Friday, January 27, 2017

Five on Friday (Jan. 27, 2017)

1. Camden is playing in his first basketball tournament this week (as in, riding on the bus away from home and missing 2 days of school). He has a second tournament next week. This is new territory for us: managing his own money, trusting he makes good choices (I'm not worried about his choices, but about others to be honest), making up the homework from missed school days, etc. It's all part of growing up. I even sent him out the door with coffee the past two mornings!

And related to the tournament, he experienced a racial slur directed at him. You can prepare your kids for this, you can walk them through it when it happens over the years, but it's impossible to remove the hurt they feel each time. I appreciate the self-control he showed by not responding in kind (he told me what he wanted to say and it was witty, but not okay). People, teach your kids that different skin colors and nationalities matter but they matter only in ways that are positive and beautiful. (Galatians 3:28)

2. Chemo and accompanying appointments Wednesday went well. My potassium is low so I received IV potassium and now have a big bottle of horse-sized pills. I'm going to eat some bananas and avocados this week. I hear potatoes have potassium so French fries, banana bread, and guacamole seem about right.

3. I've mentioned my Friday morning Bible Study before. Because of chemo, I am not leading this session, which has been a blessing both because I don't have the pressure of teaching, but also because the new leader is passionate about the Lord and such an encouragement. The study on praying the Scriptures and being a wise woman has been so meaningful. This week I chose Proverbs 16:24 as my verse of the week: Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Because God is funny, this book showed up on my doorstep Wednesday. I didn't even remember pre-ordering it 6-8 weeks ago (probably in a late night Ambien-induced haze), but how perfect!

4. My hair is simultaneously rubbing off and growing new fuzz. It is not a beautiful thing to behold, and the honest truth is that with each passing week, I look more and more like a cancer patient (without the weight loss - I am definitely hanging onto weight). On the plus side, I am beginning to hold out small hope that just possibly, maybe, fingers crossed I am keeping at least a few eyebrows/eyelashes.

5. Before our Vanderbilt trip this week, mom and I did two fun things. First, we visited Galena Garlic and bought very fun balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Who knew that white peach balsamic vinegar paired with basil olive oil could transform lettuce and veggies into a gourmet meal. This stuff is so. delicious. The second thing was to eat lunch at The Grilled Cheeserie. It was just as mouth-watering as you might imagine a restaurant devoted to grilled cheese might be, and it is now my top recommendation for lunch. They have a Milkshake Bar that I cannot wait to frequent.


Because of ongoing nausea (seriously, being on my feet makes me want to hurl), I am missing our small group study this morning. I am hoping to feel well enough to attend tournament basketball games this evening. This weekend includes a youth group activity for Camden and Brian tomorrow; Mom and I are spending the day with Rory and Addison (there might be baking involved), and Brian is preaching both services on Sunday. Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge

(this is what I have checked out of the library right now; something tells me I will not finish all of these in 2 weeks time)

I have a goal of reading 60 books this year and to help keep me on track, I am using both reading challenge lists from the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog. I'm not taking this too seriously - if a book isn't my style, then I'm moving on. But for now, here's what I've chosen.

Newbery Award Winner
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Rory and I are reading this together right now)

Book Translated to English
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (I've heard rave reviews over this one)

600+ pages
My Name is Resolute by Nancy Turner (I read These Is My Words over Christmas break and thoroughly enjoyed it)

Book of Poetry
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (this one comes highly recommended)

Addressing Current Events
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (finished this one and really enjoyed it)

An Immigrant Story
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Published Before I Was Born
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I can't believe I haven't read this book because it seems right up my alley)

3 Books by the Same Author
The Selection Series by Kierra Cass

#ownbooks or #diverseauthor
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Unreliable Narrator/Ambiguous Ending

Nominated for a Award in 2017
??? still haven't chosen this one

A Book Chosen for the Cover
It's Not Fair by Melanie Dale (go ahead and click the link; the cover is hilarious)

Reputation of Being Un-Put-Down-Able
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave 

A Book Set Somewhere You've Never Been But Want to Visit
Swing Time by Zadie Smith (Africa)

Book You've Already Read
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (this was a favorite back in my college days)

Juicy Memoir
Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

Book About Reading
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry  by Gabrielle Zevin

Book in a Genre You Usually Avoid
11/22/63 by Stephen King

Book You Don't Want to Admit You're Dying to Read
The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule (a book about Ted Bundy - yikes!)

Backlist Book by an Author You Love
Picture Perfect by Jodi Piccoult (love might be a strong word for this author, but I do enjoy her books and I haven't read this older one)

Recommended By Someone With Great Taste
The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

Book You Were Excited to Borrow, But Haven't Read Yet
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (still making my way through this one)

Book About a Topic You Already Love
Leaving Lucy Pear by Anna Solomon (a fiction story about adoption; I'm sure I won't cry at all)

Many of these were already on my "to read" list, I have just assigned a specific category to them. I specifically tried to choose light fare when possible. Life is too complicated to choose entertainment that is heavy in nature. See anything you'd like to read or have recommendations for me? I'm currently reading The Fate of the Tearling, which isn't on this list at all!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Five on Friday (Jan. 20, 2017)



1. My parents came for a visit (and my mom stayed) so they were able to attend basketball games, drive me to chemo, and join me for breakfast at Biscuit Love with my friends Tina and Kathy. My mom has been doing all kinds of work around the house while I convalesce.

2. Rory tied for first place this week for her 4H demonstration speech on how to use chopsticks. I stumbled across this old video of her using chopsticks as a wee little one, and it is hilarious.

3. So we have a new president. I'm not sure I have anything constructive to say about this, but I did find these cute pictures from the inauguration 8 years ago. Click here. It was a gray rainy day for the inauguration, and I kind of wanted to stay in my pj's and watch, but mom and I went to my Bible Study group instead and it was a much better choice for the morning.

4. Reading has been slow these past few weeks, which is kind of hilarious since I've been making my big long 2017 Reading Challenge book list. I should get started on the actual reading part of the challenge.

5. People have been so kind and generous to us over these weeks from meals to cards, gift cards, and notes. Last week we received an unexpected smoked pork loin that was the absolute best piece of meat I've ever put in my mouth. My mom also brought this beautiful piece of artwork with her from a friend (she calls her a kindred spirit). Not only is it beautiful, but the colors are an exact match to my brand new pillows. It is titled "He Will Calm the Storm."




(Ignore the fact that I posted this 4 days past Friday)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Five on Friday (Jan. 13, 2017)




1. We ended up with a snow day last Friday, which was a great time for p.j.'s, drinking coffee and doing a whole lot of nothing. There's just something about a snow day that gives permission to relax.

2. Busy schedule this week: work, basketball games, Literacy Night for Brian, church, parenting class, first week back to Bible Study, doctor's appointments, etc. While I maneuvered through the busy week fairly well, I was flat out dragging by the end of the day. I have been asleep by 9:00 every night (and watched the same episode four nights in a row because I fall asleep immediately) and up by 4:30 every morning.

3. This was my week off chemo, but I still had a full day of appointments Wednesday. Brian took off work to be with me, and we had time for breakfast at Marche, which has been on my "to do" list for several years now. The croissant french toast lived up to it's reputation.

4. I connected recently with some friends over books (hello, Brandy, Christine, and Laura Beth), and it was fun! On the reading front, Laura Beth loaned her copy of Between the World and Me. I began reading and immediately knew I was going to have to take this one slow to absorb it all. I abandoned The Cuckoo's Calling for the third and final time. I'm about 50 pages into Hillbilly Elegy and it's different than I expected, but interesting.

5. Our weekend plans include The Compassion Experience tonight and maybe La La Land Saturday with friends. Brian is presiding over a wedding Sunday afternoon.

Happy Friday!

Friday, January 06, 2017

Five on Friday (Jan 6, 2017)

Our first week of the new year was both busy and restful (thanks to an unexpected day and a half off of school thanks to the weather). I spent 2 days at Vanderbilt this week, but had good company for the second day at least. The highlights of the week:

1. After 2 years of hunting (unsuccessfully), Camden killed Bambi (and her best friend) Sunday. This is so not my thing. In fact, I may have been known to have very ugly feelings about pictures of my 2-year-old with dead deer. However, it's in my husband's genes and something he shares with his dad and now his son; I can rejoice with him. Reluctantly.

2. Rory had a little girl's afternoon with our friends Kinsley and Kylah; they are sweet to include her and probably don't realize how important it made her feel.

3. Tuesday night we decided to end Christmas break by going to see Sing. It was completely adorable and a great distraction.

4. Distraction because - I had a nasty reaction to the Taxol last week; I continue to have pain in my side and found out that this week it's because I have a tumor pressing on my ribcage. Not fun. On the plus side, I can take those pain meds Dr. C prescribed me back in November without feeling guilt, and I'm currently living on pain meds (Tylenol for when I'm out and about; the real stuff for the rest of the time). I waited about 2 days too long to shave my head and spent the latter part of the week shedding like a dog. It's gone now and I'm not happy about it, but I still say that waiting to be bald is harder than actually being bald. My sweet hair stylist did her best to make it a non-traumatic experience for me and then I ended up hugging her because she was crying. :) Turns out debuting a cancer look is just as traumatic the second time around. I find myself avoiding all eye contact and just wanting to retreat back home. It's all fine and won't feel so important this time tomorrow.


5. This ginormous edible arrangement landed on our doorstep this week and was delicious!