a miracle. {recap of the last 15 days}

Jesus replied "What is impossible with man is possible with God." Luke 18:27

15 days ago we took Naomi in for a cough that she had for going on four days. I was really just tired of not sleeping, I figured it was croup and she could get some meds and we would be on our way. Or I should say Andrew on his way, he took Naomi in, so I could go into work, thinking it wouldn't be a big deal.

It was a big deal.

Dr. Beck, the amazing doctor who did such a thorough exam on Naomi's chest requested an x-ray after giving Naomi a breathing treatment and hearing that things just didn't sound right. Nothing else wrong with her-no fever or acting differently, just a cough. {And thank you to Dr. Beck for trusting her instinct and not just sending us on our way with meds!}

An x-ray for a cough. Really? Yes, God knew exactly what was happening.

We immediately were told to head to Riley because a large tumor was found near Naomi's heart and lungs.

I will never forget the moment we stepped in our home to gather our belongings as quickly as possible before heading to Riley. Andrew and I stopped right there on our wood floors and fell to our knees to pray. Really to cry out to save our baby. And God knew.

By the evening time at Riley we were told they were 95% sure it was Neuroblastoma based on the initial characteristics of the x-ray and the CT Scan they performed, but more tests would need to be ran to confirm. A hospital worker, seemingly unfamiliar with what to tell patients when they first hear the news that their two year old has cancer, told us Naomi would start chemo the next day after her biopsy and bone marrow check. Those words shocked us. What was going on? All of a sudden we were in the cancer unit at Riley and wheeling my baby around in a red wagon with IV's dripping fluids into her. But God knew exactly what was happening.

Thankfully, around 11pm that night, Dr. West came into the picture and she quickly crushed that idea of starting chemo the next day. She said we would try to do the biopsy and bone marrow check, but wasn't sure if we would. She has had a calm and confidence to her the whole time, that we respect so much.

That's all we knew. Neuroblastoma. I did not google it. I refused to go there. Only through stories that had reached me did I know that it appeared to be an aggressive childhood cancer that can require years of treatment. But God knew. And this surreal peace came rushing in. It was literally like God telling me not to worry, He has this. He knows. He is right there. Right here.

Then Dr. West gave us hope. She said if they can surgically remove 90% of the tumor, sometimes the rest of the tumor can regress on it's own if it had not spread yet. That is what I was holding on to, that is what I hoped and prayed and pleaded to God.

We ended up not getting a bone marrow check or biopsy on that Friday, but we did get an abdominal scan to see if the cancer spread there. It didn't. Which was amazing news, being that with Neuroblastoma, many times if it has spread, it is there. If it hadn't gone to the abdomen, could it possibly have not spread? We didn't know yet, but God knew.

We were sent home until Tuesday morning, surgery day. We were home for nearly four days to be showered with love, rejuvenate our bodies and souls. And just to be in the moment. God knew how much that would help our family.

Surgery couldn't have gone better. Not to mention, somewhere around ten countries were praying for sweet Naomi. And thousands of people. Every update we had was great news and the last update was just astounding--they were able to get 95% of the tumor. More than they had hoped. Because God is bigger. God knew.

 I'm sharing the before and after scans so you can you get a better understanding of the size of the tumor and how this is truly a miracle that it did not spread and ended up being mostly benign. The tube going down on the right picture is from her breathing tube. 

For recovery, Naomi was put in a general recovery area of the hospital, instead of the cancer floor because that floor was full. At that moment, God spoke to me and said it was because we weren't going to be dealing with cancer. Sounds crazy? It's true.

Naomi recovered from surgery so well. She was able to move onto her side almost immediately, which wasn't even a goal until the next day. She went potty within 20 minutes of her catheter being removed. Two days after the procedure, the goal was to walk three times. She got up and walked six times.

And then the news came. What we had been waiting on...had it spread? Is it in her bone marrow? The thing is, I knew the answer. God knew the answer and He gave me that peace that surpasses all understanding. My usual self would have been worried sick waiting for that news, scared, in full anticipation. But I never felt that. When the news came, we obviously were ecstatic and Andrew and I slapped each other a high five and I did a little dance in the halls of those white, sterile rooms. But what God had been telling us, was just confirmed.

It didn't spread. In fact, most of the tumor was benign, what is called Ganglioneuroma. Some cancerous cells did show up, but they wouldn't require treatment because the surgery was able to remove it all. The 5% that was left? Benign. [That was confirmed today when Naomi had an mIBG scan to check for hidden spots and anymore cancerous cells.]

