Saturday, March 31, 2012


I have a confession... I have behaved & blogged childishly lately. I believe that we all have an inner child. I am not pleased with my lack of maturity; on the other hand, I think we all need to acknowledge our child within & occasionally address his/her ups & downs. Friday was an all around difficult day for many reasons. I think it began when I woke up on the wrong side of the bed...

I just did not feel emotionally strong on Friday. I awoke with a weepy frame of mind. I went to my second home (The Cancer Center) to get my marks remarked for radiation. A sweet radiation therapist was the recipient of my tears. Yes, I had a major breakdown. I had allowed the agony of waiting to hear about my radiation schedule to unnerve me.  With my unanswered questions & fear of the unknown, I let my worries get out of control.

As I headed to get my chemo damaged nails repaired (basically abnormally shortened & polished), I received a call from my daughter about her very sick little puppy. Her news literally tore a piece from my heart. The puppy was laid to rest, & 2 young parents experienced feelings nobody wants to feel. Time will heal their heartache, but right now, it is time to hurt.

There was little I could do to help my sweet daughter (with her heart of compassion) & her tender husband. Life had dealt them a sad blow, & somehow, I know they will grow stronger through this heartbreaking experience. As we walk through our trials, our character is developed. Our hearts are refined. So difficult that such character only seems to come through our crises.

As the day came to a close, I counted my blessings. Among them was a thankful heart for Eddie ("our adopted son"). His performance in his college play (on this awful day) was nothing short of amazing. The range of emotions he expressed is a testimony to his will to find a way. I sat in the audience in awe. My husband sat there with tears welling up in his eyes.

I crawled into bed & closed my eyes. My heart actually ached for my daughter & her horrible day. At the same time, I thanked God for a radiation therapist who expressed compassion for me & wiped away my tears. I thought about Eddie & his remarkable story. I thought about his many traits I admire. I thanked God for a husband who loves me in spite of myself. I prayed for my daughter & her kind husband & asked God to heal their broken hearts.

Friday, March 30, 2012

When 2 become 3...

Yesterday, something precious happened. My middle daughter & her sweet husband adopted a puppy. She is only 2 months old & such a little baby. Such decisions for the young couple to make! First to chose "the one." Anyone who's ever rescued an animal knows it's not an easy decision. As you go through the animal shelter, so much weighs on your shoulders. If we chose this one, what will happen to that one? Will she ever be adopted?

Finally, the decision becomes clearer. It usually boils down to that one thing, the look in her eyes.  Does this  furry little  friend want me? If we don't sense a connection, we'll we ever form one? Once the connection is made, the decisions continue. What shall we name her? Is she healthy? Is she the right size for our home? Is she a good fit? 

Last night, after all of the preliminary decisions were made, they took their new little baby home. They bathed her & let her explore her new digs. A few hours later, they brought their precious cargo to meet her grandparents. I really couldn't wait for them to arrive. I found myself out in the driveway waiting. After all, I didn't want to miss a thing!

I wanted to see the look in the eyes of the new parents. Oh what a look of love! Of course, the fact that their puppies' cuteness quotient is off the charts, only served to make this situation even sweeter. As they pulled up, they didn't know I was watching. My daughter was holding her new jewel with tender care. The puppy was just too cute!

As we visited, we took turns holding her & watching her fall in love with her parents. Already, she went to their laps for comfort. She'd had a big day but seemed quite secure curled up in their arms.  I don't think I ever heard her bark. Her little personality was irresistible. You couldn't not find her adorable, even if you were't a puppy lover. Assessing her total being, looks & personality combined, it would be impossible not to love this little being.

So... the little family begins. 2 become 3.

for: Haley, Cody, & Padme "Paddy"

"Paddy" turned out to be a vey sick little puppy. She was laid to rest this afternoon (3/29/12). As you can imagine, Haley & Cody are heartbroken. If you are reading this & you don't mind, please say a little prayer for them. Thank you.

deal breaker

We all have deal beakers in our lives, the final detail that pushes us over the edge, one side or the other. Today, my cancer will decide the fate of a homeless kitty.  With my decreased immunities, will I be allowed to change the cat box? Doesn't seem like a big deal, but to me it is.  It's a deal breaker.

I found a beautiful cat. I hope to name her Bella. She's a Torte, & she & I have connected. I believe I am supposed to be her forever home, her mama. When I hold her, she stares into my eyes. I am told her journey had a rough start. When she was found, she was starving. You would never know that now. Her foster mammy says she likes to boss the other cats. She'd love to place her in a home where she would be the only cat.

She's between the age of 1 & 2. She's a medium size, & some say... She is not the prettiest cat they've ever seen. To me she is precious. Her fur is healthy & pretty. Her colors swirl together like chocolate & caramel. She is distinct because her face has beautiful caramel colors, mainly on one side. Her most beautiful feature: her telling green eyes.

Bella loves attention. She loves to be held. Did I say she stares into my eyes? Yesterday, I met her in the afternoon. When I took my husband to meet her in the evening, she remembered me. For some strange reason, we have an understanding, a sweet bond. I believe she is saying, "I want to be yours. I know you are on a journey, & I'd like to walk it with you."

For me... my understanding is this: I am on a journey, & I would like her company. I'd like to hold her at night while we watch TV, & play with her swirls of fur. I'd like to run my fingers through the fur between her ears, & tell her how much I love her. I would love to stare into her pretty green eyes & imagine that she is saying she loves me right back. I'd like to pretend that she is telling me our home is the one she saw in her dreams. I believe she knew this the moment we met.

What will my Oncologist say? Bella's fate lies in her hands. If she says no, my sadness will eventually settle. I might be mad at Cancer for awhile. It will take a little time for me to recover, to see the bright side (if there is one). Cancer has altered me significantly. If it robs me of this precious little creature, the significance will be deeper than I can say...

UPDATE:  Bella was adopted on 4/1/12. I received clarence from my Oncologist. I have felt childish about this blog. I was spiraling downhill when I wrote it. I've only had Bella for a day, & I can honestly say... she is everything I hoped for & more. I believe we are match made in Heaven. If you prayed for Bella, I thank you with all of my heart.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

not by sight...

"We walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). "These seven little words describe an entire way of life. To operate in faith instead of what we see calls for an inner conviction that God can be trusted to do what He says. We prefer circumstances, people, & events to work on our timetable. This way we have the illusion we're in control." (Luci Swindoll)

Having cancer pretty much wipes away (in one felt swoop) the illusion that we are in control. Truly, we only create stress by kidding ourselves, especially in thinking we are in control. It's like paddling upstream. We are not in control, & the sooner we grasp that reality, we can begin learning to surrender.

How can "these seven little words describe an entire way of life?" It is because they apply to us wherever we are on our faith journey. If we do not have faith in Christ, our first step will change the course of our life on earth & our eternity. I believe we will live our life differently, & according to the Bible, our eternity will be vastly changed by this one significant decision.

I am not saying we won't have troubles. We will. My life is an obvious testimony to trouble. I am saying we will have a  compass to guide us through the storms of life. Eternally speaking, when we die, we will live forever in Heaven where we are promised there will be no more suffering, nor more tears. How about that?

So how do these words in 2 Corinthians effect how we live, an entire way of life? "We walk by faith, not by sight." If we have already taken our first step, & we are followers of Christ, haven't we taken that one significant step? Haven't we secured our eternity in Heaven? We have (I believe), but we still need help navigating the rough waters of life.

It's the unexpected that keeps tripping me up. It's hard to prepare for something when we don't see it coming. If I know something is inevitable, I begin to reconcile things in my heart so that when the inevitable happens, I'm as ready as I can be. However, when something comes my way that was never in my view, I find it much more difficult to accept. Lately, that seems to be my lot in life. Unexpected waves keep rolling in; it's part of my journey & the journey of life.

It's not the intellectual battles I fight. Faith is not a struggle for me. It's what anchors me & keeps me still in the rough waters. Living by faith has become my way of life. It's all I've got, & I cannot see my future. I have to live by faith not by sight. I am not in control. Circumstances, people, & events are not falling into place. However, my God is still the same. He has not moved. He has not changed. His promises remain. When I trust in Him, I am okay, even when the unexpected walks in my door.

our children...

Yesterday was special. It was unique (as is each day). I know I haven't fully processed my thoughts. Truly, I don't think I'm capable of finding complete peace in these circumstances. The closest I will be able to come is complete trust. Maybe peace will come as a result of trusting Him. Only time will tell.

I spent the day with someone who has recently become dear to me. I pray for her daily & sometimes multiple times a day. She is young (from my perspective) & beautiful (inside & out). Her faith is deeper than any I've witnessed. How did she get this faith? I would say simply by walking her walk & drawing close to God.

Yes... she has cancer. If I could trade places with her, I would. She has young children, & I think that is what breaks my heart the most. Yesterday, I came to a new realization as I hugged my courageous friend.  I pondered our words. We both feel chosen to walk this journey that no one would chose. We are honored to walk a difficult walk in hopes that others will see Christ in us & want Him.

She has walked this journey much longer than I. Perhaps that's why she's such a role model in her faith. She's had to deal with the reality of things I can only imagine. The revelation that came to me was this:  Her children are chosen too (as are mine, only they have reached young adulthood, her's are small).
So if I live out my faith, if I trust in Him, then I should rest in Him.

It's Biblical that God won't give us more than we can handle. It's good to be stretched. Otherwise, I don't think our faith would grow.  My devotion this morning said that suffering makes us better people. It makes us deeper for sure. Last July, I asked God to refine my heart. Was getting breast cancer His way of honoring my request?

