Friday, May 15, 2020

Pandemic Panorama

Life in the Jones household is pretty good right now, which should be odd to read just as it was odd to type out. I mean, WHO in the world is good during a pandemic other than ME?!?

 The world is coming to it's knees and I'm here to tell you.........
I'm finally standing up. 
I'm finally coming out of the fog that has been my life for 2 years. 

I think being forced to clear our calendar has been the best therapy I have received in 7 years. 

I'm finally set free of so many of the fear and anxiety driven experiences that swallowed me whole for a few years. Watching a parent succumb to cancer will literally drain you in all facets of life. And then throw in a few IVF cycles and miscarriages and I'm here to tell you- it gets dark and grim and lonely. 

Last summer, I felt that life (both literally and physically) was stolen from me. We were caught in a hamster wheel that just kept spinning out of control. But, when the pandemic struck the US, God made it SO STINKING CLEAR to me: 
he's giving me back my lost time. 

And. I. Am. Here. For. It. 

 I have a different perspective of the pandemic than most mothers do right now. And a lot of my circumstances are different too. 
I'm in the same storm, but in a different boat. 

Even though H's job is deemed essential, he does not have to walk in a hospital everyday (nor do I)......and if he did, a layer of anxiety would be on me. I have joked with so much truth in it, that if dad was still alive, I would be worried about him sneaking off to Ace Hardware on a bi-weekly basis for random nuts and bolts for his lawnmower or golf cart. 

A dear dear friend of mine recently blogged about how this new lifestyle that America has been thrown into has her in a tailspin and she finally broke down as she was trying to make dinner for her family because she was out of 1 ingredient she needed to dinner. That was her breaking point.

As I read her blog- I honestly could not relate to it now, BUT, it brought back all of my memories of last summer and how the slightest hickup in a plan would make me feel defeated as a wife, mother or daughter. It reminded me of my breaking point after dad died that involved my coffee pot (another story for another day). 

It's funny how people deal with a crisis in different ways. Each rightly in their own personalities and feelings. After dad died- I went through an anger stage that was hard to work out. It's a weird dichotomy to be angry yet thankful your dad is in heaven. It took a lot of growing on my part to thank God for healing my dad and giving him his crown in Heaven.

Last summer, my dad started dying. It really started Easter weekend of 2019. That's when we noticed all of his changes again. By the time summer came, dad was basically paralyzed and bedridden. 

Cancer stole summer from me. Cancer stole 4-wheeler rides of dad and Jaxon. Cancer stole SO MANY nights of me reading to Jaxon. I was just too tired and emotional to read at the end of the night. 
On the most gorgeous days of summer,  I was inside trying to explain death to my 5 year old son. I was inside folding laundry for my mom. I was inside trying to make the last memories I would share with my dad while parenting and smiling to my son through my tears. 

Cancer stole time from me
It felt like I sat Jaxon in front of a tv or ipad for June and July of last year.......and I absolutely hated that feeling, but I didn't know what else to do. I was trapped by cancer

Cancer took away sweet picnics I wanted to have with my baby buddy. 

Cancer took away lazy mornings because I needed to help mom with breakfast or visitors or laundry or grocery runs. 

Cancer stole time that I wanted to spend with my precious baby boy that wanted to ride his bike- but I really just wanted to sit with my dad and talk with him before I knew I wouldn't hear his voice again. 

I was torn as to what was more important to me: 
being a daughter or being a good mother. 

There were so many nights I would cry myself to sleep because, well, my dad was dying, but also, I knew I gave motherhood what was left of me in that day.........and a lot of times, that was only 10%. 

10% isn't enough for baby. 10% is enough to fill a mother's heart. But, I knew God was giving me grace and this was just a season and dad would soon be healed and Jaxon would get his mom back. 

Cancer takes more than lives. 
It takes your precious time. 

The minute Jaxon's school was cancelled and all of our plans were cancelled and then life as we know it for April and May was cancelled- I cried tears of joy (again, TOTALLY NOT NORMAL HERE). 

I felt like for me, this was a gift from God to me. 
This "new found time" has been removing all of the guilt and anxiety I carried for MONTHS and MONTHS. 
I literally carried this burden.....silently.

God has gifted with me time again......and it has been beautiful, and sweet and slow paced.  

One day 1 of quarantine, I told H: "I do not want to waste this time. When we get on the other side of this, I want to remember it being happy and fun for us. I want to remember all of the books we read and the movies we watched together and the family walks, and family dinners, and school work and lazy Saturdays. I want to remember this as something SO positive for Jaxon."

 I want him to have a glimpse of the childhood my parents gave me. 

Magical and memorable. 

This is such a weird and trying time. And again, I know the magnitude this virus carries with it. But, it's not lost on me the added benefits it has brought my little family, and for that, I'm thanking God for this bonus time where we do not rush the moments that make memories. 

Photo credit goes to my FAB friend: Megan Wood

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Test. Test. Anyone out there?

Hello Blogger friends-

Is blogging still a thing?

I recently read where blogging is a thing of the past due to Instagram and Snap chat.

I've never been one to confirm to the types- so here I am typing.

This is more to save me time on going to therapy than anything.

Here's a nut shell on life:
1-My dad passed away in Sept.
2- My baby buddy is now 5 1/2 years old
3- I now have 2 Etsy shops plus a website that keeps me busy.

Sadly, I think you are all caught up now.

I make no promises- but- I'll try to do better on writing.
I sorta miss using this outlet.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Update on Dad #5

Life is stable right now.

We are finding a new normal.

There was a moment in August when I couldn't see the stability that we are living in right now.

There was a moment in August when I sat in the dark corner of dad's hospital room and begged God to make all of this just go away.

The beeping of dad's IV was the ever constant reminder that my family's bad dream really wasn't a dream after all.

The rain drops day after day after day hitting his hospital windows were additional reminders that we were in our own storm.

The month of August pretty much sucked for us.
There's no eloquent way of putting it.

Stage 4 lung cancer in someone who doesn't even

I'm pretty sure after the Dr. told us lung cancer, I responded with "are you kidding me?!?"

Here's what I do know: Cancer is crazy. It's unpredictable. And no one really knows what's going on with it. The whole thing is a big guessing game. The more questions you ask, the more you want to scream because they can't be answered.

However, our literal saving grace has been God and the mercies and blessings that he has given my family.

By no means are we questioning God, but make no mistake, we are crying out to him. Daily. 

Dad started radiation on Tuesday. He will have 10 days of radiation with likely side effects of him losing the hair he has already lost due to the good Walley genes.......and he will more than likely have some red spots and fatigue. I told Dad that it's time to invest in some do-rags for the next couple of weeks and to just lean into the naps that radiation is telling him to take. He really doesn't want to do either. 

When we first learned of dad's lung cancer diagnosis,  the whole thing was shocking as you can imagine.

Mom and I kept saying that we just knew that she or I would be the ones with cancer in our family.

Mom has a crazy family history with cancer and other health issues, and I took  every possible drug to get pregnant with Jax. I have already had the BRCA testing because again, I just figured my body would continue to retaliate against me.

When the Dr. said lung cancer.......the room just silenced. The wheels started turning in our heads.
How? Why? This doesn't make sense.

Dad's oncologist literally said: "it's a good time to have lung cancer actually."

Lung cancer is the #3 cancer.
Research is hot and heavy on lung cancer apparently.

Due to the fact dad is a non-smoker, he had a small upper advantage of possibly have a specific mutated gene that could potentially allow him to bypass chemo and instead, take 8 pills a day along with radiation. 

What he didn't tell us though, the chances are only 1%. His Dr. didn't tell us that until last week, which is a great this for this anxiety stricken girl. 

Miracle #5 that we have watched since August is in the 1%.


I literally can't even comprehend that.

When people say 1% chance.....that generally means no.

When I tell Jax there's a 1% chance that we can go to the toy store and buy him prizes..........what I really mean is "oh heck no kid."

So, when the Dr. said dad is in the 1%.......I cried, because my mom logic over here means that 1% really doesn't even exist.

Due to the statistics, dad can by-pass traditional chemo which is an answered prayer. I have gotten very specific with my prayers to the Lord. I asked God to keep dad from having to endure the natsy chemo......and yesterday dad started his 8 pills a day. 

8 pills a day with a glass of water is what dad is using to eradicate cancer. 

During daddy/daughter camp, he would ask for ice cream and I would take him greek yogurt with granola on top.

I told him if he complained about it, I would start 'Meatless Monday' at his house. 

The month of August taught me that life as an adult is hard. 
It's hard and emotional. 
It taught me that most everything that I stress out about doesn't even matter. At all. 
It doesn't matter. 

What does matter is understanding the will of the Lord. 
AND........ accepting his will and trusting in his love for us. 

August is over. 

God's mercies are new in the month of September and even though we are weary and worn, we are resting in the arms of Jesus. 

God is guiding in this new territory of cancer. 
He is giving us Biblical truths to find comfort in. 
He is allowing small family victories that mean so much. 
He is comforting at 2 in the morning when you can't stop analyzing cancer. 

It's our prayer that in addition to cancer disappearing from dad's body, dad will have little to no side effects, and the radiation and brand new to the market pills work beautifully on his lungs. I'm hoping dad can be used in a brochure or commercial or something. 

September is going to be great month. 
We know this to be true already due to the cool weather. 

God is with us, and he is healing. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Update on Dad #4

Man Oh Man

My sweet dad is rocking and rolling. 

Hurdle #1 of his journey has been crossed. 

That man is literally sitting in his favorite chair after a Sunday full of some of his favorite guests. 

Dad's Sunday morning started with a delivery of hot apple dumplings. 

Then followed by lunch with long time friends, then a visit from his mom. 

OH! And Saturday.....he partied at Waylon's 2nd birthday party! 

This week, Jax and I are PawPaw's nurses. 
I'm sure he would rather have Brittany (one of his favorite hospital nurses) versus dealing with me and ALL of the healthy foods that I brought him. 

We have some BIG plans for the week: 
Monday- go to the post office so Jax and dad can sit in the car while I buy stamps and check the box. 
Tuesday- ride around on some dirt roads and lunch with family.
Wednesday- drive to Leakesville. (dad has already asked me for a Ward's biscuit.....and I've already told him no, but that I'll be happy to make him a great green smoothie instead)
Thursday- go to Hattiesburg to have his stitches removed. 
Friday- radiologist appointment. 

We are hoping that in a few weeks, dad will be able to start radiation on his brain. We are SO hopeful about this treatment even though it is going to be intense. He will have radiation everyday for 2 weeks. 

We are ready. 

Dad is ready. 

Dad is preparing to put on his 'Armor of God' to battle it out with cancer. 

We have felt every emotion since August 7th. 

That Monday feels like it was a year ago, and yet it feels like yesterday all at the same time. 

Jackson seemed to have been 10 hours away from Hattiesburg on that day. 

The hours that passed each day while Dad was in the hospital seemed like minutes. 

We (me, mom and Nathan), are still telling dad about the events that happened from surgery #1 until he was discharged from the hospital. Dad really doesn't remember anything or anyone from the time in between his surgeries. 

Dear friends, we KNOW that God isn't finished with Brent Walley. 
That man is still being used by God. 

God has provided SEVERAL miracle moments over the past month that has shown his divine providence to my family. 

When the haze started to lift and we began putting the puzzle pieces together, we just sat in awe at his majesty.

 For several days, I literally had no words for God.

Sometimes, you just need to sit in silence at the feet of Jesus and allow him to hold you. 

After radiation is complete, visits with the oncologist will begin. 

We. Are. Ready.

Specific Prayer Requests that Dad needs right now: 
1. Strength as radiation begins;
2. Limited to no side effects of radiation; and
3. Continued high spirits.

Though the fig tree does not bud, 
and there are no grapes on the vines, 
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food, 
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls, 



Habakkuk 3:17-18

Friday, August 11, 2017


I grew up in a really small town.
Think 1 stop sign kind of town.
Think 3 gas pumps lined up in a row.

You never fully appreciate and understand a place like Sand Hill until you are in the valley.

Sand Hill is a place that is rich in God centered people that treat everyone like family. At one point before dad's surgery, a nurse asked me who out of the 16 people in dad's hospital room was family.

I told her all of them.

When you live in a small town like Sand Hill, you do not have to worry about receiving help in a weak hour.

-Our sweet Claire Bear kept Jaxon on surgery day.  That ninja turtle had the best time with his Claire Bear. She loved on him and made his day so full. Every time we would Facetime he was in the middle of a project with her. 

-Mrs. Janice Smith has been the best hostess from West Salem Baptist Church. She along with their Pastor and church members have been so gracious with goody baskets, lunch delivers and sending out updates. 

- You know you are loved when someone offers to keep 3 boys all under the age of 3 for an extended period of time. Auntie Hannie graciously offered to keep Jaxon and Waylon along side Hannah's monkey man Cannon. Those cousin boys gave her a run for her money, but I think she LOVED having a house full of boys! 

- Dad literally have a notebook page of visitors that have come in and out of his room since Monday. Each visitor holds a dear place in his heart. They laughed with him, wiped his tears for him, prayed over him and then had goody boxes delivered. The outpour has been nothing short of amazing. Dad pretty much hosted his high school reunion on the 6th floor. 

- When we moved to Madison a year ago, it didn't quite feel like home for a few months. I didn't have the support system like I did while living in Laurel. I didn't feel established a year ago and honestly felt alone in motherhood. It was kinda weird not having play dates lined up each week. 

Fast forward a year later, my DEAR neighbor and friend Emily literally helped pack the bags my family needed to get out of the door in 15 minutes. She made sure my baby had a new coloring book and sticker book to keep him occupied for .345 seconds in the hospital. She offered to tidy up our home while we were gone. 

She reminded us that we have a dog and that she would take care of him. 

Then, she and another sweet neighbor (who I literally rang her doorbell and gave Jaxon to her teenage daughter to and said I'll be back in a few minutes to pick him up after I pack bags) drove Hunter's car to the airport so Nathan would have a vehicle when his plan landed. 

In the midst of all of the craziness on Monday night, Emily texted: I filled up H's car with gas for Nathan and I put $10 in the cup holder in case he doesn't have cash for parking. 

That  text put me over the edge of my emotional rollercoaster. 
I was SO humbled by Emily's grace and generosity. I would have NEVER thought about cash for parking! 

- When I told my friend Katye the quick bullet point summary of what's going on with seemed like I looked up and there she was. She brought all of my favorite bad snacks and gifts for the boys! 

-Meanwhile, mom has been receiving the sweetest words of encouragement from friends. Her coworkers have rallied behind her in prayer and sweet text messages. Mom's principal delivered the sweetest note from her school. While reading it, she just cried and cried. 
     -When I told my dear friend Laura that H and Jax were going back home on Thursday, I couldn't even put my phone down before she said I'm bringing them dinner tonight. As a mama, that means the world to me. As a friend, it makes me feel so blessed. 

A few minutes passed and Laura had reached out to friends and neighbors and set up a meal plan for H and Jax while I'm gone. 


Mom and I cannot stop crying over the generosity of others. 
Although we already knew this............but, we have some of the most selfless friends. 
Their love of Christ and their serving hearts have been the biggest blessings surrounding us this week. 

There's no way we could ever repay everyone back for the generosity they have shown us. 

Mom has said over and over and over that she feels inadequate over the love and support we have. We know we will never be able to repay each friend individually, but rest assured, when it's our turn to be on the giving side, we will do it with remembrance of these past days. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Update on Dad #3

Dad's surgery was a full 4 hours. 
He did great in surgery and recovery. 

He was on neuro watch in 15 minute, 30 minute and 1 hour intervals. 
Each check went great. Which is a HUGE praise. 

He nor mom slept any last night due to his snoring. His voice is so raspy due to the tubes from surgery that it makes his snoring much harder on him. Dad described it as being violent. 

My sweet mom is so tired. She will not leave his side even for coffee downstairs. 

This morning Dad has been battling high blood pressure and hot sweats. 
He is on oxygen and heart rate monitors and his additional bp meds. 

And through all of that, he is still being Brent. 
He is a simple man that just loves the Lord and a strong cup of coffee. 

He asked me to read scripture to his nurse and he wanted to give her his Sunday School lesson for her to read. Bless his soul. 

**side note: we know his nurse really well. She was a classmate of Nathan's (little brother) and she loves the Lord just as much as dad does. She gladly accepted dad's Sunday School book though. 

Dad was able to drink a cup of coffee too! I think he just wore out his nurse until she said SURE! 

We will never be able to thank everyone full for all of the love and sacrifices they have made for our family. The outpour of love is truly humbling for us. 

 Thank you for embracing and loving my family in our darkest hour. God is going to turn our darkest hour into a light for him. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Update on Dad #2

We are on day 3 of the hospital. 

Day 1 was a blur. We felt every emotion on Day 1. 
Nathan arrived around 1am on Monday after flying in from Houston. 

Day 2 provided a little more clarity. And mom and dad were so happy to have their gang back together. 
We were able to meet with 2 surgeons and ask all of our questions. 

Brain tumors are a hurry up and wait kind of thing. 
You literally know nothing until it's removed. 

Due to all of the swelling on dad's brain, he wasn't able to have surgery immediately. He need to be on steroids for a full 2 days. 

Our days have been long and sad. But, we are all together......and that's what really matters. 

We have literally felt every single emotion over the past few days. 
But thank goodness, in the lowest of our low, friends and family have knocked on his hospital door. 

We have laughed, cried and prayed with all of our family and friends. 

Everything has been surreal. 
It's like a bad dream that gets worse and worse. 

Dad's are suppose to be invincible. 
PawPaw's are suppose to be playing with their little grand buddies. 

It has been the biggest blessing receiving phone calls and visits from friends. 
Dad's face would light up with each visit and laugh so hard at the stories that have been told over and over and over. 

Dad is currently in surgery. 
He had a late start to surgery and had high blood pressure that needed to be regulated. 

Mom, Nathan, Candice, Hunter and myself were able to wait with dad in pre-op and watch his happy juice be administered. 

I think we had cried all of our tears by that point, so we just laughed and recapped the funny happenings and stories that Jaxon and Waylon have entertained us with. 

Apparently Jaxon thinks he has a brother that he assumes we left at home. 
Waylon keeps telling everyone that "PawPaw is sick." 

Late on Monday night while putting Jaxon to bed(around 12:45 am), I asked Jaxon if he wanted to say a prayer and ask God to fully heal PawPaw. 

He replied: " thank you. I need to take a rest."

Jesus loves the little funny and point blank children. 

Monday I didn't eat at all. 
Tuesday began my emotional eating binge. 

True Story: I walked with H to the coffee shop today and the barista said "you want your normal order?" Umm..... yes please. 

We cannot thank everyone enough for their love and support. 
The outpour of love has been so comforting in the absolute darkest days of our family. People know the love language of our family: junk food. 

We have SO many snacks! And thank goodness.....they are all of the good ones. 

Dad has been in surgery since 3pm and it's now 7pm. 

We have received 3 updates and waiting for our next update. 
So far, everything has been going good. 

As we know more, I'll type another update. Dad will probably spend the night in ICU for observation and return to his regular room tomorrow. 

I'll post more when we know more, but in the meantime, we ask that you keep praying to the Great Physician.