Hello!~~~

Welcome!~

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.

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December 25, 2012

Christmas Reflections

How quickly Christmas present becomes Christmas past...

That was the realization I had as I lay on the sofa watching "A Christmas Carol" which for me, has become a Christmas tradition I made for myself years ago.  It was my father's favorite Christmas movie, and so I try and honor his memory by ending Christmas with a watching of this incredible tale.  The hustle and bustle of preparation for Christmas has come to an end.  The Christmas gifts have all been distributed, the food prepared for celebration is now wrapped away as "leftovers" inside of the refrigerator.  Christmas present has now become another Christmas past.  And as the Spirit of Christmas Past had Ebenezer Scrooge revisit his past, I found myself joining him on his journey as I thought about that of my own...

The real gifts of Christmas are not those store bought items that lay now open and unwrapped under the tree.  The true gifts of Christmas are those you can't buy in a store.  If you reflect upon your own Christmas' past perhaps your "gifts" will differ from my own.  But the first gift of Christmas I opened tonight in the quiet aftermath of the holiday was that of "Gratitude."  I found myself thinking about how wonderful a Creator we have who has bestowed so many gifts upon us.  In this busy day and age it is easy to take so much for granted, if not for the "taste buds" He created us with, we would not be able to enjoy the wonders and delight of "flavors" of all the wonderful dishes that we work so hard to create for the holidays or the fact that we have the means to partake in those wonderful dishes - either by making them ourselves or partaking in the celebration by invitation of someone else who has created dishes for us.

With such busy lives, many of us get caught up with the thought of problems, situations, or worries even -  that we don't take the time to reflect on the things that truly matter.  It is not until something causes us to pause and reflect that we slow down enough to quiet ourselves and *really* see the blessings of the season.  In doing so, we often miss out on the true Spirit of Christmas and how we can apply it not only once a year, but all year long to our current lives.  What gifts are you carrying forward with you from this Christmas which is quickly becoming a thing of the past?

If you were surrounded by friends, family and loved ones - you are more fortunate than some. Life changes in a heart beat and we never know what tomorrow will bring - or whom it will take away.  We tend to think that life is "owed" to us.  We forget how fragile it is, we and those we love are not promised tomorrow and while we shouldn't live in the fear of what tomorrow will bring, we should show those we love *today* just how much they are loved and appreciated so that when our today becomes a thing of the past, we will know that those we love who have not been given the gift of tomorrow will have known how much we loved them. That same Creator who was thoughtful enough to create us with "taste buds" also created us with a very special gift that is our own "internal camera" called "Memory."  And in looking back at my Christmas' past I am able to once again be with loved ones whose "tomorrows" have at one point come to an end.  I am able to recall, smile and revisit my Christmas' past with them through those remarkable times, which allows them through those memories to become a part of the present, especially when I am able to share the "memory of them" with those gathered around me.  How wonderful a gift to be able to reflect upon and share.

The second gift I opened tonight in post-celebration reflection was "Humility." As Ebenezer was shown by the Spirits all his short comings and sins and how it not only affected himself but those around him. I found myself looking back at the passing year, the lessons I've learned and the things within myself which need changing. Although we cannot change what has occurred in the past we can apply what we've learned to the present with the hopes that such changes will make for a better future (should we be given one). What have you learned looking back at this year that has also almost become a thing of the past? What will you take with you? What will you toss aside?  What will you do differently in the year to come?  These are all things I contemplate as Christmas present comes to a close and we prepare to say goodbye to not only another Christmas season, but to close the books on yet another year that will now be looked upon as another contribution to history.

There is one last gift that comes to mind, and in my opinion it is the one that perhaps is the most important gift of all... That is the gift of love. It was that in which Christmas began.  For John 3:16 tells us:

 "That God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."

Love is a gift that is wide reaching, and if we show it with sincerity (even with all of our imperfections) we can have no idea how far reaching it will go.  Once planted those seeds blossom and bloom in ways that we may never had expected it would.  A kind or unselfish gesture that is not self-seeking can be more powerful than anything else on earth.  You never know what someone else is going through or what is happening in their life.  Reflecting on Christmas' past, I have seen in the unselfish gesture of hospitality that my parents innocently extended Christmas' years ago, when I was just a child to people who otherwise had no place to go for the holidays or simply opted to spend the holiday with our family, something that has now over the course of the years become a wonderful tradition and has defined Christmas to me. By extending hospitality to others, who may otherwise have spent such a major holiday alone - in having a celebration of warmth, friendship and love on Christmas Eve - God used my parents (probably to the extent unknown even to them) to abolish loneliness and sadness and depression the lives of people who had no place else to go. They did it not letting their left hands know what their right hands were doing.  They did it not with the expectation of "receiving" anything back.  There is no possible way that they could have known that by simply sharing Christmas with others it would become an annual yearly tradition which blessed not only those who came, but resulted in teaching our family so much.  Guests who came from all walks of life and added such a rich diversity of learning about other cultures and religions as they shared with our family, traditions from their own.  Christmas Eve became like that of a big pot of stew - each guest adding a certain spice to the pot which over the course of the years became so flavor able it become a favorite dish which was more than palpable to all who partook.  Amazingly all those who entered the doors of my parents house, found that they could not only come join in the sharing of Christmas Eve "once" but as Christmas Eve would come the next year, they found themselves coming back time and time again until now it has reached a point, where those very same people are now bringing the next generation of their families over to my parents house, into what has become an annual tradition and for some - the definition of Christmas. Even ten years after the death of my father, my mother has still carried forth the now family tradition year after year.  My brother and I often tease my mother and tell her that she couldn't stop having a Christmas Eve celebration if she wanted to, because people would still "automatically come." This is not because of anything other than the key ingredient that my parents realized was the main ingredient to making the Christmas holiday a successful and full filling one to everyone who decided to share the holiday with us.  Peace on earth, good will to men - the key ingredient to the Holiday, that allows "love" to co-exist past, present and future and that to me, is the gift, which keeps on giving not only one designated day of the year - but all year long.

December 23, 2012

Reflections....Perceptions... Truth... What do YOU see?

"Now we see but a poor reflection, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face."
1 Corinthians 13:12

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see your own true reflection? Or is the reflection you see a combination of opinions of how others view you?  Like a fun house mirror is it a distortion of who you are?  And who are you going to believe?

If you were to ask my children to tell you a common saying they grew up with both at home as well as at school, they would probably say in unison "Sharing is Caring."  And with that saying in mind, I'd like to share a lesson I learned today.

Its so simple that I don't know why I am astonished by it.  Why are the simplest of life's lessons so hard to learn?  I guess that question goes right up there with, "Why isn't common sense so common anymore?"

Ready for it?  Are you listening real close?  Listen now, because its so simple a concept it could be missed:

"You cannot put a price on self-respect."



I learned today, that the only power people have over you, is the power YOU allow them to have. Hurt people - hurt people.  Sometimes those "hurt people" don't even realize they're hurt. These are *not* new concepts. Once you realize what perhaps you "always" knew - the situation or people who are trying to cause havoc in your life become deflated.  Lions who roar at you without having any teeth.

Don't allow people to change the perception you have about yourself. 

The Bible says in 2 Timothy Chapter 3: "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people."

If I was to be completely honest, I would admit that reading the above, I can even see some of my own faults within the context of those verses. Life is full of lessons.

