Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Look Good...Feel Better

I spent last week with my sister Judy. It was the first time I've seen her since she lost her hair. She's bald...and cute as a button. She looks like a little pixie elf, just like she did when she was a little girl. Its funny because she looks years younger. Judy has these beautiful big brown eyes, a doe's eyes. With her hair away from her face, in her case gone completely, it accentuates her eyes. Bald becomes her.

I am amazed at the grace and bravery that she shows in her battle against ovarian cancer. She has so much determination, and peace about her. Her constant comment is "I can use this as a ministry to others. God has a purpose in this for me." And she did that on Wednesday when we spent the day at the hospital for her third chemo session. Now Judy, being the southern girl that she is, was not about to go off to the hospital, or anywhere else for that matter, without being properly "made up." So we left her house early that morning, looking like we were ready for a shopping spree in Atlanta instead of a day of needles and bags full of chemotherapy. Judy wore this darling blue hat with a cute little flower on the side, it was precious. And a bright blue sweater. Her make up was soft and beautiful. I remember thinking that she literally glowed. How does one glow in the midst of cancer and chemo? She was gorgeous. There was a lady, Camille, that we met that day who was also spending the day in the same room with Judy, getting chemo treatment for breast cancer. Camille was a talker. And, Camille was bald as she could be. After properly making small talk, and chatting about their common issues with cancer and chemo, Camille begins to ask Judy about her makeup, her hat and sweater, and how in the world does she find it in her, in the midst of all her trials, to "fix herself up." Camille said, "I haven't had make up on since I was diagnosed in October." Judy begins to share with Camille about how others will see her as a reflection of cancer, and in doing things that are normal for her, like putting on make up, going to work, etc, she is able to overcome and not be defeated by the cancer. Judy told Camille that God will use people's inquiries and comments as a door for Judy to spread His love and what He has done for her. She began to tell Camille about the Look Good Feel Better program, that works with women who are going through chemo, in doing makeovers, skin care, etc, and how much fun she had at the program when she attended. Not to mention all the cool free make up she received from companies such as Estee Lauder, Lancome, Clinque, Mary Kay, and others. She gave Camille tips on make up and skin care for a cancer patient. Judy complimented Camille on her beautiful clear, creamy complexion, on the bright blue of her eyes, and how to play that up with her make up. By the end of the day, Camille was making plans to attend the next program, and leaving the hospital to go buy new makeup.

Judy's doing well I think. It humbles me that she is so gracious and serene. I want to scream and yell and cry, and beg God to make her well, not to let her die. I want to shake everyone and shout "How can this be happening to her?? WHY is this happening to her?" She is too sweet for this. Why not someone like me, who is not nearly as pure in heart as she is. Yet, I am so proud of her. She is so beautiful, even in the face of cancer. She refuses to be defeated.

I love this verse. Notice how its speaking to a female. God gave me this verse last week while I was at Judy's house. I think it was meant for her.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

I especially love the "that right early." part. He comes before we call. Praise Him.

Look Good...Feel Better http://www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org/

Monday, March 24, 2008


I spent the week with my sister Judy last week. She is halfway through her chemo at this point. All indicators are good that the chemo is doing what it is suppose to be doing, as far as the CA125 test is concerned. More about that in my next post...

Right now, I feel urged to write about other observances of my week with Judy. On Wednesday I spent the day with Judy at the hospital for her chemo treatment. The chemo treatment and the other patients I met are another story too, and maybe I'll get there in that later post. But right now I want to write about the "warriors" I encountered. Judy is being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, located in Washington DC. Luckily for Judy, Walter Reed is one of the foremost research facilities for gynocological cancers. We feel blessed that Judy is at one of the best medical facilities in the world, with a team of nationally recognized medical professionals. Judy is not an army gal, but she is an army wife. Thats why she's at Walter Reed. Anyway...I was overwhelmed at some of the sights I saw there last week, soldiers of all ages there for a variety of treatment. I saw young men with war wounds sent home from Iraq. As I waited at the hospital pharmacy to pick up Judy's meds, there was a young couple, he had lost both legs in the fighting in Afganistan. He was a proud young man, with a smile that lit up his entire face. He could not have been more than 25 or 30 years old. His wife stood serenely by his wheelchair, her hand on his shoulder, her kisses tender on the top of his head. They were not much more than children themselves, living in a hard adult world.

I met an older gentleman, Mr. Hails, who was getting his weekly bloodwork for his own cancer treatment, who had spent several years in Korea, during the Korean war. He gave us a history lecture on the Old Soldiers Home in Washington, where he lives. He told us about the Mexican American war, how the Old Soldiers home was built for the wounded soldiers of that war, so they would have a place to live. And, about how Abraham Lincoln had a home on the grounds of the Old Soldiers Home because he felt safe there, and could escape from the pressures of Washington and the Civil War. Mr. Hails was proud to be a historian, and a patriot. He told Judy how pretty she was, and asked her how old she was. He was precious, full of words, and history, and happy to spend an hour with us, chatting with two "younger" ladies.

