For the jokes

There aren't a whole lot of great things about getting cancer. It does teach you about what's really important in life, and it shows you who your down and dirty people are, blah, blah, etc... but if I could say one thing that is pretty fantastic, it's that cancer is the ultimate comedic pass for a person with a dark sense of humor, i.e. Me.

It's true, I have always enjoyed jokes or zingers that make some people cringe and others who are sick like me (in the literal and figurative sense) let out an irreverent cackle, but adding cancer to the mix has taken it to another level. For better or worse, in sickness and in eventual health.

Although I probably shouldn't, I will shamelessly admit to having as much fun as I possibly can with my cancer comedy pass. But I've learned the hard way that it can make people uncomfortable, to say the least. I see the faces of shock and I know what's behind the small gasps and not-so-well-hidden grimaces... Oohhhhh, is that really something to joke about? What did she say? Is it ok to laugh at this? Yes, yes it is. Please laugh. Please laugh with me because if it's not the best medicine, than radioactive iodine might be and heaven help us if that's true. (See, there it was again.)

It has been years since I've watched Seinfeld, but I think everyone remembers The Yada Yada episode. I love that one, not because of the iconic "Yada, yada, yada..." line that kids in high school who have never even seen the show probably spout off, but because of the dentist story line. Jerry is convinced that his dentist has only converted to Judaism "for the jokes". He tells a priest in confession, CONFESSION (glorious), that he is offended by this not as a Jewish person, but as a comedian. I mean... Spectacular!

I was recently in actual confession/therapy with one of my favorite priests (Are you supposed to have favorites? Oh well. I do.) and he wondered if I had asked God, "Why did you let this happen to me?" To be honest, that question had never occurred to me. I suppose I could agonize over what I've done or not done in my life to deserve a difficult path right now. And I could probably get into a lot of very tiring debates over whether or not God allows bad things to happen to people. But I learned, or maybe just decided, a long time ago not to think that way.

But, having said that, if I ever did ask the question, "Why in the world would God allow me to get cancer?!?!" The answer is so very clear: for the jokes.

Saying the things, part II

This is a message that my dad sent after my post last week. (It was intended as a comment, but was too large to post as such.) The candid retelling of his own experience through the last year, and beyond, is too profound not to share...


Sara, you are a strong, intelligent, capable, and loving person. You need no affirmation from social media. The blog isn't for others (though it will--and I do say WILL--touch others hearts like mine) as much as it is for you.

And now comes my own "saying the things" that I've held in since your diagnosis. It started with a conversation with the Lord... "God, you've got to be shitting me! F’ing cancer again? Can't you just leave me and my family out of the cancer loop? Haven't I had to deal with this disease long enough?"

Yeah. Hearing you had cancer made the memory tapes play over and over again as an 11 year old boy watching his mother die of cancer...and as an adult watching my grandfather die of cancer...and my Aunt Marg die of cancer (all in the same family, no less). Then a month after Marg died, “Pop-Pop”, your mother's dad was diagnosed with cancer and died 9 months later. I honestly thought I might have shaken the cancer hound. Then it was my turn with a malignant melanoma on my head. Cancer wasn’t done. Other family members and close friends have been diagnosed with cancer, some treated with success, others I've stood by their bed as they took their last breath. Fourteen years after my step-sister Cheryl’s death, I had the hopeful thought that cancer was done with my family. But it wasn’t. It was your turn.

I was in no way prepared for that. The first thought that went through my mind (and I couldn't help it even after hearing the "success rate" for thyroid cancer) was this: "I'm going to lose my own daughter." (insert string of colorful metaphors here). Then on the day of your surgery while driving from Indy to Lexington, I got a text from Curt saying that it was definitely cancer and worse than expected. I felt like my entire body was shot up with Novocain. I was literally numb. I honestly don't remember much of the drive from Cincinnati to Lexington after that news. All I could think was, "It's bad...really bad."

