First, I know it has been months since I wrote, so I will update you a little on what has been going on with me.  Like I wrote in March, I did have my right shoulder surgery as planned.  It was rough.  I now can fully say to my patients that come in after that surgery that I have felt your pain and can sympathize.  I did end up having a SLAP tear (labral tear) in my shoulder that Dr. Veazey said was a lot larger than they had expected and had been there a long time.  He did not end up repairing the rotator cuff tear because it was not completely torn.  He did do a bicep tenodesis (taking my long head of my biceps tendon and reattaching it to the front of the humerus with a screw), and he also tightened down the capsule in my shoulder and shaved off some of the acromion (bone at the roof of the shoulder).  Needless to say, I'm glad to have that behind me, but I am still hurting almost daily.  I can say that my shoulder feels better in many ways like not feeling like it is stuck and needs to pop.  However, the catching and popping in the back of my shoulder that I have had for at least 7 years now has not resolved and almost feels just as bad.  I love Dr. Veazey and fully trust his judgement.  I went back to see him recently for another follow-up, and he said he has thought long and hard about my shoulder and my scoliosis issues on that side (with my rib hump and winging scapula).  He said that I am just a really tough case when it comes to that shoulder.  I am just prone to having shoulder pain and problems.  He stated he was surprised that I had not had more problems in the past and that it was only because I stay in good shape that it has done this well until now.  He basically stated that they can give me injections when needed and that I can continue to treat myself for pain at my clinic, but that he expects me to have another major shoulder surgery in the next 15-20 years.  Yikes.  That stinks.  As for now, I will just suck it up and carry on.  If you see what time this post is being done, you will know that I am writing you in the middle of the night.  You know if it is not one body part hurting it is another.  On Sunday afternoon, I got up like I have a million times from our couch while talking to Chris, and I caught my foot on the large wooden leg of our leather ottoman.  Needless to say it really hurt and Chris and I heard my toes pop out loud.  I limped into the kitchen to walk it off and felt better that night.  The last few days I have been walking fine and didn't really notice too much pain, but tonight a little after midnight I woke up to a serious, throbbing pain in my left middle toe.  I went into the bathroom to check it out and I can't hardly move that toe or put any pressure on it.  That is so weird because it is like a delayed pain.  I think maybe though I still have some neuropathy in my fingers and toes from my second chemo, so I don't always feels things fully.  That was about 2 hours ago, and I can't seem to go back to bed.  I guess I will call my doctor in the morning to see if she'll order an x-ray to see if I fractured it.  Great that is all I need right now is to have another body part that is injured.  It never ends!  Please pray that this pain goes away because it even hurts when I walk.  As far as my follow ups with my oncologist go, I went to one in May and it went well.  I am still going every 3 months, but I'm feeling pretty good these days minus the joint problems - LOL.  Please continue to pray for good health for me and my family.

I've had a lot on my mind lately, so I feel like I just need to get some stuff off my chest.  First and foremost, our little sweetie, Brenley Shay, just turned 5 years old this past Tuesday.  We had the best party for her yesterday to celebrate at a place called Cheer Texas.  We had a wonderful turnout from our friends and family, and it just made Chris and I realize how wonderful and blessed our family truly is.  We have a lot of people who really care about us and our little princess.  With this being said, I have a lot to be thankful for.  As most of you know from reading my blog, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer almost 2 years ago now.  Brenley had just turned 3 years old a few months before this.  These past two years have been the most scary and out of control times of my life.  I have never had to rely on others for so much and especially on God.  It was good for me.  If you know me at all, I put up a tough and strong face when I really don't want people to know I'm weak and afraid at times.  The truth is that I am not as organized and on top of things as I let on.  I am very insecure at times.  I also think that I let my mouth get the best of me.  I heard a sermon at church this past Sunday that got to me.  Chris and I decided to visit Hillside Christian church because my sister texted me (yes during church - LOL) and said Francesca Battistelli, the Christian singer we hear on Air One a lot, was doing a surprise visit to their church to lead the praise worship time.  Christian stations are almost always on in both our cars, and Bren loves to sing so she belts these songs out sometimes in our car.  We told her that Francesca was going to be there, and she got excited.  We sang several songs first with the praise worship leader, and then Francesca lead a few songs.  Then came a moment I will never forget.  I looked in the row in front of me while singing, and Brenley was standing a little bit in the aisle so she could see Francesca.  The chorus of the songs says something to the effect of lifting your hands high to praise you God, and Bren so sweet and innocent began lifting her hand up.  She held it so high and so proud in the air.  She was so into that song and that moment.  The tears just began streaming from my face.  I know she is just 5 years old, but she knows God and she loves him so much.  Chris and I pray a lot that God will mold her and shape her into a beautiful tool for him and that she will do something great for his kingdom.  In that moment, I decided as I prayed to God that I was giving her up to him because she was HIS child first and no matter if this means he sends her far away some day to spread his word I will trust his will for her life.  It was such a peaceful and glorious moment to see her praising God at 5 years old.  Children are so pure and wonderfully made in his image, and I know God put us in that service at that very time to show us a little glimpse of how much he loves his children.  Tommy, their preacher, then spoke a great sermon about our words and our hearts.  He said that they have been studying Proverbs and how they had talked a few sermons back about how our words can affect others and reflect what is in our hearts.  So then today he spoke about several scriptures that talk about our hearts and how we can filter what we say most of the time but if our hearts aren't pure then we are just putting up a front or a façade to make ourselves look better than we are.  This is what I do sometimes.  Don't get me wrong, I don't always hold my tongue.  I say things sometimes too quickly and don't think before I speak and I hurt people's feelings.  For this I am truly sorry.  I say things at times, like Tommy said, about other people because I think it makes me feel better about myself and look better to others.  I should never let my insecurities come at the price of talking bad about others.  For this I humbly apologize.  I have a new mission, I am going to work on my heart.  I not only need to let go of some things in my life like anger and control issues, but I need and want God to shape my heart, like I prayed for Brenley today, to reflect him more.  I want to be a better Christian so I can be a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend, a better wife, and a more importantly a better mother to Brenley.  I thank God so much for each and every day I get to spend time with Bren, help raise her, and to see her grow into a beautiful, Christian girl.  I pray often that God will give me good health for many years to come so I can continue to see glimpses of him in little moments like today and so I can continue to serve him and bring others to Christ.  This is what life is all about people.

