Thursday, May 31, 2012

2012 Relay For Life of Los Alamos Los Alamos County NM: Video Page - Remember | The American Cancer Society - 2012 Relay For Life of Los Alamos NM

As I participate in the Relay for Life, I am remembering those who lost their fight with cancer.  But even more than that, I am remembering those who have fought or are fighting their battles, and those who will fight it in the future.  I want them to have every tool possible to win their battles.

I am praying for you, my fellow warriors, and I honor your valiant fight: Shirley, Lynn, Gary, Natasha, Karina, Carmen, Julia, Linda, Bob, Valerie, Jen, Silvano. And I honor your families for standing beside you. 

  See the video below...

2012 Relay For Life of Los Alamos Los Alamos County NM: Video Page - Remember | The American Cancer Society - 2012 Relay For Life of Los Alamos NM

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An inside job

I have been rereading an excellent book: The Enemy Within, Kris Lungaard's  masterful reworking of John Owens.  As it was 12 or so years ago when I first read it, it makes for excellent heart surgery.

Just this morning, I awoke after a restless night's sleep (or lack thereof.)  This is a hormonal and therapy issue, and I try to look at the non-sleep as a calling from God to pray.  But after wrestling all night towards such virtuous use of my time, I was a total grumpy-pants to my sweet husband this morning. When he gently called me on it, I was totally surprised.  That's because, as Kris puts it,

The law of sin doesn't work on us from the outside.  We carry it in us...It settles down with us and is at home...Indwelling sin doesn't observe a sabbath... Sin isn't just a permanent houseguest, it's a meddlesome wretch. It's always poking its nose in, looking over your shoulder, whispering in your ear...Sin does its dirty work with the greatest of ease...There is no spiritual duty, nothing godly you can set yourself to, in which you won't feel the wind of sin's resitance in your face...
~K. Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk about the Power and Defeat of Sin, Chapter 2.
We simply make peace with our sin, Gentle reader, until we don't even recognize it as sin anymore.

So I am praying that God would make me uncomfortable with my sin, until I have to stop cuddling it, and instead see it for what it is: cosmic betrayal.  I belong, as Kris and Dr. Owen say, in that ring of Dante's Inferno reserved for the traitors and betrayers.  But marvelous grace, instead I am raised to Paradisio, where God looks at me and sees His Son instead.  May we all live in the light of that glorious exchange, Gentle Reader. And may we wage war with that enemy within.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sabbath Songs

On this Pentecost Sunday, we enjoyed leading the following song in worship.  I love the scope of this song!

Rejoice by Todd Twining

All the earth rejoice
Your Creator reigns
As the only awesome God
The Alpha and the Omega
Who was, is, and is to come
Let the oceans roar and the mountains sing
He provides for all He has made
So be comforted as He rules with grace
Rejoice, all the earth, rejoice

All the world rejoice
For the baby comes
As a humble prince in the night
The Word made flesh, Emmanuel
The Everlasting Light
Let the warmth of heaven reach the coldest heart
With the gospel of His grace
For His heel will bruise the serpent’s head
Rejoice, all the world, rejoice

All the church rejoice
For your King returns
On a white horse wearing a crown
He will break the sky with the angel’s shout
Descending from the clouds
Then the dead will rise from the land and sea
All His people will ascend
We will reign with Him for eternity
Rejoice, all the church, rejoice

Friday, May 25, 2012

Relay for Life

Dave and I have decided to do something completely different (for us!) We are going to participate in this year's Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society.  As survivors, we only need to walk one lap around Ashley Pond-- I think even I can do that, and it will be Dave's easiest race ever!  If you would like to join in this good cause with us, you can donate to my efforts here, and to Dave's here. It will be fun to see how this works out, and I'll update you all here when the event is over on June 16th. I don't want anyone to feel obligated to give to this, but if you feel so led, Gentle reader, please do so.

You may be wondering why I want to do this.  And I am not sure I know, except that I feel the urge to be in a crowd of other warriors who understand, and I want to give something back, however little, to folks who have given for my benefit. So we are giving it a try.  Come on along if you feel so inclined!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Health update

Part of the reason for last weekend's get-away (see some photos here) was to provide distraction for me as I anticipated my first round of check-ups post breast cancer #2.  I know rationally and spiritually that I should not have dreaded those appointments.  Yet, emotionally, I was dreading them.  As a dear friend said, "Well, you have gotten unexpected and very bad news at appointments like those-- there is something rational about that!" 

Despite my fears, God has given me a good week.  I had appointments with both my oncologist and my primary care.  Both think I am doing well, and that we can proceed with this cancer behind us.  What a blessing from the Lord!  I continue to deal with the fall-out of the battle. Some of the irritations include:
  • hormone issues like hot flashes, sleep interruptions, and mood swings (maybe mood earthquakes would be a better description)
  • joint and bone pain with the hormone therapy drug (arimidex) I'm taking taking
  • lymphedema still in both arms, and still swelling in my abdomen
We will continue to manage these things, and with increased time, rest, and exercise, we hope to conquer or reduce them all. My energy is rebounding somewhat, though I long for more.

I feel that we have turned a corner in our road.  " was on the part of the road marked, "Caution: Cancer Zone Ahead" and now I've reached the "End of the Cancer Zone" sign.  Praise God!  For now, the battle is behind me, and that feels wonderful.  Now the rest of recovery lies ahead.

Thank you, Gentle Readers, for the part you have played in this.  Your prayers are precious things!   

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spiritually bi-polar

Last night I said to my dear husband, "Sometimes I think I am spiritually bi-polar."  He left in the morning with a wife discouraged and fearful about facing the normal challenges of the day, and returned to a wife encouraged, rejoicing, unable to stop smiling.  Now, I am definitely hormonally challenged right now, which exacerbates the situation.  But this morning I read this in Spurgeon:
It was but yesterday that I could read my title clear; today my evidences are bedimmed, and my hopes are clouded. Yesterday, I could climb to Pisgah’s top, and view the landscape o'er, and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; today, my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no joys, but much distress. Is this part of God’s plan with me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven? Yes, it is even so.
 ~C. H. Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, May 22
So, I am not alone.  This is the Christian life: up and over the mountain, down the other side. Phew- that encourages me.  I have that part down! And God will use these ups and downs for my good and His glory.  What a blessed assurance that is!

Part of my encouragement came from time in His word, part from an excellent oncologist visit (all appears well, and I am heading where I need to without any sign of cancer, and with possible relief from some side-effects!) And this morning, I'm still smiling.  I hope you are too, Gentle Reader!

“O let my trembling soul be still,
And wait thy wise, thy holy will!
I cannot, Lord, thy purpose see,
Yet all is well since ruled by thee.”

Monday, May 14, 2012

Remember who you are, and keep moving

Some days seem like they are all about climbing up hill-- some days, some seasons, some years, perhaps. For some of us the climb is arduous, but beautiful.  For others, it is murky and muddy and we seem to slip backward a step for every one or two upwards. I suspect that we all, Gentle Reader, have to ask ourselves how to keep climbing when we are too weary, when the top of the climb is still beyond our view, when we are yet again at the bottom looking up at what seems insurmountable.

I was reminded during a sermon yesterday about the section of Pilgrim's Progress where Hopeful and Christian decide to take a seemingly easier way, and discover themselves in the end in the deepest, darkest dungeon of Doubting Castle, held captive by the Giant Despair.  They are miserable in that dungeon for quite a while before they remember that they had the key to get out of the dungeon all along.  Bunyan was a master at capturing our lives in this fallen place. And whether our climb is glorious or muddy, the hard work will be made easier if we remember one thing: who we are. Paul Tripp puts it this way:
Child of the Most High God was my cross-purchased identity. Member of the body of Christ was my identity. Man in the middle of his own sanctification was my identity. Sinner, and still in need of rescuing, transforming, empowering, and delivering grace was my identity.
Sometimes I slip on my climb because I think I've arrived at my destination, when I still have far to go.  Sometimes I despair because I can't see the end of the climb and I'm already tired.  And sometimes I'm so busy worrying about how I look in my climbing clothes that I forget what that the purpose is to keep moving rather than just posing for pleasing pictures. But if I remember I am not a professional mountain climber, instead I am a child of the Maker of the Mountain and its glories are my inheritance, I am more likely to keep moving. And if I can fix my eyes on Christ, and His grace to me, instead of how stupid I look in my climbing gear, or how awkward I appear to others, I am less likely to be discouraged.

So on we journey to the top of the mountain. We may fall and need rescuing, but our Heavenly Father has a plan for that already.  All we have to do is remember who we are, keep moving.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Sabbath Songs

All Is Well by Mary Peters and Trudy Poirier

Through the love of God our Savior, all will be well.
Free and changeless is his favor, all, all is well.
Precious is the blood that healed us;
Perfect is the grace that sealed us;
Strong the hand stretched out to shield us.
O all must be well; all must be well.

Though we pass through tribulations, all will be well.
Ours is such a great salvation, all, all is well.
Happy still in God confiding;
Fruitful if in Christ abiding;
Holy through the Spirit's guiding,
O all must be well; all must be well.

In all things, our God is working, all will be well,
For the good of those who love Him, all, all is well.
Nothing here can separate us
From the love He freely gave us,
For His purpose we are called,
O all must be well; all must be well.

We expect a bright tomorrow, all must be well.
Faith can sing through days of sorrow, all, all is well.
On our Father's love relying;
Jesus every need supplying;
Or in living or in dying;
O all must be well; all must be well.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Emma and the goats

 Our granddaughter, Emma, loves animals, and has no fear of them.  May she be able to gain wisdom without learning it the hard way! On their recent trip to the Phoenix Zoo, she enjoyed the goats in the petting zoo.(Pictures courtesy of her Momma)  Isn't it a blessing when we re-learn how to enjoy God's creation through our children and grandchildren?