Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Joyful Friend

When I first began my Joy study , I was so excited ! Couldn't wait to get started . About halfway through the week , my joy was quickly evaporating as I struggled with my chemo rashes . By the end of the week , I was beginning to think this joy thing would never work . A bunch of baloney !

In reality , I let the devil in and failed miserably ! Just because I have failed doesn't mean that others have followed suit . I was sincerely reminded of that fact this past Friday on my way out the door after work .

Speaking to a dear friend of mine , I realized she is an advocate for this " Joy " thing . She breezes through life with a smile on her face no matter what comes her way . Looking at her , people may think her life is grand , that nothing but greatness befalls her . Isn't she lucky ? If they only knew how much heartache she endures .

In truth , it's all in  her demeanor , in her ability to view life beyond the trials . She believes , there is nothing she can gain by being angry or depressed over the situation . She can only wait for the darkness to end and the sunshine to begin , because she believes it will happen .

Driving home that morning , I felt so much better knowing that this Joy thing really can exists . All the more reason to continue this study . Hopefully , one day I can be where this Joyful friend of mine has already arrived . Until then , Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lift Me Up

Praising God in song lifts our spirits , clears our heads  and opens a place for the Holy Spirit to speak to us .
Thelma Wells

In the early stages , when I was a baby Christian , I really didn't understand how God can speak to us . I would hear people say things like " God told me to do this " or " I felt the Holy Spirit , " but I never quite understood it .

Since then , I have had many episodes where God spoke to me whether by something that I read or just by a feeling of knowing this is the right thing to do no matter how crazy it may sound . Sometimes through music itself .

Every night on my way to work , I listen to Christian music as a relaxer before work . I clear both my mind as well as my heart . By doing so , I find it definitely sets the mood for the rest of the work night .

Wouldn't it be great if we could listen to our music while we are working ? Just imagine how much more relaxed we would be . Music has a way of bringing out the feelings hidden inside , whether they are happy or remorseful . Music also takes our minds off our troubles . Music brings Joy into our life .

As I set out for work tonight , I try to remember all that I have read in my two days off . I know it will be difficult with my body hurting . At home , you can always rest and do things at a leisurely pace . I find myself regretting the decision to work while receiving treatment . Who knew , these side effects would hurt so much ? Emily asked me earlier , " If you could choose which side effect of the three times you've had cancer , which one would you pick ? "

How can you decide that ? Chemo is chemo anyway you look at it , but if I had to , I would take the second time . For now , I breathe in and breathe out and turn on the music .

Have a Blessed Day everyone .


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Others

Whenever we see people with a chronic illness , we usually focus only on them . We forget about those " other " people who spend their time taking care of their loved one . They are the family members and friends who are also going through the same illness but on an emotional level .

 The subject came up when I read of a woman who became disabled and her husband ended up abusing her after many years of taking care of her . At first , I was so upset over this . How could anyone do that to someone they supposedly loved ?

First , I want to say how much I detest abuse of any kind . I am not excusing anyone's behavior , but we hear so many stories of caregivers being overwhelmed and becoming bitter towards their loved one . So I asked Emily and her answer left me speechless .

It's all about the patient . Everybody wants to know about you . How you are feeling ? Giving you hugs and praying for you . What about me ? No one wants to ask how I am dealing with all of this . Maybe I need a hug or a prayer . I have to watch you go through this . Maybe I have something to say , but no one wants to ask or offer any kind of support .

You know , she is right . I made an observation the other day in Sunday School . Everyone kept coming up to me , hugging me , praying over me and yet , only one person came to her . Does it look like the patient may need it more than the family member ? Maybe , we both need the same amount .

We forget about the family and what they may be going through .  Who listens to them ? I know there are support groups , but what about us everyday people that they come in contact with ? Maybe we can pray for the whole family ? Or give that pat on the arm for reassurance ? Maybe ask them to go to a movie to get their minds off health issues .

I am not criticizing anyone , an illness is difficult on everyone . I know that Emily certainly has opened my eyes to her emotional state  . I need to spend more time listening to her feelings and thoughts , not just voicing my own complaints . Many times , she has asked me to write about " people in her position ". So , Emily , this blog is for you .
Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Sunday, February 24, 2013

White As A Snow

Looking out my bedroom window , all one could see is the freshly fallen snow covering everything in it's path . The clock reading 05:02 a.m. Not a soul around and the quiet so deafening , so very deafening I can hear my own thoughts resounding around my bedroom . Who knew , a few weeks before , that this snowstorm would come out of nowhere ? Certainly , not the groundhog that predicted early Spring .

Isn't it just like life ? Just when you think everything is honky dory , a storm arrives dead in the night while we sleep and messes up everything , filling everyone's day with delays .

Delays . . . .My next treatment fast approaching in a matter of one week . My 4th and probably the most important . This is where we check to make sure the chemo is working . Sooner or later , I will hear that it's not . What then ? It's not the dying that worries me , it's the enduring before the dying that scares me .

My , my , my . . .. . . my mind sure is wandering in all sorts of places today . Having spent another  FMLA day at home , resting up my healing body , my mind is all over the place . It must be all the reading I have been doing .

Workbooks do that to me , which is why I love Bible studies with homework . It really gets your mind going . . . thinking . . . . processing .

