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Jesus knows me, this I love!

So one of Jett’s favorite songs is “Jesus loves me” and it never fails that I can sing this to him when he’s at his exhaustion point and he’ll fall right off to sleep.  I love this song and cry almost everytime I hear or sing it. I even had it played in our wedding, as a prelude. Recently I saw in one of my devotional books the words reversed...instead of “Jesus loves me, this I know”, it said “Jesus knows me, this I love”. And how wonderful is that fact?  We can trust God’s purpose for our lives and that’s an awesome feeling, especially when life gets bumpy.

Last week was just that.  Bumpy and busy, and just plain hard.  From laundry overflowing to getting my first cavity EVER, to the business of being a parent, to planning for a sub and being out for 12 weeks.  It’s just been crazy. 

Forgetting my dang eyebrows topped it off on Friday.  That was the cherry on top of a super challenging week.  I know that seems so vain, but when you try to look normal at school for 23 sweet little friends, eyebrows are important and necessary.  I currently have 1 eyelash on one eye and two on the other.  The hair on my head is a hot mess!  It is growing, slowly but surely, and I’m thankful for that, but I may be wearing this wig forever!  A sweet friend of mine introduced me to Monat and the “Let It Grow” kit!  
So....grow, hair grow!  

Talk about a tough week , I’ve had several mornings and afternoons where I’ve had to just stop and pray for God to calm the waters in my soul.  Slowly I can feel the peace, and I’m able to settle down and feel him near.  There are also times when I’m amazed at the timing of sweet reminders from my tribe!  I absolutely love receiving a picture of cactus goodies, or an uplifting verse or message from a friend or family member.   They always come at the perfect moment.

And those messages mean tons to me, when I’m weak and when I’m strong.  They give me hope.  It stinks when you think about all the people who have tough situations thrown at them in life.  Cancer, divorce, loss of a loved one, job situations, etc.  All of these are huge obstacles to overcome.  But knowing the truth of God’s promise, helps.  One of my favorite songs throughout this battle has been Mercy Me’s, “Even If”.  I remember talking to a former pastor on the phone right after I was diagnosed and he sang these words to me.  Whew, the words are so powerful.  “I know You’re able and I know You can, save through the fire with Your mighty hand, but even if You don’t, my hope is You alone.”  Amen to that!  

As I have thought a lot about my upcoming surgery, I’ve had to lean on that promise. I have also spent my time doing a little reading about the recovery, making tons of lists, started packing a hospital bag, ordered some necessities (wedge pillow, robe with drain holders, and some scar bandages) and pray constantly. Yes, I’m scared.   Yes,  I’m worried.  And yes, I’m concerned about the pain and healing process.  But then again, yes, I’m ready.  I know God will give me the courage to fight my battle that’s around the corner.  This cancer has been in my body for way too many months and it has got to come out.  SOON!  
My parents have been talking a lot with Jett about how he’s going to have to be super gentle with mommy when I have my surgery.  He’s at the age now where every move he makes is somewhat “ninja-like”, so it’s nothing for him to run and jump on our backs or in our laps for a hug.  He’s such little lover and loves so big.  His sweet little self asks me quite often “mommy, are you getting better?”, or “mommy, do you have to take more chemo?”.  A couple of days ago he said “mommy, I know you’d “neber”leave me.” Yeah. I cannot tell you how those precious words instantly made me weep.  I mean ugly tears, to the point where I couldn’t catch my breath.  I hate that he even knows the word chemo.  Lord, heal my body so that I can honestly answer this little boy...”no, I’ll never leave you, angel.”  God’s plan is written for me.  I know that.  And I trust Him.  But dang...there are some days when it’s hard, and I cannot not think about cancer reoccurrence and how it stinks for him to have had a sick mommy.  

So y’all just pray for us all.  The emotions are crazy real and I’m seriously good one minute and the next, calling my people to cry my eyeballs out.  I’m going to fight this battle and come out a winner, because there’s victory in Jesus!  

This weekend was filled with date night, birthday parties, roping with our daddy, and church.   I’m trying to stay busy to keep myself upbeat, but end up absolutely exhausted in the end.  

Naps help.  And so does a little chocolate.  

So tomorrow will be a day of catching up, as we are off for MLK, Jr. Day.  Each January we study biographies in  2nd grade and we always read a lot about Martin Luther King, Jr.  One of my favorite quotes by him is this...

His words were powerful.  One activity I love to have my students do each year is write about their dreams for life.  

This one is hard to beat....such wise words from an 8 year old, huh?  Let’s all try to do just that...blow a dust of joy over this mean ol’ world!  

Upcoming prayer requests:  
Pray for my next doctor’s appointment on February 1 for pre-op and for my anxiety, as I’m super nervous about surgery.
Pray for the hands of the doctors and nurses that will rid my body of the tumor on February 7.
Pray that I will be cancer free after this surgery.
Pray for all those that are sick with the flu and that we can stay healthy.
Pray for one of my co-workers and her husband, as he fights this terrible disease.  

Dont forget the words:  Jesus loves me, this I know and Jesus knows me, this I love.  Hugs to all!  

Oh and thanks to all who have brought meals and are signed up to bring them during my recovery.  You just don’t know how much this helps our little family.  
Here’s the link!  

“But my eyes are fixed on You, sovereign Lord; I take refuge.”  Psalm 141:8


Surgery plans

Today was a day I was looking forward to, but dreading at the same time.  Because as ready as I am to have the tumor removed from my body, I can’t help but be super nervous about this major surgery and life change.  Bundled up but still freezing to death, we jumped in J’s truck and headed to the hospital to meet with my surgeon.   I couldn’t help but remember the day Jett was born as we drove with ice crystals still on the windshield.  It is miserably cold here in Greenville right now and Jett was born on the coldest day of the year in 2014.  I’ll never forget that morning seeing school delays due to super low temps and the danger of bus riders waiting for their buses.  So as we drove up to the hospital, worried and still chilled, Mandisa’s new song “Unfinished” came on the radio and it touched me so, and warmed my heart right up.  

She sings about how God started something GOOD and how His work isn’t finished.  Wow!  I was reminded right then of the many good things in my life:  my sweet husband, our little boy, our family, friends and so much more.  
Hearing her words “His work in me ain’t through” toughened me up and made me feel like I could conquer the world as I stepped through the hospital doors.  
The visit began with checking vitals and then seeing Dr. Millican.  He came in so calm and pleasant, praising me for doing so well with chemo.  He was also very pleased with the results of how the tumor shrunk.  He then asked me what I wanted to do.  Because of the size of the tumor now, a lumpectomy would be a possibility, but I’ve said from the beginning of this whole process, I’m terrified of it coming back.  So to be proactive...my words to him were “take them both”!  I’ve been 99% sure of this decision for a good long time and I’ve stuck to it.  Always being a huge 90210 fan, I  followed Shannon Doherty’s journey with breast cancer.  This quote stood out to me...especially the last part.  I want my life!  I want to do exactly that...grow old with J and see Jett become the amazing young man I know he will be. 

Before we left, he answered a few questions for us and then showed me the images from my MRI of the tumor in July and then most recently.  I cried.  How could I not?  Seeing how the chemo did its job each week, and with constant prayers being said to take this from my body, I wept.  Next,  I was off to the scheduling room.  My “type A” self wanted a Monday date to end a full week of teaching with my students and then have the surgery on a Monday.  But that day wasn’t available due to the length of surgery and sentinel lymph node removal to check those to make sure they are clear.  So Wednesday, February 7 was next up.  That is the day.  11 o’clock!  I know that Gods’ hands of protection will be on me the whole time and that is comforting to know.  A friend of mine shared this link with me entitled, “Don’t Waste Cancer” by John Piper.  I may have shared this before but it is so good and is such a great reminder that we have a choice in the hardships of our life.  It’s just like the quote from Joyce Meyer about the cactus that I’ve lived by during this journey.  

We can sulk or shine.  We can sit on the prickly cactus or choose not to.  Believe me...I’ve sulked and had super sad moments where I’ve cried enough to fill a river.  Just today, I lost it talking to my surgeon about this journey I’ve been on.  I cried like a baby in church on Sunday.  I cry watching Jett play and talk to his transformers.  And when I hear prayers said by others out loud, I loose it everytime.  I get down in the dumps but always rise up.  I can be an emotional roller coaster some days.  But honestly...much of the time I try to be positive and thankful for each new day.  My prayer has been for God to heal my body, but also to let His light shine through me so others may know Him. 
My favorite quote from this article above is this....

So fully relying on Him is what I try to do each day.  It’s hard.  But He’s ultimately in control of our lives.  And I choose to see the joy in each day.  That smiling little boy below needs his mommy.  Just this week he said to me, “Mommy, your hair is growing back so that means you aren’t sick anymore.”  He’s a smart little cookie and yes, my hair is growing like crazy and I feel good.  My fingers still hurt but my body is stronger every day, and I’m excited super about being back to normal soon.  

So I ask that you pray for us all as we prepare for February 7th.  We hope to keep normalcy for Jett, as he will
continue with school.  
Pray for our wellness during flu season.
Pray for my precious caretakers, as they are wonderful! 
Pray for the doctors and nurses as they prepare for the surgery.
Pray for me as I prepare for my long term sub.  She’s so wonderful and the kids love her so I know that they’ll be in the best hands.  I just want to have everything ready for her to make 12 weeks of teaching as easy as possible. 
 Continue to pray for all those that have recently been diagnosed and are going through treatments.  

