Showing posts from 2018

Be strong! Be courageous! For the Lord your on your side!

Early this morning I'm outside, sipping coffee, and praying. It's chilly, the skies are grey and so is my mood, Today I'll attend the funeral Mass for a friend's husband who lost his battle with cancer.
I feel sad. I feel lonely...but God won't leave me there...
My phone dings.
A text pops up.
It's welcoming words from a dear friend. A holy friend. A just-what-I -needed friend! 
My heart jumps. A smile spreads across my face as I realize it's another  gentle reminder: We may feel alone, but we are never alone.

Be strong and courageous! Do not be frightened, do not be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.Joshua 1:9.

Making the Most of Now...

Just before Thanksgiving, I completed the latest rounds of ongoing cancer treatments.There were some rough days, but soon afterwards, things got better again. 

The best way to describe my health is to say it feels like an unpredictable wild animal lives inside me. On the worst of days, it's attacking; debilitating. On better days, it's simply crouched nearby, growling. At's lying in the corner....quietly making its presence's's always there...ready to pounce...

I've learned to listen to its cues. I've learned to modify my life. I've learned what's important and what's not.

And I've got a dream. As crazy as it sounds, my book, My Emmaus Walk; True Stories of Faith, Hope and Inspiration, is calling me back into life. 

Recently, (with exceptions) I've been able to make a simple plan and that simple plan has been to speak to groups about the book's message...the glorious reality of the presence and the love of…

More cancer treatments and an unexpected remedy (not the crackers)

Sandra, my cleaning lady, is richer than me. 
And I don't mean monetarily.
As these latest rounds of cancer treatments take their toll, I am debilitated once again. Except this time, I'm frustrated. I expected to be feeling better than this.
Sandra could see it in my countenance. Her advice? 
"Read your bible," Sandra said. She leaned on her mop.
"Your spirit will lead the body...
Body, mind, spirit...Live in the spirit."
So, frustrated with my aching body, I took her advice. Lying on the sofa, I randomly flipped open my Bible...My gaze fell onto a page, and I began reading: For we know that when this tent we live in now is taken down, when we die and leave these bodies,  we will have wonderful new bodies in heaven, homes that will be ours forevermore..(In my suffering, this was actually a freeing thought!)How weary we grow of our present bodies. (Yep, I felt weary!) That is why we look eagerly to the day when we shall have heavenly bodies which we shall put on lik…

New life! A cause for celebration!

Have you ever witnessed a birth before? I mean, besides your own. Have you ever been present to the gift of new life coming into this world?

I haven't...until last week. That's when our newest granddaughter was born.

Here's a picture of her being weighed for the very first time...about an hour or so after birth...about an hour or so after I watched her little head begin to emerge. I was freakishly calm, yet utterly convinced this looked impossible...I mean, really, how does that happen?

And yet, within moments, as you see, the impossible became possible...

Words can't describe our joy.  We stand in awe. She's beautiful, born into the loving arms of her holy family.

And, along with that blessed newborn, a divine message was delivered. It's one we can hold in our hearts forever. She's living proof...and so are you.

With God, all things are possible.  Mark 10:27

Are You Looking for A Good Read? True Stories That'll Leave You Inspired?

Five reasons to purchase My Emmaus Walk, True Stories of Faith, Hope and Inspiration:

1. It'll remind you how much God loves you
2. It'll inspire you
3. It'll make you smile
4. You'll make my day!
5. You'll make someone else's day when you gift it to them

Okay, that was hard to do. 

Really, I'd much rather write than promote. 

But, now that the book is done, the publisher flipped the promotion switch into high gear. My head is spinning. Whaaat???I have to do whaaat?  Promote the book?Time stands still for no one, and the wheels are turning so fast, that if I stand still, I'd fall down!

So here I am...shamelessly promoting!

And it's okay...

Because I believe this book was written for you...I believe God has something to tell you in these pages... and, for whatever reason, I believe this is His timing...

My Emmaus Walk is now available for purchase at AuthorHouse, Amazon, and bookstores in paperback, Kindle and most e-readers. Please tell your friends and family!…

Drum Roll...Please Stay Tuned...

I always knew I'd write a book...I never knew it would be now...but God had a plan!

Stay tuned!   The grand launch is coming soon!  Amazon...Kindle...

You matter...and I'm so excited to share this with you!   

