Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Wendell's cousins, 21 year old daughter, had a very bad wreck two weeks ago today. She has been in a coma at UT Hospital since that time. Some people in our community put together a chili supper and auction benefit for her last night. It was an AMAZING sight to see all the people who turned out to support her!!!!! They raised over $6,000.00 on the chili supper and over $4,000.00 on the auction!!!! The people in our little rural community are some of the most amazing people on earth!!!! Wendell was asked to speak on behalf of the family and one of the things he said was the cream rises to the top!!!! Boy, is that the truth when speaking of the people here in Oakdale and the surrounding areas!!! I am so proud to be a member of this community, the people here are just small town, hard working, farming people. To see how they come together to raise up and support those in need around them is truly inspiring!!!! Please help us to pray for Rachel and her family. Her life verse is Romans 8:28 KJV "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
We received a phone call Sunday evening that just sent us into shock. One of our precious friends left this life suddenly and so unexpectedly. Gordon Powers was found dead in his home by concerned friends, Sunday evening. He had not been feeling well and apparently was the victim of a heart attack. Wendell has known Gordon his whole life, the rest of our family got to know and love Gordon through the store. Gordon was sooo special to each member of our family. Stephanie, Jessica, Punky, Kiah, Wendell and I are all in shock and heartbroken at the loss of someone so loved by each one of us. Gordon loved our family and was such an inspiration to each one of us individually. He always had loving kind words of encouragement for us. We have each spent so much time talking to and sharing the joys or burdens of our hearts with him. He always found a way to lift our spirits and to make each one of us feel special. He was such an encouragement to my kids and I. He worried, and more importantly, Prayed for me constantly when I was sick. He made sure I knew he had his church praying for me. Gordon loved his church, the families, and especially the children. He loved his son and granddaughter. Gordon always came to every important event my kids would invite him to. He would always brag on Stephanie and her love for, and willingness to follow the direction, of the Lord. He loved to tease Punky and talk about how she was just like her daddy. He was like a surrogate father to Jess, giving her advice on love and men and supporting her in the things she is doing with her life. He always bragged on Kiah, and would lift her self confidence, telling her how beautiful she was. Walking in and seeing Gordon sitting at the counter was always a mood lifting experience for me!!! No matter what kind of day I would be having he would always make me laugh and just feel good. He would walk in the door at the store and holler "Well hello good looking!!!", addressing which ever one of us women he would see, to which Wendell would always holler back "Well hello Gordon!!!" Then Gordon would have to tell Wendell "I wasn't talking to you Stupid!!!" It was their routine, one that always made us laugh even though we had heard it a million times before!!! It is a routine that will be difficult to no longer get to hear.
There is no question in my heart of where Gordon has begun spending eternity. Gordon Loved the Lord. The fruits of the spirit were evident in the life Gordon lived. We feel so privileged to have had him for a friend. We will never forget his genuine love and kindness to our family and I. We will miss him so much. He has positively effected our lives. We will one day see him again, so until then ....We love you Gordon!!! Our hearts are broken by your sudden passing. There is definitely an un-fillable void left in our hearts and lives!!!!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
As Teresa and I began to talk, though, I also began to think on how two people may experience the same thing, but both may walk away telling two totally different stories, based on their perspective and how they viewed it. We all develop our opinions and thoughts on others based on what we see or hear. By going on what we see and hear we may be totally misreading someone. If we knew why they really reacted certain ways or appeared certain ways, what really was behind “who” they are, we might be surprised.
I began to think about how very few things are just "cut and dry", there is usually more to the story of peoples lives...who they really are... why they react certain ways or appear certain ways...All the things we can't see or are not aware of may be the key elements in why a person is the way they are.
The following is one such incidence, in my own life, that I feel as if others may have came to a different conclusion about me than the one I intended or thought I was giving. I have overheard comments, not meant for my ears, of others remarking on my appearance and how I felt as if I had to have every hair in place.
I have always tried to look “decent” when leaving my house and going out in public. Even if I was just "running" to the store to pick up that one ingredient needed to finish dinner. I know people have thought my need to have my make up on, and hair fixed, before leaving the house, was due to my being vain. I guess in a way that is true, but if you knew my heart and if you knew the experiences in my life that have brought me to the place of needing my appearance to be a certain way, you might view me a little differently. I am saying all of this out of a great desire to not be judgmental of others. I want to view and love others with a pure heart. I truly believe that we are a total package of the circumstances and experiences that we have experienced in this life.
I have the desire to be a better person, especially in the way I see and view others. God made us all. He does not love me one ounce more or less than He loves someone else. I may dissappoint Him more, but He loves us all the same. "For God So Loved The World...." Wow, it's mind blowing!!! And then to think that I may look at someone and have a not so nice thought enter my head like "who do they think they are?" If I truly knew "who they are" I might never had had that ugly thought to begin with.
I remember the exact moment as a child that I became aware of my looks. The moment I realized that the way the world treats you is directly related to the way you visually appear to them.
I had developed Rheumatic Fever as an eight year old child. I remember my Mom taking me to one doctor after another trying to convince them that was what was wrong with me. Mom had had Rheumatic Fever, herself, twice. Finally, she found a pediatrician who listened and ran the tests. I remember the night they called and said I needed to be admitted into the hospital. I was admitted that night. It was before Thanksgiving of my second grade school year. I spent close to three months in the hospital and then was bed fast at home for an extended period of time after that. The medicine I was on, it may have been steroids, I don't know, just a thought. Anyway, the medicine caused me to gain a lot of weight. I went from 60 something pounds to over 130 in just a few months. The medication caused my appetite to go through the roof!!! Most of my childhood memories begin during this time. I have very few memories before the Rheumatic Fever. As an eight year old little girl, I spent hour after hour, day after day, lying in a bed, alone, in a private hospital room. This is where my memories of being so lonely began. To this day, I believe loneliness is one of the worst feelings in the world. It breaks my heart to think of someone being lonely.
My family had moved to California when I was six years old. My Mom & Dad had worked in the hosiery mills in Harriman and had both been laid off. My Uncle owned a fire sprinkler business in CA. We moved there for my Dad to begin the apprenticeship program, and eventually become a certified sprinkler fitter. My Uncle, Aunt, and there three kids, were our only family there in California. So there were not a lot of options as far as visitors went!!!!
I remember being so excited to get a day pass to leave the hospital on Christmas Day. I still remember the presents that awaited me when I got home that morning, a brand new bike and a pair of roller skates where two of the main ones. I remember pushing my bike around the dining room table at the urging of those around. That’s so funny to me now!!! The thought of this bushy headed, chubby girl, in pajamas, grinning to please those who were watching and waiting, pushing her brand new bike around the dining room table while everyone watched, as if this brought some sense of joy to my little girl heart!!! It would have been as much fun to have laid down and let Teresa ride her brand new bike over me!!!! Too funny!!! I was also denied the opportunity to try out my new roller skates latter that day with the sisters and cousins. I did however decline the opportunity to try them on. I could imagine it now…this bushy headed, chubby girl, in pajamas, sitting in a chair, sweating from the process of lacing up those never ending shoe laces that accompany roller skates, grinning for those watching and waiting, as my legs dangle off the chair, feet adorned in brand spanking new roller skates that are forbidden to touch the floor with my feet in them!!! Too Funny!!!
Anyway…. I was eventually discharged from the hospital, sent home and eventually was able to return to school….
I remember being so excited to finally get to go back to school. My Mom had bought me a new dress to wear. I think I thought wearing a dress made you pretty. I went back to school only to be a little disappointed that no one seemed to remember me or care that I was back. I left school that evening and started the walk home only to realize B. H. , the boy who I had spent every recess with, from the time I started school there until I went in the hospital, was walking behind me. The boy next door was walking his bike talking to B. H. I remember being so happy thinking he would see me!!! I remember feeling those butterflies in the pit of my stomach just knowing he was behind me!!! When the neighbor boy and I had to turn down a street and B.H. continued on.... the boy next door caught up with me and was laughing as he told me B.H. had asked him who the new ugly fat girl was. I was heartbroken. That was the day I knew it took more than wearing a dress to be pretty. From that day forward until finishing middle school, I was the "fat girl". I was teased and tormented at recess. From that moment on I just wanted to do everything I could to blend in, to be invisible, to fit in. As long as no one noticed me I wouldn't be teased or judged. I guess that just carried over into my adult years too. As long as I had my hair fixed and my makeup on I just kind of blended in and wouldn't be noticed. If no one noticed I was there, I wouldn’t be teased or humiliated. So, you see, even though I may have been viewed as vain with my appearance, in my mind I just want to blend in!!! This is just one personal example that comes to my mind when I began to think of how we could possibly have a very wrong opinion of someone based solely on what we see or hear. I want to use this realization in my life to try desperately to be less judgmental of others. I can’t say that cancer has really changed the way I see or view things or has changed the way I want to live and view my life but it has made me want to get on with it…not waste anymore time in striving to be a better person…a better friend…a better family member…a better child of God. I want to not make hasty rude judgments, but I want to always take the time to look deep enough to see who is really there. It’s kind of mind numbing when I think of all the people and opportunities I have surely missed in this life by seeing only what I saw, not looking deep enough to see who is really there.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
How good He is!!!!
Friday, July 8, 2011
Realistically I know I can never really know I have beat this thing, because the kind I had you can never really know you are cured. Even after the familiar five year mark that we have come to think of when dealing with cancer. The kind of cancer I had is famous for coming back as many as fifteen years later. But for now I am clean. For now I am extremely grateful. I really wasn't scared this time. But after finding out the results the tears once again began to flow. I am sooooo thankful God has chosen to let me be cancer free for now!!!! Every time I get a clean scan, I feel even more like living life!!!! I'm ready for a vacation!!!!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Before leaving home for the airport, Wendell had scolded me for wearing so much jewelry. Anyone that knows me, knows, I love my jewelry!!! I told him, politely, that I never have a problem at the court house and I wouldn't have a problem at the airport!!!! Well, for the first time ever, LOL, I was wrong!!! I had to go through the scanner several times, each time stopping to strip off a few more pieces of jewelry and then finally the studded belt, not a good accessory for airport security!!! Yesterday morning, when dressing for the return flight, I once again clipped on my 5 bracelets, two pair of earrings, 5 rings, and my watch (that I can't even see to read the time, but hey accessorizing doesn't have to be practical!!!) I did of course make sure to wear cloths that fit...thus no need for the beautifully studded belt. My plan was to take it all off before arriving at the airport and to re-accessorize before boarding the plane. After all, going anywhere without my jewelry would be like leaving my eyebrows at home!!!! I was just proud as punch to know I was going to be able to do this without holding up the long disgruntled line behind me!!!! As I approached the scanner they asked the usual questions about what you have in your purse and carry on, to which I remembered, at the last moment, thankfully, that I have a teeny bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse. Happily I removed it and with a satisfied smug grin on my face I proceeded to walk through the scanner. I made it! no beeping!!! Then I heard one man say to the other man that highly dreaded, illegal word "Aerosol" immediately my mind went to the small bottle of "just in case" hair spray, you know the one you carry for years and use maybe twice but you carry it "just in case"!!! One man picked up my purse and instructed me to get the rest of my stuff and follow him. I scammered around grabbing up my shoes, my carry on bag, my laptop, & my laptop case and hurriedly tried to follow him to a table at the end of the long line of belts and scanners. He firmly instructed me not to reach for, or into, my purse, he had to retrieve the "Item". I obediently clasped my hinds behind my back as my mind visualized me inadvertently reaching for my bag and being tackled from all sides and slammed to the floor, like a terrorist. After a long search he finally found "IT". He placed "it" and the illegal hand sanitizer in a baggie, handed it all back to me, and with my head hung low I grabbed my shoes, my laptop, my laptop case, my carry on, my purse and the rightly stored illegal products and went in search of the rest of my humiliated family. After arriving at the gate I was able to redress, get organized and finally accessorize (eyebrows in place), and boarded the plane without further incidence.
