Monday, August 31, 2009

Broken But Still Valued

I dragged myself into MD Anderson for radiation. I really thought radiation would be a breeze after chemo, but I find myself totally exhausted. I was already looking forward to going home for a nap. I looked across the street at the hospital where I worked and longed for the days when I went into work at 5:30 am and had boundless energy, enough to last until 7:30 that evening. Now I couldn't fathom the idea. Those days seemed to filled with purpose and value. This day would consist of having enough energy to get ready for radiation, go downtown for the treatment, go home for a nap, eat some dinner and go to bed. Not much value in that, I thought.

So often, we place our value in what we do, instead of who we are. Consider, the injured football player, who is now in a wheelchair. The 70 year old man, who retires after 50 years of working. The mother, whose last child leaves for college. Consider the surgeon whose wrinkled hands begin to shake. The elderly woman who can't see well enough to pass her driver's test. And, the wife who has cared for her ill husband for many years and suddenly finds herself a widower.

My good friend, Pat, gave me a book last week. She felt so compelled to give me this book that she drove over to my house in a mean thunderstorm. Little did she know that there was a message in there that I needed to hear. The Book was called "The Fingerprints of God" and in it was this beautiful story.

Broken But Still Valued

During my college years, a friend of mine gave me a very special gift. It was a beautiful Lladro porcelain figurine of a woman, with slender lines, adorned with a graceful hat and a vase of flowers. This delicate Lladro moved from city to city, from home to home, with my husband and me for the first seven years of marriage. It was one of my most treasured possessions.

One fateful afternoon, though, our four year old son was playing a game of hide- and- seek near the table where the Lladro gracefully stood. A bump of the table sent her to the floor, chipping the tips of the petals on her flowers. We glued her dainty pieces back together as best we could, but her bouquet was never the same.

Many years have passed. Another city, another home. My beautiful Lladro has followed, and she still finds her home in our living room. I often wonder why I value her so - why she has a place of honor on my mantel.

She's flawed.
She's no longer smooth.
She's no longer perfect.
She's surely lost all monetary value.

I've come to realize that I value her because she reminds me of a person I know. I too am broken. I am imperfect. I've lost my slender lines. My bouquet has been chipped. In fact we're all broken. We're all flawed.

This story so vividly reminds me that in God's eyes I am still valued even though I may feel broken. When I place my worth in what I do, I will always be disappointed. The purpose God has for me in life has nothing to do with being perfect or unblemished. For, if I am willing, He will accomplish His purpose despite my flaws. And He values me enough to carry me in His Arms wherever He goes.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

When It Doesn't Matter Anymore

Sometimes the journey through our desert seems like it will never end.

When we lose a loved one, we think that after each of the firsts has passed (first Christmas, first birthday, first anniversary) the pain will ease and we will come out of the desert. But it doesn't. We walk through a desert of loss.

As a parent, when a son or daughter goes astray, we walk through a desert of guilt, afraid they may never come home.

When we are betrayed by someone we trusted, we walk through the desert of mistrust, afraid of being hurt again.

When we lose a job, we walk through a desert of insecurity, afraid our needs will not be met.

When we face cancer, we walk through a desert of "what if's".

And sometimes, on the journey, it seems like time stands still. If only we could run through and get to the other side sooner. Even the Psalmist David cried out. "My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?" (Psalms 6:3) "Relent, O Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants." (Psalms 90:13)

Os Hilman said it so perfectly. A woman came to him in the midst of her desert and said, "How will I know when I'm coming out of the desert?". And he answered, "When it doesn't matter anymore. It does not mean we can't have a longing for better days, but there is a Godly contentment that allows us to remain in any condition with a peace that passes all understanding."

God allows each of us to walk through our deserts so that we may totally surrender to Him. All of our hurt, guilt, mistrust, insecurity and "what ifs". And when it "doesn't matter anymore", our journey will have accomplished His purpose.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Proper Hugging Of A Baby

I absolutely delight in children and babies. I always have. I believe they are God's way of always keeping a smile on our faces.I knew from a very young age that I wanted to have a career that involved taking care of little ones. And God has blessed me richly with a rewarding job as a NICU nurse for many years. And actually, if we have jobs in heaven, I hope I get to have the very same job I have here on earth.

Being a NICU nurse, I often get questions from friends and relatives about their babies. I don't mind at all and am glad that I am able to answer, or find out the answer, to most of the questions. There is one question that I haven't been asked yet, but since I came across detailed instructions, I thought I would post it here on my blog, in case it ever came up.


First, Find a baby.

Second, be sure that the object you found was indeed a baby by employing classic sniffing techniques.

Next you will need to flatten the baby before actually beginning the hugging process.

Then, the "paw slide". Simply slide paws around baby and prepare for possible close-up.

Finally, if a camera is present, you will need to execute the difficult and patented "hug, smile, and lean" so as to achieve the best photo quality.

May the joy of the Lord be our strength!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Into His Arms

Yesterday I had my visit with my oncologist. He is such a kind, soft spoken doctor. Never making me feel rushed. Always giving me time to absorb what he is saying and waiting on any questions I might have. We had the conversation again about follow up tests after treatment is finished. He told me once again that current studies suggest to have scans or tests only once or twice a year because if it came back somewhere it would be a stage 4 and not curable. Then they would scan only if there were symptoms. He said some people like to have scans after treatment for peace of mind if there are no obvious tumors seen on a scan. But it doesn't stop the possibility of cancer cells floating around, not seen on the scan.

I have thought about this a lot and decided I'd rather have the scans when I'm finished just to see where I stand. If they all come back clean then I can know that there is not an immediate problem. I realize that cancer cells could still be floating around, but somehow clean scans will make the treatment process for the last 9 months seem worth while. Kind of a temporary reward.

I had to have labs drawn today and I was a bit nervous about that since they can't draw from the left arm because of the clot and can't put a tourniquet on the right because of the lymph node surgery. But this lady was the best. One stick, without a tourniquet, and she had the labs. Boy was I happy. Radiation went well with more new markings. This time with blue marker. Sadira said if I bring in the orange marker, they'll do the next ones in orange. Just in time for Gator football season to start!!

