Just a little Cancer

walking this out in daily life is both difficult and a breeze Continue reading

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Steps

Many have asked for an update, but we really do not have much forward motion.
We made our way to lake limestone safely a little over 2 weeks ago. We have enjoyed resting and getting to see family and friends. Cory had some tests run to see if he had parasites and they came back clear. We are thankful for that and discouraged because this puts us back at square one with figuring out what is causing his pain and fatigue. The oncologist does not believe the lymphoma is causing these symptoms. So he will not be having Chemo or radiation at this time.

We are so grateful for our church families. Immanuel Baptist in Odessa not only provided a moving truck, they also helped us fill it! We miss them fiercely. While we know moving was best for our family, we grieve the fact that it took us away from our Immanuel family. We’ve wept more than once over this. It was the first church we found together as a married couple, the first place we made “couple friends” and the first place that felt like home in Odessa. We know that God uses the church to declare his glory and Immanuel is a beautiful picture of this.
Our Centerpoint church family has continually poured out love, financial support and friendship. They are a true gift of grace and we are looking forward to reconnecting soon.
Many friends and family have checked on us and offered well wishes and we are blessed by them.
We are often told, “let me know if there’s anything I can do for y’all.” We appreciate everyone’s willingness to help and find this statement difficult at the same time. I’ll be honest I’m prideful and struggle to ask for help of any kind. Sometimes I can’t even think of things we need help with. I often think there are others in more dire circumstances that have very little help, it is very humbling to be in a position of need. So, in an effort to be transparent and grow here are a few answers to questions we’ve been asked:
1. What can we pray for specifically?
Besides healing, our greatest prayer need is for our hearts. Every closed door in regards to Cory’s health stirs up frustration and anxiety. We want to be found faithful and not resist what God is doing in all this. Pray that we would rest in HIM and be content to live each day moment by moment.
2. What do you need financially?
Right now, we have what we need. We are waiting for some hospital bills to come in over the next few weeks. And will have a better picture of that.
3. What else can we do for y’all?
One of the most encouraging things for us right now is having friends & family visit. We have no tv or internet access and cell coverage is spotty so our communication is limited to taking trips in to Waco and while there we’re trying to get as much business done as possible.
4. How are you guys?
We have good and bad days. Cory is tired of feeling unwell, especially getting exhausted after playing with Rylie for only 10min, but grateful to be able to be with his family more. I’ve had some rough days after being up in the night with Rylie and feeling overwhelmed with taking care of everything, thankfully those days are not often and have eased a bit as we’ve adjusted to living at the lake. Rylie loves getting to play outside in this beautiful place! She is becoming quite vocal and busy and her love for people continues to grow, she especially loves babies and college kids right now.
5. What’s the next step? We’re calling everyday to see if his primary care doctor has an opening because his first available appointment is a month from now. Ideally it would be great if we could move to Waco proper, but in order for that to happen we have to find an extremely cost efficient place to rent, so we will be working towards that. Also, the ministry I work for, iGo Global will be having their annual fundraising banquet in Dallas so we plan to attend if at all possible.

This is getting a bit long, so I’ll wrap it up. This week we’ve been reminding ourselves of Proverbs 16:1- “A man plans his way but The Lord determines his steps.” This has been so true for us and we trust that God will continue to be faithful as we walk this road.

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Not Hamburger Helper

In an effort to get back to our normal healthy eating I’ve  declared our house a virtually grain free  zone (aside from oatmeal) and let me tell you it has been a bit more difficult than in the past! Good for us food is a bit more expensive & juggling cooking time with an almost 5 month old is quite the experience, but I am determined to make it happen. Recently, we were driving back from a trip and we began talking about food we ate growing up vs. food I currently keep in the house. Cory said, “we don’t really have much pre-packaged stuff like hamburger helper or chips, I grew up eating that.” I said, “so did I, but it’s not best for us to eat that stuff if possible and it’s cheaper for me to make stuff from scratch without preservatives.” Cory responded, “it doesn’t get much cheaper than hamburger helper!” Touché’, my love. FYI: I thoroughly enjoyed Hamburger Helper beef stew, it doesn’t really taste like stew, but it’s my favorite of the helpers. Often prepackaged stuff is cheap and easy. Why is that? Can we do something about that? I promise if we put effort into making whole foods more affordable, the price of health care would go down! (This would be my platform if I was running for government!) Now, before you think I’m hating on our Moms here for feeding us hamburger helper, let me just say NO WAY! Our moms did the best they could with what they had by way of time, energy and cooking chops. We both have hardworking moms that had full-time jobs, raised babies & served in the church. I’m not sure how they made it all happen. I am very thankful we always had food to eat. Now, as an adult I have found that I feel best & am healthiest when I eat less processed meals and less carbs. (OH HOW WE LOVE OUR CARBS! I’M A CUPCAKE BAKER!) So, I try to come up with meals that my husband finds yummy & are good for us but taste like they aren’t. Here is our latest dish that satisfies:

sweet-potato-brulee_11-18-12_6_caHawaiian Sweet Potato Casserole:

Ingredients:

4 medium or 6 small sweet potatoes roasted in the oven until just tender then mashed (I leave the skins on, but you can take them off if you desire)

Choose EITHER 3 TBS of butter or 4 oz of softened cream cheese. (I guess you could put both if you really want to, I use whichever I have on hand)

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/2 tsp nutmeg (don’t skip this, unless you hate nutmeg)

1 lb of ham cooked & diced (I found a really good deal on a ham .69 a lb)

1 cup fresh pineapple grilled & diced (don’t skip the grilling, you can even just brown in a skillet, so much flavor!)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix 1st 4 ingredients in a bowl and mix well, then mix in ham & pineapple. Spoon into a 9×13 or 8×8 baking dish (the 8×8 is filled to the brim), top with chopped pecans and bake until heated through & pecans are roasted.

Suggestions: You can either eat this as a whole meal or as a side with a steak or chicken. You can also replace the ham with bacon if you prefer. If you don’t like pineapple throw in dried cranberries or fresh diced apples. Really the possibilities are endless!

Birth of a Mother

The last time we published a blog was about 2 weeks before baby girl made her debut. Now she’s 4 1/2 months old and I’m finally ready to share the story of her arrival and how I became a mother.

Before we became 3

Before we became 3

As with most births, the process begins long before the baby is actually delivered, they call this labor. For me, labor was completely different than I expected. I  went in for my 38 week appointment and I felt terrible: exhausted and woozy and I was already dilated pretty well. For the first time ever, my blood pressure was high so they sent me over to the hospital for observation, my blood pressure was up, down, up and all around so my OB decided it would be best to admit me and see if we could  get things going as natural as possible. Even though I wasn’t really prepared to stay at the hospital, we were excited that the process had started.

I was hooked up to all kinds of monitors, and Cory had his couch bed all ready to go as we tried to rest for the work we knew would be coming soon. I didn’t sleep at all that night and by the next morning they checked me and  said, you’re progressing fast! I naively thought to myself, we’re going to have this baby by lunch time. Our amazing, kind, generous, faithful, hardworking, irreplaceable Doula, Becky joined us at the hospital and we began the walking, rocking and encouraging labor to really kick in. So here’s the part that most women will want to punch me in the face for, my contractions weren’t bad at all, I don’t think the nurses believed me. Maybe it’s that I was singing along to All Sons & Daughters  and Jourdan Johnson (this is seriously my favorite)  the whole time and that kept me in the zone, who knows. So after 24 hrs of labor, I was still stuck at the same place I had been when they told me I was progressing fast :/.  By this time they figured out that our sweet daughter that had been head down, face down every. single. ultrasound. was now face up and hadn’t moved down at all. So, we began pitocin and all kinds of  positions to get her to turn and move down. It was a no go and I was exhausted, even through all the pitocin and blood pressure monitoring the contractions were manageable but I was sooooo tired. So, holding on to hope that I could still have our girl without surgery, we got an epidural and I rested for about 30 minutes.

Love

Love

I can not go any further without stopping to say, my husband is amazing. Most people that know him well know that he is tender hearted and we were both unsure how he would do seeing me in pain. Cory was so awesome not only just holding my hand, but breathing with me, applying counter pressure, affirming me and looking at me with love filled eyes. He was perfect.

They came back to check me and at this point we had been laboring for 36 hours, and they were very concerned about my blood pressure that was rising. The last option to get our daughter here safely was to have a c-section. A c-section was the last thing I wanted but there was nothing else left to do. I was at peace until right before they took me back to surgery and I had to just trust the Lord’s sovereignty & rest that whatever happened would be in his hands, like it always is.

My first peek!

My first peek!

The moment our daughter entered  the outside world I calmed down. Our darling girl had been stuck sideways and face up! The first thing I heard was the doctor exclaim with a surprised tone, “Oh she’s beautiful!” followed by her cry, but she only cried until they got her warmed and wrapped up. Cory brought her over to me and I said, “Hi Rylie” and she looked at me with her big soulful eyes, put her head on my cheek and sighed.

I thought my heart would burst. This was THE  moment I became a mother and I hope I never, ever forget her content sigh. She knew me, knew the sound of my voice and the beat of my heart, never have I experienced someone knowing me so intimately immediately upon meeting. From that moment on, I have been profoundly changed.

Connection

Connection

So much of  our experience becoming parents has driven Cory & I closer to each other and the feet of Jesus. Being a mother is wonderful, scary, exciting, exhausting, joy-filled and refining.  God gave us the best gift in our daughter, she is better than I ever could have dreamed up and because of her Father is shinning a bright light on the corners of my selfish, prideful heart. The only things more transformative for me than becoming a mother has been becoming a wife and follower of Jesus. We had some intense, scary moments in the hours, days and weeks following Rylie’s birth with my health and in every moment I am certain that we were being held by the Holy Spirit and prayers from dear friends & family.

Dr. Pevitoe

Dr. Pevitoe

What I want our daughter to know about her birth is that she is worth every minute of labor, delivery and postpartum, and we love her more than our own breaths, but we will never love her as much as Jesus does. “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”- 1 John 4:9-10

Very first cupcake!

Very first cupcake!

Daddy's in Love

Daddy’s in Love

1st "official" family pic

1st “official” family pic

Sleepy Newborn

Sleepy Newborn

Nesting and baking

The last few days especially we’ve been in go mode nesting/getting everything ready for baby girl’s arrival. Along with this, my desire to bake has been through the roof. I’ve got bananas lined up to make banana bread to take with us to the hospital to give to the nurses and guests. At least, that’s the plan anyway. I could just see me making all the bread, sticking it in the freezer and then completely forgetting to take it with us. If that happens, I will be happy to eat banana bread when we come home!

Enough about bananas, I want to talk about cherries. My husband loves cherry anything, so I try to surprise him once in awhile with cherry goodies and this morning I decided to make some Cherry Baked Oatmeal instead of our usual egg dish. (Sidebar: I use to eat oatmeal every morning, loved it, and then I got pregnant and couldn’t stand the texture, but I keep trying because oatmeal is good for me.) I just remembered a week ago that I like baked oatmeal and it has a different texture than my regular oatmeal, woohoo! Let me tell you, this Cherry Baked Oatmeal was so delicious I’m already looking forward to breakfast tomorrow. 20130830-222006.jpg You can make this healthier than I did this morning if you use fresh or dried cherries instead of pie filling or make your own pie filling with stevia or honey. I do that quite a bit, but today I went for convenience.

Cherry Baked Oatmeal: Makes 6-8 large servings

2 cups milk or water (you can use almond or soy milk also)

4 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar or honey

2 tsp Vanilla

2/3 cup coconut oil, melted butter or any other oil you have on hand, you could also substitute applesauce for the oil to make it healthier.

4 cups rolled or quick oats

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 can cherry pie filling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl combine first five ingredients and mix well making sure to get the eggs beaten. Stir in oats, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Lightly grease a 9X13 pan and pour batter into pan spreading out even. Spoon cherry pie filling over the top evenly. Bake for 30 minutes. If you have leftovers like I purposely plan for, you can just reheat a portion in the microwave or eat it cold.

I will be making this again and in many variations, it was that good! Enjoy!

Winner, Winner, Dessert Dinner!

What a day it has been! Finding out we are going to parent a daughter was so surprising and exciting. God has been gracious and loving as we walk this new path, He is so good!  Many of you have been excited with us, prayed with us and we are thankful for you. 60+ people cast their votes!  We wish we could give each one of you a prize for being awesome. But, without further adieu: Our big winner in the guess the gender contest is our  friend Phillip Cole.

Let us tell you a tiny bit about Phil, he’s husband to one of the most beautiful women on the planet, father to a handsome little boy, the front man for the worship band Burgundy Road, and walks in the light of the Gospel. The way the man lives reflects Jesus. We are so blessed to know Phil!

What many may not know is that Phil is somewhat of the baby gender predictor, we just found out that this is the 5th gender he has guessed correctly in a row! So, if you are pregnant and want some insight, give Phil a call 🙂 *Phillip will receive some goodies straight from our oven filled with love and yumminess.

Hello world!

Well, Hello.

Even though we both have blogged in the past, we decided that maybe it was time to begin a blog about our family, ministry and life all in one place. Since we married in October life has gone by very fast! We are about to start the busy summer at iGo Global and we are expecting our first child in September! So, I assume that much of the first part of the blog posts will be about these 2 seasons coming up, but we may also just write what’s on our hearts or is making us laugh.

We should be finding out soon whether we will be having a boy or a girl and we are so excited! We have done quite a few old wives tales that are supposed to predict the gender, here are the results of a few:
Picked up the Key:
Prefer resting on right side:

Baking soda bubbles:
Heart rate over 140:

We want to know what you predict!