November 18, 2017

Determination


Determination…a word of action needed to get through life…

I have been through many circumstances in life; as a child, a teenager, and many more experiences in my adult life. Recently, as I was out running, I had to push myself to keep going. It reminded me of this photo. This was a time about 8 years ago when I was training for the open 400m race. I was actually trying to make the upcoming Olympics. Although, my time was close to tryout times, I needed to knock off several more seconds. Anyway, as I thought back to this time in my life during my now getting back in shape jog, I kept running to finish my last mile. I then thought to myself how being determined is sometimes what gets you through things in life; it’s what got me through the last year of my life for sure. Unfortunately, in the past few years of my life, I’ve had at least a few circumstances that I needed to dig my way through. I was determined to be a better mom, a better wife, determined to not only make it through cancer and chemotherapy, but to come out on the other end in better shape than I was before; healthier, physically and mentally stronger and more spiritually fit. That is where I am now; getting back in to shape, constantly trying to cut certain foods out of my diet (a work in progress 😉 ), and my oh my, what God has shown me about Him – that will be in another blog!

Subsequently, in the midst of wanting to be done with this workout, it came to me that choosing determination is what I’ve had to decide within me over the more recent course of my life. If I choose to be determined no matter how much I hurt, no matter how tired I am, no matter what others say, then I can keep going. If I choose to be determined, even if I don’t know what the next step is, I know God will work it out for me. Sometimes, I just need to commit, bringing me to see the next step as I get closer to it. I ask God to help sustain me, show me how to get through, and to show me what’s next; humbly admitting I don’t know what else to do.

So here I am, determined…to do life…to be happy…to love…but most importantly, to keep learning and leaning on my God.

Detoxing My Chemo Effects

Chemotherapy treatments for cancer was the absolute last thing I would have ever thought I would have to endure. Unfortunately, that is where I ended up. I didn’t know anything about chemo and cancer, but I knew I didn’t want to do it, and there was something about it that just wasn’t right. (Please research all options natural and medical before deciding what to do. Everyone’s case is different, and I am not a doctor). However, I didn’t have anyone on the natural treatment side to reach out to. There were acquaintances who said, “Don’t do chemo. There are natural ways.” I didn’t know who these people were or who to listen to. Moreover, I couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket, since medical insurance does not cover, for a naturopathic or holistic doctor. However, I know in some cases chemo is necessary, but in my mind, there was something not right about chemo. Needless to say, off to chemo I went.

Shortly after beginning my chemo, I met someone who shared some supplemental and essential oil info with me to help lessen my effects. I had never heard of essential oils, and I love them. They are so beneficial for your health! I use them all the time now, instead of some other remedies that have been recommended to me. I call them natures’ solutions. I started with four rounds of Adriamycin, Cytoxan, and Taxoter (ACT). Then, I went through half of my six “treatments” of  Taxotere, Carboplatin, and Herceptin (TCH). The effects that I consistently dealt with were nausea, constipation, headache, low fever, body aches (that kept me curled up in bed), and tiredness. The good thing was that my effects were like clock work, so I knew what to expect.  Although, they were the same, the intensity was sometimes worse on different weeks.

As you know your chemo effects you heart and liver the most. So, when you detox, you are going to use detoxification methods that cleanse your liver.

Here is what I did to detox during my chemo:

  1. Lemon Essential Oil in my water or tea.
  2. Milk Thistle Seed in 4 oz of water.
  3. Liquid Turmeric in 4 oz of water.
  4. Castor Oil Pack
  5. Epson Salt, Baking Soda, and Essential Oil Bath
  6. Green Juice
  7. Wheatgrass Juice

During the week of my chemo, everyday I would do at least three of the above (#1-5) detoxes. Number 6 and 7 were daily things I did from the time I received my diagnosis until. In between treatments, I would continue to do at least two a day. My chemo was on Tuesday. I started my detox on Monday, 3-4 times a day. The first time I detoxed, I was amazed at how much better I felt. I was not in bed all day following my Neulasta shot. I had no fever, much less aches (a little in my ankles as opposed to all over), I wasn’t as tired, and no nausea. I still took it easy, but at least I didn’t feel like I had to lay still and not move to avoid being dizzy, or curled up in bed for a day.

