Thursday, April 28, 2016

Red Snails in the Sunset: Preparing for the Mastectomy

Tomorrow is the big day, the day I trust that God has given the doctors wisdom and guidance as they remove my breast, and hopefully eradicate my cancer. I have a lot to do today, including picking up beloved sister Amy from the airport who will spend ten days with me, at my beck and call. I couldn't ask for a better caretaker. She is fun, competent, and kind. If anyone can bring cheer to this less than cheery occasion, it is Amy. I am blessed by passels of friends eager to bring food or whatever I need.

It may be a scary day, but it is day that I am engulfed by the love of God, family, and friends. What a beautiful life I have!

I spent my penultimate day as a two-breasted woman cataloguing more art from my attic, and then kayaking. I was so busy, that I mostly forgot about being worried. God is good. He knew just what I needed and He provided. (I could have done without the 30 mph headwinds on the river, but again, God's plans are immutable.)

Despite hard work battling the wind, Kayaking was great. It was, as usual, gorgeous and peaceful. One rest session, while I sat in the water watching the herons, a skidoo pulled up and the driver asked if I could "watch his boat a sec." I warned him I could watch it drift away, but I was under doc orders not to be hauling heavy skidoos in 30 mph headwinds. He nodded and pulled it safely to shore. (I get the oddest requests...)

I realized I'd been on the water nearly two hours, and I don't think I thought of my impending surgery at all. I contemplated the ferocious head wind instead, and how fast the return trip with a tailwind would be.

Later, while cataloguing my art, I spent more time than I expected laughing. For example, one of the paintings I found in the attic was this red one at the top of the blog. Very Matisse-like, don't you think? Too bad no one will pay me Matisse prices. If I were a rich artist, maybe I could pay someone else to undergo this mastectomy gig. Anyway, the title is the best part of the painting: Red Snails in the Sunset.

Now unless you are of a certain age, you don't get the joke. My father will, because he and I used to sing that song at the top of our lungs on our Sunday car excursions.

Red sails in the sunset, way out on the sea
Oh, carry my loved one, home safely to me
She sailed at the dawning, all day I've been blue
Red sails in the sunset, I'm trusting in you
Swift wings we must borrow, make straight for the shore, oh yeah
We'll marry tomorrow and you go sailing no more
Red sails in the sunset, way out on the sea
Oh, carry my loved one, home safely to me
Oh yeah
We'll marry tomorrow and you go sailing no more
And red sails in the sunset, way out on the sea
Oh, carry my loved one, home safely to me
This song brings back very fond memories, and is a beautiful song. But now, instead of red sails in the sunset or even red snails in the sunset, I would substitute Jesus...with His crimson sacrifice.
Try it. Read the lyrics and substitute Jesus in every place red sails are mentioned.

Jesus, way out on the sea
Oh, carry my loved one, home safely to me
She sailed at the dawning, all day I've been blue
Jesus, I'm trusting in you
Swift wings we must borrow, make straight for the shore, oh yeah
We'll marry tomorrow and you go sailing no more
Jesus, way out on the sea
Oh, carry my loved one, home safely to me
Oh yeah
We'll marry tomorrow and you go sailing no more
Jesus, way out on the sea
Oh, carry my loved one, home safely to me

Jesus is there, the vehicle upon which all my hopes for the future rest. I am trusting that He will bring me safely to shore, despite treacherous seas. All those I love will be brought home safely if Jesus carries them. When we are are safely in our eternal home, we will wander no more. We will have no reason to.

Starting tomorrow, I will be occupied. Prayers most appreciated! Hopefully I will be under the influence of some heavy duty pain killers, and my focus will be on healing. I strongly suspect I will not be blogging for a few days.

The good news: I have uploaded my attic of art work for sale to help fund my cancer journey for your viewing pleasure HERE.
If you get bored viewing my art, I have 18 best-selling books on Amazon you can work your way through HERE.

Love you all! See you on the other side!


