Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just Waiting For You To Come To Me

Yesterday, we had a follow-up appointment with my oncologist. I had been apprehensive for several weeks about this visit. Although I love my doctor, I never like going for that appointment because I always end up coming out feeling discouraged and out of "control". (Uh-Oh. There's that word again)

At this appointment, I was to discuss whether or not I wanted to be scanned to see how chemotherapy worked for me. I have written in my blog before, that my doctor was not in favor of having scans because there was no other chemotherapy to offer than what I had already been given. He advised to wait for any symptoms that would indicate that it had spread and scan at that time. The medical person in me had a hard time with that. I am so used to using all the tests available in medical situations and knowing exactly where the condition stands at any given time. But, my doctor, respecting my position, said that he would do whatever I felt comfortable with. He would offer his recommendations, but would leave the decision up to me. Hence, the constant prayer before I went in. I had asked the Lord to give me discernment and peace about the appointment and specifically about the scans .

As I was in prayer Sunday evening, God reminded me of the words I had shared in my testimony that morning. I spoke of how God had taught me in the desert to give my "control" to Him. And when I finally did that, I experienced an incredible freedom! As I prayed about the doctor's appointment, that word "control" just kept coming to mind.

Tuesday morning, I told Carl, I had come to a decision and truly did have a peace about it. I had decided that God had chosen Dr. Baidas specifically for me. In fact, he had chosen each and every medical person on this journey. He had placed me at the excellent MD Anderson cancer center. His hand had been in control of my care from the very beginning. I would continue to trust Him now, to know when I would need to have those scans.

At the appointment, Dr. Baidas did a thorough exam and found nothing that immediately concerned him. He said he would see me in three months and that I should not hesitate to call him if I noticed anything out of the ordinary before that. I did not ask for any scans.

As we walked outside and I looked up at the beautiful blue sky, I once again experienced that incredible freedom that comes from having given the "control" to Him. It was as though God was saying, "I was just waiting for you to come to me." As Carl took my hand, I felt like I could float away. No scans, no tests, no labs, a much needed break for both of us!

Later that evening, I picked up our granddaughter Jayda from cheer practice. We went home and ate dinner and waited for Carl to finish teaching. After he finished, the three of us went to Eric's softball game. About half way through the game, little Jayda was standing up against the fence, and Carl, who was sitting in the bleachers, said, "Jayda, I have been with you for a long time tonight and I haven't even gotten my hug yet." Little Jayda looked up at him and quickly replied, "Well, I was just waiting for you to come to me." And with that, Carl jumped down, lifted her into his arms and she smothered him with love.

How like our Lord, was this sweet little child. He never pushes. He never rushes. He just quietly and patiently waits for us to come to Him. And when we do He lifts us into His arms and cover us with His love!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” (Hosea 2:14)

"Because of your great compassion, you did not abandon them in the desert." (Nehemiah 9:19)

"Till the spirit is poured upon us from on high and the desert becomes a fertile field." (Isaiah 32:15)

Last Thursday night and then again on Sunday, I was given the chance to share my testimony to what God has done in my life since starting on this journey. I have tried to do that on the blog all along, but there are many who don't have access to a computer and hadn't heard my story.

But, I didn't know where to start. How could I express in 20 minutes the incredible work God has done since last December? So many examples of His hand in my life, His grace and His strength in the desert. How could I find the words? And the Holy Spirit softly whispered, "I will give you the words." What a tremendous blessing for me to stand and share aloud God's great faithfulness.

In preparation for sharing, I spent much time "looking back". Reliving the time spent in the desert over the last year. I went back and read many of the blog posts along the way. I thought about the first ultrasound findings and how terrified I was. About the very powerful devotion God gave to me entitled "The Purpose of the Desert" that outlined what He would be doing in my life for the next year and beyond.

