Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Benefit

Sunday night, the 27th of January, we were shown an over-abundance of love and support in the form of a benefit dinner held in our honor.

When my friend Stacey told me about what was being planned (about a month ago) I was floored. Actually, I was a bit speechless... and if you know me, you realize how miraculous that really is.

After the Captain being out of work for so long last year we were fighting to make ends meet. To be honest, I'm not sure how we actually paid bills most months. Talk about a modern day miracle... the money just always came in time. However after this last surgery, and an unknown time off work, with no money coming in at all for months on end, I would be a liar if I told you I was not a bit worried.

When you are in a position like this it is not the easiest thing to share. There is a small fear of pity and judgement.

But God.

He took it upon Himself to provide through friends and family an amazing idea... and through the process He calmed my heart, gave me a peaceful humility to accept... and blessed the socks off of me and the Captain.
This Benefit has taken a load off of our backs... it has erased a nagging worry about our future. Andy and I are now able to focus a bit more on his health and recovery, and our family.

And that is truly a priceless gift.

I cannot say in any words used in the English language how amazing the dinner was. I want to... but everything I keep thinking of comes up short. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. Not in just an aesthetic sense, but we saw the heart of Christ through the love and generosity of His people.

I was, still am, awe struck.

Everywhere I looked I saw people I loved, people who love us, prayer warriors, friends, family... and it made me more than a bit giddy.
I kinda wanted to run around and spontaneously hug and kiss everyone who walked through the door...multiple times...
but for decorum's sake I restrained myself. 
(You're welcome Benefit Dinner guests, you're welcome.)

Of course there was a really schmancey dinner, but there was also an auction. Two, in fact. A silent auction and then a smaller live auction.

The silent auction was filled with all sorts of items. Ranging from a fiddle signed by Charlie Daniels to Coach sunglasses, a photography session, jewelry, signed photos of famous athletes... it was impressive.

The live auction was smaller, 5 items, and was by far the most I've laughed in awhile. Our friend Mark did an amazing job being the MC and Auctioneer. He is Hilarious and shinned in the role. He auctioned off 2 art prints, 2 handmade children's craft tables, a 207 lb hog, a behind the scenes TV experience, and a year's worth of Chic-Fila sandwiches. All to gales of laughter and amusement... mostly because his wife kept uping her bid for the prints!

Our former Pastor, and close friend Gary Walker was the Keynote Speaker. He has suffered the sorrow of losing a precious baby girl as well. So he was a perfect choice to share with others some of our story. He blessed me and touched my heart greatly as he used some of my own words from this blog in his speech to the crowd. He did and amazing job. Gary's words brought tears, but he brought encouragement and boldness as well. He shared the most important thing with all who were listening... the Gospel. 
We wanted, more than anything else that evening, for all to hear about Jesus. To know our life could impact another in the greatest of ways... salvation through Christ... would be the greatest joy.

That is why each moment of this life, no matter what the circumstance, is worth it... to point others to salvation.

And that was what the night really was about... or Who, I suppose... Jesus.
His love for His people.
His care for us.
His comfort and encouragement passed along to all who were there.

The Benefit dinner was a blessing to us. So much more than I can even put into words.

And what makes my heart really smile... I know it was a blessing to others as well.



The Andrew D Chastain Sole Benefit Trust was set up to be ongoing.
If you have questions, or want more information you can read more about it here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Caden was born 5 years ago today.

It's so surreal to me that I "have" a 5 year old child, or at least had a child who would have been five.

I live daily in a world of young boys... younger than 5. So it is hard for my mind to understand...to wrap my understanding around a 5 year old girl.

I try very hard not to think on the what if's... the could have been's. It really is not a good thing for me... it is the start of a downward spiral into grief and sadness... and doubt.

So I do not think on those things.
It has no good that comes out of it.

So what Do I think of?

Her sweet smile.
How you could see it in her eyes long before it reached her pretty lips.

Her strong, high pitched squeal that sounded a bit like a tea kettle.

Her contentedness. How she would go to anyone, was happy just about anywhere, and never fussed much.

I remember the feeling of holding her, of kissing her, of loving a sweet, sweet baby girl.

I miss her so much my heart wants to burst with the longing.
It's crazy how much it still hurts, the loss of her.
It's horrible how the hurt will hit you like a wave out of nowhere.

It's amazing how God has healed my heart so that in the moments of hurt, of pain, of sorrow... I can still have a peace and a joy deep within my heart.

I miss her. 
So much.
But because of Christ, it was not goodbye.
 It was see you later.

So toda, on her Birthday, I rejoice in the anniversary of the day I became a mommy for the first time.
I rejoice because God gave me a precious baby girl to care and love.
I praise Him for the gift of a longing for Heaven.

 So tomorrow the boys and I will celebrate Caden's birthday with donuts in the mornig and cupcakes after supper. She is a part of our little family, and the day she came into our lives will always be celebrated.

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl.

Mommy and Daddy love you.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Rocks of remembrance

I have a good memory for some things... and a very bad memory for others. 

I can remember feelings, emotions and the overall feel of a certain time in my life much better than I can remember exact details.
Unless of course I was struck by something in the details... then I seem to have the memory emblazoned upon my brain.

It's kinda weird the way the mind works... what you remember... what you don't.

I know there are amazing, awesome things happening in my life. I see them daily in how my kids grow, I see them each week as God teaches me new truths about Himself and how I am to live... I see it in this new journey He has placed my family on. People being moved by Him to bless us.

And I don't want to forget... 

I want to be able to sit with my boys one day and tell them story upon story of how God provided, of how God worked... of proof that God is real.
I want to point to the fingerprints God has left on our life, on our family, and show them His sovereignty, His faithfulness... His lovingkindness to us.

As I was pondering this I was struck by the stories in the Bible of people who were impressed upon by God, who were guided, cared for and looked after.
How after a certain trial, dream, or event they build an alter to God.

I took this idea, of thankfulness... of remembrance, and adjusted it to fit our purpose.

So, what does one need to file away memories of God's provision and faithfulness?

Rocks, a sharpie and a glass jar.

oh, and of course a detailed list of what you want to remember and thank God for.

After some time spend with a notebook and some deep thinking, I had my list.
Double-checked by the Captain... added to, and checked again...
It was time for the rocks.

I wrote each memory, each gift, each provision that God had given specifically to us on the rocks. If they had a date, I wrote that date on the opposite side.If they just had a general timeline... I wrote the year, or the month and the year.

When I was done with my list... I remembered a few more...

It was so much fun to go back and see how much God has given and taken care of us.
It was also emboldening...strengthening, in a way. Seeing how God was faithful, even in things that seem minor, helps to give peace and perseverance. Seeing what He has done firms the foundation for knowing what He will do in the future... take care of our every need.

I added the rocks to a glass container and displayed it on our TV cabinet.

I hope to not only continue adding rocks as God continues to bless us, but I hope to take the rocks out from time to time and tell Rigg and Ryder how God has done great things for us; retelling the stories of our life.

 The stories that have God's fingerprints all over them.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Benefit Dinner!

Hey Internet Friends! This isn’t Cari. (Don't worry she'll be back!) It's a group of friends who care deeply for this precious family. And we know many of you readers care deeply for them as well. Thus we are stealing a blog post to let you in on a couple of opportunities to shower them with blessing.

 1. On January 27th we are having a benefit dinner/silent auction for Andy and Cari at the University of Indianapolis. (Yes you read that right….in less than 2 weeks!!) The cost of the dinner is $25 a person. But seating is limited and filling up quickly so if you would like to attend the dinner we need you to rsvp RIGHT NOW! For info on the dinner check out our website at http://andyandcaribenefit.wordpress.com/. And remember seats are on a first come first serve basis so if we sell out you will be notified.  

2. If you would like to bless Andy and Cari with a financial gift but are unable to attend the dinner no worries! A trust has been set up at First Financial Bank to help with their financial needs. If you feel led to bless them in this way, contributions may be made in the name of the trust (Andrew D Chastain Sole Benefit Trust) and sent to the following address:
Andrew D Chastain Sole Benefit Trust
8063 Madison Avenue, Box 352
Indianapolis, IN 46227
Any questions you have may be addressed to Ken Hansen, Trustee.

Thank you to all who have already supported the Chastains through your prayers and encouragement in so many ways, we know you love them as much as we do!

The Chastain Benefit Committee

He's a pretty big deal around here.

 Two year's ago today I gave birth to one of the world's orneriest children.
I love the kid... but he's a monster.

A monster that can give me a headache, make me want to scream, belly laugh and kiss him all at the same time... it's weird, but I totally get him.

Ryder is 2 today!

And in honor of the anniversary of his entrance into the world,
we had a birthday shindig.

And because for the past two weeks he has been wondering about the house yelling "Toodles, where are you?
We had a Mickey Mouse shindig.

Our bitty house was filled to the brim with family. 
We laughed, ate an amazing cake, and opened an assortment of Disney themed presents.

I cannot believe my youngest baby is two. In some ways it was a blurry blink... in others, it was a LOOOOOONG hard trudge.
Ryder is a curious mix of sheer delight and a hot mess.

 I love him so much it hurts a little.

These boys make all the hard just a little bit easier.

   Happy Birthday my sweet, sweet boy!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

what I want

My biggest struggle with the Captain having brain cancer is the balancing.

Figuring out how to balance the knowledge of God's bigness, His goodness... His ability to save and heal with the truth that sometimes He chooses not to.

I know both of those things to be true. And it drives me crazy sometimes. Because I know that just because He can... doesn't mean He will.

And I want to be able to say God is going to heal Andy and know it is going to be true.

But all I know to be true is that my God is big enough, strong enough and powerful enough to heal Andy.
I can hope He will heal him... But I don't know.
And some days, that knowledge is hard to swallow.
Because, selfishly, I want more from God.
I want more.
I want Him not only to heal Andy... I want Him to show me some sign, some word that I can stand on so I never have doubts, fears, worries... I want God to give me what I want how I want it.
I want to know that my life is not going to hold anymore pain in my future.

Because that is what nags at my brain...

Is this going to hurt?
and I don't want to hurt like that again.

The thing is. I might have to... and when I get right down to it... I KNOW that if God chooses a path other than the one I want, He will be right there every step of the way... He will bring me through it, bring my boys through it... my family. He will Glorify His name the way He sees fit.

Some days I have to repeat this truth to myself over and over and over again.
He brought me through The Hard once... He can do it again.
And because I know that to be true... it calms my heart.

He is faithful.

He is faithful.

He is faithful.

And when I spend some time in thought, when I ponder the deep things, I know that all of life... even the very,very hard things, are worth it. Because I have the chance, no... the opportunity, to point to the ONE...Jesus... who brings comfort... who brings perfect peace... who brings true joy... who can change lives and bring life and who erases shame and guilt. I have the opportunity, through baring the weight of a life brought low, to prove to others these are not just words... they are truth, and I am leaning on these truths for support... for air... for life.

My circumstance, no matter how difficult, is worth every second if others can see Jesus. If others are drawn to Christ because they can see Hope in pain, Comfort in hardship, Joy in sorrow, Peace in torment.
My prayer is that this... this brain cancer, this unknown future that I face, this time in my life will be Glorifying to Him in the way He chooses. 

For His name's sake.
I want this to be about Christ.
And if that is true... if this is about Jesus... then it is most certainly not about me.
And if this is not about me...than I have nothing to fear... and nothing more to want.
For YOUR name's sake Lord.
Lord, come quickly.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Let's pretend

I'm going to make this quick... because, quite frankly, I'm tired.

Both of my boys are sick with a fever. Last night was not restful. Today was not peaceful.
But we did do some cool puzzles and had a stellar Nerf gun fight.
I won.

The Captain is in Bloomington.  He started his chemo and radiation on Wednesday.
I was there for his first treatment and stayed the night with him that first night.
Can I just tell you, the Proton Therapy Center is amazing.
Jill's House, where he is staying is amazing.
So much so, that you kinda forget why you are there.


I want to tell you all about our delightful Christmas.

I want to share TONS of Insta's and other pics with you.

I want to tell you stories.
Share insights.
Proclaim God's unfailing goodness and faithfulness.
Thank you for all you are doing, prayers, meals, gifts, time...

But more than that I want to sit and let my mind rest... and my body rest...

So, let's pretend this was a real post, with real information...
and you can go ahead and pretend that I blew your mind with how awesome God is and how I learned these wonderful and incredible things...

Let's pretend this was a really good post, not just some lame filler to make lazy self feel better... and to prove I still exist.

My life has been ultra busy... but also ultra amazing these past couple of weeks.

Please keep us in your prayers. We are resting in Christ's will for the Captain. We are choosing to trust His choice for us. We are hoping and asking for complete healing for Andy.
And tonight, I'm also praying for broken fevers and sweet, sweet sleep.

A girl's gotta be rested for her 31st birthday and all... (it's Sunday... FYI... I DO love my birthday!)