Friday, December 14, 2012

Is Clutter a Hobby?

It is no secret - I love crafts. Pinterest is a very dangerous site for me to visit - more ideas turn into more trips to the craft store, which then turns into more stuff piled in my house.  I jokingly told the hubby that I think I need to de-clutter a little bit.  He, just as jokingly, responded with "really? where?"

Hmm...let's see.

Would it be the kitchen?  Where one complete corner is hidden with "stuff" and the kitchen table is used as my fabric cutting table?

Would it be my sitting room?  Where at this moment I can see 6 skeins of yarn and three knitting looms.

Maybe my bedroom?  It is the home of my sewing machine and many spools of thread.

Perhaps the extra bedroom?  You can't even see the bed for all the fabric, yarn and various craft supplies.

The comical part of this is that hubby gave me half of his office as a craft space.  Below is a picture I took of the space this morning:

This is madness!  I think I need an intervention!

While searching for a roll of tape I found a really cool set of pens I forgot I had.  I wonder what I can make with those pens.

My life plays out like the book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie".  Ooooh, cookies - I think I'll go bake some cookies.....

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Not the Best Blogger

If my blog were a friend would it consider me a good friend?  Most likely not.  Just about every day for the past two weeks I have thought about this blog.  Knowing I need to post, thinking of things I want to say, pictures I want to show.  But each night ended with...well, maybe tomorrow.  Maybe tomorrow I will have time to say the words, show the pictures, share a laugh.

I have been legitimately busy.  I have been fulfilling obligations - knitting, sewing, cross stitching - kind of my "work" I guess.  Even though it is important to fulfill obligations I know it is even more important to reach out to friends.

The past few weeks I have had the pleasure of twice visiting the rural town that my girl now calls home.  I love the small town feel and I love my girl - I have a couple of pictures to share from one visit, hopefully that will be soon.

I have sat in my chemo chair allowing the cell-killing toxins flood my body, while at the same time allowing my heart to be loved and encouraged by the angels that masquerade as nurses.

I enjoyed a long overdue visit with one of my oldest friends.

I've also lost two friends to cancer this week.  It is heartbreaking to think of the families sadness.  I think of Donna, her sweet spirit and her love and pride for her two boys.  I remember Louis and his sense of humor.  We were in a cancer support group together and he was always cracking jokes.  They will be missed by loved ones.

My days have been filled with things to do but also filled with people to love.  I hope to be a better blogger...and a better friend.

See you soon!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Blank Spaces

It is approaching now, that time I dread, that time I pretend doesn't happen.  Those spaces on the calendar that remain blank out of necessity.  My feet never touch down on their empty space...I see them in the future in the form of next week, then as mysterious as the wind they appear in my rear view mirror.  I don't experience them as they come with fresh air on my skin and sunshine on my face.  Only the stories of others remind me that life continued on, filling this expanse with activity.

The shadows grow long and I wish I could blink away the next few days.  I lay in bed wondering when the chemo curtain will rise and let the light back in. I know that these are payment for the days I am blessed to enjoy.  The poison that saps all my strength and bites away at my joy is the same life-sustaining drugs that are keeping the tumors at bay.  So even in the darkness the light still peaks around the corner.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder...darkness makes the light brighter.  I feel such an urgency on my bright days.  I want to minister to the hurting, sharing the gospel of God's amazing, saving grace.  I want to knit hats and scarves to shield the homeless from winter's bitter cold or make a craft to brighten someone's day.  There are so many things to do and such a small amount of  time.

Although my Thanksgiving week will be spent recovering, I am no less thankful.  Jesus Christ is my Savior, God has blessed me with family, friends, a home, and so many, many other things I do not deserve.  I will take this time to rest and when I'm back on my out!

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."  Psalm 30:5

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

I am working on a new project that makes me really excited!  It is not quite ready to be unveiled yet, but hopefully very soon.  It seems strange to me to begin something new.  I have been told several times that I would not be walking the earth by this time.  So to start something new almost feels rebellious...and I like it!!

I am quickly approaching the four year mark on my cancer diagnosis.  At this time four years ago I was feeling weak but didn't know why.  Now I know.  Hindsight is 20/20.

Two and a half years ago I was told that cancer would win, that I was dying.  We came home and started "closing up shop".  I worked for as long as I could, then reluctantly, closed that door too.

Each holiday has approached and passed with my thought, "is this the last one?"  It is mentally draining to carry that thought daily.  (Helpful hint: don't ever tell a dying person to not think about dying, it's not possible)

It is difficult to learn to live while dying, but I think I'm figuring it out and I want to take you along for the ride.

The unveiling of my project will be soon.  Until that time....

Tune in...same bat time, same bat channel!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Acts 20:24

What am I suppose to be doing?  This is a question I ask myself almost daily.  When my life was a struggle to balance the corporate world and being a mom, I never seemed to have time to even ask the question.  

This is not a question of what to do with my empty time.  It is a question of what to do with God's time.  Am I fulfilling the purpose - God's purpose for my life.  I refuse to believe that my purpose is to make it through the rest of my days as best I can.

"However, I consider my life nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."  Acts 20:24 NIV


"What matters most to me is to finish what God started."  Acts 20:24 MSG

Same verse, different version.  I like the eloquence of the NIV translation, but I can remember the MSG translation.

I want to live an Acts 20:24 life.  That is what matters most to me.  Whatever work God has started in me, I want to finish.  It's a 'no regrets' life.  When I am taking my last earthly breaths I want to know that I lived for God, shared His love with others, praised him with full abandon and worshiped him with every fiber of my being.

This is my view on the days I can't get out of bed. Just wanted to share. 

 "Give me a revelation, show me what to do, cause I've been tryin to find my way I haven't got a clue, tell me should I stay here or do I need to move... give me a revelation, I've got nothing without you."

 "Give Me a Revelation"
   lyrics by Third Day

Hey!  You can now follow me on Twitter:  irfreed


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Do They Know?

What should I say?

How can I say it?

How can I convey the hope, the courage, the strength, and the peace that I want to share?

