Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010: Mess With Me Prayers

I'm starting to notice a pattern in my life . . . . wake up, survive the day, go to bed, repeat. Something's missing. God is missing. And it isn't because He's moved . . . I have.

I've been praying for a couple months now about my relationship with God. It seems like with all we have been through I should have a very close connection with Him. When there isn't a crisis to deal with I tend to pull away - even from reading the bible, doing devotions and simply listening to God.

When I am in crisis I connect with Him again but it seems to be more of a one sided connection. It's me asking why, how, and "really"? It's also me begging for peace, comfort and direction but then not listening for the answer.

I think I have found the source of my troubles. I don't want to become too close to God because then it may become very clear what His plans for me are and I don't want to know them. I don't want to get out of my comfort zone and try something new that He may be asking of me. What if He wants me to speak publicly again or worse . . . . one on one with people that I don't know. I feel safe typing my feelings on the blog because I can edit it before I publish it. Plus there isn't anyone looking at me right now. In person I tend to either talk too much out of nervousness or clam up out of fear that I may say something stupid.

I was trying to find a Psalm the other day and I came across Psalm 30:11-12 . . . You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. Oh Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever. I wanted to close the bible at that point and forget that I had even read that. Dancing? Me? No thanks, I'd rather be wailing. Being clothed with joy sounds great but only if I can quietly enjoy that peace at home while being silent.

I've been watching my sister over the past couple months. Growing up she had the nickname "happy mouth". It suited her perfectly and it still does. No matter what life throws her way she sings praises to God. Literally singing . . . and dancing! I was sitting next to her at a Mercy Me concert once and had to laugh at the contrast. She was standing up, dancing and singing every chance she could get . . . . I was sitting, listening to the music and perfectly content. I even tapped my foot to the beat once in a while . . . I know, I'm such a rebel.

I've always wished I was more like her though. I wish I had the courage to sing, dance and praise God so openly. I wish I could just be "me" and not even consider what others are thinking about me. I have the desire to dance locked somewhere deep in my heart. I love music and when I'm home with the kids I have been known to break into dance but the look of horror in their eyes usually makes me stop :)

I sent a link to my sister recently with the song I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book. Here are some of the lyrics:

You -oh oh
I wanna be like you - oh oh
I wanna walk like you
Talk like you, too
You'll see it's true
Someone like me
Can learn to be
Like someone like you

I know I goofed up some of the lyrics but these are the words that kept going through my head. I wanted Lori to know how much I admired her and wanted to be more like her. I was focused on the first part of the song - of wanting to be like her. After I sent it I heard the second part . . . you'll see it's true - someone like me - can learn to be like someone like you. Huh. I can?

I know God doesn't want me to be just like her but I can learn from her. I can have that same courage to just be "me" if I could just trust God when He asks me to do something that is out of my comfort zone instead of putting my fingers in my ears and saying "I can't hear you".

So, a couple days ago I prayed for that. I prayed another "mess with me" prayer. You think I would have learned my lesson the first time . . . be careful what you pray for! I'm so tired of just going through the motions.

This might hurt, it’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change.
I don’t care, if I break
At least I’ll be feeling something.
‘Cause just ok is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions

(lyrics are from ~ Going Through the Motions by Matthew West)

Well, I guess I will end this post here and go hang on tight . . . . I know first hand the power of a "mess with me" prayer!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010: Blown Away!


Wondering why this video is significant? Well, Friday night when this storm hit Detroit, we just happened to be at Comerica Park. Yup, the company I work for had our annual employee night at Comerica Park. When we left our hotel to head for the ballpark the sky was nothing but blue. It was a perfect night for a baseball game. I have to admit, the game was a little long and boring...and I'm even a Tiger fan! But a lot of walks and pitching changes makes for a long game.

Fortunately though, with today's modern technology the people next to us were tracking this storm as it moved closer to Detroit. Those people bailed when the storm was about 40 minutes away. When the storm was about 30 minutes away a guy from work who was sitting next to me decided his family was going to leave. The memories of running out of the Magic Kingdom in the pouring rain was still fresh in our memories so we decided to bail shortly after.


So we headed out to the van. Problem is I forgot where we did the rest of the family. Everything looked completely different in the dark. We wandered and wander for about 20 minutes in the dark...passing many homeless people and dark alleys. Then all of a sudden it hit. You could hear the storm brewing. The wind noise was unbelievable. Then like a wall WHAM. A wall of wind about knocked us over. I'm not exaggerating when I say it nearly knocked Ashley to the ground. She was hanging on to Kristi with all her might. I scooped up Emily and held her head into my chest. It felt like we were getting sand blasted. The sand and dirt just pelted our skin and eyes. Then the rain started...and not just a light sprinkle. It was like a monsoon...the rain was blowing every which way. I can honestly say I have never experienced anything like that before. So here we are...the 5 of us. Completely lost in Downtown Detroit. Dark, pouring rain and unbelievable wind. At one point I was holding Emily standing in the middle of a desolate intersection and I looked up at the sky and yelled "UNCLE". I was mad at God. Another family memory ending like this. Unbelievable. We walked around trying to find somewhere we could take shelter. Then after about 20 minutes of wandering we stumbled across our van. Of course we were all soaked and tired. Considering the situation all the kids did great. I have to admit, I was freaked out for a while. I have never felt so lost. I just didn't know what to do. I couldn't believe I got my family into this.


