want to test your memory?

11 Feb

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I saw this picture on pinterest recently and it threw me back to exactly what I was worrying about a year ago, I remember it like it was yesterday:

A year ago on the 4th my mom and dad walked into my office and told me that my mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. 

A year ago on the 6th my best friends second son, Ollie, was born with CHARGE syndrome and his fight and our love for him would go on to change all of our lives completely. 

A year ago today I was remembering what I was worrying about a year earlier when I received a phone call from my Dr. telling me that all of the blood tests came back fine (a relief) but suggesting that I begin seeing a therapist… I did, and it took me on a year and a half journey of learning how to deal, learning more about myself and making it through things that I never imagined I would. 

So yes, if you want to test your memory, remember what you were worrying about a year ago; but more importantly remember who helped you get through those worries, the strength that you found and the joy that has come from it.

What do you do when your mom is having chemo?

10 Jun

 

When we were told by the doctors that mom would have to do chemo we knew all the possible side effects.  Nausea, tiredness, forgetfulness, just plain not feeling well and hair loss. When she started a month ago we attempted to prepare ourselves for everything but let me tell you, nothing prepares you for the phone call that her hair is starting to fall out.

So what did we do? We planned a party.

 

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We are so blessed to have women (and men too- but they weren’t invited!) that are loving, supportive and most importantly not too serious to join us for cupcakes, sangria, head shaving and laughter to make a pretty sucky situation suck a lot less!

 

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(special thanks to: Frosting & Crust in Alexandria, IN for our “balding” cupcakes, KiKiWreath for the pretty pink wreath, Chickabug for the candy bar printables and Karen at Jagged Edge in Anderson, IN for making the trip to my house to do mom’s hair!)

 

 

 

 

 

Cancer sucks.

25 Mar

There comes a point that you have to share what’s on your mind. Is this that moment for me? Well, it may be. Maybe it’s not the right time but I have to at least try tonight. The last couple months have been the hardest of my life, and I never thought I would be able to say that after last summer and Brian’s death but then again I never expected that this would happen.

I never expected that my mom would be one of the women who would be diagnosed with breast cancer, I never expected that we would face hurdle after hurdle while trying to undergo treatment, I never expected that we would then find out that treatment plans were changed and that chemotherapy needed to start ASAP and that she wouldn’t be able to join us in Guatemala.

I never expected that I would be so side-lined by this new information that I would spend the following day hidden away, almost unable to get out of bed and definitely not putting on make up.

But it was what I did expect and that ended up happening, that reminded me why life is so worth living. It was receiving an email from one of my pastors saying I could talk to her anytime, it was knowing that both of my church families and friends were praying for mom and our family, it was finally getting to see little Ollie and spend some quality time with Kaleigh, it was sitting down and talking with my mom and it was receiving a facebook message that was so unexpected that it caught me off guard. It was a busy weekend filled with movies and church services with the kids at church.

I’m so thankful for these things and so proud with my ability to see the good whereas a year ago I couldn’t.

 

 

 

Are you or someone you know experiencing feelings of depression? Are you interested in learning more about how someone battling depression goes through day by day? I visited this site earlier this week and it was eerie how much I could relate to parts of the experience. Depressionquest.com

How are you like your mother?

20 Feb

I promised this post a while ago. But things happen in life, things that solidified the ways I know I’m like my mother. But things that made this post that much harder to write.

For those of you who don’t know my mom is my best friend. I know people say this all the time but in my life it’s true. Through all the friendships that I’ve had in my life that have gone away, through all the things I’ve gone through in my life and the decisions I’ve made, through the boys, the tears, the confusion and even through my anger the one constant has been that my mom has been able to handle it.  When in the middle of a yelling match a year ago I realized that I didn’t know why I was upset, I didn’t know why I felt the way I did and that I needed help she sat there and cried with me.  When I was having a hard time adjusting to life at Purdue my mom was the one who bought a Prius so that she would get better gas mileage so she could come visit regularly (okay, thanks for buying her the car dad! :))  The first person I call when anything happens- good or bad- is my mom. The first person I go to when I need retail or starbucks therapy is my mom. She’s my best friend, the one who has always been there for me.

My mom is also the one who was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks ago.

She’s a fighter and she’s strong- but we knew this before we found out. What I didn’t know was how strong she would be for those around her during this time. I’ll admit it, I was a mess the day I found out. Okay, I’ll admit it I’m still a mess and if I wasn’t typing this while sitting in the front office of the church I would probably be sobbing all over my desk, but my mom has been strong. With patience and calm she has explained to us what is going on. With patience and calm she held my hand after I fainted during her pre-op appointment (yeah, that’s a fun story for another day) With patience and calm she spent her valentines day eating homemade pizza and watching Pitch Perfect with me. My mother’s strength has amazed me over the last two weeks.

