Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Temporary Home.

I think as long as we're on this earth we'll long for eternity.

This is just our temporary home, we're just passing through.

Honestly, this life, this world, it hurts. It's hard. There's pain. There's heartache.

But there's the promise of eternity.

Revelation 21:3-6
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 

Eternity, it's hard to grasp. The bible obviously talks so much about eternity but you still can't even wrap your mind around it.

But one thing I do know, there's no way I could survive without the knowledge, hope, and peace of eternity!

Lord, please always let me remember this is just my temporary home. The hurts, trials, and struggles of this world are nothing compared to eternity.

Eternity spent with you.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sweet Devotion.

There are a few pictures I could share with you from the weekend, but this one deserves a post all of its own. 

This is a sweet moment where my Mom was reading Larry his daily devotional.

If you really, I mean really look at this picture, you'll see it's about so much more than that. It's the devotion that a wife has for her husband, that they have for each other.

What an example. 

We were sitting around the dinner table last night talking about how this whole experience has been eye-opening. How we now fully grasp what families have to go through when a loved one has a terminal illness. We wouldn't wish this on anyone. But for some reason the Lord is having us walk through this. And we will not stop giving him the praise and honor. Because even when it hurts, God is in the midst of the pain. 

It really has been an honor and privilege to share Larry's story with y'all. Because we know that lives are being touched by this man and his story and his amazing faith needs to be told. 

Saw this quote this morning and could not be any more truer for us right now:

"Love the people God gave you because he will need them back one day!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Not going to rain on my parade.

Woke up to a rainy and dreary day today! 

 But it's not going to rain on my parade ......


Some things I'm looking forward to this weekend:

Getting my haircut after work today (Great way to start the weekend if you ask me and does anyone else enjoy the hair washing as much as I do?)
Family time of course
Loving on Larry 
 Spending time for a few hours on Saturday with a friend catching up
Seeing my nieces
Time in the word and quiet time catching up on bible study homework
 Catching up over breakfast on Sunday with an old friend who will be in town
Sleeping in (Hallelujah and amen)

It will be a low-key weekend! Hope you had a great week and have a great weekend, friends!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

All the time in the world.

"I have all the time in the world"....

Isn't that what most of us go through each day thinking? I'll be the first to admit I've been guilty of this.

I was reminded of a scripture.

 “Remind me that my days are numbered.” Psalm 39:4

Um, yeah. See that? Our time here on this earth is of the essence. The bible says our life is but a vapor. My question to myself, and one we could ALL ask ourselves, "Time, what are we doing with it?"

I've found myself more and more lately taking inventory of my life. Even more so when you're watching someone you love and their time here on earth soon coming to an end (which by-the-way, we're continuing to believe for a miracle for Larry and will not stop.) 

Did I choose to invest my time and emotions wisely and where it mattered? Did my actions and words speak life into others? Was I firmly planted into the word of God? Were my priorities aligned where they should be? Was I a good friend, daughter, sister, and etc etc. Did I live every hour, every minute, every second in the moment? Did I treasure and cherish the ones I love? Was I the best person I can be, the person that God has called me to be? Did my life bear fruit? Did I love and serve God with every ounce of my being? Did I bring people to come to know him? And on and on.....................................

It's all this and SO much more. I will regret so much if I can't look back and answer all these questions with a resounding YES! Because I do not have all the time in the world, which ALOT of us so foolishly think.

My advice and question for you is..... Stop thinking you have all the time in the world; And again I ask.. Time, what are you going to do with it?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Steady My Heart.

Even when it hurts
Even when it's hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart
~Kari Jobe

You can tell the disease is progressing in Larry. There were a couple of moody outbreaks over the weekend and very little sleep for him. The past couple of days have been relatively quiet and he and my Mom have gotten quality time together and you see glimpses here and there of his normal self. We have a new understanding of the pain families experience when a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness. So many emotions and we're all experiencing it differently. But as we know, God knows it all and we're drawing strength from our faith and Larry's faith. And asking him to steady my heart. Steady all our hearts.

That's pretty much the update on the home front.

Love y'all.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Much needed distraction!

Sunday morning my friend Michelle texted me to see if I wanted to go to the Jason Aldean/Luke Bryan concert that evening!

My response, "Ummmmm, YES!!!"

The beautiful Michelle and I before the concert.

We're rockin' the boots!! :)

Love me some good ole' country music!!

It was a great night and they put on a wonderful show! With the heaviness of these past couple of weeks, can't thank Michelle enough for treating me to a night of fun!! Just what this girl needed. 

Friends like her are such a blessing!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Worth getting up for.

You know those days you just want to stay in bed a little longer, not quite ready to face the day?

Well, this makes it all worth getting out from the warm comfort of the bed covers, putting both feet on the ground and knowing the devil has to be saying, "Crap, she's up." :)

Have you ever seen anything like it? This was my view this morning as I got out the door and it took my breath away. God's beauty just amazes me.

Sometimes we get so busy and focused on the circumstances and the craziness of life and that we totally miss the beauty of it all. It's there, you just have to look hard enough! 

I just needed this reminder today and maybe you do too!

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday morning scene!

Just a scene from our house this morning!

And I'll praise You in this storm

And I will lift my hands

For You are who You are

No matter where I am

And every tear I've cried

You hold in Your hand

You never left my side

And though my heart is torn

I will praise You in this storm.

~Casting Crowns

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Blessings!

I feel for the past couple of weeks this blog has just been really heavy.

Understandably so. This is our reality, what we're facing right now.

I thought I would keep it light hearted today and end our week by counting our blessings.

"Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!"

 So please, would love for your to share how God has blessed you this week. Counting our blessings helps give us some perspective. Lord knows we could ALL use a little perspective, right?

So, fire away..... I know you can name at least one thing. Big or small. 

This song puts it perfectly. It's really ministered to me as our family is walking through this time.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A new normal.

I know I'll look back on these blog posts from January 2012 and can say without a doubt that even through the midst of what our family is going through, that we're going to know we've tasted and seen that the Lord is good and fully know that we've seen firsthand the extent of his peace that passes all understanding.

Life is interesting. It seems to always be constantly ever changing. Change can be good, it can be scary. It can be a necessary, or it can be an unwanted change.

For our family, we always call it a "new normal".

For us, we're about to face another new normal, a life without Larry.

Maybe you, if you're reading this, maybe you know exactly what I'm talking about. Can you think back on a time in your life that brought about a new normal? You can probably think of one after another. Our lives are full of them, huh?

But sometimes you just get sick of a new normal. Sometimes you just want a normal that will stick around for awhile.

With that said, there's the one constant, the one who always remains the same, God! He never leaves us nor forsakes us.

Larry is at total peace knowing he will be meeting Jesus face to face. He is so incredibly ready for his new normal. Because I will say his new normal will be pretty fantastic.

1 John 5:13
"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."

Read and believe that verse today, trusting Christ as your savior! 

Just because I love this pictures!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The tales of two families.

Larry is my Mom's fourth marriage. Please don't cast judgment. Would she have wanted that for herself, no.  But it's a part of her story. Her beautiful story.

Let me back up.

When my Mom married my Dad (her first marriage), it was young love and they loved the best they knew how. They had my brother and I, but in the end it just didn't work and they divorced when I was really young. My Mom then went on to meet and marry my sister Danielle's Dad. Tragically he passed away in a boating accident. He was a great man and we gained a wonderful sister out of that marriage. My Mom was a single mom for many years until 1998 when she remarried. Due to some devastating circumstances and details I will not go into, that marriage ended in divorce in 2005.

Fast forward to 2010. Larry and my Mom did not meet in a conventional way. They meet and fell in love through E-Harmony (Yes, it does work, ha). A little background though. Larry's family has a story of their own. There's been love and loss on many levels in both families, the dynamics and parallels between the two families blows my mind.  My Mom is Larry's third marriage. Larry has two daughters of his own from his first marriage. And a daughter from his second marriage. Both of his previous wives had passed away. So, his daughter's have lost their mother's and now they're losing their father, breaks my heart. Now my brother, sister, and I are losing another father. And sadly, my Mom is losing another husband.

Back to Mom and Larry. Larry had been widowed for about five years, and then comes my Mom. Truly, them meeting was healing and restoration for both families. God is so good. They had a fast courtship and pretty much knew that they knew right off the bat they loved each other and wanted to spend their lives together.

The day they got married.

They knew it was much more than a hunch, that this group would somehow form a family!

This July would have been their third wedding anniversary. Just not long enough. But this time we wouldn't take back for anything in the world.

Larry's biggest concern after he passes is that we remain together and remain a family. Don't think he has anything to worry about. Going through something like this kind of bonds you for life!

The tale, leads us to where we are now...

And that's the way we all became the Brady Bunch :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's okay.

It's an interesting thing. When you're faced with our situation, with a loved one battling cancer (which I still hate with every ounce of my being) and knowing it's terminal, it's a fine balance.

The selfish part of you wants to say FIGHT, fight to the end, we want you around a little longer.

The other part of you just needs/has to say, it's okay, it's okay to leave.

Larry often says "Brain cancer is exhausting".

In a moment of intense emotion last night he just said through tears, I'm ready to go. And for those who love him, it's hard to hear him say that. He is just so ready for his perfect healing whether it's here on earth or in Heaven.

I can't even begin to imagine how he must be feeling, or the emotions running through his body. I try to put myself in his shoes, but you just simply can't. 

We continue praying for comfort for his mind, his body, his spirit.

And continue reminding him that it's okay.

1 Timothy 6:12
"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses".

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Video- Family Pictures!

Can't even begin to say what a sweet time this was! So much love in this family!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sneak peak at family pictures!!

Family is where the heart is!!! <3

Friday, January 13, 2012

Forever changed.

I think these past couple weeks have forever changed me.

Like I said before, the stuff that used to matter, not so important anymore. I've learned so much and maybe that will be for another post.

I've seen and experienced God's presence during these past couple of weeks like I never have before, in more tangible ways than I've ever experienced. I have witnessed first hand someone walk through the unimaginable with such grace that I could only wish I had if I were going through the same circumstance.

The last two days have been fairly busy. The hospice doctor, social worker and nurse have been by to evaluate our home and assess Larry's condition. As hopeful as we were that Hospice would bring us more comfort from the medical aspect we found that they are more for the emotional comfort of the family. We've come to realize what an amazing support system we already have in place; therefore Hospice cannot compare. We are blessed with an amazing family and circle of friends. Larry's use of his left side has diminished which requires additional physical support for mobility. He continues to amaze us with his positive attitude and effortless witnessing to everyone that comes through the door.

This weekend will be a full one as we're getting family pictures taken tomorrow and then Sunday we are having a open house for those who would like to come by and visit Larry and love on him, and share memories, photos, and laughs with him, which I'm sure will be a beautiful but very emotional time.

We continue to covet your prayers in the days ahead! Today I'm feeling a little rundown and under the weather. I think it's all catching up with me and I'm just in need of GOOD rest. Now is NOT the time to get sick, so hoping this will pass quickly!

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Not just in fairy tales.

They say true love is just in fairy tales.

It's not. It's so not.

Captured this sweet moment yesterday. Such an example they are. I love them and I'm proud to call them my parents!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cancer can suck it.

I go back and forth between sad and mad. Everyone assures me it's okay to be mad.

Honestly, Cancer can suck it, that's what I say.

This is our life, our reality right now, and it sucks.

Our anger, confusion, and questions...it doesn't take God by surprise.

This is my venting place. I thank God for this little space where I can dump all my emotions and thoughts, especially during times like right now.

I hate seeing cancer take over the brain of a once vibrant man who now struggles with the simplest of things like brushing his teeth and getting in and out of bed. Ask him about details of his day and he can't remember. He's so weak right now but we know where our strength comes from.

We shouldn't have been talking around the dinner table last night about arrangements for Larry's memorial and what songs he would like. It just doesn't seem fair. We're still continuing to believe for a miracle, but at the same time know God could have other plans.

I hate this for my Mom, I hate this for our family.

Cancer. You suck.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

His legacy.

I'm a firm believer that what Satan means for harm, God can turn around for good.

While a patient at Shands Hospital, Larry was invited to be a special guest yesterday morning as the first year Medical Students at The University of Florida (Go Gators) started their Neuro Science class. His Doctors felt that Larry's rare case of Malignant Gioblastoma would be beneficial for future studies & possible cures. Jesus SHINED through Larry for sure!!!!! I wasn't able to be there but my Mom called me after. As a family, we were able to verbalize how this impacts all involved from a personal and practical level! There were lots of great questions of the students, but nothing compares to the accolades they gave to him at the end. Many shared how his story inspired them, but the best inspiration was his faith!! Larry wouldn't have missed the opportunity to give back! He was funny, articulate, and authentic Larry!! And from what my Mom said, he did amazing!! 

My sister took this yesterday. It was on their way home from Shands. You see that smile on his face? It never leaves. It just amazes me!

There's a Nichole Nordeman song called Legacy. There's a line that says " I want to leave a legacy, how will they remember me?" Y'all, this is his legacy right here, how we're going to remember him. His story is touching so many.

I realize in the midst of our circumstance there are those of you out there praying for healing, either for yourself or maybe you have a loved one in need of healing. I'm praying for you, please know that. One thing we've learned from this is that his ways are higher, his ways are greater, his ways are not our own.

Ephesians 3:20

" Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us."

Monday, January 9, 2012

In an instant.

Life, it can and will change in an instant.

When we arrived at the hospital, we had no idea we'd be driving back home with the knowledge of the possibility that Larry only had a few weeks left with us (We're praying and believing for so much longer and continue to believe for a miracle).

We're continuing to see the blessing in this, in that we can cherish and savor each moment we have left with him, say all we want to say to him and do all that we want to do with him before he leaves us. 

At Christmas I wrote each of my family members a letter. This is before having any idea of Larry's diagnosis and I'm so glad I did. If you're reading this, my advice to you, don't wait to tell people how much they mean to you, let them know now, at the exact moment you want to say it.

 I just wanted to preserve this:

Christmas 2011

Dear Larry:

          You came into our family at just the right time. It was a total God thing the way he orchestrated our families together. The way you have embraced Danielle and I, you will truly never know how much that means to us. You are our Father in every sense of the word and in every way that counts. Thank you for loving as your own. 

          You are an amazing husband to my Mom. I have never seen her happier or more content in all my life. Thank you for loving her and loving her well. You have been such an example for Danielle and I of what a godly husband looks like. You’re a man of such integrity and great character. All the qualities that I would love to find in a future husband.

          Larry, you have filled such a huge void in my life. Thank you for being the kind of father that I’ve always wished I had. The Lord knew what I needed when he brought you into our lives. You are slow to speak and quick to listen, thank you for always listening. I appreciate your sound and godly wisdom when I need guidance.

          I will never ever be able to say thank you enough for taking us into your home. I know you knew with Mom you were getting a package deal, but I’m sure you weren’t thinking in this way, ha! I don’t take lightly what you’ve done for us and I consider myself extremely blessed and fortunate in so many ways.

          With Danielle and I, there has been a lot of hurt and disappointment in the area of fathers. But God is a God of restoration and with you he has restored what was taken away from us. So very thankful for that, more than you will ever fully know. 

          In the past few years, when someone would come into Mom’s life I’d always feel as if we were losing her or someone was taking her away. But with you Larry, it was so different. I knew instantly it wasn’t a loss, but we were gaining a whole lot with you. It’s way too much to even attempt to put into a letter. 

          I love your sense of humor, your goofiness and your corny jokes, the way you make Mom laugh and the way her face lights up when you’re in the room. And with you in her life, I know that smile will stay permanently there. 

          You have brought so much to our lives, truly. It’s hard to remember life the way it was before our families merged together. I’m looking forward to continuing to build memories together as a family and with you. I think some of the greatest gifts we can give each other  are words. Words of love, words of encouragement, and words of affirmation.  It doesn’t have to come tied up in pretty paper with a fancy bow.  I think letting others know how much we love them can be one of the greatest gifts of all.

At Christmastime and always just wanted you to know how much I love you, how much your presence in my life has meant to me, and how blessed I am to call you my father. I love you so very much.  Merry Christmas, Larry!! Looking forward to what the New Year has in store for our family.

The best of my heart,

Thank you for your continued prayers. We covet them more than you know!!

Love y'all. 

Take a moment to watch this. This song has ministered to us so much during this time! If you're walking through a fire yourself right now, pray it ministers to you as well. We're fervently praying this over Larry!


Friday, January 6, 2012

I'm gonna love you through it.

Have any of you heard the Martina McBride song "I'm gonna love you through it?"

If you haven't, you need to. Have some tissues with you though.

It's kind of our anthem right now.

The house is quiet and friends and family have left and I have some time to myself. If you follow me on Twitter or friends with me on Facebook you know we just got home from a week away. Last Friday night we took my Mom's husband to the hospital. We didn't get good news. After a brain biopsy it was determined our Dad has a wide spread and rapid growing cancerous brain tumor and it's terminal and most likely only has a few weeks left with us. To say it's been an emotional week would be an understatement. Just when we think we can't cry anymore, fresh tears find their way to the surface.

As long as I'm on this side of Heaven there are some things I will never understand, but one thing I'm certain of is that God is faithful to the end. We would covet your prayers right now. Please pray for my family, my Mom, and specifically Larry, if you would like to call him out by name. They had 2.5 beautiful years together, just not long enough. Pray that the rest of the time they have together would be sweet and special. We are going to cherish the rest of the time we have with him, however long that may be. We have been in contact with Hospice and at this time it's about making him comfortable and his time left with us as enjoyable as possible. We have some things planned for him to make this time wonderful and want to mark some things off his bucket list. I have a feeling this is going to be a really neat and amazing time as a family and making memories we'll keep forever.

If there's one thing I've learned these past few days is that it's amazing how things that were once deemed important mean squat now.

When they got married they pledged to love each other in sickness and in health. 
(This is my favorite picture of them)

Before going for biopsy.

He and I before leaving the hospital today.
(Sorry I look like a hot mess. Just keeping it real. It's been a long and emotional week)

We're going to love him through it.

Of course we we are choosing and believing for a miracle. We realize it's a win/win situation and he'll be healed either way, whether it's on this earth or if God calls him home.

Here is the Facebook page set up for Larry for those interested: http://www.facebook.com/#!/LarryRowlandProgress?sk=wall

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


God says in this world we will have trials and tribulations but to take heart because he has overcome the world.

Our family is going through a pretty big trial right now! My Mom's husband was readmitted to the hospital before the New Year and is not doing well! He is scheduled for a brain biopsy. He went before a board of doctors and it has been determined it's most likely a form of lymphoma cancer. He has multiple lesions in his brain. So to biopsy is the best way to get proper diagnosis.

As you can imagine we are all pretty scared and it's been a very emotional time, but we know our God is greater. Please pray for complete healing of his body, for the doctors, and for my Mom and family! Specifically for Larry if you'd like to call him out by name!

The hospital has been amazing and the staff even better. He is in great hands!

I know there are prayer warriors out there and they would be so very much appreciated more than you know! Great things happen when two or more are gathered!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

Love y'all!!