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When the Little Things Become BIG!

 

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I hope that you all are having a terrific week!  My big news for the past couple of weeks is that I am BACK TO WORK!  I just finished up my #imback tour to visit our groups and fill them in on the past 8 months and let them know that I am back in my office and ready to assist them in any way possible!  It has been a humbling and rewarding experience to visit with these folks that I typically only see and talk to on a professional level, taking off “the mask” and being transparent and seeing their sincere concern for me, #blessed.

The other evening when I got home from work I took a brief walk, I cannot walk very far or fast yet, but I am walking AFTER working all day!  As I was walking I noticed something I have not been able to feel in a LONG time… I could feel the southwest wind blowing my hair!  I was so excited and it meant so much to me and it reminded me how so many “little” and unnoticed things are NOT little nor do they go unnoticed anymore!  Something as simple as feeling my hair blow, granted, it is not much hair YET, but it will be and the little bit that is there was blowing in the breeze! 

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The above event started a list in my mind of the little things that are no longer little to me… I just thought I would share some of those with you! ( a friend gently reminded me a couple days ago that I need to write about these things!)  A gentle breeze blowing through my hair on my face; the northwest Ohio fall sky; leaves turning and falling in the yard; the ability to go to work and make a difference; hearing the laughter and voices of people I love; starting to make plans for the holidays; receiving and sending texts to friends and family just to say “thinking of you”; eating supper outside in the evening and not looking at my phone so that I can soak up the sun and sky while listening to the birds and cicadas talking to each other; packing a lunch for work knowing that I can eat it all and appreciating the nourishment it will bring to my body; the smell of a freshly cut lawn or leaves burning; the crisp and cool  fall air in the morning; the majestic brilliance of the blue sky on my drive in to work; understanding that all of these things are ways that I see God in my daily life; hearing and saying I love you and truly meaning it and obviously the list could go on and on…. These little things are NOT so little, in fact, they are HUGE to me every moment of every day!  These are just a few of my new favorite things in this HD life I have been granted!

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I am forever grateful to be able to behold and take in these wonderful little things that can be easily taken for granted.  Each morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is whisper a prayer to my Heavenly Father and tell Him how grateful I am to wake up and be a part of this amazing world He has created for us all to enjoy and appreciate every minute of every day!  When the little things become big things to appreciate, cherish and enjoy, then each minute of every day truly is a blessing!

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Forever Grateful

August 31st, 2017, it has been over six months since this whole journey began, on one hand, that does NOT seem possible… on the other, it seems like a life time ago!  

I can still remember that cold day on March 1st,  when my sister and I walked out of my family doctor’s office with the knowledge that I had suspected bilateral ovarian cancer that had spread. WOW, what a game changer to say the least, life changing moment!  I still have not been able to listen to Tim McGraw’s, Live Like You Were Dying without thinking of that day!  My sister and I heard it on the way home and I was singing it very loud, almost silly, she kept reassuring me that I was NOT going to to ride on a bull named Fumanchu! 

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Since that day, I have not looked at life the same, not one tiny bit!  The sky seems a bit more blue, the birds seem to have a merrier tune, the grass has never appeared to be more green than this summer, and now that fall is just around the corner, I cannot wait to see the northwest Ohio Autumn colors in full bloom!  I am definitely seeing life through my “new” High Definition vision and I hope that never goes away!  

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Tuesday was my last chemo treatment, leaving the Cancer Center that day seemed a bit bitter sweet. We were THRILLED to know we will not be going back next week for another drip, we will not have to be concerned about my veins holding out for one more IV, yet, it is a chapter that is closing. A chapter that included new characters in our lives, like Lynn Rohrer, she was my nurse on the very first treatment. We were blessed enough to click from that first day on, she has attended my daughter’s wedding, participate in my 50th birthday lunch and we are even going to get baptized together in a couple weeks!  She has definitely been a silver lining amidst all of this trauma and turmoil. Then there is Felicia, another favorite nurse who has become a true friend as well!  We will miss seeing them each week, yet, I know we will be friends,  for always. 

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I cannot begin to list the friends and family who have made a huge difference since the beginning of this journey, you all know who you are and hopefully you understand how grateful I am, forever grateful, from my heart! 

