Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

What a great weekend!! I hope you all had as great a Thanksgiving weekend as we did. We went down to Salem and were blessed to spend time with both our families. I ate waaayyyyy too much. Seriously. I had like 3 pieces of cheesecake both Friday and Saturday... for shame, Kendra!!!!!
Going to have to be extremely diligent in the dieting now because...Ahhhhh!! How did that happen?!? This is our daily countdown in our kitchen, and somehow, in between shoveling mounds of mash potatoes and rolls in my mouth I managed to forget that we were almost down to single digits!!!!!!!

But back to happier subjects, here are some pics from our Thanksgiving weekend.

Warning: Obscene amount of pictures to follow!
(Please note that said "obscene amount of pictures to follow...not obscene pictures to follow. Sorry to disappoint some of you. HAHAHAHAHA)

We had taken a few pictures before this, in which he put on his serious picture face. I told him it was Thanksgiving and he needed to smile big, so this is him being an obedient spouse. God love him.The husband and his mom. I seriously have the best mother in law in the world. I am sooo blessed!!
Dave's cousin Alex, brother Tony, and sister in law Risa.
Dave's other brother Peter, and our littlest nephew Jason.
My attempt at a self portrait with our nephew James. Not easy to do with a three year you can see =-).Uncle David tickling James =-)He is going to make such a wonderful daddy someday!!This activity was a favorite for both me and James. That is until he nearly took an earring out with some seriously aggressive brushing...

We had such a great time eating, playing games, and just spending time with David's family on Thursday.
So we considered ourselves lucky we got to do it all again on Friday with my family!!!!
Yes I do realize my dress looks like a maternity dress, and that I look 6 months pregnant. I assure you I am not. It's just the dress. And the cheesecake. And the mashed potatoes.Natalie and Emily.We missed you Amanda!!!!And a little more game playing...and some more...It's just not the holidays until you have someone you love buzzing you annoyingly in the ear!!

Hope you all had a very blessed Thanksgiving!!!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Taste and see...

"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him" Psalm 34:8
SO true!! What a wonderful, refreshing week! For those of you who mentioned you had taken a media fast before and that it would be a blessed experience - you were right. I highly recommend it to anyone. I had never realized before this past week just how addicted to noise I was. Growing up in a house of 7 people will do that to you =-). I find comfort in noise. I often have the TV on in the background when I am cooking, or I fall asleep with it on. This week has taught me the value of quiet. It was a little difficult at first to deal with the stillness...I felt fidgety and didn't quite know what to do with myself... but God saw me through. Thank you so much for your prayers! I am grateful.
Today I was reflecting on my time this past week and thinking how amazing our God is. He answered some of the questions I had of Him, and others He simply made the question seem less important... He gave my heart peace about the unknown.
He reminded me how much He loves me.
He filled my heart with Hope. Not for anything in particular, just with Hope in who He is, and He made my heart content with that alone. Thank you Lord.
I realize now that just like any relationship, I need to nurture mine with the Lord with quality time, an
d devote my undivided attention from time to time...and it will flourish!
My friend Julie recommended this book:Invitation to Silence and Solitude By Ruth Haley Barton. Great book! I am only a third of the way through it, partly because I didn't purchase it until Friday and party because the author encourages you to take it slowly and not rush it. It gives me such much encouragement to take time daily -different than my usual quiet time where I read devotions and pray- even if it's just 10 minutes, to sit in silence before the Lord, making no requests of Him, just sit before Him and love Him. It is so settling to my soul.

As much as I have really enjoyed this past week - I have missed blogging!!!! I have missed all of my friends!! I missed seeing new pictures of my cutie-pie niece who lives states away! (Luckily my sister Amanda and I email back and forth all day, so she sent me a picture via email so I could get my Cadence fix =-) ).

So, before I dive into all your blogs to see what you all have been up to this past week, I have a sneak peak into my week with a few pics for you! Well, pics of the interesting stuff that is. I mean, really, I didn't take any pictures of me sitting alone reading my book or my bible. Although I know you all would have found those thrilling. HA!

Saturday Dave and I drove to Salem for my dad's 60th birthday party! He had a cake decorating party, it was fun!My dad, Ann, and their 5 beautifully decorated cakes!!
My sister Vanessa and I decorating a cake.
The husband and 2 of my 4 sisters.

Also, on Monday night David and I went to a Blazers game:
My camera is zoomed in like as far as it will go for that pic =-). We had nosebleed seats! But we had a blast. Our team won by one point! It was a really exciting game!!

Ok- now I am off to see what you all have been up to. I have missed you!!!!!!!

Hope you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Be Still

As anyone who knows me can testify, I am not very good about being still. Nor is the ability to be silent an asset of mine. My dad would often say when I was growing up that if I was awake, my mouth was moving=-). I am chatty. I talk a lot. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, does make it difficult to listen sometimes. I have written before about how I am great about telling God what I want, but not so great at stopping, quieting myself - my soul- and asking Him what He has to say.
Lately I seem to be having great difficulty hearing Him. Or really settling down at all for that matter. My heart is still heavy. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day, days in the week, etc. I feel like I can not focus, and when I try and have quiet time, often I hear...static.
The other night I even fell asleep while kneeling by my bed to pray. David found me and the following conversation ensued:
"Babe, are you sleeping?" He inquires gently.
"Huh? What?, I was praying" I respond semi-coherently.
"Are you sure? I think you were asleep..." He tries again.
"Nope, not me. I was deep in prayer!" I say confidently, even though I am beginning to doubt...
"Is that drool?"

I have got to get back on track. I seem to be overwhelmed with life lately, and I really can't put my finger on why. I just feel overstimulated, which leads to frustration and impatience.
I am currently in the middle of Beth Moore's "When Godly People Do UnGodly Things", and she talks about giving God a chance to "fill us", giving Him a fair shot at competing with all that vies for our attention. Or rather, all that we let vie for our attention. She says "If you haven't already surrendered to the pursuit of loving God with our whole mind and trusting Him to sanctify your thoughts, why not start now? You will be freer and more contented than you've ever been in your life!" She goes on to quote Philippians 4:8 "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -think about such things".
This all intrigued me, and when we had our discussion about it the other week, one of the ladies suggested a "media fast". She said she herself had done one awhile back for an entire month.
Oh my goodness, an entire month?!? Surely this wasn't for me...
...but she did say it was an incredible, eye-opening experience...

So I was on the fence about this whole media fast thing, and then the other day I received an email from my sister Amanda with a story about my cutie-pie niece Cadence. They had been at an occupational therapy appointment, and the therapist had Amanda put Cadence's feet in rice. Amanda said Cadence freaked out at this new sensation and simply couldn't handle it. It totally overstimulated her.
While reading this email, I had a picture of my adorable (albeit sassy) niece, her face red and twisted in frustration and discomfort, and making a shrill noise as she cried out from the over stimulation.
It was then I felt God whisper "that is just like you..."

And I felt like it all became clear. I know what needs to be done to clear my mind, to renew my soul. I need to let Him be the only thing vying for my attention.
(Luckily I only feel led to try this out for a week or so, not a whole month just yet... Whew!!! =-) )
So begins a short bloggy break for me...that means my posting and my reading all your wonderful words too. But I will catch up on all your words soon enough!
And instead of filling my downtime by flipping through the vast TV channels, I will be flipping through my Bible and letting God's Word sanctify me through and through. I am actually quite excited to try this experiment out! I long to let Him restore onto me the joy of my salvation, and renew a right spirit within me.
See you in a few days =-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A heavy heart

Today, my heart is so very heavy. My blog friend Adrienne (Our Journey of Love) is going through a terrible time right now, and I literally feel ill over it. I "met" Adrienne this summer, and we talked several times after she experienced her 5th - yes fifth- miscarriage. She has one of the sweetest spirits you will ever see. She and her husband Jim adopted their son Owen from Russia over a year ago, and they are just phenomenal parents to him. After that last miscarriage, they felt led to begin the adoption process again, and quickly were led to a baby girl to be born this month.
For months now I have followed her journey as they prepare to meet this precious baby and bring her home as their daughter. Sweet baby girl was born on Friday, and all appeared to be going as planned.
Then yesterday I checked her blog to see if she had posted pictures yet, and instead saw a post titled "please pray". The birth mother had started to have second thoughts.
My heart fell to the floor.
Ever since I saw that yesterday afternoon, I have felt reverent for all that is going on. I feel constantly led to pray...yet I could not find the words. I felt in same position as Stephanie (Across the Gypsy Flat Road), only able to say things like "God, please" or "".
Until today. When I saw Adrienne post this morning that the birth mother needed more time and had decided to take the baby home with her, the words came flooding out of me...