How very opposite from the love scripture:

    1 Corinthians 13: 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Maybe the question we should ask ourselves is how do we act? What category do we fit? Are we allowing our circumstances to make us "bitter" or "better?"  And if it is the first - perhaps it is time for us to take a hard long look at ourselves and determine what we can do to change it to the later?

Which do YOU want to become? Because you do have a choice.

I also came to the simple realization that it is true - money cannot buy you happiness. It can buy you things, it can make life easier - but happiness is something that you cannot buy for a price.  You cannot put a price on "a peace of mind."

When I was a camper, we use to have a song that had the words - "Don't put your muck in my back yard - my back yard's full."  Is someone trying to "put their muck on you?"  Or perhaps a better question would be - are YOU letting someone cover YOU with their muck?

You don't have to allow it. The choice is yours....  I chose "ME."

I had reached a point where I didn't even want to be around my own self! Something was wrong, but I didn't know what it was.  Then I realized that I was allowing someone to hinder me. I was giving someone power over my life, over my emotions, over my day.  When I finally realized that this was something I didn't have to tolerate, I stood up for myself and all of a sudden all that "muck" fell off my back and I realized that as a Christian, my steps are ordained FOR me.  God has a plan for my life - I just need to be in tune with it.  When God closes one door - He opens another.  Maybe he allows certain circumstances in our lives to occur so that we can realize how dependent we are upon Him? My provision does not come from man - BUT from God.  God can USE man to provide - but the provision comes from Him.  When you have given your life to God - it is not your own anymore. It belongs to Him.


Maybe by putting difficult people in our lives - God is trying to teach us "compassion?" How sad is it when someone has nothing better to do in life but hurt, hinder and make someone else's life difficult? What does that say about the person who does that? What do they gain? How empty must their lives be to have nothing better to do than to hurt someone else? No matter their position, their money - whatever they have - they are no better than the character in the movie "Scrooge."  But what they have meant for evil have God can use for good.  No doors close without God allowing them to close. 

"The steps of the righteous ARE ordained by God." (Even the steps of someone who has/is in a prodigal position making their way back to God).  The journey of our lives are filled with people along the way who God uses to help us grow, and most of the time they don't even know that that is why they have been placed in our lives.  How disappointing it would be for them to know that what they meant for harm has been used to help us spiritually grow?

Maybe that is why Jesus was able to pray for those who persecuted Him? Because He could see BEYOND what it was that they were doing to Him? He felt sorry for them. He knew the whole picture of what was going to happen. They only knew the "here and now." He knew that they were being used to complete His "higher" calling. They were actually used in a way they didn't even realize they would be. What they meant for evil - God was using for the good of mankind.

Times haven't changed... If we can look at those difficult people in our lives and think that no matter how uncomfortable the situation is - God is using it for OUR good. Then perhaps we can feel compassion and sorry for them? To pray for them.  Maybe that is why God tells us to pray for those who persecute us?  Maybe that is why Jesus said on the cross "Forgive them Father for they know NOT what they do."  The world would want us to look at those who hurt us with disdain and hate and curse them and wish them harm.  It would be so easy to fall into that line of thought... But then they would win, wouldn't they?  And what honor would God get? Especially when Jesus was sent to be our example?

I have chosen to do my best (with God's help) to RISE ABOVE IT. And in doing so - I have found peace.  And I laugh in delight at the pleasure I have found in finding the unexpected gift of peace in a situation so unfair and difficult.  Because honestly - the only one who can give such a beautiful gift - is God, and the things you cannot put a price on - self-respect, peace of mind and truth - do NOT come from man, but from God.... I believe they are riches that are far above money and position - which are temporary and can fade away.

I would not trade the peace of God for anything because along with it comes joy and love and those are the things that truly make life worth living.

November 24, 2012

Maybe...




“Maybe you could sit beside me? Listen...It has taken me a long time to hear it. If you listen closely, maybe you will hear it too...”


“Maybe in the beginning, I bowed to it, and then with amusement, begun to dance with a dramatic spring in my step, an exaggerated dose-do.”

“Maybe it promenaded me with its notes. It cajoled me and seduced, captured my attention and made me want to chase after it. I never felt fear – only fascination. It held my hand like a familiar partner, our fingers entwined and I allowed it to lead me from experience to experience. Learning all the while…”

“Maybe I’d become so comfortable; I’d taken it for granted, expected it to repeat itself over and over again. Like a person who has worn a perfume or cologne for a number of years, and become de-sensitized to the scent, it became part of the fabric of my life. The verses consisted of “routine, habit, and comfort.” Lulled me and became repetitive to the point where maybe I felt entitled.”

“Maybe that is when it happened… Just when I felt entitled, the tune changed. To one I didn’t recognize. The tempo changed and the steps became too fast. The partner holding my hand was a strange one, harsh and cruel. Spinning me around and around till all that was familiar was a blur.”

“Maybe the hand that spun me gripped my fingers in an icy grip so tight it hurt. And I just wanted it to stop. Just TO STOP. But the rhythm had become one I didn’t recognize and at times was so loud I thought my ears would never stop ringing. And I didn’t recognize the steps. And I stumbled over and over again. Feeling lost. Feeling afraid. Feeling alone.”

“Maybe, when the spinning stopped, I no longer recognized my surroundings. I no longer recognized myself… Maybe that is when I began taking pictures… Of myself. To prove to me who “me” was. That I was still “me. The “me” I had always been… The “Me” I am still…”

“Maybe, that is when I felt a new partner take my hand, with a sisterly kind of touch, matching me step by step. Gentle soothing fingers held mine; the notes became lullaby - Taking away the sting of those preceding it and allowing me to work through the steps, responding to every stumble with a firm reassuring grip. Not allowing me to falter. Each step giving me renewed confidence that assured me I was not alone.”

“Maybe, the scenery has changed. But it’s okay. I’m okay…Can you hear it? Listen…. The notes are different now or perhaps they are not… Perhaps it is ME who has changed. I recognize the melody, it's my life song.  It's far from over and if you've listened carefully you've heard the high points and the lows... But there are so many more "highs" then lows.  It has been written by the greatest composer of all.  And while I don't know the ending He does.  He is the conductor of my soul. The Author and Finisher of my faith - the Alpha and the Omega. This song, it was written just for me and while I may not know the next verse - I know the Author of the song and maybe - JUST maybe that is good enough."

November 21, 2012


What's Cooking? Do You Feel Like it's You?



Have you ever heard the story of Shadrach, Meshack & Abednego? Three very BRAVE men who found themselves in one extremely HOT situation; (not of their own choosing)… How many of us have felt the heat of a situation similar (perhaps in a smaller measure) as that below, and managed to keep our calm and wits about us? The story is taken from the book of Daniel, Chapter 3. There truly is nothing new under the sun that presents itself to us in life. The circumstances may be different, but the pressure of the “cooking pot” of life is STILL the same. Our deliverance, salvation, hope, stability, love – all come from God. When our eyes are focused upon Him, He is the balm that can keep us when otherwise “our goose would be cooked.” We can be confident that although things continuously surprise us – that NOTHING surprises HIM.


Don’t allow the heat of a situation to make you be the main ingredient in a simmering pot. We have to remind ourselves that the victory HAS ALREADY BEEN WON.

He didn’t promise life would be easy…. But He did promise He would never leave nor forsake us through it. Sometimes that’s the only thing we can hold on to. But it shouldn’t be considered an “only” it is what we need. And who knows that any better than “our Creator?” Read Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego’s story as told in Daniel Chapter three below – and think about your own life and let God minister to you right where you are at. His word is the same today, as it was yesterday, as it will be tomorrow.

Daniel Chapter Three

3 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide,[a] and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. 3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.

4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”

7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

8 At this time some astrologers[b] came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! 10 Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”

13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”

25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


When I think of the above story, I think about my own life situations.  How "well" or "not so well" I have handled them.  What I learned from them.  As long as we have breath in our bodies we will continue to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  There is no shame in that... I think we us to call them - "growing pains."

November 10, 2012

Know to WHOM You Belong...


Feel like You are Fighting a Losing Battle? Just remember Who it is who wrote the rules of the game. That is when you have the authority and power to confidently yell out, "Checkmate!"


If someone were to ask me to sum up what I think would be the most important piece of wisdom I could give, all in one sentence, I would say, "Know to Whom you belong..."

When you Know that you belong to HIM then even in the midst of a battle - you can rest assured that He's got your back.

Sometimes that may be the only peace you have.  Know who has your back.

How did David do it? He knew who had his back.  He knew that he could not fight Goliath on his own strength.  He trusted NOT in himself. But in God. One small man, one big situation.  I'm quite sure he was shaking in his boots - but when he refocused on his situation - he realized that GOD WAS IN CONTROL.  That the battle wasn't his...  

We still have "Goliath moments in our lives."  What should we do with them? Know to Whom you belong...

When God told Noah to build a boat - society laughed at him.  They called him insane.  They mocked him and called him crazy.  I'm sure that had to be a hard thing for Noah to live through.  These were people that had been around him all the days of his life.  But still in the midst of the criticism and in the mocking and I'm quite sure the ostracizing.  Noah stood his ground and DID what it was God told him to do.  He knew WHO he belonged to.

Esther had to go before her husband, the king without having being bidden to do so - the lives and the fate of her people, the Jews rested upon her shoulders. And STILL she went forward.  Why? SHE KNEW WHO SHE BELONGED TO.

Jesus Himself was mocked and falsely accused and falsely judged by the very people He had come to love, to heal, to save.  And YET even HE who could have called down legions upon legions of angels to smite his accusers stayed focused.  Because He knew WHO He was.

All of the above are Biblical examples that prove that things haven't changed AT ALL. So when we find ourselves in situations where we are falsely accused, judged or bullied. We need to bring it to the Father and we need to remember to Whom we belong.

Situations happen that may knock us to the ground.  And there may be times when we feel down for the count.  Where we think - "I can't take it anymore Father. This time I'm down for the count."  Perhaps that is when we feel His arms picking us up from the floor.  Setting us on our feet. Helping us to recognize that the battle is NOT ours - but HIS.  And EVEN if YOU are in a PRODIGAL STATE - and perhaps you are thinking, "maybe on some level I deserve this."  You should know and remember that it is nothing BUT God's grace, His mercy and His love - and THAT alone which saves us.  It is nothing you earn, or do or makes you "good enough" - it is totally by the shed blood of Jesus Christ that has made a way.  You don't "earn" salvation.  

Isaiah 64:6 says, "Our righteous are like filthy rags."

So don't let the enemy beat you down with "you deserve this, look at you - you are not good enough and God has forsaken you."  Isn't that what he tried to tell Jesus when Jesus was having a desert experience? (in Luke  4:1-13). He combated it with the Word of God and that is what WE need to do. Know to Whom you belong.

In 1 Peter 4:12  Peter writes, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you, but rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed."

In other words, Know to Whom you belong.

Sometimes that may feel as that is the ONLY thing you can cling on to.  But it is the MOST important thing. I think when we realize that the battle is not ours. That perhaps that is when we see the true power of God come forth.  Because He knows who YOU belong to. And even MORE than that the price that was paid was the highest price that COULD be paid.  And it wasn't even one that YOU paid yourself.

Thank you Father for Your grace, Your forgiveness, Your mercy, Your love.  Help me to remember WHO I belong to for I know I am not my own. I know that when I feel as if life is out of control, when I have run out of answers I can remember Who it is I belong to and I can turn to You.  And I can trust that as you have promised me, "All things work for the good of those who love the Lord." (Romans 8:28). As was the case with David, Noah, Esther and so many others - including and most importantly Jesus, I can rest assured that YOU are in control.  So for that I will praise and thank you and I will pick myself, dust myself off, step out of the way and allow you to step into the situation and show that the battle is YOURS.  Thank you Lord that in you I stand victorious.  Because I recognize to Whom it is I belong.

In Jesus precious name I thank YOU.
AMEN

November 7, 2012

Are You Becoming Contagious?

Wherever you are in life - don't let the weeds of worry choke out the joy. Rise above it and allow yourself to bloom and be a blessing. Roses have their thorns but they are NOT their thorns. Lift your face up to the SON and allow yourself to blossom in the manner He created you to. Once you do, you will experience in the midst of whatever storm you are in what it means to have "the peace that passes ALL understanding." It is a daily doing - one that we must practice until it becomes a habit. I'm ready, are you?


Worry, WoRrY, W O R  R Y, WORRY!  Ever notice how worries reproduce themselves in your head?  Maybe you start out with just one teeny weeny concern that leads to another and another and another until they begin to drown out all the good things in your life.  Until they consume you.  Until you can't think about anything else except your next concern.

It can become habitual!  Worries spread!  Worries are contagious!  They can infest your head until they become so big that they are no longer little "nitpick" thoughts but big ol' anxieties that make it difficult for you to even see past them anymore.

For the last few weeks, I have found myself waking up early in the morning with a worry in my head. Believe me when I say it is *not* a fun way to start the day.  This morning, I woke up with a worry - and I decided. NO MORE.  I am not waking up like this ANYMORE.  The best way I know to combat things that I feel I have no control over and am "worried" about is to PRAY.  So today I woke up declaring the Lord's Prayer.

 "This is the day the Lord has made I WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT!!!"

When I said it - it was more like I was commanding myself.  I WILL!  If I have to wrestle a worry to the ground and roll around and straddle it and contain it - I WILL!  As I lay there having this wrestling match with this worry - I got to thinking about Jesus.  The thing I love so much about the Bible is that it is the "living" word.  It may have been written in the past - but it is very much present and useful for today.  The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:9  "There is nothing new under the sun."

I'm quite sure the things I worry about are things that other people worry about. And here is the thing about worry - sometimes we spend so much time worrying we spend less time concentrating on what we can do to alleviate the worry.  We give "glory" to the worry!  Have you ever noticed that most of the things that we "worry" about don't even come to pass? Worrying can become an addiction! -And I decided, that that is one club I refuse to become a member of!
Problems are real.  Situations are real. Concerns are real.  I am not "belittling" them- they are all parts of life.  We acknowledge them for what they are, we do our best to work through them and we PRAY about them (put each one into God's more than capable hand) and we learn to release them.  We recognize that there are things that are out of our control. We work on the things we can resolve, we seek help over the things we cannot figure out how to resolve on our own - and we try to have the wisdom to recognize the difference between to the two.  There is a very well known prayer called "The Serenity Prayer."  It goes like this:

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


We all have weaknesses and strengths.  Certain "worries" may  be the results of areas that God is trying to strengthen or teach us.  Skills we need to learn (for instance for me - it is the area of finance). Things we need to work on to better ourselves.  Those things take time.  In a microwave society - such as we live in, we can be impatient especially with ourselves.  Our impatience can expand our worries like someone blowing up a balloon.  Think about it... The worry is a tiny little balloon, but as we put more worry and thought and energy into it, as we get anxious that little flat balloon gathers air in it and gets bigger and bigger and BIGGER and BIGGER!  Until it fills every corner of our life - pushing out all the good things that are there.  There becomes no more room for anything other than that "worry."

I don't want to live like that - do you? I don't want to look back on my life and think, "yep - I lived from worry to worry..." Because guess what??? Problems ARE a part of life.  But they SHOULDN'T BE the main dish!  When I woke up this morning, I realized I've been living worry to worry!  Crossing off worries from my list and moving on to the next one!  Are you doing the same?  It's time to stop.  It's time to take the power back from your worries. And contrary to popular belief a person who is an optimist CAN still be a worrier!

I got to thinking about Jesus' life.  He is suppose to be our example, right? So maybe His life is a good thing to examine.  Here is someone who was born with a calling like NO OTHER.  From day ONE. If anyone had caused to worry - Jesus did.  People were trying to kill Him from the day He was born! Yet from what my Bible tells me - He was filled with peace. He is referred to in the Bible as the ""Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)  If anyone had cause to worry - Jesus did!  But time and time again He would look at people (with wonder it seems) and ask them:

"Why do you worry? Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life. What you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food? And the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matthew 6:25-34)

What did Jesus do when He was concerned? His concerns were unselfish - they were about others and not about Himself.  Yet, when He came to the garden of Gethsemane and the worry of the cross weighed Him down - He didn't "sit there worrying." HE PRAYED.  Jesus knew that regardless of what He faced, His Father's will would be done. He was born for a reason. WE were BORN for a reason. As I thought about Jesus, I thought about how He had a purpose.  His life had real concerns. But I can almost bet that Jesus took pleasure and joy in the things in His life too.  He went to weddings, He ate at people's houses.  He played with children. I can bet you that Jesus found enjoyment in life. He never lost focus He kept His eyes on the path before Him. 
He walked in grace, mercy and love. Maybe He's telling US we need to do the same.
This day I am *choosing* not to walk my life in a thick mire of problems and worries - I'm not going to give them any more power than I already have.  I will acknowledge them, and do the best I can to work through them  - but I will NOT allow them to rise up like weeds, wrap their cords around me and choke the enjoyment of life out of me.  I won't let them be my focus on living anymore.

How about YOU?  Will you look back on your life and see it in terms of what you worried about? Or will you look back at your life and see all the sweetness of the things that made life worth living? And all the lessons that you learned because of it?

Don't sit there worrying about - give it to God. Release it. Pray about it. Realize that you are only ONE person. You are human.  There is very little that we have control over in our lives. A lot of our worries are over those that we love. Recognize that as much as YOU love that person - that God loves them more. He created them!  He really does! Give that child that husband that wife that situation to GOD.  He is much more capable of taking care of it than YOU are.  Trust Him.  He has your best interest at heart (and also their's. Here is something for you to remember - you can't out love God!)  Also, remember that sometimes God allows situations to come into our lives to mold us into what He wants us to become.  It's not meant to destroy us.  It's meant to help us grow.  Sometimes our problem is that we fight Him every step of the way.  Like a child dragging their feet as they go. Maybe our situation is one that He is telling us to trust more in Him.  He is our Heavenly Father - remember that we only see in part - but HE sees in full.  He knows SO much more than our little minds do.  We need to trust Him. As those worries come to our minds we need to recognize them, acknowledge them and give them to the One who knows.

He didn't give us life to live "worry to worry."  Life is suppose to be a gift - not a burden.  It's time to live it as such, don't you think? 

November 4, 2012

The complexity of YOU

YOU.  Three little letters that make up the most complicated word I know.  YOU.
When I put YOU together with ME it creates the most beautiful song ever. It drowns out my worries, my fears the whole rest of the world fades away. All I see is YOU.

Y
O
U

I've been looking for YOU all my life and I didn't even know it and some how YOU found ME.  The recognition, the satisfaction in just knowing YOU is one that I can continuously marvel at.  The complexity of YOU. The magnificience of YOU.  YOU are my favorite book - the one I keep close to my bed and re-read over and over. Delighting in the story of YOU. The shear pleasure of turning the next page learning more about YOU and anticipating the ending. 

YOU are my favorite work of art.  I can stare at YOU for hours with eyes that never tire. I know YOU by heart.  I can visualize YOU with my eyes closed.  To everyone else YOU may just be an "old"throw away picture. But to me YOU are a work of art.  I know every inch of YOU and stand in awe that in my eyes YOU are the mere essence of perfection - faults and all.

YOU are my favorite song - YOU are a symphony of complicated notes that bring me to the edge and push me over.  A well worn album that I play over and over again and find myself humming in the course of a day. YOU are the song that gets stuck in my head.

YOU are North meets South. YOU  are Tony to my Maria. YOU are Rhett to my Scarlet. YOU are Jake to my Elwood. YOU are Belmont to my Casey. YOU are Wyatt to my Josephine. YOU are Romeo to my Juliet... YOU  are my hero AND my villain all in one. YOU are Chicago to my Boston. YOU are the stars, the moon the sky.

YOU are my favorite well worn Teddy Bear that is missing patches of fur, a left buttoned eye and yet still  sits upon my bed. Full of memories of yester-year.

YOU are my favorite recipe - YOU stir up passion and delight and curiosity and satisfaction all within the same dish.

YOU are a thunderstorm that drives me to the brink of crazy! A stubborn mix of thunder and lightening and blinding rain which brings me to the edges of insanity.

I love YOU.
I want YOU.
 I need YOU

When YOU and me come together we become "WE."  Which is even more magnificent than "YOU."

Everyone should have a YOU. But in the complexity of WE. I'm glad its ME.


November 1, 2012

Do YOU Babel? (Yes I Know - I spelled it incorrectly)

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
 (Proverbs 25:15)

Did you ever play the game “Telephone” as a child? I remember playing this at camp with friends. We’d form a line, and the leader of the line would turn and whisper into the ear of the person beside her a secret and then that person would whisper it into the ear of the person beside her, and so on and so on until it reached the very last person at the end of the line. The person at the end would then turn to everyone and repeat what she had heard. How interesting it was to see that what had been the original “secret” had become distorted into something that the leader had never said – I always was astonished whenever I was at the beginning of the line to hear what the end results were, and then to clarify what the actual secret had been. It was funny as a child playing a game – as a grown up, not so funny.

Can you imagine what the world was like before the saga with the Tower of Babel? (Genesis 11:1-9). If I recall correctly, the people were trying to build a tower that would reach the Heavens. God did not want this to happen, so He confused their language. Can you imagine the chaos? The shock? The surprise? The confusion? And most of all – the astonishment?! Imagine being next to your life-long friend, “Ida” and all of a sudden you can’t understand a WORD she says???? And the results are misunderstandings, hurt feelings, anger - when perhaps what was said was meant in love?

I think that we have “Babel” moments continue to happen even in this day and age. You can’t perceive how someone else will receive what you say (or write), because people receive out of their own experience, values and even sometimes – pain. Not everyone thinks the same. You have no idea when you say something how it will be “filtered out” into the mind of someone else, no matter how it is said (and the same goes visa versa). So how do we limit our “Babel” moments? I suppose that is a continuous life lesson. I think sensitivity is key, being non-judgmental as each person’s story is different. God looks at the heart. Man can only look at the “outward appearance.” Sometimes listening is sufficient.

Through my experience being a cancer survivor, my insight upon things has drastically changed from bc (before cancer). I have become more compassionate and less judgmental. I have learned to listen more and speak less. When I talk with other pink survivors (breast cancer survivors), I realize, as I listen, that I am not looking at a mirror image of myself. Each survivor has their own story, their own journey and their own place from which they’ve come. Their experience or the way they cope with the aftermath of their “storm” is no less significant than mine. We are as different in our experiences (and backgrounds) as fingerprints on fingers. Yet we share one thing in common - We’ve all come face to face with a life threatening disease that has changed us in many different ways and in many different aspects of our lives. That is what unites us. Strangers turned into Sisters.

What makes me embrace my fellow pink sister is the fact that we allow each other to feel – whatever we are feeling. There is no right or wrong way. We allow each other to “express” our circumstances however the need is - to rant or rave, to pray, to vent or cry, to laugh or act ridiculously silly. These are a few of the qualities that endear us to each other. There is “NO WRONG OR RIGHT WAY.” We allow each other to FEEL. I think that is something that perhaps others can learn. Our stories are diverse – and yes, there are those “Babel” moments. Where you learn what the scripture means when it says, “To guard your heart.” (Proverbs 4:23) Understanding, compassion, forgiveness, patience and looking outside one’s self is something I think we would all do well to walk in. If I stub my toe, I may “hop around on one foot.” That does not make my pain any less relevant than yours if you’re not a “foot hopper” when you stub your toe. And while I can’t promise that I won’t laugh at how you express your pain ( if you are a friend of mine) I can promise that I will be there to help you through it and make you smile through your tears and certainly try to make you feel better than worse for stubbing your toe in the first place. Smiles and bad moods are contagious. You determine which one you’d rather spread. A smile goes a long, long way…

October 5, 2012

The Call...



How is it we take so much for granted - until we don't?

Did you see it? The day the world changed?  I saw it! I never believed in "dimensions in time" before that day.  But I remember it so clearly... It happened with just one call.

What is one suppose to do when they get that call.  There is nothing in my repertoire that prepared me for how I should act.  What is the proper etiquette?

I had stepped off the pages of my familiar life into a vortex. 

Can you still see me? 

I am moving in slow motion... Feeling invisible while you go on with your every day life - unscathed.

How can YOU go on like that? Like nothing has changed?  Going about your usual duties... Thinking of your plans, your tasks, your work. How DARE you! Stop! Right NOW!  You are moving so fast - while I am moving in sloooooow motion...

"Helloooooo!!! Can you see me????"  A strong desire to wave my hand in front of your face.  I'm quite sure I've become invisible.  WHY do I FEEL like I am NO LONGER a part of the HUMAN RACE???

I feel ALONE. So ALONE.

You can't SHARE this with me.  It's not something you can SHARE because it is happening to ME.

I can't even FATHOM WHAT it is that has happened. 

My mind is outside of my body.... Incredulous.  Unaccepting.  Astonished....

I want to shake you!  I want to cry out to you - "Help me! Help me!!! Please wake me up from this horrible, horrible dream!!! This CAN'T BE!" But you don't see the changes.  Maybe you don't even see me? Because you walk right by caught up in your thoughts, in your agenda, in your plans... I HAD plans TOO!

As hard as I try to go about my normal daily duties - I can't.  I keep thinking, "We are not the same anymore..."  You can't understand. You can't experience this from the same place as I.  Its as if there is a chasm between us.  I once was where you are - but you have never been where I am. 

"Where am I?"

Even if you wanted to - you can't.

"What happened? What is going on? How did this happen? Why did this happen? Did this even happen?" 

I want to scream! I want to shout! I want to cry!  -  But I can't because I'm on the outside looking in...

This is NOT happening.  Not to ME.  I'm YOUNG. I'm not old yet! This can't happen - not to ME. No! No! No!!!!!

Who is that lying on that hospital bed with the backless hospital gown on, going through all those tests? Staring up at the drop down ceiling in the basement of the Radiology department of some hospital.

What did you say?

"Blah Blahh Blahhh... Cancer. Blah blah blahhh surgery... Blah blah blahhh chemo..."

Why can't I understand your words?  Why do you sound like Charlie Brown's teacher?  I see your lips moving - but I can't understand your words?

I turn my head and look at my mother... My safety net. The woman who birthed me.  She reaches out and touches my hand... I feel it.... I FEEL IT!   My eyes beseech her for understanding.  For clarity.  For understanding.  She leans over and kisses my forehead.

She see's me! I'm not invisible.  I'm still here!!!

She translates the Oncologist words.  It's not the words I understand and accept, it's her reassuring firm motherly tone that soothes me.  It's the way she is holding my hand.  It's the strength in her voice.  The same familiar strength I've heard throughout many moments in my life.  Like when I was a child and woke up from a bad dream, and she comforted me as only a mother can do. 
Her voice becomes my lullaby. Rhythmic. Soothing. Like the comfort an unborn baby gets from the pulsating familiar sound of a mother's heartbeat.

"One step at a time.  Come on. We can do this. FIGHT. You are not alone.  See? Here is my hand. FIGHT.  I am NOT going to let you give up! FIGHT. Moment by moment - see? We've already made it to the next.  Look - there's another one. FIGHT."

I do it because she says to.  She's my mother.  She knows.  The vortex is getting smaller now. I can step from the hole back onto the groove of humanity.  Because she tells me to.
FIGHT.

I'm concentrating on the word with ALL I have. FIGHT.  Don't GIVE in. Don't GIVE up. Don't let go. Don't think too hard. FIGHT.

 I don't recognize the woman in the mirror.  Who is she?  She kinda looks like me.

FIGHT.

My senses are gone... All except for the sense of smell... Will I EVER get that smell of chemotherapy out of my nose??? It sickens me... Taste is exaggerated, I never want to see another Jolly Rancher for as long as I live....

FIGHT.

How did the moments turn into minutes? Into hours? Into days? Into months?  Chemo is over now - switching it up to radiation...  How can something you don't FEEL cause SUCH burns?  Will it EVER stop?

F I G H T.

Radiation is over. So are the doctor appointments. So is the treatment.  It has been a success...

What do I do now?

LIVE.

I turn and scratch my peach fuzz head...

Live?  How?  I don't remember how?

JUST LIVE.

And so I do..  Tentatively, like a baby learning how to walk.  Unsure of whether or not I'll lose my balance and fall... I can see those who stood by me throughout this whole ordeal - the TRUE ones.  Ready to catch me should I begin to fall.

"LIVE," they say encouragingly...  LIVE.

And so I will... Each moment, each minute, each day.  Not as before.  Never as before.  I've lost the know-how to BE as before.  I am changed...

Changed - but very much ALIVE...

September 30, 2012

Rise ABOVE it.

Whatever it is - RISE ABOVE IT.


I guess you could say I had an epiphany today as I was driving... Maybe this is a common one for most people - but I have always been a late bloomer who wears her heart on her sleeve... Here it is - very simple but hard at the same time. "Don't let people define who you are."

It is so easy to allow how someone views you to become your view of yourself.  No one has the right to categorize you or judge you (nor do we have the right to judge or categorize them). We can't control how other people act - but we can control how we think, how we feel, how we respond.  It seems like it should be the easiest thing in the world - but its not...

As I was driving this weekend, I realized that the only power people have over you is the power you allow them to have....  It got me to thinking about the Wizard of Oz.  How scared everyone was of the Wizard of Oz.  They were in awe of him, yet they were terrified at the same time... And it turned out that he was nothing but a little man trying to be a BIG wizard behind the screen.  How foolish those people would have felt had it been a real life thing.  But there are times in life when people and situations seem soooooo MUCH bigger than they are.

How much power are you giving people?  Are they making you view yourself with their disoriented view?  Writing this I'm almost embarrassed when I think back to situations when I allowed someone else's insecurities and wrongful attitudes to affect my view of myself.  I feel sorry for that person now.  I don't say that in a hateful spirit.  I say that because there are times when we need to "rise above it."  No wonder the Bible tells us to "pray for those who persecute us." (Matthew 5:44).  I must admit that there are times when I haven't done that. Times when the last thing I wanted to do was PRAY for someone who was hurting my feelings.  And then I had to take a long hard look at the situation and wonder WHY I was allowing myself to feel hurt?  If someone doesn't come to you and tell you what you have done to offend them, and you have asked repeatedly - then the responsibility is no longer on your shoulders.  It is on theirs.  The Bible also says, "When you have done all you can - then simply stand." (Ephesians 6:13).

We live in a world where we don't know the "fullness" of ANY ONE'S story.  As they don't know the fullness of ours.  We don't know what they've been through, what insecurities they have, where their heart is.  Only God sees the full story.  I learned a long time ago not to judge others  - because when I did, that is when my own faults became more vivid and clear and I realized that WHO am I to judge??  Only God knows each person's heart (including our own).  Understanding this has made it easier for me to look past my own hurts... Okay, to be honest - maybe after the fact... but what really matters, is what you do with what you learn, right?

Sometimes the situations that occur in our lives are not of our own doing - and what it does it throw us off track from what is *really* important.  Each of us has a calling, we can allow situations and people to hinder us from that calling, or we can choose to learn from it and move forward or to let it stunt our growth, our purpose and our own opinion of ourselves.

How silly it all seems to me now... I have a higher calling - YOU DO TOO.  Rise above it, pray and move forward. Its not always an easy thing to do - nothing WORTH anything IS easy.  But it will make you feel a lot better about the person YOU are.  The bumps in the road of life are just that - bumps and part of the journey.... Time to move on...
 
 




September 20, 2012

Let There be Peace - is That REALLY What You Want?

As a camper, we use to a sing a song that I’m not sure kids are taught anymore, but perhaps should be? The lyrics went like this:


“Let there be peace on earth

And let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth

The peace that was meant to be.

With God as our Father

Brothers all are we.

Let me walk with my brother

In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me

Let this be the moment now.

With every step i take

Let this be my solemn vow.

To take each moment

And live each moment

With peace eternally.

Let there be peace on earth,

And let it begin with me.”

People talk about peace and wanting it. But so often they don’t start with “themselves.” My own personal opinion is that the biggest problem that exists in this world can be summed up in one word -“Communication.”

The biggest cause of arguments and fights and disagreements are from mis-understandings. Its like a snowball that starts out as a little snowflake and rolls on and on until it becomes a huge boulder of snow growing to epic proportions until you can’t even remember what it was that was the issue in the beginning. I have seen this happen in families, in friendships, within the work environment. Perhaps instead of pointing a finger at someone else, we should turn that finger inward – towards ourselves...

Do you really want peace in this world? What can you do to contribute to it? Perhaps peace begins when you have an issue with someone – going directly to them to resolve it? In love, without condemnation. We cannot control how someone response to us or even take responsibility for someone else’s actions. We can take responsibility for our own.

I was thinking this week about Jesus, and how He was falsely accused of things He didn’t do. He was spat upon, called names – crucified for a crime He didn’t commit. I know we can't possibly imagine or assume the pain and anguish He was under, but I can't help but wonder what felt heavier – the weight of the cross against His bloody torn and beaten back as He walked the streets on route to Golgatha or the weight of sorrow His heart must have felt by being misunderstood, accused, lied about by a people who He came only to love, heal and to save?

How amazing that He stayed focus on His goal. How many of us would have stopped and yelled out to God the Father, “ENOUGH! ENOUGH! ENOUGH! I tried Father. I quit! I can’t DO this anymore?! Take this yoke off my shoulders. I cannot drink of this cup! I’ve had enough of these wayward, sinful people! Do what YOU like with them! I’m done!”

He could have dropped the cross called forth legions of angels and gone back to the Heavens.  But He chose NOT to do that. His grace, His mercy, His love... Did His heart break for us? He was only trying to LOVE us. To make a way where there had been NO way. Abused, misunderstood and hated – all for loving us. Yet still He kept going. He didn’t give up. He kept on. For THEM, for YOU for ME. Until upon that cross with His arms stretched out wide – He finally said, “It is Finished.” (John 19:30)

When you think about that, it kind of puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? The Bible tells us “there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) How true that is.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with ME.

September 19, 2012

The Tsunami Called Breast Cancer - Dedicated with Much love to my Pink Sisters and EVERY Survivor

Dedicated in Remembrance to one very special Pink - Tracy, who lived life FULLY and was taken away from us way to soon.  She touched the lives of all who knew her and was a perfect example of someone who no matter what hand life dealt her was able to "live in the moment." She is missed by SO many but never forgotten.  Written with MUCH love to those that have fought the battle and those that continue to do so, until a cure has been found.
 


What a relief it would be to let my feelings pour out upon this page like a flood bursting from a dam. But I am experiencing an emotional drought. As if I’m having a riga mortis of my emotions. My eyes sting, there are no tears. Perhaps I am shell shocked? A prisoner inside my own head…

I am walking along the shore of my life. All you know about me is what you see now. The ravages of a tsunami called breast cancer stormed into my life.
No warning
No forecast.
The storm clouds came in so quickly I had no time to plan or to gather my thoughts.
No time to think.
The waves were over my head leaving me no time to do anything other than swim with the tide. Every moment I fought for my life. It left me unrecognizable to my own self.

Who IS this woman? I do not recognize her? Where am I? Who am I? What happened???

 Like a person caught in the middle of a bad dream, I couldn’t wake up no matter how hard I tried. Talk about a crash course in learning? What was once only the pretty pink magnetic ribbons you see while in the checkout line of a grocery store became a crash course of Breast Cancer 101. I learned MORE than I ever wanted to know about my body. I was asked to make options and make choices as if I was shopping online and choosing between one item or another.

 “Would you prefer a mastectomy or a lumpectomy? Although you are a great candidate for a lumpectomy the choice is yours….”

Like a bad dream where the girl is trying to run away from the murderer the only thing I could think of at that time was:

“JUST GET IT OUT. CUT IT OUT. GET IT OUT!!! I DON’T CARE HOW – JUST DO IT!”

So hard to believe that one lump the size of a nickel, one painless little lump right where you would place your hand to say The Pledge of Allegiance, was capable of sucking the life out of me. Like a tick or a leach. Capable of whipping into a strong storm that would become a tsunami that would affect every area of my life and that of my family leaving no stone unturned. How strange is it that cleaning up the aftermath of the tsunami hurts more than the tsunami itself?

Walking along the shore, two years have passed. The Tsunami is gone now. So is life as I knew it.

 Is this shore my life?

Yep… I recognize that broken piece of china. It was 19 years old. You wouldn’t know it by looking at it now, but that use to be a china cup called “marriage.” I won’t lie to you, it had a chip in it before the storm occurred. I think I accidently chipped it. But it was still drinkable… It was my fault, the chipping. But the storm, well the cup couldn’t tolerate the gales of wind. The tidal wave shattered it into that unrecognizable piece of china you see right there. Throw it down now – before you cut your finger on that jagged piece. It’s no good to anyone. It’s just a memory of what once was.

Gazing around the shore of my life – I see familiar fragments of things that once were. Running my fingers through my shortcurls I lick lips that are dry. Trying to figure out which way of the shore I should walk.

 I would walk back the way I came, but I don’t know how. I would walk ahead – but I’m uncertain of where that would take me. I’ve lost my direction. I am in an unfamiliar place. I go and sit on the edge of a levy, feeling very much alone.

 “Helllooooooooooo!!!” I yell. The sound echos, “Anyone there????”

Way off in the distance I can see a figure walking in my direction. A tiny little blurry figure. I walk towards the figure, nibbling on the bottom corner of my lip. Walking past strewn items of my life like seaweed and kelp gathered on the sandy shore.

It is another woman. She looks at me. I look at her. “What the hell just happened?” I ask her. (A very strange question to ask a stranger.) But I recognize something within this woman.

 “I don’t know,” she replies. “ I was hoping you would know.”

We find ourselves continuing our walk, how odd that I’ve never known this woman before – yet we are sisters. She reaches out to give my hand a sisterly squeeze that says, “You are not alone.” I squeeze her’s back. We don’t know where we are going, or why we are here. But we keep walking.

Soon we can see another figure in the distance. She joins us. Another of our sisters… and another and another and another… Until we are holding the hands of many women, an unfortunate continuing line which grows and grows and continues to grow. A sorority none of us asked to pledge. A pink rover line. Although we wince at every new hand held – joining our line, there is comfort in numbers. Not one of us understands the “why” of it. But there is an assurance and a comfort that comes in just “being” together.
We cry together.
We laugh together.
We are quiet together.
We mourn together – not only the lives of those who have had to let go of our fingers (but never our hearts) and moved on to the heavenly shores of eternity – but we mourn for our own lives. The lives we once knew.

Oh don’t mistake any one of US as weak. The waves of the tsunami have beaten us down but we’ve arisen stronger. Our senses for life more keen, our appreciation for today – strong. It is as though we’ve arisen from the storm with a vibrancy. Shouldn’t it be an oxymoron that we can be both vulnerable and strong?

Yet I move forward, still picking up the pieces of a shattered old life, appreciative of the ability to map out a new one. Trying to figure out who this new woman is? This one called – “me.” Alone – yet not alone…

Looking at the horizon, not certain what the future holds in store. Feeling the responsibility of even being “given” a future, learning to “live in the moment” thankful for a God who, while I only have seen in part – He has seen in full. He has seen the “fullness” of “Me.” There is a comfort in that. It must be where the “peace that passes all understanding” abides, completely and totally in Him.

Copyrighted 2012, Written by Kelly Lynne Richards

September 12, 2012

The Prodigal Daughter: Tomorrow, Living in the Moment & Buffet Style Li...

The Prodigal Daughter: Tomorrow, Living in the Moment and Buffet Style Li...:  My Latest Tatt - L'Chaim is Hebrew and means "To Life!"  Let's toast life by the way we live it. By the way we encourage others to l...

Tomorrow, Living in the Moment and Buffet Style Living...



My Latest Tatt - L'Chaim is Hebrew and means "To Life!"
 Let's toast life by the way we live it.
By the way we encourage others to live... May all your tomorrows (and more importantly your "todays") be filled with life. 

Live in the moment… How does one DO that? Is it about appreciating what you have? I do that already… Is it about cherishing life? I do that too. We were originally made to live FOREVER in the Garden of Eden. Maybe that is why we have the automatic expectation that tomorrow will come. But when you’ve been faced with an illness that makes you question “all your tomorrows” suddenly you are stripped of that luxury of it being a given, “tomorrow” is something that is not taken for granted anymore. All of a sudden you feel like a person at an “all-you-can-eat buffet” where you are just trying to stuff all the good things of the this buffet table called life on your plate. Filling your plate with “some of this” or “some of that” because you are afraid that it won’t be there – tomorrow… There is never enough life. Never enough experiences… Never enough kisses you can plant upon your children. Your heart and soul cries out MORE. MORE TOMORROWS!!! So how does one go about living in the moment? Living for today?


After two years of being a Breast Cancer Survivor, I don’t know the answer for that. I’m STILL trying to figure it out. I’m told that in time it gets easier, but I’m not sure I believe it… I don’t know HOW to live as if I don’t have tomorrow. My hope is in tomorrow. I look forward to tomorrow. I plan for tomorrow. It’s my automatic pilot that goes into effect. I think it is the way we were made… Maybe it would be better to say – be thankful for today. I am. Maybe it would be better to say – tell those that you love you love them – today. I do. And then perhaps go one step further… Make a difference in someone else’s life. Pray for someone. Encourage someone. Squeeze their hand. Make someone smile. Share your experiences. Help someone else not to feel alone. Because honestly, the worst feeling in the world – is not being a cancer survivor, it’s feeling alone. Like if you weren’t here anymore – it wouldn’t even cause a ripple on the river of life. If you can make one person who dreads tomorrow have a change of heart. If you can extend your right hand behind you – for someone else to grasp, to help them feel as though they matter. Then today is a day well spent.

I think I’m always going to want a “tomorrow.” I think I’ll never stop… But in the meantime, I’m going to try real hard to show my appreciation for today… It kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

September 8, 2012

Tim McGraw - Live Like You Were Dying - HQ (Official)


Please Vote

I am a Survivor of Triple Negative Breast Cancer.  Please vote - all breast cancers are equally bad, make no mistake of that... But Triple Negative is the type that they no least about.  The only treatment for it is surgery (mastectomy or lumpectomy), chemotherapy and/or radiation.  They need more money to do research.  Please vote: http://fb.chasegiving.com/charity/view/ein/20-5880756#
Your vote will help save lives.  I am a two year survivor who is very blessed because I caught it early. We have to get the word out that early detection is KEY.  It is what saved my life.  Cancer (in my case breast cancer)  is no respector of persons.  There was no history of it in my family. It doesn't matter your age, nationality, religion - it affects ALL of us.  Please help us find a cure.

Thank you and God bless you - from the bottom of my heart and from my "Pink" sisters as well.

~ Kelly (Casey)

June 29, 2012

Who You Gonna Trust? How 'Bout The Holy Ghost Buster?

Preconceived notions… How many times have we had one? People have them all the time. I think it is a dangerous thing to do… It goes right up there with “Assuming.” And we all know what the word “Assume” breaks down to, don’t we? I look at my life prior to breast cancer and I think how unintentionally judgmental I was. I think about Jesus, and how to be Christian means to be “Christ-Like.” I believe that if you are a Christian, that that is something you strive to become, all your life. Jesus was compassionate, he was gentle, he was understanding. Yes – He was firm! But everything He did, everything He said – was said IN LOVE. We are to gently restore one another, to be firm – YET kind. You never know what a person has experienced in their life. You have all heard the saying, “you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar?” I have seen a lot of brethren who seem to be “happy” at the short comings or falls of a brother or sister in Christ, to actually snicker or rejoice, or gossip over areas of weakness that a brother or sister might have… I think that is soooo wrong… If I was to be transparent to you, and honest, I could honestly tell you that I look back on my own life, and I see that the things I said I would NEVER do – I have done! The same things that I vehemently accused someone close to me in doing – I have found MYSELF having done! Perhaps not for the same reasons as they – but it doesn’t matter…. Sin, is sin. Maybe God appreciates it more when we are honest with Him? When we (to Him) admit to our sins? Our short comings? When we can admit and say to Him, “Lord, I cannot change this part of ME. HELP ME. Lord, I don’t understand why I do the things I do. Please help me to change what it is about me that You would like changed?” Maybe, He allows us to go through certain situations, so that we can admit how very much we need Him? That we can admit that it is NOTHING that we’ve have done (or do) that make us “Heaven-worthy.” The Bible tells us that “Our Righteousness is as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6) How every glad I am that I am not under the Old Testament Law, how thankful I am that Jesus came and paid the price with his precious blood. As He hung on the cross, He looked down through the course of history and SAW ME. Saw MY sins – and STILL IN LOVE, He died on that cross for ME (and if you can be honest with yourself – for YOU too!!!)


Honestly, I do not think it is up to us to judge someone else. The Bible tells us, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged.” (Matthew 7:2). God knows a person’s heart. He knows what they have gone through, He sees in full – we see only in part. In 2 Timothy 3:16 it tells us that “All scripture is useful for teaching, for convincing, for correction of error, and for instruction for doing right.” But it is HOW you teach it that makes the difference. Do you wave a finger and criticize and yell at the person? Or do you lift up their chin in your fingers, look them deeply and compassionately in the eyes, and tell them that “God loves them. That He knows where they are struggling and if they can admit it to Him, that they CANNOT change in and of their own accord – BUT that HE can change them IF they are open to it” – which one do you think will be well received??



You might find that the you end up wearing the very SAME shoes that the person you so strongly judged (either vehemently or unknowingly) and find that those shoes are very uncomfortable indeed… Instead of shaking your head at them, or condemning them, or judging them – how ‘bout digging real deep and LOVING them enough to pray that God will make a difference in their lives? If you have been a Christian for a number of years, think back to all the things about yourself that God changed in YOU – because YOU ASKED Him to. Because YOU opened yourself UP to His changing you. Because you realized that you couldn’t do it by yourself… That you needed HIM to do it. It makes sense when you think about it – doesn’t it? Afterall, who knows you better than the One who created you? Remember it says in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you. Before you were born – I set you apart.” No one knows you like HE does. No one ever will. Not even YOU, Yourself.

May 12, 2012

Seasons of Love - RENT

Somewhere in Time...

A Message in Time

Time stops for no man... How I wish it would.  How I wish we could hold on to certain moments and NOT LET GO.  What a loving God we serve that in creating us, gave us the BEST kind of internal camera - Our memories!  Think about... How a certain song or smell can bring you back to a certain time in your life? Or even a taste of a familiar food - can bring a flood of memories coming through.... Thank God for creating our senses!

My mother is turning 70 next week... SEVENTY.  How did THAT happen?? When did that happen?  I'm SO glad it happened!  But you see, in my eyes - my mom is "ageless."  Mom's "don't age," they stay the same - they are simply, "Mom."  How does time go by so quickly?  Although I am 45, I feel the SAME as I did when I was 16 - only wiser. (At least I hope I am....).  Isn't it funny how "old" is always 15 years "older than you are?"  (And, as I already indicated, that doesn't pertain to our parents...)  I look at elderly people, and  I finally understand what they meant when they looked at us, shook their head and said, "If I only knew THEN what I know NOW."  Our bodies are just shells.  Or as the Bible puts it "temples."They house who we REALLY are.  As I grow older, I understand this more and more.

As a birthday present, I bought my mom tickets to go see Maya Angelou.  I didn't expect her to want to take ME with her, but I'm so glad she did.  Dr. Angelou spoke of "having an attitude of gratitude" How we should let "thank you fall off of our lips often."  She spoke of how at a time in her life, when she was a single African American parent, she was asked to play a role in the Musical "Porgy and Bess."  A role that would take her around the world to perform.  She asked her son if it would be okay with him if she did this.  He went to stay with a relative while she did the tour (her son  - I think she said, was eight years old at the time.)  When she returned from the trip, her son was angry with her.  She went through a depression and contemplated commiting suicide - holding her son's hand and jumping off the balcony of their apartment.  When she realized what a danger she was becoming to herself and to her son, she went to get help.  She ended up going to her voice coach's house, telling him how she felt.  After listening to her, he said "Take this yellow pad of paper." (She took it from him). He then said, "Now, write down that you are grateful you can "take" that pad of paper when there are people that don't even have hands to reach for things. Now, write down that you are grateful that you have fingers that you can write with on that yellow pad of paper... Now write down that you are grateful that you can spell... And then when you think about it - write down that you are grateful you can read..." And he went on and on until she realized how MUCH she was"grateful" FOR. She then admitted to us all, that from that point on ALL of her writings/poems have been done on "Yellow pads of paper." (I wrote this from jotted down notes I took during her presentation - so please remember it's based on notes "I wrote" on not a yellow pad of paper - but a small white one, and I probably am not doing her "justice" in how she presented it).

I have a clock hanging in my living room. I got it from The Cracker Barrel Store - A store I love because you can have lunch there and shop too! This store sells items that represent many different eras. I bought a clock a year ago.  The name of the clock is "A Message in Time."  What I love about it, is that you can put tiny pictures on the walls of the clock right where each number for an hour would be. (See above photo). I have filled it with pictures of my three children.  Two of my kids decided they wanted to record what would be the "chime." They decided that the perfect chime for the clock would be a verse from the song "Seasons of Love" (from the musical "Rent.") They decided they would sing the following verse:

"Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes... How many minutes are in a year?" 

Every time my clock chimes, I hear my children singing that verse.  No matter how old they become (as long as the clock works), frozen in time will be their child-like voices, taking me back to the moment they (innocently) recorded it.

So I guess what we need to do, is to remember how precious this gift called life is. How precious time is... And if necessary - get ourselves "a pad of yellow paper" if it helps you (as it did Dr. Angelou) remember what a gift our lives are, and in the words of Dr. Angelou - ""See in yourself something SO WORTHY that you will not only live a unique life - but that you will live one in which you thrive with passion and compassion AND style!"

The clock chimes... It's time for me to go... I've got a 70th birthday party for a very special woman to prepare for... Tick tock... Time to make a memory.