I was humbled at what I saw at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Men and women, all ages and all colors, from different wars, proud of their service, many of them wore their uniforms, their medals, and their injuries with honor. I winced at those that were not much older than my own sons. Humbled, yes, thats the word, and honored to be among them. I felt like another world had been opened to me, one that up until then, I could only imagine. Often I found myself holding my breath, overwhelmed, and I would have to remind myself to breathe. Later I pondered on the thought that everyone should experience what I experienced on that day, to see the things and the people that I encountered, see determination, pain, pride, and tenderness all in one place. Warriors, yes, every one of them.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center http://www.wramc.amedd.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx

Easter Monday

"He is not here. He has risen, just as he said."
Matt 28:6

Focusing on Easter Sunday is great and goodness knows, lets never take our sights off of the miracle and enormity of Jesus' resurrection. But, please indulge me for a minute...the humanity of my excitment gets to me sometimes. But...can't you just imagine the excitment the next day?! Oh. my. gosh. He's back!! Are you serious? Are you kidding? No, he's here!! Just as he said he would be. I can't help myself, but I love to think of what must have been happening the day after Jesus' resurrection, with his disciples and family and friends. Surely there was indescribable wonderment, and oh the power of the past few days. Do you think they celebrated and wept and laughed among themselves? Do you think they danced and sang? Or maybe they were overcome with prayer and an awesome stillness, the kind that shakes you to your foundation so that you can't even speak.

I don't know why I like to think about Easter Monday and imagine....

I pray I'm worthy of His torture, of the horror of what He indured, of His ultimate sacrifice. Lord, let me live my life always in appreciation, always striving to be what you see that I can be. Let your pain and torment be not wasted on me. I love you.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring in the South

Spring in Georgia reminds me a little bit of Forrest Gump. Spring in Georgia is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. Some days the weather is gorgeous , like yesterday, sunny and mild, and makes my green thumb itch. Other days it might be cloudy and cold, so that you think winter is making her last stand. But this past Saturday, nature once again decided to show her stuff. We were pounded with terrible storms, and tornadoes. I awoke early Saturday morning to a terrific show of thunder and lighting. Now I love me a good thunderstorm, especially in the wee hours of a Saturday morning, when I don't have to crawl out of bed until I'm good and ready. My dogs were scared, and ended up on the bed with us. I laid there all cozy just taking it all in with enjoyment. However, a few hours later we saw the news about the tornado that hit Atlanta on Friday night. Talk about shocked! It was amazing and overwhelming as we watched the news coverage about the damage to our major city.

Later that day, we sat glued to our television as we watched the weather reports about the storms that kept rolling through our area. It was the strangest feeling to literally see tornadoes, not one but several, move along the weather radar path, headed right toward us! And to watch the weather outside as the storms barreled down on us! We spent about 20 minutes in our basement when the weather man told us to, and when we heard the tornado sirens going off at the school up the road from us. As we sat in the basement, watching TV down there, our phone rang off the hook. My daddy and my son were also in the line of fire, in the next town over. My poor daddy was scared to death. I wanted to be there with him.

Luckily, all of us survived any major damage. But some of our neighbors and friends were not as lucky as they had to deal with downed trees and power outages. Its a miracle no one in our area was killed and we are thankful.

As nature would have it, the day after the storms was a gorgeous spring day, perfect for Palm Sunday. I love it when nature shows off, but I think I can do without the tornados, high winds, and hail. But I'll take a good thunderstorm anyday.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Spring Fever

I have an awful case of Spring Fever. Maybe its because the past few days have been so beautiful. Although the air is still relatively cool, the temps have been in the low 60's around my house, the sun has been warm and bright, and I've heard birds singing in the morning. The days are getting longer too. Its much lighter now when I leave the house so early in the morning. All the signs to me, that spring is right around the corner, and I can't wait! Every year my fingers start itching to dig in the dirt, even when the dirt, and the air, are still too cold. But I can spend an hour or two browsing the local nursery and garden centers, dreaming of what I want and need to do. I found myself sitting outside yesterday afternoon, looking at a fairly barren area of my yard, and once again dreaming, as I do every year, about what I want to do with that area. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe this year will be the year. But its going to take a lot of work. I need a garden tiller just to get started.

Another sign of spring, are the jonquils that are popping up at my daddy's house. My daddy still lives in the home that I grew up in. In a small garden area in his yard are jonquils that date back several generations of my mother's family. My uncle (my mom's brother) visited their old homeplace about 7 or 8 years ago, and dug up some of bulbs that were planted by his grandmother and a great aunt. That spring he brought a handful of the bulbs to my mom and they planted them in that little garden area. My daddy tells me that now those original plants should be about 100 years old. I think its neat that now daddy has bulbs from those original plants. Each year I plan to dig up a few bulbs for myself, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I wanted to do it last year but plans to sell our home stopped me. Since thats not an immediate plan anymore, I may try and do that this year. Yes, I should go ahead and get some of the bulbs. I suppose not many folks can claim a line of plants that date back 100 years. Would that make these jonquils heirloom flowers? I like to think so.