Link to Jen’s Celebration of Life Service

Hi everyone.  It’s Jamie again.  It’s hard to believe our friend has been gone for a little over 3 weeks.  I miss her every single day.  So many of you were able to attend her service, and it was wonderful to see your faces and hear your words of encouragement.  On behalf of Jen’s family and close friends, thank you so much for being there.  For those who were unable to attend, we equally appreciated your texts and prayers during that time.  The Lord has been so faithful in providing encouragement and strength through all of you, and we feel loved and comforted by your words, cards, texts, calls, flowers, food, etc.

Many of you have asked if there was a way to access the service that was recorded.  Please click here to see the full Celebration of Life of Jennifer Lewis Clouse (minus the music due to copyright issues, which is SUCH A SHAME because the music was unbelievably moving – thank you musicians!!).

Please continue to pray for Scott, Lincoln, Jane and the rest of those close to Jen.  Jen’s 97 year old grandmother Vonie passed away 9 days after Jen (8/18), so needless to say the family is brokenhearted.  Two funerals within 2 weeks is a lot to take in.  Thankfully, the Lord reminds us that He is near to those who have a broken heart (Psalm 34:18).

Some good news to share, however, is that Lincoln started kindergarten and seems to be adjusting well to his new routine.

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If that doesn’t make you feel better, I don’t know what will.

Thank you for loving the Clouse’s so very well.  May that love be returned to you tenfold.

Jamie

Attached here is the beautiful program from her service (thank you, Alyssa Reeves!):  Clouse_programFA2

Details of Visitation & Service

First things first, the location of the Visitation tomorrow, August 11th, has changed.  Please make note of the new details:

Thursday, August 11th – Visitation at Watermark Community Church from 5-7pm (in the Tower, east of the main sanctuary on the 3rd floor)

Friday, August 12th – Celebration of Life at Watermark Community Church at 10am (in the main sanctuary, reception to follow)

Watermark Community Church: 7540 Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway, Dallas, TX 75251

We are excited to share that the service will be LIVE streamed and recorded.  Click here to watch the celebration on Friday morning at 10am.

If you’d like to wear a happy color to celebrate Jen’s life it would be totally appropriate🙂

We continue to remind ourselves of the hope we have in Christ. As Jen prepared her heart to go home, she studied and shared what God’s Word says about Eternity.   Click here to listen to her thoughts on Heaven from February 2016.

With love,

Jamie (aka B)

 

In the Arms of Jesus

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Early this morning, we woke up to the sweet truth that our dear friend is home, healed and in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As Jen and Scott have said all along, we grieve, but we do not grieve as those without hope (I Thessalonians 4:13).   It has been an honor and a privilege to walk this journey with all of you. Jen has been so gracious to let us laugh, cry and share every step of the way.

Thank you for blessing and supporting Jane, Scott & Lincoln with your continued prayers. We ask that you respect their privacy, as they are not yet receiving visitors and meals have been taken care of at this time.

In these coming days, however, we invite you to celebrate her life with us.

A visitation will be held this Thursday evening, August 11th, at Sparkman Hillcrest followed by a Celebration of Life at Watermark Community Church on Friday, August 12th.

Visitation 

Thursday, August 11th

Evening (exact time pending)

Sparkman Hillcrest

7405 W. Northwest Highway, Dallas 75225

 

Celebration of Life and Reception

Friday, August 12th

10am

Watermark Community Church

7540 Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway, Dallas 75251

It would greatly bless Jennifer if, in her honor and in lieu of flowers, you contributed to the fund that she and Scott established the first year of their marriage.  It would continue Jennifer and Scott’s joy in supporting ministries and organizations they love such as YoungLife, inner city ministries in South Dallas and international ministries such as ALARM and Family Legacy.

Contributions to the ‘Clouse Kingdom Fund’ can be mailed to:

Schwab Charitable

P.O. Box 628298

Orlando, FL 32862

Account: 2701-0956

If, rather than charitable organizations, you’d prefer to contribute to their college fund for Lincoln, that address/account information is below.

