Thursday, March 12, 2015



In college, I was headed to a dear friend's house for her birthday.  Store-bought cake in the floor board on the passenger side, because let's be real - cooking or baking in college was non-existent & truthfully Nicki didn't even like cake.

Before I knew it, the front of my car had slammed into the back of another car.  Wrecked.  My first wreck ever.  The car was wrecked.  I thought at the time my life was wrecked.  The car wasn't really drive-able but I drove it anyway.  To my friend's house with cake in tow.

Smashed car and all.

Wasn't long after that, the same friend was in a wreck.  Her car wrecked and not drive-able.  In desperate need of a ride, I told her I'd come get her in.  In my still wrecked car.

It was just going to be there and back.

Well, I never made it there.

If you've never had the pleasure of experiencing your car hood fly up and slam into your windshield then you haven't lived.  Or maybe I should say, see your life flash right before your eyes.  Lucky me, I've been able to experience this thrill not only once but twice in my life.  First as a child on the way to church one Sunday with my family.  My mom jokes that all my childhood memories I love so much are from all the "old, ugly cars" we had.  Brady just doesn't know how good he has in the vehicle department...ha!  Back to the windshield...

Glass everywhere.  I mean everywhere!

Shattered in a million little pieces.  

I honestly don't remember much from that day other than I had to call my friend and tell her I couldn't come get her and then walking home.  Shattered.  Tears rolled down my cheeks as I couldn't believe what had just happened.  With cuts and blood here and there...I walked.

I never wanted to see that car again.  Which is why I just got out and started walking - leaving it behind.  For all I cared, that car could go up in flames.

It was a painful experience all around.  Even for my friend/roommate who also saw her life flash between her firebird, an 18 wheeler, and the concrete median.

I'm not even sure what made me think of that today because there are just some things in your life college days, you try to just block from your memory.  Good and bad, ha!

I guess today that's how I feel is wrecked.  Shattered.

But walking away and watching my life go up in flames isn't an option.

And that car, the windshield, the fender-bender with the cake seems so minor in comparison to the wrecks I face now.  I mean college and my college problems seem now like a cake-walk (no pun intended) compared to what life is like now.  I guess that's what growing up does to us.

Back then my major concern was what I was going to wear out on a Thursday night.  Or dealing with a broken heart from a break-up.  I thought my life was over when I had been dumped.  The cut was deep...or so I thought.  If I only knew what life would be like after that...

That break-up happened to be the best thing for me. That pain was necessary in order to move on to what God had in store for me.  To the man, I would eventually marry.  God knew I needed someone who would do anything in this world for my happiness.  Who would love me despite my crazy.  And don't kid yourself, I have plenty of crazy to give.  Who would be my shelter when life is too much.  Who would uplift me, encourage me, and pray over and for me.

I couldn't have all that today in a husband, if God hadn't wrecked me my previous relationship.  

Now, I thank God for that pain and suffering because I can see what goodness came out of it.


Life wrecks come in many shapes and sizes.  For me, lately it feels everything I touch turns to a wreck.

Motherhood, a wreck.  My house, a wreck.  My health, a wreck.  My child's behavior, a wreck.

I want reprieve from the wrecks of life.  

I want to see what goodness will come from my sufferings and those who are suffering around me.

I want to know after the wreck, that there is something grand waiting for me.

But I am tired.  

I feel like I look like the windshield did that day when it shattered in a million pieces.

I feel raw.  Exposed, if you will.

I feel wrecked in every sense of the word.

Searching for whatever little piece of hope I can find in the wreckage.  Trying to grasp what this refining process means.

I've been here before and I know I'll be here again.  It's simply the ebb & flow of life.  Sure, there are times it's easy to lift my hands and voice amidst the wreckage that surrounds me.

And there are times I want to do nothing but throw my hands up in the air and walk away.  

That's why I think I feel so raw and exposed...those are not the easy things to discuss or tell.

Sure, we might tell our spouse or a close friend but I'm talking about really allowing ourselves to break and be broken.

To be completely wrecked AND be okay with it.  And share together in our brokenness.

Because that's unrealistic to think I'll never doubt, have fear, or question the refining process.  But no one ever wants to show their vulnerability and certainly not to the ones who view as strong.  Whoever that may be.  Isn't that what we all want, for others to think we have it all together?

Heaven forbid, we be real and honest and raw.  It's much easier to say, "I'm good or fine"than "no, I'm a wreck!"  It's easier to hide behind a facade or Facebook, then really be who we are.

Broken.  Tired.  Worn people.  Wrecked.

I don't think God wants me to only show and express the times I feel like praising Him or when I feel good about this life.  Plus, I don't want my life or Facebook/social media life (let's be honest that's how we like to judge or gauge others' happiness these days) to only reflect the highlight or reels of my life.

That's certainly not who God wants or intends for me to be either.  Nor is it real life.

Life is messy.  Wrecked.

Because if I am worn, tired, and broken - I am certain I am not the only one, searching, hoping, wishing for that big break, a glimmer of hope, something.

I mean who am I kidding?!  I've got nothing but messy hair, day old mascara under my eyes (which drives my mom crazy!), and a heart that breaks often.

I think it's during the wrecks of life, He wants me to know it's okay to be scared, to cry, to question, but most importantly to let Him do the heavy lifting.  He never intended me or us to do the heavy lifting...not when we feel the weight too much to bear.

He came to overcome, not for me to overcome.  I can and will overcome through Him, but not because of my own strength.

Being exposed forces me to trust.  Forces me to rest.  Forces me to wait.  Forces me to allow Him to be what I can't be.

His word tells me over and over that He WILL carry me, sustain me, hold me, and WILL be my strength.  

I just have to be willing to be vulnerable enough to let Him.  To lay my wreckage at His nail-pierced feet.  My brokenness.

He already knows I'm a wreck.  A mess shattered into a million pieces with day old mascara running down my face due to all the tears I've shed recently due to the pain this world brings.

I am only kidding myself if I think I can do this life without wrecks, bumps, bruises, or hurt.  And while today, I may wish them away--- I know that He will bring beauty out my brokenness.

That there will be something grand waiting on the other side of my wrecked heart.  No, I can't see it but I know He loves me too much to allow my suffering not to be in vain.


I also know it's darkest before the light.  That joy comes in the morning.  And thankfully, He loves me even at my darkest.

Even when I lock myself in my bathroom to plead my case to Him.  Or simply because I just need a break from the world and from my 3 year old.  Yes, that was me yesterday.

Thankfully, He loves me at my darkest and meet me in the quiet and darkness of my tiny, out-dated, wreck of an 80's bathroom.  Just like the man, I married.  He sees the worst of me and yet still he loves me more than anything on this earth.  And if you only knew how much he loved college football and the boy who made him a father ;)

While the wrecks in life look different now than those in college, I am still that same girl with messy hair, day old mascara under my eyes, and a heart that breaks often.

Just this time, I know I don't have to do it all on my own.

He hasn't failed me yet and He won't.  Ever.

So until then may I hold on steadfast to Him, letting Him sort the wreckage, letting Him put back together what is broken.

Today, my dear friend that I was taking the birthday cake to the day I got into a wreck, dropped off presents on my front porch and one of them was a necklace that had "beauty from ashes" written on it.  As if I wasn't already an emotional wreck from this past week, tears welled up in my ears and took me back to how He makes beauty out of us.  Even out of wrecked lives.

Maybe being wrecked isn't so bad after all...

Because even in the wreckage, He makes beautiful things out of us.

And sadly, Nicki still doesn't like cake...but that's okay because she loves me despite how profoundly wrecked I am.  Cake and all.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Zoo Day

A few weekends ago (Feb 21st), we decided to make a little day trip to the zoo in Victoria.  It's only about an hour drive and we had never been before.  Brady was so excited!  I think we were all a little excited to do something different and spend time together - outside the norm.

We ate breakfast that morning then loaded up.  Brady looked at books, played with his trucks, while AB and I chatted.  We made it to the zoo around 10am.

We weren't sure what to expect since Victoria isn't a very big town.  But the zoo ended up being perfect!  We got to see lots of animals, mostly native to that area but we also saw a tiger, lions, alligators, monkeys, and lots of birds!

It isn't a huge zoo like the Houston Zoo we've been too.  But it was the perfect size for a 3 year old to walk and not get uninterested.  The animals were also really close so it was easy to spot them.  There were also lots of opportunities to stop and feed certain animals which B really enjoyed.

We spent about an hour and half at the zoo then headed across the street to The Pump House for lunch.  It sits right on the river and we ate lunch while overlooking the river.  The weather was perfect that day.  Other than a little brisk breeze, it was great for south TX.

The restaurant used to be an old pump house that they restored.  It was really neat.  And the food was amazing!  I'll go back to the zoo, just so we can eat there again ;)

He said the deer were his favorite! :)

My favorite was the tiger.  His paws were massive and just so majestic.  God truly creates some of the most amazing creatures.

Checking out the wild pigs.  And I just love my people.  They get me, they love me (despite my crazy), and they are just plain fun!

They even have a little train ride!  B was not going to miss out on a train ride...

Birds and peacocks...roaming everywhere!

After lunch, we went back to the zoo for a live animal show.  We got there late, but basicially they brought out different zoo animals and talked about them.  Brady lost interest after a few minutes so we just strolled back through the zoo one more time.  And spent more time checking out "Tony the Tiger!" :)

We left the zoo and headed to the nearest Chick-fil-a for some free coffee!  We're already planning and talking about our next fam-bam day outing.  But next time I think we'll stay somewhere over night!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Weekend Recap

I haven't blogged about real life in a while so I thought I would.

We've had sickness going around our house.  First me, then B and daddy.  The weather has been the pits lately.  Cold and rainy with very little sunshine.  I'm normally a huge fan of winter (boots, scarves, big sweaters, and all the above), but I'll be honest I'm ready for some sunshine & a little bit of warmth.  I'm not completely ready for the south Texas heat though.

We had a low-key weekend, which is always great.  Especially when I look ahead to the rest of the month and the month of April.  It is jam packed, plum-full.

And so I can't even remember what we did Friday.  Ha, how sad is that?!  Guess is wasn't too exciting.  I probably went to bed early since I was still fighting a sinus infection and headache that would.not.quit.

Friday, I did have a Dr's appointment that morning and while I was waiting for the doctor- I thought to myself how sad is it that I'm enjoying the time by myself and the extra long wait.  Haha.  It was like a mom vacation!

Brady fell asleep on the way home.  Thankfully, he transfers easily to his bed for naps.  He slept for 4 HOURS and I caught up on Downton Abbey and The Voice!

Saturday, AB had to go into work for the morning so B and I hang out then went over to check on my mother-in-law.  She recently had neck surgery so we've been going over periodically to keep her company.

After lunch, AB came home and we took Brady out on the gator.  He insist that he will drive.  Driving to him is holding onto the steering wheel, looking out everywhere but ahead of him with his safety glasses on.  :) Fun times!

I even raced him by foot a few times.  He got a big kick out of it and I got a good out workout.

Then he wanted to go ride the tractor w/ his D.  So daddy took him to go ride for a bit, while I curled up on the couch and took a glorious nap!

I had an urge to try a new Pinterest recipe so I made a quick trip to Wal-Mart to get a few things I needed and went back to my in-laws and made this one pot chili mac and a fruit salad.  It was a hit!!

After B went to bed, we decided to check out what House of Cards is all about.  So we started season 1...we only watched the first episode so I haven't decided if I like it or not.

Sunday was the dreadful daylight savings time.  B and I didn't make it to early service, but we did get dressed and made it to Sunday school.  Daddy was already there for his men's service breakfast.  We took B to eat pizza after church then all came home and took a long nap!  Sunday naps are the best!!  We went back over to my in-laws for dinner and to visit for a bit.

And it's been raining ever since...for over 24 hours and our street looks like a river.  So today we're hanging out in our pjs, still trying to fight off sickness.  Happy Monday!  Hope your weekend was great!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


He's never failed us and He won't stop now.

