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.