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Showing posts from 2021

Memories past and present

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My dress was similiar to this  Most people know that I flit from one craft to another. I'm kind of ADHD when it comes to crafting and get bored easily if I focus on one thing too long, so I welcomed the chance to sew again. I'd last used my machine when Covid first started, and everyone was needing face masks. After making about 200 of them, I grew tired of it and put my machine away. Inside the case, I knew it wouldn't collect dust, no matter how long it was there.  So when it came time to make a special gift for a dear friend, I pulled out the machine, set it up, got everything ready and began working diligently. I would be presenting the gift on Saturday, so time was of the essence.  Flipping on the sewing machine light, I slipped the pinned fabric beneath the presser foot and lowered it. As I depressed the foot pedal, the machine began to run, and it wasn't long before I was enjoying listening to the constant humming of the machine. As I worked, my mind began to wan

Crucifying the flesh

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  Nailing it to the cross I once had a Sunday school teacher who taught me a valuable lesson. As we sat in the classroom, a group of about 15 young women listened carefully as our teacher talked about how Jesus took all of our sins to the cross with Him.  As a visual learner, I did my best to picture Him doing that, but it wasn't easy until Mrs. Woods pulled out a simple wooden cross and laid it on the floor in the middle of our circle.  Slowly and carefully, she walked around the circle handing each one of us a slip of paper and a big metal nail. She instructed us to think about the sin we wanted to nail to the cross. After we'd thought about it, each of us began scribbling on our slip of paper. With tear filled eyes, we folded our slips in half and waited. Mrs. Woods began to read scripture from Galatians 5. As she reached verse 22, we listened to the various fruits of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. The t

Grief is like the ocean

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 A few days ago, a dear friend of mine asked me to meet her at the cemetery. She was going to view her dearly departed husband's headstone for the first time since his death in August. I didn't really want to go because my own grief was so heavy. I'd lost my brother in July and hadn't been able to completely process the loss yet. Visiting the military cemetery where my sweet friend's husband was buried was going to be hard for several reasons. My parents were both buried there and my brother could have been buried there too since he'd served in the Army, but his wife had chosen to have him cremated. Without going into detail about that, I'll just say there is a lot of unresolved hurt in our family over the way his death was handled. Anyway, back to my friend's request.  My husband and I drove 2 hours to get to the cemetery. It was important for us to be there to offer moral support to my friend, Janice. We didn't know it at the time, but she had aske

I don't want to miss Jesus this Christmas

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  Last night, after hubby had gone to bed, I sat in the livingroom enjoying the quiet. Glancing up at the mantle, my eyes fell on the baby Jesus from my nativity scene. It was a modest nativity, handcarved, one I'd purchased from Hobby Lobby a few years back, but I loved its simplicity.  The baby Jesus seemed to be calling to me so I got up and went over to the mantle. Staring into the face of that tiny, carved babe, I could hear a faint whisper, "Be careful not to miss Me this year."  Miss Jesus? How could I possibly do that? Christmas was all about Jesus and I loved celebrating His birth, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was possible to miss Jesus. With all the craziness we've been experiencing this year, our world most certainly could miss Jesus and in a big way. I didn't want that to happen in my family.  This year had already been very different from years past because of Covid. I'd lost several dear friends to the disease and my yo

It's beginning to look a little Grinchy around here!

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One of my all time favorite childhood movies was Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." What a classic! It came out in 1966 and has remained a treasure for many, many years.  The first year that animated movie appeared on TV, my brother, sister, and I sprawled out on our living room floor. In front of our large console TV, we'd lie as close to the screen as Mama would allow and watch intently as Cindy Lou Who sauntered around Whoville.  My heart was filled with emotion as the gentle Who people gathered together in celebration and of course, I felt sorry for sweet little Max, the Grinch's pet dog, as he tried so hard to pull that big overloaded sleigh up and over the hill at the Grinch's command. Of course, we all loathed Mr. Grinch for the first half of the movie but grew to love him as he realized there was so much more to Christmas than all the trappings. As his itty bitty heart began to grow, so did our hope in the goodness of love. When the movie end

4 words

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If anyone had to sum up my life in 4 words, they’d either choose the phrase, “She loved the Lord, or “She was a planner.” And while both of those choices would be true, my flesh woman would definitely meet the latter description better than the first. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a planner. Maybe it’s a typical Type A personality trait, but it works for me. I like knowing the plan ahead of time and often, when we’re going on a trip, I spend days making out a detailed itinerary and menu. That way, things usually run smoothly but I’m also okay with spontaneity and find it fun to travel off the beaten path now and then. I’ve found that’s where the best photo ops tend to be and where some of the most precious God moments occur. Though I find comfort and security in having a well laid plan, I’ve found, over my almost 64 years of life, that no matter how much I try, I don’t always have the whole picture. Sure, I can plan to my heart’s content, but things can always go wrong.

