Friday, November 30, 2012


I've been thinking so much lately about the cruelty of aging. Just as there is really no easy way for a child to be born, I don't believe there is an easy way to age gracefully unto death. Watching a loved one's mind &/or body wear out is sad. Seeing a once spunky person struggle just to take a step or 2 makes me hurt. Fingers that once played the piano now struggle to find the right note.

Conversation is sometimes difficult. Just processing a simple question & responding with a simple answer is taxing. Getting up off the couch can be so trying. A body that used to be flexible is now stiff & uncooperative. Just getting 2 arms in a warm jacket causes distress. Getting out the door & into the car takes incredible perseverance.

The eyes which once sparkled have become dim. The smile & laughter that frequently came forth is now only an occasional visitor. Skin is thin. Sleep comes & goes as it pleases. Favorite food doesn't always taste so good. Staying focused isn't possible. Aches & pains are ever present. Short term memory comes & goes. Long term memory is quite intact.

Loneliness has become a frequent companion. Staring into space is now a past time. The days are long. Dawn & dusk blend together. It's hard to hear. It's hard to see. It's hard to understand. Staying balanced is difficult. Sensory feelings have diminished. The 5 senses are less impressive, & so, simple tasks have become complex.

As the body slows & a life ticks slowly away, loved ones helplessly observe the fading of a beautiful life. Memories come & go. A need to be close, to comfort, to ease ones pain tugs relentlessly at the heart. Peace comes just from being near. Lending a helping hand, providing a listening ear, explaining something simple, a warm touch, a gentle caress of the head, a little laughter, a glimpse of the past... all of these bring a sweet calm.

Life is precious. Yes... every stage is precious. As each day passes, life slowly slips away. Memories live in our hearts. They have a part in who we are. Love has a deeper meaning. Sadness resides in the heart. A beautiful life touches one's soul. The impact cannot be calculated. The softness of my heart cannot be changed. My life has been forever touched by this beautiful life. I can only be thankful.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

each moment of every day, forever.

Sometimes, it's hard not to be sad. The heartache that surrounds me makes me sad. Someone newly diagnosed with breast cancer, a young couple getting a divorce, friends struggling with family issues, loved ones aging, a world full of fear, & the list goes on... and on... Yet, on the flip side, there is so much to be thankful for, it's hard to stay sad. I think life is strange in that respect.

I have always believed in counting my blessings. I don't really like to use cliches, but I think this one best conveys my heart. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the uncertainties of life, the sorrows lurking about, the fears eating at peoples' peace, the sad choices friends make, the effects of those sad choices on loved ones, broken relationships, etc.

I am in the midst of a Bible Study called The Story. It is making a tremendous impact on my life. As it says in Ecclesiastes, "There is nothing new under the sun." As humans, I think we try to invent new ideas, but really... in terms of heartache & joys, fears & prayers answered as we hoped, suffering & health, death & new life, sin & obedience, & the like... Life seems to cycle through different versions of these paradoxes. All of which happen simultaneously.

The stories of the Old Testament have come to life for me. I have been reading them, studying them, pondering them, & totally amazed by them. They bear a few common threads: God's grace, the frailty of the human heart, & enough lessons to set us straight for a lifetime. All the heartaches that surround me existed BC. However, things were different for one reason. And for another reason, things have not changed.

Back then, God very much wanted a relationship with his creation. He still does. That hasn't changed. He loved King David. In spite of David's human frailties, he was called a man after God's own heart. David committed adultery, tried to cover up his sin, had his mistress' husband (an honorable man) killed, & didn't come clean until he was confronted. David paid a price for his sins. They were publicly exposed in broad daylight. He lost a child, his daughter was raped, his son turned against him.... The punishment certainly fit the crime. Yet, he still went down in history as a man after God's own heart.

