Wednesday, October 31, 2012

the flying song.

clearly since it took me a week to get back to this place it means that nothing really happened that was more important than where ava pooped. not true. but she has not pooped anywhere else besides the toilet since last week. progress. basically it has just been hard to come and sit and write and make it all happen in the midst of life. i made a promise a while back that i would not force it. i would never force the blog. lately i have just been crazy exhausted and i am spending more of my computer time writing my notes for work than writing about my heart and my life. but i read plenty of other blogs where i know for certain they are busier and more tired than me and they bust out a little post. so it is really not about making excuses but more about where i am finding myself these days and for whatever reason it has not been here. but hold tight. don't leave us yet. it wont last. i am thankful for readers and emails and how i know the Lord is using this space in countless ways even though my writing is not the most consistent.

so where we are today: (added after i posted: this is not to offend anyone as we realize we are in the minority with this whole decision...)

happy halloween. i have never been that into this holiday. grew up dressing up and getting candy but never got into the skeleton, devil, and witch side of the whole thing. but because i can not shield ava from everything she has begun talking about witches and ghosts and caused us to stop and think. we are well aware that you can not protect your kid from everything. sheltering does them no good. but there is a time and a place for everything and at 2.5 years old we do not want her little mind filled with that stuff. i am down with candy and dressing up and having a great time but we have decided for our family...not yours...just ours that halloween will not be a real big deal. so instead when she wakes up we are making brownies with orange frosting, drinking apple cider, and having a family dance party. that was justin's idea. i realize that we will need to address this next year and then again as she gets older and her friend's are trick or treating and figure out what is best for her and for us. this year we were just taken a back a bit at how aware of it all she is and how she does not seem to miss a thing. so we decided we do not need to walk around the neighborhood as she observes an assortment of costumes...some that may scare her or some that she won't stop thinking about or talking about which is what has happened a bit for the last week or so.

what are your thoughts on halloween? or your family traditions around it?

ava did however wear her tinkerbell costume to run errands today. since oma took the time to get it all together for her she wore it for a bit and it is great for dress up since she is currently really into tutu's.


today as we drove around town we were listening to a cd from our friend's wedding and ava got a hold of this song called rocking chairs by the branches. she wanted it on repeat and loud. louder louder she yelled from that back and calls it "the flying song." it will for sure be heard on repeat during our fall dance party tonight.


a while back i wrote about feeling stuck and then wrote about movement. it has been almost a year since i wrote them and in many ways i am still in the same place. good sign? maybe not. i am sure there has been growth. we are always growing. but i re-read those posts as i have been thinking a lot about what i am learning about myself and jesus in a study i am doing with some friends called stuck by jennie allen. after those posts from last year i got an email from a friend. we have not met but we are still friends. blogs connect people. a bit from the first email:

 You mentioned in your most recent blog that you had experienced being stuck. And you have experienced being unstuck. :) These were powerful words to me, as I have spent a lot of time over the last couple years thinking about being stuck/unstuck. I am an editor in the Christian publishing industry. One of the last projects I worked on there before I resigned was one called Stuck by Jennie Allen. It is a Bible study for small groups and it is truly amazing. It's message is one I need to hear every day. It is life-changing. And I just wanted to share it with you in case you are interested. Jennie also has a book coming out this spring. She is like you in that she is vulnerable and courageous in sharing her heart. She is authentic and talks about her walk with God in a way very few people do. Here is the link to a little bit of info about Stuck: . It's not that I'm trying to promote the product, I really just think you would love it.

(she sent me a copy of the study and although it sat in my front hall closet for a few months it is out and it is challenging me and changing me)

more to come as i form my thoughts and ava just woke up from her nap. but i loved this from stuck:

freedom is found in:

~allowing God to defend me, even if that means I don't see it until heaven.
~accepting that my life is not right an fair now, but it will be.
~loving instead of defending or fearing or fighting.
~giving freely and not having a sense of entitlement.
~embracing my faults, rather than proving my point.
~releasing others' perceptions and understandings of me, and holding on to God's, since He knows my heart.
~embracing the dead of my rights and desires, and receiving His will for me.

He wants us to hear this and trust it, and we don't always know why. He never said it would be easy to follow him.

girl after my own heart. no one said anything was going to be easy. off to make cupcakes. enjoy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

right now.

