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How our lives turned upside down... #CancerSucks

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With the help of my sister's blog post.... here is what our family has been facing over the last few weeks. 

I called my parents to see what they were up to on Father's Day - they were out for my sister's birthday which was the next day.  My mom casually mentions that dad saw the doctor that day about a hernia that popped out that week.

The next morning my sister's OB/GYN, who happens to be building a house next to my parent's home, saw dad and told him he should go in to the ER because of the pain levels my dad was experiencing.

He went in... they did a cat scan and saw a golf ball-sized growth on his liver and a mass in his colon. My grandma, dad's mom, died at 78 years of age from liver cancer and his only sibling, his brother, died a few years ago at the age of 69 of colon/rectal cancer. It's fair to say panic set in.

My Dad got in to see the surgeon the following Monday and was told that he needed a colonoscopy. Dad had been loosing weight and yet his stomach was growing. He contributed the weight loss to all the work he'd been doing on his house, which was a good thing in his mind.

Trouble is... since Dad's fall last summer where he broke his hip, he has had a few bouts of health issues for pretty much the first time in his life. He had severe bronchitis twice and both required antibiotics over the winter (which I found out about well after it happened, the problems of living nearly 5,000 klm away).  Then about 2 months ago he developed an infection in his blood, his elbow popped out like a baseball. They couldn't figure out what it was or why it had happened, he was on I.V. antibiotics for a week.

On June 25th Dad went in for the "double," a colonoscopy and that procedure where they go down your throat... they also took a chest X-ray.  The mass they'd seen in the cat scan of his colon was GONE! An answer to prayer ... but they did see some damage in his esophagus due to having pretty bad acid reflex over the last decade or so.

On Monday the 29th Dad saw the surgeon and for the first time we heard the word CANCER. They saw multiple masses / tumours in his abdomen but were unsure where the source was... more tests were needed. By this time his abdomen had grown so much that he looked 9 months pregnant with twins, he was very uncomfortable and in severe pain. He was pale, a little gaunt, and not eating much.


June 30th I booked five one-way tickets to Vancouver. I told the kids to pack up, I canceled my oldest's Summer School math class, canceled the kids Summer Camp trip. Found someone to take our newest cat, Lynk. My sister-in-law would watch Mitzi. We weren't sure when we'd be back. 

July 2 Dad had his abdomen drained and at the same time they took 4 biopsy's of the tumours. In all, they drained 10.5 litres of fluid, which is pretty unprecedented, 4-5 litres is considered the norm.



Monday July 13th Dad met with the surgeon again and we received the official diagnosis, Peritoneal Mesothelioma. It wasn't genetic. It wasn't hereditary. It wasn't what took his mother or brother young. It was cancer from Asbestos exposure. I was stunned. A TOTAL SHOCKER! Actually, I was even more pissed off than expected! My dad was an architect/design consultant in the 60's & 70's, named one of Canada's top 10, and he wasn't one to sit behind a drafting table for long, he was often on site at many of the Reno's of old homes and commercial buildings... and no one wore a mask!

Tuesday July14th we finally met Dad's Oncologist. The Doctor talked a lot about Dad having a WCB claim, like most of our time with him was about making a WCB claim... he briefly talked chemo... and then he mentioned a HIPEC surgery that only one Specialist does at Vancouver General Hospital, but downplayed the possibility of Dad getting on her radar. She removes as much of the tumours as she can and then injects chemo directly into what she cannot. Again he told us she is VERY picky about who she sees, there are strict guidelines and there might not even be enough time at any rate but he's put in a requisition anyway. He wasn't very positive to say the least. I pushed him for a best guess timeline... he said maybe a month. I felt like I was going to faint. I couldn't hear the nurse ask me if I needed a tissue. My sister said, "well ain't that a kick in the teeth!" We were again in TOTAL SHOCK!


July 6th we decided to join my sister and her extended family on their week long camping vacation in Pacific City, Oregon. It took some convincing but we did it, Mom and Dad joined us for 5 of the 7 days. It was amazing to just BE together... one evening we sat on the beach watching our kids play football together and cried (well we've done a lot of crying, a lot) and my sister said, "look at what Dad did... these kids are here because of one man... what a legacy he has!" Dad has 4 daughters, 13 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.


How in the world does my Dad only have a month? How does he go from being "fine" and then 6 weeks later he is given an expiration date?! HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN??!!!

And then people rallied, people from all over the world, via social media, email, text, phone, etc.

It's been comforting to see and hear all the love pouring in... the words of encouragement and some Faith filled people speaking life over my dad.

My dad wants to live. I want him to live.

He wants 19 more years... that is what he is believing for! I want 19 more years with him.

He wants NO negativity only the Word being sung and spoken over him. That's hard when he looks at you, 20 + pounds lighter than he was two weeks ago and asks you what you think of all this. My answer... I'm scared. I want to shake my fist at God and yell WHY HIM??!!!!

The next afternoon he finally saw his family Doctor. He was gentle and kind and said quite frankly, "this is shitty."  He talked about palliative care, he told us that the HIPEC surgery we were told about was Dad's only hope, save God. He said this is a nasty nasty and painful disease. He told my sister what we are doing is good - to keep doing it, to hope for this surgery and for us to remember there is no cure but only a prolonging.

my sister entertaining Dad in the hospital, bringing him some laughter
By July 15th Dad's abdomen had grown again, the tumours are constantly weeping, the fluid builds up again. The pain was extremely bad so he went in to the ER to be drained again, this time they drained 8.3 litres, still double then whats normal. The problem with being drained is it also takes out valuable and irreplaceable cells and proteins, but to live with it is too much... it's a catch 22.

God we need a miracle!

Later that evening, my Dad told me that he needed to see something change, a sign... some bit of hope to help him get through the day. He'd slept on and off most of that day, it was hard to be motivated to move after hearing all that news from his Doctor.

My sister, her husband, my husband and I decided to go out for dinner that night. We were low, to say the least. It truly was a "shitty" day. Just before our meals arrived my mom called me, she got an email from his Oncologist, the surgeon at VGH was on holidays but she saw dad's file and wants to see him. Our dinner took a turn for the better, we had goosebumps... we had hope. For us it came at the right time to lift our spirits and feed our Faith more.






It was what I needed to hear in order for me to be able to take this whirlwind trip to New York I'm on right now with PayPal. When I saw how proud he was of me, how he told every Doctor he saw and even the nurses about this trip, how could I not have gone? Most of the time I don't believe in myself, but 100% of the time he believes in me.



Dad has to go for a few more tests and another cat scan, he sees his Oncologist on Monday July 27th and we will continue to do what we have been doing since before the word Cancer was spoken.

We pray
We believe that God has already done it by sending His son to die on the cross for ALL of our sins and ALL of our diseases
We stand for 19 more years for dad
We speak TRUTH over dad.

This is what he says, "So it's true that I have been diagnosed with Cancer, I don't deny that it is true, BUT the TRUTH of the matter is that by His stripes I was healed... so what is true can never change what is the TRUTH but the TRUTH can always change was is true."

See?! He has incredible Faith... we are in awe of him. The peace of God which passes ALL understanding has surely made camp over his house.

So that's how our lives have turned upside down in such a short amount of time. Someone recently asked me how long I am planning on staying in BC... I don't have an answer. At this point, I can't head back to Ontario and something happen to my Dad. I can't. I can't imagine leaving and never seeing him again. I told them and my Dad that I will be here until he gets well, and however long that takes... only God knows.






Until then... I lean hard on God for He is my rock and my shield. The God of Angel Armies is always by my side. He goes before me, He stands behind. He is our fortress and nothing formed against us shall stand.


During this trying time with my Dad's health, I'm holding on to His promises. He is faithful!

The time I exposed myself to a room full of strangers...

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Back in May I was introduced to a FAB-U-LOUS bra while at Mom 2 Summit, a conference for bloggers, from one of the sponsors, Vanity Fair Lingerie.  I knew I was deeply in love when I sprinted back to their suite the next day, pulled down my shirt and exposed myself while yelling, "I LOVE MY BRA!" 

I may have been a tad excited.

But seriously, 
 have you ever owned a bra you didn't want to WHIP OFF 
the moment 
you got home at the end of a long day?!

Me either.

Until now!

This is me now...  in my dreams

Body Caress Full Coverage Underwire Bra

When I crawled into bed at midnight the other night, I realized I still had my bra on. It is complete comfort and the girls are extremely happy!

Other bonuses: I no longer have back fat and the full coverage in the front means no more boobie muffin top. You will no longer find me readjusting my straps in public. Everything stays where it's supposed to.

I must have left an impression with those ladies in the Vanity Fair suite at Mom 2.0 because just the other week, two more bras showed up on my doorstep! See what happens when you flash someone?! (this is not an endorsement to do so) 

Beauty Back Smoother Full Coverage Bra


If you're in the US, you can purchase these beautiful and comfortable bras online, try Kohl's right now, buy one get one 1/2 off. You could get one in every color, I wouldn't judge.

What's also really cool about Vanity Fair is their #GiveBack nature.

Vanity Fair + Dress for Success Partnership 

Dress for Success – Brightening the Lives of Women across the World. They are dedicated to promoting the economic independence of disadvantages women by providing professional attire, career development tools and a network of support. They noticed a need for more intimate apparel to provide to its clients. Vanity Fair saw a welcome opportunity to lend its expertise, resources and extensive product offering to help replenish the lingerie of the non-profit organization. Through this partnership, Vanity Fair hopes to provide women with the support they need to be successful.

Dress for Success Facts: 
  • 850,000 women served globally since the inception of Dress for Success in 1997 ​
  • 9​0 Dress for Success Affiliates across the U.S. 
  • Approximately 50,000 women served through the Dress for Success program in 2014 
Through the effort of the Vanity Fair LiftTOUR in 2014, Vanity Fair was able to donate more than 5,000 brand-new bras to the non-profit organization.

In 2015, Vanity Fair’s goal is to donate 50,000 brand-new Vanity Fair bras to Dress for Success with the goal of providing one to every woman who walks through their doors in 2015.

So you feel great TWICE when you wear a bra from Vanity Fair Lingerie. 

Mmmmmmm Meatballs!! | #WhatsCooking

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I'm so thankful to be a part of Kraft Canada What's Cooking Ambassadorship. I love the new recipes I get to try and share with you and not just for the compensation I receive.  All of my family participates when it's #whatscooking time! :)

Meatballs are one of the easiest things I can make. They don't take much preparation and they can take even fewer ingredients, it's all about your taste-buds.

Before it gets to warm to use your oven (we BBQ more in the summer, keep the heat outside), seriously give these recipes a try. Our kids LOVE them and they're easy enough for them to make them themselves. That's even better for this full-time working momma of 4!!!

My Mmmmmmm Meatballs! 

 What you'll need:

1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 package of Stove Top Stuffing*
1/3 cup milk
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

What you'll do: 

Mix ground beef, egg, Worcestershire sauce, chopped onion, stuffing mix, milk and cheese into a bowl. Shape into 12 (2-inch) meatballs. Place on foil-covered rimmed baking sheet.

Bake 15 mins. or until done.

*I've used Stove Top Stuffing instead of plain crackers or bread crumbs for over a decade, it comes with all the seasonings you'll need too, the perfect mix.

I often toss in a can of diced tomatoes (Italian or Garlic/Basil seasoned) and sprinkle it with Parmesan before serving for supper to my family. 

If you're not a big Beef or Pork eater (sometimes I mix 1/2 beef and 1/2 pork for my meatballs), try these super-easy-to-make Turkey Meatballs.

"Hail Caesar" Turkey Meatballs

What you'll need:

1 lb. Extra Lean Ground Turkey
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup Kraft Creamy Caesar Dressing

What you'll do:

Heat oven to 450F.

Mix turkey, onions, bread crumbs, egg and dressing just until blended; shape into 12 (2-inch) meatballs. Place on foil-covered rimmed baking sheet.

Bake 15 mins. or until done (165F).

Serve with Caesar Salad.

ENJOY!

WHY AM I NOT... ENOUGH?

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WHY AM I NOT... ENOUGH?
A few weeks ago my oldest son, Quinton (16) preached to his peers at our church. I have an audio copy if you'd like to listen, but in the meantime... I stole his notes. He did this all on his own. #ProudMama here! :)

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Why do we feel like we are not... STRONG, SMART, TALL, PRETTY, ATHLETIC, CONFIDENT, KIND, LOVING, DECISIVE, SKINNY... enough.

What are some things that you feel are areas of your life that you are, “Not Enough?”

This list can go ON, and ON and ON… but I ask you again, WHY do we feel like this about ourselves? Is there anyone who has ever felt like they have never been enough… I certainly know I have struggled with thinking...


... enough...

For me the biggest one that I have struggled with is not being tall enough.

There have been parts during school where it felt like I was being picked on or made fun of EVERY SINGLE DAY because I was never “Tall Enough” for my age.

I’ve been bullied multiple times from people who look down upon me, simply because I am shorter than them. I remember coming home the one day in tears because I had been pushed into a locker, teased verbally and physically shoved just because I was not the average height of a boy my age.

There have been dozens of days where I have asked God, “WHY DID YOU MAKE ME SO SHORT?” “WHY AM I NOT TALL?” “WHY AM I NOT… ENOUGH?”

I think I play one of the worst sports for a person like me… Volleyball. Where if you’re not six foot tall, you can be cut from a team before you even try out. Sure I’m not six foot but where I lack in height, I make up for in skill, hard work and hops. See the thing is though, the world is like that, when you’re not enough they remind you of it constantly, trying to put you down! “Sure you’re smart but why are you so fat?”

Society is always trying to find that “BUT.” Reminding you of your flaws and exposing them trying to make you feel WEAK.

This is the world we live in. If you’re a woman and the world considers you "not enough" to be on the cover of a magazine, then the world tries to make you feel like you’re nothing special, a nobody.

Guys, when you don’t have the muscles of “The Rock” or the face of David Beckham then the world looks down upon you. While researching, I came across multiple articles where the titles were this; "8 Traits of a Perfect Women" - "10 Qualities that Define a Great Man" - "9 Ways to get a Sexy Face."

What the heck?!?!?! 

Who decides “PERFECT?”

Who defines “GREAT?”

Who decides all of this???


This struggle has gone on since Creation… It all started with Adam and Eve in the Garden. They had literal paradise at their disposal, every living thing you could imagine, and they had control over it. It was the devil that made them feel like they didn’t have enough. After they sinned, what did they realize? In Gen. 3:7, they were suddenly aware they were naked… The whole idea of the word naked is that we are missing something, why do we feel that this is “not enough?” After Adam and Eve realized they were naked, they made coverings for themselves.  

We do the same thing where we put masks on trying to cover up the things about ourselves that we feel are not enough. This only separates us from the people who care and want to help. We feel if people saw underneath the mask, they wouldn’t like what they saw, and we are afraid people won’t like us if they saw who we truly are.

In Gen 3:8-11, God asks two questions:

First was, “Where are You?” Are you putting a mask on to cover up the real you, there needs to be those people in your life that know the REAL you, there needs to be those people in your life that accept you for you.

The second question God asks is, “Who told You?” This is so powerful because we can choose to let society, celebrities, the world tell us that we are NOT ENOUGH or we can let God tell us that we are HIS CHILDREN, HIS CREATION! Have you ever thought about this? When you think of yourself as “NOT ENOUGH” then are you saying that God’s creation isn’t enough.

When you change who you let tell you “who you are” than the glass looks a lot more than half full...  THROUGH CHRIST I AM.

Who does God say you are?

These words come to mind...
  • Confidant, 
  • Wise, 
  • Beautiful, 
  • Strong, 
  • Gracious, 
  • Loving, 
  • Kind, 
  • Thoughtful, 
  • Generous, 
  • A Leader, 
  • Loyal,
  • Truthful, 
  • SPECIAL, 
  • Peaceful, 
  • CONQUERORS, 
  • Victorious 
Galatians 3:26 I am God’s Child
2 Corinthians 5:17 I am a whole new person with a whole new life
1 Corinthians 5:17 I am a place where God’s Spirit lives
Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s Incredible work of art
Ephesians 4:24 I am created in God’s likeness
Matthew 5:13 14 I am the Salt and Light of the world
Romans 5:8 I AM GREATLY LOVED
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
1 Corinthians 1:2 I am a Saint
1 Corinthians 1:30 I am Wise, Righteous, Sanctified and Redeemed
2 Corinthians 2:14 I am Triumphant
Ephesians 1:43 I am blessed
Ephesians 3:12 I am Bold, Confidant
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of Heaven
Colossians 2:10 I have been made complete - I AM HIS - God does not look at your flaws and your failures!
First Samuel 16:7 - God looks at what is in your heart and if Christ is the centre of your thoughts, actions, your heart then “Who are you?”

Will you let the world and the devil tell you that you are not enough or will you let God tell you that you are HIS?

Easiest After School Snack. Ever | #WhatsCooking

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Easiest After School Snack. Ever | #WhatsCooking
I'm so thankful to be a part of Kraft Canada What's Cooking Ambassadorship. I love the new recipes I get to try and share with you and not just for the compensation I receive.  All of my family participates when it's #whatscooking time! :)

It's 4:08pm.

All four kids have made their way through the front door and one by one they enter the kitchen. Each takes a turn staring at the contents inside the refrigerator. 

"I'm hungry" is quickly followed by, "There's nothing to eat!"

By the way... the fridge is full.

It's kinda like when I open up my closet (each Sunday morning) and say, "I have nothing to wear!"

Time to teach the kids how to make a super easy after school snack.

Peanut Butter Snack Bites with Sprinkles


What you'll need:

1/2 cup CRUNCHY Peanut Butter
1/4 cup honey
1 cup large flake rolled oats
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. coloured sprinkles

What you'll do:

Mix peanut butter and honey in a bowl until blended. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Hand roll into 1-inch balls. 

These super easy, no-bake, Peanut Butter Snack Bites can be refrigerated up to 1 week before serving.

I challenge you to have some fun and take a #Housie

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I challenge you to have some fun and take a #Housie

What do you get when you take a Selfie in your House?

A #Housie! :)

We bought our first home in 1996, five months after we were married. Instead of spending a whack of cash (or credit) on a massive blow-out wedding, we invested in our life.

I was only 24 years old when I signed my first title deed. My parents were a big influence in our financial investment decisions but I'd also spent six years leading up to this point working in financial institutions.

Our first Christmas as a married couple was spent in a sparsely furnished living room of our very own place. Two of our 4 children were born there. I very much enjoyed our six years in that near century home but in 2002 we felt it was time to find something a little bigger, we had baby #3 on the way.

By the time baby #4 was in the oven, Dave's parents were in their later years and needed to be cared for, so we sold and moved again and this time they came with us. We were now a family of 8.

It's hard to believe it's been almost TEN years since we built the house we're currently in. Dave's parents have gone on to glory, I have two kids in high school, one in junior high and the baby is in grade 4.

Our houses have varied in style and size, our first had boatloads of character, it sat on a 1/4 acre in a little village 7 kilometers outside of the city. Our 2nd home was a cookie-cutter bungalow placed in the perfect neighbourhood in the city. The one we're in now backs on to a beautiful green-space and everyone has their own room. But more important than the particular postal code or the size of the baseboards, if we had carpet or hardwood, for me, a house is special because of the people who fill it.

I challenge you to take a 360 short video of your favourite part of your home, just like I did below.


Here are 5 easy steps to participate:
  1. grab your phone, 
  2. turn on the camera towards yourself, 
  3. spin around 360 degrees, 
  4. tag with #housie, 
  5. share on Instagram or Twitter.

Share your #Housie video with us during our #Housie Twitter Chat on April 14, @ 1pm ET and you could win ONE of FIVE TEN :) $50 amazon.ca gift cards. 

Read the full Rules and Regs here.


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Cool Mom of 4, Married to the Preacher Man, but at times I'm a little more Sass than Saint! [Shannon Mischuk] (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Ycq3lF9Vc2c/VS_0yrZDnWI/AAAAAAAAKEI/BGjRSm5zvX8/s1600/ShashersLife.png)