Category Archives: faith

My Story

I just got an email from Greg Laurie with Harvest America. The email is entitled, “Stories are Important.” And I agree. They are.

In the email, Greg is inviting us to view a movie of three people whose lives were touched and changed because of a Harvest America crusade. He counsels that every Christian has a story. Some of us have a dramatic story. Others may think their stories are “boring.” But, they’re not. Because, whether you had a conversion like Paul did on the road to Damascus or one more like mine, where, as a young kid, I accepted Christ into my heart and life.

While there was nothing that seems all that dramatic about my conversion – I was not much of sinner at the age of 9 or so – the fact is, I, just like Paul and just like every other Christian, was saved that day from a life in hell, from a life separated from the God who made us.

So, you know, maybe my conversion was more dramatic than I sometimes think of it as being.

Not Perfect, Just Saved … and Forgiven

I haven’t lived a perfect life. Far from it. We are by nature sinners so none of us, except our Saviour Jesus Christ, has ever or will ever live a perfect life. Some come closer than others.

Over my lifetime, I have surely done things for which I am not proud. If I could, I would undo them. Of course, that’s impossible so the best I can do is ask for forgiveness. Ask for it … and accept it.

You see, I do believe God when He says He forgives me when I ask for it. If I continue to dwell on what I did wrong, am I not accepting His forgiveness? If I am forgiven, there is no longer any need at all to think about the sin, other than to keep in mind that I should never commit a similar one again.

Rocking Along

You know, for most of my life, I have just rocked along. I have known and believed with all of my heart that I am saved, a child of my God, forgiven. And always, that has provided a peace that really can’t be explained to anyone who hasn’t known the same “peace that passes understanding.”

It isn’t that my life has been particularly rosy. It has definitely been fraught with plenty of challenges. I have the wrinkles to prove it! But, you know, those challenges have not been enough to weigh me down completely because, not only has God saved me, He has been there for me through every day of my life. If I have a problem or a situation, I can hand it over to Him. Then, I can quit worrying about it. I believe in my heart of hearts, “God has it. He will take care of it.” He is way smarter than I am. He knows the “big picture” when I only see a very small part of it.

Things I Don’t Understand

There are many, many things in this life that I do not understand. I don’t understand war, poverty, biting insects, drug addicts, murderers… I don’t understand mothers who steal their children and turn them away from their loving dads. I don’t understand why everyone can’t just think like I do. Wouldn’t life be easier? (And a whole lot more boring!) Why do good people who love God face difficulties in their lives when horrid, devilish unbelievers have all of the worldly goods and fame and peace they want?

Others who are just as saved as I am don’t agree with me on some things – politics, for one. I can’t understand how they can believe as they do … they can’t understand how I can believe as I do … and yet, God loves us all and we are all His children, provided we have accepted Christ, His Son, as our Saviour.

I have to accept that there are things I will not understand until I die. When I get to Heaven, I can ask questions. I think I WILL ask questions!!

Cancer

My faith has always been there, but it became especially real to me when I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. People imagine that I freaked out at that diagnosis, especially after my first oncologist said I would probably only live about 4 months.

The truth of the matter is that I have that same peace that passes understanding as always. Yes, my days on this earth might be shorter than they would have been otherwise. But, what do I have to look forward to if and when I die? HEAVEN!!!!

Win-Win

I tell everyone … and I totally believe it … I am in a win-win situation. If I live, I am happy! I love being alive. I have so much fun, nearly every day. But, death … leaving this earth … means I transition to Heaven! Heaven! Streets of Gold. Singing. Angels. God! Peace and perfection. Wow. What is there to dread about that?

That’s my story, in a small nutshell. Share yours!

 

 

Looking at the Positives of Having Lung Cancer – Am I Crazy?

Okay, this post is probably going to have a lot of people looking at me and thinking I have gone stark-raving crazy. But, here goes anyway!

What would life without cancer be like?

I participate in a forum whose participants have all kinds of different cancers. Today, a post was made that asked, “Do you get wrapped up in thinking about what might have been if cancer hadn’t come?” The person who asked the question is livid that she has cancer.

…. More

Anxiety…An Unwelcome Visitor

I recently saw a study that found that lung cancer patients who do not have anxiety or depression live longer than those who do.1 I was surprised to find this information because I have always been told that attitude might make your remaining life happier, but it has no impact on how long you live.

…..MORE

Everyone Needs Support Sometimes

When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I didn’t know anyone else who was still alive and fighting the disease. I started searching around and ultimately landed on a group where I feel totally at home – it is called WhatNext.

I am going to post two links below that will help you know if you think WhatNext will be a good fit for you. I go to a lot of different lung-cancer related forums, but I spend most of my time on WhatNext. It feels like home to me.

On WhatNext, there are caregivers and loved ones, survivors, and people from the medical field for all kinds of cancer from skin cancer to liver, lung, or lymphoma cancers. Take a look at the information below and please join, if it sounds like a place you’d like to be a part of!

This link tells you a lot of the benefits of the group in an advertising way:  https://www.whatnext.com/ilp/lungcancer/?campaign=AMLC

SandiA is a Stage 4 Melanoma survivor who is active on the site. She tells you why she loves WhatNext so much!

Let me know if you joined the group because you saw this post! I look forward to seeing you! I think you’ll love it there as much as I do!

https://www.whatnext.com/ilp/lungcancer/?campaign=AMLC

Hope Springs Eternal

“Study nature. Love nature. Stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” –Frank Lloyd Wright

waterfall

Since I have been surviving cancer, I have really, really enjoyed visiting the gardens at the Dallas Arboretum. Whether I go with friends or by myself, I am filled with gratitude and peace while I am there. I consider my enjoyment of the gardens as one of the blessings of having cancer, because unfortunately, before being diagnosed with cancer, I never took the time to go.

…more…

Originally published March 10, 2016

Don’t Give Up: Taking Control of Your Life

donna-pastureI am sitting here staring at a blank sheet of paper, wondering what I have to say to you that will be worth your time reading it. I am no scientist. With the advent of chemo brain, I don’t even really enjoy reading and researching like I once did. So I have no great wisdom to impart.

What I do have to pass along is hope. Such a little word but one that has the ability to change your life. Hope crowds out anxiety and pushes away fear. It fills you with peace and can motivate you.  ….More

 

Happiness is My Normal

I was just looking at my Facebook memories. I love those! I find myself posting things I want to remember to Facebook now so that they will show up in my memories in the future. Am I the only person who does that?  More…

 

A few years ago, I wrote a number of blog posts for Patient Power. I am going to provide links to them on my blog.  Happiness is My Normal was originally posted 4/28/2016

 

 

3 AM … And I Can’t Sleep

Ugh. I woke up at about 2:30 this morning. Got up, went to the bathroom, plopped back down and expected to go right back to dreamland. Not happening tonight (this morning?).

It is probably my fault. I play an electronic game called Township. And, instead of actually plopping down and closing my eyes to sleep, i picked up the silly game. Just for a minute.

Well, that minute is now nearly an hour and here I am, working on a blog post instead of sleeping. It wouldn’t be so bad, but i have somewhere to go later this morning so i can’t just sleep in.

Where do i have to go, you ask. Well, unbelievable as it is … Yoga. If you had told me four months ago that I would finally be going to the gym and working out, i would have thought you were nuts. But, it is true!

And, boy! I am enjoying it!! I can go to the FitSteps program on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. FitSteps is a program developed by a retired oncologist for cancer patients. There is a personal trainer who helps us each with a program designed specifically for us. It is at FitSteps where I go to yoga, too.

I had never even tried yoga until three weeks ago. What we do is probably called chair yoga – we use chairs anyway. And, it is for beginners. It is really a lot of fun … And it is good exercise, too.

I look forward to yoga class. I even look forward to walking on the treadmill. And, i look forward to seeing the other cancer survivors who come to work out. We laugh a lot. And, if there is one thing I love to do, it is laugh.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my friend Linda and I have started going to the local Community Center. Ten dollars a year gains us access to a very well equipped gym and a variety of classes. As we were leaving the gym yesterday, a lady invited us to join their exercise class. I am surely going to think about doing just that. I may be the only person on earth who actually enjoyed gym class way back when i was a kid. I think i will enjoy an exercise class.

My motivation for going to the gym was to get my strength and stamina back after radiation treatments. Additionally, i have been complaining for years about gaining weight and my huge belly. I am finally doing something more than complain. It feels good. I hope it works.

Even if i stay oversized … How I hope not … the exercise is good for me. There are so many studies out there that tout the benefits of exercise, especially for cancer patients. Sadly, the research shows that only 10% of patients exercise while in treatment and only 30% do after finishing treatment. I hope i stay in the 10% that get out and get moving! It isn’t habit yet. I still have to make myself go, even though i like it when i get there.

4 AM. I am yawning but my mind isn’t feeling tired. My eyes do. Oh well. I think i will spend a little time doing my Bible reading. I never make New Year resolutions but i made two for 2018. One is to get fit and the other is to read my Bible from cover to cover.

I have never done that. I tried one other time and quit … I hope I am more successful with it this time. I don’t manage to get it done every day, I am sorry to say. So, i have some catch-up to do.

Did you make resolutions? Are you sticking with them? Are you on an exercise program? If not, consider it!!!

(Forgive the lowercase “i” … I do know better, but I typed this on my tablet and it doesn’t automatically capitalize. I am too lazy this early morning to go fix them all.)

Sing!! Bellow it Out! It’s Good For You!!!

Do you like to sing? Well, guess what? Science says it is good for you to sing.

Benefits of Singing

Prevention magazine lists six ways singing is good for you:

  1. Singing eases your stress and improves your quality of life
  2. It can help you bond
  3. This one is BIG!!! Singing improves immunity in cancer patients!!!
  4. Singing may be good for your heart (it is definitely good for your soul!)
  5. Really? Singing helps curb snoring! (Your significant other may like this!!)
  6. Singing may help people with asthma

Wow! Who knew?

Even though I love it, I am a terrible singer. I used to get such a kick out of my little family when we would be in church. All three of us were singing our hearts out. All on a different key. And none on the same key as the masses. I know our pewmates wished we would just mouth the words!

Usually, that’s just what I do if I am in a crowd. I mouth the words. Even when we are singing happy birthday to someone. I am just so embarrassed that I can’t carry a tune. But, get me alone!!! That’s when the stops come out! I love to belt out songs that mean something to me.

Let’s Share Favorites!

So, the purpose of this blog is not only to inform but to share. I have some favorite songs that I want you to have the opportunity to hear. I hope one or more of them will speak to you like they do to me.

Overcomer

One of the most meaningful songs to me is Mandisa’s “Overcomer.” That’s what we cancer survivors are, right? Overcomers? Take a listen! (And, if you aren’t a cancer patient, there is no doubt in my mind that you are not overcoming challenges of your own. This song works for all of us!)

 

Blessings

Laura Story’s Blessings speaks volumes to me. We don’t have to look far to see blessings in our lives. And, sometimes, what seems to be the worst thing to ever happen to us isn’t.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

Lots of people might call me crazy (no offense taken if you do), but I see so many blessings in my life as a result of my cancer diagnosis. I know you are thinking, “You must be kidding.” But, I’m not kidding at all. It isn’t that I wouldn’t rather not have cancer. But, since I do, I have to say, it has brought me many friends and experiences I would have never had otherwise. And, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

It is Well with my Soul

Yes! It IS well with my soul! No matter what happens to my earthly body, I know where my salvation lies! It is great comfort to know that when I take my last breath here, my next will be on Streets of Gold in Heaven.

Casting Crown’s Oh My Soul

The night Casting Crown’s singer Mark Hall was diagnosed with cancer, he sat down and wrote “Oh My Soul.” It is a powerful song. Mark describes the motivation behind the song,

I just sat down on the piano and was looking at the verse where David says, ‘Why so downcast, oh my soul. Put your hope in God.’ So the song is me just having a little argument with myself and giving it to Him.”

God has my cancer, too, Does He have yours?

End of the Beginning

Another favorite song of mine has nothing to do with encouragement or cancer or counting blessings, but I just love this David Phelps (he’s one of my favorite artists) song.

 

There are more songs that speak volumes to me and that I love to belt out, but I will stop here. We’ll do another blog at another time with more songs.

As you can see, the ones that mean the most to me also have a lot to do with my faith. I couldn’t go through this battle without my faith.

What about you? What songs are most meaningful to you? Why? Let me know!