Happy Anniversary to ME!! 2013 Edition

Yes, indeed, I’m one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Seven years ago today, Easter Sunday that year, my visiting daughters stuffed me into my truck and headed to the small, local hospital, where doctors were stunned by what they found.  A fairly large mass in my head, so big that the doc, in explaining it, said, “I cannot believe you can walk with the size of that thing growing in your head.”  I was shipped off to Green Bay, interrupted everybody’s Easter dinners and two days later, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and  a scalpel to my brain.  Later he visited me in the night and delivered the news that the tumor they removed was malignant and I had a fairly aggressive form of brain cancer.  Waiting daughters, family and friends had already been given information and the stats were not great; but the clinical world leaves out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His Book, (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)  “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Those plans included handling that tumor and seven years  later, despite enormous odds and severe statistics, I surely do have hope and a future and I’m on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  This is most bittersweet today because in in a couple hours I will head to the funeral of a friend who lost his five and-a-half-year battle with the same cancer I had, just a week ago. Yet here I am well and  most content

I’ve wondered, sometimes aloud, during my friend’s ordeal, asked the perennial questions about the mind of God when He wrote the story so long ago. Why are some folks here for longer or shorter durations than others? What’s the plan?  Those are unanswerable questions in this temporal world, but I still believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God, that did, indeed, write the story before the world began, as we first talked about seven years ago when I was diagnosed.  

So my friend is gone and his family mourns. Yet I know on this cold, gloomy, April morning that my Heavenly Father has the plan firmly in hand and that despite another family’s loss, they would not begrudge me the celebration of this anniversary in my life.  In a few hours I’ll attend the funeral, but in this pre-dawn moment and later in conversations with friends and family, I will celebrate that I am here, that for whatever reason, God’s still got me on my feet. I am most grateful to be here with loved ones and to play my part in the story, hopefully with grace and dignity.  

As I say often in these pages, hold your loved ones close; tell them regularly and often how very valuable they are to you and share with me, please, my joy that seven years later I am alive and well!  Be blessed….

 

 

Share

Happy Anniversary to Me !!!

Yes, indeed, I’m one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all today.  Four years ago right about now, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and then a scalpel to my brain.  Later he visited me in the night and delivered the news that the tumor they removed was malignant and I had a fairly serious form of brain cancer.  Waiting daughters, family and friends had already been given information and the stats were not great; but the clinical world leaves out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His Book, (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)  “I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Those plans included handling this tumor and four years later, I surely do have hope and a future and I’m on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  I am well, most content and because I can, I’m heading out into the sunshine on this beautiful Sunday in April, 2010.

Bénédictions 🙂

Share

This, too, shall pass…

A quick google of today’s title finds it defined as a proverb; not a quote from the Bible – you gotta love a phrase that has its own wiki 🙂  It may be based on the oft-repeated phrase,  “And it came to pass,” first used in Genesis chapter four and depending on your source and version, anywhere from 120 to 630 times in the Old and/or New Testament.  One of my favorite authors,  Barbara Johnson, no longer with us, used to say that it’s important to note that the Bible never said, “And it came to stay.”  And like many of us, Barbara knew of what she spoke!

Does it help?  Well, those who know me know that I believe words matter;  when it comes to unpleasantness, discomfort, pain – physical or emotional – you have a choice – dwell or pass through it.  Personally, unless it comes covered in milk chocolate, I believe in letting it pass or passing through it. And while we’re at it, let’s look quickly at the word dwell, a favorite.  It sounds so much nicer to suggest that someone not dwell in or “stay focused” on their perceived misery, than to suggest that they’re wallowing 🙂  I’ve come a long way from the days of being famous for saying something like, “Oh for Pete’s sake, buck up, buddy!”  Now I strive to be nicer, so I use gentler words like dwell.

But when it came down to it, when the walk met the talk, it really was a matter of speaking the result.  I spoke healing and more healing, to myself, my daughters, my extended family.  Fear was not an option, not ever, not allowed and it truly comes down to that.  Cancer, two brain surgeries, chemo, radiation, all came to pass.  Did not come to stay, but came to pass!!

As we move toward Easter 2010,  four years from that fateful day of brain tumor discovery, it came to pass and pass it did, an event in my history that has been handled by my Father in heaven.  And I encourage you, no matter what the situation or challenge you face, it, too, shall pass.  And that can be a most comforting place to dwell as you go through the passing of your challenge.  Be encouraged and be blessed!!

Bénédictions!


Share

Close to Your Heart

Someone close to me lost someone close to her over the weekend.  Totally unexpected while on a trip ten years in the making.  In an instant a father, husband and best friend of 28 years, is gone and a wife is alone in the woods with her husband’s body, trying desperately to save him with CPR.  Two mornings later, 5:00 a.m., my daughter calls to say she’s at the airport, checked in and ready to fly to NYC for a fabulous six days with a special aunt!  And what does someone say to me?  Didn’t you hear about the terrorist threat in New York?  Sure I did.  I don’t go there, don’t allow myself to think that way.  Any one of us could be gone in an instant, like my friend’s loved one.  Do we stop living, stop traveling, cower in our homes against something “bad” happening?  No we don’t, we can’t.  What do we do?  We love with all our hearts, hold our loved ones close in our hearts, never hesitate to tell someone you love them and how precious they are to you.

Having survived a potentially terminal illness,  an abusive marriage and two brain surgeries and having my beloved daughters on opposite coasts, you learn to walk in faith and trust and to tuck those conversations and memories deep into your heart, to treasure them.  You don’t hang up the phone in anger and you always make a point of letting the other person know how much they mean to you, how special they are!

Because we’re afraid?  No way.  Because it’s important to speak the words.  My daughter in NYC for the next week, my older daughter in Seattle all the time, my brother and his family in the rolling hills of Kentucky, my loved ones within 40 miles, friends literally around the globe – all are special, all are precious – you’re loved and treasured and I’ll be making a point to let you know next time we talk, if I haven’t already.

Say the words and hold the memories, voices, smiles, tucked away close to your heart.  That would be the lesson to take  from my friend’s loss.  Don’t dwell; act and move forward with love and joy in your heart and spoken out of your mouth.

à bientôt …….

Share

There Was a Time …..

There was a time when the night before Ash Wednesday would have my attention more for what was happening at Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Rio than for any spiritual meaning.  Tonight is different.

I’ve had an interesting week and am feeling very blessed!  I was given insight into a situation that had been on my heart and the message was very positive and hopeful.  I’ve once again had the opportunity to participate in a big way in making a difference in some one’s life and there is nothing that compares to the feeling!!!  I’ve also had a situation that could have been fairly upsetting, but instead I’ve seen the miracle in it and am giving thanks.  And I mean miracle, plain as day.

I believe I’ve mentioned my current Bible study and it gets into the whole concept of miracles, what’s real, what’s not, what can we ask for and what can we claim.  It is so timely in my life.

I’m coming up on the three-year mark of what  I believe to be being healed of brain cancer.  Three years ago at this time I was enduring unbelievable headaches, pain beyond description, even for someone who had suffered intense migraines for decades.

I’ll not recount it here, as it’s a life event that occurred and is in the past.  Lent and Easter of 2006, though, were intense times and many lessons have been learned and many memories made since then.  I said then and have lived it since – no health challenge is going to define me.  Shape perhaps, maybe even refine or hone some of my beliefs, but defined by a physical challenge?  No thanks!!

So embarking on this Lenten 2009 journey of leaving behind SHOULD and its ensuing guilt,  I’m a very grateful, very thankful, very fulfilled woman, living daily in wonder at the blessings I have and see all around me.  Everything peachy?  Not quite, but compared to where I’ve been, things look pretty good.  The French refer to la vie en rose; I’d say it’s all in how you choose 🙂  Adieu……

Share

Countdown 57 hours – First Day of Winter

Okay not even the low number of hours till I’m hugging my Meghan can begin this post.  The feature here is, get this, minus 6° (6 below zero) air temp with a WIND CHILL of  minus 28 degrees.    That’s a wind chill factor of 28 DEGREES BELOW ZERO right now, as I’m writing.  Didn’t I use the words brutal cold yesterday?  We are there and it is indeed brutal. It even looks harsh out there and winter officially began just hours ago.

Am I heading out to church?  No, and I’m reasonably certain the Lord understands.  I will visit one of my favorite preachers online, Pastor Greg Laurie at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside California, and listen live because they stream the video during each of their services.  I can  watch/listen three times today.  In between their services I can pop over (virtually)  to Appleton Alliance Church, a wonderful place, but  difficult to travel there from here especially with blowing, drifting snow.  Pastor Dennis there was a powerful pray-er for me prior to my second brain surgery and is a gifted preacher.  I download and listen to his sermons regularly.

My own father, the most gifted preacher I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard many,  doesn’t yet have his sermons on their Web site.    I chuckled when I first moved out here and ran into some of his former parishioners.  The wife was telling me how they were out for a Sunday drive, flipping through radio stations and they heard “The Voice”  and knew immediately who it was. At 83, he’s still got it.  Having grown up with the best, I do admit to having fairly high standards for preachers.  While I certainly know that it’s supposed to be the message, not the messenger;  the messenger makes a difference.  And my father is a very powerful messenger.  Maybe he’ll get his sermons on the Web and you, too, can hear him preach.  Are you reading this, Dad?  🙂

So that’s my Sunday – I have my last transcription job of 2008 due tomorrow morning in addition to hauling out the snow-blower AGAIN and bundling up against the wind AGAIN, then more cleaning, laundry, packing, the usual pre-holiday (as in vacation) routine previously referred to .  Don’t think I’ll get to “wiping up the floor” at all  and to use one of my father’s famous lines once again – There you have it.

In 50 hours I’ll be at the airport in Green Bay, waiting to take off for Columbia, South Carolina, where my Meghan will be waiting to pick me up.  I will surely be dancing through the cleaning and packing today, amen 🙂

Share

Little Sparkles part two

Wouldn’t you know it?  Having just decided on the name of my project here, Her Father’s Homestead, this morning’s message was based on The Lord’s Prayer, which begins with those words familiar to many, “Our Father…”  Affirmation, confirmation, call it what you will.  I call it Little Sparkles (scroll down to Part One for definition)  It was like a message from my Father telling me He was pleased with the project.

I listened intently to Pastor John, focusing on My Heavenly Father, while allowing the morning’s frustration to melt away and surrounding myself with the warmth of believing that that Little Sparkle was the morning’s gift to me.

No matter what our immediate circumstances, there is always hope.  There are those who will call me unrealistic, a Pollyanna, an incurable optimist.  I’ve even been called a liar for proclaiming the positive instead of embracing what some had deemed a a terrible prognosis.

But I believe in Little Sparkles and I’ve had more than my share.  When faced with a malignant brain tumor in 2006 and the resultant brain surgery, radiation, chemo, and supposed dire prognosis for this condition, I wouldn’t claim it for myself.  Now having passed the one-year mark, a milestone for this disease, then the two-year mark, a bigger milestone and now being within four months of the three-year milestone, I’m still receiving Little Sparkles along the way.

Call me what you will, it won’t change the fact that I CHOOSE to see the Sparkles that my Father sends my way rather than dwell on the dull, perhaps ugly “reality” when faced with adversity.

As a political activist having just endured yet another Presidential election, I’m familiar with the concept of “Perception is reality.”  Maybe you’ve heard that concept, too, maybe not.  But if you are feeling under the weather emotionally, a bit on the less-than-positive side of life, I so encourage you to watch for the Little Sparkles and marvel at them.  Perceive them as a little gift and your reality will be enhanced.  You may find yourself smiling, breathing a silent, “Thank you, Father,” maybe even doing a little dance around your kitchen.  (Those who know me may be grinning at that mental picture 🙂   Enjoy … and bask in the warmth of your Father’s love.   till the next time, adieu.

Share