How to honor a Mother that is dishonorable

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I know. That sounds odd. But let’s face it, not all mothers are Donna Reed, Claire Huxtable, or June Cleaver. Some could only dream about being as good as Roseanne. It’s a sad state we are in. While many mothers are working hard to raise their children to be respected citizens of society, there are many that have shirked their duties and have opted to break that mother/child bond. When it comes to Mother’s Day, how do you reconcile honoring a mother that has done nothing to merit that honor? I’m not talking about a mother who didn’t let you have soda for dinner, or made you eat your brussels sprouts, or made you take a bath. I’m talking about those mothers who are narcissistic or hateful or abusive. How do you honor them?

This really is a hard subject. Mother’s Day is hard for many. Some aren’t a mother, I’ve been there. Some don’t have good relationships with their mothers, and I’ve been there, too. So not everyone enjoys a Hallmark moment on Mother’s Day. Today we’ll deal with the strained mother relationship. The Bible clearly commands, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20: 12) It’s one of the 10 commandments. How do you get around that? “But, God, you know my mother. Surely you will exempt me from this commandment!” The answer is “no.” We won’t be exempt.

My husband once told me (Forget that. He’s told me this many, many, MANY times), “You cannot control how others act toward you, but you can control how you respond.”  I have enough to answer for without having to answer for everyone else. (Whew! Thank goodness!) I tell my girls, “You don’t have to answer for how your sister treats you, you DO have to answer for how you treat your sister.” So the best thing (and biblical thing) to do is to apply the same principle.

The Bible says in Romans 12:18, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” God wants us to do our part in keeping relationships. Even if you don’t agree with them. Even if they hurt you. Even if they take your parking space up front when it is raining. We are responsible for our actions. Ephesians says “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32) This goes for all our relationships. So no matter what my mother does or says to me, I need the right attitude.

Maybe you are in a situation where the relationship is so strained you don’t speak. Or she wouldn’t speak to you if you tried. This is where, I believe, it is all about my attitude. Put away bitterness, wrath, anger, evil speaking and be forgiving in your heart. If you can forgive her, there may be a time of restoration, and you’ll be ready for it. Maybe there won’t be restoration. If not, then you can meet your Saviour with a clear conscience that you did your part. He will only hold you accountable for your actions and thoughts. It’s not enough to not talk about it. The psalmist said in Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” God knows our thoughts. If you harbor bitterness, He’ll know. Besides “what’s in the well always comes up in the bucket.” If you have bitterness and anger on the inside, it will eventually manifest itself. Psalm 37:8 states, “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” We often want to get the upper hand. God says don’t. If we cease anger and forsake wrath, we won’t desire to do evil. “Do not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21) My favorite verse in the last couple years has been Exodus 14:14. “The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Yay! God, the creator of the world, the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the God of angel armies, will fight for me. And He’ll do much better than I.

In Matthew 5, in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ is telling his disciples it’s not hard to love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy. Anyone can do that. Even the natural man. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44) The best thing you can do for your situation is pray. Do you know how hard it is to stay angry at someone for whom you are diligently praying? Praying blessings over them. I also think we should be thankful for the good memories. Satan wants you to dwell on the bad. That’s how he keeps the vicious cycle of bitterness and anger going. You dwell on the bad, nurse those hurts, and replay the moments over and over again in your mind. Philippians 4:8 states, “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are  lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

You also don’t have to repeat the type of upbringing you had. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” Yes!! As a believer in Christ I can be different. In fact, I SHOULD be different. God knows that a mother’s gentle love is not automatic. In Titus 2 the older woman are instructed to teach the younger women to love their children. Some of us can’t imagine NOT loving our children. But God knew it would not always be the natural response. He made provisions for those sweet older ladies to instruct the younger woman. Teach them what is important and what isn’t. Remind them the days are long, but the years are short. Encourage them to let their little princesses walk out of the house in mismatched clothing because they picked it out themselves and are proud of that feat. Instill Godly character in their children.  Teach them to set the dishes aside and play Candyland, or legos, or superheroes. Put the laundry down and have a tea party. Love them. Unconditionally.

So remember, God will not hold you accountable for how your mother treats you. Your mother will have to answer for that. But you will give an account for your actions, your words, and your thoughts. Choose to live in joy. Choose to live with a forgiving spirit. Be an example and an encouragement to others. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works (or attitude), and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (parenthesis mine).

Happy Pastor’s Wife Appreciation Month

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I never know how to really write that title. Is it Pastor’s Wife – singular? Is it Pastor’s Wives –  indicating a pastor has more than one wife? Is it Pastors’ Wives? Oh, well, I think you understand anyway. Somewhere, someone  has deemed March as the month to honor your Pastor’s wife. I want to be careful in writing this because I am the wife of the pastor. I am in no way writing this to rebuke the ladies at our church. Quite the contrary. I’d like to use their example to encourage you to do the same.

First, a few things about pastors’ wives. She is a church member, just like you. She was not born with superhero powers. Her parents did not send her to earth in an egg shaped capsule. She cannot read your mind. (Whew!) She probably did not major in Pastor Wife in college. While my husband was still in Bible college, we served in a church in Springfield, Missouri. A young woman often asked Mrs. Cobb, who was the pastor’s wife, if she would teach a class at the church on how to be a pastor’s wife. After turning down this request numerous times, Mrs. Cobb held up a toilet brush and said, “Do you know what this is? Do you know how to use one? Good. You, too, can be a pastor’s wife.” A pastor’s wife is a woman who is serving the Lord, same as you. The only difference is, she is married to the Pastor.

Depending on the size of your church, your pastor’s wife may wear many hats. In smaller churches I’ve found she wears quite a few. I’ve been pianist, nursery worker, nursery coordinator, fellowship planner, Sunday School teacher, jr church worker, custodian and so on. I’m not complaining. Most of the time I enjoy it. (Let’s face it, every one gets tired now and then.) But remember, your pastor’s wife may have children of her own, she may work outside the home, she may home school. She has all the responsibilities you have at home, and she still finds time to serve. Most importantly, she does it to serve the Lord. Her goal is to please Him in all she says and does. I Corinthians 10:31 states “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do ALL to the glory of God.” (emphasis mine) This should be every Christian woman’s desire. Secondly, she does it to be a helper to her husband. Proverbs 31 tells us that the woman in this chapter behaved herself in such a way that “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her,” (Proverbs 31:11a) I want my husband to trust me. I don’t want to be known as what the Bible calls Silly Women. I want to help and not hinder the ministry. Finally, she does it to be an example to her children. I want my children to know serving the Lord is required of the Lord. I Corinthians 4:2 tells us, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Notice the word required. Faithfulness is not suggested, it is required. I want to model that for my children. Oh, I’ll fail, but I have to keep trying. And I want them to ENJOY it. Ministry is an exciting thing. We have a good time. There is an old song that says, “There is joy in serving Jesus.” You can have that joy, too. It’s not just for staff.

So now to the ladies I serve with. Last year, some ladies saw that March was Pastor’s Wife Appreciation month, so they decided to join in. They’ve always recognized my birthday, which is also in March, but now they add to it. I’ve received certificates for manicures and pedicures, certificates to have my hair done, and a massage. They have given me money for hats (Kentucky Derby style to wear on Sunday mornings) and purses. This year has been my favorite so far. The ladies all took a different day in the month of March to bring me and my family dinner. So for over half of the month I have dinner taken care of. These dates are spread out so we can enjoy leftovers. This is my favorite because each lady is giving of herself in some way. It may be a home cooked meal. It may be a certificate to my favorite restaurant. I’m only a couple of meals into this and we have enjoyed it so much. Even this past Sunday morning, one lady brought me a chocolate pie. It was still warm. yummmmmmmm… Only problem is I had to wait until after church to eat it. (Next time I won’t. I think I’ll start carrying a fork in my purse for occasions such as these.) I serve alongside some wonderful ladies, and not just because they bring me pie. They are a blessing to my heart and I count it a privilege to work with them.

I’d like to encourage you, if you appreciate your pastor’s wife (and you should), take a minute this month to let her know. It doesn’t have to be dinner. It could be a sweet note mailed to her home, it could be a drink at her favorite coffee shop, it could be a gift certificate to her favorite store, or it could just be a big hug while you tell her how much you love her. My next post will be how to honor your pastor’s wife all year (and it won’t cost a dime!)

 

It’s Prematurity Awareness Day!!

