Friday, September 28, 2012

Be Still...

So a few months back, my husband and I were having dinner with friends.  The question was asked, “What living person would you most love to have dinner with?”

Well, given my very bad memory (despite chemo), I can’t remember any of the names that were mentioned that night.  But I do remember who I said I wanted to have dinner with.

“Charles Stanley.”  

Given that our friends are Jewish, they both said, “Who?”  Some hot guy in a band, a gorgeous actor?  Nope.  Just an old pastor out of Georgia who I’ve loved for some time now.  You can catch him on tv and he’s on the radio every morning at 9:30.  I try and stay home ‘til he’s done preaching, or I’ll sit in my car til 10 a.m. in a parking lot.  I just love the guy.

So this morning’s message is something I want to share with all of you.

He spoke about “being still” -- my motto for the past five years of my life.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  (Psalm 46:10) He broke down that succinct scripture beautifully in 22 minutes.   As only he can do.  I love when he says in his Southern drawl, “Now watch this...”  Oh, I’m watchin’, Charles!  (Does anyone call him Chuck, I wonder?)  I doubt it.  

But if any of you wonder how a mom with cancer can see this  as a gift, then I thought by hearing his message, it may help you figure me out a little better.  Most importantly, it may help you ride out a storm in your own life with peace that surpasses all understanding.  Got 22 minutes?  I so hope so!

So here’s his link:  
  When you get there, click on Radio.  Then click on Radio Archives.  Then click on today’s broadcast, 
                    “Confidence in the Midst of Distress.”

And just to let you know, Donna, Rachel and I are headed to Georgia in two weeks.  The girl (me) who has issues with flying, just booked 4 flights to and from Georgia (notice I didn’t say direct flights!) to spend a week with Donna’s family and friends.  And guess who cannot wait to sit in church and listen to Charles Stanley speak?  Me! Me! Me!  Donna texted me last Sunday and wrote, “Guess who turned 80 today!?”  And I said, “He better not die or retire by next month, or I’m gonna’ kill him!”

So please find 22 minutes to be still today or tonight.  Then  listen to his beautiful message about truly being still...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gentle Nudging...

I got into bed last night and felt like I was lying on top and beneath enormous marshmallows.  The feather bed and down comforter engulfed me in comfort.  My cat settling on my chest was the cherry on the top.  Boy, I am sooo comfortable, I thought.  And then my next thought was, I so know I am not going to fall asleep.   I wrestled with turning the tv on.  Isn’t a Housewives re-run on?  I wondered.  I chose to pray instead.  

Closing my eyes, I said, “Lord, thank you for dying on the cross for me.  Thank you for forgiving me of my sins. Thank you for lavishing me with blessings.”   I then began praying for those in need.  Including me.  

Just then, I felt a nudge.  His nudge.  Go clean out that big basket beside the bed.   (I’m getting so much better now at obeying those nudges than ignoring them.)

So I moved my cat off of me and threw back my covers.   I grabbed that big basket and set it in front of me on the bed.  Opening the lid, I saw that is was packed to the brim with stuff I’ve been meaning to go through -- old summer camp receipts, get well cards (I’m tryin’!) and lots of inspirational pictures I’ve ripped from magazines.    And then I saw a book.

“Cancer: 50 Essential Things To Do” by Greg Anderson.  I’m not sure if I bought this for myself or if someone had given it to me.  (If you did, please email me and let me know!)  But I found it very strange that a book of mine was in this basket because, to my knowledge, I don’t keep any of my books in this basket.  

But upon opening it, I immediately felt convicted.  You see, last night we had friends over for dinner.  And although I ate a healthy meal, I ate an unhealthy amount of chocolate chip cookies when everyone left.   The sugar addict in me has been out in full force lately.  

Several months ago, sitting exactly where I am now (in my backyard), the Lord, in response to my asking for help regarding the way I should be eating (raw vs. “normal”) answered me in scripture: 

“So do not worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?  These thoughts dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly father already knows all of your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.’”  Matthew 6:31-33.

Well, that gave me a little bit of freedom to “eat, (I don’t drink) and be merry!”  But at the same time, I need to be responsible.  And I know that cancer loves sugar.  So do I.   And I also know that the Lord’s words of healing over me did not come with any strings attached.  “If you eat sugar, I will not heal you!”  No, I just know better.  I also know in reading that book last night, that I was convicted that I’m not exercising.  Isn’t running to and from thrift stores exercise?  I think not.  I dress for the occasion.  I just don’t ever show up to the occasion.

Prior to finding the book last night, I was again asking God, “Why did I feel led to go to Chicago last year?”  And in reading this book, I believe I have my answer.  Because an INTEGRATIVE approach, for me, is what God is calling me to do.

If I had thousands of dollars in my cancer account, I would be ordering this book by the hundreds and giving them out to people.  I think everyone, with or without a cancer diagnosis, should be reading it.   Few of us are taking care of the bodies, the temples that God has blessed us with, the way He intended.   

Integrative care of our bodies involves medicine, nutrition, exercise, attitude, support and a spiritual perspective.   

Two of my favorite paragraphs (and there are many!) from this book are these: 

“Survivors tend to undergo a spiritual transformation that is quite deep.  (Hello?)  For thousands of people, it becomes the central focus of their entire lives.  In essence, they become new people.

...In a very real sense, survivors have come to let God work in and through them.  Marianne Kegan, an ovarian cancer survivor, explained the essential nature of the spiritual walk.  She said, ‘Now, when I walk into a room, I am there serving as God’s representative.’  For millions of cancer survivors, this is the apex of the healing journey.”

Love that Marianne Kegan, an ovarian cancer survivor, and I feel the same way.

Another favorite paragraph:

“Elaine’s choice of treatment is clearly not the answer for everyone.  But following one’s conviction is an important element of nearly every successful treatment program.  Today, nineteen years after her initial diagnosis (of ovarian cancer!), Elaine’s cancer remains in remission, and she leads a full and happy life.”  

Gotta love that one!

And just one more:

“ I see it [cancer] as a gift,” said singer Olivia Newton-John about her journey through breast cancer.  “I know it sounds strange.  But I don’t think I would have grown in the areas I did without this experience.”

I always knew I liked her!  Love that someone else sees this journey as a gift too.

So as I embark later this afternoon on my fourth treatment in three years, I am confident  that the Lord is with me.  Guiding me.  Whispering to me.  Nudging me.  

Is He nudging you?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Know what I was doing 19 years ago today?  I was getting married to a guy I had met in a parking lot on my 21st birthday.  Six years later, we were married.  And 19 years after that (today), we were sitting in an oncologist's office.  Who woulda' thought?

As I've said before, God knew that Ed was meant for me.  Know how I know?  
Read on...

So the moment that I laid eyes on Ed, I turned to my girlfriend and said, "There's my husband."  Truth be told, I had a boyfriend at the time so I shouldn't have even noticed him.  But I did.  

We went out the very next night after I broke up with my boyfriend.  And on our first date, I could have given him my left hand and said, "the rings goes right here."  But I have a little more class than that.  Just a little.

So, even though I knew I wanted to marry Ed, did God want me to?  I began praying for His guidance.   Two years later, around Christmas time, I noticed a small box under the tree.  

"Hmmm.  I wonder what that is," he said while pointing it out.  I was devastated.  We had gone to his jeweler about a month earlier to get his watch fixed and I had tried on an engagement ring.  Now there it was under the tree.  Where was my surprise proposal?  But more importantly, where was my answer from God?

That night, knowing the proposal was coming,  I took my bible and went into the bathroom and sat on the floor.  

As I leaned my back against the wall, I cried, "Lord, I have been asking you for two years if Ed is the man you want me to marry.  And I haven't heard a thing from you.  If you say no, I will walk away.  Ed will kill me, but I will.  I just want to obey you."

Within seconds, the numbers 4345 came to my mind (Ed's address at the time).  Psalms 43, 45 to be exact.  Now just to let you know, I rarely read my bible.  To prove to you that I rarely opened up that beautiful book, I didn't even know if the Psalms went up to 45.  

As I turned to Psalm 43, it read --

"Why so discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad?  I will put my hope in God!  I will praise Him again - my savior and my God!"

Given that I had asked God for two years if this was the man for me, I would say that I felt absolutely discouraged when I received no answer, no direction.  When I saw that word "discouraged", it took my breath away.  When I saw the following verse, it took more than my breath away.

Psalm 45:10 --

"Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say.  Forget your people and your family far away.  For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.

The princess of Tyre will shower you with gifts.  The wealthy will beg your favor.  The bride, a princess, looks glorious in her golden gown.  In her beautiful robe, she is led to the king accompanied by her bridesmaids.  What a joyful and enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!"

OK, so now I was actually scared.  I was scared to be in the bathroom with the Holy Spirit as He gave those words to me.  Nothing like this had ever happened to me before.  The feeling that God -- God!-- was with me in that tiny bathroom in Calabasas was a feeling I will never forget.  In fact, it's the same exact feeling I felt when God gave me the words of healing one year ago in my family room.

When they call the Bible the living Bible, I get it.
I so get it.

So though we've had our highs and lows in 19 years of marriage, I have always known that I have a foundation from God to stand on.  Though I have said, "I'm done!" a few more times than I can count, I knew I never would be.   I live to be obedient to God.  Even if it hurts sometimes.

So this afternoon my husband and I spent our anniversary in my oncologist's office.  The new plan is that I begin a new regimen this Friday of chemo every two weeks and a daily chemo pill at night.   In case you're wondering, I won't lose my hair.  And I'm grateful.  Because I've been sporting a new hairdo that I actually like.  And if I recall what I looked like when my hair grew in (picture pubic hair all over my head!), I am really glad I get to keep it!
So, Sweetie, I dedicate this post to you.  Happy Anniversary.  The card I got you (spoiler alert!) reads:

I need you
I want you
I love you.
and Always.

Happy Anniversary.  
I look forward to 19 more.
By the way, I drove over to our old condo today and took a photo of our old address.  
I love that address.
See above.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Too Cute!


OK, came home today and found this in my kitchen.
A little pair of hiking boots tied to gorgeous sunflowers.  
Apparently, my friend Ann reads my blog.  How thoughtful and creative is her brain!?  

So dang cute I can't stand it!

I share these photos with all of you and thank you for your kind emails to me regarding yesterday's post.  So, so many of you responded.  Look, if my friend had cancer and I hadn't already walked this path, I doubt my fingers would know what to type.  But yours type.  And that, my friends, is a gift.  

Keep typing.  Type words of encouragement to someone who needs them.  Type words of  forgiveness to someone who needs them.  Type words of praise to someone who needs them.   Your kind heart and forthcoming words are blessings to the eyes who read them.  Trust me -- I have a little experience in this area! 

Keep using your gifts!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Another Hill...

Well, another hill to climb.

The new treatment I have been receiving isn't doin' it.  It's shrinking some of my lesions, but others are continuing to grow.  So we'll be meeting with my doctor next week to look into other options.

My scan was last Thursday.  There's nothing fun about waiting for scan results. Can I get an Amen? 
But this time was a little different.  I felt at my core, the results would not be pretty.  My numbers have basically doubled each month which didn't lead me to believe that the drug was working.  True, it takes about four treatments before the numbers go down.  But mine never took the plunge.  Though ironically enough, I've never felt better.  Go figure!

But knowing that another hill is in my future to climb, I'm just not ready to put on my hiking boots once again.  I think I'm a flip-flop kind of girl and God knows you can't hike in those things.  Well, actually I've never hiked in my life (I have an aversion to dust and snakes and sweating), but I'm guessing I'm right on this one.  

But that God of ours will help me lace up those boots once again.  He always does.  

So though I sit here with Kleenex by my side,  I know He is faithful.
As I was getting ready this morning, I heard the date mentioned on the radio.  Yes, I knew it was September 11th, but I also knew that that date meant something to me personally, and I just couldn't remember what is was.  And then it came to me.  On this date, one year ago today,  the Lord had promised me healing.  

And I know He is faithful.

And another thing.  Our church hosted the Brenton Brown concert last Sunday night.  Though I love their music, I rarely find myself back at church following a Sunday morning service.  But I did go back.  By myself.  And when I heard Brenton sing, "You are the strength of my heart/I can rely on you/You are the joy of my life" I knew those words would make it into my next blog.  

A beautiful reminder that He is the strength of my heart.  
Is He yours?

Listen to this beautiful song at itunes.  It's called "God My Rock."  
I would offer you a link, but I haven't a clue as to how to do it.