Because She Couldn’t Choose…

Breast cancer. It attacks so many.
In support of those strong men and women battling it and other cancers, we, the family members and friends, work to strengthen each other and the patients most of all.

My mom… the strongest and most beautiful woman I know, is now recovering from the surgery she had this week to remove the cancer spots.  Our prayer is that the cancer will never return to her, and will not start for any of us three girls.

My dad, brother, brother in law, and my sister all showed their support physically as well as emotionally and spiritually. The guys shaved their heads completely in my mom’s honor, and my sister donated hair. My dad explained to my mom that they all did it because she couldn’t choose. They could… and they chose.

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This summer, at specific times, was the hardest summer for our family. However, my mom is incredibly strong and determined, and the treatment center has been a blessing for all of us.

We have been having many of our friends and a few churches praying for my mom all summer, since the very day she was diagnosed.  Luckily the lump and the lymph node have shrunk enough that she does not have to go through more Chemo and was able to get her surgery. The cancer spots were mostly taken care of already. She only had two treatments this summer. She will need to do some radiation treatments for a little while.

I am incredibly proud of her. She has been so strong and full of life in the face of cancer. I am greatly blessed to have such a great role model of strength, beauty, and love in my life.

I am honored to have such an excellent teacher in life. 🙂

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I did this painting for her as well. She drew the image this summer and I was asked to paint it. We believe it reperesents a woman and a child. I turned it into a tribute to her and her battle. She will be recieving it when she comes home from the treatment center. 🙂

She finally felt remarkable…

Some people wander in and out of your life, and you swear they are angels in disguise.

Some stay, but are consistently a mystery.

Some leave, but have dramatically changed your life.

And some seem to come and go from time to time, but are so much more than you ever imagined they could be.

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She didn’t know how he became her friend at first…. He just was, on their first meeting. They got along extremely well, but she could never figure him out. As time went on, she learned bits of his story and began to understand more of who he was. He had seen so much pain, so much betrayal, and so much of humanity’s faults. He had almost died but was now so full of life. He was literally a living miracle.

She swore he was an angel sometimes. He always had a way of just showing up when she needed Love the most. He cared more than she ever thought anyone could for her. There was never an awkward moment of not knowing his heart in a given situation. He was simply the best friend she could ask for, and she didn’t realize it when he was around.

Whenever she wanted to spend time with him, she couldn’t find him. It was only when she needed him the most that she could find him. They often had very serious conversations which changed her life in many small, but significant ways. Ideas that he would share, thoughts that he would voice, and secrets with which she trusted him completely. They would all open her eyes and her mind. In those moments, she saw more of the world than she would have on her own.

He would compliment her from time to time. These compliments are still present in her mind to this day. Those seemingly insignificant comments, looks, and jokes have changed her life drastically. She was always extremely insecure about herself and where she was going in life. This man encouraged her, guided her, and shared life experiences with her, which, over time, helped make her the person she has become today. When she has bouts of feeling discouraged and doubting herself in various ways, she is reminded of those moments with him. Somehow, someone who had seen so much pain and suffering and hideous things of life, saw something beautiful and remarkable in her. It makes her feel important and irreplaceable, when she had felt like filth before.

He had such an old soul for such a young man. That adds to the mystery of who he was. He was always so happy to be alive, but she would catch him looking sad and lonely at times. She would catch him deep in thought and worried. There was often something deeper going on that he never talked about. He always seemed to know more than anyone told him. He seemed to be able to read people so easily. That is why she was consistently mystified by him.

She still sees him from time to time. He will always be the one person who will stick out in her mind in small, yet incredibly important ways, but will consistently be a mystery in her life. She will always remember what he has done for her, but she will also never be able to repay him. He doesn’t yet know the influence he had in her life in the midst of some of her most difficult years. She saw Jesus in him. She saw Love in his eyes and heard it in his voice. She learned about loving life. She finally felt remarkable.

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Fear

I, too, have a huge list of fears that tend to paralyze me and my faith. But I decided several months back that I am not going to always live in fear and distrust. I’d much rather live in Love. 🙂

A Girl Like Me

Yesterday my oldest daughter almost got hit by a car.  We were out to eat with some friends which included 7 kids.  It’s always a bit chaotic when we get together because you have one eye on your child and the other eye is in the present conversation.  As Eisley was running ahead of me to leave the restaurant I called her back and very intently told her to stay close to the adults.  She listened for a moment but then I looked away for a brief second while a jeep slammed on his brakes and the driver practically shaking in his seat told me to watch my kid more carefully because he almost hit her and it scared the *#@* out of him.  I then see Eisley running towards me from the street and into my arms.  My eyes welled up with tears.  Did that just happen?  How did…

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Out on the water…

So there’s this thing called relaxation.. ever heard of it? Ever tried it more than that one three-day vacation you took?

