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K R I S T E N M O R R I S  "make room for good things to run wild” ▸ photographer + joy artist ▸ @calmorrismusic + me ▸ rue + jo’s mom ▸ cancer journey with #fightingcal ♥

We met with the “lead doctor” responsible for Caleb’s care and treatment today. His words: “I’m very happy! You’re responding great! This is good news!” The days are long but... transplant is weeks, not months, away... the hardest days are ahead, but we’ve come so far. Back in November being through three rounds of chemo and headed into spring felt SO FAR AWAY. “Morning by morning...” • I posted our last “travel event” of our Europe trip in my stories today. And this week I want to bring you guys up to speed on “October 10” and some big life things that put this current life story it full perspective. The timing of God... the *timing.* We’re both so confused and so wowed. And tired. And strengthened for each step as it’s time to take it. And aware of Him. And grateful. “I love to tell the story...” #fightingcal #morriscrewineurope #fontainebleau

“If it looks like we were scared to death, like a couple of kids just trying to save each other, you should have seen it in color.” (M. Gentry)
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Here’s the truth: cancer and car-accidents are “my thing.” My Achilles heel. Of COURSE ultimately my greatest fear is losing my husband or kids, then anyone I love. Also: I fear the amount of pain I might be forced to endure, I do.
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I don’t generally experience distress about being home alone at night, or worrying about the kids falling, or, I don’t know... other ways disaster could show up. I know they’re real and they, of course, scare me. But I have a sense of ration and trust about those things I don’t when cancer or cars are involved.
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The day after my mom died a *terrible* car wreck took the life of a student at the school we were a part of. She was on the girls b-ball team, and we were in the boys season (half my family was coaching or playing). A few other students barely escaped death themselves. We were headed into a game when we heard. I sat in a locker room of weeping teen boys, barely 24 hours after we’d seen mom’s last breath.
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The same year clients of mine, (I had shot them thrice during their relationship), a pair who mirror many aspects of Caleb and my’s story, were separated by the heaven and earth veil. Car accident. On his way home. Then a girl from school nearly lost her life in a different accident.
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Over and over. Cancer and cars. My greatest fears. I’d seen them take too much, so much. His brother, my mom, all our grandparents who have gone have been taken by cancer.
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My Great Fear has been that amidst good-life a stumble, or “normal” fever, or regular well-visit would turn into the worst-life. These fears I’d fight to not rule me, but in an honest place here I’d say: they are the monsters of earth that most haunt me.
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And it happened. A normal day, unlikely symptoms, and a quick check (thank GOD) at a doctor... and cancer.
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“There is a mountain only the lame can climb / There is a table only the hungry find.”
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“Holy, holy, holy: help. Carry me.” and He does, while He weeps. This is my report and song from the woods.

Thank you to everyone who engaged with and connected over my last stories and post. It’s really something I hold in high honor to be able expose nervy and, frankly, difficult parts of myself... and to look up and find friends saying “I know exactly what you mean.” “I’m with you.” “I support you.”
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From women who wrote saying that because of severe health problems and treatments after giving birth, they’ve gained lots of weight and cannot, no matter how hard they work or what they do, get the weight to move. To other moms who gave birth and their bodies automatically “went back”... and everyone noticed! Someone said the “celebration” she got for “not looking like she had a baby” made her uncomfortable, especially because she really didn’t do anything... it just... happened! Others write describing a missing - missing who they once were, and then a guilt, because they want the life they’ve built and are so grateful for it. Others describe the haunting voice: “you’re still single because... you’re not pretty enough...” Others said “Childbirth and aging! It’s been so intense for me... I want to embrace being a grandmother, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I could look 20 again...”
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Works of art, so much work but so good. These bodies - like I said before, I have more questions than answers, but I am more prone to marvel than ever. Marvel at the story behind what we see. Marvel at what is seen, the “is-ness” of each body. To say “looks don’t matter!” is just too simplistic... looks both reveal and hide, speak and silence. They matter, but beg for more, and aren’t entire.) To marvel at the wow-ness of youth, age, change, growth, motherhood, and self. As someone wrote me: “It’s crazy how we see beauty in others as a lack of it in ourselves, rather than just enjoying beauty that is. Like net beauty.”
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There it is plainly: to marvel and in so doing, enjoy the beauty that IS. (Whether or not there’s a version of beauty you’d prefer or wish for. The skill of seeing actual beauty, actual God, actual “very good” in exactly what exists, as is, right now is what we’re after.) #beauty #renoir #museedelorangerie #lifegivingsquares

I don’t want to highlight our hearts, minds, character, personalities, and the like today. I want to celebrate, on their own, our bodies. Though we are “whole” people, and nothing can be fully separated from the rest... I am choosing to focus on one aspect.
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These two bodies.
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What an honor to have them. What an honor to share them. What an honor to use them together. What a struggle they have caused us both. What pain we have faced in regards to them.
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I am currently the strongest, most fit, physically-healthiest I have been in our whole relationship, but not the smallest or “fittest looking.” He is currently the weakest, sickest version of himself yet, but he has looked FAR “worse.” “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The story of our bodies - every word - has been read by the other. Flip the page, new chapter.
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My hair and skin are the healthiest they’ve been since childhood, but hormonally I’m “pre-menopausal” (worst hormone reports on someone my age my doctor has ever seen). My body has felt so out of control (“Whats wrong with me? I don’t understand. Why does nothing work??”). Caleb has felt invincible physically — so long as he could mentally push through, his body could ALWAYS bend to his will. Now he faces an opposite journey.
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We’ve changed sizes, shapes, styles, muscle mass, body fat, ideal-beauty-standards, preferences, and ability.
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These “lowly bodies,” the part of God that is Masculine, and the part of God that is Feminine, together on the road through Mortal Land, to Forever, where we will receive Glorious Bodies.
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Today I honor our beautiful, changed, still-going, softened, stronger, appealing, embarrassing, delightful, ridiculous, miraculous, confusing, real bodies. I honor each stage they’ve gone through to get to here, and mostly: the version here, the bodies we woke up in today, the bodies with sag, cancer, heads of light brown hair, stuffy noses, and lined with a thin tube from arm to heart. These bodies who have made bodies. These bodies we hold. These bodies with the best ahead yet free from the pressure of “our very best,” and unfurled to the power of “our very selves.”

“I am my beloved's / My beloved is mine / And the banner that hovers over us is older than time...” and is made of paper flowers. 📃🌹#andrewpeterson #calebwithkristen #thesepicturesarepoems #lifegivingsquares #traditions

My love person ♥️
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“Don't be scared, it's alright
It's a weight you are not meant to shoulder
But you bear so much light
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And it's brighter each day we get older
And I know that you're broken too
But you are a sacrament
God has spoken through
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I am my beloved's
My beloved is mine
And the banner that hovers over us
Is older than time.
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So I run away home
To you.
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I believe in the love of the Father
I believe in the power of grace
I believe that He brought us together
You are my one safe place.”
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(Andrew Peterson) #calebwithkristen

Most Floridians we’ve met have their “mountain spot.” Somewhere they consistently go to escape the oppressive summer, or to enjoy the transition colors of fall, or to hunker in fireside in a snowy winter scene. The Blue Ridge, or Appalachian, or Great Smoky Mountains are the ideal changes of scene for many in the Sunshine State. (I remember the first weeks of being here I met a family at church who had “just come back from vacation,” so I naturally asked: “Where did you go!” “North Carolina! We go every year...” And then I inquired if they went to the Outer Banks (part of the shore) and the question alone brought instant laughter. “Oh no... why would we vacation at the beach?! We went to Highlands... in the mountains.”)
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Before even arriving in Tarpon Springs, Caleb and I knew, if we stayed, we’d want fall and winter memories and experiences still. We had hoped to be able to take end-of-year-trips (even just to visit friends and family in northern states!). So this “fall in Europe” adventure, that was more planned around work schedules and ticket prices, was *just* what we were craving.
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And it wasn’t until we stepped foot on the grounds that we realized: “Wait. We have ONLY been to Disney in warm, southern, summer-year-round states. We’ve never seen Disney in the fall!!” The decorations were far less Halloween and far more autumn and harvest. Sunflowers, corn husks, pine cones, fire-toned foliage, pumpkins. The trees were changing, the air smelled a little like burning wood, and my heart was moved.
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The way Disney is “a home-like place” in both my childhood, my now, AND my deepest future longings (when someday I’ll finally be Home, in the Kingdom an Artist-Author-Creating-Father has prepared to enjoy with His children) is obviously special to me. So to get the chance to see a “new” Disney, in “new season” was honestly spiritual. #morriscrewineurope #inourneverland #disneylandparis #disneyparis #showyourdisneyside

“The King will say: ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a unknown and you invited me in, I needed covering and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in shackles and you came to visit me.’” (Matthew 25:34-36)
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You’re going to hear a repetitious chant from me: “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” The past 30 days have been filled with both of Caleb and my sisters’ and parts of the Shorey and Baxter families.
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Music, falling asleep on the couch during late conversation, huge meals, Super Bowl wins, Salvation Army hauls (swipe through these to see @elizabethbaxter’s finds for her boys...!), exploring our area, and being loved in “The Kingdom is your reward” kinds of ways.
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We still can’t believe our people are showing up like the sun: day after day, week after week... shining warmth on us as we fight. My life is given and sworn to doing “this” for as many as I possibly can, as soon as I can. Because to be the recipient of it changes. your. whole. life.
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Thank you Hosie, Shannon, Lauren, Don, Lisa, Caroline, Grant, Bill, Bethie, Jack, Will and Sam for putting us on your backs and carrying us over fire. We will never forget your love this month, in particular. #fightingcal

“It is always strange and painful to have to change a habit of mind; though, when we have made the effort, we may find a great relief, even a sense of adventure and delight, in getting rid of the false and returning to the true.” (Dorothy Sayers) • Sigh. What authors - specifically - do you feel like you have personal rapport with, despite having never met? Dorothy Sayers is a daily friend to visit: who wows me, understands me, enlightens me, confuses me, and pushes me further into “it all” than I was before. (I mean, her middle name is even “Leigh.” So. 👯‍♀️). #morriscrewineurope #dorothysayers #lifegivingsquares #thesepicturesarepoems

If you are someone who educates (raises children, teaches or trains any people *ever*) or wants to be increasingly educated and intelligent, I would *highly* recommend setting aside some time to read (and re-read) Dorothy Sayers’ 1947 Oxford essay titled “The Lost Tools of Learning.” (Google it... there’s lots of free, full versions available online).
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It’s long, but in it she examines the Medieval process of educating structured in the Trivium and Quadrivium, where the Trivium in particular focused on dialectic (‘the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions,’ or as Sayers defines it: ‘embraced Logic and Disputation.’) and rhetoric (the art of effective or convincing speaking or writing, and in Sayers’ words: ‘how to say what you had to say elegantly and persuasively.’) Here’s a few lines:
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“Do you often come across people for whom, all their lives, a ‘subject’ remains a ‘subject,’ divided by water-tight bulkheads from all other ‘subjects,’ so that they experience very great difficulty in making an immediate mental connection between, let us say, algebra and detective fiction, sewage disposal and the price of salmon, cellulose and the distribution of rainfall — or, more generally, between such spheres of knowledge as philosophy and economics, or chemistry and art?
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Is it not the great defect of our education to-day that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils ‘subjects,’ we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think?
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✨ They learn everything, except the art of learning. ✨
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They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects.” (Dorothy Sayers) So stimulating and inspiring and big-picture-sharping. Fantastic piece of writing. #lifegivingsquares #thelourve #thesepicturesarepoems #morriscrewineurope #dorothysayers #parisparis

This night. The farewell eve to our Paris days, our Europe month, and, now in hindsight, “life as we knew it, for now.” Since we had family to be with the kids, Caleb wanted to take the opportunity one time to take me out for dinner. We aren’t super-committed-super-consistent date-night people (our relationship works so well to get connection, romance, time alone, and memories in other ways), but we love every time we scamper off, all “Come away with me, my love” style, and date. And this night, after both the hard work and “wow-ness” of all the travel we’d taken on together, couldn’t have been timed better. Nor could have been a more magical location...! As we walked up to the Eiffel Tower for our 9:00 pm reservations, the hourly sparkle lights waltzed over our heads. Everyone around, like always, gasped and stopped in their tracks. C and I were both teary-eyed and moved. There we were, in our “scrap together” outfits from a “functional travel capsule suitcase!” heading into a glamorous, fixed-menu dinner. The tower, the champagne, our hearts: all dancing and flickering with happy lightness. “They shall be led in peace / And go out with joy.” Nights like these become memorials of remembrance, and altars of praise. A place where you go back to in your mind, and call forth the sweetness you were given, and you say “Thank you.” and you are filled up with hope to endure for: “far, far better things are ahead than any we leave behind.” #morriscrewineurope #calebwithkristen #eiffeltower

Mood: “Why should it be any surprise that people find solace in the most intimate literary genre? Poetry slows us down, cherishes small details. A large disaster erases those details. We need poetry for nourishment and for noticing, for the way language and imagery reach comfortably into experience, holding and connecting it more successfully than any news channel we could name.” (Naomi Shihab Nye) • #thesepicturesarepoems #lifegivingsquares #morriscrewineurope

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