Saturday, August 31, 2013

End Of The Month

August began in anticipation of a new life in the form of a baby boy . Little did we know that he would make us wait until nearly at month's end . Kai came into this world on his terms , not ours .

August held many births and beginnings . I joined a Chronic Illness Support Group . Emily went from Register Girl to teacher in Sunday School , a Greeter and Resource Center desk volunteer . A crocheting club was formed and a blog revived .

August held a surprise or two , with my chemo treatments being extended once again and my boss complimenting me on a job well done . The latter more of a shocker than surprise .

August was a slow month at work with two company shutdown days . We haven't had any of those in two years . There were many  a long , boring , slow nights at work .

August was a month of organizations and lists . A schedule was made and so far maintained , to fit our  busy lifestyle . Slow at work / busy at home . The minor vehicle repair checklist was completed . Closets were cleaned out and room was made for new outfits . Care packages were made and sent out to Poland .

August was a month filled with  Church activities . There were three prayer walks , a volunteer appreciation BBQ , a potluck dinner , a two day spiritual gift class , Awanna training , a volunteer expo and Sunday School training /meeting .

August also held sad moments like when my friend / mentor came visiting from Texas and we couldn't get together due to a busy schedule on both sides . There were health issues with Linda not feeling well at all this month . The third cancer musketeer , Doug , had a blood clot in his leg .

August had a lot of ups and downs , but I'm looking forward to September and the cooler air .

Have a Blessed day everyone .




Friday, August 30, 2013

Simply Life

If you ask any individual what they desire more than anything in life , I bet their answer will be to live in peace and serenity . We all strive to achieve the perfect harmony in our life . Sometimes , we even pretend that we have it .

Why is it so difficult to achieve ? I believe because we are looking for instant happiness  . A little pill that can transform our dreary , broken heart into an instant rose colored glasses outlook . That's why new age religion is so appealing to people . . . . instant gratification .

I can remember my mentor relating how she first accepted Christ . In her darkest hour , she ran out into the street in the middle of the night crying to God to help her somehow if He truly was there . The same week , she received in the mail an invite to our Church .

The moment she cried out to Him , God didn't snap His fingers and her life became instant happiness , but He did provide her with His protection  and strength towards that goal . Now , almost seven years later , God is still providing her with the tools she needs to overcome any obstacles in her life .

Peace and harmony isn't something we can get for free , we have to do the work . If we want to move forward , free from all the chains that bind us , we have to clean out that closet first . All we have to do is cry out to the Lord , " HELP US " , and let Him equip us with what we need to live in peace and serenity .

Have a Blessed day everyone .


Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Crocheting Ministry Club


When I was a baby Christian , I had a real hard time believing people when they would say God spoke to them . I would wonder just how God spoke to them . How did they know it was from God ? I just couldn't understand what that entailed or what form it took place .

Over the past few years , as I grew in the Bible , so did my understanding . I believe that God approaches each of us in different ways . It could be in a dream , an intuition or series of events or other ways .

For me , it always starts with an idea and I may write about it or mention it to someone . Suddenly , this idea develops a life of it's own and grows beyond my expectations . I have no control over how quickly it spreads .

This is what happened with The Crocheting Ministry Club . I had an idea and I shared it here on this blog . Now , God knows that I am a procrastinator , so He took matters into His own hands .  

People started coming up to me , wanting to know when and where this club was meeting . My plans involved this club opening up in the Fall and not now in the Summer , but so many people approached me that I knew it was  a God thing . I knew , I had to get a move on with this club . . . . God was speaking .

So here I am , with a crocheting club , meeting at my small apartment . I have two seamstresses sewing baby receiving blankets , two  young girls aged eleven  and seven women crocheting away ! Plus , more promising to show up !

So what is my problem ? I'm scared , folks , scared , because the yarn is almost gone . How am I going to keep all of them stocked ? I got down on my knees and prayed . Lord ,  help me .

God has spoken , so I must continue on this journey wherever He is leading me on . I have no idea where it will take me . Or how I will get there , but God has spoken  and I must follow . Can you here Him ?

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Birth Of Me

Cancer is all around us . Every single one of us has a friend , a sister , a mother , a co-worker or a child with some sort of cancer . Cancer has become the new " Aids " of this generation . As more and more I learn of my friends with cancer , I see devastation and sorrow on their faces and within their hearts . Their pain is raw , unforgiving and relentless . Not quite believing that this could happen to them .
 
It has been six and a half years since I have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer stage 3 . I have fought this monster three times and each time a new " me " emerged . Since that faithful day in 2007 , my life has been transformed where I became aware of this so called life and the people in it .
 
