Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Taking Another Deep Breath

It may have taken 4 hours in the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center waiting room yesterday, but I finally got in to see Dr. C and received the news that my scan shows not only a few less tumors but a little shrinkage on one or two spots. I'm glad I didn't spend time worrying over scan results these past few days because that would have been a complete waste of time! 

Brian says we can give complete credit to God because we certainly can't give credit to my inconsistent medicine taking skills. As in, I didn't have the heart to let Dr. C know yesterday that I didn't need a Tamoxifen refill because I'm so far behind on taking 2 pills/day.

We're off schedule for the rest of our week with re-arranged music lessons, early dismissal today for Grandparent's Day, and no school the rest of the week (don't ask me how I feel about this). I'm working from home tomorrow, which is a good alternative to trying to find a sitter for the kids. Camden is officially too old for daycare at school. 

Today we're taking it easy. And by taking it easy I mean that we went to the grocery store, post office and pharmacy before noon, and I'm now playing referee to Camden and Rory's bickering. However, I was smart and stopped for iced coffee on the way home (since I didn't get to celebrate #nationalcoffeeday yesterday) and I plan to turn the music up loud enough that I can't hear the arguing and spend some time with my photos and scrap supplies.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Taking a Deep Breath

Can you feel me exhaling as the weekend rolls around? Our family feels a bit like we've just completed a marathon. The last 2 weeks have been two of the busiest I can remember, but we've made it. Maybe not thrived, but we've more than survived and that's good enough.

(Seriously, how do people maintain this kind of schedule for months on end?)

Not only has Brian had parent teacher conferences every. single. night. (for 2 weeks!), but I worked for nearly 60 hours in 4 days last week, worked the church Riverfest booth, won 2 soccer games, celebrated Rory's 9th birthday, and managed all the regular work hours, practices, activities, day-to-day life, etc.

Tonight is Brian's last parent/teacher conference; the 12-week Bible Study I've been leading/hosting at our house ended last night; Brian starts a new schedule (he will only be teaching reading from this point forward instead of 5 subjects), and I am hopeful that we can all just catch a breath. The kids are cranky from lack of schedule and free time, the adults are cranky from lack of sleep and have bloodshot eyes with bags under them (which is never a good look), and all 4 of us are looking forward to a little more breathing room in our schedule over the next couple of weeks. Life will still be busy, but not quite moving at the frantic pace we have muddled our way through recently.

I am off work today and have put aside the house and laundry (it can't get much worse in one day anyway) and spent some time starting a new Bible study on prayer. I've scrapped Week 38 in Project Life; I'm drinking a Starbucks cold-brew coffee; and I have the new Hillsong album playing throughout the house (thank you, Spotify).

How about a few pictures?






Bring on the weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

She's My New BFF

Mission accomplished: I am officially Jen Hatmaker's new best friend.

Okay, maybe only in my own head.

However, I did get to spend some quality time with her (sometimes being the CEO's assistant has its perks). I picked her up from the airport Thursday and thanks to a slow baggage claim and rush hour traffic, we spent over an hour chatting fast and furious. I then got to be her "person" for the 15 hours she was in Louisville and associated with our conference. Let's ignore the fact that she was sleeping for 7-8 of those hours; I was still her "person" for the remaining 6-7 hours.

I was determined to give her a rest from all the fan worship and not spend the time raving over her books, blog, TV show, etc. I did not mention all of the many things we have in common - adoption, our husbands are church planters, cancer in the family, oldest of 4 kids, sarcasm, love of all things FNL. Or that I've read every word she's written, both in print and digital. Or that I follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter - that might have been weird.

 Instead, I chose to be professional (even though my inner self was freaking out) and the result was we had an absolutely lovely time chatting about many, many things. By the end of those 16 hours, we were sharing inside jokes (Hello! I had inside jokes with Jen Hatmaker!). To be fair, I am pretty sure that JH would be able to talk to anyone and make them feel like her best friend, but I do think we had a natural connection which resulted in easy, fun conversation.

My only concession to being a fan girl was when I told her about Rory (she's a serious Gilmore Girls geek).

Jen was just as lovely and gracious and hilarious and witty as she appears to be online, and it was a serious highlight of 2015 to spend some time with her.

