Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Just as you are...

This morning, I was having a rare moment of relaxation on my couch. Not that relaxing is rare for me, but usually I am a "get up & go" kind of person. Every now & then, however, I like to plan a still morning on my couch. The winds began blowing; the lightening began to strike. Like many others, my poor husband had to run to his truck in pouring rain. Yes... a good morning to ponder life on my couch.

Something caught my eye on the Today Show: a photographer who photographs blemishes of women (I think especially women who have had children). By blemishes, I'm not talking about acne & such. No... I'm talking about saggy skin, stretch marks, & the like. She has taken the "things in life that are so disturbing" to many women & made them a beautiful part of life.

I sat on my couch stunned! I am very disturbed right now by my own body. It's taken a beating over the last year & 1/2.  Just being honest & real here. If you've followed my blog, you know I've had chemo, a double mastectomy, radiation, ... Now I'm on a medication which is causing me to gain weight. I'm also a mid lifer. Let's face it, my body is not the body I would like to have. I don't have the will power I once had. Add my vanity to this equation, & it's downright depressing.

My sweet family is quick to remind me when I lament... "At least you're not dead." That's not exactly comforting, but in a strange sort of way it is. It brings me back to knowing the truth. I am alive & well. I have so much joy. I have 3 young adult daughters & a husband who love me. I have a grand baby! I have friends overflowing, & of course, Otis & Bella. My life is fulfilled, sometimes over fulfilled.

Yet if I dwell on my body, I am depressed. However, this artistic photographer has taken these blemishes and given them meaning. She has photographed with such skill & beauty, that she has turned them into stunning badges of honor. The women wearing these badges are grateful women. They have much to show for their bulges, stretch marks, & saggy skin. They have weathered the unthinkable changes in their youthful bodies & come out on the bright side.

No... they don't have the bodies they once had. Instead, they have aging bodies. They have blemishes they once wished they could change, cover, hide, forget... When the segment was over, Matt Lower commented that this photographer had just relieved a lot of women. If he only knew. Perhaps some of their emotional turmoil will heal. It was like saying..."It's okay. You are beautiful just as you are."

Monday, June 24, 2013

We are misled.

Today was spent with a friend. We went to lunch & then walked down to The River Front. We haven't spent time together in ages. This friend always has a smile on her face. There's nothing we can't share. We always pick up where we've left off. Being with her is like a mini vacation. I almost took a raincheck this morning because I had a few things bothering me. Funny how the minute she got in my car, I forgot my troubles. By the end of our time, I felt like a new woman.

As I entered my home, I put my little worries back in the right perspective. They will surely pass & don't deserve to rob me of my joy. I got myself busy making Puppy Chow & of course, sneaking a taste now & then. It's put away safely in my freezer, ready for our vacation. Laundry is done. Supper cleaned up.  Time to rest. It's been a beautiful day. I feel refreshed.

One person cannot change the world, but one person can change another person's world. I believe that ministry has a domino effect. Our God is a God of multiplication, & His handiwork never ceases to amaze me. I love to hear a God story where God uses one person, who touches the life of another, who reaches out to someone else... You get the picture. Trusting God never returns void. I hope that I am a part of this chain. I want to be used in an eternal way, a way in which builds the kingdom of God.

I recently came across a post on FB which I cannot get out of my head. "We do not go to church. We are the church, & we are here for the world." I believe this statement with my whole heart. Clearly, believers are to care for one another (as my friend did for me today). However, what we do outside the walls of the church is at least equally important.  If our churches are not outward focused, I believe we are misled. Reaching others for Christ is messy. It takes courage, but I believe it's the greatest use of the believer's earthly life.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Little did I know...

Today was a simple day. I spent it with my best friend. We awoke to a dog who wanted to be fed and a kitty who just wanted affection. After we got the dog fed & out for a few minutes, we decided to have breakfast in bed. Yes... we spent our Saturday morning in bed drinking a Coke (me) & a Mountain Dew (him) with our breakfast bars. Probably not the healthiest start to a day, but I'm quite sure the fun made up for our bad choices.

Next on our agenda... taking in a movie. His choice. Just what we needed. After that, we stopped for a quick dinner & came home to relax & watch the Hawks. Today was a perfect day for me. I got to spend it with my favorite person, all day. It was a lazy day, but I think it was just what the doctor ordered. Just the 2 of us, enjoying each other's company. We haven't had a day like this in a long time.

Little did we know back in 1976 when we met, the ups & downs we would face. I remember my first defining moment... I was asked to a dance by another boy. I looked him in the eye & said, "I'm sorry. I'm waiting for someone else to ask me." How could I know that one small step would be one of the best decisions of my life? How could I know at 14 or 15 what I was choosing?

