“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it.”
Mary Oliver

There are very few things I enjoy more than a quiet morning with a cup of coffee and a book. Well for this morning a Hallmark movie seems to be just the right addition. I am flying home today for Christmas and my heart could not be more full. I have my Louisville jersey ready to wear for my flight and my bags are packed. Tomorrow I get to spoil my little toe headed nephew with what I think is a really cool blue dinosaur and a book about Santa Coming to Colorado. If only he knew what a gift he has been to all of us.

This time of year for many of us it can be hard. I encourage you to take a deep breath, maybe a walk in the middle of the day… take care of yourself. Take a look back at the past year and all the ways that God showed up in even the tiniest places in your life. How the unexpected became a moment of joy and how heartbreak slowly healed. Just take a moment and look around the room. Surely there are things to be grateful for. If nothing else a room that is too loud, too messy, chaotic and hectic.

Or maybe these are the words you need to hear….

“HE showed me what love really looks like, and He built a depth of beauty into my story that a life without suffering would have never known.”

This Christmas I celebrate so many little things like skiing in below zero temperatures and big things like knowing I have been on Tamoxifen successfully for one whole year, not to mention I have had a year of clean test results. Whatever it may be, big or small know you are loved, thought of and cared for. Not just by me.

I pray this season you are able to take a look around the room, tell that person what they mean to you and simply be present for all that this season has to offer.

Merry Christmas!

It started in Preschool for them and 1st grade for us. The beginnings of what would become a great friendship. But it was not until Middle School the we combined to be the “four of us”.

Christie Lee and Me …. Stephanie and Brittany.

This year we celebrate Year 14 of making Gingerbread Houses at Mark and Lee Etta’s House on Christmas Eve Eve (although the day has changed in recent years to accommodate all of us). We gather at the same table, in the same room at the same house with the same agenda… spend time decorating, laughing, eating too much cheese tort, drink as many mimosas (one year we finished 12 bottles) as possible and celebrate all the we have to be grateful for…. most especially each other. This table has experienced its fair shares of joy with high school graduations, pharmacy school, physical therapy school, masters degree, successful jobs, lots of traveling, two marriages, and the newest edition Baby Juiliana. We went to four different colleges and now live in Central America, Colorado and Kentucky. While we have our joys we have also had our share of tears with breast cancer, breakups, moves, and most recently celebrating the life of Brittanys Dad (a second dad to us). But as with most things in this thing called life we continue to be grateful for the opportunity to be apart of each others lives for this long. My heart is full just writing about this most beloved tradition.

Each year we decorate, exchange Christmas gifts in the living room and then the Scott’s invite our families over for the evening before we have a sleepover in their basement. Our parents usually try and guess who’s house is who’s and then usually one of the Scott brothers gets the frozen margaritas going. We indulge in Lee Etta’s famous cheese dip and have Mexican food. We have been known to bring out the marshmallow guns and play a round or two of apples to apples all while listening to Mannheim Steamroller. The house gets more crowded as siblings and significant others gather for what becomes a house that reflects very much what the season is all about.

I thought I would share the photos I could find of us through the years. One day I will get them all together. As you can see we almost always sit in the exact same spots 🙂

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Christmas 2010 (6 years ago)

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Christmas 2012

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Christmas 2013

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Not sure where the group picture is from this year (2010)???

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Below are some of my favorite pictures and this one below taken this year 🙂 We are now 5!

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An oldie but a goodie

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One of my favorites is below from a year ago. Julianna in Stephanie’s Belly and Brittany Looking like a Barbie and Christie Lee and laughing at each other.

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Somehow the last nine years have passed and when I reflect on all that I have been allowed to do I quickly become overwhelmed with gratitude. I lived in Amsterdam, became a college graduate, a second grade teacher, backpacked in Central America alone, an aunt, gained a brother in law, started a career in private equity and a breast cancer survivor.

That last one though is the one that gets me.

I often tell people that what I gained as a result of having cancer came at at a big price but it is one of the sweetest things I have ever been given.  I received the gift of seeing how precious life is. How much better it is to risk loving BIG than not loving at all. How just the simple touch of a hand can change how you view the world. I realized the gift of giving. Of showing up in others lives. I say YES more and say NO more than that. I learned how important is to take time for yourself. The precious gift of holding a baby and watching your parents become grandparents. I also learned just how deeply the father loves us, even in our brokenness.

I still find it hard to dream about living a long life. I am afraid to let myself go there because what happens if I don’t get too? I ask myself this often. Will I get to live long? When I look back at all the plans I have made over the years… I realize there are hundreds of plans that have never taken place and thousands of plans that have happened instead. I slowly begin to realize the joy is in the thousands you never planned. I believe in the depths of my heart that the plans for my life will far exceed what I could have ever dreamt for myself. One of my favorite sayings has always been…..

“This was her life. Not the life she once dreamed of,

not a life her younger self would ever have imagined or desired,

but the life she was living, with all its complexities.

This was her life, built with care and attention

and it was good.”

I must say it has been pretty good, bad ugly and everything in between.

I turn 30 next year and could not be more delighted. Birthdays as you may or may not know have recently become one of my very favorite things. I love being reminded that someone is here and honoring them on that day. And nothing more than being reminded that I get one more year.  Some say lucky is a silly word, but I must be honest some days I have nothing else to say than to say that I feel incredibly lucky.

Tonight I get the honor of celebrating a dear friend of mine who turns 77 years old today. (she doesn’t look a day over it). Tonight we will have champagne, share stories and she will share her wisdom. But more than anything tonight I hope she knows how grateful I am for her, her friendship and all that she has shared about living a long life. The picture below we took at my Birthday party. I think we both agreed that we could raise our glasses and “cheers” to many many more years.

 

Cheers to you on this Friday. For more birthdays. More plans that don’t go our way. And even more days trusting that we weren’t meant to plan it ourselves either.

This Thursday is my 29th Birthday. I was just telling my mom in a conversation over the phone, that I can’t believe it. I can’t believe that I am that old… she agreed. You could tell though somewhere in the middle of our conversation we shared the same thought. Not only can we not believe that I am this old but we can’t believe that I get to be here for one more birthday.
That is one of those things that happens after cancer. You start to realize how much of a privilege it is to grow old. How special it is to celebrate your birthday.

For as long as I can remember I never imagined not growing old. From early childhood people began to ask, “Kristina What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you hope for?”. And let me tell you I had answers. I was going to get married. Have kids. At one point I think I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to be a sportscaster. The list goes on and on. And today if you ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up the answer is a little simpler….

I just want to be here. Be present for whatever comes my way. I want to follow my heart even if it gets me in trouble. I want to love others well.

So this year I could not think of a more special way to honor my birthday than by asking others to give back with me. As many of you know several years ago I lived in Honduras. In the little town that we lived was a home of all girls. The home named, The Eternal Family Project. This home exists to provide a forever family to orphaned children. By providing a safe, loving home, spiritual leadership, balanced nutrition, bilingual education and proper healthcare the EFP is breaking the cycle of poverty that hundreds of thousands of children in Honduras are born into.

A few months ago I reached out and asked how I could help. Through a few email exchanges they asked if I would like to sponsor Birthdays for 2017 for all of the girls. You see with 29 girls in the home it is far too costly and difficult to buy them a gift. So she asked if I would like to arrange for one special gift to be purchased unique for each girl and shipped down there. So without hesitation I agreed! Over the past few weeks I have over 30 people have jumped in to help make this happen. This Friday I am having a birthday party to gather, wrap and prepare the gifts. Then next year as each girl celebrates her birthday she will be given her gift.

You may be reading and ask can if there is any way you can help? The answer is yes. If you would like to contribute towards the shipping cost for this I would be so grateful. I have already received $25.00 but as you can imagine I am estimating close to $200.00 to get this to Central America. Any money that is collected beyond the shipping cost will then be donated directly to the orphanage. If you are interested please contact me at kmschermer@gmail.com. I also have venmo and payal!

The other way you can help is to simply do an act of kindness in your community. Maybe it is that person that has been on your heart for sometime? That person on the street corner every day? Your family member you forgot to call? Or that older woman or man that live down the street? Do me a favor and love others well. (I would love to hear what you do also).

Cheers to More Years and Turning 29!

 

I have two pictures that I took the day before my mastectomy. I hardly ever look at them. It is strange to look at them and it makes me cry. They stir up this emotion that I have often tried to avoid. But this morning I took a look (two years ago Friday I took the pictures)

I had never taken topless photos before (now I have taken hundreds, thank you cancer). But I realized rather in panic at the surgeons office that if I did not take a picture that day I would have nothing to look back at. So I did. The photo is pretty funny to see. I am making a goofy face, probably to hide the fact at how odd I felt taking a photo topless and I have purple pen marked all around my chest, indicating where the doctor would cut.

That is what makes me the most sad. A part of my body that became merely place of sorrow, a place I became afraid to look at. The lines indicated that cancer was there. A small x marked on my left breast (cancer side).

The morning of my surgery I won’t ever forget. I was in the shower. I looked down. Cried as the water rushed over me. I remember  looking up letting the water cover my eyes, trying to convince myself to pull it together. I think it was a plea. A plea to the God that I was certain was faithful and good but that this part of the story I just simply did not understand. I pleaded in fear. I was afraid. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but things were going to be ok. I wasn’t sure how or what “OK” would look like but it was. It was going to be “OK”.

I only write these words today to say that it is ok if you are not understanding some part of your story. If your story you wish you could somehow change. If you are pleading that things would be different. Maybe it is that that certain someone is no longer around, if that job you felt called too did not come through, if you find yourself alone in the evenings wondering how to do another day, if you feel defeated. If that child you so depsperatley have longed for has yet to show their face.

I may not know your story but I know what it is like to plea asking why your story is the way that it is.

Give yourself some permission. Some grace. Its ok if you don’t understand.

Some things we just are not meant to understand.

“The depths are what make the heights so beautiful”

-Kara Tippets