Brave Start

I woke up around 9am because I didn’t go to bed until around 3am. I was finishing a book that I was reading and then I did some writing. Sometimes my creativity flows late at night, sometimes it flows early in the morning. You just never know about me.

When I woke up this morning I had the brilliant idea to take my tablet to the elliptical with me. I read while I was working out. It worked. I worked out for 48 minutes while I read my devotional, my one chapter of the Bible for today, and then a chapter in the book “Start” by Jon Acuff. And I remember more of what I read while working out than I normally do when I just sit her idle and read. I think it is a habit that I will be continuing. I don’t know how effective the workout was because I was not moving very fast, but it was a start and that’s all that is required. A start. A simple step forward.

I’m reminded of a sight I saw the other day as I drove to work. I live in the country and although my commute is much shorter than it used to be, I still drive about 12 miles one way to work. It starts out in the hills and curves and eventually flattens and straightens out. I drive past a farm that takes up both sides of the road and usually, on the electrical wires above the field, are hundreds of birds just sitting there. If you watch them long enough, they swoop down toward the field without quite reaching it before they fly back up and land on the wire. They start out with great bravado toward the ground and then with just as much enthusiasm, they land back on the wire. As I watched the other day, I wondered why they do this. Why do they all at once sweep down and then back up to the same spot they came from without reaching the ground where the seeds and bugs are? It’s like they want to go, and they start, but then before they reach their goal, they go back where they started from.

Don’t we do that? Don’t we get inspired to try something new and take that first step and then before we know it, we’re right back where we started from? Why do we do that? Fear? Probably. It can be scary to step out. We don’t know what will happen if we continue to move forward. I can tell you with certainty that nothing will happen if you don’t step out. NOTHING. If we don’t take the first step, we won’t move. It’s that simple.

What is it that we see that we want to go after? A new career? A ministry opportunity? A relationship? A new, healthy lifestyle? What is it that keeps us perched on the wire? Be brave. Step out. Being brave doesn’t mean the absence of fear. Being brave means being scared and taking that step forward anyway. Instead of asking “What if I fail?” ask, “What if I don’t?”

Got to go. I need to start laundry or I’m never going to get it finished. See, it works with laundry, too. 🙂



It Is Well

I’ve done a lot of reflecting the past couple of weeks. I don’t know why, exactly, that it is happening now. Maybe it’s the new medication. Maybe it’s a survivor thing. It could be a combination of both, I’m not really sure.

What I do know is that when I look back over this past year, it’s hard to believe that it happened. Some days it feels like a really bad dream that went on and on forever. I know it wasn’t a dream because the scars are there and I still have this foreign object known as a port protruding from my chest. But it doesn’t seem real when I look back. Or maybe it’s real, but it doesn’t seem like it was me. Like one of those dreams when you feel like you are hovering overhead, watching yourself. Maybe that’s what it feels like. Like I watched it happen to someone else.

But I know that it happened to me because I can see the effects. Cancer changes you. The treatment does things to your body, of course, but the cancer experience changes your whole being. I read a quote today that said, “Sometimes God allows you to face Goliaths in your life so you can find the David within.” Everything happens for a reason, and sometimes that reason is to make you stronger. Or show you that you are strong when you thought that you weren’t. I read a book in the midst of my journey called, “Stronger” by Clayton King. I recommend it.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QMSCICM/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Before cancer, I was a wimp. The least little thing went wrong and I was whining, sometimes to God, sometimes to a friend, but I was whining nonetheless. I thought tiny inconveniences were the end of the world as we knew it. After cancer, I’ve learned to stand and say, “It is well.” Storms and hard times and inconveniences are going to come into our lives, but we can trust God through the storm. Sometimes He calms the storm, but sometimes He calms His child in the midst of the storm. He didn’t calm my storm. I went through the whole process and it was hard. There were nights I thought I was going to die and there were a few when I wanted to. I prayed for healing every day, but trusted that if healing didn’t come, God was still in charge and He had a bigger plan.

I think that’s the hardest part about storms. Trusting God no matter what. We have no problem trusting Him for healing or deliverance out of the storm. That’s what we want to happen. We want the easy way out. Trusting God through it is another matter, but I can promise you from experience that the same God who heals and delivers is the same God who holds us for the duration. To quote a Casting Crowns song that got me through some difficult days, “When you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away, you’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held. Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place. I’m on the throne, stop holding on, and just be held.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZitK6_IMQ

I can’t tell you why we go through things. I know that God has a plan, but sometimes it’s hard to see what that plan is. What I can tell you is that it is well. It might not feel like it right now, but it is well. It might not sound like it right now, but it is well. It might not look like it right now, but It. Is. Well.


No More Junk

I’ve been on the “simplify” bandwagon for quite some time now. I’ve read books about de-cluttering. I’ve spent hours on Pinterest looking at ideas on how to de-clutter and what to do with the stuff that I don’t get rid of. All of those pictures look amazing, right? If only my house looked like that…and so the dream goes.

Thanks to a couple borrowed mantras, “Have nothing in your house that you don’t believe to be beautiful or purposeful” and “Don’t just wish for it, work for it”, I finally stopped daydreaming and I’ve been actively “de-junkifying” my house for several weeks. It’s not just a little bit of junk We have lived in the same house for 16 years and my husband’s grandparents lived here for years before us. So I have my junk and then I have the leftovers of their junk. Basically I just pick a room and start going through stuff until I’ve gone through everything. It’s a slow process, but it’s happening.

I try to throw out a bit every day, but I’ve noticed something. It seems like the more I things I throw out, the more I add in its place. I trade old junk for new junk. And the cycle continues.

We all do this. We trade the old junk that we don’t want for new junk that we think we do. In our homes, in our garages, in our bodies, in our relationships, in our careers, in our minds. Truth is, we might want it right now, but how long before it becomes the junk we’re trying to get rid of all over again?

We need to stop allowing junk into our lives. Period. It’s not easy. We’re bombarded with it. It accumulates almost effortlessly. We have to choose to be intentional about not letting anymore junk in.

So today, I pledge, as much as it depends upon me, NO MORE JUNK
1. Will enter my mind, whether through what I read,, watch, or listen to. I choose to keep my mind and thoughts pure.
2. Will enter my mouth through what I eat. I choose to keep my body healthy.
3. Will come out of my mouth by the words I say. I choose to speak life into my own life and the lives of those around me.
4. Will enter into my marriage because of contempt, disrespect, or lack of compassion.
5. Will enter into my family because of bad choices I make.
6. Will enter into my relationships because of my sensitivity or lack thereof, my insecurity, or neediness.
I will not dwell on the past or the negative, but instead will close the door and remember who I am and whose I am. It. Is. Well!!!!!
This is my declaration!


Call me “Victor”


Last year around this time, I went to the breast center and had a biopsy on the lump that I had found and then had been confirmed by mammogram and ultrasound. The memories of that day are so vivid. It’s a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. On that day, my life changed forever. It was on that day that I found out that I was about to go through the fight of my life.

After the biopsy came surgery and then the port placement a month later. Four days later I started the first of six rounds of chemo. There were two five day hospital stays in the mix, one of which included the ICU. There was six-and-a-half weeks of radiation, five days a week. There were spans of days when I couldn’t get out of bed. There were days I was so restless that I couldn’t lie down, sit up, or stand for longer than a couple minutes. And there were nights I thought would never end.

Chemo almost killed me and cancer changed my life. It showed me how strong that I am. And it put everything into perspective.

Today I returned to the breast center for the follow-up mammogram. I had no idea that it would be as emotional as it was. There was fear. There was a sense of loneliness. There was that pukie feeling in the pit of my stomach. I walked into a room full of women wearing pink gowns. All of them had their full head of hair and I did not. They looked at me and you could see the fear in their eyes. You could see their worry, and their pity. When you have cancer, people feel sorry for you and they don’t want to be you all at the same time. It has never been so evident as it was today.

I sat there in the chair, holding my phone, texting my friend for support and trying not to let the other women see me crying. I noticed that old re-runs of “Home Improvement” were on the TV. Why in the world was a room full of women watching “Home Improvement”??? I went back to my phone. My friend had asked if I wanted her to come. Yes, I did, but I didn’t tell her that. They called my name.

The room was cold, of course. They always are. The mammography tech was soft-spoken and I could tell she was as nervous as I was. It seemed like it was taking forever to go through the questions and get the computer set up. Finally it was time for the scan. I didn’t punch anyone, which is saying a lot. J I asked when I would know the results and was informed that I would know something before I left that day.

Ten months ago I found out that I was about to go through the fight of my life. Today I found out that I won. Call me “Victor”. I wanted to jump up and down. I wanted to shout. I wanted to cry. I felt like I could breathe again.  I felt like the turtle in a picture I saw a few days ago. He’s slowly making his way across the sand and back to the water. That’s how I feel. I’ve been out of my comfort zone for so long. This journey has been long and hard—the hardest thing I’ve ever done–but I can finally almost touch the water where I can swim freely.


Mere Words

There are no mere words. In a world where words are so readily available, in print, online, streaming over a podcast, or blaring out of the TV or radio, there are no mere words.

If you’re like me, you have had more than enough of the words coming from election campaigns, yet they are still spewing forth. The candidates use words to attack and tear each other down. They use words to try to sway people to their side of the issue. Words are a strategy to gain votes. We know, of course, that most of them are lies and used solely to take the focus off of oneself and place it on the opponent.

Those are obviously negative words. But not all words are bad. People use them to communicate love and compassion. Words are used to teach, to advise, and to direct. They are used to praise, encourage, and comfort. They convey appreciation.

Words have meaning. They have a purpose. Good or bad. There are no mere words. They build up or tear down. Encourage or discourage. Comfort or cause distress. Heal or hurt. Bless or curse.

“Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21)

“Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!” (James 3:9-10)

Words are powerful. By them, God created the whole universe and everything in it. He spoke them into being. Likewise, our words have the power to speak things into being. I see this every day as a preschool teacher. I can say, “Don’t run” to a child and he continues to run. I can say, “You can use your safe feet in the classroom” and the child slows to a walk (usually). I am speaking that into existence. How many times have you heard someone say “ice cream” and not long after that you are craving it? Words have the power of suggestion. You can wake up in the morning and complain about being tired and all of the things that you have to do that day, and chances are, you’ll have a long day full of work. Or you can wake up in the morning and choose to say something positive and your day goes better. It’s the same day, but your attitude is different because you chose to speak the positive instead of the negative.

I lived this while I was going through chemo. There were so many days that I did not even have the strength to get out of bed. There were nights when I felt like I would not make it through. But I refused to complain. Why? Because I had the choice. Every day I had the choice to complain about the situation, and I would have been justified in that, but what good would it have done? It would have made me feel even worse. I chose instead to be positive. Our words follow our thoughts and our actions follow our words.

My challenge to you is, for the next few days, be mindful of the words that are coming out of your mouth. Evaluate them. Are they speaking life or bringing death? Are they building up or tearing down? Are they blessing or cursing? There is no in between. Words are not idle. Once they are released into the atmosphere, they are moving to accomplish their purpose. There are no mere words.

Health, Uncategorized

New Normal

It’s been a really long time since I have posted anything. In my defense, it’s been one heck of a year!

Around this time last year I found a lump in my breast and went to the doctor to have it checked out. He ordered a mammogram. The radiologist who read the mammogram ordered an ultrasound. After reading the ultrasound, he informed me that it needed a biopsy. I went for that in December and was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had the lumpectomy at the end of December, the port placement four weeks later, and started chemo the following week. I ended up in the hospital the first round because my insurance would not pay for the shot to keep my blood counts up. They had no problem paying for it after the four day hospital stay. J

I completed six rounds of chemo, ending up in the hospital again on the last round. The stuff nearly killed me. A month later I started radiation, every day for six-and-a-half weeks. I also returned to work during that time. I still have to have Herceptin infusions every three weeks and yesterday I started taking Tamoxifen. I’ve been slowly returning to “normal”. Whatever the new “normal” is.

I lost 23 lbs. during the cancer treatment. Not a great way to lose it, but a loss is a loss, right? Unfortunately, as I’ve started getting back to “normal”, I’ve gained most of it back. That is frustrating to me. I don’t want to gain it back. I don’t want to eat junk and be inactive. I don’t want to be at a higher risk of a cancer recurrence.

And then it hit me. I didn’t come back from the edge of death to live my way right back to it. I did not fight my way through death to live my way back to it. It’s time to make some changes.

When you think about it, there’s nothing that says the new “normal” has to be anything like the old one. And that doesn’t just go for me. It doesn’t just apply to someone who fought their way through cancer. It can apply to anyone who has gone through anything and is in a time of transition. A new job. A new living situation. A new whatever. Make the most of your second chance. I don’t know what that looks like for you. For me right now that means that I am starting a new lifestyle of clean eating and exercising. Embrace the opportunity for a new “normal”.