I am in awe of God's grace. In time, David forgave himself & found peace with God. David praised God all the days of his life. So how have things changed? What makes life different AD? Simply said, a Savior. No more sacrificing. God no longer dwells in a tent as he did with the Israelites. His presence was made known in a cloud of smoke by day & a ball of fire by night. Now... we all have access to Him. Because of that first Christmas, we can have an ongoing relationship with God. We just have to trust. Christ can dwell in our heart (daily, hourly, each moment of every day, forever).

Yes... we will still be overcome with fear, our troubles will eat at us from time to time.We will even be sad. People will continue to suffer & make heart wrenching decisions. Our human hearts will fail both physically & morally. But, we are forgiven if we have created a dwelling place in our hearts for our Savior. Our sins will still have consequences, but we can still find peace with God. He can even use our sin to fulfill His purpose.

Best of all, if we take time to have a relationship for Christ, to create a dwelling place in our heart for Him, we will dwell with Him throughout eternity in our Heavenly home. And there, we will find peace that will never end. Our fears will no longer exist. We won't cry tears of sadness. Evil will not exist. Suffering & anguish will be no more. That first Christmas offers us so much for just one reason, the birth of our Savior, the only one who can save us from ourselves. Please, if you haven't taken time to make your heart His dwelling place, this Christmas would be the perfect time.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Memory Lane

This afternoon, we returned from a little Thanksgiving vacay. My youngest daughter was skeptical from the start. She didn't understand traveling on Thanksgiving Day (not celebrating the special day in our own home with Dad's delicious deep fried turkey). She agreed to go along & be a good sport, but it certainly went against her idea of Thanksgiving.

Our middle daughter was unable to go due to work. We missed her & her hubby terribly but figured we wouldn't see her over Thanksgiving whether we stayed home or not. Our oldest daughter & her husband were ready for a getaway. So off we went.

Okay, the Thanksgiving Day turkey really didn't measure up to Dad's deep fried turkey. Nobody could disagree with that! We missed out on some of our favorite dishes but figured we would survive. It rained in the evening, so the arrival of Santa had to be indoors for the first time in 28 years. Such a disappointment as we had come back to relive some of our early family memories. No bonfire. No hot chocolate outside. No carols. No Santa arriving on a cherry picker.

However, a complimentary show (a hypnotist) took place after Santa pics. We sat with excitement waiting for the show to begin. Should we raise our hands & be participants, or should we just watch?Honestly, I tried to do it from my seat but was too distracted. I gave it up after a few minutes & decided to enjoy just watching the show. I'd never seen anything like it. Quite amazing how the human mind operates!

Black Friday, we spent at an outlet mall. Not too crowded & some really good finds. We bowled & went to a movie. We ate custard & enjoyed a restaurant called Wobbly Boots. It really didn't matter what we did. We just had fun being together. We sat up late talking, played a few silly games, & even ordered late night pizza. We laughed a lot (at ourselves & each other).

We enjoyed our walk down Memory Lane. We relived a few memories but mainly made new ones. We talked about our future & how we'd like to spend it sharing times together. As we loaded up the truck to head for home, I never felt more thankful. To have children that want to travel with us & spend time with us is the greatest gift they could give me. I haven't seen my youngest smile & laugh so much in a long time. I said a little prayer of Thanksgiving as my husband started the engine. I couldn't ask for more.

Monday, November 19, 2012

a trade off

Sometimes holidays come & go. We get through them. We survive them. We regret what we did or didn't do. Sometimes we are sad to see them go. Other times, there is a sense of relief. The mayhem is over, let's just get back to our so called normal. Or... perhaps we've endured a loss or a sad memory, & Christmas is too painful this year. Holiday stress added to our everyday stress is sometimes more than we can bear.

I love the holiday season that is about to kick off with Thanksgiving & last through the first of the year. I think it's important we savor the meaning of each special day & attempt to live it throughout the whole year. We decorated our house a little early this year, cause I don't want to miss out on one day of celebration.

