Papa Rick, Grammy, and Nana Karen opening presents. Notice the packaging...Mrs Smiths Christmas Breakfast: Quiche, Broiled Tomatoes, Bacon, Bagels, Fruit and Chocolate Chip Scones! Mom and Chan opening our stockings. One funny thing Chandler said that morning was. "Mom, do we have to open presents yet? I want to warm up to the day." What child doesn't want to open presents the second he gets up?? Go figure.
This day last year David had his biopsy. He couldn't button the top button in his collared shirt for our Christmas picture and decided that he had been eating way too many Christmas cookies. The next day I could see a lump in his neck and I told him he should see a doctor just to make sure it was nothing. I had a hunch it was a swollen lymph node, but he hadn't been sick or anything recently. The doctor he went to did blood work and nothing showed up, and then they did an x-ray, and again nothing showed up. David told her that his brother had died from lymphoma so she decided to send him to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor for piece of mind. That doctor told him it was definitely a lymph node, and to find out more info he could do a needle biopsy or a surgical one. He said the surgical one was more accurate, but left it up to Dave to decide. He didn't seem too concerned. David decided to have the biopsy on the 19th and in we went. We weren't really worried or expecting it to turn out to be anything major. That day however, everything changed. As soon as we met the surgeon in the morning he started talking about cancer for the first time. Then, we met with the anestigiologist (sp?) and he began to give us all kinds of warnings like the tumor is close to a major artery and if I cut a nerve he may have his face be paralyzed and never be able to smile again. I really started to feel the seriousness of the day and I called Karen to ask her if she could ask the people at church and the kid's school to pray. She called our church office and Pastor Dave came straight to the hospital. I am so glad he did. Right before I saw him in the hallway, the surgeon has just come out and told me everything went well in surgery, but his best guess was that David had some kind of Lymphoma and he wouldn't know for sure for about a week. He sent me to the pharmacy to pick up some pain killers and I was in a daze. We had the choice of getting the news the day before or after Christmas. I remember that week of not knowing and I think that was the hardest part. Trying not to think ahead too far, but yet preparing to hear bad news. God was with us every step of the way, and used so many people from church to encourage us and help us to think biblically in a time where it was so easy to be anxious. So many people asked us if it was ruining our Christmas, but I remember thinking No way. It was because of Christ's birth that we had joy and the forgiveness of sins, and the hope of eternal life. I remember how special that time was leading up to Christmas, and thankful I was to know the Lord. It is hard to believe a whole year has gone by already, and I have no idea what the future will hold, but the whole experience has strengthened our faith and I know that God took care of us and gave us peace when we needed it and I know he will be faithful in the future too. I hope we don't ever have to go through this again, but it was a time in our lives that I don't think either of us would change.
Here is a picture of our tree. It's funny because I grew up without a Christmas tree, so when we got married and started having one, I dreamed of decorating the perfect themed tree like you see in stores, but each year my children bring home these precious ornaments that only a child could make, and they insist on putting them right in front. I've given up on a beautifully themed tree and now I let the kids decorate it however they want and I resist the urge to move the ornaments the way I would like them to be. Today, I caught my dog eating the new ones that the kids baked and painted last week at a friend's house. Happy ate the paint and everything. Hopefully she won't get sick and the kids will learn to put the food ones higher up on the branches. It is also an annual tradition for David and I to fight about the size of the tree, or should I say "discuss" He thinks it is way too big, but I love it. I think this year he will win the debate since he is the one who has to get it down and put it away every year, and we will be Christmas tree shopping in a few weeks. Here is our manger scene from Costco. Every year we hide the baby Jesus until his birthday, and every year Chandler asks..."If the baby isn't born, why have the wise men already arrived?" I don't know, it is just a tradition and I like bringing out Jesus on the 25th. It's just the way it is. No tradition here... It's just our fireplace. I have been collecting Christmas books, and we try and read one every night in December. If you know of any good ones, let me know. This tradition is my favorite. Each year since the kids have been born, I have taken their pictures at The Picture People. I love displaying the frames and watching how they have grown up through the years. It was just a coincidence but the backgrounds ended up making a pattern of white and green. What traditions do you have at your house?????
This morning the Anderson Family and our family helped out at Children's Hunger Fund with a bunch of other strangers. CHF has such an amazing ministry to the needy families in our area as well as throughout the world. It was so organized and we really got a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. Our job was to pack gift boxes of toys that were donated to them. Even the smallest of children were able to participate. I think the group was able to pack 10,000 boxes this morning! I love getting to open presents at Christmas, but it is true that serving and doing things for others brings a joy that can't be compared to anything.
On Tuesday, a group of girls from school visited the children at All Saints Subacute (the hospital where Reese Kostjuk lived) We had such a fun time visiting with the patients and making them a Christmas Craft. The girls raised money to buy them toys from Target by having a bake sale in November. The staff there made us little Christmas mice and gave everyone hot chocolate. It was such a special time of serving and growing for all of us!
Please pray for Jessica. She found out she had Hodgkin's Lymphoma a week after having her second baby. She just got new yesterday that the cancer has spread Stage iv throughout her body. She has 2 young children and some very important decisions to make in the next few days. You can read her caring bridge site on my sidebar. God has made her into a beautiful person, and it is evident from all of her journal entries. After hearing last Sunday's message on the power of prayer from Mark 9:29, I am more convinced that prayer is crucial in times like these. Please join with me.
My sister Tracey and her husband Andrew moved to Colorado in March, the week my dad passed away. Last weekend, Tracey had to be hospitalized because of a really severe bladder infection. She was released Monday night with some antibiotics and pain medication. When she got home and took her medication, she began to have an allergic reaction. Her throat began to close up and her jaw became stiff. They are both paramedics, so they decided to drive themselves to the hospital which was 6 blocks away. In the car Tracey continued to get worse. It was snowing outside and the ice had froze on the road. Andrew lost control of the car and they crashed into a fence. Andrew was unconscious and Tracey had to flag down help in the snow with her throat closing up. The paramedics came and extricated Andrew from the car, and they were both admitted to the hospital again. Andrew has a broken back and concussion and Tracey fractured her knee. Tracey is home now, but unable to drive to visit Andrew. The police came to the hospital and gave Andrew a ticket for driving too fast for the road conditions, and Tracey lost her job because she is unable to work and they have to replace her immediately. Andrew may need back surgery and will be out of work for about 6 weeks. They don't really know anyone yet in their area to help them. Please pray that that they would recover quickly, and that God would continue to provide for their physical and spiritual needs. One praise already is that I was talking to Kristi Henderson at Bible Study last Friday and she mentioned that she was from Denver. Her parents live very close to Tracey and they are having their pastor come and visit them in the hospital. My prayer is that Tracey and Andrew will experience the love of God through his people in their trial and it will cause them to grow closer in their walk with God because of this trial.
Avrielle and I went to a Christmas Tea at Mattie's church on Saturday.
Mattie and Kristen The tables were beautiful! It makes me want to bring out and polish all my wedding gifts that are in boxes. Marlene Felix was the speaker for the tea. She spoke about Jesus being the light of the world. It was such a great topic because one of the most beautiful things about Christmas to me are all the lights. Now, everytime I see Christmas lights I will think about Christ. Marlene's daughter is Allison Felix, the famous Olympic track star. Here is a picture of Mattie holding her medals.
Chan swam in a meet on Saturday and came in first place in all his races. He dropped a second in three out of the four events so he was really happy. It is always fun to see the hard work in practice pay off.
I love when Avrielle and Chandler play together. The other day, they both sat in Chandler's room for hours building things. They wanted me to take pictures of their final projects. Avrielle spent forever trying to come up with different Christmas phrases to decorate the house only to find she was missing one letter. This was the one she finally came up with.
I walked in Chandler's room because I kept hearing a loud thud noise and tons of giggling. What I saw was this picture. I think he was pretending to be sleeping so I wouldn't freak out and tell him to get down. He is not a good fake sleeper. ( Especially because 15 seconds earlier I was hearing loud thuds and giggling) So what were the loud thuds you ask??? It turn out that he was jumping from the top of his dresser across the room to his bed on the other side of the room! It bought back my fist memory of this house when I realized I truly had a "son". We had just moved in a day earlier and Chandler had just turned 3. The whole stair thing fascinated him. As I was unpacking the kitchen, I looked into the living room to check on him, and he had climbed up the stairs on the OPPOSITE side of the railing! He was only 3!!! Talk about not panicking. I had to coax him down while still trying to breathe at the same time. There are some things about boys I will never get used to.
I am happily married to my beloved and my friend, David, and I am a mom to my precious children, Avrielle and Chandler. I started this blog in January,2008 as a way to keep our friends and family updated when my husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Little did I know that my dad, a non smoker, would be diagnosed with lung cancer also only two weeks later. My dad passed away on March 22, 2008, only 2 1/2 months after his diagnosis. These last few months have been a trial, but God has been good and faithful, and kept us in His hands.
We added a guest book at the bottom of the blog page. Please sign it and add a picture if you would like. It is really easy, I promise! We would love to see who is out there reading. Love, The Smith Family
Chandler: "Mom, could I just marry my sister? That way I don't have to kiss anybody new."
Avrielle: As we are trying to find my car in the crowded parking lot, "There it is mom, I memorized your licence placemat."
Mom to Avrielle: "It's time to brush your teeth." Avrielle: "May I appeal, I need to defrost more from waking up."
Mom to Chandler: "If you're not thankful for your dinner, maybe I should take it away, and all you will have to eat is some bread." Chandler: "Sounds great!" Mom: " Ok, since that didn't work, How about if we take away all your toys too, so you will see how much you have to be thankful for..." Chandler: "I'll just play with my bread!"
Chandler as he is trying to throw a dirty kleenex into the trashcan. "He shoots, (it lands on top of Avrielle's head) He SCORES!!!
Wow Avrielle, that was a quick shower. Did you wash your hair? "I only put conditioner on it, because I washed it last night and I just needed to remind it that it had been washed already so it will obey me this morning."
Chandler: "Dad, could you please make sure you take the right sandwich to work tomorrow? I don't wan't you to leave the healthy one for me by mistake."
Chandler: Can you not put gel in my hair this morning? If I get it cut later, it will hurt because it will be like they are cutting through a wall of steel!
Chandler at Trader Joes: Why does nanny have to take so long reading every label in the freezer aisle? Can't it be the "try out" aisle instead???
Chandler telling a story at dinner: "Not yesterday, but the yesterday before..."
Mom to Chandler: Your closet is a mess. Yeah, I know, it's always an adventure because I get to find new undiscovered sightings. Mom: What kind of undiscovered sightings? Well, you know, like, I'll put something in there when I'm seven and then discover it again when I'm fourteen.
Mom to Chandler: What is the most important thing you learned from Papa? He taught me never to hit people with the golf ball when I'm chipping.
Mom to Avrielle: What is your favorite memory with Papa? He took me to the American Girl Store, and walked all around with me explaining the history of all the dolls until I found the one I wanted.
Chandler, What does it mean to store up treasures in heaven? Well, it's like God has cubbies for each person, and when you do something that pleases Him, He puts a trophy in your cubby."
Chandler after hearing the bedtime story of Corderoy. "Mom, some stories are so good, I feel like I want to cry inside when I hear them."
How do you like the pistachio Chandler? It's sort of medium low on the scale of goodness.
Chandler while looking at a pre -cancer picture of David, "Wow Dad, I don't remember that you used to have an afro!"
Chandler, you need to wipe the chocolate off your face! Do I have to mom? If I leave it on, I can taste it again later!
Avrielle while watching Taming of the Shrew in the park: "I love the play mom, but which one is William Shakespeare?"
Chandler: Mom, can you please buy some more string cheese? It really puts you to work! Mom: I thought you don't like doing hard work. I love hard work when it comes to my food!
Chandler to mom: "Do I have to open my Christmas presents? I want to warm up to the day first."
Avrielle watching Taming of the Shrew in Hart Park. "Mom, I like the play, but which one is William Shakespeare?"
"Avrielle, You have been really quiet since the debate has been on, do you have any questions about what is going on or what they are talking about?" She look over to us very seriously, and said,"Mom, I think I understand what they are saying, but I only have one question. How can they stand there and talk so long without having to pee?"