Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I think, overall, I've remained pretty calm and level-headed throughout this whole process, but today, I've had just about all I can take.

Yesterday afternoon we learned while trying to obtain the pre-certification for my surgery that because a lumpectomy (or should I say a triple lumpectomy) IS an option, that our insurance company now feels the need to send us through the process of having to obtain a pre-determination of benefits.  Meaning, that my oncologist now has to send all his dictations, my medical history, and my family medical history detailing why he feels like the bi-lateral mastectomy is the best option for me.  The kicker....even though the oncology department is faxing our insurance all of this today, it can take up to 10 business days for our insurance company to approve.  My surgery is scheduled a week from Thursday (or 7 business days).  If the pre-determination and certification for surgery is not processed before surgery we have 2 options.  Proceed with surgery and pay for all of the expenses out of pocket, or push the surgery date back.

AND the insurance company can come back and say they feel the lumpectomies are sufficient, and that's all they will pay for.

Our insurance company has ALWAYS paid things in the past.  I can't complain there.  We were lucky at what all they paid and authorized PPO waivers for, while Breanna was at Riley's.  And the same thing when Kinsey had her oral surgery last week.  They approved a PPO waiver for the doctor I wanted to take her to, because there wasn't another one within 30 miles of us, and will be paying for that at our 'in-network' percentage.

I'm sure once they get all the dictations, medical history, etc, that it will go through, but it's just nerve wrecking to know surgery may have to be pushed back because they have up to 10 days to process it, and that they have the final say if they think I'm 'eligible' for the bi-lateral mastectomy.


I'm so ready to be through all of this, and it's starting to weigh on me that in all actuality the process hasn't even really started.  From the first surgery until reconstruction is complete is going to be somewhere around 6 months, which in the grand scheme of life is not that long, but it sure does seem like it when it's the road in front of you.

But, I'm going to stop complaining now, because I'm sure it's not what you all want to be listening to (or reading). lol.  Time to put on my running shoes, go take some aggression out on the treadmill, and be thankful that we at least have insurance.  Some people don't even have that.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Playlist and a prayer request

I LOVE this verse from Genesis...

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
                                                                                                       Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

A while back ago, I had a 'review' on my blog.  At the time I had a playlist, and this person told me they loved everything about my blog, except the playlist.  And what they said about it was that... listening to my gospel music while trying to read almost turned them away from reading my blog.  I ended up taking it off, thinking maybe it was distracting for people to hear while they were trying to read.  

Lately, I've had a few 'go to' songs that just ease my nerves when I'm having a bad day, and I want them on here so I can listen to them while I write.  So, I added them back at the bottom, but elected to turn off 'auto play', so they won't turn on when my blog is opened.  You have to go to the bottom of my page and manually turn them on if you want to hear them.  I hope you do.  They have such a profound place in my life right now.

I have a prayer request that I'd really appreciate you all taking a minute to pray about with me with.  Jen - my 'ex' sister-in-law, and good friend - husband has had to have several heart caths put in in the past few months.  She found him unconscious outside a few days ago.  He's home now, but between that, working full time, parenting four boys 9 and under, and just enrolling to go back to school to get her Practitioner's License, she needs to feel God with her, giving her strength, courage, and a sense of peace, as she walks through this period of time in her life.  

Hope you all had a good week-end!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Working through it

Some days are harder than others, and I've heard that journaling is good way to work through those emotions.  I'm sure as you follow along with me on here over the next several months of my life you will see the good...the laughter, the joy, and you will see the ugly...the tears and struggle.  Sometimes I have a hard time translating the thoughts in my head to words on a piece of paper...or in this cases, words on my computer screen.

I have days where I literally just turn on praise music and sing at the top of my lungs because that is the only thing that can pull me out of the 'funk' I'm in that day.

I know there are stages of grief, and often times I wonder if the actuality of this has even really hit me yet, or will it happen after surgery?  

Sometimes I want to scream, Is there a purpose for this?  Show me Your plans because I still don't understand what You are using me for.  

I look at the pictures of my smiling children going up our staircase, and I pray there is a cure before they are old enough this disease could affect them.

I heard these two songs this morning, and I love them both.