As I was driving back after radiation, the radio was on a station with one of the talk show hosts. He was talking about the passing of Ted Kennedy this morning. As I listened for a moment, it became quite evident that he didn't like the political icon. But regardless of his view, I was dumbfounded by one of his statements. The point he was making was that, when he dies some people won't like him either, and will have negative things to say about him. His exact words were, "When I die, if I end up meeting that "great celestial valet" ........and he went on to voice his opinions. "That great celestial valet???" What is that all about? Is he talking about heaven? Where there will be no more darkness, no pain, no sorrow, no diseases, no death, no tears? The place where we will live for all eternity?
Is God Almighty the "valet" of whom he is speaking? The one who created us, who loved us, who gave His only son to die for us so that we could live forever in spite of our sinful nature?

Try as I might, I just cannot liken my entrance in heaven, to the parking of a car at a restaurant. I cannot picture my Lord as a car valet. No, when I meet Him face to face, I will not hand Him my car keys. I will run, with tears of joy, into His waiting arms and there I will stay forever and ever!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Journey of Three

The title of my blog is called "Roxanne's Journey" but truthfully it should be called "Carl & Roxanne's Journey". Sometimes, in fact, I think it could be called "Carl's Journey" for it seems, often, he has the rougher part of the walk.

I know for any husband, it is very difficult, to be unable to "fix" a problem for his wife. And Carl is no exception. Through the years, no matter what falls apart, he's been able to take care of it. But this time it's different and He has said so many times "I wish I could take this way from you."

Some things along the journey are not so difficult to take care of. He listens to my physical complaints. He fusses at me when I won't take time out to rest. He makes sure the doctor has all the information, lest I try to make light of something. He goes to all the treatments. He makes sure the grandkids don't try to climb up on "granny" when they are sick or I'm not supposed to be lifting. He figures out the bills when the income is less from being out of work. And his list goes on and on.

But it's the things he can't do that make the journey difficult for him. He can't take away the cancer. He can't take away my fears. He can't take away his own fears. Yet, he is a wise man. He never says "everything will be fine." He only says "I love you and I will be here for you." Isn't that how Christ is with us?

Last week, when I had battled the unending headache and it's "what ifs" and the upcoming oncologist's visit, I seemed to feel as though that gave me an excuse to take it out on Carl. I had very little to say to him all day and when it got too quiet, I complained that he didn't have anything to say to me! A "feel sorry for myself and take it out on Carl" knee -jerk response. Why is it that the ones who love us the most, seem to bear the brunt of our frustrations?

Later that evening, (probably when Carl felt it was safe to talk without a confrontation) he said to me "you know, we're on the same team. I'm not the bad guy." And I broke down, so sorry that I had treated the one who loves me most with the least amount of concern.

But Carl's love for me is just as Christ said a man should love his wife. Unconditionally. He took me in his arms and loved me, even as unlovable as I seemed at the time. Oh, how incredibly thankful I am for Carl's unconditional love and his unwavering strength when mine seems gone.

No, I don't walk through this desert alone. Carl and I journey together. Still, we are not alone. For God walks right along with us. And together, the three of us will journey safely out of the desert and into the promised land.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Thing

Today marked one-third of the way through radiation! 33% or .33333 or 1/3. No matter how it's written it's a milestone on the journey.

When I went in for the treatment today, it was really different. Usually, Dennis, Jared and Sadira are quite talkative. We talk about their children, my grandchildren, music, whatever comes along. But today, they were unusually quiet. I think they had been talking about an upcoming inspection. Not sure, but they immediately got started with the treatment, without the usual chit chat. They adjusted some of my markings, positioned the machine, called out several numbers to each other, looked at the computer screen and then left the room to start the beams. After the first quadrant was finished they came in and I felt the table rotate, heard some more numbers called out, saw the computer screen again and listened for the noise of the beams. I remember thinking. I feel like "a thing". Not a person on the table, but another piece of equipment. Another "thing."

But no sooner than the thought crossed my mind and the machine rotated and I saw the beautiful cross above me. And immediately I thought. I am not a "thing". I am a child of God! I don't need idle conversation. I don't need a fancy house, a career title, a lot of money. I don't even need good health. All that I truly need is in front of my eyes, etched in the ceiling. No, I am not a "thing." I am secure in knowing that I have Jesus.

But as I lay on the table looking at that cross I wondered. What about all those whose paths I cross, who feel as if they are just "a thing"? What about the girl at the cash register this morning, who couldn't work fast enough to please the man in line? What about the homeless man on the corner that I don't make eye contact with? What about the 17 year old girl waiting at the bus stop with 2 young babies? What about the old lady, waiting in the wheelchair, totally alone?

Can simple, kind words make them feel as though they matter? As though they are not just "a thing" in this world? Can eye contact and a smile be the encouragement they need to get through another day? When I say "how are you?" can I take a moment to listen? Can I be the one person in their day who offers hope when they feel hopeless? Can I be Jesus to them?

Lord, you have given me so much. I see that in my family, my friends, my job, my life. Yet, I fail to see a hurting world all around me. Help me take a moment, Father, to be your eyes, your hands, and your voice to someone in need. Amen

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Who Am I?

Carl and I enjoyed a really nice weekend. This is the last weekend before school starts and Carl will be back to full time teaching on Monday. Since we didn't get to do too much this summer between chemo, blood clots and radiation, I really wanted to try and spend a day or so, together, doing something nice. So I surprised him with an overnight stay in Daytona.

I got up early Saturday morning, and as I was getting ready, the last of my 3 eyelashes came out. Okay, I've been done with chemo for 3 weeks! But, after all the hair loss over the last 8 months I sure wasn't going to let that bother me. Then, to add insult to injury, I was putting on some shorts to wear to Daytona and noticed new hair growing on my legs! What's up with that? Ask any woman if they'd rather have eyelashes or hair on their legs. It's a no-brainer. You don't have to shave your eyelashes! I just laughed and told Carl, some things just "don't make no sense".

