Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Gift of 16 Years

(If you are new here and want to know exactly why we are so thankful, you can read about it here and here.)

Our young man is 16 today.  In my mind, sixteen is a milestone in a life and it's a day that we have prayed for, for many years. It's a day we have longed for and often wondered if we would celebrate this day with Micah here with us or if it would be a day of remembering. The Lord in His wisdom and sovereignty chose for Micah to be with us and the word thankfulness doesn't really convey how we really feel.  I am so deeply moved that I almost didn't want to say anything about it today.  Our hearts (mine and Ken's) are quite raw this morning - in a good way. But so many people have walked the road with us and have loved our family that it's important to me to share the continuing story of what the Lord has done. His faithfulness is so evident in the life of our family, but it's also very evident in Micah's life. That fact is probably most beautiful to me.

I thought I would do a picture for each of his years. It's fun to see how they grow and change.

This boy, named Micah Peter, came screaming into the world on January 7, 2002 at 12:07 pm. He was the hairiest little Eskimo boy that I had ever seen! Seeing this picture again reminds me of how different he looked from the rest of our babies.

6 Month-ish

 Ha! This is how I remember my little crazy man! He is even foaming at the mouth! (o; Look at these little guys. Just for the record, this was the hardest camping trip of our lives! Hehe! I think the kids were this dirty the whole time. We look at these pics and always laugh so hard. He is two and a half-ish here! (o:

First fish at MBC

2007 - Five and a half and probably one of my most special pictures. This was a few month before cancer.

Summer of 2008. Micah is 6 years old and in the middle of radiation and in the hospital for shingles. He was so tired. You can see the shingles by his tiger and his radiation burn on his abdomen underneath the tape from his port. That was a hard time for Micah.  

Spring of 2009. He was just starting to come off of the steroids, was done chemo and was cancer free!!!!
 7 years old. 

 Summer of 2009. Still 7! Nads and Micah are such a sweet pair!They are at the hospital just outside the Art Therapy room. He is off of steroids here and was just starting to look like himself again! It was an exciting time! (o; (A few months before relapse.) 

May 2010. Micah is 8 years old here at my sister's wedding. It was a few months after his lung surgery and we were a month away from meeting Grace! 


Summer of 2011. He is fully recovered from 2010. The intensity was back! (o; I love these! 9 years old. 


Almost 10 here!

 11 years old - his first birthday in Grand Rapids. 

12 years old


13 years old

14 years old - His first meeting with Tessa in the hospital. He was smitten right away


15 years old 


So this is the closest to 16 years old that I  could find that's decent! It's 4.5 months old, but close enough! I will add a birthday picture here when I get one.

It's only fitting to end with my favorite Psalm. Read it out loud. It's wonderful.

Psalm103 (ESV)

1Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;[a]
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children's children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his word,
    obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

So winter is here. Today Ken and Micah are home for their first snow day. It's nice to have a relaxed day here. Everyone needs it. The kids and I worked ahead last night on our school work so we could have some time off too if we got some snow. We actually don't have a home computer anymore. It's tougher than I thought to go without. We just have Ken's school computer. So it's always in use in the evening by someone, who is doing school work. So my blogging has kind of fallen by the wayside. It's one thing that I can't do on my phone. I just spotted the computer sitting on the table unused, so I grabbed it. The big kids are outside and Tessa is in bed, so I have a little time to myself with the computer. Nice.

Last time I was here, we were just getting ready to go out east for 2 weeks. It was the best time ever. We had an accident on the way home in Massachusetts, but all was well. The Lord was very gracious. I long to go back out east. The smell of the air and the ocean is calling my name. It's been hard to shake.That sounds so silly. But it's in my blood now. I thought that out west couldn't be topped. I am still not exactly sure why, but I like the east better. I think the mountains make me a little claustrophobic. Odd I know. 

In the last months, Tessa has become a little person. She is stringing together 3 and 4 words. She talks and talks in sentences that we can't understand. Tessa is not going to be a quiet one. She is quirky and a little crazy. Some say that she takes after me. But as active as she is, she is just as cuddly. I have never had a little one that at 20 months that will crawl into bed with me and sleep in my arms or sit in a chair with me for hours if I would let her with her baby and blanket. She is a yummy one. (: 

Ken is still teaching and preaching as time allows. Josh is in college. Micah has started grade 10 and will be driving in 3 weeks. I am so excited for him. Natalie, Siah, and Grace are working steadily at home and Tessa spends her time trying to write in everyone's books. (We need the eye roll emoji here. My writing would make so much more sense with emojis. See now I need a winky face. Haha)

This month has been baby month in my family. My sister had Roman, my brother had Lainey, a sister in law had Allison and one baby is coming any moment. One of my favorite ways to see God's tenderness is in the birth of new babies.  It also means lots of cuddles for me. I love it!

