Tuesday, April 28, 2009

old home burned to the ground

This has been a very trying weekend for my hubby and I. We were called Saturday night around 11:30PM by our previous neighbors and were told that our other home had burned down and the firemen were still fighting the fire.

We arrived at the home around 12:15AM on Sunday and when we arrived, there were 8 fire trucks there fighting the fire. The fire was so big, firemen from 3 stations were called. When we arrived, the right side of the house was already completely gone. One of the Fire Marshalls took my husband closer to the home and told him to be prepared because the house was gone. There was one portion of the wall on the left side of the house still standing but very insecure. The firemen said they were going to have to pull it down for safety reasons. My husband and the firemen suggested that I might not want to see them do this so my husband walked me back to the end of the drive way so I could not see what they were doing. Our driveway is several yards long and curved around many trees so you cannot see the house from the street where our car was parked.

The firemen finally told Dennis that there was nothing more they could do and we may as well return home. That was around 4:15AM on Sunday. We got home at 5:00AM. We did make it to church at 9:00AM and then went straight to our old home from there. When we arrived, we were surprised to see three fire trucks still there. They had been there all night long.

We were told by the fire marshalls that they think the fire may have started either by a riding mower that was still in the garage or electrical. We were also told that because everything is so charred it may be a "black hole". They may never know the cause of the fire.

The home is completely gone, it is so hard to see the remains of what was once our beautiful 5400 square foot home all gone. We have lots of beautiful memories there with our daughters, sons in laws, and g-children visiting us, family coming over for get togethers and swimming parties.

We are blessed in the fact that no one was living there or hurt. Also, the firemen did a great job of keeping the fire from spreading to our neighbors. That was a miracle as our home was surrounded by hundreds of trees and we have been in a burn ban state due to there being no rain for months.

Our swimming pool is also destroyed. It is filled with bricks and lumber from the house. However, we had a shed to store our boat and that was not even touched.

Well, I guess I have finished venting and sharing my feelings for now. I do Praise God for keeping everyone safe as they worked on the fire, for keeping the fire from spreading to our neighbors, and for the fact that no one was in the house and harmed.

Hard to believe this rubble is what is left of our 5400 sq. ft. home.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I am totally blessed

As I sit here in my quiet time, I continue to be amazed at how I can see God's hand in my life on a daily basis. I see His love that surrounds me daily through soOOoooo many people and how He has been answering prayers that I have prayed with friends.

I am blessed to have a precious hubby who always stands by my side loving me through the tough times and the good. He is always encouraging and always finds new ways to help, love, and encourage me. Through now 6 times with cancer, never once has he given up on me or God and run away. Instead, he is my strong tower that I can run to when I need a shoulder to cry on. He does not try to fix the problem just allows me the time to "vent" when I need to.

My beautiful daughters that continue to call and check on me and show their love and support. They are always upbeat and positive and I know I will be comforted just hearing their sweet voices. I am blessed with two wonderful sons in law that love my daughters and grandchildren and support them in all their dreams.

My sisters and brother show their love to me with their prayer, love, encouragement, and support.

God has also blessed me with sisters and brothers in Christ that are always there for me. They have brought us meals when I can't cook. They take me to my chemo treatments every single week so that my hubby does not have to miss all that work. I am called to see if I need anything from cleaning house, laundry, or shopping.

To all of you, thank you for being such a precious jewel and blessing in my life. I don't know how I can ever express the love and gratitude I feel for each of you.. At times, I just sit and cry (good tears) because of all the ways I see God loving me through each and every one of you. Thank you for being a very important part of my life. I just pray for all you have done for me, I can somehow pay it back and/or forward.

I love you all,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Still loosing weight

My hubby and I went to see my oncologist today and all is well. However, he is very concerned because in 6 days I have lost another 4 pounds and now weigh 108. I am also feeling more tired lately, so we will see what the Lord has planned for me.

It is beautiful weather here today and I love NOT being cold for a change. Perhaps I will take my chair and sit on the porch so my puppy can also enjoy the weather. She loves to sit on the sidewalk and check out everything both up and down the hill. Good thing she can't talk, she may be tempted to gossip with all she sees. he he

I hope you are having a very blessed day.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

True Love.....I've seen it!

Hi everyone, it's Terry and I have been asked to be a guest blogger today on Sweet Shirley's blog.

Have I told you all just how much I love this woman? Have I told you what a truly AMAZING person she is? Have I told you how much she loves God? Have I shared with you how she brings a smile to EVERYONE'S face? Have I shared with you the love that I have seen between her and her husband?

Well, I could go on and on about all of the above, but today I want to focus on the love between Shirley and Dennis. I have seen it first hand, and what a warm and fuzzy feeling I get when I am with them.

You can read in a previous post, written by Shirley, about how Dennis has stood by her as she has dealt with cancer, not just once, but SIX times.

What I want to do is tell you what I have seen from Dennis.....

I was blessed to be able to go to their home one night last week and prepare dinner for them. This is not the first time that I have been able to do this, but this is the first time that I have actually stayed and ate with them.

It started like any other meal one might have. We prayed, we thanked God for the meal, for our friendship and for our time together in christian fellowship As we sat there and laughed and talked, Dennis decided to share how he felt the day that he and Shirley renewed their vows.

I have NEVER been so moved in ALL of my life!!!!

There sat this 62 yr. old man, sharing his love for his wife as if they were 20 yrs. old and just married!!!! He told me that he didn't think that he would be emotional during the service....he laughed it off and said that he new it was important to Shirley to have this ceremony, but that he really didn't think that he would be "moved" by it......rofl

I'm laughing, because even as he is tell me this, he had tears forming in his eyes. He told me how he almost melted into the carpet when he saw his wife of 40 years being walked down the isle by his (their) two beautiful daughters....and that is when it started....he told me that he could feel the tears in his eyes and he thought "I have to keep it together"....

He was so overwhelmed with emotion thru the whole service....he said that Shirley never stops amazing him....she had just got out of the hospital on Friday and the service was on Sunday. He told how impressed he was when it was time to recite the vows that they had written for one another....(we all sat there laughing as he tells how he had to read from a piece of paper, and then when it was Shirley turn, she proudly recited 5 min. worth of vows FROM MEMORY!!!).

The two of them kept looking at one another as the story was being told....every now and then one would reach across the table and take the others hand and give it a ever so slight squeeze. Both of them just glowed as the story was told. And I was so blessed that they shared it with me.

Dennis even told me how he felt when everyone came back to the house to help celebrate! He said how important it was for everyone of them to be there. How much it meant to him to see the christian fellowship taking place in celebration of the love that he and Shirley share!

He truly does love his wife and it can be seen when you see the two of them together! Thank you both for showing me what true love looks like!

Let me share with all of you out there in blog world a few pictures that were taken of the two of them.....a wonderful friend, Deanna, blessed them with her talents and took these great photos. If any of you reading are in San Antonio, and need some family photos taken, you might want to give her a call.....she does GREAT work! (Thanks again Deanna for doing this for our dear friends). Here is a link to her website: http://www.deannawilks.photoreflect.com/

And now for the pics.....ENJOY!

How sweet is this?

I love that she is holding his hand!

Out on the back deck....

We had to take some on the motorcycle, they love
riding together!

I love this shot of her resting on his shoulder!


Are you feeling it yet? Can you see
the love between them?

I know you can now!!!! Simply an

And of course, I have to include a few shots of just Shirley! I love you Shirley!
MORE, MORE MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My minutes in Heaven

In my previous blog, I wrote how I had been sent to Turkey from Greece for an emergency surgery and was pronounced dead.

The second I heard "time of death 9:36", I floated through the ceiling, the roof, and through the clouds. The time it took to reach the "light" was in the blink of an eye. When I got to heaven, I saw loved ones that had passed on, some years before. I thought it was strange, they had formed a line on either side of me and were smiling at me but not coming to great me. At the end of the line they had formed was the brightest and most beautiful light I have ever seen. I knew without doubt that it was God and I was not afraid. I didn't walk toward it but more like I floated toward the light. All I could see was the right hand of God reaching out toward me. I said "God, if it is my time I want to stay, but please take care of my babies for me". At that time, my girls were 3 and 6 years old.

Immediately after saying that, I felt the Lord put his hands on both my sholders and made me do a 180 degree turn back to where I came from and said "It is not time, you must go back and raise your children". I came back through the clouds, the roof, ceiling and back into my body.

I soOOooo remember in heaven what I saw and heard. It is more amazing than any words can ever describe and I was there for only a few short minutes. I can't wait to see all that I did not see. For instance, the face of my Lord and Savior. I was in His presence and could see his right hand but that was all.

I could look directly into the bright like and it did not hurt or blind my eyes as the sun does. It is the most beautiful white immaginable and the glory of God can be felt all around.

There was the sound of 1000s of angels singing. In my soul, I know they were singing praises to God but in a language I have never heard before. It was like I was surrounded by beautiful voices from every part of heaven. I could hear them and sense their presence but I could not see them. It felt like the singing was coming from within my body.

I remember the temperature being perfect with just a whisp of a breeze in the air. The smell of all kinds of sweet fragances filled my nose. I was in total, complete, and perfect peace and truly wanted to stay there.

I adore my babies and my husband but now understand when scriptures tell us there will be no tears or sorrow in heaven. I adore and love my family and I knew and remembered they existed, but in heaven, I did not feel any tears for them or sorrow. I know it must sound cold but I am convinced that is what God means in scripture when he tells us there will be no tears or pain in heaven. Otherwise, I would have been crying my heart out for them.

At the time this happened, I was not walking with the Lord as I am now. I had grown up Catholic. I had no doubt there is a God but did know know then that I could have a real and true relationship with him. When I became a born again Christian, I was amazed to find out that our Heavenly Father desires to have a close relationship with us. John 10:14 says "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me". Even though I was not walking with the Lord then, He knew I would become His precious daughter in time and will spend eternity in Heaven with him. Perhaps that is the reason He allowed me to see what my eternal home will be like. That is definately why I do not fear my cancer even though the doctors continue to tell me I have only months to live.

I know that ONLY God knows the number of my days here on earth and when He is ready, He will take me home to be with him for all eternity.

My journey to heaven, if only for a few brief minutes, has brought me peace during many trials and deep valleys in life. I would like to say that I was His perfect child once that happened but I am human and still stumbled time and time again. I don't know why he would allow me this priviledge and perhaps not to everyone. Maybe it is so that I can share this trip with others to give hope and encouragement.

I pray, especially if you are going through some tough times, that you and I can remember that God does love us unconditionally and wants what is best for us. After all, he sent His only Son to die on our behalf that we might have eternal life with him. Just because we go through some deep valleys does not mean that He has turned his back on us. Perhaps, He is choosing to allow us to see for ourselves where our faith is when things are not going perfectly in our lives.

It is easy to Praise Him when all is well. However, can we still Praise Him when all is not going perfect in our lives?


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Time of death 9:36AM

We were stationed in Athens, Greece in 1979 when I was aero vacced to Turkey for an emergency surgery. It was scary because I had to go alone for a major surgery in a strange country. My husband had to stay home for work and our two precious daughters who were 3 and 5 years at the time.

I boarded the plane with several patients and I began my journey with a bang. I was not paying attention to the seating in the plane. We began to taxi off and I passed out. I had not noticed that we were facing the back of the plane and it completely threw my balance off. I was attended by the doctor on board and a couple of nurses and then I was fine for the rest of the trip.

We arrived in Turkey late in the evening and settled into my room and prepared for surgery first thing the next morning.

My surgery went well and as only God could plan it, there was one friend from a previous base that was there at my bedside when I woke up. He worked in the hospital and saw my name come across his desk so he went to visit me. He walked into my room and what a relief to see a familiar face because I had been scared being alone. He asked me how I was feeling. I told him "I feel fine but I had a very strange dream". He told me to tell him my dream so I did.

I told him that in my dream I was floating just below the ceiling and felt like I was watching myself in a movie. I saw the nurse take me from the OR to recovery. However, in the hallway, I heard her yell "CODE BLUE". She began to give me mouth to mouth and was beating on my chest. As I watched this I thought "why don't I feel anything"? Many other patients were gathered around us by now and the doctor that had done my surgery showed up at the same time the code blue cart showed up. The doctor told everyone to get me into the recovery room away from the other patients and out of the hallway. He then hit me with the paddles to get my heart going again but nothing happened.

Next, he had my right hand in his and was still trying to get a pulse. He turned to the nurse on his right. Looking at his watch he said "We,ve lost her, time of death 9:36. Go contact her husband". In that instant, I floated through the ceiling, the roof, and past the clouds into the presence of our Heavenly Father. I saw many loved ones that had passed away years before and they formed a line on either side of me. However, they did not greet me and I thought that was strange. At the end of the line they had formed was our Lord in all His Shikaina Glory. I could not see His face but His right hand reaching out toward me. I said "Lord, if it is my time I want to stay here but please take care of my babies". At that point, He put his hands on each of my shoulders and turned me around 180 degrees and said "it is not your time, you must go back and raise your children". As I was going through the line of loved ones again in reverse, they were waiving at me. Then, I came back through the clouds, the roof, and the ceiling and into my body. There was a sheet over my head which I pulled back and saw a nurse there with her back to me. When she heard me, she ran out of the room and I never saw her again.

When I had finished telling our friend my dream, he went pale and said "I have to get back to work now". Within 5 minutes, the nurse I had seen in my dream came into my room and said "I hear you had a dream". To which I answered yes and she said "tell me all about it".
I told her exactly what I had told my friend and she too went pale. Then she said "everything you said happened, happened exactly as you said".

I was dead for almost 5 minutes. By God's grace, the nurse was not able to contact my husband and tell him I had passed away. God had planned for him to be in Crete for the day and not in Athens. God was and is ALWAYS in complete control.

I remember what I saw and felt while in heaven but I am very tired now after going to the hospital so will have to finish my story another day.

May you have a very blessed day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Surviving cancer for the 6th time.

Good morning,

I pray that you and your family had a very blessed Easter. We had a wonderful day beginning with going to church to watch the Easter drama. I have read it and seen it many times but was so touched again yesterday. Seeing what Jesus had to go through for you and me to be saved. Seeing Him carring his cross, his bloody back from the beatings with the whips, and then hearing the hammering of the nails into his flesh. I lost it and could not hold back the tears for someone who loves us so much, he would choose to do this for us. It was a wonderful drama and many people were touched and several received Christ as their Savior. What an awesome way to begin Easter.

Then, my husband and I got to meet a precious family that I had been in contact with via cyberspace. It was great to meet them in person and what a wonderful family they are. Please do be in prayer for them as husband Tony is in need of a kidney. People from Harvest (total strangers) have been tested to see if they match. God is so awesome to put into the hearts of total strangers to offer a kidney. Being in the family of Christ beats all. Just a sweet taste of what heaven will be like.

After church, we went out to eat and my hubby even took me for Chinese. He he. That is amazing because he is not crazy about it.

Came home to rest for a while and then in the evening a very precious friend offered to come and take pictures of my hubby and I. That was a blessing because I had been wanting to do that and she does it for weddings, parties, etc. I look forward to putting some of her pictures in my next blog.

Well, I pray you have a great day today.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Having complete peace through cancer

You have just been told that you or a loved one has cancer. What do you do? How do you feel? What fears do you go through?

As a born again child of God, I have the "complete and perfect peace of God that transcens all understanding," Phil. 4:7
I became a Christian in 1979. Unfortunately, for many years, I did not walk as I should have as a Christian. There were years when I thought I could manage my own life and walked on the fence line. I knew I was saved but still did not have a true relationship with my Heavenly Father. Not because He didn't want it but because I did not spend time in His presence getting to know him better. Then, I was fearful of what would happen to me after I died. Now, I have complete peace that when He chooses to take me from this world, I will be in His loving presence for all eternity. I know I am going HOME. This is why I have no fear in my journey with cancer. I am in a win/win situation. Either God will heal me here on earth for the 6th time or he will take me home where I will NEVER have to face cancer again.

As Easter approaches in a couple of days, it is a great time to remember what He has done for us. Christ came to die for us but as we celebrate Easter, we must remember that He rose and now sits at the right hand of God. He died on our behalf and took our sins to the grave so that we might be with Him in heaven for all eternity.

I woke up this morning around 2:00AM with these thoughts on my mind for my blog. Perhaps it is because God knows someone would be reading this blog who does not know Him as Lord and Savior. If that is you, it is very simple to become His child and know beyond any doubt that you too can be guaranteed a place in heaven when your time comes.

We are all sinners and none of us can "work" our way to heaven nor can we be perfect enough to get there. God tells us in His Word:
Romans 3:23-24
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace throught the redemptions that is in Christ Jesus....

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlsting life.

If you have never received Christ as your Savior, what an awesome way to celebrate this Easter. Simple ask Him for forgiveness of your sin and invite Him into your lives, thank Him for dying on our behalf. If you do this then go tell someone and share the great news.

He tells us:Rev: 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

He is waiting for you, open your door to Him and have everlasting life with Him. Have a very blessed Easter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Surviving cancer for the 6th time

Yesterday I had a great day as I was able to make it to Bible study. It was wonderful to see friends I had not seen in a while and meet new ones. It was especially exciting because we had prayed as a group for a dear friend to get a job she had interviewed for. Just as we had finished our prayers and began our study, she received a call and was told that she had gotten the job. How awesome it was for us all to share in God's answering her prayers together.

Today has been another wonderful day because again I got to see God answering prayers. Several days ago I received an email that had been passed on from a friend of a friend. The prayer was for a kidney to be donated to someone in need. Through the wonders of email, I have already become friends with the people asking for prayer and can't wait to meet them. God has answered all our prayers as well. A total stranger to them has offered to donate a kidney to him. What a blessing and how exciting for me to be just a small part of God's work.

Went for my lab work today and get accessed to the port for my chemo treatment tomorrow. Excited because a dear friend I had not seen in a few months is going to take me so we get to catch up again. At least until I fall asleep on her. Not because she is not fun to be around but because of the meds. lol

Well, hope you all have a very blessed day and you too get to see some of God's handiwork to give you hope and encouragement.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Surviving cancer

I was getting ready for what I thought would be a routine doctor's appointment that day in 1994. Little did I know how my life would change and what the Lord had planned for me.

As I was getting ready for my appointment, I heard a voice say "you have cancer". I was home alone but the voice was so clear and loud that I turned to see who was speaking. Since I had always been very healthy, I shurgged it off as my imagination. I took a few steps and felt like something inside me had burst. The pain only lasted a few seconds but the pain was so intense that it brought me to my knees. As I lay on the floor, again I heard the voice say "you have cancer". I prayed and asked the Lord, "Lord, if that is you speaking to me, please give my doctor wisdom".

I went to my doctor and he said that all looked good and sent me on my way. As I was walking in the hallway, I heard someone calling my name. I turned to see it was my doctor. He said "in case something else is going on, let's get some x-rays done". I know God was in control because my doctor had already sent me home. When I got to x-rays to schedule an appointment, God was there. Normally it is about a 1 1/2 - 2 week wait to get an appointment. They took me in immediately. By the time I arrived home (I did not have a cell phone at that time), there was an urgent message from my doctor telling me to get back to the hospital NOW. Of course, it was later in the evening by the time I got the message and the doctor was gone for the day. First thing the next morning my husband and I went to see my doctor. We were told that I had a tumor in my right kidney and it had to come out immediately. I was put into the hospital that day and had my kidney removed the next morning. After surgery we were told that I had renal cell carcinoma and that type of cancer would return. There was just no way of telling when or where it would hit again. The turmor had grown inside my kidney and burst through. That was the pain I had felt a couple of days before. Doctors told us the tumor was the side of a softball.

Well, it took several months to recover but God was awesome and walked with me the whole time. I was cancer free for 10 years. In 2004 I was praising God for healing me from cancer and that the doctors were wrong. My cancer had not returned. Then I heard His voice again say, "you have cancer". By now, I was getting x-rays every year and sure enough, I had another tumor on my left kidney. One third of the kidney was removed. In 2005 it had returned again in my left kidney and another 1/3 of the kidney was removed. By God's sweet grace, I am living with 1/3 of one kidney and doctors tell me they can't understand. What puzzles them is that that small portion of my kidney is working as well as 2 full kidneys according to my kidney function tests. I tell them it is very simple, my God is in control.

In June of 2006 the cancer had moved to my left lung and the whole lower lobe was removed. December of that same year, again it had moved to the upper lobe of my left lung and was removed. Because it was caught so early, my doctors agreed to let me get through the holidays before doing more surgery which was done in January of 2007.

In 2008 the cancer has moved to my bones and then the doctors gave me 4-12 months to live. The only thing they offered me was to keep me comfortable and out of pain with morphine until the end. Well, God has other plans for me again. I have not had to take any thing for pain in months and it has now been 10 months and I am doing great. I have to take chemo every single week for the rest of my life and I expect that to be a long time. I don't know why He would choose to allow me to go through cancer so many times but I know He has a plan for me. My prayer is that He use me in ways I can't even begin to imagine to minister to others going through any illness or deep valleys. I only hope the story of what He has done in my life will give hope to anyone reading this blog.

blessings from a cancer survivor,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thankful for:

June 23, 1968

I have had a very good day today. Had lunch with a couple of great friends before going to the hospital to get accessed to my port for my chemo treatment tomorrow. We had fun talking again about our Women's Retreat this past weekend and what a blast we had.

I have been thinking how blessed I am and thankful for my precious family. My husband who has stuck by my side even after so many times struggling with my cancer. I have heard of spouses leaving their loved ones when going through this because of fear or whatever. My sweet hubby has always been right by my side to encourage me and be my strong tower to lean on when I am weak.

I am thankful also for my beautiful daughters Dianna and Sandra who have also been there by my side and make frequent calls to check on me and let me know they are thinking of me and praying for me. They are so loving, caring, and thoughtful with hearts of gold. Their beauty is obvious from the outside but their true beauty comes from the inside. I have been blessed with two wonder sons-in-law and 6 of the most awesome grandchildren in the world. (Sorry world)

I have a sweet friend Terry who is coming over to help me with my blogging and to post pictures on my site. I am having fun with this one and hopefully it will keep me busy and out of trouble.
I have lots to be thankful for today and wanted to share it all with you.

I pray that you are also having a wonderful day.
July 2008
Our 40th Wedding Anniversary Vowel Renewal
The KISS!!!!

My beautiful family!