Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thankful Thanksgiving

Greetings friends and family,

November is gone and the end of the year is so close I can taste it.  There will be no tears shed for 2015 when the fireworks go off New Years Eve.  This has been a year of less-than-ideal circumstances, trials, and difficulties.  There are days when it feels like nine months ago. Some days it feels like nine years ago because so much has happened.

There are not seasons of highs and lows.  I've discovered there are highs and lows happening at the same time, all the time.  The most amazing and profoundly impacting moments are sometimes happening at the exact same moment as ones with the greatest pain and disappointment.

The radiation treatment Kendra received caused all kinds of problems with her guts including a painful urinary tract infection.  The pain became so great that I took her to the emergency room where they discovered she had an infection.  five hours of our life we will never get back, but the two of us had lots of quiet time together between nurses visits, shots, and questions.  It was a hospital date.  That is part of the way time is redeemed.  yes, it sucked for Kendra to experience this, but in the middle of the circumstances we made the most of it and enjoyed each other's company.  Plus she was on heavy pain meds and laughed at my jokes even more than normal.

While all that was happening, Easton and Layla were dressed up as Rainbow Dash Pony and Batman.  They are well aware of Kendra's circumstances, but I love how they are living life and experiencing all the awesomeness of childhood in spite of what's going on inside Kendra.  There is life happening around me and it brings perspective.

There is also life going on in our back yard garden thanks to David.  He planted some seeds, made use of our separate garden sprinkler value, and let the sun do the rest.  We can't wait to taste the fresh veggies in a few weeks!

We spent the Thanksgiving holiday mostly at home resting, but for the big meal we went to Stephanie's house.  The mix of people who showed up made for a fun group.  Ifeanyi showed up and sat in Brett's massage chair.  Layla jumped in to explain how it works and get him set up for a good massage treatment.  The way Layla and Easton are comfortable around people makes me so happy.  Tall people, black people, famous people, poor people, mean people...  We expose them all walks of life and culture so that they see people as just people.  It's very difficult to discern or have insight into someone's heart if you can't get past the "differentness" in their exterior.

I don't know when the switch was flipped for Layla, but she is now a young lady.  That blows me away.  I turned around on our way to church to see her doing this and had to take a picture.

She's fashionable, gregarious, and communicative.  Those words aren't used to describe little kids.  Those are young lady descriptions and they fit Layla very well.  I just stared at her with a wrinkled forehead and snowball eyes and mouth open.  There she is.  almost eight years worth of my heart sitting right behind me in the van being exactly who she was made to be.

We met Stephanie's family out for dinner one night and she brought stuffed animals for the twins.  They've been asking me for the big eyed beanie babies for months, but I haven't given in to their request for one.  Steph is showing us over and over how to be considerate and thoughtful of others.  I'm so grateful for her family's example... and now we have two reindeer in our house.

The day after Thanksgiving is normally set aside for a trip to visit Kendra's cousin Megan and her husband Brandon.  We attended their wedding last year so it's still a little new for me to reference them as a married couple, but it's always a valuable use of our time to visit them up in Scottsdale.  We arrived just in time to step onto the back patio and catch the sun setting over the horizon.  Of course, the picture doesn't do the sunset justice, but you get the idea.  This picture represents so much more than just a Thanksgiving sunset.  It represents nine months of hopes and prayers.  When Kendra went into the hospital nobody knew if we would ever see another thanksgiving sunset or if Kendra would be able to stand or even walk.  Yet, here she is and here we are together soaking in the wonder of life and relationship.  Nothing is guaranteed for any of us. Not even next Thanksgiving.  Being thankful for the moment never gets old.  Even without her healing and health of the past.  even without the hope and future.  Nothing else matters but this moment in all it's mundane majesty.  It's just a couple standing on a balcony with a sunset.  Even so, it means the world to me and I will continue to be thankful in all things no matter what happens.

See you soon!

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