We had a beautiful room that had a nice view of the airport runway. That might not sound too great to some, but Carl loves watching planes go in and out and I was hoping he would get a chance to see some. After settling into the room, we decided to go for a walk on Daytona Beach. As soon as we got within site of the ocean, I was totally overwhelmed with the magnitude of what I saw. I have been to the beach before, but have never had the experience that I did this time. I was in awe of the magnificence of God's handiwork and overwhelmed with my own insignificance. I spoke the only words I knew to ask of God at that moment, "Lord, I am so small against your greatness. Who Am I that you would notice me?"

I turned in full circle and saw brilliant blue sky as far as my eyes could see. And I felt so small. The warm wind, smelling of sea salt, blowing ever so gently against my face, yet strong enough to carry the para sail effortlessly along the water. I looked out in the distance at the vast calm blue water, and watched as that very same water came crashing in waves against the shore. "Who am I, mighty God?"

Walking along the shore I watched the tiny sea gulls digging in the sand for sand crabs. Further down the beach, a young boy was busy burying his little sister's body in the sand, leaving only her head exposed. Two young lovers had chiseled their names with hearts in the sand. "Lord, you know the exact number of grains of sand on this shore, Who Am I that you would be mindful of me?"

I watched the many, many people playing in the surf and sitting on the shore. Each one with their own story, their own joys and trials, their own past, their own future. And God knows every detail of every life, past and future, down to the exact number of hairs on their head. "Indeed, the very hairs on their head are all numbered." (Luke 12:7). "Yet, who am I Lord, among the billions of people in this world, that you would care about me?"

Then I hear Him whisper "You are mine. You belong to me. I have chosen you. I delight in you."

And I wonder. How is it that I have not experienced the works of His majesty the many other times I have come to the beach? Does it take a diagnosis of cancer? Does it take a desert in our lives? Or does it simply take a closer walk with Him?

There is a beautiful song and video below that expresses so much better the words I have tried to share. I pray, as you listen, that it will be as meaningful to you as it is to me. And if you have ever asked yourself the question "Who Am I?". If you have ever felt small and insignificant. I pray that you would step a bit closer to Him and hear Him whisper "You belong to me. You are mine. I have chosen you. I delight in you. Not for who you are, nor for anything you've done, but for who I am and what I've done."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Full Armor

It's really interesting how Satan plays mind games with people. I think the closer we walk with the Lord the more He tries to take us away.

I've had a dull headache for about 3 weeks now. Yesterday the headache was relentless and that's when the negative thoughts (compliments of Satan) started creeping in. A year ago, if I had a headache for 3 weeks I would have thought perhaps a sinus infection. But, yesterday I thought maybe I need an MRI to see if the cancer has spread. And the "what if's" started. I know that they might be natural feelings for someone with cancer, but they are not feelings that come from God.

This morning when we were going in for radiation, I saw some of the construction men on the job site of the new parking garage. They had on all of their protective gear for the job. They wore helmets, goggles, steel toed boots, back braces. They had on a full suit of armor to avoid getting hurt.

As I watched them, a scripture came into my head. "Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil." (Ephesians 6:9). I pictured myself walking into the hospital in a suit of armor, fully protected from Satan's tactics. I thought about an e-mail I had gotten from Ann the night before. She shared a scripture with me. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30). I can love him with all my heart, with all my strength and with all my soul, but if my mind is controlled by Satan and his tactics, what have I accomplished? He is asking for my all, not the parts I choose to give Him.

So, I'm walking with my full suit of armor on. It's fool proof against the tactics of the devil. And you know, it's not even heavy. In fact the burden I carried without the suit, was so much heavier to carry.

I'm looking forward to two days off from radiation. Spending time with Carl, with the kids and going to church. And yes, I will be wearing my suit of armor everywhere I go.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Someone With "Skin On"

When my daughter Holly was a little girl, she was very afraid of the dark. When she went to sleep at night she didn't just want a night light, she wanted a lamp with a 100 watt light bulb.

One night, when Holly was about 4 years old, we had finished dinner and were all cleaning up the kitchen. Eric was clearing the table, I was washing dishes and Holly had her little cloth trying to help, like her big brother. It had gotten late and it was a school night for Eric, so I was anxious to get the job finished. When I got ready to sweep the floor, I remembered that the broom was outside in the far corner of the back porch.

I turned to Holly, who was so anxious to be part of the cleaning, and asked her if she would go outside and get the broom. She walked over to the door, opened it just a crack and peeked outside into the dark. She then closed it back, and went back to cleaning with her little cloth. After a minute or two, I said again, "Holly would you go outside and get the broom for Mommy?" She again opened the door, peeked out for a moment, closed it back and went back to her cloth.

This time I noticed, and said, "Holly, mommy asked you to go get the broom. Why do you keep opening and closing the door?" Her little face was creased with worry and she said, "Mommy, I can't go out there. It's too dark and the broom is too far away." I knelt down in front of her and said, "Holly, you can do it. You don't have to be afraid because God will go out there with you. He will be right there beside you."

I gave her a hug and watched as she went back to the door. This time she opened it a bit further and looked out for quite a long time. Finally, after what seemed like an hour, she closed it back and ran into my arms and said, "Oh, mommy I know God will go out there with me but I need somebody with SKIN ON!"

Oftentimes, we open a door in our lives and we are faced with having to go out into darkness. The broom that we need to get to, seems so far away. Even though we know that God is there, it seems too scary. And we become as a little 4 year old again, wishing we could just reach out and touch Him.

Life's journeys are not always easy. And faith is not always easy. God is not disappointed in us when our faith wobbles. Even Thomas, after hearing of Jesus' resurrection from the dead, would not believe it unless he was able to put his fingers into Jesus' hands and side. But Jesus didn't shun him or tell him to leave. He gently reminded him to "stop doubting and believe". And He quietly waited until Thomas understood and said "My Lord and my God!" and once again believed.

When we are afraid to open the door. When we can't see the broom because it is too dark, we are not alone. We might not be able to feel His skin, and we might wobble, but we are NEVER alone. His light will light our way. "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me. Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like day; for darkness is as light to you." (Psalms 139:11-12).

And His light will be our "someone with skin on."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

10 Down!

Ten treatments down!!

