Tag Archives: doing life together

Just To Write – Sharing What Is On My Mind

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I am going to do something different this evening.  I am just going to write.  I don’t have anything specific on my mind, or that I need to get out, so to speak.  So, I am just going to write.  Unedited.  What you see is direct from my brain.  Buckle up  and enjoy the ride!

One of the biggest things on my mind right now is life.  Life, in general. I have a lot of time to sometimes just sit back and ponder the meaning of life.  I sometimes wonder if this is all there is to life, and it bothers me.  Then, I might feel a little bit guilty. Why?  Look around.  I have a husband and three amazing children – not to mention a multitude of extended family – and a network of amazing friends.  It takes thoughts like that to remind me that I am surrounded by so much love.  Life indeed does suck sometimes.  There is always more to life – but even if there isn’t – what I have right now is pretty special, and worth truly living for.

Living.  There have been days recently where I’ve just wanted to pull my hair out.  Truth be told, that might be a little difficult right now, seeing as how I recently shaved it in honor and support of my daughter who is six years old – and bald, fighting cancer.  But, back to my recent crazy days.  There have been moments where I have been feeling quite overwhelmed.  By everything.  Coping with life.  Coping with her having this returned cancer. Dealing with feeling inadequate to handle everything.

It’s then that I realize that I DON’T have to handle everything by myself.  I don’t.  You don’t.  NO ONE SHOULD.  You see, there are multiple factors I have on my side, making life more than worth living.

First, I have a God who is larger than life.  For some reason, He loves me.  He always has, and He always will.  The neat thing about that is that I haven’t done anything particularly worthy of Him.  Just because I am His child – that’s why He loves me.  It’s an awe-inspiring thought.  To know that I can not do everything right, make mistakes and just not live life “perfectly” so to speak, and KNOW that He is always going to be waiting with open arms…that is powerful to me.  To just know that no matter how broken I may feel, He is always ready and willing to pick up the pieces and create a masterpiece.  He is someone who understand every single part of my life.  The good and the bad.  The ups and the downs.  He gets it. And, He loves me.

Secondly, I have family.  I’ll talk about friends in a minute, but first I’m going to share how blessed I am.  I got to thinking what life would be like if I weren’t here.  No, this was not me contemplating suicide, it was me taking myself out of the equation, and wondering how things would be different if I just ceased to exist.  Let’s talk about that precious child fighting cancer.  I’m her Mama.  There isn’t anyone else in this world who can play the role I do.  I am with her every step of the way.  Her Daddy is too, but I’m primary when it comes to taking her to appointments, blood draws, etc.  I don’t resent it.  It makes me happy that she needs me.  Then, there are my boys.  They are tremendous.  I love that we have an open line of communication.  There is not any topic that is barred from conversation, and they know it.  I would like them to be able to talk to me about anything.  I want to be a part of their lives, not a distant dictator as a parent.  I love my children more than I can put into words.  Then there is my husband.  We have been married longer than we have a teenage boy alive.  Things haven’t always been perfect in our marriage. There have been times I have questioned so much.  However, though not perfect, always worth fighting for. God has given me a love for this man unlike anything I can put into words. Even through tough times, I have never forgotten the initial reasons that brought us together, and the love that connected us in marriage.

After family, there are friends. You know, some friends are as close to me as family.  Friends make me smile.  I’d like to take a moment to talk about people both online, that I’ve never met – and that I may not ever meet in person, and people I know in real life.

