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.


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:


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)