May Graces

It has been awhile since my last post.  In April I had another clear scan which makes it over one year of having clear scans.  I mentioned the word remission in previous posts.  I choose to believe I am in remission, even though I am on chemotherapy and we don’t know if it’s the chemo working or if I’m actually in remission.  Neither my doctor nor I want to test it out by going off of chemo.  

I haven’t written anything lately because I didn’t know what to write.  I’ve been feeling blah, not good, not bad.  Then recently a friend asked me, “How do you stay close to God on a daily basis?”  I haven’t been doing the things I used to do to stay close to God.  I stopped going to church daily because Anabel’s pre-k schedule didn’t match morning mass times.  I still pray in the car daily, but my thoughts are often wandering or I just recite words without meaning in hopes of getting prayers done before reaching my destination.  On some nights, I find myself not joining my children for bedtime prayers because I had to write something for work.  I consciously realized I was getting further away from God, but I wasn’t making any effort to change my behaviors.

Then May happened.  This month of May has been full of graces for me and it is something I needed spiritually.  First, I went to a wedding of two friends and got to witness love and joy.  It was great to see people at the event that I haven’t seen since college and I was humbled to hear people were following my story even though I haven’t spoken with them in years.  Next, I got to visit a friend who recently had twins and it was great seeing his excitement about being a father for the first time.  Also, we celebrated my dad’s 70th birthday.  My dad’s party was a surprise bash filled with laughter and more laughter.  A childhood friend, who is usually overseas, was able to attend the party and it was great catching-up and reminiscing about “the good old days”.  To top it all off, my cousin became engaged and I got to be a part of more love and joy.  May was full of love, joy, and excitement.

Katie turned nine in May.  Her birthday is very special to me because when I was first diagnosed I would pray, beg, and barter with God for me to be alive to see my children grow up.  So this makes five birthdays Katie has had since I was diagnosed.  Survival rates for stage IV cancer are based on 5 years.  When first diagnosed, I had a 5-7% chance of surviving 5 years and then that dropped even lower when it metastasized to my brain.  Katie’s birthday is a marker for me because I didn’t think I would be alive to celebrate with her for this long.  I don’t know what my future holds for upcoming birthdays, but I praise and thank God I’m alive to witness this past birthday.

This in turn leads me to my friend’s earlier question, “How do you stay close to God on a daily basis?”  It is not easy.  I found God when I was first diagnosed.  I needed God because I was terrified of not being there for my family.  It’s frustrating, but I find it’s easier for me to stay close to God when I struggle.  Looking back on my life, prior to being diagnosed, I never truly struggled.  I had ups and downs but I never really had an experience I couldn’t handle on my own.  I always believed in God, but never felt I had a need to focus on God outside of church.

My answer to my friend’s question changes frequently.  It took him asking me the question to bring God back to center in my life.  I don’t believe in coincidences and his question helped me realize the many graces I experienced with friends and family affirms my belief in God.  Through these experiences, I’m able to see God everywhere and in everything.  When that happens, God is in my life daily.  Thanks Nuge.

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Our Easter pic

 

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Wedding after party

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Capt. Party and family

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We had sailor hats and staches for my dad’s 70th. He was in the Navy and had a mustache the majority of my childhood.

Sarahs good pic

My 93 year old grandmother, grandkids and great grandkids

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Anabel’s Pre-K graduation pic.  I just love this pic and had to throw it in.

 

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