I started out the morning having a great devotional and prayer time at 5:45 am with my dear friend. What a blessing God gives us in fellow believers whom we can share our Christian journey with! And there is no better way to start a day than to have prayer with a friend.

I went back home until radiation at 10am. After the treatment, I met with the radiation oncologist. She explained that I would have 28 full radiation treatments in which all 4 areas of the chest, neck and underarm are radiated. Then there would be 5-7 radiation "boosts" which are zaps of radiation to just the tumor area. For a total of 33-35 treatments. So I'm almost 1/3 done!

We enjoyed a nice lunch afterwards with Eric and one of his good friends. He was on duty so he didn't have a real long time but it was such a treat to get to spend time with him. As he left, I watched him pull away in his uniform and I prayed and asked Psalms 91:11 for him; "For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all of your ways; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."

Carl and I spent a quiet evening at home together. And now, I will close this day just as I opened it. In prayer and devotion to the one who is worthy of all praise! "O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things." (Isaiah 25:1)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Quilt

For some reason, when I went in for radiation today the building was freezing. I changed into the gown and totally wrapped myself up in my quilt. The only thing showing as I walked out to the waiting area was my head and my feet. The rest was colorful quilt. As I sat waiting for my name to be called, I started reading the many scripture verses and words of encouragement, written with love, in each of the squares. Though I have read these words many, many times, I never tire of reading them again. I stroked the softness of the quilt's fleece against my cheeks. I marveled once again at the thought and planning that went into the preparation of the how the squares would fit together. I thought about the sacrifice of the one who put it all together with love.

Soon my name was called and I went into the room and got onto the radiation table. As she does each day, Sadira gently lays the quilt over me before the treatment starts. I was still thinking about the quilt as the huge machine rotated around to provide a clear view of the cross overhead.

And in that moment, in my mind's eye, the cross and the quilt blended perfectly together, painting a vivid picture of God's wonderful love.

Like the quilt, God's love surrounds me with comfort and warmth when life's circumstances seem rough and cold . "May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant." (Psalms 119:76).

God's word, like the many squares in my quilt, provides me with love and encouragement when I am weak and weary. "My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word." (Psalms 119:28). "You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word." (Psalms 119:114).

Like the squares thoughtfully pieced together in my quilt, God has carefully and purposefully planned and arranged every step and detail of my life. "But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations." (Psalms 33:11) "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21). "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

And, like the sacrifice of the one who handmade my quilt, how much more God has sacrificed to show His love for me. For He gave His all for me, His own son, so that I could have a personal relationship with Him that would last forever. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10)

Before I knew it, the radiation treatment was done. I had enjoyed 20 minutes of quiet time reflecting on God's love. As I prepared to leave, I once again wrapped myself up in my quilt. As I walked out, it seemed as though the colors of my quilt were brighter than when I went in. They appeared more vivid. It almost felt like it was aglow. Could it be that a few moments of quiet time spent in the presence of the Lord, makes our lives seem that much brighter? I do believe so!

Monday, August 17, 2009


What if every morning when the bank opened, there was a deposit made to your account of $86,400. It was a gift, and you could spend it any way you liked, but, you had to have a zero balance in your account at the end of the day. None of the money could be carried over to the next day. What would you do with it?

Ironically, that 86,400 is the number of times in a day that we are given an opportunity. Each day we are given is a gift. That day holds 86,400 chances to make a difference. There is no guarantee that we will have tomorrow. Nothing can be left to save for tomorrow. Today's 86,400 seconds is all we have. What will we do with it?


If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time I'd see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and a kiss and call you back for more.

If I knew it would be the last time I could spare and extra minute,To stop

and say "I love you" instead of assuming you would know I do.

If I knew it would be the last time, I would be there to share your day,
Well, I'm sure that you'll have many more, so I can let this one slip away.

For surely there's tomorrow, to right this oversight,
And we always get a second chance to make everything just right.

There will always be another day to say "I love you"
And surely another chance to ask "Is there anything I can do?"

But just in case I might be wrong, and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I Love You and hope I never forget.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance to hold your loved one tight.

So if tomorrow never comes, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes, you'll surely regret the day.

So hold your loved ones close today, and whisper in their ear,
Just how much you love them, and will always hold them dear.

Take time to say "I'm sorry, Forgive Me, Thank You and It's okay"
And if tomorrow never comes, you won't regret today.

(Written in memory of all those who perished in 9/11)

86,400. How did we use it today? How will we use it tomorrow?

"Lord, help us this day, not to miss an opportunity to speak a kind word or give a hug to someone who needs it. And forgive us, Lord, when we take our loved ones for granted. Remind us, when we get too busy, to take time to tell them just how much we love them. Amen"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Children's Children

"But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to their children's children." (Psalms 103:17)

We had a wonderful afternoon with four of our grandchildren. Jayda who is 5 going on 12, Wyatt who is 2, Logan who is 1 and baby Cooper at 6 months. Needless to say the house was filled with squeals of laughter and chaos. As I sat watching them play, I was amazed at the way they reason and communicate, even at a very young age.

Baby Cooper has discovered the world of "big people" food. When he sees you put a bite of food into your mouth he "stares you down" with outreached little arms. As if to say "Helloooo, what about me? I'd like some too."

Logan loves to eat. He is also learning sign language at day care. When he wants something to eat, which is quite often, he says "more" and makes the signs for "more" with his little hands.

Wyatt, didn't talk for the longest time. In fact we were starting to get concerned that his language may be delayed. But all of a sudden he is speaking clearly in sentences. "I blow on it" for his hot food. "I scary" when he sees a lizard. "I play piano." (A future student for grandpa).

Jayda, has been a little talker, from the very beginning. Hers is the experienced "voice of reason". At 5, she has the world figured out and is always willing to share her knowledge and experience.

I am so thankful for the joy that my grandchildren bring to my life. And am especially grateful for God's everlasting mercy to me, my children and my children's children.

Friday, August 14, 2009

God's Cake

It's Friday!

My job has always been in a hospital; which includes weekends and holidays, so Friday doesn't hold the same meaning for me as other careers. But I'm finding a new appreciation for the term "weekends off". Radiation is Monday through Friday and when I finished today, it felt like I was starting a mini vacation.

