Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was my parents anniversary.  They have now been married 42 years and one day.

I love the example that their marriage is to all who meet them.  They truly enjoy each other.  Yes, they can also drive each other batty - just like every other marriage - but they really love to be together.  They still take little get-aways together.  They smile when talking about the other.  And oh!  do they make each other laugh!  Dad makes Mom laugh till she cries.

I was once talking to an older couple who had also been married quite a few years more than Rod and I and the comment was made that the older you get the less you need romance etc.

That made me sad.  It made me sad that this kind of thinking is even out there and it made me sad for this couple.

God didn't make marriage to be that way.  He wants us to be excited by our marriage partner all of the time.  God wants us to laugh till we cry with our spouse and still seek our spouse out of a crowd.  Love changes and grows over time and that is to be expected.  Marriage takes work - just like our relationship with Jesus takes work.  Oh the work is so worth it!  I see how worth it is in my parents' eyes when they talk of each other and feel how much it is worth it when I think of my own hubby!

I hope that when Rod and I have been married for 42 years plus a day that we still revel in each other as much as we do now.  But multiplied by each year!

Thanks Mom and Dad for the great example! :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

We have a WINNER!

And the WINNER is.....  Drumroll please.......

Comment #5  Julie

Julie I will be getting with you to get you the prize! :)

Ok, it has been a stressful week around here.

Rod has been getting up to help me get the kids ready and umm (I love you honey) this is new for us.  He has been very helpful.  But we are exhausted.  I don't sleep good.  Haven't in years - since my days in grad school, I think.  So, I am waking up around 3 and am unable to go back to sleep. Then getting out of bed before 6 to have some time with Jesus and get the house rolling.

Maggie continues to be our slow poke.  She plays and takes the tiniest bites and she could sleep in most days - so waking her up at 6:30am has been a huge change for her.  Jared still wakes up at the crack of dawn (many times long before 6a) and thinks he can't go to back to sleep so he doesn't even try.

The kids like school so far.  On day 2 of school, Maggie's teacher let them have recess (they usually don't have time for recess as there is too much to cover in 1/2 a day).  Maggie told me that she didn't hear the whistle for the end of recess and her teacher had to go looking for her.  I am still looking into what additional options there are to aid Maggie more in her education.

The teachers that the kids have are great and we all like them a lot.

Rod's dad, Don, had surgery on Tuesday.  The docs had found some really tiny tumors in his prostate.  The goal was that by removing the prostate that they would get all of the cancer and he'd be done.  The doc says the surgery went well but we are still awaiting the official word.  Don was home the next day and we went to go see him yesterday.  He was up and around and I think that he enjoyed the supper I brought. :)

Live Big!

John 10:10 (From the Amplified Bible)
I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Day of School

Ready for Kindergarten and 2nd grade!
Walking to the bus together - hand in hand - He really does love her....

Look she lost her first top tooth!

We got them on the bus today.  They were excited.  Yesterday we did a trial run - we got up at the time I thought they would need to get ready and out the door and ...well...if school started yesterday Maggie would've been 15 minutes late for the bus.  Today I got her up about 15 minutes earlier than yesterday and she was done 25 minutes EARLY.  So maybe just MAYBE it won't be as hard to get her moving as I thought.  She is a VEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYY
slow eater.  I would have added more e's, r's and y's but it would have run to the next line and look weird....  but you get my point.

Oh, and do you see that Maggie lost her first top tooth?  Yep.  Happened right before church on Sunday morning.  Oh, and we got her hair cut on Sat. for school - I was hoping that it would make it look a wee bit thicker.  I think it does....a little bit.

I am still very anxious about the school year.  I met with her kindergarten teacher and the hearing impaired teacher yesterday to make sure that they knew about Maggie's steep decline in hearing and that they were more prepared for her.  Her next IEP case conference will be in September and I am hoping to gather as much info as I can to know how to best advocate for her.

I told Rod that I kinda feel like everyone (meaning professionals in the hearing-impaired world) have not really given us much info other than here are her hearing aids.  I was blessed by God to meet the Director of the Sign language program at Bethel College recently and in just the 30 minutes talking to her and one of the Deaf  men at church I feel like I gained oodles more knowledge of how to help Maggie (and our family).  

