Setting Hope Free and Bringing Joy to Life!

Stories of Hope

When You Can See God Answering Your Prayers

So, I have mentioned in the past about my career in social work.  I was never a fan of it.  You could even sometimes hear me talk about how much I hated it!  Social work was never a field that had even entered my mind to work in.  I had kind of fallen into it due to the degree I have.  I possess a Bachelors in Psychology, which cost me a ton of money and made me feel really good when I got it.  I was planning on heading straight for my Masters degree in Counseling and was planning on owning my own counseling practice as soon as I could.  Well my divorce brought a screeching hault to that plan, which in hind sight I realize was a good thing.  When I imagine myself in the field of counseling I could almost laugh at what a poor choice that is for myself.  I am not a fan of a lot of interaction with people, I prefer more alone time, which some think is weird.  I tend to feel very drained when I am around people for a long period of time and I usually need to be alone or close to it for a recovery period.  Lol!  That’s me!  So imagine me having to sit and listen to people talk about their issues all day…every day.

I’m so happy that my plans were thwarted and derailed.  I was then able to take a step back and really start getting to know myself for the first time and I realized pretty quickly, after a few jobs, that I wasn’t happy with, that I am better suited working in a more solitude environment.  As I was working in the jobs that I was unhappy with I would pray that God would bring me the job of my dreams.  I even made a list of what this job would look like.  The list mentioned a high salary, having employer that I respected, give me the opportunities to be creative in my own way, give me freedom in my schedule…among other things.  I prayed fervently for this “perfect job”, much like I pray for my “perfect man” to come to me when the time is right.

I can see God stretching and growing me by leaps and bounds right now.  I no longer feel stuck, like I have in the years past.  I feel like I am right where I need to be and learning what I need to learn to bring forth the next steps in this journey of life I’m living.  That being said… I can see that God is preparing me for some things in my life.  He is preparing me for a career, not just a job.  He’s helping to bring awareness to passions and interests that I never even realized I had.  Now I feel like I’m on a quest to learn how to manage my own company, how to better organize and prioritize things for better efficiency, to learn how to utilize my time to get the most productivity out of my day.  These are things that I am extremely focused on currently, which is funny to me because I would have never been interested in any of it before.  I needed to go through a lot to get me to the point where that all seems fun and interesting rather that tedious and boring.

I am now working for a holistic practitioner who in the past has run very successful companies and is now living his dream and fulfilling his calling by helping people heal themselves holistically. He hired me as his business manager knowing full well that I had no experience as a manager, but he has taken me under his wing and is showing me the ropes.  Just  another stop on this journey of life that God has me on.  I am so appreciative to all the stops I have made so far, even the ones that I haven’t liked.  I still learned from them.  I don’t even know where my destination is but I am running full force, trusting that God has me in the palm of His hand guiding me the whole way.

I keep writing, which is one of the new interests that I discovered and never knew I had.  It is extremely fun and also therapeutic for me to just start writing and let my thoughts flow out, or to be writing a creative story.  I always used to say that I didn’t have a creative bone in my body, but it turns out that I had just not discovered it yet.  I remember when I first even thought about writing. I was at the store and I saw an American Girl book that had a bunch of prompts for story writing ideas.  That all of a sudden sounded really fun to me.  I was a stay-at-home mom at the time and was in search of something of my own to do that didn’t involve taking care of people.  I began writing poems and short stories.  I love re-reading those now and remembering how much fun it was to write and I wondered how I never knew that I liked it before.   The only thing I can think of is that multitasking isn’t one of my strong suites, so as I was taking care of my girls and trying my best to be a good wife I didn’t pay any attention to the things that interested me.  I was always a little jealous of people who knew what their passions and interests were.  They always seemed so happy and content which was and is feelings that I strive for.

Beginning this journey with writing is really exciting for me because I have passion and interest in something and it truly brings me joy.    I keep getting all of these ideas now for books to write and I write them down so not to forget.  I have a journal that I keep with me all the time so that when I get an idea I can jot it down.  The pages are filling and that’s a great feeling!  I have an idea for a book series that I am beginning right now and I feel obsessed with it as I’m watching it unfold.  This is seriously fun. 🙂

The point to this post is to encourage you to keep praying for your dreams and desires to be realized.  Take any step that you can toward them, no matter how small, because that small step could be what catapults your toward your destiny.  God wants us to be happy and fulfilled so allow Him to bring those feelings to you.  Stay out of your own way with doubts and negative self talk.  Those desires are in you for a reason so give them a shot and see where they may take you in this crazy life! 🙂

