Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tea Toddling Time

                                                    Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                    everyday is a journey.


I love to drink coffee and water.They are my daily staples that I need to function properly. Emily, on the other hand, drinks green tea and orange juice. When we want to get a little dangerous, I drink my red wine and Emily her cranberry juice. Yeah, we're real partiers here!

Both my children never really caught on to the young lifestyle of today's young adults. They never smoked or stayed out all night. I never had to deal with broken curfews or the smell of alcohol on their breaths. I didn't worry about them getting pregnant or becoming a father. They took their relationships with the opposite sex very seriously. I was very fortunate. They were far from perfect, each of them had their own issues, but in this area I had no problems. 

I wish I had their smarts when I was their age. I was the opposite of them. Don't get any ideas that I was a crazy teen drinking and partying, but I didn't have their determination in regards to choosing the right mate. What I looked for in a mate was completely different from theirs. I was more interested in how good he danced, if he had a car and how cute he was. I didn't check his faith, his beliefs or how he treated his friends. They definitely are smarter than their mother. Thank goodness!

Going through an illness brings out a barrel of emotions and memories. Reflecting on our past, the things we did right and the ones we did wrong, become our favorite past times. If only I had listened at the age of 19 and accepted Christ as my Savior. Can you imagine how different my life would have been now? Oh, I still would have gone through the same struggles, but how I handled them would have been different. I would have been a better parent, a better wife, a better person. I dropped the ball many times.

This weekend, the Village October Fest was in full swing. There is nothing wrong with participating, bringing our children to see the animals, face painting, live music and let's not forget the beer garden. There's nothing wrong with having a drink, but there is something wrong if one becomes roaring drunk raving and ranting at all hours of the night. Last night, the partying didn't end with the October Fest. It spilled out into the streets keeping us awake majority of the night.

I must sound like a boring tea toddler, not knowing how to have fun! I can't help but wonder how easy it is to become misguided in our youth when Christ is absent from our heart. I was one of those people. It took my cancer to wake me up in realizing what was important. It took a disease for me to find my purpose in life. It took a chronic illness for me to change my life.

So we will stick with our teas, coffee and an occasional glass of wine. We have no desire to join the crowds no matter how much they may enjoy making fun of us. Turning it up and acting like a fool isn't living a life to the fullest. That's just the opposite. That's wasting away the purpose we were put on this Earth to do. God has saved me, He has healed me over and over again. Why would I waste this healing?

Have a blessed day everyone. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Uncomfortable Question

                                                       Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                       everyday is a journey.

During my last week of radiation, I walked in on a very interesting conversation between two of the ladies there. One was my dear newfound friend Arletta and the other a caretaker of an elderly lady going through treatment. Arletta made a very interesting comment that has stuck with me ever since that day. She felt that there were people who were upset she had made it. 

Now as unpleasant as it may sound, I believe there may be some truth in it. I always felt that when something has stayed on mind and I'm thinking on it, it usually has a reason for it. 

When there is an illness, good friends and family do come together praying for us, taking care of us, encouraging us. We don't ever want to think about the people who never cared for us or the ones who have left us feeling uncertain whether they are our friends or not. We all have them. So let me ask all of you who have had an illness, have any of you felt like Arletta? Have you felt that there were people in your life who were upset you made it? 

It's not a question we want to think about at all, but we all have enemies or people who don't care for us. How many times have I heard someone say:
Payback is a _____________

That's what they get.

What goes around comes around.

I'm not surprised considering________

Do you suppose there are people who think that about us? People that we may have let down? Disappointed? Hurt? I, personally have never come across that feeling, which doesn't mean anyone never thought that about me. I have felt that perhaps, some people were tired of hearing about my cancer. I really would love to hear some feedback on this. For her to say that, she had to feel a person's scorn for her or maybe something they said to her. I'm very interested in hearing if anyone experienced the same thing.

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Celebrating Too Early.

                                    Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                       everyday is a journey. 

 I sat in my car, staring blindly into the dark night. I sat there, willing my aching body to move. My poor feet ached so bad, the soles burned. I have forgotten how much walking I do at work. Almost four months off and now my poor body has to get acclimated all over again. We all had days like these where everything hurts and we couldn't wait to get home. 

On top of all that, my radiation may be over, but my symptoms were still here. Or at least for another three weeks, according to my doctor. Fun. Eating has become a huge problem. I can only take in small amounts of food every two hours or so. My breakfast may include a slice of toast with jelly and half a banana on top. Two hours later I will have a banana or apple. Lunch may include a bowl of soup. . . brothy soup. And so on and so on. Well, at least I have found a diet that actually works for me.

So what happens if I don't comply with my diet? Nothing pleasant, I assure you. I have been dealing with bathroom problems ever since this recovery. I'm almost afraid this will be my new lifestyle. Add on nausea, cramps, the tingling and numbness in my hands and I'm done. It hasn't been easy for me to see myself in this manner. It's even harder for me to share it with the world. I feel like the Lord is wringing me out to see what comes out. Or at least, for only the goodness to come out.

So I've been floating amidst the happy clouds, but I need to come down to Earth. All this celebrating is fine and dandy, but the symptoms are still here. Even my doctor says that things will never be quite the same in that department. Oh goodie. 

There is still so much to do. I'm celebrating way too early. Since so much of my time has been spent on radiation and work, I find myself backlogged with chores and errands. Not to mention, I haven't been around socially during much of my treatment and now everyone would love to see me. Let's not forget my bold step project.

Does it sound like I'm complaining? I hope not. I love and appreciate all the attention I've received in completion of my radiation, but we are celebrating way too early. Nothing is for certain in how any of this will go. Let's say that we are celebrating the completion of going to radiation everyday. As for everything else, slowly and surely will win the race.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Color Red

                                                       Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                       everyday is a journey.

I love the color red. I didn't even know I loved the color red until recently. How could that be? Well, I never noticed that I owned so many things in red. I owned a red car, a red couch, my daring lipstick is red, my ex had red hair and multiple of clothing, especially my red dress that I could never part with. I don't even fit into it anymore, but keeping it I am. 

It wasn't until I purchased my new car, which by the way is silver, that I noticed how much I would miss it. I felt saddened that the new car wasn't red. Red has been with me a long time. That same feeling reawakened when I stared at my red couch. Diamond has been attacking the sides of it behind our backs with her claws. I knew I had to come up with a quick remedy or pretty soon the couch would have to be thrown out. 

What else can one do, but buy a cover. Right away, my thoughts drifted into melancholy valleys. What if I couldn't find anything in red? Would this be another change in my life? One that I had no choice but accept? It certainly has been the main theme this year . . . change. I don't want anymore sudden changes. It's different when they're planned. It sounds so silly, doesn't it, that a color would induce all of this emotional stress? 

I can't help thinking how much of my identity has been intertwined into the color red. If we think about it, the color red signifies strength to me. Something people have always associated with me. When I googled the definition of red, this came up.

Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure.

I'm not surprised. I have deep, deep passions when it comes to the things I love like writing, Jesus, my children and my Ministries. In my youth, I fought many battles ferociously regardless of my size or my opponents. Besides, red to me signifies being different. I never wanted to be like everyone else. I just wanted to be me. Everyone has silver cars, brown or black furniture, but how many have red couches? Or a bright red car?

I don't want to lose the vibrancy of my life. I don't want to be just alive. I want to live life. I need color in my life! I need red!

Have a Blessed day everyone. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Another Step Done

                                          Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

Going off to college.
Definition: In our household, we use this as a  nicer way of saying something or someone has died. 


As reported back in July, our red Durango has gone off to college. After much thought and consideration, we have decided to finally send it off and look for a newer model. So we have bought a new car. Well, it's not exactly new, but a 2010 Chevrolet. I have never had a six year old car or let alone one with only 73000 miles on it. For me, this is a luxury vehicle! 

The decision came about really in regards to our new "bold steps" attitude. I am a safe person and everything I do reflects it. I don't make sudden and impulsive decisions. I overthink things to death. There are no risky ventures in my life. I would never drop everything, pile into my car and drive off to a new life without a job or place of residence already set. I know many people who have done that and have been extremely happy with their decision. Not me. I'm too scared. I need plans and organization. 

Well, I believe I've become too rigid in my ways. I feel like God is waiting on me to make more bold steps in my life and truly begin to TRUST Him in all I do. Quite a tall order, I tell you. In fact, this entire year has had that very same theme. . . trusting God. So we went and bought a car. Of course, I'm such a sissy that I needed to have Joey come and do all the sales part of it for me. Thank goodness for adult children!

The best part of this? That a bold step has been taken! I had another monumental step this week . . . the end of my radiation treatment. This may mean nothing to any of you, but Emily and I have made a list of what we wanted to accomplish by the end of this year. A list of bold steps. These two have been checked off and now for the next one. 

Fear can paralyze us, preventing our growth. We no longer want that to happen here. Change after change has occurred to us this year and will continue to do so. How we handle this change will depend on how bold we truly are. Remember the going off to college part? Well, we had another departure. Earlier in the week I received the following text from Emily.

Today is a very sad, sad day at the L.E.D. (lottie, emily, diamond)
family. Our very loyal and long time friend Mr. Can Opener has went to college. He will be very missed. 

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Wild Geese Are Calling



                                                      Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                       everyday is a journey.

Last night, as I sat watching Netflix before bed, I swear I heard a flock of wild geese flying South. My first thought was disbelief in what I heard.  Already? At night? This morning, another flock flew past and I noticed some leaves were slowly turning brown. The wild geese are calling for the change in Season. Fall is fast upon us. 