My immediate family has been amazing, more than amazing, actually!  Living with my parents has made such an immense difference in my recovery, my Mom there to cook anything and everything I want at the moment. (sometimes, it changes moment by moment!)  I can thank her for my weight gain from 95 lbs to 110 lbs!  My Pops being willing to run to KFC for cole slaw, or to Grund to check on donations, or even to Bob Evans because I was craving chopped steak, I appreciate all of that so much.  My daughter, Leisha was such a life line, every day, in every way! Tim was always there with a fist bump and big hug when I needed it most.  Again, I am forever grateful! My son and daughter-in-law were such wonderful encouragements on every level!  My sister doing chicken nugget runs for me ; my brother in law hauling me back and forth to Cleveland whenever I needed him to; my little brother being my rock as always and sending me the most appropriate emojis on a weekly basis and he and his family taking a whole week to come during the biggest surgery of my life; my nephew Colton deciding my theme verse for me and praying without ceasing for his Aunt Lynnie; Crystal, Roles, Bro and Indy Boy, Clay, Dre, and Nate, always knowing how to be encouraging when needed most.  There are just too many people and things to mention, but please know, I am FOREVER GRATEFUL!

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Today, as I sit in “my” recliner, actually my Pop’s chair that he so willingly gave up for the past six months!  I am listening to my Pandora Christmas station as I write this, those of you who know me are NOT surprised, it will always be my “happy place”.  The Ohio State Buckeyes play their first game of the season tonight and I am so excited, again, if you know me, you are not surprised!  I will get up this afternoon and make my game day salami roll ups and cheer on my favorite team and for a moment I will forget about the past six months and hopefully I will not even think about the big CT Scan I have tomorrow morning… for a moment, things will go back to normal.  What is normal?  I am not quite sure I will ever really know “normal” again and that’s okay, maybe my new norm is a part of what I needed to learn throughout this journey!  

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I can say with 100% accuracy that a big part of my new normal will be the fact that I am forever grateful, I am blessed and I will enjoy each second of my new High Definition view!  #Godsstillnotsurprised  #inittowinit #casestrong #thankyouforcomingalong

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Finishing Strong!

When I was in high school I was a very gifted sprinter, I loved to run in short races that were all about the straight up sprint!  Our school began participating in a state wide track meet in my Sophomore year and we participated in it three years in a row to get me through my Senior year.  Mr. Yost took us each time, we were so thankful for his willingness to do so because without him we would not have been able to take part in such an event!  Hundreds of student athletes from around the state came to compete and excel in their respective events, mine being the 50, 100 and 220 yard dashes.  I did extremely well in the shorter events, in fact, I took 1st and 2nd places each year in these.  The 220 yard race was where I struggled… unfortunately, my strategy was not very good. I took off faster than anyone out there and in the first one hundred yards I was always in the lead, then the turn hit and each time, as soon as I headed into the turn, my strength gave out and I slowed down considerably and inevitably would place 3rd or 4th. There was a girl who raced against me in the first two years, she was the strongest and fastest competitor I had ever faced in anything, obviously, she took 1st place in my first two years and I was pretty sure I could not take her.

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My Senior year came and Mr. Yost coached me up all the way to the competition, explaining to me what I needed to do to change the outcome in this my final attempt to take 1st place in my most difficult event.  We arrived at the stadium we ran in, it was a bright and cool day in Delaware, Ohio, a perfect day for a track meet!  We all got out of the bus and started warming up, stretching out, etc… I surveyed the crowd there and across the field I saw her, my biggest competition in each event had come again, her senior year as well.     

We ran the shorter events first and to my surprise I was able to take 1st place in both of them, pretty easily!  Mr. Yost was so proud of me and so was I, except, deep down all I could think about was the most difficult one which was coming up next.  This time after taking last minute advice, I lined up right beside the girl who had beaten me the previous two years!  I looked around before the start to get my reassuring glance from Mr. Yost and he was no where to be found… he vanished into thin air!  We lined up, got down into our positions and we were off!  I started out fast, but not 100%, I was holding off a bit, but then, she got ahead of me, not just a small lead, but a very significant one!  Then came the dreaded turn. Right as we hit that pivotal moment in the race where I had failed before,  I looked to my right, I saw him, it was Mr. Yost, he had been hanging out at the turn, waiting for us to get there!  As we rounded the turn, he took off beside us, he was SPRINTING and yelling,  ” You’ve got this Lynn, kick it in now, kick it in now, KICK IT IN!”  Guess what, it worked, I kicked it in!  I gained on the girl beside me, not just gained, but took the lead, just in time, this time I was able to find the finish line FIRST and so did Mr. Yost!  He ran the last leg of that race right beside me in the grass and his words of encouragement pushed me through right when I needed it most!  

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I had not thought of the above events very much until lately, in the past few months I have recounted the whole experience many times in my mind.  This whole analogy has reminded me of a few important things recently:  #1 Starting off fast is good and fine, but endurance wins the race!  #2 Having the right people running beside you and cheering things like, “You’ve got this, Kick it in, KICK IT IN!” can make all the difference. #3 There is no opponent that cannot be defeated on any given day.  

As we go through this up-coming week, I hope that we can all learn from this true story. My prayer is that we all will have good starts and even better finishes, that we will all have the best cheerleaders and coaches running with us and that we will never be afraid of any opponent or as my friend Linda Doolittle says, “fighting the bad guys”. Each new day brings new obstacles, races and tough opponents to each one of us, it is not how we start but how we finish as we face our individual struggles.

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I wish you all a wonderful week full of victories both big and small, remember to celebrate even the “little victories” because they will turn into the big ones!  ( now if I can just take my own advice! 🙂 ) 

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Don’t Pass the Ball!

When I was in high school, I pretty much lived to play ball, almost any ball… soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball and track. In my next blog post I will discuss a track story that has stuck with me since I was a Sophomore in high school! For today though, I am going to pass on a story that is a TRUE story, it happened my Senior year and I probably learned some of my biggest lessons from sports from this one story alone.

My Senior year of high school started out with a surprise letter from a school in Fremont who wanted me to come to their school and play basketball for them. I debated it intently because I loved the coach there and I would have many more opportunities for colleges to see me if I played there.  After much thought, I decided it was best for me to stay at my private school, Temple Christian Academy and finish my high school career where it started.  My coach was David Lee, now my brother in law, he was one of the best coaches I ever had. (despite what he says) He was very glad my decision was to stay at TCA and he and I began practicing on my jump shot long before the season started.

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Right before the season began, four of our varsity players were suspended from our team… at a school the size of ours, that was a MAJOR set back.. So, for my final basketball season, we had four JV players and me!  We had a blast and went through the season with highlights for me of scoring my 1,000th point and eventually heading into the state finals in Findlay being undefeated!  We had previously defeated Findlay Heritage twice during the season, but they were not very fond of that fact and were ready for us.  Due to our lack of girls with any type of varsity experience,  I had to carry the team with steals which lead to break away lay-ups and scoring a bunch of points!  David had even surprised me at a game in Lima by having a college recruit come there and watch our game, she actually recruited me that night!

Cedarville University Yellow Jackets

Anyway, our final game of our state tournament that year was vs Findlay Heritage, at their gym.  I knew that gym and that particular team like the back of my hand. The game went back and forth throughout the entire thing and finally it was down to two minutes left in the game and we were ahead by 2 points!  David called his last time out, he looked at me square in the eyes and said, ” Lynn, I am going to need you to stall the rest of the 2 minutes by dribbling around with the ball, DO NOT PASS THE BALL! ”  I questioned his sanity and he reassured me that this was the best plan and it would work if I executed it. We went back on the court, someone threw the ball in to me and I dribbled to half court where Findlay put 3 very large girls on me to trap me.  I looked down under our basket and one of our players was standing right underneath the hoop, WIDE open, I mean, no one within 5 feet of her.  I did a couple of spin dribbles, looked down and there she was again, even more wide open than the time before.  I reached around the biggest defender and bounce passed the ball directly to her.  She caught the ball for a brief second, looked up to check her surroundings and throw up the reassurance shot, but instead, the ball went through her hands and out of bounds!  