My brain immediately vaulted to worse-case scenario. I began to think of how Mom and I could get positions in Lexington and move there so we could help Curt take care of the kids when you were gone. (It's sad that I even thought that.) I got to the hospital and found Curt and Tony in the surgery waiting room. I had seen that look on their faces before because I had seen in on my own face looking into a mirror as a child and as an adult. Tony had lost his wife and Curt his mother to cancer. I realized all three of us were in the same boat—that God forsaken cancer boat. I don't remember any conversations the rest of that morning except when the surgeon came out and met with us. He described what he had done and what he believed the prognosis was--very good. Even though I could see relief on Curt and Tony's face, I wasn't so easily sold.

I waited in your hospital room for you to arrive from recovery. When you did, I wanted to grab you and hold you tight, and not let you go—but you wouldn’t have appreciated that too much. You were able to muster a smile and talk with us. I was trying to be supportive on the outside, but on the inside, my guts had been through a blender. I was frightened of what the road ahead would hold for you, and if I could even go on, if it one day became a dead-end, no pun intended.

Since then, you’ve been through two more scans and treatments. And now the clock is ticking toward April when you will have yet another scan and blood work to discover if this…this…thing…this cancer will have been defeated. As much as I want to be hopeful that there will be good news, I am having difficulty trying to stay positive. But it’s not necessarily that you won’t be declared officially “in remission.” It’s that even if you are cured, when will the cancer beast next rear its ugly, nasty, merciless head?

The answer to that last question can only be, “Who knows?” In a way, for the last 49 years, I have been living with that question and answer. I don’t know who will next be diagnosed. I don’t know who will have to go through treatments. I don’t know who will be in remission…and who will succumb to this heinous disease. I have officiated at more funerals due to cancer than I would ever want to.

But I do know that on this side of eternity, life is not perfect. People I know and care about will be stricken with cancer. So you may be wondering what hope do I cling to in the days of facing the current and unknown future of “The Big C”?

It’s the verse from Romans 8:28 that has become my mantra: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
In spite of the fact that cancer has been woven into my life in a way I can’t unravel, I have certainly been blessed beyond all blessings imaginable with my family. The love and support we have for each other through the thick and thin of life is priceless. And that in itself is more ginormous than anything cancer can throw at me.

I apologize for my comment that has turned into its own “blog”, but I wanted to share with you and “say the things” I have never said before to you or to anyone else. There is, however, one thing I have said before that I need to say again…I love you very, very much Sara Elizabeth! XOXO Dad.

Thank you, Dad. I love you too.

Saying the things

I am going to go on record for those who may not know and confess that I am a pretty hard core fan of Sex and the City. Sure there's excessive nudity and crass conversation that makes it painful to watch with a parent, but then there is Season 6, Part II. Oh Season 6 Part II, how I love you. The obnoxious antics, superficial plot lines and talking straight into the camera that annoyed the crap out of me in the first few seasons was completely forgiven, all because it led to the last eight episodes, which are perfection.

One of my very favorite parts [Spoiler Alert] is a scene where Samantha picks Carrie up on the way to Miranda's wedding. She wants to reveal to someone that she has breast cancer so she doesn't blurt out, "I have cancer!" in the middle of the ceremony. I had never really been able to relate to Samantha very much, but in that moment, I got her.

Ten years later, I was prepping for a second round of scans, blood work and treatment. I was miserable, but had previously agreed to attend an event that was very important to me. That day was particularly challenging physically, but I was determined not to let cancer keep me down and I was going to be there no matter what. Even so, I was terrified that I would accidentally shout in someone's face, "Hey yeah, great to see you! Did you know I have cancer? Well I do, and in case you can't tell, right now I feel like shit on a stick."

So earlier that afternoon I called my sister and said, "I am calling you because I need to say some things. I need to say the things that I don't want to say later and I'm hoping that if I tell them to you now, they won't come out when I don't want them to. Like Samantha."

"Got it." She said, "Say the things."

Aren't sisters the best?

