Sunday, September 30, 2012

God Moments Of My Life

   As October rolls around , I would love to start something a little different . In the past , I have asked each of you to share a God Moment but now , I want to share some of mine .These moments
re-affirm how much God really loves me and carries through on His promise to take care of me for as long as I love and believe in Him .
    Throughout the month , I will open up my heart to you and let you in just as you have done to me . So , let me start with a God moment of my own . . . a very old one .

GOD MOMENT :
                       My son Joey , has always wanted to be in radio since the tender age of 5 when he was presented with an old fashioned tape recorder . That tape recorder was the start of a passion to be in radio . For the next 10 yrs. or more , he would follow me around with a fake microphone asking me what caller I was .  He grew up and became an on air personality .
                     Years later , believe my shock , when he announces to me that he is leaving his current profession with full benefits and full pay , to pursue a calling of becoming a part-time Youth Pastor in a small town of Farmer City . A Youth Pastor paying a 1/4 of his salary . It may have been a little bit more money , I don't quite remember .
                     Farmer City ? Where is that ? What are you going to live on ? Being on the radio was all he ever wanted to be . What has happened ? As a mother , I was worried , especially with him living five hours away .
                    That was a time , when  my Women's Group was studying the Psalms of Ascent . I remember coming to church that Sunday and opening up my Bible to these Psalms since I had time to read before the service started . My page flew open to Psalm 91 and when I came to verse 14 , my worries disappeared . It read :
     Because you love me , I will rescue you ,
     I will protect you because you know my name .
     When you call to me , I will answer you .
     I will be with you when you are in trouble .
    I will save you and honor you .
    I will satisfy you with a long life .
    I will show you how I will save you .
               I knew then , that everything would be okay . Because Joey was a believer , I knew God would always take care of him . Where is he now ? He is married , a therapist , a college counselor , still does some radio a few times a week , but most of all he is an Associate Pastor and last year he preformed the Wedding Ceremony of his cousin Kathy . I should also mention that his salary is pretty good , too .
Have a Blessed Week everyone .
                       

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Up Close With Cancer

    She sat at the lunchroom table surrounded by a crowd of people , showing off her  medical pictures of the inside of her knee . She just recently came back from FMLA after having knee surgery .
    " Hey , I should have brought my cancer picture . We could have had a regular Show and Tell , " I said . Everyone laughed and soon lunch was over .
     Walking back to the office , my mind was flooded with memories of the past . It's funny how you remember certain things like the way something may have smelled , or tasted , or how raw the emotion you felt , as if it was yesterday .
      I remember the day , the doctor came in smiling down at me , holding in his hand an 8 1/2 x 11 glossy picture of my tumor . My cancer . The colors were so bright they bounced off the print . I looked at it and wondered how anything so ugly could grow inside of me . Where did it come from ? How did it happen to be there ? Why did it grow ?
     Back then , I wanted to frame that picture of my 7 1/2 lb. tumor so I would never forget the journey I was forced to make . I remember showing it to my Aunt and how closely she stared at it as if she was examining every inch of it . This was what cancer looked like up close and very personal . It happened to her niece . You can't get anymore personal .
    We fear cancer and when that ugly word is whispered annoucing a new victim , we all hold our breath . We realize what cancer represents and what it will cost us to face it . I don't know any other disease that has that kind of effect on people .
    I never framed that glossy print . It holds a meaning only to me . I was afraid of the reaction it would cause when people laid their eyes upon it . To them an aversion : to me a bittersweet journey .
Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Friday, September 28, 2012

Shape It Up

   Have you ever gone on a food binge of your favorite foods ? I have . . . . this week . It seems all good things are bad for you . Now , my body feels like I'm hung over but from food and not alcohol .
   To be honest , it hasn't really been only this week . I have , sort of , slipped off the wagon from healthy eating . On the weekends , we would order out occasionally  and it began to be a habit .
   After changing your diet and being on it for quite awhile , your body will develop an aversion to unhealthy things . You still crave those things , but you don't feel well after giving in to that temptation . That's what I'm experiencing big time this week . . . . . the after effects of unhealthy living .
   With the weekend ahead , I headed straight after work to the fruit/veggie market to stock up on some fresh foods . This month alone , I have nothing but doctor visits and tests . I'll be expected to get on that dreaded scale . One of my kindergarteners once asked me what I was afraid of . . . the scale , of course . They didn't get it .
   What's even worse , I have to acknowledge that my GP was probably right concerning my food habits . That food journal , she asked me to keep ? Well , discarded right along with those good eating habits .
   You see ,  even though , I ate healthy food on a daily basis , I still would give in on the weekends or the occasional sweets at work . Or try one or two of Emily's fresh baked goods which she has been baking regularly . Things like that . Maybe , that doesn't  seem like anything to you , but weight loss has been a problem for me these past 5 years . I have to work real hard to lose the few pounds I have lost . That is the reason why I don't gain , but I don't lose either .
   So , we 're back right where we have started many times before . Maybe , we can advance this time and lose some weight and lower my cholestrol ? Happy Good Eating everyone !
  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Be Still

  Coming in to work last night , I discovered we all had to update our e-mail accounts with a new system . Setting it up for an update  , I realized my computer would be down for a whole forty minutes ! Forty minutes is a long time to be without a resource that is needed to run a business . Staring at the screen , I grew impatient by the minute waiting for this update to be over . This little upset caused a huge delay in my daily routine .
   Being still is not a strong point of mine . Usually , by the time I'm finally still , that's when all the chips are down and everything has fallen apart . I always have this desire to help things along instead of just letting things progress at their own level . Usually , my interference makes things worse .
   Opening my new e-mail , I came across the posting of that position I'm applying for . It's been almost a month and still no news or interviews . All that has been happening is alot of bragging and name dropping from some of the people involved . To my shame , I have started believing all that gossip and crap . Started getting embroiled in Much Ado About Nothing .
   It's so hard for us to come down to earth , isn't it ? Walking out of work this morning , I felt  depleted and confused , not knowing what I should believe anymore . It's time to be still and let things be . Let God take care of business .
   I have no idea why I let myself believe otherwise . One of my favorite verses happens to be " Be still and know I am God " and yet , I constantly am doing the opposite . I am my own worst enemy . I keep telling myself how I want to reach a level of complete trust in God  and yet , here I am , again , messing things up instead of leaving it to Him .
    So , here I am being quiet . . . .  .for once . Have a Blessed Week everyone .
 
