Saturday, November 14, 2015
So much time has passed since I last posted here that it's hard to find a new beginning. In some ways, I could say that nothing new has happened, "same old, same old," etc. In other ways, I could say my life has been turned up-side-down. And with that, came all new feelings, emotions, weaknesses, strengths, and a whole lot of stuff I never knew was a part of me.
I thought I had it beat. I fought the fight, won the battle, and for seven years ----- nothing. That sneaky, pesky, risky, dreaded cancer. My oncologist was right and I hate to admit it -- "It is not a question of IF the cancer will return, but rather, a question of WHEN!" I HATED that statement. With a passion! It haunted me for 7 years. And just when you think you are "over it" in terms of worry, etc., I get hit smack against the head with those most dreaded words "I'm sorry to tell you, but it's back."
In the sleepless, dark hours of many past nights, I've planned out my emotions, how I would react, the brave face I would have, and what my eloquent words would be when I heard those words. I thought I had it memorized, practiced -- right down the smile, how I would walk out of that office, etc. It didn't work. The "ME" I thought I was just didn't show up.
It all started about a month ago. My arm started swelling -- lymphedema from the mastectomy I thought. I kept it elevated, but it kept getting worse. Strange that it would start doing this after 7 years of no problems. But it does sometimes, and there it was, painful, heavy, and worrisome. I finally began to realize this needed attention, but who do you call, your primary care doctor or your oncologist. I went with the oncologist. He took one good glance at it and sat back in his chair and said, "You know what THAT is, don't you? A blood clot!" That scared me --- when I was 8 years old, my Mom died suddenly from a blood clot --- pulmonary embolism. He put me on blood thinners, gave me some instructions, got up to leave the room and said, "If you have any shortness of breath or chest pain, go straight to the emergency room." Before he got out the door, I said, "But I already have shortnesss of breath." He stopped dead in his tracks and made arrangements for scans and ultrasounds of my lungs, arm, chest, etc. And off I went to the radiologist.
But already, my "act", my resolve to be the best of soldiers, the greatest cancer actress, etc., was down the drain. I got as far as my car, melted into a puddle of nerves and called my sister. All I could get out was, "I'm in trouble!" Little did I know how much trouble I was in, and how thankful I would be for the blood clot. Yes, the scans confirmed the blood clot. But it also showed "spots" on my lungs. And the little bit of my liver that showed on those chest scans also showed trouble. The cancer was back.
So on to PET scans. All was confirmed -- cancer in the liver, lungs, ribs and spine. It's strange how shocking news affects a person. It wasn't the cancer that scared me so much --- it was the thought of biopsies and the fact that I could NEVER in a million years go through one. I would rather die right there on the spot. Everything within me cried, "NO! NOOOOOOOOOO! NO!!!" But. . . . what are my choices? As my sister said once, I had two choices --- either sign up for all the worst possible stuff you could dream of, or die a slow, hideious, painful death. So. . . . I signed up, pretending I was brave and strong, but falling apart on the inside.
I found out in those first days that you just know somewhere in your heart who will pray for you, and who will REALLY pray for you. It's the latter that you contact. And it is those people who hold you up, inject you with hope and strength and light and point you to the One who is my light and my salvation and the strength of my life (Psalm 27).
So I sign up for that dreaded liver biopsy. And I march in that hospital. And I let them dig for veins for IV's and blood tests. And this guy comes to get me and says "We need to get more scans first." And I slide through the CT scanner one more time. And lo and behold, the radiologist comes out and says, "Honey, there will be no liver biopsy today!" And I ask Why? He says, because there is nothing there to biopsy! You have an inflamed gall bladder and need to get that out right away. He does confirm "many tiny nodules" on my lungs. And I immediately panic and tell him I can't do the lung biopsy. Just can't!!!!!! I had heard all the horror stories about those things. He pats my arm and says, Don't get all upset now, I can't do a lung biopsy. The nodules are way too small. Go back to your oncologist for Plan B.
So good news --- no liver cancer. Bad news: Lungs. Good news: They will put me under general anesthesia and a Thoracic surgeon will do the biopsy and another surgeon will do the gall bladder all at the same time. (Anyone can do anything to me as long as I'm OUT!). So all those appointments are made.
Here I sit, all dressed and ready to go for the consult with the surgeon. The phone rings. "Hold on, your dr. wants to talk to you." He NEVER calls. It was like someone said "God Himself wants to talk to you." My heart starts racing. He gets on the line and says, "I just talked back and forth with the radiologist. He studied your scans again and feels that there is a mass or something in your back and thinks he can get a biopsy from there instead of that risky, invasive lung biopsy, so cancel your appointment with the surgeon and we'll set up the other biopsy from here."
Good news: no lung biopsy. bad news, new cancer in my back????
So that's where I stand right now. Lots of questions, not many answers. Gall bladder HAS to come out. Pain is getting unbearable. But the rest of it all rests on the results of the biopsy. We can't start any kind of treatment until we know if it is the same cancer as the breast cancer was, or if this is a whole new ball game.
That biopsy will be Tuesday at 8:15 am. I would appreciate your prayers as this guy digs into my back. I'm not real brave. No, I'll be honest --- I'm not brave AT ALL!!!!!
Strange how the thing I was so upset about (the blood clot) became the thing that set into motion a diagnosis of cancer. Who knows how long it would have been before it was discovered if it had not been for that clot?! Nothing was showing up --- no change in cancer markers in my blood tests, no new pains, no nothing. The verse I have clung to is Psalm 138:8 --- "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me." It's amazing how He does that, isn't it???
You'd think by this time in my life I would be more trusting of His plans and how He works them out.
Posted by Cora from Hidden Riches at 10:31 AM
Monday, September 2, 2013
Posted by Cora from Hidden Riches at 12:39 PM
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Emily, over at Chatting At the Sky, does these wonderful "For Your Weekend" posts. I have always loved them so much and have forwarded them on many times. Today, I thought, I'll just write one myself. Lea from the Shabby Olde Potting Shed told me she was vacuuming, etc., today. So this was written with her in mind. But it's for whoever reads this today! Even YOU!
May your day be filled with eye-squinting sunshine, glistening leaves that dance in the breezes, and magical whispy clouds that float across the sky. Drop your vacuum and your dust mop and step into the world of turquoise dragonflies, dancing yellow dandilions, and droopy-faced sunflowers. Breathe in the freshness of God’s joyous creation. Breathe out your thanks to God, the Creator of the beauty around you. And may you hear Him whisper, “You are very welcome and it My pleasure to provide it for you!” Don’t miss the splendor this weekend! Dust bunnies will be glad to wait until Monday!
And if you can't find a turquoise dragonfly ---- make one"
Posted by Cora from Hidden Riches at 2:38 PM
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Sprinkled throughout these past months has been the reminder of the word I chose for 2013 --- restoration. I can’t believe how many times the Lord has brought into the forefront of my mind stuff from my past. Some of it was covered with cobwebs as it had been hidden back in the dark corners of my mind. Others rose up out of cloudy, misty memories that I had hoped would stay out in the cold. I do know that we shouldn’t dwell on our past, that we should move on, press on, “forgetting those things which are behind.” Yet, there are times when we need to learn from our mistakes and pass those learning lessons on to others or leave lights along the pathway so others don’t trip over the same things we stumbled over.
I’ve been keeping a list of things I learned when I was in places that seemed to be nothing but desolate deserts. I’m sure the list isn’t complete and I’ll be adding more, but I wanted to share this with you today:
In my hunger, He alone could feed me.
In my thirst for Him, He proved only He could satisfy.
In my weariness, He taught me how to sit and “rest awhile.”
In my loneliness, He became my true friend.
In my restlessness, He became my contentment.
In my longings, He became my fulfillment.
In my desparation, He became my hope.
In my desires, He filled my needs.
In my broken dreams, He became my reality.
In my wanderings, He became my pathway.
In my darkness, He became my light.
In my despair, He became my encourager.
In my questionings, He became my answers.
In the heat of my days, He became my resting place.
In the endlessness of the desert, He became my horizon.
In my questions “why?” He became my answer, “Because I am that I am.”
In my blindness, He became my vision.
In my doubting, He became my faith.
In my midnight hours, He became my song.
