Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Not Even Christmas Yet

Days are flying by during this Christmas season.  Cards and gifts have been piling in, with one of the best gifts of all,  Matt being home from the hospital.  Today is Ivy's birthday and the celebrating started well before 7am.  As the girls and I were running out the door to meet friends for a birthday brunch,  there were loads of presents by our front door and a birthday present for Ivy, all without a card.  When we got to brunch,  my friend Kelli handed me an anonymous  card with money in it for our family.  We had breakfast that I didn't even pay for, we met with friends this afternoon who spoiled my family. I got the mail and there was an anonymous gift card to the grocery store in my mailbox. We have more presents tomorrow than what we would have had if Matt was healthy and working.

 As we were driving home this afternoon, I started praying, feeling so overwhelmed at the love and blessings being given to our family.  It feels so undeserved.  I talked to the girls about reasons why we think the Lord has been giving over and abundantly to us, explaining to them that we don't deserve any of it.  There are people whose family members are sick,  people who work so hard for their money and never get ahead, who struggle and stress about how to provide a present for their kids.

 Then I started thinking about all of the things that Jesus does for us on a daily basis.  He came to earth as a baby, sinless and died on the cross for my sin.  He offers forgiveness to me on a daily basis.  He cares, protects, and is faithful.  He works things for my good all the time, some things I notice and some I don't and take for granted.  He takes my anger and frustration when I am overwhelmed and gives me blessing in return.

My husband here, living, home for Christmas was more than enough.  The rest is icing.  Honestly,  I still don't know what to do with it all.  I am overwhelmed.  God is gracious, loving and  kind.  I am coming out of the hardest week and a half that I've had since the beginning of this trial and He helped me make it through.  I told Ivy that sometimes Jesus gives us the things that we dread to show us that He is with us,  we can make it.  We will overcome.  Today I sit overwhelmed by His kindness and the kindness of others.  Thank you for loving my family.  Thank you Father for not only Your provision but the abundance of it.  We don't deserve it, don't deserve You.  I'm feeling blessed and it's not even Christmas yet.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Thanksgiving 2013

I might be late to the party.  We are in the middle of December, but I have been walking around so thankful today that I had to sit down and write.  I wanted to start a thankfulness post so many times last month but, Friend, I've had things to do.  As far as how I'm doing, I am taking things one day at a time.  I get such encouraging texts and notes, "I don't know how you do it." "You're amazing." " You always have a smile."….Truth is, I am hanging on for dear life! Holding on by my fingertips at times.  Learning to call on Jesus…literally…out loud….even saying "Jesus, take the wheel."  Haha  I am serious!  I am learning that I don't have to do it alone.  He is waiting to help me, even if it is to encourage my heart.  He has been so faithful to do that so many times.

Before I get into anything else I will update you on Matt.  He is feeling OK.  He has been in the hospital 3 times since his initial release.  He gets admitted every time his temperature is 100 degrees or more. I always knew my husband was hot (wink)  but they do need to monitor him.  It could be fatal if he lets his fever stay high.  So…the goal is always to reduce the fever and check for viruses.  Matt and I both talk about how hard it is for him to be there and away from us (it is especially hard on Ivy)  but we both feel really safe when he is there.  They catch everything that is going on with him and that makes us both feel secure.  But…we want him home!

He has started to get sick from the chemo.  He has lost over 30 pounds and eats about a 1/3 of what he used to.  He reads a lot but lays down most of the day.  That has been hard on him.  His spirits.  I encourage him almost daily to just focus on the day, get through the day.  I try hard to let him deal with things the way he does without preaching as I am not in his shoes.  I have found myself starting to tell him how he should be looking at things, then stop myself.  I have no idea what he is going through, so I just pray him through it.  

And me….. I guess I can start by sharing a story to illustrate how the Lord has been blessing my life.  I  have been very overwhelmed.  My schedule is fuller than a full time job.  I never have a day at home anymore and when I do it is filled with "to do's" that I have been forced to neglect.  I never know how long I will be in Nashville with Matt on a given day, people need things from me, I have to clean ( I am failing at this) because Matt can't be around germs since he doesn't even have one white blood cell in his body, I'm in the middle of studying for an upcoming lecture…(not complaining but painting the picture) anyways, I was at work (Preschool 2 days a week) and I was thinking about Ivy's upcoming birthday, deciding on the day that I could carve out to bring treats to her class, what the treats would be, I always add a candy cane since her birthday is Christmas Eve…..I had made tags for the candy canes and a mom in my class asked about Matt (I had just told her the week before about his leukemia).  She asked how I was doing and I might have poured my heart out about Ivy's birthday.  Didn't mean to, just verbally vomited the words when she asked.  She ended it by asking what she could do.  I said I would let her know, knowing full well I would never ask her for help in something like this.  I went through out the day praying about it and telling myself that there is only so much I can do in a day and let it go.  She showed up at the end of the day with party bags filled with treats for Ivy's class.  Tied with a candy cane.  I almost cried.  I did.  What a blessing she was from the Lord.

Here are others that I am thankful for….

All the people who have given to us financially.  From the Paypal account, individual cards, gift cards….Especially with the Paypal, I don't always know who donated and how to send a thank you.  Matt and I are blown away!  Thank you doesn't even begin to describe it.  If you would have seen me at the beginning of Matt's diagnosis, I was gripped with fear on how Matt and I were going to live and make it through this.  I still don't know the future on that but the Lord has definitely shown us that He is providing for us, through you!  Please accept my sincerest thank you.  Words don't seem enough but it's all I have.

I have a friend who I am so thankful for.  The Lord has used her to change our lives in this trial.  Our situation would look very different if it wasn't for her.  I could tell you countless ways in which the Lord has used her to help with hospital bills, food, Christmas presents….so many things, I could fill a book.  I don't use her name because she would not like that and she gives all glory to the Lord.  All I know is when I am talking to the Lord about her, it brings tears to my eyes.  She is a treasure.

