Peace, bring it all to peace

Bring it all to peace.
The storm surrounding me, let it break at Your name.
Still, call a sea to still.
The rage in me to still, every wake at Your name.  
Jesus, Jesus...You make the darkness tremble.
Jesus, Jesus....You silence fear!  
Jesus, Jesus...You make the darkness tremble.
Jesus.  Jesus.
And it’s why I sing!  
Your praise will ever be on lips.
“Tremble”~Bethel Music 

Whew!  This song just makes me want to want to stand on the top of a mountain and sing it at the top of my lungs.  I can’t tell you how many times during these last 10 months I’ve felt peace.  And still.  I’ve had many days where I’ve truly been still.  Still enough to feel his love and presence around me.  Still enough to just call out His name when fear creeps in.  And still enough to pray for others.  Just this week, a friend of a friend was given a diagnosis that wasn’t easy to hear.  My heart just breaks for her and her family but know that just as God sustained me through my battle, He will be there for her ALL the way.  Two friends I mentioned in a former post are going through chemo and surgery soon.  I know their fear and hate that they are having to go through this pain.  Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt a real push from the Lord,  to reach out,  ministering to these precious people.  Whether it’s breast cancer, or another illness, I want them to know that our God is good and will never leave them.  I had many wonderful people tell me that during the early days of my diagnosis and that reassurance was just what I needed to hear.  Just please pray for me as I do my best to help others during their battles and pray for those that are sick.  
These last two weeks have been full of fear and the unknown as I really didn’t know what this oral chemo would do to my body.  All I could think about was the terrible way that my original chemo regimen made me feel.  I talked to a nurse with the online prescription company that fills it each time, for a solid hour, as she told what all it could do.  I then met with a precious pharmacist at the Cancer Center, here in Greenville.  She calmed my nerves tremendously and this first round hasn’t been too bad.  The common side effects are mouth sores-none so far, nausea-I’ve had none, diarrhea-none of that either, fatigue-yeah I’m tired most of the time, and hand/foot syndrome(blistering and peeling of hands and feet)-my hands are slightly red and peeling a tiny bit.  
So daily, I thank Him for yet another day to walk this Earth, feeling good, more hours to spend with our angel boy and my family, and for His faithfulness.  I know that I have MANY more 2 week cycles of the Xeloda but the first round has been good to me.  I see my doctor next week and will have blood work done and we’ll determine if I’m on the right dosage.  5,000 mg a day is a lot and taking 7 pills every morning and 7 at night is NO fun.  But once again, I try to just swallow those bad boys and know that they are keeping any cancer away from my body.  Since the tumor didn’t shrink completely from 16 rounds of chemo, my doctor felt that this medicine was something I needed to take.  I trust my doctor and know that his decision is the best for me.  God gave him the knowledge to study each case and work with cancer patients, and I value his opinion even more knowing that He knows our Savior and is a praying man.  I also head back to the Gibbs center for a radiation follow up next week.  I’m super excited to see that little group of precious people.  They loved on me so during those 33 treatments and I’ll forever be grateful for their sense of calmness each and everytime I visited.  
So as I’m on medical leave through the end of this school year, I’ve had a lot of time to rest.  
I occasionally meet friends for lunch, and today I got to meet the designer that will be creating my outfit for the upcoming benefit in Greenville, Couture for a Cause on September 6.  All  proceeds will be going to the Greenville chapter of the American Cancer Society.   

 I’m super excited to see her drawings and hear her ideas,  as it has to be constructed from repurposed/recycled materials.  And my friend Jenny’s daughter, Amelia, who was diagnosed with retinoblastoma at 6 weeks, will be participating alongside me.  What an honor and privilege to walk the runway with her, as she’s gone through so much during such a short little life.  She’s my hero and “port sister”.  
So other than a few lunches here and there, I truly am able to have lots of quiet time, catch up on some Netflix, do chores around the house, clean out some closets, and work on this new small business adventure. 
 So many of you have been so supportive of this endeavor Erica and I have begun, and we can’t thank you enough for your excitement and kind words of encouragement.  As I sit back each day, I can’t help but think that God knew exactly what He was doing by opening this door for us. 
I needed a task in my life to keep the darkness from creeping in.  My creative teacher brain of course isn’t in the classroom, and I miss my job.  I miss teaching the children and the comraderi with my peers. But I know that I made the right decision by staying out the rest of the year.  Being on chemo does keep my immune system down, and it makes me tired.  And if I can’t give 100% to those children, which my precious sub is giving 200%, I’ll stay home and return in August, full speed, God willing.  
Just to see, once again, the Lord’s hand in this season of my life and starting this business has been unbelievable.  The people that we’ve met and the stories we’ve heard  has  reaffirmed that the Swanky Steer is part of God’s plan for our lives.  It’s truly been a family affair,  as our husbands and dads are working on pieces for our pop-ups.  

