Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making Plans

I am the planner in our family. Name an occasion or special reason for celebration and I will have the whole event planned months in advance. I will admit that one of my highlights of the new school season is buying a new planner so that I can write all the special dates on my calendar and map out (with color coding) all of the events that I know in advance each year.

When I purchased my beautiful Tiffany's blue calendar for 2012 I wrote all of the special birthdays down, Bronson's anticipated 1st day of school, the beginning of fall term, and most importantly a HUGE highlighted note in the day of September 8th...one year cancer free for Ashley. I looked forward to this day with the most anticipation and sadly as the day approached we already knew that there would be no celebrating that day. We are currently in the planning mode of three week cycles. I told Ashley today that The Lord has been speaking to me often lately and I feel confident that we will soon find ourselves planning in three month cycles, but it really draws me back to reality. I remember thinking that wasn't enough time and now I find myself praying for them.

There is some definite planning that no one ever wants to talk about, but I urge you to have with your loved ones. It shouldn't have to only come up because your loved one has terminal cancer; share your life wishes, share what you would expect others to do if you are called home to heaven, share what you really don't care about, just share. As the care giver or loved one let them share. It is not morbid; they need the freedom to share these things. For all medical purposes they have been told that they might not have the life expectancy that they once hoped to. Don't say, let's not talk about this, it will never happen. Ask them questions even if you are not ready for the answers. I am realizing how much I have to remind myself that they are not my plans, but His.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Four Girls

I have realized in the social media world that many people don't realize that there are 4 girls in my family. I am the oldest of four sisters. I thought it might be nice for me to introduce my family so that status updates and blog posts can be better understood. In this post I will introduce you to the 4 of us girls. Ashley and I do have a step-brother, James that has been our brother since we were 5 and 3; so if you hear us talk about our brother this is the guy. We also have  step-brother and step-sister from my mom's husband Chuck, but are not in immediate contact with either of them.

The oldest: Amber (31)

I am married to Kyle; my high school sweetheart. We began dating in 1997 and married after graduating from Western Oregon University in 2003. We are the proud parents of Bronson (nearly 5) and Jackson (angel in heaven). Kyle and I enjoy spending time with our family and friends and include Grace Community Church in Dallas part of our family. My next sister Ashley and I have the same dad, George. I am told that I look the most like my mom who is a recovery room nurse in Albany. 1st curly headed sister...

The second oldest: Ashley (29)

Ashley is married to Sgt. Joe Sult and lives in Redmond, OR. They have been together for nearly 6 years and have a beautiful 18 month old son, Oaklen McCrae. He is a little ginger baby that lights up everyone's life. Ashley graduated from beauty college in 2004 and has worked in a few different salons since then including one that she co-owned in Monmouth, OR. Joe and Ashley both had a great couple of years in Georgia where they made tons of friends and rekindled Joe's military career. He is currently a recruiter for the Army in Prineville. Ashley worked for Cougar Cuts in Prineville until finding out that her leioyomosarcoma had reared it's ugly head again. Ashley's niece and nephews call her She She. Ashley looks mostly like our dad. Ashley's hair is naturally straight and we are unsure of the natural color, but I am leaning towards brownish blond.

The nearly youngest baby sister: Alexis (24)

Alexis is the proud mommy of Olivia Brooke (nearly 6). There are exactly 1 year and 5 days that separate Olivia and Bronson's birthdays. Alexis and her significant other Jacob have been together since before Olivia and are happy to be having another baby boy due in February. Alexis is known as the funny sister. Her nephews all refer to her as Auntie Fay Fav aka Auntie Favorite. Her little girl looks like a mirror image of her with blond curls and big blue eyes while looking exactly like her daddy. Jacob makes us proud by working a very busy job with a crazy schedule in Alaska. They make their home in Albany where Lex gets to stay at home with her babies. Alexis has natural curls like her sister Amber, but loves to wear her hair straight. She also now has brown hair. Alexis looks mostly like her dad, Kyle.

The baby baby sister: Austin (18)...almost 19

Aussie is our baby sister. She gets a little tired of all of the unsolicited advice from her older sisters, but knows that we all ADORE her. She started kindergarten the same month that I started college. My mom also started going back to school for her RN at the time, so I got the privilege of taking her to her first day of kindergarten. Austin just had her first baby boy Hanson Charley Asher. Named after our grandpa and Ashley. Austin graduated early and plans to start college this winter after she has had time to adjust to being a mommy. She has naturally straight blond hair and is known by her niece and nephews as Te Te. Austin is known for her fashion sense and cuteness. She has always been into her hair being fixed just right and looked up to her sisters. Austin's dad is Chuck, my step-dad.

Our mom: Shellene

Our mom is a wonderful nurse that had always dreamed of going back to school and decided to take the leap when I started college. She is consistently requested by her patients and strives to be the best that she can be. She recently did a stint of time as an OR nurse, but enjoys doing outpatient surgery and infusion services. This training is coming in handy as she helps take care of her daughter Ashley. Our mom is also the oldest of four girls all with names starting with Sh. Our mom loves antiques and shopping, but the loves of her life are her grand babies and girls. It is amazing because each of us has a small part of our mom's personality. I got her looks, Ashley got her artistic ability, Lex got her dance moves, and Austin got her artsy/decorating sense.

We may not be perfect, but we are family and all love each other.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Little Things

I just cam back from spending the weekend with my baby sister. The most I can say about seeing your precious baby sister dealing with chemo is that no one can prepare you. I found myself savoring each little moment that I got to spend with her or my nephew. Since I have a child myself there is not many opportunities for me to spend one on one time with my nieces and nephews. Each little smile or precious hug that Oaklen gave me was all the more special. Some of the moments I witnessed him loving on his mommy will forever be burnt into my memory and held there for me to share when he goes off to college. He is a major mama's boy. It made me remember the moments not long ago when my kiddo was a super mama's boy.

God was preparing my heart for a special treat when I returned home from an emotionally exhausting weekend. My little boy told me over and over again how much he loved me, how I was the bestest, that I was precious and that he loved me so much. Bronson is always sweet to me, but I am realizing as he gets older that I see less and less of that need for me as he once did when he was little. It has been a major treat for him to tell me that his wish for this week is to have mommy time and that he can't wait for some cuddles. My little boy's hugs keep me going.

As I lay here next to him as he softly snores I am remembering some of the little things that seem so far away. I remember him wanting his little friend (kangaroo) to sleep with him. It seems like just yesterday that he required a lovey every night and requested cold sheets. It feels like each stage goes by way too quickly. It is hard to believe that he has been in preschool for nearly a month. Life is going by too quickly. I just want to pause it for a moment so I can capture the little things.