"God WHY? Why would you allow this? WHY? I simply can not understand...Why would you allow her to finally let her guard down, allow her to finally let herself get excited and believe this was going to happen, only to allow her dreams to be crushed??? Don't you know?? This poor woman has been through enough, and she has trusted you through it all! How could you be allowing this?!? How could you allow her to loose another baby?? Lord, this can't be right!!! Lord you can not let her go home to an empty nursery!! Lord NO!!!!!"

Too many questions, not enough answers...
Until now.
All He had to say in response was,

"I Am."

That was all.
But I am humble enough to recognize that in those two words, there is great power.
For the Bible says, "I Am..."
The way, the truth, and the life.
The King of Kings.
The Lord of Lords.
The light of the world.
The bread that gives life.
The true vine.
The Alpha and Omega.
The good shepherd.
Thy Savior.
The first and last.
The beginning and the end.

He was, and is, and is to come.

And that, is all I need to know.

In those two words, I am reminded that this is not my battle to fight. That God is on His throne. And although I believe He is big enough to handle my questions - in fact, I believe He encourages my honesty with Him - it simply is not my job to worry, doubt, and fear.
It is my job to trust in Him. It is also my duty to pray. As Christians we have the amazing power of prayer. I believe through prayer and the power of Christ we can move mountains.
So today I will continue to kneel in prayer, asking for this mountain to be moved, but I will also rest in the knowledge that He Is.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bloggy baby shower!!

Hooray!! It's baby shower time!! And this shower I can attend in my jammies! =-)
Hmm...but I also don't get any yummy baby shower cake...
Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
Anyways, todayFaith, Jenna andHeather are hosting a Bloggy Baby Shower for Kelly!

I found Kelly's blog this summer, after clicking on the link Angie had on her blog, and instantly fell in love with her story. Kelly and her handsome hubby Scott struggled for over two years to get pregnant. After a visit to a fertility specialist, they were told IVF was the only shot they had at conceiving, and even that carried only a 50% chance for them. They decided to take a break from all that is TTC, and spend some time with the Lord to see what He had to say about it all.

Shortly after all this, Kelly announced she was pregnant!!! By the grace of God alone!!!

Since I found Kelly's blog so late into her story, I went back and read a ton of past entries. I was just so drawn to her honesty and authenticity. She was open about her struggle, and I appreciate that so much. She also was constantly a light for the Lord, as even in her sorrow she trusted in Him.

Her story gives me so much hope!!

Another great thing about Kelly is her amazing ability to encourage. When I found her blog and read her story, I emailed her mine (this was before I had joined the wonderful world of blogging myself). She wrote me back right away and was so sweet and understanding, as she knew all about where I am at. She was incredibly encouraging and hopeful for me. Which meant a lot!!

Kelly is also the one who set up this blog, that I wrote about here . Even though she is pregnant with her little miracle, she still has such a huge heart for those of us who are still waiting.

Oh, and she is so stinkin' adorable!! Seriously one of the cutest, most stylish preggo women you will ever see!!!!

So, Kelly... I am not a Momma yet, so I can't give you any advice from experience. But I can speak from my heart about the advice I intend to adhere to when I do get to be a Momma...

The first thing is something my mother in law has taught me. She raised 3 boys very close in age, and she wanted to be the best mother possible and for her sons to know the Lord. So every single morning when she woke up, before she got out of bed she would say "Lord, I don't know how to do this. I can't do this without you. Please help me today".

God honored her request, and she has raised one of the most amazing families! I am so blessed to be a part of it today!

The only other thing I can think of, is to encourage you to keep the faith. I know that sounds cliche, but it's so true. I know all mom's worry about the health and safety of their children, and I have a feeling you will be tempted to worry so much more because of all that you went through to get your sweet Harper. But I want to encourage you to cling to the same faith and trust you did while you were waiting. He never let go during all that time, and He never will. Don't let Satan rob you of any joy by filling you with fears.

I wish you all the joy and happiness in the world Kelly!! I can't wait to see pictures of your sweet baby girl, hear all about the blessings she brings to your family, and officially "meet" Little Miss Harper Brown!!!! =-)

God Bless!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Random Friday Ramblings

First off...

Did you watch? Aren't you relieved today that Jim and Pam are still doing ok? My sister in law and I were anxious after the cliff hanger last week and were watching intently last night.

Again, I do realize there are bigger issues in the world then the current state of a fictional couple's relationship.
Try not to judge me.

Second of all...In an effort to change my attitude about the current state of rain here, I tried something new the other day. I had read somewhere once about a girl who chose to view the rain falling on her as a baptism of sorts...

Ok, I honestly can't type any further until I confess that the book I read that in was in fact this one:
Yes, that is Tori Spelling. Yes, I read her book.