Don’t EVER think that “just” online friendships are worthless.  They mean so much.  No matter what, online relationships are very real.  I’ll talk about them first. Through online platforms, Twitter, Facebook and my daughters prayer and support page (also on Facebook) I’ve been able to connect with people all over the world. Literally.  All over the world.  That’s neat.  Just connecting with other people is important.  Creating friendships “across the airways” has been incredible.  There are people on my daughter’s page, for instance, that I value their friendship so much.  They have shown so much love and caring.  They take the time to let her know, and to let me and our entire family know that we are loved, and that they care how she is – and how we’re all doing.  It puts a smile on her face, and on mine to see people comment and just surround her with support and love.  There is no question in her little head that she is loved.  I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Real life friends.  I also know I couldn’t do life without them.  One very specific place I’m surrounded by friendship is at and through my church.  From the moment I walked in the doors the very first time these three years ago almost, I felt truly at home.  I walked in the front doors with lots on my mind, and weighing on me personally.  Like I have said previously, I am diagnosed bipolar.  I say that to just say this.  I was not at a great place, mostly mentally, when I first started going to my church.  However, I was welcomed with open arms, with no judgement, and regardless of what my story was.  That, my friends, was life changing.  Because of the welcoming atmosphere, I was able to connect – both with the people, and with God. Even at the beginning of this fight with childhood cancer and my daughter, I knew they were with me.  They freely admitted that no one at  the church had gone through this, but that they were going to walk with us through the process. They have done just that.  In short, they have been friends.  True friends. Through all that makes up life.

Speaking of connecting with friends,  I’ve mentioned how I’ve recently felt quite overwhelmed.  It’s almost as if all the emotions that come along with being bipolar and having a kid fight cancer – as if all the emotions of these two things have combined forces from years previous and come back to sneak up on me…saying, “here I am…deal with me now!”  It is during these times that I have learned the value of reaching out.  I haven’t always been one to reach out.  I’ve been one to hide, keep to myself, and not let anyone else in.  Why?  I don’t want people to know the “real” me for fear of what they’ll think when and if they find out what makes me tick.  I’m learning that if someone thinks negatively about me after knowing who I am, then fine – I didn’t really need them anyway.  That may seem harsh, but it’s true.  If someone can’t accept you for who you are, you can’t go and try and change yourself to fit the mold.  Doing that will just chip away at you, taking more and more of you with it each time.  Be you.  Be transparent and be authentic.  Doing so isn’t always easy.  It’s vulnerable.  But, it’s worth it.  Creating relationships based on reality is worth it every time.  Like I said, during the times where I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, I’ve learned the value in friendship.  In calling someone and just saying “I’m not okay” or “I’m hurting. Would you please pray with and/or for me?”  That’s hard to do.  But, it’s necessary.  At least, it is for me.  If you’re honest, you’d agree – you need to always have someone by your side that you can call on to just say that things aren’t going okay right now.

As such, it has become imperative for me to remember that it’s okay to not always be okay. I am a Christian.  Which is awesome.  However, accepting Christ into my life to lead the way doesn’t mean that suddenly life will be a bed of roses, with no troubles or struggles.  No, just the opposite.  It means you are human, but even so, God will give you strength to walk through whatever life throws your way.  I know this to be absolute fact.  It’s just that sometimes I don’t always keep my eyes on Him and Him alone.  Through the struggles, I see myself, and my own inadequacy. Of course I’m inadequate.  I wasn’t created to do life alone.  I wasn’t created to do life without Him.  I truly believe that God created us to be community people – to not walk through life alone.

I guess I needed to write all this for myself as much as for any of you who have taken the time to read.  I want you to know this.  You are not alone in this world.  You don’t have to be alone in anything you walk through.  Know that.  I want you to remember all these things I’ve needed to remind myself of.  No matter what your situation is, you are important, and your life has value.  Even when you can’t see it, look around you.  See the people you interact with, and that count on you.  You may not be able to see it, but your impact is great.  More people than you realize love and support you.  You may just need to allow them to do so.  I know people have constantly wanted to help me, and to just be a friend. It wasn’t until I was able to reach out and just be real – authentic – transparent, that I could see true and deep friendships.  I encourage you to do the same.  You are worth it.  Your story is important, and it is still being written.

If you have made it this far, know I’d love to hear from you and know what your story is all about.  If you are feeling alone, or just need a friend, feel free to reply in the comments or to connect through the “contact me” page.  Even if you are having a great day and just want to remind the world to smile, feel free to connect.  I also want to say that I value your thoughts and prayers.  Clearly this isn’t the easiest time in my life.  And that’s okay.  I’m not doing it alone thankfully.  Thank you to everyone who will take the time to pray.  It means so much.  Let me know how I can pray with and for you as well!