All the convictions I feel deep down in my soul, emotions so deep that they are not a part of who I am, but they are the whole of whose I am.  These traits, nothing of which I can boast, are not of my own doing.  I didn't set out to gather these like a basket of apples.  I didn't search for them as one searches for a friend.  I wasn't even aware of their presence until the day that nothing else mattered.  The day when a loved one's touch, a friend's kind word was not enough.  Though I relish those things and enjoy the warmth of them, they cannot sustain me in the dark of the night.  I found these deep within me when I released the reins of my life.  How funny that I thought I could sway my life to the left or to the right. But when I relinquished my control I found them - hope, courage, strength and peace - God's gift to me.

There is a time that comes when sickness is more than a diagnosis, more than a file that is 8" thick, more than medicines and side effects.  It is in that moment when the question is asked - will this sickness define me?  Will I be the woman with cancer or will I be God's child that walked the path laid before her.

Hope, courage, strength, peace.

I want everyone to look deep within themselves and see these gifts that God showers on those that seek Him.  I see the faces of those with cancer.  I see the young couple that probably hasn't celebrated many anniversaries yet; I see the aged couple - one trying to have enough strength for the other; I see the new patients, bewildered by all the information they have been given.  It is frivolous to say to them that everything will be okay.  They know, they all know, that sometimes it is not all okay.  Sometimes the disease wins.  Not because they didn't fight, not because they were weak.  Sometimes the disease just wins.

Do they know?  Do they know these sufferings are only temporary?  Do they know the God of our tomorrows, the King of kings, the Great I Am?  That despair can be exchanged for hope, fear can give way to courage, our weakness can make way for His strength.  Do they know He is the Prince of Peace?

I cannot be satisfied with knowing these things for myself.  Everyone must know.  I begged God for a purpose larger than myself.  I prayed for the chance to make a difference.  I have been gifted with this opportunity to live my life out loud.  They have to hear!  They have to know!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Life as an Etch-a-Sketch

I am thankful for God's grace.

I alone can do nothing, be nothing.

Grace- the undeserved gift I receive daily.  By confessing and repenting of my sins, God pours on another helping of grace.

My daily walk is like an Etch-a-Sketch.  I start out making deliberate, thoughtful moves, thinking only how I want to please God.  Then something goes wrong, maybe hurt feelings, maybe laziness or selfishness and soon my Etch-a-Sketch is marked with lines I hadn't planned to make.  Scribble-scrabble lines that I know are not the marks of the plan God has for me.  Deeply ashamed of the mess I have made (again) I reluctantly hand my mess over to God.  I'm such an awful sinner and just can't see how God could still have patience with me.  I await words that convey His disappointment in me.  But God gently turns my Etch-a-Sketch over in His hands and says, "Here my child, try again."

Thank you God for your never ending grace and mercy.  I ask that you direct each step I take, capture my thoughts and let them be pleasing to you.  Use any talent I may have to share your love with a hurting world.  Keep my thoughts off me and on you.  Your grace is truly amazing!  I am in awe of your patience with me.


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Results Are In

I got the results from my PET scan today.  I have thought about these results all day, processing them, running them through my mind, but most importantly my heart.  In my mind the information is broken down into facts, number of tumors, size of tumors, etc.  My mind understands that at least one tumor has grown and that they may have increased in number.  On the positive side my mind also understands that the drug combo is still working.  We will continue on this plan for a while longer.  There is no need to switch to another plan just yet.

My heart processes things in a different way.  All this information goes through my "faith filter".  How does this information change my love for God?  How does this change God's love for me?  It doesn't!!  My God is still God and He is still on the throne!  It doesn't change any of the promises He has for me.

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him.
Nahum 1:7

So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right had.  Isaiah 41:10

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.  Proverbs 18:10

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.  Psalm 62:1

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  Psalm 91:4

I could do this all day! wrap it up all neat:

Did the doctor have good news...not really.

Did God have good news...oh yeah, baby!

And I know which one has my attention!



Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Proverbial Thought

"Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones." Proverbs 3: 7-8

Wow!  If I wholeheartedly loved God and sought to please Him daily and shunned, refused, rebuked anything that was not pleasing to God, my life, my health (spiritual, physical, mental) would be so much different than it is now.  I can't turn back the hands of time and right all the wrongs of my past, but GLORY, my God is a God of second chances!  If I start today, at this minute and seek God in all things, yearn to please Him at all things and praise Him in all things my life would change dramatically.  I may not add any days to my life, but oh my, I would add life to my days!

Garbage In = Garbage Out

If I deliberately, intentionally avoid all evil I can only imagine how radically different life would be.  Not just avoiding the big no-no's of sin, but everything that is from the evil one.  TV shows and music that glorifies sin or at least makes you think that "everybody is doing it".  Any of the things that take the focus off God.

If I could focus on the 2 tiered instruction of Proverbs 3: 7-8, my life would be so much fuller, so much deeper, so much...livelier!  To take it a step further how radically different would the lives be of people around me?  Uh oh, I think I just stepped on my own toes with that one!  If 100% of my focus is on loving God and shunning evil I could have an impact for Christ on every single person that crossed my path!

What if one person in a family committed to living this proverb?  What if one person in your office committed?  What if one person in your Sunday school class committed to live Proverbs 3:7-8?  I believe the outcome would be amazing!  Dare I say it would have more impact than the outcome of a football game....or an election??

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Here I am again.  Another sleepless night because of steriods I have to take with my chemo.  It just doesn't seem very fair.  They give you drugs that are going to make you feel yucky and then another drug to make sure you stay awake and enjoy every minute of it.

I'm not complaining, I'm just joking around a bit.  I want to have a fun time with this post, which could be a little scary.  I have just taken seven drugs that either have the potential or the promise to make you go to sleep.  Well, they don't make me sleep but you can bet your sweet bippie it dulls the senses.

A few weeks back I had a vision for the coffee table in my sitting room.  This room is called the sitting room because this is where I sit.  Anyway, I needed a little husband help on this project.  I needed odd shaped wooden blocks and with my mishaps with glue guns, nobody wants me around an electrical saw!

It is about this time that I had the great idea to take pictures of this project like the crafty blogger people do.  So lets give it a wing-ding:

Here are the odd shaped blocks my hubs lovingly sawed for me, the stencil letters that I made, and a wonderful assortment of scrapbook paper.  The Modge Podge is mysteriously missing from this shot.