  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hoarding Up !

     Fall is here . You can feel it in the coolness of the air . It is a time for preparation for the coming of the winter months . That's what Emily and I have been doing . . . . .preparing . Making a list of things we will need , we went shopping for a few of them .
    Hoarding up includes from medicine to facial tissues . To getting our car in working winter order to sealing our windows and doors . Stocking up on flour , pasta , toilet paper  and laundry detergent . Why the squirrel act ?
   Not only do I feel that we will have a cold winter , but I need the sanctity of my apartment . I can understand the animals that hibernate in winter to prepare for the other three seasons . I'm looking forward to the quiet solitude and seclusion .  I have no desire to be out there playing in the snow .
    Last thing , Emily and I want is to slush around in the ice and snow , doing our shopping for trash bags  . We are not one of those people who want to go sledding or skiing or throw snowballs . We want to watch from the warm , cozy living room window .
   I think , in a way , we all do that . Maybe , not to this extreme , but we go through our clothes to make sure we have gloves , socks and flannel underwear . We take our coats to the cleaners so we can sparkle in the snow . We prepare our cars and our homes . We  put away the air conditioners and bring out the heaters . We get ready . There is a little bit of the squirrel in all of us . So get out there and gather those nuts !
    Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Traditions

   Traditions have come to mean so much to me , especially when it comes to passing them down to my own children . When you have had to face illness or death , you start thinking about the " after " part . . . . after you are gone . To me , the best way for your memory to be honored is by continuing the traditions you've started .
   Now that Joey has a family of his own , it brings much joy to see him re-enacting some of these traditions . Like when he reads a bedtime story to Hannah or Timothy , he'll change his voice for every character . That is something he got from his own childhood . I'm glad he is doing the same with his own children . It must have been a happy memory for him and that brings me great joy to know .  
   Parenting is hard especially on a single parent because you are alone . There isn't anyone to help shoulder some of the burden . By the time the children are grown , you feel tired , worn out and wonder about all the mistakes you have done . You hope these mistakes don't hold them back in life emotionally . You know the mother gets blamed for everything .
   In my opinion , if they want to pass on some of these traditions , well , that means their childhood wasn't that bad after all . I maybe didn't get an A , but I know I did get a C+ .
   What I do miss are the traditions I once had with my children but are gone forever . I should say with my Joey in particular . Emily is still at home but Joey is married and busy making his own traditions . Yet , there are days , I wish he and I could have a re-run of what once was .
   Have a Blessed Week everyone .
  

Monday, September 24, 2012

I Am Job

   After spending a night of tossing and turning , I finally get up to the early morning cold . It's neither light nor dark outside , but somewhere in between . The cold has entered my muscles and joints and I feel myself creak with every move . I am tired and long to get back under the covers with my heating pad .
   Since the temperature drop , my knee has been acting up causing me much pain . The arthritis taking over . Stairs ? I wince just thinking about them .  I hate cancer . Cancer has stolen my strength and my body . I want it back .
   Getting ready to make that familiar trip to the hospital  evokes absolutely no joy . Today , marks the first day of many more to come these next few weeks . My calendar is packed with visits and tests and I'm tired of them . Oh , where is my bed ?
   As I go through my second turn with cancer , I find myself thinking of Job alot . I am not righteous as he was , far from it , but I can feel the pain he went through covered with sores and aching . Even now , while in remission , I have become Job . I feel like no one understands . I have cried and I have pleaded for the Lord to heal this leg .
   On my facebook or through e-mails , everyone writes encouraging comments of what a warrior I am . A warrior . . . . .. if only you knew . Excuse my french , but this cancer whooped my ass . A warrior , I'm not . It takes every ounce of strength I have to get through my day . I get up , put on a smile and get through it somehow , wincing all the way . I am tired and have no energy . Yesterday , after Sunday School , I slept most of the day away .
  " When are you coming over " or " Will we see you at Bible Study" ?
   Well , enough pity party . The Breast Imaging is waiting for me . To all the ladies with small bosoms, I really envy you right now .

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Traffic School

    It came in the mail  and in big letters it read " TRAFFIC SCHOOL ". Really ? Was that necessary ?  Right there , for anyone to read or see , broadcasting my delinquency . It's been over 6 weeks of waiting and I almost thought they had forgotten about me . This being my first experience with something like this , I wasn't quite sure what the procedure calls for , so I called them . Do you know we have an office that just handles traffic school ?
  Let me tell ya , folks . I've always had a fear of being tasered . Once , I had a van where the drivers side window was stuck and wouldn't roll down . Couldn't wait to get that fixed . This scene played in my mind . Example :
     I'm being stopped by an officer and he asks me to roll down my window and I , of course , can't . So I try to open the door to let him know that and he thinks I'm threatening him so he pulls out his taser and POOF ! I get it .
  Yes , I played that scene in my mind forever. You can tell I have an active imagination . So when I didn't receive my traffic school schedule , I imagined a police officer running my plates and well , you know the rest . Yes , it's my first experience being a delinquent .
   Opening the envelope , I'm secretly praying that wherever they send me , it has good parking and isn't too far away . To my surprise , they gave me an online course . Praise God ! Now all I have to do is learn how to sign in and use the program correctly .
   God is so good , folks . He is aware of all my inadequacies and decided to show mercy upon me . I'll keep you posted on my course , for now . . .. . have a Blessed Week  everyone .
  