At this very moment, my mom is meeting with her oncologist to over CT scan results.  They are routine every 8 weeks to check progress.  But for whatever reason, she and other seem to think this will be different.  This one will determine what is next.

I had decided early on that I would not go to the appointment.  And even had I wanted to go, it wouldn't have been possible since I've been sick.  God's plans are always greater than ours.  So instead of being there physically this morning, I am there spiritually.  My heart and spirit is stirring this morning as I cling tight to what I know is true.

My reasoning for not going to the appointment, while I would have went for support for my mom, dad, and sister - I just felt it wasn't necessary.  Mostly because for me - I already know who gets the victory.  Who wins this battle.

Whether mom lives or dies, I know she wins either way.  That's the beautiful thing about this and about our suffering.

We are victorious because of Him.  He is our victory.

Not matter what the doctor reports may say.  No matter what we are faced against.

Romans 8 brings me so much comfort this morning.  There is SO much truth in How we live through His spirit.  Yes, we are weak but He is strong.  How we are more than conquerors.

"If God is for us, who can be against us?  He did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for all- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"  Romans 8:31-32

He calls us to be courageous.  He calls us to be bold.  He calls us to do the impossible.

I used to think He called us to hard things before my mom's diagnosis.  I mean hard things I can semi handle on my own, right?  Hard doesn't necessarily require full surrender.

But yet the impossible requires total surrender.  He wants to be the one who gets the glory!

Only He can do the impossible.  Only He can fix the impossible.  Only He can heal the impossible.  Only He can defy the odds.

Being faced with the impossible at first can seem so daunting.  But when we fix our eyes are Him, instead of the mountain that stands before us - anything is possible.

So this morning, I can sing His praises because of the work He is doing through her and through this.

I can cling to knowing our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

What glory it will be!  What glory it has already been!!

My mom has stood in oceans deep that is for sure.  He has called her into the deepest waters, where His grace abounds in ways we can't even express.

And she may continue to stand in oceans deep while she fights for however long...but we know that there is so much beauty in the refining process.

I often say, I can't wait to see where this road leads to.  Yes, while it's not always pleasant and sometimes painful to experience - I know it is nothing short of the glory that will be revealed.

And that actually excites me for what is to come.  I go back to when my mom was first diagnosed and she said to me through tears..."it's like God has pushed me out of the boat and said okay, let's go and do my work!  And I am so jazzed to see what He is going to do through this."

Tears filled my eyes.

I can only hope if I'm faced with incurable cancer one day, I have that kind of bravery.

So mom no matter what news we hear today - remember what it felt like when you said those words.  Remember you are more than a conqueror.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28

So while cancer, chemo, and all the things that come along w/ this awful disease sucks, we know we serve a God much stronger and bigger than any doctor's report.

We know He is for us and we praise in Him for carrying us thus far.

We've seen miracle after miracle in the last ALMOST 7 months.  That's right, they didn't expect you to live past 6 months and here we are...past the 6 month mark and you are not only alive, but thriving.  You are making waves in your fight.  You are taking back what the enemy has tried to take.

And for that we lift our hands and voices...for no matter the news today - we already know the outcome.

Victory through Him and through us.  Victory through you, mom.

Mom, you inspire SO many through this.  You inspire me to dig even further into my faith.  To press into Him even more.  To cling to not the things of this world, but to eternal things.  You are a living vessel of what it means to be his servant - to say yes to the impossible.  Because you are willing to do anything in this life to bring Him glory...even if it means  fighting a cancer that may take your life.  You are so loved!  Keep your boxing gloves up,  but also know He will carry, sustain, and rescue you when you need a break.

As Aunt Judy says, there are no gaps!  Because we already know who wins this battle.

So with hands lifted high this morning...we give God thanks for the impossible.  For bringing us to our knees where He can meet us like never before.

And we give thanks for victory in Jesus.  

"No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:37-39

There's an army rising up and it is nothing short of fierce. So bring on the impossible for we for know if God is for us, no one can be against us.

He created us for the impossible and the impossible is where He meets us face to face.  The impossible is where God gets the glory, not man or our flesh.  Isn't that what He designed us for - to bring Him glory?  To let Him work through and in us for the sake of His kingdom?

I often tell mom, what a force to be reckoned with after she comes out of this...what a testimony she will have.  Already has.  If I was Satan, I'd be running for the hills ;)

Believing, praising, and flooding the gates of heaven with worship for what God is doing through the impossible.

Because y'all He can do the impossible and for that we are victorious, no matter what we are told today.

"We sign hallelujah...the lamb has overcome."

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I haven't done an update on my mom lately, so I thought it was time.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the text, calls, and quick "how is your mom?" when I see you face to face.  I have been blown away through this journey by people simply just being kind, concerned, and encouraging.

We are just short of FIVE months since we received the devastating news at M.D. Anderson.  The news was grim, discouraging, and anything but hopeful.

At mom's first appointment, we met with a surgical oncologist.  Because she had a mass and that mass needed to be removed.  That's what we would do, go in and remove it.  Simple enough, right?  During that appointment, it was very clear it was not that simple.  Or that straight forward.  Or just a mass.

Questions swirled around in my mom, sister's, and my head as we listened to what the doctor had to say.  There really is no way you can wrap your head around what they are trying to explain to you.  For one, you don't want to hear what they are saying and two you feel like your in dream (and not a pleasant one).

Basically the surgical oncologist, said surgery wasn't an option.  The word he used to describe my mom's tumor/mass was "interesting."  I'm not in the medical field, but I didn't take it as a check in the plus column.  In other words, he told us the tumor is WAY too big, surgery was not an option, and while surgery would be the goal we want to attain, it's not likely.

From there we meet with an oncologist, where we were told the kind of cancer mom had was incurable.  It's a rare form of cancer and they haven't had much success with chemotherapy, but the best they could do was give us a 6 month time-frame, and it was a shot in the dark as far as the treatment working.

The doctor wanted to discuss prognosis with my mom, she declined and told him, "he didn't have a crystal ball and it wasn't up to him.  Also, that he didn't know her God."  She lifted her head up and looked at all of us kids and asked us, "are y'all ready to fight?  Get your gloves up!"  And the fight was on...

About eight-ten weeks into her diagnosis, mom ended up with jaundice.  Her liver basically just quit working due to the tumor.  Mexico doctors told her she needed to get jaundice under control and to have M.D. put in a stent.  Mom's bilirubin levels were out the roof!  To the point, where her body should have been in toxic shock.  But she wasn't, it wasn't, she wasn't running a fever.  Yes, she was sick and yellow up to her eyeballs literally, but it could have been much worse.

A miracle.

She had her first stent procedure late October, which turned out to be successful.  They had the head surgeon on the case and he said it could take up to four hours.  He spent all the evening before studying my mom's anatomy to make sure he could get the job done.  He said it would be tough, but he wouldn't give up.  Didn't even take 45 minutes.  He said it looked much better once he got inside, than on the scan.  During the procedure, I spent time down at the hospital chapel with my Starbucks latte, pleading for peace and for my mom to come through this - not knowing all that had been said about how bad it might or could be.  Dr. Lee couldn't have been more pleased with the way the procedure went and couldn't get over how amazing of a lady my mom was and the kids she had raised (all 4 kids were there).  He said it's a testament of the kind of person she is.

A miracle.

After the stent, her jaundice cleared out rather quickly.  But, we found out at that time that the tumor had grown.  A lot!  Like an inch, give or take.  It was already the size of a large grapefruit to begin now we're talking a personal size watermelon.

Our hearts sank, once again.

I'll probably never forget the night mom called to tell me.  It was the first time in this entire journey, I thought this is it - prepare for the worst.  Up until that point, I never wavered or doubted she'd make it through this.  But this news, sent me over the edge.

How could this be?  I mean, they originally told us it was probably slow growing, been there for 2 years, etc.

It was at this point, mom felt she had to pull out all the stops and decided to do chemo.  She immediately got started with chemo.  M.D. Anderson wouldn't plan any further out than 8 weeks.  They didn't give us much info, just we'll do 4 rounds of chemo then reevaluate.

But since the very beginning of all this, she has said it doesn't matter what treatment I chose - God simply has to heal me.  Whether that meant healing here on earth or taking her home to heal her.  Either way, it was God's plan and while she wasn't thrilled about leaving this earthly home, she decided to leave it up to Him.

Fast forward to late December.  Mom had an appointment with the oncologist on December 18th and would have her 4th round of chemo.  The oncologist remarked and was so pleased with her blood work regarding the cancer marker numbers.  He said the numbers were so good, that he wanted to do another scan to check progression and then if the scan reflected what the numbers were showing, then surgery might be in the future.


She had a CT scan on Monday, December 29th and went to see the Dr the next day (Dec 30th) to have him read the results.

"Remarkable" was the word he used.  He said he hasn't really ever seen anyone respond to treatment this way.  And kept commenting on how strong of a lady my mom is.  She says, "she's not strong, that it has nothing to do with her."

So here we are...less than five months from diagnosis, no real hope for surgery, and according to M.D. we should be close to planning my mom's funeral.

Another miracle.

Because mom is rocking chemo, she feels better everyday.  She looks amazing!  She's had minimal side effects, compared to what they told us.  And she's not only living, but thriving!  She's excited about life and this journey.

And tomorrow around lunchtime, she is meeting with the surgical oncologist.  The same one she originally met with in August, who basically said, "I'm sorry Mrs. Meador, we can't help you!"

This is just the medical miracle of this story.  There are so many other miracles that have happened through this and I can't for my mom to share with everyone.

God has met us at every fork in the road, at every appointment, at every high, and every low.  He has navigated this ship.  He has carried us when we were too weak.  He has brought redemption in places we thought might ever be possible.  But with Him, all things are possible.  (Thanks to my sweet friend Brooke, who got me that bracelet at the beginning of this- has been such a great reminder!)

We cried out to Him and He calmed the storm within.  His grace abounds in deepest waters.

While the chemo maybe helped shrink the tumor, there is only one way mom could and will survive this.  Either way, we'll give Him praise for this battle and for the miracles within it.  God's ways are higher than ours, than any doctor, or treatment.

He is steadfast, true, and thankfully still in the business of healing people, miraculously.

He is remarkable.

And we are so thankful for each of you for praying on behalf of my mom.  Without those prayers, this would have been impossible.

He replied, "Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
Matthew 17:20

Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday B!

Three years ago at 11:50pm, I became a mommy to a blue-eyed squishy boy.  Weighing in at 7lbs 4oz.

It was a super long day, but worth every single minute.  You barely made a peep & everyone was concerned since you wouldn't cry...if we only knew how you would have no problem expressing yourself after that first cry.

Since then you've been running the show around here.

You've been to the movies twice.  First time was to see Planes Fire and Rescue and just this past week, we took you to see Penguins of Madagascar.

You love your animals.  You are always taking care of Papa Bunny, Reno & Coco.  Love your caring heart.

B- you are one smart boy!  You love to repeat everything we say, especially daddy.  You love to tell us when we say "an ugly word" or when we aren't being nice or kind.  There are many times you'll say something to us and your dad and I will look at each other in disbelief.  Like did he really just say that?!

For instance, we were discussing something during dinner and you chimed in and said, "well that's just what I expected!"  Haha!

You are very honest and aren't afraid to speak your mind.  Daddy says you get your sass from your mama! ;)  Actually, you are a lot like your mama in many ways.  Poor daddy! ;)

You go to Mother's Day Out two days a week & I think it's done wonders for you.  You love interacting with other kids and love learning.  You've learned so many things since September.  You have also learned so many Bible stories from school and love to tell me what Pastor told you that week.

And your prayers...melt my heart!  Your daddy and I pray everyday, you'll grow up with a heart for Christ.  That you follow His ways and not those of this world.  You give the best AMEN ever after each prayer.  If we don't do it just right (arm high enough or loud enough) you are sure to correct us.  Makes me laugh!

You had your first cousin sleep-over.  My birthday weekend, you stayed the night with Aunt Cadee & Uncle Eric and threw the biggest fit that you had to go home with us!  It was pitiful but funny!  You made cookies with your cousins! :)

You have the cutest cheesy face I've ever seen!  You scrunch up your little nose & squint your eyes - just precious!!  You are also SO very funny!!!!!  You definitely got your daddy's wit & humor.  I wish I could write down every funny little thing you say.

