Friday, August 28, 2009

Letter To A Friend On Temptation

Remember I told you about learning how to allow God to be your husband? Here's your chance! And I don't really know how to tell you how to do that. The way that I learned was by asking Him to show me how He could be my husband. And He did. Miracles came into my life. I still look to Him to be my husband. No one person can meet all the needs of another person, so I try to remember to look to God for that.

Another thing we need to try to remember when we are faced with temptation is whether or not we want to live our lives for God completely and receive the blessings He will give us for doing so, or do we want to live for our ownselves. Well, being human, we want to live for our own selves. I know I often do. I struggle with my attitude at home! And I have try to remember to be the way God would want me to be - and it's really hard for me. My attitude at home is my temptation and it's not easy.

But, God says He has made a way for us to overcome temptation. That is, of course, through Jesus - keeping our eyes fixed on Him and not straying off to the left or to the right. The Bible says that God will not allow temptations to come to us if we are not strong enough to overcome them. Therefore, through Jesus' power, YOU DO have the ability to resist your temptation, although it will be very hard. Temptations do not come from God, so where, then, do they come from? Satan. Satan puts them before us. But, God is there to get us through.

There is a promise that if we overcome our temptations, we will recieve a Crown of Life when we get to heaven. What will happen is later - after judgement day - we will give the crowns we have earned to Jesus. So, then we have to ask ourselves, how many crowns do we want to give to him on that day? How many opportunities to earn crowns (there are others we can earn) will we let pass? How will we feel if we had opportunity to earn a crown and passed it up? And there we are looking at Jesus, face to face, and we have to tell him that we could've given him more crowns, but we decided we wanted to live our own way instead.

Read Romans 8

Titus 2:11-12 (New International Version)

11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

Romans 8:12-13 (Amplified Bible)
12So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh.

13For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.

Proverbs 25:28 (The Message)
28 A person without self-control
is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (The Message)

13No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.

James 1:12-14 (English Standard Version)

12(A) Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive(B) the crown of life,(C) which God has promised to those who love him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

Cross references:
James 1:12 : James 5:11; Matt 10:22; 1 Pet 3:14; Dan 12:12
James 1:12 : Rev 2:10; 3:11; 1 Cor 9:25; 2 Tim 4:8; 1 Pet 5:4
James 1:12 : James 2:5

Soft Rain

Sitting under the shelter of my front porch, I hear trickles of raindrops falling from the roof, making light splashing noises as the drops hit the brick below. Thunder rumbles in the distance.

I hear the rain puttering on the tree leaves as it hits each leaf causing them to frolic and dance up and down.

I smell the grey mud from the river - and fish - mixed with the fresh crisp scent of new rain.

I see dark, fluffy grey clouds mixed with lighter grey clouds that have brilliant spots of sun fighting to shine through. I see a patch of blue being covered by the clouds. I see light wind being carried from tree to tree making the leaves wave up and down to the wet drops falling from the grey clouds above.

I hear a radio in the distance, unable to determine the tune. I hear more thunder - louder, closer now. I hear a neighbor puttering around in his garage causing tinker noises to cross the path. A car alarm goes off down the street - and suddenly stops as quickly as it had started.

I feel the humidity stick to my skin like glue and the itchy little nips of mosquitoes bites telling me it's time to go inside.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An Organized Life

I've been off of my feet for a few days and have had to turn the kitchen over to my husband. Although, I appreciate his help when I'm down, I always dread the day when I return because I know that I will have trouble finding things and have to play hide and seek.

In the past, when I've loaded my dishwasher, I would often wonder if I was "overly organized", if there is such a thing. When I load my eating utensils in the dishwasher, I put all the forks in one slot, all the spoons in another slot and all the knives in an even different slot. I have all the utensils facing downward so that when I unload, I do not touch the part of the utensil that goes into your mouth. As I unload, everything is organized and I just have to pull out the spoons, etc. and place them in their proper slot int the kitchen drawer.

Well, today I unloaded the dishwasher that my husband so lovingly loaded for me and I realized that I am not overly organized and I will never feel guilty about that again.

He had the spoons, forks and knives going every direction and all mixed together in every slot. As I would pull the utensils out, I would have to untangle forks entwined together. I would have to turn utensils around, piece by piece, so that I did not touch the part that goes into your mouth. The sorting and organization probably took me about three times longer than usual - no exaggeration.

I feel wiser this morning and a little proud of myself for being so organized with loading my dishwasher.

As Immanuel Kent once said, "Wisdom is organized life."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pork, Peanut & Pine Festival

The Pork Peanut & Pine Festival is every 3rd full weekend in July in Surry and this year we decided to attend their 34th yearly event. Neither of us had ever been, but always wondered what it was like.

So, we left early and rode the Jamestown/Scotland Ferry across the James River to Surry county and followed the road to the Chippoke Plantation State Park where the festival was taking place. As we entered the park and drove down the long road lined with loblolly (mudhole) pines, we entered the historic plantation area, was directed to parking in the fields, parked our car in the tall grass and headed towards the live country music. We weren't sure where we were going or what we were going to see, but we knew the music would lead the way.

The first thing we came upon was a long row of antique cars, trucks and tractors lined up under the shade of the tall cypress trees. We saw all sorts of Model A's, old Cadillacs, Chevys, Fords - some shining like the top of the Chrysler building and some as rusty as an old crabpot at the bottom of the river. We didn't care - we enjoyed them all.

Then we started coming upon some crafter's tents - ironworks, jewelry, clothing, wooden lawn furniture - if it could be handmade, it was there. And then we started coming to the smells. The music had led us to these wonderful smells - hot barbecue pits with roasted pig, huge kettles popping corn, funnel cakes, peanut pies and all sorts of other wonderful smells amid that live country gospel band.

The air was hot and humid, the sky was cloudy and overcast causing us wonder as to whether or not it would rain, as predicted, but those wonderful savory smells kept there until our appetite's could stand it no more.

While we waited for our lunchtime (which we ended up eating earlier than usual), we traipsed around the plantation grounds looking at all the wares. People would stop us and want to talk with us about our chiweenie dog.

We met a lady visiting from southern Arizona. She had once lived in Virginia Beach and then lived in Florida for awhile. She had the accent for it. But, she enjoyed Arizona and volunteered at one of the state parks out there. She had a dachshund at home waiting for her to return. And when she saw our dog, she just had to pet it because it reminded her of her own.

Then we had a couple come up inquiring as to the type of our dog. They could see the dachshund, but knew it wasn't full-blooded. I couldn't tell about the couple either. I wasn't sure if it was two women or a young man and an older woman. But, anyway, they enjoyed talking about the dog.

It started to get rather sultry in the humidity (the plantation is right on the James River), and we were getting hungry. My husband went back to the car to get our bag chairs while the dog and I waited under the shade tent. When he returned, we set the chairs up and then decided which vendor to go to for our food. We both wanted a barbecue sandwich and I wanted peanut pie. So, we found a vendor that sold both and trekked on over that way. We sat under the shade tent and listened to the country gospel band while we ate.

About the time we finished, the antique cars were getting ready for their parade. We decided not to stay for the parade, as it was getting very humid. So, we followed the lined up antique cars back to our parking lot and saw the parade that way. As we passed the old vehicles, the drivers all looked so hot and tired as they sat in their unairconditioned cars patiently waiting for the parade to begin. Someone in an apple red brightly shining Ford Model A pick up stopped us so they could look closer at our dog.

We enjoyed the food, the music, the vendors and the cars, but I wonder if we would have had as good a time if we had not taken our dog. I mean, we would never have had our interesting talk with the Arizona visitor or met the Odd Couple and a few others that stopped us to chat along the way.

If you've never been to the Pork, Peanut and Pine Festival I recommend going at least once. There's all sorts of things for all ages - especially families. Check out their website - and take your dog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bread Pudding - Use leftover or stale bread

Well, if you follow my Facebook page, you'll see I made bread pudding for supper and I promised to post the recipe here.
I usually cut the sugar most of the time when I'm baking. So, with this one, I used just a bit less than 1 cup. I usually freeze the heels of the bread and when I get enough, make the pudding. Hope you enjoy it.
Bread Pudding
4 cups milk
2 cups fresh bread cubes, packed (about 4-5 pieces)
1 1/4 cup sugar (I use less than 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt (I eliminate this, as it's used as a preservative and it doesn't last that long.)
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
raisins or coconut (optional) (I use a handful of raisins)
Preheat oven to 325-350. Scald milk; add bread cubes, sugar and salt. Allow to stand 5 minutes. Slowly pour mixture into bowl of beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Add vanilla, and raisins or coconut if desired. Place mixture in well-buttered (I use olive oil) 2 quart casserole and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake in pan of hot water for 1 hour, or until firm and knife inserted comes out clean. Don't rush or have the oven too hot as it will make the pudding watery. Serves 8-10.
While it's baking, you can cook dinner and about the time you are through, you should have a nice hot pudding to serve after you eat. It's best served warm with cream or half & half poured over, but just plain is great, too.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wanderings in July

It's a beautiful July Saturday. My husband and I decided to go out and find something fun to do. I was on the Internet when he suggested the idea and it just so happened that I was on a page of things to do in our area. I saw that there was a vintage motorcycle show at our local airport somewhere on some web site. So, we grabbed Weenie, the Wonder Dog (sometimes we wonder if she's really a dog), got in the car and took off towards the airport.
When we arrived, we didn't see anything. We decided I must've misread the post. I grabbed the newspaper I had laying in the back seat, checked the section that told what's happening around town and we decided to head towards Yorktown for their Farmer's Market and a walk on the beach. Being a beautiful Saturday in July, the beach, of course, was crowded. We tried one parking lot after another. We finally found one about two blocks from the beach and started walking.
As we started meandering our way towards the waterfront, we came to a public restroom, which we were grateful to find. Then, we came upon an old church and decided to walk around in the old shady graveyard. I found Thomas Nelson's grave there and had no idea this was where he was buried.
We continued our walk and ended up in a residential section stuck somewhere in the middle of the tourist area. We came across some guy walking his dog and asked if we could access the beach by following this road. He pointed to some steps that led down to the water front and off we trekked - one chubby thigh following the other.
We climbed down what seemed like never ending stairs and when we finally reached the bottom, we took a left towards the Farmer's Market. Walking in the sand, we admired the sail boats and ships heading out to the Chesapeake Bay and the yachts moored at the peers near the eating establishments. We passed all the sun worshipers and children with buckets and shovels. Finally, we got up to the Farmer's Market only to see that there were three tents left and they were in the process of being pulled down.
Well, we missed the motorcycle show and now we've missed the market. Sigh. We were hungry by this time and decided to go back to town for a much forbidden foot-long hot dog, french fries and a shake. And that's exactly what we did. We went to our favorite mom and pop stop - the Queen Anne Dairy Snack - best fast food in town - and we ate to our heart's content.
We didn't get to do what we set out to do at all, but we had a bit of an adventure, a great lunch and enjoyed each other's company and the beautiful Saturday in July.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

On The Death Of Michael Jackson

As I'm cleaning my kitchen and dusting my living room, I listen to CNN television broadcasting the memorial of Michael Jackson. The thoughts, memories and banners on the show lead me to the Internet where I go to Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Blogger and other websites where the world is mourning his sudden death or celebrating his music and his life.

I see the funeral procession traveling from Forest Lawn Cemetery to The Staples Center. I see traffic on a road parallel to the procession riding along beside the hearse carrying MJ's still body. I see a school bus on that parallel road and realize that no matter how famous you are, no matter how rich you are, no matter who you are, oblivious to our pain life goes on. And life can be so unexpectedly short.

I think about how MJ's songs might have influenced my life and wonder if they really did. Then, I remember eras in my life by the songs I hear him sing. “Thriller”came out when I was a stay at home mom with my children and leaves me with good thoughts and feelings of having my children at home with me. Songs he sang with The Jackson 5 bring back high school memories and all those feelings we battle during our adolescent years. I remember I loved roller skating with Richard while he held my hands and skated backwards as we floated together around the floor to “I'll Be There”. Richard could really skate well!

Then, I hear of a song mentioned I had not heard of - “Childhood”. I went to YouTube to listen to the words. And I realized the pain, the lack of love he sensed, the anguish this man suffered in his life. And in all of this, it seemed, from what I gathered, all he wanted to do was give love – something he felt he lacked somehow in his life.

Earlier this week, I've seen rerun documentaries and interviews with him and it makes me wonder did anyone really ever know who he truly was? Did he even know himself? Was he ever able to really get close to someone?

I wondered if all the rumors and accusations were true. I realized how dysfunctional he appeared and wondered if it was for show. I can't judge this man. I try not to be judgmental of others. I've been misjudged by others so many times myself, I hate to do the same to someone else. Yet, at the same time, my mind wonders if the rumors were true. But, I keep in mind that we are innocent until proven guilty.

