It has now been seven years since I started this blog. How quickly time goes by! We are many members but we are one in the body of Christ. Therefore you do not journey alone! Hopefully through this site you will be encouraged by the fact that many things you are going through in your own walk, others are going through (or have gone through) as well. Sometimes we think we are "going through things alone." But we are not. God said that "He would Never Leave Nor Forsake Us." (Hebrews 13:5) and that "There is Nothing New Under The Sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9). No man is an island. It's easy to forget that. May the words in this blog help you to think, encourage you in whatever spiritual state you are in and may the Lord use them to help us to grow in Him! He is the Author and Finisher of our faith!

I don’t want any readers to think that I am “promoting” being a prodigal. I definitely am not. But what I am hoping to do – is to encourage those of us who either have had or are currently experiencing a hard time in our walk to be honest about it. Personal conviction is a powerful thing, especially if you truly love the Lord. I think that sometimes the Body of Christ critiques and judges to the point where the person who is at the other end of that pointing finger feels ostracized, alienated and alone. I don't think that that is what Jesus intended. When I read through my Bible - I see a firm yet gentle restoration that Jesus ministered to those around Him. Look at John 21:15-19. When Peter who was at an all time low point in his walk - he was firmly, yet lovingly restored by Jesus. He didn't tear him down, or yell or make him feel any worse then he already did. He spoke to him lovingly and gently - and in doing so, Peter was able to repent and minister in a much more powerful, humble and confident way and it became one of the largest ministries ever.

Please note that I am only a vessel, my calling - to write. I dedicate this blog to the Lord and ask that He use it to reach out and touch whoever needs a special, loving, personal touch from Him. My hope is that the Holy Spirit allows you to see Him through the words (and not me). We go through things so that we can extend our right hand of fellowship behind us to assist and help someone else. Our Bible is the same today, as it was yesterday as it will be tomorrow. (I am far from perfect and do not profess to have all the answers...) but the good news is - Our Heavenly Father does! His love, forgiveness, grace and mercy is real!Nothing you are experiencing in your walk comes as a surprise to Him! May He be glorified through this blog and may God bless you at whatever stage in your walk you are in!~

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor
I was diagnosed with early stage triple negative breast cancer on June 24th, 2010 - I have been cancer free for 7 years now. It was only a chapter in my life - NOT my life, but the impact is one that has changed my life forever. Its important for women to know that 80% of the breast cancer diagnosis come from women who don't have a history of it in their family (My family didn't). Early detection is the key. For more information please click on the pink ribbon above. It could save your life.


October 19, 2011

Martina McBride - I'm Gonna Love You Through It

The Long & Winding Road is Really Not As "Less" Travelled as You Think...

Does Your Life Feel Like a Long and Winding Road?

 Do you ever look in the mirror and not recognize the person that you see?  I don't mean physically... Do you look at yourself and wonder how life has brought you to the point you are currently at? Are you at cross roads in your life? Are you so busy being everything for everyone else that the you have lost touch with who you are to you?

I often wonder if that is something that everyone experiences at one time in their life or other. I know I have experienced that this year.  My birthday is next week, a milestone. My first birthday being a breast cancer survivor.  Last October I was sitting in a chemo chair on my birthday, receiving chemotherapy and thinking, "I am doing this so that I can hopefully have the ability to celebrate MANY more birthdays."  That is what got me through.  And here I am now, a year later - getting ready to celebrate the "many more" and my emotions are a mess.  There is so much noise in my own head I can't even hear myself think. I just want to put my hands over my ears and yell "QUIET!!!"  But then I think the "quiet" would scare me.  Because then I would have to allow the thaw to occur... You know - when you keep yourself so busy by all that life has that you don't have time to "feel."  Its those times of quiet that overwhelm me and I have to look at the discord my life has been in for ohhh so many reasons - I can blame them all on cancer, but that wouldn't be the honest truth... Sometimes I think we need to look back and say, "okaaayyyyy - how did I get on this road I'm on.  When did I really need to change course?  And WHY? 

I think that is especially true for those of us who have been in a prodigal state.  I can see the things that brought me to a certain point.  A shake up occurred.  There are other ways a person medicates themselves that is not drugs or alcohol.  There are many ways a person can numb themselves in the hopes that the pain would pass. 

Are there times in your life when you wondered if God was really there?  If He was listening? If He had turned His back? If He had given up on you? If you had surprised Him?  If He left you like others have?  Is it hard for you to understand a Father's love when the father you had wasn't there for you? Abandoned you? Is it hard for you to believe that He is reaching out His hand to grasp yours and let you know, "It's okay." That people disappoint you all the time - but that He never will?  Do you blame Him for the hurts that have occurred in your life to the point that you will not allow Him to heal you in all ways you need?  Are you reading my words and saying, "OUCH?"

When I read about the prodigal, I am moved by the fact that the scripture says in Luke 15:20 of the prodigal who decided to go back home:

"But while he was still along way off his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him, he ran to his son and threw his arms around him and kissed him."  

The part that got me was that WHILE HE WAS A LONG WAY OFF.  "While I was a long way off...." "While YOU are a long way off..." Your Father is running to YOU.  He is running to you with His arms open wide.  He wants to give you a big bear hug.  He wants to gather you into His arms.  He wants to kiss you and show you how GLAD He is that you are making your way back to Him.  It doesn't matter WHAT you've done, or where you've gone.  He knows already.  And still He loves you.

Some of our roads "back home" are curvier than others.  Some are a longer distance back home.  But what matters is the fact that you recognize the need.  I'm asking God to show me how. To help me figure it out. We may not have all the answers - but HE does.

Our God is a God who would leave the other sheep to go find the one sheep that was lost.  That wandered off.  Luke 15:4 tells us:

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and one of them loses his way, does he not leave the other ninety-nine and goes after the lost sheep until he finds it?"

That goes right up there in my book with the prodigal's father running out to meet him.  That is the kind of Father we have.  Its up to us to "hug Him back." With all that love, how could we not?  Just open up your arms, receive and in return give back.  I think that is what He wants us to do, don't you?

October 9, 2011

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Your Money or Your Life? A Serious Sign of the Times...

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
There is much more we need to be aware of - and not only aware but to be active and to take a stand against drug companies that are withholding chemotherapy to make more money. That is a picture of me - don't let it be a picture of YOU. Help take a stand.
I heard some very disturbing news this week.  News that makes you shake your head in disbelief and I have to share it with those of you who read my blog because it is just plain WRONG.

I want to start this out by saying - no one ever expects bad things to happen to them. No one.  No one "expects" to get cancer.  I remember being in such shock.  I had just finished having a moving sale.  I came into the house to clean up and take a shower - and there, right where you would place your hand to say the "Pledge of Allegiance" was a lump.  It was about the size of a quarter.  I remember looking down at it thinking, "What is THAT?"  Honestly, I didn't think much of it at the time.  Not once did it occur to me that it would be cancer. It didn't even cross my mind.  It wouldn't have, because there had been no history of it in my family.  I honestly didn't know anything about breast cancer, other than the pink ribbons I would see time to time on the back of someone's car or hanging in the store near the register to buy.  I didn't know a thing about it...

However, I DO come from a medical family and I knew that whatever it was, I needed to get it checked out. I called my mother and she encouraged me to make an appointment with my primary care physician, which I did the next day.