OK, before you look at this next shot I want you to know that I am an excellent speller.  I don't get that math where they mix numbers and letters, but I can spell when you get those numbers out of my business.  So.....if you were going to make a tablescape with the word THANKFUL, which of the letters below would you not use?  Go ahead.

Why on God's green earth did I make a "C"?  And why did it have to be front and center in my picture?

Here is the project as it stands now.  I may add something or move it around but that is it for today.  I made the flower arrangement and the block letters.  The two foam pumpkins are from Walmart.  And the sweet chicks front and center were my grandmother's salt and pepper shakers.  The sun streaming through the blinds was all God's idea.

Good night to all!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

Come out to my deck and join me this morning.  The weather is perfect with the morning sun filtering through the trees, a few leaves flutter to the ground.  The squirrels are scampering from one branch to another overhead.  It is the perfect time of year because the pool is still open.  The sparkling water just adds to the view.

Is there a better way to start the day?  I don't think so!
I'm not quite sure where my thoughts will take me this morning.  I have several different topics running through this scattered brain.  Let's just see where it leads.

I have had a good week, physically speaking.  This week's treatment has not made me sick or tired. The blood work results made me exuberant even!  My prayer time has been sweet and my study time has been fruitful.  Satan is not happy with any of this!  He is trying to creep into my thoughts with self-doubt, reminding me of past insecurities.

Satan has been reminding me of the things I have lost during this battle with cancer.  He wants me to be consumed with self-pity, because when you are consumed with "self" your focus is not on God.

He reminds me that I had to give up my career.  A career that I loved, and quite frankly, was rather good at.  Along with that career I lost my financial worth.

When I lost my health I lost my outward appearance.  I ran about three miles a day and was conscience of every bite I put in my mouth.  I was in good physical shape and had amassed a pretty extensive wardrobe.  I liked going places, mainly for the opportunity to dress up!  Because of cancer - surgery, chemo, radiation and other medicines - I packed on 90 pounds, lost my hair twice, sporadically lose control over bodily functions and NOW I HAVE ACNE!  The thought of going somewhere just for the chance to dress up is far from my "fun thing to do" list.

Now don't get in your car and come join my pity party!  It's over!  God knows that we have these troubles from time to time.  So He gives us the ammo to fight back when Satan starts flinging stones at us.

God tells me my face is radiant! (Psalm 34:4)

God tells me the beauty that He sees, the beauty that is important to Him. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

I hope the people that love me see me the way God sees me.  My hope is that the inner me, the important "stuff", shines through.  I hope that by giving my almost 4 year struggle with cancer over to God that my superficial self has given way to the spiritual self.  Instead of counting the miles I run, I want the steps I walk to count.  Instead of wearing the latest trend I want to be clothed in God's righteousness.

Isn't it great how our Almighty God can turn a pity party into a PRAISE PARTY!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Wow!  Where has the time gone?  It's already October?  This Alabama weather keeps me guessing about what month I'm living in.  I go for days not caring what day it is and then *poof*, it is a week later than I thought.

I've been enjoying sitting on my deck enjoying the fall-ish weather for days.  I planned to enjoy it again this morning during my TAWG (Time Alone With God).  I gathered my bible (both printed and electronic), my prayer journal and a cup of coffee.  I headed out and settled in my chair.  It didn't take but a minute or two to realize my t-shirt and shorts were not the appropriate attire this morning.  I headed back in for long pants and returned to my spot.  I did manage to make it half way through my cup of coffee before I realized more fabric was needed.  I finally settled in after wrapping up in an afghan (one handmade by me, I might add).

I perused some favorite scripture.  I always head to the Psalms first.  I remind myself that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made", that God "knit me together", that He "knows my thoughts from afar", He "hems me in from front and behind".  These have all been a comfort to me while battling cancer.  Instead of becoming stale scripture over these 3 3/4 years, they have become more like a friend.  Something that I look forward to each day.

Just sharing this pic because M&Ms make me happy!
I had some big praises to sing to my God this morning.  I praised Him all day yesterday, but I made it official this morning.  I'm not sure if that makes sense.  My heart remains thankful for what God is doing in my life, in the lives of my family and friends.  But yesterday He showed up and showed out BIG!

Praise #1:  Got a call from Allie that she had been offered the job she wanted!

Praise #2:  Got a great report from my blood work!  My tumor marker dropped for the third week in a row.  That number has been cut in half since I started this drug combo on July 9.

Praise #3:  I had a conversation with Andrew about how God works in our lives even when we don't understand it.  To be able to talk about God with your grown children is a great blessing.

Praise #4:  I finally got to meet my 2-week old great-nephew, Ezra James.  Icing on the cake!

After about an hour, with my hands cold and my nose running, it was time to come inside.


How many of you remember committing to memorize some scripture?  Today is your reminder!!!
I suggested Psalm 34:1-3, but if you picked something else that is fine, too.


I've been playing around with some crafts....I hope to start showing some of them to you tomorrow.

I would love to hear from you!!  What book are you currently reading?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Good Day!

It's Saturday...part of me says "finally!", part of me says, "already?"  With cancer treatments we categorize my days (and weeks) as good or bad.  The good days are the days when I feel almost normal.  I stay out of the bed most of the day, I can work on my different craft projects and even go a few places.  Bad days are, of course, bad.

I'm coming out of a bad week.  Thankfully, if the past is any indication, I should have a good week before it gets bad again.  I literally live for the good weeks.  I woke up this morning, fixed a cup of coffee and headed out to the deck.  I knew my rough week was coming to a close.  I enjoyed the feel of autumn, the chirping of birds and the babbling fountain behind our house.  Yes, yes indeed, it is going to be a good day.


I love a project, especially one that needs to be completed by a certain time.  I guess I work better under pressure.  I'm helping a friend knit warm hats for homeless men at the Jimmie Hale Mission.  The  goal is to be finished before it gets cold....genius, right!

My bad weeks get me behind on my knitting, so today I am ready to get back to it!

This is a picture of my craft desk.  See those hats?  Those are the ones I've made.  See all that yarn?  Those are hat embryos.  They are just waiting for me to grab 'em up and start knitting!