Back to these children (of all ages) that are called to walk this journey with us. As my friend & I said yesterday, "It's a domino effect." If we are chosen, then they are chosen too. Since tomorrow is as close to God as yesterday, I know that He knew this would be their walk from the start. So if He created them knowing this would be their journey, He has equipped them to walk this painful road. Their treasures will be of eternal value as are the treasure their mothers continue to find.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Yesterday,  a few treasures came my way. I met with a friend of a friend who wanted to interview me. She is an inspirational speaker, & she wanted my input. Yes, I am both honored & humbled. Of course, the greater blessing came my way. I now have a new friend, a caring friend. She is no longer a friend of a friend, but my friend too. She's a Survivor & full of treasures that are similar to mine. She walked this journey some years ago, yet as I looked into her eyes, I could see that her treasures, her lessons learned, are still quite alive. They are fresh. In fact, I believe they are her motivation for her beautiful ministry. She wants to help others comfort people in my shoes.

Her questions were simple & personal, yet not invasive. I told her nothing was off limits. I love to answer questions, & more importantly,  I hope God will use my words to comfort another soul. The treasure from my journey she seemed to like the most: I am thankful for the still small voice of God & the touch of the Holy Spirit on my heart. That's all I have some days, & that's what gets me through each moment. In essence, she said  that is her point. That's what she wants people to know.

The treasure she gave me was HOPE. It wasn't just her words. It was the look in her eye. The compassion she felt toward me. Her words were meant to heal. Her way was kind & caring. What caught my ear the most? She said she wouldn't trade her journey. We both agreed the lessons on this journey have eternal value. She said every step was worth it to her because of the treasures she found.

I have another friend who is a Survivor of a different kind of cancer. Early on in my journey, she told me she misses her  journey because it kept her close to God. I can't help but marvel at a God who allows us or gives us these journeys to bring us closer to Him. I'm not saying He wants us to be sick. I am saying that like a father cradling a feverish child, a father who is pained because his child is ill, He cradles us. Walking a journey cradling your sick child is painful. I know I am cradled in His arms. I have never been without His presence.

for: Mari

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Tonight we (my husband & I) went to an oyster bar on the river. It was a beautiful evening both weather wise & with my beloved. The best part was the walk along the river after our seafood delicacies. It was beginning to get dark, & we could see the sky line on the other side. The lights were twinkly; the breeze was heavenly.

We talked about little things, just truly enjoying one another's company. After all, we are each other's best friend. My life cannot be at peace if my relationship with him is not in sync. I cannot make decisions (even for myself) without his approval. He told me he will not be okay without me.  I am not okay without him.

Tonight's topics were random as usual. My ADD brain has reached a whole new level from the chemo. I'm not sure I could function without my family, at least not technologically speaking. We conversed about our kitty we just laid to rest. We discussed how my husband ended up with such a sickly wife, not what we saw in the cards back in our early years.

I mentioned how spoiled I am. He has given into my every whim over the years. I've never seen anything like it, & I don't take it for granted.  I'm sure I have abused his generosity at times. Occasionally, he just appeases me because my childish ways weigh heavy on his heart.  I have so much for which to be thankful.

His best attributes have always been his ability & desire to listen. His teddy bear ways are such a comfort to me.  He is God's earthly extension of His loving hand. His sense of humor is my best distraction. His embrace is my security. His hearty laugh warms my heart. His dark brown eyes make me feel his love. His giving in to me makes me know I'm loved even when I don't deserve his doting ways. His voice soothes my soul. His words make me feel better. His unconditional love allows me to love others. Yes... I am spoiled. I am loved beyond words...

Monday, March 26, 2012


Friday, our beloved family pet, our 17 year old little ball of fur, was put to sleep. I still see her curled up on the couch next to me. I forget I can't leave gift wrapping ribbon out. She will chew on it & make herself sick. Yes, I even think I see her hiding from Otis, peeking around the corner, keeping tabs on him, second guessing his antics, & playing detective. Every now & then,  out of the corner of my eye, I see her running  (full of life & full of the dickens).

I believe this is grief. This is missing her. It is the measure of the joy she brought to my life, the special little place she held in my heart (her personal spot). I see her pretty colors, her soft swirls of caramel & cream, with muted tones of grey. Her beautiful eyes look up at me with an understanding deeper than most humans. If I close me eyes, I can feel her soft fur against my face. Sweet comfort.

I think Otis misses her. Since the day she passed into the Heavenly realm, Otis is sleeping in the hallway outside our bedroom door. Otis has always loved to go to bed. He loves to jump up on the bed & snuggle in for the night. He anticipates bedtime. It's a part of his routine, something  from which he always refused to be  excluded. It's his special ending to his day.

Now he lies in the hallway like a sad little boy. If he could speak, I think his sorrow would overwhelm me. His little companion is gone. No more poking her with his nose. No more chasing her, pretending he would eat her if he caught her. She will never smack his face again with her paws. Who will taunt him now? Goodness, what will he do with his time? 

A small but significant part of our lives is gone. She sparked excitement in our home. The laughter she brought was healing. She provided hours of entertainment & companionship for Otis. Understandably, he's a bit lost without her. So am I.


I remember the fear I felt daily as a little girl. I was in fifth grade, probably 10 years old. My cousin had moved up to Jr High, so now I walked alone. I was a crossing guard, so I went early. Always by myself. Each day, a scruffy looking man stalked me. He would wait for me in his 4 door black car. He would drive slowly by, staring at me. My heart would race. My eyes filled with tears. A lump grew in my throat. Then... I would be spared another day as he drove slowly away, the damage done. I was horrified, gripped by fear.

This daily routine went on for most of my fifth grade year. I don't know what my mother didn't understand about it. Did she think her nervous little girl was making this up? Every day, I was afraid to go to school. Every day, I came home with the same story. Every day, she listened & told me I would be okay. The insanity repeated...

Finally, one Spring day, it happened. He waited for me at the corner. As I approached, he turned slowly toward me & lowered his window. I began running for my life. Heart pounding. Lump in throat. Tears in eyes. Scared, so scared! He followed me. I turned around & ran the other way. I ran as fast as my thin little legs would carry me. I ran 3 more blocks to school. Finally, on safe ground. I did my job, my crossing guard duty. I never said a word to anyone. I held my secret inside of me. As the lunch bell rang, I headed home. I told my mom the awful news. I believed my running in 2 different directions had saved my life. To this day, I don't second guess that little fact.

That afternoon a police officer came to school. My mother had reached her boiling point. She gave in & called for help. At last, she believed me. Funny thing... I never saw that scruffy man again. I believe the police officers combing the neighborhood sacred my stalker off. He was never found nor seen again.

Living with daily fear can be crippling. Children all over the world wake up with fears more violent & vivd than mine. My heart breaks for them. I can only think back to my childhood days, when fear daily gripped my heart. Now as a mature adult, a different kind of fear is trying to take hold of my heart. This fear is much more subtle than my stalker, but just as real. Like that scruffy man, it comes & goes. I can be distracted & enjoy the little things in life. I can dream about the future, lying in the sand as a gentle breeze touches my face. I can see the blue waters & even feel the warmth on my skin.

Back then, at 10 years old, I took my fears to my Mama. In her human state, she didn't know what to do with them. She comforted me, but she didn't really do anything about the cause of them (until it was almost too late). Today, I go to my Savior. I cry on His shoulder. I give Him my fears. He comforts me. He assures me that He has me covered. He will get me through each moment of terror. If only, I could leave my fears with Him? If only, I could resist the urge to take them back & allow them to cripple me?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

She lights up my world!

Today, I write for my oldest daughter. She's been on my mind lately.  Don't know why but memories of her childhood keep running through my head. I was 23 when she was born & somewhat newly married, only 16 months. We were not the same people then that we are now. I regret that I didn't seek help when she was young. I did the best I knew, but fear kept me from getting sound advice.

Her temperament was a challenge, & I was clueless. With fairy tale eyes, I had the expectation that if I was a calm, gentle mother, if I explained things to her, life would be peaceful. How wrong I was... she had a mind of her own. Some would call her a strong willed child. When she was 20, we both found out we had ADD. I was shocked, but looking back, things began to make sense.

She was an adorable child. She had beautiful curly hair, & at 2, she called herself a wild woman. She excelled verbally & had a flare for creativity. Her cuteness quotient was over the top (if I do say so myself). Sad for her, I think she inherited my anxiety with a few other quirks to boot. Why is it we manage to pass on the things that we least like about ourselves?

When she was little, I never knew what would come out of her mouth. There was the family dinner where she blurted out a few choice words. I thought I would die. Then there was the time my elderly aunt made the mistake of calling her "Darlin'." My little curly headed toddler lost it. My aunt just stood there looking appalled.

Furthermore, I never knew what she would do... At 2, she conked me between the eyes with a cup so hard I couldn't see straight. Why? Because she didn't want to go home. One day at the pool, she hurled a bucket & hit a sun bathing woman on the behind.Why? Because she didn't want to go home.

One time, our small town church was having a revival. She & I were in the back pew. I was drawing a picture of our little dog, trying hard to entertain her. Sadly, I messed up the whiskers. The whole congregation turned around as she shrieked in horror of my drawing skills. You would have thought the second coming of Christ was upon us.

What am I most grateful for about my first born? Definitely the things she has taught me: the empathy she has given me for others, the hope she defines for children with ADD, the joy she has brought me every day of my life. Her sense of humor & her smile light up the atmosphere, not just the room. The gleam in her eye makes you wonder what's up her sleeve. Her emotions are refreshing because she doesn't hide them from me.

However, as a young adult, I am most touched by the love & respect she gives me. As a teen, she loved showing her friends how she could carry me across the room. She's always loved to tease me & call me silly names. Funny how I would despise those names at first & end up responding affectionately to them with time.

In the last 7 months, my beloved first born has showered me with a love that is indescribable. I share my deepest fears & hurts with her; she responds with utter sorrow. She never makes me feel bad for who I am. When I am down, she comes to see me. She does whatever I ask of her, even if it seems needless. When I cry, she cries. When I laugh, she laughs.

As I remember her childhood, I beg forgiveness for the mistakes I made. She simply says it doesn't matter. I forgot to mention, she has a high forgiveness quotient too. I thank God that through her ups & downs in life, she has maintained her heartfelt smile, the sparkle in her eye, & the ability to light up my world!

Dedicated to: Jamie

eyes to see

I've been lying in bed this morning for a long time, unusual for me as of late. However, as I rested, I began typing this blog in my head. I was remembering a time when I sat alone on a big charter bus with a foreign exchange student during a youth conference. We were having an intimate conversation about faith. I told her that If it would help, I would crawl across broken glass to bring her to the Lord.

Truth is... it wouldn't help.  According to the book of Hebrews, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for & certain of that which we do not see." It's a step one has take on their own. Being raised in a Christian home doesn't make you a Christian anymore than a monkey becomes human when raised by nurturing humans.

I read a commentary by a favorite author of mine this morning, David Whitehead. He said that the writers of The New Testament had little to gain personally by recording what happened. They wrote because it happened. "As a follower of Jesus, we are not basing our faith upon fairy tales, but eyewitness accounts that came at a high cost."

Over the years, I have learned that sometimes people don't have eyes to see what is going on around them. I have heard others say that is because they don't want to see. I think it is more a result of not having the insight to see. Whatever the reason, they are blinded. Over time, some of them become unblinded & gain the sight to see what they were missing.

Looking back, they regret what they couldn't see at the time. Looking forward, they are grateful they can now see clearly. If you are reading my blog, & you don't have eyes to see today, I pray that your eyes will one day be opened to faith in Christ. Unlike the early New Testament writers, my faith does not come at a high cost. I am not an outcast. My life is not threatened by my beliefs. I don't even have to live in secret as do some followers of Christ in today's world.

However, I do have a picture of where my life would be without Christ. Especially, as of lately, I am facing new feelings in life & trying to get a grasp on some stability within my emotional state. The only thing about me that hasn't wavered is my faith in Christ. He is all I can count on & provides me with a hope that cannot be destroyed. Simply put, I want that for you. I would crawl across broken glass for you.

in & out like the wind

The comments I receive on my blog always catch my attention, whether they are messaged to me privately, spoken face to face, or written publicly. Sometimes I second guess what I write. If my spirits are low, & my blog reflects how I'm feeling,  I feel guilty. Bogging has become my hobby. I sometimes write simply because I have nothing else to do.

My goal is to be truthful. The truth will set you free has proven itself  many times over in my life. Today, a friend said she liked the blog about how I missed my hair. She thought it showed my human side. Sometimes my human side is too sensitive to share. The depression I am struggling with makes me feel bad about myself.

It's hard to describe this sadness. I don't feel sorry for myself (at least not most days). I am still undone about what makes my case so complicated. When I replay that last appointment in my head, I begin to get that surreal feeling again. Maybe it's just too painful to hear those things about yourself or your loved one.

I don't know why I am sad. I trust that God has the whole picture, & I never feel forsaken. I am not lonely. My family/friends lift my spirits more than I deserve. I honestly believe I am one of the most blessed people I know. I'm all about relationships, & I am at peace with that aspect of my life.

As I go through this checklist of what makes me tick, I cannot find a specific reason to be sad. Perhaps it is waiting on my radiation & an opportunity to talk to my radiology oncologist. Perhaps it is the loss of my sweet kitty, my little couch companion. Maybe something else is eating at me, & I just can't put my finger on it.

I have gone through some rough times in my life. I have witnessed my dad recovering from a severe head injury only to die of cancer. I have nursed my daughter through what is thought to be the most painful surgery known to man.  I have been emotionally wounded by another person to the depths of my heart. I have struggled with anxiety my whole life. Truth is... I've never known a day without it.

Sadness has never had an enduring place in my heart. I am not used to this lasting feeling that blows in & out like the wind. Just when I think I've recovered, it comes back to haunt me. It doesn't always move me to tears or keep me from interacting. It just makes itself at home at its own will or whim.  It doesn't seek my permission or ask for my approval. It doesn't sense not being welcomed as it sets up camp as if it were invited.

I'd like to say that in time I will overcome this new resident. Maybe I will just have to learn to live with my new companion. Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned, a new empathy to be gained. Cancer is not a diagnosis you prepare to receive. One day you are fine, & the next day, your life is at stake. The rug has been ripped out from under you, & you are standing on new ground.

Friday, March 23, 2012

suffering no more...

As our cat was laid to rest today, I couldn't help but think what a good cat she'd been. She did her job well. I don't think she ever hurt a flea. Unlike some cats, Kit loved people. She liked to be loved, & she loved loving. She was a tolerant cat. She'd let me turn her ears back & would sit until they flipped forward on their own.

For a year or two, she received insulin shots. Each time the needle hit her skin, she would meow as if it hurt, but then she would go about her business as if nothing had offended her. Kit had to make a few adjustments in her life, the most difficult being living with her siblings, the dogs. Secretly, she loved them. Taunting them was one of her favorite past times.

The older Kit got, the more sociable she became. When the baby of the family left for college, she decided that maybe her parents would suffice. However, if she didn't approve of her brother Otis' behavior, she took cover in the basement. She loved slinking in & out the pet door. Every opportunity to tease Otis thrilled her little cat psyche.

Like every cat, Kit loved to be fed on time. If her meal was delayed, her meow grew louder & louder.  Her fur was so pretty. She was called a Blue Tabby. Her tummy was creamy, truly the prettiest part of her small body. The rest of her fur was a mixture of grays, with a little touch of caramel. She had a beautiful little head with eyes that changed from hazel to golden.

Kit loved the girls. She would wake them in the night while she chewed their hair. She loved to sleep on their beds. She didn't mind taking the blame for their antics either. One time she covered for our middle daughter. She served as her scapegoat for messing up my crafts. Supposedly, she tiptoed all over my painted sweat shirts. I bought it hook, line, & sinker.

I was most touched by Kit in the last 6 months of her sweet life. It didn't occur to me until recently, but I believe Kit sensed my illness. From the day I was diagnosed, she spent every day (all day) on the couch next to me.  She curled herself up in a little ball of fur & seldom left my side. She loved when I played with her ears & rubbed her head. She gave us 17 years. That's almost a childhood.

Next week, I will pick up a little box filled with her ashes. I will place her in my cupboard next to Dolly.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would find comfort in the ashes of my little family members. She will live forever in our hearts. Perhaps she & Dolly have been reunited in Heaven. I believe they are together now, suffering no more.

rescued from the pit

I believe God has rescued my sad spirit this week through the loving care of friends. My heart has been touched, & my spirit lifted. I have shared the truth, & God has brought me back to peace. I don't have any new answers. In fact, I've not heard from any doctors in a few days. I'm resting in Him, & feeling His tender arms wrapped around me.

My roller coaster began it's uphill climb on Monday when I became unnerved by a visit to my radiologist oncologist. I left his office with my original fears reopened. I spent the rest of that day crying. I didn't know how to interpret his words, the look in his eye, & the arrangements he was making on my behalf. I was grateful to have a caring doctor, but for some unexplained reason, my hope was diminished.

I spent Tuesday alone as I didn't feel up to being with friends & I had measurements to be taken at The Cancer Center. My sweet friend was understanding & forgiving. She said she'd pray for me. I was still shedding tears, & I knew I wouldn't be able to converse. My measurements took twice the expected time, & my uneasiness was amplified.

The next day, 3 beautiful women took me to lunch. They wanted to hear my story... I didn't want to monopolize the conversation with my cancer. It's hard to know how much to share. I'm an open book, but others have lives too.

That evening my long time friend came over to soothe me. She comforted me as I cried & expressed such sweet compassion. She listened to my confusion & assured me I had reason for my feelings. As she left, I began to heal.

Yesterday, a caring friend took me to lunch. Again, she listened & encouraged me. She was so easy to talk to, & I was so excited to be making a new friend. Her words were therapeutic, & my heart began to beat. We laughed, we talked, we shared so much.

Last night, we went to dinner with our News Year's Eve companions, even though New Year's Eve was months ago. We laughed & we talked. We discussed our deepest thoughts. Nothing was too much to say... We have that kind of relationship.

As I review the week, it's obvious to me that I have been rescued from a pit of despair. It's healing to know that even without answers, peace can reign once again in my heart. I believe that's what makes our God a living God, an active God, a compassionate God. Some would say my thoughts are odd. They would claim that I am seeing things that don't exist. They might even see Him as unloving because of the things He's allowed to happen in my life. My response:  Where does this peace come from which surpasses my understanding?

He doesn't promise me an easy earthly life. After all, our world is cursed, & I'm quite sure my journey with cancer is a result of Satan's impact on this earth.  He does promise not to forsake me, to keep his tender arms around me, & ride this roller coaster with me. People are suffering all over the world. Their suffering makes mine look like a mere bend in the tracks of my roller coaster ride. Yet, He took time to rescue me from my pit, & He didn't stop until I could say whatever my circumstances, my peace has returned. He ministered to my broken heart through medicine tailor-made for my condition.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It doesn't really matter.

I miss my hair & feeling like a normal person (not that I was ever normal). I feel as though I stick out like a sore thumb in every way.  Almost always, people stare at me through eyes of compassion. They have no desire to walk in my shoes. I understand because I remember living on their side of the fence. I remember wondering what someone in my shoes felt. I think back to how I wondered what they'd endured. I even remember fearing I would become them.

I've never felt like I was stunning. I've always been okay with my appearance. If it weren't for my unruly hair, I would have been able to go unnoticed in a crowd. I liked it that way. I don't think my worth was caught up in my looks, but maybe I am kidding myself. I know I didn't like it when my hair got too crazy, my clothes didn't fit right, etc. As I reached midlife, it became more difficult to maintain my weight. I know that bothered me deeply.

I remember coming across a quote one day that is worth savoring for a life time: As a woman's outward beauty fades, her inner beauty becomes more radiant. I hope this is how my husband sees me. Honestly, right now in my current state, it's hard for me to see myself as beautiful from anyone's point of view.  However, I look at other cancer patients, & I see pure beauty. Strange how our minds work.

I know I have an emotional challenge raging within me. I am struggling with my new body, what to wear, impatience with my lack of hair, & the next phase of this journey. I wish I could say I am comfortable in my own skin, but that would be a lie. The best I can do is ignore my feelings, try to focus on others, & enjoy each day. Loved ones seem to be the best medicine for my current mind set.

I also feel guilt for this state I've allowed to grab my heart. I like to be a bright person, & I don't like dwelling here. It makes me feel ungrateful. I prefer to be grateful. It makes me feel self-absorbed. I love caring for others. I find it unproductive, spinning my wheels. It's certainly not helpful for my own peace of mind (or those around me).

I think it is time for me to grasp the truth & let go of what doesn't matter. I do this on a daily basis, but lately it settles in like a dense fog. Right now, I can do my part to regain my health, but I am powerless to make my hair come back faster. My body has changed. All I can do is dress appropriately. It's hard to figure out what works... which brings me back to the fact: it doesn't really matter.

she takes my breath away

Last night... someone who always makes me laugh came to see me. Yes, my lovely middle daughter. She is all of 22, married now, & taking on the world in every facet of her life. As we who have been there know, taking on the world can be overwhelming. You spend your whole life growing up, & suddenly, bam! You're there.

She's a nurse, a night nurse on a bustling floor with life or death situations. Oh how I wish I could be a fly on the wall,  (just to see her in action). The excitement would probably cause me to become a patient on her floor. Seeing her saving lives, nurturing very sick patients, consoling families... It truly might be more than my nerves could handle. I would feel so much for her, anticipate the patients' outcomes, be horrified by the procedures. I'm afraid I would go into cardiac arrest.

As I mentioned, she's married now. Her only complaint seems to be that she doesn't get to spend enough time with her beloved. I love to hear her stories. It's the simple things that matter: shrinking your jeans,  finding a snake on a walk, chasing a bug around the apartment, overflowing a pot of boiling macaroni... I delight in her tales.

Her road has not always been easy. She's suffered a major surgery herself with more courage than I'll ever know. Determination has gotten her through so much. Birthdays have always been special in our home. Her's was cursed this year with the news of my diagnosis, not to mention planning a wedding when your Mama is undergoing chemo treatments. All her hopes & dreams now had a rain cloud hovering above, or should I say a storm?

When the storm hit, she ran for cover, not for herself, but for me. She became my interpreter. It's that tender moment, when the daughter becomes the mother. She was stuck in an awful spot: being her mother's nurse. I know some days, I am a difficult patient. I don't have eyes to see things from a medical perspective, & she tirelessly explains things over & over & over. I freak out over the wrong things. I search the internet to find my own diagnosis (her pet peeve for sure). I cry on her shoulder. I share my heart & then some... It's a good thing she's tough.

I remember her childhood as if it were yesterday. As a toddler, she was sick more than she was well. She's always had a sense of humor. She's always been funny. Her love for boys as a teen kept me on my toes. Her compassion for people always touched my heart. She is an example for me in so many ways. She takes my breath away.

This one's for:  Haley

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Will God make everything okay?

Will God make everything okay? Honestly, I don't know... Sometimes God heals the heart but not the body. At least that's what I've heard preached & even sung in songs. A few days ago, I felt so alive, revived, refurbished... I felt I had my answer. I had life ahead of me, a future here on earth. Today, I feel like it's a crap shoot (though my head knows otherwise).

You see, I have this very caring doctor that is going to great lengths to improve my cure rate. I don't believe in coincidence so I know my being placed in his care is not by chance. He is personally overseeing every detail of my case. He says my case is complicated. I wish I would have asked him what makes it so.

My simulation took twice as long as it normally does. It was tedious lying perfectly still for so long. I normally flinch without warning, & being still is a challenge for my body. As I lay on the hospital stretcher in a very quirky position, incapsulated by a vast roaring machine, I decided I better entertain myself. I sang an odd combination of 2 songs over & over in my head, I Surrender All & Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty. What is wrong with me?

I'll soon be going to a Lymphedema Clinic because this kind doctor fears the radiation will cause lymphedema in my arm. I'm okay with that; I just didn't know radiation caused lymphedema. My radiation will be at least 5 days/week for 6 weeks. That, I expected. I'll be monitored once a week by my radiologist, in addition to my Herceptin Infusions every 3 weeks.

It's only for a season, not a life time. At least that's what my common sense tells me. Every day, I'm meeting amazing people; they are either fellow sojourners or people caring for me, administering my treatments. Each door opens a new world in my life. Once I open that door, I begin to get my bearings, & settle down. I suppose that's what this week is about, opening new doors & settling down.

Back to my original question:  Will God make everything okay? Ultimately, of course, He will. That's what Heaven is for, to wipe away my every tear. In Heaven, it's a promise: no more suffering, no more evil. I can count on that! In the meantime, I believe I'll have to take one day at a time. Truly, I think that is how we are supposed to live. Others are capable of such, & with God's grace, I will be too.

Beautiful Lessons

My sleeping meds usually wear off about 2am. Frequently, I awake & enter a state of sleeplessness. As I lie in bed, I ponder my nightly issue: Should I just get up? For me trying to sleep is worse than NOT sleeping. I expected to wake up at 2am this morning because of my sad state of mind when I went to bed.

I like the peaceful hours in the middle of the night. I enjoy blogging, reading my devotion, & just reflecting on life. Sometimes God gives me some beautiful thoughts in the wee hours of the morning, thoughts I would have missed had I been sleeping. It was in the early morning hours back in August that He assured me His grace, plain & simple, was enough. That message would carry me through some of the darker moments that were to follow.

Yesterday's upheaval of my emotions quickly brought me back to those early days of my journey. In a few short words, I was reminded of my reality. Funny how it was almost like hearing my news for the first time. It also brought me back to my early lessons. These messages were meant to be engraved on my heart. These messages were for a life time, not just for my journey down Cancer Lane.

Rather ironic, that it took a fellow fighter to comfort me, to remind me that God is so much bigger than our statistics. I had been told just last Friday to get the #'s, to ask about the statistics. At least this time the #'s were clear, there was no margin for indecision. The right choice was a no brainer. My new friend listened with compassion. She laughed her unique laugh that always cheers my soul. I felt guilty for sharing my sorrows with her, for crying on her shoulder. Her story is more difficult than mine. Yet, I felt so free to have my meltdown. The minute I met her, I connected with her. We were both scheduling appointments at The Cancer Center. I immediately felt a tenderness that could only come from the Holy Spirit seeping out of her. Instant recognition: instant connection: instant friendship. I've never had a friendship begin with such ease. Thank you, Dear Friend, for reaching out to me.

Her words flowed with ease & compassion. They served as a turning point in my thinking. As she listened, I was able to process my thoughts, to figure out what just happened in that exam room. I was able to recall my early lessons. She repeated them to me without ever knowing they were my early treasures. That shouldn't be a surprise. We love the same God, & I believe He loves us both dearly. How amazing, He's given the 2 of us, on the same journey, the same beautiful lessons. As I hung up my phone, I knew I would be okay. After all, God is so much bigger than our statistics.

for: Theresa

Monday, March 19, 2012


Today's blog is for myself. If you don't want to be bothered with my self-centeredness, I would not advise reading any further... I am not proud of myself for how I feel, but I want to be honest because it helps me heal, & hopefully, it will touch somebody else on a similar walk. Also, I believe God honors honesty.

I have a new motto:  "It's ALL part of the journey." That is the journey of cancer. If you've been following my blog, you know that lately I have felt life within me that is refreshing. Today, I am deflated. I went to meet my radiation oncologist. He is kind & compassionate. As seems to be the norm, his words didn't exactly match up with what I'v already been told. This gap isn't significant in saving my life, just in understanding my treatment.

By the time I left his office, I'd been marked 1/3 of the way up my neck. I'd been hit with the specifics of my case which haven't gotten any prettier. It doesn't seem surreal anymore; it just seems awful. Hearing the details of my diagnosis is sometimes not bearable. Tomorrow, I will be simulated. Yes, that's a new word for me. I will be marked (tattooed), measured, & such, so I can begin my course of treatment next week, 5 days/week, for 6 weeks.

My case is complicated, he said. I don't really know what makes it so. Radiation will improve my cure rate 10%, he explained. I assured him that I am willing to do straight up whatever will give me the greatest success rate. I held my self together as I endured his words & his markings. I only felt my eyes well up once with tears. Not bad considering what was going on inside my head. Watching my husband process this information only assured me that I was not overreacting. The look in his eyes told me he was hurting. He said the look in the doctor's eyes was unlike any experience he's yet to behold on this journey.

I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to point out today's treasures. After all, that's really what this journey is about. #1  My dear friend kept me company this morning. #2  My other dear friend cried for me. #3  My new friend who is also on this journey comforted me. #4  My husband was with me. #5  The doctor cared. #6  My surgeon's nurse called me today because I'd been on her mind. #7  I didn't have to decide my cat's future today (more blood work is needed). #8  My youngest daughter distracted me.
 #9  My torn nail was glued. #10  We are planning a summer vacation!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

pancakes & bird

Saint Patrick's Day was a keeper! I feel as though something is bubbling up inside of me. It has to do with excitement, feeling giddy & childlike. It's a feeling I haven't felt in a while. It's hard to put into words. I think it's called being alive. I feel as though my soul has been revived, my spirit lifted... The small joys in life make me unexplainably happy. Did I say happy? Yesterday my husband said he wanted to do whatever made me happy. I was touched by his kindness, but in my mind, I was asking...Why do I deserve such sweetness?

The day began gorgeous. This warm breezy sunshiny weather in March brings me to a place of utter contentment. I love having my windows open, hearing the birds chirping, children playing nearby, & the feeling of the warm breeze on my face. It soothes my soul. Secondly, we had the day to ourselves. Quite simply Heaven to me. It wasn't a day of big endeavors, but of small treasures, for sure.

After our trip to the vet with our beloved kitty, we indulged in one of our old-time favorites, potato pancakes, complete with butter & sour cream. There is little I can eat right now because my mouth has been badly inflamed with sores for a week. Settling on something that tasted so delicious was almost divine.  2 outings in a row is about all the excitement my body can handle at one time. So we headed home to recover.

Now we had a problem: a bird took up residence in our basement. When my husband headed down to tend to the cat, a bird flew right near his face. It came out of nowhere & caught him off guard. After googling the best way to catch the small critter, we headed downstairs with a net in hand. We were sure we had the proper equipment. After several feeble attempts, the bird found a convenient hiding place in the rafters. Even the cat was in on the fun, just trying to do her part. Finally... hours later, with the help of a blanket, a wastebasket, & a rubber made lid, we headed upstairs to set the little sparrow free. Mission accomplished. We were certainly more traumatized than the bird.

For supper, I ate the other half of my pancakes. It was corn beaf for the hubby. Yes... I am beginning to cook again. I made him a Reuben. Best part, he loved it! Occasionally, I land on something that brings back that taste his mother conjured up daily. I know adjusting to my cooking has been a mighty letdown for him over the past almost 30 years.

After supper, he uttered these words...I want to do whatever would make you happy. I'd already had a full day of happiness. What more could I ask? We loaded up Otis & headed to the dog park. He was the only dog on his side of the fence. He ran like the wind, retrieved ball after ball, & drank water like there was no tomorrow. Back into the truck he went & on to snarfing down his doggie sundae. Pure joy! All the way home, his ears blew in the wind. I could tell his joy was almost as great as mine.

As the sun set with indescribable beauty, I couldn't help but ponder a question. A friend has asked to interview me on my perspective on suffering. I sometimes don't feel I have suffered. My life is so full of joy; it's hard to see myself as a sufferer. The only way I can conclude that I have suffered is by knowing how I grieve for others who are on this journey or only beginning to embark on it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Little Ball of Fur"

Kitty is not doing well. She's 17, & her health is declining. We have a decision ahead of us... We took her to the vet this morning to see if there is anything to be done. We are awaiting blood work before making our decision. Having a beloved pet put to rest is never an easy situation. Sometimes, your answer is crystal clear, but usually, it involves emotional anguish.

We rescued "Kit" from an animal shelter. She was found on the motor of a car. I remember the day I took my 3 little girls to see her. She was to be our middle daughter's birthday present, but truly adopted for the whole family to enjoy. Our little girl was turning 6, & this was a pretty big deal. She would get to chose her name & be her Mama.

This pretty little kitty has lived through almost 3 dogs  ("Dolly," "Lester," & now "Otis"). She has brought much laughter to our home. She has also brought a sense of security to our daughters. I will never forget the time I neglected to pick up my youngest from school. I came rushing home with a pit in my stomach, only to find my little girl sitting in Daddy's chair hugging kitty for dear life. I think at that moment, I realized the value of our small feline friend.

"Kit" has grieved the loss of 3 girls. As each grew up & left our nest, she had one less person to pester. She had one less person with hair to bite. Her funniest moment was the day she rubbed against the garbage & secured a sticky wrapper to her bottom. She took off like a shot cat & ran at top speed in & out the pet door, up & down & all around all 3 floors of our house. We were all laughing so hard, we were crying.

"Kit" always took her time deciding if her canine siblings were acceptable. She & "Dolly" were frequently found lying tail to tail on the antique bed. I don't think "Lester" ever made the cut. When I became sick, she must have understood. She has spent every day since August curled up on the couch next to me. Her favorite past time is taunting "Otis." She loves to smack his face with her paws. He doesn't even flinch! Gazing out the window (tracking birds) is also her hobby. Watching her  golden eyes dart from side to side is quite fascinating.

Whatever our decision, she will be remembered & loved for a lifetime. She has been a long chapter in our lives. She has seen us through heartaches, surgeries, weddings, & so much more. She has been a distraction & a comfort. She has been there in the quiet times. Like every pet, if she could talk, she would tell some stories. Her affection for me is both undeserved & touching. This "little ball of fur" has found a place in each of hearts, & it is there she will remain through eternity.

Friday, March 16, 2012


This morning when I looked in the mirror I had to chuckle. Spring is in the air, & my hair is in full bloom. My hair has always been one of my defining features. For those of you who don't know me... my brown curly hair had a mind of its own.  I would attempt to style it each morning. By the time I reached the main floor of my home, it had completely rearranged itself. My children could always find me in a crowd. My husband loved to tease me about my Brillo Pad. I never wore it up, & I never wore a hat.

Obviously, things have changed. I still don't wear it up, but I have a few favorite hats. One of my biggest struggles with cancer has been the loss of my hair. I will always remember my oncologist  emphatically saying, "Shave it off, just shave it off!" So... a few weeks after my first treatment, I waited for my college daughter to come home, & she, her middle sister, & her close friend shaved my head. I was more concerned about the impact on my daughters than myself. Our hearts knew it didn't hold that much importance when put in perspective with my life.

Immediately, my husband & daughters relieved my fears. They told me I had a cute head. I was stunned. I was not expecting such a response. Each day when my husband came home from work, I would rest my bald head on his chest, & he would rub my head. I found this ritual very comforting. Even though my family loved my bald head, I always wore my wig. After my 4th treatment, I began to think that I should wear my my hat in public rather than my wig. I felt it was more authentic & part of embracing my journey. I don't know why, but wearing my hat to church for the first time was a big deal for me.

The most difficult part of losing my hair has been my physical comfort. I have had a terrible time regulating my body temperature. My head gets very cold, & then suddenly sickeningly hot. Head pieces make me fidgety. Anything slightly tight on my head hurts or gives me a headache. Sporting a new head covering always takes all of the courage I have. And, when I'm out in public, I just can't bring myself to expose my baldness. So... when I become overheated, I just wait it out miserably.

As I inspected my sprouting hair this morning, I had to wonder how it will return. It is not the same color, & it's straight. It no longer feels like a Brillo Pad. It's soft. It's only 1/2 inch long, so it might be too early to tell. I have to marvel at how much this whole hair ordeal mimics the cancer ordeal. Losing your hair prepares you for other changes just around the corner. People say, It's only temporary. I did not find those words comforting. In my case, it's coming back with a different twist (as is my future). I believe my hair has a future, but it's going to take some adaptation (as is my life). My perspective has changed. I don't see life the same, but that's a new blog waiting for another sleepless night.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What if?

Before I begin this blog, I would like to thank anyone who reads it. It has been very healing for me to blog. I never imagined how it would help me heal & give me a purpose. Sometimes, I am awakened in the night & feel there is something I am supposed to share. Other times, I'm bored so I literally blog to save my sanity. It works. Usually, when I begin my blog, I only have a thought or an idea. It takes me about an hour & 1/2 to write each blog. Prior to this experience, I really didn't even know I had a blog in me or  furthermore, enjoyed writing. Bless each of you who read it & take time to encourage me. I believe God is leading me, & I will do all I can to keep it that way. It will cease if/when I no longer feel His leading.

So the question that's been on my mind lately is...WHAT IF I AM WRONG?  What if I have invested my life (for as long as I can remember) in Christ, & it turns out, I am wrong? What if the Holy Bible is not God-breathed? What If Jesus turns out to be a lunatic or a liar & not my Savior? What if the Holy Spirit doesn't exist, & I am misguided? What if I have spent my whole life serving someone who is at best concocted?

My friend asked me today if I have ever turned away from God. My answer: No. I have followed Christ my whole life. If anything, in the last decade, I have loved Him more deeply. In the last few months, He has sustained me.  So... what if I have spent my life in vain?

I follow a CaringBridge site in which the mom whose young child has a cancerous brain tumor always signs off with 2 words... no regrets. I too would like to claim those 2 words. If everything I believe in, everything I put my hope in, everything I trust, turns out to be a hoax, I will have no regrets.

At this point, I know some people will call me a fool. I am perfectly okay with being called a fool for my beliefs. What is the worst that could happen as a result of spending my life following Christ? I will have spent my whole life trying to be Christ like.What does that mean? Perhaps I will have turned my cheek one too many times. Maybe I will actually have forgiven someone 70 X 7. When I die, maybe my body will just rot in the ground instead of my soul finding an eternal home in Heaven. I think that if my faith turns out to be a joke, my hope in Christ will still have saved my life. Without Him, my anxiety would be over the top. And... what about the Holy Spirit & the still small voice of God I claim to hear?   If this peace that surpasses all understanding turns out not to be of God, what harm has it caused?

So... I stake my claim. I haven't always gotten it right. I've made a whole hoard of mistakes. I've had to apologize to my loved ones time & again. I've uttered words I wish I could retract. I've been self-righteous. I've been judgmental.  I've lacked confidence. I've worried uncontrollably. I've hurt others' feelings. At times, I've made a fool of myself (but not for believing in Christ). I cannot hear the name of Jesus without my body eliciting an emotional response. Why? Because there is power in His name. If I am wrong, it's okay. I have never hurt another person for striving to be like Christ. I will have no regrets for placing my heart & my hope in Jesus.

deadly poison

Hypocrite: a person who engages in the behaviors he condemns in others.  Aren't we all hypocrites? What do you condemn in others? Do you ever look at others through your eyes & think... I would never do that. Maybe you've been hurt by hypocrisy. Authenticity is a quality to be valued. I was a  youth leader for 8 years. I learned early on in the journey that teens can sense hypocrisy. If you want to be used by God, be an open book.

Being an open book has made my life more consistent. I want my words & my actions to match. I want to be the same person to those who know me. I don't mean I can't have unique relationships with each of them, but I hope they all see the same qualities in me. I hope that my friends & family know the same person. I hope that I am who I think I am. I don't want the mirror to lie to me. I don't want the image I've created on FB to reflect someone else.

Have you ever overheard a conversation about yourself? Ever walked in the room & it became awkwardly quiet? Maybe you've been told what somebody else thought of you? Now you know what they really think. Worse yet, have others been told what you thought of them? Did you wish you could eat your words? Ever regretfully send your text to the wrong person? Now they know what you really think.

I think it's safe to say, we've all had our words come back to bite us. The guilt/remorse isn't worth the clout gained by saying those words. Sometimes we learn the hard way. What we say costs us a relationship, a job, an opportunity... Simple rule of thumb: if you cannot say something helpful, don't say it at all. If what you are about to say begins with No offense, but... It's best not to say it. Those words are often designed to offend & they probably will. If you're having second thoughts about what you are about to say, better to err on the side of saying nothing.

I believe that what comes out of a person's mouth is a measure of what's in his heart. Sometimes people say things they didn't mean to say, but you can't help but ask, Is that what they really think? At times, I even have to ask that question of myself:  Where did that thought originate? The Bible says it is humanly impossible to tame the tongue & even refers to the tongue as deadly poison. Perhaps the only way to begin to tame my tongue is to examine my heart...

Am I an open book or do I feel a need to hide behind an image I'm desperately trying to portray?  That's exhausting! I have observed many young people in my lifetime. I believe one of the saddest moments is when he/she actually becomes the person he/she worked so hard to create. I believe that's one of the dangers in dabbling in hypocrisy. Instead of becoming who you were created to be... you become the person you created.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Mother

When I was a little girl, I wrote my mom a poem. I was all of 9 years old. I still remember the words: Five foot two/ Eyes of blue/ That sparkle anew/ With the thought of you. Looking back... I reminisce over my childhood conversations with her. I recall telling her  when I grow up, I want to be just like you. My husband tells me I have succeeded. Seriously, she was gifted with some beautiful quirks.

She loved spontaneity. She didn't mind planning ahead, but took pride in running by the seat of her pants.She was overjoyed when people would stop by unannounced to visit. What fun! She pulled out the brownies or whatever else she could find, & made it impossible for them to decline. I grew up on Lake Michigan, & walking the pier was always in order. Hearing her childhood stories of picnics on the lakefront always amused me. The time when her aunt sat down & the picnic table tipped over was the best.Then there was her first real memory. The day a goose chased her until her Daddy rescued her. It was just as if it happened yesterday.

Her family traveled to Georgia at every opportunity. She loved Georgia... the red mud, the peaches, Jernigan's Creek, & most of all, her family! She loved to visit Liberty Church. She painted a picture of it & also one of her mama's old homestead. She told me of the day she jumped in the creek & her swim suit top fell off. There was also the day a leach secured itself to her leg & nearly frightened her to death. We had watermelon seed spitting contests, & my uncle carved us teeth of watermelon rind. I had a cat my aunt said was mine. Her name was Patty.

My mom played the piano beautifully (& still does). She had a soft touch. I remember how I used to follow my mom right at her heels from one end of our cracker box house to the other. Out of no where, she would stop dead in her tracks, turn around, & scream a blood curdling scream in my face. No matter how many times we played this game, I would laugh so hard I'd wet my pants. My mother loved to laugh! Silly jokes were the best. Knock Knock. Who's there? Oswald. Oswald who? Oswald my bubble gum. Every time she told it was like the first.

She enjoyed the simple things in life: an ice-cream cone, a day at the beach, a bike ride, the warm breeze, birds chirping... She loved me in spite of my quirks. I was a nervous little girl, & she always comforted me. When I was sick, she made me sock puppets. When my friends hurt my feelings, it was their fault. When I begged for new shoes, she made my dad take me. When I needed 6 fillings, she made my dad take me. When I was afraid of the dark, she sent my dad in to look for monsters. She helped me read my books for school. She watched my silly little skits & told me they were good. She played school with me & helped me dress my dolls.

She gave me a childhood, one that I recount with fondness. I can still look into her sparkly blue eyes & see what I saw as a little girl... kindness resides in her eyes. So many memories. She can no longer do the things she used to do. However, she can still muster the strength to call me daily & to let me know I'm her "Chicky"( as she used to call me). Her eyes tell me she's sad for what used to be. Her voice tells me she's struggling. It's sad to see her age. I know she misses the days when she had spunk. I hope as she recounts them, she finds at least half the joy that blesses me daily.

beautiful flaws...

There's an old Julia Roberts movie in which she (of all people) says, "It's our flaws that make us beautiful." When I first heard this statement years ago, it was a new concept to me. It didn't really make sense, & I don't think I "got" it. When I have an obvious flaw, it bothers me: a big old cold sore, a painful pimple, a bad hair day (that is when I had hair). You get the idea. When we are in our middle school years, we begin to hate our flaws. Sometimes we even wish we were someone else or at least had their looks. How our life would be changed!

As my daughters were growing up, I used Julia's line frequently. Her words aren't exactly a comfort, but I believe there's truth in them. It kind of goes along with the idea "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called." If we were flawless, we would have no need for God, & furthermore, He would not be glorified. It's in our weaknesses, His beauty shows the most.

Some people always strive for perfection. They settle for nothing less & cannot enjoy their flaws. Mind you, I am not an olympic gymnast or a concert pianist. In my world, the beauty comes in the trying. Perfectionism repels others & robs us of our joy. If we were all prodigies, there would be no prodigies. Our flaws are what motivate us to do better, to practice something over & over, until we get it right.

What about flaws of the heart? What if our character is flawed? I guess what I'm really asking is...What if we are human? If we are human, our heart is flawed. One of my favorite scriptures is found in Psalm 51, "Create in me a clean heart, O God." Sometimes it takes an act of humility to admit or at least see our own flaws. Other times, we are caught off guard when we realize someone we looked up to is flawed. FACT: we are all flawed.

Why do we strive for perfection? Is it because our identity is wrapped up in our image, & we pressure ourselves to maintain our reputation? Maybe God has given us a beautiful gift, & we really do need to perfect it. Perhaps it's music, art, being a surgeon, etc. and perfection is in order. However, I believe it's God who enables us to perfect His gifts. Our gift (with out Him) is empty. It's like running on a never-ending treadmill & going nowhere. We beat up on ourselves, sweating drops of perspiration, only to realize that our gift means nothing without the right motivation. If we fail to give our gift back to God, we fail.

Our world is flawed. It's cursed. Because of that, I believe each of us longs for perfection, for Heaven. We long for no more tears. We long for a day when there will be no more suffering. We long for a day when all races, cultures, denominations will love each other with humility. No one will be striving for superiority. It doesn't exist. Our Heavenly bodies will be healed. Maybe I will even be able to sing in tune.  I believe animals will live in harmony. Our surroundings will be more beautiful than we can imagine. Pollution will not exist. Our hearts will be clean. Our baggage will be permanently unloaded. Our guilt relieved. Hurts soothed. Misunderstandings ended. Striving for perfection unnecessary. Peace will reign. Our beautiful flaws will be gone...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Something novel happened in my life a few days ago. I came home from an outing to find a handwritten letter awaiting me. Wow... I cannot remember the last time I received a handwritten letter. Obviously, in today's world, communication over distance is largely accomplished through emails & a few other choice methods.

This letter was written on pale yellow lined legal paper. It was actually 2 full pages (written on both sides). It came folded in a business  envelope. I recognized the handwriting even before I saw the return address. It was from someone I dearly love. I believe she is in my life to guide me through some of life's hardest decisions. She has always been there for me. Through the old fashioned cordless phone, she helped me raise my children. She was always only a phone call away.

Her ministry in my life began with my first pregnancy. I was on a trip & in excruciating pain. We were young. We were scared. We didn't know what to do, so we called her. Actually, I think my husband called her first. I was timid back then, & I was in pain. She told us just what to do. She gave me different ways to relax to relieve the baby's pressure. It helped that she was a nurse. We always felt so secure with her.

Not long ago, I was faced with one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I had to chose my own surgery to rid my body of this cancer. For some reason, this decision was too much for me. I would rather have not been given a choice, just told what to do. I prayed every day, several times a day, about this decision. The answer just wasn't coming. I couldn't find the peace.

As the day of reckoning approached, I still had no answer. It was Wednesday; I had to face my surgeon with my final answer on Friday. My daughter (also a nurse) suggested I call her. Now why hadn't I thought of that? Thursday afternoon, I called her. I shared my agonizing decision with her. I read her my list of pro & cons. She asked me a few simple questions. Then... she issued her verdict. Suddenly, I was overcome with peace. In that brief moment, God took all of my agony & replaced it with His perfect peace. Even though the road would not be easy, my peace would never waver.

