“A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” 
 That’s what the dictionary defines it as. 
  And so many things bring just that to my life. 
Kisses from Jett, seeing my students learn something new, music, sunrises, spending time with family and friends, spreading Jesus’ love with others, a good hug, holding J’s hand, weddings, my Tigers winning, and tons more.   And this weekend, brought tons of joy to my heart. 

 A trip to the coast was on my mind  a lot during chemo, and I knew that a little getaway would be needed before my surgery. After months of doctors appointments and treatments, a trip of fun was in the works. And that’s just what we did.  Good food, shopping, tons of laughs, and lots of memories. 
On Friday, we ventured to the beautiful town of Summerville.   It was so fun to be able to show J the house I grew up in, and the sweet little town that I lived in for 13 years.  Much has changed, but then again there are things that are exactly as I remember them.  The firecracker stand and ball friend across the road from our neighborhood, Berlin G. Myers hardware store, Azalea Park, restaurants that we frequently ate at, and our church, were just like when we left.  I will always have a special place in my heart for my first hometown.  
I can’t help but think of Montgomery Gentry’s
song that says....”where I was born, where I was raised, where I’ll keep all my yesterdays, this is my town.”  

The rest of our weekend was spent with our dear friends, Jeremy and Erica.  I went to high school with E and Jeremy grew up rodeoing with J.  After we had been dating for sometime, we set them up, they hit it off, and even married before we did.  Our matchmaking skills were a success, I’d say.  We’ve made tons of memories over the years and this weekend was super special and all about celebrating.  Celebrating our friendship and their 15th wedding anniversary!  After filling our bellies with delicious seafood, we found the cutest dualing piano dive. One of the first songs they played was “Lean On Me”.  It was all I could do to hold back the tears because these friends have done just that.  They’ve been there for us to lean on and always seem to bring the rainbow when the rain is pouring down.  They both have been some of our biggest supporters during this journey and we are so grateful.   

Saturday was filled with tons of walking and browsing the cutest little boutiques. Erica and I both love to shop, so King Street was a must.  The boys stuck with us, and went in every store we did.  They never complained, they smiled the whole time, and just were such good sports.  We’ve got good boys and I’m constantly thanking Jesus for giving me a Godly man who leads our family and takes good care of us.  

On our way out of town, we braved the Lowcountry Oyster Festival at Boone Hall and it was awesome.  I’d say it’s quite rare that we are all oyster lovers, but we shucked a bunch, ate our share, and survived the rain.  

 My parents graciously kept our little guy so we could make this weekend happen, and I had no doubt that he’d be well taken care of.  

So that was our weekend.
  Much needed, restful, and full of joy. 

And then I came home to this sweet letter and package!  I have a feeling one of my favorite guys in the whole world shared my story with this ministry.    Thank you @faithfullyboldmovement for encouraging me to stand boldly during this time, asking for grace and mercy from our precious Lord.  He is good and I trust that He has me in the palm of His hand.

  And that promise, my friends, brings the most joy. 

“I sing for joy as what Your hands have done.”  

Psalm 92:4 



My middle name

My middle name is busy.  Everyone who knows me well knows that I stay on the go.  Having cancer hasn’t really slowed me down, except when the chemo effects were yucky.  And being tired kept me home a little more too.  But since I’ve been done with chemo, we haven’t stopped.  I’ve felt good and wanted to do things before my surgery.  

The snow made us stay home and the time together as a family was just what we needed.  It was gorgeous and we enjoyed several days off from school and got to be totally lazy!  
That precious time continued into last Friday as we ventured to Augusta, Georgia to the Cutting Horse Futurity.

We’ve been going to this for years and always have lots of fun.  They sell the best horse tack and J loves to shop for that.  And we enjoy watching the actual cutting. For those that don’t know what “cutting” is, it is where a horse and rider work as a team before a judge to demonstrate the horses’s ability to handle cattle during a 2 1/2 minute performance.  The athleticism of the horse is amazing to watch!   This year we went on Friday so we didn’t get to see but maybe 12 horses perform after we got there.  We love to go for the final night (Saturday) where they compete, but had other plans.  Jett loves anything horse related and was able to pick out some cool stuff to go with his new saddle he got for Christmas.  The best little seafood joint is nearby so we had a delicious lunch, including oysters, which Jett loved!  This thrilled our hearts as we are some major oyster lovers!   