Incoming!

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 When I was a kid, I remember listening to my Daddy occasionally talk about being in the service. Those occasions were very rare so whenever he'd talk, I'd really listen. Once he told about being outside a bunker in Japan. He said planes were flying overhead and he heard a guy yell, "Incoming!" They knew that meant it was imperative to take cover and they did, but some of the soldiers weren't fast enough. They lost their lives in a split second.  That one word was a very serious warning and one I never forgot. I think my eyes bugged out of my head when he first said it although he didn't say it in a frightening way. I imagined the sounds of aircraft overhead as the warning went out. And imagined how I'd have felt if I'd been right there with him. I'd have been petrified, probably unable to move. No wonder so many soldiers came back from war with post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). And when they were freshly home, it didn't take much to set t

Can you be sad but happy at the same time?

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 I'm conflicted. This morning I woke up and read my emails before getting out of bed. It's a bad habit and I keep telling myself I won't do it any more, but I do. I can't help it. I'm a multi-tasker, always have been, always will be. Anyway, as I was reading, I almost skipped over a notification telling me a friend had recently made a new blog post. I don't know why, but sometimes I just find it hard to get sucked into the problems of others. I have plenty of my own. Thankfully, I didn't skip it. This email notification was different. Not only did it alert me to the fact that my friend had made a recent blog post, it also told me she was no longer living. Yes, you read that right...she was no longer living.  Apparently my sweet friend, Jen, had thought ahead. She'd been planning for this day. She knew it was coming.  You see, we were both diagnosed with the exact stage and grade of breast cancer. I was diagnosed in June 2014 and she was diagnosed in Augu

Clinical trials are they worth it?

 I have a friend who recently lost her husband to pancreatic cancer. Over the past year, I followed each event on his health care journey doing my best to offer love and support. As his tumor marker numbers went up and down, the constant rollercoaster became very stressful. The chemo worked for a while and then it stopped, that's when we knew his time was short.  When the doctor told them there was nothing more he could do, they became desperate for a cure, and who wouldn't? There's an innate desire for survival in all of us. I wasn't shocked when they said they were willing to try anything but when the doctor mentioned a clinical trial using a deworming medication used on dogs, I was dumbfounded.  Panacur, the brand name for pet strength medication, Fenbenzadrole, is used for ridding animals of parasites but apparently, some doctors are finding it to be a possible treatment for cancer.   When we received the call that Jack wasn't doing well and wasn't expected

The Earth is not our home

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Tomorrow I'll say goodbye to a dear friend who recently lost his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. After fighting for almost a year, Jesus finally called him home.  My friend's name was Jack. He was a kind and simple man, very loyal and friendly. He loved to tell people he was an alien and claimed that status due to the fact that he was born in Roswell, New Mexico. Roswell, New Mexico is famous for the legend of Area 51- a supposed crash site for an alien spaceship many years ago. Jack even bought alien facemasks and tshirts so he could dress the part and he always got a good laugh when he suited up, but really, Jack was telling the truth. He was an alien. As a follower of Christ, Jack knew the Bible gave clear insight on this fact, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." Philippians 3:20. Janice, Jack, and Bonnie Jack's death is a reminder that I'm an alien, too. Though I may not dress up in fu

On this day, 7 years ago...

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  I was just 3 days out from surgery to remove both my breasts when a stranger came to visit me. We'd "found" each other through a Facebook breast cancer group and she'd been a wealth of information so when she offered to come see me, I hesitantly agreed. I wanted a new friend, but I was scared. Although Karen was also a breast cancer patient, she was six months ahead of me in her treatment. She'd already been through everything I was going to face and she wanted to help ease my fears. I didn't realize it then, but that gift was one of the biggest blessings I'd ever receive.  When I heard the gentle knock on my front door, I was nervous. I didn't feel well and was in a good deal of pain. My husband opened the door and greeted Karen, my new friend and pink sister. As he welcomed her in, she immediately came over to my chair and gave me a gentle hug. She made a joke about the way we looked, laughing and pointing to her practically bald head as she exclai

Tomorrow is the big day

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Tomorrow is the big day, the day I celebrate 7 years of being cancer free.  As I think back on all God's brought me through, I can't believe I've made it this far.  A friend I met through an online breast cancer site and I share the exact same diagnosis and we were diagnosed just a few months apart from each other. She's not doing well at all and is about to enter hospice. I can't help but wonder why God's allowing me to live on while she is facing the end of her life. It hurts my heart and while I can't quite understand it, I have to remember God is God and I am not. He and He alone has numbered our days. My only hope is that my friend will know she was well loved and she will certainly be missed when she goes home to meet the Lord. I'm so thankful for her faithful witness, her strength and her resilience. Though she chose a different treatment path than I, I can't help but wonder if perhaps the chemotherapy and all of the other medications she endu

7 Years is a Long Time to be Cancer Free

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Seven years ago, I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Stage 2B with Metastasis to the lymph glands. When I heard the words, 2 jumped out at me – carcinoma and metastasis. I knew those words and knew they were bad. I didn’t pay much attention to the stage or the type of cancer. The only thing that concerned me was whether I was going to live or die.  The first year was tough. Being thrust into the world of breast cancer is challenging. There were so many experiences I never dreamed I’d face, from surgery to treatment and then, learning to live life after those were through.  It took time to learn to cope. Most days, I felt alone and helpless like I’d gone to sleep and had woken up in a bad dream, a dream that seemed as if it would never end. But as I fought through each challenge that came my way, I found myself becoming stronger. I was determined to live, no matter what the cost.  As a person of faith, I found myself relying on God for each minute of the day. Whenever I was

The Power to Forgive

I'm a writer. I write all the time. I was probably born with a pen in hand. My mother used to get so mad at me because I was constantly writing. Every slip of paper in our house was fair game for me. I'd write on scraps, napkins, even toilet paper! As far as I know, I never wrote on anything other than paper but I could be mistaken. There were always so many thoughts running through my head I just had to record them. Usually I'd write with a pencil but every now and then, I'd write with a pen. The only problem was, when you write in pen, it's not easy to erase. As I grew older, I gave up the pen and pencil opting for the ease and speed of a typewriter. Whiteout became my best friend until I learned to type quickly and efficiently. My first typewriter was a manual Royal, a heavy machine, from the 1950s. I loved that typewriter and still have it to this day. When computers came along, I was in heaven. Not only could I record thoughts quickly, I could store th

Don't Waste Any Time

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Frances McDormand as Fern Today I finally watched the acclaimed movie, Nomadland. I'm always a day late and a dollar short, it seems, when trying to stay up on the most recent social media items, but I try. I'd heard about it from my youngest daughter and made a note to watch as soon as possible.  The movie won best picture in the 2021 Oscars and Frances McDormand did an excellent job in her role as lead character, Fern. Following the economic collapse of Empire, a small town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off exploring life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. I found myself in a pensive and introspective mood as I watched. This hard working woman, recently widowed, left everything she knew and loved due to circumstances beyond her control. She was a seeker on a journey to find herself.  As I watched, I immediately became entrenched. As an avid camper, hiker, and backpacker, I loved all the beautiful scenery in the movie and

The Little Things

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The day started out bright and early, earlier than I'd intended. 5 a.m. isn't my idea of a "normal" wake time, but today, it happened that way. So I jumped out of bed, put my phone on speaker so I could listen to a sermon, and hopped into the shower. (I'm a multi-tasker,  a vice I've had since birth - typical type A, you know the drill.) After showering, I stood, wrapped in a towel, staring at myself in the mirror. "Who are you and what are you doing here" I asked myself. Analyzing my face, I realized the number of wrinkles there had multiplied. No doubt about it, I was getting old.  63, by most standards, isn't really old, but some mornings, I beg to differ. Bones creak and muscles ache and yet, I'm thankful to be able to feel them. And as we age, body parts start to need special attention, most recently my left eye. Around 2008, I began to notice cloudiness in that eye. It grew more and more bothersome until I went to see the ophthalmologis

Where do the wounded go?

  Where Do They Go? By Bonnie Annis   Where do the wounded go when the cut is fresh and deep?  Where do they hide to keep others from tasting the bleeding? Where do they go when healing begins, or when it's too slow in coming?  Where do they go?  Where do they go when the wound has mended?  When scars once raw no longer weep?  Where do they go when the pain has eased but the trauma remains?  Where do they go?  And when the scar is old but still reminds, where do they go?  I'll tell you.  They go where they've always gone, into that dark, quiet place.  The deep space inside where warriors live.  The place of solitude and strength.  The place of sorrow and tears.  The place of resilience and hope.  That's where they go.  How do I know?  It's where I live.  Day in and day out.  Until cancer came, it was a secret place.  But then, I received permission to enter.  That’s when I discovered I was not alone.  There were ot