Who Said Miracles Don’t Happen Anymore?

Life can be a series of highs and lows. My life has certainly been a testament to that. Met and married my wonderful husband Eric – High. Tried to conceive for a couple of years, failed fertility treatments, surgery – Low. Successfully got pregnant through IVF – HUGE High! High risk Pregnancy that left me on bed rest for what felt like most of my pregnancy – Low. Delivering premature but healthy twins – High/Low. Six weeks being separated from them in the NICU – Low.

I could go on and on. Today I wanted to tell you about one of my favorite Highs. He is my little Miracle High. Eric and I were told that there is absolutely no way that we could conceive. That is why we went through IVF to conceive Ethan and Ella. I have no doubt that it was indeed a fact. As I said this is a Miracle High.

Here is an excerpt from my family blog in 2008:

Ah I woke up just like the day before. I had no idea that this morning would change all our lives so much! Eric was getting ready for work and I was in bed watching Sports Center (his choice not mine). I remembered that I needed to call in a prescription that day. Before I could get it, I had to take a pregnancy test. My cycle was running way too long and I needed to get on progesterone to get me back on track. I always thought this was a funny thing for me of all people to have to do. I mean we know I can’t get pregnant. On top of that, I went back on birth control after I had Ethan and Ella. I simply was taking it for convenience sake. Eric and I often laughed about all the money we wasted on all those birth control pills early in our marriage. So off I went to pee on my little stick. Unloaded the dishwasher, sat down and watched TV for a minute. Should I get the kids up? Oh no wait….better go check the test and get that out of the way.

I walked into the guest bath and looked at the test on the sink. Double take…..was that TWO lines? Huh? I must be seeing things. I heard Eric say something, so I threw the hand towel over the test and jumped back in bed. Eric said, “Why do you look so weird?” I was still in shock so I said, “just tired.” He went back to the closet to finish getting dressed and I ran back to the bathroom for a second look. Yes. Definitely 2 lines. How did this happen??? I mean I know how it happens for most, but not us! We were told that we couldn’t get pregnant on our own. Holy cow. Eric’s birthday was the next day. Boy could I have fun with this!!! I ran upstairs to get the babies up and whispered my secret in their tiny ears. I am pretty sure they smiled.

Thankfully Eric left shortly after that. (I was told later that I was in MAJOR trouble for letting him go to work because he would have called in sick. Whoops 🙂 I quickly called my mom, my sister, and Kristen. Kristen, my personal OB nurse, reassured me that the home tests were pretty accurate. Even so I had my mom come over so I could get an official blood test at the doctor’s office. I still didn’t believe it. I went and looked at the home test again. Still 2 lines! When I called the doctor’s office to get the test they acted like I was crazy. “Mrs. Greer, we usually don’t do blood tests if you have a positive home test.” I replied, “I know, but I don’t believe it. When can I come in?” I went in immediately, got my blood drawn, and paid to have the results to me stat.

All day I was avoiding calls from Eric and his sister, Amy. How in the world could I play this one off? I couldn’t even sit down I was so excited! I finally got the “official positive” test results from the doctor. Hallelujah! Praise God!! I checked the home test one more time and finally threw it in the trash.

Now how in the world would I give Eric the total shock of his lifetime??? The way we found out we were pregnant with Ethan and Ella was so impersonal. We called into a voicemail box and listened to a stranger tell us the good news. Not that we minded one bit. We were finally pregnant!!

I decided I would get the kids Big Brother and Big Sister T shirts, take their pictures in it, frame it, and give it to Eric for his birthday. Well I am not sure how many of you have tried to get a 16-month old kid to stand still so you can get a good picture of them. Now throw in a second child. It isn’t possible. Just take it from me. So I decided the next best thing was to just wrap up the shirts and let Eric open those.

erics bday

We waited on pins and needles until Eric got home. Of course since we were anxiously awaiting him, he didn’t get home until after 7. After the kids bath, Eric read them a story and they just had to give their Daddy an early birthday present. He didn’t know it, but I was recording the whole thing : )

I turned the camera off right after I told him so we could all snuggle. There were lots of happy tears all around. I was told later that Eric was thinking “Why in the world did she give me some shirts for the kids for my birthday?” Apparently what I thought was pretty plain isn’t plain to a man.

You are gonna blink, and they will be grown up!

“Oh you will blink, and they will be all grown up!”

I usually hear this in the check-out line in Publix. After I have battled my way through every dang aisle with my three children.

Put that back!

Don’t hit your brother!

Don’t hug your sister. That always ends bad.

Stay by me and the cart, so they can pass by.