Blessing from the Lord.  I stopped my car yesterday at the front desk of our storage unit place.  The man who owns the units had given us 6 months of free storage when he heard about Matt.  Since I am hardly there, I haven't had a chance to talk to him.  I went in and told him who I was, I could tell that he knew immediately.  I told him how thankful Matt and I were for him.  He was uncomfortable and kept looking at his computer, and he was really uncomfortable when I started to get choked up.  I started to laugh telling him it had been a long day but I wanted to say Merry Christmas.  I am thankful for the storage owner.  

I am thankful for my parents coming last week.  My dad has not been in the greatest health and it was nice to have them here.  My mom did homework with Ivy, played cards, did laundry,etc.  They stayed with my girls while I rushed Matt to the ER on this latest hospital visit.  My mom asked Matt if he was in the hospital to avoid a visit with his in laws. I am so thankful that I finally got to see my parents.  

Surprises in the mail.  We have gotten some fun packages from friends and I am so thankful.  It really makes a difference in our lives.  I told Matt that it feels like the Lord is saying, " I am not going to take this trial from you.  Matt is still going to have cancer for the time being, but here is something to make you feel loved, special, thought of, cared for."  It truly does.  Thank you so much!  We keep every card in a box that Ivy decorated at the beginning of Matt's diagnosis.  If there was a gift included, I write it in the card to remember.  We will keep it forever.

The countless friends who have my girls over for playmates when I need it, my friend Lisa who picks up Ivy from the bus more than I do.  I could not do any of this without you.  That is a true statement.  My girls love each and every one of you!  Thank you for allowing me to focus on Matt while you have my girls.

I know I have talked about my church family, the Iversons, and how much they have meant to us.  Our love runs deep for them all.  I have now more than ever seen this blessing from the Lord that He created to encourage our hearts together in Him while we are here on earth.  Life is hard, God is good and He knits us together.  Such a blessing.

My girls.  I have one who is my sensitive helper.  She knows when I need her, when I need help, when dad needs to rest, one who I can cry with at times (not as much as in the beginning).  Then my other one who wants to snuggle, kiss, laugh, dance.  God gave me the best of both worlds in these two.

Those who constantly text me and write me notes of encouragement.  Even if I don't answer every text or note, I LOVE them all and it keeps me going.

I tell Matt to just get through the day, sometimes I tell myself the exact same thing for different reasons, but the Lord is definitely using this trial to mold me into something I was not (another post, another time).  Today, I'm just thankful.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I know people have been waiting for updates.  I just haven't known what to write.  I could write a blog post about how tired I am or how selfish I am. (wink) People ask me how I'm doing and I say fine, because for the most part I am.  Then when things slow down and I have a minute, or I'm at church and we sing a certain song and I am still long enough to focus on the words, that's when I get a lump in my throat and I fight the tears.  I think I finally said it best today while texting with a friend and I was cleaning, disinfecting everything and I was starting to cry.  I wrote," The problem is , I don't know which part of all of this I am crying about."

For those of you who are not on instagram or Facebook, Lucy got the flu and Matt got a high temperature which put him back in the hospital.  His treatment is postponed until next week and they are going to keep him overnight and then re evaluate.  Lucy has eaten twice now without throwing up so she might be getting better.  Ivy was asked to go to the movies and lunch this afternoon so I think that makes up for the fact that Lucy was sleeping with her last night and got sick in HER bed.

How am I doing?  I'm tired ya'll.  My friend told me last week that one of the reasons all of this is such a shock to me is that Matt is a great daddy and husband and has always helped me a lot.  While that wasn't the case last year because of his work schedule, I've  had a lot of help from Matt the last 7 years of parenting.  He would help give a quick bath or do some dishes.  Now I am solo, plus adding doing everything for him on top of it.  And having  work and other outside activities. Don't get me wrong.  I love doing it for him (most of the time…another wink).  I have even thanked the Lord for this opportunity to learn to serve my family better, serve Matt, think more outside myself…. but that doesn't mean it's easy.  I definitely have had to work at giving myself an attitude adjustment at times and just give it all to the Lord to gain the right perspective.

Before you say…."Aren't you concerned about Matt and his health?"  Yes, I am.  But I know he can be doing much worse.  I try to take care of him and if I even see him struggling to stay awake or take his temperature I am there waiting to see the result.  I seem to have one eye on what I'm doing and one eye on him.  But I constantly remind him that we could be in a much worse situation and we need to be thanking the Lord for how well Matt has been doing.  As much as I want him home tonight, I do feel safe with him at the hospital being monitored and getting more meds, away from all of our germs.

This basket of goodies on my doorstep this afternoon.

I sound like a broken record when I say I am so thankful for my friends.  Texts this morning offering to take Ivy and Lucy for me this afternoon.  I finally let Ivy go to the movies with a friend and then I had these goodies at the door for Lucy and I.  I cleaned the whole apartment so I can rest this afternoon from being up all night with Lucy.  ( Can I just say,  I complain about living in an apartment until I have to really clean it.  Then 1000 sq ft. isn't so bad.)  I'm thankful for the example of others.  I think of my friend Jan, in the own trial, she has focused her mind on Christ and has looked to Him to be the ultimate comforter.  I think of my mom and all that she has been enduring trying to sell their house, take care of my dad, work full time.  I will not forget her words this summer as I didn't want to leave her and go home and she said, " You can go, I have Jesus."  

I was praying really hard for this sweet lady from our church this weekend who was in a coma.  I prayed for her all day on Friday and Friday she woke up.  I pictured smoke rising to heaven, an offering  in the form of prayers to God from His people.  So pleasing to Him, that His children would turn to Him for requests concerning our dear sister.  This morning as I knew people were praying for Matt I thought the same thing.  How pleased the Lord is that we all turn to Him and make our requests known.  I'm so thankful that He has even given us that relationship to Him.

