- Peace for Shawn and I, for Kyle and Miranda and Braden and Connor, for our parents and siblings and nieces and nephews and inner circle friends watching and hurting as we go through this
- that God would keep soft our children's hearts toward Him through all the emotions of this hard journey
- strength and stamina; physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually
- that the cancer shrinks to gone, gone, gone!
- gentle side effects to this second round of chemo
- family unity, harmony, love, strength, joy, happiness
- anything else you feel God puts on your heart

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bedtime reading

Reading Harry Potter to B tonight.  Eventually all four kids joined us.  I don't love how slow it is to read out loud but I sure do love all of us cozied together in the living room, sharing space and sharing the anticipation of a great story!

Hillsong Live - Forever Reign

Finding peace in this song.  It's in my worship playlist.  Today it came on as I walked into the living room, we were working on some tidying projects.  I was stopped in my tracks, arms raised in worship, eyes closed, lost in the love of Jesus.  One of my children saw the tears streaming down my face, came and stood with me, their little arms around me, singing and worshiping with me.  It was a beautiful moment.  I am blessed.  Cancer is horribly hard.  God is good. 

Don't Fear - Keep Going

Don’t Fear—Keep Going

by Joyce Meyer - posted August 29, 2013

If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]
—Romans 8:31
We must learn how to deal with fear before it goes too far because it will never completely go away. Feeling fear is part of being alive. We may feel fear when we are doing something we have never done before, or when the obstacles seem insurmountable, or when we don’t have the natural help we feel we need. None of this means we are cowards; it means we are human. We can only be cowardly when we allow our fears to dictate our actions or decisions, instead of following our hearts and doing what we know is right for us.
We must accept the fact that fear will never go away completely, but also know we can live boldly and courageously because God has told us that He is always with us. Because of that knowledge we can choose to ignore the fear we feel. It’s okay to feel fear; it’s not okay to act on those feelings. You see, the word fear means “to take flight” or “to run away from,” and it causes us to want to flee from what God wants us to confront.
The only acceptable attitude for a Christian to have toward fear is “I will not fear.” Do not shrink back from anything in fear. You may be going forward with something you feel God has spoken to you to do. Then something happens to make it appear that it’s not working out or that people are not in favor of it. You realize that if you do what God wants you to do, you may risk losing some friends, some resources, or your reputation.
When you feel that fear, the first impulse is to shrink back, isn’t it? God knows that, and that is why He says, “Do not fear.” When He tells us not to fear, what He means is, no matter how you feel, keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing what you believe He has told you to do because that’s the only way to defeat fear and make progress.
Trust in Him: Trust the Word of God more than you trust the lies of the devil, and keep making progress!

From the book Trusting God Day by Day by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2012 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

Click HERE for the webpage

Last night the panic and the fear was overwhelming to the point of ... I don't know the word.  I couldn't think or breathe or even cry.  Just so many feelings were pouring over me and swirling around me and pressing down on me, heaviness.  Ended up at mom and dad's, crumpled into 'trying to cry'.  Felt exactly-what-I-needed to just stand their and be held by my parents.  What else can we do but just hold each other.  It is so much.  This morning's devotional from Joyce Meyer was God's perfect timing.  The heaviness is different, maybe not less, it is something I push away all day every day, probably about 90% of my time I am pushing fear away.  Today I feel I can breathe, the weight is less.  The kids are going back to school next week, the pressure of "the last week of summer holiday" doesn't help the other many things I am working through emotionally.  It's okay.  I'm okay.

Today is a new day.  Thank you, Lord, I woke up.  I am grateful.  Going to take the kids out today for something randomly fun.  Purposing the random... I love doing that.  [smile]

Monday, August 26, 2013


People ask me am I resting enough?  People ask if I am getting enough sleep?  Yes and no, to both questions.  I sleep a full 8hrs each night, but no I don't rest or nap in the day.  When I was so sick from chemo, recovering from all that cell-rebuilding, I had to slow down.  You can't even make yourself try when you are chemo-exhausted.  And I hated always being on the couch those days.  I was so glad when I could walk myself to where the kids were, or even just sit at the table while they ate dinner.  And now that I am not chemo-sick, I don't want to be on the couch anymore.  I want my kids to see me upright, come to me when I am standing in the kitchen, I want to walk to them and with them.  And so I don't rest.  Funny, my oncologist (last appointment) told me to rest, "you still have cancer".  I am aware.  I just feel... wrong... to waste time sleeping or napping when I could be listening or taking in the life swirling around me.  [smile]  I did nap the other day, I am so tired from our epic Florida trip and mentally exhausted with the school-starts-in-a-week and just figuring things out and transitioning and just every day stuff.  And I am tired.  I wake up tired after a full night of sleep.  I am exhausted by 3pm and ready for bed, only forcing myself to stay awake til 9 or 10pm because I don't want to miss anything or be lame.  Today I ate some children's chewable vitamins to buoy my energy levels before C0stc0, maybe it helped a little, I don't know.  I did come home and make lunches (buns, meat, cheese, cucumbers and some chips for everyone... ah, memories of my childhood) and then watched part of Epic with the kids after making a huge pot of spaghetti sauce and getting that simmering.  So I am feeling that I am accomplishing things, that's awesome. 

Just figuring out a new routine, that's all.  Can't believe our summer holiday is drawing to a close.  We have sure packed in a LOT of good living this summer... we are blessed to 'usually do' have an amazing summer!  I wish we could do it all again and again and again... but I do also know that the kids are going to love their school years and I am so looking forward to the adventures and opportunities that will bring each of my sweeties.

Mmmmm, seriously smells incredibly nummy in here today!  Off to switch laundry... oh, and a little man is standing here bored so I will go play Martian Dice with him before it's time to set the table and for daddy to come home.  I don't feel as energetic as I once did, but I am so happy to note that I am still accomplishing lots of 'normal'.  [smile]

Hope you are having a fantastic day!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Three Mouseketeers

Kori ~ Kristin ~ Keri

Sisters, we three, dancing with glee
Celebrating in that magical place, Disney.

[Yes, they are twins.  We are 18 months apart in age.  
Kori and Keri tend to dress alike a lot.  
This day I happened in on the fun!]

Blown away, again.

Cleaning up the holiday trinkets, doing laundry, sorting through mail from when we were away.

Blown away, again, to open two separate love-yous coming to us.  People remembering us in prayer, sharing their love in a tangible way, giving generously because they just want this to be better for us.

I am overcome with emotion.  Just tears and tears.  I am so grateful.  I cannot get my head around the unfailing support and the ongoing care and concern and the kindnesses and generousity that we have been shown.  You people... you are just the hand of God in our days.  Honestly, God is working through you every time you send a note, leave a comment, stop me in the mall, give your regards through a friend or love on my parents or sisters or in laws.  You guys are just amazing.  I am so incredibly touched.  I feel speechless.  I can't make the words match the enormity of what my heart feels for you.

Thank you.

Oh wow.

I am thankful for you.


Woke up this morning fighting some hard thoughts.  Feeling trapped, like under the rubble of a big earthquake.  In a pocket of air, safe, but for how long?  What will shift?  Will I be rescued?  Will I die here?  And feeling the knowledge of my God holding me and loving me and standing true in His care for me.  My human nature and my hope in a delicate balance... the hope winning and keeping my spirits buoyed just enough to keep my heart and my emotions from slipping into the darkness that is panic.  Started coughing.  Got up so I wouldn't disturb Shawn's sleep.  Came downstairs.  Started having sad thoughts, "My kids will be the first to lose a parent.  I will be the first person in my circle to die."  And immediately God chided, "Only I know the plans I have for you, my dear."  Yes.  Only God knows the plans He has for me.  I am so glad to have God.

