I have been thinking a lot about wounds this week…primarily because I accidentally gave myself a pretty bad cut. I will write more about it on Wednesday but thought it was nice to reblog a post from this past fall.
Happy Monday,

Burning Brightly

What are wounds? When most of us think about them we probably think of physical wounds. We think of the time we fell off our bike and scraped our knee or cut our hand while cooking. Wounds HURT. They compromise the integrity of our skin defense and allow bacteria in. They typically require action on our part to clean them and bandage them to prevent infection…but sometimes they become infected despite our best efforts.

Emotional wounds are harder to recognize and even harder to treat. We all have them. Some have more than others. They are the product of hearts interacting in an imperfect world. We can wound people even when we don’t mean to. We can especially wound people when we mean to. We can have wounds from our childhood and family or previous relationships…we can inflict them on ourselves with our choices. They can be caused by an…

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Judgement and walking in another’s shoes

This is a topic I have been thinking a lot about recently…and one that a new blogging connection seemed to articulate so well. Love moves people. Love changes people. Jesus came to love and save us all. Why do we spend so much time judging?

Walking the talk

The Bible says that we shouldn’t judge … but it’s hard not to.  When talking to another person, my mind is constantly assessing, forming opinions on – and let’s face it, judging what they’re saying.  We make decisions on what we like / dislike, agree with / disagree with, think is right / wrong.  We judge.

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing – we sniff milk that’s been left for slightly too long in the fridge to judge if it’s good to drink.  Similarly, we judge what people say / write to see whether it is wholesome – or not – for our minds, spirits or souls.  We use the innate judgement that God has given us.

But when we judge in a different way we can be in effect saying that we are worthier of God’s love / forgiveness / attention etc than the person we are…

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Taking the first step

Why is taking the first step the hardest? The following steps somehow seem easier.

I am writing this because I find myself in the ironic situation of…I was in much better shape Just Start cropin the middle of chemo than I am now. It’s crazy. My motivation for exercise has evaporated. I’m sure it is partly due to the Dutch winter weather and that I no longer have the structured “chemo-cise” program. It is difficult to remember where I was a year ago and realize what I need to recover. Some days it feels almost impossible to get myself up and moving. Almost.

I have been trying to be more disciplined and can feel my fitness level improve (which helps my motivation). But the biggest hurdle I need to overcome every time is just changing into my running gear. Somehow the thought of changing makes me sink deeper into the couch that I am sitting on. Facebook becomes more interesting or I remember that “one thing” I need to look up. It takes a conscious choice to move the computer and take the first step. There are days when my desire and determination win and there are days when it doesn’t. first stepBut I always feel so much better when I run.

These decisions to move aren’t limited to exercise. The first step is the hardest in almost every process. Especially the ones where we can’t see the full path. Are there changes you want to make? Do you want to learn to cook? Are there habits you want to form or break? Does not seeing the the full path keep you from starting? Identify the first step and just start…because without that first step you will always stay where you’ve always been.

Happy Monday!



Happy Blogging Anniversary!

I was reminded by WordPress today that on March 1, 2012 I reluctantly started this little blog. It began as a central place to share information but has turned into so much more and opened up a community I didn’t realize existed. Thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me. People have accessed my blog from 90 different countries which is crazy…and cool! The connectedness of this world blows my mind.

Cheers to being a blogger! And bring on another year. 🙂



Joy in all circumstances? Really?

YES! I can remember the first time I read this passage in college:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:4-7 NIV – underline emphasis mine 🙂

I sat back and thought…Yeah right. There is no way you can honestly have Joy in all circumstances. Some things are just hard! I mean really f-ing hard!! Sometimes there is nothing in you that wants to be joyful or thankful. Why do we, as Christians, need to always force a smile and attempt to have hope and joy. I knew that the author, Paul, was writing these lines in prison and was possibly facing execution…so his life wasn’t so stellar. But still…there was NO WAY you could be authentic and have this be true…always.

Sometimes it is a matter of perspective

Sometimes it is a matter of perspective

Until this year. This year taught me how I had been thinking about this passage wrong for the last decade. I was so focused on the underlined parts…rejoice ALWAYS…be thankful no matter how hard the circumstances ALWAYS…and trying to force myself to feel these things. I missed the fact that I can just come as I am (crushed, frustrated, broken hearted, tears streaming down my face, hopeless) and PRAY and ASK…and it is God GIVING me peace…a peace that doesn’t actually make sense but is real. It is a gift. And that gift then inspires joy and thanksgiving and hope.

What I need to say now is that Joy for me doesn’t equal the feeling of happiness. There were dark days this year when the emotional pain was so intense that I thought it would be easier if the cancer just took me. Waking up every morning was too hard. I was tired of being surrounded by the uncertainties of my health and people I care about dying. I didn’t know how to face the foundations of my marriage being shaken. I didn’t even want to go to the super market because I would have to stretch my exhausted chemo-brain to interact in even the simplest Dutch phrases. I didn’t (and honestly most days still don’t) FEEL happy. I would change a lot about my current situation but in the midst of it all there is a peace and a joy in my core that I can’t explain…and if you look at my circumstances doesn’t make sense. But it truly is what God promised.

I have begun my “re-integration” program at work and it has been great to see my coworkers again and to begin to establish a normal routine. I have had at least 12 people tell me that I’m glowing…not an adjective normally used. 🙂 I say thank you and know that if it were up to my own strength this year I would have crumbled and given in to despair a while ago. But I am truly thankful to Jesus that I didn’t.



Pink Ribbons Inc.

I got some very sweet responses to my post yesterday about why I wont claim “Breast Cancer Survivor” for myself…thank you for that. 🙂 I wanted to follow up with a bit more awareness on the Pink Ribbon Culture that surrounds Breast Cancer and swallows the month of October. I am a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity and have been around the Susan G Komen foundation and the “Pink Ribbon” for over a decade but I had NO idea what was actually happening. Here is the trailer for the documentary “Pink Ribbons Inc” that does an excellent job of outlining how corporations use my disease as a cause to promote their bottom line. I am not begrudging capitalism but breast cancer is epidemic…we need REAL research into causes and prevention. I know that if women really become aware of how the “research” money is being spent and if we get vocal enough things will change. (Note: If you’re reading this in an e-mail you’ll need to click over to the blog to watch the video)

We do not need more awareness. I don’t need the white house to become a pink house. I don’t need Estee Lauder to sell me some pink lipstick that actually contain carcinogens and then donate a penny to Komen. I would love a nuanced approach to Breast Cancer treatment rather than the current slash, poison and burn. We need to understand this thing!! SOOO much money has been raised with really not much to show for it.

  • 60% of funds raised and donated in North America are being put back into awareness campaigns. Currently only 5% of funds raised and donated in North America are being used towards prevention research. If you’re not AWARE of BC at this point, honestly, you’ve been on the moon…even there you may see the pink lights. 🙂
  • Only 20-30% of cancer occurs in women with “known” risk factors and only 5-10% of that is inherited. That’s at least 70% where we have NO CLUE where it comes from and only 5% of the research money going towards it. Tough to cure a disease when we know nothing about it.
  • In the 1940’s 1 in 22 women were diagnosed with BC, now it’s 1 in 8. That may be because of better screening but quite possibly we are polluting our bodies in a way that needs to be understood and stopped.
  • Susan G Komen died 30 years ago…and honestly her prognosis would not be much better now. How have we not made ANY progress in stage IV treatment in 3 decades with all the money raised?

There are a lot more statistics and the problem is one that is endemic of the big pharma system. This is not meant to be a disheartening message. 🙂 I know people love me and want to help me…honestly buying pink products doesn’t do that…it helps the companies. Signing up for prevention based research organizations like the Army of Women does.

I had debated whether to include the “real” face of breast cancer in this blog because it may be difficult for some people to look at…hell it’s difficult for me to live. But if you really want to see the reality…post surgery…post chemo…post radiation…pre healing/reconstruction click here. But be warned it’s not a pink ribbon. Things NEED to change.

Sorry for the heavy (but important) message on a Friday…have a good weekend. 🙂



Things I know

I don’t have much to say right now except a list of a few things I know:

  1. That the hardships this year have transformed me in ways I would not give back. I am at a good place with God.
  2. There has been a divine timing to absolutely everything that has happened. The Lord provided for my needs before I knew I needed them. Whatever the future brings I trust this will continue.
  3. I have been praying for there to be light in the darkness, for satan to be bound and for chains to be broken…I didn’t realize how dangerous this prayer was…the darkness is dark and the chains are thick. But again the Lord has been faithful and will continue to carry me through this. I would pray that prayer again.

Those are my thoughts on this Friday afternoon…off to radiation.