Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Wow! over a month and a half has gone by since the last time I posted.
I thought I would write a little update of what is going on in our lives.

We made a trip to Vanderbilt back in May for Bobby to have a CT scan to make sure everything was still clear. The scan was still clear, no lymphoma showing. Soooo happy.

The next scan will be in August. Scans are a part of our lives now and we truly have just learned to be okay with it.

Bobby and I talk quite often about how he feels. When he finished his chemo we were told it could be 3 to 6 months before he felt "normal." I would ask him every once in a while how he felt. I would say, "do you feel normal?" or "tell me on a scale from 1 to 10 how you feel."

I'm not the only one who asks Bobby how he feels or how he is doing.

If I am in the other room and he gets a phone call I can sometimes over hear him answering someone on the the other end of the phone asking him that same question, " how do you feel or how are you doing?" If we go out to eat often people will come up and ask that same question, " how are you feeling or how are you doing?" Often at church friends will ask Bobby how he feels or how he is doing. It seems wherever we go someone will ask him how he is doing or how he feels.

Now from my past experience when I was asked a question over and over and over, it often became a tad on the annoying side, just a tad, mind you. I might be thinking, "oh, don't tell me I am getting this question AGAIN." Can you relate? I know that you can.

BUT, I must say, this has NOT been the case this time. In fact, it is the exact opposite. It is SOOOOOO encouraging when friends, family, or people we might not even know that well, take the time to ASK how Bobby is doing or how he is feeling. It is humbling and amazing to us. I hope I never ever take it for granted the love and care shown to us. There are not words to express our gratitude.

There needs to be a new word created and put in WEBSTERS to describe the outpouring of love we have experienced and continue to receive.

You might be asking that same question yourself. "How is Bobby doing, how IS he feeling?"

Well, I am happy to say that not long ago I asked Bobby that question AGAIN myself and he answered, " I feel "normal." I feel the way I did before the lymphoma." That answer was precious to me that day. Hope it sounds good to you, as well.

Taking this journey one day at a time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Do you ever just sit with yourself and IMAGINE what it's like to be someone else. I don't mean just anyone else, I mean a person who actually exists. Maybe you know them in "real life" or maybe they are someone you've seen on TV or the movies, or maybe it's someone you have read about from history.

Or have you ever IMAGINED what it's like to be an animal. I remember when I was younger we used to ask one another, "if you could be any animal what would you be?" I usually never answered the same. I'm fickle that way. Most of the time I would say chimpanzee (so cute and funny), sometimes I would say horse (so stately and beautiful and strong, yet scary to me), sometimes I would say dog (man's best friend of course).

Sometimes I sit and think of the people in scripture. I mean I linger and let my mind IMAGINE what it would be like to be them. I imagine their voice, and their smile, and their frown, and their smell, and their size.

I kind of got a portion of this idea from bible teacher, Beth Moore. In some of her bible studies she will kind of IMAGINE what it might have been like for various people in scripture in various circumstances.

Sitting quietly is not my strong suit. Just ask anyone in my family or anyone who knows me well. But when I do reign myself in and choose to deliberately let my mind IMAGINE or think on people in scripture and what it was like for them, it just brings God's word to life for me.

I had a student at school today ask me to recommend a book of the bible to her. She is actually in my Sunday school class and she had her bible at school. I am so proud of this young lady for wanting to read God's word. I suggested Philippians. I love that book. Anyway, she took me up on it and when the time for reading ended she basically said to me that it was unreal how Paul could be so happy while in prison. I mean this man was joyful while being locked up. She had connected with Paul in some way. I was thrilled.

Taking the time to let my mind go to that prison cell and feel the temperature and smell the smells and touch the hard ground and imagine the sounds and then IMAGINE what Paul thought when he closed his eyes at night and what he said to God in the low times and what he hoped and prayed allows me to understand Paul more.

I've written before that we can never really "walk a mile in someone else's shoes", but we can try to put ourselves in those shoes, metaphorically speaking. We can try to understand their joy, their pain, their sorrow, their anger, their bitterness, their jealousy, their doubt, their fear, their happiness, their grief, their burden. I'm still learning to do this. At this point, I am a novice.

I failed miserably at this recently with a friend who lost a loved one several years back. She was sharing about her continued grief and pain these several years later and she had shared this many times and most times I had truly been empathetic, but this day, oh, I was not. I held my feelings in and I smiled and consoled on the outside, but on the inside I wanted to shake her. Shouldn't she be farther along in this process by now. I mean it's been a few years now. Come on, let's get with the program.