Memory vs. Motivation

I have never had a great memory and all the chemo that has been pumped in me hasn't helped.  But I had something happen this week that made me wonder if I use my mediocre memory as an excuse when it comes to scripture memorization.  I had been sleeping most of the day and really didn't know the day, time or much of anything else.  I rose up on one elbow to see the TV.  I immediately thought, "that's Monica Quartermaine from General Hospital."  I have not watched a soap opera in years and haven't watched General Hospital since high school.  Why is it that I can remember a fictitious person but struggle with learning scripture?  Am I lacking motivation?  I want to change that...will you join me?

Psalm 34 has been on my heart so I am starting there.  I will start with the first three verses.  If you are willing to join me, please let me know if you are memorizing Psalm 34: 1-3 or another verse that speaks to you.  You can post in the comment section below or send me a private message.  I can't wait to hear from you!

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Dance

Today was a treatment day and that means I spend most of the day laying the treatment chair, on the couch and then to the bed.  While I was resting I started looking at pics on Facebook.  I found this one...

This is one of my all time favorite pictures!  There are so many reasons why I love this picture.

1.  For the first time caught on film it appears that my man's hair has more gray than mine.  However, my hair is a synthetic wig chosen especially for the even matches my dress!

2. Finally, a picture that doesn't show my wrinkles, double-chin or fat cheeks!

3. It was taken on our daughter's wedding day on the dance floor during the reception.

4. It's the first time he ever asked me to dance!  Yeah, you read that right - we started dating when I was 16 and well, that was a long time ago!  We've danced before, but only after I asked him.

This unasked question was a sensitive spot with me.  It would make me mad that he never wanted to dance with me.  Of course, I knew it wasn't just with me.  Steve doesn't like to dance, but that didn't stop me from being mad!

All of those times of begrudging my husband melted away while we were on that dance floor.  The dance was made sweeter because of his timing.  He didn't ask me to dance at a night club or an office party or even a New Year's Eve party.  He asked me to dance on our daughter's wedding day.

The delay in asking it made it all the more sweeter.  That's the way life with God is sometimes.  We want what we want and when we want it.  But when we wait on God, his timing makes it all the sweeter.

We have both learned a lot of lessons in the past few years.  Lessons about ourselves, each other and God's love for us.  We've learned how to appreciate moments as they come.  We've never discussed this dance and we don't have to, I think the picture says it all.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ode to the Watermelon

"Taste and see that the Lord is good!"  Psalm 34:8

Short Post....I promise!

My type of cancer combined with the medication has resulted in some major dietary issues.  Don't worry, I will not go into detail.  Anyway, because of this, I have not been able to eat fruit or most vegetables for about two years.  Weird diet, huh?

This has been quite an adjustment for me.  I love fresh fruit and vegetables!  I enjoyed visiting the farmer's market and loading up the back of my car.  The bright colors and scent of all that yummy goodness would make me almost giddy.  I've been so moved by this sight that I have, on occasion, piled it all on the kitchen table and taken pictures!

My love for food may seem a little extreme, but absence does make the heart grow fonder, don't you know.  It is this fondness that moved me to request watermelon on Steve's latest trip to the store.  Because he loves me and wants to make me happy, he filled my request.  Also, because he loves me and didn't want me to drown in watermelon juice, he just bought a container of watermelon chunks instead of an entire man.

I sat out on my deck, feeling the cool breeze, listening to the birds sing and ate my watermelon.  I'm telling you, it was a beautiful moment.  Psalm 34:8 came to mind immediately.

Well, just wanted to share that thought with you this evening.  I hope your week is filled with God's bountiful blessings!



Friday, August 10, 2012

Rash Rants!

I am ecstatic, well maybe just really, really happy that I am able to sit on my deck this morning.  This is just about my favorite place in the world, but the heat and humidity has kept me inside a lot this summer.  It is so quiet during the day - I think most people around here have jobs, so me and Gracie have the neighborhood to ourselves.  We have many birds that visit in our backyard.  I'm not as familiar with them as I have been in past summers, but I do have a favorite.  I think it is a yellow chickadee...I know it's yellow, it's the chickadee part I'm not sure of.  It's so little and bright and happy!  I know it's happy because how in the world could you be that color of yellow and not be happy!

I've been on my new drug regimen for about a month now.  This combo, like the last three or so, is not intended to kill the cancer and cure me.  It's meant to slow the growth of the tumors and keep them at bay as long as possible.  Each drug comes with it's own side effects.  This one is, by far, the weirdest yet.

The drug is Erbitux and it's most common side effect is an "acne-like" rash.  When I heard that bit a fun news my vanity kicked in!  I'm 46 years old and my friends are going to start calling me zit face!  It took less than 48 hours after my treatment for the rash to start in.  It's not pleasant, but some of it is funny to me (I've learned that humor is part of my coping mechanism).

*when the rash first started it felt like braille on my face!  I would have loved for a blind person to run their fingers along my forehead and see what it said!

*I've thought about wearing a surgical mask when in public.  It worked for Michael Jackson.
I will go ahead and answer all the questions people ask me when they see it.

1.  Yes, it itches.
2.  Yes, it is painful
3.  No, I'm not contagious
4.  No, it will not go away until I stop taking the medicine.

Of course the rash on my face is the most noticeable, because I'm modest and not on the Olympic beach volleyball team.  But it does run from my waist up - excluding arms, but including my scalp and  inside my ears!!

One more side effect of Erbitux before I sign off.  "abnormal hair growth".  I had to read that one a couple of times, but that is all it said!  I don't know if it meant you would have hair growth in abnormal places or if your hair would grow at an abnormal pace.  My eyelashes are getting longer, so I'm praying it is the latter.

Gracie and I will sign off for now.  We are getting sleepy, must be time for our mid-morning nap.

Thank you all for your kind words after I shared my blog at GFBC.  Our God is an awesome God and when we speak of Him it never returns void!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Sweet Sleep

"You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar."  Psalm 139:2

I admit it.  I love to sleep.  I believe that a nap can cure just about any illness or help you thwart any domestic dispute.  I fall asleep in the car even if we are just going to the mall.  I've even fallen asleep at a NASCAR race!  Now that takes talent!