So watching her get on the bus this morning was harder than I anticipated last week.  I had been looking forward to school in some ways: finding a routine again, separating my chillun's so I don't hear all the fighting, getting some projects done (finding my house from under the mess of summer)... etc  But seeing Jared get on and realizing how big he is getting - being that protective older brother....  Watching Maggie get on that bus, knowing full well that it will be next to impossible for her to hear on that noisy bus and how petite she is next to other kindergartners and knowing that know matter how much I put into place for her she is STILL going to miss things....yeah, it wasn't easy watching them get on the bus.

But I've prayed for them in the middle of the night.  We prayed as a family before they left for the bus and I am still praying.  I think many times prayer is for the person praying even more so than the person that is prayed for, ya know? :)

I'll fill you in how the first couple of days go. :)

Oh, Tomorrow I will announce who the winner of the Dayspring giveaway is!  So go here to sign up!

Living BIG that God will take care of her when I can't...


P.S.  For you NMCers, Rod was delegated to find chairs for Pastor Dave for this past Sunday.  The chair that Mags is sitting in above is the chair Dave used for a "Time Out" chair.  It is my desk chair that I painted blue over the summer.  And no, Maggie wasn't in Time Out when the pic was taken.  To see the chair in action with Pastor Dave go to NMConline.  I just looked - this past Sunday's service is not up yet - probably later today (tues) or tomorrow! :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

No Limits

Have you seen the ABC show "Expedition Impossible"?  It is on Thursday nights right after that crazy show "Wipeout".  EI is kinda like "The Amazing Race" only it all happens in Morocco and it is ALL an adventure challenge - hiking, mountain climbing, puzzles, sailing, swimming, kayaking, repelling etc etc etc....

Rod and I started watching it on the first night and we have only missed a couple of shows since.  At first it was funny to watch some teams who are totally out of their element in the middle of the Sahara riding a camel.

One team that I immediately found interesting was "No Limits".  No Limits is made up of a 30something military guy, a blind guy and his buddy/guide.  Now the blind guy is pretty adventurous - he has climbed mountains and done a lot of this adventurous stuff before.  This team often came in the top couple finishers.  Which given the fact that one member cannot see was quite the accomplishment.

Then a couple of weeks ago, the military guy on their team totally twisted up his ankle but he kept going.  Rod recently (June) did the same thing for at least the 2nd/3rd or 4th time.  So Rod and I are watching, knowing full well the agony that he is in.  They tape up his ankle and he keeps going!  He is climbing mountains, hiking over rugged terrain etc etc etc....  It was expected that they would be eliminated.  But another team made a mistake on a "puzzle" and No Limits squeaked by.

Then it happened again for a second time!

Last night we watched as it was down to 5 teams trying to make it to the final 4.  No limits was still in it but all of the other teams had passed them by.  The guy with the bad ankle is in major pain and the blind guy is unable to help them find the item that they needed to find their "clue".  They get the clue and are determined to finish the race when all of a sudden they realize that they have caught up to another team (who made a mistake).  They are now in a foot race to make it to the finish line.

A. FOOT. RACE.  A guy with a majorly swollen ankle that is in major pain, a blind guy and his buddy/guide. The other team is made up of 3 (healthy and uninjured) cops.

The editors did a great job.  You're trying to see who is going to emerge from behind these bushes and you see the cops in the distance.  When all of a sudden in the foreground emerges No Limits.  They made it!  They were not eliminated.

I was so impressed by their sheer determination and effort to "not give up".  You could even hear other teams yelling for them and commenting "how can you not cheer for them?  It's a blind guy and a guy with (almost) a broken leg?"

Watch the video above.

All of sudden I realized how little effort I sometimes give.  I think that it would be totally amazing if we as Christians could all "give it all" till we get to our finish line.  You know, where we give E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. that we've got in all areas of our lives.  Where we don't cross the line of integrity in any small area.

Oh, something to definitely strive for.....

Living BIG!

P.S.  Two and 1/2 years ago we were told that Maggie had less than a 50% chance to survive.  Today she has been cancer free for a little over two years!  And for 1.5 years POST treatment.  Scans from yesterday show "No Evidence of Disease" and her blood counts look FAB!  Please do not tell me that God doesn't do miracles.  He does!  Over and over and over and over and.....