It's a testament to my self control that I look semi-calm in this picture. :)

Today is scan day for me so I've spent some time at home this morning (which has been lovely - these mornings have been few and far between lately), but I'm heading out soon to meet a new friend for coffee then off to my scan. I won't have results until next week, and I'm feeling quite calm.

Meeting Jen Hatmaker gave me a lot more butterflies than this scan. And by butterflies I mean that I thought I was going to throw up in the moments before she appeared at the top of the escalator in the airport.

I don't feel that way about my scan.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Checking In

Just checking in briefly (because some of you worry) to say that we are all A-okay. Just super busy! I'm leaving today to work at the D6 Conference. Thank goodness for my parents who are driving in today in time to pick up the kids from school and will shuttle them around and be their referee for the next 4 days.

I worked at the D6 Conference for the first time last October and was absolutely certain that I would somehow crash the conference. Thankfully, that didn't happen. My job is Green Room Assistant (yes, that means I get to meet and serve all the speakers - how fun is that!) and this year, my main goal is to become Jen Hatmaker's best friend. I have my copy of For the Love handy and my selfie stance perfected. By the way, if you want to watch Jen's session live (or others), you can see this link for more info:

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

3-Day Weekend

Our 3-day weekend flew by, and I really took no pictures to share. For memory-keeping posterity, however, I'm going to do a quick list so we'll at least remember Labor Day 2015.
  • The weekend started off Friday with a very negative tone due to serious parenting challenge. We live in a tough, sin-filled world, and I'm guessing it only gets harder from here on out.
  • Saturday Brian and Camden mowed the church yard, played racquet ball, and met Rory and I for lunch at Chick-fil-A after I received a cute hand-written invitation to lunch from Rory. 
  • Rory and I took a good old-fashioned mother/daughter mall trip Saturday afternoon. (Sidenote: oh, my stars, shopping with an almost-9 year old is quite the adventure)
  • Saturday night Brian and I dropped the kids off with Uncle Michael and Aunt Liz and went to FlipBurger for supper (a new Richard Blais restaurant in Nashville - it was awesome) and then on to Bridgestone Arena for the Kelly Clarkson/Pentatonix concert (also awesome).
  • Sunday was church
  • Sunday afternoon was a viewing of War Room with some church friends. I have to say that I really enjoyed it and found it to be quite inspiring (and I'm not generally a fan of "Christian" movies since they tend to be cheesy and full of cliches). I became teary multiple times and Rory downright boo-hooed a couple of times, but in an inspired way, not because she was sad.
  • Monday was the annual Labor Day picnic with Uncle Michael and Aunt Liz (seriously, I took no pictures).
  • Brian worked literally every spare moment, and I came home Monday night and cooked two meals to stick in the fridge for later this week because our schedule is a tad crazy.
  • As in, we have something going on every single night this week (including the weekend) and most nights we're splitting up so we can cover everything.
If you're thinking Camden looks different here, that would be a result of his missing glasses - the casualty of Friday dodgeball.



Monday, September 07, 2015



The tension between siblings can be challenging at times. I feel like I spend alot of time playing referee and monitoring how the kids treat each other. I'm trying to move from forcing apologies, dictating how they act, etc. into more of a coaching/mentoring style. Recently, they had a bit of trouble sitting next to each other in church (seriously) so when we got home I had a gentle talk with them about God's call to love each other and then I gave them the assignment of writing out I Corinthians 13. I made sure they knew this was not a punishment, but more of a call to meditate on what God's Word has to say on the subject. And then I sat down with them (after I took the picture, of course) and wrote it out alongside them.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not easily irritated, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!

Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 

But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.

All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Gone Camping

Last weekend Brian loaded up the kids and headed out (after a whole lot of packing - I mention this every single trip) for Rory's birthday camping trip.

No, it's not quite her birthday, but the campgrounds close after Labor Day so the trip was early this year. Last year we forgot about the Labor Day closing which resulted in a back-yard camping trip that was not quite as thrilling as she might have hoped.

Yes, she invited Camden along. This is yet another sign she is (a) social and (b) in desperate need of approval from her big brother.

