Friday, December 30, 2011

The Perfect Gift

It never ceases to amaze me how God keeps showing up in so many ways. He certainly did this Christmas.   If you all are like me and just now coming up for air, then you may have experienced Him in a special way too. I had everyone here for Christmas, which means 10, under one roof, with four bathrooms, lots of dishes and laundry and trash. Everyone helped, pitched in and did their part as far as cooking, cleaning and preparing the way for all of us to enjoy one another and our time togheter. It was like watching a well oiled machine at work. It was great and the kids were all so sweet telling me to sit this one out, and how they were there to help. I feel like the duties did not fall onto the same people and it took a village to keep the village going and moving forward.
Again I prepared the house weeks in advance, changing the table scape and mantle three times. Setting up the little town knowing how cool it looks at night. Trimming the tree and getting the stockings hung and now paired up with husbands added. The old fashioned lights were placed carefully along the roofline and fence and the wreath we won at an auction to help cancer patients was hung carefully on the front door. Nutcrackers adorn and scatter the mantle and candles strategically places to illuminate the mood. But the two pieces of what is set out to bring sprakle to each room far out shown the glitter that was on everything.

I pulled out a nativity that I had not used in years. It was one my mother had given me years ago that had a few broken ears and chips that did not seem to take away from its Italian beauty.  I love setting each figureine out imagining as a live scene what all those wanting to come and adore our Lord and Savior might be doing or thinking. People seeing from afar and walking up onto the little stable wondering what was happening there. Even kings came to adore, and even a begger crawling by to catch a glimpse of the most precious gift of all, Jesus. The other piece that was a new addition was my advent spiral of Mary on a donkey. Each day I moved the little battery operated tea light, sometimes leaving it on overnight and all day, for each day Mary traveled before His birth.  I imagined what her journey must have been like very pregnant, sitting in all kids of weather on the back of a donkey. When I would move the light I would say quietly to myself, one more day Mary, one more day. I can relate to the blessing of one more day as each day brings a new gift with it.
The perfect gift. Many questions online are asking that question and even giving people options if they did not get the perfect gift. God's Word says "Every good and perfect gift comes from Him". How did, how do so many miss the good and perfect gift? Simple. I think we make it too complicated, too watered down, too cluttered with elves on shelves and gripped by marketing's make it or break it mentality. God is so simple we need instructions on how to misunderstand Him. If I had done nothing to my house, bought and recieved 0 gifts I would have and did receive a good and perfect gift being with my family. But God is good all the time.  He goes beyond what we think we have prepared for ourselves and prepares His way for us. Each step of our way, He prepares for us, to recieve sometimes years later more gifts than we could ever imagine. I will share with you one of mine.
Just before Sept. 11th I found out I had another sister by the same father. I did not know much about her, but was interested to know more. Then when 9-11 hit I felt an urgency to find her. I knew at one time she or her mom lived in New York. I even hired a private investigator to try and find her with little success. I let it go. Four years ago I started an online bible study type tv show on called Madre Minutes. It was more of an exploration with my computer than anything else, but as God would have it and could see it beyond what I see, He was preparing the way for His perfect timing. During these years I have been introduced, met and have established some pretty strong ties nad friendships through this adventure. I was asked along with some of those that God selected to be a part of a group of women who would be considered ambassadors to Macy's department store with a campaign at the time for the women of Rwanda and Katrina uniting their efforts to help each group get back on their feet. I was honored and blessed to be asked. Through that experience,  I met a woman named Willa Shallit who also was an ambassador for the artists she represents from Africa, and now Haiti. When the earthquake hit in Haiti Macy's department store stepped up again leading the charge to the buzz phrase "the gift that gives back" presenting the beautiful artwork from it's native people through Heart of Haiti. Again I was asked and got involved.
Just before Christmas, this year, I thought I would take a stab at finding my sister, going through now what has become a more comfotable medium in social media which really was not available to me when I first found out about her.  I looked on Facebook. I found someone that had the potential, so put out the feelers and cast my line. It was her. We both were thrilled that we had connected and began to exchange information confirming the information we both had or the lack of. Come to find out she is a missionary in Haiti and goes there many months each year to help the people there. I will find out more as she is coming to visit me in a few days on her way to Haiti, to get to know one another and establish something that most never have the opportunity to do.  In our discovery of and just the tip of the iceburg we found out that she too works with and knows Willa Shallit validating for me (at least) that God's hand was in crossing our path from the beginning. Does that amaze you as much as it does me?  What a gift! A perfect gift from God. I am still amazed when He does things like that in my life and I don't want to miss it. Ever!
So this Christmas and New Year,  there may be things in our lives that we may not want to look at, that we are curious in finding out more about or that God is revealing to us for such a time as this, to open our eyes to the Glory of God. Soak it in. Soak it all in every minute so as not to miss the perfect gift waiting for you everyday and not just something you might find under a tree.  He truly is an amazing God who loves each of us so personally.
Happy New and Joy Filled Year!  When you think you are in charge.....thank God and think again!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Getting Ready & Having Fun

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Monday, November 21, 2011

They Are Better Off Without

Me. Have you ever had those pitiful thoughts?  Thoughts of unworthiness, of judgement and abandonment all rolled up into one pitiful emotion?  Sometimes known as a pity party, sometimes known as a make yourself feel better day, play hookie from life, o gosh she hates me syndrome, the maybe I'll just leave and you'll see road trip to nowhere, or the nobody understands what its like so you tell them in so many words then two hours later you're still talking series.  Listen, they are better off without that ME, and I hope that I am becoming a new ME every day.  Thank the Lord!
As I sit here, alone, listening to the wind howl, watch the leaves and toilet paper blow from the neighbors yard and imagine, my mind goes in many different directions.  I had chemo today, drove myself there, came home, had a bowl of muesli and hemp milk and a cup of green tea and cried.  Not because of the alone part but because of all God is revealing to me through all of this.  I am looking out my window and see a Wisteria tree that has grown big and strong but not strong enough to do without the tall oaks that stand beside it, that carry it, that hold up its branches that spritz us with perfume in early spring.  Today was the last treatment of this sort, the worst of the worst and I cried.  I cried when they plugged me in, I cried when I left and I am crying now.   I feel like the vine and God is carrying me through all of this and His presence sometimes is so overwhelming the only place for it to come out is my eyes.   Seeing this vine crucifixed to the oaks like our Jesus reminds me of His gifts.  Did He have anyone who came along side Him to carry the branches, to carry His limbs, to carry His soul so that we could live?   So no, I am not having a pity party per say, just having a party thinking its a pity no one is here with me to enjoy what I am seeing.
My friend Emma leaves today to go back to the big island of Australia.  She was like this wind that brought moments of grace demonstrated through the Father's love.  I can hear her voice like the whistle and howl outside.  There are people that cross our lives, that complete a connection with our heavenly Father in ways beyond our imagination.  It took a bump in the road to wake me up and bring us together for such a time as this in my life and in hers.   A lifelong friend indeed.  Never to be forgotten.  I learned a great deal about life in the month and a half we were blessed to be in each others company.  Like a visit from a near but distant cousin, like a Mary and Elizabeth, adjusting our lives to maximize every stage, every moment God had for us to explore together.  Little reminders and glimpses remain around the house, but eternally in my heart she will stay.  God is so good all the time. She helped me believe, "You can't be what you can't see."

