this may be the last time

Our boys have grown into men.  They can’t stay home all their lives.  But my mama’s heart wants them to.   We love them and so enjoy being with them!

The hard days of saying goodbye

They both have plans for leaving home in the next few months.  And not just to a local apartment.  One across the country.  One to college across the state. As they plan, they realize “this is the last time I will do….”

This group hug with Papa above was for Papa’s birthday.  Tears for all of us.  Things just won’t be the same.  We will miss having them here to celebrate.

wearing his “apron” and doing kitchen duties

We enjoy the fun we have together, the heart to heart talks, the encouragement, laughter, joking, tears, prayers, study of God’s Word….

How do you capture it all and hold it in your heart?

How do we say goodbye and yet celebrate for them the next stage of the journey that God is placing before them?

What a blessing to see our son seeking God!

We have made SO. Many. Mistakes.  And we are seeing God redeeming their lives, leading them, working in them, convicting them, drawing them, providing for them, and so much more.  We are so grateful to our Great GOD for His marvelous work.  And we trust Him to continue the work He started.

Phil 1:6 :And I am sure of this, that He Who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

God’s word and promises give me so much hope!  Not just that this life will be easy.  It is not.  It will not be.  But that we will share in Him… and see Him one day– face to face!  Such hope!  No matter what we face we can hold on to that hope.  And we have friends (you know who you are) who have trials beyond imagination and yet they hold onto the hope of Christ!  Praise God for that. (And we are praying for you)

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith– that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:7-14

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radiation patterned baldness

Sigh…. at least I have hair to cover the little bald patches!  You know that chemo curl that came in?  Well, I could tell it was not going to stay that way so I trimmed off a half inch to three fourths of an inch and what a change!  My curl is mostly gone, and now I used the blow dryer for the first time in years!  Back to hair gel and blow driers for a while until it grows long again.  At least I hope it does.

The few little bald patches are indeed covered by hair unless I have bed head!  The Cyber Knife doctor told me to expect it since the brain tumors were very near the skull.  So if it is making my hair fall out there, what else is it doing?  She told me that there was nothing “critical” around those tumors so that is a great relief!  Maybe just my memory!  😉 (that is my own thought, not hers! She avoided my eyes and other important things)

Energy is okay but at about 1/4 of my old self.  Adrenals play the biggest part in that.  They are tanking and need help. Then I got a bacteria in my gut and have treated that twice…. currently treating it.  I like to do natural health things and one of the most potent is raw garlic…. so if I have bad breath, just blame it on my health!  Sorry!  I hope I have not offended anyone!  But it does work well.  I had read that it was 100 times more potent than the antibiotics.  But since I just got it back a second time I am also taking the antibiotic.  I don’t want to be too stubborn.  Although I am praying I don’t get something worse because of the antibiotic.  Lots of probiotics and garlic.  Praying.  Trusting God through this.  And living and helping others also.  Glad to be alive and able to serve my Lord and Master in whatever way He sees fit.  Like right now, I need to go start breakfast for my guys!  Thank you for reading and praying!

 

a veritable garden for the King

A passage from “Hinds Feet on High Places”, by Hannah Hurnard, spoke to me today as I was feeling useless and extremely fatigued.

Much-Afraid looked at him earnestly. “I have often wondered about the wild flowers,” she said.  “It does seem strange that such unnumbered multitudes should bloom in the wild places of the earth where perhaps nobody ever sees them and the goats and the cattle can walk over them and crush them to death.  They have so much beauty and sweetness to give and no one on whom to lavish it, nor who will even appreciate it.”

chamomile volunteering in our gravel walkway

The look the Shepherd turned on her was very beautiful.  “Nothing my Father and I have made is ever wasted,” he said quietly, “and the little wild flowers have a wonderful lesson to teach.  They offer themselves so sweetly and confidently and willingly, even if it seems that there is no one to appreciate them.  Just as though they sang a joyous little song to themselves, that it is so happy to love, even though one is not loved in return.

“I must tell you a great truth, Much-Afraid, which only the few understand.  All the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and its most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can only dimly guess at.  Every inner response of the human heart to Love and every conquest over self-love is a new flower on the tree of Love.

“Many a quiet, ordinary, and hidden life, unknown to the world, is a veritable garden in which Love’s flowers and fruits have come to such perfection that it is a place of delight where the King of Love himself walks and rejoices with His friends. Some of my servants have indeed won great visible victories and are rightly loved and reverenced by other men, but always their greatest victories are like the wild flowers, those which no one knows about.  Learn this lesson, now, down here in the valley, Much-Afraid, and when you get to the steep places of the mountains it will comfort you.”

I feel like Much-Afraid.  I pray that God would be pleased with me, a wild flower, in the desert places.  And I pray that I would be able to sing my song for Him alone, even when no one else sees.

one more tiny tumor

Compared to a year and 3 months ago this is much simpler.  I have a 4mm brain tumor that they will treat with Cyber Knife on August 7.  I may have fatigue following it and lose a small patch of hair (which will grow back) but that hopefully will be all the side effects.

Cyber Knife mask holds my head still so the radiation hits where they want it.   It isn’t too bad.

Praying for strength.  I am tired going into this.  The heat, my adrenals… I don’t feel writing inspiration tonight or for days before this but I want to ask you to pray.  Thank you!

why not?

 

Fighting with my mother-in-law over who is going to cook! Good for some laughs! And I won!

Why not live life to the fullest?

Why not enjoy what is right before us?

Why not – NOT worry about cancer coming back?

On a sister trip last October. So fun to be with my sis!

Why not try something fun?

Why not do something different?

Isaiah’s fiancé! 😉 A friend’s little one.  He loves babies!!