Again, try not to judge me. (if it helps my case at all, I was not impressed.)

Anyways, I tried to think of the rain that way the other morning as I walked from the parking garage- which may as well be in Guam- to my office.
It did not work.
The ankles of my pant legs were soaked from the puddles I could not avoid. My face was wet. And the significant amount of time I spent blow drying and straightening my hair in the morning was completely reversed in a relatively insignificant amount of time.
Ugh. Not loving the rain.

And thirdly, speaking of my hair....I am in serious need of a cut. I looked in the mirror this morning, and this is what I saw:

I have not had it cut since August. Why? Because I am afraid. Since we moved to Portland I have yet to find a hairstylist here. The few times I have had it cut in the year and a half we have lived here I have driven back down to Salem for it. That's over an hour's drive.
I know, I know.
But you see I had... an incident. A bad hair incident. It is now commonly referred to (by me) as The Hair Crisis of June of '06.
It's my 'Nam. I commonly have horrible flashbacks and can just now discuss it without tearing up.
Ok, I kid a little. But it was bad.
It happened because I went to someone new. It was a salon I was familiar with, but a stylist I wasn't. I told her that I wanted a shorter 'do -about shoulders length- with some subtle layers. She then proceeded to chop my hair to my chin and give me layers that were so drastic they looked as if a weed-whacker had produced them.
I cried when I got to my car.
Even my family and friends who love me said things like "Oh my goodness, what did you do?" and "Hmmm...well, it's only hair, it will grow...." when they saw it.
My sweet husband dutifully tried to make me feel better, "I think it's cute..." hope! He doesn't hate it!! ..."but I think I did like it better longer". And back to despair...
It took months before I could even pull half of it back in a clip.
It has since fully recovered, which I am grateful for, but now I sit here in fear about trying someone new again. I simply cannot justify that long a of a commute for hair anymore. Well, that and my husband has pretty much gone from finding my need to drive over an hour for a trim kind of adorable, to kind of (or quite...) annoying.

And one final ramble for the morning...they are playing Christmas music on the radio station we listen to at work!! YAHOO!! Some people (that I'm married to) don't love the fact that Christmas is being advertised so early, but I for one adore this time of year and am ready to fully embrace the season!!!

On that note, Happy Friday to all of you in BloggerVille!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hills and Valleys

"Hills and Valleys Kendra, Hills and Valleys". That's what David always says to me when I feel like we are in a funk. You know those times? When you aren't necessarily arguing or anything, but you just seem to have trouble communicating?? I tend to be Chicken Little and think "Oh no! Something must be wrong here!!!!" and usually ever-calm David reminds me it's just the natural flow of things. It's bound to happen from time to's just life.

Recently I found myself thinking about the Holidays and this time of year. It is by far my very favorite time of year, and I began reflecting back on the last few Holiday seasons. I then found my mind wandering to just life in general, and soon I began to see Hills and Valleys on a much grander scale...

I thought about my wedding day, and how incredibly happy I was. Complete and utter bliss! I was overjoyed that day, so full of amazement at how things were turning out for me. Life was just... wonderful. I vividly remember while we having some outdoor pictures taken, looking up at the beautiful sunshine and cloudless sky (in Oregon, in May!!) and thinking "I am so blessed", I remember feeling like God was just smiling down on us... And as we finished the pictures, I remember walking back into the church and seeing someone I barely knew at the time, whom I had heard had just suffered a miscarriage. I remember wanting to go up to her and hug her...but I barely knew her, and didn't know if she was aware that I knew, so I decided against it. I remember thinking it so strange that it was one of the greatest days of my life, and yet, probably one of her worst. Hills and Valleys...

I remember several years later when that very same girl had a baby, and she was overjoyed! And although I was truly happy for her, my heart was also in shambles because I had just had my miscarriage, and I ached terribly as I held her newborn son. Hills and Valleys...

I thought about a dear family member of mine who these days spends her time counting her blessings and loving her life (And may God bless her for constantly recognizing it!) She is often overjoyed with the contentment and happiness she feels. But upon thinking back I remember many years ago when she went through an extremely difficult time in her life. I can't help but wonder if during that time she had doubts that things would ever look bright again...Hills and Valleys...

My thoughts wandered to a friend whom at this very time last year was down in the dumps, wondering if the boyfriend she loved so desperately would ever propose...if her "life would ever begin". Today she finds herself not only married to that man, but expecting a baby girl next Spring...Hills and Valleys...