I really had no experience with cancer or what it could do to a person . When I learned of my own diagnosis , I reacted the same as I did with any difficult crisis in my life .
 
" Well , okay , we'll go in there  and have the surgery . Do my chemotherapy and I should be back at work within three months ."
 
To say that I was immature is an understatement . It was a very long and slow process , but here I am . As I went through this journey , something inside of me was bursting forth  to emerge from these ashes . I realized that life is fleeting and it can be gone in a blink . Suddenly , I was asking myself questions regarding a relationship with God , with people and myself . How do I want to spend my remaining years ? Who am I really ? What is that life I'm meant to be living ?
 
It all began with a blog I wrote , an idea  I formed and a gift basket of yarn from a reader . Who knew I had all this inside of me ? God knew and had complete faith in me to live the life I was meant to live  as a servant of His . Many times I reflect on the past and wonder how much different it would be if I actually opened my heart  to God the first time I ever walked into a Christian Church at the age of 19 yrs.
 
Regrets ? I have plenty , but it is experience that makes us who we are today . I needed to live to be reborn . I like the person I have become and the stage of life where I am . Cancer may have changed my life , but it doesn't define who I am in it .
 
Have a Blessed day everyone .

Monday, August 26, 2013

Where Am I ?

Lately , the burning question of my health status is on everyone's mind . Where am I at regarding my health ?

Well , my health status hasn't really changed at all since the last time we spoke . This is the first time that my treatment has become an ongoing one  and that has everyone concerned .

In the past , I would undergo my six treatments and end up in remission immediately after . That is not the case anymore and that has people wondering something is going on .

We have to remember that my cancer only grew three centimeters and that is the normal size of growth for me . I think that because I have regular , scheduled appointments and tests , any irregularity is taken cared of right away .

This time around , my growth is only diminishing a centimeter at a time and at the moment it happens to be 1 1/2 centimeters . I think of this time as preventive medicine . I might never be done , but will continue taking preventive medication so it doesn't get out of control . This is just a thought .

The problem seems to be with my appearance , because I don't look like I have cancer . My hair didn't fall out this time , my weight is just fine . I look healthy and that has everyone thinking that I'm cured .

The picture of a thin , fragile , bald person with cancer who spends most of their time in the bathroom vomiting , doesn't exist anymore . The advances they have made with treatment allows people to look totally opposite that image and actually permits people to live out their life .

So where am I at ? Although , physically I'm still undergoing treatment , my mind is in perfect alliance with God . I love this stage of my life and try very hard not to focus all my energies on my cancer , but try to divert them by involving myself in servitude .
That's where I am at . Where are you at ?

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hello Kai

A few days ago , Kathy gave birth to a son named Kai Avery and I fell in love .



I held him . I smelled him . I caressed him . I whispered to him .

He has awakened a desire deep inside of me that I thought was long buried . I love children and they seem to reciprocate the feeling . I think this passion I share for them exists because of my past .

You see , I never had my last child , or the experience of having my last child . My second and fourth child , both sons , never lived past the age of five months and one month . Since then , I literally melt when I see a baby .

So after meeting Kai for the first time , I went home and sent pleading messages to my two adults children to provide me with a wee baby grandchild . Of course , I got the usual " someday " remark I always get which sent me into a pouting , angry mood .

" What are they waiting for ? For me to die ? I'm on borrowed time as it is ! "

As usual , God has a way of bringing me down to really count my Blessings . During my Devotions , I came across a story of a woman who never had children after countless years of trying .
Do I need to say more ?

I am so very Blessed ! I've had the joy of having four children , two of which grew into adulthood . I have many  and I mean many nieces and nephews . I serve as a Sunday School teacher surrounded by little ones . Young adults see me as their second mom seeking advice from me . What more could I possibly want ?

It is very selfish of me to behave in this manner when so many have never experienced as much as I have . God Bless Devotionals and God Bless Kai !

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Simply Wine

To say that I love wine is an understatement , but it wasn't always the case . Alcohol of any kind never suited  my palate . I'm not exactly sure if it was my illness or Kathy's winemaking , but during these past few years , I can't get enough of red wine .


Now . . . . . . before I go on , this isn't an advertisement for excessive drinking  or addiction . In fact , too much of anything isn't good for us . Here's a few facts on alcohol and what it does to us if we drink excessively .

 
Every so often , when I'm off from work , I enjoy a glass . I'm not much of a drinker and that glass will last me all day , but somehow , it hits the spot just right .
 
 After doing some more research , I understood why that was true . Wine has many benefits regarding your heart , blood pressure  and stroke . No wonder , since my chemo has a tendency to affect my blood pressure .
 
If you have a minute , read on for more benefits regarding drinking a glass of wine . All in moderation , folks , all in moderation .
The Benefit: Promotes Longevity
The Evidence: Wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers. Source: a Finnish study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007.
The Benefit: Reduces Heart-Attack Risk
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers suffering from high blood pressure are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack than nondrinkers. Source: a 16-year Harvard School of Public Health study of 11,711 men, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 2007.
The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
The Evidence: Red-wine tannins contain procyanidins, which protect against heart disease. Wines from Sardinia and southwest France have more procyanidins than other wines. Source: a study at Queen Mary University in London, published in Nature, 2006.
The Benefit: Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers have 30 percent less risk than nondrinkers of developing type 2 diabetes. Source: research on 369,862 individuals studied over an average of 12 years each, at Amsterdam's VU University Medical Center, published in Diabetes Care, 2005.
The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Stroke
The Evidence: The possibility of suffering a blood clot–related stroke drops by about 50 percent in people who consume moderate amounts of alcohol. Source: a Columbia University study of 3,176 individuals over an eight-year period, published in Stroke, 2006.
The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Cataracts
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers are 32 percent less likely to get cataracts than nondrinkers; those who consume wine are 43 percent less likely to develop cataracts than those drinking mainly beer. Source: a study of 1,379 individuals in Iceland, published in Nature, 2003.
The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer
The Evidence: Moderate consumption of wine (especially red) cuts the risk of colon cancer by 45 percent. Source: a Stony Brook University study of 2,291 individuals over a four-year period, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2005.
The Benefit: Slows Brain Decline
The Evidence: Brain function declines at a markedly faster rate in nondrinkers than in moderate drinkers. Source: a Columbia University study of 1,416 people, published in Neuroepidemiology,

Friday, August 23, 2013

That Java Time

Ahhhh , that first cup of the day . It tastes great , doesn't it ? It hits that spot just right , where you start feeling like you might be able to face whatever is coming your way that day . There's nothing like a good cup of java .

That's only true if we get to actually drink that hot cup of coffee . For me , I rarely get the chance to sit down and drink it hot and fresh . The phone rings or someone is vying for my attention  and in the meantime , the coffee becomes cold and uninviting . For that reason alone , I don't drink coffee at work .

But . . . . .

A time does come when we sit down and enjoy that tasty brew . Where we close our eyes , inhaling the aroma of pure , sweet coffee . That first sip bringing echoes of deep resounding sighs of pure tasty pleasure .

Along with that java usually come deep thoughts of what is really important . We start making plans on how we can achieve that delicious moment always . Don't you feel good  inside after that cup ? Ann Voskamp says it better :

Ways to be a Happier Person
 
 
1. Life is not an emergency.
Life’s a gift.
Just. Slow. Down.
 
2. Now is not a forever grace but amazing grace.
 
3. Sometimes the slowest way is the fastest way to joy.
Make time today, even a moment, to read Scripture and memorize it.
Without the lens of His Word, the world warps.
{Slowest=fastest to joy}

Isn't that just the truth ? The only time we ever think like that is when we sit down and take a moment to ourselves . Usually with a cup of java . We all lead such busy lives , why not take a breather and enjoy a cup ?

Have a Blessed day everyone.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Schedule At A Glance

Every Monday , when I come into work , the first thing I do is print out the schedule at a glance . On this piece of paper , usually three pages long , is a list of all the cosmetic goods I need to produce so it can be shipped out to the representatives .

Everything I need to  know is on that paper : The amount of people I will need : How many pieces of each item needs to be made : What priority each item has over the others . Over the remainder of the week , I'll be checking that schedule frequently .

Recently , my DIL Aubrey , made a schedule plan of her own of a routine  she wanted to follow . After seeing her plan , I thought of myself  and how this could be something I could use for my activities  . By doing so , one has a guideline in case we get sidetracked by other things .

I need guidance , because my schedule can get pretty overwhelming , especially since most of my activities take awhile to accomplish . What I don't want is an hourly schedule since that will never work for me . I keep taking on more , even though I know my schedule is full . Always trying to squeeze out another drop .

It seems I will be attending a Chronic Illness Group every week   and I'm hosting The Crocheting Ministry Club once a month on top of everything else .

Schedule - at - a - Glance :
Monday , Thursday , Sunday : Blog , emails , crocheting , Sunday School
Wednesday : Group , audios
Tuesday , Friday : crocheting , crocheting and more crocheting with chemo every 3rd. Friday
Saturday : once a month Crocheting Ministry Club , once a month for Potluck Connection , Sunday School duties .

If I do a small amount of each activity on each intended day , I shouldn't fall behind . This of course , doesn't include errands , chores and everyday life .  Sooner or later , I'll need a break . Darn ! I didn't schedule that !

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Simply Pampering

Being pampered is not something I'm really accustomed to , spending majority of my youth scrimping and saving . Manicures , pedicures and facials all were done at home versus the salon . An occasional visit to get a haircut was all I allowed myself .

It seems the younger generation has this down pack , frequently visiting salons and experiencing the art of pampering . Believe me , I'm not criticizing , but stand in awe of how body conscious they are of their own so early on . They are taking care of themselves with a little of preventive pampering . I wish I was that smart when I was young .

The older I get , the more pampering I need and desire . Our bodies start hurting in places we didn't even know we had . Many of times , I've come home with shoes in hand , limping and wincing straight to my bed . Didn't   I say I've been craving some pampering ?

When Kathy invited me along for a massage , I went without any hesitation . Since I've never had one before , I didn't know what to expect . I did feel funny having a stranger lay their hands on me . My fave part was the foot and head massage . . . . pure heaven . Although , I was a little sore a couple of days later , I'm definitely going back .

I can't always run for a massage when I want to , so at home ,  I have to use what I have . . . . a wash basin to soak my feet in and a bathtub for a bubble bath . From time to time , I have a beauty makeover night where homemade facials of cucumber slices  and an egg wash conditioner for the hair is made .

All that aside , to me the best pampering involves simply a night to myself , crocheting and watching a favorite show . I guess , I'm not really a girly girl .

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Soul's Retreat

After deciding I needed to take a break to refresh and regroup my soul , I started looking around for some great reading material to sink my teeth into . It's been a long time since I had a real Bible Study and my thirst was more evident than ever .

First , I asked myself what did I want to gain from this retreat ? This break ? Then I remembered some material I read regarding accountability . These next four things were needed in order for us to be held accountable for our actions .

1. Vulnerability—capable of being wounded, shown to be wrong, even admitting it before being confronted.


2. Teachability—a willingness to learn, being quick to hear
 
and respond to reproof , being open to counsel .



 
3. Availabilityaccessible, touchable, able to be interrupted.


4. Honestycommitted to the truth regardless how much it

 hurts, a willingness to admit the truth no matter how difficult

 or humiliating the admission may be. Hating all that is phony

 or false.


I'm sure we all nodded our heads in agreement as we read

these four truths , but can we actually live them  ? I know I

have struggled with them . Lord knows , availability alone

sends me packing into a hermit's  life .


These are just some things I want to attain during this time .

My shelves are filled with books and all sorts of reading

material that deal with spiritual renewal . I think it's time I've

actually spent some time pursuing a closer relationship with

those around me and especially with the One who Created

and saved me .


As we entangle ourselves in our daily lives being everything

to everyone , don't forget to be someone to yourself .


Have a Blessed day everyone .

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Ministry Of One

Every Sunday before Church , we arrive early and while Emily goes inside , I hang out in my car drinking coffee until the service begins .

One particular Sunday , a friend came up to the car and asked  :
" Are you being anti-social ? "

It really struck a cord with me , because she was right , I was trying to avoid the social scene before and after Church . Why ?  I could give you the usual excuses , but they would be just that . . . . excuses .

I believe the real reason is because I crave " me " time . I really like the alone time that being a hermit provides . All week , especially at work , people come at me from all angles . At home , there are issues as well . There is my blog , my crocheting ministry , the sunday school and on and on . It never ends .

Since I've been on this secret retreat of mine that no one knows about , there have been many soul searching conversations with myself . Yes , myself . We all have them , so you can stop denying their existence .

How can I call myself a ministry if I'm the only person in it ?

That is a very loaded question and little did I know , but God would provide an answer soon enough . Haven't I said that God had a plan for me ?

My mind is always ticking away with ideas and majority of them never get realized . God knows I'm a procrastinator . I analyze things to death from every angle . Remember Moses ? Well , that's me .

So as I envisioned my plans for the crocheting club in my head , God has decided to provide a jump start of His own . As usual , I'm not ready , but everyone else happens to be . A request has been made for baby blankets for St.  James Hospital , not to mention the ones for the homeless I have been working on .

Already , a few women have approached me wanting to know when this club intended on convening ? Of course , I ran home and cleaned the apartment in case they decided to come knocking that very night , hooks in hand .

After checking my yarn supply , I raided Walmart and topped off the cart with overflowing sea of colorful yarn . I waded through the aisles , head held high  as all eyes were on me . I was famous and it wasn't because of what I was wearing .