Matthew 12:40 

For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name;

Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Behold, I Will Bring Health and Healing: Phase One of Cancer Journey Ending

It is getting real. The first phase of my cancer journey (waiting) is coming to an end. I went for my pre-op appointment and found myself in a crowded parking garage. I was overwhelmed by how many sick people must be in this hospital based on how hard it was to find a place to park. I had to go up several levels to find parking. Then, I got lost trying to find the main entrance of the hospital. I had to ask several people for directions. I ended up going up or down three different elevators. I wended my way down a convoluted path following signs to the main lobby.

At one point, I ended up in a spooky basement with two doctors engaged in muffled consultation. I mumbled an apology and scurried back into the elevator. Finally, I found the pre-op room. No one in that room looked happy. Including me.

I settled into my seat and began reading the bible on my phone. I turned to psalm 143 which happened to be perfect. Oh Lord hear my plea, listen to my cry for mercy.

The receptionist gave me a form to fill out which made me nervous. Something about listing all the things that are wrong with you or your family makes you think about your mortality. As I checked in, feeling increasingly jittery,, the receptionist asked me how much I would be paying today. I hadn't planned to pay anything. We are considered self-pay, though we belong to a Christian share pay group, and they would cover everything.

“How much do I have to pay?” I asked, worried that I would have to leave them my car as collateral and thumb my way home.
“Whatever you want,” she answered. Really? That is almost beyond unbelievable. Blessing #1.
“How's $40?”
I paid, grateful they wouldn't require my non-cancerous breast as liquidity to pay for the mastectomy hospital bill. I asked the receptionist if there was an easy way back to the parking garage after I was done with my appointment.  I explained how hopelessly lost I had been finding my way there.

Despite a busy room full of people, she smiled and said, “Let me show you.” She led me outside and pointed out a much simpler route. I was much heartened, not only by a simpler trek back, but by her simple act of kindness making me feel like I was not just a faceless number on a roster. Blessing #2.

Finally I was called back for my pre-op barrage of tests and questions. To begin, a nurse took my blood pressure. 148/80.
“What! That's really high for me!”
“Would you like me to take it again?”
“Why not?” I quietly tried to think tranquil thoughts while wondering if I would have a stroke then and there from high blood pressure.
She took it a second time. “126/70.”
That's more like it! Blessing #3.

So all I'd needed was a do-over!  I'd like a do-over on this whole cancer diagnosis while we are at it.

Next on the agenda, the nurse who was responsible for my vital signs weighed me, told me I had an excellent BMI (body mass index) and marched me to the next room. Here, a nurse hooked me up to a bunch of electrodes to do a resting EKG.

"I've never had an EKG before," I said, as she pasted electrodes all over me.
"Really? Well you are pretty young."
No, I am not. Still. It was nice of her to lie.
"Nice," said the nurse, reading my EKG results.
Blessing #4.

Now the anesthesiologist came in. I had a passel of questions for him. I am very sensitive to drugs, all drugs. Would I die from the anesthesiology? Probably not. He made notes of my concerns, and explained how careful they would be.

Then he explained the process. "When you arrive, we will give you a sedative. It will be like having a few glasses of wine but without the hangover." (Blessing #5, and #6....maybe even #7.)
"That sounds GREAT," I said, perking up. Maybe this operation was not all bad.
After that, I go to sleep. He assured me they monitor me carefully, and can handle any emergency.

The anesthesiologist left, and in came the surgical nurse. She went over all the meds, vitamins, allergies in my life and told me which to stop until after surgery. Then she asked if I had any questions. I DID have one big nagging, haunting question...and felt stupid voicing it. But I must voice it. So I did.

"Will they start cutting off my breast without seeing if the cancer is still there?" What if God works a miracle and removes the cancer? Friends, I want you to know I am not counting on this, but I won't discount it either.

No. First they will inject a dye, once I am asleep in lala land, and they will determine the size and extent of the cancer. Then, and only then do they begin whacking. If God works a miracle, they will scratch their heads, wake me up, and say, "Our bad. You can get dressed and go home."

A world of peace overcame me. Now I can enter surgery without fear. Blessing #8.