I have about 40 pictures that I need to post from the last months, but these are my recent favorites. I know they are mostly Tessa, but that is what happens with the youngest. 

Writing on everything. (: 


Siah is so soft and tender, especially with Grace and Tessa. I love it. 


Natalie has been taking sewing and she is doing some weaving. So fun!



Tessa with her favourite blanket, book and baby.


I just adore piggy tales. Although, I have to stop using her little elastics. They are breaking her hair. I am not sure what to replace them with. Barretts don't stay in and clothy elastics don't worth either. Any ideas? (: 


My sister just had a new baby, whose name is Roman. We adore him. What a little treasure!


I will leave you my new favorite quote from Nancy Demoss W. It's something that has really hit me square in the eyes in the last week. I quite love it. Think about it. It says so much in such a few words. (: 
"Time is short. Eternity is long. Jesus is coming." 

Monday, July 31, 2017

We just got home from the first leg of our holidays late Friday night. After spending a week in a trailer, my house looks huge. I wish I could wake up every morning so thankful for my house. (:   We were at Muskoka Bible Centre, which is near Huntsville. Half the week was cold and rainy, but the speakers were fabulous. We had Matthew Spandler-Davison (Executive director of 20schemes) every morning and Tim Challies every evening. Including Sunday I went to 11 chapels and it was such a treat. Normally, I am not one who would make it to every single one, but I couldn't stay away. I listened to truths that weren't new to me, but was so blessed and encouraged each time. I think in pictures and what comes to mind is that these guys picked up my sword, my breast plate, my feet protectors, my shield and my helmet and gave them back. They helped me secure them and then pushed me back out the door and as I left they yelled out and told me to stay on my knees. It was a time of spiritual refreshment for me. It was not so much physically refreshing. Tessa is a hard age for holidays. There is no rest for this mama. (:

Last week, I spent a day at the hospital with Micah.  He had his pulmonary test and his heart test. His heart looks fabulous. His blood work is great too. His pulmonary was a few points less than last year, which we suspected. Micah's radiologist that follows us said that this is a normal thing as radiation causes tissue to tighten over time. Radiation was hard on his body and was a bit of a breaking point for him back in 2008. His lungs filled with fluid from the radiation and he got shingles from the strain of the chemo and radiation put together. We are thankful that he was able to get this treatment, it's just unfortunate that it is so hard on the body. We are still working out what this actually looks like long term, but the Lord knows.

As I drove to the hospital with a man-boy beside me, I cried inside with thankfulness. I can be myself with Micah. He gets me and I get him.  He knows that I am emotional and he understands it, but I still try not to drama with him. (: 10 years ago, the Lord knew that I would be driving Micah to the hospital at 15, but we would have never guessed. The gift is amazing. When I hit certain intersections as we drove, I heard Steve Green. When Micah was 5,6 and 7 ish we listened to him every morning as we drove in, whether it was for day treatment or for an admission. Wellington at Southdale - "When I am I afraid I will trust in you." Wellington at  Baseline -"You knit me together in my mothers womb". Sometimes we would be crying as we listened, other times we would be smiling. But they were the two songs that pushed us on the most. We were comforted that the Lord was always there and that He made Micah perfectly. The Lord is sovereign. It's a truth that I never grow weary of hearing.

Tomorrow morning, we leave for Nova Scotia. We are so excited. We have never really road tripped as a family. This is a huge treat for us. We plan to take 4 days to get there stopping in Quebec, New Brunswick and PEI.  By Friday night we should have arrived at the house we are staying in. Ken is preaching for 2 Sundays there in an ARP church. Ken has preached monthly over the last year in URC churches and we are so grateful that the Lord has continued to open pulpits for him. It's a bit tricky because are not a student in care in either of these denominations. But it has worked quite well. (: We are praying that the Lord will continue to open these doors and that the desire of our hearts will be realized in His time and in His way.   It's possible that we have already arrived at God's long term plan, but what ever the case, we will be faithful right where we are, knowing that God is good and that His plan is perfect.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Just life...(birthday, hospital appointment, baseball)

Grace turned 7 on June 15. My yummy baby is not so little anymore. She will always be my baby. I know she is not the youngest, but in my heart I put her with Tessa. Two babies is ok. (:


I took this while Ken and I were going for a walk on our anniversary night. It's so pretty. 


