He really, really wanted something in his big guy cup:
And he was excited about his Moose Jammies:
And I think it is safe to say:
He is enjoying his new tool bench:
While we enjoy giving and receiving gifts, we remember that the true meaning of Christmas is in the baby whose birth we celebrate on Tuesday. The Hope of the world. We choose to continue to cling to that Hope this Christmas season!
Loves to cook! Leos turn, I mix, and See it are all very common phrases in our kitchen!
He also likes to taste test:
We stole away for a quick overnight in Iowa to spend time with Cousin Mollie, Auntie Kitty, Uncle Bret, and the Wulfekuhles:
"Aimee's buts" are always a hit at our house! We will miss when she can't come over during the day but we are thrilled about her new adventure!
Leo helped me make cut out cookies. . .
Not exactly my plan for the first cookie on the pan. Oh well. If you can't beat em, join em!
We are thankful for nebulizers even if they mean that we've been sick. We are also thankful for sinus infection medicine and it helping to return our happy, active boy to us after almost two weeks.
We spend a lot of time doing this. . . Letting our creative juices flow. . .
In case you missed it, the cutest golfer ever was around on Halloween!
(those baby blues. be. still. my. heart.)
He stopped at Papa's office to get some work done before trick or treating.
We were so blessed to have our friends Patty and Grace from Alexandria come visit us for a weekend! Grammie took us to an awesome indoor park:
Grammie also took us to Toddler Tuesday at the MOA to take our minds off of the upcoming appointment. Leo LOVED these cars. All he could say was "again!"
As you can see, we've been busy. Busy choosing joy. Choosing to live each day and make precious memories because even though the days seem long, these years are going too fast! We are thankful for time spent together! We are so lucky to have such great people in our lives to love on us!!
When you read this you might think I am not serious or that I was dumb.
I like to think that I am a pretty smart girl.
And I promise that I am 100% serious.
Two years ago it never occurred to me that I could have cancer.
I am serious.
Never. crossed. my. stinkin. mind.
I know what a biopsy is.
I know what it checks for.
I know I got a call from the doctor that said they wanted me to "come in for results."
I know that wasn't good news.
I know that my parents offered to come to the appointment with us.
I still had no clue.
Cancer was nowhere on my radar.
All the pieces should have added up, I should have seen it coming.
Looking back, it was the very beginning.
The beginning of God's protection and provision. The beginning of a long journey, a rich one at that.
I bet you are thinking "The beginning of God's protection? A rich journey? You still have cancer. Your cancer came back. Your last scan showed mixed results! How can you say that God protected you and that you have a rich journey when he has not granted you the one thing we all want and pray for constantly?"
How can a girl who is fairly well educated and loves science not add it up to figure out that she could have cancer? How could she miss ALL of the warning signs?! God knew I could not handle it. My control freak nature would want details and a plan. He knew that. He created a mental block in my head and didn't lift it until we had doctors who were equipped with a plan and knew what they were doing. He put Exodus 14:14 in front of my face and reminded me "the Lord your God will fight for you, you need only to be still." He showed me his desire to fight for me through you. Through card senders, phone callers, text messagers, meal makers, laundry washers, house cleaners, errand runners, childcare providers, kind word offerers, gift givers, and ride givers. People who were and still are willing to step up and fill in where I am weak.
Cancer placed me on a journey of faith. What I would describe as the richest time of my life. A time where I can do absolutely nothing to control what I want to control in the worst way. I know what I want. What we all want. I was reminded the other day of what David told Goliath "The battle is the Lord's." We can want with everything in us to change this and make the cancer go away. Unfortunately, other than take the medicine given and pray, there is nothing else we can do. This battle truly belongs to the Lord and we have to simply walk in his ways and trust him to provide. To give it to the Lord over and over and trust his will to be done. To take each day, each treatment, each doctor appointment as an opportunity to say "God, we trust you more."
I know that God loves us. He loves us so much more than we can imagine. He is sovereign, and he is good. Oh so good. Two years ago I knew that. I believed it. I would have told you that. I know it in such a different way right now. A way I would have missed if I had never had cancer- and then had it come back. A way in which every fiber of who I am wants to make sure you know it and believe it too.
Two years ago I missed the changing of the leaves (My favorite time of year). I was too scared, too sad, too much trying to control what was going to happen by telling God how this should all go down. God has shown me over the last two years that I can't control any of it, worrying about it isn't going to help, and throwing my own pity party is just plain wasting his (precious) time. 2 Peter 3:9 says "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise" It is all about his time. I am not missing the leaves changing this year. I am taking every opportunity to simply thank God for the beauty that takes my breath away and reminds me of his brilliance, majesty, and splendor.
I want to leave you with this:
that thing we all want and pray for constantly. . . Yet. God has not granted it yet.
I can see it in your eyes.
Fear. Anxiety. Worry. Sadness. Hurt. Frustration. Anger
You think I don't notice.
I notice everything.
You try to hide it.
I see right through you.
You don't understand.
You love me so much.
You want what is best for me.
You wish you could take it away.
You wish it was you.
You wish there was something more to do.
I wish you could come inside my brain. I wish you could sit with me for a cup of coffee while I share with you how God works in my life. How he provides for all of my needs. What he has placed on my heart and how he has confirmed it. How he calms my heart to see his blessings when things are not going the way I want them to. I wish I could help you understand what I feel with such certainty. That which God took the time to lay on my heart. And confirm. Over and over.
I can't explain it well.
I have a hard time finding the right words.
I know what the doctor says.
I also know some things about my God:
He tells us to ask for what we need. (1 John 5:14)
He tells us to be persistent. (Luke 18)
Faith made people well in the Bible (Matthew 9:18-34)
There isn't anything God can't do. (Jeremiah 32:27)
God has a plan. Jeremiah (29:11)
He will fight for me. I need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14)
Dear friends, stand with me.
Dig in your heels and stand tall.
Stand in Faith.
The devil is smart.
He knows that some of us are wavering.
Fear and doubt are two of his greatest weapons.
Fight him with everything in you.
Even when it is hard.
Even when all evidence points the other way.
Tell the devil to get lost.
There is no place for him on Team Chin!
Scream it at him if you have to
Our God is SOOOOOO much bigger than he could ever dream to be.
Stand in Faith.
I am going to leave you with a video to watch.
Britt Nicole says it so much better than I ever could.
ON HIS PROMISE I WILL STAND
ALL OTHER GROUND IS SINKING SAND
Sometimes I do things that force me to walk down what I will call "Cancer Memory Lane." It is where I am doing something or talking to someone and I have to think back through my whole cancer journey. Each and every treatment, doctor's appointment, scan, diagnosis, phone call, meeting, the whole she-bang.
It is not something I enjoy.
It is actually something I avoid doing as much as possible.
It is hard.
It makes me uncomfortable. Like squirm out of my seat and run as fast as I can the other direction uncomfortable.
It floods me with emotions that I am not always equipped to deal with.
Tonight I was writing an email when my brain decided to take its own little trek down "cancer memory lane." You see, I have a scan coming up on Friday and I was telling someone about it. I was telling her what I am praying for. Telling her how much I really just want to know if the results will be good or bad and at the same time I never want to know. (Basically, I just want to know the future-too much to ask, I know) The message from church tonight on surrender must have also been on my mind because all of a sudden my mind simply took its own detour. Reminding me what I was feeling in October of 2011 when we were waiting for biopsy results and turning the idea of pregnant with cancer over in our minds. Reminding me how scared I was. Reminding me how much anticipation and anxiety is supposed to be in this scan week. Reminding me of how many times I we have prayed for things in this cancer journey and God has said "no."
And then I realized how much my life has changed since that day almost two years ago.
I realized how much of a different person I am now.
I realized how much I have learned- about myself, my faith, my family, medical knowledge.
I realized how many people I have praying for me- creating a shield around me from fear and anxiety.
I realized how many times I have seen, really-truly-honestly-can't deny it is him- seen God's hand at work in my life.
I know that I have prayed for lots of things on this cancer journey that God has answered "no" to. That doesn't mean that he does not love me. It does not mean that he is not taking care of me. It doesn't mean that he isn't going to heal me. It simply reminds me that he knows better right now. His plan is better and he can see the whole picture. As hard as that is, I am so thankful for that!!
This week should hold all kinds of fear, anticipation, and anxiety. Two years ago it would have been unbearable. I want to say that today it doesn't even matter. I can't. It does matter, there will still be anticipation but I refuse to give in to the anxiety and fear. God has a plan. It will turn out his way. He will be victorious and it will be good.
Will you simply join me in praying that I would be able to "trust God more" this week?
PS- I am so thankful for you. Thankful for your prayers, notes, cards emails, meals, all of it. I am thankful the way you walk this journey with me whether you truly know me or not. It humbles me to no end and I am thankful that you let God use you to bless me.
We spent June and July savoring precious moments like this. . .
Nannie went home to be with Jesus on July 12 and we were blessed to be with her in her final days here on earth and then celebrate her life with a beautiful memorial service.
Then Mollie, Crosby, and Carter came for "bacation" in Papa's "grambilla"
The grands got to have their first Build A Bear experience where Marge,
And Daddy-Tractor/Puppy were created.
Grammie has spent lots of time with us as my treatments have gone on (and on and on and on) We are so thankful for her loving, caring, servant heart. We couldn't do it without her!
We've tried to get outside as much as possible and enjoy the sunshine,
We've spent a lot of time perfecting our tractor driving
And spent an afternoon at the Carver County Fair learning about "treats"
and llamas. . . (if anyone can tell me why there were llamas at the county fair I would appreciate it!)
We experienced our first big bonk,
And have spent lots of time loving on this guy as he learns a new normal to his life. We like to visit him on Friday afternoons and you can bet that we rarely show up without a treat!
Can you believe that next week is the beginning of September? We can't!! Our summer has been crazy. So different than we expected but that's the way life goes. It has taught us to rely even more on God and trust his timing for our lives.
We are trusting God with my scan next week. We refuse to let Satan use fear as a weapon in the coming days. We trust God too much to let Satan rob us of our security.
To be honest, I am craving a normal life.
A period of time without treatment.
and side effects.
and doctor visits.
Would you join us in praying that we would have scan results that warrant no more chemo? All the while trusting that God knows best and if Dr. Bloom says more chemo, we will walk into it with a happy heart because "We hold unswervingly to the hope we profess because he who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23).