Radiation treatments are done!

Bill COMPLETED his last radiation treatment yesterday.  Eight weeks, the entire summer, 42 treatments … DONE DONE DONE!

I’m relieved, we are all relieved.   I re-read a previous post about living ‘in the meantime’.   That is what we have done as a family during this time. We have surrounded ourselves with each other, we have been blessed by the outreach of our church, friends, co-workers, and we kept right on trucking along.   I’m not sure I’ll find the words to express our gratitude – every act of outreach was appreciated. I experienced  times when I felt so discouraged, and then I’d receive a text/phone call/card … it meant so much.

So what’s next?   Healing for Bill.  Lots more family togetherness. Lots more laughter and plans for things we all enjoy.  We embrace everything from day-to-day chores, to trips and fun stuff. I received a book mark (which I’ve included as photo) and it truly says so much about cancer.  We, as a family, are definitely on a mission to make the most out of each day … we will not allow the cancer to shatter our hope or our faith; we are moving forward and making lots more memories!

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I would like to encourage you to pray .. for Bill’s healing, for others fighting the fight, for family, friends, our country.  I also encourage you to focus on what makes you happy;  and even what makes others happy.   During the past eight weeks, we have  been so blessed by the outreach  shown to us.  Oftentimes, it was the acts of kindness that gave me /us strength to keep going forward.  Join me in prayer, in outreach to those in need.  It’s great medicine for the soul, and it means so much when you are ‘living in the valley’.

IN closing, wanted to share some good news:  Mom is healing well.  It’s been five weeks since the accident and she’s home and recovering.  Elizabeth started her senior year in high school.  Bill and I will celebrate our anniversary in just a few weeks — 30 years!!

Keep looking up and letting Him shine in all you do,

-Amy

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Family vacation = great memories

Amy & Bill (OBX 2014)

Amy & Bill (OBX 2014)

 

We just returned from an awesome week at OBX. It was such a blessing to be surrounded by family – I experienced times during the week when I actually hurt from laughing. It was perfect … it will be cherished forever. We had four generations under one roof and I am certain we all left with more family memories. It was a time of relaxation, a time to de-stress, and a time to unwind.

Our first week back includes the start of Bill’s radiation treatments, oral surgery for Elizabeth (4 wisdom teeth to come out), not to mention the procedure to remove fluid from Bill’s back (after 9 surgeries). Friend, I admit I wonder how we get through; I get mad at myself for wondering ‘why’. I hurt to see him hurt, to know that under his smile is constant pain. And now, added to the back issues, is the cancer. Bill’s been my strength and coach through my own anxiety, despite his ongoing struggles. He remains so strong in his faith and is constantly reminding me, and others, that God’s got this! I have to tell you, God has worked in powerful ways in our lives! Through all this, even when I feel overwhelmed and share my stories, I do so to encourage … it is therapy for me to write. I am able to record the testimonies of all He’s done for us – and it reassures me things will work out.

We heard an awesome message on Sunday: ‘what to do in the meantime’. It really hit home. We are living in the meantime. And what I understand is simple: in the meantime, as we face these struggles, we are to live each day, each moment, focusing on: the promises of God; His word; our faith; our strong belief that despite the circumstances, we are not alone. Our strength is our Heavenly Father! He is our rock and even though our ground seems unsteady, it really is not! He’s got this.

This morning, as I prepared to leave for work, I admit I was feeling a mess – I was anxious. Bill was headed off for his back procedure (with Elizabeth and Mom).   I was getting ready for work, feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. Bill raised his hands, waved them around, and said to me:   “God is all around you – He is with us, He is here”.

Then, before I could get out of our driveway, I received a message that a friend had sent to our prayer warriors, asking them to keep Bill in prayer this week. That, my friend, is the power of God that provides our strength! Just when things feel like they are crumbling, He provides the next bit of strength, to get us through the next moment.

We are living our life in the meantime … cancer cannot steal our beliefs nor our spirit. We serve an awesome God who can handle all our issues. I encourage you: remember the meantime – praise Him, even in the storms!

This is God’s Country …

this is god's country ...

A beautiful spring Saturday spent with Bill and Davaney – one that just took us around a big loop! It was truly ‘living in the moment’. We left home that morning, just the two of us, with a plan to visit the local farmers market. After a phone call to Amber, our plans quickly changed. We decided to invite Davaney to join us, which landed us at their home. We were able to see (hold) sweet Madeline Faith and steal some kisses, then we grabbed Davaney’s overnight bag, and our journey began.

What an incredible day! We shopped for some edible plants to add to our property (kiwi and grapes); we enjoyed buying fresh produce from the farmers market; we enjoyed traveling across the mountain and sharing stories with Davaney; we had lunch at a local eatery, then we ended up at the local strawberry patch.

So what’s so special, you may ask – I think it was the idea of climbing back in the truck and thinking “ok, what next? What can we do? Where will we stop?” It was the spontaneity of it all; it was seeing Davaney’s excitement about our next stop. The very special moment for me, and one that prompted my urge to write was a statement by a complete stranger: “this is God’s country”!

We were busy picking strawberries, and admiring the absolutely breathtaking views. We saw many different folks along the rows of berries, and one couple commented on the beauty of the area. As it turned it, they had relocated to Virginia from Texas, and she expressed her unhappiness about their relocation. When I heard her say “this is God’s country”, I couldn’t help but ask where they lived in Virginia. It turned out they resided in the city. Surely their views and surroundings were quite different from the mountains we are blessed to see daily, but what I later considered was simple: God’s country is everywhere. He surrounds us. The issue is whether we live in His country – and if we allow Him to live in ours!

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So yeah, I will admit: I’m partial to my surroundings. I absolutely LOVE the mountains; I love the fresh air; I love living on my great-grandparents farm. All these things remind me of God’s presence, but I’ve been in cities and other places and He’s always there beside me! He surrounds me … but I had to ask Him first to be part of my life. I have to remain in tune with my surroundings to ensure He’s always there. I’ve learned that even in what seems to be my darkest time, He is by my side.

With the recent trials my family has experienced, I consider these reminders from Him. God speaks and directs my path; He reminds me when things seem tough. I need only focus on the moment, living out the adventure of the present time and consciously acknowledging the blessings of that time. It is days like this that just touch me in a way that only comes from Him.

Thank you Lord for many blessings … my family; my home; the mountains that surround me; the freedom to get up and drive out and witness your beauty!