That's it. Surgery. Done. Only follow up testing.

I never looked up stats or wanted to know what treatment might look like. I knew chemo and radiation could most definitely be on the radar, but I also knew God gave me a peace that could only come from Him. And whatever was going to happen, He knew.

On the way up today to get Naomi's scan I asked Andrew to look up a stat. I told him to find out what the chances would be that when diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, that you would only need surgery to remove it. He found an article that stated 6%. (And here is where I should give credit to the article, but I honestly don't know where he found it, and yeah, I'm sure there are other stats out there that say differently. But the point is, it is a very low number.) SIX PERCENT.

So Naomi beat the odds. But the thing is, God doesn't run on chances or 'beating the odds' nor is he constrained by time or age or stats. God sees eternity. And that is why His plan is so much better than mine. I'm going to continue to throw stats out the window.

None of this is by accident. The way everything happened. The outcome. The chances of Naomi's Neuroblastoma actually being low-grade, especially for her age (usually low-grade is in infants, not 2.5 year olds). The fact that the tumor was in a location fairly easy to remove, in other words, not wrapped around other organs. The way Naomi responded to her IV injection today and yesterday with barely a blink. The way she wasn't even bothered when her drainage tube was removed today. A tube out of her chest, did not phase her.

I'm not saying this to make it look like this journey was easy. Or that I was happy the whole time. I cried and had to watch Naomi be in pain and recover and spend nights sleeping on a hard tiny sofa, if you can even call it that. I was away from my other two children more than I ever would have wanted to be. But I did feel peace. And comfort from God the Creator of all things. Naomi's story cannot be told without God being mentioned. Because He was and is clearly present. Prayer is powerful and we gathered an army to pray for her. {Thank you for sharing our story and praying.}

We have one more test on Tuesday, a bone scan to make sure Naomi's spine or other bones weren't affected by it, being that part of the tumor was resting on her spine. But pretty much in the last 15 days, God worked a miracle in Naomi. God is real and relevant. And that in despair and when you are in your darkest moment, a nightmare, God will carry you through. And light will come. In His time, which is not of this world, but with eternity in mind.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

I don't know what tomorrow will bring. But what I've learned from this, is to take today for what it is--a gift. I know that we will face more hardships in the days ahead, but I'm thankful that I can document this miracle and be reminded of how God used our little Naomi to bring glory to Him and He saved her. Being at the feet of Jesus, clinging to His robe is a place where grace abounds.


love endures. {an opportunity to help someone else}

While Lincoln was taking a late afternoon nap today, I sat at the dining room table in awe of the sights, sounds, and smells that surrounded me. Naomi kept tiptoeing in wearing her favorite Rapunzel dress. [Mind you, that was probably her fourth change of the day, and she only had been home for a few hours. That girl can change like a boss. Drainage tube hanging from her has nothing on her ability to strip down.] And I listened to her toddler voice with the missing "Ls" and slurred sentences. I pretty much want to video everything that comes out of her mouth because her voice needs to be boxed up and savored. I overheard Andrew playing a princess game with Audrey, vibrations of joy came straight from her. I looked at my counter and it was filled with cookies from the afternoon. While we were at the hospital with Naomi to get a dye injection earlier in the day, my sister and friend decorated cookies with the kids. Like no big deal. We will pick your kids up from school, take them to get special decorating stuff at the store, bake cookies with them, and make memories. My refrigerator is full of food, none of which I have bought. I can't remember the last time I went the grocery store. We filled up our gas tank with a gift card from someone. We have a huge box sitting on our counter for Naomi, surely filled with sweet pink things. The smell of homemade chicken pot pie and pomegranate blueberry vinaigrette filled the air enough that I had to stop typing and go eat. Because, YUM. I haven't made dinner for the last 14 days. We received multiple cards of encouragement in the mail today both from strangers and friends.

Every blessing. Every time I say thank you it just doesn't seem sufficient for what we are receiving. God is using each person to create this safety net for us. It's like saying, just fall, we will catch you. Your burden is ours.

That's exactly what God has been telling me the whole time. My burden is His. He gave His son. For me. For you.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5


Instead of feeling such emotions of turmoil these last two weeks, we have felt an abundance of love, hope, joy, peace, and faith. Through it all.