I love Thanksgiving because I believe gratitude is something we should practice everyday. When you live your life with gratitude, it makes for a glass-half-full attitude. When you seriously set out to appreciate all of the good in your life, it changes your outlook. It also helps you turn negatives into positives. It helps you notice the good in spite of the bad.

I have to agree with Rick Warren, a well known pastor of Saddle Back Church in California. Life isn't the ups & downs I used to think it was. Rather, it's 2 roads. One is filled with joy. The other is the more difficult journey. We travel both of these roads simultaneously throughout life. We can have joy in our life even as we struggle, face hardships, live with unknowns, & grieve for others facing sadness.

As a young person, I didn't really "get" it. I thought life was either happy or sad. I didn't understand that  one can experience an up & a down at the same time. As humans, I think we tend to let our sorrow rob us of our joy. I think instead we should grieve our sorrows & celebrate our joys. I have also learned that joy can come from both the good times & the bad.

Being stretched is hard work, but the growth that results is a trade off. Life is full of sadness, brokenness, tragedy, & hardships. These things are inevitable, & no one is immune. However, it is through these times that we deepen as human beings. These things serve to make us better people in a strange sort of way. They make us thankful for the good times. They keep us from taking our loved ones for granted.

As we enter this joyous season, I want to share God's love with others in every way possible. I want to love like I've never loved before. I want to serve with a passion so deep, others see Christ & sense God's love. I'm not all caught up in shopping & wrapping like I usually am; I just want to savor each day. I don't want it to go too fast. I want to see the lights. I want to hear the music. I want to taste the Christmas cookies & see the sparkle in the eyes of little children. I want to love the poor & brighten their day. I want time to think of that first Christmas. I want to imagine myself as a mouse in the corner of that stable, seeing the bright star in the East & hearing my Lord's first cry. I want to smell the hay & see the love in Mary & Joseph's eyes. I want to savor every moment.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I've even been feeling guilty for this feeling.

This morning I got together with 2 friends that have come into my life because of this journey. We had breakfast for 3 hours. It was so nice to visit. Out of the blue, one of the girls (who's journey has timed out very closely with mine) shared a thought that has so been on my mind lately. She had no idea I was feeling the same thing. I've even been feeling guilty for this feeling. A rush of relief came over me. I realized it must be a normal feeling for what we've been through.

We chatted & laughed, ate our breakfast, shared, giggled like school girls, & sort of solved the world's problems. Not really, but we did have a nice time. It did my heart good. It's moments like this that I see how enriched my life is because of this journey God has allowed (if not caused) me to travel. I'm not exactly the same person I was prior to all of this, & I don't want to be. If I went through all of this & didn't deepen as a human being, I think it would be in vain.

It's amazing the silliness that occurs because of what we've experienced. If you didn't have a sense of humor, the journey would be much more painful. Laughing at our circumstances brings such relief. Joking about our surgeries is so ridiculous yet so healing. Bonding with such beautiful women makes it all so special. Sharing our trials brings comfort. Knowing someone else has the same feelings strangely brings relief.

In the last year, God has impressed upon my heart the importance of friendship. He created us with a need for each other. We are not made to walk our journeys alone. Whatever our journey, we need to let friends in on our struggles. It makes the load so much lighter & maybe even enjoyable. It doesn't make our troubles go away, but it makes them bearable. Two are better than one. A chord of three is not easily broken. Pity the one who falls & has no one to pick him up (Ecclesiastes).

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The full whammy!

This evening I went to a meeting at Susan G. Komen. The Pink Promise Models are writing a book. Of course, the proceeds will go to Susan G. Komen. I have grown to love my Survivor friends. They are funny & quite witty. The book is going to be a collection of our stories & the stories of other breast cancer survivors. We all agree that each of us has such a unique journey (even tho' there are many  common threads).

