The Prom-Mom's Perspectives and Ramblings...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pink is the color... we are.
Week 13 of this 20 week chemo journey.

Had a nice little break--can't say enough how amazing it was to almost recognize my bodily-functions, moods, etc--for at least a few days last week.

Last Monday marked the beginning of the second round of chemo--a round 'endearingly' nicknamed 'The Red Bullet' by other patients who've endured it.
Yes, it's red--blood red, in fact--and I won't lie and say that watching the nurse pump it into my port was not a bit unnerving--especially as she sat there in her usual all-over-body protective garb, ha!
There's something just not quite right about that scenario--them protecting themselves from chemicals, albeit poisons, that they are purposely injecting into my system. Not sure I'll ever get over that. :-P

As a kid--even well into my adolescence--I swore off pink, entirely! Blue was always my favorite and periwinkle blue was even the main color of our summer wedding. At some point in college, however, I began to take to the color pink...choosing it over all else...something I definitely endured some criticism from, initially. By the time I was in my mid to late twenties, pink was my color! Pink clothes, pink shoes, pink scarves and hats, pink key-chains, pink phone-covers--you name it--it was pink.

Shortly after my diagnosis last fall, being that it was breast-cancer awareness--aka pink!--month, pink took on a whole new level in our house. I received cards, blankets, head-wraps, frames, more clothes, boxing-gloves (by request) ;) ...I joke with Aaron that since even though our home is dominated by boys, it's amazing how much the pink managed to take over in just a few short months!
Yes, you could say I'm becoming pinked OUT...and I'm definitely becoming awareness-ribboned out, ha! I LOVE the prospect of giving ribbons out to encourage public awareness, but those ribbons around my house are hardly necessary. All I have to do is use the bathroom to be reminded of it, lol!
Interestingly, while I had heard through the grapevine that I should expect to have red urine, so far, it's actually--you guessed it--pink!!! Don't ask me why I'm so intrigued by this--simple things stimulate my thoughts these days. I suppose, the irony of it all is what gets me, though.

I periodically joke that 'I asked this onto myself' by falling in love with pink so suddenly as I did.
After having two boys, I'd even complain in passing that there's 'not enough pink' or 'no reason for pink in our house'--well, watch what you wish for, I suppose! Really though, don't think I'm serious about any of this...only mildly intrigued. ;)

This 'Red Bullet' round really has earned it's name though, let me tell you.
Before we even returned home from Portland on Monday, I was already feeling it.
Tuesday morning welcomed some of the worst nausea I think I've ever experienced in my life...
thank goodness for saline and a loving daddy willing and available to drive my miserable self to get some bags of it infused into my weakened system!
Amy, my 'c-sister' has her chemo infusions four days prior to mine and has told me that by day four, post 'red bullet,' she was on the mend.
This is day three for me now and I can see how it's definitely, slowly improving, PTL!

Today I just feel fatigued and still weak. Mom and Dad have kept the boys this whole week, thus far, and though I miss them terribly, it's been such a blessing to mostly just sleep this all off. Sort of 'hibernate,' if you will. ;)

Thank you all for the continued prayers--I feel them--and I NEED them~

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pregnant with cancer...

So MUCH of this journey reminds me of being pregnant.

MAJOR hormone fluctuations, odd cravings (thank you, drugs), acid-reflux, 'nesting' instincts--including that feeling of just needing major change in life's routine, batter-brain or as my nurse's deem it 'chemo-brain,' the need for frequent naps/rest/downtime *even though I rarely meet that need*, people all around you asking you all the time 'how are you feeling'... hahaha!

There are days where I am just sooo frustrated with this scenario--or maybe the better word is saddened--because at least with a pregnancy, you're likely going to end up with a warm, wrinkly, snuggly little new life in your hands. People have said: 'Well yeah, you technically ARE going to end up with a 'life'... YOURS... but sorry if I don't quite see that as the same thing. :-P

Perhaps the most ironic part of all of it is what I've read about the chemo round ahead...
one of it's 'common' side-affects is that it makes you sterile...and even if by the off chance it doesn't, being that I'm 33 and have to wait a minimum of two years before I would even be allowed to think about a third child, it's just not likely to happen.