The only time I cannot sleep is the night after I receive a chemo treatment.  I feel sick and would love to sleep to avoid the feeling, but sleep eludes me.  This past Monday was no exception.  The day of treatment is usually the worst time for headaches, nausea, etc.  Thankfully, I have medicine to relieve all the symptoms except insomnia.

Before bed on Monday night I took (2) pills for headache, (2) for blood pressure, (1) for nausea, (1) "happy" pill and (1) sleeping pill.  Get a load of this:  EACH of these pills have a label that reads "may cause drowsiness".  You would think with seven pills that may cause drowsiness that I would be able to slip off into a peaceful doze.  I think I need a prescription with a label that says "will knock you into next week!"

The drugs help with the illness, but they do not get me to sleep.  So I resorted to the remedies I learned as a child.  I took a census of sheep until my pasture was full and the fence was bulging.  No sleep.  I counted how many times Steve snored, but then he rolled over and left me hanging on 37.  I started counting my blessings "naming them one by one", but it started stressing me because I didn't want to forget any of them. I use to try to quote scripture verses, but if I couldn't remember I would go crazy until I got up and looked up the scripture.  I think I finally fell asleep thinking of different craft projects I would like to make.

Those sleepless nights seem to go on forever.  But they are not as bad as they once were.  At the beginning of my cancer journey those sleepless night were filled with fears, tears and worry.  I rarely experience the fear, tears and worry now.  I know that God is with me and my family every step of the way.  We rely on His strength and His mercy and that give me the peace I need for each day.

Peace to you!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Feeling a Little Crafty

I really like arts and crafts.  I can spend hours looking at the DIY section of Pinterest.  I have walked miles in Hobby Lobby looking at ribbon, flowers, fabric, woodworking kits (and I don't even wood work).  As I see it, there are two types of crafty people.  Those that are blessed with the imagination and skills to make their crafty dreams a reality and then there are the people like me.  I refer to people like me as the "cursed crafters".  In my mind I can see myself weaving rugs, stenciling artwork on all my lamps, painting murals, sewing curtains...I think you get the picture.  But in reality, I have never done any of those things.  However, when I do run across something I'm brave enough to try, I am all in.

I did teach my self counted cross-stitching when I was in my early twenties.  I even worked in a craft store a couple of Saturdays a month.  I bought so much thread and fabric that I always ended up owing the owner more than I earned working all day.  I still cross stitch and really enjoy it.  I just wish it didn't take so long to see the finished project.  I'm a little impatient!

So I have now ventured out of comfort zone.  In the past year or so I have made a couple of wreaths, not the fancy ones -  mine are very simple.  I also took a large step and started painting on canvas, not pictures - words.  I started painting because...hmm, this is going to be hard to explain.  I would wake up in the morning with a word rambling around in my head.  It was not enough for me to say the word, I needed to DO something with the word.  I didn't think Steve would appreciate me painting graffiti on the house, even though it would have been nice words, so I decided to use canvas instead.

Right about now you are probably thinking I'm a nut need to call the funny farm, I don't drive anymore so the streets are safe!

I've painted the words GLORY, JOY, of the most difficult decisions is deciding what color should go with the words.  GLORY, yellow/orange like a sunset; JOY, a deep red; FAITH, blue.
I've done some other things too. Some didn't turn out so well, so they have earned a place on my craft desk.  I like to display them: 1) when I become a famous painter I will remember my humble beginnings and 2) I will have something to throw if someone breaks in our house.

I can't believe it!  I've sat here and typed all of this (and you have sat there and read this) and it has almost nothing to do with what I really wanted to blog.  I hope you enjoyed your trip through my rambling brain.  Maybe my next blog will contain some meaningful words of wisdom.

Happy weekend!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012


With the lovely distraction of wedding plans behind us, the thoughts I had been ignoring came back into full view.  It was time to decide if I would continue chemo treatments or stop completely and let nature take it's course.  It's not a multiple choice question, I only had two options.  Growing up in the 70s watching Let's Make a Deal, I was looking for door number 3, that possibly was hiding a shiny new sports car so I could just ride off into the sunset.

I prayed that God would give me an answer as to what I should do, a very clear a billboard erected at the entrance of the hospital would have been perfect. There was no billboard, not even a Nike ad urging me to "Just Do It".  I've enjoyed these few weeks with no chemo, so there was the temptation of not subjecting my body to that misery again.  Of course, no treatment means a shorter life span.  Chemo gives me a chance of a little more earthly time, but I will be sick.  Neither option is great, but I chose chemo.  I start a new drug regimen on July 16th.

I seem to always go back and remember the beginning of my cancer (Dec 2008) when I am faced with a decision dealing with my treatment.  I wanted to give God the glory for healing me.  At that time my emphasis was more on the healing of me.  I wanted to give God the glory, but I really wanted to be healed.  The weeks passed and each doctor's report was worse than the previous and my faith began to falter.  I loved God, I worshiped Him and was longing to serve Him, so why was I being afflicted with this deadly disease.  I'm thankful that I was never angry at God, but I was confused and didn't understand the journey. "Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain."  Psalm 119:36

God didn't give me cancer, but He knew that I would face this hardship.  He set in motion the doctors and nurses.  He aligned our path with the path of supportive friends that encourage us, speak scripture over us and pray.  He also sprinkles our lives with folks that are only there for a moment.  I can't begin to tell you how many times a stranger has said something to me that was just what I needed to hear in that moment.

"It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees."  Psalm 119:71

I would love to cast cancer into the deepest ocean and never worry with it again.  But the way God has used this for His Glory is so amazing I can't get my head around it.  He has blessed me beyond measure by allowing me this time to get to know Him better!  The time I have spent in His Word has been sweet time.  Some days I am pondering the majestic power that it took to form heaven and earth and other days I am humbled knowing that His heart aches for me.  I no longer work or drive so I enjoy having a quiet time with no limits.  There is no rushing through a quiet time with God so I can go on to other things.  That is such a wonderful gift, maybe even an advantage to having cancer.

