Sunday, February 28, 2010

MM Meditation - Fainting in Adversity

"If you faint in the day of adversity,

your strength is small."

Proverbs 24:10
The Scriptures are painfully, lovingly blunt.
We humans like to pad the truth with little white lies, little justifications, little blames, little excuses of why we are reacting wrongly when life is hard.
The Lord loves us enough to speak the truth.  He knows our human weakness and our fleshly tendency  to faint when we should stand  firm.
The Hebrew word for faint, raphah, is defined as to "sink, relax, sink down, let drop, be disheartened ."
 Doesn’t that perfectly describe our reactions when we are troubled?  We let the enemy lay the point of his rapier to our throats and  victory.
It further is defined as to, "withdraw, to let alone, to show oneself slack."
We isolate ourselves from those that could encourage, and we stop putting effort into what we should be doing.
It's as if all the enemy has to do is put his hand to his weapon and we jump back, wondering why WE would be attacked, wondering why OUR life is being troubled,  and we shrivel up in imagined defeat.
Have we forgotten that we are in spiritual warfare? Have we not noticed that the Scriptures freely speak about suffering?
The Lord has not kept any of this a secret from His beloved ones. He has spoken clearly in His Holy Word. He has warned us.
He has prepared us. 
He has given us the spiritual armor.
He is beside us.
He dwells within us.
He goes before us.
Still, we are like frightened children that run scared silly when adversity jumps out and says “BOO!”
Adversity has a way of sometimes showing our worst, and not our best. We forget that the same power that raised Christ up from the dead is the same power that resides within us if we have trusted Christ as our Savior.  That spiritual power can give resurrection victory to our feeble hearts and hands.
I Samuel 1 tells us about Elkahan and the trouble between his two wives. Year after year, the fruitful Peninnah tormented the barren Hannah, rubbing in the fact that she was blessed with children and Hannah wasn't.  Since children are a blessing from Lord, Peninnah was also flaunting as assumed spiritual superiority. 
Verse 6, "And her rival (Peninnah) also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her (Hannah's) womb."
Hannah cried out to the Lord in bitterness of soul and her prayers were answered with her son, Samuel.
Adversity is defined as, "a vexer, a rival wife."  Like Peninnah, who used a trying situation to mock, torment and discourage Hannah, adversity dwells with us and tries to wear down our souls, causing us to believe those lies and be bitter.
It can come upon us violently as a storm, or silently and quietly, as a blackberry vine, growing and subtly overtaking us until we are bound. Our strength, or our ability to remain firm, is weak if we focus on only the situation.
We need to pray.

Luke 18:1, "And He spoke a parable unto them, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint."

We need to rely on the Lord's strength, not our own.

Ephesians 6:10, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."

Only when we pass that baton of human weakness onto the Lord, can He continue the race for us.

2 Corinthians 12:9, "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

We can't use His strength without the PERSON of that strength  - the Lord Jesus Christ.

We can't use His strength without reading the PAGES about that strength - the Word of God.

We can't use His strength without the POWER of that strength - the Holy Spirit.

Be Strong and Don't Faint!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Giving off Gamma Rays

The Grand Finale of the week
was the Thyroid Uptake Scan.

I brought Scott.

I'm looking at this narrow little table,
wondering where my head goes,
and  how I am going to stay on it.

This is how you stay on.
Having your arms tied down isn't good for clausterphobic people.
The technician thoughtfully put a heated blanket over me.
A heated blanket isn't good for
hot-flashing clausterphobic people.
I had to ask him to please remove it.

I was getting fidgety.
I quickly pulled my arms out and braided my hair
so little stranglers wouldn't tickle my face.
The towel under my neck wasn't perfectly straight.
I knew that would drive me insane.
I really, really, really, had
dry lips, but no time for chapstick.
I had to suck it up.

He firmly reminded me that I would have to remain still
as soon as he began the machine.
I always feel like a bad child during these tests.

Once the test begins, you cannot move for 45 minutes.
That's right. 45 minutes. 
No talking, no itching, no jiggling,
no toe wiggling, no whispering, nothing.

Scott is along for moral support. 
 With the old machine,
he would sit near my sit and hold them,
and sing hymns and share verses with me.
It relieves that panic of having something so close to my head,
that if I sneezed,
I could do some serious brain damage.

With the new machine, he had to sit behind me and talk.
He has been listening through the  I Kings,
so decided to pass the time by
giving me a walk through the Tabernacle. 
 He talked of the cedar walls covered with pure gold,
the inlaid palm trees, open flowers and cherabim adorning the gold.
It was so beautiful and I lay with my eyes closed,
picturing the ornamental details.
He described how each piece of the Tabernacle was made outside,
so that there was no sound of saws or hammers inside.
The construction was perfect.
Each item was created to perfect measurements,
 then brought in, and set in place.
He started to stammer,
I think he was running out of details for  his Tabernacle tour.
He paused, then said,
"Just keep walking, it is a long hallway."

I almost giggled.
I fought the urge.

There was no way I was going to start this test over.

The machine, folded up after use.
Those things that were above and below are gamma cameras.
I was giving off gamma rays
because of the radioactive iodine I took on Wednesday.
Sounds like some science fiction freak thing, huh?
Nuclear medicine is horrifying and amazing all at once.

So, I am off the diet for now.
I have an appointment with the surgeon next Tuesday.
The endocrinologist called this afternoon with the test results,
but I was at McDonalds,
eating some fatty,
nasty, SALTY French fries.
I don't mind missing the news.
 I can have Saturday and Sunday to NOT think about cancer.

We're feeling the peace in the valley. 
The Lord has brough us through this emotionally grueling week.

Day Five is Over

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Share the Prayer

I love blogging.  When I started I thought I would write fun stuff about my kids, my husband and homeschooling.  I thought I might share an occasional craft idea, organizational ideas, a recipe or something really Becky-Homecky.

I never planned to have cancer and blog my way through it last year.  I certainly didn't plan on blogging through cancer this year, but it just showed up the third time. It's like a zit on your wedding day - you don't want it, but because it's there, you gotta' deal with it.

Part of the reason I don't like blogging about cancer, is I just don't like cancer.  I don't like doctors.  I don't like hospitals.  I don't like shots.  I don't like medication.  I don't like anything about the medical profession.  I didn't go into that field for a good reason, but I was drug from the sidelines into a game I didn't try out for.

Another reason I didn't want to blog about cancer is because it is boring. Let's face it, when we ask an older person who they're doing, and they launch into a 20 minute discussion on topics ranging from hip pains, bunions, lip sores, mucus, stitches to bowel troubles and  medications, ALL of our eyes want to roll back into our heads.  We try to engage for the first few minutes, but after that, most of us are doing the "smile and nod" thing.

But really, I just don't like talking about myself. I would much rather tell funny stories about my hubby and my kids.  I would rather inspire you all to be more hospitable.  I would rather share a treasure the Lord has given me from the Scriptures.

A young friend of mine, Becca,  who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, feels that same discomfort.  When you have cancer, you end up having to talk a lot about yourself.  It is good because it means people love you, are praying for you, are asking about you, but it draws you into a place of attention you wouldn't have chosen yourself. 

So, as I debated on whether or not to blog through this bout of cancer, I realized this simple thing.  My blog is titled "Momma Mindy's Moments."  For now, the Lord has allowed cancer to fill my moments.  As much as I have peace that the Lord has allowed me to have cancer, I finally have peace that the Lord desires me to write about my cancer.

Since today the only day this week without doctor visits, I wanted to put other people in that position of love and prayer support my faithful, dear readers have given me. The love and faithfulness in prayer that has been extended to me has been a huge help, encouragement and a blessing.  I want to spread the love and ask you to pray through these names below.

Pray for Becca, momma of two little girls.  Stop by her blog and encourage her.

 Then, while you are praying, add Charlcie to your list. She is going through the exact same series this week, with the scan on Friday. She has had two bouts with thyroid cancer and is obviously, desiring a clear scan  Friday.

Also pray for a young mom by the name of Elisha. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer while pregnant with their fourth child. She was able to deliver the baby safely, had surgery,  nurse baby, and will have Radioactive Iodine treatment in March.  She will be going off her artificial thryoid  during this time, which can be very challenging.

Pray for Wanda, who completed her first bout of treatment for thyroid cancer and is still clear. Her husband, Larry, is suffering a lot of health issues at this time.

Remember, Liba, young Mom of four in Israel, round one of thyroid cancer that had spread to  lynph nodes in her neck. She was going through the same testing I was this week, as well.

Marlena, a young mom of one whose thyroid cancer was also extensive, but is in remission.

Michelle, a beautifully mommy who had a 9 hour surgery to remove a tumor on her spine.  Had a previous brain tumor.

Lisa, mother of 9, went through breast cancer last year, and has given me great ideas to take charge of my own life with diet and exercise to fight back.

Pray for RivkA, another blogging friend in Israel, who has battled cancer long and hard.  Her stage zero breast cancer mysteriously metastasized to her bones, liver and lungs, then her brain.
Her blog states,

Diagnosis: Cancer is a "chronic illness." You can live with it.
Translation: I hope to be on chemotherapy for a LONG time!

How's that for some contagious optimism?

So, as you have blessed me and prayed for me, I ask you to pray for my friends.

1 Timothy 2:8, "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands..."

1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing."

I would also encourage you to leave prayer requests below if you have anything that needs to be brought before the Throne of Grace.

And as we pray, let's worship.  Let's praise and thank the One whos hands bears the marks of His dying love for us!


Day Four is Over

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Think Madame Curie Saved My Life

For my Third Day of testing,
I brought Kelly-Across-The-Street for support.
Since I have so many doctor appointments,
I only want Scott to take off time for the big ones.
The scary ones.
The clausterphobic ones where I need him
 to hold my toes and sing hymns to me while I am in some tiny tube.

I didn't make Kelly do those things,
but she was my photographer.

Like the serious looking metal vial?
The radiologist unscrews it and pulls out another little jar.
He unscrews that and puts the pill in my hand.

I swallow it.
I couldn't drink any fluids for four hours. 
The radioactivity needed to disperse in my body.
It's on a mission to find cancerous thyroid cells
and light them up like a Christmas tree
for the body scan on Friday.

On the way home, Kelly reminded me that the measurement,
 millicurie, was named after Madame Curie.

It all clicked together in my brain.
"So, Madame Curie saved my life!"
"Yea," agreed Kelly, "pretty much."

I thought of her brilliant research with radioactivity,
a term coined by her and her husband Pierre.

 In 1938,  Glenn T. Seaborg and John J. Livingood,
nuclear physicists at the University of California-Berkeley,
combined uranium with iodine to produce Iodine-131, or I-131.
It is used to diagnose and treat thyroid cancer.
Iodine goes straight to the thyroid.
The attached uranium kills it.
It's pretty amazing.

However, she didn't live to see this breakthrough in nuclear medicine.
She died in 1934 from too much radiation exposure.

(From my hospital door during I-131 treatment in August 2005. 
I was given 100 milllicuries)

Now, I am radioactive.
I cannot be around people.
I especially cannot be around pregnant women and young children.
I have to flush twice,
and it's not because it is a long way to the kitchen.
I have to wash my clothes separately, and rinse twice.
I have to wash my dishes separately, and wash twice.

I can't cry about this,
because my tears are hazardous waste.
I am thankful I don't have a cold or the flu.
A sneeze could be a call for a haz-mat team.

It's just weird.

I am home in my room, staying away from people.
It was hard explaining that to Rebekah.
We snuggle, hug and kiss all day long.

My girls in August 2005,
getting a glimpse through the open door during my radioactive iodine.
Beka didn't like it then, either.

Today, Jon took her for a bike ride.
Bethany took her out to buy something for dinner.
She was allowed to watch a few movies,
something we never allow on a weekday.

We have one more full day of separation.
I'm missing my kisses and luvies from my kids,
but I am so thankful.
This is such a short time of separation.

As I sit alone in my room,
 my computer, my phone and my Zune keeping me company,
I'm thinking about the two people that died for me.

One on a cross,
one in a laboratory.

Day Three is Over.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Gifts of Cancer

For my second thyrogen shot today,
I was accompanied by my son, Jon.
I like to have company and I think it is good
 to include the kids on some of my life.

I was met by Judy,
an older woman whose beauty and light wrinkles
dwelt together in such unity,
it made me instantly think that aging couldn't be so bad,
if I could age like her.

The vibrancy of her face was matched
by the vibrancy of her heart.

She changed my day.

She may have changed my life.

Some nurses are kindly dutiful.
Others are sympathetic.
Those rare ones who empathize in such a way
you feel they have picked up
one end of your cancer
and helped carry it down that sterile hallway.

She talked in such a way that proved she had read my chart
 and understood my health situation.

She laughed when she saw me taking a picture of the bedpan
with the shot paraphenalia.  She hadn't seen that before!

I told her I was a writer, and I wanted pictures to help journalize my story.

She was so excited and told me that she tells her
 cancer patients to journal their journey
as part of the healing process.
When they reach the end, they can read what they wrote
and be amazed at their strength and their growth.

As she kept talking about the cancer,
she almost made my heart stop.

"The gifts of cancer are there,
you just have to find them
and embrace them."

She must have thought my look was disbelief,
but I didn't speak to clarify,
 for fear she would stop her serenade on suffering.

"There are gifts of cancer, you know.
It just doesn't take from you."

She spoke of family, of personal maturity and other lessons learned along the journey.

I have experienced that,
I believe that,
I just hadn't heard it expressed
so succinctly,
so positively.

My Gifts I am Embracing
The Lord Jesus Christ
the INDESCRIBABLE Presence of the Holy Spirit 
 His strength when I am weak
new insight to Job's life :)
the love of my family
the love of my friends
the kindness of strangers
new priorities in life
new appreciation for each day
truly learning to be thankful in all things
comfort from the Lord to give to others
the Scriptures speak more deeply to my heart
experiencing JOY as a spiritual choice not a circumstance
being chosen to share in His sufferings-
because if I suffer with Him, I shall be glorified with Him
 physical help from friends, neighbors and family
cards, letters, and emails with thoughts of love and appreciation
the ability to forgive those who make mistakes that affect my health
watching my kids grow in their OWN faith
watching my kids meet needs without me asking
watching my kids serve me, when I should be serving them
the love of a man,
who doesn't see the scar, the weight gain, the skin issues,
who still thinks I am as beautiful as the day we married
a Mommy and Daddy who still take care of me
prayers of faithful Christians
the power of having my arms upheld in victory-
when I too weak to lift them anymore
learning dust isn't poisonous
learning to accept help when offered!
learning hospitality comes before pride -
even if company has to shove stuff off my couch
to find a place to sit


Rightfully, maybe we should clarify
the title as Gifts of Suffering.
We all are going through something.
Just because it isn't cancer,
doesn't mean it isn't hard,
doesn't mean it isn't challenging you,
and causing you pain and growth.

What trial has the Lord allowed in your life?
What Gifts of Suffering has He given you?

Day Two is Over

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gethsemane Moments

After 22 days of low-iodine diet,
I was finally ready for the next diagnostic step.

The night before, I felt that heavy weight that burdens my heart
when I know I am facing something hard.
This week of testing will determine treatment
for my third round of thyroid cancer.

I call them my Gethsemane moments.

I would love for the cancer cup to be taken from me.
But, until it is, I long to do His will.

It is not heaviness from depression,
it is the heaviness of reality.
Suffering is needful, it is for the Lord's glory,
but it is not easy.

But, just as Jesus cried out to His Father,
so I always cry out to my Heavenly Father.
I am never alone.
He hears my prayers.
He captures my tears in a bottle.
He loves me with an everlasting love.

My daughter, Bethany, accompanied me to the hospital.

We sat in the waiting room.
I always wonder how many other people sit,
with serious diseases and issues,
looking at the same waiting room,
knowing the test results could change their lives.

We  patients thumb through the magazines
only to pass the time,
and keep our minds going too far into the future,
where fear and doubt hold hands,
longing to race through the chambers of our minds.

So, we read about cholesterol,
movie stars ugly clothing choices and
recipes with ingredients we have never heard of
to drown out those little voices.

I always want to give the cleaning staff tips.
They never seem to dust the lower rungs of the chairs.
They always miss the 1/2 inch strip along the edge of the carpet.
It builds up into a little fuzzy racetrack around the rooms.

After the removal of a cancerous thyroid, patients take an artifical thyroid hormone. You take a higher dose than your body would normally produce to lower the TSH in your body.  The pituitary gland produces Thyroid Stimulating Hormone.  You don't want the thyroid cells stimulated if they're cancerous. You want them to chill out and go away.  My TSH has been artifically low for six years.

Since I need to take a small dose of radioactivite iodine on Wednesday,  now I need those cancerous cells stimulated.  They need to suck up all the RAI so they look like lightening bugs on the body scan.

Normally, patients have had to go off their thyroid medication for weeks to make the TSH levels go up.  Today, we can use two  Thyrogen injections and stay on our medication. I'm so thankful for medical advances!

After three weeks of no thyroid hormone, you can become seriously hypothyroid.

