Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Numbering Days, Week 9

At Shaun's suggestion, I delayed treatment a week so that I could have a best-case scenario for Maddy's wedding, which is this Saturday (!!!). So, I am neither recovering from or dreading one....what a delight! Instead, I'm doing the work to see the miracle that is every day life. 

Gratitude. It's a choice, it's a habit to develop, it's a way of life that can transform us. In the face of anxiety, anger, depression, sickness, it maybe sounds simplistic to say that gratitude is the answer to nearly every problem we face but I truly believe there's something to it. Being thankful may not change our circumstances, but it absolutely can and does change us.

You think this is just another day in your life. It's not just another day. 
It's the one day that is given to you today...It's the only gift that you have right now. 
And the only appropriate response is gratefulness. 

~David Steindl-Rast

Monday, September 26, 2022

Project 365, Week 37

Pictures can be deceiving. When I glance at this week, it looks pretty normal. It was a treatment week so really it wasn't normal at all. But also, life must go on. I'm so proud of my gang for putting one foot in front of the other. Its really hard being a teenager, managing hormones, school pressures and social dynamics. Doing those things while your mom has cancer makes it especially difficult but instead of making excuses, they're making it happen. So thankful for them!

September 12
Ginger is Aiden's faithful friend, even more so now that he has taken over the feeding and walking responsibilities.

September 13
Since my treatment was early in the day, I was determined to get to Aiden's soccer game that afternoon but it was not to be so. I was too sick to even be angry about it, though later I focused on the fact that he had several fans there and I got pictures. He played against two buddies from church, which was fun.

September 14
Hanging on the porch with me doing homework.

September 15
I was willing myself to be grateful for this new day, such beautiful greens and yellows, right outside my front door.

I was happy to make it to soccer and watch my favorite goalie and the cute guy standing near the keeper. I love his passion, I love how invested he is in all of us.

September 16
Our little office makes me so happy and these flowers are right outside my window.

We have a new favorite date night spot because its where our favorite waitress works. :)

September 17
Saturday morning soccer on a gorgeous day!

September 18
Aiden outgrew his bike and was self-conscious about riding his sister's pink bike. Pop discovered the need and went on a hunt. He did online research, he drove many miles to pick it up, he cleaned it up and bought some gadgets for it and then delivered a bike that Aiden is SO excited about. They went for a spin around the neighborhood so Dad could walk him through the basics of switching gears. Such a sweet gift!

Pop and Kiki also stopped in for a meal and got both Avery and Kelly, hard at work on their Sunday shift.

Meanwhile, Amanda had agreed to host the soccer team's pasta party. I offered my assistance but she did most of it, including cleanup after. She's an excellent hostess!

I snapped a quick picture of part of the crew before I gave them their space. It made me happy to hear the hum of people enjoying a meal and each other's company.


Sunday, September 25, 2022

September's 10 on 10

10 pictures on the 10th day (Saturday) of the month! 
{Document a snapshot of your life...find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!}

On Friday night Shaun warned the kids that we'd kick off the next day bright and early. Our teens were so excited! ;)

Painting the kitchen was suggested and then it was a thing, almost before we knew it was happening.

Amy came by to get as much of the shower set up as possible.

Drop off/pick up for Amanda to referee a soccer game.

I did some planting, which makes me happy. I'm not particularly skilled or creative but I like taking care of things.

Homework gets done in the moments you can grab when you're a busy high school senior.

Amanda took her time mowing and line-trimming and it showed.

Our first time sitting in Avery's section. We went at 4:00, the early part of her shift thinking we'd beat the crowd, but nearly all the tables were full. What meal are people eating at that hour?? Watching her work, she was poised, confident, friendly, accommodating. So proud of her for doing something out of her comfort zone!

Back at it.


I chose to use the kitchen paint color we used in our last house in 2013 because I loved it (in no small part because of the name, Sherwin Williams "Contented"). When I looked up the code for ordering this day, I saw that it was very near the 2022 Color of the Year. Being trendy is of super low value to me (maybe even non-existent) but its nice to know I'm not way off.

Amanda and Shaun came running in the house after running an errand, calling me outside. I didn't capture it well, but there was a beautiful moon. 


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Numbering Days, Week 8

September 19, 2014 is when we got the "you have cancer" call and with that, our world would change for forever. To think that was eight years ago this week. It is God's sweet kindness and mercy to not show us the future...that information would simply be more than any of us are capable of dealing with.

Fast forward eight years to this week...we were across the border in New York by 7:15AM, home before noon. I went straight to bed and just tried to endure the next hours. On treatment weeks I'm desperate for the first three days, the worst of it, to speed by, for time to magically evaporate. The irony is that I'm doing these treatments to get time. Shaun reminds me that we're trading five bad days for nine good days. I know this and live this and I'm grateful, so grateful, and also its so stinking hard. This week was hard.

I met with my doctor in my house, in my bathrobe. In the world of oncology she is such a rockstar. She noted that the blood work came back with the tumor markers lower, which is encouraging. Maybe for that reason she added a sixth treatment. I was not happy to hear that, since I had only geared myself up for five. But I can, I will and also ugghhhh!

Do You remember how Mary was grieving?
How You wept and she fell at Your feet?
If it's true that You know what I'm feeling
Could it be that You're weeping with me?
Arise, O Lord, and save me
There's nowhere else to go
You're always good, always good
Somehow this sorrow is shaping my heart like it should
And You're always good, always good
Well it's so hard to know what You're doing
Why won't You tell it all plain?
But You said You'd come back on the third day
And Peter missed it again and again
So maybe the answer surrounds us
But we don't have eyes to see
That You're always good, always good
This heartache is moving me closer than joy ever could
And You're always good
My God, my God, be near me
There's nowhere else to go
And Lord, if You can hear me
Please help Your child to know
That You're always good, always good
As we try to believe what is not meant to be understood
Will You help us to trust Your intentions for us are still good
'Cause You laid down Your life
And You suffered like I never could
You're always good, always good
You're always good, always good

~Andrew Peterson

I wish cancer was not part of my story. I wish God had divinely healed me eight years ago. But even in the sickness and pain I can see so clearly....more than making sure I'm comfortable and scar-less, God wants a relationship with me. In His great love, He wants to draw me closer to Him. There is so much I'm learning about the heart of God, how He sees me...its so precious and intimate that I can't wrap words around it. This week I realized anew...He is the prize. Jesus is the prize. 

I've lived many varieties of pain and suffering and what I know is that if you are not in a difficult time right now, you will be soon enough. Relationships, addictions, sickness, fear...Life is just hard. 

But I challenge you to turn off the noise in your life, get quiet with yourself and ask what its all about. Could it be that in your suffering your Creator wants to shape your heart? In this thing that you're walking through that feels all wrong, maybe in His great love and deep desire for relationship He wants to draw you closer to Him? Understanding our circumstances is not required for it to be a good plan...we can still choose to surrender our hearts to the One responsible for that last breath we just took. 

I pray that in your searching for answers and reprieve you would discover that there is nowhere else to go. HE is the prize.

This is one day's mail, piled high with health insurance statements, yes, but also intermingled with cards and packages from people all over, thinking of us, praying for us, loving us. SO many are, and truly I feel the burden being shared such that its not so heavy for us. Thank you.


Monday, September 19, 2022

Project 365, Week 36

Still getting our feet under us school-wise, trying to enjoy the last of summer and dig into all things September.

September 5
We said goodbye to our LobsterFest guests and then headed over to a Labor Day picnic with friends from church. It was relaxing and fun with plentiful food. I got to talk with some people I don't usually have unlimited time with and it was so incredible to see Shaun and Aiden competing on the volleyball court. During our dating years and into our marriage Shaun played in dozens of two-man volleyball tournaments. They were so much fun! So now, 30 years later to see my husband and son playing together was very special.

September 6
In an effort to be as prepared as possible, I rode along with Amy and Colombo to check out Maddy's wedding venue. Their day is coming so soon!

September 7
Aiden's first day of tryouts for the middle school team and I counted 37 boys!!

We joined Shaun at an away scrimmage and he was anxious to hear the details of tryouts from Aiden. I admire the way he is so invested in his family.

The celebration after Avery scored a goal. :)

Have I mentioned how much I love seeing both girls on the field together? Oh, I say it every time? Well, its true. Such a joy!

Shaun and Aiden had a fantasy football draft. They're on the same team and Aiden was amazed to see the preparation that Shaun put in. Good lesson on what solid study habits look like. 

September 8
Amy came over to drop the first round of party supplies. We went to the local nursery to get something for my front porch. On a beautiful day, it was so fun to walk around the sweetest little farm.

September 9
Its that time of year when the entry way is littered with backpacks and soccer cleats.

We stopped on the way home from tryouts to celebrate that Aiden made the team. It was expected because he was on the team last year, but in order to get to this point he had to tryout last year in 7th grade after being cut in 6th. I admire guts.

September 10
When Shaun suggested that he paint the kitchen the day before the shower I readily agreed. For old times sake, why not make the house a disaster right before an event? He has always operated so efficiently under pressure. I can't even say how many times I've been frustrated by his procrastination, by his need to be up against a deadline. But I've grown as a person over the years and I'm tremendously grateful for the ways he is himself.

September 11
Everyone pitched in and worked so hard. We were happy to have an excuse to get some things done that we'd been putting off.

Several people at the shower said to me, if I had this porch I would be out here all the time. I smiled and thought, if I was out here any more than I am it would be irresponsible. :)

Finally...shower time!! Amy did a great job seeing to all the details of the coffee shop theme and the weather cooperated. It was such a fun day and with more than 80 ladies, we set an attendance record at this house. It filled my heart to the brim to have my house full of people.

With teamwork the house was put back together without my involvement and once everyone was gone, I was happy to finish out the day on the couch on football's opening Sunday. Happy sigh.