The Blaines

The Blaines
For more information about current fundraisers and walks, please click on the picture!

Buggin' For a Cure

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

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fitting in

A few weeks ago our furriest child (the dog) took off when I let him out to go to the bathroom. This isn't the first time he has disappeared, despite our best efforts. But this time it was snowing and it was so cold. I waited, surely he'd get cold and come home...I waited some more, still no dog. I finally headed to bed, worried, but not much else I could do. When the phone rang at 5am to say school was cancelled, I went to check to see if he was home. I opened the door and there he was. However unlike other late night outings he's had, this time he was hurt...and probably half frozen. As I brought him in...tears started to flow...I got Richard up and we just stared at him.  We had no idea what was broken or hurt, but all I could say was "I can't do this again"... I know he's a dog and Ellie was a human, but that's right where my brain went. His breathing reminded me of hers, his was all too much. As Richard preparred to head out in the snow to the ER vet, I couldn't stop crying. He's technically our oldest child, and I started thinking of all those times I've fussed at him, what if he doesn't make it? After a long day of waiting all he had was a broken jaw and a cut on his head that needed to be stiched that was all that was wrong I had no idea, but I thanked God for it, this family couldn't handle that loss right now. Over the next few days we had to fight him to take meds and eat....sound familiar? Again it toke me right back to Ellie, to the point I had to leave the room when Richard was trying to get him to take his meds.  When I finally got him to eat, I felt like singing and dancing..."go Kapone, go Kapone"...that's what we used to do for Ellie when she'd eat.  

Is this what happens now? Every time something happens in our family, I go back to Ellie. When a kid gets sick, will I always cry thinking back to my sweet girl? Not a clue, I've never done this before!  As I go for more days inbetween meltdowns, I find it so easy to be pulled right back into that moment. Last night, SG let out a blood curdling scream in the middle of the night, I think I stopped breathing as I went running to her room. As I picked her up, I couldn't help but fall apart. Memories and emotions are so raw in our house. And the roller coaster still goes up and down, Richard and I seem to take turns with bad and good days. And as the days go by and I count down to my return to work, it can't help but worry about these moments occurring while I'm there. 

Peace just isn't found as often as it used to be. I don't think I realized it was missing until I finally opened my devotional again and read...
"Breathe in the peace of my presence: peace that transcends all understanding. Take time, take time with need to sit quietly, focusing your thoughts on me...the world is full of trouble, but I have overcome the world...assert your confidence in me, saying "I trust you Jesus, you are my hope...I am training you to be an overcomes."
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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. Philippians 4:6-7

I remember that feeling of peace in my heart, I miss it. Lately it's just a feeling of existence, not a horrible feeling, but definitely not as great as peace. When you have a sick child, that's your life, in fact your life just kind of stops...other things go on but almost all your focus is on illness and getting better. You become known as "so and so's parent", that is your identity. Ellie's illness gave me a whole new focus in life, it gave me a new identity. It taught me lots of things and brought me so close to The Lord, and now her illness is over. My focus isn't on hospitals and meds and living in another state. I'm still Ellie's mom, but that role carries a whole new identity now. Kinda feel like I'm back in high school trying to figure out where I fit in. I have two beautiful children and an amazing husband to care for, but I miss having the "purpose" of Ellie's illness in my life...does that make sense? It was such an important purpose, that made you forget about all the petty things in life, the silly agruements and drama and just focus on your child.  I hated her having cancer, I hated seeing her not enjoying life like a two year old should, but I had a purpose and a focus, get Ellie better, help her feel better, make sure she took the right meds, make sure her counts are okay, make sure monkey is clean, make sure her headband isn't lost (oh how many times we misplaced her princess headband!). Once I got into the groove of my new role in life, I got very used to it...and now that role has switched again. I know, with time, my new role will become aparent to me, and I will once again find where I belong (isn't that a Disney song?) It's just a weird place to be in right now, and I know I can't always explain it to those who are around me in the right way.  
I have focused on crocheting, a lot...not as important as taking care of a child with cancer, but it keeps my mind busy and it's all in honor of my girl. She is the whole reason I began crocheting 3 years ago. I have two craft shows coming up, first ones in a while, I'm excited to do them, excited to do something I used to do on a regular basis. I am also excited because it allows me to share Ellie more! She was always my model, so I have lots of pictures of her to display. I also use my craft shows to help raise money for our upcoming walks, we have two so far we are signed up for. If you'd like to know more about our walks you can visit team Princess Strong on facebook....

All the walk links are there, as well as any upcoming fundraisers we may have going on.  I believe raising money for cancer research, is part of my new role as Ellie's mommy! A role I'm getting used to, but will be tough without my girl there! 

I ask for prayers of peace for us, that we will remember to seek Him, breathe in His peace. And I praise Him for the crazy distraction this little girl has been!
Little Miss SG has become quite the character!

Prayers, Praise and Peace
Carly...aka Ellie's Mommy

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A year ago

A year ago today, I was a parent of two with one on the way. I had gone to work, which was a rarity lately with Ellie being sick and no one knowing what was wrong with her. I left work early to go to my own OB appointment that I had rescheduled twice. Richard had stayed home with Ellie, and once again called the pediatrician with an update that she wasn't doing any different. I reminded him to mention that one side of her face wasn't moving. As I left my own doctors appointment, Richard called me as a van that looked like my mom's pulled in behind me at my doctors office. Richard was calling to say that they wanted him to bring Ellie to the ER again, they were going to do a CT scan, he didn't want me to panic, but had called my mom to do whatever she could. I drove home with Noah, chatting while mom followed me. As I pulled in the driveway an hour later my phone rang was Richard, with panic in his voice I heard, "they found a mass in her head, you need to get here". God covered me with calmness, as I told mom and ran I the house to pack a bag...what in the world do you pack at this point? Pretty sure I wandered aimlessly and left. I drove the hour drive in traffic....more panicked about finding them once I got to the hospital...UVA used to intimidate me. As I walked into the ER, there stood Preacher and his wife, looking for Richard and Ellie too. I was so grateful to see a familiar face to help me navigate the halls and find my child. I remember the doors of the PICU opening, the first face I saw was a nurse who knew who I was immediately and flagged me down...I don't remember much after that,it was all a whirlwind, lots of talking, I don't think tears, and off she went to surgery. 

Looking back, I can't believe that was a year seems like yesterday, but also seems so long ago, all at the same time. A year later I am the mom of 3, but I still only physically have two with me, which I've found is hard to answer when people ask you how many children you have. In the past year I have watched SG grow from quiet and calm baby to all out crazy lady. Noah has grown to have an amazing grasp of life and death, he asks fantastic questions, and cries just as much as he always has....he's so my kid! 

I find myself questioning things I never thought much about before. I think about heaven so much. I wonder what it is like now. I find it hard to be a mom and not know completely where your child is or what she's doing...I've often tried to explain this to others and I can't ever find the right ways to describe it. When Ellie was 800 miles away in Memphis, I could point to a map and know where she was. I could FaceTime her and see her face, even if she wasn't smiling, I knew how she was feeling. I could call her and hear all about her day. Richard could text me pictures to make me smile when I missed her most.  The mom in me wants to know she's okay...or should I say see and hear she's okay.  I "know" she's okay...but I wasn't able to go ahead of her and scope it out before hand. I know nothing about what heaven is right now. I know of the heaven that John saw in Revelation, but that's the new heaven and earth.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:1-5 NIV)
I find myself reading and rereading Revelation, hoping for a clue, something I missed that would give me a hint about the present heaven. For a few weeks I struggled with this...probably not searching the right places for the answers I so desperately wanted. Often forgetting to turn the only one who could answer my questions, instead turning to google to search for answers. Preacher said something on Sunday that stuck with me...he leaves you in the strain for a reason. There's a reason I'm stuck in this state of questioning, possibly so that I will look more to him for answers, since man and google's answers aren't satisfying me. I hope this makes sense, possibly not to someone that has never been in my shoes before, but I truly hope by sharing these moments of confusion, someone else can relate. 
My understanding of Gods love and purpose for our lives has grown so much. Noah asked me one night if I wished people never died...I didn't know how to answer him.  Do I miss her, yes? Would I like to have her back, absolutely! Do I understand why she's not here...yes. If death is in Gods will, I can't wish it didn't happen...of course that was pretty tough to explain to a 5 year old. I am completely changed. Before this all happened, I just believed God loved me and he would take care of me, I honestly didn't think much about it. A year later, I have seen how God loves me, I have experienced how he cares for me, I have seen and heard.  I have all the proof I need.  

A year ago, after her first surgery...finally smiling again!

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13 NIV)

Prayers, Praise, and Pink

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Ocean

I've had many people say they don't know how we do it. They are amazed at our strength and faith. I don't want to paint the picture it's always easy, and that I don't struggle. I wrote this the other when trying to explain my faith and relationship with The Lord these days.

"Faith like an ocean...
It's big, I'm not sure of the percentage, but I like to think it covers 100% of my being. Like the ocean, my faith is always there, you can't drain it dry. Some days I feel miles and miles from it's the winter time and I long to bask in it's rays.  But the only way to get there is to get in the car and drive there. That's when I pray and read and pray some more....and cry. And sometimes the sun comes out slowly over the ocean and sometimes it's just cloudy. Sometimes my ocean is very stormy, I'm close to it, but I just can't stand the ups and downs of the waves, I feel like it's beating me up with all the conflicting thoughts that come crashing on me. Other days my ocean is calm and beautiful, and I can sit beside it and bask in the sunshine and feel complete peace. No matter what the state of my ocean, I love it, it's my favorite place to be.  I wish it was easier to get to some days, but no matter what, it's always there, I just have to get to it.  The best part of my ocean these days, is it always has a pink sunset over it."

It's not easy, I will never proclaim that because I am a believer, losing a child is a piece of cake. But I will proclaim that because I am a believer I have hope that I will see my daughter again in the place preparred for us. Because I am a believer God deals with my ocean, he doesn't get mad on those days where I am miles away. He helps me find the right roads to get to it. He doesn't let the storms last long and then he ends the day with a beautiful pink sky to help me smile. He takes care of us, He loves us, unconditionally.

He gives me joy.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4

Prayers, Praise, and Pink