Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Weekend

On Good Friday we played all day long since Adam had work off. That night we made another craft; a cross with each color jelly bean representing part of Jesus' story.

And Adam read from the Jesus Storybook Bible:

But Jesus stayed.

You see, they didn't understand. It wasn't the nails that kept Jesus there. It was love. "Papa?" Jesus cried, frantically searching the sky. "Papa? Where are you? Don't leave me!"

And for the first time-- and the last--when he spoke, nothing happened. Just a horrible, endless silence. God didn't answer. He turned away from his Boy.

Tears rolled down Jesus' face. The face of the One who would wipe away every tear from every eye.

(seriously, poor Adam almost cries reading from this Bible every night)

On Saturday, we went to our neighborhood Easter Egg hunt. And that night dyed our Easter Eggs.
Sunday the kids woke up excited. We were going to have a celebration, because Jesus had conquered death! They dressed up in their new Easter shirts and dresses. (I am a sucker for making this Sunday more special than any Sunday during the year.) And we had told them that something special was going to happen that morning so they were extra excited. I had spent $25 on each of them and got some pretty awesome gifts. They were thrilled.

(Alexis went straight for the boy's things. Hahaha)

We had church at the Frank Erwin Center, which is where UT plays B-ball. We packed the place out with over 9,000 people. It was absolutely incredible worshiping our risen Savior with the whole Austin Stone family. Have you ever worshiped with that many people??

That evening we had some of our Gowalla family over for dinner. We had over 25 adults and 15 kids running around our house inside and out. We had a blast and ended the evening wishing we did that more often.

Overall, our goal to make Easter week more special was really an incredible thing for our family. We will now look forward to this new tradition. The kids LOVED doing a special craft every night, the candy, and gifts, but in the end the special family time was a favorite for everyone. My hope is that each year my kids look forward to remembering and celebrating the week that our Jesus saved us all!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Family Devotions: Day 3 and 4

On Tuesday night we did an activity called; Resurrection eggs. We got this set of eggs last year from a good friend. Each egg has something inside to help tell the stories from Holy Week. The boys ADORE this. They try to guess what is inside each egg as we go. And then the last egg has NOTHING in it, is always a little bit of a shock. This year Bryce got to open the gold egg and his face was priceless. Afterward we let the boys draw a picture of something they had learned. Connor drew a picture of the 3 crosses on Calvary and Bryce drew a picture of Jesus coming out of the empty tomb. Precious!

On Wednesday, we simply read the story out of the Jesus Storybook Bible about the night Jesus had dinner with his disciples and washed their feet. It is a favorite with our boys because it talks about stinky feet. It was a simply family devotional night, but still special none the less.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Rings

Here is the activity we did last night. We made Easter Rings and did an overview of Holy Week. It was cute to have each of the boys "share" their Easter Ring with the family. They were both able to explain each important event.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Preparing our hearts for Easter

Each night this week we will be doing a family devotion time (which usually includes some kind of craft or activity and reading out of the Bible together.) My hope is that Easter becomes just as exciting as Christmas is to my kids. It's so sad that we make such a big deal about Christmas and then drop the ball on Easter. So this year we are trying a new tradition. We'll see how it goes!

Palm Sunday: We cut out and painted our very own palm leaves and then had our very own parade. We shouted "Hosanna" and chatted about why the people were so excited to see this man named; Jesus.

(We might have turned on some Skillet and rocked out too, we just had to put a McManus spin on the evening.)

What traditions do you remember and/or do with your kids? (I might just steal them)

Saturday, April 16, 2011


"Jen McManus?"


"This is Doctor So-and-So, I have results from the lab."

This was the moment I had been stressing and waiting for all week long......Four days earlier I had gone to a dermatologist to look at the acne my face insists on having STILL!!?? I also planned on having her look at a mole. This particular mole had changed a lot during my pregnancy. I had had it looked at 3 years ago and biopsied. It came back negative, the doctor wasn't concerned enough to remove it, and so we haven't really thought about it since then. But at a recent physical, my doctor wanted a dermatologist to look at it. The dermatologist literally FREAKED OUT when she saw the mole, removed it immediately, then proceeded to scare the SHI# outta me with lots of cancer talk. For the next 4 days we waited to hear the results.


"It is a malignant melanoma tumor. You have cancer."

This is one of the moments everyone has probably thought about at least once. When I hear the "bad news," how am I going to react?

Will I.....Cry? Cuss? Faint? Puke?

My reaction: "Okay." A small word, but there was a lot more going on at that moment. When I heard the words: malignant, melanoma, tumor, and cancer, I found myself immediately praying. Just one other word: Jesus! At that moment when the floor dropped out from under me, I found myself clinging, running, burying myself into one thing: JESUS! And because I did at that moment I was just that.....Okay.

The doctor continued with lots of big words, stats, numbers, doctors, surgeries, and other equally scary things. But I clung to Jesus.

I hung up, went downstairs, and told Adam, "I have cancer."

It's been a couple of days now and we find ourselves just moving forward. Cancer will not suck the joy outta my life right now. I WON'T LET IT. (Well, with God's help and strength I won't let it. I'm not strong enough to do this on my own.) Cancer might have my leg, might take my triathlon, might make me sick, or make me sad here and there. Cancer will not win this one, because Jesus already has!!! So, I'm choosing to not just know or believe those words, but live those words.

Here's the 411 on everything we know right now.

I have a malignant melanoma tumor.

It is at least 1 mm thick. (It could be deeper because that is how much of a sample the doctor took or it could just be that 1 mm)

It's on my thigh on my left leg. (Yup, that's my "good knee." And, yup, that means my other two ugly scars from past surgeries will soon be getting a couple friends.)

I will be having surgery in the next week or so to have the tumor removed. The doctor will also take out a couple lymph nodes to test those for cancer. Then he will do a dye test to check to see if the cancer has spread anywhere else. We will not know what "stage" of cancer I'm in until after the surgery.

I feel great. I'm not sick. I'm still training for my triathlon, but now it's just going to have to be a different one. I was supposed to race Mother's Day and obviously that won't happen now. But I've worked hard so far and am going to continue to train. We would love it if I could race on Labor Day in downtown Austin at the LiveStrong Tri (ironic I know.) Today, I rode my second training ride outside and had an 18.4 mile average, which is SOLID. So solid actually, that I had beaten Adam's last ride. He, of course, went out and beat me back with an 18.8 average. But still. :D

Prayer Requests:

Pray Phil. 4:18 over me. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" Satan wants me thinking about all the what if's and other scary stuff. I refuse to do that! But I need your prayers....

Pray for this upcoming surgery. Pray for the doctors, nurses, surgeons. Pray that this freaking cancer HAS NOT SPREAD!

Pray for my family. Pray that Jesus comforts them during this time of uncertainty.

I will continue to blog about this and update everyone as we go.
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