Showing posts from 2014

Female in Motion Health Update

I just got back from a one-day trip to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, IL, where I had a six-month checkup. Man, that place is changing!

They are doubling the size of this hospital, with a new in-patient tower, returning patient clinic, rehab wing, breast care clinic, urology clinic, new dining area and outside courtyard. If that wasn't enough, they also switched the main entrance from the front to the back, by the lake. It's beautiful!

I was privileged to ride in the new luxury airport shuttle that Santa brought last week. Super snazzy!

My health is good. No recurrence of breast cancer and my mammogram and blood work were mostly good. I am quite anemic, and the doctor was not happy about that. He did a thyroid test, but that was normal. I will start on a new iron supplement they have had good results with, and Dr. Citrin has ordered a few more tests.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are fatigue, weakness, pale skin, irregu…

A Christmas Carol: Silent Night

Jackie Evancho singing an a capella version of "Silent Night."

During the hubbub of this holiday season, I sometimes forget what it's all about. Everything is just so...busy.

Busy shopping for gifts.
Busy making Christmas treats.
Busy cleaning the house.
Busy decorating the tree.
Busy planning the perfect meal.
Busy rushing around town.
Busy attending all the holiday concerts.
Busy being busy.

It's time for some silence.

Silent worship of our Savior.
Silent reflection on His birth.
Silent prayer for lost souls.
Silent thoughts of love for others.
Silent thanks for forgiveness of sins.
Silent dreams of peace in our hearts.
Silent hopes for a home in Heaven.
Silent praise for our newborn King.

I send my prayer to you for a Christmas filled with silent moments.


Female in Motion Health Update: I am making a quick one-day trip to CTCA for a six-month checkup next week. My weekly post may or may not be delayed. I'll keep you poste…

A Christmas Carol: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Can you believe Judy Garland was only 21 years old when "Meet Me in St. Louis" was filmed? This song is my favorite secular Christmas carol. It's so sad and sweet and soft.

Christmas is not just a time for presents and fun. It's also a difficult month for people who have lost a loved one...and that's almost all of us. Reminders are everywhere, of times past and special memories. I struggle with powerful emotions during the holiday season, missing my dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and dear friends.

It's like tiny pieces of my soul are pulled away and sent ahead to Heaven. My soul will only be complete again when I die and am reunited with my loved ones. That will be a true reconciliation.

While you're celebrating with family this year, don't forget to say a prayer for those who have recently lost loved ones, the critically ill, and those who are in the vise of mental illness. They'll be grateful for the blessing.

I'll be praying for all…

A Christmas Carol: Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)

Point of Grace does a perfect version of this Chris Eaton/Amy Grant song. I think it's interesting that my favorite Christmas carols are sung from Mary's perspective. No, I don't believe Mary should be worshiped. She was an ordinary girl, used of God. And that's what we should all strive to be.

As mothers, we face the same fears that Mary did. We desire health, happiness and success for our children. Wondering if we'll be good parents and make smart decisions are two of the biggest questions we face.

Mary had no idea what was in store for her infant Son. We don't know what the future holds for our kids, either. The best strategy is to put our lives, and the lives of our loved ones, in God's capable hands. He's got this.


Female in Motion Health Update: The damp weather makes my joints ache, but if I keep on moving, it gets better. I bought some newfangled long johns to wear this winter. Hope they'll keep me cozy!


Notable Quote:

"It is easi…

A Christmas Carol: Hallelujah (Light Has Come)

This Christmas Carol is a lullaby, sung by Barlow Girl, a contemporary Christian group. It is sung in the voice of Mary, as she holds her newborn, Jesus.

Hallelujah, we've been found A child is born to save us now Hallelujah, light has come A Savior who will set us free A promise for those who will believe
This dreamy song is full of hope and longing for the promised Son of God. Put yourself in Mary's place. The baby you just gave birth to is destined to be the Savior of the world. What an awesome responsibility and a wonderful promise. The light of Jesus brings eternal life!
Female in Motion Health Update: My Thanksgiving holiday was everything I had hoped for. We hung out with the kids, ate, napped, watched old movies and relaxed. I was happy to return to work this morning, but wished for a little more sleep!
Notable Quote:
John 8:12 (KJV) Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have t…

Thanksgiving Reflections: A Life-Changing Book

Have you ever read a book that literally changed your life? You know I'm a big fan of books. I love historical fiction, biographies, satire, humor, poetry, mysteries and novels of any variety. The books that have truly impacted my life, however, are extremely rare.

I have read and re-read To Kill A Mockingbird, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, Great Expectations and Cannery Row. They are all beautiful and inspiring works, but the book that I never tire of, the book I crave the Bible.

Today is the International Day of the Bible, a global day of celebration of the Word, hosted by the National Bible Association. Take time to read about the origin of this event here.

Every time I open the scriptures, my heart is blessed with joy and hope, my mind is endowed with wisdom and knowledge, and my spirit is touched by His mercy and presence.

The Bible is God's love letter to His children. Open it, and allow His Word to impact your life.


Female in Motion Health Update…

Thanksgiving Reflections: Coming Home

I was a senior in high school...had the world by the tail. Good grades, scholarships to college, and a cute boyfriend, were all mine. I was happy, and looking forward to a bright future. All I needed was a dress for the Homecoming Dance.

The Homecoming game was a Friday night staple. Derby was, and still is, a football town. Everyone goes to the game. I made my way up the endless concession line, while my boyfriend held our seats. With Cokes in hand, I found our seats had been taken by others and the boyfriend was nowhere in sight. I found him later, sucking face behind the bleachers with a sleazy blonde sophomore.

After a brief "discussion," I discontinued my association with that boy and walked briskly home.

"Mom, I'm not going to the dance," I announced when coming in the door.

"After all the money we spent, you're going," she warned, as she called the boy's mother.

Twenty-four hours later, he arrived at my door, looking terribly uncomfor…

Thanksgiving Reflections: Grab Hold of His Hand

We had a fire drill at work today. No big deal...we have one every month. Today, it happened at noon, while the children were eating lunch. As taught, I grabbed my keys and headed outside to the playground. Holly, our site coordinator, directed me toward the toddler classroom door.

"Please help with the little ones!"

As I approached the opening door, a swarm of little faces greeted me. Joshua and Jacob each grabbed one of my outstretched hands and I led them away from the building. The boys wore lunch bibs, with messy faces and sticky fingers. Joshua held tight to my hand as we walked, while Jacob tried to wriggle free.

"Play, play!" he shouted.

As I picked him up, I reassured both tots that they would soon be back to their regular routine. Jacob wanted down to walk, so I put him on his feet and took his small hand in mine once again. Within a few steps, my wayward one stopped and sat down on the sidewalk.

We slowly made our way to the fence line, my little charge…

Thanksgiving Reflections: I'm A Turtle on a Fence Post

Isaiah 51:1-3 (KJV)
1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.
3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. 

How did I get here? I'm a long way from the Derby girl who yearned to be a writer. I was a college dropout with two cancer bouts under my belt, living in small-town Kansas with no publishing connections. I am a turtle.

The Bible contains story after story about turtles. Did you miss them? Ruth, Esther and those crazy disciples are just a few examples of folks with humble beginnings. When used by God, these obedient servants became heroes of th…

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: I Hope You Never Need This

If you ever need me, I'm here for you. I never want anyone to go through a cancer journey, but if you hear your doctor say you have it, call me. I mean it.

Cancer is not a death sentence any more, but it sure is scary. There are tough decisions that have to be made. Your life will change. The petty things will fall away, and the cream will rise to the top.

Your friends and family will gather around you, if you allow them. Help and support are things you will need.

Take care of your health, while you have it. Get checkups, have tests, eat right, rest and exercise. It works. I have made this promise before, and I will say it again. If you have never had a mammogram, or are afraid to have one, I will go with you, hold your hand, talk you through it, and take you out to lunch afterward. It's a promise.

 I pray God spares all the burden of cancer, but if you have it, don't despair. God is faithful. You can do this.


Female in Motion Health Update: The first month after I st…

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: The Rest of the Story

Psalm 118:24 (KJV) This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

When I was a kid, there was a radio presenter named Paul Harvey. He had a very distinct tone and cadence in his voice. Mr. Harvey provided interesting social commentary, and at the end would always say "...and now you know the rest of the story. Good day!"

My "rest of the story" is unfolding as I write. Breast cancer treatment was over for me in April 2013. It took six months after that to find my new normal. I went into a bit of a funk, guilty over my survival. When I emerged, something new struck me.

Every day is a gift. Some days, the box contains socks or underwear. Others are new shoes or a cute dress. Then there are the rarest of days, the diamond ring. When you look at each new day God gives you as a beautifully wrapped present, it changes how you approach it. I am grateful for sunrises, children's smiles, paid claims and hugs from The Hubster.

When was the …

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Survivor's Guilt

I like to tell people I had a very mild case of breast cancer. It makes me feel a teensy bit better about not being more sick. I had it too easy.

Side effects for my type of treatment were mild: very little nausea, a few radiation burns, neuropathy. I actually gained some weight, due to all the steroids they loaded with my chemo doses. The guilt didn't start until I was done fighting cancer.

Others have it so much tougher than I did; people with lung, colon and liver cancer. They really suffered. In addition, nobody wears cute t-shirts and has fun runs for liver cancer, it's just not "sexy." Attention equals money, in cancer terms.

And so, I feel guilty.

For not being more sick.

For not suffering more.

For surviving.

Guilt is not from God. It serves no purpose. It's not helpful.

I'm not guilty.

I am a survivor. By the grace of God.


Female in Motion Health Update: I'm freezing at work, so I'm taking a small space heater to warm up my cubicle.



Breast Cancer Awareness Month: 10 Ways Breast Cancer Made My Life Better

It's October and that means it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Since I have a bit of personal experience on this topic, I will share insights and maybe some secrets, too. Here are ten ways this disease made my life better.

Friends: I had no idea how many people truly cared about me, until I was diagnosed with cancer. Every week, a stack of encouraging cards arrived in the mail, and sweet phone calls and emails by the dozens. I am so blessed!

Hair: I've always fussed over my hair. It seems to have a mind of its own. After the initial shock of losing it, I considered the six months of baldness as a hair vacation. What a relief not to have to worry about how my hair would come out!

Strength: When the rubber meets the road, you never really know how you'll react to a hard situation. I am not naturally a strong person, but I am a good soldier, so I looked to God for guidance and stayed close to Him. This has stuck with me as I move forward in my life. How hard is it to do s…

Why Do You Go To Church?

Psalm 26:8 (KJV) LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.

When people ask why I attend church, it's an easy answer. I'm selfish. I always get back more than I give.

In exchange for my couple of hours per week, I get:

EncouragementA better weekA loving support system in hard timesLike-minded friendsEducation for myself and my familyBlessings from God Some people like football, hunting, fishing, NASCAR, antiques or pottery, but I love hanging around God's people. Are you investing your time in something eternal?


Female in Motion Health Update: I'm working on packing daily healthy breakfasts and lunches and spending quality time with The Hubster. He's worth it, and so am I.


Notable Quote:

The church is not a dormitory for sleepers, it is an institution for workers; it is not a rest camp, it is a front line trench.--Billy Sunday

The Preacher Is Wearing Jeans!

It was a big day at our church yesterday. Missionary Baptist Church hosted our first annual Family Day, complete with incredible music, food, games and preaching. Our pastor bravely volunteered to receive a pie in the face from a contest winner.

We have a small congregation, but our numbers swelled to three times our usual size. There was an abundance of infants and toddlers, too, with all the adorable antics that accompany that age group. A spunky tot named Matt helped the pitcher in a spirited game of kickball.

In a dazzling display of energy and athleticism, I hauled my old bones out on the kickball field, too. When it was my turn to kick, I gave it a swat into far left field, started to run to first base, and promptly fell on my face...twice. I practically crawled to first base, but I made it! My tenacity was rewarded; I made a run. After the game, I limped back to my lawn chair with a huge grin on my face.

The Hubster and I were honored to have my mom and her dear friend, Jim, c…

Where Are You Taking Me?


Not the Sharpest Tool in the Toolbox

I started a small DIY project last Friday morning. We had a large cat structure that our kitties hated, so I decided to take it down and give it to someone who might be able to use it. Unfortunately, it had been a long while since I had used any tools around the house. First thing, I found a Phillips head screwdriver in The Hubster's computer desk. That was easy. I knew, however, that I would need a medium-sized wrench, too. After poking through a number of drawers, I asked The Hubster to locate one. He had to rummage through the basement before he found one. Seems like tools are never close at hand when you need one.

A wrench, screwdriver, hammer or saw, are all used for different tasks. They are not interchangeable. People in the Bible didn't think they were ready to be used of God, but He used them anyway.

A little boy's lunch was used for a miraculous feast. 
A stuttering shepherd led a nation across a vast desert. 
A disobedient preacher convinced a heathen community t…

Summer of Simplicity: There's Still Time

The end is near.

Today is Labor Day, which means summer is almost over. The cold, dark days of winter will be upon us soon. 

I live in Kansas, and the Midwest will continue to see warm, sunny days for the next six to eight weeks. Some of my readers in the Northeast will see cold temperatures coming in September. Wherever you live, sunshine can be manufactured with family fun, the joy of simplicity and faith in a bright tomorrow. All through the coming winter, don't forget...there's still time.

There's still time to:

Have a picnic on the floor in the living room.
Camp out under the dining room table.
Play a board game together, instead of watching TV in separate rooms.
Read a book.
Go to bed early.
Make a simple meal.
Be generous.
Write a letter to yourself from God.
Have a movie marathon.
Take a trip to the public library.
Host a dance party in your living room.
Spend the evening star gazing.
Do less--rest more.

As the seasons change, and a mantle of cold settles on your n…

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I was nominated to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by my bestie, Danice Sweet. Her mother, Gloria Clover, passed away from Lou Gehrig's Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). My uncle Dale Ballew also died from ALS, so I was happy to participate.
Just because I took the Ice Bucket Challenge, don't think I chose not to donate to this worthy cause. I did and you can, too, right here.
Now comes the fun part! I want all my readers to participate, too. Either donate to ALS or do the Ice Bucket Challenge, or both. I want to hear about it, so email me your video, or post it to Facebook or Twitter and tag me. Don't forget to use the hash tags #ALSIceBucketChallenge, #FemaleinMotion, or #encourageher.
Thanks, friends! God bless you!

Summer of Simplicity: A Generous Heart

The Hubster has a generous heart. He's not prideful and boasting about it, just quietly goes about brightening the corner where he lives. Not remotely a saint, he enjoys helping.

When a friend or relative needs a loan, he gives them money and never expects to be repaid. The Hubster sees a stranger in the grocery store line that doesn't have quite enough to pay for their items, and provides the shortage. If he runs into a friend at a local restaurant, he pays for their meal.

After having surgery recently, The Hubster greeted each staff member that entered his hospital room with a wide grin and a warm hello. "How's your day going?" he asked. Maybe it was the painkillers talking, but he was so kind to everyone there. I watched him this morning, after he had his staples removed, pass out boxes of doughnuts and Russell Stover chocolates to the nurses on 2 East at William Newton Hospital and Dr. Morrissey's office.

When I fuss over a dwindling bank balance, The H…

Summer of Simplicity: A Simple Trip

Deuteronomy 32:7 (KJV) Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

My father was a motorcycle enthusiast. Riding an Indian when he was a young man, he won my mom's heart.  Years later, when he purchased a Honda cycle, I couldn't wait to take a ride. Never having been on one before, my dad taught me how to lean in to the curves and hold on tight to him. It was then that a tradition was born.

I was an early riser in my youth, unlike my morning habit now. On Sundays, when the rest of the family was still tucked in their beds, my father and I would dress warmly, hop on the Honda and cruise the quiet streets of Derby. On our way home, we'd stop by the local doughnut shop and make a purchase.

With three siblings, it was pretty rare for me to have any "Dad time," so our early-morning doughnut runs were rare and wonderful. Now that my father has passed away, I hold these me…


Today is Female in Motion's 7th anniversary, or blogaversary, as I like to call it. Seven years! 

Thank you, readers, for your loyalty, kindness and encouragement to this ministry.

I wouldn't be here without you!

Summer of Simplicity: The Unplugged Day

I sat with one of my besties this evening, drinking an icy Sonic beverage and having a heart-to-heart talk. Realizing it had been weeks since we last had a conversation, I was happy to spend some quiet time with my dear friend, without any interruptions. Life goes by pretty fast, and the volume is turned up loud!

Considering the level of noise from media devices, traffic, neighbors and household appliances, a peaceful day devoid of the cacophony is much needed. The Hubster and I spent some quiet time last Saturday. We napped, watched old movies and stayed in. After two previous busy weekends, it was heavenly!

What would you do on a quiet day?

Turn off the TV

Read a book

Go to bed early 

Take a walk

Go on a picnic

Pray together

Make a bed island (My Saturday morning favorite!)

The best part of an unplugged day is the results; your shoulders relax a bit, you breathe deeper and slower and your energy levels soar. I love that my creative juices seem to flow better, too. What's your favorit…

Summer of Simplicity: Lift Someone Up

Hebrews 10:23-24 (KJV) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

In a hurry today? Me, too. With an endless To Do list, I don't know how I'll get it all done. If you're facing this kind of day, week or month, let me suggest something...helping others.

When you're lifting someone up, shouldering their burdens, being the hands and feet of Christ, you are fulfilling God's commandments. He is so pleased with your service, our Heavenly Father will send others to lighten your load and may even reorganize your priorities.

Life can be exhausting, and there are those who would spend all their time tearing others down, instead of laying a foundation of love.

As you encourage those you meet, our Savior will send encouragers in your direction. Slow down and look around. Someone needs a hand up.

God's time is unhurried. Why not try walking at Hi…

Summer of Simplicity: A Simple Meal

Mark 6:52 (KJV) For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

I went to a large wedding some time back, where the meal served at the reception was so sumptuous, so over-the-top, that in between the eight courses were palate cleansers of divine libations, soups and sorbets. The entire dinner was so exquisite, I still remember the smallest detail.

My mom is a great cook. On my way home from school every day, I knew a delicious, home-cooked meal would be served that evening. Mom was a stickler for good nutrition, so we would always have meat, starch, vegetable and salad. We never had to worry, there was enough on the table for all six of us, and usually plenty left over. 

In the first few verses of chapter six of Mark, Christ uses five barley loaves and two small fishes to make a meal for the masses gathered to hear him speak. Jesus' disciples witnessed this miracle. Later the same day, He sent the men across the sea in a ship. A sudden storm toss…