INSERT ALTERNATIVE TEXT FOR YOUR HEADER IMAGE HERE

Friday, May 10, 2019

Five on Friday (May 10, 2019)

If this isn't a true representation of the Lewis family these days, I don't know what is.
Untitled

1. There may have been tears and sadness, but Papa Bob's funeral was also full of hope and laughter. Because we're scattered from Tennessee to North Carolina to West Virginia to Utah, family reunions are few and far between but we made the most of the hours available. The cousins (Camden was the oldest and the only boy present) had an old-fashioned sleepover complete with late night talking and giggling, a snake hunt, and a lot of snacking.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Camden and Kelsey
Untitled

2. Because they're exempt from exams, Camden and Rory are finished with 6th and 9th grade as of 11:30 Tuesday morning. The school year was our busiest yet - Honors classes for Camden combined with cross country (Rory), basketball (Camden), and soccer (both kids) made for a full schedule. Camden is the only Lewis not ready for a break.

It is no secret that 6th grade was Camden's toughest year socially, emotionally, etc. We nearly made it through Rory's year without major drama, but she confided in me last night which resulted in tears on both sides. A "friend" has been directing a racial slur towards her for months, and she is being forced to confront right and wrong on issues that are far beyond her years. The world is so broken. I'm proud of her for trusting me to help her figure this out and relieved that sixth grade is over.

3. Uncle Matt was here for a visit. Camden is officially the tallest.

Untitled

4. Basketball and pizza with church friends made for a fun Friday night.

Untitled

Untitled

5. A few recent favorites:

David Crowder interview - he's a hillbilly and a musical genius
Johnnyswim interview - loved his story of meeting his wife
Charles Martin interview - immediately headed to Amazon and bought 2 of his books
EveryPlate - $20 off your first box
The Dawn Wall documentary - just incredible
Laura Mercier lipstick in Fresh - the perfect berry for fall, but bright enough for spring

Our weekend is jam-packed, but the most significant event is that Camden has plans. At the mall. With his friends. As in, we're dropping him off and picking him up 3.5 hours later. What? When did he become old enough for this?

Happy Mother's Day weekend, friends!


Friday, May 03, 2019

Five on Friday (May 3, 2019)

2019 is proving to be a difficult year. Brian's Papa Bob passed away this week, which means we've lost 3 grandparents in the last 10-12 weeks. Add in lesser challenges like totaling my car, an overbooked schedule along with heavier issues like rising cancer markers, heart procedures for my dad, friends and family going through incredibly tough circumstances, and it would be easy to feel overwhelmed. And we do feel overwhelmed, very overwhelmed. But we're also hanging in there, trying to communicate well, and choosing to find things for which to be grateful. I read this passage of Scripture this week and instantly burst into tears.

Lamentations 3:19-33 (Message)
I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.
I remember it all - oh, how well I remember -
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there's one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope.

God's loyal love couldn't have run out,
his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He's all I've got left.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when you're young
to stick it out through the hard times.

When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The "worst" is never the worst.

1. The kids had a color run at school recently. It was a perfect day to spend outside (not that I was there), and they enjoyed getting dirty more than I thought they would!

Before
Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

2. Here's what I remember most about Easter this year: (1) eating lunch together with my parents, grandparents, sister, and family after all the hard work of Easter weekend was completed and (2) the joyful mood of Camden and Rory while we took these pictures.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

3. I attended my first book club and it was so much fun. We read Ghosted by Rosie Walsh. Prior to this first evening, I could not have imagined that 4 women could talk about 1 book for nearly 3 hours. Can't wait for the next one - we're reading Long Way Gone by Charles Martin.

4. Although it's hard to imagine, we're only 2 weeks away from the end of the school year (school ends early when you begin August 1). The kids are knee deep in projects, and they're ready for a break. As always, Rory is slightly more ready than Camden. He is much too sentimental to truly enjoy the end of anything.

5. Because I totaled my car, we're car shopping for the second time in less than 6 months (Brian's least favorite chore for sure). Our MO is to buy a used car and then drive it to death. The challenge, of course, is finding the best used car so that we can drive it to death. Brian's headed to Uganda in a few short weeks so we need to find something sooner rather than later.

In other news - kids competed in state event and will move forward to the national in Bible memorization, group drama, and vocal solo. My CA125 continues to rise, but I feel well so we're keeping an eye on everything but holding off on chemo for now. My dad is having two stents put in later this month. While we wish they weren't necessary, I'm glad for good doctors. 

We're headed to West Virginia as soon as work is over tonight. I'm looking forward to seeing Brian's family; I just wish Papa Bob were also going to be there sitting on the porch in his overalls making fun of everyone.


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Five on . . . Sunday?

It's not Friday but it felt like I should take advantage of the extra time today.

