Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Thankfully we didn't lose any power during the storm. And the storm wasn't really anything more than a typical rainstorm out here. We had some minor flooding but the puddles have dissipated and we were able to easily get to the Children's Hospital this morning.

Samuel got an IV early this morning, a CT scan, chest x-ray and blood draws.

We are waiting for results.

I must confess the adrenaline and anxiety are a nasty combination. Praying and hoping for the best but trusting God ultimately that all things are in His hands, including Samuel.

Fixing my eyes on Christ...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Scan

Please pray that somehow/someway we won't be too flooded that we will miss Samuel's CT scan on Wednesday. He's set for early morning to have his scan but if we can't leave the property we'll have to reschedule. To be honest I just want to get this over with!

We're prepared to lose power and be home bound for a while. It will be interesting... Hoping everyone stays safe during Hurricane Sandy!

I have a magnet on my refrigerator that simply states:

"Given enough coffee I could rule the world."

So true.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Twice the fun.

Brotherly love. Ian & Michael may not look alike but these boys stick together. Twins. Fraternal in appearance- absolutely but identical in their love for each other. 
Different personalities. Different strengths and weaknesses. Different likes and dislikes. 
I love my boys. 

And guess who just learned how to spell his name out loud! I will give you a hint...
"M"- "I"- "C" -"H"-"A"-"E"-"L"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


    My Lovely Girl. 
8 years ago I was in labor with my first child, my beautiful daughter, Libby Anne Hope. I remember when I had her. It was 10:39 a.m. and she had finally come into this world. I remember her first cry and the subsequent tears that spilled down my cheeks. She was here. She was alive. All was well.        

She was the only one of my five children that I was allowed to really hold after birth. She was the only one who wasn't whisked away from me to go the ICU or special nursery. Libby came out alert. Wide awake and looking at the world. Her dark blueberry eyes taking in everything around her. I had never seen a newborn so alert and so aware. 

She was my comfort. After losing my sister just six months before holding my Libby was a healing balm. She brought me hope. She reminded me of life. And that it was worth living. I believe she was the main reason I didn't go wild, or crazy or lose my mind when my sister died. I was pregnant and I couldn't do anything that would not in turn also affect my unborn child. I had to eat because she needed nutrition. I didn't drink, smoke, do drugs, or party. I had to cope without anything to sedate me. I lived with my grief fully aware not dulled by alcohol or pain killers. 

I remember the joy that flooded me as I looked into the precious eyes of my daughter. Her dark black hair was thick and beautiful. She was beautiful. 7lbs., 7 oz. She was slender and long. Just as she is today. 

Her eyes are now a beautiful green just like my husband's. Her hair lightened and is a beautiful light brown. 

I am always amazed at her thoughtfulness. Her compassion and sensitivity. Her laughter and her silliness. The beautiful songs that come from her lips and the lightness of her dance. She is unencumbered by the burdens that threaten to consume me at times. She is a lovely girl. A wonderful older sister to her four brothers. She is their protector, director, and leader. 

She is dramatic, expressive and emotional. She is tender-hearted. She has seen her brothers suffer, particularly Samuel and she did not shy away. She came forward. she held his hand as he cried. She grabbed a wet cloth for Samuel when he threw up. She cried at the loss of his hair.

Just last night we were discussing Samuel and she told someone. "you know, it took him a year to get rid of the cancer. We're not sure if it's growing or not. That's what the test is for. We hope it isn't going to come back." I didn't realize how much she understood or has processed. Even now I still don't know how she has perceived it all. I know her hope is in God. And I'm seeing him do a marvelous work in her. 

Happy Birthday Libby. I am so grateful to see all God has done in you these past 8 years. Keep trusting Jesus. He will sustain us to the end. I love you more with each passing day. I am crazy about you!



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

plod on.

The first bite of the apple was mealy. That should have been my sign to discontinue. But I'm so tired and feeling so unwell and I haven't had anything for lunch. A protein shake at o'dark hundred isn't enough to sustain one into the afternoon. So I munch on.

