Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Be Still My Heart

I love looking out my window Sunday mornings . Probably the only time during the week where the world is still . No one is about . Everyone sleeping in or lounging about  relaxing on Sabbath morning .
There is something special about this time of morning , a time that one looks forward to all week . I want to be still like that , not just at home or Church , but at work , too . Why can't I incorporate some of that quiet and stillness at work ?

It seems the devil runs rampart at work  causing so much discord . You could walk in smiling but you will leave grumpy . Is it because there are so many people under one roof ? So many different faiths or none at all ? How I wish I could change that atmosphere .

Yes , by my work , jealousy exists and anger , too . Hatred of authority , disillusionment in life , troubled relationships and judgmental ideals working side by side among these people . How do we change all that ? I really don't know .

Every night , as I walk in the parking lot towards the building , I recite....
Lord , let every word I speak and every action I make be a reflection of you .
Sometimes , I succeed and sometimes I don't . During the week I long for the stillness of that Sunday morning where there are no angry words or actions towards each other . Instead , a peacefulness exists as the world turns , but the people in it stand still and quiet basking in the silence . . . . . until Monday morning .

What happens to us when we are at work ? I'm sure we are nothing like that at home or within our personal time . Is it because we can control our private life but not our work life ? It's almost as if we become two separate people : the one at work and the one at play .

 How do I want to change the world ? I want us to be nicer to each other . Where everyone will treat each other with love and respect . Is that so much to ask ?
Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

God Moments Of My Life Pt.7

When we were looking for our apartment , we made a list of what we wanted .  The things that really mattered in finding  a place to live .
1. parking
               I wanted my own parking since that was one of the hassles of where we were living at that time .
2. 1st floor
               We didn't want the basement and definitely not the higher stories . Who wants to carry furniture or bags of groceries three flights of stairs ? The basement ? We didn't want to worry about flooding .
3. price range
                   We set a limit and didn't plan on going over it . Our goal was in trying to save money .

We made a list and then we prayed about it . When I started looking  , I wrote down three addresses . I looked at the last two first  and didn't like any of them . Pulling up to the first address , I automatically checked off the first item on my list . Then the second and the third , in that order exactly .

It seems that the first address I wrote down was the place for us . Not only was that an answered prayer but also a God Moment . This concludes our series of God Moments for now . Hope you notice all of yours and be thankful for them .
Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Down Memory Lane

Five years ago , I sat in a pew at our Church for the first time with my niece , Kathy . It was the Grand Opening of an old Church under new leadership . They sent out these little postcards announcing the re-launch and Kathy received one in her mailbox . I just got home from one of my many hospital visits back then . That was during my first bout with cancer . That first time was very bleak , my friends . I have no idea how I survived it .

Weighing a little under a hundred pounds , my body resembled a skeleton , like the Jews from a concentration camp . I had no  shape . I remember stuffing my bra with wash cloths so I wouldn't look like a board . The same for my bottom .

Today , with my niece sitting beside me , our Church is planning another re-launch with a new Pastor at the helm . New postcards are passed out . Kathy and I look at each other and smile . We were here then and we are here now . I had cancer then and I have cancer now .

Walking home with Emily , we passed out these postcards , leaving them in people's mailboxes and on the cars . Our life has changed drastically in the last five years , the funny thing is , I only remember the positive changes that cancer brought into my life . I wouldn't change anything .

Recently , a friend asked me why I thought I was here . I have no idea . I see young people dying and I ask God that myself . Why am I here when the young are dying ? I have lived my life . My children are grown . Why their life instead of mine ? I don't have that answer .

As I passed out those postcards , I prayed that someone would be transformed by them the way I was . My life changed for the better no matter how hard that may be to believe .

Have a Blessed Week everyone .

All My Worldly Goods

An Estate Sale :  When I saw the notice , something leapt from the page - couch . I have been wanting to replace my futon in the living room for awhile now . Keeping my options open , I've looked at sales in stores for a brand new one and even an used one . I'm always looking for a bargain .

Never really been to an Estate Sale before , after reading the advertisement , something urged me to go to this one . My niece , Kathy , simply adores them so I asked her to join me .

Pulling up to the residence , we both admired the home's structure and outside appearance . Inside , the home looked like a remodel hasn't been done in the last 20-30 years . Yet , as I went from room to room , I fell in love with the home . It was badly need of work here , but the layout was beautiful . It just simply worked .

Walking from room to room , this person's treasures all laid out , being sold for a fraction of their worth . Eagerly , I searched for that couch because in my mind , I felt this was the reason I came here . I would find that couch that I have been searching for . When I did finally find it , it was a disappointment . The couch needed an overhaul just like the house itself .

I walked through that house twice , revisiting each room again and again , not really knowing what I was looking for at that point . In my hands I held two porcelain bowls , total worth - $ 3.00 . This person was selling all their priced possessions and all I could find was these two bowls .

Heading towards the cashier , I spotted a box on a recliner that wasn't there the other two times I passed through . Opening the box , I found a treasure . It was filled with the most intricate , artistic yarn I've ever seen . These types of yarn you only find in specialty stores . Digging deeper into the box , I pulled out unfinished work so beautiful , done in patterns I haven't seen before . This person was trully gifted and talented . I wanted this box no matter how much it cost .