The children are super excited and Jett’s already gotten quite a collection of toys that he thinks he will sell at “the store”.  It’s been so cool, finding unique antiques to display our items, finding unique accessories that y’all are going to love,  and the cutest clothes that I could put in my closet today.  We’re so excited to share everything with you all.  
But giving God all the glory is what it’s all about.  
Without Him, none of this would’ve come together.  
My devotional this morning was entitled “Christ in You”.  
The excerpt talked about being passionate about different things in life and when we use our gifts that God has given us, we will see His miraculous work throughout the world around us. 
And I’ve been seeing it a lot lately, all in his perfect, beautiful time.
And then I get the sweetest gift from a lady who used to babysit me.  This T-shirt.   Thank you sweet, Gina!  

“He made everything beautiful in its time.”  
Ecclesiastes 3:11
 So that’s what we hope to do when meeting people along this journey...
We want to shine His light, 
and live passionately for Him.  
He leads us, teaches us, comforts us, and more. 

May we be still, have peace, and forever cling to Him, 
on all of our days here on Earth.  
We are His children.  Don’t be a slave to fear.  
Listen to this song!  



The Swanky Steer

If you’ve known me for an hour, a day, months, or many years, you know that I have a big love for clothes, shoes, jewelry, purses, and home decor.  I honestly take after my Granna (my mom’s mom) as she frequently visited the small town Belk and was constantly redecorating her beautiful home.  She had boxes of shoes and two closets full of clothes, and tons of beautiful jewelry to accessorize her perfect outfits.  She dressed her two daughters to a tee when growing up, with dresses she’d made my hand.  And she’d always try to pass down something when we visited her, to my mom or myself, with her kind soul. 

My parents also love to shop, and find fun antique stores, looking for good deals, and I think my dad likes it a little more than us all.  He’s always finding a new sport coat for Sundays, or a pair of shoes for a special occasion.
   And my best friend Erica, well, she loves it too.

 I’ll never forget when I was so sick after chemo, she’d come by with a shopping bag of clothes she’d found, completely outfitting me, purse and all. She knew just what would make me squeal with excitement, while feeling so yucky.
 And that’s love. 
She can bring tons of sunshine to the gloomiest day.  
She’s been by my side through every single step on this rocky road, bringing donuts to the nurses, food for our family, and holding my hand during the scariest times of my life.  She can make me laugh and think about the funniest things during the worst of times.  And that’s what best friends do and I love her for that.  So as I’ve been out on medical leave with radiation and now beginning an oral chemo regimen, I’ve had tons of time to pray, plan, and ponder this little idea.   
And having a best friend who has the same likes and interests, makes it so easy to begin a fun adventure.  
I once heard that a good friend knows all of your stories, but a best friend helps you write them. 
 And that describes our friendship perfectly.  
So with all that said, we’ve always had an idea in the back of our minds of starting a boutique of some sort.  
And that dream is beginning to come true.  
Best friends for over 20 years, Erica and I have always had a love for fashion and home decor.  Meeting each other in high school, staying in touch through college(at two different colleges), and then introducing her to her husband, J’s best buddy, we’ve become like family.  
The boys travel to team ropings on weekends,  all across the southeast, and we usually stay home with our little people, shop, eat dinner, and solve all of the world’s problems. 
 But not anymore.  We’re going with them!  
Realizing that each day is a gift, especially after my breast cancer diagnosis in July, proved that we could turn this dream into a reality, allowing for more family time.
So....The Swanky Steer is launching soon. 
We will begin with some local pop-ups and traveling some with our guys this summer.  And eventually we’ll be hauling a vintage horse trailer behind us, made with love by Erica’s Papa Bob, that’ll be used to showcase our products. We’ll have many different styles of ladies clothing, all with class and a whole lot of sass.  

Trendy t-shirts, tea towels, and pillows covers will be for sale, all made by hard working special education students under the supervision of their teacher, my precious cousin, Meredith.  Signature candles poured with love by our sweet friend Morgan at The Barn at PostOak, will be available, along with amazing jewelry, and several other “swanky” items. 
 This endeavor already, has been so much fun, and truly we’ve seen God’s handiwork the whole time.  We officially sat down and wrote out our “business plan” on April 16 (4/16). 
 And the very next week during my quiet time, I was studying Mark and that’s when I read Mark 4:16. 

The past nine months have been rocky but the seed that God has planted will bring so much joy.   
And that’s the exact feeling that we get when “working” to start this business.  
It’s been so fun having our pictures taken by Rachel Thompson-Moore, and pouring our branding ideas out while FaceTiming with a team of the cutest girls, Elliot and Erica, who have designed our brand and logo (Steeplechase Collective).  Meeting with vendors, and ordering products, has had us both “giddy”, especially when we each want to keep one of everything.  And all the while, God’s faithfulness and love are so present.  Our ultimate goal is to stay focused on THE ONE who brought us together.   We’ve prayed over this endeavor and asked God to lead, guide, and direct us every step of the way.  After reading another devotional,  on 4/16, this says it all.  
Through His love, we will love!  
And that’s exactly what we plan on doing. 
We can’t wait to help you find the perfect gift or outfit, share our story of God’s goodness, all while spreading joy in this life we are living.  

