January

Thursday February 16, 2017

January always turns out to be a busy month, and this year was no exception.

Tai, Tray and Theo played flag football for 8 weeks

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Amaya turned 13

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Theo had a good check up and chemo visit

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And he turned 6 the next day.

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Theo almost managed to avoid the season sickness, with one late night exception.  It was ten o’clock on a Monday night and we found ourselves racing down the Schuylkill towards CHOP due to a fever of 101.

Even in that moment we had such a peace and a huge sense of gratitude that Theo hadn’t been admitted since 2015, Praise God.  They treated him with antibiotics and fluids and we were discharged at 3am, tired but grateful he didn’t need to be admitted.  Truly God has made our ‘ boundary lines fall in pleasant places.’

Tomorrow is a spinal tap for Theo.  He’ll stop eating and drinking at bedtime and we’ll leave the house bright and early to get the day started.  I was trying to plan ahead and count how many spinal taps he has left, I believe it’s 5 including tomorrow.  I have lost count of how many he has already completed.

We covet your prayers for safety and healing as Theo goes under sedation.  He’ll receive chemo in his spinal fluid and via IV through his port.  He’ll have a bag full of Wawa goodies waiting for him when he wakes up and we’ll come home and rest up over the weekend.

Many blessings to you and Happy Valentine’s Day

Psalm 16

Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

 

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Theo’s spinal tap went well last month, as always thank you for praying for him.

Yesterday was another chemo day and we were pleasantly surprised that Theo’s ANC was over 2,000.  The rest of us had just drudged through 12 days of the stomach flu but Theo seemed completely unaffected and remained healthy.  His sky high numbers confirmed that he’s going strong.  Praise God.

It was Cali’s turn to visit CHOP with us and she was a sweetheart.  The nurses are used to Theo being shy and quiet, so chatty Cali was a change of pace.  She wore her mask like a champ, she made Theo laugh, and she asked sincere questions as the nurse hooked up the IV.  It made for a special afternoon.

Today was our first fever-free illness-free day so we all got dressed for the Christmas Eve service.  I like our kids to look nice for church, it’s a special place after all.  They know the drill, so Theo was sizing up four button down shirts that he had spread out on his floor.  I agreed with his final choice, but I said to him, “Maybe we should change the color of your t-shirt?”  With the most sincere authority and maturity he replied, “Mom, I really think this one is fine.  The church doesn’t care.”  Too cute.

I had to hold back my tears as we all crowded in the back of the church singing Christmas hymns.  What more could I ask for then for the eleven of us to be together and healthy in the house of our Lord on Christmas Eve?  It is well with my soul.

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We wish you a wonderful week of celebrating the Baby Jesus.  May nothing on Earth dampen your spirit.

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Keepin’ On

Friday, October 28, 2016

September was a blur.  I literally had heart palpitations as I tried to keep up with everything.  I love every part of being a mom, homeschooling our kids and managing our home, but sometimes I struggle to figure out how to get it all done.

Our high point was celebrating Tray’s 8th birthday.  Tray is such a special kid, he’s smart, he’s handsome and he’s talented.  He’s our miracle baby and our original CHOP patient.

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Our low point in September was two ER visits within 24 hours of each other.  Theo fractured his wrist and Cali gouged her cornea on the corner of a table.  I later told the family if anyone else needed to go to the ER, I would have to drive them to Paoli because I couldn’t show my face again at Chester County.

theocast      calier

In October I started to breathe again.  With six cyber students comes 20 mandatory web chats a week.  We’re coming to the end of the first marking period and we’ve managed to memorize our new schedule and find our groove.  The older girls are playing soccer again with the middle school, the middles are taking piano lessons, and Tim is in speech therapy once a week.  Theo now has his cast off and Cali passed her follow up vision test.

A sweet couple asked Scott to marry them, so with the help of friends and family Scott and I were able to get away for 24 hours and enjoy their special day.

wedding

October 24th was Theo’s two year diagnosis anniversary.  We continue to praise God for His mercy over Theo.  Two years down, one and a half to go.  He is also doing wonderfully in school, thank you for praying for his ability to learn.  It brings me such joy to see his pride as he learns to read and write.

Yesterday we visited our local nursing home for our annual Halloween visit.  James 1:27 is a verse that really resonates with Scott and I.  We hope the Lord allows us to adopt again, but in the meantime we’re always looking for other ways to live out that verse.

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Today is another round of chemo for Theo.  We would love for you to continue to pray for his safety and healing.  November 25th will be Theo’s next spinal tap.  We would love your prayers in advance for his safety on this day too.

Thank you for your faith and friendship.  We couldn’t do this without you.

Ephesians 1:15& 16

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Our Family Stones

Sunday September 4, 2016

I love to scrapbook.  Although as our family gets bigger and technology gets easier, maybe it’s not called scrapbooking anymore.  Whatever it is, I love to spend the summer sorting through our pictures.  Smilebox is my go-to photo app.  I delete the fuzzy pictures and arrange and label the memorable ones.  Each kid has a collection of albums.  I also keep a family album for each year and a marriage album of each anniversary.

I had been avoiding Theo’s chemo pictures for a while.  I hate to see him without hair.  I finally sat down last week and went through every. single. picture.   I cried the entire afternoon, but I sorted through 20 months of pictures.

The book of Joshua is an exciting account of incredible adventure and miracles.  Chapter 1 starts out with clear instructions from the Lord, instructions that speak to us today as much as they spoke to Joshua back then.  Chapters 2 and 3 would make a great movie (in my opinion).  And in Chapter 4, God instructs the people to stop and build a memorial to remember what He accomplished through them.

In the daily grunt of life, it’s so easy to pray, to receive God’s provision and then move on and forget.  We are quick to adopt the next worry or need.  We bask in our neediness instead of basking in His goodness and faithfulness. We give proportionately less time and attention to the answered prayer and an excess of time and attention on the next unknown.  I stand guilty of this all the time.  I can tell you 10 things that weigh on my heart as we begin a new week, but my memory is fuzzy when it comes to God’s grace and mercy from just yesterday.

I hope our scrapbooks are a blessing to our kids.  They love to look through them now and I imagine them sharing our memories with their spouses and kids in the years to come.  More importantly, my scrapbook time has become a discipline of remembering.  It often turns into a time of worship.  When I stop and look at all that God has delivered us from, the big things and the little things, all I can do is bless His name.

Happy Remembering

Joshua 4

21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea[b] when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”

Psalm 77

11I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

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Bringing Hope Home

Eagles

Thursday September 1, 2016

After 22 months of personal experience I don’t have anything good to say about cancer. I do, however, have plenty to say about the remarkable people we have met along the way.

Tonight we shall dedicate this blog post to Bringing Hope Home. BHH is a local charity dedicated to supporting and encouraging families who are battling cancer. BHH has been such a bright spot for us, both practically and spontaneously and today was no exception.  BHH called us out of the blue and offered us Eagles tickets. Not just for two or three people, but tickets for all 11 of us. How cool is that?

Here is a link to BHH’s website.  If you or someone you know is looking for a reputable and effective charity to support, BHH is one we would recommend.

Bringing Hope Home

Tomorrow is Theo’s next spinal tap. We covet your prayers for safety as they sedate Theo. Please pray for peace in his little boy heart and a steady hand for the doctor.  Please pray the medicine does all the good things it’s supposed to do and none of the bad things written in the fine print of our parent handbook. Please also praise God with us as we celebrate 22 months of successful treatment.  We’ll continue to keep you posted.

Many Blessings

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.[a]
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.

 

May’s Mercies

Thursday June 9, 2016

Theo is doing great.  He had a head cold after chemo last month and developed some petechiae, but was able to fight on his own and came back strong.  Tomorrow he heads back to CHOP for another round.

Here are a few other family updates…

This spring has been Theo’s first season on a sports team.  Scott is his coach and Kiana and Amaya are his assistant coaches.  The four of them are having a blast.  The life and energy within Theo as he runs around the field are just another testament of your prayers on his behalf.

TheoPlays

We took cookies to our teachers on Monday, officially completed school on Tuesday and caught up with two special families on Wednesday.  Today is our first lazy day of summer.

PALCSNice

Troy is now 6 weeks old.  He’s a sweet baby who sleeps best in the center of the chaos.  If it gets too quiet, he wonders where everyone went.

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Tomorrow is Theo’s next spinal tap plus IV chemo.  We would love your prayers for a safe and uneventful day.  We are so thankful that His mercies are new every morning.

TheoLaughs

Great is His Faithfulness

Lamentations 3:22

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his mercies never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.