The Blaines

The Blaines
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Buggin' For a Cure

Buggin' For a Cure
Learn more about Noah's fundraising goals for 2017

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Remembered

Wrote this one a few days ago...but it never got typed up...you know how busy we are, doing nothing and loving it :)


Yesterday a reporter asked me how I wanted people to remember Ellie.  I immediately responded with something about her smile and her love of life and not caring what others thought.  I couldn't find the exact perfect words, but I tried.

Today, as I thought back, I wished no one had to remember her...I wished we had never had a reason to be on TV or the newspaper. I wished I still didn't have a clue where St. Jude was and that I had no idea just how many different types of brain tumors there are in this world.  I wished I never had to describe my daughter. If Ellie never got cancer, I'd never be describing how to remember her.

But that is all pretty silly thinking and it stopped very quickly...I can't go back, wishing (even on the evening star Princess Tiana) isn't going to change our situation.  Recently Preacher talked about being in God's will - that you don't necessarily need to pray to find His will - if you are following His commands and doing what you are supposed to do, you are already in His will and He will make known His paths to you.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -  his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2

So even talking about how I wished things were different, just seems wrong.  Its hard to wish something didn't happen when you know its already been planned for you this way.  You know there is a reason for this plan, and He has always walked with us, held us tight and gave us peace, I can't wish away what he has planned.  This was God's intention for our lives, so I'm going to live it, even when it hurts.

The reporter's question made me think about myself as well, how do I want to be remembered?  I know now many people know me as Ellie's Mom. They know I love the Lord and that our faith will not be shaken.  You know this now, but would you have known that a year ago...probably not...I'm not sure I knew that about myself then.  A friend messaged me and encouraged me to go back and read a post from a few years ago that I had written right after Ellie was born.  Here it is..

A friend shared a link to a blog yesterday that I cannot get out of my head.http://kandjstaats.blogspot.com/
This sweet young family lost their 4 month old baby girl last week, and as I sit here holding my 4 week old blessing, I can't even imagine the pain they are going through. I spend my days complaining about sore boobs, and laundry and this mother has had to pick out her daughter's casket. I've thought and thought about them, and one thing keeps jumping into my mind, what would I do? So many times when friends are going through hard times, I try to remind them that God has a plan for them and He won't give them anything He won't help them through. Then I think back to this mom, could I truly believe that in her situation. Could I still continue to praise him during the loss of someone so close to me or would I curse him? Would I continue to go to church with a smile on my face or would I shut myself away? Would I thank him for the time I had or would I hate him for the time he took away from me? Could I continue to seek him, live in his will and ask him for guidance or let myself start to run my life? Oh how I pray that if I was ever put in a situation like this family, I could continue to love my God and I would count on his grace to carry me through. I pray this family is surrounded by His love and they know He is in control. Take a minute to say a prayer for this family and then praise God for yours!

I am now finding myself in a very similar situation to this family I wrote about over 2 years ago. Some of these questions I posed two years ago have been answered, and that makes me smile.  I think what stands out the most to me is that God put this on my heart when Ellie was only 4 weeks old.  This family's situation is what caused me to start praying that prayer, that if I was ever in a situation like this, I would still praise God.  It gives me comfort to know that He has been preparing me for this, He has this planned.  I am grateful for a friend who pointed this out to me...reminding me, that prayer I prayed, has been answered.

While Richard and I still struggle with staying in today vs. planning for tomorrow, we are enjoying each day.  We were blessed with a Saturday of just the 5 of us, and it was a fantastic day.  We stayed in our pj's all day, watched a lot of movies and tv and put up the Christmas tree.  There where no distractions, no visitors and I don't even think there was a phone call (which never happens around here!)  Its nice how the Lord intervened because He knew we needed a day together. 

Ellie has started another "round" of chemo.  Her numbers are good, her appetite is fantastic (as you can see in her chubby cheeks). 



 We are gearing up for our Give Thanks walk this Saturday for St. Jude.  We have been amazed at the support team Princess Strong has gotten.  As of tonight, our team has raised over $16,000.  I never imagined it would get this big, but I'm excited and proud and grateful. 

Wanted to share from my daily devotional...I read this page every day, because it just speaks to my heart and encourages me

"Trust me here and now.  You are in rigorous training - on an adventurous trail designed for you alone.  This path is not of your choosing, but it is my way for you.  I am doing things you can't understand.  That is why I say 'Trust Me'" - Jesus Today by Sarah Young
 
 
“Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
    but he will heal us;
he has injured us
    but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will restore us,
    that we may live in his presence.
 Let us acknowledge the Lord;
    let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
    he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
    like the spring rains that water the earth.
Hosea 6 :1-3

Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly

Saturday, November 9, 2013

That would make me happy

One of Ellie's new favorite sentences is "I need something to make me happy!"...the solution is usually food, and once given to her she exclaims "That would make me happy!"  We giggle, because she has become quite the little munchy monster, with her steroids, but that phrase was really put into perspective for me this week.  We just spent a week in Disney World...what could make someone more happy?  Magical characters, exciting shows, not having to stand in those long lines, seeing your children grin from ear to ear. It doesn't get much better. 
 
We got to spend days with our children, focusing on nothing else except fun and happy.  And as much as you want to keep focusing on that fun, you continue to watch ever step, breath, twitch, or bump.  You watch eating habits, sleeping habits, bathroom habits, just hoping that nothing will change.  My biggest fear going into this trip, was what if we can't get there (which we almost didn't, but that had nothing to do with cancer...love you Richard), I was terrified something would happen with Ellie before we got to take off on this trip.  I continued to struggle with trusting that the Lord was going to lead this journey.  I was getting frustrated with many things before we left, and missing our St. Jude family and their care so much...but we made it to Florida and I vowed, the past was in the past! 
 