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I have blogged about Emma’s journey before, so I don’t really want to retell the whole story. We will never know just why Emma was born prematurely. The nurse at her birth thought it might have been an infection, but where that came from she didn’t know. My doctor said that is the blanket answer. Often it’s contributed to an infection, but the cause is really unknown. I do know this, God allowed it. For whatever reason, God chose us to go down this path.

Little Emma a day or two after she was born.

Little Emma a day or two after she was born. The pink cloth on the right side of the picture was her scent cloth. We slept with it and put it in her bed so she could get accustomed to us.

Any baby born before 37 weeks is considered premature. According to the March of Dimes, 1 out of 9 births is a premature birth. Micro preemies are babies born before week 32 (some stats say week 30). Chances of survival for a baby born at Emma’s gestation is 55%-70%. Just 10-15 years ago the chances of survival were much, much lower. Of babies born this early, only 30%-40% will develop normally without any major health issues or concerns. These babies are born purple. Their skin is transparent so you see the blood vessels underneath. Emma has a very high pain tolerance. I’m convinced it is because of all the poking and prodding she endured those first 89 days of life. I assumed all preemies were visited by their parents. Sadly, I learned that some preemies are already in state custody and NICU nurses are the only contact some of them have.

Eyes wide open

Eyes wide open

love those baby feet and teeny toes

love those baby feet and teeny toes

It is a scary thing to have a baby at 26 weeks and not know how things are going to go.  I remember one of the nurses warning us we would have a couple of good days and then a bad day. She was right. The first couple of days looked promising and then “Wham!” here came our bad day. That pattern continued for weeks. I’ll never forget the day the Nurse Practitioner, Gina, came in with the worse case scenarios. Possibilities included vision loss, hearing loss, developmental delays, neurological disorders, cerebral palsy, and the list went on. If I had no God in which to put my trust, that conversation would have been very bleak. I realized after that she was just doing her job. Unfortunately, they have to do that. But I appreciated the way she talked to us and explained things and let us ask questions. Gina became a sweet friend during our NICU stay. This is great considering how we first met. The day after I was released I went to Emma’s room. When I asked if I could just go on in she said yes and asked if I was Emma’s grandma. (If I had a dollar for every time I was asked that!!)  I remember one day she came in, sat down, and we just talked. Some of it was about Emma, some about our journey through infertility, part of the conversation was about her and her health journey, but always about how God is good. She always made time for us even after we graduated from the NICU.

Believe it or not, Emma was was almost 5 months old in this picture. She still probably only weighed around 8 lbs.

Believe it or not, Emma was was almost 5 months old in this picture. She still probably only weighed around 8 lbs. Photo by Krystal Inman Photography

I love our NICU nurses. They are fabulous. It still amazes me how these people can work 12 hour shifts on what I would consider a high stress level job. I never heard anyone complain. I never heard any of them gripe about another nurse. They answered our questions and were patient. We were there a lot so we had a lot of questions. They were very professional, but they were so personable. We had 24 access to our nurses. We could live in her room if we wanted. We could call any hour of the day or night and check on Emma. They always answered and were always happy to tell us how our baby was doing. Though we did have excellent doctors, Dr. Siddiqui being one of my favorites, it was the nurses who watched over Emma every day. They got to know her. Once she was able to cry, they learned she only cried when she was dirty. One of her nurses made Emma her first hair bow. They made a nameplate for her bed. They called her by name.

One of Emma's first bows. Thanks, Nurse Tiffany!

One of Emma’s first bows. Thanks, Nurse Tiffany!

Emma in her glass bed, just like Sleeping Beauty.

Emma in her glass bed, just like Sleeping Beauty.

Those nurses are my heroes. If I started to list them by name, I know I’d forget someone. But every single nurse that took care of our precious baby has a hand in the beauty she is today. Many of these nurses still keep in touch with us, and I always want Emma to know how these angels were used by God to accomplish a purpose.

Emma being silly playing in the dog's crate.

Emma being silly playing in the dog’s crate.

Our vivacious Emma will be 3 in January. It is often hard to believe that she went through all she went through. We have had the privilege of having awesome speech and physical therapists working with her to help her along.  We are almost caught up on every level, and I’m praying by the time we start kindergarten, she’ll be right on grade level. We have purchased a preemie baby doll to give Emma a point of reference when she gets older. (www.weebundles.com)  I want her to see just how tiny she was and what a miracle she has been.

