Archive for December, 2012

The Countdown Begins

Posted: December 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

This morning as our family was eating breakfast, we continued our normal routine of pouring cereal to the sights and sounds of Good Morning America. The boys love it just about as much as I do…and for us, that combination is a winner. Of course today, the coverage was on Times Square as the preparations continue for tonight’s countdown to 2013. Josh and Caden watched as they showed clips of the big, flashing crystal ball slowly make its descent to the bottom, meeting a crowd that erupted into cheering. It was so fun just watching their faces…they had never seen this before and most likely, they will not be up tonight to see it live. Caden started his version of the countdown ..the version only mom and dad could possibly understand. Cute nonetheless.

Our family is at a much better place than last year. Still walking in the midst of uncertainty, but my health has made a nice cushion of comfort that I believe has allowed our family to breathe a bit easier.

I don’t even remember what I did for New Years last year…most likely I slept through the entire event. I don’t remember planning anything. I remember taking medications around the clock to ease pain and assist sleeping. I remember some of Christmas Day, limping around, wishing I could be on the floor WITH the kids as they opened their gifts. I look back at the photos we took from Christmas 2011 and I think, “I really don’t remember any of this.”

And then there is this year…

From baking Christmas cookies, to playing with the VeggieTales manger scene…I was involved and captured what I could. we decorated right after Thanksgiving was over…the boys put up the tree and I FINALLY got the chance to put up my lighted village that Steve got me for our first Christmas together (we just had not had the right setup until now to really get use from it). We baked Christmas cookies. We went out to see Christmas lights…twice! We had countless Christmas movie nights watching videos Steve and I watched as kids (its amazing the parts of these films you laugh about later). We made a birthday cake for Jesus, we went to the kids preschool program and then watched as they had a part in our church’s Christmas Eve program as well. We ended up getting an AMAZING deal on CraigsList allowing Santa to really hit the nail on the head this year with Caden’s train table, Josh’s tablet (mommy’s old android tablet with a new case with no internet and learning apps…oh…and Angry Birds) and even a used swing set (again…Craigs list). For a minute on Christmas Day, Steve and I just sat in the living room while the boys were playing happily and I remember thinking, “This is our first Christmas in our own home as a family together.” Everyone was happy. everyone was in good spirits and everyone was healthy…well, Steve is getting over a cold. But, we are in a much better place than last year.

So tonight I told Steve I want Oriental along with dip, chips and sparkling grape juice. There is no guarantee I will stay awake until midnight (I’m in the third trimester now and the energy level…especially at night just takes a dive).

But one thing is for sure…I will remember this New Year’s Eve. i will remember the smiles, the laughter and enjoy sitting on the floor with my kids (though getting up off the floor is a different story). Funny how one year changes things…

Baby boy is doing great. I see the doctor again later this week and a follow-up ultrasound will be scheduled. Steve let me get a back massage a few weeks ago and then we got a nice massage cushion online for my Christmas gift. I can say now that the back pain is manageable  The doctors are attributing the pain partially due to the baby, but also due to the strong use of the spinal cord during chemo and the IVIG process. I would have gone through a year of needed healing, instead my body jumped right into pregnancy. Most likely I will need chiropractor assistance after baby boy is born.

And for those wondering…I have a name for our baby boy. Steve hasn’t quite jumped on board yet…so until he agrees or baby boy comes out and I name him on the spot (no telling which will come first at this rate)…well, we will let you know.

From our family to yours…Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Peace On Earth

Posted: December 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

Somewhere between the unloading of ornaments, looking up cookie recipes, getting ready for the Christmas program for our boys, trying to find Christmas gifts for our kids, getting the playroom turned into a potential nursery, doctor visits, packing lunches, work and allowing Steve to study…somewhere I heard the phrase “Peace On Earth.”

Really?

I remember hearing the phrase on our Christian radio station, driving the boys home from school (running late from work), trying to think about a quick dinner because I had an ultrasound that evening. I heard “Peace On Earth” right before I heard the breaks on the van crunch…reminding me that we seriously needed to get that looked at…when we win the lottery.

Peace on earth.

We say that phrase a lot. We hear it so many times around this crazy holiday time called Christmas. You know, that time we spend remembering the birth of Christ through white elephant gift exchanges, recipe swaps, gaining pounds and trampling other shoppers for gifts. “Peace on earth” hardly describes the way the majority of us spend our time around Christmas – if we were truly honest with ourselves, we might even say “peace” is missing from our Christmas tradition.

