Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dear God

What is my influence ? Everything and everyone . I love to read or hear what others are working on . I'm always on the look out for self-improvement ideas .

Recently , my Pastor posted a letter he had written to God ten years ago regarding his personal life . I thought to myself what an intimate act to share with God , very touching and beautiful . I kept thinking about that letter as the days went by . Usually , when that happens I know it is something I need to do myself .

As I sat down to write my very own letter to God , I thought of all the many things that have happened in the last few years . Tears came flowing down my cheeks . I have been so very fortunate . As hard as this may be for anyone to understand since I have cancer , I am truly Blessed . No matter how difficult it may have been , I have not succumbed to depression . I have seen so many that have  and I 'm grateful to the Almighty for helping me get through this time .

So what did I write ? I wrote for my children . I wrote my hopes , my dreams for them . I offered them up to Him so He can guide them and mold them into His followers . There is no one else that can take care of them better .

What more can I ask for ? I have been given so much . Who am I to ask for more ? He has provided for me , cared for me and waited for me all these years . He sent His Son to die for me . Dear God , thank you for living inside of me .

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Monday, April 29, 2013

Turning The Pages

It all started on a trip to Milwaukee , Wisconsin . A conversation warmed the inside of the vehicle as rain splatterered against the windshield . Two women sat inside , sipping Dunkin Donut's coffee bought with coupons .

The conversation centered on a 13 year old 's upcoming graduation and her party . To the two women , she was daughter and a great niece . Each of them remarking on their high hopes for  the  girl's immergence into the high school years .

What do you give to this innocent young lady as a gift ? A gift that will encourage , enlighten and strengthen her character . A gift that will develop her Faith .

As the days turned into weeks since that trip , my mind  focused on an idea . An idea for a One Thousand Gifts Notebook for everyday of her Freshman year . What could be more fitting for the complicated life of a teenager than the encouraging and thoughtful words of Ann Voskamp .

As I started on this handmade notebook filled with love , I imagined her turning the pages anxiously awaiting the next day . In reality , she will probably lose interest after awhile . No matter what she does with it now , I know that one day she'll pick it up again and think back to this moment .

As an older version of herself , she'll turn the pages filling in her gifts , her thoughts , her dersires .
Have a Blessed day everyone .

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Couple Of Firsts

Sport bras are made for young girls to wear . There are few things in life I can be sure of and that is one of them . For the last five months I had to wear one because of the rashes . Not very flattering for an older woman , such as I . This week I was able to finally wear a bra .

A real first after a long time .

Taking a warm shower after months of two minute freezing ones , was a luxury .  It felt good to feel the warm liquid rush over my body . I smiled to myself , knowing soon I would be able to take a hot bath .

A real first after a long time .

We learn to really appreciate small things when we no longer can have them . There are many of these firsts hidden away in a dusty corner waiting to be relived with the same gusto  as that first time . We go about our daily routine not experiencing nor feeling the simple living pleasures .

I , also forget these things when I'm in remission . As soon as the cancer comes back and I'm denied these simple pleasures , I miss and long for them . Why can't I always just simply enjoy them ?

In these last weeks of chemo , I'm longing for these moments . That great , first cup of morning coffee that hits the spot just right . To eat anything one desires . To sleep in any position without hurting . Yes , simple pleasures . . . . emjoying  them as if for the very first time .

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Saturday, April 27, 2013

F For Frustration

The door slammed with all the pent up aggravation of the entire month . It felt good ! As much as I have loved my neighbors these past two years , this month alone , my patience has been tested .

Our building has been in the process of being sold . Every couple of days , a letter would be slipped under our door informing us of a building code inspection , a showing , installation of fire alarms etc . The list is endless . All of this in the morning when I'm trying to get some sleep , but I endured it all with some dignity . . . .  and patience .

I've wanted to do some laundry and for whatever reason , the washer and dryer was occupied . I kept running up and down the stairs with my basket and each time it was for naught .
My impatience grew as the hours slipped from one to three . In the laundry basket were  some garments I wanted to wear for work .

That last run downstairs really was the last straw and I lost it . BAM ! The door slammed with full force . I think the entire building shook . And it felt good .

Immediately , the anger left me . I think I needed that . . . .  but it bothered me . Why did I explode in the first place ? I haven't felt such anger in years .

All month long , I walked around with a smile on my face , regardless of all the change that has been going on in my life . My chemo wasn't working , my home was disrupted . . . . changes and more changes everyday . I smiled and made lemonade with all those lemons .

BUT . . . . deep down inside I wasn't liking it one bit . I thought I left all that house stuff when I moved into the apartment so I wouldn't have to deal with it . As to my health . Aren't I supposed to do my six months and get a break until the next time ?

Changes . . . no one likes them .
Have a Blessed day everyone .

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Taking The Weeds Out

April has been a pretty good month so far . I feel happy regardless of the chemo . I think that's because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that makes everything bearable .

If I could define what April has been like , I'd call it weeding out the garden of one's life . After touching base with old friends and new friends , it seems everyone is working on something in their life . No matter if it was acceptability of one's situation to forgiveness of others , people were digging deep and pulling out unwanted weeds .

We all have issues no matter our age . None of us can walk away from a bad situation without being scalded . Pain leaves a scar , one that the devil keeps riverting our eyes to on a constant basis . Look in the mirror and all you'll see is everything that is wrong with you . That's the devil .

I've read somewhere that we are our worst enemy by openly inviting the devil into our home . Then we act shocked at the havoc caused in our life by him .

