I can’t believe it!

Remember that national writing contest I wrote about a long time ago? And then I found out I was one of the short listed authors? Well, I found out last night that I won an Award of Merit. What I mean to say is, “I CAME IN SECOND!” Sorry for yelling, but second is so incredibly okay for me. See, I’m not a writer. I’ve told you all along that I was just telling my story. But it’s so exciting to read what the judges had to say about my book and how I put it together and strung my words into sentences. They liked it πŸ™‚ And now I’m getting a certificate (the award) to hang up on my wall and look at and tell me that I did okay. Very sweet affirmation.

So I’m celebrating here today by going for a bloodtest and dr.’s appointment and then, coffee with my sister. Yes, I know how to party!

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She saw me…

I was at work one day last week when someone came into my office to ask me something. It wasn’t what I expected. I was at work so it should be work-related, right? And the people I see in my office are usually asking about schedules, payroll, or client care questions. So when she looked at me and hesitantly asked me if I had been on TV lately it took me for a spin. I wasn’t sure if I should be answering this on company time. I threw the question back at her – “Why would you ask me?” She said she had seen someone that looked like me on TV while she was working at a client’s home. She hadn’t seen the whole program but it sounded like me. She hadn’t heard about any of my story so she had no idea. She seemed uncomfortable and shy about asking me about it so I fessed up and said that it was really me on TV and yes, I really had gone through breast cancer treatment. She couldn’t believe that I had gone through all that and was now working as her manager. I tried to explain to her that I am just a normal person and yes, I’ve gone through a huge experience but everybody has a story to tell. When she left the room, she patted me on the back and said she was so glad I was still here. These workers care for palliative people and know what cancer can do. She wasn’t saying this lightly and I appreciated it.

And that’s why I can’t sit in my house and let this story lie dormant gathering dust. That’s why I get up each morning and take on the day. God chose to keep me here for a reason, people. And that’s what keeps me going – knowing that I’ve got a purpose. And so do you. Every one of you. The same God who gave me the strength to fight and keep going is the same one who watches over you. He loves you and has a purpose for your life. It may be difficult to navigate and I know it isn’t easy to figure out the where and how and why but keep putting one foot in front of another and keep serving Him and loving others. Everyone has a story to tell. That means you.

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It’s out there…

The interview I did with Bob and Audrey Meisner on the tv show My New Day aired this morning. You can watch it here:
http://www.mynewday.tv/shows/more-than-enough
Now that I’ve seen it myself, I’m not quite as nervous about other people seeing it. It was edited very well – except the part where I choked on my water!

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Blink, and it’s gone.

Do you ever have times in your life when too many things are changing, too many things to make decisions about and life just seems overwhelming?

It’s beenΒ  a wild couple of weeks and my life is feeling upside down.

There are big things and some not so big things but it all culminates into a conglomeration of a big heap of everything.

I was discussing this with a colleague this week. About how I need to compartmentalize my life because otherwise it gets complicated. Being a mother/grandmother is one big part. My authorship and book life is another part. My life at work and doing my job there is a whole other part. Being a wife and soulmate is the one part of my life that is sane and stable and comfortable for the time being. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed or hopefully won’t change along with everything else. In every other area of my life, something is changing or will change in the next month or so.

I know you’re wondering what I’m talking about. I’ll give you a vague picture:

– Church issues have culminated in questioning whether to keep attending or go church shopping. This has been incredibly hard and painful. I hate church shopping. I love my church. I’ve been involved in so many ministries and have many great memories – twenty one years worth. My kids grew up here. I’m one of the loyal people and stick with something even when it gets hard. But I’m also someone who needs to stand up when something isn’t right and my activism is causing a rift. So much prayer has gone into this and so far God has told us to stand firm for the cause of righteousness, justice and truth.

– Our youngest daughter and her husband have decided to move. We know why they are going and we support them and understand. But they are taking our two granddaughters with them – one of them being our newest member of the family. She is a month old. Yes, change hurts. Like crazy. We haven’t been able to convince them to leave the girls with us πŸ™‚ They will only be two provinces away but when I’m used to having them drop in at least once or twice a week, it’ll be quite an adjustment.

– We had someone seriously interested in our home and property this past month. We’ve been talking about possibly moving in the past year but not seriously yet and now it was staring us in the face. Do we move? Is it time? We looked at a few possibilities and when the buyers let us know they have decided not to pursue buying our place, I breathed a sigh of relief. Too many changes. Too fast.

– Another Christian TV show in Toronto is interested in possibly having me come for an interview for my book and my story. Another decision to make. Well, I’ve been praying about it and today I made that decision and filled out the online bio they had requested and sent it. That decision is made and it’s up to them whether they want to have me come or not. And I have peace about that one.

– There’s more. I think I’m also uneasy because my annual mammogram is coming up again this week. Yay. Every year it sneaks up on me and even though I’m pretty sure it’ll be fine, it’s not fun at all. In fact it is wickedly painful for me. I dread it but it’s really good to know everything is clear. So I’ll go…

That gives you a snapshot of what has been going on here. I’m so glad one thing that never changes is my God. I can count on Him to be there in every area and help me with the changes. And I’m hoping He can provide the strength and the security that I long for when the changes come. He’s done it in the past. He is faithful.

 

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Surprise!

I came home from work and found a surprise. A nice surprise. I had a few emails congratulating me for making the shortlist of authors chosen for the Word Guild Writing Awards. Wow. I sent my submission in in November of last year and had kind of forgotten about it. I’m invited to the Gala event in June where they announce the winners. Haven’t decided if I should try to go or not. But it was a very nice surprise πŸ™‚

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Two Things to Tell You – Make that Three…

1) It’s so cool to know God has used you. And usually you “know” when it’s happened. I spoke at a church recently. It was a Ladies Spring Tea and the church basement was absolutely gorgeous with bright green tablecloths and creative lemon slices in a vase with a white flower for centrepieces. I had a nagging going on in my heart about my cancer story I was asked to share. Cancer just isn’t pretty. And there’s no way to tell my story without talking about cancer. It’s a dilemma. The women organizing the event asked if we could pray before the event started. It was just good to lay it out there and invite God to do His work instead of me trying to do it. So I told my story and just felt like it was flat – the jokes didn’t go over as well as they have other times and the expressions on the faces of the women were lack lustre. I felt defeated. Like maybe I should stop doing this. And then, after it was over, I knew why I was there. A young woman came over to talk to me and wanted me to sign her book – with a purple pen! She had brilliant pink tips on her short spiky hair and piercings galore but such a friendly face and a sparkle in her eyes. She asked if she could give me a hug. She kind of melted into my arms and I knew she had a story of her own. She told me her niece is fighting ovarian cancer and her brother lost his fight with his own cancer in the past year. She told me she had been very encouraged by my story and then she showed me on one of the pretty yellow napkins the notes she had made while I was speaking. Someone took notes of what I was saying! Pretty cool, eh? She said I had given her great ideas for how to encourage her niece and what she might be going through. She thanked me. And I was glad I had been obedient again and let God use me even if it was for this one woman.

2) So after speaking at this Ladies Spring Tea, I was relieved because I had no other speaking engagements on my agenda. I had done the TV interview with “My New Day” and I thought I was done. But I forgot it’s not actually my agenda. Someone bigger than me has been in control all along. I received an email a few days ago from a bigger TV show than the one I had just done the interview with. They are inviting me to possibly be on their show to tell my story and talk about my book. I’m working on the biographical form I need to fill out and send in. Should I do this? I’m considering it. Big decision… I’ll let you know.

3) Huge announcement in the media yesterday – CancerCare Manitoba is telling us that cancer patients no longer have to pay for their oral chemo drugs out of their own pocket. This is BIG! I’m on a chemo drug that I need to be on for a while yet and it’s a significant amount every month. When I started on the drug, the oncologist told me that some patients refuse the drug because it’s just too expensive and can’t afford it. I decided to take it as my insurance for warding off a recurrence as long as possible. It’s not fun but I know that it does its job and raises my percentage for being around here longer so I take it. I did a little dance when my pharmacist phoned to tell me about this news. Yay! Thank you to the people who made this happen.

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Something New…

Yes, I did something new today that I’ve never done before. I’ll admit it wasn’t something that I had ever thought I would want to do. But when a door opens, you walk through… and it was kind of fun.

I was invited to be interviewed for the taping of a TV show today. It’s a Christian show called “My New Day”. They feature stories of hope and inspiration. My book was sent to them by the publishing company and next month they are featuring stories of health and wellness. My book fits this category so I was asked to be a guest and tell my story.
The time flew by and was over too soon. There was so much more I wanted to say. I hope I said what I needed to. I won’t know until it airs and I have no control over how it is edited. So, not that I’m making excuses, but it’s out of my hands. And that’s not a bad thing because I can let it go and it’s okay.

Thank you, Bob and Audrey, for making me feel comfortable in front of the cameras and asking good questions about what makes my story worthy of telling it over and over. I think only God knows the answer to that one πŸ™‚

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Gone to Hawaii

Well, not in person. I wish. But apparently my book went for a ride.
I saw my oncology surgeon for a check up this week. She informed me that she had taken my book on her flight to a conference in Hawaii last month. She said I had captured her interest immediately and she kept reading straight through to the end – the entire flight. It felt good to hear her affirm my book – not just the competency of my writing (because that isn’t what it was all about!). She said that it had great detail not only about treatments but what a person goes through mentally and emotionally. One of my goals in writing the book was to share what the real journey of a breast cancer patient looks like with medical professionals. This surgeon works closely with the Breast Health Centre at the St. Boniface Hospital. I’m so glad she read it and approved.
Also, when her assistant showed me to the examining room, she paused in the doorway and in a whispery voice, said, “I read your book.” That’s about when the tears started flowing as she shared with me, “Women dealing with breast cancer come to our office every day. Now I know what they are going through. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story so I have more insight in caring for them.” And we hugged.

 

By the way, the visit was good – all clear, no sign of recurrence. A good day πŸ™‚

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I met a man.

We just came back from a winter holiday. We went on a cruise. On this cruise, we chose anytime dining and we also chose to share a table with strangers. We’ve met so many wonderful people this way. It’s so interesting to find out about their lives and hear their stories.

So one evening during this cruise, we sat at a table with a lovely older couple from Seattle, Washington. We hit it off immediately and talked easily and comfortably. The man was 70 years old and retired. You could see the love that he had for his family and the enthusiasm he has for life. He told us that the most precious gift he has been given in this life is being a grandpa. His oldest grandson is 15 years old and still comes for sleepovers to spend time with his grandparents. Since retirement, he has been taking care of his younger grandchildren one day a week instead of them going to daycare. He loves being able to do that and it just showed in his eyes when he talked about it.

I had a hunch.
I told him a little bit about my story.
And the tears flowed as he shared with me that he had dealt with advanced prostate cancer 15 years ago. We discussed the struggles of surgeries and treatment. And we shared about the power of prayer and the blessing of life and how great our God is. He was a fellow Christian.
What a blessing and honour it was to sit with him and share our mutual joys and sorrows and the love and grace of our Lord and Saviour.
We sat at that table long after dessert had been served. We missed the evening show and didn’t care. It was a great evening. And we came away with an invitation to come stay with them anytime we are in Seattle!
As we left the table, I was wrapped in a huge bear hug – after he asked permission from my husband – and we just smiled at each other knowingly. It was a special evening.

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Lady in Waiting

I’m still here. I just didn’t have anything epic to share except that I did a mass mailing to spread the word that I was still selling books and still had plenty of available dates for speaking. I did this at the end of November and then waited. And waited. And nothing.
I knew that everybody was busy with Christmas so I decided to try a new strategy after the holidays.
But Someone had a different plan.
On Dec. 23rd, I was called in for an interview for a job that I had applied for in July! Yes, that’s right, July!
I went for the interview and waited. I heard back on a Sunday afternoon. The nice voice on the other end of the phone said, “You’ve got the job. Can you start tomorrow?” I laughed outloud.
After waiting and searching for a job, it kind of fell into my lap when I least expected it. So I started my job and I’m loving it.
And then…
I knew in my gut what was going to happen. Remember that mass mailing I did to promote my book?
Yes – the emails and phonecalls started coming. In the past week, I’ve had 3 requests to speak at different functions.
I’m not sure what’s going on. I like it but it’s been a whirlwind. It makes me feel so alive after all of this waiting…

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