Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry & Bright (or not)

Over the last 5 years, I believe I have always taken time to write a Christmas blog. This beautiful season elicits so many memories. Even tho' it starts much earlier than it did in my childhood, it still goes too fast for me. Even tho' I am too old for Santa, I will always love him. I think grief often causes the depression that so many feel this time of year. That's not rocket science, but I think the reality of the hurting people around us needs to be noted at the very least.

The stress of this season on top of the stress people already feel is too much for some... the spending, the baking, Christmas programs, shopping, wrapping, Christmas cards, decorations, family gatherings (or no family to gather), losses, sickness, expectations (some filled with dread), & so much more. Add that to whatever a loved one is already going through, & it's a good recipe for emptiness, sadness, or anxiety.

Over the last few days, I have heard 2 loved ones say sad things about what they are feeling. One hates Christmas; the other just wants it to be over. It breaks my heart that what is meant to be a lovely time of year is in fact not lovely at all. The very first Christmas was filled with much hardship & stress. A teenage girl was told she would give birth to Our Savior. Problem was, she was not yet married & would be considered a disgrace to society. Her betrothed, Joseph, had to make a terrible decision. If he left her, who would do his job? Who would care for her? If he stayed with her, he would be a disgrace too.

God put in place proof for those who would seek. There was Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, who would give  birth to her son, John the Baptist, 3 months earlier than Mary would deliver Jesus in a dirty place with smelly animals & prickly straw.  He would prepare the way of the Lord in his adult life. There was the bright star in the East which would later lead the 3 wise men to Jesus. The Old Testament was filled with prophecies that would teach us much about the birth of Christ. With all the proof that existed, which is far more than what I just noted, there were still skeptics.

If you are struggling this Christmas, I encourage you to simplify. You don't have to accomplish everything on your list. I no longer send cards, & for the first time ever, I am not baking Christmas cookies. I asked a friend to help me wrap my gifts. I started the month feeling overwhelmed. Simplifying has relieved much stress. As for sadness, losses, the things that make us depressed at Christmas, I make sure to focus on the birth of Our Savior. I allow my mind to linger into areas of sadness, but I cannot resist thinking about the true & beautiful reason for this most wonderful (or most stressful) time of year.

Lastly, doing a kindness for another person or family warms the heart faster than any therapy I know. Be Santa for a struggling family. Shop for a child who has a parent(s) in prison. Help someone wrap their gifts. Bake someone fudge. Pay it forward in a drive-thru. Drop a bill or 2 in the Salvation Army bucket. Visit a nursing home & deliver pretty Christmas cards to the residents. Go caroling. Take a meal to a homeless person, or even a warm blanket, or a coat. Share the Christmas story with a child. Pray for someone. Make a list of all the good you can do, & then do the top 3. Clean someone's home. Do their laundry. Grocery shop for them. Help out at a soup kitchen. Babysit for free. Whatever you do, do it in the true Spirit of the season. See if it doesn't end up brightening your own Christmas too.

Monday, November 14, 2016

It happened again...

So... it just happened again. My eyes welled up with tears. That lump, there it was again, in my throat. I wasn't sure I heard the words I thought I heard. But... he continued. "No," I cried inside, "not these words!" When will I stop hearing them? I walked out to my car. I sat in my seat stunned. My husband was saying something to me, but I couldn't hear his words. No, I could only hear the words I didn't want to hear. I could only focus on those awful words. "Why, Lord? Why? I trust your sovereignty, I do. But, why? Why do I keep hearing these words that sting & burn to my very core. "

I don't have any answers to my heartbroken questions. I don't think this side of Heaven I ever will. I love my friends. Each one is so dear to my heart. When my friend hurts, I hurt. That's just who I am. I am unable to dismiss myself from the heartfelt tears my friends cry. It's that "c" word. You know, the one the plaques say cannot steal your faith, rob you of your joy, steal your memories, etc. It's the Little "c." You know, the one that  has no power over the Big "C."

Who's trying to kid who? Little "c" does rob you of your joy. It messes with your head. It sits in your throat bigger than the lump that manifests itself in my throat when I cry. It sits on my heart, heavier than the hurt I felt after my double mastectomy. Little "c" knows no bounds. It does not respect age, size, gender, class, smarts, or anything else. Little "c" disturbs faith. Little "c" wreaks havoc on relationships. Little "c" makes pretenders out of people.

Little "c" is random. People try to second guess Little "c," but being unpredictable is part of Little "c's" act. Some people think Little "c" does its damage & walks away, over, forever. That is not usually the case. Little "c" loves to haunt its victims. Little "c" loves to hang around long after the surgery & treatment end.

Once Little "c" makes itself known, confusion follows. Tears well up. The victim is vulnerable. Isolation often ensues. Bewilderment sets in. It's those words. It's that look in the doctor's eyes. It's watching your mate throw up his heart. It's ache. The pain varies from one family member to another, but suffering is the new mode. Nerves are fried like hairs on the head after a bad perm.

So... I heard those painful words again, not for myself but for my friend. I heard those words for a mommy. I heard them for someone near my age. I heard them for my cousin. I heard them for a homemaker. I even heard them for my husband's friend. Those words, those words have taken 2 of my friends. Those words are banging at the door of 2 of my friends now, threatening their lives. I don't like those words. If I never hear them again, that would be too soon. Those words torment. They stain, & they scar.

