Attitude of Gratitude

On March 7, 2018, Roger and I visited my neurosurgeon  for the first time.  He was matter of fact, and calm, he laid it out evenly for us.  You have brain cancer, we can operate, you may have left side weakness, or your brain may fool you into thinking you do.  You will have chemo, and radiation.  We will not get all of the tumor.  60% removal is good.  You have 7-20 years of life.  

Well, that last one I knew already.  In fact, I can go you one better.  I have just as much life left as the Lord allows me!

My intention is to live vividly, to live with purpose, to live with Gratitude.  I am grateful for every moment of those days or weeks, months or years.  I may have one day; I may have 20 years.  At the end of that arbitrary time, the very second I step into eternity I know where I will be.  I will be with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

God offered the awesome gift of salvation to me when I was 11 years old, and I accepted it so gladly.  That was 52 years ago, and ever since I have known where my future home would be: heaven.  I am grateful.

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‘But God’ – What I am Reading.

When I was a little girl in love with books, I thought nothing would be better than to read whenever I wanted for as long as I wanted.  I’m pretty sure my family thought I did, I tried to bring books to the table while we ate, (Kathy!  Our that book away!).  I propped books up inside my textbooks, another no-no.  I took flashlights to bed and read under the covers, and maybe that’s why I’m not much of a morning person!

Now, dealing with the effects of chemo-radiation and my other meds, I am an tired in a way that is new to me.  So, hence I read.  I am a pretty eclectic reader, enjoying a variety of authors, genres, and time periods.  Stories draw me in, they have always been an escape for me since I had to take long drawn out painful allergy shots for honeybee stings.  The patient nurse would wait til I was absorbed in reading before sticking the stinging needle in my arm for several minutes, and it didn’t hurt so bad when my mind was somewhere else.

I find that is working for cancer too.  I can get lost in a good book or story and the fears and tiredness and worry fade for awhile.

The best book for me is the Bible, full of comfort, grace and wisdom.  The best story ever told, and every word is true.   God’s amazing plan for the people He created in the world He made is as fabulous each time I encounter it in the Bible and in life.

This morning I began reading a book called “But God”.  I haven’t gotten very far, (Noah), but I know I’m gonna love it.

There are two sides to the But God statement, the before, where chaos, not good things are happening; BUT then GOD steps in!  Here was Noah and his family and the animals rocking along in a boat adrift in the water covered earth.

But God remembered Noah and He dried the earth.  God chose Noah, and Noah chose God back.

The highlight of Noahs story comes then, in the middle, in the end of Noahs life things kind of go downhill.  It does for all  of us, we sicken, age, die.

 

But  God gives us the choice to choose Him!!  And like Noah, when you do, it is the best decision of your whole life!

(Working title) – A Little Battle With Cancer

On a visit to a specialist about my ongoing sinus problems, I was made aware of nodules growing on my thyroid gland.  Next followed a ultrasound, a guided needle biopsy and a diagnosis of cancer.

The good news was that if you have to have cancer, thyroid cancer is a good one to have.  The cure rate is very good!

I am 62 years old, I have two children in heaven and two on earth.  I believe in and trust Jesus with my life.  My first thoughts, when faced with a problem is “What is the worst that could happen?”  The answer was easy this time.  I could die and go to heaven; be with Jesus and God and our son Jeff.

The harder path is to go on living.

So I have surgery to have my thyroid gland removed, I recovered.  I began thyroid replacement medication that will be life long.  I began the next step of finding an oncologist to do the cancer treatment.

All these things came together, a rather unpleasant process, but bearable.  Everything I experience is affected by Fibromyalgia, and this was no different.  Pain is magnified more, energy is sapped more, low spirits and mental fatigue lurk close by, waiting for me to over do it just a little.

Now, several months, several out of town trips and a week at the farm later, and I am tired.

Update May 2018.

My ‘little battle with cancer has taken on a new life.  When I began having issues with numbness and tingling in my face and right arm, my caregiver told me I had just bought myself an MRI.

I don’t like MRI’S, that long tube makes me cold just to think of being in there, and maybe the power going out, or a fire, and everyone runs away, except me!  Stuck in that cylinder!

Well, I had the MRI, it showed a brain tumor right where it would cause my symptoms.  Within a week we were at University Hospital in Denver, and within days I was scheduled for brain surgery.

Things happened so fast, and now I am home on Chemo|Radiation treatment, struggling with some left side spatial issues, balance problems, fatigue, fibro-fog  AND Chemo Brain!

I’d say life couldn’t get any better, but that would be such a lie.  It can, and I hope and pray that it will.

But if it doesn’t, still I am grateful for all that I have had and that I have.  I choose to trust in my Good heavenly Father and His Good plans for me and those that I love.

Christmas

I used to think I was rather trendy at Christmas, every year I would add to or make new Christmas decorations for our home.  I loved to sew, and that added all sorts of creativity. These years tho, my favorite and most treasured decorations often involve the very old, and the child-made kind.

By very old I usually mean pretty shabby as these don’t always stand the test of time very well.  But Christmas would not be Christmas if we didn’t hang or set out these precious relics of our lives.img_2701

There is the little stocking I crocheted when our boys were small, and there is one of the plastic canvas ornaments that my dad’s cousin sent us almost every year.  Oh, and there is our daughter’s cat.  She isn’t a relic, but rather a symbol of all the cats who have graced our lives. At the left hand top of the picture is the tip of the wing of a handmade glass angel that a former pastor gave to each child in the church.  Above the cat is a paper star with glitter that our daughter made long, long ago in Sunday School.  These things meld together and make up our Christmas memories today.

My mom always hung a faded  tissue paper bell between our dining room and our living room. It was one of those accordion types, that folded flat to store, and you opened up to use.  It had belonged to some grandma, and probably held good memories for her. Having  always been a lover of things past, the faded bell never bothered me, but I wish I had asked mom its history.

One thing that always remains constant in our Christmas is the nativity scene that was made for us by my sister in law years ago.  Every year we unpack and set it up, and every year we are thankful for that little Baby that God sent so long ago.  That Baby grew up to be our Savior and the means by which we will rejoin all our family members who believe in Him someday in heaven.  Thank you Jesus.

Week One: Chapter One ‘The Best Yes’

This Thursday I am going to a Bible study at our church.  The book  is “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst, and after reading the first three chapters I know I am going to love it!

So why am I writing about this?  Because this book has given me so many thoughts of so many stories in my life that fit with the information Lysa shares in her delightful book. From experience both in attending and leading studies, I know that one person who always shares gets pretty tiresome to the leader and others of the group.  So I usually just make little notes in the sidelines of the book and indicate the insights and stories that leap into my mind. Then at the study I chicken out from sharing.  Or I talk too much, and it doesn;t come out the way I want it to.

But this time, I decided to record them into the blog; after all it is entitled “The Life He Gave Me”, and those stories are what my life is!

The first quote (written in elegant calligraphy) that caught my heart was:

We must not confuse the command to love with the desire to please’

Ouch.  For the majority of my life I have been a major people pleaser precisely for that reason.  I believed that God wanted me to show my love for Him by making other people happy.   Never mind the fact that it isn’t usually my job to make others happy, it often isn’t even possible!  Nevertheless, I lived a boundary-less life where if someone asked me to do something, I felt I had to do it, and usually right now!  My family suffered, by temperment suffered, I suffered.  And it was never enough.

I think that certain types of people must be able to sense us ‘people pleasers’ and see that big “ask me, I can’t say no” sign that must be taped to our backs.  Because however how much we do, and how perfectly we strive to do it, it is never enough!  Before you know it, ugly things like resentment and dread and anger begin to creep in and guilt begins to reign.  Why guilt?  Because I was afraid I wasn’t showing Gods love enough.  I mean these people were never happy!  And it was all my fault.

See what a tangle grows when I let my thoughts masquarade as Gods?  God wants me to do what He has planned for me.  When I am doing it, He fills me with joy and fullfillment even in the stressful times. So when resentment shows up, I do a reality check, am I in tune with God?  Reading my Bible, praying, sharing what He has done with someone else? If not, it is time to refresh my Spirit and begin again.

Micah 6:8 (one of my favoirite verses) says

“He has made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.  It’s quite simple:  Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously — take God seriously.”

When I take God seriously, He seriously adds joy to my life, and enables me to do the things that I love.  I think  that is one the road to The Best Yes!