Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mommy....I missed you today.  Can't wait until you get home this afternoon.  Let me warn you,  it's been raining a lot here on the river and you might want to pick up a few lifejackets for us.  Bring me some mum mums, too.  Those are my favorite.
I love you,

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dear Lib, on the day before Chemo #3

Thanks babe. I have been a jerk lately. I appreciate your patience. It's tough figuring out how to get back into work and balance it all once again. I know that we will NEVER be the same, no matter how much of a routine we have in life once again.

I will never forget this past weekend retreat for Chesapeake's leaders. I sat for 1-2 hours (lost count) under the stars and had such a peace. A peace that I haven't felt these past couple days but am determined to pray my way back into, by the Grace of God. What brought me there? Life, cancer, and really seeing the end of myself, as well as a picture of the Glory of God through the crappiest of circumstances. We can't lose this -- ever. Can't forget. It all put me in a place where I was very still before God. I felt His strength bubbling in our weakness -- weakness that wasn't even our fault -- and wasn't really anyone's fault. In that moment, I realized I always thought "God is meant to be shared", or "God is meant to be worshiped", or "God is meant to be _________, something", depending on the day. What a joy it was that day, and I pray this day, to feel "God is." That is enough. That is what our family should be rooted in. That is what you should be rooted in. I cannot think of a more encouraging thought on the eve of your third chemo treatment.

I pray that you can come under those same stars in the next couple days and reflect on that awesome fact, God is in control of this. I pray it leads you to worship as you feel miserable. Don't let any of this routine take away that feeling of being so loved by God that circumstances don't matter, and anything in Him is possible.

I am trying to remember, and want to remind you, that God is being exalted in the midst of this (Psalm 46), and that trumps cancer. When cancer depresses me, that fact gives me such hope, and brings me out of the fog of monotony that is treatment and guessing. God can be exalted through us in the waiting room, through the way we love people, the way we let people love us, through this blog, through the wonderful gifts we have been given. It's all been Him! I know you would say this, so remember it with me, and be encouraged about tomorrow, if God is exalted, WE ARE IN.  J

For everyone: thanks for your prayers for tomorrow, please pray that Chemo would kill cancer tomorrow, and do its job where it is supposed to in Libby's body, without an allergic reaction.

the rain

i think there is something about rainy days that do this to me. makes my soul ache in a deep way. i love the rain. its only 10am but i met with one of our deal college leaders, got dunkin with ava, while driving to drop off justin's dry cleaning listened to a cd from my dear friend bethany, which caused me to cry, nearly uncontrollably. then came home and watched this you tube video about young life and why it is the best ministry tool for jesus i know of on the face of the planet. promise i am not bias just because justin works for young life. its true. then got an email from a women who had cancer when she was 24 and spent the better part of her busy morning (she is getting married saturday) reading my blog. she said some very kind things to me and which resulted in tears for me. but these are good tears. because of these lyrics that touched my soul in a deep real way this morning...

this is not how it should be, this is not how it could be, but this is how it is, and our God is in control. this is not how it will be, when we finally will see, we’ll see with our own eyes, he was always in control. and we’ll sing holy, holy, holy is our God. and we will finally really understand what it means so we’ll sing holy, holy, holy is our God while we’re waiting for that day. this is not where we planned to be when we started this journey, but this is where we are and our God is in control. though this first taste is bitter, there will be sweetness forever. when we finally taste and see that our God is in control.

as i listened to these words i thought about everyone who has no hope or says they have hope in Christ, but nothing about their life reflects that. oh, man not good. or those who simply believe in nothing. nothing but themselves. gosh that is heartbreaking to me. both sad and scary. scary because we are sinful and very broken people. i would hate to rely on me. seems like a bit of a disaster. and sad because when God created his world he never meant for it to be so broken and hard and sad. but it is and things like cancer happen. and cancer is all of those things to me. hard and sad at the same time. i have no profound way to end this post, but i had to write down how powerful this morning was to me. so i will never forget. so for me...God is enough. because everything else will ultimately fail me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

wbc count

went to the dr today and my wbc count is just over one thousand so i am healthy enough for chemo on thursday. its bittersweet. secretly wanted my wbc count to be too low for chemo so i could keep putting it off. but then i thought the more i stay on schedule the quicker i will be finished with chemo. its a strange place to be. i think its normal to not want to go to chemo, but i also think "putting it off" is sorta part of the denial part. justin said to me this week he think he is still in denial. it seems sometimes like this is not our life, but we are outside of it and watching it happen. its strange that way. i don't think you ever get used to cancer.  whether its happening to you or happening to someone around you. you are simply forced to live with the new reality that you are sick. and there is not much you can do to change it. or anything for that matter. the only choice we have been given in my diagnosis is how we will react to me having cancer. and we choose life. not death. and hope. lots of hope. a commercial just came on tv and said, "when you have cancer you have to trust the experts with you life." its funny because i like my dr. i trust that he went to medical school and knows a lot about cancer. but my life is not in his hands. and its not in my own hands either. and thank the lord for that. because my dr cant fix me. i cant fix me. and it takes a lot of pressure off the both of us. i like that. but instead i trust jesus with this. really truly i do. i do not stay up at night worrying about justin and what he would do without me or ava. sweet little ava. i am her mom. no one else can do it as good as me. and i think i can say that. not because i am so great, but because she is a part of me. and justin and i know her the best. anyways i try not to worry about what may never happen. its easier that way. i think chronic worrying will strip me from the joy i feel today. so i will choose joy. maybe not everyday. but the desire of my heart is to choose life. and joy. and everything that is real. and i am thankful for days like today because cancer does not seem so bad today. and tonight the three of us are going on a little dinner date. because our life is still good. even with cancer and because of cancer. we are more than okay.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

our first rain storm on the river

doing much better since my last post. and trying to get used my hair. its so peaceful right now. just put ava down to bed. justin is at barnes and noble. and i am upstairs. finally feel like i can relax. like really relax. before ava my favorite thing to do on gray rainy days was watch movies like the stepmom. but its hard to lay around all day when you have a nine month old. and although i love love the movie stepmom i am taking a little break from it until i am cancer free. just too sad for me now. so instead i will read through an issue of real simple.

the day the article was put in the newspaper here i literally got a steady stream of texts and emails all day. no joke on average every 3 minutes i got something. and i have not stopped thinking about the emails i have received from people. people i do not even know. and may never know. its overwhelming. in the best way possible. and humbling. really i am not that person who is like, oh this is so humbling but inside thinking wow i am really cool and people really love me. seriously that is not me and i pray people know that. i never meant for this to happen. really. i never meant for the blog to be read by more than just our family and friends. but that has proven not to be the case. and i am humbled because i am not that special and our story is really not that unique...but for some reason...some amazing reason the lord is using this blog in huge ways. thanks for taking the time to join in with us. basically all i really wanted to write tonight was that the words people have shared with me...i have been sitting here for a few minutes thinking of the right word to use. but got nothing. it would be close to amazing i guess. since that is always mt "go to" adjective. i may not be able to respond...but really i read every email, every blog comment, every text, every card, every facebook message, everything. i read it all. i have not deleted one email. not even one since i got sick. every email that has been sent to us has been saved. i treasure them. we treasure them. they are in a special folder called hope. sometimes i cry. cry a lot because people are allowing me to join in their journey. they share their heart. they are vulnerable. they are real. they are honest. and they are kind. oh, so very kind. i am the most blown away because i have never seen jesus in this way. the way people are loving us. i never knew jesus was this real. this tangible. but he is. i promise he is real and he is all over this. like why would a random church small group in north carolina send us a card with six gift cards. or someone i do not even know send my mom a $100 check for us. but thank you. although i can not always make sense of it all. it does not matter. but what matters is that we feel. literally feel people praying for us and loving us from all over the world. thanks for joining us.

thanks cliff and laura for coming. and for cooking. and for meals on the porch that feel like a movie. we love you

some sweet girls. check this out.

