Thursday, August 30, 2018

Market Analysis

Have you ever House shopped? “It will be fun” they say! Fun? It’s crazy!

Buyers Market, Sellers Market. All I know is that if no one is buying, then you’re not selling!

Home warranties, inspections, earnest money, down payment, closing costs, market analysis, etc. - it’s exhausting!

Market Analysis: “Studies the attractiveness and dynamics of a special market within a special industry.” Wikipedia

“A phase of research conducted to determine factors, conditions and characteristics of a market.” Dictionary

I’m so thankful my life doesn’t depend on all these things!

I’m reminded of an old hymn.
“Jesus Paid It All” by Elvina Hall.

“Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe; ...

For nothing good have I ...

My ransomed soul shall rise,
Jesus died my soul to save, ...”

Ransom: The sum or price paid or demanded.

In the housing market, a house price can go up or down, houses can go into a bidding war if multiple people want the same place.

Jesus paid the ultimate, highest price for us! For my sin and yours!

Mark 10:45 (NLT) “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

1 Timothy 2:6a (TPT) “He gave himself as ransom-payment for everyone.”

Wherever you find yourself in this market—

New - not sure if your worth the purchase
Price Drop - devalued, uncertain
Price Increase - He will pay the highest price!
Pending - undecided, unresolved
Sold - bought by the blood of Jesus!

I pray that you will see that you are loved where you are at.

Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭(TPT) ‬‬“But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly!”






Thursday, July 26, 2018

New Norm ... Who’s Norm?

It’s so crazy how fast and how slow five years feels. 

It’s been said that cancer “cannot cripple love.” I was diagnosed seven months after our 20th anniversary. Ron has been rock solid! He loves me, encourages me and tells me I am beautiful! I have so many scars, my weight has gone up and down, I’ve been tired and had sleepless nights. He even buzzed my hair when I started to lose it after I started chemo, I am so thankful for him! He told me the other day, he’s glad I am still here! #Blessed

Cancer “cannot shatter hope.” “Hope is the anchor for the soul” Hebrews 6:19 
I believe you just have to have hope in the faith. They really go hand in hand. 

Cancer “cannot corrode faith.” My faith was the strongest it had ever been during this darkest hour. God gave me strength, and determination and grit! Don’t get me wrong, there were days that I cried, slept all day, and just didn’t want to do this anymore, but I knew I was going to get through it and that God would use my story. I knew that God was with me!

Cancer “cannot eat away peace.” The day of my bilateral mastectomy I had such peace. “God’s wonderful peace transcends human understanding” Philippians 4:7 I woke up that morning and did not have a worry about the surgery, the healing process or anything else. It was such a blessing to know that people around the globe were praying for me!

Cancer “cannot destroy confidence.” Not sure about this one ... You have to dig deep when you are a woman and completely bald. I gained confidence in some areas and struggled in others. I would say “rock what you got!”

Cancer “cannot kill friendship.” Oh man...am I thankful for Edie and Michelle! I have known Edie for over 30 years. She came and spent a week with me after surgery, called to check on me, sent cards, etc. I have known Michelle for over 20 years and she is my nurse friend (everyone needs one). She came to all my appointments (along with Ron), explained things, let me ask questions, was my advocate and sat with me during chemo. I am blessed by these two and many more that were in my corner during this journey.

Cancer “cannot shut out memories.” Hmmmm I have memories, some clearer than others. After chemo & chemo brain I couldn’t remember why I went downstairs or names of things or people, but I can remember each cancer date like its a loved ones birthday.

Cancer “cannot silence courage.” I was silent for about a year. I didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted my life back. I wanted to be “normal”. Fact is I am not the same. Cancer isn’t who I am, It’s what I went through. It doesn’t define me, but it has changed me.

Cancer “cannot reduce eternal life.” Thank you Jesus! He is the one that holds the key to my life everlasting! 

Cancer “cannot quench the Spirit.” Ha Thankful for this! Sometimes people are shocked that I can laugh at some of the things that happened or that I went through. That’s who I am ... Always have ... and always will be!

One of my favorite verses in this season and now is Isaiah 43:2MSG
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am GOD, your personal God...”


I am thankful for the people that I have met, and the things I have learned. I have seen the faithfulness of God, I am blessed by my family and friends. I am grateful that I am alive!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Joy ~ Unspeakable

Joy: “The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation” 
~Webster

When diagnosed with breast cancer we made a conscious effort and bold declaration to laugh at hard things. We didn’t do this as a mockery or to be offensive, but to decide to find humor and joy even during our trial. 
It’s an Unspeakable joy. One others don’t understand. 

“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:”
1 Peter 1:8 KJV

To me this is part of faith. We have faith and believe that God exists even though we can’t see him in the flesh. With this in mind we choose to rejoice in and through our hardships believing that God is in control! 

This is not always easy...life is hard and trials seem to come and go like the waves in the ocean. There are days when I literally sat out loud “God if you love me ...” or “God do you hear me? Or even care?” I have to remember what the Bible says and some of my favorite verses. 

“I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’ Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.”
Isaiah 41:10 MSG

“I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.””
Matthew 28:20 MSG

When you choose joy in spite of what your going through it makes life bearable. Being negative, sad or wallowing in your trial takes more time and energy. When you choose joy, people want to know why. This is a perfect opportunity to point them to Christ! 

