Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Courage

Courage:

  1. The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
  2. That quality of mind which enables one to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear, or fainting of heart; valor; boldness; resolution.
  3. A quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear
  4. Obsolete. The heart as the source of emotion.
  5. Idiom – have the courage of one's convictions, to act in accordance with one's beliefs, esp. in spite of criticism.

    ORIGIN: 1250-1300; ME corage OF, equiv. to cuer heart (cor; see HEART) + -age


     

    Usage: See Heroism. -- Courage, Bravery, Fortitude, Intrepidity, Gallantry, Valor. Courage is that firmness of spirit and swell of soul which meets danger without fear. Bravery is daring and impetuous courage, like that of one who has the reward continually in view, and displays his courage in daring acts. Fortitude has often been styled "passive courage," and consist in the habit of encountering danger and enduring pain with a steadfast and unbroken spirit. Valor is courage exhibited in war, and can not be applied to single combats; it is never used figuratively. Intrepidity is firm, unshaken courage. Gallantry is adventurous courage, which courts danger with a high and cheerful spirit. A man may show courage, fortitude, or intrepidity in the common pursuits of life, as well as in war. Valor, bravery, and gallantry are displayed in the contest of arms. Valor belongs only to battle; bravery may be shown in single combat; gallantry may be manifested either in attack or defense; but in the latter ease, the defense is usually turned into an attack.


     

    "My lord, cheer up your spirits; our foes are nigh, and this soft courage makes your followers faint." --Shakespeare

    (Source: www.dictionary.reference.com

Yesterday was a blue day, I'll have to admit, and it wasn't even a Monday. I really needed to share with everyone how I felt – I guess that's why I'm writing. When I started this journey last month, Doug & I read in a book about dealing with cancer that writing is good therapy. I feel a sense of release in sharing my thoughts and I guess it gives people a way to help carry this burden with me. For isn't that what we are called to do? "Carry one another's burdens?" I can feel people carrying it with me – thank you. God bless you. He is showing me His love through you – through your encouragement, your loving touch, your prayers, your presence, your gifts. I have never felt so loved in my life.

After blogging (30 years ago, this word never even existed) yesterday, the OT director stopped by for a coffee. I poured out my thoughts like a flood, accompanied with more tears. Yes, I need to praise God for this time in my life – easy to say in the good times, harder to do when you're in the midst of a crisis. We have to LEARN how to do this – we have PRACTICE praise until it comes easy in the hard times. Doug had called me earlier that morning and said, "Deb, I've been praying, and you need to sing The Lord is My Shepherd (Keith Green) on your piano. I love you." This was my song while going into surgery – "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me…" I sat down at the piano and played and sang to the Lord. He IS my refuge and strength. He IS my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He IS sovereign over this crisis in my life; over ALL trials He is sovereign.

The OT Director and I knelt by the Christmas tree; she prayed for me and asked me to pray for her. She gave me the next assignment – a strange one, but we both know it is from God. I began today. Stay tuned, I will tell you more later.

Back to courage – I must gain courage from the only One who can give me courage. The other day, I wrote that W.M. sent me a courage angel and a card that said I was "the most courageous gal" she knows. Yesterday's event is similar to The Tale of Two Believes. Read on….

Janet White #1 stopped by after supper for a visit, bearing much fruit for our table. We chatted about our the difficulty seeing our children go back out west, dealing with sickness, cancer and death – Janet is well acquainted with grief – her daughter died a few years ago at the age of 15 in an accident, and her husband died of cancer a year ago. He was a good friend; he still is a good friend. Janet is a person of great faith and I admire her greatly. I want to be like her – strong, resilient, compassionate, loving. She is also one of my cousins; we're closer than we thought.

Q called to comfort me (you can see her pic at the bottom of the blog). She also prayed a mighty prayer of comfort for me and said she'd call me in the morning. Q lives on the rock, but she's not far away.

At 9 o'clock, the doorbell rang. Who could that be? Doug went to check. Enter, stage right: Doug's best man, Reg, and one of my bridesmaids, Lin. We have a thirty-two year history with these friends. They were spontaneous – they came over unannounced; we're so proud of them. And to visit at such a random time. We hung out with them before we were married (they were married before we were), sped around in Reg's Gremlin, carefree and so in love, we all were. Many memories. We raised our children together, and Natalie & Becky are still best of friends. We hung out again tonight, and had many laughs. They had read the blog that afternoon, and God sent them here, we know.

L. gave me a letter that she composed that afternoon, in case we were not home. I'm glad she put it in writing, so I won't forget. Lin has an amazing gift of 'encouragement writing.' She gave me the first gift – a tube of Crest whitening toothpaste, for "those days when the whitestrips are just too much of a pain to put on." Funny; yes, for my beauty improvement program; it's going well – I'm a ravishing beauty right now.

The next gift: Lin had purchased a WillowTree Angel of Courage last week, but wasn't able to come over last week to give it to me. This would have been about the same time that W. would have mailed her Angel of Courage to me. When I opened the gift, I gasped – an angel of courage again! God must be showing me something, pay attention, Deb. I said, "I think it's a different size than the one W. sent me." Reg retrieved it from the kitchen, and lo and behold, they are different sizes. One big courage, one little courage; one brunette, the other a bit blondish (remember me thinking my hair might come in blonde?).

I sat the angels on the table together – their arms lifted high in praise, in victory, in courage. Facing danger with bravery. Little courage, big courage. I have little courage now – it will grow to big courage, Cheryl said to me on the phone this morning. Yes! I believe. Little courage, big courage.



Lin said in her letter: "And so, I come back to Courage. Even though you already have one Angel of Courage, here is another – for both of you. May both of them be placed in your home where you will see them frequently as a constant reminder that our courage comes from God to walk these difficult paths . . . . God promises you strength for each day, Deb; He promises you courage, too, the kind of courage His Son had in His darkest hours. I know you will ask Him for it, as will I on your behalf. I know you will reach for it just as this Angel does. God will reach out to you and place Courage in your heart. I know you will tighten your grip around Courage and hold firmly to God. His grip on you, Deb, is even stronger. Nothing can snatch you from His grip. God will nudge the pray-ers throughout this journey into prayers for you which will strengthen your grip. These prayers will occur at any time of day or night. Lean into them as we come to the Father on your behalf."

Thanks, Lin. Thanks for coming to see us and being obedient to bring the second angel of courage. I WILL reach out for His courage. I WILL tighten my grip around Courage. Now nudge the pray-ers, Lord, so my grip will be strengthened.

I must go dance now.

Be of good courage and let us behave ourselves courageously for our people and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what is good in His sight. (1 Chron 19:13).



"The ornaments of a house are the friends who frequent it." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

I'm feeling kinda low today. Alone all day so far, but I know that won't last. Spent time in 2 Samuel 22, where David cried out to the Lord, then I got on my knees and did the same. I'm expecting God to hear me, just like He did David. Then I got in my car and drove to Willie Wonka gym, where I walked on the "walking track" for about 6 laps or so, just short of a mile. My hip started to hurt, so I stopped. I can't wait til I can do what I did before – jogging might hurt a bit right now. Took a trip into Tony's Music Box for a bit, then to the health food store (funny how you start thinking of what you eat when you're under the weather); bought some aloe vera juice to mix with my lemon juice and water. I suppose I could just squeeze the juice out of the aloe plant I have in the house, but not sure if that would work or not, and am not willing to give it a try. I want to try to be healthy, that's what I want. And what I ask the Lord for on a constant basis – my theme for 2009 is "Fit at 50," remember? Drove to the Superstore for some more good stuff. I realize that there may come a time in the not too distant future that I won't be able to go grocery shopping; it's the only shopping that I really like. Oh well, just for a time. The grocery store is a social place, isn't it? I love socials.

Well, I must get some lunch – a healthy lunch. I have so much to organize and plan, but don't feel like doing any of it. I'm tired today; have a headache, my shoulder aches…but this too shall pass. I need to stop complaining, and get on with life. God help me. He will, because I asked Him to.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Furniture Store Blues?

Last evening, we had a family party in a little tiny church in Cloverdale, wherever that is. It's where Aunt Viv lives. She organized it. It was potluck. We had a Yankee Swap, which was fun. I led a game: "Who is the Big Chief?" Then we set up some board games for the kids to play. Pirate cousin Jeff and I got out the guitars and sang for a good hour or more. Country and folk. Until we got tired. I said to Jeff after: "Isn't it strange that the two invalids are entertaining, while the healthy people are sitting in their chairs?" We laughed. We lose ourselves in music; it takes our mind off our situations. I sang opera a couple of times; that sure got the kids' attention – I saw video cameras rolling. Jacob, Aunt Viv's grandson, sang with us on "Folsom Prison," I think it was. He is an entertainer, that boy. You have a gift, my son – use it. My Dad and Uncle Earl and his boys are big on Johnny Cash; me too, having grown up with it. Wasn't Johnny's life something? I'm glad he made his peace with God in the end. He certainly left a legacy of music for us to enjoy. I never thought I'd ever be writing this, either, but hey…we can change – if we have to. Thanks for a great party, everyone. The only regret I have is that my baby sister Janet was not feeling well, and we couldn't hug, for fear I might contract the flu she had. I love my baby sister.


 

This morning was the first morning all by myself, but it didn't last long. No Natalie, no baby Aiden, no RCMP man, no Doug. Just me and Canada AM (good old Seamus O'Regan…) I guess I'm trying to 'ease' myself into being alone. I do know that God is with me – always, until the end of the age. I realize that I do need time alone to pray, read and get some things accomplished, but not today. I took off with sister Brenda and Mom to go furniture shopping for Mom. She bought a new couch, chair and end tables. We tried to get her to buy a new bed (we've been trying to convince her for years to buy a bed larger than a double, but to no avail; even though she never sleeps through the night). Brenda will be back in March, she will try again. I saw a Laz-y-Boy chair I liked; a good chair is hard to come by, as I well know. After 30 years with my old brown chair, how could I get anything other than a Laz-y-Boy? Perhaps I should write the company; maybe they'll give me a discount coupon or something. I received an email from "The Hitchmans," sending their condolences on the passing of the old chair. Thank you; got a good chuckle over that.

I have a rendez-vous with Doug at 3:15 today to look at this possible new chair at Worrall's Furniture – our friendly neighbourhood furniture store. I wonder if they'll give us a discount for free advertising? Worth a try. An anonymous family member is going to contribute towards its purchase, for which we are truly grateful. I never realized the value of a quality chair until one really needs a quality chair – lumbar support, are my legs comfortable, will it put me to sleep, etc. You know, I don't take much for granted anymore. Everything is valuable. Life is valuable.

You know something else? While in the furniture store this morning, I forgot my troubles for awhile (not that I have any troubles). I met Helen, a woman that attends our church, and she told me she was praying for me, and couldn't believe that I played the piano in church the other night. She went through similar surgery seven years ago. The act of searching for furniture was comforting somehow, trying out all the chairs and couches like Goldilocks and the Two Bears would. (Not sure which one of us is Goldlilocks; could be me should my hair come in blonde. Time will tell). So the moral of this story is this: feeling kinda 'blue' and lonely? Check out your nearest furniture store and hang out for awhile.

This afternoon, my sister Brenda and I are going to Willie O'Ree place to walk for awhile. I told Doug we were going to "Willie Wonka" to walk. Yes, chocolate would be nice right now, wouldn't it? Perhaps I'll stop and get some chocolate for our walk. Chocolate in my pocket. Build up the serotonin in my brain while the exercise builds up the endorphins. Life is good; that's what the ad says, anyway. I've got to get going on my exercise and eating program to build up my immunity before chemo. After meeting with Dr. Oncology next Tuesday, I should know the date for chemo to commence.

I received a WillowTree ' Courage angel in the mail today from W. M. The Courage angel stands with her hands way up in the air – victory. She looks like she is also doing the exercises I am to do for recovery from this surgery, so she is an inspiration. I'm really getting to love angels lately. They are ministering spirits sent to those who receive salvation, you know. In her card, W. told me that I'm the 'most courageous girl' she knows. I'm always touched when people tell me that, because I don't feel courageous. But if people think I am, I guess I am. Thanks, W., and everyone who tells me that.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

The Old Brown Lazy Chair

The old brown lazy chair that held the 'Fox' (me) and the Mac (Doug), and hundreds of people over the years has now been put to rest. This day, Saturday, Dec. 27th it was removed from our home. It is now in the back of the van awaiting its demise. Doug thinks he is going to get warranty on it, as Laz-y-Boy has a lifetime guarantee on the under carriage. Right, Doug. I'm sure there is a 30 year warranty on a chair. Look out Worrall's Furniture, here we come, but you were closed today. I did an exit interview: Son Jon said, "I feel like a part of me is missing." Doug said, "I feel the same as I did yesterday; it's just a chair." Daughter-in-law Alicia said, "I miss the breastfeeding chair." I agreed. "I do, too. And I miss the breast surgery healing chair." So go to your rest, brown chair, knowing that you served us well. Thank you for the memories.

Is this Saturday? I have lost all sense of time. I kept asking people all day what day of the week it was. I guess that's what happens during the 'holidays.'

We had our Christmas dinner at my parents' house today. It was good to be home again and enjoy the family. My sister Janet and family couldn't make it due to sickness, so it wasn't the same without them. We played a very long game of dominoes this evening; I did not fare well, coming in 4th out of 5th. My sister Brenda won because she's from away, I say. (She used to be from Newfoundland but now hails from Nova Scotia).

Natalie and Josh made it home to The Pas, Manitoba without event. Our prayers were answered. She is getting groceries tonight; probably not too much in the house after seven weeks away. Right now it seems like she's just out for the evening; the reality of her not being here probably won't hit me until next week. It will be different around here, but I will SURVIVE. In more ways than one. I have much to do next week to get prepared for what will happen in January. I hope I can get organized; I definitely need a secretary. Perhaps I'll make a list and check it twice. Lists work as long as you remember where you put them.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Christmas Day was a day of mixed emotions for me. We enjoyed a great brunch after opening gifts, followed by a cup of tea and a 'snack' a few hours later. A family picture was accomplished with ease, an amazing feat in itself, and Doug was able to figure out the timer on the camera. As we lounged around with one another, I became aware that Natalie, Josh & Aiden were leaving on Boxing Day and had a bit of a breakdown. The reality of it hit me. I went into the kitchen to cry; Jon hugged me; Alicia cried with me, Natalie loved on me… I know there is no shame in tears. Afton even held me; she is almost 4 years old. The compassion of these grandchildren is an enigma to me, but comforting anyhow -- we usually comfort the children, but the children now comfort me. I had to go upstairs and pull myself together, fold some laundry and pray for peace again. Everyone left us to go to various places, and we were alone for a bit. I lay down on the floor and had a nap while Doug watched a movie. Sometimes sleep helps, you know; helps you regain perspective and new physical strength.

I was grieving again – for my beloved daughter and baby Aiden, who have been with me pretty well non-stop since Nov. 14th. She will never know how they have helped me cope; even though I try and tell her in words how she has helped me, my spirit cannot speak what is inside. Natalie, you are a tender woman of God, a 'workhorse,' (I call her that because of her work ethic), an awesome mother and wife, a beloved daughter. We cannot thank you enough for coming to us. And thank you, RCMP man, for allowing her to come, and for joining her (and for all those late nights watching our favorite sitcom; I'll miss that. I'm sitting in the lazy chair you broke right now, just for old time's sake).

At 6 pm Doug & I went to Doris & Laurie's for a delectable Christmas dinner. Doris, you out did yourself again, and it was just like the old days when I sat at your table and ate your food. Thanks for the fiddleheads and for the many dessert choices you made available to us. Of course, my choice was rice pudding. How did you know I liked rice pudding Have I told you before? Their daughter Michele & new son-in-law Eric (a.k.a. Mysterio Man), and daughter Jill were at table as well. Mysterio, you're a hoot and I love your twilight hair. It looks good on you. Thanks for the evening, though short, it was great.

Jon & Alicia and Josh & Nat came home from their respective places and three of us played Speed Monopoly while Natalie packed. If you've ever played Speed Monopoly, you cannot go back to slow monopoly – Jon won, of course. RCMP man said it was more stressful than being a policeman, just to give you an indication of the intensity of the game. Then we all played "Catch Phrase" and laughed hilariously til after midnight. I love our family; we love to have fun.

Boxing Day – no boxing going on here, just lots of mess and children everywhere again. After breakfast, I picked up Aiden, Alicia picked up Ivy, Afton tried to pick up Jack, Natalie picked up the camera and I turned on "Dancing Queen," and we danced, with Jon dancing in and out of the video. When I figure out how to download it, perhaps I will put it on the blog. I needed hilarity and know that when I dance I laugh. When you know you're going to face hard things, I'm learning how to dance (and of course, pray always).

Doug and I took off to the emergency room to wait for Dr. Bryden to drain my wound for the third time. She drained 90 ccs again and applied a pressure bandage that I need to keep on for a few days. In a week she will determine whether she has to drain it again. This has been quite a process. I'm still the English patient, dealing with healing wounds. Our children and their children went to their respective places, and Doug and I went to my parents after the hospital visit. I tried to have a nap on the couch, but alas…. Then to the airport to see Nat, Josh & Aiden off – their long trek back to The Pas, Manitoba has begun (six hours' drive north of Winnipeg). Many more tears, hugs and smiles, see you laters, thank you, I love you, you don't know how special it was to have you here, kisses for Baby Aiden, hugs for Josh, a final teary hug "I'm going to be all better when you come back, Nat…", waving through the window, kisses, and on to the plane they go. More tears in the van – must get control and go on, thank you Lord, for sending them here. I appreciate it so much – she took seven weeks out of her life to come and tend to me. Children are a blessing from God, I know that. And now that they are married, we have extra children and now grandchildren who also bless us.

Went back to Mom & Dad's where my sister Brenda and Mom tended to me, comforted me and made me lie down by the fire, covering me with a blanket. Brenda sat beside me and we played with her new camera. I played with nephew Aaron's I-Pod touch. He downloaded my blog on to it; how precious, Aaron. Tried to post a blog on it, but need smaller fingers for that. We then went over to Doris and Laurie's again to unwrap presents, have a cup of tea, piece of pie and rice pudding. A bit of deep discussion on purpose, mortality and 'going through' stuff. More tears. Everything certainly looks different now. You really examine your life and your life purpose when you are in this place. I think I need to have time to rest and regroup. Talking helps, though, but nothing makes sense, and I have no answers.