Thank you LORD!


I don't measure up......

Have you ever read Proverbs 31?  Yeah, she wakes up early to do some work and stays up late to complete it. There is nothing that woman doesn't do.

I had picked up some book (don't remember the author or title) several years ago written on "the Proverbs 31 woman".  I stopped reading it as it made me feel very inadequate and frustrated.  I do not think that was the writer of Proverb's intention and I credit those feelings to the writer of that particular book and not to the writer of Proverbs.  However, I stayed away from Proverbs 31 for quite some time.

Between you and me..........I don't measure up.  I don't measure up to that Proverbs 31 woman.  My house is dirty and unorganized.  My kids need baths.  I have dirty dishes that are overflowing my sink.  Last night the kids and I made a pact that we would have no more screaming in the house and whoever screamed/yelled would have to pay the other two.  [For the sake full of disclosure read that last one again and note that I am included in that.]  I often feel alone.  I truly am my own worst critic.

But I have been reminded frequently lately that despite all of my own inadequacies, I am loved.  Not only am I loved by the BIG powerful, Almighty God when I don't deserve to be - but I am accepted.  Warts and all.

That acceptance is huge.  I look into scripture and see how I need to follow Him in making changes that reflect Him more.  The more that I try to change to meet the expectations of others I will fail.  However, when my goal is to be the woman that He wants me to be and seek His strength and help - it seems more .... attainable.......  more desirable instead of daunting....

Today God led me to blessed me - I hope it blesses you as well.

Here is the chorus:
I look to you.
I look to you.
After all my strength is gone,
In you I can be strong
I look to you.
I look to you.
And when melodies are gone,
In you I hear a song.
I look to you.

Oh, Dear Jesus, I look to you!  May you know that not only does Jesus love you with everything that He's got, but He accepts you and wants to walk that race with you to the completion of His Design for you.

Living Big - one step at a time........


P.S.  For those wondering... :)  Scans were yesterday (Thursday) - blood tests came back good.  Her Hemoglobin is over 12, platelets over 300K and wbc over 5.0   -   but we are still waiting on urine and scan results.  There is a certain marker for neuroblastoma that shows up in urine.  I am going to push for official results before they close clinic for the weekend.  :)  I really hate ruining a good weekend worrying about stupid scan results.  :)  I am supposed to go "fight" some bad guys now down in the basement! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2+ years

This whole hearing loss issue with Mags has sent me for a loop in many ways.  I am not sure why - I mean - it isn't cancer. 

I think that when we were battling cancer we were so focused on that: "Get those tiny monster cells out of my daughter!  NOW!"  We didn't really think of what the future might/could/would hold.

So I have been trying to find some sign language classes in our area that take kids, that aren't expensive for 4 people and don't end late on a week night.

So Sunday, at church, I went and got my courage up and spoke to the signer and the hearing impaired people that come to our church for the Connection service.  I explained quickly that Maggie has profound hearing loss and that I am trying to have our family learn ASL (sign language) and asked if we could come sit with them sometime so that we could start to learn some of the ASL.  They very graciously (and enthusiastically) said "YES".  Then service started and I skedaddled out of there.  In retrospect, I realized that they didn't understand right away why I ran off - I just didn't want to interrupt their service.

So worship time starts...and one of the songs that we sing is from Hillsong.   I am not sure that I have heard it before.  Here is the song:

Sometime during that service, I realized that once again God will fight this battle for us.  But there was something new as well.  I thanked God for the hearing loss.

Then in my mind and heart I knew that I had to thank him for cancer.  I had been going over Philippians 4 with Jared and that is where most of the message came from that morning.  Phil 4 says that we should give thanks in all things.

I had thanked God many times for many things in the last 2 years.  However, I had never thanked for the cancer.  I know that this might sound strange and it felt strange - but it was something that I knew God wanted me to do.  I cried as I silently thanked God for the hearing loss and for cancer.

I am sure that there are some of you who think I am outright certifiably crazy.  That is OK.  I know that in the midst of the storm I couldn't have ever said thank you and truly meant it.  I serve the powerful God that is full of grace and love for me and my family and He has shown himself to be very faithful - way beyond what we even deserve.

So yes, this hearing loss continues to be a battle for us.  I don't like it.  But God has shown Himself to be faithful  and I have a reason to worship and a reason to sing. 

Maggie has a scan scheduled for Thursday morning.  This will be our first one in 6 months and I am leery even tho she shows no outward signs of relapse.   The fear is still there.   This is our 1.5  year post treatment scan..  As of July she has been 2 years cancer free.  Thank you God!

So, what battle do you need to thank the Lord for?  Even if it is thru gritted teeth? :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Struggling with Indulgence

****  I wrote this post a little over a week ago.  I chose not to post it at that time.  I knew that by posting it some may misunderstand me.  I don't know....maybe it won't make sense to you....maybe you'll think that I am strange (I know that I am).  I guess I am just feeling convicted on my indulgences and how truly unGodly they can be.....******

When we were getting ready to "go" on vacation, I was having a really rough time.  I was seeing many people on Facebook "talk" about their vacations that they were taking across country doing really cool things.  In my head, I knew we couldn't afford a big vacation and was ok with that - really!  I was!  Then there was the other part of me that was like "I am a Full-time homemaker/SAHM/domestic engineer (whatever you want to title it) and taking a vacation at home feels like every other stinkin' day!".

And then I felt guilty!  We are a one income family that just spent oodles of money on our roof, windows and siding..... We don't have the money.

Oh, the inner battle that began. The word "angst" comes to mind....

Didn't I deserve a vacation from my routine?  Aren't I worth investing in?  You know - the whole "Take care of yourself so that you can then take better care of others" kinda thing.  Which is actually no where in the Bible that I know of.....

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how connected this whole thing is for me with how concerned I am about us Christians and how little different we look from non-Christians.  We as Christians have become caught up in indulging ourselves.  Many times it is in very innocent ways and some  are not innocent at all.

Let me give a personal example.

When Maggie was in the hospital (A LOT), I was the one who primarily stayed with her.  It was exhausting.  The "beds" that one hospital had were like plastic skinny recliners that would "almost" lie flat.  The other hospital actually had a cot for me - that was 3 inches thick.  I'd hear every beep that would come from Maggie's monitors and/or pumps.  I could tell when she was going to vomit and would be there (even at 3am) with the bucket to catch it all.  I got really good at placing the remote with the call button very close to me so that if anything started beeping in ways that it shouldn't (which it often did) I could call the nurse without REALLY (yeah right) waking up.  The showers were pathetic and tiny.  I was many times lucky to have warm water.  I often looked like a train had hit me and most of the time that is how I felt.  However....!!!  I could get really decadent wonderful food.  I could order out for this wonderful spinach and artichoke dip and bagel chips....ohh it was so good!  I could get cheesecake or some other wonderful desert with every meal.  I felt like I deserved it.

I. Deserved. IT.

Even now, I see how childish that sounds.  God's grace is more than I deserve - what else could I "need"?  Now I am stuck trying to lose all of that extra weight that I gained from all of the scrumptious but overly indulgent food.

Generations ago within the Church (see the big "C"), Christians didn't indulge in much of anything.  Very few COULD afford to indulge in High fashion.  Many didn't indulge in alcohol or excess food.  Many didn't indulge in many activities that took much of their time away from their home.  When indulging did occur many times it was with self-control.  May I tell you that those cheesecakes I got had nothing to do with self control...they were not a "take a couple of bites and save the rest for tomorrow".  No, it was a "scarf it down now while all is quiet and maybe we can go get another one later" type of thing.

"You deserve a break today..."
"And I'm worth it!"

We've been fed garbage into our minds and we all believe it so much.  Our culture is filled with addictions: from porn, to food, to alcohol, to electronics, to extracurricular activities, to expensive cars, to vacations, to purses and/or shoes, to lovely clothes that can't fit into our closet anymore.  And I am wondering what difference there is between the Church and the non-church......  Do I look any different?  Act any different

As I write this, I am really wanting to buy a new patio lounge chair (that we don't need) and some new clothes  (that do NOT fit anywhere into our monthly budget).

1 Corinthians 10 says:
 23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

So, how is living an indulgent lifestyle constructive or honoring to God?  How is being self-indulgent setting us apart?  As in Colossians 3:  1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b

So, do you convince yourself - like I have - that you deserve something that is way beyond the realm of "perfect" and into the realm of sin?  Again, I am not thinking that God says that this is wrong to do on occasion but many of us (me) are living lives where we live in a constant stream of indulgence in many many areas of our lives.

I don't know....just thinking out loud here.....

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Dayspring Review and Giveaway!

First, this review is my honest opinion (it's all me) and I wasn't paid for this opinion.  Just given the free stuff to try out! :)

I love practical stuff with a message!  I love giving our kids an easy way to share about Jesus that is non-confrontational and conversational.

Dayspring has these great school supplies that have a great message to them.  We got the green God Recycles Collection.  They seem to be durable (which is important - grin).  I love the one that says "love the earth.  love the creator" - I thought that was pretty cool.  Jared will take this to school and maybe help others think about recycling in a new way! :)

The set includes two (2) 3 ring binders, two spiral notebooks and 2 folders.  All coordinating.

Check out Dayspring and see what you think.

Oh, and because Dayspring is pretty cool and I think you all are cool..... I will randomly draw from those who leave a comment here (and is a follower) to win a $20 giftcard to Dayspring.

Again to enter the drawing:
1. Become a follower and leave a comment saying so - if you already are still leave me a comment.  I love comments. :)
2.  Tell me what you would order if you won the gift card/code.  Dayspring

Good luck and Live Big! :)


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A fun morning....

Yesterday the kids and I went to the Dollar Tree.  I told them that we were going to buy toys and candy for the kids at one of the hospitals that Maggie spent oodles of time at.

Now before anyone says anything to me about how candy is so bad for kids..... BLECH to you! :)  You see when a child is getting chemo and they have no appetite and/or are throwing up/having diarrhea on a regular basis, every adult around them keeps a keen eye on them.  EVERY day (at clinic or inpatient) they get weighed.  You watch that number go down and your child shrinks in stature.  So you give your child anything that sounds good that has calories.  So we bought LOTS of candy!  Lots and lots!  And toys - little things to keep them busy while they sit on their bed and let poison drip into their veins or wait for their counts to come back so that they can get OUT of the hospital.  We got some water guns (so that the kids can shoot their nurses) and funny glasses and puzzles and craft type stuff.  Did I mention we got CANDY?  Oh, I did?  :)

We had two carts overflowing!

Then we drove to Memorial Hospital.  We got a wheelchair AND a cart to bring all of our goodies up to the 6th floor.  Jared and Maggie and I got to hand out candy and toys to kids and their parents.  I remember sitting in that hospital room and receiving little toys for Maggie (and Jared when he was there) and how it would make her day (his too).  It would feel so great to see another kid who beat that monster and was living a happy life outside of that hospital.  It was fun to see our friends the nurses.

And I killed another bird while there (you know "kill 2 birds with one stone"...).  Maggie has another scan/picture time coming up and we need to schedule that.  The charge nurse and I got to chat about when to try to schedule the next one.

We saw a 10 year old girl who was bald and sitting on her hospital bed.  I assume it was her mom and grandmother were sitting in the room eating lunch with her.  I asked her what candy she liked and she said Nerds.  I gave her 2 big boxes (movie theater size).  Then I found another one and had Maggie take it to her. Jared got to take a Toy Story puzzle to a 3 year old little boy.   There were two kids that were inpatient over on "the other side" of the peds floor.  One was neutropenic - meaning the chemo had killed off their ability to fight off germs - so we couldn't go see them.  The other child's health is failing.

We didn't stay long - many kids were sleeping and we didn't want to disturb them.  Besides we made a big enough ruckus bringing up the wheelchair and cart with all the toys.  And the candy! :)  I meant to take my camera but in the hurry to get out the door I stinkin' forgot!

Trying to teach my kids that life doesn't revolve around them isn't easy - especially when life did seem to do so (especially one for well over a year), but I hope that doing things like that helps them to see how important giving is.

So much has been given to us!

Live BIG!