Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wholehearted Devotion

Do you ever wonder....

  • what it would be like if you lived as you were meant to?
  • where you would be if you had taken a different path?
  • how often you really were saved from a catastrophe?
  • what it would look like if : You had not gone to a certain college? taken a different job? or a different career? had married? or not married your spouse? had or not had children? received word that you had a terminal disease or had a chronic condition?
  • And how you would respond if any of the previous variables had happened?
  • And has it really really made a difference that you know and believe in the One True God?
  • what it would be like if you were fully devoted to God?

These random thoughts can pop into my mind at the oddest times. Often I wonder where they come from. Today I know why they are there. I have ben reading 2 Chronicles in my times with the LORD. This is one of the books that chronicles the lives of the kings of Judah and Israel.
In the past two days I have read from chapters 16,17,18 and 31:

" For the eyes of the LORD roam throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him"
"His heart was devoted to the LORD"
"First seek the counsel of the LORD"
"In everything he undertook...and in obedience to the law and commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly"

What does it mean to walk wholeheartedly?
What does it mean to be fully devoted to the LORD?

For me, it probably means to:

Spend time with God everyday and talk to Him throughout my day.
It means going to God first for my questions and directions for my life-before I go to others.
To obey what His word says to me because it is always true.
It means loving my family in the best way possible, always looking for the best way to minister and encourage them.
It means Loving and caring and encouraging my friends thru good times and bad.
It means not being judgmental. OUCH that's a hard one for me.
It means to always be truthful, and to be loving even when it might hurt someone.
It means not watching TV shows that have no worth to me (and movies as well).
It means being committed to who HE has called me to be committed to.
It means trusting God even when life hurts so deeply-like when people I love die too early or are so sick with cancer or other diseases.
It might me being with people when I am so tired and weary.
It means trusting God when I don't know the outcome.
It means Waiting on Him -NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES .
It means taking care of myself and my body. Woops another one I really need to work on.
It means maybe only having one glass of wine (Yes, I love wine).
It means realizing that I might be the only person another person might see who knows Jesus-and am I truly reflecting Him?

It means trying my very hardest to be who He envisions me to be.

For now, it means reflecting Jesus in this uncertain time of my life. More than anything, I want others to see the realness of God and how I cling to Him when I don't know what is next.

I so much want to be the person that God sees me as.
Not the one I judge harshly. Nor the one that keeps sinning and is so selfish.
I want others to see the HOPE that I cling to. That HOPE is JESUS CHRIST and NOTHING less.
I want to be fully committed to Christ and to be fully devoted to Him and the things that are important to Him.
And I want others to notice that there is something different in me, something that can ONLY be attributed to my relationship with the GOD who loves each one of us so incredibly that HE went to the greatest length possible to show us. 

I want to be wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus; each and everyday, and in each and every moment.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

On Hearing....THAT word

Last Wednesday was simply amazing. And different.
I took my two grandsons to the beach. 
I have not been to the beach for eleven months and for someone who spent her summers at the beach, this was way overdue.

We arrived a little afternoon and those two immediately began having a blast.

Kellen and Jax collected buckets and buckets of sand and water and dug deeper into a hole that was already there. They played chase with the waves and squealed with delight. We collected shells and learned how to "pop" seaweed with our feet. Jax ran after seagulls and we tried to eat a sandy lunch.
We were joined by Kristin (Ryan's girlfriend) and Kim (her mom) later in the afternoon and had just a marvelous time!!

I was so glad to hear that the boys' mom had continued the tradition I had begun with her and her siblings on our beach days: a stop at Marianne's Ice cream in Santa Cruz on the way home. This ice cream parlor is a longtime tradition in Santa Cruz. I remember going there with my dad when I was a child. The building remains painted red so that you can't miss it as you begin your way to the freeway on the return home. I was taken aback by the prices though. I paid over $9 for 3 cones and got less than the kids scoop at our beloved Collins Lake, which costs only $1.50.

I was at the stop light just before the entrance to the freeway when the text came in. I read "not good news on your biopsy" and the pathology report was included which I didn't have time to look at but did see "very suspicious for follicular neoplasm".

And the light turns green.
Get it together Missy, you have your two sweet little boys in the car.
Call Woodleaf and tell Scud and ask him to call our doctor because I know his office will be closed by the time we get home.
The drive home over the Santa Cruz mountains was no match for me. I had Kellen asking me questions about my mom and dad and gave him some family history. His sweet spirit and inquisitive mind about so many things kept my mind off the news I had just received.

After cleaning our sand toys and washing the wagon, we headed inside to take showers to get all our sand residue off us.

It was then while the boys were playing, that I had time to comprehend the news.
Neoplasm= tumors=cancer.

Its that "C" word. 
Cancer. It can scare the hell out of anyone who hears it.
As the tears rolled down my face, I remember telling my daughter on the phone the news and then Todd came home from work, saw me crying and he knew. I kind of fell into him cause I just needed a hug. I remember between talking to Kristi and seeing Todd that I fell on my knees beside my bed and told God I knew He was there and that He was in control.

As the late afternoon and early evening rolled on, I talked to my doctor at home and he had contacted his doctor friend in Chico who said he would see me the next day.

That required the 3 1/2 drive home to Woodleaf. I'm sure my kids were nervous; they knew how I used to hate to drive at night, plus receiving the news I just had.

That drive- with just me and God and KLOVE radio for 3 1/2 hours was exactly what I needed.
In my nursing mind, I know that thyroid cancer is the BEST cancer to get, because it is usually containable. But honestly, hearing the word cancer is frightening, no matter what type it is, no matter how old you are, no matter what the prognosis is.

Oh, there were tears. Not sobs, but tears.
There was fear. But not the kind that takes hold of your life and you can't move.
But there was a time of thanksgiving and release.

I knew God was there.
I knew I would be OK-no matter what, (see my previous blog on you will be ok).
I knew that it was scary, because alot of the unknown is.

But I knew I was OK.
I had such an incredibly sweet time with Jesus that drive home. And the words on the songs that night were just for me.
I wish I could remember the name of the song and the exact words, but what I do recall is that it talked about this life is not our true home. We are just passing through. That our real home is the one we will spend with God in eternity.
This is just another bump in the road of life here.

Thursday morning I had an appointment with my new ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) doctor in Chico.
This young man was thorough and gave us statistics and odds-which were all in my favor. 
90% of thyroid biopsies that say they are suspicious for neoplasms are cancer. The fact that I had two different cells identified is a good indicator that it is cancer.

So sometime early in September I will have my thyroid removed and wait on the pathology report to see what happens next.
My fear is gone.
Replaced by God's peace.

Yes, I still can get teary. And yes it still is a bit scary. But I think anyone who has cancer gets a bit scared. 
My outcome fares better than so so many (90% cure rate in thyroid cancer).  I hurt for those whose cancers are not that high.
I wonder how come I have thyroid cancer when I have a friend who is battling one of the most awful cancers. I've had a "cancer prayer list" for years now. Do I add my own name to that?

All that I do know is that I am not alone. 
I have a GOD who is upholding me.
I have a husband who loves me and is with me.
I have children who I know are praying for me and love me.
And I have such good friends who are calling and checking in and praying too.
I am being held by Jesus and by His saints who surround me.

That is what is the biggest blessing is to me right now.
So although this news can be awful, I also know that the best news for me, right now in this time, that I am not alone.
And I never will be.

Friday, August 9, 2013


It certainly has been a summer of "firsts".

Due to a medical condition inherited from my father, I have undergone some medical tests and procedures that I have never done before.

HHT is an unusual bleeding disorder that doesn't involve clotting factors or the normal bleeding disorder factors. Basically my capillaries decide to make detours in some of my veins and since they are independent little suckers, who didn't think through this plan, they have nowhere to end up. So they decide to show up in your lips, your hands and feet, and often times cause some malformations in your brain, lungs and liver. 

Following a painful foot bleed, I decided to check in with the doctor at UCLA Medical Center who I have emailed for a few years. After a few email exchanges, it was decided that I needed to have a further work up done and made appointments for some medical tests and a clinic visit with him in June.

I was an RN in the Bay Area for 31 years before I moved to Woodleaf. I have ordered labs, tests and procedures for patients countless times over they years, but this summer I got to experience them as "THE PATIENT". It was quite an eye opening time.

My morning began with a brain MRI.
OK so I've had an MRI before, but NOTHING like this. 
I was strapped in and then rolled into a metal cannister type helmet which was directly, and I mean DIRECTLY -as in 2 inches from the MRI apparatus. I was perhaps inside this machine for 25-30 minutes and I have never felt so constrained, so cramped, so stuck in all my life. 

I then was ushered into the CT scanning room for an exam of my lungs and abdominal area. This test was done with and without contrast. An IV had been earlier inserted into my arm and when the dye was injected into my veins, I was told to let them know if it burned or I felt short of breath or dizzy.

"Excuse me?? I might feel burning or dizzy or short of breath" Is this usually when you tell all of your patients? Just as the dye is going IN? " So screamed my mind.

Then i had a delightful appointment with Dr McWilliams and his capable Nurse Practioneer, Melissa. I was told that I had numerous spots on my liver, but my brain and lungs were completely free.
 So I guess that's better than having them on my brain and lungs.

These little spots are the ones I need to watch out for because they could open up at anytime and I could bleed internally.

OK, so I will watch out for them. Umm how do I do that since I can't see my liver?? Oh I get it, when I have horrible pain, i should probably go to the Doctor or ER right away.
Comforting thoughts.

I was then informed that I should have a thyroid ultrasound at home because a nodule was seen on my thyroid and also I should get an echocardiogram just to make sure things looked good in my heart since I had a history of rheumatic fever as a child.

I made an appointment with my doctor who then ordered the tests.
Last week I had both of them and was told I needed some extra tests because: 1) my thyroid nodule was actually two, and I would need a biopsy and 2) my echo showed that my mitral valve prolapse had re-surfaced after mysteriously disappearing for about 6-7 years and that both my mitral and pulmonic valves were leaking.

Oh gimme a break. This body is acting OLD all of a sudden. I guess in years, 60 (well almost 61) isn't a spring chicken, but I feel fine and I exercise religiously at least 4 times/weekly. 

Yesterday I had my thyroid biopsy and I think I was nervous for the first time. I mean, someone is going to put a needle -or 4 to be exact in your neck. For some reason, this caused anxiety.
I called my friend Tommi, who was on my summer staff 2 years ago, and had undergone this procedure to find out what is was like.

It turned out to be just wierd. Numbing your neck is like going to the dentist for some dental work EXCEPT for the fact that it felt like the doctor was putting a golf ball inside my neck. He did a fantastic job that didn't need to be repeated!(almost 50% of these need to be repeated because they don't retrieve enough tissue cells). THANK GOD for small favors!

I was in the middle of my time with the LORD the beginning of this week, contemplating what was going on and had this clear, precise and defining word that : "YOU WILL BE OK."

I can't say for sure, but I truly believe this was God telling me not to worry or be concerned. That whatever the outcome of all these tests, that I will be OK. It was the peace  that enveloped me that led me to believe this was a Word from God.

When I got home from yesterday's procedure, I immediately was reminded of the verse from Hebrews 10:23 that says:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for He who promised is FAITHFUL.

What about you? 
Is there something going on in your life that is causing you some anxiety? Something that might even terrify you?

Have you been laid off work?
Or promised a job that didn't materialize?
Have you received word of a diagnosis you never expected?
Or someone you love has heard that diagnosis?
Have you lost a dear loved one? and can't imagine life without them?
Do you have a child who has gone away? from you?
Are you agonizing over having your child leave for college for the first time?
Or scared of being an empty nester?
Has your spouse cheated on you? Or even left you for someone else?
Do you have any idea what to major in?
Or what you will do after you graduate?
Are there some just unknowns in your life that are scaring you?

Life is full of uncertainties.
We can plan as we may, but often times, our plans fail or don't materialize. We spend so much time worrying over things that never happen and that really gets us nowhere.

One thing is certain: We will not be alone. Whatever we may be going through, God is with us.
He tells us a few times in the Bible that

"I will never leave you or forsake you."
"I am with you always, even to the end of time."

Those are some of THE MOST comforting words in all of the Scriptures to me. I won't be alone, I don't have to face this by myself. God will be my ever present companion.
And He will be yours too.
So no matter what you might be going through right now, my prayer is that you too will know: