Yes, we are in the middle of chemo week, but I am going to write something positive. Imagine that, positive talking during chemo week! Each year our family makes resolutions. My list is usually a lengthy list of goals like losing weight, improving spiritually, being a better mother, learning something or other. All very worthy resolutions, but last year was different. As it came to my turn to share my resolutions with my family, this is the list I shared:


-survive the year.

Yep, that was it. You see, last year I was 6 months pregnant, Brinley was beginning one of the most difficult phases of treatment, Jade was starting Kindergarten, Taylor was starting middle school, and I had absolutely no idea how I would make it to the end of the year alive. Everything was completely out of my hands, and I only wanted to survive. If I could come out of 2009 standing, I would have felt a sense of accomplishment. I truly put it in God's hands and put one foot in front of the other, relying on Him to guide me. I still stand by that resolution, and would not change a thing about it. Sometimes in our lives we HAVE to shift into survival mode and do what we can to....just survive. I didn't lose any weight(quite the opposite actually!), or learn anything new, but looking back on this year, I thank God for not only helping me survive, but blessing my whole year with miracles. I will never forget what He has done for us this year. Here are our miracles:

-Mylee was born. Miracle in itself. But the true miracle is the spirit that was sent to us. I thought a baby would increase our chaos, we were already in turmoil, what would a baby add?! Well, let me tell you what she has added. She has added a peace, calm, heavenly feeling to our home. I know without a doubt she was sent to us for that reason. I have had so many people tell me they have never seen a better baby, and I must agree. I can say that because none of the credit goes to us, it is all heaven sent. There have been times I have been on the verge of an absolute meltdown, and I look at Mylee, and she smiles her big giant smile, and it brings immediate peace to my heart. I'm not the only one, none of the kids can pass her up without smacking a kiss on her cheek, picking her up, making her laugh. We went sledding on Saturday and our steroid girl was crying, David was pretty darned close to losing it, and I was holding Mylee. David looked at Mylee, who was already flashing him a smile, and busted right into a laugh. See what I mean? She was sent to calm us from a Heavenly Father who KNOWS us and what we need. I don't know what she'll be like at 2, hehe, but I will never forget what she brought to us this first year of her life.

-We have also seen financial miracles this year. In the beginning of the year, we were on the verge of bankruptcy. We have been able to tread water through incredibly generous people who have given us money. Blunt as you can get right? But I would be ungrateful if I didn't recognize that as a miracle also. There have been moments too personal to write about at the time, where I didn't know how I would pay for the water before they shut it off, or groceries, then a check would come in the mail from someone, or a gift card would show up at my doorstep for groceries, and we were able to manage without total devastation. So many of our payments for the medical bills this year were made through Brinley's Leukemia Fight fund, and I don't know what we would have done without the help we received. We have had prayers answered through David's job, and other opportunities that have come up, and guess what? I think we may be okay when this is all over. If we can get through this year's medical bills... Things looked so bleak last year financially, but we always paid our tithing. Always. And God is blessing us for it. No doubt in my mind the Lord is mindful of us.

-Our family got stronger. Do I call that a miracle? Yes. I thought we were already strong, and when Brinley got diagnosed everyone said to me we would be such a strong family. Sometimes I wanted to scream, ARE YOU CRAZY! THIS IS TEARING US APART! Here's what I say now. You were right. There, I said it. We still have arguments, we still annoy the dickens out of each other, but there is a bond that comes with going through something life altering together. Between the parents and the children, husband and wife, children and children. We ARE closer. I posted our family picture because this is the first time we have done a family picture not in a studio, where they perfectly place you in the most strategic place for the picture. This year we just did our own thing (thanks to some help from my future SIL, Dani!) This picture we are squished in so close, and I picked this one as my favorite because of that. It is how I feel we have become, all those hard times have made us cling to each other. I love my husband and my kids more than I ever thought possible.

You may look at my "list" of miracles and argue that none of these things are miracles. They are to me. If you told me any of these things would happen at the beginning of the year last year, I would have argued with you until my eyes popped out of my head. So I call them my own personal miracles.

We are looking forward to a year of happiness! I made resolutions this year, so that's a good sign right? Brinley will finish treatment at the end of this year. I can't write that without tears coming to my eyes. Brinley will finish treatment THIS year. No more chemo, no more needles, no more steroids, no more "chemo eyes". This will be a good year...

Happy New Year. We welcome 2010 with open arms.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to end my day by reading your comments. Yes, it has been quite a year! The beautiful blessings have eased the great sorrow and stress you have gone through. You all deserve big hugs and a loving "thank you" for what you have added to our lives as you have made your way through this year.

Cancer has taken you on a path you would not have chosen, but you have had many people help you plant flowers along the way, and look how rich and beautiful your life has become. And I agree - Mylee brought something special with her!

Love,
Mom

Stacy said...

AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

I loved reading your miracles!!!!! I am so happy to know that you guys are doing well amidst the chaos. What a beautiful family you have!!! I am so happy that Brin will be done with treatment at the end of the year!!!!!!!! You gave me goose bumps. Love you guys Adam and Susanne

Michelle Riggs said...

Wonderful post! I loved reading about your miracles.

Praying for a blessed new year and complete healing.

Ilaria said...

I absolutely LOOOOOOVE this picture. You have such a beautiful family. You guys are amazing. We miss you and think of you often. Cancer SUCKS! It is about to take my father's life and I HATE it (I wish there was a stronger word that would actually communicate the full meaning of what I feel). He's fighting really hard, though, so that's nice to see. We're already having extra time with him that I thought for sure we wouldn't have, so I'm trying to look at the positive side. Congratulations on your family's MANY accomplishments. I really do think that you DID learn something new last year: maybe not something crafty or a new recipe, but I bet that you have a whole list of things you've learned that would put the rest of us to shame. Hugs and kisses from all of us. :)

Ali said...

The photo is lovely Kristen...and so are you.

Always thinking about you~

Ali

fle said...

2009 was filled with many blessings! Keep doing what you're doing! Beautiful family!

100 Percent Cottam said...

i love your miracles. i love that you see them so clearly already. i'm sure there will be more you see as time goes on. thanks for sharing your journey - i have been inspired by you guys all year long. right now i am obsessed with joseph b. wirthlin's "come what may and love it" (that is our 2010 family theme), particularly "the principle of compensation". i'm amazed that as i think more and more about it, i see that the lord does always compensate us for everything we lose, every trial we face, every problem we have. such an amazing and merciful principle.

thanks again for sharing!

Josh and Kandice said...

You definitely had a year of miracles! I can only hope I would be as strong as you if this was to happen to us. Your family is amazing. Happy 2010! Can't wait til Brinley finishes treatment!

Lisl said...

Sweet photo. Brinley's hair is getting so long. The end of the year is going to be the best strong little Brinley will be done with treatments that just brightens my day.one of these days we need to see mylee's big smile.Well wish you the best year ever and will pray for Brinley like i always do.I have always loved her cute little face.

Anonymous said...

One more resolution for you my beautiful niece.....you are going to become an author remember? :)thank you for giving us all something to look forward to. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox