Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Martha really surprised me on by birthday this year.  We had a joint birthday celebration for my Mom and I and my parent's house on the 13th since my Dad would be having surgery on the 17th and would be in no condition to celebrate on my actual birthday (24th).  When we loaded up the van to head to Adrian for the day I didn't notice that Martha had packed a few extra items for the kids.  I was totally surprised when I discovered that we not only had tickets for the Royals game Sunday afternoon but also for the Mercy Me concert immediately after the game.  I think the concert was better than the game even though the Royals whipped up on the Tigers.  There had to be at least 10,000 people that stayed for the concert.  It was a remarkable worship experience that one does not get to experience very often.  The kids spent the entire weekend with my parents so that gave us extra time to do some things we have been able to do in ages.  Jonalyn gave me a gift card for the AMC so we ended up going to the movies twice!  I wonder how she is going to top this next year...


Magic Moments

I wish I could package up the little magic moments in life and hold on to them forever.  Children grow up fast I've been told.  Tonight Emily leaped into my arms and and wrapped her tiny body around me like a monkey.  I relished in it.  When I came home from work and they ran to greet me at the door with hugs and kisses, I basked in the warmth of it.  Courtney snuggled up in my lap and tickled my cheek with your little blond curls.  I clung to it.  But, try as I might, I can't capture it.  These "magic moments" are fleeting.  Perhaps that's so there'll always be room for more.

It's all in the details

I didn't realize how "in tune" Benjamin was to details until we had the following exchange the other night at dinner:

Me:  "How much chicken did you eat tonight?"

Benjamin:  "I ate like 10 bites."

Noticing a pile of chicken still on his plate and questioning his counting skills I replied:  "You ate 10 bites?

Benjamin:  "No, I said 'like'."

Me:  "So, how many bites DID you eat?"

Benjamin:  "4, 5, 6, or 7."

I never cease to be amazed at the way his mind works.  Am I going to be able to keep up with him when he gets to be a teenager?!


Life Without Plastic

I didn't realize how accustomed I have become to the convenience of credit/debit cards until this week.  We separated ourselves from all credit cards a while ago after being inspired by Dave Ramsey to "live like no other so that one day you can live like no other."  We did, however, hold on to our debit card and mine somewhere, somehow disappeared from my wallet.  In an effort to protect our great wealth (tongue in cheek) I called the bank and disabled the card.  Unfortunately this also disabled Martha's card.  The new cards would arrive in the mail in 7 - 10 days.  No problem, right?  Think again.  We decided to end the week with a movie and a pizza.  I had a whopping $10 in my wallet but I was sure I could make it work.  The last thing I wanted to do was go out of my way and waste a lot of time in the bank drive through.  With my tank on empty, I drove to McDonald's first thinking I might be able to use my ATM card in the Red Box.  I came to my senses shortly after entering the building.  What kind of fool would try to use an ATM card in a Red Box?  And who wants to wait behind six people to rent a movie anyway!  I decided to focus on the pizza.  Surely $10 would get me eough pizza from Papa Murphy's to feed my family.  I drove the 3 miles to their nearest location.  The place was packed but it didn't matter.  The menu said I would need at least $11 and change for a single topping pie.  I could not longer avoid the ATM machine and my family was counting on me so I jumped back in the car drove 2 miles to the nearest ATM.  Fortunately no one was behind me because it took at least 15 mintes to get my wallet out of my pocket.  I'm sure I looked like an idiot twisting, turning, and contorting in my seat.  For some reason my pants pocket just wouldn't let go!  With a crisp new $20 bill I headed back to Papa Murphy's.  The place was still packed.  I waited while at least 5 customers placed and purchased their orders and forced a smile as I stepped up to the counter for my turn.  Unfortunately, this was only an exercise in patience becuase I had left my wallet in the car.  With a somewhat embarrased look on my face I headed back the car, retrieved the wallet, and entered Papa Murphy's for the third time.  After waiting behind at 5 customers AGAIN I finally got to place my order.  Wouldn't you know it.  The final cost after tax -- $9.86.


The Hand of God

God is amazing and perfect in every way.  Too often we only realize this in hindsight.  Even so a reminder is indescribably reassuring and comforting.  I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in late May of this year.  I was never sick or in pain.  I never exhibited any signs of abnormality except for a swollen lymph node that God made clearly visible on my neck.  Without this visible evidence I would have never known I needed medical attention until it may have been too late. 

What about His perfect timing?  I was in the first week of recovery after my second round of chemotherapy.  This week in the treatment cycle is more difficult than the actual week of treatment.  The drugs have fully infiltrated the body and the patient is exhausted from fighting the effects and side-effects.  Activities outside of lying in bed or on the sofa are usually out of the question.  Our church family had been showering us with love by managing our lawn, running errands, bringing meals, and relieving us of our three children.  On one particular evening of this “first recovery week” Ruth Mullins from church was bringing us a meal.  She was on her way out the door when her phone rang.  Another lady from church, June Hanson, needed to discuss some details about VBS.  She was delayed 15 – 20 minutes from arriving at our house.  God’s timing was perfect!  Just before she walked in the door Benjamin, our 5-year-old, sprayed himself in the eye with Martha’s perfume.  (How do 5-year-olds manage to do this kind of stuff anyway?)  There was no way I would have been able to help Martha hold down this screaming terrified child in order to flush his eye out with water.  Ruth didn’t even wait to be asked.  She just said “Let’s do it”!  She and Martha took turns holding him and pouring water in his eye until the crisis was over. 

God continues to show Himself to us almost daily.  I start my third round and most likely the last round of chemo therapy tomorrow.  My blood tumor markers are already almost normal.  God is awesome and I’m so grateful for this cancer and the opportunity to see Him at work.  Stay tuned for more updates on the life and times of the Slaven family!


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