Thursday, April 23, 2015

Things Will Work Out

This week I finished Unbroken, which I'd started back in January but had put away (its a difficult subject matter). This paragraph stuck out to me, reminding me what a gift it is to have HOPE!

Given the dismal record of raft-bound men, Mac's despair was reasonable. What is remarkable is that the two men who shared Mac's plight didn't share his hopelessness. Though Phil was constantly wondering how long this would go on, it had not yet occurred to him that he might die. The same was true for Louie. Though they both knew that they were in an extremely serious situation, both had the ability to warn fear away from their thoughts, focusing instead on how to survive and reassuring themselves that things would work out.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Doing Battle, Week 30

Its been one week and I haven't stepped foot in a doctor's office! Someday soon I'll go a whole week or more without even talking to one. Looking forward to that.

That reminds me of a conversation Shaun and I had recently. Most likely we were talking about cancer (sadly, many of our conversations somehow come back around to that) and I told him about a blog post I'd seen about a year ago, right around our 20th wedding anniversary that stuck with me. My Wife is Not the Same Woman That I Married (good 'ol Google helped me find it, even with the ridiculous search criteria I entered). wife isn’t the same person that I married. When I met her she was a 22-year-old college student. Now she’s a 27-year-old mother of two. Sure she still has the same DNA, the same biological identity, and she’s still the kind of girl who can appreciate a good beer and a fart joke. But she’s not the same. That’s because I married a human being, not a mannequin. I said my vows to a person, not a computer program.

“People sometimes change,” says the wise sage.

No, people always change. They never stop changing. Life is change. Everything is moving, everything is transforming. Everything is changing, all of the time. 

Divorcing someone because they change? You might as well divorce them because they breathe.

I’m not making light of it. I know that sometimes people change in a painful and inconvenient manner. I know that my wife could change in ways that don’t cooperate with my projections of how she should be and feel and think.

Shaun said, Yeah...foster kids and a cancer ministry...just like I thought when I married you, which of course made both of us laugh because it couldn't be farther from the truth. I spent 10 years of marriage being convinced I didn't want any children because...WHY would you do that?? On purpose! 

And being a healthy person, committed to fitness and nutrition, I didn't have an understanding of or tolerance for medical "stuff".  I had a suck-it-up mentality for myself and expected the same of others. Safe to say I was even judgmental of sick people, thinking in most cases, they could have taken better care of themselves to prevent whatever ailed them. And who wants to hear about all the symptoms and meds and emotions anyway?

But God.

He takes our weaknesses and, if we are willing to surrender to Him, he does a work in us. Because when he takes someone completely unqualified (ME!), he gets all the glory. 

No one can say, well of course Lisa does such a great job with those kids that come in and out of her home. She's always loved kids and is such a natural nurturer. Foster care seems like such a reasonable progression for her.

Or...Lisa? Ministering to others with cancer? Totally makes sense. She's always had an affinity for all things medical. She enjoys learning the "lingo" of "meds" and procedures appreciates the extra attention that a doctor offers.

No, God uses me inspite of me. I am lacking and fall short is so many areas and my heart is sinful. But God sees that and knows its a perfect opportunity for his power to work through me and for him to get the glory he deserves. Though my inadequacy list is long, my desire to be in his will, doing his work is enough for him to work with.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 1 Corinthians 12:9

Back to the article, as a side note (which isn't really a side note at all), I'm so thankful for the man who has faithfully loved me even though I've changed in a "painful and inconvenient manner". In so many ways, I am not the woman he married, and yet he loves me and stays by my side.

Since you're here, I bet you are wondering about my status. Which, by the way, is still so incredibly amazing to me how many people genuinely care and have stuck with us for so long. Thank you for that, and for your faithful prayers. It means so, so much.

I have shown improvement over the last week as my body has started down the road to recovery. Surprising to me was the morale boost that came with the end to the chemo pills. It seemed like such a minor part of the radiation/chemo thing, but the first day I didn't have to take the pills just really made me feel happy.

There were blessed moments of normalcy when I was starting to feel like a regular human again. I did too much over the weekend, but my body is not shy about letting me know when I've overdone it.

I'm looking forward to this week and even more progress!

The seasons change, and you change, but your Lord abides evermore the same, and the streams of His love are as deep, as broad, and as full as ever. ~Charles Spurgeon

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Project 365, Week 16

It was so great to have the kids around on school vacation...the weather was amazing so they were happy playing outside, but most days also had a little extra-special tucked in, thanks to grandparents and aunts.

We dealt with teenage drama, but Shaun was around after being gone for three and a half months! He's incredibly patient and wise and logical and I'm always amazed at how appropriately he handles situations. Thankful for him and I know one day all these boys that we've had in our home will be grateful they we guided by such a man of integrity.

There were celebrations in our household, but they were brief because...well, life goes on. That's just the way things happen around here.

April 12
This was a survival-mode kind of day. I was in great pain for much of the day and Shaun was working his last Sunday at the tax office. So he talked me into letting the kids watch a movie after they'd done their chores, even though it was a beautiful day out. Some days you just gotta go with it, I guess.
 April 13
A morning I will never forget! A beautiful representation of Team Lisa was waiting in the parking lot of the cancer center to celebrate with me as I wrapped up radiation and chemo.
When we got home, it was a beautiful day. The kids thought it was warm enough to don bathing suits and have a water fight (it wasn't but they did anyway). They set themselves up with a picnic while I met with R's social worker.
After she left, I got a call from a DCF worker I didn't know. Our agency knows we are closed for respite care right now, but this worker was representing "S", who we've had multiple times over the last couple years. He was getting released from the hospital (because he'd had a seizure at school) and the doctor didn't want him to go back to college right away. I agreed, only because he was recouping and so was I...sounded harmless enough.

He got settled in and seemed genuinely happy to see us again. I've kept in touch with cards and care packages, but I hadn't really heard how he was doing so it was wonderful to hear that he is soon to finish out culinary school and has an externship already lined up. Back in July when I dropped him off at school I really didn't think he'd last two glad I was wrong!

That night he woke me up at 12:30, he was feeling seizure sensations and was frightened. We sat on his bed together, I rubbed his back and prayed and we waited out each wave. At one point I called the doctor. At about 3:00 AM he was feeling better but knew he wouldn't have time to get me if he actually had an episode. So, I made a bed on the floor in his room and "slept" the rest of the night there. Thankfully, he didn't end up having any problems and started feeling better as the week went on.
April 14
For Amanda's birthday, Auntie Sarah bought Amanda a horseback riding lesson. Then ALL the snow came, but Sarah didn't forget about it. This day the snow was gone and Amanda was on school vacation so it worked out. Sarah picked her up and brought her and reported that Amanda seemed to be a natural. She loved every minute of it, especially the part when she was doing it on her own. I fear Sarah may have started something.

Neither Avery or S could get the TV turned on, and I've never known how to do it, so Avery had to settle for "watching" the Red Sox game online. The girl is a crazy fan...she checks the box scores in the morning, too.
April 15
Late in the season last year my mom bought a lot at a campground. Its set on a beautiful river in the quiet country. We met Amy and the kids and Bobbi set them up with fishing poles.

Shaun had a brief block of time so we stopped in to see him. LAST day to file!!
He got home at 8:30 PM and the kids were anxious to celebrate his birthday. Happy birthday AND happy last day of taxes (kinda sorta)!
April 16
Shaun's mom took the three kids to Old Sturbridge Village. It was a beautiful day to be walking around outside and since its spring, they even got to see some baby animals. It was reported that the potter's shop was the most popular.

April 17
We sent both R and S to Youth Convention/Fine Arts and they had a phenomenal time. Pop and Kiki took the younger three to the nursing home service and a concert and kept them overnight.

I can't stand word problems, but here's one even I can do:

Shaun and Lisa had five kids. They gave five away. How many kids do Shaun and Lisa have left? The answer...(a miraculous) NONE! So we cashed in a gift card and did dinner, then came home and watched a movie that was not animated. It was wonderful!
April 18
Back at the kid thing at 8:30 in the morning, poolside....
...and then T-ball.
After, Sienna and the kids came over on a perfect weather day. Avery made everyone sandwiches and they had a little picnic.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Loving God

We are still in the Easter month, so that's how I justify posting pictures from our week of The Passion of the King. Its such an incredible production and outreach to be a part of and its fun to serve as a family. Inconveniently, rehearsals and/or performances are right in the middle of tax season, but God's grace allows Shaun to muscle through the early mornings and late nights.

He was on the sound crew, R worked in the kitchen, the kids were on stage and I took some pictures. My sister Amy and her family were all involved too, which makes it fun x100 for my kids.

Through this production, more than 500 people came to know Jesus as their Savior...all glory to God!

 My nephew (Issac)

 Amy sent me these on one of the nights I couldn't be there. With our buddy James, aka Thomas...

 Pop and Kiki...
 Our dear friend, writer, producer, actor Brent Grosvenor...

 And Jesus!  :)

We are still singing the songs and slinging "palm" branches. There have not been any flogging scene recreations yet this year, just one day that Amanda had the part of the song in her head when the crowd sings "He's not a god...crucify him!"

having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1