Friday, May 31, 2013

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

I've missed blogging over the past week, but my life has suddenly become very busy. It reminds me of the old days. I am having surgery next week so maybe that will slow my pace for a few days. Nothing major, just a little needed reconstruction. It took almost a year, but I now have the very early stages of lymphedema. It is not much of a concern at this point. It is in my left arm, of course (the arm that had lymph nodes removed & was radiated). Really... this is no surprise.

Life is beautiful, but at the same time, it is full of hardship. I'm not talking about my own hardships, rather the hardships of others. A few nights ago, I attended a Baccalaureate service for the graduates in my community. It was a very meaningful time for me. I got to see some of my former youth from my youth leader years. Testimonies were shared; beautiful worship took place. Tears came to my eyes. It made me miss those precious youth leader years, truly one of the most fulfilling times of my life.

I always remember Dr Seuss when I think of the fun I had as a youth leader. "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." So true & yet sometimes so difficult. One of the graduates unexpectedly shared a few thoughts concerning the impact his youth leaders had on him. I did not expect a mention, & that is what moved me to tears. I will never cease to be amazed to find out that God used me when I was unaware. Nothing is more meaningful to me than that. Being used by God is my greatest joy. Finding out years later reminds me that it was real. It was precious.

Today I held my adorable grandson for an hour while he slept. Truly, the best part of my day. I can't explain the contentment I feel when I hold this precious little being. He likes to snuggle up right by my neck, & I just love to kiss his little head & feel his cheek against mine. I can't seem to get enough of this. He is 3 weeks old now. He is filling out a little, not quite so frail. He can lift his head. I look at him, & I can only be thankful. He is more than I deserve.

Tomorrow I will spend with my mom. She is having a birthday, & I am thankful I can make a quick trip to be with her on her birthday. I thank God for her every day of my life. Without her, I would not be me. I'm a lot like her. I even look like her. However, she is gifted musically, & I am gifted in other ways. I did not get the music gene. We do have a similar sense of humor. She always made me laugh. She taught me how to be a mama & now the cycle has gone full circle. I remember the day she left after being with me for a week. My firstborn was depending on me, & all I knew was what my mother just taught me. It was enough.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

False Security...

This morning I finally got up after a long somewhat sleepless night. What's bothering me? I don't really know, & such is a life with anxiety. At least I am able to recognize the tide that rolls in without an invitation. Some of my old fears have creeped under my skin, just deep enough to eat at me. At first glance, it panics me. Then... after a little processing, I realize I've once again allowed a false security to lure me into its trap. I don't want to live like this. No... I don't.

I want to place myself in the ONLY security that's real, my Father in Heaven. Sometimes, I think we think we can beat death. We can eat the right foods, give up all our vices, live a clean life, exercise... or at least we can avoid bringing disease on ourselves if we do our best to care for our bodies in a healthy manner. I'd like to believe in these theories, & I do. However, doing the right thing (whatever it is) does not guarantee anything but a false security & a peace of mind that we have done our best.

Disease can still take hold of our bodies when we least expect it. It did me on more than one occasion in more than one way. I don't begrudge the diseases I have because they make me a better person. They give me the ability to see life from a deeper perspective. But... I'm not gonna lie. They do heap anxiety on top of the anxiety I already own. They cause me to evaluate my life, my motivation, my trust, my joy, my fear, my reality...

Actually, I have escaped this routine for a few months. Unusual for me. However, for some odd reason, last night I felt the winds begin to change. I felt the tide rolling in. So, I go back to the ONLY REAL thing I know, my faith. I remind myself that my days are numbered (as are everybody's). This brings me great peace because I know nothing will come my way that God hasn't at the very least, allowed.

I know He will not allow me to be taken until it is my time. Why? Because "the Lord gives, & the Lord takes." He has the whole picture, & I must "walk by faith not by sight." After all, my sight is not 20/20. His is. I only see a poor reflection (as if looking in a mirror). He has the whole picture. He designed my life, & He owns it, not me. So, on this Thursday morning, I place myself back in the palm of God's hand, my ONLY REAL security. There, I will rest.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I am mesmerized by him. I love to watch his every little movement. His little facial expressions send me to the moon. His little piggies are so cute. I love to bathe him, to wrap him up in his little hooded towel & cuddle him. I love to watch him sleep. I love to snuggle him to my neck. I love to feel his baby skin against my cheek. I just can't seem to get enough of him.

This little guy has completely stolen my heart. It was love at first sight. The more I am with him, the more I love him. Thinking of him warms my heart. He is so fragile. His skin is so soft. He is so dependent. Amazingly, he is comforted by touch. He likes music, yes... he seems to have a favorite.

