I feel as if I’m finally able to do just that.  
The last three weeks have been so busy with big, super fun events for our family that have been none short of amazing.
But, I’m somewhat excited about a week with NOTHING on my calendar, except for standardized testing with 25 sweet students at school.    

So take a minute and compare yourself to a tree.  A recent devotion that I read described a tree that was dying, and compared it to our busy lives.  We all know that trees need water, sunlight, carbon dioxide, and nutrients from the soil to live.  And much of the time, flowers are planted at the base, causing the tree to not be able to breathe.  An arborist came out to see a tree once that was dying and as soon as some of the dirt was cleaned away from the base, the tree began to flourish.  We are so much like them, planning activities around us that cause us to become exhausted and lack energy.  So as this week is beginning, I’m trying to rest and do what God wants me to do, not just survive,  but thrive and truly take the time to breathe.  
So as I said, this month has been extra busy with many amazing events.  This past weekend was one that I was so looking forward to as it would be a little down time in my favorite place on Earth.  Although my iWatch said that I walked 12,000 plus steps on Saturday, I was able to breathe in the nice crisp air in Clemson for the homecoming game.  

This was also the breast cancer game for the year and so since I was in the middle of chemo, not feeling well, and it poured rain last year when I was team captain for Bon Secours St. Francis, I was ecstatic that this year I was able to participate in some events, thanks to my friends at the cancer center.  We proudly watched Kathleen Swinney and Becky Steele share information about Dabo’s All In Foundation on the Tiger Tailgate show, and how they are helping fund a new mammography bus.  

We also were able to eat lunch with Mrs. Pearlie Harris, herself, and see one of my favorite former players, CJ Spillers.  

Tailgating with lots of friends, the tiger walk, and then the game, made the day complete.  

The band serenaded us with TIGER RAG just before leaving and sharing a special moment with the band director as his wife is battling breast cancer, allowed the day to be near perfect. 

Earlier in the week, I participated again in the Pumps and Pearls fashion show.    This event is awesome and I feel so honored to have been asked to be a part of it again this year.  Jett escorted me, wearing his full cowboy “get up”, and we had the opportunity to walk the winner of the “Pups and Pearls” dog contest, Honeysuckle.

 She was so gentle and both, her and Jett, did great, as they walked by my side down the runway with 1,200 precious women cheering for each model.  

My precious doctor, Rebecca Keith was the keynote speaker, and did a wonderful job comparing cancer to a mountain lion.  I’ve included the story that she shared below.  I laugh and cry each time I read it, as it’s SO true!

"What’s it like to go through cancer treatment? It’s something like this: one day, you’re minding your own business, you open the fridge to get some breakfast, and OH THERE’S A MOUNTAIN LION IN YOUR FRIDGE.

So you take off running, and the mountain lion is right behind you. You know the only thing that can kill a mountain lion is a bear, and the only bear is on top of the mountain, so you better find that bear. You start running up the mountain in hopes of finding the bear. Your friends desperately want to help, but they are powerless against mountain lions, as mountain lions are killing machines. But they really want to help, so they’re cheering you on and bringing you paper cups of water and orange slices as you run up the mountain and yelling at the mountain lion - “GET LOST, MOUNTAIN LION, NO ONE LIKES YOU” - and you really appreciate the support, but the mountain lion is still coming.
Also, for some reason, there’s someone in the crowd who’s yelling “that’s not really a mountain lion, it’s a puma” and another person yelling “I read that mountain lions are allergic to kale, have you tried rubbing kale on it?”
As you’re running up the mountain, you see other people fleeing their own mountain lions. Some of the mountain lions seem comparatively wimpy - they’re half grown and only have three legs or whatever, and you think to yourself - why couldn’t I have gotten one of those mountain lions? But then you look over at the people who are fleeing mountain lions the size of a monster truck with huge prehistoric saber fangs, and you feel like an idiot for even thinking that - and besides, who in their right mind would want to fight a mountain lion, even a three-legged one?
Finally, the person closest to you, whose job it is to take care of you - maybe a parent or sibling or best friend or, in my case, my husband - comes barging out of the woods and jumps on the mountain lion, whaling on it and screaming “MOUNTAIN LION, STOP TRYING TO EAT MY WIFE,” and the mountain lion punches your husband right in the face. Now your husband (or whatever) is rolling around on the ground clutching his nose, and he’s bought you some time, but you still need to get to the top of the mountain. 
Eventually you reach the top, finally, and the bear is there. Waiting. For both of you. You rush right up to the bear, and the bear rushes the mountain lion, but the bear has to go through you to get to the mountain lion, and in doing so, the bear TOTALLY KICKS YOUR BUTT,  but not before it also punches your husband in the face. And your husband is now staggering around with a black eye and bloody nose, and saying “can I get some help, I’ve been punched in the face by two apex predators and I think my nose is broken,” and all you can say is “I’M KIND OF BUSY IN CASE YOU HADN’T NOTICED I’M FIGHTING A MOUNTAIN LION.”
Then, IF YOU ARE LUCKY, the bear leaps on the mountain lion and they are locked in epic battle until finally the two of them roll off a cliff edge together, and the mountain lion is dead.
Maybe. You’re not sure - it fell off the cliff, but mountain lions are crafty. It could come back at any moment.
And all your friends come running up to you and say “that was amazing! You’re so brave, we’re so proud of you! You didn’t die! That must be a huge relief!”
Meanwhile, you blew out both your knees, you’re having an asthma attack, you twisted your ankle, and also you have been mauled by a bear. And everyone says “boy, you must be excited to walk down the mountain!” And all you can think as you stagger to your feet is , I never wanted to climb this mountain in the first place.” Author Unknown

This past year has been a climb like no other but I’m so thankful for all of my “bears”…my husband, my family, my doctors, my friends, and our precious Lord.  Without them, the climb would’ve been much, much harder and I’m not sure that I’d be standing here today, strong and healthy, if that mountain lion had of had his way with me.  I sure didn’t want to climb the “cancer” mountain in the first place but it brought me so much closer to God and that, I’m grateful for.
Last weekend I went and saw Lysa TerKeurst’s 
“The Word Alive”  tour with my mom and mother-in-love in Athens.  

It was UNBELIEVABLE.  Lysa has such a passion for leading women in the adventure of faith.  Her story is powerful and we all left there feeling closer to Him, after experiencing a deeper connection to His word with so much more understanding.   It was truly a time where I was able to recharge my soul and spirit, and spend time with two women I adore.  

So now…to rest.  I’m already excited about going to bed by 8 every night this week and having several “low key” upcoming weekends to breathe and well maybe have a little “Swanky Steer” time.  

So I’m going to challenge you to do these things…
Take time to recharge.
Do something that refreshes your soul. 
Lean in to the presence of God. 
And simply stop, and breathe. 

Life is short and I don’t want you to miss the blessings.  
“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”  Exodus 33:14


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