The time on the table was quite a bit longer today, because the bio physicist had to look at the computer images, make new markings and make sure they were exactly what the doctor wanted. But that was okay. I just gave me longer to "zoom in" on the cross above my eyes. I pretty much just shut out the other noises and had a "one with one" time with the Lord. I thought of the discouraging thoughts and feelings from yesterday. And how today seemed so much brighter.

A good friend sent this story to me today. What a perfect day to share it on the blog.


A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.

Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, "Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."

"Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother offers. "Yuck" says her daughter. "How about a couple raw eggs?" "Gross, Mom!'' "Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?" "Mom, those are all yucky!"

To which the mother replies: 'Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!

And, so it is with God's cake.

So often, it seems like our lives are just a roller coaster of random days. One day, by itself, can be discouraging. One day, by itself, can be encouraging. One day we are standing on the mountain. one day we are walking on level ground and one day we may seem lost in the valley. But all the days, added together, equal one life that is completely designed and planned by God. Every ingredient, every step already set in place by the Almighty. While the individual days may seem disjointed and without purpose to us, the end product is a life that will be made perfect on the day we meet Him face to face. "He who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philllipians 1:6)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Restore My Soul

Today has been unusually difficult for me. Perhaps, a valley in the desert.

It started out wonderful. I awoke to the sweet sounds of Logan and Wyatt, my little grandsons visiting from Jacksonville. I watched them smear pancake syrup all over their little faces and play out on the back porch, trying to catch lizards. Then they left to spend the day at Disney while I went to radiation. My heart tugged as they pulled out of the driveway, wishing I was able to go with them.

I went for radiation. When I was finished, Carl and I walked across the street to the NICU, where I work, for a visit. As I walked into the unit, I first noticed our cavitron (traveling isolette), with a baby in it, preparing to go for surgery. A tug at my heart. Walking further, I watched a couple of our neonatologists busy writing orders for their tiny patients. I looked into the many rooms housing our sick babies and watched the nurses and respiratory therapists all busy taking care of their little ones. My heart tugged again, wishing I could be there working with them. We knocked on Ann's door and she was busy, but she stopped what she was doing, as she always does, and acted as though she had nothing else on her agenda. We enjoyed a short visit and as we left the NICU, I once again watched the staff at work with the babies. Nothing here has changed, I thought. Life goes on in the NICU as it always has and always will. Life goes on all around me, as it always has and always will.

And my heart ached. Oh how I wish for normalcy back in my life! To be able to be at work and have the energy to take care of my babies. To go to Disney with my daughter and grandsons. To walk around without a scarf and hat in the 100 degree weather. A day that involves more than laying on a cold radiation table and going home for a nap. As I walked to the car, I looked across the street at MD Anderson and wondered. I thought about my friend, who has just discovered that her cancer has come back. Even after treatment ended, would my life ever be back to normal? A life without doctors and needles and tests and treatments? Would I have to do this all over again one day?

We came home and Carl left for the church. Holly and the boys are still at Disney. I am alone in the house. I prayed. "Lord, is this how it's always going to be for me? Will my life ever be normal again?" I opened my bible to the Psalms where I find comfort in times like this. I read. I sat in silence waiting for Him. And He provided me with the very words that spoke to my heart. "For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help." (Psalms 22:24). "Thank you Lord" I prayed. "Thank you for listening to my cry for help. I thank you that you do not hide your face from me. Even in the midst of my cries."

As I prayed, I was led to the next Psalm. It is the 23rd Psalm, one of the most beloved. One I have recited over and over again since I was a child. But today, it brought me comfort that I so needed.

"The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul."

And for now, I will sit with Him. In the quiet of His presence. Knowing that by drawing unto Him in my moments of discouragement, He will indeed "restore my soul".

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Life's Routines

I had to see the radiation oncologist today. I didn't realize it, but I am supposed to see him every week. When they took my blood pressure it was 187/110. It had run high, like that, while I was in the hospital, but I thought maybe it was just due to the clot. I hadn't checked it since I got out of the hospital because I can't take it on either arm and it's kind of hard to put your leg in the blood pressure machine at Walgreens. They recommended I see my primary care physician about my blood pressure. Jokingly she said, "we don't want to fight the cancer battle and lose to a stroke." So I guess a visit to that doctor is in store. Maybe he'll fix the low hemoglobin.

And on we went to radiation #5. It seems as though it's getting to be a regular routine. I like routine in my life. There seems to be a comfort in knowing what to expect each day. I walked in, scanned my computer card and walked back to the changing room. Although today I did go out on a limb and take a chance on a different door! It was door number 7 . I laughed at myself as I expectantly opened the door. I put my stuff in the locker and walked with Carl to the waiting area. Some of the same people are in the waiting area each day. Soon they called my name. Jared and Dennis greeted me as usual and I got settled on the table with my quilt over me. The machines started to whirl and alas the beautiful cross came into view.

I thought about how secure I felt in knowing the radiation routine didn't change. It makes it seem like everything is under control. I think that, if the machine was positioned differently, or they didn't radiate as many times, or it wasn't as long, I would worry something wasn't right. No changes. No surprises.

Most of us don't like it when changes are thrown at us in life. But whether we like it or not, life throws us curve balls. We can be journeying along, feeling quite comfortable in our routine, and in the blink of an eye, everything is different. Our life is changed. Sometimes, we find ourselves in a vast desert without a map.

But as I lay here on the table, staring at the cross in the ceiling, I am vividly reminded that no matter what changes occur in our lives, GOD NEVER CHANGES! "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8).

The cross that I am looking at in the ceiling today, has the very same meaning as the cross of 2000 years ago. It gives me a personal relationship with "the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8).

What comfort we can take in knowing that no matter how much our lives are changed, there is One who is greater than any challenge we face. And whose love for us will never, ever change!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And Behind Door Number ????

