WORD – Part 5: Expect Two Things

As I said, my WORD for 2017 is: LIFE.

Living my WORD, is not easy.  It’s a bit like being a mother.

As a mother, I know that I am loved by my husband and children, and I certainly do “being love” 24/7, even when it doesn’t appear that way. Once a baby comes out of a mother’s womb, there is little room for the “I”… and forgiveness is a constant flowing gift, both sought after, and offered,

because mothers deal with a lot of messes.

So, what of the “E” in LIFE?

“E” is for Expect.

Expect two things.

ONE: Expect to stumble. 

We will be unlovable.

We will not want to love others.

We will be selfish.

We will hold grudges.

Right? This is realistic because we are perfectly imperfect humans. WE WILL STUMBLE as we live LIFE out.

The Psalmist knew this well and encourages us:“…though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:24

so…TWO: Expect to be upheld.

Upheld conjures up a cradle image to me, cupped hands holding a soggy baby bird that fell from the safety of the nest due to the storm.

That is what the LORD does for us. And we can expect this loving care from him: to be held with gentleness.

This WORD: LIFE seems to have gone full circle…

You are loved.

Be love to others.

Get rid of the “I” and give dangerously.

Be forgiven and forgive others.

Expect, to stumble and expect to be upheld…and loved….round and round we go in this WORD: LIFE!

Love is the thread through it all.

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There is always a song of Hope to be sung!

Have you read my published song of HOPE?

Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope is available on Amazon, just click on this title. Towdah, addresses key issues universally prominent in any kind of trial, even though this is a telling of my journey through cancer.

Happy New Year 2017

4 Anchors for a Tiny Sailboat

This is where I left you last Thursday, promising to give you an answer…

“What is fair anyway?”

Truth be told – the answer is: N O T H I N G.

“Life isn’t fair – get use to it.”

Don’t you hear your mother’s voice echoing in your head, as I do?

Someone will always get the bigger cookie first, the longest turn on the swing, the better card in the game.

Yet,

when we get the biggest cookie, the longest turn on the swing, or the winning card in the game – — do we still exclaim, “It’s not fair?”

Of course not.

Suddenly the path of the exclamation goes from “Why me?” to “Why not me!

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Why did I have to get cancer? I do not know…but, why not me?  I am not above the perils of this world.

Four anchors held me as my life, like a tiny sailboat, tossed violently in the stormy sea of a dark trial. 

One: Accept Support.

Hand in hand, we opened the door and stepped out into the brazen sunlight, neither knowing what lay ahead.” (p. 6 Towdah)

Do you have support? Do not try to go it alone.  Call on your closest loves in life and let them hold your hand.  My aunt, who battled against cancer for nearly 12 years, told me, “No matter what, always let people help you, for if you deny them the opportunity, you squash the Spirit working in them and you lose out on a blessing.”

Two:  Stick to the Plan.

With a battle, there is a plan – always.  And once a plan is in place, everything seems doable.  Stick to it and fight with everything you’ve got!

Medically: follow through with the treatment plan.

Spiritually: pray; “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well;”

Three: Stay Vulnerable

“Without words, I drew close…Tears once again began to flow…Emotions gave way with an ever so gentle explosion of sighs and tears.”(p.34 Towdah)

Keep it real my friend. Embrace your humanness.

Four: Trust God.

There is a choice to make.  You can be swallowed up by fear or you can be cradled by trust. Seems a no-brainer to choose trust – I mean, who wants to be swallowed up! The next question then, is who do  you trust?  Entering the unknown territory of this trial, I put my trust in God as Joshua did.  Cancer, disease, sudden loss bring unknown territory and it is scary.

“Like a child, holding the father’s hand, I couldn’t bear it anymore and I turned with anxious asking, ‘Pick me up Daddy! I’m scared.’ ” (p. 30 Towdah)

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Accept support.  Stick to the plan.  Stay vulnerable.  Trust God.

 

 

Two responses to the Big Bang

Ever experienced the BIG BANG in your life?

You know, the explosion of events that takes you totally by surprise – the kind of thing that changes your life in an instant and threatens the comfort of everything held to the routine of daily living?

