Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Random Thoughts, Vegas edition

Sean and I decided to quit giving each other Christmas presents and instead go somewhere together as our gift. For our first destination we picked Las Vegas.

Several people asked why I wanted to go there – like it was beyond the possibility that this non-drinker, non-smoker, non-gambler would want to go to Sin City. But I’ve always wanted to see the lights and spectacle of the place, so that’s why we picked it. That, and we got an amazing offer on a hotel room right on the Strip.

People, I am all about a deal.

In addition to the lights, we wanted to see the Red Rocks Canyon which we saw on Friday. We’re also going to the Hoover Dam. And we found out there’s a behind-the-scenes power plant tour in addition to the regular Dam tour. Guess who’s really, really excited about the Hoover Dam tours? That would be Sean, the engineer.

Going places with an engineer is always interesting. For example, yesterday as we walked by the Bellagio fountains, the maintenance crew was working on the valves. We spent a good five minutes watching them. Sean was mesmerized.

Later that night when we saw the fountains in action, among the oohs and ahhs of the crowd, Sean says: “Just think how fast those valves have to actuate!”

Sean watching the fountain workers.
I would comment on that, but really, what more can be said? He’s an engineer.

We've not seen as much of the craziness as I thought we would. Of course, we've been back in our room by 10 each night.

I’d forgotten how lovely it is to live in a world free from cigarette smoke. I feel like I need a bath after walking through a casino. Wow, does it stink.

Pretty sure we’re going to get the hang of the time change just in time to have to readjust to EST.

Many thanks to my Mom, who’s on carpool duty for Rebecca while we’re away.

Love my time away with Sean. Will love being back with my people, too.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Parachutes of hope, love and care

Ever feel that urge to send an encouraging text or email? Maybe you go old-school, get out pen and paper and send an actual letter? Do you then wonder if your small act of kindness meant anything? Let me emphatically tell you it does. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, it means so much.

I've been the recipient of many emails and texts since writing about my Aunt Sue's cancer and the heartbreak it has caused me and my whole family. The texts and emails that took a few minutes to type and send buoyed me beyond belief. The Facebook messages were a balm to my soul.

Sue’s daughter, Ashley, wrote that the messages she’s received are like the gifts sponsors send to Katniss in The Hunger Games. The little parachute falling through the trees brought much-needed supplies and got Katniss and Peeta through the games. And the notes and texts and messages are just like that for Ashley – “… little parachutes that come down from nowhere into this tall grass and give you a boost, a salve.  Those never get old and ultimately aid the survival.”

She is so right. They are a boost. They are a salve. They aid in our survival of this dark walk through territory that’s new to my family.

When you get the idea to send a note to someone send it on. Text. Email. Pony Express. Short, Long. Medium. Send it. I promise it will mean more to the recipient than you could ever know.

I think I’m going to break out my stationary this afternoon and send a few letters myself. 
One of the parachutes I received last week.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Many, many thanks

All I can say is thank you. Thank you for the comments and prayers and messages you sent concerning my Aunt Sue and her battle with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. Thank you from me and my family, immediate and extended.

Within minutes of publishing my post, I was completely overwhelmed by an outpouring of love, prayers and support. And I immediately began to regret the post. It started to feel too real, too raw. As I re-read my words, I felt so helpless. And if there’s one thing I don’t like to be, it’s helpless. I am the one who helps. Need a meal? I’ll bring it. Need a prayer? I’ll pray it. Need an encouraging word? I’ll say it. I do not like to be on the receiving end of help – I want to be the helper, not the helpee.

But I am helpless. I don’t have the prayers or encouraging words right now. I needed those comments and prayers and messages.

All of the notes, messages and comments from friends reminded me of these verses in Ecclesiastes 4: Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

Thank you for lifting up me and my family. You are dear friends. I so appreciate each of you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


As I type this, I’m sitting in McDonald’s, where I hang out during Rebecca’s geography class. I get my fill of fountain Diet Coke and free Wi-Fi, and the gas tank gets a rest. I’m reasonably well-dressed, my hair is done and I have on make-up. I’m doing a pretty good job of looking like everything’s fine. No one would guess my heart is breaking.

I can barely contain my tears as I think about my aunt, whose scan yesterday showed the tumor in her brain has grown. The options are few; she’s already exhausted chemo and radiation treatments. When the tumor was diagnosed, she was given 17 months. That was 15 months ago.

If only this tumor knew my aunt! This is the wonderful woman whose conversion to Christ was the catalyst to my Mom’s entire family becoming Christians. This is the woman who has faithfully prayed for me and Sean and our children. This is the woman who has believed, hoped and endured all things for me and our whole family. She is the picture of love.

If the tumor knew all that, it would pack its bags and get out of her brain.

