Half way

This blog has been quiet!  During the “bad weeks” I simply did not have the energy to post.  During the “good days” I play hard with my little ones all day (and try not to be on my phone or computer too much) and at the end of the day just crash!   The last several weeks have been had ups and downs…. most recently more ups than downs, which I am very thankful for.

But I want to recount the “downs” too.  I’ve always wanted to approach this journey with transparency and not gloss over the hard.  The hard has been very hard, but I have been seeking God’s treasures and glimpses of grace during those hard days!  God’s grace is always there, and many times I need a friend to remind me of that and help me to see His grace on the darkest of days.

A huge glimmer of grace in my life is the support system that the Lord has blessed me with.  Literally EVERY SINGLE DAY I receive cards in the mail, some with generous gifts and gift cards, but always with exactly the words I need to hear that day.   I have already filled up one box with cards and I am filling up another.  My husband and children are seeing the love and support and we will never forget this time.   All of you who take the time to send me a card, reach out to me via text, make us a meal, write a Facebook message, donate via goFundme or the t-shirt campaign…my “thank you” could never be adequate to express how much gratitude I have for each one of you.

I had my third chemo treatment on Wednesday June 24th.  The day after each “big chemo” I go back to the infusion clinic to get a shot of Neulasta.  This shot helps counter act the drop in my white blood cell count.  This is very important to keep my immunity as strong as possible! For cycle 3 they decided to also give me a bag of fluids and anti-nausea medicine to help boost me up a little and hopefully ease the side effects some.

That definitely helped on that Thursday the 25th! I even went to the pool that Thursday afternoon with some friends and I was feeling SO encouraged!  Friday I seemed to feel a bit better than the Friday in previous cycles.

Then the weekend came.  The chemo side effects hit in full force.  I had heard that often the side effects are cumulative and get worse each time, usually plateauing after the 3rd or 4th cycle.  I definitely experienced this accumulation effect, as this 3rd round was by far the worst!   Nothing helped my nausea and vomiting other than lying perfectly still in bed or on the couch.  Any bit of motion set it off.  So I found myself lying in bed or on the couch trying to be as still as possible.    I couldn’t eat – my appetite was nonexistent, but when I did often my stomach wouldn’t tolerate it, and that made me even more afraid to eat.   Throwing up is no fun.

On the two Wednesdays in between my “big chemos” I go into the infusion clinic for herceptin infusions. (This means that every Wednesday I find myself at Lexington Oncology).   During these “shorter chemo” days they also do labwork and take my vitals.   The Wednesday after the 3rd chemo I was pretty bad off.  Justin had to wheel me into the clinic in a wheelchair.  When they took my vitals my resting heart rate was 155 beats per minute!  I knew something wasn’t right.  I got sick in front of all the other patients, which had happened before but is pretty miserable.  Because I was so bad off the glimmer of grace was that I got my own private room to get my infusion that day!

Blood work revealed my potassium and magnesium were dangerously low (which could have been why my heart was racing), and after they gave me the herceptin I also received an infusion of those nutrients and fluids and anti-nausea medicine.  My hemoglobin and red blood cell count has also been low.  I felt much better after that, but unfortunately the nausea came back the next day.

It was a very very hard couple of weeks.

But by God’s grace, since about July 9th I’ve been feeling GREAT.  I’ve actually felt better than I’ve felt since I started treatment! I believe it is God’s grace to remind me what it feels like to not feel sick and I am so thankful.

We have been soaking up family time, I had an overnight date night with Justin in Charlotte, and I went on a short road trip to Wilmington with my girls and my mom while Samuel hung out with Justin and Pop (my dad).  We’ve made sweet memories.  I never realized how much I took my health for granted until I got sick!  I pray I never take my health for granted again.

And here I am, looking at the 4th chemo the day after tomorrow – Thursday, July 16.   Praise the Lord I was able to move my chemo from Wednesday to Thursday this cycle because there is a Women’s Ministry event at NEPC tomorrow that I really wanted to attend, and I’m so excited to be there!   I’m happy to say I’m halfway finished with chemo, which I believe will be be the most difficult part of this journey.  Praise the Lord who has walked with me during the ups and the downs of this journey so far.

As I look ahead to chemo #4, here’s how you can thank God with me and pray for me:

~Praise God for a week of feeling really great, with plenty of energy and appetite and the sweet memories we have shared as a family

~Praise God that I can attend our Summer Sisterhood Women’s Ministry event tomorrow evening!

~Pray against nausea after this next treatment.  Pray I will be able to eat, and that my potassium, magnesium, and hemoglobin would stay at healthy levels.

~Pray that I would see glimmers of grace each day, especially the difficult days!

Psalm 37:23-24

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand.”




Take Heart

There is no doubt that there is evil in this world.  We were reminded of that this past week as 9 innocent people were murdered in their church, Emmanuel AME in Charleston, an hour after welcoming a stranger into their time of bible study.

Evil should not surprise us.  Even  Jesus said in John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

This cancer in my body is a form of evil.  God did not orchestrate the horrific tragedy in Charleston, rather He did allow it; and similarly I believe that He did not cause this cancer to exist in my body but He did allow it.

God is both GOOD, and SOVEREIGN in ALL things.  We will never see ALL the good that comes out of our suffering (only God can see the whole picture) but in His grace many times He does allow us to see some of the good!

In my last post I shared about how God has been underlining the truth that my only hope; my only ROCK in this world is Jesus.  He’s the only guarantee and He is the only One who is incapable of disappointing us!

As I’ve been processing the news of the church shooting, and continuing to process my own cancer I’ve really been thinking a lot on these words.  What does it mean for my only hope to be in Jesus?  What does that look like, and how does it flesh out?  I don’t want those just to be words that easily roll off my tongue as they have in the past.

One of the beautiful treasures of walking through cancer has been that I’ve had to wrestle with some truths that I *thought* I understood about God….even truths I have taught large groups of women!  The Lord is allowing me this precious opportunity to put flesh on these truths.


So back to John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

My hope can be in Jesus alone because He has overcome the world.  He has overcome every tribulation, trial, suffering, injustice, and evil that has taken place and will ever take place.

As I go through this life – the good and the hard – His promises are there for me to cling to with all my might!

Promises like this:

He will never leave me or forsake me.  He will provide all I need, all the time, according to the riches in Christ Jesus.  He is preparing a place for me in heaven. Nothing can separate me from His love.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. By grace, through faith I have been saved from my sin and eternal separation from God.   I am His masterpiece created to do works He ordained before the beginning of the world! He numbers my hairs (whether many or few) and has numbered and written my days.  He can give peace, not as the world gives but peace that passes all understanding.  He turns ashes into beauty, and makes ALL things work together for good.   (just a sampling of the promises found in scripture….so many many more!)

NOTHING, no shooting, no disease, NO evil that is in this world can take these promises (and many many more!) away from those of us who trust in Jesus as our Lord!  This is how we can overcome, through Jesus overcoming!

This is how we can “take heart”.  This phrase “take heart” in John 16:33 is translated in the King James Version as “be of good cheer”.  In the original language it comes from the root word meaning COURAGE or CONFIDENCE.

We can have courage and confidence to face all tribulation because Jesus has overcome.  And through Him, and fellowship with Him, we can too.

This is what it means to me that Jesus is my ONLY Hope.  His promises I can cling tightly to, and know without a doubt they will not slip through my fingers.

This is how I can take heart.  And you can too.    Today, whatever you could be going through take heart and remember Jesus has overcome.


credit: inspiringpretty.com

Prayer requests:

-my next “big chemo” is this Wednesday, 6/24.  pray for peace as I approach this day! (this is Chemo #3 of 6, so after this I’ll be half way through with this part of my journey!)

-pray that taxotere does not cause another allergic reaction as it did with round 2

-Pray for minimal side effects and boldly praying that they are shorter lived this time!  Specifically pray that I can manage my nausea better this time and I am able to eat

-Continue to pray that God would get all the glory from this cancer and what satan meant for evil, God will use for good in whatever ways He pleases! Pray He uses this so that I may know Him more intimately

-Praise for my “village”  (all of you included) who shower me with love, support, cards daily in my mailbox and just the words of encouragement I need straight from the Lord!! No act of love goes unappreciated!!

-Praise for the “good days” I’ve had (like today)! Celebrating spending the day with my children and feeling like a “normal mom” taking them to VBS and meeting friends at the pool.

I’m so grateful for you!


middle of the marathon

Children are so honest.

A couple of mornings ago, my five year old daughter, Selah, shared that she had a dream with me in it, but it was the “regular Mommy” who was in the dream with her.  She then shared, in her matter-of-fact way, that when she woke up she was happy because it was “regular Mommy” in the dream.

“Regular Mommy” is what Selah calls pre-cancer Mommy.  Mommy with hair.  Mommy with energy.  Healthy Mommy.

And now, as I remember this, tears fill my eyes because I, too, wish “regular Mommy” was back.

Right now, I’m in the “feeling good” part of my cycle.  My days are filled with pretty normal things.  Errands. Grocery shopping.  Pool days with friends.  Other than having less stamina and my head covering  on, the outside life could seem pretty normal.

I pray these days feel normal for my children because life surely isn’t normal during the ten days after chemo when I’m homebound and in bed.  I’m trying my hardest to make these days as carefree and fun as possible.  And I’m trying my hardest to forget, even if for a few minutes, about the black cloud of cancer.

But of course I can’t forget.  All it takes is a glance in the mirror to remind me that I’m sick.  That I’m in the middle, well not even quite the middle yet; of a LONG journey back to “regular Mommy”.

I was sharing with Justin last night, and after he lovingly listened to how I’ve been struggling he made the perfect analogy to the way I’ve been feeling.

He said it’s like I’m in the middle of a marathon.