So... this beautiful letter arrived, so full of my divine messenger's words. I will always treasure this letter (such words of hope & encouragement). I have tucked it in my Bible where it will stay. I will read it when I'm blue. There's no one in this world for whom I have greater respect. She is a servant. She is my role model. She is my husband's beloved sister. She is my divine messenger.

Dedicated to Keith (my husband's sister)

Monday, March 12, 2012

"You don't need to fear."

I don't quite know what to make of today. I wish I could explain the details of my day, but I can't out of respect for my loved one. Suffice it to say, someone dear to me is suffering. To see the mind & body fading simultaneously is heartbreaking. To see the person you once knew slipping out of reality into confusion, hurt, frustration, & a land of no return is one of the hardest things I've ever witnessed. I knew this time was coming, but now that it's upon us, that makes it not one tiny bit easier to bear. Being in my position, helpless to help my loved one, only adds to the agony.

I began today at my second home, The Cancer Center. I had my blood drawn & awaited the news. Would I be accepted into the clinical trial? Would I have to have a scan to be assured my cancer hadn't spread?  My friend kept me company as I had my treatment. She was deeply concerned because she knows how my mind works. She didn't want me to bear an unnecessary burden. Where would I be without this friend? I could see my own agony reflected in her facial expression & in the tone of her voice.

My blood work came back. My numbers were back to normal (at least for today). Thank you, God! I thought I was out of the woods. My friend & I chatted & visited with my nurse & the friendly patient next to me. I called my husband & my 3 daughters to share my good news. I had one less decision ahead of me (so I thought). Then the researcher returned...

In the blink of an eye, I was back to reality. My blood work was normal, but what about that small spot on my liver? She even mentioned that it was noted as suspicious when it was documented a few months ago. I just sat there, trying not to overeact. I was wondering why she just now thought of this. I had mentioned it just the week before, & it had been in my records from the start. 

I began to try to work this out in my mind. I left The Cancer Center waiting for an answer. I went home to ready myself for an afternoon of pondering my health & the state of my loved one. I sat on my couch & began to pray. Immediately, I heard God's still small voice. He told me not to be afraid. He didn't say everything would be okay. He simply said, "You don't need to fear."I sat there & soaked His words up as the sun began to peek through the clouds. I basked in my awe. God wanted me to have peace whatever my outcome.

A few hours later, my cell rang. Good news; my spot is benign. The clinical trial accepted me. Again, Thank you, God! My family was overjoyed. It's been a long day. My loved one weighs heavily on my heart, and at the same time, I am overcome with a deep feeling of gratitude.  I don't have the answers to some serious concerns in my life, but I have a God who doesn't want me to be afraid. That takes my breath away...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

the joke's on me...

I have been thinking a lot lately about Heaven. I have some dear friends who follow Christ but don't think pondering  Heaven is worthy of their time. A few years ago, I accepted this belief & somewhat agreed that we need to spend each day in the present, not dwelling on our future. The only problem was, thoughts of Heaven kept nagging at my heart. I wanted to know more about Heaven. I wanted to dwell on Heaven.

While browsing at my favorite bookstore, I ran smack dab into an author that would save my life. His name is Randy Alcorn. He founded a ministry called Eternal Life Perspectives. He wrote 2 of my favorite books, If God is Good and Heaven. He relieved me of my guilt for wanting to dwell on Heaven. I wasn't dying at the time I met this author on the bookshelf. In fact, I was trying to live. I had just suffered a few deep losses, & I was trying to make sense of my new life.

So if I wasn't dying, how did this author save my life? I was trying to reconcile how a loving God could allow (if not cause) suffering & evil. I had just been the recipient of what I believe was evil. This evil affected me emotionally beyond what I can even comprehend. The mental suffering I would experience over the next 2 years was almost more than I could bear.

I knew God was with me. In fact, I never felt deserted. He took time to comfort me in every moment of my pain & to help me see the picture clearly. What I didn't know was that He was also preparing me for the next phase of my life: cancer. Probably a good thing I didn't have a crystal ball. God was preparing me for suffering by giving me a faith deep enough to stand up in the midst of personal anguish. The joke was on me. I thought I was reading these books so He could use me to help others. Truth is... He was saving me.

Okay... so God has allowed cancer to seep into every facet of my life. I am forever changed in every way: physically, mentally, emotionally, & spiritually. FACT: we will all die sometime. Dwelling on Heaven does change how we live today. It gives us a hope that can only come through Christ. I am quite at peace saying that pondering Heaven has saved my life. Without Heaven... I would be short sighted. With Heaven, my focus is eternal.

How do I know all of this is real? Could the joke be again on me? I know this is real because of my personal experience. I believe what I read in the Bible. But... what if that's manufactured by humans? There is one element of the trinity that cannot be manufactured or disputed. However, I believe you have to experience Him, the Holy Spirit, to actually say beyond the shadow of a doubt, He is for real.

Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He told his disciples that He would ask His Father  to send an Advocate to be with us forever: also called A Comforter, a Healer, a Counselor, a Spirit of Truth... I can say that this promise has been fulfilled in my life. I have experienced the Holy Spirit personally in each of the capacities Jesus used to describe Him. I have troubles like everyone else on this road called life, & I have a Holy Spirit that is forever with me touching my life in unexplainable ways.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I've had quite a day... heartfelt conversation with my baby daughter, laughter, tears, & a whole lot more. She is music to my soul. We spent the whole day together, just the two of us! Okay, so we indulged ourselves with a few of my vices: pedis, soft pretzels with cheese, & a lil shopping. The best part... for me, was her companionship. If I ask her a question, I get an honest answer.

Funny the things we have in common. We both love watching children. She wants to be a teacher. We both love soft pretzels with cheese. Nothing makes us smile like ice-cream. Cherry coke also happens to be our favorite drink. We love to shop together, even if we don't buy much. I like to shop with her because she tells me the truth. If something doesn't look right, she calls it. If I make a purchase (when I'm with her), it's a keeper.

It's fun to see her become a young adult. I love seeing how her views evolve & change. I love the fact that she talks to me. She seems to share her deepest feelings, & in return, she listens to mine. Our words aren't always pretty; sometimes they are raw. They aren't necessarily easy to hear, but none the less, they are the truth. My eyes well up with tears, & she gives me the greatest gift a daughter can give. She validates me.

So here's the thing about the truth. It sets you free. We talked about how important it is in life to listen. We acknowledged the fact that as women, we always want to fix things for others. However, what's taken me almost 50 years to realize, she's somehow learned at 19. She asked me how to show someone you care when you can't fix her problem. My answer... just listen. Letting someone share her sorrows is healing. Just letting someone process her thoughts is healing. Knowing someone cares is healing. Most importantly, it validates her worth.

Dedicated to Kristen

Friday, March 9, 2012

Beautiful Women...

My heart is heavy. I have met some of the deepest, most beautiful people on my journey. I found an entry in a book a few months ago that's remained in my head. I remember it was written by a caregiver of breast cancer patients. The nurse wrote, "Breast cancer patients are the most beautiful women." She went on to explain that she loves caring for them.  She described their bald heads, their beautiful eyes, & how she could see into their hearts.

I was newly diagnosed at the time, & I didn't really "get" what the author was saying. I wasn't feeling too beautiful myself, & I was anticipating my upcoming baldness as anything but beautiful. Furthermore, I did not feel my heart had much beauty to radiate. It was crushed! As for my eyes, the chemo had dried them out, & they were bloodshot from a bad sinus infection. Beauty & breast cancer just didn't go together in my world.

I had no choice but to surrender. I think having breast cancer is a delicate balance between fighting & surrendering. So much is out of the patient's control. If you want to get well, you must surrender to the treatments, the surgery, the dark thoughts, people's stares, people's kindness, their well meaning stories of their friend or relative who's breast cancer returned. Then there is surrendering to your losses: your hair, your body parts, your mind. It all seems so surreal. Most importantly, I believe you must surrender to God's will. I was asked by my pastor if God had revealed to me that I would be healed. Truthfully, no, not this side of Heaven.

My friend (a fellow survivor) had received healing & lives every day with that knowing. I think my journey is one of not knowing but of depending on Him. He knows my greatest weakness, & I am sure the things I've had to surrender are refining my heart. I believe I am to walk this journey so that others can see Him in me regardless of when my healing occurs. Now... about 7 months down the road of this journey, I understand what that caregiver wrote. I have met some of the most beautiful women I have ever known. They are farther along on their journey, & their prognosis's are difficult.

I look at their faces, & my heart melts. I look into their eyes, & I see a sweet softness, a sweet surrendering. Their hearts radiate love: for their family, for life, & for fellow survivors. Their honesty is startling. Survivors seem to tell the truth (even when it's heinous). Surrendering is part of their journey.
As one beautiful friend worded it in her blog, "it's the ultimate letting go" when you place your husband & children into the palm of God's hand, knowing He will care for them when you are gone. As I read her words, I had no words, only anguish...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

created to suffer...

Have you ever known a soul that seemed to be created just to suffer? In my lifetime, I have known a few. Some of these sweet souls were born with seemingly unbearable disabilities or stricken with a terrible illness at a tender young age. Others were victims of child abuse & neglect. Then there are those I've met through books or documentaries. I feel as though I know them personally, but truly, I only know them through their stories. These sufferers include little children abducted by the LRA in Africa. The atrocities they have witnessed are unspeakable. Children have been brutally abused & left on the streets to beg. What about the orphans dropped off on a doorstep or placed in a dumpster? Perhaps their deformities made them unlovable to their parents.

Suffering has existed since Satan fell from Heaven. In  Bible times, people came to Christ with blindness, leprosy, bleeding, demons... These souls suffered illness that separated them from society. Like modern day sufferers, it wasn't just the disease but every issue that accompanied it: loneliness, pain, depression, hopelessness, low self- esteem, isolation, bullying, & the list goes on. Sometimes, we suffer because we bring disaster & unrest upon ourselves. Other times, we just seem to be born into bad circumstances. Suffering seems to be out of the sufferer's control. In most cases, he didn't ask to suffer, & the only control he can have is his response. Never mind the fact that he will continue to suffer, the question is, how will he respond? What will he do with his suffering?

In college, I had a class mate who suffered. He was born with no arms. He had small hands attached to his shoulders. He could use his misshapen hands to manage a few personal tasks. One day he spoke to my class. I was so excited because I wanted to understand his disability. I wanted to know his story, understand how it effected his life, & hopefully use it to help others. I wanted insight. I will always remember leaving the auditorium with a lump in my throat. His overwhelming message: I wish I'd never been born. This was more than I could bear. I felt so empty for him.

If we are a compassionate people, it just doesn't seem right that people are born to suffer? Really, how could a loving God create people to suffer, people like my college classmate that honestly wish they'd never been born? I've had it explained to me that our definition of loving does not compare to God's definition. Remember, yesterday, & tomorrow are just as close as today for Him. I've also been told that we are arrogant if we think we know better than God. I think it is that point that removed the lump in my throat. I (as a human) am just not capable of reconciling suffering with a loving God. I have to accept the fact that God loves us enough to let our lives, our human race be enriched by suffering. He loves us to much too give us lesser things (Blessings by Laura Story).

As Randy Alcorn puts it in his book (If God is Good)... A young boy once ingested poison. His Daddy called Poison Control & began his journey to the hospital. As they traveled, the father followed instructions. He kept slapping his young son in the face to keep him a wake. The boy was crying out, "Daddy, why are you hurting me?" The Father's only choice was to hurt his son to give him life.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

that one thing...

"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul?" Jesus asked this question. Tobymac wrote a catchy song about it.  He sings the lyrics over & over, "I don't want to gain the world & lose my soul." Sometimes the things of the world don't seem so bad, do they?

I mean... is it really wrong to aspire to have friends, a cozy home, a descent car? Is it wrong to care about your reputation, what others think? Is there any harm in the image you portray on FB? What about your appearance... your weight, your clothes, your hair, etc, What about the fact that you are discontent? To what extent will you go to fill your void?

I've heard it said that a man's priorities are defined by how he spends his money. I'm always on an endless quest to find something to wear that makes me feel good. Sad fact: I spend too much time & money shopping for & returning clothes. I should be both embarrassed & concerned. What does this say about me? Not good!

I think that losing our soul has to do with idolatry. Whenever we put anything before God, we walk into a danger zone. We upset the peace in our lives & become unbalanced. It's such a difficult task to keep ourselves in check. Recognizing our weaknesses is probably the first step. Next, I think we must decide which pains us the most. Our need to have what we think we need, or our need to put God first?

So what if we never put God first? What if we just don't get it right, & we spend our whole lives losing our soul? What if we search throughout our lives for that one thing that will bring us peace, & we miss God? What if we don't stop to listen to that still small voice in our head, or we fight it, we resist it, & ... we miss God?

I am willing to say that I believe Jesus & Heaven are a package deal. You cannot have one without the other. The alternative is a gnawing emptiness & Hell, a losing of one's soul. Please, if you haven't taken a minute to consider your soul, your eternity...  I beg you, please take time to hear that still small voice calling your name.

our hopelessness....

Yesterday... a close & dear friend posted a legitimate question on Facebook. She has been struggling with MS for  almost  2 years & is in the midst of a serious flare up. She is a doll. She has young children, & I love her. We think of each other as sisters, although because of our age difference, I sometimes feel more like her mama. We have cried together & for each other. We have laughed together, & I have been the recipient of the greatest love on earth: the love of her five sweet children.

My precious friend is struggling with her faith. Understandably. My husband asked me how I responded to her status. I told him that all I could think to truthfully say was, "I am sorry for your suffering." I do have some deeper words, but I'm not sure she would find them comforting. When you are in her position, some things just don't make sense.

Many times people will quote the famous scripture, "All things work for good for those who love the Lord..." I love these words. I believe them. However, I am not sure that when you are stricken with a painful disease & you can see only a dim light (if any) at the end of your tunnel, that these words bring comfort. As hopeless news continues to knock at your door, you wonder how "all this could work for good." In fact, just the opposite seems to be your reality.

My friend is asking if God will heal her? So, here's the truth as I know it. Yes, Dear Friend, God will heal you. The question is... on which side of Heaven will this healing occur? Only a lifetime will tell. Our job is to walk our walk, knowing that this life is temporary & that God goes before us, with us, in us, & after us. We are never taking one step alone, never breathing one breath He hasn't ordained. So... if God is with me, He knows my fears, He knows my pain... then what kind of a God is He that would cause (if not at the least allow) such suffering?

The answer as I know it is this. He is a loving God, full of compassion & mercy. He has accounted for every hair on my head (even if others cannot see them right now). He has cried each of my tears with me & never withheld His comfort when I sought Him. The answer is found as the story repeats itself in scripture through endless generations. Our deepest treasures come through our suffering (even when we are unaware). He loves us too much not to let us suffer.

Truth is... our lives are only a blip on this earth (even though they seem like forever to us). If we can gain a more eternal view (which is not our earthly or human nature), we can believe (as scripture reveals), that God is fitting us for Heaven. Yesterday & tomorrow are as close to Him as today. He has the whole picture, & we are a significant part of the whole. However, we can only glimpse a small part of the whole. So, we place our trust in Him. We give Him our uncertainties, our insecurities, our fears, our hopelessness... & we resolve to live each day constantly dropping all of our baggage at His feet. For some unknown reason, He wants it. In return, He doesn't give us all the answers. He doesn't promise to heal us this side of Heaven.  But, if we believe in Him, He promises us He will never forsake us. He gives us grace to get us through each painful day. We will spend eternity somewhere, & if we trust in Him, it will be with Him.

for:  Melissa

Sunday, March 4, 2012

straight up...

This evening we have had peaceful pretty snow.  In just 2 days, the expected temperature is 60 degrees. The weather reminds me of my emotions. I am trying to adjust to my ever-changing feelings. I don't really recall a time in my life with such an unstable temperament. My tears have run freely over the last few days.  When sad news comes my way, I don't handle it easily. I have always been a softie, but I think I am a new me.

Truth is... that's okay. I wouldn't want to walk this journey & remain unchanged. I have friends who have survived cancer & say they miss how it forced them to depend on God while they were in the early days. I like depending on God, & I hope (as I heal), I don't give that up. I think my journey will have been in vain if my faith diminishes.

Having cancer strips you of your earthly securities, but it also empowers you to make some fresh starts. After all, your perspective is new, & living your old life doesn't really work in these new circumstances. My uncertainties truly are not greater than they once were or different from anybody else. The difference is... I have come face to face with them.

I remember the day I asked one of my doctors her opinion on my course of treatment. Her response was, "If I had something as bad as you, I would do all I could to fight it." She leveled my playing field quickly. She made me realize that my recourse had to be straight up do whatever gives me the best survival rate. That realization simplified my life & my decisions.

As I always tell young people when they seek my guidance in the decisions of their lives, I don't have a crystal ball. I can't see the future, but I know God can. I believe He has some exciting things in store for me. I'm kind of tickled to see how the new me will handle the excitement. I am almost giddy about embarking on this next leg of my journey.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

my brothers

I have 2 older brothers. Today I talked to both of them. As I was reminiscing in my mind about our conversations, I began to think back through the past. Such powerful memories... not because anything miraculous happened in our lives, but because we share our childhood. We are each made from the same 2 parents. How bout that? We each have a unique set of personality traits; yet we share some quirks. It's fascinating to see how God gifted each of us, which talents we do & don't possess.

For many years, I believed I had no tangible gifts. Athletically, I'll be honest, I was always the last one picked for the team. I remember standing with a lump in my throat, using every bit of strength I could muster, trying not to cry as I stood praying I would hear my name called by a fellow class mate. Musically, I couldn't sing in tune. I didn't even really understand what that meant. I struggled through years & years of piano lessons, just wishing my teacher would release me. When it came to academics, I did okay. I worked hard & seemed to compensate for my lack of natural ability.

In 4th grade, I realized I had nothing to offer the world of giftedness. I decided at 10 years old, that I needed to become the nicest person I could be if I was going to have a place in this world. So much for the psychology of a little school girl. From that day forward, I dedicated myself to kindness. As I've said in earlier blogs, I loved people. As I look back, I am beginning to see that kindness was easy to develop because it perhaps was my gift. I just didn't recognize it as such.

I think that who we become depends not only on how we are gifted but also on our lack of gifts. If I would have been an athlete, a musician, a scholar, or an artist, I would have found my identity in my gift. I don't believe that is the case for each person that is given a tangible talent. I am just saying, it likely would have been my trap. God knows best.

Some days... I long to sing with a sweet voice, just to be able to carry a tune. Probably not this side of Heaven. I'd love to draw a pretty picture or participate in a sport with just enough ability to enjoy the game. I don't think so. Now... thanks to chemo, my brain is struggling at times too. Finding the right word sometimes requires a loved one's help.

However, my identity is secure. I may have had trouble finding my gift, but I have never floundered in knowing to whom I belong. Today, as I talked to my brothers, I felt this deep connection because they are watching over me as they did in grade school. They are praying for me. They treat me with love & respect & encourage me. We share a double bond: our childhood & our faith.

Dedicated to: Danny & Daryl