Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cancer Sucks!

What do you do when you hear news that your best friend has cancer?

As a believer, the first thing I do more than ever anymore is pray first. I open up the communication hotline with the only wireless provider in the world and ask for His help and guidance. Why now? What plans do He have in this? How can I help? Then the most important part of that prayer, "Please God, there isn't anything You can't do and she has already fought this battle twice before. Not again. Please remove this cup from her. Please! You are the only one who can help."

Yet it was the same thing I told her today when she asked, "Why?" Because she is exactly where she is supposed to be on God's timeline. It is where her and God's timeline met today. It certainly didn't come as a surprise to Him as it did for her. Yet God knew that even though this battle feels like it is hers, it is His. He has already won this battle and I am confident that He will do it again. She only needs to follow in His footsteps one day at a time. And today is a pretty bad day.

Oh how you want so much to be able to do something. Offer a cure. Pop a pill and simply wake up and hope this was all a really bad dream. But that is not how life is for anyone, even a great Christian wife, mom and sister in Christ. We still have to deal with things like cancer. Even three times if need be. Yet we have hope. We have hope in a God in whom anything is possible. He takes the impossible, and makes it "I'M possible." The Great I AM! Nothing is a stretch for Him and as far as the CT pictures proved there is something there, He can simply remove it.

I pray that that will be the case. Until then, you sit in the present. Crying with her if that is what is takes. I told her she can cry today. Today is that official pity party of crying, sobs and everything else that happens when the worse possible news smacks us in our otherwise normal days. You stand by them. You assure them, they will NOT go through this alone. You find ways to keep them busy. Busy starting up her home business that we believe God has blessed her with. You continue to make plans for her daughter's wedding in January. You keep moving forward.

But what about tomorrow?

You don't dwell there. As believers, God has promised His provisions for us to meet our daily needs and He has asked us not to dwell into tomorrow's worries because it robs of us of our blessings today. Sure you might ask, well how is cancer a blessing? I don't have the answer, but I know God does and while that answer might not sit well with others, I know God is still on the throne and still in control. We all need to continue to pray for this amazing woman of God in whom I know there is a Jesus because she has shown Him to me in what she says and does. Her life is that perfect mirror of what Jesus looks like. Even while crying and wiping away our tears. So please pray with me, that God will walk through this journey with her and remove this from her as of 4:11pm today. I still believe in miracles and if anyone deserves one it is this woman.

Please feel free to include her in your prayer groups, prayers and prayer chains. We know prayer works and will keep you updated on how it goes. Tomorrow she will have more answers than today and would appreciate you continuing to lift her up in prayer tomorrow for strength, clarity and above all the best peace she could possibly ask for.

For now... the best thing you can do is bring her some flowers and let her know she is not alone!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Evacuation Orders

You know when you see disasters on the news it doesn't really impact you until it happens to you or someone you know. Then you begin to live in this alternate reality of the life you're having to deal with and the life of everyone else who is going on without you it seems. This time, it impacted us to a degree as we made plans on Tuesday, August 16th to have lunch with my oldest daughter Caitlyn who lives in the small mountain community of Wrightwood. It was her day off and like any other day, my daughter Kailee and I offered to drive up to Wrightwood to have lunch at the Evergreen Cafe.

When we arrived nothing seemed out of the ordinary until we began to hear the conversations of those around us, from the cafe owner to other customers who had just received warning of a fire off the 15 freeway and Kenwood Avenue. The chilling part came after that, that the fire is headed towards Wrightwood. Looking outside the window we could see the layer of smoke beginning to build over the treelined mountains to the east of us, and it seemed like it might be a good time to simply forgo our lunch and head to her home to begin packing up. However the employee and other customers, Wrightwood residents, didn't seem at all panicked. They offered us drink refills while we waited for our food. We opted to stay put for the time being and enjoy lunch while Caitlyn texted her fiancè who was working in Apple Valley at the time to give him an update.

After lunch we headed to her home and began the process of preparing to evacuate just in case it was needed so she wouldn't leave anything behind if she needed it and it couldn't be replaced. Since her wedding is in a few months, October, we opted to grab everything in the event the worst happens. From packing up boxes of wedding preparations, suits and accessories as well as important papers and files, pictures and other sentimental items all while the television broadcast the latest updates on the fire. Pretty intense sitting up in the mountains watching the skies to see the smoke plumes rise and darken.

She was able to reach her fiancè and his aunt who are also residents of Wrightwood and they were leaving Apple Valley headed home. Meanwhile the 15 Freeway was closed in both directions and that would mean a long detour for them without taking the freeway. So we continue to pack, watch the news and wait. We were informed we would be notified by the fire department or sheriff's office in our homes if we needed to leave or either a reverse 911 call so we continue to wait it out. After a couple of hours we got the news we dreaded to hear from a text message from a friend of mine informing me that Wrightwood was under a mandatory evacuation order and it was time to leave before the routes out of town became crowded or impassible.

