Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Reminder to myself

A little over 2 years ago, I sat in a hospital play room watching my three year old daughter play tea party with one hand while the other hand was hooked up to an IV.  She had about a 6 inch incision in her tummy that was just beginning to heal.  She was sitting in a wheel chair and she had this new appendage coming out of the middle of her chest that was giving her meds on a regular basis.  This appendage or  tube was connected to this "wonderful" pump that we could drag around with us.
blowing on her tea...

I remember the fear and the anxiety over what the test results would come back to be.  We played with her and prayed over her.

I remember thinking about Abraham and how much I felt like I could relate to him.  He was told to sacrifice Isaac - his son that he waited years to have.  I too felt like I was asked to sacrifice Maggie.  My Maggers.

I did some looking.  Did you know that Abraham had Isaac carry the wood for the altar on his back?  Did you know that Abraham brought 2 servants with them?  Did you know that it took them 3 days to travel to the place that the Lord told them to do the sacrifice?

I can't imagine the feelings that Abraham had in those 3 days of traveling by foot knowing that at the end of the journey God wanted him to sacrifice his own son.  I imagine that he was probably thinking "Could I fool God with one of my servants instead of Isaac?"  "What will I tell Sarah?"  "Maybe we can just keep walking...." and then "My God will provide."  That is what he told Isaac when Isaac asked where the animal was that was to be sacrificed.  Can you imagine Abraham binding his own son and laying him on that altar?  Oh, how he must have avoided looking Isaac in the eye!  Abraham's heart had to literally hurt.  I know mine did.

But God did provide.  Just in the knick of time God stopped Abraham and told him to look in the bushes.  There was a ram.

Then God provided the replacement for all of us and our punishment for our sin:  Jesus.

I am just wondering if you have ever had to step out in faith?  Or have you had to carry that wood for your sacrifice of faith?  Following in Faith is not easy but it is so necessary.  This story of Abraham and Isaac has been told in Jewish homes for centuries and now in Christian homes as well as a testimony to not only Abraham's willingness to move on in faith but also to God's Faithfulness.

As I sat in that hospital, I chose to have faith.  I chose to have faith that God would provide in a way that we couldn't imagine.  But I had to be willing to walk that walk of faith for how ever many days it took to see God's Providence.

God provided for us and Maggie is cancer free but the steps in faith in God's providence in this one area continue on.  Each scan day, each fever, each complaint of an ache or pain is a new test of faith.   But God keeps providing.  I still think that God laughs at me sometimes when I get nervous.  :)

Tomorrow Maggie and I head up to the hospital for her next scans and blood work.  She will also have an echo cardiogram done.  The chemo she had could do serious damage to her heart (not to mention so many other things) and this is a check-up to see how her heart is doing.   It will be a long day but at least it is only to South Bend.

If you have seen God's Providence work in your life, will you share it?  God wants us to shout it out when He works miracles for us and it helps other people build their faith as well.  Share it in the comments section below.  :)

These are just one of the many lessons that God gave me in a real tangible way.  Would this be something that  you would like to see more on here?  .

Friday, February 25, 2011

Low Carb.....Having issues

Whenever Rod and I would discuss losing weight he would immediately throw out "When are we starting Low Carb?".  I would always grimace b/c well, to me it is not a long term solution and it is not something that I want our children to do.

To be completely fair, 8 years ago when I was having mega issues with trying to get pregnant b/c of this "condition" I have (another post for another time), I was told by my doctor to lose some weight and that it will often times help kick the body in gear (for the record, I didn't get pregnant for another 6 months and lots of other meds later).  I was also told that I am "pre-diabetic" b/c of this condition so 8 years ago we did low carb.  Now, this was BEFORE kiddos and there were people at work that I was doing it with and I easily lost about 20 lbs in about 6 weeks.

