God’s Not Done

Yesterday, I was pondering God’s plan for my life. I wanted to know I’m on the right path. If I’m really doing what God wants me to do.

Well my daring, there’s one thing I do know.

Either way, He’s going to use it for our good and His glory. It’s all part of a greater plan.

In particular I was thinking of my Chemo treatments for Breast Cancer. It was scary enough having Breast Cancer, but Chemo was the worst thing I’ve ever been through. Toward the end of my treatment I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but God pulled me through.

It felt like Chemo was killing me, but God was using Chemo to kill the Cancer, not me.

Looking back I can say, “Breast Cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me.” It brought me heart to heart with the King himself.

I woke up this morning at 5:30 am.

It’s a new day, so God’s not done.

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Call Me Katniss

I want to share a Blog with you.

I’ve followed this woman for years, and she has no idea the impact she’s had on my life. I found her during my Breast Cancer Journey, but she was ahead of me. Reading her posts gave me an idea of what to expect. Then, she just sopped writing.

She took a two year break.

She returned this year, and so did Cancer.

Her post this morning revealed her hair falling out from the Chemo. That is a feeling that doesn’t leave. You wake up to a pillow covered in hair, and head straight to the shower, but then the water hits your head, and the hair continues falling out, clinging to your dampened skin like plastic wrap.

It’s horrendous! The shower doesn’t wash it away!

I feel like she needs some love today.

I don’t think she’s ever responded to my comments, so don’t be offended if your comment receives no reply. She doesn’t have many followers, but her writing is wrapped in beauty. Let’s take a moment, and wrap our virtual arms around Call Me Katniss.

PS. You can also click here to view her Blog.

Set Me Free

I want to show you my hair.

As you may have read in Repeat if Desired, we were trying to bleach it to white. Then my daughter was going to put lavender on it, but it has evolved into something on it’s own.

My hair grows fast, which I learned Thanks to Chemo. By the time we got it to the lightness we wanted, it had grown out of the style we were shooting for. So, we shaved the sides, and back.

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This entire process has set me free from the stigma placed on hair. We have had so much fun with it! I told her today, “When you homeschool, and my hair becomes the project?”

God works like that. We started out with a style and color in mind, but over time it became something we could not have done if we tried. My daughter just keeps experimenting with it. There is nothing she can hurt. It’s only hair, and during Chemo I was bald for months!

What we have in mind, and what God has in mind are two totally different things. Even when things don’t look exactly the way we intended, He will use it for His glory. It just sets me free!

Repeat If Desired

I saw how much control I have over my life when I can’t even get my little dog to go outside and pee. It’s raining here, so when I open the door, he just looks outside, and then looks at me like, “Woman? Can you not see the sky is falling?!?” He’s sitting in his bed with his legs crossed.

Tea it is. I fixed a piping hot assortment of tea, in my press, and here I am.

My daughter is strumming her guitar in the next room, and singing along with Ed Sheeran, as she learns one of his new songs. His new album was released yesterday, but since we pre-ordered the album, she was able to download some of his songs beforehand. She is learning to play this one entitled, How Would You Feel, and it turns my heart into mush.

It’s been an emotion filled week, and Ed’s new album is not helping any!!!

In my last post, you will note that my daughter dyed my hair. She placed this special shampoo in the shower for me to use. It would over time brighten the color, and take some of the brassiness away. Reading the directions on the back of the bottle, I appreciated the words ‘Repeat if Desired’. I recalled what I had just written, and asked her to try it again.

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Don’t get excited. This is not me. This is the hair color we desire.

The color I have now, is about halfway to the point of this pic. My daughter saw that my hair was not taking in enough bleach lastnight, and asked if she could put on more. I said, ‘No.’ You know why? I got scared. Did I want that drastic of a change?

I like change, but I like to have breath in between. I saw a huge change in my hair color this morning, and I liked it. You can always add more of something, but it’s difficult to scrape that away. I played it safe, but now I’m ready to go for more.

I desire a certain result, or closer to it anyways, so bring on the bleach!. The worst thing that could happen is all my hair falls out, but I’ve been bald thanks to Chemo, so that doesn’t scare me. What scares me more, is not chasing after my desire.

And It’s Over

It has been a day of celebration for me. No more Cancer, and no more treatment!

Just three more days, and my 30 days of writing will come to an end. God knows I have a thing about 3 days. He always shows me something in that amount of time.