Yeah, me neither. 😛

However, I found one way of finding relaxation, alone, safe, and in complete quiet and peace.

I’ve started Kayaking.

No competition. No fancy equipment.. just a girl out on the water taking it all in.

The first time I went out in my brother’s kayak, we tried a lake. I don’t recommend it for people starting out… it’s hard. And very wet. 😛

We found a “quieter” part of the lake and took turns on his kayak. It was a learning experience for both of us. 😉

One thing I found in the midst of the increasingly violent waves was, surprisingly, a brief moment of extreme peace. Right smack in the middle of our kayaking area. No one near me. Only the sound of the waves hitting the shore. The waves around me were small and peaceful, while the ones a distance away were fierce, and getting worse by the minute.

But in that very brief moment, I put my paddle down and just looked around.. breathed it in. I felt God in that moment.

In the midst of the ever intensifying waves, He will always be the calm.

Today, we went out again. This time we went to a very small lake in the middle of mountains and forests in PA… basically known as the middle of nowhere, but it was absolutely gorgeous.

The fog was rolling through the trees that surrounded the water. It was settling over the water and the swampy area of the lake in the distance. The sunlight was pouring down on my skin in the middle of a watery mirror. Fish were breaching the surface around me. Birds were diving in front of and behind me. Two flew past me chirping wildly. The Osprey was diving in from the edges of the forest, then soaring off to find some other fishing spot.

I was able to sit back and watch several times. I felt no rush. No reason to hurry and get the kayaking over with. I wanted to stay out as long as I could.

I couldn’t help but think that this is what we all take advantage of all too often. Our technology. Our fast-paced lives. Our worry, stress, pain, and anger… When do we take a moment to breath? When do we take a few seconds to reflect? When do we take a minute and just watch it all happen?

Take it slow for once. It’s worth it.

 

Complicated Simplicities…Simplified Complexities

I love weddings. The decorations, the people, the attire, the celebration, the music, the vows, the kiss, the pictures.. I love it all.

Except, I rarely see what is so obvious about the couple… I don’t really know why. I know it’s there, but I rarely look at it closely. However, being the photographer a couple days ago for a friend’s wedding, I did look closer. And what I saw brings tears to my eyes.

The love that they share.

It’s so clear.

So simple.

So beautiful.

We always like to complicate things, especially relationships. I don’t quite understand why… but we can’t seem to just accept things or feel things without questioning it or feeling like we shouldn’t go there.

I do this far too often, and destructively. When someone catches my eye, I refuse it. When someone shows interest, I deny it and try to shrug it off. I never just accept it and move forward with my life. I’m consistently trying to control it, even though I know it’s not possible to do so.

But the genuine love that I saw on Friday was absolutely mind blowing and inspirational. They were incandescently happy and so excited about life. On the other side of the camera lens, I saw passion, adoration, joy, and peace. Most of all, I saw what God wants love to look like.

Not the complications, doubts, worries, pain, and dread that far too many people get lost in…That I tend to get lost in… But the pure happiness and peace that comes from loving God, being loved by God, and then sharing that insatiable love with another soul. It’s much simpler than we tend to make it out to be. Human beings like to make things harder… for some reason we like challenges and obstacles to a fault.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could just let go of that and let someone who knows what they’re doing take over?

Oh.. right.. We can. God. 🙂

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Which, in a round-about way, brings me to a struggle that I’ve been facing recently. I realized that I’m still in pain. I’m not entirely healed from heartbreak. It hit me last night… strangely, triggered by a Doctor Who episode. 😛

I wasn’t expecting it. I was happy, I was watching the episode, I was enjoying myself, messaging with one of my best friends, when suddenly, I identified with a sad scene in the show and I was suddenly very solemn. I felt a sudden pang in my heart and that triggered a long, deep conversation about things that I hadn’t thought too much about in a few weeks or months. (I just love how these things get started in my life.)

I thought.. Someday, there will be another human out there who will make me forget that pain in many ways… It won’t hurt me forever. I know God already handles that, which is why I’ve already healed this much, but still.. the thought that this pain will eventually be taken away by the love that was designed to be part of our lives.. it blows my mind. 🙂

It, quite honestly, makes me eager to find that. It makes me impatient. This is where the struggle comes in. I still hurt, I want it to go away, I know it will, but I want it to happen for me ASAP. I think most of us, if not all, know that struggle.

I hate to say it, but I find myself discontent at times like these. Like I need something more.. when in reality, in this moment, I have exactly what I need. I have exactly what God wants me to have. I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and He doesn’t want it any other way.

So why do I?