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Friday, April 27, 2018

Five on Friday (April 27, 2018)

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord's greatness; let us exalt his name together.
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Psalms 34:1-10, 17-18

This has been a hard week for our family in a multitude of ways, and the Scripture above has never been more comforting. I'm choosing to focus on the normal, everyday blessings this morning because even when life is challenging (that word seems like an understatement), when there doesn't seem to be a way out, God is always near and always present and we can always trust Him.

1. You will want to add making these chocolate chip cookies to your weekend "to do" list. A good chocolate chip cookie can cure almost anything.

2. Rory went on an overnight field trip this week, something her class has been planning all year long. There is nothing more exciting to a 5th grader than the idea of an overnight field trip so the energy level has been through the roof. The 5th and 6th-grade class, along with their brave teachers and a few better parents than me, drove to the ark and creation museum and spent the night in the ark. She doesn't have her own phone, of course, but she has been borrowing phones and sending me many updates. Many updates.

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3. While Rory was gone, Camen and I were able to spend extra time together and it was delightful. I always, always forget how much the kids need alone time with us. Resolving once again to try to make it a priority. While Brian was off to a meeting, we grabbed tacos and Dollar Store candy and settled in to watch a LeBron James documentary. 

4. Was completely surprised by a generous gift from my boss for Administrative Professionals Day (totally forgot that was happening this week) and so I'm window shopping Amazon for a make-up mirror and a fancy perfume I've been really wanting to try. Retail therapy is the best, especially when it's not your own money. 

5. Saw a new doctor this week and, pending insurance approval, I will be doing a 7-day test run of a spinal chord stimulator neuromodulation next week. Sounds complicated, right? That's cause it is. If it works, I'll have surgery and a whole host of wires and things I don't understand will be permanently implanted. I feel nervous but hopeful. I've spent more of this chemo break in doctor's exam rooms than anyone would want, but I have really loved all 3 of the new doctors that have been added to my "care team" and I know they're all working together to help me be as functional and healthy as possible. I'm trying to ignore the fact that my break is already half over. It is flying by and I don't want it to end.

(my phone camera is pretty awesome!)
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Our weekend is crazy full. State competition tonight for Camden. I'm missing that event so I can pick up Rory from her overnight trip. Saturday is more state competition: vocal solo for Camden and a drama monologue and choir for Rory. Saturday is also the end-of-season soccer tournament. There are no extra players and Camden has been the goalie all season so we're doing our best to get him to both the competition and tournament (which is 90 minutes away). We've requested that he perform sooner rather than later, but are waiting to receive an answer. Our hearts are heavy this week and we are just putting one step in front of the other, showing up for each other, looking to our Creator for guidance.



Monday, April 23, 2018

Checking in

Life is too busy to properly blog, but I'm going to do a quick list of last week's activities. This chemo break is making it possible to participate in life instead of just watching life happen around me. That distinction is a very big one, and I'm so grateful for this break.

A few quick things:
  • The whole family (including grandparents, Michael, Liz, and Addison) went to see Mary Poppins at Welch last weekend - so fun!
  • Camden had 2 soccer games last week and their first win! He was incredibly excited, as was the whole team. So excited, in fact, that not only did they pour water over the coach but their bus driver stopped them before walking into the restaurant and said, "Guys. Please act as if you've won a game before."
  • Rory and Addison had a cousin sleepover - something we used to do often - but since chemo started and grandparents moved, those sleepovers have been few and far between.
  • Spent the afternoon at my parent's house with the grandparents and aunts and uncles to celebrate my grandparent's 70th wedding anniversary. I played the piano while everyone sat around and sang hymns - my mom and her siblings and parents are all musically gifted and singing tends to always be a part of their gatherings.
  • Worked 3 days in the office (this doesn't typically happen because of chemo)
  • Lunch with a friend on Wednesday, followed by the best $4 latte I've had in a long time! (Locals, it was the Bingster from Ugly Mugs.)
  • Camden had an afternoon off school so we went to see Ready Player One. This moviepass business is really fun! When's the last time I saw two movies in the theater in less than a week? Never, that's when!
  • Computer officially died which means I have no way of getting my big girl camera photos to computer. This is a sad day and I don't quite know how we're going to fix the situation.

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They have very different ideas on what time to get up on Saturday morning.
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On this week's agenda
  • Two soccer games plus a soccer tournament; Camden is going to miss the tournament because . . .
  • Camden and Rory are competing in the state competition in music and drama and Bible memorization
  • Rory has an overnight field trip and will be missing the Bible memorization part of the competition
  • Two doctor's appointments for me
  • An orthodontist appointment for Camden
  • Guitar/voice lesson for Camden
  • State testing for Brian's school
  • A whole lot of planning on how to logistically make all of this work.
Happy Monday, friends!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Five on Friday (April 13, 2018)

How about a little game of bad news, good news.

Good news: I flew to Oklahoma last week for a combined visit with Becky/work trip.
Bad news: I became very ill and missed the work part.

Good news: Becky's father-in-law is a doctor and her mother-in-law is a retired nurse.
Bad news: I ended up with a bag of IV fluids in Becky's living room.

Good news: Becky's father-in-law doctor called ahead and then walked me straight into a hospital room, bypassing all the bureaucratic parts of being admitted to the hospital.
Bad news: I needed to be in the hospital.

It was a pretty awful weekend, but I see the sunshine peeking out among the clouds. The past few months have been both physically and mentally exhausting, and I find myself incredibly anxious all the time. Chemotherapy for 18 months is no walk in the park. We're making some changes, including the addition of two more professionals into my team of doctors, and I already feel more encouraged and strong. Turns out there might be a good side to spending the weekend vomiting with an audience. Ugh. Not to mention, Becky and I certainly made a memory!

5 quick things

1. I've documented pretty well over the years how much Camden hates to mow the yard. Which is why the adults were incredibly surprised when he charged up his iPod and casually mentioned he was headed out to mow the yard. He noticed the tall grass and knew he could help. This single moment made me feel like we've succeeded as parents.

2. Camden took the math and reading ACT a couple of weeks ago and scored an 18 in math (he wasn't happy) and a 27 in English (very happy). If he can do this well in 8th grade, I have high hopes for a great senior ACT score and scholarships. Lots of scholarships.

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3. Tennessee weather is finally having a turnaround and we've attended two soccer games in a row, both accompanied by sunshine. Both losses, but we won't focus on that.

4. For the majority of our marriage, Brian and I have spent Thursday evenings watching Survivor. Back in the day, we would set the VCR (it airs on Wednesdays and we're always gone, of course) then a DVR changed our lives and we abandoned VHS tapes. However we watched, it's been a consistent little date night amid the week. Something no one tells you about parenting is that as your kids grow older, they start to infringe on all the little times you have set aside with your partner. They stay up later; start watching your TV, etc. This season of Survivor started and instead of date night Thursdays, we now have family night Thursdays. Sigh.

So when MoviePass had a $7.99 special, we jumped on it (totally should have waited until our tax return was complete because UGH) and decided this subscription could be a little investment for our marriage. It is increasingly difficult to find time for even a kid-free conversation these days, much less date night but we are just going to make it happen.

5. Rory plucked her own eyebrows. Yes, she did.
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Celebrating my Grandpa's 90th birthday while I was in OK.
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