Category Archives: Sunday Kind Of Love

Do You Feel Brave?

Hearing your stories is one of my favorite things about this blog.  A few months ago I received an email from the Von St James family. Eight years ago Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma – a rare cancer that kills most people within two years.

Today I am posting an interview with her and I know you will be inspired by her journey just as I was. Plus, I have a crush on her hair. Heather Von St James

1. Heather, tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in a small town called Spearfish, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I had worked in a small salon for a few years and wanderlust got the better of me. I decided to drop everything and move to Minneapolis/St Paul, in hopes of a better job and a better life. I’m a city girl at heart. I met my husband after I moved here , worked in a big salon, and eventually became part owner.

At 36, I had my first and only child. Three months after she was born I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. I had to quit working, sell my portion of the business and commit my life to battling this disease. It has been 8 years and I’m still going strong.

2. When your daughter was born you started having some unusual symptoms. What were they? I was tired. BONE tired…more than what I thought a new mom should be, but I chalked it up to breastfeeding and going back to work so quick after having a c-section. I had a low-grade fever that would hit the same time of the day every day. I was loosing weight at an alarming rate. 5-7 pounds a week.

One day I woke up with what felt like a truck parked on my chest. I couldn’t take a deep breath. I became winded and breathless when walking up the stairs or standing for too long. I thought maybe I had pneumonia, but I wasn’t coughing. Also, I was very pale. I had no color in my cheeks or lips. I found out I was extremely anemic and the cancer was the cause of it all.

3. I can’t imagine what it is like to hear a diagnosis of cancer. What did the doctors tell you about your condition and what was going through your mind?

All I really remember is my doctor telling me that I had pleural mesothelioma. My husband is the one who said, “Oh, this is bad”. I just looked back and forth between the two of them not really understanding. He then asked what my dad did for a living.

When I was a little girl my dad worked construction. He would come home from work covered in dust. His jacket would be white and crusty from the drywall dust that he would be sanding off the walls. Anything that I had to do outside I liked wearing my dad’s coat. Unbeknownst to us, it was chock full of asbestos. The cancer I had was actually caused by asbestos exposure and the latency period was 10-40 years.

He then told me the news that if I did nothing, I would only live about 15 months. Chemo and radiation would give me perhaps five years. There was a radical surgery that would give me my best chances – up to 10 years or more. I just kept thinking of my three month old little girl. How she needed a mommy and how my husband needed me to help raiser her. How did this happen? So many questions were flooding my brain. I couldn’t speak.

Thank goodness my husband had a clear mind and can function under stress. He told the doctor to get us to Boston where they did the surgery. My first words were “How do we pay for this?”. I couldn’t fathom the cost involved, but my doctor took care of the insurance. He totally went to bat for me and got my insurance company to cover my surgery and hospital expenses in Boston.

4. I was reading an interview you did and you said that you kept choosing hope over fear. That is an easy thing to say, but a hard thing to do. How did you actually do that?

All I had to do was look at my little girl. I never once asked “Why me?”. Instead I figured, why not me? I was young, otherwise healthy, and I WOULD beat this. And if I did die from it? I would spend eternity dancing on the streets of gold. This gave me great comfort, but I knew I had to beat it.

I wanted to reach out to others and help them right from the beginning. I knew there had to be a purpose for all I was going through and chose to learn as much as I could to inspire others. I was choosing to be a warrior over a victim. I will never be a victim.

5. I have never heard of this type of cancer before. What was the treatment like? And what was the main thing you were looking forward to when it was over?

Surgery was recommended. Following that is chemo and radiation as precautionary treatment. The surgery is brutal and not for everyone. It consists of the removal of the entire lung, the lining around it, the left half of my diaphram and the lining of my heart. They were replaced with surgical grade gor-tex. The doctors also had to remove the 6th rib for ease of entry into the chest cavity. The procedure is called an extra pleural pneumonectomy.

I started the first of four sessions of chemo three months after that. In September of 2006 I had the radiation. By the end of October 2006 I was done. Exactly a year from when my symptoms started.

6. People who face tremendous obstacles and overcome them always seem so brave as I hear their story. Do you feel brave?

I hear that a lot. “You are so brave”. I don’t feel brave. I just followed the advice of an incredible medical team and prayed a lot. Brave? Nope. When I really think about it – TOUGH. Like holy moly look what I went through. I’m one tough mother! Then I come back to reality and just go back to the fact I did what I did to live. Brave? I don’t know.

7. Going through something like this must be life changing. How has being a cancer survivor altered the way you see life.

It has given me so much FREEDOM. I’m serious. I really don’t let a lot of things bug me the way I used to. I’m much more easy going and relaxed. I also feel like I have a lot to offer and want to try and make my corner of the world a little better. So many people helped us and I wanted to give back as much as possible.

