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New address!

29 May

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I am WAY more excited about this than I probably should be!  But we have searched High. Low. In town. Out of town. Big yards. Small yards. And we FINALLY found our new home!  Moving soon!

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Happy 6th birthday to our Boo!

12 Jan

This was a birthday party for the books. Belle decided she wanted a skating party. An ICE SKATING PARTY. We are not sure why she wanted this kind of party. She did not know how to ice skate. Recently the winter Olympics were on television and she did see a lot of skating. We can only figure this is how she got the idea. I think she was more into the decor and the idea of wearing a skating outfit than actually ice skating. The decor was definitely on point:

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Even her American Girl was there, dressed to skate as well.

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And this girl is a FAN of a beautiful cake.

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The panic started to set in when I got RSVPs. She had invited BOTH kindergarten classes to skate. KINDERGARTEN. Few of them had even been skating before. None of them actually knew how. Start the valium IV drip. I was not going to make it through this party without a nervous breakdown.

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At the end of the day, it was awesome. Lots of parents were terrific sports and skated with their kids, some really mastering the skills that day. My kids had a BALL. They skated with their dad until they skated with their friends until they were soon flying around the rink all on their own.

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Interestingly, this guy had a blast too. Later in the month, we would visit his aunt Kim. Our family would discuss baseball sign ups and how we were going to get to the park on the day they were scheduled. He spoke up and said he didn’t want to do baseball this spring. (!!) A former college catcher, his dad’s heart may or may not have broken into tiny bits, but he didn’t show it, thankfully. We encouraged him to sign up for it. Sports are fun, we said.

I want to ice skate, he said.

!!!  You just never know what a skating party will bring.

For this guy it became his #1 sport and several all star teams and tournaments. All from a 6 year old party.

Helping a sister out

12 Jan

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I’ve never felt like I was living the story of Esther quite like I did this month. I’ve been drawn to that story since learning about it, particularly the idea of how God prepares us – all our lives – to bring glory to his kingdom, in the most perfect timing imaginable.

My sister-in-law is one of a kind: hilariously funny with a huge heart. I felt a special connection with her from the moment I first met her. When she called me in January, I was literally moments away from 25 guests appearing on my doorstep for a baby shower I was hosting at my home. I almost didn’t answer the call but something made me pick up. I was not prepared for her to start the call with words that sent chills down my spine: “I felt a lump.” After urging her to get herself in a doctor’s office – stat – and some reassurance, I hung up, truly thinking she would probably be okay. But none of this came with easy timing. Though her family would continue to be most supportive, they had recently established a new home in the neighboring state, and she had few friends to lean on and absolutely no established medical care yet. Once we found her a solid doctor, things started moving quickly: positive findings, orders for more imaging, requests for genetic testing, big decisions to make. Her house is a 4 hour drive from mine, so I hopped in the car to attend the biggest decision making appointments: meeting the oncologist, evaluating the prognosis, and making chemotherapy decisions.

I didn’t know a thing about cancer before I met Joe. But God knew everything. He knew I would be helpful to Kim when her time came. He stirred my heart and I quickly became an advocate – maybe THE advocate – for women’s reproductive cancers in our region. After forming a nonprofit, I counseled patients and their families, helped them find appropriate social networks and resources. I had never had cancer. No one close to me had ever had cancer. But I had a need to do this in a way I could never explain to anyone else.

When Kim was diagnosed my husband was at the busiest height of his career. I was his stand-in for her, a link to bridge her to his knowledge and expertise. And I could do it with my own authority too. I knew the tough questions to ask and the important decisions that needed to be made. God had prepared me for such a time as this.

When it all came together, we had a plan in place for Kim. Our whole family went for her first chemotherapy. Joe was there to support her at the doctor’s office and I was there to help support her at home. Nothing was more special than this time we all had together with her family. The photo above was the early morning just before her first chemo.

Kim received the strongest chemo available. She had a good prognosis if it worked. She then had several major surgeries. She was BRAC+. Her chances of getting this cancer were almost certain. We wanted to make sure it would never come back, anywhere. Her daughter and sister have had to do major prophylactic surgeries to prepare for their own inevitable fates. Joe, thankfully, was negative.

