Shout Out

 An important method of coping during the worst of times for me, was to embrace the positive.

I don't want that to sound overly simple. If you are hearing birds chirping or seeing Pollyanna's bright smile, let me mute the tone a shade. When I was pushing a walker painfully down my hallway, when I couldn't lift Little H and certainly couldn't run and play with him, when I was lying in the bathtub bleeding through the night, when I was cleaning bags of dangling puss from my surgical drains... there was no positive. Or certainly not that I could see. 

But there was always a next morning. That's when I would get up again, lift my eyes to a God I hoped would sustain me, push back my shoulders, and ask myself what I was going to do that day.

When I was coping with Spondylitis alone, this was more difficult. I simply put a whole lot of hope in fixing the problem, in being cured of the debilitation ripping through my normal. When cancer joined the ugly picture, I had much more help with attempting to cope, heal, and find joy in the present. Organizations and opportunities arose to offer aid.
I found - and continue to find - myself embracing all manner of positive opportunities. Be it retreats or classes, lectures or conferences, photo shoots or outlandish seize-the-day-activities, I appreciate taking part. It's important to me to bring benefit into the picture where I can - to be able to look up on occasion and say, If I didn't have cancer, I wouldn't be here right now - and that's a good thing.

There are so many foundations, organizations, groups, and people out there extending bits of peace and joy to those in trying times. People make a difference, of course in our individual relationships, and also in our organized efforts. So this one goes out to you, the nonprofits that profit so many of us.

Here are the cancer support organizations that have been of exceptional benefit to me:

Cancer Support Community - for all people with or supporting someone with cancer

Foundation for Living Beauty - for women with cancer

First Descents - for young people with cancer


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


Happy Valentine's Day. I guess.

Happy Valentine's Day. I guess.

I'm kind of on the fence about this holiday.

My husband and I used to not even acknowledge it's passing. We might even have been a little self-congratulatory about our non-participation in the silly, corporate holiday where people engage in forced acts of showing love, usually by purchasing something.

But then, year by year, little by little, our romance dwindled from thrilling love-sickness 365 days/year into a normal, functioning relationship. At some point long ago, the surprise flowers on my car ceased - as did the surprise anything. There are no more long love letters penned in his small, neat print. No more adoring songs (okay, there was only ever two, but that's two way more than there is now.) The torrential flow of sweet, just-because gestures dwindled to a trickle.

So one February, realizing this shift, I informed my husband we would now be celebrating Valentine's Day; he was no longer excused from putting forth an extra effort on this day. I will take the forced show of appreciation and/or love, thank you very much. I will take the corporate capitalisation, the tchotske I don't need, the candy I could buy myself, whatever it is, I'll take it. Corny. Forced. Yes; henceforth we will be celebrating our love on February 14th.

It's probably not fair to say the romance "dwindled" though. Rather, it changed.

Instead of showing his love with special plans together or heartfelt letters, my husband's love tends to show in daily action, (as does most husband's.) Now, his love looks more like this: emptying the dishwasher early in the morning, making sure the car is filled with gas, getting up with the kids, leaving the comfy couch for me when we watch TV late at night, or better yet, squeezing (uncomfortably) next to me on it, stroking my hair while I try to fall asleep...

Sometimes true love just looks like daily consideration when thousands of days have already passed together.

I don't much care about flowers or surprises. (Good thing.) What I want is his continued love in action, day after day.

Don't tell him though. I like to see what he comes up with on Valentine's Day.

So, Happy Valentine's Day y'all! I hope you feel loved in the small, everyday ways,
and maybe in a special way today too.

You may also like:
Marriage and Midnight Spiders
Special and Not-So-Special Occasions


Why I Go to Church

The comfy, grey chairs are lined into neat rows. The music of the Sunday service is washing across the full room.

You are my God and my King. You are the words that I sing.
I look around to the people filling the chairs, familiar and unfamiliar, the souls gathered together on this morning, as they do most every seventh day of the week, and I am struck by the flaws tainting each of our lives.

As I age in this world and gain wisdom, in the ever-so-small flecks that I do, I have come to understand how we each carry heavy burdens. We all suffer. We are all broken – by the world we live in and by our own fallible selves.
You are comfort, You are refuge. You are love personified. And You are kindness and compassion, You are.

The blonde-haired, gum-chewing friend who is over-extended in her career…
My gracious Bible study leader, whose tiny body is racked with the injuries of being hit by a car years ago…

The insecure junior-higher, with her thin arms folded across her abdomen, whose father reaches over to put his arm around her…
The quiet friend that makes her husband finish his donut before they come inside, who lost her son earlier this year…

The imperfection of our lives… the imperfection of our selves... This is humanity.
You are glory, Hallelujah. You are hope of peace on earth. You are alpha and omega, You are.

I would not venture to say there is equality in the magnitude of our individual suffering. But there is equivalence in the suffering itself; that we will all suffer, we will all fail is among our common threads. The question lies in what purpose does our suffering serve? Or, more than that, what purpose does our life serve?
Our own joy, our own glory, our own lives are too small a thing to live for.

You are holy, You are faithful. You are savior, You are friend. You are all I'll ever need Lord, You are.
The hope of a purposeful existence – a hope that in-turn offers a peaceful existence today. That’s why I’m here.

That’s why we’re all here. (Well, that and the donuts.)
 ♫Lyrics are from You Are, by Mark Roach