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Monday, October 31, 2011

Supercalifradulisticexpeialidocious

October has certainly flown by!  Where did it go?  Happy to report that round 7 of chemo is complete and we are down to 5 treatments left.  The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.  I have had many asking about how I am doing and what is going on with treatments etc.  So I thought that I would write a bit about how I am actually feeling.  To be perfectly honest this is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  It ranks up their with child birthing.  I can only say I've done that once and with out drugs -- it was tough but not like this.   Knowing you won't feel good for a few days is one thing. It's the mental battle that gnaws at you. The chemo is working and doing it's job killing off the good and bad cells.  My lab results are an indicator to the effectiveness of this poison.  My body struggles 6 to 10 days post chemo to make enough platelets.  These thrombocytes are used for blood clotting.  They are made in the bone marrow along with Red and White Blood Cells.  Chemo drugs interfere with this process and cause these levels in my body to be abnormally low.  This is to be expected with chemo.  Some patients fair better than others.  At this point their is nothing more that can be done to encourage or promote medically the platelets.  I am doing my best to eat and drink.  It's not easy.  Sounds funny.  My appetite swings like a pendulum.  About 2 to 3 days after chemo my appetite slowly increases.  The only problem is I am sensitive to smells that turn my stomach into knots.  I wish there was some magic food that could make it all better.  I will admit that I get the munchies and their is nothing off limits.  Even late last night it was me eating a bowl of Rice Krispies in the dark.  My energy level also fluctuates.  It take me a few days post chemo to bounce back.  I typically spend 3 to 4 days in bed or on the couch.  I have also had problems with headaches post treatment.  The bad part about this is I really don't like taking medication.  Taking aspirin is off limits since it thins your blood and stays in your system for about 2 weeks. This also lowers the number of your platelets.  As an alternative I can take ibuprofen; this doesn't last long in the blood stream and only effects the platelets while in my system.  It's just hard to know when to take something or not.  It seems that each round of chemo is a bit different with it's own mind.   I am trying to rest a relax during these days.  Soaking in the peace and quiet.  I know this is a season and I truly am thankful. I am learning that it is okay for my son to wear the same outfit 3 days in a row, letting laundry pile up and to ignore dust bunnies. Life is just to short to worry about stuff. In the end it's all stuff and it will be there tomorrow.  It's not that important.  My health is.  My family is.  We are approaching that time of year when we are reminded to be thankful.  I have been keeping a list of things I am thankful for.  They are simple things like warm brown eggs from the chicken coop, a sunrise and kiss good night. The blessings are abundant -- if you are looking for them.  This season of life has forced me to look around - beyond self.  To look up and give thanks.  Oh He is good...taste and see for yourself.  It's not enough for me to just thank Him. Yes that is what He desires. But He really wants is relationship.  One must enter His courts.  Then we can bring him our praise and thanksgiving.  I am learning this daily habit of thankfulness regardless of how I am feeling.  
This last round of chemo I watched the movie  Mary Poppins -- light hearted and silly songs can make anyone laugh.    Mary Poppins said it best -- when there are no words to describe how you are feeling or what to say "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" fits perfectly!


"Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation."  Psalm 100:4-5
Anna at MSTI Round 7

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Don't Waste Your Cancer

Don't Waste Your Cancer Read this link or below:

John Piper is one of my favorite authors...hope you enjoy this read. It is a conformation to my spirit during this season with cancer.

[Editor's Note: Our friend, David Powlison, of the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation, who also was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, has added some helpful expansions to John Piper’s ten points. Indented paragraphs beginning with "DP:" are written by David Powlison.]

I write this on the eve of prostate surgery. I believe in God’s power to heal—by miracle and by medicine. I believe it is right and good to pray for both kinds of healing. Cancer is not wasted when it is healed by God. He gets the glory and that is why cancer exists. So not to pray for healing may waste your cancer. But healing is not God’s plan for everyone. And there are many other ways to waste your cancer. I am praying for myself and for you that we will not waste this pain.

DP: I (David Powlison) add these reflections on John Piper’s words the morning after receiving news that I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer (March 3, 2006). The ten main points and first paragraphs are his; the second paragraphs are mine.

1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.

It will not do to say that God only uses our cancer but does not design it. What God permits, he permits for a reason. And that reason is his design. If God foresees molecular developments becoming cancer, he can stop it or not. If he does not, he has a purpose. Since he is infinitely wise, it is right to call this purpose a design. Satan is real and causes many pleasures and pains. But he is not ultimate. So when he strikes Job with boils (Job 2:7), Job attributes it ultimately to God (2:10) and the inspired writer agrees: “They . . . comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (Job 42:11). If you don’t believe your cancer is designed for you by God, you will waste it.

DP: Recognizing his designing hand does not make you stoic or dishonest or artificially buoyant. Instead, the reality of God’s design elicits and channels your honest outcry to your one true Savior. God’s design invites honest speech, rather than silencing us into resignation. Consider the honesty of the Psalms, of King Hezekiah (Isaiah 38), of Habakkuk 3. These people are bluntly, believingly honest because they know that God is God and set their hopes in him. Psalm 28 teaches you passionate, direct prayer to God. He must hear you. He will hear you. He will continue to work in you and your situation. This outcry comes from your sense of need for help (28:1-2). Then name your particular troubles to God (28:3-5). You are free to personalize with your own particulars. Often in life’s ‘various trials’ (James 1:2), what you face does not exactly map on to the particulars that David or Jesus faced – but the dynamic of faith is the same. Having cast your cares on him who cares for you, then voice your joy (28:6-7): the God-given peace that is beyond understanding. Finally, because faith always works out into love, your personal need and joy will branch out into loving concern for others (28:8-9). Illness can sharpen your awareness of how thoroughly God has already and always been at work in every detail of your life.

2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “There is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel” (Numbers 23:23). “The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

DP: The blessing comes in what God does for us, with us, through us. He brings his great and merciful redemption onto the stage of the curse. Your cancer, in itself, is one of those 10,000 ‘shadows of death’ (Psalm 23:4) that come upon each of us: all the threats, losses, pains, incompletion, disappointment, evils. But in his beloved children, our Father works a most kind good through our most grievous losses: sometimes healing and restoring the body (temporarily, until the resurrection of the dead to eternal life), always sustaining and teaching us that we might know and love him more simply. In the testing ground of evils, your faith becomes deep and real, and your love becomes purposeful and wise: James 1:2-5, 1 Peter 1:3-9, Romans 5:1-5, Romans 8:18-39.

3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.

The design of God in your cancer is not to train you in the rationalistic, human calculation of odds. The world gets comfort from their odds. Not Christians. Some count their chariots (percentages of survival) and some count their horses (side effects of treatment), but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7). God’s design is clear from 2 Corinthians 1:9, “We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” The aim of God in your cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on him.

DP: God himself is your comfort. He gives himself. The hymn “Be Still My Soul” (by Katerina von Schlegel) reckons the odds the right way: we are 100% certain to suffer, and Christ is 100% certain to meet us, to come for us, comfort us, and restore love’s purest joys. The hymn “How Firm a Foundation” reckons the odds the same way: you are 100% certain to pass through grave distresses, and your Savior is 100% certain to “be with you, your troubles to bless, and sanctify to you your deepest distress.” With God, you aren’t playing percentages, but living within certainties.

4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.

We will all die, if Jesus postpones his return. Not to think about what it will be like to leave this life and meet God is folly. Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to the house of mourning [a funeral] than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” How can you lay it to heart if you won’t think about it? Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Numbering your days means thinking about how few there are and that they will end. How will you get a heart of wisdom if you refuse to think about this? What a waste, if we do not think about death.

DP: Paul describes the Holy Spirit is the unseen, inner ‘downpayment’ on the certainty of life. By faith, the Lord gives a sweet taste of the face-to-face reality of eternal life in the presence of our God and Christ. We might also say that cancer is one ‘downpayment’ on inevitable death, giving one bad taste of the reality of of our mortality. Cancer is a signpost pointing to something far bigger: the last enemy that you must face. But Christ has defeated this last enemy: 1 Corinthians 15. Death is swallowed up in victory. Cancer is merely one of the enemy’s scouting parties, out on patrol. It has no final power if you are a child of the resurrection, so you can look it in the eye.

5. You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.

Satan’s and God’s designs in your cancer are not the same. Satan designs to destroy your love for Christ. God designs to deepen your love for Christ. Cancer does not win if you die. It wins if you fail to cherish Christ. God’s design is to wean you off the breast of the world and feast you on the sufficiency of Christ. It is meant to help you say and feel, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” And to know that therefore, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 3:8; 1:21).

DP: Cherishing Christ expresses the two core activities of faith: dire need and utter joy. Many psalms cry out in a ‘minor key’: we cherish our Savior by needing him to save us from real troubles, real sins, real sufferings, real anguish. Many psalms sing out in a ‘major key’: we cherish our Savior by delighting in him, loving him, thanking him for all his benefits to us, rejoicing that his salvation is the weightiest thing in the world and that he gets last say. And many psalms start out in one key and end up in the other. Cherishing Christ is not monochromatic; you live the whole spectrum of human experience with him. To ‘beat’ cancer is to live knowing how your Father has compassion on his beloved child, because he knows your frame, that you are but dust. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. To live is to know him, whom to know is to love.

6. You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.

It is not wrong to know about cancer. Ignorance is not a virtue. But the lure to know more and more and the lack of zeal to know God more and more is symptomatic of unbelief. Cancer is meant to waken us to the reality of God. It is meant to put feeling and force behind the command, “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3). It is meant to waken us to the truth of Daniel 11:32, “The people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” It is meant to make unshakable, indestructible oak trees out of us: “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:2). What a waste of cancer if we read day and night about cancer and not about God.

DP: What is so for your reading is also true for your conversations with others. Other people will often express their care and concern by inquiring about your health. That’s good, but the conversation easily gets stuck there. So tell them openly about your sickness, seeking their prayers and counsel, but then change the direction of the conversation by telling them what your God is doing to faithfully sustain you with 10,000 mercies. Robert Murray McCheyne wisely said, “For every one look at your sins, take ten looks at Christ.” He was countering our tendency to reverse that 10:1 ratio by brooding over our failings and forgetting the Lord of mercy. What McCheyne says about our sins we can also apply to our sufferings. For every one sentence you say to others about your cancer, say ten sentences about your God, and your hope, and what he is teaching you, and the small blessings of each day. For every hour you spend researching or discussing your cancer, spend 10 hours researching and discussing and serving your Lord. Relate all that you are learning about cancer back to him and his purposes, and you won’t become obsessed.

7. You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection.

When Epaphroditus brought the gifts to Paul sent by the Philippian church he became ill and almost died. Paul tells the Philippians, “He has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill” (Philippians 2:26-27). What an amazing response! It does not say they were distressed that he was ill, but that he was distressed because they heard he was ill. That is the kind of heart God is aiming to create with cancer: a deeply affectionate, caring heart for people. Don’t waste your cancer by retreating into yourself.

DP: Our culture is terrified of facing death. It is obsessed with medicine. It idolizes youth, health and energy. It tries to hide any signs of weakness or imperfection. You will bring huge blessing to others by living openly, believingly and lovingly within your weaknesses. Paradoxically, moving out into relationships when you are hurting and weak will actually strengthen others. ‘One anothering’ is a two-way street of generous giving and grateful receiving. Your need gives others an opportunity to love. And since love is always God’s highest purpose in you, too, you will learn his finest and most joyous lessons as you find small ways to express concern for others even when you are most weak. A great, life-threatening weakness can prove amazingly freeing. Nothing is left for you to do except to be loved by God and others, and to love God and others.

8. You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.

Paul used this phrase in relation to those whose loved ones had died: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). There is a grief at death. Even for the believer who dies, there is temporary loss—loss of body, and loss of loved ones here, and loss of earthly ministry. But the grief is different—it is permeated with hope. “We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Don’t waste your cancer grieving as those who don’t have this hope.

DP: Show the world this different way of grieving. Paul said that he would have had “grief upon grief” if his friend Epaphroditus had died. He had been grieving, feeling the painful weight of his friend’s illness. He would have doubly grieved if his friend had died. But this loving, honest, God-oriented grief coexisted with “rejoice always” and “the peace of God that passes understanding” and “showing a genuine concern for your welfare.” How on earth can heartache coexist with love, joy, peace, and an indestructible sense of life purpose? In the inner logic of faith, this makes perfect sense. In fact, because you have hope, you may feel the sufferings of this life more keenly: grief upon grief. In contrast, the grieving that has no hope often chooses denial or escape or busyness because it can’t face reality without becoming distraught. In Christ, you know what’s at stake, and so you keenly feel the wrong of this fallen world. You don’t take pain and death for granted. You love what is good, and hate what is evil. After all, you follow in the image of “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” But this Jesus chose his cross willingly “for the joy set before him.” He lived and died in hopes that all come true. His pain was not muted by denial or medication, nor was it tainted with despair, fear, or thrashing about for any straw of hope that might change his circumstances. Jesus’ final promises overflow with the gladness of solid hope amid sorrows: “My joy will be in you, and your joy will be made full. Your grief will be turned to joy. No one will take your joy away from you. Ask, and you will receive, so that your joy will be made full. These things I speak in the world, so that they may have my joy made full in themselves” (selection from John 15-17).

9. You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.

Are your besetting sins as attractive as they were before you had cancer? If so you are wasting your cancer. Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin. Pride, greed, lust, hatred, unforgiveness, impatience, laziness, procrastination—all these are the adversaries that cancer is meant to attack. Don’t just think of battling against cancer. Also think of battling with cancer. All these things are worse enemies than cancer. Don’t waste the power of cancer to crush these foes. Let the presence of eternity make the sins of time look as futile as they really are. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:25).

DP: Suffering really is meant to wean you from sin and strengthen your faith. If you are God-less, then suffering magnifies sin. Will you become more bitter, despairing, addictive, fearful, frenzied, avoidant, sentimental, godless in how you go about life? Will you pretend it’s business as usual? Will you come to terms with death, on your terms? But if you are God’s, then suffering in Christ’s hands will change you, always slowly, sometimes quickly. You come to terms with life and death on his terms. He will gentle you, purify you, cleanse you of vanities. He will make you need him and love him. He rearranges your priorities, so first things come first more often. He will walk with you. Of course you’ll fail at times, perhaps seized by irritability or brooding, escapism or fears. But he will always pick you up when you stumble. Your inner enemy – a moral cancer 10,000 times more deadly than your physical cancer – will be dying as you continue seeking and finding your Savior: “For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is very great. Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose” (Psalm 25).

10. You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.

Christians are never anywhere by divine accident. There are reasons for why we wind up where we do. Consider what Jesus said about painful, unplanned circumstances: “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness” (Luke 21:12 -13). So it is with cancer. This will be an opportunity to bear witness. Christ is infinitely worthy. Here is a golden opportunity to show that he is worth more than life. Don’t waste it.

DP: Jesus is your life. He is the man before whom every knee will bow. He has defeated death once for all. He will finish what he has begun. Let your light so shine as you live in him, by him, through him, for him. One of the church’s ancient hymns puts it this way:

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger
(from “I bind unto myself the name”).

In your cancer, you will need your brothers and sisters to witness to the truth and glory of Christ, to walk with you, to live out their faith beside you, to love you. And you can do same with them and with all others, becoming the heart that loves with the love of Christ, the mouth filled with hope to both friends and strangers.

Remember you are not left alone. You will have the help you need. “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Pastor John

Material is from Don't Waste Your Cancer by John Piper, copyright 2010.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seasons Change

As I sit here early this morning it is a chilly 26 degrees outside.  The fire is crackling in the wood stove, dogs still curled up in their beds, little boy still peacefully lost in dreams.  All is calm, for the moment.  I tell myself over and over again...be still, listen, wait...and so I wait.  The leaves outside have turned to gold, orange, red and  yellow hues.  The wind has come and blown millions of leaves all over the yard like a carpet rug.  Yes fall has arrived.  Seasons change.  The daylight hours are shorter and the sun rises later in the mornings and sets earlier in the evening.  Darkness comes sooner.  Time hasn't changed, just the season.  I am enjoying the moments of fall.  Pumpkins lined up welcoming friends. Piles of neatly stacked firewood. The sounds of choppers, trucks and tractors: harvest time. I sip some hot tea and feel the warmth it brings.  This is the holy whisper of fall.  I don't want to miss is.  Come, take and learn from me are the words I hear over and over in my head.  My thoughts wonder like the dancing leaves outside.  Fear of the unknown.  Worry. Doubts. Regrets. But in this moment all thoughts are taken captive.  "He changes times and seasons, he sets up kings and deposes them.  He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things, he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him." Daniel 2:21-22 So I wait a while longer for wisdom to arrive.  She comes.  The orange and red flames from the fire and the glow from my laptop are my only light.  Darkness vanishes.  Light appears.  He is the light.  "You oh LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light." Psalm 18:28 I feel refreshed.  I step outside to get a glimpse of the moon light, but he is hidden.  Billions of twinkling stars meet my gaze instead.  Sometimes wisdom stays hidden.  Like a treasure chest hidden deep beneath the ground.  It takes time to learn, search and discover.  This is why I have hidden His Word in my heart.  For I know some seasons are dark.  I am thankful that this season of my life has not been dark.  My only safety net against the storms of life: His Word. The world encroaches on my light; hoping to steal, kill and destroy my joy.  Outside the season is changing but inside my heart the dance continues.  God uses His creation to speak to man.  "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:20 This is where God speaks.  The falling leaves, the chilled air, the stars -- it's all an expression of His character and love for me, for us all. I learn more about my God by observing the season change before my very eyes.  He grants light so I can see from His perspective.  I discover that He is good.  "How great is your goodness which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men  on those who take refuge in you." Psalm 31:19 The blessings continue to flow.  His goodness I can't contain.  I smile and sip more tea.  I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. I wait for the LORD, I am strong, I take heart and continue to wait...this season will change.

I am hopeful that today will bring round 7 of chemo.  Waiting...season of my life! 

After much waiting and fervent prayers the oncology doctor okay-ed my chemo treatment today.  My Platelet levels were at 98 K/uL. Dr. P told me she would do chemo above 90, but that is close.  So I did get my treatment and I am home now.  Time will tell what the platelets will do.  More waiting is in store!  I ate a plate of mashed potatoes for diner and now off to glorious sleep.  Love you all so much!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Day With My Sis

So got my labs back early this morning and it was a no go for chemo.  Once again the platelet count was too low to administrate the chemo drugs.  A bit sad about that as I prepare myself emotionally, physically and spiritually.  It's a tough thing to literally sike yourself up for the inevitable you are about to face.  So some what disappointing but there is always a better plan the Lord has in mind.  Instead of sitting in my pod and receiving a chemo infusion for the day I took a drive to the Boise airport to pick up my sister.  We then had a nice lunch and my good friend Pauletta was able to join us.  We made a few quick shopping stops in the big city, always on a look out for a bargain. Of course we made our last stop at Starbucks for the long drive home to Buhl.  It was so fun to be out in the fall fresh air.  So the lesson again for the day is that planning is just pointless.  God always has a better plan.  It's good to just throw the hands in the air and enjoy the ride.  I am learning this is best and not to trust in my best laid plans.  They seem to crumble before my eyes. There is not much I can do about the platelet count, but wait.  Hopefully they will be back up next week and we can continue with round 7.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Celebration of Life

Celebration of Life Services for Jeanie Reynolds:
Calvary Chapel Buhl @ 10:30 am Wednesday, October, 19th.


I am scheduled to have chemo tomorrow, Tuesday October 18th starting at 7:30 am with labs and treatment around 8:30 am.  I also get to see the oncology Doctor tomorrow.  I will send out a txt when I have news to share.  Keep the prayers coming!

Enjoy this song -- it puts to words what we all are feeling right now.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Homecoming Celebration

It has been a long week in many respects.  My body seems to be struggling with side-effects of lingering chemo poison.  So I am not feeling at my best.  It has been difficult to wait  and watch a sister in Christ come to the end of her race.  Many have heard the news...it travels fast here in the Buhl/Castleford farming community.  We are a close interwoven band of neighbors, friends and family.  Serving God is rather normal.  Yet it is a reminder to all that when death actually occurs how fragile and short life is.  Normal is relative.  Jeanie was not a normal Christian.  She took her faith in Jesus very seriously.  If you knew her she was a special friend to each of us. She had the uncanny ability to befriend everyone. So early this morning around 2:30 am Jeanie entered into Glory.  My first words to the news of my friend Jeanie was, praise God! Her race was complete. Heaven, with her Savior Jesus waiting for her. He was and is the ultimate prize.  I am confident the words were spoken -- well done good and faithful servant.  What a Homecoming it must have been in heaven. Tears of uncontrollable joy.  I am happy.  I am sad to miss a friend--but only for a while.  My homesickness wells up within me and I am comforted by knowing one day I too, can and will dance on streets of gold with my friend.  Words can't say enough to cover the aching pain in our hearts at this moment.  Time will continue to tick.  Life goes on.  Yet a legacy is forever stamped across many lives.  It's an opportunity to carry the torch and let the light shine.  It's what all the saints come to the end of this life say:  Love Jesus -- know Him -- know His Word -- make Him known to others.  This is the legacy I intend to carry on -- not just because of Jeanie but because He calls us to share our story's, our hurts, our victory's.  This is for His glory and to encourage each other. Pray for Jeanie's family and many friends who were touched by her amazing faith and kindness.  The stories are countless -- so many leaned on her as their rock.  It is time for some new rocks to emerge.  It is time for a  deeper faith to shine brighter in myself and those who knew Jeanie. It is a wake up call -- our days are numbered.  We never know when the end really is coming.  Jeanie told me this week she did not expect to live this long with cancer, but how thankful and grateful she was. She was given so many opportunities to be bold in her faith and speak about what the Lord has done in her and offer the free gift of salvation to others.  How very precious.  It's not about Jeanie -- it's about Jesus and that is what life is really all about. 

Final thoughts...waiting for funeral details.  I will post them when available.  Please lift this family is prayer.  Thank you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Leason Learned

Good news for the day: Labs today went well and blood work came back positive for good levels of RBC, WBC and platelets.  Praising God for this!

An update from my last post...
Tests.  Does anybody really like taking tests?  In school that was one thing I certainly did not look forward to.  In fact I had great anxiety about actually taking the test that my brain literally would freeze up and I would bomb out on the test.  I was a good student don't get me wrong.  Went to class, did my homework and studied like the rest of them.  For some reason I just would not be able to perform on the test.  Over the years I have learned that I am just a slow learner.  It takes me a while to read and absorb what I am reading.  Sometimes I will read a book 3 times to get it all.  I take notes, highlight and underline as I go.  I have to admit sometimes I read out loud to myself.  We all learn in different ways.  I watched last week as my son Dustin was so frustrated with his spelling words that it reminded me of myself.  I am happy to report that the spelling test went very well.  He got 100% (see photo).  It pays to work hard and not quit.  Quitting is easy.  Studying is hard.  I am hopeful Dustin will develop some good habits as he discovers what ways he learns best. I am still a student.  We all are.  Life is about learning more about ourselves, the world around us and the amazing God that made it all.  It's a life long journey to learn about self and Christ.  To know Him and to make Him known that is what life is all about.  Psalm 73:28 states, " But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds."  As I process all that is going on around me in this world my heart aches.  I have finally figured out why.  I am homesick.  Homesick for a place I have never been to.  I can read all about it.  In fact I can study and learn all about it.  Heaven is for real.  My heart is heavy because I was created to be with Him, to worship Him alone.  Heaven is my home, it's my hope that keeps me going.  "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philippians 3:20)  Many of you know my sweet friend Jeanie.  She has had stage 4 cancer for some time now.  Her earthly body is frail, failing her.  It is so difficult to watch.  Reality. Life. The facts are what they are.  None of us can change them.  Almighty God is on the throne and in control.  We eagerly await our heavenly home yet desire to be here on earth with those we call family and friends.   "To live is Christ, to die is gain." (Philippians 2:21)  So I continue to ponder.  Like the rest of us watching, waiting, hoping. Not sure who coined this phrase, but I love it.  Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present. We are not guaranteed another minute, day or year.  Why do some get cancer?  Why do some die young?  Why? The questions still remain and the answer is simple.  To know Him and make Him known.  Life begins and ends in Christ.  He is is the answer.  He is our only hope. So like the rest of you who know Jeanie and know me and the battle of cancer we wait and we hope.  We pray.  We love because He first loved us.  We hope for healing, we hope for God's will to be accomplished sooner rather than later.  Our strength is renewed in the waiting (see post on 6/29/11).   As Pastor Jackie Roberts said last Sunday in his message in Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me ALL you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."  This is our opportunity here on earth to:
  • Come: He is calling
  • Take: He is challenging us to be His disciple
  • Learn: He wants us to follow Him daily
This is our only source of rest.  It is the peace of God that calms the raging storms surrounding the earthly life.  It is Christ who brings peace between us and God.  For we were separated by our sin, but now we can have peace with God.  What could be better than that? Nothing.  Because we have peace and we have hope that doesn't disappoint. That my friends is how I can sleep at night, why I can face cancer and why I can be truly thankful.  It is a learning process.  You have to know Him in order to make Him known.

Dustin's Spelling Test!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Leason in Learning

So tomorrow I will find out what my platelet count is.  Oh the waiting has been hard!  I do pray all is well within.  I am truly grateful for so many of your prayers!  I am struck by Paul's words "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation." (Philippians 4:12)  It is in the learning that God is able to teach us how to be more like Him.  Learning is hard.  I am watching my son learn first grade spelling words.  His Dad is helping him out more than me, which is a good thing.  Tonight he was sitting at the table very frustrated.  Dustin said these words are just too hard! Then he had a moment where his head went flat on the table and promptly announced I quit!  My husband had some clever words and convinced Dustin to keep trying.  They made up games with the words so that Dustin could easily remember how to spell them.  It was not easy.  Eventually after many practice tests, Dustin memorized how to spell the words.  It took some effort and determination to not give up.  This is true for me as I have been waiting.  My strength has been renewed.  It has been great having two weeks between treatments.  I have been able to go wood cutting and tackle caning in my kitchen.  I have had to work hard at battling my mind and controlling my thoughts.  I have had to exercise my brain using the helmet of truth and my sword many times.  I desire to be content. The fact is I can't change my circumstances.  I get the opportunity to choose my perspective.  I choose to be happy, to be joyful to be thankful.  It is a choice.  I have learned that it is not easy to choose this attitude.  It seems the more determined I am to choose joy the more things go wrong.  The flood waters never end.  More bad news, more trouble on the horizon.  Like Paul I have learned to be content -- the Lord is my strength and portion.  Philippians 4:13 "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." My hope is in Him.  It is good for me to be near God, He is my shelter, my hiding place.  I know where my help comes from.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow.  We have today -- the present, it is a gift.  How am I going to use my time?  How is my perspective today?  These are questions I ask in the secret place.  I pray earnestly "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give me my daily bread." (Matthew 6:10  Seeking first His kingdom and righteousness is the beginning to the learning process of contentment.  Whatever His will is I want it.  Yes-- even if it means cancer.  It is possible to be content even in the midst of cancer.  I have discovered it by learning from His Word...waiting, trusting, praying and listening. I am watching a dear friend of mine go through this battle as well.  Her name is Jeanie.  Many of you know her.  Today we agreed together in prayer -- His will, not ours.  It isn't easy.  But we will remain vigilant regardless of our circumstances.  Our bodies may fail, but our hearts belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Together with my sister in Christ, we stand strong claiming joy in the midst of difficult circumstances.  Amazingly a crazy feeling comes over me -- pure joy and peace.  Yes perfect peace.  It is a beautiful learning process. So grateful for the opportunity to take this test and learn. Enjoy this song by Matthew West -- Strong Enough