So, I know that this works but I want to be a good example of what to eat to our kids.  Yes, (shut-up please) I know that to be a good example of healthy living I should do some sort of exercise.  (shut-up pretty please) And well, it is definitely not well rounded.

Something happened on Sunday evening and when Rod said "When are we going to start Low Carb?  Tomorrow?"  I said "OK".  Now really what was I thinking?  Cooking which is normally something that I enjoy is now something that I almost dread.  It is hard to come up with food that is good to eat for Rod and I and that the kids will get the nutrients that they need.  I also hate cooking differently for all of us.

I am already hating the same cheese, meet, pickles and nuts.  It seems like every meal.  Oh, and salad with meat and cheese on it.  Oh, yeah, green beans.

So, today I am whining.  I cut up a pear for Jared's lunch today.  Would've been nice to take a bit.  Or maybe eat a banana muffin I made last week.  Or maybe one of those clementines sitting on my counter.

Ah, but I've already lost some weight.  Not sure what the officially number is since I didn't weigh myself Monday morning.  But I know it is a little bit but I am not sure how long I can stand the monotony on my poor taste buds!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I love you more

I remember having a little very cheesy cute plaque from my grandma that says "I love you this much" with a little girl and her hands are outstretched.  My grandma died when I was 8 so it always meant a lot to me - altho I have no idea where that plaque is now.


I have always told our kids that I love them lots and lots.  I've always told them that Jesus loves them most, then ME and then Daddy and then grandparents etc.  They like to tell me that Grandma loves them more and we argue or if Daddy is around then he pipes in and says "No, I do!".  So, now I ask them "Who loves you most?" and they say "Jesus, then grandma, then daddy and you."  We jokingly banter about this back and forth.

This morning Maggie was drawing on this little leapfrog thingy.  She will make a heart and write "Mommy and Daddy I Love You".  I told her "I love you more" and she said "I love you mostest".  A couple of minutes later, she said "I love you more than Daddy".  I smiled cause that love just means that I am the one that she wakes up first in the middle of the night.

I asked her "Do you love me more than Grandma?"

"Not realllly."

Motherhood is good.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another year!

Two years.

Two years have gone by since that horrible conversation when I was told that Maggie has/had cancer.  My heart feels heavy just thinking of it.

Recovery or our return to normal has/is gone well.  Maggie is on no medications at all.  She very willingly wears her hearing aids and is receiving speech therapy thru the school system.  She has 2 relatively small scars from each of her central lines and one large one from her initial surgery where the surgeon was able to remove ALL of the initial tumor.  But that is ok because we will never let her wear a bikini! :)  She really doesn't remember much of her treatment besides what pictures we took.  This makes me SOOOOO glad that I kept such a detailed blog about it all (sorry that you would get so many emails etc about new posts).  I really do not think that many could tell that there was anything different about her.  She is very social and loves to play and sing and just be a girl.  She loves all of her girlfriends at school!

Jared struggles more.  The counselor in me is always trying to figure him out.  He is very analytical (don't know where he gets it from).  First grade has been a hard transition emotionally for him.  Or maybe I should say for Rod and I.....  He has more of an "attitude" that we are trying to gain control over.  I remember having an attitude (a rotten one at that) when I was about 10 or 11 but not at 6.  It is hard for me to determine how much the stress of the cancer battle impacted him and how much is a typical almost 7 year old.  I love it when he is my sweet little boy and it is hard finding that balance of breaking him of this disrespectful attitude without totally breaking HIM.

Rod .... my big hunk of a guy.  I think that he is just more grateful that we are all together and that life is simpler now (ok, besides these classes that I am teaching).  Having his family all home at night brings him a lot of peace. Not having to play Dad and Mom to Jared is nice for him as well.  Altho, every once in awhile I hear Rod and Jared talk and they had a great bonding time while Maggie and I would be gone. He would try to hide the weight that he felt from me, but I saw it and felt helpless to do anything for him.  Now he is much more carefree.....

