Hello everyone in "blogland" who has been wondering when I was going to update my blog! :-) (I guess after looking at my last posts, I should condsider making a template that starts, "Hey, sorry everyone that I haven't written in a while...")
As some of you have heard by now, I have now been declared cancer free. I took a total of 6 rounds of chemotherapy. It was very difficult and trying but God was with me through it all in a very big way. I will go back for testing June 13. This will be my second round of testing to see if I am maintaining a cancer free state. I believe God has healed me and given me this time to bring up my children and I am very thankful.
We are also in our new house now. Words cannot describe or express how excited and happy we are to be living here.
I thought that I would have more time to write and be more mobile with the laptop, and to some degree that has been true. But I have not had the time I thought that I would have to write in my blog. Even journaling has been very hard to find a spot to do. Life has been going at such a high rate of speed. For a portion of time, we were fighting for everyday stuff like water, food, clothes, heat and electricity.
I wish that I had been able to write about all our experiences living in a 30’
travel trailer with 3 kids. My brother and his wife and toddler lived next to us in a pop-up camper, but shared the facilities of our trailer and were in ours much of the time to eat meals, etc. It was crammed to say the least! We lived in that from January to March 13. We were thankful that we were not in Maine or somewhere really cold, but we had our share of being cold in a camp trailer in the middle of winter. :-) My sister-in-law and I fought to keep meals going, kids taken care of, donations sorted, clothes and dishes washed, etc. We had water and power to the trailer but for some reason or another there were times that neither of those two luxuries were available. (I need to explain here that my brother and his wife came down to help us while I was going through chemo. The day our house burned, they were on their way down to help us with our kids while I recovered from my second round of chemo. They stayed and helped us after the fire and were a huge help to both David and I.) David and my brother, Tim, would come in from working on the house, fences, cleanup or whatever and need to eat. The only place to sit in the trailer was a couch that we dubbed “The Sinkhole,” because that is what you did when you sat in it. David and Tim would be given their plates of food and then sit in “The Sinkhole” and balance their plate in one hand and eat with the other. That was the signal for all the babies, (4, 2, 10 months and 16 months), to start climbing on the daddies that they had not seen all day and begging for food. (Even if they had eaten or had their own food to eat) Poor guys! We did our best to help but anytime they could, they opted to eat outside. :-)
This was difficult at best, but there were a few more twists thrown in. Really, we had two “camps.” We had to live with David’s parents for the first few weeks after the fire and that was where a lot of our things were. Then the trailer was brought in for us and we moved over to it, sort of. As I said above, the trailer was cold, sometimes too cold. So we would pack up and move back to Ma’s for a day or so until the cold spell blew over. Then we would have to move everything back to the trailer. Sometimes there was a power issue with the trailer and we had to move until that got resolved. Somehow, in all these switching camps we would always end up needing something that we had left at the other location. We lived back and forth between the two locations for nearly 3 months. Add to all that packing up and leaving for Houston every 21 days, coming home drained and having to recover from the chemo while fighting all the above. Usually we would stay at Ma’s for a few days when we got back from Houston. (Read: Packed and got ready for 1-week stay in Houston with 3 kids in a motel room. Usually switched motels at least once. Packed everything back in suburban and headed home where we pulled some things out while we stayed at Ma’s and made it for a few days, trying not to totally trash Ma’s house, while I was pretty much out of it and everyone else was taking care of my kids.)
Easy? Whatever. God with us and giving us peace in the midst? All the way.
It was awesome how even facing all of this there would be that grace to walk through it all, that peace that passes understanding. There is really no way to explain it and looking back as I write all this I have to question how on earth God brought me through all this without a nervous breakdown or a major hatred for fire and camp trailers. :-) And really, I have only shared a small portion of the challenges and trials we faced. I have not mentioned David and the kids getting sick and having to clean up throw up and tending sick kids and husband while recovering from chemo. I have not mentioned the strangeness of not having, much less a place to put, the simplest of things we used everyday, such as pen and paper, and the loss of things that were in their places when we left that were of no use to us now. The heartache as we saw family and friends around us suffering the same losses and challenges that we were facing.
The blowing dust and ash, the burnt trees and desolate destruction all around us. The piles of crumpled metal, the ash heaps everywhere of what used to be our homes, barns, storage buildings, tractors, and those of our neighbors, a constant reminder of the devastation that had swept unstoppable across the countryside. The feeling of walking around as if in a dream and knowing that there is no dream, it is all real. The upheaval of daily routine and the ability to handle everyday tasks quickly and efficiently. The flood of help that poured in and the new experiences we were having as we learned to accept help and money from friends, family and strangers. Having to communicate our needs to people, coordinate and get ready for volunteers who wanted to help as much as possible in very short amounts of time. Trying to look to the future and decide which way to turn, and what needed to be done today. There are no words to describe all that David went through as he tried to provide us all a place to function as a family and at every turn finding a roadblock in his path. How each day we set out to accomplish tasks, and found that we had to run in circles it seemed to be able to begin to accomplish anything.
If reading all this you are feeling overwhelmed, even a little, it is only a fraction of all that we experienced. We were pushed, pulled and stretched to our limits, and then pulled and stretched some more. And in the middle of it all God was with us. (That sentence needs to be written with more feeling; maybe this will help) In the middle of it all GOD WAS WITH US. Not just in things working out for the good, which they did many times, but in our hearts. There were times that I was just incredulous at how God was working in me in the middle of all that was going on around me, so that I was pressed, as Paul says, but not crushed. I passed through the fire and everything overpowered me but God delivered me in the midst of the fire, even while I was walking through it. And I found out that what God said in His Word is true. He is always with us. Not kind of, He really is. I found out that as I walk out my faith and belief in Him, He is faithful and kind. He really does give us the power to walk through things that we thought would crush us, and helps us to come through it victorious and rejoicing. Why? The best part is that He does all this in us that we might demonstrate His power on the earth. I have been blown away by His power that He works in me.
I hate to do this to everyone again, but I am going to have to post this and add some more pics and all that later. There is still so much to write. God is doing so much in me. Some of it is so new and fresh that it is hard to put it all into words. Some of it, I just don't have a full view of where He is taking me yet. But I will try to post it soon.
I still covet your prayers. I am doing well but continued prayer is still important. Thank you all for kindness and faithfullness to pray for me.