Hope has a name.

There isn’t a place to start with this family. They are so dear to us. As in, we’ve got heart strings tied together (even if Scott won’t admit it). ; ) We joined forces [if you will] eight and a half years ago (Josh knew them prior from college and we all ended up in VA). And just to be clear, by joined forces I mean, we forced our way into their life basically by showing up on their door step every night for at least the first four or five years! haha They were so gracious to invite us in. We truly believe the Lord has used their lives mightily in ours and in our marriage, showing us so much of the gospel. We literally would go (mostly for the food ha!) and ended up just watching and observing. So much. Their marriage. Their parenting. Creepy, we know! But we had no clue at the time why the Lord gave us these opportunities. Or that they even were opportunities. We certainly weren’t thinking it would be a means of personal gain, until we saw the Spirit working in our own hearts, beginning the process of molding us into his likeness (ps. still in the beginning stages of this! but leaps and bounds beyond where we started). We are so thankful. We love them so much. And I can’t really find the words to express this. It just runs deep in our hearts. God has been generous and always is.

It’s difficult to see at times, His generosity, especially during suffering. However, this family has proven otherwise. Their faith continues to shine brightly in our lives. Two days after Josh and I welcomed our sweet second child into this world, we were also faced with accepting some difficult news. Our sweet friend Chelle had an episode that brought them to discover a large mass on her brain. This lead to surgery to remove and biopsy the tumor. What a trying day for all. Approximately five hours later, she was out, awake and smiling at a joke. There was much rejoicing in that room, I’m sure! The surgeon was able to remove 80% of the tumor and about a week later, the biopsy report came in. Their response through this has been so amazing to watch. We have been able to witness where their hope lies. Hope has a name. It’s Jesus.

Thought I would share Scott’s update that was posted on our Redemption Church facebook page after her surgery and results came in, he explains it best…

Many of you are desiring more information regarding Chelle and her brain cancer, so without too much cranial jargon I will attempt to bring you up to speed.

First, How is Chelle? Chelle is doing great and encouraged that God has counted her worthy to suffer in this way. We are home! and enjoying being back with our family. She is still very tired, with relatively little to no pain, so we are thankful for this.

Second, what is the tumor? She does have a grade II tumor (oligoastrocytoma), which is cancerous. They don’t do “stages” with brain tumors, only “grades.” In fact, brain cancer is much different than other body cancers. So her tumor is a relatively slow-growing mass, which is good. It could be a grade III or grade IV.

Third, What is the follow-up treatment? Her treatment is still up in the air. So if you would pray for us as we continue to seek the Lord about how to move forward we would greatly appreciate it. This is our next step, and we meet with our neurosurgeon next week to talk through options. Some of the possible options include radiation, Proton Beam therapy, or even possibly waiting to see what the tumor does. Chemo does not work on this particular tumor, or say most studies. One of the “problems” with this particular type of tumor is the relatively scarcity of it. It accounts for only 1% of all brain tumors–I knew she was unique! So this is why treatment can be somewhat confusing.

Fourth, what is the long term prognosis? This is the question everyone wants to know and doesn’t ask, but really there is not much to go on. Some people die within years others live far longer. It depends on so many variables–does it turn into stage III, where it is it growing (many people die from stage I cancer because of the location), how effective is the treatment, does God just heal her, and many other variables. However, we have been clinging to the truth that she belongs to God through her union with Jesus by the Spirit and that He can take her whenever he wants to, just like me and you. Further, since it is only stage II and she is doing great, we believe that God has a lot more for her to do! And we can’t wait to see what impact she will have for the Kingdom because of this trial.

Fifth, what about our kids? All of our kids know that mommy has cancer, so they won’t be shocked if they hear you talk about it. Tyler may punch you but not because he heard you say cancer, but because he is a bully! Some understand more than others, obviously. But we are being honest with them and telling them everything. I am often tempted to despair over our kids potentially losing their mommy several years down the road, but we are believing that trial is what God is and will use to preserve our children in the Gospel. How foolish for me to think what is best for our kids! Our ultimate goal for them is to be part of the consummated New Creation, so however God wants to get that accomplished we are fine with.

