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Our Family


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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Calling In The Troops"

This past week has been very busy getting everything ready for the wedding.  We had to call in the troops today to get some crafty details taken care of.  So thankful to have friends willing to step in at any minute to help out. 
Elizabeth, Cathy, Susan, Jordan & Linda
Laurie, Linda, Cindy, Cathy, Lyn, Susan & Elizabeth
Shonda & Drake

We have 3 days left to finish any last minute details. When this journey began we were already less than 90 days away from planning a wedding. I am so thankful for the short amount of time we have had to plan. There hasn't been any room to say "we'll decide later" or any room to change our minds. The greatest thing for me will be seeing Tony walk Jordan down the aisle on Saturday and to give her to David. Everything else will be a bonus with all the detailed stuff coming together. There is absolutely no doubt David is the one that God has created for Jordan. It has been such joy to watch their relationship grow and to see how they have honored the Lord through everything. Their first kiss will be at the ceremony and what a day of celebration it will be.

My health has been great and God has given me extra strength and energy to get through each day.
Exodus 4:31 "And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord has visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped."  The Lord has been so faithful and good to me this year and my heart wants to continue to worship Him.  I know there are a lot of people hurting and going through difficult times right now, but God promises to never leave us or forsake us.  We have to learn to worship him in the good and the difficult days and know that He alone is God. 

We have family beginning to arrive tomorrow.  We will be blessed to have all 7 of our grandchildren together this weekend and I'm looking forward to a big family picture.  Our house will be full throughout each day with family friends and we are so thankful to enjoy this time of celebration together.

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"A Day of Celebrations!!!"

Today has been a great day of celebrations.  I received a phone call later this afternoon from Highlands Oncology letting me know my genetics testing came back negative.  Not sure what all that means other than it is great news for me, my kids and grandchildren.  I have a lower risk of having breast cancer as well which is wonderful to know.  I realize that God is the One in control of ALL things and so grateful for the grace He continues to pour out over me and my family.  Psalms 130:7-8 "O "Janet", hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption.  And He will redeem "Janet" from all "her" iniquities."

My son and daughter-in-law, Bryan and Jenna, are expecting their second baby in March.  They, or I should say Bryan, wanted to wait until the birth to find out the gender of the baby.  Today they went in for their ultrasound and had decided they wanted to go ahead and find out.  The technician turned the screen and put the answer in a sealed envelope.  We had a big reveal tonight with the family.  Jenna said wanted us to all wear pink or blue for the color of what we thought the gender would be.  Hudson has said all along that he was having a "sisther".  She and I blew up balloons and each  held the color we were hoping for.  Rhyanne Ketron came out to take pictures and she was the one that got to open the envelope and put the right color of balloons in a box for Hudson to open up.

 Tony, Me, Hudson, Bryan, Jenna, Mary, David & Jordan (Is it a boy or a girl?)

Hudson loves opening presents!!!!

 It's a BOY!!!!!! Bryan, Hudson, baby "B" & Jenna

So thankful for the blessings of today and the celebrations we have in our Savior.  He is the reason we celebrate life!!!

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"God's Reminders of His Love"

It's been a busy week, but a good week. We are exactly two weeks away from the "big day". Everything is coming together and God continues to pour out so many blessings. Thursday evening Jordan had her personal shower and it was a lot of fun for all of us that attended.
Hostess for the party-Pam, Jenna, Rachel, Maegan, Jordan (Bride) and Jessica

David and Jordan were blessed to find a great apartment and almost everything is moved out of our house that belong to the couple. Thank you to Hutch and Richard for helping Tony and David move everything up 3 flights of stairs!  I think they would say it felt more like 10 flights of stairs by the time they were finished.
David & Jordan with their apartment keys.

Tony and I traded off keeping Hudson during the move and this is how I found Hudson when I got home.

I have not been able to make it out to the craft fairs that Northwest Arkansas is hosting this weekend. I had asked several people to be on the look out for some cute winter hats and if they found some, to let me know so I could go look at them. Tony and I were eating dinner tonight when Jenna called to tell me about some really cute hats at the John Q Hammonds center. Tony drove me over and pulled up to the front of the building so I could run in and look at the hats. Jenna and Mary (Jenna's mom) met me to show me the booth. I tried on several really cute hats and decided 3 of them should be enough. When I asked the young lady how much they cost, she told me that she wanted to give them to me for free.   I never dreamed a complete stranger would be willing to give me something for free.  She shared a story about what her 4 year old son had gone through this past year and he wasn't even expected to live.  He had both legs amputated and is alive today and doing well.  She shared how their lives were touched and blessed by so many and wanted the opportunity to pay it forward.  Wow!!! I was overwhelmed and the tears started flowing.  To God be the glory, great things He continues to do! 
Me & Kari (LOVE my new hats!!!)