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God"  1 John 3:1

Rejoicing in Christ,


Friday, July 6, 2012

Blessed Assurance

I have recovered from the wedding, I think.  The tuxes have been returned, the flowers are wilting and we have almost finished the cakes.  For several days no one was allowed to leave our house unless they took a large plate of cake with them!

Since I was the mother of the bride, every moment of the day was special to me. The getting dressed, the hundreds of pictures, the rest time before the ceremony...and then, the ceremony.  My favorite part of the ceremony was at the beginning when the minister instructed Allie and Ryan to turn around and look at the congregation.  He prompted them to look around at the guests and to "take it all in".  After months of preparation, a week of final details and a day full of rushing around for pictures - they were able to stop and see all the folks that came to support them.  Of course, I couldn't keep my eyes off Allie and Ryan.  They were truly beaming.

As I crashed into the bed that night, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness.  I was thankful for the gift of the day.  Just being there and experiencing the day would have been enough.  But during the reception I felt a little nudge from God.  He was prompting me to look around and take it all in.  I saw Ryan, the man that has promised to love, honor and cherish my daughter for all of her days, I saw family members, young and old.  There were friends, some from years past and some new.  There were members from another family that were now a part of our family.  Then it occurred to me, these are the people that will be comforting, loving and supporting my family when I am gone.  It didn't make me sad to think of it, it actually made me very happy.  I know there are others that will also be there for Steve, Allie and Andrew, but God was giving me a glimpse, an assurance that when He calls me home they will be okay.

Isn't that the way our awesome God is?  He is almighty, creator of all good things, ruler over heaven and earth!  Then, His compassion is so deep and personal that He knows that a terminally ill wife and mom just wants to know that everything will be okay.

Love to all,


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Taking a Little Stroll

This past Wednesday I joined 1.2 million people in watching the college softball championship game.  A three hour delay to the start of the game did not discourage me one bit.  I was in it to "finish" it!  I believe that is the best softball game I have ever witnessed.

I played softball.  Unfortunately, it was before Title 9 so our school did not have a team.  I played park ball.   I've often wondered if I would have been good enough to make a school team.  Since we can't travel back in time, I like to think that I made the team and I was a superstar!  I was a catcher for most of my years of softball (which ended when I was 22) and I have the knees to prove it!

The park was a large part of my life.  As I stroll down memory lane I can see the park of my childhood.There were only two fields - King Field, but most of us called it the big field, and Byrd Field, which was, of course, the little field - it was a simpler time.  There was also a swimming pool and a gymnasium, but they are not part of this trip to the past.

Strangely enough, the thoughts of my years at the park, begin with my grandfather, PawPaw.  He was badly disabled by a stroke years before, but he could make it to the park and set up his lawn chair under the awning of the concession stand that was directly behind home plate.  Since I was a catcher, I was very close to him.  He couldn't form many words, but I could hear him laughing, his way of communicating.  I  knew that no matter who was sitting on the bleachers, I had a fan.

I think of Mr. Byrd "passing the hat".  During the game the announcer would say it was time to pass the hat, so Mr. Byrd, who seemed to be at least 100 years old at the time, would pass a baseball cap to collect money from the spectators.  As a young child, this activity would confuse me.  In my childish mind we paid God on Sundays by passing the plate.  I couldn't figure out who we were paying with this passing of the hat.

I can almost taste the hamburgers and fries, the best I ever telling how many years they used the same grease!  The hands full of bubble gum bought for the team, someone passing you a coke through the hole in the dugout.

I had many different coaches over the years but a few made quite an impression on me.  Dot Cochran - she taught me the game of softball, her wit still amuses me today.  Charlene Treadaway - she probably worked us harder than any coach.  After you run a few laps for missing a ball, it becomes very important to catch it the next time.  Jim Gallman - he was the last of my little league coaches.  He taught me loyalty, playing through the pain and how to put the team first.

As I got older the "big field" got my attention.  That is where the "older" boys played.  The high school didn't have a baseball field, so all the high school games were played there.  We lived close enough to hear the PA system.  I headed down the hill as soon as I heard them giving the starting line ups.  You may think I'm a little off my rocker...but one of the best sounds to me is metal cleats walking on pavement.  I know it is cliche to say it is like music to my ears.  It wasn't because it meant boys were around, ok, maybe a little, but it mostly meant baseball was around!

...and the dirt...oh the dirt at the park was the best ever!  It was red dirt.  Any socks you wore to the park could never be worn anywhere else.  After a ballgame I would be covered in it. It just about took a scouring pad to clean it off your clothes and body.   I loved it! Yes, I just confessed my love for dirt.  But this wasn't just any dirt, it was park dirt.  It's the dirt that held the magic of childhood, the glory days of a beloved sport, the making of life long friends.

Scarlett O'Hara had a love for the dirt of Tara.  It was in her blood.  I think I have the same feeling for the red dirt of the park. It's a part of what makes me who I am.

Thanks for taking this trip with me to the park.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hey Grandpa, what's for supper?

Do you ever have conversations in your house that sound similar to this?

What do you want for supper?

I don't know what do you want?

I'm not sure, just name something?

I'm not that hungry so you pick?

What do you want?

Still don't know, so you pick.

I can eat whatever, so you name the place.

This conversation goes on at our house at least 5 times a week.  It drives me nuts!  In Steve's defense it is hard for him to pick something because my diet is so limited.  I can't go to a restaurant and choose different things - I have specific things at various places.  At Jim-n-Nicks a piece of catfish, at Full Moon a plain potato, at Milo's an apple pie and so on.....

I've always loved food - especially the southern classics: fried okra, squash in any form, get the idea.  Most of these things, again, are not on my "things I can eat" list.  So I have really lost the desire to eat.  When the above conversation happens at my house, I could really be okay with a piece of cheese toast or a cup of yogurt.  But Steve works hard every day and he needs a substantial meal.

Boy, I sound really negative about this, but I'm okay about it, really I am.  But the dreams of California Pizza Kitchen salads are really getting annoying!

Hopefully these days are almost over.  I've been on this restricted diet because of one of the chemo drugs I take.  Believe me, if I try to cheat it ain't pretty!  But I've had the last of that type of treatment.  I will start a new one after the wedding.  

