August 21, 2012

Photo Book

Photo Book Tip: Create an adventurous travel photo album at

Back in mid-June I did my very first Relay for Life with the majority of my family (and some friends) in honor of my Dad and in memory of my Aunt Susan. It was such an amazing event. I took lots of pictures and put them into this book that I made on

January 20, 2012

Be Near Me Now

So about 2 months ago I bought the book: When God and Cancer Meet and until today I just couldn't bring myself to even open it.  I kept picking it up, looking at the cover and then putting it down again.  The fear of cancer has had a very strong hold on me...strong enough that I couldn't bring myself to read "true stories of hope and healing". In my eyes, cancer and hope/healing didn't go together.  But today, I put my daughter down for her afternoon nap and I sat down (trying to do no TV during the days right now) and it was actually QUIET.  As much as I always try and escape noise and chaos, I don't ever seem to settle into "quiet" very well.  I get antsy with "quiet".  So I sit down and this book just so happens to be right in front of me...staring at me..."open me".  I got a very unsettling feeling in my stomach...a very familiar, unsettling feeling...anxiety!  So I just said a little prayer: God, please be near me now.  Let me feel your presence as I open this book. PLEASE, let me feel you near me.  Please comfort me and settle my fears and anxieties about cancer. 

And so I opened the book and began to read. Just reading the introduction had me in tears. After today's reading,
#1 I know I want to keep reading this book to the very end.
#2 I MUST have a box of tissue handy each time I open it and 
#3 I can't forget to pray before.

Aunt Susan died of cancer some years ago and it really scarred me and my memories of her and of cancer.  It was a life altering event for me.  I watched as she got sicker and sicker with this disease. I spent my afternoons after cosmetology school in the hospice center with her. I remember the very last day I spent with her, she was having trouble breathing and even staying awake long enough to finish a sentence as she was trying very hard to have a conversation with me.  I kept telling her I loved her and to just rest and that it was "OK", we'll talk later.  I remember leaving her room that day and slumping down outside of her door, just crying and begging for God to please just take her and please don't let her suffer anymore.  I still remember the look on my mom and sister, Sara's face as I opened my apartment door on my birthday and inside knowing what they were going to tell me, while walking away from them screaming NO!  At the same time my phone was ringing and it was my Dad. It kind of felt like everything was spinning out of control around me. My Dad ALWAYS knows just what to say and just how to say it so that it goes to the very fibers of your being. Like he's telling you everything is going to be OK and you just believe it will be because he said so. Even though the pain your feeling is more than you can bear. He told me to think of it as a birthday gift from the Lord because Aunt Susan was no longer suffering, but was finally at COMPLETE peace and with her heavenly Father.  Every time I think of my aunt Susan and how much I miss her, I remember those words my dad spoke to me and then I see her sadness, no pain, no tears, just joy and complete peace.

When Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma back in June, I felt as if someone was ripping my guts out.  I felt like I had just had the wind knocked out of me.  I was gasping for air, but couldn't find it. How could this happen to HIM? I remembered instantly (what I tried for years to forget) how sick Aunt Susan was and how much pain she was in and how much medicine she was on to help her cope with the pain and I was begging God to NOT do this to my Dad. I didn't want to see another person I loved go through what my aunt had gone through, especially my dad.  I thought, its just to much, God.  I can't bear to watch this...again. And yet, for whatever reason, my Dad has had to endure all the hardships of this cancer and the meds...the weight loss, appetite loss, mouth soars, hair loss, vision loss, memory loss, hearing loss, soars all over his body, nausea, coughing up junk, tiredness, fatigue, chills (etc.).  One of the medicines he is taking now for the melanoma actually has a side affect of skin cancer.  Really?!?! Isn't that what started this whole mess to begin with?!?! He just had a mole on his face biopsied that came back positive and so now he will endure ANOTHER surgery, having already had the Gama knife as well as radiation on his brain.  He gets bad news repeatedly, and then a little glimmer of hope with good news and then slammed again with bad news. And yet, he still FIGHTS. He has never wavered in his faith or his will to survive.  He still trusts the Lord and has even told us (his kids and wife) that the Lord told him in the beginning this was going to be for us.  Well, what does that mean? How is this FOR us? What are we supposed to get from watching our dad suffer this way? Some days I feel like "I get it" and some days I just don't have a clue what God is trying to show us and I feel lost and ashamed that I feel the way I feel while my Dad continues to stay strong and unwavering, even in the sickest, most physically painful, trying times of his life.

Today, as I was reading this book (When God and Cancer Meet), I felt His presence near me and this is what I read:

      I can't tell you how, when, or where God will bring a blessing through your trial of suffering. But I can tell you why - because His word promises He will.  Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (NASB). 
     God will bring blessing through your trial because you matter greatly to Him and He longs to show you that. He may bless you with physical healing, or He may bless you by healing you emotionally of some deep-seated hurts. He may bless you spiritually with the joy of knowing Him in a way you never have before. Or He may bless others through you in unimaginable ways.
     My blessing from cancer is certainly not the one I sought, but because God knows me and loves me, He knew how to bless me.
     ...God wants to bring blessing through your cancer experience: you just need to let Him decide the blessing.

Lynn Eib may never read my blog, but those words she wrote in her book (about 10 years ago) were meant for! If I just find a way to rest in him and if I continue to lay this at his feet and not let it grip me or rule my "world", I will gain HIS blessing in it and find peace in Him through this process. If I have learned nothing else through this process or through the many other trials in life, I know for sure I have learned that God's word is FULL of promises, just for me (and you) and that is why it is so important to remain IN HIS WORD! So that we remember His promises to us AND so that we can remind Him of His promises as we pray and cry out to Him.

My Dad's Cancer Journal

Lynn Eib's Story

When God and Cancer Meet