Leaving , the cashier , thanked me for coming because the owner was a senior citizen in need of money . I came in looking to buy a couch and instead I walked out with someone's talent in my hands . This yarn is meant for something special . I don't know what I will use it for , but I know there is a project lined up for me and it involves this yarn . The couch will have to wait .
Have a Blessed Week  everyone .

Saturday, October 27, 2012

God Moments Of My Life Pt.6

                             There are God moments in our life that are so tiny and only last a second or two , yet they make a huge impact on our lives . We don't always recognize them for what they are . These are the everyday God moments when things just go right from beginning to end . We can't explain them , but they happen just the same .
                            We find money in an old purse or wallet that we didn't use for awhile . Or change on the sidewalk .
                             That perfect cup of coffee first thing in the morning that tastes so absolutely refreshing and is exactly what we needed .
                             A moment where our car breaks down a block from our house . Once , mine broke down just as I parked it right in front of my house .
                           A card from a friend comes in the mail just as you need a lift me up . Or a phone call offering a shoulder to cry on .
                           Moments like these satisfy our deep longing for knowing we are loved by someone . We all have that need to feel someone has our back . Our friends and family will come and go , but God is ever present . He is always there to pick us up even if we don't always love Him back . Who wouldn't want a friend like that ?
                           There are God moments all around us . Do you see them ? Do you acknowledge them ? Do you thank God for them ? Or do you not believe in them at all ? God is here and He is showering us with gifts every single day . Let's accept His invitation into His heart by opening up our heart to Him .
Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Ideal Life

Waking up , I stretched lazily , not wanting to get up . Mentally reciting a list of things I needed to accomplish caused an irritating frown . Ugggh ! Time to get up ! All I wanted to do is sleep in .

Stomping around the apartment , slamming cabinets , my mood turning foul by the minute . Muttering something about not enough time for anything , doing everything myself , no one helping me . . . . . . .I find Emily staring at me from the doorway . A feeling of shame overcomes me . No need to take out my grumpiness out on her . Time to start over . I smile across the room at her . She smiles back .

As I prepared supper , I thought of the ideal life I always wanted to live . I could picture myself living in the country , sleeping in , eating whatever I wanted , crocheting my slippers , reading my devotions . . . all in perfect solitude and ease . In this ideal life , there is no rushing , no schedules or deadlines . Does such a life exist ? Yes , it's called retirement .

As much as I would love to live a secluded life , God doesn't want any of us to be alone . We are meant to live among the people . We are here to comfort and encourage each other , even though , some of us , do quite the opposite . Then why do we keep wishing for the unrealistic things in life ? Maybe , we need a dream to keep us going , to keep us getting up every morning . We need to think that maybe , one day.......

So for now , I have schedules and deadlines to meet . People I need to see and laundry to do , among other things .

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Weekend Trip

This trip has been planned for months . Like I've said before , we do this every year for Emily's birthday . This time , my cancer , happened at the same time . We both looked at it as a sign from God to have this weekend getaway not just to celebrate her birthday , but also to spend some quiet time alone adjusting to the news .

Emily has a thing for hotels . People look at the sites and tours available , Emily wants to view all the hotels in the area . We like to book a different one each time . This hotel was alright . I liked especially the kitchenette where we could prepare our own meals . It looked almost like a one bedroom apartment . The problem : no pool and no hot tub .

We ended up on the 6th floor , which Emily loved . We had a race on who can reach our room first . She was taking the stairs and I was taking the elevator . Each of us were carrying two bags . Who do you think won ? It may seem obvious to you , but what if I told you that when the elevator opened on the 6th floor , there was  Emily breathing hard right by our door ! Stinker .

Another thing that is a tradition is the darn gym . She makes me work out on every machine there . As we were getting ready , I reached into my totebag for the gym shoes . Out came one left sandal and a right gym shoe . What in the world ....? I guess , in  rushing out the door , I grabbed the wrong shoes . They didn't even match . That didn't stop my demon coach from working me .

It felt good to get away where the phone never rang , where there was no internet or facebook . . . . just hanging out together  . Hanging out in seclusion from the everyday world .
Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In The Midst Of Suffering

In the midst of suffering we find JOY . Joy in the everyday things we take for granted .

The very first Bible Study I ever joined was with my girlfriend , Anna . We started our own with just the two of us . We would meet almost everyday . Our book was from the Women Of Faith series called " JOY " . Being new christians , we poured our hearts into it . We understood what JOY was and how it felt . Anna is living in Texas now . How I wish , my friend , was here with me  .

It seems , I have been searching for that JOY eversince my cancer came back the second time . Searching for it because I didn't want to have it disappear completely . I think I always knew deep down inside that this cancer would come back again and again . I needed to find it before it was too late . . . . before I never felt JOY again .

Everytime , I had a doctor appointment my heart would clench with fear . I would cancel appointments , sometimes , because if I didn't hear them say it , it couldn't possibly happen . I knew , my friends , I knew . I didn't want to face it . That's one of the reasons I cried so much last time . I basically threw a fit before God  like the child of His I am . He obviously , has some plans for me . There is no escaping this .

As I packed for my trip with Emily , I noticed that my yarn was twindling . I went through half the amount already . That's alot of yarn . I thought to myself , I don't have that much more to go before I run out . Arriving back from our weekend , I opened an e-mail from Joey .

" Mom , the radio station has two more bags of yarn for you ."

I just stared at the words , not believing what I was reading . I guess I am not done . He keeps providing for this slipper thing whether I like it or not . I picked one up and held it in my hands . It looks so ordinary , so basic , absolutely nothing grand or spectacular about this slipper . How could this simple thing mean anything to anyone ? He keeps providing . . . . . He wants me to continue . I keep crocheting . Something tells me there is JOY here somewhere . Maybe , I will find it .
Have a Blessed Week everyone .

      I got the promotion .

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cancer As A Lifestyle

Obviously , I can't call my blog , Enjoying The Journey : Second Time Around , anymore . We thought about the name change . I didn't want to keep calling it the third or fourth time .  Nor do I plan on updating the title everytime my cancer returns . Both of my kids offered up their ideas , but none of them seemed appropriate here . What can I name it that spells out to the reader exactly what this blog is all about ?

Cancer As A Lifestyle was born . I may not really love the title , but it explains clearly the new chapter that God is writing in my life . I honestly believe that God has been preparing me to accept cancer as my lifestyle . It will always be here . It is not going away . Deal with it , Lottie.

Do you know what my first thoughts were when the doctor told me the cancer was back ? I thought how I won't be able to enjoy my niece's red wine anymore . How my hair will never grow long . How I won't lose anymore weight . I will always look like this .
There is so much adjusting one has to do to live with cancer .
Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Monday, October 22, 2012

She Is The Roots

" I am the roots of this family and you are my branches ."

That is one of my mom's favorite sayings . She has always referred to herself as the roots in this family . Well , the roots has celebrated a milestone in her life . We , the family , have decided to throw a surprise birthday party for her .

Keeping a secret with so many people is not easy , but it's even harder trying to make decisions regarding the party . With so many scheduling issues , setting a date is almost impossible .

My mom has always been a family - oriented person . To her , family is everything . She cannot go a day without calling all of us . So what kind of gift do you give to someone like that ? An afternoon spent with her loved ones  .  

I wish I could describe the look on her face when she walked into the restaurant and saw all of us there to celebrate her birthday . Folks , there is nothing we could have given her materistically that would have meant more to her than our time . That's the perfect birthday present . . . . time .

So , don't forget about the people in your life , even the family members that irk you the most . Our time here is so limited . Let's live it without regrets .

By the way , the birthday cake had our family tree on it with all of our names . She totally loved it . She is the roots and we are the branches !
Have a Blessed Week everyone .

How Are You Feeling ?

I love coming home after spending some time away . No matter how lovely you're time was , it always feels great to sleep in your own bed surrounded by your own mess .

I slept all afternoon and evening . The phone kept ringing , I just didn't feel like talking . Opening up my e-mails to find dozens of Get Well wishes .

How are you feeling ? How is Emily ?

I am feeling numb , basically nothing . It's funny , how calm I can be . There are no tears or words of anger . I'm completely still . Quite honestly ,  what should I be feeling ? In the past 6 years , I have changed my life in every way possible .The type of foods I eat , the people I surround myself with , my goals and ambitions , my choice to live healthy , spiritually choosing to be closer to God  and I even moved  residence . What more could I have done ? I have changed everything . I have done everything . There is nothing more to do .

Be still and know I am God

As I started this journey six years ago , all I wanted is to develop spiritually in a way where there was complete trust in God . Well , it seems I have come full circle . So how do I feel ? I feel calm because there is nothing I can do but trully trust Him .

So yes , we came home to our mess , to our bag of troubles  . Yes , we are scared and quite frankly , who wouldn't be ? Yes , there will be changes , a whole lot of changes . Are we ready for it ? Am I ready for it ? Yes , I am . I am ready to be God's vessel . Let His will be done .
Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Commercial Break

During a commercial break we are able to get a snack or go to the bathroom before the movie comes back on . On cable , the commercials are even longer . You probably could do both then . Emily and I are on a cable commercial break this weekend . Every year on her birthday we go away for the weekend to celebrate . This year , God seemed to plan my cancer return to occur at the same time . He must have known how much we needed to get away to absorb this new development . We will be back tomorrow night , but until then we are enjoying this commercial break . Have a great night everyone .

Friday, October 19, 2012

Things Go Wrong

There was an old man , who confronted God about his troubled leg . He asked God if He could do something about the pain he was experiencing . God told him to place all of his troubles in a bag and bring it to Him so He could swap the old man's bag with someone else . The old man went home and placed all of his troubles in a bag and started his walk back to God . Along the way , he saw his neighbors , carrying  similiar bags . They  must be going to God with their own bag of troubles . The old man stopped and thought to himself : one neighbor had cancer , the other lost her family and the third was always in trouble with the law . He looked at his own bag and thought it wasn't as heavy of a burden as he thought . He turned around and went back home .

