Monday, August 6, 2012

Identity

Ever have one of those church sermons where you are pretty sure there have been cameras in your house monitoring your every move so your pastor can find a good topic? Like he is zeroing in on your forehead the entire time? Last night was that for me, but here is what generally happens. I generally think, "Wow, this is exactly what I needed to hear." I think about it and talk about it with Ryan on the way home, but then we get home and life happens and babies need to be fed and husbands apparently need clean pants in order to go to work, and I forget. I forget the feelings that stirred up inside of me as I sat and listened. I forget all of the things I wanted to remember, and life goes on. It goes on unchanged. So this is my attempt at not forgetting, at actually processing past the pew...chair.

Lately I have felt....restless, unsatisfied, and insecure. This confuses me because I am doing exactly what I have always wanted to do, my husband loves me despite myself, I have amazing friends who truly care, and we are comfortable in our home and with our life. But I haven't been able to shake these feelings.  I have been thinking that maybe it is my lack of a 'job' to identify myself with or maybe living in a town with so much wealth makes me constantly crave more or different or maybe just being a silly girl in general. So, I do what any other crazy person in my situation would do, I jam pack my schedule with anything and everything I can find. I think that the answer must lie in this- clearly I am just not BUSY enough. Genius, right?! Well that didn't work so then I think surely if I have enough friends or if people like me enough, then I will feel better. So, I begin second guessing my conversations, over- analyzing everything, and trying to be the biggest people pleaser in America. Go figure, this hasn't worked either ( and has probably made me more annoying to the people around me in the first place!) So, then I talk myself into medicating myself with things. Maybe if I had more 'brands' or if I didn't drive my old, rusty car from high school- or if I actually put some effort into getting dressed or could carry off a trend to save my life. Yes, this must be the answer, but instead it is just one more car on the Crazy Train that is headed absolutely nowhere.

So obviously I have been stuck on this, panting and huffing, trying to keep up,  and I am tired.

Thank God (Literally!) for my divine appointment yesterday.

Identity. Mine's pretty jacked. First, our pastor asked who we found our identity in, the CREATOR or the CREATED? Well, well, well.....

Then he defined a Misplaced Focus as basing our identity on what we DO, what we OWN, or who we KNOW. Well, duh, Beth.

He obviously had many more points to go along with this sermon, but for me this was it. This was the ticket I had paid to get on my Crazy Train. I am spending so much time worshiping what the created thinks of me that I am willing to seek my identity in these things rather than Him. To make matters worse, I actually care more about what these things say about me that I do what He says.

 He also made the point that until we learn who we are in Him and accept it - we will never be satisfied. So its not going to matter how crafty I try to be, or how nice I am to my friends, or how funny I am, or what kinds of mom I am to Owen, or wife to Ryan, or how well I deal with my mom's cancer, or how much stuff I have. Most of these things are certainly not bad things, not things I should not want to be necessarily. But they should NOT be my focus. They should not be the end all when it comes to who I am. Putting my focus on these 'good' things will leave me on the Crazy Train and I am ready to GET OFF!

(And you want to know the kicker of all of it? Pretty sure I already am putting all of this onto my child. My sweet baby 7 month old! I already see myself misplacing my how I focus on his identity, wanting to get caught up in the things he does or has or how he acts instead of pleading to the Lord that he looks to HIM for his identity. PUKE.)


He finished off the sermon with an amazing list of who we are in Christ. Things he said we need to DECIDE to believe. Things I need to reflect on and remind myself of DAILY. ( Who am I kidding, probably HOURLY!) Things that I need to set my heart and eyes on.

Ok, there is my emotional spew for today. I'm not even going to act like I may blog more often or make excuses for my poor grammer skills. Ha!

Monday, March 19, 2012

One Year Later

It's been one year. One year since we got news that changed my life forever. One year since one of the absolute worst days of my life. One year. On one hand, I feel like its been forever, on the other it seems like just yesterday. My mom and I often refer to time as B.C. (Before Cancer) and A.C (After Cancer). Sitting on my couch today, it is hard to remember those BC times. I've grown, learned, and changed a lot in the past year. I don't want to forget the lessons I've learned this year because they were learned with a lot of pain and heartache. I don't want this past year to be in vain. With that said, here's some things I've learned this past year.

1. Life is short. Period. Whether you live to be 100 or you get cancer at 47, it doesn't seem long enough. It's not long enough to love those you love or do things you love. Do those things ever really get old? Good thing we've got eternity.
2. It CAN happen to you. If you are like me you think nothing like this would ever happen to you. If you asked me a year and a week ago if my mom would (or anyone in my family really) have cancer I would not have believed it in a million years. Things like that didn't happen to me. They happened to other people, people I read about, people I watch on Ellen, other people. Not me, not my mom. But then it did happen. We don't have cancer in our family. She didn't have a lot of risk factors. It just came out of the blue, like a brick wall. I don't say this to scare anyone, but I do say that in hopes that people will be smart about it. It could happen, so get screened, get checked, and for goodness sakes be careful with those tanning beds! (and don't even get me started on cigarettes)

3. When you tell someone you will pray for them you should. Common sense, right? Sadly, I was guilty of saying this and then often forgetting. It wasn't until I practically wanted to beg everyone I saw to pray for my mom that I got the true disgrace my actions were. I found myself wanting to ask every person who said they would pray," Really, will you really do it because we really need it." This of course was based on my own actions and a lesson I learned the hard way. I will never be able to thank everyone who has prayed for us this past year adequately or apologize enough to the people over the years I failed in this.

4. You don't have to actually beat cancer to be a survivor. Ok, this is going to be a soapbox one. It really irks me that often in order to participate in the survivor walks or events you have to actually be in remission. My mom may still be fighting, but she is surviving everyday. She is surviving blood draws, chemo, chemo side effects, the list could go on. But she is surviving. Ok, rant over.

5. Life can be a terrible mess, and be beautiful at the same time. I found out I was pregnant a little under a month after we found out about the cancer. We originally wanted to wait to start trying until the summer, but everything changed the day we found out. I felt an urgency and thankfully Ryan understood it. So basically, the entire time we have been dealing with cancer, we have also been dealing with a baby, something ugly and horrible and something beautiful and innocent, something that takes life and something that starts a new one. Talk about a contradiction, right?! On one hand it was a little insane to deal with everything with pregnancy hormones (poor, poor Ryan), but on the other it gave us something happy to talk about, something to dream about, something to have hope in. Owen has been the biggest gift of all this, and he could not have come at a better time.
6. You really do get enough strength. Growing up in church, I've heard a thousand times about how the Lord will give you enough strength for what you are dealing with. Last March, I found out my mom had Stage 4 Cancer and said goodbye to my husband for 6 weeks a week later. I then had to balance working, helping with my mom, and my first trimester. All I wanted to do was sit in a corner and cry each day, but I did have enough strength. Often it was only enough for that day, but it was enough. It definitely was not my own strength. No way.


7. There are still good people in this world. I will never be able to repay people for their kindness this past year. We have been showered in prayers, kind words, and good deeds. People have brought food and books. They have sent cards and facebook messages. They have listened as we have cried. They have allowed us to get our mind off of cancer occasionally. I have learned a lot about how to love people that are hurting by watching how many of you loved us. It's been messy. It's been hard. But people have stuck by us during the worst of times and I will never be able to adequately express how much it has helped.
8. I am in control of nothing. I have a pretty type-A personality. This is a lesson I did NOT want to learn. I still don't want to learn it. I still struggle with it daily, but cancer is a heck of a lot bigger than me and my endless to do lists. I can't plan it. I can't change it. I can't control it. Still learning this one. (and still not enjoying learning it) This may be why I undertook planning a huge suprise party in the midst of my already crazy life. I got to control something, and thankfully she WAS suprised.

