Tag Archives: kids

Closure.

I’m writing this for several reasons. For one, I know that a few of you have been along for the ride but don’t actually know me. You’ve prayed for me and supported us through this so you definitely deserve an update! But I’m doing this for me as well. Although I don’t go back and read my old blogs, if I ever decided to I would for sure want this chronicled.

Yesterday, I got my port out.

Yes, it’s an awkward pic but I don’t care! Because I’m excited and I’m happy! Let me tell ya, the procedure is done in a very professional way in the OR and all that, but I was also fully awake for it. So all of the tugging and pulling against my scar tissue while I was still awake and aware was gag-worthy. For real. But…good has come from it.

For a while this port was like a security blanket for me. It felt like relief and it felt like comfort. I didn’t want it at first but once I had it, I truly came to rely on it as a source of calming, as weird as that may sound.

But over the years, I’ve needed it less and less. Treatments were stopped over 2 years ago and it became a hassle. Something that was uncomfortable and that needed attending to (in the form of getting flushed) even though it was inconvenient. As my days were spent more at home than at Penn, these visits to have my port flushed felt increasingly intrusive. And so we decided to get it out.

I need to include something here for my own records because I felt that I never had closure on this cancer stuff. As much as I could physically feel healthy and mentally detach from the trauma, there was always the reminder in the form of that uncomfortable port in my chest. Treatments didn’t stop with some triumphant “last chemo” where I ring a bell and get applause. No, I simply didn’t want to do them anymore and my oncologist understood and supported that decision.

Appointments and specialists and scans sort of petered out. There wasn’t an end. But this? This felt like an end to the chapter. This felt like the turning of a page. This port that had ingested so much chemo and has seen me through some of the hardest times of my life was about to go. And symbolically, it was impossible to ignore.

You see, God has been opening my eyes to so much recently.

I wanted to go by myself to Philly to get my port out and as I drove home, I thought I’d listen to my chemo playlist on my phone. This was literally the playlist I would listen to during infusions. I haven’t been able to bring myself to listen to it for over 2 years, but I also haven’t been able to bring myself to delete it. It’s special.

So as the songs played, I felt myself get real honest with God. You see, over the last year and a half, we have been a part of starting a church. This is good! But on the same coin, it’s been the hardest time of my life. I’ll explain.

When God called us to this church plant, it ripped me from the only church home I’ve ever known. It tore me from the comfort of the church family that was truly my family, the people who had loved and supported us through my cancer and the people that I wanted to love and support. It took us away from the teens who loved and trusted us and who we loved so very much. Being a part of this church plant meant willingly giving up a huge piece of my heart. And unbeknownst to us at the time, it meant enduring some cruel and unjust criticisms as well. And I was just not ready for that.

On the drive home from having my port removed and thinking through all of the happenings of the last few years that I had shut off from myself, I came to see a few things.

For one: difficult emotions can coexist. I’ll say it again, difficult emotions can coexist! My grief over the loss of my church family in New Holland did not mean I love my new church any less! I’ve tried to hide my grief because I felt like if I looked sad to leave my other church that it would look like I wasn’t ready or excited to tackle what God had in store for us at the new church. And that’s just not true! I spent almost a year in a deep depression over losing our old church, especially the youth. So much so God had to hit me over the head with the new opportunities we had to spread the gospel this past week as 20 teens came to our house for youth group. Praise God for His goodness!! I will always miss our old church. Always. Especially the teens. But I feel more free to experience that grief alongside the excitement and joy of creating new relationships.

And two: God showed me that I have closed myself off from Him. Ok, actually I already knew this, but I guess He showed me why.

Over the last few years, God has called me to some things that were hard. Things I didn’t want or ask for. Things I didn’t want to do and things I didn’t want to face. I’ve meditated on the verse that says, “draw near to God and He will draw near to you” a LOT over the last few weeks, and there was just a hesitation on my part to draw near to Him but I couldn’t figure out why. I love Him and I want to serve Him only, so why couldn’t I connect?

Then, in the drive home from having my port removed while I was listening to the worship music on my chemo playlist it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’m terrified of what He’ll ask of me next.

The last few years have been so hard, such a struggle, with so little clarity that I was scared that what He’d ask next would be even more so difficult. I’m a little ashamed to even admit this, but I know I need to as some of you look at me as a Christian who just has it all together and has it all figured out. That’s just not the case.

So why even write this? For one, an update to you amazing folks who have followed this journey with me. And for two, so I can look back someday and see what God was up to in this season. I feel closure on the part of my life that was ruled by cancer and that feels so good! And while I still grieve the loss of the most amazing church family anyone could ask for, I’m thanking God for putting us where He has put us.

If you read this to the end, I’m so sorry for making you endure all that and may God bless you for it!! There’s no way I can thank you guys enough for your love, encouragement, and prayers over the years. It’s really mind-boggling to think of all of the support we’ve received and we are beyond thankful! So, thank you!!

And in case you want to know, Eric and the kids are doing great and I found a hobby and passion in cookies!

Love to all of you!! 💕

But What If

“But what if you are sick?!” She questioned, bottom lip quivering, with all of the composure a 4 year old can muster.  My mind raced with all the intricacies of cancer and how best to soften that blow for a child.  Teary-eyed, I explained to her that if that was the case, that God would take care of us.

But she didn’t want to hear that.  She wanted to hear that Mommy was ok and that Mommy wasn’t sick.  My little girl, who is usually an eager sleeper, refused to go to bed because she knew when she went to sleep that when she woke up I wouldn’t be there.  

So much for routine scans!  “Routine scans” are a mysterious blessing not afforded to all cancer patients and not guaranteed to us at any point.  There was a time in my cancer journey that those words, “routine scans”, sounded like a pipe dream.  Literally something that just wasn’t for me because my time had come and gone.  I always feel great until the night before scans.  And even then, the bad feelings are usually reserved for just me.  But tonight, my daughter caught wind of something that she never really fully understood before.  Yes, Mommy was sick through most of her life but from what she can remember, Mommy has always been there.  Tonight as I laid her down for bed, she wrestled with the fact that I wouldn’t be there when she woke up.

“Mommy just needs to go to the doctor for the day so they can tell me I’m not sick!”  I told her.  She seemed relieved at first, until she thought about it more.  But what if…

Our son is almost 7 and he has always just sort of understood all of this.  Not that it hasn’t been hard on him, but he always took it in stride and seemed to understand.  He didn’t like when I wasn’t there but he got it.  This is the first time Brit has asked so many questions and she just is not ok with the answers.  And I don’t blame her, I just wasn’t ready for this tonight.

Tonight as I was laying with her while she fell asleep (something she begged me for tonight, and never does this) she kept trying to figure out ways, through tear-soaked cheeks that she would get through tomorrow.  She finally said, “Ok Mommy, I will sleep as late as I can then pretend you are at the store and will be home at dinner.  Mommy, promise me you will be home by dinner!”

Of course I can’t promise any such thing, but I see my broken-hearted child before me.  Faced, for the first time in her life, with the understanding that Mommy may not always be there.  And so I try to assure her, with as much confidence as I can muster, that I will do my absolute best to be home for dinner tomorrow.  

My son comes out of his room, curious as to why his sister is crying.  And I have to tell him that he needs to be there for her tomorrow and things will be different but that he can make sure she’s ok.  On the surface, I’m only talking about tomorrow.  But in my heart, I know I’m talking much longer term.