My prayer for 2018 is that we continue to find joy in all things! My prayer for you is that no matter what you are going through that you would be able to find joy. Joy comes from remembering what you have been brought through, and understanding what can come out of what your going through. God is able to get you through your biggest trial and give you joy for the journey. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

DIY ~ RIFY (DO It Yourself ~ Read It For Yourself)

DIY ~ RIFY

(DO It Yourself ~ Read It For Yourself)


There are so many shows that are DIY "Do It Yourself", but really God calls us to do life together. 

“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 MSG


With thirty people a whole backyard is crashed and transformed in just two days!


"Do you have the guts to take on a Fixer Upper?"

“God does both the making and saving." 

Ephesians 2:10a MSG


"You don't have to be rich to live in paradise!"

“But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”

Psalms 37:11 ESV


"Stone House Revival"

“And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.”

Matthew 16:18 MSG


"Flip Or Flop"

“Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.”

ISAIAH 43:19 AMP


"My Lottery Dream Home"

“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

John 14:2 KJV


"Do You Want To Run In The Rat Race? Or Chase Your Dreams?"

“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got..”

1 Corinthians 9:24-26 MSG


"Rehab Addict"

"There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.”

Philippians 1:6 MSG


My prayer for you is that as you navigate this life, with all the ebbs and flows that you would remember the promises of God! May you find encouragement knowing how much He loves you and that His plans for you are for good!


"Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love."

Ephesians 1:4 MSG


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Survival Is Not For The Weak

Survivor: A person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardships or setbacks.


"Continues to function" this pretty much sums it all up! This July will be four years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I have been through surgeries, chemo and countless doctors appointments. 


Surviving comes with a lot of mixed emotions that no one prepares you for. 

I am beyond grateful that God has allowed me another day. I have met so many people that have walked this road and are in varying stages of diagnosis, decisions, fighting or surviving cancer (or other diseases). I also have had survivors guilt. Although grateful that I am cancer free I have seen others continue to battle on as their cancer has metastasized. Some are single moms, some still have young kids at home or both. Some are young children with parents having to make choices no parent should have to make for the health, and life of their child. Others have regular scans and daily chemo regimens they are have to partake in. 


I have held my head high, and stayed confident in my God. I have had some great triumphs, been tired beyond belief and had some set backs. One of the things that I have to do to survive is take a monthly chemo shot that reduces the amount of estrogen my body produces to lower the chances of reoccurrence of cancer in my body. It has caused many sleepless nights, neuropathy in my hands and a few other side effects to boot.   


In just a few weeks I will have a (TAH-BSO) total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. This surgery will reduce the amount of estrogen that my body produces and then I will not have to take the monthly chemo shot. 


I have really tried to keep forward momentum, make better health choices, loose weight, and embrace my hair cowlicks with a fun hair style! I've learned to rest and take care of myself. I also get frustrated that I don't have the energy to do more and plan naps along with having fun.


In my moments of not being able to sleep I get lost in thought and realize that God knew all of these things and has big plans for my life!


“The Spirit of God made me what I am, the breath of God Almighty gave me life!”

Job 33:4


"You gave me life itself, and incredible love. You watched and guarded every breath I took.” Job 10:8-12 


My prayer for you is that if you are healthy, sick, injured, lonely, sad, surviving, fighting or just hanging on that you would see what God has for you in the season you are in. How you navigate what you are going through can put your faith into action. God is with you every step of the way. 


“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” Isaiah 41:10



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Encouragement

The dictionary defines the word encourage as follows: 
"to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence" 

When I think of the word encourage I think about physically, mentally and spiritually coming alongside someone on their journey.  This is not a job that requires a resume, a degree or a ton of life experience, what it does require is empathy. Sometimes we do have life experiences that validate our words, sometimes we have no words, but we need to validate their feelings. 

"BE KIND. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about."

We usually feel compelled to say something or offer help when a friend is in need. Sometimes people say the dumbest things. They mean well, but just don't know what to say.  

I am so thankful for a whole book that says all the right things!

"Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” Isaiah 41:10 MSG

“The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.” Nahum 1:7 NLT

“I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11 MSG

“Your GOD is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs.” Zephaniah 3:16-17 MSG

“but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” Daniel 11:32b NKJV

“And with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Isaiah 53:5b AMP

“This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls." Hebrews 6:19a NLT

“Still, I know that God lives—the One who gives me back my life— 
Job 19:26a MSG

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am GOD, your personal God"
Isaiah 43:2-3 MSG

Here are some other quotes that I found captivating:

"Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared to death" Omar Bradley

"Courage is the mastery of fear not the absence of fear" Mark Twain

"Be fabulous - God spared no enthusiasm when He created you!" Author Unknown

"I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more hills to climb." Mandela 

"In family life, love is the oil that eases the friction, the cement that binds closer together and the music that brings harmony" Eva Burrows

My prayer is as you read and re-read these verses they will attach to your spirit and when trouble comes your way, or you have a friend in need you will remember what God says! We don't have to have the right words, God does! Listen to his voice. Whatever you are facing - God IS: Our healer, our provider, our strength, our banner (feeling of hope; a focus point), our peace, our shepherd, our righteousness, and our friend. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

And if not, God is still good!

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered the king. They said, “Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves to you. You can throw us into the blazing furnace. The God we serve is able to save us from the furnace and your power. If he does this, it is good. But even if God does not save us, we want you, our king, to know this: We will not serve your gods. We will not worship the gold statue you have set up.”" Daniel 3:16-18

What amazing resolve these young men had when faced with such adversity. They believed in God and knew that he is true to his word. They knew that God was to be worshipped and not the golden image set before them by the king. 

They trusted God and did not waiver. Everyone around them buckled under pressure, they did not! They remained standing, strong, together. They weren't concerned about the consequences of an earthly King, they were servants of the Most High God.

I had this similar state of resolve as I walked through my cancer journey. I totally trusted God. I knew He could heal me (He did), but even if he didn't I knew that He is still good! There are other areas in life I don't seem to have this same sense of a resolve in. I get sidetracked by the problem. I bow to the pressure. 

We have to remember who we serve and what he is capable of. Trials will come, health and marriages fail, finances come and go, BUT the God whom I serve is with us every step!

“Do not be afraid — I will save you. I have called you by name — you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burnt; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. For I am the Lord your God, the holy God of Israel, who saves you.” Isaiah 43:1b-3a

My prayer for you is that as you face your "Nebuchadnezzar" you would stand strong, with great resolve knowing that God is with you, He is for you, and He loves you! We can get caught up, distracted, and bow to the pressures of this life, don't get discouraged, stand back up! 

“See how much the Father has loved us! His love is so great that we are called God's children" 1 John 3:1a

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Glass Is Half Empty

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 NLT

If you say your glass is half empty you are considered a pessimist (someone who is more negative). If you say your glass is half full you are considered an optimist (someone who is more positive). Sometimes it doesn't matter if the glass is half empty or half full its has vinegar in it and well it stinks. Such is life. 

Overall I am a pretty positive person and have been even told I minimize things. I will look at a situation and know that its not good, but can also see that it could have been worse. When we minimize our pain, our suffering or whatever we are going through we minimize the work that Christ does in our lives.  

So I will say with great confidence that my glass is half empty. With this in mind The God of all hope can fill me completely! I am empty without his joy and peace in my life. I need to trust him with every detail not worrying how big or small it might be. Every detail in our life matters to the one that created us.

My prayer for you is that whether you find your glass half empty or half full that you would allow God to fill you all the way up!  You can trust him to be your hope, your joy, your peace and so much more! Don't minimize what you are going through it may just stink, but God can and will give you the hope you need to not only walk with you through the situation but to bring you out! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Consistency

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8 NLT

They say that consistency is key...sometimes I think the only think I am consistent about is being inconsistent!

I have moved 15 times, been to 10 churches, had too many cars to count (so many that recently I decided I should lease that way I could change cars every two years). I've had numerous jobs and tried several home businesses. 
I have been consistent at my marriage to my husband of over 21 years and well I think that's it!

I was talking with a friend about this the other day and I felt like this was an area of weakness and that I needed to work harder at being consistent. I felt that The Lord wanted me to write about this and the above verse came to mind. Jesus is my constant. He has been there the whole time! Every move, every car, every church, every high and every low. I believe from my inconsistency God used that to propel me. I am not afraid of change, people, failure, etc. 

So going forward I will not worry about my inconsistencies, or idiosyncrasies I will remember the words in this song and the faithfulness of my God.
 
"If You can use anything Lord, You can use me
Take my hands Lord and my feet
Touch my heart Lord, speak through me
If You can use anything Lord, You can use me..." 
Use Me by: The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

My prayer for you is that whether you are consistent and don't like change, or change is your middle name that you would see the consistency of the one that spoke the world into existence and has been there for you all along. Jesus loves you and is crazy about you! He doesn't change and  he is waiting for you to ask him to be part of your life and your journey and allow him to walk with you through everything. I am thankful for His consistency these past eleven months and really my whole life! He is faithful!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I Look Back

"Generation after generation stands in awe of your work; each one tells stories of your mighty acts." Psalm 145:4 MSG

Wow, it has been a crazy, busy, scary, exhausting roller-coaster of ride these past eleven months. I am working on gaining strength and endurance, but do find that I get tired and have to manage how I am feeling so that I don't wear out to quickly.

I found a lump in my armpit the other day and contacted my doctor. I will admit I was a little freaked out about it. My oncologist sent me to my surgeon to have an ultrasound. It turns out that it was a hair follicle that is infected. Prior to getting in with the doctor I heard a song by: Elevation Worship; "I Will Look Up" the lyrics struck a chord. (http://youtu.be/tEQnoE7SnZw)

"All the worries of this world, I will lay them at your feet
Surrender every anxious thought, For perfect peace...
Oh the loved ones I hold dear, All my hopes and dreams and all my fears
I will choose to trust your name, In everything...

I will look up for there is none above you, I will bow down to tell you that I need you
Jesus, Lord of all...
I will take you at your word, Jesus you have taken hold of me
All my life is in your hands, You're my strength...

I will look back and see that you are faithful, I look ahead believing you are able
Jesus, Lord of all...

Prince of Peace, Perfect Healer
All my life, all my cares on you
King of Kings, Mighty Savior
All my life, all my cares on you...

