Christmas decorating at the Hill House… complete with Before and After photos!

We found out that one of our friends’ parents have named their lake house.  We also ate at a restaurant that was a renovated hundred year old house and it had a name.  We think our house deserves a name, not just the obvious, like The Hill House, but something cooler, with character, befitting the crazy life and love that happens inside.  Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions.  For now, it’s just the Hill House, and we had a fabulous Christmas there this year.  I am SO behind in my blogging, and there’s still a lot I want to share, even if it’s become out of date, at least because I took the time to take pictures!  So we’ll start this post with some “before” pictures of what the downstairs looked like when we bought it.

In case you needed a reminder, here are some before pics:

RSH 5078

The living, dining, kitchen area and stairs as seen from the dining room


RSH 5085

Here is the dining room taken from the living room


RSH 5103

The dining room taken from the kitchen


RSH 5104

The kitchen

After a fresh coat of paint, some renovations, repairs, and some frugal Christmas decorating, here we are!


RSH 7031

Our Christmas tree that I got for $30 at the Black Friday Sale at the South Atlanta Marketplace, completely decorated with ornaments and garland from Dollar Tree!


RSH 7068

Breakfast bar that my dad rebuilt to support the kiddos in their clip-on chairs… best thing ever!  Also, you can see above some picture frames filled with Dollar Tree wrapping paper


RSH 7069

Our $100 Craigslist kitchen table and chairs with white battenburg half-curtains from Anna’s Linens.  This table has transformed our kitchen… loooove it!

RSH 7096

Jude making me coffee in our beloved coffee corner.  You think I’m kidding, the kid makes a mean cappuccino!

Again, don’t call DFACS on us.  He always tells me to stand back when the coffee’s brewing, telling me it’s “hot.  hot!”


RSH 7077

The kitchen cabinet doors are made of melamine, and the ones above the stove had pretty much melted.  So we took them off and turned the space into my “decorative corner.”  For those who know me, I’m not very “decorative”, but I had fun covering some foam core with more dollar tree wrapping paper and setting it against the back wall as well as cutting plain foam core to size to tape to the sides of the cabinet to cover the screw holes and microwave outlet.  Way cheaper and easier than spackling and repainting!  Now, what do I do with this spot after New Year’s?!

RSH 7143

Front door wreath, $3 from the thrift store, Dollar Tree bow wired on with a trash tie,

& Dollar Tree ribbon as a hanger, taped up with Gaffer’s tape (the bomb tape, but NOT cheap!)

RSH 7146


RSH 7153

I would be remiss if I didn’t show you the true picture of what our house looked like the day I took these pics.

This is all the crap I moved OUT of the pictures to make the house look all nice and pretty.

Remember when you read design blogs and magazines… these pictures are STAGED!

And probably even more than mine were!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Come Away With Me

A few weeks ago, a couple of our dear friends from our new church offered us the opportunity to run away for the weekend to their parents’ cottage on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina.  We weren’t going to be able to stay long, because Kevin had a big work project that would start at 6AM Sunday morning, but we still jumped at the chance to have a little time to run away and find some peace in the midst of our current storm.

My dad had been staying with us for the past three days (post about that coming up) to help me with some much needed to be finished projects around the house.  He and my mom agreed to take the kids, so Friday evening we packed them up to send home with my dad.  That afternoon and evening, it seemed like one thing after another kept happening to keep us from getting away.  Dad and I had a setback with the electrical in the laundry room, which put us behind.  We’d been racing to get projects done all day, so I still hadn’t packed.  The kids were all over the place and of course, the house was a mess.  My house is always a mess.  This doesn’t bother some people, but it’s such a source of stress for me, when every horizontal surface (including floors) seems covered with something.  (I’m learning to let go.  a little.)  Anyway, we finally got off, knowing we’d get there pretty late, but still excited to be making it out of town.