And here's another one - Just today one of the surgeons I work for had to cancel his entire clinic day due to an emergency heart transplant he needed to preform at the hospital. Such a strange person, most likely overjoyed at the prospect of a new heart -a new chance at life, while another's has come to an end...A Hilltop for one family, and no doubt a Valley for another...

I can't help but let my mind wonder what this time next year will look like for David & I... Will there be a little one here? On it's way? Will we still live in our little townhome? or will we possibly have purchased a home?? With David finishing grad school next year, will we even still live in this city? In this state? This country?? Whether next winter finds us 0n a Hill or in a Valley, I rest assured knowing that I am promised both. And to be honest I am grateful for them both. The Valleys make the Hills so much sweeter. Sometimes I wonder if you can even experience pure joy without having experienced true heartache. And although I do praise Him on the Hilltop, I cling to Him in the Valley. And anything that makes you cling to Jesus, can't be altogether bad, can it?

So here's to the Hills and the Valleys...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Getting to know you...getting to know all about you...

Stephanie had a fun idea the other day. You know how we all get those "getting to know you" forwards? Well, she decided here to create a new one! And this one has hard-hitting, CNN, Crossfire-like questions...
Just kidding =-). But they are new and fun and they make you think! I told her I wanted to play along too so here goes:

Your favorite birthday: Lots of great birthday's, but this last one probably was my favorite. Came into work not expecting anything and was surprised by all kinds of balloons and decorations all over my desk! I hadn't really expected much and was slightly reminiscent as this was my first birthday ever away from "home", but my coworkers and new friends in our new city spoiled me rotten!! It was just the little things all day I hadn't expected...a coworker took me out to lunch, because my desk was decorated patients kept wishing me happy birthday all day, I got gifts that showed me people really knew me.... In the evening Dave took me to my favorite restaurant (pre-Melting Pot that is!) The Olive Garden, and then we spent the rest of the evening walking around Ikea. I know that last part sounds strange, but it was brand new here and he had never wanted to go...hard to turn your wife down on her birthday though! HA!

Favorite way to spend a day off: Sleeping in for sure, then spending the morning with a good cup of coffee in the quiet for a bit, then some mindless tv or a magazine...all while still in my jammies. Then get ready and get a few minor projects done (always makes me feel accomplished). When I have a weekday afternoon off, I love to wander around Target or Old Navy (or both!), because I work M-F, 8:30am- 5:00pm and the stores are always so busy at the times I can usually go! My favorite way to cap a day off is with a nice dinner out with Dave, where neither of us has to cook or clean dishes, then back home for a movie.

Best song to turn all the way up and sing to: Too many to count!! But the first three that come to mind are "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty, or "What's Going On?" By 4 NonBlondes (anyone else remember that song??) or "Faith" by George Michael.
All three of those will cause me to lose any shame I might have and continue my dance/singing full on rock out even while at a stand still. Normally I would only rock out while driving and halt all rocking out and pretend to be normal while at a red light.

What television show will cause you to ignore your roommate/spouse/children/phone until the next commercial? The Office, for sure!!!

When was the last time you cursed at the tv? Can't remember. I am not saying it doesn't happen, I just can't remember the last time it did. Probably during the election coverage...

If you have kids, what are you most likely to let your kids get away with when you're tired? Don't have kids of my own yet, but my niece Cadence can pretty much do nothing wrong in my eyes!! Sorry Amanda, but it's true, I have an Auntie's love for sure!! When they were visiting this summer and sweet little Cadence was fussy, I just about signed over my 401K to get her to stop fussing. I would have done anything to make those whimpers stop!!!!!

Aside from major milestones, what is your best moment (to date)? Walking back down the aisle -holding David's hand- as a married woman. I know, I's a "major milestone", but it's what first came to my mind =-). Second thing was the first time I got to hold my miracle niece Cadence in my arms at 4 months old, after a good hour of looking at her up close while other family members held her.

Are you an extrovert or introvert? How do you know? Hmmm...probably introvert. (If my dad is reading this he just fell off his chair). I used to be an extrovert for sure, but the older I get, the more I have become an introvert. How do I know? I don't really like to answer my phone, I am a home-body for sure, and I have a hard time really telling people what's wrong. I am a whiner, sure, but really getting down to the heart of what's going on with me with someone rarely happens. That's part of the reason I started a blog...time to open back up!

So now it's your turn! Feel free to play along!!!! =-). Thanks for the great idea Stephanie, and it's great getting to know you better =-)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Date Night!

I love a good date night! Especially when my date is this cute:

In an effort to better enjoy this amazing city we moved to a year and a half ago, the husband and I have decided to venture out to a new restaurant every month. We switch off taking turns who plans the date night.
Last month he took me to a swanky Italian place downtown, which was great! This month was my turn, so last night I took him to The Melting Pot. Have you ever been there? Oh. My. Goodness. Soooooo good!!!!! We tried the "Big Night Out". Big being the operative word was 4 courses! It included the cheese fondue appetizer -which we selected the spinach and artichoke dip one- that we dipped bread, chips, apples, and some veggies in. David got a kick out of me trying to stab a carrot with my fondue-dipping-thing: (do they have an actual name?)
After the cheese fondue came the salads, which were delicious too.
Then came the main part of the meal. We had steak, shrimp, pork, chicken, salmon, ravioli, potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, and zucchini to cook in a tasty broth, and then dip in a vast variety of dipping sauces. Yum again.
But then...then came the desert. If you ever go to a Melting Pot, please promise me you will not leave without trying some of their chocolate fondue. Please. They have such an amazing variety of chocolate fondue, it was so hard to choose! We picked the smore's fondue, which did not disappoint. Milk chocolate, marshmallow cream, with crushed graham crackers on top:

And yes, that is cheesecake, pound cake, strawberries, bananas, oreo covered marshmallows, crushed graham cracker covered marshmallows, brownie bites, and graham crackers to dip into the chocolatey goodness.
And dip we did.
We left there soooo full we were both literally groaning!! But we were also smiling! =-)
Three cheers for date night!!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Office

Ok, ok, let it be said first that I do know there are much bigger issues going on in our world today.

America's economy in crisis...
Wars being fought...
Millions of people without clean drinking water...

But what was weighing heavy on my mind last night was: Are they really going to "Ross & Rachel" Jim and Pam??
You know, where he crushes on her for a few seasons, then they finally get together for just like 2 seasons, then they have some miscommunication or falling out, then they stay apart for like 5 seasons, only to get back together in the very end?
Because I just don't know if I can handle it...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Does anyone else think that Starbucks drinks - although already yummy- taste even better when served in their festive red cups???
I do.
I just finished my third carmel apple spice of the season.

Scoot on over...

A blogging friend, Kelly is doing something so neat on her blog! As a woman who struggled with infertility for over 2 years, and is now blessed with a wonderful miracle daughter (who should come into this world in January), she has created a prayer blog for women to write in with their names, their stories if they choose, and their prayer request.
Kelly is someone who waited for a husband for awhile too, so she encourages women who are waiting for their husband to add their names to this "waiting list" as well.
I am just so blessed by this! Both as a woman who longs to have her empty arms full, and as a sister in Christ who would love to be on her knees praying for fellow women waiting.
So, if you are waiting for either of these things, OR if you would like to pray for these women by name, scoot on over to the blog linked above and join in on the prayer!
I am constantly in awe of how cool the internet is!! It has given me such a tangible view of the family of God =-) To know that so many people from so many places will be praying for me by name just brings me to tears...
May God bless you Kelly for your servants heart!
And to God be the Glory!!!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!!

The results are in!! No, not the Presidential results, the other results we were waiting for.
This afternoon I received a text from my mom that said "He got it all!!!".
"He" being her surgeon. I immediately closed my office door so I could cry tears of joy and call her.
"He got it all?" I asked.
"Yes! My margins were clear." she replied.
"So, what's next?" I inquired.
"NOTHING" was her blessed answer.

Nothing. No chemo. No radiation. No medications. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
The only thing is she will have to have her woman's exams every 6 months now as opposed to every year.

I feel so incredibly relieved. And thankful. Thank you so much to all of you sweet bloggers out there who left comments and said prayers on behalf of my family. I am so grateful!!
And THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was reminded again today how often I liken our God to Santa Claus. (Stay with me, I am going somewhere here...) I had this feeling of dread this morning, like it was just about time we received some bad news. You may remember a few weeks ago my little niece had open heart surgery, and we were absolutely blown away with what God did in that situation. (You can read more about that day of miracles on my Sept 17th post, for some reason I can't link it here ). So this morning I was feeling as if I had just asked for too much. Like I had a "blessings received" quota and it was already filled for the year. Like God was Santa Claus or something and I didn't want to ask Him for too much...didn't want to be greedy.
Does anyone else ever feel that way?
Well, it's simply not true! God wants to bless us!!! He is our Father, and He longs to bless His children. There is no "blessings received" quota, and no limit to what He can and will do for us!
Now instead of watching election coverage tonight, I think I will sit quietly and read Psalms of praise to Him. =-)

Ephesians 3:20-21 says "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."

Monday, November 3, 2008

A not-so-average-Thursday

On my post last Tuesday, where I described the "thumb-incident" (as it is now being referred to), I mentioned that I hadn't slept well the night before. I said I would get to the "why" later, and I am feeling like later.
Part of the reason for that is it has taken me a good few days to process all this, and really think about how I feel. I have always written much better than I have spoken, and writing my thoughts and feelings out now just seems like a good next step.
On Monday night of last week, my mom called. We were chatting about Thanksgiving and making plans, and then she said she needed to talk to me about "something". That something turned out to be that she was having surgery on Thursday to remove cervical cancer.

It's so strange what happens when someone says or does something that catches you off guard. It's like your body just kind of goes numb. I think it is some kind of self preservation type thing, where your mind is trying to process what you just heard, and so everything stops and time just stands still for awhile while you try and comprehend what just happened.
I wondered why she was telling me this in this manner, so fact like, and right after a casual discussion about Thanksgiving. And then I realized there is absolutely no right way to tell someone something like this. No mother ever wants to have to tell their child something like this...what's the "correct" way to do it?
I asked her why she hadn't told us before? Why hadn't we heard about this in the very beginning, at the biopsy stage or something?
Her answer was what I see as a very loving, motherly answer. "Why worry you guys until I knew if there was even a reason to?" I can respect that. I am not a mother yet, but I get that. I really do.
She was being so protective and worried about me and my sisters, saying things like "I just don't want you girls to be worried, I really think it will be ok." And then I finally said "Mom, I am 27 years old. I know I am still your kid, but I am a grown woman, don't worry about me so much, you need to worry about and take care of you."
Her only reply to that was "Kendra, you will understand when you have children of your own."
I am sure she is right.

The good news is they caught it very early. And they were right on top of getting her scheduled for surgery. There is a very good chance that they will have removed it all, and this chapter of her life - the cancer chapter- could be closed.
The best news is my mom knows Jesus. My heart just breaks for my brothers and sisters in Christ who have family members who are hurting and don't know Jesus. Oh how much harder that would make all this.

So Thursday I took the day off work, and headed down to my hometown. That morning on my way there, I was anxious. I was nervous. Scared. Sad. I also still felt kind of numb. It was like I still didn't quite know what to think about all this. I think my little sister Natalie best put words to the situation when she noted the recognition of the full magnitude of having the "C" word officially enter our immediate family for the first time ever. It's a scary thing.
I had been praying Monday night. I had been praying all day Tuesday and Wednesday. But on Thursday morning as I was in the car driving down there, it was as if I had no words to pray. I didn't know how to pray for this. I didn't know how to put words to how I felt. I was very anxious.
Then a gleaming white Lexus drove passed me. It had a large, black bumper sticker perfectly centered on the rear bumper. In white capitol letters, it said "TRUST JESUS". That was it. No website listed, no business link, not even a scripture reference. Just Trust Jesus.
Coincidence? I think not.
I breathed in deep, exhaled, and thought...ok. I will. Jesus promises us He will never leave us or forsake us. He promises us He will never give us more than we can bear.
I take Him at His word.

I went to pick up my littlest sister, and we went down to the hospital to meet up with another sister (there are 5 of us total if you are losing count), her boyfriend, and my mom's boyfriend. The 2 sisters that were able to be there and I got to go in and see my mom right before they wheeled her into surgery. And back there in the pre-op room, the weirdest thing happened...
We laughed. We laughed so hard we had tears streaming down our faces. There was absolutely no anxiety. No fear. No sad tears. Only joy.
We had been sitting in some chairs next to the gurney my mom was on, idly chatting, when Vanessa started cracking up. She says "I am sorry, but can this really be considered sanitary?" We all look at what she is pointing at, and immediately start cracking up. Of course I had to bust out my camera....

It was a stethoscope hanging on a hook on the side of a counter. And it was hanging directly into a trash can.

That's Vanessa and Emily questioning the situation.
Of course that led right into a discussion about if the gloves that were in the trash can were in fact the very gloves that the surgeon would use, and so on and so forth. We were laughing so hard. It will always be a really fun memory for me.