The gym was silent until my coach stood up and yelled, ” Lynn Case, if we lose this game by 2 points, it’s YOUR fault! ”  I looked over at him and the disappointment was all over his face and oozing out of his body… I passed the ball… !  Findlay came down and we fouled them, they made 2 foul shots and tied the game. As our team tried to inbound the ball to me, Findlay intercepted it and scored again. Now, with 15 seconds left in regulation, they were ahead 49-51. I caught the pass and sprinted down the court, I ran over to the right side base line in front of our bench and looked at the clock, 3 ticks left, I squared up and took one of my favorite 10 foot shots, it rimmed the hoop and fell out… WE LOST THE GAME BY 2 POINTS!  

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I can still remember laying in the floor crying and not wanting to get up because I knew that I blew it, I did not follow through with my coach’s very specific game plan and we lost the game. (just to clarify, we lost 49-51 and I had all 49 points, but at that point, it did not matter to me at all) After David finally coaxed me into getting up off of the floor, he talked to me and reassured me that an 18-1 season was awfully impressive and that tomorrow would still come, the sun would still shine and I would get over this defeat. 

I share that story with you today because my friend Chad has a reminder me for me based on the above account, no matter how rough my days get, he always reminds me that the current struggle is my game to play and that the truth is still there, DON’T PASS THE BALL!  He reminded me that again today as I was a little down after an eventful chemo day. So many days, like today, when I get a bit insecure and think that my way is better than God’s plan for me, I need that big reminder to keep on dribbling and trust in His game plan for me. He is able to see the big picture that I currently cannot and He knows what is best!  Right now, no matter the circumstance, the best thing for me to do is take a deep breath, remember where my strength comes from and most importantly to remember these very simple but profound words that have helped me and stayed with me since March of 1985!  DON’T PASS THE BALL!

What are you facing today?  Does your task seem too difficult? Are you losing faith in yourself and in the plan set out for you?  Take heart, friend, look to the One who has it all under control and knows what is best and keep your head and heart in the game because that is the only way to WIN!  #INITTOWINIT  #DONTPASSTHEBALL

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I’ve Still Got A Lot of Fight Left in Me

Good morning!  I have had several people ask me why I have not entered a blog post in awhile, honestly, I did not have a good answer.  One of the reasons is that my past eight days had been pretty down and I did not feel like I had much to share!  I guess in my mind I still think that I have to be “up” all the time and if I am not, I better keep it to myself!

So, the truth is, the weeks that I have two chemo drugs, those being Carboplatin and Taxol it is a pretty lethal combination that truly kicks my butt!  Meaning, I pretty much have to MAKE myself get out of my recliner throughout the days, I have to force myself to eat and pray I do not get sick and the body aches, soreness and fatigue makes me in a semi- lifeless state for at least two to three days!  O-kay, so there is my honest truth about the last week or so.

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One night, Leisha came over late, about 10:00, it was one of my particularly roughest days, she looked at me and said, “Just think Momma, you only have two more times with double chemo!”  She had the best of intentions and she was correct, yet, I was so down and weak that my response to her was something like, ” Let me get through this week first because  I can’t even THINK about going through this another week! ”  Of course, I apologized to her later as she was merely trying to encourage me!

This morning in one of my devotional calendars, I read something that has given me a new spark, a new boost (and I don’t mean the drink this time!) and a new outlook for my current situation… a new motivation to help me get from week 12 of chemo treatments to week 18!  This is what is states:  “Because even though the dungeon is dark and I’m fighting everyday to get out, and even though I’m honestly kind of scared and this hurts something fierce, I will keep breathing. I won’t give up. Just because I’m fighting doesn’t mean I’m losing!” ( Annie Downs )   WOW, that last statement especially, JUST BECAUSE I’M FIGHTING DOESN’T MEAN I’M LOSING!  That is just what I needed today and I thought I would share it in case someone else needs it, too!  Then, I got in my car to drive to Tim Horton’s and get a nice, cream filled, fattening pastry and this song was playing:

“Like a small boat on the ocean sending big waves into motion, Like how a single word can make a heart open, I might only have ONE match but I can make an explosion!  And all those things I didn’t say wrecking balls inside my brain, I will scream them loud tonight, can you hear my voice this time?  This is my fight song take back my life song, prove I’m alright song. My power’s turned on, starting right now I’ll be strong, I’ll play my fight song and I don’t really care if nobody else believes, ’cause I’ve still got alot of fight left in me… I’ve STILL GOT ALOT OF FIGHT LEFT IN ME!”