I totally failed as a true friend. I did not try to "walk a mile in her shoes." I wanted to throw those shoes off her and put a pair of dancing shoes on her and say get up and get on with it. I thought, "haven't you been like this for LOOOOONG enough?"

Maybe a smidge of what I thought is true, but there was no compassion, no love, no caring, just judgement.

If I had allowed my mind to really listen as she shared and IMAGINE the hurt and what it is like in her circumstances and tried to feel what she was feeling I would have looked more like Jesus inside than my own judgemental self. OUCH!!

Bobby and I go back in the morning for his CT scan. Scans are in our future for a while. The last scan in April showed no cancer and we were and are grateful. He continues to gain his strength back little by little.

I hope to "put myself in Bobby's shoes" tomorrow and IMAGINE what each experience is like for him. Of course, I will have to talk to him about it all and ask a bunch of questions. I won't leave it all to my imagination. :)

Prayerfully I will look more like Jesus on the inside this time than my own judgemental self.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Well, it's been a spell since I have written here. I assure you life is happening, but formulating that into words for this space is another matter entirely. I just noticed that the last time I wrote a blog was March 10th and it is now April 4th.

As the the "old timers" used to say, "my, how time flies." I seem to be saying this myself a lot lately so I guess that officially makes me an "old timer." I think that's not so bad, in fact I'm in pretty good company if I do say so myself.

The month of March is known for its windy days, but this March ended with a BANG for us. The last day of March, the 31st was Bobby's last chemo!! Like I put on my "facebook" status a few days back, "can you shout, DONE!!!" (thanks for the cake, Franky and everyone) We started on Dec. 16th and ended on March 31st. What a journey.

We've traveled some winding roads and at times it's gotten narrow and the trail has gotten steep, we've slipped down a few times on some rocky paths, but never fallen over the edge, we've grown weary, but we've never given up.

The most beautiful thing to me about the whole journey has been that we have NEVER been alone. Never, not once. We've had each other, we've had family, we've had friends, but most of all we've had God.

We realize that this is just one milestone in this journey and that there are scans in our future for a while and doctor's visits for a time, but once again, what makes all of that not just okay, but REALLY okay is the fact that we are not alone.

We return to Vanderbilt at the end of April for another PET scan and a doctor's visit at the end of May. We hope and we trust that those visits will continue to show NO cancer as the last PET scan did, but one day at a time is how I've learned to live and I don't want to backtrack on that now.

One more time I say thanks, we say thanks. All the encouragement and prayers and caring and love is appreciated more than you can or will ever know.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Life is like...

In the words of THAT great philosopher, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get." For the two of you reading this that may not know who I am referring to, it was Forrest Gump from FORREST GUMP fame, you know best friend of Bubba and Lieutenant Dan.

This journey with lymphoma has kind of been like that, yesterday, in particular. We had no idea what "we were going to get."

Bobby and I left out at 5:15 a.m. to anxiously go to Vanderbilt for his fifth round of chemo and more importantly have a PET scan to see how effective the chemo had been.

We knew and have known that so many were praying and supporting and hoping and waiting with us. Every time we think about all the love and support and caring that has engulfed us it is just more than humbling.

In review: the type of cancer Bobby has is diffuse large B cell Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and we were told by our doctors that this type of lymphoma has a 65-70 percent cure rate with chemo. We know several with this exact lymphoma that have shared their stories with us and others we've heard about that have been cured with chemo and then we know others who have eventually had to have a stem cell transplant.

Throughout this journey I have and continue to learn to live one day at a time. I know I sound like a broken record or your half minded crazy neighbor who keeps repeating themselves, but truly it has been the difference in me living with peace and not peace.

The focus of my trust in Christ and living as He says in His word one day at a time is the key for me in this journey.

So, when we knew that the SCAN DAY was coming up we discussed how we felt about it and what we thought the results might be, but I must say, we both just pretty much just trusted God and set our minds to be okay either way, "whatever we got."

When we got the good news that the preliminary reading of the scan showed NO CANCER it was couched with a disclaimer that the scan would be read more carefully and there could be a one in a million chance that they would find something on further reading, but that the chances of that happening were next to impossible.

We were happy and thankful and Bobby's brother, sister-in-law, and sisters who had come up to support us were thrilled.

I was excited to text and call friends and tell them the fabulous news always with that disclaimer that this is what the scan is showing now and that more scans are in our future. There will be another scan three weeks after his last chemo and then scans every three or four months for the first year and less as the years pass.

So, you see, why one day at a time is the motto of my life NOW and should have been all along.

"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get." Unless you do like my mama always does and poke all the centers or take a bite and put it back (sorry mama for ratting you out) I'm laughing.

As someone well said, "I know NOT what the future holds, but I know WHO holds the future."

Thankful and held.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Little Things

This weekend a friend, Beverly and I went to Lenoir City, TN to a prayer conference. While there one of those things happened that happens to all of us in life. I call them the "little things", but after this weekend I realized I need to rethink that term.

Okay, let me try to explain myself or as Ricky Richardo (Lucy's husband) used to say "splain" myself.

I've kind of mentioned this before in previous blogs, but it's just so neat how we are all alike, but different and we all live in different bodies and have different life experiences, but similar.

This "little things' thing is one of the similar things that I believe we all experience at one time or another.

You might be saying, "what are you talking about?" "Little things?"

Well, let me "splain" (rhymes with Spain).
You are coming out of a store and your arms are loaded down when someone races ahead to open the door and hold it open for you
or you see a precious baby in a restaurant of a complete stranger and you catch the parent's eye and tell them that their baby is beautiful
or you're leaving a CROWDED TN or AL or (insert your team here) ballgame and traffic is insane, bumper to bumper and a car stops and motions you out ahead of them
or you're walking down the middle of the mall and you trip on NOTHING (don't look at me like that, you know you've done it, too) and some bored guy sitting on a bench waiting for his wife catches your eye and you both laugh
or you tell someone that that color really looks good on them.

Those are what I've been calling the "little things" Not so sure that I would call them "little things" anymore.

Okay, back to this weekend in Lenoir City. I was in this session at the conference with a small group of about 10 or so and there was just this very brief mention of what Bobby and I are going through. I mean very brief. Just a quick mention that "my husband has lymphoma and God has been so close and given us such peace." That was it. Just super quick and we moved on. I knew no one in the roon at all. I was even at the front of the room facing forward with everyone else sitting beside or behind me.

At the end of the session I left the room to meet up with my friend, Beverly when a gentlemen walked up behind me and got my attention and asked, "what's your husband's name?" I told him that his name was Bobby. He went on to tell me that he was part of the prayer ministry at that church in Lenoir City and that he wanted to pray for him and wanted to add him to their prayer list. Wow! how humbling and unexpected.

It may seem like a "little thing" on the surface, but a closer look reveals something completely different.

Here was a man who obviously has a tender heart toward God. He was vulnerable enough to approach someone he didn't know so that he could show kindness and concern to someone he doesn't know and to her husband he's never seen.

Calling that a "little thing" just seems wrong.

There have been soooooo many "little things" done for Bobby and me in the last four months that are not "little things" at all. I have written about several of them in past blogs.

Each of these kindnesses and acts of love and concern has been embraced and cherished and appreciated and used to bless us and humble us.

I don't know what the new terminology should be for "little things", but I know I want to become one who does more of those things in others lives. May it be so.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wrong Entry???

Today was Round Four. For those new to this blog, my husband, Bobby has Large B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and today was his fourth chemo.
Two left.
As he says, "the snowball has been pushed up the hill and is now going down the other side."
Not a bad analogy especially with all the snow we have been getting here in TN lately. :)

Last night I decided to get my journal out and write down some of the scriptures that have been the most comforting and sustaining and helpful during this four month journey. (Now don't picture one of those fancy, neatly written journals that have daily or even weekly entries. My journal is soooo sporadic. I may write a few days in a row and then not have an entry for a month or two or even a year)
I wanted to have all of the scriptures written together in one place so that I could go to them at anytime easily and quickly. Some of these passages were sent to us by family or friends on e-mail or card or facebook and some were scriptures that I found while studying or reading on my own. Nevertheless, God has used His word to speak peace and comfort to me, to us.

Here are two I wrote in my journal last night.

Isaiah 41:10 "Do not fear for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

Isaiah 41:13 " For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand who says to you Do not fear, I will help you.

Bobby and I got up fairly early this morning in order to leave the house by 5:50. Bobby's mom was going with us this morning and so we wanted to go a few minutes early to swing by and pick her up, but before we left we prayed and read from our devotional book.

We read from our devotional book that has been so comforting and helpful during our journey. It was first loaned to me by my friend Tracy and then I finally ordered a copy for us. I've mentioned and quoted from this same book in an earlier blog. The book is entitled Jesus Calling and is by Sarah Young.

Early this morning as I opened our Jesus Calling devotional book and read today's entry it said,
" I AM WITH YOU. These four words are like a safety net, protecting you from falling into despair. Because you are human, you will always have ups and downs in your life experience. But the promise of My presence limits how far down you can go. Sometimes you may feel as if you are in a free fall, when people or things you had counted on let you down. Yet as soon as you remember that I am with you, your perspective changes radically. Instead of bemoaning your circumstances, you can look to Me for help. You recall that not only am I with you, I am holding you by your right hand."

One of the main truths, if not the main truth that has been such a comfort to me and given me the greatest peace is the truth that God is with me, with us. We are not alone. There it was in black and white again this morning. It was even in all capital letters. "I AM WITH YOU."
Once again, we were comforted. And then to continue reading and there it was, " I am holding you by your right hand or with My righteous right hand." The same phrase that was used in the scriptures I had written in my journal last night. God is so good.

As Paul Harvey would say, "Now for the rest of the story."

Just about 2 minutes ago. Seriously, as I was about to type the above paragraph I discovered something. This morning I opened our devotional book to the place our ribbon book mark was and I read the date at the top out loud to Bobby and myself that said, "February 18th."

Just as I was typing the above paragraph I realized today is NOT the 18th, it is the 17th. I just discovered like two minutes ago that I read the wrong entry. If I had read the right entry for today I would have read the 17th.

The entry for the 17th, today started out, " I am the risen One who shines upon you always. You worship a living Deity, not some idolatrous, man-made image. Your relationship with Me is meant to be vibrant and challenging."

Nothing wrong with that entry, but not quite what we needed this morning.

Oh, my goodness!!!!!

I read the wrong entry today. Today's entry was Feb. 17th, not the 18th. I should have read the other entry.

I read the WRONG ENTRY, I read the wrong entry, I read the WRONG entry OR DID I?

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I've been to lots of parties in my lifetime and I am sure that you have as well. I mean we all have those photos in our baby books or parents' photo albums (I was born before the scrap booking revolution) of us at our first birthday party with our cake in front of us and being given permission to destroy our lovely cake with our hands and smear it all over our face and everything else while others smiled and giggled with delight. Wonder what would happen if I tried that on my 49th birthday??

Parties are something we all have experienced over the years. Whether it be birthday parties for little ones, or birthday parties for older ones, or that infamous 4oth birthday bash where everything turns black, or the 5oth where everything turns blacker and everyone is laughing a little too hard at your "gag gifts." We've all been to the party with the black T-shirt with neon lettering that reads "OLDER THAN DIRT." My mama and daddy had that one for some reason and it is now hanging in my closet for future use.

Speaking of parties who hasn't been to the occasional retirement party or going away party(we've hosted two of those in our home in the last couple of years and I must say I am not a fan of those) I mean who wants to party when their friends are leaving and taking their kids with them. "You all know who you are." :)

Last night, Friday, Bobby and I went out to eat with his sister and mother and we had a great time.
Later that evening I kind of had my own party. You know the kind I am talking about. The kind of party where there is only one guest invited, one invitation sent, one person present and that person is you. There are no colorful and creative decorations. There are no yummy snacks. There are no people mingling around amongst one another. There are no games being played and no loud laughter.

I could never write mystery. I am sure you have figured it out by now.

This is A PITY PARTY. Yes, if you are old enough to read this I am sure you have been to at least one or two in your lifetime.

This is not the kind of party that you look forward to and buy a new outfit for.

This is not one of those parties where the guests leave soon after arriving before the party has a chance to really get going. This is the kind of party that has the potential to be an all nighter.

This journey that we are on is one that you don't wake up from. It is there when you go to bed and it is there when you wake up. MOST of the time I fix my eyes on Jesus and see the big picture and focus on God and see the positive and take negative thoughts captive and rein in the negative, but then there was Friday night.

Thank God my PITY PARTY was not an all nighter, but it lasted long enough that I sure know I don't want another invitation anytime soon.

After being a really bad guest at my own party all alone in my back room for a short while, I invited Someone else to the party. I invited God. I began to kind of whine to Him about all the stuff about this journey that I just did not like. I began to be honest with Him and just tell Him how I felt.
Thankfully, thoughts began to come in my mind about Jesus and how when He was on planet earth He went through lots.
All through this journey that has been one of things that has come to my mind most often. It is the suffering Servant, the Jesus who came here, went through life here, went through pain here, people talking about Him, often right to His face. If not to His face, then behind His back.

Jesus went through. He went through. Yes, Jesus went through. NOT AROUND.

What a comfort.

It looks like right now that Bobby and I are going to have to go through, not around. I am thankful that I have a God that is with me, that is with us. His Spirit comforts me, comforts us. He understands me, He understands us.

Next time I get an invitation to a PITY PARTY, I pray my RSVP says, "NOT AVAILABLE."