Contributions to the Schwab 529 plan for Lincoln can be mailed to:

Schwab 529 Plan

P.O. Box 2906

Shawnee Mission, KS 66201-2906

Account: 719293059-01 (Lincoln Clouse)

 

With a grateful but broken heart,

Jamie (aka B)

Continued prayers please

Dear friends, it’s Jamie again.  I am writing to update you on Jen’s status.  After 3 long weeks in the hospital, Jen is back at home.  She completed 15 days of whole brain radiation, which knocked her out for lack of a better term.  That, plus the progression of her cancer has really taken a toll.  Most of her days and nights are spent sleeping.   Her body is frail, her voice is weak, but her spirit is still very strong.  (Those of you who know her well will not be surprised by that.)  Thank you so much for your prayers as she is now resting comfortably and surrounded by loved ones.  And thank you for respecting the privacy of the family at this time.  The very best way you can love the Clouse family is by sending a card, commenting on this blog and/or by continuing to pray for Jen, Scott, Lincoln and Jane.

God continues to show up in big ways.  He is present in the details.  We continue to praise Him despite difficult circumstances, and know that He loves Jen even more than we do.

Thank you so much for your faithful companionship on this journey.  It is so appreciated.

Much love to you all,

Jamie

**As a side note, Jen’s phone stopped working about 2 weeks ago.  If you have sent a text to her during that time and did not get a response, that is why.  Again, sending a card or commenting on this blog is the best way to communicate for now. 

Pray for Dallas, Pray for Jen

Hi dear prayer warriors. This is Jamie again.  What a sad day in Dallas’ history and in the history of our nation.  My heart goes out to the families affected by the tragedy of last night’s shootings.

I am writing today to activate this army.  Our friend, Jen, is sick.  She went into the hospital last weekend with severe pain and nausea.  The doctors have been trying to get it under control this week, but she is not well.  Being the fighter that she is, Jen is still undergoing radiation treatment while hospitalized in hopes of decreasing the cancer lesions in her brain.  This, in turn, may help decrease her overall nausea and pain.

Jennifer, Scott, Lincoln and Jane would greatly appreciate your prayers.  Specifically, please pray for wisdom for Dr. Osborne and Dr. Casanova as they develop a plan for what could be her new normal.  Please pray for Lincoln that he would feel the Lord’s love flowing through all of his sweet and sacrificial caregivers.  Please pray for Jane to feel the Lord’s comfort in her moments of sadness.  Please pray for Scott to feel the Lord’s peace in times when he feels supremely overwhelmed.  Please pray for Jen’s friends to feel the Lord’s strength when weariness overtakes them.  And most importantly, please pray for Jen to feel relief from this extraordinary pain.

For now,  Jen is spending this time with her family.  Thank you for your continued care and concern for our sweet friend.

As we get on our knees before our heavenly Father grieving for those who have lost their lives and those who are suffering, may we be reminded that we serve a loving, caring, forgiving, gracious & merciful God.  And may we somehow have the opportunity to share that truth with those who need it the most – even if that includes ourselves.

Much love to you all,

Jamie (aka B)

 

 

Snuggles, Cinnabons & Reepicheep

Good morning friends.  It’s Jamie again.  Feels like it’s time for an update on our friend, but I honestly don’t know where to begin.  Those of us close to Jen have experienced so many different emotions throughout this journey, yet each day still seems to produce new ones.  A cornucopia of sad, mad, frustrated, confused, joyful, content, helpless, exhausted & grateful is the latest offering for me personally.  And that’s just in the last 5 minutes.  I can’t even imagine what it’s like for Jen, Scott, Linc & Jane.  I’m so thankful we have God’s truth to rely upon when our feelings are so uncontrollable.  Psalm 27:13, 14 says, “I would have lost heart unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord…I will wait on the Lord…and He shall strengthen my heart.” Blessed reminder.

Jen is settling into her new normal, which basically means a lot of time resting and trying to eat.  She is able to enjoy some perks like snuggle time with Linc in bed.IMG_9609.jpg

I don’t know about you, but my experience snuggling with an active 5 year old means knees in the back and an occasional elbow in the face.  I’m going to pretend that Linc’s sweet little fists folded up under his chin are going to stay put for Jen & Gigi’s sake.

Same for this scenario.  Keep those elbows tucked in, buddy.

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Jen had chemo last Thursday and is still tolerating that fairly well.  Especially when Cinnabons are part of the deal.  IMG_4356.JPG

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For now, chemo is the chosen course of treatment.  Things seem to change rapidly, however, so I don’t know how much longer this will be the case.  A brain MRI on Monday showed more metastasis, which could potentially alter the next steps.  Please continue to pray for wisdom for Jen’s doctors (Dr. Osborne, Dr. Casanova & Dr. Cheek) as they process and plan.

As for Lincoln, the only thing he’s planning is how he’s going to play with his birthday hamster, Reepicheep.

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Someone call Hallmark.  This is too precious.  And a little unnerving.  In fact, I think snuggling with Reepicheep may be the actual equivalent to how I remember snuggling with my 5 year old boys.  Just add elbows.

Friends, I’ve been tasked with updating this blog.  I hope it’s helpful, and that it allows you to feel connected to Jen and to know how to pray for her and her family.   Some days I don’t know what to say.  Today is one of those days.  This is tough.  This is surreal.  This is at times unbelievable.  But this is life.  And for TODAY, this is the day that the Lord has made.  And if I know Jen, she will choose to be glad in it.

Thank you for your continued support through prayers, calls, texts, cards, errands run, laundry folded, bills paid, play dates, etc.  The Clouse family is grateful.  And thank you for respecting their time together as a family.  Jen is in need of a lot of rest, but would love to connect by reading your comments below.

Much love to you all,

Jamie (aka B)

 

Scan Results & Update

Hi everyone – it’s Jamie again.  I asked Jen if she would be okay with me updating the blog with scan results from last week, and I got the green light.  Jen’s people (YOU) are extremely faithful in prayer and concern, so I know you’ve been awaiting the results.

Last Thursday was a very long day for Jen.  She had to be at the hospital at 6:40am to begin her scans.  (PS: I’m thankful that Gigi was assigned that driving shift).  She then proceeded to undergo a myriad of scans that lasted until about 1pm.  Somewhere in between 6am and 1pm, however, Jen got into a scuffle with one of the nurses and I showed up as the drama was dying down.  Let me just say you don’t want to mess with Jen or else you mess with us too.

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Don’t be fooled by those smiles.  We can be really fierce when provoked.

We were grateful Jen asked for some food after the scans were over, and Burger House was her first choice.  Being the good friends we are, we ate fries and onion rings alongside our patient.  (As a side note, just because your friend needs a shake doesn’t mean you do too.)

After lunch, Jen was able to get in a quick nap before her 3pm appointment with Dr. Osborne.  Scott and Jen then went to the appointment where Dr. O shared the results.

Basically, Dr. O said there were ‘mixed results but overall not as good’ in every area where there was some stabilization (defined as less than 20% growth).  She is watching the following:  liver, lymph nodes around clavicle, mediastinum (chest) and fluid around lungs (which is present ~ indicating activity).  The neck CT takes longer to get back and she doesn’t have results from bone scan yet.  Also, they did not do a brain MRI as it’s on a different quarterly schedule.

They also spent a lot of time talking about ways to increase her appetite and about next steps for treatment.  Jen will stay on the same chemo for now, but will decrease the frequency to every other week to hopefully lighten the negative side effects.

If you are like me, you were probably wanting more conclusive information.  (Somehow I feel this illusion of control when I have a lot of details.)  I’m confused by the results and all of the percentages.  I’m frustrated by medical terminology.  I’m wanting to hear something more concrete.  A timeline, a definitive plan, an opportunity for a miracle.  But I’m realizing quickly that cancer is cancer.  And Jen’s body is riddled with it.  And whether a tumor has grown or not doesn’t change the fact that God is in control.  I am not.  He’s overseeing every single detail of this journey.  And although He never promised that our lives would be easy, He does promise that ‘our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.’ (Romans 8:18).  Thank goodness our hope doesn’t depend on something as unreliable as scan results or tumor marker numbers.  Instead, our hope is in the one true God who never changes (Malachi 3:6a).   Psalm 56:4 says, “… in God have I put my hope; I will have no fear of what flesh may do to me.” I find peace in this verse as I watch this insanely cruel disease take over my friend’s body.

These truths are especially poignant today as one of Jen’s friends in her Pink Not Grey group passed away from stage 4 breast cancer yesterday.  Oddly enough, I grew up with this friend in church and know the family very well.  She was 41 years old and also a patient of Dr. Osborne.  She was a lover of Jesus and shined His light brightly.  She had lots of friends who loved her well.  And she leaves behind a loving husband and one precious child.  My heart simultaneously breaks for her family as well as for Jen. The parallels hit way too close to home.

I heard someone once say that “pain is the soil where the deepest kind of faith in God grows.”  And for those of us in pain, our love for God is able to mature if we turn to Him.

As Jen enters a new stage full of unknowns, please continue to pray for daily reminders of God’s knowns.  Pray for Scott as he cares for his wife.  Pray for Lincoln to be surrounded by love and to have no fear of his future.  Pray for Jane to feel the Lord’s arms around her.  Pray for Jen’s friends and family to seek God in times of confusion, sadness and helplessness.  Each of you are a part of this story and we continue to place our hope in the Lord as he writes the pages of Jen’s book.

Much love to you,

Jamie (aka B)

 

 

 

 

 

Scans Today – Please Pray

Hi everyone!  It’s Jamie again.  It seems like so much has happened between the last post and now, but I will try to give you the abbreviated version as we would appreciate your prayers today.

Jen has her ups and downs, but has been plagued with extreme fatigue as of late.  That, coupled with a lack of appetite, has left our girl weak and thin.  At the urging of Scott on Tuesday, Jen contacted Dr. Osborne to let her know she was not feeling well.  Dr. O asked Jen to come in for fluids to help with dehydration.   We laugh because Jen told Gigi ‘it shouldn’t take too long’ when we were deciding on who’s car to take to Baylor, but I reminded her that Baylor can be a little like quick sand and once you step in the doors it’s really hard to get back out.  Let’s just say the quick sand was in full force because Jen ended up being there for most of the day.  She received an IV concoction of Magnesium, Potassium, and some other things I can’t spell or pronounce.

Dr. O also examined Jen then returned for a visit later to let her know she really needed to start eating.  Apparently her blood work looked like that of a person who was starving.  Literally.  Normally, I would make a joke of how ironic this is because Jen loves to eat.  But it was actually such a sobering moment that I can’t muster up any humor.  To watch my friend lose so much weight in such a short period of time is difficult.  Like really difficult.  There are moments on this cancer journey where I can almost pretend like it’s not really happening because Jen is so upbeat and looks so hip with her bleached pixie cut.  We laugh like normal and do life like normal.  But those times are starting to fade and my heart is breaking all over again.   My friend has cancer.  And her outward appearance is not letting me pretend any longer that it’s not happening.

Today, would you please pray as Jen has her scheduled scans to determine what is actually going on inside of her body?  She will be at Baylor for most of the morning then will have an appointment later today with Dr. Osborne.  I will be back in touch after we know the results and new plan going forward.

Jen’s faith is as strong as ever and knows that the Lord is still very much in control.  She clings to His promises daily, and reminds us of His goodness despite the circumstances.  Thank you for your continued encouragement for Jen, Scott, Lincoln and Jane.  This road is not to be walked alone and they are comforted by your prayers, texts, calls and cards.

I always like to end on a positive note, so I wanted to share that Lincoln turned 5 on June 1st and had a rainy celebration at Caruth Park fishing with friends.  Right before the celebration was to begin, however, the rain came POURING DOWN.  So much so that the party was even in question.  But miraculously the skies cleared up just in time for the party and fishing commenced.  Somehow I feel like that’s a beautiful metaphor for this journey. One minute the rains are drenching us and the next minute the sun is shining.  We are praying for a little sunshine today.  IMG_0052.JPGIMG_0025.JPG

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Much love to you all and a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my favorite 5 year old!!!

Jamie (aka B)

 

Rainy Day Update

Hi everyone.  It’s Jamie again.   What a privilege it is to update all of you, faithful friends, on Jen’s journey.  So many people have inquired about our sweet friend lately because she’s gone blog silent.  And for those of you who know her well, silent is not in Jen’s vocabulary (can I get an AMEN?!).

So much has happened in the past few weeks that it would be difficult to recall it all.  (And let’s be honest, I just turned a year older and I’m clawing my way to the end of the proverbial school finish line, so really anything is hard to recall).  But I CAN remember what happened this week (#winning).

And it looked something like this.

IMG_3690.JPGThis is Jen crouching down in the elevator.  Why, you ask?  Because her body is SO DARN TIRED.  Tired of the radiation (which is now complete), tired of the chemo, tired of, well, CANCER.  I was surprised she mustered up a smile for me because it was pretty brutal.  But hey, a girl always knows to be picture worthy because SOCIAL MEDIA.

Jen is finding it really hard to even get out bed lately and has been sleeping a lot.  Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for her nausea.  It’s wide awake.  On her Wednesday visit to Dr. Casanova (palliative care physician), he recommended she receive some IV fluids to see if that might boost her energy and decrease her nausea.  As soon as she hit that chair and they draped her in a warm blanket, she was out.  And truthfully I can’t blame cancer for that, because once I was offered a warm blanket (and accepted it shamelessly) I fell fast asleep too.  I’m sure it looked like a page out of a preschool book complete with vinyl mats and mini pillows.  NAP TIME.  There are moments when cancer gives you unexpected little gifts and this was definitely that.

IMG_3694-1.JPGSorry for my big face, but I knew this was a memory I didn’t want to forget.  How often do you get to nap with your friends in the middle of the DAY once you’re past the age of 3?!  Priceless.

And since we are doing silver linings,  Jen received some encouraging news on Monday from Dr. Osborne.  Her blood work looks good, and the protein in her liver tumors are decreasing.  We’ll take it.  She is due for additional scans in the upcoming weeks which will give more information about what is actually going on inside her bod.

And if you can stand even more positive news, the Clouse family has finally moved into their new beautiful home!!  And it is JUST that.  A home.  With all of Scott’s hard work and attention to detail, and Jen’s final touches, it is as if they’ve lived there for 20 years.  It feels new, but somehow very familiar.  It feels roomy, but cozy at the same time.  It feels like a place that wonderful memories have already been made and will continue to be made.  Basically, it feels like love lives there.  And who can’t get excited about that?!  Thank you to EVERYONE who pitched in and worked super hard…

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IMG_0043.JPGIMG_0020.JPGAnd even to those who didn’t work quite AS hard…

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It was all worth it for these moments of joy at the end of a LONG DAY…

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See?  Love most definitely lives here.

Lastly, Jen and Scott were able to get away for an anniversary trip to Turks & Caicos thanks to Jen’s generous running group.  (I’m contemplating how I can join this running group despite the fact the only place I would actually ever run is to get on a plane that is heading to TURKS & CAICOS.)   And while sleep may have been a dominant activity on Jen’s daily itinerary, at least she awakened to a beautiful view of crystal clear water and not her friend’s big face.  In between naps, she and Scott even got in some paddle boarding and fishing.  Apparently fish appear smaller in photographs than in real life.😉

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Seriously, though, I think this is a fancy fish of some sort (bonefish?) so to Scott I say: WE ARE PROUD OF YOU, SAY WE ARE PROUD OF YOU, hey hey hey.

In conclusion, Jen wanted me to pass along that even though her people pleasing is alive and well and she wishes so badly that she could write to those she loves (that would be YOU), her pain and fatigue is even more alive and well at this point.  Your prayers, cards and messages are so greatly appreciated, however, and I’m here to say THANK YOU to each one of you on her behalf!!  The Lord continues to meet Jen’s every need, and she is so grateful for His daily provision in every single detail.

He is GOOD.

He is FAITHFUL.

He is ENOUGH.

With SO much love,

Jamie (aka B)

Pain Pain Go Away…

Hi guys, it’s Jamie again.  Jen asked me to update her blog so here I am.  :)  I love that when I ask Jen to give me the highlights of her health journey so that I can post accurately, her text is SO LONG that it has an arrow at the end.  Has anyone even seen that before?  No.  Is anyone surprised by this?  No.  I’m the first one to tell you I write long texts, so I have no business throwing stones. But mine has never had an arrow at the end indicating ‘there’s more’.

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See that little arrow on bottom right (>)?  When you click on that bad boy an ENTIRE NOVEL pops up.  I’m not kidding.  Oh how I love my verbose friend.  I’m debating on whether or not to just cut and paste the rest of her text and call it a day.  As much as I’d love to, however, I’ll try to do this post justice by relaying HER words through MY words.  (I can just see Mrs. Merryman, Señora Plexco, Coach Hines and Mrs. Snell harkening back to the day of hearing both HER words and MY words all day long while trying to use THEIR words in class – so sorry about that!).

Anyhoo, Jen is doing this in Florida right now in case you are wondering.

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While Linc is doing this…

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And while it all looks and sounds like a little piece of paradise, she is still hurting a bit as you can read above in her text to me (right before the ARROW indicating you are about to read WAR and PEACE).

And while I was joking about copying and pasting Jen’s text, I just finished reading it and I am totally going to copy and paste it.  She even wrote it as she were writing a blog.   And she called herself out on it at the end of her text.  Like why didn’t she just write the darn thing?!  And it’s a good thing because the end is actually all I ever read.  In ANY novel.

So here is Jen’s latest update:

– started radiation to spine and hip/femur on Tu – going well until Friday and back pain that escalated to 10 by Sat if, heaven forbid, I needed a deep breath or cough or LAUGH. Pain was in new area and felt like a broken rib.

– doctors on Monday speculating that back pain is bc if radiation and as they target the spine it causes temporary inflammation that is pushing on nerves along the left/right of the spine (T8-T11 for the medical peeps). The original pain which prompted radiation for relief was on left side so I didn’t connect it to radiation when the pain was on right side but makes sense when it’s explained as mirror image of original pain and inflammation from the spine.

– expected to also likely have tummy issues and esophagus issues nc radiation waves cross all those areas but nothing too troubling yet.

– I’ve had 6 out of 15 treatments – at Monday’s appt (and via text from Dr O at 8p on the first day she arrived from a 2 week vacation … Who does that?) I learned that my liver numbers were up

– these ‘tumor markers’ are supposed to be 1-6 in healthy people and when I first got diagnosed in Feb 2012 mine was 1.2. When re-diagnosed as stage 4 (Dec 2014) they were 25 and over the last 18 months have, on average, stayed in that area w some bounces up to 60 but also coming down to 11 when various chemos worked for short seasons. So, NOT GOOD when the same number that was 30 on last blood test was 140.   Dr O had two possible explanations: 1. Not good or 2. Can happen when chemo kills a lot of cells that are dead and turn into protein before they can be flushed out of liver (or something like that?). If it’s 2. we would see them start to go down after first cycle of chemo (cycle for this round is 2 weekly treatments and then 14 days off) and I was at the tail end of first cycle w chemo again on TH if my other numbers were high enough.

– based on blood work on Monday, we were very pleased to hear that both the ‘tumor markers’ they measure were down from 140 to 120! And are THANKFUL and HOPEFUL they will continue to come down. I don’t really know what 140 means but something tells me that being 40-45x the max of normal/healthy range just might not be a good sign for my livers ability to do its job

– in other blood news, the numbers for white and red blood cells were pretty low (expected on this chemo). Not at dangerous levels (i.e. not needing blood transfusion) but at ‘wash your hands and don’t get sick and if you get a fever call me immediately…’ levels.

– as for the don’t get sick, it wasn’t such good news to find L sooo hot yesterday and not eating breakfast or lunch and telling him his throat hurt and requesting a nap. Who is that kid?! In my mom-greatness (or denial) I didn’t connect dots of potential sickness until he put his face against mine and I felt the temperature. And what does any good mom do in that situation!? Ice cream. And while he’s not the most photogenic kid (Scott and I blame his parents) I think it’s funny that he can’t take his eyes of the ice cream even for a picture.

 

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But the best news of all is the location of the picture and the timing of bad news mingled w good news and needed rest… In the picture, Linc is at gate 5 headed to the beach. Or, as Scott overhead him telling his teacher at school when he picked him up early yesterday, ‘I’m going to the beach. It’s called Summerside.’ Or Seaside?! Tho actually it’s neither and we are going to a friends house in Rosemary Beach with a couple girls and then repeating our fall trip to Watercolor (sooo thankful for generosity of the Harrells!) with friends and family starting Friday when Scott and the rest of the gang arrives.

Speaking of trips, I’ve gone quiet on blog so never shared the post hospital update that we decided, after 12 days in the hospital, that it would be too hard to spend 2 nights together as a family and then leave at 430a, without Lincoln, for Turks and Caicos. So, in our friends grace and kindness, they rescheduled the trip for us and we are sooo excited that it could be so soon. We are headed back to beach (sans a 4yo!) on May 14. As if we weren’t sooo excited before, this just gave us another month of counting down the days!

[Jamie again starting here]

Y’all.  This was ALL IN A TEXT.  A TEXT.  And I’m afraid to even ask her if she did it via voice text because that girl has mastered the art of voice texting.  We laugh because when I attempt voice texting with Siri, and say ‘period’ at the end of my sentences, Siri always just types out ‘period’.  That can be unfortunate in some situations.  But JEN.  She just bosses Siri around with her ‘period’, ‘exclamation point’ and ‘comma’ and Siri LISTENS.  I’m reduced to thinking Siri obeys me about as well as my children do.  Period.

And to make a long post even longer, I do need to interject one more thing before you get swept away with dreamy visions of Turks & Caicos, Rosemary Beach, Watercolor, etc.  This journey is not for the faint of heart.  It can take your emotions from ceiling to floor in about 2.2 seconds.  I’m sure those of you who are close to Jen or anyone with cancer can relate.  I can’t even wrap my brain around how Scott, Lincoln or Jane must feel.  My heart breaks for them.  And even though I’ve actually gone awhile without crying, the last few times I’ve been with Jen I’ve cried.  And by crying I mean super ugly cry – not dainty tears.  What is up with THAT?!  I think the Lord is continuing to remind me to cherish every moment I have with my people.  I often wonder if this experience with Jen has changed me forever in a way that I will not ever take my relationships for granted again.  I sure hope so.   Jen and I have had so much FUN through all of this that sometimes I forget what she is facing and how this will all end.  But other times something will trigger my heart and mind and remind me that our time together is limited.  Our laughs are limited.  Our hugs are limited.  Our times for sharing stories is limited.  Our times for her introducing me to fancy food is limited (and thank goodness for that ’cause my pants are getting snug).  And in those times, every single second feels like a gift.  I like to take a mental picture of these moments hoping that in the future I can somehow recall them with abundant joy.   I know we joke a lot both on this blog and in person. But I have to be honest that it’s getting real up in here people.  This cancer is everywhere. And it doesn’t want to go away.  I LOVE my friend dearly.  And I’m so very proud of her.  To watch her embrace life, embrace family, embrace friends and most importantly embrace Jesus in spite of her circumstances is one of the best examples of a true believer I’ve ever seen.   And I imagine God is up there putting a little arrow (>) in the bottom right corner of Jen’s life saying to her ‘there’s more’ to be done here on earth, good and faithful servant.  And for that, we are grateful.

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Much love to you all,

Jamie

PS: No one was harmed (or exhausted) in the building of this amazing sand castle except maybe the people who actually built it.  But it does make for an incredibly precious photograph, don’t you think?

PSS: Sorry for any typos, Leo Tolstoy, but I’m not ABOUT to go back and proofread this novel.