Welcome 2018!

Welcome 2018!  Au revoir 2017.   What a year you were.
I’ve been asked more times than I can count lately, as we finished up 2017, “I bet you’re ready to put this awful year behind you, right?”
I can’t argue that I always look forward to a new year {although that’s mostly because I get a new planner}. But truthfully I’m not ready to call my last year “awful”. It wasn’t terrible or the worst or even dreadful.

2017 was hard. Challenging. Difficult. But it was far from awful.

As I look back over the previous 365 days {177 of which I count closely} I see extremes. Super high highs. And deep, dark lows. Mountains & valleys as they say. For each “cannot find my way in this pitch black forest” moment, I can find so many “dancing at the summit in celebration & joy” moments. The hardest days were definitely the absolute most difficult days of my life. But the joy-filled ones were also the most glorious. And while I would not sign up to ever do a good portion of 2017 again, the moments that rose high to provide relief were some of the most treasured of my life. And they are tucked away safely where mamas keep such special memories.
I am aware of just how blessed I am. I am a part of a club no one wants to join – the “my child has cancer” club. This group of fellow momcologist {we’re a clever bunch} provided support and sanity through so many days. And for every amazing moment we celebrate, this club also sees more than it should of grief & loss. To have my boy here, doing well & as ornery as ever, how can I ever dare to complain? How could I call my year “awful”? Really? He is starting 2018. It’s a gift & a blessing I will not forget.
I don’t know how God works. I don’t know why the world turns the way it does. And I don’t know why some people’s babies get cancer. And why some of them live & some of them don’t. It can seem like God is distant. Or careless. Or callous. Or even bad. I can understand that. But deep within me I believe that God is good. I believe that even when my circumstance are not good, he is. And I believe that he is ever faithful. I believe he has promises he’s keeping that are hope-filled and full of grace & love. And this hope is what pushed me through, carried me day after day. The dark days were very dark. Black in fact. Moments of tears mixed with fear mixed with anxiety. The unknown that squeezed around me like a vice grip that just wouldn’t release me. And yet… A whisper away, the ridiculous calm that swept through my mind touching my soul to provide a second of peace. It makes no sense, not even to me, but I felt it as real as the -20ºF day outside. It was there. A promise to strengthen. A promise to provide peace. A promise to be a refuge when the waves crashed & I could barely tread water any longer. I have experienced His carrying me. And I will never forget the strength & gentleness with which he held me. Of all the things that I have learned & of all the ways I have grown in 2017, I see this to be the greatest.
I am looking  forward to 2018. I have no idea what the next 365 days will hold. I have no control at all over how they will play out. But I will continue to hope in the promises I find in the Scriptures and know that no matter what comes my way, I am held.

Psalm 25:1 – In you, LORD my God, I put my trust.

hello again

I have begun this post so many times I cannot even count them all.  What does one say to follow up a post on God is good when life falls completely to pieces in an instant just after penning such a declaration?  How does one return to this place to write when the words they left here most recently seem completely foreign?  When the person is wrestling with whether those words are even true.  When the author herself has trouble believing that when cancer relapses God is still good.  I have re-read that post as many times as I have started this one.  Sometimes, over these past 9 months, I have held tightly to the words I wrote from when we seemed victorious.  Other times, I have looked back on those words believing they hold such hypocrisy.


Blank seemed like the best way to leave this place.  Maybe figure things out first & then return.  But certainly not accumulate any more words here until I was sure they’d be “pretty”.  Which is exactly why 9 months later nothing has been added here.  I haven’t been able to wrap up my faith into a neat, pretty package.  My faith is no longer the noun that I display proudly as something I have.  It is now faith the verb.  It’s wrestling.  It’s struggling.  It’s silence & yelling & singing & crying. It’s praising & praying & pleading.  It’s running away & crawling back.  It is completely not understanding.  It’s anything but “pretty”.

It is well with my soul.

True.  It is all well with my soul.  But my circumstances bobbing around like a buoy in a storm scream “this is not well”.  And while the edges of my soul are crisp & neat, they do not nicely fit the tattered & fraying edges of my circumstances.  I’ve spent a good portion of my life trying to make sure those two edges fit nicely together…to present my faith package all pretty & neat.  Something that when looked upon would shine through revealing a woman of great faith.  But as the edges of my circumstances have been torn deeper day by day, I cannot make the two fit beautifully together.  They just don’t line up.  I no longer believe they are meant to.  It is one of the great lies of our modern times.   And the gaps left between my soul and my circumstances?  I’m learning that’s where God’s sovereignty lies & where I must trust.