I'm actually looking forward to getting into bed this afternoon.  Listening to good music, spending time with the Lord and letting the tears flow and just RELEASE.  Keep praying! 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Home Update

I know that people have been waiting for an update from me.  As most of  you know, Matt came home on Wednesday night.  I have tried to upload the video of Matt surprising the girls but it's not working.  If we are friends on facebook then you have seen it.  I cleaned for 6 hours the day before Matt got home to make sure everything was sanitized.  I had a break down talking to him on the phone the next day because I was so scared of him getting sick at home but I didn't know how I could keep up the cleaning schedule.  He reminded me that his health was in the Lord's hands and I had to stop trying to control it.  I have never seen a man more excited to be home.  My friend Ami set the most amazing dinner on our doorstep and we kept commenting that it was like Christmas dinner!

Matt getting his pills organized with what to take each day.

He has been taking it easy, driving Ivy to her bus stop.  We live on the second floor, so the walk to and from the car, plus the stairs are enough to wear him out right now.  We went to the dr. for his first appointment and his blood counts were AMAZING!  They have already removed some restrictions that they had put on him.  Most of his counts were in the normal range! 

Matt's WBC 4.3 (normal range 4.6/10.6) ...Matt's platelets 173 (normal range 142/424) ...Matt's NE# 2.09  (normal range 2.00/7.80)

 Praise God!  When Matt got in the car and told me, I could not even believe it.  It truly is a gift from the Lord.  I sat there thinking, I didn't know you could have leukemia and get so much good news.  We still have a long way to go and things can change day to day but I am praising God for all that has been coming our way. He has a bone marrow biopsy on Monday and he will still do at least a year of outpatient chemotherapy.   He is still going to be a hermit for a while and take everything slow and easy but he's doing great.  

The Lord has been blessing us in other ways, packages from friends, cards, gift cards and we even got a HUGE package from our credit card company that heard about Matt.  They sent tons of books and toys for the girls ( I took half of it out to save for Christmas).  Matt and I are definitely living month to month but the Lord has taken care of us each month and in the most unique ways.  

It still makes me sad when the girls and I are going somewhere and we have to leave MAtt at home and go by ourselves because he can't be out with a lot of other people but I am reminding Ivy and myself, how much the Lord has blessed us.  People have had a much rougher road than us and have endured it with a lot less encouragement that Matt and I have had.  We feel such a strong love of friends, the Church, our community.  It has been so beautiful to see.  

Please keep praying for Matt.  We still have a long road but I am so glad to walk this road together.  Thank you and we love you!  #teamdad

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Kelli's Update

Taken after lunch this afternoon

I know that we are about due for an update.  I will start with Matt.  He is doing really good.  He is responding to medicine really well and has had minimal side affects.  I notice that he is a lot more tired so he takes more naps and he says that he has (what feels like) heartburn.  That has really been it.  The Dr's continue to fill him with blood and platelets.  Tests are coming back good but I have (wisely) been advised to not put my trust in Dr's tests and what they say but continue to put my trust in the Lord.  Matt's parents left yesterday and he has had more visitors which he looks forward to when he is up to it.  

As for how I am doing.....I have mentally written this part of the blog over a couple of times.  I share because I don't know how to be anything but honest and this blog is kind of like a diary.  WHY I make my diary public, I don't know.....some of my friends don't know.( I laugh as I write that)  But I feel better.  Would it really do anybody any good if I just share the times when my faith and trust in the Lord are strong and unwavering?  Then you wouldn't think that I am being honest.  When you hurt and struggle, you wouldn't think that I could relate at all.  Well I can.

I actually had a really good day yesterday, soccer game, pictures, washed cars, clean apartment.  As we were talking to Matt last night, he asked me to bring him some chips.  That was it.  I got mad and irritated.  I said, "Matt, I am dealing with money, bills, insurance, the girls, schedules, babysitting, bible study, cleaning and your chips are the last thing I am going to worry about."I ranted to him about packed days, schedules,etc. while he listened and apologized.  Then, of course, I felt bad and apologized.  We got off the phone and I knew my attitude was bad,  I tucked the girls in and said prayers (while in my head thinking that here I was alone doing all of this by myself again.)  I was irritated knowing that I needed a spiritual spanking.  I prayed for the Lord to take it all from me, did part of my bible study, hoping that Jesus was going to have me read something that was going to change my attitude and heart.  I went to bed and woke up feeling the same.

This morning on my way to church I was still praying about it, when we got to church and I stood there singing(or listening) , something that my friend had said in a conversation at bible study came into my head.  We were talking about the book of Psalms in the bible.  How that book is a very emotional book and filled with people crying out to God.  My friend had said,"God can take your anger at Him."  I started to cry.  It was as if the Holy Spirit told me exactly what was bothering me.  I was mad at Him.  I don't want to be.  I just stood there thinking.....  I don't want to be a spokesperson for trials.  I don't want to be a cancer advocate.  I don't want to "hold down the fort" all by myself.  I don't want to drive to Nashville everyday and find places for Lucy to go.  I don't want to be used by Him in this way.  I don't want this to be God's best for me and my family.  I don't even want this to be my attitude.  I don't want this bad attitude in my heart.  

Then to make matters worse,  I started to think of all of the people working so hard for my family.  Even with this terrible attitude, the Lord is working on blessing my family.  He can take it.  All of it.  And still working everything for my good.  My best.  

I wish there was another way.  Another way for Him to be glorified, teach me lessons, minister to others.  So what was my conclusion today?  What answer did I come to?  It's not all about me.  I'm so glad that He offers forgiveness.  He died for my attitude.  I need Him. 

 Standing there in church I told him simply that I trust Him.  I don't like it.  I don't get it.  But I trust Him.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fundraisers for Matt

For someone who loves to write on her blog, I wish someone else was writing this post.  It feels weird for me to be writing this but since people check here for updates, I am here to highlight a couple of fundraisers that people have set up for our family.  Although,  Matt and I do not want to be the ones asking people for money, we acknowledge that God has already shown us that He has put it on people's hearts to bless our family and I know that is one way He chooses to give us what we need.  I also want people's hard work that the Lord put on their own hearts to be successful.  Matt and I have been surprised and overwhelmed by people's creativity and ideas that they have  thought of.