Lesson learned...It's a lot easier to go to court than the beach!!!!
Saturday, May 28, 2011
After Dinner at the Crab Trap.
Dylan eating crab legs!!!
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Punky, Me, Kiah, Wendell, Stephanie and Michael.
Punky, Me, Kiah, And Stephanie.
I made the cakes and decorated them in fondant!!! These are the skills I learnt while taking the cake decorating class with Teresa a few weeks ago!!!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Breakfast at IHOP together on Sunday, before returning home. Wendell, Papaw Tom, Sue, Maurice, Bonnie, Camden, Heather, Jake, Bobbie, Ron, Me, and Teresa.
Brother, sister's and Wendell!!! Tom, Wendell, Bonnie, Sue and Bob.
Sue's grandkids: Jake, Camden, Blake, Cameron, Emily & Logan.
The Cousins + Bob.
Bob, Ron, Teresa, Me, Richmond, Heather, Bonnie, and Justin.
Wow, It has been sooo long since I have had a chance to stop and write something here!!! Needless to say it has been a very busy time in the Ruppe home. There are a lot of "things" I have been thinking on to write about here.
Last weekend some of us traveled to South Carolina for a birthday party for my Aunt Sue. We had a wonderful time. It was nice to get away for the weekend not to mention the fact that we were able to see cousins that we haven't had the opportunity to visit with in years. Teresa traveled with Wendell and I, and Dad drove along with us. Bob, Bonnie, Maurice, Talisha, Marcus, Wilson and Ron also made the trip over for the party.
We had to stop at Sam's on our way home, for me to purchase a new computer, mine had began to crash. I spent all last week trying to get my flies saved to disk off of my old computer and things set up on my new one. I could not get these pictures moved in line on this post like I wanted so I have ended up leaving them where they downloaded, sorry. Thus, the wierd layout of this particular post.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Have you ever Known the Lord had definitely sent someone into your life? There are so many things I want to say here about an experience I had this weekend. There are things I want to say leading up to this amazing experience in my life but I am somehow feeling as if it will take too long to say it all. But there is a part of me that feels as if I have to try.
First of all I want to ask you to pray for a situation that has effected our lives over the last few weeks, that I know is best left unspoken at this time. It is a situation that has brought many tears the last couple of weeks and that leaves me so sad every time I think about it. Please help Wendell and I pray that the Lord will intervene and His will will be done in this situation.
Now back to my original thought.... A while back I began to think on one of the aspects of my cancer journey...loosing my hair. I began to think a little deeper on this subject. I know the Lord is in control of everything that happens in our lives. He may not order everything that happens to us, but He certainly allows it. Just as I believe He has allowed cancer to come into my life. I was taking a shower one morning after my hair had began to grow back and I started to think about how as woman our hair is very important to us. I began to think about how God has gave man the ability to come up with the treatments to fight cancer and give us a chance at achieving remission from this sinister disease. I thought about how an all knowing God, gave man the mind and ability to come up with the drugs to fight cancer. God knew, before man, what the side effects of these drugs would be. One of the main, well known, side effects of Chemo is hair loss. Our hair, especially as woman, is our vanity. Cancer strips you of your vanity. I began to wonder that day why of all the side effects that could come from the drugs developed to fight cancer, was the main one hair loss. Why is the most noticeable effect of anyone battling cancer the loss of their hair...thus the loss of vanity? Does God have a specific purpose in this? I don't know, I'm just asking.
