Today I Knew

I don’t know why, but today I knew cancer was going to win. I don’t know when, or how. I just had a feeling come over me that told me cancer was going to eventually win this battle.

It wasn’t even an option for me, I know I am going to carry on as I have been; upbeat, positive, all hands on deck, and ass-kicking. If cancer does beat me, it is God’s will.

When I was pregnant with B2 and they told me at 12 weeks 2 days gestation that my baby would not live until the end of the week and I would need an abortion to remove the remains I decided that every minute that child was alive would be filled with love and prayer and hope. Not one day did I focus on the end. Every day I focused on that moment, with my baby…the one who knew my heartbeat from the inside. I wanted positive energy to fill his entire world. I never wanted him to feel his Mother’s heart break. It was a choice. I can’t say it was an easy or a hard choice, it was just a decision I made and stuck to. (He was seven in November and now plays hockey)

I am doing the same with cancer. I don’t know what the outcome will be, miracles happen every day. I am not posting this on my caringbridge site as my kids have access to that and I never want them to even think I gave up, because I am not. Nothing has changed, nothing will change.

We will still joke and play, and go to chemo, and eventually have surgery and then more chemo…and we will do so with a smile. We will do so with an iron will.

We will do so knowing that even if we do lose the battle, we won the war. We will have won, knowing that we honored God, we continued to serve others and allowed others to serve us. We will have won by showing so many people how to simply Love God. Love People. Period. and how the pay it forwards can continue for as far as the mind can reach.

We showed the entire world that cancer isn’t all that bad when you have faith, and an army of support. We are blessed.

In 2014, I was blessed with very aggressive stage 3 cancer. In 2015 I am going to fight it with the best doctors, the greatest family and friends, and a positive attitude. I am going to win, whether I live or I die…because cancer will NEVER beat me down. It can never take away the love, the lessons, the friendships, the faith that I have that God works all things for His go.

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HOLY CRAP

First off…remind me the next time I am coming to the library to blog to remember a sweatshirt, it is so cold in this computer lab and I can’t type with my jacket on.

So, I’ve spent a ton of time devoted to prayer lately. Our pastor encouraged us to pray some Big-Ask Prayers, and I did. I asked for the right job to come for me, and I asked for beds for the boys and myself.

Well, as always, God pulled through. I did not expect him to pull through so fast, but today I was hired as a personal care attendant for a little girl with Spina Bifida. The pay is more than I was making at the hotel, the scheduling is extremely flexible, and no weekends or holidays. Minimum 24 hours each week and the option to work 40+. Can you say PERFECT FIT??

I went to the scheduled prayer meeting at the church and was met by the pastor who had a silly grin on his face. Not only did he find bunk beds for the boys, but the youth pastor found a bed for me as well!!

Lord, I asked…You answered. You came up BIG for me. THANK YOU.

I am so overwhelmed with happiness.

Lord, I know I’ve asked some really big-ask prayers lately and I thank you for allowing others the opportunity to bless my life and my kids lives and thank you for having them choose me and the boys to bless with their radical generosity. I will continue to serve you Lord, and to bless those I am able to with my unique gifts you have blessed me with. Continue to light my path Lord so I can follow You and hear your call. Amen

On Fire

My heart is on fire lately. I have such a renewed sense of hope, love, understanding, peace…it is amazing. I am so richly blessed by those who have entered my life. The friends who have remained at my side during what many would claim was a disastrous time have helped me to remain focused on the good and the positive things going on all around me.

Through my first week and a half of unemployment I have served as a Creation Station teacher (two services), served an evening meal three times, celebrated Thanksgiving (Canadian), and spent some much needed time in prayer and reflection.

Before I move forward I need to look back. I need to see where I came from, to understand what it took to get me here and remove the things that didn’t work and learn to embrace the things that did.

I am becoming much more open with people around me, less stand-offish to new people. I am more inclined to shake a hand and introduce myself to a new person at church, I took the time to sit and pray with a child in my Sunday School class this past weekend who was severely troubled. It is so comforting to know that I can help this broken child, that he trusts me enough to allow me in to his thoughts and concerns. THIS is why I teach…to help these kids learn that it IS okay to not be okay and that it is okay to not only reach out but to also take the hand that reaches for him.

Ironic that I am having this same struggle for myself right now. I am learning how to accept help that is offered, yet still have a difficult time asking for specific needs when people want to help. “Is there anything you need?” is usually followed by “No, we are good for right now.” When I should be saying is, “I am currently without any beds for myself or the boys and we are looking for donations to help meet that need.” How hard is THAT? Not very when I type it out, EXTREMELY when it comes to actually making that need known.