Don't get me wrong...
Praise God that I had the chance to have my two boys before all of this and Trust and Know that God's Plan is what it is... that if I'm done, then I'm done, and that's just something I will accept.
But I think that every woman out there can relate to the desire of choosing when that's the case for themselves--not have someone tell them it is. Yep. I DO know how silly that sounds cause I know that doctors telling me so is God's Plan, unfolding. I suppose my mama's heart though that was urging Aaron a year and a half ago to list our house and get things in order for 'the next chapter' *I know, I'm such a woman* can't help but feel a little crushed. I definitely feel a little robbed of that self-confirmation of 'yep... I've sewn all the 'seed' I want to sew.' I envy my friends who whole-heartedly laugh out loud when someone poses the question 'do you want more?' They are so confirmed...yet I admit to originally saying 'Three, maybe even four,' happily, when it came to that early-marriage topic. Perhaps it's also a bit of a grievance for me that this gorgeous, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl that Aaron and I may have produced together *I know I'm partial but I think we make pretty ones* (whom I've literally held and touched in my deepest dreams), will never be. This scenario also doesn't make reading/hearing about baby #3's and 4's (even some #5's!) for friends and family my age, all around me, any easier. I'm soooo ecstatic for them but I won't lie and say I don't want to BE them right now, either.
Heck, half the time I just don't want to be anything I am right now.

When God moved us from Portland 5 1/2 yrs ago *and that move really wasn't so much about us, though the blessings have certainly flowed down on us* I just never saw us completely 'settling' in Roseburg...I don't like the limited school options for our kids and aside from being close to family, it's just not where I saw us spending the 'youth' of our adult life and raising our children over the long-haul at all. Of course CANCER certainly wasn't in my 5-year-plan, either...ha! Pretty sure I've never met anyone who would say, 'Oh, and then I need to *insert life goal here* so that next year, I can get cancer.


While I was at Gray's karate class tonight I started up a conversation with a dad of one of the other kids (his daughter and Gray are in the same kindergarten class, too) and out of left-field he asked me 'So, I know you have Gray and his little brother... do you have any more, a daughter, perhaps? or plan to?
*Insert the better top half of this blog* and that was most of the unfolding conversation--but as I often do, I found myself preaching out what I myself needed to hear most. 

NONE of us really have a set plan... I mean, go ahead and try *be my guest* but we're not even guaranteed our next breath, so why on earth do we *I'm preaching to all you fellow women-folk, especially* feel a sense of 'control' when we lay a 5-yr-plan?! And better question yet... why on earth do we NEED/DESIRE that control if we walk around all day telling/ministering to all those around us that God is in control of our lives?!! Seems pretty hypocritical to me! :-P 

-->BIG hypocrite, right here<--

So it just comes back to this--I HAVE CANCER. Cancer is my 'now' journey. What my 'next' journey may be? Well, I don't know that. If I'm blessed enough to beat this wretched disease and have a next journey--I will be grateful to have made it so far. It is NOT easy for a personality like me to truly grasp and live by this fact *I'm preaching to myself through this blog too, you know!* but I do know that it is necessary to my joy, alone, that I tell myself, every day, that I'm NOT. IN. CONTROL. and that THIS moment is what I am living for. 
Sound familiar? LIVE IN THE MOMENT?! 
Yeah. Amazing how many times I've had to re-learn this--just in this few short months.

-->Stupid-head, right here.<--

Truly though...this life... these days... this very second did not come from a guarantee, and the next one after it was a gift too. The future is the future--A GIFT... 

IF... it comes. 

So for right now, I will embrace my 'fantom' pregnancy--this pregnancy of cancer--and know that if I never get to be pregnant-pregnant again, maybe, just maybe, by the end of my journey with all these yucky pregnancy-like symptoms, God will have blessed me with a healthy detest for pregnancy that will grant me my longed for confirmation...
and in turn just give our family more beautiful nieces to fill my current estrogen-void~

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Vacation or Perseveration...

I swear my mind is just a mine-field these days.
Some of the things I type down on this page make ME cringe, and then when I re-read and think about all of you CHOOSING to read it, I'm left saying 'huh?!' Seriously. I myself want out of here *points to brain* ...still not sure why on earth any of you would want in, ha! :-P

This week, on my week off of drugs (they told me it was mainly so my cells could do a little re-building  before they really blast me with the strong stuff) *yay* I have found it nearly impossible to just enjoy the days. I suppose the best analogy of the turmoil flying around in there would be that someone says to you 'I'm going to shoot you in the head in two enjoy your last two days as best as you can'--but really?! Like it's just that easy to refrain from perseverating over the fast-approaching imminency! That is much like what this approaching 'red-bullet' (as the chemo patients call it) round is doing to affect these days right now--my mind can't stop flying with 'finishing this one thing up/catching up on this other thing' in preparation for the weeks to come. It's like I almost need to do something out of the ordinary to get my mind off of the next two months.
Someone said to me yesterday 'You should take a vacation!' and for a split second I started to say 'Yeah!' and then that second was followed by the 'with what money' reality. Hey, anyone have a vacation house at the coast they wanna lend? ;) lol. kidding.
A) We own our own businesses = no paid vacation time and for that matter no presence no money.
B) Gray has school and karate tests this week, go figure.
C) Bills continue to pile--vaca is about the last priority for finances.
BUT, I do agree that I need to do something with the boys that we don't do often or even ever...
figuring out what that something may be is a different story.