So come see us on Thursday, May 31 and Friday, June 1 at T. Ed Garrison arena for the SC High School rodeo finals.  
Or follow us on Instagram and enter our Giveaway contest and we’re on Facebook too!

“And may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ.”  Hebrews 13:21



Raising money!

So I’ve met my goal of $500 but our big goal of $15,000 has not been met and tomorrow is the last day to raise money for   the Susan G. Komen Power Women in Pink fundraising event!  If you are able to contribute, I’d greatly appreciate it!  Let’s find a cureπŸ’—πŸ’ͺπŸ»πŸ’— #tribecactus 



At last!!!

Yesterday morning I woke up super emotional, as my last radiation would be finished within a few hours.  The reality of this being the last step in my journey to seal these cells from taking over any more of my body, had me in full on cry mode.  That was until Jett woke up, hugged my neck, and said “today is party day, right mommy?”  Our last link was waiting for us to cut after this treatment was complete!
And so that helped.  And a party it was.  

Stopping by to get a Starbucks treat for us both, eased the drive as we prayed and rocked out to some of my favorite worship songs.  Pulling into the parking lot at the Cancer Center, we were greeted by the sweetest fireman and his beautiful pink truck, covered with signatures from cancer survivors all over the upstate.  He told about his precious wife who has been fighting for 12 years with such pride in his voice.  We then were greeted by my parents,  my mother-in-law, my best friend, and some of my “breast” friends too.  

Jett helped me sign in this final time, and as I laid on the table for the final boost, what song came on but Etta James’ “At last”.  How appropriate, huh?  
At last the day was here that we’d been counting down to.  At last I could rest in the mornings and not have to run out the door to my appointment. 
 At last I could say that I’d fought the fight.  
At last I could Praise God for carrying me ALL the way throughout this journey.  
At last, I could walk away a survivor.  

Tons of hugs were given by my sweet treatment girls, and then the bell was rung!  Whew!  What a feeling.  And to see the smile on my little guy’s face, knowing his mommy was going to be okay, had my heart overflowing with happiness.

 We added our names to the truck, alongside many other warriors who have fought this disease.  

 A trip to the Waffle House was next in order and then I headed over to sit with a friend who was getting chemo.  She was so kind to come to my final radiation, so I wanted to be with her during her treatment. 

 Little did I know that it was her first treatment where she’d been by herself.  God made that happen.  Seeing my chemo nurses and Sister Dorothy just made the day perfect, as I’ll always have such sweet memories of them, starting the first step to killing the cancer that tried to kill me.  At last I could hug them and say that I felt good, and thank you again.  I left there and went and saw my friend who has just recently been diagnosed.  We chatted for a good while about her plan and I just know that she’s going to do great.  

And the evening ended with a fun modeling session at my sweet friend Sally’s boutique, Southern Girl Chic, on Woodruff.  I met Sally right before my surgery and she’s been so kind to check on me weekly, and then asked me to come model for her yesterday.  What a fun way to get all fixed up after quite a day, full of emotions and tears.  She had balloons and tons of confetti to help make the celebrating even more fun!  
So what’s next?   
That’s the question everyone asks! 
 I meet with my oncologist on Wednesday morning first thing and will begin taking an oral chemo called Xeloda.  It’ll be taken daily for two weeks, and then I’ll take a week off.  This regimen will continue for 6 months, ending in October.  I’ll then have a hysterectomy in December, and then I’ll go on Arimidex for five years.  
As much as I hoped that radiation was the end for me, there’s still a lot ahead.  
My friend Lauren sent me the best little devotional yesterday...”To praise or pout?”  The Bible story told was  when Paul and Silas were wrongfully accused and thrown in prison.  Though they had every reason to pout, and be angry about this terrible situation they were in, they chose to glorify God’s name by praying and singing hymns to the Lord, while the other prisoners were listening.  God shook the Earth and the chains loosened, freeing the prisoners. In fear, the jailer almost took his life, as he knew he’d be blamed for the prisoners escaping, but Paul stopped him, because he and Silas stayed.  And because of this, several of the guards and prisoners came to know Jesus. 
So remember that although we may not rejoice in every situation given to us, we are told to always rejoice in the Lord.  

 So as hard as these times may be, and as easy as it could be to pout and be angry, I choose to praise Him.
I choose to trust Him. 
 I choose to have hope.  
And at last, I choose to live every single day to the fullest.  

Thank you for all of your prayers, Facebook messages, texts, calls, and love.  Y’all have been such an awesome tribe and I’m forever grateful.  

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”  James 1:2-3

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