March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month!

In 2014, my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. Although he had turned 50 the year before and had already survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he had put off his colonoscopy. My mother convinced him to get his test one year later, even though he really didn’t want to.

His routine colonoscopy resulted in doctors discovering a blockage and he had to have a colon resectioning. It was after his surgery that we learned he had colon cancer. Over the next three years, he had aggressive chemo treatments, radiation, seed therapy, and many more surgeries. Despite having excellent medical care, he passed away in 2017. He was 54.

Although my dad didn’t survive cancer, he was able to live three more years after his diagnosis. I believe if he hadn’t had his colonoscopy and discovered his cancer when he did, he would not have lived as long as he did.

Colon cancer is now the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third most common cause of cancer deaths. More than 142,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer each year, and while 90% of them are 50 or older, colon cancer is on the rise for people in their thirties and forties. Typically, a person doesn’t get their first colonoscopy until they are fifty, unless they have a family history.

There are three things that automatically increase your risk of colon cancer- having a family history, being a carrier of the Lynch syndrome gene, or having an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s Disease. The following lifestyle changes can drastically reduce most people’s risk of colon cancer: maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, exercising regularly, eating a high-fiber, low-fat diet and limiting your sugar and red meats, and getting a yearly physical and blood work. If you are fifty or older, you should get a colonoscopy yearly, but if you carry a high risk of developing colon cancer, you will need to get your first one before age 50.

If you are unsure about what age you need to get your first one, consult your doctor. Consult the infographic below for more information.

Colon cancer is a difficult and often deadly disease, but if caught early, it’s treatable. Making smart lifestyle choices and getting your yearly health screenings can make a huge difference.

Have a great weekend.

Advertisements

AWOL, but still alive…

A brief hiatus, and now: a return. 

I apologize for my lack of posts lately. I intended to take the week of Thanksgiving off, but I did not intend to take three weeks off. Several things led to my taking three weeks off of blogging- some of them were planned, and some of them were not. 

Without revealing too many details, my family has been struggling lately. Some of the struggle is due to missing my dad and grandfather and trying to navigate through grief and the holiday season. Many of you can likely relate to this. In addition, we are dealing with something else in our home. We covet your prayers, and perhaps I’ll talk about this at a later date, but for now I need to keep quiet for my family’s sake. 

In the midst of all of those things, I was also diagnosed with bronchitis and pneumonia. Needless to say, I simply haven’t had the energy to blog. I apologize for my abrupt absence. I will be resuming my four-times-a-week posting schedule this week. 

My sweet girls and I. 

And it feels good to be back. 

Sunday Musings: I don’t have it all together…and that’s OK

Sunday Musings: I don’t have it all together…and that’s OK

I don’t have it all together. Not even close.

If most of us are honest, we will admit that we don’t have it all together. In today’s Pinterest-perfect society, we are expected to be perfectly dressed with perfect makeup, not a hair out of place, with perfectly clean, magazine worthy homes. We are expected to have a home-cooked dinner on the table every night, with perfectly dressed and perfectly behaved children.

I don’t have that; at least, not all the time. And never all at once. So, who holds us to this impossibly high standard? We do. We hold ourselves to these impossibly high standards we can never meet, but luckily, God does not.

God chose us, even though we are a long way from perfect. We don’t have it all together and God chose us anyway.

Ephesians 1:4 says “For he chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before Him.” We don’t need to be perfect; we just need Jesus. There are no perfect humans, and there don’t need to be. Jesus already fulfilled the role of the perfect human.

It’s tempting to spend all of our time trying to be perfect and live up to those impossible standards, but instead, let’s put that energy into trying to be like Jesus. He already knows we aren’t perfect and he loves us anyway.

Have a blessed week.

First day of school…and a super cute photo idea

First day of school…and a super cute photo idea

BACK TO SCHOOL

So, today, we celebrated a “first” in our house. It’s a first that comes around once a year…or twice, if you consider the fact that my daughter doesn’t attend school in the district where I teach. Yep, you guessed it. Today was my oldest daughter’s first day of school.

If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably already seen our newly minted second grader with her “back to school” sign and toothless grin.

38751759_2071592062907358_4362987689499164672_n

Most of us already take a “first day” photo of our kids, and some of us even create a sign or use a prop…

38936065_2072244212842143_7032414871618584576_o

…and some of us even take a picture at the school, or in front of the school sign.

But what do you do when your school child’s almost three year old little sibling feels left out? Make them a sign, too, of course!

38825108_2072244129508818_73372012944293888_o

Little Miss was tickled pink to be a part of the photo-festivities…and we got some super cute shots to use in her yearbook someday.  Her sign reads, “I’ll be here in three years!” Due to her late fall birthday, she’ll start school the fall AFTER she turns five, meaning she’ll turn six during her kindergarten year.

38747218_2072243949508836_6953114626984771584_o38764168_2072243779508853_3113536374007922688_o

We even sneaked back over to the school once the traffic died down a bit to take these cute pics in front of the school buses.

38828270_2072243442842220_1200692566119415808_o38745540_2072243512842213_3496714647279501312_o

 

It’s rare that I get a photo of the two of them where Aubrey is cooperating. Even though these two engage in a whole lot of sisterly spats, it’s clear from these pics that they really do love one another.

38795081_2072244429508788_9118458003131990016_o

And that makes my heart smile.

I hope you all have a wonderful school year, even those of you who (like me) haven’t started back to school yet.

Have a wonderful week, and join us tomorrow for some more “back to school” goodness.

Five Friday Favorites: Five Things I’m Loving Right Now

I have to admit, I had an entirely different post in mind for today, but I’ve seen so many cool things lately, it’s almost sinful not to share them. Today, I just want to share these treasures with you all.

1. Old fashioned Coca-Cola cooler from Tractor Supply

How cute would this look on my back porch? I would love to have this thing iced down, with a bunch of Cokes in glass bottles.

2. This extra large lantern from Pier One

I want two of these to put on my front porch. I love the cozy farmhouse vibe these give, and I can just picture them on our fireplace hearth. I love them!

QJ3-navy-shift-dress

3. This shift dress from Marley Lilly is simple, cute, and it’d be nice and cool in our sweltering North Carolina heat. I can just see it now with a pair of white Jack Rogers.

farmhouse-galvanized-decorative-pitcher

4. This galvanized farmhouse pitcher  is not only delightfully cute, it’s remarkably affordable, too.

Does anyone else love pitchers? I have so many already and I always want to buy more. This one would be super cute this fall with some sunflowers or black eyed Susans in it.

anthro soap

5. This Classic Mistral bar soap from Anthropologie smells great and it looks beautiful. The packaging is almost too pretty to open. I love to keep it in my hall bathroom for guests to use!!!

 

Have a wonderful, awesome weekend.

 

Why I Started Blogging

Why I Started Blogging

I’m often asked why I started blogging. The simple answer is that I first started blogging as a means to document our pregnancy and birth of our firstborn. Our firstborn is now almost a sassy, intelligent seven year old.

We’ve also added another sassy little lady to the brood.

We are still blogging, but our focus has changed. I’ve always loved making crafts, decorating my home and redoing furniture.

I came to realize at some point there were tons of blogs about these very things. And if they could share their homes, projects and ideas with the world, I could as well.

I started a blog about a passion of mine: getting organized and simplifying your life. I made a lot of online friends, I shared my ideas, and I made a little money.

I’ve learned so much about life and about myself. There have been times when blogging has been difficult and frustrating, but I’ve never regretted starting up this little o’ blog.

I’ve now been blogging almost seven years. It’s been a great seven years and I can’t wait to see what the next seven hold. Stay tuned, friends. Big things they are a comin’.

Choosing to live joyfully…even when you don’t want to.

Choosing to live joyfully…even when you don’t want to.

living a life of joy

In the English Standard Bible, the word “joy,” or other variations such as “joyful” and “rejoice” appear in the Bible some 430 times. You might say joy is important to God. But did you know he wants it to be important to us, too?

In James 1:2-3, God tells us to have joy even when we face trials.

joy.jpg

Source: Tumblr

If you’re like me, then you’d agree that it is easier to be joyful when things are going great, but it is hardest to be joyful when things are going badly. Joy doesn’t just happen though; it is a choice that we must make.

I recently stumbled upon this article by J. I. Packer. In it, he talks about how the book of Ecclesiastes, a book that I am not very familiar with, teaches us how to live, and how to do so joyfully. I found his article to be interesting, with a lot of valid points I’d never considered before.

So, how do you live a life of joy?

pexels-photo-424517.jpeg

  1. Practice gratitude.

I know it sounds silly to use the word practice here, but think about it. When you pray, or even when you’re just quietly reflecting and thinking, think about what you’re grateful for in your life. It could be the major things, like your home, family and your church, but it could be something small, like the rain, or the fact that your day was good. Being thankful and thanking God gives me great joy, because I remember how much he’s blessed me.

bible-job-reading-christianity-159679.jpeg

2. Live in His word

Reading the Bible, praying, and listening to praise and worship music gives me great joy. It’s like refueling an empty gas tank- listening to His music leaves me more fulfilled than anything else I might listen to. Reading His word or about his word makes me feel closer to God. It also keeps me feeling encouraged instead of bogged down and defeated.

pexels-photo-601170.jpeg

3. Share how God has blessed you with others

When I have been greatly blessed by a sermon at church, an answered prayer, or a song I’ve heard, I love being able to tell someone else about it. When we have something that may bless someone else, I believe it is our duty to share it with them.

How do you experience joy in your life?