 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

All Of My Life

  The day passed quickly with numerous odds and ends performed amidst a mixture of pleasure and duty . Still , all that busyness couldn't erase the taste of failure that loomed overhead from the night before . How do I not bring it home ? How do I stop caring ? How do I become what I was before ? How do I become two people ? One work and one home ? I simply can't .
   The open road has always held an appeal to me . It spells freedom . Never have I wanted to get on it like now . Just get in my car and drive , wherever the road may take me , let that be my new home . A clean slate to start over .
   All of my life , I've stepped up , I volunteered , I gave up lunch , I came in early and left late . I've raised my hand and took on whatever had to be done . Not just at work . My home . My friends . My church . I've always taken on whatever had to be done whether I wanted to or not . But I did it because I understood the need for someone to take the lead . No matter who does it , it has to be done .
   There is a downside to all of that . A downside because with taking the lead comes responsibility and it's not always welcomed . Or appreciated . A downside because with respect comes disrespect . With success comes failure . With leadership comes authority . Authority is not always welcomed or favored  .
   Lately , I've felt more failure as a leader at work . Last night was one of those nights . Right at the start , I felt a forcefield of resistence to anything that had to be accomplished that night . There is nothing worse than knowing you will lose the fight but you still have to fight that fight . You still have to get into the rink and lose .
   Every night , I have close to fifty people that I have to manage . Their moods , their complaints and  the problems they are facing on any particular night that I try to solve . You really need to develop tough skin to keep turning that cheek . I can't seem to  do that . I feel every slap . I don't know how to become hardened .
   With the promotion looming ahead , I have begun to wonder if I'm cut out for this type of job . Walking out this morning , with my shoulders slumped , feet dragging and head hanging down , a sense of failure overtakes me . If they approached me right now with the offer , I would have turned them down . Today , I have failed . Has  David , Moses , or Paul ever felt like this ? A sense of utter defeat ? Did they want to give up ? Right now , I want to .
    Upon returning to work from my illness , I've been struggling with my job . Struggling , because I have changed . I have become so aware of feelings and emotions . I've developed compassion and caring for these people even if they don't see it . I am melting on the inside . I cannot become hardened .
    There , in the office , a friend said to me : You're Christian views guide you as you deal with the people and their issues . That is a plus .
    Is it a plus ? Right now , it feels more like a Cross . I need prayer , my friends , for strength and endurance .
    Let's have a Blessed Sunday everyone .

Friday, September 21, 2012

Where Are The Sistas ?

       I'm a middle child with two brothers . It's no small wonder that I've always desired a sister . I can remember pleading with my mom for a sister well into my adulthood . It wasn't meant to be .
       Sisters have always been protrayed as " two peas in a pod " type of relationship . Their connection one of telepathic proportions , might as well be siamese twins . They 're qualities involve reading each other's thoughts . Whether it was in movies or books or greeting cards , sisters have always been protrayed as an one of a kind relationship that no one can break .
     Okay , so where are these sistas ? I don' t mean to be cynical  but I don't know of any sisters that have that kind of relationship . The ones I do know are either fighting or in constant competition with each other . So where are those saint-like sistas ? I'm sure there are some out there . The sistas , I know with that kind of relationship are usually not related but best friends .
    One of my neighbors , has a set of girls a mere 9 - 10 months apart . . . regular Irish twins . I watch them walk to school together . I watch them walk around my building with a group of friends . In fact , they are never apart . I wonder , if they are always together because they chose to be or did their mother make them .
  I know , I'm upsetting a whole bunch of you . I'm sure there are  many great sister teams , I just haven't seen any , so please don't be upset with me . To me , it's like the Brady Bunch . Where did this family come from ? Even the Duggars have their problems .
   The protrayal that the industry proclaims is not believable . The truth is just too ugly . A little dose of truth ? Could we handle it ? Probably not . Now that I have upset you . . . . . .I'm leaving . Have a Blessed Week  everyone .

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Crown Of Exultation

  The Crown Of Exultation
                                           The believers we had a hand in bringing to Christ will be our " Glory and Joy " before the Lord . Just imagine how you will rejoice in Heaven upon seeing and talking with people who recognize your contribution to their spiritual development .
                      Dr. Charles Stanley
         
   When we think of bringing people to Christ , we think of people we have nurtured and mentored for a period of time as if watching an infant become a toddler .  There are others that we come into contact everyday , even for a second , that we have  had an effect on but aren't there to see them grow spiritually .
   We go about our daily lives without thinking that there are consequenses to our meager actions . I say meager because some of what we do , we consider insignificant . It's like those Walmart  e-mails we get where it shows people not in their best outfits . Don't we all do that ? We put on whatever for a quick stop . No one will notice .
    It's the same thing when we pick up our dry cleaning  and are rude to the salesperson . Or we get upset if we have to wait in line awhile longer because the customer in front has an item with no price tag . What about bumping into someone and not saying " excuse me " but instead making a remark on why are they in the way ?
   We like to think these are tiny , meager and insignificant moments in our lives . We will probably never see that person again . Maybe , we won't , but what if our actions affected a person's outlook or choice at that moment they encountered us ?
What if our actions were what kept this person from developing a healthy relationship with Christ ?
   When I read Dr. Charles Stanley article , I wondered if there were any people who came to Christ because of the seeds I planted in their life . Have my actions swayed a person in either direction ? What if my actions depressed someone horribly ? That would be hard to take .
   We all want to feel like we are contributing , but what if all the contributions were all wrong ? That is definitely something to chew on the next time we are out doing our meager and insignificant errands . A quick stop . . . . no one will notice . . . . right ?
   

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Season For Everything

       With the approach of Fall so near , I find myself in anticipation of the coming months . In the past , I've loved the Spring and Summer months and dreaded the other two . Funny , how things change as we get older . I'm quite looking forward to the dreaded other two .
      I have come to appreciate the different seasons . Each one has something different to offer . The activities of the summer has left me longing for the stillness of winter's hibernation .
      I honestly don't care for the snow shoveling and car sliding . The bursts of cold air as you go from one destination to another . The warming up of the vehicle takes forever . I have memories of my younger years when I took a bus everywhere . Standing in the freezing temps. with my feet buried in the snow waiting for that bus that was always late . Shivering , my feet turned into icicles . Yes , winter is definitely not my favorite .
    There is that moment , though , right after a snowfall , where beauty reigns . The snow covered trees and shrubs , right along with snow on the cars , snow everywhere . . . . ah , such beauty !
 Just a moment frozen in time , as children throw snowballs and go sledding . Neighbors helping each other shovel their cars out , giving each other jumps when  they don't start . Unfortunately , all of that gets old pretty quick and we long for summer .
      What I'm longing for is the quietness and the solitude of winter . The days are short and cold . We sit nestled in our flannels on the couch watching a movie or reading our favorite book . We are not winter loving people , so we stay inside . All that is missing from our little scene is a fire . We already have a cat .  As the night howls the coming of a snowstorm , we are glad of the warmth of our apartment .
      Yes , I'm looking forward to winter's coming . I look forward to the quiet and the bliss of being still . Have a Blessed Week everyone .
     
