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Meet the Teacher night!!!

Yesterday afternoon, I got to meet 20 out of 22 of my precious new Giddy-Ups.  This is one of my favorite nights of the year because I love seeing the excitement about a new year and the faces of MANY former students and their families.

  My friend Katherine, who will be subbing for me a lot this year, came and welcomed them as well.  It is such a great feeling to know that when I cannot physically be in the classroom this year, someone who loves children like I do will take my place.  Tuesday will be a big day for us all but I have no doubt that we will have a wonderful day in room 202.  This is my prayer daily.  

I teach with the best grade level of teachers.  Yesterday before the children came, we gathered in a circle and prayed for each other and our upcoming year.  That sweet moment left me in tears.  Tears of pride and happiness because how wonderful is it to have these Godly women in my life, down the hall, and by my side each day.  

So here we go!  One more day of planning on Monday for this year and then Tuesday we will welcome these children into our classrooms and begin teaching them.  Science, math, kindness to others, reading, responsibility, and more.  Our job is important.  

As for Jett and his first week back to school, he's done amazing!  He's walked into his class with no tears every single day and just made me so proud.  The pictures I get throughout the day reaffirm that he's just where he needs to be and we love his school and teachers.  

On a side note...after a busy week, I completely crashed last night.  Like 5 o'clock...in bed!  Whoa!  Now for a fun weekend with my guys.  

And one more thing....Thank you to my sweet Molly for ordering the prayer cactus for all of my prayer friend warriors!  Message her about pick up or check your email if you ordered one!  And how about it taking an 18 wheeler to deliver these??!!  Y'all!  Your prayers are big!  And they mean the world to us.  

So here are some prayer requests for this week:
Pray for Jett to continue loving school
Pray for my first day with my kiddos on Tuesday 
Pray for my counts and 2nd chemo treatment on Wednesday (J's bday) 
Pray that I can stay healthy while teaching 
Pray for all of our family during this time

Love you all!  

"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge."  Psalm 91:4


Oh what a night!

"A sweet friendship refreshes the soul." Proverbs 27:9. 

That very verse sums up last night.  To be surrounded by 30 of the closest women in my life was a complete honor as I took the plunge and cut my hair.  Their precious voices sang and lifted me up by singing some of my favorite songs.  I'll never hear Matt Maher's "Lord, I Need You" and "Because He Lives" again and not think of this night. Chills ran all over my body.  There were times when I couldn't catch my breath, times when I couldn't look at my momma, and times when I knew I was wrapped in God's arms the entire time.   I cannot even begin to tell you how present God was in that room.  I cried, they cried, I laughed, they laughed.  

And hair fell to the floor all around me.  
Goodness it was a night full of emotions. 
 My sweet friend Emma who has been our family hairdresser for years did such a great job of calming my fears while taking on this job. 
 Y'all know I had a head full of thick hair so the cut took awhile to get it to this final style. But the wig had to come out immediately.  I'm a side-pony girl...have been and probably will be 70 (Lord willing) and still rocking it. 

The hugs and love after this big step let me know that even though I may look a little different, my friends and family would still stand by my side.  

My sweet Aunt Maria made this sad event a joyous one that made everyone more hopeful.  Delicious food, cactus cupcakes, and more! Who doesn't love a fun party??!!

So that was our night!  Seeing these wonderful faces of every facet of my life helped me to see more of the puzzle God gave me.  

When I got home, both J and Jett were asleep, thankfully.  I just wasn't ready to face them yet.  But around 4 am, Jett became restless.  (Yes, he sleeps with us). He immediately grabbed my hair, and said "Mommy, I like your hair long."  So I lost it, cried myself back to sleep and prayed.  Prayers for understanding, peace, comfort, resilience.  

And talk about resilience, I woke him up this morning, wearing my wig and he never said a word about it.  It must just look that much like my hair to him.  That made my heart so happy and made this morning perfect for our first day back to school.  Drop off was as easy as could be with no tears for him or mommy.  I have prayed for this day for over a week and God answered my prayers.  

So next up is staying healthy and well.  I meet my new little class on Friday and I am super excited about that but also about seeing my former Giddy-Ups.  

