Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

A Birthday Wish

Posted: May 14, 2014 in Family, God Moments
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Today is my birthday. I celebrated the way most women with a hard working husband and three knee-high boys do – hello movie night! As I snuggled up with my three freshly washed boys, basking in the afterglow of the vanilla brownie sugar rush, I smiled in the simple reality that this had been the best birthday I had ever celebrated to date. 

No surprises. 

A simple card from my husband with the kids names sketched on the inside.

A homemade “Blondie” dessert my husband made for me before whisking off to work.

A quick stop at Taco Bell for my late lunch, in the drive-thru as my 1 year-old date finally crashed in the backseat. 

A kids movie that brought the entire clan from tears to cheers – “The Little Rascals Save The Day” right before bed. 

 

And you ask, “How in the world is this a birthday to remember?” 

Indeed, there were no big gifts and no breath-taking surprises. I enjoyed messes to clean-up and faces filled with endless sugar. But one very important detail of my normal birthday routine had changed…one very big desire had been met in an ultimately fulfilling way. 

For years I had silently struggled with my birthday. I would rise in the morning with my stomach twisted in knots, disappointed when others forgot to acknowledge my day, awkwardly trot through the failures of my previous year and of course vow to do better for the coming year. My birthday seemed to be more unwinding knots of confusion than enjoying a reason to celebrate. 

Until today. 

A passage that God has placed into my rooted foundation shouted in celebration all day today:

Even before I made the world, I loved you Bethany, and chose you in Christ to be holy and without fault in My eyes. I decided in advance to adopt you into My family by bringing you to Myself through Jesus Christ. This is what I wanted to do, and it gives Me great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:4, 5 NLT)

From the moment my head lifted…slowly, off the pillow, God spoke this Truth to my heart. He indeed called me forth with a purpose and a plan. My life is never overlooked by Him and this day, indeed is for celebration by Him, with Him and through Him. Smiling throughout my day today I saw each token of celebration so rewarding, like a gift from my Abba Himself. 

I had no need to wonder if anyone remembered me because He already had. 

This day was no longer about a number, but instead reconciling a Father-daughter relationship.

 I am not looking for others to fill any emptiness – He already has that covered. 

My worth is found in a Him first…everything else indeed has become icing on the cake.

 

So, just in case someone hasn’t told you – God chose you before the world was formed. When He created the salvation plan, my friend, He had your face in mind. You are never overlooked by Him. May you find freedom in the Truth that your life has meaning through Him today. 

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Picture Journey

Posted: July 26, 2012 in Family, God Moments

A few weeks ago I wrote about going through the past 12 months of pictures for the original purpose of creating a new photo book for our family (we add another book each summer of the past year’s photos…summer usually means SALE!). As I started going through these images, I was brought to shock and awe, once again, of the journey God has brought me through these past 12 months.

So, I tried to create something worth sharing. I dont believe this is the greatest, but being my time with family is my new top prority right now, this will have to do for now. A friend watched the video and went, ‘Its okay..but it doesnt really describe the emotional roller coaster you went on…” but you, my blog readers get that. These are pictures…you friends know the background to these images. To YOU these will make more of an impact…to the stranger…not so much.

The background is me singing the be Strong And Courageous song to Josh…he recorded it by accident, but it was SO perfect being that this song kept me going through my many sleepless nights. Steve isnt in many pictures…what can I say? He really doesnt like to be photographed (dont worry…Im breaking him down slowly). But Josh…yep…he was my photo buddy! Encouragement comes through the most amazing places sometimes!

So, here is the first attempt at this…maybe Ill create a follow-up…maybe….It IS too long right now. but like I said, just sharing pictures! 🙂

Love you all…

The Foul Line…

Posted: February 3, 2012 in Blog Issues, Family, Health, PBCC

FIRST – I won the iPad 2 on Monday!!! Thanks for all of you who clicked and visited!!! I had over 1500 visits that day! Thanks to the teachers who spread the words in the schools and Michael who announced my blog at his conference (and thank you to the many conference members with iPhones and iPads that visited!!!). I’ve been playing with it a bit…trying to get the hang of it. Its a bit of a learning curve still! Any advice on apps would be great!!!

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Have you ever felt like you were standing on the brink of a game-changing event that, in all reality, you really had no control over the outcome? I’ve attended several sporting events in my life, thanks to my younger brothers who were involved in soccer, baseball, basketball, a short time in track and field and even football. My favorite sport to play is soccer…but my spectator sport no doubt is basketball. I’ve been in the crowd at the most amazing, last-second game changing, buzzer shattering moments. You know the scene…usually the most quietest kid on the team gets fouled with 2 seconds left on the clock in a tie game. Its always the quiet kids that make this moment so much better. Funny thing is, i don’t care how much these players practice, in the end, with this kind of pressure, its a pure miracle when that ball swishes through the hoop in a foul shot attempt.

