Monday, August 31, 2009

- Attitude Is Everything! (Lord's Prayer/2-Yr Old)

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. "Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today".

So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "Hmm, " she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today."

So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "Today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail."

So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. "Yay!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude is everything. God bless you and have a fun, fun day!
Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

- Impression Without Expression = Depression

Colossians 3:1-4
"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."

Matthew 10:28
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."


Throughout this whole experience with cancer, I am so mindful of the eternal versus the temporal. . . the spirit versus the physical. Our bodies are so temporal - they are here to house our spirits, but the spirit is the eternal part of us that must be fed, must be attended to, just as we feed and tend to our bodies.

"Impression without expression leads to depression." That's a quote from a very wise British pastor I knew, now with the Lord, and it's been a life theme for me throughout the years. This quote basically says that if you are feeling impressed to do something, but you don't express it, it will lead to depression.

Of course, many of us know what it's like to be bound by fear, insecurities, self-doubt, and the like. You may have a dream of what you'd like to do with your life, or an idea of something you'd just love to do, know the story!

The dialogue in your head goes something like this:
- "Oh, those are just my ideas - that's not really God's Will...."
- "Even if I went ahead with my idea, it probably wouldn't work...."
- "What would people think if I tried that? It's a stupid idea, anyways...."

I have spent a large portion of my life mired in depression, gloom and frustration, wondering how to use my gifts....wondering why I couldn't find an avenue for them....despairing that I felt imprisoned and was blocked from truly being myself.....envying those who seemed to be doing things for God and looked confident and self-assured.....

But, ooh, look what I read this morning! This Psalm is speaking of Joseph, who was imprisoned on false charges for many years:

"...Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph's character. Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free; the ruler of the nation opened his prison door. Joseph was put in charge of all the king's household; he became ruler over all the king's possessions. He could instruct the king's aides as he pleased and teach the king's advisers." Psalm 105:19-22

Yes, Joseph's time came, and he was finally (1) freed from prison and (2) freed up to use his gifts of administration and freed to teach those in key positions of authority - what an honor! What a responsibility! From prison to palace! From pauper to prince! From grave clothes to government! From dungeon to deluxe! And all in a few minutes, at the king's command.

That's all it takes - a word from our King, and our lives can change in an instant. But usually, what precedes that is year after year of testings, trials and tears, of character building and catastrophes, of wandering in seeming wildernesses, wondering where on earth God has disappeared to.

Sound familiar to any of you?

Now, you need discernment, here: you may have dreams or ideas you want to express, but it's not God's timing yet - you're still being formed, shaped, tested as Joseph was. Keep believing! The time will come!

Or, you have those dreams in your heart, but you're sensing frustration because perhaps you haven't taken the faith steps necessary to launch you out into your place of expression. Seek God - and maybe Godly counsel - to get a sense of which one it is.

I'll close with this Psalm:

Psalm 112

1 "Praise the LORD.
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who finds great delight in his commands.

2 His children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.

3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.

4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.

5 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely,
who conducts his affairs with justice.

6 Surely he will never be shaken;
a righteous man will be remembered forever.

7 He will have no fear of bad news; (not even breast cancer!)
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.

9 He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor,
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn will be lifted high in honor.

10 The wicked man will see and be vexed,
he will gnash his teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing."

Hang in there, weary pilgrim! Hold on, you who are despairing. Keep pressing into Jesus, you who have lost all hope and whose dreams seem perpetually on hold....deliverance day is coming, and you will see the salvation of God!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

- D Day

D Day: does that stand for Diagnosis Day? Doctor Day? Whatever . . . faithful friend Tammy came with me to the hospital this morning to provide chauffeuring, moral support and note taking (in case I was too numb to hear things clearly). Actually, Dr. Sigman is a very neat doctor and we were able to discuss things very calmly and matter-of-a-factly. He was not in a rush, he was patient, and he answered all my questions.

Although the cancer seems to be contained in the one area where the lump is, on the right breast, I've opted for the double mastectomy. I brought up this option; he didn't. . . I think he assumed that women never want to discuss the radical approach when it comes to cancer removal, but in my case, with 9 cancers in my family, I think radical is the only way to go, and Dr. Sigman agreed.

I am very fortunate in that I won't have to wait long, so praise the Lord for that! My pre-admission tests are next Tuesday, September 1, and the major surgery is Tuesday, September 15th.

