Sunday, January 3, 2010

We Found Marco (Island) Before He Said Polo

Normally I am a metaphorical kind of girl, but today I seem to find myself literally rolling in the New Year. On wheels. Somewhere (literally and metaphorically, you could even say, euphorically) still in the sunshine state. Somewhere along I-75, which, ironically, passes by Rome as it leads to home. We are heading home from the holidays.

The van is quite quiet right now. Everyone is off in their own little worlds. Dave is driving and trying to decongest. Mikey is navigating and playing football on his iPod touch. Amanda is playing Zelda on her Gameboy Advanced. Matt is watching a movie (I am Sam) on his MacBook Pro. I am digesting my Big Mac and 2009, lounging in the backseat.

There is a song playing in the soundtrack of my mind: “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds.
It is based on one of my favorite passages in one of my favorite books of the Bible, in Ecclesiastes 4, which I will quote from, loosely paraphrase, and footnote, as my Happy New Year's Day Post(card) from the Road.

There is a time for everything. There is a time for everything that happens under heaven.

A time to be born
Today a new year is born. 2010, the year of my Lord, whose birth I just celebrated last week.
And a time to die
2009 was not my time; although between cancer and “the Vespa incident” I know I kept everyone worried, and even I wondered a couple of times. 2009 was the time for my Gramcracker and I really miss her but am so happy she got to hang out with Jesus on His birthday.
A time to plant
Amanda turned 18, entering into adulthood and her sophomore year as a journalism major at University of Cincinnati; we “planted” her in a cute little apartment on campus to eliminate the commute from her life and open the door for her on the college life. Also, we had already been blooming at the Cincy Vineyard, but we officially “planted” ourselves there by officially becoming members.
And a time to reap
In 2009, Dave’s company, 3dB Labs, turned 5 years old. Just like the "Life is Good" motto, God has provided Dave the opportunity to be able “do what you like and like what you do” in his “hunting and gathering” part of providing for our family. And this year, for the first time, he did actually get to “reap” a bit of the fruit of his labor, from whose hands we know all blessings flow, and to whom we are eternally grateful.

A time to kill
2009 was a year of killing cancer cells in me. Our calendar has literally revolved around my chemo cocktail schedule. 24 rounds over the past year and a half. I have felt like such a hobbit through it all. I had no idea I had it in me to do this adventure of slaying dragons and such, but I have had the best company a hobbit could hope for. And now that we have gone “there and back again”, being back again feels like a whole new adventure.
And a time to heal
I am looking forward to 2010, to the laying down weapons and to the turning over Aloe leaves...and a whole new set of leaves on a brand new calendar.
A time to break down
4 Rounds of The Red Devil and Cytoxin, a derivative of mustard gas. 4 Rounds of taxing Tax-ALL. 19 Rounds of Herceptin.
And a time to build up
A generous gift from The Tiffany Foundation of a membership to my Tennis Club to help me regain my fitness as I recover my health. A delightful group of women to play tennis with; they helped me get my game back, and we won play-offs to boot!

A time to cry
There have been sad tears :’’(
but there have been happy ones, too :’’)
And honestly, more of those sad ones have been from Amanda cutting my freaking apron strings than from the cancer. I have tasted my own salty tears through it all but I think God has been my “ever present help in time of need”, to wipe them away and to leave me with an aftertaste of that “peace that passes understanding”. The happy ones have mainly been the overflow of treasuring all things Redheads up in my heart. I have loved every stage of my kids, but I have to admit that I LOVE this present stage of their becoming and blooming. They are good and godly peeps, and the sweet hearts of my heart.
And a time to laugh
The Evanshire is a hobbit hole full of wise guys. Sometimes it feels like we are on a sit-com. But the thing is, we do love to laugh. And we do laugh a lot.
A time to have sorrow
I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen the cup of suffering I have been sipping from this past year and a half. But I do trust the One through whose hands I believe the cup was given to me, for His glory, and my good. I know there are some who would disagree with me on that statement, and I’m not trying to pick a theological debate here; it’s just that I find more comfort in believing He handed me the cup than that the devil handed it to me behind His back or against His will. I also believe that “joy comes in the mourning” and that my time of mourning will be turned into
A time to dance
We got the “Let’s Dance” for the Wii for Christmas, so we should be set.

A time to throw stones
I haven’t really been able to throw at all with Port Rapha sitting on my right pec muscle. It has really cramped my range of motion, not to mention, my tennis serve. I have totally had to improvise a new serve to be able to compete. It doesn’t have much pace on it, but I can consistently get it in the box. Still, I’m looking forward to having Port Rapha removed on Wednesday. Bon freaking voyage! Then, I will THROW a non-chemo cocktail party on Friday, January 8th, to really celebrate the end, God willing, of my cancer chapter!
And a time to gather stones
One of the coolest things that my boys did for me while I was sick, was to gather stones and make a path for me down to the tennis courts behind The Evanshire. I'm looking forward to wearing down that path with Mikey when Spring springs. We'll see if this is the year he leaves me in his tennis wake.
A time to kiss
Our 22nd anniversary. Another New Year’s Eve. Both of which we just celebrated while on holiday, which was the light at the end of the chemo tunnel for us all. Also, there are Hershey Kisses. And I just secretly wonder if we all gathered Hershey’s Kisses (especially the kind with peanut butter inside) instead of stones, and if we didn’t throw them, but give them to one another...well, that would be sweet.
And a time to turn from kissing
Morning breath is a good example of this refraining refrain. And here is where a Hershey's Kiss could really come in handy in the clutch.

A time to try to find
This past week we found Marco before he could say Polo. In other words, we took a much needed family holiday away from the cancer and the chemo of this past year and a half of our life.
And a time to lose
We have lost a lot over the past year and a half. A pound (give or take ;) of my flesh, Dave’s gall bladder, my Gramcracker, my tennis bud, Linda, my hair and tastebuds during chemo and even still some of the feeling in my feet and fingertips, my old computer, the clutch on my Mini, 3 cameras, and I definitely lost face in Rome not to mention my opportunity to put my hand in The Mouth of Truth when I crashed into a wall. Coincidentally, the wall was made of stones someone had gathered; either that, or the Vespa got confused and threw me. Anyway, we didn’t lose time in going on holiday the very next day after my very last chemo.
A time to keep precious. Can’t really keep it (don’t really have rhythm, either) but being in the moment and making memories are my kind of keepsakes.
And a time to throw away
When Port Rapha sails away on Wednesday, I won’t need the instruction manual anymore. I am giving it back to the surgeon. No, I didn’t read it; it was just TMI for me; but I think Dave read it.
A time to tear apart
God willing, Wednesday will be the last surgery I need for a very long time.
And a time to sew together
And I’m looking forward to being sewn back together, sans port, then piecing back together my serve. Maybe even throwing a few stones, and by throwing, I mean skipping stones that I have gathered. But never when there is a glass house in the background.
A time to be quiet
One time that immediately pops into to my mind was the surprise party my kids threw me for my one year anniversary of being cancer-free. I still don’t know how they pulled that off.
And a time to speak
Obviously I pulled this one off with this lengthy post. But the main thing I hope it says loud and clear is thank You, God. And may the rest of my life say the same thing. Also, I’d like to say thank you, again, to everyone for all the prayers and acts of kindness that have helped carry me “there and back again”. Truly I’ve gotten by “with a little help from my friends”.

A time to love
The rest of my time.
And a time to hate
Been there, done that. Hated it.
A time for war
Bought the tee shirt. Cancer sucks.
And a time for peace
The peace of Christ, the peace that passes understanding, be with you all, Joules
p.s. cheers!


Sandy Maudlin said...

SO enriching to visit your blog. Thanks for sharing your journey and being YOU! You, too, are such a blessing.

amyc said...

What a beautiful and poetic testimony of a long and difficult journey. So Julie. God be with you, over you, around you, and in you tomorrow and for the rest of your days, my friend.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to have this in print, pics and all, and keep it. Wonderful writing and applying the scripture to life as you've known it through this journey. Love you all!

Donna Carr said...

beautiful julie, wordsmith, friend...

Donna Carr said...
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Anonymous said...

Hello from Punta Gorda from your "Outlaws"!
Loved reading and looking at this blog. To God be the glory; great things He hath done!
Thank you for this.
Chuck and Becky
PS I couldn't believe you really jumped as high as your kids in that pic on the beach!! Could Davey do it??

Loretta Boyett said...

Quite uplifting, Julie. You have a fabulous testimony. Thank you for sharing your journey. (We love Marco Island, too. Go there every summer.)

Loretta Boyett said...
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