Saturday, July 27, 2013

You Are Very Rich

This week was all about getting things done, cramming in as much as I could before surgery and before my forced downtime.  Play dates with besties, sushi with my boys, back to school shopping, bills (yuck), a supreme haircut from the hair goddess and of course pedicures with the most important ladies of my life. 
 It was relaxing to sit in the magic fingers chair, plotting how I could smuggle it out of the salon.   Seriously, why don't I have one of those suckers!   
My littles were pampered, although 2 of the 3 found the pink head on top of their chair creepy. 
 The entertainment of course came from Katie, who could not control the bouts of giggles as her feet were being scrubbed. 
The finished results were a bunch of beautiful tootsies, a morning with my girls, my mom and my sister, memories of warmth and especially this reminder...

I am RICH!  

After being asked about my children,  I pointed to all my beautiful girls and added in that I have two handsome boys at home, the pedicure tech then exclaimed "YOU ARE RICH! So very blessed!"  

I couldn't help but think of George Bailey and the note that Clarence wrote him on the inside of Tom Sawyer:
 "Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings! Love Clarence"
Life is hard and scary and down right stinky sometimes but I am RICHYou are rich, every single person can find the beauty given to them from God, it just has to be found, sometimes pointed out to us by complete strangers, angels walking amongst us.  It is a Wonderful Life!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Carry On

Tonight as I read to Emma I couldn't help shake the feeling that Eric Carle's The Very Busy Spider was trying to teach me something.  I'm not sure necessarily it was the moral of his story but non the less it struck a chord within my soul.

Throughout the book different barnyard creatures approached the very busy spider as she worked diligently on her masterpiece, the beautiful web at the end of the book.  Each animal would invite the spider to ride, or eat some grass or just run in the meadow and each time the line would read "The spider didn't answer.  She was very busy spinning her web."

What web am I spinning currently?  My web is filled with fear and doubt, filled with anger and sadness.  Each time I start spinning this web something happens, my sweet little barnyard animals approach me, but instead of offering me a ride or to munch on grass I'm asked to rub a back or read a book or the most difficult one of all, listen as my high school senior talks about his desire to join the Marines.  My web of pity is halted in it's tracks, I am a mother first, always first, cancer fighter second.  I can't push aside the reasons why I'm so angry to have cancer, my children.  I need to listen and read and scratch some backs, I need to bake the brownies like I used to, sing in the kitchen again and giggle about what boy little miss Katie adores at the present.  I need to celebrate with happiness major milestones with my oldest daughter, applaud the daring jumps off the pool ladder and grimace as I'm sprayed with stinky perfume.  The very busy spider missed so many great opportunities to experience fun, and laughter and love, am I going to be like that?  Heck NO!  I need to be a mom first, I want to be a mom first, I love being a mom.  

So to be a little trendy this is what I have to do......
Carry on being what I love the most, a Mother.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Filling my vessel

Today my oldest hit the mail jackpot, a spiritual jackpot.  As she was reading one of the notes of encouragement something stuck out, "an empty vessel has nothing to give".  Sorrow can drain your vessel, fear, anger and all the worries that I was brewing in my brain, emptied my vessel, I could feel it empty.
Yesterday was a day to refuel for the next sorrow sucking session, for I'm sure it will occur many, many more times during this journey.  It started with a simple rain storm, a down pouring,windshield wipers on full speed, down pour.  It was glorious!  The smell of this summer rain brought back one of my most favorite childhood memories, playing in the flooded rain filled ditch by our house.  I called it our "pool", a muddy water, filled with debris pool, that my foster brother and I wouldn't trade in for a regular pool.  
I smiled, and couldn't stop smiling.  It was spirit lifting, something I needed .  My kids were tortured/privileged to hear my recollection of a summer's rain in Vincennes, Indiana.  Thank you momma and daddy for caring for that sweet little boy, living in that creepy house and letting your children play in who knows what was in that rain water "pool".

