In God's Hands

I sat at the kitchen table at my friend Cindy’s house last week and she helped me to assemble these little favors for my upcoming Bunco. I hadn’t been feeling very well but I was still able to drive and was doing my best to stay positive with hopes to get better soon. Also, spending time with Cindy is always good medicine!

These favors were made with products from our Bird Ballad Suite. Here is what they looked like when completed.

Bird House Favors

Bird House Favors

My friend Zeny helped me a lot by designing this card holder box shaped like a bird house. This was the Aloha Prize for the Bunco event that would be happening at my house over the weekend..

Bird Ballad Card Box

Bird Ballad Card Box

When it is opened, it is just the right side for a few cards with envelopes or maybe a treat like microwave popcorn.

Bird Ballad Card Box (open)

Bird Ballad Card Box (open)

Zeny has blessed me so much during this health crisis I’ve been facing. As the date for Bunco drew near it became apparent that I would be too sick to be there. Zeny graciously offered to step in and host it for me.

Bird and Butterfly Swap Cards

Bird and Butterfly Swap Cards

When this event was over on Sunday, I received messages, cards and photos from the ladies telling me how much they missed me. On Monday, when I returned to my house I saw that the Monday night group had written me messages on the back of their Bunco cards and left me a pile of bird and butterfly cards from the swap they had done. What a blessing!

The next morning when I went into the kitchen, I discovered this beautiful arrangement of baby roses that Zeny had left for me. I was so touched by her incredible kindness to me. The flowers really brightened my day.

Flowers from Zeny

Flowers from Zeny

Later that same day, I went to the doctor. My symptoms were back with a vengeance and I knew I needed to be seen. There was yet one procedure they had talked about doing but I had been resisting it. However, I knew that this was necessary because breathing was becoming increasingly more difficult by the minute and something had to be done.

I checked into the hospital on Friday, October 23rd and had a lung surgery where they collapsed a lung and took out tissues that we would hope would provide a diagnosis and it worked, we FINALLY got one!

The next day I was told that I have stage four high grade B Cell Lymphoma. The diagnosis or staging didn’t catch me by surprise. It was actually somewhat of a relief to finally put a name to the symptoms that have been affecting me over the past four months. I mean don’t get me wrong, when someone says, you have cancer, I didn’t do cartwheels and jump for joy, but there was an underlying peace that finally I could move forward with treatment and out of the world of the unknown.

Recovery in the hospital was tough. Especially day two as I was having problems with the drainage tubes poking me and causing me lots of pain. There was also the heaviness in my lungs making me very short of breath any time I moved or stood up.

Although the process was painful I know that God was at work. Let me tell you of a few things I consider to be miraculous that happened when I was in the hospital.

First, prior to surgery, I had been coughing uncontrollably. It was a dry, irritating cough, one that takes my breath away and makes me feel almost as if I’m going to pass out due to lack of oxygen. My surgeon came into see me after surgery and asked how I was doing. We spoke for a little bit and then he noticed something, he said, “Hey, you’re not coughing!!!”. At that moment I thought of how much it would be hurting my side if I had been coughing. He looked up to the ceiling and raised his hands and said, “THANK, WHOMEVER IS WATCHING OVER YOU THAT THE COUGHING HAS STOPPED!!” Well, I know who that “whomever” was and offered up thanksgiving to God for taking my cough away. This was miracle number one.

The second thing that happened was when I was talking to a nurse who had known about all I had been going through. The nurse said,” I’m so sorry you have had to go through so much”. My response to her was, “it’s okay. I know that I am in God’s hands”, I then said, “It’s like what the sticker on the mirror over there says, and its good to be reminded when I get overwhelmed.”

Here is what the sticker on my hospital room mirror said.

In God’s Hands

In God’s Hands

.The nurse said, “Do you know that this is the only room in the entire hospital that has that sticker on the mirror?” That just made me smile as I realized God was there and that I truly was in His hands, that was miracle number two.

The next came in the night, I was really hurting and a nurse came into take care of me. I began to talk to her about how I wasn’t ‘afraid and I told her of the miraculous things God had done in my life in the past, especially when I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. As I shared with her, she was brought to tears and she told me about a struggle she is having in her own life. She really wants to have a baby and has been not been able to conceive. I was glad she was open with me and I felt led to tell her that perhaps the whole reason I was there that night was just to encourage her and pray for her. I reminded her that God is real, that miracles happen and that I would be praying for a miracle to happen in her life. I won’t share her name for privacy reasons but would you please join me in praying for this nurse that God would answer her prayers to have a baby. I consider this divine appointment miracle number three.

The next miracle was so encouraging to me. I had been struggling very badly with pain from the drainage tubes. I was getting nervous about the next morning when they would be removed because moving just one inch was causing me extreme pain. When I woke up I wanted to spend quiet time and listen to worship music. I asked Siri to play praise and worship as I sometimes do. This song came on called Tremble by Bethel worship. Now picture this, I am in this dark room, I am feeling nervous, I am a singer whose lungs are very heavy, I am short of breath, I am hurting and overwhelmed. The song starts and I listen to these two verses:

[Verse 1]
Peace, bring it all to peace
The storms surrounding me
Let it break at Your name

[Verse 2]
Still, call the sea to still
The rage in me to still
Every wave at Your name

Then comes the chorus which says:

[Chorus]
Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble
Jesus, Jesus, You silence fear
Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble
Jesus, Jesus

I just felt God’s peace and His presence as I continued to be still and listen to this song, then came verse 3 which says:

[Verse 3]
Breathe, call these bones to live
Call these lungs to sing
Once again, I will praise

Ok, at this point I almost fell out of the bed. I whispered to my husband who had stayed the night, “did you hear that”? This song is taking about lungs that will sing again! I was so encouraged. This song also reminded me that all I needed to do to silence the fear I was feeling was to call on the name of Jesus who I know was with me.

I was reminded that I was in God’s hands and that he would be with me through this procedure I was dreading. Within the hour, the procedure was done, it wasn’t pleasant, there was pain but when it was over, there was a huge amount of peace and relief!

In the midst of hearing this song, I took a screen shot of my phone so I wouldn’t forget this what I consider to be miracle number four!

Miraculous Song of Encouragement

Miraculous Song of Encouragement

Since receiving my diagnosis things have been quiet overwhelming. I can’t drive for 6 weeks and I can’t lift anything heavier than a newspaper for 6 weeksI My friend Cindy has stepped in to coordinate rides for me since I have had daily appointments with several different doctors. In just a few days after being released from the hospital I’ve already had 4 different people pick me up at the hospital to bring me home. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by loving family and friends. We have been talking with different hospitals and oncologists trying to decide which direction we will go for treatment. The good news is although I am stage four, they believe it is treatable and curable. But you know what, it doesn’t matter what they believe because I am confident in God’s plan for my life and I know I am in His Hands.

Although I have peace I have to say that the past few days have been tougher than any I have ever faced before. But I’m ok! I’m hanging in there, continuing to put my hope and trust in God whom I know has a plan for me that is good. If I can ask for a prayer request I’d ask that you would pray for my lungs to get stronger, I still am dealing with severe shortness of breath anytime I sit up or walk but I truly believe that I will get better with every passing day. Today was better than yesterday, I am just focusing on taking life one day at a time!

Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying for me. Especially for my Mother and Father in law who have been waking up and praying for me in the middle of the night. I can feel the prayers of so many who are fighting with me and believing with me for complete healing. I may not understand it, but I trust in God’s plan for my life.

He has that plan for you too! I hope that no matter what you are facing today you will be reminded that you are in God’s hands, He is for you and not against you and there is nothing that is too difficult for Him. Let’s believe together in His miracle working power as we continue to place our lives in His hands!

Trusting In Him,

Cindy



Thankful For You

Today was my final day of radiation.  From the moment I woke up I felt so happy that today had finally arrived.  

It was wonderful to have Karin and Cindy with me today.  When I stepped out of the car at the hospital they spoke encouraging words to me reminding me that this was truly a day to celebrate!   I am so thankful to have such supportive sisters.

Final Treatment Day at Queens - www.stamedwithaloha.com

Final Treatment Day at Queens - www.stamedwithaloha.com

As I checked in to the Radiation Department I could sense the staff's excitement along with mine, many of them smiled and said "Congratulations" to me.

The technicians who have been helping me daily were amazing at what they do.  They took such great care of me and although I didn't look forward to treatment, I did look forward to seeing them everyday!

Amazing Staff at Queens - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Amazing Staff at Queens - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Over the past few days I have been working on some cards to give to them.  I made the guys a Men's Emergency Card Kit so they would have cards to give their wives for their Birthday, Valentine's Day, Anniversary and I even included an I'm Sorry card!  When I gave them the gift I told them, "you guys took such good care of me, now I'm going to take care of you by providing you with cards for your spouse".  The kits came out SUPER CUTE!!  I'll be sharing them with you in a future post.

 I made a different set of cards for Deborah (pictured above) and some of the nursing staff who have been especially helpful to me while I've been in treatment.  For today I'll just share one of those cards with you.

Oh So Eclectic Thank You - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Oh So Eclectic Thank You - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This card was made with the Oh So Eclectic Bundle.  This set is one of my favorite new stamps because of the beautiful images in it.  This particular flower stamp is my favorite in this set.  When you coordinate the set with the gorgeous Naturally Eclectic Designer Series Paper, it makes it so easy to make quick and simple card for any occasion.

I wanted to highlight a Thank You card today because my heart is full of Thankfulness and Gratitude.  I know I still have some follow up appointments but for today, it feels so good to know that this season is coming to an end.

Official Breast Cancer Survivor - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Official Breast Cancer Survivor - www.stampedwithaloha.com

As we walked out of the Cancer Center I stopped to take a photo by this sign I passed by daily.  Although this season is over for me I know there are many others who are just beginning their journey of battling cancer.  I hope and pray God will show me ways I can give back to be an encouragement to others in the same way so many have been an encouragement to me.

I just want to end todays post by saying THANK YOU to each one of you who have been on this journey with me.  Thank you for your love, kind words, hugs, gifts, cards and especially for your prayers!  Although this season has been a challenge, it has also been a blessing.  Some really good things have happened in me as a result.  I have a greater awareness of God's love and amazing grace.  I understand more fully what it means to rest in Him.  I am amazed by how much I am loved and cared for.  I am aware of how tremendously blessed I am.   I know that no matter what comes my way I can trust God knowing that the only place I want my life to be is in His hands.

Thank you for your love, support and prayers.  I am eternally thankful for you!

With A Grateful Heart,

Cindy

Garden of Gratitude

On Monday, I opened a new stamp set called Graceful Garden and decided to make a card for one of my doctors.  I was going to meet with her this week to get the results from my last surgery and I just wanted to do something for her to let her know how grateful I was for her and the excellent care she has given to me.  Somehow when I stamp with someone in mind the ideas seem to flow more easily than when I am just stamping for fun.  

Here is the card I created for her.

Graceful Garden Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This card features one of our new In Colors, Berry Burst.  I used card stock, ink pad and the gorgeous new crinkled seam binding all in this beautiful new In Color.  I textured the background  with a new Textured Impressions embossing folder called Garden Trellis.  For the greeting on the card I used the stamp set One Big Meaning.

After I made this card I decided it would be nice to make a whole set of cards to give not only to my surgeon but also to a couple of the other people at Queen's Hospital who I would be meeting with that day.  Just thinking of blessing these wonderful ladies with cards inspired me to create two other designs that would coordinate with this first card.  

 Here is the second and third card I came up with.

Graceful Garden Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Spotlight Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Spotlight Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I love how these cards are different but they all coordinate together.  I used the same two stamp sets on all three cards, Graceful Garden and One Big Meaning.  I really like how this set of Graceful Gratitude cards came out and I am really loving this new In Color Berry Burst!

I guess the reason why being thankful was on my mind is because this week although I was awaiting test results yet again, I was at peace.  I wasn't fearful about bad news.  I wasn't anxious about my potential travel plans.  I had confidence in God that no matter what the outcome He was in control and I could trust Him.   

When I got to my doctor's appointment, she came in and delivered some very good news.  Although during the second surgery they did find a little more cancer, the good news was they got it all.  Praise God no more surgeries were needed and I was officially on the road to recovery!  I know I still have a long road to travel  but I am excited to be moving forward to see all the lessons that God has for me as I continue to follow His plan for my life.

After this appointment ended I headed over to a meeting at Queens Hospital where I learned all about the Cancer Center and saw where I would be going for radiation treatments later in the summer.  I met the most wonderful people and had the opportunity to bless not only my doctor but a couple of other amazing women I met that day with these Graceful Garden Gratitude packets that I had made the night before.

Here is what the cards look like all together.

Graceful Garden Gratitude- www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Gratitude- www.stampedwithaloha.com

I made a matching envelope for each of these cards and then packaged them up in a clear bag so I would be ready to spread a little aloha that day!  

Here's a quick look at all cards with the coordinating envelopes I made.

Graceful Garden Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Spotlight Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Spotlight Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Can you tell that my heart is overflowing with thanksgiving and gratitude?  I realize how incredibly fortunate I am for this good report.   

As I close todays post I am remembering something and it is making me smile.  As I was stamping these cards I was listening to a podcast from Elevation Church.  The particular episode that came on was by the worship pastor who was preaching about God calling us to enter His presence with a grateful heart.  The Pastor referenced one of my favorite passages.

Psalm 100

A psalm of thanksgiving.

1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
2     Worship the Lord with gladness.
    Come before him, singing with joy.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
    He made us, and we are his.
    We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
    go into his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good.
    His unfailing love continues forever,
    and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

I guess I didn't realize it until this very moment but the spirit of gratitude truly was surrounding me that day.   No wonder I walked into that appointment with so much peace in my heart.  

I hope to continue to learn to have an attitude of gratitude always knowing that even when things are difficult and challenging, I can learn to praise God and trust in His unfailing love.

Thank you so much to so many of you who have continued to bless me with cards, texts, flowers, kind words, "gentle" hugs, and especially PRAYERS!   You have made me feel incredibly loved and supported and your prayers are being answered!  

With a grateful heart, 

Cindy

 

 

 

 

 

Source: www.stampedwithaloha.com