Sunday, December 14, 2008

I've been thinking....

lately about a couple of things:

  • Kenosis... found in Philippians 2:5-8 we read how Jesus, emptied Himself and we are to 'have the same attitude of Christ Jesus'. What does that look like in real life? Do you suppose it's leaving what I'm doing to take a look at my daughter's school project? and doing it without complaining or feeling imposed upon? or perhaps taking to the sink the plates & cups left downstairs by the TV? again without putting on the garment of martyrdom? What about you? How can you, today, have this same mind of Christ?
  • Shalom... more than merely rest from chaos, shalom speaks of peace that comes from knowing the presence of God. As we heard this morning from our Senior Pastor, "Shalom is what happens when we are immersed, submersed, drowned, overwhelmed and drawn deep into God. Shalom. It just sounds like peace. It has to do with wholeness, completeness, and fulfillment." So what stands in the way of experiencing Shalom? What happens that we don't experience this peace? Could it be that every place where peace has been broken - in every instance it is because someone demanded their own way? If so, then Philipians 2:3 suggests that in order for Shalom to take place we have to become humble, and Christ again is our perfect example. "In humility consider others better than yourselves". Peace does not being by waiting for the someone else to start it and we do not offer Shalom becuase it is natural for us to do so, but because Jesus Christ has given us Shalom. Peace has come to us as a gift - a gift that was wrapped in swaddling clothes.*

With that, somehow it seems to me we can't have one without the other....

I pray that you will experience this wonderful gift that God has given us... Shalom

* sermon by Pastor Murray Swalm, Dec 14,2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

three months have passed . . .

since I last posted here.

I guess one could assume that "no news is good news"?! Florian was back this week for another appointment and again... no lumps or bumps. We continue to be thankful.

At the same time, I have realized that it's become pretty easy to slip back into a mundane "every day's just more of the same" attitude... waking each morning expecting that the day will unfold as per "our" plans.

Are we back to the same place that we were before we started this journey? I certainly hope not.

To that end, I would like to ensure that during the next 3 months I praise God for each new day... that I daily count my blessings... that I affirm Florian for who he is and show my appreciation to him for all that he does...

My prayer is that, during these next 3 months, I wouldn't take so many things for granted . . .

Thursday, July 24, 2008

and now for the rest of the story...

Florian had an appointment at the Cancer Clinic today - just a routine follow-up with bloodwork and a "touchy-feely" exam.

We didn't know quite what to expect but the doctor's verdict given to Florian is that he no longer has lymphoma. What we believe the doctor means is that Florian is in full recession! We are thankful.

Furthermore, he should, at 7 months be free, from all side effects from the treatments. Since he continues to feel so very tired, the doctor has suggested that he make an appointment at a gym with a personal trainer to have an exercise program set up that will take into consideration his aneurysm. Then, with regular exercise, his energy levels should return to normal.

So there you have it.

God is good. His mercies are new every morning.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's been about a year...

since we started this leg of the journey. In some ways the year has just flown by so quickly... yet in other ways it feels like it's just been a grueling, daily struggle.

Reflecting on our lives today, I see that there has been an emotional toll that's been paid... school just couldn't get done soon enough (today was our last day). We had the option of enrolling dd2 into a course for summer school but in the end chose not. She was relieved - she was willing to take it if we wanted, but deep down really just wanted to have the summer to relax.

I'm also somewhat surprised at my own response to today: I'm not sure who is more excited to put the books away for the summer: me? or the girls? and I can let out an ecstatic scream of pure delight & relief that would challenge the best of the teenage girls in my house!!! LOL But does it ever feel good to release those emotions!!!!!

It's been more than a year since I've felt this relieved.... and I am looking forward to the next 2 months with great anticipation of: a trip to Mexico for dd1, outside projects that didn't get done last year, a trip to Creationfest for ds1, a family camping weekend in August, a bbq to celebrate 25 years, a week vacation as a family in August...

I look forward to finding ways to thoroughly enjoy our summer...

Monday, May 26, 2008

what struck me today....

is that God desires our obedience... in every single thing.

My Bible study took me this morning to the Old Testament, to the book of Judges. The study question was basically this: Judah started out so well (in terms of conquering the land). What happened? If you read chapter 1, you'll see that they're doing great until they encounter a people with iron chariots. They allow fear to dominate and make a compromise. This, in spite of God's specific instructions to them: When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. (Deut 20:1).*

At the beginning of chapter 2, the angel of the Lord confronts them with their disobedience and issues the consequences.

I was convicted. I have, these last two weeks, allowed some disconcerting thoughts to pervade my mind. Like a dark cloud, they had settled over me and I had no desire to chase them away. But this morning, I realized that I was as guilty as the Israelites in not trusting... in not believing... in not completely obeying God. This is not the life of victory that God would have us... would have me live. What is my response?

The clouds have lifted - not by own power or doing (for I know that I am not capable of moving them on my own), but thanks be to God - He is able!

* Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

you know the saying....

when life hands you lemons.... make lemonade! Well, I'm looking for the recipe!!

Florian met with a cardiovascular surgeon last week for a "surgical assessment". He is scheduled for an echocardiogram next month and a follow-up CT scan in October.

The first words out of the surgeon's mouth were, "it's not a matter of IF, but of WHEN". In the meantime, not only do we wait but Florian must be careful not to exert himself:
  • no shoveling snow (well, I'm hoping that's not an indication that we're in for a dump this summer LOL);
  • no contact sports (there goes his career!!! LOL!!!)
  • no lifting of more than 25-50 pounds (well, there's quite a difference between 25 pounds and 50 pounds... so which does he mean?!?! LOL!!!!)
In all seriousness, I think the restrictions placed on Florian make this seem so much more "real" and scary.

As an example, this weekend we did some yard work. Each time we turned to do something we found ourselves asking, "Is this too much exertion? should I do this rather than Florian? How much is too much?" And I don't want to live like that... always questioning... always wondering...

And Florian needs to understand that just because he can't do "A", he can do "B" and that it's just as important to get B done as A. Does that make sense? Maybe I'll do more of the physical work outside, but he can then take over inside. Oh, we do have to figure some of this out. Most of all, I don't want him to feel useless.

I think I've found the recipe!!! We're juicing these lemons... and humor is what's going to make lemonade palatable!! LOL!!!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

and once again. . .

what a ride!!!! I love roller coaster rides, but oh my goodness... this one is the wildest one that I've ever experienced!!!

Florian's appointment today brought some good news. Although it still is unclear whether the aneurysm was there prior to January, it may not be as large as we were initially given to believe. If this is the case, there is a very good possibility that the surgeon will not recommend surgery, but will choose rather to watch it to see if it is growing and at what rate.

For me, I am glad that I settled the whole "surrender" thing prior to this. Why? Because I know that had I received the news without settling things, I would have just ignored my heart issue (pun not intended LOL) and that would have only served my selfish purposes.

and once again... I have to believe that God knows what He's doing... and I'm sure thankful that He's got His hands on the controls!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I'm thankful for...

routines that help keep each day focused, and I'm thankful that, as part of that routine for me each day, I try to spend time in quiet meditation & prayer.

While I still don't know what the future holds for me/us, I was reminded today that:
  • my help comes from the Lord
  • the Lord watches over you
  • He will watch over your life
  • the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever (Ps. 121)

For what more can I ask?

Thanks again for the encouraging comments that you have left for me. What a great read! They have been timely reminders for me of "the Lord's great love... for His mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness"! (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Monday, March 31, 2008

one step forward...

and two backwards...

I will be honest. As much as I thought I had made my choice, I am having doubts about that.

How is it that it can seem as though I have made my choice one day and the very next day seem to be overwhelmed again by fear? It's like a sea of waves... one after the other... threatening once again to pull me under.

Hypocrite! A strong accusation. But I wonder. What about all the "faith" that I seemed to exhibit these last months? Where is it now? Am I nothing more than a hypocrite?

A friend yesterday explained that perhaps it's not that at all. My faith was what it was for what I was experiencing at the time. However, today I am facing new experiences - experiences that require a deeper faith. That doesn't negate my faith from yesterday. It just means that, for this "bend in the road", my faith will need to grow - to put its roots down just a little deeper.

Seeking the prayers of others, I am asked, "What is the Lord trying to say to you?" After a moment I realize that He is asking me to surrender. To surrender my hold on Florian. To surrender Florian into His care. That's a tough one - previous memories of nearly losing him to surgery rise to the surface and I find my grip tightening rather than loosening. I pray. We pray. Even as the tears course down my face, we pray that they can be the beginning of a new surrender.

That continues to be my prayer today... and maybe today I can take another step forward.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I have a choice....

to make.

We received notice this past week that Florian is scheduled for a "surgical assessment" with a cardiovascular surgeon. We knew in January that this was a possibility because his last CT scan showed an aortic aneurysm of about 5.5cm in size. What does this mean? maybe surgery.... but then again, maybe not.

Initially, fear took reign and began to overwhelm me. But isn't God good? God brought people into my life & blog posts & I came to a realization that I am once again faced with a choice. Life really is all about choices, isn't it? I could continue to give in to fear OR I could choose to trust. It is my choice.

I have given my inner self a stern lecture... have prayed lots... and the bottom line is this:
  • God knows all about this too.

  • He is still in control of our journey & destiny.

  • He asks us to trust.

Actually, I have made my choice. I will choose to obey.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

are we ready...

for another "speed bump"? another "bend in the road"?

Is it possible to ever be ready?

Oh that I might once again trust... to not falter... to once again lay my burdens at the foot of the cross...

for only then will I be ready for whatever lies ahead.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I'm enjoying the quiet...

not that my home is physically quiet today... after all we have 5 college students here along with DD1's friend and in a short while I will head out to pick up DD2's friend...

but it's quiet because in the midst of the many happy sounds that surround me I have found a quiet place...

and I have retreated to this quiet place, if for just a moment, and it allows me an opportunity to ponder this thought: the words "listen" and "silent" are spelled with the same letters....

