Finding Joy in Compassion

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As Jake and I are moving into a new year and approaching the February 15th anniversary date of finding out he had lymphoma, I cannot help but go through different emotions about that time of year and what it meant for me personally, as his wife and as a caretaker to him. 

A friend of mine recently shared this devotion with me and told me that it reminded her of my blog, but that she had never thought about Joy in this way. And neither had I. 

Solidarity in Weakness

Joy is hidden in compassion. The word compassion literally means “to suffer with.” It seems quite unlikely that suffering with another person would bring joy. Yet being with a person in pain, offering simple presence to someone in despair, sharing with a friend times of confusion and uncertainty … such experiences can bring us deep joy. Not happiness, not excitement, not great satisfaction, but the quiet joy of being there for someone else and living in deep solidarity with our brothers and sisters in this human family. Often this is a solidarity in weakness, in brokenness, in woundedness, but it leads us to the center of joy, which is sharing our humanity with others.

Source: Henri Nouwen Society 

Words taken right out of my heart to express what I felt during the most roughest, soul-aching moments of Jake’s sickness and my time spent with him. 

I could not have expressed this any better. Thank you for sharing Beth. 

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My Three Joys

A week well spent.

Well spent doing what you ask…

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Except for watching Big Brother of course.

And getting laundry done.

Oh and watching Jake receive his last radiation treatment.

And a check-up appointment with Jake’s oncologist.

Oh and going to the Iowa State Fair.

But hey, those are small potatoes compared to most weeks. 🙂

Number One:

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of watching Jake finish up his last radiology appointment. This was my second time going to the office to watch, with Jake’s 17th time.

We were able to meet with Dr. Voynov after and heard that it appears the radiation was a success and he was free and clear to be done with treatments! Whoohoo!

Number Two:

Remember when I made a goal this month to spend as much one-on-one time with Jake. Well this week was a great use of that goal as we hit up the Iowa State Fair!

First up, deep fried pyro dawg. A dill pickle spear spread with the most delicious, spicy cream cheese and then wrapped with prosciutto ham and battered up and fried. YUM!

Then a little stop to see Jake’s art work being displayed. So proud that he was one of the 20% that made their photo entries into the fair.

After looking at all the photographs, Jake and I decided to try out the corn brat. A bratwurst corndog. Trust us when we tell you it sounds better than it tastes. It wasn’t terrible, but just lacked a lot of flavor. I may need to replicate these at home using some yummy bratwursts from Gateway Market.

And what is the fair without some fun and cute little pictures.

When discussing what we should try for sweet treats at the fair, we just couldn’t resist the fried snickers. I remember having this two years ago, but didn’t recall having it last year. (Which we totally did. And I didn’t care for it last year! Hand to the forehead!) Well, just like last year, it wasn’t our favorite. I think this year was the last time we will get this item and move on to the next sweet treat… maybe the fried Twinkie?

Jake has been hitting up the pork chop on a stick vendor for several years now with last year being my first. But this year Jake and I were super disappointed with our pork chop. It just wasn’t as juicy, tough and just didn’t seem to have the flavor it did last year.  Bummer for sure.

And last but not least, what is a state fair without mini donuts. Jake just loves this picture where he got me mouth full of those little pieces of heaven.

Other treats we ate but didn’t picture; the original pyro dawg, cheese curds and delicious root beer. I love that Jake and I were able to split everything to be able to fit more in our bellies.

Number Three:

Saturday morning my friend Mandy and I had a little impromptu garage sale shopping trip down to Indianola. As I was looking at Craigslist to see if there were any fun Estate Sales Jake and I could check out later that day, I happened upon a listing for a garage sale that two college girls were having. They were getting rid of a ton of super nice and brand name clothing, shoes and purses that I just had to check out. Mandy and I had lunch plans already, so she just swung by a little bit earlier and we headed down.

I have to say that our little trip down south was well worth it. I paid $11 for a pair of shoes, boots, a down vest, and a couple of nice tops. I just love a good thrift sale! Mandy got away with some great clothing items and books as well. After our fun finds, we stopped and had lunch at Palmer’s Deli- a huge favorite of mine! It truly was a great Saturday morning to catch up with my good friend Mandy!

