Be strong & courageous. Do not be terrified or discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. -Josh 1:9
Be strong & courageous. Do not be terrified or discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. -Josh 1:9
Every morning I wake up between 4 am and 5 am and immediately go to my bible app and see what the verse is for the day. As silly as it may sound to some, I see that as God’s way of speaking to me before I interact with anyone. (Except my cats, I have to feed them before I do anything or they will seek a plan of attack on me and my feet.)
I am a spiritual person. I believe in God and I believe in his miracles. I have witnessed too many not to believe. I know the whole “God” thing is not everyone’s cup of tea, so I am not a Bible pusher or one of those “salty” Christians. You know the ones I am talking about, where everything is done for the Lord and if you don’t believe or agree with their views than you will be cast into the pit of misery? (Dilly, dilly. Sorry, I could not resist.)
I am not in a religion, I simply have a relationship with Christ just like any other relationship in my life. It’s not hard. There isn’t a ton of steps you have to follow to be accepted into the club. You don’t have to be miraculous or saintly. You don’t have to be prefect. In fact, if you are flawed, broken and messed up, it’s even better. All you have to do is believe Jesus died on the cross for your sin. And three days later he rose from the dead. That’s it. It sounds freaky, I know, but at the same time kind of cool. Once you have let Jesus in your life, really cool things happen. Not right away. It’s not like you ask God to be part of your life and a flash of lighting strikes your body and you change. Well, I guess it could happen, I mean hello…it’s God. But just like any relationship, as it grows you become closer and learn to trust.
This post is not a push Jesus down your throat, it is just my way of expressing my love for Christ. I am not going to judge or dislike you if you disagree with my beliefs. If I did, I would a hypocrite and this post would be a complete lie. And that’s not cool.
Apparently the word of the day is cool because I have overused it in this post.
And if you were wondering what the verse of the day is…..
But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.
Below is my Overcomer reading devotion for today. I did not write this, but I love it so much I had to share. My favorite line is….darkness makes the light more obvious.
Sometimes, to really know who or what something is, it helps to know who or what the opposite is. Darkness makes the light more obvious. What’s the opposite of an overcomer? An undertaker. Someone responsible for burying your life. Your enemy. Jesus makes it simple with John 10:10. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But, Jesus is here to give you life—and not just that—life to the full because He’s more than an overcomer! In other words, your enemy is not an overcomer. Because of Jesus, the undertaker has no chance in your life.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
Sidenote: I am not endorsing the YouVersion app or Life Church even though they are pretty awesome, but if you would like to read more on the Overcomer reading plan click here.
All material is owned by Life Church, and it is all original content from their reading plan Overcomer on YouVersion.
For three years I have been thinking of the time I would be able to write this post. As much as I love words and creative writing, nothing I say here will ever show my love and appreciation for the support we had during Mallorie’s illness. It’s finally over and my heart is still moved by the compassion so many brought to our family.
It is time to close the chapter on Miss Mallorie’s cancer journey and move on. I am a strong believer in moving on when the time is right. Now is that time. But as our family moves on to a cancer free life, we will not forget the journey, because the journey made us stronger.
The first text I made when Mallorie was in the hospital that night was to Daniel and Rachel Mahannah. I wanted to let Daniel, my boss at the time, know I was not going to make it into work that next day. His wife, Rachel, called me immediately (she is a nurse). She is so smart. She was asking me questions that I had no idea how to answer because we weren’t 100 percent sure what was going on at that time. She comforted and prayed for me. Even though I was afraid, I had peace.
Some of the early times of Mallorie’s diagnoses are sort of a blur. So I know I am going to be leaving some really good stuff and people out. So forgive me. But besides all the support of family, there was a group of dear friends that were always there for me. Becky, Amy, Megan West, Megan Hopper, Tami, Tanya and Brad.
I have been trying to think of ways to let them know I still think about their kindness, prayers and support to this day. Having them come to the hospital day in and day out to bring us food, a good laugh, NERF guns, hugs and support can’t be justified by words. They took time out of their busy schedules (Megan and Brad West about to pop with her first child) to make sure we were ok. Guys, I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for Mallorie and I (and Madison). You are a blessing and your hearts are so big. Your kindness will never be forgotten.
I do believe there are people brought into your life to just love you. That is Rick and Carla Siler. Rob and I have known these two amazing people for many years. I have always been fond of Rick and Carla, but when Mallorie got sick, these two were immediately up at the hospital and their kindness and blessings to our family is unmeasurable. Rick and Carla, I love you both so much. Thank you.
The Ritter and Sandy Ledbetter were another family that went above and beyond the call of duty during our journey. From bringing Mallorie a Christmas tree to brighten her spirits, to managing a t-shirt drive to help with medical expenses. This family is one I treasure. Ritters and Sandy, you all are amazing. You helped us in more ways than you could ever realize. Our appreciation goes deeper than that Christmas tree. Thank you for everything. And thank you Harris family for bringing ornaments, smiles, and hugs.
And we can’t forget all the peeps who shaved their heads in honor of Mallorie. Let’s see if I can remember everyone. Glen, David, Kristin, Bryan. I am sure I am forgetting someone. What an honor and Mallorie was so tickled. Thank you.
Jonie Miller gets a shout out for our Zumba fundraiser. Mallorie was to sick to attend, but it was a blast. Oh and the “homemade” scones. I need you to make me some more of those. You know you’re my favorite Mrs. Lady! Hugs!
During our many, many hospital stays, we got to know the nurses on the Wesley Peds and Peds Sedation floor like family. These guys are true angels because they see the absolute worst. If it wasn’t for the peds team, I am not sure what we would do. From the grumpiness, tears, cries of pain, to great listeners, sharing laughter and someone to talk to in the middle of the night, these women and men are the lifeline to recovery. Thank you for being wonderful. We shared this journey together. I will never forget the old beach scene room. You rock!
Thank you Angela Sailsbury and family for putting together the best 5K in the history of 5K’s.
The WIRE was a big part of Mallorie’s life at the time of diagnoses. We can’t forget the awesome support she received from her church family. Now these students are going to be freshmen! Thank you WIRE and WIRE Small Group Leaders for your prayers and support.
Thank you, Connor Richardson for shoveling our driveway when Mallorie was sick that first winter. You are such a sweetheart and a great friend to Mallorie.
My NewSpring family. During my absence taking care of Mallorie, running her to appointments, chemo and labs. You were supportive and made sure we were taken care of. I know my absences created more work for others and I am forever grateful for the grace and kindness I was shown.
I started a Team Mallorie Facebook page so family members could keep up with Mallorie’s treatment. I was overwhelmed by the support. Team Mallorie has over 3,700 followers. And these followers were hardcore when it came to support. At one point, we received so many messages, I couldn’t keep up. So to our Facebook friends, thank you for sharing and liking her story. Your prayers were a tremendous inspiration and definitely felt. God bless.
Bailey Bean, thank you for staying by Mallorie’s side during her hospital stays. I can remember you missing school to come to spinals and surgeries. And when you would come over and just sit with Mallorie while she slept and had no energy to do anything. What a true friend you are and we love you!
And who could forget Jake Stemo? His single “Making Me New” helped Team Mallorie in so many ways. Jake and Micah, thank you for sharing your love of Jesus and music. It was an inspiration to our family. I listen to that song from time to time and I still feel warmth, love and peace. You both truly make my heart smile.
I have to give Richard Sawyer some props. He prayed and asked about Mallorie almost every day. Thank you, Richard, for being a man of God and caring so much for our family.
Thank you to all who came and visited during Mal’s hospital stays. The stuff animals, blankets, hats, toys, coloring books, iTunes gift cards, food, prayers, and hugs were so appreciated.
One challenge Mallorie had was missing so much school. I can’t thank Andover Middle School enough for how they worked with us to make sure Mallorie stayed caught up. The teachers and staff are one of a kind. It is an honor to have our kids part of this school district.
We had so many organizations reach out to us during this journey. I can’t begin to name them all, but we are grateful for the love and support.To all the people who donated hair in honor of Mallorie, thank you.
Now to my outstanding family.
Rob was the glue that held our family together. He kept the fort afloat when I was at the hospital. I wish he knew how badly I ached to be at home, but couldn’t bare to leave Mallorie most days. Rob, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being amazing behind the scenes. You kept the laundry up, food on the table, cats fed, Logan bathed, and always had a warm hug waiting when we would come home. I love you XOXI!
Mom, thank you for taking off work and spending time with Mal overnight while she was in the hospital. I know it was hard because you lived so far away, but you always brought much-needed relief and love when you came. Thank you for running with me late at night to the store to get Mallorie fruit because she was carving it. Thanks for listening to me vent and share my fears and frustrations. You are my rock.
Madison, thank you for your patience and staying strong. I know at times you felt like I abandoned you and I am sorry. Thank you for taking Mallorie to labs and helping out while she was sick. Just one more reason you are one amazing young lady.
For the most part, when I needed time away for the hospital, Kim (Nana) would take the shift. That way I could come home, see the kids and Rob, shower and just try to do some “normal” stuff. Kim has taken Mallorie to labs and chemo appointments. She has been the other half of this adventure. Kim, thank you for stepping up and helping take care of Mallorie. I know you have missed work to take Mal to chemo and hospital stays. Having your help made it so much easier. You should get Nana of the century!
My dad and Suzie travel a lot doing ministry work. But when they had free time, they were here. They also prayed continually for healing and recovery. Their dedication to pray for Mallorie and our family is the best we could ask for. Dad and Suzie thank you for praying and being there when you could.
Everything happens for a reason, and I think the reason Papa George retired was to be Mallorie’s chauffeur to chemo. He retired a few months before Mallorie got sick and because of his unselfish love for that girl, he was the one, once she hit the maintenance phase of treatment, pretty much took her to every appointment so we could work. These two have a special bond and I couldn’t think of anyone better to help take care of her. So George, thank you. Thank you for going above and beyond the call of duty. Your help has allowed us to work and provide for our families. And of course, Mallorie loved you taking her to treatment because she always got food afterward. LOL! Seriously, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Dr. Rosen was Mallorie’s oncologist. Best there is. He is so patient and kind. I would call him in the middle of the night and ask tons of questions and he would always smile and answer. Dr. Rosen thank you for caring for Mallorie. She is better because of your knowledge and expertise. We are so lucky to have you as a doctor, but also as a friend.
Kim Rosen, where do I begin? You and Mallorie are so close and I am thankful for your relationship. I can remember in the beginning of treatment, she hated coming in for chemo, but she looked forward to seeing you. You made this experience as fun as it can possibly be. You are also a rock star!
As I sit on my couch concluding this chapter, I chuckle because it is the same couch I sat on when I was in despair trying to figure out what this cancer was and how are we going to make it through this?
It’s over. This part of our journey is complete. After I received the news from Dr. Rosen that Mal is healthy, I thanked God for two things. The first was for his love, grace and healing. Second, was for putting the right people in our path to be successful and win this battle.
God had this from the beginning. And from every single person who prayed, supported and treated Mallorie, God had that worked out too.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Mallorie’s battle was rough, but not all horrible. She’s stronger. She’s braver. She never gave up. She just kept swimming.
I have imagined in my head many times what this day would feel like. The day when we no longer have to plan our lives around cancer. And in less than twenty-four hours, Mallorie will receive her last shot of methotrexate.
Emotions are a bit overwhelming at this moment. I think back to the beginning. The beginning of Mal’s journey, our journey. It was so unexpected, this diagnosis the doctors called leukemia. At that time, leukemia seemed like a monster trying to steal from me, my little girl. Now, it’s all gone.
Mallorie’s battle was one with many twist and turns. Rough, exhausting, painful, and unknown. She lost her hair, she lost weight, she lost strength, but she never lost her spirit. She had good days. She had bad days. She had days she wanted to give up. She had days she told me to not give up.
There were tears. There was laughter. There was anger. There were screams.
Watching Mallorie slowly start to wither away in the early stages of treatment is something I will never forget. Flesh on bones. Shunk in cheeks. Frail and weak. Makes me nauseated just thinking of it. Thankfully, we had a fantastic Oncologist and wonderful nurses.
Speaking of nurses, we were blessed by so many people, but the ones who kept us going were the nurses. They became immediate family. Seeing us at our worst. Giving the meds. Hearing the cries of pain. Lending an ear in the middle of the night. The nurses are heroes.
Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. Months turned to years.
Mallorie got stronger. Her hair came back. (Curly and brown. Before cancer, it was straight and blonde.) She grew. Hospital stays decreased. Lengthly chemo stop. Port came out. Things were semi-normal.
Now, hours away from her getting to ring the bell. I am excited. She did it! We did it! By the grace of God and prayers. By wonders in medicine and skills of our doctors, Mallorie will be heading into her Freshman year cancer free.
Just Keep Swimming.
I love this time of year because it’s Spring. Flowers are in bloom, which means my allergies are also in full bloom. The weather starts to warm up. Well, I live in Kansas so you aren’t sure what mood Mother Nature is going to be in from day to day. To give you an example, a couple days ago in the western and eastern parts of the state it was snowing. Where I live in central Kansas, it was 70 degrees.
And of course, we have Easter.
I thought it would be fun to share some witty fun facts about Easter.
I am a fan of facts. Learning the history behind why we celebrate things is fascinating.
But what is the real reason we celebrate this time of year? This holiday wasn’t created as an excuse to eat chocolate rabbits and egg hunts. It was to recognize and remember the biggest sacrifice made by one man, Jesus.
I don’t want to get all biblical within this post, I just want to remember what Jesus did for me within these three days.
Good Friday is the day Jesus was crucified by being hung on a cross. He suffered. Not only did he experience physical, agonizing pain, for the first time Jesus felt the absolute separation from God. He died.
Jesus died for me. He took my place on that cross because I am a sinner. I am not good enough to go to heaven on my own. He died for you because he loves you.
But that is not where this phenomenal story ends. He came back. Even though he was placed in a tomb with a huge stone rolled in front of it, he defeated death. Just like he said he would.
That makes me pretty freakin’ happy. And very thankful.
Have a fantastic Easter weekend however you celebrate. I hope your Easter baskets are full and jelly beans plentiful. And may God bless you.
Have a wonderful weekend, friends!
I am a contribution author at Naked Christian. I wanted to share my post from last week. Enjoy!
Sometimes God doesn’t change your situation because
He’s trying to change your heart. @DavidRoads
I ran across this tweet this morning. Love it and wanted to share. Happy February 1st!
Have you ever had something scare you that it makes you hit your knees? And by hit your knees, I mean pray? That moment came to me this past week.
As most of you know, I have a daughter with leukemia. Technically I not sure if it is right to say she still has leukemia since she is in remission and has no signs of cancer cells in her blood, but none the less, she is still being treated for this nasty disease. Over Christmas break she started to develop mouth sores, which we have dealt with before, that seemed to be getting progressively worse. She couldn’t eat her favorite mashed potatoes at Christmas dinner or enjoy the candy that filled her stocking.
Even though she was in pain, she was in good spirits and enjoyed the Christmas activities. By evening on Christmas day, I had taken her in to our local ER. (This is not the hospital we go to for chemo.) I figured it was simply a case of mucositis and we would get some magic mouthwash and things would be all good. I was right on the diagnoses.
Mucositis is the painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, usually as an adverse effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment for cancer.
The next couple of days were still rough on her. She couldn’t eat and was only sipping water. She also started breaking out with tiny blisters all over her hands and feet. That made me start to think she could have hand, foot and mouth disease. Which seems weird since she is 13. After talking to her oncologist, we took her in to Wesley for some fluids and to have a pediatric doctor check her out. They did some cultures on the sores, gave her some good pain meds and sent her on way.
At this point, I wasn’t really worried about what was going on because her blood counts were good and she wasn’t running any temperature. After a couple days of the pain meds, she seemed to be doing better. She could eat certain foods and was in a great mood. As we were settling in to watch a movie, that is when we both noticed it. The one thing that scares me to the core. Petechiae.
Petechiae are small red or purple spots caused by bleeding into the skin.
When Mallorie was diagnosed back in December 2013, what sent us to the ER was petechiae (Which I thought was some type of rash.) on her legs, ankles and feet. And that is where this petechiae was located. I could see the fear in Mal’s eyes and my heart skipped a beat. But I told her that she had nothing to worry about because her counts were good. Inside I was on the verge of a total break down. I immediately thought the cancer was back.
Early the next morning I spoke with the nurse and she recommended that we go get lab work done to just make sure her counts hadn’t dropped since she was dealing with some type of virus. The cultures she had in the ER weren’t growing anything, so I was totally stumped on what was going on. We went and got labs done that morning and waited for the results. Waiting is the worst.
As I was at home trying to keep myself busy, I started thinking about how I haven’t been praying regularly. We all seem to reach out to God when things suck, but when life is going smooth praying can become an after thought. When Mallorie was first diagnosed, I prayed continually. As she got better, prayer ceased some. I didn’t thank God as much. And now that there was a slight possibility that Mal’s cancer could be back, the first place I run is God.
I am so thankful that God is all loving and full of grace. I felt bad at first for praying because I didn’t want him to think I only need him when life gets rough, but he knows my heart and my love for him is true. My shame was instantly removed. He is amazing. He always hears my prayers, knows my fears and dreams. He never leaves us, it is us who turn from him.
Waiting is the worst.
When we got the results I hit my knees again. There were no cancer cells present and everything still looked good. Heck yeah! I was told that petechiae can be present if there is a virus in the body, which she did. I was so filled with joy and relief.
We never found out what was causing Mal’s skin bumps, but all is well. Her mouth sores are gone and she is eating like a champ. This experience is a reminder to me to pray all the time. In the good and the bad. And to thank God every day for all the blessings he gives to me. I need to hit the ground more often.