Keep the prayers coming folks!  Somebody asked me today how I felt and honestly, I feel healthy and like my normal self but now with a new hair do.  That's a praise in itself, right?!!  

" Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. " Psalm 62:8


The real deal!

(Not sure what the crazy lines are below...hope you can still read!!??)

Wow!  This little cool dude has been a trooper during this first bout with chemo.  He's wild and crazy and sweet and loves his mommy sick and all, but whew!!  It's been the real deal!  Fatigue like NO other, nausea, headaches, light sensitivity, etc.  24 hours after my first chemo until now, and I've felt yucky!  So thankful for good medicines that help curb the side effects some.  

While confined to my bed some recently,
I've been looking for a quick app/devotion that would be good for when school starts back and I found it!  
I love the "Our Daily Bread" app on my phone and the devotion touched me so much this morning.  

And that's it.  He is my strength.   I've had to trust him and place ALL of my faith in him.  And "he makes my feet like the feet of deer"?  Wow!  The coolest thing has happened this summer.  We've had a momma and baby deer living in our pasture for awhile now and every morning the baby deer runs with the horses like they are in the Kentucky Derby.  I love watching her swift on her feet,  jumping almost higher than the height of the horses.  Being tiny in size doesn't stop her and so just like our faith may be tiny at times, like the size of a mustard seed, big miracles can happen if you believe.  I believe and am just waiting for that day of being completely healed. Download that app would ya and I just know it'll bring you closer to God's love each day.  

I did venture out of the house yesterday afternoon for four of the sweetest little girls birthday parties.  It took all I had in me but I did it and I'm glad.   Nothing could have stopped me from going and celebrating their precious lives.  I may not have felt great, and may have been a little grumpy to some, but we got through it and I collapsed when we got home.  Like 7:15, asleep!  

My sister and niece came by to check on me earlier yesterday and brought me some cute new socks and a pineapple slushee from Sonic and I do believe that's my new favorite drink 🍹 Eating isn't my favorite thing right now but I could drink an entire ocean!   

And after their visit, Erica came to bring me some more medicine and a few new magazine reads and lipstick...just what a girl needs, right!!??  Jeremy fixed me a big bowl of tomato soup and brought it to the bed and just as I was about to take my first bite, Jett jumped on the bed to play "snake" and tomato soup went EVERYWHERE.  I will not share the exact words that came out of my mouth,  but I was livid.  After fresh new linens, an outfit change, and a brand new bowl of soup, Jett and J went outside to have a serious talk and play so mommy could visit and rest.  I'm still glad it didn't burn him, Erica, or myself but oh my goodness, what a mess!  

So not much has been happening on the circle over the last 72 hours except for some good sleeping and looking out of windows.  Hoping today I turn the corner, can get to church, and then rest a little more.  

Thanks for all the prayers once again.  God knows our needs, exactly and I'm trusting in that.  Hoping that I feel back to myself real soon and can start this school year with my sweet staff this week and meet my kiddos on Friday at meet the teacher.  

Pray for me on Monday as I cut my hair.  Saying that makes me just cry a river.  Pray for Jett as he may see a different person, but the same mommy.  Pray for us as we both go back to school.  And pray for our families during this trying time.  It's hard on us all. It is the real deal!   

One more thing... our #tribecactus shirts are ready for preorder if you are interested!  

Love you all!  

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them"
Romans 8:28 


A new name...

A sweet friend of mine sent me a text asking how her Princess Cactus was feeling today.  I had to chuckle a little and it's only fitting I guess after my fairy tale post yesterday that that may be a good name and might stick.  Ha!  I've secretly wanted to be a princess for at least one day over my last 37 years.  Today was alright until around noon.  My sweet cousins came and took Jett to Gravitopia and out for lunch which was so much fun for him, and gave me time to rest.  
My mom came over and helped me with a few things around the house, made me lunch, and chatted about our day yesterday.  We are still in awe about the day it was.  Right after lunch, is when the fatigue they talk about hit. BOOM!   I literally was awake watching tv and talking one minute and then my head dropped, and started snoring and drooling the next.  I was dreaming like 20 dreams in 5 minutes, it seemed.  
No nausea came with this (thank goodness) but the tiredness kicked my tail.  We had to go back to the hospital around 4 to get a Neulasta shot which helps with the fight if infection.  (Planned trip) The ride up to Lauren's Road with a tired little boy and a worried momma was not fun.  I was ill, short tempered, and about to loose my mind once we got there.  I felt kind of like a maniac. I was irritated when I jumped out at the car but the greeters just smiled and were so pleasant, as always, so my attitude changed and upstairs I went.  When arriving back into the same area I took my chemo in, I saw my nurse and several others that were just so gracious and came to check in me. 
 It helped to hear that how I was feeling was normal and just to hold on for the ride.  Their hugs and "it's gonna be ok" got me through the shot, back in the car, and made the ride home much better. I prayed so much during that 30 minute wait for God to restore my body and for forgiveness of how I'd been on the ride up.   I told my mom that I had lost one pound and that my blood pressure wa super low.  The nurses were not worried when I told them I was just so exhausted.  Jett asked 1,678,389 questions about what one pound was and what is blood pressure and why did you have to get a shot but we made it home.  Trying to be a patient mommy, I tried to answer these questions without screaming but made it through.  I went straight to bed and that's where I found myself just about 30 minutes ago when J came in for bed too.  Can y'all just pray for him too?  Not only did he work A super HaRD days work, he came home, fed Jett, did a tubby, snuggled our boy and put him to bed.  I never heard them make a sound and he felt terrible when he came in the room and I woke up.  He's so strong but I know it's got to be hard on him seeing me go through this.  Pray for my parents too.  My mom is a tremendous help with Jett and myself and sometimes I know that I'm a little short with her about somethings.  Like all mothers do, they want their children healthy and well.  She is constantly reminding me to drink and talk meds.  And for Jett... pray for him and his little 3.5 year old self.  He senses mommy's weakness and isn't always the best listener and sometimes it is so easy to just ignore it and move on but the momma in me wants to act and discipline and teach him proper behavior.  So pray for patience for us all.  

A good note is that the doctor told me that I may see a size difference in the size of the tumor after the first treatment and guess what!!??  I do!  Isn't that God's wonderful healing touch working with these doctors and meds!!  Praise the Lord.  He is the only one who can bring us through these trials and tribulations and be there when times are at their darkest.  So now I'm going to close this post and go to bed.  Thanks again for all of you who have reached our to help!  We love you and want to travel this road with you all, some leading in front, some walking right beside us, and some pushing up the rear.  

So here's what I'm invisioning Princess Cactus to look like today and she's so not huggable. (My mom will vouch for that!). I've apologized to her a hundred times.  Time will pass and I'm praying to be back to my normal self soon.  Pray for that too, will ya!   Night, night!  

"God is our reguge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1


Princess for a day...

I can honestly compare my first chemo treatment 
to a fairy tale. Most of them are full of love, happiness, a few evil situations, and then a marvelous happy ending.  Today was just that!
Yes, I just said that my first chemo treatment was like a fairy tale.  Here's why...

From the moment the prick was made into my port to access it for chemo and prepare for my triple negative "cocktail", to the nurse taking my vitals and calming me down after my blood pressure was OUT OF THE ROOF, to meeting the sweetest, prettiest nurse practitioner, Amanda, and then being assigned my beautiful oncologist nurse, Paige...every moment of the day was easy.  

My nurse Paige made the whole process not one bit scary and showed such grace as she did her job.  The actual chemo lasted from about 10-1 and then she set me free!  

Along with the good, there was the bad.  The evil parts of course, just like every fairy tale has.  My attitude walking in was just like how the stepmother felt towards Cinderella.  She didn't really like her and well I don't really like this cancer.  I hate that I have it and that so many people I love have had to fight this very battle.  I hate that it takes people too quickly from us and that new cases are being diagnosed daily.  And talk about evil...needles are one of my biggest fears and so the pinch of the needle and seeing the meds go into my body, those were the evil parts of the the story. And the Adriamycin drug is known as the "red devil" and when I heard that, that drug immediately became something that I hated but loved at the same time.  Hopefully this will help shrink the cancer immediately so there are some mixed feelings toward it.  

