Monday, April 27, 2009

Maximus' Dinner Prayer

Dear God, thank you for this food. And thank you for letting us go on our walk....

Oh, and I love you, and you know that you love me. And thank you, Jesus, for forgiving our sins. Amen.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Coyote County Loser JBU Alumni Event

On Thursday night JBU hosted a screening of Coyote County Loser in Siloam Springs. Lucas was able to be here to do a Q&A about the movie production for the alumni. We really enjoyed the evening together, and the alumni really enjoyed the movie!

If you haven't had a chance to see Coyote County Loser yet, it's playing this weekend at the Siloam Springs 6 theater and the Rogers Pinnacle Hills Malco theater. I know you'll enjoy it! Jacob and Laura (and so many others, including Lucas) have worked so hard to see this movie become a reality!

Conversations with Maximus

Me: Maximus, I love you! I want you to know that there's nothing you can do to make me love you more. And there's nothing you can do to make me love you less. I love you no matter what.

Maximus: Um, I don't know what that means. Mommy, will you tell me what that means?

Me: Sure. Let's think about it this way: you know there are some things I really like you to do, like choosing to obey and having a happy heart. But even if you don't do those things, I will still love you. Even though it makes me the most happy if you do choose to do those things, I will still love you even if you don't. I love you no matter what.

Maximus: Am I your grandson!?

Apparently this little guy has a mental link between grandparents and unconditional love. A pretty smart deduction, if you ask me. :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Helping with the Garden

Just one of the day-to-day special things the kids are getting to do with their Grandpapa and Grandmama while we are here:

We're so thankful to be here!

Monday, April 20, 2009

See Coyote County Loser in Northwest Arkansas this weekend! And enter to win free tickets!

Remember Coyote County Loser, the new romantic comedy that my husband helped write and his twin brother produced? Well it's showing at two theaters in Northwest Arkansas for a week starting this Friday, April 24!

If you're in NWA or know someone who is, tell them about this great new film. It's a rare find: a romantic comedy that actually has a true and healthy message about relationships. 

Also, in case you haven't checked out The Frugal Muse in a while, be sure to pop over there today to enter for your chance to win free tickets to Coyote County Loser this weekend!

The film will be showing at the Rogers Malco Pinnacle Hills and the Siloam Springs 6 theaters from April 24-30. You won't want to miss it!

Coyote County Loser: A romantic comedy for the loser in all of us!

What a great day!

Yesterday was truly a great day. For a couple of weeks, my parents had been planning on speaking at a church in my hometown of Owasso about their journey through terminal cancer. 

I really wanted to attend, but just didn't see how it would be possible with the kids. Maggie is at a stage of severe separation anxiety, and makes herself sick from crying so hard if left in a strange nursery. The thought had crossed my mind that the only way I would be able to go is if someone could come to my parents' home and watch the kids while I went to Owasso. But I just didn't feel like I could ask anyone to do that on a Sunday morning.

I was so shocked and surprised and thankful to find my aunt's e-mail a couple of days ago offering to drive FROM DALLAS to come stay with the kids for the day so that I could: a) go to hear my parents speak, and b) have a break from motherhood during this season while I'm here without Lucas.

Her offer was yet another reminder to me of the supernatural way in which a loving Heavenly Father is caring for my every need during these difficult days. Thank you, Lord!

And what an incredible gift from my aunt! I was able to drive to Owasso with Russell, Tyler and Meagan; hear my parents speak at two services; visit with friends who attended the services; and then enjoy a nice lunch out before heading back to Siloam Springs late in the afternoon.

I guess I was in such a hurry to get out the door (FREE-DOM!) that I forgot to take a picture of my aunt and my cousin while they were here! But we had a really sweet visit on Saturday night, and they gave me such an awesome gift by keeping the kids all day on Sunday.

Thank you, Aunt Suzie. You were my hero this weekend!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lunch Date with Sam, Kate and Kai

The great news: the kids and I had an absolutely fantastic time when we joined our friends Anna, Sam, Kate and Kai for lunch today. It was like water to my soul.

The bad news: I'm spoiled by my Nikon camera. All I had was my little iPhone camera for these snaps of our adorable little buddies. The leaves picture with Sam and Max is so cute, I'm wishing I had it in a higher resolution photo!

Thanks, Anna, for the awesome day. Loved every second of it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Celebrating Easter

We had a glorious Easter celebration last weekend! Here are just a few pics, and I'll add some more of egg-hunting, etc. later:

Our Easter dinner:

Grandpapa teaches a lesson about the Resurrection. He showed the grandsons a picture of his dad, who is in Heaven now because of what Jesus accomplished through his death and resurrection. They were very interested in what Grandpapa had to say about all of this. 

Our little family on a cold Easter morning!

We were all SO happy to have Lucas here!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

All Together for Easter!

We are so happy to all be together for Easter this weekend! Lucas and Max flew in late Thursday night. Lucas will fly back to Idaho on Monday, but Max will stay with me this time.

Brian, Lucas and Dad always have to get in some good Acquire action when Lucas is in town. Apparently Dad dominated all three games last night.

This is what the Dees family used to look like! 
It's crazy how much many people we've added in the past few years!
This was an unplanned surprise to have all four kids here with mom
and dad during the day on Thursday.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Four Generations

What an absolute joy to have a day with my mom, 
my grandma, my daughter and I all together!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Just A Little Maggie

It is FREEZING (literally) in Arkansas right now. WHERE IS SPRING?!? Today my mom had to go to the clinic to get IV fluids to help hydrate her. Kids aren't allowed in the chemo room, but Maggie and I went along anyway so we could enjoy the ride there and back with Mom and Dad.

While mom was getting her fluids, I took Maggie down the road to the mall where they have a nice little indoor playground. It was good for her to have a place to run, climb and play on such a cold day.

I am so thankful to report that Mom is feeling MUCH better tonight. She has been so sick the past couple of days that I just dumped tears all over her last night when I went in to hug her goodnight last night. Tonight she was up and around and laughing and visiting with me and dad and my grandma (what a fun surprise to get to see her today!). I had a huge grin on my face when I kissed her cheek goodnight tonight.  As she walked back to her bedroom, I called after her:

"You know, Mom, you don't have to feel good for me to be happy. But I sure am happy to see you feeling so good."

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Egg Hunt with Grandmama and Grandpapa

Today Maggie and I had a sweet time going to the Sager Creek Community Church egg hunt with Grandmama and Grandpapa. What fun! 

I didn't fully appreciate how blessed we were to be able to do this 45-minute outing until later in the day when Mom started feeling pretty badly. Her nausea and sickness hit quickly this evening. I feel like I've been handed another reality check, and I am receiving the message loud and clear: enjoy and cherish every good moment.

Good Days

Today is our second day here in Arkansas with my parents, and I am so happy to be able to say that my mom is enjoying good days. She is tired and can't do too much before resting, but she is not in much pain and we are grasping every single sweet moment as the gift that it is. On Wednesday we were all fearing that mom might not have any more active days ahead, but we have been surprised with the sweetest of gifts: one good day at a time.

The outpouring of love and support and prayer to our family and to Lucas and me personally has been overwhelming. Thank you, everyone, for the calls, e-mails, facebook messages, blog comments and visits. We are really, really blessed to not be walking this path alone. I haven't been able to return all calls and e-mails yet because I am just trying to enjoy every moment with my mom, but I want you to know that you are greatly appreciated.

Lucas and Max will be coming to Arkansas soon, and we are eager for the entire family to be here together. We are hoping and praying that mom's energy and health hold up long enough for us all to enjoy  Easter weekend together. We're trying to think of some ways to make it extra special!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Through My 3-Year-Old's Eyes

My three-year-old Maximus has had a rough couple days. We haven't really talked with him in detail about what's going on with my mom yet, but children always intuitively know when something is amiss in the family. So he's been pretty high-need for the past 48 hours.

When we told him Maggie and I were going to leave for a few days, he did not take it well. 

All of this reached a climax today at the airport when Maggie and I were attempting to check in and get our boarding passes. Max practically dragged Maggie out of the stroller and tried to climb in it himself. He thought that if he was in the stroller he would get to stay with me.

As we were saying our goodbyes, Max was uncharacteristically clinging with all his might to my legs. I looked down at him to see a look of almost desperation in this eyes. He pleaded with me, "Mommy, don't leave! PLEASE don't leave!"

It broke my heart. 

Then I saw myself in my 3-year-old. And I knew exactly how he felt. My entire life right now is summed up in that simple pleading:  "Mommy, don't leave!"

Lucas was the one who pointed out the parallel to me, and I couldn't stop thinking about it on my two flights. I replayed all the ways I tried to comfort Maximus today:

Don't worry! We will be together soon!
I am so sorry, Max. I really wish I didn't have to go without you.
Everything will be fine. You're going to have so much fun with Daddy and Gramma Cheryl while I'm away!

Nothing consoled him. All of those things were good and true; but in the end, he just wanted to be with his mom. He couldn't see past the present moment. I can really identify with that right now.

So, I told him that Daddy would take him to the store and buy him a new Lego kit, and he could show it to me when they get to Arkansas next week. He perked up for the first time all day.

If only all of life's heartaches could be patched so easily.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Hard Day

Today has been a difficult day. My dad called this morning to tell me that mom's scans came back showing rapid progression of her cancer. Her oncologist says she has somewhere between 2 weeks and 3 months to live.

We all knew this day was coming, but it is still a blow to face the imminent reality of it, especially after just being with her 4 days ago in California for a wonderful week together with her feeling relatively good.

All day today I kept thinking Maybe this is all a joke. April Fools! I wanted someone to walk up to me and tell me this is not real. That my mom is going to be fine and will be rocking her great grandbabies when she's old and wrinkled and her hair has grown back long and white.

But it is real. And tonight I'm unpacking my bag from California and packing a new one to take to Arkansas. I'll leave first thing in the morning and take Maggie with me. Maximus will stay with Lucas until they come out together next week.

If you'd like more details about what mom's doctor had to say today, you can read about it here from my dad.