This summer was such an answered prayer. Matt was told that his leukemia is in remission. He has gained a lot of his strength back, energy, has gotten to come to church and soccer games with our family. We have had get togethers with other families, a couple of date nights, company from out of town, pool days and days where we had absolutely nothing to do….. exactly the kind of days we were looking forward to. He has two more years of treatment but (hopefully) the worst is behind us.
Since I started teaching a few biblestudy lessons at church for our women's biblestudy, I have not taken the time to read a lot of other books, especially fiction. There is one series, however, that I wanted to read and I waited until summer to do it. It was a 5 book series and I knew that I would be hooked so I waited until my library had all 5 books. This week was the week and I told myself (and Matt) that I was going to go hard on all five books and give myself a week of self indulgence and get it all done in one week. The stories were about a Christian family with 5 kids and all 5 books took a different kid and focused all that kids' life. I got really hooked! Soon after, I HAD to talk about these people's lives with someone and well….Matt is always around.
Our conversation went something like this……
Me: " Matt, I know you will think I'm dumb and you don't want to do this but I need to talk about this family with someone."
Matt: "No, it's not going to be me."
Me: (laughing and urging) " Matt, Some of the decisions they are making are so wrong and if I could just tell you about it."
Matt: " Ya, I don't want to do this." ( I could see him wishing for a job or a place to go…)
(Later in the car on the way to the fair)
Me: " I can't get this out of my mind."
Matt: (holding his breath and then slowly letting it out….I'm starting to laugh because I feel like I'm writing a book now. hahaha) "OK, what is going on?"
(We spend the rest of the ride to the fair while I pour my heart and opinions out to him about this family where he just nods his head in response. We get to the fair and I thank him.)
(Next day he walks in the room and I'm crying)
Me: "The mom died."
Matt: "I'm sorry babe. That's sad…… are the books done?"
Me: "Yes, but I found out it leads into a different series."
I have written before about my favorite sermon by my Pastor, Byron Yawn. I have been wanting to post another favorite, must listen to sermon and then BAM! He preached another great one on Sunday so I have to hurry and put this one up. He has been going through Romans and you would benefit to go to the Community Bible Church website and listen to the "Then There Were None" series. This sermon I am posting is part 6 of that series. I left that day overwhelmed by grace. I wanted to cry as I left, overwhelmed by Jesus. I'm so thankful for my friend who loves Jesus and loves His church. Enjoy!
I have wanted to write about this book/diet I have (halfway started). It's called "Trim Healthy Mama". I read the book once but they say to read it 2-3 times to really start to understand the concept. I have Facebook stalked the THM group and saw so many testimonials on how this diet had worked for people. The first week I tried it I lost 5 pounds in a week! Then I started cheating…… but I am back on the bandwagon. I highly encourage you to look it up for yourself since, frankly, I am terrible at explaining it! Here is an excerpt from the book: "The two primary fuel sources for the body are glucose and fats. It is crucial that protein be included in every meal, but it is not a primary fuel for the body. Once you focus your meal on one fuel source at a time, your body will be able to burn through that fuel, and then switch directly to the task of burning your own adipose tissue (body fat) for fuel. Results? Natural weight loss."
There are two types of meals that you eat. An Energizing meal. (E meal) That meal is Higher on good carbs and low fats. Then there is a Satisfying meal. (S meal). That meal is Lower in carbs but higher in fats. Both meals you are always adding protein. The book is thick with information, recipes and food lists. I have had some AMAZING meals and I will try to start posting recipes. You can eat whichever type of meal that you want but if you are going to switch to the other type (E to S or S to E) then you need to wait 3 hours so that your body can be digested and ready to switch. For me, the S meals are so easy and delicious so I usually have that for breakfast and dinner and put an E meal to give me energy for lunch.
I'm going to start with a drink recipe that is not in the book ( I couldn't find it) but it is on the website. I made it and when I saw the ingredients I was SCARED! haha I didn't want to take a drink but when I did, it was so good! I just drank a Quart in about two and half hours. It's really good for you and it is better to make this then diet soda or juice. Give it a try! Do it! Tell me what you think!
Good Girls Moon Shine
1-2 Tbs. raw, Apple Cider Vinegar (try to find one with the mother included) I bought Braggs brand (I heard that makes a huge difference)
1 tsp. ginger powder (ground ginger)
2-4 mini spoonfuls of Stevia Extract
1.Fill a Quart Sized jar with water and ice.
2.Add raw apple cider, ginger powder and sweetener
3.Stir well and enjoy!
Mom, Happy Mother's Day ( a day early). I wish that I could be with you tomorrow. Maybe more than any other year, or at least the ones I remember. The countless times during this hard year where you called to ask if I needed you to come to Tennessee. It's been a hard year for our whole family. The Elliott's, the Gorsh's, the Jackson's and yet the Lord has had us away from each other. My friend said that it could be that the Lord wants us all to rely on Him. Depend on Him instead of each other. It has been such a blessing to see you do that. You have been pulled in so many different directions with working, and dad's health and Grandma's health. Being in Cedar Rapids, at times wanting to be with Hollie and other times wanting to be with me. Feeling like your girls needed their mom at different times this year but yet none of us were together. So we all just continued to hope and trust and it has been my joy to watch my mama trust in the Lord. Your faith has grown. I remember crying on the phone, wishing we were together and you telling me, "We have Jesus. He is enough." Man, how we all go back and forth, feeling like we need each other and knowing that all we need is Him.
Mom, you've always been a hard worker. You have always given to your family. Memories make me laugh like how you used to peek through the door crack to listen to my conversations with Hollie, how you got up and sang karaoke at Becca's bachelorette party, how you would have to put on full makeup to go to Target, how much you love and enjoy your grandkids and how no one has more bath/beauty products in their bathroom than you do! :)
I've learned things from you. I can't relax fully until my house is clean. When I see an overweight person running on the side of the road I say quietly out loud, " You can do it. Good for you." Even though they can't hear me. Do you know you used to say that? But the things that I have learned the most from you this year is how to serve my family and how to depend on Jesus.
Life isn't always easy or fun or what we want. Life is hard sometimes but when it's hard I am learning that that's when your kids watch you the most. I'm watching you mom and I like what I see. Happy Mother's Day. I love you! xoxo
My morning with Lucy as already gone different than many mornings before. I will be the first to admit, I was way more intentional in my parenting of a toddler with Ivy than I am with Lucy. Especially with Matt being sick, sometimes I just run Lucy along, quick discipline her behavior and keep running. Last night our pastor, Byron( cbcnashville.org) gave a great talk on Parenting. It had so many great reminders. So…it didn't take long this morning for Lucy to get upset when I told her that it was time to turn off the TV and play with toys (rough life of a four year old). She went to her room, she got punished and then we had a nice talk. About Jesus. About us and our sin. About how much God loves us and why He sent Jesus. About how our sin breaks our relationship with God and how He sent someone to fix it. It's day by day baby steps. As I sat there last night I realized in a year and a half Lucy is in school. Away from me for 8 hours a day. I need to seize the time.
You can get on the church website and listen to his lecture but I know that most people won't do that so I am giving you my notes. I'm not going to add any explanation because it speaks for itself and you can think it through. Knowing that this time with my kids goes fast, I am thankful that it is not over yet.
1. Don't place your faith in your parenting. (their faith outcome)
2. Don't place your self worth/identity in how your children behave in public (it's all law/no grace) That makes it about you and not your kids.
3. Don't expect the church to fix, save, to correct your children.
4. Don't forget that much of your children's behavior is from imitation. (the one most like you is who you tend to struggle with the most)
5. Don't make the mistake of giving your kids the impression that they are a project to fix. (that they are a burden)
6. Assume that your kids are going to struggle.
GOAL OF PARENTING- To introduce your children to Christ (and their need for Christ) Functional goal- Creating a home where your kids are allowed to struggle with sin. Where I can correct. Allow them to grow as people.
You don't have a lot of time with your kids so there needs to be primarily LOVE.
You want your kids to give you their hearts. You want your kids to come to you for advice.
Advice to parents with toddlers-WIN haha! DISCIPLINE and STRUCTURE Kids thrive on that.
You don't want to make your parenting where they think God is an unsatisfied Judge instead of a loving Father.
In spanking. Tell your kids why they are sinning through scripture. GRACE!
The biggest mistake in parenting is the absence of grace. Make a distinction between law and grace. Rules of the home are an extension from God's law. They point their need for God and for their protection. Your kids need to know that they will never truly satisfy the law. Only Christ has done that.
Most kids think that they will only be accepted if they obey the rules. True Christian parenting is your unending acceptance of them. You discipline BECAUSE you love and accept them.
Most of the time, when a toddler is out of control, the dad has been absent in discipline. Dad needs to step up. A father's role is essential.
Most of their kids rebel against their parents because the only get attention they get is when they get chastisement.
Don't punish out of irritation, anger or frustration.
Don't confuse mistakes and disobedience.
Recognize the difference in your children. Observe…Dads be involved!
Don't give unreasonable demands.
Be unified as parents when it comes to discipline.
Focus most your attention on rules that affect the heart.
1. (example: lying, deception) "If you tell me the truth, I will respond in grace."
2.(example: tone and volume) How you talk to each other. No screaming, no stomped feet. Reinforcing self control.
3. You need to submit to the same rules. (as parents)
4. No threats in dicipline. You have to follow through.
5. You don't only have to have devotions at scheduled moments.
6. Have a home of joy ( do fun and crazy stuff)
7. Pay attention to hearts and person more than behavior.
8. Praise them more than correct them. Praise them for more than their behavior…who they are, their talents.
9. Give them a lot of affection.
Psalm 118:28-29 " You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!"
Thank you all so much for your prayers as Matt's biopsy results came in yesterday. My short answer is that there is still no leukemia in his bone marrow! Praise the Lord! We were so excited to hear that.
He starts his new round of chemo on Monday (if his cold goes away, so pray that it goes away!) This is a six week treatment. If after the end of the treatment, the next biopsy shows no leukemia, then he goes into the maintenance stage for the next couple of years. It is much easier on his body. We were elated to hear this because we didn't know that we could get to maintenance so soon. There are still a lot of hurdles to cross and we ask for your prayers. Matt has to be able to endure the full doses of chemo during these next 6 weeks. That is something that his body has not been able to take in the past and our goal is to keep him out of the hospital.
The Dr. explained to us yesterday that every time he has to lower Matt's doses of chemo treatment, the curability rate goes down so the goal is always to give him the maximum amount of drugs for the maximum amount of time. He didn't let go of the subject of a bone marrow transplant, saying that if Matt couldn't handle this last part of treatment that we might need to discuss it. He talked with us about the risks of that and also that our insurance would not be covered there so we would have to leave our Dr. and our treatment facility and go somewhere else. Of course we don't want to do any of that and we are asking the Lord to see us through these (hopefully) final weeks of intense treatment.
All four of us have lingering colds so we are praying that it leaves us fast.
It was such a blessing to share the news with the girls last night and sit together and thank the Lord for his protection, for the cancer to still be in remission and to pray for the future. Lucy keeps reminding us that we are team dad and we can do it! I am so thankful for these girls!
God is so gracious and kind. It is during our darkest moments that He is the most near. I love these times with the Lord for that. I'm so thankful for the way He has provided for us and for the way we have been ministered to. I keep thinking of the words to the hymn "Great is Thy Faithfulness"……
"Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessings all mine and ten thousand beside!
Thank you for your continued prayers and for being on #teamdad!
I know that I should update this blog more often. Even for my own memory since so many things become a blur. I kind of wait until the Lord puts something on my heart or there is a major update. I will update you on Matt. He was in the hospital last week for four days because of dehydration. He couldn't eat anything and he couldn't keep anything down. He has lost around 60 pounds since his diagnosis 5 months ago. The hardest part is when his spirits get down. When he is discouraged and lonely. Lonely but is not up for visitors and lots of phone calls. This time entering the hospital was maybe the worst he has looked, thus me taking him to the hospital.
Matt had a doctor's appointment today where the Dr. told him that they are going to not go ahead with the next two chemo treatments. He was getting a drug called Methatrexate and people either respond really well to it or responds really bad. So…. they think he has enough of it in his body and they are going to forgo the rest. They are going to give him another couple of weeks of rest (to get his blood counts up again) and then they are going to give him another bone marrow biopsy to see if they see any cancer. If there is not leukemia, then he can start a new kind of chemo and keep going. If there is leukemia that has come back, the Dr. wants to talk to us about a stem cell transplant. That kind of rocked our world as we had thought that we were past talking about that. It actually kind of scared both of us. So, we wait until his counts come back up and he is stronger, then have the biopsy and wait for the results. Please pray that no cancer has returned.
People have asked how I am doing and what I am learning. A friend said it best on Sunday, I might not see what the Lord is teaching me until this is behind us. Really some days I cling to the Lord and bury my face in Scripture to comfort my soul, read it to Matt to comfort his. Some days (most days) I am like a zombie, going through the motions of life. Busy life, trying to make it as normal of a life for the girls as I can. I take things day by day as I don't know what the day is going to bring. Honestly, I (we) are just trying to make it through. Make it to the other side. Day by day. I constantly tell Matt that if can make it through the day, he has won the day. It doesn't matter if it was hard or easy, he conquered it.
People have asked me what books I have read to help me. Besides the bible, maybe none. Who has time to read? ha ha Maybe I should but as Matt doesn't want to hear about/ talk about cancer and chemo all the time, I don't either. Some might help but right now I'm studying for a bible study I am teaching a lesson on. Maybe after that…..
One thing that I have thought about is that Matt and I have been through a lot together (job loss, infertility, adoptions, losing a baby through adoption, losing our house and moving and now leukemia) Through each trial, the Lord has taught me more about a certain character of Him or some theme. Longing for babies, He taught me about His faithfulness. Adopting our girls and even losing Sissy, He taught me His Sovereignty and love. One thing I have thought more of in this trial than in any is hope. I have never really focused on hope before until now.
I do have hope. Knowing that Jesus hears my prayers when I beg Him on behalf of my family brings me hope. Knowing that this life is not all there is, that I have a future in heaven gives me hope. Knowing that He loves Matt, Ivy, Lucy and I gives me hope. Seeing Him working miracles in our situation gives me hope. Knowing He walks beside me gives me hope.
Job 13:15 "Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him."