A couple weeks ago I got a phone call from someone working at the Women's Center at Queen's hospital. This kind woman was calling to ask if I had booked my mammogram appointment like I told her several weeks prior that I was going to do. Since my life runs at a marathon pace most of the time, I told her what I usually do, "I've been busy, so I'll do it later when things slow down". See the problem is that things rarely slow down for me and I was several years over due for this procedure. Normally the call would have ended there but this lady was persistent. I could even hear her smiling when she said, "would you like me to call the other hospital where you say you are going to go? I can schedule an appointment for you right now over there" I told her that she didn't have to do that and I promised I would go. Then she suggested I go to an appointment at the Queen's Women's center near my home which I didn't know existed. "Are you free tomorrow, she said?" It was because of her kindness and persistence I scheduled it and the next day I went.
The proceedure was convenient, quick and I felt good that I finally went, so I checked that off my list and got to work on my stamp room remodel.
My room, which is in the garage, is where I spend most of my time. I feel so blessed to have that space. My wonderful husband gave up his garage years ago so I could have a home office. Lately, I was feeling as if it was a little cluttered and in need of a make over. It has almost been 20 years since I've started my job as a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator, so it was time.
We began the giant task of clearing everything out which included some weight lifting equipment we had out there.
I didn't mind carrying the weights so that Derek could take care of moving the heavier objects.
This box might not look that heavy but it contains half of my punch collection.
As you can see, I have a lot of punches and they are really heavy!!
We worked all day and before you know it my stamp room looked like this.
And the inside of my house looked like this. YIKES!!!
I had to prepare myself because I don't work well when things are like this. I like structure, order and I need to have a plan. Clutter and chaos make me crazy but I knew that this was only temporary. I had adjusted my schedule so that I would have time to put everything back together. This time hopefully I would be doing that in a more organized fashion, clearing out the clutter as I reorganized.
The next day my cabinets arrived along with a crew of men who were going to install them in a day or two at the most, or at least that's how long they estimated it would take.
True to what I've heard about construction, things didn't go as planned. One day turned into more than a week. There were many unexpected challenges that came up. Although it wasn't a pleasant situation and it was at times very stressful, I believe God was preparing me for the unexpected circumstances that can sometimes come up in life so I could learn the right way to respond.
Around the time the project was to be finished, I got a call back from the hospital. They were calling me back in for more testing. That was unexpected and a little unnerving and something that had never happened to me before. That led to another visit and then a scheduled biopsy. The biopsy confirmed there was something wrong but they needed to wait a few more days before I would receive test results.
In the meantime the painter came and we began the final day of construction which included painting the walls and floors.
Prepping to move into my new room was a great distraction from the wait. I was so excited to for the paint to dry so that I could begin to put back the things I needed and get rid of all the rest. I began to envision how I wanted to set things up to make it a comfortable and fun place to work. I imagined all the wonderful people I would have over to stamp with me and looked forward to sharing this space with my customers, downline and friends.
Well the wait ended on Tuesday when the Dr. called and confirmed the outcome and I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It appears that it is in the early stages but I won't know a lot more until tomorrow when I meet with a specialist. Hearing news like this can turn your world upside down but I truly believe God had prepared me. Just that morning in my daily devotions I had studied Psalm 91 and entitled it, "God is in Control".
When I received the news I was not alone. My downline Laura who was visiting Hawaii was with me. Laura and I had been sitting in the garage together talking while making a pink flower lei to use as a decoration in my new stamp room. Laura hugged me and prayed with me and then just sat with me until Derek arrived. How ironic that she had been with me at the start of my career with Stampin' Up! and now at the start of this new season, she was with me again. I see her being with me as a gift from God because at that time of day normally I would have been home alone.
Then my loving family gathered and we discussed as much as we knew, and we knew very little. There was lots of love felt in my home that night and I felt great appreciation for my wonderful family that God has blessed me with. As I began to share the news with close friends, I have to tell you I have never ever felt such love, encouragement and support before. It was like I saw an army of people rising up that were going to fight along side me.
So now, I wait again. This time however there is no more chaos in my house. The construction is done and my room is ready. The pink lei I was making with Laura is hanging over one of my glass pineapples, marking the start of this new season.
This will be a season where God has blessed me with an opportunity to declutter my life and refocus on what is most important, fixing my eyes on Him and not my circumstances. Remembering to not be anxious about anything but to pray always knowing that God is with me and His plan and purposes for me is all I desire.
Standing in my finished stamp room now, I know the journey to complete the construction didn't unfold as I expected. Now that I can see the finished product I can appreciate all the little adjustments that needed to happen in order for it to turn out so beautiful.
I am thankful for the way that God is using the lessons I learned through out this remodeling process to prepare me for the construction that he is now doing in me.
Shortly after construction was complete, I was working in my new room when Derek walked in and said, "did you do that on purpose?", "Do what?" I asked"The lights over your table are in the shape of a cross", he said. I looked up and sure enough there it was.
I smiled because that was not in the original plan. I had just asked for a row of lights. However due to some unexpected circumstances the plan for the lights had changed and I'm glad they did. Now I have a reminder every time I look up. A reminder that God is with me and that He is watching over me.
So although this diagnosis was not in my plans, I trust that God's plans are far better than mine. I am ready for this unexpected challenge and the growth it will bring in me and the good that I know will come of it. I am already experiencing that, in the incredible love I feel from so many of you who have reached out to me and made me feel so special.
I look forward to getting to work in my new space and creating projects to share with you here. I will also keep you updated on my current health challenges and would sure appreciate your prayers.
Trusting in Him,