Welcome

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our family blog. This may be your first visit here, or you may be a friend from across the globe, or family that we have just seen. Who ever you may be, thanks for taking the time to read about our little family, and all we are learning on this adventure the Lord has called us to live! Here you will find, the random thoughts, funny stories, prayer requests, and the journey our family and Jack is on with his battle with Leukemia.

the boy who made me a momma

It is an amazing thing to look back on the past 7 years. Many things seem so long ago and forgotten in the dimness of my memory, many details lost and forgotten. And, yet so many other moments are so clearly etched into my heart and mind, that time will never erase them. On this day early in the morning hours, my water broke, 3 weeks before my actual due date. An unexpected surprise. On this day, my ideas and thoughts and dreams of becoming a mom became a reality. After 15 hours of labor and pushing for 2 1/2 more hours, I finally got to see and touch and kiss what hours before I could only imagine.This sweet chubby boy with a head full of black hair came into my arms and did things to my heart, I never knew were possible. In that moment, I became a momma, for real.

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All of a sudden, I went from kinda living in a sacrificial way for others, to being full on in the business of laying my life down for another, whether I was rested enough or not. Having such a lovable angel baby made many of the sacrifices easy ones to choose. But there were many a night with a screaming baby and a weary momma,  many a day full of an angry toddler wanting his way and a new mommy trying to navigate her way through the tantrums, and many more hours spent with a willful emotional angry young boy,  trying to ease him off the ledge of foolishness back into the open arms of wisdom.
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The boy who made me a momma, will always have this title. This boy changed me, both physically and emotionally. I bear the marks of motherhood all over my body, reminders of the life I carried and nurtured from the very fibers of my flesh. Reminders that my life is not my own. Reminders of true beauty not being a matter of perfected skin and taut muscles, being super skinny (not that anything is wrong with being skinny- just not setting a certain tiny size as the definition of beauty for ME) always needing to be perfectly put together, but instead it is the inward unchanging character and heart the is fully leaning on and trusting in God. These marks are beautiful, because they were hard won and remind me of the sweeter gift of my sons. And this boy has a daddy who praises and values and finds them beautiful. May this boy do the same of his one day wife.
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This boy continues to be one of the greatest tools the Lord has given me to mold me into his image. He brings me joy, but he also brings me to my knees in prayer. I pray I am as an effective tool in molding this little boy into a God fearing man. My sweet tender hearted son. And let's be honest here. Being a mom is not easy. Leading and loving these little people takes every ounce of strength, and then much much more than we can ever muster up on our own. Motherhood requires so much from a woman, that she find herself utterly discouraged and beaten down when she tries to do it all on the supply of strength she has within. Motherhood is the greatest tool to bring one back to the cross again and again and again, where there, we find the strength, courage and grace to do more, kiss more boo boos, train little angry people, and love them when they destroy every inch of the home worked so hard to maintain.
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For me, motherhood has been a marvelously difficult, sanctifying and joyful, exhausting thrilling adventure. The boy who made me a momma has been one of the greatest joys in my life. But if I am going to be real here, it is also true that he has brought me some of the greatest difficulties as well. I find myself often unsure of how to love him, finding myself completely out of patience, angry with him and just ready to give up. I am seeing more and more how much I need Jesus to be the mother this boy needs. I see how my angry responses teach him to respond angrily to his brothers, and to me. I see that in fact, I am not a good listener, and honestly that most of the time I do not want to listen to all he says.  Especially when I am trying to correct him. So unlike our Father in heaven. I do love him so, but it is not always fun and games. It is hard work. It required diligence and dying to self, and patiently waiting for the harvest of years of sowing.

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But what I am seeing, is that God uses all my messiness, all my weakness and all my failures. He is a redeeming God, and it is amazing to me that after I sin against my sweet boy in anger, God redeems our relationship by helping Ty to forgive me and me to humble myself. He is softening my heart and my little boy's heart as well. I am seeing that even when I mess everything up, God truly is the only one who saves. I am seeing how I HAVE to entrust my little boy into the fully capable hands of our loving Father. And I am seeing how much I have to be thankful for.