These past two days , I have discovered I'm not really as nice as I thought . I've been stuck on page 43 of my " Continuous Joy " workbook all day . I keep staring at this one paragraph , because I know . .. . I KNOW . . . it describes me and it pains me to think I have behaved in this manner .

Emotions were never meant to be bottled up inside . When we try to contain them ,the pressure builds . Too often , suppressed anger builds until it boils over in rash deeds and scalding words . The sadness we attempt to hide will lead to a storm of tears .

Rash deeds and scalding words . Yes , I am guilty of these things . Have I not been happy when my nemesis at work was in despair ?Have I not reciporcated with sarcasm and  words that held a  biting sting ? Am I  to blame for my joyless worklife ?

Yes ! I am no better than my nemesis . I'm not the victim as I believed myself to be . I am the enabler .  I really need to change my behavior instead of expecting them to change theirs .

The white in the  snow stained . .. . storm of tears  . . . rash deeds and scalding words . . . I want to be as white as the fallen snow outside my window . Help me become that , Lord .

Have a Blessed Day everyone .

The Laughing Hyenas

I asked a fellow co-worker :
" Are you happy with your life ? "
" It's okay ."

Okay ? What ? I don't want " okay " , I want joy and happiness ! Isn't that what we all want ? When we toast people , we wish them the very best of happiness , because we all are searching for that Joy in our lives .

To celebrate life , one must skip around with a giddly grin on one's face , always encountering every situation with a smile or an attitude of hilarity . But Joy is not just written on our faces, it must be living in our spirits .

It's easy to be happy when things are great , but what happens when it's the opposite ? We end up feeling that our life " sucks " and everyone else is living it up . Believe me , I know . I experienced it just the other day . It's okay to have a pity party , but you can't allow it to get control of your life . You have to get back up and dust yourself off . . . . .live !

Am I happy with my life ? Yes , I love my life . My work life is okay , but I know that that will change , too . Work is not the most important part of my life . I don't want to be recognized for my accomplishments there . I want to be remembered for what I do outside of my work .

I feel at times , like I'm like two separate people . The one at work and the one everywhere else . Emily and I call each other The Laughing Hyenas because when you pass by our door you will hear our laughter . Do we fight ? Absolutely , but because of the joy we feel in our life , our fights last minutes instead of hours .

I  am also aware of whom I need to thank for my Joy . It is my right , as a child of the Almighty , to experience Joy in my life and for that reason it is a dishonor to Him when I allow the negativity in . Will I fall and feel sadness and sorrow and pity ? Yes , but I will do my very best to get back up and enjoy the joy .

Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Praise The Lord

There are days that all my heart desires is the  praising of the Lord . Have you ever felt like that ? There are no requests from me to Him . None even come to mind , instead only words of gratitude come forth from my lips , because He is who He is .

I Am the I Am .

It took me a long time to understand that phrase . When you are hurting , whether it's emotional or physical pain , no amount of medication can take that pain away . There is only one " I AM " and only He can take that pain .

Trying to cope and deal with things on my own doesn't work . Today , it was time to lay it down at His feet and thank Him for who He is in my life . There is nothing that can bring you closer to God than a little quality worship where you bare your soul and surrender to the one who is the I Am .

Our joy pours out in songs , gladness , praise and worship . That's when everything else fades into the background , as we focus our rejoicing on the one who brings us joy .

As one song turned to another and another , I forgot about my pain and discomfort . My heart  felt better  and uplifted , because Jesus is the biggest Joy ever . If there is one wish I could bestow on everyone is for them to experience that one on one relationship with the I Am . Nothing will ever satisfy or fulfill your heart like Jesus .

So take a moment , put on some worship music and just praise Him . Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tea And Oatmeal

That the mirth of the wicked is brief , the joy of the godless lasts but a moment .
Job 20:5

After my visit at my mom's , I came home to drop into bed and sleep . Fed and pampered . . . . I rested and regrouped , waking with a renewed zest to face my problems . Did I have a solution or a plan ? Absolutely not .

Somewhere between preparing the tea and oatmeal for breakfast , one find's the strength to get up off the floor and just live .We slowly breathe in and breathe out , knowing all our hope is in the Lord . I can't imagine living without that hope .  I feel an unbelievable compassion for people fighting depression and a loss of that hope .

Our inner core , our soul needs Jesus and what He stands for and nothing else can fill us . . . .complete us  . . . the way He can . Without Him , our bodies are nothing but a vast emptiness . I feel such compassion for people who are searching their whole life to fill that void and keep missing the mark . It's so simple , yet so elusive for most , all for the sake of control .

The world didn't give me Joy , and the world  can't take it away .

I definitely don't have any great words of wisdom to offer anyone , but I do know and believe in God's promise to me , His child .

We rejoice because we have God's love and the hope of eternal life with Him .

So every morning as I drink my tea and eat my oatmeal , I breathe in and breathe out , clinging to His promise . I just wish the rest of the world would too .

Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Turning Point

What was the turning point in your life ? Are there different times we have turning points in our life ? Do we have events or make decisions in  our lives that are so huge , we wonder what would have happened if we went the other  way ? I believe the answer to that is a resounding YES .

I , myself , can think of three major events in my life where the decisions I have made changed the course of my life .
A) My ex
B) My first experience at Willowcreek  Christian Church
C) My cancer
Many times , I have reflected back on those times and wondered what would have happened if my decisions were different . I can guarantee that not only would my lifestyle be different , but my spiritual life .

For all the major turning points there are minor ones that we face everyday that affect us in a very personal way . My meltdown last night was one of those times .

Strong , survivor , warrior , resilient , inspirational

I have been called all of these things and yet , I have never felt like they really fit me . If anything , I have always felt more of a problem solver than anything else . That is what I do every night at work . . . .I solve problems .

So last night , I was filled with self pity . My shoulders slumped and I cried " woe is me ." The worst rash and pain happens to be on the inside of my arms , armpits and both my sides . My right foot hurts the most and my hands are sooooo chafed . I call in an FMLA day and take myself to my mommie's house . Where else would we go when in need of comfort ?

There , I was fed and pampered . My mommie opened the doors to her closet and pulled out blouses with silky , comforting material that won't chafe the skin . There , she proceeded to take my mind off all the pain by telling story after story of every second of her life this week . She packed me off back to my house with bags filled with food , clothes and a rested spirit ready to take on this turning point in my life . This is why God created mothers .

Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

OhThat Phrase

" When we walk through troubles , afflictions , persecution , danger , illness and distress , when the enemy comes to steal , kill and destroy , we can have genuine joy in our hearts ."
Thelma Wells
( author , Continuous Joy )

Standing before the huge mirror in the bathroom at work , powdering my rashes with potato starch and getting it everywhere , I find it difficult to find or even hold onto any Joy . I look at my reflection in the mirror and turn away in disgust . My face is red from these steroids / hot flashes and if one more person  asks why am I so red  . . . . . .

Joy enables me to hold my peace when people say and do ugly things to me .

Taking a deep breath , I whisper that phrase to myself . It isn't anyone's fault that I have cancer nor that I have any discomfort with the side effects . In fact , they have been extremely caring for me ( my fellow co-workers , that is ) .

Taking another peek in the mirror , I feel frumpy . Yes , frumpy . With my oversized tops and elastic -waisted pants . . . . . I feel frumpy . The rashes taking over my life , clothes chafing my skin , spreading to my feet . Walking is both difficult and painful . Not to mention a total of eight pounds gained already . When will this stop ?!

Joy enables me to hold my peace when people say and do ugly things to me .

There I go again . I can actually feel the tempo of my voice rise louder and louder with the very thought of three more months . I have a real problem . I'm filled with pity for myself . . . . and it's turning me into an ugly monster . I'm feeling . . . . very . . . .tired . . .of . . . . it  . . . . all .

I guess , I'm not doing well with my journey into Joy . Today , I want to rave and rant with a full fledged pity party . I can see already , that this journey that I boldly volunteered to take on to improve the quality of Joy in my worklife , will not be easy .

As I re-read the quote from Thelma Wells , I wonder when will I be able to get to that level . Why did I think it would be as easy as ABC or 123 ? I can remember my Pastor saying that whenever we ask God to teach us something , we should also ask Him for mercy .

Show me Your Mercy , Lord .
Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Clearing The Cobwebs

Sitting down at my desk , with my coffee piping hot , I proceeded to make a list of things that bother me at work . This process is a way for clearing the cobwebs that are blocking our path towards success .

As the list grew longer and longer by the minute , I noticed it consisted of behaviorial actions of others . I can't control that . I can  only control mine . Remember the Serenity Prayer ?

The story of  Joy begins with sudden change .

Sudden change . What kind of sudden change ? What will it entail ? At this point , I'm a little weary of how effective any of this will be . When I first started this series , five years ago , I was very happy and things were looking up . I just finished treatment and I honestly thought cancer was behind me . I was healed , wasn't I ?

Turning the page , I pick up a folded piece of paper . On this paper , a phrase was handwritten over and over again , filling the pages in it's entirety .

Joy enables me to hold my peace when people say and do ugly things to me .

Ah yes , I remember now . I wrote that to cut out and place all over so I would never lose that Joy inside of me as a reminder . Never did do anything about it . Just left it inside the book . Maybe , it was meant for me to do just that . God knew a time would come when that phrase would serve a purpose in my life . It's certainly worth a try . Picking up my scissors , I mentally decided to make that change .

Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Monday, February 18, 2013

Joyless Living

" All the joy is gone from our hearts . Our dances have turned into dirges ."
Lamentations 5:15

Dirges mean funeral songs . How many of you can relate to that verse ? I know I can . You're doing your thing . You're happy . Everything is just fine and then  . . . . You encounter that one thing you're struggling with all the time . BAM ! Your Joy has been stolen from you .

For me , it's my work life . I don't know how to be a duck and let the garbage slide off me concerning two people . I allow  them to continually upset me , instead of shrugging things off . I am a human being and things hurt .

I think one of the problems happen to be me . Yes me . I have changed alot spiritually , especially in the past six years . Who wouldn't ? Chronic illness like cancer is a major thing in one's life .
I've changed , they haven't . I've made a commitment to God to live a certain way , they haven 't . As a believer , working in a secular world can be quite an adjustment .

First step equals admitting there is a problem . Second step equals looking in the mirror and seeing my part in the problem . How am I enabling this situation ?

