Friday, December 30, 2011

Would You Pray?

I have an urgent prayer request! Most of you all that have followed my blog for a while have heard me mention my precious Aunt Ellie. She has been an important part of my life and I love her dearly. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June 2010.

Long story short, she was given great hope by her doctors about 2 or 3 weeks ago that she was cancer free and should begin recovering and getting back to normal. Last week she went in the hospital with severe sickness and was given some pretty bad news. Today, however, they went in to do surgery on her and they discovered that not only was she NOT cancer free, she only has about 2 months to live.

Our family is devastated and I ask that you remember us in prayer. We will be traveling this weekend at some point to see her and spend time with her. Our prayer is that God will be merciful and not let her suffer if it isn't His will to give her a miracle.

Thank you for praying with us!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Continued

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! We sure did and we're still at Memaw's house enjoying time with her while she's off work.

Yesterday, we met Pepaw and Wanda at Cracker Barrel to eat. The kids loved seeing them and were like leaches on Pepaw!

Thank you all for supper! We had a great time and we love you so much!

We take Kari back today to get counts checked. Judging from the way she's acting, I'm sure her counts have recovered even more since last week. We have no chemo until January 2nd and we get to start a new phase...Interim Maintenance II. That means only going back to clinic for treatment every 10 days!

I hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday. God sure has been good to my family!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!! We love you and appreciate you!

I was told to post something that doesn't make people cry. So, here goes.

Friday night, we held a birthday party in honor of Jesus. Macey, Kendyll, and Trinity came to celebrate with us! Here are some pics of that fun time:

Saturday, we met Pappy, Gammy, Lacey, Chris, and Aunt Sharon at Guadalajara for lunch. Kari noticed somebody sitting at the table over from us drinking a "strawberry drink" and obviously wanted one. Aunt Sharon ordered Kari a strawberry daiquiri, virgin of course, and they thoroughly enjoyed it. I haven't decided if that's a good thing or not?!

After lunch, we headed to the church for a Christmas Eve service. After our service we all went to the street corner to sing Christmas carols. People enjoyed it!! They honked, they waved, they opened their windows. I hope it becomes a tradition. It was so special!

Last night we made cookies and played with a few toys the kids opened. The kids and I snuggled on the couch, drank hot chocolate out of their new Mickey and Minnie mugs and enjoyed the warmth of the fireplace and the lights on the tree.

Of course this morning...CHRISTMAS! The kids were so excited to see their gifts and I'm telling you, this is one of the "funnest" things about parenting! Love it!! We enjoyed bacon and heart, star, and circle shaped pancakes for breakfast. Now off to play and enjoy the day!

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Deeper Meaning

Good news!! Kari's counts are up from 69 to 710!! Praise the Lord! That means we can proceed cautiously during Christmas but we won't have to stay locked in the house either! We're so thankful that God worked it out for us to be home for Christmas. I was starting to worry at the beginning of the week.

So, like everyone else's Christmas, ours has always been so busy. When I worked, I had to find time between 4:30 and bed time to fit everything in and then cram stuff in during the weekends too. Our lives are obviously different this year and we've had a little more time to enjoy the reason for the season!

However, this year, I had a different reason to appreciate the DEEP meaning of Christ's birth. I'm not one to get on my blog and have a pity party although at times when I'm alone, I can throw a great party for myself!
But I do want to say a few things about what God has done for me in the past few weeks. This year it seems like I've had blow after bitter blow and I've shaken like a leaf thinking that I would go down under the load I was carrying. Not because Kari was sick. Not because of the changes in our family. Not because I had to resign my job.

No, it wasn't because of the SITUATIONS. It was the things that it did to my heart...the bitterness, the loneliness, the anger, the hatred, the "I really need to hit something" feeling. And it has torn at my heart so viciously that I've questioned whether I would ever be whole inside again. I was believing, trusting, and thanking God for helping us through the situations we've faced and are facing and my faith never wavered that He would take care of us. But inside, I was holding onto the hatred and the bitterness because, in my mind, it was easier to hate than to feel. It was easier to hate someone than to forgive them and therefore leave myself open to be hurt by them again?