Written for:  My Friend

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How many of us prefer to cry alone?

It's October, & just about everybody knows it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Some people resent the PINK, & others think it's all about the image of the stores & products that participate. Those who have other cancers aren't jealous. No, they don't want breast cancer, they just can't help but wonder why breast cancer gets so much attention when they are suffering too. As for me, I would be fine if it were just Cancer Awareness Month. All cancers potentially change life. I have dear friends journeying this journey with other terrible cancers.

As far as Breast Cancer goes, I have too many friends with Breast Cancer. The total far outnumbers my friends with other cancers by at least a 3:1 ratio, not including the friends I have made through the support group I attend at the Susan G. Komen Memorial Affiliate. Recently, I opened up my Face Book while sitting in my car alone. Suddenly, there I was sobbing, all by myself. Yes that is how I prefer to sob, all by myself.

I have a friend, a young mom. She has 4 grade school daughters. Her Face Book post was about finding her daughter in her room crying. You see, Mama is having surgery tomorrow. The little girl is filled with fear & anxiety. Mama has Breast Cancer. She has known for about a month, but it took time to put as many pieces of her story together as possible. Her day has finally arrived, & her little girl was crying alone in her bedroom. How many of us prefer to cry alone?

What goes through the minds of those effected by Breast Cancer? Probably very much the same thoughts & feelings that occur with other cancers. Fear & Anxiety are likely the most prevalent feelings. The unknowns & the scary words, big words, strange words, words that sound like foreign language. Confusion is also prevalent. For those of us who don't like to wait, we might as well get over that. Waiting will be a part of the Survivors' life (likely forever). I do not wait well, so this part of the journey is unnerving to me.

Specific to Breast Cancer, concerns about losing a part of our femininity seldom escapes us if we are  women. If we are BrCa positive, it opens up a whole new mess. It means we are a carrier of the Breast Cancer gene. The treatments for Breast Cancer depend on each unique case, how aggressive the cancer is, the size of the tumor, the location, the lymph node count, is the cancer hormone positive, is the tumor incapsulated, …

So many decisions must be made. Double Mastectomy verses Lumpectomy, Chemotherapy, Radiation, the order of these treatments, how to tell our family, our friends, what to tell them, etc. Who will be a caregiver, or will it be a multitude of loved ones? Do I put my life on hold or attempt to carry on as I face this nightmare How will my marriage,  my friendships, my children, my mother, my siblings, my husband be effected? Will my Breast Cancer have a recurrence? What is my rate of Survival?  How am I going to get through this? Should I get a second opinion? Should I go with a Holistic Approach? What about immunotherapy? And… will I lose my HAIR? Will I die.

Tough questions, right? It's only by the GRACE of God that I am a SURVIVOR! Occasionally, 5 years out, I am still thrown curves. All Survivors are, especially in the first year. I discovered new details about my original case 8 months out. New research evolves, & so my plan for survival is adjusted. My Plastic Surgeon thinks I need more reconstructive surgery. So… life goes on (with or without me). My life stoppered on August 14th, 2011. It takes time, will, & grace (God's grace) to learn to live life to the full in spite of circumstances. My life is a testimony to that, especially given the fact that I haven't known a day without anxiety since I was 10 years old.

One last remark…Friends, Prayers, & Loved Ones have carried me through each day of my life since my diagnosis. Without them, I don't know where I would be.

Monday, October 10, 2016


What makes us who we are? Is it the clothes we wear? I know a respected woman who once said that our clothes say much about who we are. Is it what we eat? We've all heard the old adage, "We are what we eat." Perhaps it's who we hang with? Remember teaching our children or being told that we are no better than the company we keep. Maybe it's our career. Clearly, our chosen path is a part of our identity. What about the words that come from our heart?

Hmmnnn… A wise person once wrote , " What overflows in the heart is what comes from the mouth." So if what comes from my mouth reflects what's in my heart, I think my words are a good measure of my heart. In last night's debate, Trump seemed to excuse his lewd remarks at age 59 as "just words, locker room words." When asked if he ever acted on those vulgar words, he replied "no" emphatically. Who, of us, hasn't said words in the past that were regrettable? I don't know a soul on earth that hasn't wished (at least once in their life time) that they could recant their words. We can apologize for our words, but we cannot take them back. We can tell someone we are sorry, but we cannot make that person forget the sting or the damage of our words. 

So if we are all guilty of messing up & saying wrong things, why is it so hard to excuse his words that were said over a decade ago? 10 years is a LONG time to hold a person's words over his head. But… as Hillary pointed out, his words do reflect his heart. As we've tuned into his life over the last decade, it seems to repeatedly have issues which prove numerous times that those awful words caught on tape are a problem for him. They are a reflection of something very ugly in his heart.

Now… back to Hillary. What about her character? Well… over the long haul, she seems to have a problem with lying. If she were Pinocchio, just how long would her nose be? She conveniently lies with ease, & I don't believe I have ever heard her apologize for her deceit. She has apologized for some of her actions, but not her deceit. Scary thing is, her deceit is hidden. It takes a whole team, a whole lot of money, & a wealth of time to prove her deceit. The result, she apologizes for what she did, she even refers to it as a mistake, but she never acknowledges her problem with not telling the truth. 

Hillary seems to choose her words more carefully than her opponent. She seems more concerned with her image than Trump, but she just cannot seem to get away from  her dishonesty. Her actions seem to conflict at times. She has done some wonderful things for children, but in the name of womens' rights, how many children (babies) have been suctioned piece by piece from their mothers' wombs, never seeing the light of day? She says she cares about our soldiers, but how many soldiers lost their lives because at 3am, she did nothing. Her words & actions just don't line up.

So… last night, what would have been the outcome of the debate if the opponents had been hooked up to lie detectors? Would we have even had a debate? Sadly, our presidential candidates both seem to have character flaws that just won't go away. These flaws do reflect their hearts. They cannot hide their flaws because they are a part of their character. You see these flaws show up not only in their words, but in their body language, how they carry themselves, & by what is revealed from behind the scenes. It is devastating for our country, but these flaws cannot be ignored. Yes, to some degree, we have all been guilty of dishonesty & poor choices of words. 

However, there is this little God given thing called conscience. How do people live with themselves? How do they look at their reflection in the mirror, evaluate their flaws, face the American people, take each other on with little remorse for their own words & actions? In fact, if not caught, my guess is, there would be no remorse at all. Do either of these candidates genuinely have remorse, or are they just caught?" If a person wants to change his/her flaws, the heart must be examined. The change must be a heart change. As the heart changes, the words & actions change to match the heart. I cannot say I see a heart change in either candidate.

Monday, September 5, 2016

A Right of Passage

Five years ago, I was a different person. In some ways, I was never so vulnerable as I was in September of 2011. I was receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer, but I truly had no idea that my life would be forever changed. I must have had an inkling because when my friend suggested I would find a new normal, I remember thinking, "My life is so far from normal, it will never feel like any kind of normal again." I almost resented her for saying that.

As all cancer patients, I did the only thing I could do; I took one day at a time. I lived in fear. I awakened every morning with a heaviness in my heart & a lump in my throat. It was as if even in my sleep, I couldn't get away from this awful thing that happened to me. My life seemingly came to a halt while the lives of others kept happening. I was consumed by my diagnosis; yet it was surreal at the same time (as if I were looking in the mirror, but I didn't recognize my own reflection). The person I saw in the mirror lived in emotional pain, a pain that would not go away.

As I faced each day, my mind was on overdrive. I remained thankful for the good things in my life, but little did I know the surprises that were waiting around the corner. I remember thinking that if I made it to the 5 year mark, my odds would significantly improve. My rate of recurrence would decrease. BUT research changed that little fact. No longer would that be true. My kind of cancer was removed from that category. My odds would remain the same.

So… here I am at this 5 year mark. Wow! I made it! My odds may not be any better than they were 5 years ago, but I believe my odds are better. It's just a feeling. It has no basis. I just feel like I've made it this far, & I am on a roll. I believe I have much life left to live & live it well. As I mentioned, in spite of my sad state, in spite of the fact that my life had halted, some surprises awaited me. These surprises were not anything I could imagine. I don't know why, but I just had no idea what would come my way & the great impact it would have on me.

God not only allowed me to live, to face a tornado, to lose my beloved mother, to walk this cancer journey which emotionally felt like Hell… He kept me alive & gave me 2 grandchildren. I had no idea the unspeakable joy these 2 little darlings would bring me. I didn't know that they would be my breath of fresh air. I didn't know that my healing would come through their unconditional love. I didn't know that they would be my sunshine. They would be the faces I would picture every time my blood pressure was taken. They would be my escape from that heavy heart & lump in my throat.

So… I made it to my right of passage. I never really imagined I would or wouldn't. I just kept facing each day as I could. I have lost much over the last 5 years, perhaps more than I ever imagined. BUT, in my losses also came my gain. Who knows where I would be if cancer never happened to me? I know my life would be in a different place. I cannot imagine where I would be today without my little grand babies. I think God wrapped them up , one with a satin blue ribbon & the other with pink. They came to my heavy heart labeled "Special Delivery." I am here. I am grateful.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Yesterday was a disappointing day for me. Perhaps I am naive, but I just cannot wrap my head around the ability of a person to repeatedly look another human being in the face & lie. It isn't that I didn't see it coming. I did. It isn't that I was going to vote for her. I was undecided. I have problems embracing her opponent. I can't vote for him either.

She had to know she would get caught. Is she that driven to become president that she had to lie about something that she knew would be found out & made public? There are so many things wrong with this, I can't even… Why does she think she is above the rules other human beings must follow? What else has she so convincingly lied about? Does she truly care about education or anything else she claims? Who the heck knows?

Her character is her problem. I believe she will say whatever she needs to say to accomplish her lifelong goal. And… we must ask? What about her judgement? Her judgement about her private emails, her judgment about thinking she is above the law, her judgement about lying when she knew she'd eventually have to face the consequences of her lies. Her judgement to send classified information through private emails is clearly beyond poor. I'm not the smartest fish in the sea, but I believe even I would have known better.