I guess now is as good a time as any to really share what our needs are.  I look at them as two fold.  One,  Matt is going to be out of work for at least one year.  We are looking into and have applied for a program that will provide us with a percentage of what his salary was.  The rest...... we haven't thought of the rest and we don't know when we will start getting that assistance.  I will say that I have speedily given all of the nessesary paperwork in to get the ball rolling.

The second is that before our insurance pays anything, we have a $10,000 deductible.  Every year.  (His treatment is going to be at least 3 years).

I am not going to lie.  I have freaked out a little but I have chosen to concentrate on Matt and the girls and I have chosen to remind myself of all of the ways the Lord has provided for us in the past.  And......I haven't gotten a bill in the mail yet which makes it a little easier to push aside.  But.... it's coming.  Soon.

So let's get off that topic and let me tell you about some amazing opportunities that have come our way.

The first one is THIS SATURDAY, September 28 in Valencia, California.  Kristen Wells, author of the book, "The Warring Soul"  is having a book signing at Baker's Gourmet Coffee and Pastries, 23880 Copperhill Drive from 1-3pm.  All proceeds go to Matt.  There will be donation jars and an auction with amazing prizes such as a photography session, hair cut, desserts, and a vacation!  You can "like" the Warring Soul on facebook to get information or go to her website where she has an article about Matt and his best friend, Greg, who is Kristen's husband.

The second is a page a friend set up as a paypal page to donate to Matt.  You can click on the right side of my blog to go straight there or youcaring.com/teamdad  You can also "like" this page or share it on Facebook.

I happen to think that my friends are pretty awesome and creative.  Today I came home and recieved gifts and cards with donations in the mail.  Daily reminders that God will provide.  Matt and I are so thankful for all of you.  We don't want anyone to feel obligated to give money.  Actually prayer is what has lifted up my heavy heart the most.  I'm thankful that while I am concentrating on the needs of my girls and husband, that the Lord is working in the hearts of people we love and that love us to accomplish His will for our family.  So, thank you everyone.

OK.....enough about money!  I'm going to get back to concentrating on Matt.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Journey Continues....

I feel like I need to write more often to let people know how we are doing.  Matt is doing really good.  The Dr. said that he is taking everything (medicine wise) really good and responding well.  He had a spinal tap last week that showed no leukemia in his spinal fluid!  I have noticed that he is tired more and he had a hard time sleeping last night because of tingles in his legs.  I had a really good day with him and we laughed ALOT!  Our favorite nurse was working and Matt told the whole team of Dr.'s that she had not been tending to him all morning!  You should have seen her face!  She had actually been in a lot.  All the Dr.s were laughing....Oh Matt!

The Lord showed us that He is watching over our needs.  We had three visitors from Matt's work and they told us that he had a couple bonuses coming that we didn't know about and they had also taken a collection from all of the fellow managers and some customers.  I think I am going to have enough money to pay our bills next month!  We are working to apply for some disability and that will take some time.  I feel like the Lord wants me to depend daily for our needs and to watch Him work.  Matt will be out of work for at least a year.  I remind myself that the Lord already knew that, He allowed it, and while I freaked out at first.... and don't get me wrong, I still fight the urge to freak out.  I am working hard to loosen my grip and let the Lord do His will.  I am finding more answers than I knew before and I am trying to just focus on Matt and the girls and let the Lord do the rest.

Lucy got a bad cold this week and I still pushed her and that resulted in her and I missing both days of preschool this week.  It was rest we both needed and I tried to use my time wisely and get things done.  Matt's parents are here to see him and they watched Lucy today so I could spend the day with him.

Here are some thoughts from the week......

It is so funny to be going through something terrible yet feel so much blessing.

First my love for Matt.  I told Ivy yesterday that I love her daddy more now than I ever have.  He is my best friend.  When we go through a trial, we just get better.  I love him so much and how much he tells me that he is going to fight for his three girls.  I start to cry every time I say goodbye to Him at the hospital. I don't know how different he is going to feel when I return.  Today he told me how much he loved me and I felt it.  He told me that he watches me out the window walk to my car and today I stopped across the street and turned and waved at the hospital.  I didn't even know what window it was but he saw me.  I might have felt a tad stupid but I wanted to wave one more time.  #iluvmatt

I am overwhelmed by the love of my friends and the body of Christ.  Our family feels so loved by packages, texts, letters, facebook messages.  I can't believe how you can be scared and broken hearted and yet feel so loved and lifted up at the same time.  #iluvmyfriendsandfamily

The Lord knew what He was doing giving me Ivy and Lucy. They are so different but I need them both! Ivy is so tenderhearted.  There have been times when I have started to pray with them at night and I just fall apart.  I cry HARD and Ivy rubs my back telling me that sometimes it's good to let your body cry.  We cry as I try to point her to Christ.  He is the One we cry out to.  He is the great Healer for our daddy.  We beg Him through tears together.  My friend Ashley says that when you cry in front of your kids, they see who you are turning to in times of heartache.  I've done that with Ivy (although I try not to cry in front of her too much.)  Then there is Lulu.  Man.  She has been my source of laughter and entertainment.  I swear she is getting a southern accent and she is as funny as ever.  She has times where she sincerely tells me that she misses her daddy.  I agree with her and we keep going.

So...the journey continues.  I feel like a rambled long but my thoughts are endless.

Psalm 34:18 " The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Only Way Out is Through

I have quoted lines from this sermon so much over the last couple of years that I finally decided to post it.  I think every Christian should take the time to listen to this.  My pastor Byron preached this sermon in 2011 when we weren't even living in Nashville but I have listened to it so many times, including today.  If you are not a Christian but you are wanting to know where my focus has been, then here it is. Leave a comment and tell me how it has ministered to your own life.  I would love for ya'll to take time and listen to it.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Matt's Story

I have had many texts, phone calls, messages asking me about Matt, if he has been sick long, what happened so I thought I would write it all out on my blog.  That gives better explanations than Facebook can.  I do really good thinking when I write a blog post and I'm hoping that is the case today.  Then.... when someone asks you about Matt then you can give them the blog address.  Now lets talk about my Matt.
(This picture is of Matt and my brother Kyle last Sunday night, the day before he went to the hospital.)

A short answer is that Matt had not noticed anything wrong with him until about a week and a half ago.  He had 2 days off from work and he thought that he had the flu.  He also had told me that he pulled a muscle in his leg and it really hurt him.  Although, he could not tell me how he had done it.  He spent his 2 days off in bed to trying to get better.  We had some big discussions during that time and he wouldn't talk to me like the usual Matt which had me frustrated.  I kept saying to him, "You are not acting like yourself."  I thought he was blowing me off which he never does. ( I now know his mind was foggy.)  Last Sunday he went to work, said he was feeling better...just a little off, which we thought he was still getting his strength back.  His leg was still sore.  We went up to Nashville to eat with my brother who was in town for work and I snapped the above picture.

The next day he went to work and texted me later saying he had the flu again and was going to the Dr. Since we both thought he had the flu, I went back to Nashville to have dinner again with my brother and the girls so that he could come home and rest and have the apartment quiet while he rested.
Just as I pulled into my brother's hotel,  Matt called to say that it was not the flu.  They thought his leg had a blood clot and all of his blood levels were really low so he was anemic.  They were taking him by ambulance to Nashville.  He told me to eat dinner because with the traffic we would miss each other.  Right after dinner he texted that they were going to run tests for leukemia.  I was stunned........  In my head I thought, It can't be.  I didn't know what situation I was walking into so I brought my girls back to Spring Hill and got their stuff together to spend the night with my friend and neighbor.  I got to the hospital and they had him in the ICU. ( I had no idea.  By this time it was almost 9 o clock at night.)  They told me right away that all tests they were running all pointed to leukemia. He had a platelet count of 5. ( Normal count is 150-500.  The nurse said she had never seen it so low.)   I just stared at Matt.  The nurse asked me if I had any questions and I said, "I am too naive to have questions.  She told me that was a good thing and not to Google anything because there are lots of types of leukemia.  She said wait to see what it is and we will tell you.  That is exactly what I did.

Matt spent 4 days in the ICU.  The pain in his leg turned out to be a vein that had burst because he didn't have any platelets.  They pumped him continually with blood and platelet transfusions.  They still are even now.  They did a bone marrow biopsy on Wednesday to know for sure what kind of leukemia and if it had over taken his bone marrow.  And Thursday the news came...... B cell ALL leukemia.  It is aggressive and curable. He cannot work for one year at least.   He will be in the hospital for 28 days and then they do another biopsy to see if he needs a bone marrow transplant.  We are freverently praying that is not the case.  They moved us to the cancer wing to get Matt all set up.

When the Dr. left, we cried and each took turns once again begging the Lord on our behalf.  Knowing He is the great Physician, He has numbered our days,  He loves us.  I begged him to spare my husband's life.  We prayed for our girls.  We prayed for our finances and that the Lord would carry us.  

They came and took Matt for a echo on his heart and while he was gone a knock at the door and two of my pastors, Byron and Jared were at the door and then came Rob and Dawn, our Tennessee parents.  And then Dawn tells me (who has leukemia herself) that she has the exact same kind as Matt.... My gracious God showing us that He sees us.  He loves us.   Someone will walk through this with us.   A gift to us.  

Kelli Iverson brought the girls to see Matt for the first time that night.  They have a waiting room where the girls can go and Matt comes there to see them with a mask on, to reduce the transfer of germs.  Adults can go and see him in his room.  My poor brother was still in Nashville and got to finally see him before he flew home. There is unlimited ice cream, Popsicles, soda, snacks for the families and I can bring him anything to eat except fresh fruits and veggies. His appetite hasn't been great but I stocked their fridge with Diet Pepsi so he was happy.  

I am trying a routine.  I leave when Ivy leaves on the bus and take Lucy to a play date and then I come home to get Lucy and meet Ivy's bus and the three of us stay home for the night.  His parents come this week and his best friend is here now.

The day we found out our diagnosis, my mom finally told me that my dad had had a heart attack the night before and he is still in the ICU in Iowa.  

Many times I have cried out to the Lord telling him that this is too much.  I'm scared.  I can't lose Matt.  My pastor, Byron, said in a sermon, " God will not bring anything into our life that we cannot ultimately bare.  BUT We can bare more than we think."  

Prayer requests:
1.  The Lord will completely heal Matt.
2.  That through this trial, we can stay in Tennessee and won't have to move.
3.  That the girls will be OK.  And that they will come to truly know Jesus.  They will see their mom and dad cling to Him in time of despair and they will come to a faith in Christ.  
4. (Immediate)  That at the end of these 28 days, he won't need a bone marrow transplant.
5.  That we won't get sick so we can visit him and that he won't get sick or get an infection.  
6.  For me...for both of us...strength for today.  
7.  Encouragement for our parents and siblings who feel so far away.
8. That we will be able to pay our monthly bills this year.  ( looking into that)
9. Pray that the Lord heals my dad and he feels better.
10.  That I will serve my husband better than ever.  That I will be a better mom and sense the needs of my girls. 

1. The body of Christ. It overwhelms me.  
( My friend Marci says that we go to a church that prays and she said that I would LITERALLY feel it)  I have.  Matt has.
2.  Danny Woods coming to the ICU and popping his head in to tell Matt he loves him. ( It's just the start of that love in the body being poured out on you Matt.)

Byron says,"  God's aim is not to get you out of the trial but to get you through it.  Drop your own resources and trust in Him.  When you get down on your knees, weary, exhausted and sad and there is no way out of your trial, escape, drop everything you have and pick Him up instead.  If you are broken hearted and wonder how to go on, DON'T, die to self where you are and watch what HE will do.  When we are faithless, HE is always faithful."

Amen my brother.  Amen.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Day I Met Kirk Cameron

I had a sweet lady from church share a story with me today that had reminded her of a story I told at our first women's breakfast at church.  I think I might have shared this story on a previous blog while talking about Ivy's adoption story but I thought I would sit down and write it again.  I have always wanted Kirk to hear this story and who knows.....

