Encouragement and Community

The word community comes up a lot as I talk with others who are fighting cancer or going through other difficult times in their lives.  It’s encouraging to hear from on-line and in-person friends about the community that supports them day in and day out.  I’ve talked about it briefly before and shared about the book Just Show Up, that I loved (and cried all the way through).  Every day I am thankful for my community (you) that “shows up” for us by praying, calling, texting, emailing, helping in our home, etc.  I can’t imagine being on this journey without you.  It would be so much harder than it already is.

After my very depressing blog post last week, I’ve gathered a few more resources for the times when I am really down and discouraged.  I have verses (with cute flowers around them) ready to go and I have Pandora on multiple devices, ready with worship music, at the click of a button.  This is how I’m going to fight this hopelessness I was feeling last week when it returns.  And no more thinking I don’t need help when Tom’s gone.  I had a back-up plan for this morning, which I didn’t need, dinner being brought by a friend tonight and friends coming to help with the girls after school.  I am ready and Tom is not worrying about us while he’s working!  My community is showing up and I’m so thankful for the help!

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Surviving the Weekend and Other AMAZING Things

Saturday was a great day!  Not only did I survive the Science Center birthday celebration (woohoo!), I was able to sit down with our youngest and share the gospel with her, yet again.  This time, she accepted the Lord as her Savior!!

Yep!  Great day indeed!!

I had been praying that God will give me the perfect time and conversation starter to talk with just her.  This morning, the conversation started out by talking about the death of my Aunt’s mother, which lead to talking about my Mom and heaven, which was the perfect intro to the conversation.

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It Feels So Good to do “Normal” Mom Things

Normal Mom things . . . watching your 5th grader perform in an assembly at school, eating lunch with your 8 year old at school on her birthday . . . I love doing “normal” Mom things.

It was so strange signing in at the office at the girls’ school today.  It had been a long time.  I used to be there multiple times a week.  I miss it.  But I am so thankful that today I was doing well enough to make it to school twice in one day (using hand sanitizer and washing my hands right away afterwards).

The end of the week has been easier than the first part of the week.  Thankfully I’m done having a pity party for myself and I am so thankful to have been able to get out of the house and keep busy the past few days.  I feel so much better when my mind is busy and I have something to think about besides cancer.

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When Saying, “Thank You” Doesn’t Feel Like Enough

When Saying, “Thank You” Doesn’t Feel Like Enough

I don’t deserve any of this.  It’s just cancer.  Yet all of this happened this weekend because of the cancer.

What a weekend.  Well really 4 days, Thursday – Sunday.

Let’s start with Thanksgiving . . .

I have so much to be thankful for.

God’s grace and what He did for me (us) on the cross.

A beautiful family who loves me, with or without hair, in good times and hard times.

A warm home.

Food on the table (currently being prepared by a very talented chef).

Friends and neighbors who go above and beyond anything I could ever ask or even dream of.

This leads me to the rest of the weekend . . . Friday . . .

I love where we live.  However, each year at this time, leaves cover our entire yard and are a few inches thick.  It’s a big task to get them all picked up and a task that we can’t do ourselves this year.  When Tom broke his back 4 years ago, a family from our church showed up unannounced one morning and took care of all the leaves for us.  They didn’t ask.  They just saw the need and showed up.

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When Your Friend Tells You She Has Cancer

When Your Friend Tells You She Has Cancer

(This page contains affiliate links.)

I’ll be honest. I have no idea what many of you are going through right now. I have never had a friend call me on the phone or send me an email, telling me they have stage 4 breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter. I have heard news of cancer from my Mom, from grandparents, from a friend about her husband, but never from a friend.

I remember sitting in the car after getting the news of my mammogram from the radiologist and talking with a few of you. None of us expected to have that conversation. We were all expecting to get similar results to the previous year’s mammogram and then to mourn the fact I would have to stop drinking coffee again. Then we would have chatted about the kids and what was going on for the rest of the day. That was the conversation we were expecting.

But that was not the case.

Instead, I told you that the radiologist believed the tumor was malignant. She hoped she was wrong, but in her professional opinion, she was confident she was not.

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How to Help a Friend or Family Member with Cancer

How to Help a Friend or Family Member with Cancer

When we find out a friend or family member has cancer, we want to help. Sometimes the needs are obvious and easy to identify. Other times, the friend or family member really doesn’t know what they need as they are slowly trying to adjust to this new “normal.” This can leave you feeling helpless!

I know I’ve struggled in the past for ways to help friends and family, especially ones that live in another state. So with the help of some friends, I’ve stared this resource page of things that I’ve found helpful for us as a family, or things that I never would have thought of as a friend, and want to remember for another time when I’m able to help someone else.

While some of these directly apply to a person with cancer, many of them could really be applied to any friend, for any reason. I hope you find them helpful as you look to help your friends and family. I’ve tried to think outside the box a bit about what might really be helpful, but obviously it will depend on the family.

(I’ll be honest. I feel a little uncomfortable writing this as I don’t want it look like a wish list for our family. That’s not it all. Some of you have amazed me at things you have thought to do for us and I’ve heard some great suggestions from others that I never would have thought of on my own. We are all in this together and if I’ve learned something that I can share to help someone else, why not share it?) (more…)

It’s not Christmas . . .

I am overwhelmed (in a good way) by the prayers, offers to help, cards, emails, texts and gifts from so many of you.  It seriously is like Christmas in my mail box and on the porch!  Thank you!

I am still feeling OK after the chemo yesterday (4 pm).  The nurses say that Day 3 is when the chemo medicine is fully metabolized in my system and it is usually when the side effects kick in.  (That will be tomorrow, the 23rd.)  So far today, I’m just really tired and my mouth is dry.  But I was feeling fine to go to Bible Study this morning (YAY!!!) so I’m thankful for that!

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Open House on Saturday

On Saturday we opened our home to local family and friends to come hang out and spend time in prayer with our family.  What a blessing it was to see so many people and lift up this diagnosis to the Lord in prayer.  I also love receiving texts and emails from friends, letting me know they were praying at the same time from their homes all over the country as they were not able to be here. 🙂

(Special thanks to my sweet cousin Amie who snapped a few pictures for me.)

 

Surrounding the Smalls with prayer (20 of 20) (500x333)

Encouraged by the prayers for Tom as he supports and takes care of our family during this tough time

Surrounding the Smalls with prayer (19 of 20) (500x285)

Surrounding the Smalls with prayer (18 of 20) (500x333) (more…)

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