This picture was taken in January of 2012. It is not May 2016 as I update this. Kim is still cancer free. She has since enjoyed her daughter’s wedding, the birth of her grandson, her son’s graduation from high school and him starting college at Troy. She has moved to the beach. She enjoys every minute of her new lease on life.

For such a time as this – I felt like every moment of my life had led to me helping Kim navigate those scary waters. God was there for her in a mighty way, and it was a privilege to be a small part of it.

World Peace, or Peace in Your World

2 Jan

Turning the page on the year can bring a mixture of feelings: relief, anxiety, a welcome sense of change, depending on the events of the past year and what events the upcoming year may hold.

Many people look back on the previous year with a sense of regret, resolving to do better in the new year.  Some look forward to turning the page on a year of unfortunate circumstances or bad decisions, welcoming a fresh start to begin anew.  Still others appreciate the year that just ended and are glad to begin another, excited to see what’s in store ahead.  Almost everyone makes a new year’s resolution, a promise to make themselves better, a plan to be more organized, more efficient, more in shape, more dedicated, or to quit a bad habit, such as smoking, nail biting, or drinking.

Self reflection is good for the soul and philosophical thinking helps us define the way we live and make decisions that shape our values.  And none of us are perfect; we can all use a little tweaking here or there to make some changes in our lives.  So a resolution for change is not a particularly bad idea.  The problem is, however, that many, if not most (all?) resolutions are broken, empty promises that we strive to fulfill but are never able to keep.  It’s like trying to achieve world peace when all we really need to achieve is a little peace in our world.

This New Year, I’m skipping the list of resolutions.  I’m not resolving to turn critical thoughts into more positive observations, to keep my house cleaner, stay off Facebook and Twitter to make my life more efficient, all of which would be positive changes in my life, my family would surely agree.  To be honest, I really can’t keep those promises to myself.  I’m critical by nature and, though it’s irritating at best, it also makes me a highly productive and conscientious person.  My house is clean but cluttered. I’ve never been a neat freak and that’s not likely to change.  The computer is where I keep all of my organization and if I drift off onto social networking, well, it’s welcome adult interaction as a small break from keeping my children throughout the day, no different from those at work taking coffee breaks from their desk jobs.  I’m not making excuses, I’m just being realistic here.   Making these changes would be about as easy as achieving world peace.  At least in my world.

Instead I think I will focus on just that: achieving peace in my world.  I’m going to evaluate my decisions a little more carefully.  I want to make my decisions based on Love–with a capital L–the kind derived from the Joy leftover from Christmas that resonates through all the way to Easter and carries me throughout the year.  I want to surround myself with people that matter and events that are important and effect change in my community.  More than anything I want to focus on relationships.  I want to nurture relationships within my nuclear family, with my husband and each of my children, and I want to strengthen relationships with some of the precious friends I have been blessed with. I’m going to look for ways to relax my commitments to things that don’t really matter so much and be a “yes” girl to things that do.  If there’s a way to volunteer I want to do it, especially if there’s not a way to be recognized for it.  If there’s a way to serve, I want to sign up, especially if I don’t have to attend a meeting or be in charge of the project.  I want to be the Indian and not the Chief, all year long.

Maybe I won’t be recognized for achieving world peace in 2012.  But maybe I’ll achieve a little peace in my world.

What about you?  Add your resolutions below!

Four

12 Dec

She planned every detail of her perfect day.  And by planning, I mean we had it all worked out that she would have her party at one place, and then after the invitations were printed, she decided she wanted a party “just like last year’s party.”  As in, at a different place than planned.  And she invited all her friends to the same place as last year. So I had to have the invitations re-printed.

Oh yes, this really happened.

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She also “designed” her cake.

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She LOVED it. Which is all that really matters.

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To her, it was the PERFECT party.

And just like that: she was FOUR!

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Still building

14 Sep

He’s still building things.

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Because, you never really know.

7 Sep

 

 

I mean, things change, right?

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