Butterfly Sparks Designs

Thursday, December 31, 2009

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

2009 is moments from completion. Just a few ticks of the clock and it will wash away under the bridge of "today". 2010 stands at the brink and appears shiny, new and very alluring.

I'm trying to remember if 2009 looked alluring to me? I'm sure it did. If I had known the territory ahead, I wouldn't have wanted to go forward. Thank God we don't know what each season holds - the responsibility and the weight would be too much for us.

As I review and take stock of 2009, I can't help but experience mixed emotions - it truly was both the worst and best of my life.

The worst? Well, there was great hardship. Pain, fatigue, discouragement, loss, confusion, threats. They were all there.

The best? I am so grateful that cancer was found! Not for the cancer - but I am grateful that what was hidden was revealed. Darkness was brought to light. Warriors arose on every front. The Word became my lifeline and navigator in a whole new way. Truly what was meant for evil - has brought me some of the greatest blessings of my life - clearer vision, better priorities, more realistic pace, renewed hope, better health - wellness.

I'm looking ahead with a little more caution, a little more discernment, hopefully with a little more wisdom. I am not afraid. I am not unrealistic. As a matter of fact, I am feeling a little courageous. I now know that regardless of the costs, the advancement in my spirit will be worth it! I can go through. I am able. Even in great trial, His blessings are abundant and sufficient.

You - my family and friends - are by far the greatest blessing of this season. Thank you for journeying with me - for arising quickly, staying long and consistently speaking hope, health and love.

In 2010, I am excited about the chance to serve YOU with love and compassion. I care not whether it is to stand long around the fire of trial or to cheer you on in the moment of opportunity. I look forward to seeing God victorious in your circumstance. When the call is sounded - I'm on your team, in your corner, cheering on your behalf.

May this season bring you great joy, abundant hope and courage beyond yourself. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Weekend Trip to Abilene

Our home away from home.

This week I joined Mark and the boys on a trip to Abilene to visit the deer lease. We drove out on Saturday morning. Got to visit with our friends - the Schuman's - then picked up the RV and went straight to the state park to set up. The boys went hunting twice while I watched movies, slept late and got to catch up on some reading. In the afternoon on Sunday they did a little trout fishing and then we packed up and headed home. It was a lot of fun. Here are some pictures from the weekend.

Mark and I went out for Sunday lunch by ourselves to Perini Ranch. The food was good but the bread pudding was amazing! Love this picture of Mark...

Here's Matthew and Mark on the fishing dock. They had just stocked the pond with trout, but we didn't catch much. Wish we had, love pan fried trout!

Here's Luke! Looking cool for the camera.

This is my first time to spend the night in the RV since we lived in it for 6 months in Biloxi, Mississippi. Mark was deployed to the area immediately following Hurricane Katrina.

The first month we were in Biloxi was crazy. Mark was navigating the emotionally devastating landscape. I was managing the emotionally devastating life change. After a month or so we put our kids in a local private school and we began to settle down. Once we had some semblance of family life, I began to enjoy the lack of activity. It was just us and our kids. Things got really simple, really fast.

I used to get up in the morning – go outside the door – pull the boys school uniforms out of plastic tubs – come back inside and make a nutritious breakfast (cereal in paper bowls). Then we'd drive them to school, go the library to pay some bills or maybe stop at the grocery store. Come back to the trailer. Clean (30 minutes). Start a load of laundry (this included a walk with the dog and a couple of trips back and forth). Now what? Make a few phone calls for Mark, schedule a few appointments, and fill out a paper or two. When all of my household “chores” were done then the best part of the day would come – reading! I read a lot of books in Mississippi. The library was near by and free. Our life was quiet, uncluttered, and peaceful.

You didn’t complain in that season. After all, we owned a beautiful new trailer with 4 bunks and a slide. We picked it out ourselves, stocked it top to bottom and stored everything else we owned. We managed to find an RV park where the electricity and cable TV were restored. If we really wanted to – we could pack up and drive away.

Families all around us were staying in tiny trailers where the bed and the table were one and the same. They had no clothes except what they were given off the Wal-Mart parking lot. Their friends were scattered. Their schools were destroyed. Their jobs were lost. Yet, almost everyone we met was nice, helpful, smiling and in general uncomplaining. We learned to focus on them and not on ourselves.

Christmas that year was different. We bought an 18 inch Christmas tree with iridescent lights. Grammy mailed my birthday present to me – it was the willow tree Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. Her note said it was sent with a hope for a future home. We put the nativity (which was almost as big as the tree) on our little table and strung some multi-color lights from the awning outside. That was the extinct of our Christmas decor. We waited to buy gifts until the last minute because there was no place to hide anything or to store any wrapped gifts. It sounds pitiful, but really it was sweet.

Early in the month of December I began to tell God that I really wanted a home again - a house really. It has been almost six months since we pulled out of the city limits of Abilene. I really wanted to get out of the RV and into something with some more space. More than that, I was thirsting for friendship and community; a sense of belonging. I felt like I wanted to stretch out, do something, and make a transition. Finally, right before Christmas Mark was released. Within a few days we drove to the metroplex and began to day by day figure out what and where we were supposed to go next. The rest is history, so they say.

I was so glad to get out of this 32’ trailer that I find now I have forgotten some of its benefits. Things like simplicity and close family and quiet. As I sit here in the trailer, it’s the first time in months I feel like I’ve really been alone. I’ve been alone lots of times, of course, but there’s been a lot of static in my life lately. A lot of background noise and competition for my thought life. As I take a few minutes to record my memories, acknowledge some important lessons and appreciate the friends we made in Abilene, I am made grateful again. It seems that every season and every circumstance has a purpose in God’s master plan. Sometimes that purpose and plan can only be discerned from the rear view mirror.

Looking ahead to the New Year, I wonder what 2010 will hold. I’m almost afraid to ask Him, but then I remember that my word for 2009 has been a lifeline and an anchor for me, even if it did produce wariness when I first received it. Every time I am buffeted by the winds of change and struggle to hear in spite of the static, that word has resonanted in my spirit. I am confident that whatever 2010 holds all will be well. All is not lost, nor are we without hope. He who promised is faithful!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Let us hold fast

I am meditating on Hebrews 10:23 this morning: "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, for He is faithful that promised."

You may remember that in the beginning of 2009, I asked God for a word for this year for my life. He said "RESOLUTE". Hebrews 10:23 has been my guiding verse about how to be resolute.

I've been pondering some of my "professions" this morning - what I think, what I believe and what I say. The truth is I can be resolute about any old thing. I have all kinds of opinions about all kinds of things that have become "set in stone" for me. They are producing a faith working effect in my life - whether I plan it or not. If my profession is based on truth, then it will lead me to a fruitful place. But if based on lies or misconceptions or wounds or ignorance or countless other thoughtless foundations, it will produce countless amounts of chaos in my life.

I am learning how powerful it is to set my profession of faith on the Word of God. I want to avoid mechanical, mindless professions that produce unfruitful situations and circumstances. Here's my big, exciting, revolutionary strategy for becoming resolute based on what God says:

1) Find a key verse
2) Agree with God
3) Speak it out loud until I believe it
4) Speak it out loud again!

I know...profound, right? It is obvious - but it is so obvious, that I can miss it. Hope you'll join me in taking a moment to intentionally determine what we will hold on to without letting go.

Here's one I'm resolute about all the time:

I will not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord! Ps 118:17


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Parties Past

Hi friends,

I'm getting ready to attend the annual staff Christmas party for Gateway Church. As I'm getting dressed, I'm remembering last year's party and laughing at myself!

I made a total fool of myself at the party - somehow getting selected to participate in a sing-off with Thomas Miller! (It was my own fault! My competitive nature totally got me in trouble.) What a nightmare! I can't sing and I don't know lyrics. Now Thomas - He can sing and knows lyrics! I was destined for defeat! Wish I hadn't panicked and maybe I could have faked my way through - but no - I just struggled and turned a million shades of red. My husband was in the back row laughing his head off. Only me - Miss Extrovert - could get herself in such a mess! We laughed about it for weeks at the office and I vowed would not compete in another group game again!

Well tonight's the night. Remembering last year's fiasco made my mind drift over all that has happened this year and in the end to settle in a place of sheer gratitude. I am so blessed to serve alongside some of the most fun, anointed, passionated God chasers I've ever known. I am amazed by the steps which have caused me to arrive at this destination today. I didn't plan this party in my journey, nor strategize it or even dream it. My path has been God revealed step by step.

It is only in hind site that I can see that He was positioning me for strength, support and love in one of the most trying seasons of my life. When the diagnosis came, I had no idea that I was so safely positioned to overcome. I am so grateful for His provision, my home church, co co-workers and for the countless friends that I have made over the past three years.

