Friday, May 31, 2013

Dare To Live Fully.

yesterday i picked up One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. I've been late to the game on this one. i've been hesitant to read it due to the cynical side of me thinking it would be too much fluff. 

But no.

 i opened it up and the words were rolling off the page as if she had crawled right into the last three years of my life and written with the perspective of my heart. she has written my book. she is talking about my life.

"It's the life between, the days of walking lifeless, the years calloused and simply going through the hollow motions, the self- protecting by self- distracting, the body never waking, that's lost all capacity to fully feel- this is the life in between that makes us the wild walking dead."

i put the book down at page 12 and have myself a good cry. i keep crying. 

i keep reading.

"How I wanted to surface and breathe and keep this skin on and live."

I'm outside while reading and my boys are playing at my feet. the sun is shining and sweat is rolling off my forehead. the sky is the brightest blue and as i keep reading i begin to shrink. i get smaller, and the world, God's magnificent world gets bigger. and i . am . convicted .

"Doctor's warning or not, the end will come, and this life of the bare toes across grass, the sky raining spring down on eyelashes, the skin spread close under sheets, blink of the fireflies on dusky June nights- all this will end."

this is hard to read. this is hard to read because although lovely and beautifully written, it brings up the past and exposes the brokenness of a life still unsatisfied, still wanting more. selfish me. 

"Though I can hardly whisper it, I live as though He stole what I consider rightly mine: happiest children, marriage of unending bliss, long, content, death-defying days. I look in the mirror, and if I'm fearlessly blunt- what I have, who I am, where I am, how I am, what I've got- this simply isn't enough."

there it is. the past. like a hard slap to my face. that was me. 

then cancer happened.

it woke my slumber state of living, my scratching at what was next, the feelings of missing out, the need for more. it woke me. cancer woke me up. 

God used cancer. literal cancer to expose all the cancers in my life. and being one with Jonathan, our union, He used my cancer to expose all of his cancers too. together we went down.

we went down to come back up. 

"I may have always known that change takes real intentionality, like a woman bent over her garden beds every day with a spade and the determined will to grow up something good to strengthen the heart."

to strengthen the heart.

so i put the book down last night. only reading into chapter three. this is a loaded read for me. a slow one, one to savor, digest, cry out, pray and repent. repent. repent. 

a dare to fully live. 

right here. 
right now. 


happy friday, friends. 
may your weekend be blessed and you live fully. 
right where you are. 

*all quotes are from the book, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The weekend.

my sister and brother in law flew in from florida for the weekend to celebrate my dad's birthday. it was a whirlwind of fun and laughs and more laughs. most of the time they were here it felt like fall weather. cool air, breezy and rainy. we had fires in the fireplace and snuggled up with blankets, cooked and watched movies. we had a big dinner for my dad one night and also got outside to the farmer's market on sunday. yesterday we had to say goodbye again and bring our family to the airport. it's getting harder and harder for my kids to have to say goodbye to their favorite people in the world. and really, it's getting harder and harder on me and my sister too. it just doesn't feel right that we live so far from each other. 

i hope everyone had a safe and fun memorial day weekend. we are so thankful to the men and women who make sacrifices everyday for this country. from my family to you, thank you.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A recipe for kale and apple salad.

the weather this week has been hot and sticky and the last thing i want to do is turn on my oven or stove. i usually really start to bump up the raw portions of my eating around this time of year. my body agrees that this is a sweet deal. 

one of my staples in my fridge all year is kale, but instead of cooking with it, adding it to soups, or making chips from it like i do over the winter, now i'll usually just stick to it's original form: raw!

if you are not totally sold on kale yet, it might just be how you are prepping it. this is my favorite way; chop it up in tiny pieces. sometimes i will roll the kale once i have removed it from the stem and julienne it and then rough chop a few times. 

so for this salad you will prep your kale the way i mention above. 

for salad:

 3 leaves of kale remove from stem.
a green apple, chopped.
red cabbage
dried cranberries

for dressing:

whole grain mustard
juice of whole lime

prepare your salad ingredients, except avocado. set aside. mix the dressing, adding the lime at end to thin it out. once you have made your dressing add it to the salad and massage the kale for a bit. now set aside in the fridge for a few hours allowing the kale to wilt even more. before serving, dice up avocado and if you have hemp seeds, flax, or chia around, add that too! cashews would be lovely for a nice crunch. i will make variations of this salad from now until fall. enjoy!

Monday, May 20, 2013

When rainy mornings turn into glorious, sunny afternoons.

today we brought our lunch outside and ate on the front steps. the forecast called for thunderstorms and after a drippy gray morning the sky went and turned all blue and we got some time in the warm breeze. it feels like summer and it makes me feel motivated and creative and alive. i decided to take my big camera out to photograph our lunch. i've become so reliant on my iphone for capturing the little moments through out our day, but today i wanted something else. and i'm happy i did. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

this moment.

{ this moment }  joining Soule Mama,  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

when tumors reveal so much more than cancer.

3 years. 
its been 3 years.

 today i was at the cancer center. it's my three month check up. i drive up. i hand my keys to the valet. valet,  i wish i knew your name, but i just want to thank you. thank you for always smiling, for giving out hugs, for asking how everyone is doing and really wanting to know. you valet, are a gift from God. 

i get out of the car  and enter the building.  i walk past the infusion room. i head right to the elevator and i hit the button for floor number 3. the elevator doors open, i throw my coffee in the garbage knowing someone is going through chemo and that coffee smell would make them sick. so i toss it. i open the office door and step into the waiting room. when it hits me.

i step up to the front desk and give my name to the lady behind the desk and she tells me to take a seat. i get out my phone and i check instagram. i send a friend a text and check pinterest. then i check instagram again. then i notice a little bucket of used toys under the seat in the corner for that confused little child who may have to experience some of this with their mom. that was at a time, my graycen. then my eyes wander over to the woman in the seat next to me whose friend is holding her hand and she says to her quietly, "you're shaking like a leaf, calm down." Then there's the grown daughter filling out the paper work while her mother stares blankly at the carpet, unresponsive. and then my lower lip starts to tremble as i see the man that walks through the door holding up his wife and says to the woman behind the counter, "I have an appointment." And the woman said, "you do?" and he said, "well no, my wife has the appointment." and everyone begins to laugh and it breaks up this terrible nervous stuffy air we are trying to breathe in. Then there's the foot tapping. Oh, the foot tapping. tap tap tap.

And i want to say to the man who is waiting with his wife, what i want to say to you sir, is that i know. I know what you meant when you said you had the appointment. i know you feel this diagnosis belongs just as much to you as it does your wife. i see the lines on your faces, the years and memories you all share. and i see you here, now, in front of me, with cancer. i want to tell you that i know you feel one with your wife and she feels the same about you, the way her tired body is slumping into yours. and my God, if you could just give her some of your strength, or a limb, you would. you would. and now i feel it. my throat is starting to lump up, and i hear the grown daughter crying to her mother. I see you, I feel you. I see those toys too and I once felt the pain of this disease and wondered how i would go home and cook dinner and tuck little bodies into bed. Daughter, I know your pain. And tonight when everything is quiet and another day has ended, I'll remember you. I will remember you, because I  am  you. 

and i am right where i am, the place i thought i never would get to when i was at the beginning. and if there was a finish line to all of this, 3 years has always stuck out to me as being it. and today i crossed it. i crossed that line. and i can see all your faces, the faces that filled that waiting room today, the ones that are just arriving to the race. the ones getting ready to start, the ones that are ready to quit. and i cry as i write this, because what i want to tell you is to keep going. give it everything you've got. it's totally worth it and more. and along the way, please know that i share in your grief. that me and my family, we've been there and will carry some of this burden with you. because the miracle of cancer is that the tumors reveal so much more than just cancer. and if you can stay aware of that, stay alert and ready to learn, you will see that life is beautiful and God makes all things new. all t h i n g s. 

even you.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's DAy!

Proverbs 31:28 

"Her children arise and call her blessed.." 

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