This year was your first time on an airplane and out of the country.  You are a great little travel buddy & LOVED going on vacation.  You've already requested to go on another vacation soon.

You weigh 30lbs and wear still wear some 2T & 3T.  You wear a size 8 shoe.  But you refuse to wear any shoe other than your tractor boots.  I have to bribe you if I want you to wear any other shoe.  Most days it's not even worth the fight.

You are very opinionated when it comes to clothes.  As soon as your feet hit the floor, you want to put on your "long pants" aka blue jeans, socks, boots and a working shirt.  Wearing a belt most days is a must too.

I'll tell you that I love you and you'll respond with, "I don't love you because I'm a construction worker!"  Haha, as if construction workers can't love their mamas.

Currently your favorite shows are Paw Patrol, Rescue Bots, Toy Story 3, Mighty Machines and Legos.  You still like to watch Mickey Mouse, Agent Oso, and Bubble Guppies occasionally.  Love to hear you say Netflix, it's more like "met-licks."

Your favorite toys are tractors, rescue bots, tinker toys, Lego duplos, and anything outside or tools like shovels, trucks, dirt, hammer, and Play Doh.  You still love to read books and we try to read 3 books every night and books at naptime.

You still take naps.  I try to make you take one every day, but it doesn't always happen.  But when you do nap, you still take good 2-3 hour naps.  You still wake up once during the night to go potty.  You've been potty trained since March.

You are simply pure JOY!  We love you to pieces and still can't believe God picked us to be your parents.  It's been such an honor to be able to watch you grow, learn, and explore this grand world.  We feel so blessed each day we get to spend with you.

Happy 3rd Birthday baby boy!!!  And I know you tell me you aren't a baby anymore, but you'll always be my baby boy!  Love you so very much!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Season of Thanks

When the seasons change, it allows for new beginnings.  Texas is known to have several seasons in one day.  This fall has been a rather chilly one, compared to the past few years.  We've had colder weather for longer periods.  Fall and winter have always been my favorite seasons.  For many reasons, I love wearing big sweaters that hide my fluff, cute scarves, and curling up on the couch with the warmth of a fire.  Also, it means Christmas is near and there are so many things I love about Christmastime.

This Thanksgiving as been different.  This Christmas will be different.  The rest of my life will be different, if I'm being honest with myself.

That's what happens when the tide rises, bringing chemo treatments, scans, more doctor appointments, and waves of fears and unknowns.

While all those things fill my calendar, along with birthdays, school programs, lunch dates - I can't help but focus on the difference on years past.

Before my mom's diagnosis (I refuse to use the "c" word, mostly because I refuse to proclaim that over her life), life was normal.  My mind often thought about the normal life things such as paying bills, making my grocery list, dreaming of the farmhouse I want to build one day, getting mad over things not going "my way" or whatever else may have seemed to matter.  Basically, I didn't have much to fret over, yet I fretted.

It's not that those things don't matter and of course I still pay my bills, but what truly matters has certainly shifted.  Along with the things I am thankful for.   Nor do I fret over things the way I did before.  Life is too short and precious to fret.

I am thankful for a perspective change.  I'm thankful even for the bad days because it means I still have my health, I'm still able to pick up the phone and call my mama, or get in the car and go see her even though 100 things went wrong.  Like our A/C going out or the hot water heater or our microwave/vent-a-hood all within a 3 month period.

This is the first season in my life, where I am thankful for the storm.  Yet it's the toughest storm I've had to weather.  The time in the wilderness with my mom's illness has been nothing short of amazing.  Hard, yes.  Incredibly hard.  There have been moments I wasn't sure I'd make it to the next.  My heart ached to the point of physical pain, tears I thought might never cease, and times I wanted to toss my anger into the sea - along with Satan aka cancer.

But thankfully, those moments are few and far between compared to the moments where God has reached down, carried me, held me, and sustained me.

And for that I am thankful.