I love the different Seasons. I love when one enters and another departs. I could not live in one type of weather. To me, Seasons changing offer hope. No matter what I may be going through, when a new Season comes, hope springs forth that maybe things in my life will also change. 

This morning is the "day after" in a way. Yesterday was filled with celebrations and congratulations from every angle. Today life as we know it begins anew. At least, we hope it will. It's only to be expected if changes appear. Things never truly stay the same. With each new challenge in our lives comes a maturity within us. There is something different, something new, something calm about our behavior and our appearance.

I made plans for the day as always, filling every space with a chore or errand. That was my intention, but when the alarm rang out at 5 a.m., I didn't get up. I turned over, slept in until about 8, had breakfast in bed (provided by Emily) and read the rest of my book. I basked in the idleness of doing absolutely nothing. How glorious it felt not having to rush off to the clinic and then work. How absolutely refreshing! I was done. Finished. Finito!

For the first time in several months, I at at my desk by my picturesque window watching the sway of tress. The temperature has fallen. The leaves are beginning to change color. A flock of geese pass by. Yes, Fall is here. A new Season is here.

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Resignation-The Final Chapter


                                                    Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                    everyday is a new journey.

RINGING OUT!
Ring this bell 
Three times well
It's toll to clearly say
My treatments done
This course is run
And I am on my way!

So what can I say? This last week has been a piece of cake for me. I sang along to K-Love every morning and forgot all about the terrible traffic around me. The thought of finally finishing this horrible experience energized this tired body. I couldn't wait to ring that bell right off it's hinges! 

These women that I've met at radiation have changed me both on the outside as well as on the inside. I began this five week journey such a mess! The only thing is, this journey really began on May 4 of this year. I've always said that each bout with cancer taught me something new about myself. Well, this one really brought out the ugly version of myself out into the open. One I didn't even know existed. 

Am I cured of all I needed to learn about myself? Am I able to handle radiation again if need be? I cannot say. That truly has been the worst I've ever gone through. I have felt horrible pain these past years. I've gone through several procedures, but none that have had such a mental hold on me as radiation. I'm still in shock to my reaction and the mental block of such depressive behavior on my part. Radiation truly broke me.

As to my Ministry and writing, I don't think I could ever stop no matter how much it may drive me bonkers. I've really prayed on it and I believe I have a solution for making it better for everyone involved. More on that later. I do feel there is something else inside of me in regards to the women I've met there. They have my heart, now I have to do something with it. Something else to pray about. 

I wish I could say I'm leaving behind all this personal baggage, but how can I when in order to move forward, I need to examine it from all angles. Who knows, it might become a good friend one day!  Once I've resigned myself to my calling, the road seemed a bit easier. God placed me here for a reason. I hope I don't let Him down. We are a mess, but we are loved!

I have to add that during these past five weeks, I've tried on numerous occasions to have a good cry. You know the kind I mean? One where we can sob our little hearts out, but once finished we feel unburdened? Not one single solitary tear would appear. At least, not until I rang that bell. At that moment it took every ounce of strength to hold it together until I reached my car. It was like the floodgates opened up and broke loose the dam! Five long weeks of pent up emotion finally let loose. How liberating!

I am a mess, but I am loved!

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Resignation Part 5

                                                       Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                       everyday is a journey.

RESIGNATION
The acceptance of something undesirable but inevitable.

So what does that something more that God wants me to do look like? Does He want me to start a Chronic Illness Group? It's just an idea now, nothing more. How would I go about it? Where would the people come from to join? How would I even advertise something like that? I'm not sure. Right now, it's just a thought that popped into my head. Let's pray about this.

What if I do my best work during my worst circumstance?

You know, when we are faced with serving God, we always want the easy way out, don't we? We want to serve on things that don't require too much from us or of us. Everyone signs on board to bring refreshments, but ask them to sign up for Sunday school and they'll tell you it's not their thing. I never quite understood that. I mean, they had children, didn't they? How is it not their thing?

Responsibility and leadership are not things people are looking to join. Even I, had a strong desire to run away from it, didn't I? The problem with that is that being a Christian isn't part-time work to be accomplished whenever we feel like it. There isn't a retirement party at the end of our tenure. It's a lifetime commitment. 

Yet, the faces of all the women I met at radiation will be forever etched upon my soul. I won't be able to forget them. Their pain, their stories, their struggles and their uncertainty quite evident on their faces. I can't turn my back on them. I can only stretch out my hand in hopes they will grasp it. 

People are always looking for Christ. They flock to the most obvious place every week in hopes of feeling His presence. Yes, God is in Church, but I also saw Him here at radiation among these women. He held their hands, comforted them during their treatment, but most of all, He wiped away their tears.

To be continued.

Have a blessed day everyone. 


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Resignation Part 4

                                                      Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                      everyday is a journey.

RESIGNATION
The acceptance of something undesirable but inevitable.

I knew then what He wanted from me. He wanted me to go on ministering to the women here at the clinic. For some reason, I was able to make them feel better by listening or making them laugh or just chatting. I could see that, but it doesn't mean I wanted to do it. I didn't even have to work extra hard at it, it came so easy. Yet, I still wanted time just for me. And it wasn't just here at the clinic, but continue doing what I was doing. 

I knew that my resistance had nothing to do with radiation itself. I wasn't resisting or fighting radiation, I was resisting and fighting my calling. I wanted to be selfish and do the things that brought me pleasure that had nothing to do with others. Why couldn't I do that? Just for a little bit?

I had this phrase that I kept by my side throughout my radiation. A phrase that kept me going when I didn't want to get up. I have no idea where I read this or even who said it. Probably Rick Warren, because he has a habit of saying things like this. It went God does His best work in the worst circumstances. That phrase kept me going. That phrase gave me the will to show up at radiation every single day. 

God does His best work in the worst circumstances.

As I would drive each day to radiation, I would think about that phrase, especially since I have resigned myself to the inevitable of completing this and going on with my Ministries. I just had to refine them to fit more of me in them instead of more of the volunteers. Volunteers come and go, but the Ministry defines who I am and so does this blog. 

Yet, I couldn't help but think that God wanted me to do more. What if I were to turn this phrase around in regards to myself? What if I did my best work during my worst circumstances? I couldn't stop thinking about one of the ladies and what she said to me. She wanted to join a support group, but no one there looked like her. She had all of her hair and she gained weight instead of losing it. She didn't resemble a cancer patient. How could she possibly join when she didn't fit in?

How many more people have felt that way? How many more feel left out and are searching for someone to connect with them? How many more? What does a sickness look like anyway? Does a person have to look defeated physically and health-wise to receive compassion and love? Absolutely not. That's absurd. If we were in a crowded room and we asked for anyone who has an illness to stand up, you'd be surprised how many healthy looking people would do so. A chronic illness does not mean looking sick and frail. There are many people out there who look robust that are dealing with pain and suffering everyday.  

To be continued.

Have a blessed day everyone.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Resignation Part 3

                                                       Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                       everyday is a journey.
RESIGNATION
The acceptance of something undesirable but inevitable. 

You have no idea the shame I felt driving home. Here I have been acting like a fool in a full blown tantrum and God still provided for me. He still took care of me. All the fight basically left me. There is no way I intended to fight God. If He has made a way for me to be here everyday, then I have no choice but to make an effort. 

I may not like it, but I resigned myself to do it. That's when it began, this resignation. I have no idea why He wants me here or how in the world I'm to benefit from all of this. And don't tell me so I could stay alive. People in a coma are alive. I want to live life.

I will tell you a secret. In truth, there is a part of me that really wants to quit my Ministry. Sometimes I feel like I'm an advocate for cancer and my Ministry. When it comes to cancer or crocheting, people flock to me. Being a servant of God is hard work. One comes in contact with all sorts of people and one has to deal with their likes and dislikes. I'm finding out that I cannot keep all of them happy. Maybe I'm not cut out for any of this. Maybe I'm not a leader at all.

Volunteers, volunteer their time and their time is very precious, because of that they can cancel whenever they want. They don't have to show up, participate or do anymore if they don't choose to. It's that simple. No one pays them. They are free to choose to come and go as they please. That's why being a leader of any group of volunteers is very difficult. There is a saying I've just learned that goes something like this: You cannot be everything to everyone, but you can be something to someone.

So now you know my struggles. There is a part of me that wants to go back when it was a Ministry of one. . . me. When this cancer came back it was, in a way, for me to take a break. A break that I truly welcomed. I would take these two or more months and relax by doing what I wanted to do. It was going to be about me. This recovery would be leisurely. It was nothing like it at all. 

You see after Peter denied Jesus, he went fishing, because he felt like a failure. The problem was, he couldn't catch any fish. He no longer was a fishermen of the sea, but a fishermen of men. He couldn't go back to his old life. In a way, I cannot go back either. That's what happened to me. I couldn't write or crochet. Remember the afghan for my son that I've unraveled five times? I cannot change what God wants me to be. I am an advocate for cancer and for my Ministry. 

To be continued.

Have a Blessed day everyone. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Resignation Part 2

                      Everyday is a brand new day, 
                       everyday is a journey. 


RESIGNATION

  1. 2.
    the acceptance of something undesirable but inevitable.
    "a shrug of resignation"

That drive home became the struggle of my life. Every turn I made was worse than the one before. It always somehow led me back to that one street. I guess there was only one way to go and no easy way to go around it. I wasn't going to get there any faster. Slow and steady. How profound is that?

I think I gave up the struggle not too far from home. I've realized that I have been fighting ever since that first day encounter with that young woman. I fought. I screamed. I complained, but the inevitable had to be faced. Radiation was here to stay. 

All these years, I have been praying on the same things over and over again. Sometimes, even crying out to God in frustration. When, Lord, when? Why is it always no? God already granted that wish, I just had to go for it. The only person stopping my dreams from coming true was myself. If I wanted it, I needed to get up and reach for it. The change had to come from me and no one else.

 Every morning, I would wake up around 5 unable to get back to sleep. Instead, I would replay every reason why I shouldn't go to radiation that day. I would literally hold a conversation with myself, arguing what's the point? What am I doing this for? It would continue all the way there. I would complain about the traffic, the crazy morning drivers, the construction on every street, the cyclists in my way. I would voice my opinion of how much this was costing me money-wise every single day. The parking fee, the tanking up on gasoline and my shortage of time became a constant complaint. One that I voiced every. . .  single. . . solitary. . . day. 

They were nothing, but excuses. Like a child who throws a tantrum, I threw excuses at anyone who would listen. I hate this and I hate that. Why am I doing this? I have no life! You don't understand what I'm going through! Why doesn't everyone just leave me alone!

One particular day, it was a busy morning at the clinic and I had to wait for my treatment. I waited and waited, my mood quickly shifting to the bad side. In my mind, I could see the clock hands moving faster and faster to when my meter would run out. I still had to have my treatment and see the doctor. I grew so agitated, my thoughts running away with me. My meter would run out and I would get a ticket. No, no, I was walking out right after my treatment and the doctor would have to wait. And I wasn't sure if I was coming back tomorrow. It would really have to be a good reason for me to do so. 

That's what I told myself. The treatment finished and I proceeded towards the nurse, my words all rehearsed in my mind on telling her I was going home. Sorry, no time. Instead, she stopped me dead in my tracks by what she said next.

Miss Krol, you can go home. The doctor hasn't come in yet and he'll see you tomorrow. 

How do you like that? You just don't play with God. He always wins.

To be continued.

Have a BLESSED DAY EVERYONE.




Saturday, September 17, 2016

Resignation Part 1

                                                       Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                       everyday is a journey.

RESIGNATION
  1. 2.
    the acceptance of something undesirable but inevitable.
    "a shrug of resignation"



    The other day, I woke up much later than usual so I had to rush getting ready for my radiation. Being a bit late, I weighed my options on what was the best way to get there. I already knew that two of the streets I've been using have been backed up with traffic and construction. I chose to go a totally different way than I normally take. In fact, I have never gone this way before to the hospital. 

    Well, it proved to be even worse than the other two. We were barely moving at all, one whole side completely blocked off for several blocks. There was only one thing  to do, detour city!

    Somehow, in the midst of my detouring, I found myself in an area I wasn't too familiar with. Glancing around my surroundings proved my worst fear. I was on the verge of downtown Chicago on Clark street! How I veered off my course so much I had no idea! I mean, it's completely on the other side of where I was trying to go. 

    I didn't panic, but I did feel frustration. No matter where I turned, I came across more construction or a School zone or cyclists or one way streets. Finally, I came across a street I recognized and immediately knew where I was and where I should go. The problem was that if I went straight ahead, there was more construction. If I went right, more construction. If I went left, you guessed it, construction. Which road would be faster?

    I decided on the left since it would place me as close to my home as possible. You see, by the time all this happened, I was already past my appointment time and knew I would be extremely late. I called the office informing them of the cancellation and decided to head home. I didn't get very far on this street either, a mere two blocks. Another blocked road and the only way to go is heading right back to where I came from. 

    At that point, filled with total frustration, I wanted to cry. Have you ever experienced a moment where you wanted to sob uncontrollably and no tears would come? That's how I felt at that point. I started calling out to God.

    Where should I go, Lord? Where am I supposed to go? What road am I to take? I don't know what to do! Tell me what to do! What am I not seeing here?


    To be continued.

    Have a blessed day everyone.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Tiny House


                                          Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

Yet Love will dream, and Faith will trust
    (Since He who knows our need is just),
  That somehow, somewhere, meet we must.
    Alas for him who never sees
    The stars shine through his cypress trees;
  Who hath not learned in hours of faith,
    The truth to flesh and sense unknown,
  That life is ever Lord of Death,
    And Love can never lose its own.
J. G. WHITTIER.

It's a well known fact I'm very interested in tiny living or owning a Tiny House of my own. I have subscribed to various Youtube sites featuring anything that is tiny living from a THOW (tiny house on wheels) to yurts, containers, RV's  and cottages. 

This past Summer, while recovering, I spent majority of it enclosed within my apartment. I wandered aimlessly from room to room looking for a place to rest. I soon discovered a sort of suffocation within these four walls which made me wonder if I could live in a tiny house at all. 

If a person has loved something for so long, this type of feeling is not a welcomed one. Could I have been fooling myself all this time? I would hate to purchase one of the above only to find that it's not for me. This confined feeling has been bothering me. I would love to be able to tour some of the tiny houses to get a feel for what they truly are like in person. 

