Dec 01

Hello December!

Wow; time flies, doesn’t it?

I’ve been away from writing for a few reasons.  The drug I was on for most of 2015 was a hard one for me tolerate.  As I weaned off it and switched to a new drug, I began to feel significantly more capable on a day-to-day basis.  It turns out I felt like crap for those months, and I’m now willing to admit it.  Ha!  I’m oh-so-gratefully normal enough to do things like clean out my storage room, sort/clean out/organize hand-me-downs, and hang pictures.  Greta’s four.  She’s going to start noticing that she is under-represented on our walls for Pete’s sake.

I think I’m at the stage of life where I feel always behind.  Always messy.  Always disorganized.  Always late.  I get a lot of things right, but I get a lot of things wrong too.  I worry my “let’s get together’s” ring untrue because of my lack of follow-through.  I hope I don’t hurt feelings with my embarrassing backlog of email and social media.  I hope my future self doesn’t lament these un-recorded days and thoughts and stories.  I feel called to GO and BE and SPEAK and WRITE and SHARE but I don’t know exactly how to do that except keep doing what I’m doing: Do Today Well.

I’m also pretty sure that most of you reading can relate to my failings, and find comfort in my calling them out.  All that stuff is just the minutae of life anyway.

The good stuff of life is good.  Really good.  If we could get some cancer stablization, regression, or NED, then things would be really great!  Dear Lord, I ask for mercy, mercy, mercy from this cancer!

It used to be that the hardest person to tell bad news to was my mother.  Somehow, in the march of time, the September scan marked the time that my 8-year-old daughter became the hardest person to whom I have to tell bad news.  I want to give Maren her privacy as she ages and not out her emotions, so I tread carefully as I write about her.  Suffice to say, coming of age with a mama with serious cancer is a helluva burden for a little one.  She doesn’t want to feel anxious and sad, and she doesn’t want to feel different from her friends.  It’s all happening, and parenting feels like a whole new ballgame.  Pray for us; pray for her, especially.  In one breath she’s used all of the sticky tape in the house making a school room for her American Girl doll, and in the next she’s snuggled up next to me watching a gingerbread house show on HGTV and coloring.  She often wants me to pick out her clothes for her, but then picks out the most sophisticated, on-trend shoes when she has the treat of choosing a new pair for herself.  One moment she’s learning her times tables, and in the next she’s asking me when exactly I think I will die.

And that’s just an average Monday at our house.

Between my treatment change, her maturing, and a season without travel, it has been a lot of change for our little family.  We’re thriving.  We’re getting counseling.  We played Zingo as a foursome tonight, and Headbandz as a threesome after Greta went to bed.  We have a leaning tower of cardboard in our kitchen because every day the girls make new creations out of it, and their imaginations literally thrill me.  We listen to stories and music to quell our anxiety as we fall asleep.  We give each other gifts; so many gifts in so many forms in so many stolen moments throughout our days.  We laugh, we cry, we hope, and we live.  Brad and I are fiercely grateful for what we have and we press and sometimes force gratitude into the hard stuff.  We’re trying to teach the girls, even at their tender ages, how to generate happiness.  We strive to be a family of relentless joy-seekers.  We start with the building blocks: the desire to serve, grateful hearts, and spirits to give what we can.

Living with cancer is — I’m learning — always evolving like everything else in life.  It’s the living I want to focus on.  Living with joy is my choice.  Each day I choose anew.  And there is much — much — to be grateful for and celebrate.



  1. I’m so glad to hear from you. I was starting to worry about you.

    Happy December to you!

  2. Although you know the love pours across the Pacific to you like a rolling cloud it cannot take away the threat that hangs over you every day but hopefully it warms you , encourages you and instills in you the belief that where ever when ever while ever we have breath we will care for you, for Brad, Maren and Greta in what ever way we can, much love Buderim crew.

  3. Lisa Smith /

    Thank you for sharing this update with us Jen. I can relate to your mom perspective and I can even slip into Maren’s perspective too. I’m so glad she has you as her mom! Love you Jen.

  4. Jen you continue to amaze and inspire me. I wish you a wonderful Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year. All of us feel scattered and unorganized at times so you are not alone. You remind us all over and over what is important… Your family is so blest as are we to know you.

  5. Kim Rourke /

    So glad to hear of your normal mom, normal woman disorgsnization etc. and thrilled to hear your “voice”. We do worry and mentally fuss when your blog lies silent for too long so I rep remanded myself after reading this post and celebrated that you are feeling so much better and living your family to the fullest. Wishing you a blessed Advent and Christmas season. Live! Laugh! Love!

  6. Newbie friend /

    Jen, it is so good to hear from you. With a smile on my face and a tear on my cheek, I take a calming breathe and think to myself ” you are doing life so well”, ” I am so proud of you” and” you are teaching all of us how to continually strive for what is most important”. If we all knew the answer to Maren’s question how differently we might live.
    We are continuing to send love and prayers to all of you.

  7. So happy to hear from you. And to think, I met your beautiful family when Maren was four and now Greta is that age! Four years. I can’t believe my triplets are in high school and college is on my mind. Love to you!!!???

  8. Praying for total healing for you, and praying for your girls. They do have a burden beyond what most children can ever imagine. I’m glad there is counseling for them to help them deal with this. And yes, you are definitely in the stage of life of feeling behind in everything. I think you are doing a remarkable job being an amazing Mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, plus what you are to us here who don’t even know you. ❤️

  9. Miriam /

    So glad to read you, I was worried too! I’ve never commented before but I’ve been following your blog since early days and am rooting for you and your family with all my heart. Just this morning I was checking to make sure I hadn’t missed an entry. I’m so glad to hear you’re all doing well. Keep on keeping on….

  10. Mommaj /

    “feeling behind” I woke up in the middle of the night feeling Behind. Jen, you’re doing what the Lord has given you to do or rather Be!! Your girls, Brad, family and friends are so blessed by your presence and we continue to pray that the Lord multiplies your days ? You are loved deeply!!

  11. It is so nice to see an update. Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family.

  12. I am so blessed to know you. Thank you for sharing your heart. It enriches my life!

  13. I want to echo the sentiments of many. I worry when you haven’t written for a while but then I remind myself that you are busy living life. I am grateful for your new drug regimen; side effects of medicines can be the worst. My prayers continue to be for your good health as I envision you parenting your lovely girls over many years. I also pray for God’ peace for your family as you move through the Advent season–a time of waiting and of hope.

    “…Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
    Luke 2:19

  14. Charlotte /

    I’ve mentioned this camp before, but as you write of Maren struggling I want to share again this wonderful camp that is specifically for kids of parents with Cancer. It is an amazing organization. Quoted from their site, “I don’t have to pretend to be this kid who is OK, I can just be who I want to be.”

  15. Living life — and especially living life with your motto — takes time and energy. I’m so glad to read that your absence here was due to being true to yourself and your family.
    I’m also glad to know you are on a different medicine regime that doesn’t steal your energy.
    You are loved. Your family is loved. May there be much grace and mercy (oh, please, MERCY!) during these dark days of winter and changing dynamics.

  16. Love you, Jen!! Xoxo

  17. Diana Gibson /

    You break your silence with such inspiring and motivating pictures – of life, the girls, the family, good times, less good times, just how life catches up sometimes and then, whammoo you shoot for the stars with your joy and encouragement, your love of life, of friends, of family. Jen, wish you, Brad, Maran and Greta just the most amazing and lovely pre-Christmas month. You will no doubt shame me with your tales of your Christmas doings, done so well and with so much spirit, joie de vivre,happiness and love. Be safe

  18. Tiffany /


  19. Christy /

    Jen, I saw a post from one of my other favorite blogs today and thought of you…

    If you don’t already, check out Rachel’s blog if ever in need of a 3-minute pick-me-up. The Holy Spirit shines brightly through her words, much like yours. Glad that the new meds are allowing you to catch your breathe and accomplish some of the mundane things of life that so many of us take for granted. Hugs and continued prayers for you, my friend.

  20. You.are.amazing!
    You guys are in my thoughts often! Prayers for strength and peace for Maren and of course good health and continued strength and peace for you all. Lots of love from our crazybusy, but fulloflove home to yours!! XoXoX
    Tina (Dale, Connor and Emma too)