I had had my annual GYN exam a month ago, my pap smear and everything that a woman should have yearly to take care of themselves.  Now the one thing I hadn't had was a mammogram.  I had been told, now that I was in my forties that I needed to go have one done and I had been given the name of a place that did them and somewhere in the back of my head on my invisible "To-Do list" was listed - "have a mammogram."  So I was very surprised when my doctor felt under my left arm pit and looked at me concerned and said, "I want you to go have an ultrasound and I want you to have it now."

I walked across the hall, for the first time scared to get an ultrasound.  The rest of that day seems like a bad dream. What I had thought was nothing but PMS turned out to be a malignant tumor. Disbelief, shock, fear, worry - a million things go through your mind.  You feel like you are dreaming and you just want to wake up.  I can remember thinking, "This can't be happening to me?!"  There I was, by myself too shocked to even cry.

The worst part was having to wait until the results came back.  They had to do a biopsy.  I had to wait three days to get the results.  Talk about a living hell.  The waiting was awful... I don't even remember how I got through those days... My life felt surreal.  I remember going to work, getting off of work and then taking myself out to a restaurant and having a Pearl Harbor.  Being a Christian, one who hadn't had a drink since she was 21 - it felt real strange having a drink I hadn't had since my college days.  I remember turning to the waitress and shocking her by saying, "I haven't had a drink since college - but I am sitting here waiting on the results of a biopsy that will tell me whether or not I have breast cancer.  Don't you think I deserve this?"  I truly believe I shocked her.  In fact I know it.  I mean, what do you say to someone who tells you something? Honestly, if I had been her - I would have looked at me with compassion and said, "that drink is on the house..."

It turned out I had caught it early, but I had a very aggressive form of breast cancer - called Triple Negative. Now, I am in no where near an expect on this - but Triple Negative breast cancer can only be treated with chemotherapy and radiation.  When it comes to talking about it I am only a "little billy goat gruff" compared to my pink sisters, who have braved so much more than I. Wait - you haven't heard the story?  The one about the Three Billy Goat Gruffs?  I will post that instead of a song - so you will understand what I mean... It also turned out that I had what I refer to as "one bad node." Which meant I would have to undergo chemotherapy and radiation.  My world was turned upside down - if you read my other posts, you'll be able to see just how much...  I went from knowing nothing about breast cancer to having a crash course - one that I would have to complete quickly in order to understand what was going to happen next.

The strangest thing happens when you become a breast cancer patient.  All of a sudden when you see an oncologist - the choices are up to YOU.  They say things to you like, "What would you like to have? A lumpectomy or a mastectomy" as if you were in a store and you were picking out an item.  Honestly, I think that floored me more than any words can say.... Here I was coming to see them and they were giving ME choices.  I felt like - what do I know? How can I possibly make a decision like that when I know NOTHING except what I've just learned right now??? I didn't know there were several types of breast cancer.  I didn't know anything about it all... Something about the "C" word and all you hear is - "Blah blah blah - cancer. Blah blah blah  Chemotherapy..." I think one of the smartest things I did was have my mother go with me.  You see, I had to relocate back to my childhood home in Massachusetts from Upstate New York.  My mother being a medical professional knew (as did I) that the best place for me to go for treatment, was in Boston where I was from.  Some of the most world-wide reknown hospitals in Boston. I've worked at a few myself. I knew... In fact there had been at time years ago when I had actually worked at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute - how ironic it would be that I was going back as patient. I was to go through several rounds of what is referred to as "The Red Devil" - chemotherapy which consists of Adriaymycin and Cytoxan.  I would write more about it - but just the thought of that chemo makes me nauseous and sick to my stomach. So I hope you don't mind if I continue on from there... The color is red.  The smell - never leaves you. It is in my head forever. It feels like a bleach coursing through your veins.  It is all you can do to remember that this poison is to kill out any lingering cancer cells that may have gone from your nodes into your body.  I had to keep reminding myself of that through every treatment of it.  And as Forrest Gump would say, "That is all I've got to say about that..."

The next course of action for me - was a second chemotherapy called Tamoxifen.  It was a "walk in the park" compared to the Adriamycin/Cytoxan mix I had.  It made some of my fingernails and toenails fall off.  But compared to losing my life - that was a minor thing.

I cannot tell you how humbling it is - to lose your long curly hair, to lose hair all over your body - from your eyelashes, eyebrows to your nose hair, to the hair all over.  (Did you know that nose hair keeps your nose from running?) I probably learned more than I ever wanted to know about my body.  But you go through a plan of action with your Oncologist, and you do what you have to do - why? Because you have NO choice. I hear people telling me "how strong" I am all the time... But honestly, its not a matter of "strength" its a matter of doing what you have to do to get through it.  God gave me enough strength each day to get through the most difficult time in my life.  Even as my marriage was crumbling, even as I didn't have any answers or anyone around me except my kids, my mom and my brother and my bff from long distance.  It was at this time that I met through Facebook - the most amazing group of women I will ever have the honor of meeting.  I call them my "Pink sisters." Other women who were going through what I was going through.  They could understand.  They could share their experiences with me, answer questions.  Although we were not face-to-face we became a close knit group of women.  All of us trying to make sense of this horrible disease.

Although I started this blog out with my own experience - its not the reason I've written this blog tonight. I heard some unbelievable news from a dear sweet sister - one of my Pink sisters, who's mother is in need of a chemotherapy called, "Doxil."  This is what my sweet sister Kim, championing for her mother - wrote:

Dear Johnson & Johnson: I have arbitrarily decided that my Mother's life is worth exactly $1 Billion Dollars to me. She is on the "list" for your product Doxil, her only hope to continue living, and it is has been unavailable due to your "shortage" for three months. Your people within your great Personhood tell us that a small amount of Doxil will be released to the people on Schindler's List in 5 weeks. That is the story we have heard repeated for 12 weeks. Please, bump my Mother up on the list and get her her billion-dollar-life-saving chemo ♥

It is unimaginable to me - that a company would withhold a life-saving drug from a cancer patient - or anyone facing a life threatening illness regardless of the disease.  Yet from what I am hearing, that is exactly what is being done.  It is morally wrong. When we put money above people's lives - helping another human being. Providing what could possibly be the only medicine that could save a person's life - that's what I consider blood money.  The thing that is so head-shaking to me is that cancer is random.  No one is exempt from the possibility of getting it.  No matter how "healthy" you eat.  No matter what your weight.  The rich get it, the middle class, the poor.  It doesn't matter your race, your religion - any thing.  All of us have been affected by this horrible disease in one way or another.  If we don't take a stand for getting chemotherapy and any life saving medicines out to those who need it? WHO WILL?

So I ask you for you to pray for Kim's mom.  I don't know her name specifically - but that is okay, because God knows who she is... I cannot tell you how devastating getting cancer is - and not allowing yourself to get stressed out while going through ANY treatment.  But being told that they can't GET that treatment for you? Its just wrong....And it is up to US to do something about it.  It could be your daughter, your son, your husband, your mom - YOU.  I pray that God convicts those who are in the business of making chemotherapy and holding it back because THEY want more money.  Health Insurance cost so much as it is. Have we really become such a nation of greed? At the cost of people's lives?  God have mercy...