So the work began of loading both my car and hers while we watched neighbors across the street and next to us begin to do the same thing. There was a sense of unusual quiet in the town that was a bit unnerving, no birds or the chatter you would normally hear. I opted to head to the village to top off my gas tank just in case we got diverted over Angeles Forest Highway into Little Rock. The line at the only gas station in town was long but everyone was extremely helpful. The owners were even outside helping people pump gas and taking gas payments so customers didn't have to go inside to pay to make the transactions run smoothly.

We finally headed out of town by around 5 pm when Steven made it home, packed up the final things and grabbed the cats in their carriers, and made our way home to the horror of seeing what you had been watching on television now become a reality. The thick wall of smoke hovered like a wall determined to keep us out as we made our way out of Wrightwood.

The smoke was so thick and black that it seemed to float over us all the way to Victorville as ash continued to rain down on us.

I can honestly say, living in the High Desert I had never seen it look so ominous in the 13 years of living here and dealing with the fires that seem to erupt every fire season in the Cajon Pass.

Now we sit at home and the waiting begins.

Will the town that has managed to remain unscathed continue to do so, or will this fire consume the small town of only about 4500 residents? Will my daughter have a home to return to? How will she start over again if they lose everything? What will happen to the wedding venue that they booked in Wrightwood? For now, we sit and watch the news. Read all the social media sites in our area and of course, pray. We pray for our first responders and the town and everyone affected who will return to some of the surrounding areas only to find out they have lost everything. If you can continue to keep us in prayer that the freeways will open so they can get to work down in Redlands, that the fire is contained for them to go home and remain safe, and for those that continue to battle this blaze whose cause yet remains unknown.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Let the Wedding Preparations Begin!

Hard to believe the first of my two daughters is getting married and wedding preparations have been in effect since last year but now that the October 8th day is creeping ever closer there is a frenzied pace that begins to set in. When you realize you might not always have enough time to ensure that everything goes as well as it can be. I am that person who is organized and loves to have it all ready, weeks before it all begins and actually plans for things to go wrong. Of course, I can't quite catch everything but I am trying.

To share with you some of these moments and perhaps even help you plan some of your own weddings in the future, I wanted to take some time to catch up on on what is going on, now that school is over and I am officially not doing much of anything except getting the wedding ready. The dress was purchased back in February and while I can't share it just yet, because the groom can't see it, we are good there. Just got back from getting the alterations in the works and a note to future brides, plan to do this about 2-3 months in advance as your wedding alterations person might not be able to get it done in time. Thankfully she is able to get ours done in about 2 weeks before her final fitting.

The groom has purchased his suit and shirt and bow tie and made arrangements for the remaining groomsmen to get their suits sometime in the next week or so, and they will get a discount on an amazing suit they can use later. Their colors for the wedding are Maid of Honor and Best Man will wear Teal, with the exception of the groomsman will wear a Charcoal Silver Suit with Teal accents. The remaining bridesmaids will wear their choice of style dress in mint green, with the groomsmen wearing grey suits with mint green accents.

Budgets are always an issue and this one was no exception. I mean how can a bride and groom get married without breaking the bank and charging up the credit cards unless you want a Las Vegas drive through wedding or your standard courthouse wedding. I guess if you have contacts in all the right places, you could do it pretty affordably, but of course that is not the case here. The wedding venue is set and thankfully that has been arranged at a local campground that decided wedding venues would help offset those costs of managing and running a camp in the off season if they rent out the facilities for an entire weekend. The rate is really affordable over your standard local wedding venue which would NOT be possible for us.

My daughter wanted to get married in the forest, so this is our affordable option and I think it is going to be exceptional, once we get all the decorations down. It really helps too to have the campground site on Facebook so you can get ideas from other weddings they are hosting there to what looks good and what doesn't. Pinterest is every brides saving grace. It really does help to envision what you want and how to pull that look off.

Amazon is my best friend although one of the vendors we purchased tulle from wants us to pay to have it shipped back when I informed them it wouldn't work in the venue site. NOT good on their end and hoping to resolve that issue with them soon as most vendors don't like unfavorable reviews on their site. HINT! HINT!

We just got the invitations in this weekend and spent Saturday evening addressing them and getting them ready to be mailed out today. Also got to try out my old high school calligraphy skills once again. What do you think?

Over this weekend, we spent Sunday working on building a wedding arbor for my daughter as the site doesn't offer anything and we found out that for about $20.00 more, my husband could build one for them. They agreed and will reuse it at their mountain cabin when the wedding is over. Win! Win!

Now we are simply waiting for the remainder of the items we have ordered to come in, and the final details on purchasing table linens and the cake will be more closer to the wedding, so stay tuned for more updates on wedding preparations.