Now we look back and we can laugh (OK, maybe not laugh). What an adventure! Then I got to thinking. If this was just an ordinary Tiger game and uneventful ride home, the kids would hardly remember this night 20 years from now. But, now I can guarantee that they will remember this night for the rest of their lives...the night Dad got us lost in Detroit. We could make a movie out of it..."Lost In Detroit". Yeah, that's it! Of course every time I tell the story it gets bigger and bigger. The last person I told I was dodging falling buildings. OK, so maybe not that bad but I don't really care to do it again!


As far as the game...well, the Tigers won 7-5 and are only a game and a half out of first place. The kids are still 50-50 if they ever want to go back to a Tiger game. I remember Nathan crying in the back of the van on our way back to the hotel "I hate Detroit!". If you ask Emily she says "it was the worst day of my life". Oh well, life's an adventure.


Update on Kristi: still a lot of lower back pain and abdominal pains. The effects of the chemo are also starting to accumulate...same as last round. Her fatigue and nausea come and go more frequently as she gets further into this round. Please pray for strength for another 2 weeks of this round.



Beautiful night for baseball!


Carlos Guillen checking out this lady's brown GUCCI luxury handbag


Tigers scoring runs

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010: More Good News

Last week I got the Palomino out of storage and prepped for its 33rd season. And like the previous 32 seasons, the Palomino did not disappoint us with its first trip of this new camping season. After 33 years the Palomino keeps on going...and I have slept in the Palomino at least one night of each of those 33 years!
This past weekend we went camping at Van Buren State Park in South Haven with our life group...4 other families.

look at that thing...a beauty indeed!

she's a beauty too!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010: Going Down . . .

Usually when I say I am "going down" it means I am sliding into a depression. In this case though, going down is good! Although my CA125 didn't go down much ~ it did go down! It was 630 last time and it is now 598.

I also had a physical exam today and Dr. Downey could not feel the lump that he felt two months ago! I don't think he expected me to respond so well to this treatment ~ he almost didn't seem quite sure what to do with himself. I asked him if he was finally ready to believe me that I am going to kick this cancer and his response was "well, it sure is taking you long enough". I responded that this has just been so much fun that I'm not ready for it to end yet. Although he can typically be quite down I sure do love messing with his mind :)

My other blood counts are down but they are not dangerously low. The plan is to start the Etoposide up again on Sunday night (it's a daily pill for 20 days) and go back in again after that for more bloodwork and meet with him again in a month.

Right now though . . . we celebrate!!! Can I get a woooohooooo????!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Still Waiting . . . . . . .

I've been playing phone tag with the doctors office . . . . I'm sure we won't hear anything tonight. We have an appointment tomorrow morning at 9:30. For now, we wait.

The theme from Jeopardy quite often jumps into my head while I'm waiting . . . . .

(In case the link doesn't work . . . it's the Jeopardy theme song being played on the FAO Schwartz Foot Piano . . . . very cool!)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010: Reality

I am still waiting for the call. You would think after almost 3 1/2 years of this I would get used to the waiting. Nope.

I brought the kids to school this morning for the last time this school year. I am very excited about not having to set my alarm clock anymore. I am not excited about the "I'm bored" and sibling rivalry that will soon be taking place.

Our youngest believes that she is in charge and that we shouldn't even be considering the possibility that she isn't. She has one volume . . . loud. She also believes that it is her job to torment her brother and sister.

Our middle child is a boy. He has an older sister and a younger sister. Only one boy and stuck between two sisters? Life is sooooooo not fair.

Our oldest child is dangerously close to becoming a teenager. Enough said.

Put the three together and let's just say that it my hair wasn't already falling out from the chemo treatment it would be turning completely gray.

I have muscle aches all over and I can hardly keep my eyes open from the fatigue. I can't wait for the phone to ring and yet I'm dreading it at the same time. Even worse, I'm dreading having to make phone calls to let friends and family know what the new number is. I'm already assuming that it has gone up - that way if it didn't go up it will be an unexpected blessing.

Being in Florida was such a wonderful escape from reality. We were able to just leave cancer at home and simply just "be". When we came home though reality didn't just knock on the door, it came barreling through and knocked me right between the eyes. If I had the energy I would love to punch reality right back and sending it flying. Right now though I'm so tired all I want to do is go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. But, the phone will still ring, the kids will still need to be picked up soon and the camper isn't going to pack itself.

I read something the other day that really made me think. It was something that Joni Eareckson Tada wrote (for those of you that aren't familiar with her - she is in a wheelchair paralyzed from the neck down because of a diving accident many years ago). She wrote "I would rather be in this chair knowing Him than on my feet without Him".

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:10 (NIV)

One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches. I'd rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin. Psalm 84:10-12 (The Message)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010: No News

We didn't hear from Kristi's doctor today like we thought we would. They're not always the best at getting back with us. We should hear tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010: Disney

Sorry bloggers, we updated our Facebook page but forgot the hard managing both Facebook and the blog. :)

Anyway, we had a great time at Disney. Here are just a few pictures from our trip...between Lori and I we took about 400 pictures so it was hard to pick just a few.

After the pictures I have an update and prayer request...
Arriving in Orlando!
Hangin' out at Lori's time-share (Lori's the undercover one)
Emily being silly...
what a nice looking family :)

Then back to reality. Kristi had bloodwork done yesterday. Today we expect to get the results of her new CA125 number. Thursday we meet with Dr. Downey to determine what he wants to do next. Please pray for comfort during these next few unnerving days.
Also pray for Kristi's sanity. The kids' last day of school is tomorrow and we have plans to go camping this weekend. Also, on a more personal level, her hair is falling out at a faster pace. This was expected with the new chemotherapy. We're not exactly sure if it's all going to fall out like Dr. Downey said, but it is definitely very thin and emotional for Kristi.
Thanks for the continued prayers. We'll update the blog when we have the new number...and more time!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010