Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Travels

Sorry it has been a week since I've written anything.....All is well on the home front. Life just kept me away. I always have the best intentions, and thoughts continue to swirl in my head, but somehow I can't always make it to the computer to put those thoughts down.

This week is a big week for me, as my last chemo is in eyesight. I hope to post tomorrow some more on that subject, but for today I'll share with you the Thanksgiving that I think might go down in our families' record book. I envision years beyond when my children will say, "Mom, remember that crazy Thanksgiving when we all went to Harrisburg the day before Thanksgiving and had to fill up 7 hours while Dad worked, the day went on forever, we were exhausted and oh you had cancer." I think there will be many laughs in hindsight.

Here is how it unfolded......

We weren't exactly sure what we were going to do this year for Thanksgiving. I have gone from an expert, "need to plan out every minute" kind of girl, to a let's wait and see what tomorrow brings kind of a girl and we'll decide then." Cancer has a way of doing that to you. And it is good. I'm liking the change.

In most past years, we'd travel to Northern VA (about a 3 hours drive) and spend a couple days with my husband's family. His parents live there along with his brother and his family and his sister and hers. All the extended family comes to town, as well, making it a mini-family reunion each year. It truly is special to see everyone come together for the holiday. There are around 40 people in attendance.

Let's just say this year, that was a teeny tiny bit overwhelming to me. I just didn't want to talk about cancer. I didn't want to wear cancer and I just didn't know if I'd have the energy to pack us all up and make the trek. But I wanted to do it for my husband. I wanted it for my kids, as family is so important. And the energy was returning after round 7 of chemo. So, on Tuesday we decided to make the trip. I was so thankful that Thanksgiving fell on an off-chemo week for me as it might just be one of my top favorite meals and I was looking forward to tasting it and enjoying it.

My husband works for an orthopedic company on the sales end of things. When surgeons are operating and using his spinal hardware, he is in the OR with the surgeon. Well, another consultant had asked him to cover a case in Harrisburg, PA on Wednesday. Harrisburg is almost halfway to his parents house. We found out Wednesday afternoon that the case had been moved to number 2 on the OR schedule. That meant a 10:30 OR time instead of 7:30AM.

Our plans were becoming a bit more complicated. In light of that new development, I thought it crazy for him to drive there, drive back to our house upon completion and then all of us retrace his steps. So I had this crazy idea to pack up that night, put it all in the car early Wednesday morning and go with him to Harrisburg. I figured I'd take the kids while he was in surgery and make a field trip out of it. Sometimes I can be a bit over ambitious. Still a work in progress....

So packed we did. By 9:00 Wednesday morning, we were all on our way. We were going to drop Barclay off at the Harrisburg hospital at 10:30 and then the kids and I would make our way to the Harrisburg State Museum. All went smoothly and to say the kids were excited would be an understatement.

The museum was both educational and inspirational seeing PA's history before us and the foundation of the state we live in. Ben and Seth are studying American History right now, and just finished through the colonization of the states, so we were in step with what they were studying. We all loved it. On the lower level they had a kids zone, which the younger 2 loved....and the 3 older found ways to enjoy as well. It was a nice way to end the museum tour.

We went across the street for lunch and then over to the state capital. I had never been there and it is truly a magnificent building. The kids were enthralled with it. We saw the senate and the House of Representatives. We stood in the Rotunda and marveled at the history that coated the walls and floors of that building. We sat on the marble grand staircase steps and read through the brochure together gleaning the facts from the pages as our eyes took in the surroundings. Together, we walked the halls of history as so much came alive. A field trip like none other.

We walked back to the car and at this point, I'm thinking we are in the home stretch. Three hours were absorbed as we soaked up the history. My feet, which have been struck with Neuropathy due to the chemo, were beginning to get soar. I texted Barclay to get his ETA and his reply back was, "we are getting ready for the second part of the surgery...about 3 more hours."

It was at this point that I began getting a bit ancy. I wasn't quite sure how to fill 3 more hours and we were all museumed out at this point. My brain went into survival mode....5 kids....a town I used to live in years ago, but it had changed quite a bit.....what to do with the next 3 hours? They were filled with walking through 2 malls, treking through the Big Bass Pro Shop (where we blew through $7 in quarters in 30 minutes as the boys played the laser gun games), and checking out our first home where Ben had lived for 2 years some 12 years ago. I think we drove pretty much all around Harrisburg by that point.

Around 5:30, I dared text Barclay again to see how close he was to being done. He said he wasn't sure. That is never a good answer. And at this point, I was beyond weary, totally worn out and questioning what had possessed me to think I could do this? It was then that I threw in the towel, drove back to the hospital and thanked God for the car DVD. For the next hour and a half, we sat parked in the hospital parking lot, car running, while the kids watched a movie. At 7:15 my dear sweet hubby walked out the hospital doors and we all sighed a heavy sigh of thankfulness.

Onward we traveled to Winchester, VA....after a long, but educational day.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with Barclay's family. Thanksgiving was relaxing. And despite my fears, cancer wasn't discussed too much at all and again, I could just with family and enjoy all that God has so richly blessed us with. We played games, caught up with all the relatives,  the cousins giggled together, the older boys played pool and ping pong, and we enjoyed a delicious turkey feast.

We came home on Friday evening after a wonderful and memorable time away.

As I type these words, I sit in front of our Christmas tree. Knowing that chemo is coming again on Wednesday and I'd be out of commission for about 6 days or so, we went out this weekend and bought our tree, decorated the house and did some Christmas shopping. It feels good to do those normal things. To enjoy the holidays without cancer robbing me of that time and the joy. I won't let it.

It is all in how you look at it, isn't it. Life is that way. I can either focus on what I don't have, or focus on what I do.....I choose the latter.  And all is good. It sure will be a Thanksgiving to remember.

Hope you all had a full Thanksgiving spent savoring the richness and blessings of all that you have.

William Penn, statue of the founder of PA

Mural of one of the battles during the Civil War

A mural depicting the overall history of PA

Seth being funny in the Kids Zone!

On the steps inside the Capital

Outside the capital

Much love,

Monday, November 22, 2010

Peace Like A River

I come once again to this place trying to make heads and tails of my thoughts and emotions. They truly are like a coin being tossed in the air. No sooner is one laid bare on the ground declaring its name...pity or gratitude, faith versus fear, weary and long suffering, war versus peace......heads or tails....I snatch it up, turn it over and over trying to understand and make sense. Maybe I make it all too complicated, which very well could be the case.

Maybe it is week 14 of chemo. The cumulative effect so talked about early on just now being made manifest within.

Whatever the case, there has been too much thinking time, interrupted with sleep, too much sleep, giving way for restlessness and pain that permeates the whole scene.

Needless to say, it isn't pretty.

The two worlds of thoughts and emotions collided on Saturday evening.

Saturday morning began with a renewed sense of energy. Following a day and a half of sleep, I awoke knowing I needed to get to the Cancer Center by 8:00AM for my Neulasta shot. Glad to be out of bed and dressed, the tiredness wrapped around me, but not consuming me, I made my way. It is quick when I have the shot on Saturday mornings, no traffic to deal with, no registration, no waiting for your name to be walk in the back door of the Cancer lounge, get your shot from the nurse working the weekend shift, and walk back out the door.


I stopped at Starbucks on my way home, picking up a coffee and a treat for my hubby and sweet Faith.

Jed had stayed another night at a friends. The three older boys were at a one-night Sunday School Retreat. Our house was really quiet when I returned home. Just Barclay and Faith at the kitchen island ready for Saturday morning breakfast.

We began discussing the day. Laying out some of the things that needed to be done, errands to run, and times when kids needed to be picked up. It all seemed manageable... so with my energy in we went.

I love running errands with my husband. Might seem silly, but I love just being with him. Doing life. Driving together, talking, walking through the store, laughing, deciding, united.

It felt good.

And so the day continued on with a sense of normalcy blanketing our time together. Off to pick up Jed and then a quick stop at a property that some dear friends are considering purchasing. Property that would bring them much closer to us. It was there that my world or normalcy and cancer collided. As I walked around through the house, my legs began growing heavy, the temperature swings began within me and I could feel the chemo effects begin to let loose once again. The downward spiral began.

I was done. Thankful for a couple hours of Saturday errands, but sad that my body just couldn't keep up.

To my bed, I retreated once again. This time, the pain came on steadily. As an unwelcomed guest. Holding me hostage to a place I didn't want to be once again.

And my thoughts and emotions were tossed in the air landing spontaneously in a puddle around me.

I couldn't make heads or tails.

Later that evening, Barclay came upstairs putting Faith and Jed to bed for the night. A routine I am usually a part of, but tonight, too tired.

Barclay peaked his head into the bedroom, after having laid down the two little ones. And the floodgate of tears opened as I laid there.

Will it ever be normal again? What is normal? Will this too pass? And what does the future look like? Will I ever be a "full" woman again for my husband and my children?

My sweet husband curled up beside me in bed and just held me close. He wrapped his strong arms around me, laid his head against mine and prayed. He saw the collision happening. He did for me what in that moment I couldn't do for myself. Lay the thoughts and emotions down at the throne of Jesus where He alone could cover them with truth, with peace, with love.

And it is at the throne of God where true grace, mercy and peace is found.

"For He Himself is our peace." Ephesians 2:14

Jesus is peace. It is what He embodies. Who He is. What He makes. Peace.

No collisions. No war happening in the mind and spirit. No coins tossed in the air. Just peace.

Jesus's peace began to wash over me.

From down the hallway, my little Faithy girl called my name.

"Mommy, are you going to come say goodnight to me?"

My husband let go of the embrace, and I pulled myself out of bed making my way to her room.

I climbed in bed with her. Laying on top of the covers, stroking her long hair. Her eyes danced as she asked me to sing to her, part of our nightly bedtime routine. We have the repertoire that we choose from. And she asked for the river song.

My eyes still wet from crying and my voice unsteady....I began in a whisper..."I've got a river of life flowing out of me, makes the lame to walk and the blind to see....." She interrupted me,

"No, mommy, not that one. You know the peace and river one."

"I didn't know what she was asking for." She must have sensed that, for began right in singing to me."

In her angelic, childlike singing voice, she began ministering to my heart.

"I've got peace like a river. I've got peace like a river. I've got peace like a river in my heart. I've got joy like a fountain, I've got love like an ocean. I've got peace live a river in my heart."

And the tears began to fall again. But this time they weren't tears of sadness and turmoil. They were tears of peace and joy and a deep love flowing over me from the hand of my heavenly Father.

Faithy girl looked at me and said, "Mommy, you are crying. Don't cry. This is a good song." And I wrapped my arms tightly around her as she continued singing, as the tears continued to flow.

And that is why God said, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the PEACE of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:6,7

When the thoughts want to battle emotions and the emotions want to take control of our thoughts....we have to leave them at the foot of the cross, allowing God's truth to permeate and stand guard. He takes the coin as it is tossed in the air, catches it and says 'It is finished. In Me there is peace. Apart from me there isn't. Remain in Me.'

Emotions aren't bad in and of themselves, nor our thoughts and understanding....but when left alone, outside of Christ's Truth, havoc ensues.

My heart and mind need to be guarded right now, especially as my body is weak and my thoughts play tricks on me.

And so God, once again, in His gentle, perfect and loving way, swooped in and met me right where I was reminding me of His love and sovereignty. Reminding me to come to Him and rest my head. Reminding me that in Him is peace like a river ready to flow over my soul.

This morning, the new light is dawning as He is once again relieving the pain, renewing and restoring.

I don't need to understand....just trusting Him there is peace.

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. 
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27

Much love In Christ,

Friday, November 19, 2010

End of A Great Football Season

Yes...I'm still awake as the clock says 3:47....I guess I slept a little too much this evening. My eyes are so heavy right now, as sleep is calling my name once again. We'll see what this means for tomorrow. 

I realized as I was laying here that I never shared the end to Seth's football season. They did, in fact, get defeated last weekend to the Pop Warner Buffalo Bills (from Buffalo, NY). You can see by the picture below, we were a bit outnumbered and they were a really good team. Our boys played hard with an ending score of 14 to 6. 

We were blessed with the most glorious weather for football that day. They played at a high school outside NYC. All the kids took a motorcoach to the game and my husband and children were able to ride along. It worked out beautifully, as I was driving down from Rochester after spending the early part of the weekend there. We met up at the game and then were able to drive home together. I was so thankful for the time to dose off on the ride home. 

Pre-game talk from league official 

Seth making a block on offense

Seth, 2nd in from top, near the white line, getting ready for the kick return

Walking off the field at the end of the game. They were so disappointed.

Tuesday night Seth had his closing football banquet where the team and individuals were recognized and honored for their amazing season of teamwork. They did go undefeated throughout the season. They have much to be proud of. I am especially proud of Seth, as it was a touch transition for him. He went from the big fish last year to the little fish this year. It was a season of God getting to some heart issues with my boy.....humbling him, teaching him patience and perseverance, teaching him to always give God the glory and each time he plays to play with all he's got...God will show Himself strong for Seth. And God never disappoints. He showed Himself strong and by the end of the season, Seth was starting on offensive, where before he was the second string. 

I love how God doesn't waste a moment to teach our hearts. May we always have hearts to receive and eyes to see Him. 

Everyone's already talking about next year. So hard to think that far ahead....but praying that God will have me right back on those sidelines, cheering on my boys.  Our youngest son, Jed, informed us that he, too, would like to play football next year. That would be three on the field. that will work, only God knows! So, I leave it all with Him. 

Off to sleep......

Much love,


It is 12:21AM. I just awoke from an evening of falling in and out of sleep as chemo round 7 finished up at 4:30ish this afternoon.

Chemo was much the afternoon of of falling in and out of sleep. I had high hopes of using those 4 hours to accomplish much, but as I sat before my keyboard, my fingers misfiring on the keys, my eyes heavy, all I could do was shut my eyes for awhile. How quickly the body goes from the top of the mountain to a quick plummet down the hill....and you can feel the fall as the drugs begin to wage war and run rampant throughout.

The Benadryl was cut down again this treatment, but I think at this stage, my body is just so tired and even the lower dosage seemed to take its toll. And my body is fighting to keep a steady temperature. On top of the deep fatigue lies hot flashes and cold sweats. The deep aches that accompany Taxol for me begins to make itself known, a glimpse at what lies ahead in the days to come.  Let's just say it isn't much fun. And so I succumb to the effect, draw up the covers and settle in allowing chemo to do its thing.

I am helpless against it effects.

But God isn't.

And so my mind goes to Him and to His power that rests upon me. That each day He will renew me. Renew my mind. Renew my body. Renew my spirit.

I am nearing the end. One more treatment to go. And while my mind can't rest upon that for too long for as one treatment ends another round begins shortly thereafter. I am reminded that this is but temporary and God has eternal purposes. He has a plan and that plan is good because He is good. It is that simple.

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.....

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, 
may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, 
yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4 (various verses)

I am thankful that my chemo treatments follow a week of Bible Study and teaching. A time when I am deep in God's Word allowing His Truth to flood through my soul and spirit. My mind. My heart. I think to when Jesus was tested by Satan in the wilderness. He had fasted for 40 days prior to that testing. Many say Jesus was His weakest having gone without food for so long. I say He was His strongest. His body was weak but His Spirit was strong. He had spent 40 days with His God being filled with Spiritual milk and meat. He was being renewed in His inner man. That is where strength lies. In the heart of God. So, I rejoice, that God ordained the timing of my treatments to fall each week when I am strongest so that as the battle ensues in my mind and I feel pressed on every side, I do not despair. I am not forsaken. If God is for me, than who can be against me? 

And so I pray that this Taxol will be used in the hands of God to bring about healing. I pray that God will continue to comfort me in the days to come. I pray that His strength would overcome my weakness. I pray that my mind will recall His Word, to stand strong to fight the battle in His power. Standing on His Truth and love. And through it all, my hope is in Him. 

So, I retreat to the place that brings me comfort. His almighty hands and my cozy, comfy bed where I'll spend many hours in the coming days. 

Thank you for your prayers today. Keep them coming. God is using you in mighty ways. May you too, feel the power of God resting upon you today. 

Chemo 7 behind me! One more to go. :)

Much love to you sweet friends, (thanks for stopping by)

Monday, November 15, 2010


There is something that thrills me about the unexpected....little surprises.  

Unexpected packages awaiting in the mailbox.  A random hug. A soft word where a harsh one might have been warranted. A sweet note declaring love and encouragement. Flowers showing up at my doorstep. A meal on a day when none was suppose to be delivered. A friend offering a playdate. An unplanned day off of school.  

As one who has struggled for many years about "being taken off guard" or placing expectations on those around me, it is refreshing to sometimes receive these little "surprises." Pure pleasure and excitement. Love exuding from the the hands delivering the kindness. A heart filled with joy. And smiles adorning the recipient. 

I have been on this receiving line many times in the last 6 1/2 months. Pure joy. 

This past week, I was able to give back while God filled my heart simultaneously. Isn't that what giving is all about? Stepping outside of ourselves and giving to others, pouring out love and gratitude, all the while your heart is blessed in the process. 

While don't get me wrong, I have loved the unexpected gifts God has bestowed upon me through all of you these last months. This week, I was able to be the giver and do the unexpected.  

Let me explain.

I am originally from upstate NY. My dad still has a home in Syracuse and my two precious Aunts and 91 year old grandmother live in Rochester. The rest of my family is scattered around the U.S. With a sister living in California,  a brother and sister in Texas and my youngest sister outside NYC. We all don't have the opportunity to see each other often. How I wish we lived closer, as our times to see one another are few and far between.

Last year, my older sister, Heather, started selling CABI clothing (a home based party business). Her business venture brought her to Rochester and Syracuse in the Spring, as relatives hosted shows in their hometowns. Right before my breast cancer journey began, (actually a week after I found the lump in my breast), I was able to travel to Rochester, and be my sister's "model" as she put on a marvelous CABI show at my aunts house, at the senior living complex where my grandmother lives and then with old acquaintances from our childhood as they too, hosted a show. It was five days of pure bliss. Spending time with family. Being a part of my sister's new business and seeing her in action. And just pulling up a chair and nestling into the lives of loved ones.  Those five days are pockets of treasures in my heart. 

It is also a reminder of the beginning of my breast cancer journey. As Heather and I stood in the guest room at my aunt's house one morning, she putting her make-up on in the mirror, me getting dressed....standing side by side as I shared with her that I had found a lump in my breast. She was in one of the biggest trials of her life, as after 20 years of marriage, her husband was asking for a divorce. The thought of another "major" trial seemed unexpected and unimaginable, but the possibility quite real. 

Here we are 6 1/2 months later, walking in that reality. 

About a month ago, Heather, called to tell that she was planning her Fall NY state CABI tour/shows. Back to my aunt's she would go. Knowing the treatments I was undergoing, the tired state of my body, she hesitantly asked if there was any possibility I could once again, come along? 

My heart was inclined to say, Yes, as that s where I wanted to be. By immediately, my mind knew better as it laid out the reality of my current life.  I can't plan tomorrow too well, let alone a month away. We prayed and waited. If God so desired these moments of our lives to be weaved together once again, He'd make the way possible. 

No one expected me to come. 

And I got to do the surprising!! 

On Wednesday, with a body that had rebounded from the previous week's chemo. A schedule that was open. A husband who was supportive and older children that could help to hold down the needs of the home.....I called my Aunt Pam that morning to declare the news and ask if I could arrive Thursday evening and stay the night with her and her husband, surprising my grandma, my sister and my Aunt Kay the next day. (Although, I must admit, in my weakness, I let the cat out of the bag that evening to my sister Heather.)

I'm not usually a spontaneous kind of a girl. People close to me would call me the planner....cancer has certainly caused me to step outside that mold. Whereas I still like a plan, I have learned to be a bit more flexible. I have learned that the best plans I can put together pale in comparison to the plans that God has. Always a training ground....right?!

And so when Bible Study finished up Thursday, off to NY I went for two days of family-time, catching up and soaking in the love and beauty that these ladies bring to my life. And for many of those cheering me along from the sidelines, I was able to stand face to face, arms linked together, gaze into their eyes and say thank you....thank you for holding me up and walking beside me. Thank you for loving me from a distance.....thankful that I could love them for those two days face to face. And that cancer could take a backseat in my mind, while still being profoundly evident on the outside. 

And my heart is thankful. Thankful for my sister. Thankful for the deep, Spirit filled conversations that took place in those two days. Thankful for my aunts, who in many ways occupy the place of a mother for me. Thankful for every opportunity and moment that I was able to spend with my 91 year old Grandmother. Thankful. 

Saturday night, Heather and I laid in bed praying together. No sweeter time than that. Two hearts joined by blood, but much deeper by the life of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. Praying like we've never had to pray before, for a healing.....that God in His mercy and love would take our lives and the lives of those around us and make all things new. 

What abundant blessings are to be found in the unexpected. May you embrace the unexpected in your life today knowing God has big plans!!

Heather, Aunt Kay, Me, Aunt Pam

Me and Heather

Heather, Grandma (Can you believe she is 91??? A True beauty inside and out!),  Me

Friday night Cabi show at Aunt Pams

"My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him." Psalm 62:5
Much love,

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Thank you!

I can't say it enough.

Thank you for your prayers and all of your sweet comments and encouragement. How your prayers carry me. Thank you for praying me through this last treatment and recovery. Oh, the power of prayer.

As I walk this road, boy is God teaching me more and more about prayer. I've always been a prayerer...(is that a know a person who prays). God is so real to me like that. How can you be in a relationship with someone and never talk to them? God so desires to hear from us and speak to our hearts.

And I know He is listening.

He never hangs up.

He never puts me on hold.

He puts up time and time again with my mistakes and coming to His throne, head bent low, shoulders hung over as I whisper...."I'm sorry, Lord."

And in His great and unimaginable love for me, He forgives and loves me just the same.

Really, and truly, these words resonate with my soul..."when your heart is overwhelmed, Lead me to the ROCK that is higher than I."

I'm spending a lot of time at the Rock.

He is higher than all of us. I mean He is seated at the right hand of the Father, High and lifted up. In all His glory.

And to think He cares about me and listens.

It drops me to my knees.

I've always known this. But now, in my days and hours of such great need, He is always there and teaching me in His gentle, kind, loving way about His heart for prayer. And the joy, oh the joy, that I am the recipient of the prayers of many offered up on my behalf.

Thank you for praying for me and my family. Through you, God's will is being accomplished in me. Through you, God is answering my cries. Through you, God is healing. Through you, God is comforting. Through you, God is doing what I cannot even see, think or imagine.

Here is a verse that in the last two weeks, God has used in my daily devotions to speak to my weary heart.

And I must digress for a moment and say, this is the God we serve. I read two different devotionals now (yes, because I really need every morsel of truth I can get!), before I open my Bible and read the pure living word. Near me each day, is the devotional, Streams in The Desert... most days I feel like that desert and I need the stream of living water flowing over me. Second, is My Utmost For His Highest.  I never walk away dry from the words penned on those pages. Anyway, as God so intimately knows my heart, my weaknesses and my needs, He never disappoints me. He always has a word for me each time I open these devotionals and each time I open my Bible.

The words recently have focused on prayer.

The power of prayer. The privilege of prayer.  The need for prayer. The body of believers praying for each other.

The constant realization that God accomplishes much through prayer.

This verse came up twice in each devotional, within a week's time. Not a mistake.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints 
in accordance with God's will." Romans 8:26-27

That even when I don't have the words to express my pain, my trial, my weakness....the Spirit does. And He goes before the Father on my behalf that God's will be done in my life.

And as He searches my heart, He sees the pain and puts a prayer in my heart that comes from God. Giving me just what I need. What will carry me through to the next moment, the next hours, the next day. And that the Holy Spirit expresses to the Father, that which I cannot even speak.

"Oh the burdens we lovingly bear but cannot understand! Oh the inexpressible longings of our hearts for things we cannot comprehend! Yet we know they are an echo from the throne of God, and a whisper from His heart. They are often a groan rather than a song, and a burden rather than a floating feather. But they are a blessed burden, and a groan whose undertone is praise and unspeakable joy. They are 'groans that words cannot express.' We cannot always express them ourselves, and often all we understand is that God is praying in us for something that only He understands and that needs His touch. We can simply pour from the fullness of our hearts the burden of our spirit and the 
sorrow that seems to crush us."  (Streams in the Desert)

How thankful I am for prayer. That God knew we would need to communicate with Him and that through Jesus Christ, our access to God the Father is made possible.

There are those days following chemo, when all I can ask God is to relieve the pain and discomfort. To bring relief, even if it is brief. I am thankful that when I don't know what to pray, the Spirit goes before the Father for me. He knows.

This last treatment was rough. I am finding with Taxol that it takes 7 days from treatment to feel whole again and without pain. On Tuesday, I began the upswing toward "normalcy." Yesterday, I was just praising God for the new day. For the breath that He has put inside of me and for or another treatment behind me.

And thanking God for each of you.

May we meet each other in the throne room.

Much love,

Sunday, November 7, 2010


There is stillness all around me.

The house is quiet, but my heart is restless and my body is weary.

I am enjoying the quiet, not so much the restless and weary. It is Sunday morning, a day that I look forward to throughout the week. A time to go and worship my Lord and Savior sitting among the body of Christ. Opening God's Word together and allowing the voice of my Jesus to wash over me, teaching my heart while searching to the depths, uncovering the sin that lays there that it may be brought before the Lord in repentance. The newness and cleansing that comes only from Him.

There is no sweeter time.

Feeling the warm embrace of those around me asking me how I am doing. Praying for me. Loving me. Sharing our hearts together as they carry my burdens to the cross, and I theirs.

But today, there is a heaviness that seems to permeate. I don't understand it and yet it is there. And I welcome the silence. A chance to truly be still before the Lord and reflect.

And here I sit at my desk. The sunlight streams through the front windows. My shoulders wrapped in one of the many prayer shawls that have been sent to me, some by those whom I've never met face to face. And I feel the warm embrace of the body of Christ....of Christ Himself. I need to feel His closeness today.

The pains that accompany Taxol are running through my body hitting all my lower extremities. It is like an ache that has settled deep into my bones and muscles. Nothing seems to really take it away. Advil doesn't touch it and so yesterday, I resorted to Percocet, per my oncologist's instruction. Instead of relief, I was in a fog. Hence the restlessness.

I am thankful that the Percocet got me through Seth's football play-off game yesterday morning (and they onto round 2 of Regionals!) My boy scored a touchdown and they went on to win 30 to 0. A proud moment for us all. But as the day progressed, the pain settled deeper. Once again, I retreated to my bed where I spend many a day after chemo. It seems sleep continues to call my name. Each time I awake, I think I will be refreshed, as that is what sleep is suppose to do, but my eyes seem to fall closed again and I drift off.

This morning, I just couldn't get myself together to get out the door to church. The pain in my legs still prevails and my eyes are heavy, my body worn out. Barclay's parents came to town to help this week, which has been such a blessing. Barclay left early as he had church responsibilities this morning, and Jim (Barclay's dad) helped get the kids fed and out the door to church.

Hence the quiet house.

And back to the weary....the longsuffering of this journey. Six months into this cancer journey and the realization that this will be with me the rest of my life. There isn't an earthly finish line to cross. Oh, there are the finish lines of chemo, radiation and surgery.....but I will always have cancer connected to my name.

I was reminded of that on Friday.

Sitting before my plastic surgeon. Thinking that this was one final check on the Betties and then he'd lay out the "plan" of my reconstruction for the months to come. And instead, the talk changed to two moles on my body that he wants removed after chemo. I felt sideswiped by the conversation. The reminder that once again in my little, finite mind, I can't for one moment think I have this cancer thing figured out. Again, my faith was tested.

"Lord, I trust you today as I did yesterday. I will not let Satan grab ahold of my fears."

But the whispers keep coming into my heart. And I keep going to God's Word for Truth this weekend. But my mind was in a fog from the Percocet. I couldn't think clearly.

My doctor assured me, it was nothing to worry about. A quick in and out procedure. A preventative measure for the future.

And the gentle, but real reminder that once cancer enters your pathway, your body will always be scrutinized by the doctors. What before was "nothing to worry about" becomes a possibility that cancer is showing up elsewhere. That no symptoms can be ignored. This is my new reality.

And to be totally honest, I don't like it. I wish it were different. And I feel alone.

So in the stillness that God has given me in these moments, Percocet put aside for today, as I need to hear clearly from God.....I will sit with Him and allow Him to speak to my tired, restless and weary heart His love and promises.

Because when the waves tend to overcome and beat down hard, the only place I can run is to the arms of my God who with a nod of His head, a soft word spoken or an outstretched hand can bring the waves to a standstill replacing the tumult with peace and calm.

"Be still and KNOW that I am God." Psalm 46:10

"Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16

I am seeking His rest today.

Much love in Christ,

Monday, November 1, 2010


We pulled out of the church parking lot early yesterday afternoon after our monthly Moms in Christ Bible Study. Faith and Jed were cheerfully discussing their morning in Children's Ministry, recalling all the fun they just had. How my heart was warmed listening to their giggles, and Faith's so "adult like recaps."

We were in a bit of a hurry, as I had to get Faith to preschool by (12:30). I haven't shared this yet, but about 2 weeks ago, after the Lord's prompting, my restless heart, and again His abundant and timely financial provision...the door was opened and Faith, with so much excitement, began preschool at a nearby church. She loves it and so do we. It was a perfect fit for a perfect season.

I digress.

My mind settled on the morning and the beauty of women gathering together to study God's Word desiring to grow closer to their Savior. Of the wisdom that was shared as we looked at God's order in the home. And as my mind bounced from one thought to the next, it was quickly interrupted as I heard these words coming from the back seat...

"The Lord will fight for you." Exodus 14:14

"Is that right, mom?"

Am I saying this right?

And as I quickly peered around the seat, there was Jeddy holding up this bookmark from Children's Ministry. In his "just learning to read curiosity" and adorable little voice, with determination at getting the words right and pure pleasure in accomplishment....He needed some validation that he was in fact reading the words correctly.

What he didn't know was in that moment, God was using my little boy to speak directly to my heart.

That those words, were words that have flooded my mind for the last 6 months, turning over what it means in my "fight against breast cancer."

Trying to fully understand God at His word and wrap my mind around this battle that I'm in knowing that I really and truly can't "fight" it. This cancer. It's too big and I'm too little.

At least not fight the way I'm told to by the world.

This battle is not mine. I've said it before.

This cancer has too many tentacles and unknowns. It was my deepest fear for 38 years. CANCER. The 6 letter no one ever wants put together in a sentence where your name is involved.

The disease that as doctors say, "isn't considered curable for 5 years from diagnosis, because it is a disease that can strike later with a vengeance."

And all around are the words, "Fight breast cancer." My goodness, there are even pink boxing gloves made for women fighting this disease. As much as I love pink (and I do, it is my favorite color)....I don't want boxing gloves, nor do I know what to do with them and the 6 letter word.

And so as Jeddy's sweet voice came from the backseat, asking the most childlike question....

"Mom is this right? The Lord will fight for you?" holding up his bookmark....God was answering the question that I have held at the forefront of my prayers.

I grabbed for my Bible on the passenger seat next to me and asked Jeddy to tell me again where that was. I needed to read the context. I needed in that moment to see the words on the pages of the one book that is alive and sharper than any two edged sword because right then and there is was cutting through my joint and marrow, my soul and spirit, just as Hebrews tells us the Bible does. (Hebrews 4:12)

So with my legs steadying the steering wheel and one eye on the road and the other on my Bible, I went to Exodus 14:14 (note to not recommend doing this while driving, but I was not to be contained in that moment.)

And here's the story of Moses leading the Israelites through the Red Sea. I've read the story a thousand times. My eyes have gazed over these verses and these words. But today they held a deeper meaning. Today they came alive to this woman whose body is tired and chemo has just worn out the physical me. To a woman that really doesn't want to fight the way I have the better half of my life. In my strength, my way, pushing to get to the other side. I'm not engaging in this battle this way. I can't. It is too exhausting.

And as Moses has just lead the Israelites out of Egypt, a land of oppression, from a Pharaoh they were enslaved to, to a future that offered no hope in their human eyes.....before them lay the massive Red Sea. Under them the ground was probably shaking as the hooves from the horses and the wheels of the chariots came fiercely across the ground in the distance, quickly approaching. To say they were pressed on every side would be an understatement. Can you imagine the fear that was rising within them. A battle was ensuing, a battle for their lives, their future, their livelihood..

A battle that resounds within me.

But God knew as He could see into their hearts.

And guess what Moses told them to do......Stand Still! The Lord will fight for you!

"Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." Exodus 14:13-14

And what did God do, He parted the Red Sea. He delivered them. He brought them to the other side. He fought the battle and He won..His way. Those Israelites, they were ready to go back to Egypt. The battle was too much. The journey too long. The end, not seen. And I imagine, they were tired.

But God says, this battle is mine. Watch me deliver you. Believe I will deliver you. All I ask is that you stand still. Stand firm. Not in human understanding, but in ME.

This same message is throughout God's Word. It is there when the Israelites came up against the Amorites crying out that they were 'greater and taller, the cities were great and fortified.'
They saw their enemy with their eyes and they were scared. And Moses tells them

"Do not be terrified, or afraid of them. The Lord your God, who goes before you,
He will fight for you."Deuteronomy 1:30

And then he gives the most beautiful picture of God as a Father carrying His son, never letting him down or letting him go.

That's what God's battlefield looks like.

That is what God does for each of us. He fights the battle. He takes down the enemy and He is victorious and in the process He desires to show Himself strong & faithful for us...for you and for me.

The battle, the fight needs to be put into the proper perspective.

It isn't about us winning. It is about the glory of God being seen. His character. His faithfulness. His salvation. His deliverance. His love. His grace. His mercy. His magnificence.

And when we put down the weapons of this world and pick up faith in Christ Jesus, there is victory.

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God...." 2 Corinthians 10:4,5

And I look at he was going to fight Goliath, Saul tried to adorn him with armor....worldly armor...a coat of mail, a heavy helmet, a sword....and as David tried to walk, he couldn't. It was heavy, cumbersome and ill fitting. David, taking off that armor, told Saul that it hadn't been tested. It hadn't been tried.

David was a boy that sought after the Lord. He knew that the battle was the Lord's. He knew a God that didn't disappoint and that came through strong. God had more to show than a boy defeating a giant. God was to show His strength in the weakness of that boy.

David drew 5 small, smooth stones and placed them in his pouch. And He stood before Goliath. He didn't charge at him. He stood and used the weapons that God had given him....God's almighty power and strength.

We know how the story ends. Goliath went down.

But we see in the end, David's heart on the matter. David's heart toward God.

"That all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all the assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear, for the battle is the Lord's and He will give you into our hands." 1 Samuel 17:46,47

That the glory of God may be seen. That all the earth would know there is a God and He delivers.

And God goes on in Ephesians to give us the armor that we need as the battles ensue around us. As war is waged against us and we pass through the valley of the shadow of death.

These are spiritual weapons, because whereas our battles might appear to be physical, they are spiritual. As Satan wants to take us down and in the process take God down.

But God has won. And He tells us to grab hold of the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of the Spirit, the belt of truth, shield of faith and the shoes of the Gospel of peace. Pray in the Spirit, be watchful with perseverance....and STAND in the Lord and the power of His might.

How hard, right? Just to stand still and let God fight for us. We are a world of doing. Of bringing about action and results. But God says to stand still and let the power of the Lord rest upon us. To see what He is going to do. That doesn't mean that you do nothing. It means that you humbly follow hard after Him and let Him direct your steps. Seek His wisdom and understanding, as David did as he drew those stones from the brook.

The battle is the Lord's and we are to Stand firmly in Him. Who we know Him to be and He will show His power through us, strengthening us and fighting the battles for us.

And the victory....the victory is that in this battle I have the peace of God that passes understanding, I have joy, I have love, I have strength and I have power....all of which are God's and are in me as I am in Christ Jesus.

He is my hope. Not the chemo, not the surgery, not the radiation, the doctors, the supplements, the nutrition, the hope is in Christ alone. As I sought Him, He showed me these treatments are part of His plan for me, but ultimately, He will do the healing. All I can do is take care of this body as a servant of the Lord. Care for this temple. He will bring me, as He did with the Israelites, to the other side. I pray for healing, but either way I know that I am alive, whether here on this earth or in the presence of the Lord for all eternity.

Back to those words spoken from the mouth of my 6 year old boy.....

"The Lord will fight for you."

"Mom, is this right?"

You bet, my sweet boy....He will!!

Much love in Christ,

P.S. Tomorrow morning, (Wednesday), I go in for chemo treatment number 6. Please pray that my blood counts are good and that my body receives the chemo. Please pray that God continues to fight this battle for me as only He can! Please pray for healing. How I cherish each one of your prayers and am humbled beyond measure that you would love me enough to carry me to God's throne. Please know that as you have shared your requests with me, I keep you as well before the Lord. The road is long, but it is sweetly marked with your friendship and love.
Thank you!