Seems like the whole town's here,
Friends and ribbons fill the park,
She knows she's not alone, it makes her smile, and it breaks her heart,
Her daughter is holding her hand, a balloon tied on her wrist,
She says, "Mommy, everyone's dressed in pink, look how pretty it is."
And It reminds her, of comin' here,
When she was, just a little girl,
Holding her own mother's hand,
It was an innocent world,

When pink was just a color and ribbons tied back hair,
Every race was just for fun and she ran without a care,
Today is one step closer, to being like back then,
When pink, is just a color again,

Now her daughter's on grandpa's shoulders, waving above the crowd,
She steps up to the starting line, and takes a, long look around,
She sees posters held up high, white candles being lit,
For mothers and daughters, sisters and wives,
That are being missed,
But her mother, is still with her,
As a, picture on her shirt,
And she wipes away, bitter sweet tears,
As she, runs in memory of her,

And of when pink is just a color and
Ribbons tied back hair,
Every race was just for fun and she ran without a care
Today,is one step closer,
To being like back then,
When pink is just a colour again...

When pink is just a color and ribbons tie back hair,
Every race is just for fun, and we run without a care,
Today, is one step closer,
To being like back then,
Every step is one step further,
In this, race we're gunna win,

When pink is just a color again..
When pink is just a color again...

I'm not normally a fan of Melissa Etheridge's music...it's just not my style, but this song is AMAZING!!!

It's been years since they told her about it
The darkness her body possessed
And the scars are still there in the mirror
Everyday that she gets herself dressed
Though the pain is miles and miles behind her
And the fear is now a docile beast
If you ask her why she is still running
She'll tell you it makes her complete

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me, my friend
I run for life

It's a blur since they told me about it
How the darkness had taken its toll
And they cut into my skin and they cut into my body
But they will never get a piece of my soul
And now I'm still learning the lesson
To awake when I hear the call
And if you ask me why I am still running
I'll tell you I run for us all

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for life

And someday if they tell you about it
If the darkness knocks on your door
Remember her remember me
We will be running as we have before
Running for answers
Running for more

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother your sister, your daughter, your wife
For you and me my friend
I run for life

I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for life 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Promise of a Lifetime

First and foremost I wanted to tell you all how much I appreciate all the prayers.  As hard as yesterday's appointment was, I felt a sense of peace during it.  

I know He puts people in your life, at specific times, for a reason.  Yesterday as I sat in the doctors office going over all mine and my family's medical history - when I started talking about Breanna, my nurse had tears streaming down her face.  She told me she just couldn't imagine facing the amount of heartache and grief that I have faced in the past three years, and then she asked me if I had had any type of grief counseling.  I told her I have 'counseling' every day with God.  I don't need an appointment with a therapist when I can talk to Him any time, day or night, that I need to.  He has made me the promise of my lifetime...He truly has my best interest at heart, and he will never leave me.

She just starred at me for a minute, told me how beautiful of a person I am, thanked me for reminding her of that, and told me she hopes He continues to give me the kind of 'peace' I am experiencing right now throughout the next several months as I embark on this journey.

I haven't told many people this, but when all of this came about and I was initially faced with the decision between a lumpectomy or bi-lateral mastectomy I felt a sense of uneasiness about both decisions.  My prayer was that I would feel a sense of peace when I thought about the 'right' decision I was supposed to be making.

I had a dream (I'm not a big 'oh I had this dream and it's a sign' kind of person, but I truly believe this was His way of telling me what to do) that Breanna was a teenager and she was crying about not wanting to go to the public pool because she didn't want these people from school to see her scars.  I held my daughter, and told her "Baby girl, it's ok if the world sees your scars, you fought the battle of your lifetime and you WON!  Be proud of that."  

Now, I don't know if that will end up being a deja vu kind of dream, or if that was just his way of saying Baby girl...you're fighting the battle of your lifetime, don't be afraid to let the world see your scars. But I know as a mother, I can not say those words to her if I can't do the same.  

Yesterday, after going through medical history, and doing an exam (in which a third tumor was found) my oncologist told me with great certainty that if the lumpectomy route was taken, by the age of 35, I would have cancer again. He said, "Lets get you in surgery ASAP, get them off, get you reconstructed, and get you where have one less worry on your plate because you have been through the ringer."

I have no doubt in my mind that my making peace with the mastectomy a week ago was his way of making sure I would have the sense of peace I needed as I went to the oncologist office and learned it was really the ONLY option.  He knew that was going to happen.

I had my complete blood work up, an EKG, and chest x-ray yesterday.  Surgery is tentatively set for September 9.  And I have an appointment with the oncologist to make a final decision regarding chemotherapy for September 17.  This will give them time to get the results from the BRCA 1 and 2 test I had done yesterday, and all the pathology reports from the tumors.  

I will be 16 days post op when the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure takes place in Evansville.  I guarantee I won't be feeling that great, but as long as I am able to function, I will be there, walking along side of my family.  If any of you want to join us, or make a donation let me or Dawn Renee Staley (Couts) know.  You can find her on Facebook and shoot her a message.

Thank you all for your continued love, prayer, and support.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cinnamon Blueberry Cream Cheese Bread

I've made this recipe before.

But never with blueberries, and never with the yummy goodness known as Cream Cheese.

Basically, I've made Cinnamon Swirl Bread before.

Not to knock the amazing-ness of Cinnamon Swirl Bread, but I just always thought adding blueberries would be the icing on the cake.

So, yesterday, I a gave my 'altered' recipe a try.

And THIS is the end result.

HELLO...this is melt-in-your-mouth kind of bread right here.

Now, let me give you some insight into how it was born.

Throw some softened butter in your mixer, add in some milk and give it a good whisk.

Transfer it to a sauce pan, and heat over med-low heat until good and warm.  DO NOT BOIL!!!!

Remove from heat and let it cool to just warmer than lukewarm temperature.

Add in some dry yeast and give it a gentle whisk.  

REMEMBER:  I said gentle!

Let sit for 10 minutes.

While you are waiting, mix together a couple eggs and some sugar.

Using the paddle attachment, mix the butter, milk, and yeast mixture in with `butter and sugar.

Now add in some flour ... just a little at a time.

Once flour is completely incorporated, change your attachment to the 'hook' attachment, and knead dough for 10 minutes.

Place in bowl and coat with canola oil.

Is it just me or does anyone else think Canola Oil smells funny?  

I know, I'm weird about certain scents.

Cover, and sit in a warm place to rise for 2 hours.

Dump dough out onto a floured surface, and roll.  No wider than your bread pan.

Spread on some yummy blueberry cream cheese.  I'm partial to the Azura's.

Put some fresh blueberries on top.

Sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon mix.

Start at the furthest side away from you, and roll, keeping tight.

Pinch the seams.

Smear bread pan VERY GENEROUSLY with butter.

Place bread seam down.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in warm place for 2 hours.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Pop out of bread pan, let cool, and cut

Cinnamon Blueberry Cream Cheese Bread in all it's yummy deliciousness!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bucket List

Becoming a member of the cancer elite has got me thinking a lot about things that I want to do in and with my life.  There are so many things in this life that I still want to accomplish...and being faced with tragedy is one way to make you more aware of the things you would like to do but just don't take or make the time to actually make them happen.

I've started compiling a list, and as I add to it, this will become the first of many list...

I'm well aware some of these things may never actually happen, but a girl can dream, right?!

1. Go on a train ride.
2. Attend a CHD rally in Washington, D.C.
3. Get an article posted in a magazine.
4. Lie on the floor of the Sistine Chapel.
5. Attend the Monarch Butterfly migration in Mexico with my sister.
6. Write a book/cookbook.
7. See Kutless in concert.
8. Visit all 50 states. 
9. Go back to Europe.
10. Attend a black tie event besides a wedding.
11. Get another passport. (Mine expired!)
12. Go on an all-inclusive vacation with just my husband.  
13. Take the kids on a Disney cruise.
14. Learn how to wear red lipstick and actually look good doing it. haha
15. Grow a garden.
16. Be back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
17. Grow my hair out.
18. Remarry my husband, and throw a big bash!
19. See the Northern Lights.
20.  Get a present from Tiffany's in a Tiffany's box.
21. Complete a project 365.
22. Read all of Shakespeare’s plays. And understand them.
23. Get a Bachelor’s degree.
24. Take a vacation with just my mom. 
25. Be 100%, completely debt free. 
26.  Ride a gondola in Venice.
27.  Run a marathon.
28.  Go on a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.
29.  Become a vegetarian (even if it's only for a month..just to see if I could do it.)
30.  Visit the Acropolis in Greece
31.  Watch the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace  VERY COOL!
32.  Become a gourmet chef.
33.  Spend a week meditating in silence.
34.  See Cirque do Soleil
35,  Ride in a hot air balloon.  - even though I am deathly afraid of heights.
36.  Live my life with true meaning
37.  Bury the hatchet with all people I have or have had conflict with.

What are things you all want to accomplish and/or witness in your lifetime?

The Bucket List - John Mayer music video
Uploaded by warnerbrospictures. - Full seasons and entire episodes online.



What is it about that word that just makes me sick to my stomach?

My oncologist office called a little bit ago.

My appointment with Dr Mandal to discuss chemotherapy/radiation and the gene testing was originally scheduled for next Monday, but the nurse said that he wanted it pushed up ASAP, so they moved it to tomorrow morning.  Considering they are moving the appointment up by almost a week because he doesn't think it should wait makes me feel....


I don't even know how to put into words how I'm feeling right now.

Starla will be here in a bit, and I know she'll help ease my nerves, but this whole process is really starting to wear on me.

I could really use extra prayers right now.

31 Ways to Pray for our Children

I saw this on another site, thought it was a great idea (especially for all my craft, scrapbooking friends) and wanted to share. The idea is to make a 'Faithbook'.  A picture for each day of you and your child, your child, or your family, and include the prayer for that day.
There are so many things that we pray about for our kids on a day to day basis but the list below is a great way to direct our prayers more towards their character and lifting them up to become the person we all hope our children will be.
1  Salvation – “Lord, let Salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory,” (Isaiah 45:8, II Timothy 2:10)
2   Growth in Grace - “I pray that they may ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,’” (II Peter 3:18)
3   Love - “Lord, may my children learn to ‘live a life of love, ‘through the Spirit who dwells in them,” (Ephesians 5:2, Galations 5:22)
4   Honesty & Integrity - “May integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection,” (Psalms 25:21)
5   Self Control - “Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be ‘alert & self-controlled’ in all they do,” (I Thessalonians 5:6)
6   A Love for God’s Word - “May my children grow to find your Word ‘more precious than gold and sweeter than honey.’” (Psalms 19:10)
7   Justice - “God, help my children to love justice as you do and to ‘act justly’ in all they do,” (Psalms 11:7, Micah 6:8)
8   Mercy - “May my children always ‘be merciful, as [their] Father is merciful,’” (Luke 6:36)
9   Respect – (for self, others, authority) “Father, grant that my children may ‘show proper respect to everyone,’ as your Word commands,” (I Peter 2:17a)
10  Strong, Biblical Self-Esteem - “Help my children develop a strong self-esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are ‘God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus,’” (Ephesians 2:10)
11   Faithfulness - “‘Let love and faithfulness never leave [my children],’ but bind these twin virtues around their necks and write them on the tablet of their hearts,” (Proverbs 3:3)
12   Courage - “May my children always ‘Be strong and courageous’ in their character and in their actions,” (Deuteronomy 3:16)
13   Purity - “‘Create in [them] a pure heart, O God,’ and let their purity of heart be shown in their actions,” (Psalms 51:10)
14   Kindness - “Lord, may my children ‘always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else,’” (I Thessalonians 5:15)
15   Generosity - “Grand that my children may ‘be generous and willing to share [and so] lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age,’” (I Timothy 6:18-19)
16   Peace, Peaceability - “Father, let my children ‘make every effort to do what leads to peace,’” (Romans 14:19)
17   Joy - “May my children be filled ‘with joy given by the Holy Spirity,’” (I Thessalonians 1:6)
18   Perseverance - “Lord, teach my children perseverance in all they do, and help them especially to ‘run with perseverance the race marked out for them,’” (Hebrews 12:1)
19  Hunility - “God, please cultivate in my children the ability to ‘show true humility toward all,’” (Titus 3:2)
20  Compassion - “Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion,” (Colossians 3:12)
21  Responsibility - “Grant that my children may learn responsibility, ‘for each one should carry his own load,’” (Galations 6:5)
22  Contentment - “Father, teach my children ‘the secret of being content in any and every situation. ….through him who gives [them] strength,’” (Philippians 4:12-13)
23  Faith - “I pray that faith will find root and grow in my children’s hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them,” (Luke 17:5-6, Hebrews 11:1-40)
24  A Servants Heart - “God, please help my children develop a servants heart, that they may serve wholeheartedly, ‘as to the Lord, and not to men,’” (Ephesians 6:7)
25  Hope - “May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the pwoer of the Holy Spirit,” (Romans 15:13)
26  The Willingness & Ability to Work Hard - “Teach my children, Lord, to value work and to work hard at everything they do, ‘as working for the Lord, not for men,’” (Colossians 3:23)
27  A Passion for God - “Lord, please instill in my children a soul that ‘followeth hard after thee,’ a heart that clings passionately to you,” (Psalm 53:8)
28  Self-Discipine - “Father, I pray that my children may develop self-discipline, that they may acquire ‘a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair,’” (Proverbs 1:3)
29  Prayerfulness - “Grant, Lord that my children’s lives may be marked by prayerfulness, that they may lean to ‘pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests,”  (Ephesians 6:18)
30  Gratitude - “Help my children to live lives that are always ‘overflowing with thankfulness,’ ‘always giving thanks to God the Father for everythng, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,’” (Colossians 2:7, Ephesians 5:20)
31  A Heart for Missions - “Lord, please help my children to develop a heart for missions, a desire to see your glory declared among the nations, your marvelous deeds among all peoples,” (Psalms 96:3)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

I'm seriously slacking in the picture department here lately.  Tonight, we were back in the swing of multi-tasking between doing homework while cooking supper. So, that's my excuse.

This is a recipe I acquired from my great grandmother, and she's one of the most fabulous cooks I know.  

Possibly better than my grandma....and the only reason I think that is is because my grandma is her daughter and she taught her to cook.  Of course I like to think, that my sister and I rank right up there with them because they taught us to cook.

Note that this is one of those recipes that I have the ingredient measurements for, but I don't measure anything out when I make it, because I just know after years of making them how they are supposed to look and feel.

1 1/2 c flour
1 stick butter
1/4 c milk
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten

Boil 1-2 lbs chicken (depending on how much chicken you like with your dumplings).  Once thoroughly cooked, removed chicken and add 2 chicken bouillon  cubes.  Let dissolve. Add 1/2 stick butter.  

EVERYTHING taste better with butter.

This makes the perfect broth.

For the dumplings:  mix flour, salt, and butter well.  Add beaten egg and milk to mixture.  Roll on floured board until about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut into thin strips (about 1/2 by 1 inch).  Bring broth to rolling boil.  Drop in one dumpling at a time, stirring often to prevent them from sticking together.  Once all dumplings are added, turn heat down to med-low, cover, and let simmer for 35-40 minutes.  Stirring occasionally to keep dumplings from sticking to bottom of pan.

Shred chicken while waiting.

Turn off heat, add chicken, cover and let stand for 10-15 minutes while broth thickens.

Serve with a side of mashed potatoes, and you'll have a dinner that leaves you reminiscent of times spent with grandma.


Yesterday the sermon at church was about where you are in your walk with the Lord. It really got me thinking, and I'd like to share it with you.

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable:  A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As  he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.  still other seed fell on good soil.  It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.  When he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, lets him hear."  His disciples asked him what this parable meant.  He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to other I speak in parables, so that, "though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand."  This is the meaning of the parable:  The seed is the word of God.  those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.  Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root.  They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.  Then seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature.  But the seed on good soil stands for those with noble and good heart who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
                                                                           Luke 8:4-15

Those that fall along the path are 'hard hearted'.  They refuse to open their hearts to the word of God.

In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

                                                                    Psalms 10:4

Those that fall along the rocky soil are 'impulsive'.  They leave as quickly as they came.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
                                                                                                                                    James 1:12

Those that fall along the thorns are 'comfortable'.  They know the Lord, but are comfortable just sitting in church every Sunday, maybe even volunteering and doing good, but not really doing anything to bring other's closer to Him.

The Lord says:  These people come near me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.
                                                                                                                                 Isaiah 29:13

Those that fall along the good soil have 'growth'.  They hear and retain the Word.

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.

                                                                      Psalms 1:1-3

I thought about this sermon a lot yesterday and how it pertains to my life.  I find myself questioning the 'whys' of the situation a lot.  Why does it seem like 'bad' things keep happening to me...to my family?  I mean, how much grief and suffering can one family endure, before He stops trusting that they can handle more?  Why is it that mothers lose their newborn babies, and others have children who are born with or develop diseases (whether it be cancer, leukemia, heart defects, Down Syndrome, etc)?  But it occurs to me that these 'miracle' children have touched more lives in their sometimes short lives, than most of us ever will in our entire lives.  That, in itself, is a MIRACLE.  I think they are angels in disguise.  I think it's how we respond to our 'trials' while on this earth that truly defines us.  It's so easy to praise Him in good times, but it should be just as easy to praise Him in our times of distress.  

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
                                                                                                                            2 Corinthians 4: 15

In my life, I don't often run around quoting scripture and Bible versus.  I think those close to me know where I stand in my faith, but I think sometimes it takes personal tragedy to open your own eyes to just where you stand.  I think every Christian would like to think they are the 'good soil', but where does your faith really stand when you are put to the test?  Do you still turn to Him, lean on Him, and depend on Him to get you through?  Or do you harden yourself because you aren't getting the 'results' you think He should give you when you go to him in prayer?  Do you feel like it's you against the world- the hardships of life?  

I know, sometimes, I do.  Feel like it's me against the world.

I like to think that, I could wish that, when I looked around the only thing I would have to complain about is my child getting a cold, or having an older car or small house and wanting a newer or bigger one, or trying to balance work and family life.  It makes me want to scream when I hear people endlessly complaining about these things.  Open your eyes, and be thankful for all your blessings.  A healthy child, a vehicle that runs, a roof over your head while so many people are sleeping on the streets, a job when so many are facing unemployment, and a family when so many people try, without success, for years just to have a child. I open my eyes and I realize that I'm blessed that He didn't give me a life like that.  He's given the ability to appreciate and be thankful for my life through the 'big' trials.  

I know His grace gives me a sense of stillness. I whole-heartedly know He is here with me, holding my hand along this journey.  And I feel unworthy of all the blessings He has given me in my life.

Kate Convissor said it so perfectly in this devotional.  "You know I'm not very intuitive," my friend Dee said, breaking the silent prayer of the women's Bible study.  "I don't see visions or anything, but just now I saw the Lord standing guard over you.  Behind him were shadowy figures of things like anger and depression.  His arms were outspread, holding them back and protecting you so nothing could harm you."

It was the week after Richard's funeral and I was on shaky, newborn legs.  I was really too raw and unsteady to be out but had always enjoyed the common sense and strength of these women.  I knew Dee's words were true.  I felt that protection.

I had done what was necessary:  contacted a lawyer, begun hundreds of thank-you notes, applied for Social Security.  Now there was just pain and all of life ahead.  Pain, fierce and cleansing in its intensity, still without anger, guilt, or depression - all that would come later.

The grace I felt didn't blunt the pain, didn't even keep the difficulties at bay.  The cars still ran out of oil, fuses still blew, the grass needed mowing and our machine was too cantankerous for the job.  These daily irritations were drips in an overflowing cup.

Grace was a sense of presence, of stillness, that was always there just below the surface.  Perhaps grace had always been there, but my life had been too hurried, my mind too cluttered, to notice it.  Perhaps a feeling of unworthiness had blocked the presence of God.  All that fell away now.  God was my Father, giving me each day the ticket for the journey, and I clung to that grace like a child.