Tag Archives: family

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!

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An Internal Look At Why I Write What I Do

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Lately, I have talked a great deal about – even in the midst of life’s storms – seeing the good things, and enjoying life. No matter what situation you’re in, and what path of life you’re walking, I want you to have joy. I don’t want you to walk through it alone. In fact, I consider it an honor to walk through life with you.

That said, I’d like to take another internal look at the “why” behind the things I write. I feel like being authentic with an added layer of transparency is the only way to go. Those of you who know me, know I’ve struggled with this concept for a long time. It is a concept that makes me wonder what you will think if you know the truth. If you really know ME, would you still like me? Of course you would, because I’m awesome.

While I joke, I’m absolutely serious. That’s just the thing. It had been a long time struggle. To a degree, it still is. The point in my life I’m at right now, though, is how I react to said insecurities. Right now, I have learned to love myself. I have learned to see myself as a much loved child of the creator of the Heavens and the earth. I am a child of God, and thus what you think will not change who I am. As a side note, I DO care what you think, but I will not let it dictate my character.

NOW, that was a little bunny trail. I’m writing to you today to simply be real. To let you know a few things about what makes me tick. I have written a decent deal about fighting this rare, aggressive cancer with my four year old daughter lately. It’s been a huge part of my life, and the lives of those close to us. That said, I want to also stress that just because our daughter is the center of the universe right now, and that everything does seem to center around her care, it’s not all that exists. Good and bad. Everything that was there prior to her diagnosis is still there. Her siblings are still there, loving as always. I am still struggling with the roller coaster ride that accompanies bipolar disorder. I’m dealing with taking care of that while I take care of her too. As a side note, that is actually under control well right now. It became an issue where I learned that it’s okay to not always be okay. It’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to need help sometimes. It’s okay for me, and it’s okay for you. If I’m able to take care of me, I can take care of the children as well. Even though cancer hit our family, everything else we deal with didn’t just magically disappear.

Those are physical and mental struggles and things I deal with. I’d also like to talk a little bit about my faith. Without regard to any situation (cancer or otherwise) that I find myself walking, I maintain a faith in a God larger than life. It is through Him that I have strength – even in the midst of some of life’s darkest storms. I live by the following thoughts: God is still God. God is still good, and He IS in control. No matter what the outcome is, and no matter where the varied paths lead, my trust is in Him.

Things that can, are put on the virtual back burner. There are things, however, that just don’t wait – even if life is crazy or centers around hospitals, doctors, chemo, cancer, etc. What will NOT happen, however, is it will not win. Cancer will not destroy our family. What I will do, though, is ask for your continued support and prayers. They absolutely mean the world. PLEASE do not hesitate to ask how I am, or how any other member of my family is. We all enjoy connecting, and don’t want to let this whole situation put who we are on hold…well, on hold for longer than it needs to be.

I’m pretty sure this blog post is pointless. It says nothing of real substance, but it will give you an inside look at me, and the “why” behind much of what I write. With that said, more of it will make sense on upcoming days, as I sort through all that is on my heart and in my mind to share.

Thanks for standing with me on this and all the different paths I walk. If you have any questions, or would like to make any comments, please feel free to post below in comment, or send a message via my “contact me” link. I look forward to connecting.

Don’t Allow Life To Become Too Busy

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Is your life hectic – a day to day compilation of so many things life throws at you?  Do you often feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in any given day? Yes, me too!  You’re certainly not alone.  What I’d like to do here today is challenge how you handle this situation in your own life.

I’d like to encourage (more like implore) you to slow down.  Learn to take joy in things again. Make the most of however many moments you’re given. Take time to just enjoy life.  No matter what your story is, or what journey you’re walking, take the time to find the good.  Celebrate it.  Make it last.  Treasure the memory.

To those of you new to my blog, welcome.  Please allow me to share a little bit about my story, and why this is so heavy on my heart.

My four year old daughter is currently fighting a rare and aggressive cancer. We honestly do not know what the future holds, though we proclaim by faith that she is healed and is (and remains) completely cancer free.  She had a brain tumor surgically removed, and has had six weeks of daily radiation therapy and will be starting chemo this week.  I do not share that with you to beg for sympathy,  but instead to share my thoughts – and the validity of why I’m saying what I do.

Having a critically ill child has had quite an impact on our family.  It hasn’t all been negative though.  Please don’t think that I’m saying I’m happy with a brain tumor/cancer diagnosis with my child.  Far from it.  However, I have been able to take a step back and realize that good can be found in the midst of any storm, this included.

What I’d further like to share are my convicting thoughts here.  It shouldn’t take something of this magnitude to make you (collective you, with myself in mind) appreciate life.  It shouldn’t take a bald little girl with a smile that melts your heart to make you realize just how precious life truly is.  Take time to enjoy life, and don’t allow yourself to become so busy that you don’t enjoy life.  Let those who you love know it.  Tell them.  Hug them.  Spend time with them as you’re able.  Make time. Love like tomorrow won’t come. Have fun. Be you and allow others to be themselves.  Be authentic.

If you take nothing else away from my words here today, take this thought with you: life is precious. Make the most of it. You never truly know when tomorrow may not come. Live life.

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Thankful For Family Time

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What included running errands and accomplishing missions also included smiles. Today, we had lots of things to accomplish while out and about. We also got the opportunity to play games together and just have fun. I really enjoy the simple things in life. Sitting here, watching kids laugh and smile — priceless!

I’m grateful for the time to unwind and just spend time together as a family.

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.

365 Moments Of Gratitude: Thankful For Days To Relax

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Today was one of those days with no larger agenda needing to be accomplished. We had a few things to do, but nothing major. All in all, it was a great day. I was able to stay home and play games with my children. Spending time together as a family – priceless!

I believe that sometimes we all need to just take a step back and breathe. We need to take a moment to relax and enjoy life – not be caught up in all the things in life that ultimately don’t matter. Take time today to just unwind. Take a moment to enjoy those around you.