At some point (I'm not sure when), I finally laid in the floor, face down before God, and begged him to take it away. The hurt that went back to my childhood. The bitterness that was a result of dreams turned nightmares. The hatred that had a hold on my heart. I told the Lord that I didn't care if it hurt more to love than to hate. I told the Lord I wanted a healing that reached every scar and every aching place that I had tucked away in my heart. I had learned to live with those feelings thinking they would always be a part of me.

And, somehow, God did it. God unlocked those secret bitter places in my heart and set those feelings free. He gave me a burden to pray for those that had hurt me and to have pity on them. He didn't change the situations. He changed me.

One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 9:6:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given...and his name shall be called WONDERFUL, COUNSELLER, THE MIGHTY GOD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER, THE PRINCE OF PEACE.

Christ came so that we could experience love, forgiveness, joy, peace...and so that we could have the hope of heaven. I'm amazed that God saw such worth in us that He would send His only Son to be born in a lowly manger just so He could grow up and die for all humanity.

Christmas is fun and the kids and I have enjoyed every minute of the festivities (of which I'll post pictures tomorrow). But I'm so thankful this year to know that the miracle that I experienced in my heart this Christmas is one of the reasons that Christ came!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Tribute To My Brave Little Soul

I am thoroughly enjoying reading all the comments left by my family yesterday. Doesn't it do your heart good to tell others what they mean to you? Especially when they return the affection!

For day 3 of Christmas posting, I want to do a tribute to my baby girl. My friend, Jess, sent this email to me last week and we were both crying because it sounds just like Kari.

However, I also realize there are so many people out there with kids just as brave as Kari. They have to live with this horrible thing called CANCER every single day. Little girls walk around with no hair gazing longingly at those who have it wondering if one day they might have hair again. Little boys watch as their friends play baseball and wonder if they'll ever feel like running again. There are those kids that are just hanging on by a thread right now and their families are aching for assurance that it's going to be okay.

And in the middle of the crisis...there's goodness. Because God uses these brave little souls like Kari to reach people. There's love pouring in from all sides to surround these kids and their families. There are parents who hold their children tighter and have a little more patience with them, for they know it could be their child with a life threatening disease. There are selfish people who suddenly see the need to give to those less fortunate than themselves.
I've heard many mothers say that Kari's diagnosis has changed the way they treat their children. I've heard others say that the little aggravating things of life aren't so aggravating anymore.'s my tribute to the brave little soul that I've been blessed enough by God to call my daughter. I love you, Cinderella!

The Brave Little Soul
By: John Alessi

Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, "Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?"

God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people's hearts." The little soul was confused. "What do you mean," he asked. God replied, "Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone."

The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, "The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this - it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer - to unlock this love - to create this miracle for the good of all humanity."

Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied. "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's hearts! I want to create that miracle!"

God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you". God and the brave soul shared a smile, and then embraced.

In parting, God said, "Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed." Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God's strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love.
Priorities became properly aligned.
People gave from their hearts.
Those that were always too busy found time.
Many began new spiritual journeys, some regained lost faith - many came back to God.
Parents hugged their children tighter.
Friends and family grew closer.
Old friends got together and new friendships were made.
Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together.
Everyone prayed.
Peace and love reigned.
Lives changed forever.
It was good.
The world was a better place.
The miracle had happened.
God was pleased.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Family

For day number two, I would like to talk about my family!

First though, I want to add a little something to my post yesterday about FNB. I had NO IDEA what everyone had planned for the kids and I when I expressed my appreciation. I met Chrissy last night and she delivered all the goodies that everyone sent to us from the bank. Perryville branch...thanks so much for your thoughtfulness and for organizing this! Also, Lancaster...thank you for your very special gift last week. You all made me cry!! I was speechless last night and, as everyone knows, that doesn't happen very often. We loved each and every thing that was sent our way and we are grateful!

Now, moving on. My family. They are wonderful and I could tell all kinds of great stories on each person but I'll spare them. Ha ha!!

1. My MIL and FIL. They are amazing and I struggle sometimes calling them in-laws because they're more like Mommy #2 and Daddy #2. Our situation is very unique as my FIL and MIL also double as my Pastor/Pastor's Wife. Bless their hearts...God has blessed them with patience because He knew I would be in the family. I honestly don't know what I would do without them. Given the recent turn of events in our family, I would say that their light has shown a bit brighter as people have watched the way they've handled the situation. They are honest, loving, Godly people and I love them with all my heart. Thank you for being there no matter what...I thank God for you daily!

2. Lacey and Chris...aka, SIL and BIL. It's not only my kids that LOVE these two, but I do too! We've grown up together and been through so much together. Chris is like the brother I never had and I appreciate all of his help and for the man of God that he is. Lacey is like a sister to me as well and she's a wonderful aunt to my kids. The kids would rather be with them than me most of the time. Lacey and Chris, thank you for all of your help in the past 6 months. I'm still praying for your little miracle...I want to be an aunt! I love you all so much!

3. My sister, Brandi. Oh, boy. Where do I begin? In all reality you would have thought we despised each other's very existence on earth when we were younger. Somehow, we learned to love each other (lol) and have become best friends. My kids love their "Sissy Bran" and are glued to her side when we're with her. Sis, thanks for being there for me. Your daily phone calls/voicemails/texts are a highlight during my day even when you don't hear back from me! Ha ha!!! Thanks for the being a wonderful big sister even if I am still the family favorite! (that is totally an inside joke) I love you bunches!

4. Latasha and Lashei. Gee whiz. Where do I even start? I used to babysit you and now you're old enough to have kids of your own. You all mean so much to me and I'm so proud of the way you've let God use your lives. Kari and Malachi are wild about you all (as well as your hilarious husbands)! I love you all!

5. Dad. I'm not even sure if you read my blog, Dad, but here's my tribute to you anyway! LOL! About a month or so ago, God began to do a work of healing in my heart. He has brought you and I closer in the past little bit and I'm so thankful for that! My fondest memories of us is cleaning on your old '79 Fords and me begging you to give me the beautiful brown one when I turned 16. After you finally let me drive it once, I quickly changed my mind!! I couldn't even hold it on the road. I love you, Dad, and I'm thankful for what God is doing. Hoping that our sporadic visits with each other get closer together after things settle down a bit!

6. All of the other family that I'm not gonna name for fear I'll forget somebody. We love you all so much. Each and every one of you mean the world to us. I've heard people say so many times since July that the kids and I have the best support system they've ever seen. They're so all are wonderful!

7. I saved the best (in my opinion) for last. My mom. In trying to type this out, I just sit here and cry and pray that God helps me to lead my children the way my mom lead me. I think of all the times I've taken her for granted and not expressed my appreciation to her the way I should have. I was taught to pray and read God's Word daily by watching my mom do it. If she didn't have time in the morning, she made time in the evening before bedtime. I find myself falling short in that area so often. She was always faithful in attending church and doing what she could to serve and work for God. There's one thing I remember my mom telling me when I was 19 years old and I hold it dear to my heart. I was laying on my bed, crying my eyes out because of a deep deep hurt caused by someone's words. My mom held me and simply said, "No matter what, God is good. We don't understand and we want to give up sometimes but God is good and that's what we have to remember in this life."
To me, that means that no matter what life throws our way, no matter what we may have to face today or tomorrow, NO MATTER WHAT...God is good. And if He is in control (and He is) whatever we're facing will work out for our good.
Mom, thank you for being the best mother in the world! One of the best things about you is your humility. You don't see how wonderful you really are! I love you so much and I appreciate all that you've taught me. Thanks for being there every step of the way.

As you can see, we have a wonderful family! They support us, they love us, they pray for us and they are heaven sent. Thank you, Lord for our family. May we never take them for granted!

Thank You, Farmers National Bank


In the last few days before Christmas, I would like to take some time to thank some very special people. For those of you that read my blog, I'll be posting daily from now until Christmas. I have so many things I want to share and it will take several days to get it all in!

For the first day, I would like to attempt to express my appreciation to the employees (and my former co-workers) of Farmers National Bank. In the beginning of our battle, your monetary donations and paid time off donations were amazing. Your continued support, friendship, and prayers are a constant encouragement to me. Many of you send cards, texts, emails or call to check on us and it means so much! You have gone above and beyond and saying thanks doesn't seem like enough!

Kasey, Deb, & Angie...I know your days at work must be very quiet now that I'm gone! Ha ha!! I miss you girls!

Junction City's very different being a customer instead of an employee! You all have made that transition much easier on me! Thank you so much!

Connie and the CCC...I was two days shy of returning to work with you all. Thank you for all you do for me! Miss you!

Bill Pollom...praying for you daily!!!

I'm so thankful that God allowed me this time with my children. He has provided in amazing ways for the kids and I and I'm grateful! However, I will never forget all the fun times I had at FNB...some stressful times too! Ha ha! Not only was it a great place to earn a living, but I met some of the best people on earth!

My prayer is that God will bless you in a special way for your generosity and kindness to us. I love each and every one of you! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The kids and I are totally loving this Christmas season! We've been discussing various plans for starting new traditions this year. Kari came up with throwing Baby Jesus a birthday party and inviting friends and family to be part. She also wants to invite "Jesus' friends and family" so that they can be healed while they're there.

She says we're making a cake but wonders how Jesus will blow out his candles? She said we may have to have the party in heaven. I told her that it wasn't an option unless the Lord came and got us!

So, anyway...we attended a Christmas parade in London last friday night with our buds Sarah, James, and "the boys" as Kari calls them. Kari and Malachi are in heaven with these boys. They have their undivided attention the whole time and they love it. Kari has also fallen in love with James. We were cracking up at him bowing to her every wish and command. They were quite smitten with one another.

We also went out to eat with them afterwards which was quite interesting with 4 boys and a girl. Of course, "the boys" are little angels and I could just squeeze them! Thanks, JamesSarahandBoys, for a wonderful evening!

We also attended the Danville parade with friends and family. We had a wonderful time and I would love to post pics but my sister hasn't sent them to me yet. (that was a hint, Sis) Pepaw got to join us for the evening and that was certainly a treat for the kids and I. We love you and miss you, Pepaw!

Kari is doing very well with her treatments. Currently, her port is accessed and I am giving her chemo daily at home plus she takes a chemo pill before bedtime. She did lose all of her hair again but she is the most beautiful bald headed princess I've ever seen!! Pictures will come whenever I have time to download them onto the computer. Time is limited right now for me on the computer.

Kari and I are working on school here at home during the day. She is doing fabulous and loves learning new things!! Malachi, on the other hand, struggles. LOL!! But he's finally learned the colors red, blue, and orange. Another milestone....MALACHI IS POTTY TRAINED!!! Honestly, I don't even know how it happened. I'm claiming a Christmas miracle! Ha ha!!

Congrats to Ryan and Brittany on their new baby boy, Micah! He is beautiful, y'all! Can't wait to see him in person.

As always, thank you for prayers, support, and friendship! We love you ALL dearly!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fun Days!

These days are filled with some sadness, yes they are. Like when we discovered yesterday that Kari's hair is falling out AGAIN. I've been told that this is the last time it should fall out unless something unforseen happens. Kari kinda shrugged it off like it was no big deal. I wonder though if inside she's very disappointed since we just tried putting a small bow in the side and it actually stayed there?? She was getting pretty excited about her hair! It will grow back in due time, thank God!

However, these days are also filled with FUN and LOTS OF LAUGHTER! I am truly enjoying being home with my babies despite the circumstances. Today we did arts and crafts for around 3 hours??? It was so much fun and the kids are learning a lot about arts and crafts...and how to be creative! And messy. :)

So, here's what we did today:

Fingerpaint (I love this better than my kids I think)

Stuffed our own pet

Paper Bag Puppets

Modeling Clay Critters

Tissue Paper Animals and Flowers

I love being with these kids! I thank God for our time together!

One funny thing that I have to share before ending this post. Jess and I went shopping Thanksgiving night and it was a hoot. We walked in Walmart and saw this:

After that madness we needed fuel. So we went to Waffle House for some food. Jess ordered smothered hashbrowns. When they brought the smothered hashbrowns out to her, we decided that Waffle House must be having it hard right now.

Love y'all!

Monday, November 28, 2011


I haven't posted a whole lot lately. I claim that I don't have time which is partially true.

But this morning...we're sitting at the table at 5:00AM waiting on Kari to finish her 3rd bowl of Ramen noodles and also a bowl of Honeycombs. Bless her heart, she has acquired a taste for Ramen noodles and has hardly eaten a thing besides that the past couple of days. Only 3 more days on steroids. Hallelujah!!!

That's about all I have to post at this time in the morning. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks With a Grateful Heart

Yes, it's been two weeks since I've posted. Today, I stopped by the bank where I used to work and was reminded by several people (Lorie, Scott, Marlene, Linda) that I need to update my blog. I've honestly tried to but since Kari started the new phase it's been tough to find time!! It was so good to see all my bank friends today. You all make me cry every time I see you because you say such kind and encouraging things! I love you all!
Please pray for a friend I worked with, Amy, who lost her mother to cancer a few weeks ago. I know the holidays will be tough for them and my heart goes out to her and her family. If you read this...I'm praying for you, Amy!

I'll try to play catch up on the last few weeks as quickly as I can. The weekend of the 12th was Kari's benefit singing. The Holcomb family also held a mini-revival the two days before and we had an awesome time! The girls (all 4 of them) got to stay with Malachi, Kari, and I and we had a blast! We were very tired the next morning but it was worth it. Kari was able to sing at the benefit and there wasn't a dry eye in the church I don't think. It was priceless!

The next week the kids and I went with Pappy and Gammy to Alabama for a campmeeting there. We had a great time and stopped by a park called Noccalula Falls on our way out of Gadsden. It was so pretty and I was so mad at myself that I had my iPhone and not my camera. It would have been a perfect place for Christmas pictures.

One our way home we stopped in Knoxville to eat with the Holcombs. Kari was ecstatic to get to see her buddies two weekends in a row. I was thrilled as well...I love this family dearly. for Kari, she's doing pretty good at this point. The first week of treatment in our new phase was very rough as she had to have 2 days of chemo. She got very sick both times and the second time I didn't even have her nausea medicine with me.

Last week was better and this week she hasn't even had to have the nausea medicine. Her counts are staying up for now so we're thankful for that as well. Some of our clinic friends are really struggling right now. One little girl just relapsed and another boy has a cancer that is spreading rather quickly. Please pray for these families! We also received some fantastic news...our buddy Michael is in REMISSION!!! He's waiting to hear when he gets his PORT out and only has maintenance check ups. We are so happy for Michael and his family!! We love you all!

Malachi is doing well. We attempted potty training but after Resolve carpet cleaner became my best friend after one week...I scrapped the idea for the time being. My patience (and Malachi's) ran out rather quickly. Until I can get my mind and game plan together, we're not attempting it again.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I am truly thankful for all that God has blessed us with. Despite the hard times we've faced and are facing, we have been so blessed. When we visited clinic this week, I was honestly almost depressed at all the bad news we heard from our friends there. However, it always makes me more thankful for Kari's health and all of the times that God has moved for us in the past four months.

I'm thankful for my precious babies and that I have an opportunity to teach them about Jesus.
I'm thankful for my family and friends that love us and support us. You are so special to us...each and every one of you!
I'm thankful for a warm home to live in, food on my table, shoes on my feet, clothes on my back. There are so many people without those basic things, more than I even realize I'm sure.
Most of all I'm thankful for my salvation and for my relationship with the Lord. I don't know why God listens to me whine day after day and still loves me and blesses me the way He does. But I'm thankful that His ways are higher than mine. His ways are good even when I don't understand them. Thanks, Lord, for all you are to me!

I can't end this post without saying...HAPPY BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING TO EVERYONE! (hee hee hee)