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Showing posts from February, 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 …

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 …

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 . Ma…

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…

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 , …

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 tur…

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 e…

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 fi…

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 …

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 a…

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…

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 ch…

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 …

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…

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 outl…

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 …

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 ma…

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 …

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 al…

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 …

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 t…

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 .
                  …

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…

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 …

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…

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'…