Shifting Gears

Mar 26

As I type this, I am wearing one of those ridiculous Snuggies.  Snuggies really have a bad rep, but I bet I’m  not the only one who finds them useful.  Don’t judge me.  I am warm and snuggley (pun intended) and getting my thoughts sorted.  I am not, not, not a morning person.  The thought itself is laughable to everyone who knows me.  God is waking me in these twilight hours to talk to Him, to ground my spirit and to feel peace in the plan.  The peace is in His plan, not mine.

Yesterday was lovely.  Throughout the day, we moved as a  foursome with a rhythm that is practiced and comfortable.  Every family has their own version of this rhythm.  We were very very normal to everyone we encountered.  Except that we have the most gorgeous children.  I’m pretty sure that any second look that we got today was to catch a glimpse of their impish fun and sweet expressions.

It is funny to think about what a full day with small children brings.  Maren and I woke together: she had me sleep in her bed.  She is mourning my physical absence because our normal is that I am with her  Brad and I did the fluster hustle out of the restaurant we had chosen for breakfast because Greta was done in the high chair and done being held.  For a while though, it was awfully cute to see her charging around with a spoon yelling at everyone.  Maren and I snuggled on the couch until her snuggle meter was full: right up to the tippy top of her head.  We danced, three times, to James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing.”  What she lacks in technique, I lack in rhythm, but we make up for in enthusiasm.  We went to one of those mall stores that used to make me scratch my head.  Now that I have seen my daughter wiggling with excitement over her new treasure, I get it.  Maren saw a wishing well and three of us made a wish.  Maren and I spoke ours aloud as the quarters (big wishes people, no pennies here) plopped in, and Brad kept his a secret.  We had a family photo shoot in the evening; perfect setting, perfect light, perfect photographer, perfect family.  We are holding hands, we are catching each other’s eye and grinning, we are leaning in, looking up, loving hard.

My baby sister arrived for the week: she is going to be me for my girls whenever I am unable.  I brain dumped on her.  She made a Skittles run at 10:36pm because Maren has her heart set on bringing one hundred Skittles in to share with her class today, for her 100th Day of School party at her preschool.  I had chosen Chocolate Teddy Grahams, but she wanted Skittles.  And that wish I (or rather baby sister) could make come true.  Today.  So we did.

Last Monday morning I woke up with twinges after completing the American Heart Association’s Mini Marathon with my mom.   Today I get a port in my chest from Dr. Awesome.  It’s a brand new day.  I will the port, my port, in place for years.  It is, quite literally, my body’s lifeline.  I will keep you posted, but at this point, I don’t think I will resent the port.  It will make my life easier.  Heck, it will make my life longer.  It’s hard to resent something that is actively saving your life.

Later we will likely meet with Dr. Wonderful and hear the detailed plan to Kick.  Cancer’s.  Sorry.  Ass.

Thank you for covering us with your prayers.  It is making all the difference.  Blessings to you this beautiful day.



  1. What a beautiful wonderful day. You and Maren dancing is a beautiful picture in my head right now!! I love the big wishes and skittles and kicking cancer’s sorry ass. You will overcome!!!

  2. Jackie /

    Sending <3 <3 <3 your way. ,I too, have 10 month olds (twin girls). I, too, live in the Greater Cincinnati Tri-state area. I, too, participated last weekend in the Mini-Heart Marathon. And I, too, recently had a Mammography for a lump in my right breast. Turned out it was only a cyst. But now, I have found another lump in my left. And I have been debating whether or not to go and spend the money and the time to get this one checked out, seeing as the last one was nothing. I was leaning towards ignoring it. Then I read about your journey.

    You've convinced me to make an appointment. Today.

    Keep fighting, momma. And thank you.