Yesterday at church the message spoke to me so as it was  all about “how to face the future”.  Read Joshua 1:1-9.  His words are perfect and give me so much hope.  

Love to all!  


Closing out 2017

To close out 2017, I did what lots of my friends do and did the “best 9 of 2017” with pictures I’ve posted on social media.  These were my top nine.  

All of them were taken during my treatments with friends and family, those I love so much.  And what a year it has been!  July 12th will always be a day I’ll never forget and it was on that day my life changed forever.  Halfway through the year, and everything turned upside down, sideways, back up...like a rollercoaster.  But the end of the ride was sweet.  God knew what he was doing and by having my chemo end right at Christmas time. Boy was that a blessing and perfect in every way.  
Our Christmas together was wonderful!  Christmas Eve began with a beautiful service at my parents’ church, followed by a fun time with my family and then with Jeremy’s.  
Reindeer food, Santa’s cookies, and Grinch dust was put out and a very happy boy woke up super early to see his goodies from Santa.  He was very excited about what the big guy in red brought, but he was over the moon giddy with his cowboy gear from Mommy and Daddy.  The boy gets it honestly from his dad with his love for all things horse related.  He hasn’t taken his boots and spurs off since he got them and he’s ready to ride in his saddle.  Cold weather and work hasn’t allowed much time for that yet... but it’ll come.  

His zipline from Gramy and Pop was also a favorite and has brought tons of smiles.  I pray constantly for God’s hands to keep him safe from danger.  As many of you know with little boys, there is NO fear.  NONE!  He keeps me on my toes constantly, wanting to try new things and being so adventurous at such a young age.  Ninnie and Papa helped his closet expand a little more with the cutest attire and lots more fun toys.  

We loved seeing lots of our family and feel so blessed that they are all so close by. No traveling for us, which I am super grateful for. Memories were made and each celebration was very special.  

On Christmas night I couldn’t help but sit down to think about the true meaning of Christmas once again and give thanks to our God, who sent his son to be born on this day.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the lights, gifts, meals, and more.  But it’s all about him.  Francesca Battistelli’s new song “You’re Here” says it all.  If you haven’t heard it, it’s beautiful!  
And it makes me cry everytime I listen to it.  “You’re here.  I’m holding you so near.” I’ve felt his hand on me during this journey more than ever.  Our King. Our Creator...flooding the world with joy.
The Thursday after Christmas I had my final MRI to determine how much the chemo shrunk my tumor.  I cannot tell you how hard I prayed over this procedure and these results.  To my sweet prayer warriors ...thank you for your prayers too.  I was at peace the whole time in the machine and when my doctor called to share the results, he talked in “teacher language”, just for me.  Bless!  He said if he were to grade the results, he’d give it an A- and he was pleased.  And to hear that, how could I not be pleased too?  Of course I wanted an A+, and for the tumor to be gone but...The tumor shrunk, it is in three small pea-sized nodules, and it has pulled away from the chest wall.  We won’t know if it is still cancer, or scar tissue, until surgery is done and the path report is read.  I’ll go to visit surgeon early this coming week and hopefully know when the surgery will be.  I’m ready for the next steps.  I’m ready to get this out of my body completely and I’m ready to be cancer free.  That’s it!  I’m so ready!  
So for the next few days...we will be just hanging tight, playing outside, cheering on our Tigers, roping with daddy, and getting ready to go back to school.  I love nothing more than no alarm clocks and sweet snuggle time with my little guy.  Santa brought him the cutest cactus socks and undies that give me all the happiness in the world, especially when he says, “I wear these for you, mommy.”

That sweetheart has a big birthday next Saturday and I can’t wait to help make it the most fun ever. 

We treasure each moment with him and love seeing his excitement for life and new things.
We hope your family has a wonderful New Years celebration.  2017 was a year that we will never forget but also so much love was poured over our family by you all, and we try to remember that over all the pain.  So 2018 will be graciously welcomed in, and we will press on.  Just like Paul...despite the hardships and challenges, he didn’t give up.  He realized he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him.  And that’s where we are.  We will make it through.  Because...

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize.”
  Phillipians 3:14


Ho, Ho, Ho, no more Chemo!!!!

Yesterday was a date that I had marked on every calendar around for months and months.   

When they scheduled my last few infusion, I remember them asking if I’d like to skip that week due to Christmas and come on the 29th for my last one.  That was a quick no for me.  Wouldn’t the best Christmas present be to finish putting poison in my body to kill this cancer and being one step closer on the road to being cancer free?!  And that’s what we did.  When the alarm went off yesterday, we jumped up like it was Christmas morning, got ready, and headed to Mauldin.  

My dad greeted us with breakfast sandwiches, I raced up the stairs, got my port accessed, and met my nurse.  When she came back to tell me about my blood work, my overall white blood cell count was on the low end and the lowest it has ever been.  1500....she said that if it had of been 1499, they would’ve had to call the doctor and possible move my chemo to another day.  

You can imagine the lump I had in my throat when she told me this and how overjoyed I was when she hung the bags and said that we were moving forward and going on with #16.  I had a party to attend and a big one at that so I could’ve hugged her neck.  I thanked God right then and there.  Totally His moment.  As He’s been with me every step of the way, throughout this entire journey.  Just this morning, I opened my favorite devotion app...Our Daily Bread.  Read the first quote in the middle. 
He’s with me.  He’s with you.  And boy was he at the Cancer Center yesterday.  It was a happy day but also a little sad. As I said goodbye to the ladies in the infusion center that have loved on me for 16 weeks, I hugged them a little tighter.  They truly helped to take away the nervousness each week, with their calm and smiling faces.  They always kept us comfortable and like we were home.  One of my favorite volunteers came by, told us her testimony of being cancer free for 25 years, and prayed with us.  

Many others came to say goodbye and then another visitor entered the pod.  Y’all know I’m a huge clemson fan so when Tajh Boyd came in, I was speechless.  He must’ve hugged me 20 times, told me about his aunt who lost her fight with breast cancer, but gave me such hope with his positive atttitde and spirit.  He lit up the room and made the end of this treatment truly fly by with his conversation.  My dad was thrilled to say the least.  And Jett loved visiting with him outside as they waited for my treatment to be done.  My best friend Erica coordinated that and wow!  What a treat!  

So next on the agenda was to celebrate even more with my tribe.  Everyone was gathered out by the Jesus statue and as soon as we walked out, the the sound of jingle bells rang and shouts of congratulations were yelled.  This moment was super emotional, with J literally holding me by his side.  

I cannot even describe the feelings I felt to see my tribe, together, celebrating this part being done.  Celebrating life.  Celebrating hope.  The sun was shining so brightly at that moment and I had to take a second, close my eyes and thank Him for His grace, His mercy, and His unconditional love.  Seeing Jett scramble from the crowd and wrap his little arms around my neck brought even more joy to the moment.  

We’ve talked about this day briefly with him and he was thrilled to see us walk about of that building, ready to party because mommy didn’t have to take any more bad medicine.
I tried my best to hug every single person that came and if I missed you, I’ll see you soon.  So many of my students, past and present, came with their families.  

My family was there along with tons of friends.  My fellow breast cancer warrior friends came.  That bond is strong.  Continue to pray for them and their journey along this road.  

We opened with a very special prayer led by my friend Rob White, and then sang three of my favorite Christmas songs.   Joy.  That’s the word that stands out as I heard nearly 100 sweet voices sing the precious words, giving honor and glory to our Jesus.  
Santa’s sleigh was next and that brought so much happiness to many of my little friends.  Who doesn’t love a ride around the block with Santa??  

Look at those faces!!??  My heart was full.  Every second of this day was amazing.  And it ended like this.  
Flashback to my first chemo, fellow breast cancer survivor and dear friend Brandi, sent me a balloon to release.  

So what better way to end the chemo treatment regimen than with another release.  And that’s what we did. From summer to winter...from sick to wellness!  

I cannot even begin to thank you all for everything you all have done for our family.  Last night a sweet family dropped off  a Christmas jar of change.  

Y’all...Your love is so evident and words cannot even express our gratitude.  We wish you the merriest Christmas.  Enjoy every second with you family.  As you open each gift, do something for me.  Pause.  Breathe.  Thank God for the gift of life.  He sent His son to be born on this day for us.  Give him the glory. “Glory to the newborn king.” Those Christmas Carol words will forever be etched in my heart, along with the beautiful sound of jingle bells.  Also hug every member of your family.  We are not promised tomorrow.    

We love you all and appreciate every prayer you’ve lifted up over the last 6 months.  The countdown is on for Christmas Day.  2 more sleeps and Santa comes.  I’ve got a happy little boy that absolutely can’t wait to see what will be under the tree.  And his mommy is just as excited to celebrate this year, and hopefully many more too.  

Prayer requests:
Pray for all to stay healthy 
Pray for my fingers as the Taxol has killed my nailbeds and fingernails (trying not to complain because if it’s doing that to my fingers, I’m hoping it’s attacking the cancer like no other!)
Final MRI on December 28
Visit with surgeon January 2
Pray for my doctors and nurses
Back to school on January 3

“If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone; the new is here.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

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