When the storm came I was drawn up in the cleft of the rock - and God used many of those I labor with to shelter me from the worst of the storm. When I am weak, they help share the burden. When I am discouraged, they speak life to me. When I am happy, they rejoice. When I was at my worst, they still believed I had something to contribute. What a gift I have been given!

I am especially thankful for those who walk right next to me each day at Gateway. Ps Debbie - thank you for abundant grace and a continued faith in me. Arnita and Lynda -thanks for always believing I can. Elisa - You bless me everyday, share my space all the time and are a source of great joy to me. Couldn't and wouldn't want to do this season without you. You'll outrun me in the days ahead. Katy, Katy and Megan - you make it fun. You are so brilliant and so much ministry flows through you. Thanks for helping me maximize my time and for making me look good even when I didn't. Chelsea - welcome aboard! I have confidence that the days ahead will be amazing and that we'll get to do some God adventures together. These ladies are all star friends, mentors and faithful encouragers. I am still leaning heavily upon them in this season and they are like rocks for me - a sure foundation.

Mark and I are getting ready for the evening festivities. I'm still committed to avoiding that song competition - but nothing else in me is hidden or held back. My heart is overflowing with thanks and appreciation and gratitude and love for this extended family. God has surely positioned me among kings and generals and drawn my boundaries in pleasant places.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The bluebird of happiness

Today is my birthday.

I hadn't thought about much about my birthday before today. With all that's been going on in our lives, it just hasn't warranted a lot of attention. However, this morning started with a sweet little reminder of just how awesome it is to celebrate another birthday.

Matthew bought me a gift a couple of weeks ago from his 4th grade class auction. Everyone is invited to bring in something from home that they donate to the auction. Then they use "bucks" earned in class to buy the various items. He told me the day of the auction that he used his money to buy me a birthday gift. He brought whatever it was into the house and hid it in his room.

First thing this morning each of my sons said happy birthday when they came down stairs. Matthew came with that, plus kisses and gifts.

First he gave me a valentine bear (from his room). It has a red pillow that says I love you. Really soft and cute! Then he gave me this little bluebird. When you push on it's tummy it actually chirps.

I gave him a hug and made the blue bird chirp. He told me when he got older he would buy me a "real" gift for my birthday. I assured him this was a real gift and that I loved it.

On the way to work, my mother-in-law called. As I shared the story of the bluebird she reminded me of the saying "blue bird of happiness." It has been on my mind throughout the day, so tonight when I got home I goggled the expression. Look what I found!

The mythology of the bluebird of happiness has deep roots that go back thousands of years. Indigenous cultures across the globe hold similar myths and beliefs about the bluebird. It is a widely accepted symbol of cheerfulness, happiness, prosperity, hearth and home, good health, new births, the renewal of springtime, etc. Virtually any positive sentiments may be attached to the bluebird.

It seems my little bluebird has a hidden meaning - a prophetic picture - to share with me. I am indeed filled with cheerfulness, good health and a lot of positive thoughts. When I glance at it I am reminded how blessed I am to experience another birthday.

Hope you have your own bluebird of happiness. If not, you can borrow mine.



Monday, December 7, 2009

The report is good!

Dearest friends and family,

Today the surgeon called and shared the pathology report with us. There is no cancer in the lymph nodes. Even better, the report on the tissue removed during the lumpectomy indicates "no residual carcinoma identified." Just to be sure I asked "What does this mean? She replied, "No cancer in the tissue."

I will visit with both the surgeon and my oncologist on Wednesday of this week. At that time we will discuss the next steps in the plan. I had been told previously more chemo would be needed. I'm not certain if this report changes the situation. At any rate, I know that whatever steps come next are ordained of the Lord and He will give me the strength to proceed.

I am celebrating a little more quietly than that day in Dr. Khan's office when I leaped in the air. I find that this afternoon when the word came, I received it with a deep calmness. I feel as if I was called into the presence of God and all I can do is lay my face at His feet and wait. I am a little undone tonight.

It has been almost exactly six months since my diagnosis. I find it hard to grasp that at that time I was so sick and didn't know it. In equal measure, tonight I find it hard to grasp that I am so well. My body appears more ill now than ever before. Yet I am being healed from the inside out. It reminds me that it is not the outside of a man that measures his condition, but instead the things that are unseen.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though we are outwardly wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Cor. 4:16-18

Giving thanks tonight for so many things: healing, mercy, hope, faithfulness, steadfastness, perseverance, and love. Also thanking Him for you. I am so grateful for you.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Living a grace-filled life!

I live such a grace-filled life! I am so grateful today for Jesus and the abundance of friends, family, and love being poured out on my heart. Just when I reach the end of my own strength or courage - He sends angels (in the form of friends) who stand by me, speak life to me, war on my behalf and stand in the gap for me. GRACEFUL! Grace comes in every circumstance whether joyful or difficult.

Yesterday's surgery was a breeze - at least compared to my concerns. We arrived at the hospital right on schedule and stayed on schedule all day. My sister-in-law Julie, and my in-laws, Juli and Wayne were so gracious to join Mark and me at the hospital. I had great support and good company.

I was most fearful about having some radioactive isotopes injected into my breast prior to the surgery. I had a bad experience when they did my breast biopsy at the beginning of this process - and I was not eager to have anyone sticking needles in private places. However, this was a minor pain and over in just a few moments. I ended up having a little difficulty with the iv - but finally they agreed to put me to sleep and then deal with it. As soon as the anesthesiologist arrived, I apparently checked out! Recovery was easy and I was on my way home in no time at all.

Most importantly, the doctor told Mark she was able to get clear margins and they only removed three lymph nodes. I've had no drainage tubes - only 2 incisions and no significant pain - maybe due to the good drugs. I woke this morning feeling well.

Only one more hurdle in this process to overcome - and that is the final pathology report. The doctor told Mark that the tissue appeared to be dead cells! I am agreeing with her report because I believe it will agree with the Lord's report - a total death to cancer - even at the cellular level. She said she would call on Monday with a report. Praying...believing...waiting!

I've been doing a little puttering around the house, then sat down to feed myself some encouragement. I have been enjoying a book called Sparkling Gems by Rick Renner. My friend, Lynda Grove gave it to me earlier this year. It seems each time I pick it up it speaks to me. I love that it concludes each day with both a prayer and a declarative statement. Today's declarative statement is awesome!

I confess that Jesus loves me and understands me. Even though others may fail to understand the dilemma I am facing in my life, Jesus completely understands. Not only does He understand, but He is also my biggest Helper in my time of need. When I cry out to Jesus in faith, He responds by manifesting His strong Presence at my side. His Presence is with me to assist me, support me and give me the strength I need to conquer all the attacks that come against my life. With Jesus, I can and will endure everything I face in life! I declare this by faith in Jesus' name.
Isn't that awesome? Even in the most scary, difficult or lonely places, He stands right with us - giving us His courage, strength and assistance. I am so in need of Jesus. Maybe you are too! Let's declare that with Him, nothing can overcome us.

Where would I be without my amazing friends and family? Truly, God has poured your love on me in great measure. I have so much to be thankful for! So much that I find my life is "grace-filled"!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Surgery in the morning

Thanks in advance for all your encouraging thoughts and prayers in advance of my surgery in the morning. Tomorrow I will report to Medical Center of Plano for a lumpectomy. Both my surgeon and my oncologist are expecting an easy procedure and good results. Mark is taking me early and I hope to be home by mid-afternoon. If all goes as planned (simple lumpectomy and no lymph node involvement), I'll be up and around in just a few days.

I feel confident about the procedure and I'm just looking forward to being done with this portion of treatment. If you are praying please pray for the results. I'm hoping the tissue will reveal no evidence of cancer. My scans have already given us this report - but now I'm asking for a confirming word - all the way down to the cellular level.

We won't know the final pathology results for a week. I'll be visiting my oncologist on the following Wednesday. At that time, we'll review the results and determine the next level of treatment based upon the findings.

It's been almost six months since I was first diagnosed. I'm grateful to be six months down the road and to have made significant progress in reclaiming my health. I wonder what the next six months will hold...believing for all the best and the strength to stand on His Word!

Thanks for standing with me! I'll post a follow up in the next few days!

Love you all...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Time!

One of the "benefits" of a serious diagnosis (or maybe it’s of any significant life “challenge”) is that it makes you acutely aware of time. You can’t help but spend some of your suddenly precious time thinking through both your past and your future. And questions? Well there are lots of them, but two that will drive you crazy if you let them are….

How much time do I have left?
How much time have I wasted?

I can easily vacillate between these two, battling the extremes of fear and regret – ping ponging like a table tennis ball - all the while failing to get any grip on either my mind or my life. It is so much easier to entertain the “what if’s” rather than the “what now’s” of life.

Suddenly, I see myself on this journey and it’s as if my life is a Monopoly game and someone is trying to move me from start to finish without my permission. I failed to pass go and collect my $200. I didn’t buy enough property or build a real estate empire. I didn’t ride the railroad enough times or contribute often enough to the community fund. I stomp my foot and declare “I want another chance to go around the board again! To do everything!”

It seems to me that I can choose to focus on all that’s been lost and all that might never be or I can choose to live and live well! It’s time to put my focus on the now of life. I need to ask myself “what NOW?”

I’ve got some dreams that I have been carrying around. Dreams that haven’t yet come to pass! Dreams that cancer is trying to steal from me! Dreams about love and relationships and hope and transformation and blessing and purpose and power!

I’ve been carrying them, but I haven’t been focused enough on doing the things required to bring them to pass. I’ve often been attending to the urgent, rather than the critical. I’ve made the classic mistake of waiting for “something” to happen, rather than intentionally working toward a goal.

Intensive Focus/Time Invested = Momentum.

I need some momentum in my life to help me redeem the time. I’m turning “forty something” in a few short days and suddenly looking down the road toward 50 seems pretty good to me! It’s TIME!

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. NIV

There is an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth. MSG

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven. AMP

Ec. 3:1

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Early Detection is the Key

Breast cancer will affect an average of one in eight women at some point in their lifetime. It is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women. Studioes have shown that, when detected early, the chance for successful treatment of breast cancer is nearly 100%.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good friends help get you through!

Thanks for being such encouraging friends. I didn't realize that my prior post was quite so raw. After I posted, the outpouring of support sort of woke me up. Many of you reminded me that when in the boat with Jesus, not much is required of me except simple faith. I am still resting, but believing a gentle breeze has filled my sails and I am making progress again. I needed to be reminded that Jesus is the source of my strength and that He will propel me to the other side as He sees best. More lessons in faith and trust. I am so blessed!

I return in the morning for round #8 of chemo. My doctor says that I do not have to receive any more of the "blood of Jesus" and because of this, this round should be easier. I pray it is so.

I am scheduled for a lumpectomy of December 3rd. If all goes as anticipated, I will only be in the hospital for a few hours, returning home on the same day. In addition, the doctor is telling me that the recovery will be quick and easy. Again - I pray it is so.

More chemo will follow surgery. I don't know what strengths or for how long, just that we will continue for a season. Radiation also to follow.

My doctor is both agressive and conservative. I've moved from battling active tumors to a treatment plan that is focused on preventing recurrence. I sense in the spirit that we are closing doors - one by one - eliminating the potential back doors that cancer so loves to navigate. It totally reminds me of how the enemy works. If he can't get his way in a particular place - he loves to slip around to the back and try another entry point. I am glad that my doctor knows what he is doing in the natural and glad that I can see the spiritual parallel. It gives me strength to cooperate and believe for total restoration.

Today, I was blessed to share the vision of Pink Impact 2010 with about 60 volunteer leaders. I am always amazed by the power of sharing the why behind the what. Today we talked about the reason we do what we do, (including the "foo foo" decor that our men's ministry loves to tease us about) is to prepare an environment for the Holy Spirit to come and be with us. All of our work and planning and effort would be fruitless, without His presence. We are going for deep transformation in ourselves and in the women who attend. We could plan a whole conference and it be really pretty or cool or a good experience, but simply return us to the same place the next day. Praying that all we do is Spirit led and uniquely opens each woman's heart to receive an authenic, personal, life changing encounter with God. What an amazing honor it is to co-labor with the many to position the one for grace! Blessed - blessed - blessed!

Here's a passage that has been blessing me. Psalm 139: 1-6 O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in -- behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Thank you Jesus for your continual awareness of our circumstance and great need for you, that you thoroughly know us and have great compassion for your children. Thank you that you have hemmed us in - going both before and behind us! You are a great God and a source of continual comfort and joy! We take refuge in your love. Bless my friends who have so faithfully blessed me. Pour out mercy in great measure on their needs and be to them all that you have promised. Amen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Just finished round #7 of chemo and due to my own lack of paying attention, I put my body at great risk.

I thought I was through the worst of it! Then last Wednesday my counts were very low. My doctor prescribed an antibiotic and recommended I be careful. (That means get the medicene, wear a mask, don't eat raw food, go home if you can.) I left his office and went straight to work thinking I would pick up the antibiotic on the way home.

I forgot.

When I got home I wasn't feeling well, (big surprise) so I put on my pajamas and climbed into bed.

The next morning my counts were so low that most of them would not register on the computer. To top it off I had begun to run a low grade fever. My doctor was not happy to find out I had not bothered to follow his advice.

He immediately sent me to the chemo room where they quarantined me, hooked me to an iv and began antibiotics. My fever continued to slowly rise during the day and in the midafternoon it reached over 100.

At 3:00 he decided to put me in the hospital until my counts were up. They ordered a bed, I packed a bag and Mark came home to take me. I alerted friends and family and people began to pray.

Mark had been home about 30 minutes when my doctor called back. They spoke togther and for some reason Dr. Kahn agreed to let me stay home and see if I could get through the night. (I think that was because of prayer!) I began to take meds to keep the fever low and made it through the night. The next two days I was watched very closely and had to return for more IV antibiotics. My numbers finally rebounded on Saturday.

It's been a week today and I still have not regained my strength. My legs are weak and my body is tired. I feel like a balloon that's had the air let out of it. All that strength I had gained seems to have evaporated. I am weary in every way - spiritually, emotionally and physically. Several additional things happened over the weekend that are private, but reminded me that I have been pretty much listening to counsel, but only doing the parts I want to do. I am under conviction and trying to figure out how to adjust.

Ever thought about just quitting? I've never thought of myself as a quitter, but right now in this seaosn, I realize that if I could jump ship from illness - I would. The thought of relief from the consequences is a huge temptation. Obviously, I'm not quitting - because I can't! Even if I could, I don't think I would. But I do feel a little "lost at sea." I've begun to wonder if my efforts are really moving me any closer to my destination. I am alone in the boat and drifting.

I need to consult my compass and reset my sails so that I can go on to the other side again. As soon as I have the strength, I'll get up and do that....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Still Happy Dancing!

Hi friends,

Well, it's been a week since the good news and it's been so much to celebrate with many of you. Many people joined me in the "happy dance." I'm still grinning from ear to ear! Coffee Chat was a blast! It was a great opportunity to celebrate with so many sweet friends - and the message was inspiring! I'm committed to finding my voice. Are you?

I've been experiencing the consequences of round #7 this week and with each day I long more and more for the "less difficult" version of chemo that my doctor mentioned. Hoping that in the new year I will be feeling better and really have the energy to focus on building my immunity and strength while cooperating with the treatment plan.

Yesterday, I met with a new surgeon and the meeting had a totally different tone and direction from my last one. We will be scheduling a lumpectomy within the next three weeks. If everything goes as anticipated (that means clean margins and nothing in the lymph nodes) I will have a day procedure and a week or two of rest. Two incisions and no tubes. In addition, there is a possibility that I won't need radiation - but obviously we won't know the exact protocol until the pathology reports are returned.

I feel blessed by the projected outcome and I'm just ready to get it over with. After months of refusing to even think about it - because it stressed me out - now I'm just ready. Let's just get it over with. I'll keep you posted on the exact date and related information.

I am more convinced than ever that the Word of God heals. I've been reading a "new to me" book on healing. I am reminded again that something happens in our bodies when we eat, drink or speak the Word. I am so fortunate that so many people used the Word to help me in the past few months. In the next season, I must step up to the plate and take more responsibility for spending time in God's word in order to sustain my health. Here's my latest verse! Nahum 1:5 - Affliction shall not arise a second time!

I'm getting ready to go the Young Women's Retreat this weekend. I'm so looking forward to the peaceful location, the great women and a chance to just relax. This was one of my favorite activities last year - so I have high expectations. Believing for a fresh wind in my spirit - and in my body would be nice too!

Could I ask for some continued prayer?

1) Health for my whole family - battling flu like symptoms while my counts are so low is very limiting. Luke and Matthew have both missed school and they have a lingering cough. Trying to keep us all seperate and using lots of hand sanitizer!

2) My mom in law - you know.

3) My mom - getting her second cataract surgery in the next 2 weeks.

4) Ashley - dealing with some health issues that will require wisdom on our part.
Here's some good news! Last week I went to DBU and sat down with the financial aid officer. The end result was that they finally worked with us and I am so grateful for the plan we developed. She's re-enrolling - which was really up in the air.

5) Work - some new transitions happening that are really great. I need wisdom, flexibility and creative ideas to maximize each person. I love team development! I love this team!

6) My men - they went deer hunting last weekend and had a blast. They are headed out again this weekend. This is a highlight of their year and a great time with their dad. They are careful and well trained hunters - but still young and three of them at once is a lot for Mark to manage. Safety is the priority!

With love,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Praise Jesus for His Sacrifice!

So thrilled to update you on my doctor visit this morning. My PET scan is totally clear showing no evidence of disease! When my doctor shared, I simply jumped out of my chair and started leaping in the air. I think I almost hit him! He told me to stop it so I wouldn't break my hip. Big tears and big smiles all around. Mark was with me and I just sat down in his lap and gave him a big hug.

Relief is so sweet! How I wish each of you could experience the release that I experienced this morning. Waiting on the Lord and believing for a natural manifestation of what you know in your spirit has been a stretch of my faith as never before. I have had to believe more deeply, declare more loudly and stand more firmly. Even now I sense again that standing is still required! Each of us must take our spiritual position, lift our sword and shield and stand until the natural aligns with His Word and His promise. Hard to do but easy to say! Compassion is being expanded in my heart.

Even though I am healed, treatment will continue out of wisdom. I am receiving chemo today. I was told early on that every round of chemo you can tolerate significantly contributes toward cancer not returning. Cancer cells are microscopic and every cell simply can't be detected by our current tools. Therefore I am taking chemo today and in the future to ensure we are destroying any secret rogue cells that might still be hiding!

I will see a new surgeon this week and together we will determine the plan of action. I am anticipating a lumpectomy early in December, followed by targetted radiation. In addition, my doctor will continue chemo post surgery. When you cut the body you can cause any cells in the primary tumor location that are unknown to be released into the blood stream - therefore - attack again! He tells me that I could have up to another six months or so of chemo - but with a different "cocktail" that will be much easier on my body. Even a possibility of my hair beginning to grow!

I will also be receiving a drug called herceptin (a hormone blocker) for up to a year. Since the cancer is estrogen and herceptin sensitive, I will be controlling these areas for a long time to come. Again - he tells me that herceptin is easy on my system and I should tolerate the treatment much more easily than the current regimine of drugs.

All in all, it was a remarkable day.

When I pulled into the parking lot this morning I remembered the day I pulled in and received a confirmation that indeed I was bearing breast cancer in my body. As I battled with apprehension, I reminded myself that it will be a better report than that. Asked God to make me steadfast and strong regardless of the outcome. So grateful I've learned that a bad report does not equal a bad God. He's good all the time, standing ready to meet our need, uphold our hands and deposit new measures of faith.

While I am rejoicing, I am keenly aware of many near and dear to me who have not received a manifestation of healing. I feel humbled that I have been granted a reprieve of sorts while others are deeply in the battle. Praying that God would do for each of us what he has done for me. I pray to be mantled to be a minister of healing. That I could share both my testimony and my faith - and that would create an environment for knowing Jesus as Jehovah Rapha - the God that heals me!

How can I thank each of you for your continued faith and support over the past few months and even in the days ahead? I am also keenly aware of the tremendous prayer support that has been mine. You are a blessing. A mighty army. Amazing friends. Gifted encouragers. Strength bearers. Powerful Intercessors. I am grateful for every prayer, card, meal, and thought that you have sent my way. I have been humbled by the process of learning to receive and in my weakness made grateful for your gifts of love. Thank you so much!

I (Jan) will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my (Jan's) lips.
My (Jan's) soul will boast in the Lord;
let the afflicted (that's me - and some of you) hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me (Jan);
let us (you and me) exalt his name together.
Ps. 34:1-3

I am deeply blessed!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Reports in the morning!

About to call it a night, but decided to share some inner feelings. Mark and I are reporting together at 8:30 in the morning to the McKinney office to receive the results of my PET scan together - and hopefully to hear and agree to any corresponding changes in my treatment plan.

I have felt so confident all day. I know it's going to be good. How good? I'm not so confident. Feeling a little apprehensive tonight. Maybe I'm putting too much pressure on one exam. Reminded to believe the report of the Lord first - and checking all other reports against His. If led, pray that I remain steadfast - regardless.

Some very precious friends got bad health news this week and I am reminded again how cruel sickness and disease can be. Praying for an encouraging word, a divine intervention, even miracles again.

Some of you need miracles too! As I pray, I'm asking that He would place a pray in your heavenly prayer bowls and that soon - even right now - they would tip and release healing virtue on you and yours.

Monday, October 26, 2009

California Dreamin' Part 2 and more!

Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement today. This morning I finally had the PET scan that we’ve been waiting for. This is a full body scan that will reveal the status of cancer in my body. I’m praying that there is no evidence of disease! On Wednesday I will meet with my doctor and get the results! I can hardly wait. I know they will be good, but the question is how good. I am honored that so many believe with me for divine healing and health. How could it help but be good news? I am scheduled for round 7 of chemo this Wednesday. I’m getting so close now I can taste it!

I want to give you an update on the rest of our trip to LA. I told you that we were greeted at the hotel with an amazing basket full of goodies!

Here's a picture of Ashley and I with the ocean in the background! The views were amazing.

The only bad thing about the whole weekend was that we never did see a star! Ashley was a little disappointed – but not too much. We had fun looking for one anyway. I had imagined that we would at least see some paparazzi or some limos or maybe some really expensive cars. But frankly, the people of the city look just like me and you! Other than a late night trip to Hollywood Boulevard and a brief time in the car rental line (those guys don’t even live in California) I didn’t see a whole lot of “unusual” characters. I think their reputation is unjustified!

This is the shopping area called the promenade where we spent a lot of time at H&M!

Don't want to bore you but couldn't resist putting in one picture from the farmer's market. The produce was huge and beautifully displayed. I've got more snaps if you like food!

We did make our way to the GodChicks event and really had an awesome evening. They went above and beyond to make us feel welcome. I met an amazing woman named Karen Barringer who is a missionary and pastor in Lima, Peru. She’s about a year into a battle with breast cancer. Her hair has just begun to grow back (she was absolutely beautiful) and she was asked to share some insight into her journey.

Karen Barringer and me at the Pink After Party!

The main thing I took away from her is the power of just believing God for His best. There’s a certain peace that comes on you when you realize that regardless of outcomes – He’s still consistent, faithful, steadfast. Sometimes I wonder when “it’s” really going to hit me. Day after day I know the circumstance, the potential outcomes and the long term risks! Yet, I just keep believing for healing, for restoration, for long life, for hope. That has to be the presence of God living in us! There is a resiliency that comes from the trusting in God.

During the evening, Holly taught on what God’s Word says about healing. She then shared the scriptural way to pray for healing (lay hands, anoint with oil, ask with faith.) They opened their altars and a team of about 25 ladies prayed for about 300 of the 550 or so present for any kind of physical healing. They did it in about 15 minutes. That’s somewhere around 10 ladies each! I was so impressed with the authority, order and confidence with which they ministered. Of course I went forward for prayer!

This picture of Ashley was taken in the auditorium of Oasis Christian Center.

After that Ashley and I made our way down Wilshire Boulevard to Rodeo Drive. We drove around looking at all the expensive shops and then headed back to the hotel. It wasn’t as impressive as I imagined, but it was clean and beautiful and very nice. In the end, it was two city blocks of stores! We tried to drive through in and out burger but the drive through line had about 25 cars in it – at 10:30 at night. We decided we were more tired than hungry and gave up! Maybe next time.

On Sunday morning we worshiped with our home church via the internet, (heard Reinhard Bonnke – wow!) drove to the airport and came home. I had fully anticipated being exhausted when I arrived on Sunday evening, but the truth is I came home feeling so much better than when I went. I was refreshed!

On Monday morning I reported to the doctor’s office – fearful that I’d be in big trouble with my doctor for going out of town when he asked me not to. He gave me a “look”, asked how I felt and said we’ll see what the numbers say! My counts were excellent! He smiled and was happy for me and not even offended. I’m telling you – I really like this man. So gracious!

My counts have remained excellent all week! I felt better last week than I have felt in months. I told several friends that I realized on Monday or Tuesday that I felt like myself. I just had extra energy, my mind was clear, my attitude was positive. I just didn’t feel sick! I even asked the Lord if maybe we’d broken the back of this disease. In the end I decided to enjoy it as long as it lasts. I’m learning to be grateful day by day – even hour by hour!

Thanks for stopping by again! You are faithful friends.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

California Dreamin'

Sitting in the lobby of the historic Culver Hotel in Culver City, California. Just drove by Sony Studios, Culver Studios and Kirk Douglas Theatre. Ashley and I are travelling together and experiencing a girl's weekend in the City of Angels. We arrived yesterday to 80+ temperatures and clear skies. The people here say it's hot, but feels like resort weather to me.

