Saturday, October 19, 2019

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of the world where today's temp is going to be 65 !  A warm fall day starting with rain but ending with sunshine. I will be enjoying the weather from my sofa sanctuary due to yesterday's chemo treatment.  So thankful for our big windows, and the fresh air coming in.

It is also the weekend of our granddaughter L.'s confirmation.  Joel and I feel that a time to confirm and confess your faith in Jesus as your Savior is very important......just as important as graduating, but for different reasons.  It breaks my heart that I cannot be there to celebrate.  He was struggling with whether to go or not because I crash, especially the Sunday after chemo and often need his help.  He had just decided not to go when our oldest son, Matt, surprised us with a phone call telling us he was going to come up Saturday afternoon and stay overnight, going home Sunday afternoon so his dad could go and I would not be alone!  What a gift for us!

Speaking of gifts, as I sit or lay on my sofa I can see a ceramic plaque that says, "You Got This" from our oldest daughter.  I see a beautiful card with heart felt encouragement from our middle daughter, an angel from our son Matt, wife Michele, and kids, and a prayer bowl from my sister Janelle. I give thanks for the phone that brings in calls from our son check in with us.   I have a stack of cards to reread and a jar full of encouraging notes and Bible verses our youngest daughter Sarah made for me last Thanksgiving when I started this long hard journey.  She had everyone who was here write them for me.   All visual reminders of God's love notes sent by those I love and care about.  It makes me smile...........\

Speaking of smiling, yesterday I had a roommate for chemo.  A very small room with a cotton cloth screen between chemo patients.  They were full and my scheduled appointment did not happen until just two days before hand.  My roomie liked to watch old westerns.  It reminded me of my sister Jan who also likes old western movies.  A discussion with my siblings brought up the fact that most do enjoy old westerns.......especially Bonanza was a favorite!  All of us are over 60.....probably has something to do with it?  Or maybe the simpler life when the violence shown on TV was kid's play compared to today!

I am reading a David Rosenfelt mystery again.  I took a break for awhile as they sound the same after awhile.  I really need to expand my reading choices, but right now between chemo and steroid brains this is the best I can do.  Speaking of steroids, when I am put on them, I have several side effects including weight gain to the tune of gaining 4 lbs in just 24 hours.  Six pounds in 2 days.  I quit getting on the scale until this leaves my body.  It is fascinating to me....I lost 7 lbs the first 10 days of chemo last time and gained it back the final week........and then more.  Now, in my way of thinking a person should get rewarded for this journey, like weight loss if needed.  Don't you think?

The political drama is over the top and even though I hate to watch it or let it pull me in on any level, I am drawn to it in a strange way.  Drama.  The what can happen next?  Boundaries and limitations? Necessary.

The Hallmark Mystery Channel has gone to Christmas Movies ALREADY!  What is up with that?  Do that have a pact with businesses to get people to buy more stuff or are they just wanting to spread some joy early before Halloween!  We don't decorate for Halloween but do have pumpkins for Fall!

Hope you all have a good weekend filled with all good blessings!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

My Papa God Is Bigger

"Faith does not deny a problem's existence, 
it denies the problem a place of influence."
Bill Johnson

Problems can appear so BIG.  They can be so BIG!  And so often I find myself telling God and anyone who will listen just how big my problem is.......when I need to remember and declare to my problem and to myself and others just how BIG my GOD is!  He is definitely bigger than any problem.

Recently  I heard Pastor Bill Johnson from Redding CA talk a bout a friend of his who was going through a terrible situation.  One day he placed two chairs facing each other and he invited the devil to sit in one chair and he sat in the other.  He then, said to the devil..."You are going to sit here and listen to me praise God. You are going to hear how faithful, good, and kind my God is!"  This man made the decision to focus on God and His goodness in the midst of, and despite his circumstances.

I would imagine the devil hates to hear us praising God.  Yes, I am sure of it.  I would expect God loves to hear our praises to Him.  It says in scripture that He inhabits our praises!  And I know that when we give thanks and praise, focusing on God and not our, at times, enormous circumstances, we find a sense of peace in the midst of it all. Praise is an offering for what we know to be true according to God's Word, even in the midst of hardship and loss.  It builds our faith.  As Bill Johnson said, faith does not deny our problem but it denies it a place of influence.

I am good at visualizing.  God has given me a gift of "seeing" in the spirit realm.  Sometimes that gift turns against me when I visualize worst-case scenarios.  And let me tell you, I am good at that IF I listen to the lies of the enemy.  I decided to do what Bill Johnson's friend does and put two chairs together.  I put my "circumstances" on the chair and I speak to it of God's goodness, faithfulness, healing power.  Funny thing about that........when you speak to your circumstances, or the enemy, you are also speaking to yourself.  You shift your focus and it shifts your perception. 

I have one family member who finds bedtime challenging at times because worry likes to visit.  This person has learned to pray the Lord's Prayer over and over and recently added singing "This Little Light of Mine" until sleep comes.  What a wonderful example of shifting the focus to WHO is this person's LIGHT....making God bigger than the problem!

It is not always easy, but it is possible.  Whether we put two chairs together and speak to the circumstance, whether we poke the devil in the eye with our praise, whether we sing a sweet yet powerful song over our worry, the result is the same.  God becomes bigger, things shift,  and peace flows. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to  you from our corner of Iowa where we woke up to our first frost of the season.  We do not have snow, like Minnesota, South Dakota, and other states.  We do have the cold with wind chills but are avoiding the white stuff which is fine by us!  I am now enjoying my "Woolie", my wool comforter which keeps me nice and cozy throughout the cold seasons.  Like I have said many times, wool has some healing properties.  Joel has some arthritis in his hands/fingers and wears wool gloves which helps!  Love the wool!

Speaking of loving something..........did any of you see the video a mom took of her three year old son on his way to school.  When he was 2 she taught him an affirmation she hoped would stick in his mind.  It did.  On his first day of school he started to repeat the affirmation on his own.....

I am smart!
I am blessed!
I can do anything!

He is adorable and has a message for all of us!  I found myself adjusting the affirmation to...I am strong.  I am blessed!  And with God I can do anything!

Speaking of I can do anything, this journey with chemo is so unpredictable.  I like to say every day is different and sometimes every hour.  Like Tuesday I had trouble getting downstairs without feeling like I would pass out.  I rested awhile and by 11 am felt good enough to make a small batch of cookies!  I walked twice around the driveway that evening and crashed after.......unpredictable. Thursday I went to physical therapy, three stores for cards, and the library!  No problems.....and that was fun.

I was supposed to have chemo yesterday but it has been postponed for a week.  Last Monday I called the clinic and left a message for my doctor that I was having neuropathy in my feet and some in my fingers.  The doctor was gone once again and the nurse called me and said another doctor on call said I needed to see a palliative care team for pain control.  I was NOT looking for meds, I was looking to ask the doctor about this side effect as I know it can be permanent.  I was going to be contacted by the team....but nothing.....Finally on Wednesday I called again and said I wanted to talk to the doctor after finding out I was not even scheduled to see him before chemo on Friday.  At Joel's persistence I also called Mayo and left a message with my oncologist there.  The Doctor from our center here called me and decided to postpone chemo a week........and shortly after that the Mayo doctor called me....less than 2 hours after my call to him.  2 hours.  Not 2 days.  He felt waiting was okay but did not think my symptoms were telling him the neuropathy would be permanent so go ahead with the chemo .....only 2 treatments left.  So for now I am in limbo waiting for symptoms to go down and for next week.  I expect this is quite common but it was not part of the plan and I struggle with not pushing through it.  We have been praying about it of course, and twice in one day from different sources I heard words I had not heard before............WHEN YOU ARE GOING THROUGH HELL, JUST KEEP GOING!  Yep.  Just keep going!

Speaking of keep going........Yesterday we headed to the local grocery store to pick up some pumpkins for our deck and front porch.  After paying $5 for each one, no matter the size, I decided we would seek out a pumpkin patch next year!  There is just something about pumpkins that speak of fall and warm my heart!  Halloween is my least favorite day, but Thanksgiving is definitely a plus!  The colors, the smells, the food, the gatherings, the gratitude expressed.  It is the only holiday where our family celebrates on the actual day, and the only holiday where Joel does not have services on the day, so of course it is my favorite! 

Speaking of favorite.........last night we watched the first episode of the original Magnum P.I. series on Amazon Prime!  That show was a favorite in our house in the 80's.  It is amazing that I remember so much of that first episode!  Our minds really store a lot of information.......a reminder to fill it with GOOD things!

I have been reading again this week, picking up a Rita Mae Brown mystery at the library.  What are you reading? 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of Iowa where the word of the week has been RAIN!  Rain, rain, and more rain.  Dark and dreary days mostly with water water everywhere.  I'm guessing we have had 4-5 inches.  We could use a little sunshine!  It has been nice to turn on the gas fireplace!

Speaking of sunshine, we were hoping for sunshine today as Joel headed off to his "national holiday" of Rendezvous Days about 45 minutes from here.  He has gone nearly every year, life and weather cooperating!  The weather has not cooperated this year.  He called me a couple of hours in and said there was water everywhere.  Sloshing was the way he described walking through all the tents, food places, etc.  Sounds like he will top off his breakfast flatbread with lunch before heading home early.  So disappointing.

Today is our granddaughter Abbi's birthday.  Next week our son-in-law Greg will add a year.  Our oldest son Matt and his wife Michele celebrated their wedding anniversary this week, too.  We have a lot of family birthdays and anniversaries in the fall.  I enjoy fall so much, but sure miss being with our family for special occasions.  For any occasion.  If you live close to your kids?  Treasure it.

There has been so much political drama on TV this week.  It is like a soap opera where each day brings more craziness than the last.  Years and years ago I used to watch those daily soaps......I quit and I am glad I did!   Too much drama.....just like now.  No matter which side of the aisle you are on, or whether you walk down the middle, it is all a mess.  There are times I am not only shocked or disgusted, but also embarrassed by it all.

This week I made it to physical therapy twice as planned.  The scar tissue is breaking up and my muscles are stretching more and more.  That is good news.  I have had more energy, but what we have noticed is that I can feel fine and then instantly not be fine and in need of laying down ASAP.  It just leaves or changes so quickly.  I wish the pain would go away as quickly!  Six more days til we head back to the cancer center for another infusion.  Oh, joy.

Speaking of joy, I have been working on that intentional gratitude again.  I am thankful for texting!  Such a fast way to be in touch.  I am so grateful for kids who walk in faith.  Grateful for feeling stronger, being able to taste some foods again, and knowing there is an end to the chemo.  Grateful for a warm house, a gas fireplace, the TV to distract, online ordering,and grilled pork chops and baked squash made by my hubby.  Delish!  What's on your list?

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Chemo Chat

I have debated with myself over how much to share of my journey with chemo.  I have learned in the past few weeks that each person has their own story to tell.  I expect one day chemo will seem barbaric as a treatment for cancer, but for now it is one of the weapons used by doctors against a formidable foe ~ cancer.  One doctor told his patients, "I don't know what chemo will do to your body, but I do know what will happen to your body if we do not do what we can to get rid of the cancer."   I was told by the Mayo oncologist that for me the chemo is for prevention purposes.  Having the double mastectomy is the number one thing I could have done to rid my body of cancer.  Chemo should take care of any random cancer cells, etc. in the body.  Chemo is part of the battle plan.

Chemo affects each of those who reluctantly join this club in different ways.  Yes, there is knowledge that how the chemo drugs affect the body is in some ways universal ~ thus the  extensive Chemotherapy Resource Guide I was given.  But in other ways how the chemo drugs affect the body is individual.  There is a "we don't know" aspect to pumping poison into your body. 

When we had our "chemo class" the nurse went over all the side effects and how to manage them.  What side affects were dangerous, what ones required a trip or phone call to the doctor.  What was considered "normal."  I listened, but tried not to keep a running list in my head.......or heart.  I tried to take a "wait and see" approach.  Four weeks in I ordered a short book entitled, "Chemo: Secrets to Thriving".  It pretty much covered what was in the spiral notebook I had been given, plus a few more side effects that were in the "hard to talk about" category.  Both guides have been helpful.

It was not until the second treatment that I was hit hard with a number of side effects that kept me horizontal.  When the 2nd infusion knocked me off my feet, I began a google search for those who had personal stories to share.  I did this because the few people I knew who had gone through chemo either did not talk about it, or said "it was not so bad".  I did know of one person who spent a lot of time in bed and someone else who's only symptom was severe fatigue.  I needed more info.

I learned that there were plenty of people who were suffering through the treatments.  One younger woman remembered feeling so ready for chemo to get started!  She had a fighting spirit!  And then she became extremely ill and remembers that after one session where she spent 6 days in bed, she walked into the kitchen and said something to her husband and he actually cried to see her up and hear her talk.  Everyone has their own story to tell and the one who "breezes through" is no different than the one who suffers greatly.  Getting to the other side............that is the goal.  Just getting through to the other side.

One of the biggest symptoms I have had to deal with is pain.  I was told by a nurse that I would not have pain.  She was completely wrong and even though it is not one of the more common symptoms, it is a side effect of the chemo I have been given.  And then there is the OnPro injection that helps your body produce white cells in the bone marrow.  The bone pain from that was intense.  After three days of it I called my doctor and was told to take Claritin.  It seems the On Pro produces high histamines in the body and the Claritin reduces those, thus reducing pain.  That has been helpful to take the edge off of the bone and joint pain so I can sleep at night.  The muscle and nerve pain fluctuate.  There is a concern that the nerve pain will be permanent so that is watched closely.

Another continual side effect has been fatigue and exhaustion.  For the first 6 days it has been major to the point that I needed help getting around, my legs would not hold me at times.  After day 6 (so far) weakness improves enough that I can be up more, help myself more.  Eventually energy has steadied 2 weeks in so that I have one week that is more normal before the next treatment.  Will that continue?  We are hopeful. 

A variety of other side effects have popped up.  Nausea was minimal with the first treatment but pretty strong the first week of the second treatment.  I have not vomited at all and felt like I was eating enough, although I lost 6 lbs during that time.  Smells are strong to me, taste is mostly bland.  Textures are difficult.  You find what you can tolerate and you eat it.  Food is medicine for your body! For me, the essential oils of ginger and peppermint put into a carrier oil has helped.  I rub it on my stomach as often as needed.  There are meds that can be used also.

I started losing my hair just 10 days after the first treatment.  We shaved my head 5 days later and I have been wearing headcovers since.  My eyebrows are thinning out and most hair is gone on my body. 

Tinnitus has increased and in my right ear at times there is a "tweeting bird" sound.  Not kidding.  My vision is blurry and I blink a lot.  That should improve later.  I have had "chemo brain" to some degree.  I can tell mostly when I try to pull up words or I am watching Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy!  Slowwwww reactions.  I can tell when I sit down to write on my blog.  The words don't flow as easily.