This doll was made to be the exact length and weight as Emma when she was born.

This doll was made to be the exact length and weight as Emma when she was born.

If you know of a family that has a preemie, go visit them, even if you don’t get to see their precious blessing. The parents need a short break, a diversion. Take them a meal (we found out the hard way we weren’t supposed to eat in our room. Oops!) or get them a gift card to a restaurant close by. Take them a Starbucks card. We had one right across the street. Send them a fuel card. They will spend lots of time traveling to the hospital, even if they live in the same town. Above all, pray for them. Pray for the baby, the parents, the siblings if there are any, and especially the doctors and nurses. No matter what the medical community will tell them, God is sovereign. I am so thankful that through it all, God is in control, and especially grateful that God saw fit to bring Emma through.

Physical therapy time!

Physical therapy time!

Giving us last minute instructions before we graduate.

Giving us last minute instructions before we graduate.

Even the nurse manager kept tabs on little Emma.

Even the nurse manager kept tabs on little Emma.

We loved the entire medical staff.

We loved the entire medical staff.

One of the fabulous nurses at St. John Tulsa

One of the fabulous nurses at St. John Tulsa

Third time’s a charm.

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This is the story of baby #3. I will admit, Courtney’s story seems very average, very boring. It was a regular pregnancy, just like thousands of others each year. After she was born I remember one of my first doctors in Florida telling me: “I don’t think you’ll ever get pregnant, but even if you do, you’ll never be able to carry a baby full term.” To me she is still a miracle, as all babies are.

I have to be transparent here. When I found out I was pregnant a third time, just a year after Emma was born, I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down with joy at first. PLEASE don’t misunderstand me here. I was not angry I was pregnant. I was not in despair. I was nervous. I was scared. You have to remember, we spent 15 years on Infertility Road. 15. Quite a few of those years were spent in testings, medications, doctor appointments, disappointments, etc… And then, years after “giving up,” our first pregnancy happened. That pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Then Emma came along. What a journey that was (and still is to some degree.)  My biggest battles are in my mind. I don’t really struggle with outward vices, but I struggle sometimes keeping my thoughts captive. “I’m so old!” “What if this one ends in miscarriage?” “What if this one is a micro-preemie and things don’t go as well?” “What if…” “What if…” Once I settled in my mind and heart that God was in control, I knew we could face another miscarriage. My husband and I could face another micro-preemie. God had a plan, whatever it was. If Sarah and Abraham could have a baby at 90 and 100 respectively, I could certainly trust him when I was 41.

My first doctor appointment with Courtney’s pregnancy was a memorable one. My doctor’s new nurse was in the room with me doing all the preliminaries when she said, “I have to commend you.” I, looking confused, answered, “Why is that?” Her response was, “I just had to write down your age. Wow!” Haha! Geriatric pregnancy at its finest. My doctor did decide to take some extra precautions due to my history and age. He said the majority of his practice is spent trying to calm pregnant women down, but he was going to tell me just the opposite. “If anything doesn’t seem right, ANYTHING, you call immediately. Don’t wait. We don’t want to take any chances.” (He obviously knows me well. With all I’ve been through, I have to be dying before I call a doctor. I don’t usually freak out at the little things.) At week 22 I started taking a shot every week. It was supposed to help prolong the pregnancy. Normally it starts around week 24, but due to my history, the doctor started early. My doctor’s philosophy: “We want to do what we can humanly speaking, but God is in control.” So every Friday for fourteen weeks I went in to see Deidre. (Yes, one of the nurses has the same name, she just pronounces it wrong.)

My due date was December 5th, but my doctor had scheduled a c-section for December 2. (He told us if I went all the way to my due date she’d be at least a 9 lb baby)  He wanted to schedule it for the week of Thanksgiving, but the schedule at the hospital was full. I was not excited at the prospect of spending Thanksgiving Day in the hospital. Dr. Collins told me they had a real good Thanksgiving meal at the hospital, but that didn’t change my mind. Regardless, my hospital bags, as well as suitcases for the girls, were packed at week 25. I kept switching out outfits for Courtney. Once we passed week 32, I took out the preemie outfit and put in the newborn. When we found out about week 37 that she could possibly be a 9 lb + baby, I took out the newborn clothes and packed 0-3 months. I figured it wasn’t too early to start the whole I-don’t-know-what-to-wear routine. She is a girl after all.