My hope is that this book will be a comfort to other newly diagnosed survivors. The ladies also hope it will help others to understand the journey of the breast cancer survivor. It's so weird how just by walking this journey, you are given a platform which you can use to share your story & so much more. I always find comfort in being with other survivors, but sometimes, I get a bit shook up. When I leave with the realization that my case seems to be the most severe of those who gathered, I get a bit freaked out.

This happened to me at a yoga class in the early stages of my journey. I remember leaving that night in tears, so hopeless. Now 9 months farther down the road, I left with a similar realization. Wow! These beautiful women faced so much; many had surgery, but few had chemo & radiation. Most of them had clean lymph nodes. I said good-bye to one of my new survivor friends. She's a doll. She's 79 & a 32 year survivor. Yes... truly, remarkable!

As I got in my car, that realization hit me again. Wow! I really got the full whammy, the whole deal. Truth is, I don't really even know my prognosis. I was denied a PET scan. My life rests totally in God's hands. No tears tonight. Just that gnawing realization of the severity of my case. Peace reigns. I didn't even feel a need to share my thoughts with my husband when I got home.

The last time this happened, I never went back. I left in tears, & I sobbed all the way home. I made a quick stop at Starbucks, & in between tears, I ordered a Passion Tea. My sweet friend took my order. He recognized my voice. When I got to the window, he told me I would be okay because I rested in
God's hand. I don't believe his words were happenstance or that he was coincidentally working that night. No... God knew just what I needed, & I heard the truth.

So tonight as I drove my similar route home, I didn't stop at Starbuck's. I didn't even shed one tear. Yes... I shook my head somewhat in disbelief. But then my mind did its usual ADD thing & pondered many other things as I headed for home. As I stepped through my front door & greeted my boys (my husband & my sweet dog), I just felt happy. So happy to be home to my boys. Happy to be a part of this book. Happy for this journey of amazing new friends. Happy for emotional healing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Excitement is in the air...

This morning I asked my husband to cheerfully help me decorate for Christmas. Last year my daughter & her husband did it for me. I was too weak from chemo & couldn't imagine how I would ever be ready for Christmas. This year, I feel so much better, but due to my recent surgery, I'm  limited. As always, I am so excited about Christmas. I feel like a child, & I don't know exactly what it is about Christmas that makes me so giddy.

I love Christmas music. Caroling is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Hearing the songs play throughout the stores & on the radio brightens my spirits too. Buying gifts is fun to a point but wrapping them is not my thing. Baking Christmas cookies is so much work, but definitely something I love to do. Saying Merry Christmas is special too because it helps one remember why we celebrate this beautiful time of year.

A famous Christmas carol refers to Christmas as the most wonderful time of year. Sadly, Christmas is a painful time of year for so many. Sometimes it's associated with a loss or a sad memory. There are those who can't afford to buy gifts or fix a holiday meal. Some people are lonely, & others are suffering a hardship of some kind. Christmas causes depression for some & the stress of all of the above mentioned traditions can be too much. It's truly one of the busiest times of year.

I'd like to offer a way out from the hustle & bustle of Christmas, a way to simplify & truly enjoy this meaningful season as it's meant to be. Less is more. Buy less, wrap less. Bake less, eat fewer calories (less depression after Christmas). Focus on the needy & not yourself. Ask what you can do to brighten somebody else's Christmas. Commit to fewer Christmas activities so you can actually enjoy the ones you choose to attend. Think about what's important to your family, & prioritize. Don't be afraid to let things go.

Lastly, remember the reason for this beautiful many faceted celebration. If what you do,  helps you enjoy the birth of Christ, than enjoy. If it causes stress & detracts from having a peaceful Christmas, let it go. Know that if you don't bake one batch of cookies, it's okay. If you don't send one card, it's fine. If you only put up a few decorations, you'll actually enjoy them more. It's the meaning of your gifts, not the cost. Strive to enjoy what you do & not overdo. For me, there's a few necessities. The rest is optional...

Watching It's a Wonderful Life is essential. Enjoying the lights on my Christmas tree is my nightly ritual. Attending our Christmas Eve service is special. The music of the season makes it for me. Spending time with my family is the best. Taking time to think about my Jesus, the greatest gift of all, is one of my past times. I picture Mary & Joseph traveling (so young & so alone). I see the wise men following the star in the East. I hear the baby's cry on that first Christmas night in a manger. Shepherds & animals gather around the babe. He is wrapped in swaddling clothes. His parents don't really understand, but they trust.

Jesus did not look like the king that people expected. If they knew the prophesies, then they knew Jesus fulfilled them word for word. God has a pattern of using the simplest of all (a tiny baby) to accomplish His purpose. On that first Christmas night, our Savior was born into a poor family. His parents were young, probably scared too. There wasn't even a safe, warm place for Him to lie His little head. Yet there was excitement in the air for those who knew... The star shown brightly, the Angel appeared, the baby was born, & our lives were forever changed.

Monday, November 12, 2012

not quite so bad...

Some of you may know that recently, I have been working on a surprise scrapbook for my husband's 50th birthday. Many of you may have contributed a letter. I was up all kinds of crazy hours working on this scrapbook. It turned out to be quite the project. Too bad he had an inkling as he saw one of the email headings on my laptop (unbeknownst to me). For 2 weeks, I have been consumed by this scrapbook, racing against the clock, breaking the printer, losing 2 of the emails, hiding the evidence, telling numerous lies, & the list goes on...

When I began this project, I didn't really like scrapbooking. I found it tedious & somewhat senseless. I couldn't see the value in putting a boarder around each piece of writing & each photo. Something changed about 1/2 way through this project. I began to love it, & to piece it together with intense passion. After all, it was for my beloved.

As I carefully glued each picture, my heart remembered the story behind the photo. As I wrote his life story, I loved thinking back through the years & remembering so many sweet memories. As I read the 67 letters sent by family & friends, I actually teared up over & over. I knew that he had no idea how much his friends & family valued him. I wish every one could receive a scrapbook of this magnitude for their 50th birthday.

Please don't think I am bragging. I am not. The meaningfulness was not my doing; it came from the beautiful letters. Bosses from the early years of his career wrote letters. Pastors from way back to the present sent messages. Friends & family near & far contributed. Childhood friends even participated. Some were funny. Some shared memories. Some wrote of things they admired about him or a way in which he touched their life. Others simply sent a loving birthday message.

As I crafted this project, I couldn't help but see some parallels in life. I loved being creative. I think I've actually found a new hobby. I loved piecing together seemingly useless scraps to make a page. It so reminded me of life, of how God takes our seemingly useless traits & makes something special from them. He takes the ordinary & does extraordinary things. What began as painstaking became delightful.

When it was all said & done, I don't think I've ever given him a more meaningful gift. I didn't know I had it in me, & I didn't know how it would touch him. When the party was over, he sat down on the  couch & read each word. Sometimes he laughed his belly laugh, & sometimes he cried. He was in awe that so many people took time to send him such beautiful messages. This past year has made life more meaningful in every way. Being blessed by so many people made turning 50 not quite so bad.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

easy tears

Yesterday morning I visited with other breast cancer survivors as I waited for my turn to be interviewed at Susan G. Komen. As we chatted, I couldn't help but stroll down memory lane. I couldn't help but note their facial expressions as they remembered details from their own cases. It's amazing how retelling our stories so easily brings tears to our eyes. Sometimes, I think we'd all like to minimize it, to pretend it never happened (or at least forget it). We can't. The reason being (I think) is because of the fear. We forever live with the fear of the return of our nightmare.

Daily, I must remind myself who's hand holds me. I actually put out the palm of my hand & picture myself sitting right smack dab in the middle of God's mighty hand. The Bible tells me that nothing can snatch me out of the palm of God's hand. I know this. I live this. I wish it could be second nature. I wish I didn't have to remind myself. I've taken to wearing a bracelet lately with the words from Psalm 23 written on it.

