Counting Down

So, time is slipping away until the day where everything changes. We are very hopeful that this change will be for the good. Surgery is set for the second week of July, about three weeks away. This is the day where we hope to hear that I am cancer free. After the removal of my esophagus, most of my stomach, and surrounding lymph nodes, the hope is that a new way of life will be for the better. The recovery will take anywhere from 1-3 months, varying amongst patients due to potential complications. I have been blessed up to this point to have done very well with treatment, and my body and mind have been strong. Chemotherapy and radiation were not too bad for me. I hope this is an indication about the success of the recovery from this very intense six hour surgery. Smaller meals and more attention to what I intake will be crucial to the way of life from here on. It will be similar to someone experiencing a gastric bypass if all goes well. We will not talk about worst-case scenarios, although there are a couple. We will remain positive, as we have done thus far.

 

The struggle for me more than anything has been to keep those around me whom I love unaffected by all of this. This has been a very hard feat. My attitude and well being directly affects them everyday. Typically, men deal with emotions not by crying, but by getting angry. I have been no exception to this. Anger surfaces over the smallest things when you least expect it. It sweeps through a situation and then passes in an instant. I must always remember that the people that are most affected are the people helping me the most. My wife, Alix mainly. She is dealing with this in ways I cannot relate to, and the difficulties for her are much different as the caretaker. We push on, however, and her support is everything to me. My son has been a huge part of our concerns as well. He is a smart, inquisitive three year old. He will be four in August, and he is at the age of inquisition. He questions everything. He wants to be independent, yet is even more emotionally attached to us since he has seen tangible signs of his father’s illness. We told him early on exactly what was happening. Superheroes, robots, good, and evil are the things he knows, part of his fantasy world. We told him, “Daddy has a bomb in his tummy. It is making him very sick some days. He may have a green flag some days, and a red flag on others. This is a sign of how good he feels. But it is going to be okay, because the doctor is going to use a robot and get the bomb out. Everything is going to be fine. He is just going to have to rest for awhile.” He is fascinated with the robot, so much so that he wants to see it in real life. Maybe we have a future physician on our midst. It would not be much of a stretch given the extensive family medical tree from which he is rooted. Cate is 13 months old and unaffected, of course. Her perpetual smile and ever-evolving bag of tricks keeps a smile on my face daily. It has been a blessing to watch her grow up before my eyes.

 

Personally, my biggest obstacle has been remaining driven in my craft, passion, and career. The first thing that the doctors made me cut back on was work. Okay. My job is my livelihood, my hobby, my craft, and my passion. To ease up on that means I no longer have any of those in my life with the vibrancy I once did. Alix has planned a trip for me to help justify this problem. We will have more on that to follow. I want to fuel my passion again and restore some of the lost time in the kitchen. I want to get the spark back.   Once this surgery is done, the hope is that the doctor tells me the cancer is ridden, and it is time to recover. This recovery will be mental and physical. The idea is to make myself better in every way. I want to be a better man, human, father, and chef. Our mental attitude determines our opportunity for success in anything you do, everyday, and we are the one in control. Although I have been given this terrible diagnosis and have a long road ahead, I have seen the true good in this world. The support and prayers of thousands to help me and my family recover is more than I could have imagined. This is a blessing in cancer, one that I hold dear to my heart. For this enlightenment, I will be forever grateful and must drive on to make a better life for me, my family, and perhaps those unmet persons in need. For now, we are counting down the days until the second week of July.

Carl

Painful Update

Friends and Family,
This week has been a challenge. Just when I thought we were in the clear, finishing chemotherapy and radiation, things have turned a bad corner. Carl began having severe pains this week, and his pain level is the highest I have ever witnessed. He fell to the floor in pain after drinking a sip of water. This from a man who rarely complains, and has likely hidden much of his pain from me to date. He has been running fever, and truly this week the reality of cancer is staring me in the face. I cannot explain how different it is to witness pain from your beloved, it is scary, and I would do anything to take it away from him. Witnessing him miss things at work that I know he has been looking forward to all year, because he is in pain is astonishing. I am so empathetic to all the mothers before me that have been on this cancer journey, and raising children. It is hard, beyond hard. Carl is currently getting fluids regularly for hydration, because he is unable to drink. His current source of food, can reduce me to tears in a second. I thought we would be 90 before I watched my chef husband choke down ensure, as he screams due to the pain that it causes him.

Our life is flipped upside down, and normal is something I dream of at night. I long for the summer vacation where we drink wine and play with our kids at the beach. Where we snuggle with the babies on Sunday…..those days are long ahead of us for now. I can see the worry in our physician’s eyes as she is trying to rule out the what it is that may be causing such extreme pain. I now know our strength. Together we can beat anything. I have had dark days, and so has he, but never on the same day. God put our souls together long ago, and even when we are not talking I know his needs, and he mine. Love is powerful. It rises above all pain, all weakness, all fear, all anger. Cancer makes you feel all these emotions. Love pulls you through.

Prayers are now needed for pain relief and hope that there is no underlying infection. Healing needs to begin so that we can prepare for the upcoming surgery. We will meet with our surgeon on Monday to develop a plan for the month ahead. We are treating with antibiotics, anti-yeast, pain medications and pretty much the kitchen sink. This is the beginning of the difficult part of the journey. Asking for help is very hard for me. Cancer is forcing me to slowly learn to ask for help from all the amazing people that we have in our life. It has taught me humility, that I can’t do it all alone. I don’t want to be alone ever. God willing, this will be over soon and I will have my partner in crime back.

Words cannot express all the gratitude we have for all the prayers, donations, meals, gift cards, prayer cards, and love that we have received in the last 3 months. Emily Post may be shaking her head at me, along with my Grandmere in heaven. So please know that even if you have not received a written note of thanks you are all in my thoughts and prayers, and all the support has filled me with energy and is appreciated more than words can ever express. Will update next week with the surgical plans….and I have been mulling over a post on giving for a few weeks. Sorry for the writers block….worry is cluttering my thoughts.

Alix

Half Way Mark

Over the past 2 months, the question “How ya doin?’ ” has required much more thought and explanation than it used to and the answer itself changes everyday. I have wanted to shift the focus from my own well being to stress to others how hard this has been for those very close to me. I think about how Alix is juggling all of this, and how our nearly four year old boy has been affected by this craziness. But, the usual answer to the question has typically been a resounding “good!”

Blood counts were always at good levels. I never got very sick, or had to disrupt treatment. Overall, I have done exceptionally well throughout chemotherapy and radiation (both of which ended recently).

The past week has been a different story.

Radiation scar tissue and side affects, along with overall fatigue from the intense chemotherapy have gotten me down a bit. Things I have taken for granted such as sipping ice cold water are now more painful than I could have imagined. I cruised along up to this point in an almost arrogant manner thinking this treatment would not get to me. Sadly, it now has. The doctors say I have what amounts to 2nd degree burns in my esophagus and into my stomach. As you can imagine, it is nearly impossible to eat or drink anything.

I attended a crawfish boil when the symptoms first started and I stared at a warm piece of corn right out of the boil. When cooked properly, this is my favorite part of the boil. The jewel of the batch. I love the play of the sweet corn with the spice of the seasoning and the banknote of the shellfish flavor. It can sometimes be overcooked and mushy, but I could tell this one was cooked to perfection. I reached for it and took a bite, shooting the crawfish saturated juices across the table knowing I was rolling the dice. It hurt. It hurt in a way I cannot describe. I wish I could say it was worth it, but I do not think there is a food out there that would have been.

Some people would probably read this and think I am ridiculous but those that know me well know food is what I live for. It is what I think about all day and every day. The thoughts of this being the way I would have to live my life are very frightening to me. Foods that are acidic, heavily seasoned, and intensely flavored are the worst right now. They are out of the question. As a chef, these are the foods we love to eat and love to cook. For the first time in all of this, I feel defeated. I tried a sip of a beautiful IPA a friend had been saving for me for quite a while and said I would give it a shot. Well that ” shot” of beer went down about as badly as the Reingold we bought for 7.99 a case back at the Blue Horizon on Spring Break circa 2002.

Doctors say that the only treatment is not to treat it. Like a sunburn, I must let my body heal. So for the next 4-6 weeks, that is what I will do. I will try to rest and heal. Life does not stop, however. Cate and Carr are now in camp, getting older, and wanting to jump on their daddy. Restaurant menus need to be changed, tweaked, and pushed to make sure guests do not get bored. Dinner needs to be cooked and new dishes need to be inspired. This will be the hardest part for me yet.

During this time, we hope to travel to MDAnderson for a second opinion and perhaps see if there is additional treatment we can do pre-surgery. Surgery is tentatively set for late June or early July. It will most likely be a esophagectomy and or gastrectomy, where they would remove the esophagus, tumor, and infected lymph nodes. The hope is that the body would have no more cancer and we would proceed with recovery, which would take at best 2 months. We have a great surgical team and will know a little bit more about the next phase of this treatment in about a week.

Until then, we are living one day at a time, counting down to when I can eat that proverbial piece of corn. Grateful that I can still answer to those who ask, “Yeah, I’m doin’ okay.”

Carl

Wishes on Her Candles.

A year ago today my beautiful swollen tummy gave way to the most beautiful baby girl. I will never forget the look in Carl’s eyes as he held his daughter for the first time. Instantly he softened somehow, and through the last 12 months I have watched this love for Cate grow. It is magic.

Having children is something I knew that I always would accomplish, but never knew all the intricacies that came along with parenting.  When I met Carl my heart knew well before my mind that we would be together forever. I instantly imagined us growing old together, and our children. Never did I know the true power behind pregnancy, birth, and parenting. When we had Carr, something in me changed. Life took on a new meaning. There is deep intimacy that is braided along with the love of husband and wife to then create a human being that is both of you combined. The profound nature of conception can reduce me to tears, especially given the mystery behind it. As I stare at both of my beautiful children sleeping I am in awe that through their eyes there is a reflection of all of our history. Each child so unique and special, yet I see so much of Carl and myself in them.

Pregnancy and motherhood are such gifts. When you are with someone who is your soul mate, you see and feel God’s workings throughout the whole process. My own mother often said that having children was just the icing on the cake of true love, and that it was God’s greatest gift in life. My grandmére used to say love begets love. This must be why they both had so many children. In all seriousness, having a child grow underneath your heart, and holding them in your arms for the first time is the closest I have ever felt to God. The amount of love that fills that delivery room is so intoxicating that you can almost touch it.  Today I think about our two children, and how much the love we have for them has exponentially grown since their births. The joy that we have in the simplicity of having a family. Their mere presence has forever changed our lives.

Our life as we know it has somehow changed. Carr and Cate, not really aware of the severity of what is before us. Me, I feel like I am looking through a window at my own life. Knowing how much I need to cherish each day, yet my heart is somewhat detached. The idea that all that we have created could possibly be taken from us…this keeps me from making a true connection with my heart. People search their whole lives to find their person, and to be able to have that and two beautiful children, somehow I have always known that I have a rare gift. I now feel fiercely protective of my husband. I now am preparing for the hardest fight of my life, for without him my heart does not beat

Life…what a beautiful gift. We have all been guilty of taking it for granted. As I watch Catherine eating her first birthday cake, I cannot help but hope that her little life will know no tragedy. I pray that God continues to help me cherish the life we have, and that writing will help others know how precious each day is. My husband has always been someone who gives 100% of his heart and soul in all he does. That is why I married him, that is why so many people love him so. I myself, am giving it my best effort towards giving my life 100%. So we celebrate the sweetest first year with our baby girl, and all the love, laughter, and shenanigans that comes along with our children and our sweet little family.

As we blow out the candles, we hold our hands extra tight knowing that all of our wishes on the candles this year are the same, to live a long life together with yearly additions of candles on our cakes.

Alix

F.I.D.O

I have always been a fan of quotes; whether they draw a nice chuckle or evoke intense emotion, I love all the shapes and sizes they come in. I have my favorite songs and movies memorized forever, and cite them often. It even makes me angry to hear someone sing incorrect lyrics or to listen to an attempt to poorly recite classic cinematic lines.  Quotes are a well from which I draw inspiration.  Especially now.

Before Bill Cosby started slingin’ pudding, my man “Heathcliff Huxstable” said, “The past is a ghost, the future a dream and all we ever have is now.”  The past should never be forgotten; that would be irresponsible on our part. However, the past should also not prevent us from moving forward with rigor and will. We need to somehow look to the past to correct our mistakes at the same time we are resisting dwelling on those very same mistakes.

I had a great friend who lost his battle with cancer a few years ago. I cannot stress how inspirational he has been through all of this, so I will attempt brevity. His name was Drew Rodrigue. For those who may read this and did not have the pleasure of experiencing his perpetual smile and bright rosy cheeks, I am deeply sorry. His mantra through his diagnosis and treatment was in the form of an acronym: FIDO. It means “f*** it,
drive on. Politically correct? Maybe not. Precise? Absolutely! This is the way I must view the past in regards to cancer.

I do not know why I am going through this at 32 years old. The list of possible medical reasons of “why” will forever run through my head. I cannot change them however, so I choose to move forward. I must have the “short memory” that we often reference for a quarterback after an interception. Learn from the mistakes. Always. Then, press on. I tell my young cooks upon their entry to our team, “It is okay to make ten mistakes once, but we have a problem if you make five mistakes twice.”

The past cannot control our free will for the present, which can determine the outcome for our future.

I truly feel that this is a second chance for me. I have always pushed myself to be a better chef. My career is one where complacency means inferiority. The push to exceed my professional skill set is innate, but what I now see I need to become is a better husband and father. I feel that this tragic circumstance has given me the ability to do that. This is the present. Live in the now. Being around my family with such emotion on a daily basis makes me revere the “small things”. I am watching my daughter grow and develop every day. She has a new set of tricks each morning she awakens. I can shape her future. I see my baby son becoming more a boy with every sunrise. I can help mold him to be a man. These opportunities have always been there, I just took them for granted.

So often the life of a chef leaves the family with the “leftovers”. The pun is intended here. They get the father and husband who is tired and irritable. He has displaced all his energy at work on guests they will never meet, and food they will not taste. I do not in any way feel spite for the work I have done, or the food I have made. I know that when this is done, my desire to create better food and culture will be ferocious. My time, however, will also be spent loving life. Loving my family every day. I am pushing to create a routine and lifestyle that will allow for more energy, health, and positivity. Knowing that the past’s misfortunes are shaping the present to facilitate a beautiful prosperous future.

I cannot wait for the ride.

“The future starts today, not tomorrow.” ~ St. John Paul II

Carl

Feeding the Chef and Celebrating with Mocktails.

After many years being married to a chef I realized that sticking to quality ingredients and keeping it simple often creates the most memorable meals. We would like this website to be a resource for people with dietary restrictions. Carl’s dietary focus is on maximizing the amount of nutrients he intakes, while maintaing his weight and energy. We are eating clean, and focusing on a low glycemic index. Since cooking is our passion we are trying to re-invent our favorite meals. The goal is to keep the flavors intense, and change the perspective that “healthy eating is boring.”

New Orleans is the birthplace of brunch. Like everything else in our beloved city, it is not just a meal but a celebration!  Cocktails on Sunday morning are as routine as the Catholic mass itself. In true New Orleans Spirit, and my own personal love for craft cocktails, I will attempt to come up with fresh “mocktails” throughout the journey to quench the thirst and cool down with all of our followers (feel free to add your favorite liquor to these recipes…trust us we are dreaming of the day we can do the same).  Hope you enjoy.

Pecan buckwheat pancakes with strawberry-maple compote and vanilla bean yogurt

 

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Ingredients
Pancakes
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour (or ½ buckwheat and ½ flour of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups vanilla bean greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Butter, for the skillet
Strawberry Maple Compote
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced into bite-sized quarters or halves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • Chopped pecans to taste
  • 1 tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Make the pancakes: in a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour(s), sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the yogurt. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.  Add chopped pecans, let batter sit 10 minutes.  Make the compote while resting the batter
  2. Make the compote:  Place 1/2 sliced berries into a pot, gently toss berries with the sugar and maple syrup/honey.  On Medium heat bring all ingredients to simmer.  Cook 5 minutes, remove, keep warm.  reserve 1/2 berries for garnish.
  3. Preheat your skillet over medium-low heat and brush with 1½ teaspoons of butter (I like to brown the butter for a second to accent accent the nutty flavor). Give the batter a light swirl with a spoon in case the buckwheat is starting to separate from the liquid. Using a ¼-cup measure, scoop the batter onto the warm skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes (you’ll know it’s ready to flip when about 1 inch of the perimeter is matte instead of glossy), and flip. Cook on the opposite sides for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. Transfer the cooked pancakes to a baking sheet and place in a preheated 200 degree Fahrenheit oven to keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, adding more butter when needed. Garnish plate with more yogurt, top pancakes with compote.  Add some more reserved fresh strawberries .  Serve immediately.

 

 

 

Strawberry, Basil, and Blood Orange Fizz

 

(makes 2 drinks)-2 Pint Glasses Needed

Ingredients:

10 strawberries, hulled and sliced

3 large basil leaves julienned

2 tsp sugar

½ cup blood orange juice (2 blood oranges)

¼ cup lemon juice (2 lemons)

2 Tbs lime juice (1-2 limes)

ICE! Don’t forget the ice!

Orange Sparkling water

Blood orange slices and strawberries for garnish

Add strawberries and sugar to a cocktail shaker and muddle until they’re broken down and sugar is dissolved add the basil. Add the citrus juices, ice, shake, and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large glass or liquid measuring cup. Press on the pulp to extract all of the juice. pour on ice filling each pint glass 1/2 full with liquid and top with orange sparkling water. Add fresh julienned basil and a strawberry to decorate the pint glass.

 

Back to My Roots

Week one of chemotherapy and radiation is behind us.  Onto week two.

This beautiful Easter holiday weekend had me aching for my family. Holidays in my family were always special. I come from a long line of “party throwers” and “party-goers” and given the sheer size of my family, there was no such thing as a small celebration. In fact, in my family, there was no small anything.

But, after my parents’ divorce, I stopped enjoying family gatherings of this magnitude. Or more truthfully, family gatherings in general.

My family dynamics began with my grandparents, two amazing forces in life. My Grandfather, Jim Varley, would walk into a room and captivate his audience in a heart beat. He was fiercely competitive; and always wanted the best from his children and grandchildren. His love of music, food, entertaining, sports, and his uncanny good looks made him quite the show stopper. My grandmother, June, would make Emily Post and her etiquette rules look second rate when compared to her spectacular party throwing, perfect manners, and impeccable correspondence. This social fortitude was maintained while raising 14 children, running soup kitchens, and being an amazing Catholic. (I have to also mention, that my Grandmother’s sense of style was flawless, timeless…and I was always holding my breath as she entered a room.)

My own mother was “the chief” of their pack of 14, and she is powerhouse in her own right. A woman with a very sharp, intellectual mind.  She inherited her mother’s beauty and love for traditions; she has her father’s charisma and a secret yearning to be the best at all times.  But my mother is also different from her family in many ways.  She always urged, even demanded, that we wear our emotions on our sleeves and encouraged us to communicate our feelings openly.  Given that there were six of us, and all six of us were very verbal, many opinions and endless talking filled the house I grew up in. In her recent years, she enjoys smaller gatherings and a peaceful life on the beaches of 30-A. Still a very strong woman of faith, she never gives up on anyone. My mother’s hugs could heal the world.

My father is a more reserved man, kind and gentle.  He is a caregiver, a thinker, a scholar. My father has a smile that could light up a room. And he has always understood my wild streak, allowing me to make mistakes and letting me find my own way. Falling fifth in a line of six, I was constantly the talk of the family. “Alix should do this, Alix should have done that, Alix should be more like this sister, or that brother”…

I went to Auburn University in search of some peace and quiet, where I found a way to silence the opinions of my family, and learn to be myself.  Or, rather, a younger version of myself. Many years have gone by since I decided to take my own path…years filled with both good decisions and bad decisions. Subconsciously, I was fighting hard to distance myself from my family, and finally found refuge in Carl’s family here in New Orleans, where everything was a little easier, a lot smaller, and a lot less theatrical. I have felt an amazing sense of home since I met them, knowing that simply being myself was more than okay.  And never did I feel like I had to be more than that.

But, when all of this started and I was disheveled and speechless (for once), my family was there to pick up the slack, doing all the things I could not even think to ask for. Right now, my sister Lindsey is house-hunting, in order to finally make our lifelong dream of raising our kids to be best friends a reality.  My oldest sister Vicky has sent us all the books and cooking supplies needed to keep Carl and I reading and cooking (our true passions) throughout this journey. My brother Bradford, always with his big heart and pragmatic outward appearance, gave me sound financial advice first and then followed up with boundless encouragement. He even offered up an apology for a recent tiff. My oldest brother Trip, the most Varley of them all, just wanted to let me talk…to see how I was really feeling. As always, right there at a time when I really needed to talk out all my fears without judgement. My baby sister Fallon has been her bigger-than-life self and continues to send me amazing digital videos and uplifting messages daily to keep my attitude positive.  My father has shared his amazing words of comfort and admitted that though bad things do happen, you have to press on. And my mother…well, she is recovering from a hip surgery. And yet, in her usual fashion, still ready to jump (literally) on a plane and come take care of us.

It is difficult to believe that Carl’s diagnosis came just 21 days ago today.

As I sit here looking into his tired eyes, listening to machines pump him full of what I like to imagine is the “magic cure” that will erase this madness called cancer, I even now find my thoughts drifting to my family. I am thinking about how deep our roots run within us.  I am thinking of how my mother’s example of verbal exhaustion gave us quite a large and rare gift. I am thinking that I know my siblings and mother better than most, as they do me. In fact, they often know me better than I know myself.

My family is a force to be reckoned with…loud, emotional, competitive, and sometimes downright intrusive. They love to talk to you, about you, and all around you. And it has kept me somewhat distant from them in recent years, perhaps because I was not open to seeing the true beauty of it all.

But, this is my family.  And through cancer, God has revealed to me how lucky I am to have them at my side. These people who will be there always, and who know me absolutely. I am blessed beyond words to have this family. I am an O’Neil, and for the first time in a really long time, I know what a true blessing it is to be a part of all this chaos.

I have had a harder time writing this week, although recent reflection on my life has shown me that blessings seem to come through in the craziest of ways. Through this searching I have realized that family is everything. Family comes in all shapes and sizes. Some born, some created, some chosen, some not.  I urge you to find the blessings in your family, as we fight to save our own young family.  And hope, one day, that our children will know just how much we love them.

 

Alix

A Mother’s Perspective.

Father Harold Cohen was one of the best homilists and a deeply holy man with a tremendous faith and a captivating charisma. He presided at our wedding in 1975. Yes, we were very young and very much in love. From that union came three great children who are now adults. Fr. Cohen ended every mass by saying “Glory be to Him whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we ask or imagine!”

