Wednesday, May 30, 2012

If I am still alive...

Yesterday I had a lovely conversation with my youngest son, Alden. It is the second time one of my children has mentioned my death in the last few weeks. Either they are prophetic, or wishfully thinking... 

Alden: "Ma, when I am a adult, I'm gonna take my sons camping."
Me: "Aw, that will be so much fun buddy." 
A: "But I'm NOT giving them my bear or blanky!" 
Me: "Well, that's ok, you know why? Because Mommy will be 
        your sons' gramma and I will get them their own blanky and bear."
A: "Ok. That's good. Thanks Mom, you are the best mom ever." 
Me: "Can Daddy and I come camping with you and your sons?"
A:  "No. You'll be dead by then"

Um, Ok. I am off to reflect on Psalm 90 and eat some vitamins. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

I used to be a Girl Scout...

One of the things on my proverbial "bucket list"  is  was to go camping with my Micah and our boys. I mean tent camping, not some wimpy-cabin-with-AC-and-cable-type of "camping". When I told Micah this, his first question was, "How long has it been since you went camping? In a tent?"  Well... it had been a while. A long while.  There was the time in Girl Scouts when I was in 4th grade, and then with my youth group one time, and then as a camp counselor we were forced to take our campers on a tentless overnight campout where some group of dorky guys was sure to scare you.
So, needless to say, it had been a while. "Come on..." I said. "I am a mom of three boys, I got this." My Micah gave me a skeptical look that seemed to say, "Yep. You are a mom of three boys who likes AC and her blow-dryer."  True enough, true enough. Somewhere inside though, I conjured up my outdoorsy gal, we borrowed a tent and some equipment and officially became...

A Family That Loves Camping.

From the minute we got there, I loved it. Ok, maybe not the first minutes when Alden had to poop SO bad we just grabbed some wipes and went to the woods. I think all that outdoorsy gal junk went to my head, and let me just say... it is a sad moment to realize how close you were to a real commode, when THIS is the result of your 4 year old's first outdoor defecation attempt.

The site, the area, the tents, all of it was just what I had imagined. I kept pinching myself, thinking, surely someone will get sprayed by a skunk like a Brady Bunch episode, or there will be a thunderstorm, or gross bugs, or... or... or...
Nope. Nada. Zip.

We had the best time EVER. I know some bloggers write crap like that all the time, but I think since my lead in story was about someone pooping -again- you can trust I am not blowing smoke. I surprised myself how much I liked it. I thought I would have to endure it, one of those "take one for the team as I am a mom of boys" type activity. At one point, Micah asked, "Are you sure you want to sit that close to the fire? You ARE going to smell like smoke you know. "I KNOW! I LIKE IT!! WHO AM I?!?!" I replied.

So, we cooked on a cute little grill... hamburgers and hot dogs, and even (yuck!) steak.
We hiked... some ridiculously straight up trail that I swore was never going to end. But the view was worth it.
We made fires... well, mostly Micah and the boys did. The last morning though, I pulled my weight and started quite the lovely fire from SCRATCH.
We roasted marshmallows, told ghost stories, ate by the fire, read books, played cards, talked about God, threw rocks, laughed and had 
At one point, I told my boys, "You know what we are doing right now?"
Em looked at me and said, "Um... camping?"
"Well, that... and making a memory..."

Oh, and when my Micah commended me on my fire starting skills, I may have said boastfully, "I was a girl scout yo!" I think all that mountain air also brought out my inner nerd too.

We saw this guy on our hike... he was NOT invited back for lunch despite my boys longing to catch him and keep him. I have my limits folks.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My sister, the Survivor...

I wrote this post well over a year ago, but never published it. I made the trip detailed below to see my sister on May 10th, 2010. What a difference two years have made. I am beyond thankful that she is alive... 

Have you ever received a call that changed your life? If you have, chances are you are able to remember it right now without much effort. April 4th, 2010 was such a day for me, and one word, in one phone call, brought that change. The caller? My sister, Sharon. The word? Cancer.

I cannot lie, my initial reaction was "NO! God, what are you thinking?" I know, such a faithless response, but at least I am honest, and you should also know, I did not stay in that state. (I did revisit it from time to time though... )

Micah and I made plans for me to take, what would prove to be an emotionally difficult trip home to see her. I was not prepared for the sister who normally has a hot meal waiting for me, along with "just because" gifts, to be laying in a bed in the middle of the day. I was not prepared for the way she looked. I was not prepared for the frailty of life to be a palpable cloud hanging overhead. I climbed into bed with her and as we hugged and wept, she simply said, "I know, I look like sh*t. Its ok, I know." I told her she looked beautiful. It is hard to describe the mix of emotions you feel at that point. The way happy, old memories clash with fearful visions of the future.

We stayed up all night as Sharon was in constant pain, vomiting violently, and unable to keep even water down. I can't describe it with words, it was unbelievable, and I was just witnessing it, trying to help, not having to actually endure it like Sharon. She was amazing. All that pain, and not a cross word, not a bit of impatience with us, no anger at all.

When she felt (a little) better and we were talking, I asked her, was she afraid?  "Yes," was her simple reply. "I don't want to die, but it is ok. God is in control, and whether I live or die, He is in control. I have to believe that." WOW. I even told her I was surprised, that I had a whole encouraging speech to give her when she declared that God was not fair. She told me to give my presentation anyway... haha. What Sharon had, and has... is that "peace that passes all understanding." That is not something you can buy, earn, or get from others. As she even said just the other day, "Grace is always enough".

So while she endured the last few months, the highs "you can be cured!" to the lows, "scratch that, there is still a cloudy area, let's give you say, a 50% chance of survival." Sharon has continued to be strong, determined, and faithful. She is human, and has had her moments, she will admit. BUT... she has not dwelt there. That is the key.

I am elated, excited, and super happy to report... her final biopsy came back last week. NO ACTIVE CANCER CELLS AT THIS TIME. I cannot lie, I had prepared for the worst... was already planning a more extended visit since her next chemo rounds would be even more aggressive. I was looking into donating the bone marrow she would have to have, etc. It was like God said, "Hello? Remember ME? The Great Physician?" I didn't even let myself believe it was possible, yet He did it. Why guard my heart from the one who holds it? Oh me of little faith...

(this is Sharon and her family, and friend Rhonda this past summer. She kept the short hair, but not the bald... go figure?!?!)