First of all, if you clicked over here for the Papertrey Ink Blog Hop you'll want to scroll down, down, and down some more. There is a card in here — I promise. But if this is your visit, you'll be wondering (to quote Nichole Heady) what you've stumbled upon. Briefly, I was dianosed with an inoperable brain tumor on August 1 of this year — which caused the blog to take a new direction. Well, not completely new. I still do something crafty most days... at least so far. But now we have been starting out with some medical updates, some scripture, some spiritual thoughts, and some ramblings of someone who is looking at life through a new lens. So — you've been warned. If you want something to think about, you may want to read. If all you want is a little crafty inspiration — scroll until you get past all the "talk". :)
Now let's get into the format that has become the new normal. Today is Thursday, August 25. It also is the day of my first radiation treatment. We'll talk more about that later.
So — first of all, confession is good for the soul, right? And I'm going to just lay out all the ugliness right here. Yesterday I was crabby. And ungrateful. And selfish. And self-centered. And greedy. And just overall not very nice. And I'm ashamed of myself. And I'm horrified that it's so easy to slip into that sort of behavior. And so hard to get out of it.
Here's the scenario. A meal was going to be delivered. I look forward to each and every meal — they've all been so delicious — but for some reason I've been sort of fixated on this one... Pork Sliders. Don't ask me why — I can't explain it. I was really, really looking forward to those little sandwiches.
Britt was going to be here for dinner — and for the rest of week, too. And, that's a very, very good thing that we've been looking forward to. And Ken invited our church elder and his wife to dinner. And then he invited Britt's high school friend (and maid of honor), Ruth — who lives nearby, to come and eat. And then my selfish greed set in as I (in my mind) saw that I had to share those yummy pork sliders with even more people. And I was ugly about it.
As I look back on that now, I'm not sure exactly what my problem was. I guess that's the way sin and selfishness are, isn't it? Not rational. Fixated on self and on imagined "wrongs" to your own person. And this is all embarrassing to admit — but I've been pretty committed here to just laying it all out... so you get what you get. And now you're getting the ugly truth.
And here's the way the story ended up. I served myself first (of course! :( It's easy to justify things like that when you're "sick"), taking what I wanted (although I did pracice some measure of self-control by taking just one little sandwich so everyone else could have at least one) and sitting down to eat. And then later I had one more slider. And, your know what? There is still left-over pork, a couple of rolls, and all the fixin's. Kind of a loaves and fishes type of thing. Which, of course, adds to my shame. Yes — my faith is not always large. But my selfishness is. Oh, Lord. Help me to be gracious and kind and generous! I do not like the "me" that came out yesterday! (Oh — I should probably say that I did relax and have a great time with our company and I'm so grateful that they came... that they prayed over me and encouraged me... it was a special evening for me. Even though I was quite out-of-sorts as the evening started.)
Now, let's get into some scripture for today. It's gonna be kinda long, I think. Actually, maybe I should break it up into pieces. We'll do that.
"I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord."
The pit of despair is somewhere that I've tried really hard not to go to — but I can tell you that, at times, that takes a tremendous amount of effort. If those around me are observant, they've noticed that every so often the praise and worship music will start playing through my computer speakers. That's part of my defense against enemy attacks... I try to intentionally focus on my Savior... on what He has done and continues to do on my behalf. And since this brain tumor has affected my balance somewhat, "He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along" has an extra special meaning. :) "Many will see what he has done and be amazed" and "put their trust in the Lord" — yes, that's my prayer through all of this. Lord, be glorified.
Psalm 40:4-5, 8-10
"Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,... O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them....
"'I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.'
"I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O Lord, well know. I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness."
and this is from tomorrow (I couldn't resist looking ahead :) ) —
"Lord, don't hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me."
And I'm so glad that I added that bit from tomorrow's reading — because here's the deal. This treatment has the usual side-affects — fatigue, hair loss, stuff like that. Then there's one more that, to me, is pretty scary. Blindness. They'll be radiating — or whatever — close to my optic nerve. Things could go awry. And — really, I don't want to be blind. And — as I'm typing through tears — I'm trying to surrender that. And I'm begging the Lord to spare my eyesight. But — if I truly want to be faithful, do I have to be willing to be blind? If God can use me more without my sight, shouldn't I be OK with that? Talk about a crisis of faith. So — you can lift me up in prayer as I try to surrender what I want for the greater good of what the Lord might want. Of course, I want His will to include good health, long life, and good vision — but I have to be willing to sacrifice my desires. And it's a struggle. So — please pray for me.
I guess it's pretty obvious that I'm not going to get into writing about taking meals to people and stuff like that today. This is going to be too long already. But I'm so thankful that you stop by, read my ramblings, and give me words of encouragement. You cannot know how much those conversations mean to me — whether I chime in or not. You all have become such a huge part of my life over the past few weeks and I'm incredibly grateful for each little bit of interaction. I'm so fortunate and blessed to have so many wonderful people on this journey with me. It would be incredibly lonely to walk this road without all of you — and, of course, without my Savior. That would be impossible. So — thanks so much for traveling with me. I sure do love all of you!
OK — if you've been waiting for my entry into this month's Papertrey Ink Blog Hop, here it is. Finally, huh?
This month, again, was a picture inspiration — so here's the picture that Nichole provided. I'm hoping that it's pretty obvious how I used the elements in the photo to inspire me. Because this post is wordy enough without me pointing out the obvious!
Now, it seems I can always find a way to improve something I've created — these days more so than ever before — but I'm fairly satisfied with this one. (Except for a few relatively minor placement issues that I'd change, but... whatever...)
AND TELL: stamps are from Papertrey Ink (Damask Designs, Iconic Images, Fillable Frames #9, Fillable Frames #12); cardstock is PTI (Fine Linen, Stampers Select White), Stampin' Up (Poppy Parade), and Creative Memories (Metallic Silver); ink is SU (Crumb Cake, Poppy Parade) and PTI (New Leaf, Simply Chartreuse, Hibiscus Burst); ribbon is PTI (1/4" silk); also used PTI's Fillable Frames #9 die and Picnic Plaid impression plate.
And that is probably, again, more than enough for one day. I'm posting earlier today, selfishly, so that prayers — specific prayers — can begin. I think my appointment begins around 3:50 this afternoon (Eastern) and is scheduled to last about 45 minutes. There are last minute calibrations to be made and then the actual radiation takes about 10 minutes. My head is covered with a mesh mask that is snapped to the table — with the idea that it keeps me immobile. When the initial calibrations were made, it seemed to me that there was a lot of play in the mesh and that maybe I moved (because I could) and I find that a little disconcerting. So — you can pray for peace and stillness for me and accuracy for the radiation treatment.
Thank you so, so much for visiting my little blog and for all the encouragement you leave in my email box, on my Facebook account, and in the blog comments. You absolutely cannot know how much that means to me. Sending love and hugs to each and every one of you!!