Friday, 27 February 2009

I can always tell when it's chemo week. I don't feel like doing anything. Sitting, lying down, resting, listening. Had a rough night's sleep; got up at 6 a.m. Woke up with an idea of teaching a series on "Being More than a Survivor," and how we can survive through hard things. Spent three hours in the kitchen doing word puzzles and devotions. Then watched a few Christian programs on TV. I did this yesterday as well – spent the whole morning in my chair til noon. How often can one sit in a chair and watch TV in the morning? Except when laid by on a bed of sickness? Or when you know you must just be still and know that He is God, because that's all you know right now.

The sun just came out – good. Nothing like the sun to buoy up the spirits. I must get lunch and get exercising my muscles. But I wanted to post this Scripture first:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…. If God is for us, who can be against us?....Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger of sword?....No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8).

I am more than a conqueror – more than a survivor. He loves me. This morning I read "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love" (John 15:9). That spoke so loudly to my heart that I began to weep. He loves me. He is here with me, even if it seems that He has left and His purpose for me is gone. In all things God works for my good – ALL things. Say, "ALL," Deb. I have a teaching I call "ALL" and a skit to go along with it. Some of you may have seen it. I need to practice what I preach now.

The doorbell just rang – it was Janette, with a labour of love she's been working on – multicoloured socks. I know how LONG it takes to knit these – Wow. I tried a few years ago, but gave up they were so difficult. Thanks, J – she's been staying up late at night trying to get them done before spring arrives. You never know what is going to come your way to bless you – every day. This afternoon I hope to exercise and watch a movie with Max.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

"We will wrestle our crowns from the giants we conquer" (Streams in the Desert). I'm trying to conquer this giant, and it's a huge giant these past few days. Yes, I'm in the downward stretch now for chemo – halfway there. I need to keep pressing on. It's been a hard go this past week, not sure why, it just is. Yesterday, Mom came up and cleaned my house and then we went walking at Willie's. Doug read to me last evening and I fell asleep for a couple of hours. Woke up and watched a show, then to bed for the night.

Got up early today, word puzzles, devotions, and a bit of exercise. Since it was so nice, I thought I would try Odell again, but I, but found it too difficult and only walked on the level parts. Don't have much energy this week. Went to Mom's for lunch and slept on her couch for a couple of hours. I thought I could attempt watercolour painting again, but alas, my brain just isn't there. Maybe tomorrow. We went for a walk around the block instead. I have a hard time putting in the days. Next week will be better. It's hard to focus, for sure. Now I'm making Doug supper with donated foodstuffs from Mom and Els. Perhaps he'll read to me again this evening.

C. sent me the quote in a card today. The card said, "Hang in there." I'm trying, and I will. Blessings….

Monday, 23 February 2009

Once again, our God came through for us! After battling with getting out of the driveway at 7:15, and then several attempts to plow through deep snow on our street, we made it to the hospital. The oncology unit was closed until 8:30, so we sat in the hall waiting. I thought, "my blood count is going to come up – we've made it through the snowstorm." At 9:00 I had the blood test, then went back to the Rehab to wait for an hour. After arriving back in the oncology unit, I asked the nurses, "Well? What did you find out?" "It's a go," Audra said, and I grabbed hold of her in elation. "What was my count?" "It was 1.82," she replied. "Wow, that's even more than the last time! Yes!" (my second treatment showed .94 on Friday, climbing to just 1.49 by Monday. This treatment was .84, climbing to 1.82).

Thank you God, and thank you all for praying. I'm home now at 2:00, and Doug is outside snowblowing the driveway. Have a bit of discomfort in my gut, but I've taken all my antinausea drugs, plus I have seabands on (I read these may help with nausea, since they work for planes and ferries).

After I heard that I could have my third chemo treatment, I felt a 'hope' wash over me. I have been very discouraged since last week – with fears washing over me big time. I've cried a few tears; it seems like the shock of my situation wore off and I realized where I am. I've been afraid of death again this past week, which I have no reason to be, because I know where I'm going. But you know? I'm still human. I've had other fears, as well, that I won't go into. I've called out to God, and Doug and I have talked and prayed. Last evening, I had great anxiety and Doug and I prayed together before bed. The anxiety lifted, and I slept like a baby. I woke up this morning not remembering that I was going through this, until I came fully awake. I guess that's why God gave us the gift of sleep – to escape from our problems somewhat; a reprieve from the storm. I must press on, but I got hope today to continue – I'm now in the halfway mark of my chemo treatments. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Prayer truly works, and I thank you all.

Saturday, 21 February 2009


This morning, Doug and I picked up Mom and Dad and went to RV World to check out the new RVs. Home for lunch, then over to The Playhouse for Alice in Wonderland, the Leo Hayes High School musical production. I had five students performing in it. It was very well done, and we were very impressed. A few laughs as well. The story of Alice is all mixed up, if you remember, and absolutely NOTHING makes sense in her 'dream.' It reminded me of my life right now. Nothing makes sense – nothing. Perhaps I'll wake up and this will all be a dream. We stayed afterwards to greet my students. I was so excited to see them, and they greeted me with intense hugs of love. They are part of my family – like my grandchildren – and I am very proud of them. I miss my students so much. My heart was bursting as I watched them sing, dance and act.

Doug and I then went to Killarney Lake for the Pond Hockey Tournament. We stopped by the York Foundation booth for hot chocolate and a beaver tail for Doug. We didn't see President Obama, though. Perhaps he was on Air Force One by that time. Max, M.K. and Joline were working in the tent, flour flying everywhere as they made beaver tails. We hovered around the tent for awhile, walked the perimeter of the ice rinks, then to Shoppers for more drugs for me to take. Oh joy. Soon there will be a day when we won't have to take drugs – God will make it all better.

We're going to watch "The Express," a true story of a real hero – Ernie Davis overcame impossible odds to become the first African-American to win college football's greatest honour – the Heisman Trophy. Did you notice that it's yet another football movie? Have I mentioned I love football before?

The Pirate emailed me and told me that new research shows that breathing oxygen through a mask seems to help with increasing white blood cell counts. Now where can I get an oxygen tank tonight? I guess I'll just take deep breaths while watching the movie.

Friday, 20 February 2009

This is what I'd rather be doing right now -- driving a Mustang!

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Just got home after a long day. Went to the church this morning for prayer by the pastor and elders. I was so blessed and encouraged by their prayers. Thank you for encouraging me in this way. To the hospital for blood work, and then we met with Dr. Broad (my family doctor in oncology) for my pre-chemo check-up. After several minutes of discussing my list of 'complaints,' she looked up the results of the blood tests. The white cell count was only .84, even lower than last month's .94 on the Friday before chemo. The minimum required is 1.5. She said we would need to delay treatment for a week, and they would have to give me an injection that would make my white cells replenish faster. This injection is very expensive, and hopefully our coverage would pay for a portion of it. However, she said she would check with Dr. Raza and get back to us to see what he wanted to do..

Doug went back to work and I went to Willie Wonka's to walk and listen to a sermon about Esther and the higher plan of God. A plan that we can't see. I feel that my faith is being tested – do I believe that God is in control? Our faith is tested to see if it is pure, as I said the other day. I have to believe that if I can't start on Monday that God is in control. But I have faith that God can make my white cells produce, and I believe in prayer.

Dr. Broad called Doug a bit later and told him that Dr. Raza said for me to come in at 8:00 on Monday morning and get another blood test. Just like last time. It needs to come up to 1.5, just like last time. So, I send out the request for prayer again – God is able to do immeasurably MORE than all we ask OR imagine. White cells – produce!

I need to stay positive and keep my mind occupied. I need to do normal things. I am in such a waiting game, that sometimes it drives me crazy. Stir crazy. But I must be patient and trust in God – He knows the way I take. I must not be discouraged, but encouraged that your prayers are holding me up. I must continue on, even though I have a list of 'complaints.' God knows. He knows everything.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

A quiet day. An alone day. Inside my house, entertaining myself, pretending I have a job. Worked out on the trampoline while watching the news coverage of President Obama's visit to Canada. Then did some Pilates for prenatal women (yes, you're reading this right. It was difficult!). I'm hurting everywhere these days -- my left shoulder, PICC line site, and mastectomy site, which aches most of the time. All I can say is that I'm glad I will have a new body someday! One that is restored and not aching. But at least I could exercise today, and climb a mountain yesterday. I sure am feeling the exercises in my body this evening, though!

My goals for today were exercise and completing my Passport application and another government form. I achieved these, and spent the rest of the time knitting and talking on the phone to Natalie and Janet White #1. Had little energy this afternoon. Doug arrived home bearing fiddlehead soup, cranberry bread and biscuits, compliments of R., who no doubt spent the whole day cooking for us. She also made Doug date squares which he had almost devoured by the time he walked through the door. Thanks for the meal, R. What a treat! She also sent me a chia pet. Funny. I can watch it grow hair and perhaps we'll have a competition on who can grow the most hair. I need to name her. Maybe Chia, how original. We had dinner, and then I played Scrabble with Jules and Mom on-line. It's part of the 'increasing my brainpower' exercises. I feel like I need to watch something comedic tonight, but Doug is watching Mike Holmes right now. Need some laughter tonight.

Tomorrow morning I go for blood test, then meet with the doctor to see if I can take chemo on Monday. Would appreciate your prayers. Will update you tomorrow. Must see if I can stand up now; I think I've seized up! I wonder if someday I'll be able to fit into my wedding dress. That would be a miracle.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Life is a Gift

In truth, all human beings are called to be saints, but that just means called to be fully human, to be perfect – that is, whole, mature, fulfilled. The saints are simply those men and women who relish the event of life as a gift and who realize that the only way to honor such a gift is to give it away. –William Stringfellow--

Fire and a Mountain Climb

Had a good night's rest for the second night in a row. However, after breakfast I became extremely tired and a bit discouraged, for no apparent reason. So I persevered in my study. I was studying about trials and being tested by them. "But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10). Yes! I hope I'm a bar of gold when I'm through this.

Then, I read this: "So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for awhile. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold" (1 Pet 1:6-7). OK, I must concentrate on the word "awhile" and "strong and pure." I want to be found faithful in this 'awhile' time of my life. The other day I wrote these words in my journal:

I will walk into the fire;

Tho' that is not what I desire

Someday, and maybe very soon

I will know His purpose for this time

Yet for now I simply must remain in His love.

    Daniel and friends walked into the fire

    Trusting in a God who never fails

    Trusting with the faith of a child

    A time of trial, a time of pain.

        Let me rest within the fire

        Tho' it's hard for me to do

        Preserved by Your design and

        Comforted by Your love.

So, I'm in the fiery trial. Today I was reminded of this verse while walking: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Cor 4:16-18). I must keep things in perspective – I live in eternity, and will have an eternal body. I'm waiting for the return of Jesus, who will make all things right. Therefore, these trials are 'light and momentary.' I have to remind myself that this time in my life is temporary.

My parents came to check on me. H. stopped by with my mail to see how I was doing. It's always this way. I get a little down, and God strengthens me with Scripture, then with people. I received a letter of encouragement in the mail from A. in Chipman. Haven't heard from her for awhile, but her note came at the right time. She told me how I had blessed her, and don't we all want to know we make a difference? She blessed me today with the right words at the right time.

It was so beautiful out that I decided to go to Odell Park for a hike through the woods. And hike I did. I climbed every mountain, but did not fjord every stream as they were covered with snow and I couldn't see them! I was all alone, me and God, with snow falling lightly off tall trees. Quiet and beauty, along with the sounds of me panting up the huge mountain. I was determined to conquer it. And I did. I find that when hiking up particularly steep parts that if I look at the ground and pretend I'm walking on level ground, that it makes it easier to climb. (I've always climbed mountains this way and it seems to work). I would arrive at the peak of each section, pause and give thanks – I made it, and kept going til my hips hurt. But it didn't matter. I conquered yet another physical thing. The downward trek was challenging to the muscles as well, but felt so good to be able to exercise. I'm doing this now because next week I'll be in my slow week again. When the sun shines, walk, I guess.

When I arrived at Odell, I encountered a woman photographing a woman in a sleeveless wedding dress on the pond bridge. I asked what they were doing. The bride (4 years married) told me she was "trashing her wedding dress." (She is still happily married). The idea is to photograph the bride doing strange things in her wedding dress. It gives the bride another opportunity to wear the dress. The photographer explained that this trend began in Europe she thought, and that some women actually set their dress on fire to get rid of it. Or other forms of destruction. This is done at various times after the wedding. The photographer advertised on-line that she would do this type of photography, and has had many responses. Strange but true! I asked the bride how she was going to get rid of her wedding dress (and it was gorgeous), and she responded, "Oh, I don't know whether I can or not. It's so beautiful." OK…. I don't think she knew what she wanted. Honestly, I come across some strange things on my walks sometimes. I need to ponder this whole concept of trashing one's wedding dress. Mine is still hanging upstairs in my closet. Perhaps I should talk to Doug about hiring a photographer and seeing if he thinks I should do this. Just kidding. It did make me shake my head and laugh, however. Laughter's good.

To the Superstore and Jumbo to rent The Secret Life of Bees, which I plan on watching tonight with Doug. Perhaps I'll put my wedding dress on and sit in the lazy burgundy chair. That in itself would probably trash the 31-year-old dress, considering it doesn't fit me anymore.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Sunday found me reading in the morning and talking to Natalie on the phone while Doug went to church. Jonathan, Alicia, Afton, Jack and Ivy came in afternoon. Had a relaxing time with the kids. They are so cute! Was a bit tired after they left, and to my chair I went. Sometimes when I look at myself I wonder, "How did I get in this place? Is this really happening to me?" I shake it off, because it IS happening, and I continue on. I must embrace this time in my life.

Monday found me working on a worship music project and a new page for my blog – stay tuned. Went to Zellers to try and get my work-out pants. Alas, I did not try them on and they were a bit snug. Steroids! So back tomorrow, I guess, to return them. Threw a chicken in the roaster and went for a walk, then back to clean the house in preparation for my houseguests from Grand Manan.

Just as I finished my 1923 housework, in stormed the Island Scrabble Queens (Q and Julie), armed with snack food, a travelling portable Scrabble game with wheels that looked like it was a suitcase ready for a trip to Hawaii, and an electric pedicure treatment unit. Right before they arrived, I looked down at my feet and thought, "Feet, you need some work," and in they come with a machine to work on them! Julie is my hairdresser in Grand Manan (I have personal hairdressers it seems, wherever I go. One summer on Campobello Island I had three work on me at one time). Julie couldn't work on my hairless head, so feet it was. After dinner, she sat at my feet and pampered them. The nail polish I selected was "Oh to Be 25 Again." It's very vibrant. Perhaps I should go in sandals for awhile. I chose it because of the name and my whole issue with growing old. Q sat and entertained me with her quips and good looks.

Then we played two very competitive games of Scrabble. I always say that Q is more competitive than I am, but this time, I was determined to beat her. (She says it's the other way around, but I don't agree). Alas, she won the first game by over 100 points (shame one me!), and I was ranting, as she put it. "I NEED to win! Let's play another one!" I was actually surprised at my attitude. I thought I didn't care whether I won or not. Jules was calm, as usual (smile). So another game it was, and I got serious (or maybe I just had better letters). We twirled that game around on its little wheels as if it were a lazy Susan on overdrive. I thought I was winning, and then Jules caught up and I started to panic. "NO! I have to win!" I ranted some more. Jules tried to play "feedy," which is apparently a word on Grand Manan about fish and bellies or something, but I challenged that strange word, and she couldn't play it! It is NOT in the Official Scrabble Dictionary. Perhaps the Islanders should write to Parker Brothers and petition for its inclusion.

I started to foil their plans, playing words like "ruin" to ruin the places they were going to play. I was desperate to win. It came down to the wire, and I played my last tile. Whew! Then I received their points. I won by the hair of my chinny chin chin. Who's afraid of the big bad wolf of Scrabble? Not me, although I was for that game, thinking that I was going to lose. Final score: Q – 129 Jules – 237 Deb – 241. Very close. (Q scored 233 the previous game, Jules 200, Deb 113). I woke up on Tuesday morning wondering why I was ranting on and on about winning. I realized that the game was something that perhaps I could win if I tried hard enough, and I needed to win something --- I didn't want to fail, and I made every effort to try to use my brain to win. Sorry, Q, for being so hard on you; thanks for giving me a run for my money on the first game and utterly humiliating me. Thanks, Jules, for your unruffled spirit as I inched by you on the second. What great therapy it was for me to play games with my friends, and to be the recipient of their acts of servanthood. You guys truly blessed me by traveling so far for such a short period of time. Thank you – love you….

We watched a DVD – "Everything is Spiritual" by Rob Bell, and went to bed near midnight. Tuesday morning we went to Cora's for breakfast. Thanks, girls, for a great few hours. They are on their way back to their beloved island. I went back to Zellers to exchange my work-out pants and buy jeans on sale. This afternoon I have to go the hospital to get my PICC line flushed out once again. Hope to go to Willie Wonka's to walk again. Perhaps I'll see the senior dancing queen couple again. I hope so.

I would ask you to remember to pray NOW for my white blood cell count to come back to normal, so that I can start chemotherapy on Monday, Feb. 23rd. Four more to go, bless the Lord.

Death is not the enemy of life, but its friend, for it is the knowledge that our years are limited which makes them so precious. It is the truth that time is but lent to us which makes us, at our best, look upon our years as a trust handed into our temporary keeping. – Joshua Loth Liebman

….I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way. Psalm 23:4 TLB

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Whatever Happened to The Laz-y Boy?

I've been waiting to reveal what happened to our lazy brown chair. A couple of weeks ago when we went on a day excursion to Coldstream (wherever that is) to test out Doug's invention, the chair was in the back of the van with us (it likes to go on road trips). After revamping his invention, Doug and the Pirate placed the old chair beside Uncle F.'s woodstove in his garage. They told Uncle F. to go snowplow the plantation for awhile so they could strategically place the chair without being noticed. However, Aunt H. came out to see what was going on, and Doug strategically placed his body so Aunt H. couldn't see past him. She's vertically challenged somewhat, and Doug's big man-body hid the chair from her view. We have been wondering how Uncle F. discovered it and how he would have had no rest until he found out who the infiltrator was.

The Pirate sent me an email to tell me what happened:

Dad took it all in stride, and figured there was no use in me trying to tell him a fib, because I could not keep a straight face, so I told him. He laughed, and guessed after sitting in it for a few minutes, that this might be a good spot for the "Lazy Boy" for the winter, and then maybe give it to Andrew [the other Pirate's son] for his camp or something in the spring. Even with the broken spring, it is quite comfortable. Something about an old chair that's been broken in just right. Something very familiar, and soothing about it.

So, the saga of the lazy brown chair continues. It lives on, and I think it will live on for many more years – in peace and tranquility, enjoying the 'weight' of many more people. Recycling or what?

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Growing Older, Writing, Passion and Determination

Friday's devotions were about God's provision, then I moved on to the topic of growing older. This was a chapter in Max Lucado's book, He Still Moves Stones. I gained new insight into growing older. Over the past couple of years, I've had a strange fear of growing older, even though I know my eternal destiny. I didn't want to grow older. Now I want to – what was I thinking? I remember the old TV commercial when I was young that touted, "You're not getting older, you're getting better." I think it was a hair colour commercial. Correct me if I'm wrong, Linda (or Reg, who remembers basically everything). I'm not getting older, I'm getting better. There – I feel much better.

While doing the morning Daily Gleaner puzzles, I came up with a title for my new book. I've been quoting from the 1923 publication, How to Manage Housework in Canada. I think I'll write a book called, @Home: A 2009 Compendium: How to Manage Being at Home in Canada. It will include topics such as:

  1. "How to Set up an Exercise Program in Your Home, Boot Camp Style" - trampoline in one room, push-ups and sit-ups in another, running on the stairs, somersaults on the bed, pull-downs on the shower rod, etc.
  2. "Household Hints for the Homebound" – tips I've learned while staying at home for one year
  3. "Craft Ideas for the Craft-Challenged"
  4. "Chores are Fun"
  5. "Marriage Builder Tips"
  6. "Music to Live By"
  7. "Increase Your Brainpower" – puzzles, riddles, interesting information and enigmas
  8. "Using Your Home as a Floral Shop" – always have fresh flowers and learn how to make your plants flourish
  9. "Photography in the Home – The Lost Frontier" – taking pictures of strange items and preserving history
  10. "Creating Culinary Delights in Your Shack" – delight your taste buds, but not your waistline
  11. "Entertaining 101" – let other people do the cooking when you're not able to
  12. "Sewing: Should You Attempt the Craft or Sell Your Machine?"
  13. "Teach Yourself Music" – music basics 101
  14. Learn How to Blog" – just start typing
    And so on…. This book is in the preliminary stages – just thought of it now. Any interest out there? I'm open for pre-orders.

    Cousin C. dropped over to present valentine gifts, including gold tweezers to pull my hairs out, given that my scalp has been hurting again, a sure sign more hair is ready to come out (don't read this, Workhorse Daughter). More candy and an angel pin. She was accompanied by two 3-year-olds, Isabel and Madelyn, who wanted to see the nice bald lady next door. They never took their eyes off me. Thanks for coming, girls!

Mom stopped by and did my dishes. Dad hugged me. I sent them off to their own home to do their own chores. I was determined to exercise, having a burst of energy. I flopped the trampoline on the floor and thought I would start boot camp exercises using various rooms and stairs in the house. I lasted one minute and then had a hankering to go to Willie Wonka's to walk. I hadn't been there for 3 weeks. Bundled up real snug and went outside to find the car covered with ice. Started it up and left it running for awhile, as I went back into the house to recover. What should I do while waiting? Write a song on the piano, of course, which Doug saved on my ITunes later. I call it "Valentine." Max wants a copy of it.

Back outside and tried to get into the car, but alas the driver's door was frozen shut, so I had to get in the passenger's side and climb over the stickshift into the driver's seat. Ever try to do this on the best of days, let alone with two less-than-working arms? But I'm determined to get to Willie's. On the way, stopped at Shoppers, and once again, I did not set the alarm off. Did some grocery shopping there, then across the bridge to Aura Foods to pick up a couple of gifts that someone left there for me (don't YOU pick up gifts at a health food store? I do, apparently).

Finally arrived at Willie Wonka. Plugged the IPod Touch in a pocket in my coat arm, and walked at a very good clip for 40 minutes until my hips hurt, listening to the opera music of Paul Potts. Fantastic music. I was in heaven and felt like crying out and singing opera myself, but restrained the urge. Wanted to throw off my hat and run baldheaded around the track. But you're not supposed to run there; it is strictly a walking track. At that moment, it didn't matter what I looked like. My spirit was soaring. Life is beautiful, isn't it? The music was so beautiful and my walk was very spiritual. I didn't understand a word Paul sang, but my spirit did. He sings with such passion; just an ordinary man who won British Idol a few years ago (I put a video on the blog a couple of months ago).

At Willie Wonka, the walkers are on one level, high above the ice rink. Down on the ice it was freeskate time. An older couple, I'd venture to say in their 70's, were doing the most amazing moves – little jumps, pirouettes, skating like they were in the World Championship pairs dancing competition. You could tell they had been figure skaters in their younger days. It didn't matter who was watching, they were enjoying themselves. I don't know if they were aware they had an audience high above them --- but to them it didn't matter -- they were in love and in love with what they were doing. They had passion. And they were 'older.' They inspired me to continue walking, and walking as fast as I could. If my hips hurt, it didn't matter – they were jumping and twirling! They inspired me to keep going, no matter what my age or what health I was in.

Sped home in my trusty Nissan to prepare a tuna melt in a cast iron pan. Can't beat that, now can you? My grandmother cooked herself back to health when she was in her 30's (my mom was young), using a cast iron cook pan. One of the things she ate was pan-fried liver. I'm not there yet. She had some sort of blood disorder, and died young, at 67. We never knew why she died so young. She had a short life, but a good one. My grandmother was a peacemaker, and loved by all.

My mom now is approaching an age milestone, just as I am this year. Growing older, I think that I can accept that now. I would rather grow older than pass away at this time. Mom and I have been discussing growing old lately. She discovered that 70 is the year of new beginnings (not that she needs to use that knowledge now!). And that age 50 is the year of Jubilee (not that I need to use that knowledge now!). It is also a year that all property was restored to the Jewish people and debts were forgiven. People dusted themselves off, picked themselves up, and started all over again. I'm going to do that this year.

I'm going to state that when I turn 50 in late August, it will be like I am a one-year-old. (I used to say that I was 1 at age 45, but I'm changing that now; it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind). I want to grow old, with health, and with passion for whatever I do, just like those two lovebirds on the ice today at Willie's Place. And that Doug and I will grow old together. I don't want to leave him alone. I'm going to keep my walkin' boots on and walk myself to health and keep my walkin' spirit alive. I have determination to live and live I'm going to do. "These boots were made for walkin,' and that's just what they'll do; one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you." Nancy Sinatra, eat your heart out – I'm walkin.'

Margie, Ryan and Maria came to visit and bless me. Ryan and Maria are piano students. They gave me a piano concert, and I was so blessed. I am blessed because these students now have students. I have replicated myself. I have made a difference already – my students are surpassing me. And isn't that a teacher's goal? We talked and laughed, and I shed a few tears. I sent them off with hugs and Hershey Kisses. I like to give parting gifts.

Randopho and his wife S. came for dinner. Randolpho created pizza in our kitchen, and served us a wonderful Italian meal. We ate until we were stuffed. Then we had an I Love Lucy marathon. And laughed and laughed. We love to laugh. We love life. We love friends.

Saturday morning I awoke to Doug serving me coffee at bedside (which he does every weekend morning). What a husband I have. His valentine present to me was to paint the baseboard in the kitchen and touch up the kitchen wall, while I made breakfast and tried to do my word puzzles. Alas, my brain was not functioning this morning and I did not succeed – I could not unscramble the mixed-up letters. Oh well, tomorrow perhaps my brain will work better. Doug said that at last I had his brain – he can't unscramble stuff either. I think he's talking about when I talk in code to him, I but didn't want to ask any personal questions.

I made cornmeal blueberry muffins and stove-top butterscotch pudding. Max came for lunch and we had AJ's soup. I told her she had to come and taste this stuff. She agreed about its quality. Doug took off to help L & M move furniture, and Max and I settled down for a couple of hours to watch Fireproof, a new movie by the producers of Facing the Giants. It is an amazing movie and I highly recommend it. We both shed several tears, and I realized that I want to grow old with my husband. I don't want to tell you anything about the movie. Rent it or buy it – soon.

Max left the movie theatre to go on a Valentine evening with her hubby. Doug came home, and I watched the movie again with him. He cried more than I did, and we held each other at the end of the movie. He prayed for me once again – thanking God for his wife, asking God for health, and the opportunity to grow old together.

There, my last two days. I want to grow old. I want passion for everything I do. I want to write a book. I am determined to live.

Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. – General Douglas MacArthur

They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. – Psalm 92:14-15

Friday, 13 February 2009


My prickly head wakes me up at night. All the cactus hairs stick into my feather pillow, and the feather pillow bites back. Both of them fight against each other until they jerk me awake every couple of hours. So, I search the bed for my sleep cap and go back to slumberland. Shortly thereafter, a hot flash arrives in town, shoots me in the head, and I jerk that baby right off again. Round and round the bed we go: hats flying, pillows being flipped and shaped, bedsheets flying all night long. I call it "Bed Wars." It's a wonder Mr. Doug can actually sleep through it all. But he's been able to sleep through anything over the years. He always said he could sleep on a clothesline, and I believe it. I think that even if I got up during one of my flashes, went outside and started up our transport truck, revved it as high as it would go, and drove it through the bedroom that he would continue to snore on and on and on. Oh, to be able to sleep, what a gift that is if you are privileged enough to have it. If someone could box up sleep and give to me, I would accept it and use it. Thank you God, for another day! I'm alive and well, even if I never sleep well.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Quiet Thursday

Today was spent entirely in my house, all by myself. Should I sing a song about that? I spent the entire morning in the chair studying and reading. I was very tired today. After lunch, I spent the entire afternoon in the chair, snuggled up with my precious pink afghan that L. made me. Little did she know I would use this so much. Watched Survivor tonight, simply because I want to see how they survive, and I plan on doing another survivor retreat in September. I'll be on the mend by then. It will be nine months then – long enough to have a baby, although I'm a bit too old to have a baby. Or then, again, am I?

Thought I would post a little from How to Manage Housework in Canada, circa 1923 (though I didn't really manage any housework today; the Gov't of Canada would be disappointed in me). Here's my selection for this quiet Thursday.

Each season brings its own work. The winter, being the time of more leisure, especially in the country, is the time for Spring and Summer sewing to be done. Clothes are of great importance to the comfort, social standing and work of the individual, and good materials, which will always give pleasure and satisfaction, are much the cheapest in the end (I guess I shouldn't have shopped at Winners the other day, but made my own clothing instead, with all the spare time I have). Get a dressmaker or a reliable merchant or a friend, who knows about such things, to explain to you how to judge materials (where are you Janet White #1?). Good books on textiles and clothing may now be bought and are a great help. Patterns for babies' and children's clothing may be bought for a small sum and they are useful. (For someone else, perhaps).

On the other hand, one good "tailor-made" suit for Mother (that would be me) is a real economy. Such a suit cannot be made properly except by a professional (you got that right, considering my sewing skills). It "pays for itself" by lasting well and looking well. The "ready-made" suit and dress may be bought in many good shops.

Sewing table-linen and house-linen is pleasant work; dating and numbering the pieces when you mark them is a good plan (I think I'll pass).

A good sewing-machine, as everyone knows, is almost indispensable. In a rural community, co-operation in buying and using a sewing-machine may be found a good plan (does anyone want to borrow my machine?) A small electric motor attached to it saves much time and strength. (Mine has electric power). Modern attachments which are used to make button-holes, hems, felled seams (whatever that is), and simple trimmings are also really helpful.

There, hopefully, you are now inspired to dust off that Singer and get to numbering and dating your pieces to make a nice suit for yourself, or a new tablecloth. I think I'll just look at my machine and dream of sewing.

YouTube - NFL Fantasy Files: The Best Players

YouTube - NFL Fantasy Files: The Best Players

Please humour my football fetish, courtesy of AJ and NFL....deb

I Want to Make a Difference

Tuesday found me up at 6:15 a.m. in the kitchen, after only a few hours of sleep. I did word puzzles (my brain power exercises) and listened to strange music on the radio for a couple of hours, ate breakfast, not forgetting the fantastic Florida oranges that Doug's parents contributed to our home. I thank God every morning for the taste of oranges. And every meal I eat I thank Him for how good it tastes. I have never tasted food like this in my life! I'm enjoying every part of my life, or at least trying to (sometimes the hard things I'm not enjoying so much, but I try). A parcel arrived from Tamville (Campobello Island), from my good friend, P., with a beautiful red knit V-neck from New York & Co. – "Happy Valentine's Day from Tamville." I like to say Tamville is where Mary Tyler Moore lives. New York, here I come in November, God willing.

The Bobbsey Twins arrived late morning to cheer and encourage me. We had a wonderful time of sharing and prayer and many laughs. They brought me flowers – Gerber daisies, which are absolutely stunning. My home looks like a floral shop, and I love it. We parted with great excitement about what the future holds.

After another tuna melt, I took off to the Fredericton Medical Clinic where I was a participant in the Look Good Feel Better program, sponsored by the Cosmetics & Perfumes Assoc. of Canada. Volunteers led us through the process of applying our 'face,' learning how to cover up dark circles, paint on eyelashes and eyebrows, and apply make-up. They stood beside us and served us, preparing each element for us, as we peered into make-up mirrors. A 'peanut gallery' was in attendance as well, viewing the process and giving encouragement. My hairdresser, Sandra Washburn, gave a talk and a live demonstration using her guinea pig, Deb, to model a red wig which made me look like an overgrown Anne of Green Gables. I was stunning, to say the least, and as she pulled and poked at that wig, altering it to my head shape, I made funny faces for the women. I told them they didn't know they were coming to the I Love Lucy show. Then I was the model for a 'survivor' buff from the Radical Edge store, and again, my head was pulled and yanked while she contorted that multifaceted piece of non-seamed cotton into all sorts of novel shapes on my head. We cracked jokes all afternoon. The program is a 12-step program, which we had a lot of fun with. We all left with about $300 worth of lotions, eyeliners, lipsticks, gloss, powders, sunscreen, and hats, which we modeled for one another. A good time was had by all, and it made us feel very special and very beautiful. The peanut gallery oohed and ahhed over us.

After a trip to the Superstore, one of my first times grocery shopping alone, I anticipated coming home to a bowl of AJ's famous chicken soup. It didn't disappoint us. It is the most amazing soup I have ever had, I think. It rivals my mother's soup! Really, AJ, you need to market this.

Then something that I didn't expect happened. I stood in the living room and preached to Doug – passionately, with many tears, about what I wanted my life to look like. About wanting what God wants, and not what I want. About making a difference in people's lives. About pouring everything we have into other people. Doing whatever, wherever. That my needs didn't matter – what mattered was God's heart, and I wanted it. About loving God and loving others. This is what I what my life to represent. I preached with animation and many tears for about 15 minutes, and then he invited me to sit down. He comforted me and held me. Once again, my husband, my greatest love and support was there.

We settled down for the evening; I had a chill. Watched The Last Samurai. And then this samurai went to bed, exhausted after a long, but good day, feeling like a battle had been won.

Lord's Prayer Movie

Lord's Prayer Movie - Mary Robinson Reynolds |a>

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Team Dancing Queen





Let's do something about breast cancer and have fun together on Sunday, October 4th!

Join our Team Dancing Queen team. Click on this link to register online and join our team.


Team leader:

Angela Murphy

Team name:

Team Dancing Queen

Run location:


Personal message from Angela Murphy:

Want to sign up? Registration is easy!

Click here to register and join our team.

Registering for the Run online is quick and easy - and once you register you can send emails to your friends, family and co-workers to kick off your fundraising!

Start fundraising today to receive fantastic prizes from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation! For information about prizes, fundraising, your Run site and Run kit pick-up, visit often. Thank you for your support.

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday, October 4th!

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©2009 Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy

If you are interested in joining Team Dancing Queen, email me at, and I will send you this link. Thanks to Angie Murphy, who is organizing the run here in Fredericton. And to our friend, Amy in Manitoba, who is also organizing a run (perhaps you could call it Northern Team Dancing Queen!).

Brenda 'Stewart' came again today. Her first order of business was to clean the house, reorganize a bedroom, and clean out a drawer. My house is becoming in top shape. However, I am not in top shape – YET. I finished off my devotions, and generally roamed around the house in my housecoat until 1 pm, doing random things and accomplishing basically nothing. I did organize my paper crafts, however, while Mom and Brenda Stewart crafted more valentine cards. After my shower, I looked in the mirror, and exclaimed, "I look like an Egyptian!" My head is so bald now. Remember that the Egyptian women in 1500 B.C. removed every hair from their heads with special gold tweezers and polished their scalps to a high sheen with buffing cloths? A shaved head was considered the ultimate in feminine beauty. I haven't found gold tweezers yet, but SJ C. sent me shoe polishing cloths I could use to buff my head. Should I use Pledge, I wonder?

I had a quick bounce episode on my mini-trampoline (bouncing the cells is good for the lymph system), scarfed down a tuna melt, and off Brenda and I went to explore the world. A trip to Walmart was an adventure to find a four cup coffee maker and distilled water for my fancy iron. Then to the medical clinic for a check-up with Dr. Bryden, my surgeon. We jumped onto a loaded elevator, but I forgot where Dr. B's office was (it's not like I haven't been there enough), so I asked no one in particular if they knew where she held office: "I wonder where we're going." A little Irish man piped up in a very Irish accent: "I'll tell you where you're goin' – straight up to heaven." I laughed and said, "You're right, I am." He continued, "You don't want to be goin' down the other way (to the basement); it's cold down there." I knew everyone knew I was a cancer patient because of my head gear. Not many people wear fancy cotton hats in the middle of winter with ties hanging in the back. The door opened and we got off on the third floor. My guess wasn't correct, so we ascended the stairway to 'heaven,' Dr. B's office, laughing all the way. I told Brenda, "I think he was an angel; you never know." Brenda thought he was an Irish man. It was such a random event, anyway, and the elevator people enjoyed the little man and his preaching.

Once in Dr. B's office, we were told to take a seat. In the waiting room, another woman and her young daughter were sitting. I smiled at them. She said, "You must be undergoing chemo." "Yes, I am," I replied. So, off we went on a conversation for about fifteen minutes about breast cancer, chemo, radiation, mastectomy, Tamoxifen, weight gain, steroids, etc. That would have been all fine and good, however, an older gentleman sat between us and got the crossfire of the conversation. He smiled from time to time as he had to endure this torture. He was called in to see Dr. B., and we continued our animated discussion. When he came out, he remarked to the receptionist (so we could hear him): "I told Dr. B. to make sure that the next time I come for my appointment that there be no breast patients in the waiting room." We all laughed. I told the receptionist to book me in with him the next time.

Doug arrived and he became the second man in between us as we compared notes. We were called in to the examining room and I prepared myself with the traditional Johnny shirt. How many times have I been in one of those lately! We had a few laughs before Dr. B. arrived, and when she entered the room, I was standing to full attention on a step stool, saluting her. This set off quite a lively examination with lots of laughs and kidding. I always seem to have an entourage when I see her. Natalie and Doug or Doug and Brenda. It makes for good comic relief, anyway. I have to have an ultrasound again on my mastectomy site, to see what is going on there. It may have to have further treatment, a drain, or something. The ultrasound will tell her what direction to take. Dr. B. grew up on the street next to mine; we went to Park Street together. Have I told you that she is the greatest? God really gave me a great surgeon, and I am thankful.

We said see ya later to Doug; we had to go shopping. "Winners" here we come. I wanted to pick up a pair of trampoline work-out pants, but I got involved in the clearance aisle of tops. After spending half an hour trying on things, moaning and groaning about clothing getting stuck on my head and PICC line, I emerged with a few inexpensive items, and what I thought were my new work-out pants. Found some toys on clearance for the grandkids, and Brenda and I moved through the cattle line and out the store. On arriving home, found out that I did not buy the pants, which is what I went there for – handed them right back to the fitting room monitor. I bought some doozy coloured, patterned shirts, I'll tell you. D. wondered whether I'll like them next week. I thought of that while I was choosing them – because everything is so heightened right now – flavours (especially of fresh Florida oranges and crunchy dill pickles), colours, noise, everything is attracting my attention – the shape of trees, the texture of snow, paper. Have I mentioned that I like paper? (Brenda knows this, I've said it enough the past two days as we've been doing our paper crafts). And cutting paper – the way the scissors sound on the surface of the paper – yum… I always wanted to be Mr. Dress Up growing up. And now I guess I am. Mrs. Dress Up, making paper crafts in her kitchen and dressing up in wild clothes. It's funny how when death stares you in the face, you become so much bolder in your dress. And your head gear. Yesterday was the first day I went totally bald in public – started in the chemo unit at the hospital, then I remained hatless as we traveled over to the Rehab. What a feeling of freedom I had. And it didn't matter what people thought.

After Winners, we stormed the Regent Mall. A trip to Laura Secord so Brenda could get something for her boys, yielded a great harvest. We were greeted by the candy gal, offering us white chocolate covered raspberry treats. Brenda began to search while I pondered whether my favorite ice cream, French Crisp was on the schedule for today (it was supper time), and could I have ice cream before supper? Brenda mouthed, "Yes," and I told the manager, "I'll have my favorite ice cream, not that you know what that is." (And I really didn't think she would know; I wouldn't expect her to remember me!). "French Crisp," she quipped, smiling. "What?" How did she know? She gave me two scoops, and two chocolate covered orange peels as a gift free (don't tell anyone), plus another white chocolate treat. And a coupon for a trip to Jamaica. Perhaps I'll win. She told me of her sister who had breast cancer ten years ago and had a mastectomy as well. And that when she looks at her, she never thinks about her ever having had the disease or the surgery. I took off my hat and showed her my head. I'm getting so bold now. I asked her if I could have her autograph; that I would put it in my journal. She retrieved a business card and wrote her Johnina Henry on it. By this time, Brenda was melting into a French Crisp waffle cone with abandon, unbelief on her face as to how delectable it was. I asked her what her name was (I've been going there for years, but never knew). "Marg," she said. "Oh, I can remember that," and was about to tell her that my grandmother's name was Marguerite, when she blurted out, "My real name is Marguerite, but people call me Marg." Well, you can imagine our response. "Our grandmother's name was Marguerite!" Her co-worker then blurted out, "So was my grandmother!" Sort of like John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt or something (That's my name, too, and whenever I go out, the people always shout, "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la). You had to be there. Well, we said good-bye and I turned around the ran into a giant ice-cream cone statute. Manager Marguerite: "Did that hit you in the eye?" "No, I'm OK!" Just clumsy. She was probably relieved; no lawsuit.

Brenda and I sat in the mall on a bench and savoured our ice cream. She thought she saw someone she knew, but she couldn't see them. She doesn't carry her glasses with her for some reason. By this time, it was 6 pm and we thought it rather late to cook, so decided Wendy's was in order. Doug was happy. When we got home, J. was there with a wonderful large card chock full of encouraging notes from the GreenHill Lake Ladies Retreat participants. I never knew I was so loved. I will cherish this forever. I always keep everything everyone sends me.

Brenda and I continued on with our paper crafts, until she finally had to go at 9 pm. We hugged and I thanked her for coming and making my week so enjoyable. She is a gift. I hope she can come back in March with the boys. Thank you, Brenda – you are a delight to me and to whoever crosses your path.

I must go now and eat some toast. It was a good day, and I am thankful. I'm learning to live in the moment. God is giving me wonderful moments, and I am amazed at the support I am receiving. I do not deserve it. I guess it's like God's love. We do not deserve, but we get it anyway. Good night, all.











C. sent this to me in an email. Thought it was appropriate for me, and perhaps for us all. I will write about my day in a bit….

The Holy Alphabet...


Although things are not perfect 
Because of trial or pain 
ontinue in thanksgiving 
Do not begin to blame.

Even when the times are hard 
Fierce winds are bound to blow 
God is forever able 
Hold on to what you know.

Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
eep thanking Him for all the things

Love ve imparts to thee. 

Move out of "Camp Complaining," 
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power 
Praise can do alone.

Quit looking at the future 
Redeem the time at hand 
Start every day with worship 
To "thank" is a command .

Until we see Him coming 
Victorious in the sky 
We'll run the race with gratitude
Xalting God most high .

Yes, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but... 
Z ion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!

I AM Too blessed to be stressed!" 

The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is
the distance between your knees and the floor. The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything. Love and peace be with you forever,  Amen.

Monday, 9 February 2009

YouTube - Over and over - Jeff & Sheri Easter in the Netherlands

This song was sent to me by A., my soup sous-chef. Sheri Easter was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. She also writes a blog about her journey. Doug and I heard them at the Gaither concert in Saint John in '08.

YouTube - Over and over - Jeff & Sheri Easter in the Netherlands

"Youth is the time for the adventures of the body, but age for the triumphs of the mind." Logan Pearsall Smith

So where do I fit in? Youth or age? Or both? I'm still young enough for adventure, and just entering the age where I can think deep thoughts with my mind. Just hovering between youth and age.

Enough of that philosophical debate. I can't solve it. Today was a good day. A few sighs and yawns, a few hot flashes (this is THROWING me into "MENOPAUSE!" which I'm not excited about, although Brenda says I should 'celebrate' it like tribal women in South America). The other day when she told me this, I did a little tribal dance of sorts to celebrate. Don't feel much like celebrating when my head wants to blow off in the middle of the night. Oh well, life presents its challenges, doesn't it? Isn't it enough that I've had a mastectomy (NB), chemotherapy, radiation and now menopause on top of everything else? Today I had a hot flash in the car, ripped off my winter jacket, hat and mitts and threw open the sash, sticking my head out the window like a caged dog on a hot summer's day. All the while scarfing down a Clementine because I feel faint at the same time (sorry for the big "C," my computer thinks Clementine is a person, and always capitalizes the word). It started to get quite cool in the car, to say the least. The OT director was a frozen statute in the back seat, and wondered why her feet were cold after realizing that Brenda also had the air conditioning on. Good thing I don't have a wig – it would be tossed several times a day when one of these comes on. Those of you who know, know what I'm talkin' about.

This morning three of us had crafts in the kitchen with "Dinah" (me), after Brenda and I did Pilates. Paper crafts – a Valentine craft, actually, sent to me by Rhea, from Martha Stewart's website. Thanks, R. What a great craft. Els will be thrilled to know I did this craft. We wondered whether Martha cared that we were way up here in little ol' NB doing her crafts. Said she probably doesn't even know where NB is. Perhaps we should email her and tell her. I love paper and pencils, and cutting and gluing and crafting of any type. I'll post a picture of it when I get it uploaded.

This afternoon we went to Zellers, my favorite shopping stop to pick up a couple of items (one of which was a pregnancy Pilates video, because I feel like I'm birthing something here), then on to the hospital to get my PICC line changed. I love having it changed and flushed out. It just feels so fresh to have fresh saline pumped in and a new sock on my arm. Went to Covey's BASICS for a couple of basics and home where my request for dinner was pan-fried haddock, broccoli and oven fries. Brenda is such a great housemaid and such an encouragement to us. Thank you, husband Paul, and two sons, Luke and Aaron for letting your mom come to me. She is going to stay until Wednesday. Tonight we are going to watch a I Love Lucy video that B.B. dropped off today. I think we should watch the one where Lucy goes to London on a plane. Brenda doesn't like to fly, so that should be good. See you tomorrow.

"A mother's heart is always with her children." -- German proverb. That's for you, Mom – from your three girls, and to Brenda's sons, and to my children, Jonathan & Natalie.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Saturday morning's posting was a bit of a downer, I know, but that's how I was feeling. After I wrote that I needed to get on with life and quit complaining a bit about the situation I find myself in, things began to change. God began to light up my day and my weekend. Everything is a process, and one has to process the 'stuff' that happens in order to get through it. I'm in the process of processing. I've come to this conclusion: that God knows what I'm going through and that when I am discouraged and frustrated, He sends encouragement, almost immediately. Let me tell you how.

I went to the Bible to read about being pressed but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed. I read about the Apostle Paul's struggles and how sometimes he was barely able to bear up under the strain of trouble and infirmity. And how God comforted him and enabled him to comfort others with the comfort he received. OK, I understand, I thought, I know this stuff, but now I'm living it. I studied for a couple of hours on Saturday morning, feeling my spirit rise within me, as God ministered to me.

A knock at the door – W. arrived with gluten-free cookies from the market. A sweet blessing. My sister Brenda arrived to redecorate my kitchen and be with me. A phone call. K. said, "Can I stop by for a second? I have a flower for you." I remarked to sister, "See, God knows what I need; He's sending her with a flower to encourage me." When she arrived, she presented me with a peach rose and a card. I read what was on the card: "To My Rose of Sharon" "Love, Your Beloved." This has special meaning to me, and the depth of the words went straight to my heart. I wept in the kitchen in front of K. and Brenda, as I realized that Jesus loves me. K. left me with a letter she had written a week ago about embracing the cancer and becoming closer to God through this. As I've gone through the weekend, I'm more convinced that her word to me is correct. Thanks, K. for being obedient and coming to see me when you did.

Sid, our 91-year-old neighbour, came over and sat in the kitchen for awhile, watching Brenda work and me perusing life. Then Brenda and I went to his home and visited briefly. It's a terrible thing to be lonely. We're glad he came. We're glad we visited him. We even helped him with his crossword puzzle, which he does faithfully every day. He has a purpose – some nights he says he forgets what he's doing, he's so engrossed in the puzzle. Brenda and I decided that we need to be more aware of our senior population.

We Skyped Natalie and Aiden and Nat showed us around her house in The Pas, Manitoba. The wonders of technology. I miss her so. And that baby! He is now 10 ½ months old.

Mom prepared a beautiful dinner for us. I requested chicken, baked potatoes, green beans and fiddleheads, and she came through with flying colours. After dinner, Dad found the crokinole table and we had a rowdy tournament. I haven't played this game for years. Brenda figured it helped with her curling – the game, not her hair. The night before, we had played dominoes and I won. I never win dominoes. The colours of the dominoes tended to bother me, however. Chemo seems to make everything sensitive – colours, food tastes, noises. Today when I was watching football, I found it distasteful as it seemed as if the colours didn't match.

Last night I slept much better and awoke this morning thanking God for sleep. Doug and I watched a couple of inspirational videos that really buoyed my spirits. Brenda arrived again: "I'm going to cook dinner tonight." She prepared all day for this gourmet meal. She is a wonderful cook. Greek salad, meatballs, jasmine coconut rice, topped off with cherry pie and frozen cappuccino. Mom and Dad joined us once again.

This afternoon we had many visitors, bearing gifts, plants and oranges. I love oranges of late. My youngest sister, Janet and her daughter, Kirsten traveled from afar. It was good to have both sisters in my kitchen. Even a couple of women on their way home from the Green Hill Ladies' Retreat arrived to see me. They told me that the women prayed for me this weekend. I heard through the grapevine that Q. was instrumental in that (see Q's picture at the bottom of the blog). I feel so blessed to have received their prayers. Thank you. I haven't missed a winter women's retreat for years until now. God surrounded me with the care of His people this weekend. He showed me His love and His tender care.

The peach rose looks out my front window, a gift of hope from a God who loves me and knows my name, my pain, my fears, and my every thought. There are no surprises for Him. He has already gone ahead of me and knows where the finish line is. He knows that I'm going to cross it. It's just a matter of time.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

I'm a bit frustrated, and feel like complaining. Sometimes one just has to complain, but not for long. Pain, sleepless nights, jittery body, brain fog, tiredness, discouragement, how did I get here, etc., etc. Then I have to remind myself that I must learn to be content in all circumstances that I find myself in. And to know I have a husband who loves me so much and is so encouraging, and family and friends that hold me up by words and prayers. So, I complain. Now, I stop complaining and get on with my day.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Yesterday was a restless day – my whole body had the jitters. Tired, but couldn't sleep. Friday will be better, I pray. Brenda came up and a good time was had by all at her birthday dinner, complete with Tea Room cake and Mom's famous fluffy boiled icing.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Old Pictures

My school friend, B. MacLoon sent me a few pictures of when I was in high school that I thought I would share. We went horseback riding at Everett's in Mactaquac. And I was playing the guitar then just like I do now. Take note of my very large glasses!

The Goose Story

"Next fall when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying in "V" formation, think about what science has learned about why they fly that way. As each bird flaps his wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following it. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock can fly 71% farther than if each bird flew on its own. Perhaps people who share a common goal and direction can get where they are going quicker and easier if they cooperate.

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it feels the resistance of trying to go alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of flying with the flock. If we have as much sense as a goose, we will work with others who are going the same way we are. When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies the point. It pays to take turns doing hard jobs for our group. The geese honk from behind to encourage those at the front to keep up their speed.

Finally (get this), when a goose weakens or is wounded and falls out of formation, two geese fall out and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is either able to fly again or until it is dead, and they then set out on their own or with another formation until they catch up with the group. If we had as much sense as a goose, we would stand by each other more readily." – John Lawless

I have a lot of people standing by this old goose, I know that. She is tired and not able to fly as well as she used to do, and has fallen back, but is being protected by her many friends who are holding her up and helping her fly. Max thinks I have a "V" formation on my head, so I guess I must be a goose!

Today has been a day of energy and tiredness. Mornings are better for me but the afternoons are listless, as I try to retain my concentration on things, wanting to sleep but unable to fully rest. Mom brought supper and Doug is snowblowing the driveway. I hope for a good evening and a clear head. Brenda is coming tomorrow. Today was her birthday. We will have a birthday supper for her tomorrow night at Mom's, complete with her favorite cake with Mom's famous boiled icing.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

E.'s Snowflake Video

Comic Strip

I like comic strips. Here is one for your enjoyment, composed by Dan the Piano Man in Grand Manan. Rhymes, doesn't it? I should compose a song. Dan the Piano Man, Dan the Piano Man, does whatever a piano man can, tunes a key, here and there, sings a song, then he's gone – Look out, there goes Piano Man Dan!

A few things

The second day of my second chemo. It has been a good day. Nausea has been controlled, just tiredness and I have had a few naps on and off throughout the day. I was able to concentrate to read this morning and do Pilates. Mom came and cleaned my house from top to bottom, being the workhorse she is. Cuz C. arrived with a polka dot plant and gluten-free cupcakes she made for me using black beans in place of flour. K. came the other day with her chocolate brownies. Sweets for the sick program. The OT director roared in next with peanut butter bars, sat down and began to knit slippers and watch I Love Lucy episodes that she bought. S. arrived bearing her weekly clementines and stew that she thought was chicken but turned out to be roast beef. Doug and I ate the stew, then he read to me as I fell into a deep sleep. He's such a soothing reader. Now I have a bit of energy with which to blog.

Wanted to bring you up to date on a luncheon we had last week – the hat lunch. I told them if I had to wear a hat, so did they. Even the dog donned a hat, though unwillingly.

On Sunday, I went on a secret mission in conjunction with the OT Director. She constructed the newest member of the Frosty family – Frosty's brother, Frosted. I took pictures. It was part of our ongoing drive-by snowman making activity. S. was away in Halifax again (it seems like she goes there every week). She was pleasantly surprised to arrive home and see her new family member, although the dog was not too pleased and continues to bark at Frosted.

I received an email the other day from friends out west (Travis & Debbie Parent & Don & Ann Parent), at Shepherds Gate, who have a ranch outside Moose Jaw. They have adopted children and take in foster kids. It was Debbie's birthday on the 31st, and they all wore hats for me and took this picture. They provide a great home for these children, and if you're interested in supporting them, please let me know and I'll give you the details.

On Saturday past, my Uncle F. presented me with a fold-up table he made for me, handpainted by another citizen of Coldstream. It is beautiful. I will cherish it because he made it for me. Uncle F. reminds me of my grandfather. I have never received so many gifts in my life. I do not deserve them. It's like God's love; we don't deserve that, but we receive it anyway, with gladness and thankfulness.

I am waiting with anticipation for my sister Brenda to arrive from Shelburne and stay for a few days. She's a workhorse, as well, but I'm sure she will settle down long enough to play a game of Scrabble or Dominoes with me.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow Quotes

"Snowmen fall from above unassembled." -- Author unknown

"Those we love are the snowflakes of life. None is the same, each is beautiful, and all bring something special to our world." -- Martin Buber

2nd Chemo Treatment

It took awhile for the blood test results to come back this morning. I had blood taken at 8:30 and by 11:00, my last result came in. The minimum required for a certain aspect of the white blood cells to rise to was 1.5; mine came in at 1.49, so Dr. Raza signed the order and my second chemo treatment began. I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God above, and all the people who are praying, I say "thank you, thank you!" He heard our prayers. I am home now, unloading the dishwasher. Feeling tired, but want to do a few things before I get in my jammies to settle down for awhile. Continue to pray that there is no nausea, and no side effects. I figure we can ask Him for whatever we want, and God just may grant it to us. He is full of mercy and compassion.

If at the end one can say,

"This man used to limit the powers that God granted him; he was worthy of love and respect and of the sacrifices of many people, made in order that he might achieve what he deemed to be his task,'

then that life has been lived well and there are no regrets. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Saturday & Sunday

On Saturday, we traveled to Coldstream, wherever that is. A picturesque village somewhere. I'm trying to put it on the map. Went to the old homestead, where Aunt H., Uncle F., and my pirate cousins live. Uncle F. was trying out the invention that Doug built for him for his home heating system. They were pleasantly pleased – it worked! Most everything Doug touches works, I find. He is an inventor extraordinaire. I visited with Aunt H., took a walk around the farm and watched the men at work. Visited with cousin W. and cousin B. before they took off for a trip to Arizona. Funny, they didn't ask me to come. Oh well, maybe next time.

The Pirate was driving Uncle F.'s John Deere 4110 tractor with front end loader attachment around the yard. (One of my life goals has been to have my own tractor, John Deere, of course). The Pirate saw me watching him. He stopped and said, "You want to drive this, don't you?" "Yes," I replied with an anticipatory smile. So, he jumped off, gave me a couple of instructions, and off I went – up the hill and down the hill, around the garages, feeling like the Driving Queen on the top of Coldstream Mountain. Eat your heart out, Jack. Gram Deb's on a tractor. Haven't driven a tractor since I was 14, when cousin W. and I took off down the hill towards the swamp, and I pushed the clutch instead of the brake, screaming all the way, until W. tramped on the brake and saved the day.

Had lunch with the men and Aunt H., just like the old days when I visited and the workers came in from the potato fields, and it was our job to set the table for the men. I set the table for lunch; what joy to do this and later do the dishes with Aunt H. again. I thought I should have red meat for my 'cells', so Aunt H. made me a very tasty one. The men were jealous. They went out to the garage to work and I started to watch Mamma Mia again (for the 3rd time) on TV. Of course, I had a beautiful winter's nap on the couch, in the house where my Mom grew up and where precious memories were made. I felt like Gram and Gramp were there again with me – remembering Gram's donuts that we used to 'steal' out of the can in the cupboard, and Gramp ranting and raving and loving on us.

The Pirate amazes me sometimes. He set up a box in his house called the "Deb Mac Broken Wing Fund," and brought over a donation from R., from Edmunston, who was on his way to Saint John. R. reads my blog because the Pirate sent him the link. I was so touched by this act of compassion – he doesn't even know me. Thank you, R. May God bless you. I thought the Pirate's title of the fund was so appropriate. I do feel like I have a broken wing – and can't fly the way I used to. I'm being carried by the prayers and support of others and the One who made my wings and is able to heal my broken wing.

I will admit I have been a bit discouraged this weekend, ever since I heard the news that I may not be able to start chemo on Monday unless my white blood cell count comes up. I have been in prayer all weekend and telling everyone I meet to pray. I expect great things to happen tomorrow morning. I remember not wanting to have chemo, and now I'm wanting to get on with it. I have been quite tired this weekend, but managed to go to church this morning and play guitar and piano and lead worship. My friend, Max, showed up and I asked her to lead with me. Of course, she did, and it was awesome. Max, Phen, and Linda sat with me at the front and ministered to me just by being there with me. Thanks, girls. I had a struggle with which hat to wear this morning, if any. My scalp is becoming very bald, with more hair falling out yesterday and today. It was the first time at church in this 'state' and I find the first time I do something is the hardest. And since I'm 'on stage,' everyone sees me. Oh well, I did it. I know they love me, hair or no hair. Vanity, vanity – all is vanity. Especially for a woman. M. told me that I looked like Aunt Jemima and everyone loves Aunt Jemima's cooking. "Yes," I said, "her pancakes." Funny. Thanks, M.

So today is Superbowl Sunday and I'm so looking forward to it. Got a secret mission to accomplish before it starts. More later – with pictures. Then hopefully a nap before the big game starts.

We go to the hospital again on Monday morning for 8:15 to have a blood test, to see if my white cell count is up. If it is, chemo starts at 9 a.m. Again, I ask for you to pray that this happens. I will try and update you tomorrow. Blessings to everyone. Watch the Superbowl if you can. ……deb x0

"Never give up. Never back down. Never lose faith" (Facing the Giants).