With Aunt Sue last September

If only we could reason with it. If only we could tell that tumor all the amazing things about Aunt Sue, all the people she’s loved, all the people who love her…

But there’s no reasoning with a glioblastoma. There is only coming to terms, terms set by the tumor. And we have no choice but to agree.

We believe in God. We believe in prayer. We believe God hears prayers. And we have been praying! We are begging God for healing, for complete and utter miraculous healing that would stun the medical community and give my aunt and uncle a platform to proclaim the amazing power of our good God!

But they have never needed a platform to proclaim God’s goodness. They do it because it’s who they are. And as they've traveled this journey they didn't ask to take, they've done just that.

I believe God is sovereign. I believe God knows best. I believe God cares for us. I will lean into that head knowledge and hope beyond hope that it makes its way to my heart.

And I will again, for the umpteenth time, follow the lead of Aunt Sue and Uncle Johnny, who continue to proclaim God's goodness in the midst of their pain. God, let me be half as faithful as they are.


If you’re the praying sort, my family covets your prayers for Aunt Sue, Uncle Johnny and their family. Thanks.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Who needs a laugh? I do!

So, it's been an off-week for writing. Michael went back to school yesterday, and Amy leaves on Sunday... trying to focus on the great Christmas break we had together and not on the fact that they won't be home for dinner on Monday.

Also, it snowed. A lot. A whole lot. And that didn't help my week all that much.

So let's have some fun. Like watching these people not drive well in snow. I wonder if the lady who rear-ended Sean yesterday is in here:

Concepts of what's a lot of snow vary from country to country:

Yeah...pretty much how this winter went...

What I hope to do later today:

Winter..haha. I see all of your "despise winter" post and thought of you when I seen this. Lol @Style Space & Stuff Blog McDaniel

Have a great weekend! And if you've got snow on the ground where you are, drive safely!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Random Thoughts, New Year’s edition

Today marks the day we close the door on Christmas vacation and head back to real life. Goodbye to visits with family, goodbye to sleeping in, goodbye to days with no schedules or classes or homework.

I’m not terribly fond of this day…

I have quite enjoyed seeing blank spaces on my calendar. The only things I scheduled over the last two weeks were a lunch with a friend, dinner with my college roommate and a date with Sean - a date to see Wicked!

Someone asked me how many times I’d seen the show. I honestly cannot remember. I’m not nearing Amy Grant concert-going numbers, but I’m in the double-digits now.

My Amy can thank that show for making me a musical enthusiast.

This is a point of contention between me and my family. I made the mistake, in a moment of excitement following the viewing of Annie at the Wharton Center this December, of uttering the phrase, “I like musicals.” What I wish I’d said was, “I like certain musicals.”

To be very clear: I do not like all musicals. I like certain musicals. Musicals like Wicked. Suessical. Titanic.

Unfortunately, Amy recorded me saying “I like musicals,” so I will never hear the end of this.

Despite this harassment, I’m happy we have a few more days with all three kiddos home. We’re trying to cram as much family time into these fleeting days as possible.

Sean made the mistake of telling Michael that he only has one more Christmas in school and one more long Christmas break– after that, he’ll be lucky to have Christmas Eve off. This thought did not thrill Michael. Or his mother.

I will definitely get as much family time as I can out of these days. Hopefully the kids will think putting away the Christmas decorations counts as family time and not forced labor.

Happy Get Back to Normal Day to you and yours! 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Post of the Year

Many, many heartfelt thanks for those of you who read my blog. Your comments, both on the blog, Facebook and in person mean the world to me. I'm a writer, and I'd write even if no one read a word, but knowing there are people who enjoy what I write is pretty stinkin' sweet. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I. Am. The. Mom. was the most-read post on my blog this year. That it took on a life of its own surprised me. That it was shared over 250,000 times and picked up by sources like The Blaze, The Washington Times, The IJReview, and One News Now blew me away. That it landed me on Fox and Friends, The Lars Larson Show and Glenn Beck's TV show shocked me beyond belief.

The whole episode taught me a ton about media. Some media outlets care to get the story correct while others simply rush to take advantage of what's hot at the moment. Many kudos to The Blaze writer Jason Howerton. He actually called to interview me - he was the only one in print media who did. Many internet "journalists" got the story completely wrong, and even when I (foolishly) attempted to correct their errors, I was ignored.

Perhaps the most hysterical (in the truest sense of the word) reaction happened on the website Jezebel. I have been called a lot of names in my lifetime (you try growing up with the last name Peters) but nothing prepared me for what those readers said. That post was when Sean said, "No more reading comments for you!"

This text from my friend Kim is one of my favorite pictures that came from the whole episode:

This one's a close second:

Several posts related to our visit to the doctor's office were also incredibly popular:
It was quite the ride. Thanks for taking it with me!

Happy New Year!