As little kids we took a trip to the beach and stayed in a tall hotel with an elevator. In the spirit of things,  Dad, along with his swimsuit and flip flops, packed a blender and all the fixings for piña coladas.  Genius. He’d wake up in the mornings and go get giant halves of fresh papaya and limes and spoons. At night, we’d eat out and I remember having my first taste of calamari and finding out what it really was. Who knew squid could be so good?

During the day, I guess our parents let Amy and I wander around by ourselves. We had two elevators on our floor and we felt so grown up going up and down in our own private elevator cars.  A game was inspired by our antics. We’d  each get in our own elevator and push the button of the agreed upon floor to race to. Ready, set, go! Adrenaline rushed as my doors closed and I pushed the button. My doors opened as the winner. “Yes!” I thought to myself. I waited in front of Amy’s doors so I could humbly  rub it in her face, only her doors never opened. I waited a while. Nothing. Did she push the wrong button? She was only 4 years old. Could she even read? I don’t remember. I went back up to the floor of our room and found someone from management walking with Amy. My heart dropped. I was in trouble. Somehow she had ended up in the lobby wandering around lost. Well, there went that game…Lame.

We went to the beach. Amy walked around with her heart shaped sunglasses and Shirley temple hair. Adorable. She had a cute overbite and was probably running her motormouth non-stop. There was a trend happening in the area, at the time, with flip flops that had no straps. They just basically stuck to your feet. I have no idea how. They just did and oh how I wanted some. No luck….such a bummer. We’d play in the waves, and I practiced my gymnastics skills in the water one back handspring after another. At some point, in mid flip, a huge wave came crashing into my back. My back popped, salt water rushed up my nose, and the air was smacked out of my lungs. The feeling was panic and I crawled to shore waiting for the air to come. It finally came. Note to self: Do not flip in waves.

I was reminded of that last story in a church we visited this past week here in this small town. We sang a song about the waves of life. How sometimes they are few and far between and how other times they come one after another, knocking you down repeatedly as you wait for the air to come.  I could relate physically and emotionally to the song and to the message in it.  The waves have seemed quite repetitive the last couple years. My favorite part of the song said this…

“Though the water is raging

I will not overwhelm you

I’m preparing you for what is yet to come

And who you’ll be

Peace child

Be at peace child

There is life beneath the waves

You are not lost

I am with you

Let me wash your sins away” This past summer our mom was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. Just recently, she had her follow up visit to see how the six weeks of chemo and radiation had worked on the cancer that had been growing in her body. Our mom, Amy, and some close friends drove to MD Anderson for the tests and appointments.

My heart raced as I received the phone call from mom. The day had come. The day I knew she would have some answers. After weeks of torturous side effects of radiation and chemo and weeks more of waiting, there will be answers. Did it work? Part of me did not want to know. The other part only wanted to know if the news was good. I hear my mom’s voice on the other end of the line as I sit a thousand miles away. Deep breath. I wait. She speaks. “No evidence of a tumor what so ever.”

I melt into my seat and breathe a sigh of thankfulness. I repeat the news to the kids and my husband and smiles and love erupt into cheers. I remember the prayer I overheard my son whisper the night before alone in his bed. A prayer for his “Marmie”….a prayer that the cancer would be gone.  I remember all the doctors, and radiation techs, and nurses and the chemo infusions and the late nights, the pills, the waiting rooms and the suffering mom underwent over and over and over and I sing to myself…. “Peace child

Be at peace child

There is life beneath the waves.”

Mom, Dad, Amy, Ben, and my husband’s family are coming up to Colorado for Thanksgiving. In the spirit of things, along with his beanie hat and snow boots, Dad better pack his blender and cream of coconut because we are gonna make some piña coladas up in here!

The toast will be something like… “To getting lost, to getting knocked down, to the unexpected and uncontrollable, and to resting calmly in the storms of life.”

Or maybe, to shorten things up, it will go more like…. “To elevators, waves, tumors and peace.”

Peace child,


I added these pics and then remembered they were taken just a couple days before mom’s diagnosis…you never know what tomorrow holds.
***Lyrics to “Cleansing Waves” written by Denise Chaney. Pagosa Springs, Colorado.