Today I am asking for a cure of Carl’s cancer. I am imagining a world without suffering. As a mom, I want to protect my children and loved ones from all harm and certainly from suffering. At this time when I am an active participant with my son Carl on his cancer journey, I am asking the Lord to remove his suffering and to cure the cancer. I am asking the Lord to let me take this journey for him knowing that each of us is traveling our own path.

Over the past two weeks since the initial news on April 1st, I feel a deep peace which comes from my time in prayer with Jesus. Jesus is assuring me that this cancer journey too will pass. We will be stronger for having gone through this journey. Jesus has always sent me abundant graces through times of suffering. Graces are given to me so that I experience His presence, graces are shared which bring me closer to Him. I am also asking that those graces and blessings are given to each of my family members so that we can each cope with this difficult challenge. But most importantly, I am asking that Carl and Alix grow stronger in their unselfish love of each other and their family. They are blessed with a beautiful family and such loving friends.

I am feeling very protective right now because I do not want anything bad to happen to any of my loved ones. It does not seem right that my child is fighting for his life at his young age. This is not within my control, though. Even during my most peaceful moments, I am not far from tears of uncertainty wondering how this will all play out. I cannot help but think of Jesus’ mother Mary who watched the passion and death of Our Lord, her son. She witnessed Him do so much good for others yet He died a criminal after being beaten and tortured then nailed to a cross. I am sure that she felt the unjust treatment of her son by others. He did fulfill His promise to us at the Resurrection, though and she was there to be with Him.

To speak about how much each of my children mean to me is like speaking about my arm or my leg…each child is a part of me and I see a part of me in them. We are made from the same mold. We are each fashioned as a child of God. I can see parts of me and parts of my husband in each of them both physically, intellectually and emotionally. Each of my children holds a special place in my heart.

When each child takes on a spouse, my love is shared to the new family member. I love them as my own child and the circle of life continues in this way. New children are born out of that same mold, created as a child of God. I know that by surrendering this journey to Jesus, He will lead us through this adversity. We will come to a better place, a place of new opportunity which never seemed possible before the challenges. We give glory to Him whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine!

One blessing already realized is the outpouring of support that Carl and Alix have received from so many friends and loved ones. Thanks to each and every one of you for your words of support, your time, effort, energy and your generosity. It is gratifying to know there is so much love out there for us.

~Rose

Life Goes On, But Maybe in a New Way

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“The art of life is to live in the present moment and to make that moment as perfect as we can by the realization that we are the instruments and expression of God himself. The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to make today all that it should be.” Emmet Fox

I can hear the roaring laughter of Carr as daddy chases him around the house today, Cate crawling and giggling, and the overwhelming joy in my heart for a moment erases all my fears and worries. It is as if nothing has changed, and it is a usual Sunday. Carl in the kitchen cooking, a lot “cleaner” than usual, but the smells of our everyday life fill the house and instantly my mind and body relax. Our family is coming to share a meal, one that Carl will ever so delicately put together with so much heart and love. This is our Sunday, and though we have done this a thousand times, today it is different, today I am stopping to thank God for all my blessings. I hear each giggle, and the all the sounds of everyday love as they fill our home. Life does not stop when the person you share your life with gets diagnosed with a serious illness, it keeps moving. It swirls all around you, and all the while you are frozen, staring around at all the movement trying to catch your breath. It is the part of cancer I hope to never lose. I want to remember this clarity of just how precious life is. I want to always remember how my husband smells when he wraps his arms around me. I want to always know how lucky I am to have a home filled with this much energy and love. Each day is a gift, and like most things in life, it is often taken for granted. Life of course goes on, but for us maybe in a new way. I pray to each and everyone who reads this blog that you too find the beauty in your life ,and cherish each day, for it is a gift. I also pray for all to know how much all the love and prayers you have given us have been like a good night’s rest, filling my family with a positive energy to carry us through this fight. We prepare for tomorrow, by making the best of today. The road ahead for me is filled with fear and so many unknowns, but today I will give it my best…..and maybe tomorrow will turn out just as happy.

Alix