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One Year Later… #Godisstillnotsurprised

My Time Hop on Facebook has rarely meant more than it has the past few days!  Why?  It reminds me of just how far (as if I needed reminded!) God has brought me throughout the past 365 days!  

One year ago today my family accompanied me to Cleveland Clinic where Dr. Mahdi confirmed Dr. Hayne’s diagnosis a couple of days earlier and added the clarification of Ovarian Stage 3C!  Dr. Mahdi was both the deliverer of the most dreaded news I had ever NOT wanted to hear, at the same time, he had a way of making me feel like he truly was going to take great care of me!  

One year ago I was handed a diagnosis that was bleak, to say the least. The path ahead of me was completely unclear, I had no control over any of it!  My prayer warriors came to my rescue, when I was too weak and sick to be very positive or productive, everyone came through for me.  My family and friends were absolutely amazing, full of faith, consistently caring, powerfully praying … how could I possibly express my sincere appreciation?

Above all else, as I look back, I have learned to appreciate the irreplaceable family moments spent together,  lessons learned, friendships found, God winks both noticed and appreciated and the added bonus that I’M STILL HERE!!! (My definition of a God wink:  any unplanned “coincidence” that cannot be explained by us that is not odd, it is definitely God, God originated and orchestrated!)

I have had the distinct honor to speak at several churches and events in the past few months.  One of the things I have enjoyed sharing are the life lessons that God has taught me during my journey, may I share those with you now?

#1 – Google is NOT God!

#2 – God is NOT surprised!

#3 – God’s ways are SO much higher than my ways!

#4 – You have to feed FAITH and starve FEAR!

#5 – God’s grace IS enough!

#6 – My weakness shows off God’s strength!

#7 – Every day is a blessing and none of us know tomorrow!

#8 – Every trial has a Silver Lining!

#9 – Don’t just live each day you are given, live it in High Definition, live it as if it is a gift, because it is!

#10 – Notice when “God winks” and tell Him how much you appreciate it!

#11 – Start and end each day being forever grateful and in it to win it!

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One year later I know the statistic that in 2017 there were 22, 240 new Ovarian Cancer cases diagnosed, out of those, 14,070 did not live to see their one year “lifeversary”!  That number is so sad and disheartening. I am honored to be a part of an organization, Ovarian Cancer Connection and my Ovarian Sisterhood, we are doing our best to promote early diagnosis by sharing signs and symptoms with everyone that we can!  It is time to get real about teal! 

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Thank you for reading this, sharing it, and mostly, for being there for me with prayers and encouragement!  God is SO good, His goodness surpasses my understanding, He’s got me and He’s got you!  One year later …. I am forever grateful and more than ever, I am in int to win it! 

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16 May be my new favorite number!

I have to admit, I love numbers! For instance, during my nineteen years of coaching one of my favorite things was coming home after matches and figuring up statistics for my team. I enjoyed the utilization of the immediate gratification of seeing the game through numbers, sometimes the data was favorable and accounted for pats on the back and ‘ata girls… often times though, the results were not as rewarding, but assisted in pointing out where we needed to improve!

One of my favorite numbers has always been #22, starting with my brother in law, David, it was a Case tradition to wear that number proudly as we participated in sports! It is still one of my favorites! #16 though? Not really meaningful to me, that is, until Wednesday, January 24th!

Tuesday, I had gone to the Sandusky Cancer Center and had my first post chemo blood work done. It was a miracle that they were able to find a vein to draw the blood from, a big bruise later, Emily found one that held up! When I left they informed me that I did not have to wait until I see Dr. Mahdi to get the results, I could call the next day!

Sure enough, Wednesday morning I received an email from “my chart” which alerted me that my numbers were back. Just to refresh your memory, my final CA 125 Tumor Marker in September was 27, 0-39 is normal. This was the number that was most important to me on Wednesday and will continue to be!

So… I went up front and grabbed my best friend Chris and asked her to come back with me to call and hear my results. She willingly came back and held me hand while I made the call. It seemed like it took forever before I reached someone who could retrieve my very vital numbers.

The nurse was looking through pages of my results when she came across my Tumor Marker, she said “Everything looks pretty good!” I did not hesitate before I insisted that I needed the number… seconds later she said “16, your CA 125 is down to 16!”

I let out a loud shout of relief and praise!! That is the lowest it has been in almost one year!!! My new favorite number IS 16!!!

God’s goodness exceeds my understanding and this miracle is just that, a miracle! Every 12 weeks we will go through this process, but each time this number stays down the better my percentages get.

#inittowinit , I will keep that motto in front of me and for now, my new favorite number is 16, the only number I would like more is… 15!!

Thank you for continuing to come on this journey which becomes less and less about me and more about God’s hand which guides and protects my life! #forevergrateful

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This Year Is Not Just A Little Bit Different…

I am sitting by the kitchen windows watching the magical white stuff fall on an already blanketed white ground, I am in awe that we are going to have a white Christmas!  I remember way back in May of this year sitting in my recliner, feeling so sick from the effects of chemotherapy and thinking about Christmas and wondering if I would even be here … if I was going to still be here, how would I feel?  Would I continue to be sick?  Would I still be taking chemo?  Then I said a very direct and specific prayer, God, if You allow me to still be around, could we please have a white Christmas???

Here we are, seven months later, I AM INDEED HERE!!  I have not had chemo since September, I feel pretty well and I have most of my amazing family here this weekend… on top of all of that, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A WHITE CHRISTMAS!!!  I watched the weather forecast last week and Jay told us that there was only a 25% chance of a white Christmas, each day since then the percentages have gone up, then today happened!

We woke up to the most beautiful fluffy, white and magical scene straight from a Christmas card!  I have not stopped looking outside, I have also not stopped thanking God for first and foremost allowing me to be here to enjoy my most favorite season of all, but next for an amazingly beautiful backdrop for this spectacular Christmas season!

As I sit and write this entry, my heart is full of joy and wonder. I woke up early this morning with great anticipation of preparing the traditional buckeyes for this holiday.  Today I mixed the buckeye ingredients, stirred it tirelessly and then worked with my Mom to form each peanut butter ball, I did not dread it as in years past; in fact, I took joy in each stir of my spoon, in each candy formed. We had Christmas music playing, snow falling and each moment was treasured this year.

Nothing is the same this year, NOTHING.  It is not just a LITTLE bit different this year, it is completely and absolutely different.  Why?  Because after 50 years of living, I am finally and gratefully living in HD!  The past nine months have been the most difficult of my life, as well as for my family and friends … but, here we are!

I am so thankful for each tick of the clock, for each moment shared during this Christmas season and most importantly for Jesus who came down to earth and was born in a manger so that we could have life, not just life, but everlasting and abundant life!

May this Christmas be not just a little bit different, but ABSOLUTELY different for all of us!  I wish you all a Merry Christmas and the most glorious moments of this magical, Christmas season!  Say I love you to those you love, treasure each moment and may God bless us, everyone!

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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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