About me...

Pop the lid on my Mason Jar and meet my family. Jim {Jimma} and I have four kids, Creston (Ashley), Jami (Matt), Brandon and Chance. Our grandkids, Cade, Kirby, Eisley, Beck and Reed bring us more joy than any Mason Jar could ever hold. I am counting my blessings over and over and thanking God for His amazing love and grace.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Faith or Fear?

A little over fifteen years ago, I went in for my annual check-up. The doctor commented on how she had never seen me looking so healthy. Not only was I eating right and exercising, I was learning to slow down, to let go of things that stressed me and was enjoying life more than ever. We were talking and as she examined my right breast, she asked if I had ever felt the small, tiny lump she found. I hadn’t and could barely feel it when she put my finger on it. She assumed it was nothing and told me to come back in six months and have a mammogram before I came back. I laughed and told her I would be getting my mammogram that week since it was December and I had met my deductible.

I left her office worry free. I knew there was no reason for worry. Me, having cancer? Impossible. Not only was there no family history, I was feeling great, and doing everything to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I completely rejected the possibility that I could have cancer and was in no way prepared for the cancer diagnosis I got four days later.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday, the day I went for my annual cancer check-up. To say all those check-ups through the years have stressed me, would be an understatement. I’ve never gone without trepidation over what the outcome might be. For some reason, this year it was different. I walked in stress and worry free. The only fear I had was the needle stick for my labs, which I’ve hated every since I had chemo.

I told the oncologist that I’m feeling healthier than ever, walking every day, eating healthy and I’m determined to keep my weight off. Not only was my physical exam with him perfect, my labs were perfect as well. Dr. Marks said the odds of me not having a re-occurrence are overwhelmingly in my favor! It was an awesome feeling walking out of his office, knowing I have finally let go of the fears that used to come with my check-ups.

Friday, I went to my internist for my annual check-up. Dr. P and I talked a few minutes before the exam and he read over the report from the oncologist. He was pleased with how well I’m doing until... he felt a nodule in my thyroid. Dr. P said it probably isn’t anything serious, but I need to have a sono and lab work done to find out what is going on.

Pre- cancer diagnosis I wouldn’t give this a second thought. Post cancer diagnosis and my mind and thoughts are all over the place. I start thinking back to the conversation with the doctor who found the lump and realize I repeated almost the same conversation with Dr. Marks and Dr. P about how healthy I’m feeling. Is this the end of the similarities?

Can I go forward with the same confidence I had when my GYN found the lump in my breast? I was so over confident, that my world was shattered when the surgeon told me it was breast cancer. Dare I take that risk again? The GYN said the lump was so small it couldn’t be anything. The internist said that more than likely, the nodule isn’t cancer. The odds are in my favor this time, but they were in my favor last time. How can I be positive when I got burnt last time? Part of me says I should take what I learned from that experience and coward into fear, preparing for the worse, just in case things don’t go the way I WANT them to go.

The nodule has brought unrest back into my life, putting me once again in a battle against fear, against worry. Is this how I should react? I know what I am supposed to do. It’s called “having complete faith and trust in God.” So I ask myself, “Can I let go and believe that God knows what He is doing in my life, that none of this has caught Him by surprise and it’s all part of His master plan for me? If everything is done out of His perfect love for me and in my best interest, is there a reason to worry? Where I see part of the picture, He sees the big picture. Faith isn’t about God doing things my way, it’s knowing God is doing them the BEST way for me. God has brought me and my family through so much, dare I not trust Him to bring me through this as well?

Just writing it all out has helped me realize what I knew all along. I have to let go and trust in the one who holds my future, the same one who created the universe and loved me so much, He sent His only son to die for me! Complete trust in Him relieves me from the need to worry and is a “win win” for me!

Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

Friday, June 17, 2011

Buffalo Wing Dip

I recently attended a graduation party for my friend's daughter. Someone brought this dip and it was a huge hit. Lucy said that of all the food served, this was the recipe that everyone asked for. I carried it to a luncheon yesterday and it went fast!!! A friend even asked if she could lick the spoon! Enjoy!

Buffalo Wing Dip
2 large cans of white meat chicken
2 - 8 oz. packs of cream cheese - softened
1 cup ranch dressing
3/4 cup of buffalo wing sauce
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Drain chicken and break it up. Beat the cream cheese, add dressing and wing sauce. Stir in the chicken and cheddar cheese. Pour in greased 9/13 pan or casserole dish. Bake 400 until bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An Old Card

I blog for me! I blog so that I will have things in writing, that I want to remember, especially when it’s something that will encourage me in my walk with God. When I’m going through a tough time and need a reminder of all that God has brought me through, it strengthens my faith to go back and read some of my posts. That’s the reason for this post.

I've been helping Mom move this past week and yesterday I gave her a box of papers and cards to sort through that I had packed. As she emptied the box, she read a card, handed it to me and said, "here's an old one." I immediately recognized the front of the card as one that I had sent her and Dad, and remembered how much I loved the poem that was on the front. I was surprised when I opened the card and read the date. It was dated five days after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Reading what I wrote on the inside of the card made me more aware of how much God has brought me through and the value of trusting in Him.

The poem “Cares” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning was on the front of the card -

The little cares that fretted me
I lost them yesterday.
Among the fields above the sea,
among the winds at play;
Among the lowing of the herds,
The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.
The foolish fears of what may happen,
I cast them all away.
Among the clover-scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay;
Among the husking of the corn
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born,
Out in the fields with God.

The inside of the card -

December 27, 1995,
Mom and Dad,
Thank you so much for rasing me in a Christian home and for always being there for me. I’ve always felt so secure in your love. Your support, concern and care mean the world to me.
Thank you for showing me that when things are at their darkest, there’s always God. This past week I realized that He never leaves me - even in those dark gloomy times.
I love you both,


Monday, June 6, 2011

Blessing Our Moms

One of the things that I love so much about spending time at The Way is seeing the many ways that God provides for our moms. When I say He provides, He REALLY provides! We have a group of ladies that knit sweet little hats and blankets for our newborn gift bags and another lady makes beautiful quilts for them. We always have an on-going supply of gently-used baby clothes, Pampers, wet wipes and other items to add to the gift bags. A close friend has recently started donating grocery and hygiene items she gets by couponing and is now encouraging others to come on board with her to help meet another need at our clinic.

We’ve been able to help our moms with different needs, and thankfully, we’re now able to help them with another need, one for maternity clothes. This need was recently met by “Dignity U Wear,” an organization that gives beautiful new clothes to people in need. There are no words to describe what a blessing this has already been for some of our moms. So much so that I just have to share a couple of the stories.

Last Monday I asked one of our mom’s if she needed maternity clothes and shoes. She was wearing flip-flops and immediately took one of them off and showed me the shoe. It had a hole in it the size of a quarter. This is her only pair of shoes and she walks to our clinic for her visits! As for maternity clothes, she had been wearing jeans that she wore before she was pregnant, so she had to walk around wearing them unzipped! I went through our stash of clothes and picked out some for her to try on. She was especially excited about a pair of overalls and called me in the room so I could see them on her. She thought they would be perfect to wear, even after the baby is born, since she plans to nurse her baby. The appreciation she had for the clothes was nothing short of food for my soul!

Another mom, Debbie (name changed), told me she needed clothes and I put together a bag for her. She was supposed to come by Wednesday to pick them up. When I called to set up a time for her, her mom answered and said they had a viewing Tuesday afternoon and funeral on Wednesday. Knowing Debbie’s need for clothes, I offered to meet Debbie early Tuesday afternoon to help out with something to wear to the viewing and funeral. Debbie met me at the clinic, tried on the clothes and thanked me over and over as she left with a bag of nice, beautiful maternity clothes and a big smile on her face.

Two moms came in this past Thursday for their checkouts and they were in also in need of maternity clothes. One of them took every item out of the bag and showed it to her husband. It was nothing short of pure sweetness, watching her show the clothes to him and asking him his opinion of them! I put together some clothes for the other mom and asked if she would like me to add a dressy dress since we had a beautiful one in her size. She and her mom have been visiting a new church and she said she would love to have a dress to wear to church. She was beyond elated when she saw the dress and even modeled it for me. Not only was it a perfect fit and color for her, it looked gorgeous on her!

Some of our moms have stories that tug at my heartstrings and they will forever hold a special place in my heart. For the most part, they have fallen on hard times and are in a situation that any of us could be in at any given time. I know what it’s like to go through financially hard times. We went through some really lean times raising four kids and we endured some financial hardships that came from the medical catastrophes my husband and I went through. I truly believe that God lets us go through some experiences to give us a greater understanding of what others are going through, so we can be an encourager to them. Before I was created, He knew that I would end up working with some moms going through financial hard times. My life experiences have given me insight as to the difference a pair of shoes, a dressy dress or baby items can mean to someone going through a difficult time. I know the appreciation these ladies have in their hearts, for everything we give and do for them, even the little things that might seem insignificant to someone else. I am so thankful to everyone who donates to our clinic, giving me the opportunity to brighten someone’s day and make a difference in their life.