Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Walking In Walmart

The first time I came home after Emma was diagnosed in May 2010 was at the beginning of that August.  We spent the entire summer in Memphis.  While we were away, our local Walmart was remodeled.  Imagine my confusion the first time I went grocery shopping!

I remeber walking through Walmart wondering if anyone recognized me.  Did they know about Emma's story (it had gotten a lot of recognition because of how she was diagnosed)?  Did they know that my child had cancer?

But no, nobody paid a bit of mind to me or my shopping cart full of groceries.  Much, much later, I read a similar thought on another cancer mom's website.  Later than that, I read the same thought on someone else's site.  This lady had lost her mother, and she stated she'd walked through Walmart wondering how everyone could be so happy.  Didn't they know her mother had just passed away?!

That got me to thinking about that first trip to Walmart when I arrived home.  No wonder no one paid attention to me.  They were all wondering why I wasn't paying attention to them!

That lesson did me a world of good.  We all have troubles, and whatever yours is feels huge to you.  Be a little kinder to those you meet this week. You never know what they're going through!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Beach!

Ashlyn and one of the volunteers, Abby.
This year we were blessed to get to participate for a second time in the Lighthouse Family Retreat program.  Our whole family had a blast taking part in this loving and therapeutic cancer-family beach retreat, where we were once again blown away by the kindness of others (Sheri and Hannah, we loved getting to know you!). 

To tell you a little about the program, they provide pediatric cancer families with an all-expense-paid vacation to the beaches along the gulf.  Housing, food, and activities are paid for.  In the mornings we all meet for breakfast and a devotion, then the volunteers take all the kids for fun activities while the parents go to a sort of group therapy (which is great!).  After that it's lunch, several hours of free time (beach here we come!), and then supper and another activity that night.  At the end of the week we were all refreshed emotionally, even if we were worn out physically!  Here are a few pictures of this fantastic week, and if you would like to know more about volunteering for this fantastic program, signing up to attend, or donating so that other families can experience the same, visit www.lighthousefamilyretreat.org .

First day there!

Emma playing 9-square.

At the beach...

Emma and Ashlyn with one of our family partners, Hannah.

More at the beach.

Emma's sandcastle (okay, Daddy's sandcastle!).

The last night, just after a beach wedding.  Yes, one of the retreat couples got married!

Us with our family partners, Hannah and Sheri.
Daddy and Emma.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Life Or Something Like It

The hardest times I had living at the Ronald McDonald House were Sunday nights.  If anyone had come to Memphis to visit for the weekend, they typically left Sunday afternoon so they could be home for work the next morning.  Besides this, Sundays at home were always busy days because we went to church on Sunday mornings and Sunday nights, so being there with nothing to do was hard.

Every time Sunday night rolled around I would feel terribly lonely.  Sometimes I thought about going to a local church in Memphis, but Emma's blood counts were too low to go out without wearing a mask (which she hates), and we were there for about a month and a half in the winter months, so it was dark by the evening services, and I didn't feel comfortable driving in a strange city in the dark.

The Window in the Chapel
So Emma and I would walk.  We had an umbrella stroller with us and I'd push her through the halls of the great big Ronald McDonald House of Memphis.  There was a chapel there, with a piano.  I'd always stop in the chapel and play the piano (not well, mind you!).  I'd think about all the people at choir practice at home at that very time.  I'd think about how they might wish they were home, because they had a million things to do.  I'd wish to tell them how lucky they were that they could do something as gloriously normal as go to choir practice on a Sunday evening.

Even typing this post I have tears in my eyes, because those Sunday nights were SO HARD.  Sundays might not have been that hard for everyone--I don't know--but I'm sure there were hard days for everyone there.  Likewise, there are hard days for people everywhere, every day. 

My challenge to you today is to be thankful for the normalacies in life.  You never know when you might not have them!