Friday, September 24, 2010


i used to think i was pretty emotionally stable with this whole thing. but i realized i am not. my mood can change in a second. and i cant seem to control it. i has to be hard to be around me. but i think i can put on a pretty good front sometimes. just trying to hold it together. that's all. its all i can do.

the sweet kessick family just left to return to ohio after a great visit. less than 20 min ago we were all on the porch talking and eating donuts. then they left for the airport and justin went to meet a friend for lunch. and now its just me and my partner upstairs. me typing and sweet ava exploring the family room and her new freedom that comes with crawling. she seriously seeks out a way to get stuck under every piece of furniture we own. its funny. but in the midst of it i feel alone. its so strange. even though i have countless people to call back, hundreds of emails to respond to, literally a constant stream of texts, and so many dear people in chesapeake who want to hang out...i feel alone. its like i am getting so used to being with people that when it stops i get sad. i do not cry that much. not because i am not a crier. i would for sure consider myself a crier. but for some reason the tears have not flowed the way i thought or assumed they would considering our new situation. as i listen to mumford and sons on pandora and the song randomly playing is awake my soul. its meant for me at this moment. they just sang my weakness i feel i must finally show. and now its real. the tears are coming. and i cant stop. i'm just sad. and in ten minutes i may not be sad anymore. but for right now i am sad. or not sad at all just need to cry.

i am sorry. i am sorry i am not available. i am sorry i can not spend time with people when they ask me too. i am trying, but sometimes its just too hard. i feel like i have nothing to give. truly. i am worn out. i do not mean to be. but i know i am. i just need a second that's all. or maybe a week or even a month. i'm not sure yet.

now remember in five minutes i may not feel this way at all. but right now i do. and i want to remember every moment in this journey. all the ranges of emotions that exist in this. i am so thankful she is a little baby and will not remember, but i am dying to share this journey with her when she is older. oh, i pray it touches her deeply. but she is sharing in this journey because i know that i am already a different mom because of this. so that may mean she is going to be different because i am not the same.  the best kind of different that has ever existed. and that is enough for me.  ava is looking at me right now as i sob. i wonder what she is thinking. clearly she does not understand tears, because she is sticking out her tongue at me and laughing. or maybe she totally understands and just wants her mommy to not cry. who knows.

but i know what is true. and what's true is that i am not alone. not even a little bit. and i am thankful for that. just needed to be honest for a minute.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Babe, thanks for being real (from Justin)

Well, when I put this video together my goal was to find the happiest, most joyful, happy, jolly song (that's incredibly happy). Why? Because the moment was so incredibly sad, wonderful, and full of heavy courage -- big courage. Libby has real courage. I have no idea what its like to get your haircut, as a woman, but this experience proved to me that its a spiritual, physical, and mental thing. It was a heart thing for Lib. Our emotions were all over the place, and I tried to let the video reflect that (even when Libby was mad at me for thinking she was going to get a "boy" haircut). I know your family and friends would have loved to join in this moment. I hope this helps, because now they can see your sweet reaction. Baby, your reaction to the new haircut is incredible. It's so real. I love you for being real.

Libby, the MOST important thing I could ever tell you at this point, regardless of the haircut, is that to me you are beautiful. In fact, more beautiful than ever. You are beautiful in Christ, and His opinion and feelings towards you are what actually matters. They do not even compare to mine in their affection, and how beautiful He thinks you are. Christ is honored in you, and that is gorgeous. You did it. This is a great step for you in a process that has just begun. I am here by your side. Your haircut is beautiful, but who you are in Christ is what is shaking my world.

