Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Truly Thankful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2011
                                                 Last year's Thanksgiving 2010

My, oh my, how a year can change...
Just looking back on this photo gives me chills.  I look so sick, and I don't think at that time I really realized how sick I was.  The biggest difference this year at Thanksgiving is that I lost my hat and gained some hair...and maybe another sister one day ;)
I know everyone has said what they are thankful for.  And I know that a lot of things that I am thankful for are the same as yours too.  But sometimes I think you don't really know what to be truly thankful for until it is lost.  Only then do you see the value and truly appreciate it.  This year, I knew I would be thankful for something that I have taken for granted and I know many of you have too.  But I am so thankful for my health.  I am so thankful that my white blood cells have started to act right again and not produce anymore cancer cells.  I am so thankful that I have the chance again to live a healthy life, to fulfill my dreams, to have children, and love more deeply. I am so thankful that there was a medicine to get rid of my cancer and hopefully keep it away so that I can have a long, long life.  But even though I am thankful for my health, I am also thankful that God has given me trials in my life, so that I truly know the meaning of the word thanks.
Beyond just my new health though...
I am thankful for my husband who tells me that I am beautiful...even during the rough days last year.
I am thankful for my sisters (and you too Buddy).  They are my best friends and I am SO thankful that we live just a short car drive away.
I am thankful for my parents and their incredible example of love for their children.
I am thankful for the ability to live a comfortable life style...having clothes to wear and a washer and dryer to clean them to eat at my convenience...and a house to live in that has heat when it's cold and air conditioning when its often we can forget how lucky we are to live such a comfortable lifestyle.
I feel like I could keep going like a child on Thanksgiving about how I'm thankful for my dear friends, and music, and books, and Oreos, and my pets...but above all else, I am so deeply thankful for my relationship with God.  He keeps me grounded and keeps me pursuing Him.  I am thankful for the cross so that one day when my life on earth is done, I can be more alive than ever in His kingdom up above.  I feel truly blessed to have the life that I do, and I press on daily to live out the life I was called to live.  I feel challenged everyday, but that comes with the territory when I ask God to push me beyond what I think I'm capable of.  My biggest challenge this year is to take on the challenges that God keeps giving me...I know only then will I be content, and possibly more thankful than I can even imagine!  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween Party!

So after last years Halloween when I dressed up as an old man, I said that I was going to have a family Halloween party where everyone had to dress up...well, with the help of my sister, we did it! Before Sarah's party, my whole immediate family came (Andrew was late because he had to take his mom to the hospital) and we laughed during family games and the kids had a blast! My parents came as crayons, the Hefts were a family of gnomes, Scott and Suzy were the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood (can you see his wolf mask in the back?!), Sarah was a nurse and Billy was Shawn from Shawn of the Dead, the kids were a Transformer, Harry Potter, a cheerleader, and Andrew and I were Craig and Ariana (the Spartan Cheerleaders from SNL! We even played the part and did some cheers!) I should be writing my two papers tonight, but instead I thought I'd give you an update on the Life of Laura. :)

I still have a cough that for some reason won't go away, but I'm pretty much 'dried up' for the most part. My family doc said that the hernia should be fine until it starts to bother me, and I get my blood drawn this week to check my white blood cell count again. I've had to wait because I've been sick for so long. Believe it or not, I'm STILL waiting on my TENS UNIT (I will not go to this place anymore, that's for sure!) but meanwhile I've been getting my back pain relief from massages or the chiropractor. My lungs have been treating me better since my inhaler, and cancer is becoming a distant memory. November 4 was a year since I've had a chemo treatment...crazy how time flies.
I've been feeling good lately, the things that are getting me down are the normal things that get everyone down...the stresses of life. But I've learned that without suffering there would be no compassion. Lots of people are going through so much suffering, and showing just a little bit of compassion can go such a long way. Lots of people are on my prayer list this week who are in the hospital...for my mother in law who just spent a week in the hospital (scary for a little bit, but had surgery and will be just fine), for my cousin in law who is in the hospital until she delivers her baby girl (she's only 25 weeks and having complications), for a coworker whos husband has been in for way to long and for my friends who are suffering loss. Lots of prayer time is being filled up this week with people I care about. Which makes me want to thank you all so much again for your prayers for me when I was so sick. You are a huge reason that I came out on top. Thank you for showing me such compassion through my suffering!

On to happier things though! My grad class will be wrapping up soon and this class has certainly challenged me in wondering what I want to do for the rest of my life. My plans for NYC this Christmas is starting to seriously come together...I am more excited than you can imagine! My Monday nights are filled with the Sing-Off with my sis...which reminds me! I think I may try out for a part this year at the Encore Theater! I miss acting and singing and haven't done it since high school! I'm trying to fill up my time with everything that I want to do before children...I'm hoping next year is my year, but we will see! And work, I have been more challenged (and stressed!) this year at work, but Friday I was reminded about why I do this job. If you know any teachers out there, tell them that they are doing a good job, they need to hear it way more than what they do! And vote NO on Issue 2 ;) I'm reminded of my many blessing in life, each night I come home to MY house, cook dinner in MY kitchen, and take a bath in MY bathtub. I have worked hard to have these things in my life. But something I've worked even harder for is MY marriage. I have been so blessed to find a man that loves me for me. The ups and downs. The fact that I get to come home to MY husband reminds me that I have achieved something even far greater than owning a house or having a job...I have received unconditional love from both him and God. And for that, I am surely blessed. What are your blessings?