My husband claims this verse as his favorite. Funny how you can hear a verse over & over for years, & suddenly, it's like hearing it for the first time. Verse 4 is the part that I find especially comforting. I will fear no evil; for thou art with me. Thy rod & thy staff, they comfort me. Jesus is referred to in scripture as The Great Shepherd. I believe this verse is saying that He is my shepherd, watching after me, guarding me with His staff & His rod. He is always with me.

It also says in the Bible that the sheep learn to recognize their Master's voice. I take this literally, & I thank God for each time I hear His still small voice, for each time He refreshes my soul, for each time He takes away my burdens. I think I keep God pretty busy because I am needy. I need Him more than I need air or water. I need Him to feel whole. I need Him to live fully. I need Him to calm my fears.

As I've said before, knowing His presence is better than any miracle, better than any earthly treasure. His presence comforts me in a way in which only His presence can. His still small voice is the most comforting of all. When I hear His voice, I rest easily no matter what burden I carry.

I must admit there is another reason that we cannot (must not)  forget our journey. This reason is much more positive. It also causes one's eyes to tear up. Our journey has changed us. It has given us a new perspective. It has brought people into our lives who are beautiful. It has caused us to dig deep into our own souls & find someone we might not have known prior to our diagnosis.

This person is a new person. I feel so vulnerable, yet so loved. I feel so weak, yet so strong. I feel so scared, yet so courageous. I don't know how a person can have such opposing feelings all at the same time, but I do. I don't know how one's life can be so unsettled, yet so peaceful. I like living this way. It's not something I fully understand, but it's refreshing. It gives me opportunity to share God's presence in my life. It forces me to live His love.  It keeps me in the right place. I think that's why I like it.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


This journey of mine certainly has it's highlights and its lowlights. I feel as though the meaningfulness of every aspect of my life has been enhanced, & I think that is the sweetest gift of all. Some moments are especially tender & heart wrenching while others are exceedingly joyful. It's mind boggling how such deep emotions can occur almost simultaneously & even be connected.  It seems to me that in the most tender moments come the most touching acts of kindness from my loved ones.

These acts of kindness may not be earth shaking to others, but to me, they are breathtaking & truly lift my spirits. Never underestimate the power of a kind word or deed. In the last few days (since my latest surgery), I have been the recipient of some sweet deeds. First of all, I wasn't really dreading this surgery because my doctor is kind. He is skilled, but equally important to me, he is kind. There is no question I cannot ask him. His kindness removes my fear.

Secondly, when I go off to surgery, I alway have my husband with me. His teddy bear like quality comforts me, & he makes it a point to be extra sweet during these times. I know walking this road with me, is not an easy journey for him or one he would have chosen. However, I know I need him, & I wouldn't want to walk it with any one else. There is nothing I cannot tell him & pretty much nothing I haven't told him. I know he's got my back, & I rest with that peace.

My youngest daughter came home from college for my surgery (without being asked). She has spent the last 2 days doting on me & looking after my needs. I love our conversations & just seeing her do her thing. Last night her dear friend came over, & we visited for an hour or two. I haven't laughed that hard or that much in so long. I'm still smiling this morning. Laughter really is good for the soul.

My husband's work sent me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers, all in pinks with a cute teddy bear wearing a pink ribbon shirt. I answered the door, & the florist was so happy to deliver these pretties. The meaning expressed in these flowers touched right to my heart. The prayers said on my behalf truly have carried me. FB is a wonderful tool for prayer & for the expression of kindness. It also adds meaning to my life.