9. My husband is a saint. What a year it has been for Ryan and me. We have dealt with cancer, Ryan moving for a total of 12 weeks, pregnancy, graduation, job hunting, house buying, moving, and having our sweet Owen. I have handled most of these like the basket case I generally am, and he has to live with me! Poor, poor Ryan. He has been more than a husband this year. He has been a listener, a source of advice, an encourager, a provider. He has been understanding and flexible. He has been there for not only me, but for my family as well. He has been a human kleenex and too many of his shirts have been ruined by mascara. He has listened to numerous freak outs and quieted my fears. He has been so much to me this year. SO MUCH. I would have never survived the past year without him. Seriously, he deserves an award, or at the very least a beer.

10. My mom is the strongest person I know. Period. She's been through it all this year. She's been through surgery. She's been through a cancer diagnosis. She's been through colonoscopies, pet scans, and MRIs. She's been through scary doctor visits. Shes been through marathon chemo sessions. She's been through two chemoemobliztions. She's been through more blood draws than I can count. She's been through the side effects. She's been through all of this, and she is still going. If that's not strength, then I don't know what it. I am proud to be the daughter of such a strong woman.

This is definitely the short list, I didn't include all the things I learned about cancer. I didn't include cancer markers, reading scan results, how to deal with chemo, what to do with PICC lines or all the other countless things I have learned in dealing with this horrible disease. I didn't include these things because I don't think they are really the lessons worth remembering. I hope those are lessons that I can one day forget, and that you never have to learn. But I never want to forget the others. I never want to be who I was before. I want this year to count for something.

With all of that said, here is where we stand currently. Last Wednesday, we all traveled to Lubbock to meet with mom's dr. to discuss her latest scan result. Basically, we started a 6 month round of chemo last April. It was very successful...at first. It did shrink the tumors down dramatically, but it reached the point of maximum response before it got rid of them completely. We then took about a month off and then traveled to Baylor to do a chemoembilzation in which they inserted a catheter into her liver and directly inserted chemo. We took another month off after the first one and then did it again. We rescanned in January and were devastated to find that these time consuming, painful procedures did not show signs of working. In fact, in the time we took of to do them, most of her tumor grew back and she also have a lymph node in her chest that was now affected. We came back to Lubbock and started a new chemo regimen. At first, it did not seem like it was working either. However, her markers began to dramatically drop after about 2 treatments. We received newest scan results this past Wednesday, and her tumor is responding again and was down about 50%. Praise the Lord! We still have a lot of cancer to beat, but it was a good day. We did however receive the bad news that our doctor is leaving Covenant this summer. We are waiting to see if he will still be in Lubbock. If not, we will be exploring options elsewhere. (This makes me a nervous wreck!) We can still use all the prayers we can get. Please pray for healing ultimately, but also for chemo side effects, perseverance, hope, and the doctor situation. We seriously will never be able to thank you all enough.


On one hand today is a sad day for me. I am sad that we are still dealing with this. I am sad that my poor mom is still sick, but on the other hand one year ago today I didn't know if we would make it a year. But we have, and for that fact alone today can also be a happy one.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Porch Makeover Part 1

Our porch is in need of a major makeover. I have always wanted a cute porch. At the moment, I have a porch, but it is definitely not cute! Right before we moved, I purchased a church pew from a junk store in my hometown. I love it. My dad did not love moving it. I think I will eventually paint it, but that is not a project that I am up to trying with a 10 week old.
So, I chose to start with a much more simple project....pillows! I picked up some fun Spring fabric and added a Home Sweet Home pillow. It's a start!
Next up, maybe some flowers? I have a black thumb and no clue where to start! Any and all suggestions welcome!
Like the Home Sweet Home pillow?? You can get your own here. Midland/ Snyder friends, use the code Midland12 to get rid of the shipping charge!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Owen: 2 Months

