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Here's to Hoping

Hi. My name is Lindsey Thames. I am a daughter, sister, friend, aunt, mother of three children and two dogs, wife of my hero, and child of God. I am not a lover of technology. I am not organized and I am a queen procrastinator. But... I am trying to give in to the transforming world around me in efforts to grow this dream and hope of mine.

A hope of an ever growing ARMY OF LOVE. I have resisted long enough to give into blogs and websites, but change is good, and like a good friend tells me, "If you are flexible, you are able to bend with whatever comes your way. This keeps you from breaking in two." I am working on applying this in all areas of my life. I will also warn you, I should not have gone past 2nd grade grammar and spelling, so sorry in advance. :) Forgive me. ;)

I have an incredible family who are supporting me in my efforts to make this dream grow. Wonderful family and friends helping me with the technology party, the ideas, and visions of what this army might grow to become. I welcome all help! :) So I am giving it my all to see this through, unlike my prayer shawl I have been trying to knit for three years... ha. I am hoping you will help hold me accountable.

I am attaching the email I sent to explain to loved ones the night Mike (my husband) began treatment for Acute (crazy mixed, extremely rare) Leukemia. It will hopefully give you a start to understand where our journey began. I think the odds of someone receiving this diagnosis are about 1 in 10 million. Dang - we won the wrong lottery. :) But I am starting to believe we did win a lottery. We won a 1 in 10 million chance to learn what HOPE, LOVE, AND FAITH really mean. Many go through a life time without knowing that. We have felt an amazing love that is hard to even find words to describe. We have learned that in the depth of suffering blessings still abound. Don't worry, I am human. I have pity parties, feel sad, scream, cry, cuss often (never really was a cusser before) and yell at God. On given days, I definitely wish we hadn't won this lottery. BUT on those days, I can always find someone to be my lighthouse. This is where I learned this lesson that life can not be lived alone. And my dream came into action, to share this realization while hopefully being someone else's lighthouse.

We want to share this with others out there fighting all types of battles. Life is hard, y'all. But... but when you realize you don't have to do it alone, You gain courage. You gain hope.

Our family has felt nothing but LOVE for the past year and a half. NOTHING less. We have been wrapped in a blanket of love every day. And the power of love can not be underestimated. Kind of like that tiny mustard seed of faith that can move mountains. Love has this amount of power. We want to share this love to others when they have lost HOPE.

The thing about hope is... it's always there. Whether you like it or not.

I recently read an explanation of HOPE that hit home for me.

Richard Rhor says, "We must allow things to be only partly resolved, without perfect closure or explanation. Christians have not been taught how to live in hope. The ego always wants to settle the dust quickly and have answers right now. But Paul rightly says, “In hope we are saved, yet hope is not hope if its object is seen” (Romans 8:24). The virtue of hope widens and deepens our foundation."

So Mike and I live in hope because we do not know the answer or God's plan in our eyes. And we won't know it in this lifetime. We don't know where this army will lead us, but because we don't know, we will always believe something wonderful will happen.

And so here's to hoping .....

It's 3 am on May 13th, 2016.

Tonight marked the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. A chapter full of hope! A chapter full of light and determination. Most importantly, a chapter full of love. A love that I never knew was possible before these last two weeks began. I always knew I loved Mike... I mean, I fought like heck to make him mine. His drive, strong will, passion, kindness, and hard-headedness (if you will) is what made me fall hard for him in the first place. It is also what kept me fighting to make him mine. In the past two weeks, I've seen each one of those characteristics come out in a whole new light and I have fallen head over heels in love with him again! And this is why I have no doubt in my mind that he will beat this shitty diagnosis of Leukemia. Just a bump in our road, we like to say.

The path to getting to this day has been an agonizing hell. Therefore, maybe one night I will have the energy to write about that journey. As for right now, we are moving forward in HOPE and only focusing on our journey to make him well again. That is the only light we see right now, and that's what we will stay focused on. One day recently while I was feeling in a dark place, I came across a charm by Alex and Ani for Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. The charm had this description of a lighthouse:

"A lighthouse is a welcoming structure, a reassuring sign of steady ground ahead, and an optimistic symbol of hope for all looking to move forward safely. It is an emblem of strength located at the edge of unpredictable tides as it provides navigational guidance and bright light in a storm. Resilient and immovable, this shining beacon encourages perseverance even in the darkest times."

As a family who loves nothing more than to be by the sea, the symbol of the lighthouse has given me a sense of peace in these stormy days. Ironically, that same day my dad came across a story that was placed in his Bible titled "Peace in the Storm." I like to think of these ironies as God winks, as Kay Stewart calls them. A wink from God that he is with you and you are not alone on this journey.

In the story, "Peace in the Storm," Richard Fuller tells of an old seaman who says, "In fierce storms we must put our ship in a certain position and keep her there." Fuller says, "This, Christian, is what we must do... reason can not help you. Past experiences give you no light... only a single course is left. You must put your soul in one position and keep it there. You must stay upon the Lord; and, come what may - winds, waves, cross seas, thunder, lightening, frowning, rocks, roaring breakers - no matter what, you must hold fast your confidence in God's faithfulness and his everlasting love in Jesus Christ."

The lighthouse is our reminder to keep our eyes fixed on God. He is holding us in His light through this terrible, terrible storm that has turned our lives upside down. We will keep our soul in one position. I have never believed more than I do now that all we have to hold on to is our faith and our love for each other. That is all that can pull us through. So we will hold on tight to each other with a love more powerful than I ever knew possible and keep our eyes fixed on that lighthouse that God shines brightly through. We will Fight like Mike, or in this day #fightlikemike :) , and completely trust that God will do the rest.

In the meantime, you can find us at Emory. We have checked into our lovely hotel room with the most wonderful people in the world taking care of Mike. The nurses loved him from the moment we walked in. I think they said, we know where the party will be. He's let them know he has a great brother, brother-in-laws, and friends who will be sneaking him in beer. He started his first round of treatment last night at 9:30. This round will go four days. Over the next 6 months he will have 8 treatments. This is the long story short, or the Auburn version. :) For this first round, he will be here for three weeks. So those of you who know Mike - well, you know he may need some company to keep him occupied (or sneak him in a beer). He may have run the nurses he is flirting with off by then, and walking laps around the floor with me will be getting old quick. :)

We could not be more grateful for all of our family and friends who have been picking up the pieces for us at home and who have been taking care of our precious babies. We have a lot to live for, if you didn't know already. :) It truly takes a village, which we have learned during the good times. And that doesn't change during the stormy times. We are truly blessed with the absolute best family, friends, and so many prayer warriors. Calls, texts, prayers, and hugs are really what we need most right now and are so thankful for the overflowing abundance already. Remember every day to #fightlikemike. Life is still good even during the worst.



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