We stopped at the UPS store to check our mailbox and pick up our packages, and then headed over to one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Figo, to enjoy some dinner before making the two hour drive to the cottage.  That’s when I realized it.  I’d locked our keys and my phone in the car.  Kevin tried to break in with a coat hanger, but the cop driving slowly past deterred him.  He came back into the restaurant soaked (Oh, did I forget to mention it had started pouring rain?) and told me we’d need to get our only other set of keys back from my dad.  Who had just driven an hour to his house in Loganville with our kids.  The amazing man that he is, he turned around and started heading back.

After dinner, we headed next door to the coffee shop to wait for my dad.  It was at this point that I started trying to count our blessings.  It was either that or burst into tears again.  I was grateful that we weren’t stuck outside in the cold and the rain.  We’d brought our laptops into the restaurant with us because I hadn’t wanted to leave them in the car.  We could afford to buy coffee in a coffee shop.  I was feeling a little less down, but still so mad and frustrated that it has seemed lately like we can NEVER get a break!  I posted to Facebook that we were stuck and I was trying to find the silver lining.

Our friend Dave from back in LA reminded me in the comments that

Coffeeshop + Kevin Hill + No Kids = Silver Lining

Boy is he right.  I changed my attitude right then.  Our desire was to get away and to spend time together.  That’s what we were doing.  I’d been feeling so beat up from everything and honestly, I sometimes feel like I’m looking for the next thing to go wrong.  Not a good way to go about my day.  I started opening the cards and packages from our mailbox.  There was a small package with my name on it from an etsy seller.  In it was a small box with no message.  Inside the box was this:

RSH 7565

I have no idea who sent this.  If it was you and you wanted me to know it was you, please send me a message.  Either way, THANK YOU!  It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.  I love to put my fingers around the little stones and feel them as a reminder of the Hope we have in Christ.  When I move around a lot, the necklace makes a slight noise, again reminding me of our Hope.  It just brought tears to my eyes.  My faith is so weak, and my attitude so bad sometimes.  And here God is, telling me once again how much He loves me.  And to have HOPE that we are going to make it through this one way or another.  I am honestly still so terrified of losing the love of my life, and God reminds me that HE is my love and HE will carry me through, no matter what happens.  It doesn’t make me love my husband any less, don’t get me wrong, but the verse doesn’t say KEVIN is my strength and my salvation.  Just when I reach the end of my rope again, God gives me more Hope.

Once Dad had brought us the keys (I love that amazing man), we were so exhausted that we just drove home and crashed.  But still, we got up early the next morning and headed on our way up to South Carolina to our getaway cottage.  It was a lovely drive up, and we listened to an especially encouraging sermon sent by our friends Paul and Lila from back in LA.

IMG 0170

Enchanting lake house

We got to the cottage, and it was just so beautiful, so relaxing, so peaceful.  And what did we do?  We sat on the back deck, looked at the lake, then went inside, watched a movie, and took a nap!  And it was awesome!

RSH 7590

It was the absolute best time.  After hanging out and just enjoying the silence and the peace of that lovely place, we headed over to a restaurant that Jessie’s parents frequent where they had offered to treat us to a meal.  It was a beautiful old renovated farmhouse, and I had the best salmon of my life.  We ate slowly, relaxed, and breathed deeply.  I felt close to my husband.  I had hope.

RSH 7584

The lake was absolutely gorgeous, and just so quiet.  We loved it!

Then we made our way home, so Kevin could get up and go to work at six o’clock on a Sunday morning!  But the kids were still at our parents, so I had another quiet peaceful day to putter around the house, do some painting, and catch up on some cleaning projects.  Instead of feeling like I was madly trying to check things off a to do list, I felt calmer, slower, and it was nice.  So very nice.  Yes, Kevin Hill + No Kids for a weekend = Silver lining.  Thank you God for small blessings, and for reminding us always to Have Hope.

RSH 7599

The door stopper in the kids room at the lake house… such sweet reminders that God gives us!

Beloved Community

We have been in our new house now for almost two months.  It’s hard to believe it!  With all the craziness around here, I haven’t had the chance to share much about our neighborhood.  We live in Adair Park in Southwest Atlanta, and it’s totally awesome.  It’s a neighborhood with some challenges, crime and poverty being two of them.  But it’s also a beautiful place with some amazing neighbors, my new friend Maiya being one of them.  Maiya lives right across the street from me and has three of the sweetest girls you’ve ever met.  We’ve both helped each other out over the past several weeks, from jump starting each other’s cars to me driving her daughter to school when her car was temporarily out of commission.  We’ve gone out and run errands together, with of course a stop to Waffle House on the way.

IMG 0198

Care for a waffle?

Maiya has checked on me regularly and just shows up with food.  It always seems to come at just the right time.  She checks on me and asks if I need anything when she’s on her way to the store, and I enjoy having her over to share a cup of coffee and gap about parenthood.  Jude has really warmed to her, asking if we can go see “Miss Maiya”.

I cannot tell you how much I LOVE that we have neighbors who we know and care for and that they care for us back.  We’ve met lot’s of other folks in the neighborhood through our Adair Park facebook group as well, but I’ve grown very close to Maiya by just seeing her on my street.  I know that when I was little, we knew lot’s of our neighbors in our subdivision, but somehow in less than a generation, that’s been lost in most neighborhoods.  Now like I said, our neighborhood has many challenges, and it’s not a place that everyone would want to live.  But when Kevin and I moved in, we found community in a way that I thought I’d lost and it is truly life-giving.

IMG 0225

Bikes all fixed up and ready to ride!

Today Maiya’s girls were out riding their new bikes that they’d gotten for Christmas.  Most bikes these days seem to not be made very well, and each girl and their cousins were having problems with their bikes.  One after another, I found myself attempting to fix up their bikes, tighten a loose handlebar, a twisted seat, etc.  For about an hour or two It seemed that every twenty minutes, one of the girls was knocking on my door asking for help because something had broken on their bike.  The last thing I fixed was a bike chain that had come off.  I had no clue what to do, because I’d gotten it threaded back on, but it was still loose.  I knew our friend Mr. Tim who runs the actual bike shop ministry in our neighborhood was out of town on vacation, so I called my dad and over the phone he talked me through fixing this little girl’s bike chain.

What a sense of accomplishment I had, a sense of appreciation the girls had (and they were pretty darn impressed that I seemed so handy with the tools… I’m good at faking it!) and another aspect of community was fostered through something as simple as fixing a bike.  I teased the girls that they’d wasted all of my kids’ naptime when I needed to be working so they’d have to come over and watch Jude and Evie after they woke up so I could get some work done.  They jumped at the chance and at 3:00 showed up ready to play with the babies!  All three girls and their three cousins!

IMG 0232

It was mass chaos, but my kids loved it and everyone had a blast.


IMG 0231

I think I may have found a new mother’s helper in the oldest one.

This is definitely something I love about community, a word I am only just beginning to understand.  Thanks girls for coming over and warming up our chilly afternoon!

A little good news for a change… medical update

Medical News

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Last week was a pretty rough week for me emotionally, and there’s lot’s that I want to blog about, but first I know many of you are anxiously awaiting the update that I promised via my last Facebook post.

Tuesday morning Kevin and I went to an appointment with his radiation oncologist.  Dr. K explained what the next phase of treatment would look like and again outlined the risks involved with radiation as well as going over the reasons he felt radiation was an important part of his treatment plan.  After discussing everything over, we feel confident moving forward with radiation.  I’ll be honest, we have both been struggling a lot lately with the numbers that have been thrown at us.  So when Dr. K told us that the radiation he would be receiving could lower his risk of recurrence by half, we felt a great deal of hope.  Now half is a number you like to hear.  We finished going over the details with Dr. K, set up a start date for radiation of January 9, and then scheduled an appointment for him to have a special mask made that will hold his head perfectly still while he is having the radiation treatments.  He has that appointment tomorrow, and then we should be all set to start radiation on the 9th.  One last thing about radiation, we had heard from some folks that they breezed through it, but had also heard from others that it was really really brutal.  Pretty hard to gauge and prepare when you’re hearing things on such opposite ends of the spectrum.  Dr. K specializes in radiation for melanoma patients and he felt very confident that the radiation was not going to be tough on Kevin.  He said after a few weeks he would probably be feeling fatigued, and might have some skin irritations, but other than that, he felt that there would be no reason he wouldn’t be able to work and continue with his regular life (though he did offer to write him a doctor’s note for a few days to play hooky “just because” if we wanted 😉

After the radiation appointment, we headed upstairs to see Dr. L, Kevin’s medical oncologist.  At our last appointment, we had been told that interferon was the only course of treatment available to him because having radiation would rule out any clinical trials, AND that he really did need to have radiation.  Since that last appointment, Kevin had his second (and third) surgeries, so they went over the results of those, which we already knew… one small satellite nodule from the main tumor site, two micro-metastatic positive lymph nodes, and one macro-metastatic lymph node.  This puts him at stage 3C (TNM classification T4bN3M0 for the cancer nerds).

Also since the last appointment, Dr. L had discovered that there was a clinical trial that he was eligible for and that they thought he might be a good candidate for.  Since the trial would randomize him to either receive the trial drug or interferon (which we were going to be doing anyway) we were interested and decided to research it.  We are doing our reading and sending out the trial info to all our doctor friends and family for thoughts and insight.  We have until the end of radiation treatment to make a decision about which way to go.  It’s not a no-brainer one way or the other, so please pray for wisdom as we work on making our decision.  It’s good to have options, I guess, but in some ways it felt easier to not have any options except the standard of care, because then we’d never be second guessing ourselves about the choice we made.  Either way though, we are incredibly grateful for all of the coordinated care and the amazing doctors we are getting the opportunity to work with at Emory.

And because you know I can’t post without a picture, I figured I’d give you all a reason to call DFACS on us…

IMG 0237

A letter from a friend

I’ll be honest, this blog has been plenty one-sided.  It’s written by me, so it stands to reason that there is more written from the perspective of a wife who is terrified, no scared shitless,  that she will lose the love of her life.  It’s a daily battle I have with my thoughts to not go there.  Honestly, I have written so little about what Kevin is going through.  Partly, it’s because honestly, that man is a rock.  I talk to him and ask, “Are you scared?”  He says, “Yeah, a little.  But it is what it is.  We’re going to do what we can and see how it plays out.  And pray.  Let’s definitely pray.”

And then he’ll explain some scriptural theological pneumatological doctrine about times in the Bible when God has changed His mind based on the prayers of righteous men.  He’s studied this well and begins to discuss the intricacies of the different doctrinal interpretations and I interrupt (I always seem to interrupt) and say, “Yeah, you’re right.  Let’s pray some more.”  And we do.

I ask him, “Are you worried about how hard the treatment is going to be?”  And he says, “Well now I am, thanks a lot!”  And we laugh and I cry, and then we try not to think too much about it.

One of Kevin’s best friends who he grew up with, his best man in our wedding, a dear friend now to both of us, posted this today to his facebook wall.  I didn’t ask his permission to share it, but you can kick my ass about it later if you want, Iain.  Thank you for sharing your heart.  Iain, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I’m not usually a positive person.


My sense of sarcasm and trepidation forbid me from assuming “all is well” in any case or circumstance.  It’s a defense mechanism, but the underlying issues which brings that about, as well as any other thing about me is meaningless in this case.  This is about someone else.  This is about a friend.   A man, that I love dearly; and how the love and faith in that man and He who made him, makes me for once in my embittered life, believe, have faith, and think more positive than I ever have.


It’s so easy to feel sorry for yourself when you find out that someone has Cancer.  “How will I get along?…how will I live without them if?….what if that happened to me?….what if…”  My love for this person takes me beyond that though.  One of the greatest men I’ve ever known.  Not a highly successful business man, nor a doctor, or lawyer or even a government official.  I know many of those sorts, and they pale in comparison.  I love him, because he’s always loved me.  Is that selfish?  I don’t think so.  Sometimes it takes knowing, and seeing what real love is, to recognize it, and reciprocate.  I love him because despite my innumerable flaws, my poor sense of humor, my incessant questioning of all that is human and/or spiritual, and my acute ability to break his heart, he has never stopped loving me, praying for me, and hoping that one day I’ll grow up.  He isn’t alone, but he’s general’d this battle longest and most fiercely.


To define us, I look for a word.  I look for a word to quantitatively express who he and I are together.   Friend has no definition strong enough to link us together.  Companion is too gay, and really just lacks the depth.  No, I call Kevin my brother, not for lack of a better word either.  Both of us being only children, and growing up the way we did, we look out for one another just like brothers do.  We love each other in that way as well.  His very person is embedded in me.  I feel as though when I look in the mirror, there is a part of him looking back at me (the less handsome part of course).


He’s plain and simply my sanity, because he is the most level and methodical person I’ve ever known.   I recall once telling him how best to look at relationships with girls, a certain one at that time.  These sorts of things came much easier to me, though I must say that I tended to evolve me theories as I went.  Kevin apparently pondered this for over a year and came back to tell me he thought I was correct… a year later.  I had subsequently moved on to other ideas and theories by that time, having forgot that conversation completely, but was nevertheless amazed how he took those words and considered them for that long.


That is Kevin: considerate.   A trait that took some time for me to learn through him, but which pours out from him.  He isn’t the “send you a card when you are down” type, or even really the kind to open a door for you.  It’s at the heart of life matters where my dearest friend pulls his weight.  When he listens, he really listens.  When he advises, he’s thought and prayed and read books on the matter to be sure you get what you need to hear.  If you are blessed enough to have Kevin your friend, then you are plain, simply, and overwhelmingly, loved.


It has to be quite obvious that he evokes a positive response when ever he is the subject in question.  He’s not without his own hangups.  His stubbornness is unparalleled, and his hair… well there simply no words for that debacle.  It’s like God thought that Brillo-pads were not coarse enough, and figured he’d one-up himself.  His follicle excrement aside though, Kevin does in fact bring a smile to peoples faces, or at least those who know him in any capacity.  He IS positive.  He thinks the best of people always, he believes always, and he loves always.  That stubborn refusal to become cynical is infectious.  I’m not going to go all Tony Robbins on the world, but one must at least acknowledge that some smaller battles have been won.


Upon hearing the “C” word, however, I froze.  Someone just pulled the plug out of bottom of my little pond and I simply didn’t know what to do.  Can my logic plug it back up?  I’m not an oncologist, so, no.  Can I offer words of encouragement?  If you’ve ever been in a dark or perilous situation with my by your side, you know I offer little in that regard.  I tend to make light of the situation with humor (naming enlarged organs, or offering to race you and your wheelchair with one of my own).  Kevin didn’t need humor.  He’s always graciously laughed at the things I have said, but he rarely found solace in them.  I knew him well enough to know that my sick sense of humor offered little.


I didn’t call him, I waited.  Perhaps it was the underlying cynic in me that feared taking that last leap that he would have done without question, but I didn’t call.  Rumors on this coast are at fever-pitch among our church members, but I didn’t care.  I kept thinking that it’s going to be nothing, it’s “merely a flesh wound” as we would say.  After hearing that he was on his death bed from the guy at 7-11,  I finally broke down and called.  I needed to address the absurd rumors regarding my friend.  After a long talk, though: It’s not minor, and it’s not funny.


Another of my closest friends was put through the “C” word.  If you’re reading this, and know me and our circle of friends well enough, you know who it is.  He too called upon the sleeping “Kevin” within me.  The side of me that finds hope.  Not off of the effing internet, that’s for sure.  What a pit of endless despair!  No, we found hope in what we have given and received from each other.  Love…friendship… brotherhood.  We have things worth fighting for, worth hoping against hope that they can remain a little while longer, and bring us strength to stand together.


All any of us have to offer him is what is reflected in each of us , of each other, and what we reflect of the only ONE that can truly strengthen us.  Any reflection of myself and my group of friends sounds like a scary image, personally, but there it is.    Measured, reasoned, and most importantly, faithfully positive in our thoughts.  This comes more easily to me than I thought it would, and has amazingly enough plugged the hole.  As brothers we face this together.  As a brother I will pray as I have never before.  I will fight though 4000 miles away.  I will fight as Kevin would for me.  I only hope I can do it as well as he can.



How to trust God

I woke up early this morning.  I’ve been waking up early a lot these days.  I’ve also been waking up in the middle of the night again.  Thoughts swim through my mind, and like piranhas begin to attack my heart.  My heart knows that God keeps His promises, but my head tells me that the medical prognosis is not good.  My heart knows that God is carrying us through this next season, but my head (and the doctors) tell me that Kevin’s treatment is going to be brutal.  Dark thoughts attack.  Heart begins to weep.

Yesterday I picked up some packages from our mailbox.  A little package had come from my sister’s sweet Mother In Love.  In it she had sent a lovely Christmas book with CD and a card.  Tucked between the card and the book though, was another verse.  I was so happy to have another one to paste up around the house to help me hide God’s word in my heart.

The house has been a mess, the kids have been whiny, life has been, well, life.  When I got home, I set the package with the rest of the mail on the messy counter and got back to the business of being Mommy and trying not to let worry and panic disable me.

I decided this morning that perhaps I’d try something different this than laying in bed allowing my heart to be beaten up by the thoughts in my head.  When I walked into the kitchen, neatly set out on the kitchen table was this:

RSH 7607

This is a familiar verse to many.  It’s a familiar verse to me, a favorite one to hang up in a pretty frame to adorn one’s house as decoration.  I’ve always focused on the “trust in the Lord” part.  But suddenly this morning, while I was sitting in my kitchen, yet again trying not to cry out of fear and panic that attacks me hourly these days, a new part of the verse came into focus.


Lean not on your own understanding.


I read that again a little differently.


Lean not on MY own understanding.

Lean not on THE DOCTOR’S own understanding

Lean not on THE NUMBER’S own understanding


And then I read the first part again.


Trust in the Lord with all your HEART


The heart can trust and know what the head cannot possibly fathom.  The heart can trust, no is commanded to trust in ways that make no sense to the head.

Thank you God, for one more miracle, for one more blessing, for one more Word of peace from You.



Care Calendar

Hi friends!  Many of you have asked about ways that you can help our family with everything going on.  Our friends Becky and Tim have set up a care calendar for us, so that we could coordinate help with meals, folks who’d like to contribute produce for juicing, light housecleaning help/visitation (I’m going crazy at home by myself sometimes and love visitors!).

If you are in the Atlanta area and interested in helping out in this way, it’s super easy to sign up.  Just go to this link here:

The access code is: 5275.

If it asks you for the calendar code, its: 95269

We are working on other ways that folks can help out, and we’ll keep you posted here and on the blog, but for now the absolute biggest thing you can do is pray.  Thank you again for ALL of the prayers to God, kind words sent out into the universe, candles lit, everything.  It means more than you know.

And because you know I can’t post without a picture, here you go!

RSH 6891

A Miracle from God

God sent us a miracle on Monday.  This arrived in our mailbox.

RSH 7250

In it was a letter from our dear friend Bob who married us and serves at our former church back in LA.  I had written him asking if he could find a few verses using his mad seminary skillz and write them out and send them to us.  I was looking for strength from a few verses of encouragement, prayer, and praise.  In the letter, he told me that he’d had every member of the men’s Bible study at church that he leads using concordances to look up verses that they felt God leading them to share with Kevin and me.  They each then handwrote those verses on index cards, read them aloud to one another, prayed over them, prayed for us, and then mailed them to us.

I was having a particular rough morning on Monday (don’t they all seem rough these days?!).  Kevin’s doctor’s appointment had gone well overall, but his doctor was very honest and realistic with us about the possibility of Kevin not being able to continue to work through this year of treatment, due to how grueling the radiation and the interferon were going to be.  We got a little scared, but tried to keep calm, focus on what we needed to for the moment, and made a note to research our short term disability insurance.  We had stopped at a coffee shop after picking up our mail, and Kevin was visibly tired and not feeling well.  I was worried about him, and he agreed with me that he needed to go home instead of going back in to work.  We were both feeling down, and then I opened this envelope from Bob.

Tears just streamed and streamed down my face as I read verse after verse, many of them obscure, but telling me so perfectly what God wanted me to hear, and shouting His love story to me from the pages of these little notecards.  I was about halfway through when I realized that each man had written a note of encouragement on the back and signed it.  I had to go back through the first half of the stack again!  This time thanking God for each of the many many wonderful friends and family we knew back at Village Church who love us and are praying for us.

But the real miracle is this stack of verses.  They are being taped up all over our house.  They are God’s words to me.  His reminders that we can cry out to Him in pain.  His love letters to us.  His words of wisdom.  And the miracle is that He gave to each of us His word to savor, to drink of, to cry over, to rejoice through.  His word is truly a miracle, one I don’t think I understood much before this whole thing began.  Today, I am grateful for the amazing miracle of His life giving Word.

P.S.  If you have a Bible verse or any quote or words of inspiration that you would like to send us, I am filling my home with these good messages, literally hiding His Word in my heart.  Please write the verse out completely on an index card and mail it to our mailbox at 1270 Caroline St. Suite D120-202 Atlanta, GA 30307.  Your words of encouragement, verses, and notes mean more to us than you could imagine.

Strength in Weakness

I keep hearing from people how when we make it through all of this, we are going to be just so much stronger.  I’d been clinging to that, because I feel SO WEAK right now.  I have good moments and bad moments, and mostly, I don’t share too much here until I’ve kind of made it through those bad moments and found that silver lining, that piece of inspiration, because frankly, reading about someone feeling sad, scared, depressed, lonely, etc. ad nauseum, can get kind of old.  And frankly, that’s not really who I am.  I AM someone who looks for the positive in things.  I AM someone, who even in mourning, turns around to see how this can lift us up, draw us closer.  But still, dark days and dark thoughts hit me a LOT right now.  Sometimes they come out of nowhere, like last week, when some dear neighbors came to care for the kids, so I could just lie down and have a good cry.  Sometimes I wake up in the morning, feeling sad, lonely, and depressed, like this morning.

I keep thinking, what if this doesn’t make me stronger?  Every day, I feel more and more beat up, even by the little things, by the two sick babies who are filling my house with bodily fluids.  By the 9 month old puppy we were crazy enough to adopt who USED to be potty trained, but seems to have accidents in the hallway on a near daily basis.  By the car battery that unexpectedly died.  By the news that Kevin might have to take a leave from his job to struggle through treatment.  By the stack of dishes in the sink, and the pile of laundry in the hallway.  Every day, I feel weaker, not stronger.  I feel SO. WEAK.

I think about it a lot, and I guess I AM stronger in some ways than I was before this all started.  I laugh at things more than cry because it’s all just so ridiculous at this point.  I suppose that’s stronger.  When I think I can’t push through a second longer, I get a call that there’s been a work emergency and Kevin will have to stay late and so I figure out how to push through and get the kids and myself fed and taken care of.  I guess that’s stronger.  Then, because he has to go back in for the rest of the weekend, I do it all over again, when I feel that I’d already used up every. last. bit. of strength I’d had the day before.  But I suppose I’m stronger, because I DO make it through, I DON’T collapse into a pile of tears.  I can’t.  There are diapers to be changed, messes to be cleaned up, children to be fed, and bless them, to be cuddled and played with.  But I don’t FEEL stronger.  I feel weary.  I feel tired.  I feel weak.

I feel weaker each day.  And this morning, I found this verse.  Some of you may know it already.


RSH 7241


I remember it had been posted by someone on my Facebook wall at some point, and I had scribbled the verse down, meaning to look it up, copy it down and paste it up around my house.  Well this morning, in my depression, I turned to the Lord (why do I not turn to Him more often?  Hmmm, maybe that’s another of the reasons He allows us to go through these things).  I opened my Bible and looked up the verse that was scribbled on a notepad by my computer.  God’s grace is sufficient.  Okay, that part I get.  We talk about that a lot.  But His power is made perfect in weakness?  OUR weakness is so that God’s power may rest in and on us?

That means that I’m probably not going to get stronger through all this.

It means that I’m probably going to keep getting weaker, and weaker.

And Christ will grow stronger in me.

I think I’m just starting in the smallest inklings to understand this whole dying to self thing.

And it hurts.  But I feel God’s arms wrapped SO. TIGHT. around me.  Saying, “I’ve got you.  I’m carrying you.  You can NOT do this.  But I can.”

It makes no sense to me.  Yet another of the amazing mysteries of our Creator.

Strength in weakness.

Strength for the day

I am starting to learn the meaning of that saying.  I’m sure there are tons of verses that talk about God’s provision, one moment, one step at a time.  But frankly, I’m too exhausted and frazzled to look them up right now.  Last night, Kevin wasn’t able to come home from work until 11:30.  He’s exhausted.  I’m exhausted.  This morning he had to go in at 10:00.  I was just wondering how I was going to make it one moment more.  I reached out to my parents and they said they’d come help out, even if Evie was still sick.  I asked my friends Tim and Becky to bring more soup, because she won’t touch the soup I make.  I reached out to our neighborhood facebook group to ask for a ride for Kevin so I would be able to let Evie sleep through her morning nap.  My parents said they’d head right over.  Tim and Becky just showed up with more soup 10 minutes after I’d texted them.  And our dear friend Erica called me 4 minutes after my FB request and offered a ride for Kevin.  God gave me peace for that moment.

After Kevin had left, Jude started melting down because he didn’t want Daddy to leave.  Meltdown turned into tantrum which turned into timeout with him screaming on the other side of the door.  Evie woke up early from her nap and was crying in her crib.  The peace I had vanished.  I felt myself starting to dissolve into tears.  Then an unexpected knock on the door.  Becky was back.  With this:

RSH 7231

I’d mentioned that I’d never been able to get to the store for the last two days to get more produce for juicing for Kevin (we are going the traditional treatment route, but are doing everything supportive that we can).

It wasn’t just the produce that was so welcome in that moment.  That’s the reason BECKY came over.  But the reason I NEEDED her in that moment was just a hug, just reassurance that we were going to make it.  I needed not just strength for the day, but strength for the moment.  I may not know too many Bible verses (but I’m learning quickly) but the Prayer of St. Frances De Sales says in more beautiful poetry than I ever could.


Be at Peace

Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life;

rather look to them with full hope as they arise.

God, whose very own you are,

will deliver you from out of them.

He has kept you hitherto,

and He will lead you safely through all things;

and when you cannot stand it,

God will bury you in his arms.


Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;

the same everlasting Father who cares for you today

will take care of you then and everyday.

He will either shield you from suffering,

or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at peace,

and put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination.

St. Francis de Sales 1567-1622