One way happens to be my feelings toward these two . They have a very special and close knit relationship excluding everyone else . I'm  envious of that because one is a supervisor and the other an employee . There is favouritism that I , also , would like for myself . That's the root of it all . I'm sorry , but there is no place for that at work . You can't do for one and not the other . What happens ? One harbors resentment toward the situation and the person .

Rediscovering our Joy often means looking at things differently .

How do we do that ? I mean , it's easy to say it , but what about living it ? Circumstances have a way of conspiring to leech the Joy right out of our days . God commands us to serve one another . Unfortunately , there are difficult people who make this challenging to accomplish .

Joy is yours . Sometimes all you have to do is ask the Lord to help you see it .

Prayer is the answer , asking God for help in opening our eyes to a new way of seeing and discovering the Joy within . Our Joy is the rightful heritage from God . Everyday this week , let's pray for a new way of seeing the Joy that's unaffected by our situations .

Have a Joyful , Blessed Day everyone .


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Forward

Forward : introductory remarks at the beginning of a story . Interesting word , don't you think ?

My very first Bible study , with my now Pastor's wife , began with her asking us the question . . .

What do you hope to gain by being in this Bible study ?

As I opened the book and saw the " forward " , that question popped into my head . What am I hoping to gain from this " Continuous Joy " experience ? I hope to bring back my Joy and maintain it .

 Generally , I'm very happy : Happy with my family , my friends , my hobbies and my interests . Even at work , it's certain managerial people or ideals that I'm having a problem with . The Joy is really there , it's just hard to maintain it .

Let's be honest . The only people who are truly happy to see us happy are our true friends and family . People don't want to see you filled with Joy when they are not . Some are just plain envious of your happiness and want to rob you of it . You cannot change these people , you can only change your reaction to them .

So as I read the forward , I look " forward " to the author's promise . The promise that Joy makes hard days easier , dark days brighter , optimism possible and friendships a pleasure .

So what are you hoping to get out of your journey ? Are you ready for the next chapter in your life ? If so , let's turn the page  . . ..

Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Need For Prayer

While on the train coming home from Springfield , I wasn't entirely happy with my accommodations . It was cramped , crowded and the woman in  front of me reclined practically unto my lap . All my previous thoughts of working on my Joy study went out the window . Only one thing left to do  . . . crochet .

The minute I pulled out my yarn and hook , I drew attention . All eyes were on me as I rapidly crocheted loop to loop . The gentleman seated next to me started a conversation , pulling out pictures of his daughters . One has a loom and another makes her own yarn and so forth and so on . For the next hour , we conversed about my craft .

There is nowhere that I can go without being asked about my crocheting . It is funny to me how something so old fashioned and basically one would think a little grandmotherly , could  appeal to people . . . . especially the young . I'm always amazed at the reaction I receive while crocheting .

Okay , which brings me to this point : Am I missing something here ? Is God trying to show me something  ? Am I supposed to be doing something with all of this ? I can't help but feel like God is sending me messages with a new project or purpose . Instances like the one I just mentioned are too many to ignore .

Help me find out with prayer . People always want to pray for me , so pray this instead . Pray that God shows me what His intentions are regarding my next purpose .  I am looking forward to what He has in store for me .
  Thank you everyone and have a very Blessed Day .

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Lesson In Disguise

This past weekend , I boarded Amtrak to Springfield for Hannah's 7th. birthday . I love visiting them and I also love riding the train . We spent the weekend bowling , watching movies and of course , a birthday party ! On Sunday , I even attended a Bible study for adults . For me , a perfect weekend ! It was everything I hoped it would be .

What I certainly didn't expect is to walk away learning a little something about myself . We all have struggles and I certainly am aware of mine . These past few weeks my heart has been heavy with the discord I feel at work . I looked forward to the weekend with my grandkids to take my mind off these struggles .

On this trip , I brought with me my first ever Bible study workbook titled " Contagious Joy " a Women Of Faith Series Guide . Since I still had a few chapters left undone , I decided to finish them via this trip .

This study was about holding on to our Joy amidst struggles in our lives . I found myself flipping through the earlier pages and re-reading chapters . Whenever I encountered difficulties in my life , I'd think back to this study . Going over the chapters , I can see why .

Experiencing all these dissatisfied feelings at work has brought to my attention the need to overcome the negativity and bring back the JOY into my worklife  . I need to go back and redo this study to bring back the harmony that is so desperately missing . I can't change the people there , but I can change my perspective .

YOU my friends , will occasionally have to bear with me as I go through this transformation . So let's get ready to bring back the JOY into our everyday lives .
Have a Blessed Joy Day everyone .


Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Few Tidbits Here And There

Hello my friends ! My internet connection has been terrible these past few weeks . I'm sure my neighbors have heard my frustration
regarding this major irritation in my life . I have , at all times , three portals opened : yahoo , facebook and blog . My computers is basically on permanently whether or not I'm actually here or not .

Yahoo:
 Here I have all my devotions that I try to read daily . There are certain people in my life with whom I communicate only through e-mails . I totally detest using the phone , I rather write .

Facebook :
Most people criticism Facebook , but  I find this to be a very useful tool . Almost everyone I know has one , even my mom , and whenever I need to contact anyone quickly about any given matter , they respond almost immediately . Don't forget my son's family lives farther away and it's such an easy media tool for us to communicate daily on . I can be part of their daily life and not miss out .