But how am I like my mother? I can only hope and pray that I have inherited some of her strength and her ability to not allow bad things to take over her life. But I am like my mother:

  • I look like my mother. Well, a younger version of her at least (love you!!) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard how much we look alike.  It used to be annoying, now I take it as a complement… Heck, I can only hope that I age as well as she has!
  • I’m independent like my mother. As I’ve grown older I’ve noticed myself becoming more independent, more introverted.  Now don’t take this as that I  like to be alone much but I have found myself enjoying the stillness of relaxing at home and not having people around.
  • I care about others like my mother. Even throughout all of this my mom is still concerned about others. My best friend is also going through something I can’t imagine and is dealing with her newborn sons many problems with a faith and grace that amazes me- my mom is there for her, constantly asking how her son is and offering up prayers for that sweet little boy and a family that means so much to us.
  • I’m a children’s minister like my mother. For years I fought going into ministry, even with the people whose opinions mattered the most to me I fought it. Finally while helping my mom with the kids at church I realized that God had put me in a place that I could help children and families grow to know His love more.

I pray that I continue to become more and more like my mother. I have been so blessed with my parents, two strong role models who continue to love God and look life in the eye throughout all the ups and downs.  I’ve never been more thankful for those relationships than I am right now

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How are you like your father?

22 Jan

This was the question posed to us this morning in staff meeting. I chuckled as the thoughts started through my mind.

How am I like my father? How am I not like my father? Do you reallllly want to go there?

It’s no secret that my father and I have had our issues through the years. It started as the typical teenage girl-father relationship drama (and I don’t lie about the fact that I knew how to turn on the tears when needed….odd since I would go on to spend so many years fighting shedding tears at anything besides movies..) and morphed into more. And why did it morph into more?

Because I am so much like my father.

I look like my mother. This is undeniable. And whenever the comments are made (and they’re made quite often because apparently that’s an excellent conversation starter in the middle of a store..) my mom always laughs and responds with “yeah, but she acts like her dad.” And I do. This has caused issues in the past, oh heck it still causes issues, but at the same time it’s something I’m proud of at most times.

My father is one of the most outgoing, social, open-to-all-kinds-of-people people I have ever met and I’m proud to have gained some of his ability to become a social butterfly at the drop of a hat. (insert sound of shock here)

I love sports. This was something that my dad instilled in my long ago. Dad likes to tell the story of my first Purdue basketball game when I was about 5. It was Purdue-IU and the year was 1993 so you can imagine the scene. We walked out after the game and he asked how I liked it and my only response was, “it was so loud.” I still have this reaction on the nights that it’s been a long day and I would really be good with being there in Mackey and pushing the mute button (Note: Purdue-Ohio State games after having meetings from 9 am- 6:30 pm and having been sick for the last 5 days are NOT fun) We still have basketball season tickets to Purdue and I look forward to these times together. When we found out that Purdue was going to Texas to the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Years Day, dad surprised me with tickets and we spent a 4 days touring Dallas and the Fort Worth Stockyards, eating, and enjoying the company of lots of other Purdue fans.

I’ve also gained his stubborn streak. This stubborn streak is normally what gets me in trouble BUT I have come to realize that sometimes this can be a good thing.  When being stubborn on standing up for something I believe in- good thing. When being stubborn and fighting for something that I think would be good for our community- good thing.  When being stubborn and fighting purely because the other person is being stubborn and fighting- ehh, not such a good thing.

My dad loves helping people. Growing up I was always told; God has blessed us so that we can bless others. I can’t count the ways that I have seen my dad help someone who was in need. Whether it was by being a friend and lending an ear or by providing a job to someone who was in need. My dad has always taught me that God has put us where we are and given us what we have so that we can show His love to those around us in whatever way we can.

So how am I like my father? Let me count the ways… (And don’t worry, there will most definitely be a “How are you like your mother?” follow up in the coming days)(

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Love you daddy :)

I just want to see some good news

15 Jan

I had a friend say this to me yesterday. I received some not so great news yesterday morning and while talking to a close friend about it (while trying not to break down and totally freak out like I really wanted to) we were astonished by how much bad news we had heard lately. It seems that everyone is suffering in one way or another and really it would just be good to hear some good news.  So for those of you who are in the same need as we are for some good news, I’m here to share some.

  • Walmart is carrying Reese’s eggs already
  • This cat found it’s way home
  • The Guatemala trip is coming together: April 1st-8th here we come!
  • God sent His Son to save you yes, you and you you and  you
  • I love police K-9′s.  I especially love police K-9′s that interrupt soccer matches
  • Our church office is closed on Monday for MLK Day.  No one knew that our church office was closed. This lead to immense happiness

Do you have some good news you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it!!!

I can’t be the only one

24 Dec

Last week I posted a blog that was simply my thoughts on that night. Earlier that evening I had attended a Longest Night Service here at the church. It was an excellent service although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t blubber like a baby going forward to light a candle. So many of the things that were said echoed exactly my feelings this Christmas. I LOVE Christmas. I love the reason behind Christmas and celebrating God’s perfect and best gift coming down to us–lowly us. I love spending time with my family. I love seeing kids get so excited and the joy they exude.  But this year I haven’t felt “in the holiday spirit.”  I just haven’t. I’ve not been in tears every day and I’ve even had some very good days. But I’m not as excited this year, I just can’t seem to feel that same feeling that has always come each year. During this service however there was a reading that touched on every feeling I’ve had this year and I couldn’t wait to share it with all of you. Maybe you’re grieving this year (so many of us are) or maybe you know someone who is; either way I hope this helps just a little bit.

