Take ’em a Meal

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the most difficult things in this whole cancer journey has been learning to be a recipient of people’s generosity. It’s just hard to feel like a sucker–like someone who is just sucking the life of those around you. It’s hard to be humble enough to willingly receive a gift with a simple “thank you”. Very very difficult.

And yet it’s a beautiful journey to be invited into. It’s a journey that I think all of us need to be invited into from different avenues. What I mean is that some of us do not find the challenge in being a grateful recipient because we’ve been in that role for most of our lives and therefore play it well. Some of us need to learn a posture of thankfulness ’cause we’ve gotten used to the receiving. Others need to learn the posture of thankfully receiving because we’ve taken a posture of authority our whole lives. We’ve often even mistakenly placed ourselves as the rider on the white horse who comes to rescue those three feet below us. Some of us are just prideful. Some of us are just lazy. Some of us are both. And I’m sure there’s one or two of you who are neither.

This week, as we’ve been movin’ rooms around, we had many people offer to help. It was wonderfully overwhelming. In the end it was easier to have just one or two people come to do the work, but it was yet another example of our greater community stepping up in a time of need. Thank you.

The tension that it creates, however, is that there is a line. There is a very blurry and often wandering line that Jess and I are always trying to be aware of. The line has very little to do with you and very much to do with our own emotional and mental health. Because there are times that we might need help but we just don’t want it. We don’t want to always feel like we MUST have helped to survive. We don’t always want to feel like our home is overrun with people (a stark change from how we felt before I was sick to be perfectly honest). We don’t always want help…even when we may need it. Sometimes we just want to be a family. Sometimes we want to pretend like we’re normal, like our life isn’t overrun by the cancer narrative. Sometimes we just don’t want to receive.

And the reality, I think, is that those impulses are not bad. They’re not off. They’re not ‘wrong’ (though I hesitate to use that sticky word). It’s a valuable tension to hold, one that, again, is blurry in its definition but important in its usage. It’s very very important that we, at times, create those boundaries and allow both openness to receiving and protection from it to be a part of our story.

So to Blur the Lines a Bit…

I’m asking for a bit of help here. One of the things that has been hugely helpful has been the occasional meals that people have dropped by for our family. They’ve been a non-intrusive way for people to care for us, it provides a huge relief for us amidst the stress of life, and amidst the time crunch of doctors visits that run up until 5pm often days. Here’s what our friend Sherilee, who is graciously managing all of this, briefly said:

For those of you that know and love Ryan and Jessica Woods…here is a organized way to sign up to bring food. To give them time together and not worry about what to make for supper – a small gift that means so much.

She says “supper” because she’s Canadian–and we forgive her for that–but it is a small way that you can bless our family from near or far away (they’ve suggested that you can order food to have it delivered or creative things of that nature). It’s all online so it’s amazingly easier than ever before! Thank you so much for your participation in caring for our family during this really strange and surprising time of sickness. I hope and pray that one day we look back on this time and see how it was shaping us for a future life together. But if the story is different–if the story continues on the same path that it’s gone thus far then we are especially grateful for every moment that you help to create for us to be together as a family and for me to pursue a path of health as much as is humanly possible in this life.


Here’s the link to take a meal.

Why Adam and Eve are Ruining my Children

I think I’ve written this blog before but I’m constantly amazed at what I’ve determined is some kind of naturally born, innate, passed-through-our-genetic-makeup set of behaviors that every kid knows. I tend to credit nurture over nature for most of my children’s habits. But there are some that I know I never taught them and I’m certain that they are not teaching them in school.

I mean seriously when do kids get taught “neener neener neener” or some variation of the same? “Nah, nah, nah, nah, na na”…sticks and stones…I know you are but what am I…

It’s got to be that they’re born with it ’cause I watch my kids on the playground vigilantly and while they learn bad habits from other kids (and also graciously pass them on to even more) I’ve never heard them learn those ones. Even still, even if they did hear some of those classic childhood phrases it’s not as if they’re all sitting down together listening, reciting, and repeating together. If I know anything it’s that children do not teach children these idiotic phrases. And that’s a scientific fact! Yet here I am in life listening to my kids use them to appropriately taunt others. No, there’s got to be a better answer…and I think I’ve found it.

It’s got to be that when God created Adam and Eve he gave them two gifts that they had not eared: belly buttons and a set of childish phrases to use toward each other and their animal friends. I’m fairly certain that when Eve ate the apple from the serpent she was like “Hey Adam check out this apple I just ate from this talking snake.” And Adam was like “No thanks. I’m on the Atkins diet and I only eat our animal friends.” and Eve was like “seriously Adam? Riiiight….neener neener neener I bet you can’t eat one! Nah nah nah nah poo poo I ate more apple than you” and Adam was like “Whatever Eve. I know you are but what am I?” and Eve was like “Oh, good one Adam. I’m rubber you’re glue” and Adam was like “Rubber? Glue? Those don’t even exist in our garden utopia…hmm…maybe there is something to those whole apple thing” and Eve was like “Yeah, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you” and Adam was like “Hmm…fruit, talking serpent, naked lady, childhood taunting…how could I say no?”

and the rest is history.

The "Can't Miss List"

As a followup to my previous post, this is my local restaurant “can’t miss list” from number 23. I received lots of Facebook feedback that was incredibly useful in creating this list and I’m always up for more. Some of the places that didn’t make the cut were because I was disinterested or (more likely) I’ve already been there. Some of the places on this list aren’t there because they have particularly good food but because for varying reasons it’s a place that I’d be remis to miss.

The list is a work in progress, but here she is in all her glory (bold means that it’s been accomplished):

“Cant Miss Restaurants”

  1. Muddy’s Coffee House
  2. Extracto Coffee House
  3. Coffee house Five
  4. Food carts in general (specifically: Grilled Cheese Grill)
  5. Salt and Straw
  6. Ruby Jewel ice cream
  7. Pine state biscuits
  8. Roots
  9. Screen door—get the praline bacon!
  10. Jakes Crawfish—
  11. Hubers
  12. Oba—order ceviche and prime rib
  13. Clark Lewis
  14. Delta Café Bar
  15. Pho Van (is there a better Pho?)
  16. Fire on the Mountain
  17. Vita Café
  18. Farrars Bistro
  19. EaT an oyster bar
  20. The Observatory
  21. Dicks kitchen
  22. The Berlin Inn
  23. Salty’s
  24. Beaker and Flask
  25. Tad’s Chicken n Dumplins
  26. Apizza scholls
  27. Beast
  28. Tan Tan
  29. Mi Mero Mole Tacos
  30. Tasty n sons
  31. Park Kitchen
  32. Le Pidgeon
  33. Podnah’s BBQ Pit
  34. Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar
  35. Nud Ludd
  36. Brazil Grill Restaurant
  37. Mothers
  38. Helsers
  39. Veritible quandary
  40. Beatervill café and bar
  41. Jam on Hawthorne
  42. Besaws
  43. Zells
  44. Lompac
  45. Yoko’s–poke roll
  46. Saburo–sushi
  47. Hunans Chinese food
  48. Lemon Grass thai– get salad rolls
  49. Tanuki– Go on “noodle night”
  50. Brakeside
  51. Grant House
  52. Pambiche
  53. Por Que No

I’m hungry.