Owen- You are two months! I am sure I will say this every month, but I really can't believe you are already two months! You are getting to be such a big boy and your personality comes out a little more each day!
This month you:
- moved up to size 0-3month clothes (except for those silly, wide Gap clothes!)
- wore jeans for the first time
-started wearing size 1 diapers
-ate every 3 hours
-started only getting up once at night (mommy loves this!)
-got to leave the house!
-did NOT love shopping (typical boy!)
-started smiling a lot more (melt my heart)
-started recognizing people
-practiced tummy time. a lot.
-rolled over for the first time! (It took a while, but mommy caught it on camera! Please disregard her crazy mommy talk!)
-LOVED your friend in the mirror! ha! You are completely content laying on your mat looking at yourself! You love to make noises and kick your legs while playing with your 'friend.'
-celebrated your first Valentine's day
-sat in the bumbo for the first time ( a little wobbly, but getting stronger!)
- visited the Dr. for shots. Boo! You were such a champ!
-At your 2 month check up, you weighed 10lbs 5oz and measured 23 inches long. You were in the 25th percentile for both weight and head and the 10th for height. (sorry bud!)
This is how you feel about Mommy taking 23925998725 pictures of you this month!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Easy St. Patricks Day Wreath

I have been trying to create a wreath each month for our new house. This can get really expensive and time consuming! However, this St. Patrick's Day wreath was neither. I grabbed some scraps I already had and bought a wreath form with a 40% off coupon and a half off sign and was good to go!
I initially wanted to make it different hues of green, but didn't have enough in my stash. So...I went with a rainbow theme. Good thing I remembered ROYGBIV from way back when! It's a little abstract, but works well enough! It was super easy. I just cut strips of the fabric. No measuring needed. (My favorite kind of project!) and wrapped them around the wreath form. A little hot glue here and there and it was done! I just looped my sign into one of the strips and added a ribbon loop on the back so it would hang.
And because I never blogged my Valentine's stuff, here is a picture of the wreath. I also made a make shift flag. (Evidently, our old one didn't make it through our 43298529875 moves.) I ended up sewing pennies into the bottom to help it stay down a bit, but let's face it flags and Midland wind are not friends. ever. Oh Well!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Valentine's Day 2012

This was a very special Valentine's Day at our house! I got to have two Valentines this year!
Ryan made us reservations at an Italian restaurant the night before Valentine's Day. It was really good and nice to get out just the two of us. We were very thankful that Mamaw and Uncle Zac came and watched Owen for us. Of course I didn't get a picture of us all dressed up. (Which is a rare thing for me these days! )
We celebrated the actual day with our little family. Owen and I hung out while Ryan worked that day, but when he got home we celebrated with some Chikfila! The line was for once not crazy long! Guess Chikfila isn't the most romantic place in the world. Ha!
Owen got some new books for bedtime for Valentine's Day from us. He also got Lady and the Tramp for Grammy and Grumpa and a sweet card from Nana!
Our fun day tired us all out...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Owen: 1 Month

Owen turned 1 month old on January 27th, so I am again playing catchup!

Owen- You are one month old! On one hand, I can't believe its already been a month and on the other hand it seems like you have been a part of our family forever!

This month you:
- wore newborn sized clothes ( which are hard to find I might add!)
- wore newborn sized diapers
- took your 1st bath (daddy did a great job, but you still screamed)
- peed on both mommy and daddy once!
- lost your jaundice 'tan' (sorry buddy you are pretty destined to be pale!)
- ate every 2 1/2 hours- 2 hours during the day
- worked on sleeping at night (We spend A LOT of nighttime together ha!)
- visited the dr. a little TOO much for mommy's liking ( We had some spitup issues, but all got
worked out and we are SO thankful that was our only health issues!)
- hung out with Izzy (She has done so well with you and we are so proud of her!)
- gotten to know mommy's camera a little too much (and did not care for it!)
- met lots of family and friends
- slept right through the PKU test! (but NOT through the night :) )
- got newborn pictures done by a sweet friend (didn't like her camera either)
- went on your first walk (again...NOT a fan)
- only showed us a few true smiles (no matter how many silly faces and voices mommy and daddy tried, you mostly looked at us like we were crazy!)
- hung out at the house A LOT! (dr's orders!)
- began your love affair with your play mat
- loved to look around and hold up head up (doctor said you were very strong!)
- At your 1 month checkup, you weighed 8.9 oz and measured 21in long.