What if?  Well, if something shows up, then I will try my best to be here.  And if I can’t, I need him to step in and help her when I can’t.  It’s symbolic and it’s heavy and it’s real.  I have scans tomorrow and they may be just fine.  But what if…

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Christmas Giving for Kids

I was given a great idea and some great suggestions for a fun thing to do for the kids this month, in honor of of the “Christmas Spirit”, of course. I had heard about “Kindness Elves”, a fun alternative to the creepy Elf on a Shelf, so my mom gave me these penguins and I used some ideas I had and some awesome suggestions from you guys, to make this Christmas season a time of giving for my kids, and not at all about what they’ll be getting.

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Our four year old son told me at 7pm, after he opened the present from the penguins, that he wanted to go to bed right now because he wanted to wake up and find the penguins! Too cute. This could get really fun and, because I’m who I am, really meaningful. I mean, who doesn’t want their kids to realize that giving is ultimately where fulfillment and purpose are? James tells us that “faith without deeds is dead”. That’s a very strong statement, but I believe is true. We are known by our fruit, by how we’ve shown love, and I want my kids to realize as soon as possible that they are not the only people in the world; that they are usable instruments of God; that they, at any age, can make a difference.

I love being a mom. I figure as long as my kids accept Jesus Christ as their savior and are potty trained that there is literally nothing that they cannot face. Maybe these silly penguins will help bring them there ❤

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I Need Your Help!

Ok, so hopefully that caught your attention, because I could truly use some input here. In the constant mental struggle of hoping for the best yet prepping for the worst, I have come to realize that the most important thing is making sure that when I leave, I leave something behind for the kids that is of importance. Things that will mean something to them, let them know how much I love them, and hopefully help them through some things they may be facing. And people have already given us some great ideas!

For example, I am going to be painting things for them for their rooms. Little sayings, Bible verses, and pictures. Maybe they’ll even get passed on to their kids. Or maybe it’ll become a family joke, “haha, Mom got a brain tumor and thought she was an artist!” Lol, I’m ok with that…

Another idea a friend gave that I LOVE was making sure each one of them has a Bible from me with special verses highlighted. I am so grateful to my friend for sharing this with me but also so sorry that she lost her mom at such a young age. But hearing her talk about what that has meant to her over the years totally confirmed for me that it’s something I need to do. So, sounds easy, right? Yeah, apparently not. My mind went blank as soon as I started to think of verses lol. I’m sure in my daily readings I will come across awesome verses, but I also figured, hey, why not ask these awesome people what verses they would pick for their kids or just what are some of your favorite or most meaningful verses? It never hurts to share, so let me know!

The last thing we thought of, actually someone that works with my husband suggested, is leaving them videos. At first I thought letters, but I’m glad someone suggested videos because it’s much more personal. I’m thinking maybe one for each year up to 18? Too much? Not enough? I’m not trying to creep them out, just want to feel like I can still help them through things as they grow and mature.

Here are my main problems with this:
1. How am I going to get through these without bawling like an idiot?
2. I am pretty clueless about what kids go through between the ages of like 6-12. I feel pretty well-versed in the teen years as we have worked with youth for years now, but any earlier than that and I have absolutely no idea.

So I realize you probably can’t help me with #1 haha, I’ll figure something out. But the actual advice part? I would love to know what you guys might think or what you would say to your own kids or really just anything. What are the daily struggles/issues with kids who are a little older? Or even if you have great advice for kids/teens, whatever! I am so open to hearing anything at this point so I can start focusing in on what I’m going to do so I can get these things going. They are 3 and 1 now, boy and girl. So that makes things more difficult too since we have one of each. Yeah, I need help lol.

OR if you have any other ideas of something maybe you have done/would do for your kids or that someone did for you that was meaningful, I am open to hearing whatever. Trust me, it’s not a sore subject at all!! I am looking forward to any ideas and suggestions you guys might have because I could really use the help. And you guys have not let me down yet! I’m not trying to make anyone sad or like start worrying they might die or anything, so I’m sorry if thinking about this depresses you, that’s definitely not my intent. I just need help and thought, hey, I’ve got awesome resources here, I’m gonna use them!! (That’s you guys <3)

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Fun with the new iPad!!! 🙂