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Her she is right after she was born. All 8.5 pounds of her. The nurses added her bow. She was such a chunky little thing.

Tuesday, November 26 was our Thanksgiving service at church. After church we went home, got the girls in bed, and went downstairs to watch TV while I finished working on Courtney’s stocking. Knowing my husband had the day off the next day and we had no plans, we figured we could stay up late watching a movie. If I remember right, we went to bed just after 1 am. At 3 am, two short hours after going to bed, my water broke and off we went. We called MeMaw (the girls have an adopted gramma here in town) and told her we were on our way. We dropped off the girls (who never went back to sleep), went to the hospital, and waited. My husband is the greatest because he fed me ice chips every time I had a contraction. I swear it made it better. It was probably all in my mind, but hey, whatever works. I love modern medicine and was able to get an epidural at 5 pm.  I’ll skip the unnecessary details, but sweet Courtney Elizabeth was born via c-section at 10:33 pm, Wednesday, November 27. (They made a room for me even though they were supposed to be full that week). She weighed in at a whopping 8 pounds 8.5 ounces. (Remember, my only other live birth was under 2 pounds. 8 1/2 pounds is huge!) There is no denying she belongs to me. She is the spitting image of her momma!

Ready to go home! Look at those boots! My friend Kari made them. I have the matching hat, but it covered up all that hair.

Ready to go home! Look at those grey crocheted boots! My friend Kari made them. I have the matching hat, but it covered up all that hair.

As you have probably figured out, we spent Thanksgiving at the hospital. I did have the hospital lunch, or at least part of it. We had some sweet friends bring up some meals, so we had home cooking after all. Courtney’s birthday will fall on Thanksgiving Day every 5 years I think. This year is one of those years. On the advice of a friend who finds herself in the same position, Courtney will not have pumpkin pie as her birthday cake.

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Courtney with Dr. Collins

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Courtney’s first Sunday at church. Black dress with white polka dots, white sweater, and a black and white striped bow that’s bigger than her head.

At her 9 month check up, her pediatrician made the comment, “She is too easy. That’s not fair.” Then she laughed and added, “But after all you’ve been through, I’d say you’ve paid your dues.” Courtney is now 11 months old and just over 22 pounds. (Lydia didn’t even weigh that much when we brought her home at 14 months.) She is right on target for everything. I have to remind myself that she is not a genius. When she started crawling I thought, “Oh wow! This is so early.” When she started pulling up on furniture I thought, “She is so advanced!” When she first said “Mama” I just knew she was the smartest kid ever. Not really. I just have to remind myself that Lydia was 14 months when we brought her home. We know nothing of when she started doing everything. Emma was developmentally delayed, so she was at least 4 months behind on everything. Courtney is not a genius. Not that we know of right now. She is developing right on schedule. She is a perfectly normal baby and I am one perfectly blessed mommy.

I never dreamed all those years ago when we first got our diagnosis of PCOS that we would be where we are today, but I am so thankful: thankful for God’s blessings, thankful for God’s timing, and thankful God is ultimately in control. I have no idea why God has directed our paths in this way, but I know I wouldn’t change anything. I have three beautiful blessings that I wouldn’t trade for the world, even if I will be drawing social security by the time the last one graduates from high school.

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My 3 beauties all pretty in pink.

 

Laundry Soap!

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Yes, I jumped on the homemade laundry soap bandwagon. About 2 years ago my fabulous sister-in-law, Angie, gave me a recipe. It is easy, cheap, and lasts a super long time. (I may have made 3 full recipes in the last two years?)  It is even gentle enough to wash baby clothes and doesn’t have a strong smell. My husband has an allergy to strong scents, so this soap is perfect.

My laundry soap jar pictured with all the ingredients (and my grater.)

My laundry soap jar pictured with all the ingredients. I only made half the recipe in this picture. I didn’t have enough Washing Soda.

So here it is:

  • 6 cups Borax
  • 6 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • 1 1/2 bars Ivory soap, grated (I use the small holes)

Mix all together and use 1 tablespoon per load. (On really dirty loads I will use just a little more.)

I did the math and found out there are 16 tablespoons in a cup, so with 12 cups of detergent that comes to 192 tablespoons, or 192 loads. It is actually a little more than that because I didn’t include the Ivory in the calculation. If I were to measure that, I would have over 200 loads per recipe.

It probably costs me around $10 for all the ingredients and I don’t use all of it for one recipe. I always have some left over.

Happy laundering!

Alfredo sauce

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My hubby is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Fortunately, from time to time, he doesn’t mind indulging in a little pasta. One of my favorites is fettucini chicken alfredo. Thanks to the sauce, my hubby really likes it as well. I received this recipe from a co-worker in Tampa, Florida. I was amazed at how easy it is. (you can also substitute sharp cheddar cheese for the parmesan and make a yummy cheese sauce for things like broccoli.)

Fettucini alfredo with garlic bread

Fettucini alfredo with garlic bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or Italian cheese blend)
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • garlic salt to taste

Melt butter over low heat. Blend in flour and salt. Add milk all at once. Whisk constantly until thickened. Add parmesan and stir until melted. Add garlic to taste. (If mixture is too thick, add a little milk until desired consistency is achieved.)

We serve this over fettucini noodles and grilled chicken (I use Italian seasoning on the chicken.) Of course, don’t forget the garlic bread! Buon Appetito!

 

 

Home Sweet Home

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Last Wednesday I met my radiation oncologist at the hospital and swallowed my little radioactive pill. My husband dropped me off at our church’s missions house and I spent 2 1/2 days in seclusion. 52 hours, 9 movies (I think), 2 mini-series, 1 church project, 8 Classical Conversations/home school projects, and 1 case of bottled water later, my sweet family picked me up. Hugs and kisses all around! It’s good to be home. I missed my couch, my chair, my bed, my girlies, my husband, my sudoku puzzle book (I forgot to take it with me), and not necessarily in that order. I did, however, get to spend over 3 uninterrupted hours on the phone. (My girls can ignore me ALL day until my phone rings. They think it is their “now is the time to ask mom lots of questions” alarm.)

My family had decided we would celebrate my recovery and return to the general population. I thought we were just going to dinner. We headed downtown to eat at Hideaway Pizza. After being seated, one of the managers came over with a balloon bouquet and my favorite gift bag (thanks, Huntington Fine Jewelers). My hubby had already dropped off the balloons earlier in the day and had packed the gift bag in the diaper bag. He’s sneaky that way. Our waiter came to the table and said, “Wow! Are we celebrating a birthday?” My hubby explained I just finished my treatment for cancer and we were celebrating. Our waiter was so kind and seemed genuinely excited for the news as he offered his congratulations. Lydia, my oldest, enjoyed explaining the significance of the pink, purple, and teal balloons. I did not realize that those are the colors for thyroid cancer. (I know, I know, there is a color for everything. But it is less annoying when those colors become personal.) That also explains why I was presented with pink, purple, and teal beads for my Pandora bracelet. Such a sweet gesture on the part of my family. Not only to buy me a gift, but to put that much thought into it.

We ordered our meal and just enjoyed being together as a family. I have very funny girlies and, oh, how I had missed them! I was filled in on all that I had missed: Emma’s new words, Lydia’s art camp, and how they passed the time with daddy.  Lydia also informed me that they had a fun evening planned, complete with DJ’s Southern Snow (our favorite snocones) and a trip for the girls to the splash pad. I was all in. Toward the end of our meal, our waiter walked up to our table and had some news. “The party that left a few minutes ago, table 75? They overheard what you were celebrating and they paid for your meal.” Unknown to us, they had written a note to their waitress to get our check so they could pay for it! What a blessing! I really wish I knew who they were so we could thank them, but yet, that’s probably exactly why we didn’t find out until they left. I think the greatest satisfaction comes from doing a good deed and not getting public recognition for it.

Yesterday, I had a full body scan and scan of my neck. My oncologist called yesterday afternoon and said everything looked good and he would see me in 6 months. It’s good to know the cancer hadn’t spread and everything is going as it should. I am one blessed woman and God has been good to me. I recently had someone tell me, “You have missed out on so much because of the choices you have made.” And maybe I have missed out on some things, but they pale in comparison to what I would have missed had I not made those choices.

I close with words that have been playing in my brain all week.

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

“Be Still, My Soul”

Author: Catharine Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel, 1752, cento
Translated by: Jane Borthwick, 1855
Titled: “Stille, mein Wille”
Composer: Jean Sibelius, b. 1865, arr.
Tune: “Finlandia”