Increased sensitivity to cold
Pale, dry skin
A puffy face
Hoarse voice
An elevated blood cholesterol level
Unexplained weight gain
Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
Muscle weakness
Heavier than normal menstrual periods
Brittle fingernails and hair

How many of you just diagnosed yourself with hypothyroidism? 
 Fess up! 
 Maybe that's why doctors put so many women's magazines in their waiting rooms. 
They want us all to self-diagnose
and make a lot more doctor appointments.

The shot stings and  makes me a little fatigued and achy,
but compared to the list of symptoms I could be experiencing,
I am very thankful.

Day One is Over.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

MM Meditation - Obedient Sea

Mark 4

35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
The disciples were right in a few things.  They were “following” the Lord.  Others sought the Lord for curiosity’s sake, for entertainment, for contempt, but the disciples had fledgling faith. They also knew to go to Him in their troubles. That can be commendable.

Mark’s account gives us the most vivid details, describing how the waves were filling the boat. The thought that stayed with me was in verse 38, that our Savior was “asleep on a pillow”. I can’t imagine a pillow being a usual item packed in a fishing boat. Was it a makeshift pillow of fisherman’s garments and nets, or was it a pillow He brought just for the occasion?

But, He was sound asleep on a pillow.

When His follower’s come to Him and beg for intervention it seems accusatory.

"Do you not care that we are perishing?"

Don’t we often accuse the Lord the same when in trials and tribulations? “Don’t you care Lord? Don’t you know how I am suffering? Why won’t you do anything about this?” Our self-pity convinces us that the Lord has forgotten us and has left us to disaster, but in truth we are too full of ourselves and not enough of the Lord to see what He is performing in our lives. If he doesn't answer our prayers in our way and in our time, we falsely accuse Him.

Although the elements were obeying His command to cause turmoil, the Lord rebukes the wind and tells the sea to be still in reaction to the disciples unbelief.  To the men who were not obeying His prior call to faith He asks, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” He had just expounded to them the parables of the soils and  the mustard seed.
When the Lord calmed the sea, the men marveled and showed their ignorance, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Don’t we also show our ignorance when we cry out to the Lord and are surprised how He answers?
The surprise is because we don’t understand the eternal view, and neither did the disciples. Yes, the Lord controls the wave and the sea. He heard their impassioned pleas and He acted to answer. But, their lack of faith and understanding of the Man goes so deep.

Not only did He calm the storm, HE CAUSED IT.

Psalm 107:23- 25, "Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters, They see the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea."
Was His command only to the billowing waves, or was it for our hearts’ benefit as well?

Peace, be still!

Peace, siopao, be silent,  and be still, phimoo, hold mouth as with a muzzle.

Or, as we would tell little children, “be quiet and stay quiet!”

He wanted the disciples to understand that He was in control and they didn’t need to fret.
They should have marveled that He caused the billowing waves to perfect their faith.  They should have prayed in faith and  stood in that sinking boat, their eyes fixed on Him, allowing Him to sleep, and believing that He would calm the waves. If they had exercised faith, would their faith have calmed the storm and not the command of the One they accused of not caring? We can only speculate, but we do know this - The Lord needs us to understand the waves in our lives.

We must worship Him when He causes the storm, trusting what He causes or allows in our lives.

We must worship Him while we are enduring the storm, knowing that He cares.

We must worship Him when the storm is calmed, giving Him glory for what He brought us through.

As we understand the waves with our mustard-seed faith,we should be able to lay our heads on a pillow and sleep through the storms of life, just like the Lord.

Sweet dreams, friends.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Lord Works at Target

Sometimes the Lord speaks in a loud voice.  As the Scriptures speak to us, we clearly hear His guidance and direction.  There is no doubt in our minds.

Sometimes He speaks in a quiet whisper.  Something spiritual we have stored up in the treasurehouse of our hearts, rekindles and whispers its message back to us.

In the Scriptures the Lord spoke through the wind, through a donkey and even has claimed if we won't praise His Name the rocks and stones will cry out.

Yesterday, He spoke to me through a Target cashier.

I was shopping I don't want to buy when children are around, or anybody else, for that matter.  They are private articles of clothing I am even too embarrassed to mention.

Friday morning seemed to be a good time to lurk in that aisle of humiliation and shop alone.

But I wasn't alone.  A teenage girl and her pimply boyfriend were in shopping for the same articles of clothing, but they weren't embarrassed. 

"They should be embarrassed," I kept fuming to myself, as I strategically tried to be wherever they weren't.  I didn't want to know what they were buying, I certainly didn't want them to know what I was buying.

He was standing with his hands in his shorts, another mannerism I don't understand in teenage boys, and they weren't in a hurry to make their selection.

I found myself wanting to say something sarcastically convicting like, "How long have you been married?"

Instead, I fumed in my heart and despised the bold ways of this wicked generation.  I am always appalled at the sins of this generation that are flaunted in my face daily.  Things that we didn't dare speak of, teens practice in public.

When I checked out, I unloaded to the cashier, a friendly woman my age I often choose.

"I finally figured out why I hate buying these things," I began my rally while she scanned my items.  "I can't stand being in there and watching teenage girls bring their boyfriends into that department to help them buy stuff.  It just makes me uncomfortable.  It makess me want to take their pictures and show their parents what their kids were doing that day!"

When I took a breath in justification,  she interjected with a soft smile, "Their parents probably don't care.  That's probably why they are doing those types of things."

"Yea, you're right," I added, basking in her agreement of my mortification. "It was just disgusting.  This kid is back there with his hands in his pants, helping her pick out things.  It was just gross."

She continued feeding my fire, her soft smile accenting the truth, "In fact, I know it is because their parents aren't spending time with them or taking them to church or anything like that."

"I know! I agree.  Their mothers probably don't care."

"You know," she continued, still  tapping with her  rod of gentleness, "we really need to pray for them."

I looked her full in the face.  I knew I had been rebuked by the Lord.  Rebuked in a quiet, gentle way, one that so tenderly replaced my thoughts with His.

My sail was no longer filled with the winds of righteous indignation. I asked, "Are you a Born-Again Christian, too?"

"Yes, I am. I just love Jesus so much!"  With His name on her lips, her faced glowed with something I surmised was the Shekinah glory.

"You were right to remind me to pray," I admitted spiritual defeat.  "I was offended and didn't even think to pray."
"They really need prayer, all these people.  They need prayer and they need Jesus."

"I know, and I needed to be reminded.  Thank you for the great word, sister.  I appreciate the encouragement."

One humble servant of the Lord, a cashier at Target, spoke to me with the voice of the Lord, humbled me and brought me back to the matter at hand.  I viewed them only as wicked teenagers, I should have viewed them as lost souls that needed to be saved.  I should have prayed.  I should have given them a Gospel tract.  I should have invited them to a Bible study.  I should have done anything other than what I did, condemn them.

We know and love John 3:16.  Sometimes I forget the verse right after that.

"God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

As I walked away, rejoicing that the Lord loves me enough to intervene in my life, and prayed for the teenagers I had condemned.

I wondered if  Heaven was watching the activity between two Christians, who don't even know each other by name, but had a few moments of spiritual fellowship that impacted each of their days.  For those few moments our hearts were bound together in worship and praise for Jesus, and a desire for souls to be saved.

All because, today, God spoke to me through a Target cashier.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Shoulda'- Coulda' Had the French Fries!

I was trying to make a healthier choice
when eating at McDonalds with my hubby a few weeks back.
I stood strong and didn't order a Big Mac.
I didn't order French Fries.
I was good.  I ordered a salad.

After I doused my salad with Ranch dressing I read the package.

Notice the words-
"All Natural."
It's supposed to make you think it is good for you.

I felt betrayed.
I felt angry.

Ranch Dressing:

Calories 170
Fat Calories 130
Total Fat 15g
Saturated Fat 2.5g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 20mg
Sodium 530mg
Total Carb 9g
Sugars 4g
Protein 1g
All Natural ingredients: Water, Soybean Oil, corn syrup solids, buttermilk, distilled vinegar, egg yolks, salt, sugar…...

Southwest Dressing:
1 pouch has 100 calories

Fat calories 50
Total Fat 6g
Sat Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 20mg
Sodium 340 mg
Total Carb 11g
Sugars 3g
All Natural Ingredients: Water, corn syrup solids, soybean oil, distilled vinegar, egg yolks, corn vinegar, corn starch, whey salt……

Ouch.  With all the corn syrup solids, shoulda'-coulda' just eaten some candy. 

1 small fry McDonald's fry:
Total Fat 11g
Sat. Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0g
Sodium 161 mg
Total Carb 28 g
Sugar 0g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C  9%
Iron  3%

I coulda' had the French fries?  What was I thinkin'?  I was thinkin' I could trust a famous man like Paul Newman who labeled his dressing as natural.  I guess corn syrup is natural, but it isn't healthy.  A little bit of deception, doncha' think?

My husband taught me a cool dieter's trick - you dip the fork in the dressing, then stab some salad onto the fork, then insert into your mouth.  You get the flavor, but use way less dressing.  Next time I ordered a salad, I tried it and it worked well.

Anybody else know any good dieter's tips for eating at restaurants or at home?

Next time, I don't want to be cheated healthwise, knowing for the fat and the calories I consumed, I coulda' had a candy bar and a French fry instead.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Pilgrimage in Pain

A few weeks ago, my husband fulfilled a painful journey he had planned in his heart for several months.

We brought along our company from North Dakota,
Tom and Janet.

He typed the address in the GPS and drove through  highways and byways.

We arrived.

We ordered.

We agonized.

The words on this plaque barely begins to bring the homage due these officers.

This is the coffee shop where four officers lost their lives
 in a calculated killing the day after Thanksgiving.

The other two  offers were shot on duty shortly after that.
Timothy Brenton was shot while sitting in his police car.
Kent Mundell was ambushed during a domestic call and died in the hospital.

Since then, we have had several area officers shot at,
run over,

The men and women who make the streets safe for us,
are not safe on the streets.

It was hard to enjoy the coffee, but we wanted to see, to experience.

We don't want to forget these officers, we don't want to take lightly their sacrifice.

They left behind grieving spouses, young children,  stunted police forces.

They were killed by the kind of people they dedicated their lives to helping.
Their deaths seem so pointless and  agonizing to the world.
We long for good to come of the situation,
and we will be slightly pacified by the funds gathered for families,
the few physical commemorative markings,
the legislative changes that may come about.
But, only slightly.

We just can't get over the brutality, the senselessness.

Agony comes because death is forever.
You crossover that threshold, never to return.

We cannot let the deaths be in vain.
We need to honor officers of the law, called ministers of God in the Romans 13:4
  "A revenger to execute wrath upon those that do evil."

We need to pray for the families and the police forces impacted by their deaths.
We don't want the death of the officers to be in vain.

Their deaths reminded me of another death,
a Man who also died
 at the hands of those He came to serve.
A man who came out of love,
and was crucified out of hatred.

We cannot let the death of the Savior to be in vain.
Have you accepted His death as payment for your sins?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

JOY Filled the Empty Chair

Since I was 12,  I wanted six kids.
 I started saving my toys,
without hardly playing with them,
for my six kids.
I had five kids in 8 1/2 years.
I was off to a good start.
But, no number six.

For years I waited.
The five chairs on the sides of the table were awkward.
Two on one side,
three on another.
I was bothered by more than just the lack of symmetry.

I knew someone was missing.

I waited and trusted the Lord.
I rejoiced when my friends had babies.
I held them and loved them,
my salty tears flavoring my kisses.

Barreness is noticed
when a young couple gets married and isn't blessed with children.
Who would believe someone blessed with five children
 could agonize over her barren womb?
So, I rarely spoke of the agony of my empty arms.

I trusted and waited.
I asked the Lord to fill my arms or empty the longing from my heart.

At 38, when I had resigned myself to being done,
we discovered we were pregnant.

I was old, I was tired,
but my desire was fulfilled,
with the birth of Rebekah Joy.

Little did I understand God's plan.
I always called Beka
"My Company in My Old Age,"
but I never really understood the impact of the timing.

Through the years of cancer, this little one has given us extra reason
to rise each morning with the excitement a toddler brings,
to smile through the pain,
to laugh when we wanted to cry,
to give her the same happy childhood the others had.

My other five are wonderful and support me in the ways older children can.
They clean, they cook, they ask me how I am doing.
They pray for me.
They encourage me.
They love me.
I am so blessed by my older children.

But, our little Beka Boo?
She brings the joy we all need,
with her smiles,
songs and

She fills more than just that extra chair around the dining room table.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bind Us Together

I am one who likes to be organized.
Actually, I love to be organized.
I don't function well when things are not organized.
I like to know where things are
and where they go when I am done with them.

I long for my family to have that same passion.
They don't, yet.

My organizational system has to be easy enough for the rest of the family,
who doesn't obssess over organization,
(I just LOVE that word - organization)
to utilize.

I had several different binders in the cupboard,
poorly labeled,

I saw a blog with this cute idea,
matching, scrapbooked binders.

If you are the blogger who posted this idea, please leave your link below.
I totally gapped out who inspired me and I would love to give you credit!

I made a mistake in buying binders from Target
 in their new bulk section in the back of the store 6/$7.
These two weren't even used.
I checked the four I had completed,
and they were cracked already.
I knew when I bought them they were cheap and wouldn't last long.
I expected them to last longer than a week.
I brought them back and back individual, more expensive binders.
I love saving money as much as I love organizing.

Completed binders in cupboard.
Got rid of about ten unused cookbooks in the process.
Yea!  Declutter!

*Amazing Grace and Jon both love to cook.  They each have a binder for the recipes they have collected from other people and from magazines.

*Low Iodine - has the guidelines and recipes to follow the diet I need to utilize as part of the thyroid cancer treatment.

*Meal Planning - a work in progress where I am listing all types of meals I can make from each type of meat, salads, side dishes, breads, soups for quick inspirational reference
-have included various articles about menu planning, nutritional values, etc.
-one section for those magazine pages I have ripped out with recipes I want to try

*Christmas - contains lists of who we send and receive Christmas cards from each year and recipes for all our traditional goodies.  Recipes easily get lost in my house, so I copied every Christmas recipe over in red and green fine tipped markers on index cards and keep in clear pages with slots. 

*Household - one tab for the ongoing Case of the Leaky Dishwasher, one for doctors/dentists, one for garbage/recycle/yardwaste brochures, one for Honey Do projects, one for long-term projects

*Addresses - we have address listings for the church we attend, along with the directories from three other churches we have attended

Each binder is a work in progress and will be improved as we use it.  For now, I just get excited everytime we open the door and see the red and white goodness gleaming from that top shelf. 
This project SHOULD bind us together with cords of organization that cannot be broken.
What are YOU working on to organize your life?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Truly Romantic

We celebrated Valentine's Day in our usual way, with the family gathered in the living room with the youngest child, Rebekah, passing out the messages of love from our special box.

In the early years, we made the traditional Valentine's box embellished with  hearts, glitter and stickers by the kids. About five years ago, I went for the idea of creating a lifetime family tradition - having a box we used year after year.  I decorate for this holiday and leave all the adorable hearts up for two more weeks, when we celebrate our wedding anniversary.

My husband fulfilled all my romantic ideals by buying flowers for me on Friday, so I  could enjoy them all weekend.


But, on Valentine's Day, it wasn't that flowers that proved his love for me.  They were a beautiful reminder, and I was very appreciative.  Their sight and smell speak to me each time I walk by them.  I realized, though, that even if he hadn't purchased me the traditional dozen red long-stemmed roses, I would have still felt his powerful love for me.

I have learned to see his love in a million different ways throughout the week.

He has cooked for me almost every evening of my low-iodine diet.
He send me love messages during the day by email or by IM.
He senses my moods and acts accordingly to what I need - hugs, alone time, listening or talking.
He reads my blogs and says often, "This is the best one yet!"
He fathers the kids in a way that makes me love him more.
He reads his Bible so he can lead us in the paths of righteousness.
He prays for me.
He looks at me and I just know I am cherished.

The roses are a beautiful affirmation of what he daily proves, not a guilty purchase to make up for a day, a week, a month or a year of bad behavior.  They are never a guilt offering, they are a love offering.

But, it was this present that made me feel the most loved.


When one of crazy little monkeys had a sudden onslought of the stomach flu, and threw up all the way to the bathroom and all over the bathroom, he wiped it up.

Never in my wildest imagination, as a single woman longing for that Prince to sweep me off my feet, did I imagine wiping up vomit would be a qualitication for the Perfect Man.  My hubby even has held the bedpan for me as I puked my way through several hospital visits for cancer.

Single women - take note.  Can you imagine the guy you have your eye on wiping up vomit?  Hmmmm....maybe you should keep looking.

There is no wistful daisy-petal-pulling in my world - I only have to use one line from the poem.

He loves me.
He loves me.
He loves me.
He loves me.

And I love him, too.

Thank you for a special Valentine's weekend, honey!

In case you were wondering how I got that picture of the roses.

Guess I can never yell at the kids for standing on the dining room table again.

So, I'm starting a new week  focusing on the love my husband and I have for each other in the Lord.

Ecclesiastes 4:12, "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

That's all I need to  pull me through another Monday and another week, ready and willing to accept whatever the week brings - a cord of three.

(Pop over to visit Nan on Making Your Home Sing Monday to see what other moms are doing to start the week off right.)