Saturday, March 26, 2011

Starting to feel "normal" again

A tall tell sign that I'm getting back to "normal" is being wide awake and blogging at 1:12  2:52 a.m.!  Although my old sleep habits of not getting much sleep appear to be returning, my motivation is not.  I'm praying this is just part of the recovery process. 

I am trying to do some spring cleaning/finally putting pictures on the wall projects this weekend though.  Right now, I just have a mess!  But maybe once these projects are done, my motivation will be jump started.

I am still blown away by your generousity and continuous outreach to me and my family.  I want to share some of the blessings we received this week.

"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God."  Philippians 1:3 (NLT)

On Monday, Lisa & her beautiful smile brought over dinner.  YUMMY!  THANK YOU LISA!!!

 *A picture of progress for a recovering perfectionist.....
Prior to Lisa coming over, I was tired and did not have the energy to clean.  So, I gave myself permission to leave the dirty dishes in the sink!  FREEDOM! 

On Tuesday, Cara from MOPS/church and her children graciously brought us a DELICIOUS dinner.  THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH!

On Thursday, Angela S. delivered a SCRUMPTIOUS baked ziti that was so good.  THANK YOU ANGELA!!! 

Then at MOPS on Friday, Angela P. brought this WONDERFUL meal!  THANK YOU ANGELA!!!  The schools were selling doughnuts Friday morning in the carpool line to raise money for middle school sports.  Faith Wrenn begged me for a box, but I did not buy one.  She was sooo excited to come home and find a box from her buddy Mrs. Angela! 

I have some exciting news to share next week! GOD NEWS!  He is so amazing!  So stay tuned...

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

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekly Blessings

"...once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act."
~ Proverbs 24:12


The blessings just keep coming.....

Last Friday, my dear friend Stephanie and her beautiful daughter brought us a delicious feast for dinner!  THANK YOU SO MUCH STEPHANIE!!!

Also on Friday, I got a call from Laura K., one of the moms at my MOPS table.  She wanted to bring us a meal too.  So on Saturday, she stopped by and brought us a pasta dish and all the ingredients to crockpot another meal!  WOW!  We will be having the crockpot dish tonight!  THANK YOU SO MUCH LAURA!!!

On Sunday, my husband came out of Sunday School with a plate of yummy muffins from Robin W.!  I've been eating them for breakfast all week.  I just ate the last one this morning.  THANK YOU SO MUCH ROBIN!!!

Also on Sunday, my friend Mendy gave me a special picture from her very special daughter.  THANK YOU MENDY!!!

On Tuesday, Angela P. brought us Chinese food & some delicious cupcakes she baked.  She made sure to get us lots of food so we could have leftovers.  Her plan worked too.  THANK YOU SO MUCH ANGELA!!!

On Thursday, Connie from Sunday School brought us a huge salad & fabulous spaghetti.  THANK YOU SO MUCH CONNIE!!!

Also this week, I received a special gift from my friend Julie in Georgia. THANK YOU JULIE!!!

And I got to have some "PJs and coffee" time with my friends Laura P. and Nancy B. 

God used my cancer and Laura's cancer to introduce us and make us all friends!  ONLY GOD!!!  HE IS AMAZING!!! 
“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

Then Stephanie treated me and my husband to the play "Smoke on the Mountain" at the community theather.  Her daughter Kailee along with 2 other people from our church starred in it.  It was really good and very funny.  THANK YOU STEPHANIE!!!

Please know that my family and I are SO GRATEFUL for each and every one of you.  Your acts of kindness and your prayers are PRICELESS!  We Love You!

We also celebrated my daughter's birthday all week!  Faith turned the BIG 1-0!  Once you hit double digits, there is no turning back!

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tired of being tired

"Fatigue, Fatigue
Go away
Don't come again
(to the tune of "Rain, Rain Go Away")

Well, this is the week my radiologist warned me about.  Unfortunately, he was right. I've been getting tired in the morning and staying tired most of the day.  Take today for example...

After taking Faith to school, I went walking with Cindy.  Then, I went to visit my friend Shawna Lee and her daughter Katie.  Katie is in my 4th grade small group on Sunday mornings at church.  She had an emergency appendectomy last week.  She is doing great now but still needs time to heal and regain her strength.

We had a "PJ party" for an hour.  Then promptly at 9:30 a.m. I started yawning and feeling exhausted.  Tanner had to be at his job shadowing appointment at 10:00 a.m. so  I drove him there and returned home by 10:45 a.m.  I started a load of laundry and heated up some leftovers for lunch.   My plan was to work on some bookkeeping I brought home for my dad.  Instead, I took a 2 HOUR NAP!!!

