Saturday, January 29, 2011

Blessings

UPDATE ON SALLY (as of Friday)

Sally's PET scan was clear. Praise the Lord! No other cancer. Her surgery went well today. She had a rod put into her femur and the tumor was removed. She will have radiation on that bone starting in a few weeks. She is resting now with her family at her side and will be home in a few days.

Thank You, Lord, for answering our prayers and taking such good care of our sweet sister in Christ.  Please continue to comfort her and heal her completely.  We give you all the praise and glory!  Amen.
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On Thursday afternoon, the doorbell rang.  I opened the door to find my neighbor and 2 of her children smiling back at me.  My neighbor is the one whose 4th grader is battling brain cancer.  I introduced her on my Jan. 8 post.

She said her son only has a week and a half left of radiation so he is very tired.  He is also taking oral chemotherapy at night.  What a brave young man!  She said he doesn't have much of an appetite, but he will eat this.....
Lemon yogurt pound cake!  YUMMY!!!

So she wanted to bring me some and see how I was doing with my radiation.  What a special blessing!  It made me cry!

Then, my friend Angela from MOPS brought us a box full of blessings for dinner and breakfast.

Did we really eat an entire loaf of fresh, warm bread at dinner, along with our chicken noodle soup and cupcake dessert (Grandma's recipe no doubt)??!!!

And check out these heart shaped muffins....talk about love!  I've been instructed by my children to get the recipe. 

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH ANGELA!!!  THANK YOU!
Angela brought some pretty flowers too.  And here's my husband volunteering to taste test the cupcakes.  Life is short.  Eat dessert first!

Faith did not even let the box go to waste...she designed a hat out of it.  How creative!
I've been told it is still a work in progress, and by the looks of the floor in the computer room, I would believe it!  I'll take another picture when it's finished.

On Friday afternoon as soon as we got home, I had a surprise visit from my friend Cindy.  We haven't seen each other all week because she has been nursing her family back to health.  All 3 of her children and her husband have been sick.

And speaking of love and creativity, Cindy brought by some tasty treats she made.  She is very talented and has her own baking business to raise money for missions.  You can check it out here http://onmissioninthekitchen.blogspot.com/
THANK YOU CINDY!  

"Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him."  
Psalm 34:8

A quick raditation update...I have completed my 9th treatment - only 24 more to go!  Just starting to turn red and burn a little.  I'm usually ready for bed before 8pm!!! 

God is giving me lots of opportunities to talk with other women while I am at radiation.  How exciting!  So please keep praying for these developing relationships.  

I had to take Faith with me to treatment yesterday.  The incredible radiation staff let her see the Big Machine too.  I'm hoping this helps her understand everything a little better.  She has been mentioning death a lot lately.  And the other day on the way to school, she asked me if my cancer meant she was going to have cancer too.  

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6-7 

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,
Nancy

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Heavy Heart

"LORD, hear my prayer,
   listen to my cry for mercy;
in Your faithfulness and righteousness
   come to my relief."
Psalm 143:1 

I am super duper tired today, but my heart is so heavy.  Will you please join me in praying for 2 very special people?

My friend Sally from church who has been so helpful to me re: my cancer is in the hospital right now.    (She battled breast cancer herself several years ago - and won.)  She was having trouble with her right leg and just found out she has cancer in her femur bone. 

She is undergoing lots of tests to determine the extent of the cancer.  She may also have surgery to insert a rod into her femur to help support her leg.  PLEASE PRAY FOR HER!  Pray that the cancer is at a very early stage, contained, & easily treated. PRAY FOR HER FAMILY!  AND PRAY FOR THE DOCTORS TAKING CARE OF HER TOO!
Sally is the pretty one in the middle.  PRAY FOR HER!

****************************************************

My brother Shane also still needs your prayers.  Sorry it has been so long since I've given an update on him.  Please forgive me for being so slack!

Just before Christmas, Shane was discharged from the hospital although he was still throwing up.  Two home health nurses came every day to check on him and give him an IV in the evening.

While he was at home, he started getting sick a little less until the beginning of January.  Then on January 4, Shane was readmitted to the hospital because he started throwing up blood.  He is still in the hospital today.

