Unplanned, Simple Moments

October 18, 2016

Cancer. I hate it. It has a way of turning your life upside down in an instant.

In one of the first prayers I prayed in the hospital on May 3, I asked the Lord to not let time go by too fast. You know how we always say to each other, “Time is flying by!” I had a deep desire to hold on to every moment and I begged the Lord to make it slow down for me.

He did. It has now been almost 6 months since Clay’s diagnosis. Remember that the doctors in BR told us that he only had about 4 months to live? Thank you, Jesus! Thank you.

I’ve always felt like God gave Clay and I a real ability to enjoy the moments and not allow time to slip by too fast. The unplanned, simple moments are my favorite.

Like sitting by the fire on our patio and watching football while the kids make S’mores. (Ok. I ate one, too. It wasn’t just the kids!)

Or, little encounters where God just puts good friends right where you are in a moment when you could use some encouragement. While we waited for Dr. Russell last week, Chris and Matt just walked in the door. They enjoyed some guy talk about Fantasy Football, which took Clay’s mind off of everything else for a while.

Or, moments when you realize how much you mean to others. That night, after we got a good report on Clay’s MRI, Clay got balloons from Grace’s friend, Jordan. We’ve known Jordan since she was born, so she’s like family to us. She was so excited to hear that Clay’s MRI went well. She came upstairs with balloons to help us celebrate. It really touched me to see how happy she was. Look at her huge smile.


Oh, and we love visits from old friends and family. The first pic is Clay with his Aunt Margie, all the way from Colorado. This was her first chance to see him since May. Her and her husband, Ted, have been a huge support and they have their church in Colorado praying for us constantly.

Do you remember my blog about Kesleigh Dean…the friend Clay wanted to see who just happened to be running down my street at the exact time I was leaving the house??!! (That story will never get old.) Anyway, in that same conversation with Clay, he had also mentioned wanting to see Angie Johnson. Here she is! Angie, her sister Natalie, and her Mom came to see us recently. It was such a sweet visit. They laughed about old times and remembered some good moments in their teenage years. Clay loved it. Look at his smile!

This is a good one….my sweet friend, Janelle, took Grace driving in her Jeep so Grace could learn to drive a standard. Janelle said she did great. Grace thinks she wants a Jeep when the time comes for a car…we’ll see.

This is a really simple thing, but one of my favorites. Grace had an appointment to have her braces removed. But, we had time before to help with carpool at Ben’s school. Grace attended there K-4 – 8th grade, so she got to see teachers and friends. She helped us open the car doors for all the kids. I love having her with me in unexpected moments.


This moment was not unplanned or simple to Grace. The moment she waited 21 months for…..she got her braces off! And, of course, she looks beautiful. Then, I took her to get her hair trimmed. This day was all about Grace, and I loved every minute of it. My precious friend and hairdresser for 12 years, did her hair. If you live in Central, you need to go see Jodi Tullier! She is wonderful.

Sam has been working for my parents for the past few months, while they rebuild their store. I captured this little moment because I always want to remember how my dad made a difference in my kids’ lives. Sam thinks he’s working, but really he’s getting paid to spend time with my dad – one of God’s greatest creations. Nail guns, nails, peg board and quality time.

This moment was a little difficult, but I will always remember how God has given us the ability to handle difficulty with a smile. We met with Billy Aaron to create wills and get his legal advice on how to best prepare in our situation. Clay and Billy played basketball together…a long time ago! It was good to see them catch up and Billy was very gracious to us. If you need a good attorney in Central, Billy Aaron is your guy!


Grace is the setter for her High School Volleyball Team. Last week, she passed 500 assists for her high school career so far. She was #1 in the state for a few weeks. I haven’t looked this week, but she’s somewhere in the top 5. So, things were a little crazy when I was trying to get the pic of them holding up 500. I should blame it on Clay, but the fact that it’s backward is my fault.

I got a sweet gift from one of my mom’s friends, Ann Fryant. She owns a gift shop in Jackson, MS, and she drove here to bring my mom some things for her store. In all the work she did to prepare for this trip, she remembered me. Isn’t that sweet? I have felt so loved by so many of you. I’ll never be able to repay it, but God will bless you all beyond measure. Thank you, Apple Annie!!!


Speaking of just a simple, unplanned pleasure…..We were on our way to treatment last Thursday. I pulled into the gas station, looked to my left and there was Clay’s dad. In his Pray for Clay shirt! He pumped my gas and got to visit with Clay for a few minutes before we went. It was just a sweet little moment that God gave us.


Since Clay started the Avastin, he has lost his taste buds. He is still on steroids, so he’s hungry and he will eat, but he can’t taste anything. For some reason, he LOVES Animal Crackers. But, we learned an important lesson. There is more than one kind of Animal Cracker in the world. And, choosing the wrong one is detrimental. After he asked me about 5 times for Animal Crackers one day last week, I said, “Get in the car.” I drove up to Wal-Mart and got him some Animal Crackers. I think I’ll always remember that moment of him opening the bag right there in the car so he could eat some while I drove.

God is good to us. He gives us simple pleasures in life that make even our most difficult times bearable. In the midst of pain and sorrow, there is light. I try to always notice when God does something really small for me. If you pay close attention today, you’ll see that He is doing small things for you, too.

So many of you have been asking how Clay is feeling. The truth is – not great. He’s very tired all the time, so he sleeps a lot. He is very sensitive to noise, so we stay home a lot. His taste buds are gone, so he has to make himself eat sometimes. His eyesight is still not good, so he can’t drive and he has trouble seeing anything at a distance. But, we are thankful that he has not been nauseated, he is not having headaches, and he is not in any pain. Every time we go to the doctor, we leave with thankful hearts because of so many others who are suffering so much more.

For now, the plan is the same. He will continue Avastin infusions every other Thursday. He will continue Temodar (chemo pill) one week out of each month. I’m not sure when our next MRI will be, yet. But, we will probably have them every 2 – 3 months. Thank God for our last good report and confirmation that the medicine seems to be working.

I’ll leave you with this thought the Lord gave me…


Sometimes when Clay is sleeping, I just want to be with him. So, I’ll lay beside him or sit in the bed and read. I was laying with him the other day and just staring at him while he slept. I was thinking about how much I love him and how I would stop whatever I was doing just to sit there with him. I miss him doing things with me and being active with us.

While I was staring at him, I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Do you love Me this much?”

Do I love Jesus more than anything? Do I love Him so much that I just want to stare at Him? Do I love Him enough to stop everything I’m doing, just to be with Him? Does He have my  heart?

It’s a really good soul-searching question. Will I put aside the things of the world to be with Him?

If we want all the benefits of what He offers, we have to love Him. Love is the root of this Christian life. It starts with a deep love for Him that enables us to turn away from the things He tells us are not good. We will choose Him over anything else because we LOVE Him. Not because of what He does or does not do. Because we love Him.

This is one of my favorite worship songs right now. Listen to this and let God search your heart today. Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And, if you find that you don’t, just pray a simple prayer and ask Him to help you love Him.

Romans 5:5 says, “…because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Ask Him to shed abroad His love in your heart today. Lord, do that in all of us. Amen.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TCWaNP96AA&w=560&h=315]

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  1. Molly Milne says:

    I wanted to come back in here and give some love to Clay. Every time I sang at Immanuel church ,,,,,,,the Furlow crew worshipped and lifted me up as I lifted up our Lord. I love ya dude and please please hug your sweet dad for me.
    Clay, I became a grandmother yesterday.of course,it’s a boy,😆. You know I speak “boy” very well. His name is Ander Lee Milne and his grandpa Jerry would have been a good ole pawpaw , sure wish he was around to hold the little fella.
    I’m doing wonderful now and Thank you for being you always believing in me without an ounce of judgement ever. Your precious mom was that way too.
    Again, I love you always Ms.Molly

  2. Debby Denton says:

    The way that you write and the strength that you and your family have is so wonderful. Stay positive! Loving thoughts and prayers are with you from me. Love, Debby Mickey Denton, I am an old friend of your Mom. We have shared so many fun times together.

  3. Shanna Madison says:

    Wow! You may not know who I am, but I am Jim Burton’s little sister! My husband and I go to y’all’s church, well it’s our church too! Lol! This is the first time I’ve read your blog, but I have heard about it a lot! You are an absolute inspiration! After reading this, it just reminded me how awesome it is to be Daughters and Sons, of the Most High King! All them moments would not have taken place without His orcastration! He loves us, and you are right! Do we love him that much? I thank you for taking the time to inspire others, in such a hard time! I haven’t really got to meet you, but y’all will definitely be in our prayers! God Bless you and your family!

  4. Shanna, I would love to meet you. Please introduce yourself to me at church this week. I’m so sorry we haven’t met in person, yet. Thank you for this sweet message. I read it, again, this morning and I just appreciate it so much. Looking forward to meeting you very soon. Kristy.