All that aside , I was thrilled at all the self -examination that was done by my friends . Weeding out the demons in our life offers a sense of freedom , a freshness to go on with a renewed zest for living .

What of my weeds ? Well , my weeds are more like dandelions . They just keep popping up , but that is my fault . I allow the devil a permanent residence and he certainly has worn out his welcome .

As to my friends , God speed ! After the weeds are pulled , the garden looks so beautiful ! Have a Blessed day everyone .

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Judgemental Christian

Every Sunday morning , Emily and I take a shortcut across a health club's parking lot to get to Church . Every single time we go through that parking lot , it's full of cars . I , the judgemental Christian , showed my disdain for the lot of them .

If Jesus took the time to go through all that He did by dying on the Cross just for us , the least we could do is give Him an hour of our time on Sunday .

I , the judgemental Christian , actually said this and it took about a full two minutes for the Holy Spirit to instill guilt upon my heart for voicing it . . . . .then for even thinking it .

Who am I , to say such a thing ? Have I been a Christian all my life ? Have I been to Church every Sunday ? Even worse . . . . now that I am a Follower , do I observe the Sabbath in every way ? Do I rest on Sunday ? Such guilt filled my soul .  Suddenly , I have become such a know it all . When has this happened ?

It's  so easy to judge others , isn't it ? I certainly don't know any one those people in that health club and yet , I'm acted as if I did . What's worse , I acted as if I was better than those heathens in that club .

How many times have I gone to Church on Sunday  and come home to do laundry or clean ? Have I really observed the Sabbath ? No , I haven't . Yet , I will judge others . Who knows ? Maybe they went the night before or during the week . Maybe they just haven't found God yet . Instead of judging them , why don't I invite them ? Pray for them ? Anything but judge them .

Have a Blessed day everyone .


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Meaningful Things

There are things in our life that have made profound difference whether they maybe a book , verse , song or movie . Sometimes , even a person . Here are some of these things that have helped me face the many storms that rage in our lives .

The God who sees me :
That line alone instills a sense of being watched by God . Anytime , there is a desire to fall to sin or do anything questionable , I always feel like God is watching all I do . A sense of guilt envelopes me almost immediately . Think of that verse  when doing something we shouldn't and see how quickly a person can recover to righteousness .

Be still and know that I am God :
I think this is my favorite and most inspiring verse of all . Many of times , it has comforted me when all else failed . Even now , I can see myself slumped over in total defeat , handing over all my troubles to the only one who can make them better .

I can only imagine :
This song by MercyMe moves me beyond words . I cannot listen to it nor sing it without sobbing . This isn't a favorite song of mine , but it certainly touches me emotionally like no other . It  asks how will we feel when we come face to face with God . If you haven't heard it before , I recommend you take a listen  to the lyrics .

90 minutes in heaven :
A book that was given to me while in hospital six years ago that started this journey of mine . This book has completely changed my life . I plan on re-reading this monumental book with the eyes of a veteran . Stay tuned for that because you all know I will write about it . If you have experienced an illness or are living in one now  . . . .read this right away .

A family tree :
Five years ago , I went on my first women's retreat from church . There was a woman speaker , I can't remember her name , but she drew her family tree . She wrote under each family member's name not their date of birth or death , but what their struggle in life was . Whether it was alcoholism , children out of wedlock , drugs , gambling , financial issues  or lack of education . The list could be endless . After she was done , you could see a pattern forming . A pattern that showed up generation after generation with the same struggles . I believe hers was financial and alcoholism . This was profound to me , because I ended up making a family tree of my own  to see what pattern existed  . It was a huge eye opener for me to see how there weren't any fathers in our family . This definitely had to change in my children's generation . I encourage all of you to make a family tree to see what reoccurring bad habits you can change .

There are many things such as the above that have helped change and comfort me to become the person I am now . What are these things in your life ? Have you shared them with others ? I encourage you to share with others the things that offer comfort or strength . Let's help each other to overcome .
Have a Blessed day everyone .

Monday, April 22, 2013

Stormy Days

The storm raged all day and night . Lightening flashed across the sky . Streets and basements flooded , water spilling over through any convenient opening . Huge puddles littered the sidewalks and the splatter of heavy raindrops could be heard on the window pane .

The storm raged on .

In the morning , people awoke to flooded basements , flooded streets and flooded cars . All over Facebook , people were seen sifting through the storm that passed in their lives .

Storms come and go , but the cleanup remains .

This past week , storms have been chasing me . It started with Sunday's sermon on storms . Emily's Bible group focused on the storms in their lives . A few of my friends  recounted to me the many storms they are facing . The aftermaths of my chemo affected my feet . Then the rain began . . . .

Storms . You're either in one , or coming out of one  , or heading into one  .

Many people think my cancer is my storm , but somehow , I just don' t believe that . Cancer has become so mundane to me  , so everyday , such a normal part of my life . How can that be my storm ? No , cancer is not my storm .

The perfect storm brings you to a breaking point .

I seriously thought about that sentence . Of all the things Ive been through lately in my life , what is my storm ? If I could change one part of my life , what would that be ? What is my breaking point ?

Cancer has been a learning process in my life . I wouldn't change that . The pain I experience because of the cancer comes and goes . It certainly differs in the extent of pain depending on the treatment , but basically it never really goes away .

My storm would be acceptance to what I can physically do now . There are times that I hunger for my old body  , which is strange to me . That old body was rotten and full of cancerous tumors . Why am I missing it ?

