Stay-at-home-mommy to my sweet three kids, professional chef wannabe, list-making fool.
Ethan (Birthday - September 7, 2005)
About Ethan: The best big brother to his two little sisters; loves tigers, zoos, doesn't meet a stranger, and just started the second grade!
Sara Katherine (Birthday - March 7, 2007)
About Sara Katherine: Little mama to her baby sis; loves all things pink and princess, but loves to play in the dirt. Excited to have started kindergarten! She is a wonderful artist! Prissy; persistant; percocious, precious.
Clara Elyse (Birthday - January 10, 2010)
About Elyse: Loves to play with her bubba and sissy. Loves to color and draw (on my walls and carpet when I'm not looking - ugh.) Has the best sense of humor!
"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life."
"Follow your bliss." Joseph Campbell
"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired." Robert Frost
"The Lord will bless us and watch over us, sometimes dramatically. At other times, He will leave us to cope with the challenge rather than removing or diverting the challenge. He will not let us be tried beyond that which we can bear, but He will chose to push us at times. We can expect to be tested." Spencer W. Kimball
"Whoever loved that loved not at first sight?" Christoper Marlowe
"If a June night could talk, it would boast that it invented romance." Bern Williams
"Children are made readers in the laps of their parents." Emilie Burchwald
"Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation stand still."
"The secret of happiness consists not of having, but of being, not of possessing, but enjoying. It is a warm glow of the heart that is at peace with itself." David O. McKay
"The Lord is not interested in our abilites or inabilities as much as He is interested in our availability. If we show him our dependability, he will take care of our capability." Spencer W. Kimball
"Patient endurance permits us to cling to our faith in the Lord and our faith in His timing when we are being tossed about by the surf of circumstance. Even when a seeming undertow grasps us, somehow, in the tumbling, we are being carried forward, though battered and bruised." Neal A. Maxwell
"Among the greatest blessings in life is to be safe with someone." Hugh B. Brown
"The greatest battles of life are fought out daily in the silent chambers of the soul." David O. McKay
"In order to exercise your faith, do something every day that scares you to death." Mary Ellen Edmonds
"Work like the devil; he's such a good example." Marion G. Romney
Monday, February 11, 2013
My cup runneth over...
I got some wonderful news to start my week this morning. My 13 year old nephew, Benjamin, has been battling a rare, agressive type of lymphoma since early December of last year. To say our family felt like we took a punch in the gut upon hearing his diagnosis would be an understatement. 13 year old boys don't get cancer, right? Athletic, healthy boys don't get cancer. They just don't. That's what we all thought anyway.
But he did. Around Thanksgiving, he began complaining of stomach pains, then his abdomen began to swell. One doctor told them Benjamin had pneumonia and sent him home with some steroids to treat the "pneumonia." My sister-in-law and her mother's intuition told her something just wasn't right. They went back to the doctor and insisted there was something else amiss. They did a pet scan and his little body lit up with cancer cells everywhere. He was sent straight to the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in Birmingham (and coincidentally, Benjamin Russell for which that hospital is named is Benjamin's grandfather on his mother's side, for whom he is named) where he was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma. It's one of the fastest growing cancers of all the cancers. The tumors can double in size every 48 hours. On his first cat scan, none of his internal organs could be seen because there were so many tumors in so many places that completely covered all his organs. My brother said the cat scan looked like oatmeal. The tumors were all over his abdomen, under his armpits, and one huge one that was sitting on his liver crowding his lung. He had been having shortness of breath while conditioning for soccer. He couldn't understand why he was having problems running short distances when just weeks prior during football he could run all day. That was why...a giant tumor crowding his lung. There were too many tumors to operate and that really isn't the protocol for this cancer anyway. They began the first round of his chemo treatment the next day. It takes seven days to administer one round of chemo, and one round of chemo is like triple amounts another cancer patient might receive. The weeks after that were filled with days in the hopsital, and then days cooped up at home trying not to get sick as his white blood cells were so low from the chemo. He did get an infection one time after his second round of chemo and had to go back to the hospital early so they could treat the infection.
After the inital shock of the diagnosis wore off, we got down to the business of praying and petitioning the Lord to heal Benjamin. We prayed for him in EVERY prayer our family said, including the ones over our meals. I would get on my knees and just sob that the Lord's will was to heal him. I am so thankful and grateful to say that our prayers have been answered. After the fourth round of chemo, they go back and do pet scans, cat scans, and bone marrow tests all over again. His pet scan and bone marrow scan came back clean, but there was an L shaped mass on top of his bowels that they felt they needed to biopsy before they could proceed with the fifth and final round of chemo. The protocol for this treatment says the patients need to be cancer-free before they have the fifth round of chemo. So they did the biopsy and we waited and prayed. The results came back today as having no cancer in the mass (likely scar tissue) and then they started his fifth and final round of chemo! He will be in the hospital another week as they administer this round, and it will take him 2-3 more weeks to recover from it. Then, he goes back to the business of regaining his hair that the chemo took, the weight the chemo took, and his health! When his white blood cells get high enough, he will be able to return to school, and will likely be back to playing football in the fall.
Not all cancer stories end this way, but I'm thankful ours did. Benjamin had people praying and fasting for him from coast to coast and everywhere in between. I know he will recall this experience and credit Heavenly Father with healing him and will use this story to change lives as he continues to live his own.
From one of my favorite hymns, "How Firm a Foundation"
Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o'erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
I'm thankful to have witnessed this miracle in my life. Thanks to all have joined with us in our petitions of prayer!
My family. All I have ever wanted to be was a good wife and mother.
Sunday afternoon naps
Digital photography (how did we ever survive on 35mm film?)
Good books, though I don't read nearly as much as I used to these days.
Cookbooks. I read them like novels.
Organization, of anything. I like order. The cans in my pantry are stacked by type of food (beans in this row, canned vegetables in this row, soups in this row), the files in my filing cabinet are in Alphabetical order, and things fit in my purse the same way, all the time. Madness, you say? I find that it makes my life easier when I know exactly where things are.
Being the one to get them out of their cribs in the morning/after naps
Rocking my babies to sleep
Hearing Ethan sing literally ALL the words to the Alabama fight song (I honestly don't know how he learned them all because we didn't make it a point to teach it to him)
The way the hair on my arms stands up when I see the video montage they play before kick-off at Alabama Football games