People have delivered goodies & even made a few meals. Again, I feel pampered & loved. I've also had a few visitors that have come to check on me. My oldest daughter & her hubby came the night of my surgery, & a dear friend who is like a son to me stopped by yesterday. Phone calls & text messages have abounded. My middle daughter always brightens my day on her way to & from work calling to check on me & let me know I'm gonna make it. God made my daughter a nurse. I don't deserve such love.

I share all of this to say... if you have a loved one on a similar journey, please take time to be sweet to them. A little TLC goes a long way. As I sit this morning on my couch sipping a warm cup of tea, wrapped in a soft  pink blanket delivered to my doorstep by a caring friend the morning of my surgery, I know that as I look back on this surgery, my memories will be sweet. Instead of envisioning bruises & aches & pain, I will see the faces of the people I love. Their caring words & their kindness covers a multitude of anxiety & pain. It makes all the difference in how you face your trials. It makes sweet memories.

PS  Thanks to all who have doted on me. I love you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


When something powerful happens in my life, I have to share it. To others, it may not seem like much, but to me, it's a celebration of God's hand in my life. Today finally came, the day of my surgery. It entailed some reconstruction, some repairs, & a few other unmentionables. Unlike my past surgeries, I really wasn't dreading this one. I can't say I was looking forward to it, but my mind was at peace.

When I awoke from my double mastectomy last February, I experienced peace from God unlike any I'd ever known. I was very overwhelmed with so many things about this surgery. Fear reigned throughout my body, mind, & soul. I didn't want to awake to hearing my lymph node count. I knew I'd be alone in recovery, & I didn't know if I was capable of processing such information emotionally on my own. Also, I was expecting to be in great pain. I wasn't. Lastly, I'd just experienced a frightening surgery with the installation of my port, & the memory was still fresh.

As I awoke, I felt the presence of God. I immediately wanted to know how many of my lymph nodes were cancerous. When I asked the nurse, she told me I would have to ask the doctor. She didn't know. Knowing myself like I do, if I could have been looking in from the outside, I would have expected to see a woman stricken with fear, a woman choked up with a throat so tight, she couldn't swallow. In short, I would have expected her to be paralyzed with fear.

My expectations were not met. Instead the woman lying in the hospital bed, recovering from a major surgery, a difficult surgery, was just plain thankful. When the nurse told her she didn't know the lymph node count, this woman saw that as a negative, but still, she did not fear. She lay in that recovery bed feeling the presence of her Heavenly Father. She knew that whatever came her way, He held her in the palm of His hand. This was a new feeling for her. She was not accustomed to such peace in the midst of such deep fear.

So this morning, I awoke with peace. I even said aloud, "I don't know what's wrong with me, but I'm not even scared." I was tempted to be concerned for my lack of fear. How unnatural for me, a woman who has fought fear & anxiety her whole life. This peace remained with me until an hour before my surgery. Suddenly, my old familiar anxiety blew in (just like the wind). Fear overtook my whole body, & I couldn't stop shaking. Of course, I began telling myself I had nothing to fear. After all, no lymph nodes were involved today.

As we were about to head out the door, I took a quick moment to post something on Facebook. I posted that I was scared & shaken on the inside. Immediately, dear FB friends began lifting me up in prayer. I could actually feel it. Ten minutes later, just as quickly as my anxiety blew in, it left. My blood pressure was only 117/55. My husband & I visited & chuckled as we waited for the doctor. Of course, it didn't hurt that this particular doctor is one of my favorites.

I am home now, relaxing on my couch. Even my husband noted a difference in my nerves. Between the blood pressure reading, & his observations, I know I'm not making this up. Based on my history with anxiety, I know some serious healing has taken place. I hadn't even taken my anxiety medication. When the peace that surpasses all understanding takes hold of your mind & soul, in spite of how you are knit together, the credit can only be given to the Lord. Yes, I have a few stinging pains that come & go, but surgery has never been so peaceful. Firsthand, I believe I am experiencing God's loving arms wrapped around me. He's hugging me. Wow! I'm in awe. I'm not used to feeling like this.