My schedule went as follows: Morning – lemon oil, Mid-morning before lunch – milk thistle seed, afternoon before dinner – turmeric, before bedtime – castor oil pack. After doing this for five days, my hair started to grow back!

Now, depending on your chemo and what your doctor says, this detoxing will not override your chemo. The drugs are way too carcinogenic and strong to be rid of by this type of detoxing. However, you should always consult your doctor regarding anything extra you do at home.

Instructions:

Lemon Essential Oil or Zendocrine Oil

I am an advocate for doTERRA essential oils. doTERRA oils are certified pure therapeutic grade oils (CPTG). Meaning they use proper methods of growing, harvesting, and distilling to maintain purity. There are no artificial fillers or pesticides used. Many of their oils can also be ingested, compared to other companies. Do your research, and choose what you like best, but I am partial to doTERRA, and therefore, you can order your oils through me 🙂 Oils can be used aromatically, topically, and ingested.

Add 1 drop to 4 oz of water or tea and drink throughout your day as wanted. I use 2-3 drops in my green tea because I prefer to do extra.

Milk Thistle Seed

Follow directions on the bottle. Add 30-40 drops to 4 oz of water and drink in between meals 3-4 times a day. I used the Gaia low alcohol brand.

Turmeric

Follow directions on the bottle. Add a dropper full to 2 oz of water or juice and drink in between meals 2-5 times a day. I used the Herb Pharm brand.

Castor Oil Pack

First off, you do NOT drink the castor oil!

Purchase a bottle of castor oil, a 36″ x 18″ flannel cloth, and a heating pad or water bottle. You will also need a plastic bag (kitchen garbage bag worked best for me).

Rub castor oil over your liver area (located on your left side just beneath the portion of your ribs) on both the front and back side. Saturate your cloth and place over your liver allowing the cloth to wrap around your side to your back. Or you can place a cotton hand towel over the area with oil. Place the plastic bag over the cloth to avoid getting your clothes or heating element oily. Lastly, place the heating element of your choice over your liver and lay on your right side for 45 min. Do this 4 times a week for four consecutive days. Take a break, then repeat for 4-6 weeks following for best results. There are directions on your pack that tell you how often you can reuse your cloth. I would drizzle the oil on the cloth and spread it with my hands so that I would not have to use the whole bottle in one application. The next time I would detox, I would only have to use a little more to re-oil the cloth.

Epson Salt, Baking Soda, and Essential Oil Bath

Items needed: Aluminum Free baking soda – 2 cups, Epsom Salt – 2 cups, Rosemary and Juniper Essential Oil – 4 drops of each.

Put the baking soda and salt in a very warm bath and dissolve (about 5 min). Then add your oils and swish around. Climb in and soak. At the time, I only had lavender, lemon, and rosemary essential oils, so that’s what I used.  All of them help to detoxify, but the rosemary and juniper the most. This works by reverse osmosis, pulling the salt and chemicals through your pores. The salt helps flush out toxins and heavy metals. Baking soda helps rid the body of drugs, radiation exposure, and chemicals from food. Your body will sweat out the toxins.

Green Juice and Wheatgrass Shots

When I was going through treatments, my husband learned how to grow wheatgrass to keep our cost of buying it down. You can learn more about what he did here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/aboutwheatgrass/ Although there are many benefits from wheatgrass, here is what I could see that benefited me the most. It strengthened my immune system while going through surgery, healing, and going through treatments. It aided in detoxing as well. Moreover, for cancer patients, it has a high(est) content of chlorophyll, therefore, your cells are able to get more oxygen. One of the main findings with cancer patients is that doctors have realized their cells are oxygen depleted when diagnosed.

You have to purchase a specific juicer in order for the wheatgrass to be juiced properly. If you use a regular juicer, you will end up buying and going through much more grass than needed in order to get an adequate amount. We used an Omega Juicer. My husband gave me at least two (2 oz per day).

Although I no longer drink wheatgrass, I juice green vegetables often. This was most beneficial to get as many nutrients into my system as possible. That also helped with my healing and making sure I got enough nutrients during treatment to keep me going strong. You can juice any combination of cruciferous (dark) green vegetables that fits your taste, and you get a variable amount of vitamins and nutrients. However, the basics for detoxing are green apple, celery, and cucumber. Then you can add other veggies like kale, parsley, cilantro, ginger, lemon, lime, arugula, and spinach. Check my favorites menu for links to juicing and other great resources.