While I don't know everything that happened on that camp site, I do know they came home several shades darker from the sun/swimming in the lake. Rory spent a bulk of her time hunting for seashells, while Camden explored and played in the fire. An alarming amount of junk food was consumed, and when both kids called to talk to me at bedtime (mine, not theirs - they stayed up late), the sound of their joyful voices was enough to bring me to tears.

They'll probably never realize what a sacrifice it was for their daddy to spend his weekend packing, camping, and unpacking. Teacher duties have hit hard and fast, and he is spending a ridiculous 14-16 hours per day working.

But, oh, these happy faces . . .





Camden slept in the van; Rory and Brian claimed the tent.



the aftermath

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Snapshot #22

Outside my window:
While it's been a much warmer this week (as in 90's), we spent the final 2 weeks of August with blissfully low humidity, cool mornings and evenings. It was a little sneak peek of fall, and it was lovely.

I am thinking:
God sure knows what He's doing when He puts you together with your partner; He knew Brian and I were going to need each other in this life, and I am grateful.

I am thankful for: 
Brian's principal announced that Friday would be "Wear Teal Day" at their school in honor of me. (September is ovarian cancer awareness month.) I am thankful for new friends who choose to remember that our family lives with ovarian cancer.

Last 3 purchases:
 I've been too busy to shop so I'm having trouble thinking of anything here. I did go to a Jamberry party this week, and I have to say the wraps are much cuter than I was anticipating so maybe I'll jump on that bandwagon.
Dinner plans: 
leftover tacos

 Future plans I'm looking forward to:
 Brian and I have tickets (thank you, Groupon) to see Kelly Clarkson and Pentatonix Saturday night. I'm super excited although Brian is less enthused.

In the kitchen:
A big pile of vegetables shared from a friend's CSA (many more than what is shown here). I was a little obsessed with all the different colors and took way too many pictures.




(1) America's Got Talent - this is the first season I've watched (it's currently in season 10), and I have loved it. (2) Project Runway - haven't missed a season yet, and it's still good.

I had the genius idea of listening to audiobooks in the mornings on our commute to school, and the kids love it. We listened to Henry Higgins last week and Because of Winn Dixie this week. I promised the next one could be a little more on Camden's spectrum since these first two were a mildly young-ish for him.

For more grown-up listening, This American Life episodes #562 and #563 (The Problem We All Live With, part 1 and 2) were fascinating.

Snacking on: 
 I'm trying to snack on healthy items such as carrots, celery, snap peas, broccoli, grapes, and tomatoes. What I'd like to be snacking on is peanut M&M's.

All the Light You Cannot See audio book (a little disappointed in the ending) and We All Looked Up (this one was very dark)

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
 #fitbyfirst - so hard to exercise but maybe this accountability for the next 30 days will help

Working today then it's a mad dash to pick up kids from school, feed them supper quickly before Brian takes them off to soccer practice and my Thursday night Bible Study begins.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Sound of Music



It's not that I expected my children to be music prodigies. We signed them up for lessons this fall because (1) they've been asking for lessons for as long as I can remember, (2) we had the means to pay for lessons, and (3) it's a worthwhile investment.

What I didn't expect was how much time I was going to spend, as a parent, reminding them to practice, answering questions, setting the timer, ignoring the moans and groans when I remind them again to practice. I'm pretty sure Camden, especially, thought that he was going to pick up the guitar and drumsticks and immediately know what to do with them.

I took piano lessons from age 5 through college, and I clearly blocked off the aspect of playing an instrument that requires hard work and consistent practice. It should come as no surprise that Camden and Rory aren't huge fans of practice because I have (as Brian reminded me) memories of sitting at the piano with a little egg timer set to 45 minutes, crying through the entire 45 minutes. 

My poor parents.

When I was in 6th grade, my dad paid me $1/week in order to play the piano for our small church. As in, I played while the congregation sang. My first week I ran back to my seat on the pew when I forgot that we were singing 3 verses and stopped after two. 

I think it's safe to say that they won't be playing in public anytime soon, but I do hope these lessons will ignite a love for music as well as develop an appreciation for the feeling of accomplishment that comes when you improve as a result of hard work.