The second vessel filling moment is something actually embarrassing and quite trivial.  I'm convinced that refueling doesn't always have to be spiritual and Christ centered, as long as it is wholesome and uplifting, your vessel can be filled to an extent.  I owe Carly Rae Jepson's toe tapping, corny love song to contributing to my break in sorrow yesterday.  Call Me Maybe, cranked very loudly in the car, sung at the top of your lungs had such a wonderful effect on me that it may possibly be endeared to my heart forever, oh bother. 

Lastly was dinner, an invitation I wasn't going to accept, an invitation my oldest insisted I take,  dinner to fill my tummy with deliciousness but more importantly fill my vessel to the brim, ready for the next day.  Thank you my friend.

I guess what I'm trying to convey here is... even when you feel you can't go on, when you're drained and the possibility of refueling your vessel seems impossible, look at the simple things in your day;  The rain storm, the memories, the song, the friend, the gifts from God, helping you to go forth with faith that all is well.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Life is like a box of Chocolates

Those days that you are running on empty can be the hardest, most challenging days to get through.  I'm feeling empty, almost coasting in on fumes right now.  My mind and my spirit are playing a wicked game of ping pong, back and forth, back and forth.  I hated ping pong as a kid, basically I sucked at it, I could never hit that stinkin' little ball.  The opponent usually would whack it at me so fast or to the side that I never really had a chance.  Today's ping pong match is an epic battle between my faith and my fears.
Since this blog/journal is really all about keepin' it real, I'll be completely honest... Today's score is as follows:  Faith-4  Fear-12

I had my doctors visit to go over my CT scan and set my surgery date.  I knew going into it, this time around, that I wasn't going to be surprised by what he had to say.  I wasn't surprised but that doesn't mean that I wasn't profoundly saddened and scared by what he said.  Just let me say, IT COULD BE WORSE, like Duane worse.  There are some lymph nodes that are enlarged, in colon cancer lingo that bumps it up from a Stage 1 to a Stage 3, good news my liver looks good, no organs looked effected meaning it's not Stage 4.  The degree of the disease will now depend upon the surgery which will take place July 29, mark your calendars folks.  I will continue to pray up until that point that the number of lymph nodes effected and the tissue around it will all be small, petite, miniscule.  Please continue to pray.  I need this ping pong match to have better outcomes than the one today.  I sucked at my game today and my kids need me to be like Forrest Gump.  I love you all.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Courage of a Queen

For many years my heart has been endeared to the Jewish girl made queen, Esther.  I reluctantly admit that it first started to blossom because of the angelic voice of my Katie and a song she would sing from the VeggieTales video about "Queen Essie".  It melted my heart, into a puddle.  I decided to pay better attention to the account of Esther one Sunday as I was teaching a lesson in church, Wow! I loved Esther, I loved her courage, I longed to exhibit half the amount of strength she exhibited.  That was several years before our lives changed from colon cancer the first time around.

After Duane passed I believed I was endeared to this woman because I needed to follow her example of strength as I carried on, raising our 7 children without their father.  I can't recall the amount of times that the courage of a Queen has been given to me, a broad range from the trivial things like mice in the house to serious matters like a child being hospitalized for a brain infection.  Esther's courage gave me a path to follow.  Now her example leads me through this second round of colon cancer for my family.

I am a believer; a believer of the power of prayer, healing, the laying on of hands, faith, purpose in this life, a believer in Christ.  The day after my diagnosis I asked my father, my old Bishop and our sweet kind neighbor to come give me a prayer of blessing.  Afterwards I felt so strongly that I had something to share, what I need to share I did not know, that's what I'm trying to fumble through right now.  But as I watched this video I posted above, I felt so strongly to share my love of Esther, her courage, her strength that can be ours in any circumstance in our lives.  I liked this quote, "You don't really realize how strong you are until being strong is all you have left."  I have no choice BUT be strong and courageous.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"I started to pray"

When Duane was diagnosed in 2007 we were both adamant about keeping a journal of how we navigated through his cancer.  That lasted maybe a week.  I do have some great letters to rely on and a few inspirational journal entries to reread when I feel low.  I did start to blog, it was therapeutic, I loved writing, sharing my thoughts to be forever burned onto the internet(for better and for worse).  It was almost immediately after my diagnosis of cancer that I decided to continue on that path of blogging, for me, for my own personal journal, a journal that I could share with whom ever stumbled by.  I don't want to forget the little tender mercies, the moments that someday I will cherish.

