My Brother’s Wedding

Oh it was going to be a doozy.  I knew this heading into our travels.

We were planning to hit Boston and Connecticut in a whirlwind trip totaling 6 days.

We would pick Maddie up from CYT (Christian Youth Theatre) about 10:00 PM, van fully loaded, and head north on the interstate.

I expected to be the primary nighttime driver since Duff intended to put in a full day’s work the day of our departure.

No worries.  I had a plan.

I would take the five youngest to Pullen Park that morning.

Pullen Park

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Update on the Joyners

It was difficult to celebrate Father’s Day over the weekend without thinking about the Joyner family.  I first introduced you to them here.

James and Tracy Joyner have nine children.  They live in Selma, NC in a modest older home in need of many repairs.

James was diagnosed over a year ago with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and underwent radiation treatment. Recently it was discovered, through tests and biopsies, that the cancer has returned very aggressively throughout his body.

He completed chemotherapy at the end of May and doctors are considering an autologous bone marrow transplant as the next step.

This week James will have a PET scan completed 6/17 and a bone marrow biopsy on 6/19.

After the results of these two tests are in, they will meet with the bone marrow specialist on 6/26 for a work-up appointment to begin the transplant process.

They will really not know anything for sure until then, but if this transplant is the Lord’s will for James, it’s looking like July could be the big month.

During treatment at Duke, James would need to live off campus in Durham (in case of emergencies) and have a 24-hour caregiver. The duration of his stay could be from 6 weeks until only the Lord knows when, depending on his response to treatment. Insurance has already approved the transplant and will provide a spending allowance for James’ daily lodging.

The only question on James’ mind is, “How can my family be up here with me?”

They have five girls and four boys but their oldest daughter would be living at home with Tracy’s sister.

Tracy says, “We know that a plan is already mapped for the journey, so please pray with us for direction. Please do not hesitate to pass this email along to anyone that knows someone who has already been through this and could direct us to the resources that can help with financial and lodging needs for a family of 11.”

If you have any friends or family living in the Durham area, who might be able or willing to help this family, please contact me so that I can put you in touch with Tracy.

Let’s lift this precious family up in prayer, as they travel along this most difficult path that the Lord has set before them-

Lord, I lift up the Joyner family to you.  I pray you would direct each and every one of their steps along this journey, that there would be no doubt, only certainty, as to which way they should turn at every juncture.  

I pray you would grant them Your perfect peace, that which surpasses all understanding.  I pray this testing of their faith would draw the entire family closer together and closer to you.  I pray this valley would build their faith and trust in your ways, that they may never question them.  I pray they would run to you with every problem big or small, resting sure in your promises, Lord.  

I pray also for the healing of James’ body in the name of Jesus.  I pray James would become a living testimony here on Earth, letting his light shine before men and glorifying you in Heaven.  

Lord, I pray you would specifically minister to the Joyner children.  I can’t imagine how heavy or confused their little hearts must be seeing all that their daddy has had (and will continue to) endure. I pray these little eyes would not only see the difficult parts of this trial, but also see your goodness in and through all of it. Please wrap them in your love.

Lord, I pray you would handle every detail concerning the Joyner’s housing needs.  I pray you would make a way for this family to reside together during the bone marrow treatment process.  You are the “Master Landlord” (as Tracy pointed out), we place our trust in you, Father.  I also pray that you would provide for them financially during this most difficult time.

Asking that you would mightily use the Joyner’s story to reach the lost of this world, Lord.  

I know you have a plan, something bigger and better than we are even capable of imagining, and all of it will work together for good.

I praise You for your never-ending love and faithfulness.

Matthew 6:25-27 (NKJV)
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

My Dad

 

Pop and Gabby

You watched countless soccer games.

You organized backyard baseball.

You attended recitals.

You let me pretend to shave with you in the wee hours of morning.

You took me ice skating.

You let me pick out my favorite ice cream flavor at the Friendly’s take-out window.

You took me to father-daughter square dances.

You looked forward to family vacations.

You sang ‘Barbara Ann’ at the top of your deep voice.

We went fishing and actually caught fish.

We rode bikes in Cape Cod to pick up the morning paper.

We body-surfed the waves and leisurely walked along the shore.

We collected golf balls and used the driving range after-hours.

You took us for nighttime swims. [Read more...]

Rising to the Call

My Crew

People often tell me…

You’re an amazing mom. 

I don’t know how you do it. 

You must have the patience of a saint.

Bless your heart.

And if you know anything about that last one (a notoriously southern phrase) it can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. ;)

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Hands and Feet

Hands and Feet

Have you ever noticed that emotional arousal creates incredibly vivid memories?

When your body’s stress hormone is released, memory making is kicked up a serious notch.

That’s why when something really amazing, terrifying, or shocking happens, you often remember what you were wearing, where you were standing, the music that was playing, and the smells that surrounded you.

I have many intense, detailed memories from the years when my Gabby was her sickest. [Read more...]

NC ZOO Trip

Photo Op

 

We headed out to the zoo on Friday after a week of standardized testing, obligations, and a handful of appointments.

We were sad that Duff and Maddie couldn’t join us, but they apparently had more important things to do. ;)

We didn’t have to be anywhere at any certain time.  We left when we were ready and came home when we were done.

It felt positively wonderful to be free from any schedule or time frame.  <deep sigh>

Just a happy-go-lucky day with my children creating memories.  I had been looking forward to it for days.

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Angels Among Us- My First 5K

Let's Do this!

I’m not a runner.  I’ve never really been a runner.

Even back in the day when I played soccer, I detested running.

I believe the fact that my face consistently turns an alarming shade of red, after even moderate exertion,

Tomato Face

is a bit disconcerting for everyone involved.

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How I Recharge

I think because I presently spend an obscene amount of time at home,

escaping from the house is the very best way for me to recharge an extremely dead battery.

During the week I’m running on a hamster wheel, furiously motoring toward a destination I will never reach.

You know what I’m talking about moms- the maddening cycle of cooking, feeding, cleaning, bathing, dressing, picking up, and putting away.  It never ends.

The moment your kitchen floor is mopped, a child crosses it in dirt-filled shoes.  The second your washer is empty, the diaper fails during nap time.  You bathe your little one and dress him in clean clothes, only to find him covered in food, dirt, or art supplies a short time later.

Can you tell I desperately needed to escape from within these four confining walls?  I wasn’t well.

I needed a short hiatus away from it all, to catch my breath and simply enjoy my family.

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Do You Know What’s Sexy?

valheart18

Young ladies, you can chase anything in a pair of snug-fitting blue jeans.

You can find a set of diamond-cut, blue-green eyes that pierce right through you.

You can seek out a hard body at the gym that ripples with muscle.

But let me tell you what’s really sexy.

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Our Little Minion Turns 3!!

When ‘Despicable Me 2′ was released on iTunes, my little guy became obsessed with minions.  He walked around the house chanting BEEEE-DOOO, BEEEE-DOOO!  He would sneak away with the iPad (this kid is super-ninja stealthy…trust me), when I was preoccupied with homeschooling, and we’d find him hidden in a dark room watching his little yellow friends.

My boy was riveted by these chubby fellas.  His fascination didn’t really surprise me though. The minion is just a two-year-old bundled up and repackaged in a bright yellow suit with goggles.  They have exactly the same energy, silliness, and sense of humor as my boy.

 

TwoMinions

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