Monday, January 31, 2011

Week 3

Betty is starting three days of chemo again this week. Her schedule is three days of chemo one week, then one week of radiation, rinse and repeat. She hates chemo most of all, so continue to keep her in your prayers as she starts it back up this week.

Charlie sent me some text pictures of her. The first is from her first week of chemo, the day she started, I believe. The second is from last Wednesday, the day she received her iPod shuffle with songs already downloaded from my parents. I gave my mom a CD for Christmas with some of her favorite old-time Christian songs on it, including, “This Battle is Not Yours” and “Speak to the Mountain” (I also threw in some of my favorite NeedtoBreathe and Nicole C. Mullen songs), and Mom wanted me to make a playlist for Betty with those songs. The day she received the Shuffle, Charlie sent me that second picture and this text: “She’s crying tears of joy.”

So continue to keep praying for her. She told me last week that it meant so much to her to know that people were praying. She is so thankful for your messages to God.

Saturday, too, she had a “normal” day – going to the mall, eating a steak, and watching “True Grit.” She told my aunt it was the best day she’s had in a long time.

Let’s pray that more good days like that are just around the corner.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

“Brilliant” things my students have said

Me: “….So tonight me and my derrière are staying on the couch tonight.”
Student: “You and who?”

Question: “Who was the Democratic Speaker of the House?”
Answer: “Condoleezza Rice.”

(Student who has been harassed by other students and the media for not knowing anything about sports…even though he/she is the sports editor…)
Student: "You know, when I move up north and start working for ESPN, they’ll see how smart I am."
Me: "Can’t you show them how smart you are now?"

Me: “…Yeah, he and I aren’t good pals, really.”
Student 1: “Why? Is it because you’re a home-wrecker?”
Student 2: “Seriously? That’s your first thought?”
(I think I need to clarify here that I have never been, nor will I be, considered a home-wrecker by anyone…)

Student: “Can you do me a favor? Can you drive by the newspaper and pick me up some copies of the paper?”
Me: “No.”

Student: “*Joe* was so rude to me in a Facebook message to me this morning. I was nice back because I had my Jesus music to keep me going.”

Student: “You know your college is great at sports when you hear an athlete yell across the Quad, ‘I swear I just failed that drug test, bro.’"

Ah, college...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cause we all need a good laugh…

Feel free to laugh at my insanity.

My student and I were casually talking on the way back to my office from class. She’s coming to a conference with me and about 10 other students next month, and we were discussing the logistics behind the travel arrangements.

Walking and talking. Should have known I couldn’t do two things at once.

We got to about 14 concrete steps, and she pointed out her vehicle, “The Bucket,” to me. “The Bucket” is apparently legendary among our students, and she is quite fond of her lovingly-named vehicle. So she pointed it out; and I took the first step down.

I don’t exactly remember how many steps I skipped hopping as I fell face forward down to the ground, but two thoughts immediately rushed through my mind:

1. If I fall and bust my knees, I can’t run!!!

At the last three steps (after stumbling down, getting closer and closer to falling flat on my face), I had a choice – allow myself to fall and deal with the consequences or…


I jumped. In heels. And didn’t fall.

Ladies and gentlemen, yes, that is what we call talent.

And then I passed gas in front of the student.


Friday, January 21, 2011

My experience with dry shampoo

(P.S. Please continue to send verses for my aunt -- see below or click here -- if you would like. I love having great lists of fantastic verses from y’all to mail. I know they encourage her greatly.)

If you’ve been reading this blog or know me personally, you know I run. My husband calls me an addict. I’m okay with that. Now.

However, running also cuts into other activities, such as leisure time. And bath time. Oh, the bath time.

It doesn’t help that my hair is getting fairly long and is really thick (thank you, Mom, for fantastic hair genes), so it takes a lot of shampoo and conditioner to wash and a lot of time (15-20 mins) to blow dry. I heart summer time. I’ll leave it wet and curly. However, unless I wanted to die from freezing, I can’t do that now.

Oh, and I help out at basketball games during the winter, too. Which cuts down on more time. Bath time, that is.

On days when I have church or basketball (or Lord knows what other extra-curricular activity), I try to run from 5 p.m. to somewhere before 6 p.m. Then I drive like a maniac home to quickly shower and somewhat blow dry my hair and throw it up in a ponytail. In 30 mins or less.

It. Is. A. ROYAL. Pain.

So I got my hair trimmed recently, and my friend Angie started talking about this dry shampoo she has. I had heard of it, but I was skeptical. I like clean hair. I’m lucky because, if I don’t run and sweat, I don’t have to wash my hair for around three days. However, I run at least every other day. So that doesn’t happen very often anymore.

Angie suggested I try it for nights that I run and then have another activity. So I did.

Runners, beware: I have a new love.

The dry shampoo I bought from Angie is Kenra, and it is fabulous. On Wednesday, after a short run, I decided to try it out. I was just a teeny bit sweaty, so I sprayed it in my hair and, after it dried, brushed it through my hair.

Not only was my hair no longer sweaty, but it had probably more bounce than it did before I threw it up in a ponytail to run.


And, as embarrassed as I (kind of) am to admit this, I haven’t (wet) washed my hair since Tuesday. Granted, it needs a washing (and will receive one) tonight, but it does not look nasty. Seriously.

The only downside to the shampoo was a bit of white that made my hair look gray at first, but it was easily brushed/wiped out.

However, if you’re a runner or exerciser or anything like that, I’d suggest the dry shampoo. It won’t necessarily be as good as a wash, but if you’re short on time, it’s a lifesaver.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Seems like I'm having trouble finding a happy thought to post...I did think of something cute and clever about the dog peeing on the floor, but after I had to clean it up, my thoughts weren't too happy.

Is it sad that my work, usually a big stressor, is low on the list of stresses in my life right now? It slowly is becoming that way, even after I had to deal with ridiculously crazy junk with students and having to look in the handbook to see how to proceed with certain, ah, things. But it makes me so sad for them that they have to go through some of this stuff!! Our department is small, so we're closer to our students than most. And when I see them hurt and when they won't go get help...that hurts. However, those issues are growing smaller and smaller. I don't think they've necessarily gone away, but they're overshadowed by bigger issues.

At any rate, I think I've dallied long enough from the point. I'm quite good at that.

Aunt Betty has a very aggressive type of cancer, small cell cancer, I believe it's called. It's in her lung and her liver and her kidneys and her brain. There is no cure. There is a hope for remission, though, but God knows I can't feel that hope right now.

I mailed her a three-page letter yesterday with many of your names on it, people who commented saying they were praying for her. I wanted her to actually know names, not just nameless "oh, people said they were praying for you" types of things. I wanted her to see the names, to know the connections to me and other family members who have posted similar prayer requests on Facebook. And those who have verbally told me they were praying.

Now, I ask for your help again. Next Monday, I want to mail her a list of verses to help her during this time. I sent her 2 Chronicles 20:17, a verse a friend of mine posted recently, that has stuck with me lately. I know it's talking about getting ready for a physical battle, but she's going through a physical battle right now.

So if there's a verse that's gotten you through rough times, please post it here so I can send to her. I know she and her husband would greatly appreciate it.

My aunt's name is Betty Blanton. She is from Texas and is at the Cancer Treatment Center in Zion, Il. They have a sweet dog named Elmo, and she is battling against cancer for her life.

Friday, January 14, 2011

When words won't come...

...borrow others'.
My baby sister will begin chemo/radiation immediately at the Cancer Treatment Center in Zion, IL. Many of you know Betty. Please lift her up before our Heavenly Father. I thank God we have Him. The more I experience in life, the more perplexed I am at how people go through life without the Lord. Thank you all for your prayer support.
Everyone please keep my Aunt Betty in your prayers! She will begin chemo/radiation immediately at the Cancer Treatment Center in Zion, IL. Never underestimate the power or prayer and positive thinking.
I talked to sister Betty this morning. She sounded whipped and beat. She said she is glad she is in Zion, IL. for her treatment. She couldn't talk long, had to get to the hospital for more test. I think this is going to be a long, hard road. PRAY FOR HER! Thank you.
Greg's sister Betty is at the cancer treatment center in Zion, Illinois. She will be beginning radiation and chemo on Monday. Please keep her in your prayers.
Pictured: Betty and her husband, Charlie

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"So the first person to do this died?"

From a fellow runner, Christina. ;)

*Update on Aunt Betty: She made it to Chicago fine today and is seeing the specialist some time today. When I hear news, I'll post it here. Thanks for all your prayers!*

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Batten down the hatches

I’ve gone and lost my mind.

Class starts back next Tuesday. I’m taking nine hours. Technically, I was taking 12 hours last semester, but I took a mini-session that lasted a week, so…over the course of the semester, I took nine hours. Same as now. I do have high hopes that this semester will be easier. In fact, apparently I got my hopes up SO HIGH that I took on a handful of projects that will take me right about through finals.

1. I’m running a half-marathon.
This one might actually keep me sane. However, it’s getting harder and harder for me to sleep at night, even after running five miles. Six puts me out; five does nothing anymore. Fantastic. I am thoroughly looking forward to joining the intramural center after the halfie, though, so I can swim more.

This was part of my New Year’s Resolution. I am participating in the Relay for Life, but, as you can see, I have a team of me. Yes, you can spell “me” using “team,” but I’d rather have more people. So if you read this and want to sign up…PLEASE DO!! And if you want to donate money to an amazing cause…PLEASE DO!

3. I agreed to chair a writing contest for Junior Auxiliary.
At first, I was thinking, “CAKE WALK.” I mean, pul-heaze, I teach writing, for heaven’s sake. But there are other things to coordinate that I am not talented in – prizes, fliers, speaking in public, oh, my! I have a super awesome co-chair for this project, though, AND have received a lot of information and support from last year’s chair, which have been the only reasons why I’m not breathing in a paper bag right now.

4. Did I mention I’m taking nine hours? Yeah, “smart”…

5. I’m presenting two research papers and going to a total of three conferences in the next three months.
February –conference
March – conference (presenting paper – written)
April – conference (presenting paper – haven’t written)

I’ve gone and lost my mind.

In happier news, I’ve accomplished six of the seven “to do” items on my agenda for today…

*UPDATE: My aunt is currently en route to Chicago to the Cancer Treatment Center. She has her first appointment tomorrow.*

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Today is full of hope

I was quite concerned about the beginning of 2011. To be honest, I still am.

We received gut-wrenching news right after Christmas – my aunt, my mother’s baby sister, has cancer.

It still hurts to see it in words.

Since then, we’ve enlisted much needed prayer warriors across multiple states to help, and I hope you will, too. She’s going to the Cancer Treatment Center near Chicago on Tuesday, so if any of you live around there, please let me know. It’s just nice to know that someone I know, even in the bloggy world, is close to my Southern-born-and-raised aunt. Thank God for Facebook. One of my high school friends lives less than 25 miles from the Center, which is a blessing just to know that, even though this friend and my aunt have never met, she is there, too.

But, despite the fact that she quickly got into this great place, I was still mournful most of this week. The sermons on Sunday really spoke to me, and I tried to take comfort in them.  

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

The joy of the Lord is our strength; there is hope in today. Our sins separate us from God, and, yes, we have endured suffering, but our faith is forward-looking. We have hope.

It is still hard; don’t get me wrong. It’s hard to have faith when loved ones suffer. But sometimes, all we need is some good news to remind us that God is still at work in our world. I had that break yesterday with two rounds of absolutely awesome news – miracles, both of them. I’m overcome with emotion with what God is doing in my life and the lives of those close to me.

There is hope in today. I pray my aunt grows closer in the Lord and, selfishly, that God completely removes the cancer in a way that gives glory specifically to Him. I want the doctors and all those who come in contact with my aunt to see God work in her physically and emotionally.

Already we have been blessed with the amount of prayer that has been lifted up to God for her. To know that we have friends who are praying for her means so much to us and to her. Every day I call my mom with news: “She’s been lifted up by this church…by this Sunday School class…by these people.” I am so grateful for the people in my life.

My aunt is a fighter. My grandmother, her mother, has beaten cancer three times. But, friends, continue to pray for her and for my family. It’s hard to endure.

But we have hope in today. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 recap

2010, you were quite a year.

As I looked over this blog from the last year, I noticed a decrease in posts from about July onward – not surprising, as I was taking 12 hours a semester. That was to be expected.

What I did find surprising, however, was how much I had forgotten in such a short time.

Therefore, without further ado, personal highlights from 2010:

* Husband was offered his dream internship for his counseling master’s degree. It was an answer to our prayers and still is.

* The family Chihuahua, Che-che, turned 16. She will turn 17 March 26.
* We got a new car!! (See right.)

* Our Twentysomethings Sunday school class merged with the Thirtysomethings – and now we have an active Pathfinders class!

* My BR cousin and his wife had their first child, a son; and my Memphis cousin and his wife adopted a little boy.

* Our good friends S and T married in New Orleans, and we both were attendants in the wedding.

* Rin and I ran our first half marathon in New Orleans with a time of 2:49:07. While she will be unable to participate in the one next month, she is looking forward to getting back in the running game soon.

* I ran my first trail run, the KD Shamrock Trail Run, with a time of 35:40. It wasn't what I wanted, but I still felt accomplished after it.

* Attempted to complete a triathlon – biked inside (and got a new road bike).

* Ran the Peach Festival 5k and had a PR – 31:30.

* Started training for my second halfie (which will be in February).

* Husband ran his first 5K for the American Cancer Society with a time of 36:30.

* Ran my first 10K, the Autumn Breeze, with a time of 1:05:13.

* Hurt my ankle – my first runner’s injury – but learned a lot about patience and keeping God the Lord of my life, not running.

* After many months of prayer, my academic council approved my Plan of Study.

* Started and finished my residency between June and December and didn't kill anyone.

* The Saints won the Super Bowl!!!

Despite the changes I feel are coming with 2011, with God, I am ready.