No Longer Relevant

I began blogging many years ago and was popularly read by tens of people.  I was quite content just writing for myself, documenting the boring and mundane lives of my children.  Then Lucy became ill.  I don't know how it happened or even why anyone even cared about this particular child but people started reading.  Lots and lots of people.  I have always appreciated, but never asked for, "followers."  Those who genuinely care about Lucy and our family and have prayed over us for some many nights and days have literally changed our lives.  

Lucy and her fight against cancer will never end.  Ever.  The aftermath of treatment and the constant fear of recurrence is a reality that we live with every minute of every day.  I've been getting emails lately from people who are no longer following this blog because the "content is no longer relevant."  Please don't misunderstand.  I am not upset that someone would no longer be following.  I never sought recognition of any kind.  But man, those are hard words to hear and digest.  Lucy's "content" is our every breath.  Lucy's "content" dictates every decision we make in all aspects of our life.

For those of you who still pray for Lucy and our family I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Our struggles are real and are present every day.  Lucy is an amazing child and inspires me daily as we walk hand in hand through this life that is so unknown to us.  Today was a hard day for this mom who so desperately wants nothing but a "normal" life for my child.  I would give anything in the world to take the struggles, the hurt and the headache away from her.

Tonight I want to encourage you to be kind to someone tomorrow.  Smile, say hello, offer to hold a door or simply say a breath prayer for a stranger or a friend.  So many of us walk around with a  Superwoman cape around our neck, and we never asked for it.  We didn't ask to be a super mom or we don't pretend to take joy in the constant demand to fight battles every day.  We are doing the best we can to keep our family together, to give our kids what they need to thrive, keep households from falling apart and at the very minimum trying not to have a nervous breakdown.

Every mom has challenges that they face everyday.  Moms of children with special needs face challenges that you could never even begin to imagine.  There are so many decisions to make and so many questions that go unanswered.  Quite possibly the hardest challenge is that are always so many tears to dry.  Be kind tomorrow.  You never know who's day you can change.


Redbirds and Ribosomes

Just like most of you, I'm sure, our weekend was a whirlwind of activity.  It's almost as if we blinked and Monday morning was here.

Saturday morning I had to be at the school at 5:30am to cook LOTS of pancakes for the big pajamas and pancakes party.  It was our school's first event like this and we had so much fun.  Ella and Jack both had their first soccer game of the season so they didn't get to come eat pancakes.  Luckily the kids play soccer at the school fields so I was able to cook pancakes and still catch all of the games.  Jack was struggling with his asthma and the heat index nearly 100 degrees by 10 am.  Jack didn't get to play so I sort of lucked up and got to watch all of Ella's game.  This picture is not flattering and doesn't show her scoring either of the 2 that she netted for the day, but it does show just how hot it was.  She is completely wilted and she hadn't even made it to half time yet.

Later that evening we loaded up and headed to Memphis to watch the Redbirds play.  The Redbirds are the AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.  Before we had kids, Erik and I would often buy the cheap tickets and sit on the bluff to watch the games.  Now, with three kids in tow we just wait until we have the rare opportunity to sit in a suite and enjoy the game in the air conditioning.  Especially on a very hot and humid August night.  One of Lucy's doctors was kind of enough to invite us to his suite and we had a wonderful time.
I apologize for the horrible picture quality.  

It was a super hero themed night at the park.  I never considered the cast of Star Wars or Harry Potter to be a super hero, but hey!  To each his own.  Ella is holding a ball in her hand in the very dark picture below.  A super fast rouge foul ball came flying into our box.  It hit the plexiglass sliding door behind us and ricocheted off and hit Ella in the head.  If she had not thrown her arms up out of pure reflex she would have been in the hospital.  She was very lucky not to have been knocked out.

Lucy helped out in the nursery on Sunday morning (her new favorite thing to do) and Ella had the chance to come on stage to help lead a worship song.  I was so proud of her and she looked so beautiful up on the stage.  She is growing up so quickly.  She is enjoying reminding me that her birthday is in 7 days!  

After church we headed over to my parents for a "welcome home" celebration.  They had been out of the country for about 15 days and we all gathered to welcome them back home.  We had a great lunch, hours of conversation and watched as Ella made a replica model of an animal cell.  What an amazing weekend it was!


It's Dinner Time Again

The bright idea I had to plan a dinner and auction around the time that school started back was brilliant!  Ok, maybe not, but I am having a great time getting this year's dinner and auction kicked off.  Last year the event sold out (305 tickets sold) and we raised close to $50,000 for LeBonheur Children's Hospital.  

We had over 125 auction items last year including art work, diamond earrings and vacations.  I was blown away by God's hand in the whole evening.  It was an unbelievable night and I really hope you will make plans to attend this year's event.  I can promise you won't regret it.  

