Monday, November 15, 2010

Unexpected

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,
Stacy

20 comments:

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Stacy - the photos are gorgeous! Your family is beautiful from the inside out!!!

I loved hearing you were able to go! That is wonderful on so many levels!

My heart is linked with yours in prayer sweet friend!

I love you,
Jill

Melissa said...

What an amazing and beautiful post! My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Debbie said...

For some reason this post just moved me to tears. I am soo happy for you that you were able to do this. Nothing like spending time with family, especially a sister who shares your history, heart, and His spirit. And how pretty you all looked! You resemble your sister quite a bit. The Lord is soo good, and I am so glad you were able to bless them with this "unexpected" gift. BLESSINGS AND HUGS, Debbie

LisaShaw said...

Oh Stacy, reading this made me yearn even more for what was not meant for me to have -- a sister. I read every drop -- every word with a smile, a prayer and a tear just thanking GOD for allowing you to go, for the relationship you have with Heather and your Aunts. I can just picture the two of you laying in bed praying together led by the Holy Spirit. What a breathtaking moment I'm sure.

I know you treasure your family and they you. You happen to be pretty special to me too and I've not known you long but I know the Spirit within you!!

I'm praying for you even when I don't visit your blog.

Blessings to you and your family. PRAYING FOR YOU!!!

Love ya,
Lisa

LisaShaw said...

....and I said a prayer for Heather. I'm so sorry that she is facing a divorce. My prayers for all concerned.

...and your 91 yr old Nana is precious!

Love you.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

A beautiful gift you gave them! That's a whole lot of pretty crammed into one photograph. Thank you for sharing the memory with us. I'm SO GLAD you were able to go.

Making memories, one grace at a time. Keep to it, sister. I'd love to talk again soon.

peace~elaine

srd41257 said...

May Our Lord Jesus, by his Divine Mercy, cure you of your cancer.

Pray and believe, Stacy. Our Lord is very generous in his grace and mercy. He restored me to health after allowing me to suffer for awhile with advanced prostate cancer. In Jesus' precious name may he restore you also.

"The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus will himself, restore, confirm, strenghten, and establish you after you have suffered a little". 1Peter 5:10

God Bless you,

Stephen

Allyson said...

So glad to hear the joy of this visit and time with sweet family. Sounds like it was everything your heart & soul needed. love you - A

Birdie said...

YOu and your sister look so much alike!! You're all beautiful, including your sweet grandma!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

What a beautiful and uplifting post! God is soooooooo good! You all just glow with His Spirit. My spirit just jumped for joy reading through this post.
So, sorry for the trials, but so rejoice in God's goodness.

May you continue to have a joy filled week as you continue your journey toward healing!!

Darlene said...

SO many beauties!! What a joy sisterhood is.

Praying for you today!

babyrndeb said...

Stacy - you look great!! I was so happy to see those pictures of you today when I checked on your blog. Make me smile to know you were doing well enough to go visit your family and be with your sister.

I am so glad for a bit of 'normalcy' in your life...even if that means doing unplanned things!

You are constantly in my prayers.
Debbie

Debbie said...

Such a beautiful family from the inside out. What special relationships you have and thank you for sharing your words, your family and your life! What an inspiration you are.

He & Me + 3 said...

Wow you are radiant. I am so glad that you got to spend some family/girl time away. What a sweet memory to have praying with your sister.
Beautiful pictures of you ladies.

Jenny said...

I echo everyone's comments. You look absolutely GORGEOUS in all the pictures. What a blessing to spend time with the people who mean the most to you!

A multi-dimensional life said...

What a beautiful family you have!
I can picture you and your sister now, as well as little girls, curled up beside each other, sharing your deepest hearts and praying! I shed a few tears again!
You have a way of doing that to me!
You are beautiful inside and out, and you were glowing in those photo's! I know that was the best dose of medicine you've had so far...to be with your loved ones! I'm sure it was just what Heather needed also!
Prayers still coming your way!
Love, Lorraine

Kari said...

Oh My Word.

The pictures and your words are nothing short of glorious!

What a huge blessing of a weekend! You look absolutely a-glow! It appears that your beautiful heart is just shining through your whole being!

Stacy - keep on truckin' girl! You are going to be just FINE!

Praise be to God for ALL of the good He does in your life and then allows you through your eloquency to share with all of us!

What a treasure of a blog post this was to read tonight...

Love,

Kari

Kimberly said...

Hi Stacy, Found you thru Beyond our Wildest Dreams! Beautiful pictures! My thoughts are with you!

Courtney from The Story of Us said...

I'm so happy that you were able to travel & be with your family! I found your blog through Mom to 9 Blessings & I'm so happy that I did. My prayers are with you & your beautiful family. May God keep you strong and on the road to recovery.

Courtney from The Story of Us said...

I'm so happy that you were able to travel & be with your family! I found your blog through Mom to 9 Blessings & I'm so happy that I did. My prayers are with you & your beautiful family. May God keep you strong and on the road to recovery.