Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Nightmare Begins

Once my OB/GYN confirmed that the mass needed to be investigated, the mammogram was scheduled.  I could tell by the number of x-rays and the subsequent ultrasound that it wasn't looking good.  The radiologist minced no words, "Your results confirm classic breast cancer. You need to see a surgeon and have several areas biopsied within the next couple of days." I remember giving my husband a quick call to confirm what we had already discussed. Then I sat in the parking lot for  a good 15 minutes trying to compose my thoughts and steady my hands before driving home. The rest of the day was spent deciding how and when to tell my kids. Most of them were working summer camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This wasn't exactly the sort of info I wanted to deliver over the phone. I don't think I had any peace until I called a trusted priest.  After a good confession and the anointing of the sick, I felt ready to face death; but still not ready to face cancer treatment. Death seemed like a better option. The enemy was in my ear, stealing every opportunity to shake my confidence. What a roller coaster ride; prayers and spiritual highs, followed by great desolation and panic attacks. I was a hot mess for sure. My poor husband had the worst of it, since I wouldn't let him very far into my schizoid  little world. We were there together, each feeling very much alone. It was not a good place for either of us. I hope to never go there, again.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Year In Review

Has it really been a year? Yes- and what a year it has been! Lent of 2015 seemed like an appropriate time to withdraw from the blogosphere in order to spend more time drawing closer to God. Little did I know that He was drawing me closer for a specific reason.

It was early June when I found the lump, and a week later when the breast cancer diagnosis was official. The summer was a blur of useless anxiety and stressful medical procedures. Definitely a time of intense battle. The battle, however, wasn't actually against cancer per se. It was a very specific spiritual warfare against the fear and anxiety that riddled my mind for the months that followed. At my husband's suggestion, I will share some of those experiences with you. My hope is to prevent someone else from floundering around in the fearful fog that accompanies such a diagnosis. Lord knows that everyday I hear of another family member, friend, or friend of a friend, with some sort of cancer diagnosis. The prayer intention page of my journal is overflowing with names, including those of children. Prayerful solidarity is, no doubt, the best I can offer. But I have also picked up some information along the way that might also be of benefit. Some are open to it, others are not. So I will leave it in writing over the next few posts, so that those who are interested can access it at leisure. Those who are not interested can skip the posts and not waste their time with my ramblings.

But first, for those who have walked with me, prayed with me, and encouraged me over the past year-- know that I trust your love, prayers, and friendship more than I trust the doctors. You are the reason I was able to shake the enemy from my back and start thinking clearly.

Today I will simply leave you with this: There are many treatments for cancer that should be considered before you consent to the traditional regime promoted by surgeons, radiologists, and oncologist. Your cancer didn't evolve overnight. You have time to investigate all of your options before proceeding. Even the biopsy should be delayed until you have had time to do your homework. Don't let the enemy steal your peace of mind and rush you into making uninformed decisions out of fear. Here is just one of many places you can visit to  gather information:

Movie Night Done Right

We've found a new service that filters offensive scenes and language from movies. No more surprises on family movie night. We choose what to watch and what to filter when we stream through VidAngel. And the latest titles are available on VidAngel BEFORE Redbox and Netflix.  You're welcome.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Promise for Families in Transition

A new undertaking has taken over much of my time. Join me at Family Promise to see what we've been up to, in lieu of blogging.
Jennifer and I with Archbishop Gregory Aymond 
at the Family Promise Launch and Press Conference.
Constructing cubicles inside the Youth Center,  for families in need of  temporary lodging
 until they can transition back into permanent affordable housing.

I am really not sure why the inside of these blackout curtains vary so much in color. It is a small matter, unless the family is as OCD as I am.
Putting on the final touches before meeting our 13 guests 
who will join us for a week of good food and fellowship.

Visit the Facebook Page to see the pics of the Day Center. We have a rocking executive director who not only works with the family to address their specific needs, but also finds alternate accommodations for those who cannot benefit from this particular apostolate.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Mania At Mia's

The grandtwins are hanging out with us this week, to see what preschool would be like at Mia's house.  Since it was Monday, we decided to begin with the letter M. The boys went on a scavenger hunt to find mustard, maps, markers, make-up, music makers, and money (which somehow ended up in someone's wallet instead of on the "M Museum"  table).

Then we practiced writing Mm and colored pictures of Monkeys and Mummies. After an early lunch we went to Mass and talked about Mother Mary.

Naptime was followed by Matching Mini Madonna Masterpieces. Science consisted of a quick look through astronomy books focussing on the phases of the Moon.  We ended with a cooking lesson.

Mall Pretzels 
(Ok, I know that one was a stretch- but it was a nice lenten snack). 
Better enjoy it now. They grow up so quickly.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Smoking Hot Homeschooling

I've been doing more than my fair share of complaining lately. Seems this homeschooling gig used to be more fun in the early days. Lately we've been stuck on the same ol' lesson: "For Every Action There Is An Equal And Opposite Reaction."  For Example: I say, "Let's get moving and finish the schoolwork (and the housework) so we can get to the fun stuff."  Their reaction is to whine and dig in their heels- while productivity comes to a screeching halt. And yet another day passes without getting to the illusive Fun Stuff. Why is it soooo difficult to work with these boys lately???? Might as well browse Facebook and read a blog post or two while I wait for them to get busy. Right?  Probably not. Well, maybe, if it means reading this post by Heidi, at Busy Mom. Turns out it isn't a boy thing. It has nothing to do with the kids at all. I have simply lost my vision. I lost my vision for our homeschool, and for our family in general. It seems to be a common theme this time of year. My friend, Jennifer, agreed," I will join you in finding a vision. As my youngest complained the other day that school is just work. He wants to just learn, not sit and do work all the time."

Time to put less value on the task list and more value on the person in front of me at the moment.  In case I was wondering if this  renewed vision was what Christ would want me to pursue, another friend, also named Jennifer, confirmed it in a Sappari Solutions Workshop which referenced 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families and this blogpost on Creating a Positive Family Culture. 
So I ditched the regularly scheduled day, to read and pray 
and listen to podcasts. I learned a lot. (Well, re-visited old lessons with a refreshed mindset, anyway). 
AND it was exciting…..
 AND it was FUN…..
 AND it was decided that we DO need more learning 
without so much Work! More hands on experiences 
and fewer workbook pages. 
(Finally set off those smoke bombs we made in January)
 AND we definitely need fewer Mommy Melt-Downs 
over that pesky task list.
AND we REALLY, REALLY needed a Wednesday night star gazing party, complete with roasted marshmallows, hot chocolate, good friends and football on the lawn. A delightful evening to break up an otherwise monotonous week. After the other families said their good-byes, the kids and I stayed up ridiculously late ON A SCHOOL NIGHT to learn about the winter sky. We learned the difference between sighting the Little Dipper and Orion's Belt, and between the red glow of Betelgeuse and Jupiter or Mars. We laughed and talked and sang Mumford and Sons songs around the fire pit with a dear young priest that stuck around for the "after party." We told funny stories about growing up in a large family (Fr. Stephen is #8 of 10). We ate lots of chocolate. Then we called it a night. We called it a Very.Very.Good. Night.  Lesson Learned. 

I'll be trading in February Burnout, for Smoking Hot Homeschooling to wrap up the academic year. Lent provides the perfect opportunity to make a habit of keeping things in proper perspective.