I remember running the Country Music Half Marathon with my sister last April.  It’s a huge race.  There was so much energy at the starting line, as thousands of runners lined up to start the race in waves.   I was so pumped up and just ready to DO IT! We’d been training for months and I couldn’t wait to start running.

So then we started running, and the first few miles were so easy! The momentum from the starting line carried us through and we felt really great.  Then came mile six.  and seven.  and eight.  Whoa.

By that time of day, the sun was beating down on us, and the course had us running down a less-than-scenic part of town with NO shade.  And it was hilly.   Rolling hill after rolling hill, after rolling hill.  And the daunting part was that as we ran ahead, we could see the runners off in the distance running up and down the hills, which seemed endless.  As we were huffing and puffing up one hill, just one glance ahead reminded us that it wasn’t going to get any easier any time soon.   We pushed through, and finally had the joy and energy of the finish line!


at the Country Music Half Marathon, April 2014

That’s exactly how I feel at this point in my journey.  The middle of the marathon is so often the hardest part.

Right after my diagnosis, in the beginning of my journey I was all: “Let’s DO THIS!” “I’ve SO got this!”  “I’m ready to kick cancer in the teeth!”    There was a lot of energy and momentum as the fighter warrior came out in me.

But now, those first few miles are behind me, and all I see are hills ahead.

Hill after hill, after hill.    The reality that this is my “new normal” is setting in.

I now have no idealistic notions about how it won’t be “that hard”.  I KNOW the reality of what it’s like. And I still have four more chemo treatments.   Then surgery. Then radiation.  Then more herceptin infusions.

At best, “regular Mommy” will return about a year after that one phone call took her away.

My hope, joy, and peace? It’s not in regular Mommy returning.  It can’t be!  If that’s where I put all of my hope, joy, and peace, what would happen if something unexpected happened? What would happen if the cancer came back, or didn’t respond to chemo, or any number of devastating possibilities that happen to cancer patients every day.

The Lord is teaching me, as I process this part of the journey, that my hope, joy, and peace has to be in JESUS ALONE.   There have been days that as I lay in bed, feeling terrible, that I envision a year from today feeling healthy and good, and back to normal.  Putting this cancer nightmare behind me and never looking back.  I can easily get into the midset that THAT’s what I have to look forward to….and I just need to “get through this”.

But I can’t stay there.


My hope, joy, and peace – the ROCK under my feet has to be on something more solid than the sinking sand of “kicking cancer in the teeth”.   “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand”.

Jesus, the unchanging One.  The One who wrote every day of mine before it was even lived.  The One through whose loving fingertips has EVERY circumstance in my life been filtered.   The Lord gently reminds me that He’s in this tough part of the journey with me.  Even on the days I don’t FEEL His presence, part of faith is knowing and believing with everything I have that He IS with me.    He’s was in the energetic start, He will be at the glorious finish, but most importantly He’s in the difficult middle of this cancer race.

Jesus-He’s my ROCK and my running buddy….up and down the cancer hills.  The middle matters, and I’m thankful I don’t run alone.




From a Sister’s Heart {edition 2}

I miss her already.  Somehow, by the grace of God and a really supportive husband (thanks Jon-boy!), Elizabeth arranged to return again from Houston to be here for me during the side-effects of my second chemo, and to help around the house and with the kids.  I’m so grateful for the time we shared, despite the circumstances.  She is amazing and I will always cherish these days in my heart.  My kids absolutely LOVED their time with “silly Aunt Bea” (long explanation behind the name ;); it warmed my heart to see their relationship grow even deeper.  We did have some fun and laughs too! We even had a facial night.  I am so thankful for my sister! I’m posting (with permission) her next “Prayer from a sister’s heart” because I’m celebrating the sweet bond we share, that spans far beyond miles!  Love you sis!!


Team Turner loves Aunt Bea!!!!image1-1 copy

Click here to read the first edition of “From a Sister’s Heart”



written by Liz Fisher


Today is Monday and I have work on the brain.  After a long, tough weekend, the mundane routine of work was almost welcome.  Mundane Monday.  So my specific thoughts and prayers today have been about work.  I struggle daily, hourly with the sacrifices we make to live where and how we live and provide for our family.  I miss getting to know the other moms at preschool dropoff.  I miss playdates.  I miss Women’s Bible Studies.  I miss sweet one-on-one times with each of my children.  The list goes on.  And there’s always a whisper in the back of my mind asking “It is worth it..?”

But my thoughts today weren’t dwelling on our decision and my work.  8 years ago, you worked a similar job as mine.  But through seeking the Lord, you heard the call that you were meant to change paths.   You and Justin sacrificed to do that, too.  But for that sacrifice you had the opportunity to impact hundreds of lives through bible studies, photography, and deep friendships.  Then you were able to spend 4 years at home with your children as a Godly mother.   And finally in this most recent chapter, the Lord has placed you in a job where the daughter that he has so perfectly formed can be a light to countless women through sharing your journey of faith.  I have specifically prayed today that you would have wisdom and peace about managing your job in the coming months.