So let me conclude with these points:

(1) Please don’t pity us but help us by praying that we both will remain faithful to the One who gave himself for us. We really believe that God has counted her worthy to have this cancer, and we are rejoicing, albeit sometimes with tears, in this trial. We are praying unashamedly for healing!

(2) I hope and pray that this trial will spur Redemption to love and good works. That we will recognize the fragility of our lives and the purpose of our lives. God has been refining me in this area over the last few years, and over the last few weeks he has done much in this regard. Our lives are vapors and don’t waste your vapor! Stop living for yourselves and live for the One who died and rose again on your behalf (2 Corinthians 5.15). Get on mission and serve one another in love, live together as a family, and go as missionaries into your arenas of life. I will stop preaching now and wait ’til Sunday!

(3) We thank God for you! Thanks for praying and caring. So many of you have been so generous and kind to us! We are thankful to God for the body that he is building at Redemption. And we are praying that God will use this “crushing” to bring redemption to thousands in Hampton Roads.

–Pastor Scott

Since this post, they have a way forward, starting with radiation for six weeks. We pray the Lord would use this treatment to reduce the size of the remaining tumor and produce the results needed so further treatment is not needed. Please continue to pray for this family and for our church body to encourage them and remind them of the good news of the gospel!

Jesus is alive and is reigning on his throne! Through His sacrifice of death, he made a way for us to come and be welcomed into His family, for all eternity. We have nothing in ourselves to give, but just to bless his name (which is also a work of the Spirit in us). He is our hope and our joy.

A few days before her surgery, I was able to capture a few fun images of their family. This involved enduring a pool noodle beating, a most wonderful idea by my husband to produce some smiles. It ended up being a pretty good idea… and totally worth the abuse. ha! I loved the result. These… are the Osborne’s!

 

IMG_6748IMG_6770IMG_6775IMG_6780IMG_6787-2IMG_6865IMG_6877IMG_6906IMG_6967IMG_7022IMG_7063IMG_7075SCO_1

 

 

D + J {engaged!}

These two. What a journey they have been on together. While thinking through how to describe them, I was so encouraged the first thing that came to mind was their devotion to their Savior (a close second was how much fun they are!). What a joy to see them committing to display the gospel through marriage. So thankful for their lives and testimony. It has been a joy getting to know them and watch them grow in knowledge and understanding of the good news. It is evident Jesus has and is continuing to capture their hearts. Looking forward to what he has in store for their future!  Loved hanging out for this session. Such fun, enjoy!


TWO!

The sweetest little darling turned two! Just love this precious face and had so much fun at her party! Books, coloring, singing, games, really yummy food, and even a homemade pull-string pinata . . . . her sweet mama pulled off a very engaging and educational party! Here’s a snip-it of her special day. Honestly, can you get enough of those bright blues?

J+K

Introducing OTH’s favorite engaged couple this season! Laura’s sister and her now fiance spent this summer in VA. It has been such a joy to have them and I know they have been a huge blessing to the Hill’s helping with kiddos, cooking and even taking on some Progressive Lawn Service action! While here we were able to celebrate with them their engagement and capture some sweet moments to remember this time all in the wonderful area of SoNo! It’s such a romantic place, after all! ; ) I so enjoyed spending this time with them and their fun personalities made it a great memory for me, too. We will miss them as they head out next month, but are thankful for the opportunity to get to know them some more this summer. Enjoy! I know you’ll agree, they should get the cutest couple award. : )

Our Little Miss

It’s okay to include myself in the ‘our’ piece of the title right? . . . even though I had nothing to do with the carrying, laboring and birthing process . . . basically all the hard stuff! : ) I just love this girlie. Meeting her for the first time was such a pleasure. She sure is a little sweetie, loved the authenticity in her newbie nature . . . those teeny toes, little skin peelings, sweet cheeks (which have become quite the chubby little things over the past month!) and those lips, I could just kiss them off (although I have refrained so far)! Very thankful to have had the opportunity to capture these moments for our friends. Really, these images speak for themselves, so I will just let them (or else I undoubtedly will have completely overused the word ‘sweet’). ; )

Thinking of You: May 5, 2012 {the Food Edition}

Tegu Toys | Debtor to Grace (love these even more now!)

