Monthly Archives: August 2010

Cancer Update

I’ve been waiting weeks for the lab results concerning the thyroid cancer discovered in January 2010 – my third occurance in five years.  (I had a surgery June 05 to remove cancerous thyroid and lymph nodes and had my second surgery April 09 to remove two small cancerous tumors.)

In February , after weeks of preparation,  my body rejected radio-active iodine as a treatment. Since the neck is a fragile area and I already have much scar tissue and nerve damage, surgery is not an option.  Leaving the tumors alone is the only option at this point.

I had my three month blood draw July 7th and my six month sonogram August 3rd.  I got the results yesterday because I finally called the doctor and asked for them. I’m not sure why she isn’t as anxious as I am to talk through the results, but the last few visits I have had to wait weeks and finally call for the results.  Since this is my third endocrinologist, I have decided that her other strengths outweigh this fault.

Part of me wasn’t in any hurry to call, because I didn’t really want to deal with it. Sometimes, I just need a break, so I take it. Part of me wasn’t in a hurry because I felt peace about the answer, trusting there was no urgency.
It is mostly good news.

The ultrasound revealed tumors are not growing, nor are there new ones.  We are thanking the Lord for this good news.

My Thyroid Stimulating Hormone continues to edge up, little by little.  We don’t want TSH stimulating the thyroid cells, because my thyroid cells are cancer cells.  So, to fight back the TSH we have to increase the artificial thyroid hormone, Levoxyl.

Higher hormones in a woman? Just saying those two words in the same sentence – hormones and woman – is scary enough.

Hyperthyroidism can cause irritation, headaches, lack of sleep and a lot of other fun symptoms.  From Endocrine Web:

“Because the body’s metabolism is increased, patients often feel hotter than those around them and can slowly lose weight even though they may be eating more. Patients with hyperthyroidism usually experience fatigue at the end of the day, but have trouble sleeping. Trembling of the hands and a hard or irregular heartbeat (called palpitations) may develop. These individuals may become irritable and easily upset. When hyperthyroidism is severe, patients can suffer shortness of breath, chest pain, and muscle weakness. In older people, some or all of the typical symptoms of hyperthyroidism may be absent, and the patient may just lose weight or become depressed.”

I’m all for the weight loss, if it will come from that little roll that hangs over my waistband every time I sit down, but the rest of it can be challenging.  For someone who can tend to be a little crabby anyway, OK, a lot of crabby, adding medically induced irritation is just not pretty. I tend to react to increased dosage with lack of sleep and increased headaches.

The dosage was increased slightly three months ago, but not enough, the TSH still rose a bit.  We will increase the dosage again, and check the blood in three months.

I have to admit, I am a little nervous, and am praying very specifically about the side-effects of the increase.

My doctor is  concerned about the adjustment, as well,  and wants me to let her know if the dosage causes symptoms I can’t tolerate.

My husband laughingly decided that he gets to be the determining factor for the results of the medication increase.

This plaque that has been sitting on my desk since I first found out my cancer was back for the third time.

I’m still counting on the Lord’s plans in this all. I cherish being continually transformed into the image of His Son, that is my spiritual goal through cancer.

But, I have to be honest.  This time I would love His plan to be to decrease the belly fat without increasing the crabbiness.

However, with or without the belly fat, I will be prospered, not harmed and have an eternal future.

I have hope

Hebrews 6:19
…the hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
both sure and stedfast…

MM Meditation – Victors or Victims

The following is a quote from A.W. Tozer.

“If Satan opposes the new convert he opposes still more bitterly the Christian who is pressing on toward a higher life in Christ. The Spirit-filled life is not, as many suppose, a life of peace and quiet pleasure. It is likely to be something quite the opposite.

Viewed one way it is a pilgrimage through a robber-infested forest; viewed another, it is a grim warfare with the devil. Always there is struggle, and sometimes there is a pitched battle with our own nature where the lines are so confused that it is all but impossible to locate the enemy or to tell which impulse is of the Spirit and which of the flesh.

There is complete victory for us if we will but take the way of the triumphant Christ, but that is not what we are considering now. My point here is that if we want to escape the struggle we have but to draw back and accept the currently accepted low-keyed Christian life as the normal one.

That is all Satan wants.

That will ground our power, stunt our growth and render us harmless to the kingdom of darkness. Compromise will take the pressure off.

Satan will not bother a man who has quit fighting. But the cost of quitting will be a life of peaceful stagnation. We sons of eternity just cannot afford such a thing.

**********
Philippians 3:14
I press toward the mark
for the prize
of the high calling of God
in Christ Jesus.

Prairie Path

If you missed the first day of the Prairie Journey,
please read Prairie Petals.
********
Nine miles north, three miles east.
I traveled this path to my North Dakota home on the
Olson farmstead thousands of times.
Yes, my family bought the ten acre farmstead,
complete with barn, house, chicken coop and granary,
but it was still always referred to as the Olson farmstead.

My high school friend, Janet, drove
nine miles north and three miles east,
to my former home on the prairie.
The road stretched before me with anticipation,
as it did when I first moved to ND from Montana
 after I finished 7th grade.
 Our family had been so excited to buy a farmstead. 
We wanted to garden, have animals, fix up the house,
and entrench ourselves with the people of the small town.
It didn’t happen quite that way.
We gardened and raised some animals,
but never quite were able to find our place in the
farm community.
After about seven years, my parents moved back to Montana.
My family’s best memories always revolved around
our beloved old Farm House.
My friend tried to break the news ahead of time,
but, it was still a bit of a shock.
Our house had been razed, grain bins stood in its place.

Janet is walking down our old driveway,
the road I learned to drive on.
It’s also the road I chased the runaway cow down in my high heels
on the mornings he got out before I went to work.

The view I used to enjoy out of my bedroom window.
The house had been empty, rented, sold, empty, rented and sold
over and over during the past few decades.
It had fallen into a state beyond repair
and had to be destroyed.
The work my family invested in
remodeling the farm house
was buried beneath ND soil.
Driving back into my hometown, I saw further ravages of time.
The newspaper office I worked at for several years,
had burned to the ground.
The restaurant I frequented had closed.
Almost every business on Main Street was closed or changed.
It was like my high school life had been  erased.
I still am humbled by the reaction to my presence
 at the one class reunion I attended 18 years after Graduation.
Three different people expressed their disbelief
 that I was in their graduating class.
It seems that even memories of me were erased
along with physical evidences of my existence.
I had mixed emotions as I pondered all these things.
  
Although the town has little evidence of my existence,
my existence has evidence of living in that town.
I learned faithfulness.
I cherish the friendship of several friends
who are still a part of my life.
I learned forgiveness. 
 I forgave those who tormented me,
although they never confessed their wrong.
I learned diligence.
Building, fixing, remodeling and gardening were tasks
 that built my character,
even if the work itself was destroyed.
I left my hometown,
but those things I longed to leave behind,
followed me.
I still had to deal with them,
the stench was heavy on my soul.
Whether it was my sin,
or the sins against me,
they had to be forgiven and cleansed,
for me to have peace in life.
The Lord is gracious with His forgiveness,
and so taught me to forgive others.
Psalm 103:12
 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
The sins and troubles of my past,
like my home
and the newspaper office,
have been erased from time,
by a gracious and merciful God.
Now, I can excitingly return to a place I couldn’t wait to leave.
I am blessed to fill my heart and mind with new memories
with my faithful friends.
But, it’s only because the east is so far from the west,
that I can travel back on a path of peace,
that’s nine miles north and three miles east.
**********
next read Prairie Pain

Prairie Petals

I was blessed this summer to travel back to North Dakota with my youngest daughter, Rebekah. 
I was born in ND, but my family moved to Montana shortly after, and I didn’t return again until 8th grade.  High school was a painful experience and after Graduation, I knew I would never live in my hometown again.
But, not only was I born in ND, I was born-again in ND my freshman year of college at the University of North Dakota. The Lord began a healing and maturing work in my heart that He has faithfully continued.
I have returned rarely to visit, I have maintained a few precious friendships, and I have learned to look back and see the Lord’s guidance, presence and purpose through all those difficult times.
Despite the pain and the confusion of those years, I have always loved the prairie and the people of North Dakota.  Join me in the healing journey back…
**********
While driving that last two lane highway north to my hometown, I noticed the ditches were filled with beautiful flowers. Yellow, white, purple, and orange blooms decorated the ditches in the spots not filled with cattails.
If I hadn’t been in such a hurry to get to my friend’s farm, I would have stopped to pick a bouquet.  Their beauty just delighted and enticed me. 
But, I knew deep in my heart she wouldn’t see the beauty I saw, not because she doesn’t appreciate beauty, but because she is a farmer.
She sees weeds for what they truly are- plants that would eventually destroy if not destroyed.
She and her husband, Tom, purchased her family farm and have continued the wonderfully agonizing career both grew up with. Those “flowers”  infiltrate their wheat, canola and bean fields and they exert much sweat and money to battle against them.
They added a fleeting moment of beauty to my life, but hours of agony to hers.

                                   

There are the famous thistles you can’t pull without leather gloves.
This one makes most people sneeze, wheeze,
blow their nose and wipe their eyes.
Don’t let the pure white blooms,
or the delicate petals fool you.
Each bloom that dies produces more seed,
which causes more blooms,
which causes more seed.
Local legend says a woman brought the first
Fairdale daisies to the area to add beauty to her garden.
Even flowers, when they spread like wildfire in farmers’ fields,
are considered weeds.
Farmers daily fight the curse of Adam.
Genesis 3:17-19
Cursed is the ground for your sake:
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”

 At first, when I drove through ND and saw those ditches filled with weeds, and the patches of  the curse dotting grain fields, I saw beauty. I had to be reminded that they are noxious weeds and the farmers can’t be fooled by outward enticement of the colorful blooms, they must kill them.

Then, I saw spiritual beauty.  Those prairie weeds represented all things I once considered beautiful and enticing, but the Lord saw them correctly as sin.

 The curse of sin given to Adam’s race has been conquered by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I am proof.

When I got saved at 18, the Lord graciously forgave me my sins and cleared the field of my heart from thorns and thistles. Sins that once looked so beautiful to me, were revealed to be the useless weeds.

And with the seed, the Word of God, planted daily in my heart, He has helped me to bear fruit. The Holy Spirit helps the harvest to be more bountiful, by showing me when weeds of sin have once again taken root in my heart.

Yea, even weeds  preach a message of promised redemption to a fallen world.

Maybe I should have picked a bouquet after all.  That would have been that many less weeds blowing their seed into Tom and Janet’s fields.

**********
next read Prairie Path

Come Unto Me

The following though was written October 27, 2006,
when my youngest daughter was only 4 years old.
**********

Matthew 11:28-30
Come unto me,
 all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy,
and my burden is light.

Come! Come now!(Imperative) to me, all you collective individuals who are weary and have grown exhausted with toil or burdens or grief and are to loaded with a burden of rites and unwarranted precepts and I will to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength, to give rest, refresh, to give one’s self rest, take rest to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation. 

As the mother of a too-soon walking, crawling and climbing infant, part of my wondrous job was to kiss and hug the little one when she fell and got an owie. Seeing her eyes and heart drawn to me at the slightest little pain or discomfort brought such joy and contentment to my heart. It made my heart rejoice to the heavens that I was so loved and so needed.

Like all mothers, sometimes the boo-boo was so slight, I couldn’t even tell where the damage was, and I just kissed a large circumference around the area pointed to in babbling toddlerese, just to insure the heart was mended.

Like all mothers, I have used hundreds of unnecessary Band-Aids, knowing the attention was just building trust so they would bring to me the real pains in their future life. It is building grounds for both of us, the truster and the trustee.

But now, as a too-mature 4 year old, sometimes when little Rebekah is hurt, she is also angry that she is hurt. Instead of rushing into my arms to let me kiss her owies away, she is upset and stands obstinate, refusing the comforting arms, the loving kisses and the means of restoring happiness. She will even get angry at the chair or at the person who left out the object that she tripped on.

At that time, I either have to make it a matter of obedience and kindly command her to come to me, or I have to physically pick her up and make her come to me so that I can soothe not only her physical pain, but point out the wrong reaction to it.

So, now my job isn’t just to comfort, but to instruct in how she should properly react to troubles. I also remind her that that is what mommies are for, to go to when you need help. I have lovingly and laughingly told her that this is my job, to kiss owies, and she needs to come to me.

Are we any different than children? When we are suffering are we rushing into the arms of our Father, or are we standing, arms crossed, aloof and irritated that this would happen to us? Instead of going for the comfort and strength we need, our hearts are irritated that we are in a position where we need comfort and strength.

Maybe this is why the Lord uses the term “little children” when he asks his disciples to allow the children to come to him. We are told to be as the little children, those whose sinful desires, pride and rebellious natures haven’t caused them to stand afar, those who come running to the arms of those who can help.

The Lord knows our hearts even better than we know the hearts of our children. This is why He had to use the imperative command to “Come, come now!” He can see our hearts, troubled and afar, and He has to lovingly command us to come into His welcoming arms. He commands us to come so that He can relief the burdens and give us rest. That’s His job.

Like a good, Heavenly Father, He’s calling to His hurting children,

Come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.

Will you climb into the Father’s lap in prayer, and allow Him to kiss away your owies with the power of His Word and His Comforter?

kIdS iN tHe KiTcHeN – Hair and Mixer Don’t Mix!

I found a memory while digging through my
cedar chest.
A chunk of hair.
I had put it in a ziploc bag and  had one of the kids
write a brief description of what happened.
I was wise enough to know at the time,
 that I would forget what happened.
I was right.
This traumatic situation had nearly evaporated from my mind,
the evidence only vaguely prompted a memory.
My kids are in the kitchen at a young age,
but I can’t imagine that I actually had a 4 year old
running an electrical applicance unattended.

But, apparently I’m not the only one with memory issues.

When I asked Grace if she remembered anything
about getting her hair caught in the mixer,

she couldn’t remember details.
I tried to prompt her memory.
MOM – “Do you remember what house were we living in, Grace?”
GRACE – “Oh, this one.”
MOM – “That can’t be.  It says you were four years old.”
GRACE – “Well, then I did it twice, because I did it once in this house.”
MOM – “Are you kidding? You got your hair caught in the mixer twice?”
GRACE – “No, I’m not kidding. We have pictures of it.”  She walked towards my computer then stopped.  “Oh, I guess it wasn’t my hair that got caught in the mixer, it was a wooden spoon.  I was trying to scrape the edge of the bowl, but didn’t stop the mixer and it got caught in between the beaters.”
That explains it.  No wonder I had to buy a new mixer and why the other new mixer only lasted a year.
It also explains why when people tell me how “lucky” I am that I have kIdS iN tHe KiTcHeN,
I always give a little shudder, because LUCK has nothing to do with it.  More like insanity.
Their comments also show they haven’t read my blog about my stove, broken eggs, dipped pretzels,   messy cupboards, or my cooked cutting board.   
And, apparently, they haven’t allowed their kids in the kitchen much, or had the privilege of pulling a huge wad of hair or a wooden spoon out of their beaters.
I guess I am just “lucky.”

Conquering Mount Washmore

Laundry.
It’s about the last thing
most women want to be doing
on a sunny day,
or even a rainy day,
or any day.
I have some strange genetic disorder,
I like doing laundry.
OK,
There is something about that satisfaction
of seeing and smelling fresh clothes
that motivates me
to wash those same clothes
over
and over
and over
and over
and over
and over
and over.
Behind every working woman
is an enormous pile of unwashed laundry.
Barbara Dale
Marriage is about the most expensive way
for the average man to get laundry done.
Burt Reynolds

Have you ever taken something out of the clothes hamper
 because it had become, relatively, the cleanest thing? 
 Katharine Whitehorn

What I like about laundry is the chance to make everything fresh and new again.
The sox can be crusted into lefts and rights, the shirts displaying part of every meal (spilling down the front is another genetic disorder in my family), and the jeans can have crusted mud clumps hanging on the raggedy bottom edges, but I  usually can get the stains out. 

I know how to scrub, spray, rub and get almost every kind of stain out.  If I don’t know the answer to a particular laundry challenge, there is always another woman who does.

But for sure, if I can’t get a stain out with the first wash, I re-wash.  Heat will set the stain, only washing can remove the stain.

Everytime we wear our clothes, they get dirty and  must be washed.  Sometimes, when the kids are younger, they change several times a day. Sometimes, when they are older, they can get a few days out of a pair of jeans or a sweatshirt before they spill down the front.

It’s like laundry maturity when something can last longer than one or two or even three meals.   But, no matter how mature you get, there are always those stains, always that lingering smell, always that stretched out feeling of overuse, that sends all the clothes back to be washed.

Just like our laundry, we always need washing. We come to Jesus to be washed in His blood for our salvation, but with daily use we always have a little stain, a lingering smell, that stretched out feeling that sends us back for daily washing.

Psalm 51:2
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity,
 and cleanse me from my sin.

Psalm 51:7
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let’s conquer all our Mount Washmores!

Why Mommies Get Angry – Don’t Understand Purpose of the Law

Mommies can wrongly think that discipline is to make our lives easier and to give relief to our own frustrations with our kids.  That may be an outcome, but not the goal.

Our discipline is to show kids their sinful state and their need for a Savior.

Like the purpose of the Ten Commandments in the believer’s life,  rules aren’t followed to gain favor with the Lord, nor does the flesh have the power to obey them.  The rules are to show the sinfulness of the soul and the need for a Savior.  Only with the Lord’s spirit, His Word and His help can we obey laws, whether the laws of the Lord, the laws of the land or the laws of the Home.

Genesis tells us God was grieved with the people because every thought and intent of the heart was only evil continually.  Sound like our children?  Sound like us?  The purpose of our correction, discipline and instruction is to show our children which thoughts, intents and actions are not pleasing to the Lord and how to make peace with the Father through faith in His Son.

When we focus on our peace as Mommies and not their peace with God, our frustrations can drive us to demand obedience and answer in anger when our peace is disturbed.  We cannot discipline in anger, or to relieve our own frustrations.  We only can discipline, correct and instruct when our heart’s desire is to point out their sin and the way to the Savior.

We need to keep their souls ever before our hearts and minds as we stumble down the path of parenting, letting Thy Word be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

 

MM Meditation – Can YOU Drink of the Cup?

Matthew 20
20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons,
kneeling down and asking something from Him.

21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?”

She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit,
one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”

22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask.
Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink,
and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

They said to Him, “We are able.”
**********
The two men were so eager to be glorified and identified with the Lord, that they weren’t clear in seeing the requirements – suffering first, then glory.
We like to criticize this doting mother and her overzealous sons, but we need to stop for a moment and think. It is GOOD that she wanted her sons in the Lord’s kingdom. It was good that the doting sons wanted to be identified with the Lord. They just didn’t understand the spiritual picture that was being played out before them.
The glory of the Christian life wasn’t to be honored for being identified with the Lord, but the glory of the Christian life is suffering with Him, then being glorified with Him.
They just didn’t get it.

Are we any different?

Do we say we want to be close to the Lord?

Do we pray that we would be transformed into the Lord’s image?

Do we long for answers to prayer?

Do we ask the Lord to use us in the lives of others?

Do we share our spiritual desires to be like the Lord with others?

Do we shrivel up when suffering comes our way in physical, financial, emotional and spiritual ways? 

We are honest, we are sincere, we are full of spiritual desire, but sometimes we can be as blind as the family recorded in the book of Matthew.

We don’t really understand what we are asking. The greatest work in the Christian’s life isn’t the pedestal they are put on for their spiritual gifts and accomplishments.  This “sitting on the right hand of the Lord” can hinder the Christian life, it isn’t what changes a Christian.

All of these spiritual desires are only accomplished in the same manner they were accomplished in the Lord Jesus – through suffering.

The Lord assured these brothers their wish would actually be granted, in His way, not theirs.

23 “So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup,
and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with…”

We, too, will drink of that cup, the cup of suffering.

Suffering will draw us closer to the Lord.

Suffering will transform us into the glorious image of the Suffering Savior.

Suffering will bring about answers to prayer.

Suffering will help us to minister to others who suffer.

Yes, drink up.

Because if we want to be glorified with Him, we must suffer with Him.

Why Mommies Get Angry – Inconsist Behavior

Inconsistency in any area of a Mommy’s life can lead to reacting with anger.

Inconsistency shows up when Mommy hasn’t overcome sin and still struggles in an area.  I can vouch for the fact that if a Mommy slams  doors when she is angry, she will have kids who slam doors.  It is very hard to discipline children for behaviors they are only imitating.  It is humbling when our children remind us of the need to lead consistent, victorious Christian lives before them. 

We deal with our own sin, then humbly deal with theirs.  Ours cannot excuse theirs, ours must prove a greater need for the family to overcome the sin patterns they are struggling with.

Inconsistency gives sin a foot in the door.  When Mommy gives in once to whining or tantrums, the kids will try it more times. You proved their methods might work, and give them reason to keep trying to get their own way.  If you have proved unfaithful, they will press you more, not less.  BE FIRM! If you never give in, they will give up trying.

I used to tell one of my children “I am the boss and I will win” over and over and over.  It was as much a reminder to myself as to my child that I was the God-given authority and my job was to win the battle for the sake of their spiritual welfare.

Inconsistency leads to confusion.  Neither parent nor child will fully know what to demand or expect in a situation.  If you said NO to eating a snack before dinner two times, but said YES once, they won’t know what the “rule” is.  They will always take the lower path, or the path that is more enticing, assuming that now they can help themselves to a snack every time.

There is always a time to break a rule.  Just make it clear the reasons for the exception, and that life will go back to normal later.  Keep communication clear to reduce frustration.

Inconsistency leads to mistrust. Children follow our leadership.  Most of the time the children love us and trust us.  It is a beautiful thing born into the heart of a child, this great love for their parents.  We bask in their love and how spontaneously they show it.  However, when we aren’t consistent in our lives and in how we lead our homes, we can cause them to start to doubt and mistrust our leadership.

These examples are of a few rules where I feel I was consistent.  Notice, I could only list two. 

RULE:  If you ask for a treat in the grocery store, you will NOT get one.

You might get one later and it will end up in your hair, but never for fussing at the grocery store.

Steadfast.  I had to stand on this rule, even when I wanted to give in.  I love buying treats or presents for my kids.  But, I only will reward good behavior.  Treats in the store are NEVER because they fussed and you need to bribe them.  Once you reward bad behavior, you will have bad behavior.

When Bethany was about three,  she loved to go into the gas station, open a sucker and eat it.  The cashiers thought she was cute and always wanted her to keep it.  Several times I had to buy the sucker and throw it out, while emphasizing to her stealing didn’t please the Lord.  Cuteness could not overrule what is right.

RULE:  If you ask to do something with your friend in front of your friend, the answer will be NO.

We had to teach our children that  we needed full disclosure on the situation they were asking to participate in, and we had to have the freedom to ask questions and give our honest answer without the scrutiny of their friends.  They learned in a hurry that if they wanted to do something badly enough, they would ask us in private, allowing the discussion to take place that would help us make the best decision for the situation.

Consistency is important for our walk and for our  spiritual impact upon our children.

I Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, Mommies,
be steadfast, immovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Be consistent!
*****