Thursday, December 25, 2014

The extraordinary ordinary

This morning at 3am I was awake. It's a typical side effect from the chemo, though I really can't complain considering. When this spontaneous awakening occurs, I pray and give thanks, and usually can slip back into slumber within an hour. This morning though, from 3-4, I had a phrase running through my head. 
"Finding the beauty in the ordinary makes things extraordinary"
Did I hear this somewhere? Read it? Not sure, but it continues to run across the prompt screen of my mind, and I love it.
Today was a beautifully ordinary day. We stayed in the confines of our cozy home. Just the 6 of us. We stayed in jammies past noon, ate 3 meals together, put together new toys, watched a Christmas movie, and sang " happy birthday" to Jesus before eating His cake. There were also meltdowns, bickering and bonkers...but it's looking for and finding the beauty in those ordinary moments that made our day so extraordinary. Extraordinary certainly does not mean perfection. And boy, am I glad about that!

It made me think about all those "ordinaries" surrounding the extraordinary Christmas story...
The ordinary girl God used to carry His Son. Extraordinary.
The ordinary stable Jesus was born in. Extraordinary.
The ordinary people Jesus loves and the ordinary people He uses to bring glory to His beautiful name.
Extraordinary God.

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only Son into the world, that we might live through Him. I John 4:9

Merry Christmas! May you experience all His extraordinaries in your everyday ordinary.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Good News, Great Joy!

Okay, I totally stole the words for this post boys had their elementary christmas performance a week ago and one of the songs from it is trapped in my head! I can really only recall a few words from this catchy tune...and they are oh so appropriate for this day! The song, of course, is referring to the good news and great joy of the birth of Christ. For me, today, it's the kindness and goodness God has shown me. 
Today was my pet and ct scans. I also had my monthly bloodwork. Dan, my former chemo nurse, was spot on with the IV start (he had to actually try 2x and was frustrated at himself for that:).
"Thank you Jesus that Dan was working today"
"Thank you Jesus for a quick and successful vein access"
My scans went well. I'll go over the results at my appointment Tuesday with my Doctor. Shortly after, I received my bloodwork. (This is where I start singing , "good news, great joy!")
My bloodwork was good. But the best part was that my CA153, the blood test that is used as a tumor marker (level of cancer I guess it could be called in laymen's terms) had gone down from 43 to 35 in just one month!
"Thank you Jesus that the chemo Is working"
This truly is a gift from Him. I know that things can change anytime, and it's completely out of my control. But my heart swells with gratitude at His goodness and the gift of health and energy that He has given me right now. 

And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord....Psalm 35:9a

Friday, December 12, 2014

No bad days

If you think you are having a "bad day", think again. If this 2 year old can laugh and smile after all she has been through and still going through, you too can make it through whatever seems to be your mountain today. There is always someone in a worse situation than you. This doesn't discount your situation. Nor does it make your feelings invalid. However, there is always, always, something to be thankful for! 

I've been reflecting this year about how last time around (2011-12), I struggled with feelings of anger, frustration, doubt. This time, even though the territory is a bit more unknown, I don't struggle with those same feelings. The reason is because God is gently teaching me to surrender. I have surrendered this wandering mind, my future, my family, my cancer...
I Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you

By emptying myself of all that negative "what if", I leave myself an open vessel for Jesus to pour Himself into it.
If I walk through this cancer again, without learning lessons, then it's all in vain. Wasted. Truly it would be a life not lived to the fullest. By using my "mountain" as my spiritual school I am living my richest life. I can honestly say that this year is the richest year we have a family, as a couple, me personally.
I'm writing these thoughts now, less than a week away from my scans, to mark the progress my chemo is making, incase I need encouragement (or a swift kick in the butt;). It's all a process. We never arrive. Life is a journey. 
Acts 20:24
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

*Pictures taken from

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekend Wrap

We packed a week of events into just 3 days!
Friday, both sets of grandparents and Rylee arrived, as well as 4 of my girlfriends...
Jameson(Camera man) and Sutton(Joseph) had parts in the school Christmas musical Friday.
Saturday the kids, Jason and G & G Neese hit a bunch of SD sightseeing spots, while we ladies hit the mall, restaurants & movies.
We ended the weekend with a combo soccer party for Jameson, Sutton & Bellen's teams. 
Tired but happy. Living life to the fullest. God was good. God is good. God will be good...thinking about my scans one week from tomorrow. 

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I lift up my hands in thy name.
Psalms 63:3-4 kjv

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Full Plate, Full Heart

I must apologize for my temporary hiatus...From November-January it seems, somehow, that time accelerates and activities multiply! We had a full and fun Thanksgiving week. Lots of house guests and we hosted Thanksgiving day as well. We hosted, but my mom still did all the cooking (aside from the pies my aunt & sis-in-law made). Okaaaay, I did the appetizers and table settings;),
As soon as we finished cleaning up and put away, the day after thanksgiving, we busted out our Christmas decorations! Jason went to town with the lights! 
The Monday before Thanksgiving I had my monthly oncology appointment. We reviewed the results of my cell profiling. There is a drug that will be fda approved by March that targets part of my type of cancer and for the other part of it, there is a clinical trial available. For now, the xeloda seems to be working and I'll continue on it. But it feels good to have options if or when this drug no longer does its job. 
I also had bloodwork done and it all came back normal. This is a huge praise! AND my tumor marker went down 1 point:). Slow and steady wins the race, right? I prayed that it would either stay the same or go down... Thanking God for answering that prayer. I'll have my next scans Dec 15. For now, I'm enjoying my full plate of activities, Christmas preparations and my 4 kids, who love this time of year....all which give me a full heart!
Here are a few snap shots of Thanksgiving week:

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