The Everyday Question of Motherhood | Desiring God

Black-or-White Thinkers and their Opposites | CCEF (can you guess which one I am?!)

Coping with Email Overload | Harvard Business Review (perhaps I should reconsider upgrading to a smart phone this week?)

Since I just had a baby, my dear friends and family have been so kind and generous to provide meals for us.  Obviously, they must have read this article I linked to a few weeks ago.  Well, please don’t tell them, but since they’ve been doing all the “heavy-lifting” of cooking healthful, nutritious, well-balanced dinners for us, . . . I’ve been using my free time to bake a ridiculous amount of sweets! So if you’ll keep my secret, then I’ll share with you all the insanely good recipes that are now filling the space in my belly recently vacated by sweet Macyn. ;-)

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (worth the price of the book!!!) and Coffeecake French Toast and Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake and Coconut Banana Cream Pie from Joy the Baker Cookbook  | Joy the Baker (Truth be told, I bought this book just because of the subtitle:  “a celebration of butter and sugar!”  haha!)

Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Sauce (original version or Americanized) | Nigella (except made with homemade sweetened condensed milk and bittersweet chocolate)

Walnut Chocolate Chip Blondies | Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Strawberry Shortcake | King Arthur Flour (I plead the fifth . . . I may or may not have made a quadruple batch of these for the freezer, so fresh strawberry shortcake could be an option every.single.night!)

Monkey Muffins | Pioneer Woman

Now, I haven’t entirely gone overboard into an ocean of sugar.  I have made a few not-sweet things too that are worth sharing:

Ham, Pear, and White Cheddar Pizza | cranny + b (OTH LOVES sweet Sarah and her terrific blog! you should read her regularly, and check out her gorgeous etsy shop by the same name!)

Pork Chops with Apple Sauce | Pioneer Woman (my first postpartum dinner making experience:  this “easy” one-skillet meal took me 4 1/2 hours to make, between feedings and a crazy toddler and unexpected visitors and general household chaos!  By the time we sat down to eat [at 8:45pm!], I decided perhaps this season of life will require a new definition of “easy” meals! lol.)

Apple and Garbanzo Cake | I Breathe I’m Hungry (lots of protein and fiber, naturally gluten-free, and Nate actually liked it!  Thanks, Amy!)

White Chicken Enchiladas | Pioneer Woman

Thinking of You: April 28, 2012

Bye Bye Zoo! :-)

OTH supported the Crisis Pregnancy Center of Tidewater at their annual Walk for Life today at the Virginia Zoo of Norfolk.  Their cause is just; the time is now!  What a great day.

My Reader is under 500 for the first time in weeks!  Perhaps having a newborn will help me keep up after all: reading blogs makes midnight feedings much easier!  Loving these moments with my Little Miss . . . .

Why You Really Can Celebrate in the Midst of Messy | A Holy Experience (“…not because we’ve got it all together, but because He’s finished it all at the Cross!”)

For When You Think You’re Failing Motherhood | Gypsy Mama

Giving Up Control | Motherhood Your Way (story.of.my.life! ordering this book today!)

Why You Need to Find Community | Incourage (“I belong to the club of all the failing passing on all His mercy … The chance to love imperfect people is another chance to perfect His love in me.”)

Beyond Greek Yogurt: A Baker’s Secret | Baker’s Banter (fascinating! can’t wait to try this!)

{30} Smart Tips for Your Kitchen | Food Your Way

Praying Strategically for the Nations | Debtor to Grace

Birthdays for Two

April is quite an eventful time for the families of OTH, or at least has become so over the last two years! This April, the seventeenth we welcomed a pretty little miss into the Hill family. Sweet Charlotte Macyn arrived in the wee hours of the morning healthy and so precious (8lbs 5oz & 19in)! We are thanking the Lord for this amazing gift of life. What a sweet blessing for this new family of four. I was able to nab a quick photo while visiting at the hospital with my iPhone, hopefully more to come!

Our other birthday buddy this month belongs with us Jones’, Mister Eli Gray. He has been such a joy, blessing, and pleasure to have apart of our family. He’s been so fun to watch grow and learn and become his own little person.  We love him to pieces and are so thankful to have had two wonderful years with him and can’t wait to see what God has in store for his life. Here are a couple photos from his special day, April sixth, that we were able to celebrate with his Grampa, Grammy & Granna who came all the way from Michigan.

We continued his birthday tradition (two years running, woo hoo!) starting our morning off with breakfast out.

Then, we CUT THE MULLET! If you know us, you know how excited I was for this moment! This was all apart of a pact we made as a family to cut one beard and one mullet on one special day, Eli’s birthday. For me, the day couldn’t come fast enough! Uncle Travis kept Eli occupied with a ‘show’ on his phone and I’d say dad did a great job!

We ended the day taking a few shots of the bday boy, opening gifts and celebrating with chocolate cake and our community group, not just the goodness of Jesus for the gift of two years with our boy, but also his goodness in the sacrifice of his own life so we might live. It was a Good Friday, indeed.

Love this progression! Can’t wait for next year.

We’d also like to give a shout out to our amazing go-to graphic designer, Travis Larkin, celebrating his birthday tomorrow! Happy April all!

Thinking of You — April 14, 2012: The Late Edition

I’m late. A lot.

Apparently my daughter runs late too–six days and counting.

This post is late too.  But there are lot of helpful articles here from other (punctual!) bloggers, so please forgive the tardiness and be encouraged!

If You Want to Start Off Your Holy Week Well | A Holy Experience (“And I am the woman who praises Him quiet when it goes my way — and who complains loud when it doesn’t.”)

How Eternity Shapes Our Mundane | Desiring God

Until a Better Love | @ShaunGroves (“When I can’t find the feelings to fuel it. When circumstances aren’t conducive to it. God, love through me today.”)

First Time Obedience, Really? | I Take Joy (need to think about this for awhile …)

Average Home Sizes Around the World | Apartment Therapy (Gives perspective to my complaints . . . both about “not enough room” AND “too much to clean”!)

Real Marriage: Sex (Chapter 6-10)

“Not Tonight, Dear” | CCEF

An Intrusion into the Christian Bedroom | CCEF

The Church of Sex | WND Commentary

Four Guideposts for Interpreting the Song of Solomon | Between Two Worlds

Thinking of You: April 7, 2012

Meditations in preparation for the Resurrection Celebration tomorrow here, here, here, and here | Debtor to Grace

The Glory of Plodding | Ligonier Ministries (Thanks for dinner and the encouragement Jordan & Sue!)

Why Kids Really Need a Little Red Hen Mama | Mom Heart

How Many Cups of Coffee Have You Had Today? | Gospel Coalition (I’ve listened to this three times this week.  My heart needs a Sabbath rest . . . .)

Easy Homemade Granola | The Finer Things

We’re behind on posting our chapter reviews of Real Marriage, but rest assured we’re still reading, and most importantly, still married!  ;-)  My marriage has, in fact, benefited from several profitable conversations this week!  Thankful to the Lord for His work in us.  My Reader has yielded several helpful posts on the subject lately that I wanted to share with you:

(RM:  Men & Marriage)  What does it look like for a Christian man to faithfully serve and care for his wife? | Practical Shepherding (and follow the embedded link to find a surprising way to love your wife.)

(RM:  The Respectful Wife)  Five Ways “Good” Wives Harm their Husbands | Sometimes a Light

Understanding Complementarianism | Between Two Worlds

(RM: Taking Out the Trash)  Growing in Gratefulness for your Spouse | Practical Shepherding

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