We all have heard one version or another of this same story . Things go wrong in life , my friends . We all have problems , we all have trials . Some of us choose the right path in dealing and others go deeper into the dark woods .

Recently , on my last doctor's visit , I found out that my cancer has come back .  As I start this new journey with an old friend , I ask for prayers for endurance and strength . I have no idea where this new chapter will lead me , but I know that as long as I follow Him , I will always end up in the right place .

Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Amidst The Solitude

Awakening to the faraway sound of children's voices , I realize I have overslept . The school bus drives away and so do the faint sounds of the children's chatter . That is the only sound . In the apartment , nothing but  silence echoes within these walls . All three of us are home ( Diamond counts ) and yet , everything is still .

Walking past Emily's room , I see her door is closed . She wants to be alone . A moment later , sipping my hot coffee , I realize how much we all need a quiet day to ourselves .

 For the rest of the day , it remains the same . Everyone is in their own corner amidst their own solitude . No company is needed but our own . No words are spoken nor any thoughts swimming about .

Being still is something we have no idea how to do . We have forgotten the simple pleasures of sitting down and enjoying one simple task . At this moment ,  that means enjoying my cup of coffee  in my pajamas .

Closing my eyes , I bask in the stillness of the day . I could feel my body relax and my mind set free of all thoughts . Thank you , Jesus , for this solitude . Looking out the window , I can see the leaves have turned their foilage to beautiful shades of browns , reds and yellows . As earth embarks on a new season , so do I . I have some news to share with you , but for now , I'ld  like to sip my  coffee amidst my solitude .

Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Midlife Crisis

Here I am , seven months since remission . It's hard to imagine it's been that long . It hasn't been an easy recovery . The physical difficulties are only to be expected , but the mental ones have been a total surprise .

The first time , I discovered how much I was loved . The second time , I 'm discovering who I am . This cancer is turning out to be my midlife crisis . While people would do drastic things during their midlife crisis , all I want is to avoid the drastic during mine .

My midlife crisis isn't about getting older or not living out my dreams .  My midlife crisis is all about the why . Why did this thing come back ? Why am I going through this again ? Over and over , that word " why " reverbrated through my mind  . That's what I've been doing this past year . . . . reliving the why .

I can't seem to get past all of that and get my joy back . That's what is missing this second time . . . . the joy of just living . A certain zest for everything that touches me .

For all of you who may be worried about me , don't be . I am not depressed . I know there is light at the end of this dark tunnel . I just hate the waiting . I wish I could change things , but I know I can't . There is some purpose here and I'm trying to discover  it . So when I start sounding like a stuck record , please be patient with me .

Five years ago , no one asked me how I felt about  anything and today I'm writing about those feelings . That is progress . This is my sounding board , my voice .

Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Preacher Am I

She sat on my bed quietly as I wrote my blog . I wasn't fooled for a minute . I knew she was taking in every word I was typing . Her young , sharp and alert eyes were making sure I only wrote good things about her .

" You're a preacher , mom ."

What ? Me ? There is one talent I definitely know I don't possess is evangelism . I'm in awe of people who can preach the word to a complete stranger verse and text . I always seem to know what to say a couple of days after being confronted . Me , a preacher ? No way .

" Aren't you telling people about God ? "

I guess I am . I'm telling people what God has done in my life . I'm a walking testimonial . I'm not a preacher .

That took place a good week ago and I'm still thinking about that conversation . I've never realized it , but she is right . The one thing that sticks out the most is the fact that I have alot of power .

Whether here or in the Children's Church , I have the power to influence people  . I want that influence to be a positive one  . I never want to lead someone astray .

We all hold that power within us . People notice how we act , what we think and how we say things . We  influence people with our everyday behavior . Let that influence lead people on the right path .

Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Baby On The Way

Standing in the aisle filled with yarn , I find myself looking for colors and textures fit for a baby . This yarn is not for the slippers but for a separate project that is pretty close to home . My Godson and his wife , Missy , are expecting their first child .

When they made their announcement a few months ago , everyone was surprised . No one was expecting to hear this type of news . They certainly kept their plans of starting a family a secret .

After their announcement , I looked at my Godson and I held back tears . He was all grown up . Married . Now , awaiting the birth of his first child . How monumental is that ? Life goes on . My chest swells with pride and I find myself thinking of all the things I wish I could tell him , but I know that he needs to experience this journey himself .

A moment like this is sacrilegious . In having this baby they are cementing their relationship as a couple . No matter what the future holds for them , they will be forever linked together as parents to this child . They are taking responsibility as parents to raise this child through both the good and bad times . It is a huge commitment and I'm very proud to see my Godson taking on this responsibility as a father and leader of his family .

I find myself very emotionally teary eyed as we await this new addition to our family . With every loop  and every stitch I make , I pray God Blesses this child with good health and wisdom as he or she comes into this world . Never have I made a blanket so filled with love as I do for this child . A child is a gift from God .

Have a Blessed Week everyone .

God Moments Of My Life Pt.5

There are God moments in our lives that cannot be explained . You can only stand in wonder and awe , knowing deep down inside you have just witnessed a miracle  .

                            Two cars collided in front of our building . Looking out the window , I could see it was exactly the kind of accident that I , myself , had a few months back . The dent was in exactly the same place . The offender blew a STOP sign where I blew a Red Light .
                            That's where the similarities ended . The fire truck came first , followed by the police , an ambulance , and a tow truck . They blocked off the street . An officer came out and put on a yellow vest and started directing traffic . All on a side street .
                              I couldn't believe what I was seeing . This is a side street and the speed of both these cars was much slower than my accident that happened at an intersection . Yet , this person was hurt and needed attention .
                              What was wrong with my accident ? Nothing . No bruises , bumps or sprains . No aches or pains of any kind . There was no tow truck , ambulance or fire truck , just the police . We walked away with only dented cars , not our bodies .That was nothing short of a miracle .
                              Not to mention just how nice everyone was that dealt with this accident . The policeman , the insurance agent and the couple that I hit . No one yelled or screamed at me , especially since I was at fault .
                              Now that is a God moment ! Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Praying Hands

 I've prayed all of my life . I've prayed when I was a Catholic and now as a Christian . Prayer has always been important to me . I cannot drive my car without saying a prayer of safety  and protection . Still , I have alot to learn about prayer and how to pray .

I want to be a professional prayer like the Pastors and Laymen in Churches . They pray as if on fire !They can pray at the drop of a hat . On demand , anytime and anyplace . When asked to pray , they pray a prayer that is paragraphs long and so very beautiful . It's like listening to a beautifully written poem  to God . Ask me to pray and I'll pray a couple of sentences , stuttering all the way .

Prayer is something people shy away from publicly . I can remember in my Women's Group whenever a member was asked to pray , there would be alot of " oh no , not me " or " I don't know how ". Yes , people shy away from public prayer . They don't deem themselves worthy or knowledgeable in prayer .

So how does one learn to pray ? I believe you should just keep praying out loud whenever you get a chance . I pray out loud while I drive in my car . I have to admit that I fight inadequate feelings all the time , especially if I'm around someone whom I consider to be a prayer breather !

In Sunday School , whenever I lead , I have the children lead us in prayer . I want them to start young so by the time they are adults they will feel comfortable breathing prayer . Doubt is the devil in disguise and we don't want him around .

Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Thursday, October 11, 2012

God Moments Of My Life Pt.4

  This story , I wrote about, but like many things in life there are layers and when we start peeling them . . . . well , you realize it's not really a story but a God moment . This is a God moment that belongs to a friend , but somehow , I ended up being used by God to help bring it to life . Oh , I wish I may , I wish I might , wish upon a star tonight . . . . .

                          This is the story of Linda . You all know my friend Linda and her struggle with cancer . I mention Linda quite often in my blog . This is more of a behind the scenes of a story I wrote regarding Linda .
                         A while back , our Pastor wrote a song in honor of us three among the congregation who have had cancer . Since Doug and I are in remission and Linda is not , this was meant to be more of special support for her . Linda was starting a new chemo that week and she might not make it to Church that Sunday . My job was to get her there without spoiling the surprise , even for a few minutes .
                       All week , I thought about the conversation I would have with her , trying to come up with some sort of reason to ask her to be there . I knew one thing , I didn't want to lie  to her . I finally decided on telling her that we wanted to pray for her as a Church . Her reaction threw me for a loop . She started to cry . You see , she has been praying , secretly , that the Pastor would pray over her and her family .
                       After hanging up with her , I couldn't help but feel that I was a vessel that God used to realize a God moment of Linda's . She prayed and God placed it in my head to bring it to life . It wasn't my idea after all .
                      That Sunday , Linda came with her wig all done up , wearing makeup . Her family was there with her , even the daughter that lives in Indiana made a special trip for this Blessing . Linda was so happy living out her very own God moment .
Have A Blessed Week everyone .

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Thorn From God

 A thorn is anything that irritates , nags and frustrates on a continuous level . It could be a person , a thing , a situation , a health issue .

I think we all have a thorn that forever digs deeply into our sides  and no matter how much we try , we just can't get that thorn out . In my situation , one clearly can assume it is my health . . . my cancer , but that is not my thorn .

For me , it is a person that I work with . For the last 15 years or so , I have been in different departments and shifts  and each time , somehow , my thorn would always end up with me .

She frustrates me , irritates me , angers me . I have felt every emotion concerning her , even jealousy . In the last five years , I have really tried to change all of that . I've tried to love her . For awhile , I actually thought I have succeeded . Everytime that I feel close to loving her , she does something immorally against all my principles where I retreat back to my old emotions regarding her .

Loving someone you clearly don't agree with is one of the most difficult things to do . For every step I make with her , I retreat three back . It's almost not her personality that I'm fighting with , but with satan . My girlfriend said that maybe we can't love them . That some people you just can't love . I don't want to believe that because I am a Christian and I believe in Jesus' love .