Not Being Alone – Grateful For Phils Friends

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Something I continue to talk about is not being alone. This journey is so much easier to walk through knowing there are others who love our four year old (and us) and care. From the very beginning, I determined this is nothing I was willing to do alone, or to allow her to do alone.

As such, we were blessed to be able to connect with an organization that reaches out to cancer patients of all ages. This organization, Phil’s Friends has been instrumental in blessing SO many people, or family included. Phil, who started Phils Friends after his own fight with cancer not once, but twice, has a heart of gold. His testimony is such an inspiration to us. God’s love and peace was so much a part of his healing, of his story, he started this organization with the hopes of reaching others who are struggling with this. His faith was strengthened through this process, and he aims to share the same strength and hope with anyone through this organization.

A few weeks ago, Janet received a care package from Phils Friends. I posted pictures at the time. It came at the perfect timing. In the times since, we’ve aligned with this organization to help them share hope in any way possible. They have brought Janet (and countless others) so many smiles. Smiles do a body good!!

Anyway, that said – Phil was in town with his family this past weekend. Janet and I had the honor of meeting him and his family. There were hugs and many smiles. In the picture, you’ll see a semi-funny picture not seemingly related. It just shows Phil’s heart. My air was low in my tire, so he insisted that he help me – as he wanted to make sure we were safe. So, he helped out. So, I had to take a picture. Anyway, Phil actually brought a special care package for Janet to give to one of her special new friends at the hospital. What better time, cause her next inpatient stay starts tomorrow!

I would consider it an honor if you would repost and/or share this with anyone in your sphere of influence. Go to their page, like it, and let them know we sent you! More than that, let others know about them. You can find out more at their website as well.  If you aren’t local, they will mail care packages out. If you know anyone who could use some love and hope, please connect them with the page. If you feel inclined to sponsor or help in any other way, please also connect with them. If absolutely nothing else, please pray for them as they reach out to others.

Support And Love In The Midst Of Uncertainty

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Support and Love. These are two things I’ve always known about, and always “preached” about helping others out with in whatever times of need they have. Not until what we have going on medically with my daughter did I have the occasion to feel this side (the receiving end) of said love and support.

If you know someone who is going through something you consider to be unimaginable, please reach out in love. What you don’t realize is that it will likely mean the world. I can speak from experience on this topic.

As we are walking down this road we don’t want to be on, awaiting a definitive diagnosis on what may be going on with my daughter, I thank God for His hand in this entire situation. It is evident in so many ways. My gratitude is for the people God has in my life, and for the friendships and relationships that are being cultivated, even in the midst of everything going on. God’s love, and His heart is surrounding my family. My faith and strength from God through all this literally sustains me.

There are moments, and there are times that I wonder where the strength to keep going will come from. It is during those moments where God’s presence becomes so real to me. It isn’t because of anything I’ve done, but rather because He has me surrounded by people who care. I’m learning that I’m not in this – any of this thing called life – alone. Instead, I’m surrounded by much love and support. Like I have said many times before, it’s okay to not always be okay. It’s okay to need help, and it’s okay to reach out. I step out of my comfort zone when I do, but I’m grateful that God has given me the gift of friendship and relationship.

With regards to what all is going on, several people have asked if there is anything new, or if there is any specific way to pray. Right now, we are still waiting on a definitive answer. What we know is that my four year old daughter had a high grade polyphenotypic brain tumor. She had surgery two weeks ago, and both the pathology as well as genetic results are still not giving a full and complete answer. They are leaning towards either medulloblastoma or anaplastic ependymoma. The problem is, is that her results don’t fit either one specifically. It has been said that her situation medically has presented like this before, but rarely. So, samples have been sent for additional specialist consultation, and we should have those results soon. What we know is that we are essentially looking at our worst case scenario, but with some sort of rare twist. She will be starting chemo and radiation within the next two weeks or so.

As bad as all that sounds, I want you to know a couple of things. First, we are standing in faith for her complete healing and full recovery. That said, we realize that healing comes in many forms. All of that in mind, the one thing I want to stress is that no matter what the situation, and how dire it may look at times, God is still God, and He is still Good. With that, He IS in control. I don’t always understand why, or like what is going on, but my daughter is in His hands. It is out of my control…but the beauty of it not being in my control is that it IS in His capable hands.

Thanks for your continued love and support. It’s an honor to do life alongside all of you.

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Thankful For Friendships

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There is one thing you have probably heard me talk about before, and something you will likely hear me speak about again (often) — and that is people. People need people. Everyone needs friends surrounding them and supporting them. It doesn’t make you weak to need a friend. It makes you human.

I am taking this day to be grateful for old friendships, and new ones forming. God is blessing me with beautiful people with such sweet spirits. God is helping me look internally and figure out a need for transparency. No matter how happy or how sad a situation is, it all boils down to being real. Having friends who love you through both the good and bad times is priceless.

I strongly suggest you reach out to others in your life. You might just be surprised at the love that reaches back.

I am thankful today for friendships, new and old.

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Thankful For Connection Groups

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I have mentioned Connection Groups before, but it is time to talk about them again. Our church breaks the year up into “semesters” and has three separate semesters of Connection Groups each year. Our last semester led right up towards Christmas, with a break following that. I should add that I am a patient person, but not as fond of waiting in between semesters! I said all of that to say this – I’m very excited because our new semester starts this evening!

To better explain, Connection Groups are small groups that meet at someone’s home during the week. We get together for snacks, fellowship and to discuss the semester’s topic. Put simply, we get together and do life together outside the four walls of our church. We actively engage amongst each other, and within our community. It is our goal to love God, love others, and to make a difference.

I will have to write again as a follow up after our meeting this evening. I think it should suffice it to say – I’m excited!

*******Edited to Add a few thoughts about the group tonight*******

Wow. I am speechless. Well, okay, maybe not. But, I am blown away by God’s love, as displayed through His people. When I walked into our Connection Group, I was so very excited. I think the first thing I said was, “Wow! Look at all the new faces!” I saw several people that I did not know – or had only seen in passing. It wasn’t a long meeting, but enough time to briefly tell a few things about who we are, etc. We are going to be studying Romans – the Letter that changed the world. It caught my eye right away. We haven’t gotten very far into the lessons at all yet, but I’m excited to start. What we have started has stirred something in me, making me want to learn more. What I really love about our Connection Group is the ability we all seemed to have to share with transparency. I cannot wait to watch as the rest of this semester unfolds.

365 Moments Of Gratitude: I’m Thankful For YOU!!!

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That’s right! YOU! I’m thankful for YOU! If you’re reading this post right now, then know you have my gratitude. I’m grateful for the love, support and encouragement from my readers.

If you are new to my blog, pull up a seat and stay a while. Better fasten the seat belt though, cause it might just be quite the ride!

Really though, I want you to know I sincerely am grateful you take moments of your day to share with me. As always, thank you for connecting – either via comments below, or sending a message via my “contact me” page.

It’s an honor do do life with you. If there is anything you’d like to talk about – or anything that you’d like me to stand with you in prayer on – don’t hesitate to ask!

Have a great day guys, and know – you are loved!

365 Moments Of Gratitude: Thankful For New Friendships

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I am honored to walk through life with friends. What I really like is when God opens up doors, and allows for new friendships to emerge. Something amazing happens when people open up and share – strengths and vulnerabilities. Opening up, and allowing friendship to happen – priceless.

You may be like I am – or at least WAS – and think you are okay walking through life alone, or with very few people by your side. And, while that may work for a season, it will not ever work long term. As I have mentioned time and time again, we were created as community people – to do life together. We weren’t meant to walk through life alone.

I am grateful for friendship – that beautiful relationship that grows and turns a friend into family. I am grateful to God every single day for my family – those especially that I am connected to by blood, but on a different level, those family connected through friendship and the body of Christ.

It is nothing short of amazing to see how God can connect people and provide grace, love, hope, support, encouragement, and so many other things as people link arms and do life together.