I am curled up on my bed, and sitting on one of my favorite blankets

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Just look at that Mama. It is an awesome cloud of gentle goodness! This is the blanket I took to Chemo with me each week, and wrapped myself in it during the treatment. A friend gave it to me for that reason. She wanted me to have some type of comfort in that uncomfortable position. It gave me great comfort, and still does.

Have you ever met someone online, and hit it off with them immediately? Now, I know some of you probably have some horror stories about that, but I have a few girlfriends I have met through social media, but not in person. It feels like we have known each other forever, but we haven’t. Just kindred souls it would seem.

Today I got to meet one of them face to face. It was my last Radiation treatment, and we met for lunch afterwards. She started my day, celebrating my journey on Facebook, and then she met me in person to continue the celebration. We met at a lovely restaurant, and had the place pretty much to ourselves. We shared an appetizer, and then this happened.

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Before we could decide what to order for lunch, the waitress brought these.

The manager had given us a serving of each one of their desserts. Now, everyone knows I love cake, and I had mentioned that we would be eating cake today, but this?

It is just like God to give me more than I was expecting. It was beautiful sitting there chatting with Seymour, (her pen name) and willingly placing myself in a sugar coma!

My daughter stayed home today while I was away. She did her schooling, and even took a Grammar and Composition test, which I will check once I’m done typing. I have learned to take advantage of the quiet moments. To do things in that moment, that generally flow better, opposed to when there are distractions. The house looks and smells beautiful.

That is what we do. We care for one another, and bring beauty in focus. She cleaned the kitchen, tidied up the house, did her schooling, and probably 100 other little things I have yet to notice. Her best girlfriend is spending the weekend with us, so they are at dinner now. She got pushed for time, and was distressed that her closet had landed on her bed.

After she left, I went into her room, and hung everything up. Then I lit a candle and closed the door. When she walks into her bedroom, her bed will look inviting, and her room will smell like the peach candle. We do this type thing for each other all the time, and I love it.

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This is her mug, but I borrowed it for today. It’s holding one of my favorite red teas, and I brought it to the bedroom to enjoy in closing. Thank you for sitting here, and sharing in my day of celebration. The Cancer treatment is over, but thank God the journey continues.

People Mean Well

My daughter and I live in a very small town. We found out recently, that people ride by and look to see if our vehicles are here. They know when we’re home, and when we’re not home. I’m sure they mean well, but in today’s world, that could be considered ‘stalking.’

There is a man who lives in this little town that seems to know everybody’s bizness. He knew when I was going through Chemo, when I had my surgery, and he knows I’m going through Radiation. He didn’t hear it from me, but somehow he knows these things.

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His wife has had Breast Cancer, and from what I gather talking with him, she is battling it again. He didn’t go through doctor’s to heal her. He knows people from years ago that cured Cancer naturally. He stopped by my house yesterday, and handed me a bottle of dark liquid.

How do we discern the right path? I believe there are signs along the way.

God has healed me, and He used everything I went through to do so. Will the Cancer return? I don’t know, but will cross that bridge if it appears. I thank God everyday for healing me, and I haven’t asked Him to send backup. In other words, I haven’t prayed this man into my life.

That was the first sign for me. Another sign is, whatever he just handed me is illegal. He told me he could go to jail for giving it to me. That was a big red flag because I don’t do illegal.

I would love to meet his wife one day. To see her, and hear her story. He said she has lost 40 pounds, and is healthy as a horse.

Going through Chemo, I lost 20 pounds, and I didn’t feel healthy. I felt very frail, and missed that extra weight. Slowly, I am gaining it back, and 20 pounds kept me in the safe zone. Losing anything more than 20, I would be skin and bones.

As if I hadn’t heard enough, he just had to throw this in. This liquid tastes like death itself. For it to work, I will need to cut out ALL sugar, wheat and pasta. Welp, that did it for me!

I love wheat! My man has taught me how to make our own pasta, and I cannot imagine my life without chocolate. So, he was handing me something illegal that tastes like death, and I may lose 40 pounds because I would have to stop eating! I eat healthy, but love my treats.

When people come into our lives, there is always a reason. I haven’t quite figured out the reason behind this man, but God will show me in time. Maybe it’s just that people mean well.

Look and See

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My favorite part of this Breast Cancer Journey, is the people God has placed in my path. Friends I’ve had for years, and new ones, love on me. I salute all you Beautiful Souls that give us care in the Cancer Centers. You make a difference in peoples lives every single day.

I don’t know where you are in your journey. Mine is nearing the finish line, and God is finishing up with a bang! There is one thing He drilled home quick. “It’s not about me.” I always love hearing that. “This is not about YOU Barbara.” No God. It’s about the journey.

Try not to rush the journey lovely. One day it will be over, and you will want to look back at everything you learned. If you are pushing yourself through, you are missing all the beauty.

You might be wondering, “What beauty?” Oh love, the beauty is YOU.

When your hair starts to fall out, go ahead and shave it off. You don’t need it, and I love feeling the air touch my naked scalp.

I tried to hide it in the beginning with scarves, but living in Texas that was too hot and itchy for me. I pulled up my big girl panties, and walked outside with a bald head. At that point, I stopped worrying what other people think.

I told myself in the beginning, I was wearing the scarf for them. Didn’t want to shock them seeing a bald headed woman in public.

Well honey, if you think that will shock them, you aren’t on Goggle enough. There are a lot of things more shocking than a bald head. It’s actually an exhilarating and freeing part of the journey when your eyes aren’t hiding anymore.

This entire journey involves a lot of waiting, and a lot of the unknown. Get good with that.

It would be very stressful to face every stage of the journey, and bulldoze my way through. That would be ME making it happen as quickly as possible, and not giving God a chance to work. Running on the fear of it all, and not resting in His peace. I had to take a lot of my old behaviors, and flush them down the toilet for this. I wasn’t going to rush anyone, including me.

When people asked about my hairless head, I would tell them I didn’t have a choice. It was done for me. This usually opened a door for me to share how extraordinary this has been. This has been an amazing journey, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. My God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself. He will do the same for you, if you look and see.

Different Is Good

When I’m at the lake, the coffee maker usually wakes me up. It’s set on a timer to start brewing, but this morning that didn’t happen.

I overslept because I forgot to add water.

This year has been so different. Not only walking through Breast Cancer, but my daughter and I were apart for Thanksgiving.

This was when having two separate lives showed up. She felt led to be with her father, and I wanted to be with Chef and his family. I missed her terribly, but it was nice cooking with Chef, and having Thanksgiving here.

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I have spent twenty something years cooking the entire Thanksgiving dinner myself. This year I was only responsible for two dishes. The dressing, and some sweet potatoes. Chef had everything else under control. We were going to cook the entire dinner for his family. It’s funny looking at it now, but I was so nervous about cooking the dressing!

His Mother has always made the dressing, and I was in charge of making something they had certain memories of. Keeping it Grandma’s Dressing recipe, all I could do was my very best. Thanksgiving morning, Mr. Smith went to his families home to put the turkey in the oven, and I started making my dressing. Why was I so nervous about making this one dish?

Meanwhile, my daughter had volunteered to cook Thanksgiving dinner for her Dad, and brother. She called me stressed out about cooking the ham. Being a mother, I just wanted to step in and help her, but I couldn’t. This was something she chose to do, and at 17 years old, I had faith that she could.

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She did all of this. I love the way she put the pottery I left behind to good use. This picture reflects what she saw over the years, and she duplicated it amazingly well at her young age. She make it look like Thanksgiving, even though we were apart.

The expectations we place on ourselves can be brutal.

My daughter and I both have a bit of perfectionism we struggle to let go of. The dressing turned out well, and we had a beautiful Thanksgiving. Chef did an amazing job in his Mother’s kitchen, pulling the entire meal together in record time. It’s incredible to watch him, and he only burned his fingers twice.

Maybe your holiday’s look different this year, but I am finding that different is good.

Letting go of expectations of myself, allows me to enjoy what’s in front of me instead.

 

When Worry Assails

Many of my daily devotionals recently have been about trusting God. It’s not so hard to trust Him, but to lay your life at His feet, and to trust Him completely with the outcome.

I’m still working on that.

Looking back over my life some rather large mountains have been removed. Things happened that I had no control over, and I worried how to get through. Worrying about the future. It’s human nature to visualize ourselves coping badly in those situations.

It’s my nature to devise a plan, and fix it, but that is not including God. I’d rather have God lead.

He is the master fixer of my life. My life is very simple today, and I don’t stir things up like I used to. When a situation presents itself, I know it’s going to be an opportunity for God to show up, and show off. I will need to stay out of it, and respond as little as possible. The most recent being my Breast Cancer Journey.

