Archive | July 2011

Bella

On Wednesday, we brought Bella into our home. She is about 8 weeks old and super sweet. Miranda has been wanting a cat of her own and Bella is a perfect fit. The other cats are not happy with us, but the dog is thrilled!

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This entry was posted on July 22, 2011. 1 Comment

Wild Week

Two weeks ago I had am amazing opportunity to go to Youth Camp for the first time ever.  This camp was not the typical Church Camp; it was a Mission Camp.  Seventeen teenagers and three adults loaded up in borrowed Taekwondo Vans and drove from Austin to Galveston. 

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Our days  were spent volunteering while our nights involved worshiping and learning.  The worship band was awesome.  They used lights, smoke, and very loud speakers.  The room was absolutely electric.  Seeing teenagers worship without abandon was so humbling and wonderful to witness.  Our speaker was so funny, but right on target.  He spoke about having a servant’s heart and reaching out, in love, to the needy.  He was able to capture the attention of over 200 teenagers for an hour – an amazing feat!

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I loved attending church every night for 5 days straight!  It kept me motivated and aware of God’s love and teachings.  But the best times I had at camp were during the service projects.  We handed out food at the Catholic Charities food bank, we fed the homeless at the Salvation Army, and we helped in the continued clean up after Hurricane Ike at the Galveston Seafarers Center.  During these projects, we were able to connect to many different people.  I was amazed with the willingness of the teens to do anything asked of them without complaining or questioning.  They worked hard, but always had a smile on their face.  During evening church times, all twenty of us piled in one hotel room and talked about the day.  Listenting to each teenager open up was incredible. 

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I have to be honest though, I learned so much about myself during those 5 days.  First of all, I felt inspired to continue serving on a more regular basis.  I have participated in several volunteer opportunities through my church, but now I want to discover my own passion and find a way to serve. Helping those in need is an integral part of my faith, although I just learned this in the past couple of years.  I was also pushed out of my comfort zone quite a bit.  I am terribly shy and have a difficult time chit-chatting with strangers.  But at each service project, I was able to carry on meaningful conversations.  In addition, my committment to work with the youth ministry was re-energized.  I was feeling burnt out and was considering serving in a different way.  Now I know that I am in the right ministry for me. 

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Even though we spent a lot of time volunteering, worshipping, and talking about God, we were able to have some fun.  I had a room full of middle school girls – probably the messiest I have seen!  Our room was by far, the worst.  I enjoyed being included in girl-talk that lasted well into the night.  I felt like I was able to connect more to each of the girls and that the beginnings of trust were formed.  One of the girls even talked me into letting her braid my hair – which turned out lovely!  I even watched my first (and last) episode of Hannah Montana.  On Sunday, we talked the pastor into having ice cream before we ate lunch.  We then walked up and down the Strand and acted like tourists.  There were trips to the beach, the pool, and even a secret trip to Sonic! 

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I had a great time at camp and I would love to go again next year!

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This entry was posted on July 21, 2011. 5 Comments

Mom – 1, Cancer – 0

In January of this year, my world was turned upside down.  My mom told me that she had throat cancer.  She was very calm and collected as she explained the diagnosis and treatment plan.  Honestly, I wasn’t listening to any of it.  As the tears streamed down my face, all I could think about was burying my mom.  In both sides of my family, cancer has always been a death sentence.  No one, I mean no one, has survived.  She assured me that her chances of surviving this was high.  After all, Michael Douglas managed to beat it!

Mom began daily radiation treatments and after a week or two, she seemed okay.  At least until her first chemotherapy appointment.  Within 24 hours, Mom’s energy level dropped dramatically.  She began to look like a cancer patient.  I will not lie, it scared me to death to see her so weak and pale.  Then, a phone call at 5 am, from my sister jolted my mom’s sickness to a whole new level.  My mom was worse than I had ever seen her.  She was shaking with cold and unable to lift herself out of bed.  She needed to go to the emergency room.  I told her to wait and talk to her doctor at the 11:00 appointment.  When the doctor saw her, they decided something was wrong and immediately admitted her to the hospital.  I felt horrible.  I should have known and brought her earlier, but I honestly thought her symptoms were normal for a cancer patient.

The hospital stay lasted longer than anyone had ever thought.  Basically, the week before radiation treatments began, my mom had a port put in her neck in order to make it easier to administer the chemotherapy treatments.  But, the port area became infected and had to be treated before she could start anything.  Apparently, they didn’t get rid of all of the infection because it slowly spread and eventually permeated her blood stream.  The blood infection almost killed her.  While in the hospital, my mom had the port removed, had a blood transfusion, and a feeding tube put in.  After being discharged from the hospital, about two weeks later, she didn’t have any more chemotherapy appointments.  They decided to focus on radiation.

Mom never regained her energy or appetite, until well after all 8 weeks of radiation had been finished.  She lost over 40 pounds and looked as if she had aged 25 years.  It terrified me to think that this was only the beginning; that we would have to go through another round of treatments in a couple of months.  Mom started perking up.  She was getting out of the house and eating more and more each day.  Mom looked like herself again – granted, skinnier, but still like the mom I knew.  After two months of waiting, she finally had the test and it was determined that she was cancer-free! 

I am so thankful for all the support and prayers.  My family, my friends, my coworkers, my church…everyone was so helpful and understanding.  My mom was prayed for by dozens of people and she was blessed by the meals provided.   This was, by far, the most difficult thing I have ever gone through, but I never felt alone.  I am amazed at the faith and strength of my mom.  I am grateful for the all the wonderful people in my life that cared for all of us.  But most of all, I am thankful to God for providing knowledge to the doctors and an everlasting peace in the midst of tremendous fear.

This entry was posted on July 14, 2011. 4 Comments