Daddy and I have fallen more and more in love with you each day this month! (I think you may be winning Izzy over too!)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Owen's BIRTHday

He's here! (He's technically been here awhile, but better late than never, right?) I realize that probaly noone but my mom cares about this, but I wanted to write it down for memory's sake.

We went in to be induced on December 26th at 9 pm. I was pretty anxious about the whole thing, but ready to not be pregnant anymore. When we got to the hospital, we were told to go to our room and wait because they were dealing with a 'situation'. Not exactly comforting words as we began! We went in and waited for about 45 minutes and finally our nurse came in and said they had everything under control! While we were waiting, someone from the lab came to draw my blood. She asked my birth date and I automatically answered with my mom's! ( They ask 9million times when she goes for treatment.) The girl didn't even question me when I said 1963! Ha! After we had waiting about 45 minutes, our nurse came in and we did all the normal paperwork and 5 million questions. She started my IV, set up all the monitors, and gave me my first dose of Cervadil. It was getting pretty late at the point so she told us to get some rest.

Our night was full of in and outs by our nurse checking things and me asking Ryan tons and tons of questions! Ha! At some point I got another dose of Cervadil. There was also a point when the nurse came in and began messing with the baby's monitor. I, of course, questioned her and she said that the baby's heart rate had been lower for a bit so she wanted to make sure everything was ok. I then, of course, freaked out. It ended up that he was being pretty wiggly so the monitor was picking up my heart rate instead. Needless to say, I was really relieved.


A little after 6 I was finally getting some rest, when it felt like a balloon popped inside of me. My water broke by itself and it was the weirdest feeling ever! At this point Ryan and I are thinking this is going to go super fast.

Boy, were we wrong!

My doctor came in and checked on me about 7 and said that we should start the Pitocin at 8. We ended up starting it about 9. About 10 my nurse came in and said that the anethesologist would be going into a c-section soon so if I wanted an epidural we better get on the list before the surgery started. At that point, my contractions weren't that bad, but I went ahead and agreed. I was so thankful I did! I had mentally prepared myself for contractions to feel like cramps, but I had back labor instead. Contractions got much stronger and closer right before she came. I'm not sure I have ever been more thankful to see someone in my life! As nervous as I was to get the epidural, I do not have a high pain tolerance and wanted meds ASAP!


The epidural wan't near as bad as I thought it would be, and of course Ryan was interested in the learning experience it could provide! Ha!


The rest of the day consisted of not much progress. Our short day was turning into an all day affair. My doctor came in about 4 and said she thought it would be about 5 more hours. Not exactly news I wanted to hear! Luckily, she was wrong and I was ready to start pushing about 7. My poor doctor had an engagement party to attend that night, but came was so sweet to leave her party and come back. I only pushed for 10-15 minutes and sweet Owen was here! Our sweet boy arrived at 7:14 pm and weighed 7.2 ounces on Tuesday, December 27th. Ryan was able to cut the cord and change his first diaper. We then got to spend about an hour with him before they took him back. We also got to let our family and friends that were there come and meet him. It was the most surreal experience of my life! I could not believe he was finally here!

We spent the next few days in the hospital and were released to come home on Thursday. Owen did not get released to come home until about 9 that night because of a mild case of jaundice. After 6 hours under the lights, we finally got to bring our sweet baby home, and life hasn't been the same since!