Blog :
This is probably my most valued outlet in my life . I don't think anyone can ever know how much I need this blog . This is my voice , my vent , where I can write my utter most feelings and thoughts .

Other things . . .

For a very long time now , I have been wanting to write my story . In the past , I wasn't able to put it into words . . . it's just wouldn't manifest itself . Last month , I met a woman through a friend , who has been diagnosed with cancer . It seems that whenever I'd reach out to her , she would rebuke my intentions , but in a very nice way . All this , made my mind wander back to when I was in her place . When that happened . . .floodgates opened up and I just couldn't stop . It felt great to be able to write that part of me .

And . . . .

I have missed many days of not posting a blog . I broke my golden rule . I find that I'm just too exhausted from work / chemo . I can't handle it . It is a struggle everyday to get up and maintain my daily routine . The rashes have spread all over my body causing my skin to be very sensitive regarding clothing . My hands especially , are extremely sensitive to any rough or pointy objects . They're dry , chafing , and reddened . Heat is not a friend to my body right now . I have to take cool showers , wear very loose clothing and avoid soap or deodorant . The rashes itself remind me of poison ivy . Crocheting is a problem . This week alone , I have put it aside for now .

Otherwise , it is what it is . Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Strength of Grandmother

Whenever I think of my grandmother Bernice , I think back to the summer when I was 14 years old and spent a month in Poland . That was such a glorious time in my life , living with my grandparents alone on the farm and discovering the beauty of farm living .

My mind drifts to that summer when I first realized her strength . They still had a couple of cows that were taken out to the fields to graze everyday . My grandma would make the trip to milk them out in the open air . On her back she carried a steel milk urn and she , all of sixty ! There were ditches that separated one field from the next . The first time I saw her jump one of those ditches with the urn on her back , I stood there amazed at her strength . How many grandmothers can do that ?

Now , she is 93 years old , living with my Aunt and Uncle in Poland . This past week , she hasn't been feeling well , fighting a virus of some kind . My mind has dwelled  quite abit on her . How would I describe her ? What can I say about her ? She is incredibly strong .

Look at her age . She takes no medication , has had no surgeries  nor any issues with blood pressures , or cholestrol . I don't think she has ever been in a hospital , not even to deliver her children . Now , look at me , half her age . . . .

She is amazing . . . . never have I met a more amazing or strong woman in my life . As the family prepares for the worst this past week , I can't help but wonder if she will surprise all of us yet again with her strength and perserverance and pull through . She might outlive us yet .

Have a Blessed Day everyone .

P.S.
My dear friends , I wrote that a week ago  and as I have predicted , this incredibly amazing woman is on the mend .

Sunday, February 10, 2013

February Ways

To me , February is one of those months that comes and goes in a blink of an eye . I neither love it nor hate it . During February , the last snow of winter falls blankening the ground for that last chance for the taste of winter fun before it escapes . The quickness and spontaniety of February  happens just like the groundhog who sees his shadow . . . .or not .

It also hosts a day that all of us singles detest , especially me . . . . . Valentine's Day . If I could obliterate a " Holiday " , it would be this one . I never could quite understand the reasoning behind it . Yes , it's for lovers , but all I see are countless single women becoming depressed because their lives don't mirror the commercialism they see advertised everywhere else . Talk about depression . Don't we experience enough of it with the constant flow of models dominating every magazine cover and commercials ? Do we need a special day to make us feel even more inadequate because we have no male in our lives ?

I know of a woman I worked with , who for many years would send herself a beautiful red rose bouquet with a fake male name attached as the supposed man in her life . She admitted to me , all in the name of saving grace in front of her much prettier female co-workers . I think , we singles , deserve our own special day .

I'm sure I will get a response out of all of you that may not be in my favor . . . . so let's move on .

Another thing happening this month is the hustle and bustle of everyone rushing to their tax personnel to collect on their BIG money . Since Emily and I take our refund and use it as our emergency fund for the year , we hardly join in the money fun . I find it very " taxing " ( hehehe ) collecting and searching for all the necessary paperwork . Every year , I start a brown envelope with the current year on it to place all these receipts into it . Unfortunately , this organizational process usually lasts two or three months . Thus , come February the process becomes dull indeed .

So as you can see , February isn't really my cup of tea at all . It's usually at this point where my heart longs for the sweet air of Spring and the warmth of the sun upon my face . Where I'm tired of wearing all this extra clothing and bundling up . The rooms inside feel stagnant and are gasping for a breeze and the billowing of curtains . February is the borderline month from one season to the next .

Yes , February . . . . I neither love you nor hate you . . . . . I just wish to see the end of you .
Have a Blessed Day everyone .


Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Next Project

Lately , it seems I can't pick up a ball of yarn and start crocheting without someone wanting  to know what I'm working on next . Honestly , I'm working on several projects at once . There is no  big  project for the year in plan right now .

My main focus  , has been on crocheting requests from people .  Just recently , my niece Kathy found out she's with child so baby booties are on order . I have a blanket from a co-worker that I need to get started on and let's not forget those famous underwear hangers . Can you believe I have two people that have asked me to make these hangers for them ?

I have also started a baby hope chest for both of my children for any future grandchildren . Silly , you might say ? Not to me . I have made things for everyone else , I wouldn't want my own children to miss out . What if I'm not around later to do so ?