She put our beautiful country at risk so many times in so many ways on so many levels. Poor judgement. Selfish. Uncaring. Neglectful. Stupid. I am sure my list is incomplete. I have always wondered if her agenda was for her country or  herself. Yesterday, that question was answered once & for all, & my suspicions were confirmed.

The next problem occurs because our current president is not only endorsing her, he is campaigning with her & for her. How does he sleep at night? He is no better than she is if he endorses her dishonesty & poor judgement.  Is he so personally disgusted with the attacks of her opponent on himself that he can't see beyond that? He is condoning her blatant lies. He is condoning her bad judgement. He is condoning someone who knowingly put our country at risk. What is wrong with him?

Lastly, why does she walk away from this with no penalty? Others in government have rotted in prison for lesser crimes. Yet, she walks away unscathed & continues campaigning that very day. Her character is not unscathed, but many seem to be capable of overlooking that. So what are they voting for? Nobody really knows who she is. Just a bag of lies who will do anything to promote herself. Should someone who puts herself above all others & the laws of the land hold the highest office of the land?

Our country is in a fix! We have 2 candidates with severe character issues. The highest office of the land demands honesty, authenticity, self sacrifice, good judgement, self discipline, humility, someone who doesn't play games with peoples' minds, & an earnest compassion for all people.  We need someone who can & will protect the land that we love. As terrorism reaches an all time high in our country, we have no candidate with Godly character & a sound mind. Pray tell, what are we going to do?

Monday, June 13, 2016

In the blink...

What happens in the blink of an eye can become a moment which forever defines a life. A few defining moments took place on June 12, 2016. These moments have already forever changed lives. The impact will ring through the ears of the victims and their family members & friends for eternity. Time froze, & most of us, will never be the same.

As I glued my eyes & heart to CNN, I watched in horror. It was just 7am, & the news I was absorbing was incomprehensible.
"Was it terrorism? Was it a hate crime? Maybe it was both. Well, really... What's the difference? Hate & terrorism are 1 in the same." All of these moments were sad, but for me, the saddest moment involved a young man. 

He had blond hair, & he was so choked up, he had trouble getting his words out. He had lost the best friend he ever had. The nightmare began. "Was it the music? No, it was gun shots!" The 2 friends started out the door, one behind the other. The blond guy was first. When he looked
back, his friend wasn't there. "What? Where was he?" Now hours had gone by, & the tearful young man had no word from the best friend he ever had. As he sniffled & cried, he said, "I guess in a situation like this, you do what you have to do?"

But, now he was second guessing himself. "Where was his friend? Why hadn't he heard from him?" He hadn't gotten to the fact that a hate crime had been committed. I'm not sure if he knew the shots came from the gun of a terrorist who was on the FBI Watch List. No... He was just heartbroken & confused. 

As I watched him on my TV, I began to tremble. My eyes welled up. I was already shaken from the News. As the day went on, the awful truth slowly began to unravel. TERRORISM. HATE. LGBT. Those were the 3 words I kept hearing. I saw broken, hurting faces. I saw people. I didn't see LGBT. No, I heard TERRORISM. I heard HATE. I saw people who genuinely hurt . These hurting souls I saw may have been LGBT, but not to me. That didn't matter. They were people who hurt just like you & me. They needed comfort, not judgement, not silence... just comfort.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Today, something beautiful happened! My nephew & his wife had a baby boy. This beautiful lil boy is the fifth great grandchild of my parents. If my parents were alive to see this day, I know they would have overwhelming joy. I am sure they are rejoicing in Heaven. What a legacy! Five precious grandchildren all under the age of three.  All because two people fell in love.

I look at the gene pool. It's always amazing to see what traits are passed along through the generations. Some skip a generation while others skip all generations. My parents were a beautiful mix (most days).  My mom was a musician, a poet, & an artist. She had pretty blue eyes. She was on the small side. My dad was tall & brawny, at least that's how I saw him as a little girl. He was a teacher. He loved to farm & took great pride in the vegetables he grew. He was a servant & a character. He was an honest man & made my brothers laugh without even trying.

My mother loved being a spur of the moment kind of girl. She loved having friends drop in unannounced. Sitting on her porch was her favorite past time. Her parents were from Georgia, & she loved her heritage. She adored each of her 10 grandchildren & cared very much about watching them grow up. She took time to enjoy each one of them & loved them unconditionally. She had a fun sense of humor & tried not to take life too seriously.

My Dad took us camping. He even chopped the wood. He was a fisherman. He loved a good fish fry & made the best hushpuppies in the state of Illinois. He pounded stakes in the ground to tie up his tomatoes as if he were building a house. He did a lot of things Dad's didn't do in his day. He took his kids to buy the family dog. He took us to the doctor, the dentist, & to buy new shoes. He bought a fresh Christmas tree every year, knowing full well my mom would not be happy with it. Still, he gave it his all, strung up the lights, & then listened to her complain.

As we grew into adulthood & began to have babes of our own, something terribly sad happened. My dad became ill with cancer. I remember one day, my mom sitting in her Sunday School classroom shedding tears because she feared he would not see his grandchildren grow up. He didn't, but in spite of that, his spirit lived on in us, & his impact was huge in their lives.

