Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hope Spoken

Photo by: Emily Anderson
Over a year ago, I heard about this conference on one of my favorite blogs.
I was immediately drawn in after reading this:

Hope Spoken is a women's conference where we all can come to know Jesus more, and make Him known in our lives. Our conference will be filled with stories. Stories of Christ in each of our lives, and how we can use these stories for His glory. This is a weekend to rest and feel His love, to lay burdens and hurts down and feel His grace. We want to let women know that they are enough, to encourage women to use their passions, their words, and their creativity for the Lord. We, above all else, want to glorify Jesus' name and share the hope we have in Him.

Photo by: Meghan Newsom

I wanted to attend, and I was so excited when my friends Christen & Cindy agreed to go with me.  The last time the three of us went on a trip together was in 2002
so it had been just a little while.

Aside from the stress of getting into an airport
(does anyone else get hot & suddenly suffer from a slight tummyache
when their bags go through security, and you have no shoes on?)
and the awkward dance of getting our own personal selves & our carry-ons from one terminal to another and onto the plane itself, I would consider our travels from Virginia to Texas a success.

Christen's Uncle Mike was gracious enough to pick us up at the airport and escort us to
lunch & to the hotel where the conference was held.
{Thank you, Uncle Mike!}

Danielle & Casey & Emily
Photo by: Meghan Newsom
Our Hope Spoken hosts were amazing!  From the decor to the worship to the treats to the small group leaders to the market to the schedule to the speakers - Casey, Danielle, and Emily did a phenomenal job.  I'm so thankful for their heart and vision for our time in Dallas.  I'm even more thankful for their passion and love for Jesus.  Their commitment to His plan for our few days together was evident throughout the entire weekend.
Honestly, I thought that four days away from my responsibilities at home and at work would be an escape from the anger that I have with God right now because of circumstances that I think are unfair.  My mind knows:
that He is in control
that His plan is beyond my understanding
that He loves each of His children very, very much
However, when life plays out unexpectedly - all those things are harder for my heart to embrace.

Just an aside:
Can we just remember and celebrate that we did not have to cook one meal, do one load of laundry, or brew one cup of coffee during the entire conference?  Also, treats were always on hand.

They truly took the best care of us.
Photo by: Meghan Newsom

There is so much more to share.

For now - know that because all of the women {our speakers, our small group
leader (the amazing Leslie Padgett), every lovely girl in my group}
were so transparent, honest, and thoughtful with each of their stories - I came away
from this weekend changed by each one.  They brought to the table something that God wanted me to hear and experience at this very time in my life, and I will always be thankful for that.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Maileen's Journey - April 2

Thanks to all of you for continuing to pray for my amazing cousin, Maileen.  I know I often call her amazing, but she truly is.  She's been sharing her story since the beginning, and I have been changed watching her strength, honesty, and love.  Although it has been unimaginably hard for Peter, Maileen, and their children - they have continued to show their faith and trust in God which has been hard for me to wrap my brain around.  They have always been such an example to me, and they continue to be as we love them from afar.

January 28
...and I just got back from the capital city with the MRI and part of the abdomen results from Friday...God is Good and still very much on our side no matter the results. The tumor in the frontal left lobe is 19.4 mm to 26 mm. The spot operated on in August is now 52 mm x19.9 mmb in the menengies. I have some growth on the bottom of my left lung. I have a tumor now on my right breast right in the middle I am calculating at 30 mm or so diameter. I will have it checked for sure this week. We are praying for the following:
---Approval for insurance at a decent price, Praise God and activates by Feb 1st.---Raise funds to do all of this and learn ways and do things we can do to raise decent adoption payment and raise support plans.---Have a place to stay for up to 6-12 months within Augusta GA so we can learn the disciplines of how to prepare food and near a really good school for Marissa that can help her well. (Jan 28th.)---Both children have permission to go with us during treatments and have great people able to invest in Marissa's hearing issues to help her hear better and communicate better. She is struggling in Spanish. And must sharpen her understanding and use of the sounds. (And that the Spanish Teacher understands to write her Spanish update letter so we can get it to the local government within the next couple days.)---Each of our cells heal from this disease and any other illnesses completely and help others heal too and the finances and materials to do all that.---That we can also be invested in well to serve our Saviour well to glorify His name and invest in others, too. Lord willing be able to start a place that helps others learn how to help thier bodies and church heal.---Please also pray for Peter...he is taking on tons of single parent chores with a 6 year old that doesn't speak well yet and a 8 month old that is just learning to crawl and a wife that cannot help much if at all...thanks. We appreciate your prayers and words of encouragement.

On February 4th, Peter summarized it best with

On this World Cancer Day, I am celebrating my dear wife, Maileen, who has battled fervently for 3 years. I love you my Precious Baby. We can do this!!

February 16
Well, in English, she's my better half. In Spanish, she's the other half of my orange. So I guess I just left the better half of my orange in Augusta, Georgia. I love you, Maileen.

February 17
3 countries, 4 flights, 3 airlines, 5 airports, 4 times through security, 1 long day and 1 tired Dad who is happy to be with his kids again

February 27
I have the kids' permission to travel from the Honduran courts. Tomorrow we will go get their Honduran passports. One step closer.

March 1

We did it, Mommy! We love you!

March 13
The visa appointment for the kids has been moved up to tomorrow at 8am!!! Please pray for a favorable outcome.

March 14
Having a celebratory donut. We got the visas! We're coming to see you on Thursday, Maileen.

March 20
We have arrived (in Georgia)! Thank you all for your prayers.

March 25
Maileen had an MRI this morning. The tumor in the frontal lobe of her brain has grown considerably. Per doctor's orders I'm taking her to the emergency room right now. Thanks for your prayers.

March 26
Maileen update: She is doing better. I.V. steroids are helping reduce the swelling on her brain. Please pray for wisdom. Within the next 24 hourse we have to decide whether or not she should have surgery for the tumors. Thank you all for your continued prayers and encouragement.

March 27
Maileen will undergo surgery Friday morning at 7:30 EDT. They will remove the tumor from her frontal lobe. I am grateful for all your prayers and humbled by the number of people who are praying.

March 28
Maileen's surgery went well. Thank you for your prayers. She has recovered consciousness and was glad that she recognized Marissa and me. I had asked the surgeon to install a software upgrade so that I would appear more handsome to her. It's too early to tell if it worked.

March 30
Maileen is healing. She was just moved from the ICU into a regular room. Thank you for your prayers.

April 1
Maileen is slowly improving. She was discharged from the hospital yesterday. We are glad to have her home, although we are still adjusting to taking care of her. Thank you, again, for all your prayers.

Peter & Maileen are grateful and humbled by your love and thoughtfulness.
I am grateful and humbled by your love and thoughtfulness.
Thank you always for your kind words and your prayers.
We appreciate you so much.

Back to Maileen's Journey