For me, it was the pronouncement in a doctor’s office that I had cancer.  For you, maybe the same — or something different — an accident, a sudden death, another kind of disease…?  No matter which BIG BANG changed your life in an instant, I believe we all go through similar universal stages of experience.

The first stage I experienced seemed to have 2 steps.

First: SHOCK.

The kind that makes your jaw drop, renders you speechless, and causes you to drop what you are holding, or fall back against a wall, or collapse all together.

“I couldn’t even be sure if I was still breathing. In fact, I am sure I was not. I was frozen – suspended as if above all concept of time.”  (Towdah p. 5)

That was my initial response. And it is a normal first reaction for all of us.

Second: INDIGNATION.

That’s a big word for – IT IS NOT FAIR!

“…heaving great spasmodic breaths, gasping for air in my voiceless cries….I was weeping and gnashing my teeth as I drooled and bit my pillowcase in the silent darkness of the night, when no one else was awake.” (Towdah p 13)

And I wailed, Why me LORD? Why Me!

I mean – really?  Who ever expects to have the Big Bang explode on them! Right?

It isn’t fair.  OR ….is it?

What is fair anyway?

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Yes, shock and indignation are quite normal human responses because we are forgetful.  We forget that we are not in control; God is.  We live our lives planning the next day and the next day to be as we want, assuming nothing will go awry, prideful because we believe we are in charge.  That is why we are caught unaware when the Big Bang explodes in our face.  Yes, we forget that God is bigger than any Bang – big or small; that God is in charge.  He knows all and still loves us; He always has.

Friend, are you experiencing shock or indignation, crying out that it is not fair in reaction to something in your life right now?

Take comfort and know, that Jesus loves you right now and He will keep loving you right through this difficulty.

I know.

I have been there.

Follow me to my next post and I will answer that question, “What is fair anyway?” 

 

 

“5 Year Clean” Anniversary

Like a marathon runner stepping over the finish line, I have reached the “MARK” – and the medical field supposes I can breath easy now – I made it!

I am enjoying my  “5 Year Clean” Anniversary season!

CLEAN & CLEAR of detectable CANCER!

WOO- HOO!

This is what every cancer survivor hopes to do –

step over the numbered-year-mark that science says gives you the highest likelihood that you will not have a return of the cancer.

So here I am.

I have arrived.

Now what?

In anniversary fashion, I  am taking a look back to see from where I came.

The journey was unexpected – nothing I would ever have chosen.

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When God says He has a plan for each one of us, none of us imagines that the plan might include cancer.

Yet, mine did.

I never imagined that I would write a book either; but God included that in the plan for me as well.

This is how it happened:

I got Cancer. I endured and survived horrible treatments. I sat down to write about my experience, in hopes to give “my story” to my family, members who may or may not know the God who carried me through.  So, I had a few friends proof read it, to make sure I kept out any Christian-jargon, so it was understandable to all.  One friend said,
“More people need to read this.”

With some awkward disbelief, I said, “Really?”

Meanwhile, months previous, a few of my close friends bought me a ticket and took me on a cruise to celebrate the end of my treatments! (I never expected that as part of God’s plan for me either!)  As we boarded the ship, and checked in, the last check point person asked me,

“Do you have an appointment with an editor?”

I said with a laugh, “No, but how do I get one?”

I was told that you had to book one when you bought your ticket…..but if I wanted to check back after check-in was over, I could see if someone didn’t show up. I chuckled to myself and said, okay — like who doesn’t show up for a cruise!  For laughs – I came back – and lo and behold – ONE person did not show up – and so they gave me the editor’s meeting.  This was for a 15 min. block of time to show the designated editor your stuff.  As this was unexpected, I had not even one line written to show – all my pages were at home.  Nonetheless, empty handed I went.  And since I was the last meeting on the schedule – I could stay and chat with this expert editor as long as I wanted.  She gave me 45 minutes of her precious time.  Keep it authentic, was the take-away for me.

Yup – this was part of God’s plan for me too.

Simultaneously, as I arrived home from the cruise, another proof reading friend said,

“I know a publisher that would like to read your manuscript; she said just to send it to her”

I sent it.

Tracy Ruckman, then publisher of Write Integrity Press/Pix-N-Pens, called 2 weeks later, and said she wanted to publish my book.

This journey too, was unexpected — nothing I had set out to do.

Wham!

Wham!

Wham!

That is the sound of God throwing open the doors to my adventure in becoming a published author.

God did it.

He planned it.

And it was awesome!

Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope was published in 2012.

Over the next several weeks, I am going to share what God did for me so that perhaps you may be encouraged to persevere and hold tight to God’s hand through whatever trial of suffering you are enduring.  God planned this all for me –

so that I could be used by Him,

to share His love with you!

Follow my next several posts if you want to hear authentic telling of my suffering and my awesome God!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

 

Give Hope: Send Balloons!

“I fought depression during  the last and worst days of my chemo cycle.  A dear friend sent me a dozen helium balloons in bouquet fashion.  Clipped to the string of colorful ribbon were encouraging words calling me back to Hope: ‘When you stick to what you know, the what-if’s don’t matter.’ ”   p. 118, Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope

I am a frugal shopper and I know.

A dozen helium balloons, delivered, is not acquired via pocket change.

This dear friend did not consider the cost of the gift – she thought more highly of the effect of encouragement this gift would have on my struggling heart.

“And do not forget to do good and share with others,

for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Hebrews 13:16

“Stick to what you know” — such wise words delivered so cheerfully!  This was good and it was shared from the heart; I am sure the sacrifice pleased God!

This gift lifted me immediately out of the slippery slope I was on and reminded me to stand on the promises of God.  Sounds a little trite, but it was true.  I began to recall all the ways God had upheld me and carried me through my struggling days, weeks, and months.  I knew a lot about God and it was ALL graciously good!

One moment was all it took.

One moment for my friend to decide she was going to do good and share.

One moment for me to receive the balloon bouquet.

One moment for me to take to heart the gift

and be transformed in my thinking by remember all I knew about God and sticking to it!

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HOPE was restored for me.

What about you?  Are you willing to make sacrifice to do good and share with the one you know is suffering during this Christmas season?

TOWDAH

Be the first to comment on my blog today and I will send you a free autographed copy of my book and  a letter of encouragement to your friend or loved one who is suffering this Christmas season.  Message me on FB with your address & details – just click on my name below:

Sheryl

Merry Christmas!

Give Hope: Be His Hands, Lips, and Feet

Enduring prolonged illness can be lonely.

Life, as it use to be, seems to halt for the one suffering while life for everyone else seems to just keep moving on.  During my many months of isolation from fellowship, I remember wondering…does anyone remember me?

God knew my wondering and he prompted the hands and lips and feet of many saints to write and call and visit.  THIS is another way to ease the pain of loneliness of a friend or loved one who is suffering prolonged illness or disease during the holidays.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,” Thessalonians 5:11

Hope prevails

Hope prevails

You see…

When someone is going through a difficult time and enduring hurt, pain, or suffering from circumstances, disease, or illness….hopelessness is not far from the thinking.  In hopelessness here is certain loneliness.

Friends, you can spur the suffer-er on!

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These were blessings I received – perhaps  you are equipped to bless your friend or loved one similarly:

WRITINGS:   “I had nearly one hundred cards layered and hung, on six strands of ribbons…” p. 44 Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope

CALLS:   “Jesus came in the form of two dear friends over the phone, caressing me with caring words.” p.100 Towdah

VISITS:   “Twenty or so of my friends lined up an down my stony front walk, displaying all varieties and designs of pipe cleaner antennae on their heads! A myriad of voices were singing, ‘ The ants go marching!’ p. 77 Towdah.

I was so encouraged and so built up in my time of weakness!

I am praying that  you will take the time to be God’s hands and lips and feet TODAY. 

Do you know anyone who is suffering during this season of HOPE?

Then by all means, encourage them!

TOWDAH

Be the first to comment on my blog today and I will send you a free autographed copy of my book and  a letter of encouragement to your friend or loved one who is suffering this Christmas season.  Message me on FB with your address & details – just click on my name below:

Sheryl

Merry Christmas!

Give Hope: Dump an Omelet in the Trash!