So… on this very beautiful day, I reminisce. I wonder… "Will this little boy born today be a fisherman? Will he be musical, or perhaps he'll be a farmer?" And, what about my pretty little niece that was born a few weeks ago? "Will she be an artist? Maybe she will be a servant." I hope she has my mother's sense of humor. As I go down the line through each of her grandchildren, it's easy to see how the gene pool of my parents inevitably showed up in each one of them. A promise that it will show up again in this new generation.

The great grand children are all quite small. It's exciting to see their little personalities develop.  I see the sparkle in my mother's eyes in the eyes of my grandchildren. I have much hope that her spontaneous spirit & her sense of humor will shine brightly in their lives. My grandson swims like a fish. Once the neighborhood pool opened up for lap swim, my mom swam rain or shine. It's hard to imagine just how this gene pool will show itself, but it will. And, in so doing, my parents legacy will live on in these bright & beautiful great grand children.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Are you listening?

Our world is a scary place. Anyone who denies that is in denial. All you have to do is watch the news to know that there is really no safe place to be any more. Our country has been infiltrated by terrorism & even managed to raise its own terrorists. What makes a terrorist whether home grown or from afar?

As I listen to the motivation of young people leaving their homes to join terrorist groups and study why people become bullies, the most common thread I can find is lack of belonging. I believe Dr James Dobson was on to this years ago when he said the reason young people suffer from peer pressure, anorexia, suicide, & all sorts of issues is because they lack self esteem.

Let's think about this for a minute. Not belonging ='s low self esteem. Can low self esteem be so powerful that it could cause a young man to leave his home just for a sense of belonging. Could lack of self esteem be what caused Dylan Clebold & Eric Harris to cause a bloody massacre in their Columbine High School?

What caused people to sign on for committing their own suicide as they crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11? What causes serial killers to commit atrocities as they take people down, usually 1 child at a time, or 1 woman at a time. How is it that some people grow up with so little sense of value for life, not only the life of others' but their own?

Perhaps they never felt valued as children. That is one possibility but some of the young men who left their families in Brussels to join terrorists left good homes with caring parents. In fact, to their parents' knowledge, they showed no signs of distress prior to their leaving. Their families were left in shock with utter despair.

In addition to these observations, I have one last thought or possibility. It's accountability. Teens need accountability. They need help processing our world. If they didn't grow up in war torn places or weren't kidnapped into violence at young ages, if they came from a loving home, if their parents had no idea they were up to something unspeakable, what's left to conclude? ACCOUNTABILITY.

Keep tabs on your children. Spend time with them.  Quantity matters as well as quality. Move your focus from your technology, stop multi tasking, & pay attention to your child. If both the parent & the child can't agree on it, the child can't wear it. Who is your child with? Where is your child? How much access does your child have to technology? When is the last time you snooped? Have you checked their text messages lately? Have you given your child & friends a ride to an event? What is the conversation you heard? Are you listening?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Worth of Your Fear

What is the worth of your fear? If you could trade it in for peace or joy or a sense of security, would you? BUT… what if there were a COST that came with your trade? Would you still make the trade?
Sorry for all the questions, but I believe their answers are worth contemplating…

I have never paid much attention to Donald Trump until last summer. I've never watched The Celebrity Apprentice. I've never stayed in a Trump Hotel. I've never cared about his wealth, his marriages, or his personality. He just really didn't matter to me. If it weren't for his hair, I wouldn't even have put a name with his face.

Last July, my ears began to perk up when I heard some of his words. I believe that what comes from the mouth is what's overflowing in the heart. I think it's fair to say that your words are a good representation of the the real you. As we consider the words that have been uttered time & again by this presidential candidate, I think it's a MUST that we sort them out.

As we do this, we must evaluate where we stand… The trade off for our fear is BULLYING & BIGOTRY if we vote for Trump. I've heard it said by an elderly man being interviewed, that Trump's ego knows NO limits. Looking to our older generation is always hind sight. After all, that generation has the most experience in life. They have more wisdom & a greater ability to put the pieces together than the younger generations.

The danger of an ego that must be satisfied is in how the man with the ego prioritizes. His ego will always be his first priority. His character matters. It will determine his decisions, his words, his actions. Being president means making decisions of unimaginable magnitude. His decisions will impact not only our country but our world (obviously).

So… he's elected. After all, his so called success as a businessman qualifies him to be president. Let's pretend he builds his wall, & Mexico even pays for it. If we've lived through a few presidential elections, we know that it's highly unlikely that the candidates' promises are fulfilled.

Let's wake up! It's too late for the wall. It may bring a false security, but at best, that's all it will bring. Terrorists have infiltrated our world, & I don't believe a wall will protect us. It will just serve as a way to monitor the influx of immigrants. At one point I believe he was encouraging war crimes, killing the families of terrorists, & breaking up the families of immigrants. If we make our decisions without putting a name or a face on these innocent victims, it's easier to kill the terrorists families. (They kill innocent people all the time). It's easier to break up the families of immigrants. (They're here illegally, & that is what they deserve).