  3. Harlans, Ribics and Kriegs /

    Our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family always
    The Harlan, Krieg and Ribic families

  4. Harlans, Ribics and Kriegs /

    Our thoughts and prayers will alwaysl be with you and your family
    Harlans, Ribics and Kriegs

  5. I pray for you every day yet the gift is mine as I am so thrilled by your funny, eloquent, blog and the energy you are putting into each day. Thank you for sharing the good news about how receptive your cancer will be to the drugs. Can I share something selfish with you? Your receptive cancer is teaching all of us who love you to be more receptive too. Receptive to love, joy, giggles, mess. Receptive that crap happens. Receptive that hope is real and can be snuggled into like a big stuffed sheep. Receptive to body changes and true beauty shining only as we age. All of it. It is God’s plan, as you said, and we have an amazing ride to embrace.

    For whatever it is worth I see you being a daily rock star for the next five years and then us celebrating your being cancer free somewhere awesome. You pick the place (and I’m thinking BIG, like Paris or a huge beachside party with Fireworks!) and I will start planning. I have 100% confidence in you and God kicking this cancer’s butt and your life being even more glorious as Survivor Rock Star Lady in the many long years ahead.

  6. You are right; the port is a good thing. I don’t know you but I am WITH you.

  7. You are right; the port is a good thing. I hesitate to tell you my mom’s story because it’s not yours. And this is about YOURS. So instead I will just say I am WITH you.

  8. karly /

    a firestorm of blessings to you and yours. kick it girl!! kick it HARD!!!!!!!

  9. Sharon Wall /

    You’re an inspiration. Prayers are with you and your sweet family.

  10. To Dance with a Child is to Dream & Enjoy 🙂 What a Special Family Day ~ Plenty of Smiles, Memories & True Joy to remember when you are a Grandma 🙂

    The Port of Life is for you today 🙂 Yes, Life is Yours to Embrace for many many years to come 🙂

  11. Love & prayers from a fellow Monkee. Putting on my pointest shoes (they’re in the armor of God, right???) to do some serious damage to cancer’s skanky butt.

  12. Prayers for a wonderful day – a day to enjoy life, a day to soak in the love of your amazing family – a day for blessings to rain down on you

  13. Elizabeth /

    I jumped over here after reading Momastery. I’m praying for you and wishing you a lifetime of dancing with those babies. I love your enthusiasm and writing style. Thanks for putting your thoughts to paper. I have a friend who is two years cancer free and had a story similar to yours – she found a lump after her daughter (also a Maren) was 6 months old. She did it, beat cancer’s a**. You can too!

  14. susiepark /

    Another good dancing-with-preschoolers song is “Clap Your Hands” by They Might Be Giants. You can listen to a sample on Amazon if you don’t already have it . . . you will want to shake it!!!

    Sending good thoughts your way.


  15. I love my snuggi! I love that my husband bought it for me for Christmas because he thought that I would love it when I am reading! So use it with joy and good health! Prayer is a powerful tool and I started reading your journey because of Glennon. And I am praying for you to Kick. Cancer’s. Ass. You are a powerful, amazing woman and I am in awe of you!

  16. Cathy /

    Praying for you. You are strong and so is your family. God will cover any gaps.
    Cathy in NC

  17. Praise God for Skittles, sisters, family days, and doctors with ports in their arsenals! Dance, dance, dance!
    I have this image in mind of you as a fitness kickboxer, dancing the moves and totally kicking cancer while your friends and family cheer you on.

  18. for what it is worth since you will get this a lot.i was there. 28. a 7 month old baby. a husband. young and healthy. some hip pain and fatigue turned into stage 4 lymphoma. 12 treatments. hair loss. weight gain. pain. fear and hope. we are on the other side. cancer free. hair is fitting into a ponytail as of saturday. we are about to begin trying for another child and we are good. we are different. we are new. but we are good. HE is good. my pray is that you do not waste this. do not waste how the Lord will change you forever. forever through this. i have a blog. for what its worth. check the archives for encouragement.…don‘t waste your cancer or your life.

  19. Erica Snipes /

    Love, love, love the imagry in your writing. I can picture myself dancing terribly and enthusiastically with my little ones. I can see my own family having that hasty retreat out of a restaurant because somebody is DONE with everything(!). and I have totally been “that mom” making a run for the 100th day of school 100 of whatever things at 10:whatever at night. You are us! We are you! We are praying for the “normal” of you, because we see our own little corner of the universe in you and your family. Cancer doesn’t happen to “us” right?! Okay, well, yeah, sucky. It actually does…to too many of us. So, we make plans to get ports from doctors wonderful, and we pray, and get tons of others to pray ’cause prayer works, and between prayer and ports and perfect family time, we have an awesome arsenal of “stuff” to use with which to open up a serious can of whoop-ass on stupid cancer. 🙂 BLESS YOU!!!!

  20. Melly /

    Lifting you up in prayer and thanksgiving. Cancer is about to get a beat down!!!!

  21. I found you through Momastery, Jen, and have already called my husband so I could read him clips of your beautiful writing – and to get our prayer chain activated!

    Reading this, simply reminds me of my life (32 with two toddler boys) and at times, your posts have me laughing with familiarity and kindred understanding, and at other times crying because…well, because cancer sucks and you don’t.

    Your story touches my heart in a very real way and I wanted to thank you. You are also saving lives by sharing your journey with us all. You are not alone sister! XOXOXO

  22. Praying for you and ready to see a real can of whoop-a$$ on that Cancer.
    My good friend started this foundation. You can like her on FB if you are inpired. Not a bunch of fodder just good “get up and kick butt” daily stuff.!/CancerWarrior?sk=wall

  23. I do not know you. I found you because I follow Glennon & her momastery. I am adding you to the prayer chain of some serious & powerful prayers. You are in good hands. Your family is lucky to have such a strong, smart & powerful wife-mother.
    In prayer,

  24. What an awesome mom you are!

  25. Samantha Cahalan /

    You don’t know me, but I am praying for you and your family! I am a mother of four adopted children and can appreciate your memory-making desires! You WILL have a remarkable future with your family, and your journey will inspire many. I live on the border of Iowa and Illinois – sounds like we are having the same weather!!

    xoxo Sam

  26. Denise O'Mara /

    Go the port – love the drugs – love the plan – love the dance – Go Jen

  27. Love your strength! I’m a fellow monkee… thinking of you lots!

  28. jen powers /

    i am stunned at your response…and then i am not at the same time. you always seemed to walk with a i marvel at your tenacity of spirit and the way you are walking this out challenges me to ask ‘who do i say God is’ in joy and in pain. the ns body is in the trenches, fighting with you. you go lady. wield that sword of the spirit and stand firm on the truth that God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. love your heart. praying, praying…

  29. Caren /

    You are a rockstar!! Good for you for enjoying your family and soaking up every little ounce of love they are pouring out to you (snuggle meter–love that!). I have a four year old and a 13 month old. My prayers for you are for you to continue being a ROCKSTAR and for your story to bless others like it is blessing me.

  30. Julie /

    As far as prayer is concerned, I’ve got your back. As far as cancer is concerned, sounds like you are its worst nightmare. Keep on keepin on, you can do it- I mean a 5 minute birth with that big of baby – cancer doesn’t know who it’s messing with!

  31. Shannon Weiss /

    I had to laugh about the snuggie. I have secretly wanted a wild animal print one for some time now. Yet, I find those sweat pants that fit and look like jeans are absolutely ridiculous. Hopefully, I dont read a post your sporting a pair of those! 🙂 Thinking of you!

  32. Denise Eck /

    Brad, YOUR WIFE ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!
    Much love to you all, Denise and Mike Eck

  33. amber /

    I just want you to know….that you are amazing, inspirational and one bad ass mama! I don’t know you, and NEVER comment on blogs. I just felt compelled to tell you to keep doing what you are doing, and know that people you have never met are praying for you…..ALOT 🙂

  34. Julie /

    Reading your story, got connected from momastery. What an amazing person you are, myself and my family are praying for you and yours!!! Beautiful outlook, stay strong!! Please also know its ok to not be strong all the time:)