If you aren't local and want to donate please let me know.  We are currently seeking sponsorships and silent and live auction items.  When it comes to the Foundation I'm pretty shameless in my "begging."  


A Farewell to Sunny

Today I had to have Lucy's cat put to sleep.  It was one of the hardest things I've done.  Sunny, Lucy's cat of 18 months, was attacked by another cat and developed a really bad infection.  By the time we got him to the vet he was running a 106.1 temperature and was too far gone.  I know I made the merciful decision to put him down but it was agonizing none the less.  I was shaken.  

The cat had a sustained high fever, was starting to have seizures and had probably already suffered brain damage.  It all just hit too close to home.  Through this cat I was relieving the darkest, most painful time of Lucy's whole battle against cancer.  At one point in my life I was willing to let Lucy go.  I only wanted her suffering to stop.  

I spoke those words again today.  But this time it was for real.  There was no Lazarus moment.  Emotions from a depth I haven't visited in a long time resurfaced and I was forced to deal with them in a 10x10 clinic office.  

Some days are hard still.  Really, really hard. 


Soccer and Really Great Pictures

It was a banner weekend at the lake.  We took some friends and made lots of memories.  Most exciting was Ella learning to slalom ski.  I am so proud of her.  

Jack and Ella stared soccer practice this week.  They both play Upwards soccer at our church and we've been pretty pleased with the organization.  It's different from league play but we like it.  I have to tell you that I think we may have an athlete on our hands.  Jack was really into the game and seemed to have a lot of fun.  I'm a little apprehensive about actual game time, but hey!  He's three and we will just do the best we can.

This first week of school has been a whirlwind.  I can't believe it's almost Thursday.  Ive mentioned before that I serve on our school's board of directors and I have honestly been through the ringer this week.  As crazy as it may sound its been a good ringer.  Some really awesome things are happening at the kids school and I have been blessed to have a front row seat as I've watched God move.  

Tonight we had to call a meeting and after it was over we spent a little time talking about how God is working in the life of our church and school.  I've been rather fortunate to witness several modern day miracles over the past few years.  I mean, Lucy is nothing but a walking miracle.  But being at church/school  I feel as if I have a front row seat to an amazing show.  God is seriously working and I am honored to be a part of it.  

I pray that God will continue to speak and that we will be willing to move.  All this hard work is worth it for these three babies.  


Photo Backlog

I've said it so many times before but I am so very behind in posting pictures.  I hate the feeling of constantly lagging behind.  Not that I want anyone else to see them, but because I love to publish this blog every year as a journal.

I am also really behind on printing pictures.  Do you ever worry that this digital age we live in will one day leave a whole generation of children with no hard copies of their pictures? I love looking back at the thousands of pictures my mom and dad have of our family throughout the years.  The problem is I have pictures on my phone, pictures on my computer, my camera, my external hard drive.  How in the world do I start?  Not to mention the cost!  I'm thinking of coming up with a picture printing schedule where I would print a group of pictures once a month.  Have any of you done this?  Do you have a process?  Which photo printing service do you use?

Here are some of said photos...Hilton Head 2014:



As I prepare to send my babies back to school in just two more days the anxiety that often accompanies life is starting to make its unwelcomed entrance into my heart and mind.  "What-if" and "how-are-we-going-to-do-this" become my daily cries.  

This year I am choosing differently.  The journey that a cancer family takes has many turns, bumps, hills and valleys.  I think one of the hardest legs of the journey is acceptance.  You come to point where you have to draw a line in the sand.  You have a choice to stay where you are emotionally, mentally and physically or you can move on.  It's really that simple.  There are no other choices.  

Our family chooses to move on.  

It's not easy and most days we have set backs but its an emotional battle that you have to accept to fight every. single. day.

Second grade is here and we are going to fight.  HARD.  Maybe this really is the moment for which we were created.  

Whatever you are fighting today, whatever you are facing..But God!  Not you, not your spouse, not your kids.. but God. 

"Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken." Psalm 62:6



Today I turned 37.  37 years I have been blessed to be alive.  Last night I was able to go out to dinner with some of my best friends to celebrate.  It was a wonderful night and I had a great time.

This morning we went to church and I had the most wonderful time of worship.  As we sang "It Is Well With My Soul" tears flowed uncontrollably.  I held Lucy tight in my arms and breathed in every word.  It was a God-filled moment to be sure.

At one point this morning I looked over and saw Lucy holding my Grandmother's hand.  She then reached out and grabbed mine.  I know that the picture above is one that I will cherish forever.  I couldn't have asked for a more perfect birthday gift.