What person do you want to be? The one who trades in his fear for false security, for bullying, for bigotry, for hurting innocent people (including children). The one who says "I'm fed up with politics, so I'll vote for something even worse." The Bible has a lot to say about fear. I don't believe God ever says to trade our fear in for evil. It's like dealing with the Devil. If you don't think it through, it may seem appealing. You may even be able to justify it in your mind. However, once the deal is made, we will reap what we sew.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (or women) to do nothing" (Edmund Burke).  I believe that everybody has the right to their own opinion about life. I am not mad at others for their beliefs. Sometimes, however, I cannot help but wonder how they arrived at their conclusions. Just out of sheer curiosity, if nothing else. I love conversation with people who have differing opinions. I think it's a true sign of friendship when you can lovingly discuss your differences & still love each other.

I want to share a little story… Sometimes you have no way of knowing how a person feels until you wear their shoes. As a cancer survivor, I suffer with longterm effects of chemo therapy. When I share my suffering with one of my doctors & ask for her input, the best I get is, "At least you're alive." Those 4 words may be true. In fact, they are true. However, they are not the least bit comforting. They even incite a bit of anger in my generally non angry person. I believe these words minimize my suffering. I am grateful to be alive. I thank this doctor for saving my life. However, I want her to listen to me & help me. I don't want her to dismiss my troubles with, "At least you're alive."

Now, let's talk about the issue at hand. My Dad whom I love dearly, used to say, "Do right, be right & everything will be alright." I wish this statement were true. Everything is not alright in this world, & everything is certainly not alright in my life. I have spent my life trying to do right, & still I have hardships that others don't have. My Dad spent his life trying to do right, & he died of lung cancer. Many people try to make a difference in this world, but it doesn't make everything right. In fact, sometimes they lose their life for a cause. Sometimes they lose the respect of others who think they are crazy or misinformed.

Truth is… our world is full of social  injustices whether we are aware of them or not. Just because we have managed to create a good life for ourselves does not mean that others aren't suffering. If we pretend that people in this world aren't hurting, that does not change the fact that people are hurting. If we ignore their cries for help or minimize their suffering, that does nothing. If we say they brought their troubles on themselves, that may be true or not, but then we must ask the question,"Why did they bring harm on themselves?" Always, there is a reason.

Our world is full of prejudices, but until we walk in another man's shoes, we have no idea. Since cancer, I have experienced some odd looks & received some hurtful comments from well meaning people. They just have no idea. So… if you don't want to "dig in" & love hurting people, maybe that is not your calling. Maybe you could pray for them. Maybe you could donate to a cause which reaches out to them. But please, at least open your yes, look outside the world you were blessed enough to create at this time in your life, & admit that people hurt. Everyone is not in a good place, & most likely, the root of their hardships is not their own doing. And please, don't slam another person for caring.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Once upon a time, there was a little family. The Daddy & Mommy were Nathan & Heather. There was a boy named Jude, a boy named Charlie, & a toddler named Ruth. Nathan & Heather loved the Lord. They believed strongly in authenticity & allowed people to see through the cracks in their lives. Nathan wrote lyrics to songs. His songs had a purpose. His songs were real. Not only were they meaningful, they were beautiful. I believe his hope was that God would use his music to impact the lives of others. Nathan shared his story.

One day, Nathan & Heather received unexpected news. God was giving them a fourth child. I think they were happy stunned. As Heather's pregnancy progressed, sad news came to her & Nathan. Their little baby girl had Trisomy 18, a condition incompatible with life. Their hearts were broken. If their baby made it to term, they didn't expect her to live even a few hours. They sought the Lord and quickly realized that this story, Olivia's story, was to be shared with all who subscribed to their beautiful music, with all who followed them on Facebook, with all who knew them. It was a sad story, so sharing it would be difficult. Living it was even harder.

As they turned their hearts toward God, Heather began knitting a very delicate & detailed dress for her baby girl. One stitch at a time, she made the most beautiful dress in the world for her tiny daughter. It was soft, it was pretty, it was heartfelt. It was  custom made for their little doll. In the meantime, Nathan put his all into their music & realized God had already given him Olivia's song. That shouldn't surprise us because God knew they would need a special song for Olivia. After all, they were committed to sharing her precious, yet fragile story.

On the day Olivia was born, a very special photographer was present to capture Olivia's first & quite possibly, her only moments. Olivia lived a few moments, a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, then months, & then 1 year. Each day, each 24 hour day, her mama nursed her around the clock. They had a Hospice nurse who visited regularly & helped them learn to care for their delicate daughter. She helped them manage their expectations, to take each day of Olivia's life for what it was, another beautiful day. Olivia's needs were many. Few parents (if any) would have cared for this little angel as Nathan & Heather did. They lived each day of Olivia's life with utter exhaustion, but they never regretted one moment of caring for their tiny gift.

As each day passed, & Olivia was given one more breath, life continued to happen (as it always does). Jude, Charlie, & Ruthie had birthdays. They had the flu. Jude & Charlie had homework.  They had their own heartaches. Nathan & Heather reached out to their community of friends. They needed help, & people came through for them. I don't know how they kept their sanity & cared for Olivia, let alone her siblings. Sometimes Ruthie created artwork on the walls, artwork that only a toddler can do. Her parents tried to maintain their composure, their sense of humor, their sanity, & their desire to live for Christ. Any person who was blessed to witness this story grew as a human being as Olivia's story unfolded.