So often I see signs of hope as I go throughout my day.  On the rough days, God shines so bright that His goodness captivates me.

And I can't help but sing of His praises..."Though my heart and flesh may fail..."

Sometimes it is as simple as a small gesture from a random person.  Sometimes it's through Brady.  Sometimes it's through a random text from a dear friend, simply to say, "How are you?  Praying for you!"  And other times it is no denying, it is simply God reaching down from above.  Like how lately, I've noticed some of the most beautiful sunsets or skies.

On my 32nd birthday (November 20th), I remember kind of dreading it because while it was my birthday, it was also mom's day of more blood work, follow-up with the oncologist, and then round 2 of chemo.  She normally always comes to see me during my birthday and while I was okay with her not being here, I hated knowing she was even having to go through this whole process.  Being at M.D. Anderson, isn't exactly a fun, hope-filled day.  Brady had school that day and on the ride there, we prayed for Mimi and tears filled my ears as Brady prayed for her and told me, "Mimi is going to be okay!"  And all was right in my world.  I let go of the anxiety and fears, and knew I must trust Him....and Him alone.

After school, he was telling me about the bible story Pastor told them.  He said,"there was a lion who just fell over and then God just held Mimi!  That's just what He do."

And for that I am thankful.  Thankful for child-like faith.  That my 2yr old (almost 3) is able to see God holding Mimi even when I'm not.  Oh my heart, be still.

Cancer has a way of spiraling you into whirlwind.  Everything prior to that dreadful news almost seems like a whole other world.  And you're now entering a new world.  Or new season.

Because this is just a season.

This will not be my world forever and I refuse to allow it to take over my world.  But I will allow the storm to rage.

And I'm actually thankful for the raging storm.

Jesus never promised us that storms wouldn't rage.  He actually told us storms would come.  I'd almost be more worried if I didn't have any storms in my life.

But this storm is different than those past.

Those past I thought I wouldn't make it through to the other side.  Similar to how the disciples felt when they followed Jesus on the boat to "the other side." (Mark 4:35-41)

The waves were so big, almost capsizing the boat.  But yet, Jesus slept.

The disciples worried, even waking Jesus to ask Him, "if He cared that they may drown?"

After Jesus tells the waves to be still.  He replied with, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

So this Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for the storm that rages while I stand firm in my faith and be still.  Knowing it is through the storms, our faith is strengthened.  Where Christ meets us, tattered and broken.  And maybe it's not so much about the storm, as it is about us learning to trust in Him - regardless of the storm.  It's about our focus in the storm.

My mom has been so courageous through all of this.  She radiates what it means to stand on the solid rock.  Of course she has moments of fear and struggles with the unknown, but one thing she does know is her illness is no mistake.  Of course, He didn't give her this illness but what she chooses to do with it is a divine appointment.

She said from the very beginning, if this will bring Him glory than she's ready for the ride!  She feels honored He has chosen her and this is just the beginning of her story, her legacy.  Wow, what a legacy!  This will give her a platform to transform so many hearts, as it already has.

What Satan intends for harm, God will use for good.

And good it will be. 

So while we weep on some days for cancer just plain sucks.  We also rejoice for we are walking this road along side a God who loves us more than we know and will do anything to bring us to the point where we can rest in Him, trusting Him.  Even when the waves are crashing.

So for this storm, I am thankful.

Thankfully, our suffering is never in vain.  It is our sufferings that cause us to cling to Him, resulting in full abandonment of the things of this world.  Transforming us to be more like Him.

He wants us to come boldly before Him, knowing our circumstances aren't ideal but even when the odds are stacked against us - we remain in Him.

We are able to lift our hands and praise the hallway, while we wait.

With thanksgiving...His word tells us. 

 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:4-9

So this season in my life, I have so much to be thankful for.  For when we shift our eyes away from our problem and focus on Jesus, we're able to be sleep in the stern of the boat while the waves crash over us...because even the wind and waves still know His name.

So let go and trust in Him.

Thanking & praising Him for this season.

For this storm.  The peace in my storm.  For I have nothing to fear.

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass
through the rivers, they will not sweep over you...
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your God."
Isaiah 43: 1-3