Hiding Romans 8:15-17 in Our Hearts/ “The Race” Link

mumsy-and-me

This is me and Joy, cracking up,  laughing our heads off together  🙂

 

She and I picked this Scripture out below to memorize together (not the reason why we were laughing in the photo ;). It’s a real blessing and life transforming to hide God’s Word in our hearts and then “chew it over” and meditate on it.  Anybody want to join us in learning Romans 8:15-17 in a version of your choice?  No race or competition, take your time and do it little by little at your own pace.    An easy way to look at a whole bunch of translations and print out the one you’ve selected is to go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rm+8%3A15-17&version=MSG  You can tack the verse up on the bathroom mirror, tuck a copy in your purse, put it by the kitchen sink to learn while you wash dishes or load the dishwasher, take it along while you are waiting for an appointment, etc.  You can learn it bit by bit along with Joy and I in little snatches of time  if you like. We just started.  If you haven’t memorized passages from the Bible  for awhile (like us) or ever, you’ll be so glad you did!

 

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next,Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
This is how I want to run my race in life: rise every time I stumble or get tripped up by the tough stuff or fall down.   It’s not about coming in first or last place, it’s about persevering through the thick and the thin.  May we  never give up even if we have to crawl over the finish line sometimes.  This gal in the link inspires me!  Thanks for passing it along, Onecia!  If anyone else has encouraging links, I’d love to see them please and thank you ahead of time!
Paula

A Definition of Fear That’s New to me

 

Image result for oncology jokes

Next Monday, 10/31,  I have an appointment with my oncologist and will find out when chemo is to start (probably next week or the week after I guess).  Yesterday I went for an evaluation of an axillary contracture and lymphedema which has developed in my chest. Since surgery a month ago I’ve been daily doing post op exercises and proactively using the affected arm to reach with, etc hoping to avoid complications like this. Apparently I have extensive, deep scarring (beyond the incision) which is causing puckering , major indentations,  restriction of movement, shortening of muscles,  fluid collection, a burning sensation because of nerve involvement, and pulling when I stretch. Yikes-a-roozy on that unwanted  list! It feels like a great big bummer that I wish didn’t happen.  I begin the process of therapy today and am hoping this brings great relief to  a chest which honestly kind of feels miserable at times.

 

 

Yesterday my friend Mardi shared a definition of fear  that’s new to me on our way with Robin to a wonderful, healing arts cancer support group. I’ve been attending  “Victory” http://victorysupportgroup.org/ once a month over the last several years. We sing, dance, talk, do a variety of art forms, have laughter therapy, and a bunch of other fun stuff.  The meetings are a source of creative stress relief/ learning new coping skills, and encouragement.  Last night we “stomped all over cancer” with Anne’s adapted, improved version with new, cancer fightin’ words to this other rendition of “These Boots Were Made for Walking” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuOwXiEm_K4  It was empowering and we had a good time together.

F.E.A.R.

F alse

E vidence

A ppearing

R eal

 

Neato, huh?  Mardi also told me about the results of a study that I just  looked up that was summarized  at ww.huffingtonpost.com/don-joseph-goewey-/85-of-what-we-worry-about_b_8028368.html.  The article quotes,  “It turns out that 85 % of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.”

 

 

I have been anxious about and really dreading the 12 weekly chemo treatments that will be starting in November and at the same time I’ve been thinking about how I really don’t want to waste my time worrying about and dreading anything that God has allowed  for a good purpose.   Honestly,  I am having a hard time shaking the thought that I have a dozen times ahead, each a week apart to hook up to a kind of “toxic poison” that’ll be directly inserted in the port I have that is in a major blood vessel in my chest.  I’ll get another drug, Herceptin, every three weeks for a year to address the aggressive Her2 neu component of the “Triple Positive” breast cancer that I have again.  This is considered a “Second Primary” cancer and not metastasis.  Thankfully it has not spread to other parts of my body

 

 