In typical Jan and Ashley style, we've seen and done a number of destinations in the past twenty four hours. Last night we drove down to Hollywood Boulevard and saw the walk of fame, Kodak Theatre and a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live. (Well, sort of - we saw it from the sidewalk!) We ate dinner at Mel's Drive In and then shopped - shocking - at Sephora's. I guess a great store is great everywhere.

We had a wonderful night's rest (I slept completely through the night for the first time in over a week) and then off this morning to Santa Monica. We experienced the local farmer's market - which was amazing - and then shopped at H&M at the promenade. This part of the area is so beautiful and I see why people would like living here. We then drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu and had lunch at Paradise Cove. Huge amounts of seafood, great views and sand between our toes. We really feel like we are on vacation now. We've returned to the hotel for a rest before heading out this evening for the real purpose of our trip.

We're going to be joining the women of Oasis Christian Center, more commonly known as the GodChicks, at a event called a Pink Night. A couple of weeks ago this event was brought to my attention and something inside me just felt an urge to be here. Maybe it's the fact that they are celebrating breast cancer survivors, or maybe it's the fact that they are praying for those of us currently in the fight, or maybe it's the fact that they are calling their evening a Pink night (certainly talking my language), or maybe it's that I'm hoping that God will show up to meet with me. Regardless, I'm excited in my spirit to worship among them and looking forward to all their plans. They evening sounds awesome with a promise of worship, messages of hope and a pink after party to boot. I'm sure we are the perfect guests for this event.

Tomorrow we'll return home and resume our normal life style - doctor visits and all. I left town with my counts low and my doctor expressing concern about travel. He won't be thrilled when he learns I decided to risk it. Please pray with me that my body would be strong and that no infection could overtake. I believe I'm here by divine unction and I'm asking for divine protection. I feel wonderful today!

Acts 3:16
By faith in the name of Jesus, this (wo)man whom you see and know (that's me!) was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him (her), as you can all see.

Oh that by faith, we would all be made strong, completely healed.

Love to you,

PS - The trip won't be complete if Ashley doesn't get to see at least one celebrity! She's cracking me up! Everywhere we drive she can point out the various locations from all different kinds of television shows! Surely - someone we can call a celebrity will cross our paths! It's kind of hard to identify a famous person when you are driving, driving, driving everywhere! I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A change in schedule.

Late this afternoon I got a call from my doctor's office. I had an appointment in the morning for my next PET scan. I've had it for almost a month. Well, apparently, they finally called the insurance company today to verify that they would pay for it -only to find out they won't pay until after four months since the previous scan. So at 4:00 this afternoon my appointment was rescheduled for October 26th. So no scan this week, but still scheduled for chemo on Thursday. No big deal - I'm confident it's going to be a good report and one more round of chemo before the big day only makes it more likely!

I really appreciate all the positive feedback about my recent post on making that appointment and keeping it. I know it was a "in your face" read! So many of you have shared that it moved you off your seat and into the action. I'm proud of you and I'm blessed by you! So grateful that we don't all have to learn by our own mistakes - like me!

In a couple of days I get an opportunity to speak to the single mom's of Gateway Church at their monthly gathering called Renew. I'm so excited and honored. I'm working on some remarks related to a topic that's been on my mind for months. Hoping it will relate and bring some encouragement to all of us.

I wanted to give you an update on some recent prayer requests.

In regards to mom in law, Molly - please keep praying. I love this woman! No matter how bad she feels or how much the struggle is costing her, she always thinking of others. She's praying for us on a daily basis and walking in faith. She's been very ill again. Please pray with us for her healing, her symptoms to be bound, for hope to reside in her heart and for the Holy Spirit to comfort her.

Ashley seems to be doing well at school...got through that awful week of exams and lots of work. She's a little bummed this week because she's working a 40 hour week while her classmates are on fall break. Hard now - but lucrative later! We received a decline for financial assistance based on our circumstances. I'm waiting to see the final bill and just trusting we'll be able to work things out in the end. If I worry about finances, it really stresses her out! So I'm trying not to fret! Praying rather than worrying!

Here's some fun news! The last time I wrote about Mark I asked you to pray for his job situation. Well, guess what? Within 2 days of that post, some type of storm damage happened somewhere in the area and suddenly he had new claims again! He's still working! Thank you friends. Thank you Lord. I'm just saying...it's a miracle again.

As I head into round 6 of chemo, please pray for me. I have really struggled over the past two weeks with simply not regaining my strength. I have been so tired, my legs are wobbily, the bottom of my feet blistered and I've been having to really evaluate how much I can do. Today was the first day I've felt like myself in this whole three week process. Now I begin again on Thursday and I'm hoping it won't be like this again. The good news is that I have not developed another urinary tract infection and my counts have remained great. I think this stuff just makes you tired, and I suspect "tired" gets harder to shake as you proceed. Only 9 more weeks of this particular regimine! I can do it, right?

Thought you might enjoy seeing a photo of John and his date, Amanda. They were going to the Flower Mound High Homecoming Dance. They looked cute together!

Now this is a really funny picture! This is Amanda's mom, Dawn, and me holding the all important mums - one for Amanda and one for John. I'm laughing because we forgot to take the photos at home and ended up holding them in the parking lot. I was thinking Mark would take a close up of them - but instead we ended up posing! What is even more funny is I'm wearing what I call my "hippy hair." Not too many people have seem my second wig - and I don't think you would recognize me in this photo unless I told you it was me. Yes, that's me - on the right!

Sending a big hug, a giant smile and a great big thanks to you for being my friend!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Coffee Chat - A Pink Night - October 29th

Hi friends,

I've been working on this "Coffee Chat" over the past few weeks and I'm getting so excited about it. The entire team would love for you and your friends to join us for a really fun fall evening. Here's the promo from the Gateway site - complete with instructions on how to register! Event is free but seating is limited.

Gather your family, friends and co-workers and join Pink (Gateway Women) for some nonstop coffee chat time. The Auditorium will be transformed into a Pink Coffeehouse, complete with fresh brewed java, iced-cold Frappuccinos, biscotti and much more!

Pastor Arnita Taylor will share some of her favorite tips on how to invest yourself in the lives of others. By special request, the evening will include an extended “unplugged” worship set featuring our own Gateway worship team. When you walk into the coffeehouse, you’ll enter a gathering place for the local Pink community. Grab a cup of coffee, and see who shows up!

This event is free; however, registration is required and seating is limited. Children’s ministry is available by reservation only on a first-to-register basis.

Register Now For the Event and Children’s Ministry at pink.gatewaypeople.com.

For more information, contact Katy Byrne at 817.552.3758 or email pink@gatewaypeople.com.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Notes from an old journal

Today I was searching for something in my office and I came across an old journal entry from the Summer of 2008. It spoke to me again. I decided to share...

You are enough for me. I trust. I stand on the precipe of change. Voices everywhere whisper words of threat. Every step seems loaded with trepidation. I'm looking, listening for you. I find it hard to come to the edge of the precipe and stand still. I hear you say free fall. I lean into the wind and just fall. If you slay me, still I will praise you. I'm falling. Changing places. Moving into postion. Trusting. Afraid, but trusting. Persecuted, but not held back. As I fall, I begin to smile. What was fearful is now restful. I wait. You will do what you will do. Mercy on whom you will have mercy. All things together for my good? Okay. Since you say so. Nothing is impossible for you. Even disappointment will work for my good. I bow down in the moment of pressure and molding. I trust you.

He is faithful and we can trust him! Hope you will lean into the wind with me and just free fall. What was fearful is now restful!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Please make that appointment and show up!

Over the past couple of weeks a few women have said something to me about going ahead and scheduling their mammogram because of me. They are “thanking me” for prompting them to do this thing they knew they needed to do, but had not yet done. I’m praying that if there is any hesitation in you, that what I am about to share will also move you to action.

In 2005 I had a mammogram. It came back with some suspicious looking areas. I had to return for additional scans. Fortunately, the surgeon felt that my suspicious areas were simply calcifications and nothing to worry about. I left his office greatly relieved and with his direction ringing in my ears, “Be sure to get your annual exam.”

Over the next four years I scheduled a mammogram on three separate occasions and cancelled every single time. I even made it to my regular doctor for an annual check up and my ob/gyn for one annual appointment. Everything looked great. All my blood work was lovely. "Don’t forget to get your mammogram…"

Most women in their mid years are dealing with a lot of life transitions. Jobs, homes, parents, kids – it’s just part of the season we must learn to cope with. But one of the side effects of the season for me is that I failed to prioritize some basic maintenance in my life. I knew I needed to stop and get a mammogram. but I reasoned away my appointments. Yes, I was busy, but there were some other things going on inside my head that deceived me into behaving in an apathetic way.

Here’s a few of the major ones…

I was afraid. I knew the face of breast cancer pretty well and frankly, I didn't want to deal with it. What I have found is that breast cancer knew me before I knew it. No amount of my fear kept it away. As a matter of fact, if I had faced my fear and it had been a bad report – that report would have been much less devastating than the one I finally got.

