She’s Ready to Soar!

IMG_4146

Abby Joy

Goodness…I didn’t realize how long it has been…. my baby girl (she’s really 18, but she’ll always be my baby girl) recently said she missed my blog posts.  She just took flight to college last week, so I thought what better time to write.  What better time to pay tribute to my baby girl. What better time to reflect on the process of releasing her so that she can fly.  What better time to express my love for her. Abby Joy this is for you!

It’s been a week since I helped make your bed, hung your corner shelves with a gazillion commando strips and made last minute Target runs for storage units and highlighters. It’s been a week since I left little love notes hidden throughout your belongings in your dorm for you to find a long the way.  It’s been a week since I buried my face in my pillow, wondering how this day to set you free came so quickly.

I keep comforting myself, knowing that you are ready and that your life experiences have prepared you for such a time as this.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that these are not mere words or thoughts, but that it is truth!  You are ready. You have literally been around the world and back. Your understanding of various backgrounds and cultures cause you to think deeply and understand many. Your experiences have taught you to draw from God’s strength.  He has proved to you over and over again that HE will never leave you nor forsake you.   Your love and strength is found in Christ and it runs furiously though your veins and is displayed through all you do.  It radiates through your smile, your actions, and your commitment to all you touch. You are strong and courageous. You are smart. You are joyful and bubbly. You are crazy fun. You are in love with our Savior!

Since I held you as a tiny baby in my arms,  I have prayed that you would love the LORD your GOD with all your mind, all your heart and all your strength!!  I am forever thankful that God has heard my prayer for you and answered.  You will continue to have many successes throughout your college years and beyond… but KNOW that you have accomplished the GREATEST success off all.  YOU LOVE JESUS with all your soul!  Now it’s time for  your to spread His wings of LOVE and FLY! You are ready to soar to new heights and God is ready to take you there.

I love you always baby girl!  Mom

IMG_1234

Never say, “Never”

I am a COLLEGE STUDENT!

Yes, you read that correctly. I am a college student.

In just a few short days, I’ll be hitting the books to pursue an associate’s degree in occupational therapy.

SAY WHAT?!?!?!

I know, right!!

Here’s the deal…….

Don’t ever say Never!!

I did.

I said I would never return to school after graduating with my bachelors in 1990.

But here I am, 25 years later….. eating my words!

What changed?

Me, that’s what changed.

Cancer changed me.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, in December of 2012, I was tempted to crawl into my bed and hide under the covers and wish the nightmare away…….

When I was able to overcome that very real temptation, I REALIZED…..

God brought me home for reasons other than fighting cancer.

One of which was to better myself.

He established new goals in my heart.

Purposes.

Challenges.

Aspirations.

Dreams to look forward to.

Studies to make use of my time while the battle was raging.

God had more.

I wanted more.

His purposes were greater than fighting cancer.

His purposes would drive me to overcome.

Years ago, a desire was planted in my heart to acquire a skill set in the health industry that could be useful stateside as well as overseas.

Between chemo treatments, surgery and radiation, I have been studying the human body, gaining understanding about the mind, learning medical terminology and have even been enlightened about the world around me through the study of art history. WHEW…It’s been quite a journey these last two years while getting my brain to participate in classroom learning again. It’s been fun, challenging and a time of preparation.

This summer, that time of preparation has led to an open door, as my inbox revealed an invitation to join the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at ACC in Austin, TX.

I have made the decision to walk through that door  (A decision that did not come lightly knowing the demands that lay ahead).

I’m Excited!

My dreams are becoming a reality.

I am changed.

I am a work in progress.

God is NOT done with me yet!

So, here’s to never saying never.  I’m hitting the books full time, for the next two years, beginning August 24.

I can’t wait to  learn how I can help bring quality of life to those in need.

I am a COLLEGE STUDENT!

IMG_8847

Unchanging Grace

Sometimes this girl just needs to write a poem…. I share my heart with you today.  May you know that you are loved deeply and immensely by our Savior.

Unchanging Grace

At times it’s hard to turn the pages of His great book,

My eyes are drawn astray and it is the world by which I look.

 

My struggle is real.  I wrestle every day.

His love for me is solid, unchanging,and beautiful in every way.

 

On those days when He seems so far far away,

He will find a way to remind me that He has not strayed.

 

When darkness veils His lovely face,

I will choose to rest on His unchanging GRACE.

 

Oh how thankful for this GRACE,  I am.

It’s in Him that I will ALWAYS be found.

