Count Your Many Blessings

In these early hours while the house is still quiet and before the bird gets ready for his big debut, I thought it might be a good idea to reflect for just a moment on this year & the abundance that I have to be thankful for.  Especially looking back over the last two months since sweet ginger was diagnosed, it’s easy to look to all the struggle, pain, unknown and inconvenience and pitch a tent in the land of the whining complainer.  I don’t want to spend time there {I don’t usually like the people that live in that place}.  I want to march on through & spend time in a land where blessing are counted.

I am thankful for the obvious things – friends and family.  But this year I am specifically thankful for those who have come alongside us, who have cared for, prayed for, thought of & loved us.  I am extra blessed by those people who have been able to let me remain “normal”…let me just be me.  I am thankful for people near and far.  I am blessed by so many, many people and their love.

I am thankful for oncology researchers, doctors and nurses.  I had no idea how much love poured from within the walls of the sterile hospital.  These men and women have literally held us up these last two months.  To those who pour their hearts and lives into childhood cancer, there are few words that express my gratitude.  You are a blessing to me!

I am thankful for sweet ginger hair’s friends.  In rough and tumble days, the kids that love my kid are truly a blessing beyond words.  They come hang out, they bring food, they organize t-shirt & bracelet sales, they send cards, they shave their heads & bring a bald boy hats…they are the most amazing group of kids ever.  And I am thankful for the friends of my other two kiddos too.  They provide relief, normalcy, a place to hang out and be a kid.  I am thankful for the friends of my kids {and their parents} more than I ever thought I could be.

People top my list of this year of blessings.  I could live my entire life without a new car, without a bigger chicken coop, without a Fixer Upper-worthy home. But I cannot live without the love and kindness of the people I share this life with. The things that fill my heart are things that just cannot be bought.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
    Worship the Lord with gladness.
    Come before him, singing with joy.
 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
    He made us, and we are his.
    We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
    go into his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good.
    His unfailing love continues forever,
    and his faithfulness continues to each generation.  -Psalm 100

 

Related Post

Thankful Cards part 3 :: Free Printable

It is hard to believe that we are just a few short days away from Thanksgiving!  I absolutely love Thanksgiving!  It may very well be my favorite holiday…but don’t tell Christmas or Easter.  One of the things I love to do most is cook and Thanksgiving provides the opportunity to cook up some amazingly delicious & comfort-classic foods.  I am bursting to get in the kitchen!  Guess I should probably get the turkey thawing.

Last year I put together some Thanksgiving cards to display around the kitchen & table.  Each contained a scripture passage about thanks.  You can find them here & here.

This week I put together another set of 8 cards.  I printed them off on some Kraft paper cardstock, cut them out and again used my trusty Creative Memories corner rounder to finish them off.  I plan to use them around our dinner table this year.

And what fun would it be if I didn’t share them? So here they are!

thanksgiving cards

Thanksgiving Cards set 3

Simply click on one of the pictures above or here, print them out on your favorite quality cardstock, cut them using the cutting guides & round them off {if you still enjoy your 1990’s CM corner rounder as much as I do} and display them around your table and home this year!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Be thankful for the many blessings in your life.  Love your family well.  And praise God from whom all those blessings flow!

And, hey, take a second to pin these if you wouldn’t mind!

 

From Where I Sit

It’s been a bit ugly in the world lately.  If you haven’t noticed, you likely do a much better job of staying off of social media & news outlets than I do.  There’s an arrogance.  A bitterness.  A whole awful lot of finger-pointing & judging. There’s outright rage & anger & hatred.  Real hatred.  Words that should never be said have been screamed.  Thoughts that should never be thought have been thought.   And actions that should never occur have boiled into our everyday.  It seems that ugliness might just be winning.

Please, though, don’t lose heart.

…because from where I sit…

I see goodness & kindness.  I see no separation of people based on color or gender or religion or any of the other zillions of categories we throw people into.  There’s no hatred, no judgment, no bias, no rage.  From where I sit, in a sterile room on the childhood cancer floor at Children’s Hospital, I find only goodness & kindness & understanding & love.

Each room on that floor holds a child.  A child fighting for their life.  And there’s not a single person walking those halls that thinks one of those children deserves to win their battle more than another.  When everything is stripped away and all you’re left with is a fight to save your baby {even your 16 year old baby} every single one of us is on equal footing. There is no rich or poor.  Or black or white.  Hispanic or Somali.  Muslim or Jew.   We may have once believed that some were more important, more worthy, more valuable than others, but in the face of cancer, none of that exists.  We are all the same.

We wander the halls sleepily in the night & early morning.  {mostly tracking down coffee}  We gather without planning in the parent’s lounge waiting to brew our cup of morning joe, wiping sleep from our eyes and often tears from our cheeks.  We smile & offer kind words of encouragement to each other.  We know each other, even though we don’t.  And the very last thing we care about in that place is color, religion, gender, nationality or political views.  In that place we are humans with the exact same purpose – love our families and bring our babies home healthy.

It’s easy to get caught up in the ugly that is in our world. It’s easy to see only the bad and forget all the good.  But I offer you that we are all more alike than we are different.  And to cut it down to the very center, the exact core, us humans are pretty much the same.  We want to raise amazingly wonderful & healthy kids, to love them well and do our part to make sure they love others too.  And from where I sit, this is the goodness I see.

7th Floor. Where all childhood cancer patients go.
7th Floor. Where all childhood cancer patients go.

The Good News

Nearly two months ago I couldn’t imagine the good news.  I heard the word “cancer”, I saw the toll  cancer was taking on my sweet ginger boy.  Good news seemed too far away to grasp.  Too far away to fathom.  Way too far away to even think of for a moment.  But.  {but is sometimes a wonderful word}  But.  Here I sit.  Fifty six days after I first heard “he has lymphoma” & I find myself twirling around good news.  “No sign of lymphoma in his bone marrow.”  Absolutely the most amazing eight words I have ever heard to this point.  Celebration worthy!

I’m learning so very many things through this.  I have about a half a trillion posts about what cancer has taught me {aren’t you excited for those to come? wink}.  But most importantly right now, I’m learning to celebrate whatever is celebration-worthy at the exact moment that the celebration is due.  I have no time to think past the celebration.  Today is a very good day.  Cancer is dying inside my boy.  That is good.  Very good.  Tomorrow might not be as good & I may not celebrate tomorrow.  But today. I must choose to celebrate without hesitation.  Right now.  When the celebration is due.

I’ll be honest.  This is hard.  I have seen within myself a, maybe a, superstitious side that I didn’t know existed.  What if I post a positive post and celebrate a truly celebratory occasion only to have to post sadness or disappointment tomorrow?  Could one lead to the other?   Could celebration lead to disappointment on the next day?  See,  silly.  But I cannot be alone & I’ve read enough Caring Bridge journal posts from fellow mamas of cancer kids to know this isn’t exclusively my thought alone.

Did I do this in our pre-cancer world?  I think so.  I think I’ve always looked ahead. Always a step ahead, looking around the corner.  Running down each path in the fork in the road very quickly to determine which way is best to go.  And all the while passing right over the moments of celebration.  Worried the celebration might be for naught later or not wanting to celebrate until the celebration was final.  The big one.  The finale!

Well, the finale.  I don’t know what words I hope to hear one day.  Maybe it’s “remission”.  Maybe it’s “cancer free”.  Maybe it’s “we got it all!”  Those are really big words with a really big celebration attached.  But in the quest for the finale, I don’t want to pass over the celebrations on the way.  God has sprinkled this story with good news throughout.  Celebrations.  Like balloons all along this journey, I have to take the time to recognize each one and collect for a bouquet at the conclusion.  I must see each one & give Him thanks.  I must not hold out until the finale to praise Him & give Him glory for all that’s happening.

So.  We celebrate.  The tiniest of things.  In the moment.  Not considering what tomorrow will look like or if the finale will ever arrive.  We celebrate.

Flying with balloons
Flying with balloons

Linger[

Linger

verb    lin·ger  •  \ˈliŋ-gər\

: to remain or stay on in a place longer than is usual or expected, as if from reluctance to leave

: to dwell in contemplation, thought, or enjoyment

: to remain alive; continue or persist, although gradually dying,ceasing, disappearing, etc.


It is my very favorite word in the English language.  It is soft.  It is slow.  In our busy, busy world with our busy, busy lives full of tasks to accomplish, “linger” feels cozy and inviting.  To gather together with someone you enjoy & just stay.  Reluctant to leave.  To dwell in enjoyment.  To linger long.

This weekend I was feeling a bit crafty.  I have a newly found love affair with HGTV.  I’ve always been a bit of a news junkie, watching news channels versus just about anything else on tv.  But…well…2016 election.  I just can’t take another single second of news.  So HGTV has moved in.  I’m a little late to the party {nothing new there} but I’m catching up quickly.  So, Fixer Upper.  Yes, amazing!  And I’ve fallen in love with the oversized wooden signs.  Many have quotes or verses.  I’ve seen no less than 7 billion with the word “gather”.  They’re wonderful.  And I decided I wanted one.  But with my favorite word, “linger”.

And what’s a girl to do when she wants a custom sign?  She dusts off the Cricut, checks out Pinterest for how-to’s and gets to work.  And viola.  A new sign.  Hanging next to the kitchen table.  A reminder to linger.  Linger long.

Paint colors are Rust-Oleum Chalked in Aged Gray and Deco-Art Americana Decor Chalky Finish in Relic.  Font is “In Screaming Color“.

It’s a BIG fight!

Sometimes I forget just exactly how BIG cancer is.  That sounds ridiculous even to type.  Perhaps it’s a wanting to forget.  Perhaps it’s an “everyone else is moving on”.  Perhaps it’s just denial wrapped in a little wishful thinking.  For a moment – just a moment – when he’s feeling good, when his sarcasm is at peak performance, when he’s laughing & gaming & being a regular 16-year old boy, it’s easy to forget just exactly how serious the fight is that he’s waging.  For a blink, all seems “normal”.