1. Spring break has come and gone in a flash. The kids spent a couple of days in East Tennessee with Gram and Gramps while Brian and I went to NYC. I can't even begin to describe the weeks leading up to spring break. Let's just say that a long nap would have been more appropriate than a trip to NYC but after finding our bearings and mapping out a plan, we enjoyed the time away. Brian loved the busyness of the city while I found it more overwhelming than I remembered. We basically did a food crawl through bakeries I had found on travel blogs. With the exception of our first meal after arriving in the city (fresh pasta from a small restaurant in Little Italy), the focus was on cookies and pastries. Of course! A few highlights were the Sunday morning service at Brooklyn Tabernacle and My Fair Lady on Broadway.

We brought home cookies from Levain's to share.
Untitled

Untitled

2. When I heard the lightness in Camden and Rory's voices as they called to check in (daily), I realized that it's not just the adults who have been feeling the stress of our schedule. If we can survive the school year, I have ideas on how to simplify just a bit. During the break, not only did we go to NYC but Brian made a trip to WV to visit his ailing grandfather while I stayed home to catch up on work.

3. Last weekend I traveled to Orlando for less than 48 hours. While I would like to tell you I spent the time lounging a the pool, it was a work trip and I came home exhausted.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

4. My dear friend Tina invited me to the symphony Friday night, and it was lovely. I think everyone should enjoy an orchestra at least once. The music is so complex and chaotic and beautiful. Having the experience with Tina was the best (as were our seats!).

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

5. Rory and I were in a rough wreck yesterday afternoon. Thankfully, we are both fine (just sore and shaken) but my car is totaled. I'm so grateful no one was hurt and the EMTs were so kind and lovely. A couple of firsts: sitting inside an ambulance in a neck brace, the kind of crying where you can't catch your breath, strangers wiping away my tears (since my arms were strapped down).

Untitled

Kids are heading into a week of state achievement testing. Easter week is one of the busiest for churches/pastors and this year is no exception but I hope to take a breath and focus on why we celebrate this busy weekend in the first place.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Five on Friday (March 22, 2019)

1. Two bookish dreams came true recently: I was put on a PR list (because of work) and I was invited to join a book club. My reading life has been quite meh in 2019 so a book club sounds like so much fun!

I've been listening to Becoming, which is Michelle Obama's memoir. I do love when an audio book is read by the author so I've had Michelle Obama in my ear for a while now. One of my nurses (we've connected over our love of reading) said it felt like losing a friend when the book finally ended (it's 19 hours long). I've also recently started listening to the Currently Reading podcast which comes with more recommendations than I can keep up with. I love that they end the episode with a book recommendation to "press into the reader's hand."

2. Our Friday morning small group has been going through Tim Kimmel's Grace Based Parenting curriculum. I wish I was naturally full of grace. I wish my kids didn't need grace. But I'm not and they do. This week has been especially challenging, and I've been so grateful for what we've been learning on Friday mornings.

Untitled

Untitled

3. After trying nearly every meal service available over the last couple of years, I've settled on EveryPlate. Not only is it the most reasonable financially, but the recipes are also the simplest. There's no fancy app but again, cheapest and simplest. We don't use it every week, but it sure makes these crazy weeks a bit more manageable and that's worth a whole lot. You can use this link for $20 off your first box.

4. Officially adulting when I used my Christmas gift cards to purchase a new cast iron pan. It's beautiful and I've used it nearly every night.

Untitled

5. We're headed into our NYC trip with basically no plan so if anyone has great tips regarding a visit to NYC, send them our way. We have a list of restaurants/bakeries we want to try and that's about it. What I really want are tickets to Hamilton, but so does everyone else! The weeks leading up to this trip have been so challenging that a weekend away has often felt like more trouble than it was worth. The timing doesn't feel perfect. But if we can manage to leave the stress behind us in Tennessee, the timing is actually ideal.

Happy Friday, friends.
Untitled


Untitled


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Hello, Spring

I know that I have been missing for much of 2019; life just continues to be busier and busier. I miss keeping track of the days and happenings of the kids but find myself with little will power or time to write it all down. Recently I looked through blog books and pictures from several years ago, and I will just never ever be sorry for all of the time (and money and energy) those words and pictures took.

Basketball is over; soccer is underway. We are definitely putting a one-sport limit on the kids next year simply because our schedule needs breathing room. But for now Camden is on the Varsity soccer team (and rarely playing since he's a freshman) and Rory is practicing with the school soccer team. The coach graciously made the offer to several of the younger players who did not make the team and so they are putting in the hard work of learning in order to have a better shot of making the team next year as 7th graders.

The temps were in the 20's (not a typo) for the first game. We look warmer and happier than we actually felt.
Untitled

My brother came for a quick visit and we had a great family gathering; we don't see him often and it was good to be together.
Untitled

Untitled

Last month Brian's grandmother passed away. This month, my grandfather suffered a stroke and passed away 8 days later. We have been so blessed to have 8 grandparents alive (my kids had 12 grandparents until February!) so the loss of two grandparents in a short period of time is difficult. Even more difficult is watching our parents grieve. We made a quick trip to Missouri over the weekend and while the days were hard, it was good to be together. My favorite two moments were spending the evening in a crowded hotel room reminiscing and at the graveside, the grandsons along with Brian and another grandson-in-law were the pallbearers. I was struck by the young men who were impacted by my grandpa.

