Another First has Passed

Good Sunday morning, my friends!

Here in the Hill Country of Texas it is a gorgeous morning!  The sky is a lovely shade of blue with wispy white clouds just hanging in the sky.  I think it is setting up to be another hot one…not in triple digits but warm nonetheless.  It is relatively quiet this morning with sounds only of insects, the humming of a lone hummingbird and the breeze blowing through the oaks.  That’s entirely okay with me.  Quiet can be a great blessing!

When I wrote my post last week I had begun to really feel the pressure and sadness of Steve’s upcoming birthday.  I wish I could say that my mood improved over the course of the week but I would be lying and I don’t wish to lie!

The rest of the week just continued to spiral.  I cried every single day.  More than once.  I hate to admit it but I am not one of those women that look sweet and more beautiful when they cry. (Oh, is that only in the movies?!). I am one ugly crier let me tell you.  Red nose, puffy eyes that get smaller as I bawl.  I will leave the rest of the description to your imagination.

Steve’s birthday was on Thursday.  I went by his gravesite in the morning before going over to my daughter’s house. It was a lovely day and the cemetery was dotted with color from flowers brought by people whose loved ones currently reside under the ground at  Holy Cross.  I bawled and wrote yet another letter to him.  Leaving after about a half hour, I called my son, Matthew, picked up tacos for Lauren and Leah and spent the morning over there.  At 2:30, I hauled butt back to my house where I had just enough time to shower, change and get to SA to meet my mom and Lauren’s family at the restaurant.

I made it!

Steve had to be laughing his head off at what happened next.  Lauren and family arrived right as I was walking in so I turned around to help get the kids out of the car.
I had taken great care to wear something bright and with no collar as that was required dress for my evening adventure.  I took Leah out of the car and she cries, “My tummy hurts!” and proceeds to vomit all over me!  As I struggled to comprehend what was going on another volley of stomach contents spewed out and down the front of our shirts.  Finally, my brain kicked in and I put her down where she threw up a third time.  Poor Lauren is standing there, wringing her hands saying, “What do I do?”  “Do we leave?”   I asked for water and cleaned us up as well as I could and we went in to dinner.

A trip to the restroom made me, at the very least, presentable but, oh my gosh, I cannot imagine how badly we must have smelled.  Leah was fine, just car sick and hungry.  We decided to hold our noses and we just laughed and laughed!  Why did I say that Steve was probably laughing at what went on?  Because when the kids were little he was the one onto whom they ALWAYS threw up.  Never me…just Steve.  At the house, in the insurance office, at the doctor’s office, in the truck.  You name the place, he had most likely experienced being thrown up there!  I guess it was finally my turn.

After dinner, Lauren gave me her blouse (yup, she gave me the shirt off of her back) and Mom and I moved on to the next part of Steve’s birthday celebration.  Every time Steve and I drove past the iFly Indoor Skydiving sign he said, “One day we should look into that!”  So I did!  It was such a blast!  The instructor, Dave, was phenomenal.  I felt safe, did a great job of controlling my body and even did some 360s which they said most newbies don’t/can’t do!  I am going back.  I’ve even put “sky diving” on my bucket list.  Steve is probably cringing at that one!

Funny thing is…after Steve’s birthday everything started to fall back into place.  Spirit has improved a bit each day.  Productivity has increased as I have finished binding two baby blankets,  began two more and  designed a wall hanging for a Wounded Warriors event.   I attended a small theatre production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown last night which got the juices flowing for a new painting.

Remember…

“weeping may endure or a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalms 30:5

Enjoy the photos and have a glorious week!

 

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When Joy is Hard to Find

Happy Wednesday!

After almost a full week of mostly sunshiny weather, today is cold, wet and drabby. Yuck! Steve left early this morning to meet his buds, Andrew and Brian, for breakfast and since I have some time before I need to head into town to spend the day with Mom I’m writing.

It doesn’t take a genius to notice that I’ve written very little this past year. My last post was in September and since then I have struggled. Yup…struggled to write. Why?

Many writers say that, when bad or unexplainable events occur in their lives, they write. I used to think that I, too, used writing to process life but I have found that, for me, it doesn’t work like that. Apparently I tend to process life, decisions, and fears in my own head. I don’t know why.  Perhaps I just don’t want to put down the darkest, ugliest parts of my thoughts on paper (or in cyberspace) for all to see. But, if that is the case, that’s really not very honest of me, is it? Isn’t the primary purpose of writing to “let your voice be heard”? Maybe I haven’t wanted to write down what is happening in our lives because I don’t want my children, friends and family to know how much I worry on a daily basis about Steve, how sad I am much of the time when I think about life without him…how my heart breaks with every cough and tired sigh he makes.

Maybe…maybe…I just need to write anyway.

Fifteen months have passed since Steve’s diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer. The diagnosis hit us like a ton of bricks but we’ve managed to maintain a sense of normalcy in our daily lives. Our faith in God and our hope for complete healing helps us through each day. Truth is, the prognosis for this kind of cancer is bleak. Statistics indicate that 50% of people who are diagnosed with this kind of cancer will die within eight months. Of the remaining 50% only 18% will survive five years. So, you see, his future is uncertain at best. Steve has managed to beat the first set of stats…and for that we are more than grateful.

Life, however, has been harder for him the past couple of weeks and I’m so afraid that he is starting to give up. Yesterday, as he struggled to catch his breath after a coughing fit, he said, “I’m so tired of this!” Well, we just cannot have THAT so I find myself teasing him, cajoling him to eat, pushing him to get up and move, encouraging him to go out with his friends and saying, “It’s going to get better”. But is it?

I find myself getting pretty teary when I think of the dreams we had.  Dreams of taking trips and making memories together with the grandkids.  Now those dreams seem so far away. My heart shatters when I think of Steve not getting to know Leah, Landon or the new baby that is on it’s way as they grow older. The thought of my grown children not having their sweet daddy at the other end of the telephone to share their accomplishments, stories of their workday and family life, their hopes, dreams and worries just makes me so incredibly sad.  Tears just flow more easily some days and joy is a bit out of reach.

This morning, as I mindlessly flicked through Pinterest, I read a quote by Kay Warren. She said, “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of ALL the details of my life. The quiet confidence that ultimately EVERYTHING is going to be okay and the determined CHOICE to praise God in all things.”

I agree. So today, in between the bouts of sorrow, despair and worry, I choose to praise God for the life we have been given, for the life we have lived and for the future, whatever that future may look like.

God has provided us a lifetime of joys. This experience with cancer is just a bobble in the time continuum. A rough patch. Even within this tough period, God is here and I believe that Nehemiah had it right when he said, “The joy of the Lord is my strength”.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the joys of life that you have laid at our feet. Thank you for always being there, when life is joyful and when that joy is hard to find. Thank you for holding my husband in the palms of your hands and, although I pray for his complete healing of this horrible disease, I know that You know best. I only ask that you help me to show Steve how much he is loved on a daily basis and that he feels Your love and presence always.

Amen

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