This word more than any other has filled my silent moments.  Do I trust Him?  Sometimes yes.  Sometimes no.  That seems so scandalous even to type.  A perfect faith package certainly has no room for distrust.  But it is true.  My life reflects it.  And I find myself in great company.  Examples abound in Scripture of people just like me…who had trouble trusting.  Even those who witnessed the Red Sea part and water flow from a rock and those who actually walked step by step with Jesus.  They all had trust issues.  I am among them.

Don’t be disheartened.  I am certainly not.  I have never sat more closely with my Creator than I have in these recent months.  Gazing on the edge of letting go of all that I attempt to control & slowly releasing my grip to surrender it to the One that knows how to make it all beautiful…it’s the greatest view.  Notice I haven’t completely handed it over.  I’m still working it through.  Maybe for the rest of my breaths.  But finding gorgeousness in the frayed edges filled by sovereignty as He puts my faith package together in His mighty hands has been {and continues to be} spectacular.

And He is good.  Still.  All the time.  Good.

Alex is currently doing really well.  We received word of his relapse on March 7.  He received chemo through a rather new immunotherapy drug followed by one round of intense traditionally chemotherapy in mid-May.  After an additional round of chemo and radiation, he received a bone marrow transplant from a donated umbilical cord blood on July 7.  Today he is 130 days since transplant.  It has been a very long and difficult 4 months!  And while every week we see improvement, we know that the road ahead is still rough and challenging.  But today Alex is cancer free.  We are grateful for that & celebrate!

The details of the transplant can be found at his caring bridge site.



He is good

Tomorrow marks 142 days since Alex was diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.  Tomorrow marks the end of everything we’ve been holding our breath for over those past 141 days.  We sat in that room, overwhelmed with emotions I cannot put into words, listening as his oncologist explained that this is “very treatable” & “this would just be a 6 month detour” in the road.  “Soon” she said “we would be having final scans & getting back to life”.

And that’s tomorrow.  Final scan.

It was dark 141 days ago.  Although we trusted his oncologist, it only takes a quick WebMD search to see that “treatable” for oncologists and “treatable” for mamas are two very different percentages.  Knock-you-to-the-floor-fear loves to creep into the space between those two numbers.  And doubt is close beside it.  Darkness surrounds you.  It is heavy and cold and damp. It is a scary, awful place to sit, that space between percentages.  But with every passing round, improvement is made and you begin to believe & the gap of fear & doubt closes ever so slowly until it is just a crack.

Right now darkness has been overtaken by light.  Things are looking very good.  Every indication is that sweet ginger has fought hard & cancer has retreated.  Hallelujah!  God is so good.

hmmmmm…God is good.

But what if?  What if things aren’t so bright tomorrow?  What if scans come back with signs of disease?  What if sweet ginger still has cancer?  Then what?  Do we assume that God is not good?

I’ve wrestled with the goodness of God before in my life.  Perhaps we all have.  I’ve searched for how God can be a good God when my circumstances have screamed “this is not good”.  How can God be good when life is not?  When babies die and mamas die and teens get sick and tragedy strikes?  How is God good then?

“In the beginning…” it says, he created everything.  “And he saw that it was good.”  God was good and He created good things.  And everything was good.  Until it wasn’t.  And the only thing that changed, was us.  We disobeyed & the world has been in disrepair ever since.  And all these generation later, we are dealing with the consequences of those that walked before us.  And these consequences make our circumstances really, really bad sometimes.  But God has never changed.  He is the same always.  He is still as good as the day he created good things.  He is still good.

The Bible has the phrase “he is good” nine times.  {for some light reading: 1 Chronicles 16:34 & 5:13, 2 Chronicles 7:3, Ezra 3:11, Psalm 106:1 & 107:1 & 118:1 & 118:29 & 136:1}  Each of these verses says something almost exactly the same – “he is good; for his mercy endures forever”.  He is good.  But it’s not that “he is good; for he healed my son of cancer” or “he is good; for he made me have lots of money” or “he is good; for he allowed that mama to give birth to a healthy baby”.  “He is good; for His mercy endures forever”.  His character drips with mercy and grace and faithfulness and love.  God’s character is nothing but good.  God’s goodness isn’t about my changing circumstances, but rather all about His unchangeable character.  He’s not good when good things happen & not good when bad things are happening.  He is always good.  Everyday, every moment, every circumstance.  His goodness never wavers.  He is good because in the end, when everything that we hold onto so dearly with our death grip in this life is gone, His mercy will still be there covering over our disobedience.  All the junk we do that we ought not {love the phrase ought not} do will be covered by His mercy.  All of it.  And that will be very, very good.  Forever.