And then I try to put myself in his place. If I had more money than I could ever imagine, would I be afraid to get close to others? Would they love my money, my fame or me? If I had more money than I could ever imagine and I had been severely deprived of childhood rights, would I make up for that if opportunity allowed me? If, during my adolescence, I was constantly in front of the public and important role figures in my life made fun of my face and people in crowds made comments about my skin, and I had more money than I could ever imagine, would I change my face in order to be accepted and loved by others? Who knows? Who knows what caused the eccentricities of Michael Jackson? He lived in such an eccentric world. Who of us could even begin to identify with his life? So how can I judge? And as the pastor stated in his benediction, the King of Pop now bows his knees to the Kings of Kings.

As I watch the pall bearers carry his brilliantly shining floral covered casket down the aisle on my television screen, the crowd cheers for this gifted entertainer. In between speakers, the crowd calls out, “Michael! Michael!” As if, for one last time, he can hear their love and admiration. Wouldn't he have loved his final show?

Several memorial speakers state that Michael Jackson was the greatest entertainer that ever lived and each time the crowd cheers. There are a lot of musicians I have loved and enjoyed, and as I watch him on the screen with his feet sliding, his hips rocking, his jacket and glove shining in the spotlight, I tend to agree with the speakers. Michael Jackson was a brilliant talent in our world and we were lucky to have his influence in our lives.

Michael, we love you more.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Olivia's Goodbye

Olivia reached up and took Sam's face into her small, delicate hands. Her green eyes firmly fixed on his, she moved her face slowly towards his and gently kissed his mouth. She wasn't sure if that was something she should do. She wasn't sure how he would respond. But, she knew that if she did not take this chance, her one and only chance, she would regret it for the rest of her life.
As he responded to their first kiss, he pulled her closer and held her tight. Holding on to that one last moment together, they heard the train approaching the station. The noise of the engine reminding them that their moment in time was over.
He let go of her and said, "Don't go. Not now. Not since we've found each other again."
But, she explained, that she couldn't stay. She had responsibilities, commitments, small children and a husband. She had to return to her life.
Someone called out "All aboard" and they held each other's hands. She stepped back towards the train, her arms stretching further from him, their fingers holding on until, one by one, each finger let go of a hand. With their eyes never leaving each other's gaze, she boarded the train. She blew him a kiss.
As she sat in a seat near the window, she looked out and saw him standing there. He looked so sad and all alone. She wanted to go to him, to be with him forever, for he was her one true lost love from many years ago.
She felt the train jerk and like a flash of lightening, it was gone and she no longer saw Sam. A sorrowful tear slowly fell down her cheek. She opened her small bag to look for her handkerchief and there she saw the picture of her baby that she carried with her everywhere. She smiled slightly. And she remembered, once again, of responsibilities, commitments, children and a husband who were waiting for her return.
She would never see Sam again, but she would always love him. Always.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Interview Slip

It had probably been the most horrible year of my life, at that point in time. My marriage of four years was ending to a man I had grown up with in church. He had become incredibly abusive and ended up leaving me for another woman. (Bless her heart.) In doing so, he had taken all monies, turned off all utilities and essentially left me penniless with my two daughters. He cut us off from every available resource we had shared together. I had been a stay at home mom, so there was no income.
Daily my girls and I would pray for God's provisions and weekly I would seek any kind of employment that would be available to me. I was willing to take anything to be able to put food on the table for my girls in order to make sure they had proper provisions.
For six months, every week, I diligently searched for work submitting application after application, mailing resume' after resume' - hoping and praying that God would provide me work to support my precious little daughters. I kept getting one rejection letter after another, eventually creating a one-inch thick file of rejection letters. I knew God's hand was in this because it was too unusual for me to not find work in my field - especially while looking so very hard and using every resource I could find. There were too many positions for which I had applied where I was definitely qualified. I could see God was right there with me the whole time, but I just did not understand why the work didn't come. For some unknown reason, He was closing all the doors. He continued to supply our needs for the entire six months. He paid the utility bills, provided us with more than enough food and even provided me gas for job interviews. He was there with us the whole time and never left us alone.
It was through all of this that I learned how to allow God to be my husband. I am so grateful to this day for that lesson, for there is no better husband than God.
One day I saw an ad in the paper for a position at a boy's boarding school in a county about two hours away from where we lived. I qualified for the position but knew that if I got it, we would have to move out of town. I didn't like the idea of moving the girls even though the position sounded secure and the pay was good. But, I sent off another resume' with another prayer that if the Lord wanted me to have this position, this was one I really wanted. I asked for His blessing.
A few weeks later, a phone call came and I was called in for an interview. I was to meet with the Dean of Admissions and the two Assistant Deans for the interview. I was elated - and very nervous. Six months of job searching and this was my first interview. I prayed I would say all the right things and give all the right answers.
The day of the interview came on a cold, winter day and I chose to wear my finest navy wool suit hoping to look impressive. Through all that I had been that year, the suit fit rather loosely because I had lost considerable weight. Not only that, but my under things were loose as well. However, I didn't worry about it much. I seemed to look okay considering all the weight loss and loose fitting clothes. Soon I'd have a good job, a new place to live and our lives could get back to normal.
I wanted everything to be perfect so I had practiced interviewing techniques, I prayed over every move I made - I did absolutely everything I could do to gear myself up for this big event. I drove the two hours to the interview, praying the whole time that God would help me through this and seek His will. I finally arrived to my destination, pulled my clunker car into the parking lot along with the BMW's, Mercedes' and high dollar sports cars, parked my God provided vehicle, turned it off and prayed one more time before going in. I had never in my life been so nervous for an interview.
I took deep breaths, calmed myself down as best as I could and walked up the sidewalk, knowing God was walking beside me. I entered a foyer which led to the reception office. I was greeted by the receptionist and gave her my name. After a short wait, one of the Assistant Dean's came out to greet me and escort me through the reception area, through the secretarial pool and back to his office where we would hold the interview. He closed the door behind him and informed me that the other two Deans were unavailable for our discussion and it would be just him and myself.
"Whew!", I thought. At least I wouldn't have to face a small committee - one man was enough. I was just that nervous.
He offered me a seat. I sat down directly across from him, remembering that eye contact was crucial. The interviewing process began. As we were talking, I could feel that my skirt was quite uncomfortable near my knees. While looking straight into his eyes, answering his questions, I tried to discreetly adjust my skirt so that I could be more comfortable and concentrate better.

The interview continued. Again, distracting my attention, I felt the discomfort of my skirt around my knees. And, again, I tried, with extra caution this time, to discreetly adjust my skirt while looking straight into the face of this strange man's face - the one who held my fate in his hands.

Finally, the interview was over and we stood up and shook hands. He opened his office door and I walked out feeling that the interview had gone rather well. I felt confident, relieved and satisfied.
As I walked out of his office, through the secretarial pool, and through the reception area, I felt a strange sensation around my calves wondering if there was something wrong with my skirt. By that time I had made it to the exit door, stepped out onto the porch area, looked down and saw that my half-slip had settled in a soft pile at my ankles! I suddenly remembered that I was at an all boy's school, quickly looked around to see if anyone else had seen my underwear fall off and discovered that the grounds were graciously quiet. I stepped out of my slip, picked it up, stuffed it into my small purse and laughed out loud towards the Heavens!
I kept wondering what the Assistant Dean was viewing as I left his office, and what the secretaries and receptionist saw and thought, as I marched through the office with my head held high full of confidence not knowing that my slip was slowly sliding down my legs.

I walked back to my car and thanked God for the interview. Even though I had lost my slip in the reception of a distingquished boarding school, I could feel God's presence with me the whole time. All I could do now was go home and wait.
I waited, without expectation, and a few days later my phone rang and I was asked to come back in for a second interview! I ended up getting the job, often wondering if I was hired because they thought I need money for clothing that fit.
God provided me with all that I needed, taught me lessons of faith and love and gave me a good laugh when times were really hard and tough.

"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels." ~ Isaiah 61:10

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dessert and Beverage Included

My husband and I were out antiquing on a weekend afternoon and discoverd that we were hungry. I suggested a small restuarant we both like which has lunch specials for $6.95 that includes dessert and beverage, if your beverage is iced tea or coffee. Compared to fast food, for $6.95 you get a choice of entree', potatoes and vegetable, plus the dessert and beverage, if your beverage is iced tea or coffee. We didn't have much cash between us so we thought this little place with the lunch special would be a good idea.
We walked inside, the hostess seated us, put our menus in front of us and then my husband went to wash his hands. When he came back, I pointed out to him that the $6.95 lunch specials were located at the bottom front of the menu. Then I pointed out where it explained about the choice of potato, vegetable and dessert and beverage being included, if you chose to drink iced tea or coffee.

My husband opened the menu to other items, not on special, and stated that a hamburger cost $6.95, as well. I tried to politely point out that the hamburger did not include dessert and beverage, if your drink was iced tea or coffee. So, he closed the menu and began to look at the lunch specials.
Soon thereafter, the waiter came to take our drink order. He looked at me first, so I said I would have unsweetened iced tea. Then he looked at my husband, who said, "I'll have Coke." I was sort of surprised because prior to coming we had agreed on the specials, which is why we came to this particular establishment since we didn't have much cash on us. I shrugged it off and thought, "Oh, well.... I guess he knows what he is doing."
The waiter went to get our drinks, came back and took our orders. We both ordered the specials and had a wonderful lunch.

When we had finished, the waiter came to clear our plates and began to list our choice of desserts. I told him I would have orange cake and then we both looked at my husband who said, "I don't think I'll have any." I told my husband, in as quiet a voice as I could so as not to embarrass him, that dessert was included with the lunch special he ordered. The waiter quietly confirmed my claim. So, my husband, with a big smile on his face and jubilation in his voice announced that he would have the chocolate ice cream. The waiter left and my husband said that it was nice that we got to have dessert with our meal. I tried very hard not to roll my eyes and once again stated, trying desparately not to sound irritated, that it was included with the lunch special. He looked at me with innocent eyes and said, "Oh. I didn't know that."
It was at this point in time, I felt I would have fit in better at the table next to us which seated three generations of Japanese tourists. The communication would have been just as efficient.
Since that time, we have both acknowledged that communication is not strong in our relationship, but we love each other very much, enjoy spending a lot of time together like antiquing and going out for lunch - with or without a special.

Wake Up Call

Recently, I went for my annual mammogram. The morning after the mammogram, the doctor called and asked me to come in again. They wanted to do a sonogram, so I called for an appointment which they made for the following week.

When I went in. I sat alone in a cold, strange room, waiting on the doctor. Thoughts kept running through my mind. All the thoughts I had tried not to think of during the previous week came rushing through like a windstorm. What about my girls and my husband? How will they react if we find out I have some sort of cancer? What will my hereafter be like without them? Who will pray daily for my grandchildren and other family members? What will their lives be like without me? I have to get rid of some stuff, so nobody will have to do that. I have to much stuff collected over the years. How blessed I am for that. Things are a mess. I want chocolate cake! I want a grape snow cone. I haven't had a snow cone in years, and I want one. If the doctor comes in and tells me I have cancer, what kind of future do I have ahead of me? And for how long? These thoughts and others swam through my mind like a surfer drowning in a huge wave.

As the sonogram technician was scanning my breast, I wastrying to hold back tears, but one slowly fell down my cheek as I lay there staring at the ceiling. I told her that it was the not knowing that was making me nervous. She assured me that I would know the results before I left. I wasn't sure if that was good or bad.

She left the room to show the doctor the scan results, and while she was out of the room, I tried to stop the tears from flowing down my face. I didn't want her to come back in and know that I was scared - scared for my life, and for the lives of my family. Because, as I lay there, I realized then and there that cancer doesn't just affect the patient, it affects a family. A short time later, she came back in and told me that the doctor didn't need to see me, that everything was fine, and I was free to go home.

As I quickly and bravely walked to my car, I let the tears flow, and I thanked God that I was okay. I was free and I was blessed.

When I got home, I called my daughters and told them. One of them said she was glad for me and that was all that she said. It was then that I realiezed that she was just like I had been a couple of weeks ago. Two weeks ago, I hadn't even thought about cancer. Cancer happens to other people, not me, not my family. But what my daughter didn't realize is that she was glad for us, for our family, because if I had been diagnosed with cancer, it wouldn't have affected just me, it would have affected the whole family.

I hung up the telephone and cried again. This time, because I was happy for us - our family. Because we are a wonderful family made up of wonderful people. I'm lucky I belong to them, and that I can belong with them a bit longer. They mean the world to me!

The next time I see a commercial concerning breast cancer, the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, or a promotion to support research, I will look at it differently. But, for now, there is stuff to get rid of, a house to clean, things to do, family and friends to be with and prayers that need praying. And there is chocolate cake and grape snow cones to eat, and I, for one, plan to indulge.