With Love,

Click here to see update of Libby's Haircut

we are in the newspaper...

i woke up this morning and before going to get ava out of bed i checked my blackberry. there was a facebook message that said "saw your story on the front page of the hampton roads newspaper this morning, my family is praying for you!!" what? i had no idea. i mean i knew about the article obviously, but had no idea when or if it would be written and this quickly. its humbling that something was written about us. really?...our little family.

the Lord is using this story for his glory. not ours. really we feel that so passionately about that because i know that the peace and the immense joy i feel nearly everyday can only come from him. there is no other way to explain it. the world would tell me to fall apart. and for moments i do sometimes. but the overarching theme for us is that he is very real and he is good and he is for us.

overall great article...minus justin's name sometimes be written as jason. just to clarify its justin.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

the haircut

today did not start off very well. i think i woke up a bit anxious about this stupid hair cut. anyways my hair is short and i do not love it. i used to hate it. but i am trying to embrace it. its just hair. although i am not thrilled about having short hair since i love my low maintenance long hair. i certainly do not miss the long strands of hair that were coming out of my head. it was just hard. justin loves my short hair. he said i look sassy and i think that is funny. i am just trying to figure out how to style it since i have never "styled" my hair in my life. so we will see how it goes. and i bet as soon as i figure out how to make it look good...i will be bald.

i have been thinking a lot about god and how good he is. i really have never felt more at peace in all my life. i know its from him. its the only way to explain it. i got something in the mail that said "i don't trust God because i understand all he does. i trust him because of who he is." so that is it. that is my heart.

Monday, September 20, 2010

my long hair and my precious ava

i feel like i have been pretty tough so far. not because i feel like i am supposed to or anything, but because nothing so far has felt too unbearable. i mean their are moments when they do, but they do not seem to last. but today when i was getting ready for the photographer from the paper to come take pictures of our family i got real sad and a little angry. and did not feel tough at all. its my hair. its coming out. not in like real large amounts, but enough. enough where my usually thick pony tail is not as thick anymore. so i made an appointment to cut it on wednesday morning at 10am. justin is coming with me. i am thankful he will be there too. i sometimes hate writing when i am sad, but because this blog is mostly for me...a way for me to look back and read and to remember each day i need to write this stuff down. the hard stuff. the stuff where i do not feel strong. and wish, for today that this was not a part in my story. so usually i would say, well this is my story and i trust God with it. but instead i think this: i do trust God with it. every part. but tonight i am not real strong and i can not muster the energy to be tough. so i wont. i will be sad. because that is allowed. i will wish my hair did not have to come out, because even though people who love me are real nice and tell me i will be beautiful when i am bald and justin keeps saying how excited he is to see with no hair. i hate it. thanks for being nice though. but i like my long hair. so i would prefer for it to stay right where it is. on my little head. but ava does pull my hair a lot so i guess i will not have to deal with that anymore. see i am still positive.

i keep falling in love with ava. its easy. i loved tonight when i was rocking her and i got real sad, and she looked at me like she knew. like she knew something big was going on in her little life, but that we were all going to be ok. more than ok. and to think she may not have one single memory of when her mommy was sick. i know ava is my daughter for lots of reasons, but one for sure is that she is strong like me. and that makes me proud. i want to raise a daughter who is both strong and sensitive. a little girl who feels deeply and loves deeply. although she is energetic and restless during the day...there is nothing more special than when she settles down in my arms, drinks her bottle, i sing, we pray (i talk, but she listens, so its a we), and i give her one last kiss for the night. wow makes my heartache just thinking about her. i had no idea my little girl could touch my soul the way she does. such a gift in the midst of this.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


it is a gorgeous day. justin spent most of the day laying in his hammock right on the river. totally peaceful.  our good friend aimee is here with her one year old, charis. we want ava and charis to be friends, but its too soon to tell. we sat on the porch while the girls slept and drank iced mochas. i never really thought much about my dunkin donut habit, but today i think i figured it out. pre-cancer getting coffee was kind of a special treat for me. but now its nearly a daily special treat for me and i think it brings a little joy. not like real deep joy, that would be strange. but the basic...i like that drink so i will go to the drive thru and order it. its something real small, but i look forward to it.

i have been feeling so much better this time around. my mouth has been bothering me a little bit, but not nearly as bad as before. for sure tired though. its amazing how exhausted i am. but overall much better. with friends coming and going there is a lot of cancer talk. and its good. its good to process it and hear how other people are handling my cancer and how they are dealing with it. its gives me insight. its nice to see friends i have not seen in a while. cancer has brought the people we love together. and i am so thankful. its interesting how "crisis" does that. its very refreshing to spend time with people i love in the midst of this.