God has reminded me so many times this week of His great love.  I have received several cards with great personal messages written to me, along with a free table cloth for the wedding and a pizza.  I would have never asked for this journey to take place in my life, but I also realize I would be missing so many blessings of His love or would be taking so much for granted.  He continues to pour out so much grace and for that I am grateful.

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Cherokee Village"

Jordan and I went to Cherokee Village Saturday afternoon and stayed the night with David's family.  The Street family have all been born and raised in Cherokee Village and their home church had a wedding shower for the couple yesterday afternoon.   His whole family was there this weekend and we had a chance to relax, visit and eat some great food.  I now know why David is such an amazing young man, he comes from a great family.  He is blessed with 4 beautiful older sisters that love and dote over him.  His whole family has done a great job of raising him.

The 4 sisters, his mom and Jordan
Sara, Bethany, David, Jordan, Anna, Leah and Louann

This couple has truly honored the Lord in their relationship and His blessings continue to fall upon them.  We arrived home late last night and unloaded the cars.  For now everything is being stored in our front bedroom and not sure there is any room to spare.

Our front bedroom!

This Friday they will be able to move all their things into an apartment.  It's going to take some time to organize and put everything away, but it will be a lot of fun seeing what all they have received. Jordan was excited to tell me this morning they are now down into the "teens" until their wedding day.

"The Cute Couple!"

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Friday, October 12, 2012

"Hawaii Five-0"

This is what I came home to today after lunch.  Tony said he wanted to show me something.  He pulled up the old Hawaii Five-0 episodes theme song for me to watch.  I kept waiting for something to happen and after he played it for me 3 different times, he finally had to keep it on the above picture.  I will be turning Five-0 (50) in December on Christmas Day and he is taking me to Hawaii!!!!  He wanted to surprise me on my actual birthday but obviously he isn't good about keeping secrets.  The Lord continues to shower us with blessings through a couple at our church that has a time share, and we are not going until the end of March.  We will have five things to celebrate by then:
1.  Cancer Free
2.  Jordan's Wedding
3.  I'll be "50"
4.  A New Grand-baby
5.  Our 19th Wedding Anniversary 

We've always wanted to go to Hawaii and the Lord willing, it will finally happen.  So thankful for the love and patience of my husband through this year's journey.  I personally know it isn't easy taking care of your spouse with a disease but thankful to have God's grace to help carry you.  We both feel so blessed to have each other and cherish our time together.  I am so grateful God brought our paths together and never want to take what we have for granted.  I love you Tony Pate!!!!

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Still Believing"

We decided a second opinion from my doctor's appointment on Tuesday would be the best thing for me at this time.  Who better to turn to than my original doctor, Dr. Ivy.  I haven't seen him since my post-op from surgery back in April.  He no longer does chemo at his office so he released me to be treated at Highlands Oncology.  God has been with me the whole time on this journey,  Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."  

I was going to call Dr. Ivy's office Wednesday to make an appointment, but when I woke up there was a text message from Jenna that she left at 6:30am.  She works at Washington Regional, and one of the first people she saw when she arrived at work was Dr. Ivy's assistant, Dianna.  Dianna and Jenna have seen each other many times and she always asks Jenna how I am doing.  Jenna told her how our appointment went from Tuesday and we all felt it would be a good idea to get a second opinion.  Dianna immediately contacted the office and by 8:30am I had a message letting me know that I had an appointment today at 1:45.

Tony, Jordan, Jenna and I all went together and it was great seeing Dianna and Dr. Ivy again.  I have no doubt that God led me to them from the very beginning.  Dr. Ivy is very confident in what he does and seems to be in on the latest treatment plan.  He sees no reason to jump into chemo right away.  He wants to give my body some rest and recheck my cancer markers (CA125) in a month and then decide what the next step should be.  I will see him again on November 15th.  My prayer is that my numbers begin to go down without chemo.  I am not putting my hope in a doctor. My hope is in the Lord.  I am trusting and praying for a miracle in my life.  Ovarian Cancer is very hard to detect but also hard to get rid of once it is detected.  It can be very microscopic and go unnoticed.  I know God knows every part of my body and nothing is hidden from Him.  I am asking for God to do something amazing in my body and get every ounce of cancer that could possibly hide out of my body.  I've quoted it several times: Psalms 139:13-14 "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
Jenna, Jordan and Me (Love these girls!)

Micah 7:7 "But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me."  I know God is working in me and is not finished with me yet.  I will continue to place my hope and trust in him.  Thank you for the many prayers on my behalf!

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


My appointment was at 2:30 today and at 3:45 the doctor came in to talk to me and my family.  I was thankful to have the posse with me.  Tony, Bryan, Jenna, Jordan and David were able to be with me.  My CT scan shows no sign of cancer (to God be the glory!!!!).  There is a small spot on my liver, but the doctor feels it is a cyst and sees no concern for further testing.  We were hoping my cancer markers (CA125) would be way down from last month's 40.2.  Ideally we would like them to be at 0 or in the teens.  They are up to 65.5.   We are not sure why they are going back up but she feels more treatment with a different form of chemo drug is necessary.   The original plan was to put me on a maintenance program for a year with the current chemo drug I have been on (takes 3 hours to administer), but since my markers aren't down she wants to put me on a different drug all together (will take 1 hour to administer).  She suggested I get a second opinion from my original doctor, Dr. Ivy.  As for now, no chemo will be done until after the wedding and I am grateful for that.  I would love to say I am in complete remission, but apparently God has other  plans for me and I will not doubt Him.  My eyes will stay looking up and I am so grateful for the peace I have had today and I know many have lifted me up in prayer.  Psalms 94:22 "But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge."

Tony, Jordan, David, Me and Bryan (Jenna took the picture and I'm sad she's not in it)

We are going to Shogun's to celebrate the news and enjoy family time together.  Hudson is going to love the "hot" (that's what he calls fire) and we will love watching his expressions.  

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Anxious Thoughts"

Yesterday I struggled with some anxiety.  I'm not sure why it was a difficult day, but it was.  Some days there is no explanation for being emotional, it just happens.  I am thankful to be married to a man that loves me through it all and doesn't condemn me but seems to love me all the more.  I ended up skipping church last night because I figured if I went, I would have been more emotional.  I decided to stay home, take an anxiety pill and go to bed early.  I was in bed by 8 pm and slept until 7:30 this morning.  When I woke up I read a text that Kathy Hedges sends out daily to a lot of people and this is what today's verse was:  Psalm 94:17-19 MSG "If God hadn't been there for me, I never would have made it.  The minute I said, I'm slipping, I'm falling, Your love, God, took hold of me and held me fast.  When I was upset and beside myself You calmed me down and cheered me up".   Kathy didn't know what I was going through yesterday, but my God did, and used her to encourage me with His Word.  That's how I know that God is very personable and into every detail of my life.  I've had nothing but peace today and I know God heard prayers on my behalf.  He has been holding me and He gave me calmness for this day. 

Tomorrow I go see the doctor and this visit will be different than the usual ones.  I will find out what my cancer markers are (CA125) and also the results of my CT scan done from last Friday.  When my journey began, Dr. Ivy wanted my CA125 to be below 30.  I have know idea what the outcome of tomorrow's visit will be.  I do know that good or bad, I will still praise my Savior for all He has done and for all I know He will continue to do for me in this journey. 

A friend at work, Tammy, told me a very sweet story today.  Her 3 boys shaved their heads in my honor several months back and one day they were able to share their story with a complete stranger (that had long beautiful hair) of why they had shaved their heads.  The lady recently saw Tammy and told her she was so touched by the story that she cut her hair off and gave it to "Locks of Love" also in my honor, and she has never even met me.  God continues to show me so much love from others and my heart has been more blessed than I could ever put into words.

You may wonder what in the world we are doing in the above picture.  We are painting books, lots of books for the wedding reception.  This is a very small portion of what we have to paint.  We have over 100 books to paint.  It may seem a little strange but the end result will be worth it.  Jordan and I always seem to have something to paint, so this seems normal to us.

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"4 Weeks Away!"

I drove to Fayetteville early this morning to get my Neupogen shot and returned in time to go to the Helsley's wedding at our church at 10:30am.  It was a great wedding and reception and  makes us so excited for 4 weeks to be here for Jordan's big day!  I can't believe how quickly the time is going, but then again, when you have less than 90 days to plan a wedding, how could it not go by fast.

We went with Tony to get fitted for his tux.  He tried talking Jordan into letting him wear a hat for the wedding but Jordan decided it was best that he didn't. 
Love the shoes!
No hat for Tony!

 All the wedding plans continue to come together and we are so grateful for this season of our lives. I forgot to share a God blessing from yesterday. I had bought wedding shoes but 1/2 size too small (I didn't think they were too small at the time). I've had to take them back to the store 3 times to try and have them stretched and decided I might need to go ahead and buy a size 8. When I went in yesterday to pick them up, the sales lady told me they had messed up on my shoes and would give me another pair. I graciously took the bigger size and didn't have to pay for them. Thankful God is in every detail of my life and thank Him for his many blessings.

 "Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Friday, October 5, 2012

"My God's Not Dead"

My day began with lab work, a shot, consultation, a bottle of Barium, more lab work, then a CT scan of my neck and abdomen.  Tony and I felt like we were playing musical chairs.  Thankfully everything was in one building and it was easy getting from place to place.  I found out my white blood counts are low again, so I had to get a Neupogen shot to help rebuild them and to fight against infections.  I will travel to Fayetteville in the morning to get another one.  We met with a nurse practitioner to discuss Genetics testing.   Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome is an inherited condition that causes an increased risk for ovarian cancer and early onset breast cancer (often before age 50).  The blood test that was taken and sent off today will either come back negative or positive.  It takes 2 weeks to get the results.  If the test were to come back positive, further consultation with my doctor will be done to determine if future testing for myself and possibly my children and my siblings should be pursued.   If it does come back positive, I have a greater risk of having breast cancer in the future.  I have a perfect peace about all the testing done today and realize my life is not my own and I am trusting God to give us wisdom.  I am thankful that I did not take any anxiety medication for my CT scan.  This morning in my quiet time I read Psalms 86:10 "For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God."  I turned on my iPad to listen to music while getting ready and the first song that came on were these lyrics; "my God's not dead He's surely alive and He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion".   I told the technician that I was very claustrophobic and considered taking an anxiety pill but I had people praying for me and was going to trust God to see me through.  I must confess that I did take my shoes and socks off and roll up my sweat pants and have her to remove the blanket off of me before we could begin.   I closed my eyes and began singing the song "my God's not dead" over and over and quoted Psalms 139:13-14 "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made".  Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope".  Before I knew it, the technician came back in and said she was all done.  All I could say is "thank you Jesus" because I knew He was the One that saw me through the scan without any fear and heard the prayers of many on my behalf.  The technician did tell me that she was nervous before she began the testing, not knowing if I would make it through without her having to stop.

Jordan and I were able to get several wedding things marked off our list this afternoon and I will end by saying;

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"The Desires of My Heart"

We had a ladies event tonight at church called "Sweet Retreat".  This was our second one to have this year.  You know you are getting older, when the "younger" ladies are the ones that are in charge of the entire event and you can sit back and enjoy everything.   It doesn't seem that long ago, when it was my age group planning events like this.  The first "Sweet Retreat" was back in February.  I had just shaved my hair the night before the event and I remember showing up and everyone seeing me without hair for the first time.  It was a great night of fellowship and worship and I think I cried through most of the worship.  They were not tears of sadness but tears of knowing I had nothing to fear and that God was in control.  Tonight was another worshipful night and more tears shed.  We had ladies going and praying over ladies that were in need.  How blessed to be a part of a church that ministers to others and I'm not sure how people make it through trials without the love of other believers.  More tears were shed again tonight, but once again, tears of knowing Who is control of everything in my life.

Tomorrow morning at 10am Tony and I will be meeting with a nurse practitioner to talk to us about "Genetics testing".   Not sure what all this entails, but that is why we are having the meeting to get more information.  I will then have lab work at 11:30 and then I will be having a CT scan of my neck and abdomen.  I have not had a CT since my original diagnosis.  We will not know any results until next Tuesday when I meet with the doctor.   I am not a bit worried about the results of any testing. Once again, I know Who is in control and will trust my Savior for the outcome.  I must admit, I am not excited about having the scan.  My claustrophobia is something I don't do well with.  My first CT scan was back in February and I was given a Xanax and had no issues going in and out of the "donut".   I had a scan back a few months ago on my neck and didn't take any medication because I thought it went so smoothly the first time.  What I didn't realize, is how much anxiety medication can take away the stress of feeling closed in.  I think tomorrow I will go ahead and take half of a pill.  I would take the whole thing but we have wedding planning to do in the afternoon and I don't want Jordan having to carry me around or picking me up off the floor.

Psalms 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."  My desire is to be completely healed from cancer and to live a long life and see our children and grandchildren continue to grow and love Jesus with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength.  I want to enjoy a long healthy life with all of them and my husband.  I am trusting Jesus for my life and thankful to know I do not have to worry or fret, my life is in His hands.

"Today is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Count Down Continues"

Mine and Jordan's day began with us going to Fayetteville to get her hair done for bridal portraits.  I never knew how long it would take to get hair ready for pictures. Thankfully we will be more prepared on the wedding day.  
Jordan & Nikki

We left the salon and headed back to Bentonville for a "pounding" shower hosted by the staff ladies and pastor's wives. This couple has been blessed by many wonderful people showing them so much love. They received items for every room in their home, including first aid kit stuff, laundry room, bathroom, cleaning supplies, kitchen spices, all sorts of baking items, amazing picture frame, quilt, table and so much more.
"Street" Sign made by Billy Holzhauser
Amazing group of ladies we are blessed to be a part of.
Super cute couple with their new picture frame!
More blessings!
Incredible food! Thank you Michele Holzhauser for hosting the shower in your home! Everything was amazing and very much appreciated!

Jordan and I left the shower and headed to Dillard's to have Jordan's makeup done for her portraits.
This is the before shot and I think she is beautiful just the way she is.

We then left and headed to Maegan's for a touch up on the hair before the bridal portraits.
We are thankful to have Maegan in our lives!

 I would love to post pictures of how beautiful my daughter is with her dress on and having pictures made, but that will have to wait until another day. I am so thankful to have had this day to share with her and feel like the most blessed mom ever. We've had an amazing day together and are looking forward to seeing the pictures Bryan captured of her. Not only am I blessed to have been a part of her bridal's but I am doubly blessed to having a son that is an amazing photographer and to be able to capture these moments with all of us together. Thank you Bryan for the time you have taken to take pictures for Jordan. You do such an awesome job!
Bryan and his helpers, Kash & Kampbell

 "Today is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Master of the Wind & Waves"

I do not want to take any credit for this blog post.  This is something that I recently read that I wanted to put on my blog and pray it benefits someone else as it did for me.

Matthew 8:26 "But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, you of little faith?"

One of the hindrances to a faithful response to Jesus in the storms of our lives is our acute awareness that He let us get into the storm to begin with.  We would rather have a Savior who didn't sleep in the back of the boat.  We would prefer that He navigate us around the storms rather than deliver us from the middle of them.  But our God has never guarded His people from storms.  He even lets us suffer in them sometimes. Why?

Jesus could have navigated His company around that storm.  It blew up without warning, but the Lord of creation isn't surprised by anything.  He knew about the cross ahead of time, and He knew about this storm.  But if He had let the disciples avoid it, they would never have known Him as the Master of the winds and the waves.  They would not have asked the question: "What kind of man is this?"(vs.27).  They would not have known Jesus as their Deliverer that day.

Jesus lets us get into the middle of storms so we will know Him.  When we avoid the dangerous waters, we avoid the Deliverer.  When all is well, our faith only needs a Jesus who is asleep in the boat.  While that may be more comfortable to us, it subverts the purpose for which we were created.  We were made to know Him, and whether we like it or not, some of His characteristics can only be discovered in the deep, treacherous waters.

When we think we prefer our comfort to the storms of life--a universal tendency for us as humans, by the way--we are actually choosing stagnancy over fulfillment.  We must realize that we can't really know the Deliverer unless we need deliverance.  We can't know our Redeemer unless we need redemption.  We can't know our Refuge unless we experience danger.  Do we really seek comfort and ease?  No.  Deep down we want real faith.  We want to know the One who accompanies us--even in the storms. 

"As sure as ever God puts His children in the furnace, He will be in the furnace with them."

I would have never asked for cancer to come into my life, but I also wouldn't change anything about these past 8 months.  I have a Redeemer, a Deliverer, Gracious Father and so much more, that has carried me and continues to carry me through this journey.

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."