Sweet Sacred Inspiration

Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in My Blog, My Breast Cancer Journey | 0 comments

Sweet Sacred Inspiration

Whether it’s ringing in a New Year or celebrating a birthday or the anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis, any time of renewal brings me quickly to the deep gratitude for the gift of each new day and a recommitment to live my best life to the glory of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Of course, I fall short many days but it is a good road map toward the sincerest appreciation of all for which God has blessed me. Today, I’ve thought a lot about a poem I wrote in the midst of my first year of my breast cancer journey in 1999…almost 17 years ago.  As we know, the life struggles we experience really do strengthen us and offer to us some valuable lessons in life that we might not have received were it not for those struggles.  Those boosts in strength and the lessons obtained enhance our days of living for certain.  Reflecting on what we gained through the struggle strengthens our renewal of life many years later. Here’s my poem: Sweet Sacred Inspiration I walk through dark, deep water Feeling the pull of the struggle Knowing that time passes on. My feet stumble in weakness as My soul searches for sweet sacred inspiration. I feel the rhythm of my heartbeat Ripple through the water as I move forward Seeking relief from the weight of suffering. The journey teaches me determination as My soul searches for this sweet sacred inspiration. Days of the past capture my thoughts My mind’s eye sees children playfully wading. A child turns her face and I look into my own youthful eyes. The pull of the struggle is revealed as the Guide. Sweet Sacred Inspiration awaits me as I cross over to the other side....

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“I Have Hidden Your Word in My Heart…”

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in My Blog | 1 comment

“I Have Hidden Your Word in My Heart…”

How does someone get through a catastrophic situation , especially one that lasts for such a long time?  I’m thinking of Prisoners of War, Jews that survived the Holocaust, miners trapped below the earth and people with long-term debilitating illness…sometimes alone?  How do they rise above their circumstances and maintain their sanity? I recall reading about the POWs in Vietnam…for years isolated in a pit underground with bamboo stakes woven to keep them enclosed.  How horrible that must have been for them.  From whence cometh their strength?  What keeps them sane in horrific confinement? I recall being in South Dakota in a cave that went down, down and further down into the earth.  We had our daughters with us at ages 6 & 8, I believe. It was a wonderful, educational tour…until the lights went out.  We didn’t know that there was a strong electrical storm that came through and knocked the power out.  The guide calmy said there were candles and matches on the ledges near where we were standing.  Everyone found a candle…no one found matches.  TOTAL darkness!  Then one person said they had a cigarette lighter and soon everyone’s candle was shining brightly.  It really was beautiful.  We waited a good while for the power to come back on so that we could ride the elevator back up.  We sang, I guess as many stranded groups do, and that was enjoyable. Soon, the guide said we needed to start back up while we still had the light of our candles.  Then, a bit of panic struck in our older daughter’s fear that someone would catch her long blond hair on fire.  She really was fearful that that could happen so I promised I would be the one right behind her and that I would blow my candle out.  Everyone made it out fine without any fires. 😉 Now that I am claustrophobic, what seems to work for me when I have to be in the MRI tube or have oral surgery for which I could not be sedated or getting through any tough or debilitating moments is to return to the Holy scriptures I have safely hidden in my mind and heart.  Hidden there safely and for all time, I am never without them.  God’s Word is a sanctuary or safe haven from all worries.  Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”   Psalm 63:8 “My soul clings to You;Your right hand upholds me.” Now, spending some time in the MRI-like tube yesterday, I was relaxing with my eyes closed completely at peace in my sanctuary, and a funny thought I’ve never experienced in those super-tight quarters before crept in and it was all I could do to not laugh right out loud.  That thought was “how amazing it is that Christ actually can fit inside here WITH me since I take up just about every cubic inch myself!”  But, thankfully, Christ goes before me everywhere, constantly with me, loving me, assuring me, strengthening me and giving me peace.  Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”...

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“Be Still and Know…”

Posted by on Feb 17, 2013 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

“Be Still and Know…”

Sometimes I have a hard time letting God be God.  How ridiculous that is of me!  Who do I think I am?  I mean, I don’t INTEND to be that way, but every now and then, I realize,  it just happens.   It happens during minute, little everyday moments when I FORGET that God is right there with me as I am explaining to the officer just why I was going 55 in a 35 MPH zone.  Now, I am one of those who has no shame in telling the truth…sometimes, I realize, that I might have fared better if I hadn’t, but I do and the officer usually just looks at me, writes my ticket and advises me to “slow down.”  I don’t really have difficulty in accepting that God didn’t get me out of that scrape without a ticket because I was breaking the law and I realize on down the road, having received that ticket may be just the thing that slows me down and I avoid hurting myself or someone else.   In bigger, more serious times…even in life-changing times when I struggle with a situation and don’t think to turn to God, that’s when I realize I need to be knocked on the head as a reminder.  But, God chooses a kinder, gentler way of getting my attention through a favorite Bible verse of mine, Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am GOD…”  Really?  I mean we shouldn’t have to be reminded like that but in today’s hectic and fast-paced world, I find that it is just what we DO need.  I carry a little faith stone which has that verse etched on it and I have clung to it so often that I know now it is etched on my heart, mind and soul where it should be.  I recall telling my children when I spotted an owl in the woods, “Shhh…be still and look up.”  Someone said to me not long ago that they didn’t think the Bible was written for people today.  Au contraire, mon frere!  The scriptures are totally timeless and there are some like this one in Psalms that I think are possibly even more needed by us today than centuries back.   Sometimes there is a fine line between a good thing becoming a bad thing.  Consider advances in communication technology.  I am an aficionada of tech advances in communications; however I realize that the use of them must be properly managed in order to “protect” ourselves from overload, invasion of privacy, and loss of quiet time for relaxation, meditation and our spiritual connection with our Creator.  Children today are growing up in this super-charged techno world and too much of a good thing can be harmful so we must guide their use carefully. I was reading an article from Jason Jackson with Christian Courier where he said “It is ‘God’s past‘ that provides calm for ‘our future.‘ Know that he is God! Know it, not merely intellectually, but practically, spiritually, and emotionally. He is your God. He is the ruler of kingdoms of this earth and the all-powerful Creator of the Universe.” I like that. When the large meteor hit Russia injuring over 1,000 people the other day, I bet I am not the only person who thought about what if it had been even bigger and hit here.  When something like that happens, it is even more important to us to know that God is God.  This world will, at some point, come to an end, but life does not end.  God is infinite...

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The Value of Family and Love

Posted by on Nov 14, 2011 in My Breast Cancer Journey, Think About This | 0 comments

The Value of Family and Love

My brother and I were born to two wonderful, loving, fun and supportive parents.  We were the only children and we have always been close, which is a blessing in both our lives.  We were raised in the church and had a good family life.  Our parents instilled in us appreciation and respect for all people.  They taught us about kindness and compassion.  My brother has always been a genuine, caring man and NEVER meets a stranger.  Our father passed away from a sudden heart attack when he was 61 years old.  Heart disease was heavy in his family background and he did well making it to age 61.  Our grandfather and two of our uncles all died from sudden heart attacks in their early 40s.  Our mother passed away from a stroke when she was 78.  We miss them both so much.  But we’re glad we have each other and our own families.  My brother was so supportive of me throughout my breast cancer journey.  He was there for all my surgeries, took me to most of my chemotherapy appointments and called and visited me frequently.  Since I was divorced and my two grown daughters lived out of state, I lived alone.  But, I NEVER FELT ALONE…EVER! By directing our local United Way since 1984, I had a public life where I worked with many, many amazing volunteers, staff and agency representatives.  Working on community problems and issues draws you close together and truly caring for one another naturally evolves.  I’ve always felt that I was surrounded by many “chosen” family. During the months of surgeries and chemo treatment, my church family, and my natural & chosen families all reached out to me and walked every step of the path right with me.  I was and still am so very blessed.  I share this in my blog so that I can explain something so strong and powerful that God’s Holy Spirit put on my heart during these months and now years.  This lesson was simple  but so powerful to me that it became very important in my thoughts, prayers and actions. I got hundreds of phone calls and cards and letters from people telling me they were praying for me.  Many of them shared that their church or Sunday School class was praying for me regularly…sometimes, people I didn’t even know.  Every time I heard or read this, I felt bathed in love and encouragement…by God and the people.  Then, it became overwhelming.  My surgeon even said to me one day, “You must know everyone in Iredell County because I can’t go anywhere without having people ask about you.”  We laughed about that.  I said it’s just because this is my hometown. But the truth is this…I had so much love and caring.  It overwhelmed me in a way that I realized I needed to focus on people that were going through the same or similar thing as I was and some of them had no one to support them like I did.  It became quite important to me that I reach out to everyone with whom I came in contact and see them as a person I needed to share God’s love with.  Even having worked my adult life in a charitable problem-solving career, this new awareness was mind-blowing for me.  I was really, really sick during the chemo months and this “gift of awareness” that God gave me meant so much to me.  I saw it as another reason to fight like crazy to recover and get to work. So I began to share this message...

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