There is a yearly Jamboree (already passed) where everyone gathers, builders and speakers alike. The crowds are amazing, but as I said, it has already passed. Besides, the lines are incredibly long and I wonder if I could tour each tiny house without feeling rushed. One would need the entire three day weekend to do just that. 

There are also workshops, but there is a hefty price of 300.00. Besides, these workshops teach you how to build a tiny house of your own. Not quite what I'm looking for. We can also rent one for the night, not exactly interested in that as well. 

I know, I know. I sound so picky, but I do believe there is that something that I'm looking for out there. I just need to find it. After all, it is the rest of my life we are talking about. I need to make the right choice, especially when it comes to my life's savings.

Have a blessed day everyone.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Halfway Point


                                                     Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                     everyday is a journey.


When my son was in High School, he signed up to run quite a few 5K runs. He joined a track team at one of our park districts where he ran, flat feet and all. Of course, I came along to some of them, especially the ones for cancer. Who knew that one day I would be diagnosed with cancer myself?

It was during one of these runs that he signed me up for a fitness walk. I was all for it. I can walk. At that time, I was very skinny and in my late 30's so I felt no nervousness in completing it. Usually at these events there were several vendors passing out free items so we went around filling our backpacks.

That fitness walk proved to be a lot harder than I thought, especially with a full backpack on my back. We tracked on the sand, arms swinging full force and I was dying. We finally came up to a group of people cheering and clapping, holding out mini cups of water. Yes, I thought, we must be at the end. As we came up to them, I could hear them cheering: You're halfway there! Good job! Keep going! I almost died. You don't want to know what I wanted to do with that Dixie cup of water!

That's sort of how I feel right now about this radiation. I'm halfway there and everyone has been cheering me on, clapping everyday. You're halfway there! You got this! Keep going! And all I want to do is turn around and go home. I don't see that finish line. I don't want that cup of water. I want my life back.

Work has provided a great distraction. My day is over in a snap! The worst part is the morning, because I still have a hard time getting out of bed. The drive is long and tedious, stop and go all the way in traffic. The in-between the two, that's another struggle for me. I have only two hours daily to get anything done. I long for the weekends, dreaming of sleeping in until mid-morning. Somehow it never happens. There is always so much to do.

Have a blessed day everyone.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Leaf Eater


                                         Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

A leaf eater, that's what Joey called me. I never thought of myself in that way, but it did make me laugh. After all, we have been living a vegetarian lifestyle for over 5 1/2 years now. Or at least Emily, I still occasionally eat meat.



People seem to have a huge misconception of what it means when one claims to be a vegetarian. We do eat more than just carrot sticks and celery. Be honest, what do you think of when I say vegetarian? A salad, right? We are so much more!



Every Summer for two years straight, Emily would join our old Church for a retreat at a camp. They would go canoeing, paddle boating, play volleyball, fishing and sing by the fire every night. It is well known that she is a vegetarian, but somehow, whenever it came to meals they would forget. That first year at camp was tough for her. While they ate a good meal, she ended up eating a salad. 



When the second year came around, they talked her into coming along again, promising to have vegetarian versions of the meals for her. They truly tried by making her a grill cheese or plain pasta with sauce. Yet, she was a little crestfallen, because while they had tacos, she had lettuce with tomato on hers. There was meat for them, but no fish for her. I have suggested for her to bring her own meals, but she felt that wasn't fair. If others meals were included, was shouldn't hers be too?



Now, I'm not being a critic of them. That's the last thing I want to do. I have a huge respect for them for trying, but I find that people have many misconceptions about what it is we eat. Even in restaurants, this is a problem. What are the choices for people who wish to eat vegan or vegetarian or gluten free? Pasta or salad or fried fish or egg whites. There are few places one can go.



I have a great-niece who has a health condition and cannot eat a majority of things, even things that are healthy. Her stomach cannot handle it. She understands all too clearly the struggle out there. Whenever we get together as a family,  bringing a dish to the event takes on a different meaning. My first thought is what can Destiny eat and not what would everyone else like. You see to me, there will be plenty for everyone else and only a few things for her. I have no desire for her to eat lettuce with a tomato taco. I want her to enjoy a meal as much as I will. 



Recently, I've been having lunch with one of my favorite co-workers on a daily basis. She marvels at the variance of my meals. Who knew I could enjoy vegetable lasagna, a pesto quiche and a veggie stir fry? What I love about her the most is that she will try every single one of my dishes. I do eat good. 



The only thing we are giving up here is the greasiness, the preservatives, the imitation everything and anything. We control what goes into our food. There is nothing out of a can or filled with additives. We roast, bake and grill, rarely frying anything. Well, we did make the mozzarella sticks above. We eat desserts, but control the amount of sugar we use.


So I guess we are leaf eaters, but at least it's endive and not iceberg (which is good, too).

Have a blessed day everyone.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

I Am A Sinner

                                                    Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                     everyday is a journey.


