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One Year Later ...

I had this vision in my head that I would sit down at the computer this morning and some super smart post would appear, but as I sit here this morning I am blank.  It has been officially one year since our hard year began.  On this day last year we got two diagnoses and both of which were hard and difficult and required faith that we had never experienced before.  Then in May it hit again and I truly didn't think I would be able to ever relax, take a breath and just be. The world as we knew it was over and since you can't un-see the hard things or un-hear the hard words they imprint on your heart and mind and are there forever.  ❤

I really wanted to be able to share those thoughts and give myself something to read one day but I am just not there.  It is still so up and down.  One day you get great news and then three days later you have an unbelievably hard day and it just keeps going in that direction.  After a while you settle in to the journey and it becomes somewhat "normal" to you, though you never escape the feeling that your world has stopped and others seem to keep going. It is almost crazy sometimes ... but it is life and you embrace it. 

Although it has been the hardest year I have known, it has also been the sweetest and most precious. I shared with my friend Maria a few months ago that I wouldn't change this year. I would change the fact that my husband has to take a big pill of chemo every single day and that my son is dealing with his own journey of mental health, but I wouldn't change anything else. We have never been closer or more focused on what is really important.  For the past few years I prayed that my faith would be more real to me, and boy is it ever.  I pray for and ask guidance for everything including help with time when I feel like I am running behind and need a few extra minutes.  It has never been more real to me and I hope that never changes.

On top of all the above I have grown close to and walked this journey with some of the best.  Two of my friends in Winter Park have been everything.  My sweet friend Ashley and I were gifted a chance to develop a friendship after years of "knowing" each other.  My best friends have prayed so hard, shown up with dinners, taken the late night phone calls, driven my children, loved on us and been the hands and feet of Jesus.  Friends I have known for years have paved the way with prayers and guidance and the most amazing love.  We have been blessed beyond words.

This has been the best week we have had in a year.  Our son just finished his first semester back at school and for the most part he killed it.  He faced his hardest fears and walked through the fire.  He retook classes he had previously failed and came home with B's. He did it and he has learned so many lessons these past three months that I hope he will build on when he goes back again in January.  He has a team that cares for him, watches out for him and most of all expects him to do his best.  They have become like family and I hope we end this school year on the same high we have today.  I will be forever grateful for his case manager who has been our lifeline this school year.  She is gifted in so many ways and is there for any and all calls and texts.  I have said it so many times, one person can change your life and she is most definitely changing his.

For my husband it has also been a banner week.  We got news Wednesday that his tumor is still shrinking.  As I sit and listen to him open pill bottles and prepare for his day I know our journey is so far from over but when you see scans with smaller areas of cancer you are so encouraged. Our goal is to shrink the once inoperable tumor to a size that it can be removed with little damage to the area around it and we are getting closer each month.  Every single time we get good news I shed tears of relief and thankfulness that a pill has been made for this cancer and has made our walk "treatable".  We are up for three more months and then we scan again.  Yes the days can be long, but when you hear ... "it looks good" ... you suddenly feel like the walk is more of a skip and it is the best feeling ever.

So I guess I wore more than I thought I would when I sat down almost an hour ago. It is amazing what some coffee can do + some fabulous Christmas music playing in the background.  Vanessa Williams will always be my first choice this time of year. ❤

I will leave you with a story to go with the photo above.  Months before the journey began I partnered with the amazing Pillow Grace to share her story and precious products with my readers and followers.  She sent me a pillowcase which I began to use the first day it arrived.  Fast forward to the evening of December 21 when my oldest son and husband carried a mattress to our room so our middle son could sleep on our floor which he would do for the next four months.  As he laid down that night he asked me if he could have a pillow from our bed and I did not see which one he grabbed.  It was about three weeks later I spotted the pillow along his precious bear he received when he was born.  I stood in front of that little bed so thankful that he was sleeping on God's word every single night and clinging to Him during those hard days.  Still now I can't believe how much he prepared the way for us to be able to walk the journey before us.

Here's to another year of healing ... another year of growing closer to God and each other.  Another year of choosing joy no matter what.  Another year of being brave and strong.  Another year of precious memories and cherishing what matters most.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting us and praying for us and lifting us up.  Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus when we needed it most.

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