I do have an idea formulating  in my mind . I really don't want to work on just one thing . I've found myself alternating from slippers to baby hats to blankets . I've been thinking on looking up  different organizations for children , seniors and crisis centers that I can send some of my crafty goods .

One thing I do want to make clear : any personal items I crochet for myself or family members  , I buy my own yarn . The yarn that is donated by people , I use for special projects that are sent to charitable institutions .

So what am I working on now ? A little bit of everything . There is always something for me to tackle . Once in awhile , even an odd request or two . In the meantime , don't throw out that yarn , donate it instead .

Have a Blessed  Day everyone .

Friday, February 8, 2013

Working It Out

Since I started wearing my Gozone Step Pedometer , I have become aware of my inactivity . My weight has been a problem since this disease began six years ago . During those six years , I have gained a total of 80 lbs . and you may say it has been a struggle losing that weight .

Everytime , I feel like I'm gaining the upper hand on this weight thing , my disease rears its ugly head . The steroids increase my appetite and I gain weight . After the treatment , I will spend the majority of the year trying to lose that extra weight gain . The game of weight yoyo ever present in my life ,  I just can't seem to go under 196 lbs . , losing the same weight over and over again . One step forward , three steps back .

That darn scale would cause my blood pressure to rise with stress everytime a doctor appointment came near . With my third of six infusions under the belt , I get on the scale with defeat . Already gained eight pounds and know deep inside that this time I will go past the all-time high of 207 lbs .

But at least you're alive .

Yes , I hear that all the time . Unfortunately , that statement isn't really true . All this weight gain does hurt me physically . I'm sure the knee pain would be alot less if I lost some of the weight . At my last health screening by my GP showed a borderline cholestrol levels that I've never had to deal with before , not to mention a slight increase in my sugar , too . Yes , it is hurting me .

As much as it pains me to say , I know that changing my eating habits just isn't enough . I also have to start exercising . I hate  working out with a passion !

I know I will never be that size 7 again that I once was before this illness came  into my life . I do know that I have to try my very best in maintaining my health , even if that means getting up and working out . Heaven help me , but I hate exercise .

When I noticed in our Church bulletin that someone started a workout at Church on Saturdays , I jumped at the chance to finally do something about this weight . I've been to workouts before , but this one is different . It's led by a woman who also has a chronic disease and knows the challenges of medications and their effects on our bodies .

I'm looking forward to this new chapter in my life no matter how much I may not care for the exercise part . My goal is not to get skinny as much as preparing my body for healthy living . As usual , I ask  for prayers for strength and endurance .

Have a Blessed and Healthy Day everyone .

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Lame Foot Challenge

For the past two years  , as part of healthcare coverage , our insurance  included an incentive to keep our costs lower by joining VirginMiles where you receive a Gozone that measures your daily steps . There is a certain amount you need by the end of the quarter , plus if you do more you have the opportunity to get extra money back .

Last year , I couldn't participate since I was on FMLA and didn't get back to work before the deadline . I spent the year , in envy , watching everyone doing different things to rack up their steps . I couldn't wait for this year so I could be part of it .

I am having a ball with it . You receive badges for different activities like challenges with others , there is a website where you can change groups , chat with others , things like that . I love it ! This has become my new thing ! Almost like a new facebook for the Gozone steppers . In reality , I feel like I'm in the Girl Scouts .

I'm very competitive , so the very first thing I noticed was the badges . After checking on what each badge meant and how to achieve it , I set out immediately to accomplish it . One of the ways you can earn badges is by challenging your teammates to a competition .

My first challenge competition I named " The Lame Foot Challenge " because my girlfriend and I both have problems with our feet . Hey , why not have some fun with it ? We are having so much fun with this ! Everytime we pass each other at work , we would walk a little faster or swing our arms back and forth .

I have already met my criteria for this quarter , but it has not stopped me from continuing to wear my Gozone . If anything , it has provided me with an awareness to just how much physical activity I really do . I want to do more ! On those days that I'm not as active , I try to do more the next day . I also noticed that my weekends are very inactive and that had to change .

The best part of all of this was the connection my friends and I made even stronger through these challenges . We finished one this past weekend and already made two more . We are having fun re-connecting as sisters in Christ . So when you see me , I hope you notice how much faster  and brighter my step has become .

Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Rotten Apple

One rotten apple . . . . . .

I've been thinking about our little problem here all night . I have enough stress and discord at work without it spilling over into my private life . This really bothers me because it creates an atmosphere where neighbors will be snitching and complaining about each other in retaliation .

Although , this is a perfect example in my showing Emily the practice of what I've been preaching to her . God works in mysterious ways and He always has a plan .

Look at my list of characters that live in our building from the last story .We're all weird , we all have issues that may disturb others , but we have been able to get along without an occurence . Why ? Because life happens . Children run , cry and make alot of noise . Couples fight and they have parties . Doors get slammed , even by mistake sometimes . Okay, so that's me . We have to learn to live together .

This is the lesson I have been discussing with Emily all the time . She thinks I'm too easygoing , so when Grandma started parking in everyone's spot , she kept asking me : what are you going to do when it happens to you ? Are you going to say something ?

My answer is this : You have to be careful when approaching and dealing with certain issues . There are consequences for our actions . What are the reasons you're making an issue out of a problem ? What are you hoping to gain ? Do you want them to get into trouble ? Are you hoping they get theirs ?