Prince of Peace
Perfect Healer
All my life, all my cares on you
King of Kings
Mighty Savior
All my life, all my cares on you..."

As I went to the doctor I had so many thoughts and feelings going on. I was hoping and praying it wouldn't be cancer. I thought about having to do chemo and lose my hair again and how exhausting the whole process would be again. So I chose to look back and recount the faithfulness of God. I also thought about the future and knew that no matter what the outcome that he would be faithful. He cares for me! I will tell the stories of his mighty, faithful acts! 

My prayer for you that as you journey through life and whatever struggles you may have that when at the lowest point or highest peak you would be able to pause for a moment to reflect on the faithfulness of God and realize that He will see you through the next thing you face. I have learned to trust God and I laugh at the hard stuff because I know He will see me through! He will see you through too!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Strong Enough?

"He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength" Isaiah 40:29 AMP

"My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness." 
2 Corinthians 12:9 MSG

I feel that I have been pretty transparent about what I have been going through, how I feel and such. I have been feeling pretty good and well on the road to recovery. 
My hair is long enough that I just got a trim with scissors instead of electric clippers! I am able to have my nails done and I am feeling a little more "normal".

About four weeks ago I started getting headaches. They asked a ton of questions and I even had an MRI. One of the nurses where I worked asked me if I was stressed out. I said I didn't think so. She said that I have been through a lot these past eight months and have been so strong that my body could be trying to catch up. I started to think about this. I spoke to my nurse practitioner and she said that certain personality types get their diagnosis and just start down the path and don't look back or think twice, but then when it's all said and done it hits them like a brick. I think I've been hit by a brick! Two thousand thirteen was a year of great highs and great lows. From my dad passing away and my battle with cancer to celebrating twenty years with the best husband and traveling to South Africa. There were a lot of other things that were packed into last year as well. 

I have been through a lot, but not as much as some. When I feel down I tell myself it could be worse, or that there are others in the midst of the battle. I have tried to maintain my personality, work ethic, my faith, and my family as if everything is okay and that it's all good. Well guess what? It's not all good. Life is hard and I am sick of people telling me my hair is cute when it's not a style choice for me, it's in the cards I was dealt. Even though I haven't had to go through what others have gone through I did go through a lot and I'm tired. I hate having to take a nap just so I can go out or get dinner ready or whatever. I get frustrated that my stamina is low, that I get fatigued and that no matter what I try I can't lose weight. My kids have said that I am the strongest person they know and I don't want them to think any different. The fact of the matter is that I'm not strong. Even though I have my faith, my family and such I am not strong enough to carry this burden alone. 

This song "Strong Enough" by Matthew West really describes how I feel.

You must
You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through

Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

I know I'm not strong enough to be
everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not stong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us

Well, maybe
Maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up

Cause when I'm finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out

I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not stong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough

Cause I'm broken
Down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and you are strong
When I am weak

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough...

My prayer for you is that no matter what you are going through that you will realize that you don't have to do it alone and that you don't have to be strong the whole time. God is the strength of our life and our portion. We won't see his strength in being strong, but in our weakness. Find someone you can talk to! I am thankful for my best friend Edie for allowing me to be vulnerable and seeing me through in my highest and lowest points. She prays for me, checks on me and cares about my physical and emotional well being!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Forty!

"For forty years I led you..." 
Deuteronomy 29:5a NLT

During my cancer journey I had my big fortieth birthday. I know quite a few people that have had a hard time with this particular birthday. My father-in-law was diagnosed with diabetes around his fortieth. I know others that have had their marriages end, endured a mid-life crisis, or faced other major, life-changing events.

Honestly, I wasn't approaching the big 4-0 with much enthusiasm anyway, and then I got cancer and had to have chemo right before my birthday. Really?! So then, to top it all off, I was bald on my birthday! It could only get better, right? 

Now, five months later, I find myself thinking, "I just want to get my life back. I want to look and feel good." But it's not that simple. It's hard to accept that everything has changed.

Then, I started thinking about Jesus and His journey. I realized that He never got his life back. When He stepped out of heaven to join us on earth, His life changed forever. Once here, He gave it all. He never even celebrated his fortieth birthday. But His sacrifice and resurrection brought about a new normal that was all about new life. When He stepped out of the tomb, things again changed forever ... forever for the better. He made a way for all those He loved to spend eternity with Him. He completed His journey of identifying with us in all our pain and sorrow, so that we could know He truly understands what we are going through and He knows how to triumph over it. "In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world," John 16:33b.

Surgery. Chemo. These things are their own death and resurrection. Through a process of death, new life comes to my body. They have brought me into a new normal, but it can be a "forever better" normal. If we come through any trial walking hand-in-hand with Jesus, He will bring us out the other side into new life. That's what He does!

As we approach Easter, I want to remember that this life is not my own, just as Jesus' life was not His own, but He gave His life for the salvation of many. He has led me this far and He died so that I could live! By His stripes, I am healed.
This is all good news!

My prayer for you, is that you would pause for a moment--in the midst of whatever you are going through--and realize what Jesus went through so that you don't have to do this life alone. He loves you so very much.

He is with us! Happy Easter. Happy Resurrection Day!

By: Beki Beane
And Erica Faraone

Monday, March 24, 2014

Redeemed? Say So!