You give things your all.  But so does God.  He began a good work in you, and He will be faithful to complete it  (Phil 1:6).   So I pray today that as you did 8 years ago, you can feel the guiding hand of the Lord to make decisions on how to manage your job through this time.   I urge you to listen to advice of other who have taken similar journeys, but mostly seek the Lord, from whose mouth comes wisdom and understanding (Prov 2:6).

(From Brooke)  I’m so grateful for these very specific prayers.  It is clear that the Lord was guiding and directing my sister’s prayers, weeks before I started treatment.  This is such a reminder to me that PRAYER MATTERS!!  (And also why I personally love journalling my prayers and encourage others to do the same because it is clear to see where God answers!)  Im happy to share how God answered my sister’s prayers.  

After my first treatment, after much prayer and seeking wise council, we made the difficult but necessary decision for me to take a temporary leave of absence from my position as Director of Women’s Ministries throughout my treatment.  The pastors and staff of NEPC have been incredibly supportive and gracious and I’m so thankful for the love, support, and encouragement our family has been extended by this beautiful Body of Christ.   This summer is a summer of healing and Season of Sabbath and the Lord is using it to grow me in deeper ways than He ever could without cancer.  I’m especially thankful that during my “up” times I can focus on my family and children and make special memories with them.  God answers prayer! I cannot wait to jump “back in the saddle” after this cancer chapter has been closed.  I know this chapter will forever change me, as a woman of God, a wife, a mother, and in ministry. 

Letter to my love

Earlier this week a friend and fellow breast cancer survivor, Angela McCall, posted an article on facebook entitled “The most overlooked characteristic of who you want to marry”.  The article stated that the most overlooked characteristic is the ability to suffer well with your spouse.  It inspired a letter to my love.  CLICK HERE for the article that inspired this blog post

My love,

I knew that first night, almost twelve years ago, that you were the one.  We met on a Fall evening on my parent’s porch, and I was immediately drawn to the ease by which you carried yourself.  Self assured, but not too-much so.  It was if we had known each other for years.

You had little hope in our relationship (being the practical one), as I was living in Europe at the time, but me, being the hopeless romantic knew I’d move anywhere, do anything, if you were “the one”.

That’s exactly what happened.  From Austria to Atlanta and finally back to Columbia, the place I never thought I’d call home again.

Eighteen months after we met that warm October night, we were married.

It was one of the happiest nights of my life.



I couldn’t wait to spend forever with you.

We’ve been through a lot together in these first ten years of marriage.  You supported me unwaveringly as I left a corporate career to start my own business.  Infertility.  Three babies in 19 months.   You’ve been my steady ship.



family - 10


And now, my love, cancer has rocked our world.  I am amazed at you.  You’ve been there, in the big and small ways.  You’re amazing with the kids.  You’ve held my hand, taken over housework, and even fed me like a little bird when I couldn’t hold my head up.  You tell me I’m beautiful, even with no hair. And I truly believe you mean it.

I’m so SO thankful that the Lord chose YOU to be by my side through this suffering.  I must admit, this was not a characteristic I looked for in a mate.  But God knew.  He hand picked you for me, knowing what was ahead.  And I’m so thankful.

Watching you love me and serve me is a picture of the Gospel.  I come to you,  empty handed – nothing to give but a broken, needy woman.  And you ….you lavish love, support, encouragement over me.  And you do it WITH JOY.

The love we share is too deep for words, and even this attempt feels to shallow to express what I feel.  You’re truly, the one my soul loves.



family - 39

Prayers for this week:

-PRAISE my amazing sister is here with me again until Wednesday to help with the children through these rough days.  I love this time with her and cherish it even under these circumstances

-Pray that I’m able to eat without my stomach being upset too much.  I can’t get as “down and out” as I did last time when I couldn’t eat!

-Pray that the children enjoy their half day camp at the YMCA in our neighborhood that they are starting tomorrow

-Pray I can REST in the Lord – He’s teaching me a lot about this these days

-Pray I fight with JOY and can see God’s new mercies each day, even through these days of feeling really bad

Thank you for praying and thank you for journeying with me.

Chemo #2~ Help me to Sing “Hallelujah”

Today was a great day, other than one major hiccup.  I praised God to learn that my hemoglobin was back up to 11 which meant no blood transfusion!  Hallelujah!

The hiccup we had today was with the first chemo drug they administered called taxotere.   Sometimes it can cause an anaphylactic reaction.   During the first round, I was watched carefully as this drug started to drip, because the reaction occurs during infusion within the first 10 minutes usually.  I felt for a split second last time like it was coming on, but then the feeling went away and I convinced myself it was all in my head because Myra (my nurse) had been talking about what the reaction was like.

This round – round 2- within 6 minutes of starting the taxotere drip, I had that same exact feeling, only it did not go away.  It started with a cough and almost immediately I felt my airway closing up.  I croaked out to Myra, calling her over  and said “Something’s happening!!!” It happened really quickly.  I felt like I could not breathe as my airway closed up.   My entire body felt like it was going into shock. My face felt strange and like it was about to burst open (the only way I know how to describe it).

All of a sudden, there was a whole team of nurses surrounding me~ stopping the infusion, administering benadryl, putting a cold washcloth on my face, taking my vitals.  Dr. Stillwell even magically appeared right away. (she works on all the way on the other side of the office).  My blood pressure was sky high; my heart rate was 140.  My face was beet red (I am told).  They put me on oxygen.

It was seriously the scariest thing I’ve ever been through with my physical health.

After everything stabilized, I had terrible uterine pain.  It literally felt like a nonstop labor contraction.  I jokingly told Myra (my amazing nurse) that I needed an epidural 😉 haha   But seriously it was really painful for about 20 minutes.  Finally that let up, and they let me rest and stabilize for about 30 minutes.  Dr. Stillwell decided to give taxotere one more try but at a slower drip rate to see if my body could handle it.  So they reduced the drip rate from 250 to 40.  Way slower…  I was so scared when they started that drip again because I was terrifyed that my body would go into that reaction again!  But Myra stayed right there beside me, with all of the syringes of medicine drawn in case I needed them quickly again.  I just prayed and prayed, and THANKFULLY by God’s grace I didn’t have a second reaction.  Praise God!!

Because of this hiccup, I was at the infusion clinic from about 8 – 5pm today.

That may be WAY too much detail, but I want to write these things down, not to scare anyone who may go through this in the future, but to get someone prepared for what could happen, and also if it does happen IT’S OK.  I believe God wanted me to walk me through something that scary to show me He would carry me through it. He was right with me. It happened at a time I had a friend visiting who brought me lunch and I emphatically said (hopefully not too harshly!) “PRAY FOR ME!!!” She grabbed my hand and prayed and calmed my heart. That was a gift.

So now, with hair loss…..

I knew eventually the dreaded day would come when it would be best for me to go ahead and shave my hair.  I prayed grace over this day, because I knew how hard it would be.

My hair had been falling out increasingly.  It was becoming a big pain and I knew that very soon the “big day” of head shaving would need to take place.  I did not want to PLAN this day, I just knew that I’d know when it needed to happen, and I’d just do it when I knew.   I wanted it to happen organically and in God’s time.  I wanted God to plan the day and then just reveal it to me.  I trusted He would.  And He did.

First thing this morning, my friend Becky met me briefly at the infusion clinic on her way home from work (she is a nurse at Lexington Medical and works nights and had gotten off at 7:30am).   One of the first things Myra said to me this morning as she was cleaning my port was “darlin, you know you’re hair is about to be gone…probably by the weekend”.  Of course this got me emotional, anticipating that BIG dreaded day that I knew needed to happen soon.  The day of head shaving.

Becky said “why don’t you just come over after your chemo is over and I’ll shave it off”. . Right away I knew this was God’s plan. It felt right. She even bought me the cutest Vera Bradley scarf to celebrate this big day.  Becky is a dear friend, and we have shared many dark and light seasons arm in arm.   I knew I also wanted Justin to be there with me too.  It felt like a very vulnerable time.

So after the extra-long chemo day, Justin took me to Becky’s house.  She put on Pandora worship music, we prayed together – asking the Lord to come and intersect our time together doing this dreaded and hard thing.

We first used the scissors to cut my hair very short.  Justin looked on, and with love in his eyes encouraged me, and provided comic relief.  I have tears in my eyes as I type this because I will NEVER forget that image of my beloved sitting at that table, watching as his wife’s head gets shaved.  He reminded me of the old Randy Travis song “I’m gonna love you forever” and that lyric that says “I aint in love with your hair, if it all falls out, I’d love you anyway”.  This is true love, y’all.  He’s amazing.

Just as the shaving started, God gave me a sweet gift.  On the pandora station (which we had no idea what song would come up next), a VERY special song started playing for me.  It was straight from God’s heart to mine.  As I heard the distinct sound of the electric razor, I also heard the song “Hallelujah” by Bethany Dillon.  This song was one of my infertility anthems, and I played it on repeat as we were going through fertility treatments, and the Lord used it to push out fear that they wouldn’t work.  One of the lyrics of the song says “Whatever’s in front of me, HELP me to sing hallelujah”.  That is SO much my heart…it was then, and it is now.  “Lord, we DON’T know the future. It is unclear. But whatEVER is in front of me, HELP me to sing Hallelujah.  Lord help me to praise You through whatever is ahead.”

There was no guarantee that I would get pregnant back then. Scripture doesn’t promise us that.  Just as there are unknowns ahead in my journey.  But I choose to praise Him through the unknowns.

