God's PERFECT Timing

A few months ago, I was lying on the couch at home alone. A friend texted to check on me and asked, “How are you doing”? I had no strength to text her back. I just lifted the cell phone and took this photo of myself and hit send.

A Challenging Day

A Challenging Day

I was tired and could barely breathe. I had been out three days prior with procedures at the hospital in town. Two of the procedures were biopsies in which we got results right away. The results left the doctors scratching their heads! They knew something was wrong but all they could see was inflammation! On this day I felt like I was nearing the end of my life. I didn’t know how much longer I could go on struggling to breathe like I was. I thought about my family and then I thought about my grandchildren to be and I tearfully lifted up a prayer, “Lord, I really hoped to one day see my grandchildren”.

The next day we had plans to go out to lunch as a family. Derek wanted to take me to someplace where I could sit outside and get fresh air. He chose my favorite place in Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian because he knows that Diamond Head is my favorite landmark in the world. At the Azure restaurant you can sit outside and eat and enjoy a Diamond Head view.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Royal Hawaiian Hotel

I didn’t feel great that day. I had to walk really slow and my breathing was labored most of the time we were there. It was still a beautiful day and I felt blessed to be off the couch and out of the house. The thing that makes me feel the best is just being with my family. We always have such a great time together and its a good distraction to how I was feeling.

As we sat together, Kalani and Joyce surprised us all with a wonderful announcement. They shared that they were going to have a baby. As soon as they showed us the ultra sound picture, the tears began to flow.

Baby Baughman

Baby Baughman

What a precious gift, I could see my first grandchild. I was so touched watching Jess tear up as she realized she was going to be an Aunty and Uncle Brett looked so happy too..

Aunty Jess and Uncle Brett

Aunty Jess and Uncle Brett

Oh what a happy time this is for our growing family. Derek and I are so excited to be Grandparents.

Our Growing Family

Our Growing Family

After lunch, when I got home, I immediately thought of my prayer about hoping to “see” my grandchild. I said, “Lord, can I please rephrase my earlier prayer, I would love it if I could be there to not just see my grandchild but to hold him or her and watch them grow and maybe graduate high school, too”. LOL.

I don't know God’s plan for me. But I know he knows the desire of my heart. I also know that during my most challenging days, I think of this little bundle of joy and it makes me fight harder.

When I think of God’s perfect timing, I”m amazed at the miracle timing of this summer. I got really sick in April. In May and June we knew it was a mass in my lungs and I was having all kinds of crazy symptoms but after several biopsies and hundreds of tests, nothing was diagnosed. People were praying hard and in July, I was healthy enough to travel. I JUST got better!!! However halfway through our 2 week trip to Europe my symptoms came back which only interrupted a day of our travel when I went to a Rome hospital. We were able to get the meds I needed to finish our cruise to Greece and as soon as we returned to Hawaii, we got new test results that required me to have surgery and then the discovery that I had cancer.

Now, I could get upset and say, “why didn’t they find it in June”. If they had, I would have missed out on the MOST AMAZING FAMILY TRIP EVER. They found it however as soon as we got back and now with our grandbaby on the way I have a new reason to fight harder for this miracle healing.

For now I can rest knowing that God is in control I trust His plan and not my own. Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you”.

My first chemo treatment was on Tuesday, it went well and 4 days after that treatment I am feeling better than I did before. I’m still tired but I’m not coughing and my breathing is better!!! This is thanks to the prednisone…. and lots and lots of PRAYERS from so many people all over the globe. .

This week, I received a beautiful hand made knit prayer shawl from my friend Martha with a card signed by a whole bunch of people at her church in Tennessee who prayed over it. That blanket is covering me now as I write to you. I feel completely covered and surrounded by so much love.

And now you know another reason you can pray for me, that my prayer to be there for this little baby will be answered. Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers. I am feeling extremely blessed because of you.

Trusting in God’s perfect timing,

Cindy

PS.. Derek wants to be called Papa, but what should I be called? Any suggestions?

Be Patient!

Today I have been meditating on Romans 12:12. It says, Be joyful in hope, PATIENT in affliction and faithful in prayer.

Being patient is not one of my best qualities. So today has been extra challenging as I am still waiting to find out test results that will determine my treatment plan. This result was supposed to be revealed on Friday but there was a delay so we had to push back my treatment start date till tomorrow. However, if I don’t hear something soon, I’m wondering if there will be another delay. So, I continue to TRY and patiently wait for the results to come in.

Romans 12:12 says to be joyful in hope. This weekend I was filled with so much joy and hope! My breathing has been improving. My coughing fits have been happening less. I had the energy to put some dishes away. Imagine that bringing me joy, but it did.

