I went home during the Thanksgiving Holiday week! It was really nice seeing everyone, especially seeing Baba!

Baba seemed to be doing a lot better, didn’t have to use her walker, just a cane whenever she went out.

She is almost half way down with her first round of Chemo and Radiation treatment, her last one is December 20th!

During the week, was when she started loosing a lot of her hair, and having morning nose bleeds (and not just regular nose bleeds). And this past week she got her head shaved and a new wig .

Mom sent me a picture of it, and Baba looked so sad, (I assume she was in shock) , it was sad seeing her expression and I felt bad….but we have got to do what we need to do in order for her to get better…whatever it takes.

All I know right now is that the tumor has gotten smaller since the treatment began! That’s good!!!

And I hope and pray that she remains on the path of healing.



Должен ли я остаться или я должен идти?

Now the Halls really have me thinking about this internship. I would really like to go; I want to go back to not only see the kids again, but to share my story with many more children, and to give them hope!

I called my Mom and talked to her a little bit about it, she has known that I have been interested in the internship ever since I brought it up in early August. She is very supportive of my decision to either go or not.

I did print off the application, I think I will fill it out and take it from there.

It will be paid for with MY money, I have been saving up ever since my last paycheck from the previous summer. I would be gone for a month!!

I think I’m ready…

or maybe I’m just indecisive.

I guess I could create a pros/cons list:


-Learn so much more about Change 30

-Loving on others

-Spread the word

-See the kids again

-Gain new experiences

-travel internationally

-tell my story and give others hope and faith

-learn more about Russian customs/culture

-build life long memories

-Inspire others



-Be away from the family for a month

-won’t be in contact as much with family and friends

-biggest concern is Shirley…what if something happens and I’m not there?!!??

-travel complications…

Русские стажировки

Matt and Jackie came and told their story about how Chance 30 all began. And it just put a rush of inspiration and want to go back!

Afterwards, I asked them how all the kids were doing, (they visit them on a weekly basis). Majority of the kids I asked about were doing well!

Matt and Jackie then asked me if I was still interested in the summer internship, I was a bit hesitant to respond, but told them I was still thinking about it and would like to receive more information about it.

Honestly, I haven’t thought about interning since September…but now it’s on my mind and I am conflicted.

I want to go, and be with the children, and see what all Change 30 does; but then again, I want to spend this summer at home and just be with Shirley.

But I do know one thing, that is, if it’s meant to be, it will work out. If it’s in God’s will for me to go, or not, it will happen.

I sure do miss these kids!!!


This past Sunday I went to Conway to meet with my team from the Russian mission trip, along with the founders of Change 30; Matt and Jackie Hall! I hadn’t seen my team since September, and hadn’t seen Matt and Jackie since I was in Russia!

I was a bit nervous, excited and anxious to see everyone again, it had been about three months since I had seen everyone last. When I first walked in everyone greeted me with hugs! I spotted Matt and Jackie visiting with everyone else and instantly all of my emotions came rushing back and I wanted to burst into tears. I didn’t realize how much I missed everyone!

The team plus more!

Things are looking up!

This past weekend was one of the better weekends to have been home!

I came home Saturday afternoon and was greeted by Charlotte, a co-worker. We have been receiving help from various people, such as picking up kids from school for Mom, help grocery shop, or even stay with Shirley while Mom runs errands.

Then Baba walked into the room, and she didn’t have her walker!!! I lit up instantly!

I heard that she had not only been feeling well, but doing better! I was glad to hear it, but truly happy to see it!

She was getting stronger, so fast!

She gained some strength back, but still used the walker every now and then!

She looked grand too, that evening I helped Mom fix up Baba’s hair! It was fun and it was good to see Baba happier and feeling better!

Fingers Crossed

Today Shirley started Chemo Therapy! Doctors said that she should start feeling better…we will see! I was a bit nervous for her today, but heard that she was excited to get it started!

I am excited to see her this weekend!! I hope that she starts getting better…I mean, I hope the chemo has an immediate affect on her!!!

My sister still is having trouble with coping with the situation, she’s always angry. I heard that my brother has really began stepping up, and trying to be the “man of the house”, which I know Mom really appreciates the help. I feel bad that I cannot be there to help as much as I want, but Mom always assures me that what I’ve done really is appreciated.

It will all be better by tomorrow.


My favorite text message that anyone has ever sent me. So special to me! I love my Mom so much!!


Feelin’ Chipper!

I woke up feeling a bit “chipper” today. I feel as if things are really beginning to look up! I knew all along that things would be okay…but was blinded by the amount of frustration I had. I mean…I know things will be okay,  in the end.

Shirley begins chemo on Wednesday, I am looking forward to her healing process! I am interested to see what the outcome will be though.

Just keep having positive thoughts, is what I tell myself.

I don’t like to think about, “what if”. It just gets me all worked up , and feeling like a negative Nancy.

I cannot imagine what Mom is going through…she has it bad right now.

I can’t even stand being in the house, because it’s so depressing….but Mom is there 24/7 (well minus a few hours for work), but still.

I just want this all to be over.

I’ll close my eyes, count to 3 and it will be over.

1, 2, 3…..



Words cannot….

Words cannot even begin to express the amount of frustration, anger, sadness, impatience, and fear I have built up in me. I’m trying to help out here at home as much as possible. I absolutely do not mind whatsoever helping out…it’s my Mom….but along with helping out at home with everything, going to school, putting in about 20 hours a week at work, and managing a social life is getting entirely overwhelming.

Last Monday I had a breakdown, stressing about my ill Mother, and poor grades….and I am feeling that similar breakdown coming back around.

I honestly don’t know what all exactly I feel. There seems to be so much going on, that I cannot even function. I know I need to slow down…but I never have time to. I have so much going on in such a little amount of time, it kind of drives me insane.

It’s so depressing here at home, I don’t know if I should say this or not, but I kind of dislike coming home. I want to be there to help out my Mom, but with 2 younger, and needy siblings, and 3 chaotic, barking dogs, and everyone coming in and out all the time…makes it hard for me to stand being in this house.

I kind of feel like God is really testing me right now.  Testing the amount of faith and hope I have left. What am I suppose to do??!!

I can feel my temper rising, and there’s a lot more I’d like to say, mainly about the anger and sadness I feel, but that’s what journals are for.

It’s better to vent out than in.



I felt as if we were getting nowhere. Just waiting. Fortunately we have had such tremendous support! Friends and co-workers have been stopping by just about everyday and all day!

Friday and Saturday had been the same, just waiting for the surgeon this time.

The surgeon finally told us that they will perform the biopsy on Monday, to test the tissue.

I knew I had to go back to school, but I really didn’t want to. I just wanted to stay, and be physically there for her.

I felt like there was nothing I could do, and that I wasn’t helping at all. That my words or anything I did mattered, I just wanted to be….be with her.

Monday came around, I kept my phone glued to my hands to make sure I didn’t miss that call.

I waited and waited, and it killed me minute by minute.

Finally Mom called me and told me that everything went well!! I was glad, but still wished I was there and not at school. She told me that we had to wait some more for the biopsy report. Great.

I went on with my week, promised to return home that very weekend. I just wanted to be home right then.

Mom told me that even though family is important, it’s also important that I get my education, and to stay at school. I wanted to argue, but there was no use, she was right.

Thursday I found out that she had been discharged from the hospital again! It had been six days since she’s been home.

Baba’s cousin Mike and his wife, drove all the way from Florida to come see her!

Friday came, and just as promised I returned home! I thought I’d be happy to be home, but I was wrong. Our house was filled with bouquets of flowers, cards, and so much food. I felt as if I had just left a funeral, and entered the house of the mourners.  In addition, we had company come in and out, bringing us food and more flowers. It broke my heart to pieces.

I had (and still do) so many burning questions, and it hurts me so much inside to just dwell on them. (So I won’t list what they are on here).

I told Mom exactly what I thought, (the after funeral thought), and she agreed; basically stating that that’s what it’s coming down to. I did not want to hear that, especially from her.


Family First

Happy Birthday Baba!!!!

Monday, October 15th, 2012 was Shirley’s Birthday! Luckily it wasn’t spent in the hospital!

I went to all  of my classes that day, and left immediately after. That night we went out to eat for her birthday, at Cock of the Walk. It was a nice little dinner, and afterwards we went back to the house to eat cake, open presents, and just have fun!

Getting ready to go out for Baba’s Birthday dinner!

It seemed like everything was going back to normal, Baba even drove!!! And she didn’t seem confused about a single thing! I was feeling a bit better about the situation!

Before I left Tuesday afternoon, I made sure Mom knew to keep me updated about everything, and to not hesitate to call me because I will be there in a heartbeat. Family first.

I love my family so much, and there’s seriously nothing I would do for them. I want to be there for them, always!!

I came back to school, continued with classes and work. I would at least twice a day to check in on everything to see if anything new happened. It was all still the same.

I woke up around 8:30am that Friday morning, I had a missed call and several text messages from a co-worker. I nearly panicked! My Mom hadn’t called me, but she made sure I was informed of what was happening.

Shirley was back at the hospital. I got dressed and packed up, then left as soon as possible. I didn’t go to my classes at all that day.

I got to the hospital about 10am, to find her back wrapped up in that pathetic bed.  And we were right back to where we started.

Walking back to the hospital Friday morning.

Baba was having such a difficult time walking, talking and using any fine motor skills. The Doctors hadn’t gotten back to us at all that week, and Mom kept calling. So finally Mom took her back to the ER after what had just happened that morning.

We switched Doctors, got immediate help and all we could do was wait.