I have an appointment the Wednesday when school starts.  It is weighing very heavily on me.  Please pray for peace.  Please?   The very best thing about Disney was that there was no cancer there.  It was the most miraculous thing.  I kept my emotions at a glazed-over sort of place because my heart-joy was threatening to send me into too many tears.  But even doing my injections each night in a different Disney washroom wasn't nearly the trial it is at home.  I was healthy, I was strong, I was not thinking about cancer for the most part of two full weeks.  What a blessing.

I covet your prayers.  It is a little hard right now and I need help.  Thank you.

I don't want to write sad posts, I want to share holiday happinesses!  I want to bask in the joy and the awesome and the amazing and the blessings.  And I want to live in Disney cancer-free denial a little longer.  Today I swallowed my pride.  Things have been good, I just am not ready for the glow of holidays to dim yet.  You know?  But I need help.  And so I am asking for your prayers extra as you can.  I feel scared.  I don't want to feel scared.

Oh ya.  And I don't want to be afraid of food.  I am so sick of being conflicted by every bite of food I put in my mouth.  Seriously!  I have always eaten thoughtfully.  Yes a B ig Ma c, but yes lots of vegetables and lots of fruit and lots of green and lots of water and water and water to drink.  But you get cancer then suddenly F ace B0 0k is posting ads by 'experts' that say you shouldn't even eat fruit because cancer likes sugar and blah blah blah.  And eat meat or don't?  And juice or don't?  And eat dairy or don't?  I mean, it was already a mental warfare thing to discern what my food choices were back in the good old days of ignorance and no cancer... and now to have to worry which bite of food I put in my mouth will kill me sooner?!  That is crap!  I don't accept it  And I'm sick of worrying about it.  I still want to be thoughtful and I still want to make wise food choices... it's the scare tactics and panic-wording that keeps crossing my path (or that I'm just more susceptible and sensitive to now) that is making me crazy... and scaring me... and I don't want to be scared.

Phew.  Thank you.  That was a rant that has been building for a few weeks now... I totally respect the choices people make.  I even respect that the posts I have come across have good information in them that can be added to my knowledge/understanding base.  I am just fed up with feeling guilty all the time... and I mean, jeepers, it's not like my family is drinking powdered sugar drinks with big cartoon pitchers as the spokesperson or anything?!?!?  Oi.   Okay.  I feel better.  Please don't be offended, I just had to get that out of my head.  I still think it's about balance.  And I still think that God is in control.  I am doing my best to feed our family balanced and nutritional foods, drink lots of water, eat our veggies and get rest.  No more crazy-making food articles for me, I am fully putting blinders on!

Okay.  Thank you.

Friday, August 23, 2013

FLORIDA 2013: Epcot

After a red eye flight with connector at 4am, it was lovely to spend our first day in Florida taking it easy at our resort and then meandering through Downtown Disney.  For our first park day we chose Epcot!  I had heard mixed reviews about this being "our favourite park" and "it's okay for grown-ups" so was curious to make my own first impression... and I loved it!  The big, silver iconic ball structure is as grand and gorgeous as I expected.  I loved walking in the gates and being greeted by such a beautiful landmark!  Catching glimpses of it from different parts of the park (which is a big circle, the ball is the anchor) was exciting each time! 

After doing a 'travel through time / land of the dinosaurs' ride which my littlest boys loved (and I thought was pretty neat, too), we headed over to the Test Track.  Now THIS would become the very favourite ride of the entire trip!  First, you wind through the line past a pretty sleek sports car, next past some futuristic cars and then down a hallway with some cool hands-on car designing screens and into a create-your-own-computer-model-car room where you choose the style, engine size, aerodynamics of the car you will then "test" on the ride... the really fast, hold-onto-your-hat, wow-we-are-winging-around-this-corner ride that the kids would have done again and again and again... and that we did do multiple times! 

Even though our group is pretty even with 5 boys and 4 girls, and the boys definitely loved looking at the cars (Kyle and Braden, above) the girls were equally happy with this fast ride! 