Whatever the case, this is just another of those cases where *A.G.A.I.N.* here I am, learning *or at least trying to learn* to live in the moment. The AC treatment(aka: the red bullet) will come, assuming Monday comes but that's still 5 days away... and what I do with those days needs to be good and worthwhile.
So, as much as I desire to 'nest' right now in preparation for the next round, I'm deciding now that the best thing I could do for myself and this day is scoop up every ounce of joy and delight in every solid poop *tmi, but honest* and every fuzzy rub of what's left on my head and do what I feel like doing, when I feel like doing it. Or not. I'm committing right now, at this very moment that I will NOT feel badly about letting my chores go this week as a trade for a trip to the park with my little guys.
*For any of you who really know me, this is a feat!*
Yes. I chemo-free-for-five-more-days-Hayley-Anne-Ziebart am saying YES to vaca!!!

...Now, where's my vacuum--Lincoln made quite the mess with that craft project~ ;)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Raising Up Good Men...

Tonight, after a long day of purging and organizing things around the house--yes, the second round of 'chemo-nesting' officially kicked in--I told my boys that I'd take them somewhere to do something special for the rest of the afternoon. Being that it was MLK day and I assume that most of the few choices Roseburg offers such an idea are closed for the holiday, we ended up going to the McD's PlayPlace for some kid-favorite grub and energy let-off.

Now, normally, I cringe at this idea, for a couple of reasons. You'll have to forgive me, but I really do dread the idea of exposing myself and my young, developing 'men' to the, shall I say, mentality, that comes out to such places in the 'burg--same way I feel about Walley-World (aka Walmart).
I know. Mean...but honest.
My other reason, naturally, has to do with those invisible little critters that I myself have to be especially careful of right now. It's been a while since I watched tv, but I haven't soon forgotten those Dateline reports where they swab a slide at these places and discover all kinds of sick you hope and pray your kids never pick up! Tonight however, for whatever reason--maybe if just in longing for life's SIMPLICITY, I just didn't give a hoot. The boys liked the idea, it was close, affordable and frankly, worth all the gambles.
I can't say I've ever left there preaching such and I hope it doesn't mean I'm becoming some extreme Douglas Count-ian to say such...but it was really quite a lovely experience.
Yes, I said lovely.

Anyone who knows us, knows that Aaron and I strive to raise up good, wholesome, polite, loving, thoughtful God-fearing men. It never ceases to amaze me how so many little boys are simply 'excused' to climb the walls and tromp all over people just because they are 'male' in gender....... like we are supposed to just 'expect' that their male-ness causes them to be rude, vulgar and crass. Some people even go so far as to say that if we DON'T allow our boys to be little psycho's, they will become 'girly-men'--yeah, that one has to be my favorite.


After the boys were done eating their favorite--kids chicken nugget meals with a toy--I had them clear their garbage and left-overs *as they always do* and gave their bouncy little bodies the go-ahead to join the other kids on the play structure. Initially, from what my old-lady vision could see and count, there were a few little girls outnumbered by a number of little boys running around, gleefully, like released little captives.
In usual fashion, not minutes into play, Grayson (my eldest) had befriended a good three or four of the other kids--including one of whom I was concerned looked pretty old to be in there. I later found out that he was 12--a JoLane kiddo--and was also left humbled and guilt-ridden for making such a harsh initial judgement. In watching him closely with my boys, I came to recognize quickly that, whomever his wise parents were in the sea of faces on the other side of the glass, in the dining area, they were of my same mentality--raising up a good man. Bright-eyed, clean and well-mannered, he politely introduced himself to my children, initiated sweet, innocent games of tag and summer-saults on the squishy floor below and quickly became my sons' 'hero' as well as a number of the other boys there, playing. Not more than a half hour into being there, the few little girls left--they were all in the same family--and in their place a family of five boys, appeared.