Wendell and I went to our favorite candle lite restaurant this past Saturday night. After we were seated, teenagers dressed for prom began to come in and sit in the tables in front of us. We were in a booth against the wall so we had a first hand view at what could have easily been a fashion show just for us. We began to, between ourselves, judge the girls dress and the guys tuxedos. Believe it or not the guys had on a wide variety of tuxedos. There were over 38 kids there that night. Wendell and I ate our dinner and got up to make our way out. As we were leaving I was stopped by one of two elderly ladies sitting together in a booth down from where we had been. They were very fashionable older ladies who appeared to be fairly wealthy. One of them began to speak, she said she just wanted to let me know I was more beautiful than any of those young girls in their prom dresses!!! Now my telling you this is not out of vanity. I am telling you this because I honestly felt, as soon as she began to speak that the Lord had put them there. I can't explain why and still don't fully understand it. I have NEVER felt this way with anyone before in my entire life. I just knew God had put them there and felt like I just couldn't let the conversation end with thank you and Wendell and I walking on, for some unknown reason I felt as if I needed to say something to keep the conversation going. So I said thank you, you have made my night. Then I began to tell them about my battle with cancer and loosing my hair and just now getting it back enough to get it cut and styled. They wanted to know about my cancer. After telling them a little bit about having oral cancer the other lady began to tell me how she is a widow but she has a gentleman Friend who had salivary gland cancer twenty years ago. I then told her that was what mine was ...salivary gland cancer. She said she just wanted me to know I was going to be alright. Her gentlemen friend was 80 something years old now and does just great. I don't know why I had the feeling these ladies were placed there and spoke to me out of some purpose of God. But I do. What are the chances two little old ladies would start up a conversation with me over such a rare cancer as salivary gland cancer? I have been reading the few blogs I can find of other oral cancer survivors every since I started my fight. So many of them have already passed on. One as early as last week and another one has done all he can do to fight it and now is blogging about how he is making it, knowing the cancer is taking over his body. Maybe I shouldn't read these blogs, but I can't help myself. Somehow it feels as if these people are my relatives in a way. Of course there are also those cancer survivors who have been in remission for several years now. Those are the ones I want to feel as if I have more in common with!!!
Anyway I just wanted to share those things with you....... My thinking on cancer and hair loss and side effects and God and vanity and little ladies and God speaking to us through others and what are the chances and salivary gland cancer and remission and living and dying and maybe just maybe angels unaware ...
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Even the backs of the flowers are made to look realistic.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
It had been several years since we had experienced the blessing of God that I have written about in the first two posts of post #200. I had not, and will not, ever forget those blessings of God, but we had long since spent that money and only thought of that time in our lives from time to time.
Then the dreadful "c" word entered our world and we were in for the fight of our lives... The fight for our life.
I'll never forget the night we told the girls and Aaron I had cancer. We had waited until we had no choice but to tell them. I couldn't stand the thought of them worrying over me one second longer than they would have to. It was a difficult time. We told Josh and Stephanie and the rest of our family the next day, which was Sunday. It was hard watching them hurt, not knowing what the outcome would be. I wanted them to understand that God was in control and He had a reason for everything that happens and as long as we had His Grace we would be able to deal with whatever was to come. I wanted them to understand that the cancer was not in control...God was...if He wanted me to live 10 more minutes, 10 more seconds, or 10 more years, that was how long I would live. We had to trust Him.I remember being so sick while going through the surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy. During this time we were receiving medical bills that our insurance was not paying anything on. I would spend countless hours on the phone and on hold with a representative from our insurance. Every time I would talk to them they would tell me some requirement that I had failed to meet. I would only learn of these new requirements each time I would call. I would get off the phone and start the process of meeting each new requirement. I remember thinking how something needed to be done with our health care system. It was a terrible feeling to be so sick, actually feeling as if you may be on deaths doorstep, and having to argue with your insurance company who you had paid a large premium to, on time, every month, to get them to live up to their end of the deal and pay the bills!!!! I would be so sick and so fatigued and would still have to deal with this. By this time I was getting threats to be turned over to collection agencies. There was no way we could pay the mounting bills. It took about eight months and me finally getting ugly with a supervisors supervisor to finally get them to start paying their portion of my medical bills that had piled up and where over one hundred and sixty thousand dollars. During this time so many people were helping us in so many ways, including financially. People would hand Wendell money and tell him they wanted to pay for our gas to get to Nashville. People would give him money wanting to buy his food and what ever he would need while staying in the hospital with me. People would hand us cards that when we opened them contained money to help with our struggles. Churches that we have attended and some we have never attended wanted to help and would send us love gifts, time and again. I can't control the tears now as I think of the goodness of the people God has created!!! I don't think anything we could do or say could ever convey how blessed we were during this time!!! God is soooo good!!!! People with their own struggles would want to help us and would give us what I know they could have used for their own needs. Oh how I pray God has paid them back tenfold!!!! Once again ....The story could end here, where the blessings were more than I could ever deserve. But it didn't.....God was not through....
