Monday, June 30, 2014

Everything to Me

Sometimes in our walk with God we feel the devil nipping at our heels.  He whispers lies to us like "you are not good enough" or holds our hand as  he leads us into a pit.  That devil is an opportunitist who jumps on our weaknesses. 

Mike has gently let  me know that the last week or two I have been a challenge difficult to live with.  I have been moody, whiny and feeling defeated.  After I strongly disagreed with him I then realized it was true.  There has been a lot of change in my life over the last month or so and it is hard.  Both of my grandmother's houses are on the market and a new family has moved into one of them already.  The lake house that I love so dearly is also on the market and I know it is a matter of time before lazy lake days are a distant memory.  It has also been hard losing my bff to another church and nearby town. 

We also recently got the letter in the mail saying that August 9th is David's next scan.  Sigh.  If this one is clean then we will be at the two year mark post-treatment.  That will be great, but that means that we still have to scan for THREE more years.  It is not easy to live in fear that the monster will come back.  Most of the time I can put this in the way back of my head, but lately relapse and cancer have pushed their way front and center into my brain:(

I am not sharing all of my woes to have a pity party.  According to my husband I have thrown several great pity parties in the last week:)  I am sharing this because of the power of God.  Today I spent a great part of my day cleaning and scrubbing this house.  I turned on XM radio while I was cleaning and an old praise song by Avalon came on.  It was one of my favorites when we first moved to Marion nine years ago this month. 

This part of the song got me:

He's everything to me
More than a Story
More than words on a page
of History

He's the Air
that I breath
The water that I thirst for
And the Ground beneath my feet
He's everything.

This song truly sums up my walk with God.  He is everything.  He is my friend that I can whine to when I feel overwhelmed.  He is the healer that has defeated the beast of cancer in our baby's body.  He is the comforter when I am scared.  He is the one whom I praise when I see his work in my life.  He is everything.  The God that I am reading about in a children's bible to Hope this summer is the same God that has and always will be present in my life.

 I wept mopping the kitchen floor today, because the last few weeks I had forgotten who he was.  I had temporarily forgotten that He is the Great I Am.  I was so caught up in what I was "losing" in my life that I forgot that He also blesses us with new beginnings.  I need to trust more and whine less.  How can I question the God who is truly Everything to me.  When I lose my focus on Him that is when I tend to throw some rocking pity parties.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Baseball, VBS, and More Baseball

We have been in full baseball mode around here this past week.  Kyle's area all star tournament started this past weekend.  Those closest to me know that baseball is painful for me to watch-it is boring and stressful all at the same time.  But, my man and my oldest love it so therefore I am there cheering them on. 

All of Kyle's team lined up for the National Anthem.  I am not sure who was more excited-Coach Mike or Kyle:)
The whole team batted so well this tournament and we went 3-0 in our area tournament so we will advance to Districts starting this week.  Here is Kyle batting!
Kyle pitching! 
Getting his First place pin :)
Mike getting the water cooler dump!  Coaching is one of Mike's joys in life.  His joy has been stressful lately (notice the 15 lb weight drop:( and it thrills me to see this smile.  He loves these boys and he loves every single minute of this. 
This was my favorite memory from this tournament.  Kyle has not hit a homerun this entire season in a game and yesterday he hit two in the same game.  He was so excited and here he is giving his Daddy (who is the third base coach) a high five!  Check out that grin. We play sports for the life lessons that come from being on the team, the friendships, and for the memories.  Kyle is hanging over my shoulder as I write this and he wants me to be clear that he is in it to win.  :) 
Running to touch home plate!  I love seeing my boy smile. 

Kyle is at the age where he does not think my love for photography or my camera is cool.  At all.  He thinks I am obsessed with pictures and he gives me grief when I asked him to pose.  I really wanted to capture this moment for him by having him pose with his two homerun balls-this is what I got:)  Ha!  He is trying to smile through gritted teeth:)

We have also been in VBS mode over the last week.  Tonight we had a decorating party and I get so excited about the idea of serving lots and lots of children through VBS this year.  Our new pastor and his daughter were there tonight and it was nice to chat and craft and get to know them.  God is doing awesome things at FUMC and I am so excited to serve in children's ministry. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sweet Summertime

Our family loves summer time.  We are so busy and scheduled during the school year that we relish the less structured time in the summer.  I have been a blog slacker the last few days because we have been living life to the fullest. 