I went in for radiation #4 this morning. I walked in and scanned my computer card and headed back to the changing room. Inside the room were rows and rows of metal lockers like you would see in a high school locker room. Each locker had a key in the door. As I stood in front of the row of lockers, deciding which one to pick, I was struck by the many choices in front of me. Each locker had a number on it. Some were half lockers on top, some were half lockers on the bottom and some were full sized lockers, top to bottom. I was reminded of an old game show on TV when I was a child called the "Price is Right." Now days, the show similar to that is called "Deal or No Deal". The concepts are the same. The contestant chooses a door, or suitcase, hoping it will bring him good fortune and make him a winner.

Looking at these lockers, made me feel like a contestant on the game show. The luck of the draw. Here are the doors in front of me. What lies behind each door? A fortune or a loss? Good luck or bad? One dollar or a million dollars?

I stood in front of the lockers so long, thinking about the game show, that I actually chose a locker with eager anticipation. I picked door #5. "A lucky number?", I asked myself. I really don't know what I was expecting to find behind the door, but I sure was excited. Needless to say,when I opened it, it was only an empty locker. I put my belongings in, locked it and headed down the hall for radiation.

Laying on the table, I once again became focused on the cross etched in the ceiling. I thought about life. What if we had the opportunity to pick random doors in our lives? We wouldn't know what was behind the door until we had chosen it. Behind one door was material wealth. One door, the loss of a loved one. One a lucrative career. One physical illness. One a wonderful family and one a wayward son.

I am so glad that my life isn't a set of random doors with everything left to chance. Nothing happens in my life that is by chance. God knows what is behind each and every door in my life. I will open some and they will hold blessings abound. Other doors in my life will hold trials. But NOT ONE door is left to chance! Scripture says that God knows the plans He has for us. "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11). Each step is directed by Him. "A man's steps are directed by the Lord." (Proverbs 20:24).

If our lives were like game shows, I believe God would have us finish as winners. For no matter what door we open, no matter what's behind the door, He holds the key. He already knows how the game will end. Nothing has been left to chance. And that makes us automatic winners!

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Cross Is Too Heavy

I'm still trying to figure out how this chemo and radiation works on my body. Saturday I woke up really nauseous with no appetite. Carl, worked all day making wonderful food for a birthday party he had planned for me. The party was so much fun. We laughed and had wonderful fellowship with great friends from our choir. But I couldn't eat any of the food including the birthday cake. Sunday was just the opposite and I was starving all day.

Today, I feel the same as Saturday. Nauseous with no appetite and new sores in my mouth. (Where did those come from? Chemo is done.)
Carl moved a couple of students and we went down to the hospital for radiation together.

While waiting for my turn to go in, I saw a lady outside one of the radiation rooms obviously waiting for her turn also. She was a pretty lady, probably in her early thirties. She was laying on a stretcher. She had obviously been through chemo because she had only fuzz on her head. She was pale as a ghost. She had a washcloth and a bucket with her, indicating she had been sick. My heart just went out to her. She had a wedding ring on her hand. Where was her husband? Why was she alone? Was he home taking care of their young children?

And here I was with my loving husband at my side, not laying on a stretcher but able to walk in on my own. Just a few minutes earlier, I had felt sorry for myself for feeling nauseous. Now I felt guilty that I seemed to have it so good in comparison to this young woman. Tears filled my eyes and I closed them in prayer and lifted her up before the Lord.

Then my name was called and I went in for my radiation. While laying on the table, the big machine, which had been over my head, moved around and brought into clear view the cross etched into the ceiling. It had a red beam of light on each of the four tips of the cross. As I focused on it, I thought about the cross that Jesus asks each of us to bear. Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23 )

A good friend shared this story with me this morning and I wanted to pass it on.


A young man was at the end of his rope. Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer."Lord, I can't go on," he said. "I have too heavy a cross to bear." The Lord replied, "My son, if you can't bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish."

The man was filled with relief and said, "Thank you Lord," and he did as he was told.
Upon entering the other room, he saw many crosses; some so large the tops were not visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall. "I'd like that one, Lord," he whispered.

The Lord replied, "My son, that is the very same cross you just brought in."

No matter how heavy my cross feels, there is always someone who's cross seems heavier. But, no matter how heavy it gets, God promises that He will lighten the load enough that we would not buckle under, if we just ask Him. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30).

Could we each take a moment today and lift up someone in prayer who's load seems too heavy for them to carry? Even if we don't have a specific person in mind, God knows who they are. He will be faithful to answer and He will lighten the burden of their cross.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Channel Markers

A few weeks ago, Carl and I were privileged to go out with our good friends, Steve and Lori on their boat. I absolutely love being out on the water. It was a beautiful day. We started out in Daytona and rode up to St. Augustine. We met another friend, enjoyed a great lunch together, walked around the old historic town for awhile and headed back home on the boat.

On the way back, Lori and I were sitting, talking in the back of the boat when all of a sudden there was a loud noise from the motor and the boat stopped almost on a dime. I had no idea what happened, but when Lori said "Uh-Oh", I figured it probably wasn't a good thing.

It seems that on the inter coastal waterway there are channel markers every so many feet. Staying inside the channel markers assures the boaters that the water will be deep enough for the boats to safely pass through. But this day the channel marker wasn't clearly visible. Another small boat was in front of us and Steve was following the small boat. And suddenly we were in shallow water and the prop got stuck in the dirt. The boat stopped. Fortunately for us, Steve got out into the water, cleaned off the dirt and maneuvered the prop enough to get us out of the dirt and back into deeper waters.

Each time I think about that incident on the boat, I am reminded of my life. God puts channel markers in my life to warn me when I am about to head into trouble. I am ashamed to say that many times, I have ignored the channel markers because I wanted my own way. Sometimes the markers were clearly visible and I just chose not to stay inside the deeper waters. Other times the markers weren't as visible because I had drifted to far away from God to see them well. Never the less, every time I went outside His markers, I got into trouble. But each time I got off course, God got out of the boat, cleaned off the dirt and got me headed back into deeper waters, where I was once again, safe.

