Thursday, February 21, 2013

Prayers for Peace Needed

This blog was truly intended to help others.  It's different when you feel like you are the one needing help.  It shouldn't be so strange since I have been battling cancer for almost four years. 

First of all I want you to know that my health is fine.  I'm not going through anything big health-wise right now.  It's just a little bump in the road that is making me need some extra prayers.

I had a CT scan last week Wednesday and then saw a clinic physicians assistant on Friday.  The CT scan looked good.  All the spots they are watching are still shrinking.  The fluid that had been collecting last year that made me so sick is almost gone.  I'm still feeling good and I'm easily able to keep up with all my children's activities.  But there is one nagging things that showed up.

My cancer number went up three points.  Now when it's dropped over 1200 since last year, it truly is not a big deal from a medical standpoint.  It's considered stable disease especially with the results of the CT scan.  But it hasn't dropped again in two months.  And when you've spent almost four years playing the numbers game with your cancer number, it's hard not to let a little upturn get you thinking...too much.

I ask that you commit to praying for me daily in this way: that my cancer number starts to go down again.  I know there are those of you who are still continuing to pray for me every day, and that is so appreciated.  I just need this specific prayer on my behalf right now. 

I also need some help with being at peace with what is happening.  My biggest fear is that I will have to go back on chemo again.  With a confirmation coming up, high school for Melanie, and just keeping up with the boys, I was really hoping for a long time without chemo.  I know the devil is working hard to lead me to falter in my faith that God is taking care of me.  He's nagging at me, trying to convince me that God really isn't putting my best interests in mind.  I know that's the farthest thing from the truth.  But I do need your help in fighting the devil's persistent nagging.

I did see an interesting Bible verse from Habakkuk the other day that did help.  It is interesting in that it is an account with wrestling with God.  I do feel like I've been doing that lately, wondering what His plan is again and begging for healing that just never seems to totally come.  But at the very end of the book he writes this:

So even though I can't do this on my own, God will do it for me.  So please join me in prayer this month for peace, for healing, for faith.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Joy Dare ~ February 1 - 14

February 1 ~ Three Things Red
  • As I sit here still trying to get over the flu bug I picked up, I am sitting in my fuzzy red robe.  It's one my husband bought for me years ago.  It has given warmth on cold mornings,  comfort on sick days and love when my children give me hugs in the morning.  
  • Hello, my name is Lisa, and I'm a seasonal decorating junkie. :-)  From fall through Easter there are always seasonal decorations in my house.  And then in the summer I pull out my Americana decorations.  So of course since it's February all my Valentine decorations are up.  Lately, through Pinterest, I've really enjoyed the art of printables.  There are so many free ones that you can change up frames very easily.  Here's my favorite one for Valentine's Day. You can make your own with this link.

  • Ever since I became a teacher, I have loved the idea with decorating with apples.  I received many apple themed gifts when I was teaching and shortly after.  While my decorating doesn't include that motif right now, I still have one apple thing in my home that I treasure.  It once again came from my grandparent's kitchen.  It now adorns my kitchen and reminds me of my grandparents whenever I see it.   

February 2 ~ Three Gifts On Paper
  • When my children were in first grade they all had to make books of the Bible stories they were taught.  They drew a picture and wrote a summary of the story in their own words.  It's fun to look back at their thoughts when they were in first grade.  But what is even more fun to read is their understanding of the stories.  It just reminds me again how blessed we are to have a wonderful Christian grade school where my children can learn about God's Word every day.  Their faith has been strengthened daily because of this.  

  • I have a huge box of cards.  I have gotten all these cards as words of encouragement from people, some of whom I don't even know, as I battle cancer.  Some came from a group of students whose teacher was a classmate of mine in college.  Others came from a woman who just heard of me through a friend's dad who is a Pastor.  Others came from close family members and friends.  But it doesn't matter who gave them to me or where they came from.  What matters is that each one was sent as a way to help, to encourage, to show me that they were there for me.  That's why I have saved every one of them.  They are there for my family and me to look at as a reminder of where we have been.  
  • About two weeks before my mom died, she gave me a book called Traveling Light by Max Lucado.  It is based on Psalm 23 and talks about releasing some of the burdens you were never meant to carry on your own.  Little did I know that I was going to be reading it on a plane ride home the day she went home to Heaven.  Since then I have read it countless times and I always find something new.  I'm sure my Mom never knew how important this book was going to be for me in the years to come.  I love how God knows how to give you the gifts you need.
 February 3 ~ Three Gifts Found in Writing
  • I never knew how much I would enjoy writing.  I did some journal writing before I was married, but that was about it.  When my cancer journey started I found myself writing on my Care Pages site to let people know how I was doing, and also to get things out that I needed to get out.  Little did I know how much God would teach me to rely on Him through my writing.  Little did I know how others would be touched by the things God taught me.  Now I have my own small blog and I'm toying with the idea of self-publishing a book.  Only God knows where this writing will take me, and I pray that I serve Him with whatever writing I do.
  • I love stories.  I love how they transport you away to a different time, a different place, or a different emotion.  But some of my favorite stories have to be the ones I read to my kids, even though it might have been read a million times.  The joy those writers gave our family will be joy that will be remembered forever.  Just the other day we saw online a copy of the book "The Monster at the End of This Book".  I can't remember how many times I read that, but I had so much fun doing voices and showing different emotions while I was reading that it still brings about fond memories in all of my children.
  • But what can compare to the greatest writing of all, the Bible, God's Holy Word.  It's miraculous to think that with all the different writers of the Bible from Moses to Paul to John, there really is only one author.  Our God is the only one who could bring all these writers together to give us a book that can withstand the test of time.  And the treasures that we find in this book are treasures that we can hold on to until our dying breath.  And when we take that last breath, we know that the promises in the Bible will be kept and we will be at Home in Heaven with our God and Savior.  What an amazing gift!
February 4 ~ Three Gifts When Bent Down
  • I'm not a big fan of my kitchen cupboards.  They are just awkward enough that they hold plenty of things, but the things aren't easily accessible.  But if a change that perspective and think about all the things in my lower cupboards that are there to help me create healthy and delicious meals for my family, I have to praise God again for all the blessings He has given me.
  • I'm always doing laundry.  I don't know how my mom did it with 6 kids!  I only have three and it's hard enough to keep up with that.  So even though it seems like a never-ending chore every time I have to bend down to take laundry out of the dryer, what a blessing it is to have a dryer that works well.  I'm so thankful I don't have to hang clothes up outside to dry.  They would never get dry this time of year with all the rain we get! :-)
  • Oh do I love to bake.  And when you bend over to look in the oven and take out those delicious brownies or cookies or cakes that you have made you get this wonderful smell.  Praise God for the ability to cook!
February 5 ~ A Gift Stitched, a Gift Hammered, A Gift Woven
  • When I started my cancer journey I always got cold.  Between loosing all the hair on my body and the side effects of chemo, it could be well over 80  and I'd still need a blanket.  I was blessed with a beautiful quilt made by my mother-in-law and two of my husband's aunts.  It went with me to many chemo sessions and is still out today.  In fact I just used it on my bed last night because I was cold.  What a wonderful reminder of how blessed I am to have family and friends in my life who care so much.

  •  I wouldn't call my husband the handiest of men, but when he puts his mind to something, he can do it very well.  He knows how much I love pictures of my extended family.  We don't have much wall space to hang pictures.  So after I found an idea on Pinterest for a gallery wall he made it for me.  Now I can have more family pictures up to enjoy.  I can't wait until he makes the next one!
  • I am woven by God!
Psalm 139:13

Ephesians 2:10

February 6 ~ Three Gifts Found Outside
  • Today I found myself needing time away from the house, so I went shopping.  It was retail therapy of sorts, but I was really running errands for things we needed.  What does shopping have to do with being outside?  It was a glorious day and the fresh air and sunny sky did much for my disposition.  After being cooped up inside between the weather and homework, that fresh air and beautiful sunshine was a beautiful gift to see and feel.
  • It felt like spring today.  I don't know what it was, but the chill in the air seemed to be a little less today.  Maybe it was the sun, but those winter blahs feel like they are starting to melt away.  Oh, I pray spring is just around the corner.
  • One of the pluses of having a nice day is being able to stay outside.  After a friend and I made a banner for our girls' basketball team, we had a chance to talk and we kept our conversation going outside.  Being able to continue a conversation outside without feeling cold or wet is a blessing in this part of the United States.  What more could a woman want on a day like today!
February 7 ~ A Gift at 11:30, 2:30, 6:30
  • At 11:30 after a short shopping trip I got to organize our pots and pans cupboard.  We have never been able to get it just right, but we might have this time.  The hunt of finding the perfect basket for baking sheets finally happened.  Moving the pots and pans to under the stove and the baking pans to the cupboards seemed to open up the space that was needed.  Hopefully this will help us stay more organized in the kitchen.  And even if it doesn't quite work, at least I felt like I accomplished one small thing.
  • Our lives have been crazy lately with all the big school projects our kids have right now.  Add a sports schedule on top of that, even though that is minimal, and you feel like you are constantly burning the candle at both ends.  Usually I am getting ready to leave at 2:30 to pick up my kids from school.  I didn't have to today because my boys had practice and my daughter had a basketball game to get ready for.  It was nice having a bit of time to relax and the time to sit and get a shirt fixed that I haven't been able to find the time to fix.  Just breathing for a bit instead of checking the time to see where I had to be next was wonderful. Plus I got to listen to my newest Chris Tomlin CD, Burning Lights.  Having music reminding me of God's wonderful gifts during this quiet time was definitely a highlight of my day.
  • At 6:30 we were watching the end of my daughter's basketball game.  It was the first game of their tournament and we were hoping for a win.  After a very close first half, they settled down and right around 6:30 they won the game.  Now they are on to the championship bracket.  What a great last home game win for my daughter!
February 8 ~ A Gift Broken, Fixed, Thrifted
  • You wouldn't normally think of a broken promise as a gift, but there is one way I do.  I look back at the boys and men I dated and I'm glad they "broke their promise" of love to me.  If they hadn't I wouldn't have had the chance to meet my husband.  Even though he drove me nuts at first, he has been with me through the best and most difficult of times.  He is secure in his faith and love the Lord as much as I do.  He cares for his children like our Father cares for us.  I couldn't imagine my life without him.  I love you, honey!
  • We are all insecure from time to time.  I have been feeling some of that lately.  With the ups and downs of cancer you can have people flock around you in the bad times and then back away during the good times.  Today I was invited for coffee by someone who I am just getting to know better.  God knew that I needed something like that again.  Our God always knows what we need and the best way to give it to us.
  • I think back to all the hand-me-downs we have received over the years and I don't think I could put a dollar amount on it.  So much money was saved by these people giving us these clothes.  And because of that it has helped us save money for our children's Christian education.  I only hope that the clothes that I have been able to give away has just as much an impact for someone else as it did for our family.

  • At 6:30