Instead of dwelling ahead of time on how terrible oncology drugs are with their potential side effects and how yukky they can make you feel,  I want to view chemo as a short term season of eradicating any remaining cancer; a temporary healing measure that is going to do me a whole lot of good instead of thinking of it as poison.  I had chemo in 2011 and I have every reason to believe that’ll be effective again.  There are medications available for side effects when/if they happen. God has made the human body wonderfully resilient.  Soooo…out with trepidation!  Out with worrying and being anxious about chemo!   This might possibly be in the 97% of  my “nothing to worry about quota”.  If indeed it happens to be in the 3% of things worth worrying about after all,  God will help me through.   My scaredy cat tendencies are peeking out.  Can you please join me in asking  God to help me  with my perspective on the cancer treatment ahead, fill me with strength, faith, joy, and hope and give me all the courage I need, when I need it ?

 

 

I am reading an interesting book (Thanks for the loan, Nita!) called  “Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without it” by Tripp.  Here is a quote that is an encouragement to me in this area of perspective:

 

“Knowing Christ lives in us makes it possible for us to get up in the morning when circumstances are hard…We don’t have to fear what things we’ll have to deal with that are just around the corner.  Our rest is not to be found in our understanding of everything in our lives or the sense that we have what it takes to face our trials.  CHRIST is our rest, hope, courage, and motivation.  Because of His amazing grace and His presence now living inside us, we are never alone, never left to live inside thee boundaries of our own resources.”

Philippians 4:6  (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

 

Philippians 4:6  (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

 

Philippians 4:6(AMP)

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.

 

Philippians 4:6-7 (Msg)

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

————————————–

“When a thought of anxiety comes knocking on the door of your mind you must refuse it entrance. If you invite it in, it will have dinner with you, and if it has dinner with you it will quickly move in and want to spend the night.”

Safe and secure wrapped up snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug  in God’s loving Arms,

Paula 🙂

 

 

I Wish I Didn’t Personally Know What an Axillary Contracture Feels Like!

 

Image result for breast cancer cartoon

Despite the post-op exercises I have been doing and attempt to use my right arm as much as I can to proactively reach up over my head, etc, I have formed an axilary contracture. There is a shortening and tightening of my muscles which has become quite painful, is restricting my range of motion, and has caused cording.  This in turn seems to be contributing to a build up of trapped fluid (lymphedema)  in my trunk.  The surgeon did an excellent job with my  incision and now that has distorted into a new vertical line as well with indentations of  my chest area because of trapped tissue and fluid build up.  I HATE this kind of stuff!   I wish I could have kept my old chest and lymph nodes intact minus all cancer but alas, that was not an option.  In November I start weekly chemo for 12 weeks and IV Herceptin every three weeks for a year.   Next week I start therapy to address the lymphedema to decrease the swelling, mobilize the restrictions I have in the scar and other areas, stretch back out the muscles, see what we can do about the cording,  and improve the range of motion I have in my arm.

 

The below excerpt is copied and pasted directly from a thought provoking article : http://natepyle.com/confronting-the-lie-god-wont-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle/  (Thank you, Teresa). This latest setback has been disheartening.  It feels like a real, genuine 100% bummer honestly. The article I linked and shared a quote from below was a comfort to me as the many aspects of cancer that snowball do feel overwhelming at times and it sure seems like more than I can handle. BUT the truth is, cancer brings me to the end of myself and running straight into the arms of my loving Heavenly Father because sometimes, He DOES give us/allow more than we can handle so that we do just that.  I am weak but He is strong.  I am asking the Lord to give me a good attitude and a perspective that reflects His as I to learn how to make healthy, sweet lemonade with these sour, bitter, dreadful  lemons that I am being handed.  I find myself crying out to God over and over as I walk through Cancerland, ” Help me Father, I can’t do this, BUT YOU CAN”.

 

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (2 Cor 1:8,9

 

“…Later, Paul will write it is when he is weak that the strength of Christ is seen.  In other words, when we can’t do it any longer.  When we are fed up.  When it has become too much.  When we have nothing left.  When we are empty.  When it is beyond our capability to deal with it.  Then, in that moment, the strength of the God of resurrection will be seen.  Until we get to that point, we rely on ourselves thinking we can handle it and take care of the problem.

 

Don’t hear me saying I am rejoicing because of the last couple of weeks.  I am not.  Not once have I danced around our house shouting, “Yeah suffering!”  Instead, in the midst of pain and hurt, I am actively expecting God to do something.  I don’t know what.  I don’t know when.  But I am expecting the God of resurrection to heal us.  I am expecting God to restore us.  I am expecting him to redeem this situation.  I am expecting him to do this and so I will be actively looking and waiting for him to do something.  I believe expectant waiting can only happen when we exchange our feeble platitudes for an authentic faith that engages God with the full brunt of our emotion and pain.  Only then can salvation been seen.

 

But that exchange takes courage.”—Nate Pyle


 

I really appreciate your prayers, friends,  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

God’s beloved Paula

 

Plans for Chemo

Ha, ha! 😉

My incision is healing well but I haven’t felt so well this past week and have been pretty wiped out and under the weather.  I was thinking maybe it was an infection with the drain even though I was on an antibiotic to prevent that but  I’m glad to be feeling some better the last few days and  I am thankful that I don’t think there is an infection after all.   What a relief it was on Monday to get that irritating drain out that was in my chest postop.  It was in there 2 weeks, a few days longer than it needed to be because of Hurricane Matthew on it’s way and then the weekend right afterwards and I developed a skin reaction from it with a bright red rash around it that had a ferocious itch, stinging, and burning.  I am on two prescription medicines for the rash.  After four days it  looks nearly the same and is not a pretty site  but I am no longer crawling out of my skin with itching so that’s progress.

 

I also saw my oncologist on Monday who wants me to continue healing more before starting chemo which will begin  in early November.  There was consideration of possibly using a research protocol with a drug called Kadcyla (TDM1)  for Stage 1 cancer which is showing promise with Patients with metastatic Her2 positive breast cancer but I was not eligible after all because this is my second primary breast cancer in six years.  I was interested in participating in the research study and getting that drug instead of chemo but am trusting that God shut that door. Kadcyla has been a lifesaver for some women with metastatic her2 disease but does have some very serious potential side effects as do all these oncology drugs.

 

 The plan at present  is for me to have IV Taxol chemo weekly X 12 and Herceptin IV every three weeks for a year.  Because this cancer is staged at 1 instead of the 3A as it was in my left breast last time and not in my lymph nodes I’ll be on a a less toxic regimen  than what I was on  6 years ago (Taxotare, Carboplatin, and Herceptin).  Last time I also had 30 rounds of aggressive radiation afterwards  and this time I am spared that part, thank You, Lord.  My Dr said with Taxol I may or may not loose all my hair, some people just have thinning.  I just looked it up on http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/hair_skin_nails/hair_loss  and it said:
  • Taxol usually causes complete hair loss, including head, brows, lashes, pubic area, legs, and arms.       Oh my, been there, done that: time will tell…sorry if this is too much info about the joys (not) of chemo.
I am a collector of quotes that inspire me.  I unearthed these:
“Today we fight. Tomorrow we fight. The day after, we fight. And if this disease plans on whipping us, it better bring a lunch, ’cause it’s gonna have a long day doing it.”
– Jim Beaver, Life’s That Way: A Memoir

“When a thought of anxiety comes knocking on the door of your mind you must refuse it entrance. If you invite it in, it will have dinner with you, and if it has dinner with you it will quickly move in and want to spend the night.”

“My Cancer Journey Has Never Defined Who I am, It’s Just Another Chapter in My Story.”

“Live every day like its your last . . . one day you’ll be right.”

“Impossible is a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is an opinion, not a fact. Impossible isn’t a declaration, it’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

—David Beckham in Kris Carr’s Crazy,SexyCancer Tips

War Strategies That Can Apply to Fighting Cancer and a Bunch of Other Challenges like Obesity:

1. “Wars are fought strategically. one battle at a time.
2 . Wars are fought on more than one front.
3. We must expect setbacks and defeats along the way.
4. When we lose a battle, we must get back on track immediately, so we don’t lose the war.
5. We will not win if we refuse to fight.”
——Carole Lewis

 

Continuing my second 1000 Gift Gratefulness List:

 

41. This sweet and beautiful “ABCs with a Twist” video was a blessing for me to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4QJEKuywG8.  It reminds me of years ago when my dear friends and mentors Sonia and Linda challenged me and my then little chickadees to memorize and meditate on portions of Scripture.  I still remember some of the hand motions we used to help us with recall as we recited verses together. 🙂  Unlike my kids, I am not a very good memorizer.  I’m going to either look for a new passage from the Bible or find an old one we’ve learned in the past to refresh (“use it or lose it” and I’ve lost lots that I’ve memorized because I didn’t continue practicing.).  I’ll post what I choose–maybe others reading this would want to learn it with me?

42. Less itching of the rash (Please pray that it’ll completely resolve soon)

 

Have a lovely day, everybody!

 

Paula

P.S. I’m sorry in advance if this post doesn’t format with paragraphs.  I always put them in but it seems when I post, sometimes it turns into one long blob without paragraphs.

 

In the Eye of the Storm

This guy is pretty funny:

 

As Hurricane Matthew nears closer and closer to Florida  and we prepare for it’s expected significant impact later today and tomorrow, I am reminded of the song, “In the Eye of the Storm”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB0ReTpA6Gg.  It’s so good that we can trust the Lord in ALL the storms of life!  He will carry us through each and every hard thing He allows.  May we keep our eyes fixed on Him.

Continuing my second 1000 gifts gratefulness list:

41.

Exodus 14:14New Living Translation (NLT)

14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Exodus 14:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Exodus 14:14New International Version (NIV)

14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

42. Happy news from my surgeon re: the operative path report confirming no sentinel node lymph node involvement and stage 1 cancer (It was stage 3a in the other breast) which means chemo but no need for radiation this time around, yeah!

Update and Prayer requests:

-Safety and His protection for all through Hurricane Matthew

-Overall I have been recovering well since my mastectomy and port placement last Tuesday but  I have not been feeling as well the last few days and am laying low.  I have a drain in my chest that can come out when it’s output is less than 20cc in 24 hours.  I had 17 cc one day then it jumped up to 46 cc the next.  It would be wonderful to consistently have minimal drainage and be able to get that irritating thingamabopper out soon!  Please pray for God’s wisdom and  guidance for my oncologist in determining the best protocol for chemo on top of the year of IV Herceptin. I will see him on Monday.

Thanks! 😉

Paula

Joy Empowers Us to Rise Above Any Circumstance

 

 

The below excerpt is copied and pasted from:

http://www.ilovedevotionals.com/2015/01/when-you-need-to-fight-back-with-joy.html

I don’t have the book but it looks like a good one. 🙂

Paula

“I define joy as a spectrum of emotions, actions, and responses that includes gladness, cheer, happiness, merriment, delighting, dancing, shouting, exulting, rejoicing, laughing, playing, brightening, blessing and being blessed, taking plea­sure in and being well pleased.
The Bible insists that joy is more than a feeling; it’s an action. We don’t just sense joy; we embody it by how we respond to the circumstances before us.
What is the genesis of this joy? I believe that, at its core, joy emanates from the abiding sense of God’s fierce love for us.
The tigerish love of God from which joy comes is foun­dational to faith. God’s love guards us, protects us, grows us, strengthens us, and compels us to walk in greater trust and holiness. This is no passive affection, but a feisty, fiery pledge to grow us into the fullness of Christ. When we embrace this love and cultivate an awareness of it, our hearts are filled with joy.
Such awareness strengthens our resolve that no matter the fight, we face it confident that God is with us and for us. When we fight back with joy, we no longer size the character of God according to our circumstances, but we size our circumstances according to the character of God and his great affection for us.
Practicing defiant joy is the declaration that the darkness does not and will not win. (tweet this)
Perhaps no greater joy has been given to us than through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to take away the sins of the world. Through his sacrifice, everything that stands between God and us is wiped away forever. We bring God and all of heaven great joy when we give ourselves wholly to Christ.
The Son of God crashed into our world with an angel broadcasting, “I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.” Before leaving our world, Jesus endows the disciples with the promise, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
Jesus arrives in joy, departs in joy, and calls us to great joy through fellowship with him. The proper response to being drenched in so much wondrous affection is to bring delight to God by offering our lives to him through obedience.
We are destined for joy. (tweet this)

You are founded in joy, created for joy, and destined for joy. Joy is where you come from. Joy is what you are created to experience. Joy is where you are headed.”