The Holy Spirit works in amazing ways and sometimes

may call you to do the most unexpected thing!

Several months into my journey of treatments and surgeries related to my cancer, I found myself suffering and unable to eat for days – yes – days, not hours.  The phone rang  and then this happened:

” He said, ‘I just have to tell you…’ ”

“He said he heard the Holy Spirit prompt him to stop, not eat his omelet (which he had just labored to make), and throw it away……with confidence, this brother declared, ‘The Holy Spirit wanted me to share in your suffering today.’ ”

“I only share this with you to encourage you…to let you know the Holy Spirit is working and that you are prayed for.”  Excerpts from; Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope — p. 110 – 111

End of phone call.

I was speechless.  I was stunned.  

I was filled with an immediate sense of the fullness of God himself!

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Intercessory prayer is powerful.  

The second way you can help ease the pain and suffering of a loved one this holiday season

is to pray for them.  

Deeply.

Pray for them deeply and with compassion.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the saints.”  Ephesians 6:18

Peer into the space your loved one occupies in his suffering and listen to how the Spirit directs you to pray.  You may not have to dump an omelet in the trash…yet, the Spirit may call you to do something else equally as stunning as is fitting to your loved one in need!

Deliver HOPE by telling the one who suffers that you are praying for them.  

Bless them with that moment of knowing they are loved immensely.

TOWDAH

Be the first to comment on my blog today and I will send you a free autographed copy of my book and  a letter of encouragement to your friend or loved one who is suffering this Christmas season.  Message me on FB with your address & details – just click on my name below:

Sheryl

Merry Christmas!

Give Hope: Carry!

Traditions, and everything-as-usual, flies out the window when you are suffering with illness or disease during the holiday season. I should know because I suffered greatly through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter in 2010 & 11.  I am a cancer survivor.

Over the next five days, I want to share with you how you can help ease the sadness and pain of a suffering friend or loved one during this holiday season.  God has equipped you for this good work: you have opportunity to be His hands and feet and give the comfort that is so dearly needed.

“Carry each other’s burden, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2

Illness is  a burden.

Disease is a burden.

Both renders  the one afflicted, weak.

And the one afflicted needs help carrying the weight of the every day life that is suddenly too heavy to carry alone.

What does this mean?

Meet your loved one at their level of  need.  Often times that means making yourself available to do the mundane – the physical load that they are too weak to do.

The laundry, the dishes, the shopping, the meals.  There is no mystery about it.  It is the daily-do’s.

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“…we received at least one hundred and four meals,…my hands could not run under cold water or manipulate knives very safely,and as my nausea and fatigue plastered me to the couch more days than I liked, I was blessed by the hands of many, many people who prepared and labored to ensure that my family had good meals to eat.” P.47 Towdah:A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope

The simple act of offering a meal had more impact than you might think.

 It gave me peace of mind; one less thing for me to think about.

I was able to take that nap I needed.

The burden of meal making was lifted off of me!

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Do you know someone who needs a burden carried this holiday season?

Pray.

Consider how God has equipped you to help carry the burden. Be God’s hands and feet.

In this simple act you will fulfill the law of Christ, loving your neighbor as yourself, and give hope to the one who is suffering.

TOWDAH

Be the first to comment on my blog today and I will send you a free autographed copy of my book and  a letter of encouragement to your friend or loved one who is suffering this Christmas season.  Message me on FB with your address & details –

Sheryl

Merry Christmas!

Cancer is a BEAST

March is COLON CANCER AWARENESS month.

Maybe you knew this, maybe you didn’t.  I never heard of such a thing…until I had colon cancer.

Dark BLUE is the color that represents Colon Cancer...it seems each cancer owns a color.  I never knew.  It’s sad really.

My father said, his science teacher, from the 1950’s, told his class that everyone will eventually die of some kind of cancer if something else does not get you first. Pretty astute comment from that era.  Sadly, it seems he was right.

My Grandmother had colon cancer and breast cancer, and died.  My Aunt has breast cancer and has been battling it throughout her body for more than a decade.  Several of  my friends have, or have had, cancer.  And everyone I talk to knows someone close to them who has been touched by cancer in some way or another.  Sadder than sad.

Cancer is a BEAST.

I  know, firsthand, the beasty-ness of it.  IF I could give an image to the beasty-ness, I’d liken cancer to the dragon in Tolkien’s, Lord of the Ring’s, Smaug.  He is overwhelmingly huge, he is a dangerous fire-breather, claimed a mountain to be his own, and he scares the bejeebers out of everyone who treads nearby.  Yes.  Cancer is like that.

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It is overwhelmingly huge, dangerous, claims territory, and scares the bejeebers out of the one who is diagnosed with it.  SADLY, with all caps, I know this.

BUT, there is good news x 3.

Good news #1 =  Early detection of cancer means good chance of recovery!  Do not dismiss any odd lumps, bumps, or fluctuations in your body….feelings, tiredness, or  in the case of colon cancer, bowel movements; pay attention to symptoms!   Do not dismiss routine scans or screens meant for early detection.  Believe me, any test or procedure is nothing compared to the BEAST!  Sadly, early detection was not afforded me.

Good news #2 = There are excellent doctors and nurses and care systems and treatments that can prolong your life by eradicating the rogue cells and the tumor.  I am a colon cancer survivor (survivor’s own the color purple) and I have nothing but great things to say for the care I received locally and in Boston.

Good news #3 = In the case that something is found and you find yourself battling the BEAST, know that you have access to someone bigger than the BEAST.   Someone who can sustain you, carry you, and do miracles. Just three letters names Him: GOD.

In October of 2011 I began writing my memoir for my family, to remember me and my battle by — in April 2012, my story was accepted by my publisher and it was released just six months from the time I typed my first word in the manuscript;  I call it a God-thing.  He gave me the story and I mean to share it.

Towdah: A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope

I invite you to read my story and pass it along.  I invite you to encourage others to not procrastinate in getting their baseline colonoscopy.  I invite you to share this post for the purpose of enlightening others about Colon Cancer Awareness month.

 

The Big “C”

The Big “C”.

Otherwise known as C-A-N-C-E-R, first came into my world as a young teen. A trip to the movies was still a novelty.  I think Terms of Endearment was one of five movies I saw in the theater in my entire childhood years; Snow White, CaddyShack, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, and On Golden Pond were the other four.  Because I saw so few, movies back then had quite an impression on me.  Terms of Endearment left a clear picture of what cancer was like: HORRIBLE with a capital H; pain, suffering, vomit, weight loss,desperate crying, weakness, and sure to end in death.

Cancer is not a modern day disease.

“Some of the earliest evidence of human bone cancer was found in mummies in ancient Egypt and in ancient manuscripts dates about 1600 B.C. The world’s oldest recorded case of breast cancer hails from ancient Egypt in 1500 BC and it was recorded that there was no treatment for the cancer,…” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2927383/)

Remission, temporary cure of cancer is a modern day accomplishment. Yet, cancer still remains to be the second leading cause of death for humankind.

One who lives after the diagnosis, surgery, and toxic chemical treatment of cancer is dubbed a “SURVIVOR.”  I am one such person. Although, I would say that I am not really a survivor…because I am daily S U R V I V I N G the ravages of the treatments in my everyday life. Cancer cells are gone – but side effects remain. Surviving is ongoing.

Still.

 I am here.

Sustained and upheld; given daily breath: I breathe. Love and comfort have been mine.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3 &4

This is why I wrote.

Product Details

http://www.amazon.com/Towdah-Cancer-Survivors-Song-Hope/dp/1938092155/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1389661056&sr=1-1&keywords=towdah

This is why I persist in writing.

Today is World Cancer Awareness Day.

If you have cancer… if you know of anyone who is suffering in such a way.. please consider doing three things:

1.   Love them just as they are…ease their suffering any way you can.

2.   Contact me.  I personally will write a note of encouragement to you, or to your loved one, wherever they are in this world.  I will share my belief that there is truly ALWAYS A SONG OF HOPE.

3.  Consider purchasing my book, Towdah, and sharing it with others.  It is my personal journey through cancer and I wish to share it as an encouragement to all who read.

Blessing to you my friendly readers!

Make my joy complete by sharing my message and by allowing me to be used by God to encourage and give hope!