since chemo on thursday i have been thinking about what it will be like when i get my last chemo treatment. i bet it has to be a mix of emotions. thankful to be done. of course. but i wonder if its hard to enter back into "real life" once you are not "sick" with cancer anymore and everyone sorta moves on. and expects you to also move on. then i remembered that cancer will forever be a part of our story. i will complete my chemo treatments in feburary or so and then head into remission and then become a story of survival...but i wonder what that feels like? i wonder what that process will look like for me? and for justin? together and separate. because in one moment everything changed, but does that means things go back to "normal" once this is over? clearly i do not know yet and it really does not even matter yet, but i definitely have begun thinking already about post-cancer life. it keeps me hopeful. but i pray that a few things will never be the love for jesus, our marriage, and how we view life at this very moment. i never want to lose that.

Friday, September 17, 2010

the irony...

i went to the blog to post something exciting and then saw that someone had hacked into the blog...j/k my sister in law did and i love it. but sweet little ava right after getting her up from her morning nap looked up at me and said, "momma." (i guess that is how they write in the south). my heart melted. she only did it once, but that was all i needed.

today has been great. not like last chemo treatment at all. i am tired, but not nauseous. no mouth sores yet. so we will see. i am for sure looking forward to a nap at some point today, but so thankful that so far i am doing well. we appreciate the prayers and i have been flooded with emails lately and i can not even express my gratitude.
**double click for full size.

**posted by ava's aunt after helping her put her thoughts into words one day whilst rocking before a nap.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

chemo number two

chemo went well today. it was nice to have angie here to be with ava. justin and i were a little on edge this morning. he just got home from a staff meeting and was gone for two days. so we were trying to get on the same page. but a little hard when you are heading to your second chemo treatment and tension is a little high. justin hates chemo days more than i do i think. probably hard to watch your wife get chemo i guess. today felt different than when we went in for the first time. it was easier because i knew what to expect, but also hard because i knew what was coming. hard to explain really. i sat in my same chair. it feels comfortable there.

today i tried to balance whether or not we keep to ourselves to read, text, and talk or make friends with people sitting next to us. we opted to make friends. first i sat by a couple who was celebrating their anniversary. sad but also not sad at all because it was her last treatment! we talked for a while and i enjoyed hearing about their experience. she is tough. seriously tough. and she made it. then she left and her chemo buddy arrived and sat next to me with her husband. they were great. we especially liked them because they laughed at us. in a good way. and thought justin's jokes were real funny so he loved that. she and i connected. but she only has two more treatments so we may never see each other again.

it went fast. got there at ten and left by two. i felt light headed and tired through out treatment. i easily could have slept, but talked instead. so now we are home and i have a horrible headache, stomach ache, and tired. but doing alright. no mouth pain yet. just a little tired. like real groggy tired.

thanks for the ongoing mail, packages, texts, letters, emails, meals, etc. very thankful.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

my hair...

chemo tomorrow. picked up my wig today and i like it. i wanted to get it because my hair started coming out today. i noticed this morning when i woke up and my hair was all over my pillow and then really noticed when i took a shower. its sad and strange. 

just fyi the team libby bracelets sold out very quickly...more have been ordered and therefore keep checking ebay and more will be available soon.

a peek of our new home

today has been a good day. its been nice to relax and talk with angie. below is a video i made of our new home. huge disclaimer: this gorgeous house belongs to our wonderful neighbors and good friends who so graciously offered us to move in and rent their house the week prior to my cancer diagnosis.  it has been such a gift. it truly has been therapeutic and healing place for our family.

*if u like the "ryder family rules" email me and i will get you the info on how you can have your own "rules" for your family.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

are you kidding me...look at that picture?

ok shut it. that picture is amazing. not because i look amazing or anything, but ava looks stunning. thanks sara. you have a gift. a special one.

my wbc count is up to 1,100. so i will get chemo on thursday. its still low, but much better than last thursday.

