Tripping Over Today

“We’re looking so forward to tomorrow that we’re tripping over today. God has placed you where you are, right now, totally on purpose.” 31 Days to Thrive, Day 24, from Casting Crowns.

Those words particularly struck me this morning. I was wide awake the night before last, tossing and turning at 3:30 in the morning, with my mind going 90 miles per hour over my to-do list for work.

I was angry at myself for thinking about all of these things, when I really couldn’t do anything about them at that moment.

Even through my frustration, I was praying for God to settle my mind… I knew He had things in hand, yet there I was, wrestling with my thoughts in the middle of the night. Did I really have faith?

Yes, I have faith, I just have weak moments.

So, this morning’s devotional about tripping over today hit home a little bit. All of my concerns were about an event that’s a month away. And while there is preparation and planning to be done, my focus needs to be on one item at a time. Plowing through my list and knowing God is in control. My panic about doing everything right, making sure everything is done, took over and God took the backseat.

Time to change that. Time to focus on today and the blessings and challenges and the plans God has for me TODAY.

I remember an old saying that stated: God is my co-pilot. Well, that needs to change.   God is my pilot and all I need to do is focus on today.

How about you? Are you tripping over today worrying about tomorrow? How do you focus on today?

Expect the Unexpected

The words “expect the unexpected” should be a familiar phrase to most of us.  It illustrates what life is all about.  Just when we think things are routine or even boring… BAM!  Something unexpected comes along.

Most who know me, know that I’m a big fan of tennis. No, I don’t play much anymore, but I love watching, especially the grand slams.  If you look back at my blog posts, there will be at least one tennis related post during the summer months.

Currently, I’m watching the French Open. And as tends to happen in the tournaments, today is looking to be “upset day.”  Already, the #1 seed on the women’s side, Serena Williams is out.  Her sister, Venus, followed shortly thereafter.  The #2 seed on the women’s side, Li Na, lost yesterday.  And the #3 seed on the men’s side, and current Australian Open champion, Stan Wawrinka (what a great inspiration from the Australian Open!) lost in his opening round match.

Some say tennis might be boring, with Nadal, Federer and Djokovich dominating the top of the game.  However, along comes Andy Murray, David Ferrer and Wawrinka and the hold at the top isn’t quite so tight.  (Watch out for Del Potro if we can get him healthy!).  Today, we saw that the Williams sisters can have their off days and are no longer invincible.  The women’s game is quite wide open these days.

I remember when Sampras and Agassi were the top players.  Heck, I go back to the days of Borg (one of my favorites) and McEnroe, who had such epic battles…with Lendl and Edberg always close.  Remember Evert and Navratilova? Steffi Graf?

As great as these top tennis players are, they all have dealt with the unexpected. Despite the routine of training and working hard at their craft, they’ll have an off day.  Is it the end of their career? No.

Serena Williams lost in the first round of the French Open a couple of years ago.  Shocking at the time. But was it the end of her time at the French Open? No way.  She came back last year and won the entire tournament!

So, she lost in the second round today.  She’ll use this loss as motivation. Watch out for the rest of this year and for the French Open next year!

On the unexpected days, we need to roll with the punches. Learn from the loss and move on to be better next time.

Sometimes the unexpected days are for good (Stan Warwrinka breaking the stranglehold of the top four winning all the grand slams or Andy Murray winning Wimbledon last year), and that should inspire confidence to move forward, striving with more confidence to your goals.

While we can get comfortable in our routines, we need to know the unexpected is coming. It can make us stronger, teach us and help us grow.

So, in life, learn to expect the unexpected.  Even if it seems to be negative, it’s something that can be turned into a positive.  It’s up to us and our attitude to make it good.

My Cancer History

A little bit more about me and my history. I was diagnosed with breast cancer (DCIS) in June 2004. I had a lumpectomy and 7 weeks of radiation. Believe me, I did all I could to move on very quickly from that and put it behind me. I hated radiation! By week six, I was in misery, and couldn’t wait to be done with the entire ordeal.

Of course, that inspired me to write about it, with the help of my husband. You can read more of our story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book (released March 2009).

After that, I happily put cancer behind me. Truthfully, I felt like I “got off easy.” I had fairly minor surgery, and despite how I hated radiation, I did not have to have chemo. I was still me and ready to move on with my life.

But five years later it all changed. Yes, I made it to my five-year mark. Five years and three weeks to be exact. But in July 2009, during my mammogram, the doctor said there was something there. But this one was different. I did NOT have a recurrence. Instead, I had a new cancer, in the same breast as my previous cancer. This was diagnosed as a high-grade sarcoma. It was, as the doctors like to say, “an ugly baby.”

Well, this ugly baby would cost me my breasts. A double-mastectomy was in order. I was diagnosed two days before my birthday.

My emotions were all over the place. Fear, hope, faith, fear, fear, fear…
I was afraid of surgery, anesthesia, pain, recovery, what would I look like, and mostly would I die?

The internet research I did on sarcoma was frightening. I was turning 46 years old, and what I had thought was the downhill slide toward 50, suddenly became a very young 46. I wasn’t ready for all of this. A possible death sentence at 46 was wrong. I was much too young!

Yet there it was in front of me. This time, I wouldn’t be able to ignore my cancer, and its effect on me. This cancer was much too real.

More to come…