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When I’m Afraid

When I’m Afraid

Sorry I haven’t been around the past couple of weeks. Life got busy and scary as you can read below. This is a departure from my usual type of writing and I debated sharing it because it is so personal, but I find writing that’s “real” to be the most impactful and my prayer is that by sharing some of my struggles it encourages others. -Cher

The hospital air hits my face as the sliding doors open. It has that smell. Why do they all smell that way?

Today wasn’t supposed to go this way. I was thinking about picking some paint for the dining room. Maybe go for a swim with the kids. Enjoy the long weekend. But nothing turned to something in less than a day. My sister’s “pink eye” morphed into a brain tumor in hours. I was telling her to throw out her old makeup and get a stronger antibiotic. She considered going in to work. She felt fine. But her eye was so red, and I told her not to mess around with her eyes. She went in to a clinic. Something didn’t look right. They transferred her to the ER. The ER moved her to a small hospital. They did a CT scan. It showed something. But….it was probably nothing. An annoyance for sure. Some meds for a while. But lets do an MRI to be sure. They pulled out her many ear piercings with pliers and did 2 MRIs. And then we waited. And waited. I googled. It was the “nothing” I was sure- she had all the signs and symptoms. It was going to be fine. But why were we still waiting? 5 hours of waiting and she said her head hurt. She wanted Advil. They gave her morphine. For a headache? I tried not to read into it. They finally told her the news. A mass. The polite way of saying tumor. She took it well, she’s not overly emotional and I’m sure the morphine helped. But it was large, hiding behind her eye and wrapped around her carotid artery. It was serious. She texted me the news. Said I was the one she was most afraid to tell. I hate that. I want to be strong. I called her and spoke calmly. Repeating- it was ok. It was ok. It was ok. It’s GOING TO BE OK –but my words couldn’t hide my breathless, panicked tone.

I run around the house trying to pack my bag to go to her. Brain tumor. I’ve always had paranoia about them. Every headache or twitch- it crosses my mind. And here it is. There were no headaches or twitches though. It was pink eye. It was supposed to be pink eye. My face is so hot. I’m so hot. I pack a giant bag and rush to the hospital. I take her 10 granola bars and give her water she’s not supposed to have. I leave the hospital late and collapse into bed relying on Benadryl to put me to sleep.

More family is on the way to be here. Preparation gives my busy body something to do. I clean my house, replace all the burnt out light bulbs, buy toilet paper and insist my husband put weed pre-emergent on the yard. Now. No, it can’t wait. We have to do it now or weeds will grow in the spring. Now. Don’t let the weeds take root.

I go back to the hospital. She looks good- you’d never know. Just the reddish eye, though it’s turned her brown eye green. My eyelids look like split tomatoes. I’m sweaty and gross no matter how much I scrub and keep biting my tongue and staring at the fluorescent lights trying to dry the tears that keep pooling.

She is so strong. Joking even. Texting friends and family. She named the tumor Paul. How are we sisters? I want this peace. Even if it’s fake. I want to be able to at least fake calm. Not have every emotion spill out my eyes or mouth with no way to dam them up.

I bring her her daughter. She smiles and talks so calmly but I see the look in her eyes. It’s an intense stare beyond the smile and cheerful tone. That terror all mothers feels if they ever let their mind wander to leaving their child. I clumsily push out of the room before the tears fall. I want to be strong so much. I stare out the window and watch her daughter darting in and out the ICU room giggling. She has a cherry lollipop and is so happy. She went pee-pee in the hospital’s “funny potty” so her mama gave her a lollipop. Parenting and potty training from her bed in ICU. I go back in and am happy for 3 year olds. Every family needs them. Her mama gives her more lollipops and tells her she loves her 100 times.