Last summer Kyle fell in love with tennis.  He has really improved and gotten better than his mom already:)  He played in a tennis tournament this past weekend and had a great time.  Lost both of his matches to two older boys, but he was there for the experience and to improve.  We also found out that maybe Hope and Dave are not great tennis spectators-they cannot be quiet!  Ha!
Last night we met up with our closest circle of friends for a cookout to say goodbye to the Jonas family.  I can still barely handle that they are moving, but we are all trying to stay positive and support them in their move when frankly I just want to throw myself in front of the moving truck.  I love this display that was made that is full of lollipops and says "it sucks that you are moving!"  That is how we all feel and the kids all loved the lollipops! 
Hope and Sage are so sweet together.....
God has blesed us with some good friends and we are so thankful for true and loyal friends.  Macy, Hope and Sydney are all the babies in their families with two older brothers.  These are tough girls!
Tonya even made a slide show of all of our fun times together.  It was shocking to see in six years how much our kids have grown?! God has blessed us with some fun and precios memories. 
To drown our sorrows from losing one of our BFF's we headed to the lake today to have some fun.  Here is Amber, Tonya, and Kyle on the tube!  Comedy Central has nothing on this crew tubing!  I laughed my head off at them. 
Sweet Hope and Macy.  Macy is one brave daredevil!  She went as fast as all the big boys on the tube. 
Dave, Macy, and Tonya!  We thought David and Macy would want to go slow, but they kept asking to go faster!!!  They were flying by the end of the day and David even flipped off one time and came up laughing!  He has come so far. 
This crew of Caleb, Reid, and Kyle made me laugh too!  Here they are hititng a wave and screaming like girls!  Ha!
Hope and Macy doing some dock jumping.  Hope was not brave enough to tube, but she loved that jumping in and swimming. 
Hope's doing a "cannon opener!"  She gets confused between cannon balls and can opener:)  We really had a fun fun day getting out of town and making memories on the lake. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Camp Ahistadi 2014

We are tired, the laundry is piled up with dirty clothes and bedding, and this girl is ready for her fluffy king-sized bed tonight, but we had a total blast at Camp Ahistidi camp with our kindergarten-fifth graders from church. 

Here are the opening gates of the camp-we had no cell service but we made it:)  It was actually nice to be unplugged for a few days and connect with real people and kids. 
We had a wonderful group of adults and kids.  I was amazed at how well behaved they were and how excited they were to do everything!! Here are the girls from the girl cabin with David:) In all we had seven adults and 12 campers! 
This picture sums up lots of happiness for me.  It was a lot of work to take that young of children camping, but it was so worth it!!  Here are some wet, muddy and tired girls after an afternoon swimming in the creek.  I value precious moments in time and this was one of them. 
Amber went with us to keep a watchful eye on David.  I really worried about the heat, the activity level, and his drinking his daily 70 ounces with all the fun and friends around.  He stunned us all and had a total blast!  He drank very well, he had no stamina issues and he was truly a star camper.  My heart was so full of joy watching him enjoy every moment. 
Smores was a hit with them all.  David ate almost ten marshmellows after roasting them:) 
The second morning we hiked out to the outdoor worship area and here is a group picture there!  Camp Ahistadi is remote but so beautiful!!  I truly did not want to leave. 
Most of us mommies went au natural and went without makeup and primping.  This is a terrible picture of me, but I was happy and having fun with kids in the woods. 
This was my favorite moment of the camping trip.  After our photo ops at the altar, we were getting ready to head back to the camp when Dave started singing.  After a few moments we all joined in with him singing 10,000 Reasons.  Be still my heart.....
After lunch we had a mandatory "no feet on the floor" rest time in the girls cabin.  David had woken up at 6:15 ready to get back in the creek so we had had an early morning and he was not the first one up! I know the kiddos enjoyed all the activities but I also think some of their favorite time was in the cabin hanging out. 
The second day we headed to the watering hole to swim.  We were a little skeptical to take our little kids to a watering hole, but it was a total blast!  I will not post pictures, but I too went down the natural water slide!
This was another favorite moment!  David was skpetical about the watering hole, but after some encouragement (and notice that Amber and Kelly are totally in the water with their clothes on) David decided to do it!  He did it and he was so proud!!!  I love to see him do something that he was nervous to do
Olivia and Sarah brought a special cookies cake to share for Hope's birthday!  What a sweet guesture:)
Our bible theme was Fruit of the Spirit and we planned a keepsake craft to do with all the kiddos that went on the trip.  Our restident artist Caitlin, painted the tree and grass and then we added each child's handprint with their name and age underneath.  We will hang it in the church somewhere as a reminder of what we learned.  Caitlin then had the idea to get each adult to use our fingerprints to make the butterflies.  Hope and David's hands are the lowest orange ones and my orange butterfly is underneath theirs:)
As we talked about the fruits of the spirit from Galatians 5:22, we used kool-aid to paint the fruits on the card stocked that I had printed at home.  We then cut out all the fruits and glued them onto their flat stanley picture of themselves to take home to remember the fruits that God wants us to show.  This picture does not show that David and I drew glasses on his flat stanely:)
This morning before packing up we headed to the field to play some kick ball
and a brutal game of Red Rover.  We had to quit when one of our friends got clothes-lined:)  I love seeing this joy on Hope's face! 

All three of us had a blast with our church friends learning the fruits of the spirit and having fun at beautiful Camp Ahistadi.  We are already planning a return trip next year.  Learning about God and making memories is what it is all about!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sweet Birthday Girl, Daddy Day and a Sad Goodbye

Yesterday was a bundle of emotions and frankly this morning I feel a little hung over from all the tears, smiles, and love. Life is hard and wonderful all at the same time.

