Tag: #newbeginnings

First and Last

The appointment with my Oncologist went very well on Monday. We basically thanked one another for being there, and said our good-byes. He said if anything comes up where I need him, to just call. Well, let’s just say, “Thank you Doc, but I hope this was the first and last.”

I have my mammogram tomorrow morning.

This will be the first one in exactly one year. The first time I had one it showed the lump in my breast, and was extremely painful! They are not supposed to be painful lovely. I had waited until I couldn’t wait any longer to go have the mammogram. I was standing there, hugging the machine, and sobbing.

This one won’t be painful, unless I have a really sucky technician. My hope is that I have the same one I had the first time, so she can see what God did in that year.

I’m a completely different woman from the first time, but it won’t be my last.

My surgeon wants me to have one every 6 months for two years. I looked at her like, “Gosh! Will this journey ever end?” The journey continues, and I’m just better than I was at the first. Thank you God it wasn’t my last.

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Face Your Fear

I have to get ready soon, for an appointment with my Oncologist. Today will be the first time I’ve seen him since finishing Chemo last September. I get to tell him ‘thank you’, and ‘goodbye.’

They say he won’t tell me, ‘Congratulations! You are Cancer free!’ Thanks to my Breast Cancer Journey, I feel more free today in many ways. My current hair color is a good example.

I don’t need proof today, or all the reasons the Cancer is gone. I know it was God.

My daughter dyed my hair this weekend, and it didn’t turn out quite as we planned. My hair is naturally a dark color, so she bleached it, but that got it to a pale orange stage. When she added the purple it literally looked orange, and purple, so yesterday we tried it again.

I was okay with the pale orange and lavender mass, but felt we could do better. She sat me down, and we went through the entire bleaching, toning, and conditioning process once again. In our minds, we were trying to achieve the look in the picture of Repeat If Desired.

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After all of that, she dried my hair, and I just sat with it for a minute. She pulled out half a dozen jars of hair color for me to choose from, and asked if I still wanted purple. I didn’t realize I had so many other choices! My daughter has played with the color of her hair a lot, and she showed me a picture of what she looked like with each one. I couldn’t decide.

Which one was best for me? The one that interested me most was a dark green. It was so dark it looked black in the jar. She said that would take my hair back to a very dark color, with just a tinge of emerald, but we had been through so much! Did I want to go back?

I have not been a bleached blonde in my life, that I can remember, so this is new to me. I told her I was going to sit with it for a few days with it just being bleached, and see if I wanted a color. It’s already a color to me, and drastically different than what I had two days ago.

When I was going through Chemo, a lot of people there wore wigs. I never wore one, and just walked around bald. I told her when I walk into the Cancer Center on Monday, people will probably think it’s a wig! It doesn’t matter what people think, I know it’s real.

Maybe that would scare some people, knowing they can’t take it off their head at the end of the day. To be honest, it scared me a little bit too, but which is scarier? Having hair this color, or no hair at all, because I was hairless for a while. It’s not about the hair darling.

It was all about the journey that got me here.

Sitting in a small bathroom, with my daughter for two days. Listening to some of our favorite songs, and talking about life. Giving her the freedom to be creative, and trusting my hair in her hands, are just some of the memories captured by this color. I can always shave my hair, but it’s those moments that remain.

 

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.

The Potter’s Wheel

I was talking to my daughter yesterday about God, and how He has always taken care of us, and our every need. We don’t have any needs, and I don’t really see Him dropping the ball.

I woke up counting how much time I have today, before I’d be sitting in the Chemo chair.

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This whole Chemo thing has been a battle between God and me. I would like a softer, easier route, but He sees some things that need to be burned off. Stubbornness being one. I told my daughter yesterday one of the first things I learned through this is, I’m not in control of much. She sees the rough edges I so proudly wore being burned off, and made smooth.

I was also thinking this morning of when I first started Chemo, and was my perky, confident self walking into the room. After the first few sessions, I didn’t feel much difference. It was when I woke up one morning to a pillowcase covered in long brown hair that it knew it was about to get real. When I showered, it fell out and stuck to my body.

I recall trying to get it off my skin, but there was so much I just stood in the shower and cried. It was like the cleansing, Part 1, had begun. What may not have been affecting me much on the inside, was drastically changing what I saw on the outside. Knowing other things in my life I had been though, and won, I remember thinking, “I can handle this.”

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That was my first mistake. It’s not about me, and what I can take. It’s about God, and an opportunity to make me stronger.

The entire process started off slow, and relatively easy. After my fourth Chemo, I could feel it building up inside of me. One week in between treatment wasn’t enough. It was a gradual build, just like a slow spin on the potters wheel.

The spin became more intense, so by the time I had my 12th treatment, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I surely didn’t recognize the woman in the mirror.

After my 12th treatment, I had a three week break.

The doctors told me I wouldn’t see any hair growth until months after my last treatment. The mirror showed the edges softening. My eyebrows came back dark grey, and fluffy, and I have a thin layer of hair on my head. It feels soft, and fuzzy, like a peach, and it feels new.

After the 3 week break, the fire got intense. The Red Devil, (A/C) stepped in for the burn down. My thought has always been, God is going to burn this tumor down, and that will be the end of it. I guess I didn’t think that I would also be in the fire with the tumor. After today, just one more treatment. Can I do this? No way, but God can do it, and He will.

For My Daughter

I woke  up very early this morning with a mind full of my daughter. She is sleeping in her room across the hall, but since this Blog began with her in mind, here’s one for you.

You have watched me your whole life and know my every mood. When you were around 12 years old, you saw me standing in the backyard, staring into the abyss. Walking up and sliding your hand into mine you asked, “Are you ever going to smile again.?” I wasn’t sure at the time if that was possible, but I knew something drastic was going to take place.

We had a farm called Hope Tree. You named it, drew the logo and we met with a graphic artist to bring it to life. We opened it up to the public and brought in families that have never held a chicken, or seen a baby pig. We educated them about farm life, the kids got dirty, and we went on to host birthday parties. Three years later, people still call wanting to visit.

We had ducks, and you took a Vet Science course, so we incubated their eggs. I still recall how mesmerized we were watching through the little window of the incubator as they broke free from their shell. Then we had a huge cardboard box full of baby ducks. That was the noisiest box ever, but a friend of mine saved us and took almost all of them to her farm.

That farm was the last good part of our life while married to your Dad. It got me through so much, and kept me sane as my marriage crumbled. I don’t know which broke my heart more. Finally walking out of the marriage, or saying goodbye to every animal, and leaving Hope Tree. The very best part of it all was taking you with me. God has led us through it all.

We knew it was past time to leave, but didn’t know where to go. Being homeschooled, we were not tied to any school district, so we could live anywhere. You found an ad for a house on 40 acres in McDade Texas. I looked at you in dazed confusion and asked, “Where the heck is McDade?” It was an hour away, and I’ll never forget the look on our faces as the road to the little house got smaller, more treacherous, and finally ran out of pavement onto a gravel driveway.

Mr. Rick was waiting to show us the little house. It was so beautiful out there, and I recall how everything was so green. Rick and his wife Patricia lived on the 40 acres as well, so it wasn’t like we would be alone. I had asked God to make it crystal clear if this was our new home. We had looked at quite a few, but nothing felt quite right. Mr. Rick was standing in the dining area, by the bay window, and looked at me and asked, “Is this your new home?”

My heart swells when I think of that little house. It was our new beginning.Walking this path of life together, with God at the lead, has been an amazing journey. Rick and Patricia were so sad when we left, but a year and a half later, we were ready to fly the nest, onto a little bit bigger one. It was like God has chosen them to watch over us, just like where we are now.

You found this house too, and again, a lovely couple own it. We downsized and moved to 5 acres, but Mr. Pete has his woodworking shop on the land, so we’re never alone. God always puts the right people in your path as just the right time. The house in McDade was a safe place for us to grow and learn how to depend on God for every little thing, but there were three things we yearned for. Things we took for granted before. Do you recall what they were?

The house was a one bedroom, but it was a massive room. We shared it which I wouldn’t have had it any other way. At the time, I don’t think we were willing to be separated by rooms. We were ready for our own bedroom, a bathtub to soak in, and a washer and dryer.

You learned the ins and outs of the laundromat for a year and a half. We were grateful, but tired of going every week. We had a shower, but no tub, and you couldn’t very well go hide in your room from me, because we shared it. This house on 5 acres has all that and more.

This is probably the longest Blog I have written in a long time, and I could go on and on, but I don’t need to. You remember it all, because you experienced it all with me. I am so grateful for you and how brave you have been your whole life, but especially these last 3 years. You are moving toward adulthood quickly, and I couldn’t be more pleased with who you’ve become.

Don’t ever forget your worth. You wrote about it here right after we moved into this house. You are beautiful inside and out, but way too hard on yourself. You get that honestly, but I hope you see me being kinder to myself and will follow suit. You have told me, “You’re my hero”, since you were five years old. I hope you know that you are mine too.

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Better Is Coming

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Almost two years ago, I looked at my life and asked myself, “Is this God’s best?” It was pretty clear it wasn’t the best because it was a life of barely getting by. God doesn’t barely get by. He is abundant in every area of our lives.

I didn’t ask anyone’s opinion of what I should do. Praying and letting God know what steps I saw to take, was all I needed. He could have stopped me at anytime. Did my friends think I was crazy for leaving a 25 year marriage? Yes, they did. Did people think I was crazy for leaving the security of my town to move out in the middle of nowhere? Yes.

I grabbed my daughter, and left everything I knew as familiar, and stepped into the unknown. God had it all waiting for me. The house, land, pier to praise and worship on, nobody knew my name, and they still don’t. This house and the time here has been a place of healing for me. To Let Go of the past so I could enjoy the moment.

Today, God is giving me another new beginning. After going through the Letting Go process and being secure in who I am, it is time to move on. My daughter and I sat down last December and talked about our goals and dreams for 2015. We spoke about a nicer house, and named off some things that were missing with this one that we wanted. We still wanted land, but to have a laundry room with a washer and dryer would be cool.

This house didn’t have a washer/dryer. We’ve been driving into town and using a laundromat every week, while living here.

When we came across this house we are moving into, the owner took us in through the back door. We stepped into a large mudroom lined with custom cabinetry. There was an old dryer sitting there by itself, so I was a little puzzled.

After walking through the house, we were in love with all the woodwork and character it held. As we were wrapping up our tour, the owner said, “Don’t worry about that old dryer sitting there. I am having a brand new washer and dryer installed in a couple of weeks.” Welcome home.

Nothing Left Behind

I love to love. It hasn’t always been that way. When I didn’t feel loved, over a period of time, my heart hardened. Then came the fortress I built around me. God works through people, so when someone told me, “You’re a hard woman,” that got my attention. I didn’t want to be hard, so it was time to make some changes within.

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As I sit here this morning, gazing out the window over the pond, I see Stork. He has been here everyday since we decided to move. My daughter and I have been moving stuff over to the new house this week. This morning came the prayer, “Father God. If this is not your will. Stop me now!”

We have always called this home our Safe Haven. It will be two years in May that we left everything we knew and landed on these 40 acres. Today, we are following a path of another adventure, and new beginnings. It feels like we did good here, and are healed, whole, and ready for more. We’re just following God and the process of packing everything up, and moving one foot in front of the other.

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Yesterday, as we were unloading our truck and walking everything into the new house, I paused and took note. Everything little thing was pretty, meant something to us, and had a place waiting in the new home. Opposed to the move two years ago, where we were sorting through a house full, trying to find the items we wished to take. We had gotten our lives down to only having things we love and wish to take with us on this new journey. Nothing will be left behind this go round.

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I love this house. It’s a bittersweet morning Inbarbsworld. Today, we go pick up a new bed for the new house. Everything is new and we are just following the process. It is falling in place seamlessly like only God can do. We get to fall in love with every little piece of it, until we wake up one morning very soon in our new home. Glory to God.