Well here I am now, determined to blog again, but also terrified. There are several things that have held me back from writing these past few years, especially the last one, and they haven't gone away. In order to move forward, truly and with purpose, I think the best thing to do is get them out in the open. I need to let them go. I need to say the things, so that they won't continue to haunt me, or accidentally creep out and get me by surprise.

Here they are: The things.

1. When I was blogging regularly, there were times when I was excessively concerned with whether or not my blog was popular enough. I mean, really. I am a grown up, in my 30's, with a husband and friends, raising three kids, and I was worried about people liking me. UUuuuugggghhhhhh. Ridiculous. All areas of social media can lead to a place of insecurity, and while I am not in that place right now, I know how quickly it can shift to, "How many likes did I get? Do I have any comments? How many?" Checking all. the. time. Bad news. Very bad. 

2. I'm afraid this will become a cancer blog. I do not want that. Cancer has happened to me and it's part of the lens that I see the world through for now, but it is not who I am and I won't let it define me. (Clenching fists and stomping) I won't! I won't!

3. What if it doesn't work? What if I tell my truths and get it all out and I'm still not feeling any better? What if I spill my guts only to feel naked and raw and embarrassed that I put it all out there? On the interwebs. For all time and eternity. Sara and her silly cancer stories. (Yikes, that one got me choked up. Must mean I'm onto something. This is getting good.)

4. I'm afraid that my subject matter will be too negative. In this blog and everywhere else, my deepest desire is to be a light to others. The past eleven months have taken me to some of the most beautiful spiritual peaks I've ever experienced, but it has also lead me to a place darker than sadness: to apathy... feeling nothing at all. Being honest about my journey is of the utmost importance to me, but I don't want to do it in a way that's depressing. Sometimes that is hard.

5. What if I quit? The last few times I felt compelled to write consistently, life and fear got in the way and I ended up abandoning that goal for immediate priorities like breastfeeding and cleaning up vomit and sleeping and (let's be honest) binge watching Breaking Bad. Well my boobs are way out of business, kids are better at aiming for the choke box (story for another time), everyone is mostly sleeping through the night, and I finally know what happened to my little love, Jesse, who I still secretly worry about. Sure, I'm more focused right now, but distractions are sneaky little things. They can trick you any time.

Hmmm. Yes, I think that's all for today. They seem a lot less scary written out and not buzzing around in my head, these things. Smaller. Maybe not stripped from ALL of their power, but there's definitely less. A whole lot less. That Samantha... wiser than she lets on. Season 6 Part II for the win!

Doctors orders

Take a minute and stop to think about the scariest word you can think of... Death? Hate? Evil?


Nothing makes my heart race, mouth dry, or stomach drop more than the mention of that word when it's connected to someone I love. But no matter how many times I've loved, supported or prayed for someone with that most frightening illness, nothing in this world could have prepare me for how it would feel to sit in a doctor's office, have him look in my eyes and say that word relating to me.

"It is cancer." I have thyroid cancer.

There was no evil masked murderer, no violent act of terror, no physical force.... just tiny microscopic cells, silently growing and dividing inside my body. Quiet. No explosion or gun shot... just a few words.

I remember blinking a lot and holding my hands in my lap so they wouldn't shake and looking at my husband. I had been fearing that moment for about a week but didn't really believe that it would be our reality. After days of googling questions and searching for percentages and explanations for inconclusive pathology reports, suddenly my mind was completely blank.

The next half hour went by in the absence of time. Explaining, questions, answers, processing, scheduling, understanding, breathing, crying, holding. Surgery. Thyroid cancer: the best cancer to have. "Excellent chance at a full and complete recovery." But still, that word: cancer.


It has been almost a year since that day. I've had a tough surgery, two even tougher rounds of radioactive iodine treatment, and experienced what is quite possibly the widest range of emotions a person can feel in a lifetime, all smushed into 11 months. And it isn't over.

Not long ago, I had my annual exam with our family doctor and completely broke down into a most ugly cry. An appointment that was supposed to be a simple check up of blood pressure and cholesterol levels turned into a glorious counseling session that ended with the recommendation that I start blogging again. Huh.

