November

November 1st, 2020.  We are almost at the end of the most bizarre year in the lifetime of many.  So many people wish this year to go away.  Those who are hoping that are failing to be present and are failing to find joy in everyday events.  The year changing to 2021 is not going to "cure COVID." We are likely to continue being cautious, deviating from our regular routines, and limiting our interactions. We must be present now at this very moment.  We must be prepared for anything that comes our way.  Jesus may come back at any time and relieve us of our pain, suffering, and discomfort.  Are we spiritually ready?  

I have been exhausted since I was released from Providence on Wednesday.  The pain is gone, though, so I am very thankful.  Friday evening, my two wonderful friends came over to visit.  I made tacos for dinner.  We had a splendid time together.  The three of us have been friends for almost 30 years. Amazing and genuine friendships are hard to find, but I hit the jackpot with Amy and Dorothy.  I am blessed to have many real and close friendships.  I am thankful for that.

I see the surgeon on Thursday.  The CT scan I got on Friday continues to show appendicitis, but the appendix's size has decreased, which means that the antibiotics are working.  Perhaps they'll decide not to do surgery.  That would be awesome!

Ailynn turned five on Friday, and I am reflecting on how much I love those girls and how thankful I am for them and my family.  God is so good.

 

11/2/20

I saw a post on social media from a mom who put up a sign in the yard that they weren't handing out candy this year due to having a child with cancer. Kids left candy for THEM! This is the meaning of life; putting ourselves aside and blessing others.

 

For the past 22 years, holidays have been difficult for me. It's hard to have complete joy when my son, who loved all holidays, is no longer here. Halloween is incredibly difficult because the last Halloween Logan had was in the hospital.   I tried so hard to make it fun for him. As a mom of a child who had cancer, this post made me sob. We have forgotten how little things can make such a big difference. One person making a simple and kind gesture led to others doing the same. We are selfish creatures who want and demand what is rightfully ours. What if we stopped and considered others before ourselves? What if we focused on making others happy? What if we reached out and bestowed kindness on others? I think our world would change for the better. We would have less animosity, more happiness, and a better sense of fulfillment. How about we try to do something kind for someone each day in November? It could be calling an older person to check in, donating something to a family that has fallen on hard times, offering to bring a meal to a sick friend, or handing out food bags to those who are homeless. You don't have to be rich to do these things; you just have to have a heart filled with love.

11/4/20 

I can tell you that my nerves are about shot.  I am incredibly anxious about the election results being delayed. I am also worried because the tenant in our rental destroyed it and we are going to have to have the carpets replaced, and the walls repainted.  She hadn't paid rent in over three months and decided to leave right before the eviction.  She left trash all over the house and plugged up the kitchen sink deliberately.  Evidently, she thinks we are rich and can afford it (we are not). The property management company is not helpful, and we have decided to sell it.   I am hurt, angry, sad, and disgusted all in one.

I have my appointment tomorrow with the surgeon, and I am anxious about that.  I pray they decide not to do surgery. It's time to move on with my life.

One encouraging moment was a phone call I received back from a woman I had been emailing.  She saw the signature on my email that identified me as an author of "Killing Leuk." She took the time to call me to tell me she downloaded the book on her Kindle and began to read it.  My heart was touched that she took the time to look at it and purchase to read it. I hope that it blesses her immensely.

11/7/20

It appears we had another big earthquake that was strongly felt in the Mat-Su valley. I can't express enough how thankful I am that I avoided it by being at the cabin. I do not do earthquakes well. My nerves are already shot, thanks to some big decisions I have had to make this week. The uncertainty of my health has also come into play and added to the most extreme anxiety I have felt involving me personally.

The surgeon took all of two minutes to tell me she thinks I have more pressing matters to deal with, and the appendix can wait. She asked me to see my GI doctor. I managed to snag a Telehealth appointment with him. He told me he's not worried about the other things the CT scan showed but strongly suggested I have the appendix removed. It's times like this that I crave the thoroughness of the Mayo Clinic, where all team members work together.

It makes me think about how difficult it is to do things on our own. We often choose the wrong path and fight through the heavy brush, chopping down tall weeds with our hands. When we take the path, God ordained for us; he mows the path. Sometimes there will be weeds and brush that seem insurmountable to pass, but if we are indeed on the track God designed for us, it's a bit smoother, and it feels manageable. On the other hand, we can be following the correct way, but Satan puts dark thoughts in our heads and makes us question our strengths and abilities. We cannot listen to him. Satan is a liar. God speaks the truth.

11/9/20

COVID diagnoses, a child's sledding accident, children's' cancer complications, the biopsy of a friend, addiction, poverty, and homelessness are all on my mind today. God, there is NO one capable of completely healing the sick and the broken but you. You give the doctors knowledge and guidance. You give counselors wisdom in speaking to the hurting. I ask you right now to heal all of the people I am praying for supernaturally. The parents of a friend who have been critically affected by COVID, the little boy whose skull was fractured in a sledding accident, my son, and the children of many friends who have an addiction, the little children I have come to know through social media who need a miracle to survive cancer, all those who are experiencing emotional problems, and those who have no money for housing or food. Please be with my friend, who is getting another biopsy today. Help me be a good steward of the funds you blessed us with. Please help me make the right decisions in my life. Help me always to put you first. I love you, Father God, and I love your son Jesus. Amen.

11/10/20

As I was fixing my hair this morning, I used a mirror that Patrick attached to the wall for me to see the back of it.  What appeared to look good in the front didn't look so good in the back when I used that mirror.  Unfortunately, the mirror's extension isn't long enough for me to see all of the back; I can only see the back of the right side of my head.  I was thinking about how others see us.  No one can see all of us, just a part.  Sometimes we only let a little piece of us be known to others.  What features do we choose to let others see? Obviously, with my hair, people will notice if the left side doesn't look even with the right side as I tried to curl it uniformly. They are going to see that flaw.  What flaws are we hiding inside? Are we afraid to ask people how we are perceived?  I had a friend discuss a poor work review.  She was angry and hurt.  She felt she had been doing a fine job and has had many people compliment her on her attitude and competence.  To have one person swoop in and tell her all the wrong things she had done, rather than focus on the good things, left her feeling defeated and made her second guess herself.  Again, it's not the whole picture.  As I use the mirrors to see how my hair looks, I also need to examine my heart that no one but God can see.  We all need all the tools we can get to see things clearly from the perspective of others and from the view of ourselves. When we allow ourselves to acknowledge our faults and shortcomings, we grow tremendously and improve our looks, our attitudes, and our hearts.  Does your mirror show you the complete picture?  Are you willing to invest in one that does?

11/15/20

There is something new and exciting in my life. I have spent the past two months wondering if this would ever truly happen for me. I have agonized, prayed, cried, hoped, and dreamed. I have been filled with doubt, hope, insecurity, and confidence all at once. I know that sounds strange and odd. I've been scared out of my mind, but through it all, Jesus has been with me. I'm never alone. I have a JOB! I am now a behavioral health clinician with the Kenaitze Indian Tribe in Kenai. I am living at our cabin with Ringo. Patrick and I will alternate weekends to see each other. He's here now until tomorrow. I have worked two days and have found the employees to be incredibly nice. This coming week I should start to work with clients. Most sessions will be done via Zoom which will help keep all of us safe.

When God laid social work on my heart, I promised if he got me through the schooling that I would serve him in this field. I've had so many medical ups and downs and wasn't sure I'd be able to do this. He's den me through it all. He is faithful and I am blessed.

11/18/20

Though my brain continues to question my own sanity and competence, my soul keeps reminding me that God placed me here abd to trust him. I find it challenging to work all day. I am used to being able to take a nap when I need to rest. Napping days are over. I am the little bird being chased out of the nest by her mama. As it says in God's word, I will soar on eagle's wings. He is the vine and I am the branches. He has plans to prosper me, not to harm me. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Overall things are going well. I continue to find my coworkers to be helpful and kind. Yesterday I discovered that someone I have known for over 20 years is working in the building next door as a nurse. That helps to feel a bit more connected. We are continuing to social distance and all meetings are through zoom. I feel incredibly desperate for human touch. A hug would go a long way. I'm going home this weekend and I'll see Patrick and Granny for sure and get those hugs.

Tonight I am speaking (via Zoom) in a social work class a former peer of mine is teaching. Vanessa graduated with me in May. She's teaching an undergrad social work class abd the topic is criminal justice. Since that was my emphasis during grad school, as well as most of my professional life, I was eager to accept the speaking engagement.  It is my desire and mission to ensure everyone in the world understands that people do deserve second chances and we have to walk beside those who need help.

11-21-20

I thoroughly enjoyed the speaking engagement the other night. I could have talked for hours on the subject because reentry into the community is a great passion of mine. I have observed people I know well trying to reestablish their place in their family, their community, and with their social network. It's often very difficult because so many refuse to believe that people can change and they do deserve a second chance. None of us are perfect and we owe to others and ourselves to offer love, forgiveness, and assistance to all people. Who are we to judge? None of us are perfect in any way or fashion. We are all guilty. I am thankful for a God who accepts us as we are and readily forgives us when we repent for our sins.

I watched a movie this morning about a lady and her seven-year-old girl who were homeless. The mom was a hard working woman who worked as a waitress to provide food and necessities foe her daughter. The daughter learned about God through her mother. They were both generous people with their love, actions, and willingness to continue trusting God despite their circumstances. God provided people in their lives who saw the potential of this mom and blessed the two of them with a well paying job, a place to live, and with Christmas presents unlike they have ever had. They exhibited joy and thankfulness and in turn, helped a woman and child who were homeless. I know it was a movie, but it again instilled a desire in me to bring more hope and joy to others. I have been abundantly blessed by God and I want to bless others in his name.

I am thankful to be home in Wasilla this weekend. It feels good to be in my home with my husband. I worked my first full week for the first time in years. It feels good and I like my job. I feel I can make a difference in the lives of others. I am striving for excellence in all I do. God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.

As I lie here in bed listening to the winds roar, I am reminded of the incredible and intense power our God has. He can calm the winds and make the oceans roar. He is the almighty God and we can do all things because Jesus gives us the strength to do so. How are you using your strength?