September 28, 2011

Because He Lives

"You Lookin' at Me?"

"You Lookin' At Me?"
Provided by Free Nature Pictures

Are there days when you wake up and you just want to S C R E A M?  No particular reason why, you just want to have one of those kid-like-roll-on-the-floor-type-temper-tantrum?  Today is one of those days for me... Now at 44 years if I did that, they'd probably come and put me in a white jacket and lock me up in a padded cell.  But when you think about it - I think if we allowed ourselves to have one of those it would do all of us a WORLD of good.  Better than any Yoga class, better than any exercise.  I think that keeping our emotions in and appearing "stoic" on the outside clogs us up like a stopped up drain.

Take a moment with me - try this! It's harder than it seems it would be.  Take out a piece of paper - write down ALL the things that you are feeling frusturated with.  Can you do it?  Let me see if I can do it... Here I go...

I'm frusturated that cancer has changed every portion of my life! That it was the breaking point in my marriage! That I had to go through treatments alone! That I'm struggling financially! That I'm having to adjust to being a "single parent" that I don't have all the answers! That I'm afraid of reoccurence! That I'm not promised tomorrow! That my body feels different than it did before surgery - even though I'm blessedly cancer-free! That everything I want seems dependent on money! That I'm not sure I should want the things that I want and if I got them if they would even workout or make me happier? That my emotions run up and down like a huge roller coaster ride! That sometimes God feels far away - even though I know He isn't and that I'm not suppose to go by my feelings - although my feelings are very strong! That God created me with the desire to LIVE although everything in this world dies and is not promised tomorrow!"

There! Ahhhhhh that feels somewhat better! Did you do it too? Now take a good look at that list (your list not mine.. hehehe)... What are YOU going to do about it? You can stew and sit and steam and do nothing to change your situation - or you can change your mind!  I choose to change my mind.  It is hard to accept that there are certain things that we have no control over.  But in saying that - even before I went through being diagnosed with breast cancer and having a quarter-size chunk removed from my left breast, and having gone through chemo and radiation I realize that - guess what? We NEVER have had control over our lives.  The Bible tells us "The Steps of the Righteous are Ordained by God."  Things happen to us that surprise us - but they don't surprise HIM. He sees down through the course of history - and yes even through what some of us think of as our "trivial lives" and knows.  He knows... (Does that bring tears to your eyes? Because its bringing tears to mine)...  And still He loves us.  He knows.  If He knew about it then, and He knows about it now - and STILL loves us than we have to love ourselves.  Love ourselves enough to accept that our lives are in His hands (by the way - they always WERE even before those unbelievable situations happened in your lives.  Even before you goofed up.) The difference the thing that matters MOST is what are YOU going to do?

Let me tell you a little story, one that I wrote off the top of my head...

There was once this frog.  He had somehow lost his way in a forest and was trying to find his way back to his pond.  As he was walking through the forest (or hopping rather..) he came to a clearing.  He saw a big pot filled with water and thought "oh my legs ache... Maybe if I just swim in that water for a little while I'll feel rejuvinated and will be able to find my way back to the pond."  So he jumped into the pot (not noticing the hot fire underneath it). It felt sooo good at first... The warm bath-like water was soothing and cajoling... He lay back and relaxed, "aaah, this is the life..." but after a while, he started feeling lethargic - the water felt warmer.  He began to squirm feeling uncomfortable, disoriented.  What had once felt good didn't feel good anymore.  He couldn't remember what to do?  Should he jump out of the pot back onto the hard ground? Unsure of how long it would take him to find water again? Or should he just stay there and squirm and try to adjust to the sudden spike in temperature of the water surrounding him?  The longer he stayed the hotter it got.  He began to get angry.  "Why is this water so hot! Why couldn't it stay warm? Why did I lose my way from my pond?!" He stamped his hot little foot in anger.  Then he realized he had to make a decision.  He could either stay in his discomfort and hope that it would get better by itself or he could jump out into the unknown and try to find his way back to his pond.  He jumped out from the pot onto the ground and looked up at the pot seeing the flame underneath it for the first time. Then he stopped looking behind him and focused on the pathway infront of him and went forward on his way."

We don't know what tomorrow holds - but it could be better than today? If we don't try - we won't know. If we don't believe and we settle and we stew and we complain - we may miss out on the blessings that are before us that we don't yet see. We can change the things about us that we are able to change.  So take a look at your list now.  (I'm looking at mine)..

Yes cancer has changed my life. Changed the way I think (taken away my bs meter...) but it has also brought into my life some of the most couragious, beautiful, strongest women I have ever met. Brought friends into my life that I never otherwise would have had the privelege of knowing.  Yes after 19 years of marriage I'm on my own.. But I have such love in my heart, so much to share, so much to experience, so much to do that I can't see myself being that way forever. So I've grown? Although I often get lonely and scared of these changes - they are not forever. That much I know. Sometimes change = growth. If we allow it. And as for my feelings - it is important not to be "led" by them but to acknowledge them for what they are. To do less is to dishonor yourself.

So you see? I'm changing the way I think. Are YOU? Why don't you try it and see what results you have. Be patient with yourself.  Changing the way you think takes time and if you are your own worst critic (like I am) then you are harder on yourself than anyone else is... I often think of the scripture "Love your Neighbor as your Love yourself." (Mark 12:30-31)But here is the thing - many of us are loving our neighbors MORE than we are showing our ownselves love.  I think the change has to start first with us.  I have started thinking about how this body of ours is a shell.  We are in-cased within it.  First there is our mind, our body and our spirit.  How interwoven these three things are.... I think if we "change our mind" we will see a better result in our body and in our lives and of course our spirit.  I hope that doesn't come off as "New Agey" because I'm not at ALL. But I do think that is even Biblical.  Afterall the Bible tells us: "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 such things." (Philippians 4:8)

It's time to change your mind... And jump outta what ever pot you are stewing in... He's holding us in the palm of his hand (Isaiah 49:16) and He tells us "I will continue to do a good work in you until it is finally finished." (Phillipians 1:6)  Choose to believe it. Change your mind... It will change your life... I know, because its changing mine.

September 25, 2011

Yentl - Papa Can you Hear Me?

Don't Put Your Muck in My Backyard...

There is a song that we use to sing as campers, at my Camp - Camp Foss. The words of the song went like this:
"Don't put your muck in my backyard, my back yard, my back yard, Don't put your muck in my back yard, my back yard's full..."

It was just a fun song that we use to sing - how strange is it that that seems to be the mentality of today? Everyone is concerned with themselves more than they are concerned with their neighbors?  What would happen to the world if everyone had that "Me! Me! Me!" mentality?

I had an eye opening conversation with a 21 year old boy this weekend - and I say "boy" because that was the mentality he had.  It was my father's birthday, I should mention that my father passed away 9 years ago... However, I have this tradition of honoring the memory of him by buying flowers, and a balloon and taking them to the cemetery.   Now I know my dad is in a "better place" but it makes ME feel good to be able to honor him this way.  I know this may be a bit childlike - but I like to walk over to his stone, talk to him a bit about life and what's going on and then, kiss the balloon, hold it close for a moment - sing Happy Birthday and then - release it, off into the air.  Here is the childlike faith part -part of me believes that God allows this balloon right into Heaven where my father is.  I watch it take off and go as far as it can possibly go until its out of sight....

Well, there I was in Stop & Shop, I had the balloon picked out and was waiting for the sales guy (him) to blow it up with helium for me.  As he was unpacking the mylar from its wrapping he noticed the balloon said, "Happy Birthday Dad" and he asked me if I was going to a birthday party for my father.  I told him that the balloon was in memory of my father, that I was honoring him and how.  He blinked, looked at me and said, "Don't."

Raising an eyebrow, I looked back at him and said, "I beg your pardon?"

He looked at me and said, "Why are you doing that? How long has your father been gone?"

I met his look with a stern one of my own, trying to hold back my temper.  "He's been gone for nine years now, but it still feels like yesterday."

He looked at me surprised and said, "You should just forget about him."

I was now offended.  I looked down my nose at him, feeling "old" for the first time.  "That is simply ridiculous.  You don't just "forget" your parents.  I'll never forget my father.  How old are you?" I asked him.

He looked surprised.  "I'm 21," He said.

"Well that is still awfully young." I said condescendingly.  "One day you'll understand.  If your parents passed away you would know how terribly hard it would be to just "forget them."

"No it wouldn't." He said.  "I always remember my mother."

"Probably when you want something..." I said under my breath.  He must of heard me...

"Yes, that is exactly when I remember her." He said.

I looked back at him surprised by his audacity.  He really meant what he said.

Now I don't know what his life "situation" has been with his parents, but from the calm manner he presented he came off as a brat.

"One day your parents aren't going to be here and you will miss them - even if right now you think you won't." I said to him with an air of someone who is "ohhh so much older and wiser than he. You don't realize it now because you haven't gone through it yourself.  I suggest when you get off work and go home you hug your mother tightly because not one of us is promised tomorrow."

"When my mother passes away," He said looking me straight in the eye. "As close as we are, I will forget about her."

I threw him a look of genuine disgust and pity.  "Thank you for blowing up the balloon for me." I said, and I walked away.

I felt extremely bad for his mother. For his parents.  I think about all I try to do (and have done) for my children and I hope at the very, very least if I should pass away that they would never choose to forget me.  To me that would be the ultimate heart breaker.

I also could not help but think about the scripture that talks about the "sign of times." It almost made the hair on my arms rise up with the matter of fact manner he seemed to be able to say, "when they are gone - forget them."

2nd Timothy 3:2 describes it this way:  "People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,"

Is that what we have come down to? Not a day goes by that I do not miss my father.  We had an imperfect relationship, but I loved him, there were times I did not like him - but I always, always loved him.  You do not realize how short life is until you have faced it yourself.  Until you have lost a parent and you would give your "right arm" just to be able to hug them one more time and say thank you.

Being a breast cancer survivor, one who caught it early - I've been given a second chance at life.  It changes your perspective.  When you are young, you don't realize that it doesn't necessarily mean that bad things are going to wait until you are old to happen.  Guess what? They happen to young people too.  I should know - I'm not that old.  Compassion, love and respect are things that should happen TODAY.  We've all heard the saying "Don't put off tomorrow what you could do today?" (I think that is right... but if not, you know what I mean.)  Don't wait to say your "I love you's" now.  You may regret it tomorrow....

And there aren't enough balloons in the whole world to make that sorrow go away...

August 7, 2011

Sandi Patty His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Are you Settling for Less? WHY?

It's right there in black and white - the best love story ever....

I woke up this morning excited about the future.  It's been a while since I've felt that way, I guess because so much has happened within the last two years... Have you ever woken up excited about doors that are opening?  You want to peek and see, but you have to wait. Like a kid on Christmas Eve! I actually feel like "giggling." How silly is that?

I posted a question on my FB that really made me think this morning... The question was "If you became stranded on an island, what would you bring?" And why is it that no one ever thinks of saying - "A boat?" (LOL) How obvious an answer is that? Yet I've not heard that answer before... Its as plain as the nose on a face.  Then I started thinking about why? Maybe its because we don't "want" to get off that island? Maybe its because we don't "think" we deserve to get off that island? Maybe its because we are "hiding" from everyone else or we isolate ourselves?  It got me thinking... What if there is something "better" than that Island - yet we don't consider that?? Hmmmmmm....

I'm going in a direction I never saw myself going. Although my life has changed so drastically, I'm in a total foreign circumstance. Learning as I go.  Putting things behind me and trying my best to move forward.  There is one thing that I DO know, and that is that God has called me to write. It's something that he told me 20 years ago but I never believed in myself (or in Him using me?) enough to be obedient enough to do it... Imagine if the Apostles had done that? Not allowed God to use them? Where would we be now? Hmmmm....

I've also been thinking about how we don't see the "full' picture.  Maybe sometimes God has to do things to capture our attention?  We don't always listen or perhaps "hear" Him.  Maybe He is at a point in some of our lives where He's now waving his hands over His head, or taking two fingers into his mouth whistling "Hey Kelly! Over here!!!"  Did you ever think about that?  I have to believe that the things that happen to us in this life - happen for reasons we don't know, or can't fully understand.  I have to believe that in the long run - it works out to God's good.  Even when we are having a "Huh? Are you kidding me?!!" moment.  

There are times in my life (especially recently) where I haven't felt God's arms around me. Holding me tight. Now I know we are not "suppose" to go by "feelings."  But that is a meter like a thermometer of what we are thinking... I've been so wrapped up in the situation(s) or problems, or trying to figure it out on my own not realizing that perhaps I don't have the "knowledge" or the "tools" to do it myself, no matter how hard I try.  Somethings we just have to "Let go and Let God." And I think maybe, that is what He wants us to do.  I'm not saying that this can't be painful.  It's hard to release things to Him.  Fully let go. Fully trust.  I don't know about you, but sometimes for me - its that I don't "believe" God will love me enough to help me through it.  (How ridiculous is THAT when He sent His son to die on the cross for forgiveness of my sins??!) My little petty problems that are so big to me are NOTHING to our Creator. 

Here is an example - I was hoping and praying for something this week. I wanted it soooo badly. I was depending on it.  I even had my sisters and brothers in Christ praying about it for me.  I never got an answer - even at the due date that had been the deadline.  I was majorly disappointed.  But then I got a call from someone about something else. Something so huge it was better than I ever imagined.  And it got me thinking - maybe what we think is our "best" is not our best at all.  Maybe God wants to bless us MORE abundantly than we can imagine?!  Imagine that?!!! I have a pretty big imagination.  So that is hard to fathom! (LOL).  I think we often forget how MUCH He loves us.  He came so that we could have life and have it MORE abundantly! (Ephesians 4:20)  Why don't we believe that?  

