Friday, January 27, 2012

Pregnant with PRAYER....

No, I'm not pregnant silly. Geesh.

I've been helping out the Pray 4 Tunisia site by recording a series of interviews with a dear friend on how to get a "prayer movement" going. Well, at least how to start praying for Tunisia. So, it's been on my mind a lot...coming up with questions, things to ask my friend via Skype - while she records it - and then (hopefully) people will listen to it on the web site and want to find prayer partners in their churches and pray for Tunisia too! Or another country/people group/ministry that needs prayer. :)

So, I've always been a prayer warrior - and yet - in the midst of this project I'm finding out 2 things:

1. I feel incredibly humbled to be a part of this.
2. I feel the need to pray more!

I guess a 3rd thing is the reality that God's given me some of the most amazing friends. I. am. in. awe.

truly. blessed.

So, prayers appreciated on the project...and please go to the website - get signed up for the daily updates - and join in prayer (and fasting on Monday's if you choose) as we pray for Tunisia!!

http://pray4tunisia.com

<3

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The "C" word adventure...

Oh, yes. Cancer.

No one ever, ever, ever wants to "hear" it in a diagnosis. (ever!). But I did. I expected it from a mole removal last week - the doctor just stepped out and said "I expect that this will come back as Basal Cell Carcinoma" -  but we didn't expect that the sample would tell that she didn't get it all. UGH.

So that's the call I got yesterday. Yes, it's basal cell, but it's larger than the sample of skin that was taken (about a dime size patch) and I get to go have a consultation with a plastic surgeon (yipes - another hard swallow) to talk about how he'll remove the rest of it. But not for another few weeks. sigh.

So, things going through my head...this is not what I expected. I know that I have an "unhealthy addiction to the sun", grew up in Southern CA in the 60's (well before the word "sunscreen" was around) and spent years where I'd be on the beach every. single. day.  We were the "baby oil generation" and I honestly thought that my darker-than-the-average-person Armenian skin was stronger than skin cancer. How foolish of me to have thought that. I didn't use my head. My mistake.  And even though I haven't gone to a tanning bed in years, and really don't "lay out and work on my tan" any more, I haven't tried to BLOCK the sun from my skin. How in the world will I do that?? I LOVE the feeling of the sun on my face, my back, my shoulders... UGH. I'm sure that this scar - the dime size growing to ??? will be a constant reminder to provide covering - at least some - and to be oh-so-careful with others...and although I can't imagine ever becoming an advocate of sunscreen, I can suggest covering of clothing, shade, or just staying inside during the heat of the afternoon - or limiting the exposure to the sun. Not just for me, but for my friends' and their kids too.

One thing that will continue is encouraging others to NOT USE TANNING BEDS. I don't remember ever getting burned in one - and I'm sure that this spot of skin (and others that are sure to come up over the rest of my life) are from the blistering burns that occurred when I was little, playing in the waters of Encinitas during the summer, and waking up with crusty blisters popped on my face and shoulders. Oh, if only....I don't even know....if only what?? If only we had sunscreen back then? If only my parents kept me out of the sun? If only I believed the media, articles, statistics that said "just say NO to tanning"? If only I didn't try the tanning machines that came out and took the time factor out of that dark tan? If only I used my brain? If only I had gone sooner to get this ONE mole checked out (how many more are there on my body that need to be checked out, removed, slid under a microscope to identify?? If only.... would I take it all back??

But that's not my "adventure" - mine will be one of gratefulness. humility.

See, I've not had breast cancer - when the chance was that I could, given family history and circumstance. I haven't survived Stage 4 Colon Cancer, like my much younger girlfriend - whose prognosis is now "cancer....??? what cancer???", and I'm not even facing the much more scary "C" words that creep from doctor's mouths when they do skin biopsies....like MELANOMA, or SQUAMOUS Cell.... so this is my custom adventure from God...and I'll trust Him to pack my bags for it...and I'm pretty certain my bag will have sunscreen in it......

Welcome to my journey....
marina

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Flu Season....

Some of you may have been aware that Mark and I have been doing the Daniel Fast for the past few weeks. We had each chosen different things in our lives to focus on, for insight or spiritual breakthrough. We didn't want to talk about it (except with a few friends who have been praying for us), and now that it's coming to an end (Monday is our last day) I'm starting to feel things and want to share them. I'll save that for another day - but wanted to say - I never expected to feel so sick! Not sick because of the food, but just attacked by flu bugs!

I would have thought that eating according to Daniel's fast in Daniel 10:2-3, I'd feel super healthy, but with our grandkids coming to live with us they brought a flu bug - and we all got it (except Mark, who is rarely ill and works so much that he wasn't handling sick kids at all). Then this morning, I woke up with ANOTHER round of the flu!! CRAZY!

All in all, the way to eat is wonderful! If it were a diet, and not a fast, it would be really stringent, and I wouldn't be able to adhere to it. But keeping in mind that it was "just 21 days", that it was for spiritual insight (and not to lose weight, although I did), and that it wasn't for me to judge on - I was to DO it according to my convictions as God led me, made it much easier.

So, if I was eating so healthy, why have I gotten so sick - 2 times within the 21 days? Well, I believe spiritual warfare; Satan knew that I had petitioned God for a few things and was looking for answers. I don't know what those answers are yet, but I trust Him to provide them in His timing.

Today was the hardest...getting nearly dehydrated, and feeling crummy, I really wanted to fall back on the normal "when I'm sick" diet of chicken broth and soda crackers, and that was NOT allowed on the Daniel Fast! When I was ill a few weeks ago, Mark encouraged me to consider breaking the fast till I felt better, but I knew I needed to follow through with it till the end. Now, just 2 days before finishing it, he let me know again that if I needed to go off of the restrictions to get healthy again, that it was ok with him. I really prayed about it, and drew in to God for wisdom and strength. I know that HE would honor whatever I decided, but I really wanted to finish strong and see it to the end. HE allowed me to get ill, and so HE knew what I would be facing. Because I was tired, sick and hungry, my mind was thinking beyond the soda crackers and broth. My mind was craving other things, and mostly the freedom to eat whatever I wanted to eat - whether it was healthy for me or not.

So I settled on starting with 1/2 banana (after keeping a little water in me), then making a smoothie with peaches and the other half of the banana. Mark helped and put baking potatoes in the oven, and I'll have one of those in just a little bit. No, I won't top it with butter and cheese and bacon bits (maybe next time), but will keep it simple and mild and plain...better for my healing body AND my fasting body.

Was it that big of a deal - no, not really. The big deal is that I have now experienced temptation, called on God to help me through it, and will be able to do that in the future too, remembering how He assisted me in a time of trial. Little lessons to keep in my heart/head file. I can JUST SAY NO, no matter what the situation is...like a bowl of ice cream, or a second piece of pie....

Friday, January 13, 2012

A change in the season...

Where it felt SO WARM last week, today I'm hunkered in bed, recovering from the stomach flu that kept me up all last night (shared by my grands), and ignoring the bitter cold and snow outside. BRRRR. I'm just sorta glad that there's not enough snow to play in, since it's really too cold to take little hands out there.

We're finishing up the first week with my daughter, son in law, and 4 grandkids living with us! I know that we're still in the "honeymoon phase" and we all have patience with the dirty dishes in the sink, toys on the floor (which do disappear quickly, I'm proud to say), kids getting adjusted to schedules, parents unpacking, and us still packing up to make more room for them. It's ALL good! I even love the little middle of the night cries from my newborn grandson!! They let me know that he's ok, wanting attention (and getting it) from his momma, as they cuddle in the living room for a late night feeding. Sigh.

I think that the biggest challenge will be with our dog Abbey, and her food and water and dog pen that she calls "home base". My youngest grand girl seems to think that they are pretty cool things! So a few times we've found her backed into the dog pen, peering out through the grates, or she's creating a concoction of Abbey's dog food and water (till both sides are all mixed up!) and we check in her mouth to be sure that she's not sampling the food (she's not).

I loved the day we got to go walking our neighborhood, before the cold hit. It was delightful! I can hold on to that memory and plan many other outings like this! What fun it will be, in the midst of summer, to take a late afternoon stroll with the kids...hand in hand in hand....



In the "dead of winter" what do you hold on to, helping you to look for spring's promise?? Whether it's planning the garden, looking at flower catalogs, looking back to last summer's activities or next summer's vacation, I pray that they give you the hope and joy of what lies ahead, to hold on to God in the bitter cold of this winter....

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weather and DaySpring Blesses me this week...

If only it were spring!! The past few days have been UNSEASONABLY warm, just delightful, sunny and in the 50's and 60's! Today I woke up to overcast, and although the thermometer said "50*" on it, it didn't feel it at all. What a difference that sunshine makes!!

Alas, I have to remember, it's only mid-January - and there's a LOT of winter left in the season. Still, I'm grateful for the weather change, and feel that God planned it JUST for me; to lift my mood, let me relish in some vitamin D, and enjoy a break from the cold and dreary. He is SO good!!

I had another little bright moment this week: I was sent a stack of DaySpring greeting cards to try out! I requested the set from Holley Gerth (there were several selections, and we got to do a first and second selection - Holley was my first choice!!). I LOVE them!! Her writing is such a blessing to me (even if I'm not in her age group!) and I love that her cards have meaningful words on them - so if I'm tongue tied they will still be a blessing (believe it or not, I do come up short on words sometimes!!).  I also LOVE the bright colors and artwork on them, and many of them are nice enough to frame as pictures, or use as book marks, and some of them even look like they were handmade (how do they do that?). Precious!

I've got a list of people I want to send a card to...even though I sent out Christmas cards this year, I think it's special to send out cards "just because"....and I've got plenty of people who have blessed me already this year with their prayers and encouragement!

<3