Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Survivor AND Overcomer

I was honored to be invited to speak again for the ladies group at First Christian Church in Siloam Springs, AR like I did last year (HERE).  When thinking about my talk, I was drawn to the topic of being an OVERCOMER.

Mandisa’s song OVERCOMER really hits home – especially when watching her video that highlights cancer patients. And isn’t it fun to see how God cements things by repetition??? I just started reading the book of Revelation – which has always intimidated me. Yet God gave me encouragement to continue through the book when I read the OVERCOMER promises to the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3.

2:7 – To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

2:11 – He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

2:17 – To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

2:16 – To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations... I will also give him the morning star.

3:5 – He who overcomes will... be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

3:12 – Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

3:21 – To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne.

Wow! I want to be an overcomer and receive those blessings!

And more repetition on this theme... Last week Mandisa had this status on her Facebook page: When we walk by faith - not by sight - we are Overcomers. When we believe what our Heavenly Father says about us, what Jesus says we can do, and what the Holy Spirit Himself will do through us, we are Overcomers. We don’t have to rely on our strength alone. Our mighty Deliverer fights our battles. Our job is to stay close to Him and let Him do what only He can!

Then I saw this artwork with a quote by Wendy Blight from Proverbs 31 Ministries:  


I definitely want to be an OVERCOMER! In fact, I want to have a powerful testimony as an overcomer in addition to being a cancer survivor. Although I love my Leukemia and Lymphoma Society shirt that says SURVIVOR across that back, I think being an overcomer is so much more!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Not Your Typical Testimony

...at least not what I used to think was a typical testimony. I basically grew up in church. Seriously! I hardly remember missing a Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday, or any other day there was something at church. Even when we visited my grandparents' church, I got an attendance postcard to take back to my Sunday School class to get my perfect attendance sticker!

So, when I was at camp or other youth events (and even as an adult), I never felt like I had a real testimony. I didn't smoke, drink, or do drugs. I didn't think I had anything to talk about since I didn't have a big emotional then and now story. In fact, I almost hated listening to testimonies and was somewhat embarrassed about my goody-goody life.

Fast forward to now. My cancer journey has shown me I've had a testimony all along. I now have a better understanding and appreciation of God's gift of salvation. A testimony shouldn't have anything to do with how "bad" we were before accepting God's gift. We are ALL sinners and lost without Him (Romans 3:23). I was just as lost as those with "wow" testimonies. Thankfully, God made a way of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ! 

* * * * *

I had typed up this blog post weeks ago and forgot about it. I think it's fitting that I "found" it on Easter. Dealing with a potentially life-threatening illness puts things in perspective. My salvation and promise of heaven are far more precious to me now! I'm so thankful that death is defeated and JESUS IS ALIVE!

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.
~ Matthew 28:6

Monday, April 7, 2014

Vacation Videos

Our cruise was the BEST vacation ever! I would definitely recommend it - the food, the shows, the activities - everything was wonderful. I'm so glad the six of us cruising together took a lot of pictures and that my graphics guru husband put them together in fun videos. Please don't hold your breath for my scrapbook version...

NOTE: The Lego pictures are Jarod's guy who was lucky enough to go on vacation with us and have many photo ops! 

Just click on the links to watch the videos. 

DAYS 1-2 - Cruisin'

We had a delay before we could get on the ship due to fog closing the port earlier in the morning. We waited a couple of hours in a holding parking lot before we could park in the real parking lot. Then we found a restaurant and waited a couple more hours before getting in line to board the ship. Once we were on board, we were HAPPY!

Rock Climbing was a huge accomplishment! My goal was to make it to the half-way bell, and I DID IT!!! Daryl made it clear to the top several times! And can you believe I tried the boogie board?!?!?!

DAY 3 - Roatan, Honduras 

Honduras was our big zip line adventure. I was almost sick that morning just thinking about it. But once we got there and did our first looooong line, I decided it was awesome! Hiking in and zipping above the jungle was beautiful. Our guide was wonderful and took lots of pictures. I loved him calling me "mama." 

We had lunch by the sea - coconut shrimp and lobster - YUM! Then we met up with our friends and checked out some little shops.

DAY 4 - Belize City, Belize 

Cave tubing was another fun adventure. We took a bus ride through part of Belize City out to the river. Our guide gave us some history of the area and let us all try cashew wine! At the river we hiked to the starting point where we put our tubes in and floated through the caves. Beautiful vegetation along the river. Did you know all-spice comes from a tree? Our friends did a zip line while we enjoyed the surroundings. The tour provided yummy tamales for lunch, and we bought Coca Cola bottled in Belize with real cane sugar. We didn't have much time for shopping, and I only had a tiny small somewhat medium panic attack worrying about getting back in time to take the tender back to the ship. We made it!!!

DAY 5 - Cozumel, Mexico

Ahhhh, the beach! We paid for a taxi and entry to Playa Palancar Beach that also included snorkel gear and a kayak. So much fun! My first time in the ocean! My first time kayaking! My first time snorkeling! And my first pina colada! We could get used to being beach bums!

DAY 6 - Cruisin' Home

Our last day on the ship... We sat in on the Captain's Chat, walked a mile for the Make a Wish Foundation, and went ice skating! I got my picture taken with the handsome Texas Tenors, relaxed on the deck with my yogurt cone, and then sadly had to pack. Getting off the ship was an adventure of its own.

When we left Galveston, it was 74 degrees. By the time we got to Dallas, it was 24 degrees and icy. Thankfully our friends' daughter lives in Dallas and let us hibernate for TWO days before we could get home to Oklahoma. We managed to get to South Fork Ranch to see where Dallas was/is filmed. It's a lot smaller in person... Finally, we made it home to our kids!