Our first blessing was being able to stay at the Give Kids the World Village.  Because Ellie's trip was planned so quickly, we originally were not going to be able to stay there, we were going to be staying at a Disney resort property, which was fine with us.  But the GKTW representative at the airport told me we could always ask if there were any last minute cancellations, and sure enough, there was!  So instead of staying in a hotel room for a week, we were given a two bedroom villa to enjoy!  The best part was the community that surrounded that villa.  There's just something about being around other families that have experienced what you are going through, that celebrate the same victories and understand the stresses.  You don't feel like people are staring at you or feeling sorry for you, they just understand you.  Its also really nice when you don't have the only bald kid around! ...side note, Ellie's hair was coming back nicely, but has started to fall out again, not sure if that is a side effect of her whole 3 days of radiation, or from the chemo she is currently on.
 
We stayed up late, ate ice cream for breakfast, had Halloween twice, spoiled a lot, gave in a lot, played life sized candy land, realized Noah loves roller coasters but is scared of sharks behind glass, learned Ellie doesn't enjoy rides very much - but says she does.  We learned our kids always have to pee once we get in a line or in a show.  Found out just how much Noah loves the water and how much Ellie dislikes it (but if she's in her daddy's arms, its fine)  We experienced what wonderful things being a wish child means, and met some pretty awesome characters.  I am almost positive that one Minnie Mouse prayed for us while she squeezed me tight, I felt her prayers through that big plastic head...it was great!  I had to learn once again to not worry about the thoughts of others.  Getting to cut in front of a line of 30 kids and their parents, waiting to see a princess, is enough to make you fear for your life!  But the joy on my childrens' faces easily helped me ignore the other people around us!  I don't like the circumstances of our trip, but I am beyond grateful for the experience, it is one I know we will never forget.
 
In the land of happy (Disney)...I started to think of the things we put value on and as I was wandering aimlessly through a gift shop, I realized nothing I could buy was going to make me happy. I was in this amazing place, but was having trouble finding my happy.  In fact I couldn't even bring myself to buy the shirt, because tears overcame me and I had to walk out.  Richard ended up going back in and buying me a shirt.  I was surprised at how easily and randomly the tears could come...for no real reason.
 
I worry sometimes that our "today" theory is going to hurt us, that we aren't going to be prepared for tomorrow because we continually focus on today.  There is a stack of papers on my desk that we have been told to look through, things to discuss, we haven't. Just hasn't felt right yet.  Are we in denial? I don't think so, we are well aware of what the "expected" outcome of her disease is.  Are we thinking if we just don't think about it, then it won't happen...no, I quit thinking like that a long time ago.  I think the simple answer is, God has given us the ability to focus on just today.  Many people say, "I don't know how you guys do it, we don't, God does!  He provides us with everything we need for this day. I am assured when tomorrow comes, He will be there to provide for that day as well.  Not thinking past today, is trusting God. its believing He has this planned and He will help us with each step, when His time is right.  He so graciously silences my thoughts and keeps me focused on this moment.  This isn't saying we don't fall apart from time to time, because we do.  But its not out of anger, its just emotions that come pouring out.  This is definitely not the easiest thing we've ever done...and the unknown can be very hard sometimes. However we hold tight to one simple thought, best expressed by Noah "God can do what the doctors can't".  We continue to pray daily that if its in His will, He will heal her, and if its not His will, I pray our love and faith will not falter. 
 
It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that makes happiness. -  Unknown
 
As I sit on my couch with two kids snuggled up next to me and the 3rd gabbering away in her crib, I have to stop and enjoy this.  This is what makes me happy, not food (although it can sure make me smile...and Ellie) not possessions, not gifts or fame.  Speaking of gifts, many people have asked to help us with Christmas, and we appreciate all the efforts, there is one registry that was started, and gifts have poured in...there is probably more Christmas in my basement than these kids have ever seen and its only the beginning of November. This brings me back to the thoughts of "what makes us happy".  The presents make the kids happy, and it makes me smile to give them presents.  What would make me smile more is knowing that other families don't have to experience what we are going through.  The only way to make that happen is to donate more to organizations who are working hard researching childhood cancers. You know our attachment to St. Jude, so there is a great place to start with donations, and you know from our story, all they do for families! You can donate to our St. Jude Give Thanks Walk team here. Team Princess Strong is currently #1 for the Fredericksburg Walk!  You also know our love for Habitat for Hope.  Even though hundreds of miles a way, they are still supporting us with their love and prayers.  You can make a donation to Habitat for Hope, in honor of Ellie here. Those donations, would make me happy, happy, happy!
 
Here's some pictures from Disney, to hopefully make you happy!
 



 

 

 

 

 
    
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9
 
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
 
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
 
Ellie is still doing great.  She continues to enjoy her days with her friends, and arguing with her brother once he gets home from school.  Her appetite is not lacking at all!  She does get cranky, but I attribute that to being 2 and steroids.  Her energy level comes and goes...she can go all out, but also loves to snuggle on the couch.  I know how thankful I am for these days together. I am thankful for her happy spirit, her love of her family, and the love of so many others around us!  Thank you again for your continued prayers for Ellie and our family.  I pray this week, you can step back and see what really makes you happy, and just enjoy it.
 
Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly