Tangled in Thankfulness


These days I find myself living a life that's tangled with joy and normalcy, and yet I find myself in moments where I am forgetful of where I have been, too caught up in the earthly trivial things going on around me or selfish desires I am frustrated aren't happening. I've learned so much about God and who I am because of the insanely hard moments of having a child with cancer, that while I am so grateful to have the privilege to be caught in the mundane struggle of life, I also don't want to be stuck there without acknowledging my God story that both rebukes and encourages my heart when I stop to remember.

It's a new season for sure. Just looking back over this neglected blog, I found this I had written 1 year and about 10 months ago:

"It's Day +4 and every day has been a little harder than the last. Judah has had extreme nausea. He has been vomiting a couple of times a day. He is also very sensitive to the IV flushes and heparin that the nurses have to use after meds/changing lines, etc. 

One of the sweetest things he has done on his own is asking to hold my hand during what he considers unpleasant times."

I never wrote that for the world to see, but it brings this bittersweet remembrance to my mind of how far God has healed and how far we have come since Judah's leukemias and bone marrow transplant to today. It's not because of anything we have done, but only because of Jesus working in us and through us, and the answer so many prayers over our sweet little boy, and I am so grateful.

It's honestly incredible how much we have gone through since that time and absolutely mind blowing that it could feel as if that was someone else's life.

From the slow healing of new marrow to coming off meds one by one, to countless doctor appointments that slowly got spaced out to just once a quarter this last year, to a blessed and booming real estate business, a growing church plant, to getting to do a bathroom reno in our home, to traveling to Disney for Judah's Make-A-Wish trip, to enjoying summer fun in the pool, lots of artwork hung every which way all over the walls, messes and more messes to clean up... the lavish grace over us is beyond anything I can think or imagine!

These two sons are gifts and it's been fun entering into that stage of no diapers and more self sufficiency. I'm enjoying being their mom so much. While they wear me out beyond belief and ask for things CONSTANTLY, they are growing into these awesome little people that often make me laugh!

We go on Thursday of this week to MUSC for a quarterly visit for labs and a physical with Judah's oncologist and we once again pray and ask for prayer for healthy, normal labs and a continued healthy Judah & family.

This October will be 2 years post transplant. We will go for annual tests and biopsies, and will be praying for the C-FREE results. I walk in victory over what God has done and pray that fear and doubt won't sweep in leading up to these days! Thank you for continuing to pray over our family!

I'm thankful to be less and less hinged around this time when God fought this battle for us, but these doctor visits remind me how out of control our own lives really are. It's not about what I do, although I so often want to think if I clean up my act, then God will be pleased. No, he is already pleased, not because of me or anything I do, but because of Jesus who lived that perfect life for me!

Also, if you could pray, pray for the families who have lost their little ones and are missing them big: Madelynn, Avie, Wyatt, and Aurora. Pray for continued health for Caroline and Victoria. And pray for those fighting right now super hard and are in the thick of it big time: William and Ry.

Accepting I am a Weirdo Recovering Cancer Mom


Today I was shopping in Aldi and a woman was apparently observing me and how I shop. She said, "You know just what you want and you just grab it and put it in your cart! Here I am just moseying along through the aisles not knowing what I want." I laughed and made some funny joke about having 2 boys that eat through the house and never having enough food in the house!

Now, when she said this I didn't think much of it, but I realized that I do know what I want and I am very purposeful in how I shop and what I choose these days. 

When she said this to me I happened to be on the end cap of the organic produce section at Aldi and this week there was seemingly more to choose from than others. I was grabbing all the organic produce that made reasonable sense for our family and budget. As I was checking out, I looked down and was so grateful for this store and the ever increasing "Simply Nature" organic items they seem to carry. 

You see, I am learning to accept that I am in fact a weirdo recovering cancer mom that can't go back to that other me who didn't care before cancer. 

I admit that I used to never care about if food was organic or not. I didn't really think it mattered very much. 

But then I looked at the state of my health dealing with Ulcerative Colitis in my young 20s and later having a child with cancer, a husband with ongoing asthma and digestive issues and I realized that through all of that I did decide it mattered and that I had to fight to get healthier and cleaner products and food into my home. This is something I am truly passionate about and it's shaped how I shop and even stepping into the consultant role with Beautycounter.  

We are far from perfect in this, but it was a priority I realized that I wanted to put more of our money towards. My kids still eat too much junk and it's a never ending fight to try to reduce their sugar intake from the world, but we all have to do the best we can and still try and live a normal happy and balanced life. 

Grocery shopping is just a tiny thing in the week that we all have patterns and ways we go about it. It really isn't something I stop to think much about until a stranger seems to recognize that "I know what I am doing" (even though I very much do not!). I just try to stock up on organic produce as cheap as possible and act like a kid in a candy shop when doing it! 

Looking at my cart, I found myself thinking, maybe buying organic is a hoax and it doesn't really matter at all. Maybe it truly doesn't. But then I found myself thinking about pesticides and them being spayed all over crops these days and you know, maybe I just won't take that chance as a recovering cancer mom? 

p.s. I know it's been forever since I posted on this blog and maybe a nice little family update would be good, but I just had the urge to write and maybe, just maybe I am realizing I need to make that time in this world and not worry about the order of things so much, but here's a family photo that the talented Charlie Mather took of us, that I should probably post a little more soon... in a year... when I feel like it.... hahaha
Judah is doing great and we had a clear 1 year post transplant biopsy and we celebrated his first Day 0 Re-birthday and truly we could not do anything else than to give God all the glory and thank him daily for the breath in our lungs and the life in our children! Thank you Jesus for your healing on our family! 

Almost Out


It's late and quiet and I'm a night owl, so I tend to do a lot of thinking at this time when the littles are in bed. I'm pausing and thinking about where we are right now and where we just came from. We are almost out of the tunnel. The light is getting brighter in this season and soon we will bolt out into the sunshine free.

There have been very distinct moments where I felt like a wounded soldier limping out from the battlefield, going through any cancer will do that to you whether you are the patient or the mom of the patient. Moments when I cried over and over to God, asking him to protect and preserve the life of my sweet 2 year old son. And even now as we near almost the end of 100 days post bone marrow transplant, there's that quiet terrible whisper asking me, "Will God be good again THIS TIME?" Even though, I quickly say to my soul, "YES! He will be good THIS time and EVERY time!" Oh, how good he has been to this little boy and to us! Judah has his 90 day bone marrow biopsy this coming week and we are praying for clear results and 100% donor cells so he can finally go home, so that all 4 of us can go home, so that this whole back and forth, time split when we can't all be together time will end. I feel like in many ways my life is in limbo and yet at the same time, like God has used this time to mold me more into who he wants me to be.

God's opened a passion in my heart for healthy living and I can honestly say there isn't a more perfect place than Mount Pleasant, SC for that to start. My joke when I first got here was, "Where is everybody running to!?"

It's hard to put a finger on exactly how God is changing me, but I can feel it deep inside. A newness  of life is there springing up from the caked dry hard ground of my heart. I was so tired and rundown and complacent in life before and now I cannot help but feel as if God brought us through so much! There is NOTHING he cannot do! This time has helped me to stop and DREAM again, to pray and seek God to lead us to where he wants us!

I'm honestly excited about routine and life at home and running our businesses. God is good and I'm grateful for all of you and how you walked with us through this and while there is so much recovering and healing to yet go through, I cannot help but stop and look and see how far God has brought us. Praise Him for that, friends! Praise Him!
Happy 2017 to you all! 

The Traylors

Hospital Life and Judah Update: Week 1


I sat in my favorite hammock chair pouring my heart and tears out to the Lord. Today was the day we were beginning our hospital life helping Judah fight 2 different forms of leukemia before his bone marrow transplant. I remembered how the very first time I walked into the clinic holding my 6 week old beautiful blue baby bundle, there was a guy that Hart knew from college. He fought leukemia as a child and was back for his yearly check-up. He had just had a baby boy. Something most cancer patients know just won't ever happen for them.

I remember at that moment the Lord whispering to my heart, I can do all things. See, what good I can do.

In my trembling fear gazing at my newborn, I wondered, "Was this foreshadowing things to come?" If so, God was telling me that He had it. Nothing is impossible for him.

I sit tonight after our first week of chemotherapy admitted in the hospital in awestruck wonder of God's goodness. I know it will get harder. This is just the first week of 5, but truly I feel so utterly blessed. There were tons of hard moments this week. We had to go back to surgery 2 days after to replace a central line that Judah had pulled out. We had to fight Judah to get oral meds into him. Chasing a toddler around hooked to a sensitive IV line and heavy pole that constantly was getting caught on things and wasn't long enough to keep up with how fast he was moving was EXHAUSTING. There were moments of intense frustration and little sleep. But there was SO so SO much good that all I can do is praise the LORD!

Walking into this week, I had the pleasure of being able to worship at church one last time for awhile and the song, "Christ be all around me" by All Sons and Daughters and it was one of those moments where I had to lift my hands and everything in me said, "YES! This is what I need." Christ before me, Christ behind me, above and below me. All around me.

And He has been. He has covered Judah like a shield. He has allowed Judah to be remarkably unphased by chemo thus far and I'm so grateful for this so very tiring week.

We had the body of Christ visibly around us in friends bringing meals to the hospital (SUCH a help!!!), sending us encouragement in many forms (texts, chocolate, links to songs, small gifts for me and the boys, financial giving, visits), having family help out, and the hospital staff here at Palmetto Richland has been so fun and positive, and helpful! It's really been amazing!

God is with us! He is before us and paving the way of complete healing for Judah!

Thank you for continued support and prayers! Because of you, we are being held up and sustained! 

Stunned by His Faithfulness


I was hot and flustered trying to put Judah's carseat into the van in the middle of July. She scared me as she said my name which I barely heard over the music and thinking about how I was going to wrangle my wild child into his carseat. It was my neighbor and she wanted me to come over to her driveway to give me something.

I was on my way out to drop the boys off at a friend's so I could go show houses and running a bit behind schedule.

As I pulled into the drive way, she came out with a small rectangular piece of paper in her hand. As she got closer, she held it out to me and said, we just wanted you to have this. Get that baby well.

It was a check for $1,000.

I was stunned. 

We love these neighbors so much. They are like my kid's 3rd set of grandparents. They have watched my kids run around barefoot to pick blueberries in the back yard and have seen my little daredevil's tricks on the trampoline over and over again. They have given popsicles over the fence and taken them when this frazzled mama just needed a couple hours to clean the house. They have gotten mail and fed our dog when we were out of town.They have been sweet family right next door for the last 7 years, but I didn't expect this.

In all honestly, I didn't expect any of this.

Some 20-something year old man halfway across the world giving my baby a chance at new life. A neighbor handing me a check for too much money to go towards all the added expenses coming up.

And suddenly, I see right up close that God sees my heart and knows my fears and wants to show me He is bigger. When I pray and ask God to be CLOSE; He is. He gives and provides and uses His people for His glory and leaves me speechless, because I am too used to the mundane to see this God that is able to move mountains. So he proves it to me as he stuns me out of complacency. He is the giver of life, of new life, of needed things to help relieve stress and mostly, he is my God the One who also had me read this passage this morning before all this happened and as I reflected on it again this evening, I can't help, but see this verse jump out before me.

"The living, the living, he thanks you, as I do this day; the father makes known to the children your faithfulness." Isaiah 38:19 

If you would like to find out more about Judah's health updates check out his FB page! If you would like to know more about his giving, go here!