Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why the lack of writing...

Thank you for the scarf orders! I am overjoyed and overwhelmed. But in a good way.

See you again in 2014 when our furniture is finally assembled.

Merry week before Christmas!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Self promoting. Is that ok?

So I got an email that one of the editors at healthline.com nominated the blog as a part of heathline.com 2013 best health blogs. Now because this blog is not totally about health per say I looked into it...

Thankfully I realized that this contest includes blogs under these categories: fitness, mental health, weight loss, health and oh, yes...lifestyle blogs. I would put us under that category. So basically anyone can nominate anyone who has a blog they like and feels is worthy of the title "best health blog." I will be the first to admit that my blog doesn't really pertain to weight loss or fitness but my heart is that the blog does focus on an overall theme of living a healthy life under the framework of family, kids, decor, life, my heart, the lord, a little cancer, marriage, friends, etc. the whole overall picture of life.

If you would like to vote for us you can. First prize is $1,000 and the contest ends on 1/20/14. You can vote once a day until then. This is sorta my attempt at redemption when Ava didn't win that animal noises contest. Even though so many of you faithfully voted. We got robbed. Haha. 

this whole self promotion thing feels a little silly but I thought why not. We have a family of readers out there and it could be cool to win a little blog contest. 

You can find our blog at http://www.healthline.com/health/best-health-blogs-contest by searching or sorting alphabetically.

Let's see how dont waste your cancer of your life does in this contest. I would feel fancy and grateful if we won. Thanks readers and friends.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The house

I am writing from my phone...hence capitalization. I cant find my charger anywhere so my laptop has been dead all week. 

because we have amazing friends we moved in two hours in Saturday. The fact that we moved two blocks up the same street also helped. Either way we our indebted to all those that helped. Thank you. 

After everything was moved you are left with a house full of boxes. I guess adrenaline set in and a couple girls willing to organize our closet and keep the girls occupied made that possible. So we set up rooms and made beds and found toothbrushes and underwear. You know the essentials. after getting like 75% done this past week I have hit a bad spot. The house smells like paint and saw dust is covering our laundry room so washing clothes feels like a waste since you are washing them in a dirty room. Why not clean it up you ask...great question. maybe i am just stuck a little today and i would rather express my inability and lack of desire to unpack than actually unpack one more box.We have hit that point where most stuff is put away but we are waiting for furniture and floors to be done so you can't really move anything into those rooms until they are done. I am trying to tell myself that this is a part of moving and to enjoy it and to take it one box at a time. Sadly to be honest the boxes left sorta scare me because it's all random things that need a home and we aren't throwing away...just not sure where they are headed. This is not meant to sound all...poor me...or first world problems. I realize that I really have no room to complain since on top of friends willing to help and meals being brought nightly...life isn't all that bad. I know that. I promise. I just am trying to find that place between wanting to hide in my bed and just pushing through because it needs to get done at some point. So why not today? Right. Or maybe tomorrow. 

Where we are today....moved in, loving our new house but not totally loving it's currently state. It's only 10:50am so maybe after a shower and a few minutes alone...I will rise to the occasion. 

Excited for what this place is going to be. Yesterday I texted my friend who owns the house we've been renting for the past two years and told her we had moved out, cleaned up, and it was good to go. The Lord works in fun ways so the backstory to the house is cool. Long story short she had been reading the blog while i was sick and prayed for our family and has since shared our story with many other cancer patients and survivors and those needing some hope. Because our moved happened fast we ended up needing a place late in the game and preferably near campus and downtown. We ended up living in the perfect little house on Paul st over these past two years and she is the owner and was looking for renters exactly the same time we were looking for a place. Needless to say it was a gift for our family to find such a great place and knowing the owners cared about us and we shared a unique friendship. 

Anyways...yesterday she texted back "I hope your new house blows the river house away." I cried then and I teared up now. Although I am overwhelmed with the mess and boxes and clothes everywhere...I already know for certain this place. Our first place we've ever owned is most certainly going to blow away the river house. Praying this home is a place of growth and warmth and people and family and memories and where my girls first real memories of a home will be. I love that. So I will unpack and organize even though I would rather take a nap. Because it takes some work to make a place a home and man I can't wait for this place to filled with more and more life and more and more joy.

Friday, November 15, 2013

officially 30

i sat down this morning to write and as soon as i started lyla began to cry and ava walked out of her bedroom into the living room with new pajama bottoms on. lately she has been refusing to go potty before bed to which resulted in a wet pull up...so last night i told her that if she didn't go before bed and then had an accident their would be a consequence in the morning. so when she did in fact pee her bed...instead of waking me up to help her she decided to take care of it herself. she had slept on a towel and changed her pants and told me that she was so proud because she did it herself. i can just envision her walking around her room in the middle of night looking for a towel and changing her clothes all to avoid getting into trouble. oh, how i love that girl.

so today was a great day. it was full. girls slept in a bit so i was able to shower and get ready before they woke up. such a gift. then coffee and bagels with the family before ava went to school. good to sit with my favorite people and have them share what they love about me as a wife and mama. i don't share the pridefully but because it was awesome to hear my husband's heart and teach ava the importance of encouraging people we love with our words. she just said she loved me because i opened a present. it's a start.

in the midst of packing and moving and painters and electricians and a baby and nursing and meals and boxes and life. well it felt a little crazy today. but what mattered was that today i felt like people rallied around us. women from the yl committee cleaned our entire new house so it's all ready for the move tomorrow and leaders watched my girls who were hyper and tired and off their schedule. friends helped carry and load and carry and load our stuff. i got a mocha dropped off at the new house when i was feeling discouraged and overwhelmed for a second. then i got texts, phone calls, and emails. so many that when i am done here i am reading and i can finally catch up. so thank you. i felt loved. from people all over the place. many i rarely see. thank you for caring. my dad told me how proud he was of me today and i read it exactly when i needed to be reminded of that truth. sweet stef made me an ice cream reese peanut butter cake. to die for. we will eat it as a family tomorrow with candles before we sleep in our new home for the first time. ashley fed us chick fila for not joke the 6-8th time this week. can't keep track. i have an issue. i am very aware of it. but i order grilled nuggets and those are kinda healthy. then tonight when i was about to shut it down for the night...my sweet girlfriends walked in all decked out with balloons and took me out. nice style. like we ate fancy steak. and on top of that they are bringing us dinner every night this week. it is too much. words are failing me. i recall my first birthday here. my first birthday after cancer and it should have been joyful and crazy. but it was kinda sad. no one really knew it was my birthday. but a sweet friend brought my flowers and a blizzard. but this isn't about rattling off all the ways people cared for us today. although it was a day full of practical love. loving my girls and helping make our move a little easier. i am so grateful. but i more grateful for the relationships. the people who make my life so rich and so real. i am thankful that i was wrong. that i believed no place could care for us the way we'd been cared for in the past but today i was proven wrong like fifty times. they are in this with us and i do not take it for granted...not one tiny bit that we are not alone and that i am not alone and that i am living my life alongside people that care about me and i care about them. a lot.

thankful for 4 of our sweet leaders who stayed with our girls tonight while i went out with some girlfriends and justin laid floor in the utility room before the move. my husband has shocked me. he has worked countless hours to make this house into our room. this is a little sad but mostly it is good. when justin's dad passed away...one of the first things justin said. actually in the hospital over ted..."i wish i had learned more from my dad. he could do anything." babe...your dad is so proud. you have worked tirelessly to make our new home exactly what we want. be proud. you are doing it. your dad taught you more than you probably will ever realize. i have loved watching you grow in this new way.

seasons of life provide different things. sometimes we are sad and feel alone. sometimes we have people and it feels right and easy and fun. it is the ebb and flow of life. the up and down. it's just how it goes. so for today. the day i was born i am thankful and indebted to the people around us that allow our life to flow the way it does. i am so grateful.

i shared with my friends tonight at dinner that i am looking forward to 30. over the past ten it was college, dating, engagement, moving, marriage, moving, baby, cancer, moving, loss, another babe, first home, etc with lots of stuff in between...so in my ignorance i thought...wow a lot was packed into my 20's so maybe these next ten will be a little easier. i am okay with it not being easy though. i mean i don't want it all hard but i am realistic. realistic that when i was 20 and sitting with my girlfriends at dinner i would have never guessed a few of things that happened but many more i never could have imagined. so in a very hopeful way...i hope that the next ten blow me away. with accomplishing something i never thought possible. going somewhere i have never been. learning and stretching and becoming and changing and loving. really loving the people in our life we invest in. to be honest and genuine and teachable and humble and hospitable and forgiving and wise. i pray these are traits i grow into and form deeper ways and avenues to live them out.

so thank you. thank you for the outpouring of encouragement after my last post. for loving me today. for those of you that told me you are thankful that i was born. that this day exists to celebrate my life. that is deeply special to me.

thank you for being in this with us. whatever that may look like. my life is different because of the people we share it with. it's been a good day. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

moving on.

on friday i turn 30 and i saturday we move. two pretty major things in life. leaving my 20's and becoming a homeowner. it feels right. i am grateful for our life and where our family is right now.

when we moved here in september 2011 i was anxious, insecure, afraid, and sad. i covered that up by telling people (along with myself) that this move was"right" and "made sense" and "was what was best for our family."but in my heart it felt unfair. i wasn't ready for something new. new house, new town, new people (that's the scariest by far), new life. my heart was in chesapeake. i deserved the river house. i deserved rest. our family was entitled to having a second. i just finished chemotherapy. you know for cancer. it is actually kinda of a serious deal so we deserve a break. we deserve some time to heal and reflect and we deserve to do that alongside the people that just carried us through cancer and dang it i want to keep on enjoying this amazing house with gorgeous sunsets. these are our people and this is our home and i want to stay right here. cancer was big and life changing and i am not sure what it all means yet for myself and my relationship with jesus and my husband and my baby. oh, my sweet baby. i needed a second. because that's what make senses and feels right and we just were beginning to get to the other side of our valley so let me just be here. no cancer. no chemo. no hair loss. no fear. i wanted to wrap my head around the fact that holy crap i just had cancer and had a baby. not to mention i got a little chubby, lost my hair (confession: i think often about how i should have just shaved my head. been strong and courageous and owned that bald look. that grey hat was ugly and my desperate attempt to keep my "hair" which was actually just a few wispy strains was simply rooted in fear and denial. but mostly fear. what would people say? what i look like? it would be embarrassing. but looking back that grey hat was pretty embarrassing) and oh, yes raised our sweet ava, started a blog, fell more in love with my husband and my relationship with the Lord was forever changed. He wrecked me in cancer. in the most incredibly way He showed me what mattered and what life in complete devotion to Him could look like. the God i serve uses awful things like cancer to transform my life and my heart and the entire purpose of life. which is to love, trust, and obey Jesus. 

cancer is hard. kids are hard. marriage is hard. life is hard. blah, blah. i do not say that to discount your heart or my own heart. my desire is to be empathetic to the stories we all have and the life we are living and sometimes they straight up suck. i hate that. i would not choose pain or heartache or loss or fear or depression or an eating disorder or a move or cancer or death or whatever it is you are walking in or will walk in or plagues you or keeps you up at night. i would not choose it. easy is more fun.


but without those things. whatever your thing is...well we don't grow. we don't break. we don't realize who we are and what we are about and what we can be and who we can be and whose we are. i know that my life matters...not because of cancer or justin or ava or lyla or a job or a skill or an education or whatever, you fill in your own blank. those things don't matter when it comes to the core of whose we are and why our life matters. my life matters because Jesus says it matters. not for any earthly person, or place or thing or some big fat accomplishment. it doesn't really matter. but He matters. He matters because He is a game changer. a life changer. i have a hope that runs deeper and wider than anything else this silly broken little world could ever offer me.

so it is easier to be comfortable? heck yeah it is. to stay put? to be safe? of course it is. but i promise. i believe it so deeply and passionately that i will never stop talking about it. the Lord allowed one of the scariest things to grow and multiply and spread throughout my body and then used poison for 6 months in my body to heal me. He healed me. He brought me from death to life. That is what Jesus is about. wait...that is the ONLY thing He is about. He is about bringing us from the darkest, scariest, most embarrassing places to the light. to eternal freedom and life and hope and purpose.

so was it scary to leave a place where my heart was so rooted it felt like someone was tearing off my arm the day we drove away from the river house. yup it did. i cried. i pretended to be fine. but mostly i made it real clear that this was going to be the worst thing ever. but in the midst of the despair and depression and putting on a happy face. joy crept in. laughter. hope. excitement. love. you see i learned to trust Jesus with my life when i had cancer. so when the Lord opened doors for us to move to harrisonburg for all sorts of wonderful things...i was in. i was scared and mad and stayed home a lot. but i was in. because for the rest of my life no matter how scary something seems or how hard or when we beg the Lord to make it easier and He doesn't...i believe His purpose (whatever it might be because sometimes i can not make sense of some really awful things that happen) is the best. His plan...well it becomes our plan. what He has for me and for justin and for our girls and for our friends, and our leaders, and yl, and this whole city...i believe it has purpose and meaning and significance. no matter what.

we want what make sense. we want things to work out. we want things to be easy. because hard is hard and i hate hard. but let's all get on board with a Jesus that is for you and your life and often times has far more going on than our little brains can handle. so maybe we should stop being so mad when something goes wrong or when life get's a little challenging or we just want someone to even pretend to care about our hard stuff and our story and how unfair it is and how hard it is. by no means have i walked through the toughest of the toughest or your story or your pain or crap. but as i think back on these past tens years in my twenties...i've had a few things that one would warrant a little tough. so i am not here to discount or ignore your pain or your hurt or how it's not fair. i hate it for you. but i believe that we are given in choice...either wallow or get on board. i think we need both. i needed to feel sorry myself in cancer a little bit and when we moved and how mad i was and how much i wanted just a break. i remember screaming in the upstairs of the river house..."are you freaking kidding me? (but in real life i cussed) move? start over? i can't. i don't even know what just happened these 6 months and now i have to be nice and meet people and make good first impressions and lead things and be who people/i expect myself to be...well i can't. that's too hard." i yelled that and then i continued packing boxes because there was a storm and the river house flooded and the Lord was like...hey, since you aren't really making any active attempts to leave this city and move on...i will flood the house (not destroy your stuff...thank goodness) but it is time to go. i have you and i love you and if you trust me to carry you through cancer i will carry you through anything. so when it got hard and i got sad and i was uncomfortable and needed friends and pregnancy was hard and pop pop passed away and lyla failed to sleep and etc, etc, etc. you know what? He carried me. He never left me. He didn't alway make it easy or simple or let me sleep 12 hours. but He had me and that's enough.

because now this small little place i reluctantly moved to two years ago. well now it has my heart. our first purchased home. two babies. incredibly friendships with women in similar seasons of life along with women in college who i desperate love. a church. a community. we've found our people. and although my heart aches for my friendships outside of harrisonburg i know that our heart has enough room for them all. but this place took time. it took time for me to fall in love. it was hard and i cried and i felt alone. but i rested in the Lord and what He had for me and even though a tiny part of me confidently i knew this move was where He wanted us...i still didn't want to go and that is one of the most valuable lessons i learned in my 20's. life often ends up looking different than we thought and in that difference we can cry and yell and beg the Lord to take it away. but for me i have found that running parallel to the hard things is the constant comfort and peace and hope that Jesus is for me and will never leave me and that is where i stake my life. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Our new home

I meant to take pictures before we started painting and changing carpet and taking kitchen doors off...but alas I didn't get to it. So here's a preview of our new home...mid redo. 

This gives you a little glimpse of our new home. It already feels different being a homeowner oppose to a renter. Our heart for this space is that it will be filled with people and meals and conversations that matter. Our girls first real memories of a house will be here and I love that. More space for more people...one day. I know that it's the people that make any space what it is and I am thankful to be here with my people. It's all a gift and we know that.

Friday, November 1, 2013

our girls.

we celebrated halloween by getting candy with our good friends. we only waited an 1.5 hrs for our pizza to come. ava was a little nervous at first about going up to the door to get candy but that quickly went away. we realized quickly that she likes to linger at each door...asking questions about the decor and if the witch was real and why scary smoke was at the house. but it's cool...imagination and a little make believe is cool with us. 
 our little cupcake and fairy and our boy ben as a clown.

i am excited to share something cool with you on monday. but this is just a little preview.

my parents are flying in right now from oklahoma to help us with house projects but mostly to be here for little lyla's baptism on sunday. so thankful to have them here.

happy weekend. tomorrow we paint, lay flooring, etc. DYI here we come. i will be posting before and after pictures of our first HOME! so check back.


a few more photos from our shoot with our friend stef. because i am your typical lame woman who because of my own insecurities and lies in my head prefer our home to filled with pictures of our girls. but i care more about my girls growing into confident, genuine, you are beautiful no matter what size or lies you believe in your head. they are lies and you are beautiful.

 so here we are. my first real photos with my girls. thankful for it.   

enjoy your weekend!
glad to be back.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


ever feel like you need a redo? maybe a start over?

 as i was washing my face i though...i think i need an overhaul. then my mind raced to all that an overhaul may entail. my first thought being...eat healthy, start writing again, clean up this room...lose the clutter and straight up create a bedroom that is peaceful without clothes everywhere. maybe that can happen. but i am not totally sure. i think this whole overhaul has been sparked due to our up coming move and a time that really sets you up to start fresh and make things new. i spent the weekend at my first blog/influence/woman/Jesus/ you can do anything you put your mind to kind of thing and i loved it. as i process the weekend a bit more i will be sure to share more details this week. But the way my heart is already feeling refreshed lets me know that..."such a time as this." it might be deep or it might be mostly surface but either way this season of life is about refreshment. i am tired of framing all my thoughts and language through this filter called..i just had cancer so...oh, we just relocated so i am settling in...oh, now i pregnant and sick and exhausted...the unimaginable loss of a parent and then the profound joy and life change that a new child brings...then i was just sleepy for a few months. now we are at today. yes it's been a hectic fall and we just bought our first home and that clean new house is now covered in primer and half painted walls and what feels like more projects than we can possibly tackle. all the things of right now and the past few years are valid. it's been hard and it's been good. we need to extend ourselves grace. always. but maybe...just maybe i have been stuck in all these things and felt defined by them and unable to move forward. it all seemed like too much and maybe it was. but the joy and the sorrow will always come...so for now i am feeling drawn toward newness and growth. i am ready to live in a way that is focused and intentional and simple. i am ready to clear the clutter out and take a hold of what The Lord has for me and my life. I've been feeling a little lazy lately. sure we have had a lot to do and places to go...i just find that my heart and my mind and my body feel a bit stagnate and slow. i want a revival in my heart and my soul and my life. not sure what that all means or what it is going to look like or feel like...but i am into start making my life really count.  not out of pride or selfishness but because The Lord of the universe that created you and created me has grand plans for us all. they won't be the same and thank goodness for that.we all have a story. i am just ready to jump in and get on board and not allow my insecurities to keep me here...but have it be the very thing that gives me a voice and a story and a purpose because He has something for all of us. doesn't matter the size or the influence...just matters that we keep our eyes on Christ and what He has for us and to walk in that. i am walking into a season where i am begging for refreshment and direction. i like a plan. but for now my plan includes walking as closely to The Lord as i have ever known because i am ill equipped and uncomfortable and i need Him. which seems like the best place to start...acknowledging exactly where you are and exactly where you need Him. so here we go...

*justin's birthday was yesterday so the girls and surprised him with a little photo shoot our dear friend stef did for us. i love them. here's a few...

without meaning too...the exact picture with each my girls. i love that. so much emotion wrapped up in these two photos. where we've been and where are...it feels right and good. beyond grateful.

my heart. thankful for my family. the people who help give me purpose and drive and direction. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


tomorrow i am headed to south carolina with my friend, elizabeth for a little blog/women/Jesus conference. It's called allume and you can check it out at www.allume.com i have never gone to anything real blog-y...so i am excited for what's in store. truly i am. hanging with elizabeth and getting to sleep in for a few days is enticing enough but i have been really praying it will be a time of refuge and conversations and finding my voice. i have been a bit lost with the whole writing thing lately and hopefully that this weekend could provide some direction. 

we also bought house. after renting for 6.5 years we are homeowners. it is such a joy and i am anxious for the projects and new decor to begin.

happy wednesday. i will be sure to instagram all weekend so if you want to check it out i am @libbyryder.

first thing to go...that peach door.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

little lyla

i love nursing lyla. i don't love newborn nursing. i like it. but i don't love it. it's every three hours or less and you feel like their is no reprieve from it. but now 3-4 times a day feels relaxing. no matter what i get 10 minutes, with ocean sounds, lights off, just the two of us. i enjoyed nursing ava as well. it was cut short a bit when i got sick, so i seem to think about it a lot more now because at this point in ava's life she was on formula (which is totally great. every family needs to do what is best for them and the baby). i believe i cherish it more now with lyla because of how quickly is ceased to exist with ava. it's a special time for just her and i. i am thankful for it because i can often miss the small things. i can move through the day a little quicker than necessary and miss really being with my kids.

justin put together lyla's birth video last night. i remember how fragile and beaten down i felt that day. nervous for the jumbled mess she was being born into. two heart broken parents. (justin's dad passed away this past christmas. unexpected and quickly). i don't think we realized how unsettled and shaken we were at the time of her birth until we've looked back. a time of grief compounded with a time of joy. i listened to myself on her video talk about ava and how much i love being a mom. but i realized that my love for being a mom tends to get jumbled up with yelling and shortness and frustration and annoyance and fatigue. all usually valid. i am not trying to be super mom nor be perfect nor pretend i have it all together. but i felt convicted as i watched myself on her video. do my girls see how i deeply i love them? how proud i am to be in their lives? to spend each day with them and be a part of nearly all the firsts they will have? i don't wanna miss this. time passes quickly and i do not want to miss this time. this is not stemming from guilt. life can cease to exist as it was meant to be if we sit in our guilt. or play the comparison game. that gets us no where and it only makes us feel bad about ourselves. that not my heart nor what i want. but i found as i watched a healthy conviction rise to the surface...i do love being a mother. that is true. is it not always fun and easy...no. not at all. but do my girls see in my actions and words that my love for them can not be measured nor put into words. do they know that? will they tell others someday that their mommy loved them hard and deep? i hope so. because that is the desire of my heart that often gets sidetracked. i want the sincere love i felt so raw when i told justin hours before welcoming lyla into this world...i love being a mom. I LOVE BEING A MOM. now i want to act like it. not be fake. sometimes it's hard and exhausting. but so is work and relationships and life. but in the midst of the realities of life and what comes into our paths i will choose to say yes more and smile more and be willing to read one more book at bedtime. not every night. i wont say yes all the time. i will get mad. i will cry. i will feel overwhelmed. but i want to be quicker to breath and listen and wait. not react out of my own stuff or my annoyance or my short fuse. i will keep my eyes on Christ and pray that what flows out of me is more of Him and way less of me.

above lyla's crib is a picture of justin and i and ava. lyla is photographed far less. we are working on that. anyways it's a picture that my sister, sara, took of us before i got sick and lost most of my hair. i look at it everyday. multiply times a day as it's right above lyla's crib. yesterday i remembered the back story to this picture. the three of us were on our bed and ava was only 8 months old at this point so was moving a lot and it was hard to get her to sit still for a second. we were on our bed looking out the window onto the water at the river house and pop pop was wearing a too small life jacket and walking back and forth making funny faces trying to get her to laugh and sit still. she did sit still. he had done his job. we got a very special picture out of it all. i am thankful we took the time to do that. but then i got mad and screamed. i cussed. i do that sometimes. the grief of losing ted seems to display itself in waves. this moment didn't last that long. i almost sent justin a text and then sara but something stopped me. what if they are having a great day and not hurting for ted in this moment. i would hate to cause that. so instead i sat on the bed with lyla and told her about pop pop and gave her the back story of the picture. then it hit me that because ted is no longer with us...his life, his memory is now told through stories and back stories. i became overwhelmed with sadness that lyla will not know him personally and really hating that. hating that life often times is far harder than what we would prefer. i think it's our nature to desire to comfort. that is not a bad thing. but comfort is fleeting and rarely exists for very long. because i believe in a greater hope and eternal life i am thankful that one day i will live in permanent comfort and safety and joy. that is what i can look forward too and i am thankful for it. but in that day my heart was over taken by sadness. i often wonder will lyla always represent these extreme wave of emotion for me. i don't really know and i that's okay. i just know that i missed ted really hard in that moment.

lyla is laid back. she seems to only cry if she is sleepy and her poop is hard as rocks. that happened this week but it's taken care of now. i can't hold lyla or smile at her without falling more in love with her. she gave me the chance to be a mom again. another reason to remember how far from cancer we have come and the greater purpose i find in my life because i am here. she brings justin so much joy that he is ready for us to have another one. i am not at the same place as him so we will just continue to enjoy her. both the girls represent such different things to me. ava is my strong fighter who cares deeply for those around her. i think maybe her mom taught her those things in cancer. lyla is my laid back joyful spirit. i think maybe her mom taught her those things post cancer. cancer showed me i was stronger than i ever imagined i was and life during and after cancer taught me that regardless of what happens to you...joy is a choice. i want to choose joy everyday and lyla shows me that it is possible.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

school and teachable moments. for me and her.

since i am continuing to have a hard time with the ol' blog i thought i would do a little ryder family update. i am not sure why i am not writing. i think about it. i think about it a lot. not that i see this place as a "should do" or a "have to." that's a little silly considering i write on this blog for no other reason than to share my heart and our life and it's a great way to not forget stuff. but it's not like i am getting paid or signed a contract or anything like that. it's here and it's free and it's not going anywhere. no promises about when i will write next which has to be annoying if you follow our blog. it would annoy me because i get sad when the sites i read don't post for a while. but as we get into the routine of the fall and school and the hecticness and wonderfulness about young life i hoping to get into a nice little groove. whatever that might look like.

ava started school a couple weeks ago. two days a week she heads to school where her favorite part of the day is...recess. shocker. after her first day when i went to pick her up i asked her teacher, "how did ava do?" to which she said, "good. we had a good day." this is where i sometimes can't help myself but i need to learn to help myself. i ask, "anything we can work on at home or any concerns." side note: i guess i ask stuff like this out of my own insecurities about ava and her behavior and blah blah blah..she is a reflection of me and i can't control her and she can be loud and yell and not listen and sometimes push and sharing is not her strongest gift. i guess i asked that because i assumed she maybe had done one or all of the things i just noted. her teacher said, "oh, she just needs to learn the routine and how she can't go first all the time. but it's fine she just needs to get into the rhythm of school." ok so not that bad. she didn't say anything hurtful or mean. she just shared more because i asked for more. i wanted some details. but this is where i need to just stop. she had a good day...okay great...now moving right along. because i am ava's biggest fan i was quick to read into it and think...oh, man she didn't listen and wanted to be first, etc, etc. but here is the thing i kinda just wanted her teacher to say something like this..."oh, ava she is smart and friendly and a leader and knows what she wants." i guess i wanted that. but i realized that maybe i shouldn't ask questions to which this 1st day of school momma whose heart is sensitive wasn't able to handle. i want my girl to flourish and grow and have fun...and all of those things are happening. but i need to lay down my own pride and my own...this little peanut is a reflection of me and our parenting and when she is gone at school i really have no control of what she does or how she acts. but this is good and right and normal. whatever normal is.

my girl doesn't have it all together and thank goodness because neither do i. my hope for ava is that she is able to grow and be her own person and be creative and mess up and learn and say sorry and forgive others. it can seem complex but really it's not. i am thankful for the spirit the Lord has given ava and the way she loves people around her and we are working on her sharp tongue when she screams, "no." but i am proud of who she is becoming and that i get a front row seat.

classic and kinda sad recess story. on the way to school this week i asked her who she was going to play with today. (i ask ava about school on the ride home every time i pick her up and she has already forgotten what she did that day so we usually just wait for her to share about her day at random times when she is ready). anyways, she shared this. "i was at recess and wanted to play with "michelle" and she said her group was too big and that i couldn't play. so i told my teacher and she gave me a napkin because i had a tear." my heart broke. into a million little pieces. her group was full? seriously. who has "groups" in pre-school and that girl is crazy to not bring ava into her "group" because if i may say so myself...she's the life of the party in my humble opinion. but this is where having two parents comes in real nicely because to be honest i hurt for ava. i hate that she felt left out and her feelings were hurt. i know it is not that big of a deal and i did not get all dramatic about it...i just think i realized that this was the beginning. the beginning of what life outside of our the home and in the home can look like. girls can be mean. i know because i was one. insecure and selfish and so desperate to fit in and be accepted that how i treated people in the process tended to get shoved to the wayside. but justin came in and encouraged her to ask someone else to play and make sure no one on the playground was playing alone and to ask "michelle" if she wanted to play today. try again. we reminded her that now that she knew what it felt like to be left out and how her own heart will be aware of that and how we want to play with everyone. always kind. never exclusive. i want her to know that meanness is not how we roll. to teach her that life is too precious to be mean. we never know what people are walking through...even at 4 years old. what is happening at home and behind closed doors. since we don't always know the whole story or any of the story sometimes...let's be a family that is about people. loving them. asking questions. sharing what we have. for ava maybe that is her favorite dress up clothes and for us it's opening our home and sharing a meal with people. we want to be about others and have a heart that is looking outward. inward is okay. but we don't want to be too into ourselves. i am thankful that because our little girl is strong and sensitive she can live both out in different ways. i am scared and honored to walk alongside her as we both try and navigate through it all. thankfully we are not alone.

i think life and parenting is all about teachable moments. with our kids, spouses, friends, family. discovering how can we be a light to one another...everyday.

(next post. lyla update. but for now...that open mouth smile. it's too much).

Friday, September 13, 2013

winner winner winner

Thanks for all the entires for the super cute monogrammed t-shirt by crystal faye.

We are heading to the beach this weekend with 100 or so young life leaders from JMU so this is quick.

Congrats Ally McConnell your new initials will look great. Email me at libbyryderblog@gmail.com to claim your new shirt.

Don't we all love a nice monogrammed...well anything.

check out www.shopcrystalfaye.com for more goodies.

Enjoy your weekend it's going to be a pretty around here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monogrammed giveaway

Dropping in quick today for a little giveaway from our sweet friend crystal faye...check her shop out at www.shopcrystalfaye.com.

Just leave a comment and you will be automatically entered to win your own grey t shirt with your personalized monogram. Enter. It's easy and everyone likes a free t shirt!!!