In crept the judgmental concern... again...
*cause yeah, I'd apparently learned that lesson well from before.*

As soon as their eldest was on the structure, he and the 12-year-old met up on a podium at the top and *yes, I was the eavesdropping mom below* I found out that the new kid was also twelve... and as prevailed by their courtesy and goodness to each other as well as the other kids... he was just as sweet!!! Over the next twenty-minutes, the Roseburg McD's PlayPlace got their dose of BOY as a total count of 16 boys *yes, ALL boys, aged 3-12* ran amuck their structure. More tag, more interaction, more actions of gentle and sweet with the littles. All I could do was just sit there, smile and ponder the beautiful moms and dads behind this bunch.
I've ALWAYS been proud of my boys and proud to have boys--it's obviously what God blessed me with as a mom, thus far, so why wouldn't I be--but I have to say that tonight I was prouder than ever to have boys and see other boys being raised so well. It was inspiring, heart-warming and so TELLING.

My grammy used to say that 'it takes a special person to raise boys... there's a special responsibility to raising up good men cause this world needs them!' Little did I know in hearing her say this that I'd be in such a position. It is honestly very scary to me at times to think about my responsibility... of course then I just find myself surrendering it all in prayer cause that, for ANY of us parents, IS the most crucial thing we can do for our children. But aside from that, sometimes I think I'm just not cut out for this.
When the boys are wrestling around relentlessly on the floor or fighting for the millionth time over crayons or toys or just space, or better yet--when they are bathing together and tooting in the bath is just soooo hilarious.

Oh. Lord. Help. Me.

Yet, then I see them out in public... interacting politely with adults, being respectful of strangers, helping others, sticking up for each other... and then out of nowhere, they stop all boy-play and come down off of their big play-structure-heaven just to climb up on the booth bench next to me, cup my face, offer a kiss on the cheek and say 'I love you so much, Mommy.'
In that moment, I'm reminded my mothering, the power of prayer and the Grace of God... yep...I think I just may be on the right track to raising these two into good men, someday~

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The anticipated call...

Drum roll, please.......
The test results are in!!!
Just received the call from my docs assisting nurse about yesterday's MRI.
The exciting news:
The tumor has shrunken considerably!
The original measurements were a 7 cm (small lemon) spot.
The second measurements were a 6.3 cm spot.
The measurement as of today is: 5.4 x 1.7 x 3.4 with the most
exciting news being that my lymphs have gone from 'a number'
of detected abnormal to NONE!!!!
All lymphs are now clear and normal!!!!!!!!!

Praise God!!!

What great news to start a much-needed 'poison break' on...
I have two weeks before we have to go back up to P-town
and then starts the AC round, which we hope and pray will
kill off the remaining bit of tumor by mid-March!

Thank you for all your continued prayers and support~

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Becoming like Grammy...

For you to entirely appreciate this post, you really did have to know my mom's mom--my 'grammy.'
The fact is, no person can really get full justice through mere description--especially someone like Grammy--but you have to just trust me when I say that becoming more like my Grammy would be a genuine compliment to me... and the more things I share in common with her these days...even the 'ugliest' parts...the more honored I feel to see where this journey is taking me.

Over the past few months worth of chemo, the very human part of me has gone through quite the transformation--I like to look at it as 'an introduction to my, someday, elderly self.'
At thirty-three years of age now, this journey sometimes feels as though it's destined me to become 'old' before my time--dealing with daily nausea, race-to-the-bathroom diarrhea, bloody-noses, heart-burn, indigestion, hot flashes (!) and more--giving me a real taste for some of Grammy's daily life. Who of you, under the age of 50, thinks you might ever 'not make it' to the bathroom?! BE HONEST. ;-P Yeah, well, let me tell you... when you're 33 and 'you don't,' you become very humbled and grateful for the once normal functions of your body, ha, and very sympathetic of those who live daily like this.

Poor Grammy--by the time she was in her early 60's (and this is just MY memory of it, so I could totally be off)--she suffered some seriously sad digestive issues---indigestion and--to imply through a known childhood rhyme/song--when you're sliding into first and you feel that sudden burst...

Oh. Yes!!!
Oh colon.

The Keene family joke is the coined phrase 'Oh honey...' *which began just about every one of her adoring sentences* 'I don't know if I'm gonna make it!'--'it' being the bathroom just meager STEPS away from her big relining chair. I remember thinking (in my clueless teenage brain) how on earth does a person feel that out of control of their bowels?!!

I know.
Mean. I agree, cause now, thanks to Neratinib (my study drug), I GET IT, more than I'd like to admit!!! If that's not One. Big. Fat. UGLY. dose. of. perspective.

Grammy was one of the most out-spoken women I think I'll ever know---opinionated and founded. Grounded and stubborn. A LOT like someone else I know and who my husband is pretty familiar with, too, ha! ;) (Yes, I'm talking about myself.)
That bull-headed blood runs deep, indeed.
But along with all of those qualities, Grammy was bursting with two other qualities that left me as well as most of our family and friends (and even unsuspecting strangers alike!) humbled and dumbfounded...
Unconditional Love towards every one and every THING--she was absolutely spilling-over with/in/for God!

I've always enjoyed telling the story about going, for umpteenth time to 'a show' (which translated to the movie theater in Grammy-lingo) and using the bathroom, pre-movie.
Being 16 and healthy, with normal functioning bowels, I was in and out of my stall, done washing my hands and found myself waiting for my hum-driven Grammy, adjacent to the line of women waiting to use the facilities next.
The tune: Rock of Ages.
The 'accompaniment': Grammy's poor bowels.
Not surprisingly, the two simply didn't go well together--but interestingly, as the bowels 'grew' in volume, so did the passionate hums from my Grammy~ Oh boy.

Standing there, next to the long line of eager women (what is it with women's restrooms and the endless lines at them?!!), I remember thinking I wished I could just melt into the floor, followed by fantasizing that Grammy may just, if I were lucky enough, NOT address me when she exited that stall.
Of course, that's not how it happened--and thank goodness what did unfold provided me a much needed non-'sparing of the rod'--translation--DISCIPLINE!

I remember noticing women looking through their purses, starting up purposeful conversation with the complete stranger next to them---doing ANYTHING to cover up the sounds coming from stall 3!

But finally....

As Grammy came out of her stall, she looked up at me with her huge, beautiful red-lipstick smile, and professed 'Oh Honey... I just LOVE that hymn!'

It was like a huge, painful bolt of lightening when the beauty of the whole scenario set in for me.
That face, that smile...THAT HEART!!!
How on earth could I be embarrassed by this beautiful woman!!!

Sudden washes of remorse and embarrassment in myself overcame me as she turned on the sink.
Yep, that's right, ladies...we did just witness some of this woman's later-life intestinal issues..but you know what, she's a beautiful woman of God who's unafraid to bask in His Love and that is why I 'claim' her, PROUDLY!
Just then, she caught the eye contact of the woman at the sink next to her's and out of nowhere asked, 'Honey, do you know our Lord and Savior?'

*Me, stepping back, again in self-pride*: Gulp!
Thinking, 'Grammy, really?! Is this the time and place to do this???' Just as visions of taking her by the arm and spouting off some excuse about the movie starting soon began bouncing around my head, the woman paused, looked up at my Grammy in the mirror, then turned, looked her straight in the eyes and with a refreshed posture said, 'You know, a friend just asked me to church the other day and I sort of wanted to go...'


Minutes after creating what originally felt like a rather awful scenario with a part of her human side, so out of her control...her spirit MOVES and testifies Truth to a complete stranger!

But you see...this is who my Grammy was.
People would show up to her doorstep to share 'their testimonies' of denominational faith and/or call on the phone to solicit their opinion and instead of slamming the door shut or phone down or worse yet, locking and running/hiding (yeah, you too, right?!)...she welcomed them. Why??
Because Grammy operated, most of her later years, in a space of Love...God's Love.

She would say, 'Oh honey, those ladies just need to hear from the Word--I love our conversations and I know that they may not be getting that elsewhere.' Sure, she loved the company--who could blame her for getting lonely. But there was more to it than that. Grammy was sensitive to the Spirit--most of the time, in fact. She was awnry, don't get me wrong. But when it came to forgiving, reaching out, overlooking---showing Agape Love, she really did mostly master it.

It's a joke for me, now...I used to roll my eyes at her when she'd literally question people, freely *and from my standpoint*, awkwardly, everywhere we'd go--the drive-in, check-stands, name it.

It's funny how God changes our hearts through our trails.
Just the other day when I was in a check-out line, I felt led to talk to my checker about God. Her response was remarkable. She thanked me for our talk before we left.
I find myself praying for/with just about everyone who enters our house. I find myself offering to pray with/for complete strangers. It's almost uncanny.

Does this make me a saint or less human? Absolutely not!
But God blesses us for obedience to His commands. And he is definitely blessing me for listening and heeding His Word with an unexplained Joy when I do.

My Grammy was far from perfect, HELLO. But I'm just now, barely, beginning to understand the 'space' that she thrived in because of her submittance.
And let me tell you, people, YOU WANT IT FOR YOUR LIFE.

I hate my side-effects right now, I really do. I HATE taking drug after drug, knowing it's going to cause all sorts of un-fun things to happen to me in the coming hours. But, every time I run to the bathroom to 'barely make it,' I can't help but think fondly--sometimes even through laughing tears--on Grammy.