Fact is... no one can know. We cannot know how our own character will develop, let alone our mate's. I am grateful my husband fell in love with my heart. If someone or something is important to me, it becomes important to him. If I have a need, he meets it if he can. If I have a want, he fulfills it even if it isn't a need. He always has a listening ear. His advice is always sound.

I am thankful that we enjoy the simple things in life. Being together is enough. Anything added to that is frosting on the cake. We've had difficult days throughout our journey. We've had heart breaking days. We've faced the unknown. We've been hurt. But when I look back, I see how we've grown together through thick & thin. My respect for him is beyond the respect I have for any other person on this earth. Little did I know...

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Yesterday was quite a day! Waiting until 4:30 for surgery is not easy for me. I awoke jittery from the get-go. I didn't expect this, because I wasn't even dreading my surgery. Funny how the body can react physically even when the mind is unaware of the toll our circumstances are taking on us. My husband & I went out for breakfast since my pre op instructions said no food/drink 8 hours prior to surgery. Looking back, I am sure this was a good decision. I would have been more hypoglycemic than I was had I not eaten breakfast & had my ice tea. Being hypoglycemic on top of nervous is a sickly combination for me.

Of course... waiting for surgery is inevitable. The staff asks you the same set of questions 3 times that they already asked you twice on the phone. It's quite a list when you have my health history. After you get your blood pressure & other stats recorded, you are ready to go. However, you wait. I am thankful I like my doctor. He is worth the wait, & I credit him for my not dreading my surgery. He is not only skilled; he is always kind. That combination takes away my fear.

I don't think I'd be human if I didn't admit that going through days like yesterday reopen some of my past fears. I feel as though I have put so much behind me & moved on... Then... surgery day arrives, & somehow those old feelings creep right back into my brain & gnaw at me. I think perhaps this contributed to my jitteriness. I begin asking my husband questions like... Well... I don't really want to put them in writing. He doesn't give me "feel good" answers like he used to. We are both too in touch with reality to find any comfort in false security.

So here's what I enjoyed yesterday: a wonderful doctor whom I trust, a kind nurse when I awoke from surgery, & my sweet husband. The Snack Pack pudding was pretty good too. My husband took the whole day off because we thought my surgery would be earlier in the day. So... we got up early & went out for breakfast. I had one of my favorite items & some ice tea to jump start my day. We came home, & I went on a cooking spree so I'd have a few healthy things to eat over the next few days. The most taxing part of recovery for me is not being able to use my arms. I miss them.

Finally, the time for my surgery arrived. We waited, & we waited. That's expected. That's just how it goes. However, my husband randomly decided to serenade me by singing my favorite "Oldies." As I sat there in my gown all hooked up to my IV, he sang to me & tapped his foot to get the rhythm going. I was in my glory. His voice is such a comfort to me. I'd do it again today just to have him sing to me.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


In my last blog, I mentioned the hardships of others, but I did not elaborate. I believe it is only fair to tell my own stories, yet sometimes, I am so tempted to share the difficulties others face. My heart bleeds for them, & I wish I could do more. Of course, caring for others takes the focus off of your own troubles, & at the very least, puts them in perspective.

Tomorrow I head off for surgery for more reconstruction. I'm not really dreading it. I'm just sad it will keep me from my new grandson for a few days. It will hinder my lifting him for a few weeks. I'm beginning to wonder why on earth I scheduled this surgery so close to my grand baby's birth. I guess there is never a good time for surgery.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I got to spend my mom's 83rd birthday with her. We truly enjoyed our time together. We laughed on & off throughout the whole visit. When it came time for me to leave, she was more than teary eyed. Good-byes have always been hard for her. It seems the older she gets, the more pitiful our good-byes become.

About 10 minutes before our departure, my mother gave me her "Shirley Temple" doll.  Yes, on her birthday, she gave me a treasure! Needless to say, I was touched. It was hard for me to take her beloved doll, but I knew it was the right thing to do. After all, I can always take "Shirley" back if she is missed. It's hard for my mom to part with her treasures. Not only did she catch me off guard, she gave me something very meaningful.

My mother's trials are hard. As she moves into her current phase of life, so many things are out of control. Her uncertainties are too numerous to mention. Oh how I wish I could make her better. I wish I could dote on her every day. Our times together are too short & far between. Daily, I pray for her; I thank God for her.

It's time for me to go to bead, so I can face my surgery tomorrow. Recovery will take some time, but other than that, I should be fine. I must get up early so I can eat a lil something as my surgery isn't until much later in the day. Hopefully, all will go well. Someone dear to my heart is having an MRI tomorrow. My mind will be on her...