While waiting for the surgery to be completed, Emily and I went over to get some snacks from the cafeteria. By the way - holidays, and days when your mom is having surgery are diet-days-off days - so those snacks consisted of Cheetos, rice krispie treats, and brownies with M&M's in them. On our way over to the cafeteria, we couldn't help but notice how beautiful the fall leaves were:

Weren't they beautiful colors? Thank you Lord, for the trees, for the miracle of that moment, and for being with us on Thursday, and everyday...

The surgery went well, and shortly after she woke up, my mom was discharged to go home. She has been recovering and resting. Her doctor has been reluctant to discuss the next steps in this process until he knows more. We are currently awaiting the pathology from the surgery, and should have those results on Tuesday (tomorrow). Our prayer is that the pathology confirms they were able to remove all the cancer, and that this battle is over.
We covet your prayers as well.
My prayer is also that if that is not what the Lord has in mind, that He would continue to hold my mom -and the rest of us- in His arms, and that the doctors would have wisdom to know what to do next.

While driving yesterday I was listening to my MercyMe CD and the song "Spoken For" came on. I absolutely can not listen to that song without crying. I adore the lyrics.

Covered by your love divine,
Child of the Risen Lord.
To hear you say,
"this one's mine",
My heart is spoken for.

I was reminded that we are children of The Risen Lord. And that is no small thing.
I am so grateful that my mom's heart, as well as mine, is Spoken For.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Heaven Sent???

Hmmmm...smoking a cigar? Maybe not so much.
But here I am - in all my angelic glory - with Pancho Villa. Also known as my husband David.

Our Halloween didn't quite go as planned. It was our sister in law's birthday, and she, Dave's brother, and several friends were coming up to our city to go out on the town. The short version is: there were many miscommunications that happened throughout the evening. The long version goes as follows:
We thought we were meeting one place, only to find out we were in fact meeting at another. Side note: do you know how hard it is to get directions from someone talking on a cell phone IN THE MIDDLE OF A DANCE CLUB ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT? Quite difficult my friends, quite difficult. So finally David and I find the club we are supposed to be at. We were told by the group we were meeting up with to go to the VIP line ('cauz that's how we roll...) and say the name "CeCe Lopez". As to who exactly CeCe Lopez was, I have no idea, but that's the name we were to drop. We wait in line. We then realize we have limited cash, and after some deliberation we both agreed that the bouncer at the door didn't look like he took a debit card. So we stepped out of line to go find a bank. Downtown Portland, at 10:30pm on a Friday night, tends to be interesting enough. But add in the fact that it's Halloween, and hellllllo circus. We were wandering around looking for a bank, when I noticed a kind looking man -not in costume- standing next to me at the cross walk. "Excuse me", I say "but would you happen to know where the nearest ATM might be?" to which he stares at me wide-eyed and says, in very broken English, "Is my first time here." Oh. What he must have thought of our city...
One gas station ATM and a $3.00 bank processing fee later, we were back in our VIP line, feeling very James Bondish with our secret name to drop. We get up to the front, only to find out the guest list is closed, they don't care who CeCe Lopez is, and if we still want to go through this entrance, it will be $25 per person. Thank you very much but I like $50 and I don't feel like giving it to someone simply so I can enter through one particular door over another. I mean... yes, I admit it did feel uber-cool to be standing in the VIP line, but I am not too pretty to be in the regular line. Which, come to find out, wraps around the entire building...
We stand in that line for about 20 minutes. It does not move. Not even 2 steps forward. At this point I am beginning to lose heart for the evening, but try and remain positive.
Then the rain starts.
If you notice in the pictures above, I am wearing all white. Standing out in the rain was simply not an option for me. So we decided to ditch this line too, and went and found a tiny little hole-in-the-wall bar with NO line to duck into and try and get a hold of the crew we were supposed to be meeting up with. When we walk into this bar, everyone stares at us, and a feeling creeps over me that we do not belong here. There are about 8-9 men inside, all just staring at us with quizzical looks on their faces. I immediately chalk this up to the fact that we are dressed in costume, order a drink, and sit down. About a minute later, two trucker-like men start making out. Oh. It's a gay bar. How were we to know?!? We drink our drinks at a speed that is fast enough to get out of there quickly, but not so fast as to appear rude, and then exit said gay bar. We both stand outside for a minute and take in the building would we have known that?? A little dive bar, with no actual name on the building front...who would have thought.
Unable to reach anyone by phone, and reviewing the nights events thus far, we decide to cut our losses and head back to our house. I traded in my wings for some sweat pants, and we spent the rest of the evening at home together. So I guess all in all, with an ending like that...I can't really complain =-).