Archive | March, 2013

Easter Weekend

31 Mar

20130331-214846.jpg

20130331-214836.jpg

20130331-214827.jpg

We have had an eventful and fun Easter weekend. It is wonderful to be doing things together. It makes my life here in Houston feel right and good. I love sharing my family with the people I have come to know on this journey. My family is a huge part of me and allowing others to know them gives even more perspective of me.

Easter is a fabulous holiday. The meaning of it gives such focus and purpose to life. With out His death and resurrection our lives would be lost. He choose to take on death for us. As I look death in the eyes much more freely I realize a smidge what that choice might have felt like. I have no choice in my situation but even so I would have a hard time saying yes Father let me bare the weight of the worlds sins on my shoulders so that I can redeem them. Yet He choose to be used by His Father to redeem us. I am thankful for His choice, my life forever changed by His love for us.

We enjoyed some Easter tradition this weekend. We colored eggs and did a Easter bag hunt instead of a basket hunt on Saturday. We ventured to our friends house for a swim and fun. The day was full. Today we celebrated His resurrection at church and enjoyed two different families we have been blessed by. I am blown away by how The Lord has provided for us through friends. The ways He reminds us of His love is surprising and reassuring. His people that are loving and serving others actively with their lives continually points back to His glory.

People are praying and we a seeking His hand in this journey. We continue to trust and know He loves us and walks with us. Some days are wearisome and long yet He carries us. My shots are done for this round. We continue to monitor my counts and need for blood products. The latest complaint would be my mouth pain. I did mention it to Dr this week. He will keep an eye on it as AML can spread to the gums, this has me anxious yet in reality I am in His hands.

He is Risen……

20130331-214856.jpg

20130331-214904.jpg

Good Friday

29 Mar

As a kid I struggled to understand why we call today “Good Friday”. Nothing about the events of this day seemed good. The humiliation of and physical torture of the only truly innocent man ever, who was betrayed by his own people and his own friend and disciple. How could we call this day good? When the forces of darkness killed the light of the world and gloried in their darkness. This day was not good.

I felt that the good came as He fulfilled His promise and returned as prophesied. I often find as I read biblical stories and recount in my head the events I often judge the people in the story thinking how could they do that or why were they like that? Which then forces me to think about my own heart and what choices I might have made had I lived then. And then I land on simple truth His love for me and all of us sent Him to the cross. He died so that we could live and be redeemed. I am no better than the people in that day. Most of us like to think of ourselves as His disciples in the story. Sure, we do some stupid stuff but we are basically on the right track. But, perhaps we can’t really be disciples until we realize that we are more like the thieves hanging next to Him. We are dying for our sins and we either die cursing and mocking Him, or we die trusting Him.

I still think as an adult the name “good Friday” isn’t fitting. Nothing good happened that day, but the good came on Sunday! He rose victoriously as promised, He beat all normal odds because He is the Resurrection and the Life, Prince of Peace and King of Kings. We have much to celebrate this season as His glory needs to be brought to this broken and lost world. I pray we think deeply onHis sacrifice and rejoice completely in His love for you.

5 year old ponderings

28 Mar

~ don’t worry mom we don’t have to say goodbye for awhile.
~ mom I am being daddy’s helper when your gone.
~ daddy takes forever putting mollie to bed.
~ you don’t have to leave us yet we have time.
~ you should see how sassafras mollie is while you are gone.
~ I love you to the moon mom.
~ I can do the whole row of monkey bars in Texas. Will you take me to the park?
~ I’m glad we don’t have to say goodbye soon.
~ I know why you are in Texas.

Redundant yet simple. I love these girls! Today you hear from Hayleigh!

20130328-220713.jpg

Full Recovery

28 Mar

20130328-081219.jpg

20130328-081202.jpg

20130328-081149.jpg

It’s good to be together. The days are full and tiring, but exactly as mom would want them to be. We have much to be thankful for. My wait time at MD has been minimal, which has opened up my days to be with my favorite people. Along with that we have a place to lay our heads, kids have been sleeping, mollie has been napping, and did I mention we are together! I believe we have fully recovered from our Monday Funday mishap.

Tuesday we did make it to the museum, and it was a hit. I totally misunderstood that there aren’t many families that have time for the museum because the place was packed to the gills. The most liked area was the kidtroiplous where the kids can pretend to work jobs and shop. That afternoon I met with Dr. Garcia-Manera. We have been blessed by our friends the Wilkes family, as they watched kiddos allowing adam to go to visit with me. They did more than watch, in fact the kids asked if they could come back and play again soon. It’s fun to see how the kids enjoy and welcome some change.

Our visit to the dr was basic, but I had a lot of questions. I feel as though I am continually learning more about this disease, and I am reminded that if we understood how it all worked I wouldn’t have it. Basic things I learned that might make sense to you: my cancer is still AML with the MLL genetics. This is what makes it more resistant and tricky. They don’t know much about this mutation for AML. We have seen some change in my blast cells in my peripheral blood which implies the drug is doing something. It’s all overwhelming a bit over your head but when you leave you realize you have little control over any of it. We keep trusting knowing that someone far more powerful than any doctor is caring for me and working His plan for His glory.

Yesterday was a beautiful day here. After my shot we ventured to the Houston zoo. It’s very close to where we are staying so we walked. We enjoyed a mini train ride along with many adventures at the zoo. It was a lot of fun. The sun shone bright and we took in a lot of animals. Highlights were the sea lions for Mollie, the merry-go-round for Hayleigh and the elephants for Paige. Mom and dad loved the time together outside in the warmth of the bright sun. Last night we cooked and played. And again the Wilkes wanted to help one last time before they return to Ohio tomorrow. (I plan to update you on Shan tomorrow as prayers are still needed). Adam and I enjoyed a romantic walk to town and enjoyed time just us. We are grateful for uninterrupted talks and time to process all that is going on around us as we continue to push through each day. Although at times when we are apart it feels as though we are alone, we are reminded that our promise made almost 9 years ago has depth and meaning and that our relationship with Christ at the center pushes us towards each other and draws us to truth even on the days that seem long and unfair. Our marriage is a gift and a privilege, thank you for today.

Yesterday felt like an Armstrong day. We functioned a bit better shed less tears and had fun. We will embark on a new day today.

20130328-081228.jpg

20130328-081238.jpg

20130328-081247.jpg

20130328-081304.jpg

Monday Funday

26 Mar

20130326-072008.jpg

I knew today would be a lighter medical day. I loaded up on blood products over the weekend so I could have at least one uninterrupted day of plans with family. Sunday night Adam and I pulled out the calendar and the weather forecast deciding when would be best for each planned event. The forecast for Monday was sunny but chilly. We planned an indoor event after my return from my labs. Children’s museum it is, we hear its the best around. Here is where I would love for you to be impressed because I got online to see how far it was to decide if we would walk or drive. In the meantime I discovered there was a groupon and it was 53% off! Are you impressed? With excitement I purchased them and made plans of printing and off we went. As we neared the building it seemed strangely quiet. But then again I thought there aren’t that many families with a bizarre situation likes ours I guess it makes sense. As the five of us charge through the door with excitement the lady at the entrance welcomes us and politely informs us they are closed on Mondays….unimpressed. This is not a high point as a parent. The kids are deflated, life couldn’t be worse, how are we ever going to have fun today?….you get the gist. Hard to recover.