Sitting here this morning, pondering my appointment with the Radiologist this afternoon, thinking my journey would be over by now. Having the lumpectomy a few weeks ago, and the Cancer being removed, we should be done.

Obviously not, or I wouldn’t be sitting here dreading my appointment! This is me worrying about the path ahead, and not including God.

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A dear friend sent me this earlier this week. She knew nothing of my upcoming appointment, so I’m sure it was God prompting her to send it. It brought the whole Breast Cancer Journey back into view.

‘You are living through a major expansion of your faith’, describes this journey perfectly. I’m uncomfortable, but that is okay today.

I told everyone that would listen that I didn’t want radiation. In my mind, after the surgery, I was done. It sounded good, but I must keep walking through open doors.

When I told my surgeon I didn’t want radiation, she gasped, looked at me and said, “Barbara. How can you come this far, and not finish the journey? This is the last leg of the path!”

Thanks to Chemo, I am not afraid of this path.

Chemo could have easily been the worst thing I’ve ever been through, but God was there. Chemo was a dark, and lonely path, but it could have been so much worse than it was. I wasn’t sick during it, and the only side effect I really had was the extreme fatigue. It knocked the wind out of me for three days.

I didn’t write much during those dark days, as friends tried their best to encourage me.

They would say, “You’re so brave”, and “You kicked Cancer’s butt”. Oh no darlings. My body was curled up in a fetal position in the middle of my bed, and I was gazing out the bedroom window depending on God to get me through it.

He did, and He will continue to do so. Radiation may look like an inconvenience to me, but it’s really an opportunity to be used by God. What I wanted to be complete, is obvious today, that’s it’s only a curve in the path.

The Silver Bracelet

My heart is heavy this fall morning in Texas. My best friend in the Chemo room, went to be with the Lord this week. She is healed, happy and whole, but we all miss her smiling face.

When I walked into that room to begin my treatment in April, God knew I needed a friend. Someone special, that I would connect with immediately. That would be Vicki Davis.

I think I drove her crazy with my positive outlook on life. Nothing she could say would dampen my spirit. She tried to be grumpy with me because she had been down a very long road with this disease. I would smile at her, and just love on her until she smiled in return.

We had an immediate bond, and were good for one another. She showed me what true strength looked like, and I showed her I could love her no matter what. I marveled at everything she, and her body went through, hoping for a cure.

She was growing weary in her fight, and I asked her, “How much can the human body take?” She said, “We will see!”

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God has us scheduled for Chemo on the same day, Tuesdays, at about the same time. When you are sitting in a Chemo chair, you can either laugh, cry, or sleep. We chose to laugh. Anyone who has heard my laugh knows, it’s loud. Vicki had a laugh that matched. Both of us laughing was quite disturbing.

One time, we sat in a semi private part of the room, away from everybody else. You could look across the room and see everyone lined up sleeping through their treatment. Vicki and I were trying to outdo one another with stories of stupid things we had done in our lives.

We busted out laughing at the same time, and startled the sleeping souls lined up across the way.

Like a row of dominoes, they jumped, looked around, relaxed and then smiled. They were relieved it was just us having more fun than we should have been. That was life with Vicki.

My last day of Chemo, as I was getting ready to leave, I felt God tug at my heart. It was time to let go of something very precious to me. I was given a bracelet last Christmas by another lady God placed in my life. Little did this lady know, I would be wearing it during Chemo treatments, a few months later.

My Chemo was coming to an end, but I thought Vicki’s wasn’t quite over yet.

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It was engraved with one of my favorite verses, and encompassed my wrist as a reminder of what I was supposed to be doing. Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”

It was a challenge for Vicki and me to sit still in those chairs. It was long hours, but being with Vicki made the time fly by. On my last day, the nurses saved a chair for me to sit beside her.

Vicki was growing weary in her journey, and she had every right to be. I gazed at her resting in her chair, and sat down in mine. There was silence between the two of us, but the love was always there. Her IV bag was almost empty, as the nurse had just hung mine. I got out of my chair, kneeled down beside her, slid the bracelet off my wrist, and onto hers.

Her eyes opened as she smiled at me groggily.

She touched the bracelet, and regretted not having her reading glasses, so she could see it more clearly. I told her what is was, and what it said, and that I wanted her to have it for the remainder of her journey.

That was not even three weeks ago. It was her last Chemo that day too. Thank you God for bringing her home.