No matter how many markers we fail to see. No matter how far we have drifted. No matter how much dirt we are buried in. He is always there to set us back on the right course. To lead us back to safe waters. God knows that we will continue to have times when we will drift outside of His channel markers. We are human. He knows we are not perfect. He takes no pleasure in seeing us stuck in the mud. That's why He gave us His son. He is a God of second chances and third chances. All He needs is a contrite heart and he will jump out of the boat, clean up our mess and set us back onto the right path.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Abundance In The Desert

We had a great day yesterday. I went in for the first "real" radiation. They found one more spot on me that wasn't marked up so they marked it. I think we should invest in Sharpie marker stock. The radiation today wasn't too much different than the simulation, except for the noises of the machine when it was delivering the radiation. This time they covered my arms with warm towels, put my quilt over my legs and put a small cushion under my bony elbows so I was pretty comfortable. Still difficult to keep my left arm over my head for so long but can't do too much about that until the clot gets better.
Afterwards, we visited and prayed with a friend at the hospital who is having bypass surgery tomorrow.

The nicest thing about the day was the many birthday wishes I received. Phone calls from my children, hugs from friends at work, many facebook messages, a special visit from Ann, text messages, a call from wonderful friends who were on vacation in North Carolina and a special birthday dinner with friends.

Jesus said, "I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly." (John 10:10). Sometimes I am brought to my knees when I think of the abundant life that God has given to me. Even as I walk through this desert called cancer, He gives me the abundant life that He has promised. His abundance overshadows any of the darkness. His abundance brings light and joy.

As I am writing this, I feel as though God is wanting someone to hear these words. I don't know who or what the circumstances are. But I just feel the need to pray.

Dear Lord, I don't know who might be reading these words right now. I only know that someone needs to hear your voice. Lord, we must go through so many trials and deserts in our life. Sometimes they seem like mountains we can't climb. They make our shoulders feel so heavy. They rob us of our joy. Sometimes it seems so dark we can't even see you.
But, Lord, since the beginning of time, You have loved us. You have never broken a promise to your children. You want to help us through the trials that we must face. You want to give us peace and hope and joy. You want for us to have an abundant life, even through the deserts.
Lord, I just ask, in this moment that anyone who reads these words and needs encouragement, that they would find it in You. Bring back their joy. Please, let them know without a doubt, that you love them and are more than able to provide all that they need to walk through their desert.
Thank you for your unending loving for each and every one of us Father, Amen

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I went for my radiation simulation today. What a humbling experience. Being in the medical field, this was the first time I didn't have a clue what they were doing or talking about. I thought it was just a practice session for the "real deal" which starts tomorrow. I thought radiation was as simple as laying on the table and getting a quick x-ray. Boy was I wrong.

When I first arrived, they gave me a computerized card and you scan it when you come for your session to signal the techs in the back you have arrived. The young man who greeted me and showed me the routine was hilarious. His name was Jared and he was the perfect person for the job. From the very start, he had me laughing. Though I wasn't nervous about today, I can see that if someone was to be, he would quickly make them feel comfortable. He showed me the dressing room and said to change into a gown and he would be waiting right down the hall watching Sesame Street on the TV. There were about 50 gowns in the drawer and they were all XX-Large. And each one had 3 arm holes. I was wondering how many 450 pound people with 3 arms use that dressing room. But I just wrapped myself up in it a couple of times and went out to find Jared.

He led me to the room where the machine was and I could'nt believe the size of the thing. I've had MRI's, CT scans and x-rays but this machine was monstrous! The two radiation techs in the room were so kind. Since I was shaking from being cold, they spread my quilt around my legs to take the chill off before they started. The made more drawings on me. Then they went to work. For the next 30 minutes or so they called out numbers like 17.6 SSD and 60 degrees lattitude, 19.8 and 28.4. They would move the machine around and call out some more numbers. Then they went out and took pictures. Then came back and called out more numbers and made more adjustments in the machine. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I didn't have to because they did. The only uncomfortable part of the whole thing was holding my swollen left arm above my head for so long. But it was important not to move while they were getting the machines set up.

I had planned to listen to my iPod during the session and have some worship time. But the machines and table aren't really set up for headphones. So I just closed my eyes and started to pray. Soon, Big Bertha rotated around to where I could see the ceiling and etched in the ceiling was a cross!! Some would say it was there as a measuring point for the techs. I say it was there as a reminder to me of the awesome power of a mighty God. For it is He who gives the knowledge to those who build those machines, set up the machines, those who take all the measurements and those who adjust the dosage of radiation. All knowledge comes from Him.
"For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:6) "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain." (Psalms 139:6)

They marked off four different sections on me today. They will radiate each of the four sections for 5 minutes every day for a total of 20 minutes each day for 33 days.

And for that 20 minutes each day, I will give thanks and praise to our Great and Mighty God, for the wisdom and knowledge He has imparted to those He has entrusted my care.
Thank You, Father.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Martha and Mary

There were two sisters in the bible named Martha and Mary. They were at the home of their brother, Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They had invited Jesus to be a guest of honor at a banquet in their home. When Jesus arrived, Martha ran around like crazy getting the banquet ready. Getting the meal served. Making sure the food was hot. Making sure the place at the table was prepared for Jesus and all the other guests. When dinner was over, she was busy cleaning up and putting away the dishes. She was working for her Lord.

Mary, on the other hand, sat quietly at Jesus' feet and listened to His words.

Martha got upset. She said to Jesus, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself ? Tell her to help me!" And Jesus answered, "Martha, Martha. You are worried and upset over many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her."

I have always been a Martha, who wanted to be a Mary. I like to serve my Lord by doing. Working at church, making things for others, taking care of sick babies. Whatever I could find to do for the Lord satisfied me. I was always much too busy working for Him to just sit quietly at His feet.

Today, I am sitting at home. I am not able to work because of the clot in my arm. "What am I to do?" I asked the Lord. "I can't go to work, can't take care of my babies and I can't lift anything. How can I do for you?"

And He whispered gently, "Now, you can be a Mary. You can sit quietly at my feet and listen."