Well continuing on the subject of being a Christian, I have one other thing on my heart.  I had a conversation with a great friend of mind one day at the coffee shop.  It has been weighing on my mind a lot since then.  We were talking about our spiritual walks and how certain sins in our lives just seem to have a grip on you.  You want to give them up completely, but you don't know exactly how you would feel if you did.  It controls you.  It gives you a feeling of contentment and happiness.  We all have this sin or this idol in our lives.  It may be popularity, money, material things, nice cars, nice houses, or any sin that takes your focus off God.  My friend told me that he or she (don't want to be specific here) was struggling with something and that she or he was falling into this trap of sin.  He or she had almost justified having this sin in his or her life because God accepts sinners and accepts us as who we are.  I asked this person one serious question and it was this.  I told her or him that it's true we are all sinners and that we all struggle with things in our lives.  The next thing I said was this, "If you knew there was one sin in your life that God said if you didn't give up you wouldn't make it to heaven, would you give up that one sin?"  She or he thought about it and then said they didn't know for sure.  I thought wow, really???  I know that after going through what I have in the last few years and with death knocking at my door, I would give up anything to be eternally with our God in heaven.  I wouldn't hold onto anything to sacrifice living an eternity in hell.  I knew two things in that moment.  I need to examine my own life to decide what these idols or sins are that I haven't given to God.  The second is that I need to pray more for my friends and push them to give it all up to God and be better Christians.  If you are my friends, please hold me accountable to Christ and for what he teaches us in the Bible.  Don't let me settle for being a mediocre Christian but push me to be an ALL-IN Christian even if that means hurting my feelings some times.  I need to be put in my place sometimes and believe me when I say God has done this for me many times in the last few years through moments of humiliation.  Let's all strive to be better people and better servants for Christ every day.  Live for every day and remember that you don't know when God will call you home, but when he does how rewarding it will be to hear, "well done my good and faithful servant". 

This Bible verse came to mind in 2 Timothy 4:

 "1In the presence of God and of Christ
Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and
his kingdom, I give you this charge:  2Preach the word; be prepared in
season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and
careful instruction.  3For the time will come when people
will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they
will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching
ears want to hear.  4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

 6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.  7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

Wow, I long for that day but until then I am going to strive to fight the good fight.  Let's put our toughest game faces on in a world that wants to mock Christians and lets stand for what we know is right.  Lets not settle for what the world tries to convince us is acceptable, but lets stand for God's truth and what he calls us to be daily (not just on Sundays and Wednesdays).  Lets all strive to know him better each and every day through reading our Bibles and living as if he might call us home at any moment.  We are not invincible.  We are, in reality, actively dying.  I'm sorry if this has gotten long, but think of this one thing.  If you think about your funeral day, what will people say about you?  Will your life you lived here on Earth reflect Christ or will you just see yourself in that mirror?

Ok.  The last topic at hand that Chris and I have really struggled with in the last 6 months or so is the possibility of adoption.  I didn't really advertise this information to everyone because it was a tough time for us, but a few months ago we thought that we were going to be the proud new parents of a baby girl.  We had been told about a sweet, young Christian lady who was pregnant with a baby girl, and was unselfishly going to place her for adoption for many reasons.  Some of the most important of these reasons being that she wanted her child to be raised with a mother and a father in her life, in a strong Christian home, and because she felt like she couldn't provide for this baby like she wanted to at this point in her life.  We developed a great connection with this birthmother, and we thought for about a month or so that she was for sure going to pick us to raise this baby.  To our dismay and after lots of prayer on both our parts, the birthmother chose another Christian couple.  It was really hard for us, but we couldn't fault the mom.  She had to go with her heart and with God was leading her to do even if that wasn't what we had wanted to hear.  I think it was really hard on me because as a mother and wife I've struggled with the fact that I got cancer and then had to have a hysterectomy.  I wanted to have another baby with my husband and to be able to give Brenley a sibling, but I can't and that kills me some days.  It was weird because I just knew when God put this situation in our laps, that he had something good in store for us.  Then, when it didn't happen I guess Chris and I were a little dumbfounded.  We didn't know what to think about that.  Looking back after giving it a little time, we know that if for not other reason but to help this birthmother get through that really hard time in her life and to support her when she needed it, it was all worth it.  That sweet baby went to a loving, Christian home even if it wasn't our home, so God's hand was in that decision for sure.  We still feel that God has a plan for us, and that maybe he placed this in our lives to let us see that he may still want this for us and that he can always make anything happen if it is his will.  We truly want his will for our lives, but we ask for prayers for this.  We love Brenley so much but we also know that we have a lot more love to give and a good, Christian home to provide another child if God wants us to.  Please pray that if God wants us to adopt a child that the right doors will open and he will place something in our paths.  We are just giving it up to him fully.  Thanks for the prayers and please feel free to contact me privately any time I can pray for you.  What a blessing and privilege it is to pray for one another.  Until next time my friends, love and blessings.  Shay