The perfect storm is a place of transformation .

Yes , transformation . As I look out the window , all that I see is the green of the grass  and trees . This terrible storm that passed left in it's wake this lush beauty . It brought forth the buds of new life .

I try to remind myself that there is beauty in my storm . Then why can't I accept it ? This is my body now . Why don't I like it ? Why am I fighting it ?

Yes , the storm passed through and the cleanup begins .

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cancer Blessings

Whenever people learn of my three time cancer status , I get alot of sympathy and disbelief . I guess , people are surprised at my calmness regarding my illness . Another reason , they consider my illness a major depressing setback .

I think otherwise . To me , cancer has only brought Blessings in my life . I know people find that strange , but it's true . Here are some Blessings in my life since my cancer .

1. This one may be difficult to believe , but I'm happy that the steroids made me gain some weight . I actually like myself with these curves . I would like to lose my stomache  , but the rest can stay . Before all of this , I was a size 4 . Whenever I look at some old pictures of myself , I realize that I looked too skinny . At least now , I look healthy .
2. I also found out who I am both on the inside as well as on the outside . I'm very comfortable in this old skin of mine . My relationships are healthy and strong . I'm also mentally stronger to handle any difficulties that may arise .
3 . Cancer has allowed me to face my own mortality . I had to accept death and learn not to be afraid of it . Instead of looking at it as an end , it's just a beginning of something to look forward to .
4. I've also learned not to get angry . I still fail sometimes , but mainly , nothing is that important that I need to waste my energy on being upset . I can't control other people or their actions . I try to better myself  and my actions .
5 . Lastly , I've learned to live my life .

Ask anyone who has dealt with an illness and they will tell you , it has changed their life for the better . Too bad , it had to take a  tradegy for us to remember that .
Have a Blessed day everyone .

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I've Got A Feeling

Well , this concludes my week off from writing . I hope you enjoyed going back in time with me . Here's the final story of my vacay .. . .



I've got a feeling......oooooooh , ooooooh .

That's right . There's something happening . I'm on the verge of something big . Only HE knows what that is . You're all probably wondering what the heck is she talking about ?!

You see , this past month hasn't been good at all . Many things have happened --- alot of it not pleasant . Just when things couldn't get any worse I had the rug pulled from under me . Didn't see it coming . It always hurts the most when you don't see it . Shock . Disbelief . Hurt . Anger and stupidity . Yes , stupidity . Why didn't I see it ?

I literally fell to my knees and prayed . Made me think of the Book of Job . You see I didn't just pray but howled as I prayed just like JOB . I prayed out loud in my car while I was driving . People must have thought I was CRAZY !!!!!

A friend once asked me if I ever went to a sanatorium for a rest --  to think . I thought he was nuts . Why would I want to go there ? I'm not looney . But he was right . I spent the last two weeks to myself . Cancelled what I could and sat by myself . Just thinking . Listening to music . Everyone wondering where I'm at .

I have spent the last three years wondering what it is that GOD wants me to do .You all have heard me say "Is God's plan the same as my plan".Well , I think God has been waiting too long for me to get up and get a move on with His plan for me .

All my life I have been scared to do things like driving on the expressway . So as I'm going through this difficult patch I kept asking myself why ? Why ? Why ? You know why ? Because I'm trying to run the show . If I want to truly know what HIS plan is for me than I need to surrender it all to him . I need to learn trust . I don't know how to trust .

My son gave up half his salary to do a job that he truly felt God wanted him to do . He lived by faith not by sight . He knew that God would take care of him and He has .This is where I'm at right now . I feel I'm on the edge to live by faith not by sight . To do this I have decided to take up a challenge for myself in the coming year.
Three years ago , I faced a challenge as I battled stage 3 ovarian cancer . Part of my healing involved making blankets for everyone in my family . I wanted to leave a part of me behind so they will always have something to remember me by.

This year , I want to make blankets for St.Jude Hospital's kids . I want to spend this year making as many as I can and a year from now donate them to the children . I want those kids to feel a bit of home when they're in the hospital . I know what that feels like . I spent 4 months total in and out of the hospital during a 6 month period .

What I need from you is two things .First , I need prayer for strength and endurance . Because it won't be easy .There will be obstacles . Whenever, we look inside of us we find things we don't like .

Secondly , I need yarn and plenty of it . I don't want money , just yarn . I know that somewhere in someone's basement , attic or even an aunt's house there is old unused yarn . Don't matter the color , texture , size or amount . I'll make it work .

If someone is interested in making a blanket --feel free . Just one thing-we're making it not buying a blanket .There is something very special knowing someone took the time to make something just for you .

I don't know how this is all going to work out . I don't even know if St.Jude will take it . When I made the blankets for my family I was able to make like eleven blankets from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day .

I've got a feeling its gonna be a good , good day .

This story was written before the slippers . At first , I wanted to make blankets , but then I realized how long it would take me to make hundreds . I did make a total 6 which I gave to my son to give away to a nursing home . Yes , these are the blankets you stored in his garage instead . Today , those blankets will go to the homeless .
HAve a Blessed day everyone .

Friday, April 19, 2013

I've Got A Feeling -Take 1

I'm sure all of you have noticed that I've taken this week off from writing . Instead , I've been posting some stories I wrote from awhile ago , but never posted . So .........without further ado , here's another one .



