Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My First Blog Award!

Last week I was thrilled to receive not one, but two blog awards! 

Picture  Picture

The rules of accepting these blog awards are simple:
By accepting the awards, I agree to:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated me.

2. Share seven random facts about myself.

3. Pass the award on to 5 blogger friends.

4. Contact and congratulate the nominated blogs.

I'd like to thank Claudine, of Carry Us Off Books.  If you have small children (or if you just love books for small children, 'cause I do) you must check out her site!

Seven random facts?  Hmm...

1. I love Spaghettios with meat balls.  Gross, I know.

2. It takes a lot, lot, LOT to make me upset.  So if you ever see me upset (and this could mean mad, sad, grumpy, or irritated), you know that something, somewhere, went terribly wrong!

3. I'm a little addicted to the internet.  Not a lot...but a little.

4. I am the middle child of 5.  Do I have the middle child syndrome?  You tell me!

5. I don't like sappy romance.  Give me some adventure, or action, or ANYTHING other than sappy romance.

6. I love being a part of the St. Jude family (not that I'd chose to be a part of any hospital family, I'm just saying).  Some people ask me/tell me about how daunting going to Memphis is.  I don't feel that it's daunting at all.  I love St. Jude. (now, it was a bit daunting when we had to go every 2 weeks, I admit!)

7. Last but not least...I prefer going to bed really early and getting up really early.  I could NEVER sleep until 10 or 11 o'clock, let alone noon!

So now to pass these awards on...

Stories For Children Blog  by Alice

Grumpy Grovers by Theresa Grump

Poetic Bloomings by Marie and Walt

Haas Blaag by David Haas

Miranda Paul Books by Miranda Paul

So there they are, my first ever blog awards.  It's all in fun, and doesn't everyone need a little fun now and then?  I hope to be enjoying a lot of fun soon, as we travel to the beach for a cancer family retreat with Lighthouse Family Retreats (more on that next week!).

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Accepting the Unacceptable

No, I can't say I am anywhere near "acceptance" of Emma's diagnosis.  Just last night I lay in bed crying because all of the sudden, this thought entered my mind--my five year old daughter has cancer.  Gulp!  What?  How did this happen?  I birthed her, and she was perfectly healthy!  My little girl does NOT have cancer!  She is not undergoing chemotherapy.  She is not a patient of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  She is fine, fine, fine.

However, I don't always feel this way.  Sometimes I feel like I HAVE fully accepted this new life.  Sometimes I feel okay with it, but sometimes I feel sad, or angry.  And then there are the times of denial, like right now.

If there is something I have come to realize about the emotions this journey evokes, it is that we don't EVER master our emotions.  Just as I think I finally have the anger licked, it rears its ugly head.  Just as I think I am okay with it all, I get all depressed. 

I have noticed a few things, too, about the TIMING of these emotions.  1. If I am really busy, the bad emotions come more easily. 2. If I slack off on my devotion time each morning, the bad emotions come more easily.  So I have made a determination to keep a bit more organized, so that I don't get overwhelmed with a busy life, or let my quiet time slack off.  Writing helps, too.  I can express my feelings oh so much better in writing than if I were to talk to each of you face to face.

I think it is probably this way for everyone--not just cancer families.  Life is a roller coaster ride--with fun parts and scary parts.  So when your own ride takes a scary dip, how do you deal with it?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Become A Volunteer

Ever since Emma was diagnosed, and we spent lots of time in the hospital, I have witnessed first hand the gentle and quiet care of volunteers.  I have seen the very young to the very old; male and female, all very happily giving their time to help those who are hurting.

During the last year and three months I have had a growing desire to do more, give more, be more.  This desire grew drastically when we went to Disney World.  We stayed at the Give Kids The World Village, which is run almost entirely by volunteers.  Not only that, but the entire Village was literally built with donated money.  Not one loan was taken out to build it where the money wasn't already promised to pay the loan off.

I learned that there are around 1500 volunteers a week at the Village.  We saw small children with their parents volulnteering.  We saw retirees.  We saw teenagers.  We saw entire staffs from corporations working for free to maintain the village.

My whole life I have worked on ministries through my church, but it is usually (I admit) with a tiny huff that I have to go give up a few hours of MY time.  I am commiting here and now: I don't want to be this way anymore!

I have now been at the receiving end of the help these loving folks offer, be it on vacation or at the hospital when someone pops in late at night to ask if I'd like coffee or hot chocolate.  I realize just how much it means when someone cares about me when I am hurting.  When I am going through a tough time.  When I NEED.  Through receiving, I have realized just how blessed it is to be able to be the one doing the giving.

So I want to do my work through the church a little more enthusiastically now.  And not only that, I want to increase my volunteer work.  Perhaps not much right now, since there are weeks when I am confined to my house, but a little at a time.  I also want to teach my kids the spirit of volunteering.  I told Emma the story of the man who created Give Kids The World (I bought his autobiography Gift Of Life, and it is amazing).  She was enthralled!  She said, "Hey Mom?  Do you think I can do something like that one day?  I want to help other kids who are afraid."  My heart melted.  I promised her that she could do that, and I would help her.

In light of this, I have made a list of areas that I (and you) could offer a little help to those who need it. 

1. Church work.  So often I see (and yes, I'm going to say it) church members who begrudginly do their ministries at the church.  I have been one of them.  But there are classrooms that could be cleaned, kids that could be taught, supplies that could be purchased.  Volunteer to be the person who fills these needs.

2.  Hospital work.  There are volunteers at the hospitals who bring around hospital toys to the kids so they won't be bored in their rooms.  They offer magazines or books to the parents.  Some do play groups with the kids.  You could also donate supplies.  Playdough, DVD's, books, crayons and coloring books.  Really, the list goes on.  When Emma stayed in the Huntsville Hospital a few weeks ago the movie selection was seriously lacking ; )

3. Donations.  This could be money or supplies, to any orginization you feel worthy.  Church, a charity, the hospital, or your local soup kitchen or clothes closet.  Whether you can offer $5 or $1000, trust me you gift will be appreciated!  Never think that what you have to offer is too little.  It isn't.  Obviously, my favorite charities from now til forever will be St. Jude, and now Give Kids The World (can you tell I liked it there?).  But maybe you have a heart for the March of Dimes, or something else.  And of course, your local church is a must.  See what you can do--AND DO IT!

This is a small list, and there are many more areas where help is needed.  You could drive people to their doctors appointments if they don't have cars.  You could take a meal to a grieving family.  You could volunteer at a homeless shelter.  Pick up people and bring them to church (you might be surprised at how many people would come to church if they only had a ride).  My charity doesn't have to be your charity.  Find something that YOU can do.

I have been reminded time and again lately that we weren't put here to "eat, drink, and be merry".  I don't want to live so selfishly anymore that I won't give up any of my time or money because I need it for ME.  Will you join me?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Guest Blogger David Haas!

Pediatric Cancer and Fitness

There is little more devastating than diagnosing a child with cancer. Though treatments have come a long way toward raising survival rates and quality of life, the survivors will have to deal with problems created by both the cancer and the treatments for the rest of their lives. Chemotherapy can cause damage to the heart and other vital organs, while radiation can damage the glands. Research has begun focusing on ways to help children overcome this damage, both minimizing the effects during treatment and making full recoveries after the fact.

Fitness is increasingly viewed by the world's top oncologists as an effective and complementary form of treatment and recovery. As treatment facilities catch on to the power of fitness therapy, there is a growing need for licensed trainers specializing in developing fitness routines for cancer patients in every stage of treatment and recovery. For now, it may be best to find a personal trainer willing to do the research and consult with the treating physician in developing a routine. The extra effort is definitely worth it.

How will Fitness Training be Helpful for Children with Cancer?

There are several risk factors that help predict who has a greater chance of receiving a diagnosis of cancer. Two leading risk factors are previous diagnosis and a sedentary lifestyle. A study funded by the National Cancer Institute showed that this double-edged sword is applicable to the survivors of childhood cancer. Not only do these survivors face a greater risk of cancer in the future, they are also at much higher risk compared to the general population for heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Beginning fitness training during cancer treatment may seem like a bad idea, but a growing number of
oncologists are recognizing the need to develop fitness programs that work as part of the treatment team. Until these programs are in place and tailored for children, it is up to care-givers to find the right personal trainer and consult with physicians to implement a program.

Motivation is an important tool, especially for those diagnosed with
mesothelioma and other low-survival cancers. Since motivational strategies vary widely, it is a good idea to seek the advice of an education specialist. The benefits of physical activity during and after treatment are real, and any effort put into establishing a routine early will contribute to the long-term survival and quality of life for the child.

By: David Haas Writer of the Haas Blaag