Me.  I think that I took on the brunt of the emotional package for our family.  I felt responsible to be a good wife to Rod and a good mom to Jared while trying to be advocate, voice, Mom, caretaker, nurse, etc etc etc for Mags.  While Maggie was isolated for most of 16 months I was as well (not as bad but get the idea).  While being away, friendships have changed for me.  Many people felt awkward with me when I was around and I didn't want to make them feel more awkward so I would keep more to myself.  I've lost a lot of friendships and built some great new ones.  This friendship issue has been the hardest for me to deal with in the last 6 months.  Having to go thru medical isolation was not fun but having friendships change etc makes it even harder.  I am finally finding myself again.  Recapturing things that I enjoy doing and had lost with not only cancer battles but also just plain Motherhood.

I know that our big battle is over and we praise God that it is.  It may seem strange that "recovery" is lasting this long (especially for me).  However, I guess one way to look at it is that Maggie didn't get off all of her medications etc until she had been in the oncology world for about 18 months.  So when I look at it like that, it makes sense that "recovery" could take awhile.

When Rod originally made this video, I think he had great intentions of creating more by now.  As much as I wish that he would have, it is nice to know that life is full and busy of normal things.

 We truly wish that we could be a blessing to each of you as you have been to us.  I pray that you know what a blessing that each of you is to our family.

 We still see God working and blessing us.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our Journey of Faith

I am on an email group for parents of children of neuroblastoma - the same cancer that Maggie had.  While communicating with one mother about other things to give our children to help (vitamins etc) this mom said that she read part of our Caringbridge journal and was challenged by our journey of faith.  To inspire another mom of a child going thru the same battle is incredibly humbling and I know it is from God.  I was in tears to realize that even months after I stopped updating that journal that someone would read it and see God in the midst of it.

If you never saw our Caringbridge - here you go:

My writing is measly but God is powerful and I know that anything I do is made beautiful only because of Him.

God challenged me a long time ago to write a book about our faith journey.  I was scared.  Still am. And put it off.  Who am I to write such a book?  I am just a woman.  I am not anyone who anyone wants to hear from.  I am no Beth Moore, no Francis Chan, no...

But, every so often God reminds me of this that He has asked me to do.  Today was another humbling reminder of what God has asked me to do.  You see, when it keeps coming back up I know that it has to be from God.

I have allowed myself to get busy working on different projects - things to keep me from working on this book as I am scared.  Scared poopless.  For, oh, so many reasons.

You see, I don't want to write a book just for families impacted by cancer because I think that the issue of faith is something that each of us face in one way or another.

I haven't posted about this on here b/c of fear (again).  Fear that people would think of me wrong, not get it, that I would fail....

But this email has convinced me that this is what God wants and I don't want to refuse (Josh wilson song).  I tried to cut and paste so you could see.  :)

"Has anyone out there tried anything in conjunction with the chemo for their children? 
>> Such as milk thistle extract or Alpha Lipoic Acid or L-Cysteine supplements? What about zinc to help with the Cisplatin toxicity effects?
>> Also, what are your thoughts on Antioxidant rich diets and juices during chemo (Acai berry) and high omega-3's?
>> Anything...?
After round 4, Maggie had horrible mouth sores. She was put on Morphine and almost over dosed - I guess because of not metabolizing it well. 
> Anyway, our local oncologist told us to get Glutamine. He figured out dosage and we gave it to her during round6 and stem cell transplants for as long as she was willing to drink. It is a powdered substance that you mix in drinks. Body builders use it and you can find it at GNC. Supposedly it helps layer the throat. 
> While she did have mouth sores they were nothing compared to round 4 and she recovered much faster.

I just spent some time in Maggie's journal, and read what you wrote about God loving her more than his own son. Your faith and strength inspire me as I travel this journey with my child. I am going to spend more time today reading your journal of faith, hope, and love for your child and pray that God will speak to me further through it.