Do I wish my circumstances to be good?  Absolutely! But if they are not and I am staring at the darkness, He is still good.

Four Apps You Need While Fighting Cancer

We’re just a few short days on the other side of treatment.  Counts are still dropping.  Scans are still pending.  But with treatment fresh on my brain, I wanted to sit for a minute to look back at all I’ve learned from a practical standpoint.  Apps on my smartphone were a must!  Technology used to make treatment more manageable.   If you ever find yourself on the cancer road, these are apps you’ll definitely want.

  1. Medication App called Round Health.  You can download it to your smart thing here.  At one point, sweet ginger was on several medications.  Not all were taken at the same time or in the same interval.  Plus, with two of us {me & dad} administering the various meds, it was hard to keep track of what he’d had, what he needed and when he took it last.  Round Health app was the easiest medication tracker that I tried.  I added all meds and their schedule.  When he took a dose we simply tapped the button recording the time & dose taken.  No matter who administered it, it was recorded for both of us to see.  Notifications could be set up to alert us when a dose was due.  This app proved itself over and over again and was very useful in talking with his doctors.
  2. Calorie Tracking App called My Plate.  You can download the Apple version here.  For the first few rounds of chemotherapy, sweet ginger’s weight was of major concern.  He had initially lost about 15 pounds in the weeks leading up to and immediately following diagnosis.  His doctors were concerned & after the debacled feeding tube incident, we were determined to make sure sweet ginger gained weight.  This app has oodles of barcode data, simply scan what’s eaten & it tracks the calories {and other nutrients} you’ve eaten.  Simple to use, easy to track.  Gladly, it helped sweet ginger gain all those 15 pounds back, plus!
  3. Caring Bridge.  You can find it here.  Family & friends want to keep up to date.  They want to know how things are going.  To celebrate the ups and help during the downs.  The very, very best way to keep everyone you know in the loop is with Caringbridge.  This site allows you to write quick journal updates that go to everyone you know who follows.  It completely {or nearly completely} eliminates your need to text, email and call everyone you know with information.  Everyone gets your updates at the same time.
  4. Bite Squad.  Hospital food can be alright.  But after several days, weeks, months…maybe not exactly what you’re craving.  Enter Bite Squad.  Another app you can find here.  Depending on where you live {or where your treatment is} this service is a must!  Food from hundreds of restaurants delivered right to where ever you are.  Feel like pasta? great!  Feel like Mexican? no problem.  Need your favorite burger?  it’ll be at your door in a flash.  Delivery charges range from $1-$10.  We used it every chemo round at least once, sometimes every night.  **if you’re looking for a gift card to get someone in treatment, this would be the BEST gift card I could imagine receiving**

BONUS… the non-app tip that will make life with treatment SO much better.

  1. Glad Press & Seal Wrap.  Who knew this would be such a valuable thing??  At every appointment, the port is accessed.  Sweet ginger has a power port that requires about a 2 inch needle to be inserted into the port on his chest at every appointment, for every treatment.  In order to minimize pain, we use Emla numbing cream.  But what a mess that can be?  to keep the Emla on the port & not on his shirt, we cover it with Press & Seal wrap.  It is the perfect cover.  Sticks to the skin just enough without absorbing the Emla.


I’m working on a little project.  A little something-something.  I’ll post the finished work in a few days {fingers crossed} but for now you can have this sneak peek::

If counts look good tomorrow, Round #6 will begin in just 2 days.  The last round.  The final chemo.  The End.

It’s tradition on Floor 7, especially with the older cancer kids, to decorate doors to celebrate the end of treatment.  And I’ve been keeping myself busy this week with just that.  The young fellow at the CVS counter {I’m officially old when I call the kid at CVS a “young fellow”} laughed as he handed me the poster with our favorite hashtag #WeedsAreTough.  He found it a bit more amusing than most.  And the Cricut has seen a lot of action cutting out lime green ribbons and vinyl letters.  “LAST CHEMO”

As I pressed the black vinyl in place I couldn’t help but remember where this began.  I didn’t know then that I would ever get to make a “last chemo” poster.  Those early days were filled with so much unknown.  Anxiety.  Fear.  He was SO sick.  So sick so fast.  We didn’t know how this all would end…how it all would go.  I couldn’t know then if I would be making a “LAST CHEMO” poster or one for a memorial service.