 

             I can’t quite catch the spirit of ’tis the season to be jolly…for jolly isn’t what I am feeling.

            I can’t quite see the spirit of lights and tinsel that deck the halls…for my eyes are filled with tears that blind.

            I can’t quite hear the spirit of choirs of angels that sing “Rejoice”…for my ears are filled with silence.

            I can’t quite smell the spirit of pine and candles, of frankincense and  myrrh…for the aroma I smell is nothing sweet.

            I can’t quite taste the spirit of treats and cookies and roasted chestnuts…for the taste of bitterness is on my lips.

            I can’t quite touch the spirit of warm fires and cozy gatherings…for I shiver at the touch of ice in my soul.

            I can’t quite get there, God!  I can’t quite feel it, God!  I can’t quite find it, God!  And yet you come here with me.

            In tears, in silence, in emptiness, and the cold it is here I  discover your comfort for me.  After all is said and done, I  ever    did need to catch it, or see it, or hear it, or smell it, or taste it. I don’t have to get there!

             I don’t have to seek it! I don’t have to find it!

             Instead, you meet me where I am, without expectations or conditions, the most precious gift I’ve known. You come to share my silent night.

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i miss him the most when i miss him

20 Dec

It seems like common sense doesn’t it? But it’s the truth. On the nights where I’m down, where I’m the loneliest, when I think of him the most is when I could most use his humor, it’s when I miss him the most. Brian was one of those people who regardless of your mood could cheer you up. When you were in the best of moods he’d make you even happier, when you were upset he would talk you through it and make you laugh in the process, after an argument he had the best apologies. He was one of the few people I could say absolutely anything to and he would take it well. He could handle my confusion, he could handle my happiness and he could handle my anger and for some reason he made me able to handle sharing it. I miss him when there are those moments that I realize I’m unable to share these things anymore.  I realized last night how much trouble I have communicating now. I don’t know how to say what I feel, I don’t know how to share how I truly feel. I miss him talking me through things. Missing this makes me miss him even more.

People talk about how difficult the Christmas season can be and in the past I never understood. I’ve missed him over the last 4 months but there’s nothing quite like sitting at home on a cold winter night, listening to the wind and the snow and seeing the Christmas tree and thinking of what could have been. The what could have beens are the worst part, it’s the part that I should avoid. Who knows where Brian and I would have been today, who knows if we would have still been together or if we would be back being friends. It’s the not knowing that makes me miss him even more.

I know I’ll move on but for tonight I miss him.

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i am second: Release

15 Dec

One of the hardest things I’ve found  to let go of when starting relationships or trying to heal old relationships is letting the things in the past stay in the past. What one guy or one friend did in the past isn’t what the next one will do or even what they will do again. Just because they’ve hurt you once doesn’t mean that they’re going to do it again. I still struggle with understanding this aspect of forgiveness. I’ve come to realize that recently. I’ve been hurt in the past and sometimes it’s hard to move on from that. I forgive them and I know that they didn’t mean to hurt me but at the same time I’m still fearful that they’ll do it again, I’m still fearful that the next thing I know I’ll be blindsided again.  I’m still hesitant to allow myself to trust them completely and to allow myself to truly be myself again. I know this is what I need to do, even that it’s what I want to do.

The hurts done against me are so slight compared to the hurts I’ve done to God and to God’s people and He has forgiven each of them and forgotten them. At the end of each day he still provides me with the comfort that only He can. If God can do this then I can learn to forgive the things that have been done to me.

I am second.

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i am second: known

14 Dec

I write with a heavy heart today, after a busy day yesterday I decided to come into the office and write my third blog post from the live second devotional this morning. After getting some things done I sat down to the computer and came face to face with a mother’s worst nightmare. For those of you who don’t know this morning a gunman entered a Connecticut elementary school and began opening fire. At this time they still haven’t released a fatality count but it doesn’t look good. There is no way that it could look good. Parents are searching for their children not knowing if they simply are in another part of the staging location or if they are one of the too many parents who will find out that their children won’t come home. I’m not a parent but I’m sitting here sobbing. I can’t imagine that pain, that fear, that unknowing. I can’t imagine there would be anything worst. I’m devastated for these families and am at one of those points that prayer doesn’t feel like enough yet it feels like everything. I hurt with all of my being for our nation and for the other nations that are going through this.  My words mean so little right now and I am at a loss of what to say. As people come in and out praying, asking, crying out to God for these families we’re at a loss. What a time is this to know that we have a God who knows? God knows our hearts. God knows the hearts of the families who are going through this pain. He knows.

 

 

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