And as this sweet boy turns 7 today, I am learning that power that words have in his heart. Proverbs 18:21 says, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."  Oh how true this is. I want to speak life. I am seeing how my words have this power in his life, and I am developing a deeper conviction to speak love and truth and grace with gentleness and mercy, no matter how inconvenienced I am or tired, or frustrated I get. When I respond in quick sharp tones, I am seeing that it literally tears him down and instructs him to speak in a similar way. It screams of anger and disapproval. It is not the way the Lord speaks to me.

I saw this so clearly when I spent just a couple moments thanking him for how I saw him show excellent self control in an situation where there was much much chaos and craziness a few days ago. When I was encouraging him, my sweet boy started to cry. He looked at me, whipping little tears from his eyes and said, "My eyes are just crying and I don't know why..." He told me his heart was so full of happiness it hurt. Oh my soul, let me speak life into this tender hearted boy. Lord keep me from being the means of hardening his heart, by my anger and impatience. Help me to love him in the way that you want me to.

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Oh this sweet sweet compassionate, science loving, Harry Potter Lego crazed, Mincraft obsessed,  snugly, passionate, justice loving, perfectionist, smart, silly blue eyed boy.... how this momma loves you. Thank you for being all you are, for fiercely loving everything you do, for loving our family so much. Thank you for seeing your daddy as a man to emulate and because of his example for always saying you want to be a daddy when you grow up. I love your silly stories, your desire to be understood, the way you long to have everyone you love be near to you. I love how you still let me hold hands with you, give me sweet kissess, and think that I am funny and cool.

I am so grateful to God that He gave me you. That you are my boy that made me a momma.


Jack turns 5

As much as I have thought of this blog as being dead, I wanted to take the time to revive it, if only for this one post. I want to make sure I sit down, take the time to ponder and reflect on my sweet Jack, the celebration of his life, and be filled with gratefulness again for the gift he is to our family.

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My sweet strong survivor son is 5 years old. How can it be already? It is amazing how he can seem so little and be my snuggly affectionate baby, and yet he seems so mature and steady way beyond his 5 years of life. This sweet tender hearted boy amazes me time and time again. Jordan and I were just talking together about how he doesn't often react to things in a big way. For example, when we surprise him with things, he responds in a very measured way, calmly says, "I know...." For a dramatic momma, who wants to see a big happy response, this is very anti-climatic. Yet it is how he is.

He just takes things in stride. Well, except when he is being bothered by his brothers. That is another matter altogether. In the middle of the three boys, he has grown to be the most self-less giving boy. I have seen him differ to Tyler and Dylan time and time again, it is amazing. He puts others before himself more often than he strives to be first. He loves to do it too. It is not in a defeated way, but just, that is what he feels is right.

This boy also seems to have a heart after God. He thinks in terms of how big God is, and often just states how things work because of God and how good God is. We are in a weekly bible study that has an amazing children's program, and every week, he is singing the bible verse songs, and telling me about our great God who listens to our prayers. He loves it when we pray over him at bedtime. It is a sweet time with him.

I have often wondered what the future holds for him. I have prayed for his future wife, for his future endeavors. I have thought about how walking through fire at such a young age has had such an impact on his life, and have wondered what the far reaching effects of this will have and how God will use it.

It amazes me, that as we come to the final stretch of this road of cancer, when I consider how my child has been broken down physically and endured so much, how the Lord has sustained him. How in that brokenness has risen strength. My sweet Jack.

To my sweet boy,
Oh my darling son. Even as I sit here typing out these words, I pray you will one day read, tears are filling my eyes. We have spent many many hours together, just you and I. In the car, at the hospital, in our home, just living life. Most of those memories, I see in my memory your little hand in mine.

One day that hand will not be little, but I will forever treasure how tightly you held on to my hand. I will always remember the gentle way you held to me when you were hurting, the tight hugs when you were afraid, the sweet kisses you so freely share. I love how you tell me how you want to marry me when you are a daddy. That wont happen, of course, but your heart behind it undoes me.

My son, you have endured so much. And it has made you into such a remarkable boy. I cannot wait to see all the Lord has in store for you, and even more, the rewards already stored up for you in heaven. I pray for your every day, my son. For complete healing, for the salvation of your soul, for strength for your days, and a heart that fears the Lord.

You my boy are such a gift to me. My life has been transformed by you, by this journey of mothering and nursing you. It has been filled with many many hours of tiring care, and yet they have been the most valuable days of my life and I would not be anywhere else.

Jack, in many ways you are my hero. I will always be proud of you and will treasure these sweet years of life with you always.
Your adoring momma.

i never want to forget

This week, we went in the clinic for our monthly visit, to get IV chemotherapy and a spinal tap. My buddy had to fast since he was going under general anesthesia for this procedure and was, as a result, not happy about getting his port accessed and not being allowed to eat. The day went by quickly though, and Jack was the second patient to go back to the procedure room. There is no other experience in life, like holding your child as they are given sedation. The feeling of their weight suddenly increasing as it sets in and they totally relax, awkwardly trying to cradle their now floppy head as you lay them on the operating table. I think now, over two years into this, I have finally figured out the best way to cradle him against me so that I can be whispering how much I love him in his ear as he drifts to sleep, while supporting the fullness of his body and little head.

I am always amazed at how quickly these spinal taps are wrapped up. It seems only 10 minutes between the time I lay him down on the bed to the moments I see his bed being wheeled back into our room. Thankfully, we were all finished up and on our way out the door by noon. I love that my face is the first one he sees when his eyes finally open. It fills me with happiness to hear him sweetly say, "Hi momma," moments after his eyes flutter open. Usually, the next words are, "can I have my snack now?" Once he was sitting up and allowed to eat, he cheered right up, sweet boy. Food really is the way to this little man's heart. And now, steroid week will demonstrate that to me again, in a thorough and mighty way~ gotta remember to tell that to his future wife one day.

As he was wheeled back into our room, asleep still from the anesthesia, covered in tubes and wires to monitor him as he slept, I couldn't help but take a few photos. You see, I never want to forget what this moment feels like. I never want to forget the utter weakness I feel, the helplessness that rings true to my inability to do anything to shield my boy from these things he must endure. I simply cannot stand in front of him and take them away. I do not want to forget the way my heart hurts to see him lay there, completely sedated having had spinal fluid removed again, needles poked into his spine and chest, having him miss simple childhood things. It hurts my heart to see him protectively cover the spots on his body where he now has band-aids and "stickers" that read his heart rate and breathing, as they have hurt him so many times when removed. I wish I could take these thing upon myself or just lessen his aches and pains. With all my heart I would love to take these things away.

But, it is so important to me, that I do not forget that in that moment, while looking down upon my sleeping baby, that the GOD-OF-ALL-CREATION is near, truly and sincerely. He is near to my broken heart, he is upholding my boys needle prodded body, and he is giving us peace that truly passes understanding. I never want to forget that I know without doubt that HE has upheld Jack and will continue to do so. That He is upholding me. In that moment, I felt the sweet peace and joy of the Lord, in a circumstance that would not normally bring peace and joy. I do not want to forget that. Never.

I do not want to forget, the kindness of the Lord's providence, that our nurse that visit was a strong Christian, whom I was able to fellowship over his bedside while he slept. I do not want to forget how much amazing strength and stamina my little boy has been given by the Lord. I do not want to forget that I have experienced how when I am weak, the Lord is strong. I do not want to forget what it looks like to gaze upon your child covered in medical paraphernalia, and know in my heart that the Lord is near, that we are loved by Him, and that He is mighty to save.

I do not want to forget that even thought my heart hurts for a little while, He will one day wipe away every tear. He gives us a new song, and fills us with joy. I do not want to forget his constant mercy and grace to us.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagles....He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame and He remembers that we are dust.” ~Psalm 103:1-5, 10-14

I just never want to forget these things.

.the value of truthfullness.

Wednesday night, while I was cooking dinner for our little family and a friend, my boys were quietly coloring at the dining room table. It was so peaceful and quiet. That should have been clue number one that something was amis. We were laughing and chatting in the kitchen, the meal just about complete. All of a sudden, Dylan ran into the room. But not your typical, racing speeds shouting something unintelligible.

He ran straight to me, and wrapped himself around my legs. He hid his head between my knees. And he wasn't letting go. He said something along the lines of '"oh no", at least I think that is what he said.... He began to pull me towards the doorway that leads to our living room, all the while his grip on my leg remained firm. He was hesitant to take me to his destination, but also seemed like he knew he had to tell me something. He has never done this before.

And so, I walked around the bend to find my cream colored couch covered with orange marker. To his credit, he had a piece of paper with a lovely drawing in said orange marker, smack dab in the middle of the rest of his masterpiece. I have to admit, I loudly said, "oh no!!!" And then the boy got a stern talking to.


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But then I laughed.

And then I was grateful.

This may sound crazy, or completely like I have lost my mind. Maybe. I wouldn't be too surprised! But in that moment, I had a realization, one that I think has been brewing in my heart and mind for a week or two. My son was being honest. He was being truthful. He did not try to hide his wrongdoings. Instead, he came to me and brought me to the scene of his crime. Maybe he was proud of his artwork. But I don't think that was it. I think he was experiencing conviction. I think he knew he had done something wrong, and chose not to try to hide it. If you have a two year old, or know my Dylan, then you must know that this is not typical.

As much as the added work of cleaning this new mess up is not my favorite way to spend my time, I would much rather have this moment, so clear and real to see God's grace at work in my little rebel, than a perfectly clean couch.

You see, for many many months now, I have been at a complete loss as to how to be a faithful parent to this boy. He is so very unlike my first two sons. He is always on the go, into everything, extremely brave and adventurous, curious about everything, and a mess maker extraordinaire. He has a temper, and I have been the victim of many a slapping, hitting, hair pulling fits of rage. He can huff around like a 4 or 5 year old, and does not like to obey his momma. To say he has a strong will would be a pretty accurate description.

I have found myself humiliated when in public he has thrown a fit at me, and I have tried to restrain his blows. I have prayed in earnest for wisdom in this matter. My other two sons were nothing like this. It has left me feeling totally helpless at times.

I have wondered, what I have done wrong in raising him. I have wondered if all the time we have had to spend with Jack at the hosptial has had a negative effect on Dylan. I knew I could be better and more diligent in training him, and yet always felt perplexed how this little rebel came from me! Yet, there are so many moments when I see myself in him so clearly. It is so clear where he gets some of his feisty side from, that he comes from a passionate momma is a factor as well.

And so, for the past month or so, I have been dedicating myself to training him to obey and to control his temper. Holding him close to me when he wants to run and hit, lots of pretentding what not to do and the right way to respond, time outs and discapline. I have been seeking to respond to him right away, instead of allowing other things around the house to take up my time. Dylan has been project number one, well, maybe not #1, but certainly a priority. And to the joy of my heart, by the grace and mercy of God, we have begun to see a little change in him. He is still a sinner who needs a savior, but that is the amazing thing. I no longer view him as problem I do not know how to handle. I now see him as a sinner, who I can amaze with the love of Christ as I parent him day after day.

The Lord was stirring something in my heart, but it wasn't until I read this blog post from Lysa TerKerurst that it all came together. I am so grateful my friend Esther posted it on FB and I clicked and read. Here is an expert from her post:


"I think I changed my prayers for her because God started to change my heart. I started sensing He had a different plan in mind for my mothering of Hope.

Maybe God’s goal wasn’t for me to raise a good rule following child. God’s goal was for me to raise a God-following adult. An adult just determined and independent and insistent enough to fulfill a purpose He had in mind all along."

and then the comment from a woman who said the following:

"When my son was a toddler I complained to my pediatrician that he was such a handful. “He is strong willed, stubborn, tells me no when I ask him to do things, and is into everything” I said. “What can I do?”
My doctor’s reply was simple and has stuck with me throughout my son’s life. “All these characteristics that you are complaining about now are what are going to make him successful in the future. Do you want a teenager who says yes to all the peer pressure? Do you not want a curious child who will explore and question the world around him? Do you not want a child that is stubborn and willful in his values and beliefs?”
I was taken back and realized he was right. Now my son is a senior is high school. He has never had a B on a report card because he is too stubborn to accept less than his best. He tells his friends no to drinking and smoking. His curiosity has led him to dig into the complex world of biology and is hoping to become a pediatric oncologist.

Embrace the personality your child was given, it is a gift from God."

I know TerJeurst says it better than I ever could. I am amazed at how the Lord has helped refine my perspective of my little rebel. I am so grateful that I see him more as a little boy with so much personality, all perfectly put together by a loving Father. That all the things that make him so strong willed and exploratory, and wild, and creative, intelligent, and adventurous; well those are all the exact qualities the Lord put into him for His purposes. Instead of trying to change Dylan into a well behaved boy, I am able to value the things that make him so unique and try to help him learn how to exercise self control and wisdom.

Sorry for the long post. I just don't want to forget what the Lord is teaching me through my sweet crazy boy and the grace He gave me in the midst of the chaos. I am grateful that by the grace of God, I can look at my messy marker covered house, and value growing truthfullness over cleanliness. I hope my sons grow up consistently encountering a momma that is gentle when they confess, slow to anger, and that the Lord would help me to shower them with love and mercy, as He has shown me the same. Today I am grateful.

like sand in the hour glass

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Read this today in Charles Spurgeon's Chequebook from the bank of Faith, and how fitting it was...

The Dross Purged

"And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’” (Zechariah 13:9)

"The fire only refines; it does not destroy. We are to be brought through the fire, not left in it. The Lord values His people as silver, and therefore He is at pains to purge away their dross. If we are wise, we shall rather welcome the refining process than decline it. Our prayer will be that our alloy may be taken from us rather than that we should be withdrawn from the crucible.

O Lord, Thou triest us indeed! We are ready to melt under the fierceness of the flame. Still, this is Thy way, and Thy way is the best. Sustain us under the trial and complete the process of our purifying, and we will be Thine forever and ever."


Today marks two years. Two whole, full, difficult, yet amazing years. Our lives are forever changed. Our faith deepened as we have drunk from the depths of grace we never thought we would know or need. Upheld day after day, we stand, not on our own strength or ability or will, but completely and perfectly by the loving Father.

I am so happy that we are over half way through this process. Only 428 days left! Jack has been such an amazing boy in so many ways. There is so much I could say about him, how he has persevered, how he has grown. It just amazes me. Just one year ago, getting his port accessed was not only traumatic but incredibly difficult. Just two days ago, Jack (like the last two visits prior) announced to me that he was going to be brave. So true to his word, my little soldier took a deep breath, held it with his cheeks all puffed out and calmly clinging his doggy blanket, while the nurse counted down and put the needle in his body. Not one tear was shed. I did not have to restrain him. He is amazing. This is such answer to prayer.

It also shows how much he has grown up. It is hard to believe he was only just 2 when he was diagnosed. And 2 years makes quite a difference. He was barely talking then, now he is a chatter box. He talks about his hospital and his Dr.'s, and seems to really understand some of what is happening to him and around him. And it is met with courage, no longer fear and tears. My heart is filled with gratefulness to see this working of the Lord in his heart and mind. Truly peace that passes understanding.

Since my last update, we have been trying to figure out the correct dosage of chemo for him to be taking in order to keep his blood counts within the desired window. That has been tricky, but finally, after a year, the Dr. got the right combo. He is on 125% dosage from the standard plan. But this is what it takes, and he seems to be handling it very well.

Steroid week is always a trying week. but we survive and are desperate for grace. It is hard to explain to him, the way the medicine he takes changes him. It is hard to explain to Tyler how to show compassion and have mercy on his brother when he is steroid-crazy. It is hard to be cooking food all day, putting out emotional fires and calming raging anger. Yet we do manage, by the grace of God, one month after another.

And so, two years have passed, since we drove in a snow storm, continuing on the path the Lord laid out for us, the one we would never have chosen for ourselves. Two years since we sat in an ER, comforting our sick boy and each other. Technically, February 10 is the actual date of true diagnosis, at 4 am. But the journey began on this day, and today I want to recall God's faithfulness. He has been faithful in so many ways. We marvel at his kindness, and desperately cling to the promises of future grace.

On another happy note, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is sending our family to Disney World in 37 days!!! SO excited for this sweet blessing.

And with a steroid-crazed boy, crying at my side, I will end this post and get to cooking snack number 3 of the day. Isn't it sweet to be home, able to serve my son in the most basic ways. Only 15 more months of steroids. Praising God for that one. And praising him for grace upon grace, as the days pass by, one at a time.