This story goes back almost 9 years ago while still living in California.  Wow!  I can't believe it!  I am getting old.  haha  Anyways,  Matt and I had been trying to have a baby for a while and had turned to infertility treatments to try and help us.  It was a hard, scary, lonely, depressing trial that the Lord had us in.  Things had not been working in our favor.  My doctor was in Thousand Oaks and I would have to drive from Santa Clarita (about 45 minutes on a good day) every other day.  I would go by myself because Matt could not take that much time off work.  My work was generous with my time but it would still stress me out.

This was a particularly hard day because I was feeling really emotional.  I had tried to be strong for so long and I was at the end of my rope.  I tried to hurry through the appointment because I was getting ready to cry and I didn't want to do it in front of the doctor.  I got in the car and just sat there.  I couldn't even pull away.  I started to pray.  One of those prayers when you have nothing left.  You are so broken and weak and you NEED Christ to take the reigns. (Or wheel...thank you Carrie Underwood)  I told the Lord that I was so down and I had been discouraged without good news for so long that I needed something from Him.  I wasn't asking Him to make me pregnant or to hurry us out of the trial but I needed something from Him to show me that He was there.  That He saw me.  That He was going to lift me up.  I remember that I reaffirmed to Him that I would try hard to press on and be a testimony for Him.

(Insert background:  Jr high and high school.  I was one of those girls that LOVED Kirk Cameron.  I would pray for his salvation because we couldn't be married if he wasn't saved.  HAHA  Oh young girls!  As an adult when people would play the game of what celebrity they would want to meet and people would say, Brad and Angelina or Tom Cruise, I would always say Kirk Cameron.  WHAT?  I would get a good laugh.  It got really embarrassing when some of my friends actually became friends with the Cameron family and they always said..."I have this friend Kelli."  UGH!  I would have never said anything if I knew that! haha)

Back to my story.....

I got in my car and drove to a gas station and I saw a guy that had a 80's look about him.  It was not Kirk Cameron but it made me think of him and I literally said, " Now Lord.  That would make my day!"  Like.  Yes Lord.  That would for sure cheer me up (meeting Kirk Cameron).  I kind of chuckled on the inside.  On my way out of town I stopped at Jamba Juice to get a drink on my way back for work and who was there, reading his bible outside of Jamba Juice?  KIRK CAMERON!!!!

I. ABOUT. DIED.   I wanted to call Matt.  (You know.  My husband.  The one I love and actually DID marry.)  Matt had always told me that if I ever saw him I had to say hello because he never wanted to hear me talk for the rest of my life of what our conversation could have been.

So in obedience to my husband, I walked up to him. (with no plan mind you) and I started talking.  100 miles a minute.  Really fast.  I think I talked about John MacArthur.  Kirk's Christian testimony.  I don't know.  I just know I talked.  He listened.  I think he was fascinated with my speed in conversation.  There may have been a point where I felt the need to stop and leave.   I remember ending with "Keep up the good work."  And he said, "You too " and gave me a thumbs up.  HAHAHA  I can't stop laughing as I type this because of what he must have thought.

I got in the car and called Matt at work....SCREAMING.... then my parents, friends, bible study leader.  When I got to school it was my topic of the day.  I even shared it with a couple of my music classes.  They had no idea who I was talking about being in  Kindergarten through Sixth grade.

As I laid in bed that night.  I let out a happy sigh and started to think about my whole day and the Lord brought to mind my prayer in the car.  My discouraged, sad, pleading prayer to my Lord to lift me up because I couldn't anymore.  To give me a break in the sadness and despair.  To let me know that He was listening.  I started to cry.  Hard.  So thankful.

I know that my earthly happiness was never going to depend on if I ever met Kirk Cameron.  It wasn't that important.  People laugh and don't believe me but when I think about my meeting Kirk it really isn't about Kirk.   It was about the love that the Lord has for me.  When I hurt.  He cares.  When I'm in despair.  He hears.

I sang at a church the night his mom spoke at the same event.  I tried to share this story with her but as I got going I felt silly.  I hate it that I was "one of those girls."   I am thankful for their family and it is amazing to see how the Lord has used them all and brought their whole family to Himself.

Oh and...I love you Matt.  You are the only one for me!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Checkin' In

Hey Y'all!  Long time no chat!  I can't believe that I haven't posted since March!  In one sense, I have been enjoying my summer with Ivy being home.  We haven't had a huge schedule and I have loved that (maybe not as much as Ivy.  I can't say the word "school" in front of her!).  I have missed blogging.  I think some people (more private people) wonder why I put half the pictures I do up or say half of the things I say.  ha ha   I look at my blog as my personal scrapbook.  I love sharing adventures, pictures, struggles, answered prayers.  I love to look back and see where the Lord has brought Matt and I. etc.  Some people don't get that and that's OK.  I mostly do it for me and I actually like to share some imperfect stuff sometimes because I don't want you to think I am all "perfect instagrammy".(Although we have done some fun stuff this summer that I will try and blog about.)

Two things.  First of all, my church had a breakfast last week where someone shared their testimony and we all had breakfast together.  I loved it!  I love hearing broken people who share the same struggles as we all do and they share how much they need Jesus and how much His love has been enough.  They cling to it the same as you and me.

The second thing is that this week I celebrated 16 beautiful, hard, tear-filled, wonderful, stressed, amazing, stretching years married to Matt Elliott. We spent a couple of days going over the last 16 years (18 together), the last year, us as a couple and as individuals.  If you are friends with me on Facebook and even on this blog you know how I have LOVED this last year in Tennessee.  (Yesterday was our one year Tennessee anniversary.  Holla!)  There are so many things that I love about living here which I'm sure I have shared before.  Don't even get me started because I won't stop.  Someone  wrote me just this week inquiring about Tennessee  and possibly moving here, asking me what I like and I started laughing.  I told Matt that they were asking the wrong person because I'm very bias.  ha ha

Matt and I talked about how much we love living here and we would do everything again in a heartbeat!  Same job, same apartment, same area, same church .  But in other ways we(I) have been very unhappy.  There are areas of my life ( a lot of areas) where my decisions have gotten me into a rut, unhealthy lifestyle.  I feel unfulfilled, not content, unhappy....because of choices I have made.