IMG_5715

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Cor. 12: 9

Live!

Hi Friends,

Thank you so much for your prayers, notes of encouragement, emails, and texts in regards to my health as well as meals, gifts, etc…I am feeling incredibly encouraged as God has been gracious to hear our pleas. I’m happy to tell you that I am feeling much better.

With the help of my oncologist, we have found a balanced dose of the oral chemo drugs that are giving me a good quality of life while staving off the cancer.  I have felt better these last two weeks than I have all year.  Feeling incredibly thankful.

Friends, do not take your health for granted.  Enjoy each day as it comes….. And Live!

Love you all sooo much!

Jennifer

Update

Hi Friends,

I’m still in the fight.  Some days I feel like I’m on top of the world knocking this thing out of the park. Other days I trudge along, feeling weary, wondering how i will be able to endure another round.

Presently, I am taking a daily oral chemo drug, which is making positive progress towards killing off the disease. However, the medication is leaving its mark with un-welcomed side effects.

I would welcome your prayers as my doctor and I try to find a balanced dosage of these oral meds that will accomplish the goal of killing off the disease without compromising my overall health.

Thanks for your prayers, care and encouragement.  It truly makes a difference and gives me courage to get back in the ring round after round.

IMG_7781

Thankful for this awesome cheerleader…. I love this girl of mine!

How Are You Feeling?

Often times I am asked, “How are you feeling?”.    Although I easily tire (most definitely a cumulative effect from the chemotherapy treatments I receive every three weeks), I feel good.

But what is the measurement one uses to define how they are feeling?  Everyone’s personal circumstances are so incredibly different.  Perhaps my good is your terrible or vice versa.

When I consider the grand scale of our world and the many hurting, sick, and heartbroken people that populate it. I would say that I feel good.

However, the measurement by which we determine how one feels remains complex, so I have decided to use a different unit  and hopefully a more descriptive adjective in describing how I feel.

My measurement comes in the form 0f what surrounds me daily.  The result is thankfulness.  That’s it friends!  I feel thankful.

I am thankful that I was able to wake up this morning to see these two beautiful faces.

IMG_7514

I am thankful I could soak in the beauty of our Texas landscape and wildlife as Charlie and I opted for church on a Texas highway with the beautiful hill country as our view.

Y’all, I’m thankful for my eyes. For my sight.  Wow, what a gift.

I am thankful that I have ears to hear, so that I could hear my daughter say, “I love you”, before she left for a mission trip to Memphis this morning.  I’m thankful that I have a voice so that I could echo her sentiment.

I’m thankful for my legs that marched me into a wonderful ofd fashioned diner where I savored a delicious breakfast…..taste buds friend….you got it….thankful for them too. Grateful for the piece of to-go pie too.

IMG_7523

I am thankful for my hands that allows me to hug my family and friends and to pick up the phone to call or text those that I can’t hug. I’m  thankful for my fingers that embraced the fork that allowed me to dive into that beloved lemony cream pie and dig in the dirt for a bit today.

I’m thankful for my country and those who serve (definitely a little biased towards this young soldier).

DSC_0695

I”m thankful for a lot of random things…… fresh flowers, concerts, cinnamon, walks with the dog, music, books, berries, mason jars filled with water, lemon and mint.

I’m thankful for my Creator.

I’m thankful for life y’all.

IMG_7536

So you ask how I’m feeling?  I won’t continue to bore you with the abundance of gratitude that fills my heart. But there’s one more thing I must mention.

I’m thankful for you.

I’m thankful that you are a part of my life….whether near or far. Whether we talk everyday or never have.  Our lives have connected in some form.

Thankful!

Be Still

I laid there shivering, in that dreaded radiology room again, waiting for the dye to be injected intravenously.  The dye that would light up any abnormal cells making an unwelcome appearance in the organs of my body.   With my nerves on overdrive, my mind was reeling for a verse to calm me. Then it came.  Just as the CT scan was about to begin, I heard the LORD say, “Be still and Know that I am God”.  As I began to breathe that verse over and over, my body stilled and a wave of peace flooded me.

Last week, I received unexpected news. News that prompted the afore mentioned CT scan.  News that my cancer had returned.  This was not exactly how I had planned to start my new year.  But God’s plans are better.  God’s plans are bigger.  God’s plans are perfect.   I must fight this thing. Actually, my God must fight this thing for me.

“The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still” Ex 14:14

I begin chemotherapy on Jan 26.