"As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
Joshua 24: 15

4th Chemo Treatment - August 25th

4 down...only 2 more to go...YAY!!! In an ultrasound done on Friday the doctor could not find any tumors...PRAISE GOD!!! And all my lympnodes looked normal...isn't He wonderful!!! Thank you all so much for your prayers! This week is suppose to be pretty rough...my blood work today showed that I'm anemic and the treatment will drop those blood levels even further. So please be praying for supernatural energy and strength for me this week as I combat the fatigue. If anyone is interested in running the "Race for the Cure", Donna Davis is putting together a group, named Michelle's Angels, to do the untimed 5k together. Race day is Saturday Sept. 20th. If you're interested call the church at 250-2575 ext. 11. I'll be there to cheer everyone on but I don't think I'll be up for running the 5k...I am thinking about doing the 1 mile fun run/walk...we'll see.


Ethan has always been our cautious child. But on Friday he threw caution to the wind and decided it would be fun to jump off the monkey bars at school. We iced it on Friday night hoping it would be better by Saturday morning but it was only worse. So we took him to the doctor and had them do an X-ray. Luckily his foot didn't break but he did sprain it pretty bad. They put a splint on it and told us not to let him walk on it. We pulled out my old crutches and went to work teaching him how to use them. He did not pick it up too well and was very frustrated at himself for not being able to use them right. It didn't help that Christlyn has speeding through the house on another old pair of crutches like an old pro.
By Sunday he was done with the crutches and it was more a fight to get him to even try to use them. After a few hours of carrying him around I said enough was enough and told him if he could walk on his foot without it hurting then go right ahead. So he's been limping around since then, happy to be free of the crutches.

Can You Still Sing?

Today I received a card from a woman who is my hero in the faith. A wife and mother who has been in trenches I couldn’t bear to battle through, yet in those trenches experienced Christ in ways most people couldn’t even imagine. Her own loss is still so very fresh, yet she has faithfully been writing me, encouraging me, and lifting me up in prayer since my diagnosis. In her card today she wrote of Paul and Silas in prison and posed a hypothetical conversation between them, a question that Paul might have asked, and it pierced my soul…”Silas, can you still sing?”

In Acts chapter 16 is the story of when Paul and Silas were thrown into prison for casting a spirit out of a girl. Not only were they thrown into prison, but they were also severely beaten. While chained in their prison cell they began to pray and sing hymns. Suddenly there was a great earthquake that caused their chains to fall off and the doors of their cells to open.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have definitely felt beaten down and imprisoned by emotions, sickness, and even fear over the past two weeks. The Lord has given me such a peace throughout this journey, but the last two weeks I've been under attack and it's become a fight at times to keep my eyes on Christ. I'd begun entertaining that nagging little voice in the back of my head that was asking all the “what-ifs”. What if treatment doesn’t work? What if it just comes back a couple years down the road? If I got Breast Cancer so young, what other types of cancer am I going to get? What if my husband doesn’t find me attractive after my surgeries? And a dozen other morbid thoughts. To top it all off, my last treatment left me extremely fatigued for a full week, and for the first time I couldn’t take care of my kids. Thankfully my sister was in town to help take care of them, but still, I spent countless hours laying in bed crying because I was physically unable to care for my sweet children. I battled feeling completely defeated and like a failure as a mother. The fatigue tapered off last weekend and I was able to resume my daily activities this week, but I’ve still struggled with all the other emotions. Feeling bound for the first time in a long time. Needless to say, my friend’s card came at the perfect time. And I felt the Lord asking me…”Michelle, can you still sing?” And then the song that I’d been humming for the past two days came to life inside of me and I had no choice but to start singing aloud with tears streaming down my face…

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light
My strength
My song.
This cornerstone
This solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought or storm.
What heights of love
What depths of peace
When fears are stilled
When striving ceased.
My comforter
My all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone
Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save.
Till on that cross
As Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied,
For every sin on him was lain
Here in the death of Christ I gain.
There in the ground
His body laid
Light of the world
By darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave he rose again.
And as he stands in victory
Sins curse has lots it’s grip on me
For I am his and he is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life
No fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry
Till final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell
No scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from his hands
Till he returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

I have experienced my own "earthquake" of sorts, and had the chains of fear, doubt, and failure shaken right off of me, I am free! His peace has surrounded me again and I know I can do anything for Him...even Breast Cancer. So, I will sing His praise with every breath that He gives me. And I challenge you, if you find yourself bound by things of this world to start singing His praise and just watch what happens!

Thank You Erin!

Christlyn's Tea Party - August 16th

This year Mommy wasn't up for throwing Christlyn a big birthday party, so Grammy stepped in and decided to have a tea party for Christlyn and her friends. The girls had so much fun dressing up in big frilly dresses, hats, and lots of costume jewelry. They got to enjoy fruits, finger sandwiches, cookies, and of course tea...on glass plates and cups. They giggled as Christlyn's Grammy served them their tea while speaking in an english accent. A few joined in themselves trying their best to imitate the funny accent.

They all had so much fun! Happy 6th Birthday Christlyn!!!

Christlyn's 6th Birthday - August 15th

Not even the start of school could keep Christlyn from having the best 6th Birthday possible. She got to take cupcakes and special pictures of herself to share with her class on Friday, as well as a show and tell object...she chose George, the stuffed monkey Nana got her. Then after school Grammy picked her up and took her to Build-A-Bear for a special birthday present event. Together they built a special bear (actually black lab puppy) for Christlyn. She took great care in hugging each animal to find the perfect mix of cutness and softness needed in the perfect pet. Here's Christlyn and her new Build-A-Pup, Hannah, at home for her Family Birthday Party. Since Mommy wasn't feeling well Aunt Kathryn stepped up and put on an awesome party for Christlyn.

Here's Christlyn with her new hand painted umbrella! We saw them making these in Silver Dollar City and Christlyn fell in love! Mommy whispered the idea into Aunt Kathryn's ear and let her creative side take over. Christlyn's umbrella outdoes all of the ones at Silver Dollar City!
And here's the butterfly cake that Aunt Kathryn made...it was gorgeous and delicious!

First Day of School - August 14th

Today was the first day of school for Christlyn and Ethan. Ethan couldn't get out the door fast enough and was not thrilled to have to stop and take pictures. After watching Christlyn get to go to school every day for the last two school years he is thrilled to finally be going himself. He bounced right out of bed this morning, threw on his back pack and headed for the door. He was not real thrilled when we made him get dressed, brush his teeth and hair, and eat breakfast. He had his eye on the door and wanted to go. Christlyn, the old pro now, knew the drill and fought getting out of bed, lingered over breakfast, and dragged her feet out the door to pose for her picture.
But she got excited about getting to show Ethan the ropes and took upon herself the responsibility of telling him everything he needed to know about school. From the Janitor's name, to how much fun recess is, to the showing him the computer lab and library, and how classroom procedures worked, she tried not to leave a single important detail out.

Ethan was happy to already know one of the boys in his class and they took to playing right away. I could barely get a goodbye hug out of him. Oh how fast they grow up!

3rd Chemo Treatment - August 11th

Today we hit the halfway point in my Chemo treatment, exciting as that is knowing that everything from here on out is down hill, strangely I found myself angry. As I looked around the treatment room everyone else was easily 30 years my senior. My being there just wasn't "right". I was surprised by the emotion because I really haven't been angry or upset since the first week or so after diagnosis. But there I was, walking into the treatment area and all I wanted to do was stamp my feet, throw a fit, and turn around and walk right back out the door. I mean after all how on earth can "I" be sick...how can "I" have cancer. I eat right, I exercise, I do everything right (anyone notice how many I's were in those statements...I'd taken my eyes off the mark). Then just as quickly as the anger had swept over me the Lord reminded me of Psalms 145:13-14 "The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds those who fall down and lifts up all who are bowed down." I immediately felt His peace and grace surround me anew as I bowed my heart before Him and resubmitted to His will. I don't have all the answers as to why I'm here right now, but I am certain that He has not abandoned me and that He is working this out for good. He always keeps His promises and He is so very good...I have nothing to be angry about. So with that moment passed I settled in for treatment. Everything went smooth. All of my blood levels were great...thanks so much for all your prayers about my platelet levels, they're back up to normal! And the cancer continues to respond to treatment. I'm more tired after this treatment than others...but I was more tired going into it as well. My hair is just about gone and with today's treatment I expect the rest to be gone within the next couple of days...I'm still holding out hope for my eye brows and eye lashes but we'll see. The kids have handled my bald head very well. Christlyn's first comment to me was "Oh! Well you don't embarras me at all". Then a few days later she said that I was still just as beautiful as before. Ethan hasn't really come up with any cute comments, but his indifference to my bald head speaks volumes, as my hair loss had been a huge fear of his and had upset him greatly when we talked about it happening. Best of all, I'm okay with it. I think the hardest part of the hair loss was waiting for it and worrying what it would be like. Now that my hair is gone and the worrying is over everything is great, I'm not at all embarrased or ashamed of my bald head and I don't grieve my hair. The only reason I wear a hat, scarf, or wig in public is really for everyone else...at home I don't usually wear anything on my head. And the amount of time I save getting ready every day is amazing! Mom stopped by treatment today and took a couple of pictures of me, one of the nurses offered to take a picture of both of us but she declined because she was "having a bad hair day" I laughed and told her that was not a good excuse in my presence. I think she felt awful for her slip of tongue but don't worry mom I'm okay and it was actually really funny! All in all things are going well. I am blessed to have a such a faithful and loving husband who has been by my side constantly. When I'm sad he makes me laugh, when I cry he holds me tight, when I'm sick and exhausted and unable to do much of anything he steps in and steps up and runs the house and kids like a pro. He spends countless hours holding my hand or rubbing my feet during chemo and always knows just what to say to keep my spirits raised. He's not afraid to buzz my head...although I think he's just happy he's not the one in the family with the least hair anymore...LOL. And he's made countless trips to the drug store at all hours of the night for whatever I need. All this without complaining and with such an attitude of love towards me and the kids. Best of all...he still thinks I'm beautiful...bald head and all...and I can see in his eyes that he means it. Like I said I am so very blessed. So with three treatments down and only three more to go this is what I've learned so far...the Lord is faithful and His ways are perfect. I can't even begin to write about his goodness and peace that I am constantly surrounded by; and even joy in this difficult journey. He is more than enough for whatever we face in life...and he will give each of us what we need daily if we will just abide in Him. Thank you for your continued prayers and support....we love you.

Branson - August 3rd - 6th, 2008

Our family vacation to Branson was amazing!!! Every second was filled with fun and excitement. And best of all I was feeling good and was able to enjoy everything! Here we are all at Montana Mikes on Sunday evening just after arriving in Branson.

The kids loved the pool...then again what kid doesn't? Ethan got a chance to show off all the new tricks he learned in Wichita. Like Cannon Balls, and underwater summersaults.
Jadon got to ride around in the innertube and try to dodge the splashes Ethan and Christlyn sent his way!
A Breakfast for champions before a full day at Silver Dollar City...I think this was probably Jadon's favorite part of the day...all you can eat donuts, waffles, and yogurt, it doesn't get better than that for him! And the way he eats he may have put the hotel chain out of business.

Here we are riding the trolley to the park!
Welcome to Silver Dollar City!
Christlyn loved this playhouse...in fact she was asking for it for her birthday...hint hint grandpa, think you could build one?

I'm done with time out corners...I need to get me one of these.
Ethan and Christlyn really enjoyed this ride where we got to ride around in boats and shoot at targets...if you'll look in the background you'll see Dorian really enjoyed it too...LOL!

All aboard the Silver Dollar City Train Line! This was a must see and do for Ethan and all he could talk about the week prior to our vacation...a real train ride! Christlyn was a little nervous because we'd told her that the train was going to be stopped by train robbers...she couldn't understand that it was part of the ride and when we got to the part with the robbers she tried to hide under the seat...Ethan however turned his hand into a gun and tried to defend us all!
Off to the kiddie rides!!!

Hmmmm....what should we ride next???
We took a little break from the heat in the afternoon and went inside to see the Ice Circus. Christlyn was mezmorized by the skaters...especially this Russian skater who skated on stilted ice skates.
Now off for a grown up roller coaster!!! I can't believe Ethan went on this...but he loved it!

Daddy showing Jadon how this ball vacuum worked. After Dor gave him the tutorial he walked around for quite a while collecting balls and putting them one by one inside the tube until they were sucked out of his hand.
Ethan's favorite was the ball gun...he could have spent a week right there and still not had enough time!
Playing around at the farm...here Dorian and Ethan are pulling themselves up the silos...actually I think Dor was doing all the work.
Christlyn's turn.
Time to milk Bessie...Christlyn's a natural.

Time for another Air Conditioner Break...here we're visiting the Kid's Conncotion room where the kids got to play with all kinds of unique toys. Jadon was working on his fine motor skills with these blocks and pegs.
Here the kids made all kinds of creations with Floam!
Another great treat at Silver Dollar City was getting to see Veggie Tales Live! The kids loved the show and loved getting to meet Bob and Larry. Larry, being the prankster that he is, stole Ethan's hat and put it on Bobs head...the kids couldn't stop laughing as they tried to jump up and reach it!

Someone has had a really long day!

Here we are at Branson Landing getting ready for the fountain show.
After a long day what could be better than a soak in the hot tub?

"To Infinity and Beyond"

Here we are at the Sight and Sound Theater. We were all so excited to get to see their production of Noah. It exceeded all of our expectation!
What a wonderful trip we had! But I must admit...it's nice to be home and to get some rest!