Monday, December 17, 2012

Taking a Break...

I sat in a dental chair while the hygienist cheerfully chatted away.  Asking me numerous questions about my life, I answered her honestly.  

After telling her about my five children, she asked many questions about my son, the impact of cancer on him, on his sisters, the family.  

Then she stopped, held her dental  instruments poised in the air, looked me in the eyes and asked, "How about you, momma?  Have you healed from all the trauma you have been through?"

Time stopped.  
And in that moment, I knew.


A few months later, I walked away from childhood cancer.  
It was what I needed to do.

I chose to quit my job helping families with bald, damaged children, raising money, networking resources.  I walked away from all volunteer work with the organizations that help these children.

There was too much sadness all around me.
I was exhausted. 

Years of giving.  
Years of serving from my heart, had taken their toll.

I had been grieving for eight years.
Grieving the diagnosis of my son.
Grieving the impact on his sisters.
Grieving the loss of nine year old Gage.
Grieving the loss of ten year old Lesly.
Grieving for children with limbs cut off by surgeons, hoping to save their lives.
And the newly diagnosed children never stopped coming.

Then the death of my mother.  
The suicide of a precious friend's son.  

Sadness overwhelmed me. 
I was exhausted.

So I walked away.
And I began to heal, just a bit. 

But the world continues in it's heaviness.  

While I was rocking my new born niece, a killer shot innocent people at a nearby mall.  A few days later, a killer entered a grade school and slaughtered Kindergarteners and their teachers.

I cannot escape the sadness.
I am exhausted.

I cannot watch the news.  
I cannot hear the details.
I cannot allow myself to connect to this pain too.

There is too much sadness all around me. 
I am exhausted.

I am working hard to grieve.  
I cannot add anymore weight.

I am exhausted on this black, stormy night.

And then I found this poem...

"For One Who Is Exhausted" by John O'Donohue
From: To Bless The Space Between Us

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic, 
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down.
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time. 

I am looking for small miracles.
I am watching the rain.
I am trying to imitate habits of brightness.
I am sitting in silence.
I am lingering with friends of depth.
I am being excessively gentle with myself.

I am taking a break, knowing the healing will come, because of His faithfulness.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


about CHILDHOOD cancer.

This documentary is about 50 minutes long, but tells the TRUTH.

PLEASE watch it all the way through...then act.

Thank you..


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Outer and Inner Beauty...

Part 2: Inner Beauty...

My mother was full of inner beauty too.
She was loyal to her family and friends, often giving of herself to a fault.
She was there for her friends when they needed her, whether helping serve a ladies tea or taking care of a friend after their surgery.

When my four daughters were young, my mother was very involved in their lives.  She freely babysat them, taught them how to sew, paint, crochet, knit and bought them clothes and toys.

She hated knowing they'd grow up one day.  
She grieved when I left home.  
She grieved as each of them left my home.

As a child my mother was painfully shy.  She had stark, white hair and was called "cotton top" by her school mates.  When she had to talk in class, she turned bright red, again becoming a target for ridicule.  Her teachers often  compared her to her older sister who was very smart, pretty and out going.  She had a younger brother who got attention because he was the boy.

My mother hated school and just barely got through.

(Front row: 2nd from the left)

Education was never important to her, only things of God.

Being raised in a strict Pentecostal church, she was very sheltered.   

Her parents were hardworking, strict, practical and no-nonsense. Her father was a sheet metal worker and her mother worked for Sears after her children were in school.

Both of her parents had grown up without their parents.

Her mother could not say, "I love you." 

My mother and her sister were very close, even sharing the same bed until the day her sister married.

 My mother grieved this loss acutely.  
My mother did not like change.  

My mother was told she was beautiful often by those around her.  Growing up in a small college town, she was chased by the college boys when she reached high school age.

One day, when she was 20, her father declared, 
"You will not bring an illegitimate child into my home!" 
"You will marry him." 
She obeyed. 

Despite their weaknesses, my mother felt her childhood was wonderful.  Her parents took them camping and fishing.  They permitted she and her sister to wear pants or cu-lots (shorts) and let them climb trees which was against their church community rules. Always industrious with little money, they grew vegetables in the summer and canned them. 

My mother cut her own hair, made her own clothes and never followed the trend of what everyone else was doing.

She loved pretending fairies were real and picking her way through the snow in dainty high heels.

My mother had an intense sense of justice and right and wrong.  
She was ALWAYS for the underdog.

She often said about life, "It shouldn't be that way."  
But it was.

In her later years, she would pick up hitchhikers and tell them about God.  She never feared for her safety.   "I pray first and obey the Spirit" she'd say.

My mother regularly felt the pain of others profoundly and sometimes in a real physical sense.

More than once, she told me her true self was deep inside peeking out through her blue eyes.

She felt no one really SAW her. 
I believe she didn't allow herself to be known.
My mother loved God with all her heart and was a true prayer warrior.  In her later years, she spent hours in  prayer walking around her house, praying out loud, shouting, jumping and proclaiming God.

She hated weak prayers.  For her, yelling and shouting and claiming your prayers was what it took.

The louder the better.  
The same with praises.

My mother loved Jesus, the miracle worker Jesus.  
She had no tolerance for the suffering Jesus.

She hated sports crowds cheering for their team.  
"We should be cheering like that for God", she'd say.

As my mother aged, she began cutting people out of her life.  Her sister, her brother, her friends. They had all "hurt her" at one time or another, so she didn't want to spend time with them anymore.  She did, however; stay close to her parents until their deaths and somewhat close to my mother in-law.

She spent less and less time with me and my family.

She stayed home, dressed in her bathrobe watching what she called "her preachers" on TV or the internet.  She lost all interest in sewing, home decorating, gardening, oil and watercolor painting, crocheting and cooking.

Once, genuinely gifted in those areas, none of it mattered to her anymore.

My mother was generous with her money.  She was an impulsive shopper too, buying things for me or her grandchildren on a whim.  

She was generous with her money until her death.

She flew her California granddaughter and her two sons and a daughter-in-law home when she was on hospice.

My mother was beautiful...inside and out...

"Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.  The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear of God."
Proverbs 31:30