During the surgery, they'll also remove lymph nodes from under my right arm, which will be biopsied during the surgery. If those are cancerous, they will remove as many nodes as they have to. After the surgery, I'll be informed about details of the cancer, severity, etc.

Patients are sent home the day following the mastectomy, and apparently recuperation does not take all that long.

After a break, they recommend chemo. My understanding is that the strength / intensity / duration of the chemo will depend on the findings of the type of cancer, whether it's spread, etc. But I don't think I'll be going to Hawaii anytime soon . . . he said the chemo generally takes a year (hmm....maybe I could do chemo on a beach in Kona or Wakiki?) ;)

Gotta go have a nap! I was up too early for this appointment and I'm gonna crash!

God bless you for your care, concern, calls & emails. Now if you would only send money . . .

I'm KIDDING!!! :-)

- Nothing Can Separate Us (I Belong)

Today, Thursday, August 27, 2009, at 7:30 am, I'll be meeting with my doctor at the Jewish General Hospital to discuss the treatment of my breast cancer.

The New Testament contains a verse which says: "Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

And so because of this, I can walk into that hospital experiencing the complete and utterly joyous peace that comes from knowing Him. Hallelujah!

Listen to this song with me?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

- Cultural Attitudes About Life and Death

So of course, with everything that's going on, I've been pondering this whole subject of life. And I've been thinking: our North American, Western culture has a very interesting relationship with life and death.

On the one hand, we see all the ways people respond to someone who is dying or near death. This reaction is usually akin to some form of panic. Medical reality shows or miniseries like Gray's Anatomy or ER or House show the inner workings of a hospital. Staff working feverishly and intently on a person who comes into emergency in a near-death state.

Turmoil ensues as all kinds of orders are shouted out, medical professionals trip over each other in heroic efforts to keep the person alive; CPR is performed, paddles are brought out as the patient's chest is jolted again and again, as all the while, desperate family members cry and wring their hands in the background, hoping their loved one does not die.

And simultaneously, on just about every channel, every station, every network, every night, are the shows like CSI, CSI NY, CSI Miami, Law and Order, etc. etc. etc., showing the multitudes of ways a person can be murdered.

So to see the values of a nation, we can watch evening television programs . . . we can observe what exactly it is that normal, everyday people use to entertain themselves. Interesting.

One of the reasons I think I am so calm in the midst of all this uncertainty . . . cancer diagnosis . . . upcoming doctor's appointment . . . apartment rented & now unexpectedly having to move into a friend's place . . . dreams on hold . . . is that I honestly don't think physical death is the worst thing that can happen to a person.

I mean, it's not like I've been told I'm dying or anything, but it just makes me wonder what it is specifically that makes people absolutely panicked when they're given a cancer diagnosis.

I think it's partly tied into our cultural preoccupation with life and death . . . a cultural obsession to improve and prolong life, and an underlying fear and dread of the process of dying.

But I think the worst possible thing that can happen to any one of us is that we end up living a mediocre life. A life devoid of passion, or color, or excitement, or commitment to a dream. A boring existence.

So many people die before they ever stop breathing. Isn't that true?

Year after endless year where we live in quiet desperation, wondering why on earth we are here. Created to be passionate about something, but existing as if we have nothing to inspire us. Not to be overly dramatic, but that is truly my worst nightmare.

My physical health, while important, does not factor greatly in my daily thoughts. I'm much more concerned about my spiritual health, and about how I am going to spend my energies for things eternal.

I have always felt that if I could live to 50 without any major illnesses, I would be doing well.

And in the past few years, I have been thinking that every day / week / month / year I can live in health after 50 is a bonus, a privilege, a gift.

10 people from my graduating class of 1976 are no longer here with us. They died from an assortment of illnesses . . . accidents . . . overdoses . . .

There are 9 cases of cancer in my immediate family! 4 for my mother, 3 for my maternal aunt, 1 for my aunt's daughter (she's got terminal cancer), and 1 for my father. 4 of those cancers are cancers of the breast.

For me, health is a gift, not a right! Try telling your body you have a right to be healthy and it had just better be healthy NOW!!! Try that, and see who's boss!

While prayer, positive thinking and good diet may carry you a little ways, our bodies do not consider those elements to be the sole factors of health. In the end, it may just be a little more random than that.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, to discover that I had not lived." Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

And so I think I have my answer. As long as I can live passionately and intentionally and selflessly and wonderfully, I believe I will be walking the way God wants me to walk.

How long is that walk going to be? It's not at all in my control . . . that part is in His hands, and it will be very interesting to see what He has in store, just around the corner from here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

- That I May Live!

Gotta love those Psalms! These verses from Psalm 119 brought me to tears today - they ring so true for me right now!

"Lord, sustain me as You promised, that I may live!
Do not let my hope be crushed.
Sustain me and I will be rescued;
Then I will meditate continually on your decrees."
Psalm 119:116, 117

And this:
"Don't leave me to the mercy of my enemies, for I have done what is just and right." (Psalm 119, verse 121)

"My eyes strain to see your rescue, to see the truth of Your promise fulfilled." (Psalm 119, verse 123)

And then there are the verses that make me a wee bit nervous. "Lord, are You trying to tell me something here?" I mean, it's not like I went looking for these verses - they just popped out at me . . .

"But I will rejoice even if I lose my life . . ." Philippians 2:17

Hmm. I prefer this one: "I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done." Psalm 118:17

Okay, Lord: make up Your mind, will Ya? Am I staying, or am I going? Which is it?!?!?!?

"I am as good as dead, like a strong man with no strength left." Sheesh! Psalm 88:4

"But I cried to Him, "O my God, who lives forever, don't take my life while I am so young!" Psalm 102:24. You do think I'm still young, right, Lord? I mean, 50 is the new 30, don't You know? It's too early to check out, no?

"He broke my strength in midlife, cutting short my days." Psalm 102:23 Acckkk!!! I just turned 50!! 50 is midlife!!!

And next: "They have set an ambush for me, fierce enemies are out there waiting, Lord, though I have not sinned or offended them." Psalm 59:3

Well, now I don't know WHAT to think!

"The Lord protects them and keeps them alive." Psalm 41:2. Okay, I like that one . . .

"The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health." Good! Psalm 41: 3

"He has some fatal disease," they say. "He will never get out of that bed!" Well, I'm not exactly bedridden. Yet, anyways. (oops - think positive, Wendy!)

"But God is my helper. The Lord keeps me alive!" Psalm 54:4 Yesssss!!! (Er, He can keep me alive . . . but will He?)

"Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart."
(old hymn we used to sing in my hymn-singing days)

Who needs an amusement park? I have a roller coaster happening right here, people!!!

Shall we let St. Paul sum it up?

Philippians 1:18-26:
"Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

"Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me."

Okay, so Paul wanted to go, but he wanted to stay, too. I get that. What's so scary about going to be with Jesus forever? Do we believe it's true or don't we? If we do, why should it be scary?

I mean, it's normal for non-believers to freak out when they get a death sentence, right? Maybe they're afraid of death; of dying. Or maybe they think this is it - the here and now - and they think once you're gone, that's it; it's over.

But why do we Christians flip when we hear of another Christian dying? Why do we mourn and cry at funerals? In my friend Margaret's native land of Nigeria, Christians dress in white and celebrate when one of their own dies . . . they have a party! A believer has been ushered into the Presence of God - how joyous for him or her! And so the believing friends rejoice for the departed one.

Makes you think, huh?

And so I ponder. In the end, I have to say I'd be okay with going. Someone once said, "It's not death I'm afraid of; it's the process of dying." Yeah, but they have morphine and stuff. It probably wouldn't be that bad (can you tell my imagination is going wild here?)

And yet, like Paul (not that I'm even remotely in the same spiritual category as he was), I think it's better for me to stay.

Especially because of the dreams I hold here in my heart - the dreams God Himself put there.

~ Dreams to go out into the fields and see people saved;

~ Dreams to proclaim the gospel in as many nations as possible;

~ Dreams of encouraging other believers to lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel;

~ Dreams of making a difference in the lives of others;

~ Dreams of introducing people to Christ and see their lives transformed;

~ Dreams of leading thousands - yes, thousands - to Christ.

I know . . . that last one might seem pretentious . . . too big a goal. Listen, I'd rather have a huge goal and not fulfill it - than have no goals, and succeed!

What are your dreams, fellow pilgrim? What are you hoping God will do through you today? Tomorrow? Next week? Next year? What are your dreams?

All I want is to hear Him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." And personally, I think He'll be able to say that a little more heartily if He'd just give me a few more years to get some of these dreams goin' . . .

So, Lord, could You just keep me around a little bit longer? That would be really sweet.

Your daughter,


Friday, August 21, 2009

- Psalms

Random musings . . .

"The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies."

"The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health." Psalm 41: 2, 3

"He has some fatal disease," they say. "He will never get out of that bed!" Psalm 41:8

"But God is my helper. The Lord keeps me alive!" Psalm 54:4

Having typed out these verses, let me say that I realize none of them is a guarantee of health nor of long life. In my experience, the only time we can say with certainty that certain verses apply to us is when the Holy Spirit quickens them to our hearts and makes those verses so real to us, that it's then we know God is speaking to us individually and making it a promise.

Not understanding this principle can lead to some beliefs that leave people devastated when the verse they put their faith in does not prove 100% true in their own lives. Not understanding this principle can lead to the "name it, claim it" doctrine - selecting verses from the Word, repeating them over and over, vigorously claiming them, and then expecting them to be absolutely applicable in any situation that believer deems fit.

When someone continues to be sick, or even dies, that believer can't understand how he put his faith in God's Word, only to have it seemingly "fail". This can lead to self-condemnation, or worse, to condemnation of others for being "weak in faith" or "having sin in their lives" because the verses didn't come to pass.

BUT . . . having said all that . . . I have read these verses, and will continue to meditate on them until I hear from God & figure out what He may want to say to me in all of this . . .

Thanks for standing with me!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

- Wow!

This was just a great day! I had tea in Pointe Claire Village with a girl I went to elementary and high school with. Yet another relationship revived through Facebook!

Then off to LaSalle to spend time with another dear friend....we gabbed for two or three hours, which is always good therapy for us women, right? And so much cheaper than retail therapy! No expensive credit card bills to follow! Yay!

And throughout the day, every time I picked up my Palm, there were emails, and emails, and more emails from so many of you, encouraging, reaching out to me, strengthening me with your kind words and thoughts. Wow! Thank you SO much for taking the time to do meant so much and I feel enveloped by your love and concern. It's now past 10 pm Thursday night and the emails are still coming in - thank you!!

I don't feel any fear, dread or depression . . . just an optimism that God is in control and that in the grand scheme of things, this is all a momentary blip. . .

- Wendy's Wanderings....

Welcome! Welcome to my new blog! There's lots of room for comments, so please feel free to post your thoughts or just say hi. :)

For those of you I haven't seen in awhile, here's the scoop:
All summer, I've been getting ready to join YWAM - Youth With A Mission - to go into missions full time, and go on staff in Kona, Hawaii for a few months to teach English to a mixed class of believers and unbelievers. Very exciting stuff!

I just completed an intense TESL - Teaching English as a Second Language - course and am now certified to teach English. My certificate is recognized internationally, so that's cool!

I was all set to go to Kona at the end of August. I've rented out my apartment for September 1st, I've sold lots of my stuff, I've bought my luggage...

....and as of yesterday, I've been diagnosed with breast cancer. Hmph! I am not impressed! This is not convenient timing! But it is going to be interesting to see how God gets the glory in this new turn of events, that's for sure!!!

So, instead of boarding a plane next week for points south, I'll be meeting the doctor on Thursday, August 27 at 7:30 am to discuss the upcoming surgery and follow-up chemo/radiation/yada yada.

Life is fragile! Handle with prayer! Join me on my journey as we see what God has around the corner!

Love to you all,


- We Are Family

As many of you know, I'm kinda orphaned at this stage of my life. Don't want to play the violin here or feel sorry for myself, but ..... uh, my family's all, like, dead! Or never born! Parents gone, grandparents gone, aunts & uncles all gone (my parents married late so everyone in my family was kinda old...), no siblings...yada, yada.

I've been somewhat of a lone ranger in my life, even though I've been privileged to know tons of people through singing in lots of different venues...but these tons of people aren't close friends - they're just acquaintances.

So I'm realizing that - hey! I'm not self-sufficient! I need you guys! Not in a needy, draining way, but God creates us to be in families and in community, and I'm learning to appreciate that more and more each day. And now, with this cancer scare (although I'm not afraid - just sobered by it), I realize even more that I need to be in community. Tag! You're it! :)

And hopefully, I'll be as faithful to be there for each one of you as you are wonderfully showing that you are there for me.

Together for the advancing of His Kingdom,