Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Christmas morning....woke up way before Michael - sitting in the quiet...thinking about this day.

Such a sweet little Christmas gift!
This Day i am missing my family....most are in Kansas City celebrating with our Kansas City peeps - Addy and Avery are celebrating with their moms, Shawn is at his house and Michael and i are home.  One of the sweetest gifts we received this Christmas is a little sweet boy named Matthew....our great grandson!
Aunt love already!

Christmas gift from God

You are loved beyond measure!
Sweet Audrey...prayers for you and Todd and this new chapter.  You will find that love that you never knew's more powerful than you can ever's such a precious gift.  Love you to the moon and back!

Some of us are not quite sure about momma holding another baby!
 I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.Charles Dickens. 

We had our Christmas with the family last weekend.  Because of sharing the girls, this Christmas was our year to have Christmas on another day.  It's really so REAL, Michael and i both feel like Christmas was a week ago.  Mimi and her girls....but missing Audrey
Love you Chase Corley
Christmas kisses
Ready for Santa
Missing Audrey...
We had a great time.  Wish i had pictures of Shawn....he's doesn't like his picture taken....makes me sad....all through the years we will have so many pictures of everyone, except Shawn.  Makes me sad, but it makes him mad if i try.  Sad that in the years ahead, Avery won't be able to look back and remember her daddy.  She will just have to rely on her heart and mind.  Every once in a while we sneak a picture of him though.

On Christmas Eve, Michael and i went to the candlelight service at our church.....
Silent night....HOLY night.
It always reminds me of the reason for this season.  I get so caught up in the gifts and the decorating and the food and the stress of the season that i often forget the reason we celebrate.  It's not the gifts we's the gift we received.  It's the fact that God sent His Son to earth, as a tiny baby, to live among us - all the time KNOWING His Son would die on a cross - an agonizing death - so that we could live in eternity with Him.  Tears this morning....i think a bit because i am missing my family so much.  It's Christmas and i miss waking up this morning with them....but mostly these tears because 1) - i am SO thankful God loved me enough to send His son to die for me....that's first and foremost but 2) i have tears because i think i lost the true meaning of this holiday in all the hustle and bustle of the season.  I pray that next year our entire family will focus on Christ....not the gifts under the tree....but the gift that lives in our hearts - the gift that saves us from separation from our Creator.  God please forgive me....i got caught up in the lights...and i want so badly to be caught up in YOU.  I pray Lord Jesus, that this year, 2016, will be a year of drawing closer to you....of simplifying our lives and concentrating on what TRULY matters.

I am SO thankful for my family.....they are such precious gifts in our lives...
One of our granddads...
No pictures this early Mimi!

Avery Grace!
Merry Christmas Addyboo!

Santa came!
Hayden Michael and his new hat Santa brought him....wish Santa could bring a win for the Cowboys!

This man....thank you Lord for this precious gift in my life.  I thank You too for healing him...thank you Lord.  
Dada, this might be his sport!  He can HIT that ball!

Sweet Angie.....such a gift and an answer to this momma's prayers.

Two days before Christmas we got to celebrate Addylou turning 13!  I can't believe it's been 13 years.  She is such a beauty.....inside and out.  She loves the Lord and is growing in her walk with Him.  She is such a precious gift in our lives....Thank you Lord for Addison Lane Corley....i pray that You will hold her tight and guide her sweet life to Your perfection.  Guard her heart Lord i pray....

Love my sweet girl so much....

Teenager now =)

Thank you Lord for this day.....i pray that we will carry it's meaning every single day of the rest of our lives.  I pray Your protection over  my family....i pray Your Holy Spirit in our hearts....i pray for each of us, people in our lives that will help us love You more...serve You more.  Lord please fill our hearts with Your love....and let us ALL live with thankful hearts....all year long!  I want to fall deeper and deeper in love with You...Hold my heart Lord...Mold us and make us YOURS.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

This man....

Here's another thought this morning.  When Michael was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, it was hard to even think about surgery....He wasn't sick - felt great...but because that big ole KNOT was on his neck, we KNEW cancer was there and we KNEW we had to get it out.  Surgery was not an option.  But this day....THIS day, my heart hurts, my mind is SO tired of the stress of wondering....radiation has been suggested...well, not just suggested, radiation has been forced on us as a must have - but he's not sick....No signs of being sick....and we are forced with doing radiation not knowing for sure if the cancer still remains.  This is such a hard decision - with all the side effects of radiation that we have been told about.  Effects that last a lifetime and even get worse with time.  Lord help us with YOUR wisdom....i pray for writing on the wall...I pray for doors to open for second opinions.  I pray for COMPLETE healing for this precious man i love so much.  Lord hold us tight...i pray.  Help us KNOW doors and close doors....mold us and make us YOURS.  I pray that as we travel this scary road we are on, that God we will magnify YOU in every step. 
LORD, we love You so very much!  We trust You have our very best ahead of us.  
I just pray you fill our hearts to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit!

Cold weather is my thing....

I have decided that i am definitely a cold weather person.  I find myself in the morning searching for the coffee mug from Colorado or Canada just to savor a hint of the memories of our trips there.  Love the beach and the waves and the water....sunsets and sunrises reflecting on the ocean water - but give me the mountains and the snow and the brisk air and the Christmas trees and the smokey breaths any day of the week.  LOVED our recent trip to Canada.  Will post about it soon - but this morning, as i hunted for the mug with memories - thought about our trip and decided for a fact....
i LOVE the mountains!
Thank you Lord for the sweet trip and the beauty you created in Canada.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Celebrating Avery Grace...

On August 29th, 2015 we gathered at our house to celebrate the birthday of a very special little girl....
Our little family was small yesterday - missing Haley and Audrey, but we sure did have a good time celebrating 12 years of wonderful!  The girls swam...and played with the "big boat" in the pool....even with the big boat though, Hayden didn't want one toe to set foot in that water!

We had all of Avery's favorites - mac and cheese, brisket quesadillas (thank you Chase for putting them all together for us
and everyone's favorite, Chocolate Eclair Cake!  Avery told me at least three times during the day "Mimi, thank you for making all my favorites....and thank you for making my birthday the best ever" - such a sweet and thankful heart this one has.  So proud of our Avery Grace!

Her gifts were mostly ones for her room....a mirror, a piggy bank

that she wanted from Z Gallery, an exercise ball that she wanted to use as a seat for her desk (in her new room....absolutely love their new home and Shawn was sure to get Avery's room finished first.  It's adorable and so "Avery" - she truly has a style of her own.....creative and unique....and totally "artsy"!  We also got her a game that most of us played during the was a FUN birthday.

Hayden helped with opening most of the gifts (Avery was so sweet to let him do that)...he just LOVES opening presents....even if they are for "DIRLS"!
Lord, i thank You for this day with most of our family.....and i thank You for the gift of Avery Grace in all of our lives.  She has the most precious heart....she's creative beyond compare...she's sensitive to the needs and feelings of others (and sometimes overly sensitive, just like her mimi has always been.  It's a gift and a curse....sometimes feelings are so hurt when they shouldn't be....but wouldn't trade our sensitivity for anything because it allows us both a sense of compassion and empathy), her sense of humor is off the charts - finding humor in the most everyday situations and things....she's beautiful....brown eyes, beautiful wavy brown hair and so many angel kisses on her nose and cheeks you can't count them!  She's tiny in stature....but she's BIG on personality....her heart Lord is moldable and i pray so hard that You will write your name on this precious one's heart....that Your hands will guide every step of all the journey's in her life, that she will have a long and beautiful life ahead of her with YOU Lord Jesus as the center of it all.  I pray Your protection over her - Your Holy Spirit filling her - and Your Joy running over the edges of her heart.  Lord i pray Blessings on our Avery Grace....Thank You for the sweetest little gift we have in Avery Grace Corley.  

Hayden Michael and Haley Elizabeth

This sweet one....and a memory from July 2015.  We kept Haley and Hayden for a few days while the kids went to Mexico for a little vacation.  As always with Hayden, we had "sleepovers" - He sleeps in his "ider-man" sleeping bag (and lots and lots of pillows and blankets) and i tough it out on the couch beside him in the media room....sweet times with my little man.  This trip Haley opted for the bedroom (her usual spot is one of the couches in the media room too, but i guess she wanted some peace and quiet).  Whenever Hayden comes for "Camp Mimi" - i have his sleeping bag on the couch and there's always a surprise hidden there.  Ever since he was so so tiny, he's learned, as he walks in that door, to stand on his tippy toes and look for his surprise.  This time i tricked him.  I didn't put it there. We walk into the media room and immediately his eyes go to the couch - he looked at me with this surprised look on his face - i told him "Hayden, this time Mimi made it hard for you - you must FIND your buried treasure!" - Oh the surprise on his little face....he starts running every which way looking for his prize.  After a few "hints" - he finds it and oh is he happy!  i so love this tradition with my little man.  I think he loves it too.  Another tradition with Hayden are his lunches - well, it's turned into every meal =)  One day when he was staying with us for Camp Mimi - it was a time when they were having trouble getting him to eat (i am not sure this boy is a Corley - my boys wanted to forego the Happy Meals at 3 years of age just so they could have a BIG burger! - never had this problem with Shawn and Chase! - oh, and Hayden has passed that stage now....he LOVES yummy food now) so in an effort to help his appetite, i made "super power" sandwiches.  I got really soft bread and with a cookie cutter i was able to make cute little sandwiches for him.  And guess what?  He LOVED them - he gobbled them up!  Even yesterday when they came to celebrate Avery's birthday - we were having brisket tacos but he wanted a sandwich.  I didn't have bread so i asked him "How about a quesadilla - it will be so yummy" - "mimi, can you make me a super power one?" - so what did i do?  I got the cookie cutters out and made cut outs with the flour tortilla.  i so love these sweet traditions with my Hayden.....
Another memory when we kept the kids in July - Little man is at the age now where he watches movies....all the way through.  One night, Haley, Hayden and i watched "night at the museum" for the first time and he LOVED it.  His favorite part was when the monkey peed on Ben Stiller.  He wanted me to play that part over and over and he would giggle and giggle.  The next morning, he asks "Mimi, can we watch that show where the dinosaur comes alive and the monkey pees on the man?" - so all over again we watch the movie and he just giggles even more.  We have had a pretty free time his entire visit with little TV or "i-paid" as he calls it,
so he asks for another movie.  I thought of seeing about one of the other Nights at the museum but couldn't find one - but i come across the "never ending story" - i read the synopsis and decide it sounds like a good i turn it's a little slow at first and Hayden says "Mimi, when does it start happening?" - so i fast forward....and get to the action part.  It's about a little boy reading this book and he BECOMES the main character.  He's riding this horse through the desert, through the mountains....and THEN he comes to the "Swamp of Sorrow" - it's dark and scary - the music changes....Hayden is sitting in the chair closest to the TV and his eyes are as big as saucers.  His eyes are riveted on that RV screen.  The boy has to get off his horse and he's telling the horse "Don't let the sadness overtake you - if you do, you will sink into the mire - fight it with all you have" - they come to this scary monster in the vines - his eyes light up green and the growls really loud.....Hayden RUNS to the middle of the room, turning circles and screaming "Don't turn it off Mimi!!!  Don't turn it off!!" - He runs and hides behind my chair and peeks over the top "Don't turn it off Mimi!!!" - oh my goodness, i was laughing inside.  He was scared out of his wits, but he didn't want me to turn it off.  He wanted to see what happened next!  Well, i think i scarred him for life....the next scene, the horse starts sinking....he's letting the sadness overtake him - and the little boy is shouting at him "noooooo, fight it!!" and Hayden is yelling "NOOOOOO, fight the sadness!!" - i have never seen this movie before, but dad gum it, the horse SINKS into the mire!  Hayden is now yelling at me "Turn this off Mimi....who wants to watch this?  The horse is in the mire....Mimi, turn it off!!!" Before i can get the control and turn it off, the scene switches to the current little boy reading the book and he's just bawling.....and Hayden yells "See Mimi....he's TRYING (he can't say his c's) - turn it off!!" - so we turn off the movie and i am thinking oh my gosh, i have ruined this little thinking - altho i have never seen the movie, i tell Hayden...."i know that was SO sad - but sometimes sadness CAN bring us down - but Hayden, you know what happened next?"  Huge saucer eyes - "what Mimi?"  I tell him "the little boy loved his horse SO very much and the love in his heart brought the horse back up out of the mire and they road out of that swamp of sadness together - LOVE overcame sadness Hayden" - well, he was better after that but he said "i never ever want to see dat movie ADIN!"  As i was retelling the story to Michael, it made me think of our situation.....we can't let the swamp of cancer overtake us.....we have to fight it with all we have....with all God's strength....or we could sink in the mire too!

SWEET times with my little man....and i also had the SWEETEST time with Hayhay.  Papa played with Hayden and let us go for a shopping day on the square.  We were able to get Haley a few things for college....and then at night, after Hayden fell asleep, we would watch movies together....i couldn't believe she hadn't seen "You've got Mail" or "While you were Sleeping" or "Sleepless in Seattle" - we had so much fun watching those love stories....we had long talks about college, the future, our faith....the "boy" - oh how i love our precious Haley.  She's truly such a gift in our lives!.

Time with these two....sweet memories.  We are so blessed with 5 wonderful grandchildren....and having one on one time with them is just priceless.  Thank you Lord for the gift of each one of us live our lives in such a way that they will see You in that they will be drawn to Your mercy and grace and salvation.  Each and every day i pray that You will send people into all of our lives that will help us know You, seek You and love You more and more.  

Write Your Holy Name on their hearts Lord i pray....

Sunday, July 12, 2015


41 years ago today.....i woke up with severe back pain......9 months pregnant (first pregnancy) and oblivious - sent Michael on to work not thinking my BACK would hurt if i was in labor....nooooo, it would be this huge bulge in the front that would be tightening!  About 10:30, i called my mom.  She suggested i come to their house - and that i call Michael to come back home.  She's thinking this is labor.  She was right!  The night before this - we were on 3rd row at an America concert - i waddled into the concert hall and worried most of the time that the loud music might disturb my sweet baby snuggled safely under my heart.  He danced around all during the concert.....i kinda think he loved "America" - especially "A horse with no name".  Back to Friday morning.....drove myself to mom and dad's and she had me in the recliner and began to time the back aches.  Sure enough, they were coming about every 5 minutes.  After a call to the doctor's office - and it was my doctor's day off.....hated that - wanted Dr. Griffin to deliver Shawn- we were told to head to the hospital.  To my surprise, Dr. Griffin got the call that i was in labor and he came down - on his day off- to be there and deliver Shawn.  They got me all settled into the labor room.....hooked me up to something that would help the labor along.....only to find it wasn't helping.  I couldn't have an epidural until i dilated to a 5....i was stuck at 3.....and i can tell HURT.  I remember squeezing Michael's hand so hard with each contraction that HE was hurting.  It was really awful.  I also remember hearing the girl in the room next to me....she was screaming!  That afternoon, Dr. Griffin ordered an X-ray - he couldn't understand why things weren't moving along.  He came back in and told us - this is a BIG baby!  That is why things aren't going as planned.  FINALLY, early evening, i finally got to a 5 - never could i imagine i would BEG for a long needle to puncture my spine, but i DID.  And oh my was like heaven.  No more pains......RELIEF.  At some point i caught a glimpse of me in a mirror.  DARK circles under my eyes.....not a pretty sight!  That evening, about 9 or so, they got me to the delivery room.  They put a mask over my face and assured me everything would be okay and with that, i was out.  I can still remember the coldness of that bright the lights excited and scared emotions ran through me at the same time.  I was going to get to meet my sweet baby finally!  When i woke up, i remember they held Shawn up - but it was from a long distance away.  They were whisking him off for a bath and taking me into recovery.  It took Dr. Griffin an hour to deliver Shawn.....10 pounds, 7 ounces - born at 10:13.  Michael said he will never forget seeing Shawn in the bed they put him in - that he FILLED the bed - and stuck his feet up and out and that his toes were "stretching" - i guess he  had been cramped inside me for so long - it must have felt SO good to stretch!  Black hair - lots of it - fattest little face - eyes squeezed tight because your cheeks were so big....cutest baby boy and the size of a 5 month old!  I didn't get to hold him that night =(  The next morning, i remember being on the phone with my boss at work - telling them about Shawn's birthday.  In comes a nurse with the sweetest little bundle - i quickly hang up the phone and take the precious gift in my arms for the first time.  Oh my goodness, looking down at this child of ours....and then the girl in the room next to me says "i think that's my little girl" - Well sure enough....the nurse grabs the bundle from me - i will add the little FIVE POUND bundle i was holding - and hands her to my roommate.  She leaves the room and in she walks with my 10 pound 7 oz baby boy.   OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!  I grab my son and hold him tight to my chest.....he brings that little head up and looks me straight in the eye.....Hello momma.....Hello sweet joy of our lives.  From that moment on.....our lives were changed forever.  As i have always said, we were children raising children!  I hadn't the slightest clue what i was doing as a mom.  SO many things we messed up through the years.....but i will tell you one thing i know for certain.....  We did MANY things right -   Because that baby boy grew up to be a precious man....wonderful daddy....sweet son.  We have been through roller coasters of emotions as life played out before us.....but what a SWEET gift you are to us Shawn.  We are SO very proud of you.  Through daddy's bout with cancer, the hospital, recovery, you have been there at every turn for us.....taking such good care of us.  You are such an awesome daddy.....the relationship you have with Avery is so precious.....she's blessed to have a daddy that loves her beyond measure.  Your career has just grown and grown and your creativity continues to amaze us.  We have seen you through so many stages of your life...Through greatest joys and deepest sorrows, and we have watched your heart soften and grow so much in the past few years.  We pray each day for God to mold you and make you HIS.....and we are so thankful to see HIS work in your life!  We love you Shawn Michael very much.  We are so thankful to be your mom and dad.  You are our first little gift God sent us.  Thank you for loving us and caring for us the way you do.  Happy Birthday Shawn.....we pray every single day for God to send His richest blessings on your life, on Avery's life.....we can't wait to see the gifts He has ahead for you both.  Love you with ALL of my heart....momma.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Roller Coasters