If you are a parent - don't you want to bless YOUR child more abundantly than you had as a kid?  You do your best to provide and give them every privilege they can have.  What makes us think that our Heavenly Father is any different?  I think sometimes we are not open to receive.  We think we are "unworthy" (and we are) but the fact is - It is not by power, not by might but by HIS Spirit. (Zech 4:6)

For the first time in a long time - I feel God's presence moving me, gently - like he is touching my shoulder and turning me around. Is that happening to you? Are you aware of it if it is?  Like He is gently saying, "This way my daughter, its time to turn around. I've watched you struggle, I've stood back and watched you get lost going your own way. But YOU belong to ME. I have called you by name. YOU are MINE."  That is what I'm hearing and even in my Prodigal state - His turning my shoulder is that of a parent who will not take no for an answer. How does He do that?  He changes the desires of your heart. What was once appealing - is no longer.  I think in the 23 years I've been saved the most powerful times.  The times that I have truly known that a relationship with God is a personal one-on-one thing is the times where He has made me "change my mind."  Like when you once liked something, and all of a sudden you don't have a taste for it anymore.  Or maybe He shows you - you wanted this. Are you SURE about that?  Let me give you a wake up call so that you can see that perhaps what you thought you wanted, isn't what you think it is."  And then He takes the scales off your eyes and you see.... "Wow... That isn't what I thought I wanted."  How could I not see it?? And then you start praising Him because He is full of grace and patience and love to see you through whatever the situation is and then gently turns your shoulder to make you go down the pathway He has for you.

I'm not saying this is an easy thing. I'm not saying its not one that doesn't take time.  But maybe what God has for us, is so much greater than what WE had planned for OURSELVES??? And maybe - just maybe we need to trust Him a little more to believe that He has our best interests in mind? Even when we don't think He loves us enough (because perhaps we haven't loved ourselves enough?).  How can we not trust a God who says "He holds us in the palm of His hands??" (John 20:24-48).  How gentle is that? Isn't that the best place to be? That's where I long to be. How about you?  Maybe there is SOOO much more then we can imagine there is for us.  Maybe we should give Him a chance to reveal it.  I'm going to.  How 'bout you?

July 30, 2011

Please pass me some of that Abundancy... Ahhh yes - thank you!

Be careful what you ask for... You MIGHT just get it... Is the saying that is going through my head these days.  I feel like one of the cars in the movie "Cars."  God is "under my hood" working his magic in a way that only the Creator knows how to do.

When you open yourself up for the Lord to change you - and you don't SEE how He will, it doesn't mean He won't.  Maybe He is giving you "new realizations" about yourself?  Maybe He's giving you a second chance? He Created YOU its NOT that hard for HIM to do.  "Not by power, not by might but BY MY SPIRIT" (sayeth the Lord).

Oh how we think we know ourselves so well! Then perhaps we are given a viewpoint from Him that shows that we really know NOTHING about ourselves afterall.  I think that is because we see in part - but HE sees in full.  The changes He makes inside of us, enable us to see things more clearly.

Maybe the "front window" of your car needs cleaning.  So you can see things more clearly. Were you looking at things with "rose colored glasses?" And once your windshield was cleaned off you realize that what you thought you were seeing was not really what was there afterall?  Maybe at first you felt shocked.  That's not what I saw! You said.  Is God showing you the truth?

I have found that when He does that with me.  He does it with a gentle arm around my shoulder.  Probably because He knows I am my own "worst critic."  His Fatherly voice whispering in my ear. "There Kelly, do you see now? Sit with me a while longer. I know what I'm doing in your life.  You don't always have to know. But you do have to know that what I DO and what I say is for a reason that perhaps at this time you cannot comprehend.  Much like when you try to direct your own children into a certain direction, and all they see you saying is NO."

As the road before me gets clearer.  I know what I want.  I know what I see. The best place to be is in the center of His will.  I'm not saying it doesn't cause "growing pains." Ohhh how I am feeling them.  I'm not saying it will be easy - Oh how its NOT.  I am not sure what direction He is taking me.  But I know that even though I have felt like He is far away - He hasn't been, He's not.  He can take my mistakes and use them to glorify Himself.  I guess that is the one good thing about being a person who is transparent.  I don't know "how" to be "fake."  I never have.

What I love so much about the Lord.  Is that He is in the business of "changing us."  When we can't do it ourselves, and when we open ourselves up to Him doing it, He does miraculous things.  He tinkers inside of us and changes our desires to line up with His will.  Maybe its because we are not strong enough to do it ourselves. He takes the desire right out of us. CHANGES us so that we no longer want what we thought we wanted. I think its a process though.  Not something that happens overnight, although I suppose He can make it that way, afterall - He's God! He is able.

I don't think God makes bad things happen to us.  I think that is the result of sin in the world.  But I DO think that God uses the bad things that happen to us for GOOD. I don't think God "gave me" breast cancer.  I think He used it to capture my attention.  To show me what is important to me. What NEEDS to be important. Maybe I would have settled all my life.  Maybe I wouldn't have come to the point that I am at now.  I am not "glad" I went through breast cancer.  I rejoice that I am healed and cancer-free.  That He brought me through it.  I am forever changed inside and out.  It made me realize ohhh so many things that perhaps I would not have realized before.  Things like:

1) I have much clearer understanding of what is important and what isn't.
2) I try to live life FULLY because I realize its a GIFT and can be taken away at ANY TIME
3) I have more compassion and am less selfish
4) I realize that I can never ever ever settle for LESS at any given point in my life
5) I have become less judgmental.  If you haven't walked in someone's shoes - what GIVES you the right to judge them??? You don't KNOW the whole story. But God does. Leave the judging to Him.  People followed Jesus because He spoke the truth with COMPASSION.  How sad it is that that is greatly lacking in most of our churches today. When you think about that - that is a cancer, in and of itself! It needs to be corrected so that brothers and sisters in Christ can be restored. The hurting should be able to come to the church, not feel like they have to "stay away." That MUST grieve the Holy Spirit greatly...

I also have less tolerance for people who say they want to change but don't.  Not for the people that "can't" but for the people who are unhappy in their lives and unwilling to do anything about it.  I have less tolerance for empty promises. Actions mean a lot more to me because they show the intent.  If you want something to truly happen, you will do everything you know how to make it happen.  That's the change. That's the difference.

I know what I want - do YOU??? Ask yourself if you don't.  What is important to me right now at this very moment is:  My health, stability, routine, the well being of my children, the ability to move forward. To be surrounded by people who love me and are my real friends. I am far from perfect - but at least I can admit it to God.  I see no point in hiding it, He sees everything anyways. He knows the desires of your heart.  He created you!

Life is short - God said that He wants us to have life and have it ABUNDANTLY.  He wouldn't have said that in His Word if He didn't mean it. I think its time I had a helping of "abundancy" - how about YOU?

July 5, 2011

Nicole C. Mullen - Redeemer - Video

After a Storm, Comes the Rainbow - So Hold on! Don't Give in, Give up or Let Go! 

Change...  I suppose its one of those things that is inevitable... I never much liked it.  Although sometimes "change" is a good thing. I suppose this is one of those moments...

Half the time we don't see it coming. We don't plan for it. We could be going full throttle in one direction when the winds of change come and our course is in the other direction.... The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:12  "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

We only see in part. God sees the full picture. We don't.  Maybe that is His grace. Thinking about that as I type these words, I think - He sees the "fullness of me" and yet - He STILL loves me.  Even when I feel unlovable.  Even when I don't love myself enough.  Even when I make mistakes.  Even when I am at my worst - He saw it all and still He died on that cross for forgiveness of my sins. (And YOURS!)