My apples of late have been plagued. They have shown up with bite marks on each one and in no apparent order. I think they have fallen victim to my almost 2 year old. He loves his "Popples". And so his sweet little teeth indentations cover each apple.

I've been sick since Friday. And it's seriously been several months since I've been to a Sunday church meeting because I'm home with someone who is sick or I've been sick myself.

This time I've had pink eye and head/ chest cold congestion. Mike seemed to have been stricken with the flu or something since Saturday. We're both not well but we march on. He's had work so he's been working. I'm at home managing kids. Getting them off the bus. Feeding them lunch. Helping with homework. Scrounging up strength to get through the next task. But I have an hour and a half before Libby and Samuel need to be picked up and so I'm going to eat this apple and read my book and fall asleep while Peter's napping and the twins are entertained.

Oh the glorious nap. It is a balm to tired mothers everywhere. If only we'd be smart enough to take them when our kids take them instead of frantically trying to catch up on cleaning, baking, communicating, crafting, or any other thing we hope to do or would really like to do, or just plain need to do.

Rest is a gift. So I'm going to take it. And I'll write again another day....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Autumn Musings.

Days are long and intense. They are full of flavor and zip and quick thinking. I find myself multi-tasking all day long and yet trying to squeeze precious moments in as well. Yesterday I made pumpkin bars for the kids. A fun after school snack for a drizzly day.

The leave covered candle burns infusing the smells of autumn in the kitchen.

Mike has had work again! Hallelujah. Such a blessing. It's wonderful. This has also created a need for adjustments on my end because it means managing everything myself in regards to pick-ups, drop-offs, appointments.

Planning has been key. Chiropractor. Dr. appointments. Glasses ordered for Michael (they're going to be so cool!) Therapy. Groceries. Errands. Post office. Etc.

Homework time goes over better if Peter is napping during that time. I'm also learning i need to give ian and michael tasks to keep them from distracting Libby and Samuel. So, chores are becoming a thing.

"Hey guys, take this rag and wipe the stairs down."

"Help me unload the dishwasher."

I've also been trying to process life over the past decade. Particularly Samuel's cancer. So much of me is  just begging for it to be "over" and "done." And yet, it's this long road. Journey. Full of all these what-ifs I try no to dwell on. I try to focus on the next task. Making the next meal. Doing the next load of laundry. Helping with the next math assignment. Laughing at the next funny thing they say!

Surrender isn't a one time thing. It's a daily, sometimes moment by moment choice to give myself, and those I love to God. So, I surrender all. All to Jesus, I surrender. I surrender all.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Busch Gardens (part 2)

Possum. It's What for Breakfast!

 Mailbox Munchies... or Not.
No time to cook!
Grab a CAN!
Mike found a dead possum in our mailbox this morning. Apparently someone is unhappy with us. I know that's an assumption but I don't know of anyone who puts dead anything in someone's mailbox being a good sign.

Oh I know they were wanting to provide breakfast! Nothing like a good possum omlette to brighten the day or perhaps a stew for lunch!

Just kidding.

But in all seriousness. I did find this recipe online....

Wild Possum Kabob

Ingredients:1 Still breathing, corn-fed Possum
3 Ripe but firm tomatoes
1 Large white or yellow onion
1/2 pound large mushrooms
2 large green peppers
1 package meat marinade
1/2 cup soy sauce
12 skewers (sticks are okay in Arkansas)

The possum must be alive so that you can scare it, giving you the "wild" taste from all the adrenaline it produces. It is best to hit it over the head with a large object in a humane manner. Boil the possum for 3 minutes to loosen the fur then skin and gut it.
De-limb (chop the little knubby legs off) the possum and cut the meat into 1/2 inch square chunks.
Marinate overnight in a mixture of meat marinade and soy sauce. Kentucky residents who have no fridge can use an ice chest and may use radiator coolant instead of soy sauce.
Thread the meat and veggies onto your skewer/stick in alternating sequences to distribute the delicious flavor evenly.
Cook over a barbecue, pit, 50 gallon drum or any other fire till you get the desired result. For added flavor, you can cook it over burning tires.
Servings: 6
Calories: 12,342
Carbs: Holly 4-barrel
Fat: If you eat this kind of crap, fat probably isn't your biggest concern.
---Contributed by Don Shaw (

Monday, October 01, 2012

Pink eye, flooding and CT Scans, oh my!