I like this one too. (: 


School is done. The kids and I have been slow for a few weeks already. But Ken and Micah are finally home. The year went quickly, but was still long, if that makes sense. I got my first shipment of school books and I am so excited to start again. We need this time of rest, but my new history curriculum looks amazing. It's not just history. I can use it for bible, geography and even do novel studies with it. We did our history backwards. We did Canadian history last year and are doing world this year. It still works. (:  We are planning to do a little school with kids this summer. We do half a lesson of math a day. I am also doing grammar with Grace. She is super excited about it. It will keep her fresh with her reading, writing sentences and penmanship and it only takes 20 minutes a day.

Here is our first batch of books. To most people it's not exciting. But I find it thrilling. I even smelled them. Haha.


Micah has his hospital appointment on July 20th. It's such a blessing that there is no hard involved. It's not something that hangs over our heads. We don't dread it or wonder what we are going to find. Even though we have no scans, they could find something. That is not beyond possibility, but Micah is His and we will trust. I am thankful for the peace He gives. Micah is having blood work,  his heart tested and a pulmonary function test. We have noticed as he has gotten bigger that his lung function is a bit less. It's nice to be able to compare this year to last year and the year before to have a clear picture of what's happening in his lungs. He will also meet with his oncologist for a thorough check up.  This is the first year that I won't be able to go back with him.  Micah is perfectly capable of doing this stuff by himself. But my role has been his caregiver and advocate for 10 years. I can do this. (insert winky face).  I do get to sit with him and the doc after everything to chat. I get two years of that and then he is completely on his own. Once he hits 17,  he will be an adult in the medical world.(:  It's kind of hard to believe that he is so old. November is our 10 year anniversary of the start of our cancer journey. We are so blessed. His life, his age and his current health are more than we could have ever asked for. The Lord has been especially kind and gracious. We praise Him.

A boy and his sister. 

I am in love with chess. I never thought I would say that. Chess was always in a category with pocket protectors and I don't fit into that category. Siah taught me in the winter. He has a keen mind for strategy games. He can plan many moves ahead in his mind. I fly by the seat of my pants. A plan usually emerges at some point, but I have to work hard to beat him. I have beat him a few times, The first time was on advice from Micah. The second time, was a true blue win. He challenges me. He does acknowledge that I am getting better. (: I adore saying check and check mate. I think it's even cuter when he shakes my hand at the end of the game.  Micah and I play together too. We are more even and I have a better chance of winning with him.  I found these awesome chess pieces at Bibles for Mission, along with the board for $1. The pieces are perfect. The board not so much. We are looking for a big pretty board that is hard and shiny. We want one that the pieces click when we put them down. We may be nuts, but it's so so fun! (:


Baseball is keeping us hopping this year. Micah, Natalie and Josiah are all playing. Often they each have 2 games and a practice each week. Last week just Siah alone had 4 games. They love it and we love it. It's so good for them. Although, I am excited when we get a night off. (:

Siah is pitching and playing short, 2nd or 3rd. I only have video of him pitching. I should get a few pictures. It's just hard to through the fence. He loves baseball and this year is one of the first times that I see his fire. Siah is naturally quite quiet and is a booky boy. He is very much like Ken in that he is super steady and when he is excited he does not jump up and down or yell with excitement. He nods his head and smiles. I think it's ok to say this... He is naturally very coordinated. Sports come easy to him, but he has always been a bit too relaxed on the field. Something has clicked in him and it's a blast to watch him come alive out there. He is a one of kind and is such a love. (:


Natalie is pitching, catching and playing infield. She has had to work on her pitching because they have different rules here in Canada in regards to the rubber. She used to take a step back, lean back and then step into the pitch. But here, she is not allowed to do that and it was hard to unlearn something that she has done for years. She is getting use to it being a co-ed league. Her team is about half and half.  In the states, only girls play softball. She has a really nice team. They encourage each other and it's so good to see.  The parents are so nice too. It makes it more fun to watch.  I got some neat pictures at her last tournament while she was warming up. I never take pictures from this angle during a game. That would be rather distracting. They are poor quality, but I still like them.  It's been fun to watch her be determined to learn a different way to pitch. She is fiercely competitive and it's been good for her to be in a more relaxed league than she is used to. It's good for character development. (:   She loves baseball.  I think she will play for many years.