Why can’t I ask? Well, I’m afraid of what people might think of me. Not only do my children not live with me, but I don’t even have beds for them to sleep on?

Should I have stayed at the job that was killing me emotionally and spiritually to provide comfortable beds for my boys? Is is okay that I left to follow God’s plan for my life instead of drowning where I was? In my brain, the answer is simple, that I did the absolute best thing for myself and the kids when I left that job. My brain knows that we don’t ‘need’ beds, we want them.

My heart though sometimes still struggles. I know there are two perfectly good beds at their dad’s house that are not being used, a queen sized in one room and a twin sized in the second empty room…I have asked to have even one of them for the boys to use and have been denied. I pray that his heart be healed to see past his own pain to take care of the needs of our boys, not just when they are on ‘his time’ for for him to care about their needs and well being when they are on my time. They do not stop being my children when they leave my care just as they should not stop being his children when they leave his. Does he not see that he is not punishing me, only the boys? Will he ever see it? I highly doubt it.

I worry that his hurt will define his relationship with the boys as they grow older and see the truths for themselves. I don’t want them to have a damaged relationship with either parent. I want them to be so in love with both of their parents that there is never any doubt. I don’t want them to see the bitter, angry, short sighted person their father has become. I want them to know the man with whom I made them, not the one he has become. I want my boys to learn that no matter what, their parents always put their love for each of them above any hurts or hangups. What greater gift can we give them?

The other great gift I am giving my children at every chance I get is knowing God. I am teaching them that God is good and it is Him to whom we should turn to when times are challenging. I am teaching them to see everything has a positive aspect and it is up to us to decide which aspect to focus on in any given situation.

My boys don’t live with me…pretty negative. I can sleep in because I don’t have to get them off to school in the morning…pretty nice perk. LOL See, even something so seemingly devastating can be okay, if you  chose to let it be.

Be on fire for the right reasons. Be fired up about God making radical changes in your life, be on fire for those around you who look to you for guidance. Be on fire for those who see you as their compass…always be TRUE North (haha…get it, I’m from Canada…NORTHERN Canada). I’m on fire, and not calling the fire department to put it out. I am happier at this moment in my life than I have been in many years.

And if you are moved to make a donation for the boys and I to have a bed, I won’t tell you no.

How I Do It

So often I am asked how I deal with disappointment, rejection, stress, and the general unknown with such a positive attitude. I did not get the church job that I had applied for and hoped the most for. When I got the call, it was hard to keep the tears at bay as I talked to the woman who called. She had nothing but praise for my skills, and thanks for everything I’d already been doing with and at the church in terms of volunteering and working with the children’s ministry, etc.

Well, if I am so awesome, why didn’t I get the job; the same thoughts I’m sure anybody in my position at that time would have had. I was sad, I was hurt, I felt rejected, I wondered what I did wrong, what I could have done better. All normal thoughts. I posted on my Facebook that although I know through all things God works for good, my heart was hurting.

The self pity and despair lasted only about 20 minutes or so…then it hit me; if through all things, God works for good He must have something super awesome in the works for me and I better be ready for it. The next day I had a short moment of financial panic and had to remind myself that I am fine until December. I have time, God has time. There is no need to call McDonald’s and tell them I need to start working tomorrow. I still have time.

I’m not sure how a new employer would like it if I called and accepted the job offer only to tell them I need Thursday and Friday of my first week off because I had already promised Bum that he could come spend those days at my house (he has a break from school). So I will pick him up after school on Wednesday and he can come watch me bowl with my league and then we will have Thursday and Friday to be bums together. I’m guessing the library and Netflix will be our best friends!!

It even crossed my mind that taking that job may not have been the best idea after all. I am now teaching the elementary aged Sunday School (two classes each Sunday), I have offered to help provide treats for the youth group meetings occasionally, I plan on attending the Monday evening church service (as I will miss it on Sunday due to teaching), plus I am attending this Bible Study group. Would it become too much? Would it start to seem like everything was part of my job and would the lines between the volunteer time and work time begin to blur? Good call God…well played.

On Thursday last week I had a speech in Fargo and it was amazing. I was going to stick around and attend one of what used to be my favorite AA meetings but half way there my event calendar on my iPod reminded me that I had signed up for a Bible Study group that same night, I would have to rush back as soon as I was done talking. I hemmed and hawed about heading back but in the end I knew it was where I needed to be.

Another one of those ‘best decisions ever’ moments. There were three of us in attendance and we shared some deeply personal stories and the study was amazingly fitting for where I am at in my life. It talked about God our Father and how it compared to our visions of our own fathers growing up and present day.

I said my Step-dad has always been there, through thick and thin. He made some HUGE mistakes as a man, a parent, a person; yet he never left my side. Sure, we’ve had our moments, who hasn’t with their parents? But I have never questioned my dad’s love for me. Just as I never have to question God’s love for me. I am confident in His love and that He will always be at my side.

I was able to share with the group how I see forgiveness and how I try to teach my kids about forgiveness. When I first taught them the Lord’s Prayer, I taught each petition separately. When it came to “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” I explained that if we only forgave somebody on the surface (as many people seem to do) and God forgave us in the same way then eternity was a long time if we were forgiven in the same way that we forgive only superficially.

It is because of this thought process that I am easily able to forgive people completely. I don’t hold a grudge, I don’t have expectations, I know that if there is a debt to be paid for a sin, it will be paid. Maybe not in my time or even the other person’s life here on earth, but judgement day will come for them and God who is merciful and just will see to it that His will be done.

That’s how I get through the days, the weeks, the months…sometimes the minutes. With a calm confidence that I am exactly where I need to be at this moment in time and that one day somebody will be able to make sense of it all. Fortunately for me, I am able to see through much of the daily static and see the light and it’s not at the end of the tunnel, but brightly shining on the path directly in front of me.

Sense of Humor

I have given birth to a certain eight year old boy that I love dearly. Lately, me and said boy get in to discussions that are like reading ‘If you Give a Mouse a Cookie’ written by Laura Numeroff.  If you have not read these series of books I HIGHLY recommend them.  If you give him a cookie, he’ll want milk, if you give him milk he’ll want a mirror to check for a milk mustache, if you give him a mirror he’ll want scissors to trim his hair…you can see how this goes. Bubba asks why for every answer I give him to see how creative I can get. Here’s a recent conversation:

Can I have a Pepsi?

No

Why?

We don’t drink pop for breakfast.

Why?

Because it’s unhealthy.

Why?

Because there is too much sugar.

Why?

That’s how it gets flavor.

Why?

So it tastes good.

Why?

So kids want to drink it for breakfast.

Why?

So they can argue with their mother

Why?

Because they like to have their x-box taken away

Why?

Because they enjoy standing in a corner

Why?

For exercise

Why?

Because exercise is good

Why?

Because it burns energy

Why?

because there’s some cycle that includes ATP that I don’t remember

Why?

Because I’m old

Why?

Because my kids ask too many questions

Why?

Because they think duct tape is a hot fashion accessory across their mouths

Why?

Because I haven’t figured out how to lock the closet

Why?

Because I am too busy answering questions

Why?

Because I’m an awesome mom

Why?

Because my mom is awesome

Why?

Because she had me

Why?

Why not?

I’ll ask the questions here, lady.

Why?

Because I’m the kid

Why?

Because you had me

Why?

Because I am your birthday present

Why?

Because you found out you were pregnant with me on your birthday

Why?

Ummmm, Mom….

HA…GOTCHA…you little shit!

Of course by now he still has not forgotten that he wants a Pepsi for breakfast, but we are all giggling and have just wasted a good five or ten minutes.

The pastor from my old church used to tell me that if I ever doubted God had a sense of humor to make a plan…lately God’s sense of humor is shining through in my life in SOOOOOO many ways. I still try to laugh…but lately He seems to have taken things a bit far.

I took the leap and quit my job. Tomorrow is my last day. I have my finances figured out, I have several job prospects, I have a plan in place. Looks good right? Last night I get home and go to plug in my laptop which is dead from a call with the boyfriend after work…and the pin to plug the charger in is busted. The milk man is going to look at it for me, but I think it’s toast.

I don’t have the money to replace my laptop right now…it wasn’t in the plan…and I am having trouble finding the humor in this one. I know I don’t NEED a laptop…but it sure is nice having a computer at home. I have the x-box, but I don’t have a keyboard for it…and I’m WAY too cheap to go buy one…and if I buy a keyboard I have to buy a camera/mic set up so I can use Skype…well, now I might as well just buy a new computer…but it’s not in the plan.

The library has computers for public access, the workforce center has computers for public use…but neither one of those places is going to let me sleep there in case The Boyfriend calls in the middle of the night. Neither one of them has Skype or Yahoo Messenger capabilities. So, I do what I do best. I pout, then I pick my head up and move forward. My birthday is coming up in April…I can save up after I go back to work and then spoil myself.

But this means that for the foreseeable future I may not be blogging regularly, I have to rely on snail mail with The Boyfriend which at the moment is not an option due to his current status/location…not funny God.

So, just another challenge to face, another hurdle to jump. We grow through adversity. In the last 6 months I have:

  • Been homeless
  • Lived with no furniture when I did get a home
  • Started dating
  • Quit my job
  • Learned how to be a Wildland Fire Fighter
  • Found a new church
  • Began teaching Sunday School again
  • Taught my boys how to fish
  • Got my butt kicked at mini-golf more times than I’d like to count
  • Taken my kids bowling
  • Loved intentionally
  • Lived intentionally
  • Moved on.

This little blip is nothing compared to some of those things. I’m a warrior, I got this. Just like rules are made to be broken, plans are made to be changed. I believe that everything is exactly as it is supposed to be at this moment.

Hurry up and Wait

Court was cancelled today…another stepping stone. I decided to let work know I would come in because sitting at home wasn’t going to be doing myself any favors. Well, the boss already had gave my shift to another co-worker who needed the hours so that was no longer an option.

I have a thousand things I could do today, a few things I maybe should do, and at least one thing that I MUST do. The one thing I need to do, without regard to anything else, is take care of myself. I did this by taking time to cry in frustration this morning. The emotional turmoil I am living in with this situation is exhausting. I had my hopes up for today being the beginning of the end…the final hearing, the trial phase of the divorce. Finally, the ability to move forward. I understand the wheels of justice move slowly…but two years for a divorce?? C’mon already. I want my life back.

I spoke with Boyfriend for a while this morning. He knows exactly how to bring me comfort at times like that. He continued to ‘talk me off the ledge’ this morning in terms of court.

He even takes me into a fantasy world of the future. I never dreamed that taking a few minutes to think about the future (even as uncertain as it may be) to even make pretend plans, brings a smile. He lets me live in that the future to envision what it might look like, and that comforts me. I’m planning a vacation for us…gonna be a gooder.

Reality Check

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Yesterday’s sermon at church was a reality check for many. We were asked if we really trust God with our whole hearts. My initial response was, “Well of course I do. He has always provided for me.”

Then came the challenge between my heart and my brain. How can I even pretend that I completely trust God when I am living in such turmoil regarding my current employment situation when I KNOW that where God guides, he will provide.

The above text says, “…and lean NOT on your own understanding…”

That has gotten me through this last six months in one piece. I cannot lean on my own understanding, I trust that everything that is happening right now is a part of God’s plan and that God is good. So how is it that I can completely trust Him when it comes to the futures of my children and the courts, and everything regarding my divorce, yet I can’t find it in me to follow the path He has made for me.

I feel like there is the path He has set out before me, and every time I step off the path…he merely moves it again and places it back in front of me. This isn’t something I can deny.

God is SCREAMING in my ear to quit my job, to move forward. Do I trust him enough to believe everything will be ok? Do I trust Him enough to provide for my needs? My heart says yes, I do trust Him. My brain is wondering if God will pay the rent.

I have filled out applications and am taking some online training that has nothing to do with my current job. These are steps in the right direction. My question is, how long do I allow my current job to drain me emotionally, physically, and spiritually? Do I hold out until something comes along? Do I wait until I snap?

I have a very real fear that staying here will cause a breakdown. I told a friend yesterday that it feels like the boss is doing everything in his power right now to get me to quit. He badgers me, blames me for things that I did not do, gets frustrated when I call him out. My friend said, “Of course he’s brow-beating you, you know way too much.”

I was once a great asset to his business. Everybody knows I ran this place. Now that I refuse to do his job for him (as I had been doing) I am of no use to him even as a peon. This was his decision to change my status and my duties. For him to expect me to do all I had before is allowing myself to be used, and I’m not okay with that.

I understand that with the divorce going on I cannot just up and quit my job without another one waiting. I’m sure the judge would not look favorably on me just quitting my job while asking for custody of my children.

I have court next week. It is the actual divorce trial. As the ex and I have not agreed on ANYTHING, it will be up to the judge to decide on every aspect of the situation. From custody, visitation, who is responsible for what bills, etc. I understand judges hate to make these decisions, they prefer people to work out their own agreements and then rubber stamp it. Judges know that they will never know the whole story, they understand they have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.

“…in all your ways submit to him and he will make your path straight…”

I need to put in my notice. I cannot stay here. If I put in my notice today for two weeks, I am confident that I will find something in time, plus that would give me two more paychecks, a full one and a half one. All my bills are already paid for  September, my next paycheck could pay all of October’s bills…just sayin’.

Lord, I know that you will never lead me astray and that where your path leads, I will be provided with the necessary resources and tools to follow you. Quiet my heart as I learn to submit to you Lord. Amen