Adventure 2017- Part 5

The Gift of Preparation

Webster defines preparation as: "the action or process of making something ready for use or service or of getting ready for some occasion, test, or duty."

In life, we have many opportunities to prepare.  Yet, we sometimes refer to preparation as a duty or chore.   Consider the difference- "I have to study for a test."  VS.  "I have time to study so I can do great on this test."  Or,  "I've got to prepare the agenda for the meeting."  VS.  "How can I craft an agenda that leads to engagement and great meeting outcomes?" 

Then, there are major areas of preparation.  We prepare our children for life by modeling healthy habits and teaching them daily.  We prepare for a new career by going back to school or improving our skills. We prepare for death by creating a will or an estate.  

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, I am more aware of the gift of preparation. I've had a month to prepare mentally for my major surgery. I've had a month to prepare at work for tasks in my absence.  I've had a month to prepare my home for the recuperation process.  

English Writer Harriet Martineau once said "You had better live your best and act your best and think your best today; for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow."

This time has made me think about what we do with the time we're given. May the questions I'm processing below help you as you think about what you're preparing for.......because we're all preparing for something.

1.  What am I doing with the time I have?   Do I spend my time on things that are helpful, useful and will improve life for others or myself? 

2.  What is "mission critical" that must be prepared?   And, what can wait?  
          a.  If it can wait,  what process can I put in place to ensure it ends up in the work cue?

3.   In light of eternity, what truly matters?   This question came from a dear friend, Chuck Shaughnessy whose days were filled making major decisions as an executive at an international company but yet had an eternal perspective on everything.   When he first asked me this over three years ago, it stopped me in my tracks.  I thank him for this question and reminding me of what really matters.   At the end of the day, is what I'm working on going to matter in 1,000 years?  Have I made peace with God?  Myself?  My impact on the world?    

I've processed these questions over the past month. I've thought about death and life after death.  A little over a week ago, an acquaintance an member of our Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance died tragically in a car accident. She didn't get the time to prepare. She was on her way to work for what was going to be a normal day.   She didn't know she would step into eternity before lunch.  Someone else would have to clean out her desk.  Her family would have to pack up her clothes and treasured possessions.   She would have no time to say goodbye. 

I've thought about what will happen if I don't wake up from anesthesia this week.  I'm as prepared as I can be. And, I am ready for eternity.  My heartfelt prayer is that everyone reading this post will think, not of the day to day stressors that make up life, but rather, living a life that prepares you for eternity.  

1. Have you discovered who the God of the Universe really is?  I have experienced the depth of God's love for me and how very personal He speaks to those that call on His name.   Have you?

"God’s there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it." 
Psalm 145:18 The Message

2.  Have you lived the life you were called to live?  I have tried to live my mission of "speaking to inspire" each day.   I try to leave everyone I come in contact with better than they were before.  What about you?   Are you living your purpose?

“Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.”   Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

3.  What is left undone that you need to do?   Are there things I'd still like to accomplish, yes.  Am I totally ready to be out of work for an extended period of time, no.  However, I've had the gift of time to prepare.   What is undone in your life that you have the gift of time to get done? 

Here's to making the most of the gift of preparation! 
Looking forward to sharing more on the other side of my surgery! 



Adventure 2017 Part 3

What to Do While You're Waiting

For me, the waiting was for test results........waiting for mammogram results.   Waiting for ultrasound results.  Waiting for biopsy results.  Waiting for MRI results.   And now, waiting on genetic testing results.  Many who have received a medical diagnosis know this process and the emotions that go along with it. 

But some are waiting for other things.   Waiting for a wayward child to come home.  Waiting for a loved one to get sober.  Waiting for that new job opportunity that makes getting up every day more meaningful.  Waiting for those who are chronically ill and suffering to be called home to heaven.  Waiting to be free from the pain of depression or anxiety.  Waiting for life to just plain get better.

For some, waiting is for a short season.  For others, it’s years.  I don’t know why God allows some to wait longer,  to endure longer, but I know He has a good plan no matter the wait.  Jeremiah 29:11-13 promises us so.

Feelings and emotions can come in like a flood, drowning out any trust or hope you had that circumstances will change.  Worse, dreams invade your subconscious or you wake in the middle of night only to lay there and worry.  

This isn’t the first experience I’ve had with waiting.  I’ve waited (and still waiting) for family members to know God.  I’ve waited for life to get better. I’ve waited for circumstances to change.   But, my Adventure 2017 involving cancer has made me much more attune to the importance of HOW to wait.     

So, if you’re waiting, I hope what I share here gives you peace and a new way to wait.  A new way to endure. 

1.   Allow yourself time to process the emotions, feelings, pain and grief of what you’re waiting for.   But don’t stay there.   Have I cried? Of course.  Have I been scared out of my mind? Yes.  Have I allowed the “what if’s” to carry me to a not so good place?  Absolutely. 

King David was known for “letting it all out”  and lamenting at times. 

Hear my prayer, O LORD! And let my cry for help come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress; Incline Your ear to me; In the day when I call answer me quickly.  Psalm 102:1-2


When Mordecai learned all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city and wailed loudly and bitterly. And remember Job?   Esther 4:1

And what about Job?

“My spirit is broken ... the grave is ready for me” Job 17:1
“My eye has also grown dim because of grief” Job 17:7

2.   Redirect:  There’s a saying……”what you focus on expands.”   While I allow myself to process and feel what I’m feeling, I don’t stay there.   I make conscious choices to redirect my thinking to thoughts that will be helpful, positive and focused on God’s truth rather than my irrational and unreliable emotions and feelings.   I also worship as I wait.  Nothing can pull me out of paralyzing fear, hopelessness and worry like praise and worship. workout playlist!

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

a.   What does God’s word say about you?  Your life? 
b.   What does God’s word say about His love for that person you're grieving for?
c.   What does God’ word promise you?
d.   What is God’s truth?
e.   What music fuels your hope and encourages me to keep going?

3.    Surround yourself with positive messaging.    What are you watching/ reading?  Who are you talking to/ listening to?  There’s no shortage of negative messaging.  TV, Social media, a toxic work environment.  However, with every spare minute, any down time, you get to choose how you spend this time and with whom you spent it with.  Make choices that lift you. Make choices that give you hope, make you laugh.

a.     What will you watch when you’re down and worried?
b.     What can you read that will lift your spirits and give you reason to hope?
c.     Who can you talk to that will encourage and speak life into your weary soul?

4.   Maintain your health:  Bad circumstances, stress, worry and medical concerns are easy excuses to give in to emotional eating or vegging on the couch for hours...... or days.  But these actions won’t help you. A healthy diet, exercise and getting plenty of rest are crucial to mental and physical stamina.   There are numerous studies linking health, diet and exercise to positive outcomes.  

The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 

Yes, I have breast cancer.  Yes,  I will be facing surgery.   Yes, I’m still waiting on genetic testing results to determine just how evasive the surgery will be.   And yes, I am still trusting, clinging to God’s promises in His word, as I wait. 

If you’re waiting for something, I’ll wait with you.  I ‘ll pray with you.  I’ll speak truth to you.    I’ll workout with you.   I’ll cook a healthy meal for you.  I’ll adventure with you just like God is adventuring with me. 

As far as my Adventure 2017, here’s the update:

  •      I had my MRI on Saturday and the results indicated that I only have the one spot of breast cancer.   We are praising God for this news!
  •      I am waiting to have my genetic testing done next week, and then waiting a few more weeks for the results.  
  •      If I am predisposed on other cancers, I will have a double mastectomy and possible a hysterectomy.  If I’m not, I’ll have a lumpectomy, radiation therapy and take a hormone inhibitor for five years.  
  •     I am waiting on surgery consults, surgery dates and a schedule so I can plan for being out of work. 
  •    And, I am trusting God for every step of the way on my Adventure 2017!








Adventure 2017: Part 2

Adventure 2017Post 2

We all at some point get the “call.”  For some, it’s a call of the untimely death of a loved one.  For others, it’s the call that your job is being eliminated.   For others, like myself, it’s the call from the doctor saying “you have been diagnosed.” 

My call came late Monday afternoon informing me that I have an early form of breast cancer known as ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS — the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer. I was prepared for these words, yet even when you know they are coming, the heart sinks.

I wrote every word she said and prepared for a series of additional phone calls to schedule appointments. For the next two hours I sat on a conference call for work.  I thought the distraction would be good. Instead, I had to force myself to stay focused on the planning we were doing on the call when all I really wanted to do was crawl into the fetal position and cry.  

But, here’s what is working for me as I’m processing “real time.” 

1.       Focusing on God’s truth:  There is a wide range of emotions, feelings and thoughts one has when you get the call. I am allowing myself to feel, to cry and to process. But, I’m also directing my focus to God’s truth.   

Philippians 4:6-7Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 4:25Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.

2 Corinthians 10:5   We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

2.       Suffering isn’t a singular sport:   None of us are immune to trials or suffering.  And, I’m finding that there are many that have traveled the road before me.  Many who are over comers and have providing comfort, strength and wisdom.  The Lord can use whatever He’s brought you through if you’re willing to use it to encourage someone else on their journey.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

 3.   Trust the process:   Romans 8:28 says  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”   I am trusting that everything I am going to have to go through on this adventure will have purpose.  I want the battle to mean something, to do something for good.   We’ll see what those things are as we go along.    

Healthy questions I’m focusing on include:

·         What will God do through me because of cancer?

·         How will God show himself as a loving, strong and close father through this? 

·      What opportunities will this bring to my life's purpose?   

So, whatever battle you’re facing today, perhaps we can battle together.  Let’s not suffer alone.  Let's encourage and equip one another to face head on whatever adventure is coming our way.   We can be overcomers!   Grief won’t win.  Depression won’t win.  Unemployment won’t win.  A diagnosis won’t win.   Friendship wins.  Love wins.  God wins. 

And, for those that are praying for my adventure, here’s what the path forward at this point looks like this:

I have an MRI on Saturday to full scan my chest for any smaller issues that may need to be biopsied.
I will have a genetic testing consult with an oncologist on Jan. 18 and then the genetic testing on Jan. 25th.  This will determine if I’m predisposed to any other cancers.
I have surgery consults on Jan. 23 and 26th
At this point, we aren’t sure of what type of surgery (lumpectomy or mastectomy) or a full treatment plan until we have the MRI and the genetic testing.

My schedule is really not my own for the next coming months as I must do what the doctors tell me but my plan is to work every day that I can up until the day of surgery and be back at work as soon as they release me.

  • I am praying that the genetic testing will NOT show any predisposition to other cancers.
  • For peace and healing through the process.
  • For God to be glorified. 

Thanks for joining me on this adventure!