February 27, 2014

Such a blessing!!

This month, I received a couple large checks from Rozetta Baptist Church to help me with my chemo pills!!  This gift to my family means that 6 months of pills are paid for!! I cannot express to you enough how much this means to us!  THANK YOU all so much for your love, support, and prayers through this process!  This gift has taken SO much stress off our chest and I feel like I can now breath easier knowing that I can continue these chemotherapy treatments without having to worry about the finances.

I feel so loved and blessed to live in this community!  And I thank you all for your prayers and love!  I just wanted you to know that I so appreciate this and feel very blessed!

February 25, 2014

One Year Mark

This Thursday marks one year since my surgery to remove the brain tumor (Trixie, we called her) and my later diagnosis of brain cancer! I can't believe we've hit the one year mark already!  This past year has been an absolute whirlwind, but so many blessings have come out of it. 

First of all, because of my realization that this life can so quickly be gone, I have refocused my priorities. Before my diagnosis, I was so focused on making money and on work that I often put my relationships with Christ, Travis, family, and friends on the back-burner.  I worked so hard that I came home exhausted with no energy for the people who really mattered.  Now, I recognize that work is still an important part of life, but it must be focused on leading people to Christ and I must have enough left after my workday for Travis and Lucas! 

I have learned to rely on Christ alone and my relationship to Him has been radically deepened.  I have recognized that I cannot do this life by my own strength.  Life is too much to handle to do it alone.  He is now in complete control of my life.  I pray daily for direction and for His guidance in my decisions.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to work in my life each day, leading me where He has planned.

Not only has my relationship with Christ grown stronger, but my relationships with friends and family have intensified.  I have truly realized the importance of sticking together, serving one another, and putting others before my own needs.  Before, I was so focused on our finances and goals that I often forgot how important it is to spend time with and uplift those around me.  Now, I have been more purposeful in my friendships, setting aside time for those who matter; whether it be a lunch date, evening visit, quick phone call, facebook message, or letter, this year I have focused more on my friends and family than ever before.  As a result, I see my friendships deepening and myself connecting on deeper level with family members.  I pray this only continues as the years go by. 

This year has also led me to long for Christ and my Heavenly Home!  I have realized that this place is not my home.  I will continue on Earth for only a short time, and I long for the days when all I do is sing praises to my Creator!  In my final days on Earth, however long that may be, I will praise God through my actions, words, and thoughts.  I know that my time is short, but I will use each hour I'm given in a purposeful way, in order to show people Christ through my life!  I pray today, dear reader, that you have committed your life to Christ as well. 

Thank you all for your continued prayers, love, and encouragement as I live each day to the fullest.  Remember, friends, the best is yet to come! 

God bless you,

February 20, 2014

That's What Faith Can Do

This song is so perfect for today, as a friend also battling cancer was given terrible news about her prognosis and my Father-in-law is in the ICU with a medical condition.  As I sat at my desk at work and this song came across Pandora, all I could do was cry and thank God for His faithfulness and gentle reminder that my big faith  in Him can indeed move mountains, heal the sick, and cause miracles to happen.  Please pray with me today for Sharri and Ed!

Please enjoy the following lyrics from Kutless' song "That's What Faith Can Do"

Everybody falls sometime
Gotta find the strength to rise 
From the ashes 
And make a new beginning

Anyone can feel the ache 

You think it's more than you can take 
But you're stronger 
Stronger than you know

Don't you give up now 

The sun will soon be shining 
You gotta face the clouds 
To find the silver lining

I've seen dreams that move the mountains 

Hope that doesn't ever end 
Even when the sky is falling 
I've seen miracles just happen 
Silent prayers get answered 
Broken hearts become brand new 
That's what faith can do

It doesn't matter what you've heard 

Impossible is not a word 
It's just a reason 
For someone not to try

Everybody's scared to death 

When they decide to take that step 
Out on the water It'll be alright

Life is so much more 

Than what your eyes are seeing 
You will find your way 
If you keep believing

I've seen dreams that move the mountains 

Hope that doesn't ever end 
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen 

Silent prayers get answered 
Broken hearts become brand new 
That's what faith can do

Overcome the odds 

You don't have a chance 
(That's what faith can do) 
When the world says you can't 
It'll tell you that you can

I've seen dreams that move the mountains 

Hope that doesn't ever end 
Even when the sky is falling 
And I've seen miracles just happen 
Silent prayers get answered 
Broken hearts become brand new 
That's what faith can do 
That's what faith can do

Even if you fall sometimes 

You will have the strength to rise

February 5, 2014

God is the Reason...

God is the reason why
even in pain, I smile;
in confusion, I understand;
and in fear, I continue to fight!

- Author Unknown

God truly is the reason.  He's the reason I wake up each morning; I've taken a vow to represent Him each day and love people in His name.  He's the reason I smile at people, hoping to be a ray of sunshine in a dark world.  God's the reason I am able to understand that difficult situations only bring us closer to Him and each other.  Honestly, God's the only reason that I'm able to continue this fight! 

God, thank you for carrying me through this difficult season in my life.  Thank you for my family, friends, mentors, and church.  Lord, I give it all over to you; the burdens I carry are too heavy and you have offered to take them.  Thank you.  You are my strength and my hope, my joy and my reason for everything. 

God, to you be the praise! 

February 4, 2014

Tonight, I Ask For Prayer

Tonight, I'm blogging to simply as you for prayer.  You see, I had a rough visit to the doctor today and am kind of down tonight as a result. I am being heavily attacked by Satan and could really use your prayers for God's peace on my life.
My oncology doctor has been offered a position at Penn State as the Director of their cancer clinic.  This is a wonderful opportunity for him and I am thankful for the time I was able to spend as his patient.  In the period until they find a replacement, Dr. Carlisle, my former oncologist, who retired this year, is coming out of retirement to help care for Dr. Hohl's patients.  I very much respect and trust my current doctor so it was hard news for me to take that yet again I will be switching.
Because of how much I respect him, I asked Dt. Hohl his opinion of what he would recommend if all continues to look good on my brain scans (my next scan is in March).  He said that with my aggressive form of brain cancer, he would like to see me continue chemo for an extended time (potentially through next April), since my body is handling it well and if finances would allow.  But he is concerned if I stop chemo too soon another tumor will resurface quickly. So, it seems as if I might be continuing chemo for awhile longer. Of course, this is not the course that I must definitely take and depends of many factors including my scan in March and Dr. Carlisle's opinion. 
I am struggling tonight most of all due to the the stress of the financial burden that continuing chemo for another year would place on us.  We are currently paying $300 out-of-pocket each month for my five nights of Chemo on top of a substantial insurance premium.  We are simply not mathematically able to put $300 in our monthly budget for the next year.  However, I MUST trust that God will provide every need, including this. 
Although I'm just slightly overwhelmed this evening at all of this new information, I knew directly what to turn to: Godly Friends and God's Word.  Right away after returning home from my appointment, I tore open my Bible and dug deep into the Word, as well as emailed some important Christian mentors asking them to pray for me.  I know that I must fully turn this situation over to the Author of this story!  Please pray for me to do just that. 
In closing, I end with some verses that helped me through tonight:
"Submit to God and you will have peace; then things will go well for you." ~Job 22:21
"The Lord gives his people strength.  The Lord blesses them with peace." ~Psalm 29:11
"But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm." ~Proverbs 1:33
"Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank him for all he's done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hears and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." ~1 Peter 4:12