Saturday, July 27, 2013

What Would You Do...?

My friend Kelli posted a question on her Facebook a few weeks ago. She asked, "What would you do if you knew you only had a few months to live?" When that question used to cross my mind, Tim McGraw's song would start like a recording in my head.  "I'd go skydiving. I'd go Rocky Mountain climbing. I'd go 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.." (Feel free to sing along, folks.) The lyrics would make think of all the BIG things I would want to do if  I didn't  have much time. Having brushed a little closer with the reality of limited time than I would have chosen, I have discovered an unexpected truth. It isn't the exotic trips or adrenalin-filled adventures that line my to-do list. It is paying more attention to the normal things. Turns out the LITTLE things are the BIG things! Who knew?!?

Tim croons that we should live like we were dying. Pretty good advice actually. What would I do if I only had a few days, months, years, to live?
Praise God--all day, every day.
See more sunsets (Sunrises are just so stinking early! I have a friend who posts a picture of a sunrise each day on Facebook. I live vicariously through her! Those extra minutes of sleep bring me happiness!)
Treat my family with the sort of pleasantness I use in public. (Yikes! Sometimes I am nicer in the hall at work than I am in my own home!)
Tell people how I feel about them (if it is nice, of course).
Find good in bad situations.
Chill out about things I can't control.
Do  random acts of kindness more often.
Take lots of pictures with people I love.
Encourage people who are struggling.
Tell my boys how much I love them and how proud they make me every day. (And hug them even if they squirm!)
Treat my husband like I did when we were dating.
Slow down.
Listen to really good music.
Reminisce and tell stories of "the good ole days" (which may have been this morning).
Say thank you for all life's blessings.
Fix what I can fix and let go of the rest.
Play some practical jokes.
Sit on my porch and be quiet.
Ask forgiveness.
Be present.
Live each day with passion.

Not an all inclusive list, but plenty to get me started! How about you? What would you do? I wonder if you will discover that the little stuff is the big stuff.  Whatever is on your list, get after it! No one is promised tomorrow, but if you are reading this, you have today! Better get a move on!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Itsy, Bitsy, Teeny, Weeny, Yellow, Polka dot Bikini....

It was an Itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny, yellow, polka dot bikini, that she wore for the first time today...
Ok, no it really wasn't,  but it WAS the first time I put on a bathing suit since I started my battle with the Nuisance. The scars down the front of my chest and across my back were clearly visible. I stepped in front of the mirror, and was caught a little off guard when I raised my eyes to my reflected face and saw I was smiling.  I suddenly realized that those scars, which at one time symbolized fear and cancer, now  represented power and grace. 
There are so many layers of miracle there. I remember way back to December when I found out I would have to have my chest cracked (still hate that term). I didn't know what type of nuisance I had at that point. Somehow my mind settled on the scar as something it could effectively worry about. I dreaded the rope-like scar that would mark me for life.  Those of you that have read my blog awhile know that God was at work in that fear to show me that he was in the details. He gave me a special Hand-stitched gift to prove it. My scar, because of a gift, looks more like a scratch. (See Hand Stitched with Love for the full story). The scar I feared so much turned out to be a chance for him to give me a gift.
The scar across my back brought me the miracle of being able to say my name is NED (no evidence of disease).  I love that it was the second surgery and that it is on my back. It reminds me this season is behind me and that this battle has been won.
Throughout this fight the song lyrics "I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of angel armies, is always by my side" has been an anthem in my mind. Psalm 139:5 says, "You hem me in behind and before,and you lay your hand upon me." My scars (in front and behind) tell me I am literally hemmed in by a God who will not allow me to experience anything he can't help me handle!
I think this is the first time since about eighth grade that I have smiled at my reflection in a bathing suit. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Each scar reminds me of the victory, not the trial. (Now I have to admit I haven't figured out a spiritual explanation for cellulite, but I am looking for it...) I am amazed how God can change bad for good, fear for confidence, and dread for hope. The God who changed water into wine is still in the business of changing things. Don't believe it? Let's go layout by the pool and I will tell you all about it! Suit up!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Recently my son had the opportunity to help create a large mosaic honoring our hometown as part of a class art project. (Awesome activity, Mrs Mosely). The piece is proudly displayed on the wall of our county library. A few evenings ago my parents, husband and I went to examine the masterpiece. It is created with images that reflect the history of our community. Beautiful.

My husband was getting an up close look at the handiwork. As he stood only a foot away, he struggled to make out one of the images. He questioned what it might be, to which my mother responded, "Step back a little and take another look." He did so. As he did, the familiar object began to take shape. My chemistry teacher of a husband, could now clearly recognize the beaker on display. (Actually, it is an Erlenmeyer flask, but you get the idea.)

I thought how relevant that experience is to life. So often from our close up perspective, we are unable to make sense of what we see in our lives.  We struggle to understand situations. We wrestle to make sense of problems. We search for solutions to trials we cannot comprehend.  It is only when we are able to step back, that we can clearly see the full picture and gain some insight. Sometimes stepping back takes time. Sometimes it requires distancing ourselves. Sometimes it takes someone saying, "Step back a little and take another look."

I don't know how many times in my life I have had to step back from an issue to really understand it. Stepping back isn't always easy. Sometimes it means giving up our illusion of control. That can be tough, but it is necessary. This all makes me think of a verse in 1 Corinthians 13:12,  "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." Some of life's mosaics may not become clear this side of heaven. From our perspectives we may only catch glimpses of the bigger picture. It may not be clear how our circumstances are interwoven to create a beautiful design, but they are.

When you find yourself staring at your life and not comprehending what you see, think of the mosaic. Take a step back and look from a different perspective. Sometimes that is all it takes to get some clarity.  When it doesn't become clear, don't give up hope. Each event in your life is like a tile in a mosaic, going together to create a beautiful design. Some tiles have to be cracked and broken to create the image. It may not make sense from up close, and it may hurt a little (or a lot), but someday when you step back, you will get the picture!