Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Portion Forever

I've been doing an at home Bible study on the book of Psalm. I'm really taking my time delving into the Word and letting it soak in, so it may take awhile to finish this study. It's not a study on each Psalm (I'd never finish), but various ones. Today was Psalm 73. Now, to me, that is not a bit of scripture that makes me say, "ah yes, Psalm 73". I'm not even sure I had ever read it completely before today. But as I was studying it occurred to me that I needed to blog about this. I hate it when I feel the need to blog about something that makes me seem less than imperfect....may I dare say almost human. I love to think I've got it all figured out - but the last 3 years have taught me otherwise. Now, onto Psalm 73...for those that don't have it memorized, I suggest you read through it.

This Psalm hit me in the gut in verses 2-5: "But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have n0 struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills". (Has the Psalmist being reading my journal)

I have to admit that there are times that I am envious of those that seem to have the good life, no sickness, no worries. There are times when I focus more on the contrasts of my life with the life of others....why do I have cancer, why can't I grow old with my husband, why can't I work and play and travel and pretend that tomorrows last forever? I don't wish sickness on anybody, but you've got to admit Bin Laden would have been a great candidate for a few cancerous organs.

But seriously, it is so easy to focus on ourselves, isn't it? We want to be in the fastest lane of traffic or the quickest check-out line, we want everything our way! But as the Psalmist writes, this causes envious thoughts and takes our focus off God. Praise God that he didn't stop there. He remembered the faithfulness of God and verse 26 is music to my ears..."My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Yes, cancer is a horrible thing and it is claiming so many folks - good and bad. But thank you Jesus for securing my spot in eternity! God is my strength, my stronghold and my deliverer!
I will have faith in Him until my faith becomes sight!

Much love,

P.S. Don't forget to read Psalm 73!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm still here!

Geez!   It has been a long time since I've posted anything.  I can't use the excuse that I've been too busy.  I  just let the days slip by.  Most of the time I don't think I have anything to say that anybody wants to hear, but then I remember that my idea of starting this blog was to put down my thoughts of what it is like to have terminal cancer and my journey through it.  Not necessarily for anyone to read, but a type of therapy for myself.

For the most part, I think I have a pretty good attitude about this life I didn't order.  I can still make jokes about the treatments and the side effects and I try to see the good in every day.  I have tried to share the upside and ignore the downside.  But in fact, cancer stinks!  Since my diagnosis I have had the pleasure to meet many fine people fighting cancer and some of these folks have already gone into Heaven.  I have also met many people that are just starting this journey through cancer land.  It makes me mad when I hear someone else has joined the cancer club!

I've promised myself that I will start posting more on my blog.  If you enjoy it, please comment or share with a friend.  But please, don't ever feel sorry for me.

Blog again soon!

Friday, August 19, 2011


I have spent a good bit of time this week working on my disability benefits. Those words, "disability" and "benefit" used together always seem a little funny to me. It sounds like "Hey, your disabled - you get a prize!" I am very thankful for these monetary benefits...oh boy, am I thankful! But it is not a quick process to go through. Thankfully I had someone help me understand the paperwork at the beginning. But along the way there are letters and meetings and emails and phone calls. I received a phone call telling me I should be receiving a letter - when I got the letter it basically said I should have received a phone call. Mix all this information with a chemo brain and you have one confused woman on your hands!

On top of that I have been paying on a disability policy for twelve years that unfortunately I get to use. So that is another collection of phone calls, letters and emails. I considered myself a person of average intelligence until I went through this process. With this company you have to give info to a recording using the numbers on your phone before you are granted an audience with customer service. The info required: My claim number (7 digits), my phone number (10 digits), my birthdate (6 digits) and for security purposes I had to spell out the model of my first car! All of this number punching gave me the privilege to hear this recording, "Our office is closed for a training meeting - please call back after 1:00 pm" click.

My Pastor gave a message on Sunday about the benefits of God (Psalm 103:1-5)
1. He forgives your sin
2. He heals your diseases
3. He redeems your life
4. He loves you unconditionally
5. He satisfies your soul

How marvelous are the benefits of God! These benefits don't run out, you don't have to complete any paperwork, no password is needed and you don't have to punch a bunch of numbers! You don't even have to pay for it - Jesus Christ paid the fee for us! Woohoo! "That'll preach brother!"

I am thankful for the monetary benefits I receive, but, Oh, how much more thankful I am for the benefits of God! To God I am not a claim number. He knows my name and everything about me - even the number of hairs and freckles! He knows my every need and sees every teardrop.

Thank you God! Through the death, burial and resurrection of Your Son, I have full access to you. All You want from me is my love and worship. Help me keep my heart's focus on You and let my worship be pleasing to You. Amen

Monday, August 15, 2011

I have something cool I want to share today, but as a logged on I realized I haven't done a medical update. So, first things first. I had a PET scan last Tuesday. I have this scan every three months to check on those nasty tumors that have taken up residence in my lungs. This scan shows if the tumors have changed in size and if the cancer has spread to another part of my body.

Steve and I went Thursday for the results. Our prayer before these results is always that God will give us the strength and courage to handle the results whatever they may be and that through it all we will continue to give God the glory. The results were not what we wanted to hear. The tumors have grown, but praise God the cancer has not spread elsewhere. After talking things over with the doc, it was decided that it is time for me to go to a different treatment plan. I've been given a break until September to give my body time to regain strength before hitting it with bigger guns. On September 7, I will begin a regimen of 48 straight hours of chemo every other week and just like the last plan, we will continue for as long as it works.

OK....now on to more fun stuff! Sometimes people tell me how "good" or how "wonderful" I look and I have a "glow" about me. I know they are not talking of a physical beauty. I've gained over 80 pounds, have thinning gray hair and about a glabillion freckles on my face! A beauty queen I am not! What I hope people are seeing in me is the glory of God. Instead of saying thanks I try to say "to God's glory"! Please do not read into this that I feel "holier than thou" or that I think I have it all figured out. I have realized that without Christ I am nothing. Life is not about a career, a house or where I attend church. Life is about focusing on Jesus and knowing that without Him I would be as lost at a goat!

When we truly give our lives over to God he fills us with His glory, but it's not a one time fill up. If you continue to focus on Him, continue to look to His Word for guidance and continue to praise Him he will continue to fill you with His glory! Woohoo!!!

In 2 Corinthians 2:7-18, Paul is talking about the glory of the New Covenant. I encourage you to read it because it is really cool. In verses 18 "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." Man, I love the Word - it just blows me away!

What if we spent as much time seeking God as we do worrying about our appearance?

I've always appreciated when someone tells me I look nice, but what an awesome thing it is for someone to tell you they can see the Glory of God on your face! Imagine if the whole world focused on God and because of that we all reflected an ever-increasing glory! Then Max Factor and all those other cosmetic companies wouldn't have to airbrush pictures of their models!

Alright, I'm going to sign off now and enjoy the rest of this beautiful day!


Thursday, August 11, 2011


I came across a familiar verse during my study time this morning. I felt inspired to write about it. I was writing it for myself but was encouraged to share it on my blog...so here it goes!

"Let us run the race that is before us and never give up." Hebrews 12:1

Sometimes I am weary from the race that seems so long,
The time spent weak and crying, begging again to be made strong.

Why are some untouched by the sickness of this child,
Their life seems so carefree, their troubles only mild.

Am I paying for past sins from when my heart was cold?
When God wanted to guide me, but I refused and tightened my hold?

I know this world is a fallen one, full of sin and grief and pain,
But I also know that God forgives us and for this His Son was slain.

Because of His love for us, God gave His only Son,
So if this is the race chosen for me, then this is the race I will run.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Basket of Blessings

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Galatians 6:9

Isn't that a beautiful basket of food? When I saw this basket sitting on my kitchen counter I knew I had to share it's beauty with you. I love the rich colors and smells from fresh produce. I like food fresh from the garden. It makes me think that God is saying, "Here you go, this is a gift for you."

You've heard me brag about all the flowers that Steve plants, but I don't think I've mentioned the garden spots. I guess we have had a vegetable garden almost every year that we've been married. Some have been large, some have been small. One year we had a huge garden, it took up our entire backyard. Steve has always been the outdoor person in our marriage. In our earlier years, I don't think he realized that I had grown up working in gardens, snapping beans, shucking corn, etc. I remember once I offered to weed the garden for him. He was quite surprised that I knew how to do it!

This year Steve underestimated our garden's abilities to grow. We don't have a great garden area, so he figured some of what he planted would die out. I think everything with the exception of broccoli has out done itself. I don't know how many hundreds of cherry tomatoes he has picked, along with squash, okra, beans, peas, and tomatoes.

I have been toying with the idea of canning tomatoes. I've frozen peas, beans and corn before, but canning tomatoes will be a new experience. I will let you know if I get brave enough to try it.

I've had a busy week since my last treatment. I did my usual hibernation for 3-4 days, but once I got back on my feet I was out and about. I'm trying to stay busy and as active as possible. This week is a big week at our house. My PET scan is scheduled for tomorrow with the results on Thursday. This test will show what these nasty tumors have been doing for the past three months. Our prayer continues to be that God's glory will be shown and that our faith is strong enough to continue praising God through the storm. I have several friends that are also having cancer tests this week. I pray they will find their strength and peace in God.

Have a great week!

Friday, July 29, 2011



How can I begin to express my love and gratitude to my husband...without getting all mushy?

How does the old joke go? We've been married for 28 years...it's been the happiest 3 years of my life! haha! Just like everyone else we've had our good years and our not so good years. But God has blessed us with each of these years. I'm thankful for all of these days.

Steve and I knew each other for a couple of years before we actually started dating. I thought he was a snob and he thought I was a flirt. He chased me until I finally caught him....that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :-) We married during my senior year of high school, that was not the smartest idea we ever had - but what God has joined together let no one put assunder.

Steve is many things to me:

MY COOK:Steve grilled out for us on our second date. Steak, bake potato, salad....he had me at steak! Since then he has wowed me with all sorts of wonderful meals...coconut shrimp, low country boil, homemade french toast, omelets and any kind of BBQ you can imagine!

MY LAWN MAN: He made a decision 16 years ago that he wanted to be with his wife and kids more, to be a bigger part of our lives. He left the retail world and started his own business. I was scared to death! But it was a great decision for our family. He is great at what he does and year after year our backyard becomes more beautiful with flowers, shrubbery, and our water fountain.

MY POOL GUY: Steve does absolutely everything for our pool. He opens it every year, maintains it all summer, closes it in the winter and repairs all broken parts. He does everything except swim it in - I guess that's my job.

Three years ago with my cancer diagnosis, he added another description. MY CARETAKER. Neither one of us wanted him to have this title - and I didn't take to it very well in the beginning. But he has been with me every step of the way. He was a watchdog while I was in the hospital, making sure all the nurses were meeting my needs. He has protected my heart, shielded me from hurts, encouraged me to fight when I didn't think I had any fight left in me. The picture at the top of this post was taken on a trip at the end of my first round of treatment. We were both so excited to be outside, away from the house after a very trying year.

These are all wonderful traits in a husband, but I also admire his traits as a Christian man.

He is GENEROUS. He always trys to help a friend or stranger anytime he can. Whether it's money, food, helping with a chore. He has taught me alot about generosity.

He is TRUSTWORTHY. If he says he is going to do something, he does it.

Marvelous attributes of a man these days...but the most important thing about my husband is that he is a Christian. He's not just a guy that believes there is a God. He is a man that believes, trusts, worships and serves God. He is sold-out and locked-in to God.

Thank you God for blessing me with this man. You knew this man was what I needed long before I did.

Happy Birthday Steve!
I love you more every day!


Happy birthday to my "older" sister - Sue, Susan, Susie, Mrs. Dial, Goose - and my favorite - "Goofy"!

Sue seems to have a lot of nicknames, maybe they are for all the different hats she wears. If someone asked me to describe her, I would have to tell them to take a seat. We grew up with the classic love/hate relationship. We loved to hate (or at least act like we hated) each other. She would finally succumb to play with me. But we always played "beauty pageant" and she insisted her dolls won. Her favorite line when we finished playing was, "I got all these toys out, so you have to pick them up". As the younger sister I truly enjoyed making her life miserable. She was a little high strung and jumpy, so my favorite game was sneaking into her room and yelling "BOO!" She would just about jump out of her skin....but the best part was that since she was also a little scatter brain, I could wait 2-3 minutes and do it again...and get the same reaction from her- over and over again! It was fantastic!!

Fortunately, we became closer when we didn't live under the same roof. I began to appreciate Sue for who she truly is. She is a completely devoted mother. She stayed at home with her girls until they were school age. She loves those girls with all of her heart and soul. When they were babies she made homemade baby food so they could have healthy food without all the perservatives. I can see parts of Sue in those girls....and that is not a bad thing...most of the time. I get amused when she makes a comment about her daughters rooms being messy. When Sue was a teenager you literally could not see the floor of her room for all the clutter - this was a permanent condition of her room. She had a little blue Mustang while she was in college. The back seat and floorboard were the same height and I never attempted to move the stuff out of the front passenger seat - I would just sit on top of it!

For several years Sue was the youth leader at our church. I watched her love those kids and get involved with their lives. A lot of those kids were not "church kids", meaning their families didn't go to church - they came on their own. Most of those kids have graduated from college, have careers and some have a family. I'm sure they can recall many of the lessons they learned in that youth group, because Sue had a way of making it real to them.

When the girls started to school, Sue started teaching again. I think this is her true calling. Her mission field is her classroom. She has a passion for learning and she has a passion for each of those kids to realize their full potential and urges them to work for it. She truly cares for each of those students. Several times she has called and said I can't tell you the students name, but please pray for this situation. For this dedication and passion she has received the Second Mile Teacher award twice. I'm very proud of this recognition she has received, but that is not why she does it. She works nights, weekends and summers to help her students succeed. If all teachers had this kind of commitment, just think how far their students could go!

Sue got a lot of our grandmother's talents. Sue likes to cook and cooks wonderfully, during her time as a full-time mom, she would sew...as long as you didn't give her a deadline! Although she did do a last-minute job of sewing Andrew's new chevrons on his uniform the night before he left for Japan!

Sue has the wonderful gift of investing herself in people. If she sits down next to a stranger in a waiting room, they will not be a stranger when she leaves...and amazingly if they ever cross paths again, she will remember them! This is a gift I wish I had...especially since I don't even know the names of all my neighbors!

In honor of Sue's birthday I wanted to share her with you. I am thankful to be blessed with two wonderful sisters. I am uber-thankful that we have remained close through all of these years. I'm thankful that God blessed them with children so I could have the joy of nieces and nephews (and a grand-niece). I'm thankful that they love my children as if they were their own. But most of all I am thankful for heaven so they we will spend an eternity together.

Sue, happy birthday!
I love you,

"I thank my God in all my remembrances of you." Philippians 1:3

Thursday, July 28, 2011



As I was going over my activities of the day and thanking God for the energy to do these things, it occurred to me how many things I did yesterday involving the letter "C" (these are the deep thoughts one has when they no longer work or have children to raise) :-)

CLEANING day! Woohoo! I love CLEANING day - my house smells so fresh, the floors are clean, furniture is dusted. It is a beautiful thing. Heavens no, I am not the one doing all this cleaning! But I did write the CHECK to have it done!

My first activity was to use my COUPONS. This picture shows the things I purchased yesterday at CVS. Using my coupons the total for this purchase was only $26! Yay! Let me stop right here and brag on the customer service at my local CVS. They are always very helpful and friendly. I try to shop with them whenever possible, because it is just so nice to do business with people who are COURTEOUS!

Next on my list was CHATTING with a CHICK friend over some CHINESE food. The food was good, but the CONVERSATION was excellent! I am so thankful to have been blessed with friends that are entertaining and also are not bashful to talked about God, our dependency on Him and how He blesses us each day.

Now on to Wal-mart. I don't particularly like to shop at Wal-mart. Unfortunately, sometimes the ole CHECKBOOK dictates where I shop. However, I was able to use almost $8 in COUPONS.
Back at the house, I unloaded all of these purchases (whew). Thank you God for the energy to COMPLETE this task and thank You for providing food for our CUPBOARD.

Two sweet CHICK friends came by the house to visit with me for a little while. Their visits are such a sweet time of fellowship.

Time to get ready for CHURCH! I changed into a new outfit I bought while on vacation last week. Guess what color. CYAN (a shade of blue)! CHURCH was awesome again! Our time of praise and worship was so incredible. Standing among fellow believers worshiping our Almighty God! Words just can't describe it!

Onto the last stop of the day. We had after church supper with friends...you guessed it....I had CHICKEN fingers!

Last night I prayed for those fighting CANCER. I pray for strength for those who have fought for a long time and peace for those new to the fight. To each of them I offer this scripture...

"Have I not COMMANDED YOU? Be strong and COURAGEOUS. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" Joshua 1:9

Monday, July 25, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I spent this Monday after vacation getting back in the swing of things. I made a list of things I wanted to get done today. I accomplished most of the things on my list. I'm pretty forgetful so my list is very detailed. One of the items was to make a picture of our mailbox flower garden. This is one of my favorite spots each year. This is the only color in our front yard. Steve likes to plant all sorts of flowers all over the back yard and around the pool, but he likes the front lawn to be green, as in grass, lots and lots of grass. No flower gardens, except for this one around our mailbox. I learned a long time ago to choose my battles and since Steve buys, plants, waters and weeds our gardens, I choose not to make this a battle. He can plant whatever he wants, wherever he wants as long as all I have to do is enjoy them. My only disappointment with his decisions was the loss of our pom-pass (sp?) grass. Several years ago we had a huge, beautiful pom-pass grass by our back steps. It was my favorite plant. Steve hated it! He claimed it attracted yellow jackets or some nonsense like that. Well, I took a trip to the beach and guess what I saw when I returned....an empty spot where my beautiful grass had been! Oh well, nothing I could really say about it then - the damage was done.

I ventured outside to have my TAWG (Time Alone With God) this morning. It was very muggy! An occasional light breeze was definitely on my thank you list to God this morning. I was hoping we would see some rain to cool things down a bit, but so far no rain here.

The grocery store needs to be on my To Do list for tomorrow, but I'm not sure that will happen. I'm a couponer (not extreme like on TV), so I have to go through all the coupons that came in while I was out of town and check all the sale ads before I can hit the stores. So it may happen tomorrow - maybe not.

RODNEY BRAKEFIELD - A godly man. I grew up with Rodney, we went to the same small church and attended the same schools. Rodney fought a long and courageous battle against cancer. God relieved him of his suffering on Saturday. His smile and good cheer will be missed by many. I know that Rodney is worshiping in heaven tonight. Rodney, we will worship together again!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I have just returned from a wonderful vacation with my sisters and their families. We had a great time and enjoyed spending some much needed time together. The only way it could have been better is if my husband unit, our offspring and ruler of the house (Gracie) could have gone. Steve doesn't vacation during the summer, Allie has another trip planned and Andrew is still in Japan. Gracie couldn't vacation with us because I am the only "dog-person" in my family.

We had relaxing days and ate some scrumptious meals at night. Some meals were in local restaurants, some were made by the cooks in our family (not me, of course). One afternoon we were entertained by Leah and Lizzy making homemade cinnamon rolls with maple icing. This was a first for them so they wanted to follow the recipe exactly. Unfortunately, I think the recipe made like 60 cinnamon rolls. It will be awhile before I want another cinnamon roll.

Steve and Gracie were glad to see me when I came home. They were jumping up and down and licking my face...well, one of them was anyway. :-)

I've got some projects on my agenda this week. I will post on my progress.



Thursday, April 21, 2011

Random Thoughts

Hello! Did you think I had disappeared? Maybe abducted by aliens? That makes me think of a woman that I have always called my second mother...you know who you are...PATSY! I grew up with several interesting women in my world. Each bring back wonderful memories, but I was closest with Patsy. She always tells people she taught me how to cuss and smoke...I guess if you are going to do those things you know how to do them well. Thankfully neither one of those are temptations to me any longer, but that doesn't mean I love Patsy any less.

Two things that I always associate with Patsy: Aliens and Elvis. Patsy was, and I guess still is, an Elvis freak. When I heard on the radio that Elvis had died I immediately called Patsy. She thought I was a prank caller and hung up on me! I called her back and convinced her to turn on the radio, I remember her being so upset and not thoroughly convinced that he was actually dead...probably working at a burger joint somewhere.

Now to the aliens. I spent many summer nights in Patsy's back yard staring up at the stars. She had me convinced there are many spaceships flying around just waiting to find a place to land and abduct people for medical experiments. That may sound horrible, but it was like a nightly visit to a carnival haunted house. To this day I cannot ride down a two lane road without looking in the sky for a UFO closing in on me.

Just a little background on what makes me the crazy way I am! I'm not sure where that came from tonight. It is fun to sign on to my blog and see where my brain goes! I might have to add a disclaimer to my blog! LOL

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Looking Back

I have such a content feeling today. The past few weeks have been filled with days of frustration or just plain blahs. Physically I don't feel as well as I did and that dictates my mood most days. I get frustrated because my body won't do the things it use to...I think maybe these are the same thoughts an elderly person endures. I remember days of running as fast as the wind, turning cart wheels and flips, dancing, spinning in circles until I collapsed in laughter. These are the sensations of days long passed. In the beginning of these nostalgic feelings it made me sad. I longed for the days that I would never experience again. But slowly, as I began embracing these memories I began to feel comfort in them. Like taking an inventory of my life, of my experiences I am enjoying them again. A breeze blows and I'm reminded of past breezes. A familiar scent tickles my nose and memories of a thousand scents occupy my mind.

I understand now the reminiscing of aunts, uncles and grandparents. The afternoons and evenings spent mulling over childhood memories. To welcome these thoughts of long ago sensations, the sights, sounds, smells of youth are like curling up on a cool evening with a favorite blanket. A blanket that still carries the scent of fresh breezes and warm sun, of newly mowed grass and wild onions. All of these things are welcomed to visit because they are a part of who I am, not just a part of who I was.

They carry the memories of friendships that meant so much then - and looking back those friendships mean even more now. Even the childhood friends that I've lost touch with over the years, they are still just as much a part of me as the friends that I spend time with now. Each have a lasting impression on the person I am.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Overdue Update

Good grief! I can't believe it has been so long since I've blogged! Why didn't someone remind me? Don't y'all know I have chemo brain and can't be relied on!

I was going to blog today about a few various things I've noticed or thought of but I guess I better give an update instead. Maybe next time I will remember what I had started to blog today...vicious cycle isn't it? Welcome to my world.

Two weeks ago Steve and I went for my regular treatment. The trip was routine, nothing spectacular - just the usual toxic cocktail and then we are on our way. We stopped by my old office to see my friends. They have all been so loving and supporting to us and I really miss seeing them every day. The visit wore me out so I was looking forward to getting home and hitting the couch. We had just settled in at home when the nurse called and said my blood work was "concerning" and could indicate renal trouble. I arranged to go back to the cancer center the next morning for more blood test. Praise God the first test was a fluke! All counts were fine and we got to come back home. That was good news...but the best news of the day would come later in the afternoon. My tumor marker number dropped dramatically! Woohoo! That is the first drop in about 5 months! I was elated!!!

We thank God for the "fluke" test and for the lower tumor markers! Our God is Great!!

Glory be to God!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

White as Snow

Steve and I headed out for another treatment today. The scenery was a little different than usual because of the snow...yes, more snow in Birmingham - hard to believe!

This time of year the drive down Highway 31 or Decatur Highway or 26th Street...whichever name I choose to use on a given day...is depressing. Most of the buildings or houses are boarded up or burned. There is nothing green, nothing blooming. There are no evergreen trees so all the trees are brown...and the sky is gray (sorry, I drifted off into a 1960's song for a minute)...I thought about how ugly and dead the trees look in February...how there is no sign of life or beauty, no evidence of a redeeming quality to them. But today was different - it was a beautiful sight! Each branch, limb and twig was covered in glistening white snow. Even the brown under brush was dusted with beauty.

Isn't this so much like the redeeming love of God? We are dead in sin, ugly in our transgressions, but when we accept Jesus as the LORD and SAVIOR of our life He washes us as white as snow! Like the brown trees covered in snow, God makes us beautiful, glistening...a new creation!

So, today I'm thankful for the snow, for the God who sees me as I can be and doesn't remember how I was, and for the signs He gives us to remind us He is right with us...even on the cold road to another chemo treatment.

To God be the glory, great things He has done!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Lease on Life

A new lease on life....this is one of those phrases that I have often heard, but seldom thought about it's meaning. The phrase came to me again as Steve and I came home from the doctor this afternoon.

It has been almost ten months since we heard the word "terminal" and while the doctor didn't stamp me with an expiration date he did give the statistics of life expectancy for someone with my disease. In the past two weeks we have prayed, cried and rejoiced in the faithfulness of our Lord as we prepared to hear these results.

My doctor said the scan showed "modest" improvement. The majority of my tumors have either decreased in size or remained the same. In the world of terminal cancer, where tumors increase in number and/or size, this is positive news! He is pleased with how I am tolerating the treatment and doesn't see any evidence of needing to move to a more aggressive treatment at this time.

So today, on this beautiful, sunny day I have a new lease on life! No, I wasn't given the all-clear, I wasn't told I had been miraculously healed, but I do have the possibility of living longer than we first thought. That means more days to love my husband, more days to see my children grow spiritually and find their path in this life, more days to laugh and make memories with my sisters and their families and our friends. It also gives me more days to share the love and the joy and the peace that has been showered on me from Jesus, my Rock, my Redeemer, my Strong Tower. Which brings me to the thought of my new lease on life....

It IS a lease - because I have been saved by the grace of God, this is not my life to spend selfishly or mindlessly. I have leased this life to use while I am on this earth. It is my responsibility to use this life for the Glory of the Owner of this life. It is not mine to squander or waste. It is God's life and I will spend all the days leased to me to glorify Him.

Blessed be the name of the Lord, who gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Can Do It!

Do you ever get amused with yourself for insisting on doing things on your own? It was raining when I was heading out the door for bible study this morning. Steve, being the wonderful man he is, offered to help me out to the car. I assured him I could do it on my own. So off I went with my head held high in self-sufficiency. In my arms were my keys, purse, bible bag, 3 library books to return, my to-go mug and sales papers for the stores I would be hitting after my class...oh yeah, I was also holding my umbrella to protect me from the cold rain!

I choreographed the dance of getting all those things into their proper place in my car while staying dry. I was proud of myself and even said to myself, "I am woman, hear me roar!" I was only a block or so away from the house when I realized that my accomplishment wasn't that great. I could have humbled myself, let Steve help me out, and I would still be headed down the same road, just a little more relaxed.

How often do I throw my shoulders back and tell God that I can do something myself? I tend to only approach God with my big problems. Sickness, heart breaks, finances...but I don't believe that is the only time God wants to hear from us. It is such a comfort to know that Jesus "is closer than a brother", to know that I can go to Him with everything - big or small.

If you are a parent, think of when you want to hear from your children. I love to hear from my kids - even though they are grown I delight in talking to them. They don't have to wait until they have a problem or until they have some huge accomplishment. I am thrilled to just talk with them, to hear about their day and the things they think about. Our heavenly Father is the same way. He delights in us! Don't you love that thought? The creator of this magnificent world with all of it's beauty and majesty delights in you!

As I grow in my Christian walk, I do find myself talking with my Lord on a more continual basis. I feel closer to the Throne when doing that. I don't feel the need to re-introduce myself or play catch up when talking to God and with my scattered brain that is a very good thing!

Bask in the thought that God delights in YOU!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday - YAY!

Happy Monday! Wow! I have been pretty busy the past couple of days and this week is going to be really busy...well, busy as far as I'm concerned. These days if I have more than one thing on my daily agenda I feel busy. Today I'm doing odd and end things preparing for the week. I have bible study tomorrow morning, then a PET scan - Wednesday I am participating in an early morning breakfast ministry (pray for me - I'm not a morning person!), shopping with my coupons and then Oasis service at GFBC and of course, closing down the Chick!

Things slow down Thursday - it's treatment day again with the added appointment with the doc to get my PET results. After that my week is basically over until I recover from the chemo cocktail.

COUPONS! On our first outing involving serious couponing, Steve and I had a total savings of $39.55! I know that is a long way from the Extreme Coupon-ers, but I was pretty excited about it.

SCRIPTURE! "Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you. If I were to speak and tell of them there would be too many to declare!" I just typed that from memory! If you know how chemo brain effects my brain you might just be pretty impressed with this accomplishment! I will start tomorrow working to memorize another scripture.

STEVE! He has been busy converting our old bedroom into a den. He tore out closets and has painted. My job has been to keep Gracie out of the paint. He also made me homemade waffles yesterday. I am a blessed woman!

"I cried out with a troubled heart and Justice heard my cry, oh Jesus, he heard the groaning of my soul. Jesus, no one higher, no one greater, no name sweeter, than Jesus the hope of glory for my soul. I owed a debt that I could never pay and mercy set me free. Oh Jesus suffered that I might be made whole." These are the words of a song that was just playing on the radio. I felt pressed to record them here. Perhaps this is a word that someone reading this needs to hear, perhaps it was just so that I would concentrate on each word being said. Nonetheless, it was nourishing to my soul and I hope it touched you as well.

Now I must get busy with the rest of my day. There is banana bread to bake (YUM!) and I need to tackle my desktop...I think there is piece of furniture under there somewhere.

I hope you enjoy a God-filled day! If you don't know Jesus, the source of my peace, joy and comfort, please contact me. I would love to tell you about Him!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

French Toast!

Glorious day! I can't think of a better way to describe it. My day started with having my favorite breakfast delivered to me in bed by my wonderful husband...french toast! Now this was not out of the freezer, instant french toast...this was the real thing! It was fantastic! Gracie wasn't too happy about the breakfast menu. She usually gets to drink the leftover milk from our cereal bowls. No such luck this morning.

This morning while doing my homework for my bible study, I was reading the story of Jonathan, son of King Saul (1 Samuel 14). There are several dynamics about this story that make it interesting. Beth Moore (the author of this study) made a comment that seemed to jump off the page. "He (Jonathan) knew God could do it, he didn't know if He would. Whether or not He did, Jonathan understood God's response to be based on sovereignty, not weakness." These two sentences say exactly what I stumble around and try to say when asked about my battle with cancer.

I know that God can heal me and wipe this cancer out of my body if He chooses, but if that is not part of His sovereign plan, then I will be healed when taken to heaven. God has a perfect plan for me and I will not doubt his sovereignty. I will either be healed of cancer and delay my entry into heaven or I will not be healed and my ascent to heaven will come sooner. I am a winner either way! Perhaps God is using this struggle in my life to encourage others or show someone the saving grace of Jesus Christ. If my life could be a witness to someone and lead them to Christ then the cancer did not win - the winner would be the Kingdom!

I believe the most important job of a parent is to witness to their children about Jesus. While we want our sons and daughters to be healthy, wealthy and wise on earth the more important goal is for them to love God with all their heart and soul. I also believe the most important job as a Christian is to lead the lost to Christ. If my journey through this cancer mine field results in the salvation of souls, then I consider it an honor to serve God in this way.

Whew, pretty heavy post tonight. I just have to say whats on my heart.

I have received several encouraging notes, emails and comments today. I am overwhelmingly blessed by your words. Thank you for being such a meaningful part of my life.

I must confess I haven't done so well with scripture memory. As soon as I log off tonight I am going to read over it several times. Hopefully I will be able to think about it before I go to sleep. If you have committed to memorize scripture this year, please let me know what verse you are working on. I would love to know who else is with me on this.

Good night beautiful friends,


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hello sweet friends!

It's funny how quickly I adjusted to the retired life! Even though I usually didn't work for several days after a treatment, I still worried about what was going on at the office, what I was forgetting to do, etc. It was such a comfort this time to just come home and veg out for several days...and boy did I veg out! I slept all day on Saturday...and I mean all day. On Sunday I was able to attend worship and have lunch with Allie and Steve then headed back to the sofa for a few hours!

Steve and I have been invited to share our testimony of how God has been blessing us through this cancer journey. This is an awesome opportunity to share the wonders of God! It is hard to know where to start! Please pray for me over the next several weeks as I prepare.

I have a few things I'm getting involved in now that I am home. I know I can't do everything I want to do. Folks have asked that I keep them updated on what I'm doing and I guess this is the best way...who knows, you may get interested in some of these things and find a new hobby for yourself.

RELAY FOR LIFE - I will be heading up a team for the North Jefferson relay. The kickoff meeting is this weekend. We will be having several fundraisers in the coming months for this worthy cause. Our team name is Chemo Cowboys.

BETH MOORE BIBLE STUDY - I have always loved these studies. Beth is so enthusiastic about the word of God. Her excitement is contagious! I attend the class on Tuesday morning but there is also one on Tuesday evenings. If you're interested and would like more info you can contact me or visit the church website: www.gfbconline.com. Look under Women's Ministries.

I've also committed to memorize scripture. My goal is one a week. I will try to remember to share the scripture and my progress with you. Hopefully it will inspire you to focus on scripture as well. This week's verse: Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done. The things You planned for us no one can recount to You; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” Psalm 40:5 NIV
Isn't this a great verse? It is so true...I know, all scripture is true...but this one is just right on. If we decided to write down every wonder God has done we would never reach the end. Sometimes I start listing the wonders of God before I go to sleep. I always fall asleep before I finish.

COUPONING - I'm going to try my hand at couponing. I've dabbled in it before, but never got really into it. I talked to several ladies at Bible Study today that save hundreds of dollars on groceries...I could definitely stand to save hundreds of dollars.

I almost forgot....medical update. My tumor markers inched up again. I'm no longer sitting comfortably in the single digits. I will have a PET scan next week to get a picture of my tumors - check their size, make sure there aren't more and see if the cancer has spread to other areas. I would love it if you could remember us in your prayers for the next week or so. Of course, I am praying that this scan will reveal good news, but ultimately my prayer is that God's glory will be revealed.

BLOG NOTE: I would love to hear from those that read this blog. I'm not asking for kudos, I just love conversation. Reply and let's get a conversation going.

Much love and good night!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Chemo day! I think I'm in my eighth month of continuous treatment...with the exception of my glorious six month vacation from cancer in early 2010, I've pretty much had non-stop chemo for two years.

I am home full time now, so I have been busy setting up my computer with my contacts and appointments. I set up my treatment schedule - I love the option of setting these as recurring appointments. You have a choice to have it recur for weeks, months, years or never-ending. I selected the "never-ending" option. Don't we just love to think we are never-ending?

Two years ago I was pretty invincible. I was working, eating healthy (mostly), running, attending church and pretty much doing as I pleased. I loved my career and the direction it was headed. I knew Jesus was my Savior and felt secure in my eternity...I just didn't want to find out for sure for a very long time.

My cancer diagnosis in late 2008 rocked my world....wow, that is the understatement of the year! I had a strong hold on my life, I have always had a need to be in control. I joked that I was a control freak, but had no desire to change. My control was ripped from me in just a few short days. Thank God! God's grip is stronger than mine - while we were shocked by my diagnosis, God was not surprised. He was ready for me to turn the reins over to Him. My life has not been the same since...not because of doctor's appointments, treatments or sickness. God changed everything in my world. I am no longer in control and I don't want to be. I no longer fill my days with what I want to do, but start each day with "God, direct my path". I'm no longer obsessed with my outward appearance (obviously :-) and more concerned with pleasing God. This is not because I'm a good person it is because God is a Great God.

I never imagined I would be on disability at the age of 45. I never thought it doubtful that I would see the age of 50. But I'm truly excited about what God is doing in my life. I am thrilled to start each day with "God, direct my path" and actually have the freedom to follow that path. I am grateful that God took my good marriage to a level only He can orchestrate. We have been abundantly blessed and to think, with out this diagnosis I might have been so focused on myself that I missed the "glory-ness" of God. That thought chills me to the bone!

Yes, it is good to live in the shadow of God.

"Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 63:7

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Retirement - Week 1

What a strange way to start retirement! Steve and I have been homebound for two days because of the weather. I haven't even stuck my nose out the door since coming home from church on Sunday! Our wintry weather consisted mostly of ice, so no snowman building here. I would like to think I would have bundled up and created the most amazing snowman anyone had ever seen...but that is a little far-fetched. I'm the stand-at-the-window-drinking-hot-chocolate type person. I've often fantasized about going to a beautiful snow covered ski resort. But only to wear the cute jacket and scarves and drink warm brandy by the fire. In this fantasy I'm a size 3 and have long brunette hair. (when I dream, I dream big!)

I'm ready for the snow and ice to be out of here! I have a very important engagement tonight...bunko! This is the first time in months that I have actually felt like going so I plan to be there - even if I have to get the city's armored tank to take me. I don't think there is a riot anywhere that needs their service today anyway.

We had an awesome worship on Sunday morning! The music was even better than usual. We sang some good old foot stompin', hand clappin' songs. If I had been sitting in one of the end seats I may have just started running up and down the aisle...I don't think anyone would have noticed! Most of the time I get so caught up in worship that I forget other folks are around me, but it is so cool when I think to look around and see people worshiping in the same manner. I am so very blessed to worship with other passionate believers.

I am already starting in on a routine...of course I will add to it when the arctic blast leaves our frigid state. On Saturday I found the top of my kitchen table and on Monday I found the top of my desk - I can't wait to see what else I might find! Is Jimmy Hoffa still missing? Steve and I have already cleaned out two closets. Well, actually Steve did all the work, I just sat here and said, "keep" or "trash" and the occasional, "what the heck is that?"

I will close for now. I will check in tomorrow to let everyone know if I won at bunko or if someone cheated and stole the victory from me!

Much love from the frozen tundra,

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I finally took down the Christmas decorations at our house tonight. I was giving myself until the National Championship ballgame to get them down. The game is not until Monday, so I guess that means I'm ahead of schedule! While replacing my Christmas coffee mugs with my regular mugs I chuckled when I saw the one from Paula. It says "somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace". I think that pretty much sums up my 45 years on this earth. In my earlier days I was a pretty effective hell-raiser but thanks to God's amazing grace, that no longer describes me. Of course, I'm sure there are still moments that the old devil thinks he might be gaining some ground...when he starts reminding me of past sins and the guilt and shame comes creeping back in. But God's amazing grace saves "even a wretch like me".

I have heard many times that God's grace is fresh every morning like dew on the grass. Our pastor said it again last night. Until last night, each time I heard it I thought it sounded nice, peaceful, serene. But last night it made me think about my dog, Gracie.

Say what??? OK, let me explain.

Gracie is a very cold-natured dog. She loves anything warm. She would sleep under an electric blanket year round if we would let her. On summer mornings when the grass is warm but still wet from the dew, Gracie loves to be outside. She will walk around the yard leaving little paw prints in the dew, sniffing until she finds the perfect spot to enjoy the warmth. Then she falls over on her side (imagine cow-tipping). She will lay perfectly still for about a minute and then she will start rolling from side to side. When she is tired from that she will roll over on her tummy and lay as flat as she possibly can for awhile. Now if you are patient enough with her she will get up, find another warm, dewy spot and start all over again. That girl knows how to enjoy her dew!

I was struck last night with the thought that thats how I should respond to God's grace. I shouldn't make an acknowledging nod as I pass by or say a quick "thanks for the grace" heavenward. I should enjoy this daily gift! Wallow around in it, soak up it's warmth, feel God's unconditional, everlasting love for me. His grace is fresh every morning because I need it every morning.

I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses; and the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.

He speaks and the sound of his voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing. And the melody he gave to me within my heart is ringing.

And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, no other has ever known.

In the Garden
by C. Austin Miles