I'm deciding now that for each, 'ugly' part of this transformation I'm experiencing, I'm going to hold myself accountable. It may sound weird and even a little sick and twisted to some of you--
but I don't care.This is my journey. My battle. And this is may way of dealing with it.
So, if I have 8 nasty 'Grammy episodes'--I have eight times in which that next day I am to pray for/with someone or touch someone, somehow with God's Word and Joy.

This is my way of teaching myself how to embrace becoming like Grammy, and though I don't wish on ANY ONE of you these nasty side-effects, I challenge you, too, to let down your pride with me and make good use of this gift of a moment to touch another person's life in an Eternal way.

...oh and after you do... just be prepared for a flow of Joy like no other~

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

HAIR. Part 2

Tonight, while getting ready for bed and applying my 'anti-troll cream' (as I like to call my Clindamycin after two big doses of Dexamethasone--aka steroids--on chemo day) I noticed that my hands had lots of little, what looked like, eyelashes on them. Timid to examine closer, I slowly leaned my face toward the bathroom mirror and confirmed that both my eyelashes AND my eyebrows are thinning, with many of them all contorted different directions, hanging on by weak pores.


I suppose one positive way to look at it is that tweezers are no longer needed to 'tame' the strays, ha...
I was pulling out strays with the mere grasp of my 'piano nails'; aka my boy-short clipped nails, with no problem cause those pores are now, apparently, going on strike. ;-P

I WILL be looking into some 'training videos' on YouTube just for those days that I would like to feel a little more human--no eyebrows is definitely, errrr, interesting--though, like everything, I'll probably just be embracing my alien-ish new look on most days.

The other, real positive is we are over halfway through this outlandish form of cancer-killing/body-poisoning, so BRAVO, pores, for last this long and holding tight to those little hairs! Apparently, even my pores are fighters, lol... I'm proud of them. ;)

Tomorrow however, for my sake, please do to things in temporary 'remembrance' of MY eyebrows and eyelashes...
Like... DON'T OVER PLUCK EM'! Yes. Be nice to your eyebrows.
And ENJOY your eyelashes, as they really do add a lot to your face, vain or not.

And in the meantime, REJOICE WITH ME that if my pores are now beginning to die, the cancer sure as heck can't be happy!!! :)

On that note, I'm off to let these eyelashes ''kiss" my pillow, while they still can, hehe~

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cancer's a funny thing...

Not like funny 'hahaha, I have cancer' (though I'm sure I've had one or two loony-bin moments,  especially early on, where I was laughing through my twisted state of denial)...
but I mean the kind of 'funny' where so many things COME of it.

Sure, I suppose it's like any life-changing thing where there will always be of kind of 'chain response' of things that happen...
but since, in my case, cancer was quickly diagnosed as a journey (and a fairly long journey at that), that chain reaction seems to just continue trickling out.. sometimes in spurts and other times out of the complete blue.

Everyone else's life certainly doesn't stop just because YOU found out you have fact, it's quite the opposite. Friends and family alike still have jobs, lives with spouses, and/or are busy having and raising families, experiencing important moments and milestones. However, it's during the days where I read some face book post about something that seems so insignificant and think *SELFISHLY* 'They don't care anymore...they forgot all about it already.' Of course it's not long after that generally that someone sends me a message of prayer or thoughtfulness and I find myself completely cornered with guilt and embarrassment. TIME DOESN'T STAND STILL--life was not JUST ABOUT ME before, so why should it be, now?!! DUH. I promise you I know's just easy to pitty-party for yourself when you have the combination of heavy drugs pumping through your body and brain on top of the depressed-feeling state of 'having/fighting cancer.'

So where does the funny fit in, right?!
Yeah. I promise, I'm getting to that.

The 'funny,' in this case, really should be translated into another of my eldest's favorite words... ...AWESOME.

What is AWESOME about cancer is how God uses it.

In the past couple of months, I have made more friends than I can count having made in many of my recent previous years, combined! That's right... cancer's made me 'popular', lol!! ;)
Really though. It's just awesome.

'Cancer' has, apparently, also touched many people, enough to make them ponder God---maybe not fully believe or come to 'know' that He is REAL, but at least ask questions. I know this because I receive weekly messages from different connections on this very topic. People who read the blog or read just a post or what-have-you and then either say something or better yet, DO something that proves, significantly, that things are being altered for them..... it's AWESOME.

'Cancer' has also brought some really important people BACK into my life. Both family and friends alike, who've experienced alongside me, that same 'ah-ha' phenomenon of 'wasting life' and 'letting days and days' just pass on by with this *insert lame excuse here* holding me back from this *insert important life relationships here*----- Yeeeeeah.
Cancer has filled gaps in that regard. REMOVED humanity. Allowed faults. Overlooked blame.


So yeah, while cancer has caused me mass bouts of diarrhea *prepare yourselves now for my next post on that*, nausea that has made me, at times, contemplate complete stomach removal--self-surgery here, peeps, ha! , indigestion I had not a clue existed-----we're talking worst heart-burn ever on steroids *literally*, hot-flashes at the age of 33 yrs old *you kidding me?!!*, and a number of other 'super fun memories', what I will cherish most from this journey is the secondary role I get to play---the role of an observer.
Observing Christ's Working, through cancer.

To quote Martha Stewart in a rather sadistic way...
Cancer, It's a Good Thing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Grace-Movement...

At the start of this new year, with things as they are and have been prophetically spoken to continue to become....whether it be over the next two hundred years or the next three years (I'm certainly not claiming to know)...I have a bit of a  bone to pick *if you will* with all of us, including myself!!!

You may also call it a challenge.
It is NOT a 'resolution'...I refuse to call it that because I think that really it's just a fact of how we should ALL be living anyway, and I'm stating it now because I feel nudged to--whether just for myself to 'hear' it outloud, or also to possibly challenge some thoughts, cause some questioning, or simply reaffirm what many of us 'know' already and need to hear in order to hold ourselves in accountability and 'resurface' a healthier way of thinking and living.

I really don't even care what your scenario is, to be quite honest. Whether you already have a personal relationship with God, or whether you've sworn his existence off, entirely.
I may offend, and so-be-it if I do. But I am still sharing it...
so here it goes.

God is doing *as my sweet mama is referring to it and I am stealing the phrase as I think it fits well* a major heart-surgery on me these days. Changes are painfully occurring within me and though you all keep stating how 'gracefully' I am dealing with things at this time, I am still nothing but a broken human, going through PLENTY of turmoil and battle with Him before arriving back *AGAIN* to my knees. Yes, it's the 'run back into a wall, over and over, deal'...I am absolutely no special scenario away from just that dumb and imperfect!!! Those closest to me know and see it, firsthand. THIS IS NOT EASY FOR ME and I didn't expect it to be.
BUT CHANGE...the most crucial kind of change...THE CHANGE THAT HAPPENS WITHIN US never IS easy.... HeLLo??!?!!
But just as the bible itself states, over and over and over again, self-transformation is necessary for God's purpose to be carried through in absolutely everything...through all that has passed and all that is to come. If you have not yet accepted this, I pray, feverishly, for you that you do. Yet even after accepting it, we all still have a rough path.
This isn't Hollywood, ha! :-P (But I remind us all as God continues to beat into my head now of the Promise that the ending is waaaay better than any of us can imagine and promised to be PERMANENTLY joy-filled!) I don't know about you, but I'll take that outcome over the facade of Hollywood's idea, ANY DAY!!!

Which brings me to my point.
Sorry. Off-track a bit.  

*Hi, my name is Hayley and I have a rambling problem...*

In ringing in the New Year tonight and seeing many of YOU do the same, I was joyed to see the many different ways it was celebrated---though I have to be honest---I was also a bit saddened.

SO MANY of the posts were geared toward one thing that kept ringing out, LOUDLY, in my ears----

NO. I am not being a New Year's scrooge.
I am very well aware that God Gifted us all, HOPE...
but I'm very troubled by the fact that we are many of us, still, at this time and place, laying that hope up in 'A YEAR'....
A DATE.  Like, because we have turned a corner in a literal set of numbers in history that we are going to see some major change in where we are. !??!?!? Like that 'date' is our ticket to a happiness that is going to be any less temporary than it was last year.

Sure, you will make and have new, wonderful memories. I pray that we all do!!!
Absolutely, you will probably acquire some new 'things' that will bring you temporary and very WORLDLY joy---of course, the way our country seems to roll---also just add to your debt too, ha.

But really?!!

I want to beg a BIG question to any of you not already offended so badly that you've stopped reading...
and I pray that we will all remember and promise right now to ask this question, EVERY DAY that is GIFTED our way, this new year.

What did we, alone, do to earn the 'expectance?'... to 'deserve' any of what makes us earthly happy? (and for that matter how many times do we have to learn that nothing of this world brings us LASTING happiness, anyway!?!) ...and why do we feel WE ALONE are worthy of blessings?---(also challenging, again, our very idea of 'blessings' which we all are guilty of defining many times as unnecessary things to existance---something that is especially obvious when traveling outside the confines of our vain country.)