Yesterday we celebrated the Father's in our life. I had already spent two days with my own Daddy earlier in the weekend when we road tripped to UVA, so yesterday we celebrated Mike. Mike is an awesome father who is tough on our kids out of total love. He is a man of integrity and love for Jesus and I am so thankful that he is my partner in parenting. It has been a rough few months for Mike and frankly I am in awe of how he has maintained his dignity and class. His actions preach a powerful sermon every. single. day. God blessed me with a Daddy who is a Godly man and a husband who too loves the Lord. I also know that Mike's Dad was on his mind yesterday. He has been gone almost two years and I know that it still hits Mike in the gut that his own Daddy is in heaven.

Poor Mike spent the morning on a full pew at church listening to three women beside him sniff and cry throughout an entire church service. Yesterday was Joanthan's last Sunday as our preacher at FUMC. Not only am I losing a fabulous pastor, friend, and boss, but I am losing his wife who is one of my best friends. I know they are moving just 36 miles away and they are going to do the Lords work, but my heart is broken. Several of our good friends that too love the Jonas' showed up yesterday in church. We squeezed into a pew together with several boxes of tissues and made it through. Jonathan somehow preached an amazing sermon on continuing on no matter who is in the pulpit because we are all working for God. It was awesome but oh so sad. We have had some hilarious fun together and some prayerfully sad times at UVA together. We all left church with little makeup left:)

As if emotions were not charged up already yesterday, this little love with a heart of gold turned five. Hope Madeline may you keep your sweet servant heart and use it for the Lord one day! You are a nurturer already with a competitive spirit and curious nature. We are so thankful that you are ours.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Wonderful day at UVA!

We are home after two full and wonderful days at UVA. 

Yesterday clinic was crazy!  While we waited to see Dr. B, a sweet volunteer brought around a big book and David read to her.  We are filling up our summer reading log even on the road!  Mike and Kyle had to stay home due to work and baseball committments, so Pops chauffered us to UVA.  It was a sweet treat to spend this much time with him on Father's Day weekend.  He often takes Mikes place on our trips to UVA when Mike cannot go due to work.  Pops and I spent many hours together while David was in treatment-he is a cool dude! 

Yesterday while taking the pop tabs to the Ronald McDonald House, Pops remembered one of our funnier moments while Dave was in the hospital. One night Mike spent the night with Dave in the hospital, and Pops and I stayed at the RMH. The next morning it was pouring the rain and a sweet amish couple was going to walk to the hospital to see their baby in the NICU.  Pops offered for them to ride the few blocks with us to avoid getting drenched.  He even offered to pull the car up to the door of the RMH so me nor the amish couple would get wet.  Pops is not known for his amazing driving and he hit the curb while trying to pick us up at the door.  The sweet amish couple who are probably used to horse and buggy chose to walk that morning in the downpour than take their chances with Pops!  Bahahhahaha! 
Today we witnessed a historic event at UVA Hospital.  Today, the new UVA Children's Hospital opened its doors for a ribbon cutting!  I truly do not have the words to express how magnificent and gorgeous this new facility is.  It is over 200,000 square feet and it will house 36 pediatric speciality clinics.  Oncology is one  of the clinics that will be there.  I just kept texting Mike "wow." Here is David with sweet Tucker who was one of the ladies that came to our house for the video. 
David with Dr. Belyea.  We are so blessed to have him on David's team. 
These are some of our UVA friends that feel like family with Dr. B. 
David also loves Mr. Ryan Lightner who is in charge of the Children's Miracle Network.  I really think David would like to change his last name to Lightner and live forever with him in Cville. 
Three gorgeous and amazing cancer warriors!  Raygan is on the left and is currently in treatment for neuroblastoma.  She will start another round of scary and intense antibody therapy soon at UVA and could use your prayers.  Anna is another sweet friend who recently finished treatment for Leukemia and just got back from her wish trip to Disney!  I do not like how we know these awesome folks but I am so glad that we do. 
This picture makes me laugh, but here is the new waiting area for the oncology clinic-can you believe how gorgeous?!  Here is a precious crew of cancer warriors and siblings laid back in the new chairs.  The whole front of the hospital is windows so the new hospital is open and goegeous. 
David loves Dr. B and always steals his stethoscope when he comes around. Here he is giving Dr. B and checkup while his own twins, Evan and Charlie watch.  Raygan refers to Dr. B as "Dr. Two Boys" because one time his boys were with him and the name stuck. 
Dr. B with some of his patients and crew. 

We met a new friend today, Wes, who is in treatment for neuroblastoma.  He is so gorgeous:)
The UVA ladies basketball team were on hand for a photo booth picture op.  David had to show these ladies his hoops moves. 
Our last stop during the tour was a well bear clinic.  David loved all the activities they had today, but this one was my favorite.  Each child got a bear and got to name it (David named his Lebron) and then visit each station to give the bear a checkup.  It was so very sweet! 
We were so honored to be on hand today for the festivities for the opening of this gorgeous new facility.  We have said all along that we knew we were getting top notch care, but now we will get this wonderful care in an amazing setting.  Well done UVA!