  Wherever He may guide me,
    No want shall turn me back;
  My Shepherd is beside me,
    And nothing can I lack.
  His wisdom ever waketh,
    His sight is never dim,--
  He knows the way He taketh,
    And I will walk with Him.
A. L. WARING.



Life is so interesting, isn't it? We spend so much time trying to constantly improve ourselves intellectually, spiritually and even physically. Just when we begin to feel like maybe we've learned a thing or two, we discover the opposite. 

I've learned that truth during the current bout with cancer. I've considered myself a pretty strong in the faith Christian. My Faith will not waiver! Oh no, not I! How many times have I said that? Countless!

It didn't take long for me to be humbled. If I have learned anything from this experience is that I'm a sinner. No matter how strong I may be on any given day, there is still potential in me to waiver. To fall.  And I have. Believe me, it's a sobering realization. A whole separate image of myself has been shown to me. One that I don't particularly like.

I am a sinner! I still cannot believe how much God must love me to put up with all my imperfections. I am so glad He has come into my life, a wretch like me, and saved me, purified my soul, wiped my slate clean so I can spend my eternity with Him. The Grace that He shows me, which I definitely don't deserve, leaves me in complete awe. 

So why can't others see and feel what I do towards Him? How can I bring others to Christ? This has never bothered me as much as it does now. I never thought of myself as an evangelist, preferring to show others Christ through my actions rather than through oral speech. Some people are so gifted in preaching the Word, but not I. I freeze up whenever confronted by nonbelievers. Oh, of course, there have been exceptions where words flowed freely from my lips, but they are rare. 

The diversity that I once loved about my friendships with others, really bothers me now. I should say, their faith or lack of. I have this deep sense of wanting to save their souls. I want them with me in Heaven. That feeling is so new, I never felt that before. I always felt people made their choices in life and we should respect them for it, even  if they were different from ours. Not anymore. I care about these people and their future. I will never stop praying for them, because I love them too much. 

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

It's Okay To Cry

                                                   Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                    everyday is a journey.

 Father, let our faithful mind
  Rest, on Thee alone inclined;
  Every anxious thought repress,
  Keep our souls in perfect peace.
C. WESLEY.

It seems, I keep running into ladies in the locker room. There was another one waiting, having arrived early. I guess she comes after me. I sat down next to her and started up a conversation.

"So how long are you in for?" I asked her as if it was a prison sentence. That one question opened up a steady flow of words. I learned all about her breast cancer, her surgeries, her treatment. I listened. I'm a very good listener and people tell me all sorts of personal things. 

"I feel so guilty for feeling so tired of everything. I've been through so much and I've made it. I should be happy and instead I want to cry." She told me, tears welling up. 

"It's okay to cry," I said lightly touching her shoulder. "I cried all the way over here. Sometimes we need to let go of it and cry out to God. He understands and wants us to come to Him. He wants to wrap His arms around us and comfort our tears. It's okay to cry."

You know, I prayed over her and for her. I couldn't stop thinking about her. How many more women like her are trying to be brave in front of their loved ones? It doesn't mean we have given up if we give in and have a good cry. It doesn't mean we are depressed. No one can be positive 24/7, especially while in a crisis. 

There are so many hurting people out there. So many in pain, not knowing where to turn. We need to be more compassionate and open to hearing these people. We need to hear their pain. We need to hold their hand while they cry. It's okay to cry.

Have a blessed day everyone.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Happiness

                                                   Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                   everyday is a journey.

What does your anxiety do? It does not empty to-morrow, brother, of its sorrow; but ah! it empties to-day of its strength. It does not make you escape the evil; it makes you unfit to cope with it if it comes.--Ian Maclaren

Since coming back to work, I've been asked what do I prefer, chemo or radiation? Oh, chemo hands down! There is a vast difference in the two. A major difference.

Chemo may have 6 to 8 sessions or maybe even more for some people, but it is not a daily treatment. Although, I have seen some people who do come in multiple times in a week.  Mine were every three weeks. No matter how bad they were and chemo is very bad, but I had a break in between. I could go and spend the entire day there and then stay home recuperating for the next several weeks.

Radiation is the opposite. Radiation is like having an additional job to the one we have. A sort of a part timer. As much as they like to state it's only a 15 minute session, the whole time allotted going to and fro equals a whole lot more. It is a hassle that is added to an already busy health style in a chronic person's day. I leave at 7:30 a.m. everyday and don't come back until well after 10 a.m. That doesn't include rising early , getting dressed and having breakfast. It is a part time job.

With all of this in mind, I have been focusing quite a bit on the quality part of living. For years now, I have spent my vacation days for all the doctor visits and tests. Very few of them are actually spent on "vacation." Nine long years of this and now they have added on radiation. My fear is that this is the new norm. Where is the happiness level in all of this? Where is the quality? I have no desire to be just alive, I want to live life.

So I work, have my Ministry, do some writing. I try to live my life to the fullest, keeping my schedule brimming with busyness. I don't want to waste this time I'm so generously been given. Yet, there is a point where I worry if my body can keep up. I could see a huge difference this time in the healing process of my body. I'm older and not as vibrant as I once was. Can I keep doing this when remission ends and the cancer comes back? My cancer is a re-occurring one. People really hate when  I say that, but it is true and I need to prepare myself for that moment. I cannot live in denial, only in acceptance. 

One thing I never thought I would ever worry about would be retirement. Somehow, I always figured I would stay until the appropriate retirement age. I no longer feel that will happen. This Summer has really been a struggle and I cannot help, but think about retiring early next time the cancer returns. I could most likely handle it, but where would the happiness be? The quality of life? Why should I struggle? There comes a time where we really have to think about what is right for us instead of what we want for us. 
Definitely something to think about.

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Locker Room

                                          Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.
      
Quench thou the fires of hate and strife,
    The wasting fever of the heart;
  From perils guard our feeble life,
    And to our souls Thy peace impart.
J. H. NEWMAN, Tr. from Latin.

The Locker room of the radiation clinic usually is empty when I walk in. It should be. Every 15 minutes, two patients are taking their radiation. When I walk in, someone is already having their treatment. I'm sure as I'm undressing, the next patient is pulling into the parking lot. Very rarely do we encounter one another. 

So you could just imagine my surprise in finding another lady in there. We both were dressed in our hospital gowns trying to put away our belongings inside our lockers. The lockers are very tall, but extremely narrow. The shoes and clothes are no problem, except for the purse. Lord, I've yet to get it in there without a struggle. 

That day was no different. I am bent over at one end, trying to jam the handbag in with all of my might. At the other end, is this poor woman attempting to do the same. Both of us are bent over wearing these hospital gowns, our behinds up in the air, having no luck at all.

"You know, I can't get this purse in there," I turned to her in total disgust.

"I've been trying to do the same for the last five minutes," she replies.

"Why do we have so much stuff in our purses? My daughter's purse is the size of my wallet. When did we start collecting all this stuff? When we had children, I think, we never stopped using diaper bags," I said taking some things out. 

And what does she do? She burst out laughing. I mean a real gut wrenching laugh that brought tears to her eyes. She kept laughing and laughing so hard that at times, no sound came out. She kept repeating under her breath what I said over and over again, laughing the whole time. 

I realized she was laughing, because she needed a release. It wasn't because I was extremely funny. She obviously had so much pent up emotion resting on her shoulders. She needed to release it. When I do bump into these ladies, they're not smiling. Who could be? I know I'm not. Radiation is a depressing and tiresome daily chore. We're tired. This place needs laughter. 

I read something great in my devotional this morning. It said, God does His best work in the worst circumstances. I love that. I wish I could hang that in big bold letters right inside that locker room for all the ladies to see. I'm glad I made her laugh so hard. I hope I can do it again. 

Have a blessed day everyone. 


Monday, September 5, 2016

The Midlife Crisis

                                                    Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                    everyday is a journey.
                                               


Sit down, sad soul, and count
The moments flying;
Come, tell the sweet amount
That's lost by -sighing!
How many smiles?
--a score?
Then laugh, and count no more;
For day is dying.
--Bryan Waller Procter


"Brigette, have you gone through your midlife crisis?", I inquired of  my loyal crocheting lady at our last meeting. 

"No, but perhaps I'm going through it now in my fifties. Everything is bothering me. The people in traffic, the angry comments waiting in a line. I don't even want to be around people anymore."

Boy, she sounds just like me. I never had a midlife crisis in my forties. Didn't have time for it. I was dealing with cancer! Yet, does a midlife crisis occur at a specific age group? I don't think so. I believe we go through numerous changes about every ten years or so. It's normal. A lot can happen in a decade, so I'm not surprised by all these emotions I've been feeling.

Is that what's happening to me now? A midlife crisis?  I've always been a person who loves her feet rooted on the ground. I don't do impetuous things. I think and think until my head hurts. I will analyze something to death before acting. Sometimes I feel like while I'm waiting on God, He is waiting on me. For me to move forward, I literally have to be forced.

That's what has happened to me now. That young woman in the radiation locker room was the Holy Spirit. I truly believe that. I've been given many signals throughout my recovery and all I did was be miserable. I didn't take care of business and heed the warnings. That encounter was like a huge STOP sign shoved in front of me. You didn't want to take care of things then . . . slowly and carefully, now it will be more painful. You cannot move into your new purpose without taking care of the old.

Believe me, I don't want to. The older I get the less I want to deal with stuff. If there is a drama brewing in the family or in a friendship among others, I run the other way. I dislike discord. I dislike messes. I like everything in it's place. Right now, nothing seems to be in it's place. Even me. I need to rectify that and it's scary. Change is scary. 

Have a blessed day everyone.




Yarn Bombing My Life

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