Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Hi all!  My husband wrote an essay for the James "Rhio" O'Conner Memorial Scholarship which is about a man who was diagnosed with cancer and outlived his prognosis of four months by over six years.  Here's the essay below.

A Father’s Determination
The year was 2014 and I remember myself sitting in the doctor’s office with a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach.

The doctor had just informed me that I had been diagnosed with a rare cancer called mesothelioma, and he had given me only 12 months to live. In four months my son would have his first birthday.  I quickly determined in my mind that no matter what happens, I will pull through.  Not only to be with him on his birthday, but to be there with him when he leaves for his first day of school.  I will be there for him.

The decision had been made in my mind, I am going to live.  It doesn’t matter that the doctor says I may only have four months, what matters is being there for my family.  And that means I must live.

The doctor recommended chemo therapy to slow the growth of the cancer but I was still in a state of shock and unable to process everything he was saying.  Realizing that I wasn’t very capable of thinking at the moment the doctor sent me home and wrote down some information for me to think about when I came out of shock.

I vaguely remember coming home and telling my wife the news but don’t recall much of the rest of that day.  The next day I had overcome the initial shock of the prognosis and was ready to fight for my life.  I started researching everything I could about mesothelioma and how it was going to affect me.  In my research I actually came across a man who had once been in a very similar situation to me. 

James ‘Rhio’ O’Conner had been diagnosed with mesothelioma and had faced the same prognosis that I had just faced.  Rhio inspired me because he faced the same thing I faced, had the same desires I had, and he ended up living for over seven years after being diagnosed.  He did it.  The knowledge that someone else had been able to accomplish what I longed to accomplish strengthened me in my battle against cancer and gave me the fuel I needed to keep on going.

Naturally I started reading on his website survivingmesothelioma.com about the process that Rhio went through and how he was able to fight off the disease for so long.  What really grabbed my attention was when I saw that Rhio actually decided not to use the treatments that his doctor recommended.  Being an average person who didn’t know much about medicine I had trusted my doctor to recommend suitable treatments for anything that may harm me so I was shocked when I saw that he had thrown it all aside.

Now I was very skeptical of products not recommended by a doctor but I had documented evidence that these alternative treatments had, in fact, already worked for at least one other person before me.  So I started to actually look at the treatments the doctor had written down for me to take home and think about.  The doctor had recommended chemo therapy but had advised me that the chemo was only expected to slow the growth of the cancer cells and was unlikely to cure it.  The therapy would also be demanding on my body and could cause several unnatural side effects which would drastically lower my quality of life.  In contrast, Rhio had chosen to follow a very natural plan that was focused on proper nutrition, mind-body medicine, and determination to live. 

After doing some more research to make sure I had covered all my possible options I sat down to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment plan.  The decision was obvious in my mind.  If I wanted to truly fight through this battle then there was no way that I could adopt a losing attitude and follow a treatment such as chemo that was only designed to slow it down.  I was determined to beat this thing and therefore I needed something more long term.  Like Rhio, I made my own decision to not follow the recommended treatment and instead chose to fight by using a very similar approach to his.

Well, that was over two years ago and yesterday my family celebrated my son’s third birthday.  I’ve been following a natural approach to fighting cancer and I’m still going.  The cancer isn’t gone but I’ve already surpassed the 18 month life expectancy that the doctor told me and I certainly don’t plan on giving in anytime soon.  But that said, I’m not going to lie—some days it has been pretty tough to wake up knowing that I have a deadly disease inside me, but I just look at my son and remember that giving in isn’t an option.  He needs me. 

Anthony Elliott

American Cancer Society

Thursday, January 17, 2013

~a tale of friendship become love~

For the handful of you who have been very patiently waiting to hear the story of how Anthony and I "fell in love" :) -- thank you for your patience! I decided to go the blog route to make things easier. But Amy, Nadia, Bethany, Clara- this is especially for you ladies:)

~the tale begins~

About 3 1/2 years ago, I met an energetic bundle of sweetness at a summer seed sower event. Her name was Annette Elliott. We became fast friends, and that's how the connection started. It was Blue River Bible conference, just over 3 years ago, when I met Anthony. Annette came to sit beside me, and there was Anthony trailing along. :) Both Anthony and I have to admit that there was *no* romantic inclinations *at all* at that time. Just to clarify. :D Over the next 2ish years, we saw each other quite a bit at various Bible conferences and gospel outreaches (seed sowers). We both went to Texas two years in a row, which promoted a terrific atmosphere for group discussions. Now, in those days, I was a bit more uninhibited when it came to my ability to talk. ;) I gladly, freely and sometimes passionately shared my convictions or ideas on a great many topics. Anthony was a thinker and would often bring up controversial questions, so together we'd keep the conversations flowing! After our first trip to Texas, the emailing started. We'd continue to discuss things and sort out any remaining questions. We sort of had "spurts" where we emailed more frequently, it just depended on how heavy the topic was;) Our friendship continued to grow stronger, and I really had a lot of respect for this guy. It wasn't until we had been friends for about 2 years when I realized that this guy had marriage potential. After all our discussions, we would find that we agreed on all the important stuff. There was one day when we wrapped up a discussion and when I got to the part of his email where he said he pretty much agreed with me, I think my heart started racing! ;) I have some "strange" convictions, hahaha, and never had met anyone who was so like-minded! So that day, I truly realized that I could see myself marrying this guy. I still didn't have any romantic feelings for him, but logically, we made a good match. Feelings can come later, its better to do your thinking before feelings get in the way I say!! :D Over time, I would start thinking about him romantically from time to time, but I wouldn't let myself dwell on it and pushed those thoughts aside. I was quite sure he would never think of me in that way, so I didn't want to sit around pining for him and waste my emotions! I was trying to protect my heart and wanted to protect him by making sure I only thought of him as a brother in Christ.

Now, on his end of things- he started thinking about me as a wife a little over a year ago. A year ago (Jan/Feb, I think) he started praying seriously about me, and had some big plans about to transpire!

Meanwhile, I have nooo idea that he's thinking/praying about me! Not a clue:p
Which I am actually glad for:)

In April, he moved down to my area and moved in with the Sluiters. He did a lot of summer traveling so I really didn't see him that much all summer. :) Thus, we kept in touch via email. By then, he started emailing me every day and kept me posted on everything he was doing. On his end, he was trying to show me that he was interested in me. He was scoping me out to see if I was interested back;) I am not completely senseless, really... but my automatic reaction to something like that was to assume that he saw me as a good friend and that he was most likely emailing other girls too. That's just how I keep myself distant, and it worked! Truthfully, though, I didn't have a clue that he was interested in me! I was too busy telling myself not to think of him romantically because he would never be interested in me for marriage! I'm too opinionated and "radical" so ... I was pretty sure no one that knew me that well would want to marry me in their right mind;)

Anyways, after his summer travels were over, he started a semester of college nearby where he was living. I forgot to mention-- he purposefully chose to live near to where I was so that he could observe me more. And be closer for when we started courting;)

The first weekend of September, mutual friends of ours were getting married. We were both in the wedding party, and it *just so happened* that we were paired together for when we walked down the aisle. Because we had to be there for rehearsal, we carpooled together. After the wedding was over, a friend of mine was GUSHING (loudly! hmph!) to me about how she could tell Anthony was head over heels for me. I was so embarrassed and felt really really bad for this guy-- everyone was going to pair us up because we were wedding partners, we drove to the wedding together, AND he moved down to my assembly! He was going to have to deal with all the rumors, and I felt so bad for him:) Ha:) On the drive home, we chatted about the wedding and our thoughts about it. He specifically asked me what my ideal wedding would be. I can't tell you how weird that felt;) Maybe I am just a "Miss Personal" haha.

ONE WEEK after the wedding, some strange things happened. I went to a birthday party that next Saturday evening. While I was eating supper, I heard my phone beep and realized I forgot to turn the volume off. I went over to check my message and turn the volume off. Well, I have a text message from Anthony Elliott!!! That was shocking because he did not have texting so he did NOT text! :) He asked me in that message if I wanted to go to a conference with him the next day. I declined and explained that my brother and his family were visiting this weekend so I wanted to be with them. Now, because of the unusual event of having a message from this guy, I decided not to turn my phone off after all. :D
Shortly after, he responded that he had actually just met my brother because he had gone to my house to talk to my dad about "some things. k, cya." Mysterious message with abrupt ending.... He went to my house to talk to my dad about some things?!? I knew something was up.... and that is when I finally had a suspicion!! Well, I was at the party so I put it in the back of my mind and forgot about it. Sunday morning at meeting, Cynthia (the couple he was living with, the wife's name is Cynthia) sat down in front of me and gave me a HUGE happy grin! There was just something about that smile that gave me instant terror and I realize she knows something!!!!!! HELP!!!!
After meeting, I was rounding up my family for a picture. We had not had one in over 3 years and I am the type to decide we're going to do something so I will see that it gets done! So I briskly walked to and fro, gathering the family. Because they were somewhat scattered, I had to walk past Anthony 3 times. I smiled but avoided his eyes... After all, a lady does not gaze into a gentleman's eyes;) The 3rd time, however, he popped out in front of me and asked if he could talk to me sometime. AH!!! I KNEW what was coming for sure, but I was not at all prepared!!!!! The family picture saved me, and so we agreed on talking that night after gospel meeting. After dinner, my siblings all left which meant I could finally pounce on my dad! Our conversation went like so:
me- "So! I heard you had a visitor last night....!?"
dad- *looks blank and not overly interested* "who told you?"
me- "HE did!" .... *pause*
dad- "Yep, he was here."
me- ".... So what did you talk about?!?!"
dad- *still looks blank and disinterested* "Oh... we talked about life."
me- "Life?!?! ..... "  Dad has a great poker face, I learned! :p haha
At that point, I was probably a little sweaty and wanted to find something out!! I saw I wouldn't get anything out of dad so I flounced off to find mom and repeated the same conversation:D As soon as I said "I heard you had a visitor last night!" she burst out into giggles. Ah-ha:)
Dad came into the kitchen then and finally came out with the news that Anthony had asked his permission to pursue a relationship with me.
Okay. I knew it was coming, but to officially hear it!!! I freaked out!!!!!
Wish I could play back and listen to my reaction! Dad and Mom were enjoying it:) I asked mom if she thought he was the right one for me and mom sort of raised her eyebrow and said, "Its not like you have to marry him tomorrow!"
They talked with me a little bit, then went to take a nap. I went upstairs but, seriously, there was no way I could SLEEP at a time like THAT!!!! I tried to sit down and pray/think, but I paced my room like a caged tiger. I finally bolted for the outdoors and went on a walk. A 3-mile walk. :D I walked, prayed, and sang to calm my nerves;) During that walk, I basically said to myself, "Well, you always said that he was someone you could marry, and that hasn't changed, so... But I don't feel 'in love'!!! Isn't that a critical part of entering a relationship?!? No, feelings can and will come if its meant to be, but you know they're not necessary. But it feels like an arranged marriage! I'm scared! You always wanted an arranged marriage, Laura. Take it or leave it... Well Lord.. I have no reason to say no, other than my lack of feelings, but I'll just have to trust You." hahaha
I got back home and furiously played the piano to calm my nerves some more. Then I went and took a hot bath and tried to read a book. :D
Then it was time for meeting. After meeting, my palms were sweating but I felt much more tranquil then I had that afternoon. To save you the boring details, the big question came, and we agreed to enter a relationship. Er... courtship;)

We tackled the remaining big issues, then started talking about marriage. (remember- we had been good friends for 3 years!) Initially, we talked about a 1 yr courtship or a 3 yr courtship. ;) Well, when you know somebody pretty well, a 3 yr relationship is not a good idea. So we decided on one year. Somehow that one year sounded a little too long as our courtship moved towards the 2 week mark, so we talked about 7 months. Then 5 months. In the end, we opted for 3 months- a December wedding:D

And now? We're madly in love:* :* :*

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Ewwwwwwww ;)
The true us:D
My husband, Anthony Elliott.
Married December 22nd, 2012!

Friday, December 7, 2012

More twins!

"Surprise!!!!" :)

Is that not a look of endearment?!?! hehe

Party time! The more, the merrier:)

Early baby food days when everything came back out a few times before getting half of it swallowed:D

No, she doesn't stand on her own, I posed her:)

Now you can see why I call Clara "Spike" hehe! I had hair like that too when I was that age! 

Puppy face:p

She isn't sucking on it- just chewing it!

The orange-tint stage;) 

Merry Christmas!! Almost!

Josiah update

He knows the answer! 

He's pretty sweet :)

Baby burrito!!!!