Hello Everyone!!
Lately , I haven't been feeling like writing . It seemed like a cloud was over me . My mind would become a total blank . Sometimes life is just too much , coming at you from all sides . There's only one thing to do . Call in a prayer request from my girls and pack it up AND GO ON A TRIP !!!!


This trip started out with two goals in mind , but I added in a third one unconsciously . I didn't even know there was a third until the trip was over .

The week before the trip , I was ready to jump off a cliff . Did you ever feel like getting in your car and driving to nowhere ? With no particular destination ----- just drive and blast the music . Thats how I have been feeling for quite sometime now .

This trip was planned for months .You see my son is getting married and we were getting together to plan the wedding . The other goal was to drive to Springfield for the first time on the expressway . I'll tell you a secret.....I have been afraid , too afraid , to drive on the expressway . My fears have always kept me back from doing things . I didn't learn to drive until I was 35 years old !!!!

I thought it was time . Henry gave me a GPS and I asked my mom to go with me and we were off . At first , I didn't know how to quite read the GPS and kept making all the wrong turns . Almost gave up . I stopped , reset the darn thing and headed out again .This time , I didn't make any wrong turns all the way . I was so proud of myself . Overcame a fear . Silly isn't it?

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Spiritual Testimony


Today, in church , I sat there and reflected on my love for GOD . I felt such profound peace and love inside me .

I never would have thought it possible for me to love being in church let alone looking for Sunday to come . Never have I thought I would be so fulfilled and sated spiritually . I , am not bored in church . I love going to church and the best part ...I could stay there for hours . I can't even believe I am saying this .

There are times that Sunday can't come fast enough for me because I NEED to go to church . So I sat there and thought to myself how much I have grown . It reminded me of Psalm 116 .

I love the Lord , for He heard my voice
He heard my cry for mercy
because He turned His ear to me
I will call on Him as long as I live
the cords of death entangled me
the anguish of the grave came upon me
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow
then I called on the name of the Lord
O Lord , save me !!

That's what I was thinking about in church today . I couldn't think of one prayer request to make today because all I could feel is praise for Him .Today it was all about gratitude .

We had an altar call . An altar call for those who want to deepen their relationship with Christ . As I stood there and looked around , half the church was at the altar and I felt tears because I thought to myself everyone must be feeling what I am .

If there was one thing , one wish that I would make for everyone is that they would experience that spiritual fulfillment that I feel .
Have a Blessed week everyone!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Big Adventure Final Day

My body is slowly healing from my sores which means I'm peeling all over . I'm so incredibly itching and my skin is feeling so very raw .The bright side of this . . . . my skin , in the end , will be very soft . Here is the final installment of my time in Texas .




It all has come to an end . Even though it took me hours and hours of being delayed coming home I would still take the train again . I love the train and one day I want to be on the Orient Express !!! I'm already planning my next trip out to visit Carolyn in Florida . I don't know exactly when but I'm going .

I did hear on the news when I got back that Dallas had a tornado in downtown Dallas .Wow !!! That's where I was . Now I know for sure Emily will never go with me .

Another thing is I never left my car before unattended at a train depot . It was taken care just fine . I did pray all around my car before I left and also the house right along with my family .

I have to say that when I got home and jumped into bed.......that bed felt like a 5 star hotel bed . I snuggled in and slept the best sleep of my life !!!!

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Big Adventure Day 2


 As I re-read the stories from long ago , I find myself thinking how amateurish they seem . I feel like my writing has improved since then .




Hey everyone,
                I   slept very well last night . Couldn't believe that I didn't wake up in the middle of the night like I usually do . Last night , Anna made brownie sundaes and we all settled down on the couch to watch a movie .The kids were so excited for me to watch this movie with them . All I know folks is that Matthew Connaughy was in it with that Alias girl . The next thing I know it was morning .

I know , I know . How can I behave like this at someone's house ?At least , I finished my sundae and then fell asleep .Why waste food .

There is so much to see here .There is a Cowgirl Museum , another Wax Museum , a Water Park , Great America Six Flags etc . I wanted to go to the Zoo . It's been years and years since I last went to the zoo .

By the time this family got up and dressed it was like 1p.m . But it wasn't the kids fault , it was mama bear that caused so much delay . Anna , is Miss Accessorize !!!!!! This woman looks good all the time from the top of her head to her toes . Everything matches-even her underwear ! Anna looks like she just jumped out of the magazine pages of ELLE .

There is nothing but expressways here and it's a different kind of weather .Today was in the 90's but yet it was a different 90's than what we are accustomed to .The hottest time of the day is around 3p.m. until 5p.m. or so .Then it gets real windy and I mean windy . Forget about your hairdo then . Mom would not like this part . She has a thing about her hair .

First thing you see when you get to the zoo is this huge giraffe . It's really cool . One thing I noticed right away about this zoo is that it had alot of greenery. Almost like a nature exhibit with all kinds of flowers and shrubs .These shrubs had a real tough rubbery- like leaves . Almost felt like plastic and then it dawned on me that they have to because of the rough heat . Palm trees everywhere . Never thought palm trees were in Texas .

There was a Cat In The Hat exhibit in the childrens zoo where you could take a picture with the cat . Of course , Anna was the first one in line . I told her its for the children Anna - the children . There were camel rides , a merry-go-round and you could take a picture holding a snake .That's what I did !!!!! I wanted a camel ride but it cost like 5 dollars a person and there were 5 of us .You pay to park ,you pay to get in and then you pay to eat . It can all add up . They did have this cup you could buy and then get free refills forever no matter when you came back .