My body has been working overtime to fight and heal, but my heart... my heart is fighting too. Fighting to stay positive, to be hopeful... fighting to find the light. This doctor has never lead me astray before and I'm not going to start doubting him now. So here I am, filling my prescription with unlimited refills: writing to heal.

If you give a baby a dish towel...

Correction: If you give a baby BOY a dish towel...
He will whip himself in the face
wince, smile, and do it again
and again
and again

while bouncing
in a freshly soiled diaper
ensuring that all of his homemade goodness
is smushed up
into his little man bits.
Goodness, I love him.

Coming back

Two-and-a-half years ago I made a decision to step away from the world of blogging. I fully intended for that to be a very short hiatus, but (as it is in the world of young kiddo's) time flew by and here I am: still home with my babes, still looking for an outlet, still trying to find my way.

After years of sharing my life in this space, I somehow got this idea in my head that I needed to be a more professional writer. My blog had to have a specific mission and I had to have a clear vision for its future. I had to have a brand. Where this came from, I have no idea. Perhaps it was from a place inside that desperately wanted to have control  over something. Anything. Mommy Honesty seemed the perfect place to start.

But weeks quickly turned to months as I pushed MH off of my priority list, allowing other distractions to take over and leave me completely disconnected from writing altogether. I promised myself over and over that I would start again, but first I had to redesign the template, or first I had to at least write a few posts to get my sea legs under me. All of those ridiculous expectations and requirements have left me still longing for the one thing I loved in the first place... to write. 

Not anymore. I am sitting back down and taking a breath. I am starting over again. I am going to write. No expectations, no rules, no promises, just a start. So simple, taking a step. And yet somehow it feels like such a big deal.

A lot has changed in these last many months, but so much has stayed the same as well. I'm nervous and excited to explore my heart and share the journey, once again. I sure have missed it.

Praying for purpose

I love to write. I grow excited when I sit down, look through our photographs and decide which stories I would like to tell all of you. I feel rejuvenated when I'm holding my babe in the middle of the night thinking about what my next post will be. I get jittery when I think of a new idea for a book and a story begins to take shape in my mind.

In those late night rocking and back rub sessions, something deeper has emerged: I haven't been able to stop thinking about what I want as my next step in life. Or, more importantly, what does God want for me in the next phase of my life. Of course, the girls are still young, but Addie starts preschool in about two months (WHAT!?!). Pretty soon there will come a time when I have more time again. It would be so nice to feel like I know exactly how I should fill those precious hours that I used to take for granted.

Some of my once free time has been filled with icky mom stuff: Lena is teething, I've been in and out of sleep deprivation, Addie is getting into activities (she's quite the little fishy), nap schedules aren't consistent, I'm brain dead by the end of the day, Lena's puking, Addie has a fever, Lena has a rash, blah, blah, blah.

But the edge of every rough day bursts with moments of heaven and bliss with my girls: Lena is starting to babble into words, "Da-da, Ma-ma, Yum-yum-yum, Uh-oh!". Addie acts out her favorite scenes from the movie, Tangled and sings all the songs to boot. Lena has sped from crawling to pulling up and is all over this house discovering everything within her grasp. A love for puzzles has emerged in Addie, and Lena can't resist chewing on those jigsawed edges. Snuggles, giggles, jumps, dancing, swimming, crawling, nuzzling, rocking, loving...

So no, life with two babes most certainly isn't all bad. In fact, it's mostly very very good, just also very draining and busy.

It's no secret that over the last six months, my presence in this space has slowly begun to dwindle. What once was daily postings turned into three or four times a week and lately I've only been able to sit down and share my heart in this life as Mama once every five days or so. Without a change of some kind, I fear that it could become even more infrequent. For lack of a more graceful way to say it, THIS SUCKS!

One of the main questions I've been feeling a need to answer is what I envision for the future of this space. When I started Mommy Honesty, it was initially out of a desperate attempt to share some frustrations in parenting and dig a little deeper to find the beauty of life as a mom. I dove right into stories about Addie crying it out at bedtime--I never even wrote an introductory post! Two and a half years later, I'm still going, still trying to figure out my point of view and what it is I want to say.

Personally, I am working on praying less about specific things I think I need, and simply asking God to show me what I need. (Did you catch the difference there? It's subtle, but significant.) As part of that, I'm trying to let go of my late night worry and just allow myself to be. No stress or pressure about when I write and for how long, where it will all end up or even if it's the right thing for me. I am giving myself the gift of time to let God figure it out for me.

In the meantime, I am treating my creative juices to a fantastic eCourse, How To Build A Blog You Truly Love with Liv Lane and see where it all goes. While I consider myself a pretty fast learner, self-directed learning has never been my strong area and in that respect I can be a bit of a late bloomer. This course seemed just the ticket to learn some more about the art of blogging, feed my hungry writer's soul and also take my time with the process. It is only the first week and so far her words have been insightful and thought provoking. This is definitely where I'm supposed to be!

I'm going to keep on truckin' with my posts as often as I can, but I ask for your patience and prayers while I feel this out. Mommy Honesty holds a sacred space in my heart and I want to move into the future with that in mind to keep it the best that it can be. Thanks for sticking with me!

much love to you...

If you're interested in taking the course as well, registration is open through June 13th. Come and learn with me! I'd love to have a friend walking this path next to me.

May found us...

Leaving the coziness of our living room to stretch, run, shriek and play outside. 

Trying on our new summer dresses, visiting the Farmers' Market every chance we got and soaking up this three-year-old girl in all her fabulousness.

Peeking out after all the storms to find beautiful scenes only God could paint.

Embarking on a new adventure of making strawberry jam.

Falling even more deeply in love, head over heels style, with this growing babe.

Fingering the velvety tips and deeply inhaling the soothing scent of our first lavender harvest.

Laughing and loving and drinking them in.

It seems that everyone I've spoken with in the past two days has shared the sentiment, "I can't believe it's June already!" Yes, how true--for some reason this year is flying by at warp speed. Spring flashed as quickly as the lightning we saw a little too much of, but it was also just as bright. And really, we still have a few weeks left of the season that brings along with it all things new.

Welcome June. What wonders will we find in you?


I have been thinking about joining a CSA for years. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with what that is, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It works a lil' something like this: local farms have participants purchase shares of their harvest at the beginning of the season and you pick up the bounty each week at a determined location, lots of times at your farmers' market. The money helps cover the cost of running the farm--you are an invested party! If the crops do well, you reap the benefits. If there is some sort of drought, flood or pest that overruns the crops that year, you don't. It is definitely a risk, but we decided to take the plunge this summer and go for it.

The farm we chose is Elmwood Stock Farm and it's about 25 minutes from our house. Mother's Day was their annual open house for share holders, so we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and went for a Sunday drive to check it out. Curt was a little lukewarm about hanging out on a farm--my man is from Western  KY and he grew up surrounded by rows and rows of crops, but this gal still thinks they they are pretty fascinating. It was Mother's Day so I won!

Plus we've got kiddo's, and as far as I can tell any time you tell a kid you're going out to a farm, they pretty much think it's the coolest thing imaginable. What could be better than open fields, barn cats, roaming chickens and a perfect spring breeze? Not much, that's what.

Although we did not partake in the egg or meat shares (they also raise turkeys, cows and sheep), we loved getting to see where it all comes from. Fields just beginning to show signs of what is to come. Greenhouses filling up with sprouts ready for transplant. A little slice of heaven right down the road--and we get to eat it!!!

The weather so far this spring has been a little nuts, so our shares haven't been as plentiful as they usually are this time of year. Even so, here's what was in our box last week:

Some strawberries, asparagus, over wintered spinach, sage, dried black beans and garlic greens (my personal favorite--look like green onions but taste like garlic--awesome). Now this is a mini share, meant to "feed two adults who eat out often". Since we have our own garden we didn't want to overdo it and have more than we could reasonably consume. This size seems like a good fit for us, at least for now.

Oh, and did I mention all of this is organic? Yeppers. Tasty delish mixed with wholesome and healthy. Mommy likey. The girls eat the strawberries, we mix the spinach with other greens for salads, I'm saving the herbs and beans for when we need them, and the asparagus... oh the asparagus. The newsletter said "if you've never had farm fresh asparagus you're in for a real treat". I admit, when I read that I sort of snorted under my breath. A real treat? Asparagus? Really? Oh. My. Goodness. Really. Best asparagus I've ever had.  

I'm currently obsessed with this marvelous green, pee altering "treat" combined with the garlic greens in a quiche (I think this one had mushrooms and swiss cheese as well). Happiness on a plate.

I don't know if it's the novelty of the experience or if it really is that fantastic, but so far I am in love with this whole CSA business. Every Monday night I'm giddy to read our email of what is coming in our share the next day. As soon as I get that box in the car, I rip it open like a kid on Christmas to have a look at what's inside. Our weekly newsletters include recipes so if there's something in there we aren't familiar with we have an idea of what we can make.

All in all, it's big time fun--and we still have 19 weeks to go! Talk about the gift that keeps on giving. God willing, weather permitting, I hope so.

(If this has piqued your interest about finding a CSA in your area, check out and do a quick search. You can also find farmers' markets, grocery co-ops and more. Happy local fooding!) 

May Day May Day!!!

I can't believe it's been a week since I posted. To be brief, I've had a bit of a setback in the thyroid saga. The last 6 days or so found me feeling really depleted in a hyper sort of way so I had to go back to basics, leaving the computer mostly untouched. I checked back in with my Dr. and we're staying on top if things. No worries.

Enough unpleasantries--I've been really excited to share our Mother's Day weekend with you! Those two days were so packed with Mommy chosen events that it really felt like Saturday and Sunday were entirely mine. Of course it began with a trip to our Farmer's Market that led down the street to Lexington's Mayfest (our observance of May Day).

The crisp, cool air that gradually warmed throughout the day was perfect for the festivities. A trip that we thought would go rather quickly turned out to last several hours. Once we arrived our girls reminded us that looking at the clock on days such as these is a counter intuitive to enjoying the moments that spontaneously present themselves.

There was way too much fun to be had. We began with a trip to the petting zoo area. Last year, Addie treated us to a major meltdown when a feisty duck nipped a little more than his share  (i.e. it clipped her finger). Lesson learned, we waved at the birds and headed for Mommy's favorite: the goats. An apprehensive girl turned into an old pro within seconds, and it's a good thing too--those kids were hungry!

After a trip to the hand washing station, we browsed through the booths and sat down for a bite to eat with quite the view. These are the days I love living in Lexington--springtime in this city is hard to beat. The parks downtown offer just enough serenity, yet looking right beyond the lush trees you can see a tall building or two poking up toward the sky.

Oh, and never mind those police officers eating lunch in front of us...
My girl pointed over to the right and shouted, "Look, Mommy! A giant beer!"

Yes, Addie. It is. Good day to you, Sirs.

That wasn't the end of Addie's shenanigans either. My adventurer discovered a small pirate ship ride that she insisted embarking upon solo.

I was quite proud of her for being so brave. She marched right up those steps, climbed into her seat and pulled the bar down all by herself. My independent girl. (Pay no attention to that sobbing woman by the pirate ship with a sleeping baby strapped to her chest.)

Ah, Lena. You stay close, love. Snuggle and sleep away while your sister shows us all how quickly it flies by. Next year, I'm sure she'll want a seat right next to her inspiration to prove that she's just as big, just as ready, just as grown... Good thing I have four more seasons to prepare for those tears.

Such is the joy of motherhood though. And truly, that part of it is a joy. It's a joy that slices the heart and softens the gut but gives the infinite peace allowing us to know that we really are doing something right. Maybe even a few things.