Happy Detoxing!!!

Letting God

20131008-140909.jpg

What is it that you want changed? To be a better person, to be happy, fulfilled, and maybe even a person of strong character? Those sound like qualities anyone would want. But when you ask God to change your heart, are those the things that what He will change? A lesson some want to learn, yet fear the change that may come about.

If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life to me , you will find it.

Matthew 16:26

We can consume ourselves with trying to make our lives the way we think they should be or the way others think they should be. All in all, what we are trying to do is control our circumstances and others into what we think we want in life. We believe that our choices in life are going to get us to our insurmountable joy! After all, who else is going to do it for us? Aren’t we responsible for our being?

We could never imagine the damage we could be causing along the way; by making sure we keep everything under “control.”

But if I give not “everything,” but all of my self, my life, over to Him who knows all things, created all things, and desires for me to prosper in all things; what then shall I have to lose? His word says, I will find my life. Life is full and living and fruitful. It is a life dependent on not all the things I “keep under control,” but a life I’m willing to lay down. A life I’m willing to allow Christ to dwell in. And in changing my heart, he is helping me to become more like Him – Knowing it’s not about me – Knowing I’m not in control of all things – Allowing him to orchestrate my life and it’s circumstances; making my life full and flourishing. I can be busy loving all and forgiving all. He will be busy blessing those who come to Him, and I can surely say “change my heart, O God,” and mean it with all my heart.

On My Knees

There are days when I feel the best of me is ready to begin. Then there are days when I feel all my desires are being squashed and delayed once more.

Has that ever happened to you? A desire wells up in you so strong that even though you don’t know how, you know you are supposed to strive to attain it. God’s word says:

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13

So if there is a desire, that is good, within you, doesn’t it have to be from God? He has given us both spiritual gifts and talents to use for His glory. No matter what our gifts are, we must use them to please God. Through that, God allows us to experience easier in what He’s blessed us with. Once we know what it is our heart desires, the question is how to use them and where? Do we take every opportunity that comes before us? Do we make our own way? Do we sit on our hands and wait for an opportunity to be handed out to us? I believe the answer is definitely not to make something happen. I know we shouldn’t wait for someone else to make our dreams come true. So the last question remains unanswered; which opportunity do we take hold of? Will a better choice come along? Or will there even be another choice? I guess if God has placed something in your heart, He would not just offer one chance. But to be sure and know this is the one is what can sometimes be unclear. You know your desire has been planted in you by God; but other opinions and circumstances can cloud your vision. So why would He allow it to be there and not use it?

That brings me to the answer – to get on my knees; once more, continuously…waiting for His guidance and direction. It would be easy to leave it behind, but then I would be forever haunted by the fact that I laid aside a part of myself. Yes, to do other things that are necessary, but to leave behind an expressive part of me. But I wait – hoping the Lord will give me a louder than ever audible answer to move ahead. It may be this time or perhaps the next. Sometimes He is silent and I must wonder, is that because He is waiting for me to learn something, to make a decision based on the desires He has placed in me, or waiting for me to be more consistent in seeking Him and knowing for sure how to hear His voice.

So I wait on my knees. Please God, speak to me.

To Be Near

Years ago, as a 9 year old little girl, I took a trip to California. We were visiting my extended family. At this point in my life, there was a huge void, that I believed would no longer be filled. My parents had not only divorced, but we had moved clear across the United States, and everything in my life had changed.

So, there I was. Sitting on a plane headed to visit family, but most importantly to me – seeing my father. Can you imagine the excitement within me? A day or so later, I was riding in the car with my father. All I could help but feel was the happiness of knowing he wanted to see me. He took me and my younger brother to the beach. As we sat on the beach, he asked if we wanted to go play. My brother was five years younger than I, so he was thrilled to run free. As I looked out onto the fun-filled waves and sand all around me, I knew, however, I wanted nothing more than to sit with my dad and never leave his side. I wanted to enjoy the comfort of knowing he was near, and it made me feel he wanted to be there with me; that he cared. I felt safer than ever, just for that short time, after having been what I felt like was being torn from him, abandoned, and unloved. There was no way I was going to leave his side.

Although the years have passed, the feeling of wanting to be near my father has not changed. I have learned over the years that God is my Heavenly Father, and He takes the place of my earthly father as well. He is the only one who has ever filled my needs and desires completely. He has proven himself to me as a comforter, a healer, a redeemer, and my Father who truly cares for me.

It has taken awhile for me to grasp firmly to that belief after having learned a false belief of an uncaring God because of the message I received and was exhibited. At this point in my life, I relate my deep desire back then to be near my father, to actually wanting to be near my Heavenly Father – sitting side by side with Him; abiding in Him and letting Him fill me.

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.

Psalm 73:28

I Press On

Last year ended with a surgery that my husband had to attend six weeks of therapy afterwards. Looking forward to him recovering well and proceeding on, I decided to start my year with a new goal. I’m not one for resolutions, but needless to say, my outlook for the year was to be a year of education.

My husband bought me a new computer; my previous one was on the brink. So I excitedly went through the entire help tutorial. I was on a roll. Not only did I refresh my memory of current knowledge, I learned some new pluses as well of things that were neat, but I would probably never use on a regular basis anyway.

Unfortunately, the trials weren’t over. Again we found ourselves in the hospital. We made it through, but I soon began to see that my year of education was not the textbook learning I was planning. Our family not only experienced another surgery, but a few financial quirks along the way. God decided that my year of learning was going to be of Him and His truths. So, the realization of my pressing on began.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”

Philippians 3:12

I needed patience, to be understanding, and to not waiver in my faith. I needed to believe that despite our hardships, God will provide, protect, and carry us through. If I lost my focus, I would panic and worry – become confused and unsure; speaking from experience. It is hard for us to live our lives knowing that His promises will be kept and He is in complete control if our focus is not on Him. Losing my focus complicates my trust in Him. Whatever I believed would soon be lived out in my life – good or bad. So I press on…

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”

Philippians 3:13

The only thing that keeps me grounded, focused, and at peace is to seek Him. Seek Him in prayer, remember and believe His Word to be true. If I continue to feel sorry for myself and make excuses because of everything that’s happened, I’ll never be able to move on. I would constantly say, “but I can’t…and this happened…and now…and there’s no hope.” If I don’t see any hope, I will live my life as if there is no hope. You will then find yourself stuck in the same mindless circle of life. We must the wisdom of God’s Word and take responsibility for how we are to live as women of God…pressing on.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

Supposed 2 Delighted 2

Hey! Hi! Hello! Yes, it’s me again. I know. It’s been a while. You don’t know the half of it. God has been working a new thing in me. And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what it was. Oh, I forgot. That is the way God works isn’t it? Then when He knows I’m ready to hear and receive what He has to say, is when He reveals His truth. I know He’s not done with me. For I am constantly being molded as His word says. This is one more “little” thing He’s shown to me.

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Isaiah 64:8

Has there ever been a time in your life when you have a mountain of things to do, to amend, to mediate, to fix, to care for, to figure out, to clean, to cook, to like or not like, or most of all to decide. Argh! If I decide, then I have to do. And if I do, I have to decide how, when, which, or what! Sigh…Sorry. I’m venting. But then again, I’m so tired. I’m so tired of being tired both physically and emotionally. My list of “duties” that I am supposed 2 do is way, too, long! I know. I know. I’m not the only one. It’s not just about me. Hmm. Maybe that’s where I’ve gone wrong.

My list of things to do may be things that must be done; that are part of my daily life routine, but they are also part of our obedience to God. What?! How can my work, cleaning or running errands be part of my obedience? I mean, does God really care? Well, let’s look at it this way. If I’m pouting and complaining about how “I” have to do this, or how NO ONE else does, or even that I need a break, then what kind of attitude am I displaying? If my attitude is, well let’s just say, unpleasant, then it will eventually show to those around me. I might become snappy or critical. And if my attitude and actions are bad, then I am no longer doing things in a Godly way. We become self-centered.

My desire to be obedient should be out of delight. If I am “supposed 2” do these duties, then I’ll tire quickly and become frustrated. But if my purpose or desire in life is to please my God and King, I’ll find peace and joy no matter what I’m “supposed 2” do, and I’ll then be delighted 2.

Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

My love for pleasing God will run so deeply that my view in life will change. I will look at life with a different perspective and not become so bogged down.  I am now eager to do what I GET to do. All of sudden, you are overflowing with energy, and you are more lively to complete what is set out before you. My attitude is now heartfelt. In Him is where I’ll find peace. In Him is where I’ll find joy. In Him is where I’ll find rest for my soul. And in Him is where I’ll always find myself delighted 2!

My Desire

She Speaks Conference

I want to share with you my desire to be used by God. Over 10 years ago, after God brought me out of a very difficult time of my life, I attended a very small knit women’s retreat (about 30 attended). I came to a point in my life when I opened myself up to be used by God however He chose. At that time, I wanted to be totally His and totally healed. He spoke to me audibly that weekend and said, “Share your testimony.” I was so surprised to hear from Him that way that I immediately began to ask, me? now? when? to who?

On the last day of the retreat I found myself on edge looking for the opportunity. Well, it didn’t happen then. Over these last several years I have found myself feeling a constant tug towards Him – a strong desire to know Him in a more intimate way and to be used by Him in a different way. I have experienced continuous messages (in different instances) revealing how much I desire to minister to other women. The most recent experience being two years ago, and the latest – the fall of 2010, when Lysa TerKeurst came to First Baptist Church of Atlanta. As I was almost the last to approach her, I had no idea why I was going to meet her or even what I was going to say. However, some of what I just shared is what came out.

So, here I am sharing with you about a conference entitled, She Speaks Conference, that is geared toward women who feel led to be speakers, writers, and/or in leadership ministries. It provides workshops and evaluations by well known authors and speakers. The conference will be held in North Carolina this summer. My post is not only to share, but it is also for the purpose of entering a scholarship contest for this year’s conference. If anyone would like to know more about it, you may click on the link above, or if you would like to learn more about the contest click here: She Speaks Contest Post . The winners will be announced this Monday, March 14th. Which also happens to be my birthday! Wouldn’t that be a great gift. Anyway, thanks for your time, and we’ll talk soon.

Praise Him at All Times

Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
Praise the name of the Lord.

Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forever.

From the rising of the sun to its setting.
The name of the Lord is to be praised.

The Lord is high above all nations;
His glory is above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God?
Who is enthroned on high?

Psalm 113:1-5

So far this year has been a time of trusting in Him no matter what. His repeated command has been – trust me. You said you trust me. You also said you wanted to learn to trust and depend on me in all circumstances. Oh, yeah, Lord. I did say that didn’t I?

While trusting Him, I must not try and control areas of my life, but wait on Him. I must not worry, but give Him my petitions. Most of all I must praise Him at all times, knowing the power of His name.

Something Big

Last year, in January, I really felt like God was going to do something big in my life. I didn’t know what, but I knew it was going to be something new, something different, something I would be so excited about and would make a change in my life. My imagination began to run away from me. What if it was moving? Or what if it was starting a business, or maybe some big new opportunity that would bring excitement to my life. Really, anything from the norm would be great.

By December 2010, to my knowledge, nothing had happened. I shared my thoughts with my husband and told him, “Well, there’s less than 30 days left.” Needless to say, I was somewhat disappointed. I really felt like something big was going to happen.

After putting more thought into it, I realized that the something big that I thought might happen, is not necessarily the something big that God had planned.  Sometimes what we expect is not what God is brewing. Whether it has to do with money, relationships, or circumstances. But…

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:28

So, as I look back over the year, God has brought me to point of saying “yes” to Him no matter what. Yes, Lord, I will do what You have called me to. Yes, Lord, I will seek you at all times. And the biggest yes of all – Yes, Lord, I will share what You have done in my life with others. However, I may stumble, or forget because I’m so caught up in my life, or act impulsively out of my flesh. It may even seem at times that everything is against me. But I press on, believing in what He says is true. Trusting in His plan, His way, and His timing.  I  compose myself and focus on His truth. I then choose to respond the way He desires. No matter what the cost. Yes, Lord, I will continue on my path to be the Godly woman that You have called me to be.

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7