So, tonight wasn't what I thought it would be.

As I was mopping up the kid's bathroom with towels I couldn't help but think two things.
            "For sick kids they really do know how to create a disaster."
            "Really, I have to clean this up to????!"

We have had some sick kids. Double ear infections. Conjunctivitis. Viral and non-viral. The former being pink-eye. Vomiting. Coughing. Wheezing. Fever. Goopy eyes. It's been "fun". And today I've felt shakey, weak, headachey, and sore all over. No fun.

We seem to get over one kind of yuckiness to move on to the next.

So the seven of us trooped into the doctor's office early this morning and left with a plethora of prescriptions for antibiotics, eye drops and ear drops.

I thought I was doing a good job entertaining the kids in our little holding cell in the doctor's office. We sang Old McDonald for a loooong time. A nurse popped in and gave the kids some new books to read and to keep. It was really nice and sweet until it dawned on me... Oh gosh, they're trying to get me to shut up. Whoops. At least we were singing happily.

So tonight, laying in bed, I think I hear the sound of water. Libby runs in my room in a panic and tells me to "Come, quick. You won't believe what the boys did."

So yes, one of my son's decided to leave the sink water running and managed to flood the bathroom. So I used about five oversized towels to control the mess.

Another pile of laundry created.

I'm tired. I am. I don't want to do another thing. I'm running on empty and somehow I keep forgetting that this isn't all for me to carry. I keep trying to do it all.. and I can't. I'm worn out. I don't have the strength or the energy.

Jesus tells us to come to him all who are tired and heavy ladened and that He will give us rest. We need to take up his yoke and learn from him for He is gentle and lowly in heart and His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

The Message puts it this way, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

It is so comforting to know that Jesus loves me and He cares. He doesn't want me weighed down and burdened. I want to live freely and lightly. But I've been holding very tightly to very anxious and fearful thoughts.

the 26th Samuel will have an EKG and EEG. 
Samuel has a CT scan on October 31st.

And so on Halloween we will discover if his cancer has come back or if we remain NED (No Evidence of Disease). And once again  my heart has been racing. and my tongue has been sharp. Because I'm living out something I don't have the strength, energy or grace for. But have to fight obsessing about it. It's so much easier to give in to all my "what if" imaginings. It doesn't help me now. It won't help me then. Either I will have wasted my time and energy worrying about something that isn't... or I will be wasting energy I will need for then.

Often I have reminded friends that God won't give them the grace they need until the moment they need it. I wouldn't have had what I needed to face what I have in my life if I knew it all before I got married. There wasn't grace then. But there has been grace for each moment. The moments I've discovered I was pregnant. The moment we learned Michael's diagnosis. The moment we received Samuel's diagnosis. At each moment of overwhelming change God has been right there. I have felt His presence. I KNEW He was with me.

Found the picture of Samuel on the
Hematology-Oncology page at CHKD
And yet, somehow I've slipped into believing that God somehow can't do it again. As if He's not capable of being faithful. My thoughts follow along the lines of believing that my "grace card" has expired. As if Samuel's cancer were to return that God would abandon me! Never!!!! He has always been faithful and He will be again. I can trust Him.

And yet, I'm scared. Scared to walk down that road again. Scared of treatment. But there is One who is bigger than all this and I give it to him. And I lay down my anxious heart and say, "God this is yours. My heart, my worries and fears are all yours. My son Samuel is yours. Give me rest. Give me peace that surpasses all understanding. And give me the grace I need when I need it."

Tomorrow is a new day. A new day full of new mercies. The Lord gives and takes away. Blessed be His name.