Saturday, January 29, 2011


The following was a sweet prayer sent by Sis's mom-in-law:

Our Father who art in Heaven.
     We worship you with songs of praise for the life of B.  Were it not for him, we wouldn't have our dear A to love.  Long ago, we gave him to you for healing, comfort, peace and mercy in his earthly life.  Now with new physical issues, we feel helpless once again.  So God, we lift him to you.  Your arms are strong and sure, your plans for his life are beyond what we can comprehend. 
    We know your means of healing take many forms and we place our trust in you for him now and forever.  We ask that you provide peace and comfort for him.  We ask that your grace and mercy flow round about him, and that those who provide medical care for him now are struck by your presence.  We humbly ask for your dear son, B to radiate your love to those around him.  We ask also that B's daughters, grandsons, and son-in-law be granted comfort too, as they struggle with his declining physical body.  We've asked a lot just now, Lord, but you have told us to bring the desires of our hearts to you, and we have done so.  We trust you and your provisions in all things, in all times, and in all places. 
    Please open our eyes to your loving care of B.
    You are our hope for now and the future.
    You are the Holy one who loves and cares for us more that our minds can imagine.
    To you we turn in confidence and peace.
    Because of Jesus, we ask with joy and expectation!

Encouraging Words

A week ago Wednesday I received some disheartening news. Dad was taken to the emergency room where it was discovered that  my dad’s adominal cavity was filled with fluid and several metastasized lesions. The doctor said this was a secondary cancer, but didn't know where the primary cancer site was. She said he would not live through treatment. Sis and I will met with with his doctor at the Veteran's Center to discuss comfort care. We know where he's spending eternity: happy for him, and sad for us.
The outpouring of prayers, love and support has been, and it continues to be our mainstay.  The facebook notes, emails, calls and cards are encouraging, comforting and mean a great deal to us.
The following are examples of a few of the many notes my friends and family have sent:
“Just love, love, love...and pray, pray, pray. Then get in the car and cry all the way home if you need to - asking Jesus to give you the strength and comfort YOU need to help your daddy. My momma used to tell me "Don't wrestle - just nestle" - he is our comforter... all the way home if you need to, asking Jesus to give YOU the strength and comfort you need to help your daddy. My momma use to tell me “Don’t wrestle-just nestle” – He is our comforter.”
“Jesus has got this and please know that I am not only praying but I am hugging you in my heart. You are fiercely loved.”
God has blessed Sis and me by putting incredible people in our lives to share our burden and hold our hands!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Life isn't Easy

    I tend to read a lot of fiction.  Some of my favorite authors are Dee Henderson, Brandilyn Collins, Susan May Warren, Colleen Coble and DiAnn Mills.  I don't watch TV, so I read for an hour here and there.  today was our second "snow day" and I finished Point of No Return by Susan May Warren. It's part of her Missions of Mercy Series, which include In Sheep's Clothing and Sands of Time. Warren has spent some time on the mission field in the countries she writes about in these suspense stories. 
    It's really encouraging when I read a fiction book that points me to Biblical truths.  Some I know, but need a reminder to jog my memory.  In Point of No Return, an aid worker and the man sent to rescue him are in a Georgian (the country, not the state) prison and the chances of their survival are not looking good.  During a conversation the aid worker shares his feelings about not being able to help more.  He chose to remain in Georgia in the midst of danger when his friends left.  During the course of the conversation, the young man shares with his rescuer about a friend from college that died from leukemia.  His friend didn't quit school despite his pain.  The young man shared his friend's response when asked why he didn't just give up:
"He told me that the closer he got to heaven, the more he wanted to lean into all God had for him here.  That it was in this harsh, earthly landscape that we understand the meaning of God's grace.  He said we don't see the depths and power of grace when life is easy.  It's only when things start to fall apart around us, when the road crumbles before us, that we turn to grace for every step."
   What a beautiful illustration of II Corinthians 12:9  " My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness." (The Message) I was greatly encouraged by this. Although I've read the scripture many times before, I now had a fresh view.  In spite of the sorrow and pain that comes my way, I can still hang on to the grace that God always has for me. That reminds me of an acronym for grace we used in youth group: GRACE= God's Riches At Christ's Expense.  Growing in grace daily!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