On Saturday, we have some friends we had not seen in over 30 years. they were here in Hawaii and we really wanted to get together with them. Since we were not sure how I’d be feeling, we asked them to stop by our home early in the day. I can’t believe how great I felt while they were there. It was so good to talk story and visit with the Barkema’s. We met them when we were a part of an organization called Youth With A Mission in the late 80’s. We all lived in Manoa Valley at the time where Dave, Gina and Derek were a part of the staff. I am thankful to God that he filled me with strength so that we were able to have a really nice time catching up with our friends from so long ago.

Visit with the Barkema’s

Visit with the Barkema’s

Later that day Derek and I went to visit the Cancer Center that I will be going to. I had an appointment to meet with a nurse to go over what treatment would be like. The Cancer Center was really nice. Everyone we met there was so kind. I felt peaceful and comfortable and READY to begin my treatment. Since we don’t know my plan yet, we went over both scenarios of what would happen regarding my treatment. I enjoyed the meeting and it was really helpful to get some questions answered and to see what it is going to be like when I begin treatment. I am thankful that I will be able to be in such a beautiful place surrounded by some very kind people.

On Sunday morning I came downstairs to find my family watching three different football games. Brett loves Green Bay and we love the SeaHawks. I love watching football and the fall season!!!

My favorite player of all time is SeaHawk Quarterback Russell Wilson whom I’ve thought of a lot as I’ve battled cancer because of his work with the Strong Against Cancer Organization. He visits the Seattle Children’s Hospital weekly to lift the spirits of the children hospitalized there. I can’t even imagine going through what I am going through as a child or being the parent of a child who has cancer. Praise God for people like Russell who give so much of themselves to make a difference.

Football Loving Family

Football Loving Family

Well, I am thankful that Russell and the SeaHawks won this weekend are are now 2-0 to begin the season. The Packers won too and have had a great start to their season as well. So, our football loving family had much to celebrate in our home that day!!!

Just after the game a group of our close family friends came by. Unbeknownst to me, a family meeting had organized that I was not allowed to attend. I went upstairs until they called me down to pray over me. I don’t really know what they talked about but it sounded like they were creating a plan to support me during treatment. I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to be surrounded by so much love and aloha.

Before she left my house, my friend Cindy gave me the most precious drawing that her son Andrew made for me. Andrew is 7 and when he was younger he used to love coming to my stamp studio to play with my punches. He is super smart and knew the name of every shape. The front of his drawing made me smile as I remembered that special season I shared with him punching shapes.

Andrew’s Shapes

Andrew’s Shapes

When I turned the paper over, Andrew had drawn me the Solar System (something this little 7 year old is passionate about) and it was surrounded by some very sweet and encouraging words. I loved his picture so much that I put it in the front of a binder that I will keep all my treatment information in. I’ll carry it with me to encourage me and give me hope!

Andrews Encouragement

Andrews Encouragement

After the meeting, Derek had to go to work, so I spent the afternoon and evening with Brett and Jess. In the early evening, we decided to borrow my Dad’s small wheelchair and go over to the Lagoons for a walk. It rarely rains in Kapolei but wouldn’t you know as soon as we picked up the chair it started to pour!!!

Rainy Walk at Koolina

Rainy Walk at Koolina

We didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits. We waited till it let up a little and then Brett pushed me through a couple of puddles and we had fun. It felt good to be outside and enjoy some fresh air. Also, it is so beautiful there as it was close to sunset.

Koolina Sunset

Koolina Sunset

Today, I woke up again without a lot of breathing problems. My breath is still short but I have been able to move around more without any major coughing fits. I’m still tired so I still spent most of my time sitting or laying down but I am so grateful because I know so many people are praying and I am feeling strengthend by those prayers.

I have kept my phone close to me all day, anticipating the phone call that will determine what my life will look like over the next few months. As the hours went by I grew more and more anxious. In times like these I knew I needed to get into God’s Word and take my mind off my circumstances. So I was led to read Romans 12:12.

Let me share it with you again but this time the Passion Bible Version.

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing continual joy! Don’t give up in a time of trouble but commune with God at all times. Romans 12:12 (TPT)

As I reflected on this verse, I’ve focused on the joy I felt over the weekend as I’ve experienced the blessing of being able to breathe better and the joy of being surrounded by loved ones who are doing so much to care for me during this battle.

I’ve tried very hard to not grow impatient, to not complain, but to continue to put my hope in God knowing that his timing is perfect and I just needed to talk with him and tell him how I was feeling The more I grow closer to him, the more peace I feel. I trust that he has a plan so I just prayed that he would reveal it and then did my best to leave it in his hands.

I wanted to blog today but I thoughts I’d wait until I had an answer. However, as I prayed I felt God tell me to just start to write and share honestly how I was feeling. To let you know that I struggle with patience but that I also trust in God’s timing. God is so faithful, do you know what happened? Just minutes ago, in the midst of writing this post, I got the phone call. I have the answer and now I can share it with you.

Are you ready? Drum Roll please……. our prayers were answered. I do not have the gene so I can begin OUT PATIENT treatments starting tomorrow. This is what we hoped for as doing the more aggressive IN PATIENT treatments would have meant being hospitalized 6 different times over the next couple of months. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who prayed and believed with us for this result. We are rejoicing in this miracle and excited to get the party started tomorrow.

We don’t always understand God’s timing but that’s ok. All that matters is that we trust in His perfect plan and in Him. Since I struggle with being patient, being in this position gave me the opportunity to grow a little more in learning to be patient. This delay also gave me the opportunity to share with any of you who may also struggle with patience! That way, we can learn and grow together and encourage one another to never give up but to continually commune with God who is our every present help in time of need.

Thank you for your prayers. I hope you know that as I go in to begin my treatment I carry with me all of the love, support and prayers you have been sending my way. I feel joyful, strong and ready to take on this next step in my journey knowing God is with me and so are you!

With much love and a heart filled with gratitude,

Cindy

Good News and God's Timing

On Tuesday, I had a full afternoon at the hospital.  I was there from 12:30 pm until 5:30 pm.  I had appointments to meet my two oncologists,  a genetics counselor,  a dietician and some other wonderful people who would be helping me navigate my journey to wellness over the next several weeks.  Although I was anxious to get the ball rolling with these appointments, I was also a little nervous about being at the hospital for so long because I've noticed after surgery that I get tired quickly and that seemed like a lot to do in one day.  To make matters worse, although my schedule had been quite free, this was also the day my monthly downline Inspiration Night was scheduled for.

Well, the day went great, better than anticipated!.  The staff at Queen's hospital were so loving and caring and each person I met was wonderful to talk with and provided me with so much guidance, care and information.   To be honest, I felt like a Queen at Queens! It was a day to learn about the next steps I would be taking and a day to find out and celebrate some very, very good news.

The first celebration was that I was given the official green light to go on the Stampin' Up! Incentive trip I had earned last year.  The trip is coming up in July and we have plans to go to Japan, Thailand and Korea.   This was a trip I've really been looking forward to and I thought for sure I'd have to give it up because I am still healing from surgery.  My doctors agreed that as long as I'm careful to follow some restrictions it would actually be a good idea for me to go and enjoy this time away before I start radiation at the end of July.  God's timing is PERFECT and I am so thankful I won't miss out on this trip that I worked so hard to earn.

The next good news is that I will only have to have radiation for four weeks.  That will begin at the end of July.  The other good news is that after radiation I will not have to go on any medications as long as I work hard at eating healthy, exercising and living a stress free life.  As I spoke with one of my oncologist he told me of a program where his patients took a hula class.  I joked with him and said, "Sign me up, I'll take Hula over Hormones any day".  Learning to dance Hula would be a wonderful thing to add to my plan for compete healing and I know plenty of talented hula dancer friends I could call to teach me!

Well, that is the latest update so please know that all of your prayers are being answered!   All is well and I am feeling so happy and blessed.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers and encouragement.   I hope you know how grateful I am for each one of you who have been so loving and supportive to me.

Two of the special people who have helped me with my journey are my downline Jodi and Norine.  Even though I told them I could probably do it, they insisted on taking over my monthly Inspiration Night this month.  It was a good thing they did because in hindsight I didn't realize I would have so many doctors appointments that day.  When I left my last appointment I realized that even getting to Inspiration Night on time was going to be a challenge.

When I arrived, the room was set up and everything was already running smoothly.  With them overseeing the design and prep work for all the projects I just had to take care of the recognition cards.  Jodi and Norine chose the stamp set Lots of Love for the featured set at Inspiration Night so I decided to make my recognition cards using that same set.  Here are the two cards I came up with.  These cards were given to anyone who promoted or was in my top ten for Sales in April or May.

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I featured two new In- Colors on these recognition cards, Lemon Lime Twist and Berry Burst.

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This card was cut a little shorter on the top layer so the white strip of card stock adhered to the inside of the card was exposed.  Even putting these two cards together was a challenge because I'm still struggling with getting tired but God sent an angel over named Pat who helped me cut the card stock so I only had to stamp and assemble the pieces to have them ready in time to recognizing my downline achievers.

Lots of Love Cards - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Lots of Love Cards - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I was so glad I was able to be at Inspiration Night.  It is always so fun to be with my wonderful downline.  They have been so encouraging and supportive of me and shown me an overwhelming amount of love.

Barbara at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Barbara at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Well, speaking of love, the theme for Inspiration Night was Sending Love.  It was based on the stamp set Lots of Love and the beautiful Whole Lot of Lovely Designer Series Paper.

 Here are the cards Jodi and Norine designed for our June Stamped With Aloha Inspiration Night.

June 2017 Inspiration Night - www.stampediwthaloha.com

June 2017 Inspiration Night - www.stampediwthaloha.com

I love the colors of this designer series paper and I love the variety of cards Jodi and Norine were able to create with a single stamp set.  Let's take a closer look at each card.

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This first card is so sweet.  Letting someone know how much you love them is always a good idea.  That is exactly how we feel about Ann.  Since Craig was traveling an unable to prepare our meal, Ann coordinated and picked up dinner for everyone.  That's just who Ann is, a very thoughtful person with an infectious laugh, who is definitely loved by us all.    

Ann at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Ann at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Another amazing person is Ralene who offered to make cards for Michelle who was unable to attend at the last minute.  When I asked for help she quickly raised her hand and said, "I can do it" and just like this card says, she was doing it with a heart that was thinking of others!   

Ralene and Jill at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Ralene and Jill at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Here's a close up of the Thinking of You card.

Thinking of You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Thinking of You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This next card has a very beautiful sentiment on it.  It says, "Live with passion, Laugh out loud and Love deeply."

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

There was a "laugh out loud" moment at Inspiration Night.  I'm not sure what was happening but I heard lots of laughter coming from one of the tables.  I ran over and snapped a photo and captured this moment.  I was just hoping to capture all the laughter and smiles.  However, do you see I captured something else?

Jodi and Roxy at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Jodi and Roxy at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I still don't really know what they were laughing at but it could have been the fact that Roxy had a dimensional backing stuck to her face and didn't even know it.  It makes me happy to see my downline having such a great time as they are creating together building friendships along the way.

The next card uses my favorite piece of DSP in the pack.  I love the black and coral combination.

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I love the large sentiment that comes in this set.  This card could be used for many different occasions so it is very versatile.  

I always save my favorite card for last.  

Punch Art Kokeshi Girl Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Punch Art Kokeshi Girl Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Isn't this card adorable?  The little Kokeshi girl was made with our new Lemon punch.  This was by far my favorite card of the bunch and almost as cute as these two below.  If you would learn how to make this punch art girl or any of these cards, you can go to Jodi's website called The Stamping Owl by clicking here.

Consider Yourself Hugged, Jodi and Norine at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Consider Yourself Hugged, Jodi and Norine at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I am so tremendously blessed by the all the love shown to me by Jodi and Norine.  I love the message of this card and the fact that they took over and ran such an amazing Inspiration night was like receiving the best hug ever!  They did an awesome job from start to finish and everyone who came had a really great time.

Terry and Joy at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Terry and Joy at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

A few days ago I was on the phone with someone at the Stampin' Up! home office sharing with them about how I was going to be able to go on the incentive trip to Thailand.  They told me, "oh I am so glad you won't miss going to such an amazingly beautiful place".  I paused for a moment and thought about what she said.  Although I know Thailand is a beautiful place and Thai food is my favorite food to eat, my excitement had nothing at all to do with the place.  After all, I live in an amazingly beautiful place!!!  However, going to Thailand had everything to do with the people I would see when I traveled there.  

You see one of the greatest blessings that comes with being a Stampin' Up! demonstrator these past 19 years has been the friendships I have formed with my downline, customers, and co-demonstrators from all over the world.  They have always been wonderful, but during these past several weeks I have felt and experienced the reality of how much I am loved and cared for by such an amazing group of people. These people are more than just friends, they are like family to me.

People like my friend Meg Loven from Illinois who learned I will have to wear a mask on the plane and didn't hesitate to mail me a variety of adorable masks so that I could be cautious and fashionable at the same time.

Cute Masks from Meg - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Cute Masks from Meg - www.stampedwithaloha.com

People like Jodi, Norine, Ann and Pat who made sure Inspiration Night would a fun night for all.  

My heart is filled with gratitude and thanksgiving knowing that I can trust that God's timing is perfect!  He is in control and I am grateful to Him for the blessing of today and the hope for tomorrow!

With a grateful heart,

Cindy

 

 

 

 

Source: www.stampedwithaloha.com