Sunday Strength

h, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,

that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!

I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

~Job 19:23-25

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische


The Next Phase

...of the saga that is Mom's cancer has started.

This week has been a rough one and about the hardest part about it for me is the realization that it was probably easy compared to what is coming.

On Tuesday her doctor had her come in to do another CT scan.  She wants one at the end of every round of chemo to compare.  If you cancer is going to be chemo-resistant, they aren't going to waste your time or attack your body with something that isn't working.  Mom's CA-125 number had dropped but it hadn't dropped as low as her doctor would like and then this last time it did what no one wants it to do - it started to creep back up. 

Mom is one of those patients, too, that doctors point to when discussing the issues with the CA-125 test.  As invasive as her cancer is, as far as it has spread, her numbers should be in the thousands.  Normal is considered under 21.  This last round of chemo her number dropped to 20.4.  When it started to creep up?  It went to 41.  The highest her number has been is 595 (I think that was it...I may be off by one or two).  Forty-one doesn't sound too horrible now, does it?


Between her last CT scan and now, the tumors  have increased in number all over her abdominal area.  She has a 1/2 centimeter tumor in her esophagus.  Considering your esophagus is only about a centimeter in diameter, that's a pretty good-sized tumor.

The hardest to hear, though, is that she has tumors - yup plural - and not just plural, many (approximately 20) in her liver. 

There is very little they can offer to her but they won't quit trying.  Not until Mom says she's done.  To have those conversations, though.  To listen in on those conversations as she talks to her doctor...it is so hard to fathom.

My mother is 64 years old.  She has always been the most vibrant and energetic person I know.  Always on the go, can't keep her on the couch.  Now she can't get off of it.  She has played on the floor with her grandchildren up until several months ago, a few months into round one of chemo.  She has been to work almost every day of her treatment, missing a few days here and there when side effects reared their ugly head.

Chemo and inactivity caused blood clots to form in her leg.  One of them broke loose and got into her lungs.  If it hadn't hung up where it did, she'd be gone.  Taken in a few seconds.  Instead, the clot is discovered in the CT scan and she's now on a blood thinner.  She has mentioned she was spared so God could torture her.  That isn't true and she knows it but I can see how she'd feel that way.  Why save her from a blood clot to have her go through what comes next?  The spreading cancer.  Chemo that doesn't work.  Pain.  Humiliation as her body breaks down and she loses control of certain functions.


I keep praying it's because God intends a miracle.  And I am ALL for it.  I'm praying hard I get to be a witness to it because let me tell you... I will grab a bullhorn or I'll buy a microphone for my car and I will be shouting it from EVERYWHERE.  Nothing would make me happier.

However...I also know it could be He is calling her home and how He calls her home is entirely up to Him.  I don't have to understand it, like it or agree with it.  I just have to love Him and trust that He knows what He's doing. 

Honestly?  It is that faith, that belief and that knowledge that kept me from losing my temper a few times this week.  When they put Mom in the hospital on Tuesday, it looked like no big deal and they'd send her home on Wednesday.  Wednesday did not go as it should and it was really rough on Mom.  It got a little tough for me to curb my tongue a time or two and it was only that knowledge that God has it all covered that kept me from saying things to people I could not take back.  It never fails that there are insensitive people and when you need compassion you're definitely running into someone who doesn't have the slightest idea what that is.  It's not expected in a hospital but...it happens. 

When it does, I sometimes don't win the battle in my mind against uttering something sarcastic.  This time, though, praise Jesus, God kept my mouth shut.  It just has me wondering if I'm going to remember to rely on that faith every single time something comes up.  Probably not but I sure hope so.

This is a bit of a ramble and I have no gracious ending.  The only thing I can put here is what I stated earlier...with a minor twist.  This week was possibly just a hint at what is to come.  All I can pray is we all remember we serve a mighty God, an amazing God and know that He walks with us through this mess.  Right now, though, I just want to kick something...and then sit down and cry.

Instead I'll take a deep breath and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  All while praying...


Pumpkin Carving 2010

We don't "do" Halloween in our house as that whole demon & devil thing is just not welcome.  There is one thing, though, from Halloween that we do and the kids find to be a ton of fun.  I know they're meant to scare away evil spirits but there is something about carving a pumpkin every year that we have to do.  Skip the whole scaring & evil spirits thing.  We love heading out into the pumpkin patch and finding that perfect pumpkin.  I love watching my kids get into it and really enjoy themselves.  

This year, my kids got a bit fancy.  Each one did something more detailed than a few triangle eyes and broken teeth.  Here are this year's creations - lit and unlit.

It was hard to send the two home with the big kids (we kept the owl, they took the other two) but it was an amazing day!

Any time honored traditions your family does in spite of not "celebrating" Halloween?


Sunday Strength

o not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

~Matthew 6:19-21

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische


One Example Of Why I Love Blogs

I've been praying for Abby for a long time now.  I check in with the blog on occasion, see how she's doing and just read up a bit.  Her father, Brent, is a compelling writer and he recently started a mini-campaign for a young lady named Jessica (Go read her story.  I'll wait). 

This is the kind of thing I love to be a part of, to add my name to, to share with you.  If you click here, it'll take you to the post Brent wrote asking those who read their blog to become a part of Jessica's world.  A few typed words, a couple of added links and a young girl who has to stand up, keep her chin up, against a world full of cruel people can be reminded that there ARE people who see her for exactly what she is - a beautiful, wonderful young lady created by God and placed here, on earth, to glorify Him.  She is a Princess - a daughter of the King of kings.  God looks at her and is pleased with what He has made. 

It is by our weaknesses that He is glorified (you know, those verses in 2 Corinthians 12...Paul & his thorn).

I'd say Jessica glows to heaven and back a bit.  I only wish I had the pleasure of see her smile in person.  But I'm not complaining.  After all, a picture says a thousand words.

So... share Jessica's story, would you?  And "like" her picture on the Disney site.  Look at that beautiful face and remind yourself that not all of us "wear" our imperfections on the outside but oh the glory that God shows in those who do. 

You are a beautiful, glorious Princess, Jessica. 

Add your post:



This past Thursday afternoon, my son came home from school to discover we had been robbed.  He didn't realize that's what had happened and when he called me, I didn't grasp what he was explaining to me (we won't get into his lack of clarity with the English language) so I didn't discover it for another hour but there it was...  dressers ransacked, the contents dumped on the floor like discarded tissues.  Jewelry.  Gone.

Almost every piece of jewelry my husband and I own.  His jewelry was actually his grandfather's.  Inherited just four years ago next month.  My jewelry box contained my memories.  There was the birthstone ring my grandmother had designed using family diamonds, given to me on my 16th birthday.  There were earrings my mother had purchased for me on her trips to Hawaii and Alaska and a Cameo necklace my father gave me for Christmas one year.  There was my grandmother's Cameo ring - fragile and very old but filled with so many memories for me.  I couldn't look at that ring and not remember my grandmother in so many places at so many different times. 

The diamond circle necklace my husband had given me.  And...the wedding band he put on my finger the day we wed.  It sat in my jewelry box because it never did match up to my engagement ring and wasn't a comfortable fit.  A plain, white gold band we have always planned on having replaced but there to remind me of that wonderful day. 

The mother of pearl inlaid silver cross my son had picked out as a Christmas present...

There was other jewelry, too.  Gifts from old boyfriends (I'd often planned on putting those pieces on ebay.  Teach me to procrastinate?), other gifts from my parents, grandparents, husband and son.  SO many memories tied into that jewelry box.

The irreplaceable - a lock of hair from my son's first haircut.  Irony in that one - I carried that lock in my wallet for twenty years (or more) and had only recently stored it in my jewelry box because where I had it in my wallet had ripped. 

My husband's box was filled with stories, too.  It held his grandfather's rank (Lt. Col. in the Army when he retired), cuff links (from what I've heard, that man looked good in a suit...and could dance well enough to make the ladies swoon).  The dresser held his Army medals (my husband's grandfather was a well decorated WWII Vet). 

We didn't look at this stuff as expensive or worth a lot of money.  These things were tangible reminders of incredible, amazing memories.  We could look at these things, even if it was a glance when digging out a pair of earrings for the day, and take a long, long walk down memory lane.

Now...some of it will be Craigslist, pawn shop or ebay fodder.  But most of it will end up in the trash.

It is that thought that actually brings me to tears.  My precious, family memories reduced to garbage in some stranger's hands.

I am sickened by the thought of this person in my bedroom, the most intimate and personal room in my home.  I am sickened by the thought of him touching my clothing, my bed.  I still have many things that need to be washed.  I want to cry at the thought of him laughing at my loss of my son's baby hair.  I want to rewind the clock to lunchtime Thursday and move those two boxes out of the bedroom.  Take them with me to work so this person cannot have our history.

To me - they are my story.  To him - a few dollars.  To me, my memories.  To him - garbage.  To me - my history.  To him - a means to get some drugs.

Yet I know...I know so much other truth and that is what I am fighting to hold onto, swim my way back to - with everything I have, to hold onto His peace at the loss of my "things."  They are just things.  Yes.  I do know and completely understand that.

A friend of mine included these verses in an email to me when she first heard:

These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves!
Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it.

~Proverbs 1:18-19

How so very true...and while that thought gives me comfort, I fight to hold onto that, too.  I don't want to think anything but unkind thoughts right now.  I am hurt, frustrated, angry and above all - powerless.  I don't know anything about the person who broke into my home, I can't hunt him down, I can't beg him to give me back the stuff that is valueless money-wise but oh so meaningful to me.  I am stuck with a gaping hole on my dresser to remind me of all that he took.  I can't turn back time so I am forced to look forward, to figure out how to deal with this loss.  Pick up the pieces and move on from here.  Figure out a way to keep people out of my house and keep my family safe.

But until I do all of that...I sit and weep at the sinfulness of man and its oh so tangible consequences.


Sunday Strength

L isten to advice and accept instruction,
       and in the end you will be wise.
Many are the plans in a man's heart,
       but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails

~Proverbs 19:20-21


Hard to Digest

Care to wander down a bit of a road with me today? This morning I was going through my e-mail.  Typical morning endeavor.  There is a lot of junk mail in my email folder and I keep saying I'm going to clean it up so I only receive the stuff I really want to read but being a bit of a procrastinator, it turns out there is still a lot of wading through the weeds to get to the good stuff.

My attention this morning was caught by the subject line and title of the daily devotional I receive from Proverbs 31 Ministries.  It read:  "Do You Hate Sin/Encouragement for Today/Proverbs 31 Ministries".

That first question had me squirming in my seat a bit.  I knew there was some conviction coming and there was a lot of nervousness as to just how much.

See...I know I've been lazy.  I've allowed my relationship with God to "cool."  I have spent months and months sleeping in instead of getting up and waking up with God's Word.  This week I started getting up that 1/2 hour earlier again but that lasted for 3 days.  Today it was 15 minutes because I overslept....

How I love God and His timing.

The verse for the reading was Psalm 36:2.  After reading the devotional, I went and picked up the verse before and the few after it.  They read:

An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.

For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.

The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good.

Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong.

Psalm 36:1-5

Psalm 36:2 is hard enough:  The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and do good.  Toss in the other four and I am hanging my head, sorrowed to the point of tears for the pain I know I am causing God and what I am doing to myself and those around me.

It is my own pride that has stepped in the way, it is that which is running my life and it is that which will keep me from God.  Unwise is too gentle a word for what I am doing.  I am being foolish.

The story today's devotional writer tied to the verse was an attention-getter, too.  Especially is discussing the honest reflection of one of the young women present during the conversation.  It makes me wonder at the instantaneous of understanding.  That flash of knowledge that tells you you have strayed SO far...but God wants you BACK.  At His feet.  Turning your life - ALL of your life - over to Him.  Hating sin as much as He does.

Hating sin.

What does that look like?  We're taught and told and in today's climate, we're almost ordered to be gentle, "live and let live" and above all, practice tolerance.

You can't practice tolerance and hate sin.  It can't be done.  People don't care for "black and white" - they like their gray and I have to admit, for someone who lives most of the time in the black & white, a little gray is OH so easy and comfortable. 

But then...when I slide into that gray area, I do not live what I know to be the truth.  All that comes from the Word of God.  People think it might need some re-writing, some updating but I tremble at the horror of that thought.

Scripture is God breathed.  Updating it is not.  Take a look at our planet, governments, the populations of our prisons...  We prove over and over and over again that humans mess things up.  Colossally.

Hating sin, as God hates sin, is a mandate from Him.  We are called to be as God is - holy and perfect. (To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours ~ 1 Corinthians 1:2, for one reference)  We will mess that up.  A lot.  But that does not give us permission to stop trying. 

We do not get to determine what is sinful in God's eyes.  He does.  He has and He has informed us - over and over and over and over again.  It is an absolute testimony to His love, mercy and grace that we have not been totally obliterated again (the flood) because we not only disobey Him but we have "watered down" all that He considers evil.  We call them "mistakes" or we justify it with "that's just who we are." 

And yet...He yearns to draw us near to Him.  He hopes we will come to Him.  He loves us enough to want to show us in our best light - through the cover of Christ's blood.

How do I not rejoice in that EVERY day?  How do I allow life to take precedence over that?  How do I minimalize that type of power, love, joy?  How do I think, for one second, I could handle that level of wrath?

How do I cheapen God?  How do I not hate sin?

This morning, as I read that devotional and then, as I sit here typing out my reaction to it (Ok - some reaction.  The full reaction is a bit like a tidal wave.  I'm still mopping up the puddles...) I pray continually. 

First, I thank you, Lord that You didn't see fit to leave me in my muck (look at Romans 1...) and I thank you, Lord, that you bring me constant reminders of your love for me (too many blessings to list!).  I ask, Lord, for you to forgive me... again.  Forgive my disrespect, my laziness, my self-reliance. (I'm only going to list a few - there really are only so many MB's on a blog...)  Above all, Lord.  Thank you for the blood of Jesus Christ because without that, I'd be forever caught in a whirlpool of sin and evil.  Thank you for picking me up, out of that filth.  Now, Lord...I give you me.  All of me.  Whatever that means, wherever that goes.  I trust Your plan and only Your plan.  And I ask you, Lord... please break my heart with those things that break Yours.  Fill me with hatred for sin as You hate sin...and help me, Lord, to live a life where others see You - NOT me...

And I pray I don't stop praying...

*Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische


A Little Reminder...

I haven't posted for a little while now.  My mind has been occupied elsewhere.  You'd think that'd be the perfect time to blog, right?  After all.. writing out our daily lives and thoughts and deepest secrets is what blogging is all about.

However... it appears that when I'm in the middle of waiting and wondering, writing is the last thing I feel like doing.  Perhaps that's why I've never been consistent with the journal idea.

My annual "girl" exam was September 9th.  The following week I got a phone call that said my test results came back and there was some dysplasia.  Oh goody...  that meant I had to schedule a coloscopy and head back in on Monday.  Yup...had to wait 3 weeks for the test to see if there really was dysplasia or not.

Monday came and the coloscopy didn't show any lesions.

Thank God....

BUT...she took some surface cells and I had to wait to hear from them, to see if there really was something wrong or if it was just an unsure lab tech who was erring on the side of caution.

Thank goodness for lab techs, especially those who err on the side of caution because if it HAD been something, it would have been found REALLY early.

However...relief rules when my nurse (Tricia will always be my nurse...she really is one of my most favorite people) called me before 8:30 AM this morning to give me the good news.  Zip, zilch, zero... path came back negative.

Ahhhhhh... I want to throw a party!!!!!!

I do have to go back in six months for another pap but... ok.  I can deal with that for a while.  Been there before (I had cervical cancer when I was 25).  But it's not back so Praise Jesus!!!

And one last thing?  October is breast cancer awareness month.  Put on something pink and go get your mammogram.  I should have had my baseline 3 years ago but I finally got there.  Yesterday.  It's really not anywhere nearly as bad as the horror stories you've heard!  Sitting in the waiting room, waiting for them to come get you for the test is harder.  Really it is. 

Then... if you haven't had your annual pap in a while - schedule that, too.  What those tests can catch and prevent by just breathing through a few minutes of discomfort is incredible.  And worth your time.  In ways I can't begin to explain.  So - call.  Schedule.  Go.

Now I just wish I'd remembered that I had my camera with me.  I could have shared my experience like this one did here


Sunday Strength

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday..."

~Isaiah 58:6-10