And finally, after many years, I am learning to be a Mary. I am not walking around the house trying to figure out what to do. For the doing will get done later. It is the being that is more important. Being close to Him in reverence and surrender. Sitting quietly at His feet, listening to His voice, offering my heart. For now, that is exactly what He wants me to do for Him.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sharing Your Thoughts

Many of you have asked about posting a comment on the blog. Some have had difficulty posting and some have never tried because they didn't know how. I love to hear your thoughts and read your comments. Many times they are words that have lifted and encouraged me.

So I posted some instructions on the right side of the blog page (just above the praying hands). Jot them down and try it. Though it seems confusing, it really is not, once you do it. Just a couple of steps. I hope that those who have wanted to post in the past, will give it another try using the instructions on the side. If you have any questions just let me know.

If you still can't get it don't worry. I thank you for reading the blog any way. I thank you also for sharing it with anyone you know who might benefit from reading it. And most of all I thank you for your prayers.

Blessings !!


WooHoo! I'm starting to get some hair!! On the chemo, I would get a little sprout of hair a few days after a treatment. Then I would have a treatment and it would disappear. But I think this hair is here to stay. Now, mind you it's not the hair I would have chosen. (Hmmm.. "I would have chosen". These are becoming such familiar words).

This hair kind of looks and feels like a puppy's hair and is really soft. I'm not quite sure what kind of dog yet because it's not very long and there are some big bald spots still on the top. But it is hair, none the less. I was so excited, I thought about going to the puppy store and getting a brush, but exercised restraint and decided to wait for a bit more length. It's still not long enough to provide warmth for my head or look good without a head covering. But at least it's not coming out. Funny, sometimes, how much we take our hair for granted.

My little grandson Wyatt went for a haircut over the weekend. He has the most beautiful red hair. But, I think cutting a 2 year old's hair is somewhat of a challenge because he came away quite "scalped". She sent me a picture and I couldn't help but laugh. His expression was the same one I have when I look at my puppy hair.

But, he just goes on about the business of his joyful, carefree little life. Not giving a second thought to how his hair looks. He has a whole new day in front of him to experience and enjoy.

Oh what lessons we can learn from little children!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Even after nearly 8 months on this journey, it surprises me how quickly I can find myself walking in a valley. The last few days had been so nice. We went to church today and it was so good to be back after being in the hospital last Sunday. I had missed the worship and fellowship that God blesses me with in our church. We enjoyed a nice birthday lunch with friends after church. We went to Walgreens and picked up pictures of the Alabama trip to make a picture book for Jayda. When we were in the store, I was standing behind a woman and her husband. She was a very attractive lady. They were talking about going bike riding that evening. She seemed so vibrant and healthy. I felt a twinge of envy as I watched them.

As we drove home, my mind kept going back to the beautiful lady. I looked over at Carl and thought how unfair all of this was to him. I'm not usually one to put a lot of stock into physical beauty, but every wife wants to feel attractive to her husband. I had come to terms with the loss of hair and even the scars from the tumor removal. But the incision from the port removal last week is red and bruised. My arm is swollen with purple spots all over it from the clot. My abdomen in black and blue from the blood thinner injections and I am marked all over with tattoos for the radiation. I felt anything but attractive or vibrant to Carl. Bike riding seemed as foreign to me as a triathalon. Those kinds of activities seemed like a lifetime ago.

I should have seen it coming, because I know how negative thoughts work. But I didn't. And by the time we got home, my thoughts had taken me down into the valley. I tried to keep it to myself, but Carl has a sixth sense when something isn't right. When he asked what was wrong, I didn't answer for fear of a total meltdown. He said, "Remember we agreed to talk about all of the feelings." Through tear filled eyes, I said, "Is there anything else can they do to me to make me any more unattractive to you? Oh yeah, there's still the red, burned skin. I guess there is something else."

Carl is so wise. He knows that sometimes there just aren't words to say. Only arms to hold and shoulders to catch tears. For me, my physical beauty will never be the same as it was
before cancer. I can't change that. I know that becoming downhearted does not disappoint God. For He knows our human frailties. But staying downhearted does. And the only way I know to combat those feelings is to stay in the word. Whenever, I face an emotional or physical battle, I try to print out scripture verses and carry them with me. I keep them next to my chair and put them on the refrigerator. A constant reminder that will help redirect my thoughts when they want to take me into a valley.

Words of encouragement.

"For your beauty should come not come from outward adornment..Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1Peter 3:3-4)

"Beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." (Proverbs 31:30)

Words to help redirect my negative thoughts.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about these things." (Philippians 4:8)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Strength and Song

I have just returned home after being gone for the last 8 days.

On Thursday at 1:00pm, I was finally released from the hospital after spending 6 days in for the blood clot and port removal. My discharge instructions were: to not lift anything with my left arm, take the blood thinner injections twice a day, keep a close eye on the swelling and not "over do it".

Carl picked me up and, totally out of the blue, we decided to pick up Jayda and take her to see my sister in Alabama about 6 hours away. I was still feeling bad about having to disappoint Jayda the week before, when I got admitted to the hospital, so I was thrilled at our impromptu plan. Less than an hour after I was released, we were packed and on the road, a very excited little granddaughter in tow.

Now I know, that some may think I have lost my mind, by not going home and resting after just getting out of the hospital. But, I don't want to lay around in bed this entire cancer journey. Yes, there have been, and will continue to be days when that just has to be. But as long as God gives me the strength to live each day to the fullest, I plan to do that. Watching the pure joy on Jayda's face as she rode the horse with her adored cousin, played with the kittens, fed the fish in the pond and had a parade with the little dogs. Getting my nails painted in the makeshift bathroom nail spa, set up by Jenna and Jayda, while they sang Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift songs to me. Sharing memories about our Mom with my sister. Trying to put together more of our family tree. Looking up at the millions of stars in the Alabama night sky. So much I would have missed by "staying in bed and resting."

My sweet niece, Jenna, and I had morning devotions together this morning. It was about giving praise to the Lord. The scripture was Exodus 15:2. "The Lord is my strength and song. He has become my salvation. He is my God and I will praise Him." We read together and we prayed together. What a blessing that was for me.

And tonight, I praise Him, for giving me the strength to be able to enjoy the blessings of the last couple of days. And I will praise him when I wake for whatever He has in store for the new day.

"He is my strength and my song and I will praise Him."