A grander plan

When Jeremy and I met in 1995, at a mere age of 15 and 19, little did I know what our future would hold.  That God would have a grander plan for us.  Our wedding song was Rascal  Flatt's "Broken Road" and I still love those lyrics.  
I now know that God had a plan for every single ounce of both our lives and that he was just paving the path that year and that road would be complete years later.  As a teenage girl, I just knew that he was cute and fun to be around and was “in love” with a cowboy.  We had just moved from Summerville and so I was meeting tons of new people at school and around the community.   When I asked my parents if I could go to a bonfire with Jeremy Gault, they were a little hesitant.  It was after my daddy realized that he knew his parents and that they went to high school with each other since my dad grew up here.  So I got to go and that’s when it all began.  Long talks on the phone until we literally fell asleep, prom, rodeo nights, Scuffletown, family events, etc…we had lots of fun.  But there were days when we were still young and carefree and so some days were tough as I think I wanted more of a serious relationship than he did.  Let’s be honest….he was still sowing his oats and wasn't ready for that commitment.  We dated off and on for 10 years, probably more off than on, but when I was in my senior year of Clemson, we both decided that that we were meant to be together.  It was two years after that under a beautiful, old oak tree in our yard, that he popped the question and we walked down the aisle 7 months later. 

So throughout all of our years together, and J’s whole life really, horses and rodeo have been his thing.  His uncles were involved in horse shows and rodeos and so every single weekend consisted of a roping somewhere in the southeast area or a rodeo.  I’d go to many and was always proud of him if he caught the steer or not.  But...it's a gamble.  Practice and practice and practice but still, it all depends on that steer and luck. He always picks himself up after a bad run and tries again.  That makes me proud.  And that legacy for a love of horses and riding will most likely continue in in our little fellow.  Right now, he wants to be just like his daddy, down to the shoes, hat, belt, and jeans he wears.  All he wants to do is ride in the wind with the big boys.  His favorite song right now is “Cowboys like us” by George Strait and he knows every single word.

When the news of the professional rodeo coming to Fountain Inn came during the summer, we knew we’d be there as some of dearest friends were putting it on.  Little did we know that I would have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and the support that would come with that as the contestants and fans wore pink to show their love on Saturday night.  My little boy was excited for weeks as we talked about how he’d ride in the grand entry with his daddy.  And that was one special moment that left this mommy speechless and in tears.  A little boy starting to follow his dreams… I’m pretty sure he dreamed about his future on the rodeo road that night. 

Thanks to all of you that came out and loved on us.  We were overwhelmed with the kind words, hugs, but most of all your continued prayers.  
So with no more days off from school for chemo,  I felt like I started school all over again this week. 16 years in the same grade helps tremendously as I know the standards and curriculum.   My team is wonderful and so helpful when days get tough. The morning routine at home is hard sometimes with a strong-willed little fellow.  I was telling someone the other day that getting myself and Jett ready in the morning is like a hard core workout at the gym.  I feel as if I’ve climbed 17 flights of stairs and ran miles and miles when I finally get us in the car to go to school.  But all in all, school is going great for both of us.  Jett’s adjusted well and my students are absolutely precious. I’m so glad to be back with them on a regular basis.  I have to give props to my wonderful sub Katherine who kept their world going when I was out.  She graded every set of papers, taught every lesson I planned, and kept them all alive.  So she's ultimately a rockstar!  

It's been so dang hot so I wore my wig in a ponytail for the first time in awhile and one of my little fellows asked if I had gotten a haircut.  really wanted to hug his neck as I’m so glad he thinks my hair is real and that I look perfectly normal and healthy in his little eyes.  I hope that’s the way all of my kids see me.  This job isn’t for the faint at heart, but it's oh so rewarding.  I am thankful each day for God leading me to this profession and that I haven’t lost the passion as some do.  Someone once told me that “every child in your class is someone’s whole world.”   And how true is that!     

So God had that grand plan for J and I many years ago.  Little did we know we'd be here.  22 years together with a little boy that steals our hearts every second of the day. 

Can't wait to see many of you Saturday at the race!  Let's race for that cure.  I want to see my little fellow live out his legacy, roping and riding, and chasing the sun!  

Here's some  prayer requests…
Pray for all those registered for RACE for the CURE! And pray for an ultimate cure for all cancer!  
Continue to pray I stay healthy and can teach each day
Pray for Jett and his daily school life…it’s tough being 3.5 and being GOOD all the time
Pray for my first TAXOL round on Friday, October 6
Pray for J, my mom and dad, and all those that help me so much on a daily basis

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."  Hebrews 10:23



Walk on. Have faith. Fear not.

Excited and fearless are I know two crazy words for the feelings that I had for this #4 treatment, but that's how I felt Wednesday morning.   I was slightly concerned that my counts may have been low because they were for #3 (90 and needed to be 100), but when they told me they were 129 and we were ready to go, I could've done a happy dance!  The last big one of the A/C cocktail!  I can tell that the tumor has shrunk by at least 50% just by feeling, and that is the best feeling in the world to know that these toxins being put in my body are working to kill this!  

So on the way up to the chemo pod I couldn't help but think of one of my favorite songs "Good, good Father".  It brings tears each time I hear it but man....it's true!  He's so good!  My favorite part is this... 

Perfect in all of your ways....never would I say that this road of cancer was perfect by any means, but seeing how much closer I am to my precious Lord and Savior because of this trial.  Yeah, He is perfect!  And the peace so unexplainable.  When I sit in that big chemo chair, or lay on the couch, or in our bed, I truly have an all consuming peace that whether I live 5 years after this battle or 50 years, the peace that I have, knowing that I'll live forever with Him is wonderful. I pray for a long life with all of those I love and those that  love me but his peace.  It's amazing!  

Chemo #4, like all of the others, was somewhat like a party.  My family and friends came to cheer me on, brought delicious treats and huge smiles.  My tribe never ceases to amaze me!  The nurses usually are very shocked by the number of people that come behind me and have told us that only 2 can be with me in the room at a time, but we seem to overlook that rule and stay quiet and no one says a thing.  It's amazing how small talk, visitors and food make the day fly by!

Clint and Cathy Carter came and prayed with us before it all began.  I just love them and will always remember their love and welcoming spirit when I changed my membership to FIFBC.  
The girl tribe kept me in stitches, talking about everything under the sun!  
And this sweet friend!  She was always like a another big sister to me, working at the jewelry store.  "Long friendships are like jewels, polished over time to become beautiful and enduring." ~Celia Brayfield
And didn't we polish our fair share of jewels, sweet Aimee!  
And sweet Meredith and my mother-in -❤️!  I just love them and am so glad they are a part of my family.   

My parent's preacher came and circled us in prayer and is always so precious with the texts he sends me daily as I am recovering.  

And then my massage therapist friend comes in each time to massage my feet right before I leave.  She's so gentle and soft spoken that I almost fall asleep and don't want to leave the heated massaging chair.  I'll miss seeing her but look forward to the Friday massage girl after a long day of teaching.  

And finally this boy!  He hasn't missed a doctor's appointment or a treatment and continues to hold me up
on my weakest days and sees me when I crumble.  God gave me you!  And I'm blessed beyond measure!  

I haven't felt like reading over the last three treatments but did yesterday, so these are two wonderful books that were given to me and I cannot put them down.  

Fervent is by Priscilla Shirer from the War Room and she does a jam up job coaching you on how to pray for every aspect of your life.  My favorite passage so far in her book is in the chapter about FEAR.  

And the other one, When God Doesn't Fix It, by Laura Story,      tells the story of when her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor and how she found joy in this terrible trial.  She discusses how tempted she was to be angry with God but then she says "am I going to let my circumstances determine my view of God or am I going to let God determine how I view my circumstances?   Wow!  One of Laura's songs says it all...we pray for your Your Mighty hand to ease our suffering.  


So now for another day of rest.  You'll find me laying in the bed probably wearing my new boots!  Ha! Nah!  I'll save them for tomorrow night but they came and fit and I can't wait to rock them.   Meeting the UPS man at the door with my bald head probably scarred him for life, but this overnight delivery made the day worth it!   

So for prayer requests... 
Pray for so many that have just recently found out about a new diagnosis and are suffering and worried.

Please pay that I continue to feel well and can stay active.  

Prayers for the upcoming 12 Taxol rounds through December. 

Prayers for decisions regarding surgery and reconstruction. 

Prayers for our family as they are continuously helping with Jett and making daily life run smoothly.  

And pray for those that are lost.  Pray that they can find Jesus and see His wonderful plan that he has for us all.  

Race for the Cure is next weekend and I'm so excited to see lots of friends who have already won this battle and those fighting alongside me!   It you haven't registered and would like to here's the link!  It's not too late!  

Race for the Cure

So that's all for now!  Walk on. Have faith. And fear not.  

"It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure."  2 Samuel 22:33



Through the eyes of a lion...

My long time friend Jane sent me a podcast today called "Through the eyes of a lion" and boy did I need it.  I posted this picture on Tuesday because I simply needed Jesus and your prayers.  

I called out to Him and he took charge and helped me stand up again to prove that all things are possible with Him.  I was weak and hurting.  Chemo #3 was tough.  The terrible hurricane Irma was devastating to so many in our country, and the stormy weather here, had me confined to our house.  I believe I had a little bit of cabin fever.  Jett was up at 5 AM on Tuesday morning, going 100 mph, Jeremy left for work not sure of when he would return home because of all of the power outages, I was tired, and felt like a horrible mommy who couldn't keep her eyes open.  I felt the weight of the world on top of me.  Calling my mom who is always there to listen was first, who called my dad because she had a hair appointment and couldn't come be with me at that moment.  My sweet daddy came and laid on my bed with me and let me cry. He held my hand and wiped away those big tears.  I truly was battling depression and y'all..I've never experienced it like this.  Of course I went through some depression when we wanted a baby.  I remember crying myself to sleep at night and praying for God to grant us a child.  And he did.  In his timing.  But on this day, the devil was trying to inch into my heart and take over completely.  I had to really dig down deep and trust His promises.  I wanted to throw my hands up, but I didn't and had to remember this is part of God's plan and I need to lean in more to His word.  When I trust and obey Him, I feel so close and the sense of calmness and reassurance is overwhelming.  

So after such a terrible morning of pain and sadness, my mom finished up her hair appointment., took us to Target where Jett melted down over not getting a Spider Man umbrella.  Target usually brings lots of happiness to us all, but this day was a struggle in all for everyone.  Lunch followed with take out from Panera and I did begin to feel better after getting out a little.  Things were looking up and my attitude started to improve.  I continued to call on Jesus though to pull me through.  They say to always keep your head up because if it is down you won't be able to see the blessings God has put into your life. And let me just say the blessings flowed in like a rushing river all of a sudden.  Dinner was brought by our sweet cousin, Leanne, along with her two littles which included some playtime with Jett and adult interaction for me. 

The cute Smith sisters that I've never actually met, but already love, showed up to let me know that they've been praying for me and brought cactus pens for my classroom and hugs.  My friend Erica came carrying a life sized Cat Boy character that doesnt leave our side for Jett and loved on us.  

An apple pie and a bushel of apples from an amazing breast cancer survivor herself, Brandi and her angel of a husband, Chris.  And then pumpkins for our mantle from my high school friend Leigh Anne and her girls.  I mean, I wanted to just fall on my knees as I was overwhelmed with the kindness of these precious people as they took the time to come and love on us on a day that began so terribly.  This storm has truly allowed us see to how Jesus wants us to love on people in your community and be servants to others during all trials of life.  I pray we can pour the blessings we've received lately on others in the future immensely.  

So listening to this podcast by Levi Lousko, I took some notes.  Listen to this link above when you can but here are a few highlights that I jotted down and wanted to share:

*Look at life through a lions' eyes.  Lions see long sided.  They can see long distances and they have a white stripe under each eye which causes all visible light to go in.  They can take advantage of all light and we need to focus on Jesus' light and see his plan that lays before us.  

*What God produces in you, you can keep forever in eternity.  

*Let God use your pain.  Believe that inside of any pain, there is power.  