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord..  Jeremiah 29:11

By The Grace of God, Who Gets This?

I thought I’d easily find a home for our spare bed. But God had another plan. 

Nobody in my family needed a double bed. The neighborhood gatekeepers declined. The local furniture bank didn't return my calls. The Vietnam Vets truck only accepts small beds.
Finally, reluctantly, I posted a Facebook Marketplace ad. Good condition. $50. 
Then I waited.
Someone messaged me. Before sharing my contact information, I visited her Facebook page...and found off-color jokes and condemning statements. My gut said to pass.
Someone else sent four abrupt messages, "Is this still available?" "Send me the address" "I coming" "Hello" (Guess I didn't respond quick enough in the 60 seconds it took to send the first three bullets.) Her Facebook page?  Well...let's not go there.
Then Dina* contacted me: "Mi interesa este articula."  "Is full?"
"Yes," I responded. "Si." 
Dina's Facebook page revealed a smi…

Ding! Ding! This round of cancer treatments ended...but Keep the Boxing Gloves On!

Last week's oncology appointment delivered good news!  My numbers are better than ever! 

And I felt pretty good that day!   
Sure, along with the recent rounds of treatments there have been bouts of agonizing symptoms...sure, good days are totally unpredictable...but...
I high-fived my PA..."Wait until next time you see me," I said. "I'll be a new person...someone you've never seen before!"
We laughed.
Admittedly, the ongoing treatments present challenges. 
"It's like having a wild animal living in your system," I told the oncologist. "Sometimes it attacks with force. Sometimes it's in the corner, growling.  Sometimes it's just the room...making a presence..."
I described the agonizing flu-like symptoms. 
"It’s like someone took my skeleton, poured gasoline on it, and lit it on fire..." 
Dr. D. nodded. "That's what the drug is supposed to do," he said. "That's normal." 
Since o…

Thursday's Thoughts - What's Your Mission?

Lately I've had some good days! They're unpredictable, but that's okay! On those days, I feel like I have a virus instead of the full-blown flu! It's a big difference! It appears the latest changes in those cancer treatments gave me two giant leaps forward! 

I always thought I'd recover from this cancer journey and jump back into my old life. But it's not like that. Time didn't stand still while I was huddled under the covers. Things have changed. I've changed. My priorities have changed. 
And while we naturally resist change, change is good.

For instance, now I have a laser focus. One thing this cancer has taught me is that here's nothing more important than following the will of God...which can mean stretching out of our comfort zones...or lying in a bed suffering.
The other obvious lesson? Time is limited.

So with that thought in mind, please allow me to share the following excerpt from Henri J Nouwen's book, Bread for the Journey:


Sharing the Art of a Message

I'm sure God puts us in the shoes we are in for a reason, and that reason is to help others who are walking that same path, right?  So, with that thought in mind, I've attended a few cancer group support meetings at Florida Hospital. 
The poster pictured above, dated December 2016, is something I made at one of those meetings. 
While most meetings feature guest speakers or open discussions, this one was different.We were invited to choose images from magazines, glue them to poster board, and, if we wanted to, share its meaning. (I wanted to...Of course.) 
Here's what I said:
"I chose "Make a Difference" because that's what we are here to do in life...Make a Positive Difference in the lives entrusted to our care and all those we encounter in the course of our days; family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, store clerks, strangers.
I added flowers because they represent there's so much beauty in life. 
I added the girl climbing a rock wall and the boy flying in…

Observing Memorial Day...with growing appreciation for the mission...

We attended Memorial Day ceremony at a local cemetery yesterday, where we saluted each branch of our armed forces, prayed for fallen comrades, and sang patriotic songs. 

The ceremonies, led by a beloved local television commentator, included ROTC members from local high schools, Boy Scouts directing traffic, and honorary members from a Civil War reenactment group. 

Spectators, young and old alike, resembled a sea of red, white and blue. A preschool girl, blonde curls bouncing in the breeze, stood tiptoe on a folding chair while watching the activities. One Marine got up and told his story. Nearby, an elderly woman, accompanied by her daughter, wiped tears while listening to the presentation. When the event dispersed, we took little American flags and placed them on nearby grave sites.

The gun salute triggered the memory of when my older brother was drafted to Viet Nam. I remembered how sad my mom was, how he hated to go, and how that changed his life. I remembered how young and clueless …

Ding! Ding! Time for Another Round (of cancer treatments)!

I started another round of cancer treatments last week. Gosh, six months seem to fly by.
The good news is that I went into these rounds stronger than ever before. It feels like my
system has finally, nearly, rebuilt itself from the destruction delivered from the original rounds of chemo in 2015.  But the ongoing treatments are throwing their own punches, so the regime remains hard.

In recognition of that, my oncologist and I made changes to the ongoing treatments. (The treatments are working on the cancer so now we're trying to improve my quality of life. I'm struggling with side effects.) I thought we'd finally found the right mix last week when no brain scramble happened during the infusion.  That was a huge difference. 

In fact, I felt pretty good. For a few days.

Then came Monday night...this past Monday night...when that mean monster inside me flipped the agony...and...

I've been struggling again...big-time...

Bone pain. Brain pain. Nausea. Muscle aches. Int…

I'll take a sip of this wisdom today...

Trust in the Lord? I'll take that reminder, please.
After all, life can be like a magic carpet ride, delivering crazy, unexpected turns. Sometimes  the way is rough and bumpy. There may be sudden turns and quick drops. 
Hang on. 

Sometimes we don't know where we're going or where we'll end up. There's an awkward step here and a graceful leap there. Sometimes, all you can do is put one foot in front of the other.
Sometimes things go our way; sometimes not.

But I know  this: Either way, it's okay.  

Look up!Because, no matter what happens, it'll be alright.  

You can trust in the Lord.

Remember, this life isn't our end goal. There's so much more to come, and it's heavenly stuff.  

Want to hear a song? Click here for Trust in You by Lauren Daigle. Enjoy!

Are you thinking no one's paying attention? Think again.

"You haven't written in awhile, have you?" my friend says. Another writes, "Hey Deb- haven't heard anything from you. Everything okay?" Then there's this voicemail..."It's been a little quiet from over there...checking in on you..."
Yes, I admit, it has been quiet. It has been awhile.

I could make excuses. I could say I've been working on marketing my column to other states (I have!)...or that I wasn't sure what to blog about anymore (also true)...and that I decided it's time to quit talking about my health (seriously!)...

Yes, I could say all that...but, honestly, the reason I haven't written goes deeper.

As I crawl out from under this blanket of illness, my mind is racing. Even though I can't do most of what I envision, I'm restless.

So my prayer life dwindles. I lose focus. Distractions derail my thoughts. God is expelled. Worry wins.  

Indeed, why write? I couldn't possibly have anything worthwhile to say. 

Then, r…

I needed this reminder...

"Is this seat taken?"  I looked up to see Rose, a longtime member of our parish. She was pointing to the chair next to me.

A smile spread across my face.

"No," I said. "It's yours! Sit here!"

Rose smiled, eyes twinkling in delight. She placed her fish dinner on the table and moved the folding chair, which screeched unmercifully across the floor.

Then she sat down, looked at me, and spoke.

"It's good to see you," she said. 

She wasn't kidding. Heck, it was good to see her. It's been a long haul, this cancer recovery. 

Like her, I was once incredibly active in the parish...daily Mass, bible studies, prayer groups, parish council, women's retreats... 

But cancer changed all that. For over 2 years, most of my praying has been at home...much of it from under the bedcovers.  Church has come to me, in the form of friends and neighbors, fellow parishioners and bible study members. I've been connected, just in a different way.

So it was go…

Whose life is it, anyway?

Years ago, frustrated with life because it wasn’t happening the way I wanted it to, I found answers in an unexpected stop into a Good Friday ceremony at my parish.
Although it had been years since I’d attended Lenten services, I was tempted to go to church on Good Friday. Each time the idea surfaced, however, I dismissed it. After all, we planned to take the kids out for pizza and I wasn’t going to disrupt our agenda.
But that night, as we motored toward the pizzeria, I noticed the packed parking lot at our church, which was along our route, and it summoned me.
It was late. The kids were hungry. The service was well underway. But I insisted we stop.
We found space on the grass and parked the car. I slung the baby onto my hip while Joe grabbed Jenna and Lynn. Amid mild protests, we rushed across the darkened parking lot and slipped into the back door of the church.
A few empty seats remained, and we slid into them, blanketed by the reverence of the congregation. The church lights were dimm…

Is He Worthy?

Lent...soon drawing to a's a song...just a song...but it says a lot.

Is He Worthy by Andrew Peterson.