Posted in Self Help

Out of Touch

Can we be honest?

I’m not going to lie! Lately, I’ve been a little out of touch because I have been wrestling with staying upbeat. I mean I’ve been super busy with family and kids and life, but who can’t say that?

Hubby mentioned the other day he hadn’t seen a blog post in awhile. Yeah, it’s true. I have been off the grid a little more than normal, but actually, I kind of like it. It’s hard to be social and happy while grappling with the weights on your shoulders.

Not that cancer isn’t enough of a nasty curve ball, but this crazy pandemic, a country divided, all the hate and evil amongst us.

What happened to us?

What happened to the free and the brave?

What happened to our America the Beautiful?

It’s shameful the only unity we have is we take life for granted. Think about that for a minute.

Well, unless of course you’re dying or terminally ill.

Do you realize ALL the people who are dying of cancer?

I bet those people don’t abuse the life they were given, wasting it away on fighting with their neighbors.

Life is much easier in a bubble.

I’ve never thought of myself as socially shy. I don’t have a problem talking to people, but I do have a problem pretending. And, I do get social anxiety. It takes a lot of effort to put on a smile and pretend I am mentally strong. It takes energy to make everyone believe I am OK when I’m not.

I AM mentally strong. Some days I just don’t want to be.

Living with cancer in your household is emotional. It’s a roller coaster, ups and downs, twists and turns. Even when it’s not front and center, it’s there lurking. Just a thought away, a reminder somewhere you turn.

You live with it, without a choice.

All.

The.

Time.

I am learning to manuever that obstacle. For myself, to support my children, my hubby. I’ve learned if I don’t take care of ME, there won’t be enough to go around.

Family is priority so I hope no one takes it personally when I decline an invite, or seem disengaged, or silent. Sometimes our schedule doesn’t allow for socializing, and other times we would love to hang out. And sometimes, we just aren’t up for company.

It has been a hard few months. Cancer just took one dear soul from us. I know people who recently got diagnosed. I know lots of people who are fighting. And, it all hits too close to home.

There’s a daughter taking a last minute trip to see her dad who is fighting for his life. There’s a mother counting down the debilitating chemo treatments she takes her terminally ill son to every couple of weeks. There’s a wife in the cancer center who is puzzled about how her husband got mesothelioma but was never exposed to the contaminants. There’s the husband grieving for his wife, the children who lost their mother, the women who lost their best friend.

None of them have a choice.

I look at my children, my husband and then in the mirror at myself.

It’s difficult to cope some days, and I can sense the world wanting to crumble around me. All the suffering and pain just floods my head to the point I feel like I’m drowning in it. My head hurts. I’m tired. No energy. No will to do anything.

Some days it’s too much. But, that’s not every day. I’m not going to set up camp there.

Some days are good. Some days I’m motivated and have the drive to conquer the world.

Some people tell me not to focus on all those situations or not to be a part of those cancer groups because it just makes me upset. What they don’t realize is what else it does to me.

It helps me NOT feel so alone.

Summer has been good for me in the sense I can just focus on my family and stay out of any kind of scene. It’s a good distraction to be able to listen to the ocean, sit out and soak up the sun, hang out with my family. It’s been good to make the most out of a bad time in our country by us all just being together.

Some days I’m happy to not share anything or feel vulnerable. I don’t mind sharing when I have my head on straight and the energy to help others; however, when a battle is going on inside my head, it’s hard to help myself much less anyone else.

Sometimes it’s just easier to cope when you stay out of touch.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Matthew 7:13-14
Posted in Devotional, Family

Thankful

Are you thankful for the time you have with your family or do you take it for granted?

Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s right in front of us. We get so busy focusing on what makes us unhappy we abandon all the good staring us in the face.

It has been a demanding 96 hours. Each day I have hoped for sunshine, but there is forever a storm lurking. That black cloud constantly seems to be chasing me, and I always seem to be running.

It’s an arduous journey with me continuously looking over my shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop. But sadly, that is the way of my life.

Today, I had a long chat with a dear friend, who I can always trust to be honest with me, spare me the sugar-coating and admit the hard truth to me. I appreciate her, the knowledge she has of my situation, the compassion she expresses and even the words she needs to say despite they are hard for me to hear at times.

I value our friendship because I realize, no matter what, I can depend on her to be real with me. The medical advice and knowledge she shares, the personal trauma she has experienced and how she can relate to what my children are going through. Everything I get from her comes in the form of a blessing.

She is sort of a soul sister to me, one I feel a connection with that I cannot explain. She gets me, and sometimes shares her thoughts and feelings that are already entertaining my mind.