OUCH!!! You don’t have to be on top of me!

Don’t stop in front of the cart!

OUCH!!! Don’t hit me with the cart!

For Pete’s Sake! Don’t put your mouth on the cart!!!!!!

Although I offer a sweet smile and nod to the little old lady, inside I may be gritting my teeth and spewing a few choice words.

But even deeper down, I know she is right.

IMG_6522Then there has been this week. We had two bursts of snow in Tennessee that has amounted to over 7 inches of snow and 6 out of the last 7 days stranded at home.

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE snow days…. until I don’t 😉 I loved every minute of it until about hour number 96 of not leaving the house. My kids and I are all social creatures who get to a point where we long to be social with someone who doesn’t share the last name. And the homemaker in me is ready to let Chik Fil A cook a meal and give my dishwasher a break from the two loads a day it has been doing the last week. I just need a day for my sanity and, honestly, theirs too.

I know when my kids are off to college, I will miss it. I may see some sweet neighborhood kids out building a snowman and say to the mother, “Oh you will blink, and they will be all grown up!” They may force a grin with their tired, snow day weary bodies. And I hope I remember. I hope I remember that, although, there are fabulous memories being made, it is a lot of work.

This is what getting three kids ready for a snow day at my house looked like this week:

  1. Run around the house to gather a hodgepodge of snow gear for each kid. Crap! Where is the matching glove!!!
  2. Start to dress first child who promptly turns into a limp noodle – long johns, long sleeve t-shirt, hoodie, socks (help me out child!!), snow pants, gloves (one in each hole!!), coat, and finally 15 minutes later – toboggan.
  3. Repeat with each child.
  4. Start to try to get yourself dressed then….
  5. Child #1 comes in and needs a new pair of gloves, because the other ones make her fingers feel funny.
  6. Start to get dressed then….
  7. Child #2 comes in and asks has played long enough to get Hot Chocolate. NO!!!!
  8. Attempt to go to the bathroom then…
  9. Child #3 comes in and asks if you are ever going to come out…
  10. You finally get your own hodgepodge snow gear on minus your boots and gloves because your daughter is now wearing them.
  11. Repeat at least 3 times a day.

It doesn’t just have to be a snow day.  Sometimes just a Tuesday can run you ragged.  Last week my husband was working late, so I was putting my three kids to bed by myself. My older two children read to themselves before bed. I was tired after a long day and ready to trim our 30-minute going to bed routine to 20 minutes. I asked my 7 year old, Matthew, if he wanted to read to himself instead of me reading to him before bed. He was SO excited to be a big kid reader. By the time I finished snuggling, chatting, and praying with Ethan and Ella, Matthew’s light was turned off.

I couldn’t help myself as I went back in his room, snuggled a little more, and got a book to read to him.

Because I am going to blink one day, and he will be all grown up.

Relish reading books, snuggles and the snow days. But give yourself a little grace if you need a minute to recharge your batteries because being a mom is hard work.

CHOOSING to be Positive :)

Last week I wrote about how I was going to CHOOSE to be positive in light of my dad’s cancer diagnosis.  Well here it is in action:

Celebrating the small (not so small) stuff:

1. We woke up this morning.
2. We were well enough to attend church and come see Pa Pa (he stayed home to be safe)
3. Pa Pa still feels good 4 days post chemo!!
4. Getting to eat lunch with Mimi and Pa Pa.
5. Good…no awesome…hair days. Maybe we can use my trimmings to make PaPa an Awesome wig. Kinda like JT during the NSync years 󾌴󾌴;)

Southern Lady-7

Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I say Rejoice.  Philippians 4:4

Cure for the Common Worry-Wart

Direct LIGHT.

I have always had the propensity to worry. I remember as a child staying up late stressing about anything and everything. A spelling test the next day. My locker combination. Who would I sit with at the lunch table? They were all silly things, but they weighed heavy on my small shoulders.  Now that I am a mama, I lay awake some nights and worry about my children’s spelling tests, book chats, and friendships.  It seems as though it is never ending!

I came by it honest. My mama is a worry-wart as was her mother. You could say anxiety is in my genes. (Not to be confused with the anxiety that my skinny jeans give me after Christmas 😉 Fortunately, my mama also gave me a tool to combat my anxiety. Mama always wrote scripture on post-it notes and placed them around her mirror on her vanity. She prayed over the scriptures as she got ready to face the day. She suggested that I write down Phillipians 4:6-7 and put it on my mirror to pray and meditate on each morning.