Monday, September 13, 2010

not sure what the title should be

sara and ted left today and i am sad about it. but my friend angie comes tomorrow. our house looks amazing and i am so beyond thankful. justin and i are not really on the same page. we are trying but we are just not quite in sync the way we like to be. i will try harder. i love him.

i am sad today. just tonight. not sure why. a lady came over today and interviewed us from the newspaper here. she was nice and it felt easy and comfortable. its just strange to talk about myself. or talk like our story is special. and i am sitting here not sure what to type with tears in my eyes. i am just sad right now. for a hundred reasons i guess. but i guess this is cancer. or anything crazy that comes into your life and interrupts everything. i want my wbc count to be higher, but i do not want chemo. i mean do because that will kill the cancer inside me, but chemo sucks. and i have eleven more.and that seems daunting to me. its sometimes hard to even find the words for how i am feeling. so i am not going to try. too tired. it all just feels like a lot tonight.

my wig came in today. i am going to cut my hair this week since sara took some family photos with my long hair. my hair is supposed to start coming out after my chemo on thursday. if i have chemo. people tell me they think i will still look pretty when i am bald, but who knows. i do not really care about being pretty, ok that is a lie. i mean that is the nice thing to say, but come on, watching my hair come is going to be traumatic.

its hard because i want to forget. its easier to not deal with cancer. and this weekend helped me to forget i had cancer. but tonight i remembered that i do and that we have a super early dr's appt in the morning and i would rather not go. not like i am scared, but mostly i am sick of going. but i cant really be sick of them yet. we have so many ahead of us. i hope tonight gives you a glimpse into my heart. i know cancer is a part of our story and i trust jesus with it, all of it. but tonight i am just annoyed about cancer and i think that is allowed.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

team libby bracelets

so i am now legitimately living in my dream house. sara and ted have been a dream. we have bought furniture (all from a thrift not judge it all looks like new) lamps, frames, fabric, pillows, etc. and this place looks amazing. i will post completed pictures soon.

team libby bracelets can now we purchased on ebay. simply type in "team libby bracelets" and they will pop up and you can purchase one or two or thifty. thanks uncle billy for making that happen. thanks everyone who has inquired about buying one...makes me feel very loved.

off to decorate. the joy of this weekend is that i was planning on being in bed recovering from round 2 of chemo but instead i feel like myself. when i was getting ready today i forgot i was sick. it was a nice thought.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

golf outing and no chemo today

so we got to the dr today and after they did my blood work they found out that my white blood cell count is too low. it was 5,400 before my first chemo and now its at 333. so my dr gave me some antibiotics to take until monday and then tuesday i will go in for more lab work. and if my wbc is good i will have my second round of chemo on sept 17th. one more week to feel like me and i am so looking forward to it. ted and sara will be here tonight and now we get to shop, eat out, and hang out during the visits oppose to being sick in bed.

on another note we have wonderful friends. some of my husbands good friends from kentucky who he went to high school and college with are putting on a golf outing for us. for me. its awesome. its humbling. but such a gift. the info is below.

libby ryder charity golf outing
Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kearney Hills Golf Course 3403 Kearney Rd., Lexington, KY

Fees: $80 per player. Foursome Scramble Format.
*proceeds go to justin and libby ryder

Includes: Green fees, cart, lunch

{Sponsorship Opportunities:}
*proceeds go to justin and libby ryder
Hole Sponsor: $200

for more details and ways to help please email:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

almost day two of treatment 9.9.10

i said to justin last night that sometimes i forget that we have only just begun. this journey seems like forever but really has just started. eleven more chemo treatments to go. at least. although each treatment brings us closer to me being cancer-free it still is hard. every other thursday will be hard. i thought i would feel better about tomorrow since i have already had one chemo treatment. but i don't. i actually am dreading it more. maybe because i know what is most likely coming. or that it might be worse than before. not the chemo part. that is easy. but the post chemo part. so i guess we will just wait and see. i think at the end of the day. the end of a long day i just get tired. tired physically. tired emotionally. wow am i tired emotionally. and just tired of having cancer sometimes.