And, on the days I feel like constantly crying, her honesty, her genuine heart is just what I need to make me feel better and acknowledge I have so much to be thankful for.

Today, it was no different.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

She gave up some of her precious family time this afternoon to console me. That’s a true friend. And, she made me realize, portions of my storm are blessings I will one day look back on and appreciate.

We are in the midst of the country being shut down, social distancing with limited interaction between people and staying home to avoid exposure.

On top of all that is the chemo treatments, the complications, the fevers, the fear of going to the hospital, the traveling, the worrying, the stress, the sick puppy, having to put my child on a plane…this week has been emotional and stressful and too much at times.

It’s a challenge, and I’m feeling weak even though I force a cheery smile. But, I’ve been thinking about it, and in the back of my mind and with a sweet reminder, I know this is a blessing in disguise.

Having my children home, eating dinner as a family every night, no rushing out the door to get somewhere, no worrying about leaving a child or a dog home alone while we are at the cancer center. Quality time with my children before they go off to college in the fall, sharing memories of the past and making new ones for the future.

All blessings.

in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

It’s true how sad of a time it is for my senior and all the other seniors who don’t get the traditional graduation, but in hindsight we will appreciate all the memories we were able to make with just our family. All the quality time we shared and the togetherness we had.

Those are the times we will remember.

And, what if we never have another opportunity like this again? What if there’s not another season we are all together?

What if these memories are all we have?

Sometimes it’s hard to see the picture when you are in it. But, like my friend reminded me…what a blessing this quarantine is for us.

Another silver lining in the most unexpected place. No matter how hard life is count your blessings. In spite of everything, they are all around us.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28
Posted in Devotional

Holy Week

Did anyone ever dream we would be in the middle of a pandemic during Holy Week, or ever for that matter?

24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.”

Luke 24:1-12

My dad said he never thought he would see times like this, and I imagine many people thought the same.

I never thought I would be in the midst of my husband battling cancer at my age either. I never thought it would get to this point. I never thought it would get worse. I never thought after he was diagnosed that we would face many more hurdles along the road.

I think many times when life is going down a rough path we tell ourselves, “things can’t get any worse.” When we think we’ve hit rock bottom sometimes we realize we were simply on a cliff, and we fall even lower.

I’ve learned to NEVER say things can’t get any worse. Trust me, they can and most likely will before they get better.

I’ve also learned to find hope, pray harder and seek peace when you’re scared and worried.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

And, I am worried. I was uneasy about life before all these virus concerns came up. I constantly fret about someone being exposed or getting sick. Going out in public.

Even more, I am undoubtedly concerned with the effect it has on everyone’s mental state. I know for me it has been a fight within myself not to fall into a depressed state, panic, feel lonely, or lost.

When all you have is time to think, it can be a war within your mind.

I’ve had a sort of resistance going on for awhile now. Things were just starting to settle down to a new normal in our household. I was cautiously beginning to relax a little, get used to how it was going and then, panic hit.

I have heard many people say they are going crazy staying home, feeling depressed, and having a hard time adjusting to an unfamiliar routine. It’s tough to adapt to a new way of life and not exercise your freedom.

We have had plenty of other unfamiliar adapting to do in our house in recent months. But, I do think it is essential to abide by the rules in order to not overwhelm the system. And, I want it to stop. If we don’t stop giving it something to feed on, I fear it never will.

I can’t help but wonder why all this craziness is happening in the world. Is it a sign of the times, an economic attack, a prediction from the Bible?

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Matthew 24:3-8

No social gatherings, no church services, no lunch with friends, no school, no baseball games, no sleepovers, no restaurant dining, no shopping, and the list of NOs goes on.

It sounds bad, but it could be so much worse. And sadly, for some people it is.

On top of all of what’s obvious, some of us have other obstacles. Some have lost their jobs, gotten laid off, have to spend time away from family members, have no savings to fall back on, live alone, can’t stay home because of their job, are lonely, fighting an illness, have a bad marriage, battling an addicition or who knows what else. Everyone is grappling with something.

EVERYONE.

One thing we still do have is each other, our community, our nation. We can still pray at home, FaceTime family and friends, get takeout and shop online (if we can afford to).

We can all find something in our life to be thankful for no matter how bad it seems.

Holy Week and Easter both offer a time of new hope, new beginnings. Let’s use it to pray for our community and our country.

A time to be thankful for the things in life we have, the people who are important, the family time we share, the people we have fighting for us and working to keep us safe and healthy and all the simple blessings we overlook and take for granted each day.

We are all blessed! xo