Friday, May 4, 2012

A Bumper Crop of Lemons

Once again I have gone months without posting anything. I suppose it is because I hate to be so negative in my posts, but sometimes life gives you a bumper crop of lemons, and you spend most of your time trying to sort through it all. That is not really complaining, it is simply fact.

We are still dealing with my mother's breast cancer and my father's throat cancer. My mother's oncologist was arrested this week for conspiracy to commit murder and capital murder, so needless to say that has only added to the ongoing chaos in her life. Dr. Smith has been treating her for close to 2 years, and now she has to find a new oncologist in the middle of her treatment. It may not seem like a big deal to those of us who are healthy, but when you find a doctor who is on the same page as you when it comes to treatment options and medications, it is kind of a big deal.

This week my dad had a biopsy on his ribs to see if the cancer has spread there. He will soon undergo surgery to remove the lymph nodes on the side of his neck where the throat cancer was radiated, since it is still cancerous after chemo and radiation treatment. They may also have to remove them from the other side if doctors can agree that the cancer has spread to them as well. My dad has been "eating" from a feeding tube in his stomach since January, is unable to swallow, and can have no liquid without it going straight to his lungs. I guess I never thought a whole lot about throat cancer before, since you never really hear much about it. What I have learned is that it has immense life altering effects for the individual and caretakers. Boy have my eyes been opened!

I keep trying to get back in the groove, but it doesn't seem to be happening. I know we all deal with life's stressors in different ways, and I am figuring out that I am tempted to simply withdraw from most everything I enjoy. I finally forced myself to go to the gym last week, and that was a HUGE effort. I have to think that is a trick of the deceiver. To isolate those who could really benefit from the company of friends.

In the midst all of the chaos I am thankful that even on those days when I feel overwhelmed with it all, I can see the many blessings that surround me each and every day. I know that is my God carrying me through it all. He holds my hands and reminds me that He is in control. So when I am tempted to worry and ask why, I simply take the lemons and make a pitcher of lemonade.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Life with cancer

Sometimes life can get in the way of living. I did not realize how long I had been out of commission, and IN what can only be described as a tremendous funk. I blame it on cancer. I blame most everything on cancer these days. My tiredness. My sadness. My apathy for my own health.

Cancer is evil, and cancer is all- consuming. It not only consumes the body of its victim, but also consumes the lives and thoughts and emotions their loved ones. Cancer is vicious in its attack. It does not hold back. It does not care who you are.

In the case of my mother, the cancer is winning the fight. Her treatments are not working. Not only are they not successful, but the cancer is getting stronger each and every week. There comes a point when you have to ask is the suffering and sickness from the chemotherapy worth it? When it becomes clear that your last resort is failing, at what point do you give up the fight? Or do you?

It is questions such as these that fill my mind. That keep me from peaceful sleep. It is not so much worry as it is just thoughts. Continual thoughts. Thoughts that cause me to wonder why at this point in life is my mother losing her battle with cancer, as my father is just beginning his? 

I wonder how many children have two parents with cancer the same time. I am sure it is many. I wonder what this means for my future health. I simply wonder. I wonder how to deal with it all. I wonder what the purpose is in the suffering cancer creates.

Cancer is evil. It strangles. It consumes. It sucks the very life from once healthy beautiful people. It causes chaos. It is overwhelming.

Until...I remember that everything happens according to God's plan and for His purpose. It is when I step back and remember this, that I can function in a semi-normal state again.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We will not have to say a word to convince them....

I have noticed that lately there are many, many friends posting their status as "re-post" if you are a Christian or "re-post" if you love God....with the last part of the messsage saying you are being tested, and that if you do not re-post you are denying Christ. The actual scripture from Matthew 10 reads, “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."

The problem I have is that in not re-posting this, I am in no way denying my Savior, and re-posting or not re-posting in no way reflects my relationship with Christ.

I believe firmly that our relationship with Christ will be evident in the way we treat others. They will know we are Christians by our love for one another, not by my facebook status. I can SAY I am a Christian until the cows come home, but if my life shows no evidence of Christ living through me, then I am nothing more than a fake.

 The real test of my Christianity is not in the decision to re-post a facebook status. The real test comes daily, (Sadly, I fail many, many times, but the good news is that I now recognize these failures almost instantaneously, so hopefully the failures will cease to occur.) and it looks a little more like this: Did I see someone in need and help them - even if I did not feel like it? Did I see someone broken down on the side of the road and stop to see if they needed help - even if I was in a hurry? Did I show kindness to the very grouchy customer when I wanted to shoot back with a little sarcasm? Did I give my last dollar to the man on the street, or the lady in line ahead of me who was short of cash and would have to put an item she needed back on the shelf? THOSE are what my daily tests look like. 

When Christianity is real, it becomes clear very quickly that it is NOT about me. It is about the other person. The person with whom I am face to face in the moment. What is THEIR current need, and how am I able to help? EVEN IF, or better yet, ESPECIALLY IF it "puts me out."

The list of the daily tests of our Christianity are ENDLESS. Scripture is pretty clear though, that as Christians we are to be active. We are to show love. We are to DO. We are to help. We are to BE love. "But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?" James 2:20.

In Matthew chapter 7, we are told that "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits." Our actions of love and kindness to others are our fruits. They demonstrate our love for Christ. His cup runneth over, as should ours. If we want others to know we are Christians, they will see us in action. They will see our love for others in all we do.It will not matter what our facebook status says.....

They will know we are Christians by our love, and we will not have to utter a single a word to convince them.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

There is no peace or faith in the worry of what might happen tomorrow.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

I have to admit I have been "off my game" lately. Not that I actually have a game of any sort, but that seems like the best way to describe life at the present moment. I tend to be a worrier. I want to fix things, and I want to control them.

I think about the plans we all make for ourselves each day, assuming that they will go as planned. Seldom do we stop and give pause to the myriad of circumstances that can often stop us dead in our tracks and the so-called "why" of it all. I think what defines those times of our lives is our response.

Most people who know me at all, know that Paul and I fully intended to have made a return trip to Haiti by now. We were captivated by Haiti, and our plan was to return as quickly as possible. As soon as we were home, we were planning our return trip...

Life, however, had other plans for us. We returned to find that my mother has Stage 4 cancer, and it has had a field day with her body. Needless to say, we are staying put until we know more about what is going to happen with her. I pray for God's healing for her body and her spirit, and I know that He can heal her if He so chooses. While I do believe, I still sometimes feel as if I have been punched in the gut. And as my mother's only child, I have felt so many things...Frustrated. Depressed. Angry. Overwhelmed. Stressed. Helpless. I think that helpless is the worst, and that comes from my inability to control or to fix the problem.

In the midst my roller coaster of emotions, I have, however, clung to the belief that there is indeed a reason for all that happens in this life. There is a reason that God tells us to take life one day at a time, and not to worry about what will happen tomorrow. Each day does indeed have enough trouble of its own. We have this day to live. We have this day to love. Worrying about what could happen tomorrow is a waste of the gift of today, and is actually evidence of a faith problem.

There is no peace or faith in the worry of what might happen tomorrow. Our only option is to trust that our God knows what He is doing. So while we may not see the ultimate plan while we are in the midst of our pain, we have to take comfort in the knowledge that He has us in the palm of His hand. He always has us. I think the only way to survive the stress of the unknown, is to let go of the reins, and let God.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Flying on Faith - Haiti Trip Two

Hi friends! Paul is getting ready to fly down to Haiti on Friday for an emergency trip to Aquin to help relocate 24 orphans who must be moved to safe shelter ASAP. They are currently living in a house that was flooded during Tomas and had police chasing criminals through it during the recent election violence.

We need your immediate help - as this orphanage needs a generator, proper lighting, wiring, clean water supply, nutritious food for the children, etc. Cholera has now found its way to Aquin, so it is imperative that they be moved to safety.

Please pray and ask what He would have you give - $10, $20, $50, $100. Whatever the Lord lays on your heart to give to this mission is greatly appreciated and needed. We cannot finance this trip without your help, so please consider your role in making this trip a success.

You can make a secure online donation by clicking "DONATE" now. Time is of the essence for this trip, as these children who lost their parents and/or siblings in the 2010 earthquake must be relocated to safe shelter.

Thank you all and God Bless.
Melody and Paul

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Help Us Help the Children

It is so amazing to see God's hand at work, and the possibilities excite me greatly. Everyone who has heard anything at all about our November trip to Haiti knows that we came back with a burning desire to go back and help as many as we can.

Since our return, even more people have been placed in our path. People who love the children who are now orphans because of the Jan. 2010 earthquake. People who are willing to sacrifice and do whatever they can to be sure the children are taken care of. To hear the stories is amazing and heartbreaking at the same time.

We have been put in an amazing position to help at yet another orphanage whose needs are great. These 24 children (most from Cite Soleil, slum in Port au Prince) lost their parents in the earthquake - many witnessed their parents and/or siblings perish before their eyes. Right now they live a building that was recently flooded. The children were knee deep in water. At the current time, they are able to have two meals per day which consists of rice and beans and noodles. There is no fruit. No meat. No vegetables.

Imagine, if you will, day after day of rice, beans, and noodles. Look past the obvious that it is bland and dull. Look to the nutrition that is lacking in these precious children's bodies. Ask yourself how you can help. WILL you help? A summary of our current projects is at the bottom of this page.

Paul and I plan to get on the ground as soon as possible to help these children, as well as the beautful children at Children of Hope Orphanage and Hospice in Thomazeau, who captured our hearts in November. We pray that we are able to get back in January - and we need your help in order to do so.

There is so much to be done in Haiti, and these children are beautiful and full of love. They need to know they are loved, and they need to be fed physically as well as spiritually. We need to get healthy food in the bodies of these children.

Please help us help these children. All funds go directly towards meeting the nutritional and medical needs at the orphanages - NOT into some void where you wonder where your money went.

If you have to give up your daily coffee drink for a month, or eating out with the family once per week, please consider doing so. Your generosity will make a huge difference in the life of an innocent child.

Please click the "DONATE" button on this blog to make a donation, and please share this blog with your friends who could also help this mission be a success.


Thomazeau Water Mission - restore public water supply to approx. 20,000 residents, including the Children of Hope Orphanage and Hospice.

IV4Haiti - purchase and transport IV fluids to cholera victims in Haiti.

HaitianHelpingHaitian - provide healthy meals, hygeine and medical needs, and staff  for 24 orphaned children in Aquin, Haiti.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meeting Calvin - coincidence or divine appointment?

I have always said that nothing happens by chance, and this morning was yet another example of our God at work. We were sceduled to be in Jackson for the Northridge Church Christmas service at 11:00. We planned to leave earlier than we did, but as usual, we were running behind...

On the way to Jackson on our nice country road, in the distance we saw a broken down truck and what appeared to be someone on crutches limping along towards Stronghope. We see 4 or 5 cars pass by, and as we get closer we see that it is indeed an older black gentleman hobbling along on crutches, trying to carry a gallon jug as he grips his crutches...

As we pull up to him, Paul says, "Honey, we are going to be late to church this morning." It turns out that the gentleman's name is Calvin, and he has indeed run out of gas on his way to church. He was heading a couple miles up the road to Stronghope store to get gas, only they do not open til after church on Sunday...So we load Calvin and his crutches in the backseat and proceed to drive to Hazlehurst to get him some gas....Funny thing is that we too were hoping to not run out of gas on our way to church, had said just that very thing, and here we come upon a man who has done just that...Coincidence? I think not!

We learned that Calvin had just gotten out of the hospital Monday, after having been there roughly a month. He started out getting an abcess taken care of, and when they went to cauterize it, they found cancer in his leg! What a blessing for him that it was discovered. The bigger blessing it seems is that Calvin had been really missing church while in the hospital, and was really desiring to go and give back to God after God had been so good to him through all this process. He NEEDED to be in church this morning, and thought he had enough gas to get him to Hazlehurst so he could get to worship. When he ran out, he thought Satan had won in keeping him away. Add to this that he had left his cell phone in his pocket  last night, and his wife had washed it, so he had no way to call for help.

Calvin kept expressing what a blessing it was that we stopped, meanwhile we are thinking what a blessing it was for us to meet Calvin and hear his life story of growing up in the projects of New Orleans, one of 10 children that his mother raised on her own while juggling several jobs. What a testimony of hope and faith and grace he shared with us this morning. We talked about God's goodness and faithfulness in the midst of our trials, of how we must be still and know that He is God, and how much smoother our lives would be if we actually LET God be in control of our lives, rather than trying to control them ourselves.

Yes, we were 30 minutes late for a very awesome worship service, but oh the blessing we received seeing the hand of God in motion by simply allowing Calvin to run out of gas on the backroads. Had we been on time getting out of the house this morning, we never would have met Calvin, and I dare say that our day would not have been the same.

Calvin said it best when he said, "Little did I know that I was going to have church before I even went to church!" Amen Calvin! :-)