I looked back at all the people that God had placed in my path both through the blog and in everyday circumstances. The fears, the tears, the "what if's", the ups and downs all along the way. The many people who have touched my life and lifted me up in prayer.

But most of all, looking back, I saw how God has totally changed my life through this desert. I saw my relationship with Him when I entered the desert (which I thought was pretty good) and the depth of my relationship with Him now. How He taught me, through it all, to be dependent on Him for everything in my life.

Last December, if God had told me what my desert would be and given me a choice in the matter, I know I would have said “No Way”. You have the wrong person here. I can’t do that!"

There is a story about a man who died and spent a day in heaven. The next day the angel came and said “there was a mistake and you shouldn’t have died yet.” If you would like, you can go back to earth and live out the rest of your days. But the man had experienced being in the presence of the Holy God and he knew that he could never be happy going back.

And today, looking back, I can only say, "Thank You Lord for not giving me a choice!!"

Saturday, October 24, 2009


My blog has been quiet for a few days. I have been recovering from vacation and resting. I am getting my strength and energy back each day. Now I don't take a shower and desire to go back to bed. Each day is better and better. And I have eyelashes back!! WooHoo. (It's the little things sometimes:)

I have also been given the opportunity to share my testimony about what God has been doing along this journey. I have spent alot of time in prayer and preparation because it is soo important to me that the words that are shared are His words and not mine. That the presentation would be about Him and not about me because it's "just not about me."

God has given me so many new internet friends along this journey who share the common bond of breast cancer. Even though I have never met them in person, the relationships become very strong through time spent in constant communication. When they hurt I hurt, when they jump a hurdle or pass a milestone, I rejoice with them. It is awesome to me how you don't have to see a person face to face to love them. (Isn't that how it is with our relationship with Christ?) We don't see Him face to face but He is a friend who is always there, hurting with us in hard times, rejoicing with us in our good times, loving us always.

This morning, I wanted to ask for prayer for one such friend and sister fighter, that I have met on the internet. Debi has courageously wrestled with the breast cancer alligator, but, lost her battle last night. She leaves a wonderful and supportive husband, Scott (Gasketman), and two beautiful daughters. I wanted to share Scott's post this morning.

One.....Two.....Three..... (by Gasketman)

The Alligator's down for the count Debi's Won!!!!!! Debi snatched defeat right from under the Alligator's greedy snout on October 22, 2009 at 7:43 pm. She leaves the wrestling ring dignified, undefeated and has decided to retire from Alligator Wrestling. Now she is making her home in Heaven, where she has chosen her perfect body, hair style and is enjoying some quality time with her father.

Debi steps onto the shaded wood deck of her newly remodeled mansion and pours her first glass of red wine in over 23 months. The mansion she chose is on the lake, encircled by grandiose cliffs that provide a back drop for her serene little meadow surrounded by trees in her own little slice of heaven, where she can see the glorious sunsets. Debi grabs her favorite Fennwick rod and Sumano fishing reel and sits on the porch as she casts her line into the glassy blue water of her own personal dream lake and enjoys a glass of her favorite Yellow Tail Shiraz wine from Australia and rests from her Championship Wrestling Match.

Debi retires with the memories of two wonderful girls ages 10 and 16 years old, and the support of one tireless side-kick( Gasketman ). She enjoyed 18,254 sunrises and now she is enjoying an eternity of sweet smelling breezes, silver lined clouds, magenta skied, golden gilded sunsets in her own heavenly mansion.

As you read this, could you lift up this beautiful family in prayer? That they may receive God's strength and peace that will continue in their lives until they all meet again.

Enjoy your heavenly sunset, Debi and know that you are loved!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Springs of Living Water

When Carl and I were on vacation in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee last week, we decided to go on a short hike to a waterfall. My sister Chris, brother-in-law Paul and my niece Jenna went with us. It was a beautiful day and as soon as we started on the trail, it was impossible not to feel God's presence.

We started out at the bottom of the path with enthusiasm and plenty of energy for the journey. We knew that when we reached the top we would be rewarded with the sight of a beautiful waterfall. Even from the beginning of the hike, we were able to hear the sound of water. At times we could see it trickling down from the side of the mountain. Other times we could see the stream rushing along the rocks.

And other times we couldn't see the water at all, but were able just to hear it. But we always knew it was near.

When we got tired we stopped to rest. As we walked along we met other hikers, traveling the same path, headed to the same destination. We stopped several times to admire God's beauty in the many colors of the leaves and His magnificent power in the natural chiseling of the mountain rock that has occurred over thousands of years.

We came across a huge log that crossed our path and several rocks along the way that made our journey more difficult,

but always, we were able to hear the water.

Finally we reached the end of our journey and witnessed God's majesty and beauty in the waterfall. We went behind the water and stood in an area carved out in the mountain rock. Standing atop the mountain, next to the waterfall and listening to the mighty sound of the rushing water was an incredible experience.

I thought about how similar this hike was to the difficult journeys we face in our lives. When we trust in Him to make the journey through the desert, He always provides us water. His living water. He gives us a place to rest when we tire.

He provides friends and family to lift us up and strengthen us along the way.

He leads us to people who are also walking through the desert. Sometimes we can lift them up and other times they will lift us up. We come across obstacles that block our path and many times force us to take a different direction. But His water, like His love, is always there for us. Sometimes we see it right next to us and other times we can only hear the sound. But it is always there. And He has promised that one day, when our journey is complete and we land on the other side, there will be no more tears or sorrow and we will forever enjoy the "springs of living water."

"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:17)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

His Glory and Majesty !

Carl and I took the opportunity to go on a fall vacation to the Smoky mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina this week. We left on Saturday and drove to a place called Dillard House in Dillard, Georgia. We enjoyed a marvelous country dinner and stayed overnight in their quaint little inn.

We awoke Sunday morning to the call of a rooster.

The air was cool and crisp as we walked around the plantation. God's majesty was evident all around us. We enjoyed a huge country breakfast and headed on to Gatlinburg Tennesse.

On the way we passed a small country church where people were inside in worship. In addition to the cars in the parking lot, some had come by way of horses. Church the mountain way. Not a sight we would see in the city.

I have never been to the mountains in the fall and the colors are absolutely spectacular. The higher in elevation we got, the more orange, red, yellow and golds we saw in the leaves.

We stopped by the roadside to collect some leaves and send them to Jayda, our little granddaughter, who is learning about the change of seasons.

We stopped by to visit our friends Laurie and Evelyn in their mountain cabin and then headed on to Gatlinburg.

The little town of Gatlinburg is decorated for fall and we walked around taking in the sites.

We have been to the mountains several times before. But this year, every site seems magnified. The sky is bluer. The colors are more vivid. It's as if God has said, "I have set all of this before you for your pleasure. My gift to you. Enjoy."

Has He said that to me in years past and I have taken it for granted? God has shown me over the last year that tomorrow is not guaranteed. What I have is today. And this day, He has provided His love, His Glory and His Majesty for me to enjoy!

"Thank You Almighty God!"

Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. (Psalm 8:1)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Angel Bear

In September of 2006, I went into the hospital for abdominal surgery. I had been sick for about nine months before that with ulcers and all of the medications they tried did not heal them. So I had part of my stomach and small intestine removed to get rid of the ulcers.

About two days after the surgery, I was walking, very slowly, in the hallways pulling my IV pole. I passed by a pretty young lady about 16 years old who was also walking. As I passed by I jokingly said, "I'd have a race with you, but you would leave me in the dust." I noticed that she had a little stuffed "angel bear" hanging from her IV pole. I commented on how cute it was and she told me one of her friends from school had given it to her. She told me she was in the 11th grade in high school and was on the soccer team and in the band. She was also battling a type of colon cancer for which she had just had surgery to remove a tumor. She was a happy, positive, outgoing young person and she was a joy to talk with. After visiting in the hallway for a few minutes, she said she had to get back to her room because several of her friends from school were coming in to visit. As I watched her walk down the hall, I whispered a prayer for her healing.