Thank you for sharing about the Glutamine. If you think of the dose for Maggie's weight/age at the time, please let me know. 

Thank you so much!

So I write all of this so that you may all keep me accountable to following thru.  Do you find it ironic AT ALL that I am afraid to write a book on fear.  ANYONE?  God is so ironic, UGH!

So, go ahead and tell me I am crazy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Funny Valentine

This is my honey and me.  For our 10th anniversary, Rod took us to Hawaii (where we stayed with friends, Dave and Renee - who we will never be able to repay).  This night was the luau.  I tried finding other good pictures of us but it seems that we don't take many of us together.  Lots of the kids.......

Rod and I met on a blind date.  Yes, you read that right and I am as shocked as you.  I hated blind dates, still cannot believe that I went.  I had no clue who he was.  The youth pastor and his wife were setting us up and this same youth pastor is Rod's best friend.  It was actually a blind double date and because of that I was willing to give it a go.

The date was fine.  But you see, I was not interested in being in any kind of relationship at that time.  I had just come out of a bad relationship and I was fine with it being God and me.  But Rod kept calling and I wasn't returning his calls.  I was old fashioned and was just not interested.  :)  So, little did I know, he wanted to "teach me a lesson" about returning phone calls.  So he persisted.  He finally called me when I was home and answered.  He literally wouldn't take no for an answer.  I liked his perseverance. And we became friends.  Within a couple of months, we were "dating" and about 6 months later engaged.

The institution of marriage is important to me.  I always want Rod to know that he is more important to me than anything else (other than God) because that is the way that God created it to be.  Marriage is hard and I really think that is what God wanted.  God intended marriage to be how we learn to be more like Him.  Rod and I are alike in many many ways, but we are very different in so many many ways as well.  I think that he is silly and he makes me laugh in many ways.  :)  Even when Maggie was in the hospital, I wanted to make sure our marriage was strong.  We both knew that I had to be with Maggie, but when we'd get home we'd find a way to have a date and get away from the stress.  Sometimes we would sit in our room with the door closed and just cry together.  I will tell you one thing, crying together and praying thru tears is a great way to bond to each other.

We have been blessed being witnesses to several great marriages.  My father's parents, were married (I believe) over 60 years.  In the last several years of my grandmother's life, she developed profound Alzheimers.  It started small and progressed to where she no longer talked or did most daily personal care on her own.  Grampa had to put her into a nursing home that could take care of her and keep her safe.  But everyday, he would go and see her.  He would feed her lunch by hand and take care of her as much as he could.  My grampa was not a very "soft" man but as he aged he softened and I love thinking about him taking care of Gramma even when she didn't even know who he was anymore.

My parents have been married for over 40 years.  Just this past weekend they celebrated 42 years since my dad proposed with an overnight getaway.  He is a true romantic.  I love seeing how they are best friends and enjoy being together even after all these years.  Romance doesn't end when you reach a certain age.  What you put into it you will get out of it.

So for my Hotrod.... I would not want to walk thru a mindfield without you!

What marriages have you been able to observe that you want to emmulate?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You......

Last night I had to teach my class and left at about 4:00.

This is what Rod and the kids did while I was gone.

Rod said that Jared was really getting into the whole editing/directing process saying "No, I don't want that part in, I want this part instead."

Jared is quite proud.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Whiter than Snow

Can I be just really honest?

Well, I am going to be anyway.

I am tired of hearing people complain about the snow.  Yes, I know we've had the most snowfall this winter season in eons and the season isn't even over yet.  Yes, I know that it is not fun shoveling it (just shoveled my drive/sidewalk and I didn't use my legs as much as I should) and really not fun driving in it.  However, we do live in Indiana and it usually snows this time of year.

I always say that I would rather it be white outside that brown.  You see if the snow melts off the grass you wont see beautiful green grass in February.  You will see brown.  When the snow melts this early in the season EVERYTHING IS BROWN  and that to me is just depressing.  When I look out my window right now, the sky is blue and the sun is shining - it is so bright and beautiful out there I have to squint and that almost looks like a smile.  :)

The other day Jared and I were talking about the snow.  Well actually we were talking about sin and how God makes us clean again even when we have sinned - if we ask him.  I told him it is like the snow.  The snow comes and makes everything so clean and pretty.  Then cars drive on it, sand/salt is spread and it starts looking a little brown and a little less pristine.  Then God sends more snow and it is all pure and clean again.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Or how about this one?
Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow.
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

What a fabulous reminder of God's power to make ME clean again! 

You know, tho, I think God knew how totally murky winters get.  I think that is why He gave us snow - to make our world beautiful.

So can you join me in thanking  God for the snow today?  For reminding us of how He makes us clean - as only He can....and for the beauty of the pristine snow...........

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sick day

We've had two (2) snow days in a row and I was starting to feel the need to GET OUT.  I woke up and found out we have a delay - so I didn't wake the kids.  Now, Jared, is not one that usually needs to be woken up - he usually wakes up on his own by 6:30am at the latest.  When he woke up and came out to the living room at 7:15am I wondered if something was up.  Yep, he said that his tummy hurt and his head and when I took his temp it was 100.2 - This is how we do sick days in front of the TV

This is what we'd do with Mags when she came home from chemo.  We get out the vinyl tablecloth (for easy cleanup) for them to lay on and a bucket for quick access.  Luckily he hasn't needed the bucket yet. :)

So now he is home and I can't get out.  Selfish, I know.  Just wanted a change of scenery.  So now it is lets see what I can get done at home today.  I am still trying to finish the basement while keeping the house going and doing other stuff at the same time.  When the basement is done, it is on to decluttering other rooms and revamping other rooms! YAY!  I have this great idea for the living room windows.  I've been looking at too many other blogs!  Too many ideas swirling in my head!

Ok, so before the blizzard hit, Maggie and I went and hit one of my favorite stores - Pine Hill.  It is my little Amish run store that I have mentioned before.  It is a food salvage store - that sounds worse than what it is.  Ok, this place will get cake boxes that are geared for Christmas (has snowflakes on box etc) and has been pulled from the shelf or whatever.  Or maybe come Monday all of the food that is geared for the Superbowl will have to be pulled.  Sometimes the crate gets banged up and the boxes inside it do too - Meijer doesn't want to deal with the mess. These are the types of items I get there.  Yes, I do have to watch expiration dates.  But Pinehill is totally worth another mention.  I have met people that come all the way down here from Niles MI and further.  They come and get a couple of shopping carts full and then they don't have to come back for a good month or so.

For example, I get Quaker instant oatmeal there for $1 a box.  Cereal runs from about $1.30 - 1.80 depending on the size of the box.  I got Chex (brand name) there for $1.60/box!  I get juice boxes for Jared's lunch there for $1.60/ box - this time I got Minute Maid.  I get canned products there for great prices - canned veggies for 30c each, canned kidney beans for 45c or 55c depending on can size.  Hunts pasta sauce for 50c for a big can.  Campbells soup is 55c.  I get salad dressings cheap and other condiments as well.  Boxes of pasta (whole wheat too) for 50c each!!  I get Mac and Cheese for 3 for $1.  So many other deals and this is already a long post!

Now, when I am there I am constantly thinking what I can things for if I have coupons.  Oh, and you never know when they will have a certain item again - so if you see something you know that your family likes buy several!  I've left there with 10-12 boxes of our favorite oatmeal (Maggie eats it every day).

It is 1 and 1/4 mile east off of 331 on 5th road between Bremen and Bourbon.  So it is just 2 miles from my house.  Tell the owner Mary that Rachel sent you! :)  Or let me know you are going and maybe we can go together! :)

Happy deal hunting! :)