Sickness is weakness. All my life I’ve had a bad attitude about illness. I’m not very compassionate and I pretty much want you and me to be well. If I feel bad, I rest as little as possible and as soon as I can, I’m up and going. Anything more than that and in my mind I'm giving into weakness. Oh my! I have been so arrogant. My heart was both ignorant and judgmental. No exertion of my will, lack of compassion, or inner strength kept illness away.

I am well. I thought I was well because I had been well. I’ve been blessed with a lifetime of health. I don’t expect a bad report and I don’t look for symptoms in every little situation. During the first week of my diagnosis as I was answering health history quizzes – one after another – I’d check all the other boxes with a no and say to the technician, I am well. There’s a fine line between believing for divine health and walking in ignorance. I was ignorant.

I can’t deal with it right now. For about a year before my diagnosis, I’ve been having some strange physical issues. I’ve had a lot of trouble sleeping. I had a strange rash that no doctor could figure out! I would wake up in the middle of the night with intense itching. I remember saying to my sister in law not too long before all this started, “After xyz, I’m going to have to stop and check this out. I can’t do it right now because I’m afraid it could lead to something extensive and I just can’t manage it.” I visited the doctor a few times. They’d test my blood, talk to me about managing stress, give me around of steroids and back I’d go. Even when in my gut I felt like something might be going on, I didn’t suspect breast cancer, but I suspected it might require more of me, at the very least tests and time, and I just didn’t feel I could stop.

It’s too expensive and I don’t have a doctor. For years, Mark and I only had a major expense insurance policy that had huge deductible and big co-pay. We were in the insurance business for years and we know how important proper insurance can be and that you do not want to do anything that will make you uninsurable. I knew that any amount of diagnostic testing was going to be expensive and potentially change my insurability. (I was right about that!) In addition, we moved to a new city and I didn’t have a doctor. I kept putting it off until it was more financially feasible. I thought I was doing appropriate risk management.

I assure you that in the moment each of those “excuses” seemed legitimate. But as I look at them now, they seem ridiculous. By delaying attending to basic preventative procedures, I have allowed the disease to be much more advanced. As a consequence, every impact in my life is multiplied.

What I was afraid of, I am now forced to face and fight. It could have been a little fight, but now it’s a big one. I find that the sickness I despised, I must now learn to operate with on a daily basis. There is no putting off until after this or that to receive treatment or visit the doctor. My calendar is now based around treatment. The few minutes it would have costs me for the mammogram have become months of doctor visits, scans, procedures, treatments and tests. Cancer came into my "right now" and demanded my attention. Illness is expensive – there’s no doubt about and no way around it. However, I have added substantially to the length and breadth of the treatment I will require. I have made the financial impact more devastating for our family, not less.

Now finally – here’s the real costs! It’s the costs to my husband, my children, my family, my co-workers and my friends. I thought I was prioritizing all those people when I was taking care of everybody and everything except for me. But the truth is, my lack of self care has costs them the most. They will never be the same. Illness is not something you experience in isolation. It reverberates through every relationship and responsibility and has an impact on every other person in your life. Of all the consequences of my disobedience, this makes me most sad.

Obviously, I failed to do what I knew to do – and the consequences are pretty substantial. I know this sounds heavy – but I believe there’s grace for me. I trust Him in this season, but my trust is now mixed with a new level of obedience. God is redeeming my mistakes and turning them into something wonderful. I’d be honored if one of the wonderful things came in the package of a comment from you that said “thanks for reminding me to take care of myself.”

Please stop and make that appointment. Then go one step further and show up! Even if the results are less than what you hope they will be – it will be better for you and the ones you love than waiting until your body demands your attention. You are the only you your loved ones have and nobody can take your place or carry your load.

Please take care of yourself first! Make that appointment! Then show up!

With love,


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chemo Round #5

Hi friends,

Just posting a quick update to let you know how Treatment Round #5 went today. I arrived at the office at 8:30 and left at 4:00. Everything went great. The day was long becuase all my drugs rotated to be due on the same day. I received 3 chemo drugs, a bone strengthener, an antibiotic, and avastin - the one that impacts the blood to the tumors,plus all my pre- chemo drugs. It just took forever.

You may not know but I've been to the doctor's office a lot in the last three weeks. They determined that the urinary tract infection was resistant to my oral antibiotics so after three rounds of those - they put me on a ten day regimen of rosefin(sp) which is given by iv. So I've been driving to the doctor's office every single day since last Tuesday. I've not had a lot of side effects except I do feel more tired.

My doctor finally gave me some hint as to his plan for the next season. First of all they are scheduling a pet scan for October 7th. Bottom line is no firm decisions about timing of future treatment will be decided until that tests is complete. I asked him about chemo and he said he is planning 8 sessions. That means my last session would be on November 18th, I think. If the pet scan reveals my hip is doing well - then we'll stop avastin for the month of December and probably plan surgery for January. If my hip is not responding as well as the tumor in my breast - we'll make changes in the treatment plan, but delay surgery. I learned today that you can only take so much of the "blood of Jesus" so I'll be finishing that particular drug at 7 or 8 sessions. So I know a little more about what's going on in my doctor's head, but in the end no decisions will be made without further testing.

So bottom line, I'm hoping for an easy weekend and a quick recovery! I'm working the Pink Boomer Luncheon tomorrow morning and really looking forward to it! After that I'm home for awhile.

Prayer needs:

1) Two of my boys have been sick with cold like symptoms this week. They each missed some school. Please pray they are well before the weekend so I won't be totally confined to my room.

2) My mother in law Molly has been having a bad stretch again. So weak and so tired.

3) Please pray for Mark. He is an independent storm adjuster for a company that represents State Farm. He's been working from home for 19 months. He's currently working the tail end of busy storm season in the metroplex, but the work is thinning out. He could be released from his assignments at any time. This means he'd be home waiting on another storm and could be sent anywhere in the US. It's been a miracle that he's worked out of the Dallas offices for 19 months - never heard of that before. We need the miracle to continue!

4) Do you mind praying for Ashley? She turned 19 this week - wow! The prayer request is for her studies. Next week she has four tests in a row plus her work. She needs an excellent GPA this semester. We still haven't heard about her financial aid requests either. Praying for favor in this area as well.

Thanks for being such a good friend! I hope to return the favor to you!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Transition feels like this to me.

I’m on a path and I can see a destination in front of me. Everything in me is passionate to touch that destination. I am running and working with it in mind. I think the best and shortest path to that destination is a straight line. As I’m furiously pursuing the destination, suddenly I am sucked into a black hole. It’s as if I fell off the path into a place I can’t identify and I am free falling.

This place is so scary. It’s hard to navigate. I have no control. I can’t see and danger lurks everywhere. My arms and legs are out of control, I'm grasping for something to hold on to. No relief comes. I experience disorientation, disappointment, disillusionment and a sense of abandonment.

Many voices are speaking – not only the enemy, but even my own flesh. My ears grow more sensitive as my other senses are dulled. God’s voice is hard to hear. I catch a whisper here and there. My own self determination is slowly destroyed and I experience tremendous grief. I cry over the loss of my expectations to arrive at a destination I thought was in my grasp.

I accept the transition. Once I cease resisting, I begin to relax. Slowly I silence the enemy’s voice. Now I work on silencing my own flesh. I pray for understanding and breakthrough. I rest in the free fall. The hole is still dark, the grief is still real, but acceptance of the situation begins to come. In this position, I hear more clearly and I wait.

The black hole remains for an undetermined amount of time and holds many perils. When the testing is finally complete, God brings me out on the other side. I experience light and a sense of gravity. An uprightness returns to your body, soul and spirit. More disorientation, but now a sense of relief.

I am released to a new place, a new path. It is a path that I could not see before nor reach through any natural effort of my own. Now I begin again.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11 MSG

We don't want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn't think we were going to make it. We felt like we'd been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he's the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he'll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don't want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God's deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

True Confessions

A great big hug and a huge thank you for your prayers, encouraging comments and thoughts! Since my last blog, many of you have stepped in and given me a hand up. I have improved physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Last week my strength finally returned on Thursday. While visiting with my doctor on Wednesday (when I was feeling really bad), he made a comment about possibly having to cut back on my chemo. At that moment, that sounded like a plan to me! But as my strength began to return and I began to think with a little more clarity, I felt certain that I do not want to slow down. When we spoke on Friday I told him – “let’s don’t back off! Help me through the side effects, but let’s press on!” As I was talking with him I realized my apathy had been broken off.

I had a couple of divine appointments in the past week that really blessed me as well. Deana and her girls came by and brought some delicious dinner - and a beautiful basket of blessed water! (Picture to follow soon!) Another friend with a gift for healing, Junnine, set aside some time to pray with me. Thank you, friend. Healing manifesting! Progress made. Then another friend, Stacy brought food to my home and shared a vision she saw while praying for me. That vision is resonating inside me – confirming a new and deeper peace than I have previously known.

Then another friend asked me how I was today and out of my mouth came “Once I confessed, I began to feel better.”

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:16

Sharing with you my struggle was really a form of confession. Once my struggle was revealed, prayer began to stir and the dark place that I was struggling with began to lift. My circumstances did not immediately change, but everything in my perspective did.

By the way… I do believe my circumstance is shifting. I believe my healing is manifesting and I am making progress.

It’s like rock climbing a high cliff. I had to overcome my fear, apathy and fatigue to reach up with all my might and get a new grip in order to pull myself up. Reaching out was overcoming. Gripping was confessing. The pulling up was easy – all my friends lifted me with prayer.

Truly this is a journey. Each day the sun comes up and I begin again. Each morning is a new opportunity - an opportunity to persevere, to believe, to share, to confess. I am so glad I told you, so glad you listened, so glad to be surrounded by amazing friends who hold me accountable and cheer me on. I’m contending from a new place tonight – more humble, more restful, and hopefully wiser.

If you find yourself in need of confession, then please, be quicker than me! Stop right now and confess to your Father and then with wisdom find a friend to tell. When you shine the light on the dark places you begin to receive your healing. I’m praying that God will provide the perfect friend, small group or safe place for you.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

Much love,

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Standing in the need of prayer...

Hi friends,

Do you know this song? It's me, it's me, it's me Oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer...

I have been in bed for five days - and I'm still weary. I had a relatively easy weekend following chemo. I rested well and managed the pain much more effectively. I really expected to feel good on Monday and return to work on Tuesday - like I've done for the past two rounds of chemo.

However, on Monday I was still exceedingly tired and I slept almost all day. I got up Tuesday morning and went to a breakfast meeting at work. I was really weak, but determined to press through. During breakfast I got really ill and thought I might pass out. My co-worker had to drive me back home - where I spent the rest of the day in bed again.

Today I went to the doctor, expecting to receive another dose of Avastin, my weekly check up and then head into work. Instead I learned that my white counts are low (the reason for my extreme fatigue) and as a result didn't receive treatment - but was sent home to bed again. I did get a booster shot this morning and I'm hopeful that by tomorrow morning my counts will be sufficient to resume both my work schedule and my treatment plan.

I did get some good news today! The MRI of my breast revealed that the tumor is 1/2 of it's original size - which was already small. Obviously, this is good news and means that the "cocktail" of drugs is effective and is making progress. However, it wasn't the report I had hoped for, leaving me with a strange sense of disappointment. The CT of my hip isn't as definitive as the MRI. He is confident the cancer is being killed - but the CT revealed that my hip bone is still very porous and now has a small crack in it. This is the reason for the return of the pain. He cautioned me again about being careful not to break the bone and put me back on some restrictions - like no lifting etc. He says I am responding well and that I'm to trust him. I do.

For the past few weeks I've been really struggling emotionally. Between the returning hip pain, recurring urinary tract infections, and general apathy, I find I am in need of some additional prayer support. I get easily discouraged by the length of the process. I really like to determine the problem, spend a day or so thinking about what to do about it, then do it! Then move on!

The problem with this cancer thing is that it just does not move on! When you feel good, you feel like you are making progress and you can easily believe that you are the victor. But when your body feels bad and your mind is tired and your emotions are flat, its much easier to listen to every whisper of the enemy. I'm trying to turn his voice away, but he is merciless - bringing fear and hopelessness and anxiety at every turn.

I realized again tonight that I've not been calling on my friends and family for the support I so desperately need. I've been drawing further and further away - rather than announcing at the top of my lungs that I'm struggling! I am reminded that one of the strategies of the enemy is to keep me isolated and my needs hidden. When I feel discouraged, I tend to close up - be quiet - wait for it to pass. I think that's a failing strategy in this moment. So friends, would you pray for me again? I am in need of healing - yes - and so much more.

Mary Jo asked me recently who's report was I going to believe. I believe the report of the Lord - that I will not die but live and declare His works!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Pink Boomer Luncheon - September 17th

Just wanted to give my friends an update - the Pink Boomer Luncheon is almost sold out! If you are thinking about joining Pastor Debbie and our women's ministry team for this fun time, please register immediately. We are expecting to close down registration by Monday - we're running out of space!

Just visit pink.gatewaypeople.com and click on the link at the bottom to register. Can't wait to see you there!
Much love,

Friday morning greetings!

Hi friends,

Thanks so much for all the additional prayer support over the past few days. I feel like some of the weight has lifted off my mind and I'm beginning to rise up again. I had a great visit with my doctor on Wednesday. We talked a lot about my visit with the surgeon and some concerns I had. He is really an amazing man. Both brilliant and compassionate.

We went ahead and scheduled my scans immediately. Yesterday I had a CT on my hip and another MRI on my breast. I'm also scheduled for an echo cardiogram just to be sure my heart is tolerating the chemo drugs without damage. I'll know a lot more about both the progress we are making and what comes next by next Wednesday. He really encouraged me to drink a lot more water as the reason I'm getting urinary tract infections is because one of the chemo drugs tends to settle in the bladder. More water, more water!

I already told you how much I enjoyed blessing box #3 - but I have to show you a picture. It was another beautiful display of love and support. I have all three boxes displayed on a shelving unit in my home and they really make a beautiful display. I can just open one at anytime and grab hold of a truth or an encouragement. Thanks again to Julie and the lovely ladies who have loved on me over and over! I am blessed.

When I got home last night, I had some beautiful flowers. Thanks Chelsea! They are gorgeous. I hear you sent me flowers on your birthday. Somethings not right about that. I think I should have been sending you flowers.

Last night I was able to attend John's first high school football game. On Thursday's they wear a cool "game day" polo for school. We snapped his photo on the way out the door at 7 am - so he doesn't look so happy. Jaguars won last night 19 to 0! Go Flower Mound.

I'm still feeling well this morning. Just cleaned my kitchen, ran some laundry, made my bed and sending you a note. Hoping and praying for an easy time - but either way - committed to going through.

Here's a verse I'm meditating on this morning. Heb . 10:35 - Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. I'm believing for a great reward and therefore, I'm standing resolute in the face of disease.

Love you and thank you again!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chemo Round #4 - Strength for the battle!

Good morning,

Its 5:45 am and I've been up for awhile. Today is chemo round #4 and I have mixed feelings. A part of me dreads the day and weekend (only natural, I guess) and the other part of me rejoices to go on through. I have to remind myself that each treatment is like a rung on the ladder. At least I have some sense of forward motion and a movement toward the destination.

When I got up this morning I just knew I couldn't wait to open my third blessing box. Julie brought it to me yesterday and prayed over me. I have just read every note, verse and gift. I feel like I'm drinking in an early morning boost of strength. Thanks again to you amazing ladies. Each box has held a unique vibe and come at exactly the right moment. I am so blessed. I will carry you with me today and through the weekend and look forward to the day I can say thanks face to face.

Not only am I in for treatment this morning, but my mom, Marilyn has cataract surgery this morning. Thanks again to LC for taking her on my behalf. I'm confident she'll do well, but would you please agree with me again? Her procedure is at about 9:00 this morning and should last about 30 minutes.

Talked to my mom in law Molly yesterday who said she had experienced about 4 good days in a row. That's encouraging. Wondering if the new medication may be making an impact? Prayer point again.

My schedule has become challenging - probably just like you. It was a real relief to get the boys and Ashley back in school this week. I made one more late night run last night for school supplies while Mark took Matthew to football practice again. John and Matt have their first football games this weekend and Luke starts next week. I think I'll have to miss Matt's on Saturday - so I'm kind of bummed about that. But there are lots of games and I'm making to make as many as I can. Everyone, including Ashley, seems satisfied with schedules and teachers.

Ashley's been working SWAT (freshman orientation) at DBU. She seems to have loved it! Please pray for her too as her fall schedule is demanding with work and school and leadership opportunities. Would you mind praying with us for favor with the financial aid department? Her paper work didn't get processed until this week and we're really entering the semester on financial faith. We've submitted a request for some special consideration due to circumstances but are waiting.

I don't want to forget to let you know how much we've appreciated all the food that has continued to roll into our home. So many amazing meals! Thanks Lynnell, Paula, Angie, Lanae, Colleen, Tina, Christy, Paula, Lorena - I hope I didn't forget anyone because I assure you they didn't forget us. Our refrigerator is always full and our love tank, too! Thank you so much.

I realize I've been sporadic in my writing the last few weeks - I hope I haven't lost you or overly concerned you. I am distracted in many ways and grateful for your continued prayer. I am definitely into a battle for my mind and emotions. I am not unstable, but under constant barrage. Each day I arise and ask God to do battle with me and for me. My progress feels suspended and threatened. This ground is more rocky and uphill. I am praying for hinds feet to go on and up with God.

After 6:00 am - time to rally the troops and face the day. May the Lord lift you up, make His presence known to you and give us all strength for the battle.

I love you,


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Greetings from the sidelines!

Hi team,

I'm posting an update from my phone while sitting on the sidelines of Matthew's football scrimage. I've been wanting to post an update for days but find that having time in the evening at the computer is challenging. All 3 boys are practicing for fall football and our nights from 5 to 8 are no longer our own. Not complaining. I love it. Just explaining.

In addition I've been working hard on all things related to Pink Impact, especially writing all the pre event copy. For those of you who might not know one of my primary responsibilites in the womens department at Gateway Church is our annual women's conference called Pink Impact. This is my 4th conference to be involved with and it takes a large portion of my work time. I've been trying to get all the promotional oieces done. By the time I finished all that, I had a hard time switching to this format. Didn't mean to be absent for so long.

I've had a good two weeks. I am experiencing some side effects that are related to the steroids and chemo that effect your hormones. Hot flashes are a regular occurence and this week my ankles are swelling. These things make me grumpy! Who wants toi be fat and sweaty? Seriously, these are minor and I am continuing to be strong.

I had a surgery consult this week. It will be awhile before we have to make some decisions in this area. Not one of my favorite topics.

Tomorrow I receive my monthly dose of bone strengthener along with a new drug designed to prevent my blood vessels from feeding the tumor. Hoping for no side effects and a quick office visit.

My mom in law, Molly gave me Joshua 1 9 this week. Just a reminder to hold back fear and stay the course.

Please continue to pray for my body and soul. I have to keep resetting my mind and will to focus on what is good and pure and right. Believing my emotions will follow suit.

Thanks for hanging with me during a dry couple of weeks. I'm remaining steadfast and faithful.

Thanking God for every single warrior! You are appreciated.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Hi friends,

Thanks for all the sweet calls, texts and notes this week. I'm happy to report that I had a less difficult response to this round of chemo. I didn't get so tired until late Friday night and I could have been up and moving around the house on Monday - except on Monday morning Matthew woke with a sore throat and bad cough. I banished myself back to my room for the rest of the day just to be sure he didn't share his "stuff" with me. I did not get as fatigued this time, but I did develope a urinary tract infection and had to visit the minor emergency clinic on Sunday. I started an antibiotic and all is improving. I was able to return to work on Tuesday with very little trouble. All in all - the easiest round yet!

But I didn't manage myself so well. I was in bed all weekend, but couldn't really rest. I'd feel bad, toss and turn, go to get something to eat or drink, fall back in the bed. I got so tired of just wandering around the room, laying in the bed and clicking the remote. I was restless.

By the time Monday came around and I was forced into my room for another day, I became downright crabby. I really wanted to go lay on the couch! I was pretty much annoyed about any and everything. I'm sure that was nice for my sweet husband and sick children. I find my body did better, but my emotions were worse. I was whiny, cranky and not easily satisified. If I didn't know better, I'd say I was tired and send myself to bed again!

Selfishness is not a good bed partner!

Boston update: My mom in law, Molly, and sister-in-law, Julie, have been in Boston since Sunday evening. My mother in law has done amazingly well and been able to complete three full days of tests and procedures. She did qualify for the drug trial and Julie tells me they have medicene in hand. Although no new information was revealed, they did receive excellent counsel and some good direction for helping my mother in law to regain her weight and strength. They'll return in about 6 months for a follow up. They tell us that within a couple of months we'll be able to tell if she is receiving the real thing or a placebo. Apparently they are confident she'll be able to tell by some improvements in her current symptoms. They travel home in the morning. I'm so proud of them both - real troopers! Thank you for praying for them.

I see my doctor tomorrow for my one week check up! I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, praying for the strength, patience and positive attitude to conquer the next two weeks. Football, school, home improvements and doctor visits make for a crazy schedule. I bet you can identify.



Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pinc Incorporated - Tonight - NRH

Pinc Incorporated Professional Women's Event

Featuring LoriAnn Lowery-Biggers

Dinner at 5:30 \ Forum at 6:00 \ Evening Session at 7:00

I'm so looking forward to attending this special evening tonight at the North Richland Hills Campus of Gateway Church. Ladies, if you can make it please plan to attend. Please register today by visiting pink.gatewaypeople.com. There's a link at the bottom of the page that will take you to the registration form. The event is free, but we want to know if you are coming.

LoriAnn is an amazing woman with a wealth of wisdom on how to be a successful Christian woman business leader. In addition, she has a passionate heart to hear and obey God. The combination of these two strengths will yield a harvest of wisdom for us this evening. Come early if you can for dinner. Hear a panel of business women answer some of our most common questions and then we'll enter into an awesome opportunity to grow together. This would be an awesome place to bring your co-workers as well. LoriAnn is exceptional and you don't get an opportunity to hear a CEO of this level in this personal of an environment very often. I'll be there early, and would love to see you! Can't wait to give you a hug and lots of thanks for all the support!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Stay your post!

Here's another verse form the Message Bible that reminded me about being resolute. Praying I will stay at my post - neither turning to the left nor the right. Love this verse!

Our work as God's servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing his power; when we're doing our best setting things right; when we're praised, and when we're blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.

2 Corinthians 6:2-3

Chemo Day Three!

Hi friends,

Day 3 chemo was another day of total blessings! Lynnell arrived bright and early this morning to drive me to our appointment. When she arrived she was carrying a beautiful bouquet of flowers you can see in the photo below. They had a card which says "many of us are praying for you today! So sweet. Thank you! The beautiful red dahlias and the blessing box arrived on Tuesday and came from another group of friends who prepared the most amazing surprises. Thank you, too! I'm wearing my new t-shirt that my friend Tracy gave me. You might not be able to see, but the t-shirt contains the words about how limited cancer is - from one of my earlier blogs. It's simply a beautiful work of art combined with those amazing declarations.

This is Lynnell and I sharing lunch. Lynnell packed in lunch for us which was so yummy. We shared turkey, cheese, crackers, pretzels, bananas and delicious greek yogurt. Thanks Lynnell, you are so thoughtful.

Here we are about to break into the box! First of all this box is a coordinate for box number one. They are similar, but different - just like us! This blessing box had a couple of definite themes. First everything was wrap and prepared in red, black, white and silver. It was visual feasts for the eyes. The red had a definite underlying message - reminding me that the blood of Jesus is working a miracle in my body. In addition, there was definitely a jewel/crown theme. So many interesting words and comments about those things. It even contained a gift of some prophetic jewels and a beautiful journal with a crown. In addition to that there were lots of prayers and Scripture that addressed the issue of doubt verses belief that I wrote about in the blog yesterday. I felt they were all confirmations that I'm hearing God and on the right track.

Here's a picture of my fusion nurse, Rene. She takes such great care of me. I'm quite a job! She has a beautiful spirit and I appreciate her attention to my needs.

Just wanted you to see that Lynnell was totally into the "crown" theme! Check out her t-shirt! She didn't plan it but God did. Of course we were both texting all day long. She's addicted to that iphone!

There were about a hundred things inside this blessing box I could share with you, but I decided this was the one to show you. It was so cute and made me laugh! Maybe I have a new nick name - after all i am pink!

Thanks to each one of you who lifted me in prayer today. Each time I return for the treatment it does take a certain measure of courage. I find I must willingly submit my body to the treatment at hand - determined to go through to the other side. Your prayers have given me strength when I needed it. I'm praying for a "light" fatigue, no mouth burn, a cooperative digestive system, and grace, grace, grace for my family. I know you will pray with me too!
My kids and I share a little joke! I like to sing a song to them when they snuggle up close to me - maybe you know it - "Have I told you lately that I love you? That there's no one else above you..." That's about as far I get since they roll their eyes, start to giggle and make a comment about my poor singing skills! But they know I love them. Tonight I'm singing to you and I hope you know I love you too!
I am blessed!

PS - Just a couple of prayer request...
Jenni Henson's daughter, Maggie Lee, passed away on Monday night after a 3 week battle. Services are tomorrow in Shreveport. So saddened by this news.
My mother in law - Molly - leaves for Boston on the 10th! She's had a rough couple of weeks. Please remember to pray for her.
All 3 of our boys are starting football (and school.) We're used to crazy sports schedules, but this fall will be especially challenging with the addition of so many doctor appointments. Sometimes we have to get all three boys to different places at the same time. Just praying I'll feel strong so I can do my share and be a part of one of the most fun things we do as a family.