Monday, November 9, 2015

The Beauty of Life

Today has been a cold, rainy sort of day.
A simple day, full of coffee, GOD's word, and a cleaning of our little castle.

A day full of beauty and GOD's goodness.

“The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes...

and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder
What beauty has your day shown?
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Contentment, and Not Being a Mommy

Justin's Sweet Niece
Right now, I am sitting in my favorite cozy corner of my living room. I have a soft, fuzzy blanket on my lap, a tall mug of liquid heaven (aka coffee) on the table beside me, a pumpkin cream candle burning, and the soft sound of Yiruma is playing in the background.

It has not been too busy a day. I have the house cleaned up, a weight lifting session done, and a list wrote out of all the things that need to be accomplished in the coming days.

Life has been very different of late. I look back to the days of last November, and they have changed so much from these current days. This time last year I was dreaming of holding a little "Justin" on Thanksgiving.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be recovering from cancer, and facing the fact I may never be able to have children of my own.

I have not been told children are an impossibility. The odds are more stacked against me now though. And if we do try and become pregnant, it won't be for a very long time. ( not until any lingering chemo is gone from my body)

Most days, I do not even give it a second thought. And I truly feel so blessed to just be alive, and as healthy as I am!

And there are some days, I am brought to tears at the thought of never being able to be a mommy.

I guess those times happen more often when I see a baby at church, see a mother chasing after her child, or am surrounded by pregnant ladies at Whole Foods (weird, but it happens quite a bit there...).

Once again it has been a lesson in contentment, and desiring and seeking out what GOD has in store for me this very moment.

You think I would have learned that lesson by now...

I believe the LORD is using this time, to teach me to seek out ways to encourage others. In particularly those who are sick.

I also believe GOD allowed cancer in my life to show me another world. The world of those who are sick and going through trials. A world of people that need encouragement, and someone to reach out and say "I care, because I know how it feels".

I never would have known this world had I become a mother last November.

Becoming a mother may not be GOD's plan for me. I cannot know that for certain right now.

I do know for certain that GOD does have a plan for these mostly quiet days. And my job is to seek it out, and follow it with a joyful, thankful attitude. :)

What is the LORD teaching you these early November days?

Have a wonderfully blessed day! Thanks for stopping by!

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

By GOD's Grace, I Was Ready

I recently dropped off a meal for a visiting evangelist and his family, at our church. I made one of our favorite meals of Caprese Lasagna, and a side salad. I made sure they had a variety of dressings to go with the salad, all of which were organic.

Later on that evening, the evangelists wife came up to me and thanked me for the meal,asked how I was doing, and even asked questions about my cancer story. She then went onto to ask if having cancer was the reason I eat organic and natural. I told her that actually, I had been eating that way for almost two years.

She was kind of surprised, and went on to share how she has gradually begun to incorporate more natural ways of living with her family. She even shared how they were trying to reduce sugar consumption, as sugar as been linked to cancer. And then she asked how much sugar I consumed.

I shared that since the beginning of this year, I have tried very hard to limit my sugar intake, and even did a Whole30 to help with it. I also shared how important good nutrition has been to me over this past year.

Amazed, she then asked a question, that has crossed my brain a number of times these past few months, "Did my cutting back on sugar, and doing a Whole30, limit the growth of my cancer?"

Friends, I don't know if cutting back on sugar, or eating organic really did stunt the growth of my cancer. I think it is a possibility.

What I do know is that over the past few years, I have felt the LORD's leading to eat in as natural way as possible, and to learn all I can about nutrition.

I've talked about that here before. Remember this post where I talked about having your body ready and healthy for anything the LORD leads you to do?

I thought I was prepping my body for pregnancy. That is the path I "thought" the LORD was leading me to. Having my body ready to grow a healthy human being, with minimal complications.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I was really learning and getting my body ready for a test MUCH bigger than pregnancy. Cancer.

I do believe, without a shadow of a doubt, GOD's great mercy and grace, pressed upon my heart, to learn all that I could about nutrition and good health, so I could face cancer, and use all that knowledge, to make that journey smoother.

On your very first day of chemo, a nutritionist meets with you to offer nutritional advice. Every single word she told me, was info I already knew!

By GOD's grace, I did not have to spend those awful feeling days learning, and trying to figure out what was best for my body. I already knew!

I knew what foods I needed to consume to replace vitamin stores, and how much protein to aim for every day.

And I was ridiculously excited over putting my knowledge to good use. :D

So my dear friends, my message is the same. Try and have your body ready for ANYTHING the LORD may call you to do. You truly never know what that may be. :)

Has the LORD ever pressed something upon your heart to learn, and then you saw later on down the road why?

Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Yummy Fritatta, Thanks to My Girls

So, my girls have finally started blessing us with eggs. And with 5 a day at that, eggs have become a staple in the "B" house of late. From boiled, to scrambled, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there has been no shortage. :D
I made one of our favorite egg meals recently, frittata. And boy was it YUMMY, very simple to put together, and I was able to use ingredients I always keep on hand.
I sautéed one onion, about 2 cups of frozen bell peppers, and a quarter pound of kielbasa sausage...
"Happiness is making the most of what you have, and riches is making the most of what you've got." ~Rosamunde Pilcher
Any making the most of what you have of late, and feeling rich about it? Or any new recipe trying?
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!
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Friday, October 23, 2015

GOD's Goodness and Great News

Good day friends and family! I pray that you are all having a wonderfully blessed day in our LORD! The sun has been shining beautifully all day, and the temps have been in the lower 80's. PERFECT for this gal. :D
So how have you dear folks been? I have been doing very well. GOD has been so good! And I have been blessed with boat loads of energy upon finishing chemo in September. As a matter of fact, I think I feel more physically better than before my surgery. Praise GOD for that. :D
So what has life looked like since the end of chemo? A lot more on the calm and normal side. Daily housework, cooking, crafting, and spending time with family, and these girls...
Who have been very generous in their egg giving. With 5 eggs a day, we are currently swimming in them...

I had my first cup of regular coffee last week. I avoided regular coffee during chemo as it can cause dehydration, and works out the liver even more. Boy, was that caffeine kick nice! :D
I have also been enjoying a normal appetite. Although it has been a weird feeling to go from getting sick at the though of food, to wanting to eat everything in sight! :D So I am trying to replenish my body with all the nutrients it has been lacking in the last few months. I found this at Whole Foods last week, and have LOVED every crunchy, nutrient dense bite. :)
With the appetite I have, it's a good thing I am able to work out again. ;D I basically had to start over in my weight lifting (I was at 135 pounds in my deadlift prior to the surgery). You will never know how good it felt to lift that iron after 3 months of not touching them. Being sweaty never felt so good! :D
I recently discovered my favorite part of having no hair. No knots and tangles when riding with my Jeep top back. Oh yes.

I was able to go a road trip to West Virginia with my family (minus Justin) last weekend. It was such a blessing and joy to spend time enjoying some fall foliage... 

and some off roading with the Jeep.

Yes, GOD has been so good of late. So good, that on October 5th I was told there is no sign of cancer in my body...

Celebratory lunch at Outback with my love...
Yes my dear friends, GOD is good, ALL the time. :)

What goodness has been in your life of late?
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 9, 2015

On Having No Hair, And True Beauty

Loosing my hair to chemo, has been no easy thing for this gal to go through.
I remember the night Justin shaved my head, after it began to fall out. After days of it getting EVERYWHERE, we knew it had to come off. At that point, it was in our food, and he could not even give me kiss, without ending up with a mouthful.
I am not going to lie. I was sort of in a state of shock those first few days following the shave. I would go completely out of my way to avoid a mirror...
But as the days passed, I got over that shock, and even began to appreciate my new doo. I mean, I can be ready to go anywhere in 20 minutes. As opposed to how it took me 45 minutes before, with blow drying, and washing, and conditioning my locks.
I have even had the mindset, that GOD might have made it to where chemo patients lose their hair, so it's one less thing to have to worry and fuss with, while feeling AWFUL.
Now don't think I am perfect, and LOVE having no hair. Yes, I appreciate the ease of care. But, I really miss my hair. You don't really know how much you appreciate something, until it's gone.
With hair, your head does not go through major temperature shifts all day. It stays pretty even. Not freezing one second, and the moment you cover it feels like it's on fire... 
And you don't get stared at either. I avoid Wal-Mart like the plague because of how many times I have looked over to see someone flat out standing in the aisle, staring at me. I want to say hello, there are a lot more stare worthy sites in Wally World, than a chemo patient with a head covering...

Loosing your hair in chemo, is no easy thing for a lady to go through. And our culture makes it even more difficult, in the way that it upholds physical attributes, like hair, in what makes a woman beautiful.

 Loosing my hair, has made me take a step back. I have been reminded that it is the love of Christ shining through, and the striving to have a meek and quiet spirit, that makes a woman truly beautiful.
And that is the true beauty, I should be striving for.

Is there a difficulty in life, where GOD has gently had to remind you of known truth?
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

When You Can't Eat Raw Apples, Sautee 'Em!

One of the things about chemo that I have found a slight bit on the irritating side, is the kind of person I have become: a germaphope.
With having very low white blood cell counts, I have had to be VERY careful about where I go, what I touch, who I am around, and even what I eat. When you know something as simple as a cold could put you in the hospital, you kinda become paranoid...
I don't spend large amounts of time in close quarters, with large groups of people, so as to limit exposure to germs. And I have had to replace my natural homemade cleaners, for bleach to ensure no germs linger on my cabinets.
I have even had to stop eating raw fruits an veggies for a time.
I really had a craving for apples today. But, knowing my counts are still low, I knew chowing down on a fresh one might not be such a great idea. So, I got creative, and cooked some up.
All I did was peel and slice two apples. Preheated some coconut oil in a pan. Placed said apples, in  the oil. Sprinkled on some cinnamon and nutmeg. Sauteed them for about 6 minutes...

and voila! A yummy, healthy fall snack.
A perfect follow-up to setting up an outdoor scene. :D

Have you tried any new recipes of late?

Have a wonderfully blessed day! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Chemo: DONE

Guess what ya'll?! Chemo is done!
It's true I do not know what the future holds. But for now, we will celebrate the end of this chapter...
After a long nap of course...
 Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Husband of the Year

I might be a bit biased, but I am pretty sure my husband should be labeled "The Husband of the Year".

Why you ask?

Not because he brought home flowers this evening.

Or purchased for me new jewelry.

Or set up a candlelight bubble bath.

Or is even taking me on a dream trip to Paris.

What has he done of late to earn such a reward?

He held me tight, while I shook with tears the day I was told I might have cancer.

He took time out of his very busy work schedule, those days leading up to my surgery, to listen to me cry my worries out on the phone.

He took me to the ocean (he greatly dislikes the beach, by the way) a few days before my surgery, because he knows it is one of the best ways to calm my spirit.

He stayed awake with me the night before my surgery, while I endured the awful bowel prep, and laid in the hallway, by my side, near the bathroom, between my visits.

He prayed with me before we left to the hospital the day of surgery.

He found the Discovery Channel on the television at the hospital, and put on "Shark Week", to try and distract me the moments before the surgery.

He never left my side once I came out of surgery. And even slept on a very hard widow seat, during that one night stay in the hospital.

He slept beside me on our couch, while I slept in the recliner those days following the surgery.

He again held me and reassured me, while I cried in fear once more, when the test results came back showing cancer, and I was told I would have to go through chemotherapy.

He has taken me to my chemo treatments, each day. And stays with me through the pre-meds, until the chemo drip starts, and then leaves for work.

He has been there holding my hand each time I have had to have an IV inserted. And helped me revive after the two separate times I blacked out because of the pain and fear of it.

He surprised me with a special cake one evening before chemo started back, since he knew I would not be eating much of anything the following week.

And one evening, when I was feeling particularly down, he took me for a ride in the Jeep on some back country roads.


He has held me, reassured me, loved me, cared for me, and been more patient than should be possible through all my tears, worries, and even my cranky, really tired nauseous bad days.

And still calls be beautiful, and finds me attractive. Even with my bald head.

Everyday he shows the attitude that Christ displays to the church.

Patience. Love. Forgiveness.

I am brought to tears when I think of how blessed I am to be married to this man. I truly do NOT deserve his sweet love.

He is my rock in a crisis.

He really is "Husband of the Year".
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Grace In My Weakness

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Right now the comforting aroma of the bone broth I was able to start this morning, is filling my house. I look outside my living room window, and I see the sun reflecting off the maple tree, following this afternoons rain storm. Justin texted me about 10 minutes ago, and has told me he is on his way home. Supper for the evening will be leftovers of venison stir fry. And my stomach is begging Justin to hurry home, as it is VERY hungry. :D
Going through chemo, and all the side effects it brings, has made me even more thankful for the little things in life. And the ability to do, and enjoy them.
I am blessed in the fact that the worst of the side effects have only lasted the week of chemo, and the first 3-4 days following the treatment. After that, I have felt fairly "normal".
I am able to cook, clean, be crafty, spend time with my girls...

enjoy time outdoors walking, by sitting and enjoying my collection of succulents...

or by being especially blessed by coming so close to this beauty.
It's true that I have had to slow down my lifestyle. I have had to give up my beloved weightlifting for a time. It has been replaced with more restorative exercise, like walking and yoga.
I do not go shopping often now. Or eat in restaurants. Due to low white blood cell counts, I have to limit my exposure to people, so as not to become sick.
I will not be teaching my K-3 class this year. My immune system will be compromised for months following the end of treatments, and I cannot risk becoming sick. And kids LOVE to share their germs. :)
And I will not lie. Giving up so many things that I love to do, for a season, has not been easy. Some days, it is very hard not having the energy to run. Or have to take so many breaks because of tiredness.
But LORD willing, this will only be for a short season. And by HIS grace, I will have the sort of life I had before cancer back. And I will be all the more thankful for that time. :)

What grace from GOD are you enjoying in life right now?
Have a wonderfully blessed day! Thanks for stopping by!