The side effect with this new treatment is a rash....on your face...that resembles teenage acne...yeah. 

So, if one day you see an overweight woman, with acne and a wig in line at Niki's, do NOT get in my way.  :-)

Having a PET scan on Friday.  We would appreciate your prayers.

Good night!

Monday, June 4, 2012


Ok, so I'm not a very good blogger. I think of things I could write, but using the iPad keypad is the excuse I use. Not a very good excuse by any means. My second excuse is my frame of mind. I want to lift people up with spiritually minded things. I am a spiritual person. My belief in God is steadfast and my salvation through Jesus Christ is steadfast. When I started this blog I intended to use it as a way to express my emotions as I deal with terminal cancer. Well, honestly, sometimes my thoughts are not uplifting. I get scared, I get mad, I get sad...but I think, for the most part, I'm handling pretty well. It helps that I have a strange sense of humor. A sense of humor of any kind is a good weapon to have in your arsenal if you are battling cancer. Because of one of the side effects from my chemo, I am mostly home bound now. So me and Gracie, the best lap dog ever, spend the days looking at the beautiful flowers Steve maintains, watching the birds and cross stitching. Gracie doesn't cross stitch. Anyway, I am going to try to blog more, mainly for something to do. (haha). By blogging I am in no way disillusioned that people care what I do on a daily basis. I just like to write. Hopefully I can get some techie assistance from my hubby to add pictures to make it a little more interesting. That's all I've got to say about that. -Forrest Gump Good night, Amy Lou

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Most of my thoughts for this blog come to me at night, just as I'm about to drift off to sleep (with the help of some marvelous pills).  The sentences sound great as they are forming in my head.  Unfortunately, that marvelous sleepy time medicine, must also be a mind eraser.  I can remember what I want to convey, but not the route I will take to get there.  Very frustrating! (side note: after having to search for the (!) I just used, it is frustrating that Ipad does not have the standard keyboard)

Anyway, this week marks the two year anniversary of the doctors telling us I was terminal and would not beat this cancer.  It was on a Wednesday.  I had already fought the cancer battle for a year and thought it was behind me.  Now they were saying I could keep fighting but I would not win.  When I asked how long he thought I might live, the doctor said 2 to 2 1/2 years.  You do the math.  I remember crying in the office.  I think Steve held it together until we got to the car.  We made it home and out to the deck.  We cried, prayed and talked, then we went to church.  The news had traveled fast, so folks were surprised to see us there.  I remember thinking, "where else were we suppose to go?"

I'm glad I chose to continue to fight.  It has not been an easy battle, at times the side effects have left me crumpled on the floor crying.  But the good days are so good and sweet, that each time the doc asks if I want to keep going, I say a resounding YES!  Last week I didn't make it out of bed.  But today I am on my deck, feeling the breeze, enjoying the view of all the flowers Steve has planted for me, hearing the birds sing...yep, it's a glorious day!

Darn it!  Three rambling paragraphs and I haven't even touched on what I wanted to say!  I guess I will have to start again tomorrow.

After thought:  When they told us 2 1/2 years we didn't circle a date on the calendar.  Each day is ordained by God, whether I live one more day, six more months or six more years.


Sunday, April 8, 2012


For the past 3 years I have been posting either here or on CaringBridge. I have posted things I think about, updates on my health and scripture that is meaningful to me. When diagnosed I wanted the fight and the outcome to be to the Glory of God. I've always believed it is the duty and priviledge of a Christian to share their faith not only through words, but with their life.

I am not perfect and I don't have it all figured out. But during my quiet time yesterday I read something that seemed to leap off the page at me. It was a passage out of book by Beth Moore. If you are not familiar with her studies, let me just say - they are awesome! She will pull the significant words from a scripture verse and give the Greek translation and it's meaning, which gives a deeper, better understanding of the Word. The following is how the Word came to life for me, I hope you get as much joy out of reading it as I did writing it.

"Consider it pure joy my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance". James 1:2

Definition of perseverance: "nerving up" or "heroic endurance".

Perseverance is not a passive thing. It is an action, a choice. James tells us that the testing of our faith develops perseverance. That does not mean that when our faith is tested, when we are going through trials we should run to a corner and cover our heads. We shouldn't cower, biding our time until the storm clouds depart. We should "nerve up", strap on our full armor of God and stand strong. A picture of Superman comes to mind. Standing strong, his feet planted firmly, hands on his hips and his chin held high.

I know during trials there are days that we feel like we can't go on. Perseverance is the furtherest thing from our mind. There are days I look for that corner to hide in, trying to wish away my disease. But then I will get a second wind, from a friend or a scripture verse that comes to mind. I take a deep breath, steady my feet and ask God to help me stand strong again. James 1:4 says perseverance must finish its work so you can be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. Wow, I must need a lot of work!

Psalm 34:18, "the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit". So while our perseverance is being developed, we are not alone. God is right there with us, through the doubts, the fears and long, dark nights.

"Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you". 1 Peter 5:7

Some days are hard. but remember the victory is ours!

Monday, April 2, 2012

She is perched high in her nest, looking over the last of the winter leaves swirling in the wind. The journey of this last evidence of winter is slowed only by the early shoots of spring, the tender blades are no match for the windblown leaves so their journey continues. The mama bird has been patiently caring for her soon-to-be hatchling. She has sat for hours on end with her body protecting her young child. The warmth of her body has shielded him from the cold winds and the curious looks from squirrels and other predators. As her wings wrap around him she coos to him softly to calm his fears.

As time passes, mama bird knows that it will soon be time for her little one to test his wings. She whispers to him softly, instilling courage and confidence as she teaches him the lessons he will need when he departs the only home he's ever known.

The day arrives and baby bird is trying to hide his trepidation and doesn't notice that mama bird is having the same feelings. She looks him over and fluffs his new feathers, reminding him of the lessons she has taught him. He climbs on the edge of the nest and looks at the ground far below then looks at the sky that beckons him. Mama keeps calming encouraging him, she tells him how strong and brave he has become. At her urging, he slowly steps of the ledge of his home. He begins spiraling downward, fearing he had forgotten everything he was taught. Mama looks nervously from the ledge and sees him getting closer to the ground. She is filled with self-doubt. Did she not teach the correct lessons, was she pushing him out too soon. Her instincts tell her to rush down, catch her son and bring him safely back to the nest. They could wait a few weeks and try again. But she kept her place, believing her son was well equipped for the journey.

Just a few feet from the ground, baby bird seemed to gather his courage. He began to flap his tiny wings and the faster he flapped the stronger he became. He began to rise higher and higher, growing stronger and stronger. Soon he was circling and showing off for his mom. She watched him, laughing and clapping, full of joy for him. He flew past the nest one more time, winked at his mom and started his new life on his own.

Mama had tears of joy! The lessons and encouragement had come to fruition. Her son was grown now. There will always be an empty spot in the nest where he rested his head. He no longer needs her protection and warmth, but the time they spent growing together will always keep their hearts connected.

As my days go by, I think of my children in a type of time capsules. I think of cute things they did as babies, their favorite books, favorite toys. I worked and was not able to spend the time I wanted with them when they were young. It seemed as if we spent most of our time traveling to ball games, ballet and music lessons. I always wanted to nurture their passions - the things they loved. I was sure Allie would find a vocation in music, but her love is the written word. I knew Andrew would be in the military, but I thought it would be his career. He has become the music lover in the family and wants to pursue that passion.

My intention was to raise my children with confidence to go out into the world. I wanted them to stand up for what they believe in, to love what is right and to hate what is wrong. I love what they have become. They are both incredibly independent. Allie is the woman I wish I had been at her age. Independent, hard working, involved in civic affairs and charities. When an interview panel asked her if she was an animal, what would she be, she surprised them by saying "a duck". That is a perfect description of her. She looks calm to those around her, but underneath she is always busy paddling.

Andrew is strong, courageous, and loyal. I am very proud of the man he has become. We share the "gift" of stubbornness, so we locked horns many times. You will always know what he thinks on any subject. Outspoken would be an understatement. When he was about 10 years old, a friend of mine witnessed him speaking his mind. She said, "once the Word gets a hold of him, he will be a strong witness for God". I believe we are beginning to see that transition for him and it fills my heart with joy.

I have been incredibly blessed with these children. I am humbled that God trusted me to care for them and love them with all my heart.

"His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me."

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I'm enjoying the day! I was able to attend worship, have lunch with my wonderful husband and have this beautiful afternoon to spend as I please. I'm sitting at my craft desk with a snoring dog in my lap. I'm so thankful for today...not only that, I'm thankful for this minute in this day! Being a cancer patient has made me take each moment as it comes. Some moments are good, some moments are bad - I hope I will remember to always be grateful for the good moments and hold tightly to God's hand during the bad moments.

One of the issues I struggle with is wondering how I am suppose to serve God during all of these moments. I always imagined myself doing something grand...mission trips, orphanages, serving the less fortunate and believe me, I have spent hours in prayer telling God I could be more useful to His Kingdom if He would cure me of cancer. I promised to happily serve Him all the days of my very long life. Now, with this cancer and the diagnosis of months, not years, left to serve on this earth I've wondered what I could possible do to serve God. The treatments leave me sick, weak and home bound most of the time. I can't go on mission trips, I can barely leave my house!

I am a strong believer that each day we spend on this earth is ordained by God. He has a purpose for each of us, if we choose to live out that purpose. I know He has a purpose for my life or I would not be sitting here (with my snoring dog). But I need to stay in contact with Him through prayer and reading His word for Him to communicate with me.

God is so good at providing what we need when we seek him! I had been praying to God about my frustration of feeling useless in serving Him. My prayers went to a new level after hearing Pastor Kevin a couple of weeks ago. A portion of his sermon was, "Get busy doing what you know to do". Under that section I had written in my notes, "What should I be doing for the Kingdom of God?" and then, "Do what God has for you right now." I kept thinking about those two sentences I had written. The next day it was still on my mind as I sat on the back deck (probably with a snoring dog in my lap). Our unusually warm winter has encouraged plants to bloom early this year. My eyes were drawn to one particular azalea bush. Among all the brown, lifeless branches sat one glorious bloom. At that moment I was given the thought, "bloom where you are planted so those that are too discouraged to bloom will have hope."

Was that a God moment or what??

I can encourages folks! I can do that at the cancer center, on facebook, wherever! Yes, God, I can do that! I believe that if I was not sick there would be something else God would want me to do, but right now I can bloom right where I am planted! Thank you God for your Word and that little azalea bush!

I appreciate all your prayers for me the past three years. God has given me the strength to either endure or enjoy each moment as it comes.

Victory in Him,


P.S. If you would like to see Pastor Kevin's sermon I mentioned in this post, go to there are tabs that will direct you to videos of sermons. This one is entitled, "Leadership Lessons from a Burning Bush"

Monday, February 13, 2012


Here I am again, trying to be more diligent about posting to my blog. Why do I get so gung ho about something and then just not follow through? Is it a lack of diligence? The topical Bible study I am in right now is "diligence". I think it is appropriate that the previous two studies were "joy" and "hope". I seem to have a mountain top experience with joy and hope, and I think "I will never go back to my previous sadness again." Then a few days later, there I am thinking God has turned His back on me. My lack of diligence of staying neck-deep in God's Word leads me to doubt and fears...and I do mean neck-deep. Quickly reading a verse or two does not do it for me. I need to be surrounded and saturated in scripture.

I'm sitting in the chemo center as I write this blog. I'm waiting on them to deliver the poison that is suppose to slow this cancer down some. I'm thankful that there are people smart enough to make these medicines, but at the same time I sure do wish they weren't preparing them for my body. I sit here making small talk with the nurses that have become my friends, knowing in a few hours I will be sick, then sicker tomorrow with a downward spiral for about a week before I start the uphill climb that takes another week.

These drugs that make me so sick is prolonging my life. Doesn't that seem weird? The docs don't believe I will be here for 2013 even with the help of these drugs...going without the drugs will shorten my time even more. It's difficult to think about...I've always been someone that thinks in the future and not having that option is difficult.

I'm not looking for pity with this post, I'm just trying to be completely honest with my posts. At the end of my life I hope I am able to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith". 2 Timothy 4