In the midst of my crying, who calls?  Emma.  Nudged by God to give me a ring and see how I am doing.  It never fails when I am needing Him the most He provides a call, a text, a letter, a hug, a meal, a ray, a sprinkle, a pressing in from all sides carrying my branches like the strong oaks. A hand up not a hand out.

These encounters make me strong, they make me more aware, they bless my heart and life so much.  The strength of the wind that blows at His command, the strength of the spiders thread that hangs onto a leaf windsocking through the air, the strength from another are all that bring joy to your life.  This, for me,  is the real meaning of living faith.  Trusting to live organically.  Stripped of everything to gain eternal life.  He teaches me again and again never tiring of my questions.  He can do anything. 
I know I am not alone on this walk and have so much to be thankful for.  You too?

Friday, November 11, 2011

In the Cloud

A long hard road, concentrating, pressing on, maxing out, replenishing, renewing and regrouping all has to do with embracing goals, meeting goals and achieving goals.  Today, even though there is not a cloud in the sky, my head is in the clouds.  I have downloaded "the cloud" and I'm walking on cloud 9 as we prepare for the Texas State CC Championship Meet this weekend where our youngest of 6 is once again adding her chapters to our story.  Long awaited moments captured in her mind watching her sister's success wondering when it will be her turn.  Guess what, it's her time, it's her turn and it's her race.  She is shining like a bright star among thousands of the best runners, but more importantly she shines for Jesus.  She knows that genes have a little part to play in her success, but more importantly being a child of the Most High and daughter of the King far surpasses any prize she might win.  We have this piece of paper on our bulletin board that I cut out of a magazine years ago that reads, "There is a word for those who never quit.....Champion".
She is a champion already in our book.  What a gift to be a blessing.  She is ranked with all the rest who have traveled this same road and persevered. Matters not the type of road, but the journey that it takes us all on to get where we are going.  All we have to do is listen.

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud (great company) of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us". Heb. 12:1
Hook'em  Go Harper Longhorns!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stop and Smell the Flowers

"The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come.  And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."  Song of Sol 2:12

How often are we walking so fast, rushing to get in and get out, or be somewhere by a certain time (which is good to be on time) and rushing just to get to the next thing on our agenda?  How often do we walk past a patch of carefully planted, beautifully placed and esthetically pleasing patch of flowers, but don't bother to stop, take notice or stoop to smell them?  The flowers and their loveliness can look something like a blurr of color catching only the corner of our eye, as we pace on.  By the way do you see the Love, God in this one above?

Still moving hurriedly but slowing down things start to come into focus.  I love going into Wal Mart (ok I don't love going into Wal Mart).  What I love is going in through the Garden Center to see the plants and flowers.  The petunias and pansies are all in bloom and cast a sweet intoxicating perfume all over me as I pass by.  I can not help but stop.  If we are in a hurry all the time the intensity of their color can seem faded and even dulled.  Of course I can not plant them in my yard cause, well you know, deer would mow them down in a night.  Their sweet aroma would beckon the deer over to the porch which would be no boundary for them.....they are hungry.  What a tempting delight of God's handiwork for our eyes, our noses and their stomaches.  So I enjoy them in the confines of the Garden Center.  With chemo apparently your sense of smell is altered which I experienced at a doctors office when she asked me to smell something and I said I could barely smell it.  They said it was pretty potent and surprised I could not smell it. Then I was reminded that our sense of smell does diminish somewhat through treatments.

But not with the flowers........praise God. I walked over to them, put my face down amongst their petals and waved my hand toward my face.  I took a deep breath over and over as their fragrance went all the way down to my belly button.  It was glorious.  I just kept waving and sniffing, waving and inhaling, waving and then.......someone came over as #onlyinTexas they might do, to ask,"  Honey are you alriiiiiight?"  I assured her I was fine and was just admiring God's perfume.  It did open up a conversation about Colorado and Arizona and how we could grow these flowers with no threat of the mowing deer.  She wants to move back while I told her I would settle for a visit.

"The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the Word of our God shall stand forever." Is. 40:8 and in v. 7b it says, "because the breath of the Lord blows upon it".  Have I ever considered the fragrance of the Lord as His breath.  I am so glad His breath will be sweet, healing and intoxicating to our souls.  Have I ever considered His is the same breath that sharply freezes our nose hairs in winter, that sends warning to us when something is burning, or reminds us when to change a dirty diaper?  Can that be as sweet aroma to me as well?  Some things in life really just stink, but they are sweet aroma to God and have the life giving breath of God in the midst of it.  He is the only one that can help me see and smell past the end of my nose.  The violets and pansies are especially nice.  

 Monday was Halloween and we passed out candy.  It is my least favorite holiday and I don't even look at it as a holiday.....yuk.  It has gotten way out of hand.....but so have a great deal of other things so we won't go there.  I have tried to find ways to make it more fun and more about other things than spooky stuff.  I have for years.  Last year I did a photo essay of all the people who came to our house.  A montage of kids dressed up at my door.  Some of those same faces came back, but not as many this year.  I did get exhausted from up down up down up down answering the door, but when else do you open your door without question to strangers?  So I asked before I opened, "Is it a trick or a treat?"  And as I would opened the door to see who was there I would say, "It's a treat! O look at all of you.  Now before you get candy you have to figure out who I am"  This year, not wanting to scare the little ones with my bald head, I decided to go as a bald eagle.  I know corny right?  No, I did not get pictures of them this year or of my outfit, but saw lots of homemade ones like mine.  So I put a white baseball cap on and taped a yellow beak on it, put on a furry brown poncho, a white furry scarf and a black chenille scarf boa for my wings.  That was it.  So I would tip my hat and say," I am bald and I can fly what am I".  And again as #onlyinTexas true fashion I got some pretty fun answers....... I got "vulcher?, turkey?" which I had not even thought of but told them great answers cause yes they too are bald..........even with the hint of "think symbol of America" they were stumped......made me worry about the little fellas.  Most of them got it after that hint.  It was fun.
So stop, get out of the truck,  slow down, smell the flowers next time and all the time.  Take your sweetheart a little nosegay of violets and tell them they are the fragrance of God.  You won't be disappointed.  Know the very breath of God, the very heart and essential oil of God is what you are smelling.  "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak"......(and breathe) AHHHHHHHHH!
It will make you never want to exhale.  Is what comes forth from my mouth as sweet?  Hope so.
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord,  my strength and my Redeemer".  Ps. 19:14  "And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of  My hand, that I may plant the heavens,  lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, 'You are My people'" Is. 51:16

Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 31 Step 31 Wrap Up

31 Days Walk to Wellness

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 30 Step 30 A Real Diet

This diet comes to me by way of my health researcher friend and RN from Australia that I have mentioned throughout the 31 days.  Aside from the fact that I am on my last day and tomorrow is wrap up I will post this diet and continue to bring new and informational posts when I can.
I try to think about what Jesus ate way back when and it was mostly vegetables, nuts, grains, potatoes, fish, maybe and meat very seldom as that was a luxury item.  They did not have convenience stores, grocery stores or big mega stores like we do. They bought fresh, local and they farmed and grew their own food.  They probably swapped and bartered with one another just to survive.  Every day it wasn't what was I going to wear that day, or what shall I do to have fun, or where will the road take me was how am I going to feed my family and survive today.  This living "organically" day to day I am sure was stressful, but they worked hard and ate what little they had and maybe some days did without.  Their classroom was the earth.  Their book for learning was years of experience.  Their lessons they passed on for generations.  How did we get so far from it?
The odds are against you if you live where you can not get organic, or funds are limited unless you can grow food yourself and the fact we are faced with times and a world that really does not seem to support this type of plan.  It is more about quick, convenient and marketing.  It will seem like going against the norm, and until we call for the change it will remain. Building up a plan based on real science which will give you a strong route forward is the kind of diet that will give you, me, us the best course of action for our bodies to survive the elements we face every day.....unlike our brothers and sisters of Jesus day who had a much purer environment.  I am sure they dealt with their own.
1. Clean your liver:
2. Prepare yourself:  Boost your immune system, Increase Omega 3 levels, Consider the latest research, Cut animal fats, saturated fats and fried foods.
3. Eat to beat Cancer:  The Rainbow Diet bases it's diet on foods like
fresh garlic, leeks, onions, spring onions and radishes, legumes, peas and broad beans, glycoproteins and polysaccharides like aloe vera, echinacea, turmeric, pectins (apples/pears), oats, psyllium, coconut, tomatoes, carrots, brown rice, even red wine and mother's milk contain important protective factors that encourage better messaging between cells.  Medicinal Mushrooms like Reishi, Maitake, Cordyceps which are beta-glucan polysaccharides.  Eat dark red foods like beets, dark plums, red grapes which provide anthocyanins known to kill cancer.  Bright colored foods like red and yellow peppers, peaches, apricots, watermelon.  Greens like kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage for vitamin K.  Sprouting seeds and unpasteurized nuts.  Bitter foods like watercress, gooseberries, cranberries, blackberries, wild strawberries.  Or almonds, cashew nuts, millet, buckwheat and apricot kernels all of which contain a variety of natural compounds like B-17.
Green tea and olive oil, fennel, oregano will kill yeasts and boost immune systems.
Switch out of cows milk to goat cheese or rice, or coconut milk.  Swap red meat for wild game that has fed itself and oily fish.
4. Diet alone won't suffice  mostly because of our environment.  Try to exercise for about 30 minutes and strenuous forms of yoga.  It will add oxygen into your body, reduce levels of toxins and rebalance hormones.
Adding supplements also can add into what our foods have eliminated.
One more day and we will wrap this up.  Hope this has been helpful.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 28&29 Step 28&29 Cheeseburger Cheeseburger Chips Chips

I only have two more days of this 31 day Walk to Wellness and I miss a day?  Sticking to a challenge and forming a habit should for most only take 21 days......well it seems like it takes longer for me.  Some of my absent mindedness can be blamed on chemo brain (cb's), but this challenge has been good for me in lots of different ways.  For starters it has taught me how much I depend on spell check....Yikes!   It has encouraged me to write every day and that is something I really like to do.  Secondly, it has confirmed in my what I already knew, but need to hear and practice again and again.  And finally, it has connected me with my readers unlike before I started and that has been fun for me to see what  speaks to you and what doesn't.   At any rare I appreciate your comments, your candor, and your faithfulness even when I miss a our Father in heaven you remain faithful.
If you were a faithful follower of Saturday Night Live (SNL) as we all were when it first came out and because we did not have much else to do on a Saturday night you might remember the sketch with Dan Akroid and John Bellushi where they were cooks in a small diner type place where all they served was cheeseburger, chips and Pepsi.  They would shout it out "cheeseburger cheeseburger chips chips pepsi pepsi".  I know you remember it.  It was hilarious.  People tried to order different stuff and they said "no hamburger just cheeseburger"......Our topic today is not cheeseburgers, but how the Western world ignores the potentially cheap complementary therapy......stopping cancer in the kitchen.  While cheeseburgers, milk shakes, sugar teas, sticky buns and french fries are some of what is pushed among doctors (ie...just go to the cafe on the bottom floor at MD Anderson of the Maze Clinic and see for yourself) so as not to lose weight or too much during treatment for fear of the legitimate cachexia.  The World Health Organization is quite clear that 70% of all cancers can be attributed to poor diet.  I would have to say the 30 pounds I have lost since my diagnosis was 30 pound I needed to pitch.  I really have never felt better and I do have that to be thankful for.  I did not need to be carrying around that extra poundage that put stress on everything.  I have talked about cutting out dairy, sugar and wheat from your diet for lots of reasons.  The human body can not assimilate cows milk unless it is in its raw form which is not bad for you by the way.  I discovered, I should say we ( my health expert friend Emma Cohen who does give consultations btw) a yogurt that has the raw milk in it called Dreaming Cow a New Zealand style artisan yogurt.  Did not know they are turning yogurt into an art form but what the is made with Grade A non-homogenized grass fed (key word) with active cultures.  I am going to be taught how to make a spread with this like a mayonnaise and dressing.  Watch for it on Madre's Kitchen.
Cutting out the sugar, even when health experts say that sugar is good for you, is key to blocking growth in cancer cells.  Harvard, UCLA and MD Anderson have all done clinical trials which you can find on Cancer Watch website that say the highest levels of cancer occur in people with the highest levels of blood glucose (common sugar).  There are lots of different types of sugar.  Fructose, sucrose, plant sugars, and polysaccharides that aid your immune defense, and intra and inter cellular messaging (which is the type I have Her2 that has radio towers to call all cancers.....think we can get them to talk to ATT?) But common or garden variety glucose is equal to a chemical toxin.  Fact!  We should be keeping our blood glucose levels to a minimum if we want to beat cancer.  Another point why sugars should be eliminated.  Your liver, immune and lymph systems will be blocked by animal and saturated fats. Your liver is your center of detoxification. It plays a major role in your energy supplies to the cells and in your immune system.  Its health is crucial to the survival of a cancer patient.  But when the liver (say of a cancer patient) is  'full' or clogged up with dead cancer cells, maybe dead yeasts and bacteria, cholesterol, cancer drug chemicals and lactic acid, it is grossly overworked.  These block the bile ducts and prevent the liver cleansing itself easily.  If your liver is blocked, you stagnate your while immune system.  That is what happens in cancer treatment patients called cachexia.  They start to lose enormous amounts of weight, have no energy and just can't move......I have lost weight but I have so much energy it has amazed me.
Eating more fats especially those in cheeseburgers you will clog up your liver even more which messes up your good glucose levels and weakens your whole immune and detoxification system.  Furthermore, the lymph system, the home to your white immune cells, the liquid that takes toxins away from cells and nourishment into them, also get clogged up with fat and simple doesn't work as well.  Growth hormones?  The NCI in the USA has shown clearly that dairy, through insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) in implicated in cellular proliferation, metabolic change and even cancer itself.  Many cancer and nutrition experts recommend consuming no cows dairy or saturated fats at all for this reason. You simply do not need to add a cows' growth hormone into your body.
This is not to put the scare in anyone, but to open blinded eyes and the falsities we have been 'fed' by the FDA, some doctors and other health givers that refuse to see, more because of money driven sales of drugs etc, the importance of diet and nutritional supplements.  We as a people have to create the change that will be necessary, demanding they take notice of what it is we are wanting and drive sales in that direction for them to sit up and take notice and put their money.  What is it that God says about money?
Heb 13:5 "Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have".  He has given us everything we need in the world He has created and in our bodies to defend.  We do need some help and supplements because of the world WE have created.
Tomorrow will be a diet for chemotherapy but really a diet for anyone........

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 27 Step 27 Juicy Juice

Juicing has been around for a long time. Take for instance we have had our juicer for over 20 years. We just replaced the blade. I am sure we should have replaced it long before now, but we have not used it everyday for 20 years. That has changed.
A daily regime of juicing should consist of any combination of these vegetables and fruits. If you are dealing with major health issues the greener the better. Some experts are even saying carrot should not be the base but more green leaf should be......others differ in their opinion. To me it's all good and will keep carrot as my base and add green leafy veggies more than I would if I was not dealing with cancer treatments.
Mix these up as many as you like:
carrot, beets, banana pomegranate, spinach, purple cabbage, cabbage, celery berries (darker the better) kale, all greens like eet greens, turnip greens, strawberries, mangoes, apples, lemons, parsley......I added basil in my juice today and it gave it a wonderful flavor. I grow parsley and basil and love just snipping off a pinch for cooking and now juicing.
A daily regime might look like this:
3-4 green leafy vegetable juices
A great mix: 2-3 celery stalks
4-5 kale stalks
1-2 apples
1-2 inches of ginger (really potent, have used for nausea in chemo)
1 lemon pith and peel removed ok

Another great mix: apple/ginger juice, apple/carrot, carrot only, my all time fav apple/carrot/celery/spinach/cucumber

The idea is the more colorful the better. I have used red/orange/yellow peppers, cucumber, all different kinds of kale, mustard greens, beets and turnips. Don't make juices up too far in advance of drinking, no more than 5-6 hours so the enzymes and nutrients will remain for optimum consumption.
It is best to juice fresh and organic.
Start drinking pomegranate juice. It can be store bought, make sure its organic. Lakewood brand is a nice one.
I love our Champion cause it is easy to clean and makes juice through a press filter which is really the best. In the time it takes me to juice and clean up I could have cooked or had something else. You just have to get in the habit. Also what helps is when you get your vegetable etc from the store.....wash and cut to the size you need for your juicer and store them ready to pull out, that way that step is already done for you when you start your juicer.

I think you will find that juicing gives you way a more satisfaction than other types of breakfasts. More energy, more fullness, greater clarity and wonderful thing you will be doing for your body first thing in the morning, again as an afternoon snack and if you like an evening cocktail before retiring. Enjoy and happy juicing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 26 Step 26 Regionals

Today my youngest qualified for regionals in cross country as a freshman. This means she will letter as a freshman and hopefully go on to state. My chemo this week has been different in that I have had litte reaction this week. I geared up as I did not want to miss her race so really worked hard to follow the regime closely. So with that said.....we are going to regionals and that is all that matters at the moment. I am so happy to be able to participate on many levels.
Hope you all are enjoying the warm days and cool nights....get out and get your 20 mins of vitamin D ok?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 25 Step 25 Ready for a Change

When you decide you are make up your mind and you are ready. I was ready for a change and it took lots of things to help me make that change in my mind. They still are changing, still evolving, still working out the details and changing everyday all for the better. God tells us to embrace change, the seasons change so why should we not be ready, accept and flow with change. If we stop being available to change we stop being avaiable to God. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow but wants us to be ready for Him when He says 'go', when He says "you ready", when He says "I am ready". When we can identify with the cause within us that got us to this point and place in time that we see our purpose and promise the winds of change don't seem like such a storm, but more like a gently breeze. God's Word says Today is the Day of Salvation. We don't have to wait for a bump in the road to urge us to change.....He is ready when we are.....Always ready.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 24 Step 24 Drop in the Bucket

God gives us information for such a time as this and will always show up when we are thirsty.
As I said yesterday the importance of water is crucial not only in your diet but for life itself.  We have conditioned not only our bodies but our minds that flavored, pretty much everything, is better.  We also condition our children to think the same.  Maybe it's because our water doesn't taste that great to begin with.....right? RIGHT!
I said on one of the other days that I was replacing my sprayer with a reverse osmosis system...well that was a few weeks ago and I still have not done it.  I am moving not as fast as I hoped only cause I am realizing I have a lot of work to do not only detoxing myself but my house as well.  I am calling can hold me to it.
With fluoride and chlorine on the rise in our water systems here are just a few samples of their harmful affects.
Fluoride is known to cause dental fluorosis, a defect of the tooth enamel 
Fluoride is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Fluoride can cause a crippling bone disease called skeletal fluorosis.
Fluoride depresses the activity of the human thyroid gland 
Fluoride disrupts the activity of normally functioning hormones.
Long-term risks of consuming chlorinated water include excessive free radical formation, which accelerates aging, increases vulnerability to genetic mutation and cancer development, hinders cholesterol metabolism, and promotes hardening of arteries.
Excess free radicals created by chlorinated water also generate dangerous toxins in the body. These have been directly linked to liver malfunction, weakening of the immune system and pre-arteriosclerotic changes in arteries. Excessive free radicals have been linked also to alterations of cellular DNA.42 Chlorine also destroys antioxidant vitamin E,2 which is needed to counteract excess oxysterols/free radicals for cardiac and anti-cancer protection.
O and don't get me started on swimming for yourself.
Researched at:
Is is just me or did anyone else notice the first three letters in the word FLUORIDE......hmmmmm.
Also I have found out the DaSani water has the least amount of chemicals in their water.  And more importantly to me anyway is the bottle.  It is made from 30% plant.  The thin bottles that are easy to crush give off gases that are harmful, just as freezing water bottles are a big no no.  Gases in the plastic are released into the water when they are smushed, frozen, heated or made from material that is toxic.  So consider your source when it comes to water.  Glass is better, osmosis is best, filtered well optimum.  Dr. Masaru Emoto did an incredible study on water and frozen water crystals.  He makes some valid points and has discovered something remarkable.  I won't be digging a well in the backyard, but I will do my best with what I have.  Going off the grid should be on lots of peoples minds.  Next......SOLAR PANELS!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 23 Step 23 H2O

Jesus invites those who know their need, those who are poor in spirit (cf. Mt 5:3), to take the initiative and come to him and drink (v. 37). Drinking refers to believing (cf. v. 38), which means aligning oneself with him, trusting him, receiving his teaching and obeying his commands. Such faith will enable one to receive the Spirit and enter an abiding relationship with Christ after his glorification. All of this is based on who God is and what he has done for us. When we believe we open our hands to receive what his grace offers--we come and drink.  Jesus who brings God's gracious offer of life.
The human body is composed of about two-thirds water. Water is in our blood, muscle tissue, bone marrow, lower layers of our skin, in our fatty tissues, as well in our stomachs. Water is the body’s lubrication and helps in its movement and function. Without water we’d be nothing more than dried bones and skin, and wouldn’t even exist. The average adult needs approximately one quart of water per day to prevent the onset of dehydration.
Our bodies need water.  It is the main stay of our existence besides air.  It is vital to our ability to live.  Drinking enough water every day is as important as what we eat if not more so.  We can go without food, but we can not go for too long without water......when we deprive ourselves of water we deplete our ability to process food, function mentally and stay alive.  I know I am guilty of going a day without water drinking teas, juices or other liquids that really don't measure up.  Our bodies function better with water.  Perhaps it is the key.  I know it helps with headaches, digestion, mental function, sleep, energy and a whole lot more.  Our belief in God comes from "drinking in" where we align ourselves, trust and obey gives us greater opportunities to understand our relationship with the Father.  When water is introduced into our diet as a main source of fluid our ability to understand and recognize when things are right, by the way we feel, the energy we have and our general makeup, our "diets" will greatly be improved.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 22 Step 22 Protective and Corrective

I understand these terms especially since I am a parent.  I am protective of my children, my home, my spouse and the things I love.  I am also a corrective, spare the rod spoil the child, sort of a parent but if you ask my older children, I have lightened up in my older parenting years.  I don't know if that means you should wait a few years to have children or just I have more experience under my belt.  It is probably the latter and I am thankful I am still in the throws of parenting with a young adult in the house.   It keeps me young and its really fun.  What does that have to do with wellness and this little exercise?  Hopefully I will learn something new and fill you in as well.
When we consider what goes into our bodies I think these are two of the fundamental questions we should ask ourselves?  Is what I am eating protecting my body or is is potentially destroying it?  And in addition to that, or is what I am eating edifying our bodies so that it can do it's job to protect.  I would have to say the environment, and the industrial age have already just cause for our bodies to find ways to correct what is being done to it every day.  So how do we go about it?
Get fresh!  Eating foods that are fresh, like those we have grown ourselves (self sufficient and knowing where it comes from) such as garlic, leeks, onions and radishes all containing anti-cancer agents working on cellular and blood levels.  Broad beans, peas, pulses (legumes) that protect us especially against the spread of hormonally driven cancers (such as the one I had Her2).  Foods including aloe vera, echinacea, turmeric, pectins (eg. apples and pears), arabinogalactins (eg.  in oats, psyllium, coconut, tomatoes, carrots, and brown rice) are far leading in the protective mode than destructive.   I would have to say getting back to allanaturalle is preferable when it comes to eating.  If you can grow it you should.  Eat foods that are dark red like beetroot, dark plums, aubergines, red grapes known to kill cancer cells.  Bright colored foods such as red and yellow peppers, peaches, apricots and watermelon known to restrict cancer cells.  Green foods such as kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage for vitamin K.   Sprouting seeds for sulphoraphanes which have strong anti-cancer activity.  Nuts and seeds like organic muesli for breakfast, boosted by organic pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and linseeds.  Great for B bitamins like folic acid and biotin to help PROTECT DNA.  Bitter foods such as watercress ( all those sandwiches we called poodle food.....actually good for you) gooseberries, cranberries (not dried), blackberries and wild strawberries.  Almonds, cashews, millet, buckwheat, and apricot kernels all contain a variety of natural compounds like B-17 which is referred as natures chemotherapy.  Green tea, olive oil, fennel, oregano ( which is great for upper respiratory btw) will boost your immune system and kill yeasts.  Switch if you can out of cow's dairy to a little goat cheese, soya and rice milk.  Swap red meat for game ( buffalo, deer, elk, wild turkey(not in a bottle) and oily fish.  Eat more mushrooms, apples, and organic brown rice ( I know repeat but we need repeat sometimes).
In other words......INVEST IN YOURSELF!  Small steps can make huge strides!  More to come.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 21 Step 21 Life Saving Vitamin D

Take time to watch this video.  It is very informative, it is an hour long, but so worth the time.  It could be the hour that saves your life.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 20 Step 20 What to Eat

There are many ways to tackle eating during chemo and what has amazed me is that it really should be how we eat all the time. Sure I was taking supplements before my diagnosis, but what I was also eating made me realize they couldn't keep up. Maybe that is where vitamins and supplements get a bad rap. The old adage....."if it doesn't work take more". Well that certainly is not something I follow and would not suggest it. If you are not matching up your eating with what you are supplementing you are canceling out basically both. We have to get to a fundamental mindset in understanding how the body works, how it reacts to certain nutrients and how it responds to food and supplements. There are many references to eating and food in the Bible. It would be a fascinating study. I knew a doctor in Houston named Dr. Cherry and he wrote several books one called The Bible Cure. I have only read parts of this book, but Cherry spent a great deal of time researching and helping people discover their true potential nutritionally.
I learned that if I was to eat meat I should stick to wild game as much as possible. Thank heavens my HEB grocery store carries Buffalo and other types of wild game including a wonderful array of seafood as well as organic poultry. Red meat should be kept to a minimum about once every two weeks. Those weeks preparing for surgery and immediately following my diet predominately was vegetarian eating foods high in alkaline to help alkalinize my body. When we give our body what it needs to function properly it really can do what it is designed to do......fight off disease and illnesses. I stopped all dairy products consuming other foods rich in calcium such as spinach and kale. I was eating lots of dark green leafy veggies along with orange and red veggies which would include some squashes, peppers and roots. I kept fruit to a minimum remembering that fruit contains sugar remembering that sugar feeds cancer. Avoid or limit alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks which thankfully was not a problem. I snacked on nuts (walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds with at least 5 Brazil nuts a day for a daily selenium quota), kale chips (for recipe go to Madre's Kitchen), raw veggies and hummus. Ok the only thing I was not eating cause I just found out about them were the Brazil nuts....not my fav, but will work them in. I continued to eat onions for there anti-inflammatory value and quercitin. You can also place a cut in quarters onion in a bowl in the corner of your room and it will absorb any viruses or germs floating around. Of course for the first few hours your room does smell like a Rudy's BBQ but it is not that bad.
I think that hardest part about all this discovery is that I am getting all this info from someplace other than those giving me my treatments. I have done investigating on my own, asked others and sought out information from others who have treated people naturally. Is there really a diet for chemotherapy, I think so, and I think it is a good one that many and most should follow.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 19 Step 19 Sinking my teeth

At first it was easy for me to give up, stop eating the things I knew were harmful for me or that lacked in our dietary consumption. I stuck to my new regime knowing it was life changing, life giving and what I was going to have to do regardless. Getting into that mindset was really not as difficult as I though it would be. I still like things I could sink my teeth in to. I am a crunchy girl and have always loved munching on celery, carrots, crackers, chips and things that go crunch. I was a heading into the land of green, vegetarian and somewhat gluten free. It was all good I just had to learn how to satisfy that need in me.
Yesterday I devoted much of my Step 18 to oils and my daughters commented my post and so glad she did. Can't believe I left out the one that I really like. Here is what she had to say.

hattie sparks said...
like this post...coconut oil is great but actually hydrogenates almost as easily as olive oil. i would recommend grapeseed oil, which very clearly states on its label that it bears a much higher hydrogenation temperature point AND boasts a much milder, and almost non-existent taste. good for sauteeing, frying, and roasting dishes. we have been using it (sparingly, of course) with almost everything!

Here is a great salad dressing recipe my friend Emma Cohen, found on Facebook, a natural path, registered nurse in Australia and health researcher extraordianaire. This organic recipe has been in her family for years.....a better alternative to any bottle, needs no refrigeration and will stick around for a few weeks.
Crush 3-4 cloves of garlic with a bit of Himalyaan rock salt until it is quite liquid. Add into bottle or jar with lid. Add 2 teaspoons of seeded mustard, 2 pinches of mixed herbs( I have a terrific blend I will mention later), 1/2 squeezed lemon juice and fill 1/3 of the container with apple cider vinegar ( I use 1/2 cider and 1/2 Balsamic vinegar). Then fill up the rest of the container with olive oil or flaxseed oil, shake bottle and taste to get balance of oil/vinegar ratio correct to your taste. Use this dressing, keep out of sunlight.

This is a very delightful dressing and I found it essential in my diet to go with as many salads as I ate.
I am tired today for some reason.....hard week so will leave you with that and see you tomorrow. Enjoy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 17 Step 17 Easy as Pie

The importance of supplements in daily regime is vital to override what we ingest, what we inhale, what we consume as members of this planet. With decisions being made on "our behalf" from our government officials makes it more viable, more reasonable and more important for us to take supplements. Vitamins are getting a bad rap these days. Vitamins are essential compounds that generally can be obtained in small amounts from dietary sources. Fat-soluable vitamins include vitamin A, D, E and K. The B complex vitamins and vitamin C are all water soluble. According to the bad rap really depends on the type of vitamins. Water soluble vitamins are not stored in your body and rarely when taken in excess cause harm, but fat soluble vitamins can and could cause damage and even death. Supplements affect individuals differently and have different degrees of health risks and benefits. Multivitamins cannot take the place of food nutrition. They are essential compounds that generally can be obtained in small amounts from dietary sources.
Knowing this I increased the intake through juicing. Foods need to be fresh and organic. The more colorful the food the better. 70% of your diet needs to be raw to get the maximum benefit from food. You get that from juicing as it will make up the raw quota of your diet.
Drinking fluids with your meals, 30 mins before and 30 mins after, dilutes stomach acid and prevents proper absorption. Avoid all processed foods, sugars, wheat - use amaranth, rice, spelt and buckwheat are better alternatives. Use only coconut oil, organic peanut oil, sunflower oil or sesame seed oil for cooking. Heating up olive oil causes hydrogenation of the oil which is a carcinogenic porcess. Olive oil should not be heated up over 86 degrees and no oil should be REused. Heat your pan, have vegetables ready, put oil in pan and immediately put vegetables in pan to absorb the heat.
These are some simple and easy things to incorporate into our daily lives that can and will make a difference. I hope this helps you start on a road to better health. More to come.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 16 Step 16 Spirit is Strong Flesh is Weak

Ok Ok I know I missed a step. How often do we all miss a step. Well this challenge of writing every day is not as easy as I thought. I promised and I did not keep it. How often do I promise and not keep my promise? Too often I am sorry to say. How often do I let my Savior down by not keeping my word to Him. That is why I knew I needed to do this new lifestyle not on my own, but with His help and help from others.....cause my spirit is strong but my flesh is so weak. I need all the help I can get. I want and strive to be a promise keeper.
So in order to prepare my body for chemo and what was about to happen I cut out dairy, sugar and wheat. I really focused on the sugar because sugar feeds cancer. I did not want to feed any cancer that MIGHT still be in my body. So I pulled out my old juicer and started juicing three times a day. Immediately I felt the results. I felt less puffy, more energy and less bloated. It was amazing. What I love about juicing is that your body responds to it so quickly. And lets face it folks, we are a fast food generation.....we want it now and we want it fast. I also know that anything that will last for any length of time needs to be given the right amount of time. I knew from the get go that cancer brings on an entire new meaning to change in lifestyle. That was a given. What I love about juicing is that you get results fast. So I bought organic, ate as organic as I could reintroducing lots of green into my diet and juiced. Whenever I needed to eat something I would just juice. I ate smaller meals more often which really is the way we are suppose to eat. I began to notice that I was eating less and getting full quicker. I was not requiring the BIGGIE size I was so used to. We really eat way to much.
My favorite juice is the apple carrot spinach. Carrot ends up being the base vegetable for all my juicing. I add ginger, spinach, kale, parsnip, beets and lots of combination of those. You can find many recipes online for juicing. The Gerson Diet is really a good one to look at for basic recipes. The main thing guys is to eat LIVE food not dead food. I walked through the grocery store after my surgery and just saw the word CANCER on every thing on the shelves. Much of it is dead food. So I cleaned out my pantry, replaced everything in there with live food and O I love my pantry now. I know where everything is and there is nothing in there first that would really tempt me and second that I know I really should not eat. That is comforting in itself.
So start juicing which will help clean out the body, expand your taste buds, and give you more energy. I felt like I was giving my body, my temple where Jesus lives, exactly what I should have been giving it for many years. Because of my weak flesh I would never stick to the regime. Sometimes it takes a wake up call to realize what is best for you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 14 Step 14 The Fog Lifted

With cooler temperatures comes fog.  I actually love seeing the landscapes around here when there is fog. With the different elevations you get to see the fog from various locations and perspectives.  It does make it difficult to drive sometimes, but all you have to really do is just slow down.
That is what needed to happen when I started gathering material for this new lifestyle regime of mine.  I needed to just slooooow down a bit and wait for the fog to clear.  There is so much information out there, so many sweet people giving their advice, so many books to read, blogs to visit and people I was meeting.  Can you say FOG HORN!?

I still am having to sift through bit by bit as if I were crawling along. At the same time God brings forth people and information just at the right time when I need to hear it.  For instance.  Just before my hair was falling out I noticed it started getting stiff, unmanageable and coarse.  Then I went to William Sonoma to get some gluten free flour, I know I can get it other places but was there so got some.  The sales lady asked if I were on a gluten free diet.  I told her I was walking through breast cancer treatment. She said, "O I am nine years out".  We got to talking and she asked what kind of treatment etc I was on. She told me my hair would fall out and that it would hurt before it did, that the actual weight of my hair would hurt my head.  About a week later I would run my fingers through my hair and handfuls of hair would come out so I knew it was time to shave it off.  It really did hurt.

So I shaved it off. Then last night most of the rest of it fell out after I rubbed my hair drying it with a towel.  Like a break through and the lifted fog my head looked not that bad.  It was ok....cold, but ok.  So I am a hat and scarf girl. Can't do the wig thing I don't think.....just not for me.

Vintage mink hat.....ooolala
Sassy with my glasses.

What I have learned is that our outward appearance is so temporal and overrated.   We are always looking and trying to improve the way we look when really its like the fog for when it burns off, though beautiful in it's own right, it reveals a beauty from underneath and within.  In the next days ahead I will begin to share with you my regime that is working for me that really could be adapted to a person looking for better took the fog however to roll in, hang in the balance, cover and fill all spaces to wake me up.  A bump in the road that slowed me down long enough to wait and begin to understand the joy within that              comes when the fog lifts.  Most of us walk around in a fog.  
Let the Son burn off what has been there all along.  Beauty.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day12 &13 Step 12&13 Plowing Through Cement

Song of  Solomon 2:15 states, "Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes".  My apologies to my 5:30am readers for now disappointing two days in a row.  Yesterday was a break through day in lots of ways.  I volunteer and teach bible study at Christian Women's Job Corp and the foxes were wrecking havoc on many of the women trying to discourage, distract and defeat.  As many of the women received the Father's blessing, some were not as interested.  So it became like plowing through cement.  I sat down to teach and that is when it began to unravel.  One demoralized by fear over dramatized her distaste for being there, one buried her head in the sand only to pop up with sarcasm, and another was wanting to jump in with God but did not want to appear weak.  I began to shake in my seat for I knew I was meeting the author of havoc and I had my work cut out for me.  So I asked, "Why are yall here, why do you show up every morning".  They gave me their answers.
God turned it all around for His purpose and good but it felt like plowing through cement.  It was not easy. Don't miss understand I could identify with each one of these ladies.  I have sat in their seats too often hesitating to give God everything.  That is where the enemy, the little foxes, like to have their way.  Have you ever watched a fox in the wild. They are clever, cautious, quiet, fast, beautiful, and deadly.  I shared with the ladies that some of the lies they have believed about themselves for so long have become truths in their hearts.  We wrote many of them on the board yesterday. Freedom.  There were many tears more from the hurt it had caused.  I told them like a fox these lies will try and rear their head up from time to time, but we hold a big mallet, Jesus, in our hand that can, like the gofer game, bop them in the head whenever they pop up.  They will begin to recognize what is truth and what is a lie.
Later in the day one of the three who struggled so much came back and asked for forgiveness and want to forgive many people in her life.  Praise the Lord.  It was needless to say a draining day, so by the time I got home I was pooped.  I kept thinking about what I would write about yesterday and it kept changing.  Another break through is that much of the rest of my hair fell out last night.  I was drying my head, a white towel mind you, and then looked at the towel and it was black......I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.....then I looked in the mirror.  The old has passed and the new will begin to come out soon enough.  Strange how that works.  Just as we are new creatures in Christ, the old man has passed.  There are many things about my old man that will pass with what I am going through, and there are many things yet to work on.  That is ok.  As long as I have stuff to work on I know God is not through with me yet. Amen.  Better get out the plow time to hit the cement.
Have a blessed day and thanks for showing up each day and for more of the grace extended in Day 11.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 11 Step 11 Grace

"You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and pantomime,
And grace before I open a book, 
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink."

G.K. Chesterton, from an early notebook (mid 1890's)

Can we get back to saying Grace in the daily grind.
He wants to be part of the dishes, the laundry, the carpool, 
The arguments, the decisions, the mistakes,
The chemo, the challenges, the doctor visits, the births,
Grace to cover us with a robe of righteousness,
Covering a multitude of sin.
The bride of Christ.
White as snow.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 10 Step 10 Superwoman

Even in my mess, I put on my vest with an S on my chest.....Yes I will. Yes I can.  You can too!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 9 Step 9 Preparation & Purging

I am not sure anyone is prepared for when a doctor walks in and says, "It's ...fill in the blank . In God's Word He asks us to be prepared to give an answer with regards to our faith and the things of the Lord. I think I do a pretty good job at that and if I don't know the answer I look it up. I had no preparation for that day July 7th 2011 when I was told I had breast cancer, told a lumpectomy was probably not an option, that because of my timeline we could do surgery in five days to give me more time for recovery before my daughters wedding, told I should take both breasts cause 1 in 4 women get it again in the other, told if it was in my nodes it would be the kitchen sink for treatment, told I would not die (that was a highlight), told it would be a year long process and told that my faith would carry me through. The last statement was the one I held onto. God says our faith alone saves us and it only takes a mustard seed amount of faith. Well I knew I had more than a mustard seed so felt blessed and assured. Still scary, yet felt somehow prepared in facing the unknown. Some of it was the confidence in my doctors, confidence in my family, but mostly the confidence I have in God, that He is who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do. I felt like God orchecstrated events leading up to this event that prepared me to be able to prepare my heart and be prepared for this road ahead....basically prepared to give an answer. He showed me over the years what health, nutrition and supplements can do so that when the time came, for such a time as this, my learning curve would not be as great encouraging me on confidently, without hesitation. Dr. Gonzalez dot com at his clinic says, "don't make cancer your life move on with your life".
So the preparation was in place now came the purging of self, of the known, of things in my life that I had put off purging. I think purging is more of an ongoing process than a one time deal. If we are not constantly pruning and purging our lives, minds and thoughts bringing them to the likeness of Christ then we stay stagnant and you know what happens to things when they become stagnant......they stink. Along with purging my stinking thinking about many things God was purging misconceptions I had about Him. Thank goodness. Finding God in everything about this walk requires purging, cleaning out, massive cleansing on my part to allow room for Him, His Holy Spirit to take up residence. Well not only was I looking inward I began to look around my house realizing....there were closets to be had. So I am using this time to purge junk I conceded to live with just as I chose to live the life I was living thinking I was immune....none of us are immune to the wilds of the enemy, but there are HUGE things we can be doing in our lives that can make a difference in the long run for the long haul.
I started filling my mind and body with nutrients it needed that would promote life taking away the things, sugar, wheat and dairy for starters, that would take away from longevity. It has been a great soil preparation for this new way of life I will be commencing from this point forward. Taking what God has prepared and purging forward reaping the benefits across the board. Welcoming new life as I feed my body, mind and spirit that which it was created to consume, learning how duped we are about a great deal of things, and embracing the joy in the discovery.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 8 Step 8 Thankfulness

It is in my nature to say, I can do it myself, and honestly I think that has what has led me to some of my circumstance.  Trying to be too strong, not allowing God to flow through others, to bless.  This week has been an incredible week of blessings.  A dear friend went into administrative mode when she found out about chemo and wanted to help me with meals.  I told her that it would be best during the week of chemo and that after that I would be ok.  Well this week was the start of meals and I have been so blessed by everyones generosity, wealth of giving and culinary gifts.  Each package uniquely put together, orchestrated with thought, love and care for me and my family.  Each day I waited with anticipation of what someone was bringing and who it would be.  Is that not how we should be waiting for our Groom, Christ, with hopeful anticipation?  Not having to cook is HUGE for me and because I typically am not up to par on the third and fourth days during the week of chemo.  At least it has been textbook so far which again thankful.  Truly thankful for this blessing.
Can I really say I am thankful in many ways for this time in my life, for the wake up call of breast cancer, for the nearness of God?  Yes I can honestly say this has given me an opportunity to understand thankfulness on a new level.  This awareness of His presence strengthens me as I receive and respond to His Love.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  My need of His love is as constant as the outflow of His Love for me.  So, I want to stay tapped into thankfulness, for in that He is real, He is evident and He is available.  You know some people might say, "I am just so thankful to God for giving me breast cancer".  I  believe God permits circumstances that gives us opportunity to draw near to Him, but not the orchestrator of sickness or evil.  He uses circumstances to draw near to us. We must be open to drawing near to Him, being thankful of the opportunity to praise Him and respond to His unfailing Love.  Have I ever felt abandoned by God?  Never.  Quite the contrary.  It has opened my eyes to a completely different side to my faith and walk with Him.  A more open, less judging, more compassionate side that honestly I was lacking.  Deficient in my ability to see past a self inflicted barrier that kept me at arms length not only to God but kept me from others.  This circumstance has allowed me, His beloved, to behold and take hold and notice that I am a much loved child of God.  
"The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:  I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving kindness I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel.  Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful. Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit.  There will be a day when watchmen cry out  on the hills of Ephraim, Come, let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God." Jer.31:3-6
This is a direct promise from the Creator of the universe.  Considering it all joy when I face trials of many kinds because I know I will be rebuilt, I know that the testing develops perseverance which MUST finish its work so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  I witnessed the sweet passing of my mother in law a few years ago.  Her hearts desire was to teach us all how to die with dignity.  I can truly say that after reading the verse in James she was complete, lacking nothing and went on to be with Jesus in such a way that was a witness to my depleted soul.  How can God use us as an extension of who He is if we don't first recognize the gift?

It has not only been the gift of meals, but the occasional card, book, or scarf that comes as another reminder that He is carrying me through this through the gift of others.  The power and energy I receive this week was phenomenal from those who took the time to bless our family helped get me through, carrying me on either side, watching my back and lifting me up.  Can I walk around like this everyday?  The answer is yes if I will open my heart and eyes to the gifts God gives us each and every moment.  We serve a God of miracles, who heals the sick and opens blinded eyes.  Why would I not think He would care about little ol me and my circumstances?  That is my stumbling block that I must jump over, go around and remove from my path to walking in thankfulness.  Trusting Him in the little things thanking Him for the big things puts a whole new light on things.
Thank you for an awesome week.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 7 Step 7 Some Days

Some days.....nothing. But that is ok. There is always tomorrow.
See you then.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 6 Step 6 Pushing Through

Today is day four after second round of chemo. Typically days three and four are the hardest for me. It has been somewhat textbook each time. Granted I have only had chemo twice, but this is how it has been. The good news is I am half way done with the worst part. Yes! So I can push on. Pushing on thorugh the hard parts of life are what build tenacity, grit and character. Not sure I want to do any character building at te moment but at any rate it happens if we allow it. If we go against it, the pruning, the building then we really make things much harder for ourselves. It is ok to have moments of not wanting to go with the flow, of not wanting to really show up for chemo (oops I forgot), or coming face to face with something about yourself you know in your heart is true, but you have not wanted to face it. My question is why do I, we, think that going into a hard place where we know we will have to push through that we will be doing it alone? I know my God says He will never forsake me or leave me, so why do I allow myself to feel so alone? Push through. Do I not think God already knew ahead of time. To quote my sweet friend Lorraine Lemon with Art 2 Heart "God long looks, seeing everyday coming and nothing catches Him by surprise. He gives us a meal to match that journey."
I push through this hard couple days knowing tomorrow I have opportunity.
I push through because He encourages to keep our eyes on the prize which is Christ Jesus.
I push thorugh so that I live through all the days of my life.
I push through for there are people I still need to meet.
I push through this God appointed lifestyle trusting He sees my ability and willingness to go.

Carry on my wayward son, there will be peace when you are done, carry on my wayward son, don't you cry no more.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 5 Step 5 Nearsightedness

Why is it that when we go through a change in paradigm or spiritual drought that we draw closer to God? Why does it take that to draw us closer to Him?  We should be close to Him always, every day.  Is it life overbearing?  Are we too busy with our lives to thank the One who gave it to us?  Now we tend to mess up this life He gave us therefore asking for His forgiveness and help when we do.  But not all of us do that.  Since becoming a believer I don't think there has been a day I don't think about Him, or thanked Him for something along my days length.  Before that time however, my world was a bit myoptic lacking imagination, foresight and intellectual insight. Basically it was nearsightedness. I still have moments where I revert back to my nearsightedness, but God always has a gentle way of bringing me back to Him.
In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus tells His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up when He shares about the Parable of the Persistent Widow.  He shares that there is an unjust judge who does not care for God or people.  There is a widow who persistently asks for justice in her case but the judge keeps putting her off.  Finally, He grants her justice in order to keep her from "wearing me out with her coming".  And Jesus said, "And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?  Will He keep putting them off?  I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly.  However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"  How often in our search for justice do we forget how accessible Jesus and the Holy Spirit is to us all the time?  How often do we skip the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that says, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus".  We must not remain nearsighted about our lives and forget about prayer.  That last request from God is sometimes a hard one for me.  I am suppose to give thanks in all circumstances....even in breast cancer?  Yes always.  I have to say that I honestly can give thanks.  I have already seen the doors open to healing and God's hand working so mightily all around me in every circumstance.  So why did I not see His hand working before?   Nearsightedness.  I really want to walk in this all the time and when the treatment for this is over I don't want this closeness with God to doesn't have to.  It doesn't need to take a paradigm change to draw us closer to Him.  He wants to be there with us in the everyday ho hum dull drums of carpooling, laundry, grocery shopping, lawn mowing, hair cutting, dinner cooking and dish washing moments.  We have to find God in the everyday moments for that is what makes them exciting.  Let His spirit ignite the simplicity of our lives for they are complex enough without circumstances that come and go.  In 1 Timothy 2:8 "I desire therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and disputing."
So the adage that "Life is short, Pray hard" should not be taken lightly or nearsightedly, but reverently, and thoughtfully.  Stepping out in an ability to see outside of ourselves, outside of our little lives, outside of our circumstances brings a whole new perspective about how BIG our God is.  In one of my people proverbs "God is so faithful in our little lives through tough times; then we realize how big our lives are to God.....we are blessed."
I heard this yesterday from an online friend, Kim Avery.  "Sin, any sin, is incompatible with the holiness of God. And while we may cry inconsolably when the bright, shiny promises of prides and pleasure, security and status, and the passing praise of men are taken away, it is the path to fullness of joy."
Make prayer a priority even in the ho hums and not just in crisis mode.  You won't be disappointed.
He promises!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 4 Step 4 Changing Latitudes Changing Attitudues

God says to embrace change though why are we such creatures of habit?  Stepping out of what is the norm can be scary, but also very liberating.  In Deuteronomy He says "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you (alongside you) that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.  For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land He swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."  Wow this is a promise spoke to us from God.  In v. 11 of that same chapter He says "Now what I am commanding you today (each day starts anew) is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.......v.16 to walk in His ways, keep His commands, then you will live and increase and the Lord your god will bless you in the land you  are entering to possess."   Well the land I am entering to possess is a much healthier land, full of new and wonderful findings for me to discover about myself, my God, this land, this world and this life.  Who wouldn't want a new beginning in a sense?  Wipe that slate clean and lets start
The good news about our bodies is that the moment we decide to change and move in a new direction it adapts, it begins to heal and it is highly motivated when the changes are to its benefit.  Like I mentioned in Day 3 the fact I only like to write with felt tip pens so I nixed all my pens from my holder except for the ones I wanted in there.  I still have to go through and take out each week as others keep putting other types in there.......but don't we have to do that in real life.  Evaluate each week, each week, each moment in some cases for me what needs to be eliminated from our lives, declutter and get moving in a direction that feels right, that empowers us to operate at an optimum.  Just like the song says "Changes in Latitudes changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same".  Even Jimmy Buffet says to embrace change.  Life has changes every season so using it as our model to embrace it's ebbing and flowing changes should be our norm.  Yet because we like things a certain way and are creatures of habit change can feel out of the norm.
So with that said my subtle changes I immediately made and still making, I got only one shelf of my pantry done yesterday, but hey, there is always today.  I went out and bought new flip flops.  I know that sounds silly, but I was needing a new pair, I love sparkly things and found these cute pink Reefs.  I had a pair of silver ones that I had to throw out and was wanting another pair.
There is so much to learn it really is fun.
 So what else did I do?  I pulled out my juicer I had tucked away.  I have had this juicer for 20 years+ and love it.  It is basically an outboard motor attached to a blade, brilliant, so it is easy to maintain and assemble.  I have tried other juicers and I guess it is what you get used to, (again habit) and this one is the easiest and fits my lifestyle.  I have it out all the time now and use it two if not three times a day.  I am wanting to bump it up to four, but taking baby steps to get there.  I know one thing I try to do when starting something new is not beat myself up too much if meeting one of my goals for the day doesn't pan out.  There is always tomorrow and we do what we can for He gives us no more than what is in our reach.  So I am falling in love with my Champion again, the flavors I am discovering......carrot, apple, beet, cucumber still my all time fav, and embracing new discoveries. 
Another way I simplified once my hair started falling out is that  I went ahead and shaved my head to eliminate any clumps on my pillow that might cause anxiety or sadness. To be honest it was not as hard as it might have seemed and it made me realize that hair is really overrated.
Yet another way to simplify this

I changed up my table scape.  Simple but its a change.

This is the sun streaming in from across the room, under the ottoman like the very finger of God acting like it wants to burn a hole in my rug and my leg. So bright, so intense that is was like it reached all the way over just to get my attention.  Well it did.  So often we go around with blinders on.  Make subtle little changes that change a little latitude and a lot of attitude.  Little steps that go a great distance.  I like this saying today from Real Simple magazine.  Enjoy todays step.
“We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ouselves.”
― Lynn Hall