"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so," Psalm 107:2a ESV 

I also like this translation ... 

"Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!" Psalms 107:2a NLT

The dictionary defines redeemed as follows:
"to buy or pay off, to recover, to exchange, to convert, to discharge or fulfill,
to make up for; make amends for; offset, to obtain the release or restoration of, as from captivity, to deliver from sin and its consequences by means of a sacrifice offered for the sinner."

On some coupons the verbiage reads "redemption code". I have been pondering these words and have come to the conclusion that I am not the coupon, but Christ is the coupon. Jesus gave His life (the coupon) in order to purchase us from sin. The coupon has a redemption code (the blood of Jesus) and it's not a discount coupon. It's a "no exclusions", "paid in full" coupon! When Jesus died on the cross, it was for you and me. His blood was the atonement ("satisfaction for any wrong doing") for sin.

I had the privilege of talking to a cancer patient who is also a believer. Her fight with cancer started with breast cancer, two separate times, then a bout with spots on her liver and now some in her head. She is so positive and believes that God will heal her. But I left that conversation a little shaken. I told my friend that the lady was so positive and inspiring, but made me think about my health and wonder where I will be in a year or two past my battle with breast cancer. My friend told me that I shouldn't think like that. Honestly, I had a hard time with the whole thing. I am human, so how can I not think about the possibility of cancer returning? Or how life will turn out or ... whatever else? That's when the word "redeemed" kept coming to mind.

I don't need to worry about tomorrow, or next year or cancer or finances or anything else. I have a life saving coupon! Because of Christ, I am redeemed and I need to "speak out", and "say so"! We all have troubles in this life, but we need to focus on Jesus and not our problems. Some of our problems may not ever be resolved this side of heaven, but how can we lead others to Christ if we're moping around about our troubles?

My prayer for you, is that no matter what you are facing that you would allow Christ to redeem you. Let Him have all of you. He has already done the hard work. I'm thankful that Jesus paid it all. I am thankful for the life He has given me and I pray that you can find contentment with what you're facing and be a light to others. If you allow God to shine through your troubles (burdens,) you will find that they are easier to  carry. Perhaps because you are not actually carrying them at all.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

Friday, March 7, 2014

Iced or Hot?

“I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless." Revelation 3:15-17 MSG

I like to get coffee at a drive-thru coffee stand. We know most of the workers by name. I usually get a sugar-free white chocolate Americano.  What changes is the temperature. I like to get them iced, hot and blended (like a shake.)
What I don't like is if it's supposed to be iced and it's not quite cold enough. Then you have to find ice to make it colder. I also don't like if it's a hot drink and by the time you get home it's warm. Yuck! I will put in the microwave for a few minutes to get it hot again.

Well, when it comes to things of the Lord, I want to be HOT! I want to be part of things that are moving, shaking and doing great things for the cause of Christ. After everything I have gone through, good, bad or indifferent, I owe this life to Him. I don't want to sit around and do the same things with the same people and not show others to the feet of Jesus.

If you are cold or not serving the Lord, you can stay the same and that is your choice. At least by being cold, you have made a decision to not pursue the things of God. Of course, that decision comes with other consequences, but that would be a topic for a different post.

If you are lukewarm, that is not a good place to be. This can look like a lot of things. Perhaps you know right from wrong, you have seen the goodness of God, but you are not really walking according to His principles. Lukewarm is an easy state to slip into and I get that. The joke was funny, so we laugh, even though it was wrong. The movie was hilarious. Inappropriate, but hilarious. Being lukewarm starts with compromise. The after awhile, you just end up hanging out there because its easy. You don't want to discount God or be cold, but you don't want to actively be hot either because it takes work. The Bible says that this is this is pitiful.

My prayer for you is that wherever you are in life, hot, cold or lukewarm, that you would make a solid decision. My desire and God's as well, is for you to be HOT! Be in the Word, get in a church that is moving forward and surround yourself with people that are in the Word, moving forward and HOT as well.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

One Million Dollars

“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right?...You’re worth more than a million canaries." 
Matthew 10:29a & 31b MSG

Not quite one million dollars, but by the time I am all done, the cost of all my treatments, surgery, doctors appointments, and medications will reach around a half million dollars! This is a lot of money and I am so thankful that we have good insurance. This floors me. I would never spend that kind of money on myself. When I shop, I buy for everyone else first. The two things I like to do for myself is getting my nails and my hair done. As of now, I can't do either! My nails are in the process of falling off because of chemo, and my hair is only about a half inch long. Basically, I am a cheap date right now!

To buy a canary at a local pet store would be about $140.00. Now I don't consider that loose change, but in comparison to other things we might spend money on, that's not a lot of money. God says we are worth MORE than a million canaries (that's $140,000,000.00)!

We are worth far more than we can imagine. He loves us and wants the very best for us. We need to value ourselves and see ourselves as God sees us.

My prayer for you is that no matter what you have thought about yourself or what people may have thought of you or even called you, that you would begin to see yourself as God sees you! You are worth far more than you can imagine!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Order Number 5!

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way." Psalms 37:23 NKJV

Do you ever feel you are stuck in the great long line of life, waiting for your number to be called? Do you ever feel like you are just one of a million puzzle pieces in the hand of God, waiting for your piece to be put down to actually make something? Do you ever wonder if you have messed up the chance to be used by God? Maybe you have moved your own puzzle piece into the spilled coffee and now you have a soggy corner. Now what?

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go." Isaiah 48:17 MSG

If we can learn anything from the Bible, we should learn from the Israelites, God's chosen people. At times they were a bunch of knuckleheads just doing their own thing. When they actually listened to the Lord, He always came through and directed them where they should go. At times, they seemed like a bunch of numbers! Thousands of them wandering for 40 days and nights, but God did have a plan for them! From their lineage the Messiah would come. From their mistakes we would see God's grace and continued favor.

During these past few months, I have felt like a number. "Please be seated." I was then called by my legal name. "Have a seat in room 2", "Chair 8", etc. This is a soggy puzzle piece that I would like to exchange for the important corner piece. When I think of everything I have been through and I honestly assess my life and the last seven months, I can say I have seen the goodness of the Lord. My steps are ordered. Even though this cancer experience felt like a soggy puzzle piece, I can still be used by the Lord to complete His plan. Without all the pieces, the puzzle is not whole. He needs me to do what He set out for me to do, and He needs you too!

My prayer for you is that however you feel about your piece of the puzzle, you realize you are a part of God's master plan. If you are living in sin (of any kind,) stop it! God's desire is for you to live right! Why? When we follow the steps He has ordered for us, we have peace and contentment. We may run across things that don't seem fair or look bleak, but when we come out the other side of it, we see God was by our side the whole time. Then we can point others to Him and see that our piece has a purpose.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hello My Name Is...

"Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me."
John 15:15b NLT

“Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” James 2:23b MSG

What is your name? That's easy to answer. But then, what are names you wear in life? What are the names you call yourself or that others have called you? Do any of these sound familiar?

Defeated, divorced, molested...
Angry, alone, addicted...
Ugly, obese, anorexic...
Cancer survivor, arthritis patient, learning disabled...


Let's rethink this. Here is what the Bible says.

Redeemed, set free, victorious...
Child of God, Friend of Jesus, Beloved of God...
Justified, righteous, blameless...
Accepted, empowered, a new creation...

And so much more!

I don't want to be known as a cancer patient or survivor without being known as God's child. Cancer is just a small portion of my life. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend.

We need to recall the words the Bible states about us and also speak those things over the people around us.

I like how this song by Michael West puts it:


"...Hello, my name is regret
I’m pretty sure we have met
Every single day of your life
I’m the whisper inside
That won’t let you forget

Hello, my name is Defeat
I know you recognize me
Just when you think you can win
I’ll drag you right back down again
‘Til you’ve lost all belief

Oh, these are the voices. Oh, these are the lies
And I have believed them for the very last time

Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
"Amazing Grace" is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King...

I am no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new
Has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life

Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I've been saved, I've been changed, I have been set free
"Amazing Grace" is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King...

What love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called His children
I am a child of the one true King..."

Matthew West
c2013 Sparrow Records

You can watch the video here: http://is.gd/UCucqH

My prayer for you is that you would not allow yourself to be labeled by whatever negative experiences you have been through, or by anything you have done that you regret. Don't use any of those things as your name.  The name your parents gave you is what you should go by and then back it with the scriptures and what God says about you. For example, the verses I listed at the beginning of this post talk about how we are a friend of God. Just thinking about the fact that the God of the Universe eecalls you His friend and wants to have an intimate friendship with you will change how you view yourself! Start to speak the truth of who you are in Christ into your life. You can use what you have been through for His glory!

By: Beki Beane and Erica Faraone

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bear It All

"Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens..." Galatians 6:2a AMP

"Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down." Romans 12:15 MSG

I am a better laugh than cry kind of girl. I have shed a few tears through this process. I have laughed a ton. There is nothing funny about cancer, but I have found humor along the way!

I have met a few people that are fighting cancer and are on a journey of their own with chemo regimens and surgeries. Chemo is different for everyone. There are different treatments for different types of cancers. How people tolerate their treatment is very different as well. Oh, and not everyone loses their hair!

I met a gal and we hit it off right away. We exchanged numbers and we are staying in contact. She is just beginning her chemo journey. She texted me last week and told me that she was cutting her hair short in preparation for it falling out. I felt like crying. It brought back the day I had my hair cut. I knew I would lose my hair and I thought it would be fine. It wasn't fine. It was hard. My hairdresser gifted me my hair cut and she cried and I held back the tears. One day my hair was shedding so bad, I called my husband and had him pick me up from work to shave my head. I thought I was prepared, but as he shaved my head I cried. It made the journey more real and I knew that now everyone would know. I sent my closest friends and family a picture so they would be prepared.

I now know what it feels like to actually want to take, carry, and endure another's burden. I don't want anyone to have to go through any of what I've had to go through. I want to be there for others in any way I am able. To laugh or cry with my friends.

My prayer for you, is that as you go through life's journeys that you would be mindful of others that are struggling as well. God wants us to bear each other's burdens as He carried, and daily carries, ours. God created us to do life together and be there for one another.

"Blessed be the Lord, who bears our burdens and carries us day by day, even the God who is our salvation!" Psalm 68:19 AMP

Amen!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When The Music Fades

"Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him!" Psalm 68:4 ESV

At first it was overwhelming. The sheer volume. There were so many calls, texts, online messages and cards that came in almost daily. It was truly a blessing that so many people cared.

I know the outpouring was genuine, but it has subsided quite a bit. Now I mainly hear from people I see and then the few people that have been there all along that still check on me.

When the music fades or when things in life seem to quiet down with whatever you are going through, what do you do?

Well, with everything that I have been through in the past six months, I am going to choose to sing! Maybe not literally, but I will make His name known!

He is the one that rode with me through the desert! I want to be a light to those around me. I want others that are battling cancer, or having chemo to know there is hope. I want those that have an illness, are going through a divorce, or just can't shake feeling that the glass is half-empty to know that even if there aren't people in your life cheering you on, sending you cards, or checking up on you, the One that created you cares for you and loves you!

My prayer for you is that as the music fades you would "lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts" with you. He has been there all along so sing praise! Begin to focus on someone or something else. Ask God to put someone in your path that needs encouragement or help through her desert.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Oh Where Is My Hairbrush?!

"Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in." Hebrews 12:2a MSG

I finished chemo today -- yes! The next step is one final surgery and I'm done!

My hair will begin to grow ... Although there's been a couple times that having no hair made me laugh. Like the other day when my co-worker offered to take care of some boxes of past years' data to "get them out of my hair." (But I have no hair--ha, ha! I think these things are funny.) Then, my daughter asked me if I had a brush in my purse... now why would I have that right now? More inside laughter! I find myself singing the Veggie Tales song, "Oh Where is My Hairbrush?"

But it will be nice for the process of restoration to begin. My hair will grow back, my scars will start to heal and the toxins will slowly leave my body.

I've had a few people ask, "What's next?" regarding scans, blood work, etc. I'm in a different place than some who have been on this journey. Because the cancer was caught early, because both were small tumors, and also because the cancer found in one of four lymph nodes was minuscule, I will not be eligible for scans. They will check my blood work on occasion, but there is no lab work for cancer. The blood draws will be mainly to check my other levels which may have been affected by chemo.

After my next and last surgery, my plan is to get fit and healthy so that I can run a 5k with a friend and also do the survivor walk for the cancer relay this year!

I was so excited to have my last chemo, but part of me wonders how well it worked, and I hope and pray that this preventative action of chemo treatments killed any and all bad cells that may have been wandering around my body. 

But I know that...

"My hope is in the name of the Lord
Where my help comes from
You're my strength, my song
My trust is in the name of the Lord
I will sing Your praise, You are faithful"

"My Hope" by Hillsong

So this is what I have ... a BIG God! Plus, faith, hope and freedom in the fact that I know He is right beside me, holding my hand during this journey and the ones to come! In faith, I believe that there is no cancer in my body and I will leave it at that. I will follow through with my treatment plan and doctors appointments and go from there.

My prayer for you as you go from one journey to another, is that you would run your race with your eyes on Jesus and that your heart and mind would be filled with hope! He will give you the strength you need for whatever journey you are facing. He is faithful!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Chemo ... All I NEVER wanted for Christmas

"Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]," James1:17 AMP.

Well, this has been quite the ride! From diagnosis to surgery was two months to the day. Five weeks later was chemo treatment number one of four. Three weeks, then second chemo. I celebrated my 40th birthday, which was exactly two months after my surgery! Then came Thanksgiving, third chemo, and now it's Christmas! Whew!

As a kid growing up, I always had things I needed or wanted for Christmas. I can't think of anything I want or need this year. I don't have everything, but I'm content! I have an amazing family--husband, kids, brother, parents, and in-laws! I have a roof over my head, food to eat, friends, transportation, and the list goes on. Gifts from above!

The greatest gift I have is Jesus! He has been the best Friend I could ever ask for and a Dad when I needed Him most. He is my Provider, Comforter, Healer, and my ever present Help!

I would never wish cancer or chemo upon anyone. This last one wiped me out for a week (the one right before Christmas.) It's exhausting, but without it, disease could've had the opportunity to spread and if it wasn't caught, next Christmas could've been so different. I'm thankful that Jesus never changes and that there is no shadow, just light coming from Him.

My prayer for you this Christmas, is that you would allow Christ's light to shine in and through you; that you would know and understand His endless love for you. Wherever you are or whatever you are going through, stop for a minute and receive the greatest gift of all, Jesus!

If you would like to pray and receive Christ, just sincerely turn to God in this moment and say something like this:

"Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to earth as a baby. Thank you for growing up and dying on the cross for my sins. I admit I am a sinner and I need you to save me. I ask for your forgiveness and I receive it right now. Please wash away all my sins and make me clean. Please take over my life today. I'm giving it to you. I believe you are the Son of God, Jesus and that you rose from the dead. Thank you for the power of your Life that is now in me. Please come and live in my heart and fill me with your Spirit. Thank you, Lord, because I know you hear me and that I am changed from this moment on. Amen."

Click on this link for new believer resources and the answer to, "What to do now?": http://is.gd/DaiK2k

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pull Over the Struggle Bus

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance." Romans 5:3 NLT

Oh man, this third chemo is reeking havoc on my body. I haven't felt as well this time and it's super frustrating. I think I caught a little something as well. I'm so done with all this, except I have one last treatment on January 2nd. I just want off this bus.

I have learned a lot about cancer, treatments, nurses, friendship and more. In the midst of this, I have rejoiced with other people's good news and been there for their struggles. I have learned to endure. My adventure has not been in vain and although I wish it were over, I wouldn't trade the people I've met, the things I've learned, and the hope that I have for anything. "And this hope will not lead to disappointment." Romans 5:5 a NLT

I'm struggling right now as Christmas is upon us, my daughter's basketball season is in full swing, my son is home from college, and I still have work, etc. I want to feel great and keep on keeping on. I hate having to slow down.

For all of you that have asked how I'm doing and I say good and then you ask how I'm really doing, I have been telling you the truth. Honestly, up till now, I've been good, and now I've hit a small speed bump, but it's just a bump.

My prayer for you is that as you go speeding along life's road that you would take hold of the trials, develop endurance and take hold of hope! A life with Christ still has disappointments, BUT it is not disappointing!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Blessed Assurance

"For we live by believing and not by seeing." 2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." Hebrews 11:1 NLT

This reminds me of a hymn we used to sing in church.
Written by: Fanny Crosby in 1873

"Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
 Praising my Savior all the day long."

This is honestly the only thing we actually have. I had cancer in both breasts, and in one of four lymph nodes on the left side. I believe the cancer is all gone and the primary reason I am doing chemo is for re-assurance that if I had any other cancer in any other cells this chemo regimen I'm on will take care of it.

I went to my pre-chemo checkup and I asked the nurse practitioner if I would need any scans or blood tests to see if I had any other cancer or if I was cancer free. The good news is that my cancer was caught early, the bad news is that I don't qualify for scans. And blood tests would only reveal blood counts that may or may not be indications that something is wrong. I looked at her and said, "You are not giving me any warm fuzzies."

I can't see inside my body and I can't see what lies ahead nor can I see God. But I have faith. I've seen God at work, seen marriages restored, seen the sick healed, and I've seen youth come to the Lord. I believe, I have confidence, and assurance in the One who knows me, my story, and my body better than anyone.

My prayer for you, is as you walk through life that you would learn to dig deep. Get past your past; look in those dark spots and see where God was there and has been there all along. People remark about how strong and brave I've been. Well, I myself have had to dig deep, face things and make decisions. I've had some anxiety prior to surgery, but I've never been fearful because He is faithful!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

"For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." Isaiah 41:13 NIV

As a child, you reach up and hold your parent's hand. Then you grow up and reach across to hold your spouse's hand. Next, you reach down to hold your own child's hand.

During this process, I have had so many people come alongside me and hold my hand. Usually not physically holding my hand, but definitely joining me in this journey. 

My brother who lives in California sent me a text one day, "I'm reaching out my hand to hold yours. I love you!" My best friend, also in California, has been texting me on a regular basis to check on me. She sends me treats and even stayed in the hospital with me! My best friend here in Washington has come with me to every four-hour chemo treatment. My husband has hugged me, held me, shaved my head, cooked, cleaned, and has just been so amazing!

The rest of my family has also been amazing. My mother-in-law has been my chauffeur for months, which has been great. The daily chats have been awesome. Our church family has prayed and been so supportive as well!

I see people that come for treatment by themselves, and may not have a support system or it may not be good support. I know that I have been blessed with a wonderful support system and that really helps. Above all, I have a faithful Father who takes hold of my right hand and says, "Do not fear; I will help you."

My prayer for you, is that as you go through life's ups and downs, that you would take the hand of the One who formed them. He's always there and He wants to walk through all of it with you. So amazing that if we ever feel alone we can know there is a strong Hand holding ours.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 101

"Thank God ! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits." 
Psalm 136:1 MSG

Whatever situation you find yourself in remember there is always someone that is in a more difficult place. Some things are life choices, other things happen because that's part of life. 
People tend to blame God when they get in the rough spots of life, but He is the only one that promises to stick by us through it all! His love never quits! 
I'm having some more side effects with this second round of chemo. My legs hurt, had a few bloody nose episodes, etc., but I have side effects because I'm alive! God will restore me and revive me! 
Holidays can be tough for a lot of people. Some have lost family members this time of year, some don't speak to family, some are sick, and the list goes on. Just hang on!
My prayer for you is that whatever you face today, during the holidays or any other day is that you would hold on to Jesus! His love never quits and He deserves all of our thanks! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Rock Star!

"And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out." Matthew 16:18 MSG
Peter didn't start out like this. In fact, a lot of the time you can find him being less than stellar. I'm sure he tried Jesus' patience as well.
I can relate to Peter. I would get out of the boat even if no one else would. I would ask who, what, when, why, where? I also want to be the one who God looks at and says, "Rock. I will build on you because I know you can handle it."
While going through chemo, I told the Lord that I would love to be a rock star on this journey! If I could feel great and give God the glory, it would be a win, win!  It doesn't always work like that.
Sometimes I don't feel well and it's hard for me to be vulnerable and let others know I'm not feeling all that well. I've decided though, that it's not about how I feel, but how I handle myself. I can feel crummy, but handle others with care. That is being a rock.
My prayer for you is that as you journey through life, you will rely on the rock of your salvation to help you be a rock during and through your trials. If you let Him, God will use you and build on you.