Friday, December 30, 2011

Season of Blessings

Today I was reminded of how incredibly blessed I really am. It started as a simple phone call to my dad, as I was on my way to do some shopping BY MYSELF!! (Thanks to my fabulous sister-in-law!) THAT is a blessing all in itself!! :) Anyways, I decided to call my dad to check in. The conversation began to stray towards the direction of reminiscing. As we started down memory lane, we began to recall details of my diagnosis, almost 12 years ago. My dad reminded me that according to all of the stats, I shouldn't be alive today. The most amazing thing in all of it, to me, has always been seeing the Lord in the details. The simple fact that had we decided to go to Chicago first, they would've put me in a clinical trial. They would not have done surgery first. They would've done chemotherapy to try and shrink the tumor (which we found out later that my cancer was non-responsive to.). That means that they wouldn't have found the tumors heading towards my brain and by the time they would've found it, it would've been too late. God was in the details guiding my parents in the right direction every step of the way. That is just the first of many details where He clearly had His hand in it. I'm so grateful my parents listened to the gentle quiet voice of our Healer and followed His guidance. After we hung up the phone, I was listening to the song "Blessings" by Laura Story. I had tears in my eyes as I quietly worshiped and thanked our amazing Father for His faithfulness and mercy. I know so many others that have had a completely different outcome than I did, which I have often wondered why. But because I know I will never know that answer, I take comfort in the fact that He is in control and no detail goes unnoticed. Thank you Abba for being in the details:)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

*From A Friend

A friend asked me to post this about her sister. Touches my heart because we thought we would never be able to have children either! Adoption is such a beautiful thing! Thanks for checking it out:)

Here is a link to their story:

Here is a link where you can donate if you wish!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fall 2011

 Here's a few snippets from our lives over the last couple of months! :)
Asher started crawling!!
Nana & Papa Mick came for a visit

Visit to the pumpkin patch with the Sarbackers

She had a blast pulling the wagon around:)

The Olson's & Sarbacker's Pumpkin Patch Adventure
(minus the babes!)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blessings in the Raindrops (Part 1)

I've been thinking lately that I should write "my story" down somewhere. So, this is my attempt to share some of the things the Lord has done on my life journey. I hope and pray you are encouraged by them and that it spurs you towards the heart of our great God!! :)

"You have cancer."

Those were the words that came out of my dad's mouth on March 4, 2003, as tears strewn down his face. I can't imagine that was easy for him- in fact I know it wasn't. Now that I'm a parent, I can't even fathom being in my parent's shoes and having to watch, in horror, as my child suffered through a horrible and possibly terminal disease. I now know that it was harder on them than I ever realized.

About 3 weeks before, I had noticed a "knot" on the front side of my right shoulder. Now I didn't really think anything of it, mainly because of the fact that I have a tendency to be clumsy. I had previously injured that same shoulder about a half a dozen times before. I hadn't remember hurting it lately, but I literally thought to myself,

 "Great...I've gotten to the point where I don't even KNOW I've hurt it. How much more accident-prone can I get?!?"

So because I thought it was nothing, I did what most teenagers would do. I ignored it. Heaven forbid it should interfere with my social agenda! The following week I left to go on our youth group's annual ski winter retreat. I had a blast and really felt rejuvenated and even higher on my mountaintop with God! Life was so good! I got home and the next morning came out of the shower, puzzled. The knot had grown--- significantly. My friends had even noticed it protruding through my shirt over the weekend. So I finally decided that maybe I should mention it to my parents. That was the beginning of the whirlwind that consumed my life for the next 3 months.

My parents thought we should consult the doctor, so off we went to see our family practitioner. With sparing a lot of details, we finally ended up at a surgeon's office, who happened to be a family friend. He wasn't sure what it was either. He ordered more tests and said we would go from there. I will never forget the day I went in for the ultrasound. They scanned both shoulders. The left shoulder showed bright healthy muscle tissue and looked normal. But when the tech began to look at my right shoulder, all we could see was black. My heart sank to the pit of my stomach and I almost became ill. Even though the tech said nothing, I knew in my heart that this was more than a simple injury. This was going to be bad--- really bad. I ended up in surgery a few days later thinking and hoping that this would all be over soon and I could get back to life as usual.

Boy, was I wrong.

I came out of surgery late that night, so my parents thought it best that I not have visitors until the next day. I remember waking up the next morning and hearing the nurse having a conversation with my dad outside of my room.

"Have you told her yet?"

"(Sigh) No...I'm going to now."

My dad came into my room, pulled a chair up next to my bed, and sat down. As he grabbed my hand, I could feel the heaviness of his heart as if it were the walls of the room caving in under pressure. His shoulders slumped and then the tears began to fall. But as sorrow seemed to consume him, peace was washing over me. It was the strangest calm that I had ever had.

" have cancer."

BAM. Those words should have shook me to the core. I should have been beside myself with grief! No one would have blamed me. In fact, I know that my dad was expecting me to react that way. He was probably bracing himself for the floodgates to open and the "WHY ME?!?" to be thrown in his face. But the peace took over and all I said was...

"Its ok Dad. I know."

Now, my parents had purposely kept visitors from seeing me until they were able to talk to me (even though 2 of my friends snuck up the night before- but hadn't said anything). So you can imagine the shock that came over my dad when I said that. He began to get a bit frustrated and angry that someone had "slipped". But I reassured him that no such thing had happened. I couldn't explain how I knew. I just did. Well, I didn't know I had cancer. I just knew that it was going to be big and bad. I even surprised myself. I kept waiting for the reality of it all to sink in, but it never did really- at least not then.

I took on the attitude of, "how do we beat this?". And I rolled up my sleeves and prepared to wage war on cancer. Little did I know, at that time, what a war it would be.

I'm going to be writing this in pieces for several reasons. First of all, this is a bit emotional for me at times. I don't often think about the journey from the beginning. I've been so consumed with the daily journey, that some of this has fallen in the cobwebs of my memory. I'm excited though, to be able to share what God has done in my life with you all. Its been quite a journey! Plus, it has been a long journey. Too much for me to write in one setting! And finally, I really want the Lord to be glorified in this. So I want Him to be writing this. Not me. Thanks for reliving this with me!

Monday, October 3, 2011

No Matter What

I'm currently listening to the song "No Matter What" by Kerrie Roberts. I love this song! (Again with my love of music:)) It talks about loving God "no matter what". This song is especially meaningful to me today because I have my next CT scan and visit with the doc on Wednesday. I always tend to get a little anxious during the days before my scans. It's not that I fear another hiccup in the road, its always the not knowing that makes my anxiety go nuts sometimes! But this time, I'm trying to shift my focus onto the one who makes all things new. Because, in Him I trust. In Him my hope is renewed every morning. In Him, I place my life and I know that I am safe in my creator's arms- no matter what.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


This past weekend, I had the awesome privilege to attend the Women of Faith conference "Imagine", in Milwaukee, WI. "Wow" is all I can say! What an incredible weekend filled with laughter, tears of joy, tears of sorrow, great friends, and incredible worship at the throne of our Almighty God!! I wanted to highlight a few things that really spoke to me. First of all, I am a music lover! I always have been and always will be. I love that the Lord created music! It is the best way, for me, to really feel close to the Almighty. There are certain songs that really bring that home for me too. One of those is "Worthy is the Lamb". As we were singing together, in a room filled with 7,500 women, it hit me that this was a tiny glimpse of how incredible it will be to worship our God all together in heaven- with Him literally so close we can touch the hem of his garment. What an INCREDIBLE day that will be!! I got goosebumps as we all sang that song and as the power of the words struck me.
"Worth is the lamb who was slain. Holy Holy is he. Sing a new Him who sits on heaven's mercy seat. Holy holy holy, is the Lord God Almighty- who was and is and is to come. With all creation I sing, praise to the King of Kings. You are my everything and I will adore you."
I've sang that song many times before. But what struck me for the first time, was the line "...with all creation I sing praise to the King of Kings...". With ALL creation! How awesome will that be to be praising our great God with ALL creation?!? I love the passage in Luke where Jesus says that the rocks will cry out in praise if we didn't!

"Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:

   Blessed is he who comes,
      the king in God's name!
   All's well in heaven!
      Glory in the high places!

 39Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, "Teacher, get your disciples under control!"
 40But he said, "If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise." Luke 19:38-40 (The Message)

Can you imagine worshiping God with the rocks?? I certainly can't. But I do know that it would be incredible! That song literally brought me to the feet of Jesus yesterday! I would've fell to my knees in worship if I could have. (Being in stadium seating and cramped quarters made it a little difficult! Ha!) I was so moved that I had tears of joy streaming down my face. I love it when God reaches down and allows us to really feel him, if even for a brief moment. What an incredible glimpse into eternity that was for me! It was a great reminder of what is to come- when all creation will worship the Creator together! Holy holy holy IS the Lord God Almighty!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Little Blessings

I had a gloomy start to the day, filled with rainy weather, a screaming infant, and fighting siblings. I was ready to throw in the towel and it wasn't even 10 o'clock yet. Sound familiar?? But just as I was about to throw my hands up and say "I'm done.", I walked into the living room and saw this...

They were all sitting there playing together so happily and just loving being together. At that moment, nothing else mattered. I grabbed my camera and quickly captured this moment (because it didn't last long!). I also tucked it away in my heart for future reference. What a beautiful picture:)
My children can be my biggest source of frustration, but they can also be one of my biggest sources of joy! They make me laugh, cry, pull my hair out, and melt with love- sometimes all at once! Eleven and a half years ago, I was told I may likely never be able to bear my own children. Eleven and a half years ago was when I first started my life-long battle with cancer. Well, obviously those doctors were wrong and God proved His power is mightier than anything- even cancer! My children are a daily reminder of God's faithfulness and grace. All I ever wanted was to be a mother. I am "living the dream" so to speak- even though most days are far from glorious. I feel so blessed though, that the Lord would choose me to raise and teach these beautiful children! I am definitely not worthy of that honor. And on the days where I'm ready to throw in the towel, I need to remind myself that it IS an honor to be their mother. Thank you Lord for constant reminders of your goodness and for little blessings!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ministry at Home

About 3 1/2 years ago, the Lord began to whisper in my ear that He wanted me to share the journey that I had been given through speaking...publicly. Now, I am utterly terrified to get up in front of a group of people and speak. That is not my calling...or so I thought:) At first it was just a passing thought. Then I began to have a recurring dream that I was speaking at a women's conference. Then, the Lord started puttingpeople in my life that were suggesting it! I finally got the hint and said "ok" to the Lord. I started my training to speak for an organization called "Stonecroft Ministries". I had never heard of them, but have a relative that works for them. I went to a seminar and then began to write my "story". It took me months to write it. I finally submitted it and was taken to the next step, which was editting and revising. In the meantime, I had the opportunity to speak twice at different places and was really getting excited about what the Lord had in store. Then life happened. I got pregnant again, Savannah was in preschool, and life just got busy. Asher came along and life got even busier! Now I'm homeschooling, raising three young kids, and living on a farm where the business never ends! :) Lately, I've been really discouraged and frustrated trying to figure out why God would clearly call me into a ministry, only to seemingly close the door.Well, this last week I came across a blog/devotional by a mom who was talking about ministry at home. Being a mom IS a ministry! I am supposed to be a living example of Christ to my children everyday! It may not have the excitement that I felt of ministering to other women/adults, but it is definitely exciting:) There is never a dull moment around here!Often times, we stay-at-home moms get so caught up in the busyness of life, that we forget our mission. Our mission field is staring us right in the face every single day. For some kids, we are the only example of Christ they will see. For all of us, we are the main example of Christ that our children will have. Let that sink in a bit...It's heavy!! Once that realization came to me, I realized that maybe the Lord only needed me to share my story in that way on those different occasions. Maybe he will use it again later in life. I don't really know. But I do know that he is giving me the opportunity to be a window into his heart daily, for my children. That is a tremendous privilege and responsibility- at which I fail daily:) I'm so thankful for grace and mercy that can only come from him. AND I'm incredibly thankful that, though I may be the main example, there are plenty of other examples of Christ in my children's lives as well. It really does "take a village" :)

"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Monday, September 26, 2011

"I will NEVER homeschool my kids..."- Oh how I ate my words!

(Savannah's First Day of Homeschooling)

I am not very good at "keeping up" with things usually. So this blogging attempt will be interesting:) This has been a crazy summer for us. We moved back to my husband's family farm, in order for us to be available to help and because we thought it was what the Lord wanted for our family. Its been quite an adjustment, having 8 people under one roof! We are currently living with my in-laws and my sister-in-law. Our goal is to have a house put up right next door sometime next summer. So in the meantime, we are all cozy and snug and together under the same roof. Naturally, we all get frustrated with one another here and there, but overall, it really is a blessing to be so close to family. We used to live in Nashville, TN and rarely had the chance to see family. After being so far away, and now being so close- with kids- we have certainly realized that this is where we need to be. I grew up living right behind my grandparents as well. I don't have very many memories that don't include them in any way, shape, or form. I love that! They were a big part of my life, as I want my kid's grandparents to be also. The insight, wisdom, and love that they can gain from that generation is priceless.
This is also my first year of homeschooling. I think I may be insane:) I literally was one of those people who said they would "NEVER homeschool my kids"! HA! Let me just say, that I think maybe the Lord smirks when we say "never". He seems to have a way of letting us eat our words. Even last fall, I was quoted saying that very thing to a friend- that I would never homeschool. Well, I began reading "Bringing Up Boys" by Dr. Dobson. I had no idea the emphasis on homeschooling that he would give. The Lord began working on my heart and softening it towards homeschooling. I finally sat down one day this spring, and made a list of reasons I did not want to homeschool. To my surprise, I was very humbled when I realized that all of my reasons were purely selfish. Wow....deep sigh...ok. I told the Lord that day, that I was NOT happy about homeschooling, that I didn't want to do it, but that I would. ONLY because I felt like He was telling me it was what I should do. So I begged him for a change in attitude if this was really what I was supposed to do. LITERALLY, the next morning I woke up excited about teaching my children at home!! The Lord is so good and so faithful! I LOVE it when he does stuff like that! Now, that's not to say that I always have a good attitude about it. Because I don't. But I know that this is what is best for my kids and I have been given assurance over and over again that this is right. Its comforting- especially on the hard days. What an honor and privilege it is, to educate my kids in the way they should go. Its also a heavy responsibility. But one that has been entrusted to me. Oh how I pray that the Lord would be evident in my life and that my children will reap what He sows in me. My goal? That my kids would grow up honoring and serving the Lord with all their heart. Everything else is secondary. So I hope you enjoy reading about our experiences! And I hope you can be encouraged through them! To God be the glory:)