Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Post!

I'm relieved and elated to share a miracle in answered prayer. Our friends' precious 5 year old daughter, Kate McRae, has been battling aggressive brain cancer for over a year now. Kate's mom, Holly, keeps a beautiful blog written from a mother's heart chronicaling their family's ordeal thru this nightmare. Thousands have followed along and even more have prayed. And yesterday evening....the McRea's got the call they've been waiting for. Kate's latest PET scan came back negative! Had it been otherwise there would be little more to do. Praise God! What a blessed reminder!

A reminder I need this night. Life is hard. This world is not our home. I look around and so many of my friends are dealing with huge, HUGE stuff. It's easy to forget that there is Someone much more powerful than all of it. But there is. There is!

Friday, July 30, 2010

There is just so much pain.
Sorry to talk about it ad nauseum, but any given day it consumes about 70% of my energies and thoughts. So it's hard to ignore. Not that I don't try my darndest. I do try to live, breathe, talk, laugh in spite of it all, because life is just better that way. But it still clouds my mind. Sears thru my hip and down the front of my legs. Burns the tops of my calves. Unbearable at times. It makes it impossible to sit, stand or walk without constantly thinking of when I'll next be able to lie down. And there has been no relief for years now.

It's probably exhausting just reading that! And sorry....I'm not quite done yet either (bear with me here.... ;)
When my body, my mind hurts, and when my mind hurts, my heart hurts. And perhaps the heart hurt is the worst of all. The word weary best describes the way all it makes me feel. So, so weary. Like 70 years old.
Ok, you got the picture. Overwhleming. Unbearable. It stinks.
So yesterday I made a phone call. The one I've been dreading but also looking forward to with hope. What an aweful juxtaposition.
Another surgery scheduled. There are no words.

And yet there is peace. There is hurt and deep sadness but wildly, there is also peace. I'm moving forward with a decision I HOPE is the right one, I THINK is the right one, but I'm just having to TRUST THIS PEACE that it really is the right one. Don't you hate decisions like that??! Especially one this life-altering. I've layed it all out there before the Lord. And I've heard no answer except a kind of rest in taking this path. So I'm falling back on that and trusting God will move as only He can thru it all. Thru the body hurt and the heart hurt. And somehow make it better.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Here's to us.

We're back from celebrating our anniversary at the Don Cesar on Pass-A-Grille Beach. Just love that place. We stayed there on our wedding night, so it's extra sentimental. And let me just say I was able to enjoy the place with way less presssure than I did the last time as a virgin bride. whew! ;)

We both agreed it was good we decided to stay in town rather than travel somewhere, especially since I've been feeling so badly lately. The view from our corner room in that big pink palace was amazing....the Gulf from one window and the inter-coastal from the other. Panoramic! And the views turned out to be a big blessing since I wasn't able to be out and about as much as I'd hoped.

We were 7 floors up
This tower was just outside our window and watching the birds fly to and from was so fun. Dontcha want to go up in there?

The first evening there was a rainbow out our east window.
We are way more Bubba Gump's and Candy Kitchen than we are Don Cesar, but it's fun to pretend for a few days anyways. Crab legs at Bubba Gump's mmm mmm good.And this town staple never disappoints:This was the first time we've been away just the two of us in over 3 years. Exactly what we needed in the scheme of this crazy life. Because let me tell you, things have not been easy for us--these past several years especially. And as much as we love each other, our marriage is far from perfect. We are both fallible people. Satan's knows our strongholds and is ruthless in using them against us. He's battered each of us, both individually and as a couple. We've had to fight hard to keep our union commited, growing, alive. There's been lots of give and take, forgiveness, choosing love when we don't feel like it, and holding our personal expectations with an open hand. It ain't easy. But it is worth fighting for. I'm convinced Satan works hardest to erode our lives by undermining this sacred union. So when he sees two people commited from the start to doing it right, he goes after it with gusto. Such has been the case with us. But God is good and so much stronger! And for that I am thankful.

So, here's to us.

and here's to nine years thru it all.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Some kind of wonderful

The story of how two people met and fell and in love warms my heart. When I'm getting to know someone, it's one of the first things I like to hear about them. And an older couple who'll share their story with me? Don't even get me started. Love it! You throw WWII into the mix and the romance always goes up a few notches. ;) It never gets old. What's even funnier is that I never forget a love story either. Years later I'll mention to Andrew “don’t you remember they told us they met on the top of Splash Mountain during summer camp of '99?”
“uh, NO”
Well I do. It's the hopeless romantic in me, I guess.
So since I have you as my captive audience (and because the anniversary of my own love story is tomorrow) I thought I’d share. From my perspective, of course. A little over 10 years since our first meeting and counting.
It all starts with my back pain. Isn’t that fitting?! We should have known! And Andrew should have run fast when he had the chance! No, my hubby’s so sweet, I’m sure even if he had known he would have stuck it out. ;)
But for real. I was in massive pain on our first date. But let me start from the very beginning.
My senior year of college two friends and I decided to do a triple blind date, each setting the other one up. Since I was a senior and let's face it, had dated a lot of guys already, I said I'd go for the fun of it but figured he'd probably end up being someone I knew already anyway.
But come to find out I'd never even seen the guy around campus before. All I knew about him was that he was a 22 year old transfer, tall with dark hair and that he sang on a singing group. Making a group at Liberty kinda makes you a mini-campus celebrity. So I was impressed, I gotta admit. And definitely excited to meet him.
However, in the weeks before the date my back health got worse. My leg started hurting so badly I couldn't really walk and I had to stop going to classes all together. Little could any of us imagine I was dealing with something as complicated and huge as a shattered L-4 disc! Yikes.
So I'd been lying in bed for days and days. When the evening for the big date rolled around, I was totally bummed I still felt so lousy. But I really didn't want to miss out on this too. So I gritted my teeth against the pain, dragged out of bed, splashed on some make-up, grabbed my now infamous pillow (I think this just might be the first time I ever took a pillow with me to sit on; now it's a given I don't leave the house without it!) and went. I still don't know exactly how I got thru the evening and was able to act like myself, but somehow I did. And I actually had a blast in spite of the everything! Looking back, I'm sure God had me covered!
It was a fun night. We all went for dessert, then hung around taking silly pictures in downtown Lynchburg (and can you even believe I can't find those pictures right now?!? Ahh! So sorry! No first date pic for the blog. boo.) . It wasn't necessarily love at first sight, but I instantly knew he was my type. And as the night wore on, I was more and more impressed. He was so conscientious about my back, totally cool with the pillow, and opened every door for me. (And the opening doors thing could make me cross a guy off my dating list quick. I know...picky. But I figured if a guy's not going to be curteous on a first date, it's only going down hill from if several doors hit me in the face....seeeeeee ya, dude.)

But Andrew passed that little test with flying colors (and can I just say he still opens every door for me?) Yep. He's a keeper.

Perhaps the moment that stands out the very most from that night may seem insignificant. But it made quite a difference in the way I viewed this Andrew guy:

For dessert, the resteraunt had this kitchy thing where you can make S'mores at your the table. They brought us little canteens of fire along with all the fixins. Now, when it comes to making s'mores, I'm a catch-the-marshmallow-on-fire-to-get-the-job-done-fast kind of girl. I noticed Andrew went about making his differently. He rotated it ever so slightly over the fire creating this perfect bronze color, slowly melting the insides to gooey perfection. And then he pieced it together.

Now little miss turbo (me) had already made and eaten TWO in the time I watched him make his ONE.....

.....and then without a word, he leaned over and set it on my plate. He didn't make a big deal about it, just set it there and started making another one for himself. I was taken back. All that time he'd been making that perfect s'more....for me (who'd already eaten two!)

I just might have KNOWN in that moment. ;0)
That this guy was some kinda special.
OK, OK, I know what you cynics are thinking! He was trying to impress me. But I really don't think so. In the nine years we've been married Andrew's proven over and over to be one of the kindest people I've ever known, thinking of others when everyone else is rushing around busy with their own stuff.
By the end of that first blind date, Andrew says he knew too--that we just might have something. Not that I did anything sweet and endearing like make a perfect smore for him or anything, but I think he liked my spunk. ;0)

Shortly after that date I went home for surgery. I loved that he called to check on me (and we have a hilarious story about our first phone conversation while I was under the influence of pain meds. Let's just say I gave him a little TMI.) And he still wasn't fazed!

Within just a couple of months, after I got better and went back to school, there was no parting us. From the very beginning, everything about being with him was just easy. It was easy to talk, easy to laugh, easy to have fun, easy to get to know him. We were on the same page of the same book, he and I. And the fact that he was so cute AND had a great voice was I'm not gonna lie, awesome. There's been no parting us since.

We got engaged on a Christmas sleigh ride in Iowa a year later.
Could I possibly be smiling any bigger here?

and married July 21, 2001. I'll always remember how we were so excited to be "husband and wife" we practically sprinted down the aisle (and I left the altar without my bouquet)

Nine fabulous years full of memories!

And now we got this little cutie out of the deal too.... Some kind of wonderful!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I was looking over the last few posts and noticed they've all been very heavy and deeply sad.

Hee hee! :)
Not that I feel badly about pouring my emotions here. I don't. In fact, I find powerful relief and comfort in it. Many times when the pain is even too deep for tears, I'll find solice writing it out. And even though I write for myself, I do like knowing you are here. So thanks for listening.

And I wanted to let you know that I'm beginning to feel a little bit better....finally. The leg/hip/back pain has subsided & for two days now I've been able to sleep & think of something other than what might help me feel better. I even went for a walk down our little cul-del-sac tonight. Sweet fresh air! I feel like I can breathe again.
The major problem is still present, and we're still planning another surgery sometime (ugh.) But things are at least at a manageable place again.
Hopefully a happy post or two is in my near future....

Monday, July 12, 2010

When I'm down
and out
(like right now)
There are several things
That help bring water
to my parched
and weary soul.

One is believing
with every fiber of my being
that there is a plan.
That God is good
and that He never
wastes a pain.

Two is praying
from the depths of me.
Speaking scripture out loud
to claim His promises.
Because I know

my Jesus answers.

Three is noticing
when He provides
(even a little bit of)
If not exactly what I desire,
It's still something.
And it's enough

to reassure me He is watching

to comfort me He is listening
And to remind me

He is indeed

always here.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another weary week

This week was not any better. I have had to rest in bed while my mom and Andrew do everything around me and for me. And I've had to give precious time with SaraRose away to others, because I can't take care of her when I feel this badly.
And it all gets me down. The physical pain burning my back and legs brings with it this emotional turmoil that sits heavy on my chest.
Because there are a lot of scary/sad things to think about. And I have nothing but time to think. The inevitably of another surgery. The horrors that brings with it. The strain on my family. The pain. The worthlessness. The medication. All I'm missing. All I'm losing. The hows, the whys. My future. My family. My LIFE.
Heavy heavy stuff.
I think I need a good book. :0) Just threw that in there to lighten the mood. But seriously. If you know good one, help a girl out. :)

ANY-way...I'm beat. Totally over this. Searching for direction, needing relief. I can bear it (and praise God at this point even thrive in it) when the pain is manageable. Not that it takes away the fact that there's still a major issue. But it does help me keep things compartmentalized.
It's just times like tonight, when the pain level has been high for days and days, and I don't know where the end is, that it's hard to see clearly and not let depression have it's way with me.

So dear Lord, please have mercy on my very weary soul. I am poor and needy this night.
You tell us You "give power to the weak and to those who have no might You increase their strength. " Let it be with me, Father. Let it be.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Beware: whining ahead!

Remember that very happy, peppy post from a few days ago where I laughed and shared about my weight loss?
Yea. So I wrote that and then slipped into bed. And as I tried to sleep my nerve/back pain started to spike. I thought I'd just sleep it off, but couldn't. Those of you who've had labor pains know all about the kind of pain you can sleep thru and the kind you can't. Mine got to be the latter; close to unbearable.
The pain has somewhat subsided, but we still had to cancel our trip to see my sister to celebrate The 4th this weekend (two plane tix for me included).

I feel like it has been this way for SO LONG now. I say I'm going to do something, be somewhere, people are counting on it, and then I have to cancel at the last minute. Everyone says they understand and all that, and I'm sure that's true. But it's still a disappointment on both ends.
Sometimes it's so hard to comprehend.
If someone where to ask me what I want most out of life my answer would be this:
To be living and serving freely in the fullness of all God created me to be.
So here's the question I wonder.
Wouldn't I be more fully alive and useful, more dedicated and involved, using my gifts and talents for Him if I didn't have pain and constant weak back issues? If I wasn't having to always univite myself to events? Or leave half way thru? Having to stay holed up at home with people serving ME, when one of the greatest commandments is for me to serve OTHERS?
Then there's this other issue. An issue there is no way around, but that absolutely brings out the worst in me. And it's primarily because of my physical condition I have to deal with it at all. Day after day, I'm faced with it....and personality flaws I long since thought I'd conquered are brought front and center again. I won't go into detail but it wears me out, tears me down and it's just one more thing that makes me ask....really, Lord?
Can you tell I've had a rough weekend? And the rain yesterday didn't help things at all.
(I warned you to be prepared for whining, knew what you were getting into! ;)
Things really weren't a total wash this weekend. I mean, even though it was rainy I got to go to the movies, hang with my little family, watch Anne of Green Gables (while Andrew watched Green Zone ;0)
...and I still lost 4.4 pounds, right?!
So onward and upward to a better week this week!
*I need it* ;0)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

On the counter of the Weight Watcher meeting today....

....was my CHIN!


I lost 4.4 pounds this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (yes, I meant to type that many exclamation points)

The first thing that came out of my mouth was what Stacy from "What Not To Wear" yells at the sight of her newly "done-over" participant --

"SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!! Are you serious?!" (I've never before used that expression, by the way. Gut reaction for ya!) The lady weighing me in blandly relied, "Yea. That's what it says. Good job."

GOOD JOB is RIGHT!!! Pat on the back, Kristen! (even if I have to do it myself!)


I'm shocked, but very pleased.

Holy toledo! (I'm running out of suprised expressions to use!)

But I thought I'd share it here, since no one but my family knows I've joined ;)

We'll see if I can keep it up going into next week. At this rate I'll be go to go! Ha! But I can't imagine ever duplicating this loss again. It actually seems a little extreme without excercising. And they say you usually lose the most in your first week. But the guy sitting next to me had lost 11.1. lbs. this week too. Wow! So maybe there is something to this WW/Points countin thang.

We'll see how it goes next week....I'm heading to my little sister's house for the 4th of July weekend so there will me a lot more food temptations, I'm sure.

But for now, I'm happy in my accomplishment.

Thank you, Jesus!

This is the picture I've had on my Faith Poster that

represents getting to and maintaining my healthy weight.