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Today I turned 29! Some might dread the thought of turning 30, not me! I’m soaking up all the lessons from my twenties and running with open arms to my thirties. I have high hopes for this next decade. It’s amazing to me how during my first 20 years I can feel like I’ve barely experienced life then go through a decade of marriage, baby and death and feel like I’ve had a lifetime of experience.  I’m eager to use the next decade to teach and encourage as I continue to experience more of the peaks and valleys in this life.

I said I wasn’t going to wait as long to blog again, but I did. The eternal optimist in me always thinks I can take on more then is humanly possible. I completely underestimated the amount of time it would take me to get back into a normal routine and take care of all the many details that need to be taken care of after a spouse passes away. Please forgive me if you’ve reached out to me in anyway and I haven’t gotten back to you. I am working on it and I truly appreciate your patience.

I had a scare a few weeks ago when I went to the doctor for a check up. I’m making check ups a part of my regular routine now, because I don’t want to take any chances.  I just got done telling my doctor about Andrew passing away from cancer and she tells me with a look of concern that I need to go get a sonogram on my chest.  I am about to leave for a week to go speak to two churches and I’m freaking out.  I finally find a diagnostic center in a hospital to get me in before I leave town.  Walking into the hospital I felt empathy for everyone sitting around me having to go through this.  I also thought this would be a nice time to have a spouse. It reminded me of the blessing I was able to be for my husband and how I can imagine just having someone there would be even a small comfort. During the sonogram I cried because I was so scared. I told the nurse how I had to be ok because I have a little girl that needs me.  When the doctor came back in she said everything was normal. I was so grateful and it was a good reminder that no one is exempt from the possibility of getting cancer.

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The next week Ellie and I went to Cuero to spend time with my in-laws and for me to speak in San Antonio and Silsbee, TX.  I first spoke at a church in San Antonio, TX. Chase Graves, one of Andrew’s close friends and co-workers spoke also.  It was such a healing time for me (and I’m sure for Chase too) to be able to share our individual stories and experiences with Andrew. The congregation was incredibly welcoming and kind to us.

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The day before I spoke I drove with my mother-in-law to Houston to visit M.D. Anderson about medical bills.  We ate lunch at Papasitos (Andrew and I’s favorite). I was overwhelmed with emotion that day and went to the bathroom to cry it out. Something about Andrew and I’s conversations at Papasitos, his favorite food and really our companionship just made me miss him.

Walking into M.D. Anderson completely broke my heart. Looking at the faces in the cafeteria and being able to relate with the families going through cancer with their loved ones was too much for me.  I felt helpless to help them. Then I remembered how God helped me get through each grueling day and how I prayed He did the same for them.

A couple of days later I headed to Silsbee, TX to speak to a group of amazing women. Each time I tell my story (and I share different aspects of the story at each talk )I feel more and more of a connection with the audience. I’m less focused on not messing up and more focused on sharing my story in a way that inspires and encourages others. Up until these past two talks I had not cried during the talk. The past week was extremely emotional and I was finally able to let down my guard and feel my story as I shared it.  For me that was a huge accomplishment because I rarely take the time required to sit in my feelings and to express them. I felt a huge shift in the audience connection once I was able to express my true feelings.

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I spent some of this Thanksgiving with Andrew’s family (after running the turkey trot with my mom, family tradition) and although it was not the same without Andrew I think the entire experience brought his family and I closer. The day after Thanksgiving would have been Andrew’s 31st b-day.  Ellie and I sang happy birthday in the car to daddy.  We talked about missing him and some of our favorite memories with him. It was a sweet time.  This past week Ellie and I moved into our new house. It’s a fresh start for us. I finally feel like I’m moving toward somewhat of a routine and some stability. At times I’m aware that being a single parent won’t be easy, but then I remember what all I’ve already come through and I’m reminded that God is with me and helps me.  I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving and I think you should know that I am incredibly thankful for YOU! Lots of Love from Bay and El bug!