I don’t know why God does what he does.  Or allows what He allows.  However that works.  I don’t understand His thoughts, His ideas, His vision or His plans.  Why my baby gets a “Last Chemo” celebration while another mom on Floor 7 gets the horrible news that the treatments aren’t working.  I cannot fathom.  It is un-understandable.

I am about as analytical a person as you can get.  Those silly Facebook quizzes usually peg me at 85% left brain, 15% right.  The left side are all those traits that made me an amazing accountant; analytical, rational, systematic, symbolic, objective, orderly.  The right is that artsy side…which clearly I lack.  Unless of course it can be contained in systematic patterns, usually a lot of symmetry & very precise layouts. Anyway, I would love for everything in life to fit neatly in a mathematical equation.  Solvable.  Understandable.  Predictable.  Believe me, I have tried with many life circumstances over the years.  Trying to control the uncontrollable.  I don’t handle un-understandable very well.

I could spin my wheels attempting to determine the formula God uses to heal.  I could try everything I can imagine to ensure a particular outcome.  But God, just doesn’t operate on the same line as my human thinking.  Bad stuff happens.  To so-called good people & so-called bad people.  To people who pray fervently & those who do not believe in a god at all.  To those who are building their own kingdoms and those who are doing amazing Kingdom work.  To those with deep faith who abide in Jesus & those with no faith who live contrary to every word of the Word.  Un-understandable.  And this side of eternity, I don’t think there will ever be adequate answers as to why.  Because we simply cannot understand the thoughts and ways of God.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.

But as un-understandable as His ways are, He has revealed His character to us.  And while I cannot plant my faith on every situation turning out the way my thoughts think it should, I can always stand firm & rely heavily on the character of God.  Always.

  • He is always faithful {2 Thes.3:3}
  • He loves me always
  • He will provide strength {Isaiah 41:10}
  • He is watching me & cares enough about my hurt to collect my tears {Psalm 56:8}
  • He is mercy & comfort {2 Cor 1:3}
  • He listens to my prayers {Psalm 116:2}

So much of what happens in this life just can’t be understood, can’t be determined, analyzed & formulated.  I don’t know {& neither do you, lest you think you are God} why I’m decorating sweet ginger’s hospital room door for a last chemo celebration while another family grieves the loss of their child.  Un-understandable.  But I know that I know that I know, that He will not fail when the circumstance of life do.

Free Mercy

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8

Sixteen weeks ago we were handed the news that sweet ginger would be fighting the cancer beast.  Fear, unknown, anger, anxiety…just a few of the emotions that pumped through my veins in the days following.  We set the course, we leaned on each other & our friends and we stood as firmly as we could on our faith.  And we prayed.

We look back now with a treasure trove of positives.  Sweet ginger has fought hard & treatment is working.  Cancer is dying {or completely dead!}  For that we are thankful to God.  But 16 weeks ago, I had no idea what all this would look like.  Darkness lingered.  And I know that sometimes even with the greatest of hope, there still comes hurt.  Even with fervent prayers, the answers are not the ones we are requesting.  Sometimes the joy in the morning is many, many mornings away.  And there are times when no amount of faith will change the final earthly story.

There have been songs played these past 16 weeks that I cannot sing…”if that’s what it takes to praise you, then Jesus bring the rain”.  I have been standing with dark, ominous clouds all around, closing in on me & my family.  And I have prayed {unapologetically} to please don’t send anymore rain.  It’s ridiculously easy to sing about your faith & almost request that Jesus send the rain when you’re standing on a sun-filled day with no clouds in view.  But when the rain is so close your bones ache, and when you’ve stood in the middle of flooding rain waters before in your life…it’s just too much to ask for.