      

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nosy Me

    I have become my own worst enemy . Have you ever experienced that moment of realization that you have become something you never thought possible . Something that you disliked very much in others . I'll become a nosy parker ! Yep , that's me .
    Last night , across the street , an ambulance came , a fire truck and a couple of police cars . Streets were closed off . Red and blue lights flashing everywhere , I run to the window . Yes , who knew I could run . My face peering out , I anxiously tried to assess the situation , calling out to Emily the " latest " .
     " Mom , why are you so nosy ? Every little sound , you're at that window ."
    I stopped in my tracks and looked at her . What ? Me ? Lord , what has happened to me ? What have I become ? I'm a busybody ! A nosy parker !
    And she is right . Sitting at my desk , trying to figure out just exactly when this started . Maybe , I always was like this and just refused to see it ? I couldn't possibly be this way . Why is it so hard for us to really see ourselves ?
   Why ? Because it's much easier to lie to ourselves than to face our flaws . My flaw is my nosiness . I may not start gossip or speak badly of people BUT I am a people watcher . I want to know what is going on  . I'm nosy .
   All day , I became painfully aware of just how nosy I really am . Every noise that came from the outside , I jumped up ready to push aside that curtain . But thanks to the great daughter that I have , she pointed that fact out to me . Where would I be without her ?!
   Needless to say , I was on my best behavior for the rest of the day . How long this will last I'm not sure but if I know myself , I will pick up where I left off in the morning .
   Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Red Delicious

   Pushing the grocery cart through the aisles at the fruit market , I look for sales . Coming upon the apple stands , I spot the most beautiful Red Delicious Apple ever ! An apple we all have seen in the hands of the Evil , Wicked Stepmother of Snow White . In those movies , the apple is perfectly shaped  and unmarred in any way . The color red is a red that only exists in the movies . . . . . until this morning .
  Picking up the apple , I turn it over in my hands , admiring it from all angles . The beauty .  . . . the color  . . . the smooth , shiny texture . I've never seen one like this before . I'm completely enthralled by what I see .
     Now , these apples  sit in my bowl upon my kitchen table , I somehow , can't bring myself to eat them just yet . I want to admire them awhile longer . I wish I had them two weeks ago when I taught my Creation lesson . What a perfect example of what God can create .
   The Creation . . . . .one of the easiest lessons . . . . God created everything that is good . He created this beautiful , perfect apple and yet , it sat there unnoticed by anyone . 
   In this world , we only see the bad and forget all the " good " that is out there . A great cup of coffee , a perfect sunset , a beautiful flower . Did anyone notice today God's beauty around us ? All here for us to enjoy and take pleasure in . Believe me , it took cancer to invade my body and my life before I took the time to notice this beautiful world God created for us .
    Even at my work , a place where I struggle so much , I look up in the parking lot and see the most gorgeous sunrise  in beautiful shades of reds . Thank you , Jesus , for a little splash of color on a dreary night .
    Have a Blessed and admiring week everyone .

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The " Louds "

     We have new neighbors that just moved in two weeks ago . Just like the others , we have given them a nickname . We call them the
" Louds ". They are a family of four with a grade school level child and a small infant . We call them " louds " because that's just what they are . . . .. loud .
     All hours of the day and night , they are forever banging around above us . It makes no difference if it's 3 p.m. or 3 a.m. They make sure they are heard .
     Their belongings are left carelessly in the hallways and outside . They use two parking spots instead of one . They leave the doors open , even at night . Their bicycles block our storage units and doorways . They are the Louds Family .
    Emily considers them rude and inconsiderate of others . I just smile . You just have to admire their sense of freedom at doing whatever they want whenever they feel like it . Free spirited beings .
    Imagine , sleeping in or just staying in bed all day  long . You eat whatever you want without worrying how many calories you put on . No worries , no problems . You want to hang out the window and scream for no reason ? Go ahead . Freedom .Who wouldn't want all that ? ! The freedom of living your life without consequences .
    I'm thinking all this as I prepare to work overtime on a Saturday  night . I feel restricted to duty, to responsibility , to my boss and to my family . Deep down inside , we all want to be that child stomping around upstairs .
    It's only natural , we end up disliking or grumbling about people with their outlook in life . I don't want to end up muttering under my breath because of their inconsiderate ways . What good would that do ? I'm sure they feel their behavior is normal and not irksome to anyone .
     My ways may be bothersome to others here . The way I burst out laughing . . . .loudly . The way our front door gets stuck sometimes and we have to slam it shut to close . Or , like Emily says , my loud typing may have people's jaws clenched in irritation .
   I need to see the humor in all of this because I ,  definitely , do not want to become embroiled with bitterness due to these people's indifference . So , as I walk into the hallway , I will pick up the broken shards from a glass laying there . I will shut the doors and I will move the bikes when I'm passing through .
   But . . . . . .I will not feel frustration , impatience , anger nor let it ruin my day because of anyone's actions that don't hold up to my standards . That only turns to hate and I don't want to hate . The next time , your neighbor sets your teeth on edge . . . . . remember . . . . . love them back . Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Saturday, September 15, 2012

And The Nominations Are . . .. .

   There has been a rare opportunity at work for three positions that are open . Yes , three . It's a rarity , for sure . Things like this just don't happen very often by my work . Recognizing that , people have been applying left and right . I'm one of those people .
    All last night , people were comparing their acheivements on who was better , who was their competition , who didn't stand a chance , who was in the running .
   Off in the corner , working quietly , was a fellow co-worker of mine who is applying for the same position as I , but in a different department . She was worried that her achievements might not be enough or better than the rest . She was worried she would not get this promotion .
    I can understand her worry . Just because we are Christians doesn't mean everything is handed down to us because we
 " believe ". Just because I pray for something doesn't mean I will get it . We are placed where we are for a reason and this may not be the " place " for us .
    For that reason alone I choose to be quiet about it .  I don't want to get excited or vocal claiming what I may believe is a right job for me . Everyone keeps asking if I applied  or if I even want it . I shrug them off with a nonchalant comment and quietly walk away .
   To be honest , I'm not sure myself . If you have been following my blog , you know how unhappy I have been at work . . . . with management in particular . So why did I apply ? Because , off in the corner of my mind , I can hear my Pastor's sermon on this particular topic . We are placed where we are for a reason , even if this place isn't as grand as we may want it . He can see the whole picture where we only see the now .
   There is something " here " , I just can' t see it now . My job is important . Your job is important . All our jobs are important . As unhappy as I may be now , I do believe there is a rainbow at the end here . Maybe , there will be new management , more recognition or more money . Whatever it may be , there is that little something inside telling me to stick it out and stick it out I will .
   Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Friday, September 14, 2012

And The Story Unfolds

      I awoke this morning to a banging and clanking  from somewhere in my building . Looking out the kitchen window , I saw a huge dumpster parked right in front . They were cleaning out the nasty , smelling apartment .. . . . .finally .
      They  didn't come right away , instead , the odor reached the hallways right with  the flies . It was nasty and I felt disappointed in managements lack of a quick response . There is the legal side , I guess , to consider . That smell will take awhile to clear out .
      There were no dead bodies in the apartment , to the disappointment  of the other tenants . There was no scandal , so they made one up for themselves .
       " These people were in the witness protection " or " They were on the run from the police " or " they were laying in the ditch somewhere " . No one wanted to believe they just simply left .
        Maybe , the other tenants are right . Everytime , I go into the laundry room , I see the boys tricycles , their strollers , their high chairs . People just don't  leave such things behind . You can leave some unwanted furniture or drapes or even some clothes but never your children's things .
         I have no idea what happened to them . Their clothes and things were strewn all over the apartment . Some suitcases were opened but left behind . Seems like they left in a hurry . Whatever happened , I do pray that they are safe .
          As to the apartment , it's getting a total remodel . New neighbors will move in . A new story will begin . New people to befriend . This is how life works . It all comes down to what kind of story do you want to live . I hope you choose the right one for yourself . Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Choosing Wrong

        My building stands on a corner with a STOP sign . Throughout the day , I will hear and see all sorts of hand gestures , angry outbursts and obscenities from everyday people . People that we see at the corner store , gas station , schools and even at Church . There have been times , when the drivers would get out of their  cars and confront each other  . And it wasn't always , man vs. man , either , or young vs. young .
       One day , Emily and I will see an accident because of that STOP sign . People are so impatient , so rushed , so angry of something so minor . Can you imagine if it was something major ?  Maybe that STOP sign means more than stop your vehicle . Maybe , it should mean stopping and taking stock of ourselves .
     After picking up Emily's glasses , we did some errands . These simple errands , consisting of pumping gas and picking up some cleaning supplies , took us over an hour and a half . On the way home , we hit traffic and a train . Why does it take so long to get where we 're going ? I definitely can understand people's frustrations . I was frustrated myself , especially since having a need to go to the bathroom .
    As I sit beside my window , at my computer and witness these episodes , I wonder if I am like these people . How many times have I beeped my horn out of frustration because they didn't move fast enough for me ? How many times have I become impatient with someone because they made a mistake ? Yes , a mistake . Not too long ago , I had an accident where I blew the red light . I can't even explain why that happened . That was a real mistake . I think I did hear a horn beep then .. . . .
     We know the difference between right and wrong . . . . . yet , we choose wrong most of the time . Why do we do that ? We are aware of the consequences , but honestly , we think that no one will see or know . We can slip right through those small cracks .
      It all goes back to Adam and Eve and that darn apple . They had everything yet they chose wrong . They thought they could slip through the cracks and no one would know . But He knew .
     It 's the same here , at my STOP sign . We yell , we scream , we use hand gestures all because someone is cautious and wants to be safe . We feel like we can do that because what are the chances of us ever seeing that person again . There's a trick that I try to use as a reminder to be on my best behavior . I try to imagine what would
happen if this same person , who is witnessing my bad behavior , walks into Sunday School the following Sunday with their child and sees me . What do you think their opinion of me would be ? As a person  and as a fellow Christian . You think they would feel safe to trust their child to me ? I think not . Or maybe , they would be embarrassed that I witnessed their bad behavior .
     Have a Blessed week everyone and try to be nice to each other . And . . . . . .if  you see ME doing all of the above  , try to pretend I'm not there . HAHAHA, sorry .

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What I Know Is True

   What do I know that is true ? I know that God showers His love and forgiveness upon me . I know He will always provide for me whatever I need . I know He sent His only Son to die on the Cross for me . I know I will go to Heaven one day to be there with Him .
    What do I know that is true ? I know I will always have cancer . I also know the dark shadow of death will chase after me . I know this disease will shape my future . Having this cancer also brought alot of good things in my life .
     What do I know that is true ? I know my children love and respect me  , but most of all , they like me . I know they care what I think and what I do . I know they love spending time with me . I know I will leave a little bit of myself in them . I know they will mourne me after I'm gone .
    What do I know that is true ? I know that I am good at my job . I care about doing the best that I can not just for myself but the people around me . I like the challenging part of my job but not the management . I know I would not be devastated if the facility closed down . I know I make good money doing what I do but I'm not happy there .
   What do I know that is true ? I know that people are generally good hearted but are afraid to show  it in case it makes them look weak or taken advantaged of  . I know that in time of tragedy people come together to help one another . I know people know the difference between right and wrong but choose to do wrong .
     What do I know that is true ? I know it's time for me to get ready for work or I'll be late . I know it's time for you to ask yourself , " What do you know that is true in your life ? "

