Monthly Archives: February 2011

Compelled towards gratitude – part 2

As I left the office of the ob/gyn and headed down the hall to the lab, it felt like I was dreaming. The lab tech was very gentle and tried to assuage my fears, but all I kept thinking was, ” How could this be happening to me? What am I going to do if the tests come back positive?”  The results would be available  in a few days…I’d have an answer then.  There was nothing to do now,  but wait.

It’s strange…the thoughts that go through a person’s mind when they learn that cancer is a possibility and they’re waiting for the results of a blood test and biopsies.  The mind has a way of conjuring up scenarios…most of them negative.  I wish I could tell you that my thoughts never strayed to the morose, but then I’d be lying. At times, I was plagued with them. How is my family going to cope with this new financial burden? How are they going to bear it, if this family of 5 becomes a family of 4?  Will I live long enough to see my children grow up? To see my daughters married? To hold my grandbabies in my arms? I know that many of these thoughts were premature, but I’m just keeping it real.  I was afraid…not of dying…but of inflicting pain upon the people who were dearest to my heart.  My heart was full of sorrow.

It’s times like these that you run to the Word and look for something…anything that will anchor your soul to the truth.  I poured over the pages of my bible, but I didn’t find something…I found Someone instead and He was just waiting for me in the words of Isaiah:

3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)

…in perfect peace – שלום שלום shalom, shalom, “peace, peace, “i.e., peace upon peace – all kinds of prosperity – happiness in this world and in the world to come.  Thou wilt keep him in peace; in perfect peace, inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events. Trust in the Lord for that peace, that portion, which will be forever. Whatever we trust to the world for, it will last only for a moment; but those who trust in God shall not only find in him, but shall receive from him, strength that will carry them to that blessedness which is for ever. Let us then acknowledge him in all our ways, and rely on him in all trials.

…whose mind is stayed on thee; or “fixed” on the love of God, rooted and grounded in that, and firmly persuaded of interest in it, and that nothing can separate from it; on the covenant and promises of God, which are firm and sure; and on the faithfulness and power of God to make them good, and perform them; and on Christ the Son of God, and Savior of men; upon him as a Savior, laying the whole stress of their salvation on him; upon his righteousness, for their justification; upon his blood and sacrifice, for atonement, pardon, and cleansing; on his fullness, for the supply of their wants; on his person, for their acceptance with God; and on his power, for their protection and preservation.

… Trust ye in the Lord for ever,..In the Word of the Lord for ever and ever, that is, at all times, in every state and condition, in times of affliction, temptation, and darkness; for he will support under, and in his own time deliver out of every trouble, and cause all things to work together for good; and trust in him always, for everything, for all temporal blessings, and for all spiritual ones, and for eternal life and happiness; for he has them, has promised them, and will give them.

He gave me a wonderful gift that day…a renewed awareness of who He is.  He is the Lord God Almighty. He is my Savior. He is my portion forever.  He is my perfect peace…my shalom, shalom. And when I needed it most, He spoke these words deep within my heart and I knew that whatever the outcome of the tests, He would be right beside me and would never leave me nor forsake me. He is the anchor of my soul.

I got the call from the lab just 3 days later with the result of the CA-125 blood test: normal.  The results of the biopsy arrived a day later: benign. Normal and benign. Two very simple but beautiful words. Another gift from God.  How can I show my thanks to Him for such a wonderful gift?  By never again taking for granted, the sacredness of life.   To love the life He’s given me and to recognize His presence in each moment, offering up words of gratitude. By learning to live fully…content…peaceful…one day at a time.

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simple pleasures…

I’m still a bit under the weather today, so I’m keeping this post rather short. I’m learning that regardless of how I’m feeling at any given moment, I’ve still got SO much to be thankful for…

11. Sunshine pouring in through the living room windows
12. Bird song in the early morning hours
13. Hot tea in BIG oversized cups
14. A cozy place to read His Word



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Wordless Wednesday

Photo by Olivia Blinn @ Arm’s Length Photography

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Compelled towards Gratitude

This may seem like a strange confession – but I never intended to blog.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I have anything to say against this form of written expression.  I truly enjoy reading what others bloggers have to say and have compiled a blogroll of favorites that I’ll be sharing with you in the future.  I simply never intended becoming a blogger because I didn’t think I had anything to say that would be of interest to others.  But as the phenomenon of the blog continued to increase (there are now over 170,000,000 blogs to date), I began to ponder some things in my heart. Why would a person willingly choose to allow their personal journal (journey) to be viewed by the public? What was the catalyst behind this new and growing craze? And was there something cathartic about this experience?

I recently asked a friend why she blogged and she told me that as her husband’s disease progressed and his ability to communicate deteriorated, blogging satisfied her deep need to converse with others albeit the written word and not the spoken.  In addition, it had given her the means to leave behind (in written form) a legacy of love and  family history that would be read and cherished by her three daughters and their families after she was gone. That I get.

But for me, there was no desire to put into written words the thoughts, hopes and dreams that were dearest to me.  I had no compulsion, no inner drive to risk public exposure or the possibility of censure.  These things were stored safely in my heart and, thank you very much, that’s where they were going to stay! To even contemplate such a thing was ludicrous. My life was my own, to do with as I pleased. But then something happened that changed all that – I thought I was about to lose it.

I won’t go into great detail, but a medical issue arose in mid-January while I was vacationing in Florida. Upon my return home, I went to see my doctor and he suggested that we act immediately. Blood tests were done posthaste and an ultrasound and biopsy with a specialist, would follow one week later.  When the initial blood tests revealed that my symptoms were not due to a hormonal imbalance, anemia or hypothyroidism, the list of potential causes became shorter albeit more serious.

The ultrasound revealed some possible culprits – endometrial fibroids and ovarian cysts. A bit of research on my part revealed that these growths were almost always benign and could easily be taken care of.  I breathed a big sigh of relief. It wasn’t until sitting in the examining room of  the ob/gyn that I began to comprehend the seriousness of the situation.  According to the doctor, one of my ovarian cysts was abnormal and possibly cancerous. I would need another test – a CA-125 blood test to be used as a marker for cancerous tumors.  If the test came back negative, then I had nothing to panic over. A positive test would mean surgery and another biopsy.

to be continued…

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My Achy Breaky Body

When I first began to count my everyday blessings and post them in this blog, I knew that the day would come when giving thanks (aka eucharisteo) would be difficult, if not downright impossible to do.  I assumed that day would occur months from now, after my daily posts had accumulated into the hundreds and I was fully prepared to tackle what Ann Voskamp, in her book, One Thousand Gifts, calls hard eucharisteo or giving thanks despite the fact  life has given you lemons and you’re just too tired, or too sick, or too emotionally overwhelmed to make lemonade. (my term, not Ann’s!)

Have you guessed it? Today is that day. And much to my chagrin, I’m only on #7!

It really began yesterday afternoon when my lungs began to hurt and my skin began to ache. It started slowly – first my lower back, then my upper arms. When my teeth and hair follicles began to scream in distress, I knew I was in big trouble.  With no one at home to take care of me, it seemed best to swallow some Advil, drink lots of water, curl up on the couch and wait it out. Well, twenty four hours have gone by and I’m still waiting…and taking Advil…and drinking lots of water…and I’m still on the couch.   So I pose the following question – how can we be thankful when it hurts just to raise a finger to type? At first I thought I should give thanks in all things, so I came up with the following:

  • I thank you that I have the flu and not something that is life-threatening
  • I thank you that I don’t have to do any housework while I’m sick in bed
  • I  thank you that I’m going to lose some much needed weight because it hurts too much to swallow.

A feeble attempt – I know!  In my heart, I knew that God was calling me to something more, so I waited to see where this would lead me. And I prayed. This is what I’ve come to understand – nothing is wasted in the kingdom of God – nothing enters my life except that it passes through His hands, and to give thanks for all things was going to be a sacrifice on my part. And then I really got it – any sacrifice I  make in my life here on Earth is nothing compared to the sacrifice He made for all mankind.

So here you have it…

7.  I am grateful for a Savior that set, for all eternity, the holy example of hard eucharisteo in the Garden of Gethsemane.

8.  I praise you Lord, that you never give me more than I can bear

9.  I thank you Jesus, that when I’m burdened and heavy laden, I can take Your yoke upon me – a yoke in which You carry all the burden while I simply learn to follow your lead.

10. I thank you for this body that is fearfully and wonderfully made, having the capacity to heal itself because you are the Great Physician.

In the meantime, I will wait and wonder and meditate on these things...


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My cup runneth over

I was recently looking through some pictures that my daughter had pulled from one of our family photo albums. She was putting together a picture board (of herself) for her high school graduation party and wanted to include some photos of her growing up years. And because digital photography had not yet hit the mainstream of modern life, she’d made scans of hard copies and sent them (electronically) to Wal-mart for reprinting. Oh what a marvel is this electronic age! The scans, she saved.

With her permission, I browsed through her thousands of stored pictures and came across these select few. They took my breath away! They made me laugh. They made me cry. I remember these times like they were yesterday. And even though the busyness of child rearing almost made me crazy and I was afraid that I would ruin my children’s hope for a normal future, I am thankful that He entrusted me (and big D.) with the privilege and responsibility of raising these three young’ins.

My heart cannot contain the gratitude I feel. My cup runneth over….

September 8, 1996

Nine months later…

An early Spring…April 1998

Wandering together in eastern Washington – August 1999

The list continues…

4. The wonder and beauty of the family unit

5. Grace, grace and more grace to do the job that’s before us

6. My man…strong enough to keep me in line; tender enough to assuage my fears

 

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These everyday gifts…

1. Women who bring my need to God in prayer

2. A biopsy that comes back “benign”

3. Flowers from my man to let me know he’ll always love me


Please slow down and take time to count your blessings.  Come join me here on this incredible journey…

 

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Birthing a blog

Before embarking on a journey, be it a journey around the world or a journey into parenthood,  it is always wise to do some advance preparation.  I’m sure that if you were to question any well-traveled sage, he (or she) would advise you to organize the details of your journey into a plan that can be easily executed.  However, there are some who feel that to fully experience a true adventure (what I more fondly call The Great Adventure; to be discussed in a later post) you  simply get on a plane with nothing but your passport and a few bare essentials, purchasing what you need when you need it. In the case of parenthood, you throw caution to the wind and forgo all forms birth control (this will not be discussed in a later post). If you haven’t done this sort of thing before, it can be truly exhilarating….or disastrous!

So it is when traveling into the realm of the World Wide Web or more specifically into the blogging world. It is wise to do some advance preparation. But I didn’t. I simply wrote down some potential blog names,  went to a site that specializes in domain hosting and purchased (or rather rented) my very first domain name:  MeMyselfAndPie.  Easy peasy!  Nothin’ to it!  And since I was on a roll and money was no object (lol),  I promptly headed to another site and spent near $100 purchasing web hosting. All right!  I’m ready to go! Let’s get this blog up and running!   Trouble is, I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going!

Now if you ask my husband, he can tell you that this stage of “not knowing” or “not having any prior knowledge/experience” has never stopped me before.  Whether tiling a bathroom, pouring a concrete patio, butchering a deer or finding the quickest route from Whidbey Island to Port Townsend, WA (more detail later), I am seldom deterred from forging forcefully ahead.   Why bother with training wheels when you can leap onto the seat of a two-wheeler and careen, pell mell downhill?  Why float in the calmness of the pool when you can jump into the river from the railroad trestle above?  Why take a boat when you can get to the island by swimming through sea snake infested waters? I think you get the picture.

For most of my 52 years, I have willingly and lovingly embraced The Great Adventure.  Why would this journey into the blogging world be any different? Maybe because words like nameservers, domain re-directs, RSS  feeds and blogging platforms had me completely undone.  After 24 hours of staring blankly at my computer monitor, I did what any wise woman would do – I accepted my limitations and asked for help from others who have gone before me.  Feeling buoyed and newly encouraged I initiated Google searches (duh!) like How to Start a Blog (777,000,000 results) and Blogging for Dummies (1,200,00 results) and I read. And read. And read. Didn’t someone once say, “when all else fails, read the directions”?

Lucky for me, I also have a couple of techno-savvy daughters that were able to point me in the right direction – to the many online sites that offer free blogging services.  In other words, companies that tell you to put your training wheels back on – at least for a little while!  After examining all my choices, I chose to go with WordPress and within half an hour the most amazing thing happened – I became a blogger.  Ta Da!

I don’t know how they’ve done it, but WP has completely demystified the process of setting up a blog.  I read, I clicked, I named, I birthed. The labor pains were few and what you see before you – ThisLifeOfWander – has come into being, thanks to the kind  folks at WP and my wonderful husband – who made the bed, washed the dishes, did the laundry and walked the dog – just so I could give birth to my blog.  This birthing experience was just as thrilling as having my own beautiful babies…well almost!

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Welcome

It’s official!  I have now joined the ranks of  the blogging world and have eagerly flung myself into this modern blogosphere without any idea of where this road will lead!   The song lyrics below, penned by J.R.R. Tolkien, adeptly express how I am feeling at this moment.

The Road goes ever on and on,
down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
and I must follow, if I can!
Pursuing it with eager feet,
until it joins some larger way,
where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

I welcome all of you to join me on this journey. Please stop by and rest awhile!

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