My sister wants chocolate ice cream so I ask the nurse if it’s allowed (not that it would have stopped me). The nurse says no but then looks at her chart and says yes. The nurses are being too nice. Their eyes look sad when they see her. I bring a large chocolate Frosty back since it’s the closest to ice cream I can find. Everyone eventually leaves the room besides us. I slowly tear. For the first time she does too. She tells me not to make her cry. I make a joke, “I’ve made it this long!” haha. I tell her I love her. Which we never say. She says it back. I turn to leave and the tears pour out. By the time I get to the elevator I am literally choking. Coughing. Gasping. I can’t breathe. I rush to my car and collapse inside. Lay on the steering wheel and cry so hard I don’t know how I will stop. My grandmother comes over and puts her hand on my chest and her arm tightly around me. She’s always so soft. I sob and heave. I want to make it better. I’m the big sister. I’m the protector. I’m the one who beat up the kids who called her names in elementary and threatened the ex-husband to not mess with her during the divorce. And people believe me. They don’t mess with me. I will be crazy if needed and they know it. But I can’t scare this away.

I pray. I ask everyone I know to pray. God performs miracles. I’ve seen them with my own eyes. Received them. I know they happen. But how much do I need to pray? If I beg 1000 times is it enough? Give me a number. Give me a job. I will do it. I promise. Just restore her. Heal her. Please God.

I want to be annoyed at her boyfriend choices and roll my eyes at her messy room. I want to tell her to go back to college for the 3000th time. I want to see her cool makeup looks, envy her nails and go Christmas shopping together. I want to see her give her daughter lots more lollipops. Please God. Please.

My sister is at home recovering now. Thank you to all who prayed for her and please continue to do so. I have seen God’s hand and so many miracles. The older I get the more I see my need for Him. So while I hate all the tragedy, sickness and destruction in our sinful world- I know God can work good through it.

You meant to do me harm, but God meant it for good -so that it would come about as it is today, with many people’s lives being saved.- Genesis 50:20


Dinner Time – Meal Prep and Getting Your Kids to Talk at the Table

Dinner Time – Meal Prep and Getting Your Kids to Talk at the Table

Now that the kids are back in school I decided to embark upon my goal of our family eating at home more often. It’s healthier and less expensive than eating out and I just love when I can get the whole family around the table. Studies show eating together as a family will make your kids smarter, stronger, and more likely to visit home after they move out. Ok, maybe not- but it’s good for them!

Now, my 2 boys are not big talkers. One-word answers are the norm and begging for details from their day is not fun. My daughter will give us an hour-by-hour play-by-play of the whole day though and I wanted to balance this out. So I decided to put their God-given sibling rivalry to use. I have a contest each night on who tells the best “story” from their day. We call it Story Time. It can be something funny that happened, something interesting, a cool project they are working on- whatever they want as long as it’s true (had to add that rule…).  But the best story out of the 3 kids “wins”. I am the sole decider of the best story. Entertain me offspring! The prizes change but they are simple things like the last dinner roll that they all want, or the biggest piece of cake. Sometimes if it’s their turn to put the dishes in the dishwasher I’ll do it for the winner. These things are quite motivating to them all and I have got SO much more info from them! Plus, one story often leads to another so it gets the ball rolling for overall good dinner conversation. Yay for Story Time!

The food part of dinner is another story. I have been struggling! We have limitations on dairy, nuts and seafood. I’ve tried a couple meal delivery systems and enjoyed them but kids mostly didn’t, and the fact that everything was perishable and had to eaten in one week was difficult with our changing schedules. So I saw someone online talk about a freezer meal plan they had done to make 10 frozen meals in one hour. Interesting…

I looked up the plan and for about $12 it gave you access to hundreds of recipes and many, many plans. You can choose any of the pre-made plans or make your own- choosing every entrée yourself. The “build your own” plan was perfect for our family since I could tailor it to our finicky tastes. After you choose your recipes it supplies your shopping list, assembly instructions, and even labels for each meal.

The website is great and even has video tutorials where they cook one of the plans in entirety for you to watch! Not something I would do every time but great for me since I’m a newbie.

Now, I did have some technical difficulties. I downloaded 10 recipes on my computer but only five went to my phone app (yes, they have an app) that I used for my shopping list and I didn’t realize this until I had already started prepping the food at home. But after I got that straitened out it went well. I mean- it took me 3 hours instead of 1 and my kitchen looked like…

Yes, I am the messiest cook

BUT- I now have 10 meals (2 of each of the 5 recipes) in the freezer and it’s a huge mental break knowing I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner for a while! Also, shopping actually took less time than normal because I knew exactly when I needed instead of trying to make up dinner plans as I shop.