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Hope and a Future

Jeremiah 29: 11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

This verse has been resonating with me for the past month or so.  I have felt stuck, I guess you could say, in a rut.  I’ve spoken about it in past posts.  I feel stuck and I want to move forward in my life but I feel like something is holding me back.  Like I am running as fast as I can toward change but something has a hold of the back of my shirt holding me in place, so I am just basically spinning my wheels.  It is a frustrating feeling.  I give my concerns to God and I ask Him for clarity on what I am suppose to do with my life.  As I am waiting, this verse, Jeremiah 29:11 speaks to me.  Even though I am waiting and can sometimes grow frustrated, He still is working behind the scenes, because He knows the plans He has for me!  I don’t have to worry because His plans for me are good…plans for me to prosper and not be harmed, and my most favorite part, He has plans to give me hope and a future!  He’s got this!

I’ve heard different sermons preached recently that speak of waiting on the Lord and trust the process that He is bringing you through.  I’m not big on waiting.  I’m more the type of person that if what I want doesn’t happen immediately, or at least relatively soon, I lose interest and move on.  I’m almost 40 years old and that is still how I am!  I can feel that God is trying to slow me down right now so that I don’t run past what it is He is trying to teach me.  I pray to Him daily for insight and wisdom as to His plan for me so that I am sure to learn these life changing lessons.  I keep writing these posts, which are a therapy for me but I hope they will also be an encouragement to those reading them who may be going through the same things that I am.

There is another verse in Jeremiah that has been speaking to me as well…Jeremiah 29: 14 – “I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

What I love about this verse is that God is promising that when I seek Him I WILL find Him and He will rescue me!  The word that this brings to mind is FREEDOM!  Freedom from what?  It could be freedom from worry, freedom from indecision, freedom from boredom, freedom from being a victim to lies, freedom from living in fear, freedom from the job you don’t like, freedom from feeling inadequate, and the list could go on and on.  All of those things listed are things that I have dealt with at one point or another and sometime still do deal with!  Whenever I start to feel any of those things weighing on me I press closer to God and let Him know how I’m feeling.  It is amazes me how quickly He comes to my rescue.  At this time in my life I am dealing with an intense feeling of inadequacy that blankets multiple areas of my life: my parenting, my job, and my ability to be a good friend are the main areas.  Instead of letting this feeling of inadequacy inhabit all of my thoughts I will tell God how I am feeling and ask Him to deliver me from it.  Then I will ask for clarity on how to change those areas in my life for the better.  He’ll deliver because He always does!  I am looking to the future to the time when I feel confident in these areas, or at least a little less inadequate.  I know though that Victory is mine because God promised me hope and a future and I know for a fact that He doesn’t have a future planned for me where I feel trapped and unhappy.  My future is bright and full and is going to bring glory to God’s name!

For anyone who is dealing with any of the feelings I wrote about in this post please know that you do not have to remain prisoner to them.  Seek God and you WILL find Him and He will rescue you!  Leave a comment below and let me know if there is a particular area that you need prayer for.  I would love to join you in asking God for deliverance.  I appreciate you taking the time to read my post.  Enjoy your day!

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Winter Wonderland

I am not a fan of winter, to say the least.  I live in Michigan and we have some pretty tough, long winters.  I usually complain my way through them and talk about how one day I’m going to move somewhere warm (which I will).  I don’t like the cold, I don’t like the snowy and/or icy driving conditions, I don’t like all the layers of clothing I have to wear to stay warm, I don’t like how dry my skin gets, I don’t like all the static in my hair and clothes all the time, and the list could really keep on going.  I feel there are some people who were meant to live in cold weather climates and others that were meant for warmth.  I’m definitely a warm weather climate sort of gal!

 

This winter, however, has been pretty mild in temperature.  We’ve had multiple days in a row where the temps are in the 40’s, which is very unusual for this time of year.  It’s overcast and rainy a lot, but no snow!  I still yearn for the hot days of summer when I’m in shorts, a tank top and flip flops every day.  In my last post, No Time Like The Present, I talked about being content with my present life.  Even though I have goals to move to somewhere warm in the future I didn’t want to become so dissatisfied with my current situation that I am in that I don’t notice the good things that are surrounding me.  Just a second ago I took the trash out to the side of the road because trash day is on Monday where I live.  I walked outside and to my surprise it was snowing!  Normally that would have put me in a funky mood and I would start worrying about my daughter having to drive to school on possibly bad roads in the morning and me having to get to work.  Instead of my normal reaction I instead stood still and listened to how peaceful and quiet the night was.  The snow was falling in huge flakes and it was coming down all slow and lazy.  It was beautiful!  It’s funny how a change of attitude can completely change your perspective, isn’t it?