Early this morning, around 5 a.m., I woke with a panic. Yep, I was still in this reality of cancer, yesterday wasn't just a bad dream.  Instantly my tears started to flow and as much as I could stifle the cry, the audible sobs surfaced.  Each night my little girls have taken turns having a "sleep over" in moms room.  I like it, sometimes they fight over it, having a little body with me is comforting.  Last night was Hannah's turn, my rowdy, tenacious 7 year old.  As I sat on the edge of my bed sobbing, trying to be quiet, a little hand reached up and started to rub my back.  Can you just imagine what that did to me?  Being a mom is the best job in the world!  I quickly was able to pull it together, snuggle that sweet child, kiss her forehead and whisper "go back to sleep baby".

I took my sob session to the bath, hoping to hide the pain I was feeling.  As I continued to cry I became calm and relaxed.  At the time I assumed it was the wonderful smell of lavender and the sunrise that I was witnessing outside but as my sweet Hannah approached me this morning about my tears she explained that "mommy, I knew you were crying in the bathtub, I started to pray for you."  What an amazing moment, what an amazing feeling to know your child felt compassion, your child knew who to turn to, her Father in Heaven.  That was my tender mercy for the day.  My sweet Hannah, sharing with me the power of prayer.  I will cling to that power, that faith my 7 year old exhibited.  Lesson learned.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Taste the rainbow

Don't you just love skittles?  Sometimes the kids and I do blind fold tests to see if we "know" our flavors.  Sometimes you combine certain flavors to create the CherryBerry, cherry/grape combo or my personal fav, the Skittles Sprite, lemon/lime.  Taste the rainbow, yum, wish life was as yummy, wish emotions could be as flavorful and fun to experiment with but alas they are not. 

Today my rainbow of emotions almost did me in, put a fork in this turkey because it's done, did me in.  I ranged from peaceful,  hopeful, confident, full of stamina for the upcoming marathon to ending the day beat, tired, confused and ready to crawl into my shell. 

I'm NOT scared, I'm not upset or even really complaining, I hope that's not how this is coming across.   I still feel so blessed by my Heavenly Father, so confidant that Duane has rallied his troops on the other side of the veil, so simple put... Loved.  But with all this has come a mind numbing, brain exploding, can't wrap my thoughts around just how many people care and love my children and myself.  That's amazing!!  To feel the love of so many people, it's like my Skittles Sprite.....Taste the Rainbow.  

Do it for them

I have always centered my entire world around these babies, my Seven Super Summers.  Since the moment I discovered my beautiful Molly would be coming to my world I shifted my priorities, happily.  They are my everything.  Every gray hair comes from them, every sleepless night, every stomach ache, all the worry lines, from these little monkeys I gladly accept.  But with all those things, things the world would consider negatives has come such joy!  They give me a purpose in life, a goal to reach, a reason to carry on.  They are my children, entrusted to me by a loving Father in Heaven to care, love, nurture and raise righteously. 

Five years ago when Duane passed away, I could have easily curled up and shriveled away from the world.  I had lost the love of my life to colon cancer, an ugly and unwanted word in our home.  My children, my Seven Super Summers, my little saviors, they saved me everyday.  They gave me hope and a reason to hold on, keep going and keep my chin up.  Sometimes I would fail, I'm only human, sometimes the grief would consume me but it wouldn't take long before I pulled myself back into a peaceful spot.  They always pulled me back.

So tonight I write this entry, alone in my bed, contemplating the new task that I have been given, a fight I have to fight.... I have colon cancer.  I have the unwanted word, I have the horrid disease that took my husband from me that November day in 2008.  I am human, I have at several points today been on the brink of utter despair.  Cried the ugly cry, thought the why, thought the what are the odds, given in to the negativity yet there was always something pulling me back to center, my Molly and Ben, Katie and Mr. Jack, sweet Grace and my littles, Hannah and Emma.  They are my gravity, my life, my reason to fight and fight with every blasted breath in my body.  Tonight, I Do It For Them!! 

Each day to live....

Finding the little things in the day that make me smile.

Duane's last Dance

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