Sunday, August 30, 2009

Two Years

"Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits--
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
Psalm 103:1-5
Two years ago today, my oncologist told me that there was no more cancer in my body, and that I should go home and tell my boys that their mama would live to be an old lady. On that day I made a promise to God: I promised that I would never let August 30th go by without remembering and celebrating the gift of His miracle.
"I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles.
I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.
Your ways, O God, are holy.
What God is so great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
You display your power among the peoples."
Psalm 77:11-14

I have this amazing circle of friends, and today they helped me celebrate! Kelly threw a "No Cancer Party" at her house. In case you're wondering what one does at a No Cancer involves dessert, heartfelt sharing, and tears. The party accomplished two things: 1) I left feeling incredibly loved, and 2) our God was given the glory and the credit He is due for what He has done!

These friends of mine...they shared their hearts, and I love them for that. I love the challenge to pray big and expect miracles. I love that my experience is theirs, too, and that we are all better Christ-followers because of my cancer.

We only get one go-round, and we're not promised anything except that we have a Savior who walks every step with us. I want this miracle-life of mine to matter, and when it's over--five years from now or fifty--I want to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." I choose to remember, to celebrate, and to get on with living.
"How can I repay the Lord
for all His goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all His people."
Psalm 116:12-14

P.S. After the No Cancer Party, I came home to this:

Blessed, and so very, very thankful.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School

I welcomed the first day of school with a mix of relief (it's FINALLY here!) and sadness. Today I sent two of my babies off to school...Goliath to second grade and Little Middle to kindergarten.

They were SO excited!

Ready for 2nd grade

Ready for kindergarten

Showing off their new backpacks

Sweet brothers
The first day of school is always a family affair...everyone was up early, dressed, and ready to go in plenty of time! We took Little Middle to his classroom first. He had no trouble opening up his locker, hanging up his cowboy backpack, and finding his seat. He got right to work, pausing only for a quick photo op with his new teacher.

We left Little Middle happily gluing Cheerios at his desk and walked Goliath to his classroom. He is an old pro at school by now, and settled quickly in his desk and got busy! I suspect that it may not be as cool to have your parents linger in your classroom when you're in 2nd I took one picture of my first-born and made my exit:
Both boys had a fantastic first day! I asked God to pave the way for my boys today and to make school a fun, exciting place where they want to be. He must have heard my prayer, because when I asked Little Middle this afternoon if he liked kindergarten well enough to go back tomorrow, he answered, "I think I do!"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

So Long, Summer!

Today we say farewell to Summer 2009.
We have wrapped it up in the last few weeks with a fun mini-vacation in Galveston with my parents,

a crazy afternoon adventure exploring downtown Dallas with some friends (even though that's not what we set out to do!),

and spending sweet time together.

So long, Summer '09. It's been fun!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Back in Time Birthday Bash

I want you to meet my friend Bethany (she's the cute one on the right). Bethany and I met while we were in college. We grew up, got married, and a few years later, reconnected at church. She is a precious friend to me. Sadly, this past year has been tough for her in a lot of ways. Bethany's birthday was last week, and our Bible Study sisters and I wanted this birthday to be extra special for her. What could be more special than a roller skating birthday party?

Meet Janice and Kelly. They are real party animals.

These are our feet. We could not figure out why they only held ONE shoe hostage in exchange for the safe return of the roller skates.

Ready for action!

They do great parties.

Fabulously fun friends!

No party is perfect, and we had a few disruptions. Like when Janice rescued a small child who fell on the rink and was crying. And when a little girl asked our birthday girl to please tie her shoe. And when Kelly fell on her tailbone (although she fell with grace and style). And Bethany and I might have been slightly offended and embarrassed when the man at the snack bar asked, " long has it been since you roller skated?"

All done.

All in all, we emerged unharmed. Not bad for a bunch of middle-aged moms. We were feeling pretty proud of ourselves and extremely hot, so we enjoyed a nightcap at Bahama Buck's.

Happy Birthday, Bethany! We love you!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Quotable Quotes, Part II

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."—C.S. Lewis

"The wizard says look inside yourself and find self. God says look inside yourself and find God. The first will get you to Kansas. The latter will get you to heaven."—Max Lucado

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway."--John Wayne

"Faith is believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse."--Philip Yancey

"I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love even when I do not feel it. I believe in God even when He is silent." — Inscribed on cellar walls during the Holocaust in Cologne, Germany

"You don't always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it too."
—Anne Lamott

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."--Jim Elliot

"It takes so little to make a child happy that it is a pity, that in a world full of sunshine and pleasant things, that there should be any wistful faces, empty hands, or lonely little hearts."
--Jo in Little Men

"It is not what you think you are that holds you back; it's what you think you are not."
--Denis Waitley

"It will not bother me in the hour of death to reflect that I have been "had for a sucker" by any number of imposters but it would be a torment to know that one had refused even one person in need."--C.S. Lewis

“Unerring wisdom ordained your lot, and selected for you the safest and best condition. Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances. Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good.”
--Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"When did we start to believe God wants us to go safe places to do easy things?"
--Mark Batterson

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."--Albert Einstein

"When I start becoming the person God made me to be, I get to be me. I get to find out who that is and what that means and learn to be content with the unique things that have always been true, though long hidden by my sin. I get to enjoy the thumbprint of my maker that has long lain dormant instead of trying to be someone else. There is tremendous freedom in that."--Jon Acuff

"Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says, "I cannot stand any more." God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then he lets fly. Trust yourself in God's hands."
--Oswald Chambers

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."--Anais Nin

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."--Eleanor Roosevelt

"Who can so softly bind up the wounds of another as he who felt the same wound himself?"
--Thomas Jefferson

"If you're not content with what you have, you'll never be content with what you want."

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting."--Mother Teresa

"We know that children are a rejuvenating wellspring of love and wonder, and caring for them nurtures us as well as them. We know that our work results in more laughter, more discovery, more sleepovers, more birthdays, more cupcakes, more dances, more graduations and eventually more of us."--Dr. Robert Hickey

"I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world."
--Mother Teresa

"Some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity..."--Gilda Radner

"To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!"–-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing...not healing, not curing... that is a friend who cares."--Henri Nouwen

"God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers He uses to crush us with."
--Oswald Chambers

"Faith is to believe what you do not yet see. The reward of this Faith is to see what you believe."--Saint Augustine