You know, my intention tonight was to only post the Christmas Day family picture, but my fingers did something completely different. I usually proof my work, but not tonight; it's good enough. There you have it.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

So This is Christmas

So this is Christmas morning – 12:02 a.m. when I’m starting to blog. Just took a banana bread out of the oven; I want to serve it at Christmas brunch today. I made one yesterday, but alas, Josh & Doug were around, so decided to make one late enough tonight that they would be asleep before it came out of the oven. Hard to keep food in the house with two hungry men around. The tree is silent, ready for morning, with the presents lying quietly, resting before the storm – the storm of paper that will occur in a few hours. This is Baby Aiden’s first Christmas and he will celebrate it here with us; how blessed we are. Baby Ivy’s first Christmas as well, and she will come with her siblings and parents in just a few short hours, along with our parents. An extreme house full again for a few short hours, and I love it.

The past couple of days have been a whirlwind of activity. Chest x-ray, physio, a funeral for Duane White’s father (Janet White #1 gave the eulogy), a party at C & W’s house next door, where we met their cool friends and I played the guitar and sang the oldies with W, Mary (she loves to sing) and Janet White #2. Met G, who is a beautiful friend of C’s and a gift-giver. Don’t you love the gift-givers? I need to be more of one. I’m learning much in this journey.

Today I drove for the first time since my surgery. Leave it to me to pick a snowy day to drive. I drove the van so I wouldn’t have to shift. Josh, Natalie, Aiden and I drove up to Bristol to see Jon & Alicia’s house and visit with them for a couple of hours, drove back down and went to the Christmas Eve service at our church. I didn’t have a chance to get back home to change into Christmas Eve clothes and ended up playing the beautiful grand piano in my jeans, wrinkled blouse and winter boots. Never did that before. Talk about laying down the ol’ pride. Having to do a lot of that these days. No one seemed to mind; at least they never told me if they did. They just loved on me. Felt good to play, but was rather tired from the day’s travel.

When we finally arrived home at 8:30, I was greeted with many packages and gifts at our door – thank you, all. You are so generous to us.

I ask for your continued prayers for this coming year, as I struggle with the fact I have to have chemo and radiation. I wish I didn’t have to. I wish I could turn around and go the other way. I cried a few times today. I wish Natalie & Josh and Aiden could live here with me, or at least in the city, but in one day we have to say good-bye. This makes me sad. I am thankful that they were able to be here. We have quite a daughter – she has sacrificed much to be here. I love her more than my life. God bless you, Nat. Thank you, Josh, for allowing her to come and stay with me so long. And Aiden – I love you immensely and intensely. You are my little man, a treasure that lights up my heart every time I look at you. Don’t forget Gram Deb, OK?

Pray that I have no fear – it raises its ugly head every day and I have to push it back into its box. I pray until I get peace. Pray that there be no cancer anywhere else in my body, as I complete the x-rays and scans ahead. My meeting with the oncologist is January 6/09. Pray that I am ready mentally and physically to walk in there, head held high without fear, just a sense of God with me, Emmanuel. Thank you, Emmanuel. You are here, Hallelujah. I pray that my ‘war’ will soon be over. This tune from John Lennon has been going around in my head the past few days, so I guess I’m supposed to post it (with guitar chords included in case you want to play it). Merry Christmas everyone, and to all a good night. Deb x0


So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

/ D - / Em - / A7 - / D - / G - / Am - / D - / G - /

{Refrain}
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

/ C - / Dm - / Am C / G A7 /

And so this is Christmas War is over
For weak and for strong If you want it
For rich and the poor ones War is over
The road is so long Now
And so happy Christmas War is over
For black and for white If you want it
For yellow and red ones War is over
Let's stop all the fight Now

{Refrain}

And so this is Christmas War is over
And what have we done If you want it
Another year over War is over
And a new one just begun Now
And so happy Christmas War is over
I hope you have fun If you want it
The near and the dear one War is over
The old and the young Now

{Refrain}

War is over if you want it
War is over now

ARTIST: John Lennon and Yoko Ono
TITLE: Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
Lyrics and Chords

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

YouTube - (Britain's Got Talent ) Paul Potts' 1st Audition

YouTube - (Britain's Got Talent ) Paul Potts' 1st Audition

This video was sent to me by M., the Flick Flack girls' mom.... made me cry this Christmas Eve day, and that all things are possible to those who believe.

Monday, 22 December 2008

What a Weekend

This weekend has been full of activity, and that's an understatement. I've taken this day to recover from all the excitement, and what a great day to do so – we're snowed in! Don't you love being snowed in? It brings back the good ol' days of school cancellations, sleeping in and making tunnels in the snow. Anyway, back to the weekend: Jonathan & Alicia and their kids, Afton, Jack & Ivy; and Josh, Natalie and Aiden; and Doug and Deb – all living and sleeping in this little house. Once again, I felt like the old woman in the shoe who had so many children she didn't know what to do. Toys underfoot in every room, food and dishes everywhere, blankets, babies crawling, trucks roaring, colouring books, childrens' books, gifts under the tree, tree twinkling, furniture moved out of place on a constant basis, people sleeping everywhere – complete mayhem, and I love it. And friends visiting. Who could ask for anything more? It feels like Christmas, and I forgot my situation several times again this weekend. Oh, how I wish this process could just be over now, and that when the new year begins that I could go back to my normal life. Big sigh….stay in the moment, Deb… I had many good moments this weekend.

Saturday:

  • Went to Mens' breakfast at church with Doug (wives were invited). This was my first appearance at the church. It was good to be there and be with our church friends, who are so kind to us. We are still overwhelmed and grateful that God placed us there to be loved. I had the energy to play a few Christmas carols on the piano while Marilyn played the organ. Felt good; I surprised myself that I could focus on the notes.
  • Ch. and K. (Ch's daughter) came from Saint John. Taught K. how to make a 3-D snowflake; she took it home. K. treated me to a piano recital and we sang together. Ch. presented me with my own red tam to wear and throw in the air like Mary Tyler Moore. I wear it every day. Natalie wore it all last evening, and Aiden wore it for a photo shoot today.
  • The OT director arrived with a project for Doug – "Plug in the outdoor tree lights on the tree that has been moved SIX times since I brought it here three weeks ago OR I will put it up for auction on the blog, complete with a block of ice for it to stand in." Plug it in, plug it in. Doug plugged it in, and I finally get to enjoy its lit-up beauty outside my window. Good job, Doug – kudos for you; you're getting a high mark on your Christmas spirit test this year.
  • Made supper for the grandchildren while J & A, J & N got dressed up for an 80's party they were going to. I've attached a picture. Enough said.



     

  • We kept Afton, Jack & Aiden while they went to the party (took Ivy with them). No problem to keep three kids. "That was easy," is our theme these days. We even have an easy button to push when we accomplish things. Keeping children is easy, considering what we've gone through lately. I push the easy button a lot, especially after hard things, to remind me that I got through them, and have a quick laugh. The Lord helps me and can make things easy.
  • While reading to Afton and Jack up in the bedroom, the doorbell rang. I came down to find the living room filled with the "Dig It" girls (the teen Sunday School class I teach with Debby P.) and Patrick, our pastor. They came bearing a huge basket of gifts for me. I was so surprised. And the gifts. Wow. You shouldn't have, really. Of course, I invited the Dig It girls to join me in dancing to ABBA's "Dancing Queen," and we got it on video. Sorry, Patrick, please bear with me. I love to dance, have I said that? Then we did some improv drama. I'm a drama queen, too, just like Reb., who had a Drama Queen sweatshirt on for the occasion.

    During all this hullaballoo, Afton crept downstairs and I discovered her peeking through the glass doors; she wanted to join the party. "Ok, come on in," I relented. I have a soft heart for my babies. She's a girl, too, albeit a bit younger, and she loves to dance and act like her Gram Deb. She really thinks she is a princess. Actually, she is, just like her Princess Mac grandmother.
  • The DIG IT girls presented me with a prayer shawl made by Judy Q., made especially for me, and donated by the "Tea and Talk" ladies at the church. Thank you, Judy and Tea & Talk women. It is beautiful and I absolutely love it. We draped ourselves with it and the OT director took a picture. It is blue, white and purple, my colours. I draped the shawl around me and they prayed for me. I'll take all the prayer I can get. Once again, I felt blessed and so thankful. The DIG IT class capped off the day.

    I was so excited that I couldn't go to bed and stayed up until the 80's crowd came home.

Sunday's Events:

  • Only Doug could actually get up to go to church. The rest of us stayed home and spent the morning playing with the children in the topsy turvy house.
  • My children worked on a secret project on the computer most of the day, trying to keep it from me, but I know what they're doing – making me a calendar of our precious grandchildren. I wasn't born yesterday, you know.
  • RCMP man broke the lazy brown healing chair this morning. Well, he was the camel that broke the chair's back, so to speak. And according to Doug, it's not an old chair, it's only 30 years old. Now Josh is not heavy, he's just long. He got up from the chair and a spring sprung underneath. He turned the chair over and it is definitely in serious shape. Doug, of course, thinks it's fine and is now sitting in it, because no longer is it a healing chair for Deb, but a break-her-back chair.
  • I made two dozen muffins and warmed up Isabel M.'s soup for lunch to feed the hungry crowd. Felt good to prepare food; I love to cook and bake and serve. And putter around in the kitchen being creative.
  • Famous Quote #1: Afton (3) said, "Papa (Doug), Gram Deb told me that you're blind because you can't see anything when you open the cuvards. Hee hee." (cupboards). Oops! I didn't know she was going to tell Doug this secret.
  • Famous Quote #2: Jack (2) said: "Gram Deb, I'm waiting for my food," after sitting in his high chair for about ½ hour while waiting for me to finish preparing his meal. He said it like Charlie Brown would say it – very calm and without any expression. I always loved Charlie Brown, and now I have my own Charlie Brown.
  • A. & A. & Joey (7) came to visit. Joey bonded with Jack and he pushed him 'round and 'round the house on his little car.
  • L. & M. came to see us. Brought us the movie, Rudy, a football movie. I love football, or have I mentioned this? Pushing through the enemy line to score a touchdown, a team effort. Can't play football all by yourself.
  • The Chiasson-Budaker girls came, accompanied by mother M. I teach K. the guitar, but her sisters like to come with her sometimes. I told K. that she has until June to write me a song, perform it for me, and sister O. will do Tae-Kwon Do moves to it, and sister G. will do gymnastic moves. Mother M. will be the videographer. I nicknamed them the "Flick-Flack" girls. The Flick Flacks then performed Silent Night for me in our two official languages. Beautiful – keep singing, girls, and I look forward to seeing what you perform for me in the new year.
  • A. M. came as our last visitor of the day. She bonded with baby Aiden and was a blessing to us in more ways than one.
  • The snow started falling on pines again, and I sat and watched it coming down the whole evening while watching a funny Christmas movie. Oh, it feels so good to laugh. I hope I can always laugh and make others laugh. Doug and Natalie are not nighthawks like me and RCMP man, so they went up to their respective beds. Me and police man watched a few episodes of our favorite sitcom on DVD and laughed hilariously.

Today:

A quiet day – no school today; no work, either. Natalie vacuumed the house; we did laundry. I basically recovered from the weekend, read and played with Aiden, and enjoyed being snowed in. Els sent me this quote from Max Lucado, which I took to heart:

When you are confused about the future, go to your Jehovah-raah, your caring shepherd. When you are anxious about provision, talk to Jehovah-jireh, the Lord who provides. Are your challenges too great? Seek the help of Jehovah-shalom, the Lord is peace. Is your body sick? Are your emotions weak? Jehovah-rophe, the Lord who heals you, will see you now. Do you feel like a soldier stranded behind enemy lines? Take refuge in Jehovah-nissi, the Lord my banner.

I can identify with all these things, Max. Isn't it great that God is our ALL in ALL?

There you have it – three great days. Thanks be to God.

Sunday, December 21 is the first day of winter. It is also the first anniversary of my good friend's death a year ago today. My good friend Janet White #1, lost her husband to cancer a year ago today. Our prayers are with her as she mourns her beloved husband, Duane.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

I now officially live in "Tamville"



C. traveled from Saint John today to present me with my very own Mary Tyler Moore tam, so I can throw it up in the air every day and sing my theme song, "I'm Gonna Make it After All." Later on this evening, I received a prayer shawl from the "Tea and Talk" group at our church, lovingly made for me by Judy Quesnel. Thanks, girls. I am blessed once again.

I'm Gonna Make it After All"

YouTube - Mary Tyler Moore Short Theme Song

Check this out...the song fits me now. I can "take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile..."

Saturday, 20 December 2008

YouTube - Natalie Grant - I Believe - Live - Casting Crowns Christmas Celebration

YouTube - Natalie Grant - I Believe - Live - Casting Crowns Christmas Celebration

Believe -- when all else fails, we must believe.....deb x0

Friday was a good day. It was so good that I almost forgot. Almost forgot that I'm in this 'dream' of a situation. Wrapped a few presents in the morning while baby Aiden crawled at my feet. I cherish babies crawling at my feet. Natalie & I bundled baby up like a blue snowman, and out the door we went, on a tree hunting adventure. Only a mile up the road, to the place we've been going every year since the kids were young – Bob Grass' tree farm in Douglas. His trees are thinning out, but every year he opens. He said he was waiting for me, and that he had heard. Word gets around in this small town. I felt like we were in a scene from The Chronicles of Narnia, a forest scene – so ethereal, with snow falling softly on firs. We deliberated over which tree to love, and decided on the very first one we saw; isn't that always the way?



Natalie drove me to my beloved Superstore, the first time I had set foot in it for three weeks – oh, it was so good to be back home again. Doug always said I should set up a booth in the Superstore, I'm there so much. The day the new store opened years ago, I was there six times. Socializing in the grocery aisles, don't you love it? Then we went to see my celebrity mother, and I lay on the floor by the open fire with the chestnuts roasting. Not really, but it was a nice thought. Did lay by the fire, though and played with Aiden. Mom served us tea and cookies. Moms are nice, aren't they? Soothing, and it was good to be back home again.

Nat drove me to a physio appointment for my shoulder. It has been aggravating me for the past year, and even more so now that I have lie on it all the time. Can't seem to get the pain under control. If it's not one thing, it's another. I must have damaged it playing volleyball or something with the Campobello girls or doing survival games with the women at Camp Tulakadik. The women I tend to associate with play hard, and that's how I like it. We're tough.

Arrived home at the same time as my father-in-law, John, who was delivering our tree in his half-ton truck. We left it at Bob's and he went and picked it up in his truck. I think I'll buy a truck when I get better – a GMC half-ton, if they're still in business. Doug actually put the tree in a stand and brought it in the house; a mini-miracle in our home. I love you, John Doug; you're getting better with the Christmas requirements every year. He even went and bought me extra strands of lights. I think he's softening. Soon he'll be decorating the tree himself.

Had a surprise visit from Angie from Norton; she was bearing a gift of a pineapple, which apparently means 'welcome.' I welcomed her to my home. We chatted for awhile. Angie is one of my adopted daughters – she's the one who sent me all the ornaments to paint (which, btw, I need to paint!). We had a great time visiting, and for a parting gift, I sent her home with my microwave. Figure that one out. Come with a pineapple, go home with a microwave. You never know what's going to happen when you come here. Love you, daughter. Merry Christmas. Doug actually went to Superstore and bought me another microwave, so all is even now. If you bring the microwave back, I'll trade you for the new one.

Nat spent about two hours on the lights for the Christmas tree; she is a perfectionist, I think. A go-getter, she is. I want to be just like her. We adorned it with beads and ribbons, and simple ornaments. I have to say that it is the MOST beautiful Christmas tree we have had. Everything looks more beautiful to me now. Thank you, Nat, for your diligence and perseverance to make the tree a reality in our home. And thank you, my husband; I'm proud of you for not complaining and being so tender.



And to cap off the wonderful day, we watched Mamma Mia, a gift from J. White #1, my dancing queen partner. I absolutely loved the movie! (RCMP man sat in the healing lazy brown chair and made fun of the movie, while he played on the computer. That's why I couldn't blog yesterday; he was hogging it. And who am I to ask him for anything? He's a policeman). The movie's music coupled with the plot was fantastic. I know now that I really am a dancing queen and could honestly see myself in Meryl Streep's acting. This movie took me back to my teenage years when we were dancing to ABBA's music, and I when I really thought I could dance. (You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life, oo-oo-oo see that girl, watch that scene, diggin' the Dancing Queen).
I think I should go live on an island, build a villa on the cliffs, invite people to come and stay, and we'll dance 'til we're done dancing. Maybe that's what heaven will be like. I HOPE so.

We will dance on the streets that are golden (We Will Dance, David Ruis)

Friday, 19 December 2008

Thursday

Peace beats fear, just like rock beats scissors in the game Rock, Paper, Scissors. "Peace covers over fear like paper covers over rock," my RCMP son-in-law mused. Exactly. Peace is what we need in this world of toil and trouble. And isn't this the season of peace? When Christ came and dwelt among us, to give us peace on earth, goodwill to all men? " O Come, O Come Emmanuel" – God with us.

I had to ask for Emmanuel's peace a few times today, to calm my troubled heart. The first time while having pelvic and abdominal ultrasounds; looking at the screen and seeing my innermost parts illuminated and captured on film. I am well, I am OK, nothing else is wrong, Jesus help me. Calm my fears.

The next time was in Dr. B's office. While waiting to go in, the previous patient came out to sign forms so she could have surgery. I could definitely tell she was a cancer patient – the scarf, the sallow skin. She was accompanied by her young daughter and her friend, and they began to discuss her permission for surgery form, her previous diagnosis and the drugs she was on. It definitely was not what I wanted to hear. Doug knew it bothered me. We went in to prepare for the drainage of my wound site (for the second time). So of course, I wasn't in a good mental state when I donned the Johnny shirt in preparation for the drainage (which is another thing I need to ask for peace for!). But Dr. B. is so wonderful and you feel so calm in her presence. She drained my site and told me I need to come to the hospital on Boxing Day to get it drained again. She will be on call that day, and it will need it by then. Boxing Day. That day, Natalie, Josh & Baby Aiden leave to go back to Manitoba. And we will have our Christmas meal that day at my mother's. And I will go to the hospital as well. I started to cry a bit, and Dr. B. comforted me – "go get ready for Christmas, it will soon be here. Enjoy yourself." You're right, Dr. B., I need to make the most of it. Just a bit overwhelmed, that's all, especially after what happened in the waiting room. Pull yourself together, Deb, call out for Emmanuel's peace and move on. So I did.

Came home, and the phone was ringing when I walked in the door -- from M., from Bahamas – "hold on to the Word, Deb. Hold on to the Word." I will. I bundled up in my parka and went for a walk in the new fallen snow. I love snow. "Snow means slow" – any of you remember the old TV commercial that said that? I use it with my music students sometimes, to try and get them to slow down a bit, plus confuse them at the same time. Snow meant slow for me today – I walked quite slow, studs on my boots so I wouldn't slip and slide. Sauntered on home, a bit tired – think I went too far. Had a coffee and some lunch. Vacuumed a bit (yes, I did, someone has to work around here!). Tried to fix my drain site bandage as the tape came off while I was vacuuming. (Perhaps I shouldn't have?) So I improvised. What would I do if I was on Survivor and needed to tape my chest? I went to my trusty junk drawer – green painter's tape, yes, that will work, and proceeded to tape away. When all else fails, use painter's tape. Doesn't look very good, but it will do in a pinch, and I was in a pinch. The tape held me together all day – Doug brought home some proper medical tape that I will apply. "Breath of heaven, hold me together, I sing." Or, "Green painter's tape hold me together."

I don't understand why people are so generous to me. This morning, two little cinnamon gingerbread men ornaments arrived at my door, made by the two little girls next door (C. takes care of them in the daytime). They think I have a cold and that I needed them for my tree. And that I will soon recover my from 'cold.' I need to get a Christmas tree now. Natalie has that planned for tomorrow. I wonder if Doug will help? He has a struggle with a tree every year. Someday I hope he can get over that and join in the 'tree' festivities. Doug, are you listening?

C. also brought us fresh homemade bread. There it was, leaning on the stove when I got back from my walk. I opened my mail and was blessed by the cards and letters I received. A letter from W., who has known me from childhood. She encouraged me to keep writing and being my 'zany self.' Thanks, W. They also have gone through cancer in their family and are now on the other side of the 'mountain.' And then another letter from L. from Boiestown, who had gone through breast cancer many years ago. She told me to keep a positive attitude. I will remember that. Someone remind me when I don't have one. I bowed my head and cried/prayed – "thank you, Lord, for the generosity of people – they are so kind to me, so encouraging."

I wrapped presents for a long time today, and experienced great peace. Emmanuel had come. The OT director dropped by with encouraging stories from people she hobnobs with. She brought the day's project – a bag of cloves and an orange. She showed me what I was to do – make a pomader ball. She started to work on the activity. You work on it, Deb. Yes, I'll try. Haven't got to it yet, but Natalie did a few cloves. Sure smells good. Think I should hang them all over the house. Nat & Josh came home this evening. I fed Baby Aiden. I don't think he knows me, he's been gone three days. Looks like he gained 10 pounds this week. Janet White #1 dropped by with a new copy of Mamma Mia, which I have been anxiously waiting to see. I thanked her for the Christmas present – "No, Deb, this is just because you're you." Again, generosity and thoughtfulness. S. came by with more Pad Thai – I had just finished eating one when she arrived with two more. I feel like I'm going to have a never-ending stash of Pad Thai.

Well, it's time to go to rebandage myself and go to bed. It's been a long day – of fear and peace. But peace beats fear, and I choose peace. "Peace covers over fear like paper covers over rock." Goodnight, RCMP officer on the couch reading your military book….I feel quite protected right now knowing you're here.

Hey, a Crest Whitestrips ad just came on. Just remembered that I didn't get my second application put on my teeth today. Oh well, there's always tomorrow. The strips will come out tomorrow.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Mother Theresa said that loneliness is the most terrible poverty. I realized that I'm not poor, but rich. Rich in family. Rich in friends. Definitely not lonely, and I like it that way.

I'm a bit behind in my blogging, just now writing about yesterday, Tuesday, Dec. 17th. I thought I would be lonely yesterday, as it was my first day without a baby to wake up to or a lovely daughter to behold (they took a few days to go Josh's parents for a visit, and hopefully get a rest). So I thought I would spend a quiet day alone, and felt a bit 'lonely,' but realized that I need to learn how to be alone with my thoughts and with God. It's not like I never got 'alone' time before this happened, but since it happened, I did not want to be alone. People to me are like a warm, fuzzy blanket that shelters me from the storm, or like a good movie that you never want to end.

"Breath of heaven, hold me together" is my prayer this week. This is all I can seem to pray. I believe He will hold me together, and after yesterday's BELIEVE tale, it is quite apparent that He will hold me together, and put this Humpty Dumpty back together again.

A mysterious gift-giver left a beautiful CD of Christmas music on my verandah – whoever you are, I love it, and play it while reading my Bible. I love music – it soothes the soul. C., our cousin neighbor came over for a few minutes, bearing a gift from her friend, G., from Minto. Thank you, G. for your kindness. I gave C. a 3-D snowflake that J. had made the night before. I glanced over at C.'s house early Tuesday morning from my upper window and noticed that she had hung the glitter snowflake I had given her last week in her window. I was touched; it was like looking at myself, because I know that when she looks at it, she thinks of me. Later that afternoon, I noticed that she had hung the 3-D snowflake there as well. Now there are two of me's hanging from C.'s window. It's almost like she has put a "support our soldier" sign in her window (a breast-cancer soldier gone to war). At least that's what I see when I look over. It comforts me.

Thinking Tuesday would be my all-alone day, I decided to make the best of it, puttering around the house, trimming up flower arrangements, watering plants, laundry, and maybe wrapping a present or two. And since I'm a multi-tasker, I decided to start my Crest Whitestrips beauty program (as part of my 'if I lose my hair at least my teeth are white' program). I also decided to put on a sleeveless top to take the pressure off my lymph node site. So, feeling quite free and proud of myself with my gelly Crest teeth, the doorbell rang. It was AJ, coming with his homemade fudge and his famous chicken soup, chock full of vegetables, in the biggest, most beautiful soup tureen I have ever laid my eyes on. I wondered to myself: "How am I going to eat that much soup today?" Oh well, I'll freeze it. AJ visited with me in the kitchen, and the whole time I tried to keep him from seeing my gelly teeth, and trying to actually talk like a normal person without a lisp. But I couldn't take the strips off, having just put them on, because they are far too expensive to waste. So after the 30 minutes application required, I decided to strip them off in front of him, and told him what I was doing. That I was going to email Crest and tell them my situation, and that perhaps they would send me some free strips or something. AJ got a kick out of my craziness, knowing me and all – it was OK. He left the building, leaving me the fudge & soup – oh my, I ate the soup at 2:30 for my late lunch. Beautiful soup – I NEED the recipe, AJ! Please? Could we publish it? We could market it! We could set up a soup stand here at the house – The Soul CafĂ© we could call my place – soup and soul talk. What do you think, AJ?

Lonely I was not, for in continuation of the theme of the week ("Cousin Week"), cousins Richard & Jeff arrived in all their glory, and I loved it. They drove down from Coldstream JUST to see me. Imagine. I nicknamed them "The Pirates of Coldstream." (I like to give people new names, for some reason). For three hours, the pirates and I shared many stories, laughs and deep thoughts about God and other things. I told them the BELIEVE angel tale and they were touched more than I know. Doug came home after work, and we shared more stories. I asked the pirates to stay and have soup and biscuits with us – AJ's soup, of course. They raved about the soup. Now I know why AJ brought such a large quantity – pirates eat a lot. After many hugs and kisses from the pirates (they're good pirates), we said our good-byes, planning on seeing each other real soon, perhaps in Coldstream, wherever that is.




Doug and I changed our clothes and we went for my first public outing – to a church. Imagine – me in a church – who would ever think it? Picked up the OT director and M. on the way. My beautiful young mother is a second soprano in the newly formed Fredericton Ladies Choir, led by Dianne Wilkins and Peter Steeves. A few other friends are members of the choir as well —Beth, Judy, and Ann. We sat in the balcony, and I actually made it up all the stairs. It was like a stairway to heaven. The music was beautiful and soothing to my soul. I closed my eyes several times and bathed in the sounds. After the concert, one of the composers 'just happened' to be sitting in front of us (Gervais Warren, composer of Carol of the Kingdom). He 'just happened' to have the music in his attachĂ© and gave me an original copy of it. I asked for his autograph. He 'just happened' to sign the music for me. I think I'll email him and tell him how special it was to receive that blessing. I told him I'm a choir director, too. I wish I was directing a choir right now. I have a great choir at our church – the best in Fredericton, I think. I hope they wait for me.

You know, my mom is getting to be quite a celebrity. She is now a published author, with an article in the recent issue of More Our Canada, plus performing for a packed audience at St. Paul's Cathedral . . . wow . . . I think I want to be just like her when I grow up. That was Tuesday. Our neighbours, the Whites, have a dog named Tuesday.

On this morning (Wednesday the day, not the pet), the OT director picked me up and took me to my favorite store – Zellers in the Brookside Mall. I shop here when I want to shop. It reminds me of my childhood. It is quiet and calm, just like shopping should be. We spent two hours there, and I was a bit spent the last hour, I must say, yawning and bumping into things, so the OT director made me sit down. It was my first shopping trip since the surgery. I saw G. from the church – she's probably buying something for Harry. I love Harry, one of Doug's buddies. He likes to sit at church with Doug in the sound booth. I don't know what they talk about or do back there, but I do know they turn a bunch of knobs and make our music sound great.

We came home and the OT director heated up some more of AJ's soup, however, she didn't know I had applied the Crest Whitestrips again, so I couldn't eat it for 30 minutes. One really needs to plan one's day better when using this beauty treatment. The OT director then made organic apple sauce at my request and not-so-organic-not-so-good-for-you peanut butter cookies (off the Kraft jar. Perhaps I should email Kraft as well?). I watched the movie The Muse with Albert Brooks and Andie McDowell in the lazy brown chair, and she joined me between stirs. I think she was doing the OT, not me. I'll eat the OT activity.

Well, it's time to sign off – Doug is sleeping on the lazy couch, snoring up a storm and I'm in the lazy brown chair, waiting for Mr. Bean to come on (Mr. Bean on the French channel. Since Mr. Bean doesn't really talk, I should be OK). Tomorrow morning, I have an abdominal ultrasound and a pelvic ultrasound. Then to see Dr. B. again to check my site. It feels like it needs to be drained again. It will be nice to get this healed up. Perhaps tomorrow I'll have the energy to wrap a few presents, eat some more of AJ's soup, and continue on with my beauty program.

It's time to strip the Whitestrips off my teeth – hope you haven't minded….

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A Tale of Two Believes

You never know what is going to happen in a day. My days used to be routine; now they are FAR from routine. I never know what is going to happen, who is going to come and visit, or what new person I will connect with. My cousin Penny told me last night that she felt that each day would be filled with divine appointments – I think she’s right. This 'tale' is a tale of Monday, Dec. 15, 2008....

It started out rather routine – couldn’t sleep, so got up and offered to feed baby Aiden and take care of him for a couple of hours so Natalie could go back to bed. Aiden is teething – he came with two teeth a month ago, and will probably go back to Manitoba with seven, so he’s having a bit of a struggle sleeping – just like me. We’re two peas in a pod. I wish I was teething.

I tried to go out for a short walk up the street, but only made it to Charlotte’s yard next door (C. is Doug’s cousin; although if you know Doug, EVERYONE seems to be his cousin). Janet White #2, another neighbor/friend, came over to see me at C.’s house. We talked for a good long time. Heather, our mail carrier friend arrived bearing gifts, and to give me a lecture about walking on the streets without studs or treaded boots on my feet. So I didn’t walk the street, just the yard back to my house again. I told H. she can be my weather monitor. We must remember to pray for Heather’s sister, Margaret Amos, who has cancer. I’ve mentioned her before. She and her husband live in the Miramichi. We must remember to pray for Margaret – that God would give her strength and tenacity to carry on. I’m praying for you, Margaret – your sister is awesome…

Brenda & Luke arrived bearing gifts (including Crest whitestrips for me – I figured that if I was going to lose my hair, at least I would have white teeth. Reminder to self: must email Crest and see if I can get some ‘freebies’ or something....part of my ‘Look Good, Feel Good’ program I’m instituting for myself). The OT director arrived with a project. We decided to fill the kitchen with all the leftovers and eat lunch before we started any project – need to have a full belly.

It was after lunch that the cousins started arriving. I’ve decided to deem this “Cousin Week” at our house. Cousin Wayne & Bev came (they live in Coldstream, wherever that is) – we had a kitchen party, eating clementines to our heart’s delight. I think my theme song should be Oh My Darling, Oh My Darling Clementine. We love clementines here at the MAC house. My mom arrived to join in on the party.

On their heels came cousin Greg (Nasonworth) and my aunt-‘pretend mother’ Viv (Cloverdale, wherever that is), bearing a beautifully wrapped package. I opened it up while they laughed hilariously – “Don’t break it!” they giggled, as I opened up a BELIEVE angel ornament broken into three pieces. Seems they bought it that morning, forgot what was in the bag, plunked it down and broke it as they took a break in their shopping spree for lunch. Didn’t discover it was broken til they went to wrap it up. Take note that they ate lunch around noon, which is important in the timing of this real story.

Anyway, knowing my personality and my sense of humour, they decided to give me the ‘broken’ Believe angel. I said that was OK, because I have a habit of breaking things, and that Doug’s father is an expert ‘gluemaster’ of all the things I have broken over the years. I’ll simply give it to him to fix for me (he already had to do this a couple of weeks ago…he’s going to wonder what’s going on in this house!). Anyway, as we visited some more, I told Viv & Greg that I wasn’t going to get him to glue it right now, but would later – after I’m healed – down the road – that’s when I would take it to him to be ‘restored.’ That the broken Believe ornament represented me right now – and God is in the middle of my situation, with angels watching over me…. We decided that was a good idea. Here’s a pic of their gift:



Isn’t it beautiful? A nice ornament, I thought…I have received many ‘believe’ signs this month, and this adds to my collection. I certainly need lots of reminders to BELIEVE that I will beat this disease.

Well, on with the story. We said our good-byes to Viv & Cousin Greg, thanking them for the wonderful gift, amidst much laughter and pictures (if you visit, you may have your picture taken). Thanks for the broken gift! Come again! LOL.

The next cousin arrives (I wonder to myself: did they plan this? To come on the same day?). Cousin Randi B., also from Coldstream. She just happened to be in Fredericton, too. We have some more laughs and more fruit. She gives me lipstick kisses. She always made me laugh when we were young (still does). I told her recently that I had always wanted to be like her (she’s a tad bit older, but I don’t hold that against her). I show her the broken BELIEVE angel ornament that Greg & Viv adorned me with – and we laugh some more. And I’m still thinking that Doug’s dad can glue it back together when I’m back together.

Lovely visit with Cousin Randi, and then it’s time to go to a party at D.’s house, where the women’s group I sing with (Sisters Act) is hosting a “Love Deb” party for me. We have a beautiful meal; my first night out of my house. We have Christmas crackers (you know, you pull them apart, they make noise and have tiny gifts hidden inside). My cracker has a tiny, tiny blue comb in it. I said I would use it to comb the tiny, tiny amount of hair I may have. We laugh some more. We need to laugh, right?

I proceed to tell my sister-friends (Janette, Penny, Jody, Dawn-Marie, Maxine, Doris, Marilyn, Carolyn, Brenda) about the broken BELIEVE angel ornament received that afternoon and how I was going to get Doug’s dad to glue it back together like Humpty Dumpty, AFTER I’m healed. Dawn-Marie gets all excited and goes out of the room, returning with a gift bag. This same day, at around 1 pm, she asked God in a store, “what should I get Deb as a gift tonight?” He showed her what to purchase. (Remember when Greg & Viv break their gift? Noon).

I delve into Dawn’s gift bag and pull out a beautiful fleece throw. THEN, a tissue paper wrapped ornament….could it be? YES, it is the same one! I begin to cry out – and hold it up in the air – “Oh, God, I’m healed already! I don’t have to wait to glue the other ornament! Look, Brenda (my sis, who is weeping), I’m healed already! WOW, God! I can Believe! I’m going to be restored! YOU did this today to show me that I’m going to be OK!” What an overwhelming moment it was. I took a picture of both of them today so you would see I didn’t make this up.



This was divine intervention, to say the least. I hope Greg & Viv read the blog, because they don’t know this yet. I thank them for following their heart and giving me the broken BELIEVE sign, or this day wouldn’t have had the impact it did on my life. It gave me and my sister hope. I thank Dawn-Marie for praying and asking God what to buy.

My sister friends continued to bless me with gifts of money, and a self-appointed “3-D” OT director (Janette), led a craft class on how to make 3D snowflakes. We all participated. Funny thing is, Dawn-Marie is preparing for her daughter’s wedding in January with snowflakes being the decoration of choice – so we made many snowflakes for her to take with her. Then the sisters blessed me again – with prayer. I love those girls; we’ve been together for years and years, making music and sharing each other’s struggles. They’re my family, too. Thanks, Sisters for the great “Love Deb” party. I truly felt your love. Thanks, D., for hosting the party. Thanks, J. for the 3-D. You're 3-D.

So there you have it – The Tale of Two Believes in one day, purchased in the same day, no doubt at two different stores by two different shoppers at two different times, for one person with cancer who is perhaps struggling with believing. But God showed me through a broken BELIEVE ornament and a restored BELIEVE ornament that there’s always room for belief.

BELIEVE – the song, the ornament, the attitude to believe. And isn’t Christmas a season of belief?

And now the verse: Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! (Luke 1:45)…….deb x0

YouTube - Believe by Josh Groban w lyrics

YouTube - Believe by Josh Groban w lyrics

The dead tree has fallen

My dead tree fell down today – I was upstairs making the bed and just happened to look outside on the lawn. I loved this dead tree because it reminded me of the cross of Christ, and how I am dead in my sins and alive in Christ.

The tree must have fallen in the night because of the wind. Doug has been wanting to cut the tree down since we moved here, but I wouldn't let him – "I LOVE that tree, Doug! You can't cut it down!" I would say.

I began to cry when I saw it today – fallen and helpless, just like me – apart from God, I am fallen and helpless, not knowing what to do. I asked God, "why did my tree fall down? Why now? I loved that tree."

He spoke this to my heart: "Because what is dead is gone…" Cancer is a dead thing in my body; it will be gone; it is gone.

 

Monday, 15 December 2008

This morning, I removed the bandage that Dr. B. applied on Friday, after draining my wound (I'm still the English patient). The swelling has reduced somewhat, but Dr. B. may have to drain it again later in the week. It feels like a bad sunburn, coupled with bruising, but hey – when you go through the war, a soldier expects to get injured. I need to exercise my arm more in order to stretch the scar tissue. I stretched it the wrong way today while putting my arm in my coat, let out a scream and sat down to recover, thinking I had done something to it. Still intact. Need to be more careful, I guess. I have slowed down to slow-mo in everything I do; can't imagine I would ever be doing everything SO slow!

So much has happened to me today, that I need the night to process it, and will write more tomorrow. I want to tell a story about two "BELIEVE" angels I received today, and how God used them to give me hope in this storm (and some other things).

I'm in a waiting game: calls from the hospital for all the x-rays and scans I will have before starting chemo, a call from oncologist Dr. R., and another visit to surgeon Dr. B. (have I written that she's the greatest?). I'm sure Dr. R. will be great as well (someone very special told me that I will love him, too. D. S., the special dietitian visited with food this past Saturday, and told me she will be my oncology dietitian. She is "waiting for me" to come to the unit. I was so blessed by that.) God is placing people everywhere to help me get through this 'adventure.'

Today, I have been pondering Acts 28, where the Apostle Paul was bitten by a snake on the island of Malta. Paul shook off the snake and went on with his work. The people on the island saw it happen, and expected him to swell up and die. Yet he did not, even though the FACT is that if one is bitten by a poisonous snake, serious things happen inside the body. Why didn't the snakebite kill Paul? Because the TRUTH of God was working – God was not finished with Paul yet, so the snake had no effect on him. Paul SHOOK the snake off his body, and went on with the task at hand – building a fire.

I have been bitten by the 'snake' of cancer – people are watching me, expecting me to die perhaps, but if GOD isn't finished with Deborah MacDonald yet, the effects of the 'snake' will not harm her, and she will continue on with the work assigned to her – building fires on some remote island, perhaps.

Night.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Quite a day

This has been a good day; a good day filled with people. Had a bit of the blues around noon, as I lay on my bed. My wonderful son came upstairs and helped me through it, (my children are so awesome and wise). Then I came downstairs to see the babies. It's like babyland here this weekend. I love it. You have to watch where you step or sleep, as there is someone filling any available space in this cozy house we live in. Jon & Alicia & 3 babies left, and from mid-afternoon on til late evening, we had many friends visit. People think this tires me out, but it actually energizes me and keeps my mind off the waiting. I am HONORED that people would take the time out of their busy schedule, especially this time of the year, to come see me.

Once again, I have been encouraged today -- with visits, food and prayers. Even a couple of students came today, bearing gifts and letters, and played the piano for me. This evening, Mom, Brenda, Natalie and I played two games of Scrabble; I won one game. I WILL win this challenging game I'm playing in my life as well -- bit by bit, moment by moment. The game of life -- hmmm....ever heard of that one?

I heard recently that Christmas is two Thursdays from now. Really? One certainly views that in a different light, too. Gifts, decorating and all the trappings don't matter as much as they used to. What matters most is the gift of family and friends, and that I know the ONE who is the REASON for the season; the ONE who is getting me through this.

I must go practice sleeping now.

YouTube - Bill Withers - Lean on Me

YouTube - Bill Withers - Lean on Me

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don't let show

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'd understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Lean on me...



Thanks, everyone, for letting me lean on you. I see God all around me -- in you....

deb
x0

Saturday, 13 December 2008

What a day with family, and lots of playing with our four grandbabies. It truly takes my mind off my situation – perhaps I should start a daycare.

I must remember to stand on the word I felt God put in my heart on Nov. 10th, the day I was diagnosed – "this sickness will not end in death." God puts it in my heart every so often, but fear likes to rear its ugly head and stare at me. I hate fear --- but God is greater than any fear, and I am learning to trust Him in this storm. We have to LEARN how to trust, you know. We have to practice trusting. Just like we practice piano or guitar – playing the same 'piece of music' over and over again until we perfect it. I need to 'perfect' trust.

I was encouraged by many things today, even though I woke up with great fear. I prayed early this morning, as I lay in a fetal position: "God, if I was a child and I was ill, would you care for me?" Then I realized that I am His child, and the great I AM is taking care of me. God is still God and He's still the God of me. I will "praise Him in this storm." He has brought me through EVERY storm we've encountered in our 30 years of marriage; will He not get me through this, too?

I'm very tired; I must go to bed. More later. Love to all.

Friday, 12 December 2008

This morning we went to the hospital and I had my surgery site drained in the outpatient department. Dr. B. extracted 200 ml of fluid and applied a new pressure bandage, which I will keep on until Monday. I'll have to go back and see Dr. B. next week to see if it needs to be drained again. Then Doug drove me over to my hairdresser, Sandy, who treated me with such kindness. She has worked with cancer patients, wigs, and the "Look Good, Feel Good" program for years. We talked about when my hair starts to fall out, that she will cut my hair short to my head, so that it won't be so hard to bear. Told me I had a nice-shaped head, and Loretta, another hairdresser told me I had a cute face. Wasn't that nice? D. picked me up and took me to see Mom & Dad for a few minutes. Then we came home for lunch. Natalie and Aiden were home from their visit to the doctor. I tried to sleep for an hour, but sleep never came. M. came over with a movie, "Fred Claus," and we chilled out for awhile. Then, a pleasant surprise – my sister Brenda and nephew Luke arrived from Shelburne, NS – a 7 hour drive. I was so excited. I've wanted to see her for a couple of weeks, and God knew the desire of my heart – He sent her today. She's here for a few days. She likes to clean; I like that. She likes to take care of me; I like that, too.

Natalie went to get her husband Josh at the airport, who was arriving from The Pas, Manitoba. Josh is an RCMP officer; he hasn't been home for three years. So the house started to fill. D. came after supper for a visit. Jon, Alicia, Afton, Jack and Ivy arrived after 8 pm, and then the old woman had a lot of babies in her shoe. She loved it. Afton charmed us with renditions of poems and stories she has memorized. She is a 'ham' like her Gram Deb. You don't need to watch TV with all these babies and toddlers to entertain you. We are blessed; our quiver is full; our house is full – someone is sleeping in every room and on every floor. And I love it. God is good to bring them to us this weekend. I have forgotten several times the condition I find myself in. Perhaps they should stay for a good long while.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The News

We met with Dr. B., my surgeon, this afternoon. She's the greatest. She told us news we definitely did not want to hear. Here it is:

  • Tomorrow morning, I will go to the hospital to have my surgery site drained, as the fluid has not drained properly, and another pressure bandage will be applied. This explains all the pain I have been having
  • The pathology showed that the tumour was 1 cm larger than previously thought. She thought it was 2.4 cm, but it was 3.5 cm, more aggressive than they thought
  • Of 9 lymph nodes removed during surgery, 8 had cancer in them, surprising to us all. We couldn't believe this – "Are you sure this is my report?" I asked.
  • I will be meeting with Dr. B again next week to check my surgery site
  • Dr. B. has been in touch with Dr. R., the oncologist, and they devised a plan to get my treatment going as soon as possible
  • I will undergo nuclear scans and tests this month to prepare me for chemotherapy
  • I will meet with the oncologist as soon as possible
  • Treatment will be aggressive chemotherapy for four months (5-6 treatments) starting in January, followed by radiation therapy in Saint John for a month. Dr. B. said I would need nine months to recover properly
  • She said I can't work, due to the intensity of the treatment. I am very disappointed.


     

    Doug, Natalie and I were dumbfounded. I looked at them after Dr. B. left the room, and said, "God is still God." We came home. Natalie went to get Baby Aiden at Wendy & Dave's house (Josh's parents); Doug worked on the furnace problems he's been having in our house today; and I went for an hour + walk, talking to God the whole time, just like you'd talk to your good friend (because He is my good friend). When all else fails, walk – walk and pray. Walk until you're done walking. I'm going to be doing a lot of walking in the next few weeks, just like Forest Gump.

    I asked Him for strength, for peace, for no fear, for no sickness, all those things. I asked Him questions, but received no answers. I definitely need strength to go through this; I don't want to go through it, but what choice do I have? I cried a little bit, and placed my life in His hands – my life is His, not mine. Then I thanked God and I praised Him – I need to praise Him in this storm, I have to – what choice do I have? I don't know what to do. But He knows the plans He has for me – plans to prosper me and not harm me. I am God's child – Daddy's brave little girl.

    My mother drove by me while I was walking and crying. She stopped; I got in her car; she held me and cried with me; brought me home and fed me some supper. D. came, then many friends who had heard and felt called to come and sit with us. We are blessed. And many phone calls from those who love us, and whom we love dearly. We are blessed. What would we do without all of you who are praying and supporting us, and helping to carry this burden?

    I need to remember that God is in control, and that with God all things are possible.

    When we win, we praise Him; when we lose, we still praise Him. (Facing the Giants movie). I'm going to beat this cursed disease of cancer; He will help me; YOU will help me with your prayers and support. You will help us – our whole family, and for that we are truly grateful.

    Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, give thanks….even this. I read this tonight again in Phil. 4, and said, "Thank you" to God – He said to give thanks in everything.

I glanced at myself in the mirror tonight and what came to my mind was a picture of Mary Tyler Moore. I used to love watching that show, and the song that they would sing at the end of the show. Remember how it went? "You're gonna make it after all." I want to see if I can order a season of that show, just so I can watch the ending of each episode.

I'm going to get myself a tam, and throw my tam into the air, just like Mary Tyler Moore did. Mary made it. Deb is going to make it – after all. Praise God.


 

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Woke up late today; what a strange thing to stay in bed until you're done sleeping. And to stay in your PJs until you want to get dressed. I put my earrings on for the first time since the surgery. I still don't have my rings on, not even my wedding band; don't know why I haven't put them on. Don't want any encumbrances, I guess. Maybe tomorrow.

I love crafts but never have had the time to do any. This week has been occupational therapy week (at least in my house). Received a package in the mail today from Angie, an amazing primitive art crafter, who put together some unfinished ornaments she made, tole paints, paintbrushes, directions and even some M & M's to munch on while I create. I'm in the business of promoting Angie's talent. I adopted her as my daughter last year. I adopt a lot of daughters. I love daughters. And sons – I have a few sons out there as well.

E. came to see me, bearing gifts as well. She brought me a whole collection of Christmas books to read. One story she recommended is called Gold, Circumstance and Mud by Rex Knowles. I wonder what that's about? I'll read it tonight. Another fascinating book she brought: An Orange from Portugal: Christmas Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland. I'm glad I live in Eastern Canada – God's country. Christmas Meltdown caught my eye, as I had a meltdown yesterday. E. is a retired teacher; once a teacher, always a teacher; bringing her friends some books. How precious. Thanks, E. We have a lot in common. We work together with children at church. (I miss children; I miss my students, too). We had a great chat and some laughs.

The OT director came with the day's craft, the stitching of snowmen. I love making snowmen. I remember years ago when the OT director and I made 150 snowmen for all my students. That was a crazy December, what were we thinking? I always make something 'snowmanish' in December. S. arrived and had some tea and cake. She also brought me Pad Thai (I was having a craving for it), which we put in the freezer. C. brought supper and a gluten-free chocolate cake. I was touched. It requires a lot more energy to make gluten-free sweets; I know, I've been eating this way for 15 years now. I think I need an exercise program soon. I've not eaten regularly for years, due to my irregular schedule, and now I have three meals a day! I have a trampoline downstairs, but not sure if I can jump and down yet (smile). C. from next door just stopped by with a snowman angel! And she didn't even know I was making snowmen today. God is good; He knows every detail and our heart's desires.

Today is one month since I was diagnosed – 30 long, hard days. Seems like forever. Yet so much has happened in this month – doctors' visits, all my careers have been 'stopped in their tracks,' mastectomy surgery and recovering from that trauma – the English patient. And waiting – SO much waiting – always waiting for the next step in the process. These past two weeks, I have been waiting to recover and now am waiting to go to see the surgeon tomorrow, Dr. B., the best surgeon in the world, I think -- for her to check out her handiwork, make sure I'm healing correctly, and give us the results of the pathology report. I have to admit I don't want any more bad news – who does? I'm asking God that there be no more cancer – anywhere, no further treatment, no fear, and that He would grant HIS peace, the peace that passes all human understanding.

Tomorrow afternoon – 3:20 p.m. – if you're reading this, will you pray for good results? I know that we are not to worry – I tell this to people all the time. One of my favorite passages comes from Phil. 4. Listen to it from the message:

Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, (don't you love that?), 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.

I MUST shape my worries into prayers. Then let God settle me down. A good word for me today, and tomorrow and the day after that and so on….

Coming at you from the lazy brown chair, is the not-lazy Deborah….

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Today, I played the piano twice – morning and evening. This morning, I played Impromptu in Eb Major by Schubert, a Grade 10 piece, in its entirety (9 pages). Never accomplished this before; It was always too challenging to me, but not today, I was determined to make it to the finish line. I was so pleased when I plunked down the final chord. I did it! Can I get through things that are hard? You bet I can. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength," even when they are challenging.

After that challenge, I plunked myself in the lazy brown chair and listened to "The Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky. I 'googled' Tch – found out that he was not that satisfied with this composition. That though he accepted the commission, he did not particularly want to write it. He wrote to a friend while composing the ballet: I am daily becoming more and more attuned to my task. (Wikipedia.org/wiki/The Nutcracker#History)

Am I becoming more and more attuned to what's ahead? I hope so.

This afternoon, the OT director brought a gingerbread house for Natalie to build. My mom came and made her famous almond brittle candy in my kitchen, right in front of our eyes, and J. came to vacuum, have tea, chocolate and candy, and to dance to Dancing Queen. I joined her, and we have it on tape. I like to see people dance to that song. It makes me happy. I love to dance; just like I love to laugh. Except at 4:30, I had a meltdown and cried for about an hour. M. came and called a friend who has cancer and I talked to her, crying the whole time, but she encouraged me – God IS faithful and He will never leave me. I dried my tears and played with baby Aiden. Nothing like a baby's laugh to bring you back to smiling again. When all else fails, play with a baby.

D & R brought a fabulous dinner, complete with a delicious gluten-free blueberry cake with brown sugar sauce. Even brought me the recipe so I can make it later. Yum! I feel so special. I can't get over the generosity of people who take the time to make us meals and travel great distances to bring them here. And the cards and emails of encouragement I receive – I am still overwhelmed that people would actually take the time; it blows me away.

I don't like meltdowns; they put a bit of a downer on the day, don't they? And it isn't even Monday. Tomorrow will be better.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go (Josh. 1:9)

My Dad came to see me this morning, to see how I was doing today. He hugged me and said, "It's so sad, isn't it? You're going to get better. I think you are." I replied, "If you pray for me, I will. If my Daddy prays for me, I will." Then we went into the music room and worked on the piece of the puzzle that is missing – tracing around the shape, hoping that Mom will be able to paint a new piece that matches. If only life were that easy – there would be a whole of paintin' goin' on. Missing puzzle pieces in our lives.

Whom have I but You, Lord? You have the missing puzzle piece, don't You?

Whom Have I But You

(David Ruis)

Whom have I but You
Whom have I but You

Though mountains fall
They fall into the sea

Though my coloured dawn
May turn to shades of grey

Though questions asked
May never be resolved

Copyright © 1996 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Things you can do if you find yourself 'shut in':

  • Decide when you wake up that you want to make paper snowflakes and cover them with glitter; call the OT director and ask her to find a pattern
  • Have your daughter treat you to a spa in your home, complete with facial, hand massage, nails, and calf rubdown, while she makes you laugh hilariously, as she pretends to be a spa owner
  • Eat grilled tuna melts with vegetable havarti cheese
  • Sit at the kitchen table (turned craft room) and make paper snowflakes with glitter for all your friends to enjoy when they come to visit (you get to take one home if you visit, so come)
  • Watch your mother iron the paper snowflakes
  • Watch your daughter and husband vacuum up the glitter for a very long period of time, while you play with a baby in the chair
  • Enjoy tea, peanut butter cookies and clementines
  • Have your daughter work on most of the new puzzle you started yesterday, and after a wonderful salmon dinner (dropped off by A.), finish the puzzle and feel you have accomplished something
  • Read the comic strips in the newspaper, along with the daily news (you must stay connected with your city, as you cannot get 'out and about')
  • Watch your daughter hang the snowflakes around the house ("The Hanging of the White"). If you come down to my house in the woods today, you're in for a big surprise – a snowflake to take home to adorn your own abode
  • Put on your evening pajamas in preparation for an evening movie
  • Knit a bit, tear it out, knit some more, tear it out; then change yarns completely, knit a bit, tear it out and start all over again


     

    These are a few things you could do if you ever find yourself 'shut in,' for whatever reason. They say, "time heals all wounds." I believe that to be true. I'm going a bit 'stir crazy.' Just a bit – can you tell?

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want of things to do, even when I'm shut in…. The next thing is to go to sleep and read some more of "The Friday Night Knitting Club," which inspires me to keep knitting, even though I tear out most of what I knit. Doesn't matter, it gives me something to do, and it's good therapy for my healing muscles in my arm. Good night all.