As that song started playing over the sound of the electric razor, I put my head in my hands and just started crying.  I felt so loved, so cared for by our Great and Mighty GOD!  I knew He had orchestrated every detail of this dreaded night, and wanted to remind me in every way that He was with me.  He saw me.  He cares for me.  It’s simply amazing.  Out of ALL the songs that could have played in that very moment it was one so close to my heart.

The dreaded hard day was really not.that.hard.   It’s all His grace.  It abounds day by day. New mercies I see every morning.  I want to encourage you – if you are facing a hard thing, get real about it, and face it head on.  Beg the Lord to intersect that hard thing, and then have eyes to see the glimpses of His grace and presence in the midst of the hard thing.  Often God calls us not to walk around the difficult parts of the journey, but trust that He will walk with us THROUGH them…sufficiently lavishing us with His grace along the way.  I saw this tonight.

I could continue writing because my heart is so full, but this post is getting too long.

My new looks:


true love. in sickness and in health.



And my wig!


this is not my real hair. although it could probably pass for it!

I’ll post prayers another day.  For now I’ll leave you with this verse.  Its because of Jesus I have HOPE.   Jesus is a sure and steadfast anchor of my soul.  And the anchor holds.


credit: Brightside Studio


Click hear to hear “Hallelujah” by Bethany Dillon

Lyrics to “Hallelujah” by Bethany Dillon

Who can hold the stars and my weary heart?
Who can see everything?
I’ve fallen so hard, sometimes I feel so far
But not beyond your reach

I could climb a mountain
Swim the ocean or do anything
But it’s when you hold me that I start unfolding
And all that I can say is

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Whatever’s in front of me
Help me to sing Hallelujah

Oh, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Whatever’s in front of me
I’ll choose to sing Hallelujah

The same sun, rises over castles
And welcomes the day
Spills over buildings into the streets
Where orphans play

And only you can see the good
In broken things
You took my heart of stone and you made it home
And set this prisoner free

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Whatever’s in front of me
Help me to sing Hallelujah

Oh, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Whatever’s in front of me
I’ll choose to sing Hallelujah

Help me to sing Hallelujah

Ho, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Whatever’s in front of me
Help me to sing Hallelujah

Oh, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Whatever’s in front of me
I’ll choose to sing Hallelujah

Oh, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Whatever’s in front of me
I’ll choose to sing Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Read more: Bethany Dillon – Hallelujah Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Oh for grace to trust Him more

I have been meditating on this lyric of the beloved hymn “Tis So Sweet” this afternoon and evening.

How do we trust God when things are hard?  When we walk through the valley; when tragedy strikes.

It’s all His grace…even that we can trust Him at all is His grace.  Oh, for the grace to trust Him more!


I’m praying for grace to trust Him more throughout each step that lies ahead.  A prayer of mine is to know God more myself through this journey.  We see in the scripture that suffering draws us in a particular way deeper into fellowship with the Lord.  There is much unknown in the days ahead, but instead of fear ruling in my heart, I choose to trust Him.  God is the author of my story, and I trust His character.

In this past week as I’ve been processing the Eddings tragedy, and finding out some terrible news from another dear friend, I’ve spent much time in prayer.  God continually speaks to me “My daughter, I am good, and my mercy will endure”.    When so much is unknown and difficult to understand, I just rest in His character, and that HE is God.   Trying to understand God’s ways is like trying to get my three year old Hannah to understand calculus.   That’s where our trust comes in…trusting in WHO God is in the midst of every circumstance.

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

Glimpses of Grace:

~I have felt pretty well this week, with a couple of exceptions.  I was able to take care of my children and have enjoyed being a “normal Mommy” this week, taking them to the playground and getting haircuts; taking all three to the grocery store and getting a free Publix cookie…..this, my friends, is the “good stuff”!

~I felt well enough to worship again this morning and it is always a joy and delight to be with my church family at NEPC

~Hearing my children pray for me each night…I love their tender hearts, and even though our prayer time is rarely PERFECT, it is precious to me.   (side note, the prayer time is hilarious too.  Tonight Hannah prayed for all the airplanes and that they wouldn’t fly into her.  She’s a hoot!)

Here’s how you can pray for me this week:

~pray for my hemoglobin numbers.  They are lower than the nurse likes to see and if they get too low I’ll have to have a blood transfusion which could delay my treatment. I need for my hemoglobin to be higher than 8

~pray for my Genetic Counseling appointment on Tuesday 6/2. I have no idea what to expect so just pray for wisdom and grace over that time.

~ pray for my treatment on Wednesday 6/3; that the chemo would continue to kill every cancer cell in my body

~pray that the side effects are more manageable this time around, and that I’m able to eat

~pray for everyone who will be helping me take care of my precious children over the next two weeks: Justin, my mother-in-law, my sister, my parents.  Pray for lots of good cuddle time with me and that they don’t get too upset seeing Mommy sick

~pray against fear that the cancer has spread. Each time I have a headache or a pain anywhere in my body I have to take that thought captive!

Thank you for your prayers, you’re amazing.