I have had sore throats, runny nose, sore mouth, oral thrush, and everything, including water tastes metallic. There are salt/soda water gargles, meds to kill thrush, and I put just a small amount o 100% white grape juice in my water to make it drinkable.   I have had mild fevers, headaches, soreness on skin from chemo leaving my body through urine and stools, nightmares, and sadness and anxiety.  The short amount of time I am on steroids, sleep is hard to come I am thankful it is brief.  After the first few days, I sleep 9-10 hrs a night and usually take two naps daily.  My skin has reactions to the chemo and the dermatologist was helpful for me as I had radiation "memory" reactions plus the severe reaction to the tape used during surgery to have the port put in. 

Mostly, this is my journey with chemo so far.  One thing I am learning?  It changes from day to day and often hour to hour.  The body is doing what it can to function and I am doing what I can to help. For me the first 6 days are the worst, and I try to just breathe, rest, and pray my way through it. It is good to remember, this too will pass!  We will get to the other side.

What helps to get to the other side?   Information is a good place to start.  Good support, a loving caretaker, and the prayers of family and friends are so important.  And be sure to advocate for yourself.  Be kind to yourself.  Make sure you keep your eyes on that light at the end of the tunnel.
In the midst of the last "chemo crap storm", as our oldest daughter calls it, Jesus reminded me I was not alone with this image and message.   

He is the Light

I hope this has been somewhat helpful for those who are curious and for anyone who is going through, has been through, or will be going through treatments.  Our daughter Beth's words, "chemo crap storm" define it quite well, but like any storm, it will end.  In the midst of it all it we may be tossed by wind and waves, but it will end.  This too shall pass.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of Iowa where fall is showing off and bringing us a beautiful day.  Oh how I love fall.  I am in my living room sanctuary with the back door open just loving the sounds, smells, and sights of fall. 

It is nice to be back in the land of the living.  I am in the midst of jotting notes when I can to have a little "chemo chat" in the future as this past 5-6 days has been a test of my endurance.  The infusions went well but by Sunday I was sleeping off and on all day and waking every hour of the night.  Chemo hit me harder than the first time around and the next few days are a bit of a blur.  Times where I thought I was going to die and other times where I was thinking Heaven sounded sooo good.  I remember repeating often, " Lord have mercy".  Friday I woke thinking something feels different.  This morning I was strong enough to shower.  It took all my energy, but I did it!  I felt my brain could put a few words together so I picked up my laptop to do a little scribbling.

Our granddaughter Grace celebrated a birthday this week, along with our sister-in-law Betty.  Joel's brother has a birthday coming up and our oldest daughter Beth and son-in-law Kevin will soon celebrate their 25th Anniversary.  When I think about that beautiful fall day in Duluth, MN it makes me smile.  It was such a great celebration with family and friends.  I can still remember the two of us walking Beth down the aisle into the arms of a man who has loved her well.  So grateful.

Grateful.  So what are you grateful for this day?  I am grateful for a phone call, a bowl of cereal, a TV to get lost in, the sounds outside the door, a hubby who walks with me, the prayers of friends and family,  animal videos, silence, the laughter of children, and so much more.  Enjoy your Saturday.  Practice intentional gratitude. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

I Love To Hear The Stories!

A couple of weeks ago I closed my eyes and quietly waited for God to show me anything He wished me to see.  I then saw myself sitting on a hillside looking down over bay and could see small boats and sailboats in the water.  On my left Jesus sat next to me and I linked arms with Him.  On my right was Holy Spirit, a swirl of colorful energy spinning around.  I felt heat against my leg and foot and when I looked the Lion of Judah was leaning against me.  I asked where God was and heard Him say, "I'm behind you.  I've got your back."

This was all I saw but it gave me great comfort.  Surrounded by the Trinity, protected as I move forward in this season of my life.  I liked knowing that Jesus, the Lamb is also the Lion.  He sacrificed His life for me, for us.  He also fights for us as the mighty Lion of Judah.  It was a good reminder for me.

Recently I reread the story of a couple who experienced an angel coming to the husband's need as he went through a terrible ordeal when a freak accident resulted in him being medivaced to Mayo Clinic.  Several people saw this guardian angel in men's clothing with unusual happenings affirming that it was an angel!  Such a beautiful story of how God shows up for His children.  Stories, or testimonies shared give God praise, but they also build up our faith. We realize how much God loves us and remember His goodness. 

When Joel was 16 years old he was outside one morning and looked up in the sky.  There he saw three crosses.  His thought was, "That is someone's cross..."  It was just a few days later that his dad died suddenly and unexpectedly.  He believes God spoke to him that morning with a visual of three crosses in the sky.  This event profoundly shaped Joel's faith.

My friend Linny Saunders and her hubby Dwight have so many stories to share of God's faithfulness that she even wrote a book called "The Memorial Box".  They have an actual large curio type box where they keep visual reminders of stories where God intervened in their lives.  With 14 children, and 9 still at home, they have many stories to share.  She keeps a memorial box because of what it says in the book of Joshua where God's instructions were that Joshua build a memorial so when future generations look at it and ask what it is for, they will hear the many stories of God's faithfulness as they ventured into the promised land.  We all have those stories to share too!

A few years ago when Joel was interim at a small church in a small Iowa town, he asked if people would share their "Faith stories"with the rest of the congregation.  They were willing to take 5 minutes during Sunday morning services to share and listen to how God has shown up for His children.  It was wonderful!  So many had great testimonies of how God intervened, spoke, or showed up in the lives of His children.  Those stories we heard benefited and blessed us all!

It is good to hear how God works in the lives of His children and it is good for us to look back and remember how He has blessed us during different seasons of our lives.  He is a good good Father. Someone today may need to hear your faith story.  We all have them.  I love to hear the stories~  I am sure you do too!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A Bowl Full Of Prayers

I received a beautiful "prayer bowl" this past week in the mail.  What a delightful surprise! (Thank you Janelle)  One of my favorite verses is written on the outside and inside is a colorful bird.  A packet of cards came with the bowl where you can write the names of who you are praying for.  You place them in the bowl as a reminder to pray.  There is a verse in scripture that says our tears are collected in God's bottle or a bowl?  ...........and our prayers are too, I expect.

Recently I heard Kris Vallotton say we need to remember to  P.U.S.H in our prayers.  Pray Until Something Happens!  You may have prayed the same prayer over and over....for healing, for restoration in relationships, for finances.  So what do we do when you pray and nothing seems to change?  We keep praying.  We pray and we give thanks believing something will happen.  In the Bible it is called "fervent prayer".

On the large sofa table in front of where I rest is a plaque that says "You Got This" that was given to me by our oldest daughter.  Now on the other side of this table is the prayer bowl with this scripture...

"He will cover you with His feathers,
 and under His wings you will find refuge."  
Psalm 91:4

Both are reminders from God.  Whether we speak to the mountain, rebuke the enemy, use a prayer language from Holy, ask and seek, or give thanks for what is coming, a close relationship with God is the gift given to us when we pray.  And certainly it is not just about us, as there are so many in need of our prayers.  I am sure, like you,  I can easily fill up the prayer bowl.  Lord hear our prayers this day, and let us never forget............

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of Iowa where fall continues to make itself known.  I love fall, so I am taking in all the colors, sounds, and smells.  The other day we were sitting on the porch watching a squirrel try to maneuver an ear of corn from the neighbor's yard, across the street into our yard.  He tried carrying it in his mouth, but kept dropping it.  He actually pushed it with his nose rolling it on the street, before picking up one end and dragging it the rest of the way.  Determination.

Speaking of determination, I am mustering up what I can here, determined to walk through chemo to the other side.  Energy is sparse, nerve pain and tinnitus talking, and this week my hair started to fall out.  It was coming out in handfuls yesterday so I decided today was the day.  I cut off as much as I could, Joel took over and cut as much as he could, and then he shaved my head.  We have been through this long journey together and he wanted to be part of this too.  It was a bit shocking to look in the mirror, and emotional for both of us,  but it only made me more determined to ride this storm out.  I am blessed to have a good, loving soulmate to walk with me.

Speaking of blessings, we have enjoyed visiting with our friends, who came back to visit the place they lived for 30 years.  They have been willing to accommodate my need for "short" visits and we have been delighted to catch up on their new adventures. 

Another blessing ~ smart phones!  It has been such a blessing to have pics of the grands as they start their sports, get their awards, begin school.  Just doing life, and we are missing out on so much of it.  With smart phones photos are sent so quickly and we can keep up to date on what is going on.  I think my mom would have loved this!  I used to send her tons of pictures over the years, and she would come for a two week visit every year, but instant pics would have been a blessing! 

Hope you are experiencing your own blessings in life and treasuring each and every one.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Sprinkle Kindness

When I look out on the back deck I see a display of fall flowers.  Two different people, members of one of the churches where Joel is Interim, have given us mum plants.  One is covered in buds not yet blooming, the other is covered in a mass of bright yellow and gold flowers.  They sit next to a very large flower container we purchased in June that is still showing off it's beauty.  Every time I get up to head to the kitchen or bathroom, when I come back to my sanctuary my vision is brightened by color.  A good reminder of not only nature at it's best, but of the kindness of others.

I have not been able to go with Joel to church since last November.  I have missed out on getting to know the people in the two churches where Joel is an Interim.  They have been nothing but kind and caring in praying for their pastor and his wife.  This past Sunday someone sent home food for Joel that lasted for 3 meals. What a blessing!  We so appreciate their prayers, cards, food, and the mum plants!

Kindness.  It goes such a long way in this world.

I ended up at the dermatologist's office Monday due to severe reactions on my chest that were not healing with what I had been told to use.  Our Dr. whom we love, and his staff worked me in and he was able to diagnose the issues quickly....two separate ones.  An ointment is already healing up a chest wall full of nasty stuff.  What Joel and I like about this doctor, is not only his expertise, but the kindness and compassion that he and the staff show his patients.

Kindness.  It goes a long way in this world.

Kindness makes us better people.  It opens our hearts to not only give, but to receive.  We have dear friends who are full time RV'ers in their retirement.  They also have a ministry to serve God where He guides and directs them.  Whether they are laying flooring, feeding the homeless, or working in shelters they are giving out of the kindness of their hearts and in obedience to God.  They combine their love for traveling and camping with their love for serving,  and the world is a better place for it.

Kindness.  It goes a long way in this world.

                                 Jesus was a good example for all of us to follow.  In Ephesians 4 we read.........

 "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, 
forgiving one another as God in Christ forgives you."

Kindness.  It goes a long way in this world.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning here from our corner of Iowa where September has brought with it some beautiful weather.  I love listening to the trees rustle with drying leaves, and I have heard geese flying overhead more than once from my place on the sofa.  We had a small field just down the block which has provided for them yearly.  Sadly, change has come, new houses are being built and the farmer no longer comes to remind us of Joel's childhood.  It is called progress?

Speaking of progress, we have been marching through the first week of chemo.  Okay, not marching, more like managing and navigating through what is  indescribable  and unpredictable.   Last Friday I was given IV steroids and anti-nausea meds first and then a slow drip chemo drug to see what would present itself.  They did stop and flush the line once, but after things settled a bit and my blood pressure went down some we started again.  The second chemo caused heart palpitations which lasted off and on for three days.  BUT we got through, and were sent home,  I was given a computerized patch just like on TV commercials of Nulasta which injected a drug in me Saturday afternoon to go into bone marrow and help make white blood cells.  ( I think) Sunday afternoon and for 3-4 days the bone pain was intense,  I finally called the clinic and was told to take Claritin!  For some reason it helps.  I took it,  It is helping especially for night sleep.   I just need to keep remembering that help is available to minimize the symptoms.  I am not so good at asking for help in the medical world.  Some of mine have been eye migraine and visual light shows at night when trying to sleep (weird) nerve and bone pain, exhaustion, nightmares, visual and texture issues with food, some thinning of hair, brain fog. dizziness and balance issues, etc. etc etc.

Saturday I woke up to major rash on chest around port and neck incision.  It got worse and worse covering my left side of chest and neck with red welt like reactions.  Then Oral thrush appeared and rash on rt side so a visit to the doctor has me loaded up on steroid creams and anti fungal stuff.  I am calling my dermatologist Monday as no one knows for sure what this is.  It is a bit better now.  Phew.
Thursday's visit brought with it news that my white count is very low.  So I am to check temp. several times a day and head to ER if a fever arises (over 105.5)  Friday I woke up strong enough to shower and visit with our dear friends who are full time RV'ers.  After too short a visit Joel went with them out to eat.  Laughing with old friends was just what I needed....we both needed.  It is good medicine.

What we were told to look for such as nausea and vomiting has not happened..  Food textures keep me from eating much, but I get down what I can,, unfortunately having to stop eating my favorite food right now ~ watermelon, so as to not feed the yeast.  The yeast was a surprise...... so was the reactions on skin.   But remember, my body often does things it's own way,  I could go on, but seriously, enough said.

Chemo is not for the faint of heart and my heart goes out to all of you in the midst of it.  My sister Jo told me to remember what her oncologist told her over two decades ago.  The way the chemo goes after your white cells is also the way it is going after cancer cells!  Again thank you for your prayers.  A true blessing.

Fall is my favorite time of year, and I found myself saying,  next year it will be year.  But what about this year?  I am trying to grab hold of the small moments of fall I can enjoy now in the midst of this journey.  The sound of geese, rustling leaves, kids getting off the school bus, squirrels running across the roof.  I found a place on Facebook that shares nature in the northern Midwest, especially WI and I have enjoyed looking at fall flowers and even some trees turning color in the photos they post.

I love fall.  That has not changed.  I plan to embrace it, even if it is mostly from my sofa.  Welcome September!  Bring your beauty to our world!  We are ready for it.  I have only one request.....could you last a little longer?

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

He Is Glued To My Side

Yesterday the nurse called me from general surgery and told me they have managed to get me in to have a port placed at the hospital on Wednesday.  I was sooooo excited.  "Oh, this is wonderful news" I said.  After I said it, I told Kris, the nurse on the phone, I can't believe I am excited about yet another surgery or surgical procedure ~ #6 in 10 months.  She said, "I know.  You have been through so much in the past year."  I had been praying for God to get me in on Wednesday.  My surgeon is on maternity leave so someone I have never met would need to do this for me.   I would start to worry about it, and then tell Papa God, "It is in your hands.  If that is the right day, work it out!"   He did.  God is good.  He is faithful.  He is glued to my side on this journey called life. 

My world has changed the past 10 months in ways I never thought about.  I have never liked going to doctors, avoided hospitals, limited medications I took, and having surgery was not on my radar.  But life has a way of readjusting our perspectives.  Now I see things differently.   I find I am grateful for doctors, good hospitals, and even medications that help along the journey.

Lately I have been reading more of Ann Voskamp's writings and one theme that she speaks about often is gratitude.  And gratitude shifts our perspective, and a different perspective makes all the difference in how we do life in the good times, and bad times, but especially the "bad".  Because no matter what we are going through in body, soul, or spirit, God is good.  He is faithful.  He is glued to our side on this journey we call life. 

So today I am thankful for a surgeon "working me into his schedule on short notice" and I am thankful for a good hospital and caring staff.  I am thankful for the "chariots and horses" ( a former post I wrote HERE) that God is using to help me fight my battle.  And I remind myself and all of you, God is good.  He is faithful.  He is glued to our side on this journey we call life!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of Iowa where August has felt more like September with cooler temps and dryer air.  It has been so nice!  Everything is still green and flush though, and the  lowers are still blooming and some of our resident birds are still singing.  We are taking in the last days of summer, while looking forward to my favorite season, Autumn.

I follow a page on Facebook called "The Northern Life" which posts amazing pictures of nature at it's best and sometimes worst.  We love seeing the Northern Lights and miss them down here in the "south" where they only rarely show up.  Having spent many years in our home state of Minnesota we still miss what it has to offer.  Between the two of us we have lived in 7 different towns/cities in the land of 10,000 lakes!

This was a week of visiting with family and friends.  Monday my sister Kay took me to pick up the prosthesis that we ordered from rehab.  We had a nice visit!  We saw family last Thursday on our way to Rochester and this past Tuesday we drove 4 hours round trip to visit my older sister who helped raise me along with my sister Janelle.  A complete surprise was learning our oldest daughter, her hubby and daughter were heading home from our middle daughter and family's place.  We were both in the cities at the same time so they came to see Gr. Jo. and we got to hug on them too! What a nice bonus!  Thursday our old friend we have known since seminary days came by.  His dear wife died last November.  He stayed in his 5th wheel Thursday night and then Friday morning Dan and Joel went for a bike ride.  It was great to see him again.

Joel was planning to take off this week and ended up with 3 in the hospital and a funeral.  Best laid plans..........  Still, we got in a trip to the Twin Cities in MN and a visit with Dan.  Yesterday we headed to the cancer center here and got things set up for chemo to start next Friday.  I will be getting a port put in next week hopefully.  And so it begins..........I already ordered one head covering for when the hair goes, and I am getting some ginger/peppermint oil mixtures together for the nausea. My brother-in-law used this combo for nausea when he had chemo and it helped him greatly.  We have to take a "chemo class" on Monday to get us prepared.  Looking at the warnings and information given about the drugs that I will be given is very scary.  Good thing God is fighting for me.

I saw that Mayo Clinic just published a study that shows having a dog is very beneficial for people's heart health.  Isn't that great?!  On that note, we struggle with not having a dog anymore. They are a lot of work and if you travel?  But we miss having a pet.  They do bring an added blessing to their human families.  Pretty sure God planned it that way!

I have been reading another fiction book by Dave Rosenfelt this past week.  As a mystery writer, he always has a dog or two involved in his plots.  The more I read his books, the more I want a dog! Oh boy!  What are you reading?

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Mayo, "Med City", and Moments with God

It was early Friday morning and Joel and I had come down to eat breakfast in the small dining area of the hotel where we were staying in Rochester MN.   Joel was off getting food while I sat at our corner table.  There was one couple to our left and across from us was an older man with his two adult daughters, would be my guess.  The man said quietly, let's pray.  They joined hands and prayed for their loved one who was in the hospital....asking for healing, for Jesus to be with her during surgery, for no viruses to attack her body.  I quietly closed my eyes and silently added my Amen.  The woman on my left got up and went over to their table and said, "Thank you.  You blessed me too."  I chimed in, 'YES!  I am blessed too."  One of the daughters got up, came over and laid hands on me saying, "Bless you." This encounter brought with it peace.  God had provided just what I needed before we headed to my appointments at Mayo Clinic.  He was with us every step of the way.

I also noticed that the couple on our left prayed before they ate just as we did.  Our little corner of a small dining area in a hotel in "Med City" was calling upon God that morning.  Three families knowing where there help comes from.  It made me smile.  Such a divine moment from God.

My two appointments went very well.  The Fellow working with the oncologist I was seeing spent two hours with us, explaining, answering questions, examining, and encouraging me.  He and the oncologist had a plan for me and what would work for my body.  We came out of there feeling peace and relief.  I will be having chemo, a lower dose every 3 weeks for 4 cycles.  They will call my current oncologist because they would like it done here, close to home.  Hopefully it will start ASAP.

We ate lunch in the large cafeteria and then walked through the subway level over two blocks to my next appointment.  We sat in a lounge outside of the clinic I was to go to next.  Joel went inside to check if we were in the right area,  and then came back out to sit with me as we were way early.  Soon we heard a voice say, "I thought I recognized that cowboy hat!"  A woman from our former church in our current town was standing there.  Her husband was getting treated for a recurring cancer and she had been in the waiting room when Joel went in to check.   We visited awhile and then her husband came out so we talked with him too.  He encouraged me to be treated at Mayo and talked about the newer radiation that he was being treated with called proton radiation.  We prayed together before we headed inside and they left for home.  Another God moment.

My appointment with the radiology oncologist was about 1 1/2 hours long.  The Dr. had a student get general info but the doctor spent the entire time with us explaining, asking questions, examining, and answering our questions.  Very thorough again.  Turns out he wants to use the new proton treatments for me also.  He wants to avoid damage to the heart, lungs, thyroid, and upper nerve in chest wall.  This kind of radiation is only done at two places in America.  Mayo Clinic Rochester and in Chicago.  This would mean we would have to spend 5-6 weeks in Rochester during the week.  The American Cancer Society has a lodge where you can sign up to stay.  We will move forward with this treatment after the chemo.  Both the plans given to me at Mayo are different than the plans brought forward in our cancer center here, but we feel at peace about Mayo due their experience and expertise.  Going to Mayo was definitely a blessing.

It is a long journey ahead, but we heard words, heard treatment plans that will give me the best advantage to this being "curable".  Their words.  We felt so blessed to have two great doctors, one a Fellow and the other the radiologist who were excellent, kind, caring, and very knowledgeable.  We  know we cannot rely on these "chariots and horses" for my healing, but we can trust God who is using the medical world and these doctors and treatments to give me what I need to live and to live well.  Thank you all for adding your prayers to our journey.  They carried us through the day!  We are grateful.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Chariots and Horses

God likes to speak to me in "videos" that play out in my mind.  When I sit back, close my eyes and ask God to be present, ask Holy Spirit to speak to me in a "vision", He often does so.  Sometimes it is just one snapshot and other times I see scenarios that play out.  This is one of the ways He speaks to me.  I love it.

A few weeks ago Joel and I sat quietly and asked God's presence to fill the room.....for Holy to show us what He wanted us to see and know.  I immediately saw a big horse with an unusual coating of gold, like caramel.  This horse was not the Palomino that I see at times, it was more like a Clydesdale draft horse.  In the vision I walked up to the horse and then walked around it.  As I did so I noticed a chariot....very ornate and covered in gold.  I walked around the chariot pondering how it looked.  Immediately I saw a Roman type soldier covered in armor and head gear which was shiny and gold in color.  I then heard "Some trust in chariots and horses (but we trust in the Lord our God)."  I immediately knew that the chariots, horses and soldiers represented the doctors, treatments, and procedures, tests, surgeries, etc. that were filling up my daily life.  What did it mean?  Certainly we had seen healing come through the power of prayer alone, and we have seen healing come from surgery in the past.  What was God saying here........

I googled the words I had been given and up came Psalm 20:7  so I began reading this verse in several translations.   In the NIV it says,

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, 
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."
Psalm 20:7 NIV

One translation that stood out for me was from The Passion Translation of the Bible......

"Some find their strength in their weapons and wisdom, 
but my miracle deliverance can never be won by men.  
Our boast is in the Lord our God 
who makes us strong and gives us victory."
Psalm 20:7,8  TPT

At first I wondered if I was to let go of all those tools available to me in the medical world, but after  thinking about it and praying over it, I did not feel that is what the vision meant.  I reached out to a dear friend who hears from God in many ways, and she shared with me her/their thoughts on what God had showed me.  It confirmed what I felt Holy telling me.  The chariots, soldiers, and even the horses were coated in gold....God's color.  They are valuable to my recovery.  BUT I cannot trust in them alone.  We trust in God who uses men and their "tools".  That is where our strength and miracles come from!  Jesus the Healer!  Jehovah Rapha!

Some pretty tough words have been spoken over and to me by my doctors here and now I will be heading to Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN for appointments Friday with first a medical oncologist and then an oncology radiologist.  I expect we will hear more words that could discourage us or bring fear into the equation.  We are hoping for the best of course, but preparing for the other side of the coin also.  What we need to remember is that God walks with us...He fights for us! 

I don't begin to understand why God healed the Lyme through prayer and the cancer through doctors.  I don't begin to understand why a completely different cancer invaded my breast or why it was in the nodes when the turmor was drastically reduced from the meds.  I don't begin to understand this battle for my life when prayer has been our most important tool in our toolbox.  I don't have answers for any of those questions, but I do have God speaking to me continually about fighting my battles.  I do hear Him telling me to trust Him in this season of my life.  And if He wants me to use "chariots and horses and men in armor I will do so, but never without prayer and the knowledge of where my healing comes from.  I will be trusting the outcome to Him.

We would love your prayers as we head to Mayo Clinic........for the doctors to have the wisdom.....for us to have the courage..... for however God directs you to pray.  Recently I heard Kris Vallotton say that we need to P.U.S.H. forward with prayer.....Praying Until Something Happens.  I also heard another pastor say that every time we pray something happens!  Prayer is a mighty weapon as we fight the battles that come.   We thank you for yours!

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Simple Things

Our resident rabbits live behind these hostas
under our deck.  Lunch is a couple hops away!

Good Friday to you from yet another beautiful week of dry warm weather here in north Iowa.  Today we have the windows open, and a gentle breeze is pushing out the stale air and refreshing what we inhale inside the house.   I can hear a lawn mower in the distance, and crows have gathered in our backyard.  Our resident rabbits have been sunning themselves below our living room window.  A squirrel ran across the roof much earlier, which happens almost daily.  I have decided that must be his early morning routine....jogging across the roof, leaping into the trees and then scurrying across the ground.  What a workout!

Last night we took an evening stroll down to the river and walked along the road.  It had been a long time since I could manage this, and I felt like the river welcomed be back with it's rushing water saying hello!  We saw two owls flying through the near dark sky, and one lone man rose up from the river bank and walk slowly up the path behind us.  We stopped to take in the views and smells, grateful for the chance to do something so normal.

That is where my gratefulness lies lately......just doing that which is normal.  Cleaning the bathroom, making blueberry cobbler, ironing a shirt, watering the plants, walking down to the river.  Just taking in the blessings and letting go of the limitations that have held me captive for so many months.  We will delve back into the world of doctors next week, but the past couple of weeks have been mostly a vacation from all that ails me.  So thankful.

With the turmoil and heaviness in our country right now, perhaps we all need to take time "to smell the roses".  And if you don't have about petunias, violets, fresh cut grass?  Just sit quietly and soak it in.  All the beauty God has created for us to enjoy.  The simple things, uncomplicated by conflict and negativity.  Maybe you have your own squirrel who does a morning workout......or a rabbit that feeds on your hostas.  Maybe you have flowers to view that fill your world with color.  And I am sure we all have some daily "mundane" tasks to accomplish.  When you do your thing as your job, when you scrub, sweep, fold, or shine at home......give thanks that you have the energy to do so.  A privilege.

Love these flowers....purple Mexican wedding plants

Enjoy your Friday.  Seek the grace to be found in another day here on earth.  Look around, listen, and soak in this day that the Lord has made.  Abundant with the sounds and smells of nature in August.  Oh, we are so blessed!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Heavens Weep

I woke up today thinking about the mass shooting at a Wal-mart in El Paso TX yesterday where families were school shopping.  Another domestic terrorist went into a busy area filled with innocent men, women, and children, and began taking their lives with a powerful weapon.  The reason is still being investigated, but it is being called a hate crime.  Soon after waking, I read online that yet another mass shooting occurred in Dayton Ohio overnight.  And last Sunday it was a festival in Gilroy CA.  And before that?  And that?  According to what I read, there have been 22 mass shootings in 2019 so far.  It is overwhelming.

I am so weary of reading about the mass shootings. I am so weary of hearing the arguments, political or personal that do nothing to solve the problem we have in our country with violence and hate.  When God''s creations, His own children, are murdered in the name of hate, racism, anger, and more, the Heavens weep.  Jesus was clear on how we are to treat others.  His message has not changed since it was written in the most important book ever.  The Bible tells us clearly to love one another, forgive one another, care for one another.  Jesus told us the most important commandment of all was to LOVE one another.  And it begins at home.  It begins in our hearts.  It begins with what comes out of our mouth.  There is serious power in our words.

Our family is multi-racial.  We were blessed to adopt children who brought with them a variety of backgrounds.  Chinese, Filipino, Hispanic, African American, Northern Cheyenne.  Our grandchildren are a beautiful blend of these ethnicities along with Korean, Norwegian, Danish, French, Irish, English, and more.  We are so proud of our "rainbow family" as Joel's Aunt Ruth used to call us.  And members of our family have been told "go back to where you came from" in one way or another, have been called derogatory names, been bullied, and mistreated by children and adults alike.  It saddens me greatly.  And the power of those words spoken hurts our family.  And it should hurt you, too.  And the violence and death of so many in our country?  It hurts you too.  What is said and done to others affects us all.

It sickens me when I read and listen to Christians speak hate, prejudice, and bias over others who do not look like them, live like them, believe like them, agree with them.  I don't see that there is just one answer to America's problems with violence and hate.  I certainly don't hold the answers, but I do believe that if each of us not only believe in Jesus but follow Him and truly become more "Christ-like" as the Bible says,  we will be led to live out God's commandment to love one another.

We are called the greatest country in the world for many reasons, one of which is our diversity.  I don't want "the greatest country in the world" to become the worst place to live due to the violence and hate that is spewed out over the country, the cities, our communities, us.  On days like this I turn to Jesus, and I can only ask for mercy on our country, on the loved ones of those who died.  On all of us. 

Today let's bend our knees in prayer.  God be with us all.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to all of you from our corner of Iowa where we have stepped into August with a beautiful week of dry, comfortable weather.  Having the A/C off and the windows open has been delightful.

Speaking of A/C, we are very grateful for it, having gone without it for most of our married life.  We never lived in a parsonage where A/C had been installed, but many had it installed after we left.  We just were not demanding enough I guess!  I can remember one awful hot summer night in Zimmerman MN where Joel went out on the deck and slept on top of the picnic table to get some kind of breeze.  He preferred the mosquitoes to the heat!  When we lived in Montana it was not a big deal as it always cooled off at night and the air was so dry, making it easy to deal with.  Again I remember painting a bedroom one summer day, thinking...."wow, I am sweating, must be a little warm out.  It was 103 degrees~such a difference when humidity is below 20%.   Ahhhhhh the good ol' days.

Speaking of Joel, he had a routine colonoscopy this past Thursday.  Why would I share that?  Because he had me shaking my head by his continual announcement when he was coming out of the sedation.  My brother-in-law Danny was with us and we had to chuckle over his continue message..."I want a hamburger!  Burget!  Burger!"  He would not remember he had already mentioned that he woke up craving a hamburger and would doze off and then bring it up again.............and again...........and again!  The thing is, we don't eat beef at home, maybe 2x a year.  We don't really like the taste or texture that much.  Joel would much rather have Mexican food that a beef burger but he woke up craving a burger so when we left the hospital Danny went in to McDonald's and got him a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.  Once Dan got him settled in his recliner at home he ate his burger and then slept for a few hours!  Of course he remembers eating the burger but thought he ate it in the car!  Later he mentioned how weird it was that he just had to have a hamburger!  Yep.  Weird.......The mind does strange things when messed with.

This morning we went to the local library where I picked up a few more mysteries by Dave Rosenfelt and Sarah Graves.  I find it fascinating how Rosenfelt can bring humor into a mystery that will make me laugh out loud.  He has actually written a non-fiction book called, "Dogtripping" about his adventures with their 25 rescue dogs when they brought them in a RV from California to Maine where they moved.  Great stories to share!  I am reading one of his fiction books titled "Unleashed" now.  What are you reading? 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Doing The Hard Thing

Ann Voskamp, mother, wife, international speaker and author, writes a blog titled, A Holy Experience.  Recently she wrote about doing the next hard thing in difficulties.  That the only way to climb the mountain before us, no matter what it is,  is to take the next step.  And that requires doing the hard things that lay before us.

 It kind of describes a portion of my life in a nutshell.  Every one of the five surgeries I went through from November to mid June were challenging, whether due to being in the midst of the strong hormonal treatments for cancer, or having parts of my body cut off with the double mastectomy.  Each recovery has had its own challenges too, with the December disaster as we call it where the surgery completely failed leaving me with a long journey back.  Then two more kidney stone surgeries while fighting kidney infections.  And then the mastectomy.  The cancer was removed along with both breasts and 26 nodes which has left a big cavity under my arm and has me doing daily exercises to regain the flexibility of both arms. Cutting all those nerves and muscles triggered a big flare up on ongoing nerve pain.  Yeah....hard things.  When I look back on the past 9 months I am still amazed by it all.  And grateful.

So, don't take this post to be a lament about how hard my life is or that no one has it as bad as me........Seriously?  Being 71 and also being a pastor's wife, I know how many people get up every day and do the hard thing before them.  And on a broader scale, each and every one of us have to face hard things at some time in our lives.  We all find ourselves taking the next step forward in order to climb over or conquer the mountain before us.  It may look impossible  ~your situation~ but like Ann Voskamp says, "every Everest is scaled by simply putting one foot in front of the other." This Bible verse from The Message Bible tells us where we get the help we need.

"God will help you deal with whatever hard things 
come up when the time comes."
Matthew 6:34

In doing the hard things, we need to hold close the truth that comes to us from God's Word.  God helps us.  He not only helps us but He has given us a powerful tool,  Holy Spirit.  He empowers us, enlightens us, guides us.  Holy has been called the Helper. (John 14).  As you and I do the hard things let us never forget we are not alone.  The Helper gives us what we need when we need it most. 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Saturday's Scribbles

It is Saturday afternoon here in northern Iowa, another hot and humid July day.  The weather may not be the best for humans, but the flowers, gardens, and corn are happy and showing off their best.  I think the deer are happy too since they seem to enjoy munching on our plants.  My sister Jan's husband planted tomato plants at their home in South Dakota, and the deer have been feasting on green tomatoes.  Even wire fencing did not stop them....they just pushed it aside and enjoyed their tasty goodness. 

Speaking of tasty goodness, we have been eating a great deal of watermelon this summer.  So good to begin with, but even better on a hot day!  Here is a question for you.  SALT or NO SALT on your watermelon.  For me, salt.  We also have put salt on our fresh pineapple after our maid in the Philippines told us it makes the pineapple sweeter.  Joel enjoys having ears of corn this time of year also, but adds butter with the salt!  Our Farmer's Market does have a few vendors who bring fresh delish.  But not too many organic, which we prefer.  I found some organic peaches at our Super Target and they actually taste like a peach!  They are really good grilled as our friends Mary Lou and Keith taught us to do.  Just add a little honey or ice cream and you have a delicious treat!

This past week I had only one doctor appointment.  I have been calling Mayo daily during the week to see if any cancellations would move my appointment up from mid August.  So far, not, but they encourage you to call 1-2 times daily.  That is nice.  I cannot say my energy is back to before this started, but I am happy to be walking 20 minutes a day now!  Yippee......Joel has been riding 15-20 miles when he goes out.  Wish he could ride outside year round.  Winter in Iowa makes that hard!\

I watched a video by a life coach and Beni Johnson, wife of Pastor Bill Johnson and a pastor at Bethel Church in CA.  She went through breast cancer about 18 mo ago, having a mastectomy herself.  She works with a European doctor on healing her body on a cellular level to keep the body tip top to fight disease.  Makes sense to me.  I am taking some of her info, doing my own research, and looking for a plan to help my body and especially my immune system recover after treatments.  The treatments break down the body so it needs building back up to live well. 

Last night we watched the Iowa High School girls softball championship game on Iowa Public Television.  Our granddaughter Greta's  high school team played for the state championship and won in a very good game!  It was fun to be able to watch the game from our living room. 

I have been reading a mystery by David Rosenfelt, his Andy Carpenter series.  Carpenter solves murders as an attorney who is crazy about dogs.  The series is comical, smart, and light enough to not give me nightmares.  My kind of mystery.  So, what are you reading? 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Lion Of Judah

I was getting ready to head back to the cancer center after a three week break.  With a few minutes to spare,  I turned to Facebook and this came up on my screen.  Once again, God sent me the same verse as He has countless times before.... often when I am heading to the Dr. or for a test or for surgery.......He is so faithful.

I have been focused on Exodus 14:14, but had not noticed the importance of verse 13.  Do NOT be afraid.  Stand firm.  God will deliver you.  I hang on to these verses as someone who thirsts for water.  For me, Living Water.  Jesus.

While waiting for the Dr. to come in the room, I asked Holy Spirit to be present, to bring peace, and certainly more clarity and communication than our last visit.  H. e. l. l. o.  It went pretty well.  We continue to wait for my appointment at Mayo to see what they say.  I call over there daily to check for cancellations, hoping to get in before my scheduled appointment on August 16.  Joel and I both feel peace about going there.

These verses I really began getting a couple of years ago.  The plaque on my wall with Exodus 14:14 written on it was a Christmas gift from our oldest daughter at least 2 years ago.  God has been preparing us.  With His Word, with the prophetic words given to us at Bethel, and recently with the words of a nurse who told us...."IF you have even a fleeting thought that has you thinking about going to Mayo, GO".    God speaks through many avenues.

We have two extended family members right now who are fighting major health battles. I thought specifically of them today as these verses popped up on my screen.  Do not be afraid.  (easier said than done but it is possible with God).  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance God will bring you today.  When we have done all we can, we stand firm.  We TRUST God is with us.  We trust He will deliver us.  The Lord will fight for you.  Countless places in the Bible we see God fighting for His people.  He is mighty!  He loves us fiercely.  When He says He is fighting for us, He is.  You need only to be still.  Being still does not necessarily mean doing nothing.  It means being at peace with knowing God has us and the problem.  It is knowing deep in our soul that we can trust Him.

I have come to love these verses, but more importantly I have come to a deeper understanding of how much God loves us.  I don't know what is in my future........none of us do, but we know who holds our future.   God goes before us, walks with us, and has our back.  He is not just the Lamb who was slain.........He is the Lion of Judah!! 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saturday's Scribbles: Looking Back With Gratitude

Today the Bible college we attended, The Lutheran Bible Institute which became Golden Valley Lutheran College our second year, is celebrating 100 years after it was established,  at the old campus in Golden Valley MN. where Joel and I met. The school itself, closed in 1985.   We had wanted to attend today's festivities and the gathering at the home of two graduates last night. Unfortunately, I am not fully recovered from the mastectomy so we are left here at home with our memories.  And we have so many!

When I was 18 I was not sure what my future would hold, but my sister who helped raise me and her friend Marian suggested that I go to The Lutheran Bible Institute.  LBI was a two year program of studying the Bible.  Most of the professors were pastors or missionaries. The campus was beautiful with a small pond centered in the middle surrounded by the main building, a boys dorm and two girls dorms.   I started school there in the fall of 1966.

Joel had gotten his AA degree in wildlife management and even though he planned to work outside in wildlife, his mom suggested he go to LBI and it sounded interesting to Joel so off he went in 1966.  It was there that we met, were "prayed together" and married a couple of weeks after graduating in 1968.  The college was affectionately known as "The Lutheran Bridal Institute" since so many couples met their spouses on this campus.

LBI is where we studied the Bible in depth.  What we learned added greatly to the foundation of our faith and led Joel to continue thinking seriously about going to the seminary.  Actually, both our goals were to go on the mission field in Africa, but over the years God had other plans.

Our second year at LBI the school became known as Golden Valley Lutheran College.  They brought in more regular classes.  We took classes like advanced typing and accounting, Psychology, etc.  I graduated with an AA degree in Parish Work and Joel in Bible.

We were part of the LBI/GVLC choir and traveled mostly to churches to perform, spending our nights in the homes of those who volunteered to have us.   In the summer of 1967 Joel was able to go with the choir to Europe and  perform in churches there including St. Peter's Cathedral,   In the Spring of 1968 we both went on a choir tour down through the south all the way to Florida and the Bahamas.  It was a fascinating and eye opening experience to be in the deep south in the late 60's......

LBI/GVLCas was a small  but significant Lutheran college that shaped the faith of many young adults, including us.  We are so grateful it was the place that brought us together,  deepened our faith, and sent us out to proclaim Jesus.  We may not have been able to go to the reunion this weekend, but we are filled with memories that are making us smile and give thanks!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


Yesterday afternoon I sat with Joel in the retina section of our eye clinic waiting for an eye injection. Every three weeks we come to this place, wait with many others (77 on this day had gone through) for the Dr. to numb the eye and inject a medication that is drying up a leaking vessel, and saving my retina from further damage.  The scan taken showed my eye was holding steady. Steady.

While sitting in the waiting room my phone rang and the breast cancer nurse manager was on the line with results from the Oncotype dx tumor tissue test and also the echocardiogram I had Monday.  I went into the hallway for quiet space and she told me that the number given to my results was low.  Surprisingly low (a good thing).  Because of the number of lymph nodes involved everyone thought it would be high.  The tumor is still a Grade 2....but not acting like a grade 2.  A mystery.  Because of 5 nodes showing some level of cancer, the chances of it returning in 9 years with only hormonal treatments would be 57%.  So even though the number on the tumor is low, we are thinking that the doctors will want to proceed with chemo.  Again, results are not clear, but better than expected.  The results of my echo had shown some change from last fall.  Still in normal range but hmmmmm...... Steady as she goes, right?

I went back to sitting in the waiting room and soon I was called in.  The doctor has to first put numbing drops in, then lidocaine with a needle and then come back several minutes later and inject the medication. He needs steady hands for this procedure.  Steady

At 5:30 this morning I awoke with a start and found myself thinking about the echo and wondering why it had changed and what could I do to improve my heart function.  I had not been able to truly exercise since last Dec. but have started walking again.  I googled what could be done ~ Diet, exercise, medications, and of course the stress factor.  S.t.r.e.s.s.      I knew my numbers were still normal but had decreased some.  As I lay and went over it in my head, I realized I was replacing trust with worry. The word steady came to mind again.  Steady.  Firm.  I found some Julie True worship music on my phone and began to soak in her soothing melodies.  Steady.

As I refocused I also sought Words of still.........know.......I am with you..........I fight for you.  Steady, now.  Focus...........steady dear child.........You've got this because I've got you........Breathe....worship.   Give thanks.  Know that you know that you know.

Are any of you readers finding yourselves in need of hearing these words?  Are you struggling with staying centered in His peace?  Is worry replacing your worship?  Someone is in need of hearing these words today.  Remember, friend...........He fights for you. He shields you.  He loves on you.  Just be still.....stay calm and steady.  He's got you.  Steady, now.  Steady. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning to you from our corner of Iowa where the corn is basking in the heat and humidity and growing tall!  July has definitely arrived with temperatures in the high 80's and dew points creeping up into the 70's.  We were able to do a little porch sitting this morning as a thunderstorm passed by.  There is something soothing about listening to a gentle rain, quiet thunder, and the wind moving through the trees and bushes. Iowa in summer.

Speaking of Iowa, we have been here now for 23 years and bought this house 15 years ago.  Joel and those he hired spent many weeks renovating it to bring it back to life.  It was in bad shape and needed so much work.  A long time friend, John, came and helped Joel after we first held the papers in our hands.  Some of my family helped with painting which included my brother painting the high living room ceiling and Joel climbing an extension ladder to get to the top of the 30 foot peak.  FYI:  For anyone who thinks they want high ceilings remember that sound and heat rises so that I can be up in our bedroom and it is like the TV in the living room is on right next to me!  Not cool........It is an unusual house, to say the least, but then we are unusual people...or so I have been told.  Not too long ago Joel was home caring for me on a Sunday morning after surgery and he looked out to see a man standing in the street, taking pictures of our house.   His curiosity quickly had him walking out the door and over to the man to ask what he was doing.....turns out he used to live here and the front of the house had changed so much he wanted pictures.  We did add a porch and new siding to the house 11 years ago. 

We went to Hobby Lobby early this morning, then Joel walked with me around the cul-de-sac here which felt sooooo good.  It was still raining a bit, but did not deter us from getting a little fresh air.  There is that old song..........."raindrops keep falling on my head".   Grateful.  It is not a gentle rain falling in the south, though, where flooding and evacuations are ongoing.  Keeping that part of our country in prayer today. 

Weather is such a big part of our lives.  Good and bad.  My history holds earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, typhoons, blizzards, and more.  We can watch the weather 24/7 now and our phones light up with alerts!  I remember one time when I was a teenager I was out in our backyard goofing around with my boyfriend, neither of us realizing a tornado warning was in place and across town it was doing some damage.  Now, we are warned about every little weather blip that comes across the radar.  It has saved many lives and is necessary I am sure, but at times it feels overdone.  Still, since Joel is an old meteorologist, I can't complain!

Nothing much to scribble about today.  I have been finishing up Brian and Candace Simmons book, "Tn the Wilderness:  Where Miracles Are Born" and I am reading a Marcia Muller mystery, which is a good distraction.  What are you reading?