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Missing In Action

   On a Friday , at about 7 pm. , Police came knocking at my door . It seems that one of my neighbors has gone missing . Actually , it was a family of four . A wife , a father and two small toddler boys . No one has seen them for over a week . Their van has been gone from the parking lot . Yet , their bikes , strollers and a red wagon were still in the laundry room .
   That's not what brought the police knocking on our doors . The family living below them in the basement has been smelling an odor . Flies were coming through their vents . All of that plus the missing family living above them . . . . well , they made their own conclusions . They called the police and the management company , voicing their concerns .
  After bringing all of us tenants into the hallway , it was discovered that we all had experienced a fly problem . Unlocking the door proved to be difficult , taking an entire twenty minutes . The  minute the door was opened a stench came pouring out . It was dark , equipped with only a flashlight , the manager went inside .
   The place was filthy , with at least  200 flies on the walls and maggots on the floor . It was littered  with clothes and garbage strewn everywhere as if someone left in a hurry or was ransacked . A walk-through of the apartment found no bodies laying around in plain sight .
   The police could not go in because there was no justifiable cause . Apparently , if a tenant has paid his rent , no one can go in until the month is over . Whether or not these tenants were paid up for the month , I'm not sure . The manager was the only one who could enter . The place was locked again and a man brought to fumagate the hallways until a cleaning crew could come in to clean the place up .
   What has happened to that family ? I'm not sure . I thought about them all weekend , expecting them to come home any minute . They were not filthy people . We didn't have flies and a smell before . Something happened in that apartment and that something wasn't good .
   I thought about the first time we met . They were the first family to welcome us into the building . Emily would bake treats for the kids and all four of them would come over to thank her . The mother would take her two boys for a walk every evening after 6 pm. either in the wagon or the stroller . They were good people or they seemed to be .
   Garbage strewn around could not produce so many flies and so many maggots . I don't have any idea what was in there to have caused that to happen . A real mystery here . A mystery , I hope we can solve . Take care of yourself , everyone .
  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My First Time

   It was right after my first remission that a family friend was diagnosed with cancer . Walking into the hospital brought on  a wave of nostalgic memories . Some good  and some not so good . I came , carrying a bag of bagels , muffins and a gallon of coffee . I knew that his family haven't left his side to eat or sleep since his arrival . This , I knew  from my own experience .
   Inside , everyone was laughing and chatting in a strained sort of way , especially the patient . As I laid out the food , no one needed to be coaxed to eat as they suddenly  remembered how hungry they really were .
    I'll never forget how chatty the patient was , relating joke after joke , story after story . Regular life of the party . Or so he wanted to appear like that . In a few days , his surgery was scheduled to remove the tumor on his colon . He had colon cancer , stage 4 . I didn't know it was the last time I would see him so "alive ".
    After his surgery , I came by again to offer my support . When they opened him up , they saw that his cancer spread all over and there was nothing they could do for him . They gave him no more than three weeks . The family was devastated .
   When I looked at him , laying there , moaning in pure agony . . . . gone was the man filled with jokes . Gone was the chatty life of the party . He laid there , with tears streaming down his face , not recognizing anyone . Not even aware of people sitting by his side .
He died under two weeks later . It was a slow , painful death that medication could not numb .
    That was my first death from cancer that I've experienced . This is how I was going to die . In a blink , this personable man was gone and replaced by a shell wriggling from pain . No one deserves to die this way .
   Everytime , I hear of someone diagnosed with cancer , I think of our family friend . I don't remember him because I feel like everyone is doomed to die , I do that because  I am reminded of the ugliness of cancer . The dark side that no one wants to talk about . The side that people whisper about . When I was first diagnosed , I didn't realize the seriousness of this disease and the effects it would have on me  and my family .
   Cancer is a struggle , a fight , a war . Not everyone makes it . Those that do are wounded and  changed forever . Our lives can be over so quickly . Some of us aren't prepared for what comes after . How do you want to spend the time you have here ? How do you want to spend the time after you die ?

FAILURE

    Emily walked into my bedroom holding a pair of broken prescription glasses - hers . For a moment , a series of flashbacks dominated my brain . How many times have I seen this episode ?
   All she could think about was the cost of those glasses and how much it will set us back .  For the rest of the evening , she felt ridden with guilt , a complete failure . Of course , to me , it was pure nonsense because accidents happen .
   Failure has a way of ruining our good moods . It can knock out any sense of accomplishment and security that we have . This week , an opportunity at work has presented itself for a new position with more money and recognition . Am I qualified ? You better believe it . So what is the problem ? Me and my fear of failure .
   What if I don't pass the interview ? The math and the english test ? What if I don't get it ? No one likes to lose , especially me . No one wants to fail , least of all me . Nerves have set in and a fear of failure loom over me .
    Sunday is here and  a new year is before us . A new year with a new curriculum and a new set of volunteers . New volunteers that have never seen me with these children , let alone teach them . There is that failure fear again . I'm teaching a lesson I have taught now for the 4th time  . How silly is that fear !
   But ....there is the Holy Spirit whispering in my ear . Our failures are what give us the the opportunity to see God working and know His loving touch . The more you develop in Faith , the more you'll begin to realize who you are in Christ .
   Have a Blessed Week everyone .
   