*Live with your heart set on Heaven, but with your feet still on Earth isn't easy. 

*Suffering is not an obstacle to being used by God.   It is an opportunity for you to be used by God like never before. 

So I'll end with this...

Jesus, I want to be that soldier, roaring my way through this tough battle. Thank you for being my rock and allowing me to stand on your promises.  

Next week I'll have my last big chemo treatment, followed by 12 Taxol treatments on Fridays through December.

Here are some prayer requests...
Platelet counts up on Wednesday so I can have chemo

Strength and power like no other to rise above the depressing moments 

J, Jett and our family as they do so much to help me with every day life 

Pray for all those that have suffered in the hurricanes and some people that are so near and dear to our family that have their own storms right now

"The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord, lack no good thing." Psalm 34:10

Oh and don't forget to register under Tribe Cactus for 
Race for the Cure.  We're ready!  

Love to all!  


Chemo round #3

Despite the rain, this round was easy and I kind of feel like an ole pro at it....but let me say I am ready for it to be over!  I don't want to be a professional at chemotherapy!  3/4 are done and one more biggie and then 12 rounds of Taxol and I'll be done, done, done with chemo!  Hooray!  Christmas will be a wonderful time to celebrate for many reasons.  

Lots of friends and family stopped by to pray with us, bring lunch, smoothies, snacks, and more.  My heart explodes each time someone walks in the pod.  The social butterfly in me needs my room full each time to take my mind off of the process.

After therapy today we picked Jett up from daycare and surprised him with a Happy Meal and a Paw Patrol character from the gift shop at the cancer center.  We take one home after each visit and Jett gets so excited over these.

But as we were laying down to watch a movie, he leaned over and kissed me and said out of the blue, "mommy...you're not going to die, are you?"  This hit me in the gut.  Hard.  Like a truck. It almost made me sick and then the waterworks began.  I immediately prayed for the Lord to give me the right words to respond to that and thankfully since his attention span is short like a normal 3.5 year old, he moved quickly onto another topic of conversation.  Whew!  But honestly I do think about dying sometimes.  God only knows the exact amount of time I've been granted on this Earth and I do pray that it is a long life, but we never know.  I want to see Jett grow up and do wonderful things. I want to see him read his first book by himself.  I want to see him ride in his first rodeo.  I want to see him go to Kindergarten and graduate from high school and of course finish college.  I want to meet his wife and meet my grandchildren.  I want to be able to take care of my parents and J's parents.  I want to have grey hair and grow old with Jeremy and enjoy our days together. I want to live a long, full life.   I think about this a lot.  That's why I'm fighting like crazy and will continue.  With Triple Negative (which is the type I have) breast cancer, it can be more aggressive and more likely to reoccur.  15% of all diagnosises are TN and I've met several people who had this same type and are doing well and have been cancer free for years.  So this helps me to stay positive and not think about the bad and have HOPE.  I know my doctor is treating this disease with the best medicines and my personal prognosis is good and I trust that.  I trust God too.  He's held me tight for the past 37 years and even closer these last 3 months.  He'll continue to do so until my last day here.  That's comforting to know during the times when it's tough.  Whew!  Now for when Jett asks that question again, praying I'll have a good answer for him.  Pray for those perfect words too, will you?!  

So for now I'll rest a lot over these next few days and throughout the weekend.  Mashed potatoes, pineapple slushies, and milkshakes are on the menu and I'll be just fine. Normalcy will occur on Sunday again and for the next week, hopefully.    

Thanks for all of your continued prayers and the love you all have poured out over our family.  The Meal Train meals and restaurant gift cards have been perfect and delicious.   Having your prayers and help with feeding our family has been the biggest blessing!  I'm very thankful that my sister-in-law set that up for us to make life easier on our day to day routine.  Here's the link....
Meal Train

So to end this post...Y'all know we love music and the song that I think of constantly when I think of our friends and family is this one.  James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend" reminds me of all of my precious friends and the support system God blessed us with.  Our friends have come running just like the song says...winter, spring, summer, fall!  All you have to do is call.  Hugs!  Until we see each other again....

"You've Got a Friend"

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul."  Hebrews 6:19


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