On to the lab nurse for my blood work.
"We are going to check your hemoglobin now," said the nurse.
"Do you know what hemoglobin is?"
"My blood."
"What part?"
"My red blood cells."
"Wow!!! Very good! And do you know what we are checking for?"
"Oxygen levels I think."
"You are very smart!!! And who do you think cares about that?"
"The anesthesiologist?"
"Are you in the medical field?" The nurse squinted at me.
I felt like a star. Blessing #9.

As I left, I realized I was no longer afraid. I still would MUCH rather not have cancer, but there are really competent, nice people who seem to really care watching over me. And most importantly, God is watching over me.

This morning, the oncologist who will do all the follow-up care called me. She is very into an "integrative" approach which focuses on life style and nutritional support to reduce cancer reoccurance (yay!). I mentioned I had a strong faith, and that was what was sustaining me. She also told me that based on what she could tell thus far from all my tests, it was a "low grade cancer" (OH PRAISE GOD, that is the first I have heard this!) and that chemo was NOT at all a definite.

Pray friends that it is not in the lymph and that the tumors are indeed as small as they think!

 As our conversation came to a conclusion, she said, "You said you were a woman of faith?"
"Well, I just want you to know I am praying for you."

Lord, thank you for your gifts! Eternal blessings.


Jeremiah 17:14 

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

In Our Weakness, God Reigns ...Not Cancer

Each week only one of us can get the sound permit to use the microphone on the sidewalks: Cities4Life pro-life counselors, or the abortion center. The abortion center applies each week, and often get it, but never use it. They just don't want us to have it, as speaking God's word over the mic is powerful in convincing women to choose life. So much for pro-choice. They are only pro-THEIR choice...which is abortion...or they don't get paid. 

This Monday, they got the sound permit, so we lost a valuable tool. On top of that, our nurses were not available, so the mobile ultrasound RV wasn't out with us as usual. We lost a second valuable tool.

I was not thrilled about this since it was my last week on the sidewalks before my mastectomy. I probably will be out at least two weeks...maybe more. However, I know my God. He doesn't need a microphone. He doesn't even need ultrasounds. He is God and He is able.

So, no sound system, except our voices and our megaphones, and no ultrasound RV, but get this! Four mamas chose life, and four little babies were saved!

This is often how God works. He waits till it is impossible, till we are our very weakest, and then He reveals His strength. I take great courage from this truth, because I am trying to be courageous and strong as I face my mastectomy Friday, but truth be told, I am scared, and mourning.

I am overwhelmed with what I am up against, and can't believe this is happening to me. I am healthy. How could I, whose favorite food is salad, and who runs a minimum of five miles a day, be sick...with such a terrible disease?

Don't worry, God tells me, when you are weak, I am strong.

OK, God. I am counting on it.

Blooper of the day: one abortive mom who was VERY hard-hearted, drove away, probably after a pill abortion, and zoomed past us, ignoring our offers of post-abortive literature. She returned a short time later. As she was running into the clinic, I called out, "Did you forget something? Like your baby?"
Sadly, she did....

I head off today for my pre-op appointment. I imagine a super exciting agenda is lined up for me, like bloodwork. But the trepidation is balanced with an onslaught of emails from loving church members, huge sales of my art work the past few days, and prayers from many faithful friends.

My fantastic daughter-in-law and her precious mom sent me a goody bag of gifts including a really fancy eyebrow pencil and sharpener. I have never, not once used an eyebrow pencil, but she promised me I could master EVEN that. Since chemo is an expensive eyebrow remover, my sweet daughter-in-law is making sure I am prepared. How I love her! 

Again, God's mercies and graces are manifold. So many saved babies, and the love of family reaching out to comfort and uphold, all in one day! I am so blessed!
 Here is a pastel I pulled out of the attic yesterday that is for sale. It is a pastel, 22x30, titled, Come!
I thought that was a good painting to close out today's blog. Christ is urging all of us to come, follow Him, trust Him, obey Him, and He will fill the nets we cast to overflowing.

Philippians 4:19 

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Our Purpose in Life whether facing Cancer or an Ocean View

This latest find in the attic is huge...30x40" pastel of the ocean. What do I do with this? I think it is one of my best, but who will buy such a large picture? I had little time to worry about it. Off to church where the sermon was about Job.

The Bible could have substituted my name for Job, and lately, it feels as though that would not have been too far off the mark. I love what our pastor said about Job. Job is an example of struggling well with adversity. I have always felt that is true. Job was certainly not happy with what was happening to him, he felt betrayed by his wife, and his friends, and abandoned by God.

However, and this is huge, (bigger than my painting), he never lost faith. He clung to God, despite the utter despair and hopelessness he saw before him. He railed against the injustice of what he was facing, and begged God to give him a chance to plead his case and change his circumstances...but he never recanted his allegiance to God.


That is exactly where I am. I hate the struggles I am facing. Cancer is just one of many. But, God is real. If I deny God, then I really have lost the war. I don't understand why I must endure all that I must endure, but I trust that God does.

Maybe most people facing a dreadful surgery like a mastectomy want the comfort of people around them, but I crave quiet solitude, preferably in nature. The surgery is this Friday, unless God works a miracle. Nonetheless, a very dear friend was graduating, and we were invited to his senior piano recital. I squelched the need for aloneness, and we went.

I was glad I did. For an hour, I was enveloped in the beautiful sounds of a young virtuoso, who was as transported by his music as I am by my art. I could sense in him the same abandonment and delight I feel in how God has gifted him. It did my soul good to listen. It reminded me of our purpose in life in all that we do: Glorify God.

When I saw him afterwards, he asked if I had gotten any ideas for paintings. I told him I had. In fact, the week before, I had done a painting for him as a graduation gift. I had given it to his mom, but I assumed by his comment, he had not yet received it. Portraits are not really my forte, but it sort of looks like him...and it looks a lot like his piano....

Besides, the verse on the little painting will always be true, for him and for me. No matter what struggles we face in life, we can choose to still make a joyful noise unto the Lord. Our purpose in life in all that we do, whether it be facing cancer, painting oceans, or playing piano is to glorify God. If we can do that no matter what circumstances we face, I bet God is pleased.

My brother was baptized in the name of Jesus yesterday. For thirty years I have prayed every day that all my loved ones will come to the Lord. As the worries of cancer threatened to melt me, I saw the picture my sister posted of my brother kneeling at the altar. How blessed I am. How gracious my God is who tarries that all might know His glory.


1 Corinthians 6:19-20 

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. ...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Still Waters of Peace

Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Isaiah 42:10

I love the water. All water. Rivers, waterfalls, lakes, ponds, the ocean. The sounds and smell of water soothe my soul. I love to paint the water as well. It is a common subject in many of my paintings that I am slowly bringing down from the attic. The one at the top of this blog is my interpretation of the ocean at Hilton Head. (It is for sale. Contact me if interested at

I love to be on the water. Not in the water. Too many gruesome creatures are in the water. But when I am in my kayak on the water, I feel like the oar is an extension of my arm. I feel completely in my element, where I am supposed to be. I wonder if I was meant to be a fish and God changed His mind at the last moment.

Anyway, I have a lot to do before my mastectomy surgery Friday. I finished off a major illustration job. I mailed a bunch of paintings to customers. I catalogued new ones down from the attic. I repaired an oil painting with some scratches on it. Then, I had lots left to tackle, but I slipped out to Lake Wylie with my kayak.

As soon as my kayak drifted onto the lake, the world and all its worries slipped away. The waves rocked me and sang a lullaby. The sun tiptoed on the reflections of sky and trees. Dogs on shore barked at me as I drifted by, wagging their tails. Fishermen waved at me, and commented, "That's good exercise."

I asked God what He was telling me, in the midst of all that peace and joy on the water. He didn't speak, but I think His silence was the message. He wanted me to chill out, lose my worries, and just enjoy the peaceful interlude He provided. Sometimes God is not actively teaching. Sometimes He just wants me to BE.

Humans are Human Beings, not Human Do-ers. I am a do-er, but my challenge is to be content be-ing. I am most able to capture that when I am on my kayak ( on the water, not in the water).

With weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back, I will let them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I have become a father to Israel. Jeremiah 31:9

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Psalm 23: 1-2

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Holding on to Love

One of my very favorite mamas who chose life for her baby when we confronted her at the abortion center is now madly in love with her little guy. She sent this picture, saying it is ALL worth it. This picture perfectly captures a key message of God. We are all dependent; we are all weak; we are all at the mercy of a hostile world.

BUT it will be okay if we hold on to love. God is love. Hold on to Him. He will never let you go.

On my daily journey pulling art out of my closet, look at this gem I came across: fully framed, wired, and ready to hang. $300 with frame...all ready for Father's Day. Message me at


1 John 4:8 

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Finally...a little Good News, Light Shining in the Darkness

Hey! First good news I have gotten since this whole cancer detour on the road to carefree living. I DO NOT have the breast cancer gene! This is especially good news for my daughter and sisters. I think the intense stress over the past two years just did my poor immune system in, and that is why one breast is cancerous. I am vigorously bolstering my immune system. It may not eradicate the cancer on its own, but I am sleeping and feeling better than I have in two years. People, you ARE what you eat. And a restful night sleep matters. (Thank you Carolyn and Doterra Essential Oils: Serenity.)

I was always a healthy eater, but now I am targeting foods known to heal cancer and supercharge the immune system. (Thank you Joy and Alice!) I am consciously spending time each day forgiving the people that I have had anger against, because the bitterness was literally killing me. I have consciously taken every negative thought captive for Jesus because it fuels itself, and despair takes hold far too eagerly. I am making time to do activities that fill me with joy -- kayaking, drawing, biking, walking, writing.

And then one of the woman who I led to the Lord after helping her choose not to abort her child sent me this:
That's a little girl that might not have been here if God hadn't prompted our team to be on the sidewalk of the abortion center that day. Joy unspeakable! Also, surely God wouldn't bless me with the desire and the will to speak up for children like this princess only to kill me with a terrible disease...would He? My work here doesn't feel done.

Yesterday, I taught the last art class of delightful girls before my surgery. I told them I hope to be back teaching by the end of May, but it depends on....well...a future I cannot see. We drew a lighthouse and ocean scene. The beam of the lighthouse was the last thing we drew. The focus was first on a somber, menacing sky, then rocks that would crush those voyagers who stumbled upon them unawares. Next, we colored in the tumultuous sea and the crashing waves. Finally, the lighthouse.

Had we neglected to paint in the lighthouse beam, it would have been an ominous picture. Danger lurking from the sky above and the waves and rocks below. But the light changed everything. That beam of light is the hopeful detail that overcomes the darkness.

This was a fitting symbol for my next month. A dangerous rocky shore threatens all who come near, but the lighthouse beam warns and guides. Will it bring us safely to our harbor? As long as we keep our eyes on the light, and heed its warnings.

I lay in the darkness a little while last night, and thought of Jesus, His sacrifice, His love, His promises. Light of the world, shine on me.

FYI: I am selling my attic full of art to help fund my cancer journey. This lighthouse below is for sale. If interested, contact me at


John 8:12 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cancer Fighting Foods and Spiritual Food

I have been watching a series, The Truth about Cancer, and gleaning all kinds of holistic advice on fighting this disease. The suggestions I can incorporate instantly that make sense to me, I do. I cannot go into all the science behind it, but there is PROOF that Shitake and Maitake and Reishi mushrooms shrink tumors. I LOVE mushrooms, so right away raced out to buy the first two. (Couldn't find the third).

Next, there is evidence that flaxeed oil, combined and well mixed with cottage cheese, flushes out toxins and reduces tumors. Sounds harmless. I ran out and bought both, mixed them with my mushrooms, and YUM.

I have a week till my surgery. If the tumors I can feel have shrunk, I will ask for another MRI before surgery. If not, I will get surgery, but I will continue to follow the dietary suggestions for preventing reoccurance of this disease.