But overall the procedure itself was painless and way better than I expected.  My little room was beautiful and I felt as if I was on the beach watching these sea grass like plants sway in the wind.  Having my family and friends there helped so much!  It was a revolving door and I wouldn't have had it any other way.  From flowers being delivered, yummy lunch brought in by my sweet high school friends, and goodie bags galore...who wouldn't be happy?  

Starting the day with a sweet church friend, Miss Linda, and ending the treatment with Sister Dorothy, from the hospital, to pray over me left me speechless.  What a wonderful name of Jesus I heard from both of these ladies. A friend sent this to me and it just reminded me of this very day..."you are a princess....and you deserve everything your father King has to offer because of JESUS.  He desires his best for you....and He is supplying your needs...not one tear falls that he isn't aware of....the hairs of your head are numbered so that He can replace them when the time comes...what he leads you to, he leads you through. OH YES, and he loves you so much."

Just a great day overall and one step closer to the end of this journey.  The only thing missing was my ball gown and some glass slippers so I had to wear some cute, cute socks! 

I even had my Prince Charming there.  And I just know that the most magical prayers throughout the day were being sent to our Lord from all of my tribe.  

Now for some amazing events of the day:

A couple of weeks ago I found out that a former
parent and friend was going to be at the hospital on August 9 getting her last chemo to end her battle of breast cancer so we had to celebrate her!!!!  So enjoyed spending time with both of these ladies.  And Hollis...you must be exhausted from running back and forth from cubicle to cubicle. 

See they treated Beverley like royalty too!  Miss Hollis is Beverly's best friend and also a cancer survivor so spending lots of the day with these two warriors was awesome!  

And then the grand finale of the fairy tale happened.  The magical ending I guess you could say!  Just as I was packing up and getting ready to be unhooked and released, my  oncologist, Dr. Dyar, and my nurse navigator, Becky Steele, surprised me with a visit to share some HUGE news.  

They explained that they had selected me to be the Team Captain in honor of breast cancer survivors for the Clemson Tigers vs. Georgia Tech game in Death Valley on October 28.  Oh my goodness!  I could've passed out.  Y'all don't even know how exciting this was.  Everyone in the room was in tears.  Me??!!  You choose me?  I couldn't help but tell them I was ALL IN and we ended with lots of high fives and hugs.  So on that Saturday, I get to meet the Swinneys, enjoy the game in a suite, receive a football (maybe on field-Lord willing) and share my story through video on the jumbo-tron during halftime.  It is my only hope to share how our Lord Jesus has given me an overwhelming peace throughout every pass of this game that I'm currently playing in.  The game of Cancer.  The final play of being told I'm cancer free will be just as exciting as that last pass in the Alabama/Clemson National Championship game.  So...if you have season tickets or need to search for some tickets, do!  And if you have extras for that weekend that my family and friends can buy from you, let me know.  Hearing you all cheer from the stands for ALL cancer survivors still living and those who have gone before us, will mean the world to me!  GO TIGERS!  

So after returning home, we got to spend time with some of our best friends.  Crystal and Ashton keep Jett today and I never worried about him once as he adores them.  

Erica, Carter, and Jeremy were also there when we got home to love on us.

We released the bright green balloon that my friend Brandi gave me and celebrated being one day closer to our final victory party of being free of Cancer.  My littlest prince in this fairy tale was excited, as balloons are one of his favorite things.  

So that's the story of my first day of Chemo.  It was only this good because God was glorified.  We give him all the glory.    And one more thing...He sent his beautiful angels.  They were the nurses, receptionists, volunteers, my family and friends and everyone else in that facility that I came into contact with.  They kept me close and showed me love.  If only they could've worn the outfit of the fairy godmother.  

Please pray for these next upcoming days.  Pray that the medicine will start shrinking this tumor quickly or even miraculously diminish it away.  Pray that the nausea is minimal or none at all.  Pray for no infection, no bone pain, and for the fatigue.  They say most side effects hit 48 hrs after treatment so we are thinking that Friday and Saturday will be my roughest days.  

With love and thanks for all the pink you rocked today and for the prayers!  

For he shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways." Psalm 91:11

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