We tried hard. Smoothies were on the menu for lunch. We tackled that feat with ease and fun. Nap time worked for Mollie, which is always a relief. Paige’s 8th birthday is while they are here. One of her birthday surprises while here was a tea at American Girl, but since we don’t plan to be in Houston on her birthday, I bumped up the tea to yesterday in hopes of a full recovery from the am mishap. We pulled up to the store there was excitement and giggles. We endured the tea. A pricey lesson to learn. Paige didn’t care much about the tea event, and the food was horrible. I am still trying decide if this is a recovery. Then the shopping begins. We learned a few things, Paige is like her mother, decisions are overwhelming and painful. The list is endless of what a kid might want in this store. After a long ninety minutes of waffling, contemplating, crying and deciding we walked out of the store with things they had always hoped for. I decided I am certain we don’t have to return. Online shopping is much easier and relaxing. The jury is still out as to a full recovery. We will try again today!

As the mom I take great joy in being together, as the kid I know somewhere down deep they feel the same, but the plans matter too. I am still adjusting to the “emotional” children I have adopted. Continue to pray for our girls as they try so hard to grasp this new normal. We still tackle hard questions often….why does mom have cancer? Why is she in Houston? Why isn’t God hearing me?

20130326-072003.jpg

20130326-071302.jpg

20130326-072318.jpg

20130326-072729.jpg

Together in Texas

24 Mar

Today I welcomed my three cowgirls, and my cowboy. We used to always love singing that song, Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy….it seems fitting now. We are all together now in Texas. Girls were thrilled to get here. It’s funny how kids don’t get the memo that just because we talk of swimming on vacation doesn’t mean it will happen on the first day when it is 59 and windy. They don’t understand how the weather could effect the plans. Life with five is busier than one, but so full and complete.

We have flexible plans filled with fun and time together. Memories in the making. Enjoying each day for what brings, looking for ways to be His light in this dark place. Hoping for more, but trusting for today! Thankful we are united again. I love living my role of Adam’s wife and the girls mom.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
—Hebrews 13:8
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.
—Psalm 89:15

Reminders

22 Mar

To be honest when I received this letter I didn’t recall all that happened. I know I hungered to become more like Him in my “normal” wife, mom, personal trainer, friend roles. I longed for more of Him. I see I am finding Him. Blessed by someone in the outside looking in willing to share.

On a another note John, you know my old man friend, from Cleveland. he celebrated day 100! Praise God that He has given Him new life. much love and continued prayers to my friends!

Allie,

Do you remember last year, the week before you were diagnosed that you and I had dinner together? You shared your heart with me that you were praying God would do whatever it took to draw you near to Him. That you were willing to do anything to be radically changed and to love Him more completely and surrender more completely. You told me you felt like God was going to do something big in your life. It’s amazing to me to think back to then with all that has happened this year. Little did you know that leukemia was growing inside you. Little did you know what He would choose to answer your prayers. I know that you meant that prayer then, and I know that you still desire that now. I know that you want to fight and be here for Adam and for the girls, but I also know you would not take back that prayer.

I have never ever known anyone to be more refined by the fire of His love than you. He has used this suffering to burn out all of the impurities in you. He has refined you to something truly beautiful and radiant. Time after time people who don’t even know you tell me how amazing you are, and I agree with them. You are amazing, not because of who you are on your own, but because of who you have allowed Christ to transform you into. You radiate Jesus. You are infected, not just with leukemia, but with the most amazing hope. The light of Christ in you is breaking into some very dark hearts. What is in you is contagious.

Thank you for your example. Not just now, either. Thank you for the example you have been to me all of our lives. It has been a joy watching the good work that was started in you so long ago being carried out until completion. I have seen you transformed. I have seen you change and become more and more like our Savior. Thank you for being the most consistent friend I have ever had. Thank you for the times you have encouraged me, corrected me, prayed for me, forgiven me, and loved me. Thank you for the impact you have had on my life. I am so grateful for you. There are a few people in life who truly help to shape who we are, and in my life you are one of them. You were with me during one of my hardest years of life when we were at Taylor. You helped me through the time when I was learning how to make my faith my own. I’m grateful you were further on in that process than I, because I don’t know how much longer it would have taken me to take ownership of my faith if it weren’t for you.

You remind me that God is the same and His love doesn’t change based on our circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, I hate these circumstances. I hate that this is the journey that He has laid out for you. I am not happy that this is how He has chosen to answer your prayer for surrender, but you remind me that He is sovereign. You remind me that He loves us with an everlasting love, and that when all of the pieces are broken and there is nothing we can do to put them back together, that He is still worthy of our praise. My life will not be the same without you, and it is not the same because of you. I love you faithful friend, you are so precious to me.
I Peter 3:3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
This passage absolutely describes you. You show us your living hope. You are grieved by various trials, and your testing has proved your faith to be so genuine. Your life is living praise and glory and honor to Jesus Christ.

Please know I am praying for you. My heart is grieved, but I am in constant prayer for you.

Beth

Amazed by His truth and timing…

21 Mar

Holding tight…

March 21

Trust Me and don’t be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song. Think what it means to have Me as your Strength. I spoke the universe into existence; My Power is absolutely unlimited! Human weakness, consecrated to Me, is like a magnet, drawing My Power into your neediness. However, fear can block the flow of My Strength into you. Instead of trying to fight your fears, concentrate on trusting Me. When you relate to Me in confident trust, there is no limit to how much I can strengthen you.

Remember that I am also your Song. I want you to share My Joy, living in conscious awareness of My Presence. Rejoice as we journey together toward heaven; join Me in singing My Song.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
—Isaiah 12:2–3

Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
—Psalm 21:6

Ima Hog-gardens (you know you laughed)

20 Mar

20130320-210407.jpg

The weather today in Houston portrayed how my heart and mind felt. As I lay in bed in the dark of the morning I heard rain, thunder even lightening. This all seemed appropriate, and ok. It rained hard and we could hear the sound of it hitting the roof above. This is much what my heart felt yesterday, like a storm raging over me in the moments of disappointment.

But as the day turned to light the sun shone and made the storm disappear. The sun shone brightly all day and it reminded me that the storms come and they have purpose, but the sun will shine again because we are loved. So we put one foot in front of the other today and began with hope and purpose. I see His beauty all around and I am amazed at His artwork in His creation. I believe that the creator of these beautiful things made my body and loves me even as a broken vessel. I long for Him to make it well again, but work hard to remind myself that to His glory no matter what He chooses.

Thankfully I have Renee and Sam here to embark on these days. We soaked up the glorious sun and spent much of our day outside. We enjoyed a flower garden named after a lady with the name, Ima Hog, (how horrible) with the Wilkes family, and attempted to be “semi-cultured”. We later took on a longer walk around the parks in the area. Before my girls headed to bed I kissed there faces via FaceTime. It’s a new day tomorrow, and my hope remains each dawn.
Another song in my head tonight.

The sun comes up
Its a new day dawning
Its time to sing your song again
What ever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

20130320-210417.jpg

Biopsy Reveal

19 Mar

Biopsy reveal doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as baby reveal. If you don’t know what I am referring to its because your kids are older than 6. The latest thing with prego moms is to have a “reveal” party, revealing the sex of their baby. As I said this reveal does not hold a candle to that kind of joy and excitement.

I waited a lot today at MD. Waiting is not my forte, but nonetheless I wait. I felt hopeful going into today, but really in the end each day has hope. The results were not encouraging the cancer did not lessen. This took the wind out of my sails, I was flustered. Dr. Garcia-Manera didn’t seem to be discouraged. We started round two of the shots today. We will give another round in hopes that it will begin to work. He reminded me it is a slower acting drug.

As we pray for this drug we need it to kill my aggressive cancer cells. If this drug does not work there is one that is ready to go on trial that is more specific to my genetics, but we are not certain when it will be released.

I am again reminded that this road isn’t easy and that He promises to walk with us. I owe Him all the glory and even today amidst a conflicted heart I long for His glory and His good. I am sad but, the practical me says, one foot in front of the other, He loves you and has given you a purpose for today.

“Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”

This song in entirety offers hope, but these words were reassuring for today.