You should have seen Anna ! She was like a little kid in the zoo . She filmed all the animals moving around up close and plans to put it on facebook . She also plans to post all the pics of us .Why do pics add on extra weight ? I know I don't look this heavy in person . I only have two chins!

Right after that  , we went shopping to a couple stores .We were only getting one thing , but came out with a shopping cart . I don't know what happened . Another thing I noticed is that they have every store here and restaurants too . No different than Chicago . I find that very strange because when I go by Joey and even to Springfield I don't find the same stores there .

When we got home it was like 8:30p.m. and they still had laundry to do . The complex comes with a laundry room for everyone to use . I find that is neat and noticed that even by Joey all the apartments come with one except in Chicago  AND all apartments come with your own parking ! Even by Joe , wherever he has lived , he has had his own spot . I like that .

While they were doing laundry I partook of a bubble bath .That's right and I'm not feeling guilty . When they got back the kids cleaned the house while we sat around and Anna did her nails .That is her new hobby-----manicures . She is an artist when it comes to nail work .You should see her nails .She doesn't just put polish on them , she puts 3 different kinds of polish on them and then she paints a design too . I asked her when she has time to do her housework and stuff .You know what she said ? That's what kids are for .Well , I just shut up then .

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Monday, April 15, 2013

Big Adventure Day 1

Since lately I haven't been feeling well , I've decided to share some of my old stories that I've written way before my blog ever existed . This one comes from a visit to one of my Anna who happens to live in Texas .



Hey all ,
Guess what ? It's time for another great adventure , but this time I'm visiting my good friend Anna in Dallas Texas.

My big day begins here at home in Chicago as I attempt for the very first time in my life to RIDE THE METRA INTO UNION STATION ----ALL BY MYSELF . That's right . I'm not kidding . I did it .Yes , I did . I have to say that the whole experience reminded me of the movie "Romancing The Stone" .The scene where she is taking the bus in Colombia with all these people and the chickens . All those people with their feet dangling up above me.
 
I took Amtrak like I always do . I love to ride the train . For me it is so relaxing with their comfortable chairs that have a footrest that pulls out .There was noone beside me so I pulled out both chairs and since they don't have a divider it was like a bed for me .You have so much room that you could stretch out completely .

You have a cafe , dining car , an observation room with windows from ceiling to floor . Really cool !!! There is even  a dressing room just for that . Did I say I really love riding the train ?

Had some real interesting people on broad with me .There was an elderly gentleman who complained constantly----when he wasn't at the bar though . He might have just stayed there at the bar lounge but instead he kept walking back and forth the whole time .
Then there was the kookie young girl that drove everyone insane accusing them of looking at her the wrong way . She also kept getting up and changing her seat .Then she took out her baby powder and sprinkled it all over the seat .Did I say she was kookie ?
Then there was the lovey dovey young couple , lets call them Nancy and Joshua , who did all these  " AAAHHHHH " things together like play cards and bet with their M & M's .

  I started thinking , what do you suppose they all say about me ? Yeah , look Nancy , its that woman going to the bathroom AGAIN.

When I finally got there , Orlando and Alonso ran past me not recognizing me at all . Must be all that weight I lost. HAHAHAH!We all went out to this Buffet Style Restaurant but with a Mexican flavor .Very good . After eating all that food I just wanted to take a nap ,but no , Anna , drags me to Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum . Bought some souvenirs for my two , Joe and Emma .They both got a Texas t-shirt and I bought a dream catcher for Emily . She's been looking for one forever .

Again , I said how tired I am but Anna takes me on a tour of Duncanville and the new place where she's moving to .Then we decided to go to church for the 6 p.m. service and I finally  dozed off in the car with my mouth open and drool hanging out .Yes  , very pretty , I know .That's when her pastor drives past and waves a hello .

Did I tell you that at Ripleys they also have a wax museum , so I took a picture with Tiger Woods . I hope the paparazzi don't find out and label me girlfriend number 135 . I also felt Rocky Balboa's muscles and how was your day ?

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Broken Mirror

I wrote this in 2011 . It has become one of my favorites so I hope you enjoy it , too.



It all started when I broke a mirror . It was in late September on a Saturday night as my mom and I were getting ready for a wedding . I completely shattered the entire full length mirror into kazillion pieces!! Not a million but kazillion pieces!!!!! Oh well , seven years....

Yet , I had the best time ever . I can't even remember when I enjoyed a wedding more .This wedding was something else . It was full of young people who danced and danced the whole night .The DJ didn't take a single break ! I felt like I was in a club .That's the way it should be . Life is for the living .

I looked around and saw us old folks just sitting and watching .Thats how life really is .The young are so full of expectation and wonder but most of all.....impatience for tomorrow to come .What are we?We're tired .We know what tomorrow will bring and it won't always be pretty .

In the same week , Emily had an opportunity to see Emeril Lagassi ....LIVE !!! How great is that . He was coming to Arlington Park and do a LIVE show and you could meet Top Chef finalists from different seasons . It was like a food festival where you could try different dishes and  wine too . It was FREEZING !!!!
But it was worth every goose pimple on her body .

Emeril prepared his famous Emeril salad ,roasted chicken , spiked tea [ I wonder what he spiked it with} and steak dog wrapped in bacon . It was so cold and no sun at all . Did I tell you it was outside ? Everytime Emeril yelled out STEAKDOG the sun would come out . It turned into a game with Emeril and the crowd screamed  STEAKDOG just so the sun could come out .

She came away from the experience with autographs of the top chefs and pictures of Emeril which we framed  .The funniest thing of all is that she goes to food festival loaded with food and what does she bring home ? A small apple.Thats my girl .
I told Emily not bad at all considering I broke the mirror into a kazillion pieces .Then she proceeded to grab another mirror,"Lets break this one ,too".

The thing is that I haven't been feeling like writing lately .This happened in late September and here I am writing about it now .Now you could say that its the broken mirror and seven years bad luck that kept me feeling down and not writing .That is not true because , you see , I believe in JESUS CHRIST not lady luck .

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hello Joyce

For a very long time , I have wanted to venture out of my spiritual comfort zone . Spending the last six years in home groups , reading materials on my own , I've a desire to do more . I want to learn and develop my spiritual relationship with Christ as much as I can .

At the start of this year , I've made a mental promise to myself to get out into the world and do workshops , lectures , conferences and retreats whenever possible . . . . anything that will challenge me .

When I found out that Joyce Meyer's was coming to Milwaukee , Wisconsin I knew an opportunity presented itself . I also knew whom to ask to join me . My niece Kathy is a person who loves an adventure and has an open heart to try something new or different .
Of course , we were going together .

The conference started at 10 a.m. which meant we had to leave like 7 in the morning . Since I work all night , it meant there would be no sleep until late afternoon . Actually , I slept only 2 1/2 hours before going back to work that night .

None of that mattered . I had a great time ! Joyce Meyer's is everything she appears to be and then some . I would gladly see her again . All that aside , the fact that I was able to act on a personal goal meant everything to me . I can't wait to see what is around the corner . Women of Faith Conference , maybe ?

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Thursday, April 11, 2013

News Flash

Well , my fears have been confirmed and the building has been sold . We have new owners . The change will occur halfway through May . Am I pleased ? Far from it . Not all change is good . I'm afraid of our rent being raised considerably  among other things . Just the thought of packing everything up and moving is overwhelming , definitely not what we were planning for quite awhile. Besides all that , I'm not really surprised it sold . The building has been kept in great condition . You could see the previous owner took great care of it .  Change , we don't like it , do we ?

On to better things . My health has been great so far all because of my attitude . Eversince , we have made the decision to cancel this current treatment  and opt for a different one , I'm just so happy that this worst chemo ever is done . It's done ! I don't even dwell on the symptoms . They won't be coming back anytime soon .

Now . . . .for the good stuff . Tomorrow , I plan on going somewhere great and seeing someone even better . It has been one of my goals this year and I'm extremely happy to see it realized . So my friends , it's a short one today . Until tomorrow , have a Blessed day .

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

An Obstacle Course

When I first learned of my cancer , my thoughts centered entirely on my recovery . That's everyone's first priority . Unfortunately , that only exists in a perfect world and we all know this isn't one .
In this society , a person facing a chronic illness , also faces unsurmountable obstacles thrown at all angles and red tape .

Who knew your job could be at risk ? Not many people have short term disability at their place of work and therefore , are at risk of losing their position because of attendance or capability issues . Sometimes , you have to walk away from your job because of your physical handicaps .

Another major issue happens to be your health insurance . We never really examine the options when the time comes to renew our health coverage . What does it really cover ? Or maybe you have no health insurance at all . What does a person do then ?

Then there is the financial side . Most of us , live paycheck to paycheck without any savings hidden away . No one really expects illness to happen . It really sneaks up on us and basically we're not ready . Even if you do have a nest egg , it can quickly disappear since chronic illness can last a lifetime . What if new health issues develop ?

What if a person had all of the above ? You think you are covered for all emergencies , but if I learned anything during these three times , you can never prepare enough . Once you become sick , everything changes . Suddenly , you are thinking on a broader scale and concerns arise that you've never thought about before .

It's unfortunate that we can't just focus on getting better . Instead , we are faced with so much paperwork to fill out , spending hours on the phone . It's really a shame that a person's health condition is another's business opportunity . This is the world we live in now . I'm constantly thinking ahead to what can happen in the coming months . Maybe , disability is in the future , who knows ?

Have a Blessed Day everyone .

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Getting Results

Every week , an organization called  " Phil's Friend's " sends me a Get Well card with an encouraging note or testimonial inside . This week , it was a letter from someone who was about to get test results regarding her cancer . As I read it , it dawned on me how very much alike we all were when it came to an illness .

Did my cancer get better ?
Was it worse ?
Was I completely healed by a miracle ?
What would be the next step or course of action ?
Would this next bit of news change my life forever ?

Immediately , Linda comes to mind . Just a few days ago , Linda came up to me asking for prayers since some tests were due and she was afraid of the results . I instantly wondered if Linda was asking herself those very same questions . I'm almost sure she did .

We all seem to feel the same emotions , think the same thoughts , have the same doubts and fears . We all want the test results to say the same thing . We all hope for the illness to be kept at bay or gone forever .

I can write something witty and intelligent , offering some wisdom on how to deal or overcome these feelings , but that would be a lie . I can guarantee that I will ask those same questions when my tests are due . I can promise you , I will spend a sleepless night worrying about something I cannot control . My temper will flare inflicting pain unto others without meaning .

It seems that no matter what type of illness we have ( heart disease , stroke , cancer ) we share the same emotions and fears . We experience the same pain and relief . We are united in surviving . There are no right answers . There is only relief in knowing that we are not alone in being scared . We have to lay all our fears at His feet and learn to have faith that He will deliver on His promise .
We will be healed , either here on earth or in heaven . We need to believe that ! Have a Blessed day everyone .

Monday, April 8, 2013

A New Project

God amazes me continuously not just with His Power , but just with who He is and what He does .

 Last Fall , my huge project ended and I was left feeling a little like an empty nester . That project overtook my life so much that when it was gone , I felt empty . I felt like I needed to be doing something else , but couldn't figure out what that " something "  was . I continued making more slippers , but somehow that didn't feel right . I tried making children's hats  and again , the same feeling persisted . Nothing felt right .

Now , looking back , I can see why He wanted me to wait . During these past months , I haven't been physically able to crochet . He knew that . He knew my hands would be crippled by the chemo . He was telling me to wait . Heal first and then we'll start something new .

It's so difficult to wait , isn't it ? We don't want to wait for an answer, we want it now . If we don't get one right away , we try to force the issue ourselves . Forcing the issue brings nothing but disaster . Remember Sarah ?

I think that a part of me was afraid of losing touch with my donators of yarn . If I didn't keep moving , then all the yarn suppliers would dry up and when I needed it the most , there wouldn't be any , right ? People would forget about my ministry work . Or maybe , I was afraid of not going back to it , but putting it aside for years to come .

I could come up with many reasons , but the truth is that the time wasn't right . As I move forward with the new treatment , my body starting to heal slowly , a new opportunity arose for a project . I can't share every detail , but I can say that I will be making blankets for the homeless and nursing homes .

I feel so excited about this project and hope I can make many blankets . As always , if there is any yarn out there laying around in an attic or basement , I will gladly take it . Prayers are also welcomed .
For now , Have a Blessed day everyone .

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Living

There is yarn laying in a heap upon the living room rug next to my favorite arm chair . A remnant of what looks like a blanket tucked away in the corner of it with a crocheting hook on top . The mail littered the cocktail table , mostly ads . On the book shelf , an unfinished cup of coffee . In the kitchen sink , some dishes waiting to be washed  . A laundry pile in the corner of a bedroom piled high .

These are some of the messes one will find in my home . No matter how much I try to keep the place looking untouched as if in a magazine ,  I never quite achieve it . I gloss over the pages of newly
organized rooms pictured to such perfection and I dream .  I love organization , but I'll never get there . I dream of it , but know deep down inside , I will never achieve it .

Whenever I'd voice my thoughts on the subject , Emily would always reply . . .

But , mom , we're living not sitting . We're living life .

She is right ! We are living , breathing the very life God bestowed on us . We are imperfect , unorganized , messy people . We are not secluded inside a square boxed room staring at the four walls . We go out and mingle with the world . We cry , laugh , we live .

When the world treats us badly : when our bodies fail us : when loved ones disappoint us . . . . . we have to live . There is no life on that glossy ,  perfect sheet in a magazine staring up at us . Yes , I'm always striving for that perfection that only God has achieved .

What would happen if I finally got there ? What would happen if every part of my life would sit neatly in a row . . . undisturbed ? Would I read a book or be afraid of messing up that row ? Would I lounge comfortably on my couch or sit pretty with my hands folded ? Would my kitchen be filled with the delicious aromas of a home cooked meal or would I want a shiny empty sink instead ?

Yes , a neat . . . organized . . . .life . No surprises . No unexpected turns . Or bends . As tempting as that may be , it's not living . It's not experiencing what life has to offer . I want to live out my life in every way . I want to experience . I want to live . How about you ?

Have a Blessed day everyone .




Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cancer Wellness Doctrine

Cleaning out some papers , I came across an old poem that came from my old Oncologist's website . I thought I'd share it with all of you .



my health is my responsibility
but I did not cause my disease
I will always have hope
what I hope for
may change over time
my doctor and I are partners
we both have things to learn
death is not failure
personal dignity and
quality of life
are my measures of success
cancer provides me with an opportunity
I don't have to feel grateful for it
I am willing to change
the way I feel with stress
the past is only important
if I make it so
cancer is a family illness
we all need attention and support
I have the power to make a difference
in my care
I need to look inside
for the proper direction

One of my sister-in-laws gave me a necklace with a similiar one . Six years have passed since then and suddenly , all the words seem so very true .
Have a Blessed day everyone .

Friday, April 5, 2013

Changes In The Air

After I left my doctor's office , I felt like changes were in store for me  . Each time I go through treatment , sudden new changes emerge from the experience . A growth . . . . an acceptance . . . . an adaptation to this lifestyle .

All of my life , change has held me back . Or I should say , fear of change . I've always been afraid . Afraid of not making it financially : or failing in a  lasting relationship : or of making a huge mistake with decision making . I would surround myself with people that I could run to whenever change happened . Let them take care of me . Sometimes , I'd run from situations because of fear .

As I've  traveled on this journey of mine , I've asked God for spiritual growth . My , has He provided the experiences for that growth ! My tendencies have always included clinging to people to take care of these changes , instead of clinging to God . His response ? To take away these people .

As I sit here , fully knowing that changes are here yet again , making their way into my life . . . . I'm afraid . The buoys in my life are gone and I have to float on faith . It's so easy to say , but so hard to really do .

I think back to all the other times I've been afraid . I didn't learn to drive until I was 35 years old , but I can remember the satisfaction of achievement in getting that drivers  license . I was scared of living on my own and yet , it's been the best decision of my life .

All these times , changes occurred . Changes that were forced on me , because I was too afraid to make them on my own . Yet , every single one was a much needed change for the improvements in my life . A step forward that needed to be made . An act of faith to display .

Yes , change is in the air . Have a Blessed day everyone .

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Who Are You ?

Recently , I've read an article on discovering who we are just by what types of things we pin on our Pinterest Board . Imagine that ! Over the years , I've read similiar articles using other things such as " colors we like " or " foods we eat " that determine what we are all about .

It seems we spend alot of time and energy in trying to find out who we really are on the inside . I think you can pick up any magazine and find an article based on self - exploration whether spiritual or mental .

Who am I ? I know I have changed many times during my lifetime . I have been many things to many people . I've adapted to the situations and surroundings at any particular time , but none have been as meaningful as these past six years .

In my younger years , I have never thought possible to find such a satisfying and fulfilling purpose in life . I've always felt that my role was to be a wife and mother and when that role was done . . . . then my life could be filled with hobbies and grandchildren .

What changed all that ? My relationship with Jesus . I've always believed in God . I've always had plenty of faith , but I've never had an intimate relationship with Him . It took this forsaken cancer to invade my body for me to wake up to what's really important .

So who am I ? When I die , my children will stand up in front of family and friends and tell of my life . They can list all the things I have done and places I've been to . The things I've said and hobbies I've shared . They can recite my life history from birth to my last breath . They can post beautiful and flattering pictures of my life .

Yet , none of that will matter .

Who am I ? I am the daughter of a King . I am the follower of Jesus Christ . I am a woman , a fellow sister in Christ trying to live a righteous life .

Who are you ?

Have a Blessed day Everyone .

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Miss Sunshine

Have I ever written about the parking booth lady at U.I.C. ? There are times , when I have no paper to write anything down , but a story forms in my mind . So I'm not exactly sure if I wrote about this or not . Oh well , here goes . . . .

I use the U.I.C. parking lot whenever I'm there . On my way out , I somehow always seem to get this one elderly lady parking booth attendant . I call her Miss Sunshine  , but she is anything but that .
Life must have been rough for this woman if her sourpuss expression was anything to go by .

In the beginning , I would try to avoid her as much as possible . At times , that wasn't a choice I could make . Pulling up to her booth , I'd take a deep breath and steel myself for another unpleasant encounter with the unpleasant woman . No matter how nicely I asked about her day nor wished her a pleasant week , the only response I would receive would be a mumbled under her breath grunt .

After awhile , it became a challenge I wanted to overcome . I was determined to shower this woman with kindness . To give her the best welcoming smile of her life ! I would get a smile back , no matter how long it would take ! I would break through that icicle of a heart . Once , I came very close to seeing the corners of her unhappy face almost  and I mean almost , turn slightly upward as if she was fighting an internal battle with love .

The other day , I pulled up to her booth , not really recognizing it was her . I was tired and wanted to get home as soon as possible . To my surprise , Miss Sunshine , greeted me with a beautiful smile  wishing me a good weekend .

Have a Blessed day everyone .


Monday, April 1, 2013

Aubrey's Shower

I've been thinking quite alot about my Aubrey  . Sometimes , a person stays on your mind because you love them so much . It's been two years since she has become my daughter-in-law and I couldn't have chosen a better woman for my son myself . I came across this poem I wrote after a party , Emily and I gave in her honor . Here's to you , my love . . . .

Once upon a time, a young man named Joe got down on one knee and proposed

"Will you marry me,Aubrey?"

"Yes sirree,Joey!"

with a whoop and a holler

the mother-in-law declared

"It's time for a Wedding Shower!"

friends were called and family,too

the table was set with care

Emily,with her own two hands unwrapped the Costco wares

with the help of her sidekick Destiny

Tom took a look and sighed

"There's just too much estrogen around'!

he picked up his keys and left

"Call me when it's all said and done"

the neighbors all heard the laughter and cheers

wondering hey....

what's going on down there?!

haven't you heard?

Aubrey's here

when the sun set and the stars came out

and everyone was tucked away in bed

the mother-in-law snored away

dreaming of the great time they all had...


Have a Blessed day everyone !

Happy Easter

A Happy Belated Easter to everyone . I have to apologize for the lateness , but as usual with my treatment I became very tired and slept most of the day away .

The day started at 7 A.M. in the morning , with Emily anxiously getting ready for the Big Event at Church . This year , I handed my resposibilities over to her since I wasn't feeling very well . All I did was supply the candy and eggs . She took everything over to E.P.I.C. ( her twenty-something group ) and they spent a day filling over 1100 Easter eggs . I think they ate more than they stuffed , but we have to pay them somehow , right ?

Her group also spent a week passing out 7000 fliers in the neighborhood inviting people to Church . Talk about wearing out the soles of their shoes !

As the morning progressed , I could tell she was extremely excited about the Easter service . You want to see the fruits of your hard earned labor . She wasn't disappointed . It was standing room only with seating arrangements well into the foyer . There were 50 children in the Kidz Zone . Those 1100 eggs weren't enough .

As I sat listening to the service , I felt like a parent whose youngest child flew the coop . She handled it all , on her own . She grew up and became an adult .

I've always worried about her more than  her brother . What would become of her when I'm gone ? Watching her with the children , I knew at that moment , I knew everything would be okay . She was in God's hands and He was leading her . She would be just fine as long as she followed Him . It may take some of us longer than others , but eventually , we make our way back to Him .

Have a Happy Easter everyone and know that He loves you .

Yarn Bombing My Life

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