YoungLife, you bless me…

We ended our tour de Colorado with more camping. In the car. At a rest stop. At 230am. Yep. I just thought tent-sleeping was an adventure. The party really started when we left YoungLife camp at 830p on Saturday bound for Trinidad (approximately 4 hours) but after major wreck and running the numbers we realized we would be really late getting into Trinidad so rather than Scott’s usual ‘roll into town and see what you find…’ (and trust me we have ‘found some winners’ but that doesn’t discourage him…) we decided to try to look ahead and actually make reservations (a very foreign concept to the man who considers a dinner date with Ungareans on 8.28 ‘long range strategic planning…’). I wish that I had taken a screenshot of every ‘rejection’ we got from every single city between Denver and Trinidad. Scott was like ‘surely not everything in Colorado Springs is sold out…’ so I showed him that there were four pages of hotels but all said ‘no booking available’. Except for one. The Valustay Inn (they can’t even correctly spell ‘Value’?) which had a rating of ‘poor’. But beggars are in fact poor and not choosy. And yet even the Valustay rejected me in a voicemail loop into nothingness. ‘If you know parties extension dial it now. If you need reservations please press zero…’ I press zero. And wait. And then hear ‘if you know your parties extension ….’ Same song. 14th verse. I was desperate and hopeful whoever was supposed to be answering the phone would wake up and answer the phone! No such luck. Thankfully Linc fell asleep before we hardly got off YoungLife property and missed the 13 miles of wreck (not exaggerating) and the hotel search o madness. Rather than scream or fume at Mr. No Pulse (opposites attract right?), I went to sleep. And woke up at 230a to see him pulling into a rest stop. With not a cringe or any lack of confidence. I asked if it was safe and read aloud the sign that said ‘no overnight parking’ … As he was commenting that he was just hoping for a parking spot. It was packed! I reiterated my concerns about safety and Mr Chill pointed out fact that we were surrounded by cars and other ‘overnight parkers.’ He got Lincoln out of his car seat and laid him in backseat and as he woke up he was excited to find out ‘this is just like camping again…’ All smiles. For reals. I. Am. Totally. Outnumbered. We covered him with a towel, Scott got me a blanket, we all had our camping pillows and Scott got into his sleeping bag behind the wheel. I woke up 4 hours later to an amazing sunrise and Scott looking at me with a smile, a gleam in his eye, and a fist coming out of his sleeping bag … I got a fist pump and he said ‘Don’t lie … You are excited you saved $100 on hotel and just slept in the car…’ What is wrong with this man?! And the worst part … He’s totally right! Many miles down the road I told him the biggest problem with the whole incident is that I was secretly thinking this was a ‘win’ (not that I keep score or anything…) for me and that he would learn once and for all that planning is helpful and maybe you can’t always wing it … But that I feared he was secretly calling it a win for himself because, as he says, ‘see it always works out…’ And both of us are right! And, needless to say, this will be the first my mom is hearing about her child and grandson sleeping on the side of the road…

But, if we had it to do all over again we still would have left at that crazy late hour from camp because we spent the last hour we were there hearing over 100 kids profess their trust in Christ. Amazing. And, a special gift to me, was that the Lord allowed me to befriend several kids at camp and all came to know Him as Savior over the week. One was this perky cheerleader Noelle at the pool. Another was a group of grumpy girls at ‘club’ (YoungLife ‘speak’ for ‘the talks’ each night) that weren’t respecting their leader and were rolling their eyes wanting to leave so I just scooted closer and put my arm around one of them. And, my very favorites, a group of special needs friends from Austin. During leaders meetings most of the kiddos are on their own but these friends needed a little more attention so Scott and I and some others hung out with them in the gym while their leaders went to the leaders’ meetings. And melt my heart! Linc especially loved Ty who we later learned already knew Christ but the rest of these kiddos all came to know Jesus’ love for them during the week…

Ty is the one by Lincoln and my other new friends (left to right), Marisa, Alex, and Song. I felt especially close to Marisa and she sweetly shared on Th night that she wasn’t ready to trust Him though she didn’t know why. That night I shared my story with her and Ty and we took this picture. 

 Lincoln, who regularly says ‘I don’t like pictures’, voluntarily took this picture and voluntarily put his arm around Ty. They were the sweetest blessing of the week and my trip! 

Marisa obliged me with one more photo after she shared with me and everyone that she had trusted Christ as her Savior. I love this girl! 

And these were the ‘grumpy girls’ (who later laughed and danced and made me smile so big!) and the one with the single bun next to me, Shaylah, trusted Christ. 
We loved loved loved being with the Manos’ and celebrating Nick’s gifts of loving kiddos and bringing the Gospel to life. 


And for all my friends and people who have volunteered with YoungLife or have kids in YoungLife or give financially to YoungLife … Well done! Wow. They. Love. Kids! And it blessed my heart. Big time!

One last little tidbit. As noted in the last post, cancer doesn’t take a vacation and ‘the real world’ was all too real today. We were back at Baylor within first 24 hours of being home … Blood work, quick chat with Dr. Osborne to feel my neck and then scans. She confirmed my concern regarding the ‘English pea’ I felt but also even more concerned with a ‘lumpy area’ (my term not hers) in the same vicinity. So, from there we were off to CT scan of chest and she added a scan of the neck. 