The lean

The windmill

Release

Shaking hands after catching

Micah pitches and prefers to play short. But this team has been together for a long time and he left. So he has to find his place again. He gets to play short and 2nd, but he has also been trying first base. He is starting to like it. He is a bit short for that position. He can only stretch so far! (:   It's kind of cool that he is back playing in St Thomas. He is stepping into where he left off in a way. He has the same coach he grew up with and some of the same guys. I haven't been to one of his games. Often his games are at 8:30 and that is too late for the little girls. He loves playing under the lights. They even get walk up music. It's fun.

My girlie is getting so big. We have a funny lip and a sill goes deep in on the windows in our kitchen. She likes to balance on the lip. Don't mind her dress. I was seeing if it fit her and it was easier to try it on over clothes. It was even easier just to leave it on! (: She is watching the kids.



Tessa got a hold of Ken's trail mix. Once I noticed, she had eaten all the chocolate out and was working on the raisins. Smart girl. 



Rainbows have abounded at our house lately. Grace has had her desires met by seeing a full rainbow.
The first one is from last week. This was at night and I couldn't pull Grace out of bed. She wouldn't wake up.


This was a full one as well on Saturday night. It was so clear and bright. Grace was so moved that she had tears in her eyes. If you look closely in the first two pictures, you can see that it was a double full rainbow. I know the two pictures are almost the same, but I was wasting too much time trying to figure out which one I like better. So both will stay.  (: In the third picture, you can see Grace on the trampoline enjoying it. It's too bad that it was too big to get in one picture. 





Genesis 9:11-13 (ESV)

"I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:  I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth."

God is so incredibly faithful.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Greenest Grass

Walking back from the mailbox, the wind was whistling and the trees were swaying and I felt like I was at the ocean. Since I am a water girl, it was dreamy. I just closed my eyes and breathed deeply. It was like medicine. I felt completely content in the moment. But I did more than enjoy the beauty. It made me look up and I saw this.


But I didn't just see the trees or squint my eyes against the sun or feel the cool breeze on my face, I saw who God is. His kindness. His grace. His beauty. His power. His love for me. His sovereignty and His faithfulness. In the busy, I tend to put my head down literally and figuratively and just do it. I don't have the brain space or the physical energy to pour into other people or things like my heart longs to do and I get bogged down and forget to really look up and see.

Do you ever wish things were different? Sometimes it's easy to get caught in a pattern of waiting for our next stage of life or for our circumstances to change....

Fewer burdens. Less sin. A husband/wife. A different/better husband/wife. More kids. Fewer kids. Older kids. Younger kids. More money. More space. Less space -lonely. Not tied down. More travel. Less responsibilities,  Direction from the Lord to move on. A bigger house/better location/bigger yard. A job. A different job. More friends. Deeper relationships.......... And round and round we could go.

I have been reminded that this is life. Life is not the next thing or the next place. We need to dig in right where He has put us and be faithful. Our life (your life) at the moment is exactly what it's supposed to be. He is so good to us no matter what obstacles, struggles or pain have come our way. It doesn't mean that it's easy. Sometimes it's so painful and life can get so messy. But His promises are sure.

Last week the pastor preached on contentment, it fit with my thinking and this post.  Lots of things resonated with me, but the one thing that keeps swinging through my mind from that sermon is that "the grass is the greenest right where you are. If it were greener somewhere else for you, the Lord would put you there."  Perfect.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

20 Years

I have been trying to write a blog post for a while now about today and the words aren't coming. But I need to write something  so this day is here in writing. (:

Ken and I have been married for 20 years today (yesterday). It feels like a life time ago that we said I do. We have experienced unspeakable joy and have had so much fun together with lots of laughing. (: The Lord has also taken us through twists and turns that have stretched us, matured us, broken us, built us up and sanctified us. We have experienced His grace, mercy, love and faithfulness in very real ways. 

I thank the Lord for my best friend. He has made me giddy and given me butterflies since I was 14 1/2 years old. I can't imagine walking through this life with anyone else. I would say I do all over again today.

