A Common Thread

Some things you choose. And things some you don’t.

You can’t choose the family you’re born into. And of course you can’t choose the physical traits that make people notice who you “take after.” The color of your eyes, the shape of your nose, and even the sound of your voice are traits that are passed down from one generation to the next.

Generations woven together by common threads.

A Common Thread - The Joyful Journey

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This Week in Pictures

It was a week filled with beaches and swimming pools, time spent with family and dear friends, and the laughter of crazy children. This is what summer is all about–I couldn’t ask for anything better!

(click image to view larger)

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TOP ROW: Crazy kids in the pool | Sunday afternoon at the beach | Good friends and sweet kids

MIDDLE ROW: More crazy kids | Road-tripping to Lake Geneva | New Teal is a Big Deal ovarian cancer awareness tank top | Jim with a sweet great niece

BOTTOM ROW: King and Queen of the sand pile | Quiet moments with a sleeping baby…ahhh | A not-so-quiet ride in the golf cart | Jimmy vs. the sand pile…the sand pile won!

God is Good…All the Time.

As soon as the shock of seeing a post from me wears off, all six of my regular readers will no doubt be asking why it’s been so long!  Actually, I have been blogging—just not here. But more about that in a minute.

On December 11, 2012, after experiencing some troubling symptoms for about 1 week, I went to see my doctor and she ordered an ultrasound. To make a long story short, two days later I had surgery and was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer.  In a matter of 3 days, my entire world turned upside down. I spent the next three weeks enjoying (as much as possible) the holidays with my family, then began an 18-week regimen of chemotherapy on January 2nd.  Chemo ended at the end of April, and now, six months after being diagnosed, I finally feel like life is getting more or less back to normal.  Right after my diagnosis, we decided it would be good for me to “blog” about my cancer journey.  CaringBridge provided a great way for us to stay connected with family and friends through regular updates concerning my health and treatment.


Throughout my 4-month battle, writing about the ups and downs of facing a cancer diagnosis and the necessary treatment was exactly what I needed.  It gave me a place to share all that was going on in my heart, mind, and body, and to reflect on all the lessons the Lord was teaching me through it.  It also provided a means of sharing prayer requests and answers to prayer.  I was overwhelmed by the prayer and encouragement that I received from those who followed my story on CaringBridge.  But I am also so grateful that sharing my story allowed me the opportunity to be an encouragement to others.  Through it all, I was continually reminded of one single truth. 

God is good.  All the time. 

Below is an excerpt from my most recent post from CaringBridge, written on the 15th of June:

“The last six months have definitely been a trial.  But through it all, I have become more and more sure of this truth:

God is good…ALL the time.

He is good when things are easy.  But his goodness doesn’t cease when things get hard. In fact, if anything, it is when things get tough that his goodness becomes even more evident.

  • I have seen His goodness through His provision of outstanding medical care in an incredibly timely way.
  • I have seen His goodness through the amazing love, encouragement, patience, and humor of my husband, Jim. He has been with me EVERY step of the way…at times crying with me and keeping me laughing at others.  What a blessing!
  • I have seen His goodness in the way He comforted me through my most difficult days and nights.
  • I have seen and been encouraged by His goodness as revealed in His Word.
  • I have seen His goodness in the acts of love and kindness shown to us by His people.
  • I have seen His goodness in the words of encouragement shared with me by so many friends and family.

I am so thankful.”  (Read more…)

And I continue to be so incredibly grateful to the Lord for all he has accomplished in my life through this trial.

Life is returning to normal—albeit a “new” normal.  My embattled body is feeling better and stronger every day.  I am adjusting to a new (and wonderful!) job with All About Learning PressI am getting used to a new diet and exercise regimen prescribed as part of a 2-year long clinical study for ovarian cancer survivors that I was invited to participate in.  I am also learning to live with the reality of the unknowns that lie ahead.  And that is only possible as I cling to that simple truth:

God is good.  All the time.

And now, once again, I blog.  I realized when I was writing my CaringBridge posts how much I had missed blogging.  So here I am resurrecting my long-abandoned blog and hoping that the Lord will use it to encourage those who find their way here. 

Thanks for reading…I hope you’ll be back!

2011 Stormy Lake Vacation Collage

Me & Dad • Lovely Sunset • On the beach • Look Mom, I’m SKIING!

Aren’t they cute? • We ♥ G’ma & G’pa • Perfect mirror image • Sibling ♥

I ♥ the driver • Another evening cruise • Strange children • Looking for food

Yes, another sunset • Inside activities • Five loons • Oh Captain, My Captain♥

A quiet moment • Still looking for food • Cousins & tubing fun • Last sunset

Weddings, Gardens, and Independence Day…

Last weekend, all four of my children were in the wedding of a dear friend.  The girls have been been friends with Emily…more like sisters, really…for more than 20 years.  They’ve share both the blessings and the hardships of growing up “in ministry.”  It’s created a bond that is unbreakable.  It was a wonderful weekend with laughter, tears, and lots of makeup and hairspray!!

Summer has finally arrived in Northern Illinois and our garden is finally looking like a garden!  In fact, we’ve even eaten some peas!  Now, if only the tomatoes would ripen.

And finally, I was asked to write an Independence Day guest post over at The Homeschool Village!  You can hop over HERE.  Happy Independence Day!

Wordless Wednesday: My Best Guys!

Stormy Lake on Memorial Day, 2011, with my two favorite guys!

(Memorize Mondays was postponed for the week due to the holiday and the fact that I was in the middle of nowhere!!  We’ll return next Monday to post and memorize the next portion of Romans 5!)

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Three months later….

Remember this?

Same spot.  Just three months later.

Summer arrived in full force yesterday. I wasn’t thrilled with the 90 degree temperatures, but Jimmy and his friend were!

90 degrees + a sprinkler = FUN!

It’s True…My family is NUTS!

It’s that time of year again.

Well, actually, we’re a little bit crazy ALL the time, but it gets noticeably worse at this time of year.

It’s nothing new. It’s a generational thing. My father-in-law passed it on to my hubby. My daughters inherited the disease from their dad. They came down with it years ago. There is no cure.

And they’ve done their best to infect their sweet baby brother.

The symptoms intensify in the spring. Last year’s outbreak was the worst. It lasted for months. But mercifully, it came to an end on June 10, 2010.

This year’s outbreak of insanity in our home may be shorter lived. Our Chicago Blackhawks aren’t the team they were last year. Last year, they ended their season by hoisting the Stanley Cup. This year they eeked into the playoffs with an 8th place finish. Last year our expectations were through the roof. This year….not so much. The 2011 playoffs didn’t start well for the Blackhawks. After three losses to the Vancouver Canucks, it looked like the season was about to come to a sad end. But then the Hawks won. And then they won again, and then 2 nights ago, they won again. In overtime. To force a Game 7. To say we reacted strongly is a bit of an understatement.

One of my daughters thought it might be fun to record us watching the overtime period. Just in case. The following video provides visible (and very loud) evidence of the insanity that resides here during hockey season.

Enjoy. And please, for your own sake, turn your volume down.

So, our season might end ended tonight. But even if it does, we’ll always have Game 6.

(And you should all be really happy we didn’t record our reaction to the short-handed goal that sent Game 7 into overtime!)