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

A Season for Growth

Many years ago I was a part of an organization called Youth With A Mission.  It was one of the most life changing experiences I have ever been through.  As I was reflecting on the card I am going to share with you today, I was reminded of a day back in 1987, when I was sitting in a Quonset hut in Manoa Valley. I was in a room full of students from all over the world. We were all a part of a school called a DTS or a Discipleship Training School.  Our leaders were all very young, energetic, passionate people who had a desire to know God and make Him known.  

One of the first things they did for each student was to have a time of prayer over them.  When it was my turn, I went to the front of the room and was surrounded by these young passionate leaders.  After they prayed for me, one of the gals said to me, "As I was praying for you, I saw a vision", she said, "I saw a beautiful rose, it was entangled with a bunch of other beautiful roses on this garden trellis. Then I saw a hand reach down and pick one single rose and plant it at the foot of the cross. Suddenly, the rose began to grow and blossom as it wrapped itself around the cross."  She went on to say, "I believe this means you were just in a very comfortable place in your life.  You were surrounded with good people, in a good environment, but you weren't growing.  So God reached His hand down and picked you up and planted you right where He wanted you and it is during this time that you will thrive and grow."

Those words spoke to me.  I not only believed she was right but through my experiences with YWAM that year, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was where I was supposed to be, doing what God had called me to do.  It was a season of growth, a season for change.  A season to learn about servanthood and making a difference.

The card I want to share with you today reminds me of that season of my life as well as the season I am in now.  I'll explain more in a minute but let me share the card first.

Graceful Garden Card

Graceful Garden Card

To make this card I used two stamp sets, Graceful Garden and Ribbon of Courage.  I stamped all the images in black ink and colored them in with an aqua painter.  The background texture of this card was made with our new Layered Leaves 3D Textured Embossing folder.  Besides using Very Vanilla Card Stock, I added a piece of gold patterned paper from the Bundle of Love Specialty DSP, a small strip of Fabulous Foil Acetate beneath the rose and a piece of Gold Foil under the sentiment.

The final touch was to add a jewel rhinestone in the "o" of the word possible and I used dimensionals on all the layers to build them up.

As I reflect upon that vision a young YWAM leader had for me many years ago, it makes me think of the season I am in today.  I know God is in control of my battle with breast cancer.  I am surrounded by prayer warriors who have been continually lifting me up.   I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is with me and I am where He wants me to be.

 That doesn't mean things are going to be easy. I have to admit yesterday was challenging for me.  I went in for the start of my radiation treatments and found that although I didn't experience a lot of physical pain, I did find it mentally and emotionally challenging.  However, even in the midst of the challenge, I remember these words that I learned in Sunday School and I began to recite them in my mind during treatment.

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3     He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Today, I just want to remind each of you reading this that no matter what you are going through you are not alone.   God loves you so much and He has a perfect plan for your life.  You may not be in a comfortable place at the moment but thats okay, know that He is with you.  Talk to Him with an understanding that He hears you.  Ask for His help, strength, wisdom and direction.  Just as He is helping me through this journey, He will help you too.

 I am thankful that as I design cards, God uses them to bless others and in this case remind me of a vision that still speaks to me today.  I pray that this same vision would serve as much as an encouragement to you as it is to me.  

Now as I go off to my second treatment, I will do so relying on His help, His strength and the knowledge that today I'm going to grow a little more into the person He desires me to be.

Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you.  Know that as you are praying for me, I am also praying for you.  May you find hope and strength today especially if you are facing challenging circumstances.   Let's continue to trust God and believe that He leads us exactly to where He wants us to be and let's do our best to continue to grow in Him.

With love and 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