Thus, in the midst of the cacophony of sounds, I eagerly retreat to a silent place deep within which gives me an opportunity to listen... for that which I eagerly wait to hear will make itself known through a still small voice...

In anticipation, I silence my heart and enjoy the quiet found therein.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

i've been thinking...

that I love & appreciate so much all the encouragement & support that I/we have received through all my dear friends as we've walked this path these last months.

But... I'm left with a nagging thought. Have I been "real"? I found myself posting only once I had worked things through in my mind and that may have left a slightly skewed perception that I have it "all together".

What is 'real'?

Reality is that I certainly don't have it 'all together'!!!

Reality is that I absolutely cannot do this on my own...
I struggle...
I question...
I doubt...
It's only as I turn my thoughts to the One who walks alongside me that I realize that He alone can calm my fears and give me strength to carry on.... (if I let Him!!!)

Reality is that, only as I acknowledge Him, I am not afraid... (well, not all the time anyway!!)

Friday, February 1, 2008

a different view...

this morning as the sun is shining!

Yesterday we met with the specialist. I realized as we were heading into the appointment that we were both expecting to hear good news. But what if... ? Florian's response was just so right. What if? We have no control over what lies ahead - we walk the path that we have been given. So very pragmatic!

The doctor had just good news for us. Although one small area remains, the CT scan results were excellent. He was very pleased with how well Florian had responded to the chemo. We will have a follow-up appointment in about 2 months.

We have so much for which to be thankful. Thank you to all you our friends and family who have stood by us these months, supporting us and upholding us in prayer. We know without a doubt that you have made our journey easier by sharing it with us in these ways.

What a journey! Yet we know that, even though it may have seemed that way at times, the sun has never stopped shining.

What lies ahead? We don't know, but we do know that He knows and for now that's good enough for us.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

where's the next...

speed bump?

It had already been a crazy week. On two separate mornings I drove one of the boys to college because either there were crazy transit delays or a wallet was lost en route. It was Friday morning and I had just returned home from one of these drives.

As I entered the house I remember thinking, how wonky does a week have to get before you can consider it a write off? And then the phone rang.

It was Florian's uncle on the other end of the line, bringing us the news that Florian's dad had passed away early that morning. It came as a surprise and we spent the day trying to wrap our minds around this turn of events.

Early Sunday morning Florian & I left to make the drive to Dauphin, Manitoba. We spent this past week making funeral arrangements, cleaning out the place that was "home" to his Dad, encountering legal red tape and consequent roadblocks, and finally, with much yet unsettled, making the drive home.

It was a week where we turned our thoughts to what had to be done. Now that we are back we need time to "de-compress" - to process that which we have seen and heard - to turn our faces to the Son and enjoy the blessings that He so richly pours out on us.

What are those blessings? a few of them are:
- years ago Florian had made the effort to become reconciled to his dad
- we saw Florian's dad in November
- our kids, left on their own this week, managed unbelievably well
- friends called them several times throughout the week to see how they were doing
- my sister came each day to help with dinner & driving
- my brother came to the funeral (a 4+ hour drive for him) - what a gift!!

But the greatest blessing is that, having experienced God's grace & mercy in our lives, love & reconciliation with others is possible. I am humbled and grateful.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

it's been too long....

since my last entry. Thanks Suzanne for giving me just the nudge I needed LOL

Christmas. Why was I so "worried"? Florian had more energy those days than ever! To give you a glimpse of that energizer-bunny:

Dec 24.

Florian worked until just after lunch.
4:00pm napped
7:00 attended Christmas service at our church.
9:00 we're home and friends arrived for our annual Open House.
12:30am Florian went to bed

Dec 25.
3:00am Florian got up to mix cinnamon buns
5:00 the dough had risen, it was time to put the buns on pans
6:00 the oven was hot; time to bake the buns
6:30 buns baked; Florian started on bacon
8:00 everyone in the house was up, including Florian
He stayed up ALL day - no nap for him.
2:30pm Florian drove across the city to get his Mom who joined us for Christmas dinner
5:00 Florian drove his mom home
I don't remember what time he actually went to bed that evening but it wasn't before 9:00.

Dec 26:
9:00am we left for my parents' for the day. He drove. Once there, we visited all day. Again, no naps.
5:30pm Finally at dinner he looked at me and said, "I don't think I'll be able to drive home." well... that's not exactly surprising, honey.
But did he sleep on the drive home? No. While we were enjoying conversation & dinner, a snowstorm had come up which meant I had to drive through blowing snow, poor visibility and icy road conditions. He stayed awake to help me navigate, particularly those times where I could not see the edge of the highway, nor where the lanes were.

Wow. What an incredibly different week than what I was expecting. I am thankful that God blessed him (& us) with such amazing strength & endurance those days!!