But we live for these moments…these times where life kind of stops and goes in slow motion. Time when some learn faith in something or someone that they never knew they had. time when fan might even wish they could take on the player’s burden.

That’s life. its filled with these on-edge, game-stopping moments.

That’s sort-of where i feel myself right now. This week has flew by way too quick and I’m updating now just so I can say I updated at all! My mind is focused on Monday’s first guided radiosurgery attempt and then Tuesday and Thursday’s chemo and ivig treatments. Its not the actual treatment part that bothers me…and to be completely honest here…it feels AMAZING to just sit for a bit and not have really any responsibilities…no doctors to call, no appointments to change, no emails to answer, no messes to clean, no lessons to plan, no meetings to attend….I can just sit and be me. It took a bit to realize the gift God had given me through this time…funny…I’m even somewhat excited to have this time to myself. i even registered for the ‘no visitors” list. its not that i don’t want friends to be with me…please don’t see it that way. but besides sleeping, I’m always responsible for someone, somewhere somehow! It stresses me out sometimes…this is my ‘escape’…normal people take a vacation, I go to chemo…tomato, tomato….

My point here is that next week could go in so many different directions! The oncology team is very prepared and ready for it all. On Monday, I will have a cardio team in the next room monitoring my heart during the treatment. If my heart rate drops, treatment will immediately stop and another course will be determined. The medication I am going through was selected just for me and my past dealing with various kinds…all have side effects (not even going there). There is also the change that during the radiosurgery that my cidp can be irritated enough to cause immediate pain, even temporary loss of use of my arms, legs or both. And today I signed the paper waiving my rights…

The ball is in the air…

Chemo is a return for me being that I had some involved with my previous ivig week (which has now been labeled a successful treatment for me…THIS IS HUGE being that it can take months to determine the right type and dosage of ivig that can work…in my case we’ve been at this since September, so not too bad). This Tuesday and Thursday I will have a full dose of chemo (I had a half of a dose spread over a week with my ivig…now I’ll be taking a dose a day). I was incredibly tired, nauseated and could barely eat anything during my last treatment…and this time WILL be worse (they are blunt about this). Steve has several types of soup recipes not just pulled…but he has all the food already purchased. He is determined to get food into me one way or another. I married a cook…I knew exactly what I was doing!

The ball is STILL in the air…

As the seconds count down to Monday, I am going to try to soak in every moment. I obviously hope for the best next week…God moved before, He can do it again. This time it just seems more real to me…there is no escaping a growing tumor in your brain. You can’t run from a laser light show shooting at your frontal lobe. I am hating the idea of getting poked over and over again for blood, iv, meds, chemo….(still would not like a port though).

But the hardest thing for me next week will come Wednesday night when our church, PBCC is having a Be HIS Family Dance night. I’m not sure if I’ll be there. Yet, funny thing is, I’m planning (more like assisting) as members from our congregations prepare for an event I SHOULD be at. I went out yesterday and got a long red carpet for everyone to enter on…because after all, the stars of the party are our guests! We have a bubble machine, laser lights, family dance music, games and just so much more. Whats hard for me to swallow is this will be a night families will remember for a long time. I want to be there and share a dance with Josh. I want to have the energy to act silly and cheer of my families that need this night out together. But right now, I’m preparing for an event I might not be at….its hard.

The other thing that will be difficult is Josh – he looked at me this morning and said, “Mommy, are you still sick?” Ugh…I hate these questions…trying to explain to a 4 year-old that mommy isn’t feeling completely well, but will be feeling horrible next week is…well, not possible. So, I told him I still had to go back to the doctor, but that I was feeling a LITTLE better today. It made him smile…and off we went.

The good thing about next week is that our family is well taken care of. I don’t have to worry about my boys…I can just focus on me.

The ball aint moving for a bit, so I’m outta here to spend time with our family…but I cared to update! Keep praying as I know you already are!

Date Night!

Posted: January 22, 2012 in Family

With so much medical jargon completely taking over my mind, I decided yesterday I needed to laugh…so I had a date night with the most amazing guy!
Steve decided early that he was going to visit friends up North and was nice enough to take Caden with him! That left Josh and I with an evening alone. What kind of trouble can a bald-headed momma and a 4 year-old get into? A lot!
We headed to the Dollar Movies first to see “Puss And Boots” – it features the cat from Shrek. We even got real movie popcorn…I still snuck in the drinks! Josh and I were cracking up during the entire movie…so much so, we ran the others out by the end…seriously, we were by ourselves! We even danced in our seats during the credits!
Olive Garden had a 30 minute wait, so we ended up nextdoor at McDonalds. Funny thing…this one had no playground. After I told this to Josh he responded “Silly mommy! This is date night! I just want a cheeseburger!” So that’s exactly what we did…and we ate outside too! I sat there, watching my son dive into his cheeseburger and I caught myself asking God for more moments like this. There will be…this kid knows how to make me smile and put fear right back in its place!
Last week Josh told Steve that he LOVED when mommy gives him a bath…hehehe…finally something I do well!
Love ya Josh…and we will do date night again!

Laughter

Posted: January 11, 2012 in Family, Health

Monday 7AM…I discover I’m losing my hair…again. I need to get Josh out the door, so I just wear a hat. (Head shaved now…back to wearing hats again!)

8:45AM – I meet a few friends to sign a living will…ewww…something nobody likes to really talk about. The doctors have been advising me to get one done, but that always brings in emotions that really I could do without. Yet, its something that needed to be done.

9-10AM- I realize how really far behind I am in the office. I start a to-do list.

10-11AM – Staff meeting…love our staff so much! We spent time celebrating how God is moving in the lives of those here at PBCC. Love these “God Things.”

I grab a quick lunch and by 1:30 I’m in the doctors office parking lot. It was a whirlwind…I wasn’t ready…I had no time to prepare.

I was told that the treatment was working but more appointments, further treatments and discussions are underway. More treatments? More issues? More appointments? There have been these weird spots that keep appearing on MRI and cat scans that just drive my doctors crazy (anything the doctors can’t explain drives them into a hissy fit). But they were trying to tell me that these “spots” could cycle my CIDP, instead of sending it into remission for a longer period of time. Conclusion – yes, the new ivig treatment and oral medication is working BUT now we have other issues. Joy…there always seems to be “other” issues with me…I’ve had this reality my entire life! It really gets old after a while!

The news hit me like a brick. Smile gone. Emotions numb. Feeling lost, angry, hurt…ultimately alone. This is not how I pictured my Monday going…”God, I think you misunderstood my prayer.I prayed for a happy ending, not a continuation to more issues here!”

But I was given permission to attend my conference…I’m so excited to get out of town WEDNESDAY and take a break.

With this, I picked-up Josh from preschool just anxious to get home. Josh wanted to feed the turtles. He wanted to count the clouds. He wanted to go to the park…I wanted to go home. I wasn’t exactly a good mommy, but I was trying.

We got home and a few hours later I found myself shopping for a pair of jeans with Josh…I had to get a new pair because my favorite jeans encountered a mysterious hole, right at the knee. Josh decided he was born for fashion right in the middle of the store. He literally helped me pick out jeans to try-on as well as a few tops. He would give each outfit a thumbs-up or thumbs-down and then went on to tell everyone in the fitting room why he felt this way. (I would say he and Paula from “American Idol” would get along great…Josh is not a Simon!).

Somewhere between Josh fixing my pocket and the laughter from the next stall over, I realized I was having fun. I was shopping with an almost 4 year-old boy and really having fun! Wow…had my life really come to this?

Then I remember how our Father loves to hear us laugh. We don’t have to be enjoying life to laugh…we just need good friends and courage to take our son shopping. Once again, God gave me what I needed. I came home in a much better, relaxed mood (Steve for one was grateful). 

Some may say it was a God moment that shopping even went that well!

This morning a specialist called from Tampa that wants to take a look at my case and is going in a much easier direction. We will see. More on this after our appointment in Tampa set for February 1st.

So, my break starts tomorrow. I may need to remind myself how to laugh more.
Just because its raining doesn’t mean you can’t dance in the rain!
Have a great night!

Riding On His Shoulders

Posted: January 8, 2012 in Family, God Moments, Health, Songs

FIRST, a bit about my day. I was trying to figure out exactly how to follow-up from yesterdays post. I don’t think there is really any possible way to top it! AND…I’d like to say I’m still pain-free (a few of the doctors told me to not get excited if this was only a one day fluke). I’ve been walking slowly today (for those “the glass is half-empty” people…I emphasize WALK) and extremely exhausted. I spent most of the day on our living room couch with – you guessed it, Sprite by my side! I did manage to get a few pretzels down, as well as part of a red velvet cupcake. Our Palm Bay Christian Church members love feeding my guys…but I know if I can’t eat the red velvet cupcakes, they will disappear!

Quick funny story from my day. this morning Steve had to leave for worship practice at the church. I obviously wasn’t going anywhere, so the boys stayed home with me. At one point, I felt like I was going to get sick. I peeked in at the boys and they were both glued to Elmo’s World, so I took my opportunity. As everything concluded and I was just hanging my head over the toilet I hear, “Way to go mom! That was awesome” from Josh. Then I heard, “Yay” and clapping from our 18 month Caden. Then I felt the dog licking my ear. It was one of those moments I can truly say we have a very close family! Steve is the kind of guy that asks, ‘Did you get sick?” and wants nowhere near the actual scene…I guess my boys will be different!

The type of ivig I was on was extremely invasive and includes an element called “cytoxan” which is a form of chemo. This being said, I have the after effects of IVIG (headache, loss of appetite and exhaustion) with the blended joy of chemo effects (nausea, exhaustion, aches, hair-loss, etc). So, I’m a walking, dancing post-chemo-ivig living for God gal, with a few side-effects. No big…I’ve been through worse.

I did do something fun today. I went to Walmart and I pushed the cart! It feels like it has been SO long since I have been able to do this…and I really had a good time. I went by myself so I could get things ready for Josh’s birthday party next weekend. I made it through the party section, then took a break and then headed over to get groceries. I was exhausted, yet, I felt like I was contributing to society. I felt like I wasn’t “sick’ for an hour or so…there for a little while I simply blended-in with the crowd.

I think we all want to just blend-in sometimes, right? There are times where we all just want an escape from the reality of chaos that defines our everyday life. Why do you think TV and movies become such a part of our life…its an escape mentally and emotionally from our current chaotic life situations.

When I was at my escape at Walmart, I saw a dad holding his son on his shoulders. They were both laughing and the little boy shouted, ‘Daddy, I can see everything SO much better from up here!” Caden loves being on daddy’s shoulders too. I’m a bit too old to really recall what this felt like…but if there are any guys out there that want to offer a ride, let me know! Yet, for a second, I got the perfect message from my Abba Daddy about where I was right now…I was on His shoulders yelling, ‘Wow Daddy, I can see the world so much better from up here!”

Psalms 121 has always been a FAVORITE passage of mine, since my college days.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

It’s just one of those passages you can read and be reassured that everything is going to be okay. I read it during my devotional time this morning…its kind of a celebration song to me now.

On my way home from Walmart I heard another song on the radio. Though it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as the “Falling Apart” episode, it did speak to me and its by one of my favorite bands – Kutless.

Carry Me To The Cross: By Kutless

LYRICS:
When the path is daunting
And every step exhausting
I’m not alone
I’m not alone, no, no
I feel you draw me closer
All these burdens on my shoulder
I’m not alone, I’m not alone
You pull me me from this place

Hallelujah
You carry me every day
You carry me all all the way
Hallelujah
You carry me to the
You carry me to the cross

How your love has moved me, yeah
To the foot of all your glory
I’m not alone, I’m not alone
I’m not alone

Hallelujah
You carry me every day
You carry me all all the way
Hallelujah
You carry me to the
You carry me to the cross

All of these cities you have built
And every cathedral you have filled
To all of creation you gave life with your hands
And with those hands you comfort me
You lift me up from my knees
And carry me
You carry me

Hallelujah
You carry me every day
You carry me all all the way
Hallelujah
You carry me to the
You carry me to the cross
The cross
You carry me to the
You carry me to the cross

I heard this song as I was driving home from Walmart, back to my reality of dealing with sickness, somewhat uncertainty, confusion, questions…and the chaos of kids who were not ready for bed! Every step I was taking was exhausting (pain-free, but still exhausting). Its almost like He was saying, ‘Let me carry you through the reality of your little chaos…I’ll carry you everyday and I promise, you’ll like the view better from up there!”

From where I’m sitting, my path is still unclear. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. Yet, I cling tightly to the hands of my Abba Father as I sit on his shoulders. The view is better from up here because I’ve just been looking down at Him this entire day. Sometimes its not important about where you are going, but rather Who is getting you there.

So many of you blow me away with your stories! Don’t keep them to yourself…share what God is doing in your life so others may know that they too have a second chance for a ride on their Abba Father’s shoulders and seek out the incredible view!

Have an amazing day!!

Cardboard Laughter

Posted: December 29, 2011 in Family

Sometimes, you just got to do what feels right, regardless of what your sanity is telling you. Today was one of those moments for me. I was in my office trying to catch-up on some work and a family called me asking if I wanted to take my guys out…ready for this…cardboard sledding! Immediately I smiled. I had NO idea how I was even going to make it up the dumb hill, but I didn’t care. I called Steve, took my meds, dressed the boys (okay…I must admit, it was chilly here today…we were in LONG sleeves…that’s COLD for Florida!) and off we went! The hill was surrounded with people and this is the best time of year to find cardboard! WE HAD A BLAST (Thanks for calling Angie!)! I even enjoyed a few rides (yes…as in more than 1) down the hill…and I’m game for doing this again! My guys were all smiles and we didn’t stop there…we ended up swinging by Steak & Shake to use our gift card on the way home! It was a completely un-planned, spur of the moment kind of day that our family MUCH needed.

I really enjoyed seeing my boys running, laughing and playing. I enjoyed ignoring my sanity and being right down there with them! I’m sure I’ll pay for it tomorrow…but right now its all smiles here!