Tuesday, January 31, 2012


before i begin to write. i must confess i am feeling overwhelmed with everything i learned, experienced, and felt last week. i am still processing all that i heard. all that i lived. all that i shared. it was big for me. it is changing me. Jesus is in the business of change. of newness. of restoration. of desperation. i want to be a desperate women.

i like to grow. i am okay with change. maybe not at the time. but i know things change. seasons change. people change. hearts change. last week the Lord began a movement in my heart. one i have been bearing deep inside for a while now. i thought it was easy to ignore it. to push it deep down where no one could find it. especially me.


i got found out. i am now exposed. i am okay with it.

i want to be in the business of change. the Lord is changing me and changing people around me. specifically those who do not know Jesus and have no chance for life. until someone steps in and shares with them the greatest love story of all time.

the gospel. in a few sentences. it is okay to share what is true. you need to. you have to. if Jesus changed you. if He brought you from dark to light and death to life...shouldn't we at least share that news with our neighbor.

the gospel: God sent His son to the earth. He sent Him to die so we could have life. He rose from the dead and is alive and wants a relationship with you. He wants to live inside you and change you. over and over and over He wants to provide forgiveness. truth. love. joy. LIFE and life to the full.

do you want that? you can have that. it is free. it is for everybody. it is for you. the sin. the shame. the guilt. the pain. He bore the burden on the cross so that you may now be free. free to live. really live.

choose Jesus. not because you should or you think it is a good idea or your grandma was a christian. but choose Jesus because He is the one thing. the only thing that satisfies. satisfies forever. who does not want that?

i have more inside me than i can even begin to share. so i wont push it. i will keep writing. i will keep sharing. all week. all month. all year.

i felt stuck. read it here. but now i am moving. moving towards what i am not totally sure. i know a few things. the Lord is in it. it is time to begin dealing with cancer and i am not afraid anymore to enter this place. the Lord will carry me like He carries me through everything. He knows that i a mom and a wife and a friend and a sister. that i have a life and responsibilities and obligations. 

i have never wept over cancer. like crazy on the floor crying so hard you think you might die. can't breath kind of tears. i thought i needed to be strong. for justin. for ava. for everyone. so i kept it together.

few of my thoughts:

i am angry. i am angry i even got cancer. 

i am thankful i am healthy.

i feel guilty that i lived and many do not.

everything surrounding cancer is hard to talk about it.  

on sunday as i was walking in the hotel lobby to get us coffee real quick and i stopped and spoke briefly with a couple who is on young life staff in virginia with us. he said...looking directly into my eyes. nearly my soul with all the confidence in the world..."libby, you are a walking miracle. never forget that."

i wont forget that. ever. i often times think...my cancer was not that bad. it could have been worse. i need to be thankful it was not worse. how can i even be angry if i am healed. my brain is my own worst enemy. feeding me lies all day.
but...i am becoming unstuck. i am ready to mourn. grieve. cry. rejoice. laugh. be angry. hit something maybe. i need to allow myself to feel. process what i have been pushing away deep down inside.

it needs to come out. i will be stuck forever it i don't.

so here's to Jesus, counseling, and movement.

the Lord wants to change you. move you. take you to places you never knew possible. He is God remember. He can do that. we just need to let go. to trust. to allow Him to reveal things that are ugly and painful and scary. 

i am ready. 

***while you are at let's pray for kristi. a young mom just like me in idaho who was in flordia last week. battling cancer. lots of cancer. there is not a lot of hope as the cancer has spread. with a husband and two little boys. she is not alone. please join me in praying for a miracle. for life. that her story, like mine, will be one of hope and healing and walking miracles.***

Monday, January 30, 2012


i love going away. we need it sometimes. i crave it. the Lord filled us both. it was an incredible week. i have so much to share. it was like nothing i have been apart of. maybe ever. but our baby is sick. so sharing my heart will wait...

Monday, January 23, 2012

trying to keep it together.

so tomorrow i will no longer be a single momma. i will actually still be a momma just without her baby. i am heading to orlando to meet up with my husband. who i now know. for sure. so positively that i like life so much better with him in it. i think i knew that already but these past nine days confirmed it.

i am heading to the young life all staff conference in flordia. it only happens once ever four years so it should be good.

i am excited in theory about it. i know it will be fun but life has felt so unsettled lately. way to many lists. too many to do's. sweet friend's hanging with ava (we could not do it without you). a new job. scarves (love the order overload). i do not feel rested. not at all. i am looking forward to getting away and enjoying 80 degree days. but there is a twinge of guilt about ava. not that we are going to flordia exactly. i have not felt very present with her this past week. way to many days that were go...go...go. i realize this is just the way it happens sometimes. that is fine. but for tonight. for this moment i hate the anxiety i have inside and i wish i had a cleaning lady and someone to pack my bags. maybe in another life.

hopefully once i am finally packed. i give little ava a goodbye kiss and i am on the plane i can relax.

enjoy the week. i maybe back again this week or i might take the whole week off. we will see.

that face. i am in love.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

beautiful people.


that is some good stuff. i don't care who you are...that is good.

when i read it yesterday i could not stop thinking about it. as i read the beginning
about defeat, suffering, struggle, loss i thought of cancer. of july 2010. of justin. of ava. of our family. of our friends. of myself. of what was ahead and this scary unknown world of...cancer. i never wanna go back.

but i spent more time thinking about the rest of it. i know we struggled. a lot of people struggle. we all carry our own pain and loss. sometimes with the world like we choose to or sometimes alone. i hate that people walk through the valleys alone. but they do. maybe you do. but i could not stop thinking. literally could. not. stop. 
the part on appreciation, sensitivity, compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. 

is that who i am?
do i love deeply?
am i really that compassionate?
how gentle am i?

i think it is good to reflect. i think we need to stop or maybe not literally stop because i have not stopped in the past 72 hours. but mentally allow yourself to go there. to really think about your life. your heart. how you care for others. who you are. what you are about. where you have been. where you are going. what has made you...you.

where are you hurting?
what is your pain?

i so easily get engrossed in my own life. the whole...i am too busy thing.
please. we are busy. you are busy. everyone is busy. 
but you make time for what is important. i know that i fail everyday. i can not be all things to all people. that would be bad for them and for me. 

i do not have any answers or much wisdom on this to offer.

i simply had to share because i could not stop the way it is taking over my head and my heart. i desire that our pain. that cancer. wow i hate cancer. that it did not happen in vain...but me. my husband. our little girl..well..i will just say it...that we would come out of it as more beautiful people. because the grief and pain of cancer made us into different people. we are not the same. something like that is too big. it does to much to your heart to simply go back to way things were. what i do love is that in many ways our life has returned to normal. i am thankful for that. but who we are in our heart and in our gut...well beautiful people do not just happen. i believe our pain has brought us more beauty and joy than we ever knew before i got cancer.

the pain, sorrow, suffering, and loss we all experience is not wasted if our understanding of life and our heart and our compassion demonstrates that our pain...can also be our joy. i do not want to miss what the Lord is doing in me and in our family. about who we are. what we are about as a couple and what we are about as a family.

i want to be one of those people that elizabeth kubler ros wrote about.

do you?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

i miss my other half.

i like my life better when my husband is home.

letters are from restoration hardware (6 years ago) 
the ampersand is from hobby lobby.

Monday, January 16, 2012

the inn and my hobby.

my husband hates surprises. he seriously gets a little mad about it. but me...i like surprises. i pretend like i don't...but i do and my husband is good at surprising me. he did real good on friday night. i had no idea about anything and when i did find out about it was friday afternoon and i thought we were going away saturday. then on friday at 7:30pm after yl leadership he said let's go home and pack a little bag because we are headed out of town. i of course did the obvious...

"what?...now? where? who is watching ava? what should i pack? i need to clean up the house if people are coming over to watch ava and the guest room is really messy..."

he of course did not answer any of my questions. so we packed a little bag. straightened up the house. perrin and trish came over and off we went. (thanks girls for loving ava so well).

it was dark and we drove through the mountains and 45 minutes later we arrived in the little town of Luray and stopped HERE.

we are not fancy people...clearly...but i did feel fancy when i saw that our room had a fireplace, robes, and a jacuzzi. i felt like "pretty women" except we're married. it was the best night. i had no idea it was happening. i love being with my husband. i love that we celebrate just to celebrate. thankful for another positive dr appointment. thankful for life & for my husband...who loves me so well. 

don't waste your chance to plan little surprises...big or small they go a long way.

* * *
making and selling scarves. i love it and so do these ladies.
nice picture angie.
congrats sweet friend.
if you would like to order your own cute little scarf for the winter
email me at libbyryderblog@gmail.com

this is just funny.

happy monday.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

a little saturday special.

let's start the new year off right...with some great products, blog headers, and our little getaway.

Pip & Bean 
love them and they are back this month with some great capes.

We’ve always been struck by the importance of creative development and imaginative play for children. The quest to keep pace with our own children’s imagination led to a number of costumes and creative projects.  Whatever it took to unplug our kids from the TV and help them build a world of their own.   Eventually a birthday present for a daughter’s friend turned into a booth at a craft fair, and then an online shop.  Almost two years (and thousands of capes) later Pip & Bean sells custom superhero capes, costumes, masks…etc. all over the world.  Pip & Bean is an active supporter of “Inspiration Through Art” (www.inspirationthroughart.org) an awesome NPO that supports children with illnesses by helping them see their own inner super hero. 
Check out Pip & Bean at http://www.etsy.com/shop/pipandbean

Give Jewelry
thank you for those of you that have already begun supporting this amazing business
& even better cause.

 Give Jewelry is a sustainable movement to provide food for children of The Bali Orphanage. The vision is simple: “1 piece-1 child-1 week of food.” With every piece of jewelry purchased, Give Jewelry provides one week of nutritious food (that's 21 meals!) for a child in need. So whether you choose feather earrings, a necklace, or bracelet you're really choosing to make a difference.
Give Jewelry: The most affordable and effective way to make a difference in the life of a child.
Put “Libby” in the comment box at checkout and receive 5 free leather bracelets!
check out the site HERE
Shabby Apple.
love love love it all.
Dresses from Shabby Apple
Dresses from Shabby Apple

 i love shabby apple.
they help dress us all no matter what age or season of life. jewelry. babies, toddlers and maternity. check it out HERE. they are kicking off the New Year at Shabby Apple with a SALE!  how does 20% off site wide sound? the sale lasts through the entire month of January.  use code NEWYEAR at checkout for 20% off! www.shabbyapple.com.

keeping our house safe and clean.

I have begun using these products in our home over the past couple months and they are great. 
pure. clean. safe. i am loving it.

I’m Missy. I blog over at The Domesticated Diva. I’m here to share Shaklee with you! Shaklee has been around for over 50 years and is the number one natural nutrition company in the US. You may have heard about Shaklee’s awesome non-toxic cleaning products from the blogosphere, but we offer so much more! Here are a few things you can expect from Shaklee: Our products are always safe, always effective, and always green. We have products to help you maintain a healthy home, healthy body, and healthy weight. All of our supplements are truly top of the line and we have a great weight loss program (perfect for your New Year’s Resolution!) It’s been great meeting you all. Visit my Shaklee site to begin your journey to wellness! 

kirsten over at PomLove is currently making some custom designed tissue poms for ava's nursery. 
i. can. not. wait. will post pictures when they arrive and are hung up.

PomLove sprouted in early 2008 by a crafty mom who was experimenting with handmade decorations for her 6 year-old's birthday party. It evolved into a business that same year - partially due to countless requests for poms from family and friends. PomLove is the original (that's right, the very first!) pom shop on Etsy, providing the biggest, fullest and most vibrant tissue paper poms, made from 100% recycled paper. With over 80 colors to choose from, and dozens of color combinations available, they are sure to brighten up any space - whether it's for your next party, or just to brighten up a room. Take a look at all of the eye-candy: www.PomLove.etsy.com - then use coupon code BLOG15 to get 15% off of your order with us. 

every blog could use a little update. maybe a button. a new header. a custom signature or an entirely new look that represents you. angie is your girl.
check out these amazing blogs she did. HERE & HERE & HERE.

Here at thirsty hearts we believe that life is meant to be lived in transparency and authenticity.  Therefore let your blog be a reflection of you.  Each design is created with the finest detail in mind.  We're now offering design services for baby announcements and wedding!  please email angposton@gmail.com for more info.

now a little treat. 
our blog...in headers.

there was a lot of fear and heartache in that very first blog picture. sara took that of us just days after my diagnosis. but our joy has remained throughout. i love looking back. 
i love remembering where we have been and where we are going.

what picture is your favorite?

justin surprised me last night with a little getaway to celebrate life, each other, and our marriage. the inn is gorgeous. here is a sneak peek. more to come next week.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

just as we thought...

no signs of cancer in this body. blood work looked great. i feel great. we are good to go. we will go back in march for a scan...if that sucker is clear we can start trying for more little babies. ava said she wants a sister. we would love a baby. it will be perfect.

to celebrate we bought some new running shoes since i am officially training for the rock n roll 1/2 marathon in nashville, tn. the running begins tomorrow morning. here we go. that may seem like a lame way to celebrate and honestly it sorta was...i do not like running all that much. i have never really done it. but when friends and strangers rallied together and ran as teamlibby last year in nashville i knew i wanted to do it this year. accomplish something i never thought i could...let's hope i can do it. but please...come on...joking aside...after cancer i can do anything.

be back tomorrow with some january sponsors.

post cancer # 4

next month it will be a year. one year since we said goodbye to cancer. hopefully forever. but today we head to UVA for our fourth post cancer visit. no scan this time. just a little blood work and check in with my doctor. i feel fine. i have no indication that we will not hear the best of news today. i feel good. no weird pain. no lumps or aches anywhere. should be a pretty routine normal visit.

i guess what i hate. what is still the hardest part is that we even have to go. that this is even apart of our lives. i think there are moments when it seems to creep up on me. like i forgot for a second. i never forgot. i never will. i know that and i am okay with that.


we are trying to make it feel like a little mid week date.  ava will be at home with a few different babysitters. it will be a nice drive through the mountains today as it is unusually warm today. after we see the doctor we are going to get some new running shoes so this whole...1/2 marathon training thing becomes real for me. not just an idea.

will post the good news tonight. thank you for praying. thank you for still sending texts and calling and remembering...it really helps. not feeling alone does seem to take the sting away a little bit.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

selfishness and a book.

don't waste your talents. don't waste your dreams. don't waste your heart.
don't believe anyone who tells you can't...because you can.

(i am currently reminding myself of these same truths everyday)


i can't get the italics to go away. so its fancy writing today.

i was selfish & although i hate to admit i am currently selfish.

i was pretty selfish when i had cancer. people emailed and i never wrote back. people sent facebook messages and i never wrote back. not one thank you note was ever written. i was pretty much...libby ryder focused with a side of ava ryder. even justin did not get much of my time or energy. well, he got my time. i had a lot of time on my hands. but he certainly did not get much of my energy.

disclaimer: i had cancer and i realize that is a big deal but...there is a lot more going on in the world and in the lives of loved one's than my own story.

i justified myself a lot. pretty much for anything i did or did not do.

but now it's time. it's 2012 and in a little over a month we celebrate one year cancer free. oh, the joy. the gifts we experience in my healing. but what i really want to be about and what my hearts desire is to love other people well. to not be so "me" focused but others focused. being intentional. sending cards. little gifts. texts. picking up the phone. being available. many of you did that for us last year. thank you for walking in the valley with us. you did not have to. no one asked you or made you. most of you were strangers. not anymore though. you walked through cancer with us so now you are apart of the story. a part of our story.


i am going to write a book this year.

i have been praying about it and talking about it for several months. however, i will get all inspired and then i get stuck. paralyzed in the lies.

who would read this? can i even write a book? am i good enough? talented enough? what if i fail? do i have the time?

well...what if i fail? (what does that even mean? what constitutes failure when i am writing a book about my own story. because no one reads it...is that failure? i am sure my mom would at least read it)
i am beginning to realize it is less about failing and more about being vulnerable. putting myself out there to publishers and editors. to the world. i realize that i do that every time i press publish on this blog...but a book feels so permanent. like my one chance to say anything i would ever want to say. talk about strange pressure i am putting myself. i am missing the whole point. i know this. i am creating something from nothing.

write. just write. it is not that hard. (that is what i tell myself about ten times a day).

i was talking with a friend recently who said...go away. be alone. turn on some music and write. really allow yourself to go there. enter back into those first days after the diagnoses. first chemo. telling family. ava. hair loss. weight gain. fear of dying. loneliness. anger. distance from my husband. drinking. isolation. pain.

let's just get it out there...i am scared to write it down because for some reason it makes me think i am going to get cancer again. if i talk about it and really go back to those days and months of cancer and everything having to do with it. i am scared. i am scared to enter into that and then boom...back to current day of being a wife and a mom. i have so much more respect for authors now. it is not easy. but it is my heart. i love to write. i love sharing our story. i love trying to provide some sort of hope and peace and encouragement in the midst of death and fear and darkness.

i can talk about the lord. i can talk a out joy. i can talk about not wasting your cancer and not
wasting your life. that is natural. that is my heart.

but what about the other stuff? the ugly stuff. the scary stuff. the shameful stuff. the whole...i could have died or what if i am not around to watch ava grow up kind of stuff. that is where i am stuck. those are the places in my heart i do not want to enter. i do not want to go there. that's too deep and too scary.

i keep coming back to this...what if i can go there? what if i am not alone in this? the truth is i am not alone. the same God that carried me through cancer will carry me through writing our story. the dark parts that i have not never shared on this blog or with family or with friends or even with justin.

the dark layers that are easier to ignore and pretend don't exist and certainly never did. but you see those places. the dark ones are just as much a part of our story as everything else i have shared in this space since it started back in july of 2010. i believe our journey of cancer is one of hope and joy in the midst of pain and death. but it is easier to talk about joy. it is harder to admit areas of failure, shame, doubt, and anger.

as i was walking through cancer i was numb in many ways. i only realize this now as i look back and see how deep the pain and hurt was...but i wanted to fight. i wanted to be strong. i wanted to find joy because there was joy. but when you are walking in trauma you do not even realize it is trauma because it is your life. i knew it was a valley. i knew a dark cloud hung around while i had cancer. but we wanted light. life. joy. peace. hope. we refused to waste what the Lord had for our little family in cancer. we hope we did not waste it. i do believe we did not waste our cancer. do not waste yours.

i want to get to that place. the place i am scared to go. i want to be real. i want to be honest. i want to cry. i want to yell. i do not want to sugar coat any of it. but the hope i have and the joy in our story is that our God is big enough for all of that. that in the midst of cancer there can be joy. there can be life. there can be hope. that is our story. that is His story in us. how thankful i am for that.

i pray i leave this place. this paralyzed place where i am right now. but my heart won't stop aching when i think about writing and about our story being shared further than this little blog.

so as i enter into this process of writing book and being others focused...i pray i do not grow weary and stop. i believe the Lord can work through anything and what He did in us and through us in cancer is worth writing down. even if my mom is the only person to read. it would be worth it.

if my life and my heart is about not wasting any of it. not one second. than what i am doing here. just write a book. because it is my heart and my passion and my dream. not mention it is one of my 2012 goals. 

i re-read this email a lot. it is from a successful photographer. wife. author, and women who loves and loves hard.

"oh, libby, your story is just beautiful.  really and my mama always taught me if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it.  so i guess this means i believe you'll write your book.  really.  and if you think about it in the worst possible way (i.e. no one reads it), you at least have your story documented for ava.  how precious and amazing will that book be for her when she's a mom?! augh...i love it! i wish you all the best!"

let's do this. don't waste your life...your talents....your dreams. follow them and follow them hard. my husband taught me that. he is disciplined and consistent and real and honest and loves the Lord more than anyone i know. he told me babe...you have something to say...so i am writing a book.

Monday, January 9, 2012

highs and lows

this weekend in highs & lows.

high: our little baby turned two.

low: we spent most of her birthday in the car driving to a wedding in ohio.

high: all three of us where together. in one place. for 7 hours straight.

low: i like planning parties. being a bit crafty. no party this year. but next year. number three for sure.

high: iced mocha's on the road. crocheting scarves. connecting with my husband.

low: giving ava a gift each hour of the trip. she could have cared less. we got her these fake glasses because she broke the pair she had. after she opened it she looked at me and said..."here you go mommy" and handed them right back to me.

high: ava is an incredible traveler (thanks to her dvd player, ipod, books, and a few smarties). she watched curious george for the first time and was belly laughing from the back seat.

low: we were not with ava for the entirety of her second birthday.

high: roma (justin's mom) met us at our hotel with balloons, cupcakes, & lots of gifts. (she drove up from ky and stayed with ava while we were at the wedding. that was the only way i was okay with this whole...not being with my baby. THANK YOU ROMA). 

low: we chose a hotel specifically with a pool for aves to swim. it was freezing. blue lips kind of cold.

high: great wedding. congrats will and janis. (they are the new YL area directors in chesapeake).

low: saying goodbye to all our chesapeake friends who were there. we love you, dearly.

high: dancing, catching up with friends, and going to steak n shake at midnight. anyone recall how much i loved my chocolate milkshake? it was that good. i had to go on and on about it. 

low: the drive home. we took the back roads to save time. it was through the mountains. too curvy and scary.

high: it was gorgeous and we saw a lot of cows. aves favorite.

low: ava's second birthday was only documented by pictures of her in a car seat. mommy failure.

high: ava is two. wow. little girl...i sure hope you know much we love you and cherish you and the precious gift you are to us. this is going to be a fun year little one.

 balloons welcomed ava when she woke up & the elmo one had to make the trip. 

potty training here we come.

very sleepy after a long weekend and turning two.


laying low today. it is going to be a busy week. (three month oncologist is thursday)
it is snowing here today. ava called it rain. but we straightened that out and now she can not get enough. i like that.