… so much so that there hasn’t been time to slow down and tell y’all about it. You know, in life, if we’re not careful, we can be so busy trying to ‘capture’ the moment (ie, pictures or blog or FB or whatever) that we actually miss it. I’ve been guilty of that a lot over the years. I woke up in panic on Friday morning worried about making sure we had good pictures for Linc’s birthday (fear unfounded: I had not one but two gifted photographers present who generously shared their talents with our family!). I was reminded how easy it is to miss the moment because I’m so busy trying to capture it. Would it be better to enjoy watching Linc with his birthday smash cake or capture it in a picture?! Anyways, there have been lots of sweet moments over the last 10 days. And, thankfully, many were captured in pictures while I was enjoying the moments. And forgetting to blog about them.
In my last post, we were headed to Tyler for Memorial Day. I expected a laid-back and low-key weekend at the lake with our little family of 3 but what we got was an unexpected Blevins (Scott’s mom) family reunion that was REAL FUN and some Clouse family time and some alone time with Scott too. Dede (Scott’s mom) sheepishly approached me on Friday with, “I have an idea … would you be ok with me keeping Linc at my house overnight …?” We were staying at Aunt KK and Uncle Jeff’s lakehouse and Scott’s parents live in town. I’m still not sure why she thought I’d object or why she approached the idea carefully. Without a pause, I said, “how many nights do you want?” She took him for 2 nights and it was real fun to sleep in, wake up with a view of the lake and trees, go for a run, hang with the hounds, sit by the lake, read, lay out, and do a lot of nothing with Scott. Needed and appreciated. Life is busy. And chemo and doctor’s appointments don’t help. And just waking up with someone or seeing them during the day or kissing them goodnight does not mean you’re emotionally connected. And this girl needs a lot of emotional connection these days! The weekend was perfect toward that end. AND, I got to do one of my all-time favorite things. Ski. I love to ski. And admit that I think there was a part of me that just wanted to get my 40-year-old-bald-self out on the lake and up on one ski and prove to noone but myself that I could still do it. I loved it. We also got Linc in the lake for the first time and that was fun too. As much as his Mama loves water, I need for Linc to follow suit. Though, as you see the pictures, you may wonder if it was as fun for him as it was for me. The life jacket seemed to function like a straight jacket. And not sure if it was comfortable or not but his face sure did give us a laugh. There were no tears but a very serious ‘what is happening here’ face – with a few smiles mixed in once he started playing (if you call laying on your back like a dead fish ‘playing’) with his cousins.
We also celebrated Linc’s first birthday on Friday (the 1st). And that was a lot more of sweet summer with sweet friends! I am still blown away by all my friends have done – and continue to do – for us. Including throw a birthday party for our little man. Given the reality of our world and the fact that I knew Linc doesn’t have a clue, I just decided I wasn’t up for it. Even at my best, without chemo or cancer, planning parties aren’t my thing. So, I decided I was content to celebrate with just Linc and Scott and maybe a cake. Until a sweet morning a couple of weeks ago when I held him and was giving his bottle and the Lord brought me to overwhelming tears of gratitude for his life. As I’ve written and most of y’all know, he’s our little unexpected-birth-control baby. And he was given almost exactly 8 months before we knew I had cancer and unlikely to have any more kiddos. Grace upon grace. Blessings one upon another. Using the language of Scripture and the truths we see over and over in the Old Testament, God is the giver of life and the One who “opens and closes wombs.” He is the same yesterday, today and forever. And the same God who granted life and supernaturally opened and closed wombs all throughout Scripture, has done the same for us. God knew my womb would be closing (at least per doctors though know that’s not too big for him either) and He unexpectedly opened it (despite medicine to prevent it). Simply glorious. And worth celebrating. So, that morning, I left a tearful message for the friends who had already offered to help me with a party. And, unknown to me as I left that message, one of my friends, Kim, had already sent an email affirming her desire to do it at her pool and take care of the food and was coordinating the help of Gigi and Kristi to make it happen. Kristi gave us the invitations and Gigi made everything absolutely adorable and Kim hosted. Amazing friends, huh?! It’s just one of so many examples of how we’ve been loved and served and supported. And blown away. And the party was perfect and fun and easy (at least for me!).
On Saturday after the party, I was talking to a girl who works at Starbucks (also a former neighbor of ours) and she was asking about us, cancer and how I was doing. I kept explaining that I was really doing well – that God is taking care of us, using our friends to do so, and granting us supernatural peace and joy. In an intrigued voice responding to me explaining that I really am good, she said, “yeah, that’s weird …” and it was such a lob to just say, “definitely supernatural. It’s not us. And the weird is just Jesus.” He’s got this. And He’s got us. There I go repeating myself again:) But He just keeps providing – whether it’s peace or joy or meals or babysitting or gifts or notes of encouragement. Or birthday parties. God just keeps reminding us that it’s JESUS that is carrying us along – and using y’all to do it.
And we’re thankful because it seems like the journey could be getting a little bumpier. We’ve only met with the one plastic surgeon (2 more consultations and opinions in upcoming weeks) but the reconstruction surgery (assuming we do some level of reconstruction and just undecided yet about how much) will be somewhat difficult and debilitating. And, this week, I begin the 2 new drugs (administered on same days and schedule) for 4 rounds – every other week. Adramyacin and Cytoxin aren’t supposed to be as ‘easily tolerated’ as Taxol so, though I’m not fearful, I’m apprehensive. I don’t like not knowing what to expect. So, here we are again with another unknown. The last 10-12 weeks have been a new normal but a routine we’ve become accustomed to. And it sounds like we may have another new normal starting Wednesday through July 18th. I’m excited that my college roommates, Mel (aka, Big Mama) and Gulley, are coming up from San Antonio to love on me and Linc for this week’s wildcard. I’ve given them grief that I’ve had to get married or get cancer to for them to brave Dallas. Reason #497 that cancer is more of a blessing than a burden: you finally do the things you’ve been wanting to do and people become far more important than my schedule, agenda, to-do list, and a clean house. I am SO excited to be with them. And for them to take care of Lincoln while I’m in chemo. Linc is in for a treat! And I am too.
One reason not to wait so long to update the blog: the length of this entry! This could have been about 4 quick little updates and not one novella. There may not be many of you who are still reading at this point but, if you are, thank you. And thanks for caring. And thanks for rejoicing with us as we celebrate a fun weekend as a family, our little man Lincoln, and all the ways the Lord is carrying us along through His people. And thanks for praying for our new normal this week, manageable side effects, connection with Scott, continued resilience and flexibility for Linc, and the opportunity to tell others that it’s not weird – it’s just Jesus. He’s in the business of the unexpected.
Here are a few snapshots of our summer so far and the people who have made it so unexpectedly sweet …