Untitled


Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

In other news, I have been feeling (mostly) well and my energy level, in fact, has improved over the last month. Unfortunately, my stomach has been giving me trouble which can be an indication of cancer stirring up. The good news is that my recent scan showed no new growth, but my CA125 nearly doubled. It's never good when your oncologist gives you a call at 3:30 on a weekday afternoon.

Brian and I will be traveling to New York next week to celebrate our 22nd anniversary (2 months early). The following weekend I will fly to Orlando for a quick 2-day work trip.

Nine months into Brian's new role as pastor, we know more than ever what a challenging but rewarding job it is. Sometimes we look at each other and wonder what could possibly happen next. I don't know about Brian, but I certainly feel woefully inadequate.

And now winter has disappeared and we're welcoming spring. Bring on the sunshine (keep the heat).
Untitled



Friday, February 08, 2019

Five (or more) on Friday (February 8, 2019)

And just like that, the first 6 week of 2019 have disappeared. We are busier than ever, which makes sense since we have a tween and teenager and Brian has two jobs. This week as we came home just in time to fall into our beds for the 4th night in a row, Brian and I both said "this is no way to live!"

So here's a quick list of a few happenings in the Lewis family.

1. Just enough snow and ice arrived one Sunday in January to qualify for a snow day. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday all wrapped up and cozy. Brian took multiple naps; we watched a whole lot of football and played games. The kids had a second snow day last week but the adults weren't so lucky. As usual, Tennessee has wild mood swings that take us from record-breaking temperatures of 78 degrees one day to 20 degrees the next.

Untitled

Let's ignore the mess - it was a snow day!
Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

2. Camden continues to toy with the idea of becoming an oncologist. He chose ovarian cancer as the topic for his research paper this semester (and was completely irritated at everyone else in his class who chose topics like video games, sports, etc.). I find myself wanting to control his research, knowing that he is going to see statistics that are not hopeful. I did warn him in advance, but I'm finding it difficult to let him manage this on his own.

3. Basketball season is wrapping up with a tournament next week. It's been a long, dreary season with only 1 win. I keep waiting for Camden to really get fed up, but so far he still leaves each game having fun and able to recognize where he should improve and taking pride in his accomplishments. I can't ask for much more than that. Except for a win; we would all really like a win.

4. After bowing out of choir for his freshman year, Camden got pulled into choir competition yesterday. The event required black dress pants, white shirt, black dress shoes, and black tie/belt. We borrowed the white shirt from grandpa, the shoes from Brian, and crossed our fingers that the black pants we ordered from Target would fit and arrive on time. I only snapped two quick pictures as we left the house before daylight so ignore the photo bomb as well as the dreary conditions. He's in desperate need of a haircut.

Untitled

Untitled

5. We enjoyed the SuperBowl last week with the annual family get together. This year we invited one of Brian's former co-workers. The game wasn't as exciting as we hoped, but that wasn't really the point anyway.  No group photo this year, but a couple from lunch that day.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

6. I must have needed light reading because I dived into YA books in January and completed seven.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The One by Kiera Cass
The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang (I recommend this one)
The Heir by Keira Cass
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

7. I have my first official haircut scheduled for today. While I've had a couple of quick trims since stopping chemo last April, this is the first haircut with a wash, scalp massage, style, etc. I could not be more excited about it!

8. Brian's grandma passed away this week and while it was not unexpected, we are still sad. She was nearly 95 years old and had been married for 73. Until this week, both Brian and I have had all of our grandparents still living. Which means Camden and Rory have had 12 grandparents to love on them, which is remarkable! The service was very sweet and family oriented, a celebration as it should be. Brian and his brothers each had the opportunity to speak. Camden, Rory, Cheyenne, and Sienna (the 4 great grandkids attending) all participated by playing their instrument or singing.

Changing in the trunk
Untitled


Brian's brothers, parents, grandpa
Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

9. Brian and Camden went to a Belmont basketball game with a group from school and had the best time. Rory and I stayed home and continued to work our way through the Hallmark series When Calls the Heart. Girl is SO addicted to the romance. I can appreciate that it's sweet and wholesome, although incredibly unrealistic.

Untitled

10. After spending many afternoons throughout the fall practicing with the soccer team, official tryouts were last week. None of the sixth grades made the cut, which softened the blow a bit. She isn't especially interested in soccer, but thought it would be fun to play with her friends.

Our weekend kicks off with date night - Brian and I have tickets to see The Wizard of Oz tonight at TPAC. I just hope we don't fall asleep in the middle of it. ;) Rory is spending some time with the grandparents while Camden has his last regular season basketball game tonight (not a home game). Camden has soccer tryouts tomorrow morning (I nearly cried when I remembered. Our calendar needs a break!). When high school is over, I'll miss these busy days. That's what they tell me anyway.

Happy Friday, friends.