Phillipians4:6-7

The post-it is a little tattered after 12 years and 3 moves. It has long lost its sticky so it can attach to my mirror, but the verse is engrained in my heart and mind.

A couple of years ago, I was going through a particularly difficult time when my husband and I were dealing with our second battle with infertility. My sweet friend, Ginger, sent me a link to Frances Chan preaching about Phillipians 4:4-7. (Watch it and you will be blessed!)

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

What a blessing it was for me to have a fresh look at the verse I had been praying over for years! By looking at the whole passage, it also gave me a better perspective. If I spend my time rejoicing, I won’t have much time to be anxious. And I don’t need to be anxious because…The Lord is near.

I am in a time in my life where I could be absolutely riddled with anxiety. I wrote recently about my Daddy diagnosis with Stage 4 of a very rare cancer (as in only two hundred cases in the last twenty years). In the last week, we have gotten bad news and even worse news. He was supposed to have surgery on Wednesday to remove his tumor and some lymph nodes. It was cancelled at the last minute because a PET scan showed that it had spread drastically. We can now add inoperable and incurable to the words that are bouncing around like a pinball in my head.

I could easily lay back and succumb to the horrible “what-ifs” that keep trying to bubble up in my head. Instead, I am choosing to rejoice in the Lord and focus on the positive things that He has blessed us with in our seemingly dire situation:

  • Although Dad’s cancer has progressed far along, he is not in any pain now.
  • As much as we wish he could have had the surgery to remove the tumor, it was an extremely complicated surgery with a tremendous amount of possible complications. He was spared that pain.
  • We live in the Nashville area, which is quickly becoming the medical capital of the world. People travel from far away to come to Vanderbilt. We drive up the street and can go home each night.  We have the best doctors in our backyard.
  • Speaking of those awesome doctors, they like to keep a close eye and their hands on people with rare cancers. Dad is personally being treated by the best of the best of the best.
  • Dad is starting chemo on Thursday, but he is going through one of the more tolerable chemo cocktails for patients. Since he hasn’t been in any pain, he will be stronger to deal with any side effects of the chemo.
  • And if/when he has a tough day(s), he is retired and is able to rest and take it easy. Heck he can watch TV and play on his iPad like it is his J-O-B.
  • I am thankful that I am close and can help out. My sister, Amy, is in Texas and it is so hard on her to be far away.
  • My parents have a church family at First Baptist in Dickson, TN that loves them so much. The level of support they have is phenomenal.
  • New drugs are coming out continually for cancer patients. Just because they haven’t found a drug that has cured his cancer, doesn’t mean they won’t.
  • Our hope is not on anything that is here on this earth. Although we don’t understand why Daddy is going through this here and now, we know that Daddy’s eternity is with Him.

None of this is by accident. It is all part of His plan. God is near us as we travel this road.

And because we know all these things, God blesses us with the peace of God which transcends all understanding and guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Thank you, Abba Father, for loving my Daddy even more than I do.

On the SevenFREAKINteenth Day of Christmas Break

On the SevenFREAKINteenth day of Christmas break, I was busy giving myself a pretty good guilt trip.

I need to get out in the sub-zero weather and peddle some Girl Scout cookies with Ella.  

I really should take the kids somewhere fun on one of their last days of break.  

And then after looking at Facebook…Oh look at the super fun trip they are on!!!  Geez my poor kids don’t get to do anything fun.

Alas, my nose was running like a faucet, and I had a ton to do to get ready before my Daddy’s surgery on Wednesday.  My sweet friend, Rheanne, gave me a pep talk when I was having a mini breakdown.  She reminded me that the kids were going to be just fine and that I just needed to focus on taking care of myself and my daddy.

So I allowed myself to remove “Entertainer” from my Mama job description and let them entertain themselves.  And guess what?  The day was pretty awesome.  Sure we stayed in our pajamas all day.  And Matthew played his Lego Dimensions WAY too much, but he also colored an entire dinosaur coloring book.  No one fought (excessively that is) and I didn’t have to take anyone to the ER.  Score!

When I found the below video on my iPhone after the umpteenth low storage message on my phone, I decided we need to have a lot more days like this where the kids can just be kids.

Too many quotes that I love to even pick one!  Of course I had to find the original one that they made a couple of years ago…

We (me included) spend so much time trying to make sure our kids are involved in the right activities, getting good grades and all the other absurd pressures for kids today.

We need to just let them be kids, have fun, use their imagination and record a talk show in their room with their big sister  🙂

 

 

How Daddy Prepared Me For His Cancer Diagnosis – #Pray4PaPa

Brian lesion.  Growth.  Cancer.  Rare.  Malignant.  Cancer.  Aggressive.  Surgery.  Cancer.  Stage 4.  Chemo.

These are the words that have been bouncing around in my head like a pinball and have me struggling to catch my breath at times.

No. Not my Daddy.

It started a couple of months ago when I got a call from my Dad, and he told me in a way too calm voice about a suspicious growth behind his ear. That started weeks of biopsies, CT scans, appointments with various specialists, and waiting. Waiting for insurance, waiting for phone calls, waiting for appointments, waiting for test results. Waiting, Waiting, Waiting.

Getting a Cancer diagnosis is overwhelming. I went from worst-case scenario to complete denial in my head. No. Not my Daddy.  So many questions and often no answers…or a long, painful wait to get some half-answers…or even incorrect answers in some cases.

Now we have an almost complete diagnosis and a plan of action, which puts this control freak somewhat at ease. I am extremely thankful to be living in Nashville, which is quickly becoming the healthcare capital of the world. Dad has the best medical team that is trying to identify and fit all the pieces of his complicated Cancer puzzle.

He didn’t know it at the time, but Dad has raised me with the tools that I need to face his cancer diagnosis and any other trial that comes my way.

Hugs Give Instant Comfort. My Dad has always been very affectionate which he has passed down to me and I to my children. I treasured the time over Christmas that I had to just sit with my Dad and snuggle. I will never take any of his hugs for granted. Even though I have kept my emotions somewhat guarded around my kids, they have a 6th sense and have showered me with hugs, kisses and “I Love Yous” at just the right moment.

Music Soothes the Soul. I remember listening to Three Dog Night and Deep Purple with Dad on his record player for hours when I was a kid.

When I pray for people going through hard times, I pray for Jesus to wrap His arms around them. Jesus wraps His arms around me through music.

When we were waiting for the diagnosis about what type of cancer he had, it was excruciating. God sent me the opportunity to write my first music review. For the days leading up to his appointment, I had MercyMe’s Christmas album on in a constant loop. God blessed me with the ability to be in a constant state of praise in a very uncertain time.

Another time I was trying to get some shopping in before the kids got out of school for break. I had just gotten off the phone with my parents. Dad always waits until Mom gets off the phone and we have our own “Goodbye & I Love You.” I completely lost it in the parking lot. No. Not my Daddy. I sat in the car bawling until Jesus dried my tears through Mindy Smith’s “Come to Jesus” playing on the radio.

Come to Jesus and let Him hold you in His arms.

A Positive Attitude Crushes Negative Thoughts. Dad has such a great outlook about his prognosis. His medical team at Vanderbilt is the best of the best of the best. God has placed his care in very capable hands. Dad’s sense of humor helps us all think positively too. He says he can’t wait to be bald, beautiful, and skinny when he is through all this 🙂 We even laughed last night about Eric and I finally having the time to watch “Catching Fire” during his long surgery since we can’t stay awake for a whole two hours after the kids go to bed 😉

Our Faith is a Verb not just a Noun. Of course we can do all of these things because of the Faith that Dad and Mom instilled in our family. Our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is deep in our heart and souls. I, honestly, don’t know how people deal with struggles without having Him as their rock to lean on. We do not know what God’s will is in this situation. We pray that it complete and total healing for Dad. Whatever direction we go, we know that Jesus will have us wrapped up in His arms and give us the strength to face the next step.

Now the words that I will pray over will be:

Strength.  Faith.  Love.  Jesus.  Healing.  Comfort.

Pray4PaPaSLM

My youngest son, Matthew, wanted to make bracelets for everyone in our family. They are our #Pray4PaPa bracelets. Every time we look at them we say a prayer for Pa Pa, Mimi, & his doctors.

 

When Does School Start Again??

I LOVE my kids. However, they have been out of school almost two weeks with one week to go. Here are 5 reasons I will be the first in drop off line in January:
1. I have no clue what day of the week it is.
2. At one point, I had each kid, my husband and the dog in separate corners. And they were still finding a way to fight through the air vents!!!
3. I desperately need a buy lunch option in the cafeteria
4. They keep uncleaning my Spring cleaning. (Husband included)
5. When I banish them to the backyard for 15 minutes, I spend an hour scrapping mud pies off tennis shoes from our torrential Tennessee Winter Thunderstorms.
But here are 5 reasons I will miss the 3 littles pieces of my heart the instant they step on the sidewalk:
1. Morning snuggles
2. Lazy breakfast with lots of laughter
3. Movie popcorn and snuggles
4. Random “I Love Yous” throughout he day
5. No 3rd grade homework or tears 😉