Not much happening this week. Well actually so much is happening that I end up crying a few times a day. but really it is less about being busy or having too much to do but its just that I feel too tired to do it. Mostly it is because I miss my husband who is gone for work and Ava pooped her pants at the social security office. Yup for no reason she decided to not ask to go the bathroom and instead pooped in her panties and pulled her pants down in the waiting room. Did I mention we were there because someone threw a rock through my car window and stole my purse a couple weeks ago so we were just getting some new important information that someone decided to steal from us. Just one of those weeks I guess. My heart burn is back and I feel like I stuff myself into my clothes. Loose clothes. I vow to only wear loose clothing. Don't usually come to the blog to vent and complain but today it seemed appropriate. Mostly because I have had blog on my list for the past few days and everything that had far more meaning and significance seemed a little fake. since I just sat down to write and could not stop crying because Ava has decided to not listen to a single word that has come out of my mouth in the past 48 hrs and is mildly obsessed with cartoons and gets really mad really easily. Girl is strong and feisty and wants to do everything on her own. Like walk around to the driver seat and unlock my door and then unlock her door and begs to drive every time we enter the car. As if my answer is going to change from the last time she asked? Ava you are still not 16. Could go on and on with the calamities of this week but it just seems narcissistic and annoying. I promise next time you come back to read it will matter a bit more than discussing were Ava pooped most recently.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

random assortment but important

a little recap.

last week before heading back to va ava and i headed to tulsa, ok to spend a few days with my parents. we had a great visit. ava had not stopped talking about feeding the ducks, going fishing, and playing with katers (my parents little yorkie). since all our family is out of state these visits are always really special and oma and papa made it especially fun for ava. thankful for my family and for the memories that were made.

 first of many many fish she caught. she was not the least bit grossed out by touching them. 
 unlike her mama.

 long day of running errands and she spotted this ride at the grocery store. 
by far the best 25 cents we spent. 

most of the errands were getting fabrics for the nursery and ava's big girl room. i love this part.
getting it all ready for her arrival...countdown begun...3 months from yesterday.

 tulsa aquarium.

fishing with papa before her early early birthday dinner.
decided to celebrate a little early this because papa can't make it to her party in january.

between all of this i was given the honor to share our story of cancer and jesus and how it changed everything forever. the pastor at my parents church as been reading the blog since my parents first moved to tulsa and made it all possible for us to be there and share to a few different groups throughout the week. i was humbled to be given the chance to speak in front of other mom's like me and others who had walked a very similar road, or even a worse road, and some whose spouses lost the fight. but it united us. regardless of our specific experience we could understand each other on a level that not everyone can. i am thankful for the chance to learn from other people.

i have never really spoken in front of people about cancer (aside from small groups of my friends) and i loved it. my own parents who walked the road with us and read every blog entry had never heard me share it in my own words and that was special. i am very thankful for them. it is humbling to talk about a season of our life that could have ended to differently but instead i am healthy, alive, and pregnant. miracle, miracle, and miracle. i have a deep desire to keep sharing about how when you trust the Lord. really trust the Lord and have a vision for not wasting your life or your cancer (thanks to john piper) it really can shift your entire walk through cancer...or divorce, depression, addiction, job loss, anxiety, or whatever your road might be. 

my mom had said this before but it really stuck with me when she shared it again last week.
not exact words but roughly.

one of the hardest parts about libby being sick was that for the majority of her life i was the one that offered her wisdom and advise as i had walked many of the same roads before she had. i always seemed to have something to offer. but in was my daughter who was teaching me what it  looked like to walk through cancer, raise a baby, and glorify the Lord.

(thanks mom. i know nothing about cancer was easy for you and dad)

speaking has given me a whole new vision to really begin sharing our story more (email me if you want details on having me speak) than just on our blog and begin writing that book i will one day complete.

traveling home. i could not ask for a better flier. after 11 hrs and 3 flights and 2 layovers we made it home. thankfully she slept nearly the entire way on the longest leg of the flight. 
sweet guy next to us was cool with her sleeping a little close.

first JMU football game on saturday with some good friends. ava's favorite part: the marching band.

 ava and her sweet little friend. these two love each other and it is so fun as her mom to watch her make friends. the best.

 found her silent in her room and she looked at me and said..."just reading."


scarf orders have begun. if you would like to order one for yourself or for someone you love 
email me at with scarf in the subject line.


happy almost weekend. we are headed to rockbridge for high school fall weekend. realized tonight its been three year since i have been on the trip. can. not. wait. please pray for big things this weekend in my own walk with the Lord and the hundreds of students from around harrisonburg. this is always such a life giving and life changing weekend.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