 

This winter, instead of caving into the winter blues, I want to make this time of year more fun for me.  Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to start participating in any winter sports…I still despise being cold, but I can make being inside more fun and ward off cabin fever by finding different things to do.  Ideas I have thought of so far was hosting a game night, decorating the loft I live in to be more warm and cozy, find new recipes to cook, take more time to read, take more time to write, think seriously about writing a book, plan and save for a vacation, start a business….options are endless!  I would appreciate any and all ideas from anyone reading this as well!  I’m choosing to make winter fun so that next winter I don’t have to feel myself start to get depressed as soon as it starts getting cold, but I can remember how much fun last winter was and look forward to the upcoming one!

 

Michigan may not be where I end up but it’s my home now, so why not make the most of it…even in the winter. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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No Time Like The Present

When I look back on my life I feel like there have been so many times that I have been fleeing one situation and jumping into another trying to escape the first situation.  The saying comes to mind, “The grass is always greener on the other side”.  I don’t believe that the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side.  I admit that there have been times that I could have made situations in my life better by changing my perspective or being more patient before I jumped ship.  There have also been times that the grass I was standing on was dead and never going to be revived.

I am the type of person that looks to the future, a forward thinker, and I love setting goals and dreaming of how I want my life to be.  I spend a lot of time doing that.  I take time and pray about my goals and dreams and ask God how I can come about achieving them.  I ask that I not pass up any opportunities that would afford me the luxury of realizing my goals and dreams.  Then as time passes on and my prayers aren’t immediately answered, or just “taking too long” in my opinion, I get frustrated with my life and feel down on myself for not getting to where I want to be.  Never mind how far I’ve come!  I seem to always let that slip my mind.

In all those prayers, I believe in my whole heart that God hears me and that he sets into motion those things that are in His will for my life, and so I wait in faith, knowing that my dreams will someday be a reality, but then like I said before, I start to get frustrated when it seems like I’m nowhere closer to my dreams and goals than I was before.  I seem to always grow dissatisfied with how my life is in the present.

I didn’t realize this about myself until recently.  I was feeling frustrated and dissatisfied, as usual, and I was wondering what lesson I was suppose to be learning in my time of waiting on the Lord. What was I missing?  I thought I was doing the right things – looking for jobs that I felt would make me happier and more fulfilled, dating men who I felt had potential to be “the one” and trying to be positive and inspiring to others.  I was not getting anywhere though.  My actions did not seem to be bearing any fruits!

I look to my future and I see myself in a career that I am completely fulfilled by and making so much money that I am able to bless others financially, like how I want.  I see myself with a man who is able to love me and open his heart and his life to me because he can trust and he can’t see his life without me in it, a man who loves the Lord and serves Him along with me, we encourage each other and love each other to pieces!  My future shows me traveling all over the world all throughout the year with nothing holding me back.  I see these things and I want them so badly, and I believe that I can have them all!  The thing that I realized that was happening was that in all my dreaming of the future I was not even enjoying my time in the present.  I was so dissatisfied that things weren’t how I want them to be, or at least moving towards where I wanted them to be, that I was missing out on the good things that were happening to me now and that have been happening to me.  I realize that I am a blessed person and I thank God for those blessings, I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to stay in that attitude of thankfulness in the present.

I was talking with my mom the other day and she has been listening to me complain about how frustrated I am that I can’t seem to get out of the rut that I am in.  She always listens and encourages me as best as she can.  This day, however, she said to me that she believes that I need to work on being content with my life as it is.  She continued to say that she felt that I may be blocking my own blessings with my growing dissatisfaction with my current life!  I couldn’t disagree with her.  I was growing distraught with my life…and my life is NOT BAD.  It was my own bad attitude that was making it seem that way.  During that conversation with my mom I began telling her how I really believe that God will follow through with His promises to me, but that sometimes I just grow frustrated that I have to wait so long.  As I was telling her that I realized something.  If I really believed that God was going to follow through then there is no reason that I should be feeling any frustration or angst or dissatisfaction with my life.  Was it possible that I didn’t trust God??  This revelation hit me like a ton of bricks.  I knew I had trust issues but I though that GOD wouldn’t be included in them…for crying out loud!!  So after that conversation with my mom my prayer changed.  I began praying that God would #1 help me to have more faith and trust in Him and #2 to help me to be content with my current life.  I desire the peace that contentment brings and even if I’m not where I want to be in different aspects of my life, that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy every moment until I get there.  I am so happy that my mom saw the importance of telling me that because I wasn’t seeing it myself and if she hadn’t told me I could still be sitting in that unhappy state that I was in and growing even unhappier.