I thought I would try to find some pictures of us. They are almost non-existent. The ones below are pretty much the only ones I could find in the last 7 years. We were going to take one last night together, but it was too windy at the beach! (:

   

 

 

   




  
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

7 Years of Health. Everyday Life. Thankfulness.

A memory from facebook popped into my feed the other day and it was a post from 6 years ago of just random life and it made me smile and teary at seeing all the kids so little. It rekindled my resolve to post here more often. Looking back is fun. (:

It's so exciting to me to feel the warm breeze. It's exhilarating. It feels like we are enjoying the outside here for the first time. Last year we weren't really settled in body or mind. The month of July and August just seem to have passed me by.  The kids are spending hours on the trampoline. It's good for them and me. (: If anyone is selling a second-hand tramp, we are looking. Ours is getting rather sad. Seriously. Let me know.  The next nice day, the kids and I are going to have a 'core school day' and tackle tidying up. It's more fun to be outside when things are clean. It's a mess out there. Our barn/garage is horrifical. I cringe when someone drives up and that door is open. It's been a lesson in letting go for me. If I had my way, I would mop the garage floor. I like order. But it's not realistic in my season (Or ever. I promise I won't ever mop the garage floor. It's just my natural want.). Right now I am happy if my kitchen floor is clean. Hehe. (:


We are in the middle of birthday season here. Natalie turned 13 on the 2nd. Josh turned 19 on the 10th. Siah is turning 11 on the 20th. I had a big picture blog post planned for the 3 of them, but it didn't get done. I will keep working on it. It's harder when the pictures aren't already on the computer. It will come eventually. Late is ok. (:  

Here is one of our birthday girl. 


I would post one of Josh here on his birthday, but he is not so much a picture kind of guy anymore. I get it. (:  Here is one of my faves from long ago. 


There are about 40 days left of school and we are anticipating the end - All of us for different reasons. It's been a great year for Micah. I am thrilled with how he is doing at school, but Micah is exhausted at the end of every day. I am not sure if it's a homeschool thing or a Micah thing, but he is ready for some down time. The kids and I are feeling so ready to be done too. The nice weather is tantalizing and I am ready to spend some time organizing my house. It feels cluttery. I need a week to purge.  I just can't get to it during the school year. (: I can't wait until Ken is home for the summer. I am sure that he will have school work to do and likely preaching, but we will enjoy some down time as well.

Ken and I watched this video on facebook the other day and it had us in tears. It was so real. Those people were us. They are real moms. That video is a language that you know if you have had a sick child, whether it was for a week, a month, a year or longer.  It was done by Sick Kids in TO. This video gives you a small view into the raw emotion felt  For us, it was a reminder to pray for those families that have kids in treatment or kids that have long term challenges/disabilities. It's true that the families need to persevere and keep walking, but it's the Lord who gives the strength needed to carry on. I am so thankful for how He tenderly holds the hurting. 

I realized on Saturday morning that we missed Micah's cancer free anniversary. I laughed and jumped up to find Ken. It's fun celebrate those things, but I love that our lives don't rotate around those dates or the thoughts of what was. It's good to forget sometimes.

March 25, 2010, Micah had his lung resection surgery and became cancer free. He had just under half of his left lung taken out. This is the surgery that they wouldn't do 3 months earlier when he relapsed because the tumor was too big. Three months later, the tumor was bigger, but they were going to just try the surgery because nothing else was working. The first few days of his recovery were awful. Micah suffered. Once we passed that hard, we began to see that we needed to flip our mind and hearts around. A week before, they had given Micah a few months to live if we didn't try the surgery. In the months coming up to the surgery, we had begun to let go of Micah. We had started the process of giving him back to the Lord. So now we had to turn it all around and start looking towards the future. It was hard to separate what was in the moment and what could/would most likely happen. That "most likely" never happened. Here we are 7 years out and only an occasional puffer is needed. No other meds. A healthy 15-year-old boy. Praise be to the Lord, whose tenderness, mercy and grace are incomprehensible.

Just a picture to finish the post off. Micah put Tessa in the basket while he was loading the dishwasher so she wouldn't climb on it. Excuse the weird edit. I thought it would be fun to make her sparkly today. (:  I should add for my memories that she took her first 3 steps on Good Friday. It was fun!




One more of Siah taking Tessa for a walk. It was either that or help me clean out the freezer. Haha. ( : He is getting so good at taking care of her. As I type this he is reading a book to her and just before that he took her outside to pick a flower. All the kids adore her and spend a lot of time loving, playing and teaching her, but I have loved watched Siah growing into her. This picture kind of sums Siah up in my mind. I can't quite articulate why. Maybe another day. (: