Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Child's Words

Yesterday was 1 week out from my latest reconstructive procedure related to my double mastectomy. What was supposed to be a simple procedure without being put to sleep (only because insurance does not want to pay for it I'm sure), turned into 5 hours at the hospital and a very traumatic experience for me. I won't go into all the details, but to make a long story short, I should have been asleep, or at least given some valium or something to help me get through. I held it together while in the operating room, but when I got out to the car after it was over, the tears came. So, it has been another week of healing, dressing wounds, sleeping on my back, and watching the bruises turn purple and then green. I am so grateful that this is my favorite time of year and that the holidays are right around the corner. This is helping to keep my spirits lifted!

This morning, I removed the bandages on my side, and showed my boys (ages 3 and 7) where the doctors had stitched me back together. I let them touch the little loop of fishing line that is still sticking out of my body. Of course they thought that was really cool, while being a little freaked out at the thought of someone sewing on Mommy! My 3 year old came back to me a few moments later and this was our short conversation:

Micah: "Mommy, did you cry?"
Me: "Yes, Mommy did."
Micah: "Did someone hold your hand?"
Me: "No, baby, no one did."
Micah: "Was the doctor there?"
Me: "Yes, he was there."
Micah: "I wish I was there to hold your hand."
Me: "Me too. I would have loved that!"

This little conversation with my 3 year old little boy, was a hug from God this morning. It brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I wonder, (but I think I know the answer) if our words of praise and love, as simple as they may be, to our Heavenly Father, bring Him as much Joy and pleasure! We are His children and "He inhabits the praise of His people!" Today I am reminded that I need to be intentional and remind my Father of all the ways that I love Him!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Over the last few years, my traditional view of "missions" has slowly been changing. I sense the Lord doing a work in my heart and my mind, and I want to be faithful in sharing this with my children. There are a couple of ways I am trying to build a passion for God's "mission" in their hearts.

First, all parents know that there is a tremendous amount of reading required when your kids are in school. My two oldest are supposed to be reading from 20-30 minutes a day. I am very fortunate that mine love to read, so often times I have to tell them, "Put your books down, you have read enough for today!" :) However, we have been able to capitalize on this time of required reading and put it to use for Kingdom purposes! My rule is that they can pick a book, and then I pick the next one. This is something we have done for a year and a half and it has been wonderful. So far my eldest has been able to read several books from the Chronicles of Narnia, parts of Pilgrims Progress, and is currently reading biographies of Christian missionaries! We have found an author that the girls really like, Janet and Geoff Benge, and they have written about 30 Christian biographies for kids 4th - 8th grade, in a series called "Christian Heroes: Then and Now." Currently my girls have read about Amy Carmichael, Harriet Tubman, Corrie ten Boom, Lillian Trasher, Lottie Moon, and Gladys Aylward! I am especially excited for them to read about these women (and men) who spent their lives in service to God and others. Many of them even started and ran orphanages, a passion close to my heart!

Our second decision to help grow this passion in our children's hearts was that as their 13th birthday gift, we would take them on a mission trip to another country. I wish every teenager could at least once see how the other 3/4th of the world lives. I think it would change their lives. I know it has changed mine. So, this coming summer, Hallie and I are planning to spend a week in Guatemala. We will be working at several Compassion Child Care Centers. This will allow me to see Compassion's work first hand, and allow Hallie to hopefully increase her love for Spanish, for teaching children, and keep her heart soft for those children living in poverty. Our fundraising efforts will kick off in January, so if any of my readers feel compelled to give toward our trip, we won't say, "no!" :)

God is always at work building His Kingdom and His Church! I am grateful that He desires for us to live on "mission" while we are here and to share a small part in His great story!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Komen 5K Walk/Run

It's not the best picture, but it's proof we did it! This year was our 2nd year to participate in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure! Last year I missed the survivor photo by 5 minutes...this year I made it on time! Last year the girls and I half ran, half walked the 5K...this year because of my recent surgeries, we walked the whole 3.2 miles. Next year, I plan to run! I have a year to work up to it! David ran both years and even got a better time this year than last. It was a muggy day, but worth it! We had lots of fun with some of our family and friends who walked with us this year!

It's hard to explain the atmosphere...nearly 10,000 people supporting loved ones who have survived breast cancer, are currently fighting, or who lost the battle. The race is definitely something I hope my family gets to be a part of for many years to come!

The day after the walk, I ran into a lady that I just met in August of this year. She said, "I didn't know that you were a breast cancer survivor." I said, "Yes, how did you just find out?" She went on to tell me how she had been walking in the Komen race as well. Ahead of her, she saw a women with a sign on her back that said, "Celebrating...and my name!" She asked the lady about it and the lady said that she did not know me personally, but a friend of hers had mentioned my name as a fairly new survivor, so she was walking in my honor! I got chills. To think that some woman I don't know was walking in the same race that day with my name on her back, celebrating me as a breast cancer survivor! Such a cool, cool thing!

The race is a great reminder that I am almost done with this part of my journey. One more outpatient procedure coming up in October, and then the last part of the reconstruction in January as I celebrate my "2 years cancer free!" Not a bad way to start a new year!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Changing Seasons

Autumn, jeans and sweatshirts, soccer, chili and fritos, white chocolate's my favorite time of year! I love the cooler weather, the changing leaves, and the holiday spirit that you begin to feel as the end of the year draws closer and closer. This time of year, it is easy for me to find so many things to be thankful for.

I can't help but think, however, that as the holiday season approaches, some people will be and are facing very difficult circumstances. Seasons change, and the leaves with their brilliant, fiery colors of red and gold that I love so much, will dry up and blow away into the cold white of winter. So our lives experience seasons of vibrant joy and blessing, and times of difficulty and sorrow.

I have begun reading Ann Voskamp's book "One Thousand Gifts." She has a beautiful paragraph that describes a way of looking at our world where we can still find ways to "come before God's presence with thanksgiving," even in a winter season of our lives.

"I wonder too...if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see.
To see through to God.
That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave."

As I head into Fall, looking forward to Thanksgiving, the end of my surgeries and procedures, time with family, cooler weather, new year's resolutions and changing priorities, I am also praying that from this moment on, I will live always with a thankful spirit in every season!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back in the Saddle!

I guess you could say that I am "back in the saddle" again! This morning was my first morning back to church since my surgery 5 weeks ago. It was good to see friends again that I have not seen in a while and get some good hugs! :)

This evening I got to work my first ever Compassion booth at an event. That the event happened to be a concert of one of my favorite contemporary Christian groups was icing on the cake! I enjoyed myself very much and I am excited to report that at least 19 new children got sponsored tonight! Needless to say, "I'm hooked!"

All in all, a wonderful day getting back into the swing of things. I guess only tomorrow will tell if I pushed myself too hard today, but if so, it was so worth it! A great way to kick off a new week!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 4...No More!

Today I am 4 weeks out from my last surgery! There are a few things that I am celebrating...
  • No more stinky antibiotic!
  • No more drains!
  • No more giving myself shots in my legs!
  • No more ripping tape off my incisions!
  • No more surgeries!
I can drive again! I can get out of bed without help! I can sleep on my side! It's the small things that make me happy! :) So what happens now? Basically, I'm done! I have a couple of small cosmetic procedures that will be done over the next couple of months to finish out the reconstructive surgery part of my treatment. Hopefully these will be completed by Christmas. I will continue doing check-ups with my breast surgeon, my oncologist, and my plastic surgeon. I think this will probably go on for a couple of years...maybe till I reach 5 years cancer free!

It has been a long year and a half! We have put so much in our life on hold during this time. This sudden change of focus in your life is not something you can ever prepare for. But, we are grateful for so much and I believe we will come out on the other side stronger than before and with our priorities more in line with where they should be. And, as far as my cancer journey, that leaves me counting down the months till my "2 years cancer free," mark in January!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Ok. Everything boils down to...the surgery went good, I feel bad, and it looks ugly! :) Maybe that is not using correct grammar, but that is my situation in a nutshell. I am elated to have my surgeries behind me, and grateful that all went well. Depending on the day and the hour, I am tired, sore, sick at my stomach, get the picture. My body is cut, bruised, and covered in bandage tape that has to be replaced every two days. I have drainage tubes coming out of my body that have to be drained twice a day. I have to wear a restrictive bandage around my chest and abdomen that is not the most comfortable thing to wear. The pain meds make me sick, I am on antibiotics, and I have to give myself a shot of blood thinner in my leg every day for 10 days. I going on day 5 and still have the bruises from the first 4! Like I's not pretty!

My husband and kids have been such great troopers, trying to take on everything while I am laid up. Not sure exactly how long the recovery process takes, but I have been told a couple of weeks. Just in time for school to start back. I really can't wait to feel "good" again! My sisters went in together and bought me some beautiful flowers, a Starbuck's gift card, and a huge piece of chocolate-covered cheesecake with snicker sprinkles on top! It is so great to feel so loved by people who know you so well!!

And so I rest, because I must, willing my body to heal quickly. Thank you for all the prayers and the small acts of kindness you have shown to me and my family during this very long year and 1/2 journey through breast cancer.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I realize that I have not written in a while. To be honest, this so-called "respite" that I have been in since my last post, has been a bit of a struggle. One of my favorite pieces of literature is "Pilgrim's Progress," by John Bunyan. I love the descriptive way that Pilgrim walks through life like on a journey across the world. Right now, I feel like I am climbing a mountain to get out of the valley where we have been. I have almost reached the summit, but this last mile has been exhausting both physically and emotionally. I find myself wanting to climb under a rock and sit out for a spell, feeling like I don't have the strength to go on. It reminds me of a song I heard recently at a concert. Twila Paris sang her song, "The Warrior is a Child," and it resonated with me in a way that it had not done when I listened to the song as a teenager.

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down.
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around.
I drop my sword and cry for just a while,
Cause deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child.

After my last expansion, I was in incredible pain for 3 weeks and unable to do much of anything with my right side. It even hurt to breathe. I ended up having x-rays done to see if the cancer had come back or if I had developed walking pneumonia somehow. The x-rays were clear and there was no infection or fluid build-up, so it was assumed that it must be inflammation from all the trauma on that side. I have been taking some anti-inflammatory meds and I am feeling MUCH better. I have even left the recliner finally and have been able to sleep in my own bed this week for the first time since March.

Now, I am dreading my next surgery, but trying to not dwell on the possibilities of things that could happen. I think it is always scary being "put under," so that someone can work on your body. We have elected to have my abdominal surgery (long story) at the same time since my plastic surgeon is already there and I am already under, so this recovery time is going to be longer and a little more painful than my first surgery I am told. There is also the danger of blood clots, so I will have to be getting shots to help prevent that. It's strange wanting something to get here quickly so that you can get it over with, yet dreading it's arrival at the same time. Three weeks to go!

So, I know what I have to do. With God's help, I will stand back up, take a deep breath, grab my hiking stick, and head for the summit! I would love it if you would uphold my journey in your prayers as God brings me to your mind!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Brief Respite

Yesterday, I was reminded again of God's graciousness in our lives over the last year and a half. As I sat in my oncologist's office for my check-up, a resident doctor came in to observe and review my file. While we waited on the oncologist to come in, the resident asked me about my cancer story and he perused my file. After a minute, he seemed startled and asked, "You mean your cancer was hormone negative and HER2 positive and it was just a stage 1?" Yes. I don't think I have ever been in denial, but I choose to not dwell on "what could be or might be," but to take each day as it comes, trusting the Lord for enough strength for the day. (Matthew 6:34) It had been a while since I had been reminded just how serious my cancer diagnosis was and could have been.
  1. Only about 25% of women get the kind of cancer I got.
  2. It is a highly aggressive cancer and could have only been in my body for a couple of months at most to still be a stage 1.
  3. It was a miracle that I realized something had changed and I needed to talk with my doctor.
  4. It was another miracle that my doctor agreed to send me to a specialist after a radiologist, 2 mammograms and 3 ultrasounds said that there was nothing there.
Whatever the reasons, I may never know, but I got to share again how God had taken care of us and how He had used the delay in my diagnosis, and held the growth at bay, so that we could adopt our youngest son!

So where am I now and what do I have planned for the future? :)
  1. I just finished my last visit with my plastic surgeon yesterday! I get a brief respite. The expanding process with the skin is done and so we have scheduled surgery for July to remove the expanders and replace them with the implants. The whole process from surgery, healing, reconstructing and tatooing will take about 6 months.
  2. My 7th echocardiogram came back showing that my heart is on the mend. Still not all the way there, but heading in the right direction! My heart muscle had been damaged by the year-long treatments.
  3. I am still sleeping in the recliner...since March 16th! Although I love my recliner, I am longing for my bed. The problem is just that the expanders are too uncomfortable to lay on either side and too heavy for me to lay on my back...I can't breath. :(
  4. We have planned my surgery for July instead of June so that I can take a trip to Colorado to see my family and attend my grandparent's 70th wedding anniversary! YES, 70th!!!
  5. As of now, I am considered "cancer free!" With my type of cancer, the highest rate of return is within the first 2 years. I will be holding my breath till January, my 2 year mark. :) The rate is slightly less for it to return within 5 years. After that, there is a 92% success rate! So, for now it is just up to me to know my body and be on the lookout for any strange aches or pains that don't go away. No pressure there. ;)
So, I am grateful for God's blessings and His grace! I am so thankful for this Mother's Day that just passed, and I am looking forward to school getting out and spending a fun summer with my family!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Surrounded by India!

It seems like everywhere I turn lately, India is popping up. I'm not sure why. A friend of mine who is adopting from Ethiopia says that everywhere she turns she is hearing and seeing stuff about Ethiopia. Maybe it's been there all along, but I am just more aware now of things involving India since my youngest son was born there; now that I hold a piece of India in my heart. Here are a few of my run-ins with India lately...

  • In the April 18th issue of Time Magazine there is a small article about India winning the Cricket World Cup! They had not won the title since 1983. I was instantly reminded of our trip to India 2 years ago and remembered seeing little boys playing the game on little patches of dirt by the sides of the road.
  • Slumdog Millionaire was on t.v. a couple of weeks ago. The same day my daughter brought home a new book from her classroom to read for her daily reading. It was a small non-fiction book about the little girl who got chosen to have a leading role in that movie.
  • A friend of mine just got back from India a couple of weeks ago after traveling to pick up their 5th child (their 3rd adopted from India)! While there, they volunteered for a week at a foster-type home for special-needs orphans. She may not know it, but this friend is such an inspiration to me!
  • Ganthimathy, the little girl we sponsor in India, has a birthday coming up soon. I have been working on getting a birthday packet put together to put in the mail for her.
  • Right now I am reading the book "One Million Arrows" by Julie Ferwerda. In it she shares the story of M.A. Thomas or "Papa" as the orphans called him. He was Indian and started a ministry in India caring for the leper's children and orphans in a very desperate area in northern India. Since the 1970's he has cared for thousands of orphans, started "Hope Homes" all over the country of India, set up schools and Bible Schools and graduated hundreds of orphans who have chosen to be nurses, doctors, teachers, pastors, etc., all in their own country so that they could serve "the least of these" and spread the Gospel of Jesus! So Incredible! Papa just passed away in December and his ministry "HopeGivers International" is still going strong. I highly recommend that you check out his web site and also read the book!
  • Yesterday, as I was reading a blog I follow, I came across an add for a free book. Not one to turn down a free book, I clicked on the link. It is called "Revolution in World Missions" by K.P. Yohannan. It is a book by Gospel for Asia and the author is from India! I cannot wait to read it. The reviews are great and say the book is "life-changing!"
Although I am not sure why "India" keeps popping up in my life right now, I am pretty certain that God is slowing growing a love for India in my heart that He began the day we said, "Yes," to a little boy from Kolkata!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Compassion International Advocate

Well, it's official! I have been a huge fan of Compassion International for many years, but I have only just recently taken the next step to become an official advocate for their ministry.

Over the last couple of years, God has been speaking to me about my selfishness and apathy. I am very content where I find myself in my little church, my little community, my little circle of family and friends. I am just beginning to realize that "doing nothing" is a sin. If we are content, we are still. God did not save us to sit, but to actively seek to spread His glory to His children around the world. In the last couple of months, I have fallen in love with the verse in Micah 6:8 and I would say that it has become my life's verse. "What is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" God does not make mistakes. I find it amazing that my life's verse is found in the book of Micah, the name of our son that we adopted 2 years ago trying to live the commands of this passage!

As I have become more passionate about adoption, my concern has also grown to include many other issues that affect children around the world...poverty, HIV/AIDS, clean water needs, lack of education, child sex-trafficking, etc. Many organizations that I love, help with these issues, but Compassion was a ministry that was already in place, and actively making a difference and changing lives in most of these areas. So, I felt led that this would be a GREAT place to start getting my feet wetter!

If you would like to know more about the ministry of Compassion or would like to consider sponsoring a child for just $38 a month, please click on the link above and check out the awesome children who need a sponsor! You will be taking the first step in changing their lives and yours!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Post-Surgery Update

Wow. I am amazed to think that anyone would choose to do plastic surgery voluntarily. While I know I will be so grateful for the results, the process is quickly wearing me down and it's only been 2 weeks since my surgery.

After surgery, I spent 1 night in the hospital and then they sent me home...even with a fever. Go figure. I came home with 3 drain tubes and a numbing pump hanging out of my sides. I am covered in bruises where they tried to stick i.v's that did not want to go. The pressure in my chest and the swelling under my arms makes it difficult to do much of anything. I can't drive, I have to sleep in the recliner, I'm not supposed to do any lifting, and the natural tendency to hold my arms stiffly at my side has caused a lot of pain in my neck and shoulders. Fun times! To top off the last 2 weeks, my mother has pulled her back out trying to help me with the kids and the housework, the 2 girls have colds, and the 2 boys have tested positive for the flu!

So, what comes next? I will be seeing the doctor each week for the next couple of months for injections of fluid to fill my expanders. At my next visit, I hope to get the remaining two drains out which will make a huge difference I think. My second surgery should take place around the end of May or the beginning of June. In May, I have my 6th echocardiogram to see if my heart is returning back to it's normal function rate after being weakened by the Hercepton. Despite all this, there is an end in site and I am grateful for several things...
  1. The test results on the tissue from my second mastectomy were normal!
  2. My husband's boss has been incredible, letting him take off whenever he needed to help me!
  3. I have gotten to spend a couple of weeks with my mother!
  4. I should be done with everything by the end of June and get to enjoy part of the summer with my kiddos!
  5. I have some wonderful friends and family who are looking after me!
I am truly blessed!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thankful "L"

LAUGHTER - One of my very favorite things in the whole world is hearing my children laugh! When they get tickled by something or someone and let out that uncontrollable belly laugh, I cannot help but smile! It is the greatest sound ever!

I LOVE LUCY - My mom brought me the very first season of "I Love Lucy" on DVD to watch while I am laid up for a while. They say that laughter is the best medicine, and we have had so much fun sitting in the living room watching Lucy and laughing hysterically every night before hitting the hay!

LIME-ADES - There is nothing quite like a Lime-ade Chiller from Sonic! I love cherry lime-ades, but when summer comes around and I am irresistibly drawn in for the cranberry or lime lime-ade chillers! I cannot describe the tangy sweetness to you, but I highly recommend you try one. You will never go back to just a plain milkshake again!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Time...

Well, it's time. Today is the day of my reconstructive surgery. There are going to be 3 surgeons in the room following each other and 3 different procedures. I am all about having to be put to sleep as few times as possible! They are estimating that the surgery is going to take about 4 hours. First, my breast surgeon will remove my port and do a mastectomy on my left side. Second, my plastic surgeon will insert the expanders in both sides to begin stretching the skin. This process can be painful and will take about 2-3 months to complete. Third, my general surgeon will then go into my belly button and fix my umbilical hernia that has developed complications from when I was pregnant with my son. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to how I am going to feel tomorrow! :) I found out last week that my heart is not functioning at full capacity, thanks to my cancer treatment. The doctors think it is still ok to proceed with surgery, so here we go.

I am told that it is going to be a long 3 months of emptying drains, weekly visits to the doctor, sleeping in the recliner, etc. And number 2. Since I have no control of any of the above, I am going to say a quick prayer of thanks...

"Heavenly Father, I thank you that I am cancer free! I thank you for allowing my parents to be able to come and stay with my kids during my surgery. I thank you for finding me the best doctors in town. I thank you for my family and friends who are praying for me today and have shown me so much love! You are incredibly gracious to me! With all my heart! Candice"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"I Refuse"

This week I heard a new song, sung by the artist who wrote it. It was very powerful and spoke to my heart in a place where God has speaking for a while now. God's message has been about leaving my comfort zone to step out and actively pursue helping those who are less fortunate around the world. We have taken steps as a family over the last couple of years to follow God's command in this area, but I know there is more we can do.

I got to hear Josh Wilson sing the song "I Refuse" off his album "See You," and it was great! It has the same message as some of the books I have read lately, like "Radical," by David Platt, "Global Soccer Mom," by Shayne Moore, and "The Hole in Our Gospel," by Richard Stearns. The lyrics are:
Sometimes I,
I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone's alright
When I know they're not.
This world needs God
But it's easier to stand and watch.
I could pray a prayer and just move on
Like nothing's wrong.

But I refuse.

'Cause I don't want to live like I don't care.
I don't want to say another empty prayer.
Oh, I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself.
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse.

I can hear the least of these
Crying out so desperately,
And I know we are the hands and feet
Of You, oh God.
So, if you say move,
Then it's time for me to follow through,
And do what I was made to do.
Show them who you are.

I pray that I will always be ready to spread God's love to others around me and across the world!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Treatment Complete!

Wow! I can't believe I can finally say that my treatments are done! One year and 52 treatments later, I am finished! My last one today was bittersweet. I was elated of course to be finishing, but also sad that my Thursday outings were coming to an end. Not that I will miss the treatments themselves. I am very looking forward to seeing if the tiredness and achy joints will go away now that I have finished. I am, however, going to miss that I have a set Thursday appointment every week to eat lunch by myself, whatever I want, and then have an hour to do nothing but sit, read, watch t.v., listen to my i-pod, or sleep...whatever I prefer! I am seriously tempted to make up an appointment so that I can keep my weekly quiet time. :)

Today when I left my appointment, I called my husband and then got all choked up. I am really going to miss Lori, my nurse. She has made all the difference in the world for me. I have spent an hour, and sometimes more, with her 1 day a week for a year. I started off going every Tuesday, but that got crazy. Sometimes there would be 15 people hooked up to machines getting treatments and twice I could not even find a seat. So, one day I asked if I could switch to Thursdays. I am so glad that I did. The rest of the year, there has never been more than 2 other people getting treatment while I was there and sometimes I was the only one. This has allowed Lori and I to sit and chat, look up stuff on our phones and the internet, and we even ate lunch together today while I got treatment. I can truly say that she is no longer just my nurse, but she has become my friend! A special gift that God has given me as I navigated this difficult journey.

So, now the countdown begins as I head into the downhill stretch. Next week I get a week off and then I hit the ground running. The following week I will have my last echocardiogram, then the next week I will meet one more time before surgery with my plastic surgeon and oncologist, and the following week will be my reconstructive surgery. I am tired and nervous, but ready to finish what was started just over 1 year ago.

Friday, February 11, 2011


There have been periods of time in my life when I am stumped. I cannot figure out why God has allowed me to have my heart and body broken. "Why do I still have Alopecia? What purpose can that serve?" "Why did I have a miscarriage?" "Why have I faced certain difficulties in my marriage?" "Why was I allowed to get breast cancer?" Then, when I look around and see the hurt of others, it frustrates me so much that I cannot understand the "why."
On the other hand, I am glad that my God is so infinite and that "His ways are higher than my ways." That gives me someone I can confidently worship and trust! Of course, offering my life to Him completely for His use is sometimes easier said than done.

Last night I was reading from the book "Things as They Are: Mission Work in South India" by Amy Carmichael. She is a beautiful writer and she gave an illustration that blew my mind. It seemed such a beautiful picture of how to look at my life and the places in my life where at one time or the other, my life has seemed broken.
"I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels." The vessel the potters are making here is worth about a halfpenny, but it is perfect of its kind. The moulder never lifts his hand from it from the moment he puts a lump of shapeless clay on the wheel till the moment he takes it off finished, so far as the wheel can finish it. If it is "marred," it is "marred in the hand of the potter," and instantly he makes it again another vessel as it seems good to him. He never wastes the clay.

This reminds me of 2 things:
1. God is the potter and I am the clay. He is daily molding me into a treasure, and only He knows what He wants the final outcome to be. Isaiah 64:8 "But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father, we are the clay, and Thou our potter; And all of us are the work of Thy hand."
2. The broken places in my life will not be left unredeemed! I love the song by Selah with that title, Unredeemed! The lyrics in the chorus are:
Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing.
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed!

Nothing can touch me that does not pass through the Lord's hands first, and if I am broken, He will not let it be in vain, He will use it for His glory. How amazing!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thankful "K"

K is the first letter of a lot of my fun favorites. Here are just a few!

KISSES - There is nothing I love better than kisses from my kids!!!

KINDLE - I got a Kindle for my birthday present and I am loving it! I carry it everywhere I go and it is getting lots of use! I look forward to filling it up with books in the years to come!

KEURIG - My Christmas gift! My instant coffee/tea/hot cocoa maker is getting used every day! The entire family can use it (except Micah, I won't let him touch it) and we love it! Thank you to my sister for my gift card and for coupons in the mail that made this purchase possible!

KARO - There is nothing better to snack on than a little crunchy Peter Pan peanut butter with a little cold white Karo syrup mixed in! Yummy! It's my dad's fault that I have been enjoying this concoction since I was a little girl. :) White Karo is also super yummy on French Toast!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thankful "J"

JAVA CHIP FRAPPUCCINO - Need I say more? :) This Starbucks drink has been my reward every Thursday for the last couple of months. Friends and family have given me gift cards and I have enjoyed them fully! After every treatment, I have stopped by and picked up my drink and thoroughly enjoyed it on my way home! Out of fear, I have neglected checking the calorie count on this favorite drink of mine. :) However, now that I am going to try to lose some weight before my surgery in March, I have decided to give up my Java Chip until then. Don't worry though...the day after my surgery, I plan to send my husband to the nearest Starbucks and have him pick one up for me to celebrate!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Holding the Balloon!

Those who know me, know that I am a melancholy person. Those who know my husband, know that he is very Sanguine. He dances on stage, I dance in my living room. He is an incredibly gifted teacher, I am a storyteller. He speaks, I write. People say we balance each other because we are opposites in almost every way. :) One of my best friends is a Sanguine too, and I think I have always felt a bit intimidated by and envious of their energy, spirit, and personalities.

This week I stopped by my husband's classroom for a moment before I went to my weekly treatment. Being January, he had a classroom full of new students I have not met yet. I spoke to my husband for a few minutes and then left. After I left, my husband said that one of his students interrupted him with the following observation...

"Mr. S. can I tell you how I see you and your wife?" Curious, my husband nodded, "yes," and the boy continued. "Mr. S., you are a helium balloon. You are full of energy and life, blowing all over the place. Your wife is the one holding the balloon. She is calm and grounded and without her, you would just pop or go crazy and blow away."

My husband was very taken aback. He laughed because he had never quite heard it put that way and he was surprised that the boy had described us in such a way, and with a picture that seems like a pretty accurate description! I was just glad that the student did not say I was a "lead balloon," which is where I first thought he was heading with the story. Leave it to me to lean to the negative. :)

All in all, I will say that I appreciate the description. It makes me smile! And, I don't mind so much being calm and grounded. My children tend to "fly" like their father and I LOVE being able to help guide them higher and higher! What could be better!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Can I do it?

Today I met with my plastic surgeon. I feel very secure in my decision, but I am still anxious about the upcoming surgeries after finding out what all is involved and the pain potential involved with the reconstruction process. I am going to try to put it out of my mind and not dwell on it until the time for the first surgery arrives. My first surgery is scheduled for March and I hope to be done with everything by June.

With that in mind, I have just 7 weeks to lose 15 lbs. before my surgery. This is not a requirement, but is something I feel that I really need to do. I am not at all sure that it is even something that I can do, but I am making plans. :) Initially I am going to try adjusting my diet and adding exercise. If that does not work, I may have to seek professional help. :) We'll see how the first couple of weeks go!

Whatever happens, I am ready to finish my treatments, get the surgery over with and get on with my life...cancer free!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My One Year Mark!

Tonight I am sitting by the computer with just 30 minutes left in the day that marks my "1 year cancer free!" It has been an emotional day and one that I am almost sad to see go. I'm sitting here in my cozy p.j.'s with my children and 2 of their cousins asleep on the living room floor. There is a beautiful white snow outside and it's all quiet inside....the house at least. I am very restless on the inside of me. People keep asking me how I am going to celebrate this milestone and I am just not sure yet. I have been invited by a friend to take a trip to India. I cannot tell you how badly I want to do this. What a way to celebrate!

I cannot adequately describe the gratefulness I feel to be able to even be celebrating this day. I know that each day is a gift and I want to live with purpose. I have been given more time and I don't want to waste it. I am not sure what that will look like in my life, but I know some changes need to be made. I know that change takes time, but I'm the type of person who sees a need and moves on it. I don't see the point in waiting. :) So, I am ready to start making some changes and I want to get started this year!

I am also a little nervous. This last month has been a difficult one. My body, which has been in menopause since March of last year, has decided to do a complete turn-around, and is now trying to head back the other way. My doctor is surprised and I have been an emotional and physical wreck. My poor husband and kids. :) I have also begun meeting with doctors and talking with other women about my reconstructive surgery. The recurring theme seems to be that I should prepare for a painful, drawn-out process. Great. Now I have begun to dread something I was actually looking forward to. Of course I will still keep moving forward, one step at a time and pray for grace for each new day and what it brings.

So, I will head to bed, just before midnight, praising God for this year and seeking His protection, strength and direction for the year to come!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thankful "I"

INDIA - I am thankful for India, my son's birth country. From childhood, I have been fascinated by the country and the people. I never thought that one day I would have a child from there. I hope to be able to travel there again someday, and I pray that my feelings for the country will grow from an infatuation to a love.

IMPOSSIBILITIES: II Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me." As I make my list of New Year's resolutions (or "revolutions" as my daughter E calls them) I am well aware of how impossible it seems that I will be able to accomplish least not in my own power. They are worthy goals, but I will be the first to admit that my desire to do better in each area comes back to a lack of organization which results in poor stewardship. I truly desire to be a better steward of my time, money, friendships, talents, health, etc. and I want my life to reflect the glory of God, so... I am grateful for what seem like impossibilities, because, if I am able to follow through on my resolutions, it will mean that Christ has been working in my life and has give me the power to do so!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thankful "H"

HOME - Home has been a haven for me over the last year and 1/2. I admit that I already had the tendency to be a hermit, and the last year has given me permission to do that. My home has been a sanctuary for me of sorts. I have been able to rest, enjoy my kids, and just be at home. I am truly thankful that God has blessed me with not just a house, but a home.

HOPE - There is an old hymn that says, "I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day." As I am approaching my 1 year cancer free mark, I must have hope in my Creator and Father so that I can move ahead in the new year without fear. I do have hope and I am looking forward to what this new year will bring!