Monday, March 28, 2011
It was almost Christmas...almost time for Wendell's annual Christmas bonus....almost time for our annual "crack of dawn" shopping trip.....
Wendell had received a bonus at Christmas every year, since he had been working for the company he was working for. It was always somewhere between $2,500.00 - $3,000.00. We always looked forward to getting this check and considered it a huge blessing. We would spend some of it on Christmas shopping, some on paying off bills, and we would always try to use some of it to be a blessing to someone else who was having a more difficult time. Well, this year when he received his check we couldn't believe the amount!!! Yeah, I know what your thinking....the Lord had provided...and your right.... only ......the Lord had provided over and above what He had asked for!!! Wendell had done some additional work that they wanted to reward him for. His check was for $15,000.00!!!! The Lord had not only provided the amount He had asked of Wendell, but he had also blessed us with $5,000.00 to do with as we wanted!!!!! We had never had that much money in our lives. At the time we received this money there was a lot of things we could have done if we had viewed it differently. The $15,000.00 would have paid off a HUGE portion of the bills we owed at the time and could have made a big difference in our living pay check to pay check. But we never viewed it that way. We know the Lord gave us that money to give to the Fellowship Tract League. We were just the middle men that God blessed with the opportunity to receive the tremendous blessing that comes from being willing to be used of God, and from being willing to give. Wow, you can only imagine the joy that filled our hearts when Wendell was able to write that check and put it in the offering plate!!!! You can only imagine the joy, and I must admit, pride, I felt in knowing Wendell was open to listening when the Lord speaks to him and obedient in heeding the Will of God. Wow, it's so amazing to see the way God works!!! He had asked for something that within Wendell and my own means would have been impossible to accomplish. But God had not ever intended on Wendell or I accomplishing this on our own. He was just letting Wendell know He was going to use him to get this needed money to the tract league. When you begin to think even farther back...I wonder how God must have spoke to, or placed it on the heart, of the one who was making the decisions about bonus amounts!!!!
We didn't tell everyone about this, then, because it was not something we wanted to brag within ourselves of, but we did share it with our kids as a lesson to how if your willing God can use you, and what He asks for, He can and will provide!!!
Well, this part of the story could end here, but it didn't. There is more to tell of this awesome, amazing God we serve!!!
That next year life continued on as usual. At the end of that next year I gathered all our tax records together and took them to our accountant to prepare our income tax return. We had NEVER got back more than $3000.00, even when everyone we knew was getting back 6 & 8 thousand, even when all our kids were "countable." That next year when we got our return back from the accountant we were astonished to see we were going to receive a return in the amount of $10,400.00!!!! The first thing I thought of was Wendell being obedient to giving what the Lord had asked and provided, I knew in my heart that this was the Lord's way of rewarding Wendell for his faithfulness and willingness to serve God. I don't know if this seems like much to others but to us it was Wonderful!!!! We have both worked hard for what we have. The Lord has always provided, and we have always been able to find jobs and have had the health and strength to work hard. We both started working at young ages, I was 15 when I got my first job and up until the cancer had always worked. We don't have college educations, so up until Wendell got the job he was working at this time, we had both always worked, first in the fast food industry when we were young, and then in factories. So to receive that amount of money to us was like winning the lottery!!!! We were able to put a down payment on a camper we had been dreaming of, pay off some additional bills, and, as we had always tried to do, give a portion to someone having a rough time. Boy!!! God was sooo good to us!!!!! I know in my heart that God told Wendell to do something, give the money He was providing, to the Tract League, Wendell heeded the voice of God, and God has rewarded our family again and again for Wendell's obedience. Wendell could have second guessed everything, deciding that maybe he just "thought" God was speaking to him. That huge amout of money could have really advanced our family financialy. But he didn't. Everyone has always said "You can't out give God". We have had our financial struggles over the years just like most normal people. We have never had a large savings account but God has always provided our needs. I am in awe of the goodness of God, each time I think about these events...God speaking, Wendell obeying, God being Faithful. This Holy and Faithful God owes us nothing but through His goodness has time and again rewarded our family for Wendell's obedience.
This story could end here....but it doesn't......I got cancer...our lives began to change...Part 3 of Post #200 to continue telling of one of the biggest blessings God provided on our journey....coming soon....
Saturday, March 26, 2011
When thinking of Post #200 one thinks "Wow!!! that's kind of a milestone." One that should possibly be celebrated with an awesome, heartfelt, deep thinking, entry!!! LOL!!! I mentioned in the last post how God had blessed Wendell and I and our family in ways that I have not spoke of here but would when I felt the Lord was leading me to. In this post I am going to share one of the biggest blessings the Lord allowed us to experience on this journey. I have quite frankly not shared it openly for fear the devil would use it to spawn some since of hurt or jealousy in someone who has gone through a similar trial in their lives and God did not "show up" with this blessing for them. I don't understand why God has chosen to be sooo good to me, I just know I praise His name for His Goodness, Grace and Mercy to me and my little family.
Well, before we continue you may want to fix your coffee and grab a sandwich because to relate how awesome God is, I can't bring myself to leave out one minor detail, so this may be a long one!!! You see to relate this story we have to go back several years....long before the ugly "C" word became a member of our little family....we have to go back to a time when we were just ordinary people... living un-extraordinary lives...working hard to make ends meet.....OK maybe that's a little too dramatic!!!LOL!!! But here we go...............................
Several years back, Bro. Jones, our pastor, started announcing in Church, that in a few weeks he would be taking up a special offering to help with the purchase of a new printing press for the Fellowship Tract League, (a mission work that our church faithfully supports.) For those who may not know, us saved, independent baptist, use little pamphlets called "tracts" to help spread the wonderful gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ. These tracts are printed and given to us at no cost, the Fellowship Tract League and others like them are non profit and operate on donations and by great Faith!!! We are able to either hand these tracts directly to others or leave them places where they will be read, such as on the tables in our dining room at the store. They are also shipped to missionaries all over the world to be used as an additional aid in telling others, who may have never even heard of Jesus Christ, about the wonderful gift of God's son. We feel as if by contributing to this wonderful work, we, in a round about way, have a part in the extraordinary blessing of spreading the gospel around the world and of hopefully contributing to leading others to Christ!!!! I am not sure how much this printing press was going to cost, but I do remember that Bro. Jones' goal was for our church to contribute $100,000.00.
Wendell never does anything in a small way...he goes about everything he does with a huge heart and GREAT ambition. So, after Bro. Jones' announcement one day, Wendell asked me if I had been thinking about it. I replied that I had and he then asked me what I thought we should contribute. I said I didn't know, but secretly I was thinking $1000.00 would be wonderful, but we would really, really, have to cut back and save every penny we could get, and even then I wasn't sure it was a goal we could obtain. I then asked him, somewhat hesitantly, what he was thinking. I say hesitantly, because his over ambitious nature can be financially frightening at times!!!! Well, he was not going to disappoint me this time!!!LOL!!! He started out by saying, "Don't freak out. But the Lord has laid an amount on my heart that I know we are suppose to give." I said ok, just tell me. His reply was .....$10,000.00. Well needless to say I didn't freak out, after all you can't give what you don't have. I just kind of smiled at what I thought to be the ludicrousy of that amount. We didn't even have a tenth of that in our savings and there was just no way!!!! He might as well have said a million dollars, it would have made just as much sense!!! I did, however, feel the need to ask, so I asked him how in the world he thought we were suppose to do that? I mean, I love to give too, but we had to be realistic here!!! To this he replied he didn't know, he just knew that was the amount the Lord had laid on his heart and he KNEW that was what we were suppose to give. Needless to say, I didn't loose any sleep over this, I just thought he had to be somehow mistaken in the direction the Lord was leading and if by some weird chance he was right, then the Lord would provide.
Well, I see now that this story is way to long for one blog entry or to even write or read in one sitting, so I will pause here. Kind of like where I am leaving off.... we just continued to live our uneventful lives and I tried to, as hard as it was, to start putting back a few dollars here and there on my own, (notice the key words, on my Own, I was definately not trusting in the fact that the Lord could actualy provide what Wendell said He had placed on his heart.) Anyway...Part 2 to blog #200 coming soon...after a shower, some laundry, house cleaning........
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
My Mom had suddenly and unexpectedly passed, on Monday night at about 7:00 p.m. We spent that entire day at St. Mary's Hospital in Knoxville, hoping for a miracle, but it was not the Lord's will. He was ready for her and called her home that evening.
Wendell and I left the hospital in Knoxville, drove home to Oakdale, packed our bags and headed out to Nashville. I'll never forget that drive. So many emotions, yet feeling so numb.
We spent the night in a hotel, rose early, and arrived at Vanderbilt at about 6:00 am. We had checked, under the circumstances, on postponing my surgery. The cancer had already grown quite a lot and if I postponed, it would be another month before they would be able to reschedule me. The family insisted I go ahead with the surgery and we had Mom's funeral that weekend when I got out of the hospital.
That was the beginning of our journey and what I think of as "our cancer year". Pretty much everything in our lives, that year, 2009, revolved around fighting my cancer. It was a hard year and one I hope to never repeat, but God was faithful and merciful to my little family and we came through it all with a stronger love and bond. He taught me many lessons that year. When I was going through the radiation and chemo I was so fatigued and sick quite often, that I had plenty of time to "Be Still And Know That He Is God!!!" He brought me quickly to the point of relying solely on Him and knowing He is in control. I realized more than ever before how He is ALL and I am nothing. I know to some it may sound crazy, but if I could have changed the year of cancer, I would not. The closeness and communion that came from relying every minute on His Grace, brought unimaginable Peace to my heart and soul. That experience was heart changing and one I would NEVER change if I could. The guidance He provided was, I know, a direct result of all the prayers that were going up on my behalf from all of you. Some, I still to this day, do not know personally, but took the time to think and pray for me. I am forever humbled and grateful for that. There were so many times when God made the direction I was to take crystal clear. There was one time, I will forever regret, that He made His will clear to me, yet I did not heed His will and went the way my Doctors were suggesting. I know, for that, I suffered things I would not if I had had the courage to stand my ground. Anyway, there are some things that the Lord has done for me and my family through this experience that I have yet to tell here, but plan on sharing when I feel it is His will that I do so.
2010 I feel was my "year of recovery". I spent most of 2010 recovering from all the treatments and gaining some energy back. 2010 was filled with many Doctor visits and several scares. I began, once again, to live my life.
Now, here I am, two years later!!! Still living my life and loving my little family. God has been sooo good to me. So many others with my diagnosis, have not had the same outcome. I am definitely not the same person I was prior to two years ago and hearing those words "You have cancer." I have definitely changed mentally and physically. I deal daily with health issues I didn't have before. I have to admit, it is not always easy to deal with these symptoms and I am still trying to investigate and get to the bottom of what my body is trying to tell me. But I am soo grateful to be here, and know that it is a direct response to those prayers that went up for me.
I thank-you for helping me to have life and to live.
P.S. I was always so proud of her beauty!!! She was 66 years old but did not look or act old. She use to ask my advice on her wardrobe and what she was wearing. She was always a very stylish lady. She would always ask me "Do you think I look like I am trying to dress too young?" My reply to her was always the same.."NO Mom, you look great!" (I don't understand these women, who, when they reach a certain age, think they have to start wearing elastic waist, polyester, with large designs,). So my answer was always the same to her ..."Mom you look beautiful!! When you get to that age where you feel the need to start wearing what looks like your kitchen curtains or table cloth we will need to talk!!!" LOL!!!!