Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Tag: Mother/Daughter Road Trip

Preparations of My Heart for Change

I’ve been so afraid to go back and re-read my last two “Faith and Breast Cancer” posts. I couldn’t remember what I wrote. I remembered only all the pain and frustration I was feeling and how I so wanted to move forward.   
Writing journaling, posting so helps me to move forward. If I couldn’t write, I would go crazy. Thank you for being listening ears.  
The day of those post was a turning point for me. I stopped fighting the post mastectomy pain and accepted it. I returned to having regular prayer, seeking, waiting, worshiping times. I found peace and contentment, which was what I wanted. I was lost and didn’t know if I should be fighting/believing for more healing or resting content in what I had. Is it possible to do both? I think maybe I am now. ?? 

The Lord was speaking to Mike and I at that time about a “change” on the horizon. We were both seeking God about what we needed to do to prepare for the “change.” In the past, when there was a change on the horizon it’s meant a move or a new addition to the family. Mike started praying about preparing for early retirement and a new career.  I prayed about a career of my own and about adding to the family through adoption. We’ve both had a heart for orphans. I read and prayed and learned a lot about adoption. I am still praying.  
The sense about the “change” became so urgent I finally prayed, “God what do I need to do to prepare for the change?” He answered that I needed to meditate and worship. I thought, “Oh, that’s easy.” I was so glad that I was off the hook.. that the “change” was in His hands.
In August, I started feeling like I needed to go to a woman’s retreat of some kind. I had a schedule conflict with the one at our church. Finally, I decided that if I didn’t go to the Ramp’s Women’s Retreat that I would wish I had, so I bought two tickets.  
The week before the retreat, it came to my attention that there were still things in my heart between me and God, and I started to panic. Nothing stays hidden at the Ramp. The presence of Holy Spirit is unmistakeable and very strong. I knew had to deal with my heart before Judi and I went, or risk crying publicly (possibly loudly) when my heart was undone in His presence, so I started praying and fasting. 🙂
The day before the retreat, the Lord showed me a hurt I had buried deep down while seeing doctors about my breast cancer. For me, having the mammograms done weren’t that bad. The biopsies, consulting with the first doctor alone.. all that was hard but not horrible. 
Mike was with me the day one doctor told us with very strong words that we absolutely should not do the thing we had prayed about and really wanted to do. We eventually decided that God led us to him and took most of his advice.  
The day of the surgery I had amazing peace.. peace like I’ve never felt before in my life. One of the nurses was kinda freaked out over my corn allergy and upset the doctor who yelled at me as I lay waiting for sedation.. still not too bad.  
The very hardest thing for me was my first appointment at the plastic surgeon’s office. He had an emergency surgery and could not come in that day so we met with his assistant instead. She was very kind, very professional, told me that with my body shape I could choose any surgery I wanted, and answered all our questions. All was good until she told me that the insurance required that she take pictures of me basically naked.  
She took me into a private room with a curtain, took a front pose, and poses from both sides. All I could think was, “Who in the world would require a thing like that? Who is going to develop these photos? Who will see them in my file? Who at the insurance offices will see them?” I stood there ashamed, gritted my teeth and bared/beared it. It was awful.  
The Lord spoke to me that He wanted to heal my wounded heart; that He bore shame on the cross for me. Later that day, I received a long fb message from my Thai daughter, Savannah, who was hurting. I was so blessed to be able to share with her what the Lord was doing in my heart and pray for healing in hers as well.  
Now and then I will get a vision of the Lord that will stick with me until I get a new one. Sometimes I’ll have the same one for years. At the Ramp’s Women’s Retreat the Lord gave me a vision of His nakedness on the cross. I cried silent tears. It so blessed me as He continued to minister to my heart, but I prayed, “Lord, I hope you will give me a new vision quick.”  🙂
The Lord also added playing my little harp to my list of things to do to prepare for the “change” and impressed on me that I wasn’t only off the hook for directing the “change,” but I had to actually prepare. I hadn’t played my harp very much since the surgery. The tuning pegs are very difficult to turn, it has to be tuned daily, and the turning motion post mastectomy quite honestly was painful, but a little better.  
The Lord gave me four new songs in the next couple of weeks. One song was based on the main message from the retreat, “His strength is made perfect in our weakness.” I so enjoyed the preparation, the time of worship and meditating on my “Confessions of Praise” daily.  
And it so helped me. The morning after we lost Joel. I got up, in shock, couldn’t think, stood in my kitchen and was at a loss for what to do. Just the morning before, Joel had been there visiting with me while I finished polishing up three songs on my harp. Then I knew what to do, “Pray, meditate, play my little harp.”

Tanganyika Wildlife Park

Less than five miles West of Suzanne’s is this really cool Wildlife park.
The giraffes are my favorite.

Judi

Kevin is 11.

And Kyle just turned 13.

They like lettus.

They have the prettiest eyes.

Mama and baby.

So beautiful.

They had a pair of white Bengal tigers that were very entertaining.  
They only met a couple of weeks ago and are still getting to know each other.
Their names were Gerber and Icecess.
We enjoyed watching them sneak up on each other, pretending not to be by swatting a branch,
and I especially enjoyed hearing Icecess roar the one time Gerber got close to her.

The ring tailed lemurs were pretty cool.
For a dollar you can feed them a crainraisin.

The kangaroos were softer than we expected.

A couple were carrying joeys in their pouches.

These are white handed gibbons.

We were all very surprised to see momma and baby with different colored coats.

Kevin loved feeding the turtles.

They all went for their first camel ride.  The camel can hold up to 700 lbs.
J

Mark and Suzanne’s Wedding

My good friend, Suzanne, got married this past weekend.  We are so happy for her. 
After 10 years of living as a widowed, single parent 
God has brought her a husband and father for her two sons.
She met Mark over the internet almost a year ago.  
I knew right away that he was the one.  It took her a while to believe
that God loved her enough to bring her someone who really loved her.
God is so good.  Better than any of us could ever imagine.
Mark lost his wife five years ago and had been bringing up her two sons and their 
daughter on his own.  Both parents are so happy to find someone 
to help them love and raise their children for Christ.
Judi and I arrived Wednesday afternoon to help prepare for the wedding.
Judi and Michelle hit it off right away.  Michelle’s a year younger than Judi.
Judi helped Michelle with her make up.
Doesn’t she look great?!
Here’s the happy bride with her new daughter.  I am so glad she gets a daughter.
Every mother should have at least one of each.  Michelle is sweet, smart and a lot of fun.

Here’s the happy couple.  They were both so calm and took everything in stride.
Don’t you just love Suzanne’s dress?  She looks like a princess!
This is one of the prettiest dresses I’ve ever worn.  
I have the groom’s ring on my thumb.  🙂
Aren’t the flowers just gorgeous?

These flower girls are Suzanne’s new nieces.  They are just adorable, busy, funny girls.
I smiled for this one.  Smiling can be challenging for me.  I need someone to make me laugh.  

Here is the whole wedding party: Michelle, me, the bride and groom, 
Mark’s best friend, his two older boys with Suzanne’s boys on the end.  
Here’s the whole family.  Suzanne now has more kids than me and a daughter-in-love,
who couldn’t come because she is expecting their first grandchild!

They took this photo outside.. hoping later to photo shop in the missing daughter-in-love.
Don’t they all look so happy together?  They really are.  I’ve never seen Kyle so happy.
The wedding service was very beautiful, worshipful, full of thanksgiving and prayer.
Everything went very well.. Suzanne and Mark had a ton of help 
from friends and family who were all so happy for them.
J

Road Trip Day 2 Precious Moments

Our second day was much less eventful.  Yay!  Alabama and Mississippi were much prettier.  We had to drive a bunch of 2 lane highways.. but several of them had passing lanes every 10 miles or so.  It was nice when we got closer to Wichita and had a 4 lane divided highway again.
We got up early and decided to stop at the Precious Moments’ Chapel.  Last time we went was when Judi was still in diapers.. and I thought that it would be a nice girly stop.  It’s free to see.. huge gift shop and museum.  Mr. Butcher is now 71 years old and still paints in the  chapel occasionally.  It’s worth the stop if you ever drive by Joplin.
Supper sized!
Thai dolls in the museum.
Loved this painting.
I remember this poster!
Rock Garden
This butterfly flew over and stood still for a picture.. 
if only I could hold the camera still.  
In the Chapel.. “Heaven’s Gates”
Mr. Butcher has included true stories of people 
who have gone home to heaven in his recently completed painting.
Part of the ceiling.
The East wall has new testament scenes.  The West wall OT.
One of my favorites.
Can you guess this one? 
Love stained glass.
This castle built for the Butcher grandchildren made the biggest impression 
on me our first visit when the kids were all under the age of 7.
There were many new things to see.. can you see the angel sitting by the empty tomb?
Love, 
J

Mother Daughter Road Trip

You should see our van.  I’ll try to take photos later today.  It’s so stuffed.. only two girls .. but TWO weeks.  We spent all Monday afternoon taking stuff to the car.  Judi asked she could use a big black trash bag for her clothes.  It seemed a little odd, but I couldn’t think of a reason to say no, and was just glad she had had time to get her laundry done after just returning from youth camp in FL.  Got to love my big washer and drier.  

Judi told me later that she didn’t feel like she had time to plan out outfits and pack them all so threw ALL her clothes in the trash bag. Ha!  I mentioned hoping Suzanne had coset space for us.. she said.. all she needed was the floor.  Any given day, if you were to come see her room, you’d see a sea of clothes on the floor.  I’ve tried saying, “No driving ’till your clothes are picked up.” and that works sometimes…  I told her she couldn’t live like that at Suzanne’s.

Judi and I made it to MO yesterday.  It was a long drive.  Judi drove a total of 5.5 hrs and I drove 3.  So nice to be able to crash in the hotel.  It’s work for me when she drives, too.  

The very minute I started getting a little comfortable with her driving and the road we were on and thought about getting my knitting out she decided to try to throw away something, went off the left shoulder of the road and it was a few swerves before she had control of the car again.  Focus.  Shortly after an 18 wheeler decided to turn left and she just made it around his tail without hitting the car in the right lane beside her.  Does that count as my cardio work out for the day?

The only other scare we’ve had so far was when another 18 wheeler lost his tire and I had no time to go around it.. so I went right over it. It was almost a whole tire and felt a good bump under my car, flew up a little and the CD player stopped for a bit.  The car seems OK.  Thank you, Jesus and all the heavenly angels watching over us!

After lunch, Judi wanted to drive again and before we knew it we were in the Ozarks.  We cut through the Northeastern corner and they weren’t too bad.. up, down and around and around…  They had wide shoulders on the curviest parts.  There weren’t really any speed limit’s there.. just lots of caution curve ahead and a suggested speed signs.  The trucks coming the other way scared Judi at first.. especially the ones crossing the yellow lines but she got the hang of it and enjoyed the challenge.  

We had a good time listening to the new CD’s that we bought for the trip, ate lunch at a Cracker Barrel and dinner at an Applebees; threw away our leftovers because we don’t have a fridge. I found an all natural, corn free soda on a corn free list that they actually carry at this new heath food grocery store near us.  I got to drink a whole soda for the first time in 5 years.  Felt so spoiled.  The root beer was really good.  I won’t make a habit of drinking it.. ’cause they have a bunch of sugar in them.. but it’s nice to have a treat.
We’ve got 4 more hours to go ‘tll we get to KS and the wedding.  Keep us in your prayers.
Love, 
J

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