absence

"so teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom...

satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love...

make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us..."

psalm 90:12-15

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I am supposed to be doing a women's bible study this year.  We were going to delve into the book of James...well, they are still delving but I haven't felt much like "studying" God's Word so I haven't been since Colby's surgery.  I have just wanted to sit at His feet and be in His presence just by continuing to do a read through the Bible in a year plan.  Every year, I do it.  Every year, I skip days...sometimes weeks, but I do not become stressed by the missed readings.  I figure that if I commit to doing the plan every year until my soul sees Heaven, then I will most likely have read the Bible from cover to cover.  Ingenious, I know.

But every day, every time I have opened up my Bible, He has met me right there on the pages.  He has spoken to me in just the way and with just the words I needed to hear at just that moment.  He's kind of amazing like that. I've come to have more of a understanding about Him and His ways by just opening my Bible and having a tender, broken heart in the past four weeks than in almost ten years of Bible "studying." To be broken and realizing, like really realizing, that all of our days are numbered is such a precious gift.

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We have been strapped and locked onto the roller coaster of cancer for more than a month now.  We feel Colby's absence but have utilized FaceTime to the fullest extent.  We have had some really high peaks...some days people ask me how I am doing and I genuinely am in a good space.  But I've noticed that we all come crashing down from that hopeful, peaceful place when Colby is not feeling well or is in pain.  It is like a glass of cold water being thrown on you and you realize that even when you are up, you are down anticipating the sickness and pain.  I constantly search his eyes as well as interpret his demeanor.  We should rename him, "Colbyareyouok?" because that is how he is addressed eighty percent of the time.

I know I sound like a broken record, but we continue to be undone by the kindness and thoughtfulness of others.  Amongst one sweet care package was a book of images along with scriptures and quotes created by a special group of women who I have only "known" virtually on a Facebook photography group. It makes you sit and wonder how can you repay the unrepayable?

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Bryant and Colby spent a week at Duke so that he can have his stem cells harvested, extracted through a process called pheresis and then frozen for chemotherapy. Beyond the week he had when he had surgery to remove the tumor, it was probably his most pain filled week so far. It was a classic case of things gone wrong and the worst case scenarios so we are happy to have that week behind us.

That suh-weet sign was made by Colby's classmates and delivered with a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts when he returned from Duke.

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And surprise...there are other things going on around here.  Namely, Kai is still rehabbing her ACL.  She has burned the dreaded brace and has dreams of running track, swimming or spiking a volleyball.  Alas, those days are still months away as her leg looks like at stick with a small grapefruit at the joint.  But we are celebrating minor victories with her...like being able to bend over and pick up something.

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Beau turned two last month and received the customary two year old hair cut.  I was hoping to have a little rasta Gap ad baby but his father had other plans and said the fro' had to go.  Now I am mourning the last bastion of toddlerhood as he looks like a young boy and not my baby anymore.  However, he reminds me of his age through other avenues such as temper tantrums and potty accidents.

Kennedy was also working hard on her big acting debut for this year.  Sadly, Bryant and Colby had to miss it completely while I missed her first show but we are once again thankful for the friends who stepped up to be there so that she would see a familiar face in the audience.

Soon after Colby's diagnosis, we made the painful (for us) decision to enroll Bryce (not painful for him) back into school so we can concentrate on Colby.  He has reintegrated a little too well...my mama feelings were almost hurt but I know he loves it there and is loved very much there. Ecclesiastes states there is a season for everything and it is apparent that homeschooling him is not in our season right now.  Mille, on the other hand, is still going strong at home without Bryce.

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Even in his absence, Colby makes his presence known. Case in point...selfies in the mirror that I discover when I upload my CF card.  When he is sick, this is the Colby that we most miss.  Everyone deals with pain differently and we have learned that Colby copes by wanting to be left alone.  Of all the kids in the crew, he is our bonafide comedian and family jester which makes it all the more harder to see him so down.  Sometimes, I mourn the loss of his carefreeness before cancer.  But then we have seen him mature so, so much over the past month.  I wonder when this small chapter in his book of life is over, how God is going to use this to shape him.  Colby has a teacher who fought her own battle with cancer a couple of years ago.  Almost every day, she sends me an email with something encouraging...be it a scripture, a song, a reflection of something she learned when she was in the valley.  She never expects a response back, although some days I am compelled to respond to how God uses her words timely, but does it because someone did it for her. Just like all the other encouragements that come our way, I save everything she has written.  One day she wrote this...

"Do you ever wonder why God promised His people the promised land, but then made them go to battle for it?"