also pitched for three innings.

It was freezing, but the kids had a couple snacks to keep them warm.

And Aiden snagged grounders.

April 9
First time out for Aiden's team. He is SO very excited that baseball is here and that he is out of T-ball.

From there we went to AJ's birthday party, who impossibly is two! Sarah did such a great job putting everything together and the kids were thrilled to be with cousins.

I was honored that AJ invited me to sit with him. :)

April 10
Aiden and I both enjoy snuggle time, curled up with the Action Bible. Its fairly new to us, and I like it because its a step beyond a typical children's Bible. Its in comic book form and there are many stories included that go beyond Noah's Ark and David and Goliath.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Resurrection Weekend

Back in January, H and I were riding in the car together and I was prepping him for the approaching Passion of the King season. That time of year were we all find a place to work and serve in our church to help make the very large, five-shows Easter production happen. I must have put "Jesus" and "Easter" in the same sentence because he interrupted me.

Wait. What does Jesus have to do with Easter?? I mean, I know Christmas...that's when he was born but Easter?? (H came to us right before Christmas so he got a first-hand glimpse that Christmas is more than Santa Claus).

I paused, paused, paused. Amazed but not surprised that those words "what does Jesus have to do with Easter" could be spoken. In mere seconds my mind wondered at our vastly different upbringings, remembering the time Shaun and I spent Easter in Florida with his grandmother, married just a couple years.

On that Sunday morning I stepped out of our room to find a large basket filled with gifts and candy. I had no idea what it was for. I must have at least been vaguely aware of the Easter Bunny's existence, but certainly didn't know treats were involved. Easter to me was a new church dress and shoes, a sunrise service in an open field celebrating a risen Savior and church with all our closet friends, singing familiar Easter favorites.

This year our family celebrated Easter together. I know what the Easter Bunny is (though still don't quite understand) and H knows "what Jesus has to do with Easter". :)

We attended church Saturday night as usual, the one day out of the year it still doesn't feel quite right to be there on Saturday.


The next day was Easter brunch at our house, 38 people in total. There are few things I love more in life than having my house full of people and I was thankful to be feeling well enough to actively participate. Everyone brought food and eggs and the weather cooperated. It was a very special day.

The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, "Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn't here! He is risen from the dead! Luke 24