Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Joel and I want to wish each of you peace.....
the kind of peace that comes from knowing Jesus as your Savior.  
The kind of peace that comes from knowing His Word and 
His promises are true.

The kind of peace that comes from the love of family and friends. 
From counting the many blessings we have.
The peace that brings us hope.

Our family will start arriving tomorrow and we are so excited to have them here.  
It is a rare occasion to have our children, in-loves, and grands here together
 on Christmas Eve and Day,
so we look forward to gathering with most of our awesome family.  
One comes for the day on Saturday.

Even to worship with our family on Christmas Eve is such a treat!
We pray that each of you embrace peace...the peace that comes from being wrapped in 
God's love, His protection, and His joy.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you all from our corner of Iowa where snow is absent but not the cold!  The  low last night was 8 degrees.....I have been enjoying my "Woolie" comforter and wool socks the past couple of days.  The temperatures are going up again soon, so it will end up being an unseasonsably warm Christmas.  We'll take it!

Even with the warm weather, I have not been out walking.  The radiation treatments kind of took their toll the final two weeks.  Radiation won a few of the last rounds, but I will be back on my feet soon.  I finished a day early on this past Wednesday, and have been spending a lot of time resting, sleeping, and doing what I can to heal my skin and restore my immune system.

Burns are bad, thank God for the burn cream with lidocaine and steroids.  The doctor told me he did not think there would be any scarring in the 45-50 square inches of second degree burns I have. Anyone who knows me knows I hate taking or using medications, so for me to be thankful, means the pain is nasty.  BUT the skin looks better where the "boost" of radiation did not go the past two weeks so we know that in another month I will be walking my miles, wearing a bra, and seeing all new skin.  For now we watch the skin fall off and give thanks for the burn cream, the privilege to rest all I need, and for the healing power of our bodies through God.   Just like a lot of people, we both have been fighting a sinus/chest/cough type thing, too, but we are getting over that.

Several of the family come Christmas Eve, another family Christmas Day, and then one more for the 26th.  Joel is doing quite a bit of the work to prepare although I did get the cards out (120), and have helped some with cooking, cleaning, shopping.  MOST importantly, we will be together.  The rest is just "gravy".  I can hardly wait to hug on everyone!!!

I have been reading light and hope-filled stories and watching a lot of the Hallmark channel and their Christmas movies.  NCIS has been on the USA channel a lot this week, too.....just what I needed.  I have watched only a couple of teachings and listened to some of our favorite Christmas music.  Like our old Alabama Christmas cd.......and Kenny G..........and Pinterest too.

Using the keyboard makes me pretty uncomfortable, so this will be short.  As we all prepare for another celebration of Christmas, I cannot help but give thanks for each sunrise and sunset.  Hope and pray your preparations are going well and that joy and peace reign during this busy week.

Until next time...................

Sunday, December 13, 2015

"Be Still"

I was writing a couple of posts on two of the words we hear so often this time of year~~~peace and joy.   I'm needing a whole lot of that myself.  Alas, the posts are not finished.  The past three days have been very challenging.  Having lived with pain from Lyme damage for the past 30 years, I am quite surprised by how much the pain from the second degree burns is affecting me.  A part of me wants to describe it it looks and feels.  What I'm going through. It is not a constant pain......unless I move, wash, apply creams, blow air on raw skin, etc.  Ha!  It gives new meaning to the words, "be still" and know that I am God". Hmmmmm.  At least I haven't lost all my humor or my mind.

To help myself, I've decided to take a break from blogging and other activities as I focus on this last week of radiation and my body's needs.  Your prayers are much appreciated.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Remembering The Good News

I am thinking people are as weary of my long saga with breast cancer treatment as I am, so after today I plan on just brief updates.  I am recording this for myself as much as others.

I hit a wall this weekend with a big loss of energy and it has not returned.  I am peeling alot under my breast and oozing and bleeding.  It is painful and not pretty.  I am now using telfa non-adherent pads to soak up the oozing.  Add to that a sinus issue that has me getting dizzy when I lay down or sit up and I am feeling pretty beat up.  Yesterday they had to remap and it took 45 minutes.  It is hard not to move a muscle when you lay on a very hard table and your head is on a hard object pressing on the bone behind my ear.  I was so dizzy, hurting, and exhausted.  It just sent me over the edge.

Thus the crying yesterday when I was talking to the nurse.  Seriously not cool.  I also saw the doctor yesterday and he may delay the remaining 7 treatments a couple days which means I would be having treatments Christmas week.  That stinks.  Our family is coming.  He wanted me on pain meds and I said no.  He wanted me on steroids and I said no.  I am using a lidicaine/silverdene cream for burn patients. Yeah, am feeling pretty beat up.  But please remember that this does not happen to everyone.  Skin issues happen but not always to this extent.  My body had 27 years of Lyme and recovery was not 100%  when I started this journey.

It is the Christmas season, and I am trying to hold on to the joy.  The good news is this is almost over. The good news is I am done with full breast treatments and they are just targeting the tumor area. The good news is this will end, I will heal, and I will be myself again.

And most importantly, the good news is that Christmas is coming and Jesus is still King!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning to you on this warm winter day in Iowa.  We are heading for close to 50 today, amazing for December.  We'll take it!  The forecast is for more on the same for the next week, which is great since we like walking outside so much.  We have walked with temperatures as low as 30 degrees,  but below that it too cold with wind chills factored in.

So, we have walked every day this week, which is my goal during treatments.  Mostly we are walking the paths as the roads are a bit more icy in spots.  It melts during the day but freezes back up at night. We have not seen any deer but have had to avoid their droppings on the trail.  We have seen several robins which is weird.  They should all be heading south.  Maybe, like us, something in life interfered with their plans!

Mostly this week we shopped some, spent time every day at the cancer center, and walked the paths here in the association.  I have been sleeping 9 or more hours every night!  Guess the body needs it. Joel has had meetings with the stewardship job he is doing for a local church, and I headed off to Bible Study on Thursday morning. We saw the doctor twice and yesterday he spent a great deal of time explaining to us in more detail what radiation does, why it is used, and how it works.  Due to major skin issues he is giving me only one more full breast treatment and then we will focus only on the tumor area until the end of my designated time.  That will give other areas of the breast time to start healing.  Yay.  He is a great doctor, patient, detailed in his explanations, and concerned with his patients.  Excited about what he does to help others live a full life.  Blessed to have him on our team.

We put up and decorated our tree last Sunday.  We ended up with a 9 foot tree which cost only $30. Joel did have to go up on the half landing to put our angel on the top.  We purchased her 40 years ago in the Philippines.  The decorations are out, the Christmas music is playing and I have started writing out Christmas cards.  We had so much to share, it is more like a novel this year than a newsletter!!  Ha.....

I cannot help but think about all those who are suffering the loss of loved ones, their innocence, and peace of mind this season due to the violence that occurred this week in CA.  Children experienced this horrible act of hatred too.  It has to end.  Hard questions need to be asked and answered.  Change needs to be embraced.  And our LOVING Father God needs to be welcomed into the lives of his creations.  We are made in His image.

So that brings us back to the reason for this season.  It was created to celebrate the birth of Jesus our Savior.  It was created as a time of worship and focus on the One who gave us life, and offers us life eternal.  It is about Jesus.

I am reading Beni Johnson's new book on health, Ann Voskamp's Advent devotional, and catching up on Guidepost and Angels magazines this week.  What are you reading?  I leave you today while singing along to Alabama's old Christmas CD.  We always listened to this as a family while decorating the tree. Sweet memories.....What is your favorite memory about decorating the tree?

Until next time..............

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Living Hope

As I pondered Bonnie Gray's  One Word Advent writing prompt for this week ~ hope ~  I found myself thinking about a statement I heard yesterday about hope. Bill Johnson of Bethel Church said, "If we embrace fear it will turn our hope into hopelessness."

There have been times during this season of my life that I have let fear take up residence and hopelessness has come to visit.

We were excited!  Our trip to Arizona last winter brought with it a desire to move there and begin a new ministry.  We felt called by God.  Retired.....we wanted to refire for our Lord.  We planned, purged, organized, and began to pack as we put our home on the market in the middle of August.  Just two weeks later during a routine physical and mammogram, it was discovered that I had breast cancer. We were stunned.  We took our home off the market immediately, and began to try to digest what my future, our future would hold.

Surgery followed and even with a good prognosis I am in the midst of 6 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week.  The side effects to my skin are starting to take their toll, and even though the end is in sight I began to think about all the what ifs that are ahead.  I began to wonder why, when God healed me of 27 years of Lyme Disease through prayer, I needed to have surgery and radiation for the cancer.  The more I pondered and questioned, the more fear set in and the more fear set in the more hopelessness seeped into my pores.  Yesterday I had a meltdown and what came out of my heart through my mouth was not pretty.  Our dreams looked so far away and near impossible.  This cancer diagnosis was not a surprise to God. We had prayed and prayed about moving.  So God, what was this about? Hopeless.  I felt hopeless.

But during this Advent season of remembering and waiting and preparing, we look to the One who has it all planned out.  We have living Hope that breathes life into us and helps us remember why Jesus came to earth.  He came for us.  Isaiah 53 tells us he suffered and died for our sins and for our sicknesses. The two are tied together and we cannot accept one without out considering the other.

Living Hope came into the world as a baby.  Every day we open our eyes to a new sunrise and we have hope.  Like Annie says, "The sun will come out tomorrow...."  And every day we open our eyes to God's Son, too.  Our living Hope.  Fear has no place when we remember that He has us, He is with us, He knows our future and He is our Hope.

"For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. 
 Plans for good and not for evil.  
To give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11


In The Midst of it All

I woke up this morning after 9 1/2 hours of sleep and thought.....I don't really want to go to Bible study today.  I have no energy, I am down and out, and lets add a little "poor me" to that.  I hurt and I don't like going out in public without a bra.  Seriously, I am way to over-endowed for this kind of free living!  I told Joel I was not sure I was going and he said, "Well just ask Holy about it. "  I knew I was not in a good place when I resisted asking.......

I showered, dressed and then asked.  I asked Holy if He wanted me to go to Bible Study......He said, "It is up to you."  I then asked if it would help me if I went and before I could finish asking I got a strong, "Yes!"  Okay then.

I went in down and came out up.  Isn't that just how it goes when we study the Word, share with fellow believers, and are able to lay hands on and pray over those in need.  Hearing the faith stories of others is always uplifting.  Seeking wisdom found in His Word encourages.....Getting the perspectives of others enlightens.  Praying for others brings our focus on the One.  God is in the midst of His people.

.  This morning I saw on the TV a written statement concerning this latest mass murder in CA.  "GOD IS NOT FIXING THIS"  I don't know what it means and I am not so sure I want to know either.

Where is God in the midst of it all?  In the midst of a newborn baby who's brain is the midst of a waiting room with women suffering from the affects of the midst of a group of people celebrating Christmas who are gunned down by senseless the midst of it all.......

God is in the midst of it all.  It is much easier to see God at work in a room full of women studying prayer, and actively praying, then in the midst of a senseless  act of violence or a baby dying.  God does not want this baby dying, women suffering, mass murders.  NO.  It is Heever from God.  It is the enemy that has come to kill, steal, and destroy.  Not God.

God weeps with us.  I had someone ask me once where God was when I was being sexually abused as a young child.  I told this person that God was with me, holding my hand and crying with me.  God weeps today too.  He waits in expectation for us to seek Him.  God weeps with those who mourn the loss of life yesterday in CA.  He walks with those who endure the radiation in the hope of restoring their health, and provides the wisdom and care of the medical world.  He comforts the baby who's brain is dying.  He heals.

I don't pretend to have answers to the whys of sickness, disease, pain, abuse, and murder that comes against people.  BUT when the world seems to be losing its senses, when the enemy of God seems to be winning the battles, what I do have is His Word and His promises. And His Word is truth.  I do have His truth.  I hold tightly to His truth.  It is all there, inside those pages. And the truth sets us free.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

This Is Normal

"This is normal".  I have been waiting a long time to hear a doctor tell me those words.  Unfortunately they came with the skin issues I am having with the radiation.  Burning and peeling going on in places that should not burn or peel.  This past weekend things looked better and the coconut oil and lavender essential oil mix I used under my arm took away the sunburn and left a nice tan.  But after yesterday's radiation the skin flared up again in other places.  Especially under where the bra elastic fits.  So, now I am living like a braless hippie, and using a special compounded cream for burns with lidocaine added for the pain.  I am used to pain and did not think I needed it, but the doctor insisted and it will be nice not to deal with constant irritation and discomfort.  

So, being honest here, I asked Joel...."Where is the Wrap-Around-Shield God promised me?  Joel replied, "He is there, protecting your organs and keeping this from being really bad.  It may be what you stand on if the Dr. decides to shorten the treatments.  Dr. M. mentioned that today.  God does not go back on His promises."  Yes.  I am still standing firm on God's promises.  Not matter what.  If He promised to be my wrap-around-shield then that is what He is.

Joel was talking to another woman today who shared she has weird things happening during the radiation.  Another agreed.  One has a foot that gets really hot.  Another said that food tasted funny to her. One has burns under her arm that turned black.  I get chills and shake after some treatments.  And certain foods nauseate me.  Now, the nurses blow all this off, saying it is not connected, just burns and fatigue.  But here sat three of many women who are having weird things going on during treatments. Too bad the medical staff blows it off.  They may learn something.  For me, this was very helpful.  I have always felt the patients know more about what they experience than those who treat us.  Whether it is medication side effects or other things like radiation.  I have had only one doctor truly validate what I had to say with symptoms...our Lyme doctor and I think she is rare.

The only one I had to compare my journey to was my sister K. who had only some fatigue with her treatments. After talking to others I am realizing she is unusual and thank God she is......and for once I am normal. Giggle. I think this is one of those times I would rather be the "strange bird" my surgeon called me.

I have 12 treatments left, and wish it was over......But for now, I am staying warm with the fireplace giving off heat, I'm enjoying a good book, and I am giving thanks for God being my wrap-around-shield and Joel walking with me side by side.  In fact twice today two different people made comments about how we hold hands all the time.  Even after so many years.  Yep.  I would not want to do this without him.  I am blessed.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of the world, where we have seen snow, rain, and winds the past week.  We were forecast to have freezing rain and an ice mix on Thanksgiving Day, but it missed our area.  Yay!  Better news is that the 9.5 inches of snow we got is gone due to warmer temperatures and rain.

We have walked outside a few times this past week, but I have not put my walking shoes on very often due to the holiday, weather, and a couple days where I felt pretty crummy from the radiation treatments.  I'm dealing with some soreness, sunburn, and peeling today, so each day is different.  I'm happy to report that I have had 17 treatments and have 14 left.  I'm ready for it to end so I can start giving my skin and body a rest.

Last Sunday afternoon we helped decorate the church.  It put us in the mood for Christmas!  We went to church Wednesday night with friends and then over to their house for pie and fellowship. Thursday we had plans to go to my sister and brother-in- laws for and early supper, but their grandson got sick so they postponed their meal.  We had a turkey in the oven for our noon meal and our favorite ~leftovers,  so they joined us, bringing several side dishes.  Plan B!

Friday we purchased a real tree and today we set it up in the living room after re-arranging everything to make room for it.  That is more work than putting the tree up! It was hard to find a decent one that was not $75-100.00, but we did end up with a nice one for $30.  We will decorate it tomorrow.  Plans are to get an artificial one after the holidays when they are on clearance. Friends stopped by today with an artificial tree we are "borrowing" for the family room.   I'm in the midst of decorating the house.  Fun times!!  I've started shopping, the photo cards have arrived, and the annual newsletter is nearly finished.

The sun is shining today.  We looooooove sunshine, it seems to brighten our spirits and give us energy.  That is one of the reasons Arizona calls to us.  Sunshine!!!  Good ol Vitamin D.

This week I won a book from blogger friend Lisa Buffaloe.  She is an author herself, but was giving away the Beth Moore book, "Audacious".  It already arrived along with two other books I ordered from Amazon for myself, so I have plenty of new reading material.  What are you reading?

Until next time..................

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Downward Slope

I'm trading in my hiking boots for a pair of skies!  Today I began on the downward slope with radiation.  I'm just over half way to the finish line, since today was number 16 of 31.   I've been doing really well considering, but yesterday's treatment rattled me.  I came out of the cancer center cold, shaky and a bit nauseated.  By the time we came home I was having chills.

I had just told the doctor I was doing great!  And I am.  Periodically, though, it takes a different direction and the only thing to do is go with it.  I came home, put on warm, soft sweats, got in my recliner, turned on the fireplace and settled in.  I woke up today feeling pretty much the same, but the day is young and I'm skiing now!

We went yesterday bearing gifts, along with our gratitude.  I made pumpkin bread and we bought some fun candy, plus a tray of grapes and clementines for a healthier option.  The techs that do the treatments are young.  Well, the ladies are young, but  the one man is in his early fifties I expect.  Always friendly, always optimistic, they make the journey easier, and we wanted to show our appreciation.  It is Thanksgiving week, after all!

We have been visiting recently with the other gowned and robed ladies as we wait. While I took my turn in the " chamber", two shared the ups and downs of their journey with Joel.  One had chemo first because even though they caught it early, she is battling the "worst" kind of breast cancer. She is a vibrant upbeat warrior who looks beautiful from the top of her bald head to the tip of her painted toes.    The other has 6 days of treatment left.  Tired often, but still working.  Yay for her!  The room that we wait in holds many stories.  I have heard laughter there, voices of courage, and weeping of one overcome by the reality of it all.  And silence.  So much silence.  Everyone's journey is a bit different but yet all of us are united by the unjust war we fight and the deep desire to live a long full life!

I am so very grateful for the promises God has given me/us.  They sustain us.  That wrap around shield He has promised to me?  We see that......we feel that.....His love and protection.  My skin is doing okay and my energy has been really quite good until yesterday.  Speaking of yesterday, in the morning I was reading the Passion Translation's daily words...."I hear Him whisper" and there it was written boldly for me to see, my own reminder from the One who keeps His promises.......Yes!

"I will be your Wrap-Around-Shield."

We can depend on His promises.  Rest on them.  Thank you for reminding me of Your promises when things get a bit tough.  Thank you that You are a God of Your Word.  We have so much to be thankful for as we rest in His promises, eat our pumpkin pie, and worship the One who keeps His promises, His Word.  My Wrap-Around-Shield.  Yours.  Ours.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday evening to you from our cold and snowy part of the world.  Yesterday morning I walked on dry pathways around our association, and by this morning we had 9.5 inches of snow on the ground! Winter has arrived.

Friday I got called to come in early for radiation, since the roads were getting slippery.  My treatments are usually at three each weekday, but it seems that our day still focuses around them.  I see the radiology oncologist every Tuesday but otherwise it takes only an hour out of our day.  We try to walk in the mornings, get done what needs to get done, and then after treatments in the afternoon I take it easy until supper.  So far, so good.

Joel preached and officiated at a baptism and communion for a local Lutheran church last Saturday. We headed to the last Wednesday night of teaching on healing, and Thursday morning I went to Bible study at church.  Friday morning Joel went to his colleague group, and today we walked at the mall, then went out for lunch with friends, before coming to the house to visit.

This week I have been reading a John Lake book, catching up on my Guideposts magazines, and watching a few online teachings.  We have not watched any movies except a Christmas  one on the Hallmark channel.

Speaking of.......I am getting in the mood for Christmas!  It is hard not to when everywhere we go there are trees, lights, ads, and music playing.  "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"    And the family will be home!!!  I ordered our photo cards and wrote the yearly newsletter this week.  Are you waiting until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas?  We are....but it is tempting not to!

Until next time.....................

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Storms

We are under a storm warning today as we wait for the first snow of the season to arrive.  This storm is going to leave behind 3-8 inches of snow, depending on where you live.  The weathermen can see it coming and have given us notice, so we have time to be prepared.

Don't you wish all storms in life gave us warning?  Not the natural storms, but the storms that come against us from the enemy, from living in a broken world, from reaping what we sow.  Yeah.  Those kind of storms.

No matter the storm....natural or supernatural....we have the One who calms the storms walking with us.  We may be tossed about for a while, we may be shaken, we may face tempest winds and beating rain or rising waters and even heavy snow, but we are never alone in what we face.  Nope.  Never.

Today I had treatment number 13, with 18 left to go.  My energy has been good, but I have developed a few crusty bumpy sores from the skin's reaction to the radiation on the upper breast and along the scar where the nodes were removed.  Those are not an issue, but the sore area of my breast that is more tender than the rest is getting more challenging.  I keep standing on the promise that God gave me the day I found out I would need radiation...."I will be your wrap around shield".

My sister who walked this journey last year had no issues.....but the techs told me  that what I am experiencing is "common".  Each person is unique, according to the skin, breast size, and where the cancer was located.  Although they do radiate the whole breast.  SO, we went shopping an found me a humongous sweatshirt to wear at home when I go bra-less.  I am kind of old to be a hippie.....giggle....but I am willing to do what is necessary on my part while believing God will be my shield.

The treatments are getting easier, with less mapping to do, with the lasers lining up.....We drive the 8-10 minutes to the cancer center using our cancer permit to park close by.  We walk in, Joel get's coffee and I go back into radiology, going into the women's dressing room, getting a gown and robe, then heading into the dressing stall, undressing from the waist up, hanging my clothes in a locker and then going into the waiting room to sit with Joel until they come get me.

They have scheduled patients every 15 minutes and have two rooms they can use.  When they come, I give them my card, which they scan in the computer so the machine knows what is needed for co-ordinates.  They get me a step stool to get up on the table and I lay down.  As they align me they put my arms in the overhead braces, strap my feet down, and lower the gown to get those lasers where needed.  The actual treatment is 3-4 minutes, first on one side and then that big machine rotates to the other side.  I am done, dressed, and back home in less than an hour.  Some days I come home feeling very cold, so I lotion up. put on my new oversized hoodie, get in my recliner, turn on the fireplace and cover up with a quilt until I get warm.  I may doze off for a short nap, but otherwise get on with my day.  I will say that Fridays seem to take more out of accumulation of the week I expect.

My Daily Attire:  Gowns and robes

This is the biggest hospital and cancer center in all of north and central Iowa so people come from up to two hours away every single day for treatments.  Amazing.  So grateful for the kind and caring staff, the short distance we have to drive, Joel's continual support, and all of the prayers.
Coffee and the newspaper
while waiting

I have not always stayed calm in this storm.  I shed tears easily and most days, but tears are a good way to release stress.  I still find anger rising once in awhile and I take it to God and try to focus on giving thanks.  My sacrifice of praise, as the Bible calls it, is where my strong honest emotions bring "fragrance to my praises" as Pastor Bill Johnson says so well.

Storms.  They will come.  Some with notice, some without.  But in the storm we are never alone. They come, but they also go.  Jesus says, "Be still" and even nature obeys Him.  He is our shield.  He is our wrap around shield!

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Child's Faith and God's Response

When we lived in the Philippine Islands, the heat and humidity made for fertile ground for infections to set in.  Our daughter from the P.I. came to us with staph and it would come out on her body in the form of huge boils that were very contagious.   It was always difficult to watch doctors lance those boils, drain them, and then stuff them with gauze.  I had one and it was so painful I could not stop myself from yelling when they lanced it.  And then our oldest daughter, Beth, who was nearly six at the time, got one in the corner of her eye.  We could not imagine how painful it would be to have the doctors go after that one.

We took her in to the base hospital and turned her over to the doctors while we prayed and paced the floor in the waiting room.  We expected her to be hurting, but when she came out she was calm and collected.  We headed for home and finally my curiosity got the best of me and I asked her if it was really painful when they lanced the boil.  Her reply?  "Oh, no.  It did not hurt at all.  I just asked Jesus to keep it from hurting and He did."

A child's faith.....and God's response.

Another time we were heading to the base from Angeles City where we lived.  On the way there our car died.  It was just our oldest daughter and myself and getting stalled off the base was not the safest place to be.  At that time we did not have cell phones, so we were on our own....with a long walk to the base or a long walk home, not being guaranteed our car would still be there when we returned!  I tried to start the car.  Nothing.  Again....and nothing.  Nor on the third try.  Then on the fourth try it started up and purred like a kitten.  I was surprised, but Bethany was not.  Her statement to mommy?  "I knew the car would start Mom, because I prayed about it.

A child's faith.......and God's response.

Beth was only four when she came home from Sunday School and told us that she knew she would go to Heaven when she died.  I asked her why she believed that and she said, "Because I asked Jesus into my heart today!"

A child's faith.......and God's response.

These memories remind me of a story I read that was shared  by Joyce Meyers.  She was talking about prayer and that we do not have to pray long prayers to receive from God.  She shared an example of a mom who was having a lot of stomach pain and was laying on the sofa.  Her little boy knew she was hurting and he came over to her, put his hand on her tummy and said, "Mommy.....Owie.......Jesus."   And her pain left.

A child's faith..........and God's response.

Lord, let us have the faith of a child.  Trusting, expecting, and believing for Your response.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles: Paris

I woke up today with the people of France on my heart.  Tears fall, anger swells and fear whispers in my ear.  My emotions are strong as I sit safe and comfy in my home here in the heartland of the USA. I have never been to France, and even though I have French ancestry I don't know any possible relatives there. But one Facebook post I read said, "Today we are all French".  We hurt for the French.  These terrorist attacks affect all of us whether they are on our soil or not.

I am so weary of the evil.  How do we understand the person who, in the name of their God, can behead a two year old child or mow down people who have no way of escape.  It is sick.  It is wrong.  It is scary.  It echos of Hitler or the Klan.  Yes. No mercy.  It is difficult to pray for them to know Jesus as their Savior,  when the other part of me wants them all gone so our world will be safer.  Oh, Papa God, we all need You.

This day, this week, this year we stand together with those who are grieving, those who are fearful, those who are angry and confused.   We lift France up in prayer as the people  try to make sense of such senseless acts.  They need you Papa God.  We all do.

Friday, November 13, 2015

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times

The other day I asked Joel what he felt was the most challenging and difficult time in his ministry.  Even with all we have been through, hands down it was when we were at St. John Lutheran in Zimmerman MN.  It was there that a parishner, who was a violent unstable alcoholic, threatened Joel's life.  We had been there only a few months when we received a phone call late at night from the police telling us a man was on his way to kill Joel and that they would get there as soon as possible to help us.  We gathered the 5 kids we had at the time and put them on our bedroom floor while Joel moved around in the dark with a loaded rifle.  I stood at the window keeping my eyes on anything that moved while periodically checking on the kids.   And we prayed.  We prayed hard for protection for our family.

When the police arrived it was like a "Cagney and Lacy" episode with several officers coming into our home with guns drawn.  One officer took our oldest around the house to get clothing for each of the kids as we prepared them for leaving.  They guarded us as we got into our car and they had the kids lay down.  Five police and sheriff vehicles escorted us out of town as we headed to the Twin Cities to stay with my sister Janelle and family.  It. was. scary.

It was a strange phone call I made to my sister.  "Hi, can we come down and stay with you tonight?  A man is coming to kill Joel and the police are here and going to escort us out of town."

Our children were ages 14, 13, 7, 6, and 4 at the time. Feeling safe in our home became a goal we worked towards after this event. We had moved a lot over the years and so we asked the two oldest if they wanted to move or stay and then with their desire to stay,  Joel and I prayed and made a decision to stay, even though this man continued to make threats against Joel and our family from jail, from treatment, and from his home a few blocks away.  He used to sit out on the road in his car and watch our home.  It was a long season (over 6 years) of learning to trust God in the moment but it did take a toll on us.  It also made us stronger and more dependent on God and each other.

I was not surprised by Joel's answer, but what did surprise me was his answer to the question, "And what place we lived was the best place during your ministry?"   Without pausing he told me it was the same place. Say, what?

Of course we liked things and the people in every church he served, and we would both agree his year of Internship in Malta Montana was the most fun, challenging, educating, and memorable. We have been richly blessed at each church Joel served, but our years at St John Lutheran came to mind for him for other reasons.

Certainly, we loved the parsonage and surrounding 3 acres which held the church, parking lot, a field, woods, and plenty of places for the kids to roam.  BUT the hours for Joel were long....often 65-70 hours a week average.  The family had quality time with him but not much quantity time.  It is where I became infected with Lyme Disease and began to be limited by sickness.  And then there were the death threats.

And yet I understood what he was saying.  It was here that we learned to rely on God.  It was here that Joel's abilities in ministry grew and stretched us both.  It was here where we felt God's guidance and protection.  This season of our lives was both good and bad.  Like most in life.  It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.

It feels a bit like that again as we are in another challenging season of our lives.  I am on this journey with breast cancer.  Cancer gone, but radiation......preventive radiation still going on daily.  A family member told me that I could do this.  I have been through worst that this.  And yet, it is another health issue.  Our move put on hold or cancelled.  Our beliefs on healing challenged.  Yet, we have found a church that is feeding us, and where people actually get us.  We are getting to fellowship as a couple with others more than we have in 20 years.  God is showing up in powerful ways as we take every step forward, whether it is at the cancer center, the hospital, the church, unpacking, or more.   And the blessings!  So many blessings that at times it moves us to tears.  It is again, the best of times and it is the worst of times.

During this season the scriptures are coming alive and it is the promises of God that we are seeing come to fruition, to life in us.  During the worst of times, God is right there with us lighting the way, so we are able to also embrace the best in a bad situation.  It is the best of times and it is the worst of times.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Eight Formative Years

It wasn't until Joel was his sixties that he would accept with grace that he is a veteran. He spent nearly 8 years in the U.S. Air Force, but never saw combat, so did not feel the recognition was really for him. But he served his country and he did it well.

Just a few months before we were to marry in June of 1968, Joel received his draft notice.  The war in Viet Nam was going strong, and Joel had to make a decision that he knew would impact our lives.  Did he want to apply for a deferment to finish college and go to Seminary, or would he attempt to get into the Air Force.  Even though his draft notice would enlist him in the Army, he could opt for another branch.  He did not feel comfortable getting out serving, so he enlisted in the Air Force.  That way he felt he would not need to carry a gun and use it against others.  Joel grew up with a gun in his hand, and later in our life together he would sit with one loaded and ready in case the deranged man the police told us was coming to kill him would arrive at our home before the law.  He would have defended our family. Here he had a choice and he chose the Air Force.

He applied for an education program during the first year as an airman, and when he was accepted he was promoted to sargeant and then sent to the University of Utah where he received his degree in meteorology.  He became a weather forecaster for military pilots.  By the time he graduated from the university we had two children and had lived in Minnesota, Illinois, New Mexico, and Utah.  He had been through basic training and then went through officers training before being sent to Duluth MN as a Lieutenant.  Very unusual to move up in the ranks the way he did, but then he is an unusual guy!

After spending two years in Duluth we were sent to The Philippine Islands where he finished his commitment time with the military and we were blessed to bring home a daughter and a son to join our family. Getting out after 8 years brought mixed emotions, but Joel was eager to go to seminary and we were eager to begin a new chapter in our lives.

Those eight years shaped us as a couple, as a family, and as Americans.  We are very patriotic and believe strongly in defending our country.  When 9-ll happened we seriously discussed Joel going back in as a chaplain, and we looked into it, but he did not meet the age requirement at that time.  In every war before and since, we honor those who served and their families.

I remember the times when we joined with others to salute the flag and say the pledge of allegiance in military theaters, or stopped our cars while on the bases to get out and stand quietly or salute the American Flag when it was taken down at night.  One of my greatest memories is of being part of Operation Babylift during the fall of Saigon, where the military wives came together to help the base take care of orphan children as they arrived at Clark Air Base from Viet Nam.  It was wonderful to be a part of such a wonderful mission.

Today we remember the eight years Joel served, and we are grateful for all the veterans who served. Grateful to our family members: Joel, Danny, Orville, Bill, Deb, Sigurd, Orv, and any others I may have missed.  Thank you all for serving your country, our country.  Thank you.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Joy Journal

While we were packing up some books and finding a new home for a few this summer, I lost track of my Joy Journal.  I searched the bookcases, closets, packed tubs, and then went through things room by room. No bright red Joy Journal to be found!

I really needed this journal.  Somewhere along this long journey I started losing my joy and I know that I know that I great way to find it again is to write down what I am grateful for.  It became a practice for me after reading Ann Voscamp's book, "One Thousand Gifts".

Last Saturday I was not in a good place, which was evident in my blogging.  I was thinking about closing down my blog or at least scrapping it and starting something new.  I thought that people must get tired of hearing what I have to say, it gets old.  Of course a few caring friends were kind enough to leave me some encouraging comments.  It was not my intention, but it was nice to hear in my current state of mind at the time.

The radiation treatments that were to take 15 minutes were taking 30-60 minutes with extra x-rays, doctor checks, shifting, re-arranging, etc.  I was weary of being in an awkward position for extended periods of time, causing pain and stiffness.  One area of my breast started to hurt quite a bit Friday night.  Ugh.  Come on.....3 days in and skin issues already?  Friday was also my appointment with the eye specialist. I did not score so well on a visual field test.  When the doctor came in the room I said, I don't want any bad news today Dr. I.  It has been a tough couple of months and I am weary.  Come to find out, the visual field test had showed a change last June, but for now it was stable and so were my eyes. Thank you Jesus.

So, what I am getting at is that I was losing my joy fast, and I needed to take quick action to change the situation.  Besides, praying, praising, and distracting myself, I needed to focus on my many blessings.

I gave up the hunt for my old Joy Journal, and today we went out and found a new one.  This was no easy feat either as we ended up going to three stores before coming home with something.  After the radiation treatment, which was only 20 minutes today (yay).........I came home to a card and cute little stuffed "thing" from my sister-in=law that made me smile and tear up.  I do that a lot lately, laughing and crying in the moment.

So, when I settled. in to my new recliner, I began to write down what I was grateful for.  ASAP.  There.  That feels better already, cuz I've got a lot to be thankful for.   Starting with how God wove His love and protection into this whole journey.  Grateful for my amazing husband.  Grateful for an encouraging phone call today from my sister Kay who took this same journey last year, with even the same doctors.  Grateful for the card that came today and other days.  Grateful for still being able to walk outside in November and having energy to walk....and oh yeah, being able to play with the neighbor's cute little dog.  The dog's name is B.D. because she has bat ears.  Bat Dog.  B.D.  She makes us laugh and helps fill our "miss having a dog" feelings.

It is a good thing, this "counting it all joy".  It lifts the spirits, brightens the day, and keeps my focus where it needs to be.  On Jesus.  Counting it all joy.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

The sun is shining this day and we are enjoying it after a few gray days here in Iowa.   Temps have been in the normal range with highs in the 40's or low 50's.  Even with nice weather the winds have been high and for reasons I have not figured out yet, we have walked very little this week!  A short walk here and there as we try to get into the routine of going to the cancer center every weekday for the next 6 weeks.  We will figure it out.

Last Sunday we had dinner with the pastors at church and got to know them a bit more.  They open that up monthly for newer members or people like us who attend but have not joined.  It was nice. Monday we headed over to our favorite lake town to stroll along main and visit the now empty lake shore.  Wednesday we headed to the grocery store, then spent two hours at the cancer center again getting "mapped" for the first radiation treatment. Wednesday night we went to church where Joel was asked to share his healing story.  It was nice for me to hear it again, too.  Thursday morning I went to the Womens BIble Study on prayer, and then spent another 45 minutes with the techs trying to get the right radiation field lined up. It seems things keep shifting.  Same thing Friday.  My "10 minute sessions" have turned into 30 minutes.  Thinking that has to change soon....   Friday I saw the eye specialist and the good news was nothing has gotten worse.  I'll take that for now.  He will see me in February and then I will have cataract surgery after that if all is well.   Friends came over Friday night for supper and a good visit.

I keep thinking Joel must be getting weary of truckin' me around and sitting in waiting rooms.  He does get in some reading time, or a nap or two.  I have not been able to drive yet, so I have to rely on him to take me places. I got my license when I was 16, so when I had to stop driving it was difficult. We adapt though, don't we.

Joel has a "job" helping a church with a stewardship program.  That will be finished mid December and then he will be doing Wednesday night services and a few Sundays for a church 45 minutes from home during the months of January and February.  There seems to be things holding us here this winter.  It is what it is and we are looking for the positive.  Joel likes having a purpose, and I will be getting a few medical things taken care of by caring doctors.

I think it may be time to end my Saturday's Scribbles.  When I was first healing and getting better doing all these routine things was new for me and fun to share. Now, it is the mundane and just part of life...which is a good thing, but not really worth people's time to read about.  I am thinking it is time to take my writing in a new direction.  I'm reflecting on it, anyway.

So, until next time.........

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Looking Back While Walking Forward

So last night we sat on comfy chairs waiting for the pastor to begin his teaching on healing.  After a long day with another two hours spent at the cancer center, our weekly grocery shopping, and a quick supper, we grabbed our Bible and headed out to be encouraged by the living Word.  Turns out Joel was going to be one of those doing the encouraging, as he was called up spur of the moment to share his healing story.

Joel is used to a microphone and a platform, so it did not take long for him to get in the groove again, sharing his story and speaking the Word.  "By His stripes we are healed".

Periodically I share here how Joel was healed.  It is quite an amazing story of God's love and healing power.  You know, that same power that raised Christ from the dead and is inside of you?!

After hearing a teaching entitled, "God Wants You Well by Andrew Wommack on the evening of January 23, 2012, we discussed the principles we heard.  Joel felt they were very Biblical, so when we went to bed that night he commanded the Lyme, Bartonella, and Babesia to die in Jesus name, and then we went to sleep.  At 4 am he woke up completely healed.

After three years on disability from Lyme,  Joel was healed of :
Sleep Apnea
Thyroid Disease
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Eye condition

Quite a list, isn't it!  Joel woke up at 4 am, sat up in bed, and said "I am healed".  He then began to speak in tongues, to his surprise.  That next evening I could literally see a "glow" on Joel's face.  I could not stop staring at him, he looked so healthy.  Within a couple of months he was back to his old self, including riding his bike 20 miles a day.  Amazing.  And the doctors thought so too.

My healing journey has been a process, although I did receive healing for Lyme, Bartonella, Babesia, and Erchlichia immediately and then in time from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Thyroid Disease, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.   And yes, even with having to go through surgery and now radiation for breast cancer, we still believe God wants us well.  Period.

Joel's healing and encounter with Holy Spirit completely changed our lives.  We can never go back to what was.  Joel continues to walk in good health and I continue to believe for my full healing.  We continue to pursue more.  More of Holy Spirit, Jesus, and God.  More healing for ourselves as necessary and for others.  More wisdom, more of God's purpose for our lives.  We continue to proclaim that God wants us well, looking back while continuing to walk forward with expectation.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It Must Be At Affordables!

He was on a mission.  I stayed in the car while Joel went inside the second hand store to see if the winter coat he had left there two months earlier was still on the rack.  It was not to be found. We drove away discussing how many things we wish we had kept now that we are spending another winter in Iowa.  Over the summer we had taken van loads of stuff we would not need or no longer had a use for to a place called Affordables.  That included about 60% of our winter clothes, coats, and old boots, etc.  How often would we need them in Arizona?

And now as winter looms ahead, and Joel is outside on this warm November day putting up Christmas lights, (we had not given those away, thank goodness),  I ponder what to make of it all.
When I mentioned our dilemma to the kids, our oldest daughter told us it was time to go shopping.......we have......and expect to purchase a few more things before Joel starts up the snowblower for the first time. (Again, so thankful we did not get rid of the snowblower too!)

There are a few quotes that go along with our current circumstances.  "Best laid plans......."  "Life is what happens while we are making other plans...."  "If you want to make God laugh, just make plans"....I am sure you could add a few to our growing list!  Funny thing is, we thought we were following God's plans.

Getting back to Christmas lights, we stopped to visit with our neighbors last night as they put up theirs.  It is so much easier when you don't have to wear gloves, battle the cold, and try to climb a ladder with heavy boots on.  We were telling the lady of the house, S. about how we had given away so much of our heavy winter stuff not thinking we would need it, and how Joel had actually gone back to Affordables to try to find some of his gear that he used for snowblowing and outside work.  We told her how we keep having to dig through the plastic tubs we packed to search for things that we can't find....and asking ourselves, "Did we give that away or pack it?"  Even though we wrote on each tub what was inside, it is like some mischievious elf came along and switched lids on us because we are continually on a treasure hunt and have been frustrated to the point of giving up on our search for certain items.  Our latest line is, "It must be at Affordables!"  S. got the giggles.....Did I tell you that she had prayed we would not move?  She said, "I am so happy you are staying here....and I hope it is for good.  I prayed you would not move, but I did not pray for cancer to be the reason."  Of course not.  Sickness is never an answer to prayer and it is not from God.  So she was giggling about all we told her, just as were we.  When I shared that the Bible says we are all called to go, she interrupted me and said...."Yes, to the grocery the church!"  Funny.  I continued, "Some are called to stay." We are trying to discern this. Then when I shared with her the whole story of the clerk at the furniture store, my crabby self, and the "dammit doll" she really laughed.  As we continued our walk she said...."You guys always make me laugh.  It just brightens my day when I talk to you, I am so glad you are still here!"  We could hear her giggling on the way into the house.

Getting back to God's plans........... We still believe that God was leading us to Arizona full time.  Yes, we are very aware we could have heard wrong, or seen what we wanted to in the affirmations given or the scriptures presented, BUT we also know that sometimes He tests our obedience and this could have been one of those times. Was He wanting to see if like Abraham, we would follow Him to a new land?  Although Abraham took everything and everyone with him I believe.  Of course we know that we would see my sister and BIL several months of the year, and we have friends who live there full time, but we would be far from our family.  Have we come up with any answers in our pondering?  Nada....

So, when S. said to us she was glad we were still here, I found myself thinking, 'So am I."  Hmmmm
I don't know if I will feel that way when the snow is knee deep, but for today I am grateful for a summer day in November, a walk around the paths in our association, a neighbor who giggles at our antics, the renewal of friendships, new friendships in the making, a church that gets us, and a cancer center just 15 minutes away that is staffed with good and caring people.  Oh yeah, and I am thankful for our home and that we can go out and buy what we need to stay warm in winter when our old stuff must be at Affordables.  It is all good.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Warm Breezes, Sparkling Water, Fresh Air, and The Call

So, we are just getting out of the car to go into a store in our favorite nearby lake town when the phone rings.  And the call comes.  The call I've been waiting for with both urgency and apprehension. The call telling me the plan is in place and radiation will be starting this Wednesday afternoon.  So it begins, the next leg of my journey.  In "the two shall become one" marriage we have it is really our journey together.

We continue window shopping and visit a few specialty shops on the Main Street of this small tourist area where city-weary people spend their vacation days and weekends in the summer.  It is pretty quiet now with only a few "locals" shopping.  Afterwards we drive two blocks down to the lake and take in the unusually warm breezes, sparkling water,  and fresh air.

Heading home we eat a late lunch, take a nap, and began to clean this over-sized house for two that we live in.  It is November 2nd and our doors and windows are open letting in the fresh Fall air. Loving this added bonus time before winter comes calling, and so grateful for our home.

Later I take out the radiation instructions sheet and thick booklet on what to expect.  Joel gets to read the booklet filled with not only facts, but possibilities and maybes, while in true fashion I avoid the warnings so as not to set off my worry trigger.  It is a dance we engage in when I need to take medication, too. I tell Joel how I feel if something comes up and he keeps track of whether it is a result of med or not.  It works well.  While reading the instructions I am again surprised by all the "rules" for phase II of the journey, too. Mostly for the skin.

1.  No deodorant under the right arm
2.  No perfumed or harsh soaps
3.  Use the special cream given to you 3 times a day to help protect the skin ~ armpit, breast, and the          shoulder area on the right side.
4.  Go without a bra as much as possible and wear a cotton one if possible *the Dr will actually check        to see what you are wearing and if he approves of it.
5.  Wear comfy soft cotton clothing as much as possible.  Nothing restricting.
6.   Keep soft cotton between breast and body skin to prevent chaffing
7.  Let air be on the area as much as possible
There is more but you get the idea...........

I had turned the starting time over to God after the technician told me last Thursday that I would probably not start until November 9th.  That meant I would not finish until Christmas week.  I figured God was in charge and would work things out according to His schedule so I turned it over to Him. He is good that way.

He is also good at getting His point across to us.  On Sunday after church I was talking to one of the pastor's wives who is also into Andrew Wommack ministries and has taken classes online from their school. She was talking about a book she was reading and asked me if I had read anything about John G. Lake, a powerful pastor, missionary, and evangelist and one who prayed for healing for others with amazing results.   I told her no, but that the book for sale upstairs looked interesting.  She immediately said she was going to give me the book --the same one she and her husband were reading, and ran upstairs to the bookstore table and brought one down.  I had to chuckle realizing that God had been drawing my attention to this particular book for the past two weeks, but I kept thinking of excuses not to buy it.  Now it was given to me as a gift, and with a great endorsement.  Kinda think God was letting me know I need to read it.  I went home and opened to the first pages of the 550 page book to begin a new adventure in faithful living.  When God is that persistent I need to pay attention.

Living life in the moment and following God's guidance, we are grateful for each sunrise.  We did not expect to be preparing for another winter here, but we are.  While going for our daily walk we stopped to visit with our great neighbors.  We learned  that the woman who used to clean our home died of kidney cancer last week.  We had not heard.  We had one more reason to lift our voices in praise today and trust that God is in this.  I am putting the next 6 weeks of radiation in His capable hands (remember, He promised to be my wrap-around shield) and I am praising him for being in every detail.  If He delights in insisting I read a book He has brought to my attention, I can rest in knowing He is in the midst of treatment.  Not only does the doctor have a plan.......but so does God.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

It is another Saturday in Iowa.  It has been cold,  we have been covering the plants because of frost.....we even  had snow flurries forecast one night, but it did not happen.  Yay.  It is warming up again next week.  The mid 60's forecast for the first week of November?  Another yay!  The leaves have mostly left the trees and are now blanketing the ground. Joel has picked them  up a couple of times and has a couple more days of work left.  We have lots of trees in our small yard.

We've been walking most days, but the winds have been so high.  We did walk once in the mall. We truly thought by this time we would be in Arizona enjoying the warmer weather. not bundling up and walking in the cold.  Yesterday we went shopping and Joel bought a nice warm hooded wool and cloth vest and I bought a sweatshirt/jacket.  Yeah, we need more winter clothes for what is ahead. Joel actually went to the used clothing shop to see if his winter coat for snow blowing was still there.  It was not!

Last Saturday night my sister and BIL came over for a long overdue visit.  Sunday was church, Monday was another visit to the surgeon.  I go back again in 3 months.  Tuesday Joel went to lunch with the lead pastor at church.  They talked non stop for 2 hours.  Wednesday was the healing teaching at night and Thursday morning I joined the women's Bible study group at church.  They are studying Prayer.  I like that!  After seeing the movie "War Room" I am inspired to go deeper into prayer.  Friday we went to Farmer's Market and picked up some squash.  Last gathering at the market for this year.  We are heading out to lunch today with friends from Faith Lutheran in Miller. Tomorrow is church and then dinner with the pastors.  They do this monthly for people who have not been going very long to the church.

I do not watch the political "debates" but I have heard that the media channel that televises them had ridiculous questions for all the candidates on both sides.  Sadly, there are two divided sides and each points the finger at the other trying to prove how awful each is.  I often wonder what God thinks of all of it. We have been reading Joshua and it is interesting to me how you were known by the city you lived in.  We are thought of as Iowans, but not known by the town we live in.  Yet in the OT
people from Gideon were known as Gideonites, had their own king and their own army.  Interesting. And while I am on Joshua, I have to say that both Joel and I find the OT so violent.  I don't like to think of God in that way.  Praise God for the new covenant.

No radiation schedule in place yet. The doctor is on vacation until Monday and then he will finish my "plan" and get it set up. I really wanted to be done two weeks before Christmas when the family comes, but I have turned it over to God. (more than once)  It is not in my control.....sigh....

Our new chairs, a stack of books and our "new" table 
purchased at an antique fair in August

Joel and I have been reading, doing devotions, and watching TV from our new recliners.  All our chairs had spring or seat problems so we purchased new ones after only a couple of glitches while trying to find a chair that would fit my short legs!  Not too hard, not too soft, not too big, not too small....all that jazz.  I am not crazy about the color of the material on my chair, but it blends with our living room stuff.

I love going to your blogs and seeing photos of Fall in your corner of the world w e live in.  God has created a beautiful world of which we get to be a part.  Take a deep breath and enjoy it.

Happy Halloween!

Until next time...........

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Patient Clerk, A Rude Customer, and A Doll

Poor Randy.  We feel so sorry for him. Maybe we should buy him a coffee....a muffin.....or even give him a gift card!

Who is Randy?  Randy is a big guy in his 50's, maybe 6'3" tall, hefty, and easy going.  Well, at least while on the job as far as we know.  He works at a local furniture store here in town and we ran into him the other day.  Or it may be more appropriate to say he ran into us.  Okay, okay, he ran into me.......

It was while he was working hard to find me the perfect recliner that my husband gave me the stink eye and commented on my attitude.  We can only recall one other time that this has happened in 47 years.  Joel's words caught me by surprise because I had no clue my attitude was bad.  I was being one of those difficult, annoying crabby people that treat clerks with disrespect.

And I had no clue.  Honestly, no clue until Joel whispered to me, "Missy, you are being so rude!"


I immediately lassoed my tongue and attitude.  It is just not usually me, but lately some anger has come up, and I've been irritable and not so nice when stressed.  And everything seems to be stressing me.

So, now you see why we need to be bringing clerk Randy a peace offering.

Around that time I received a package in the mail from our oldest, Bethany, and her family.  I read the card first.  On the outside it said......

"When life hands you lemons, make lemonade".

Inside it said....

"But when life hands you a load of crap, 
don't make anything.
Trust me on this one."

In the package was a cloth, tightly stuffed "Dammit Doll".  On the front was a little poem to go with the doll.  It said,

"Whenever  things don't go so well,
And you want to hit the wall and yell,
Here's a little Dammit Doll
That you can't do without.
Just grasp it firmly by the legs,
And find a place to slam it.
And as you whack the stuffing out,
Yell dammit, dammit, dammit!"

Joel and I had a good laugh over the doll, and tears for the personal words written by the family.  I'm thinking that releasing my hidden anger over my circumstances is a good thing.  I'm not sure if slamming the doll is my way to do it, but in my mind I'm thinking maybe Randy needs one for those rude customers he has to deal with.  Maybe instead of coffee I need to buy him his own "Dammit Doll"!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Walking By Faith

This morning I was listening to a teaching at Bethel Church in Redding.  Havilah Cunnington was speaking.  She has a strong anointing on her for the prophetic.  Holy Spirit speaks to her about people and what He is doing in their lives.  Usually the prophetic word or words of knowledge are a confirmation of what you already are hearing from God.   Today I heard her say to those at church and online,

"You are in your final round of Jericho. 
There is a breakthrough coming........"

A very generic statement right?  She actually said more, but this is what I am sharing here because it resonated with me.  Another reference to Jericho.  One. more. time.  Number 7.   This is a powerful way that God speaks into our lives, through repetition, confirmation from others, and from His Word.

The seventh reference of Jericho was speaking of the seventh time Joshua walked around the walls of the city.  Obeying God, Joshua and the army marched around the walls of the city with the priests and ark of covenant leading the way,. On the seventh day they marched around the walls seven times and on the seventh time they all gave a shout and the walls fell down and were destroyed.  You can find the story in chapter 6 of the book of Joshua.

Seven is the number used for completion and perfection in the Bible.  I believe that once again God was telling me that the radiation is the completion of this journey with breast cancer.  The end is coming!  Rejoice, shout praises, and the walls will crumble.  I needed to hear this.

Seven is also a number for perfection.  Another place in the Bible we hear of perfection is regarding God's love.  His PERFECT love. In 1 John 4:18a we read, " There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear........"

A couple of weeks ago I laid hands on a woman and prayed for her.  Her whole body shook in fear and it was evident in her eyes. Something she was dealing with was overwhelming her.  Been there. In fact recently I have had fear try to take up residence.  It is an old childhood "roommate" that I have kicked out of my life more than once.  I have experienced freedom from fear when I received inner healing from sexual abuse and echos of my childhood, yet fear regarding breast cancer, endless doctors and procedures, and radiation was messing with me.  Mostly a delayed reaction!

I don't know where you confront fear in your life, but I expect for most of you, there is one or more areas where the spirit of fear mentioned in Timothy comes calling.  I believe Satan uses the spirit of fear often to attempt to weaken our faith.  Some fear in certain circumstances is healthy, but most of the time it is not.  We all deal with fear, but when it comes calling, we need to remember that God's perfect love casts it out.  It takes effort to turn from what yells and listen for that still small loving Voice, but that is where we are going to find peace.  I pray that young woman I spoke over is walking in peace knowing who has her situation covered.

God loves us too much to leave us where we are.  He does not want fe r to be any part of our daily lives so each time it does arise we have an opportunity to turn it into a walk of faith.  We can turn to Him in trust and believe that not matter what we are feeling, experiencing, or seeing,  the power we have inside of us lets us live in victory when we walk by faith.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Fall Day to you this Sunday from our corner of Iowa where God is showing off all His creation!  I know I have said this many times before, but I love Fall in the Midwest.  There is nothing like the vibrant autumn reds, oranges, rusts, and golds adorning the trees and bushes here.   Even though our yard is covered in leaves, there are plenty more on the trees.  The geese are gathering together, the squirrels are gathering nuts, the farmers have gathered the harvest.  A central theme going here.  Gathering......

We have been walking around the association and down by the river daily.  We have seen very little deer this year, which is unusual for where we live.  Here are a few photos of Fall from our yard. They are not very good quality, but still give you a taste of Autumn.

View from our living room window

Our bush by the garage on
a cloudy day

Adding fall colors with his
my crazy hubby

Last Sunday Joel filled in at a small town about 30 miles from here.  We came home, ate, napped, and headed to Our Saviour's Lutheran across town, where Joel served for 10 years.  He took part in the ordination of a woman who was a member of the church when Joel was there.  It was a wonderful service, a joyous time of celebrating with Jane.

Tuesday we went to the Farmer's Market and then did some furniture shopping, ending up with a new dining room set.  We were able to purchase it at an okay price, and will see it delivered the end of the month.  We bought our current set, the only new one we have ever had, at a Montgomery Ward outlet store in Chicago 18 years ago!  We paid only $180.00 for the table and 4 chairs.  It is amazing it has lasted this long.  Of course Wednesday I went in for the CT and tattooing session to prepare for radiation.  Wednesday night we headed to church for the teaching on Healing.  Thursday night we went back to church for a Worship and Prayer service.  Friday night we went over to friends for supper and a good visit.

Saturday we headed back to the furniture store to look for two chairs/recliners.  We ended up going to the 4 stores in town before settling on one for me.  We found one for Joel at the first store we stopped at. We also found one for me, but were not sure it would work.  We realized that we like sitting near each other for meals (I know, we should be at the table but rarely are), for devotions, for watching TV.  ALL of our chairs are worn out....cushions, or springs, or material, so it was time.  Joel ended up with a nice moderate size leather recliner which was not our intention going in!  I found a chair that does recline, but also has a good headrest, and firm but not too firm seat.  Sounds like the story of the three bears!  The biggest thing for me is that my legs need to touch the floor and do not cut off circulation. I have very short legs.  I buy pants in a "short" and still have to hem them.  found only two in the whole town that met my criteria!  Does anyone else have that problem?!?!?  I do like the one we found, and we look forward to sitting comfy and cozy together.

I confess that my emotions nearly got the best of me on Thursday night when we were going to Praise church.  Overall, everyone has embraced us as Lutherans there in this nondenominational spirit flowing congregation.   Us Lutherans who believe and practice the prophetic, speaking in tongues, and praying for and expecting healing.  There is one guy who has had to state his opinion on Lutherans.  At a Fall picnic when he found out Joel was Lutheran he asked, "Does anyone in the Lutheran church even preach on salvation?"  I did not hear that, but Joel responded, "Every Sunday!" It did not seem to change his opinion of "those Lutherans",  Well, Thursday night when we got out of our car to go inside the church he was there and said to Joel, "It is good to see that Lutherans are coming to their senses..."  As my mom would said, it ruffled my feathers.  I looked him straight in the eye, and in a very firm voice with one finger raised said, "Be. very. careful."  He new exactly what I meant and kind of backtracked.  I did not show much grace, but I definitely showed some righteous anger!   I often feel there is a lot of insecurity in people who feel they know it all, have it all, and sit above others on the throne.  Last I looked, Jesus was King!  Ok, I'm done now.

Joel is out blowing and bagging leaves after we had a nice walk along the river.  While walking we ran into the woman we call our "river road character".  She is probably close to 80, spunky, outspoken,  and has been walking her whole life.  She walks at a steady fast pace between 4-5 miles daily when she can.  I am sure it has kept her going!  She likes to visit, so we always stop and chat for a few minutes.

I have been catching up on my magazine reading this week.  We were gone so much there was not a lot of time for anything but a few teachings online and our favorite TV shows.  What havc you been up to?

Until next time..........

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tight Places, Tattoos, And Stones

I hope you are not weary of me talking about this journey with breast cancer, I have been at times myself.....but yet I want to keep writing about it in the hope that it will help someone else in the future.  I feel so thankful my sister could walk me through it to prepare me for what was ahead....she went through it here last year with the same doctors, advocate, etc.

Today I saw the radiology oncologist for yet another exam and talk about what is ahead with radiation.  Exam #6 had me remembering what someone who has also walked this path said to me.  "I got so weary of strangers handling my breasts!"  Yep. I also heard from the doctor...."I was thinking only 4 weeks of radiation due to your history, but I forgot how large your breasts are."  Really?  Like I said before, they have been an issue my whole life and still are.  So it goes......

The CT scan was to locate all the organs in my body so they can avoid them as much as possible during radiation treatments.  I had wires wrapped around the right side, marker used from throat down to stomach and under breast, etc. and then 4 tiny tattoos  put on my body...not my breast to line up with the lasers during treatments.

The scan went okay.  I used to be claustrophobic in elevators, tight places, etc. but most of that is gone.  Today it was a bit difficult because my arms were in braces over my head and my feet were strapped down.  I made the mistake of opening my eyes while did a bit of praying quietly in tongues and speaking to the anxiety while keeping my eyes mostly closed.  It helped a great deal.

I had to chuckle because of course the nurse was Lutheran and the radiology therapist goes to Our Saviour's where Joel served for 10 years!  Everywhere we go........Joel is known.  The therapist mentioned how much they miss Joel.  Of course they do.  And how they hoped he would fill in once in awhile.  Of course he will.  I said to her, "Everywhere we go people say they miss his preaching.  It is a wonder his cowboy hat still fits his head from all the ego strokes he gets.  She laughed and said, "Or his boots!"  The doctor just listened as he was marking me with marker that came off with coconut oil and a good scrubbing.

They are expecting me to have more fatigue than some, and possibly more skin reactions....We covered the lung damage again and percentages.  IF I had a mastectomy I would not have radiation.  If I don't do radiation, the chance of it coming back is 33%.  With radiation, 6-8%.  No brainer for me.  Must go through it.....and the key here is that I will go right on through it...not be stuck in it forever.

I will say, we were surprised at how shaky I was after.  I think it was purely an emotional reaction. Every time I go to the cancer center I am reminded that I have had cancer.  Again. I get anxious over how the radiation will affect me, and that anxiety only makes things worse!

SO, I decided this afternoon that I need to start giving thanks before every treatment for the many many blessings God has provided in the past 7 weeks.  It is really like Joshua who was told by God to build an altar of stones as a reminder of how God parted the waters of the Jordan River to let the Israelites into the promised land.  For me every praise is a stone placed on the altar to remind me of God's faithfulness and His promises to me.  I have so so much to be thankful for!!!!

I hope that by sharing my journey it helps you with your own difficult circumstances as they arise. God is always with us and when we look for the blessings on the journey, we cannot help but see how God and His deep love for His children shows up over and over.  For me today it was at the cancer center,  with the nurse sharing about their new pastor, in the doctor's gentle hands and caring spirit, in the radiology therapist's memories of Joel's preaching, in Joel's steady strong arms to lean on.  I am blessed.......and aren't we all?!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Joshua Keeps Showing Up

Last Wednesday night we were at church listening to a teaching on healing and a friend's face kept appearing in my mind.  I knew he was sitting a few rows back so I went back to ask him if everything was ok.  God often gives me images of people when I pray for them or if I need to, so I thought maybe I needed to pray for him.  He shared the frustrating day he had had but spoke about how God showed up and worked it all out for him, as God does.  But then he went on to say he had been feeling the urge to read the book of Joshua and he related it to situations in his life.  Turns out God was speaking to me through this friend and that was why I kept getting his image.

I have been getting the Joshua and Jericho story so often lately.  Like in my garden meditation times, online at a blog, and in a teaching I was listening to online.  I wrote a post about Joshua and cancer HERE .  God let me know the walls of cancer were destroyed.

The words from a friend made reference #4, so I knew I needed to pay attention.  I have been trying to find some Bible based teachings on Joshua, but was not coming up with much, so Joel and I decided we would start reading it and let God speak to us through His Word.

Joshua seems to be all about trust and obedience.  I am sure Joshua was a bit surprised when God told him how to fight for the city of Jericho..  Quietly marching around the walls?  Blowing rams horns? One loud shout?  Obeying brings great rewards...........the walls of Jericho fell!  BUT remember when the walls fell down?  Victory was theirs but troubles did not end. I am sure that in this life troubles will continue to come against us, so it may be what we do with them and how we handle them that gives us that victory we are hoping for.  Was this the message God was sending?

Today as I watched a video of yesterday's service at Bethel, I heard Bill Johnson speak on prayer, praise, and Joshua. (#5) He talked about prayer and action and what resulted when Joshua did as God commanded. Prayer removes the obstacle to victory as seen in Joshua 6.  He trusted God's commands and in obedience the Israelites walked around the walls in silence until God told them to walk and then shout on day seven.  When they did that, the walls came down, but they STILL had to conquer the enemy and take the city after those walls collapsed. Prayer, worship, and action.  Another way to look at the story of Jericho.

I don't know what all God is going to teach us through Joshua, but I am seeing glimpses of insights into where He is leading as He brings to light His plan through such words as trust, obedience, prayer, worship, and action.  Joshua looked beyond his circumstances to the victory promised by God.  Certainly that holds weight for all of us.  Praising God for what we cannot yet see....victory.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from Iowa where the leaves are turning color and the animals are getting ready for what they know is coming.  Winter.  We had our first solid frost last night, with a low of 25 degrees.  Joel covered the flowers and potted mums so we can still enjoy them a bit longer.  We tucked our porch pumpkins away, too, just in case.

I am still not able to walk every day, but when we get out, it is wonderful!  Earlier this week we saw a woman walking with her kids and two dogs.  We stopped and visited about her miniature schnauzer since we have had two over the years.  She ended up telling us it was her mother-in-law's dog and she could no longer take care of it............and would we be interested in taking it?!?!  Well, of course I told her where we lived~~how often does someone ask you this kind of question.  Joel was not  eager to agree, though.  I think his protests won out as she has not contacted us!  Lately I have been missing those furry companions.  And yet if we travel, then what?

Last Sunday we came home after church to a nice surprise.  Our oldest son and a fellow officer were on their way to a "pick-up" in northern Iowa and were able to stop by for a quick visit.  It was so nice to hug our "boy" who now has teenagers of his own.

Speaking of officers, Iowa (and other states) has a Project Blue Light going on to support our police officers.  I read about it on Facebook, and Menard's here in town was carrying the blue light bulbs so Joel purchased a 4 pack.  Two of our neighbors and us have blue lights on now at night to support our men in blue who guard our city.  Of course ours is also in honor of our son and his friends who protect and serve.

Sunday afternoon we headed to Praise's church Fall Festival where there was a potluck and hayrides, games, and plenty of visiting at the country home of one of the members.  It was nice to get to know some people better.  Lovely setting right on the river.

Tuesday we headed to Rochester MN and planned to enjoy the fall foliage on the way as we took the backroads.  We actually saw just as much of Fall's beauty here in our association as we saw on the way there.  We did stop at one of Joel's favorite places to ride bike, where there are miles of wooded trails, so we walked the trail a bit before heading back to the car and driving north.  We went because it was a nice getaway, but mostly because our food exchange where we order organic in bulk, closed after 20 years.  We visited three natural food and organic stores including Trader Joel's and then ate lunch at Applebees.  Someone had given us a gift card...... I wrote about Joel's encounter with a cinnamon cloud and you can read about that Here.  I was pretty wiped by the time we got home, and even during the day, but the cancer advocate told me this is normal.  My body is using a lot of energy to heal itself!

On the trail

Wednesday we headed to church to hear another teaching on healing and had a short visit with a long time friend who goes on Wednesdays.  Like I said before, we are hearing mostly what we already know or even have taught before, but it is nice to have a fresh perspective from someone who has been walking in these beliefs a lot longer than us!

Thursday was a day of doctor appointments and more surprises.  I wrote about it on Friday.  I ended up having another procedure to drain fluid from the breast cavity where the tumor was removed.  The doctor took out nearly 90 cc's of fluid!  Then we went after lunch to the medical oncologist for yet another exam and discussion on the plan for after radiation.  Sobering, the meds she wants me to take and the possible side effects........but we have a couple of months to digest and decide all that.  Friday I was pretty tired and did less as my body recovered from another invasive procedure.

Friday was a day of phone calls.......with Joel's cousin L., with my sweet friend Katherine (long over due) and with our son Matt.  My brother Dick also called while on vacation out in Washington state. It has been great fun to see their photos of the trip on Facebook.  I was born in Washington state and in the mid 80's we went out there as a family.  The kids call it "The Trip".  We went with 6 kids, a dog, a tent camper, a pop-up tent and our 9 passenger station wagon.  We traveled for a month through the upper states out to Washington and Oregon and then back.  We saw many friends and several places in Washington where I was as a child and my family lived at times.  We also spent a fun time with Joel's Aunt Ruth.  Our kids all adored her!  The reason they call it "the trip" is because we seldom got to go on any vacations and if we did we were often called back for a church emergency. THIS was the best and longest vacation trip they had............thus, its name!

This morning Joel and I listened to a powerful teaching at Bethel by a missionary in South Africa named Floyd McClung.  He is our age and has been in mission work since he was in his early twenties.  We connected on so many levels..........ages, desires, love for Jesus, wives battling cancer, and adventures over the years.  His talk really touched us.  I have never heard of this man, yet he has traveled to 175 countries, worked in missions in Afghanistan, Amsterdam, America, and Africa, written several books and had this deep love for bringing the Gospel to people.  He is 70 and says he wants to continue doing mission work for God.  It is his passion and what better way to live out your life.  They have been helping to establish churches now in Capetown for the past 11 years.  All of this stirred up our hearts of course, but what struck us both was certain questions he asked like, "Should we be asking God if we are to "go" when the Bible tells us all to go out and make disciples..?"  Should we ask more, "Is our calling to stay?"  There were more tidbits that have us turning to God with questions of our own.

I have not done much reading except for Lisa Buffaloe's latest book, but mostly watching, teachings and resting has been on the agenda.  What is going on in your corner of the world?

Until next time...............