Over the past 16 weeks I’ve gotten some stuff right.  But I’ve also gotten a whole lot of stuff wrong.  I’ve been thankful.  And I’ve been oh, so angry.  I’ve quietly praised & loudly complained.  I’ve wrestled, really wrestled with God-on the ground, all out WWF style.  And I’ve praised & celebrated with hands-raised hallelujahs.  And I’ve questioned & whined & even bargained a little.  Because that’s what we do.  Us humans.  If we were able to get this all right, we definitely wouldn’t need the Word.  Or a Savior, for that matter.  Everyone is going to mess up.  Over little things & enormous things.  We do our best & rely on the saving grace of Jesus to fill the gaps of our humanity.  The Bible is filled with stories of people getting this all wrong.  But it’s also filled with the unrelenting chasing of our God towards us, arms open,  handing out abundant & extravagant grace.

I’ve learned a million lessons in the last 4 months.  {most that I would rather have never learned}  And I’m sure you’re thrilled {sarcasm font} to read them all.  But the top lesson has to be the power of mercy.  Throw that stuff around like you’ll never ever run out.  Hand it to every.single.person you ever come in contact with.  Especially those facing hardships that you cannot fathom, understand, imagine.  I have not always been so good at this.  Get off your high horse of judgment, of knowing exactly what is best, of thinking you understand how God uses another person’s story {a.k.a. pride} & get in the business of throwing around mercy.  Mercy says “God is bigger than any mistake you might be making”.  Mercy turns judgment on its head and destroys it.  Mercy eliminates shame.  Someone might not be where you are, or where you think they should be, or doing what you would do, or doing what you think they should be, but it might be exactly where God wants them, as He’s teaching them powerful lessons they need to learn.  There are people going through tremendous things, horrible situations, impossible moments.  They may be sitting in the dark.  Alone.  Give them compassion, grace, softheartedness, kindness.  Give them abundant mercy.  Because they likely won’t find the grace-filled arms of God through critique and judgment about how they’re sitting wrong in the dark, but will see Him clearly through the outpouring of abundant, undeserved, extravagant mercy.

new morning

We sat at clinic yesterday to get post-chemo counts for the sweet ginger boy.  He said he was feeling pretty good & at this point in the process he’s usually spot on.  But the night before he’d been playing with an ever-so-slight fever of 100.1ºF.  I, of course, was a mess.  Fever is one of the few things that they stress over and over and over again as being important to watch.  So I did what any rational cancer mom would do, I set my alarm for every few hours to get up to check on sweet ginger boy.  He was thrilled {sarcasm font}.

His fever never spiked & actually by morning was back to normal.  Clinic revealed that his counts are awesome.  Everything seems to be progressing exactly as it’s supposed to.  What we have been praying for.

and yet…

Anxiety can creep into the strangest moments.  Waiting in the waiting room at the pediatric oncology clinic yesterday was a new patient.  About sweet ginger’s age.  Full head of hair, meaning she was just starting the process.  Her mom stood at the counter, trying to hold back tears while listening to the instructions for filling out all the necessary new patient paperwork.  In a flash I remembered all of it.  The fear.  The unknown.  The anxiety.  The absolute panic about schedules & routines & “normal” life being uprooted for this, this cancer.  And as we waited to go back to the cabana {yes, they call the rooms cabanas} I began to process how all that unknown had now become known &routine.  And I got…MAD.

Mad at cancer.  Mad at all the havoc it wreaks.  Every where it goes it brings chaos, fear, anxiety and tears.  Mad that it attacks children & babies.  Mad that it hits without reason.  Mad that it isn’t always “treatable”.  Mad that just as we’re thankfully finishing, others are just beginning on the cancer road.  Mad at all cancer represents.  Cancer just plain sucks!

But to sit too long in the swamp of my personal pity party is not good for anyone.  True.Story.  So this morning as the sun rises on the horizon, over the line of trees in our back acres, I remember that it’s a new day.  And while cancer is still here this morning, my Strength is too.  



May I be honest?  The past few weeks have been a bit rough.  Cancer is dying {can I get a hands-raised hallelujah?!} but the chemo rounds are getting tougher on sweet ginger’s body.  More side effects like nausea, fatigue & chemo brain are creeping in. He’s a bit more, let’s say ornery, for good reason. And my patience often feels fleeting.  Cancer, chemo, all of it is just plain no fun!

Now how about we throw Christmas in the mix?  Why not?  I will admit up-front that online shopping has saved the gift giving aspect of the holiday.  I have not stepped foot in an actual brick & mortar since Black Friday.  This has no doubt helped to save my sanity.  And while the boxes are filing up nearly all my adequate hiding spaces, I would say that shopping has come to a close.  That’s the good news.  Cancer cannot win the gift giving battle!

I think what has been getting to me…is all the “perfect” Christmases I see everyone else having out there.  And by everyone, I mean a bunch of people who mostly I don’t even know.  Don’t.  Even.  Know.  And by perfect Christmases I mean the ridiculously faux, staged, photoshop perfected, do-people-even-live-in-your-home posts filling my Instagram & Facebook feeds.  I don’t know most of the folks & I know that there’s no way their homes looks like that 100% of the time.  Yet for some reason my Christmas feels downtrodden and frankly lacking when their homes, cookies, decor, Christmas lights, trees, parties with every ounce of their perfection fill my screen.  Here’s the amazing tree at the nurse’s station on the oncology floor:

The “perfect” tree for the cancer kids of the 7th floor.

For many, who are in far worse circumstances than ours, this is the only Christmas tree that they will be enjoying this season.  It hardly compares to the ones coming across the wi-fi.  And I have spent too much of my recent days a bit on the angry side about that.

OK!  I’ll say it so you don’t have to.  Jealous much?  Yes, I would agree.  There is a jealous covetousness that sits inside of this little annoyance of mine.  Jealous.  Covetous.  Ugly.  Really…I’ll say it..:: I really just want a perfect Christmas, not a cancer Christmas.

A “Perfect” Christmas

What exactly is a perfect Christmas?  From my feeds, I might conclude it’s in the tree, the decor, the food, the parties.  So what to do about that?  I could cancel my Instagram & Facebook accounts.  But I don’t actually think that would solve the root of my problem.  Instead it would perhaps just mask it for a while.  I would say the best go-to is always…wait for it…prayer & the Word.  So, that’s what I’ve been up to.  And here’s how the story looks this morning.

Yesterday, while feeding the chickens in temperatures that make your face hurt, I was complaining {pretend you’re shocked} about all the frozen poop in the coop {that’s a fun rhyme} it occurred to me that Jesus was born in a stable…basically a big chicken coop.  The poop in that stable was likely not frozen and instead horribly stinky.  And that is where Mary delivered him.  Mary.  What on earth would have gone through her mind if they’d had Instagram back at Jesus’ birth?  All her other friends would be posting full make-up smiles holding precious pink newborns wrapped in striped blankets from clean beds with hashtags like #perfectbundle and #amazingdelivery, while she was holding her precious bundle in some old strips of cloth Joseph found on the ground of the stable and shook off.  There would have been dirty animals, straw & stinky poop in the background of her photo with Jesus.  Not exactly hashtag worthy?

But as I envisioned this, about the King being born in a dirty old barn, I couldn’t help but smile.  Jesus really isn’t interested in our “perfect” Christmases.  His Christmas {if you can call it that} was less than picture perfect.  He isn’t necessarily impressed with our picture worthy Christmas decor or our Christmas cookies or parties or any of the things we pretend are perfect & post for some “likes” and accolades on social media.  All those things I’ve been jealous of lately.  Jesus came for people.  Christmas is about people.  Christmas {coupled together with Easter} is the gospel…the whole story…the perfect story.  Christmas is about Jesus.  Coming to earth so humbly it’s ridiculous. Remembering this, made my jealous rage {yep rage} seem so misplaced.  And rather silly, really.

Mary’s Instagram would have looked absurd.  Imagine it.  Baby Jesus in a feeding trough-#cozy.  Holding baby Jesus while the cows lick his face-#madcowsnotspreadthroughsalivaright.  Selfie with Mary, Joseph & baby Jesus in the barn-#atleastitscovered.  Jesus surrounded by dirty, stinky shepherds leaning in, touching baby Jesus’ face-#strangementouchingmybaby. Mary holding Jesus while wise men bow with amazing gifts-#theybroughtembalmingfliud.  These pictures would have been so foolish by our current Christmas standards but each embodies the Perfect Christmas. And each should have #perfect.

I don’t post this to judge anyone.  Please don’t take it that way.  I think these pictures of trees and decor and parties are beautiful. I just needed to realign my heart, remember what Christmas is really about, and appreciate my cancer Christmas.  When I look at Mary, I can see that this Christmas perhaps is closer to the Christmas Mary experienced…dirty, ugly, less-than-ideal.  But because of Jesus–absolutely perfect.  If your Christmas is not exactly Instagram-worthy, remember neither was Mary’s.  But she treasured up every, single moment.

Luke 2:19 – But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.