Well, time for Jake and I to head out for dinner party for some visitors from Tanzania! Have a wonderful week!

My Three Joys

I was extremely saddened by the news Friday morning of the awful and heartless shooting in Aurora, CO. As some of you may know I lived in Denver for five years and have not only my mother living close to Aurora, but also my Lennon clan spread throughout the metro area.  I immediately thought of all my family and friends who could have been directly affected. Thankfully none of them were.  But regardless, I cannot help but sympathize for the State I used to call home and what they are experiencing right now. My prayers continue to be plentiful.

Last week was one filled with rest and solitude.  Jake, along with thirty-two youth and seven adult leaders traveled to New Orleans  for the 2012 ELCA National Youth Gathering. I was able to watch some live feeds of a couple of the speakers and know that the small amounts of love, compassion and joy I felt was nothing compared to what the adults and youth were experiencing. Truly amazing.

Although I was missing Jake dearly, I was excited to be able to enjoy watching girly TV show like catching up on one of my favorites, Brothers and Sisters.  I also enjoyed a few nights of being extremely lazy and cuddling up with my kitties. Pure bliss.

Number One:

Last Thursday night my good friend Mandy and I were finally able to get together and catch up on life. I have known Mandy since high school and she is a member of our NHS girl 99 group. (North High School). We wanted to check out The Other Place in Clive, but were conflicted by having Big Brother be on around dinner time. So we opted to go and have a nice cold beverage at the bar and chatted away while sizing up the place. I have to say that I loved the atmosphere. Their restaurant is rather open with their main dining and the bar area and there appears to be great room around the almost oval-shaped bar. Our bartender was not the friendliest when we told her we were going to over for take-out, but did provide a smile when we ordered a drink.

The pizza came faster than we had anticipated and we finished our cold beverages while we continued to chat away. We then quickly raced home to watch the live eviction on Big Brother. I will tell you that I love everything about BB, right down tot he backstabbing and manipulation that goes on in that house. They are still early on in the season (Week 2) but so much has already taken place. While BB and watching it with Mandy was amazing, the food was not. I was rather disappointed in what I believe is pre-made frozen crust with tasteless sauce and nasty mozzarella that wouldn’t pass a 100% mozzarella test if it tried. Rather harsh I know, but those are my true thoughts. ( I unfortunately didn’t take any pictures, but no worries, you are not missing much). We also ordered the bread sticks which were apparently all the rage in college.( I honestly have no recollection of this.) They were just “meh” and didn’t really do anything for me.

I realize that I tend to be a pizza snob, but I am okay with that. I can enjoy other pizza other than my family’s restaurant, but when it is as bad as what I had, I just can’t fake it. Sorry OP. I will certainly go back for the bar atmosphere, but certainly not getting the pizza or bread sticks. Maybe to try out other food on the menu.

Number Two:

It’s the little things in life that bring me joy. For example, on Wednesday of last week I received a manilla folder that contained my unit lesson plans and a paper from my weekend class I took in June. Our professor took the time to read all of them thoroughly and made all sorts of comments all over them. I was delighted to read nothing but wonderful feedback and the beautiful comments my professor shared. Yes I am 31, but I think everyone, regardless of their age, needs to be praised, given positive feedback and encouragement, even if it is the little things. To me this was huge as it was my first time creating a unit plan and I was unsure if I was on the right track. But according to this prof- I nailed it out of the park!

Number Three:

Jake is home! I know, I know, he got back Monday morning, so technically not a part of last week, but hey, it still counts for me. I was so excited to see him that I had trouble falling asleep Sunday night and then up at 6 am texting him to see when he would arrive.

Seeing his face, his hairy face I might add, was pure bliss. I almost didn’t recognize him! We were both aware of the possibility of Jake’s hair returning a different color or style, but I don’t think either one of us were prepared for his dark brown-almost black hair to be sprouting from his face! And his eyebrows! Oh my!

And his voice is gone. My lovely husband sang his heart out leading a worship service on Saturday and that combined with a complete lack of sleep and always on the go has left me with a voiceless hubby. But nonetheless, he is home, safe and sound. And that makes me one happy wife.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week and if you are anywhere near the midwest where the heat continues to be a staggering 100 degrees everyday, drink lots of water and stay cool! Oh and dont’ forget that sunscreen! 😉

My Three Joys

And another one bites the dust…

Number One:

A couple of weeks ago Jake received an email from Iowa Public Radio asking if he would be interested in participating in an interview with Charity Nebbe from Talk of Iowa to talk about our documentary. Jake quickly agreed and a week later we found ourselves at the Iowa Public Radio studio here in Des Moines.

I was so nervous waiting…

 Especially when I walked in and saw all the microphones.

What Jake and I didn’t realize is that Charity Nebbe was actually in Iowa City and we would be hearing her and speaking with her through the microphones and on the radio only.

Once we got started, my nerves settled and those forty minutes went by fast.

Jake and I not only had a blast but are extremely thankful to get the word out about our documentary.  In case you missed the interview and are interested in listening, check it out here on IPR!

Number Two:

Big Brother 14 started on Wednesday! If you are anything like me and love Big Brother, you can certainly share my joy about it starting this week. I, along with all of the hard core fans, have been waiting a looooong year for this summer’s season and have not been disappointed thus far. Big Brother is where 12 strangers are picked to live in a house that is rigged with cameras to track their every move while they are secluded from the outside world. Alliances and enemies are created, games are played and the house begins to get good.

The other day Michelle and I were dissecting seasons past and I realized that I have been watching since Season 8! Each season introduces a new fabulous twist and we were trying to figure out what the twist would be this season. Michelle and I follow a blog, Big Brother Dish, and can read all about what is going on at the house when the TV show isn’t airing. The writer of the blog subscribes to the 24 hour live camera feeds and can literally watch every move in the house.

I  thankfully go Jake hooked a couple of summers ago and we are both glued to the TV every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday night to watch!

Number Three:

Two books down this week! I have been waiting several months to get into some really good books and finally it happened. Last Sunday I bought the newest book from one of my favorite authors, Chelsea Cain.

Night Season comes after Cain’s first trilogy beginning with Heartsick.  This trilogy tells the story of a police detective trying to catch Gretchen Lowell, a female serial killer.While Night Season features the same detective and previous characters, Gretchen is only mentioned a couple of times.  I was pleased to find out that Cain is slated to release her fifth novel, Kill You Twice in August and it is going to be all about Gretchen Lowell! Kill You Twice is definitely going on my to-read list for our trip in October.

The second book I started and finished this week was one of the best books I have read in a long time.

Ready Player One is set in the future and tells the story about one teen’s quest though a virtual reality world to win the creator’s fortune and inheritance in the company. Not only is the book a crazy world all about living in a virtual world, it has obscene amounts of 80’s references in the book (on purpose), which makes this book even that much better!  Jake read it last week and commented that I might like it.  I picked it up on Thursday night and read from 10:00 pm to 2:30 am last night finishing it because I just couldn’t put it down!

I love reading for fun and thankful for this break from school to have the time. I will be sad when July and August pass and it will be time to hit the school reading again. But I am currently creating my list of to-read books for our October trip, so if you have any suggestions, please pass them along!

Well, off to help Jake pack and spend time with him before he leaves for New Orleans. Have a wonderful week!

My Three Joys

Whew… between this ridiculous sweltering hot heat in Iowa, celebrating the Fourth of July and trying to figure out my grad school schedule and endorsements, this week was a doozy. I will say however having only my online class to focus on this week rather delightful.

After a rough night of sleep, I treated myself with a slow-paced morning complete with a plyometrics P90x workout and then devouring a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs with veggies, a slice of Ezekiell toast and an iced coffee while writing this blog post.

As always, I have much to be thankful for and the joys that this week brought me.

Number One:

Wednesday morning Jake and I met with his radiologist, Dr. Voynov to discuss and plan for Jake’s radiology. I have to tell you, this office’s staff was wonderful and allowed Jake and I to film his whole planning process. Medicine and technology continue to fascinate me to no end and I am thankful for those who are in this profession. Not to mention a little entertaining watching Jake get his new mask…

The appointment was a great joy to us for a few reasons. Jake officially learned that he can attend the National Youth Gathering trip next week and begin radiation once he returns.  Jake will receive 17-20 treatments, which will be about five weeks. With this news we are now able to plan our “F*** You Goodbye Cancer Trip” which Jake and I are both beyond ready and ecstatic about.

Number Two:

Fourth of July hit us smack dab in the middle of the week. Jake’s good friend Mike flew over from Chicago to spend a few days with us and we were able to enjoy a relaxing Wednesday holiday. As the boys went to see the newest Spiderman movie, I spent some time in the kitchen making the goodies for our grill out later that day.

Some yummy taco dip…

And Pig Pickin’ Cake (recipe to come soon)

I unfortunately was too dang hot and having too much fun with friends to take any more pictures, but just know it was a day well spent. I even got a head start on one of my July goals of playing Scattergories later that evening!

Number Three:

Yesterday my friend Kelly and I went to another Crafternoon at our friend Abbey’s house and it was fabulous. There wasn’t more than four of us, but that was perfect. We were able to actually talk and have some great conversations which is always nice. This Crafternoon’s craft was tile coasters. I had found this craft a few months back and was extremely excited to actually make them.

They turned out fabulous and look even better in our home. Kelly and I loved them so much that we are already planning on making more in the near future!

Directions from Two Girls Being Crafty.

Well I hope that you all had a wonderful Fourth of July week and can enjoy the last day of the weekend. I am off to get some homework done and finish enjoying my Sunday!

My Three Joys

If you asked me what day it was today, I’d surely tell you Thursday.  Vacation Bible School is in full swing and I have been pulling double duty with two jobs each day, school and taking care of Jake.  I hate wishing the week away, but will be thankful when Saturday hits. (Why not Friday you ask… because I begin my weekend class this Friday night and all day Saturday).

But alas, it is Tuesday and I am thankful for what this week has already brought me.

As for last week, without further ado…

Number One:

As mentioned in my June goals, I  made my first set of running goals in preparation to run a 5k in October with Jake. We were planning on running the Des Moines Marathon 5k until Erik told us about The Color Run.

RACE RULES
Rule #1
 All participants are welcome… fast, slow, runner, walker, old, and young.
Rule #2 White shirt dress code at the official start line and ready to roll no later than 1pm!
Rule #3 Completely colored Willy Wonka goodness at the finish.

How could we say no?!!! Grouped with Erik and his sister Kara, Team Giddy Up! is ready to rock the Color Run!

(I highly recommend checking this out if you have any interest in having fun. You don’t even have to be a runner!)

Number Two:

Last Friday was what Jake and I pray to be a nice milestone of his last chemo treatment. We were not sure what to expect with this 8th treatment, but with Jake’s little puke-and-rally during his treatment, we knew it was going to be the hardest one yet. With Jake homebound the following four days after chemo…it well, has gone. Jake is still feeling pretty blah today but we are praying it will be over soon and never again.

Jake’s PET scan is on June 20th and we meet with our oncologist on June 22nd to hear the results and hopefully plan for radiation. While this waiting is a) nothing new and b) overly annoying, we are keeping those positive thoughts  alive of it being the last treatment.

Number Three: 

The night before and day of Jake’s 7th treatment, our wedding photographer Joshua, stayed with us to take some photographs of Jake and I. Joshua had a super quick turn around of editing the photographs and we were able to see them earlier last week.

As my husband said on his blog: 

“Joshua graciously made the trip from Chicago to Des Moines to spend some time with Libby and I in order to shoot some promotional photos for the documentary. He posted several of the (phenomenal) photos over on his blog. I’d post the rest of them here, but we’ve gotta keep some things “secret” until the documentary is officially released, right? Anyway, “thank you” to Joshua for being willing to take time out of your life to document part of ours.”

Although I am able to take away three joyous moments each week, don’t get me wrong, I still have my stressful moments, emotionally draining days, and mini meltdowns (which seem to be ever-present lately). Knowing that I have the most loving husband to come home to every day, amazing family and friends who will drop anything to be there for me, our unbelievably loving church community and a most loving God by my side certainly makes this life a little bit easier.

June Goals

Well, the month of May goals didn’t shape up exactly has I had planned, but I am okay with that. I tell you, three weeks of complete freedom from school was pure bliss and any additional work outside of my two jobs, Jake and home was just not going to happen. After I got over the initial odd feeling of relaxing, it became easier and easier. 😉

A little wrap up of my May goals:

1.  Set up my garden. Success!

My dad came to visit for a weekend last month and he helped Jake and I put together our container garden. Super excited to see those plants continue to grow! We have already enjoyed the cilantro and basil while Klaus and Dietrich continue to enjoy the catnip. I cannot wait until the tomatoes and peppers start to come in!

2. Complete at least one home project.  Fail.

I just couldn’t bring myself to do any additional house stuff. Maybe this goal will be better suited for July or August when I have more free time.

3. Spend a Sunday prepping freezer friendly meals.  50/50

I wouldn’t say that I spent a Sunday per se fixing freezer friendly meals, but I sure have been stock piling. I made four batches of pizza dough and have been freezing any extra leftovers from meals this past month. It also helped that my dad brought us a ton of food from ElFredo’s to store in our freezer. This food will certainly come handy this month when I won’t even want to think about dinner.

4. Go on at least two walks a week.  Success

My hope was to go on morning and evening walks, but I for some reason cannot find myself to do any sort of exercising in the evenings. But, I was able to get out at least twice every week in the mornings.

5. Make a batch of beef jerky.  Fail. 

Sadly no beef jerky was made this month. No excuses, just not on the list of priorities.  

June Goals

Well as I have alluded to in previous posts, June is going to be crazy-town in the Bouma household. Work, school and church alone are going to keep me spread pretty thin.

It is also happens to be *hopefully* the last time Jake has to endure chemo. Along with that will come a PET scan and our appointment on the 22nd to discuss the plan moving forward. Please keep those prayers coming!

My goals this month are going to be fairly simple.

1. Run at least three times a week.

After watching Erik and all of the runners compete in the Dam to Dam I felt compelled to get back into running. Last August, Jake and I had a little fire lit under our butts to start running and train for the Des Moines Marathon in October. I unfortunately had a pretty bad sprained ankle, but was able to watch Jake as he ran his first 5k. 

Well long story long, Jake and I had a great conversation about running and how much we missed it. We both agreed it would be nice to run the 5k together in October and see how we do. So with that, I will be slowing down a little on my Insanity/P90x workouts, but pumping it up in regards to running. Jake of course will start running once he is feeling back to his normal self.

2. Have one weekend free of Facebook and Twitter (possibly internet altogether).

Yep you read that correctly! Shutting myself off from society. I am not quite sure how I am going to accomplish this one yet, but I am thinking it won’t be too difficult with being in class the last three weekends in June. Well at least that is my logic in theory.

3. Continue pushing the water. Drink at least one Nalgene bottle a day.

I still have my good and bad days. I am going to go back to the basics and start small with drinking at least one Nalgene bottle a day. I think I can handle that.

4. Stay on top of my readings for my classes. 

I know, I know that this shouldn’t necessarily be a goal per se, but if I keep it in mind on a consistent basis, I will be less likely to skip a chapter in my readings or put it off until the last-minute. 

5. Turn off my cell phone after church on Sunday’s. 

An oldie but goodie. Back in March, I had this as a goal and flopped on it big time. I am hoping that I can redeem myself this month.

Having monthly goals has been fun for the last six months and has helped me work towards some things that I am not sure I would have otherwise.
Cheers to a great month of June!

My Three Joys

Number One:

I am happy to report that our good friend, Erik Ullestad survived the Dam to Dam with not only a bum knee, but also with amazing time! Erik informed us a few months ago that he would like to run the Dam to Dam to raise money to go towards our medical expenses. Jake and I could not have been more honored that our good friend was willing to do this for us.

Unfortunately during Erik’s training, an old knee injury came back to haunt him and he was unable to train this past week and it was fairly iffy earlier in the week if he would be able to run at all. But Erik, being the stubborn amazing man that he is, bought a knee brace and plowed through.

Jake and I met up with him at mile 10 a little leery of the condition we would find him in, but true to Erik fashion he was smiling and running along at good speed as he zipped past us. (Watch for Jake’s video at JakeBouma.com later this week.)

After wishing him well, we quickly jumped in our car and met him at the finish line! I could not be more thankful and proud of Erik and his fervent spirit for completing the race on our behalf and raising money for us.

Number Two:

I was finally able to get Jake out to the Farmer’s Market this year! I say this with such enthusiasum as 1) We didn’t go at all last year, 2) Jake was feeling well enough to walk around through the masses of people on a warm Saturday morning, and 3) It was his idea. 😉

Since we were downtown after after Erik’s race, Jake and I started making our way towards the famous court street and I was giddy all the way. Having been there a couple of week’s prior, I knew a couple of booths I wanted to show Jake and for him to have his first breakfast burrito of the year!

First stop-

Breakfast Burritos!

One with everything please.

Going…

Going…

Gone.  In a hot minute I might add. 😉

After walking around and burning off some of those calories we happened across one of our favorite Iowa State Fair stops…

Mini Donuts!

I could not resist those warm, sweet, sugar, doughy goodness delights.

With the last stop to pick up my new favorite cheese… Prairie breeze from Milton Creamery. If you like cheese, this is a must try. You can also find it  at Gateway Market. This cheese is perfect paired with Table Water Crackers and dried cheeries.

A perfect Saturday morning. #Love.

Number Three:

Knowing that June is going to be crazy busy for both Jake and I with work and school, we spent as much time as possible together at home this week. We have truly enjoyed catching up on some of our favorite shows, snuggling with Klaus and Dietrich, going on Date night to Cool Basil, playing backgammon, folding our huge mound of laundry, foot rubs and working on our daily crossword puzzles together. 🙂

Well, off to enjoy my last evening of freedom until July. Alarm clock goes off bright and early for my first day of classes tomorrow!

My Three Joys

Happy Memorial Day! First and foremost- Thank you to all who have served our country, past and present. While I do not come from an overly military family, a couple of my uncles on both sides have served our country and I am thankful for their service.

With the giving of thanks for those who have put their lives on the line for my freedom, I am selfishly thankful for the extra day it puts on our weekend.  While Jake and I didn’t have any special weekend plans, it has been nice relaxing at home, playing an absurd amount of backgammon and Super Mario Bros Wii all while Jake is working through his nasty side effects of chemo.

Jake and I enjoyed a week without too many outside commitments and just time to be. I wish I could say that I was able to get a ton of things checked off of one of my May goals, but let’s be honest, I have been reveling in the mode of no extra work these past couple of weeks.

The week of Jake’s chemo always brings about a mix of emotions. The beginning of the week Jake is filled with 75% good/healthy feelings that quickly turns into that sick-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach feeling by Thursday night. It’s amazing what the mind can do to make you feel like you are on top of the world only to turn that feeling upside down within a day when realizing what lies ahead.

Number One:

Thursday evening our wedding photographer, Joshua Longbrake drove from Chicago to be with us that evening and into Friday’s seventh round of chemo.  The thing I love most about Joshua and his photographic eye is that he is moved to capture life just the way it is. No glitz, no glamour, just life. To me, it is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. This is one of the many reasons we chose him to photograph our wedding.

The hope and success was for Joshua to take some pictures of Jake and I going about our lives the day before and of chemo. He photographed us in Hy-Vee, at home, Panera bread and at the hospital. Just doing our normal thing. I am looking forward to seeing the finished photos and sharing them with everyone.

Number Two:

Our article about our Let’s Do This documentary came out today!

Jess Knight with the Des Moines Register contacted Jake a couple of months ago in interest of writing a story about our documentary. Jake agreed to meet with her and after a few interviews and photographs taken, the story appeared in the paper yesterday.

Jake and I think Jess did a great job of capturing Jake’s positivity and spirit while working and living with cancer.

Number Three:

Friday night after chemo, Jake and I spent some time reflecting back on how far we have come in our one year of marriage and the things we have to look forward to moving ahead. As some of you may have guessed, Jake loves to record and take videos of us at just about any opportunity. And I love that about him. As we were reminiscing about our life, we started talking about our travels and most notably our trip to Cancun for our honeymoon. We pulled out our phones and started to watch some of our video clips, along with the pictures we had taken.

The breathtaking view from our hotel room.

The peaceful view we enjoyed every morning while eating breakfast.

Those perfectly made mimosas we sipped on after eating that delicious breakfast.

Walking along side the ocean, enjoying one another’s company, taking pictures galore.

Our lunches of melt-in-your-mouth sushi rolls.

All while celebrating our marriage.

Looking back on just the photos taken on our iPhones is nothing compared to the photographs Jake took with our real camera. Just looking back at the fun memories we made and the relaxing moments we shared makes me yearn for our next beach vacation.  🙂

My Three Joys

Life here in the Bouma household continues to plug away. Klaus and Dietrich continue to keep us entertained and keep us smiling.

Jake posted his latest treatment update that provides an update on the last round of chemo and the days after. It’s hard to believe his seventh treatment is already on Friday. It seems like just yesterday we were at MOHA and he was getting his sixth treatment. Time flies, but in this case, I am thankful for that. 😉

This past week was splendid in that I enjoyed a week with no school. I only have another week and a half until I am back in full swing of it all, so I am trying to enjoy each day without school as much as I can.  As much as I love having the time off from school, I will admit it was a little difficult for me to truly relax as I like to be busy. It did take a little time adjusting, but I am doing just fine now. 😉

Along with the relaxation, this past week provided some big and small joys that I continue to be thankful for.

Number One:

Cheers!

Jake and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on Monday! Unfortunately Jake felt pretty crappy, so we weren’t able to go out and celebrate, but did enjoy a nice quiet evening at home. After devouring a delicious pizza from ElFredo’s, we cracked opened up a bottle of sparkling grape juice and ate some of our wedding cupcake that we froze for this very occasion.  It truly was nice to being in pj’s by 5:30 pm and not having a single commitment that day other than to be with one another.

#Love

Number Two:

Thursday night Jake and I headed over to The Ullestad’s house for a little grill-out. Erik and Allison, Anna, Isaac and Evan have been good family friends and it was super good to spend the evening with them.  The weather was absolutely perfect for a grill-out and enjoying time in their huge backyard. Jake and I took the Flip camera and got some good video of us playing outside. Oh, and video of me being a scaredy-cat  to jump off of their tree house on the tree swing. Hilarious and pathetic at the same time.  You can check it out here. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Erik a month or so after Jake and I started dating and have been extremly thankful for him and his family ever since. Erik informed us a few months back that he was going to run the Dam to Dam on June 2nd to help raise money for our medical expenses. Ten percent of those donations will go the Lukemia and Lymphoma Society as well.  Jake and I are truly blessed to have Erik and his family in our lives and cannot thank him enough for his support. For more information, check out Erik’s blog here.

Number Three:

Sometimes it truly is the small things that brings me great joy. For the past three months I have been putting off filling out my candidacy petition and knew it had to get done before June. Basically this is an application to graduate with my Masters of Science in Teaching degree and outlines my classes until I graduate. I knew going in to working on it that it wasn’t going to be easy, but it was a little more frustrating than I expected. Long story long, after two hours of some tweets to my professor, a couple of text messages to a classmate and a lot of crossing information out and rechecking classes,  I figured out that I will graduate in the Fall of 2014. While December 2014 seems SO far away, I have come to realize that time flies, especially when you are keeping busy.

With that, I hope all of you had a wonderful week. While Jake and I are not looking forward to his seventh round of chemo on Friday, we are looking forward to the long weekend and being at home with our boys. ( I truly have turned into a pathetic cat lover. But I can’t help it.  🙂