The Greenville Swamp Rabbit hockey game was next up on the agenda.  It was such an honor to be invited by my friend and OBGYN, Dr. Keith.  She threw the puck out for the game and my oncologist, Dr. Dyar, beautifully sang the national anthem.   It was such a wonderful night as the hockey team wore special “Stick it to Cancer” jerseys, had a “smash car” where all money raised went to the new cancer park in Greenville, and honored those who have lost their battle with cancer and those still fighting.  

And then to cap off our weekend, Saturday was spent at the Insider Event in Clemson.  This was the second part of  being chosen as one of the Spirit of the Tiger nominees.  We toured the stadium, press box, locker room, and more.  Jett loved meeting the TIGER and his day was made when we received our signed football.  We continued in Clemson tradition by eating lunch at the ESSO and attending the Notre Dame/Clemson basketball game.  Clemson won which sealed the deal.  And then as if that wasn’t enough fun for the day, we walked out of the arena and ran smack into Dabo!  Literally, he was walking back into the arena from the concourse that were walking out of.  He is just such a great guy and meeting him was the icing on the cake.

Talk about having to come down off of cloud nine!  Whew!  I truly tried to take in every single moment of this crazy, but exciting day.  

As I watched my daddy stare out at the beautiful football field, I know that he had to of been remembering my sweet uncle who battled this disease, but loved Clemson.  And then to listen to my momma share my story with a fellow honoree, and know how hard it was for her to say “my daughter has cancer”.  Lastly, watching J and Jett run up and down the hill at the place that brings so much joy to my heart...I couldn’t help but pinch myself, thinking of how blessed I was to be spending such a gorgeous day with folks  who love me so?  And to think of how much they’ve already done, devoting such time to care for me!  What in the world would I do without them?

And as I think of my love for them,  I cannot help but think about the love that God has for us, as His children.  He is constantly watching over us daily, and is there for us every waking minute, to hear our cry.  So as busy as I seem to be, my goal for the next year is to try to slow down, cherish every second of my life and my tribe, and thank our Lord for ALL He has blessed us with.  This disease won’t keep me from enjoying life and little moments.

This week, I lost half of a fingernail due to Taxol and got my first cavity filled (I’m blaming chemo for that, too).  I also had to have an ultrasound because I felt as if my tumor had grown.  When I heard the sweet girl say, “it’s the same size as it was in the MRI, and there’s been no change”, I wanted to hug her neck.  How relieved I was to hear those words!  And then after a stressful day worrying about that, I came home to an amazing care package with tons of goodies to help after surgery from Nothing Pink, Inc.  This organization helps women with funding for genetic testing, which can help with early detection of those who have the breast cancer gene.  I just continue to be blessed by others who are so precious.  We want to give back and spread joy to many, as we’ve been so loved on during this time.  

So when I look at my ugly finger and and think about my dumb cavity, I tell myself to quit whining and to remember that both of those were caused by the poisons I’ve had flowing through my body to KILL this disease.  So despite these “not so good” things, good is coming.  I know it is.  And trusting completely is hard to do, but I am assured by His faithfulness and presence.  

Next up is a fun weekend in Charleston with our best friends, pre-op appointment, a good-bye Dolly party ( read that right and I’ll share more on that later!), and then surgery to rid my body of “the little c”.  February 7 is coming quickly and Kristen “Busy” Gault is ready.  

Prayer requests:
-pray for us to stay healthy
-pray for the team that will do my surgery
-pray for our whole family as we plan and prepare for surgery day
-pray for all those that are sick, undergoing treatment, and have recently had surgery
-pray for my sweet teaching buddy who lost her husband last week to cancer 

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children”.  Romans 8:16 



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 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!  


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