I haven't had the motivation to do much else since then either - except 2 more loads of laundry.  This is hard, especially for a task-oriented person like me.

Well, this just means I'm one day closer to getting my energy back, right??!!!  It's all in God's perfect timing.

P.S.  There are so many things I want to share with you.  Soon I promise.  God has used several of you to bless us again this week.  THANK YOU!  Can't wait to share.

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Week in Review and Birthday Blessings too - Part 1

Last week after my friend Mendy graciously brought us a surprise dinner, I thought to myself, "This is the last meal we will be receiving from our generous friends and church family.  Now it's time to share how God has been using these meals for His glory."

Imagine my surprise a few hours later when I checked my e-mail only to find a message from my friend Sheri about MORE MEALS!  She said she felt led to extend meals for us until my fatigue was gone.  She had asked Angela P. from MOPS to add a few more days on the "Take Them A Meal" site and send it out again.  REALLY??!!!  WOW!!!  I thought my blurry eyes were deceiving me.

I had just told the ladies at radiation a few hours earlier that the thought of having to cook dinner every night again was already wearing me out!  Every afternoon after work, my body screams for a nap.  My family wants to eat; I want to sleep.

But my immediate thought was, "Lord, there are so many other people who are dealing with circumstances WAAYYY worse than mine.  I do not deserve this.  And I know the ladies who keep getting e-mails about preparing meals for me have to be sick and tired of seeing my name!!!"  God's response, "Let them do this for you.  You know this REALLY is NOT all about you!  I am at work here on so many levels.  Don't protest.  Just accept."

I was too tired to tell Him, "But Lord, I'm used to GIVING the help, not RECEIVING it!  I feel guilty.  I am so blessed, and there are so many others in desperate need.  I need to be helping others instead of being helped."

Imagine my even bigger surprise on Tuesday morning when I clicked on an e-mail reminder from "Take Them A Meal" (I get a message reminding me a day or 2 in advance who is bringing a meal and when they are coming) and I discovered meals would be coming 4 TIMES a week!  WHAT??!!!  In the past, Angela had set it up for 2 days a week.  This time it is 4 TIMES A WEEK!!!  I was shocked.  I couldn't believe it.  I started to fill in the open days with my own name saying we have dinner covered, but God said, "Don't protest.  Just accept."  BUT LORD.....   

Oh, I know God is at work!  And I can't wait to share with you how He is using these meals!  It looks like I'll have to wait a few more weeks though.  The meals are scheduled until the end of this month.

Speaking of meals and my friend Sheri, she and her precious daughter K brought over dinner on Monday.  THANK YOU SHERI!!!

On Tuesday, Muriel brought over a homecooked meal she and her 90 year old mother had made together!  THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!

These green beans were snapped with lots of love by Muriel's mother!

On Wednesday, I get a text from Sheri saying she had food for me from Angela P.  What?  It's not on the schedule! LOL!  In my head I heard, "Don't protest.  Don't ask questions. Just accept."  Yes, Lord.  Apparently, there was a MOPS meeting (I am assuming it was MOPS - possibly a leadership meeting) and Angela had the left over food and flowers given to us!!!  I am about to eat some of it right now for lunch! 

On Thursday, Barbara prepared a wonderful Italian meal.  She has made the mistake of telling me she LOVES to cook.  How rude will it be for me to just show up at her house around dinner time once or twice a week??!!!  THANK YOU BARBARA!!!


In my family, birthdays are a big deal.  However this year, I was so tired, it didn't really feel like my birthday, and all I wanted was to have NOTHING to do!  As I started to write this post though, I realized how God had let me have mini celebrations for several days instead of just one big celebration on my actual birthday!  Isn't He amazing??!!!

*My mom and I went to see Mandesa, a Christian singer, and Antia Renfroe, a Christian comedian, at "Girls Night Out."  My sister in law & her mom were invited too, but they couldn't make it.  We laughed & cried & danced & worshipped our God!  It was a lot of fun.
A TREE was the symbol of the church we were at for the show!  This was on the wall of their lobby.   

Here is Mandesa after the show.  She is signing autographs and talking with everyone waiting in a very long line to meet her.  We did not stand in that line.  I cheated and took this picture from the side.  Check out her shoes....a woman after my own heart!  All during the show, she wore high heels.  Her feet are thanking her.

Here is Anita Renfroe after the show meeting and greeting people too.  She still has on her high heels.  Her feet are not amused!  She is really funny.  My favorite was her remake of the song "All the single ladies" into "All the WRINKLE ladies!"  It is hillarious!  She had a video to go with it.  You can check it out on you tube.

*My friend Tina took me out for an early dinner.  It was so good to catch up and laugh with her too.  Our waiter was glad we  she was there too!

*Part of my family took me out for lunch.  The other part took me out for dinner.  Sorry no pictures, it was raining & I left my camera in my car.  But, I do have a picture of the card my sister Nicole gave me.  I will be framing this!

*On my actual birthday, my friend Sheri signed up to bring us dinner that night.  She was willing to feed us whatever I wanted.  I opted for pizza & wings at home in my pjs! 

It was early when we ate and the kids still wanted to play outside.  So, instead of having them put their pjs on, everyone just came to the table in their bedroom shoes!

And Sheri made me a TREE that was bearing FRUIT!!!  THANK YOU MY DEAR FRIEND!  Tears - seriously!  That was so special!!!

Oh and I can't forget my secret flower delivery either!

At 6:55pm, I laid on the couch to rest my eyes, and IT WAS OVER!  My sweet daughter tucked me in when it was her bedtime 2 hours later!  I was so tired.

*I received lots of meaningful cards from friends - even 2 friends from where I used to live who I haven't seen in 7 years.  My friend Cindy also got me a tree card where she wrote treasured words on the inside, along with a journal and a gift card to Michael's so I can get started on that memory/scrapbook God wants me to do about Africa.  She's making sure I follow through - what a FANTASTIC FRIEND!  And Faye, I will share about your card in my next post.

*Lastly, since we moved into our house a year & 8 months ago, I have wanted Scripture on our walls.  About 3 months ago, my friend Nancy B. told me about the Cricket Cricut machine that she used to put Scripture on her walls.  I had never heard of it before.  I am NOT an arts & crafts kind of girl, but I wish I was.  Anyway, I got really excited!  Nancy B. had borrowed the Cricut from our mutual friend Angela T.  Angela and I tried for months to coordinate our schedules so we could put Scriptue on my walls.  It just wasn't happening.

Two weeks ago on a Thursday, I got spring fever and wanted to do some things around my house.  I also got frustrated because after nearly 2 years, Scripture was still not on my walls.  I took a break to eat lunch and sat down to look up something on the computer while I ate.  Out of the blue, I thought about the Cricut machine and decided to price them on Craig's List and E-bay.  Once I discovered how to spell it correctly, I did some research.  I found out the retail price and the Craig's List/E-bay prices.  All of them were more than I had to spend.  So, I moved on.

That afternoon on the way to radiation, I had to stop by Michael's in Pineville to pick up some supplies for my son's school project.  (I had gone to Michael's the day before in RH but gotten the wrong size materials.)  There was a lady doing some serious shopping in front of the supplies I needed in Michael's.  I did not want her to feel rushed so I decided to go look around and come back in a few minutes.

As I walked down the next aisle just perusing, something caught my eye.  It was a Cricut machine!  I picked up the box and began reading about it, etc.  Then something else caught my eye.  It was a SALE tag.  The Cricut was on sale!!!  It was 60% off retail and 20% off of Craig's List/E-bay prices!  I could not believe it!  It was actually in double digits not triple digits!!!  I was so excited!  I prayed about it and then sent my husband a text.  He said he would buy the Cricut for my birthday/end of radiation gift! 

I know this was orchestrated by God!  This is how He works!  He brought the Cricut machine to my mind during lunch.  He had me research it that day, after learning how to spell it correctly first!  He had me walk down the Cricut aisle in Michael's because it was on sale.  Why?  Because He knows my heart's desire is to have HIS WORD on the walls of my house ministering to me and my family and anyone else who walks through our front door.  
"Trust in the LORD and do good;
   dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD
   and He will give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:3-4 

Jesus said, “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake?  Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him."  Matthew 7:9-11 

Now, I have to pray for wisdom to figure out how to use the machine!

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Last Day of Radiation

*I've been working on this post for a couple of days now.  My fatigue has really increased since last Wednesday - probably because my stress level increased that day too.  Sorry for the delay.  I can't wait to share with you what God has been doing!  Please bare with me as I try to get caught up.  It will take several posts to share everything God has laid on my heart, so please keep checking back.  Also, I have a follow-up appointment with my surgeon today (Tuesday) to discuss future treatment, etc.

Thursday 3/3/11 was my very last day of radiation.  After going to treatment for 6 1/2 weeks, the people there became my friends.  I am going to miss them.  And because of them, last Thursday was a very emotional day.

This is Jessica.  She is a student who I would see every MWF.  She was always smiling, and she took good care of me.  Remember when I had to get tattooed and I asked them if they could do a cross?  Well, every time Jessica would help set me up (there were 3 different marks that had to line up on the radiation machine via light beams), she would say "I know her vert (one of the marks) is crisscross."  The first time I heard her say that, I said "I knew I was going to get my CROSS!!!  I knew it!  Everytime yall set me up, yall see a cross!"  GOD IS SO GOOD!

This is John - the only male except for Dr. Bobo.  Bless him!  He is great and has a wonderful sense of humor.  This is Ms. Rachel beside him.  This was her last day too!  Sweet lady who loves the Lord and knows about His tender provision.

Here is the rest of the crew.  (I took Jessica & John's pictures a day or 2 early because they were not going to be there on Thursday.)  Below are the other radiation techs: (L to R: Jessica, Tami & April)

(Back Row L to R: Donna, Nurse Kitty, Tami, Jessica; Front L to R: Nurse Vanessa & April)

Amazing people.  I miss them already!  One of my buddies, Tonya, was out sick so I will take her picture when I have my follow-up appointment on April 1.

God gave me some special time with these ladies too.  The entire 6 1/2 weeks I had treatment, patients were being seen every 10 minutes!  It was always busy.  However, several of us in the afternoon all finished last week.  So, after my actual treatment on Thursday at 2:40pm, the next patient wasn't scheduled until 3:30pm.  I had the entire staff to myself for about 30 minutes!  ONLY GOD!

When you "graduate," they have a little "ceremony" for you involving stones.  I was handed a bowl and asked to pick out a stone.  I wanted a purple one but couldn't find one.  A unique white one caught my eye, so I chose it.  Then the staff gathered around me and Nurse Kitty said, " In history In the BIBLE, stones were used for a lot of things like weapons and tools, but they were also used for memorials.  And that is what your stone is is a memorial of your journey."  She said lots of other things that made me cry!  And she cried right along with me.

After the ceremony, I put my stone in a bowl filled with lots of other stones from people who had also completed treatment. 
As I was taking this picture, I made mention that God had just told me on Tuesday to make a memory book about something else in my life (my call to minister to Africa) so that when times get tough in the future & I start to question whether or not God really wants me ministering there, I can pull out my memory book (memorial stone) and know for sure it was His call.  Then Nurse Kitty said, "You know God told His people to do that time and time again in the Bible.  He did it so they would always remember His faithfulness."

Then she said, "Nancy, you need to pick out a stone to take with you."  I said, "Why don't you pick one out for me?"  Here is the stone she handed me.....
It is PURPLE!!!  She gave me the purple one I couldn't find!  In that moment here is what God brought to my mind: 

The white stone (that I chose and put in the bowl) represents newness of life, starting over, a new season, being a new creation because of Christ.  When we invite Jesus Christ into our lives, His blood on the cross washes away our sins and makes us whiter than snow.  Jesus makes us pure, blameless, righteous, holy. 

The same thing happens every time we repent and ask God to forgive us of our sins (after salvation.)  It is so important that we confess our sins DAILY and stay close to Him - otherwise our sin will separate us from Him & His best for us. Through His forgiveness, we are given a clean slate, a new beginning, freedom, another opportunity to serve Him for His glory.  

As for the purple, it represents royalty in the Bible.  When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become part of His family.  We become Daughters of the King.  Sons of the King.  Purple reminds us of who we belong to because of Christ and who we are in Christ.  We have "spiritual royalty" because of our Savior.

Jesus said, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand."  John 10:28-29   

And once we are adopted into God's family, no one or no thing can take us away from Him. PERIOD. We belong to Him. WE ARE HIS CHILDREN.

So the white stone and the purple stone were used by God to remind me of who I am in Christ and what He has done and will continue to do in my life.  (This leads right into what God gave me for my birthday on Monday.  I will share that in another post.)

Imagine my surprise and tears when I pulled up in front of my house on Monday and found this...THANK YOU TO THE SWEET SECRET PERSON(S) WHO DID THIS FOR ME!!!  WOW!
Beautiful flowers in PURPLE and WHITE!!!  ONLY GOD!  ONLY GOD!  I am overwhelmed.  So undeserving.  Yet, He continues to love me and speak to me.  And so many times, He does it through YOU!  

Like when you bring me and my family dinner....
This mystery person is Sheri J. from church.  She is beautiful but had been working around her house all day and felt a little camera shy.  This picture was our compromise! THANK YOU SO MUCH SHERI!!!  It was absolutely delicious!  THANK YOU!

Then a surprise dinner arrived from my friend Mendy.  THANK YOU MENDY!  YUMMY!!!  What a blessing it was - I was gone both Friday & Saturday nights during dinner but God used Mendy to feed my family!  (I ate some for lunch myself!) THANK YOU! 

God provides for our needs in amazing ways, doesn't He?  

Standing in awe of HIM,