An example I gave to Emily : Mrs. Pothead goes to bed around nine every night . Her apartment is in the basement next to the laundry room . People would do their laundry at all hours and that would disturb her sleep . She wanted them to stop before nine . She called the office and made a complaint . Another letter got sent about laundry hours : Monday thru Friday only  between 7 am - 11 pm. Did she get her wish ? Sort of , because there maybe no nighttime washing but it's still after she goes to bed  and to make matters worse . . . .only five days a week now and one washer/dryer . Talk about a line .. . . .consequences .

I finish my story and the very next day this happens . A letter is received in the mail . God is good folks, because when she read that letter , she was like look what's happening now . Again , consquences .

You have to be careful and choose your battles wisely . Think them through . Grandma approached Smoking Steve the wrong way and then he responded in an even worse way . Grandma retaliated and we all paid the consquence .

Two rotten apples  . . . . .

Boy , it never gets boring around here . Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

To Be Continued

Characters :                                       The Reason ?
                 B. The Criers , a family of four with a toddler that cries constantly . 
                 B: The Potheads , a family of three with a preschooler . The father smoked stunkweed all day long . We need to rename them because they have broken up and he no longer lives here.
                  1. The Laughing Hyenas a.k.a Emily , Diamond and myself . When I laugh , I bellow and it's loud . I also type extremely loud . Poor neighbors.
                   1. Smoking Steve , he's a big time smoker and when he opens his door I swear smoke just billows out .
                   1. Grandma , the newbie with lots of grandkids .
                   2. The Louds , a family of four that are so noisy at all hours of the day and night , slamming doors and kids running through the hallways .
                   2. Easy Ryan , a young single man that is so easygoing and will help anytime . He is my favorite .
                    2. Popo , a Polish young mother with a school age son .She is my favorite girl . Maybe Easy Ryan and Popo can . . . . wait ! That's another story .

So Smoking Steve comes home from work the other night ( he's a second shifter ) and finds Grandma parked in his place . Now , I don't know if he tried waking her up or if he spoke to her about this already , but I do know he parked his Jeep right behind her . I personally , feel he was wrong to do so , especially if he never spoke to her about it .

The next morning while I was sleeping , Emily informed me that there was such a ruckus in the building ! Grandma couldn't move her car so she went from door to door , pounding and yelling , trying to find out who it was that blocked her . When she found him , a verbal onslaught followed that would make a sailor blush and I missed it all snoring away in my bed !!!!I knew right then and there , we all would pay for that little scene .

When we first moved in , I inquired of the managing office what the criteria was on the parking . They informed me that some of the tenants have been there awhile and everyone has their fave spot . I think all of this will change soon . Today , in the mail , we all received a letter from the office stating there is only one vehicle per parking spot allowed and no doubling behind each other , please .

One rotten apple . . . . . .

In this case two . They both behaved badly and suddenly my building with it's perfect arrangement has soured and a dark cloud hangs over us . What to do , what to do . . . .

Have a Blessed Day everyone and don't be a rotten apple .

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Perfect Arrangement

I love living in our building and I love our neighbors . In these past two years we've lived here , many people moved in and out of our eight unit building . Out of those eight , four of us have been here for that length of time . I hear so many stories from people not getting along with their neighbors , but we have always been the opposite here . . . UNTIL NOW !

That unit across from us that has been abandoned and caused so much controversy , has finally been rented . After being fully remodeled , it sat there unoccupied for months . Well , it must have been waiting for this woman to arrive .

Emily and I gave her the nickname of grandma . At first appearance , she gave us the impression of someone pleasant and friendly . A Welcome sign hung and a doormat was placed in front of her door . Grandchildren come in and out , visiting grandma almost daily .

Look Emily , someone like us .

Someone like us . Sometimes , I like to think that God likes to send a test out to His people and He hopes we pass . Everyone  can get along if all of us have the same mentality regarding resolving issues , but what happens if there is an aggressor presents who doesn't believe the same ? What if you have someone who handles difficult issues with retaliation , with anger and with having the last word ? We all can lose our temper when pushed too far .

We live by the Honor System here . Everyone parks in the same spot everyday by choice . I say that because we all have a preference . Some like to park right in front of the door . Some like to park in the 6 spaces available in the parking lot . We have no assigned parking here , yet no one would dream of parking in their  neighbor's  spot .

I prefer the parking lot because working nights , I sleep in the day . I don't like to worry about the street cleaning that I forget about all the time and have to repark my car several times during the day . It's silly but that's the way I am . The young lady whose apartment is right by the front door likes to park right in front of it so she won't have to walk far ( she does have a small child ) . Another parks across the street because that's the direction she comes in and it 's easier for her . She also works nights and is in a hurry to take her son to school in the mornings . We have a young man that parks the farthest from the main entrance because he enters from the back door all the time by his apartment . He works all sorts of hours night and day , he has no desire to disturb anyone .

Our " grandma " and by the way she doesn't look like a grandma , we just gave her that nickname because of all the grandkids that visit . Our grandma likes to park everywhere . She has been here over a week and already she has stirred up everyone . You could hear the small rumbling of discord echoing throughout the hallways . All you need is to spend two days here with us and you will know the tenants and their habits .

So everyday , throughtout her comings and goings , she parks in everyone's spots . No one says anything  . . . . . but neither do they park in their neighbor's , they just park on the street somewhere . Remember the Honor System ? Well , the other day , one of the tenants had enough .
TO BE CONTINUED



Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cleaning It Up

Surveying my car's interior , I found myself feeling ashamed at the state of it . I love organization immensely and yet , when it comes to my car , it's the total opposite .

The outside body and windows are dirty . The interior needs a good vacuuming and scrubbing . There are coffee stains on my vinyl surrounding my cup holder . It's a pigsty !

I stare at my interior and wonder how did it get this way ? Why have I let it get to this state ? It dawns on me how similiar this car's condition is to my life .

How many times have I allowed things to get so " dirty " , so  " piled high with grime " that it takes so much out of me to clean it up again ? How many times has it gone past the point of no return  ? How many times have I turned the other cheek and allowed the enemy to have power over me ?

All of my life , I have done things " the hard way " . All my lessons learned have not been by choice , but by force . I'm sure the car didn't get dirty overnight . I've noticed how badly it looked and yet , I did nothing . Just like alot of issues in my life . I'm sitting here waiting on God to clean the car for me . . . . to do the work for me , instead of the other way around .

I write on this blog many times the things that so badly hurt me and yet do nothing to change my situation . Maybe , it's time to start cleaning up this mess . . . start keeping it clean . Start refusing to let it have power over me . It starts and stops right here . No more submission to the filth that keeps invading my life . Here's to cleaning it up . . .

Have a Blessed and clean day everyone .

January Update

So much has happened this month or at least it feels that way . We started off with a fast that didn't feel like a fast at all . In the beginning , instead of playing facebook games , I just turned on the television . After a week , I realized that I was substituting one form of addiction for another . Off went the television and for four days out of the week , on came the devotion time only .
 
As to the food , I wasn't left feeling hungry but satisfied with my choices . What really surprised me was Emily's resolve regarding her own fast . She gave her all and dedicated herself  for a whole month , but unlike me , she never waivered from her course .

I did have a problem with the devotions , but not in the way you may think . I had visions from the start to finish a good majority of them , but in reality  only about two hundred . It's not because I wasn't spending time in the Word , but quite the opposite . I found you can't skim through these things . Your mind absorbs , analyzes and then you live them . It can't be rushed . Besides , everyday another 30 devotions are sent . Oh well , one day .

So you see , my fast didn't really feel like a fast . We established alot of good eating habits and we still plan on keeping alot of those days in the week where we spend with God . This fast really was about developing good habits instead of giving up items for  a short while .

This month also brought out some side effects to my chemo that made my working life very difficult . I expected to be tired , but not the discomfort of those rashes , especially my feet and my hands . That threw me for a loop .

To my pleasant surpise , I was able to tell my story through this blog . I have wanted to many times , but couldn't find the words . What changed ? A certain new addition to my circle of fellow cancer friends . Her own current struggles sent me back in time to when I was in her shoes . Once I started , the gates swung open and my heart poured out .

I also struggled with my work life . I like my job and the people but really have a problem with the management  or should I say , the way we do things . I have been dealing with these emotions for a  very long time  and maybe it's time to delve a little deeper on how to resolve  these feelings of discontent . Definitely something to pray about .

My famous trademark saying ? Well , I believe I've been doing it all wrong . Instead of " Have a Blessed Week " I should be saying
" Have a Blessed Day or Night " . I mean , I write everyday not every week . Until then . . . ..
 
Have a Blessed Day everyone .

P.S.
Did you know that finally we have a tenant for that apartment that held so much excitement months ago ? Yep , a woman my age bracket . We call her grandma because almost everyday there is a little one visiting her .

Friday, February 1, 2013

Not In The Mood

 Last week , during my difficult time at work , a comment was made to me that sliced right through my heart . It's always from someone whom you don't expect to behave or say things like that .

Let me explain something to you : I may write about my cancer but you won't see me talking about it day to day . No matter what I feel nor how I feel , I go to work , I teach sunday school , visit my friends . I put on a smile , grit my teeth and move on . I don't sit there , woe is me  . . . . only to Emily . She hears it all . This blog is my forum . . . . my voice . This is where I cry out .

So I'm drudging through the week , my feet aching and my body hurting . It was not a good week for me and I couldn't wait for it to be over . That Thursday , I just couldn't smile any longer . I looked like I felt .

So this person says to me . . .
Put on a smile .
I'm not feeling well .
Yeah, I understand , the people and the work can get to you .
It's not that . I haven't been feeling well with my chemo ....
I know , you're just not in the mood .
Cancer is not a mood !

I'm sorry , but I snapped that the last sentence . Why are we , as humans , so lacking in compassion . I know , that person just doesn't understand . I'm not even upset directly with them , it's just that society has the wrong impression  of chronic illness .

When people think of chronic illness , they imagine a person lying in the hospital . The fact is , there are many people going to work and trying to lead normal lives while dealing with a chronic illness . They're in pain and not feeling well . We need to educate others about us .

This past Sunday , Doug's wife , approached me with an idea that Doug has been mulling over for awhile . He wants to start a group at Church for people living with a chronic disease . I couldn't be happier . I think it's time to go a step farther . . . . let's bring it to the people .

Have a Blessed Day 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 ...