In my falling, He lifted me up.
In my sinfulness, He touched me.
In my brokenness, He healed me.
In seeing Him, I became nothing.
In my nothingness, He became everything.
In finding Him to be everything, the desert became my Promised Land.
In finding my way through the desert, I found my ministry as a guide.
So yes, it is true that He DOES restore the years the locusts have eaten. I don’t think there is one thing on this list that was not worth learning!
Posted by Cora from Hidden Riches at 12:16 PM
Thursday, April 4, 2013
I'm obsessed! Not a day has gone by where I haven't made at least one sheet of paper, and I love how every one has turned out. Usually, I'm a "neutral" kind of person, staying with the earth tones, tans, off white, ivory, etc. But now???? I'm all for COLOR, sparkles, specks, patterns, textures, etc. It's like a new ME has emerged!!! Nothing is safe in my kitchen, my garbage, my mailbox, etc.
My first experimental venture was with strawberries. My sister had some left that were turning a little dark and mushy, so I dumped them in the blender with my paper scraps. Just the color of that blended mix of pulp looked like some delicious homemade ice cream. I followed all the steps of making the paper, but I couldn't wait for it to dry, so I ironed it dry. It's still sitting here in one piece ---- I can't even bear to cut it up. In fact, I haven't done a single project with my papers yet. They are too pretty to cut them. I have all these dies for my Accucut and Sizzix machine and I can't make up my mind what to do, so I just look at them.(The blobs of white in the photo are actually little sparkles I threw in with the pulp!)
Yesterday, my sister gave me one of her beautiful, sparkly, blue sheets and asked me to cut some bookmarks for her. I cut her four. I had the perfect blue ribbon yarn with a glittery weave through it, so did the tassels out of that. She was so thrilled and proceeded to make flowers for them and decorate them up. She is soooooooo hooked!
After the strawberry success, I branched out and made paper out of oatmeal, rose petals, and even used my carrot peelings to make the most beautiful pumpkin colored paper.(no pictures yet ---- it isn't dry!)
I also tried my hand at paper casting, as I had a few of those Brown Bag cookie molds hidden away. It took a while to find them, but it was worth the effort. Paper Alice (video in the last post) has these neat molds for paper casting, and my sister has three of those. They turned out fantastic. I'm in love with my angel castings and can't wait to do more.
I have a collection of antique butter molds, and they have the most unique carvings in them. I got brave and did a paper casting of one with acorns, leaves and wheat. I couldn't believe it turned out!!!!! Now I want to do them all.
So here I am, like a third grader playing with paper scraps, a blender, and a bucket of water!!!!! I have to get a card made and something DONE to show you how beautiful it really looks. I know some of you are trying this, making handmade journals, cards, and artsy stuff, and I can't wait to see your projects! Let me know if you post about your papermaking!!!!!
Posted by Cora from Hidden Riches at 10:35 AM
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
I am just soooooo glad that Spring has finally come! I'm tired of being cold. I was shocked when I saw that my wisteria had started to bloom. Not a day too soon, either. I'm as busy as the bees that have found those wisteria blooms, believe me.
I don't know where I read about making your own paper ---- perhaps as I hopped down rabbit trails of blogs ---- but it jogged my memory back to a time when I REALLY wanted to get into that. But I never did. So that idea began to brew and boil over in my mind until I couldn't stand it anymore. I googled the topic and read everything written on the subject and watched about 237 videos on how to do it. I am now the "expert" and know more than I will ever, ever need to know about making my own paper.
Then, I found "Paper Alice", a gal who not only makes the most beautiful paper, but gives classes, does shows, and also sells the supplies. I could tell from her videos that she just loved doing what she does. And I was hooked! So last week, I ordered what I needed to get started, and let me tell you, I was like a kid waiting for it to come in the mail. Monday, it came. In the meantime, I picked some of my wisteria blossoms, got them pressed and dried, all ready for my first piece of paper.
The nice thing about making paper is, you can use all the junk paper, junk mail, envelopes, etc., that usually ends up in the trash. Napkins, tissue, wrapping paper, etc., are all appropriate. So I dug in the trash for two envelopes, some cardstock scraps, and I was in business.
So here is my first attempt:
I was tickled pink with it. All I did was, tore up two business envelopes and a half a piece of blue cardstock and put it all in a blender. I covered it with water, turned it on for 30 seconds or so, added some parsley from the spice rack, and poured it into my mold. Unmolded it, and there was a perfect sheet of paper. I carefully pressed my flowers into the wet paper, covered it all with a screen, sponged out the water, and DONE! I am SOOOOOOOO into this! It will go with my card making and add so much to what I'm already doing. The neat thing is, the possibilities are endless ---- like adding sparkles, glitter, flower petals, leaves, colorings, etc. The sky is the limit.
Here's my second attempt:
This one has green moss and oregano in the mix. Once again, I used two envelopes and some scraps of green cardstock.
Posted by Cora from Hidden Riches at 4:40 PM
Friday, January 25, 2013
Linking up with Lisa Jo and 5-minute Fridays. It’s a time when we set the timer and write for 5 minutes with no corrections, editing, backspacing, or “do overs.” So here it goes:
Today’s Word ---- “Again”
Once again, I made the journey to the Cancer Center for my three--month check up. I’m coming up on my 5-year anniversary in July -- it was in July of 2008 that I was diagnosed with breast cancer and started that journey through treatment. No matter what anyone says, no matter how positive and “on top of it” I am, I was never the same after that. I don’t think anyone is. It’s not a detour, it’s a whole new path.
Once again, I get weighed, I get the finger prick, I get the exam, I get the blood draw from my chemo port, and I get the port flushed out. In some ways, I’m tired of it. In other ways, I am reminded again and again of God’s abundant grace in healing and giving me these past 5 years.
Again, my oncologist reminds me of his own surprise at my “amazing recovery” and absence of any signs of cancer. We discussed those chemo days, how he didn’t think the surgeon would be able to close that spot where the tumor was, how the radiation burned me to a crisp, and yet, it looks so good.
And so, again, I lift my praise and thankful heart to Him who walks with us through the each and every valley! And again, I thank all my friends here who stuck with me through those days, walked with me, prayed for me again and again, and have praised God for all He has done!
Be sure to visit others who are participating in 5-minute Friday here:
Posted by Cora from Hidden Riches at 11:04 AM
Thursday, January 24, 2013
I never meant to stop blogging. I love it here and love all of you who came to visit. But it seemed that I ran out of words for a while. One day passed, than another, then a week, a month, and now. . . . It seems like I’ve disappeared forever. It just seemed that I was boring. I was bored with me. My days seemed to always be the same and finding topics to discuss was just not happening.
Perhaps a break was best for me, though I didn’t even know I was going to take one. But lately, I’ve found myself writing, so to speak, in my head -- especially during sleepless night. And it always sounded like blog posts. So here I am, back again.
I wasn’t completely gone. I loved blog hopping to so many of your blogs. They are always so thought-provoking, beautifully written, and God honoring. I’m so thankful for all of them, believe me!
So many of you have picked words for this new year. I found that to be so interesting, as I really had never done that before. So I decided to think about it and my heart settled on one word ---- no, maybe it’s three words, really. “Regrets,” “Redemption,” and “Restoration.”
It all began with the verse in Joel 2:25 where God says He will restore the years the locust have eaten. Can He really do that???? Immediately, my thoughts went back in my journals of memories and seemed to highlight all the regretful stuff, even from my childhood: Bad choices, no’s instead of yes’s. “I can’t” instead of “I’ll try.” Running instead of staying, and staying when I should have run.
Oh my, do you have any idea what a review of your regrets in life can do to the weight of the burden on your back???? It’s not a good thing, that’s for sure. Especially since there is no way to change any of it. It’s over, done, and I am who I am because of it. But. . . .
Praise God, there is a BUT ! Through the darkness of all those regrets there still stands a Cross of forgiveness and cleansing and He pays the debt owed for all of it. ALL! Redemption! Suich a great word of comfort, isn’t it?
But Restoration. I had never really thought much about it until one day when I was sharing with someone who was hurting, and I told her about how I understood because I had messed up and made some bad choices just as she had and how that sometimes there are consequences we can’t change, but we can grow through them and use them. She asked me how in the world could that be? I read 2 Cor. 1:4 to her, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
It was at that moment that I, myself, understood the whole thing of Restoration: When I am willing to accept God’s forgiveness and comfort, it is then that I can help someone else going through the same thing. And that, my friend, is when the ruins turn to rubies, and the locust loses out.
And so, Restoration has become my word for this year. Whenever I find a “regret” pestering my life and pulling me down, I will pray for a way to use it in the life of another and find redemption and restoration.
Posted by Cora from Hidden Riches at 4:19 PM
Thursday, June 7, 2012
“It’s amazing what happens when we are willing to step into the stream!” Dawn told me this in an email about a week ago as I told her about sending cards to nursing homes for forgotten elderly people who never get any mail or visitors. I couldn’t stop. I stood at that stream and saw the flow slowly moving and I stepped in. I don’t often do that. And most often, I’m sorry I didn’t. But when I do, I get caught up in the currant and find out that God already had this stream prepared with others who were willing to step in, do their part, until we all spill into an ocean where we see an enormous job completed by the most unlikely people in the most unlikely places with unique gifts to bring and talents to use.
Here I am. Just little, old me with not much to offer. Just a ton of weary, old craft supplies that I’ve saved over the years. Just a week or two ago, I planned on throwing it all in the dumpster. Simplify. Clean up. Travel light. Streamline. All the words thrown at me when I complain about my . . . . . .junk. I’m looking for the right word here. My parents were Dutch and they always used a word for junk lying around that looked messy and random. I don’t know how to spell it, but the phonetics would be “RUM-a-lah!” We all just knew what it meant: Toys scattered across the floor, books and papers strewn on the bed, or clothing not hung up or put in drawers. And that’s what all my crafting stuff is beginning to look like because I’m out of room. Rum-a-lah!
But the card thing. . . . It grabs me and won’t let go. I have all I need to send out tons of cards --- cardstock, envelopes, paper, die cut machine with tons of dies, rubber stamps --- you name it - I’ve got it.
So I get on eBay to find some ideas -- fresh stuff that will help me out. I find this one seller with the most beautiful of cards I’ve ever seen. I place my bids on about 10 of them. I couldn’t stop! After winning most of them, I email her and tell her what I’m doing, and can I purchase about 25 cards? I figured after I drool over them for a while, I would attach my own poems on the inside and take them to the nearest nursing home. Then, I receive an email back.
Here is someone else that is willing to step into the stream! She loves the idea and is sending me 25 handmade cards --- get this --- for free!!!!
I tell some friends about this and how I used old cards and cut the pictures, etc., and recycle them into new cards, and they are collecting up cards for me. More people stepping in the stream!
So here I am, busy as an excited little beaver, cutting away. My cards are cut, I have piles of coordinating stuff, I’m stamping, gluing, feeling like a third grader with glue sticks, LOTS of glitter, punches, coloring pens, etc., etc.
The real thing is --- I’ve always wondered how I could use my poetry in an effective, more reaching way. Why didn’t I think of cards like this?
Several people have asked to see the cards, so I’m putting some pictures here. I can’t believe this gal makes these cards so beautifully. If you want to buy some, you can find her on eBay here:
Posted by Cora from Hidden Riches at 4:07 PM
Friday, June 1, 2012
It's Five-Minute-Friday, and today's word is "SEE." The rules are:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community... So here we go. . .
I look into her soul
And I see fear
Fear of being alone
Fear of going hungry
Fear of being cold
Fear of all today will bring.----
I look into her soul
I see hopeless
Longing for someone
Longing for love
Missing yesterdays of long ago
Dreading more tomorrows of what is now----
I look into his soul
And I see sadness
Reaching for someone who still needs him
Reaching for love unconditional
Reaching for trust and acceptance
Reaching for a hug, a snuggle, the sound of a soft purr
And I see their love
Clinging to all that was between them
Clinging to what still is
Clinging to what little may still be
Clinging to all to all they have left -- each other.----
I look into her soul
Hope rises in her heart
Hope reaches out
Hope is tender in its kiss
Hope brings a smile once again
During the month of June, The Forgotten Ones: Compassion for the Elderly is striving to bring some love and hope to the millions of forgotten elderly men and women in the nursing homes of America and around the world. Many of these people never have a visitor, a phone call, a gift or a card for year after year until they die . . . Alone. Compassion for the Elderly has a Facebook page and you can access it from here. If you wish to participate in sending cards this month, here is Pam’s email address: email@example.com -- and she will send you a list of Nursing homes with the addresses and you can become a part of bringing at least one smile to one of these faces. (Or, you can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org) Won’t you help?
Linking up with:
Posted by Cora from Hidden Riches at 7:21 PM
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
He says to open our Bibles to 1 Peter 2:1-3. We bow our heads and ask the Lord to open our eyes and hearts to what He has to say to us. My pen is in my hand. My notebook is on my lap. My Bible is open to the appropriate place.
He points out the word, “therefore,” the first word in this chapter, and reminds us to always ask, What is it there for? The preceding chapter ends talking about the Word of the Lord enduring forever, never changing in an ever-changing world. I think of how my world has changed, things I could not control, things I never thought would happen, things I can’t go back and fix, things that might change tomorrow. I liked the statement that the Book I was holding open in my hands would never change and would endure through anything forever!
He continues with the passage: As a result of this Word enduring forever, what was our reaction to be in light of this?
1. Lay aside all malice (wicked ill will towards others), a desire to see someone trip and fall.
2. Deceit -- deliberately dishonest.
3. Hypocrisy - a front, a mask, trying to portray yourself as something you are not.
4. Envy -- When you compare yourself to others and you feel you are coming up short. But we should know that He deals with each of us personally, and supplies each of us with exactly what we need.
5. Slander -- Did you know that even TRUTH can hurt other people if spoken with the intent to belittle?
There are times when we should just keep our mouths shut!
It is these five things that we need to put aside.
And then something happens. Deep within my heart. Almost a voice, a whisper. VERY distracting to me as I like to take good notes. But HE wouldn’t quit. And so I listen.
“Why is it you never talk to me about YOU?”
“What???” I think silently.
“You heard me.”
“Yeah, I did, but what’s that got to do with this sermon?” (As I’m trying to listen to Pastor and take notes.)
I try to squish it down, part of me taking notes:
Verse 2 says we should be as newborn babies, as innocent as these sweet ones, cleansed, with none of the above blemishes, with no unrighteousness, and desiring (longing for) His word. The word, desire, shows a continuous action, to keep on desiring.
Pastor says, God loves us as we are, but doesn’t want to leave us there. He wants to see us grow and change. How does this happen? Through His Word. We should desire it in such a way that nothing keeps us from it. And once we have tasted it, nothing will keep us away.
Verse 3 uses the word “gracious.” Peter wrote in Greek, but he spoke in Aramaic. So what was he really saying here? In Aramaic, this was an often used word, like when you put out a delicious meal, fantastic, more than good!
“So when are we going to talk about YOU?”
There it was again.
I go home frustrated. After all, I pray! A lot! I sit all afternoon stewing. I start tearing apart my prayers.
I pray for others -- whenever anyone comes to mind, I usually pray for them and if I know of any need in their life, I will pray about that, too.
I’m thankful. I try to thank Him for all things, even the hard things. Since reading Ann’s book, 1000 gifts, I’ve even been more thankful than ever.
I come to Him with my needs, my failures, my sins. . . What in the world is He asking of me when He says, “When are we going to talk about YOU?”
I finally have to admit, I don’t talk about ME -- the real, personal, the intimate, the what’s-troubling-me ME! I don’t talk about dreams and disappointments, likes and dislikes, gains and losses, etc.
“Can’t you just read my writings, Lord? It’s all in there!”
“No, we are not pen pals. What’s so hard about face to face, ear to ear, get to know each other kind of talk?”
And so --- my life takes a new direction. Prayer will change. Tomorrow will be different.
Did you get that from this sermon???? I searched my notes and I didn’t see it. But that’s what I heard on Sunday, and I’ll live it Monday, and Tuesday. . . And Wednesday.. . .Linking up with other bloggers who heard it on Sunday and are striving to put it into practice on Monday. You can find their posts here: