Friday, February 27, 2015

K is for...

Keep praying!

I read this story (who knows if it's actually true or just a sweet way to convey a message) about an old, southern man who would always end his prayer with  "Lord, prop us up on our leaning side." When asked what he meant by that, he relayed a tale about his barn at home that had stood strong for so many years...through heat, rain, and snow, storms of all kinds.  The barn was always strong and served its purpose. One day though, the man noticed that his old barn had a lean to it.  The man went and put some supports poles on it's leaning side to keep it up.

We're kind of like that old barn.  We face so many 'storms' in this life.  Think about your life for a minute, does something come to mind?  I don't think we need a list of choices to pick from...I'm pretty sure you know what qualifies as a 'storm' in your own life.  Does your 'storm' look different than mine?  Sure, after all, it's yours.  The point is, we all get to leaning at some point.  We can put one foot in front of the other, take care of what needs to be done, be strong because we have to be, but maybe we're struggling (a little or a lot, it doesn't  matter, it's still a struggle).

Keep praying.  Pray that the Lord would prop you up on your leaning side.

How beautiful is this:

Child of My love, lean hard,
And let Me feel the pressure of your care;
I know your burden, child, I shaped it;
Balanced it in Mine Own hand; made no proportion
In its weight to your unaided strength,
For even as I laid it on, I said,
"I will be near, and while she leans on Me,
This burden will be Mine, not hers;
So I will keep My child within the circling arms
Of My Own love." Here lay it down, nor fear
To impose it on a shoulder that upholds
The government of worlds.  Yet closer come:
You are not near enough.  I would embrace your care;
So I might feel My child reclining on My breast.
You love Me, I know.  So then do not doubt;
But loving Me, lean hard.

Whew!  I don't know about you, but I'm gonna keep praying that God would prop me up on my leaning side.

I originally read this in the book Streams in the Desert (updated edition) it!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Joy is Forever, Sadness is Temporary

The other day, Jay asked me if I had had any "sledgehammer moments"...any moments of feeling suddenly overwhelmed by sadness.  I said no, and he gave me a concerned head tilt as if the obvious answer should be 'yes'.  I could have tried to explain, but sometimes words cannot get out of my head the way I want them to, so I'll start waving my hands and arms around as if I can magically stir the words into order.  Rather than try, I just stayed silent.

The truth is, I cannot be knocked over by sadness because I'm already down.  I'm surrounded by the sadness...Trey's book bag still sits in it's after school spot.  His shoes are perfectly lined up next to the front door.  His jacket is still hanging  in the closet.  His bed is empty.  I can't escape the reminders that my baby is gone and I'm not ready to move his things anyway.

I carry this sadness around like a blanket.  I was a mother years before Trey came along and I will continue to be a mother, but for the past 4 years, I was also a caretaker.  I knew every appointment, every prescription and dose.  I can convert kilograms to pounds in my head.  I knew blood pressures and temperatures and beats per minute.  I could get every kid to every activity all while carrying my six year old on my hip.  I could drive to the hospital with my eyes closed (don't worry, I didn't).  I spent more time with Trey's nurses than I did socializing with friends.  I find myself now unmoored, floating around, not quite sure what to do with all this "free" time I suddenly have.  I definitely have things to do, but I don't feel like doing least not right now

But, and this is important...
If sadness is my burden that I carry, then JOY is my strength.  
I can look at all our pictures (which is a lot!!) and be instantly transported to that moment, filled with happiness.  There is no sense of sadness.  We  packed a lot of memories/activities/trips into Trey's 6 years!  Joe and Bella amaze me with their strength and resilience!  I am filled with mama pride!  Jay and I support each other in every way!  The love and support from our family and community is palpable...every card or gift or message is a treasure.

Why did God allow Trey to have cancer?  Why did he survive so long with it when other kids do not?  Why were we chosen to walk this journey?  We may never fully know the answers on this side of heaven...and that's okay.  It's not our job to know all these would be too much for us to know.  So I take comfort in knowing that God is in control and that He is good all the time.

In time, I will put down this blanket of sadness.  But, the great news??? 
The JOY will still be here!  
It is my JOY to be the mother to 3 amazing children!  So, don't worry about sorrow may last for the night, but JOY comes in the morning.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. ~Psalm 5:11

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. ~Psalm 19:8

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, ~Psalm 30:11

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ~Psalm 51:12

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. ~Psalm 94:19

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.~Psalm 126:5

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I is for I Still Do!!!

Fifteen years ago, I stood in front of more than 100 friends and family to commit to forever with the love of my life!  Fifteen!!  How can that be possible?  Wasn't it just recently that I was getting shooed out of the mall for loitering?  We just went to that Vanilla Ice concert!  I still get can I be closer to 50 than I am to 21???  I can remember our wedding as if it were yesterday...the flowers, the singing, the babies (that are all grown up now!)

Fifteen years in and I still get little butterflies when I watch Jay coach volleyball.  I still find comfort in the sound of his car pulling up outside.  I look for him in crowded parties and always know when he's close by.  I instinctively put my hand in the crook of his arm when we're walking. He has already anticipated my move and his arm is ready.  It still feels new to introduce "My husband, Jay."  With a look across a room, we can speak volumes.

We absolutely did not know what we were saying 'I do' to fifteen years ago.  I did not think I would ever say things like, "No, you can't poop in your brother's pocket!".  Or, who knew we were saying 'I do' to a lifetime of home improvements??  Never ending laundry? 

Some things we've encountered would have torn apart a weaker bond.  But, we have drawn even closer to each other through difficult times, and we're better for it...together. Jay loves to teach couples (and I love to encourage him to teach other couples) how to be stronger together.  It's sounds so simple, but yet is so powerful.  We meet each others emotional needs.  Anyone can learn how to do it, too!  It's made us better spouses, better parents, and better friends. 

So, after all these years, I still do.
 July 24, 1999

July 4, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

H is for HOLE

To be more precise, H is for the gaping hole in the ceiling of our entryway for the past few years.  Years, people!!  A few years ago, during a rainy season, Jay and I heard a drip, drip, driiiipppp and discovered that the ceiling was leaking a tremendous amount of water.  We had to tear down some seriously damaged chunks of the ceiling to assess the damage inside and let it dry out.  Jay fixed the roof...except not really.  After we did a poor patch job on the ceiling, it leaked...again!!  Jay fixed the roof, again...but, fo reelz this time.  But, to be safe, we left the hole there to really let it dry out and make sure it was done leaking.
Here's the funny part of the story...probably 9 out 10 people that came into our home never even saw the hole as they walked in.  If we pointed it out, well then, how could you NOT see it...I mean, the insulation, the metal beam, crumbling drywall...gorgeous!!

Over time, the patch-the-ceiling project moved down our list of things to do.  After all, I think I was the only one bothered by it and we had more important things to tend to.  A few people had volunteered to fix it on their time and dime, but life gets busy and it just didn't happen.  We were really close to getting the job done with the last volunteer, but it just couldn't come together.  But now I had a vision in my mind of having this job done.  So, I decided I would do it myself.  My brother-in-law lovingly told me that I couldn't do it myself...not in a condescending, you're a girl, kinda way. But, more like in a realistic, you've never hung dry wall before kinda way.  He was right, of course, but telling me I can't do something is pretty much the same as telling me to run and do it immediately.

As with any project that I take on, I become like the pig in the story If You Give a Pig a Pancake...if I'm going to fix the ceiling, then I'm going to want a new light fixture.  If I want a new fixture, I'm going to want to move it 2 feet to the left (or right depending on where you're standing).  If I'm adding a new fixture, the walls should get a fresh coat of paint.  If I paint the walls, I'm going to have to paint the baseboards and doors, too.  While I'm painting the closet door, I should fix the latch that prevents it from closing the whole way...and so on....

With the helpful advice of my father-in-law, I finished the project!!!  Hip hop hooray!!!  I love it so much!  It's like breathing new life into our home!!!  And I learned a bunch of new skills...using a drywall bit, wiring, using a reciprocating saw!!!  I love it all!

I added molding to cover the seam of the new dry wall.
See how the closet door is a wee bit open? Made me crazy!!!

I was laying on the floor looking up for this view point.  The smaller hole is where the old light fixture hung.
It's so clean...and the closet door shuts!!
 This project cost less than $50, by the way.  All I had to purchase was a sheet of drywall and 3 8' lengths of molding.  I had the light fixture, (and I pat myself on the back for knowing that it would hang lower than the original, Miami Vice looking, brass and beveled glass fixture that had been there and opening the front door would be problematic).  I also had the joint compound, water putty, primer and paint.  Done and done!!  What's going to be my next project???

Saturday, March 8, 2014

G is for Gratitude!!!

This past week has been quite a whirlwind in many ways, and the word that keeps coming to mind is GRATITUDE!! We are grateful to those who donated to our Trey's Trip to Disney fund.  Grateful to those who shared the link.  Grateful to those who read the link and said a quick prayer.  It is amazing and humbling to be surrounded by such a supportive community (that spans the globe).  I can't adequately put it to words, but it does this momma's heart good to experience the overwhelming good in this world.  I thank you and am grateful for you.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"F" is for...

Well, "F" could be for a lot of things... Feelings, Faith, Fall, (Kids! Avert your eyes, quick!!) F*&% Cancer.  But, for today, I will use this "F" for Flashback.

Take a walk down memory lane with me since it is the season of all things pumpkin...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"E" is for....

Exciting news!!!  Trey is going to school!!!

Remember this post I wrote last year?  We had decided not to send Trey to preschool because we didn't know how the next month was going to pan out, let alone nine months for school.  Well, lo and behold, Trey has flourished in the clinical trial he has been in.  The medicine he gets weekly (through a medi-port in his chest) is supposed to prevent tumor growth, and so far, it has!  Praise God! 

All through the last school year, Trey and I would have a free form, casual, organic (i.e. I didn't know what I was doing so the lessons had no structure) homeschool lesson appropriate for his age.  We had a calendar time, worksheet time, coloring or activity...or maybe we would bake cookies or go to the library or play outside (totally counts).  

Right around the new year, it kinda dawned on me that Trey should be able to write at least his name if not all the letters.  I wasn't looking for calligraphy, but this kid couldn't write at all.  Yet, he knows every letter and sound, even sight words.  Long story short, Trey goes once a week to see a physical and occupational therapist.  Turns out, chemo can mess with your muscles...who knew?  And all of his abdominal surgeries have made sit ups almost impossible, but he's working hard on that six pack!

Which brings us right up to now.  Trey loves going to the kids' school to pick them up or for an event.  And, he's become aware that he wants to do that, too.  There was no way I was going to send him to full day kindergarten.  I'm not ready for that and neither is Trey!  So, we met with the preschool director where Joe and Bella attended.  We love this preschool, the teachers, etc.  They welcomed Trey with open arms for this school year.  So, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Trey will be at school for 2 1/2 hours!!  My baby!  He will be the oldest in the class, but I don't care and he won't know.

We know that all this could change in the blink of an eye.  Trey still has to have scans every 3 months (the next one is in October) and his cancer could grow at any time.  We continue to stand on the edge of a cliff not knowing which way the wind will blow.  But!  We have TODAY

We will rejoice TODAY!  Trey is the healthiest sick kid around.  He is not symptomatic.  He is not bed ridden.  He's a wild, 5 year old, excited to go to school and carry a big backpack!!  If I were to keep Trey here with me (which is so very tempting) and prevent him from having this experience, it would be like telling God that what He has blessed us with is not enough.  Trey needs to go out and show the world that God has kept him strong and this Momma needs to let him.

Do you think it would be okay if I just stood in the parking lot the whole time he's there?  Just kidding!  I'm going to take a nap!  Ha!  Gotcha again!  I have some plans for the time all three kids will be in school...we'll see how that goes.