Thursday, July 28, 2011

we decided tuesday night that justin and i can always find a reason to celebrate.

i like that about us. you have to be willing to take the time to celebrate the big stuff right alongside the little stuff. that is what life is you know. all the little stuff with some big things randomly thrown in along the way.
celebrate we did. we got fancy. well summer kinda fancy. i wore a dress i brought last august at the jcrew outlet in the outer banks with my mom and sisters when i first got sick. this was my first time wearing it. seemed appropriate.
we ate at pf changs. a place we love but rarely go. it was a great great night. i like eating in places with good lighting. like barely any lighting i mean and pg changs is like that. we did not want this night to just be about cancer and where we were one year ago. but we did want that a little bit. i sure did. i love talking deep and sharing my heart. especially with my husband. i like his heart the best. he has a lot of good stuff to say. 
a few highlights from the night for me:
1. looking into my husband's eyes from across the table when he said, "i do not know how we did it, lib. i mean i know it was the Lord. but how did i go to work everyday? how did i go on young life weekend trips? or speak at the young life banquet? or go to camp silver beach? or do program at triple r? how did we do it?
i am not sure babe. but somehow we did. it still does not seem like is happened to us and we were the one's living it.
2. how we decided that last august was the worst month of them all or at least the most surreal. the most not like normal life. it's because justin was not working since we were supposed to be on assignment in new york so he had no plans. no meetings. no work obligations. something i will always cherish. he was at every appointment. doctor's visit. surgery. scan. all of it. the entire month was filled with cancer stuff and then whatever we wanted after that. no responsibilities. it was nice to have that break in the midst of our entire life changing. as strange as it is i will always have fond memories of august. because we were inseparable. we did it together. every step of the way. even when we had no appointments and i would spend most of the day in would bring me mocha's and mail. man, we got a lot of mail that month. i think the longest we were away from each other the entire month was when you went golfing with my dad. secretly i would love that. to spend every second together. you would go nuts. but in all honestly i like you that much.
3. the one word we decided that described this past year: encouraged. we felt so loved and cared for the entire time i was sick. i will not go into that for the hundredth time but thank you for the ways you all encouraged us. but i will say i know that i have been given a very unique and special gift. not everyone is given the chance to hear people's hearts. the letters, emails, and fb messages...i will never be able to share what i have been a part of in that. thank you for writing. sharing what you have learned. how our story may have touched you or impacted you or something you learned. my inbox is still full. 272 unread messages. but keep writing. i still get an email almost daily from someone who reads the blog. i do not think it is strange or weird. i think it is another example of community. sharing your heart and your life. whether we know each other or we live close or far away.
thank you. thank you. thank you.
4. when i asked justin for the first time...
"what was is like taking me to chemo every other thursday?"
he did not say anything. but within seconds my husband. my dear sweet husband who should not have had to watch his wife get sick with cancer began to sob. (babe, hope it is okay i am putting this on the blog). he could barely get a word out. but when he did he said... 
"it was awful. it was so awful, babe. i hated it." 
i could see it all over him. how much my husband hurt with me. both of us trying to be strong for each other. which i knew. i knew it was awful. how could it not be? but i had never asked him before. he always seemed to be okay. not happy but not sad. just trying to be strong for me. but i like my husband vulnerable. because we were in the middle of a restaurant both sobbing we pulled it together and i asked him to still be vulnerable with me and cry when we got home that night. he agreed. 
5. we shared things about cancer and those first days that we had never told each other. it was healing for me. like when he called his dad to tell him i was sick and the screamed on the phone. legit screamed. it was all too much. i am ready now to hear his pain. his heart. for so long it was just too hard. but since i am healed we talk about it now. we will keep talking. for the most part it was too hard to do when i was sick. the pain was always right on the surface. i know what it really means now when you saw your vows on your wedding day and you promise to your spouse, God, and all the guests that you are in. you are in this marriage no. matter. what. this whole cancer thing could have torn us apart. it happens to people. but not for us and i am reminded of how thankful i am for that everyday.
6. we talked about our future. how far we have come and what is ahead for us next. then we shared highlights from this past year. there was good things. our trip to nyc. that was our best trip yet. weekends to the outer banks. naples. all the visitors. 
7. this huge piece of cake was brought to our table from four sweet girls we know from chesapeake who were dining a few tables away. along with a note. what a perfect surprise.
justin is eating real healthy so i ate it by myself. not even close to all of it. but it was real good.
i love you babe. i am glad i am better. thanks for doing this with me. could not have asked for a better partner in life. thanks for the beach house surprise after dinner. it was exactly what we needed. let's never forget where we have been and were we are going. this year changed us. in profound ways we are so different. let's never lose that. we can't. it's a part of who we are now.

ps. thanks for all the calls, texts, and emails to those of you that remembered where we were just one quick year ago.

"here's to no more cancer and celebrating that it's over"


  1. celebrating right alongside you guys. i can't believe it's been a year. also, you look gorgeous. i need to see you! thank you, the end.

  2. Celebrating with you that you are healed! Aren't husbands a blessing :) When I was sick after our baby was born he just swept in so natural to take care of us although I know he was terrified and sad inside...they are the best! Congrats again to a beautiful family on so many healthy years ahead :)

  3. Thanks for sharing your heart and memories in this beautiful post. I have been reading your blog from my phone these past months so posting a comment is not as convenient as from my computer, thus I have not been responding here much. Today I went to our office so I could write this.

    The worst year of my life - the year my "baby girl" got cancer...the best year of my life - the year she was healed. Very mixed emotions as we look back over the past 12 months. And no, I have not really thought of you as a girl, let alone a "baby girl," for a very, very long time. Especially now. Now that you have taught me how to face cancer, look death in the face and give it all to God. Such a gift from an amazing women. But I knew you were. You were an amazing kid, too, and I am not surprised by your maturity or your faith now. It has been there, foreshadowed by many things for a long time. God has equipped you for such a time as this. Thanks for being so open and letting us all in on a path that happily many of us will never travel. You learned a lot and so did we. Things none of us ever wanted to learn, but will be the richer for it.

    You are right...such a gift. God bless you both...and Ava, & keep you in His hand! I keep you in my heart.

    Lots of Love from Tulsa,

  4. Congrats to you, Libby and Justin - and baby Ava too! :) Libby, you look healthy and bright in these pictures! Just beautiful!
    Praising God with you for this last year, for where it has brought you. Thanks for your willingness to be transparent and be used for His glory! Your story blesses hearts!


  5. Looking good!
    Celebrating the small stuff. It's what life is all about.

  6. So thankful that you are healed and celebrating so healthy and happy!
    I hope for not only myself, but for everyone that we find someone as loving, raw, and real as you and Justin are with each other. You both are very blessed to have each other and beautiful baby Ava.
    God bless you and your family!

  7. Cousin Libby, I had no idea what kinda of roller coaster you had been on but reading your blog today made me cry and cheer! I am so glad that you are alive and well and continuing to grow your family. Reading your letter from your husband at the beginning of the journey made me pray for a husband as loving through anything as that.


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