Part of me is glad I don't see the full picture of my life - because I don't think I could have handled seeing that I would go through breast cancer, chemotherapy, radiation before the actual moments occurred.  I certainly didn't see the break down of my marriage before it occured. (Although there were signs)...  And there are good things too. My children - each one special, unique. Every change is not a bad change.  I guess you appreciate the good more because of the bad...  

Throughout this journey called life - we are constantly learning about ourselves, aren't we?  The scripture "Pride before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18) is so accurate.  And you can feel "prideful" and not even know it - until you've fallen and you're wondering "what the heck happened?"  And all of a sudden you have a new understanding of God's grace. To me, its immeasurable. We use to sing a song in church that went "It's me Lord standing in the need of prayer."  It's not until you experience "change" that you are in a place you never *thought* you'd be - that you realize that God's grace REALLY does pertain to you.  And its not by your actions, its not by your "being good enough" that gets you there. It's by HIS GRACE ALONE.

I feel His grace, His mercy this morning as I sit in my new quiet home. The kids are with their father.  How strange it is to write that... I am 2 1/2 hours away.  I wish I could say that cancer "changed" my family and perhaps it did - but the changes began earlier than that - cancer just quickened it.  We think we have control over our circumstances... We don't. Be careful over thinking that you have "steady feet" because this "balancing beam" called life can change in an instant and all you "thought" you knew you realize you didn't really know much at all.

What have I realized as I look back on my past year? I realize that peace is important, I realize that lots of discord can affect your health.  I realize that it is important for a person to have a "sanctuary. I realize that it is not my place to judge someone. (and to leave all the judging to a God who sees in full - while I just see in part).

I don't know what the future holds for me - I only know "Who holds me." (In the palm of His hand).  When you hold something in the "palm of your hand" you are holding it gently, lovingly, carefully as if it matters to you.  I matter to God.  *Smiling* and so do YOU. His grace and his mercy pertains to all of us who are willing to receive it. What a wonderful realization to start this day off... and you know what? No matter what change comes my way - that is all I really need to know.

June 14, 2011


Bread She Said...I think I'm The Braided Kind - What Kind are You?

Is He Molding You?

I woke up this morning thinking how its okay to say "You don't have all the answers." I think that's being honest. I think its the people who think they DO have all the answers that are the ones who really need to take a good hard look at themselves.  I look at those people with disbelief in my eyes and I say, "really?"

Maybe when we admit to being imperfect, not knowing, questioning, wondering - that God says, "Okay, this is when you are mold able. I can work with you now..."

As I'm typing this, I get this picture of my head of someone making bread. Actually "throwing" the dough down hard on the table, taking the palm of their hands and pushing down on it.  Have you ever seen someone make bread?  Maybe that is what God does with us.  But we have to be pliable. Maybe He allows us to go through the things we do in life so that we can get to a point where He can make "our dough" the consistency that it can be made into something.... better. A workable consistency...

Maybe the pain we feel is us "being slammed" down on the counter with different things that are happening in our lives.  Growth can be painful.  For those of you reading who are females, do you remember the feeling of growing into womanhood during your pre-teen age? I do.  When our bodies were changing?  There were growing pains....(Sorry guys I'm not male so I can only add my own experience to the mix... no pun intended - hehehe) I can remember my kids saying they were having pains in there legs, in their knees. I would tell them it was growing pains (and it was).

The thing I think we sometimes forget - is that spiritually we are constantly growing. For as long as we have breath in our bodies - it doesn't stop. He Who is the Author and Finisher of our faith gives us the grace, the guidance and the strength to get through the "next" portion of our lives.  And only He knows what it is.  I don't know about you - but I'm quite glad He doesn't show us everything at once. I honestly don't think we can handle "everything." I think it would be too overwhelming. Maybe even mind shattering to see every portion of our lives.  God is a God of grace.

I know this may sound weird to some - but have you ever stopped to think about this?  If we are in a physical situation where we are in too much pain, God gives us the grace to be able to "pass out" "lose consciousness" so that we don't have to endure more than we can bear.  I can't say I say that from personal experience - because I never have passed out. But its a physical mechanism that God put in place so that we don't have to endure more pain then we can bear.  At least that is how I see it...

I think its okay to admit we don't always have the answers.  That we need His help. His guidance.  That we feel lost - and uncertain and sometimes, like we learned when we are kids - that if we get lost, to sit still and wait for help.  Are you waiting for help?  He says "He will NEVER leave nor forsake You." (Hebrews 13:5) He also says "He has engraved you in the palms of His hand." (Isaiah 49:16)

I know the plans I have for you...
"...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
Even through the most difficult moments of our lives - when we are just trying to get from one moment to the next - He is there.  I sometimes forget that, its good to know that even when we are not consistent - He is.  No matter what.

May 27, 2011

Stevie Wonder - I Just Called To Say I Love You

"I Just Called to Say - I LOVE YOU!" (Come on, Sing it with Me!)

Hi!!!! How are YOU? Long Time No See... Been Thinkin' 'Aboutcha...
It's Friday and I'm in between meetings... Time to blog. I got some sad news this week - that a friend I cared a great deal about passed away unexpectedly.  I hadn't talked to him in a couple of months - life happened, it got busy.  He was so young... He was so full of life.  Once again I realized how none of us is promised tomorrow. I've been filled with such sorrow at his loss and mad at myself that I let so much time go by without checking on him... It seems all so surreal that he is gone. How is it that life goes on? The sun rises, it sets, life just continues going on as if it hasn't lost a beat... But it has - it has lost one really sweet, super fantastic human being. By no means perfect - for who of us is?  I can't pretend Patric (Sean) didn't exist - but I guess what I can do is celebrate his life.  Remember him.... And also remember to check on people I haven't spoken with in a while - pick up the phone and say - "Hey! You were on my mind, you okay? How's life?"

It is so easy to get caught up in our own situations. The Bible tells us that "We are many members but we are ONE in the body of Christ."  I think we forget that. I know I do. I think because I type 95 wpm I must be a "finger" and what good is a finger without the palm? Or the palm without the wrist? We need each other.  We can act like we don't - but we DO.

I'm not ashamed to say that it is easy to feel alone in a room crowded with people. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I remember having problems with my cell phone and having to go to Sprint and the nearest one was in a mall, and it felt like everyone was going in super fast motion - like in a movie, everyone except me. And I thought - here I've just been diagnosed with this God awful disease and feel like my life has halted and everyone else is "getting ready for their weekend" it was (and is) an awful feeling. To feel like you are in a "sub-category" kinda like all of a sudden you've developed leprosy and your on the "outskirts" of society.... (Thank God for the Pink Society, which made me feel as though I wasn't alone).

How many people that we associate feel the same way? In an inner-agony that no one sees because they "think that individual is soooooo strong." That person isn't strong - they just *hide it better then most.*  Thank God for a God who is compassionate. Who is slow at anger. I think the crowds followed Jesus because of the love He showed.  He LISTENED. He CARED. He HEALED.  He LOVED.  He loved societies most unlovable people. And if He is the same today as He was yesterday as He will be tomorrow - why is it that it is so hard for US who know our Word to walk in it. To show it.  To believe it  - first for ourselves and then for others.  Hmmmmmm makes you think doesn't it?  It sure is making ME think.