people tell me i am allowed to be weak or that i need to stop trying to be so strong. well i think a few things about that. i know i can be weak. and i am not trying to be strong, jesus is making me strong. i am not strong enough for this. for any of this. i don't think anyone is. and when i feel weak i will tell people. when i feel scared i will tell people. and when i am mad i will tell people too. i will also tell people when i am happy and excited that this is my life. i said to justin when we were eating dinner last night that i am really happy. not about cancer really, but in a way everything is about my cancer. because of cancer i love jesus more. i love justin more. i love ava more. life looks different to me. and i know that it would not look the same way had i not gotten cancer. i feel like i am looking at life through a different lens. like a special lens. a i have cancer lens and that should make me angry and bitter and maybe at some point in all this i will. but not yet. not today. i believe that god knows whats best for me this is what we got.

its so strange how when i sit down to type this, it all just comes out. like i do not even mean for it too.

side note. i love our new home. it has changed us. in the best way a home can. i love that ava's first memories will be of the river house and that brings me such joy. there is something calming about living on the water. we are so grateful for this place. its only been a few weeks, but it feels like another life to me. we have already made so many sweet memories here. and with a back porch like one this place has, its inevitable that there are many more to be made.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

to ava

ava has been a little "off" the past few days. that is what justin and i say whenever she is acting even slightly "not perfect." she really is such a joy and an easy little baby and we are so thankful. i keep wondering if she is "off" because our entire life feels a bit "off." although justin reminded me last night, when we went on a date and our dear friend katie watched her that she is a baby and they cry. but still...when katie said, "she cried when you left." i immediately ask, "for how long?" and she says, "ten minutes." what? she has never cried that long in her brief little life. did she know we left? did she feel abandoned? did she miss us? could she sense we were gone? was she scared? did she just want her mommy to put her to bed? now most likely it was none of those things or maybe all of those things. but either way she is a baby and sometimes they cry and are fussy. its normal. but i think i felt this way because i am so sad...deeply in the depths of my heart sad that there maybe a day or days coming up where i will be too weak and tired to care for her and that hurts worse than any physical pain cancer may try to cause me. i know she is going to be cared for by wonderful people and trust them all completely, but does not matter. its still not going to be me. her mommy. its just another way God is teaching me to give up control of my life. not the easy aspects, but the hard ones. like your child. who really is not mine to begin with. she is a sweet child of God and he has entrusted justin and i to love her and care for her in the best way possible. so we will. we will try our absolute best. i keep telling people, "oh, she is at such a great age for all of this to happen. she is too young to remember, but old enough where her and i have already established a deep bond." okay yeah right. sounds good in theory. not sure if there is a great age for cancer, but again its my way of trusting God with all of it. every detail. that all of this is part of his sweet plan. but i think i am allowed to trust his plan, but maybe not always love it. i think that is okay. so for today i do not love that every other thursday i will miss that day with ava. and then for the next 72 hours after that i will miss a little bit more of ava.

we went to dinner and a movie last night. dinner was good and the movie was not that good. no one died of cancer or anything, it was just a bit slow. but anyways as we walked out of the theater and held hands and got into the car we both said, i'm sad. i think movies are an escape. and for a couple hours we forgot about cancer. but then the movie ends and you remember that i still have cancer and it still sucks. so we both got sad. then we got home and sat on the back porch in the swing and kept being sad. just swinging in our hammock swing being sad. but that happens sometimes. but today is better.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

labor day weekend

cliff and laura came this weekend. they are our best friends. it was good to finally be with them. it was the first time since i got sick. the time we spent together was full of life changing conversations, great food, the back porch, music, pedicures (it was sterile and clean i promise), the river, ava, and my new wig. it was sweet time together. they know our hearts and it was nice to be with people who really know us and love us nonetheless. we love you both. they are ava's godparents. so they are real special.