Saturday, September 8, 2012

His Infinite Grace

    What a glorious day ! Looking out my opened windows ( yes , opened ) enjoying the breeze , I can't help but smile . What a difference one week can make . Was it only last week , a mere few days , that I was ready to bite everyone's head off ? Imagine what a few days rest can do for a person's sanity .
   God is so good to me . I'm amazed at His forgiveness and His patience  with me . Not only has He provided a very relaxing three day weekend for me , but allowed an opportunity at work last night for me to come home a whole five hours early . That's not all , though . I also have the apartment all to myself since Emily is at a birthday party . Didn't have to make supper , either . Can it get any better than this ?
    My blog , my e-mails , my lessons all caught up . My errands are done and the house is clean . I'm finally ahead of the game . I couldn't ask for anything more .
   When times are good , we seem to forget just how good we really have it . It takes an awful week or day for us to realize how merciful God really is . This week He has shown me that no matter how bad things may seem there is light at the end of the tunnel , we just have to keep believing and perservering .
   Charles Stanley once gave a great example : Here we are struggling , thinking we simply can't go on another minute and then there is God at the end of that dark tunnel coaxing us to keep moving toward the light  ( smiling the whole way ) .......the light being Him .
    Last week was so horrible . I felt like my whole head would explode . He provided the rest and here I am . Thank you , Jesus , for all you do for me . Have a Blessed Week everyone .
 
 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Remembering The Day

 " What's that guy's name ? The one dancing over there ? "
 " That's Doug ," I said .
" He looks great and happy ."
" Of course , the first time , you love life and are glad to be alive . The second time , you're like , CRAP ! It happened again ."
     That last part was said by me as I watched the third member of our little cancer group dancing with the bride . That was a conversation I had with my nephew-in-law at a Wedding I went to this weekend .
    I have a feeling I'm going to be very reflective this month . It will be a year since my diagnosis of the return of my cancer . My tests are coming up this month just as last year and I'm a little nervous . Don't want a three-peat performance .
    Trying to imagine my emotions upon the " third time " and I can't . What would it be like ? What would I be feeling ? It's morbid , I know , but I'm human and the feelings are there . It's easy to say , just don't think about it .
   So what has our little group been up to ? Well , Doug looks great . He looks very happy being a husband and father , glad to be alive . You could just see the gratitude , respect and desire he has for life and God . Watching him interact with his three children warms your heart . You could see the love he holds for his family .
    Linda , has gone off with her husband fishing . Not sure if her current treatment is working but she decided to do what her hubby and her love best.....fish . I just smile everytime I think of Linda as an angler . I've never met anyone who held such a twinkle in her eyes as Linda when she smiles .
    Me ? Well , you know , I'm not very happy at work  but otherwise my cancer is asleep for now . I have to say that my summer was wonderful but now that the anniversary is coming up I've become tense .  My knee has been acting up all over again and I've been exercising it to relieve some of the pain .
   Other than that , I find that I miss the " littles " very much . Eversince , our vacation ,  I find myself thinking about  them all the time . I wish we could live closer . My favorite , heart warming  memory is of waking up early , drinking a cup of bad coffee out on the patio , watching the ducks swim in the lake. The " littles " would peek from under their covers waiting for me to sneak onto the patio . Before you could even blink , they were right behind me , ready to face the day with a game of skippo . That is a memory I will hold with me forever .
    I think we are moving on with our lives trying to keep all the memories of the past at bay . It's okay to think about it but not relive it . Have a Blessed Week everyone .
 
  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Rightful Bucket List

   A few months back , I shared my bucket list with all of you . I even crossed off a few things . Then my bucket list just sort of "froze " . It seems it will take awhile until I'm able to cross off the things on my bucket list . I still want to accomplish them but it's taking alot slower than I thought . In the movies , people cross them off like snapping their fingers .
   After reading Ann Voscamp's bucket list , my head hung in shame . Her list included giving thanks and helping others . What does mine include ? Mine is all about ME . My needs and my wants . How telling is that ?
    Oh , how I wish , I was at her level spiritually but I know I'm not there yet . No , I will not think this way . My shame and disappointment quickly disappeared . She is where she is and I can only look up to her . She is what I want to aspire to be . I will not diminish ( love that word and use it alot ) what I have achieved so far . My Joe is a therapist and I've had free therapy whether I wanted it or not .
   Whenever , I spoke to Joe about a problem and I would start comparing to the other person , he would say . . .. .
   " I don't want to hear about their life , I want to hear about yours . Stop comparing yourself to them . You're only looking for failure that way ."
    ......And he is right . My bucket list is what it is because of where I am at right now . It will change as I change not because someone made me change . My list , of course , is different then hers because it is mine . It represents me  and who I am . That sounds good , doesn't it ?
  Have a Blessed Week everyone .
 
 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Detergent Commercial

   Remember those 50's commercials where everyone looked perfect and dressed perfect . Not a hair out of place . It showed an immaculate housewife doing laundry . Everything was just perfect . Even her whites were glow in the dark white ! Unfortuantely , that kind of life doesn't exist . Or maybe , it's fortunate . It might become boring .
   Everyone's life seems so much better than the one we are leading right now . Even I need a small reminder of what I have . I'm sure there are people who think my life is something to be jealous of and may wish it for themselves . I know I look at others and think that way .
   I've read a sign at a church once that said " There's no need to keep up with the Jones's when you are keeping company with Jesus ."
    When I was young one of my favorite sayings used to be " I never want to go back because I wouldn't be who I am today ". The older I get , the more I believe that . I definitely don't want to go back and relive my life . . . . even the mistakes and failures .
    My life may not be the detergent commercial nor anyone's fantasy , but all of that made me who I am today . These experiences shaped me  as an individual , why would I want to change them ? I've always said having cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me . It made me take a long hard look at my life and make the necessary changes .
   Yes , there are times that I wish I had made a better , wiser decisions in my life . Yes , I have many regrets , like that blind date that I should have seen again , but it made me appreciate what I have now . So as I watch my friends live out their dreams , I know my time will come to live out mine .
   By the way , I've always hated whites . They are so hard to keep clean .