How do I love her ? I ask myself that everyday .This is a continuous battle I want to overcome . I don't need to become her best friend , I just don't want her to get a reaction out of me . For awhile there , I thought she would go to another shift and I was esctatic . Finally , I would be rid of her , but my thorn isn't going anywhere . Maybe , what I need to do is change my perception of her because , you see , these thorns are sent from God to help us learn .

A few years back , there was a couple who worked with me and he was physically abusive to her . If there is anything that I'm passionate about it's women beaters . I couldn't stand looking at this man . I refused to speak to him . I was so angry at his actions that I isolated him from my life . If I saw him coming , I would walk in the opposite direction .

Then one day , I thought to myself , how is my refusal to speak to him changing his behavior ? It isn't . It doesn't make him stop . It doesn't change his lifestyle at all . I decided that the best thing I could do for him is to pray that he changes his life and that's what I did . I prayed for him . They both no longer work here . I have no idea if he ever did change his life , but I like to think he did .

That's my point , you see . Maybe , I need to stop seeing all the things wrong with her . Stop trying to change her to be the way I want her to be . What I should be doing is praying that she becomes closer to God . That she develops a relationship with Him and He can work inside of her .

Easier said then done , I know , but it's worth a try because I do not want to be filled with hate . Eventually , that's what will happen to me regarding her . I need to do something . I have to love my neighbor .

Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Walk For Two

We were without a vehicle for the weekend . The truck being worked on by a mechanic friend  from work . Since Church was a mere 2 minutes in the car , we decided to walk instead of missing it altogether .

Yes , a mere 2 minutes in the car . I know it's two minutes because we timed it once . On foot , it took us 25 minutes . Why so long ? Well , someone is out of shape and it's not Emily .

Friends , my hip hurt . My calves hurt . The soles of my feet hurt . By the time we finally walked up the front steps of Church , my side hurt . I was out of breath and needed to sit down .

Walking back took longer than it took the first time . I moaned and groaned and panted all the way home like an old tired dog . When inside , I was barely able to take off my shoes because my feet hurt so bad . I plopped down on the bed , muttering something about getting a little rest before supper . A rest that ended up my sleeping until 8 p.m. that evening . I awoke to Emily standing in the doorway of my bedroom .

" My God , mom , it was just a little walk  . You were out cold the whole day ."

Whatever . I'm tired , I'm old and I'm overweight . Give me a break . So I can forget about the " jogging " part on my bucket list .
And how was your day ? 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sandwiched Like An Oreo

Rrrroarrrr ! Whirrr ! Slam ! Waaaa ! Beep ! Clank ! It was a symphony of sounds coming from all sides . There was no escaping the noise of the daytime hours . Being a night worker sure has it's downside  and I became painfully  aware of  it every morning as I laid down to sleep . Did I say sleep ? There wasn't much of it this week , more tossing and turning .

Usually , it doesn't bother me much , but somehow , this week I barely made it through . You could see it written all over my face especially with those dark circles under my eyes .

Receiving my mammogram results in the mail caused alot of my irritation . This is the second year in a row where I have to take another exam for further evaluation . Those breast exams hurt , but the further evaluation exams hurt like hell . I'm sure it means nothing and I'm not really worried , still who needs the aggravation .

Everytime , I put this cancer on a shelf to rest , it falls off and lands on my foot . Why doesn't it just sit there quietly while I live my life ?! There is always a reminder of that dreaded monkey on my back . Can't sweep anything under the rug here . Reality keeps popping up .

I'm sandwiched like an oreo trying to keep myself from being dunked in a glass of milk . I guess , I'm tired of fighting and just want to start living . Maybe , I'm really the one who is keeping that from happening . I'm expecting it to come back . I'm waiting for it to come back . That's the real problem here .

My doctor told me about one of her patients who upon finding out she has cancer , gave up her life here in Illinois and moved to Hawaii to live out the remainder of her life . She was there for five years waiting to die . She finally gave up and moved back home .

In a way , I have become that woman . I certainly didn't set out to do so , but it happened . Having experienced cancer twice now ,   has  made me aware of how fragile life really is . I don't want to feel sandwiched in without a way out , but then , the best part of an oreo is the middle .

Have a Blessed Week everyone .

The Sabbath Day

     You know , when I was 14 years old , I spent a month visiting my maternal grandparents in Poland . It is one of my fondest , dearest memory of my grandfather who passed away the following winter .
      During my stay with them , I noticed a tradition that we only read about but never practice . Every Saturday , there would be a flurry of activity outside the home . Everyone would be sweeping their pathways or weeding their gardens . Running around doing chores of all nature .
      Come Sunday , after Church , we would have a spectacular meal and afterwards , watch television in the living room . There would be no chores that needed to be done . No laborsome activity of any kind . The Sabbath was the Sabbath and we observed it .
     It's been many , many Sundays later . I have tried to observe the Sabbath as a day of complete rest . There have been times I've succeeded and some I have not .
     Lately , I have felt a need to honor God in some way . Usually , that would mean a fast of sorts but , I wanted it to be meaningful . I want to honor Him  by honoring the Sabbath .
    So here I am , on the eve of Sunday , doing all my chores and my errands . Tomorrow , I will go to Church like I do every Sunday . I will come home and make a good meal like I do every Sunday . Then I will rest , something I don't do every Sunday. Will you come rest with me ? Whatever you have that you feel needs to be done on Sunday , can you put it off until the next day ? Can we spend one day honoring Him ?
  Have a Blessed Sabbath everyone .