i have felt normal these past few days and that is nice. i often wonder when that will change. like when i will get too sick. too tired. in too much pain. not sure. but for now i feel like myself. justin and i sat on the back porch on friday waiting for cliff and laura to arrive and it was magical. like those moments that you will never forget because they were too special. almost unreal. he played the guitar and its soothed my soul. we danced to over the rhine. if you listen to them keep listening. but if you do not listen to them please buy drunkards prayer and it will change everything. especially the song, "i want you to be my love." while we were dancing we did not talk. but i did ask justin, "hey, what are you thinking?" and he said he was thinking about dancing with ava at her wedding and i responded with, "oh, i was thinking what if i died." he said, babe! i said what. i have to think about it. its possible. not just because of cancer. i could die at anytime. but i am not scared. not even a little bit. i want to be in heaven. why wouldn't you. colos sians 1:5 says, you do this because you are looking forward to the joys of heaven-as you have been since you first heard the truth of the Good News (jesus that is). so i do not write this to be morbid or anything. i promise. its just real and i am not scared about it. i am more scared of the pain of cancer then death. wow that was heavy. but its what i was thinking about so i wrote it down. i am not that strong. i am sure i am scared of dying a little bit.

laura and i bought my wig yesterday. weird. the whole thing was weird. i did not cry though. i liked having someone with me. loosing my hair will be hard. its going to probably start coming out after my next chemo treatment this thursday. but i am trying to keep my hair long until sara gets here to take pictures, pre me loosing it. i will cut it short after that since it will be too much for me to watch it come out when my hair is so thick and so long. but it will grow back and its just hair and the wig is real nice and pretty (thanks helen).

thank you billy and jimmi for the team libby bracelets. everyone loves them. you can keep sending them this way since they are becoming a hot commodity. thanks for the cards, emails, texts, gift cards, checks, and sweet treasures for ava. i love mail and look forward to walking to my mailbox to see what has arrived everyday. since getting sick i have realized and learned a thousand new things, but one is that i will always send a card or flowers or an email or something when someone is sick. it been true joy. seriously true joy to see the outpouring of love we have received from people. many we have never met. which is extra nice because i have never sent someone a gift that i did not know, but i get that weekly. so thank you. we feel loved and prayed for. lets not stop until its gone.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My girls are up and about


Ava is mobile. Hurricane is coming. Babe, it has been incredible to see you moving around and back to your old self. I dread the next chemo day, but I pray, that it does its job, and sets you free! Then you will change this blog to "Don't waste your life", and keep living your incredible story in Christ. You are being strong. You are beautiful. Contrary to what you say, you look amazing. You are loving us well. I read Col 2:5 all day today, and thought of the firmness in your faith. Keep striving! We are more behind you then day 1, and you have to know this and remember it. I love you babe. Watch out for Earl.


check out the video...just press the words below
For family and friends to catch up on Ava crawling!

a hurricane?

so we just moved into our dream house on the river and now the east coast is anticipating a hurricane. hurricane earl. i went to walmart to get a few things and was overwhelmed by hundreds of people stocking up on water, flashlights, batteries, toilet paper, and food. people take potential hurricanes real serious here. or maybe i am not taking it all seriously enough. either way with the help of our dear neighbors, who have dealt with storms before lets just hope our new home does not flood. i may not be able to handle that along with cancer.

so its been almost a week since my first chemo and my nausea and mouth sores are gone. i am pretty tired, but other than that feel good. so thankful. i think the hardest adjustment for me now is figuring out to handle being sick from chemo one week and then going back to "normal" for another week and then starting the cycle over. i decided that i can handle emotional pain better than physical pain. i have never asked god why. in regards to cancer. but i did ask god why my mouth has to hurt to bad. isn't cancer enough? why the side effects? but i guess its how it goes and we will learn to cope. i think i am the most scared of how chemo is going to impact me physically. because we will not really know until it happens. that is hard for me. the physical pain part. will it be cumulative? or will the pain not be as bad because i know what to expect now? the unknown is hard. but i did decide that worrying about it really will not help. even though we all know that i am really trying to just take all this as it comes.

ava crawled yesterday for the first time. and in just over 24 hours she seems like a new little girl. no more baby. she is a little girl now. not like a toddler little girl, but something in between. either way i love it.