As was once WISELY said by a true man of God... I, alone, have done NOTHING and can do NOTHING to deserve ANYTHING BUT DEATH.
It is by HIS GRACE ON ME... ALONE... that I have been given this very moment in time, this very breath to take. I ALONE, without God deserved death!
Do you understand this???
I am very well aware of what a harsh blow this is to all our pride--let's face it, it's a Mohammad Ali punch to mine!!!
But so be it--as I've stated before, my pride leads me daily down the very path I despise most!!!

The only thing I pray that we... and all around us that we love dearly and want Eternal Life and Joy FOR and WITH is the acceptance of this fact. Of course we should CELEBRATE AND FEEL HIS LOVE FOR US, but we all must meditate on and really, truly, in all that we say and do, begin to abide in the fact that it is ONLY because of the love and the sacrifice that HE MADE on OUR BEHALF that we are deserving of absolutely ANYTHING we have and are.

I don't know about you, but my head spins with guilt and accountability to my self-provoked thoughts when I really, REALLY think on this fact.

Please know that my words are not intended as a threat.
They are not intended to cause some forceful fear in my friends and family who've not yet accepted Christ's real love for them.
They are intended to cause a movement in your heart, as well as my own--no matter where you are at with Him.
I do pray and will continue to pray that we all learn to accept how UNworthy we all are, yet only because WE WERE CHOSEN by the One Whom IS, we are redeemed from our wretched humanity.

We ARE deserving...because of HIS doing! And we can claim His blessings---the blessings that aren't the 'things' of this world, but the blessings He cares about... the ones that are ETERNAL!!!
We need to ALL, accept now and REJOICE OUTLOUD... that WITHOUT Him, His intervening, and the bridge that Jesus, the God-Man was intended for brings us out of death and into life!!!


Sure, you can blow me off.
It's not as though I am the first human to 'preach' such things that you've 'had to painfully' listen to ramble on about your Gift of Life...and I'm so sorry and sad that it has indeed been done so broken-record-like that to many of you that this is just more of the that.

But I ask you and I beg of those of you in this position to ask yourselves this year...

If death is 100% sure for me, what exactly do I have to lose?!?! 

At the very least, if I submit myself in my own quiet time, honestly and simply and He does not meet me there and make Himself known in the inarguable form that only He can, then I can just go back to things as before. Why would you NOT at least try??
If and when He does meet you there, in your honest submittance...go even a step further and ask Him to place Himself, as a cure to a 'disease' if you will, inside your brokenness.

I have done this already and know that many of you around me have too. I know that you who have Heard God's awesome voice in your heart and lives are at all different areas of your own personal walk with Him as it should be. But in a muddled, cluttered, temptatation-filled world as ours, I also know how easy it is for us to fall back---run into that darned wall none of us seem to be able to fully walk AROUND.

So, this year, my challenge to US, is to Live, Thrive and ABIDE in God's Grace.

When you say to yourself I 'need' or 'deserve' all brand-new modern appliances or I 'need' or 'deserve' all brand-new modern furniture cause it's a 'blessing'...remember some things. They won't give us lasting happiness. In most honest cases for any of us, they WILL create more debt---either by being bought on credit or by being bought with money that's not going TOWARD other debts.
They won't go with us when we die. They are only an earthly desire---not a 'blessing' when my old ones work perfectly fine and, in all truthfulness are in and of themselves a 'commodity' compared to how many other countries live.
They really do offer us NOTHING ETERNAL.

Hmmm. Thinking in Grace?

And it doesn't stop at 'things'---it spreads to the thought process that absolutely ANYTHING we do or acquire ON OUR OWN, without the accepting of the deed that has been done will make a difference in the inevitable death that quickly approaches us all. Things like houses, CHILDREN, food...they are blessings--but they are not 'deserved'---we were not ever, any of us, deserving of any of it. God made the way for us to receive any of it.

I'm sorry, but I guess I really do want more than to live for myself--to live for this world...and to be honest, I'm beginning to realize that I want more of that if for no other reason than for the rest all otherwise seeming like a STUPID WASTE at the expense of a VERY COSTLY DEED, carried out, to give me another option.

I'm calling this year, at least for myself, the Grace-movement, and I believe it's time that I really, truly embrace this concept in my daily prayers, on a daily basis--every waking moment that my fallen self creeps back in and forgets to submit to my nothingness and my desperation to be healed by His Grace so I can be something of greater importance in His Plan~

Care to join me???

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