So many friends have offered free products they use to promote health of the immune system. Essential oils, juice plus, Plexus. I have accepted all. Why not? I do believe the natural world God gave us is sufficient to heal all our ills. I also believe He empowered doctors to do good works here on Earth, and I trust my oncology surgeon. He is a good man, who called me to see how I was doing, and when I started crying, he told me, "It's ok. I don't mind if you cry."

I do not want cancer, and I am not excited about the surgery or chemo. But I am overwhelmed by the love and kindness of so many people. Cancer has reinvigorated my understanding of how precious friends and family are, and of how selfless and generous people can be in the midst of tragedy. I have never loved being with people. I am an introvert, and gain energy from being alone. But there is a reason why God tells us NOT to neglect gathering together. I am surrounded by love in my time of greatest need.

Thank you Lord. Thank you for what I am learning in this trial. Thank you for the unbelievable swell of support by family, friends, and even strangers.

FYI- the pastel above is for sale. It is called "Don't Look Back."  God is guiding us, the path is laid out. When you know the Way, keep your focus on Him. Looking back was what caused Lot's wife to turn to a pillar of salt. Keep your eyes on the Master leading you. You may contact me at if interested in purchasing this small pastel.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Temple of the Lord - Thoughts on Tackling Struggles

This was another surprise on my foraging through the attic. It is a watercolor with pastel, 22x30, and the title on a little card on the back says, The Temple of the Lord. I don't remember if I used some sort of picture as a model, or if it is completely out of my imagination. Anyway about it, I am somewhat dumbfounded that I did it, and wonder if my talent has dried up. Not sure I could do this now. (If interested, make an offer.) (If you are on Facebook, you can see the full album of art for sale that is thus far down from my attic here. While you are at it, please "like" my author page at that link. It helps me. )

Some bad news on the cancer front. Because some of the tumors are right in the center of my breast, there will be no salvaging the nipple in the mastectomy. It was not a huge deal, but seemed to preserve at least some dignity. And the doc is pretty certain I will need chemo. Neither of those things thrill me, but it is what it is. He gave me the same advice I dish out to the mamas I work with who choose life over abortion: "Don't worry too much about the future, just focus on the next step. Like when I am going into a fifteen hour operation, I can't imagine how difficult it will be if I'm looking over the next 15 hours. It's impossible. I just focus on the next step. Is the area cleaned? Is the patient asleep..."

The advice was sound and I was very glad to hear he makes sure the patient is asleep before cutting into her. That had been one of my unvoiced fears.

Following the doctor's advice, I went kayaking. The next step is to stay upbeat and happy before the mastectomy on April 29th.

As I sat cooling off in the water, all alone on the lake, I chatted on my phone with a wonderful mama who I work with that I met months ago at the abortion center sidewalks. Her life is not easy, and she is often on the verge of giving up. But I gave her two pieces of advice. First I reminded her about what the doctor had just told me: don't look at your whole future. Focus on doing the next right thing.
Then I shared the advice that I have been learning most clearly since the cancer diagnosis.

Sometimes what feels bad is not really bad, not from an eternal perspective. Nothing we go through is a surprise to God and He uses all of it to refine and shape us for eternity. I have learned that God sometimes removes everything we think we need to show us what truly matters. When we have nothing left to rely on but God, we value God a whole lot more and the thought of eternity is much more compelling and comforting.

A blue heron flew overhead, the sun sparkled on the water, and the river rocked my boat. It is good, Lord. Thank you.

1 Corinthians 3:16 

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’ “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

These I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

He Goes Before Me and Behind Me - Thoughts on Consequences, Cancer, and Compassion

Yep, that's me at the Arrest Processing Center! It all started as a typical Monday at the sidewalks of the abortion center, made extra special by an angry person within an inch of my face threatening to "Beat my @@#$$#%%**&% to a bloody pulp" or something like that. I told her if she didn't step back and cool off, I would call the police. She told me to go ahead. So I did. I am team leader on Monday, and feel responsible for my team's safety. I hate to call the police when no one is (yet) pounded to a bloody pulp, but felt it was necessary to protect my team.

Then she went after fellow counselor, Chrissy and then after another, Flip, knocking the Bible out of his hand. (putting new meaning to "Assault of the earth." Get it? Just a little abortion center pun humor.) (If you don't get it, check out Matthew 5:13.)

Fortunately, the crazy lady was still flipped out when the police arrived, so they got to see her in action. Trusty fellow counselors Sarah and Anna videotaped it. They even caught her on tape mooning us (and I promise you that was NOT a pretty sight.)

The policemen were VERY nice to me, and told me I could bring their report to the magistrate and file charges. My team decided I should or we empower people like her. Here's the kicker -- she was a paid driver. Didn't even know the woman she had driven to the abortion center! The police were very kind to me, and agreed that since she threatened me, and was so aggressive, I was right to call them.

The photo below is of her in Flip's face. She was that close to me as well while screaming vile angry her spit was spewing in my face. We only got videos of that interaction, and they are too vile to post here. We will certainly bring the video to court if the magistrate decides the case should go to court. 

I didn't want to file charges, being as I am facing a mastectomy in ten days, and will probably be in chemo when my court date arrives. However, I am the team leader, and there are young adults and sometimes kids with me on the sidewalk. I am responsible for them. I can't let this go unchallenged. I really was certain I was about to be pummeled.

However, before leaving to visit the magistrate, I talked with a woman in the parking lot who at first insisted she wasn't there for an abortion. When I told her that was all they do there, she seemed confused. She then told me she was waiting for her friend. I begged her to bring our literature to her friend, and spent some time talking about why abortion would be destructive to both the baby and her friend. She finally admitted she felt abortion was wrong, and in fact, had just found out she was pregnant. I was still not certain she was telling the truth, so offered her our free ultrasound. I also told her to offer it to her friend. She agreed, went in the center with my literature, and returned to me. She told me her friend said she would consider talking with us, AFTER her consultation with the abortion center.

Once on the RV, C told us she felt confident she could talk her friend out of the abortion, particularly armed with all the literature and advice and scripture we loaded her with. She insisted her friend was only gathering info and was not going to abort that day. (She had only called that morning so hadn't waited the required 72 hour period.)

C was very intelligent, and claimed to know Jesus, but didn't understand sin, repentance, or the truth of salvation by faith in His atoning sacrifice. We presented the Gospel, and she said she wanted to ask Jesus into her life then and there. She ended the time with us saying she was amazed by all we offered, how much sense it all made, and what a "productive day."

Four women chose life for their babies, and one chose Jesus. "A productive day" indeed.

I then went on to the magistrate's office. I got to tell the whole story and the magistrate told me I did the right thing. That doesn't mean she will rule to send the case to court, but she was very nice to me. She told me to repeat verbatim the threat the woman made. I told her I could not use that language. I did write it down for her, as best I could remember. She didn't get angry at my refusal to use the vile language. In fact, her very crisp demeanor seemed to soften.

I will know how she rules in a week, notified by mail.

How fun! We figure I will be a sympathetic "victim" if the case goes to court while I am in the midst of chemo. Maybe I could have an IV hooked up to me and Flip could wheel me in to court.

I wished I had asked the angry woman what had wounded her so deeply that she was so filled with rage. I thought about that during the night and prayed for her. She said her daddy was a preacher, and she had "heard enough of that sh--!" Something terrible must have happened to her. I feel sorry for her.

Meanwhile, on the happy side, my book Joe-The Horse Nobody Loved is free for one more day. It is #1 in horse books, and #55 overall in Amazon ebooks! This is pretty close to my best ranking ever so hoping it spurs sales of the sequels. If you don't have it, can't beat the price! Click HERE.

And final happy note, my artwork is still being slowly photographed and brought down from the attic for sale to all you lucky people. Here is one to peak your interest. If interested in buying, better contact me fast. The popular ones go quickly.

This one is called: You Go Before Me and Behind Me (pastel, 19x25). That's from Psalm 139. It is a fitting close to today's thoughts. Sometimes God is leading clearly, and we move exactly as He guides. Other times, He's behind us, knowing He has shown us the way, and if we turn off, He will find a way to encourage us in the right direction.


Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

You have searched me, Lord,
    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, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.