   I just finished reading Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent.  Now, I'm not one to read or put a lot of stock in the whole "I went to Heaven and this is what it's like" type of book.  The reason I was interested in this particular book is I saw it on a friend's facebook post.  I took a closer look at the post and discovered it was about the experience of her nephew.  Wow!  I had a connection.  I also know the boy's uncle.  After talking with Sis, I found out that she went to college with Todd Burpo and the boy's relatives I know.  So, I picked up the book on Saturday and was totally blown away by the content.  It tells the story of, then, four-year-old Colton who has an emergency apendectomy and, while his life hangs in the balance, visits Heaven.  Colton doesn't tell the entire story all at once.  The story unfolds over a longer period of time as he share bits and pieces of the experience with his parents through the course of everyday life. I don't want to give away any details because the entire book is amazing.  Yes, I believe in Heaven.  This book has given me a new perspective on Heaven and a renewed sense of awe about the incredible God I love and serve.  For more info on the book, check out

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mission Memories: Critters

     I just finished filing my fingernails.  That reminded me of my first mission trip to Belize. You'll see why as the story unfolds.
     It was very late when we arrived at our destination for the night.  To get to the cabanas where we stayed was an adventure in itself.  We drove from Belize City for quite a while. On this trip not all of the three main highways were paved...only about a stretch of about 50 miles was paved.  We left the "highway" and drove down a dirt road to a clearing.  I remember being amazed at the giant Bird of Paradise plants that grew wild along the road. Once we got to a clearing, we had to hit a gong to let the people know we had arrived so they could come across the river to get us.  We carried our luggage down a gazillion steps (Well, actually it was 32...I counted later) to get to the river and the boat that would take us across to go up more steps to our lodging .  Wow, I was going to be spending the night in the jungle! I was so tired, I could hardly walk. On my way to bed I saw a brown and white mouse scamper around the thatched roof of our room.  I shared a two room cabana with three other girls.  I had just closed my eyes when I heard R, my roommate scream.  I didn't open my eyes, but asked her what was wrong. She said, "There's a snake!"  I told her to leave it alone and she'd be eyes still closed.  "Quit talking like a teacher and do something," she demanded.  I got up and told her I would get it and put it out.  She reminded me that we were in the middle of a jungle and I didn't know what kind of snake it could be.  She had an excellent point.  By this time, I was wide awake and the two girls from the other room came in.  The chase began.  I'm not sure what we thought we were going to do once we got the snake cornered, but we chased it all over the room and finally got it cornered in the small area just outside the bathroom door. Now what were we suppose to do with it?   One of the girls got a plunger from the bathroom and captured its head.  We were going to end its life, but didn't really have anything to work with, until someone remembered having a metal fingernail file. (See my thinking, now?) How many girls does it take to kill a snake in the jungle in the middle of the night?  Apparently four if they're taking turns holding a toilet plunger on its head and trying to cut its head off with a fingernail file.  This was not a quick, nor pleasant endeavor.  The next day, at breakfast, I relayed the story to one of the men that worked there.  When I described the snake to him, he said, "Oh, you no need to worry about de smol snakes. Iz da big ones dat are bad!" Okay, after that experience, showering with tree frogs was not that big of a deal.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Fabulous Friends

     In his book, The Council of Dads, Bruce Feiler talks about what values he wants his girls to learn from his friend, Max.
The loyalty of the friend who sees how far I've come instead of how far I have to go.  The dignity of the person who has devoted his entire life to serving others.  The self-respect of the man who insists on meeting his own standards instead of succumbing to those of others.
     This passage got me to thinking about the incredible friends God put in my life to bring me through some of the most trying times of cancer. There's Sis, who, even though we are related, began and continues to be one of my best friends and biggest supporters.  Cat, who guided me into missions and joined me for many adventures, slept on the floor beneath my hospital bed after my first surgery and made sure the nurses were doing what they were suppose to all night.  Several friends took turns staying with me when I wasn't able to use my arms to care for myself...Cat taught Sis (who hates the sight of blood) to care for the 4 drains that made me feel like a science experiment; Aunt S accompanied me to chemo and stayed with me cooking, cleaning and caring for me when she had challenges of her own to deal with; Em, my precious friend from across the hall and later halfway across the U.S. and back again, stayed a few nights and continues to check in on me; S, who has taken care of my income taxes since I was a senior in high school and joined in on several mission trips, sat with me through chemo and kept me talking and entertained so the nausea didn't have time to get me down; L, who I've taught with for years and watched live out her practical, unwavering faith, accompanied me to chemo, encouraged me, challenged me and cared for me; the senior girls from my small group who visited me in the hospital and made me smile...especially R when she tried the compression sleeves; G, who lived her faith as she accompanied me to chemo, prayed for and with the nurses who cared for her during her own hospital stays, and reminded me that we never cease to exist...some of us step into eternity before others.  R would call me from church on Sunday mornings when I wasn't able to be there, and I would listen to the worship service via phone. There were scores of others who came to visit me in the hospital and at home; some I read about in the journal Sis continued to keep for me so I would know what went on even when the meds put me out. I can't fail to mention the incredible ladies I teach with (Some are my former students!) that have become my second family.  They encouraged me through visits, cards and meals, always reminding me that I was loved.  Sometimes, when I was trying to "be okay" after chemo, my principal would see me in the hall and send me home, but I never worried about my job. She kept an eye on G and me to make sure we didn't overdo it, but never wanted to take our dignity and love of our jobs away.  I've heard it said that if you have one close friend in a lifetime, you should consider yourself blessed.  I consider myself blessed beyond measure!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Preparation for the Fight

I didn't even see it coming...CANCER.  I wasn't expecting it, but never the less, it came.  In retrospect, I can see now that I was preparing for the journey and the fight long before they came to be.  A few months before, one of the ladies in my Bible Study group purchased us copies of The Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  Our group did the study of this incredible book.  I loved each chapter, even when the truth wasn't pleasant.  Each chapter had the lies countered with the truth from God's Word.  Some, I could recognize and was okay with them.  For example, the lie is "I shouldn't have to suffer."  The truth is, "True joy is not the absence of pain, but the presence of the Lord Jesus in the midst of the pain."  Some...I had to really think about.  For instance, the lie is "God should fix my problems."  The truth is "God has an eternal purpose He is fulfilling in the midst of my problems."  There were several more truths which I hung on to months later as I experience the pain, nausea and roller coaster of emotions that cancer and its treatment brings.  I would recommend the book to all women, whether or not they are going through trials or not.  Ms. DeMoss has written The Lies Young Women Believe.

At the beginning of the year of my diagnosis (2007), I purchased a new devotional Bible that would help me read the Old and New Testaments in paired passages with a couple of questions each day.  That book is The Message//REMIX Solo:An Uncommon Devotional by Eugene Peterson. The Old Testament reading the morning of my diagnosis was II Kings 6.  One of the parts I thought was particularly odd is the story of how some prophets were building and a borrowed axhead fell in the water. Elisha cut a stick and threw it where it fell and made it float.  I remember thinking, "Why is that story in the Bible? That's just strange."  One of the questions for that day went something like, "If God can cause and iron axhead to float and deliver an entire army into the hands of two unarmed prophets, is there anything He can't do for you?" I remember thinking, "Well of course not.  Good point." That evening is when I spoke with my primary care doctor and she told me the results of my biopsy.  When she told me I had cancer the morning's devotion came back to me and I felt peace.

I believe it's vital to study and learn God's Word.  You just never know when and how it can impact your life. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Wellspring of Life

I visited my dad at the hospital today.  He was doing much better since his blood transfusion on Monday.  I've been posting updates on his progress on my facebook page.  Tonight, one of my cousins posted a very encouraging comment and I wanted to share part of it.  She wrote "He knows you, you're part of him and the heart never forgets no matter what the brain says!"  Dad has Alzheimer's.  Most of the time he doesn't remember who I am or thinks I'm one of his sisters.  Tonight when I asked him if he needed anything he responded, "Just you."  I asked, "Who am I?" He replied, "You're you!" I said, "You're right! I always have been!" I know he's still "Dad" in his heart.  I really appreciated my cousin's post.  It brought to mind a verse I remember studying several years ago.  It is Proverbs 4:23, from the New International Version. "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."  Dad is confused a lot and sometimes what he says may not make sense, but I know his wellspring is still flowing.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Passport to Intimacy

     As I thoughtfully make my way through reading The Council of Dads, I am constantly coming across things to which I say, "Wow, that's absolutely true." or "That's exactly how I felt."  In the letter from chapter 7, Bruce Feiler writes:
Cancer, I have found, is a passport to intimacy.  It's and invitation-maybe even a mandate-to enter the most vital, frightening, and sensitive human arenas.  It's a responsibility to address those issues we rarely want to discuss, but we feel enriched when we do.  In that spirtit, I hope you find occasion to ask a difficult question of someone you love, renew a long-forgotten promise you made to yourself, or spread a little magic of your own to help keep the monsters at bay.
     This brought memories of my sweet friend G, who went with me to my first chemo treatment, then took me to dinner afterward and informed me, "Enjoy it now, because it will not taste as good coming back up!"  She was correct.  Then, G stood at my bathroom door as the first wave of nausea rolled in.  "You feel like you're puking up your toes, don't you?  I'm bringing you meds!"  You see, G was speaking from experience.  She was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer six months before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yes, G went with me to the wig shop to help me pick out just the right wig and ended up getting another for herself. I think we tried on every wig they had and had a blast doing it!  When we pulled into the parking lot, before going in the wig shop, G said, "Can I ask you a question?"  I knodded.  She said, "Do you sit around and cry because of your diagnosis?"  "No," I responded, "do you?" "No," she said, and then paused.  She looked at me and scrunched up her eyes and asked, "Do you think we're taking this as seriously as we should?"  "The way I see it," I said, "if it doesn't affect our standing in eternity, it's not that big of a deal."  "Yeah," she said, "that's what I thought.  Glad someone's on the same page."  Even though we both knew where we would spend eternity and our relationship with Christ sustained us through our cancers, G stepped into eternity and I let God know what I thought about that. (So glad He knows I'm human and offers me grace, mercy and forgiveness when I act so human.) The thing I think I learned the best from dear G was, no matter what you go through, when you know whose you are (Christ's and Christ's alone) you live life to it's fullest...after all, He promises us abundant life. I love how The Message puts it: .."I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." -John 10:10

Chemo May Lend Itself to Humor

  In reading The Council of Dads, I came across something that made me smile.  When talking about the side effects of chemotherapy, Bruce Feiler wrote, "The resulting list of dos and don'ts is quite precise, including no sushi, manicures, or tattoos.  Really, how do metrosexual Japanese bikers get through this?!"  Not that I ate sushi, got a manicure, or a tattoo when I was having chemo, but I did do one thing that was very not like me at all.  When I realized that I would loose all of my hair, I went to lunch with a bunch of my friends, then  we went to have my hair cut (by a friend who is a hairstylist).  I had my almost shoulder length hair cut to a little over an inch, then dyed neon pink.  (I could post a pic, but will spare you!)  It was kind of fun to do something so unexpected.  It wasn't long after that I was wearing a wig.  I have pics of Sis, M, and L wearing my wig.  After chemo, my hair came back in really dark and really curly.  I was at the post office and a lady I didn't know stopped me and said, "I love your hair.  Where did you get it done?"  I replied with a chuckle, "Oklahoma Oncology with chemo, but a perm may be easier." She actually smiled.  She introduced herself...she was a nurse! I learned that it was okay to smile and have fun, in spite of the seriousness of the situation.  

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Council of Dads

   A couple of days ago I started reading A Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler.  I've actually had the book in my possession for two weeks, but have delayed starting it because I knew it wouldn't be like any of Feiler's other books that I've already read (Walking the Bible, Abraham, and Where God was Born).  This book would be sad.  Bruce Feiler was diagnosed with cancer. (I am a cancer survivor, so I can relate to some of his thoughts and emotions.) This book tells of his journey with his wife and twin girls as they deal with the diagnosis and how he chooses men from different times in his life that can be his voice should he not be around to raise his girls.  The book is only 240 pages long.  I could read that in just a few hours. WRONG. As of now, I've only read five chapters.  Five very emotional, inspiring chapters.  When I read fiction, I read rapidly and usually can finish a book or two a week if I have a chance to read in the evenings.  This is not a quick read.  It is a book to be read carefully and thoughtfully.  I have nineteen more chapters to go.  I'm not sure how long it will take me to finish, but I look forward to the journey.

From Last Year...Still True

Jesus is the Alpha, the Omega and the Nu
From Asbury Tidings, January 2010:
William D. Watley, Senior Pastor at the St. James Aftican Methodist Church, provides encouragement in the realization and truth of Jesus as the ultimate connection:
"You are connected to somebody who is not only the Alpha and Omega, but the Nu as well. Alpha and Omega are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet; nu is the middle letter. Thus, Jesus is not only the somebody who will be with us in the beginning, when we're born and at the end when death comes. He abides with us in all that is the middle. In the middle, when temptation comes to turn us around. In the middle, when Satan attacks to dismantle and destroy. In the middle, when friends become few. In the middle, when resources run short. In the middle, when the unexpected shakes the foundations of our lives. In the middle, when relationships are severed. Yes, in the middle. Therefore, we can continue to abide in Jesus. He is sufficient for whatever comes between our beginning and our ending."
Wow...What a great reminder of who Christ is and that in the things I can't handle (which are a bunch) we...Jesus and I...can handle together. Starting the New Year with promise!

Great Advice from Mother Teresa

     I love quotes.  Many times I just surf the web when I'm trying to say something and find some great nuggets of wisdom.  I have encouraging quotes posted all around my classroom.  One of my favorite people to quote is Mother Teresa.  Here is one of her quotes that is great to reflect on as we start this year:
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, People may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, They may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.
                                                                                                             -Mother Teresa

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Advent of Amazing Adventures

   If you're around me very long, you'll discover one of my favorite things to do is tell stories about missions.  Yes, a little more than ten years ago, you would have heard me utter, "I will never set foot on foreign soil.  There are plenty of people here I can tell about Jesus." Well, God is always up for a challenge and since I do try to listen every now and again to what He's trying to tell me, you probably aren't surprised that I have since then set foot on foreign soil...a few times.  Here's the story (I have to set the stage, so you can see how God truly provides.) :

   When my sister married and moved a few states away, it was hard on us both. We had always been close and this was going to be a rough separation.  God provided.  That year the principal at the school where I teach hired a new teacher who became (and still is) a wonderful friend.  She reminded me a lot of my sister.  I knew God had brought her to our school when I was at her house for dinner and I was going to help with dishes.  I started to run water and she exclaimed, "Don't put your hands in there, there are floaty things!"  I just stared at her...that's exactly the expression my sister uses.  She hates doing dishes by hand because of the "floaty things," too.  That night, I called my sister to tell her about my experience.  She told me that God must have know we would miss each other because there was a girl in their church that reminded her a lot of me and they were friends.
     A few months later, I went to visit my sister and her husband.  While I was at their church, I was introduced to the girl who reminded my sister of me, Cat.  Just after meeting her and visiting with her for a few minutes, I knew we were destined to be friends.  After the service was over, I chatted with Cat.  As she was leaving she said, "Oh, by the way, I signed you up for a mission trip to Belize.  Your first payment is due in three weeks."  It never occurred to me to say "no."  My next thought was, "I need to do some fund raising." (You may be reading this and thinking, "Yes, I get your fundraising letters!")
     Well, I went on that trip to Belize, which started my involvement with a group called Caribbean Resource Ministries.  I have been to Belize several times over the past 10+ years.  I have also worked on inner city missions in Houston, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. I've been on foreign missions in Guatemala and Estonia.  This summer I'm looking in to possibly teaching English in China or the Ukraine. I have lots of stories to tell that, hopefully, will keep you entertained as well as bring glory to God through my attempts to be His hands and feet.
    Yes, Cat and I are still friends.  She is definitely a kindred spirit and a forever kind of friend.  She is also a a part of many of my adventures, so you will see her name from time to time.  Through working with Caribbean Resource Ministries, I've met and keep in touch with lots of incredible people.  Hmm...I may have to do posts on "Incredible People." For more information on Caribbean Resource Ministries and to see some of the mission pics, go to .

A Year in Review

I posted the following on my Facebook.  I thought if I reposted it here on my blog you might get a better idea of who I am, so read and get to know me:

Each year I look forward to receiving the letters friends enclose in their Christmas cards.  I love hearing about what has happened during the year in their families.  I never write a note, because I nothing really happens during my year...or so I think.  Tonight I was thinking back over my year and had a few recollections I thought were significant. This was the first year in 3 years I've felt up to sending out Christmas cards.  During the entire year of 2010 I did not have any hospital stays or surgeries, yeah!!!  I read a book, Three Cups of Tea, that affected me more than I realized at the time (Thanks for pointing that out, Lynn!) Thanks to my incredible principal, I was able to attend a lecture by Greg Mortenson, the book's author.  After much prayer and thought, I put things in motion to make significant changes.  I now attend church in the town in which I've been teaching for 27 years. This has opened up new summer opportunities for me that I am praying about and that would be right up my alley...teaching English in China or the Ukraine.  I put my house on the market and will be moving to be closer to church, work and family.I'm working on being more a part of my community.  I'm is pretty empty now and I'm contented with that.  This year Dad was transfered to the Veteran's Center at Claremore.  It's been nice having him 20 minutes away instead of 3 hours. It's wonderful having my sister and her family near.  I absolutely love having a "sisters' night" or being able to do things with the nephews...ballgames, movies, games, etc.  In April I was told my blood sugar was a concern and I may possibly be faced with diabetes.  I was told I needed to loose weight.  I've known that for years, but I said, "My friends like me for me, not what I look like."  While that is true, I also was not ready to face another major illness, so I joined Weight Watchers.  Being the rule follower I am, I loved the program.  It didn't seem like a diet to me, but a major lifestyle change.  (I don't know the names of the carhops at Sonic now!) I've lost a little over 70 pounds and feel great.  I continue to meet each week for Bible study with two ladies I've been meeting with for over 5 years.  I am constantly amazed at the new insight and understanding I gain each week as I study God's Word.  So, 2010 was significant for me.  I look forward to 2011 and the new opportunities and adventures God has planned!

A New Year and a New Adventure

   For quite some time now, I've been saying that I would start a blog.  Encouraged by my sister, I set the launch date for January 1st. I have a few ideas about things I want to share: Mission Memories, Thoughts About Life in General, Book Reviews, Marvelous Music, etc.  Although I post quite often on FaceBook, I'm a bit leary of keeping up with a blog.  Although my posts may be sporatic, I will try to keep up and look forward to this new adventure!