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Friday, June 08, 2018

Five on Friday (June 8, 2018)

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. 
(The Message - Matthew 6:34)

1. We dropped Camden off at our alma mater for basketball camp on Sunday and then spent most of the day Wednesday picking him up. He came home tired and a little grumpy and with a whole bunch of nasty blisters on his already blistery feet (his feet have never really recovered from cross country in the fall). Rory spent Sunday and Monday with grandparents. and I'm certain she enjoyed not sharing the time with Camden.

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2. He has the job of mowing our pastor's yard for the next month. It's amazing the motivation a little money brings to the table. He's certainly never been so eager to mow our own yard! ;)

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3. Anxiety over quitting chemo is a pretty common emotion in the cancer world. There's something about knowing you're not actively doing anything to kill cancer that can be difficult to manage. I've never actually experienced this until recently. Of course, I've never had ongoing symptoms either. I've mentioned the cancer-related pain that I've had for nearly 2 years now. While it has improved so, so much, its presence is a daily reminder that I'm living with cancer. Still. Living with cancer or any chronic disease or pain is just never easy. (see verse above - reading it daily)

4. I finished 2 books this week: The Perfect Mother and Educated: A Memoir. While I thoroughly enjoyed both of them, Educated just might make it on my best of 2018 list.

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5. Kathy - one of my oldest and dearest friends - recently accepted a position at the same company where I work. We haven't worked together for 11 years so the opportunity to see her on such a consistent basis is awesome. We're generally squeezing in coffee dates every couple of months, so being in the same building a couple times a week is just fantastic. Thursday, a group of 4 of us who all used to work for the same college met in our work dining hall for lunch. It was the highlight of my week to have us all together.

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Brian and I are trying to get back on track for date night this summer. Actually, they're more like day dates, and seem to involve running errands more than anything but we're trying. This afternoon we used our Movie Pass and went to see Oceans 8 in the middle of the day, and it was glorious. Not the movie, actually, just lounging in a recliner with the free popcorn.

We have had very busy days this week and next week is even busier so I'm hoping to rest a bit over the weekend.  Tonight, we plan to watch what will probably be the final Warriors/Cavs game (we're all LeBron fans around here). Tomorrow night we're celebrating Liz's birthday with my parents and grandparents, and I'm in charge of the cake. Our pastor (who resigned last week, btw) is out of town so Brian is preaching for the next several weeks. This means his summer days are a little fuller than usual but in a good way. Happy Friday!

(We had some unexpected time on our hands Wednesday so we found a cute coffee shop and did some reading. Even Brian!)
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Friday, June 01, 2018

Five on Friday (June 1, 2018)

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice! Tell all the nations, "the Lord reigns." -I Chronicles 16:31

1. Camden's first official high school experience (camp) was a success. He came home several shades browner, with a husky voice, and slept all afternoon. He sure does love camp, and this year may have been his favorite. Not only did he enjoy the more mature campers (he says it was awesome to have competitive partners in all the games), but his team won first place in the obstacle course - something he's been trying to do for the last 8 years. He tossed around a lot of "bros" and "shout outs" which made me smile.

Anyone who has a history with church summer camp knows that the week always ends with a bonfire where campers and workers share what the week has meant to them, things they're grateful for, etc. He said that it dawned on him how hard the kitchen staff had been working (you know how important food is to a 14-year old!) and so he "gave a shout out" to the kitchen staff and told them how much he appreciated them and their food. So cute.

before he left on Sunday
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2. We're not willing to let something as important as National Donut Day pass us by, so we stopped for Krispy Kreme on the way home from camp.

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3. Thursday was our 21st wedding anniversary. While we didn't have time to do much celebrating, we did have dinner at our favorite Mexican spot and then grocery shopped at Aldi and Sam's. Now that's the kind of real-life romance someone should write about.

Brian has gotten quite adept at pulling out my Amazon wishlist to buy gifts, and he gave me a great handmade leather purse along with this electric, heated massager. Ironically enough, I bought him a tiny little handheld massager. I couldn't help but laugh when he brought out my gift. We actually might just swap massagers. The electric one bruised my back like crazy (I'm sure that couldn't be because I started out with an hour-long session instead of the recommended 15 minutes).

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4. I've been collecting Amazon gift cards over the past 6 months - Christmas gifts, Administrative Assistant's Day gifts, compensation for work. This week I cashed them all in for fun stuff - the most expensive perfume I've ever purchased, a lighted makeup mirror, a new cookbook, fluffy makeup brush, and Black Panther. You just can't go wrong with retail therapy, specifically when you're not spending your own money.

5. I read THREE books this week, and they were all excellent.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper - a thriller that manages to be G rated, which I enjoy. Scary and a page turner without being gory or nasty.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - this one has been on my "to read" list forever; it started off iffy for me, but by the end I was completely won over.

The Assistants by Camille Perri - I started and finished this all in one day; a great quick summer read.

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The best part about summer is the lazier pace. Saturday mornings with nowhere to be are my favorite. Because I'm a creature of habit, I still get up early but then spend the next several hours reading, catching up on social media, drinking coffee, etc. Generally, these slow mornings are hard to come by, but are pretty common during summer. Brian and I are taking meals to two different families Saturday afternoon and we're going to a comedy event at our church Saturday night. Sunday we have our monthly nursing home service and then Camden is off to basketball camp at our alma mater. Happy Friday!


Friday, May 25, 2018

Five on Friday (May 25, 2018)

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! -Psalms 34:8

1. When I got to work Monday, there were balloons, a gift card, shampoo, conditioner, and mascara waiting for me. I am already using the mascara even though my lashes are teeny tiny. Other updates as a result of 6 weeks now with no chemo - I'm back in my contacts (chemo was affecting my eyes), toenails are still falling off right and left (this is not an improvement). Fatigue is still present, of course, but so much better. The best improvement is that the cancer-related pain I have experienced since October 2016 is improving at a rapid rate. I'm continuing to have scar tissue inflammation from my old stomach port (I had it removed all the way back in July 2011).

2. My kids are a solid week and a half into summer break and I've been telling anyone who will listen how great they are. There is giggling and playing, fake fights (their current favorite), soccer competitions up in our tiny bonus room. They are sudden compadres, and I love it.

3. On Brian's last day of school, he met several other teachers at 6:00 a.m. for a little trip down the river in a kayak, which was a pretty sweet way to end the year.

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4. Our summer break is quickly filling up with nothing close to resembling vacation for the adults with 3 weeks of camp, sleepovers, VBS, church conventions in Arkansas, and library trips (my basket is currently overflowing with books off my "to read" list). Camden leaves Sunday afternoon for the high school week of church camp. I feel irrationally freaked out  nervous about this. High school? It was just last week that he was in kindergarten.

5. Camden is so funny. We spent two nights watching the 2-part American Idol finale which inspired extra guitar practice. Several rounds into NBA playoffs and he can hardly stand it that we're 5 months away from his own basketball season. While the summer heat is slowing down the evening basketball practice, he did beat his dad earlier this week. Personally, I can hardly be bothered to walk to and from the car in the heat much less play a sport.

Our weekend plans are appropriate for the first weekend of summer break - shopping for shorts, swimming suits, and other summer-related clothing, binge-watching the last 3 episodes of Survivor, dinner with friends, and ice cream. Always. Rory and I also have plans to watch the new Little Women mini-series while Camden is gone to camp.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Five on Friday (May 18, 2018)

You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. -Psalm 139:5

1. We celebrated Mother's Day twice. Saturday night our family used a gift card for supper at a local Italian restaurant (and a free dinner always tastes better). It was absolutely delicious and I brought home tiramisu, which is my favorite dessert. Camden was so irritated because he had made arrangements to stop at a little bakery to bring me a piece on Sunday so I burst his bubble by ordering it Saturday.  I told him it's the thought that counts. I volunteered to make Mother's Day lunch for everyone and so we spent the afternoon at my parent's house with my grandparents, Liz, and Addison. Camden had the idea of making chicken salad with some fancy-ish sides and cake. Brian gave me tulips and my favorite summer perfume; Rory gave me a laminated picture of her face. :)

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 2. I'm having a hard time believing that the school year is over. I have a high schooler, friends. How is that possible? Here are 2 pictures from the final morning before school (they've taken to playing basketball or soccer before leaving). Yesterday I found them outside chatting on the back porch. How long will this last?

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3. Brian's last day of school is Wednesday. The kids and I have already enjoyed a slow Wednesday and Thursday. It's an abrupt change of pace from frenetic to full-on rest. I'm finding great joy in replying "no" to all of the automated text reminders from Vanderbilt - a constant reminder of how much time is consumed as a cancer patient. I've already had several people assume that since I'm no longer receiving chemotherapy my body has automatically jumped back to 100%. While I wish that were true, it just doesn't happen that easily. I'm looking forward to this summer's slower pace and hoping to begin moving back to 100%. But already 100%? That's crazy talk.

4. This weekend I'm attending a women's conference with mom and Liz (and friends from church). Lisa Harper is the speaker (I love her) and Ellie Holcomb is the musician (I also love her). I think we're all really looking forward to it.

5. My Starbucks coffee order has moved from an iced blonde cappuccino to a nitro cold brew with a splash (or two) of half and half. Do you know it comes without ice? Definitely ask for ice.

So the weekend's agenda includes a conference for me, yard sale fundraiser for Brian and the kids, birthday party for Rory's friend at the skating rink, and maybe a movie for the adults if we can sneak it into the schedule. Happy Friday!

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Freedom

I went into my appointments this week prepared to argue my way out of further chemotherapy. Turns out, my oncologist needed no convincing, and my continued good scan results spoke for me. I don't think we can ever say I'm cancer free, but this may be is as close to it as I've ever been. Dr. C suggested we put a stop to chemo before I could put all my arguments to good use.

Back in December 2016 when I started this new regimen, we all expected it to be for forever so to have this freedom after all the time, hard work, and - let's be honest - suffering is amazing. I'm left with chronic pain, neuropathy that may be permanent, and a whole lot of fatigue but I'm looking forward to trying to find my way back to normal. My first accomplishment? Growing eyelashes which are very slowly beginning to make an appearance.

And want to hear something kind of insane? I'm still writing scripture daily (except when I'm not) and Tuesday's passage was Jeremy 29:11-13 which reads "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me." One hundred percent not a coincidence this passage were assigned to Tuesday.

(We celebrated with Jeni's, of course.)
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