We have eaten a couple meals already and they are good! It helped a lot since I chose them and know what will work for our family and can alter the recipe a bit if needed.

These bag holders are essential!

If you want to check out the website for the meal planning I used its right here My Freeze Easy

A couple helpful tips:

  • make sure you have plenty of room in your freezer- should be obvious but I just barely got it all in!
  • These bag holders hold open your ziplock bags- SO helpful! Jokari Bag Holders and yes- I bought 6 because it was the same price as 2. I gave the extras to family. #weirdgifts
  • Set your number of servings higher if you want leftovers/extra for lunches and pack some lunches as you go.
  • The website suggests shopping one day and cooking the next- I agree that helps
  • Plan your week’s meals so you can defrost what’s needed and make sure you have any side dishes you need
  • There is a LOT happening at once during assembly so choose a nice quiet time when kids won’t need you

Hope your week is going great!


Busy Days of May and my Sanford Profile update- week 3

Busy Days of May and my Sanford Profile update- week 3

Life Lately…

This week has been a whirlwind as its my kid’s last week of school before summer break. Everyday there is a party/item to bring/shirt to remember/final to take/unusual drop off or pick up time. Lots of fun but I’m barley keeping up! Also- teacher gifts. I think most of them deserve an all-expense paid trip to Maui but being creative and thoughtful on a budget is challenging.

This week also marks 3 weeks on my  Sanford Profile diet. Good news? 10 pounds down! Bad news? That all happened in the first week. And y’all, I ordered lettuce wraps at Cheesecake Factory. If that isn’t strong willed I don’t know what is! So I’m still wondering if I’m not eating enough? I still have trouble drinking every shake I’m supposed to each day. Or maybe I’ve slacked on my water intake– I know I have. And today out of frustration I ate a piece of chocolate cake. Then a cookie. Then a taquito. Or two. UGH! It’s my first big fall-off-the-wagon cheat and I’m mad at myself. And it was just junk around the house-not even delicious Cheesecake Factory Food! So, tomorrow I have a new plan. I’m going to put all my prescribed shakes/bars/meals for the day in large ziplock bags- one for each day. I think this will help me stay on track with the visual right there of all I’m supposed to eat, and nothing I’m not. Plus water. More water tomorrow. I will say I am noticing my pants are a little more comfortable and since the 10 pounds has been gone for a couple weeks I don’t think it was just water weight. But back on track tomorrow.

No cold shoulders here! Ha!

Also, right now LOFT is having a flash sale. 40- 50% off everything and free shipping- which is super rare for them. Just use code FLASH.  I love LOFT and love a sale even more There are some great summer tops and dresses right now. Speaking of summer tops though- the “cold shoulder” trend? The “funky cutout in the back” trend? Can they hurry up and be over with? Super cute but strapless bras just aren’t happening unless I’m in a formal, air conditioned environment. And even then I don’t like it.   #nursed3kidsproblems  #imissspaghettistraps  sigh.  Thankfully I still found some fun tops that play nicely with mom bras. Like the one on the left!

Happy Wednesday y’all! Halfway to the weekend!



Weight loss week 1 (Sanford Profile)

Weight loss week 1 (Sanford Profile)

So, in another post I mentioned I had gained some weight this year. Nothing too dramatic but I was at the point that my clothes weren’t fitting and I either needed to size up and get a new wardrobe or lose the weight. Now, weight is a tricky topic. One person’s “before” picture is another’s “after”. So if you are happy with your weight- whatever it is, good for you! Awesome! If you are unhappy with your weight, whatever it is- it doesn’t define you. Don’t let it! As I tell my kids- our outside is just the box we are wrapped in. It’s fun to change the paper around or maybe even the size of the box, but none of that should overshadow what’s IN the box. That is you!

So, back to me trying to shrink my box so my paper fits…

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