His grace abounds,




Your goodness chases after me

The tragic news about the Eddings Family  weighed heavy over the weekend.  But health-wise, I’m so thankful to share that I’m feeling much, much better.

The first time I met with Dr. Stillwell, my oncologist, she shared the 3 week chemotherapy treatment plan that I would be on.  I remember her preparing me that I would have 1.5 weeks of feeling “terrible”, and 1.5 weeks of feeling “ok”.

At some point in the conversation I also remember her saying that day 3 after chemo was typically the worst day.  (This part – ‘day three is the worst day”- was the part of the conversation I chose to focus on, because I could not imagine feeling terrible for a week and a half and I just chose to forget that part!)

Being the eternal optimist, I figured that I’d have chemo on a Wednesday, feel awful over the weekend, and be mostly back to normal life by the next Tuesday.  I know, optimism can verge on delusion!   That was one reason last week was so difficult for me – both physically AND emotionally.  The side effects (mostly fatigue and stomach problems and lack of appetite, which contributed to the fatigue) lasted till Friday…not Tuesday like I was hoping.

The week and a half of “terrible” and week and a half “ok” is pretty much how it’s playing out.  Only the “ok” days have actually been  “pretty good” days.  And I’m so thankful to be feeling pretty good.  I never knew how much I took my health for granted until I was mostly in bed for a week and  a half!

Saturday for a change of scenery we went to my parent’s lake house and I took it VERY easy in the shade as the children splashed and played and went tubing.   I felt ok.  My stomach was very uncomfortable but my appetite was beginning to come back at least.

But Sunday– oh Sunday was AMAZING!!  I remember waking up for the first time in a week and a half feeling like I could actually fix my children breakfast.  I felt almost back to my usual self!  I took a shower without sitting down!  I fixed myself something to eat and drink, and I was actually hungry!

Our family went to worship together and I felt like the sermon was just for me.  During worship we sang some of my favorite songs, including a song called “Joyfully”.  One of the lyrics of this song says “Your goodness chases after me”.  These words always go straight to my heart because they speak of the relentless pursuit of our Lord, and His goodness over our lives.  This is a good description of my weekend, but overall my life.  His goodness, YES, it chases after me.

After church we even went to Red Robin to eat lunch with our friends thanks to our friends the Berrys who had given us a gift card! It was so amazing, I almost forgot that I was a cancer patient.

Later on Sunday I even went for a nice long walk with my sweet friend Lori, complete with great conversation of course.  Since I was exercising before, Dr. Stillwell says to continue to exercise as much as I feel up to it.


sweet friend Lori who loves running and Jesus as much as I do. She’s slowing down to walk with me these days!

And to top it all off, I took Selah grocery shopping! Under usual circumstances, this would NOT excite me! But something I’ve come to realize is that cancer gives you “new eyes”.  Just feeling well enough to go to the store was a BLESSING.  I was drinking it in, and enjoying every minute of it….from rolling the windows down in the van and belting out Kari Jobe’s “Forever” on the way there and back with Selah singing in the back seat.  All of these seemingly small things are a straight up GIFT from God.  Oh how I pray I never take them for granted again!

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cherished time with Selah..even at the grocery store!

Monday was another great day where I had energy! We went to Chickfila with the kids for lunch and spent the entire afternoon with the Pittman family at the pool. It was a lazy, easy, fun day.

During these days where I feel good, I’m soaking in every moment with my precious family.  Right now I’m focusing on my Lord, my health, and my family.  Those are the important things and all else is falling away.  I want to live these days to the FULLEST…doing things we’ve been putting off, or doing things we wouldn’t normally do.  I want to live spontaneously, lightly, and joyfully.  I want to reconnect with friends we haven’t seen in a while.  These are all the treasures I’m finding in cancer, and I thank God for these weeks where I will feel well enough to live life to the fullest.

My next treatment is Wednesday June 3, and the nurses say typically this one is more difficult than the first because the chemo accumulates in your system.   (For any medical people, I apologize if I’m describing it incorrectly!).  I pray that it will be easier all in all because I’ll know better what to expect.  Shortly after the second treatment is when they expect I will lose my hair.  I can tell some of it is already “releasing” but not clumps yet.  It just feels like the amount I lose when I was nursing. (All you Mamas know what I mean!) .  My heart is in a good place with the hair loss.

I’ll never stop thanking you for the outpouring of love and support we continue to feel. Thank you for choosing to walk this journey and read along with me.  God continues to speak to me so much and I am thankful to have an “outlet” to express what He is doing in my heart in my time with Him.  I pray it blesses your heart and my deepest desire is that this blog in someway, somehow, draws you deeper into God’s presence.

His goodness chases after us, indeed.

His grace abounds,



Please pray for the Eddings Family


I was so thankful I felt well enough to worship with my family today.

Shortly before I left for church, I received a text from my friend Courtney Tipping that another mutual friend, Brook Smoak’s brother & sister in law had gotten in a terrible car accident over the weekend. The brother and sis in law were banged up but ok, but unfortunately they tragically lost their 2 year old son.