Upon arriving home , I checked  the calendar and chose a date . This ministry of one , no longer exists . In it's place resides something bigger , something better , a real team that will be known as The Crocheting Ministry Club .

Didn't I say God had a plan for me ? Have a Blessed day everyone  and stay tuned for more details .




Sunday, August 18, 2013

Under Construction

As I have arrived to this current roadblock on my path in life , my first reaction was to completely shutdown . My soul filled with anger , bitterness and disappointment at everything surrounding this thing called " my life ". The rose colored glasses lay on the ground , broken and covered with thorns .

Calls went unanswered , messages left unopened , I posted a sign on this blog : Under Construction . Keeping to myself , I longed for the weekend to arrive quickly , locking the door behind me so no
 " people " would enter . I wasn't leaving this apartment where others could hurt me , not even for church .

I questioned the existence of this blog , its worth  and its substance . I questioned whether I could even consider myself a writer . Did I really have anything to say that was worth hearing ? Was anyone even reading ?

What about all those blankets and things I have crocheted for others ? Do they really mean anything to them ? Or are they thrown into the closet never to be seen again ? All those slippers I have made , what has happened to them ? Have they ended up in the trash where someone considered them ugly . . . stupid . . . . pointless .

Doubts . . . .the devil thrives on them . He looks for opportunities to attack our insecurities with lies and more lies . I succumbed to them .

God had other plans for me .

Sunday came and I grudgingly went to church , hoping it would go by quickly so I could run home and wallow . The worship started . . .
Here in Your Presence
we are undone

That was the best worship I have experienced in a very long time . Tears flowed freely and I knew He was there with me . I 've realized that we all are under construction from time to time remodeling our soul for the better . This was a time I needed for myself to work on myself . We cannot keep running around being everything to everyone without taking some " me time " to spend with our Father .

So I have decided to leave the " Under Construction " sign on my blog while I undergo a transformation and prepare myself for the road ahead . You see . . . .

God has a plan for me .

Have a Blessed day everyone .


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Road Block

There comes a time in our life where we question our purpose  and goals we've set before us . A time where we wonder if we are surrounded by the right people in our midst . A time when we question our wisdom in the decisions we've made . A time where we consider the ties we've made and the ties we need to break .  Have I stayed on track or veered off into a ditch ? All things come to an end , whether they're good or bad .

All of my life , I've wanted to blend into the wallpaper , observing and not participating . Others have craved the spotlight and I've craved the hidden corner in the back . The more I'd creep into that safe haven of unknown oblivion , the greater the shove at my back , thrusting me forward into the light  .

God has other plans for me .

I've spent my life being everything to everyone . I have been the person that people ran to in the middle of the night . I have wiped tears away and listened to the woes of brokenhearted souls . I have offered my hand in friendship to people that no one wanted to know or forgive . I have turned that cheek so many times that I'm surprised how tall I can stand with my head held high .

Why are we such Israelites ? Never happy with what we have , always looking for the taking  instead of the giving ? Who are we to decide who is worth to forgive unconditionally , while others we forgive with conditions ? Why do we wipe the slate of others so their past is never seen again , while there are people whose slate we engrave to be highlighted at every opportunity ? Why are we such Israelites ?

Once again , mankind has disappointed me . As I retreat into my darkened cave of solitude , I am reminded of Moses and the Israelites . The more he gave , the more they selfishly took . How did he endure forty years of constant disappointment with the people in his midst ? As I have hit this roadblock in my life , that is an answer that I crave to learn .

Have a Blessed day everyone .


Friday, August 16, 2013

A New Season

I'm sure all of you have been wondering what has been going on with this blog since I haven't posted anything for almost two whole weeks . I felt like I needed some time off to regroup and take a very hard look at where I was going with my life .

I felt so out of place as if the footsteps I was walking in weren't any longer meant for me  . The path I was on led to a roadblock . Taking a look around into the crevices of my life , I realized it was time to forge a new path .

During that first week , I sat still , crocheting my little heart out . I felt spent and tired . As the days went by , an idea started taking shape and it grew bigger as the second week approached .

During that second week , the idea turned into action and I knew what had to be done . Rolling up my sleeves , I set to work . I felt revived and restored , ready for what God had in store for me .

You see , I knew I was on the verge of something new , a new season in my life . I knew I had to prepare for it spiritually and physically .

As I approach the next stage of my life , I'm both scared and excited , but it's a journey I definitely need to make . Won't you join me as I peek around the corner for new experiences that God has  waiting for me ? Looking forward to seeing you there .

Have a Blessed day everyone .



Thursday, August 1, 2013

Yarn Bombing My Life

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