Highs and Lows

Aug 17

I had chemo today, so tonight’s post-eleven-o’clock-at-night post is brought to you by my steroid buzz.  Go chemo go!  Kill the cancer!

Things are good; I feel there have been some yo-yo high-lows going on in a myriad of ways.

We spent the last day of Maren’s summer vacation together: a Mommy-Maren day of fun; it was awesome.  I love my girl.

Greta starts school (four-year-old preschool for 2.5 hours in the afternoon) in two weeks.  She’s ready, and I’m ready for the structure.

Maren and I had a wrenchingly tough conversation about my cancer reality; she’s eight and she’s asking all the real hard questions.  I’m giving her the truth and I ache at the bluntness.  This conversation was the first time we cried together; oh, Lord this is hard!  This came on the heels of our day of fun together and I was able to see how many of our talking points from earlier in the day were good material for me to reference as we navigated the hard topics.  I feel like God was with us throughout the day giving us chapters in the story He is writing in us.  While we were moving through the day, we talked about challenges and how everyone has them.  We labeled our big challenge as cancer, and we came up with ideas of things that might be challenges for other kids/families.  She wanted to be on the lookout for challenged kids at school so she could help them be strong.  One of our stops was a craft store where we made a doodad to hang on her backpack and she chose a the bead that said strength to put on it.  She’s so my kid: we’re drawn to positivity, hope, inspiration and we are intentional about blowing ember to flame to make it grow.  Would you all join me in praying for strength — her request — for my girl?

On Maren’s first day of school, she missed the bus.  It is already time to polish the SuperMom badge off again as it was totally my fault.  But the bus was four minutes early, which is a lot of minutes in the bus stop world.  Who misses the bus on the first day of school?  My kid.  Awesome.  But Brad was home for the first day of school event, and he took pictures and we all jumped in the car for a car-line send off!  I was really proud of Maren for forgiving me and not having it taint her day.  She is loving third grade, and I think it is going to be a great year.

I clinked a mimosa toast the morning of the first day of school, which is less celebratory and more therapeutic as I actually miss her when she’s gone.  She loves school though, and that makes me happy.

A couple of “back door” friends came over the other day, which means I cleaned tidied the rooms adjacent to the back door and ignored the rest of the house.  Also, all of my friends are back door friends.  I hope that is a compliment to them.

Brad designed a wonderful birthday weekend for me.  He took me on a special date, got me a really thoughtful gift, and helped the girls do their own shopping for me too.  We had dinner with my sister and parents and they spoiled me too.  It seems everyone has been taking really good notes on my words because everyone picked upon something that I didn’t remember I wanted coveted, but that I really, really, really enjoyed.  It’s not just the gift; it’s the thoughts and the planning and the thinking-about-me so much that swells my heart.  Near and far; they love me.  I am so well loved; it bamboozles me.

I invited my runner friends to join me for a 7-mile run on Saturday (via the running app).  And I specifically said that I don’t actually want to run stride-for-stride with them because I don’t have enough oxygen to talk and run!  So I guess I actually invited them to run near me.  This didn’t seem as weird when I typed out the invitation a few days ago as it does now.  There were four of us that got together to run a long (for us) run of 7-8 miles on a mildly hilly pre-planned route.  I am so pleased to report that I am holding up well.  I walked less than (but probably close to) one of my eight miles that I clocked that day.  My body is cooperating and I hope I can keep going strong!  The runs are feeling good. The only thing that continues to be a challenge is making the time and sacrificing getting other things done to focus on it.

Several friends are running the Queen Bee half marathon with me: if you are signed up but haven’t told me yet, please get in touch!  The Komen Race for the Cure that Brad, Maren, Greta and I are doing is less than two weeks away already.  I am speaking at 6:45pm before 7pm event, so sign up and mark your calendars if you are interested–tell me if you are coming to that one too!  Today at the oncology office a bunch of the staff members were talking about signing up for the various runs; I love that I talk to everyone as friends and they are part of my real life community too.

I don’t like to cook unless it’s for a fun event.  I’m admitting it.  I’ve tried liking it for a long time, and I like pieces of it, but I essentially feel like the planning, shopping, prepping and cooking is a giant time suck, especially when I’m trying to eat healthy.  The timing of this is okay because several folks have strategically made meals for us that we’ve been able to eat and also some to freeze.  I’m so grateful for these folks — once again — seeing into a need that I didn’t know I had.  It’s made a big difference in my sanity, maintaining a healthy diet, and humbleness this summer.  Isn’t it amazing how that works?  We are going to our freezer for meals this week, and I’m abnormally happy about this.  Thanks friends and family.

I was bested by the iCloud last night; I found myself in tears of frustration (hello, I am my mother) over it’s mysteries.  Poor Brad helped me and we sorted out the urgent issues, but there are still a whole bunch of things that don’t work like they should.  It is so frustrating to be an intelligent person who can not figure this stuff out.  At this point I think the iCloud is just like unicorns.  Everybody thinks they are magical and awesome, but they don’t really exist at all.  Harrumph.

So that’s it: highs and lows.

I have many weaknesses but my friends and family love me anyway.  They love me big.

School is awesome, but I miss them when they are at school (and work in Brad’s case) all day.

Cancer is ugly, raw and hard, and I feel God touching us in these difficult times.

Cooking and technology are in the small stuff category: I’ll keep them in the minimal space they occupy in my life.

Figuratively and/or literally: Long may we run.  Long may we all run.


  1. Lisa Smith /

    Love. Xoxo

  2. Strength for Maren and for you ♥

  3. Jennifer /

    Sending prayers for your big girl with those hard questions and healing wishes for you to keep on running strong, living strong and sharing those hard and beautiful moments with the ones you love.

  4. Lori6NV /

    Special prayers for your strong girl tonight. And I “try to like cooking” too. My husband and kids all love it — but mostly because mama gets to clean up the giant mess. ☺️

  5. Lisa Marker /

    Praying for your girl – for strength, trusting God’s got this, all the things that will fortify her spirit for all her days to come. And you, Jen, may the race be long. I already know you are running it well. XO

  6. KellyE /

    Prayers for strength coming your family’s way.

  7. Julie Talford /

    Yup I love that Maren. Tell her hello. She is a mini you for sure and such a kind and loving spirit. May she have strength. May you have strength. May you all have strength. Sending love across the miles and belated birthday wishes. Keep on running the path!

  8. I love your blog– your positivity is contagious. Thank you for the reminders that we all have our challenges, but also all have our blessings.

  9. Praying, praying, praying.

  10. Christin /

    I read this blog this morning, and couldn’t stop thinking about (and praying hard in reaction to) your conversation with Maren. The beauty that I gathered as I thought about it all day was that you.are.an.incredible.mom. You aren’t just working through stuff… You’re beautifully parenting through stuff. The way you’re able to guide your girls into God’s heart is truly… Well… Miraculous. Don’t worry- I see that you’ve “polished” your mom badge plenty of times :), but I also see your heart and the hearts that are growing in your girls. God, may I parent my children with the same determination and love; may I learn to instill the beauty of Today juxtaposed with the beauty of eternity in my children. Jen, you taught me how to seek God’s heart as a teenager, and now you teach me how to show God’s heart to my children.

  11. Wow. So much going on. I am sorry you have to have to have the hard cancer talks. That makes my heart break. I am so thankful that God has given you the gift to do this well. 🙂 I love that Maren picked the word strength. She is you through and through.

  12. xo