Eeyore on Steroids: “I’d Look on the Bright Side if I Could Find it!”

I gave my usual ‘I need your best person because I’m a really hard stick’ speech to the pleasant lady checking me in for bloodwork. She was unable to locate orders which was strange as I had literally JUST walked across the hall after meeting with my doctor with clear instructions to go straight to the lab. The last thing I needed was more waiting, escalating the anxiety.

I had prayed for an uneventful appointment with my Stanford doctor, and so far, my prayer was answered… other than a possible naked man leaning his backside against an apartment window on the hospital grounds. I say possible because at first glance, I would SWEAR that’s what I saw and not wanting to stare, I can’t completely confirm.

My anxiety was simply based on dreading needles, NOT on any unusual findings. Everything was fairly routine with a quick scope procedure and check-up. The biggest challenge for all my doctors is managing follow-up care for lynch syndrome. My oncologist stated she spends a chunk of time the night before she sees me analyzing where we are and what needs to be done.

High maintenance in yet another area of my life! Hah!

After 30 minutes of entertaining myself with heating pads on my uncooperative veins, it was finally my turn. The lab is set up in a circle with full view of everyone getting their blood drawn. While contemplating the reasoning for this, I was directed to take the one and only chair in the middle of the awkward circle. I guess she hadn’t picked up on what a baby I am and how this might not be the best idea to have all eyes on me.

Even though the lab tech was amazing, I still found myself fighting the usual tears as I prepared to leave. It’s my moment of feeling sorry for myself, sad I have to walk through this. I’m sure it’s just my way of releasing all the emotions of getting through another doctor visit and hoping everything is fine.

Rounding the corner to the waiting room, I saw a family friend. It was great to see her and she quickly caught me up on the details of the last few months of her life. Cancer had been found in her spinal fluid and now she was undergoing harsh treatments of radiation and chemo in hopes of prolonging her life.

As crazy as it sounds, she looked wonderful! Even in the midst of describing horrific details, she was absolutely radiating with positivity. She laughed often, joyfully declaring how God is in control no matter the interruption to how she thought her life would unfold this year.

I was convicted to say the least.

I KNOW I’ve grown in my faith, but my friend challenged me to take it to the next level with God. Just that week I had been describing a woe-is-me, negative person to a friend and used the phrase, “She’s like Eeyore on steroids.”  I now felt like the phrase could accurately describe me and how I’ve been viewing God’s ability to work in certain areas of my life, mainly having to do with my kids. I’VE been the Eyeore-on-steroids person who only sees the impossible obstacles we are facing and not the God-who-can-move-mountains-Heavenly-Father who is more than able to meet all our needs, big and small!

I’ve been reading Priscilla Shirer’s book God Is Able, and the description on the back starts with, “Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing.” She explores Ephesians 3:20-21, building her case that God is always up to great things.

This is my summary/narrative of the verses based on her book:

Ephesians 3:20-21. “Now (our current reality and God’s present ability) to Him (eyes on Jesus!) who is able to do (for YOU) exceeding abundantly beyond (Lord, please do this or something better) all that we ask or think (He’s got it totally covered) according to the power that works within us, (flip the switch— depend heavily and consistently on the Spirit of God— make room for HIS ability) to HIM be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. AMEN!

I began journaling prayers for my three kids; what am I believing God for in their lives? On Cory’s page (which happens to be the longest right now…TEENAGERS!!) I wrote a specific prayer for his grade in summer school math. This is actually a HUGE concern in that he missed passing the second semester by one point. ONE POINT!! High school math is HARD and it has been challenging for little mister. Under my journaled prayer, I wrote…

God Is Able!

The class is now halfway done and Cory has a 95!

GOD IS ABLE!!

It might be a small example to you, but to me… it’s miraculous! AND… as I sat down to blog, I literally could have written about each one of my kids. God has answered a specific prayer I had for each one of them THIS WEEK!

So… rather than being an Eeyore in the circumstances of life, I am looking for God in everything and believing He Is Able!

In the words of the rumbly tumbly theologian Winnie the Pooh:

“Yesterday is a history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”

I’d love to hear from you and how God is working in your present situations. After all, “A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen.” (Pooh)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smiling Through Pain

Let’s start with the biggest news of all from my most recent Stanford appointment. This is, well… basically… HUGE!

Are you sitting down?

Ready??

I WAS ABLE TO SLIDE MY WEDDING RING OFF BEFORE THE PROCEDURE!!  Hah!

Forgive me for all the build-up, but this is a really big deal. If you’ve followed my blog for a bit, you know I reference this extremely buggy issue often.

But…I have lost 10 lbs. …and being able to avoid the awkward conversation with the nurses of why I can’t take my ring off was HEAVEN. And hopefully the weight loss will continue and begin to show up in other places besides my ring finger!

This procedure required an IV and THAT turned into a comedy of not-so-funny errors. The first nurse about KILLED me with several failed attempts. She discreetly slipped away and nurse Donna gave it a few unsuccessful tries. Donna decided to send for Dan who is their best guy for challenging patients.

Meanwhile, I quickly got Ed’s attention, asking him to send out an IV-SOS-text for prayer to Wendy and Kelly because I was now nauseous and faint— not to mention BRUISED and hurting. The problem, however, is Ed is not a fast texter:  He over-thinks his wording and spelling before he will send anything. In the chaos of the moment, I SWEAR he asked me how to spell “IV.”  Hah!

Before the infamous Dan could arrive, an older nurse named Dixie stepped in to give it a try. Donna tried to persuade her to wait for Dan, but Dixie was determined! Donna literally leaned over me and whispered, “I apologize in advance for what is about to happen.”

Oh my!!

Funny thing… Dixie got it.  First try.  No bruising.

I also had a mammogram followed by an ultrasound.  Not my favorite appointment for a number of reasons… mainly, my mom died of breast cancer and I find myself fighting twinges of fear and being super sad when these times come up.

During the ultrasound, the technician suddenly stopped the screening and with a concerned tone in her voice said, “I need to get someone to look at this.”

She abruptly left the room and I was lying there with instant tears, thinking, “This is it.  They’re gonna say I have breast cancer just like my mom.”

My mom was beautiful— reserved, classy, graceful. I feel TOTALLY ripped off to not know her through the different seasons of life. I really miss her and Mother’s Day weekend is a nice opportunity to write about her, reminding the world that Devona Dean Polk lived and was a remarkable person! Sometimes I wonder if God took her home early (age 46) because she had finally worked through all her past pain… kind of like ending on a note of joy and emotional wholeness. I don’t know. I’m not God and let’s just reiterate my life mantra yet again: I trust him. Period.

The two technicians entered the room and began fiddling with the computer screen. Within minutes the problem was diagnosed… an equipment malfunction which was never about me at all. If the original technician hadn’t been so grumpy, I would have pointed out that after reviewing a patient’s medical history, one should not run from the room stating you need someone to look at this!

Finally, many of you have asked about Eddie’s shoulder since his driveway-motorcycle accident. It hurts and is still not quite right. I don’t want to flat out say it’s an emergency situation, BUT… he’s unable to massage my neck and shoulders because of the pain, so… it’s pretty critical he deals with it!

Seriously, I keep encouraging him to follow-up on it because his future well-being and livelihood depend on it and it’s just not any fun to be in pain.

Speaking of pain, I hope Mother’s Day is a nice day for you. I KNOW it can be hard for a variety of reasons. There was a time in my life when my mom had passed away AND I was just finding out I was unable to have kids. On Mother’s Day the emotional pain was simply TOO MUCH!! If you will be attending a church service where they ask all the moms to stand up and you are struggling with becoming a mom…as Nurse Donna would say, “I apologize in advance for what is about to happen!”

I do pray you find a reason to smile through life’s challenges and are able to bring some joy and laughter to those around you.

You can always borrow a line from Eddie and ask someone how to spell “IV”!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking with Friends Through Cancer

It’s my friend’s birthday today and I just keep thinking about her and all she did for me 8 years ago as I walked through scary times with a cancer diagnosis. This is one story that made me smile in the middle of facing my biggest fear.

(summer 2009)

My friend had her blinker on, ready to pull in to a prime parking spot when all of a sudden, a man jumped into the space saying, “We’ve been waiting a long time to park here.”

Where did HE come from?

It was all very odd and, frankly…a bit maddening! The beach was humming and parking spots were hard to come by.

My friend rolled down her window and took me by complete surprise as I heard her shout, “Oh FINE. I’ll just keep driving around my friend who has cancer and is going through CHEMOTHERAPY!”

Our new foe quickly answered back, “Well.  MY friend only has ONE leg!”

It was just the comic relief I needed.  I could not stop laughing at the outrageousness of the exchange I was witnessing. Two people determined to look out for their suffering friends.

It was my first week of chemo and my friend was making sure I was being taken care of.  She had gone with me to get my hair cut super short in anticipation of it all falling out in the next couple of weeks. We had gone out for lunch at a local deli and now wanted to walk on the beach.

Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous man will prosper. He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

What a beautiful Biblical promise! As we purposefully pour our lives into others, God fills US up.

Humility is a fascinating concept. On the one hand, you have to humble yourself to accept help from others. It is very hard to admit you need this assistance. One definition says, “Acknowledging that achievement results from the investment of others in my life.”

Likewise…if you are the one helping someone, you are also showing humility in that you’re putting aside your own interests, schedules and plans for the sake of another.

It’s two sides of the same coin that Christ uses to keep us from pride.

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

It was a wonderful day with my friend.  After we circled the parking lot a few times, a spot finally opened up for us RIGHT next to the man we had just encountered. We pulled in and humbly unloaded our things. And…

yes… his friend really DID have only one leg!

 

 

 

Volleyball, Mudslides and Cancer

I KNOW you’re on the edge of your seats, waiting for updates about my life… or at least that’s what I like to tell myself.

Well, I’ve got some!

Let’s start with the basics and see how this unfolds.

Volleyball. What can I say? Apparently, I am a HUGE fan. I had no idea I would love this sport so much!

Cory had an all-day tournament this past weekend. I missed the first match because I was definitely taking my sweet time getting there. I was just so happy to be in the car all by myself, sipping on Starbucks and switching stations back and forth from classic rock to worship music. My definition of solitude!

I made it JUST in time for the second match (is that what you even call it??)… which we won. A match is a total of 3 games, playing until a team wins two. Our little group of parents are super-dedicated to cheering the boys on. After each game in a given match, we switch sides to make sure we are in the best spot to effectively root for our team.  Have I mentioned how stressful this sport is?? The boys really have to work together to execute the perfect bump-set-spike situation. VERY technical! Cory is an outside hitter and is growing in his confidence to nail the ball on the final hit. He’s doing great, especially considering he hasn’t played since Jess was in middle school. Hah!

We made it to the championship round, competing for the bronze. It was wild, three games happening simultaneously, inches apart… like a war-zone with volleyballs coming at you from all directions.

We lost the first game, but came back to win the second by a landslide. The third game would decide it: first team to score 15 would be the winner.

We were smokin’…11-4.  The boys looked unstoppable!

And then…

An injury.

The captain of the team jumped, dove (and possibly collided with someone or something…it all happened so fast) and went down grabbing his ankle. He was HURT and would not be able to finish the game.

This young man is the most outstanding volleyball player, but along with that, he holds the team together like nothing I’ve ever seen. He’s super encouraging to the guys, coaching them after each play… the heart of the team.

We never scored another point.

It was a sad moment, but sweet to see how this team supports each other as the coach led them in praying for their injured captain.

Now we wait to hear if he will be able to play in the games this week.

Ahhh.  Such is life.

In other news… our road is hanging in there.  We are driving on it as if everything is just fine. The sunshine had lifted the “doom and gloom” feeling, but now rain is in the forecast for the whole week. I overheard Ed chatting with a friend about possible repair options this summer, so… I guess that’s the plan: Pray for it to hold ‘til summer!

And…finally, (well, I had more, but apparently rambled on about volleyball more than I thought I would)…

I go to Stanford this Friday. This is the next procedure in the schedule my doctor has set up. I’m not looking forward to it AT ALL, but I’m thankful for the close monitoring.

I’ve been praying Ephesians 3:16-19 over myself and my family recently. We are working our way through some hurts and situations with no idea of outcomes.  We DO know that God is with us and he offers strength, encouragement and hope to whatever parts of our life are injured. He holds our “team” together and we need Him like crazy!

Ephesians 3:16-19…    “I pray that out of God’s glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to KNOW this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Here is an example of how I would take these verses and pray them over Cory:

“Lord, I pray that out of your glorious riches you would strengthen Cory with power through your Spirit in his inner being, so that you would dwell in his heart through faith. I also ask that Cory, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all of us, to grasp how much you love him; to know how wide and long and high and deep is your love for him. I pray that Cory would KNOW this love that far exceeds anything in his life. Fill him up with more of you… And may his volleyball team win!!” (Doesn’t hurt to ask!)

Praying these verses encourage you! Make them your personal prayer and try praying them for someone else.

I’d love to hear about what God is doing in your life. Have a blessed week and may YOU be filled to the measure of ALL the fullness of God!

 

 

 

 

 

The Keys to a Happy Family…Literally

I could not silence the incessant beeping coming from my minivan.  One of the electric doors would not slide into place and the noise was escalating the whole drama of me, already running a few minutes late.

It was EARLY Sunday morning and I was scheduled to play keys on the worship team at church.  (That’s cool band talk for keyboard.)  I had no choice but to wake up Eddie.  Graciously (and groggily I might add) he came out to the garage and body-slammed the van door until the beeping stopped.

I have to pause here and say:  Eddie is ALWAYS willing to help no matter how inconvenient it is for him.  Me— not so much.  I roll my eyes, sigh and even stomp toward whoever needs me.

Super dramatic!

Ed comes to the rescue the minute he is needed and never complains.  I mean, here he was, standing in the cold garage on this rainy morning in his boxers and a t-shirt, no contacts…beating on my car.

I took off down our steep driveway and as I rounded the first curve a loud beeping announced that the door was sliding OPEN! I zipped back up the hill and Eddie again beat on the door until it fully closed.  This time I locked it and Ed felt confident I would make it to church without it sliding open.

Same corner.  Same result.

I quickly made the decision to commandeer Jessica’s car.  This was a bold move on my part because she really needed her car to get to work in a couple hours.  I drove away leaving Eddie to figure out how to get Jessica to work and the rest of the family to church.

Band practice and the first church service went really well.  As I got set-up at the keyboard for the second service, I made eye contact with Cory and was happy to see he was sitting where it would be easy for me to join him.  I knew Ed was taking Olivia to her class and would appear soon.  Jess had driven Cory’s truck to work AFTER Ed made an early morning trip to the gas station.  (Cory always runs on fumes!)

The music was beautiful that morning.  I kept trying to glance at Cory and Eddie without being too obvious, but, for some reason, was unable to spot them in the crowd.  I waited until there was a break in the action (a.k.a. “greeting time”) and scanned the room, but they were nowhere to be found.

Hmmm.  Very strange.

We finished the last song of the worship set, and quietly headed for the door at the back of the stage.  Imagine my surprise as Cory was the first person I saw.

“What are you doing back here?” I asked.

“Mom!  Where are Jessica’s keys?  We’ve been looking everywhere for them in the music room.”

He went on to explain how Jessica arrived at work and was unable to unlock the door because… I not only had her car keys, I also had her work keys! She was standing in the rain with customers, waiting for Cory to bring them to her.

Oops!

Cory and Eddie had been searching every nook and cranny trying to find where I stashed my purse during church.  Little did they know— I hide my purse on stage because of people like them: YOU NEVER KNOW WHO MIGHT BE RUMMAGING THROUGH STUFF BACK THERE! Hah!

I’d like to say this is an out of the ordinary day in our lives, but… no can do.

Life is crazy, hectic, busy, full and packed with every emotion you can possibly think of.  We have hard days as a family, filled with big struggles and on-edge emotions that takes everything in us to get through.  But that’s just it:  Jesus is in us and He’s the reason we can love one another and make it through challenging times.

(And silly, inconvenient times like car doors sliding open while driving and needed keys hidden on a church stage).

This verse is the key to getting along with others and, for me, it starts with my family; they are the ones seeing the real me.

Ephesians 4:2-3  “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

I am not humble (eye rolls, sighs, stomps) yet alone, COMPLETELY humble.  What does that even mean??  And my words have a natural “snap” to them rather than a gentle caress.  Let’s don’t even venture in to the next phrase of being patient!

Luckily, Jesus is so patient and COMPLETELY gentle with me (and I know exactly what that means).

More than anything, I want each member of my family to be growing in their faith and know how much they are loved by Jesus.  THAT is literally the key to a happy family.

And… it wouldn’t hurt to COMPLETELY upgrade the old minivan!

Just sayin’!

 

 

 

 

 

So Much Waiting

“Not one person has liked or commented on my Facebook post today,” I lamented to Eddie as we wound our way over the mountain freeway to Stanford.

I had linked to my latest blog post Friday the 13th asking for prayer for my upcoming procedure and out-of-whack emotions.  Having no-one respond was clearly not encouraging, and I began to wonder if everyone was as over my ongoing medical journey as I was.

We pulled into Stanford with not much time to spare— surprising I know, considering who was driving!  Ed dropped me off in the crazy valet parking line in front of the cancer center. I was grateful to miss the claustrophobic parking garage which Ed said was more chaotic than ever.

I was a last-minute add-on to the surgery schedule, so, unfortunately, I was given a 1:30 time slot which meant I was STARVING!  This was to be an “exam under anesthesia”, making sure some recent findings were not cancerous.  In MY mind, we would be back on the road by 5:00, eating wherever I wanted.

It was an uneventful check-in, weigh-in and starting the IV.  If you’ve followed my blog at all, then you know IV’s are extremely challenging to get going on me, so I was thankful.  No pain and only one stick!

Eddie was allowed to come back and hang out with me in the pre-op room.  It was kind of a ghost town back there, with only 2 other patients waiting their turn.  The nurse began timidly updating us to the possibility of a delay with my doctor who was stuck in a surgery that was running late.  I didn’t panic, I mean, I was hungry, but a little delay is not that big of a deal and we had found a TV station running a marathon of Seinfeld episodes.

FOUR EPISODES LATER, I was STILL waiting. Everyone was gone from pre-op except my nurse, Eddie and me. The nurse was getting a bit antsy to shut down the unit and get off work. She was probably starving too!

After another hour, she moved me to the recovery room, wished me luck and clocked out, leaving me with more waiting and no TV.

FIVE HOURS after checking in, I was finally being wheeled to the Operating Room.  My doctor explained she had been stuck in another doctor’s surgery, basically twiddling her thumbs waiting to do a tiny procedure.

TWENTY MINUTES later I was back in recovery.  As I came to, I felt so good!  This was the first time in recovery that I wasn’t nauseas at all.

Meanwhile, everyone was trying to track down Ed- who had no idea I would be out so quickly.  Poor guy… he was trying to spend the $5 meal ticket Glenda from Guest Relations had given him as a sort of apology for the long wait.  Problem was, all the food places had closed!

My doctor personally found him down in the pharmacy line, which was also closing!  She informed Ed that she had taken 2 biopsies and would call us with the results.

We were on the road by 7:30 and eating corn chowder at Mimi’s by 8.

So much waiting!!

Waiting to eat, waiting for surgery, waiting for likes/comments on Facebook, waiting for biopsy results, WAITING TO BE PAST ALL OF THIS!

Are there benefits to waiting? Can anything good come of delays in life?

I love this definition of faith:  Faith is waiting to let God work.

It’s a surrender to letting the plan God has for our lives unfold in his way and in his timing.

Romans 1:17 ends with the phrase, “The righteous will live by faith.”

Or… we could say…

The righteous will live by waiting to let God work.

God is doing so much in my life through this season of waiting on him.  It’s not easy, but it’s definitely beneficial.  There’s a deepening in my relationship with him that I’ve never experienced. He is showing me the depth of his love as my Heavenly Father. 

As we headed home, I once again clicked on Facebook and realized I had accidentally tapped the privacy setting on my post, making it visible only to me.  Within seconds of correcting this, so many friends and family were responding with encouraging comments and promises to pray.  The timing was perfect as the prayers carried me through the week until I heard from my doctor yesterday………..

The biopsies came back as not cancer!

My prayer for you is that you would live by faith.

Live by waiting to let God work.

As I’ve said before…He’s worth the wait!

 

 

 

Friday the 13th

Well… I heard from my doctor on Wednesday and I am headed to Stanford tomorrow.  She’s calling it an exam under anesthesia.

What on earth does that even mean?

I’ll tell you what it means:

SURGERY!

  • There’s a home prep involved.
  • 2 hour early arrival
  • a weigh-in
  • Attempted removal of my wedding ring
  • An IV
  • An operating room
  • High probability she will cut something out
  • Pain in the recovery room
  • A queasy ride home with Ed speeding over highway 17
  • And soreness for DAYS!

How’s that for an optimistic outlook?

AND… let us not forget…

IT’S FRIDAY THE 13TH!

Yes, I’m feeling sorry for myself.  I cried when I hung up the phone and even accused Ed of not having enough sympathy for me.  I’m being a baby and I know it.

But… here is the Voskamp quote of the day that I am clinging to:

“Be a prayer warrior not a panicked worrier.” 

And that’s where you come in.

Would you pray for me?  Would you pray that this exploratory appointment goes smoothly and nothing scary shows up? If I cross your mind tomorrow, I’d love prayer for my emotional well-being too.

Psalm 112:7. “He (ok, SHE) will have no fear of bad news; his (HER) heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”

I really do trust Him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Unexpected

Expectations. That’s what it boiled down to for me. It wasn’t what I expected.

My doctor had set up a schedule of doing some type of follow-up every 3 months and this was the kick-off appointment. In my mind this was an easy, quick “scope thing” to take place in her office. I wasn’t worried about it at all.

I have to pause here and say… why does it seem I so often write those words? 

My good friend, Janet, decided to tag along as we rarely have large chunks of time to talk. The drive to Stanford was an easy, smooth one (hopefully Janet would agree… if anything, I drove too slowly for my speedy friend) and we were able to chat about everything. I think she was surprised at how chaotic the underground parking was and how long my little hike to the cancer center is.   Gotta love a bit of sympathy!

I was quickly checked in, leaving Janet to enjoy the music of an amazing guitarist in the waiting room.

First stop— the dreaded scale.

Thankfully, the weight registers in kilograms and as the nurse began to convert it to pounds, I assertively held up my hand and instructed him to NOT say another word. No reality check desired.

He led me down the usual corridor, BUT walked right past the usual room. I hesitated, but obediently followed him, wondering why we seemed to be off the anticipated script of this appointment. The nurse swung open a door officially labeled, “Procedure Room” and one peak inside set off an internal alarm that I, again, had under-estimated this appointment.

He took my vitals, and my blood pressure was much higher than normal. Anxiety was getting the best of me! He then asked if I had done the prep for the procedure.

My response, “Wait. WHAT?”

No one had mentioned anything about a prep.

Hmmmmm. A conundrum of sorts. He left to consult with the physician’s assistant with my parting words trailing after him, “Plead my case. I don’t want to do it!”

Within minutes the assistant arrived, armed with the prep. It wasn’t optional.

I will spare you the details of THAT ordeal— just know it was extremely awkward and SUPER NOT FUN!

My supposedly-less-than-invasive-procedure went okay until the end when my doctor stated she found something needing to be biopsied.

Seriously??!

She’s hoping it’s just scar tissue, but was unable to say for sure… thus, the biopsy.

It was over and I wanted to escape before I fell apart. At the front desk checking out, I was biting the inside of my cheek, trying to distract myself enough to not cry as the receptionist scheduled my next appointment.

Janet was chatting with the guitarist (as only my sweet, friendly, musical friend can do) and I made a bee-line out of there, signaling to her that I would meet her outside. As we stood in the sunshine, I tearfully gave her the play-by-play.

I stood there wondering why everything affects me so much. Why do I cry at every appointment? Why can’t I be tougher and have the much needed attitude of “let’s just get ‘er done?” It’s really not that big of a deal, yet my emotions are always so heightened.

I know I continually fight the thoughts of what a cancer diagnosis could mean. I have the history of watching my mom pass away at the young age of 46 along with my own 2 year battle through it. It’s a tender, scary piece of me that needs constant re-alignment, which brings me back to my opening word: Expectations.

Expectations are a set-up for failure and disappointment. For example, I have such HIGH expectations of Ed, probably because he can do SO many things SO well. I’m notorious for leaving long to-do lists of what I want to have accomplished. I need to offer LOVE without a to-do list.

The focus of my expectations in all areas of life has to be God.

I can expect God to walk with me through EVERYTHING.

-through pain

-through healing

-peaceful times

-fun times

-family issues

-hard days

AND….

I can expect His love. God loves me without a “to-do” list. The ONLY thing I need to do is accept His love

I have never felt more loved by God. It’s like I have a new understanding of how much He loves me.

I Peter 5:6-7 (narrated by Me) says:

Humble yourselves therefore (accept God’s love for you. Allow Him to love you and direct your life) under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you (lift you out of your situation or encourage you in it) in due time (in HIS timing). Casting all your care (worry, anxiety and… even EXPECTATIONS) upon him for he cares for (absolutely loves) YOU.

So…

You can expect God to keep reaching out to you in love. It’s who He is!

And…

You can expect me to continue being high strung and dramatic about every single doctor appointment. It’s who I am. Hah!

And… just for fun… THIS was my favorite recent text from a favorite friend of mine:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accidental Faith

Accidents happen in a split second- unannounced and definitely not welcomed, thus the term “accident.”  I was watching the clock wondering where Eddie was. It was the last football game of the season before playoffs and we needed to drop Olivia off at a friend’s house before heading to Gilroy to play the rival team of Christopher High. I had our team sweatshirts and personalized jerseys (Margo #52) packed, along with my Ugg boots and a thermos of coffee.

Ed tends to run a bit late which is probably why he drives so fast! Hah!

Finally, I heard his truck out in the driveway and then I heard a dirt bike heading down our road. THEN…the next sound I heard was a loud raucous and I thought, “Did Ed just crash?”

I quickly dismissed the idea and continued impatiently waiting for him to walk in the door and GET READY TO GO.

Well, he DID “walk” in rather slowly, limping along. He had several open wounds and his whole right side was BRUISED.

“I think my shoulder is busted,” Ed stated.

I knew EXACTLY what he was feeling: Several years ago I fell (belly-flopped and bounced would more accurately describe it) in front of the castle at Disneyland and almost ruined our whole vacation. (You can read about that here.)

It’s this terrible feeling of knowing you need medical attention, but not being willing to miss the exciting event about to take place.

Ed decided he could take some ibuprofen and just keep his shoulder as still as possible during the game and figure out medical help the next day. I had the SAME plan at Disneyland! (Part 2 of my falling story.)   Of course a year later I had to have shoulder surgery, but now is not the time to reminisce about all THAT!

He explained he had been on the dirt bike for less than a minute, taking it for a quick spin to see if the tire he had repaired was working fine. The accident made no sense! He wasn’t being reckless or speeding (shocking, I know). The bike simply came out from under him.

Ed is SUPER tough and basically NEVER complains. He was trying not to wince in pain as he got ready for the game and then again in the car whenever I turned a corner.

At the game, he insisted on carrying our chairs and backpack while I was loaded down with the blanket. Hah! Talk about the complete opposite of me. I tend to let everyone know I’m suffering (ahem… starting this blog) while Ed prefers to suffer in silence.

We made it through the game with an exciting victory for the Mustangs (although Ed’s cheering was a bit subdued) and we agreed that he would go to urgent care in the morning.

Separated shoulder. AC Joint separation to be exact.

Not the best diagnosis for a building contractor.

He came home in a sling with directions to rest the shoulder for 2-4 weeks.

We had one of those why-does-it-seem-everything-keeps-going-wrong moments. We are both so ready to never repeat the fall of 2016. It has been a season of sadness, surgery, stress and brokenness. Many of our recent struggles I haven’t been able to share, but life has been HARD.

BUT… here’s the thing. My faith is not based on my circumstances. The foundation of my faith is Jesus. It’s not an event, an experience or even an answered prayer— it’s in the person of Jesus (Andy Stanley Who is the Author of Your Faith).

These hard things don’t define who I am in Christ. I WANT my prayers answered for SURE… but even more than that… I want Jesus.

He is walking with my family and me in extraordinary ways.

He offers grace and mercy for the journey and that is more than enough.

He is with me. He loves me. And… (I realize this next phrase appears in pretty much every post, but it is my bottom line)…

I TRUST HIM.

Ed’s shoulder is slowly healing. He has not taken any time off work and has many pain-filled days, yet never complains. (The doctor stated that he won’t damage it any more by working; it will just take a lot longer to heal).

My family is slowly healing in so many ways. We have many pain-filled days and we are striving to not complain.

And although accidents are unplanned and can happen in a split second, there’s nothing accidental about our faith that sustains us as we keep our eyes on the One who loves us so very much.

Hebrews 12:2-3  “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Anniversary

I was having a very melancholy moment realizing I would not be able to write my annual cancer free anniversary post. Today would have been 7 years.

I had been doing so well!

Having reached the desired benchmark of 5 years with no setbacks, I really thought cancer was behind me forever.

When I recently started blogging again, I purposed to write from a place of brokenness; to tell my journey with raw emotion, being authentic about the struggle. I felt this was what God was speaking to me-to show the inner wrestling to hold on to hope and grow in my faith- not falling back into fear.

About a week ago a friend gave me Ann Voskamp’s new book The Broken Way. I was fighting tears as she handed it to me, knowing it has the potential to be life-changing. Her first book, One Thousand Gifts, was one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read and one I gave to this same friend several years ago.

I brought the new book with me today to read during Olivia’s chiropractor appointment. Olivia is my 10 year old who periodically sees a non-force chiropractor to help relieve pain because she has “loose ligaments” and is hyper-flexible. As the chiropractor was working her magic, I was inches away trying to read a few pages. Problem was… I couldn’t see the words through the tears!

THIS BOOK!!!!

I’ve only read nine pages and it’s almost too much!! … in a most amazing way!

In her first book, Voskamp hints about her struggles, saying enough of the story to make a point.

IN THIS BOOK she is putting it all out there, masterfully weaving her raw story with the faithfulness of God.

Some of my favorite quotes (from the first 9 pages!):

  • “Who doesn’t know what it’s like to smile thinly and say you’re fine when you’re not, when you’re almost faint with pain? There isn’t one of us not bearing the wounds from our own bloody battles.”
  • “What do you do when it feels like everything’s changed? It’s a strange thing to find out your heart can explode with love and suffering and find out they’re kin in ways we don’t care to admit.”
  • “Great grief isn’t made to fit inside your body. It’s why your heart breaks.”
  • “Jesus is always on the side of the suffering, the wounded, the busted, the broken.”
  • “Brokenness happens in a soul so the power of God can happen in a soul.”
  • “Is there a grace that can bury the fear that your faith isn’t big enough and your faults are too many?”

God is doing a work in me that is almost unexplainable at this point. I see it, I sense it, but I don’t know exactly where it’s taking me. I do know that I want to be different- changed in a way that rocks my world.

I want to know God, to walk with Jesus and hear the Holy Spirit directing my life. I refuse to stay the same.

No more counting cancer-free anniversaries.

Today is day one of the rest of my life (cue music to Matthew West’s song).

Cancer does not define me.

Jesus does.

I’m no longer a slave to fear. I AM A CHILD OF GOD.

Happy anniversary to ME!

Oh, AND…

BUY THE BOOK!