He makes the cutest little noises. Sometimes I hear a tiny sigh or a slight squeak. Other times, I think he must be stretching. And... then there are those moments when he needs to burp. Maybe his diaper needs changing, or perhaps he's hungry. Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Just looking at him brings me closer to knowing God. His tiny body looks as though he is still in his mommy's womb. His movements seem to mimic those which took place just a few days earlier before he made his entrance into the world. Thinking about him warms my heart. Looking at him mesmerizes me. Holding him soothes me. His little hands are precious.

He is a precious little miracle. He has a Creator. He has a purpose. He defines cuteness. He is a gift. He is intricately made. He has 10 little fingers & 10 little toes. He has a little head with a smooth covering of hair. He has traits from each parent. Yet... he is his own little person. He has his own little personality. Already, he can be comforted. He is precious...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I can't take my eyes off of him.

Today was The Race for The Cure 2013. A year ago I walked as a Survivor, but I felt like a fighter. I was still undergoing radiation, & I didn't know if I would have the stamina to get through The Race. I made it! I was truly blessed by the whole event. I had much apprehension last year because I didn't know how I would handle the day emotionally. To my surprise, I felt empowered. I expected to feel the opposite.

This year, I walked The Race with a whole new appreciation for my life. As the year has passed, one day at a time, I can look back and see growth. I have regained my strength. I never even considered not being able to finish today's race. As I remembered my sweet friend in a wheel chair last year, I met up with her along the way today. She was sporting a tutu & all smiles. No wheel chair for her this year!

I have become passionate about my cause because I see the horrible effects of this journey called cancer. It blows my mind that I can see such a terrible disease as a blessing & even thank God for allowing me or even causing me to walk this journey. I am a changed woman not only physically but emotionally & spiritually too. I wouldn't trade 2 out of 3. I bet you can guess which one I would trade.

This year I walked The Race for my dear Survivor friends & fighters. I walked for future patients. Lastly, I walked for myself.  I don't feel guilty that my cause gets so much hype,  no... not anymore. Since my diagnosis, I have met so many women on this journey. I have been aware of beautiful women who have finished their fight to pass into Heaven, & a few friends have been recently diagnosed. Even though I thank God for my journey, I wouldn't wish it on anyone,

One thing that saddens me the most is the fact that more & more younger women are being diagnosed. This statistic makes me shudder.   I am so grateful that I got to be 49 before I was diagnosed. I am grateful my 3 daughters were not young girls or babies. I had the joy of raising them without what I once considered a heavy cloud.

I have spent the year trying to evaluate what I might have done to cause cancer. Truth is... I will never know. There are too many factors. Perhaps in my case, it's best that I can only speculate. Also, I never received a complete diagnosis. I was denied a PET scan. Over time, I have come to realize that the unknown is a necessary element of my journey. It gives my faith a whole new meaning.

Today, I walked as a first time Grandma! Wow... a year ago, my lil grandson was not part of the picture. I have been a recipient from current research & am even a part of a clinical trial. My life exists now because of this research. Without it, I would not be here to walk The Race or see my precious lil grandson. I can't take my eyes off of him.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Yesterday was a day I'll never forget... we became Grandma & Papa! Amazing how the minute we laid eyes on our new little grandson, our hearts melted. There he was in his small glass bassinet, lying on his back, content as could be, with his tiny hands & feet moving about, just as they did a few hours earlier inside his Mama's womb. Oh... the miracle of childbirth. Takes your breath away!

A few feet away in a hospital bed lie one very exhausted new Mama. It had been a long, hard labor, but with the loving company of her sweet husband, she did it! She gave birth to a most precious lil baby boy. For 9 months, we've been anticipating this moment. It finally came! Yes... most definitely worth the wait!

He seems to be a combination of Mommy & Daddy with his own little twist, of course. He has a smooth brown covering of hair. His little face defines cuteness. He has 10 little toes & 10 little fingers. His tiny body is adorable. Falling in love with him is not only natural but unavoidable. The moment you see him, something unmistakeable happens. Your heart is stolen. You not only feel it, but you can see it. A look of astonishment & love fell upon each of us as we had our moment with him. An effortless bond seemed to already exist. I can't explain it.

When my moment came, I held this pure little bundle of love. It doesn't get much better than this. I held his cheek to my cheek. Oh... his soft baby skin. I couldn't wait to feel his face against mine. A touch of Heaven was mine to behold. I savored my moment.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The countdown is on!

Yes... the countdown is on! One of the most precious days of my life is only 3 days away, Race for The Cure, and it's trumped by an even more breathtaking event, the birth of my first grandchild. Oh me, I can hardly stand the excitement! I don't know how this is possible, but I think I am even more excited than when it was me about to give birth.

According to my calculations, Little Jaxon should be here by Friday but hopefully tomorrow. I just can't wait to meet him! I have a picture in my mind of what he will look like, just like a little miniature version of his Daddy. I think he will be the cutest thing I have ever seen. I can't wait to hold him, snuggle him, & comfort him.

I can't wait to see my son-in-law & daughter be parents. They have amazed me as they have prepared for their little boy. It's been precious watching their story unfold. Since the day my daughter became pregnant, her mothering instincts took hold. She has so carefully walked this 9 month journey. It hasn't been easy, but she has risen to every detail of this occasion.

The baby's Daddy on the other hand has lovingly prepared the nursery. It is delightful. The colors are beautiful. He has used the space wisely. He even designed the baby's name above the crib. He hung the curtains & adorned them with monkeys to match the theme. All the while, he cared for his wife, & met her every need. He has attended every appointment by hers side. I know she is in good hands.

So as I walk through the next 24 hours, I will be in constant prayer. I am praying for my daughter's health, an uncomplicated delivery, for Daddy's nerves, and of course, for my sweet lil Grandson. A year ago, I was undergoing the most difficult part of my journey, radiation. I was down, so down. I was sick with a horrible cold. I was in such pain from the radiation. However, I always knew there were brighter days ahead.

So... these are the brighter days, I'm gonna be Grandma! Wow from cancer to a new lil life! And... I'm here to witness this miracle. I'm well. I'm happy. I'm alive. I've never  been more alive! The past 12 month have overflowed with joy... new friends, my middle daughter's precious new home, my youngest daughter's exciting major change, & now I'm gonna be Grandma! Thank you, God!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

one by one

Today something unexpected happened. I love that I have a life that allows for spontaneity. Okay... so I wasn't able to cook the dinner I had planned. I cheated & bought pre made salads. My trade-off? Time spent with a beautiful person. Worth the trade off? Most definitely!

I have known this friend for quite some time, probably 10 years. I've always admired her. I never had to try to like her. I just did. The more I know her, the more I love her. The more she shares her life with me, the more amazed I become. She lives a life I will likely never know (only through her).

When I was sick, she offered to come & stay with me. Recently, she took a trip with me. She was my angel. I invited her to share her story (which she did), but she also tended to me. She quietly checked in with me now & then just to see how I was fairing.

When problems arose, she solved them. She is selfless. She is bright. She is a handy man. She lives a servant life with a heart for the hurting. She is fearless. She is a beautiful rose. As her petals are peeled away one by one, her inner beauty is revealed. Her heart for Jesus is radiant. It's what makes her so beautiful.

As she looks back on her life, she also is amazed. Her life has not been easy, but God has provided for each need just as it arose. He has guided her decisions. He has protected her. He gave her hope & definitely a sense of humor. The things that have happened in her life could only happen to her.

I don't think anyone could be prepared for some of the cards she's been dealt. However, a relationship with Christ covered the details. No... it hasn't been an easy journey, but it's certainly not been boring. Life isn't about her, it's about the people God puts in her path. Thank you, Friend, for sharing today with me.

written for me dear friend & soul mate: Sheree

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Today as I passed a church on the highway, I scrambled to write down the words on the marquis. Failure is a detour, not a dead end. I began to ponder these words, & suddenly my mind was flooded with thoughts. Sometimes I find it hard to keep up with my thoughts...

I visualized a mission trip my youth group took about 5 years ago. We had much rain (seems familiar). Our trip which normally took 5 hours, took about 9 hours. We had detour upon detour. Instead of staying on the main route, we ventured through many small towns.

As we passed through these little towns, we drove very slowly. People were out everywhere helping each other. One man was draining water from his yard across the street to his neighbor's yard. I didn't completely understand, but I could see they were in this "mess" together, helping one another out.

I remember even chatting with a few people along the way. They were putting their belongings out to dry & trying to salvage whatever they could. Yes... our detour almost doubled our travel time. However, I felt like what I saw along the way was history in the making. It told a story I could never have seen without the detour.

I've had a few detours in my life, & I've known others to take a few detours too. Some say cancer is a detour. Perhaps it's a broken relationship, a job loss, or a terrible mistake. Whatever the detour, there are sights to see along the way. Without the detour, these experiences would be lost.