Two days later, Carl and I went for a walk downstairs to the hospital cafeteria. When I came back to my room, there on my bedside table sat the little "angel bear". Next to it was a note written on a paper towel. It said "I wanted to give you my "angel bear". I won't be needing it now. I am going home and hope to be back in school next week. Good luck to you." As I looked at the bear closely, it didn't look like a new store bought bear. I wondered if possibly someone had passed it on to her and it came with its own story.

I hung the angel bear on my IV pole and it stayed there until I went home where he then sat on my nightstand. I felt like God wanted me to pass it on, and I was just waiting for Him to show me the right time and right person.

A few weeks later, I went to visit a young woman that I have known since she was a baby. Her name was Jennifer. She was 30 years old. She was full of spunk from the time she was born. She was an awesome mother who loved her children with a passion. After the birth of her third baby, Keaton, she just didn't bounce back to health. Her blood counts weren't normal. She was very tired. After much testing she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of colon cancer.

But, she was a fighter and she pushed through, doing all she could to see that her daughter Darcyne and son Daynin got settled into a new house and a good school. All along caring for baby Keaton as she grew weaker and weaker. I so admired Jenny and her determination and fighting spirit.

Chemotherapy weakened Jenny and she was admitted to the hospital. When I went to see her I saw how very sick she was and again witnessed her incredible inner strength. After visiting her, I knew that God wanted me to pass on the "angel bear" to Jenny. The next day I gave her the bear. And we cried and we prayed and we read from the bible. Oh how I came to love Jenny.

On Christmas Eve, Carl and I went with Pastor Steve to serve communion to Jenny in her bed. The "angel bear" was there. It was a Christmas Eve that will forever be etched in my memory. A short time later Jenny flew into the arms of Jesus. She left the "angel bear" here for she is in the company of ten thousand angels now.

This past Sunday, Jenny's grandmother brought a small bag to church and handed it to me. She said "I thought you might like to have this." When I opened the bag, there was "the angel bear"! Tears spilled onto the soft fur and the pink silk wings as I thought about how God was using this little "angel bear".

But isn't that how God's love is? Ongoing. From the beginning of time through eternity. One day I will be in the company of ten thousand angels visiting with Jenny and all those who I have loved that have gone before me. But until then, I will share His love with as many people as I can.

And so it is with little "angel bear." I don't know how many lives it has touched or how many it will touch, but God does. He knows where it started and He knows where it will go next. For now, it will sit on my nightstand, waiting for God to show me who He wants me to pass it on to. And the Father's love goes on and on and on.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Why Boys Need Parents

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love children. All children.

But truth be known, I am partial to little boys. I have 2 sons and a daughter and I
have learned over the years it is much easier to raise boys than girls. Girls come with much drama. They are best friends with someone one day and enemies the next. Girls can go from laughing hysterically to crying uncontrollably in a matter of minutes. Their perfectly good morning can be ruined when the curling iron fails to turn on. They are rather "high maintenance".

But, little boys are what they are. "What you see is what you get". Pure and simple. If they get mad about something they let everyone know, but usually get over it quickly. They get dirty and smell sweaty. They get scraped and bruised. They collect bugs and climb trees. They take risks. They enjoy life wholeheartedly! But they DO need their parents.

A friend sent me this e-mail and I liked it so much I wanted to share it. For those of you who have little boys now (Sara you will like this) and those of us who have raised our little boys, these pictures certainly tell the story of


Hope these little guys brought a smile to your face. Enjoy your day wholeheartedly !!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Master Craftsman

The piano is an integral part of our home. Carl is a piano teacher and the sound of our piano starts at about 7:30 in the morning and continues until about 8:00 at night, with a quiet time in the mid-day while the children are in school. (Thank goodness)

Our piano is a baby grand so the top is open and the students are able to see the soundboard and the long strings inside. Often times I overhear Carl teaching the children about the inner workings of the piano and how they are made.

Although our piano is not a Steinway, you may have heard the name before. The Steinway is known as one of the finest pianos in the world. I read a story about how the Steinway pianos are made and thought I'd share it.

It takes over a year to make one Steinway; each piano has always been made from scratch. The soundboard is stretched to its maximum tolerance and allowed to sit for an extended period until it remains in the curved design. This is done in an off-to-the-corner part of the plant. If the wood were alive, it would be crying out for mercy. After an extended time of stretching, the wood will never spring back to its original state. It is permanently changed. The piano is becoming a fine-tuned instrument.

After this process takes place, the next step requires another point of stress. It takes 11 tons of pressure on a piano to tune it. Each step in the process moves the piano closer to a finished product that will ultimately be played by the world's finest musicians. These musicians desire a particular sound that only a piano like this can make.

We are much like the Steinway piano. God sees in us a finely tuned instrument. But we must be stretched. In order to be stretched we must make journeys into the desert. We must endure tremendous pressure. It is often times very painful to be stretched. We sometimes feel as if we will break. But the Lord knows that it is necessary in order for us to become the beautiful instrument that He wants us to be.

Are you going through a desert right now? Do you feel as though you have tons of pressure on you and you may break? Are you going through the painful process of being stretched? If so, I pray that you might know that God is the master craftsman and He is at work in your life. He is preparing you to make beautiful music. Hang on to Him. And when He is finished you will be pleased with the instrument He has fashioned and will sing out a sweet song and forever be changed.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


October is "Breast Cancer Awareness" month. Many of the stores are selling pink ribbon products to raise awareness. When Carl and I were in a grocery store last week, I saw a pink ribbon car magnet and on it was printed the word "SURVIVOR".

When I saw it , I thought, "I think that means me. I think I am now called a survivor." Funny, I have been finished with treatment for a week now and this is the first time I have thought about being a survivor.

I spent some time thinking about that word. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, being a survivor simply meant making it through chemo and radiation and getting on with life. But when do you call yourself a survivor?, I wondered. I remember hearing very early after being diagnosed, that you are a survivor the day you are diagnosed. With a stage IIIB , TNBC desert looming in front of me, I had a hard time grasping that concept. I asked myself, "when will I truly feel like a survivor?" When I've made it through surgery? Chemo? Radiation? One year out? Two years out? Five years out? I shared those feelings with my good friend Ann one morning. Later that evening, I received this beautiful e-mail from her.

Dear Roxanne,
You are a survivor each day you awake to God's grace anew. And when your final days come many years from now and you awake to God's Holy arms and His beautiful face, you are a survivor then too. For you have lived on this Earth, battled with Satan's powers, and left a legacy of love, faith and grace. Fight on my dear friend and survivor!
Blessings and God's strength for each new day. Ann

Today, after spending 10 months in the desert, the word survivor has a much different meaning for me than it did in the beginning. Before the journey, being a survivor meant "all about me, and what I would do". After the journey, I have learned it is "all about Him and what He will do".

Being a survivor means being brought to our weakest point and learning that His strength is all we need.

Being a survivor is when your self will becomes His will.

You are a survivor when you walk out of the desert beside Him instead of in front of Him.

YES! I am a survivor. But NOT because of anything I have done. For without God's grace and mercy fresh every morning, I would not have made it through. Apart from Him I can do nothing.

And I pray, with all my heart, that whatever trial or battle you are facing right now, that you can know God's fresh new mercies and grace each morning. That as you travel through your desert, you can trust that He walks with you each step of the way and that He WILL bring you out.

And when He walks us out, we will truly be called "SURVIVORS" !