Olivia reached many milestones that never should have come to pass. She grew. She laughed. She held her head up. She even learned to drink from a cup. Her siblings loved her. Their lives will be forever change by this little sweetie. Her parents will never be the same. Their loss is immense. Olivia is what they did for 14 miraculous months & 4 days. And… now she is gone. The Lord took this little darling Home as she rested in her favorite place, her mama's arms.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hormones & Quirks

I never knew how much I liked teen agers until I became a youth leader. In fact, I think as  a young adult I was intimidated by them. I kind of grew into my comfort zone with them as my own children  went through their teen years. God has given me such a heart for teens, my heart breaks for them in today's world.

When I first began working with them, it was a small intimate group of kids that pretty much knew each other since their nursery days in the church. I cared about each of them personally. For the most part, I  watched them grow up. As the group grew, so did my world. I became more aware of their troubled hearts & the things that slap them in the face.

Some of them came from your so called "typical family," but lets be honest, most of them didn't. Few kids in today's world live a life with their same 2 parents & grow into their teen years with the security that comes with 2 parents that have a life long love & commitment to each other. However, it seems that in today's world, the best parents can have teens that go astray, & the non present parents may have teens which soar. The "nontraditional family" has raised some pretty awesome teens too. Sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason. It's just hormones & quirks.

We are all wired differently. That's not rocket science. So… it's what we do with what comes our way that sometimes determines the outcome. Sometimes the outcome is awful, so how do we respond to awful? How does a teen respond to overwhelming conditions that are out of their control & so far from what they would choose? Sometimes their life really sucks, & they need someone to help them process their anger & heartaches.

Being the wise old woman that I am (LOL), I must say based on my observations throughout my life, it's when teens try to solve their own problems or process their own depression, anger, etc… that their lives often take a turn for the worse. Just last night, I learned of a struggle of one of the teens in my youth group. I looked back on those years, probably 8 ish  years ago, & I had no idea this young person was suffering. Teens are masters at covering their heartache! They are masters at internalizing their pain & expressing it in harmful ways that pretty much sabotage their own lives.

Lately I've been aware of some pretty hard slaps in the face of teens I love. I sit here wondering why these slaps had to be so harsh. Why do they have to endure such pain? Why is it so hard to be a teen in today's culture? We can blame technology for much of it, but in the case of these few teens I mention, technology had nothing to do with what hit them square in the face. My heart weeps for them. I just needed to get this off my chest!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Why I raise money for Susan G. Komen...

It seems to me that when you step up to raise money for a cause, your motivation will impact your results. A little bit of conviction goes a long way. It drives your campaign (so to speak).

You may ask… "What's my motivation?"  That's an easy answer. Jamie, Haley, Kristen, & now my 2  year old grand daughter, Lily. I'm a family girl. Nothing in my world would bring me greater heartache than having to walk this Breast Cancer journey with one of my precious daughters or my blond & blue eyed grand daughter. It's hard for me to think about, let alone speak of such a horror.

Early on in my Breast Cancer journey, I asked Kitty, one of the counselors at The Cancer Center, how I would deal with my greatest fear. Her answer was simple, "A piece of your heart would die." I knew she hit the nail on the head!

I ask myself… "How can I save my daughters & my darling grand daughter from this atrocity?" My answer is simple. RESEARCH! Susan G. Komen's name is stamped on all of the great strides that have been made in this dignity stealing disease.

Resesarch done by Susan G. Komen saved my life. My aggressive Breast Cancer was HER2NEW positive. It was ESTROGEN positive. It was Stage 3. It paralyzed me in every aspect of my life. I couldn't say the 3 words, "I. have. cancer," for a year. I couldn't even talk to my closest friend for a month (even tho' she was with me when I received my diagnosis). Susan G. Komen had my back! Because of her research, there was treatment for my cancer. I am eternally grateful for Susan G. Komen. I am so grateful I even named my cat BELLA G. KOMEN !

I try not to dwell on the negatives in my life, but I  must be honest & transparent so that you understand my motivation. 7 months prior to my diagnosis, I had a clean mammogram. My husband found my lump. I thought it was surely a seam on my pajama pocket, but as fear began to run through my body like electricity, I realized that my pajamas had no pocket. It was a lump.

Breast Cancer has robbed me of much! I had chemo. I had a double mastectomy. I had radiation. Radiation is the gift that keeps on giving. It continues to shrink the skin on my left side which causes my breast to be hard & now about 2 " higher than the other side. This gift has no end in sight. My Double Mastectomy makes me feel as though I am wearing a Bra under my skin 24/7. Lastly, my chemo caused a neuromuscular disease I already had to go into full progression. It is a painful & crippling disease that robs me of my strength & stamina. There is no cure for it. There is NO end in sight. It will continue to progress.

My Team, Team Sweet Potatas, raised just over $10,000 for Susan G. Komen's Race for The Cure last year by using Facebook alone & a few emails sent to family members who are not on Facebook. 2 local businesses (The Ice Cream Shack of Sunnyland & Maria's: A Great Place to Eat in Washington) offered to put coffee cans out for me. My approach to posting on FB was not rocket science. I posted almost daily. I shared bits & pieces of my story. I shared photos & posts made for FB. I used the facts about Breast Cancer provided by Susan G. Komen. I kept it personal. You could say, I dogged people. Each donation is significant. Each donation helps save a life. I am SO humbled that my life was saved by the fundraisers who went before me. They never knew me. I will never know most of them. Some of them are no longer with us. Their work saved me. Because of them, I get to hold my Grand Babies, & believe me, their kisses are the best medicine I know.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Will you marry me?

In today's culture in our country, quite a big deal is made of asking a girl to Prom. It doesn't seem that a guy can just ask a girl to Prom anymore. No… he has to be creative & romantic, & think of a clever one-of-a-kind way to ask a girl to Prom. I cannot imagine the pressure this puts on the young man. Maybe I got it wrong, & all of this ingenuity is not necessary. Maybe a guy can just ask a girl to prom?

What about a wedding? Can a man simply ask a young woman to marry him or does he need to be creative & romantic? Dose he need his own one-of-a-kind way to ask a woman to be his wife? Again, in our country, it seems that a man doesn't just ask a woman to marry him. He has to make it an event. It needs to have an element of surprise. Romance is good. A photographer on hand is also good; however, this may detract from the private moment (unless, of course, the proposal occurs in the presence of others).

You get where I'm going with this. It take a whole lot of preparation to pop the question. What does it take to survive planning a marriage, the wedding, & then live happily ever after? I cannot answer this question. I married fresh out of college. I married my high school sweetheart. Yes, I dated a few other guys, but dating them only made me more certain of the guy who wanted to put a ring on my finger.

Now, married almost 32 years, I can honestly say that even though I married a guy I dated for 7 years, & even though I came from 2 parents that modeled true love, I really didn't have a clue as to what I was doing. I could barely boil water let alone fix a meal. I could clean, but could I work, clean, & cook a meal? NO! I didn't know the day I got married that we would have 3 beautiful daughters. I had 2 brothers, but honestly, I was relieved to have girls. I felt I knew them better.

The day he popped the question, I didn't know some of the sorrows we would face on our journey. I didn't know the heartache of losing my own parents. Having breast cancer & losing my home to a tornado a few years later was no where on my radar. No… that day he looked into my eyes & asked me to marry him, neither he or I had any thought of what the future would hold. Nobody does.

Life was a little simper then. No internet. I just knew we belonged together. I knew that I rested best in the crook of his arm. I knew pizza tasted best in his presence. Tobogganing wasn't the same without him. He didn't care that I had 2 left feet. It didn't matter to him that I couldn't catch a ball or win a race. No… he just pure & simply loved me, & I loved him back.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

In the quiet...

In the quiet, the snow falls, my dog sleeps, the fire burns, & I ponder. I think about life and process so many seemingly insignificant things & of course, some of the things in life that truly seem to matter. I consider myself to have a deep relationship with Jesus. I asked Him into my heart at such a young age, I cannot pin it down to a certain date. I just remember singing "Jesus Loves Me" at the age of 3 & believing it. It really was that simple for me. So… I tend to see things through His eyes, or at least, I strive for that. I say this only so my readers of this particular blog may know from whence I come.

I want a heart for Christ. That means I want my heart to break for the things that break His heart. That's a heavy burden to bear because in our world, there is much to break His heart. These are the things I ponder in the quiet moments of my life. Lately, with  my increasing inability to overexert myself, I have more quiet moments than most people my age & certainly more than I have been accustomed to. As I rest to regain my energy, I wonder how God can use me with my new circumstances. I believe this blog  perhaps qualifies…

Lately, I have been humbled by many articles I have read about the crisis at Wheaton College with Professor Hawkins. When I read these articles, I usually have to look up the meaning of at least 3 words. The good news is, I am increasing my somewhat limited vocabulary, but I am also calling into question if I should be even writing a blog at all. Just to be honest, my blogs come from my heart, not from being gifted in the area of intelligence. I am not.

BUT, as I sit in my quiet, looking up words & trying to make 2 cents of this situation at Wheaton, my heart for Christ cries. It is sad & broken for this woman. Her motive in wearing a hijab was to show solidarity with Muslims (especially women) who are being despised & rejected by our society (PERIOD). I believe the college should be thankful to have such a caring professor. I believe this is the heart of Jesus, to care for the lonely. His earthly life showed this pattern over & over.

Instead of appreciating this woman's heart for these Muslim women & her self sacrifice, the college chooses to focus on theology. While theology has its place, & clearly it does not reside in my chemo brain, my throat has a lump in it, my heart is broken for this woman, & I'd like to shake the "Powers at BE" at Wheaton, & say,"Wake up! This woman is the kind of person you should be proud to have on staff. She has a heart for Christ, & she is bold enough to follow His calling & reach out to the persecuted." So I beg… "Please Wheaton, wake up! You are missing the point. Be ashamed. Don't fire her. Embrace her."