I am forever grateful to each one of you who have been with me through this battle and still take time to read this blog, wear my bracelets, pray, send thoughts, visit, text, message me and just help keep me going!  THANK YOU FROM MY HEART!  Have a terrific Thursday and whatever struggle you may be going through, join with me in remembering that just because I am fighting, DOES NOT mean I am losing!

'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me / Rachel Platten

There Is No Testimony without the Test!

I do not care for tests, I was so insecure about tests in Middle and High School and I certainly have not been excited to take tests in insurance either!  It is funny that I chose a career that includes 24 hours of continuing education and some of those classes include tests. I have to say, I have improved exponentially on my test taking skills as an adult as opposed to when I was a kid. Perhaps my improvements are parallel to my drive and commitment to actually studying for said tests!  

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Today as I was reviewing my timeline on Facebook, one of my good friends, Sherry, had shared a Toby Mac post that said “There is no testimony without the test!”  Whoa, this really caught my attention and made me re-think so many things.  For instance, we had such a good report yesterday from Dr. Mahdi, yet, I found myself feeling a bit down because I had hoped that my chemo might be reduced or shortened… not going to happen. I suppose I was hoping to get to the end of this test and see my grade card more quickly than is the plan for me.  I need to be a patient patient and a committed test taker, sometimes that is easier to write about than to execute in day to day life.

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I have seen through this current test of mine that focusing on my blessings is a great distraction from the often discouraging and defeating details of the day, especially my Thursdays. For instance, today’s blessings list could look something like this: 1. Thankful for true and inspiring friendships. 2. Thankful for the blessing of a beautiful and peaceful home environment to endure chemo through and in. 3. Thankful for my family and friends who continuously care and confirm their love for me on a daily basis. 4. Thankful for a God who protects, provides and sustains me even when my faith waivers. 5. Thankful for the beautiful sunshine and warm weather. 6. Thankful for a Dr. and chemo staff who have become like family to me. 7. Thankful for the ability to eat well and gain weight. 8. Thankful for music and it’s healing and comforting powers that I feel when I listen to it. 9. Thankful for birds that sing, bunnies that hop through the yard and our fat squirrels who consistently entertain me. 10. Thankful for the opportunity to write my blog and share it and that others care enough to read it and come on this journey with me.

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I desire to have a wonderful testimony and I was reminded again that it cannot happen without a test.  Some tests are more difficult than others, some are more tedious, time consuming and tiring than others as well. Reflecting on this today I realized something, the greater the testimony = the more daunting test!  So, to my list of blessings and thanks today, I need to add, THANKFUL FOR THIS TEST!  I hope that all of us can look at the tests that come are way as just another way to add to the resume of our consistently growing TESTIMONIES.  

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Living Life in HD and Tim McGraw

Anyone who knows me well knows I have always been extra fond of country music star, Tim McGraw, I mean, pretty much always!  He has a song which I have mentioned before called Live Like You Were Dying, I love it! Here are some lyrics from the song:

” He said, I was in my early 40’s , with a lot of life before me, and a moment came that stopped me on a dime, I spent most of the next days, looking at the xrays, talkin’ bout the options and talkin’ bout sweet time. I asked him when it sank in, that this might really be the real end, how’s it hit you when you get that kind of news?  Man, whatd’ you do?

He said, I went skydiving, I went Rocky Mountain climbing, I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu and I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter and I gave forgiveness I’d been denying and he said Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying! “

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That is only a small portion of a mighty and powerful song!  I can tell you this, when I was released from the Cleveland Clinic on March 21st, following the largest surgery of my life, I saw a whole new world. I realized for the first time that I was finally seeing life in true High Definition, I was living life in HD!  Ever since that day, each time I look out the window, each time I walk to the mailbox, or walk outside at all… the sky is a much deeper blue, the grass is a brighter shade of green, flowers are the brightest colors I have ever seen, birds sing sweeter and much more lively than I recall from the past, the breeze seems to be life bringing and even thunderstorms have a sense of peace and calm to me.  

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I am not saying that I think that I am dying, but I am saying that when you get news like I did on March 1st, life stops on a dime!  I am so appreciating my new outlook and I am praying that it never changes!  I love my new HD views and I hope it never goes away!  Take time, while there is time, to stop and enjoy the beauty around you, beauty from the world and beauty from the people who are around you. Just FYI, NONE of us are promised tomorrow or our next breath for that matter, so LIVE LIFE TODAY as if tomorrow is NOT certain because it is NOT!  

I am not sure that I will ever be riding a bull named Fumanchu or even skydiving, but I can promise you that every morning that I am blessed to wake up and live a new day, I will do just that… I will keep on living in HD and viewing God’s creation that way as well!  Let us all love deeper, speak sweeter and may we all get the opportunity to live like we were dying!  

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That’s What Faith Can Do!

I had a wonderful church family and home at Wood County Baptist Church, just south of Bowling Green.  I was a member there for the past 2 1/2 years, not just a member, I was a part of the music ministry team there, as well.  We had a wonderful time “doing music” every Sunday morning.  I played the keyboard and added harmonies to Dale’s melodies and we had a great chemistry and bond. Dale was extremely patient with my very slow decision process in choosing a song to sing, he would even duet with me at the last second. It was truly a blast!

In February I made the very difficult decision to step down from my position and leave the church due to my insanely busy schedule and the fact that I had been tired for the past six months!  Little did I know what truly was the culprit for my fatigue!

Since my diagnosis on March 1st, I had promised to visit WCBC and sing again… I had no idea IF or WHEN that might ever occur, but in my heart, I truly wanted it to happen.  Well, last Friday I received a phone call from Pastor Dave, he was calling to let me know that his last service there would be yesterday and wanted to know if I was up to singing. I really did not think about the question long before I responded that I would truly try to come and sing for his last day there!  I had a song chosen and I rehearsed it this weekend and even practiced it in front of my Mom and Aunt Deb.  They reassured me that it sounded good.  I knew my voice was strong enough, I knew I was willing to sing, I knew in my mind that I WANTED to sing, so, what was the problem then?  The words to the song were eating at me, I was NOT going to get up and sing these words if I did not mean them from the bottom of my heart.

“Everybody falls sometimes, gotta’ find the strength to rise, from the ashes and make a new beginning. Anyone can feel the ache, you think it’s more than you can take, but you are stronger, stronger than you know. Don’t you give up now, the sun will soon be shining, You gotta face the clouds to find the silver lining.  I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains, hope that doesn’t ever end, even when the sky is falling, I’ve seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered, broken hearts become brand new, that’s what faith can do! It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard, impossible is not a word, it’s just a reason for someone not to try. Everybody’s scared to death, when they decide to take that step, out on the water, but it will be alright. Life is so much more, than what your eyes are seeing, you will find your way, if you keep believing! I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains, hope that doesn’t ever end, even when the sky is falling, I’ve seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered, broken hearts become brand new, that’s what faith can do!  Overcome the odds, when you don’t have a chance, when the world says you can’t, it’ll tell you that you CAN!”

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This Kutless song has been an inspiration to me for a long time and now, more than ever, I see what faith can do!  I am thankful to say, my parents were gracious enough to drive me to Bowling Green and I was able to STAND up front (not sit) and sing the words to this song and mean them with all of my heart and soul!  That is absolutely a GOD thing! My own strength would have told me to stay home and rest up for double chemo this week, but when the world says I can’t, faith tells me that I CAN!!!  What are you facing this week? I hope that the lyrics to this song can permeate your heart and soul like they did mine and bring you through whatever challenges may come your way because THAT’S WHAT FAITH CAN DO!

I'm sending this out to Tameka Raymond and her son Kyle.  This is for any parent watching over their child in a hospital bed praying for a miracle.  Remember God is in control... always, even if we don't understand. lmw

 

The Bouquet is Hung Up to Dry

Eighteen months of planning, pinning, and plotting… all for Leisha and Tim’s big day, their wedding day!  I can remember when it seemed like an eternity away!  We had to plan early because all ceremony sites and reception halls here book so far in advance because there are not enough of them to go around.  I have to say, we enjoyed each step of the planning process. 

Finding out I had stage 3 C Ovarian cancer on March 3rd, kind of took me out of the “wedding game” for a couple of months. Leisha had to pick up the ball and run with it, while dealing with my sickness and she did it all with grace and style and handled it like a pro. Finally, the past month or so I was able to assist in mental ways and items that could be handled over the phone and I enjoyed assisting in any way that I could. Again though, we had thought about this wedding day for such a long time.

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Last week seemed to go so quickly as we counted down the last 7 days until THE DAY. As Leisha and Tim’s company started arriving last Wednesday, it made it all real, this is the week, the wedding is almost here!  Saturday, May 27th, 3:30 was here before we could blink and all of the preparations would soon turn into a distant memory.  As I was standing at the edge of the ceremony site, waiting for Luke to come back and escort me down the aisle, all I could see is the most beautiful ceremony set up I have ever seen. Schedel Gardens was in full bloom, absolutely gorgeous landscaping everywhere. The archway was adorned with beautiful flowers, then I looked up to the right and there was the stairway Leisha always dreamed of walking down, again, decorated beautifully just waiting for her grand entrance.  As I listened to the music playing Celine Dion, Because You Loved Me, big tears started streaming down my face before I even began my descent towards the audience. Once Luke got to me, he started trying to make me smile and laugh as he always does and the tears just kept flowing. Luke seated me and I enjoyed watching all of the bridal party come down the aisle and then the music stopped and there was Leisha with her Dad, the bride was on her way down!

The wedding was absolutely flawless, our cousin Aaron did a wonderful job with the service, as he always does and it just made it more special to see how many family and friends came to share in this most special day.  The reception followed and was just as perfect and everyone had a splendid time with close family and friends and memories were made which will not soon be forgotten, if ever.

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Yesterday, I was walking through the garage when something caught my eye, it was Leisha’s gorgeous bouquet, hanging on the wall.  My mom hung it there to dry, to hopefully preserve the flowers Leisha had always dreamed of carrying, as a priceless keepsake.  As I walked by I could not help but think of all of the hours, weeks, and months that we had spent meticulously planning each moment of this wedding day and like that, blink, it is over and we are hanging the flowers to dry. It is just amazing how quickly time passes and how big events become fond memories.  This is just a reminder of how we need to embrace and cherish each special moment because the planning stage quickly turns into the flowers drying on the wall and all you have left are the memories made or missed.

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I had a boss in Knoxville, Tennessee, Bunny Oaks, I respect that man so much. Each morning he would walk in and I would ask him how he was and he would say, “Lynn, every day is a blessing! ”  I will never forget that and in light of the past few months, it is more true to me all of the time.  EVERY DAY IS A BLESSING!!  Enjoy each day, moment, and second, knowing that soon, even those will become memories. Live life to the fullest, don’t sweat the small stuff, and cherish time with loved ones, family and friends alike.

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Recalculating…

I can remember one night trying to get from our cousin’s wedding near Cincinnati back to my brother’s home in Kentucky. We were in my Pop’s SUV and he was driving,  suddenly we started seeing cars backed up on the interstate, never a good sign. Leisha quickly looked up the situation on Google and she found the very serious accident ahead… she put our destination in and we exited at the first available off ramp. Immediately after we were able to get off of the interstate we heard the GPS voice say, “Recalculating” because this off ramp could not get us where we needed to go. We continued to get back on and off the interstate and each time we would hear, “Recalculating”.  It is never reassuring or convenient to hear that our current route is being recalculated because we may not know the road ahead very well, we may not like the views or enjoy the drive as much, etc… All we can do is trust in the voice that is saying “Recalculating” and realize that that voice only wants us to get to our destination safely.  

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From March 1st, 2017 until now I have heard that all familiar voice in my head and heart saying “Recalculating”, at first it was very frightening and is sometimes very frustrating, but I am learning more and more daily to TRUST in that voice and know that He only wants me to get to my destination safely.  I am so thankful that God is in charge of this recalculation, not me, He is the voice and guidance that will direct me each step of each day and I could not be more grateful!

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This week as Leisha and Tim’s wedding approaches, I am thankful to be here to see my daughter marry her best friend. I am so grateful for our dearest family and friends who will be here to celebrate with us. I am so thankful for a pause from chemo so that I can enjoy each moment of this week to the fullest and that is what I am trying to do!  

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As each of us go through this week and whatever it brings, let us embrace the voice in our lives that says, “Recalculating”, may we learn to trust that it will guide us safely to our destination and that even through these unplanned and recalculated times, we can celebrate each moment along the way… like being here and enjoying the biggest day in my daughter’s life.

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