Here's my update i sent out today:

Welcome to our roller coaster……

This morning Michael has his pet scan…..he had the first one - radiologist saw something above his bladder - doctor wanted more scans so he had two.  We haven’t a clue what this is….something new. Please lift up prayers that it’s nothing…..or that if it is, radioactive iodine went straight to it and killed every bad cell.  

Today, it is my assumption that the scan lit up everywhere the iodine went…..this is a new place….we didn’t know about before.  

Thank you for prayers.  WE know that God is in control….He’s got this.  We just were so hoping for closure.  It’s been three months yesterday that we have been dealing with this and we thought we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  Please pray with us that Michael will be completely healed from this dreaded disease.

Love you guys so much.  Thank you for loving us….for praying with us.  It truly does mean the world to us.  We claim Jeremiah 29:11.  God’s got this!

That was my email.....this knocked the wind out of me.  Now there's a place above his bladder.  God help me lay this at your feet and not worry.  I don't know what in the world i think i can do about it....and do i really want to be in control?  No God, i want YOUR will in our lives.  Help me TRUST You Lord.  You Lord know how much i love Michael.....You know he is the other half of me.....this storm has raged now for 3 months, and i realize i am's NOTHING compared to what YOU went through on the cross.....But oh My sweet Lord in Heaven....i lift THIS request up to You right now Lord Jesus....i pray SO hard that this glitch isn't something serious.  I pray Lord Jesus that Michael will be COMPLETELY healed Lord....cancer FREE Lord Jesus.  And i pray that he will be able to enjoy the golden years of his life....with me by his side....and that we can magnify You in all that we do and say.  Lord please heal my Michael....and i know he's not truly mine....He belongs to YOU Jesus.  I love him so very much and i pray Your mercy and grace in this storm Lord....i pray for lives to be changed because of this storm....i pray for complete healing for him Lord and i lay that desire of my heart right at your feet.  EASE my fear Lord....HELP me trust You Lord. Take my worry and throw it as far as the east to the west Lord Jesus.  

Thank you for loving me in spite of all my sin....all my fears.....You know my heart, inside and out Lord Jesus.  I pray sweet Lord, that You will fill my heart with Your Holy Spirit and that MY life....our lives together....will reflect You.  

I love you Lord.  Thank you Lord - even in the storm.  Thank you.  

Thursday, June 18, 2015


This is the song that i heard on the way home yesterday that brought me to tears….i pictured the waiting room….i pictured the living room full of hands being held and praying….…you guys have been this for me…..

"You've Got A Friend"

When you're down in troubles
And you need some love and care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon i will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you got to do is call
And I'll be there
Yes I will
You've got a friend

If the sky above you
Grows dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep your head together
And call my name out loud
Soon you'll hear me knocking at your door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
Ain't it good to know that you've got a friend

When people can be so cold
They'll hurt you and desert you
And take your soul if you let them
Oh, but don't you let them

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You’ve got a friend

God blessed me SO sweetly when he gave me each of you.  I don’t know how we would have made it through without God’s sweet love shown through you guys….and your husbands.  Thank you for loving us like you do.  KNOW that we love you beyond all measure.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Birthday Fairies

Wrote this story for Avery Grace - a friend invited me to a writer's workshop with her and you have to bring an original short story with you to read to the class.  I wrote the story....but have never had the guts to take it to the workshop:

Birthday Fairies

It was that time of day when magic happens.  The moon was just beginning to cast her yellow glow into the evening sky and the cicadas sang the last notes of their sweet songs for the night.  The stars were just beginning to wink in the navy skies.  

Avery was perched on the rocking chair by her window, gazing intently between the branches of the mighty oak tree that grew in her front yard.  She hoped to see tiny lights peeking through the leaves. Where were they?  Had they forgotten that it's August?  

"Avery Grace?" momma sang from the kitchen.  "Have you brushed your teeth?  It's time for bed honey.  Daddy's on his way to read your bedtime story, so hurry and get your pj's on and get those teeth brushed!" 