“Hadley and Gentry?!?!” I wrote back?

Courtney didn’t know I knew her, but I grew up going to church with Hadley’s family, and got to know sweet Hadley as we sang in choir together at Spring Valley Baptist.  I remember when Hadley met Gentry (Brook’s brother) and they fell in love.

Hadley was 8 months pregnant and as a result of the accident had an emergency c-section to deliver baby Reed.  As of Sunday night, baby Reed is still in very critical condition.



Please pray for the Eddings family


I’m posting here because I’m begging all of you prayer warriors to lift this family up.  The depths of their suffering is unimaginable to me.  There are no words.  Please pray for Hadley & Gentry, and the entire Eddings and Reed families as they mourn the loss of little Dobbs.  Please pray for baby Reed and that God would touch his tiny body in a special way.

News story

I was thankful to make it to worship today with my family.  Tears were streaming through most of the worship, as each song touched my heart so deeply.

As I mentioned in my last post, this is a broken world we live in.  So much hurt. So much pain.

Our ONLY Hope is JESUS.  I’m so thankful this broken world is not all that there is.

I’m going to post one of the songs I worshipped to this morning.  This sums up where my Hope is. It’s where Gentry & Hadley’s hope is.   Make sure to watch the entire video…through the spoken word part that begins around minute 6:50.  This is who Jesus is to me, and who I pray He is to you.


If you cannot see the video in the browser click here for the video: Forever; Kari Jobe

It Matters {why write?}

Every now and then I meet a friend and although I barely know her, I feel like I know her soul.  Ellen Parker is one of those friends.  On her blog a while back, she posted this video and it rocked me like little else I had heard before.  This post from the archives of my writing is dedicated to you, Ellen, as you have shown me that “it matters”.    (Cancer update at the bottom of post)

If video does not appear click this link to see “Why it Matters” by Sara Groves

(written January, 2014)

“Like the statue in the park

Of this war torn town

And it’s protest of the darkness

And the chaos all around

With its beauty, how it matters

How it matters”

-Sara Groves


Why write? Why express? What’s the point in taking these jumbled prayers and thoughts and dreams and hopes, and sitting down, and actually putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard until they make sense?

It happens like this: I see a thing of beauty, and it conjures up a thought; an idea…and a connection is made.  A spark of great beauty in the midst of a regular day… even if just for a moment.

A sunrise.  A sunset.  The twinkle in a child’s eye.  An old hymn.  A kindred spirit friend.  The way the sunlight comes through my window and stretches across the hardwood.


A reality is the spark can be snuffed out as quickly as it comes.  All it takes for it to dim is a back- seat argument, a terse word, a weight of fear.  BUT…what if…what if these tiny little sparks could keep flickering?  They would illuminate my world.

The beauty is there, we just must search for it, and seek it, as if for a lost treasure.  And then, once we find it, we need to express it.  And encourage others to see their little sparks.

It means connecting on a deeper level and not just living in the day to day flesh story, but seeing the deeper meaning and the deeper story that lies just beneath the surface.  It’s God’s story..the story of faith He’s writing in all things.  If we look hard enough we can see sprouts of it in this world.

As Sara Groves puts it – we are living in a war-torn town. No doubt this life is full of pain and hurt and tears, broken relationships, abuse, hate, sadness.  This world has been ravaged by an enemy leaving trails of brokenness behind him.  But there IS beauty, even in wartime. 

This is why it matters.  There is purpose in creating beauty in these savaged streets, because the beauty reminds our soul that THIS war time?  IT’s TEMPORARY.

As we see beauty sprouting through the rubble, hope springs in our hearts. We are reminded of the One who created beauty, and is an expressive God.  In an amazing act of love, God sent His ultimate expression of beauty–Jesus Christ, who came to dwell with us.

Let’s look for the Beauty which continues to dwell with us. On the darkest of days, the beauty is a beacon reminding us of the bigger story.

This is why I write.  This is why I create. To make sense of these days which turn into years, which ultimately make up my lifetime.

This war- torn town….THIS IS NOT ALL THAT THERE IS.   Seek the beauty and then express it in whatever medium: words, photographs, music, art.  We all need the reminder that this isn’t it.

We need more statues in this war torn town.   It matters.


“…Friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. … Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

Philipians 4:8-9 (The Message)


Cancer Update (5/22/15):

I have felt the best today that I’ve felt in over a week.  HALLELUJAH!  I have been eating and, although still fatigued, at least I’ve been able to eat. I’m regaining my strength day by day!  So many glimmers of grace, including my friend Amanda coming over today to give me a pedicure, and take me to Target to pick up some medicine. I stayed in the car while she went to get the meds, and my friend Laurie was in the parking lot walking back to her car with her daughter Caroline (sweet high schooler in my discipleship group) and they came over to speak and hug.  SO great to see them.  It was a great day 🙂  God is good.  Thank you for your prayers!!!

His grace abounds,