Babbling Brooke

Babbling Brooke

Monday, November 27, 2017

When the Words Won't Come

          It seems in the past year I have had several friends going through some really hard stuff.  I don't know if it is because I am getting older so more adult, real life problems are present or if it is just a really tough season for several that I care about.  It has been a variety of struggles, heartaches and crises.  When the news has came each time I have felt the tug of war struggle of wanting to fix things and not knowing what to do.  It is like you want to jump in the water and rescue them but there is no place for you to jump.  So then you are left saying "I will pray for you." Sometimes saying that just seems cliché and frankly it sometimes doesn't feel like enough.  Recently a friend changed my mind on those cliché feelings. 

          My list of friends and family that I am praying for is long and full of BIG stuff.  Occasionally I will send a text to a friend after I have prayed for them.  I don't know about you but there are times I will be driving down the road or unloading the dishwasher and God will just place a friends name on my heart and it is in that moment that I stop in my tracks and pray for that person.  I almost consider it a "text from heaven." God knows the busy season of life I am in so he pricks my heart and stops me then and there for a time of prayer.  Recently I texted a friend "I just prayed for you" I just wanted her to know that God had just placed her on my heart and I wanted her to know that even though her storm is raging she still has people in her corner rooting for her and praying for her.  The response she sent is what quieted my doubts and made "I will pray for you" anything but a cliché.  My friend has been through a lot, most recently a great loss.  When I told her I had just prayed for her she replied "good, thank you, I need you to because lately when I try to pray the words just won't come."

         Many of you have been right where she know God, you know of his faithfulness and goodness but the waves keep crashing before you can open your mouth to catch some air.  You get over one hurdle to look up and see that a mountain is next.  The pain of life can be paralyzing, it can be a brutal place and to that all I can say is thank goodness this world is not our home! But here we are living in this world and if you are on the sidelines watching as friends get hit blow by blow with the pain and heartache that life dishes out- pray for them! Let them know that you are praying! God is faithful and provides us with each other to lighten the loads of our brothers and sisters when life gets too heavy.  If you are being beaten by life right now, if you are paralyzed by the pain of life and the words won't come when you pray- let others pray for you.  Let others walk with you and give you the sustenance you need to make it through the valley.  God has given us so many blessings one of the greatest is the gift of each other!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

One Step At A Time

       It was the day before his 5th birthday.  I picture his mom, Sarah, checking off her to do list.  Cupcakes have been ordered, presents bought, candles secured, deposit for the party paid.  I imagine her doing all the exciting things a mom does the day before her child's birthday.  I even imagine a flood of sadness wash over her as she wonders 'where have these almost 5 years gone?'   I picture her smiling at how hard the newborn stage was and how it felt never ending but now he has grown into this independent little boy.  I bet if you asked Sarah the year before what she would be doing the day before her son, Brodie's, 5th birthday she would have envisioned something much like I imagined above. 

       The reality is the day before Brodie's fifth birthday things were not like what I had imagined. Things were in fact a nightmare.  Sarah & Josh, Brodie's parents found themselves sitting a doctors office trying to wrap their brains around the words coming from his mouth.  They listened as the doctor diagnosed Brodie with Philadelphia Positive Pre-B ALL (leukemia).  June 24, 2011 at 4 years, 11 months and 29 days old Brodie's life was completely changed.  The rug was pulled out from under them.  A pinch on Sarah's arm confirmed that she was in fact not dreaming.  She was awake and this was a parents worst nightmare happening to her oldest son, Brodie. 


       He was admitted to the hospital for 29 days to begin his first rounds of chemo.  He spent time in and out of the hospital before a 5 week stay for his bone marrow transplant on October 4, 2011.  His donor would be his sister, Jenna, she is super proud of that! Everything went well with the transplant but on March 23, 2012 they were told that Brodie had relapsed.  This began his longest stay to date, 4 months, YES! you read that right 4 months of a small, sterile hospital room.  Brodie began a 3 year long treatment plan with chemo only this time instead of a transplant.  Brodie has stayed at the hospital 370 days total since his diagnosis, and still goes monthly for labs/meds.  He continues to take daily chemo pills at home and still has his port but otherwise is doing awesome! He has been in remission since April 2012.  The family has developed a mantra, One Step At A Time. 

       Things are different for Brodie than a child who has never fought leukemia or cancer.  He loves sports but contact sports are something that he is not able to participate in.  Brodie has remained full of joy and found new interests and hobbies to involve himself in.  Truly living the one step at a time, when he finds out he cannot do something he reroutes his steps and finds something new to enjoy.  For now a couple of those things include being the water/ball boy for Jackson Christian's high school football team.  He loves the game of football and any chance he see's my husband that is what he is talking to him about.  Another hobby is cooking.  Brodie is great in the kitchen and loves to create unique concoctions with things in his fridge or pantry.  Recently he made a homemade alfredo sauce with sausage that was a huge hit.  He also loves to make Julia Child's chicken fricassee.  He is going to have one happy wife someday with his cooking skills!!

       To know Brodie, is to love Brodie! He is a kid full of joy that has taught people way older than him many life lessons.  When life throws you a curve, which it will, slow down and take it one step at a time.  Reroute if you have to but never ever stop taking the steps! Speaking of steps...there is a large group from our church, including Sarah-Brodie's mom, running the St. Jude half marathon.  If you have ran a half marathon before then you know they are tough, they require a lot of training, mental & physical discipline and ibprofeun :)

         I can say that every training run I have done has included prayer time for Brodie.  I have logged many miles and if I am honest there have been some runs where I wanted to throw in the towel and go home.  But when my mind is wrestling with my tired legs it is in those moments that I am reminded of Brodie and his whole family.  I think of the 4 month stay in the hospital and what he wouldn't have given to have a day outside with fresh air and time to run around, so I pound the pavement a little more.  One step at a time.  Next up my knee will begin to ache and I will think surely I have to stop and then I remember his parents, Sarah & Josh, and how emotionally and physically exhausted they must have been. But as parents they stay strong and fight on.  One step at a time.  Then my side- the pinch is hurting so bad surely I should quit.  Then I think of Brodie, still taking chemo, still going to the doctor monthly.  One step at a time. 

      I write all of this to ask that you pray for Brodie and not just Brodie but all the precious kids at St. Jude.  It is a place that does great work and they do it all free of charge to their patients! I also ask that if you are able please consider a donation to St. Jude! We have created a Team Brodie page and the link is just below this.  You can easily click on the link and make a one time donation.  Anything you can spare will aid in saving the life of a child $5, $25, $100.  Thanks for reading this, thank you for your donations, and most of all thank you for praying!!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Listen to Him

             A couple of years ago a girlfriend of mine spoke at a ladies night.  She gave her testimony, told some hilarious family stories and ended with one piece of advice that she was given that she wanted to share with all of us.  Her advice seemed so simple but it spoke so much to me and since that night has been a whisper in my ear when my own human doubts creep in. 

            Her advice..."When you feel those words from God, when you hear Him telling you do something don't doubt it, don't hush it, don't talk yourself out of it.  Just do it."  These words have stuck with me and I have tried, sometimes failed, to act when I hear or feel God nudging me to be His hands and feet. 

            This week I stumbled upon a recipe and randomly my first thought was "I should make this for my neighbor."  My neighbor has been sick so it wasn't such a far fetched idea.  My human self said things like "what if she is allergic to nuts?", "what if she is sick from chemo?", "she doesn't know I am making this what if she isn't even home?" but louder than my doubts were the words of my girlfriend, so I loaded Wells up and off to Kroger we went.  I got my produce and passed the florals, as I passed I saw the most happy sunflowers.  It was almost like they saw me too, "buy me, buy me" they petitioned.  In my cart they went. 

           That afternoon Brian and Meritt took her husband the goodies.  I honestly hadn't thought much more about it until yesterday when my neighbor walked over to our backyard.  She looked great and was feeling great which made us so happy.  Her words though, they confirmed what my girlfriend had told us that night a many moons ago.  You see my neighbor told me that friends were bringing them dinner the night that we delivered the berry crisp and flowers.  She told me that she had a brownie mix that she was going to make but hadn't yet made it.  Then she told me that day that she kept thinking as soon as her husband got home from work she needed him to take her to get flowers for the table. Before they could leave for the store Brian and Meritt had delivered our goodies.  Obviously I had no clue that she was having company and I definitely didn't know what things she needed...but God, He did!

             The things I did were not extraordinary, the things I did really weren't even my idea.  They were God's.  Thankful for the great advice my friend, Chantel, shared 2 years ago otherwise my human nature may have gotten in the way of being the hands and feet of Jesus.  I challenge you to listen and act on what God is telling you to do.  The results can be great and even better glorify Him!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Growing Pains


  As a kid my maternal grandparents lived about an hour away.  About every six weeks or so we would go and eat at their house after Sunday church.  I can remember the hour long drive felt like eternity because we were hungry and also because we knew the amazing food that awaited us.  My tastebuds would venture to say that NO one can fry okra, make homemade jam, or bake the perfect broccoli casserole quite like my Nana.  So as we drove the hour drive we wanted my dad to hit the pedal a little harder and get us there a little sooner.  There was nothing extraordinary about Sunday afternoons at my Nana & Papa's, except all the ordinary in it.  It was just the fuel we needed to fill our hearts & tummies.  We shared a big meal, laughed & talked, played a game or two of kickball or we'd sit at the table with dominoes.  Some might nap while others watched Sunday NFL, there was no agenda, no requirements, just time spent conversing and loving on each other as families do.

             When I was 9 or 10 years old I remember it was a Sunday night and we had just said our goodbyes to my grandparents.  They stood on their carport, as grandparents do, and waved goodbye as we reversed out of their driveway.  It was very normal, it had been a very normal, fun Sunday so as we reversed I couldn't understand why my mom was crying? I asked her...I remember as she wiped tears she said "because everytime we leave they get a little older and so do you." Being a child I really hadn't noticed that my grandparents had aged.  I thought they dressed like old people, and had grey hair like old people but as an innocent child I assumed that is how they would look forever.

            Fast forward to 24 years Nana has been gone for 5 years, my parents nest is empty.  There four little birdies are all adults now; my oldest brother and I both live in the same town as my parents along with our spouses and children.  My two younger brothers have taken career paths that have lead them to living further away.  One brother lives about 90 minutes away and the other, the baby brother, lives about 9 hours away.  Yes, 9 hours away.  I know that is normal and it happens to families everywhere but in my childhood head I just knew we would all live super close and see each other daily.

            A couple of weeks ago we were blessed to all get to be together for the first time in 7 LONG months.  The visit went way too fast, it was filled with eating, swimming, and laughing.  It filled our tanks with the fuel we needed to make it until our next visit all together.  As we drove off I felt the tears as they streamed warmly down my face.  I was taken back to a time when I saw my mom crying those same tears.  I think the tears come from growing pains.  The aching in our hearts that know what is coming...parents getting older, children spreading their wings and weeks (sometimes months) that stand between us all being together again.  No visit is taken for granted and it is truly a celebration to all be together doing nothing extraordinary at all.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

We Are The Body of Christ

                  It was around two months ago that my son turned 3 years old.  It was also the time where we heard the news that some long distance friends of ours lost their baby girl in a tragic car accident.  We spent the day at toys r us letting our son pick out his birthday gift, while I can only imagine they spent the day picking out things for their babies funeral.  This past week my husband and I celebrated our twelfth wedding anniversary while a precious mother of four at our church heard that her cancer is much worse.  We spent the day reflecting on the past twelve years and dreaming of our future together.  They spent the day gazing in each others eyes wondering what next step they should take.

                  As the last few weeks of summer approach my family is faced with which lunchbox to order for my kids, where has the summer gone, and will this house remodel ever be finished? While others are faced with very tough, just plain awful decisions it is almost embarrassing to think of the things that weigh on my mind in comparison of what others are having to ponder.

               Life.  While one is celebrating another is grieving.  If you have lived long enough you know that sometime in your life you will experience both.  Maybe your experience won't be the exact same but you will both experience life's greatness and also life's darkness.  If you talk to someone that has been through the valley and ask them what got them through they will tell you the grace and mercy of God, no doubt.  They will also tell you the body of Christ, the men and women that showed up and served them the only way they knew how.  The sweet homemaker that showed up with homemade bread and poppy seed chicken because she didn't know what else to do.  The handyman that showed up to fix the leaky drain because he thought it would save them from having to call someone.  The lady that always sends cards, the one that wrote the very words and verse you needed to hear.  The praying man who knew just the words to pray when honestly you just couldn't find the words to pray.  The anonymous givers who sent money because they knew it could somehow help.  These are the people that make up the body of Christ.

          What is your talent? What is your gift? I challenge you to know it and to use it.  Your talent or gift may seem small to you but when added in with others and when you are using it to glorify God it will make huge impacts on peoples lives and no doubt help to get them through the darkest most difficult days of their life.  We are the body of Christ.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Weeds to Wildflowers

     It was 3 years ago today.  I recount it all as though it was yesterday.  I was VERY pregnant with Wells.  11 days shy of him being born, to be exact.  I had reached the point physically that I did not care what pain might lie ahead; i wanted this baby out of me.  I was at the point where I was huge, swollen and insomnia was my nightly visitor.  It hurt to sit, to lay, to all hurt. Physically it was time.

     As ready as my physical body was to welcome Wells, my emotional side was apprehensive.  How could I possibly love another child like I love Meritt? How will I be able to get 2 children dressed and ready everyday? What will Meritt do when so much of my time will be occupied with a newborn? These and so many other questions and doubts ran CONSTANTLY through my mind.  Emotionally I wasn't sure it was time.

      Three years ago today Meritt and I were heading to the store to purchase some last minute baby items.  While driving we passed by a field full of (to me) yellow weeds (to Meritt) pretty yellow flowers.  From her car seat she exclaimed "look mommy pretty yellow flowers" something prompted me to pull over on the side of the road and let her play in them.  Meritt ran and picked flowers, she smelled them and explored the large field.  I smiled as I watched her little spirit enjoy life; even while smiling i was struck with the anxious pain that had haunted me so much the last several months...How are we going to do this? How are we going to love two kids equally? How is all of this going to work? I began to pray and ask God to intercede to calm my fears and to give us the strength and guidance we needed to parent two children.

        Meritt played for 10 or so minutes and I spent those minutes praying to God.  As I buckled her in the car I felt an overwhelming peace.  Many uncertainties lied ahead of us but I knew that God was with me and that assurance was more peaceful than i can describe.  I took one more glance at those yellow weeds but strangely they looked more like flowers to me now too.

      Every April & May I pass these yellow wildflowers and I am always reminded of my prayer to God.  When I see the wildflowers I smile because I remember God's faitfulness.  Wells is now 2 and Meritt 5 and at this point in life it is almost comical that I was so anxious about something that now seems so silly.  That is one of the MANY things that I love so much about God, though.  No matter how petty or small our concern is He wants us to give it to Him.  He cares for our small concerns as much as He does the big ones just like He cares for the weeds of the field as much as the beautiful wisteria on the vine. Thanks be to God for hearing it all and being there for it all.  From weeds to wildflowers He is there.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Christmas Wish

      With a few days standing between me and Christmas I have found myself busy with all the "adult" tasks that one would need to complete before the actual festivities begin.  I have purchased, wrapped, baked, attended class parties and last I finally decided to clean.  Today as I vacuumed my eyes glanced first to my daughter; sitting indian style in the floor working a puzzle.  I smiled as I watched her little eyes gaze around searching for her next perfect piece.  I felt pride as I watched her find piece after piece and eventually complete her puzzle.  God, please help me remember.

      I vacuumed several other areas and eventually ended up in my room.  There my son laid on the floor, barefoot, two little matchbox cars in his hands. He rolled the cars back and forth, talking to the cars as he pushed them.  He heard the vacuum and looked up to meet my eyes; we both smiled.  God, please help me remember.

     As everyone has warned, the older my kids get the faster this life is going.   I really do try to drink it all in.  The tender, sweet moments and the moments of discipline. The good and the not so good.  The days when they are healthy and full of energy and the days where they need to lay on me and get well.  God, please help me remember.

    Today my two year old asked "Mommy, what Santa bring you?"  I laughed and told him once you are married Santa doesn't come anymore.  Not even sure he understood what my answer meant.  Today I have caught myself asking "what would you want if you could have anything?"  And today as I vacuumed my answer was clear as a bell...God, help me remember.

     This phase of life it is busy.  This phase is full of joy and pain.  This phase is tiring.  This phase is more fulfilling than I ever dreamed.  This phase is full of guilt.  This phase is full of these little people teaching me BIG Christ like lessons.  This phase makes me want to be the best I can be.  This phase makes me yearn for their bedtime to hurry up; then come downstairs only to miss them.  This phase is full of all the feels.

    More than anything I just want to remember it all.  God, help me remember.