Avery climbed down from the big old chair and hurried to the bathroom.  She loved when daddy read her stories at bedtime.  He would tell her great tales about kings and castles and princesses.  She loved to hear his voice go up and down,  loud and soft as he told her tales of Once Upon a Time. Daddy always made the books come alive and Avery could imagine herself running through a forest path or up the staircase of a beautiful castle on a hill.  

Avery brushed her teeth and hurried to her bedroom.  She grabbed Teddy Bunny,  dove into her bed and pulled the covers high over her head.  She giggled in anticipation as she heard her daddy's footsteps.

"Avery Grace?  Where are you?" said Avery's daddy as he entered the room.  He picked up a pillow in the corner.  "Nope, she's not under there!" he said in a low pitched, bear-like voice. He walked over to the closet and peeked inside.  "Nope, not in here" he said in his funny, squeaky voice.  "Hum, I can't find my Avery at all!"

"HERE I am!"  Avery yelled as she threw off the covers.  "I am ready for my story daddy!"

As daddy snuggled down beside her she pulled teddy bunny close.  "Tonight can you tell the story about the birthday fairies daddy?  I have been looking for them but I think they have forgotten!"

"Okay Avery.  I will tell you all about the birthday fairies!"

"Once upon a time there was a little girl" her daddy began. 

"And her name was Avery Grace!" said Avery "and she had big brown eyes JUST like me!"

"Yes" said daddy as he continued his story, "Avery's momma and daddy prayed for many years and asked God to send them a little girl.  They both dreamed of a baby girl,  and what she might look like...what she might be like.  God heard their prayers and very soon, a little baby began to grow in mommy's tummy"

"That was ME!" said Avery with a big grin.

"Yes, dear one, that was YOU" said daddy with the sweetest sound in his voice.  "We started getting a room ready for our new little baby.  We painted her room..."

"Periwinkle blue" Avery added.

"Yes, the softest blue.   We bought a white crib at a little consignment store in town - and we found a beautiful blue rocking chair that fit just perfectly in the corner of your the window.  We dreamed of how we would rock our baby girl in our arms, reading her books and telling her stories."

"and NOW the birthday fairies daddy?" said Avery, her brown eyes flashing.

"One evening, right before your birth, your mom was sitting in the old blue rocker watching me as i put the finishing touches on the toy box i made for you."  Daddy turned to look at Avery and smiled as he saw the joy written all over her face.  "Your momma looked out the window and her eyes flew open wide.  "Shawn, come here!" she cried.  

"As they stared out the window into the dark August night, hundreds of tiny lights flew in and out of the branches of the old oak tree."  

"Shawn, can you believe this?  How many fireflies do you see?  It seems like hundreds!"

"We both stared for the longest time in awe of what we were seeing" said Avery's daddy.  "The tree out front seemed to be alive with the light of the fireflies"

"Then I told your mommy i thought the tiny lights were birthday fairies and that God had sent them to announce the birth of our baby girl" Daddy said with a smile.

"But daddy i think they have forgotten my birthday this year.  My birthday is in FIVE days.  I have been looking for them since dinner and i haven't seen ONE" Avery whispered with the saddest little voice.  

"Let's go to the window and look now Avery Grace.  It's later and darker outside now.  Sometimes, when there's still a little light from the sun peeking through, it's hard to see them. But when God pushes the sun to the other side of the earth and the skies turn dark, their little lights shine brighter "

Daddy gathered Avery up in his arms and held her tightly as they both gazed out into the dark night.  

"LOOK! " cried Avery.  "I SEE them!  I see the birthday fairies!  They DID'NT forget my birthday!"

Avery and her daddy stared for a long time and watched as the birthday fairies danced around the leaves of the tree.  Little lights twinkled on and off, on and off.   

"Daddy, they are dancing!  They are blinking on and off and dancing a birthday dance for me!" Avery said with a grin.  

After a long while, Avery's daddy lifted her into bed and tucked her in tightly.  She bowed her head and began her prayer "Dear God, thank You for my family.  Thank you for my momma and my daddy. Thank you for my friends and teddy bunny.  Thank you for the birthday fairies in the tree by my window.  Thank you for loving me.  I love you with all my heart.  Amen"

Before your bedtime prayers tonight, look into the dark night sky and you too might just see birthday fairies dancing in the moonlight!

More stormy emails

An update BEFORE the iodine:

Happy SUNNY June 1st !

Just wanted to give everyone a quick update.  Michael is doing AWESOME.  Tomorrow begins week 3 without thyroid medication - to date, he hasn’t really had the horrible side effects the doctors warned us about.  He does tire easily - but emotionally he’s doing great and  he’s pressing on with his walking to keep moving forward with his strength.  We prayed things would go smoothly and they have!  Thank you Lord!  

We have an appointment on Monday, the 8th, to have another swallow test.  He’s doing amazingly well with that we THINK.  We won’t know for sure until we get that test, but after our last meeting with the speech therapist, who urged him to practice swallowing, he’s been having a morning cup of coffee and lots of popsicles!  A few weeks ago, when he took a drink, he coughed afterwards much of the time - but now, he doesn’t cough at all.  We are hoping and praying that’s a GOOD sign and that everything is going exactly where it needs to go.  We will also get a blood test that day to see if his thyroid levels are good and if they are, they will give him the radioactive iodine soon and our prayer is that it will go to every single bad cell that might still be in his body and that it will kill those cells - every single one of them!  Please pray God’s hand in this AND for HIS guidance afterwards as we make decisions on beam radiation.  Still so many decisions to be made!  We need wisdom for those decisions.  

His voice is still just a whisper.  He’s doing exercises he was given to help those vocal chords work again.  We were told at our last meeting that his “false vocals” are doing all the work, but the speech therapist will be working to get his good vocal chord taking over soon.

Thank you so much for prayers.  When i look back, and see how far we have come, i am just amazed.  Only God could have carried us through all this and we give Him all the honor and glory.  

Your prayers mean the world to us.  Thank you for loving us and lifting us up in prayer.  We love you!

Jeremiah 17:14
Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. (NIV)

And then after it:

Just wanted to update you on Corley  (aka Papa) - 

He had his radioactive iodine on Friday morning.  No side effects to speak of.  I will say though that on the Thursday before his treatment he was super tired….a little agitated and thinking that the symptoms were from anxiety about the iodine treatment but mostly from not having his thyroid meds for 3+ weeks.  I just thought to myself how God kept those horrible symptoms away from him for nearly 3 weeks and they only reared their ugly heads the day before treatment!  The picture the docs painted was so grim for the entire 3 weeks he was off the meds!  He was almost giddy for most of that time (not the depression they anticipated).  Friday he was good - yesterday not so good.  But just tired, not sleeping well and achy all over.  Today he’s better.  It’s been really strange this life of living in the same house but in separate beds, separate rooms, paper plates and plastic utinsils - i have to stay 6 ft away from him at all times - he has to shower many times a day per the nuclear doc’s instructions.  All the radiation will seep out of his pores.  That doc told him that most of the radiation would be gone in 48 hours.  We are being cautious though and keeping the separate living quarters for five days - and seven for pets and children.  Come Friday at 11:30 though, he’s a FREE MAN!  We are SO ready to have our lives back - so ready for normal. This storm started March 18th….We are looking forward to hopefully calm waters ahead.    

As i have said in past emails….storms are not all bad.  Through this storm, i can’t tell you how much we have grown in our faith - so thankful God didn’t leave us where we were in our faith!    I told Michael i want to build an altar and name it “we are so thankful” - so that we will never ever forget God’s mercy and His grace in this storm.  Around every turn, God has blessed us beyond measure. We are closer to each other….closer to Him and we are closer to friends and family that we love so much.  

Love you BIG….thank you for continued prayers that this treatment will kill any cancerous cell left in his body.  We look forward to seeing you guys…doing life with you again!  

and this is the answer from Sherrie Kulwicki:

Couple of things:

Seeing light - radioactive and 'at the end of the tunnel.'  ha

3 months - from death (fearing what could have been the worst) to life (God's resurrecting MC to health)

Making an altar - I had some friends who were in business (I think it was a dairy) with their best friends and for some reason things fell apart and their friends betrayed them.  It cost my friends a ton of money.  But they determined to never falter in their faith and put an 'altar' to the Lord on their kitchen window sill.  It was a milk carton.  I thought that was the sweetest thing. You need to find something that totally speaks to your journey.  

Truly love the witness you and MC have been!!  SO proud to be your friend.  Looking forward to life together.

My reply to Sherrie:

I really do think i will make an altar - i don’t want either of us to forget this journey…..i just feel the journey was to draw us both closer to HIM……and i pray every single day the prayer “bless us indeed, Please keep Your hands upon us and keep us from evil - and please increase our territory” - He increased our territory in this too….we had people praying for us that we didn’t even KNOW…..and i DO believe many hearts have softened through this....many that we are praying for to receive Christ, that we are praying will  come to know Him as their Savior.  This journey meant something….not only to us, but to others.   I don’t want us to forget the despair….the prayers soaked with tears…..i want to REMEMBER.  

Love you and can’t wait to DO LIFE with you guys again!!!!!  Praying now the cancer is GONE for good and that his voice will return.  God’s mercy and grace has showered us through this entire things….praying for those desires of our hearts to be granted too. Giving HIM all the glory for ALL He has done!

And here's another from me to a friend, Doris:

God has just blessed us BIG time through all this…..we are amazed!!  And it’s those sweet prayers from our precious friends that keeps us before the throne.  We are SO looking forward to NORMAL!!!! Even the smallest things….we just take for granted every single day.  Cheese….oh my goodness CHEESE.  He’s been on this low iodine diet and can’t have dairy….well, for breakfast he’s been having omelets (no yolks tho….only the whites per the iodine diet) and what the heck is an omelet without cheese?  I have gotten very creative in my cooking =)  But today, at 11:30 (oh and he informed me of this EARLY this morning) it’s been 48 hours and he can have ANYthing he wants to eat… lunch time came and i made pulled pork soft tacos (with left over pulled pork) and i just loaded that sucker up with cheese =)  Thanking the Lord all the time for CHEESE!!!  To be able to go out to a restaurant and EAT….oh my goodness it will be SO nice.  And when his voice comes back, it will be even better!  

And this from Annette (thanks for reminding me to document!)

This is so good to read...hope you are keeping all these should really do a blog!   I am so thankful that things have gone as smoothly as they have for Michael...and I could certainly understand if part of his feeling bad on Thursday was from anxiety...this is all so much and the radioactive iodine has unfolded to be so much more than I had imagined.  As you say, Friday at 11:30 will be another point of celebration.  Praying for you both as you get  there, love you, Annette:-)

I didn't document each and every email....oh how i wish i had - As i said in one of the replies.....i never want to forget....God's mercy and His grace met us at every turn.....We give Him ALL the glory!!!!

Monday, May 25, 2015

thoughts today

He calls me many names....through the years of our lives together, he has had many names for me...."lou" is the most common.....and it's special to me because of it's familiarity - "momma" is another one....and that came about with the boys - and at the same time he was given the name "daddy" - and as the boys grew to be men, Chase shortened that to "D" - i think the most precious name to me is the name he gave me when we were first married.....he called me his "woman child" - Gosh, i love that.  I think because it fits's what i FEEL inside....part woman - but still so much  a child.  I love being your "woman child" Michael Lane Corley.....

Friday, May 15, 2015

emails during and after surgery

i found a bunch of emails i sent during and after Michael's surgery....wanted to remember them.

I've been in with Michael since 6:15.....he's more pain, but they are working on it.  When I saw him, I told him the good news....I said "God was so precious to us Michael.....Dr Truelson got all the cancer"....tears rolled down his cheeks...."and no trach, no opening of the will be able to breathe, talk and eat on your own....." More tears.....then he whispered "tell me again!"......although he is in pain, blood sugar is up because of steroids and they are giving him insulin temporarily for that.....he is GREAT!  Please continue to pray for healing.....this resection needs good blood flow to heal correctly.  Love you guys and can't thank you enough for all the prayers!  Love you to the moon and back!!!!!!

Michael is doing really good this evening.....with one thing tho that we are asking prayer for.....his heart rate is elevated.  They think it can be taken care of by raising one of his meds.....but sure would appreciate prayers.....asking The Lord to guide them as they figure it out.  It's at times really high and they are working on getting it down.

Thank you guys so much!  Need his heart in tip top shape!!!!!!

Today is rough.....heart rate is up, blood pressure is up.....he feels awful......just sleepy and no energy.  He's not cracking any jokes so I know he feels awful.  He has tubes down his throat with tons of drainage and they told him not to cough....puts a strain on the surgery....but sometimes he said it feels like he's drowning.....and he coughs huge.  Scares me so bad.  Hate seeing him like this :(. Say prayers.....huge ones.  God gave us such a miracle with his surgery.  Praying now He leads us thru recovery!  Love u ❤️

I'm so sorry I haven't been better about's crazy here.....we have so many docs involved and they are in all the time....nurses doing stuff....then helping Michael with stuff....and nights are crazy!  All that said, there's not a lot of down time.  But right this minute I have a couple of minutes (I think).  

We have our ups and downs.....he's doing better each day tho.  Problems seem to arise tho....heart rate and BP have been a problem....they are adjusting meds to try and correct that.  He's vowed to sit up most of the day.....he doesn't cough as much when sitting up.  He's already walked a lap this morning and will be walking a few more today.  We have quite a bit of swelling...but thinking walking will help that too.  There was a thing they found on his lung....a small collapse but doc said not should correct itself with time and exercise.  They usually use those things you blow in, but Michael can't do we have to depend on exercise.  So much he can't do because of the kind of operation he had.  

Prayer requests are that his congestion and cough would get so much better....nights are a bear.  When he's in bed....coughing is bad....and the told him not to cough!  Pray that his body, his heart rate, BP will get to normal....swelling will go down.  Pray for his spirit to soar......that he will be encouraged each day with little steps forward.  

So many of you have asked about visiting...he's just not up to visitors right now.  He's got drains and tubes everywhere.....he can't talk....they've told him not to as much as he can keep from it....his voice is only a whisper because of the loss of the vocal nerve.  It will get better with a speech therapist, but right now he's suppose to keep quiet and when people are here, he feels awkward not b ing able to visit.....and give you a hard time! Our kids have been SO awesome.....they bring snacks, hairdryers, and such.....they come each day......just for short be sure we are ok.

Love you all so much.  Thank you for loving us....for covering us in prayer.  God has this!  So glad He put sweet friends and family on the journey beside pray, to encourage, to walk with us.  Can't tell you how much we love you!  You are precious gifts in our lives!!!!!!!!

Love, Michael and Cindy

 Soooooo, last night was awful.  Could really only see discouragement on his sad.  Today, Chase came to stay with him and I went home....showered....checked the house and outside in this beautiful day....Chase walked "the loop" with Michael twice....they did an ex ray to check for fluid on his lungs.....he's really SO congested....coughing a lot and they don't want him to cough but he just can't help it....we don't know results yet.....but he's been sitting in the chair all day long.....hasn't been in bed once.  I gave him a "bath", a " shampoo " .....clean jammies and he's a new man!  He told me today, for the very first time, he can see that light at the end of this tunnel.  I know tonight will probably be hard....he coughs bad when he's in bed......they give him steroids and he's wired....eyes wide open....can't sleep,,,,but tomorrow will be just a bit better than today!  Thank you so so much for prayers. Pray it's not fluid in his lung.  He does have one lung that's collapsed a bit but they said it will heal the body heals.  Pray his heart rate and blood pressure stay down (they checked it a minute ago and both were awesome! ).....pray for the recovery and the plan that's coming up to be the one that totally for sure without a doubt gets rid of any bad cells in his body!  Love you and so blessed to have our cheerleaders encouraging us, sending texts, phone calls, keeping our dog, getting mail, watching the house, and for the precious prayers you continue to lift for us!  So many have asked to bring run errands.  We are blown away!!!!! This horrible storm has brought us closer to our Lord and Savior.....our sweet and precious kids have just gathered round and showered us with encouragement and love.....they have cancelled plans and just concentrated on nothing but us.....we are so blessed to have those 3 looking after us!  (And the grands are the icing on the cake :). We found out what a little bulldog Angie is.....she's not one you want to mess with if u r dealing with her family!  And our family of friends.....oh my goodness.....we are overwhelmed.  All the prayers.....can't imagine the number of prayers and from some people that don't even know us!  The prayer warriors at home praying the day of his surgery.....the prayer warriors that took off work, gave up their entire day to stand with us that day and night....we are just can't thank each of you enough.....I can only say that if any of you ever have a need, we will be there for you!  Yes, I am long and drawn out in my writing.....I'm an emotional wreck.....but I'm just basking in the sweetness God has given us...precious gifts.  We thank Him for each one!  ❤️ you!  

So's our prayer request.....that tomorrow he can swallow.....that the surgery Dr T did will not fall apart....sometimes it can....he said after day 7, rarely does it happen....pray it all holds together.  Pray for fluids to settle down.  He's getting tube feedings but they r pumping fluids like crazy.  He's 10 pounds heavier today :(. Not in the lungs tho thank the Lord!  But he's so tired (plus we got no sleep last night....they were in the room SO many times) and carrying around 10 extra pounds is hard period.....but after major surgery, it's awful.  Pray also that coughing will subside.  Feeding tube will come out tomorrow if he can swallow.  Oh my, how he would love that thing out of his nose!!!!!  Because of the damaged nerve, swallowing could be a problem.  We are praying so hard it's not!  Lots of requests....but we know God will be glorified thru it all and we know our sweet family and friends are keeping us lifted up to The Great Physician!  Love you BIG ❤️❤️

Oh my goodness....what a difference a day makes!!!!!  What a difference prayer makes!  We got awesome sleep last night.....Michael was up at 4 though in anticipation of doc taking something out....the feeding tube thru the nose being the main thing!  He has fought that thing and fought that when doc T came in he said I'm ready to get this thing outta here......doc T said let me get some scissors.....he came back, as he was clipping the stitches in his nose, he's saying "this is kind of uncomfortable coming out.....just no way around it....I'm fighting to get out of the bed (papa was sitting in the chair) so I wouldn't have to see it and he ripped that sucker out quicker than quick.  THEN he got him water and explained how to turn his head....water went down wrong way.  Doc T said just practice....once he heals better he thinks he will be ok....he's going to have speech work with him, do a test.....if he still can't, they will do a barium test? Anyway, the tube in the nose is gone!!!!!!  Today is SO much better😝. We just walked a lap....we are adding a lap today so we will do six!  Pray now that as his throat adjusts to that yucky tube being gone....that he will be able to swallow.  We knew it would be difficult because of the nerve damage.....but we are praying that he will soon be able to do it.  Also praying that he can get rid of the's causing shortness of breath when we walk.  Love u so.....we just can't imagine walking this road without you....prayer warriors we can't thank enough!!!!!  Love you BIG!!!!!  ❤️😘

Here I am with another prayer request......Michael is doing better but we still have bumps in the he didn't pass the swallowing test given in radiology.  They think after all the swelling goes down, after congestion has cleared....the speech team believes he will be speaking and will be swallowing....but they won't clear us to leave without some way to get nutrition and his meds to him.  So in the morning he will have a g tube placed in his stomach.  Please pray all goes well with this surgery.....that his congestion will not cause problems.....and that soon Michael will be able to swallow.  Lots going on you guys. Thank you for prayers!!! We love you and miss you!  

Surgery went well this morning. He's doing good.....wants to sit in the chair but Linet suggested resting a while before trying that.  He's in no pain at all....just got some pain meds so he can rest,...but he's wide awake!  Been joking with everyone since they brought him in here!  He's doing just this button on his stomach with a small tube coming out.  But they won't start using it until tomorrow.  Thank u guys for prayers. Just praying he only has to have it a short time.  They will train me on it probably Saturday.  Not sure when we are going home.....hopefully soon.  Love you BIG!!!!!

P.s,  Michael is my hero.....thru every part of this....from diagnosis to all the doc being poked and prodded from every direction, to the scary things we heard COULD happen.....he's never complained.....never not once.  So proud of him.  

Here’s the latest:

We met with the speech therapist today.  She gave Michael new exercises to do, ordered another swallowing test and gave us lots of GREAT information.  I will say this - i can’t say enough about UT Southwestern.  Everyone is connected and all know before our appointments about Michael, his surgery, treatment plans - everything!   VERY organized and so thorough.  The speech therapist said that voice and swallow recovery can sometimes takes months - not that it has to….but that it’s very common.  Michael is doing everything he has been asked to do - He’s VERY motivated to get that voice and swallow back.  We would continue to ask for prayer regarding this.

Another prayer request is that we will KNOW what plan of action to take moving forward.  All the Doctors met on Friday and it seems all are in agreement that in about 5 weeks they will give Michael radioactive iodine and then do a scan afterwards to see what lights up.  (he has to be off his thyroid meds for three weeks prior and we have been told it’s not going to be fun….that he will be overwhelmingly tired, moody and depressed - please pray for this time to pass quickly and for Michael to do well)  We are HOPING and PRAYING that ALL remaining thyroid cancer lights up big time and soaks up all that iodine and is COMPLETELY GONE from his body.  But this is where the doctors are not in agreement.  The surgeon wants radiation and the endocrine doctor doesn’t.  We were told today by the speech therapist that radiation can actually make the swallowing harder - it can cause great harm.  It can harm those muscles and could make it even harder to get that swallow back.  The surgeon is afraid not to do radiation.  The endocrine thinks the radioactive iodine will take care of it.  Please pray for us….that we will KNOW the right plan for Michael moving forward.

You guys are so precious to us.  Thank you for your prayers, the cards, the emails, the texts and the sweet things you have all done for us during this ordeal.  We couldn’t make this journey without you!

Love you BIG,
cindy and Michael

This one right after we talked to the doctor:

Excellent report.  Got all the tumor. No tracheostomy.  It is aggressive so they will do radiation.  Did not take lymph nodes or parathyroid because they looked fine. 

Does have a feeding tube for a while.  May have a little problem with swallowing and speech may be a little different.  We will take that!

We are giving God all the glory.  Thank you so much for praying.  Please pray him through recovery!!!

These are just a few of the updates i sent during Michael's surgery and recovery.......

Giving God ALL the glory - praying his complete recovery will be soon!