Love never gives us, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through all circumstances. 1 Corinthians 13:7

You guys, we had meals set up for a month and a half. People were ready to come mow our lawn every week. To do unfinished projects at our house. To hire a cleaning person to come deep clean. Provide us with a deep freezer for meals. I can't even wrap my head around how amazing people are and what can happen in such a short amount of time when love is the focus. Most of these blessings we are kindly turning down, as we are ready to move on from this short-lived journey with childhood cancer. But we are incredibly thankful for each blessing that comes in. God worked a miracle in our Naomi and all we are doing now is follow-up protocol testing. She will continue to have follow-ups, probably for the rest of her life. But, it is all worth it to bring glory to Him, the One who saves. I was brought to the feet of Jesus and I don't want to leave.

I know so many people just want to bless Naomi and our family and bring a smile our way. Let me tell you, we are smiling and choosing joy. God is good. Thank you so very much for all the love we have received in the last 14 days. We are truly blown away. We have everything we need and more. But I'd like to throw something out here. I have a friend named Bridgette Boswell who I met on the Internet. [Crazy Internet people getting to know other crazy Internet people. Go figure.] She has no idea that I'm writing about her. (Hi Bridgette if you are reading this!) But her family has been on my heart recently.  Her and her husband have two boys (one of which they adopted) and they are currently trying to bring home their girl, sweet Edna to her forever family. They are in the waiting period right now. And I was just thinking, how cool would it be for her adoption fundraiser to be met while they wait?! So here's the deal, if you have felt it on your heart to help Naomi and want to bless our family, I'm asking that you consider blessing The Boswell family in honor of Naomi. Bridgette's blog, Stitches of Love, has a PayPal fundraiser account attached on the right hand side (just click on the blog title and it will direct you to her page). We have experienced first hand what a difference it can make when people come together to shower a family in love with prayer and monetary gifts.

Here's a little video to learn more about this fellow Indiana family, the Boswell's and their journey with adoption. [They have this video up on their blog and I thought I would share. They are pretty dag'on cute.]

Link to Blog for Donations: Stitches of Love


his redemption song.

Exactly one week ago, almost to the minute, we were told by our fabulous doctor, Dr. West, that the surgery to remove Naomi's tumor couldn't have gone better. God heard our cries and He did a miracle. He had His hand on Naomi. In that white stark sterile room, on the hands of extremely gifted surgeons and nurses as they guided around the mass attached to Naomi's lung. He had his hands wrapped around me as we worshipped Him two floors above Naomi in the hospital. I'm so incredibly grateful that He answered our prayers the way I hoped, in the way I had peace about it, that came from Him. But the thing is, no matter the outcome of yesterday, today, or tomorrow, His hands are on me. On Naomi. On Audrey. On Lincoln. On my husband. On each and every one of us. His wings are spread to bring comfort to those in Oklahoma right now. This world is full of devastation and things out of our control. But His promise remains true. One day, one day everything will be made new again. His redemption song will be loud and clear.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those that love him. James 1:12

No one except Christ alone is invincible. We aren't protected from tragedy and death and cancer and natural disasters and evil as long as we are on earth. Sometimes we face trials that just seem to have no end in sight. Years of treatment. My mom went through 4.5 years of chemo and radiation treatment for her Breast Cancer, while trying to raise six kids with my dad. And in the end, God chose to take her home, to heal her body completely, so she may dance in heaven until we meet again.

Beauty rises from the ashes.

I will continue to pray for the broken-hearted and will continue to rejoice, dance, and sing in His Redemption Song. Holding steady to the confidence in what is to come. One day.

{We are a singing, dancing family. No doubt. Naomi today, just before nap.
 Girlfriend is healing fabulously from the surgery.}


finding fulfillment {finding grace}.

If you would have told me that I would have found the most fulfillment I ever have while facing my biggest nightmare, I would have told you were crazy. Grace in the time of my nightmare, I would have said no way.

But that's the beauty of grace, God's abundant love comes rushing in like a brook flows after a fresh storm right when you need it. His grace is sufficient, that has been deeply engraved on my heart this week.

But the part of grace that is so profound? It never ever goes away. It has always been with me. It has always been with you. It is always with each of us. It's when we decide to let God's grace fill us. To say yes to Him. Not the next big vacation. Or when your child scores the most goals. Or when you finally were able to remodel your bathroom. Or receive a raise. All of these things are wonderful and most certainly gifts from God as He loves His children dearly. But these things fade and we keep looking for what's next. I've found that the things of the world enter me and fill me until the sand in the hourglass has all fallen and then I flip it over and try to feel complete with another thing, until it is gone again. A repetitive cycle that grows weary with time.

But grace has no ending. It is eternal. It is abundant. This week, Jesus broke my self-sufficient and centered self so that I could clearly see this gift of grace. Gift. I didn't earn it. I don't deserve it. Yet, it is mine. He gave me a peace that transcends all understanding so I could bring glory to Him during this battle with cancer with our baby girl.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2

This week God used others to show his grace to us. Today two huge baskets of toiletries show up in our room given by a complete stranger-- my friend shared our story and it touched someone else and they wanted to show grace to us. A stranger from Oklahoma sent little gifts to Naomi to brighten her day. We have a date night waiting at an amazing restaurant in Indianapolis because others want to uplift my relationship with Andrew during this trying time. Food is brought to our house every night as others watch our other two babies. This is God. Taking care of His people.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

My God goes with me. He's gone before me. I'm so glad He didn't let me have a say in whether I was allowed to enter this nightmare. If someone asked me if I would be okay with my daughter being diagnosed with cancer? Of course I'd say no. But this week? Clearly God has been with us every step of the way and will continue as we will face new test results in a month, three months, six months, yearly. I don't regret this week or wish it was different. Yes, it is hard to see my baby in pain. But I know, I know she is going to be stronger from this. And most importantly our faith as a family has grown. And His kingdom is expanding. Others are saying yes to grace.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

I can't fully understand God's plan. But what I can do is continue to set my eyes on Him and He will give me everything I need. And I believe grace and gratitude go hand in hand. When I thank Jesus for the little things, I see His grace abundantly in my life. Today He had his hands on Naomi as she had her nerve block removed and had very good pain control all day. Her fluid discharge was much better today, so good, that in the morning that can removed. She was her normal, feisty self, just wearing a cute little blue hospital gown. Tomorrow we go home. Home.

Tomorrow will come when it will. Tonight I watch my baby sleep peacefully in her hospital bed, knowing that whatever is next, His grace is sufficient.


he moved mountains.

I was living in my perfect little bubble. We were living the American dream the best we could. I constantly worried. I mean constantly. Are my children eating healthy enough? Are they well-rounded? What do others perceive of me? Do I exercise enough? We need to travel more. We need our kitchen remodeled. We have deadlines and books to return to the library. And appointments and laundry to fold and oh my gosh another dishwasher to unload. I just want a full nights sleep. Did we sing the abc's today? Are my children learning what they need to know? And now our lawn mower is broken. When will it ever end?

Then by the words of "you better sit down for this." I was brought instantly to my knees. None of that other stuff mattered anymore. This material world will not fill me or redeem me or make me whole or save me from eternal damnation. Or save my daughter who was suddenly deemed as a childhood cancer patient.

I became face to face with Jesus like I have never been before exactly one week ago.

I was convicted in these last seven days. My pride and need for control were crushed. And I'm so thankful for that. I had no other choice but to give my most precious, prized possessions over to God and say my babies are yours, I trust you with them.

And when I was able to do that. To give them over. God filled me with a supernatural peace. I'm usually a crier and very sensitive, but I have cried more tears of joy then of sadness by far. This stay at Riley Hospital has been enjoyable. He has given me so many opportunity to bask in His glory here and worship Him. He protected my heart from looking further down the road to what life could be like. He protected me from anxiously waiting for test results today. Instead I rested in Him. He has taught me to live for today. For tomorrow may never come. It's hard to describe this state that I am at, that God has drawn me so closely to Him. He couldn't make himself more real to me.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

His grace is sufficient. He stripped me from everything comfortable, everything I had ever wanted so I could find Him, truly find Him. And in the midst of it, choose joy. Joy is not bound by our circumstances, it is anchored by hope.

But he said to me "His grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest in me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

I believed that Jesus would heal Naomi. I didn't know when, but I trusted and had hope that no matter where this journey took us, God would guide us. Andrew and I didn't even have to feel our burden to the depth of despair. God sent every single person we knew to us and said let me help you. You are not alone. We have been incredibly blessed beyond measure. I love reflecting on the week and seeing how God sent one person after another after another to love on us. Thank you, thank you for loving us. 

I'm so thankful that God turned us in this direction. He used me, so gloriously broken and ruined to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

We aren't in the 100% clear. Naomi is still healing from surgery. We rejoice in today that she ate so well, went way above her goal of walking at least three times, and generally was her normal {feisty} self. We painted, played Candyland with a friend we met on the floor, did play-doh, made a card for Audrey, and rolled around in the red wagon like a boss. We Facetimed brother and sister and pretty much melted when Audrey asked for Naomi to go towards the screen so they could kiss. Tomorrow we look at removing her nerve block, and see how her pain control does then. She will have more tests run and check ups for probably forever. But Christ's miracle cannot be denied. The cancerous tumor, that ended up being mostly benign was removed 95% and the initial test results of the bone marrow check came back clear. The 5% left in her body will not harm her, and most likely will not grow. God uses his people to bring Him glory. He gave the doctors and nurses and entire team such talent and has allowed modern medicine to heal sickness. We are incredibly thankful for the people that worked with Naomi and us. The staff that work in a children's hospital are truly inspirational for what they do every single day.

The thing is, nothing is 100% certain in this world, except the assurance that Jesus Christ will come again. We aren't protected from experiencing more turmoil in days ahead. Outcomes don't always end up the way we want {seven years ago I lost my mom to Breast Cancer, I know chemo and radiation and loss.} Sin entered the world in The Garden, we became blind. Yet, God promises that He will come again and everything will be Redeemed. There will be New Life.

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under earth; and that every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians  2:10-11


speak to me.

I just finished reading some stories to Naomi before she went off into dreamland. Once she closed her eyes, I closed the book because I thought she was asleep. Except she gently awoke and asked for me to keep reading. She didn't need to see me or the book, my voice was enough to comfort her to sleep. Today she requested multiple times for me to sing songs to her while her eyes were closed.

She just wanted to hear my voice. She had faith that was I there without seeing me. As I was reading to her with her eyes closed, I couldn't help but think that is exactly how Jesus is with me right now. I can't see him, but his voice, his presence is here.

"Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed," he said. "Peace. Be strong now; be strong." When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said "Speak, my Lord, since you have given me strength." Daniel 10:19

Tomorrow marks our one week, just one week since our world seemed to be crashing down; when we were first told of the word tumor, mass, cancer, Neuroblastoma. In our two year old. Yet, I have never, ever in my life been at such peace. We are at the feet of Jesus, on our knees, and he is comforting us and glory is given to Him.

Tomorrow we find out more about the stage of the cancer and whether it was found in her bone marrow. Friday she will receive an MIBG, a scan that will tell us if there are hidden spots of cancer in her body.

But that is tomorrow. Tonight we rest and praise God for all the beauty we found today. The gorgeous weather-getting to eat lunch outside while Naomi rested in her room, how well she is eating and drinking, going potty, interacting, and having pain control. Sweet families and friends that came to visited, handed us blessings left and right.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Tonight I'm going to close my eyes and listen to Jesus speak to me to take me off into dreamland until I wake to praise Him again.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1


it wasn't by accident.

[Naomi is doing so so well post-surgery. She is actually laying in bed, eating her second popsicle and watching Brave. Going in and out of sleep. I mean, come on. Girl has such strength.]

It wasn't by accident that Lincoln actually slept well last night even though he has been completely out of whack and not sleeping the nights before.

It wasn't by accident that Lincoln woke at the same time as Naomi early this morning, as happy as can be, reached in and hugged his sister right before we left.

It wasn't by accident that we saw the most beautiful sunrise this morning. The sun rays. I can't even. So glorious. The entire drive.

It wasn't by accident that Dr. West was Naomi's head surgeon, along with her entire team including Dr. Walker, Dr. Croop, Lindsey, Lauren, and so many many more.

It wasn't by accident that Naomi was peacefully loopy when we said our goodbyes to her this morning and actually laughed at her responses. {She looked at Andrew and asked if he was married, too funny!}

It wasn't by accident that the tumor was located in Naomi's chest, near her heart and lungs. Because this is actually rare in Neuroblastoma, but also to her advantage in that it is easier to remove.

It wasn't by accident that Dr. West was able to remove more tumor than she even hoped. Her goal was 90%, because if she could do that, many times the last 10% will regress on it's very own. 95% was removed. 95.

It wasn't by accident that we were right here. In this hospital. Worshipping. We worshipped and guarded our hearts with scripture. We prayed and we laughed. We sung songs of praise. And we felt so much peace through the entire procedure. The entire day. This journey, starting last Thursday.

It wasn't by accident that I felt comfortable enough leaving Naomi with Andrew (after I spent some good time with her) to just sleep, while I snuck away to love on my other babies and see that they were doing well.

You see, it wasn't by accident or luck or positive thoughts or good karma. This indescribable peace this whole time is only by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The prayers. The prayers were felt and answered. {thank you for sharing our story and praying}

He is meeting us here. Right where we are. He meets you, right where you are. We are broken people, I am broken. Yet He wants to do great things with us. With me. With my sweet baby Naomi.

He knew this was going to happen long before this. "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one them came to be." Psalm 139:16

My children are my life. I would give my life to protect them. My biggest fear, I'm living it. Yet, I don't feel the burden that I should. Because of Jesus.

I don't know how this story will end. We know that today was so good and the surgery couldn't have gone better. And that people every where, and I mean all over the world were crying out and praying to heal our precious baby.

Each day we will face new challenges and unknowns and waiting to hear results from this test and that test. We will find out if the cancer has spread, if it is in her bone marrow. We will find out if it is in any other parts of the body. We will find out the stage and what type of Neuroblastoma we are actually facing. Naomi has a lot of healing to do.

But this I know. "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 

Today was a gift. A gift from God.

{I want to be sensitive to other stories out there. To parents who are currently struggling with children with diseases and cancer. I want to pick up every single child I see suffering at the hospital. I want to kiss them and love them. My heart breaks for parents who have lost children to such battles. Every single story is different. Every journey is different. The enemy tries to win, but God is bigger. He is our refuge. He is your refuge. Right where you are.}


the night before.

All day today I kept trying to feel the 'woe is me' feeling. Like I should be feeling extremely sad and worried. But it was not happening. I smiled a lot. And relished in my children being able to go to the zoo and then to the beach to get family pictures. I cannot describe this overwhelming peace and comfort we are feeling, but it is so evident. God's presence is beaming.  Even through Lincoln's extreme fussiness and Audrey having to go to the doctor today for an ear infection (which she has never had) and chest cold. The words that keep coming from my mouth are "I can't even" and "I don't know" because it is true, this is so indescribable to be in this exact spot. With confidence I can say that good will come from this. God's love is so immeasurable and this is example of it. I can't try to box it up because it just keeps going.

I have had messages, texts, phone calls, comments, etc. telling me how strong and wonderful my faith is. (Thank you for such sweet words that encourage me!) But you guys, I can't take the glory for even this strength. I want to worry and stress and be my Type A personality, but God won't let me. This is not a tragedy. Naomi will be healed and mountains will be moved.

Today has been full of so much beauty. From the zoo to a photographer graciously coming to take pictures of our family at one of our favorite spots- the beach. Like, I've been smiling a lot and relishing in Naomi constantly taking her boot off because sand gets filled in it. And oh you know, petting a rhino at the zoo. Or Naomi and Audrey singing silly songs in the back of the car as we wait for Audrey's prescription to get filled. Being able to wear Lincoln at the zoo and he fell asleep on me, knowing these moments will be far and few in between for a while.

It's nearing midnight and we still have to pack our hospital bags for a stay we aren't really sure of how long or what to expect. But our hope rests in the Lord.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone Lord, make me dwell in safety. 
Psalm 4:8 

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. 
Isaiah 40:31

Jesus is real and present right now. He gave us these three days at home to be showered and I mean showered in love, to build up our walls of protection and prepare to fight a battle. We are armored and ready. If God is for us, who can be against us? (These words are constantly on my heart).


this journey.

I'm an attached parent. And I don't mean attachment parenting. I may or may not have breastfed, cloth diapered, co-slept, did baby-led weaning. It doesn't matter. What I mean is I'm attached to my children. I've always had a difficult time being away from them for a long period of time, not because I didn't think the person watching them would do a fabulous job, but because I always missed them. And I'm the mom, I know them best. I can respond to their every need before they even speak it, because I know them. Right? I've been one to implement routine and guard naptime like my life depended on it. Because, let's be honest, my life does depend on naptime. That is when I regain my sanity. 

But God has called Andrew and I to give our children over to Him. To trust Him and know that He is God. It's hard. I'm not going to lie. One day I go from meeting my children's every need and priding myself on it. To humbling accepting many others to hold my babies. To rock them to sleep. To pack their lunches. To give them baths. To kiss their boo-boos when they fall. To take them for walks. You see, I'm thankful that God has revealed my pride and has shown me the beauty of others comforting and helping us. 

It takes a village to raise a child. 

This new journey of others entering our lives to tend to our children is just one of the many examples of how God has demonstrated to us that He will never leave us or forsake us. 

He also tells us to ask and you shall receive. Except, whoa, we haven't even had to ask for anything because beauty is pouring in. Bags of gatorade on our front door step from who knows. Giftcards slipped into our hands at church. Cards with encouragement and more giftcards. Dinners. Messages of fundraisers. We will not have to tend to our yard or house while we go through this. You guys. God loves His children. The words thank you seem so insufficient to the what we have already so graciously received. 

This enemy, this cancer, is no match for God. We are claiming and believing that "The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect us from the evil one." Thessalonians 3:3

I'm not questioning why this is happening to us. Which I can hardly believe, because that question seems to be what would be expected. God has already revealed to us why He chose us. To bring Him glory. For our faith to be strengthened. 

God chose this journey for my family. I just know mountains are going to be moved. Thank you for coming along side us and bearing this journey with us. 

This Mother's Day is going down in history as my favorite. We were able to be home and go to church and worship together. So thankful. Except poor Linc, he isn't feeling well, which you can tell by his sad little face. 


finding beauty amongst the chaos.

Today we tried to make it feel as normal as possible, but we started the day with Andrew making mickey mouse pancakes, and well, if you know Andrew and his cooking skills, there is really nothing normal about that. Ha!

We spent most of the morning just in awe of the abundance of love we are receiving, one thing after another from a kitchen full of groceries to custom made super hero capes from Pip and Bean.

We snuggled on the couch a lot, played kitchen and pretended to plant a garden that included a doughnut and ice cream. I watched the girls run around the house chasing each other and yelling "Best day ever!" quoting Rapunzel, of course. I found beauty there.

The girls took a bath together and pretty much laid on top of each other hugging and giggling. In that moment there was beauty.

Andrew and I snuck away for a 30 minute couples massage. Not even kidding. When we woke in the morning super super sore,  we looked at each other and pretty much knew we needed to schedule that, which is something we have never done together. Our relationship has to be a priority even though it's hard to do and the alone moments will be far and few in between for a while.

I have to focus on these beautiful moments, because, honestly the day was hard, even being in the comfort of our home, which I am so so grateful that we could come home for a few days. We are living in an unknown chaos. A new territory. And it's scary. I have to constantly bring myself back to The Cross. Jesus has already suffered for us, He knows our hearts. Heaven is breaking for us, I know that. Glory will come from this. That I am sure. I believe.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 
Matthew 28:11

We push on through the hardships of the day. Lincoln is teething terribly right now. He is having an incredibly hard time going to sleep for nap and night, and typically he is very easy. He has fussed all day. And his RAD (Respiratory Airway Disease) is flaring up again. Naomi is having a difficult time adjusting to total attention at the hospital to being home and having to be told "no" and be disciplined for misbehavior. It's not easy to discipline your child that you know is suffering with cancer.

But the children are all sleeping now and I'm spending some time looking through old pictures and videos. We have such beautiful moments weaved amongst the challenges. The challenges make us stronger and the beauty carries us through.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Today was another gift.


just be.

I had a big ugly (and I mean ugly) cry this morning. In Naomi's hospital bed alone. And it felt so good. I am weak, but He is strong. I'm holding onto His Word that tells me to be still and know that He is God, to stop and just be because He is in control. Just be. 

I spent most of the day trying to comfort our extremely tired and very hungry sweet Naomi. And by comforting I mean carrying her 30lb body around on my hip pretty much all day. That's where she wanted to be. So I let her just be.

This is a learning process on how to just be and really let those around us carry us through this. We are humbly accepting the love that is being washed in wave after wave. He works through His people and that is happening. Our church body. Our family. Our friends. Strangers. Local businesses. People in Costa Rica, Africa, India. Love binds His people.

Today was spent roaming white wall hallways, wondering when we could do the next step. When we would know our plan of attack. Wondering when I could give Naomi the strawberry she so desperately wanted to eat. It was spent rejoicing in the moment she wanted to color and play instead of moan and groan. We rejoiced when we made it through her second CT Scan. It is no small task trying to keep a tired, hungry feisty two year old to lay still while trying to collect body images. But God's grace was there the whole time and we have another day behind us to be grateful.

Today I was also changed. As we roamed the hallways I got a very small peek into each room. And in each room is a young child and a story. A story of bravery and battle. Smiles shown from children with shiny round heads. Smiles. In the midst of tragedy there is always light, we must find the light and just be. I met a little boy named Van. For the past 14 months of his young four years of life he has been fighting cancer. He sat with his mom and played games and colored and smiled. He is not confined and defined by his cancer.

Neither is Naomi. We are defined by His grace, His love for us that we don't have to earn.

With His grace and mercy we carry on. With moments here and there to just be. We are so incredibly thankful that we are able to be home until Tuesday, that was totally unexpected and such a gift from God. Come Tuesday Naomi will be a warrior. She will be covered in prayer and go in for surgery to try to get the tumor removed. The goal and what we believe will happen is that Naomi's tumor will be 90% removed, and in that case the rest of the tumor will regress on it's own. With Neuroblastoma this is possible and best case scenario. She will also have a bone marrow check (this was suppose to be done today, but was decided to do all surgeries at the same time) to see if the cancer spread. Today we found out that it has not spread to the abdomen, which is such a victory. There will be a lot of other tests run to see if it is "hidden" in other parts of the body. And we will be spending days in the hospital for recovery from the surgeries. Chemo, radiation and other treatment will be determined after we get results back from the bone marrow and biopsy.

But tomorrow we play. And go back to life before, before our new norm, with extra snuggles and kisses. A day to just be. To be refueled and replenished.

His mercies are new every morning. Great is Thy Faithfulness.

the new norm {when the c word crashes your world}

Day and night my lips with praise Him.
I have His armor on, He is my protector.
Though I am weary, He is not.
He has already bore this burden.
He is always ahead of me. Of this.
I am a child of the King.
There is nothing He cannot do.

I woke this morning in a hospital bed next two my two year who was woke throughout the night to be checked every few hours and ripped her IV out in the middle of the night. This is our new norm.

The playroom at the hospital has a basket of free hats and a play body scanning toy.  This is our new norm.

I left my recently turned one year old overnight for the first time when I wasn't ready to do it. This is our new norm.

I took a quick shower this morning with Naomi standing outside the shower begging for me to be done. This is our new norm.

She just wanted a drink of water this morning. But she can't eat or drink for hours and hours for testing and surgery. So I won't either because I won't do it in front of her. This is our new norm.

We became the picture and status everyone shares that you read and your heart breaks. Within hours of the news I had hundreds of requests on Instagram because people want to know this child's face who is battling cancer. This is our new norm.

The amount of love and encouragement we have felt through visits, phone calls, texts, emails, Facebook messages and comments, and Instagram  is remarkable. Thank you for sharing our story, our new norm. We truly believe in the power of prayer and that our Mighty God is in every moment of this.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. Corinthians 12:9

So here we are, taking it a a day a time. Remembering that every single day is a gift. Yesterday we took Naomi to the doctor just to take care of a cough she had, only to find out through an xray, cat-scan, and blood work that it is actually a very large tumor near her lungs, partially blocking her trachea causing her difficult breathing and coughing. We don't have a lot of answers right now. Today we tackle a biopsy and bone marrow check to see if the cancer has spread. The biopsy will confirm if it is in fact Neuroblastoma and how aggressive it is. The results for this can take a few days. Then our team of doctors will decide what the best treatment plan will be, which will most likely include chemo and radiation. We don't know how long we will be at Riley in Indianapolis. But we are thankful we are only a little over an hour drive away from home, so family and friends can visit.

I'm having a difficult time processing this as our new lifestyle. That I won't be waking up with my three loves wondering why they can't ever sleep in and what type of fun we will be doing for the day--play outside in the sprinkler? Head to the library? Go on a walk? Have a dance party? Eat lunch under a fort or on the front porch?

Today I won't be able to do those things, but I can snuggle with my sweet Naomi, look forward to a visit from Lincoln and Audrey, and turn my eyes to Jesus. And remember, today is a gift.


favorite moments.

I've of been feeling sluggish the last few days. But there have been a few moments that just make my whole heart smile and keeps me going. It's like my gas gauge almost gets to empty and bam, I'm filled again with an abundance of cuteness. I decided I needed to write these cherished moments down so I don't forget them.

Yesterday Naomi wasn't feeling well. Audrey took it upon herself to make her a picture, get her a bowl in case she needed to get sick, ask her if she wanted a blanket, and put her hair up out of her face so it wouldn't get yucky if she did get sick. She also offered to watch Dora, since it is one of Naomi's favorite. Audrey is such a little mama, I love the way she cares for her siblings.

I asked Naomi what movie she wanted to watch--Brave or Sound of Music? She chose Sound of Music, I was definitely happy about that choice! I'd say her top favorite movie is Annie though.

I took a shower with Lincoln and he was so so snuggly, he even fell asleep on me in the shower. I'm pretty sure he was thinking "Ma, this is like where I was a year ago- in your belly, take me back, take me back!" Ha!

Here's a favorite moment from a few weeks ago:

While I was making dinner one evening the girls were outside, spending forever just sitting in this area moving nature pieces around and chatting. I was watching from the window so I came outside to check it out. They were making a whole world--their imagination never ceases to amaze me. 

I don't ever want to take for granted this blessed role God gave me--to be each of my children's mama. It can be so tough and challenging, but I wouldn't change it for anything.