Monday, December 17, 2012

Mosaics of Life


Isaiah 41:10
"So do not fear, for I am with you; 
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  
I will strengthen you and help you; 
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

A reminder for us that this life is going to bring us moments, seasons, perhaps lifetimes of hardships.  But God tells us right here, before they even happen, before we were alive, that he will strengthen us, that He will hold us up with his mighty right hand.
I saw this verse afresh about 4 years ago when my niece Molly posted it on my LHH site.  Having a then 25 year old, who KNEW what this verse meant in real life, 'give' it to me left me breathless and so proud of her for helping me, for getting into the mess with me.
I see these broken pieces of ceramic and I see the love and friendship that went into breaking them.  Yes, love and friendship.  They were broken last April, in the back of the church parking lot by me, and Angel, and Lucy. (Code names being used)  Angel opened the back of her van and it was quite full of plates and bowls.  We hesitated for a bit-kinda laughing because we were actually following thru on doing this, on breaking plates because I was breaking inside.
So, I went first, jumping up to give more power to the actual smashing throw of the plate.  Then they went.  And we took turns until all of our plates and bowls were broken.
One thing didn't change.  I was still broken.  They were still heart broken. So were you.
While I was undergoing treatment again, they were working on placing the pieces of the broken ceramics into frames.  Several mosaics, words of meaning, signs of everlasting hope.



Broken is what our lives are about.  It's just the things that break each one of us that are different.  It's the timing that is different.  It's the way we cope that is different. If we are to believe what God says here, then maybe the way we cope shouldn't be so different.  Maybe if we didn't take so much time trying to figure out an answer and just submitted our hearts, our trust, our lives to the Great Hope; if we would just let Him hold us in His mighty right hand; maybe then coping would not be such a mystery.
Broken is how we get to God.  Something broke us to get us to become believers, to become born again.  I know what mine was, and it has nothing to do with sickness!  In the dark and broken places, when we are alone with our thoughts and our open hearts, God performs the life saving surgery we need- salvation stitches holding us together.
Broken is the only way we can put the pieces back into some sort of frame that makes us feel whole again.  What is kinda cool is that the brokenness can transform us into understanding and living a life full of things we never understood before.  It makes us more aware, more understanding and perhaps more understood.
Life is supposed to break us.  God is supposed to put us back together.  Maybe he has a special art institute up in Heaven that displays all the mosaics of each of our lives.  Then, when we finally get to meet him face to face, the mosaics disappear because we are truly whole.  
Here's to our broken lives that lead us to the path of complete wholeness.  Thank God we are not alone.  We have each other and we have Him.

John 16:33
In this world you will have trouble, but be brave; I have defeated the world.

Much Love,
Vicki

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's so loud I can't see

I keep waiting for a mountain top to be seen in the horizon of my life.  Waiting and waiting.... I am getting pretty good at waiting.  It's not as nerve racking as it once was.  Now it has become a time to do, get, be, go, do, do, do as much as possible before the waiting becomes the now.

Man, can I do...... I can do until I can't even sleep at night.  I can do morning rush, morning clean up, back to bed, afternoon errand/clean fest, afternoon rush hours, dinner bell, and evening rush.  I sit down around 9pm, tea, TV and drool down my mouth from finally resting.  I realized I do not know how to do quiet, rest, peace.  I think because I enjoy each 'do' so much (except cleaning) they don't feel like stress or pressure.  They feel fun.  And fun takes time.  Time is always running out.

This morning I was thinking about my lack of time with God and my abundance of time keeping myself busy enough to not dwell on the near future.  I am doing my part.  I am doing things so outside of my box, so beyond myself that I know only God can be in charge of this.  I am eating raw, vegetarian, no sugar or gluten, no corn or soy.  NO SUGAR.  M&Ms have sugar you know. But I am doing it.  I am going for prayer at a friends house where 3 of us meet at around 8 to pray for me.  FOR ME.  That is so not who I am.  And today I went up for prayer, because I just can't do this without God or without you.

This morning I was realizing I needed to get some scripture under my belt about trust and belief, healing and hope.  Now don't get too upset.  I have each of these- I know where they all come from.  I just am having a little trouble believing the miracle that is waiting for me.  It's hard to explain.  So into church I come, already knowing what I wanted to do for the afternoon, what I would write about today.  And then came the sermon.  Then I opened my bulletin.  And I smiled because who else but God could orchestrate the thoughts I was having to be completely lined up with the sermon AND an insert in the bulletin.  Seriously, God is for me.  That is exactly why I stood right up and went for prayer.  Boldness in approaching God is just oozing out of me.  I'm not afraid at all to walk up to the altar.  I'm not afraid to tell you I'm stuck and need your prayer.  I'm not afraid to tell God that I am not happy about this speed bump of a two week time period.  And I am not afraid to WAIT until next Monday to get the results because I want a nice Thanksgiving.

I am thankful to people who have said God told them I would be ok thru this.  I do wish I knew what ok meant, but in the end God wins.  End of story.  I am thankful to you who tell me you're praying for me because I believe you.

This week brings a day that will be full of sadness; the birthday of my sister in law Sweet Sue.  It's the first birthday since she reached her mountain top.  I miss her like crazy.  I miss her for her sister and my husband.  I miss her for my kids and for her kids.  Today Andy talked about something Sue practiced: Scripture overwriting the negative script of our lives.  That's our self talk... The negative stuff about what we look like, weigh, don't do perfectly.... She had a routine of sorts, speaking truth and life into her head and heart and soul thru scripture. I get it now.  I understood it then-but now I get it.

I have done a few things right.  I've asked.  I've banged on the door for 4 years now begging for healing.  I've gotten personal with God, even to the point of anger.  I know he can handle that.  Next is the scriptures.  Next is writing a prayer using scripture and me, my circumstance, and the names of God that go with them.  Those will be the next posts from me.

I know I've followed his lead in living this journey loud, out loud, to you.  I know I've been obedient in that.  At this time I am so LOUD about it that I can barely see!  I don't know why I can't see when it's too loud, but I can't.  I even got a bit lightheaded up front while being prayed for. Walking to the altar is a bold and loud move for me.

I learned that I am not as faithless as I thought.  If faith is asking boldly of our Father, then I have faith.  I have persistence wrapped up with a pretty bow!

Tomorrow a prayer for us.  I hope you write one too.

So many thanks and so much love to you for praying me thru.  That brings me peace and joy.  I do so love who we all are together- partners in prayer and in life.  Share your life.  It's important and someone needs to hear it.

Still in awe,

Vicki

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mountains

Lately, as the mountains of this life keep blocking my passage to another land, I've been thinking about what the mountain really is.

Mountains, a constant part of our lives.  I realize they are there to make us stronger in Christ, more reliant on Him and His grace and comfort and joy.  I realize, believe, and preach that often.  Mountains since a teenager.  Tough life since it was my own to choose.

Mountains are complicated.  Some start as a small mound, but thru discussion with others, our brains that can blow up the smallest of facts, thru time and ignorance we grow that mound into a mountain on our own.  I have way too many of those.  Accepting and understanding that is not very easy as we grow up and realize what we have done to ourselves.  For example, that first boyfriend that was controlling and abusive.  I chose to not leave.  I also chose to end it once I got it all figured out.  The price of that relationship being the starting point for many other mound mountains that I was fully responsible for creating.  Do you have any of those?  That mountain, however, was also the springboard for my meeting God, for him catching me and changing me and equipping me with the perseverance and strength, the stubborn, heals in the ground, you are not going to make me do anything I don't want to or that isn't of God bullheadedness.  Maybe BOLDheadedness is better.  I don't bully, but I'll be bold whenever necessary.  God made me strong and courageous so that I wouldn't have to be terrified again.

Mountains are HUGE.  Some mountains are dropped in your lap in an instant, or grow steadily as time continues because we didn't see or deal with it as a mound.  Of course the most significant mountain of this type for me is cancer.  It is not the only one though.  And herein lies the problem....

Cancer is not the actual mountain.

I have been thinking about this for weeks.  Cancer, diabetes, Celiac, heart disease, ADHD, bersitis, fibromyalsia, autism, infertility, alcoholism...... those are earthly, worldly problems brought to us because we are human.  They have nothing to do with faith.  They have nothing to do with no faith.  They just are a part of life.

The mountain is our response to our life.  As Christians our mountains are to remain faithful, trusting, loving, kind, forgiving, gentle, peaceful, joyful and patient.  Our mountain is showing our fruits, the fruits that have been being ripened and harvested for this moment, for such a time as this.  Our mountain is our attitude about our afflictions, how we live with them behind closed doors and how we live it in front of others.  And I do believe we are to live our lives in front of others.  If we don't, how can anyone tell that we are different?  If we don't live out loud, share our heartache and pain, share our strength and it's source, how will anyone know that it is not our humanness helping us, but our ability to lay down in front of the Lord and have him carry us.  How will even other Christians be able to tell that you have a burden you need to be sharing with us, so we can help comfort you, so we can walk with you thru it, if you aren't showing us?  If you don't live out loud you are not allowing God to be seen in your life- to believers or non believers. If God carries us thru the mountain we should be sharing that with others, walking besides those who have the same affliction.  Speak up! It's not like we don't know you have issues!  EVERYONE has some.  Now, live out loud to everyone in the whole world?  Nah.  But to a group you trust? YES.  It is imperative to healing.

This life is hard, dare I say sucks.  It is hard, hurtful, depressing, stressful and full of pain.  This life is wonderful, dare I say awesome.  It is full of friendships and love, families, babies, pets, churches and ministries.  Life is to be lived, regardless of our circumstances.  Living is the continual mountain we have to climb, navigating the problems whether large or small at every mile.  All we need to is have the faith of a mustard seed, to ask God to come, and He will grant us the grace we need to continue our lifelong uphill walk.  At the top, we meet Him, where our problems end, our mountain hike stops and the pearly gates await.

Grab those hiking boots, grab a few friends, and lets continue routing for each other at each mile.  The reward is that crown of glory.  I imagine the gems in our crown are earned for each life problem we conquer or continually live with.  Each gem hand picked by our loving Jesus because we choose to climb the mountain, to change our hearts, and to put on His attitude and character instead of how the world tells us to behave.

According to the world, I should be mad, mean, depressed and crawl into a hole.  But that doesn't do good for anyone.  I'd rather stay involved in life, raise awareness, make new friends, walk with others, speak my mind, love and learn how to do that all better.  I love telling my Polly Pocket story to others who have no belief system because it is centered around God's palm.  How much closer can you get to Him than that? I'm not crumbling to pieces, altho I've lost a few along the way.  I'm not constantly thinking about the possibility of the cancer coming back, altho I have many moments of that fear.  I am not afraid of chemo anymore, altho I'm gonna be MAD if I have to do it again.  But not mad at God.  He's innocent here.  So am I.  It's just life.  An equally unfair to all people moment in time.  I choose to live it.  And I choose to live it loud.  (I actually can hear you laugh)  This shy girl gone LOUD.  Only God.

Much love,
Vicki

Saturday, September 15, 2012

On epicness


For a job well done,
I knew that you all had something planned, only because I knew about the tail gate.  And I knew that PJ was playing the game in my honor.
So in honor of you, of your sowing into my life, my family's lives and my friend's lives I thank you.  I'm sorry it isn't an intense Romeo football game, but it is an intense love and admiration for your love and admiration; all given us by God's amazing grace, hope and love.

A bit about that... On the day that we prayed for me, in April before my treatments started for this occurrence of cancer, PJ and the Butcher family came as did so many of you.  After prayer, PJ, a 16 year old young man who makes me laugh, who is quiet and private, smart, athletic, and 16.... asked me if it would be ok for him to play the Watchdog Game in my honor.  That was when I teared up.  I know how sappy this is going to sound, but I was so touched and humbled and so very honored that he chose me.  Deep down it made me feel like I mattered.  At a time when my life was turning upside down again, this young man helped to right my heart.

So since then I have been looking forward to that day.  Then, since PJ got a certain amount to money turned in he got my t-shirt early, so I had one before anyone else!  And I wore it!
As the kids returned to school I had some time to just be, and I got to wondering about the Week of Watchdog Cancer Awareness.  So much happening.  The Cross Country Team had some kids running for me on Tuesday.  And that's about the time I started feeling overwhelmed with a sense of anticipation with a dash of excitement.  I did so good not asking ANY questions of anyone! I knew that surprises from the hearts of my friends and family were coming my way. Which means being the center of attention-my most gosh darn  favorite place to be (insert your own sarcastic tone please.)

But how could I anticipate 2 canopies filled with food- and you.  Driving up, seeing the crowd, the kids running up to the truck.... Just amazing.  Getting a chance to hug everyone, not getting a chance to eat much.  Seeing my best friend of 26 years, from Columbus, here... Well the hug spoke for itself I would imagine.  The friends I have are amazing.  To know me so well.  To honor me when everyone of you have someone in your family that has battled cancer as well.  To honor me when so many of us survivors get to see each other each Sunday at church.  To honor me and to be blessed by so many friendships.  Just completely humbling.

Sitting in the stands, with us taking up so many rows... so many blankets and children and faces and laughter and conversation.  Nieces and nephews from St. Louis.  So much love.  How did I get to be so lucky, so loved?  

A friend said you reap what you sow.  Hmm.  I wish I could sow like I used to be able to.  I wish I could do more with you.  But the reality is too much is not possible for me right now.  So we've turned to talking and building relationships with words and stories and common ups and downs of regular proportions.  I love learning about your heart.  And I love sharing mine, especially the God moments.  And there were several God moments yesterday.....
The JV player who walked me thru the tunnel is Spencer Rinke, who is one of Austin's good friends since Kindergarden, and whose mom is a great friend of mine.  He walked up to the table right when I did.  The woman introduced us and we just smiled.  I said that he was a good friend of my son's and that I knew him well.  

Then seeing another great friend, Lucille, a breast cancer survivor, finding me at the tent, taking a picture with me and walking with me and Spencer and her escort, Hunter.  It was amazing.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Gal 6:9
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  2 Cor. 9:6 

Thank you.  And I forgive any and all lies told to me during the last few weeks..... :)  And let's none of us ever give up and continue to sow into the lives of others generously.

Much love,

Vicki

Friday, August 24, 2012

Seek? Seek.


Today began with a memorial service for a dear friends nephew. The power of addiction being the focus. I was so blessed that truth about the situation was said and not just glossed over. It's such a serious problem. The solution presented was to stop making the bad choice and to start choosing God, you know, in a nutshell anyway. Referencing Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will see Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity, I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. 

The concept of seeking God and we will find him really stuck to me.  I realized that I don't spend much time actually seeking God.  I've been spending more time trying to figure out how to fix a few screwy things in the family.  But I can't really fix things that don't belong to me.  I can't change a single persons attitude, or anger, or sass.  I can't. But maybe if I was spending more time seeking, letting go, and letting God take these things on it wouldn't be such a burden on me.

I'll be honest.  Finding Him kinda scares me.  I feel like so much has happened to me, so much, so hard, and that if another hard thing happens I might not be able to handle it.  And I don't just mean cancer.  There is so much more to my life than that.

I learned how very much I am missing my Sweet Sue.  The Willey reunion was just not the same.  And when Bob, her husband, went to leave I had this overwhelming feeling of sadness creep over me and over come me.  I said 'bye Bob.'  But I'm supposed to say 'bye sweet sue, bye Bob.  Love you both'.  So the first family reunion without her was super hard.  I had to take a shower just so I could have my break down in private.  Grieving takes  a lifetime.

Truth is, I don't know if I have an earthly future.  So then that kinda sucks the hope away from me.  So as the verse was read and discussed I came to the conclusion that I am not choosing to seek Him.  I used to.  But it seems meaningless.

I feel hope slipping further away from me, further away from being a reality of mine.  Yet hope is all I have.  If I can't keep ahold of that, what is there?  Well all that is left is fear and anxiety, busyness and avoidance. None of which will help this healing body, weak from fighting, in pain from the reality of the medicines, and a life that needs to be lived with restrictions and limitations.

As I waited for the runners to take the last turn today at the XC meet I had some quiet time.  I put on my iTunes and played some worship songs, ate a clementine, and sat quietly and in peace for about 5 whole minutes.  But it was glorious.  But it was also so awesome to cheer on the boys and girls for their last turn in the race- a tough race.  I told one young lady she was my hero.

I guess I am just very thin skinned right now, easily saddened, easily hurt, easily unfocused.  Easily broken hearted and easily led.

Time for a heart renewal. Not sure what that entails or looks like.  But I need a new heart, focused, loving living to seek Him.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Blossoms

I have just found out some sad news.  Our worship leader and his family are leaving MCC to pursue a church planting mission from God.  That is good.  Loosing them is bad.

Aron and Erica came to MCC just before my first battle with ovarian cancer.  I barely even knew them.  But during that battle Aron wrote and sang a song during worship that literally changed my attitude.  It's called My Faith is in Bloom.  And it is about me.  I mean, it isn't about me at all, but about someone/something else, but that day that song took hold of my heart and has held on to it since.
Aron has a way of bringing the word of God to music, to poetic harmony and rhythm that I have never experienced before.  There are just so many of his songs that break my heart open to the healing of God.

I always knew he was too good to stay here with us. He should have a worship album out, seriously.  My favorite songs are the ones he writes himself.  And Aron is the first worship leader we have had who has done this.  In fact, when he first started singing them for us, he didn't even mention that he wrote it.  But up on that big screen, if you really squint your eyes, you can see the writers name.... Aron Paul Kirk.

I am teary knowing that the way you put the words of God to song made me a better person.  His humble nature and unassuming character are what make him so awesome.

When I was diagnosed this third time around he posted a vimeo on my messages on FB.  It was beautiful and fully unexpected.  That he would do that for me overwhelmed my senses.  But now I also know that means he can do that for MY song, My Faith is in Bloom too.  So I am looking forward to having a new post, on my wall, with this life changing song of faith and endurance continuing to grow with God no matter what your circumstance.

Aron, Erica, I will miss you greatly.  Your walk, the one we can see, is one for us to study and try to achieve.  But Aron, you must know, there has been NO song more powerful to me than MY song.  You may as well have just written it for me.  Your talent of using Gods words to pierce our hearts is an amazing gift.  Thank you so much for sharing it with us for almost 5 years.

To God be the Glory.  Now it's your turn to let your faith bloom.  May the garden grown be as thankful to you both as I am.  Thank you for following his leading.

I love you muchly,
Vicki

Friday, July 20, 2012

Trusting

Bring me all your feelings, even the ones you wish you didn't have.....  Jesus Calling
I've been having such a hard time speaking my feelings.  That's actually a life long problem of mine.  But give me a keyboard and I'm golden.  I wonder why that is.  There are times when I know I have a feeling of discontent but I just can't put my finger on where it is coming from- what in my life is causing those feelings. I have friends who want to know what I am feeling about this journey, the pain, the waiting and there are just some things I am NOT going to share out loud with people who love me.  That is for the 'Ugly Journal' kept in a secret spot.  And these words just validated that I can keep them between me and my journal, because that is really between me and God.  It's my I'm fighting with God journal, my I'm fighting with myself journal, my I'm fighting with cancer journal.  And it's mine.  Not all my feelings are worth repeating, or worth saying out loud.  Everything changes when you say things out loud.
Do not hide from your fear or pretend it isn't there.  Anxiety that you hide in the recesses of your heart will give birth to fear of fear: a monstrous stepchild.  Bring your anxieties out into the Light of My Presence, where we can deal with them together.  Concentrate on trusting Me, and fearfulness will gradually lose its foothold within you..... Jesus Calling
Anxiety hidden in your heart with give birth to fear of fear.  That strikes me as just the worst possible thing someone could be fearful of because that cycle would be never ending.

This week has been a roller coaster, ending on a really good 'turn'.  Last Sunday our sermon about David and Goliath really hit me strong and hard.  And the music selection was superb.  A new song called Always brought me to the alter for prayer.  The best part about that moment is that on the way to church last week I was nudged to go up for prayer- nudged to go up for prayer every week.  Now those of you who know me know, that in real life, I'm a bit private, and can say that I am not sure I have ever gone up for prayer on a Sunday morning.  I have been prayed over by the Elders and anointed with oil twice.  However, stepping out of my flip flops (so I didn't trip) and into the isle to walk those few feet to the alter was AWESOME.  Thank you for coming up and praying, or sitting and praying.  My prayer is for complete healing.  I want to be a living miracle, and last week I felt like nothing was working out, nothing was going to help, and took a little trip to the pit.  I'm tired.  I hurt.  I'm just done, which makes me thankful for a break from the chemo for a while.

I'm pretty good at hearing nudges.  I am getting much better at acting upon those nudges.  So if you see me up for prayer at the alter again, it's because I am trying to build my faith and trust that even a sinner like me can be healed and delivered from a disease that is relentless in it's pursuit of your life.  My soul, my heart, it cannot have.  That is where I want my strength to come from.  That knowledge that only Jesus has my heart and soul, and only I can cave in and let something else take them over.  So I am guarding them.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.   Ephesians 6:16
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.  The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.   Isaiah 12:2

My seemingly constant if not understandable battle with fear has been gripping me by the throat this time around.  Maybe it's just a third battle with the same beast thing.... I don't know.  More probable is it's my heart and my heads problem- not breathing in the greatness that is in me, around me, protecting me. Come what may.



Much love,
Vicki

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Whisteria

Finally the weather has given me a chance to get outside.  We had a family weeding day on Sunday after church.  I am in a significant amount of pain with this darn chemo and it is keeping me from doing things I could do 3 months ago.  So now the kiddos have to help, and can't complain because then I get to pull the pain card.  I don't really like to do that.  So while Jayson was weeding for the first time I looked at the Whisteria tree and decided I needed to tame it.  The blooms are about to blossom and one of my favorite smells of summer is that beautiful purple flower.

The vines are totally out of control.  They criss cross over and around and under and everywhere.  So I started at the bottom where the vines were really just growing along the ground.  That was easy.  Then I looked closer and found some vines that were dead, so I pruned those away.  As I was pulling some of those dead vines away I saw that altho some of the vine looked dead, the other end had new growth on it.  Thankfully I didn't prune away any flowers.  So I just kinda kept going but, as is usual, my mind got caught up in some thoughts about pruning the dead vines that were alive.

We learn in the Bible that we will be pruned so that we can bare much fruit- the fruit of the spirit.  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.  We learn that sometimes we need to continue pruning ourselves so that we can become more fruitful.  And I got to wondering: Is it possible to prune ourselves too quickly?  Like those vines I pruned that looked dead but really had new growth, do we prune something away that is sprouting new growth that will become beautiful?  When we prune something that hinders our relationship with Jesus do we give it enough time to be gone, for the new growth to begin to change us and make us beautiful, before we prune the next thing.  I wonder if that is a way to keep ourselves from facing our weaknesses and strengths.  If we just keep pruning without looking for the new growth, without learning how to be that new person, we never really have to come to grips with the changes happening within our hearts. Just another form of avoidance.

We tend to call it processing time.  It's that time when we talk it out with friends, pray about what is ugly inside of us, and realize that it is time to make a change for the better, to better our witness, to better our relationship with Jesus which will ultimately better us.  I am guilty of saying I'm processing when really I am busy cleaning or working or having fun so I don't have to face 'it'.  Like this recurrence again this spring.  I cannot get to the other end of the vine where the new growth and better relationship is.  I'm very viney, with thoughts, mostly bad, mostly unedifying, mostly negative, stringing themselves around each other until they are tangled up.  I'm just a dead vine.  I don't have Peace, and I'm pretty sure Patience is not one of my top 10 best qualities.  And Faithful- I don't know. I don't feel faith filled sometimes.  Maybe I am just one of those wandering vines I pruned from the ground.  Unsure of where I should go, how I should feel, how not to worry, how not to think the worst.

And the big difference this time is the pain element.  That is what is bringing my spirit down, making me feel unfit to fight this fight-again.  Me, in pain, in each and every joint, that has been known to bring me to tears makes for a strange Vicki.  Because Vicki goes, and goes, and goes.  And right now if I do that, the pain is worse.  So I have to figure out how to manage it, and how to manage a less active life.  And quite frankly, that makes me mad.  So bitterness is something I am trying to prune along with trying to grow some Peace about this body of mine.  I'm getting tired of redefining myself- my physical self.

Maybe the scent of the Whisteria will help to sooth my soul.

Vicki

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Rest with me

I have never been a big "oh my goodness I love that devotional" girl.  They just don't seem to have enough depth or they don't connect with me.  But this one is hitting me EVERYDAY.  Jesus Calling.  Yes, the new fad Christian gotta have it book.  Well let me tell you, you gotta have it.
For June 27th it said:
 Rest with me a while.  You have journeyed up a steep, rugged path in recent days.  The way ahead is shrouded in uncertainty.  Look neither behind you nor before you.  Instead, focus your attention on Me, your constant Companion.  Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on your journey.
I designed time to be a PROTECTION for you. You couldn't bear to see all your life at once. Though I am unlimited by time, it is in the present moment that I meet you.  Refresh yourself in My company, breathing deep draughts of My Presence. The highest level of trust is to enjoy Me moment by moment. I am with you, watching over you wherever you go.
Ps 143:8  Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Genesis 28:15  I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.
I have my Bible Promises book right in front of my and there are a lot of promises in that bible we live by and love.  I think it comes down to this: we are promised to be given, as a gift, eternal life.  In return we are to believe, be baptized and live a life worthy of Christ.  Nothing about being healthy.  Nothing about never having a heavy burden.  Nothing about perfect children, family, spouses.  Really we are promised troubles.  Our hope is in Christ and his healing love for us.  He will decide how to heal: instantly and miraculously, thru a journey of pain and suffering, or thru bringing us to Him where we are whole once again.

On this journey of mine, one full of downs.... just downs.  Nothing easy, nothing healed, nothing fixed.  My heart feels so low at times.  But I am not fearful really, I am unwilling to be ok with having more chemo, more cancer.  It confuses me a bit.  This time has been very difficult emotionally.  Not by stealing my hope but by adding cynicism and a critical spirit.  It's mostly in my head. not shared out loud.  I don't want to be labeled hypocritical- but I am hanging on by a string to the hope of being cured or healed.

A string is a string, and it's stronger than a thread.  And my string is getting thicker with the news today that my CA 125 is 35 and I won't have to have my chemo that was scheduled for Monday.  I have had such a bad attitude about this 3rd treatment-so unlike me.  It zaps me of everything I have- energy, humor, rest, enthusiasm, and sometimes will to try.  Being Zapped is more that hard for me.  I am finally feeling like myself.  Gutting the storeroom so that I can have half for an office for my business.  I am geared up and ready to go!  I am so thrilled that I do not have to get zapped again.  I can complete the project.  Even if I only get a 2 week reprieve I will be happy.  Actually I lie..... I won't be happy to have more chemo.  That's impossible.  But I do think my attitude will be better.

On Sunday we sang 'You never let go' and I heard it differently that day.  I know he has me in the palm of his righteous right hand.  He never lets go.  He never lets go.  So how do we get to despair and hopelessness?  Because we let go.  We let go of His hand, his promises, his hope, his joy.  All these gifts he has given to us.  We get too wrapped up in the human aspect, the human feelings about our steep rugged path.  Paths so different from each other.  Heart problems, anxiety, finances, children, surgery, pain, illness, allergies.  There are many bad paths.  When we start to compare them we do an injustice to the person we are comparing ourselves to.  If you tell me "ah man but that is nothing like what you have to go thru".  I usually say you cannot compare.  Hard is hard.  Don't diminish yours and don't magnify mine.  Hard is hard.

I am taking that statement of time to heart.  I have a gift of time right now.  It may be weeks or months. It may be forever.  But mostly I've learned that I cannot let go of his righteous right hand.  Why on earth would I do that?

So here's to some time, and to a string that is getting stronger while it learns to keep holding on.

Much love,

Vicki

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hearing

We have a graduate next year!  And to know me- or mom- is to know that I have already begun to get a little ready for it.  My gardens are what I have been tackling.  Weeding, transplanting, mulching, and keeping the deer from eating the hosta's before they even have leaves.  Why are they doing that?  ARG.  They are beginning to make me upset.  But, that isn't going to stop me.  The latest project for me is the front of the house.  Many years ago we pulled the bushes out because, well, I hate bushes.  I like pretty things.  My front landscaping has been barren for years now.  So I have been transplanting hosta's since I know they are hardy and can survive anything, some Iris and intend to get a few flowering perennials as well as just garden art.  I just put in a bird bath that has a solar light in it and I am looking forward to seeing it with birds, and glowing at night.  New small table and 2 chairs, and couple decorations and I am almost feeling at home out here.  That's where I am right now, writing, listening to music, birds and crickets.


Preparing: I don't think I'm crazy to start this year.  I won't be able to handle it all next year.  Next year I can focus on theme and food. The ceremonies, and all the little extras.  She already has her varsity letter in Cross Country and an Academic letter as well.  


Yesterday I was driving home from taking Austin somewhere and a song came on, one I haven't heard before.  I should have known that I would get my 'back talk' from God thru song.  Dah.  I would credit the band, but I can't remember their name.  These were the lyrics, or a close version of them:


Let my life be the proof
the proof of your love . 
Let my love look like you 
and what you're made of.



I felt like that just solidifies my 'cease striving' from last time.  I do not believe that we need to cease striving with our relationships with our peeps and families, but we got so busy with doing things, so many activities with the children, so much busy work that I am not sure we take time to let our lives be different- to show Gods love in what we do.  I don't know if we love with the truth of our Jesus.  I'm not sure what that even looks like really. Right now my life is preparing for a party that is happening in a year so that this body, that isn't normal and can't handle all the stress at one time, can have time to recuperate, rest, and learn to live in the proof of Jesus love.  Quite the challenge, both taking time to make a new 'to do ' schedule for myself, and living in the proof of Jesus love, to love with His truth.

Truth is we all need to work on this.

So I am listening.  God has always spoken to me more thru music than anything else.  My new devotional has His voice seemingly saying, hey, Vicki, this one is for you.  EVERYDAY!  Which is good.  Right now christian music and that devotional and blogging is about all I have to give and all I can take in.

I have a yearning to be looked at, for my life to be lived as proof of Jesus and his love for us.  I know my appearance to others makes it look like he doesn't love me-and that's too bad.  My attitude rarely reflects that even when I am down for 4-5 days and a bit whiny.  I have people I can go to that help me get out of my pits of despair.  It is difficult to show I feel loved when the thoughts in people's head are so uncontrolled and so worldly thinking.  So with a smile on my face and a conversation and a giggle or two, I hope I show them some little bit of the love I do feel and the love I have to give.  I keep saying, morbid as it may be- this is not the 'one' that is going to get me.  This may be the last fight.  I don't know, I don't understand, I don't like it, but it's mine.  Mine and God's.

Good luck.  Spread some loving truth, by living and loving as Jesus would.

Love you my friends.

Vicki


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Feeling

That was the longest 4 days of feeling totally exhausted and yucky ever.  Stuck on a couch, watching TV (which I really do like to do), and fall into and out of sleep.  But, I didn't like them.  Weakness, indecision, inability to do, just total sloth material.  Not so much a part of who I am and how I operate is it?

I was reading and came across this phrase 'cease striving'.  Interesting isn't it.  Just take a second and think about it.  What do we strive for?  Others.  OTHERS!  We strive to be better parents, spouses, leaders, employees, volunteers, kids, gardeners, cooks...... We have issues- or at least I do.

I've spent so much of my journey striving to make sure people knew what was going on with me, what my journey was, and bringing them along with me if they so choose.  I believe very strongly that God compelled me to do this thru my writing, or my talking, or my being present and fighting thru cancer, even for the 3rd time.  And I don't feel relieved of this task.  I feel I have an additional task to perform.

Cease striving..... Just really got me thinking.  Am I striving to be closer with you or with God?  I mean I know what I want the answer to be.... but that isn't always what it is.  Sometimes the writing I post is all God- I don't even remember writing some completely.  But not always (like the previous one).  It's so much easier to talk to you because you talk directly back to me.  I don't get those got 'back talks' from God.  I am working on it tho.

The reading continues to explain that  God wants to spend time with us, often more time than we want to spend with him.  He still speaks to those who will listen to him.  And I'll be so brutal right now- I don't know if I am able to listen because my mind never seems clear.  It is so hard to take time and be still and listen.  And I am not sure I want to hear the answer. I don't want to hear you'll be ok, no matter what.  All that means is even if I were to loose this battle, I still win when I get to Heaven.  And I understand that.  I am just not in such a hurry to get there.  I want to hear you're going to be ok and have another 40 years here to enjoy your grandchildren and family.  But do I want to be here in constant suffering. Um that answer is no in case you didn't know.

So I cease striving to make this all about 'our' journey and more about my journey with God and wrestling with him over cancer, over earthly life and over health and fear and death and faith and whatever else comes to mind.  At least I'm not afraid to wrestle with him.  Did you know you can ask questions and wrestle with God.  It's actually allowed.

And so I will practice listening to God.  That takes time which means I will have to figure out how to take the time to concentrate and hear him.  I really do not know how to stop and take time.  I just don't. I think I have my 'place' to go and listen but now I need the ears and the heart to hear.

So here's to learning to change.  And continuing to strive to hear God's still small voice thru the bullfrogs and the crickets and the bats..... That's where I'm going to find it.  I just know it.

Love to all.  Feeling better so I am refusing to do too much.  So HARD but so necessary!  One reason I was so tired is my WBC count was low, one portion in particular, and rest is really all you can do for it.  So hopefully I rested it away for a bit, can do a few things, then continue to rest each day.  With school being out it does make it so much easier.

Love,
Vicki

Monday, June 11, 2012

Why I shouldn't blog on a bad day

I guess I don't get to choose too much in life, but I did get to choose to go to Chile with my two oldest children.  That was a good choice.  Of course God was totally in charge of it, allowing us to raise the $5000 needed for the 3 of us to go.  So many people to thank, so many people who used my business to help us get there too.

I would like to go back now.

My devotion said to give God control of my thoughts and he will give me life and peace.  Peace is but a faint light around the moon right now, and life seems, well, unlovely.  It's is funny tho how when you  are holed up in a place you don't want to be your mind stays focused on the reasons you are there.  All I can manage is a possible shower, sit on the couch and watch TV, falling into and out of sleep the whole day.  No baseball.  Did you hear that.  That one is killing me.  But my counts are quite low and I am trying to be a good girl.  And I  have been- just not with my thoughts.  But my thoughts are being held captive right now and the real, true and loving ones are just stuck underneath the rubble that is....

They'll be back soon....


Thursday, June 7, 2012

What Cancer Cannot Do

That is what my newest t-shirt is about.

Cancer is so limited......
It cannot cripple love,
It cannot destroy confidence, 
It cannot shut out memories,
It cannot shatter hope,
It cannot kill friendship,
It cannot eat away peace,
It cannot silence courage,
It cannot corrode faith,
It cannot reduce eternal life,
It cannot quench the Spirit.

Isn't that just an awesome way to say so much about cancer?  Whether you've had it or loved someone who has, these little sayings are they things we grasp on to.  Because these are the things we can control a bit.

But my heart is not there this time, even tho I KNOW that this is for but a minute, that the cancer is microscopic, that this is not the time it is going to 'get' me, my heart is just lying and lying and lying to me.

God has been so full of blessings for us.  He has kept me so busy with scanning that it is remarkable.  Almost too busy if there is such a thing.  And that is because I still have trouble taking time to rest.  Shocking I know.  But I also know that I HAVE to.  I have to yet I don't.  Familiar theme.

Singing "Mighty to Save" on Sunday was really hard.  All things I know about God, yet all things my heart is just not feeling.  My mountain isn't going away.  It's getting bigger.  My anxiety isn't going away, it's getting worse.

And then there is 'Jesus Calling' today that says:
I am all around you, like a cocoon of Light.  My Presence with you is a promise, independent of your awareness of Me.  Many things can block this awareness, but the major culprit is worry.  My children tend to accept worry as an inescapable fact of life.  However, worry is a form of unbelief, it is anathema to Me.
Who is in charge of you life?  If it is you, then you have good reason to worry.  But if it is I, then worry is both unnecessary and  counterproductive.  When you start to feel anxious about something, relinquish the situation to Me.  Back off a bit, redirecting your focus to Me.  I will either take care of the problem Myself of show you how to handle it.  In the world you will have problems, but you need not lose sight of Me. 
There has yet to be a day when this devotional hasn't called me out or slapped me up!  I love it.  I just don't know how to get to the place I need to be this time.  I'm wandering.  Not flailing in my faith or belief I don't think.  Just so tired of fighting, of hurting, of not exercising and or not being able to do the things I wish to do, like garden, or walk, or play physically with the kids (I'm a rough houser by nature. Oldest of 3 daughters I've had to assert my dominance since forever because my sisters are tough nuts.)

Chemo number 2 is today.  But my CA125 is 59, down from 107 so that is very good news.  Maybe this one will knock it out of the body- for good.  Ovarian Cancer is just so scary.  All cancers are, but this cancer is aggressive and often doesn't let it's victims free from its grip.  I want freedom- body, mind, spirit.  I need and covet your prayers for me and my family.  Thank you.

So that is how I feel.  Glad you asked, right?  It will get better, this I know.  Yes, I do know.  I'll let God wash over me today as I sit, all day, with healing poison rushing thru my body killing the cancer cells that are there.  Lord, let it flow to every place that a cancer cell lives and may it kill them forever.

Onward we fight, LB,

Vicki

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jesus: The One Who Endured

Depending on what Bible you have or are using there are little side stories or insights into life, into Jesus.  I came across this when I was doing my devotional, at 5am again today.  Up at 4:30 again today.  Quite annoying, however I think it was the plan all along.  This is an excerpt from my Bible, the Max Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible: I did not write this...

Consider this admonition from the author of Hebrews: "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" Hebrews 12:1
Had golf existed in the New Testament era, I'm sure the writers would have spoken of mulligans and foot wedges, but it didn't, so they wrote about running.  The word RACE is from the Greek AGOM, from which we get the word AGONY.  The Christians's race is not a jog but rather a demanding and grueling, sometimes agonizing race.  It takes a massive effort to finish strong.
Likely you've noticed that many don't?  Surely you've observed there are many on the side of the trail?  They used to be running.  There was a time when they kept the pace.  But then weariness set in.  They didn't think the run would be this tough.  Or they were discouraged by a bump and daunted by a fellow runner.  Whatever the reason, they don't run anymore.  They may be Christians.  They may come to church.  They may put a buck in the plate and warm a pew, but their hears aren't in the race.  They retired before their time.  Unless something changes, their best work will have been their first work, and they will finish with a whimper.
By contrast, Jesus' best work was His final work, and His strongest step was His last step.  Our Master is the classic example of one who endured.  The writer of Hebrews goes on to say that Jesus "endured such hostility from sinners against Himself".  The Bible says Jesus 'endured," implying that Jesus could have "let go."  The runner could have given up, sat down, gone home.  He could have quit the race.  But He didn't.  He "endured such hostility from sinners against Himself. (From Just Like Jesus by Max Lucado) 
I believe that answers the question why right there.  We will endure something. It might be life changing or altering, or maybe even life taking.  It may last, it may not.  But we are promised a race of endurance.  Maybe it's our race, maybe our children's, maybe our parents or our spouse.  Maybe it's a friend you love deeply.

I really hate running- I mean I HATE running.  If there isn't a bleeding child involved it just isn't going to happen.  But running comes in many forms doesn't it.  We can run to, or from.  I've never been much of a 'from' runner.  I more or less pursue the thing... I'm sick that way.

As much as I want this cancer race to end, it obviously isn't supposed to yet.  Let me run.  There's somewhere God wants me to be, something he wants me to do, all in the name of Him.  Catch me doing it for me and smack me up.  This isn't about me. THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME.  (parts are, I know, like being taken care of, but that's not what I mean here)  It's about a race I've been allowed to race.  I have listened to God and raced 'out loud' just like He told me to back in 2008.  I don't know how much more loudly I am supposed to live it, but I am listening for that answer.

So if you're running with me I just can't thank you enough.  The words I have for you are petty in comparison to how my heart feels toward the help, the meals, the going outs, the cards, the hugs.  Nothing can replace those.  If you've chosen to run with someone else that is awesome too.  But run with someone because sooner or later, we are going to have to run with you.  It's a promise.

Much love,

Vicki

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Flowers or Weeds


I have been going out each morning after taking the kids to school/bus stops and picking flowers for myself to put into the kitchen.  My mom gave me these fabulous white Peony bushes, and between the 3 gardens I have, many more flowers can be found.

Last year weeding was just not on the priority list.  Being rediagnosed in May left little time to tend to gardens of flowers.  But Shelly and I did manage to fix up the largest of them.  Actually, Shelly fixed it- I had a front seat driver position.  This garden happens to be full of many of her plants I received because she was moving her flower beds a few years back.  That bed has our bench-the bench I really only sit on with my girlfriends.
The middle garden is the one that was so very neglected.  It was more a grass garden.  After this years rediagnosis, I started weeding it.  It went something like this.  Oh, that's a weed-pull hard, whip weed across the yard.  Ah, another one-pull weed, get the root! Smile. Whip it across the yard.  You get the picture.  This garden used to have beautiful hostas that were HUGE and gorgeous.  Our lovely deer had huge brain farts and decided they were food.  They ate them, for 2 years straight, before they even matured to their huge size.  And normally, I'm ok with that because they eat them after they have bloomed, after the hummingbirds come home to me, after the beauty of the flowering plant has passed.  Stinking deer.

This year I have to keep these gardens in tip top shape!  We have a graduation next summer.  (Yes I did just get a stomach ache).  I want my gardens to be pretty.  Pure and simple selfish ambition.  But some of my friends are helping with.
I am also determined to plant a veggie garden.  DETERMINED.  I have my seeds and will be getting them started today.  Then the kids have about 4 days to finally complete preparing the area I want to use for the garden.  Not that it's been 3 years or anything....

The flowers I have been picking are Iris's, daisies, flox, and weeds.  There are so many super gorgeous flowering weeds.  The orange, some white and some yellow weeds just add so much to my very purple floral arrangement.
So I was thinking about how much a weed compliments a flower.  I am not sure, in human terms who the flowers are or who the weeds are but I suspect we are both at times in our lives.  At this point, I'm a flower, high maintenance, not easily grown, and constantly need to be reminded about the beauty all around me.  And man am I thankful for all the beauty that has become my source of comfort and help.  I suppose Jesus is the ultimate flower, and we are all his little weeds.  To me and my life and situation you are all flowers or weeds to me.  Some of you are good at the high maintenance aspect of the cancer journey, and others are weeds, here to help, to make me feel better, look better, smile more and recognize true beauty.

Thank you Lord for the true beauty of your creation.  Thank you that we are able, with your help and the help of others, to tend to our gardens as needed, picking weeds, pruning, planting and growing those beautiful traits of yours, making them ours.  I thank you for making me both a weed and a flower.  My happy place is as a weed.  But my current place is as a flower.  Help me Lord to accept that and to flourish in it, and to take very seriously the need for me to be a flower, to need others.  And Lord, thank you so much for my weeds.  They are so beautiful.

Vicki

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Feeling like talking

I know it's been just a super long time since I've let you know how I am doing.  Tomorrow is one week after chemo.  The day after Chemo was not fun-not the worst, but yucky.  Saturday Shelly and Teri came over.  Shelly did some flower planting and Teri cleaned for me.  What a blessing.  I can hang out on the porch and have beautiful flowers around me.  Of course the umbrella was left open, which I know better than to do but it looked so pretty because I had tea lights holders hanging from it.  Well, it blew off.  Barely 2 weeks old.... But I hear they are on sale at ACE so I'll be heading there today.

How am I feeling?  Almost normal.  Not the energy level normal or the physical exertion normal, but my body feels normal except for the bone aches.  It's strange but I like it!  I expect my hair to move on next Saturday.  It's odd that it is getting curlier with each day that passes.  So very strange.  I am thinking about cutting it short and spiky soon before it falls out.  I am hoping if it's shorter I won't loose it.  Wishful thinking, but what's wrong with a couple wishes.

So how am I?  I think fine.  I'm laying low, being good, eating well and not doing too much.  Not so easy that last one.  The kids have been good helpers when needed.  I have missed a few bball games for both boys, but that is part of it.  Austin only has 2 more games this week, and Jay is done the week after school is out.

If I have another treatment it will be on June 8.  I'll have blood work done the day or two before to get the CA 125.  If it is low enough there is a possibility that I won't have to have another treatment.  I have mixed feelings about that.  I haven't been willing to look up the information I need to help make the decision.  I'll probably just call Chris and see what she thinks.

A big thank you for FOOD! Awesome Chicken soup, beef stew, chicken enchiladas, chicken and rice and corn on the cob, a roast and stuffed peppers.  Wow.  Thank you so very much.  I've learned we may not need food everynight if we have another go round. But my freezer has some really great left overs for meals within the next couple weeks.  Mom will come and help me clean freezers and the fridge and organize it a bit and meal plan with me.  That's something new!

Then I saw the garage sale on the 9th in Romeo..... Do we even try it?  I'm thinking maybe yes. So much stuff to get rid of but I am not sure if it enough for a sale.  But maybe I could get rid of some of the clothes I've been hanging onto for so many years for Jay.  We'll see.

So words inspired by God- none really.  Just an update on me.  I do have 2 scanning jobs right now so that is pretty awesome.  A graduation DVD and and larger photo scanning with albums.  Busy is good tho.

Have a great sun shiny day.  Go plant some flowers.

Vicki

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 10 and 11

On Saturday, May 11th I received a gift from my bff in Columbus, more commonly known as My Beth.  She sent me a devotional titled Jesus Calling.  I am never really sure about devotionals for some reason.  But I opened it up to the 11th and I read it.

Just after I read it, another bff, commonly known as My Teri, called to tell me she had gotten the book as well from Beth.  She said she read the 10th and 11th and was amazed.  She went on to tell a whole story about the book, but I don't want to spoil her blogging...... And I am pretty sure another bff, commonly known as My Shelly, got a book too....

So of course I went back and read the 10th as well.  Very powerful stuff.

Then I checked my email and had gotten a forward- also something I rarely read- but I trust this person so I read it.  And I am not kidding when I tell you it was May 10th and 11th from the devotional Jesus Calling.  NOT KIDDING!

So what is so awesome about May 10th and 11th?
May 10

"Do not resist or run from the difficulties in your life.  These problems are not random mistakes; they are hand tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth.  Embrace all the circumstances that I allow in your life, trusting Me to bring good out of them.  View problems as opportunities to rely more fully on Me.  When you start to feel stressed, let those feelings alert you to your need for Me.  Thus, your needs become doorways to deep dependance on Me and increasing intimacy between us.  Although self-sufficiency is acclaimed in the world, reliance on Me produces abundant living in My kingdom.  Thank me for the difficulties in your life, since they provide protection from the idolatry of self-reliance."

John 15:5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."

2 Corinthians 1:8-9 ~ "...
We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.  In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead."

Ephesians 5:20 ~ "...always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

**************
May 11

"Thank Me for your problems.  As soon as your mind gets snagged on a difficulty, bring it to Me with Thanksgiving. Then as Me to show you how to handle the situation.  The very act of thanking Me releases your mind from its negative focus.  As your turn your attention to Me, the problem fades in significance and and loses its power to trip you up.  Together we can deal with the situation, either facing it head-on or putting it aside for later consideration.  Most situations that entangle your mind are not today's concerns; you have borrowed them from tomorrow.  In this case, I lift the problem out of today and deposit it in the future, where it is veiled from your eyes.  In its place I give you My Peace, which flows freely from My Presence.

Philippians 4:6 ~ "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." 

John 14:27 ~ "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
I just don't think I need to say anymore.  After my recent posts and conversations and now devotionals, I am heading down the highway of Peace.  Somehow, someway it does seem ok.  And for today, I am good.  I had a productive day, albeit one that included the gathering of supplies for chemo.  I just THREW each chemo related item into the crate.  Kinda funny.  Oral rinse- wham; miralax- wham; tummy tea- wham; ginger root capsules- wham; comfy clothes- well no wham there.  I like comfy.....

If God is willing to give me Peace I think I should be willing to accept it.  Accepting gifts- not a specialty of mine.... But thankfully grace can cover even that.  And chemo is Thursday, not today, not tomorrow and not Wednesday.  It is in the future and I'm going to try, via prayer and constant giving of my trepidations back to God.  Cancer isn't my problem, it's just the route they take to surface....

Oh, so many more blogs to write.....


Vicki

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Floods

A rainy week, both in my heart and in the weather.  My heart had a thunderstorm on Tuesday when I found out that I was going to have to get a port.  I did actually get to make the decision, so it was nice for me to have a moment of control.  The decision was easy tho.  Either I do it peripherally over 16 hours in the outpatient center of the hospital, with no nurses always in my view, with no one who knows me, or I could get the port and be where I am comfortable, know the nurses and they know me.  Where I know how to reach out to others.  Where I know my friends and family are accepted as well.  They expect a party when I come.  So, as happy as I was to not have a port, the only positive was not having a port.  All else fell under the 'con' category.  So I am ok with it.  Truly.

I called my friend who works at Troy Beaumont radiology and she got me all hooked up and tomorrow at 10 is when I get my new appendage.  However I learned that this one might be more friendly, with no bumps and sits under my skin more.  That takes away some of the dread.

So it was a bit stormy on Tuesday for me.  Then yesterday there were 2 baseball games, one for each boy.  Austin at 4, which they won! And Jay at 6:30.  You remember yesterday right- all nice and beautiful until baseball is about to start!  That just is how it goes with this sport I swear.  So I spent some time watching from the car, being I'm allergic to rain and all.  In the last innings of the game we noticed a rainbow.  Very pretty.  The game continued and at the end the brightest rainbow I had seen in a while was in the sky.

The great promise, to never flood the earth again.  I wonder if that could extend to our hearts and lives.  What do you think?  A promise to never destroy us by flooding us with too much.  A promise to always extend the grace and mercy needed each day to handle the big and small things.  A promise to never leave us even when it feels like He's nowhere to be seen.  My friends, I think it might be true. I mean we are part of the earth after all.  He has many verses telling us not to be anxious, that he's got us lifted up and protected by his righteous right hand.  I think we are safe from the floods of life too.  We just have to recognize them, offer them to God to handle, and then let Him.  No easy task, I am well aware.  And not a task that is instant either.  That's ok.  Processing is ok and necessary.  Staying in the darkness is not productive or Godly.

That bright rainbow made my heart feel a little lighter.  I want it to make you feel lighter too, if you are feeling heavy because of my recurrence of cancer.  Certainly it sucks.  Certainly you can be mad for a day or so... but then hold on to the promise that my heart can not be flooded to the point of despair.  He's promised he'd never flood the earth again.  It's a stretch, but I can see the connection.  Can you?  What do you think about it?  Tell me.  Comment please.

Rainbows, hope, grace, mercy and peace.

Be filled with peace today friends.

Vicki

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mission Impossible

I sometimes wonder how all these smarts can stay inside one head.  I know a lot; like the thingy I bought for my spices won't fit in that cupboard; and I know I love 80's music; and I know I hate to dust as does my piano.  But I also know that I don't have a clue about what my mission is supposed to be.  I thought I did- and then the walls came a tumblin' down-again.

The question is... why are there walls?  When did those go up and who the heck built them?  Shame on you!  Now a wall in my store room so I can have a real office for the scanning business, that is necessary. The walls around me, keeping things in, keeping things out, not so much a necessity.  Things include you, me, God, peace, faith, and hope.  There I said it. How did those walls get there?  Did they just get thicker with each difficult life event?  Maybe I've never let Him crush them completely.  I don't think that one is the answer.  But I did do some digging...

James 5:14-16:  Is any of you sick?  He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.  If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Check.  We did that on Sunday and it was uplifting and wonderful.  I so wish I would have remembered to turn on the voice recorder on my phone so I could replay it. But I do remember the oil being put on my forehead in 3 distinct rows, each with its own Jesus name.  I remember people asking for healing, for courage and trust.  But mostly I remember feeling loved for and grieved over and accepted.  I remember my sisters hand with her boyfriends on my knee, Shelly's hand holding minenby my side both of our thumbs stroking the others hand, and Tim's hand grasping mine tightly.  Teri's hand was on my leg, and then many hands whose owners I don't know on my shoulders and back.  People in the seats praying earnestly in an uncomfortable environment.  My parents and Tim's Dad came.  Thank you all so much.

So the prayers of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Is 57:19:"...Peace, peace, to those far and near," says the Lord.  "And I will heal them."
Is 32:17:  The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. 
John 14:27:  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Luke 7:50; ..."Your faith has saved you; go in peace." 

Big fat FAIL for me. Righteousness brings peace.  Peace brings faith.  And faith leads to hope, love, forgiveness....

We are given the peace of Jesus.  I cannot wrap my head around that but I am going to try.  Even moreso I cannot wrap my head around righteousness.  Here's the definition
righteous livinggoodvirtuousuprightupstandingdecentethical,principledmoralhigh-mindedlaw-abidinghonesthonorable,blamelessirreproachablenoblesaintlyangelicpure. ANTONYMS sinful.
It looks to me like righteousness needs to come first. The opposite of sinful.  Wow I'm rolling all this around in my head- and I don't think it'd be helpful to share that.

I get this tho: righteousness leads to peace which leads to faith which leads to healing. I know something else too. I will be healed.  It is not God's will for me to suffer, to have cancer 3 times and all the effects of the medicines to try to defeat it.  But God did not give me cancer.  So if anyone is mad at God you probably should stop that.  Why hasn't he healed me miraculously and completely?  I don't know.  There is an answer somewhere, in someone, for someone, but we may never know what that answer is.  So I'm going to work on the righteousness part of the character of God, and then peace will follow.

A little something from a little book:
Is 32:2  "And a man shall be as...the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."
Journeying one night in the wilderness of central Africa in a section plagued by many ravenous beasts, we found no place of safety till we came to the shadow of a great rock, where we sat down with our backs to the rocks and, building at our feet a great fire, found rest and refreshing for the next day's still weary journey.  O weary child, when your strength fails and you cannot go any further, sit down and lean back in the shadow of your Lord, upon Him.  Build there in prayer the fire of faith and find rest and refreshment for your onward march.

Onward righteous, faithful, peaceful friends.  Lets build a huge fire pit and warm our souls.  I can feel it starting.  Mission Possible.....

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It's a Good Day to Have a Bad Day

This won't be very long today, but yesterday was a bad day. 2 weeks ago I had my 6 month PT scan which came back as perfect, showing no cancer in me. That next Monday I found out that my CA 125 was elevated and the CA 125 is more sensitive to the cancer cells. A week later I had another blood test to confirm it was elevated, and that is what I found out yesterday.
It sounds as if I will be getting 1-3 chemo treatments but I do not know when they will start. My Dr. does not want to let the microscopic disease to go untreated, and truth be told neither do I. A reminder that ovarian cancer is it's own beast. Microscopic for ovarian is not the same as for some other cancers. It's still a big deal. There isn't a pill I can take. There isn't a wait and see policy because of its aggressive nature. And we know mine really wants to get me since it's trying again- so it's aggressive. I encourage you to go online and learn a little about OC. Mayo Clinic is my favorite spot.
How am I? Well, quite frankly I'm angry. I feel good. I look good. I'm taking care of me. But I cannot believe that another baseball and track season are going to be ruined because of this AGAIN!! At least it's not to the date this time. Another 6 month check failed. Another time curly hair has proven to mean there is cancer in me.
I will probably be going to a different chemo place so that I won't have to get another port put in. That is really good news for me. I hate those ports. Chris said that just these few treatments should not bother my veins and make them collapse. So probably Henry Ford Macomb is where I will go.
How is my family? I just don't know. I let them know it isn't a life or death moment but probably a way to control the cancer for the rest of my life barring God's miracle for me.
And that's what I ask you to pray for. I want to be a living miracle- even before the chemo starts and they take my blood work again... Let the number be in normal range and the cancer cells vanquished from me.
Here's to believing third time's a charm.....
Vicki

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pieces part 3

Now how about those control issues.....

Such a battle with this firstborn Aries.  I just want some little things to be right is all.  What is the problem with that, really.  I'm not hurting anyone, in fact it would help.  I only want 8 kids from Chile.  Whats the problem.  Wanna know what it is.... I probably wouldn't be able to adopt because of my previous battles with cancer.  Not exactly a non chaotic atmosphere.  Not exactly normal.  And that is not ok with me.  I haven't really looked into it because I don't even want to know if my suspicions are true.

Control.  Just a little please.  I haven't felt in control of much for many years.  I've never had to give God so many things at one time, over and over.  And sometimes I just get tired of repeatedly giving that control to Him.  Sometimes it feels like He's off his rocker, slipped and bumped his royal head.  Just one spring- just one baseball season- just one track season....

I know I'm the one off her rocker.  No guarantees about the life we get to live.  The only guarantee is that it will be eternal if we choose to believe.  And I believe.  That isn't an issue.

I want to control my kids choices.  But I am learning, daily, that I can't.  I just have to trust that our example and their upbringing will stay with them keeping them on the right track and living for God and His kingdom, not their own teenage kingdom.  Wow, that is one big kingdom those teens have.  Whew.  I just want my sisters to be happy, healthy and not hurting.  I want my nephews' autism to go away.  I want my nieces peanut allergy to go away.  I want asthma to go away for all children.  I want Austin's Celiac to go away, and Abbi's ADHD to go away.  I want Jayson diagnosed- hahaha.  I want to have a piece of this life to form and make into what I want it to be.  I guess that piece is the kitchen counter.  Although, looking at all the stuff on it right now, I'd say that is out of control too.

I want my friends pain, their roller coaster rides, their health and their marriages to be healed.  I want my super curly hair back.  And I want to be healthy.  Mostly I want others to be healthy, loved, wanted, needed, and healed.

This week lack of control came in with a mad rush- kind of like Niagara Falls.  My friends- well they sorta kidnapped me so we could do something that allowed us to loose control completely. We went and broke dishes: bowls, salad plates, dinner plates; into pieces.  Each piece probably has a name on it.  Between the 3 of us control is an issue. But we lost it.  For 20 minutes we took turns smashing whatever we had in our hands.  Jumping up before throwing them down seems to make the plates break into more pieces.  Some had to be rebroken because their pieces were just too darn big still.  There we stood, looking at all that lack of control.  Then we swept it up, but it back into the container and back home it went.

The significance to my life is a bit overwhelming.  And who is affected by my life, who loves me, who cares for me leaves lumps in my throat and a smile in my heart.  I cannot believe how I am loved.  I cannot understand why I am so loved.  I am so many of those plates and bowls shattered on the ground, and you guys are always sweeping me up.  Thankfully our Father helps me to identify the many shattered pieces, sometimes slowly, sometimes painfully, but always faithfully.  Then, back together I go-some pieces chipped and worn, giving compassion and sensitivity.  Some completely whole, giving me confidence and a faith that is unbreakable.  Some pieces are missing, and are filled with something new, like a heart for children in Chile, or a heart for people who suffer from cancer, or a heart for renewing love.  Each time He puts me back together he does something special in me.  Each and every time.  Although I may never understand the purpose, or the means- I do understand the beauty and the strength that could only come from Jesus putting the pieces back where they belong- even if they only belong there for a short period. (Meaning a changing heart)

So go ahead and loose control.  It's a lot easier that trying to keep it.

I love you.  Thank you for praying.  Please don't stop.

Vicki