But then chemo.  About now, about a week since the first drug was pumped into his system for this latest round, I’m jolted back to the reality that my sweet ginger boy is fighting a battle for his very life.  His blood factories are shutting down & with those his blood cells are on the rapid decline.  White blood cells that fight infection will soon be dipped to dangerously low levels.  Hemoglobin will drop to levels that will make him beyond exhausted with headaches.  And platelets will disappear making blood clotting nearly impossible.  Everyday things that we never even think of {the common cold, a nose bleed, a small cut, an unvaccinated acquaintance} suddenly become big ticket items.  And co-mingle that with mouth & throat sores that make eating difficult…battle!  As the cancer dies, risks abound.  Killing cancer is ridiculously difficult!! Ridiculous!  This is not a battle for the weak or those that throw in the towel with ease.  Luckily, Alex is stubborn {perhaps my “strong-willed child”}.  He’s doing a great job…but it’s really, really tough!

He told me as we drove home from Children’s on Tuesday night that the key to all of this is “attitude, laughter and sarcasm”.  I agree.  {But would tack on that some amazing oncologist who know what they’re doing doesn’t hurt either!}  \

I took some pictures of this most recent round of chemo.  He was feeling much better than in round 1 and didn’t mind the camera {as much}.  Cancer from the inside.  From the mama’s perspective.  Thanks for continued prayers.

Printable Scripture Cards to Ease Anxiety • FREE

Tomorrow begins Round #2 of chemo for sweet ginger boy.  His body bounced back quite nicely after Round #1 & his reservation is made on the oncology floor for the next round.  Seems weird to say we’re excited, but I suppose we are.  Excited to get on with it…

The past few days I have really been working on not getting caught up in the what-ifs.  So very much can go wrong & I could absolutely drive myself into an anxious bundle of useless mess if I spend time living in that place of worry.  And what good am I if I’m all balled up in an anxious bundle?  It’s not good for me.  And it’s definitely not of help to ginger boy who needs an extra helping of strength surrounding him.

In an effort to calm my anxious heart {and quiet my loud, whirling brain} I took to the Word.  I selected 8 verses that I knew could provide me with some respite from my worry, if I would just put them in front of me instead of the what ifs.  I wrote them down, then made them cute.

fullsizerender-83

I thought I’d share them with you.  A FREE printable!!  Click on the picture below or here.  Print them on your favorite card stock {I used Kraft 65lb}, cut them using the cutting guides & if you want to get real fancy, round those corners with a corner punch.  Then put them up where ever you’ll see them.  I have them in the office, kitchen, taped to the bathroom mirror and one in my car.  Before you know it the words on those cards will be words in your heart to be pulled up any time the anxiety pit tries to drag you under.  Enjoy them & may they provide hope to face what’s ahead without worrying.fullsizerender-84

The Lump In My Throat

Perhaps I’ve teared up a few times at the bus stop over the years as I’ve sent the 3 little Weeds back to school, but really I’m more of a “make way for a cartwheel ’cause they’re going back to school” kind of a mom.  September rolls around & I’ve had just about all I can muster of the free-flow, carelessness of summer & I cannot wait for some routine to return to my life.  Back to school brings with it organization.  Regularly scheduled activities on a calendar.  Oh, how I love a calendar with a plan.  That’s something to get excited about…that and the hours upon hours of time to myself with no one bickering, eating through the pantry in a single sitting, using all the broadband speed, leaving messes of dishes & wrappers all over the house or generally bugging me.  But really, it’s more about routine smirk  Back to school is when we all get to take a deep, long breath and smile at the schedule.

Yesterday though.  September 9 was the last time sweet ginger boy had gone to school.  Five weeks of home & hospital.  Five weeks of tests & chemo & general awfulness.  Five weeks of “absent”.  Yesterday though.

Feeling good with his immune system doing a great job of rebuilding to help keep him safe from the invasion of infections, I dropped him off at the front doors to DHS.  And he walked away from the car for the first time in five weeks without me.  Without me.  It felt like kindergarten all over again.  Except he wasn’t looking back at me for reassurance or a boost of “you-can-do-this-I-love-you” confidence.  And, shockingly, he not once asked if I could come with him, hold his hand, find his class or help him with his locker.  Not once!  So instead I sat and watched him confidently walk away.

back to school

That lump, the one that appears when you let go, settled in.  My mind wandered to all the awful possibilities of what could happen on this day at DHS.  Would someone touch him who has a cold?  Would a friend hug him who isn’t up-to-date on their vaccinations?  Would someone accidentally hit his port?  What if he started bleeding and his platelet count is still too low and he bleeds without stopping?  What if someone makes fun of his bald head?  What if? What if? What if?

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  – Psalm 56:3

What if’s are useless.  What if’s rob us of the good moments.  Rather than worrying, I decided to celebrate.  Celebrate that five weeks later, he’s feeling well enough to go to school.  Celebrate that on this day he had some “normalcy” in his life.  Celebrate that he has amazing friends who take excellent care of him and are rallying around him.  Celebrate that even when I don’t feel like I’ve got this, He does.  Oh, something could go wrong.  But if it does, then we’ll tackle it head on, just like we’re tackling this.  But it might not go wrong.  And why waste a real opportunity to celebrate on a what if that might never occur?