Monthly Archives: August 2013

Bald Women are Beautiful

In the noisy  drink shop, I leaned towards the woman in front of me and said near her ear, “Bald is Beautiful!”

She was a little surprised and emotions swirled on her face as she registered my comment, then turned with a smile and said, “Thank you.”

She truly was beautiful. And she was very bald.  We were in a mall in an area of fashionable and opulent people, where women monthly spend more money to tan and tweeze, primp and pamper, trim and accessorize than I spent on my first car.  She had the guts to dress up, put on lipstick and brave her baldness.

“Wigs are so uncomfortable, scratchy and warm in the heat,” I said. “I like seeing you going for comfort.”

 

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(Photo used with kind permission from Bald is Beautiful website)

“Yea, my sons encouraged me to stop worrying about it and  just go natural.”

“Where are you at in your cancer treatment?” I asked. “I was just declared cancer free after ten years of thyroid cancer.”

With quivering lips and a catch in her voice she answered, “Stage IV metastatic breast cancer.  I’ve been fighting three and a half years.”

Her raw emotion illustrated the  truth my question made her face, again.  We both knew what she was really saying.  She has suffered for three and a half years through surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and medication. With Stage IV cancer, to suffer through treatment is to be alive. When the suffering is over, usually so is your life. I knew the statistics.

What do you say to the stranger who is standing in line who might die, knowing you’re going to live?

“What’s your name?  I’d like to pray for you,” I said.

“My name is Lynn,” she answered. She talked a little more about her cancer and ended with “and I just thank the Lord.”  Not many people talk about malignant cancer and thankfulness in the same sentence.

“Oh, are you a Christian?”

“Yes, I am,” my bald friend answered. “And I couldn’t have gotten through this if it weren’t for the Lord.”

“I agree,” I empathized.  “I’m a Christian, too, but I have the issue of Survivor’s Guilt.  I’m going to live and several of my friends have died.”

I almost couldn’t handle the words as I shared them with my beautiful new friend.

The lined moved forward and she placed her order. Then she turned back towards me, placed a hand on my arm and repeated, “I don’t know how people go through this without the Lord. It’s been so hard.”

“I know,” I agreed.  “I’ve learned so much about suffering and am thankful at the end of all of this all, we have eternal life. Life on earth is hard… and short…but then we get to go to Heaven.”

The teenage cashier joined in our conversation by asking Lynn, “Are you a Fighter or a Survivor?”  After Lynn answered, she explained, “My best friend has cancer, I take her to her chemo every Monday.” My heart ached for the young teen suffering through cancer, but felt thankful joy for the faithfulness of her loving friend.  Both would be forever changed by cancer.

The conversation continued as we moved through the line and when it naturally ended,  Lynn and I hugged in the line.  We knew we’d see each other again…in Heaven.

Since that day I’ve thought about this divine appointment many times, and when I think of Lynn I pray for her and her family. I pray she’ll be in that small percentage that survives this cancer.

Cancer changes everything.

It makes a 60+ year old woman baldly and boldly face  death sooner than she planned.

It makes a 49 year old  woman face life without the things ten years of cancer took from her.

It makes a teenager compassionate and engage in the conversation of a Fighter and a Survivor fellowshipping about cancer’s reality of life and death.

But going out in public bald is more than just a statement about defying social expectations of beauty.  Lynn probably had other conversations during the day that reminded her again and again –

She has Stage IV cancer,

          But, she has Jesus.

She may die from this cancer…

          But, she’s going to Heaven.

Lynn is facing malignant cancer with courage and faith.  She didn’t hesitate to share her joys and sorrows, and thanked and praised the Lord for His goodness to her.  In less than five minutes she made a profound impact on my life.

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She was bald.

And she was very, very beautiful.

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I received permission to use the above photo and logo from a website “Bald is Beautiful.” This is their mission statement:

Bald is Beautiful wants to help promote strength, empowerment, and beauty for people who are battling cancer.

​Bald truly is beautiful, and we are here to help spread the word. We are raising money that will not go into a “pot” but instead go to the people who are currently fighting this battle.

​We hope to bring joy, laughter, and hope that not all is lost, except maybe a little hair!

Click on the above image to find their site.  Click here to shop and here to read more true stories honoring very bald and very beautiful people.

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Dustpan? Whatsa’ dustpan?

I learned early in my parenting  to pull my stove out every few months and clean the floor. It gets pretty disgusting. I also learned early in my parenting to ask the kids to sweep the floor AND ask them to use the dustpan.

We all learned not to tell our kids to wash their hands, but tell them to use warm water, soap, lather the soap, rinse the soap off and dry their hands on the towel.  Dipping fingertips into running water and flicking the excess water onto the mirror doesn’t constitute washing hands.

In my mind, it’s way easier to sweep the floor, use a dustpan, and throw the junk away.

It’s done. Over. Clean.

 

Who Needs a Dustpan?

My kids didn’t agree.  Occasionally, it was easier to flick it under the stove when I turned my back, and a bit more fun. They tried under the kitchen rug, too, but, DUH, they got caught way too quickly with that one. How could they think I wouldn’t notice that lump? They thought if the garbage pile was out of sight it was good enough.  The kitchen floor was clean. Mom should be happy.

Depending on where we lived at the time, these little crumbs could attract mice, ants and/or cockroaches.  It wasn’t just a finicky mom who had to have even the area under her stove clean.  I was trying to prevent further damage to our food, clothing and health. 

Flicking cheerios under the stove is like calling, “Here cockroach, cockroach, cockroach! I’ve got a little din-din for you!”

But, kids eventually outgrow childish behavior and I actually have six kids that can use a dustpan.  That’s right up there with having six kids that can flush a toilet. Are there awards for that?  Just wondering.

But, anytime we’re frustrated with the immature behavior of our children, we can always use the moment to evaluate ourselves at children of the Heavenly Father.  Are we immature in His eyes?

We adults  forget He can see our thoughts.  He knows the words before they’re on our tongue.  We might be praising ourselves for not saying them, but we still thought them. We have little frustrations.  We have little sins.  Those things nobody else sees in our lives, because we keep the area they see clean.  

A clean house is important to me.  A clean house is important to the Lord, too, because our house, that is our body, houses His Holy Spirit. 

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(made with Quozio)

He doesn’t want us hiding garbage.  Those little sins can leave us vulnerable to spiritual predators, and open the doors to consequences we didn’t plan. Sins of omission (things we should be doing and aren’t) and sins of commission (things we shouldn’t be doing but are)  both  start as mere crumbs.

Nobody intends to became addicted to substances.  Most affairs aren’t planned.  People don’t plan to go a whole month without reading their Bible. Internet addictions usually start in harmless ways.

It’s time to pull the stove from the wall because having our sins out of sight isn’t good enough. 

They have to be out of

our sight,

     our mind,

          and our hearts.

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(made with Quozio)

The beautiful thing about cleaning up spiritually?  We just show Him the stuff we swept under the stove, and He lovingly cleans up after us.

We don’t even have to use the dustpan.

Are You Battle-Scarred by Emotional Shrapnel?

As kids, we dreamed about becoming a cowgirl/cowboy, nurse, doctor, astronaut, movie star, rock star, inventor, race car driver or flight attendant. We dreamed about being beautiful, happy, and influential. We dreamed about traveling, building, and buying.

Nothing is impossible in a child’s dream world.

Graduation mottos told us, “If you dream it, you can achieve it.” We were told there was no limit to what we could accomplish. No was dream too high, no ambition out of our reach.

We approached adulthood and our dreams were tempered by reality, but the future was still exciting. We planned our careers, our weddings, our families and our homes.

Reality exploded unexpectedly under our feet when we stumbled into adulthood.

We painfully learned there are factors that limit our dreams, like our health, finances, families, our talents and abilities, and God’s will for our lives.

Adulthood surprised us, and in some ways, disappointed us.  I pictured adulthood as eating my desert first, staying up late reading every night, and spending my money on camera equipment and books. I never dreamed about  thyroid cancer, funerals,  a miscarriage, false accusations by Christians,  or watching an Innocent Man sentenced to jail for eight years.  I have friends who didn’t plan on being single, barren, divorced or dying at a young age.

Unexpected suffering infiltrates our lives and can make it hard to appreciate all the other blessings.

 

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(made with Quozio)

We’re walking around wounded by shrapnel from situations out of our control.

It doesn’t take too long to end up being battle-scarred and weary.

HURT:

Do you often wish you could take your words back?  Are you sharp, impatient, or cynical?  Are your words unintentional swords?  Hurting people hurt others.

Is there someone that you don’t hate only because you’re a Christian?  I’ve heard people say “The Lord tells me I have to love them, but I don’t like them.”  Yea, I know what they did, I have those people in my life, too, but we can’t allow them to keep damaging us by reliving their wrongs. 

What gives you nightmares?  What can’t you forgive?  What can’t your forget? What can’t you accept?

Remember how you used to run and show your Mommy your owies?  It’s time to run to your Daddy – your Heavenly Father.  Show Him where it hurts. 

Speak freely to Him in prayer. He knows the words before they’re on your tongue, so you might as well say it to His face, and not behind His back. Bring your brokenness and your tears to Him.  

Have you even felt that loving compassion when a hurting child runs crying into your arms? You do anything to soothe and help them. You never want them to leave your embrace.

Your Heavenly Father has His arms are outstretched and He’s longing for you to come to Him so He can hold you and make your owies all better.

HELP:

Don’t go it alone. Find other people who have suffered in a similar way and have learned to endure with hope and joy.  They will provide the encouragement, wisdom, and the accountability you need.

The best thing a dear older brother said to me was, “Girl, you gotta’ get over it!”  He loved me enough to point out I was picking a wound that needed to heal.

There are radio programs, books, blogs, and magazines.  Christian ministries are devoted to very specific problems that prove you aren’t alone in your pain. 

HEAL:

Some shrapnel can be removed.  Apologies can be made, medicine can be taken, counseling can be received.  I  avoid women who gossip. I found a few that can be trusted.   I made changes to improve my health. 

I was surprised to learn that most physical shrapnel is left in by the doctors, because removing it can cause more damage to organs and nerves. The body naturally forms a casing of protection around it.

If a situation can’t be removed or changed, it still can be healed. We can’t make people apologize for the damage they’ve caused. We can’t bring the dead back to life. Some diseases can’t be healed and we suffer the side-effects from the disease and/or treatment. You have to accept this and move on in your healing.

The shrapnel should be surrounded by prayer, not just yours. The Word of God will also soften those shards of life exploding in pain around you. Turn TO Him, not AWAY.

HAPPY:

Not many of us are living the lives we planned, but that doesn’t mean we can’t life a  fulfilled and purpose-filled live. Happiness is a choice, not a circumstance. 

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(made with Quozio)

Circumstances  bring us to a place where the Lord wanted us. A move 1400 miles away brought me four blocks from a Christian writers group and great medical facilities  – two things I didn’t know I’d need.

Cancer taught me much about my suffering Savior and gave me a great understanding and compassion for others.  I don’t regret what the Lord allowed in my life.

image(made with Quozio)

Happiness is letting Him heal your emotional shrapnel.

Does Jesus Care?

John Dabill 234
Does Jesus care when my way is dark

John Dabill 236
With a nameless dread and fear?

John Dabill 242
As the daylight fades into deep night shades

John Dabill 241

Does He care enough to be near?

(CHORUS)

John Dabill 246
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained

John Dabill 273
Too deeply for mirth or song

John Dabill 277
As the burdens press and the cares distress

John Dabill 386
And the way grows weary and long?

 

(CHORUS)

John Dabill 431
Does Jesus care when I’ve said, “Goodbye”

John Dabill 446
To the dearest on earth to me

John Dabill 406
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks

John Dabill 444
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?

 

 

CHORUS:

Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares

His heart is touched with my grief

When the days are weary, the long nights dreary

I know my Savior cares.

 

John Dabill 447

One of the hardest things my husband has done was preach the funeral of his best friend, mentor and spiritual father, John Dabill, July 22, 2013.

My husband became a Christian at a camp in northern Minnesota, Story Book Lodge Christian Camp, when he was 14.  He endured four years with very little fellowship or encouragement at home, in school or in the church he attended.  When he moved to college he began attending a local Bible-believing fellowship.  He looked around for the man who knew and loved the Bible the most and asked John to disciple him.

Even though we lived in other states for many years, they continued Bible studies over the phone.

John had an average of a dozen Bible studies a week, continuing this pattern until only a few weeks before his home calling.  He had an open door policy and kept his office stocked with pop and snacks for any who came.  He would drop what he was doing and act like he had been waiting for you to come.

He was greatly loved and admired by his family and his church family.  We are thankful He is with the Lord, but he’s left holes in many hearts.

I ache so deeply I can’t even write about how he impacted my husband, me, and my children. I am speechless in my grief and thankfulness for how he invested in our lives and faith.

I know my Savior cares.