I hope that everyone reading this has people in their lives, or even just one person that they feel safe with and can tell their issues to without fear of being hurt or rejected.  Its those people that can tell it to us straight when we really need to hear something that maybe we wouldn’t hear from someone else that we didn’t feel as close to.  If you don’t have a person like that in your life then I urge you to find one.  Be honest about your flaws and allow someone to show you that they will accept you and will love you anyway.  I guarantee that with people like that in your life you will begin to feel the peace of contentment and you will be able to enjoy your present life no matter what phase you are in!

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Pure Gratitude

One thing I have been working on in myself lately is being grateful for the things I have in my life. Even things that may not seem so wonderful…like laundry or a sink full of dishes!  One of my strengths is being able to find a silver lining in most situations, but there are times when, even for me, the silver lining is just a little to hard to find.

I absolutely despise doing housework.  I always have.  My mom used to have to ask me so many times to clean my room or bathroom…which were literally the only things I was asked to do when I was growing up.  I still complained and acted like it was such a bother to have to get up from watching TV and pick up my room or clean the bathroom…what a jerk!  Well, as I got older and got married and moved into my own home I didn’t all of a sudden start loving to clean, or do any chores at all for that matter.  Things only got cleaned when they really needed it.  Sometimes well past when they needed it.  I am the type of person that needs some warning before people come over so I can spruce the place up.  It’s not disgusting, but not how you want people to see your home, for sure.

This being said, after I had kids and the messes really started piling up, I had to force myself to do chores more.  I mean, my kids needed to have clean clothes to wear and clean dishes to eat off of right?  Bathrooms needed cleaning so they could take baths and go potty on clean toilets.  I would do these chores with such a grumbling attitude.  Thinking things like…They are just going to mess this all up again…or my favorite whiny complaint….Nobody even appreciates that I do this stuff!  Really??  I’m being honest here when I say say these are the stupid things I would think as I cleaned MY home for MY family!  Can anyone relate, or am I the only lazy acting, entitled, ungrateful, whiny little baby out here?

Moving forward to after my divorce and after the breakup with my fiance I really started looking at myself, wanting to make any positive changes that I could to stop the pattern I found myself in.  The two biggest relationships in my life were with two men who were very much alike and I was ready to break the cycle of bad decision making I was on.  I began looking at myself…really looking at myself and seeing what there was that I could do to make some positive changes.  One of the most important things to me is being a good example for my daughters and I wanted them to see me making good choices and to see what those choices can reap.

One of the first things that I noticed about myself is that I felt very ungrateful for the blessings that I already had.  I was very good at pointing out my woes since the breakup with my fiance, I was very good at feeling sorry for myself.  This got even worse when I was alone and some pretty heavy loneliness set in.  Of course I have my girls, my friends, and my family, but there were those times, mostly at night, when I would feel suffocated with loneliness.  It was during those times of loneliness that I would pray because I felt like God was the only one who could really understand how I felt.  I didn’t have to articulate my feelings to Him.  I could literally just ask for help and He was ready to comfort me.  It was during one of those times, as I was literally sobbing in  my bed one night that God put in my heart to praise Him in my time of trouble.  Actually it felt more like a question, like He was ASKING me if I would praise Him in my time of trouble.  I stopped crying and asked myself if I could do this.  I then quickly decided that yes of course I could!  So, through my tears and sadness I began praising God…out loud.  My neighbor, who lives below me, may possibly think I’m crazy now…but I didn’t care!  I began saying out loud the things that God has blessed me with and thanking Him for these things.  A funny thing started happening…I started feeling better.  Instead of focusing on the bad in my life, I was choosing to focus on the good and it was chasing the bad feelings I was having away!

Thanking God became a daily ritual for me.  I will be going along in my day and might walk outside to nice weather and hear a bird chirp…thank you God!  I might be shopping and the item I need is on sale…thank you God!  I might have a conversation with someone and they let me now how much it has helped them to talk with me…thank you God!!! Gratitude is becoming such a fun habit for me!

So, going back to how much I dislike chores.  Last night I was washing dishes because they hadn’t been done in a couple of days.  There were dishes, bowls, pots and pans, silverware, knives and cutting boards.  Instead of grumbling and complaining, I instead started thinking about the delicious meals that were cooked in the pots and pans, and the food that was chopped with the knives and cutting boards and the full bellies that my girls had after eating from the bowls and using the silverware.  I was all of a sudden filled with such an enormous feeling of gratitude, it was almost overwhelming.  It made me smile uncontrollably and I again said a quick “thank you” to the One who makes all of this possible for me.  He helped to pull me out of whatever downward spiral I was headed towards when all I was focused on was the bad and dark things in my life.  I chose to praise Him in my time of trouble and He lifted me up and out of it.

This is what I want my daughters to see.  Not a defeated, crumbling person who is sad all of the time, but a person who makes choices to be happy and a person who is grateful for even the tiniest of blessings.  This gratitude is such a huge joy magnet, and me being the joy seeker that I am, am all about it!  Seek joy with me!

If you have any stories that you would like to share with me of times that you were able to find gratitude in times that may have been less than stellar, I’d love to hear them!  Comment below or you can email me at Turnashestobeauty@yahoo.com.  Thank you for reading!

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Acceptance Is Key

I feel like this post is very important in the respect that all of us as humans have choices that we can make, every single day.  We choose to get out of bed every morning, we choose to go to work or care for our homes and children, we choose to eat when we’re hungry…etc.  The choices that we have to make in one single day are never ending and those choices have an impact on our futures, whether it be an immediate impact or long term.

 

When I woke up on Wednesday morning to discover that Donald Trump was our next President, I was more than a little shocked.  I truly didn’t think that he stood a chance against the “powers that be” that were supporting Hillary Clinton.  So as the news registered in my brain and the shock wore off I immediately began to accept the outcome.  I said a prayer for our new President and all those that would be working for him.  I prayed that he would be a catalyst toward the healing that our country desperately needs.  I am no fortune teller, and to say that he is going to ruin our country and take away our rights seems unfair to me.  I am a firm believer in giving people a fair chance and let them put actions behind the words that they speak.  I am willing to do that for Donald Trump.  I will respect his position in office with a positive attitude and give him the chance to back up all of his promises he made during the campaign.

 

What really shocked me on Wednesday morning, even more than Donald Trump winning the Presidency, was all of the anger and hateful words I read on social media coming from Clinton supporters.  It was alarming to me.  Now, I have experienced major disappointments in my life, disappointments that made huge impacts to future.  My divorce being one of them.  I reacted towards my ex-husband very unkindly and hateful during that time because…well, because I hated him at the time!  I understand where the anger and emotions are coming from, trust me!  This is where we can all take a second to breathe though, and tell ourselves that we have some choices we can make regarding this election and the result of it.  We can get angry and say cruel things about the President and all of those who voted for him, demeaning all of his efforts the entire time he is in office; we can move out of the country, like I heard quite a few people claim they would do if Trump won; or we can choose to accept the outcome, lending our support, resources and knowledge to those who need it and do OUR part in our small corners of the nation to make this country great again.

 

The first and most important piece to this, in my opinion, is acceptance.  We have to realize that there are some things that are out of our control and beyond our means to change.  In times like this I like to first accept the outcome as it is, and then I like to look at the whole picture and see what areas there are that I can change to make better for myself.  Usually it is my own attitude that I work on first.  I have said many prayers for God to help me adjust my attitude toward a situation and to help me see the positive.  God has always been faithful in helping me in that area.  Looking for areas that I can make a change in makes me feel less powerless.  I even like to write my ideas of change down so that I can reread them later and add to them if I want to.  It makes me feel good to see my plan of action and then start taking those action steps toward change.

 

Once I have my list of things that I have the power to change, I like to organize the items on the list.  Sometimes the list only has one item written on it, but that’s okay because it is still a step toward positive change.  The way that I like to organize my list is to start with some easy things first.  It helps me to see some quick progress right away.  When I finally decided that I needed to change my attitude towards my ex-husband, I first accepted our situation as it was and then I had to pray HARD for God’s grace to cover me so that I could even just pretend to be nice to him in the beginning.  Once I prayed I made my list.  I figured that the easiest thing I could do would be to not hang up the phone on him angrily every time we spoke.  So I began to allow conversations to come to a complete stop organically and then I would force myself to say “goodbye”.  That might not seem like a big deal but it was to me.  I hated talking to him at all, so even saying the word “goodbye” made me sick!  It took a very long time but eventually that one little step helped me to move past the feelings of hurt, anger, disappointment and disgust, to name a few.  That was roughly five years ago now and at this point my ex and I can have very normal conversations and we are extremely successful at co-parenting our children.  If I would have never taken that first little step I could still be a prisoner to all of that anger and bitterness which would be terrible for me, but even worse, it would be terrible for my girls and that is not okay with me.

 

Another reason why I like to have a list of change to look at is because it sort of holds me accountable.  It’s important to stay diligent when the action steps are taking place.  It’s so easy to want to quit when things get hard or frustrating, but being able to look at the list as a reminder of what you’re trying to accomplish and also to see how far you have come makes it easier to keep moving forward.

 

If anyone is still reeling over this past election, I urge you to pray about it.  Ask God to help you to accept these things that you can’t change and to help you see clearly the things that you CAN change.  I was reading my bible and came across these verses and I thought I would share them in case it helps anyone:

Romans 15:5-7 

5) May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus

6) so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7) Accept one another , then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

 

To me, these verses are an encouragement for unity for all of us.  I don’t believe there is one person, or even a group of people that can make our nation great again.  Our focus shouldn’t be on people, we should be focused more on the one who created this world and seek His guidance.  God tells us that we can give all of our issues to Him and then we can rest in Him while He handles it for us.  We can do the same thing now.  We can decide to unite during this time and seek God’s counsel as to what our purpose in all of this is and then we can rest in Him while He handles it!  I have had many opportunities for God to prove His faithfulness to me and He has NEVER failed.  I don’t expect Him to now.

I would love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below regarding this post or even if you have something you would like prayer for, so that I can join you in prayer.  Thank you for taking the time to read. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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The Dreaded Word…Cancer

I have been contemplating what experiences I want to share with you, showing how my ashes have been turned to beauty throughout my life.  I wrote down a list of things that I will eventually write about and as I looked over the list I decided that I would like to start from when I first realized that I had had ashes turned into beauty.  It was in 1996 and I had cancer.

 

I remember sitting at my desk at work feeling pain in my chest every time I took a breath.  I also felt it when I would lie down in bed or on the couch.  For whatever reason, I am the type of person that has to be extremely sick or hurt before I will even consider going to the doctors and this time was no different.  I would talk about the discomfort to my co-workers and ask them if they knew of anyone who had experienced what I was going through.  The consensus was that I more than likely had bronchitis.  I was bummed but also a little relieved.  I hated the thought of having to go to the doctors, but I was relieved that with some medication I should be feeling like my old self again in a week or so!

 

I was 18 years old at this point and because of my infrequent visits to the doctor’s office, I had never actually been there without my mom being with me before.  I remember her asking me if I was okay going by myself, and I said that I was.  I made sure that I knew right where I was going so that I didn’t get lost on the way.  My mom assured me that I would be fine.

 

The day of the appointment came and I almost cancelled it because my chest pains seemed to be lessening.  They weren’t completely gone but they definitely were not as bad as they had been.  I thought I was getting better.  I mentioned to my co-workers what was happening and that I was thinking about cancelling the appointment.  They let me know that if I did have bronchitis I would need medication to cure it completely.  So I kept the appointment and made the long drive by myself.

 

I remember walking into the doctor’s office and signing in at the receptionist’s desk, like I had seen my mom do.  I sat down and waited for my name to be called.  It didn’t take long for them to call my name and take me back to be weighed and have my temperature taken.  I was brought to an examining room and asked by the nurse what was bothering me, as she was taking my blood pressure.  I told her about my chest pains and I told her that I already figured out that I had bronchitis.  She asked me a few more questions and wrote down everything that I said before she left, telling me that the Doctor would be in with me shortly.  As I sat there waiting, I remember hoping that the pills I was going to be prescribed weren’t going to be too big…big pills made me gag.  The nurse came back in and told me that they were going to be doing a chest x-ray.  I was brought into a different room and asked to take my shirt off and I was positioned in front of the x-ray machine as the technician took the shots that were needed.  I was told I could put my shirt back on and I was taken back to the examining room.

 

At this point I was thinking that it was pretty weird that I would have to go through all of this just to diagnose bronchitis, but I didn’t know, so I went along with it.  After a while my Doctor came into the examining room and sat down on the stool in front of me.  He began explaining to me what they saw on the x-ray films.  He said that there was a “shadowing” around my heart that is not supposed to be there.  He said that he wanted to send me to have a CT scan done so that he would have a better idea of what was going on inside my chest.  As he was explaining this to me, I remember not having a clue what he was talking about but I was nervous about having to tell my parents that I was going to need a CT scan because I figured that it would be very expensive.  So I went home and told my mom that I had to have a CT scan and she asked why, and I had difficulty remembering everything the Doctor had told me so she called his office to find out.  The Doctor explained to her what he had seen on the x-ray and told her that he would like for me to have the CT scan to get a better look at what was going on in my chest.  The appointment was scheduled for us.

 

After the CT scan was over and we were sitting in the physician’s office, I STILL didn’t realize what everyone was afraid of.  He came into the office and sat down and explained his findings.  There was a mass growing underneath my breast bone.  My mom asked him if he was telling us that I had cancer…there it was…that word.  I remember looking at her in shock and wondering why she had asked him that.  I had just had a cousin pass away from bone marrow cancer; he was only four years old.  There was no way that I could have cancer!  Right after my cousin passed, my grandma, my mom’s mom, passed away suddenly from a massive stroke.  The icing on the cake…my mom and dad had just recently announced that they were getting a divorce…there was NO WAY that I could have cancer!!  COME ON!!!  The doctor was very careful not to use the actual word “cancer”.  He said that we would need to do a biopsy to find out for sure what was going on.  This biopsy was to take place right away and it would require major surgery.  I remember feeling like I was in a fog as I was listening to my mom and the doctor talk about me and discuss what the plan of action was.  I had never felt so out of control before.  I didn’t know what to think.  I didn’t want to have surgery.  I didn’t want to have scars on my body.  If this WAS cancer, I didn’t want to lose my hair.  Of all my concerns at the time I was never once worried that I may die.  Is that weird?

 

We met with the surgeon who would remove the “mass” from my chest and he explained how the surgery would go.  His plan was to cut down the center of my chest, through my sternum and open my rib cage, removing the mass.  I was horrified!  I was 18 years old and all I could think about was that I was going to have a huge, ugly scar down the center of my chest!!  I didn’t speak up, however, because I felt as though I didn’t have a say.  He was the surgeon after all.  I went home and went to bed, which was something I did a lot of.  I was very tired all the time.  I lay in bed and I prayed that I would not have to have a scar down the middle of my chest…that was my prayer.  Not that I wouldn’t have cancer, but that I wouldn’t have to have a nasty scar down the middle of my chest!  I don’t remember how soon after, but it was before the surgery, we got a call that the original surgeon was going to be out of the country on the date of the surgery.  We were advised to allow another surgeon to perform the biopsy.  We went in to meet this new surgeon.  He explained things to us, answered my parents questions, and at the end he turned to me and asked if I had any questions.  I decided to speak up about my concern.  I asked if there were any other options to getting the mass out rather than cutting through the center of my chest.  The surgeon looked at me with a shocked expression.  He said he would NEVER do that procedure on a young 18 year old girl.  He even mentioned that I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable in a bathing suit with a big scar on my chest.  He explained that instead he would go through my left side, spread my ribs, collapse my lung and then remove the mass.  He said that the scar would be right along my bra line and that I should hardly even see it.  I was ecstatic!!!  My prayer had been answered so quickly!  The surgery was scheduled for early the next morning and I went into it with a much better attitude than I had had before.

 

My parents took me to the hospital early the next morning and instead of being nervous that I was about to have major surgery, I was more excited to be having a new adventure.  Odd, I know.  Every part of that day was a new experience. After the surgery I remember waking up from the anesthesia as I was being wheeled to my room.  I was feeling hungry and somehow in the druggy haze I was in I was able to mumble how hungry I was to my dad.  He let everyone know I was awake…and hungry.  I remember hearing laughter after he said that.  Once in my room my nurse settled me in and my mom asked her what I could eat.  The nurse made me some chicken broth, and when I took a sip of it I literally moaned, like it was the most delicious, gourmet meal I had ever eaten!  I was in the hospital for three days until they released me and I was in excruciating pain almost the entire time.  I was experiencing pain in my chest that I was rating a 10 when the nurse asked me to rate it between 1 and 10.  They were trying to manage the pain with more Morphine, which only made me vomit, which made the chest pains even worse.  I was so weak between the chest pain and all the vomiting.  My poor mother was stressed out because she didn’t know how to help me.  Finally, during my second day there, the Doctor came to visit me to try and figure out why I was having the pain in my chest, my lung to be exact.  He had an idea that maybe the chest tube that they had put in my lung to keep the fluid out of it, may be pushed in too far and may possibly be scratching the wall of my lung every time I took a breath, moved at all, or vomited.  To test his theory, he pulled the chest tube out, just a little bit, and when he did I began feeling instant relief.  At that point it was easier to walk around like they wanted me to do.  I was also better company for the people who came to visit me.  Once I was unhooked from all of the machines and the Doctor’s cleared me, I went home.

 

It was nice to be home but also extremely uncomfortable.  The healing process started out very rocky.  I couldn’t move a lot and the pain killers I was prescribed gave me nightmares, so I didn’t sleep well.  I am like a big baby, when I don’t get a ton of sleep. I get very grumpy!  Needless to say, my poor mom took a lot of abuse from me.  She handled it in front of me like an angel, but I have a feeling that when she had rare moments alone, she felt some pretty deep emotions.  One day, if she’ll let me, I would love to write a story about her and the way that she handled this particular time in her life.  She was a model of grace and patience, even though the world that she knew was crumbling around her. She is one of my biggest role models and I love her with my entire soul!

 

After about 10 days, I think, we received the phone call saying that what they had suspected was true…I had cancer.  Great! I heard my mom talking to the Doctor on the phone and then she came into the bedroom where I was resting.  She relayed the message from the Doctor, I had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  This was apparently great news because the Doctor had been afraid that it was a type of cancer called Thymoma which would have been more difficult to treat, I guess.  They said that the mass that they removed from my chest was the size of a grapefruit and it had grown, what the Doctor called, “legs” that had started to wrap around my heart.  As my mom was telling me all of this, all I really wanted to do is call my friends and tell them the news.  I was going to have to have chemotherapy to attack the rest of the cancer that the Doctors couldn’t remove during the surgery.  They removed most of it, but some of it that was near my heart they were unable to.  Months later, I remember hearing my mom telling someone that she could not believe how well I took the news of having cancer.  She said that she thought I would break down or at least cry, but all I did was call my friends and inform them of what was going on…even laughing with some of them!  All I can say is that I was covered in God’s grace and felt a peace that could only have come from Him.  I didn’t know at that point if I was going to live or die, but I really had a strong feeling that me having cancer was going to be part of my life story…not the ending of it.

 

During that year I had six rounds of chemotherapy, which did the job and killed all of the cancer cells that had been left in my body.  I had lost all of my hair and had been periodically sick during that time, but somehow was still able to work full time and maintain a really fun social life, which was very important to me at that time.  I don’t like to be held back or stifled by anything, even cancer, so I love the fact that I can look back at that time and remember things fondly rather than feeling like it was the worst time of my life.  I know that my faith in God is what helped me through this trying time.  I knew that when I was feeling bad or scared I could call upon Him and He would hear my prayers, and He DID!!  I was 18 years old at that time, my parents were going through a divorce and I was more than a little rebellious.  Hearing that I had cancer and knowing that there wasn’t anything that I could do about it alone was the wake-up call that I needed to bring my focus back to what was important to me, which is my relationship with God.  I am nowhere near a perfect person, and I don’t even strive to be, but I know that God is always faithful and He’s got my back in EVERY situation.  He’s proven it time and time again.  All I have to do is call on Him and He hears me.

 

Is there a situation in your life where you need to feel God’s grace and peace?  Don’t hesitate to call on Him and give Him the chance to answer you.  Sometimes the answer comes in a way that you never even imagined, but He knows the whole story and see’s the full picture.  Don’t limit Him to what our small minds can come up with…Give Him control and see how awesome things turn out!!  I would love to hear from you and pray for you, if you have a need.  Leave a comment below or you can send me an email at Turnashestobeauty@yahoo.com.  Thank you so much for reading!

 

 

 

 

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Revival of Hope and Joy!

Welcome!

I am very excited to begin this project and I would like to thank you for stopping by to view my blog!  Writing on this platform is very new to me, but I love it because it gives me the opportunity to write what I want and not have to worry about being censored or finding a company to publish my writing.  I enjoy writing but I never went to school to pursue a degree in it.   I have always just written in my journals, creating short stories and writing down ideas for books that I would one day love to write.  My ideas of writing started to change for me back in 2009 when I watched the movie Julie and Julia.  I was so intrigued by the main character and how she started a blog just to give herself something to do and to give herself a platform to write on.  I feel that I have so many interests and inspirations that I would like to share.  My goal with this blog is to share my own personal stories of hope with my readers, as well as share other’s stories for the purpose of rekindling hope and joy in our lives.  I believe that there is a large percentage of people in our world that are operating on little to no hope for their futures or maybe even the futures of their children, and I want to be a voice of inspiration for all those who need it.

I am extremely blessed to have been given the gift of the ability to inspire others.  I have an energy that can be very persuasive when I really believe in something.  It has become clear to me that there is a major shortage of hope and joy in people’s lives.  I don’t even think that it’s something that many realize.  I think that there are so many that carry on in their daily lives completely void of hope and joy and they have absolutely no idea.  No idea why they feel so unhappy, so empty, so sad, so desperate, so depressed, so angry, etc.  My vision for this blog is to restore hope and joy to those who are in search of it, through stories told by myself and others who have been where they are, and have made it to the other side!  The side where happiness and fulfillment lives and where hope and joy is abundant!!  I have such a burning desire to reach as many people as I can in the time I have left here on Earth.  Please stay tuned for the first stories that I hope will begin to spark inspiration in multitudes and create a revival of hope and joy to all who need it.  I would love to hear from anyone who has a need and I would love to hear from those who have a story to tell.  Let’s inspire each other and be the voice that others need!

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