Maybe after you read this blog - you will think of one person you haven't spoken to in a while and will reach out and contact that them. Let them know you care.  Smiles ARE contagious and you never really know how much your doing so will effect and maybe change the course of that individuals day... It could be a difference in any decisions they make about their own lives... Just by showing you care....  Not one of us is promised tomorrow, so how 'bout showing someone TODAY that they're important? That they are NOT alone? That God loves them....A song we use to sing in church went like this: "Give and He'll give it back to you press down, shaken together running over back in good measure... He'll give it back to YOU."  If you're in a slump yourself, maybe the person you reach out too - will actually make it BETTER for YOU! Think about it...

May 24, 2011

What exactly IS good enough?

The doctors all tell me I should cry. But I am like a faucet that you turn on and the water doesn't come out.  All you hear is the "squeek" of the metal as you try to turn the water on.... They tell me that with all I have gone through in the last year... Breast cancer, chemotherapy, emergency room visits, a marriage that has fallen a part, fighting for my life, loneliness.... That I should cry. But I can't.  I just CAN'T.  Why is that?  I've wondered that a lot lately - but I think the truth is that if I start crying - I don't know that I'll ever stop.

I thought that chemotherapy was the hardest thing I'd ever gone through. But what has actually been worse - is the devastation I see of my life from all that has happened over the last year.  You see - when you go through chemotherapy - they give you premedication that makes you sleepy. That keeps you from feeling overly nauseous.  But after treatment - the pain of all that has occurred is raw. Its numbing, its mind blowing.  And all of a sudden you don't have physicians, oncologists, nurses, radiologists all around you.  You're no longer a "specimen on a petri dish."  You're standing there by yourself and for the first time YOU FEEL THE PAIN. The emotional pain is worse then the actual physical pain itself.  The awareness of the people who have shown not to be your family or your friend because a lot of people don't know how to "deal" with what you went through. And there you are picking up the pieces of your life.  Wondering how you go on from there.  You're not the same person you were before cancer and you certainly don't know the fullness of the person you've become... You only know that your bs meter has no "pre screening" that you look at people who complain about tiny little nonsensical things and you want to say - "REALLY???" "Really???!!!"  And all the things that you had before put on the back burner of your life - have come front and center because you realize you JUST CAN'T GO BACK.  You can't.  And its not a question any more - its just you know you can only go forward - only you don't KNOW what forward is.  And your life feels overwhelmed with fires that you are trying to stamp out with your bare feet. And the tiredness is worse then the tiredness that came with chemo - because its no longer a physical tiredness - but an emotional one....

You feel like God isn't there. Maybe because of things you've done. Maybe because what you've experienced in your life isn't all "cut, dry and clean" like many of your brothers and sisters in Christ like to act like it SHOULD be.  Why is it that some brethern take such "pleasure" in the fact that you're struggling? Does it give them a sense of powerfulness? Why are there so many of us Christians HURTING in the church? And afraid to talk about it because fear of judgement FROM OUR OWN body of Christ?  And so we quietly stew in our own pain, not certain how to get close to God again.  Forgetting that "He knows our thoughts before we even think them." Forgetting even that during the time when WE FELT GOOD and WORTHY that we never really were???! Not one of us have ever been WORTHY. It is only through the blood of Jesus that ANY of us are able to come up to the cross.  I was reminded of that tonight.  That there is NO good enough.  That is only through the blood of Jesus that I can boldly go before His throne.  And so on top of everything I pray - "Father - forgive me. Forgive me for way back when things felt good and felt right before You that somewhere in my head I must have felt as though I was "good enough" but I am a work in progress. It is only by Your strength, Your grace, Your mercy that I can stand before YOU at all.  Maybe its the realization of that that will draw me closer to You.  For I can do nothing in and of myself.  It HAS to be You. It always has been YOU.  Forgive me for not seeing that until now.  I can NEVER be GOOD enough. But I don't have to be. Because YOU ARE.  Thank you Father.  In Jesus name I pray.


April 17, 2011

All to Jesus I Surrender

The Serenity Prayer says it ALL. God Has a Sense of Humor - Do YOU?

Our lives are like these steps... One step at a time. Be patient with yourself. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done." (Philippians 4:6)
*Photo compliments of my Best Friend, D. Kiely*
No one can tell me God does not have a sense of humor. HE DOES.  And I love Him for it. It's been a while since my last blog. I have to be inspired in order to write - and as those of you who have been reading my blog know - I'm very transparent. Treatment has been over for about a month and half now. Having a few side affects from radiation - but dealing with it.  My hair is growing back straight! LOL I'm not using my wigs anymore. They were fun and served their purpose, but now with my hair growing back (albeit very pixie-ish, can't quite do my Halle Berry look yet - not enough to "gel up" lol) its the new me.  And there is a "new me" inside and out. My life has CHANGED. I'm re-learning myself all over again. I'm coming to know the new limits set inside my mind. There are things I can't go back to. Things I can't do. It's not me saying "I don't think I can" its me saying "I SIMPLY don't HAVE it IN me and I can't."  It's a painful process, but one that is happening naturally.  I didn't realize the emotions that would go along with treatment being over.  So MUCH change. Outside and in.  My walk with the Lord is having peaks and valleys.  I find I'm thankful for being given a second chance at life - and scared to live at the same time!  I find I doubt myself - my past, my future. The decisions I've made. I'm not as secure in my faith as I once was. But I've been through SOOOO much in the last year.  I need to renew my relationship with God. Yet I'm unsure how to go about doing it.  So I'm kind of spiritually "stuck" right now.  I find myself  having a cascade of emotions about my faith. I know I've failed God in some areas of my life. But I also know its "by faith" we are saved. I know that it is only by the shed blood of Jesus Christ that I can even BOLDLY go before the Father.  But I'm struggling with different aspects of my life. And unless you've walked in my shoes - you can't possibly know what I'm talking about.  Maybe your shoes are uncomfortable too??? Maybe you are understanding what I'm talking about because you too are going through it in a certain way?? Thank GOD He looks at the heart.  Because sometimes I don't have the words to tell Him all the things that are in mine. Do you know what I mean?

In this next chapter of my life - God has blessed me with a job (now this is where His sense of humor comes in...)  The job He has blessed me with, is at a SPA/Gym/Salon. I've been made Office Manager working alongside a group of Dietitians that help people change their lifestyles and lose weight! (I'm not talking Jenny, I'm not talking Weight Watchers - although I LOVE Weight Watchers). These are medical, certified dietitians who work one on one with people who want to change their eating habits. I'm loving my new job - and not only has it given me a "free gym membership" as being one of my benefits for being there. But it is going to help me do what I need to do to save my life.  You see, I had been diagnosed with a form of breast cancer called "Triple Negative" - with that aggressive form of breast cancer the treatment for it is simply chemotherapy and radiation.  The only thing I can do to lower my chances of re-occurence is to LOSE WEIGHT.  Pffffft - not an easy thing for this girl to do! (Portuguese families have a lot of starchy yummy food not to mention the emotions that go along with eating!). I have to do this. I have to succeed.  My mind set is that I will do ALL I can not to have to go through all I've been through a second time.  (In JESUS' Name!!!) So how ironic is it that God would give me a job that ties up with the lifestyle change I need to make????  All the tools I need to do this - are right there on my job! With these amazingly talented know their stuff people! A Gym/Spa/Salon all in one!  Instead of rewarding myself with "food" I can reward myself with a "massage" or "pedicure or manicure" - I just sit back amazed by what God is doing.

There are certain things in my life I didn't expect would change.They have.  How interesting is it (and painful) that things change in our lives that we never expected to change? We truly are all a work in progress. I think we'd do well to remember that.... To give ourselves" grace" and to be patient with ourselves.  Think about being patient with yourself. What comes to mind for me is the Serenity Prayer. It goes like this:

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

We forget that we are imperfect. I failed in my marriage, actually a marriage takes "two" people. I won't beat myself up about that anymore. It's time to move on. A fresh new start. Instead of living my life in "fear" of what will happen. I am straightening out my back and lifting my chin - setting my chin firmly. Life is worth living. It REALLY is. There is so much we can be unhappy about - but I choose not to be. The biggest lesson I've learned of all is that LIFE IS SHORT.  We can get caught up with all the "bad things" or "negative things." OR we can concentrate on the good and try to change for the better. I choose the later. How about you??

April 2, 2011

Beautiful by MercyMe (Lyrics)

Who are You? Who Who Who Who?

It's been a while since my last blog, but this morning I woke up with a soft quiet voice saying in my ear: "I am the Author and Finisher of your faith." (Hebrews 12:2) This stood out to me... I had a sudden realization - one that may be obvious, but to me - it wasn't until now. HE is the AUTHOR and FINISHER of my faith. NOT ME.  It's not me.  The wonderful thing about being a child of the Most High God is that I am just that - His child. The Bible tells me "He knows my thoughts before I even think them." (Psalms 139:1-4).  He's not surprised by anything we think or do. The beginning and end of our stories he already knows by heart.

I feel  a sense of relief with that knowledge, do you?  I've been trying so hard to "refigure" my life - putting added pressure and guilt upon myself for things I've thought or done that it is a relief to me - not that I shouldn't take responsibility for my actions. But when it becomes overbearing, and I feel "stuck" I can remember - that no matter what - He is the Author and Finisher of my faith. He's given me free will - yes, but here is the thing - Once I gave my life to Him 23 years ago (when I was 21) I made Him the Author.

Oh how good ol' slewfoot is on helping us get ourselves in a pickle. Not one of us is perfect. I think life is about little lessons we learn... Before we go on to the next level, we learn from the one we are at. I'm struggling right now in the lesson I'm currently in. I don't see a way, I don't have the answers. It's not as some Christians would try to make you feel "all cut and dry." (Who ARE they anyways? The ones that act like they have it "all figured out?" Maybe they haven't struggled or gone through the fire - its not until you do that you can truly understand.)

Life doesn't always go the way we planned it to go. But when you are feeling lost - when you are struggling to figure it all out or feel "stuck" or don't have the answers. Remember that He does. He's the Answer. He's the Way, the Truth and the Life.  And no matter where you are at - or how you are feeling... HE KNOWS. I'm soooo glad that He is God. An ever present help in the time of trouble. He loves unconditionally. And He loves YOU.

That is the peace that passes ALL understanding. I'm resting in it as I "get my second wind" are you?

March 13, 2011

Barbra Streisand - Have I stayed too long at the fair

Conversing with the Lord. (Given to me by a friend)

Our Father Who Art In Heaven.
Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.

But -- you called ME!

Called you?
No, I didn't call you.
I'm praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven.

There -- you did it again!

Did what?

Called ME.
You said,
"Our Father who art in Heaven"
Well, here I am..
What's on your mind?

But I didn't mean anything by it. 
I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.
I always say the Lord's Prayer.
It makes me feel good,
kind of like fulfilling a duty.

Well, all right.
Go on.

Okay, Hallowed be thy name . 

Hold it right there.
What do you mean by that?

By what?
By "Hallowed be thy name"?

It means, it means . . good grief, 
I don't know what it means.
How in the world should I know?
It's just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean? 

It means honored, holy, wonderful. 

Hey, that makes sense.. 
I never thought about what 'hallowed' meant before. 


Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in Heaven. 

Do you really mean that? 

Sure, why not? 

What are you doing about it? 

Doing? Why, nothing, I guess.
I just think it would be kind of neat if you got 
control,of everything down here like you have up 
there..We're kinda in a mess down here you know.

Yes, I know;
but, have I got control of you? 

Well, I go to church. 

That isn't what I asked you.
What about your bad temper?
You've really got a problem there, you know.
And then there's the way you spend your money -- all on yourself.
And what about the kind of books you read ?

Now hold on just a minute!
Stop picking on me!
I'm just as good as some of the rest 
of those people at church! 

Excuse ME..
I thought you were praying
for my will to be done.
If that is to happen,
it will have to start with the ones
who are praying for it.
Like you -- for example ....

Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.
Now that you mention it,
I could probably name some others. 

So could I. 

I haven't thought about it very much until now,
but I really would like to cut out some of those things.
I would like to, you know, be really free. 

Now we're getting somewhere. 
We'll work together -- You and ME.
I'm proud of You. 

Look, Lord, if you don't mind,
I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
Give us this day, our daily bread. 

You need to cut out the bread..
You're overweight as it is. 

Hey, wait a minute! What is this?
Here I was doing my religious duty,
and all of a sudden you break in
and remind me of all my hang-ups. 

Praying is a dangerous thing...
You just might get what you ask for.
Remember, you called ME -- and here I am.
It's too late to stop now.
Keep praying. ( pause ... . )
Well, go on. 

I'm scared to. 

Scared? Of what? 

I know what you'll say. 

Try ME. 

Forgive us our sins, 
as we forgive those who sin against us. 

What about Ann? 

See? I knew it!
I knew you would bring her up!
Why, Lord, she's told lies about me, spread stories.
She never paid back the money she owes me.
I've sworn to get even with her! 

But -- your prayer --
What about your prayer? 

I didn't -- mean it... 

Well, at least you're honest.
But, it's quite a load carrying around all that 
bitterness and resentment isn't it? 

Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her.
She'll wish she had never been born. 

No, you won't feel any better.
You'll feel worse.
Revenge isn't sweet.
You know how unhappy you are -- 
Well, I can change that.

You can? How? 

Forgive Ann.
Then, I'll forgive you;
And the hate and the sin,
will be Ann's problem -- not yours.
You will have settled the problem
as far as you are concerned. 

Oh, you know, you're right.
You always are.
And more than I want revenge,
I want to be right with You . . (sigh).
All right, all right . ...
I forgive her. 

There now!
How do you feel? 

Hmmmm. Well, not bad.
Not bad at all!
In fact, I feel pretty great!
You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight tonight.
I haven't been getting much rest, you know. 

Yeah, I know.
But, you're not through with your prayer, are you? 
Go on. 

Oh, all right.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. 

Good! Good! I'll do that.
Just don't put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted. 

What do you mean by that? 

You know what I mean. 

Yeah. I know. 

Go ahead. Finish your prayer.. 

For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory forever.

Do you know what would bring me glory --
What would really make me happy? 

No, but I'd like to know.
I want to please you now..
I've really made a mess of things.
I want to truly follow you..
I can see now how great that would be.
So, tell me . . .
How do I make you happy? 

YOU just did.