Don’t have time for negativity anymore. I quickly found out who my real and true friends were and got rid of negative influences and people in my life. I’m just very happy and I think it shows. Cancer isn’t who I am. It is something that happened to me and knowing that makes life a little sweeter.

Heather, thanks so much for showing us what it looks like to be a warrior over a victim. I know we will all be sending prayers and thoughts your way that you continue to stay healthy. Thanks for inspiring us!

To hear more of Heather’s story and mesothelioma —> click here.

Blogging Is A Team Sport

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Filed under An Uncomfortable January, Global, Kiddos, Sunday Kind Of Love

adoption update

A Sunday Kind Of Love

Every Sunday I share with you guys something I love. Today’s thing that I love? Adoption.

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted our newest adoption update? I told you that I would let you know what we decided to do and then never mentioned it to you again? Well, I’m not forgetful, we simply didn’t have any answers until this past week. So, here is the follow up from that post:

Our family is currently on the waiting list for both Ghana and Uganda. Each one has their own delays going on at the moment & we are simply waiting to see which door God will open first.

Ghana has plenty of children that qualify for adoption, but there is a new ban prohibiting both domestic & international adoption. Hopefully this will be lifted quickly.

Uganda has children as well, but there are some delays in getting paperwork in order for the waiting children. Also, some of the children’s homes have had to take a break from adoptions due to some various issues.

And so we wait…

I would love your prayers that the process would start moving forward and that the remainder of the funds needed to adopt would come in.

Today, I wanted to let you know about an opportunity to help another family fund their adoption from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Allyson from All Our Days is opening up an Etsy shop. She is making downloadable digital prints for the home and this month 50% of sales in June will go to fund Lauren Mill’s adoption.

Lauren is a mama to three kiddos and her husband is a youth pastor. International adoption is very expensive and this is a great way to help fund them. You can read about their adoption journey here.

These are a couple more items from All Our Days:

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via All Our Days

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via All Our Days

Have a great Sunday and I hope to have another adoption update to share with you soon! All your prayers & thoughts are appreciated!

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Filed under Adoption, Sunday Kind Of Love

This Is Water – A brilliant commencement speech

today’s Sunday Kind of Love is a video that will challenge the way you think. Enjoy & have a great day.

3 Comments

June 2, 2013 · 12:34 pm

Runaway Mongolian Cowgirl

A Sunday Kind Of Love
This Sunday, I am loving this story. Enjoy peeps.
Source:Pinterest

I was once a runaway Mongolian cowgirl. Before I start, lets clarify a few things. I am not Mongolian, but I was in Mongolia. Second, I didn’t actually run away, my horse did.

When I was eleven my family moved to Irkutsk, Russia. Yep, I spent my junior high years living in Siberia. For our family vacation one of those years we went to Mongolia. I loved it the moment I saw the mountains out the window of our propeller airplane. It was beautiful and felt strangely like home.

One of our days there we went with some friends out into the most rural of places. Eventually we pull up to a ger ( a ger is a type of portable housing similar to a yurt). The rolling countryside was dotted with white gers and the nomadic families who live in them. Herds of animals were roaming the hills all around.

We visited a family in their ger, ate some very interesting food & absorbed stories of their nomadic lives. Then came the fun part. They were going to let me ride one of their horses. This was fun until I saw the saddle. It was made of wood. An uncomfortable sport just got more uncomfortable.

There were no fences. Just thousands of miles of rolling hills. My incredibly adventurous parents told me to go wherever I wanted , just don’t loose sight of the ger. So I did. I roamed free and it was grand.

The ger where my family was waiting had become just a white speck so I decided to go back. But along the way something happened. I heard a yell from a herd on the next hill over & my horse took off. It soon became evident that the families assist each other in gathering their livestock & this guy needed some help. He recognized the horse I was on and called for us to come help him. Clearly the horse knew the drill and soon I was herding goats with an old Mongolian cowboy. Wish you could have seen his face when a 12 year old American girl showed up instead of the horse’s owner. I would venture to say that this nomadic herdsman had never seen a white girl in person. At least that is what his expression communicated.

I was completely useless. The cowboy kept giving me instructions but I had no clue what he was saying (this was most likely due to a combination of my not speaking Mongolian & his not having many teeth). Thankfully my horse knew what to do. I just sat on him & held on for about 10 minutes while the horse did all the work. Round & round until all the goats were gathered.

How do an old Mongolian cowboy & an adolescent American say goodbye after rounding up goats? Neither of us knew, so there was a very painfully awkward attempt. I bid farewell to my perplexed Mongolian cowboy buddy and rode my horse back to my ger. It was one of the most unusual experiences of my life.

I was thinking about this story the other day & I realized something. I realized that it is how God works. When He asks us to do something, it doesn’t mean go figure out how to do it. I could never have figured out how to herd goats with a stranger in Mongolia. But I was riding on a horse who did.

All we do is hold on to God while He does it. We simply go with Him wherever He takes us. He knows how to do the things He has called us to.

Our job is to go along for the ride.

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Filed under Faith, Global, My Life Thus Far, Sunday Kind Of Love, Uncategorized

underground resistance

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Finally it is Sunday! I can’t wait to show you this poem I came across on my friend Sarah’s blog this week. This isn’t a mom blog. Gosh it isn’t even a women’s blog. But I think no matter who you are, a challenge to tweak your perspective is always handy. This poem is a reminder that everything has an eternal perspective to it. And as a mom who has been taking care of sick kids all week…it hit home.

So, here is this week’s Sunday Kind of Love.

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” i am a woman” by Christianna Reed Maas

“My willingness to carry life is the revenge, the antidote, the great rebuttal of every murder, every abortion, and every genocide.   I sustain humanity. Deep inside of me, life grows. I am death’s opposition.

I have pushed back the hand of darkness today. I have caused there to be a weakening tremor among the ranks of those set on earth’s destruction. Today a vibration that calls angels to attention echoed throughout time. Our laughter threatened hell today.

I dined with the greats of God’s army. I made their meals, and tied their shoes. Today, I walked with greatness, and when they were tired I carried them. I have poured myself out for the cause today.

It is finally quiet, but life stirs inside of me. Gaining strength, the pulse of life sends a constant reminder to both good and evil that I have yielded myself to Heaven and now carry its dream. No angel has ever had such a privilege, nor any man. I am humbled by the honor. I am great with destiny.

I birth the freedom fighters. In the great war, I am a leader of underground resistance. I smile at the disguise of my troops, surrounded by a host of warriors, destiny swirling, invisible yet tangible, and the anointing to alter history. Our footsteps marking land for conquest, we move undetected through the common places.

Today I was the barrier between evil and innocence. I was the gate keeper, watching over the hope of mankind, and no intruder trespassed. There is not an hour of day or night when I turn from my post. The fierceness of my love is unmatched on earth.

And because I smiled instead of frowned the world will know the power of grace. Hope has feet, and it will run to the corners of earth, because I stood up against destruction.

I am a woman. I am a mother. I am the keeper and sustainer of life here on earth. Heaven stands in honor of my mission. No one else can carry my call. I am the daughter of Eve. Eve has been redeemed. I am the opposition of death. I am a woman.”

Heading into this week, lets take a bit of this perspective with us. Not everything is as ordinary as it seems.

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Filed under Faith, Fire, Kiddos, Sunday Kind Of Love

10 Mother’s Day Gifts Under $25

 

A Sunday Kind Of Love

Can you believe Mother’s Day is next week??? I typically forget about Mother’s Day until the day before. Not this year though! I’ve been putting together a list of great gifts that are also budget friendly. Nothing wrong with giving a candle or gift card , but if you want something a bit different this year … I’ve got you covered. If you don’t have a Mother’s Day gift yet, I have just made your week less stressful!

1. Fleur De Lys Cup & Saucer, Anthropologie – $10 –> buy it here

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2. Too Faced Beauty Editor Collection, Sephora $19 –> buy it here

3. Anchor Earrings, JujuTreasures via Etsy $17 –> buy it here

4. My Quotable Kid Journal, Barnes & Noble $13.45 –> buy it here

5. Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 , Fresh Cosmetics $22.50 –> buy it here

6. Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist $11.85 –> buy it here

7. Hand Stamped Coffee Spoon, JessicaNdesigns –>$17 buy it here

8. Crystalline Hair Ties, Anthropologie $24 –> buy it here

 9. Caffe Vita Gift Set, by Caffe Vita Coffee/Theo Chocolate $24 –> buy it here

10. 8×10 Print by StoicDesign $15 –> buy it here

 

Hope this gave you some good gift ideas. Happy shopping everyone!

 

 

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Filed under Beauty, Lifestyle, Sunday Kind Of Love, Uncategorized

my hometown

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Every Sunday I share something I discovered during the week that  I love. This time I am sharing my Saturday morning experience. I am a big city girl at heart, but I come from a mid-size Texas town. I was born and bred in Waco, Texas. I spent yesterday morning at the local farmers market. Moments like these remind me how charming my town is and how grateful I am to be from here.

Fresh veggies, local artisans, hipster baristas, and delicious bahn mi sandwiches made from the cutest little Vietnamese man you ever did see. Sophie ran into her friend Naraiah and they played for a bit by the river. I snapped a few pics that I’m sharing today. Happy Sunday!

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So, what do you love about YOUR hometown?

I’d love to know.

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Filed under My Life Thus Far, Sunday Kind Of Love, Whimsy