Yet, the people who really understand peace, I believe, have experienced some of the most difficult life circumstances. I met a woman last week that recently (as in a few weeks ago) lost her mom suddenly. The daughter spoke of the many traditional values her mom instilled in her and the love her mom had for Christ. She ended the conversation by saying, “I just have this peace that her life has impacted others and will continue to do so.” I remember at that moment hearing someone say, “I’m sure you don’t mean you are happy.” Her response was my thought exactly – “I never said I was happy – I said I was at peace.”

When was the last time you read the real Christmas story, from the Bible and ended with that warm, fuzzy feeling? You know, the Biblical account where Mary, a young girl, pledged to be married to Joseph is ambushed by Angel Gabriel announcing that she was going to carry the Son of God. This young girl who had to return to her family was most likely seen as an embarrassment not only to her family, but to her town. Her visit with Elizabeth might have even been a bit of an escape from the chaos that had been created back home…finally to have someone around that understood the insanity and unpredictability of being used by God. Joseph eventually is reassured by the angel to take Mary as his wife and now must start a family immediately. Before they even have a moment to celebrate in the joy of what God is doing, the King has them travel all the way to Bethlehem to be counted for no doubt even more taxes (as if they weren’t having enough issues). As they wrestle with the thoughts of who their son might be and their new role as parents, they are traveling through towns and villages as Herod is searching for this “Messiah King” that threatens his throne. The Son of God enters the world greeted by cattle, sheep and the smell of hay and animal urine. The Highest of Kings was born in the humblest of places. Mary and Joseph barely get time to gather the gifts from the wisemen before they are forced to flee to Egypt to save their child’s life…the same child that was born to save theirs.

Good ol’ warm and fuzzy Christmas story, right?

Where in the world does “Peace On Earth” come into this picture?

Enter Luke 2:14 from stage right…its what the angels sang as they told the shepherds where to find this new King:

New International Version (©1984)
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”New Living Translation (©2007)
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
English Standard Version (©2001)
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
International Standard Version (©2008)
“Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to people who enjoy his favor!”
Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
“Glory to God in Heaven, and upon earth peace, Good News to the children of men.”

To Mary, this child was a gift from God.
To Joseph, this child originally was merit for divorce.
For the parents of Mary, this child was an embarrassment to the family name.
For King Herod, this child was a threat to his throne.
For the wisemen, this child was the end of their quest.
To the shepherds, this child was a light in the darkness.

Christ is a gift to all mankind, but how you receive this gift is completely up to you.

Is He your peace?
Is He your burden?
Is He your embarrassment?
Is He your judge?
Is He still distant and far away from your search for acceptance?
Is He your threat?
What is this child to you this Christmas?

This past year, every time I sat there, waiting the needle to be poked into my arm for another IV, another IVIG treatment  another round of chemo or even fluids…I had to remind myself about what peace truly means and where it is found. Peace is not determined by earthly circumstances, but instead how you view the  opportunities around you. I decided at the beginning of my health battle that I knew where my journey ended and it was up to me how I was going to spend my days getting there. Mary was given this amazing gift, to carry and raise the Son Of God – her response was simply, “I am the Lord’s Servant.” Somewhere she found that peace that God knew what He was doing and He chose to do His work through her.

I want to live like that. I want to grab a tight hold of that peace brought to earth, in the midst of the chaos that eventually echoed “God is in control!” I want to continue to live my life in such a way that I can simply hold on to where God is taking me and enjoy the ride. Is there fear…yes. Do we always know where we are going? No. Do we know where we will end up? Yes. Will He ever leave us? No. Is God always in control, Yes.

Find peace this Christmas in the midst of the chaos of your little world. After all, its those that find peace in the chaos that find themselves playing a part in the greatest God story ever told.

Peace be with you.

Doing Well

Posted: December 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

It's Friday and I'm proud to say that I was able to enjoy time in my pajamas until 11AM because Steve agreed to take the kids to school…so this is what a day-off feels like?!

Tuesday was a whirlwind. I was able to see our little man twice through ultrasound. He was very much active and kicking away! It was such a relief to me to not only feel him moving all day, but see his activity on the screen! He is actually kicking so hard, it has caused bruising on my back, which may have led to causing the CSF leak (it's only a guess by my ultrasound tech, followed by the advice to try prenatal yoga and a prenatal massage). Funny, our little man is moving and kicking so hard, THAT is what we are worrying about – as opposed to the countless other issues that I could fear occurring.

God is laughing…I just know it.

Headaches are gone. I went through Wednesday and Thursday feeling dizzy and tired (side effects from the treatment) but that was it. I of course, kept working and today was a nice day-off filled with cleaning, organizing and grocery shopping (yes, I really do find this relaxing).

As long as the headaches do not return, I have a follow-up right before Christmas and possibly a MRI the same day. I'll keep everyone posted.

It feels so nice to be home.