Monday, November 5, 2012

The Heart of Christmas



If you are like me, seeing Christmas decorations going up before Halloween is as scary as some of the decorations they sell for Halloween.  That part of Christmas I don't much care for.  The hype, the rush, the materialism and the pressure some people feel during the holiday season, is just well...... frightening.  It makes me almost sad that Halloween has become the precursor to the season leading up to Christ birth.  I am always amazed how soon it all seems to take place and how we overlap them. Well all except Nordstrom who will not be putting up Christmas til the day after Thanksgiving.  Good for them.  It makes me stop and think about what are we saying, what are we teaching and what is the meaning of it all really?  What is the preparation we have in our hearts to receive the message, the meaning and the reality of Christ's birth?  Would you be ready mentally, physically and spiritually if catastrophe hit your household?
It is also not everyday I get asked to review a movie.  Allied Integrative Marketing discovered me through this incredible web of social media and asked if I would watch and review, post and critique this movie called The Heart of Christmas.  Now, I am no critic nor do I pretend to be, so I thought this would be a fun thing to do.  Will this movie win an academy award?  Probably not, yet the message that transcends throughout the movie is award winning.
The story is about a family who learns their son has cancer and must undergo treatments, some very experimental treatments and long stays at St. Jude's Hospital for Children.  It is a story about cancer yes, but more importantly it portrays what the caregivers must go through when someone they love has cancer.  I can relate to this as I have undergone breast cancer treatments for the past year.  It gave me a greater appreciation for the loved ones, friends and support people who have prayed for me, brought me gifts, and kept my family fed while I was unable to even get out of bed.  The long exhausting hours the child and his family in the movie goes through, equals and reminds me of the suffering Christ went through for us.  The movie teaches us that living every moment you have with one another is so important today when none of us are guaranteed our next breathe.  It is a really good movie for families, sad in its content, but shows how one family comes together as their life seems to be crumbling apart.  Coming from the mother's perspective mostly, the movie shares what a mother can and will do for her child no matter the cost of money, time or effort.  The Heart of Christmas is about community and how people come together to join forces to help someone in need.  This movie sifts out the materialism we sometimes associate ourselves with at Christmas, and brings us back to the Joy that is within each of us.  The Joy of the Lord is our strength, our help in time of need, our fortress and stronghold, and our first love.  That joy that comes from within that shares God's heart when He shared Jesus with us.  The Heart of Christmas is a lovely film dedicated to share Christ with others which really is God's heart desire every day.
This movie helped me see that Christ's birth is at the heart of Christmas and I need to be celebrating His birth everyday.
To buy your DVD  click here  
To download digital format  click here 

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Different Kind of Octoberfest


As many of you know October is sort of a pivotal month for many reasons.  The weather starts to change, colors emerge and our sights begin to focus on the holidays and all its festivities.  Octoberfest being one of them.  In college it was a great excuse to skip class or rally the troops for a Saturday day trip to go celebrate with the German/Polish Americans over in New Braunfels.



This October I will be celebrating a different kind of Octoberfest.  A celebration of bringing more awareness about breast cancer.  October is breast cancer awareness month.   



Many women go undetected and wind up too far gone to stop its course of action.  Cancer definitely has and is on a course of action.  It should be a verb.  Cancer has one thing on its mind.  To seek and destroy good cells.  I am guessing if you are a Christian you are hearing the similarity to the verse in John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  





So with that being said I will post each week ways that you can rely on God to raise awareness within your own body, how you can have life more abundantly through treatments and how to celebrate and participate with others this month of breast cancer festivities.

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NBCAM has many different ways for you to get involved.  Maybe you just get involved by helping someone else who is going through it, maybe you find a screening nearby, or perhaps you host a celebration of your own thanking others and God for getting you through.



So whatever you do this month and you see pink, hopefully you will say a little prayer for those who mourn, those who are marching through and those who have survived.  You can fly a pink flag, 
wear a pin or charm like this one being launched today by James Avery

send a card or text message to someone, wear a pink Oumpah dress, get a tattoo (which my son in law would love for me to do), 

 add colored lights to your house, 

I am thankful God brought it to my attention, my sister and family spurred me on to diagnosis and treatment and Jesus held my hand every step of the way.  If I had waited even just six months my doctor told me my script would have read a lot differently.  







Wear a pink bra or paint your nails with OPI pink polish. 

Some of us can't afford six months and though Octoberfest comes only once a year, so lets try and make every day a festival of awareness, of just how important early detection can be for some. 
It really does not matter what you do, just as long as you are aware, be prepared and share this message in hopes that it WILL save lives. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

In Bed with Technology


Not often does one get to see the private side of an author.  That is right! I am calling myself an author.  Upon Jeff Goins recommendation we must call ourselves what we hope to be.
That is first priority before I type one word.

I have been trying to start this post for a long time with life interruptions.  I don't want to bore you with my list that probably matches yours in length.
One big thing happened along the way to writing.......adding relevance later in the post.
I became a grandmother.


So many of my friends have become grandmothers recently, and my sister has been a grandmother for a while and they all told me how amazing it feels.  They were right.  I was so blessed to be a part of my first granddaughters coming into this world.  I was able to operate in my love language.......serve, cook, clean and go fetch whatever someone needs that will make their life even just one pair of underwear better.
Here is our newest girl to the family tree.  
Mary Ann Ellis born September 11, 2012 weighing in at 6lbs 15oz.  


What does she or any of this have to do with technology.  EVERYTHING!
Seeing your child go through what my daughter went through, what I went through, what all mothers go through to birth a child was the most important step for me to becoming a grandmother.  Watching she and her husband become parents together, make life changing decisions together, and welcoming their first born into their family was beyond any training.  She took everything she had learned in life up to that point and exhausted through the pain of childbirth.  What a reward we all have in childbirth and especially the mothers.  I felt like I had become Mama bear X2.  

I saw every wire, needle, hose and mask place on my daughter as she plunged into motherhood with full force.  Those needles and wires were all connected to technology.  The doctors could monitor each mother in labor from a hall office like lab where four or five flat screens were up for all nurses and doctors to see.  Anytime a bell would ring or a light would blink it was connected to those screens. 

She was literally in bed with technology.

That is not exactly what I meant by this statement.  I realized this granddaughter will never know a world without technology.  She will not have grown up as I having lived through the era of cell phones and discovery of internet and cyber space.  The beginning ages of the age if information.  
"The Information Age is a period that will be characterized by the ability of individuals to transfer information freely, and to have instant access to information that would have been difficult or impossible to find previously. The idea is linked to the concept of a digital age or digital revolution, and carries the ramifications of a shift from traditional industry that the industrial revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on the manipulation of information, i.e., an information society."  According to Wikipedia.

"In the book of Daniel, he first says the vision was concluded, and thus the faithful might rest satisfied in looking for nothing beyond it. For we know how restless are the fancies of mankind, and how insane a disease is a vain curiosity. God is aware of what is useful for our information, and so he adopts his method of teaching to our capacity and profit". Matthew Henry

We have almost all bought in, gotten on board, signed up, logged in,  shared and climbed into bed with this new way of communicating.  God knows our restless minds and hearts with our fancies for mankind's curiosities.  He also is aware of what is useful for us and what is not.  
Thank goodness He is watching our backs. 
Amen!




I think I have learned a lot from technology.  I am thankful to live in such an age as this.
However, do I really need to check my Facebook page before retiring?  Maybe not, but the fact that I can also watch a movie with my sweetie in bed is awesome.  I get to see pictures of this precious new baby on Instagram or read a book that I will soon publish.
These are the things we crave and the times we live in.  God is so good to allow.

We are in bed with technology hook, line and sinker.
For some of us its life changing and for others my hope is that it's changing lives.

Thanks for reading and watching my life unfold.


Monday, August 13, 2012

What cancer did FOR me, not what it did TO me.

BTW doc says I am cancer free!  Praise the Lord.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ringing the Bell

This bell song is for all of you who supported me, kept my circle from being unbroken, girded me up for a battle accomplished and fought.  Thank you for all the cards, comments, text messages, letters, gifts, facebook messages, Tweets and love you showered me with this past year.  I AM DONE!  Just a few more follow up things to tie up this entire process.....it does take a village.  I have had to enlarge my tent from the generosity shown to me, blessed forever by the kindest words and expressions I have ever encountered in my life.  This bell is for you.  I am ringing my bell for me yes......but for you too!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

31 Days thru Raidation: Day 17



This is actually three panels in ceiling above machine.  Nice touch to see His beauty in the midst.

I wanted to give you a peek into my world. When you go and do the same thing everyday for 31 days you start to get to know the people and the surroundings pretty well. In other words you know "the drill". My drill is pretty easy compared to others. When I prayed for the friend on Day 2, I realized I had no room to complain, and all the hope in the world that I will recover and get through this. You don't get to pick which cancer you get when you get it. Somehow, somewhere that is decided beforehand. All the while it is uniquely designed that the doctors get to figure out. Then they uniquely design a protocal that will get IT! If I have to lay topless in the middle of a room in front of strangers, well ok.   I can deal with that. So I go to MDA every day, valet park cause it is free for us going in for treatment for an hour. They have it down where we are in and out of there in an hour.  I call it fast food generation treatment.  There are that many of us in the drive thru line.  I check in which automatically sends my name and time checked in back to technicians letting them know I am there. I walk back to another waiting area for patients and their caregivers that has a television and puzzles and lots of couches and recliners......I then go back to another smaller waiting area that has individual dressing rooms with gowns for all patients to change from the waist up with gown open to the back.....we then all sit sometimes quietly,sometimes chatty with each other discussing everything from treatment to a Luau for someone's brother. The fact is that we are all the same when we sit there waiting. We are all women, all going through treatment, all a little scared, all trying to be brave, all encouraging each other, all working hard to stay positive and all ready to ring the bell (more on that later). We wait for our name to be called then we politely take our leave, drop all phone conversations and jump up to take our licks. Treatment doesn't hurt while it happens. You don't see the beams going through your body. You do hear the machine working and beeping. Some like to have music playing, but I request for quiet.....they have big fans and loud air conditioning (just like I like), it's freezing everywhere (I don't like to be cold but loathe being stuffy).  It is like a big box fan and for me that is like a drug. Puts me out like a light. So sometimes I actually nap, yes nap, while I am on the table. Or I go to some far away place praising God for life.  My life.  Then when I am done, about 20 mins, I get up, walk out, get dressed and go.  Pretty simple yet pretty complicated and high tech.  I pray every day each unique case would be addressed and handled just as Jesus takes care of us as if we are the only person there to be saved.



The form I lay on, hard as a rock, that holds my arm in place and up over my head during treatments.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

31 Day Walk thru Radiation: Day 7&8

Have had a little trouble uploading so this is a bit delayed.....will keep working at it. Happy Mother's Day to all of you Moms.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

O Lord

Won't You buy me a Mercedes Benz? And that is just what He has done. We have owned a used Mercedes before in our lifetime, so consider myself blessed to have driven one. Very nice. Very spoiled. We are able to be blessed again. God totally provided a smooth ride for me to be doing all this driving, a comfortable coach, a handsfree safety valve, and a beautiful material thing in my life right now. I feel as though He is treating me like a queen providing things that I never would be able to acquire on my own. Like the unselfish attitude of Esther God shows me how unselfish He can be and is with me. In v. 14 chapter 4, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance of the Jews will arise from another place, but you and our father's family will perish. And who knows, but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" I feel like He as placed me in a position to share. I don't know what God will do next, but I am liking His choices for me so far......even the hard ones are doable and bearable. I hope and pray like Esther and Mordecai, I will use words of authority according to His word. Words of goodwill and assurance to establish these days. I want to work for the good of the people and speak up for the welfare of all......and if He gives me a Mercedes to do it in.......Hallelujah! From the place where I am staying, like a palace, to the people I encounter at MD Anderson, to now the car I am driving, God is good all the time. Such a spoiled brat thing......I have been spoiled all my life not only by my family, but by God. How thankful I am that my eyes can be opened, the scales lifted and the veil torn just for me. Opening not only my eyes but also my heart to more and more of what He desires for me. What a blessing to be loved, saved and spoiled by God. He is opening up my memory and showing me Himself, proving to me over and over ( not that He needs to but He does it cause He loves me), and bringing to my remembrance every time how He has been there for me. Every time He has blessed me and how He will continue to bless my life.....over and over. O Lord You bought me a Mercedes Benz! Love, God.

31 Day Walk through Radiation MD Anderson: Day 4 Motion is Lotion

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Love, God

I am so excited to share with you the publishing of my new book Love, God. I have had this book in my mind for so long and now it is here.  I have already started collected for Love, God II.  It is like these little hearts find their way to me. They jump out all over the place reminding me that there is nothing that can separate me for the Love of God.  I stop and acknowledge they caught my eye by thanking God each time.  Some I do not Photograph.  He is putting love, His Love first in the forefront of my mind.  Right in front of my eyes.  Reassuring me He is with me every step of my walk, every step of my journey, every step of my story.  His glory story.
Thank you to everyone who has commented and encouraged me along the way to publish, to write, to photograph to bless others.  Your words of hope, faith, enrichment, and wisdom has made this piece possible.  Motion is lotion I once heard from a wise mentor so I kept moving forward.  There is way more that goes into a book than I realized and I have learned a great deal in the process.  Don't worry I got help.  Modisett & Co. are my behind the scenes peeps and I am so thankful God crossed our paths.
Most of all I want to thank God.......do you ever wonder why people put their "most of all's" at the end of things like this.......why is it not at the beginning.  I do it all the time.  Thanking God is so not enough.  If it wasn't for Him this would not exist.  He would have used someone else to relay these.  We learn from one another and I am learning from Him.  What a gift that connects me to my heavenly Father, Creator of the Universe.  I think that right there is so why me measly thank you is not enough. But I say it anyway.  Thank you God for all our many blessings.  Praise you in this book, praise you in my life, praise you in our world.
Love,
B†


To preview and purchase as eBook or hardcopy, click on book info in scrollbar.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Picha Global

This will be a great way for photographers, artists and fund raisers to join forces.  I plan on joining and hopefully raise money for lots of different causes.  You should too! @pichaglobal.com


Picha Global Launch from Picha Global on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Fountain of Tears

I have a love hate relationship with being early and on time. Though my soul longs for order I live in a constant state of lateness. I got to the airport an almost two hours before flight.
I just got back from BlissDom, more than a blogging conference. Blown away once again by the attention to detail, BlissDom12  nailed it!  The connections and networking of mentorship was astounding. A genuine sincere group of people who want to express, encourage, explore and excavate the workings of life.   A fantasy world really, but is it? Can I achieve all the things they are sharing and telling me I can? Yes I believe I can.
Upon my departure of the incredible Gaylord Opryland Hotel, I  go back into the world of gray.  I stepped out into the sounds of planes, trains and automobiles.   Cold air greeted me as I wheeled past the headlights. A suitcase wrestler managed the bags as I rounded the stairs into the bus, fruit in hand. Smooth sailing to the airport listening to country gospel, of course, and only in Nashville would you get this.  The rising suns warmth, melts my face.   I go up to the Southwest Airline's counter and just start crying for reasons beyond my control, explaining that I have special needs.   I handed her a letter quoting I had reconstructive surgery, two magnets in my breasts, a wound vac pump and a bulb drain.  They took one look at me and shut down their kiosk to help me.  Beth and Pam, the new girl, saw that I had no clue and I was crying so hard I couldn't think.  They checked me in, tagged my bag (that was overweight but they waved it) and both carried my carry on and helped me through security.  
Not sure why the explosion  of tears came at that time but it did and it was somewhat healing. Saying goodbye to some of my family was harder this time than most.  God is showing me more and more of His family through and in others. More if His Love and divine intervention every step of the way in this journey.   Screaming child just interrupted my thoughts. Lord calm his soul. Heal his heart.  Help his parents know what to do for him.  In Jesus name. Bless the soldiers walking by, who also looked back in concern for the child. 
You know people really are good in their hearts. The ticket agent walked me all the way to the gate. They just showed me Love. I was a mess. I could not stop the tears from streaming. Still streaming as I type.  Their passionate hearts thought something  was wrong. What I had to tell them is that it was an overflowing. I could not stop the tears. It was just part of it. Part of Christs healing.  
We were met by Kathy the TSA security officer who was to pat me down as I opted out of X-ray. I had my letter from the doctor explaining why  if I went through metal detector it might blow up. Or I might. At least so I thought.  Scary not knowing what to expect.  She was kind too. The floor was freezing.  I think I need to design scrub shoe covers in pretty designs for people who have to be barefoot in airports.  I went with her and showed her the letter so she knew what she was dealing with in me. I began to cry again.  Could not stop.  Her hands ran down my back first. And it hit me. Her hands were healing and non offensive, just as ours should be with one another. Just like Jesus.  I held my arms out as if standing in cross like position, balling and hanging my head for as my friend Angie would say, " I was slinging snot crying".  I came to a greater understanding of His sacrifice.   Everyone was very reassuring. Then the bag guy brought in my bags saying all my jewels, mostly costume, had to be looked at. I told him ok, but he better not lose my Rascal Flatts guitar pic or he'd be in big trouble.   I worked hard for that pic.  We had a moment of laughter. Then I was done. Broken a little, but blessed by the grace and humility I was shown by all.  And the healing hands that were so gentle.
Beth and I pushed onward to the gate where John generously took over as keeper of the crying woman.   I said my goodbyes and collected myself. Got talked into buying a way too expensive bag but it rocks.  Sitting still in the morning sun enjoying its warmth I began this post. 
One of the perks of all this is I was first on and will be first off the plane. 

Love love love. It is everywhere. It is in each one of us. We are meant to meet and greet and love one another networking through our stories every day. Being at BlissDom this year is exactly what I needed. It will be my suggestion for doctors to consider if time, disease and medicine allows for all to have a three week break in the middle of chemo to reconnect, recharge and refresh.  Realizing I am not alone in this world of strangers.  So I fly home for more fight. I am ready. Five more treatments y'all. Then, radiation,  surgery, and  Herceptin til Dec.  Yesterday I got the wound van taken off but not the drain.  The infection is gone praise God, but the hole has not closed up and there was another hole forming.  My skin is having a hard time closing up, so I got stitched up yesterday with more waiting.  Not the result we wanted, but still hoping for healing there.  Thanks for praying.  Chemo today hopefully so I can get this done.......
I need more of this weekend. More love. More Bliss. 
I feel blessed to have experienced once again His presence. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bliss Queendom

Very rarely do you go somewhere and you really do feel like royalty. This week I have been in Nashville. One of my other places I could live. I have family here so being with them feels like home to me.
Traveling and recovering from surgery last week, toting a wound vac for a week through hotels, trade shows and airports, attending one of the most wonderful conferences for women around, I walk. Offering up opportunity for grace to be shared, expressions of creativity explored and doted over like a newborn, and loving every minute of Blissdom. Why is it we get these opportunities to explore what God had intended for us all along. To understand the meaningness of connection and how that all works to glroify Him.
A sweet woman of God approached me last night as I sipped on a Sam Adams. Yes after yesterday it tasted really good. We were part of the Handmade Market Place with Blissdom. It was incredible but lots of work. I was pooped. As she approached I felt guilty I was having a beer, but even I like a cold beer every once in a while. She began by introducing herself but I was so wrapped up in my head about me holding the beer I did not catch her entire name. Such self centered narrow mindedness I was having.......As she shared with me how my blog had ministered to her as her sister had died in December of Leuikemia. Complimenting my "out there" attitude in my walk through treatment. She said it helps her understand how her sister must have felt. She has been following the journey since the beginning. I was so blessed by her grace, her strength and posture after losing what was obviously a precious part of her life. She turned and was gone.
I missed such an opportunity to connect with one of God's creations who loves because I was so wrapped up in my own silliness. So if you are this person reading this now, please email or twitter me and let me find you again. I have been looking for you all day.....I know God will bring us together before I leave for another year.
Thanks to Blissdom we met, thanks be to God.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Starting Over

Ok this feels horrible.  Not the chemo but that I will have to start over on this series Chemo: HOW DOES IT FEEL?  What started out as good intentions to help others has not been as easy to get accomplished as I thought. A few things happened on the way to OZ.
With the infection I have been fighting I now must have surgery to remove, clean out and give it more opportunity to heal.  Discouraging to say the least.  I am trying to stay positive, but I must admit.  It has been difficult.  I know I will feel much better once this is resolved.  If for some reason it does not get resolved and they have to take the expander out then I start over on that side after chemo to expand the skin, muscle and tissue......I am trusting the process and looking for ways God is blessing me along the way.  I know there is a reason for everything.  I am getting a much needed three week break from chemo.  Then when I resume I will have five more treatments.  The chemo is what is keeping it from healing all the way.  Please pray for me tomorrow as I have my surgery to repair this wound that will heal in Jesus name. Amen.

Friday, February 10, 2012

CHEMO: HOW DOES IT FEEL? DAY 9

After my port was installed, I had chemo that afternoon. I met with the doctor before and we discussed treatment and she patted me on my head, kissed me on the cheek and sent me on my way as she has done for hundreds of others, yet she made me feel special.
Again in anticipation of the medicine, feeling ok here goes and there is no turning back the attentive nurse could tell I was anxious. She gave me something that help with that. I had a port line taped to my chest ready to receive what it is intended for. With every bag they asked me do you know what you are getting today? Then they would show me the bags of medicine and say, " Ok this is blah blah blah and we are going to administer this now. I slept through most of it after they got started. It was all surreal. I mentioned before that I was fine that night, slept great, and even drove home, a five hour drive, from Houston. It was the third and fourth days that were the hardest for me and felt a little flat. Even still it was doable.

All in all chemo has been ok up until this week. Getting an infection really slowed things down. It also played some pretty bad tricks on my mind trying to discourage me. It has actually been nice to have that excuse to rest. I don't need an excuse I realize, but God used this time to show me how vulnerable I really am and how much more I needed Him to take care of me and how much I needed to take care of myself. Again humility.

So why is God having me learn more about humility? Isn't losing your breasts and having cancer humility enough? Is that rude for me to say? Or think? Is that more of that prideful mole I need to bop in the head again? It has given me more to think about. I have felt like my life is just a big mess. I have settled into a big pity party this morning when I couldn't find mt phone. I thought that is it. I am done. I can't even keep up with my phone. How irresponsible blah blah blah, whine whine whine. Then God said," flip back the covers on your bed". PHONE!
Why do I go into the worthless feelings instead of worthy prayer when I get like that? Pitiful if you ask me, but hoping the lesson sticks this time. Even in my prideful anguish my God does not hesitate or resist an opportunity to help me see how He is waiting for me to cry out to Him.
This week I have been a day late with each post. That should tell me something. So I am digging in the Word today looking for answers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

CHEMO:HOW DOES IT FEEL? DAY 8

I finally feel better, but still favoring my left side. I have not felt bad like that the entire time I have been on chemo. I was a little scared last night. I am better today. I have changed andtibiotics and had a culture done so hopefully we can get to the bottom of this infection. I do have to say there were two thoughts that crossed my mind during this ,yet again, the process of trust and humility of my precious but sometimes proud mouth.

I had to come clean with what I was feeling otherwise I felt like it would just stay stuck inside waiting to come out later in some other way. First thought that made my mind run wild, was the thought that the infection would be what "does me in". I know I know sounds morbid or depressed,but it's reality. So the result was I got mad and said to myself,"No way is that going to the thing after all this". Spoken like a true prideful person. What it showed me was the direct correlation to our fear and anger. I had always taught that the root of anger is fear and thia week God showed just how directly they are involved with ine another.
Secondly, the gruesome thought that somehow this hole where the infection is (I am sorry by the way if this grosses some of y'all out) would just split wide open,the expander would pop out and well there you have it. Showing me yet again how little I know of the human body and how I was complaining too much and not trusting God. It is still all very scary but it also is not something they have never seen before.
So they put me on new antibiotics and took a culture of it or what was coming from it. It is very humbling to wear a mini pad stuck to the inside if a camisole. Never thought I would combine those two thingsn other than if I were a nursing mother
Fear not for I am with you the Lord says. Fear Not!
So I fear not chemo or any other likely thing that would try to separate me from the love of God.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

CHEMO: HOW DOES IT FEEL? DAY 6&7

Ooops.  Day 6 got lost yesterday.  Mostly because yesterday was what I used to call for my girls a Sesame Street Grovers Bad Awful Day.  It was a stay low in the bed day. I had an ice bag on my head for the headache and a hot bag on my breast to draw out infection.  It was a really funny sight.  Just moving around hurt, opening my eyes hurt, my head hurt, infection started in my left breast, got shots for WBC to bring those up.  All in all it HURT.
But today, I am better.  Infection starting to respond to medicine.  And as only a small town would have it I had the nurse come by and look at it, take a picture to email the doctor who is in Houston this week so he can see it.  Only in a small town can you get house calls like that.  So grateful.
There are many things, yes, I hate about the expanders, the port in my neck and chest, yet I am humbled by His Love for me to take care of me so sweetly.  I have really had an ok time up til this point and know that this is where the rubber meets the road.  I am in the thick of it and only, after today, will have four more chemo treatments left.  I will have to take Herceptin intravenously til Dec. but hoping I can take port out and just do it in my arm.  They said I could.  Radiation is after chemo but only for about three weeks every day but for only about 5 minutes a day of treatment.  Then I have to wait three months for my final surgery to take out expanders and put in my implants.  A long, but worthy, wait.
Another lesson in waiting.  I am finding that waiting is closely linked to control.  When you are really at the mercy of God, the doctors, the chemo, the process, and your body my willingness to yield is challenged.  I still have that little mole try and rear its head trying to convince me that I need to be in control.  A very humbling experience and one that I obviously need to learn again and again.  I want that submission to Him to be automatic, always.
His word never fails me, always corrects me and gives me peace.
Psalm 27:14  "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
The Word describes it as a gift.  We are waiting for a gift.  The gift.
James 4:6b "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble".
More humility Lord, more grace.  He has granted me so much already. I am thankful He is an endless supply.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

CHEMO: HOW DOES IT FEEL? DAY 5

I have learned a lot about insistence with chemo. Insisting that what I know is best for me? As if I went to medical school. I do know a lot about some things, but am no expert in many others areas. Just typing and saying the word chemo is a scary thing. It is not a normal word in my vocabulary. It is an exception and I found out that there exceptional people who also have had to use that word in their lifetime. It was clear to me that. I was part of a unique group who have been given an opportunity to praise and know that God is near.

Recognizing how incredible the human body is as it finds and fights its way back to some recognizable sense of normal. Is normal where I want to go? What is normal anyway?
Living intentionally for God everyday is where I have to go each day.

I read another journal entry ,"who knew the simple extension of an arm could mean so much? Our very body that houses and hosts the very Glory of Our King. God has been ever faithful keeping me close in hand. There really is power in His name."

In the story of the insistant friend or persistent friend God showed me how prideful thinking can often lead to.....well lots of stuff. Lots of stuff not good for me.
"God often answers us after long and persevering requests. He hears prayers and grants blessings long after they appear to be unanswered or withheld. He does not promise to give blessings immediately. He promises only that He will do it according to His will and plan. Although He promises to answer the prayer of the faithful, often He requires us to wait a long time to try our faith. He may allow us to persevere for months or years, until we are completely dependent on Him, until we see that there is no other way to receive the blessing, and until we are prepared to receive it. Sometimes, we are not ready to receive a blessing when we first ask. We may be too proud, or we may not comprehend our dependence upon Him. Maybe we would not value it, or the timing for it may simply be wrong. If what we ask for is good and accords with God's will, He will give it at the best time possible."

Read more: http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/2672/Parable-of-Persistent-Friend.htm#ixzz1lZeGvVLT

I am thankful I have friends who are insisting and persisting on my behalf. I am thankful my Lord keeps knocking though I begrudgingly sometimes answer Him. Why am I hesitating at all when it comes to God. I know it and say it in my head. Forcing myself to listen even when I don't want other the answer. Sometimes i am afraid of the answer.
Chemo and fear dance closely next to one another. I am learning and insisting I learn the difference so that God ca nave His way in me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

CHEMO: HOW DOES IT FEEL? DAY 4

Pre to chemo, but feel as though it is also part of what you go through with the chemo process.  An entry from my journal back in July prior to double mastectomy reveals much about pre-judging in me.  Not a pretty sight, but learning how to see it before it comes.

July 11th 2011-----"Today I saw the plastic surgeon.  I had made a pre judgement about him without really knowing much about him.  I do that a lot and God is showing me in this experience to greet everyone with a holy kiss as if they too might have news of a cancer in their lives.  I am learning a lot already and it has only been 5 days since I was told---I had to sit topless in a room with two men as they measured, poked, pinched, marked with a marker and took pictures of my breasts--AWKWARD  I was sweating and felt clammy, nervous, and weird (I am laughing now as I type cause this is funny to me reading it).  My mind again was put at east when I learned he was trained at MD Anderson and taught micro surgical procedure.  Um, well shut my mouth.
God has just been with me every step of the way.  I pray it is a simple mastectomy and has not gone in the sentinel nodes.  I pray and pray.  My head hurts, stomach nausea, tired yet I pray-Semper Fi."

I share this with you now as you understand the places I have been have only strengthened me for such a time as this in my life.  I am humbled at the gift.    Today I thought of a great name for my book I have signed to publish and thought I might share it here.....God Gave Me an Upgrade.  

Everything He has done for me has only been for me to draw nearer to Him.  Our lives are so filled the fullness almost makes us too blind to see.  Open your eyes to the wonders of God and all His Creativity.

Friday, February 3, 2012

CHEMO: HOW DOES IT FEEL? DAY 3

Being tethered to a pole for hours sitting in a Lazy Boy type chair with other people getting fed chemo right into my jugular vein at first scared the living daylights out of me. It took me a couple times to not cry when they started.   I remember sitting on the bed before they took me in to receive my port and the thought of it just made my stomach do a flip flop.  I barely take Tylenol, so to think of what was going to go into my body was scary.  I really considered myself a fairly healthy person.  Hardly got sick, maybe once a year with cedar allergies, an occasional headache or normal body aches and pains from aging and I am not that old!  I worked out, I ate pretty well and I was generally pretty happy all the time.  So, as I sat there thinking how this could be happening to me and that it felt like a dream and whirlwind, God rested His hand on my shoulder.  So came the lesson in trust.  More trust.  Complete trust.
So after I got my port later that day I received my first round of chemo.  The type of chemo I was on for the first 12 weeks getting it every three weeks, was called, and of course I had to look it up, AC (Doxorubicin, Cyclophosphamide).  How they get AC from that name is beyond me.  I heard they call this the "red devil".  I refused to call it that and proclaimed angels watching over me.  It is actually red in color and it makes you pee red.......just so you know.  But that goes away in a couple days.
I got my first round at MD Anderson the same day I received my port like I said.  I was pretty anxious so they gave me something for that, thankfully.  Worked like a charm and immediate.  They were thorough, calm and so gentle with me as they administered the meds.  They covered me with a blanket that had been warmed.....how do they do that and can I get one for my house?  It is such a wonderful gift to get that fresh out of the dryer warmth.  The chemo doesn't hurt going in, doesn't sting or burn.  It was more of a head issue getting over the initial shock.  I caught myself saying, "Ok I guess there is no turning back now".  It seemed so absolute and not flexible. So out of my control.  Again trust.   I slept through most of it, but worried more about staying ahead of the nausea than anything.  I managed to do that thanks to my husband who made sure I had what I needed for that.  He is the best.  I slept well that night only getting up once but no throwing up.  It really is amazing how if you allow the enemy any sort of foothold in your mind the visions you have of what something might be like run wild.  It was not like that at all.  I think in my mind I had visions of thrashing about like a fish out of water. Thank goodness it is dare I say, "more sophisticated" than that.  I woke up the next day, all was well and I actually drove my own car home, five hours, from Houston.  It was the next day that took me by surprise.
They had told me that sometimes it is the third and fourth days that I might feel something.  As predicted that was the case.  My head hurt so ice packs really helped there and I was just flu like, nauseated and tired.  I slept a lot.  I did throw up one time only because I took my vitamins on an empty stomach, like normal, but nothing was normal about chemo.  I should have known.  It wasn't too bad.  I kept hearing my sweet friend, Jill, her voice in my head saying, "You can do this, it's not that bad, just listen to your body".  So that is what I am doing.
As I would lay down for naps I felt swirly, tingly, chill like feeling going up and down my back, arms, legs and head.  When I would feel that I would just pray and thank God that it was the medicine leaving no cell unturned, no cell left unchecked and no cell left behind.  Sorry that just came out.   I had to turn my attitude into gratitude as I had been sort of sour about it before. Mostly out of fear.  No lets say ALL because of fear.  It is an interesting force.
So I continued that regime for 12 weeks, lost my hair and lost some weight, which both have been a good thing and very freeing. Not having hair has been the least of all this.  I had a ton of energy during this 12 weeks and was eating right and juicing my way through the treatments.  It was very predictable and really almost easier to plan things cause it was holding so true to course.  I did not plan on things the day of chemo or on the third or fourth days and it seem to work fine.  I got through it and it was the worst of the worst as far as meds go.....so I thought, "wow I really can do this".
I still think that, but this 12 weeks has been different.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chemo: HOW DOES IT FEEL? DAY 2

This certainly is not my second day of chemo but it is my second day of this series. I will have to go back and you to bear with me as I recount some of my early days starting chemo. As if I am some pro now. As I read my journal entries I read even then God was providing information to every detail to every question. He has met my every need through the initial shock of the news, the surgery and the thought of chemo. I read that before my surgery my eye was twitching so bad I could hardly keep it open. Needing rest. The past two days my eye has been twitching again. Again. Much needed rest is needed. Five days into it and God was teaching overtime showing me Himself in the midst of the storm.
Yesterday I rested all day. I had no energy except to eat, do dishes, a load of laundry, empty trash, make our bed and go back to sleep. Way out of my comfort zone in that I normally don't stop moving. All my major joints ache, my eye twitching won't stop and my head is pounding. I sat in the sun yesterday and it zapped me, but in a good way. It warmed my face, neck and body filling it with much needed vitamins. Such good medicine for me and my soul. I listened to a symphony of birds let out of winter who were serenading me as I walked the yard. It was divine.
Stretching and swaying, reaching and moving for motion is lotion.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

CHEMO: HOW DOES IT FEEL?

Photobucket

I am starting another month long blogging feature here to share and explain how chemo feels, for me at least, while I am going through it.  I hope it will help others who may be going through treatments and chemo.  I know everyone's experience is different.  Everyone's treatment is not the same.  Everyone's tolerance and ability to cope unique to themselves.  What I hope this will do is hopefully take some of the mystery out of going through it, the fear and the anxiousness someone might feel when told they will receive chemo.  At any rate here goes another exercise for me to write something every day, that is really what this is about, but also in doing so I will journal my experience here for others to share.

I can say for certain that God is good all the time and has been walking with me through this medical mystery that at times I still am bewildered as to the How? and Why?  I am pleased to have God in my life, to trust and hold my hand when I am afraid.  To carry and walk along side me when I need Him.  He brings to my remembrance all His promises He has kept already and will keep in my life.  None of us knows the plan, but He does so that brings an invaluable comfort level when faced with life threatening disease.  I don't believe this is the end for me and that God wants to use me still for His purpose beyond even what I can see now.  I trust that.  I believe that with all my heart and I hope you do too.  I have my good days and bad and you will hear about those.  I have been journaling my walk so hopefully some of you can relate to some of the feelings if not for me for someone else you may know.  And chances are with the statistics we all know someone who has been affected.

So without further delay I start this month long blog to chronicle, to enlighten, to encourage, to put into writing what some may not be able to, and to bring a hope to those who are scared.  Like me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Hearts Desire


As Christmas decorations are coming down I am trying to keep a few things around that are wintery.  Which slows the process of getting all of the decorations out at the same time.  So it sort of lingers a little longer.  I caught myself holding onto memories even if they are memories from a week ago when everyone was here and we were all together.  Can I recapture that feeling by allowing the decorations to linger longer.....ummm I think not.
What I can do 
is relive the pleasure I had decorating in the anticipation of our gathering which puts a smile on my face.  I love "futzing" around as my mother would say and tinkering with my house making it feel warm and welcoming.  Checking beds, lights, plants, arrangements, linens, bathrooms, and just every day stuff.  It must take me to a place of hopeful anticipation.  Thanking God as I work alongside Him preparing the day, putting my hearts desires out there in prayer for Him to do it all over again one day soon.  Putting my hearts desires into His hands through prayer.
I did that a few years ago when I found out I have another sister (calling her my CA sister) by the same father.  I tried everything I could with the information I had to find her. Then when 9/11 hit I had a sense of urgency and even hired a private investigator with little success.  I know I have blogged about this but wanted to go into more of how God has not and did not forget my hearts desire to find her.  Though I had little success before, He is now allowing His hearts desire with His perfect timing and orchestrating of all the events leading up to our meeting.  To confirm it was through Him, to confirm in me He did not forget, to confirm many things so that I would not doubt, to confirm in me more of Him and less of me.  I have come to find out she and I and my older sister (sharing the same mother, my TN sister) that we all have ties to Haiti.  Me, through Heart of Haiti being an Ambassador through Macy's.  My CA sister through Apparent Project working with artists there helping them sell their wares, build relationships, mentor programs and encourage the people.  And my TN sister who helps gather backpacks and supplies for a school there as well as a portion of our small company, Slumby.com, goes to help those in Haiti.  Why God has us all involved with things in Haiti I am not sure of.
What I am sure of is 
For such a time as this He has us in the palm of His hands and has brought us together by serving others in the same place.  Now I don't know about you but that is just not a coincidence.  More like divine appointment if you ask me.
Only God could have orchestrated my hearts desire in such a perfect way.
There is no way on earth any of us could have done what He apparently has done through us, with us, and all around us.  He wants to let us know our meeting is not by chance, it is not happenstance and that He never forgot my request to Him to find her.  Not for any reason but to let her know I/we exist.  Wasn't looking to pry or point fingers or wallow in any shame just hoping for a glimpse of His glory through the experience.  We have discovered we both have had many of the same issues of rejection and feelings of abandonment, but God has prevailed even still.  He never dropped the ball or went to sleep masterminding His eternal plan for us to all meet.  Walking through breast cancer is a serious thing and with the same blood running through her veins it is important for her to know what is going on with me so she can be careful.  So had another sense of urgency to find her again.  This time it would be easier as social media was not readily available like it is now. God knew that ahead of time and now graces me with such a gift.  He is a giving God.  He loves us intimately honoring our requests even when they seem farfetched, and even when we may not get an answer right away.  No thought, prayer or wish gone unforgotten by Him.  He is always keeping a watch for what is best for us, when it is best for us, knowing fully how to give what is best for us at the best possible time.  His.
So I get to meet her for the first time this Sat. in Austin and she will come back to my house and stay with me for two days. She will also be on my show Madre Minutes, Monday morning, 8:30am CST, on MomTV.com to talk about what she is doing in Haiti and also to encourage others with our story.   I will document the entire time she is here in hopes to share our story with more people who might be discouraged about finding family, or discouraged in finding out more about how God works in our lives so carefully, so specifically and so generously.  I will share with her photographs, videos and anything I can that might help her in her processing of all this.  We both have come to a place of forgiveness which is key.  My hope is this meeting will be the start of generations to come of healing and restoration.  Where no blame is put on what has been done and more emphasis is valued on what He is doing right now for eternity.  Where a persons hearts desire is validated in a single hug, a single text, a single Facebook message or phone call.  He designed the format and template for us to cross paths giving me, answering and anchoring my heart to Him letting me know I am loved by Him.
Thank you God for lingering still in my hearts desires.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New YOU Year!

photograph taken by Jessica Lorren Photography
I am starting another series I am calling Happy New YOU Year.  Often times we make resolutions we can not keep which makes us not happy. We promise things we really can not and sometimes even know ahead of time we can not keep them, which again makes us not happy. And too many times we start a New Year off not so happy, so decide nothing will change, so resolve just to stay that way......not happy.  I will admit it is a hard time of the year for many people and not discounting that at all.
This year I want to focus on Joy.  Not just a happy joy, buy a deep rooted sense of joy that can only come from our Father.  In my opinion happiness is a temporal and exterior emotion that is fleeting.  Joy comes from within with an endless supply line straight to the Father.   To learn what "His joy will be my strength" really is like and how do I apply that to my life?  A Joy that even in disappointments will rise up covering all hurts and anxiousness.  The Joy that surpasses all understanding where the only thing left to do is laugh.  We are all just a bunch of walking wounded trying to find the combination for happiness, right?  Without sounding to cliche' joy starts with JesUS.  Jesus + US.  Many sites and well known scholars teach that happiness, joy and contentment starts with US, but without the JES in front of that word, is like the JO without the Y.  In order for there to be more of it in our world people need to see it in my life.  If I don't have it in the first place then all I have to ask for it denying self rule establishing heavenly reign allowing  Joy, in and through my life.  To think that I could be, am and want to be a vessel for His Joy excites me for what He will accomplish.  That He would consider me as His ambassador, His messenger, His catalyst, His seed of potential and accomplice to achieve His goal.  JOY!  When I am in the "midst of thee", His direction puts me on the road that leads to Joy.  He is not only about Joy, He is Joy.  Joy makes up the very fabric and character of His being.  Now, who would not want that, and why so much resistance to His presence and Joy?
So I am on the hunt for Joy.  I will keep a watchful eye grabbing onto Joy whenever I can.  I had a UPS man tell me once, "You always seem to have a smile on your face".  I really like to smile at people and perhaps it is the overflowing amount of Joy I feel most of the time that keeps my mouth in an upward turn.  I like to keep things looking up, thinking positively about most situations, trusting in the process for His Joy in the outcome, and striving for Joy in every situation.  A bit too rose colored glasses for some, but for me it works.   Before I speak or think that I have some earthly wisdom that everyone needs to hear about, I will turn to Joy, I will seek Joy and I know I will find it.
Call it a resolution, call it a declaration or just call it a calling.   This year I want to understand fully the fullness, the indwelling and the superior reign of His Joy and how to share it with others.  I hope you will join me on this journey and walk, share it with others who might also enjoy reading and peruse Joy with me, together as it only takes one of us to bring Joy to the world.
As I said goodnight and Happy New Year last night to my sweet adorable husband, he whispered in the dark......"2012 bring it on!"  That will be my New You this Happy Year!