HIDDEN MICKEY!!!   Well, Keri said it didn't count but I totally counted it!  It was a Mickey where one wasn't supposed to be... even though it was a sticker that some vandal had left there.  Whatevs.  I'm taking the point!  [smile]   The heat in Florida, which I had been warned about and was worried about (I'm a B.C. girl who likes clouds and overcast and cooler weather), was not as bad as I expected.  Yes, it was crazy-hot, about 93 with 95% humidity many days... but I didn't feel so grossly "hot".  What I felt was grossly "dripping with sweat".  The minute I stepped into sunlight or out of shade, the sweat would run rivers down my neck, my chest, my back.  So disgusting.  I just kept thinking, "it's cleansing, it's cleaning out the chemo, it's good for my body to detox this way"... and at every single snack cart or restaurant stop I would grab a 1" or more stack of napkins to wipe the sweat away... and would run out within about 20 feet of the stop!  Seriously.  Gross.   Not all day every day, but a lot.  Definitely worse first thing in the morning when we went from air conditioned bus to walking into the park.  My body took a while to adjust.  But I wasn't hot.  Just sweating.  Strange.  On this first day I hadn't figured out "the bun"... as you may know if you have seen me since we returned, "the bun" is my new favourite hair-do as it blends the new-growing-in front hairs nicely with the up-doing of the long rest of my hairs.  [smile] 

Ooooh, the C0 ke shop!   This shop had C0 ca-C 0la from around the world... and some of it was pretty gross by our standards!  One was super perfumey, one was so bitter it left your mouth puckering.  Very interesting, but very fun!!!

What I loved the absolute most about Epcot, and would go again and again if I lived closer, was the pavillions!  Epcot was built as a World's Fair originally, and so the buildings and themes are of countries around the world!  Awesome!  In some 'countries' there is a ride, some a film, some just a shop.  Shawn and I were blessed to travel through Europe when we graduated university, and I had been to Japan as an exchange student after grade 11... my parents are huge travellers and my kids are very interested in learning about new cultures.  This place was a dream for us!  

In our family, the plan has been to take each kid on a trip for their 15th birthday (before they start working and we have to juggle around jobs).  With Kyle turning 15 this fall that dream is suddenly a reality smacking us in the face of all that the past year has been, and Momma not working and such.  So, we will see how the trip thing works out.  My dream for Miranda has been to take her to Japan.  I loved my time in Japan, loved the culture and tradition and modern and work ethic and the people and want to take my girl there. 

Walking into the Japan pavilion at Epcot hit my heart with a big slap of "can cross this off my bucket list" followed by the panic of "if you cross things off your bucket list then do you just be done and die?" and then the panic of "I don't want to die" followed by fighting back the incredible flood of tears that comes if I even dare to think half a millisecond on my kids doing life without me.  Gah!   And then it was the joy of the trip and the joy on Miranda's face to be "in Japan" with me.  And then Braden found the Pokemon and Ponyo stuffies (he is a huge fan of anime and things that are collections/sets).  And then we watched the "choose a pearl" which Miranda thought she would do until she found... [trumpet fan fare please]... The Kimono Shop.  And she fell in love.  And in that instant my daughter, who tends to be a not-into-things person became infused with an inner joy and contentment and assuredness that became her getting fitted for kimono.  The girl helping us was beautiful inside and out, so kind, so patient, so pleased that I had been to Japan and had fallen in love with her country.  Miranda was beaming.  If I could have bottled up that moment, that room, that feeling of pure happy and contentment in and around my daughter, I would have.  I will hold that feeling that was exuding from Miranda dear to my heart for always.  Such a special moment.  And I got to take my daughter to Japan.  I am in tears just thinking on it.  Such a special, special blessing that moment was.  So very special to this Momma's heart.  Like, a promise kept. 

 The pavilions at Epcot are all set around a huge lake. The building above is France.  There was a perfumery and library ... and the sweet fragrance coming from the perfumery was the most lovely smell I have ever ever ever ever inhaled in my entire life.  Wow.  I could have stood there for an hour.  It was intoxicating and beautiful.  The Canada pavilion had a theatre-in-the-round with a movie hosted by Martin Short (he's Canadian, eh!).  It was very fun to note that I had been to every single highlighted Canadian sight except for three.  Three!  Wow!  I've been a lot of cool places... thank you to my husband who has made that happen and who has brought me on business trips! Norway was a boat ride through Viking history and fjords, very pretty.  In the lake there was a nightly fireworks and light show that was incredible!  A huge globe came out on a barge, video highlights of various countries were shown on the continents... very cool!  And then the whole thing opened up and fireworks shot out of it.  Seriously, so well done and awesome!  My kids all agreed that Epcot was their favourite park.  Interesting, right?  They loved Test Track (ride) and they also loved the different countries.  We would definitely go back!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to School prep

I love school.  I love school for my kids.  I love learning and the September-June scheduling and all the crazy that goes with it.  But...

It's a grim thing to be updating the family calendar and hearing this icky voice making cancer-comes-back comments or feelings that sort of try to wash over my excitement at Report Card Day (we always celebrate with ice cream first, and then I sit with each child individually and go through their report card excruciatingly slowly and subject-by-subject... tee hee) or Christmas Concert or Year End Party or any of the other scheduled stuff I'm inputting.

Ah, those nasty voices in my head.  Satan... GET OUT!  You are not in charge here.  You may not set up camp here, nor anywhere in my vicinity.  God has got a plan and I know that I am in it.  Get behind me, Satan, YOU SHALL NOT PREVAIL!!!

I claim joy and I claim happy and I claim excitement and good-anticipation about what this new school year will be for our family!  God is here.  I love that!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Family Vacation: Orlando, Florida

After a whirlwind of planning, miraculous finding of flights and hotels for 17, lickety-split packing, and some red eye flying we made it to DISNEYWORLD!!!! What an amazing fourteen days we enjoyed in a fabulous resort, at beautiful parks, and on magical adventures! My mind cannot quite comprehend all that we did in those non-stop days, I am so thankful for the 3,500+ photos I have to prove it all! Thank you to those of you who prayed for travel safety and good health, we enjoyed both. This was our first full-family holiday and I have to was such an incredible blessing and joy!

We experienced Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Disney Quest, Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Universal Studios Orlando with Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a Character Breakfast with Pooh Bear and Tigger and Alice and Mad Hatter and Mary Poppins, boat rides and torrential downpours and blazing hot sun and an amazing Lion King show (like Cirque de Soleil), live shows of Beauty and the Beast and Nemo, water rides and roller coasters and safaris with lions and cheetah and elephants and rhinos right at the jeep, and incredible food, and little tropical birds that tried to steal your fries, and huge ice cream sundaes and frozen lemondades and lobster roll sandwiches and chicken and ribs and Mickey Mouse frozen ice cream sandwiches and Haunted Mansions and Splash Mountain and fast pass acquisitions by Roger and Dave and and and and and... Seriously, incredible.

What a trip to remember!!!!!

We brought a wheelchair for me in case the walking was too much, but I am so proud to say that I power-walked almost the whole thing, using the wheelchair only to sit just once or twice! I let Shawn push me for about five minutes one night, that's it. And any of you who have ever walked with Mom or Keri or Kori knows that those ladies walk at a jogger pace! Praising God for the good health, the strength and the stamina!

We've been home for three days now (arrived at 5am Monday) and I could be happy to go again tomorrow!! [smile]

Such an amazing trip. Really, just incredible! We are so blessed.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Enjoying every minute!!!

What a good summer this is!  Can't believe how blessed we are with time and energy and sights and smiles!

Hope your summer is going just as wonderfully!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I got a blister on my toe!

Yes, it's true, I have a blister on my toe. 

Why, you may ask, am I telling you this?

I am telling you this happy news because a blister on my toe means I am walking and seeing and doing all sorts of fun things with my family.  Blisters on toes are what happen when you are up and off the couch and living life pretty full.  

And I knew you would want to celebrate this with me!  [smile]