Fight Back with Joy by Margaret Feinberg

Continuing my second 1000 Gift Gratefulness List:

40. The glorious choice I have to “Fight Back with Joy”

 

My Scars are Proof…

223_bravo | PickleDish... funny i just finished mine :-):

“You know what?

Your scars are proof that you’re a kind of bulletproof…

Proof that that He’ll carry you through anything, get you through everything, so you can be stopped by nothing.  Scars are proof that you can now weather any storm because Jesus didn’t just calm one storm but all storms and these scars are proof that you’re a kind of bulletproof because living through the hardest battles proves you can live through any battle…

…Your scar is proof of your brave.” “

—–Ann Voscamp   http://www.aholyexperience.com/2016/09/a-handful-of-light-about-scars-shame-being-brave/

Continuing my second 1000 Gift Gratefulness List:

36.  My incision is healing well. Thank You Lord for the scars on my chest: evidence of the courage You gave me and a symbol of being brave with Your strength and a  kind of “bullet-proof”, reminding me that You walk with me through every storm.  The scars teach me that You’ll “carry me through anything, get me through everything, so I can be stopped by nothing”.  That’s the kind of perspective I want to have about these scars, rather than looking at them as ugly things, to view them as a sign of healing and being fully alive. Thank You Lord,  that the scars on my chest  replace both breasts that held the cancer and that the cancer has been removed.  Thank You for the skill of both my breast surgeons guided by Your Hand years apart and that my future is bright and full of hope as I walk with You.

I like this quote:

“I will not be ashamed of my scars because they are brushstrokes in the Masterpiece that is my life”.

37.   The “So” in John 3:16  We can replace our names with “the world’ and make it personal:

“For God SO loved Paula (and fill in YOUR name) that He gave His only begotten Son, so that if Paula (and fill in YOUR name) believes in Him then Paula ( and fill in YOUR name) should not perish but have everlasting life.

The definition of “SO” means “To a great extent or degree; very, extremely; exceedingly, enormously, tremendously, to an immeasurable degree”.  It’s such a little word to mean a great big thing about God’s love for us that He would give Jesus to die on the Cross for us and then raise Him from the dead.  What love!  What a grand arrangement and great news that we can have everlasting life because of simple faith plus nothing!

38.Family and friends reaching out to us in so many ways

39. “Blessings” song by Laura Story:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CSVqHcdhXQ

 

My cup overflows with blessings!

God’s beloved Paula 🙂

 

He Tenderly Holds Each of us in the Palm of His Hand

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Copied and pasted from a missionary with OM in India
Today’s Scripture
“Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you…I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand…”
(Isaiah 41:10, AMPC)
 
He Holds You in His Hand

“We all face situations in life that feel out of control. During times like these, it’s easy to get discouraged and allow fear to creep in; but instead, why don’t you focus on the fact that God is holding you in the palm of His hand! There is nothing too difficult for Him; nothing’s impossible; nothing is beyond His ability. When God holds you in His hand, you are safe; you are cared for. In His hand, there is victory. In His hand, there is strength. In His hand, there is provision. In His hand is everything you need.

No matter what you may be going through today, you can trust that God is for you. Instead of getting down and depressed over your circumstances, look up and get a vision of God turning that situation around. Let faith rise in your heart and focus on His favor and blessing…keep your heart and mind focused on Him and choose to obey His Word. He holds you with His victorious right hand!

A Prayer for Today
“Father, thank You for helping me and holding me in Your victorious right hand. I choose to trust You even when things don’t make sense, even when things seem beyond my control. I release my cares to You knowing that You work all things together for my good in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
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