Christina, our nurse, called at the end of the day and said the neck part of the scan hadn’t been finalized yet (should hear more in the morning) but there were ‘mixed results’ from the chest. Appears that the 2 bigger lesions/masses in my liver are a bit smaller. However, new lesions have appeared. And the small spot in my lungs seems to be a tiny bit bigger. Those results combined with the spot on my brain and possibly in my neck (lymph nodes) has Dr Osborne unsure what to do next. We may continue the chemo regimen or consider a trial or another combination of medicines. She has a hard job! Christina said Dr O wanted  to go down to radiology to look at the scans and compare them to previous scans herself. Did I mention I think she has a hard job? After I texted my mom and Scott with Christina’s preliminary report , my mom replied that ‘I am stopping now to pray for wisdom for her’ and  Scott commented that she has hard and weighty decisions and needs our prayers. So, I texted Dr O and Christina and told them that I knew my friends and family (that’s you guys…😉) would be praying for wisdom for her. Christina replied immediately and said to quit making her cry and right thereafter Dr Osborne said: Hugs and prayers to all of you and thank you for those prayers directed my way, very appreciated.

So, needless to say, it would bless me if you would pray for her wisdom and insight and for her to be able to rest with us in knowing the Lord is good and sovereign and doesn’t make mistakes and can always be trusted. 

She has me. And yall have me. But, more importantly, He has me! And Scott. And Lincoln. And Shayla and Noelle and Marisa and Alex and Song. His children can rest in good and capable hands.


27 thoughts on “YoungLife, you bless me…

  1. AWESOMENESS….LOVE, LOVE LOVE camping in the car story, YL stories and the response from nurse and dr…PRAYING…YES 🙂

  2. Doug and I totally relate to the camping in the car story. Almost happened to us many, many years ago. At the time we had 3 kiddos and I had asked my sweetie to make sure we had a place to stay. It still makes for a fun story when we’re all together. As always, you’re a huge encouragement to us. We’re definitely praying for all those involved in making decisions regarding your treatment. Big love and Big hugs.

  3. Nothing makes my heart happier than YL camp! So glad you got to be there-and live to think about you living on kids. Praying for you and wisdom for decision makers!

  4. Laughing, praising the Lord and crying with you. What a fun adventure. Praying for Dr. O and all of those helping you all with decisions for next steps.

  5. I absolutely loved reading about your trip!!! And in my book, you are a rock star for both your camping adventures! Praying right now for you guys and for your medical team. Love how they love you so much.

  6. I’m praying now. And oozing with jealousy that you went to YL camp. One of the best places in the whole wide world. Love!

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. I love you guys and my family loves you all so much. We miss you so much and all of our horn creek family. Loved our time together and we are lifting you, Scott and Lincoln up as well as your doctors and care providers in prayer. We know that Jesus is walking with you. Thank you for sharing with us and know that you are in our thoughts and prayers every single day. Scott and I are so much the same person prior to Marla and 3 girls. My kind of planning before this crew I have now. Love you!

  8. I prayed for your Dr. O this morning, Jen. AND I wanted to say that we also slept in our car on the side of the road (maybe it was at a rest stop?!? I don’t even remember!) on our way home from Colorado one year, too!! Absolutely NO available hotel rooms, from Colorado through the panhandle! My dad eventually gave up around 4am! Aww, memories:) Ha!! I love your storytelling!

  9. Your post had me in tears from laughing. I was a YL leader on Nick’s team with Scott. It was such a great experience! I love the fist pump comment. Seriously, you are hilarious.
    I’m praying for the Drs. to have wisdom to know what to do next.

    Thank you for showing me how you can continue to enjoy life in the midst of cancer. I did not have this example from watching my mom deal with exactly what you are going through for years and it was a very difficult experience because she would always minimize my pain or trials because “i didn’t know what it was like to live with cancer”.

    You are very inspiring. You are such a blessing. I hope the Lord gives you many more years and that the doctors will find a drug that will make the cancer stable.

  10. Dear Jen,

    Your stories are hilarious and full of heart.
    I prayed yesterday and will continue to pray for wisdom for Dr. O. I know Nurse Christina is a special person.
    I am married to someone who likes to have a well-planned itemized itinerary and we have still ended up in questionable rest stops!
    And the Lord always took care of us.
    May you have a fun and relaxing day Jen. We are holding you up.

  11. I am Debbi Chesney’s aunt and a close friend of Kristi Goldenberg. You are so beautiful in His image and I feel so blessed to know you through your blog. You make God smile as He hugs you, Lincoln and Scott. You bless all of us sweet one. Prayers and love are with each of you. In His Name, Cherry

  12. Will be praying… I’ve been wanting to tell you that on the day at Bible study you talked about your dad’s namesake park, I was detoured on my way to my daughter’s volleyball practice. I drove right past Mike Lewis park! I’d been praying to be able to see God’s connections. Thank you for your help in that. Praying…

  13. Can I say that I just don’t know where to begin….. God is good all the time, all the time God is good. Loved reading about your amazing trip and these amazing kids and adults. NOW to the big stuff….. Yikes! Prayers for Dr. O. You gave me a new perspective on a doctor’s job. It is hard, ESPECIALLY if they care. And obviously she does plus all of your medical team. Many many prayers for you and your family.

  14. We missed seeing you and your precious family at Horn Creek this year. Loved the recounting of all your adventures at Horn Creek and Young Life Camp. I thank God for your influence in these young lives. Our prayers continue to be with you and your extended family of friends and medical personnel.

  15. Well, we have laughed until we cried as we have followed your CO adventures with tent-camping and car camping and everything in-between. What a privilege you had at Young Life camp and just think that there will be kids in HEAVEN because of your witness! If that doesn’t crank you up, what could. Then we have just plain cried as we have thought of going home to more tests and decisions and we are praying always for you guys and for wisdom for the docs. We love you!

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