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

Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Raining

When you say its raining, there's a few different ways it could be raining.  It could be pouring "there's no point in an umbrella, you're just gonna get soaked" rain. There's a steady rain, drivable, but enough to make some puddles.  Then there's that annoying rain that makes your windshield wet, but makes your wipers squeak when you turn them on.  The kind of rain us curly headed girls can't stand because it is for sure gonna make some frizz!  Rain can come with thunder and lightening,  and can make the sky scary dark.  Or it can come in and out of sunshine and rainbows. Some times we don't get enough rain and other days it feels like it just needs to stop raining! A good rain can bring such relief of a hot summer day but can cause destruction in excess.

Today its been raining for what seems like hours and hours.  That steady rain that just doesn't quit. The rain this evening just reminded me of tears and grief.  Grief, like rain, comes in so many forms.  There are moments when the flood gates open and no matter what kind of umbrella you try to put up, you are gonna get wet (and in my case I usually get tears on others). There's days the clouds just hang around all day, and all it takes is one thought, one smell, one song and it starts to pour again. There are beautiful days, that sometimes have a little rain cloud that passes through, it doesn't ruin the day, but it changes it. Some days its just nagging, you can't shake it, its not horrible, its just there, that feeling that the sun isn't gonna shine today, and maybe not tomorrow.  But that's why God made raincoats.  We can't change the weather, I can't make the rain slow down or hurry up.  I can't push the clouds away and I can't make rainbows appear in the sky.  There's always gonna be hurt and grief, that will never change.  And just like we need rain, we need the tears.  Sometimes I think people want the tears to go away, others want us to be okay.  They want us to not hurt, or they can't understand when something so small as a birthday party throws our world right back into a rain shower.  

I know grief hurts. Trust me, on a day like today, I wish it would stop raining, and just give me a break, give my heart a break.  But I know the promise of a rainbow.  

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Gen 9:12-16

God doesn't send the rain to destroy us.  In fact after the the rain and the storms, He sends us a reminder that he won't destroy us, He's promised that. So why the rain? Why the heart ache?  Why the tears?

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan, just bring your raincoat, and maybe some tissues.
Prayers, Praise and Pink

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Own Little World

Matthew West sings a song called "My Own Little World"
In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I've never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world: population -- me

I try to stay awake during Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give 'til it hurts
And I turn off the news when I don't like what I see
It's easy to do when its population -- me

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world

Stopped till the red light, looked out my window
I saw a cardboard sign said, "Help this homeless widow"
And just above that sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, "God, what have I been doing?"
So I rolled down the window and I looked her in the eye
Oh, how many times have I just passed her by?
I gave her some money then I drove on through
And my own little world reached population two

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world, ooh, my own little world, ooh

Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
That I could be living right now

I don't wanna miss what matters
I wanna be reaching out
Show me the greater purpose
So I can start living right now
Outside my own little world, my own little world, my own little world

2 and a half years ago, this was me.  I lived in my own little world with two children and another one of the way. I lived in my little house in Orange, VA only knowing the few people that we talked to at church.  I worked my job, often complaining about things, but never attempting to change them.  I gave to my church, but usually with a burden of "how will we afford food this week too?"  I lived in a world, knowing tragedy and hardship existed , but never experiencing it myself. I loved the Lord, but had no idea how weak my relationship with Him really was.  I lived with a husband that would hand the homeless man $10 and it made me cringe because what if that homeless man was a liar and he really had money!

Then God used cancer to open my eyes and shake my world upside down and inside out. 
Cancer had never personally affected me. It didn't run in my family, no family members had cancer, I knew of a few cases, but it wasn't "my problem" I never really cared about cancer, especially pediatric cancer, even though I had 2, almost 3 of my own children.  

February 2013, cancer became my problem, my family's problem, my friends' problem.  It affected me, Richard, our children, our parents, our siblings, our cousins, our aunts and uncles, our friends, our coworkers, our church, our town. All of a sudden I knew what words like hemoglobin, platelets, methotrexate, subcutaneous port and ANC ment. I became aware of just how many different types of pediatric cancers there were and alarmingly aware of the lack of research for some of those cancers.

I learned quickly that pediatric cancer is not profitable, pharmaceutical companies don't make money off pediatric oncology medicines and research, therefore numerous charities and organizations exist to fill the gap that is left.  I learned that those who lead the way in these organizations are parents like us, who unfortunately have learned these facts too. 

Through Ellie's cancer, God opened my eyes wide.  He allowed me to see the amazing things people will do for you when you are in need.  He pretty much forced me to accept help from others and to stop trying to do it all myself.  I learned quickly, this world is not in my control and it is not all about me or what I want.  God taught me how to pray and truly brought me to my knees.  I learned that I only need to depend on Him and He will lead the way, opening and closing doors for me.  I learned that the cancer world is full of stories of heartache and joy.  Amazingly, the cancer world is also full of God.  Full of stories of the amazing things God has done, from healing here on earth, to guarding the brokenhearted.

Two and a half years world is much larger, even though we still live in little old Orange, VA.  We have friendships now that we never had before.  My shy husband now speaks at our church, and has even visited other churches to speak.  I still work (and sometimes complain) but my eyes have been opened to how blessed I am to have that job and the motivation to try to help wherever I can.  We have experienced tragedy, we have experienced heartache, but more importantly we have experienced God's grace.  

As most of you are probably aware, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  This is my 3rd one being a cancer mom, it doesn't get easier.  It's still kinda frustrating to look around and see all these sweet children being diagnosed, to see the same cancer time after time wreck havoc on little bodies.  I guess that's what God uses families like mine and others for.  To bring about awareness, to raise funds for research to find new medicines and treatments, to raise up little scientists who one day want to find the right medicines.  Selfishly, I will admit, I like to hear my daughter's name come out of others' mouths, and maybe that's the wrong motivation at times.  God keeps reminding me lately, its not about her (I'm pretty sure I've said that before...I must not be a good listener lately).  He didn't put this desire in my heart, so that her name could be heard or her picture seen.  He put this there for His Glory, and He's allowed to be selfish! He gets the glory because on every Princess Strong shirt, there's a cross or His name or His word.  He gets the glory because we know that without Him, our family wouldn't be functioning very well right now to even be able to raise these funds for charities. 

Whoever serves, [let him do it] as one who serves by the strength which God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (l Peter 4:11)

I like my little world.  I'm still a homebody and would often rather sit around at home with the kids and do nothing. However, I'm grateful for the world that my eyes have been opened to.  I like that when we do venture out now, its with a new crew of friends for a new cause.  That crew of friends is pretty awesome, because it's a crew that I would never have known had it not been for cancer.  It's a cause I would have never cared about, had it not been for Ellie.  

Cancer may not be a part of your world right now, it wasn't part of mine 2 and a half years ago, but you never know when it could be.  If you haven't done anything for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and you'd like to, you can visit our CureSearch for Childhood Cancer walk page and make a donation to our team, in honor of your healthy kids or in memory of another.  You can also register to walk with us if you'd like to, I'd love to have you part of my little world!

Prayers, Praise and Pink
~ Carly