Saturday, October 6, 2012

God Moments Of My Life Pt.3

  There are God moments that are a total surprise . You didn't spend time mulling an idea over in your head asking God to show you the way . Instead , the idea just popped on it's own as if someone placed it there suddenly . Hmmmm , I wonder who. . ..

                           I never planned on getting Baptized as an adult . Never felt the need for it since I was Baptized as a child . I would look at other Christians taking the plunge and considered it beautiful and moving . . . . yet  . .. . . never thought about doing it . Funny , but Baptisms were always my favorite at church . People are so emotional when they come up from the water .
                          Sitting in the second pew , with my friend Anna sitting in the first one , I listened to the Pastor speak on Baptism . It was an ordinary Sunday and my mind wasn't full of anything but the sermon at Church . After the Pastor finished speaking , he held up pamphlets in the air on Baptism . He asked ,
       " Is there anyone here ready to take the next step in their relationship with the Lord ? "
                          In that moment , folks , something came over me and I had this intense desire to make that commitment for myself as an adult . I felt this need to start living completely dedicated to Christ , not halfway but 100 % dedicated .
                         Now , in my Church , it's not the Pastor who baptizes you  but a mentor of your choosing . So , I lean over to my friend Anna and I ask her ,
 " Anna , would you baptize me ? "
                         At one of our many meetings that we will have over the coming weeks , she confided in me  : At the same time as I made that decision ,  she also made one . She has been for many years in a bad relationship and has decided to finally end it . In her prayer , at that same moment , she asked God to find something to keep her busy  with so she wouldn't think about this man  .
                        There isn't anymore I can say . To this day , I'm still amazed how that happened to both of us . She remains my very best friend and my mentor .
 Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Friday, October 5, 2012

Here Comes Moses

    Moses : never have I related to anyone like I do to him . This second time around with cancer , has been about a discovery of who I am . I am alot like Moses . I constantly doubt myself . I'm not a great speaker , but I can write .
    This crocheting ministry of mine is a perfect example of the relationship between Moses and myself . I have a desire to do something good , something worthy . I get scared . I doubt myself . Who am I to accomplish anything ? What happens ? It gets shelved . Just like Moses , I get a push from God , to get moving .
 An idea pops into my head and I write about it .
         Too scared and doubtful of myself to do anything about it.
 God  sends friends with a basket of yarn to realize the idea .
          Called out publically and held accountable , I realize I have no clue how to crochet a slipper .
God provides an old friend of family to teach me .
   I practice over and over again how to make this slipper . After three variations , finally settling on one . Reality sets in , the cost of all that yarn....
God provides donations upon donations of yarn
   Looking at the piles of yarn , I panic and start to doubt on who would want my meager looking slippers .
God provides encouragement from friends , relatives , a radio interview , letters , emails .
   Friends , I fight doubt and insecurities all the time , especially now . Sometimes , I sit and look at all the slippers I have made and think to myself , who on earth would want these . I feel He is pushing me to finish this thing .
  So , like Moses , I plod into the unknown , hoping it will all turn out okay .
Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Be My Guest

     For the last couple of weeks , my mind has been preoccupied with a request made by one of my good friends . She has invited me to be a guest writer on her blog . Could I please write something about my crocheting ministry ? My mind suddenly turned to mush .
     How do I make something new out of something old ? How can I refresh and renew the same old story I have told so many times ? I don't want to be one of those people who repeats the same old story that everyone is tired of hearing . I don't want to sound like a repetitive record that got stuck and can't move forward .
    Suddenly , I remembered that the Bible is a story that I have heard over and over again , but each time , I received  a different perspective from it . Maybe , I can do that with my story .
    So , today , there is no story on this blog . Today , my story is somewhere else , so please , click in at :
 Maureen Carroll Sebek
I hope you can enjoy this old story , once again . Have a Blessed Week everyone .


Groundhog Day

 Name a time when you went above and beyond your job description ?

