Some Nights I Stay Up…


The past few nights I have been up with my head spinning. Okay, who am I kidding, the past month since I have been home from MD Anderson have been tough. I feel almost like I have been in a coma. Yes, the reason I have not blogged in forever.

Then 2 nights ago, I got up and had the worst bone pain. I described it to David as “you know when you ski all day, and you get home and your feet and legs feel frostbit? They hurt to the core, you take a hot bath and they still burn?” Ya, it is like that, and then factor in the non stop feeling of you are going to puke along with the sensation someone just kicked you in the stomache. Oh, and let’s not forget the comatose feeling of like “why am I just floating around with no ambition or drive?” If this is my “new” normal, I can’t handle it.  I have never had less energy or motivation. It is a little overwhelming this “me, I call Denise”.


So it’s about 1am and it’s the night I stay up cashing in my bad luck, giving myself a pity party. Ridiculous but so much needed. Then it happens. I think of my girls. My girls from MJC all the way to Peru all the way to Kitale. I think of the little ones we met that had no time to cash in on their bad luck, they only knew of hope, love, prayer and belief that things would get better. I think of the day Hellen told me she found out one of the girls was HIV positive and she wasn’t sure how to break the news to her. I think of Anne’s mom who was sick when we visited and passed away a couple months later.

I think of them because here I am in an amazing house, at the best hospitals, a hot bath filled with “stress free” salts and a cabinet filled with any type of medicine I need to cure my littlest of aches and then I hop into my fluffy bed with nice crisp sheets, face my fan on me and call it a day.

I think of me and I think RIDICULOUS. Chin up, and remember if cancer had not entered my life I’d be working 80hrs seven days a week. I’d be telling my boys for the umph time “just a minute” as I answer my phone. RIDICULOUS. I love the new me and if it is cancer and bone pain that made it this way, then I need to fluff up my bed and be thankful I’ve got the everything around me pushing me forward and watching and cheering and praying for this cancer to get out of me.  And it is working. It really is.

I think of my girls in Kitale. I think AMAZING. Their happiness is contagious. I want their happiness and cancer brought me to that road.


But I also think of their pain. I know their pain. I know it better than I ever could have. Imagine getting HIV, malaria or even the worst flu you have ever had. You are not crawling into that fluffy bed, you are crawling into a ball on a slab of cold ground in hopes you have a blanket. You are not running into your clean bathroom to get cooled off nor hope you don’t puke, you are huddled in that corner with a bag you found in the trash because you are afraid to go outside in the middle of the night to go to “the bathroom”. When you are a girl in the slums you have no idea what is going to happen to you when you leave that one little corner you have.  You don;t  run down to your fridge to get ice water, you have no fridge, let alone kitchen. Heck and medicine to cure whatever, it’s no where to be found. You just live with the pain until who knows….


I know, I sound deep but it is so true. It’s that place I went to the other night during my pity party that made me realize I’ve got stuff to do. We’ve got stuff to do. So heck, Denise, get up and stop fussing over every ache and pain. And I did. The next day and now 2 days in, I’m vowing to get to that better place. The girls need me. They need you.

And it was just over a year, (July 30, to be exact) that I called Charlotte and told her David and I would build the Orphanage. It hasn’t even been a year since Denise W, Kiara, Jami, Jenni and David decided to step in an figure how to get these girls sponsored so they could live in the Mighty Acorns Orphanage.


Look at this place. Almost complete and busting at the seems. Girls just started moving in late August. Most of them have their first EVER  mattress, sheets, pillow and blanket. And on top of that, they have a bathroom and shower. They have a room mom who will nurture them and help them grow. ABOVE ALL THEY NOW HAVE YOUR BELIEF IN THEM. I cannot believe I missed seeing their faces when they got your letters, seeing their faces when they saw your family photos and sweet pics your kids colored. Oh, Kiara, you cannot get back to Kitale soon enough.  I’m so bummed about all the evil war and terrorist stuff. Seriously, why do bad guys have to ruin it for us good guy who wants to help.

We won’t let them win, and Kiara will be back with her kids soon, and yours.

So with that said, I must say good night.

X0X0- Denise

Hellen - October 18, 2013 - 12:45 am

Thanks so much Denise,you are a such inspiration to many and always know that we love you and are praying for your quick recovry,”Be strong and of good courage ,do not feer nor be fraud of them,for the Lord your God,He is the one who goes with.He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Michelle Huesgen - October 17, 2013 - 10:19 pm

That’s right…chin up little fish. I love you my friend…and of course our little Michelle in Africa! We need her address!!

Joy Stallard - October 14, 2013 - 10:26 pm

Oh if I could just take away at least some of your aches and pains! You are such an inspiration. Prayers with you tonight. Joy

Jill - October 14, 2013 - 9:49 pm

So much to say, so few words because your “real-ness” has caused the lump in my throat. Isn’t it always “at these times” we start to see a bit clearer. :).

I find myself telling my kids to “wait one second” all the time. No more. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Take this time to be present and when you kick cancer’s butt, continue to be present. We’ll all understand, I promise. 🙂

Maybe time to pray about building some kind of medical care facility??? Dream big!

Big hugs and many prayers for everyone!

Kayla - October 14, 2013 - 5:53 pm


Jennifer b - October 14, 2013 - 3:20 pm

So beautifully written…real…I’m so blessed. Thanks for the reminder.

Courtney - October 14, 2013 - 12:03 pm

Girl…I love what you’re doing, I love your vision and world perspective, and love your heart! Keep going!

JoAna - October 14, 2013 - 10:14 am

Good morning Denise, thank you so much for sharing. I’m so sorry for you pain. Your story has given me a much needed change of perspective of my bad days. I pray that your work and your girls continue you be blessed and that they know they are loved beyond measure by a multitude of people.

yoga_lat_te - October 13, 2013 - 3:31 pm

Oh my gosh, it’s you, Denise – you just made my day <3!!! Loving the lavender roof ;-)!

Suanne - October 12, 2013 - 1:28 pm

I have been so worried about you since it has been so long since we have heard from you. The devil tries to steal our joy…..

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

One of my lifelong friends won her battle with breast cancer and the verse John 10:10 pulled her through that “dark” place. I have never experienced cancer but I have experienced a “dark” place before. I held tight to John 10:10.

Hold tight to Gods words and HE will pull you through. I am praying for you and a complete recovery! Thank you for sharing and be a blessing in all of ours lives!


Mark Cooper - October 12, 2013 - 12:23 pm


I often think about how the world has changed for the orphans from the Kipsongo Slum. I also know how much you have changed my world. Your words of encouragement and faith move me behind my grasp but within God’s reach.

Michelle Lynch - October 12, 2013 - 3:55 am

Oh Denise I love you so much, I feel the warmth of your soul with every word you type:) Thank you for putting things in perspective as we often forget. You can beat this!

Susie - October 12, 2013 - 12:58 am

I just love you Denise and I feel so inspired at your courage and thankful you remind all of us of everything in our lives that needs to be cherished:) This was a wonderful read for me…thank you so much for sharing with all of us!!

Martha "Marty" - October 12, 2013 - 12:46 am

Denise: You are in my Prayers. God has given you a mighty vision to help around the world and at home. Thank you for taking that vision and making it happen. God Bless You. :)May Joy fill your soul, as you have filled the lives of these proecious people with hope. OX to you Denise 🙂

Melissa - October 11, 2013 - 9:56 pm

As always, you put things into a different perspective. We all need to remember how good we have it, even when it doesn’t feel so good to us. Much love to you and your family, and stay strong.

Lily - October 11, 2013 - 8:15 pm

I thought about you all week. Sitting here with my eyes leaking. Wonder why I even complain. Beautiful post & very uplifting. Stay strong! Much love…

Elizabeth - October 11, 2013 - 7:15 pm

Thank you, Denise, for your courage and your example–wow. God bless you!

Christina M. - October 11, 2013 - 6:11 pm

Thank you for your words. Praying for you – for manna – enough for every day. Blessings

Michelle Loveless - October 11, 2013 - 5:10 pm

Wow, what an inspiration. I’ve always admired your clothing line, now I have a whole new level of respect for you. Thank-you for sharing your journey.

Ashley Davidson - October 11, 2013 - 4:27 pm

Thank you so much for this inspirational message and powerful words. My daughter has Leigh’s syndrome a type of Mitochondrial disease and I find myself feeling sorry for myself all the time and having pity parties a lot:( This was just what I need to hear today! No pity parties or feeling sorry for my situation anymore! We may not have a cure, but we still have so many blessings to be thankful for! Thank you so much for posting and being so open and honest. This really helped to open my eyes that my situation can be made better by my outlook on things. simple but so powerful. We love MJC clothing:) and I love dressing my Mito princess in MJC!

Gran - October 11, 2013 - 4:16 pm

Denise……so caring and so loving
Denise……so cared about and so loved

Sara - October 11, 2013 - 4:13 pm

You are always in my thoughts and prayers. You have such great insight that is an inspiration to us all. Love and hugs to you. <3

Rebecca Lambert - October 11, 2013 - 3:53 pm

I just want to say that I think you’re amazing! I never make comments. I never look at blogs. But as I scrolled through FB I stumbled upon this and it moved me. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Matilda Jane clothing. I own a TON of it. Thank you for creating it. I’m impressed at how positive you’re being. Cancer is so scary. my thoughts are with you!

Anonymous - October 11, 2013 - 3:39 pm

I am so sorry you’re physically hurting and fatigued. I just wanted to let you know that your “got this” attitude has helped us get through some tough times lately (medically speaking). What the girls do for you, you do for us. Your attitude is contagious.

I was looking on Pinterest last night and saw an Elementary School that was painted like a giant rainbow (the entire back side and from the walls to the ground). The picture of the building above reminded me of that giant rainbow…the true colors must be shining through!

Maria Bellot - October 11, 2013 - 3:37 pm

all I can say is you are are such an inspiration & I am so thankful to have found you & MJC. Continuing to pray for you Denise to stay strong!!

Ida - October 11, 2013 - 3:31 pm

Good to hear from you Denise. I was getting worried! Thank you for the great perspective you are bringing to all of us through this. You are in our thoughts and prayers! Much Love!

Marcy Schneider Hoffman - October 11, 2013 - 3:05 pm

I super puffy heart love this post! Warrior on, Denise, warrior on! <3 xoxoxo

Trevor Thelwell - October 11, 2013 - 2:51 pm

Excellent Project. I want to be a part of it.

Brittney - October 11, 2013 - 2:30 pm

This entry brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. I wish I had the ability to put into words my emotions and thoughts right now, but instead I’m simply going to thank you for sharing and I hope the girls in the orphanage are thriving!! I know they must be. <3

Megan - October 11, 2013 - 2:12 pm

Such beautiful words a great perspective! Sending love!!