Why not live as if we had a long life ahead of us?

Why not trust God with our future?

Why not sit and enjoy the sun today?

Why not pull in the wash since the thunder clouds are rolling in?

A funny sign on Oregon Trail!  Had to show our sons!

Why not simplify life in our house?

Why not get help from friends who are good at simplifying and organizing?

Why not follow a dream even if it seems a bit crazy?

Why not ask hard questions?

Caleb and Aunty Jo tangle over birthday candles!

Why not sit and have tea with a friend?

Why not sit outside and dig into God’s Word and let Him lead me?

Why not celebrate? Birthdays.  Clean houses.  Sobriety.  Mothers.

Celebrating Grandma’s birthday at Jolleen’s! So glad for how everyone is doing!

Why not praise God in the midst of easy and hard things in life?

things are not always what they seem

practicing some close up techniques while Caleb drove

I have blogging to catch up on.  First, I should tell you about the little 2mm tumor they found on my brain MRI in the end of March.  I talked to my oncologist, Dr. Chue, and he said he would call the radiation doctor, Dr. Vermeulen, and see what she wanted to do.  They work together, as I have said before, and have the best results in the world!  So I didn’t hear from her for a week or so and thought that she didn’t want to do treatment.  But just before the trip Caleb and I were going to leave for, Dr. Vermeulen’s office called.  Her staff wanted to set up the appointments to get the treatment going.  I asked if I could set them up for when I got back and they said they would ask Dr. V and she would let me know.  Would I have to cancel a trip we have put so much into because this tumor would grow?  I was running an errand for the trip and she called.  I climbed back into my van and sat while I talked with her.  She assured me that taking this trip would be fine. The tumor might double and we’d hit it when I got back.  She was taking a vacation too.  So that was a relief.  Not too bad to have one tumor and the treatment for it by Cyber Knife, hanging over my head as we took off on our trip.

On the road in Idaho

So we took off, enjoyed the families we stayed with, got settled into our longest stay, rested and fellowshipped.  Then Monday, we started a class, and on our way home from that I got a message from Dr. Vermeulen.  I was nervous as I started to listen to it…..

I should preface this and tell you that so many have been praying for me.  I send out regular updates to friends at church, family, friends of friends, and on it goes, and they pray.  I am the most prayed for patient at Dr. Chue’s!  And the family we stayed with during our class all gathered, all 13 of them, laid hands on me, even the children, and prayed for healing.  So sweet!

….. so the message from Dr. V was that she had looked at the scan again to get the plan ready for treatment.  And the tumor turns out not to be a tumor but a blood vessel!  What!!??  Wow!!!  PRAISE GOD!  I don’t know how it happened but it is not a metastatic tumor!   So the rest of the week was much freer not having anything hanging over my head!

Things are not always what they seem

So, as we drove home and I had some more practice with close ups while Caleb drove, I had fun trying to catch the reflection of things in my sunglasses.  So, things are not what they seem all the time.  And I am glad!  And we praised God with the host family and our family and friends at home!  We don’t presume on God to heal me.  He can do what He wants.  It is a nice reprieve from treatment.  And we continue to trust Him into our future.  It may be a long road and then again it may be a short one.  But the end, heaven, will be forever!!  And I look forward to that!

the roads were long and straight in the desert!

 

i’d choose to be a fool for Christ

In an Oregon Trail rut. It was interesting to think of all the people that went out West, and how strong they were.

I went down memory lane today.  I heard bad news.  A family at church lost their little 5 month old baby last night.  Heartbreaking.  Praying for them.  What do you say to one in that place?  They have other children who are heartbroken too.  So hard.  I can’t even imagine.

As I thought about them and prayed for them, I thought of others from old churches we have been part of.  I looked people up… first, I have to say, I gave up facebook since I took too much time on it, found it was a lot of fluff and it wasn’t a good medium to influence people in the Lord.  But one of our sons still has an account, so I used his to look up people and just see what they were up to.  I got out the old church directories and for about an hour I just snooped and mourned.  There were very few who appeared to be following the Lord with their lives… you know what I mean?  They looked like the world.  One young lady whom I had encouraged to dress more modestly and be pure had gone off the deep end.  So sad.  Anyways, you didn’t need to hear all about these families, my point isn’t what they are doing.

We had always felt like a fish swimming up stream, even in churches.  We felt like most folks thought of us as fools.  We’ve never been cool.  We’ve never been popular.  Just plain, ordinary folks…. whom God chose.  And for that we are ETERNALLY grateful!!  How can we thank God enough for saving us?  For redeeming our lives?  For restoring our marriage and family from the brink of divorce and disrepair?  For guiding us into homeschooling? And for guiding us along the whole homeschooling journey?  For leading us to our church now, where we swim with them not against them?  For good, solid Bible teaching from our Pastor?  For a body of believers that cared (and still do) for us while I went through cancer treatment?  For sweet young people that our boys (young men) can be friends with?  For mentors for our young men?   For mentors for me?   I know I could go on!  I have so much to be grateful for!  And I know my husband would echo me in this!

So as the title says, I would choose to be a fool for Christ any day!  Even though it is not easy to follow Christ.  Laying down my life.  Putting my flesh to death.  Loving others, especially my “enemies”.  Not complaining and being content.  Today’s jaunt down memory lane helped me to be content with our different life.  It may look kooky to most, but I’d rather be here, loving JESUS, than anywhere else!

Our youngest, Caleb, being silly!
Our oldest, Isaiah, and Papa goofing around at dinner!
The goal is to kiss Mom on the nose, but us sisters rarely can catch her!

See what I mean?  Silly family!  But here is where God has put us and let us enjoy, be content and faithfully follow the LORD ALL OUR DAYS!