  For starters I (continued) to gain A LOT of weight this year.  It started with the trials of moving from California and then those habits continued into boredom, my new love for Southern cuisine, snacks with Lucy..... you name it.  I love food.  I love to cook it, eat it, think about it, read cookbooks.... and while all those things are not sinful, food is definitely an idol in my life.  Period.

This summer has been hard to really get into God's word.  I know we all have seasons like this but it has left me starved, unhappy, my thought life is wacky.  I am not spending good, quality time with my best friend.  The other night I was really struggling with thoughts about someone.  I kept praying about it, I went to sleep and I felt yucky and couldn't sleep well.  I felt my yucky heart.  It was affecting my mind, body and soul literally.  The next morning over coffee I sat down to take time in my bible and he brought me to Galatians 6.  I am not an advocator of opening the bible and landing on a verse from the Lord but that chapter fed my soul.

I sat down this morning and really thought about what is making me unhappy.  How I wanted to live.  While none of these "Things" these "to do's" make me look better in God's eyes, save me from my sins,etc.  I believe 'living your best life" is living in obedience to God.  I feel better being close to Him.  Living as He intended.  It's peaceful.  My outlook is way different.  I know there are other people that could use better words than I can.  Say it more spiritual.

What were some things on my list?  Some deep topics and some light.  I felt like I was making a huge new year's resolution.  I'm not going to put that kind of pressure on myself but I would like to look at this list and go all Nike on myself.  Meaning as I look at my list and think I want to be like that then "Just Do It."

Some things on my list: Certain people that I need to pray for consistently. Be more intentional with Ivy.  Memorize certain scripture.  (My first round is only 6 verses long but it's one I need in my heart). Make healthier meals that my family enjoys.  Lose 80 pounds. (Insert wide eyed emoji) P.S. I have done it twice before. Understand and live the gospel better.  And more......

Listen,  I realize we who are Christians go through ups and downs. I'm not trying to be really hard on myself.   I just took a look and noticed that while this year the Lord has given my family so much blessing there are things to change and they are things that I can do something about.  It really comes down to discipline.  I'm thankful that the Lord doesn't let me be content when I am not being my best.  I will never be perfect (that is not the point of this little post)  I'm not trying to be.  God says in the bible that I never will be and that is why He sent Jesus.  I'm thankful for that.

Imperfect, flawed, grateful Kelli signing off for now......

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Keeping Track of Sewing Projects

I have been trying to keep track of the items I have sewed. Even though don't have a picture of everything, here is a list of some of the latest projects.

Felt and fabric garland for the girls' room.
A chevron cover for my bible.  (You can put one on any book.)
A throw pillow made out of an old grain sack from the Nashville Flea Market
A baby blanket made for my friend Britney's baby shower.
I know that I have more projects that is didn't see pictures for but here is a list of the latest.  It's fun to keep track of projects!  I can't wait to do more!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Couple of My Favorite Nashville Flea Market Finds

One of my absolute favorite things to do is to go to the Nashville flea market.  It is held once a month at the fair grounds.  It is $5 to park and then admission is free. I have to admit I failed taking pictures on this trip.  For one, I was on a mission, and two, it was a FREEZING 30 degrees.  Here are 2 pictures I snapped.

My story is that I am terrible at commiting to a picture.  I can't decide so I pass it up.  I had seen a woman who did amazing country style oil paintings there and fell in love with them.  They were a bit pricey but they were originals.  Matt and I saved our Christmas money and went back to get one.  We wanted something that looked "farm chic".  Ok.  I made that up but you get the point.  Because they were pricey, I prayed that Matt and I would fall in love with one or both want to walk away.  Well.... although they were beautiful, we walked away.  Since it was so cold he took the girls to the car and told me to take my time looking around.  It was freezing but I was so excited to walk around for a bit by myself.
  I got to a man who had all of his treasures laying out and I saw this picture, dusty laying on the ground in the exact size that we were looking for.  It would actually be perfect!  I took a picture and sent it to Matt.  I asked the man how much it was and he said $25!  WHAAAAT?  I actually think it was a reasonable price but I was so excited because of what I had planned to spend on a picture.  This wasn't an original oil painting but I loved it.  I asked him to take $20 (shout out to Dave Ramsey, never take full price!) and it was mine for $20.  
It cleaned up really nice and looks great above our couch.  It grows on me more and more everyday.  Matt loved it too.
If you notice the pillow on the left , I also bought an old grain sack at the flea market for $5 and made a throw pillow out of it.
I'm sure I will blog about this flea market again and take more pictures as the weather gets better.  Ya'll come visit and I'll take you there!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Exploring Tennessee

I finally downloaded a lot of pictures off of my phone yesterday and saw so many things that I wanted to share with ya'll.  As I would take these pictures I would always think, "Oh man, I have to blog about this place!"  Then time would get away from me and I wouldn't do it. So...here are some snapshots of some fun Nashville and neighborhood finds.

First up is the cutest new coffee shop in Franklin called "Frothy Monkey".  I had been to their first location in Nashville and was waiting for this one to open up because it was a lot closer to where I live.   It is always busy and I was happy to hear that they opened seating upstairs.  I have only had coffee (the Turtle mocha was amazing!) but the food looks incredible!  
One of my favorite blessings since moving here was meeting my friend Whitney.  She has been so fun to get to know.  You know the girl who seems good at everything creative?  That's Whitney!  I love our lunch dates which now includes her yummy son ,Liam.  She gave me such a special treat when she invited me to a recording session her dad was doing.  He had arranged some songs to be recorded for the Christian  groups, First Call  and Steve Green.   For those who really know me you know that I LOVED it  and it was so much fun to watch.  I tried really hard to be on my best behavior!

Matt and I kept hearing about a yummy burger spot called The Pharmacy.  It. Was. Unbelievable.  Matt had the Farm burger which is one of their most popular.  It had beef, ham, bacon with an egg on top. I was afraid that if I ate that I would die right there of a heart attack so I went for a plain old cheeseburger.  It was so good.  The buns were made locally.  They make their own sodas like an old fashioned soda shop and they might make their own beers also.  I didn't have a soda and decided to wait until Ivy was with us to have that special treat.
A beautiful picture of downtown Nashville.

I had been part of an auction for a family in our church who was adopting.  I got tickets to a fun jumpy house called Pump it Up.  Even though I was a little freaked out about the germ factor, I told myself I would spray the girls down when we got home and I let them have a blast.
Here is my hard working husband cooking at Waffle House.  I stopped by to see him one day.  Having never worked in a restaurant before, he is getting to be quite a cook cook!
Matt and I visited a shop called Nashville Pickers and it reminded us that Antique Archaeology from the show American Pickers had opened a new location in Nashville.  The original is not far from my parent's house but this was fun to visit the Nashville store.

One restaurant that we have been really wanting to go to since we have moved here is Burger Up.  We visited the one in Nashville and it was so yummy!  Everything they make is grown locally.  

They even make their own ketchup and mustard.  I had the Memphis burger and truffle fries.  I will have that burger again.  The bun (made locally) was so soft and everything tasted so fresh. 
I asked about kids menus and it was really cute because they have a basket full of children's books and inside the cover is the menu taped to it.  

We have joined a rec center as a family and when we went yesterday, they were having a craft fair.  They let kids to all kinds of crafts for free.  Painting, coloring masks, making notebooks, making pottery and face painting!  My girls loved it and I thought it was really fun.

I have saved a couple other places that I want to blog about individually so stay tuned!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Focus for the New Year 2013

I have been wanting to write this post for awhile.  I don't know if anyone believes I'm that good at writing down my thoughts but in this case, I struggle to get out the thoughts that are in my head.  As I'm still working through what I think, I am going to give it my best shot.  It seems fitting today because my 7 year old Ivy prayed a prayer to accept Christ this morning.  She has asked me a couple of times, telling me she is ready and I have quizzed her until her little heart has been frustrated.  Is my little girl who I have prayed for since before she was born truly making a decision to trust Christ with her whole life?  Time will tell but I can tell that God has softened her heart and she is sensitive to Him.  

Last year, my focus was or new year's resolution( whatever you want to call it) was to get into the Word and really know my bible.  It was a sweet time and I learned a lot but I felt halfway through the year, the Lord was starting to show me a different area in my life that I needed to address.

It is no secret how I love my new church.  I love the teaching of my pastor, the music, the people, but one of my favorites has been my Tuesday morning bible study group.  As we have talked , the Lord has renewed in my heart a new love for the gospel.  That is why I wrote that post a while back about being the way that I am.  You see,  I, like so many of my friends have been a Christian for a LONG time.  I feel like the longer I was a Christian, the more I read and knew God's word, the more I thought,"All you need to do is believe and you will also DO......"  I was adding all of these extra things.  I really began to struggle with the thought of just accepting Him for what HE did for ME.  I thought, "OK He died for me and I need to do...."  But I was taking away the gift of what Christ did.  I was believing that Christ died for me but I still was giving myself this list of to do's.  Now here is the part you might struggle with as a Christian. Once you become saved, God calls you to a godly life.  But you are going to fail at that life, we are all still sinners, Christ paid the debt for that on the cross and I need to be FREE in that.  I feel like the older we are in the faith, we let other "things" creep in as SO important.  We give it them the same importance as what Christ did for us.  We DO because we love Him and what He has DONE for us.  I focused more on what I was doing, what others weren't doing, instead of  focusing on what was done for me.

When we truly know what Christ has done for us, we want to live a godly life because He didn't deserve to die on the cross for our sins but He did it in our place and we are grateful.  Repenting of your sins is a response to what He did on the cross.

I will never forget one Sunday before we had communion.  We were sitting there and my pastor said, "If you are a Christian and you have doubted your salvation because you look at your life and see failure.  It's because you are looking at the wrong person.  You are looking at yourself and seeing failure instead of looking at Christ and that He took all of that and died for you."  I wanted to cry, the gracious Lord showing me yet again, how selfish I am to always be looking at me and not at what He did for me.  It's all about Him and what He has done!

Honestly, I don't even know if I'm making sense.  That is why this is the focus of my year.  I don't want a list of to do's.  I want to get back to the gospel.  I want to fall in love with Jesus and sit in the sweet spot of gratitude for what He has done for me.  It's not about me, it's all about Him.  I want to release the pressure, fall in love with Him more and just serve Him out of love.  I'm praying that my Ivy does the same.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Just Do....Today

I saw this quote today and I thought it was perfect to start the year with, especially after a day like yesterday.  You know one of those days where you are tired, lose your temper with your kids, etc.  Yes, well yesterday was worse than that.  I was tired and hormonal.  Can I just say that I feel more hormonal now than ever?  My mom might say my early teens were worse and maybe they were but I needed a good grounding spanking yesterday.  As a matter of fact, Matt got home and an hour into it, he sent me to my room.  Yep, he did.  And I went.  After the girls went to bed I went out to ask for his forgiveness (the girls too) and I started to cry.  He just stared at me.  He said nothing and just stared.  Ha ha.  I know that sometimes 3 girls are a lot and I am the biggest girl he has to deal with. I went to bed at 8pm and slept until almost 7am.  A NEW WOMAN.   (By the way,  I started my day today with a text to him telling him how much I love him and he WILL come home to a happy and peaceful home tonight.)

I started a new eating plan yesterday ( just eating as clean as I can and omitting all the sugar I can) and I did really good.  I had yummy meals, didn't count calories but defiantly ate less than usual.  When I get nervous about it I think "Just do today".  And today has been pretty good.

Matthew 6:34 " Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself."