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: 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, 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