   My interview began and almost immediately , my mind snapped to attention . It's almost as if the questions were made for me . Words came flying out without hestition . I knew what to say and how to say it . It went well .
   Driving home , I kept reliving the interview  . Every question and every answer replayed in my mind over and over again . It was Groundhog Day . I have no idea how I got home .  My body went into automated state , knowing the  route taken for 17 years .
   That's how my entire day went . . . . with my mind still at that interview . . . . stuck replaying the scene Groundhog Day style .
    I went home , changed and went for my scan . Drove in the rain with morning commuters , who are so extremely aggressive on the road . Spent the whole morning there and not once did my mind waiver from that interview .
   Afterwards , I went grocery shopping and finally , upon arriving home , went to sleep . Still  . . .. . . I tossed and turned  . .. . . .
 What does quality mean to you ?
    It never stopped . It carried on until I stepped into work . I realized two things were happening here .
    First , I believe that my subconscious mind purposely swayed my thinking from a particular difficult task of taking my Petscan and the emotions concerning it .
    Secondly , I also believe that I really want the promotion and what it entails . It's important to me . After doing this job for so many years , it represents recognition . An acknowledgement of my contribution and that they appreciate it .
   Why did it stop when I walked into work ? I think it stopped because of my fellow co-workers and all their support . All night long , their well wishes kept me smiling . Most importantly , not once did I think about my cancer or that it might come back .Not once .
  Just like Bill Murray said in Groundhog Day , Why can't we redo the best day of our life ? I wonder what that would be ? Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Dismal Grey

She sat at the kitchen table looking grim , her nose all red and puffy . Tendrils of hair surrounded her head as if she just gotten up . She didn't feel good nor did she really look her best . It was a grey  day . Her allergies came back and she was feeling horrible . Even her clothes were dark charcoal grey worn to display her overall mood .

I looked at my poor darling of a daughter and wished I could lift her mood , but I couldn't . My own  wasn't any better . Tomorrow , my appointment with a petscan was looming over us both . The day of any appointment , we seem to hold our breath , waiting and hoping , not daring to speak it out loud .

Bowing my head in prayer , like we do everyday at supper time , I find myself blurting out  . . .. Lord , let my scan come out alright because I'm not ready for the cancer to come back . Emily and I stare at each other across the table . There , I've said it . Those words just hanging in the air between us , just vibrating around our thoughts .

Looking around my apartment , everything seems small , cluttered and constricting somehow . It's that kind of day , where you want to crawl back into bed and pretend it never came . A day , where we can feel sorry for ourselves . Where we can have our own little pity party . A day where silence speaks volumes , bouncing off our little sanctuary we call home .

I'm not ready . Are we ever ready ? How does one prepare oneself for something like this ? You brace yourself . You put on your full armour of Jesus . JESUS  would you walk with me ?  You take a deep breath and brace yourself knowing that Jesus is right beside you . Not one of us is stronger than the other . We all have it inside of us to overcome .

JESUS , would you walk with us ?



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

God Moments Of My Life Pt.2

        Some God moments in my life were times where God , Himself , would propel me in the direction he wanted me to go . Never even gave me a chance to think about it , but like a pupil who is learning to ride a bike , He gave me a shove and down the hill I went . Pedal , Lottie , pedal !

             I didn't start off in the children's ministry right away like many people assume . In fact , I didn't start serving for the first two years . I had no idea where I should begin . I would watch people sign up for things right away , but not me . I was lost to my spiritual talent . I didn't know if I should be an usher , or greeter , or work in the resource center . I dallied with my decision on where to serve .
           A great friend of mine , Anna , was a sunday school teacher and she asked me if I could be her helper . After helping a few times , I "dallied " with the idea of becoming a teacher with a class of my own . This I kept to myself and told no one because I "dallied " with alot of things back then .
         After service one day , the Children's Director at that time , met me on my way out .
    " I put you on the schedule for next month to teach 1st and 2nd grade . Here's the lesson ."
       I didn't hear nothing after that . I don't know what floored me more , the fact that I was teaching or the fact that she knew that I was thinking about it . How did she know , anyway ? I never shared this with anyone .
       I honestly believe God made that decision for me , pointing out a talent I didn't even know I had . I'm glad , because I really love what I do every Sunday . He was just tired of my " dallying" and gave me a great shove in the right direction .
Have a Blessed Week everyone .

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Reframing Of Success

      I have written many times about my cancer . As much as the word " cancer " is dreaded and hated , we have a bittersweet relationship . It is a friend that I  both love and hate . It is a  friend that is constantly challenging me , yet at times , something good  stems from it . It is a friend that I wish would leave forever and at the same time , I think of all that I've acquired because of it .
     That must sound crazy to you , but cancer reframed my idea of what I considered success in my life .  As I went through my journey , the successes I so desired before , evaporated right in front of my eyes . Suddenly , I had no real reason to acquire them . New desires began to appear and make themselves known to me . These desires were not filled with promises of power or huge claims of money . These desired successes were not materialistic but sentimental .
      So what do I consider a success now ? When both my children follow Christ , it is a success . When I know I am loved , when I show love and when I give love , it is a success . When I can overcome jealousy , hate and anger towards someone , it is a success . When my cancer is still asleep , it is a success . When I hold my grandchildren close and they say I love you , it is a success .
      I don't need anything materialistic in my life . I have no desire to obtain the " latest " anything that is out there . I don't even want to work overtime at work . I get teased by my co-workers that " Lottie must have found a rich man because she doesn't need extra money ." If they only knew about the " rich man " I have found . What is money gonna do for me ? It can pay my bills but that is all . It will never fill me spiritually or sustain me like the love of Jesus will .
     What do you consider success in your own life ?
Have a Blessed 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 ...