fostering a grateful spirit

"If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely." -Roald Dahl

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great news! {day 343}


My mom posted the above photo with the caption “warrior at rest.” I love it. Harlow is such a fighter. I am honored and blessed to know a girl so strong.
As many of you know, today was Harlow’s big surgery. If you haven’t already, you may want to read this post to better understand what they were doing today.
Harlow was out of surgery much more quickly than expected, and (in my opinion) surgery went as well as they possibly could have. They had to remove Harlow’s uterus and Fallopian tubes (which they pretty much knew going in), which contained the tumor. The other tissues and organs surrounding the tumor appear to be healthy and completely cancer free. While I can’t imagine how difficult of a conversation Ben and Jamie will have on their hands, in the future, explaining to Harlow what the repercussions are of having your uterus removed, they are fairly certain (and the surgeon confirmed the likelihood today) that the chemo she had as an infant would have made it very unlikely that she would be able to birth her own children. So with that in mind, that is why I say surgery went as well as it possibly could.
Harlow’s fight isn’t over yet, but today was a huge step towards a healthy and cancer free life for my precious friend Harlow. She has had some pain since waking up, but they have been able to control much of it with meds. She is unable to speak because they had to put a tube in her nose, but she did give Jamie a smile when Jamie told her that they took the cancer out.
I am so grateful for the good news today, for a team of doctors who know and love Harlow and are fighting alongside her, and for all the people who have been following her story, donating towards her medical expenses, and lifting our little fighter and her amazing parents up in prayer.


sweet Harlow surgery info


Today my sweet friend Harlow is having surgery to remove her tumor. The great news is that Harlow’s tumor has become small enough that they believe they can remove it. The hard thing is that they do not know what they are going to find when they get her opened up. They are pretty much positive that they will have to remove Harlow’s uterus and at least one ovary. They are trying to protect her other ovary, but they aren’t sure whether that will be possible. There is a chance, depending on what the tumor is attached to, that they may need to remove part of her colon (which could possibly lead to a colostomy bag). They believe that there are probably cancer cells in the tissue around some of these organs, but because they are just individual cells and not masses, they are not going to be able to remove those. We have to pray that the remaining chemo and radiation will kill those off so that the cancer does not start growing again. There are a lot of complications that are possible (as is always true), so please join me in praying for those involved today.I am praying for the doctors, that they would be wise, that they would find everything that they need to take out, that they would aggressively remove the affected areas while protecting her healthy organs and tissues so Harlow’s life can be as close to normal as possible but with as little chance as possible of recurrence. I am praying for Harlow, that she’d be strong and that they’d be able to explain what she needs to know in a way that her five-year-old brain would be able to process. And I am praying for Jamie and Ben, that they would have peace (even though it makes way more sense to be terrified), that they would have a strong support system to help them deal with whatever complications come after this surgery (although we are certainly hoping that they are minimal), and that they would have unnatural strength to help Harlow deal with the physical and emotional complications of the surgery.

Thank you for joining me in loving and praying for this family that I love so much.

surprise visitor {day 116}

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grateful for my cute little surprise visitor today. we had an exciting day of “monkey the george” (curious george), cars, long naps for both of us, and some Charlie Brown Christmas.



also thankful for my young life friends and for laughter and gentle hugs and silly games. 🙂

care {day 114}

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today I am grateful for a care package from my best friend, jen. mail is fun, and care packages are even more fun! it’s nice to know that I am being though of, prayed for, and cared for from afar. I also was blessed with a visit from aubree, who hung out and brought us a delicious dinner. we watched a movie, talked and laughed, and dreamed together about the future. I feel very blessed.

rest {day 113}

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today I am grateful for rest. I know I’ve spent almost all week in bed, but it hasn’t been what I would call restful-physically, emotionally, spiritually. so today I am grateful for peace, and for some quality restful time hanging out in the biscuit with my sweet hubby and our pup. we very rarely have actual downtime together-so I’m grateful.

psalm 4:8 “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”

birthday and books {day 112}

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first and most importantly, today is my mom’s 50th birthday! there are millions of reasons to be thankful for my mom, but among them are these: she gives 100% to every person in her life and then she gives some more, she hangs out with me when I feel like crap and even does amazingly kind things like clean our fridge when I just had surgery and can’t, and she loves people so much. she is amazing, and I’m so thankful to have her.


I’m thankful for this book which reminds me that some days it doesn’t always make sense and some days even the sweet feels a little bit difficult. also grateful for my sweet husband who understands when I cry after good biopsy results because I’m relieved and because sometimes the good and bad are so intermingled that it’s hard to not feel both emotions deeply and together.


and I’m thankful for this stuff, which is pretty dang good.

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results {day 111}

today I am thankful for good biopsy results. The tumor that was removed was a benign fibroadenoma. This means it was not cancerous and does not require a second surgery. Thank you, Jesus! I am also grateful for my mom who has been hanging out with me all day every day since the surgery in case I need something, for my sweet hubs who is working hard and then taking care of me and the house, and for my sweet friend who drove 2 hours to bring me dinner and flowers. we are very blessed.

recovery day 2 {day 110}

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today I am thankful for long, restful naps, a card of encouragement, texts reminding me I’m being prayed for, dinner delivered from jenni (which was awesome), and dark chocolate sea salt popcorn. I don’t know if I could describe to you how much these things encourage my spirit.

recovery day 1 {day 109}

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as I expected, I am in quite a bit more pain today than I was last night. to add insult to injury, I’ve learned (the hard way) that I have developed an allergy to iodine, so I have a fairly nice rash and some welts on my neck, chest, shoulders, back and under one of my arms. soooo pleasant.

all that aside, my mom and my oldest friend Scott came to visit today. he moved to the UAE this spring and only had 2 days that we could get together…yesterday and today. I am thankful that he was willing to spend the day watching movies and letting me rest. also grateful for continued prayers, chocolate, and super gentle snuggles from my puppy and hubs.