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...............

Friday, October 16, 2015

Enough Surprises Already!

A re-check with the surgeon yesterday held good news and yet another surprise.......Incisions looked great, but according to the surgeon there was a "bit of fluid" built up in the breast where they removed the tumor and surrounding area.  The doctor ended up taking out nearly 90 cc's of fluid!

After lunch we headed to the medical oncologist for my first appointment.  After a lengthy conversation and exam (#5) we discussed the plan.  I knew there was a hormone suppressing drug she would want me to take, but she also wants me on a drug to stop bone loss, which is a side effect of the hormone suppressing drug.  And of course the list of side effects is endless.  She is not so sure I can tolerate the suppressing meds either.  Ugh.

I don't do well with surprises of this sort.  I like everything in order and to at least have the illusion that I am in control.  Right?  But the fluid build up did make sense because I was aching 3 weeks after the surgery and not right after.  There was a pulling I was feeling when I did the exercises too.  At  least now I knew why.  Fluid building up.  And the meds. ?   It is no surprise that there are side effects, there always are to any chemical we put in our body.  Some worse than others. We will just need to make some prayerful decisions regarding it all in the next two months.

Here is what I know for sure.  God is never surprised by what comes up in our lives, and we can always lean into Him and know that He has our backs.  I confess I have been having anxiety lately concerning what lies behind and what lies ahead.  This is not helpful for every reason I can think of, and especially when my body needs so much energy to heal, but God keeps showing up with His love, offering peace of mind.  Before I was even out of bed Thursday morning God was sending me messages that all would be well.  And when a dear friend sent me a song to listen to by Johnny Miller I was in tears.  Happy tears.  I wear a bracelet on my wrist every day that is part of a verse found in Isaiah 30.  "In quietness and trust is your strength".  One of the lines of this song was the verse in Isaiah 30:15.   "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."  Only God.  Holy also told us in the morning to trust Him for the outcome. We don't need to worry, God has it covered.  T. r. u. s. t.

I have choices concerning the cancer treatment and I have choices concerning how I choose to deal with breast cancer and every other challenge that comes my way.  And I keep going back to reminding myself that I am one of the "lucky" ones in the eyes of the medical world.

The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but Jesus tells us HE has come to give us life and give it to us more abundantly.  In every surprise that tries to shake our faith, in every difficult experience or circumstance, we need to remember that God is on our side.  He offers abundant life with Him.  Always.

I choose life.  Even when anxiety comes calling and my body shakes with the shock of yet another procedure....even when cancer tries to take up residence and treatments seem almost as bad as the cancer itself.  Even when we are unpacking instead of moving....through it all I choose to believe Jesus wants me/us to have abundant life.  Always.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Cinnamon Cloud

Joel and I drove to Rochester Minnesota (home of Mayo Clinic) from our corner of the world, taking the backroads in the hope of seeing some fall foliage.  We discovered we have more trees in our small association that are showing off their colors than most of those we saw during the 4 hours of driving we did.

While in the "big city" we headed to an organic food co-op where we could buy some things in bulk. Joel decided to bag some cinnamon, but could not figure out how to get it out of the container into the plastic bag.  He dumped it from what he thought was the spout and it was the flip down lever instead so...........the cinnamon came out into the bag, but also went up in the air in a big cloud raining cinnamon down on the counter and container.  giggle.....the clerk who helped us out said nothing, but his grimace said it all.  On our way home later Joel stopped for coffee.  As he got out of the car he looked down at his boot and noticed something was all over his boot changing the color.  Yep, you guessed it, cinnamon!  We laughed and laughed over the cinnamon cloud that just kept on giving!  Ha...

Speaking of boots, we talked on the way home about how Joel's cowboy hat and boots attracted a bit of attention in the "big city".  Joel said to me on our way in to Trader Joe's, "People keep saying hi to me...what is that about."  I replied, "It's your hat."  True, Joel said, people look at the hat and then end up making eye contact with me so feel the need to say hi.   I laughed and replied, "Remember the kid we saw in the store with the funky 8 inch high funky hat on, the Nepal looking boots, and the feathers hanging around his neck?"   You got more attention than him without trying....."  giggle... Not really, but it had us smiling.

When we went to the organic food grocery store in downtown Rochester we parked in a place with meters, but you had to walk half way down the block to put the money in.  After a few minutes Joel figured it out and the machine pumped out a receipt giving us 20 minutes of shopping time in the store.  Twenty minutes later when we left we noticed there was a free parking lot on the other side of the building. These two "country bumpkins" had a good laugh at our new adventures in the big city of Rochester. We do get out of Iowa........really we do!

And I think the cinnamon story will be told more than a few times here!  The visual of the cinnamon cloud still has me smiling.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from a beautiful Fall day here in our corner of Iowa.  Tomorrow it will be 83 degrees here....record breaking for October 11th.  The leaves are starting to carpet the ground and show off their colors.  Rusts, browns, golds, oranges and deep reds.  God was showing off when He made fall, and I am so glad He did.  It is my favorite time of year.
Fall in our corner of the world

Love the Midwest in the Fall

Joel and our neighbor will be cutting down our apple tree today.  Sadly, we have not been able to save it so they will cut it down.  It grieves me, as a tree is living and beautiful, but now it could become a problem if it fell in a storm, so we will remove it.

I have not been able to walk much the past week.  A virus and a bad back held me back.  Thursday I did walk around our cul-de-sac and Friday I was able to walk down by the river.  So great to put on the hot pink tennies and be out in the fresh air again.

Our week for me was quiet, but we did have friends over Tuesday for supper and a visit and Wednesday night we went to the church to sit under another teaching on healing.  We will head to church tomorrow.  Joel filled in at a Lutheran church here in town last week but I was bonding with the sofa.

I have been watching the Open Heavens conference at Bethel this week.  I always learn something new at these conferences and God stretches me in my thinking and beliefs.  That is what I love about new books, new teachings, etc.  We are never too old to learn!!

Now that we are two weeks past the surgery, we took a moment in time to discuss when or if we would still move.  There are reasons to stay and there are reasons to leave,  but with radiation ahead, we know that I have another 6 week journey with the unknown.  We are praying and standing firm on there being no side effects, but we still know we will be spending most of another winter here.  And I say that because we are reevaluating our future and what it holds.  Hopefully we will spend some time in AZ this winter.  I would love to spend 4 months there but it is costly to rent.  Maybe we need to look beyond a house to an apt or even a park model.  Not our cup of tea, but we need to be open to what we can afford.  We have two couples we know who live in park models, one part time and one full time and they love it.

We are still trying to find things that we packed.  Like all our grandkids school pictures we had on the fridge.  Gone.  The class notebooks on the online classes we took with Charis.  Somewhere out there.......And our Fall decorations too.  Sigh......

We have been watching the new seasons of our favorite TV shows and I have been finishing up Johns Sherrill's book "They Speak In Other Tongues" written many years ago.  It is excellent.  I have also been reading Ken Copeland's book, "Healing Scriptures".  We have been reading aloud the book by Dr. David Stine, "Contact:  The Practical Science of Hearing From God".  Stine is lead pastor of Metro DC church.  Joel likes it a lot....and that would be because his mind is more scientific.  I am struggling along and having Joel decipher it for me as we read it.  Ha...

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

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Only God Can Turn A Mess Into A Message

Last night we headed to church for the Wednesday night teaching on healing from the lead Pastor.  It is information we have heard and taught before, but we always learn something new or have a new insight into the scriptures when we sit under Pastor Jeff's teachings.  He has walked in these Biblical truths for a long time.  We love that God blessed us with this church family in this season of our lives.

For quite a while we have been praying 2 specific prayers.  For friends who would be walking a similar journey in faith as us, and for a church that would be open to the prophetic, healing, speaking in tongues, worshiping in praise and Spirit, and preaching and teaching Biblical truths.  I think nearly every church has one or two of the pieces of this puzzle, but to get all of those wrapped up in one package is difficult to find.  We did not think our prayers would be answered here in our corner of Iowa but were hopeful that when we moved they would be.  Little did we know..........

God orchestrated it all for "such a time as this".  His answer to our prayers started with some friends and former members of a congregation Joel served, inviting us over to discuss our upcoming move. From there we connected on a deeper level of faith and friendship.  Only God.

The answers continued with the words of a man who came to fix our oven this past summer.  While he and Joel were talking the man brought up the fact that he and his wife left their long time church family and started going to Praise Community Church.  I had not heard of that church and we have lived in this town of 28,000 for over 19 years.  Joel had heard of Praise, but knew little about it.

So, I looked it up and found myself intrigued.  As I said before, we went with caution because of some stories we had heard about the forming of this congregation years ago, but we left with joy in our hearts knowing we would be going back.  And we have.

What if we had listened to those stories and made our decision based on the words of others and not on our own discernment?  What if we did not look past the reasons (of which we have heard both sides)  for the beginning of this church to what it is now?  What if we looked at it in judgement instead of grace?  What if we did not listen to Holy Spirit as He guided us in answer to our prayers?

We recently received a quote from R. Buckminister Fuller.

"How often I found where I should be going
by setting out for somewhere else."

It feels  like that right now.  We were excited to find Praise, but I remember saying to Joel, "Why now when we are leaving"  We were thankful to renew our friendship with the couple I mentioned but believed we would be moving on, so why now?  ......  Only God.

God knew what was ahead.  There are no surprises with Him.  He answered our prayers for such a time as this....for this season of our lives and for now it feels like we have found where we are to be growing, healing, and "going" as we were attempting to set out for somewhere else.

As my dear friend, Linny, said to me....ONLY GOD!

This is exactly what I felt last night as Joel and 2 other pastors prayed over me while a third stood in agreement.  ONLY GOD!  It is what I felt when I shared my testimony of healing and prayed for a woman in need of healing herself.  ONLY GOD!  It is what I felt when friends spoke to us wisdom and insights into this season of our lives.  ONLY GOD!  It is what I felt when the pathology reports came back clear and when I woke from surgery to hear the lymph nodes were free of cancer. Humbly grateful.  ONLY GOD!

There are times in our lives when we can clearly see the hand of God working.  Preparing the way, holding us in a firm grip, sheltering us with His healing wings, standing with us as we struggle, weeping with us as we weep, rejoicing with us when we lift our voices in praise.  This is such a season for us.  We are blown away as God has taken a difficult situation that the enemy meant for evil and is turning it into a time of amazing grace.  ONLY GOD!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


It was two weeks ago today I went in for surgery.  In some ways it seems like yesterday, in other ways it seems so long ago.  Depends on whether or not I am experiencing an "aftershock".

Joel and I have described the diagnosis of breast cancer in the middle of our focus on a desert move as an earthquake.  It was sudden, shook our whole world upside down and left us dealing with a lot of what felt like rubble.  Now that we are through the endless exams, doctors, procedures, and surgery, I am experiencing a few aftershocks.  With time to pause and take a deep breath, physical and emotional tremors and aftershocks have been keeping me a bit unsteady on my feet.

Physically, I was doing great at first, moving forward at top speed into recovery, leaving cancer behind.  And that top speed is what probably did me in.   I needed to rest more than I did.  Rest has been one of those 4-letter words that I have avoided since healing from Lyme.  Saying goodbye to chemical sensitivities, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, thyroid disease and Lyme was so freeing...........but the past still tends to have me looking over my shoulder at times to see what is chasing me.  After 30 years, it is hard to shake it off.  So when I need to rest, it stirs up memories that I would rather ignore. Instead of resting, I push myself.

On this journey, pushing set me back a bit and opened the door for a virus to take up residence.  And then my back went out majorly for the first time in several years.  I had to get out the cane to be able to stay upright and get around the house.  A weak back makes for a weak body. (One of the procedures put me in a position to irritate the back and eventually it became an "issue".)

Emotionally I found myself feeling pretty darn vulnerable.  Limitations, incisions, more decisions on treatment, exercises to avoid complications, etc.  Aftershocks.  My back going out and a virus coming in.....aftershocks.   Unpacking our stuff because moving is not on the table for now.....another aftershock.

How do I/we deal with all these "aftershocks"?   I'm thinking I need to focus on what I know to be true when an aftershock attempts to knock me off my feet.  It comes down to "counting it all joy." Gratitude.  Ann Voskamp writes in her best selling book "One Thousand Gifts", about how journaling our daily blessings changes our life into one of joy.  There is sooooo much to be grateful for.  I am cancer free and will not need chemo.   I have had good care and surgery went great.  I am recovering well.  We are blessed with family and friends who love us and believe in the power of prayer, and we have a God who heals, and who loves us even more.  Endless blessings abound.

All of us go through earthquakes in our lives, and often aftershocks come into play.  They make us unsteady on our feet, but when we remember God has a firm grip on us, when we remember He loves us and wants the best for us, we can count it all joy~ God in the midst of it all.  All joy!

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Sling, The Ram's Horn, And The Seventh Day

I have shared before that I often spend time going into the "garden of my heart" as part of my morning devotions.  I sit back, close my eyes, asking Holy Spirit to control my thoughts and also pray for a hedge of protection around this garden of my heart.  In the garden is where I meet with Jesus mostly and sometimes God and Holy.  It is a time that I hear God's voice speaking to me and see images and /or  "videos" of these moments with God.

On September 28th while going into the garden, I came marching into the gate blowing a horn.  I was not sure what kind of horn it was at that time, but I was blowing it and also singing, "Praise Him, praise Him, all ye little children...."

There is a "burden area" in my garden where I leave things that I need not carry that day when I asked Jesus if I needed to leave fear there.  I had been challenged by fear while waiting for the breast tissue pathology report.

When I asked Jesus that question, I saw myself holding what later Joel told me sounded like a sling.  It was carrying a very very heavy rough, but round metal ball.  I twirled it a few times and then tossed it over a cliff into the burden area, but when it hit the ground it split the earth and I heard a voice say, "It is shaking hell".  I then felt and saw it shake hell.

After absorbing this information, I asked Jesus another question and heard one word from Him......"Joshua".  Later I looked up the book of Joshua and in Joshua 6 is the story of the walls of Jericho coming down.  It is a great story of obedience to God.  For six days the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho with the Ark in front of them blowing the ram's horns.   On the seventh day they were to blow the ram horns and march around the walls with the ark in front and then give a loud shout and the walls would come down and Jericho would be destroyed.  That is exactly what happened.
I related this story to my journey with breast cancer, and waiting for the results of this last pathology report.  I believed that on the seventh day the  walls of cancer would all come down, cancer (Jericho) would be destroyed and I would have another good report.

I thought that the seventh day was Tuesday the 29th so I was all excited and waited all day.  I waited and waited....and no phone call.  I was pretty disappointed and began to doubt.  And then on Wednesday morning, the 30th I talked to the breast center advocate, and afterwards I realized that the seventh day after my surgery  was actually Wednesday.  I felt a sense of peace come over me knowing the doctor would call that day.  And he did call around five that evening with all good news!

Getting back to the sling that shook hell?  I heard later that day a teaching about slaying giants.  I connected that to the sling I was twirling in the garden of my heart and the images and visions God was giving me.  That same Wednesday evening, after the doctor had called, I was asked to give my testimony of my healing journey from breast cancer.  The shared the way God showed up over and over.  I was also asked to come up and pray over a woman in deep need of healing.  I also shared briefly our healing stories from Lyme and other conditions.  How the healing power of Jesus came through prayer and healed us both.  Later that evening I realized that sharing about God's healing power was the sling I tossed over the cliff that actually shook hell.  Hell shakes when we give God glory and adoration!!!

I am humbled and amazed by how God has shown up in my story.  This is not my whole story.  It is only a paragraph.  But what is my whole story is how God shows up in His healing touch, the medical world, the love and prayers of others.  Over and over again He shows up in my life, in your lives.  That is how much He loves us.  And when we share what He has done for us, when we declare it and the promises in His Word, it shakes hell.  So let's keep using our "slings" to slay giants, lets keep blowing those ram horns and shouting praises to our God!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

It is a beautiful fall day here in our corner of the world.  Oh how I love Fall....all the colors, smells, and sounds.  I have been able to walk farther and farther each day, but overdid it on Thursday when I walked a mile! Yesterday I walked less and today I am taking a break.  Still it is so wonderful to be outside in the fall.

Speaking of outside, Joel is off to his one day a year at Rendezvous Days in MN.  It takes place only an hour from us so it is easy for him to go just for the day.  He loves going back in time, experiencing the music, food, events, etc. of the past.  It is crisp and cold this morning but by noon it will be warm. He has gone for the past 15 or more years with an exception or two.

I am enjoying a reprieve from doctors for the next 12 days.  Thursday was the final report from the surgeon and officially it was a Stage 1, Grade 2 tumor. Very very small.  The tissue surrounding it was all clear of cancer cells and so were the 6 smaller lymph nodes removed.  (6 filled up a space of where 2 should have been so they took all 6 to be tested.)  On the 15th I see the medical oncologist and on the 21st the surgeon again and then the radiology oncologist.  Radiation starts probably the first week of November and will be 5 days a week for 6 weeks.  No chemo.

Last Wednesday night we went to the church to listen to a teaching on healing.  It was powerful.  To my surprise the pastor asked me to give my testimony on my healing from breast cancer.....and I also shared a bit of our healing through prayer from Lyme and more.  Later he asked me to come up and pray over a young woman.  It was so great to do both, but I admit it tired me out!

The suffering families are going through from this latest mass shooting is almost palpable.  When one suffers we all suffer.  I am disgusted with the political agenda on BOTH sides.  I am appalled by the lack of help for those with mental illness.  I am confused by the levels of violence in our country on TV, in movies, in games kids play, in our communities.

For some reason, this event made me think of what we went through as a family in the early 80's when a parish member of our church threatened Joel's life.  He shot up his brother-in-law's house and then told his wife he was coming for Joel, his pastor.  The police called us late one night and told us a man was coming to try to kill Joel and that they were on the way to help.  We woke all our children and gathered them into one bedroom where we had them lay on the floor.  Joel sat out in the living room with a loaded rifle because, yes, he would have defended the family if necessary.  The police arrived, guns drawn, filling our house with their presence.  One helped our oldest daughter get clothes for everyone,  Once 4 squad cars were in place, they escorted us into our vehicle, had the kids lay down on the floor and escorted us out of town towards the Twin Cities just 50 miles away.  It was terrifying and it affected the lives of our children and us greatly.

For 6 years we lived with the knowledge that this man was still talking about killing Joel.  He used to idle his car out on the road away from our home watching us.  He would call and not talk, or call and threaten us.  There was a restraining order against him but little else to do.  We had plain-clothed policemen in our congregation off and on to protect Joel and the church.  And yet, there was nothing more that anyone could do UNTIL he would actually attempt to kill Joel.  This was the law.  I think when we left there and moved across the state, we all breathed a sigh of relief.  Phone calls continued for a year or two, but eventually he moved on and so did we.  Once we made the decision as a family to stay,  for the next 6 years it was a season of trusting God for protection.

 It is frustrating to me that the rights the nation demands, also protect those who threaten harm or actually beat someone up, etc.  The police have their hands tied often when it comes to preventive measures because it may infringe on the rights of some.  I understand, but having lived with 6 years of a violent man's rights being more important than a victim's rights?  I believe that the victim's rights should outweigh the rights of those who cause harm.  Something is broken in our system on so many levels.  Something is broken in us as a people.  Okay, time to move on...........

Joel and I celebrated the good news this week with a Cabin Coffee cinnamon roll :).  Next Tuesday friends are coming over to have a "count it all joy" party with us.  I had decided that no matter what the medical report,  we were going to have a count it all joy party, because I believe God wants us well all the time.  But the cancer is gone and we are going to celebrate.........and celebrate.........and celebrate.

Joel brought home these beautiful flowers for me
the day before surgery.

Love the fall colors and they are still
fresh to look at!

I have 6 exercises I do twice a day for my arm to avoid getting lymphedema, PLUS I need to lay for
45 minutes 3x a day with my shoulder higher than my heart and my elbow higher than my shoulder and my wrist higher than my elbow for the same reason.  I read, watch TV, or nap during these times. I have been told not to carry my purse on my right shoulder, sleep on my right side (for 4 weeks) I cannot let my blood pressure ever be taken on my right arm, or have blood drawn from that arm either.  Interesting, don't you think?

I have been re-reading a favorite book, "They Speak In Other Tongues" by Guideposts writer John Sherrill.  I have also been catching up on teachings online and listening to praise music.  The new fall schedule has started which means we are watching a bit more TV when home at night.

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