Do you Lighthouse?

I’ve been struggling to post about our trip coming to an end because I’m sorta in denial that it is actually over. We met some of the best people over the week.

We got to celebrate Alec’s birthday with him.

We had Italian night which is when we serve a fancy dinner and have the slideshow and talent show. Such a great night.

We had to say our “see you laters” and we all drove home admittedly in a bit of a funk. Jennifer (Alec’s mom) and I texted back and forth most of the ride home. It was just hard to step back into reality. We got back Saturday evening, unpacked, and drove to pick up the boys (& dog) from the Jansen’s and then I was back at work early the next day. Like all was normal – which it wasn’t. It isn’t. I’ll post another time downloading what the week meant to our family and all the ways God showed up.

The Blues ended up winning the Stanley Cup (#blueswinforalec) which was a special birthday present for Alec. I ask you say a special prayer for him because tomorrow (Friday) because he is having lots of scans and tests. Those days are always nerve racking and full of more unknowns and answers.

This sweet family made such an impact on me. We learned that lighthouse is more than a large building. It’s more than a retreat. It’s a verb. It’s a frame of mind. It’s your heart in action. This week we learned how to use lighthouse as a verb!!

And if you were still hoping to give financially to our trip it’s not too late – here is the information to do so.  We are only about $900 short of being fully funded which is so close!  Thank you for your generosity!!

  • Online: https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/LFR2019/AshleyJansen
  • Mobile Phone: Text LFR2019456 to 71777
  • Mail a check to: Lighthouse Family Retreat, 4470 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Ste. 200, Atlanta, GA 30338.  Please make sure you put on the memo line: Ashley Jansen – Retreat #5

Today I Became A Blues Fan

So if you aren’t following hockey than you may not know that the St. Louis Blues are playing in the Stanley Cup Final. Alec and his family are HUGE Blues fans and thus we have become Blues fans this week. We watched them win last night all together.

I even changed my bitmoji for Alec 😉

As I mentioned in the previous post we had a big birthday party for all the kids. We played a lot of board games with Alec – Uno, Dos, Clue, & Life.

It’s been raining off and on but it’s been nice because it has forced us to cool off inside. Today the sun popped out just enough for us to take our kids to the pool for FlipFlop time. I am with the 3-4 year olds. Here are our 9 kiddos for the week. A couple of these were staff kids, a couple siblings, and a couple cancer children.

Tonight is sadly our last night. It’s Italian night and we dress up in tuxedo shirts and serve our families “high class” style. Tomorrow we say our “see you laters” and are on the road by 9 in the morning.

Keep praying for Alec. Pray for safe travels home for everyone. Thank you for your continued support.

Beach Time

Yesterday was such a fun kick-off to our week together. Alec got to get in the ocean and went deeper than he has ever before. (His backpack and heart machine is not able to get wet). This is from L-R is Harrison, Alec and Hamilton.

We had a dinner picnic on the beach and dressed in our Hawaiian best. Unfortunately Alec got sick and couldn’t join us but we went up to his room and played Dos (think Uno, but two).

We ended the day with the dads having a Texas Hold’em tournament and the moms and kids hanging out together.

Today brought the clouds and a bit cooler weather. Tonight is the Unbirthday party event. The parents get a date night and we hang with kids for pizza, cake, ice cream, and a full on birthday celebration. (Ironically Alec turns 14 on Saturday so it’s not so much an “un” birthday for him.)

Thanks for your continued prayers. Don’t forget to follow along with Alec on his FB page – CLICK HERE.

Our Family Has Arrived

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Our family has arrived and we have just taken them to their room.  We have an hour before we meet up for dinner which is a low-country-broil tonight.  It’s an early night with not much activity to allow the families to get settled and rest after a long day of travel.  We have families coming from VA, TX, MO, GA, AL, WI, & IL!!!

Before our family arrived we received a list of some of their favorite snacks and drinks.  We went shopping and had lunch on our own.  We went to their room and turned on the lights, turned down the air conditioning, baked some chocolate chip cookies to have warm and out for them, put out their retreat t-shirts and bags on their bed, and put all their ‘favorite’ goodies in a welcome box.

They were the second family to arrive (there are 12 retreat families this week) so once they got checked in we took them to their room and helped them carry up their luggage.

If you are interested in learning more about this amazing family he has a facebook page that you can go to read more of his story and more specifically details on how you can be praying for him.  CLICK HERE.

We Made It!

We are here. Just had dinner and are about to kick-off our volunteer meetings.

Mark was assigned to the “Jellyfish” flip flop group which is 9-11 aged boys.

I am with the “Goldfish” flip flop group which is 3-4 year olds.

And Hamilton will be with the “Silverfish” which are boys his age 12-14 year olds.

Our retreat family that we have been assigned is the Ingram Family who are from Missouri. Jennifer and Chris have Alec who is 13 and you can follow his story here: https://m.facebook.com/Alec-Ingrams-fight-with-Cancer-815312145216741/

Your prayers are appreciated as we prepare to love and serve this family as best possible this week.

Love

Mark, Ashley, & Hamilton

What will we be doing?

Last week we had a training conference call that gave us a ton of information regarding the details of what we will be doing.  We also received multiple emails that included our schedule, packing list, team assignments, and even common lingo of a Lighthouse Family Retreat. (If you don’t want to read info. regarding the retreat, please scroll down to the ways you can pray).

We are called a ‘Family Partner’ and the family attending with a child currently undergoing treatment for cancer is called a ‘Retreat Family’.  As a Family Partner we have 4 main assignments:

  • RETREAT FAMILY PAIRING: You will be paired directly with a family living through childhood cancer for the week. 
They will be your main responsibility and they will be in your care throughout the week. You will receive information about your Retreat Family and who you are partnered with upon arrival at the retreat.
  • FLIP FLOP: Each Family Partner will be assigned to lead and or serve in a Flip Flop group for the week.
  • MEAL TEAM: Each Family Partner will be assigned to either a breakfast, lunch or dinner meal team.
  • HOSPITALITY: Each Family Partner will participate in either a morning clean up or afternoon turn down of their Retreat Family’s housing unit.

As most of you know I have a history with Kanakuk and there is a fun Kamp Lingo (F.O.B., Kitchikomo, FUAGNEM, and much more)  that you get used to when you are there.  Whether it is the fun Kamp songs (“I’m a little coconut”) or the certain phrases you don’t want to say (“Okay”) it just makes the experience that much more fun.

LFR is no different.  Here are few definitions of special lingo/phrases that you may read about in my updates next week:

  • Morning Watch:  Time of worship and short devotional each morning
  • Common Ground:  This is the time for the parents to meet together and we take care of the kiddos
  • Flip Flop:  Kiddos are divided by age into their Flip Flop group – this is happening while the parents are at Common Ground
  • Unbirthday Party:  This is Parent’s Night Out while we have a huge birthday party celebration for all the kiddos
  • Conched Out:  This is free family time – Family Partners (Us) & Retreat Families (Them) get to recharge and refuel however they so choose.  If that’s a nap, or beach time, or pool time.  It gives everyone time to just be together as a family.

We are walking into unfamiliar territory, but are excited to be able to serve together as a family.  We so appreciate your prayer support as well as your financial support.

Ways you can pray for us this week:

  • My in-laws as they keep Luke & Garrett for us.
  • Energy, compassion, and servant hearts for the three of us as we serve together.
  • The idea of putting others first and serving be something that becomes deeply rooted in Hamilton’s heart as he experiences this mission work.
  • Health and safety
  • Connection between the three of us
  • Our Retreat Family – that us as their Family Partner we would connect and bond quickly and that our story could encourage them
  • That we let them see and experience the real C word:  Christ!

And if you were still hoping to give financially to our trip here is the information to do so.  We are only about $900 short of being fully funded which is amazing since last week we were double that!  Thank you for your generosity!!

  • Online: https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/LFR2019/AshleyJansen
  • Mobile Phone: Text LFR2019456 to 71777
  • Mail a check to: Lighthouse Family Retreat, 4470 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Ste. 200, Atlanta, GA 30338.  Please make sure you put on the memo line: Ashley Jansen – Retreat #5

 

Lighthouse Family Retreat Countdown

We are only two weeks away from leaving for Florida to serve at Lighthouse Family Retreat (LFR). We are getting so excited as well as preparing our hearts for serving a family walking through childhood cancer.

The mission of LFR is to

“Strengthen families living through childhood cancer by offering restorative retreats and helpful resources.”

We will be serving during Retreat number 5 (they have 18 retreats this summer) and we are still in need of other volunteer families if you’d like to join us.  We would love to have you come with us – CLICK HERE to learn more.

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We are $1,800 away of being fully funded – this allows the family we are serving to attend for FREE! If this is something you think you could help with you can give one of the following ways:

  • Online: https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/LFR2019/AshleyJansen
  • Mobile Phone: Text LFR2019456 to 71777
  • Mail a check to: Lighthouse Family Retreat, 4470 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Ste. 200, Atlanta, GA 30338.  Please make sure you put on the memo line: Ashley Jansen – Retreat #5

“When you have a kid that’s going through cancer, you are in the fight or flight constantly. And coming into this is like stepping into a different universe. I can’t even explain it. It reconnected us as a family.”

— RETREAT MOM

Make sure to follow along by subscribing to this blog. We are attending a training Tuesday afternoon so I’ll be posting an update next week answering the popular question, “What will y’all specifically be doing while you are there?”.

Do you LIGHTHOUSE?  We can’t wait to LIGHTHOUSE!!  Join us!!

Whole30 Update

So I have received a lot of questions as to why my doctor recommended me to do Whole30 so I thought I would answer that question here for all of you.  I am having surgery next Thursday.  I pray it is the last surgery on this cancer journey.  It is the last of my reconstruction.  Some of you may or may not know that my last surgery (October 2016) I had my ovaries and tubes out which caused me to be in menopause.  And let me just say that is the gift that keeps on giving.  Part of my struggle in menopause has been my metabolism (or lack there of).  I had put on some weight and my plastic surgeon suggested I try Whole30 to jump start my weight loss.  He wanted me to be back to as normal as possible for the work he is doing in surgery, but to also see what foods may be causing me the most issues.

The part of Whole30 people forget is it is not just about the 30 days you are limiting grains, dairy, & sugar.  It’s about the reintroduction of those things back into your diet the 10-15 days after that helps you make life-long changes that are best for you.  My doctor actually recommended that I do it for 60 days so that after my surgery I am feeding my body the best type of foods to help with recovery. As well as I will be on exercise restrictions for 3-4 weeks so I don’t want to reintroduce a lot of the foods (sugar, grains, and dairy) while I can’t work out.

We are 18 days in.  Just over half way done.  Mark has done excellent and hasn’t cheated at all.  I’ll be honest that I haven’t been as good.  I may or may not have had a piece of candy at the movie theater.  It does require a lot of cooking and I have never bought so much produce and meat in my life.  We have not eaten out as much, but that part of our budget got moved to groceries because it has been about 25% more than usual this month.  Mark and I are both feeling great and our clothes are fitting much nicer.  We are developing some healthy habits that I do think will be permanent changes in our life.  (The recipes are really good – almost all I will be adding to my normal rotation.  The boys have really enjoyed them too.  All I did was check out the Whole30 book & recipe book from the library.  (Click for their amazon links.))

I’ll update you again on our final progress and results.  We did take measurements and beginning weight etc.

To stay up-to-date with my surgery please follow my TeamAJ facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TeamAshleyJansen