How to help…

I had someone contact me recently after finding out that a friend of hers was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. While she knew she was going to pray for her friend, she wanted to do something more.  How could she really help and support her friend?

I have a few suggestions on that topic from my own personal experience. First off, praying is the best thing you can do. Believe me, your friend will feel those prayers. Don’t ever think that’s not enough.

The other thing you can do, especially as time goes on through her treatment, is to treat her NORMALLY. Depending on what she has to deal with, if it’s surgery, radiation and/or chemo, there will be a point where she is sick and tired of dealing with her treatments, and she’s going to want something “normal,” — like just going out to lunch, or having lunch brought to her, or bringing her a Starbucks, watching a movie or something.

She’s going to want to be just who she is, and not always identified by her breasts or by her cancer. She still wants to feel like a real person.

With her initial diagnosis, and during surgery, she’ll get a swell of support from folks. The hard part is in the middle of chemo treatments or in the middle of radiation. People tend to drift away a little bit, but she’s obviously still dealing with her illness. So, when things have calmed down, and everyone else has returned to “normal” life, that’s the time to drop her a card and let her know you’re still thinking of her and still praying for her. Don’t make a big deal about it, but a simple card and a few words can mean so much!

One more thing, one of the neatest things I received as I was going into the hospital for surgery was a gift basket filled with silly, wonderful things. It was filled with magazines, sudoku puzzles, a roll of quarters for my husband (for vending machines at the hospital if needed), and a couple of pairs of funny, brightly colored socks. They made me laugh. The pink fuzzy ones especially, and you can bet I wore them with a smile.

Just remember simple, little things can sometimes bring the most joy.

How about you? What are your suggestions for supporting someone in need?

Just Keep Smiling

Sometimes you just have to laugh, especially when things are going wrong.  Well, to be fair, when things aren’t going as planned.  Isn’t there an old saying that says something like “If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans.” 

As a Christian, I’m more than happy to let God handle the planning and be in control.  But sometimes the circumstances in our lives are just funny.

I’m not one to debate the “whys” of life.  Why did I get cancer? Twice?  Why didn’t I marry my husband when we were in college, instead of a million years later? Why did my husband have to go through the pain of losing his first wife….and my kids losing their mother?  We could go on with “why, why, why?” all day long.  We will never know all the answers here on this earth.  All we can do is develop as positive an attitude as possible, surround ourselves with family and friends, and our faith….and keep plowing through….making this life as good as we can make it.

But there are days when you’ll just need a sense of humor about the whole thing.  Yesterday was one of those days.

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary.  Yay!  I’m so blessed that after nine years of marriage, I love my husband more now than ever.  Our union is strong.  Like I posted on Facebook yesterday, I didn’t really believe in soulmates until he and I married.  Praise God.  I also must congratulate my kids who have also put up with me for nine years. How wonderful it is to choose each other, and choose to love and care for each other as parent and child.

So, all of this is wonderful.  And that’s what stands out most.  But usually, you take time on your anniversary to go to dinner and have a romantic time together.  Yeah, not for us, not this year. Didn’t happen. 

I’m recovering from surgery (which I’ll blog about soon), and while I’m doing very, very well, I’m not supposed to exert myself too much, and especially carry heavy things or put pressure on my arms and chest.  So, I’m taking it easy.  Then my poor hubby comes down with a flu or virus….he’s coughing, congested, running a fever.  All he can do is go to bed!  If you know my hubby, he doesn’t sit still for much.  He can barely sit long enough to watch a movie!  And he was in bed all day Tuesday!
His fever finally broke overnight into Wednesday, but he was still very low energy and not at the top of his game. We’ve spent most of our time at opposite ends of the house. The last thing I need recovering from surgery is to get sick.  

So, on our anniversary, I’m sore and recovering, he’s sick and lethargic… not exactly the dream day.
No romantic dinner for us…no candlelight and flowers.

But you know what? It was still a good day.  We spent the day together, and laughed at our situation, and realized that we celebrate EVERY DAY of being together.  We’ll go out to dinner sometime soon. We’ll have our candlelight and flowers on another day.

Yep, we’ll always remember our ninth anniversary.  And I’ll remember it fondly…because it was another day spent with the man I love…and that’s something I want to celebrate every day, not just once a year.  🙂

So, what about you?  What’s your favorite memory of something going wrong, but yet you were able to adapt and laugh through it? 

It really is your attitude that can make your day better, or get you through the less than ideal situations.

Just keep smiling.

Detours and Roadblocks

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Didn’t mean to let so much time elapse between postings.  Hopefully, I’ll get better. 
Lately, I’ve experienced a lot of roadblocks in my plans, actually roadblocks for life in general. One particular issue, which I will share with you soon, has lead me down a completely different path.  In this case, the roadblocks were God-given, and detoured me to a much better place.  Yay!  So, not all roadblocks are bad.  Some detours are more scenic than others and worth the hassle of being there.
What is frustrating me is getting past the roadblocks. You’ve just jumped over one and now you’re merrily traveling down your new path, when another roadblock hits. This one is fairly minor, yet put together by all the recent detours, well, it just weighs you down. 
Now I start to wonder what God is trying to teach me.  Patience? Persistence? Perseverance?  Ahhh…..the three P’s.  Wait, four P’s — Prayer.  Maybe I’m not praying enough.  I don’t know.
With all of these roadblocks, how do you know when to quit or when to keep on going?  How much is too much?  That’s what confuses me. 
Right now, I’m hanging on to the notion that the recent roadblocks are good ones, and the detour is well worth it.  I’m just ready for a “steady as she goes” path for a while.  But that takes patience, persistence, perseverance and prayer. Sometimes we learn those lessons the hard way.

A New Year – what are you waiting for?

The New Year has dawned, and we survived the holiday season. So, how are you doing on your new year’s resolutions?  Have some already gone by the wayside?

For me, I don’t think I’ve even started yet. I’m still a little disorganized and not completely on my game plan for 2011. I feel like I’ve been running behind ever since we returned from spending Christmas out of town. Is life going on without me? 

That may sound like an odd thing to ask. Yet here we are at day six of 2011 and I’ve attended my first memorial service.  I’ve already had a doctor’s check-up (which was good, thank God), and have celebrated my husband’s birthday. 

So when, during that time, have I had a chance to get to “normal”? To start with a scheduled routine of day-to-day activities?  Nothing has seemed normal so far. 

But I suppose, in many ways, this is normal.  Life has gone on…even death has come and that’s part of our life cycle.

And tonight, I sit with my author friend at our weekly writing night – the first one of the new year.  I nearly cancelled after an emotional afternoon at the memorial service. But I didn’t. I’m here and I’m writing.

Hey, maybe the routine has finally begun. 🙂 

That’s it! That’s what my new years resolution is going to be: Just show up!  Make an effort, even if it doesn’t fit perfectly into your plans, even if distractions keep tugging at you. It’s time to get going… to jump into the cycle of life, whether you’re “prepared” or not.

You never know what’s going to happen when you just show up.

Bring it on 2011!