Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 3rd Cancerversary

This weekend we celebrated surviving 3 years since I was diagnosed! I remember that day like it was yesterday. My heart was so broken. I can't even describe how devastated I felt. For weeks I cried until tears came no more or until I fell asleep from pure exhaustion. As months passed, I remember waking up night after night, hoping it was just a nightmare. Unfortunately it was all too real.

As time continued we began to get a grip on our emotions and fell into a new routine involving lots of prayer, research, doctor appointments, treatments, surgeries, rest, and being the recipients of many different kinds of service.

In time, we developed a 'new normal' that brought us closer to God and closer to our family. One of the things we felt was important to teach the boys was to pray for miracles (not just one big miracle), so they could learn to see how God blesses us every day even if things didn't work out the way we wanted them to. That decision has been very important to us because it has shaped how Bruce and I count our blessings also.

As I look back over the past three years, I think about how my prayers have changed. Initially, the only thing that mattered was that I would be cured and that life would go back to how things used to be. I was so focused on being "cured" that I wasn't as appreciative for the blessings that I was receiving as I should have been. As I got more use to the idea that I had cancer, I focused my prayers on having a long life. (But when I was feeling sick, even a day could seem like an eternity, so maybe a long life wasn't really what I meant.) Then I progressed to the point were I could ask the Lord that "His will be done" in my life because He knows what is best and that way I would be happy. At that point I also struggled with how my faith affected "His will". It felt almost like a cop-out, because now I had no input and whatever happened, happened. That didn't seem quite right either, but at least I was at peace with whatever His will was for my life. That was real progress! Recently, I have prayed that I will be able to live as long as I need to to fulfill my mission here on earth. This actually feels like a good fit. It is up to me to do whatever I can to be an instrument in His hands, for as long as He sees fit. These ideas may seem like arguing semantics to many, but when you are a God-fearing, control freak like me, it feels better to be on the Lord's errand while He is in charge of how long that errand will be...

Three years later I am still not brave enough to say that I am grateful for trials, but I see the purpose of them. I know that they change us. For good or for bad, they change us and it is our decision which that will be.

Cancer has changed me for the good. It has changed my perspective, it has changed my priorities, it has fortified my relationships, and it has strengthened my testimony that Jesus is my Savior and that He is mindful of me. For these changes I am grateful!
I honestly feel like I am still here because of the faith and prayers of thousands! A humble and grateful 'thank you'!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Colorado Trip June 2010

We started summer with a family vacation to Colorado. The first day we got a late start and drove 7 hours. Our road trip through Wyoming landed us in Laramie. The only requirement for the hotel was a pool, which the boys enjoyed at night and in the morning before we hit the road again.

Colorado greeted us with friendly signage, beautiful rocks, family and friends.

Our first few days were spent in Colorado Springs with the Nielsen's (Bruce's sister and family). It was so much fun to spend time with them and we thoroughly enjoyed there hospitality. The Nielsen's were wonderful hosts and filled our days with fun adventures such as Frontier Days, a trip to Valley of the gods, a train ride to Pike's Peak, a tour at the Air Force Academy, a minor league baseball game, play time at a state park, and a few picnics. What more could we ask for?!

The Stanley family shows our strength!

Ryker and Mom enjoying the view.

Landon and his cousin Matthew, scaling the rocks.

Landon scaring his mom.

Much better.....

The Nielsen's with the boys at the Air Force Academy.

Xander gets a boost.

Ryker chillin' with Matthew.

The Air Force Academy Chapel.

Getting ready to get on the train to go to Pike's Peak.

The view from on top of Pike's Peak.

Aunt Michelle with Xander and Ryker at the state park.

The boys playing kick ball together.

Landon crosses the monkey bars.



A picnic with a view.

Thanks Michelle, Blake, and Matthew! We had a blast and will miss you!!!

Fortunately, while in Colorado Springs, we were also able to spend some time with our good friends, the Erickson's.
Me with my dear friend Linnea, watching an incredibly long t-bal game : )! (love you girlfriend!!!)

Ryker and Linnea's little girl, Sophie hit it off right away. This is them playing during the t-ball game. (Notice the port-a-potties in the background.)

But then he makes up for it by giving her flowers. What a sweet boy!

We took the kids to a pizza/play place for lunch. The first thing Landon wanted to do was to play dress up...

Love the accessories!

After leaving Colorado Springs, we headed towards Aspen to a beautiful resort where we met up with our friends, the Routson's.

The Stanleys and Routsons at the Roaring Forks Club.
We had a great time fishing, swimming, golfing, and exploring the beautiful area!

The gang in front of our cabin.

The first fishing location is affectionately known as, Poop Island because of all of the goose poop... But, at least the fish were biting. Landon and Chase could (and did) fish for hours on end.

Landon's first solo catch! The biggest one of the week!

Xander's first catch. Although, he doesn't count it because Bruce got it on the line and Xander just had to reel it in... while dad ran and got the camera.
I knew Kim would be a fish-catching machine.

But I had no idea she could beat a fish on a rock and make the blood fly all over everyone :)

So proud of my one fish.

The joys of exploring in a summer wonderland....

None of us are golfing pros, but we had a great time at the driving range!
Ryker and Tyler putting a plug in.

I'm not sure if Ryker hit the ball, but he sure gave it a good effort!

Xander setting the ball on the T.

Kim is a natural!
Chase gives it his all.
Bruce sizes it up...

I can't tell you the last time I was on a golf course.

My sweet boys.

Saying good-bye to the ranch.

A quick stop at the LDS temple in Denver.

Welcome home.

We can't imagine a more fun-filled vacation! Thanks to the Nielsen's, the Erickson's, and the Routson's for a memorable time!

Much love,
The Stanley's