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Come Rest With Me

 After having such a meltdown last week , it felt glorious to be able to just do nothing but rest . This three day weekend was exactly what this tired old mind and body needed .
  " Come rest in my arms , I will give you new strength "
  I found that written down on a yellow memo stickie among my papers . I don't remember the story behind that little note to myself nor when it happened . Maybe , the real reason was that I could find it weeks or months later to boost me up .
   It doesn't matter because I really did rest . Not only did I go to a Wedding and the Grand Opening Carnival for Sunday School , but spent some time cleaning up loose ends at home . I caught up on things that were getting lost in the " to do " pile . I read my devotionals and I did my laundry .
  I de-stressed in the tub with a glass of wine and listened to music . I watched Agatha Christie and laughed with Hercule Poirot . I crocheted my little heart out and ate takeout . Not one time did I think about work . I had a great three day weekend .
     " Come rest in my arms , I will give you new strength "
  As I sit and write my blog , I remembered how stressed and tense I felt Saturday morning when I came home from work . How I never thought I would be able to relax from all that tension . I could feel all that anger vibrating off me .
    " Come rest in my arms , I will give you new strength "
  I am ready for what the new week holds . I've rested . Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Monday, September 3, 2012

Two Scoops Of Oatmeal

  It's  funny how our lives change when we hit middle age . Almost overnight , our world goes topsy curvy and we look in the mirror and don't even recognize what we see  reflected . Who is this person ? Everything in our lives changes . For some of us , our children have grown up and we become empty-nesters . For the first time in many years we can use the bathroom alone .
  My middles years have been spent fighting cancer . It was this month ( September ) last year that I first found out my cancer came back . Having just finished going through my regular testing , they came back not very positive . My cancer has awoken and started growing again .
   I remember , sitting with my chemo nurse , Maria ,  going over all the details . I asked her if I would be receiving steroids again . I didn't want to since I gain weight and become bloated with them . She smiled up at me . It's not just the steroids that make me gain weight .
  " Honey , you hit your 40's , got cancer twice , go through a hysterectomy and a forced menopause , all your treatments and surgeries . Your poor hormones are messed up ."
   It's not just the steroids , it's also middle age . Yes , I have entered middle age . This should be the best time of my life . That's how we look at the middle years when we are young . Our children should be gone by then . Our finances improve and become healthy and steady . We become finally free to enjoy what we always wanted to do but couldn't .
   Funny , but they don't end up being just like that . We gain weight after going through some major hormone influctions . We become depressed with the gain . After being a wife and mother all these years , we forget who we are , so therefore , we experience a life crisis . We spend all our savings putting our children through college and  marrying them off so they can start right in life .
   So ...... here I am , 47 years old . I had to completely change my lifestyle after cancer which I did gladly . I don't regret the fruits and veggies lifestyle because I do feel much better with it . BUT to be told that my cholestrol needs to come down when I have given up so much already .....well , that really upsets me .
  So this long-awaited 40's lifestyle has been a total bust . I feel like a senior citizen eating my bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and a bowl before work . This is what my life has come down to . . . . . two scoops of oatmeal .
  Last night , at a wedding , I had some pop . I can't even remember what year it was when I last had pop . All the way home , my body revolted against that pop and I had gas . Just hand me a cane and a walker . I already crochet . A poster child for the elderly . Not that there's anything wrong with the elderly .
  It won't stop me , though . I still plan to live out my life . I may not be running , but I can waddle . Yes , waddle . We have that certain walk that looks like a waddle because our joints hurt and squeak when we get up . . . . so we waddle . Right now , I plan on waddling to do some laundry . Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Desperate Lives

    This week hasn't really been my "crowning glory ". In fact , it's been more of my " hall of shame ". It seems some demon has possessed my body . I 'm so full of anger but most of all , I'm so very tired . . . . . . not just physically tired but tired of everything . The two seem to go hand in hand . I've desperately been needing this three day weekend .
    What's even more embarrassing is the fact that my blog has become a sort of  venting vessel for my anger . Who wants to read a whole bunch of nagging and complaining blogs . No one . I have become my own worst enemy . I have become a negative nag .  
     Even at work , I would stomp around like a toddler having a tantrum . That irksome person whom I 've sworn that I would love ? Well , I hated her  .
     Last week , as a Christian , I have failed . Has that ever happened to any of you ? Have you ever had a week where you wish you could erase ?
    When you know you have done wrong , you have to set it right . Just thinking about my behavior last week makes me squirm inside . I wonder what everyone thought of me . On the other hand , I don't want to know .
     Since I do have the Holy Spirit inside me , I feel very badly . Thank goodness , I have these three days to get over my shameful behavior and on Tuesday , when I go back to work , my head won't hang too low . At least , I hope not . The floors at work are always dirty .
    So let's wipe the slate clean and start over . I'm so glad that God's love for me allows me to start over . So , let's truly have a Blessed Week everyone .
P.S.
      I apologize for all the negative blogs . At least , you only had to read about my week not see it .

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Stolen Joy

  Whenever , I think back to the beginning of my cancer , I always think of JOY . Yes , joy . The year of my cancer and the year after  was probably the most meaningful time of my life . That was the time when I decided to completely change how I live my life . The beginning of anything new is always great . The expectations are high and the rewards equally so .
   Now that time has gone by , I feel different . My second bout with cancer was a shock and that maybe why there is no joy afterwards . The " why " I feel misplaced , out of joint and out of place . I've been feeling lost . It's not anger at the situation , it's something else . The " else " that I can't explain or find .
  I do know it's not spiritual . I have grown in my faith and my relationship with the Lord . So , if it's not spiritual , then what is it ?
   Who am I fighting ? Maybe , I'm fighting myself . Maybe , things aren't moving fast enough to my liking . Yet , another friend who is leaving to live out her dream and I'm still here waiting for my "time" to happen . This fear of mine that time is running out is really irrational . If it does run out , it won't matter because of where I'm going . It only matters here on earth .
   Whatever , it may be , I know I have to learn to wait . I'm always out there looking for answers and sometimes , I should just do what my favorite verse in the Bible says :
      " Be still and know I am God "
    Being still is so hard for me , especially now . I have noticed that about myself this time around . It seems that all I do lately is compare myself between the two times I have had cancer . Comparing the first and second times . Why am I doing that ? My life isn't a 30 minute  sitcom where all the problems or life's questions are answered by the end of this blog . It doesn't have to be answered .
   We make life so complicated for ourselves . How do I undo all of that stress ? How do I bring back my JOY ? You know the answer .
           " Be still and know I am God "
    Have a Blessed , Joyful Week everyone .

Yarn Bombing My Life

                            Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey. Some murmur if their sky is clear, And wholly bright ...