He has seen numerous doctors and been given several diagnoses and treatments, but nothing has stopped him from getting sick.  He now has incredible pain in his chest too.  But his BACK (which is what he originally had surgery on back in Nov.) is fine!

Today, his blood sugar dropped, and he was moved to a different hospital in Greenville.

PLEASE PRAY FOR HIM!  Pray for the right diagnosis and treatment.  Shane needs some relief.  Can you imagine being sick every day, all day for 2 1/2 months??!!!  It is bad.  Real bad.  PLEASE PRAY FOR HIS WIFE GENA & THEIR 3 GIRLS TOO!  They want their husband and daddy back.
This is Shane (obviously prior to surgery) with one of his daughters.  Just wanted you to see who you are praying for. 

THANK YOU FOR PRAYING! 

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,
Nancy

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes

"In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps."
Proverbs 16:9

8:13 a.m.
What a blessing it is to have my giddiness from God's activity yesterday spill over into the reality of today.  I am so glad that joy comes from the Lord and not circumstances! Aren't you?  (If you clicked onto my blog because of an e-mail I sent you, I wanted you to read MONDAY'S POST 1/24.) 

While I was upstairs getting ready for work this morning, I heard my phone, which was downstairs, ring with a text message.  I did not check it until I was ready to walk out the door.  To my surprise, it was my aunt (my boss) telling me that things at the office had been REALLY, REALLY slow and she wanted me to consider taking most, if not all, of this week off.

Interesting.

You see, I have been awake since 4:19 a.m. this morning anticipating an incredibly busy day.  I had asked God for extra strength and grace today so I could take care of my responsibilities and myself physically.  I had confessed to Him that I did not know how I was going to get it all done.  HE TOOK CARE OF THAT, DIDN'T HE??!!!  He is so good and faithful!

Unfortunately, not going to work means not getting paid.

Okay, I'm about to get a little personal here and talk about money. 

Cancer is not cheap!  The medical bills are streaming in.  The insurance we had last year STINKS and is not paying for very much at all.  A huge praise was that we were able to change insurance companies at the beginning of the year to have better coverage. 

However, my biopsies, MRI, and surgery all fall under the old company.  The bill for the operating room alone is over $16,000, and that does NOT include the surgeon, anesthesioloigst, radiologist, or pathologist.  And I was only there for a few hours!!!  I did get great care while I was there, but over $16,000??!!!  Really?  Come on!

My radiation and any further tests or appointments will be covered by the new company.  YEAH GOD!!!

But, with the new insurance comes a MAJOR increase in our insurance premium.  Our budget has taken a big hit.  We are cutting off cable, eating lots of PB&J, staying at home more, etc. to accommedate.  We are already on a cash budget, thanks to my Mom introducing us to Dave Ramsey several years ago.  We do not have any outstanding debt like credit cards, student loans, car payments, etc.  So, there is not much else we can cut to pay for all of these healthcare costs. 

Oh and did I mention that due to some substantial changes in the way Rapid Refund tax returns are handled this year, my aunt had to cut everyone's hours?  In the past, I have been on salary.  This year, I'm hourly and anticipate at least half of my usual income (probably more) to be cut.

I mentioned before that I've been looking for a 2nd job to earn money for missions.  After getting a taste of foreign missions last year, my heart has been forever changed, and I want to go on more trips in the future, along with my family.  Being diagnosed with cancer put getting a 2nd job on hold for awhile.  Now, medical bills threaten to thwart my desire to earn money for missions all together.  UGGHHH!  (I guess God does not want me to become self-reliant for missions yet.  It looks like He still wants me to step way out of my comfort zone and ask other people to support me.  Been there. Learned that. The hard way.)

Good news though.  I talked to my Dad last week and he needs help with the bookkeeping and payroll for his 2 stores.  One store burned down a year ago, was rebuilt and has now reopened.  He and my stepmom are back to working a full shift everyday and would like some help with the paperwork.  HUGE PRAISE!!!  Once I learn their system and get everything caught up, I should be able to do both of my jobs before I go to radiation each day!!!

Unfortunately, the money I wanted to set aside strictly for missions will have to be used for medical bills and most likely some household expenses now that my hours are being cut at the tax office.  And my husband may still need to get a 3rd job.

BUT.....all of this is just setting the stage for God and His incredible plans!!!  So, watch out!  God is about to perform miracles!  "You are the God who performs miracles;  You display Your power among the peoples."  Psalm 77:14 

**Some of the biggest miracles actually take place in our HEARTS rather than in our circumstances** 

And the reason I'm telling you more of my business than you ever wanted to know is so you can witness God's miracle(s) right along with me!  BUCKLE YOUR SEATBELT AND HANG ON!

*************************************************
"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."  Hebrews 4:13

God makes me laugh!  This is my Bible verse for today.  I thought it was quite fitting after I just bared my soul to you about our finances!  GOD IS AMAZING!  
*************************************************** 
8:14 p.m.
Radiation is going well.  Yesterday, I had my weekly x-rays and needed a few adjustments, but that is to be expected.  Today after my treatment, my skin started turning red for the first time.  It feels like a sunburn.  Dr. Bobo, my radiologist, said this was normal and that I would really notice skin changes in the next week.  He also said my fatigue will noticeably increase in the next week as well.

The most exciting thing though is the different women I've been meeting.  Early last week, I mentioned one lady in particular that I sensed God wanted me to spend some time with - I described her as being at the end of her treatments and being weary.  Well, I was able to talk with her at length last Friday.  She has a lot going on in her life, besides breast cancer.  God is allowing the two of us to talk every day now.  What a blessing! 

8:30 p.m.
When I walked in the front door this afternoon after radiation, I was greeted by a nice cool breeze.  The heat had gone out (again)!  The first time it happened was before Christmas, but it started working as soon as the technician got to our house!  He was able to show my husband a reset button in the attic that would prove to be useful for later.  But he was not able to detect the problem or fix it.

Today, another technician came and found the problem (PRAISE!) - even though the heat came right on for him too as soon as he got here!  So once the part is ordered, the weather dries up so the part can be installed, and we pay more than $600, we will have regular heat again!!!  SWEET! 

Yes, we are obviously doing something right at the Swicegood household.  Otherwise, our finances would not be such a target!  I'm telling you, the stage is being set for GOD TO DO SOMETHING BIG!!!  Something only He can do.  TO GOD BE THE GLORY!  Stay tuned.

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,
Nancy


  

Monday, January 24, 2011

God Makes Me Giddy!!!

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name:
make known among the nations what He has done."
1 Chronicles 16:8

This morning, I had a doctor's Divine appointment at Dr. Frenette's office in Uptown Charlotte.  Dr. Frenette does the medication side of oncology (chemotherapy, oral meds, etc.)  I was there to discuss taking the oral medication tamoxifen for the next 5 years as a preventative measure.  But, most everyone else was there for chemo.

Before I arrived, I had asked God to please give me an opportunity to minister to someone while I was there.

As I was checking in, I glanced over at the waiting room and someone caught my eye.  She looked familiar, but I wasn't sure that I knew her.  She had on dark glasses and a germ mask covering her nose and mouth.  Even though I couldn't see her face, I recognized that blonde hair!  It was the very 1st lady I ever met at radiation.  I met her the day I went to get tattooted & fitted.  Here is what I blogged about her 2 1/2 weeks ago.....

As I was leaving, I met another patient.  She was not doing well.  She shared a little of her story with me.  She said that her small cancerous spot was completely removed.  However, a very small spot was found in one of her lymph nodes.  When the surgeon went to remove that cancer, it broke apart into smaller pieces.

As a result, she is having to undergo both radiation and chemotherapy.  She said she just finished her first round of chemo which consisted of 8 straight days of treatment.  She said the side effects were horrible, and she could barely put her feet on the floor.  She has 3 more rounds of chemo left.  Round 2 starts in about 3 weeks.  And she is having radiation AT THE SAME TIME as chemo!!!  I cannot imagine.      

Please pray for her.  She does not want to do chemo anymore.  But she has a 12 year old daughter and knows that she has to do it.  She has beautiful thick blonde hair and knows it will fall out with the next round of chemo.  I do not know her name because our conversation was interrupted when the nurse needed me.  But God does.  So, please pray for her.


My heart broke for her that day, and I have been praying for her since then!  I tried to find her name on the check-in list at radiation, but the computer has us listed by time and last name only.  So, God brought us back together today - the day she was to start her 2nd round of chemo!!!!!

ONLY GOD!!!!!!!!

The waiting room was packed, but there was a seat open right across from her.  With a smile beaming from ear to ear on my face, I went over to her and introduced myself.  I was so excited to see her!  I was absolutely giddy!!!  I probably scared her more than the chemo did!!!  I could not contain myself!  I knew this was God at work!!! 

Her sister was with her and the 3 of us talked for at least 30 minutes!!!  I now know her name and was able to share what God had laid on my heart with her.  I gave her my contact info as well.  Her sister and I really tried to encourage her as she sat there waiting for her name to be called to start round two of chemo - the round she knows will rob her of her beautiful blonde hair and her strength.  But she is determined not to let it rob her of her dignity and hope.

As I was about to pray with her, the nurse called her name.  I promised her I would be praying while she was getting her treatment.  And that is exactly what I did.

How do I know this was a Divine appointment?  Well, I never should have been at this doctor's office in the first place!!!  Dr. Frenette sees patients at the cancer center with my surgeon Dr. White every Monday afternoon.  When Dr. White told me I needed to see Dr. Frenette, he said I would see the 2 of them TOGETHER!!!  I was supposed to see Dr. Frenette at the cancer center in March when I go back to see Dr.White!  But, someone in the appointment setting office gave me a separate appointment with Dr. Frenette at his office "by mistake"!!! 

ONLY GOD!!!!!  I am still giddy!  Oh how I love to watch God work!  HE IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! 

And by the way, Dr. Frenette is recommending that I NOT take tamoxifen!!!  He said given my specific circumstances and type of cancer, the best plan for me to fight reoccurrence is exercising (cardio) 5 times a week for 20-30 minutes and eating 5 servings of fruits & veggies every day.  And the side effects of eating right and exercising are all positive, unlike the side effects of taking tamoxifen.  WOW!

This was an answered prayer, especially for my husband who did not have a peace about me taking tamoxifen in the first place.

After leaving the doctor's office, I spent the rest of the day in a praise and worship session with my God!

And look what was for dinner.....

Hiding behind the box is my beautiful friend Lisa from MOPS.  THANK YOU LISA FOR A DELICIOUS, HEARTY DINNER TONIGHT!!!

And check out another little treat from God...

I have been craving a big biscuit for a few days now!  I do not know why.  But it's the truth.  THANK YOU AGAIN LISA!  I promise to start eating my fruits and veggies TOMORROW!

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,
Nancy 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

God's Love

 "See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!"
1 John 3:1

Today, God showed His love for me through my husband.....

The raditation machine was due for its annual check-up today so my appointment time had to be changed to 7:50 a.m. (Have I mentioned I am NOT a morning person??!!!)  I found out about this change on Monday afternoon.  When I told my husband about it, he asked if he could come with me because he had Thursday off.

Let me just say that my husband NEVER has Thursdays off - except for today.  My radiation appointments are always in the afternoon - except for today.  This was definitely God's doing!

So, my husband went with me to radiation this morning.  Not only that, he also got a guided tour of the treatment room and was able to see me getting prepped on the table.  And the staff is absolutely fabulous!  They answered all of his questions and showed him all of the equipment.  Now he has a better understanding of what I do everyday. 

Why did I feel an extra dose of love today?

Well, I know my husband loves me and will do anything for me if I ask him to.  But, I am a pretty independent person who tends to handle things like going to radiation on my own.  The fact that my husband asked to come to radiation with me (instead of me asking him or needing him to come), could only mean one thing - he WANTED to come!  I was touched.  It made me feel lavished by God's love, especially after I realized how God had orchestrated our schedules to make it all happen.  I was soooo excited to have my husband with me!

I know this may not sound like a big deal, but God let it be a big deal for me today.  The super sensitive feelings I had were a gift to me from my Heavenly Father.  A gift of His love and a reminder of His lesson that we are not meant to do life alone.

Then, to cap off the day, Esmeralda from MOPS brought us a fabulous enchilada dinner that my family wiped out instantly!  THANK YOU ESMERALDA!!!  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

"The family of God is a gift from God especially for times like these." 
-from "When God and Cancer Meet" by Lynn Eib      

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,
Nancy

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Radiation Day 2

My friend Cindy and I were able to resume walking this morning before I went to work, and the exercise made a noticeable difference in my energy level today.  PRAISE!  It wasn't until 8:30 p.m. that I felt really tired, and my body started shutting down. 

But before I go to sleep, I want to blog about a few things God did today.  I'll make it quick - yeah, right!

On my way to radiation today, I prayed for God to please give me an opportunity to share Him with someone while I was there.  When I walked into the office, I was greated by the 2 sweet ladies who work at the front desk.  Super Sweet Ladies.  One of them said "Mrs. Swicegood, you always have a big smile on your face."  My response, "That would be the JOY OF THE LORD on my face!"  She gave me an "AMEN!" and said, "You keep right on smiling!"

In the waiting room, I actually met 3 new ladies today.  We each shared our "cancer detection" story in 30 seconds or less.  (It reminds me of college when you ask each other "what's your major?"  LOL!)  I was able to tell them about the miraculous way God uncovered my cancer, and how He has blessed me through the medical care I've received.  I prayed for 1 opportunity to share today, and God gave me 4 (when you include the lady at the front desk)!!!  ONLY GOD!!!!!

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."  Ephesians 3:20-21

I sense God wanting me to spend more time with one lady in particular.  She is about halfway through her treatments so I should be seeing her everyday for the next 3 weeks.  Please pray for us to have time to talk everyday.

*****************************************************

The radiation tech came and got me out of the waiting room, but asked me to sit in a chair in the hallway right outside the treatment room while another patient finished up.  While sitting in the hallway, I saw 2 tree pictures on the wall - one to my right and one to my left.  (Sorry I couldn't take pictures.  My camera was in my locker.)

As I looked at the 2 pictures, God spoke to my heart and said "What do you notice about these 2 tree pictures as well as the other tree pictures you have seen in this office?"

I thought about it for a minute, and then God revealed it to me.  None of the pictures are of just ONE tree by itself.  Every picture has SEVERAL trees in it.  And just like these trees, we were not meant to be alone.  We need each other.  God designed us to do life together.  From the very beginning, God said it is not good for man to be alone!  So, He created another person.  WOW!

Thank you for going through breast cancer with me!!!  Thank you for not leaving me alone!!!  WHAT A TREMENDOUS BLESSING YOU ARE!!!  

Ironically, earlier today at work before radiation, I was listening to the radio.  The DJ announced the next song was by TREE 53.  Of course the word "tree" caught my attention, and I wondered what this band's name meant.  I automatically assumed that the "tree" part referred to the cross Christ died on for our sins.  As I thought about the crucifixion, God spoke to my heart and said "the tree (cross) that Christ died on represents the place of TOTAL SURRENDER.  Jesus gave up His will for My (God's) will.  Are you totally surrendered to Me today?"

Ahhh, the lessons we can learn from trees!

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,
Nancy   

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let the Radiation Begin!

Today has been a full day! 

My daughter had to be at school at 7:15 a.m., so I went to work early after dropping her off.  And for the record, I am NOT a morning person.  I worked all day until it was time for radiation.  I was tired before I ever got to the doctor's office!  Thinking all day is hard work!

When I got to radiation, I was told that their computer server had been down for several hours, and they had been unable to provide treatments.  However, their server problem had been fixed right before I got there, and treatments had resumed!  What a blessing!

Today's treatment was VERY fast.  I no sooner got on the table, and it was time to get off. 

The radiation machine is massive and moves around me.  (I tried to find a picture of it on- line, but couldn't locate one.)  It makes a little noise, but I could still hear "Journey" playing in the background.  I felt led to pray, and here is the verse that came to mind...

"Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body."  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Interesting, huh?

So, I prayed for God's temple that was stretched out on a hard table in a dark room receiving beams of radiation to burn away cells - both healthy & unhealthy. 

Now, I am going to honor Him by getting some sleep!  I will share more tomorrow.

And look what was waiting for me when I got home.....

Baked spaghetti from my dear friend Jeannine!  WHAT A YUMMY SURPRISE!!!  WHAT A BLESSING!!!  THANK YOU JEANNINE!

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,
Nancy

     



Monday, January 17, 2011

READY FOR RADIATION

Today, I had a "dry" test run at radiation.  Tomorrow is the real deal.  But, I'm ready...


*Get specific information about my radiation & its side effects - CHECK


*Get all-natural, aluminum-free deodorant - CHECK



*Get prescription moisturizer for radiated skin - CHECK



*Trust in the LORD with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) - CHECK

IT'S "GO" TIME!

Please pray for the people I will meet during treatment.  Pray for opportunities to share the hope of Jesus Christ with them.  I can't wait to see what God is going to do!

And look who brought dinner tonight....

This is my friend Angela from MOPS, and she brought some delicious chili and cornbread!  THANK YOU ANGELA!!!  It was so good, especially on a cold, rainy night like tonight.

*Interesting how I became a MOPS mentor so I could reach out to other moms, but they are the ones ministering to ME!  Humbling.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways My ways,”
   declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are My ways higher than your ways
   and My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,
Nancy


Thursday, January 13, 2011

THANKFUL THURSDAY (& Friday, & Saturday, & Sunday, & Monday, & Tuesday, & Wednesday...)

I have been sharing with you the many, many thoughtful and delicious things people have blessed me with since I have been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Due to the holidays, 4 family birthdays, and grieving the end of Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel (just kidding - mostly :), I have been a little slack.  So, I want to share some more with you now - better late than never, right?

 *Disclaimer:  I have taken pictures of everything so I can always remember how gracious God has been to me through YOU.  But, something has happened to the way my camera stores the pictures I take.  The pictures do not come up in chronological order when I view them.  I have tried to correct it, but haven't figured it out yet.  With that being said, I may have overlooked a picture or two.  That is the only reason your gift would not be included on the blog.  BUT I HAVE NOT OVERLOOKED YOU!!!  I have prayed for you and asked God to bless you for your kindness.

This one-of-a-kind bracelet was made by my friend Cindy.  It was the very first pink breast cancer item I received.  THANK YOU CINDY!  I wore it this weekend, and my friend Rene saw it from a distance and thought the ribbons were the Christian fish symbol.  Then she mentioned being fishers of men.  From now on, when I see the breast cancer ribbon, it will remind me to be a fisher of men!!!  Breast cancer is a HUGE ministry opportunity.  So many people with cancer are longing for HOPE.



My friend Shawna Lee actually gave me the shirt off her back out of her closet!  But not before she sent me this very encouraging e-mail after learning I had cancer... "Got up this morning and put my "Fight like a Girl" t-shirt on for you.  We will be praying, sweetie.  GOD is good, ALL the time!!"   She also made me the yellow bracelet.  THANK YOU!!!

One of the most amazing gifts you all have given me is your words of encouragement & prayers.  I have saved every single one of your encouraging e-mails so I can go back and read them any time I need to.  THANK YOU!!!


This book and a few others have been loaned to me by my friend Sally from church.  She is a breast cancer survivor herself and has answered lots of my questions.  THANK YOU SALLY!  You have really helped me.


These 2 gifts (above and below) are from my friend Susan.  When she gave me the "Facing Cancer" cards, she told me to be sure to pass it on when I was finished with it.  There are lots of cards with Scripture on one side and practical encouragement related to cancer on the back.  THANK YOU SUSAN!   **We really enjoy Olive Garden too! 



Also, THANK YOU TO THE LADIES AT MY MOPS TABLE for the Carraba's gift card.  It did not last long!  THANK YOU!



Check out my RAINBOW cup and the pretty bag it came in.  THANK YOU MENDY & SEAN!!!  I use this cup all the time and am reminded of God's presence and promises.  THANK YOU!


This creative gift came from my friend Faye at church.  All 7 of these things were wrapped, and she told me to open one a day for a week.  The reason: so I would know she was thinking of me and praying for me every day.  How thoughtful is that??!!!  THANK YOU FAYE!  *I almost bought a puzzle book for myself at the Dollar Store a few days before I received this one from Faye.  Isn't God amazing??!!!  He cares about everything in our lives, even a puzzle book!


Amen!!!  This is from my sister.  THANK YOU COLE for bringing me more joy!


Here are my friends Angela and Jeannine.  We had a DELICIOUS lunch together at Angela's house, along with lots of laughs.  Spending time with you guys was so much fun!  THANK YOU!!!  And THANK YOU JEANNINE for sending dinner home with me that night too!  And THANK YOU ANGELA in advance for the pedicure!!!


Joy & Hope - I got not 1 but 2 ornaments in the same gift box at our Tuesday Morning Bible Study ornament exchange.  Joy is "my thing" and Hope is "my friend Cindy's thing."  She wasn't able to come that morning, but she still got her ornament!  God is so awesome!!!





YUMMY! What a treat to come home and find this waiting for me along with an uplifting note from my friend Ruth!  THANK YOU RUTH from me AND my family!!!


This is another one of God's unexpected blessings.  I had been craving pears for several days.  I had a jar of home canned pears and couldn't wait to eat them.  I was so excited (I know, it doesn't take much!)  But when I opened the jar, the pears were bad, really bad.  Air had obviously gotten in.  I was sooo disappointed.  Then a day or 2 later, the doorbell rang and look what was delivered...... PEARS along with lots of other goodies!!!  This was from my friend Angie and her family!  THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH!!!  This is how God works through one person to bless another.  WOW!!!   



I'd been wanting a candle that smelled like Christmas.  At Tanner's birthday party, my aunt Robin gave me this.  Guess what it smells like??!!!  CHRISTMAS!  That's my God!  THANK YOU ROBIN! 


Check out this necklace....it was a special surprise from my friend Jacona!!!  The word "LIFE" is imprinted around the tree too.  I love this necklace!  THANK YOU JACONA!!!  THANK YOU!!!


This is our youth group's name & symbol - gotta love the tree!  This weekend, our youth will be having their annual Disciple Now weekend.  About 2 weeks ago, we had a parents' meeting about this event where we completed paperwork and provided payment.  While I was there, my friend Gail looked at me and said she wanted to pay for Tanner.  What??!!!  She insisted.  I cried.  O-V-E-R-W-H-E-L-M-E-D.  THANK YOU GAIL!!!  More than you will ever know.  This is how God works through His children, for His children.  He is AMAZING!


This delicious meal was delivered today by my friend Tracy.  The plan was to freeze it for next week when I start radiation.  However, I started work today (I do bookkeeping during tax season) and was tired.  It's tough using your brain all day!  Anyway, I had planned a meal for dinner but soon discovered I was missing some ingredients. TRACY, YOU SAVED THE DAY!!  THANK YOU!!! WHAT A BLESSING!!!!

I can't thank you all enough - for everything!  You are absolutely wonderful!  I am asking God to blow your minds with His abundant blessings!  Watch out, because He will!

"At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me (with Epaphroditus.)  They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.  And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen."  Phil. 4:18-20

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,
Nancy




Monday, January 10, 2011

What a great weekend! What an AMAZING GOD!!!

God really spoke to me this weekend!  

I told my husband that I needed to get away by myself just so I could process everything and figure out what God wants me to do with it all.  So God did this......



HE BROUGHT SNOW!  And snow shuts everything down in the south!  So, instead of starting work today, I am at home.....processing and playing and praying and playing and prioritizing and playing!

It all started Saturday morning when I went to a ladies' breakfast at church.   It was so good to see friends and meet some new ones.  I was completely surprised by this precious gift from my friend Christina...
 She took this picture in her hometown in Indiana and gave it to me because of the trees.  Isn't it beautiful??!!!  (If you look closely, you can see the reflection of the RAINBOW picture hanging on our refrigerator - it's on the right side just above the snow.  GOD JUST MAKES ME SMILE!!!!!) THANK YOU CHRISTINA!  WOW!  This prompted me to share with the ladies at my table how God has been using TREES to teach me lots & lots of lessons over the past year. (Christina, all because you made the extra effort to go back to your car and bring the picture in BEFORE Leslie got started, a whole table of women got to hear about how God has been using trees in my life.  Sooo, when Leslie made several references to trees during her teaching, including Jeremiah 17:7-8, a whole table of women got to witness God speaking through trees FOR THEMSELVES!)  

Leslie Nease, from HIS Radio & Survivor China, was our speaker.  She lives in our community and has spoken at our church a few times.  She loves the Lord and is very open and real.  It was through her that God began to speak and connect so many dots in my life!  I basically cried through her entire teaching (and tried to disguise it hoping it looked like I had major sinus problems! Obviously, my disguise did not work because Leslie came up to me afterwards wanting to know what was going on.......)

Some of the revelations God gave me Saturday morning are what I am pondering on to see how they will take form in my life.  I need a few days before I post about the specifics - mainly because I'm not sure how to put it all into words yet.  This is HUGE for me!

Check out what I saw when I left my house to go to church on Saturday morning.
Yep!  Dead mums on my front porch.  I thought to myself as I drove away, "I REALLY need to do something about that."  My second thought was, "But I don't know what I can put in that planter for the winter."

LOOK AT IT NOW.....



But GOD KNEW!!!  He had a plan all along!!!

My friend Rene gave me this little "New Year's gift" on Saturday at church!  THANK YOU RENE!  I smile every time I see my planter now!  (Thank you for your thoughtfulness Rene! And thank you for being my sounding board Saturday afternoon! Again God is blessing me through you!)

As I was leaving on Saturday, my friend Jamie who was in charge of the event gave me a beautiful vase of flowers that had been used as a table centerpiece.  THANK YOU JAMIE!
As I turned into my subdivision, I sensed the Holy Spirit saying, "Someone in your neighborhood needs these flowers."  So, I started praying and looking at each house as I drove by.  I kept asking, "Who, Lord?  Who needs these flowers today?"  Then, as soon as I parked, I knew. There is a family here, who I have never met personally, who has a son in 4th grade with my daughter, and he has a brain tumor.  I drive by their house and pray for them daily, but I have never met them - until Saturday.

I took the flowers to my neighbor - a very brave but weary mom of 3 who gives her 10 year old son oral chemotherapy every night and drives him to radiation every day.  I cannot imagine what that is like for her as a mom.  What a blessing to meet her and her family - all because Jamie was obedient in giving me a vase of flowers! (So Jamie, how does it feel to be God's instrument AGAIN??!!!) 

What is God calling you to DO? 
I know HE IS CALLING YOU TO DO SOMETHING! 
It may be big or it may be small, but it is SOMETHING! 
Please, please, please DO IT!!!

Then Sunday night, my family and I went to Winter Jam in Uptown Charlotte.

 We took the light rail train and saw several friends from church along the way.


We ate PB&J sandwiches while waiting in line to get in - Dave Ramsey ("Financial Peace") would be so proud!

 
 We found a good seat...


and worshipped our God with Sidewalk Prophets, Red, New Song, Francesca Battistelli, The Dave Crowder Band, Kutless, and The Newsboys.
 Did you notice the TREES on the screen???  This was one of the backdrops for Kutless.  Honestly, I would have paid the price of admission just to hear the Dave Crowder Band sing "How He Loves" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIdvtRcPGBg which is a beautiful song about God's love that mentions being a tree!


We also sponsored a child through http://www.holtinternational.org/.  We will sponsor her until she is adopted.  *She is actually our 2nd sponsored child.  Our first one is through World Vision http://wvi.org/wvi/wviweb.nsf.

***And check out my Bible verse for today..."He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses."  Proverbs 28:27  WOW!!! God speaks loud and clear!

Then we got back on the light rail train and headed home - CHANGED!!!

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,
Nancy

 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Look what I found......

when I walked outside to start my van this morning!  

JOY DEFINITELY COMES IN THE MORNING!!! (Psalm 30:5)
(I found out that it was my sister Nicole who brought JOY to me!)
THANKS COLE!

 Then, I went to MOPS and came home with dinner! YUMMY!  
THANK YOU SHERI!!!

"As iron sharpens iron,
      so a friend sharpens a friend."
Proverbs 27:17

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,
Nancy