(this was written on thursday while flying home from oklahoma)
the absence on the blog should tell you that life lately has felt full. full and complete in the best way possible. our recent travels took us to kansas as we watched two people very much in love whom we are very close get married on a chilly day in the most gorgeous outdoor wedding i have ever been a part of.  justin married our dear friends john and stef and this time i sat in the back row and wept. thankful to be his wife and thankful that marriage even existed on that day for john and stef to begin their life as one. we were honored to be there and to be apart of one the best days of your lives. as we danced under the stars and i for some random reason decided to ignore the fact that i am 6 months pregnant with number two and i danced. like really danced. it's during these special moments with friends and food and dancing that i always try to take a step back even if i don't stop moving and be  thankful. for my life and my marriage and my sweet little girls. life is joyful. not all the time but this trip was full of more life than i can remember in a while and justin and i were barely on the same page all weekend. but that is marriage sometimes and you gotta love it and your best friend. at least i do.

oma and papa took ava for the weekend so we could assist in the wedding activities and enjoy very special time with a lot of people we really love. based on the steady steam of texts from my mom of ava at legoland, swimming, and going out to eat little aves had a great time. thankful for parents who love our daughter so well and so specifically. hence the tinker bell costume worn all weekend. that  would never have happened with me and that's why grandparents are the best.

more to come in our few days in tulsa with my parents and the chance i was given to share our story. i may even start a speaking tour. i mean if people are interested. what stuck out to me the most as i shared our cancer diagnosis and all that followed that life changing news i decided: when it's
your story it never feels that inspirational or extraordinary because it was just my justin and i walking down an unexpected road. but Jesus...He can make all things great. that is why our story just like your story is great when Christ is glorified.

right now i am sitting on the plane ride home and experiencing something i too often miss. i feel peaceful and settled. ava is sleeping next to me. the plane is mostly dark and adele is on repeat. a few things just occurred. i glanced at ava and began to cry. my strong and active little girl is sleeping and finally resting. she needs rest. number two is stretching or something because my ribs just moved. taken a back after sharing a season of life that brought much fear and unknowns to be alive and pregnant and experiencing life alongside ava. thankful i was not just a picture or a story or a faint memory. but being able to be her mom as i had always envisioned i would. there is a strange wes anderson movie on that i do not understand but makes me feel close to justin because he loves all wes anderson movies. but instead adele is moving inside my soul. she does that to me. every time she sings it elicits emotions that i hope are not fleeting but genuine and helps bring things to the surface that often stay inside. thankful for this sweet time.

we still have one more flight and we have been traveling for well over 9 hours but this little break. this time to reflect is such a gift. thank you ava for sleeping for 1 hr and 26 minutes to be exact. this is all i needed. just a little break. a little time to myself.

dreading having to explain to ava for the 5th time today that oma and papa will not be on the next
plane. poor girl can not wrap her head around the fact that we said goodbye to them until Christmas time. those of you that live close to your family do not forget to be thankful for all that family
means. regardless of what might be hard about it...i know for me that living closer to family will always be something i treasure. 

feeling a little sad and joyful on this late night flight. allow yourself the space and time to reflect. it puts our hearts in the place they were meant to be.

where you are right now. it's up to you whether you will choose joy.

it's up to you whether you will waste it or not. every big moment like a wedding or the small gift of a child sleeping. it is all a part of what makes life even matter.

you can do it Casey. it's hard but it's good.

i said if again a couple of times this week and i will say it again...i would not change cancer for anything. for all that it did to me and my relationship with Christ.

perfect timing. ava is up. both on the plane when i wrote this and right now as i edited it into blogger.

enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

how i am right now.

this will be short. but i want to remember how i am feeling and what this little girl is doing inside of me. she is making me so tired. like post-chemo fatigue. just exhausted. my back is aching so bad. i am currently sitting on a heating pad working on something for work that i lost 4 times when ava unplugged my computer. you see poor little mac from 2007 wont work unless it is plugged in. i have bought at least 3 replacement batteries over the past few years and they do not last. but after what happened tonight i will be ordering a new battery when i am finished with this post. i was so angry and she kept saying..."sorry mom, sorry mom. i touched the cord."

after 2.5 hours all the necessary paperwork for my little job is done. finally. i have been putting it off for a few days now.

so back pain. yup its bad. not like with ava at all. this heating pad is helping.

heartburn. anyone else out there with that? it is awful. i have a hard time sleeping and so uncomfortable as i toss and turn. this is a new one for me. it is always nice when ava has recently started waking up 2 hours earlier than she usually does. just sleep little girl. i am pretty sure that sleepless nights with number two is the thing i am the most anxious about. not sure when it started but i feel like i require or want or wish i got more sleep than i do most nights. anyone else with me on that?

she has a name. even a middle name. wont be announced until she arrives but we feel good about it. ava does not like it and keeps suggesting..."ava, we need two ava's or max." sad for her neither of those will be the name but we are confident she will love her little sister regardless of her name.

off to bed. yes i just complained a bit. i kinda needed it. now i will move on and despite it all remain grateful we are here. healthy and pregnant.

try and get some sleep.