What’s Brewing – Waking up from Vacation

Vacation has a way of taking brilliant minds and turning them into pudding. Vanilla. With Tapioca. And, though I would not consider myself to have a brilliant mind, (feel free to argue this point with if you wish), I feel a certain kinship to those who do.

Since my last post my mind been on a much needed mental break. But, now fall is here and I feel the need to press in, calendar up, and get back into plans, and schedules, and all those things that feel like the weight of the world and the survival of all mankind is hinging on them. Still, it has been good to wake up in the mornings without a list of to do’s waiting to greet me with a kick in the backside.

And, so now I remember that one thing I forgot to do before my blog went missing for the summer. I forgot that I never finished the story of our journey through cancer and maybe it’s because Bud’s cancer went on its own vacation without us.

In June we had our final appointment with Dr. Orwoll, who, with a broad and very satisfied grin, informed us that our presence was no longer needed in the infusion room. The cancer had lost its footing. Because, there’s no cure for Lymphoma, the best we can hope for is that it continues to “behave itself.” And in Bud’s case – it has. So, for now, we are free to live our lives without it until it finds a way to sneak back in.

This was more than great news! It was news that required celebration! Which is what we’ve been doing all summer; celebrating each day for the gift that it is. We immediately took a three day trip to Bremerton, stayed in a lovely hotel on the Sound, took a ferry to Seattle, and just smiled at life. We’ve had dinners in the screen house next to the pond and smiled. We Space A’d our way to Belfast, Crete, Sicily and Spain. And smiled. Because, that’s what you do when you realize that the biggest thing you have to do is to learn how to live without cancer. For a while.

And, so I’ve chosen, in this first blog of the fall, to wrap up this story by thanking each and every one of you for joining us in this amazing journey. Your continued interest, encouragement and faithful prayers, have meant so very much to us.  And, though we know Bud’s Lymphoma may  return to fight again, nevertheless, for now – we are free to not to think about cancer. Our cancer. Nevertheless, our hearts are tied with hope to Carole U, Patty, Carol C, Barbara, and precious Ruth, who are in the thick of the battle while cancer remains the best friend we never wanted to have. It comes when we least expect it. It stays longer than we want it to. It can take our hair, turn our stomachs, and steal our time. But, it can’t steal our joy, or crush our faith, or limit the unifying impact it has on others. For as long as God reigns, cancer loses.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14

Love and joy, Bud and Sandy

2-corinthians-2-14

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What’s Brewing – From Son to Father

It’s my special honor to post our son’s gift of honor and respect given to his dad on this Father’s Day. Thank you Dean for using your words so well. And thank you for the dad you’ve become.

Dean and family

 

Our hands tell the story of our lives. As most of us age and look at our hands, we see wrinkles, spots, scars, and realize that we are getting old. I realized a short time ago while looking at my hands that mine are starting to look like my father’s hands! (Yes, exclamation point!)
I have admired my father’s hands for as long as I can remember. Those hands held mine, picked me up, taught me right from wrong, showed me how to fix EVERYTHING, shook strong, hugged long and wrote notes with the most clear, nearly typeset printing. The strength my father’s hands possess is legendary! My friends always tried to out-squeeze him when shaking hands, “hand-tight” on a car part was cranked down with a torque wrench for a normal man, a small squeeze of “re-direction” let me know that the choice I was making was a bad one.


I am proud to carry on the hands of an amazing father! I am proud to age in a way that resembles the man who used his strength and wisdom to raise two children by never giving up, always fixing what was broken (both literally and figuratively), and teaching me the skills to be a father and a husband.
Happy Father’s Day!
Bud and Deans hands

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What’s Brewing – Stop the Madness

shooting in orlando

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang, bang, bang. Screams of horror join into the chorus of gunfire. Blood flows out of torn flesh and ripped emotions. Confusion fills the air with dread. Victims are trampled under the feet of those trying to escape the chaos. The whole world has gone dark. Suddenly nothing is gay anymore.

Life, again, is hanging in the balance between good and evil, split down the middle like, a photograph torn in two. And all we can say is why. It’s not a question. Not really. It’s a declaration of helplessness. Our strength runs red. Our independence fails us. Our values are shaken to the core. And our basic instincts take over as we pray for the news that the gunman is dead. Because, the madness won’t stop until the madman is stopped. Then, the final shot is fired and we, who hate hate and abhor violence, feel a secret rush of justice and satisfaction; good. He’s dead. Hell can have him.

And while it seems the world has been abandoned and God is nowhere to be found, the truth waits to be discovered; in this moment of terror, we’re closer to Him than we have the courage to imagine. Because, it’s in  these moments of primal fear that our true self emerges; the self created in the image of God. The God who hates evil and the God who loves justice, and we find ourselves hating it with Him, as all creation cries, “Oh, God, help us.”

It’s a momentary brush of humility. A fleeting flicker of understanding. That the cause of Adam’s fall from grace was more than just an innocent nibble from a piece forbidden fruit. It was the first step into the Holy War that divided man from God, man from man, and Heaven from Hell. Sin. Is. Not. Small. It permeates everything we touch, and see, and smell, and feel, and think, and do. It is the book of Leviticus alive and unwell. It’s Ecclesiastes languishing in egocentric mediocrity. It can’t be hidden under the rock of denial, or covered over with a warm blanket of self-esteem, or explained away with cliches, or platitudes, or empty wisdom. It can’t be removed by trying harder to be better, or legislating against hate speech, or enforcing stricter gun control. And we can’t make it nicer by wearing peace signs on our tee shirts or crosses around our necks. It’s. In. Us. And no matter how hard we try – it’s still there. Until we cry, “Oh God help us” and mean it. And when we do – He does.

So, what does it matter? Proclaiming sin as the reason for this season of violence in America. It matters because as soon as we identify a problem we just can’t seem to keep ourselves from looking everywhere for the right solution. More gun control? Aha…more laws. Too many Muslims in our country? No problem, just send them all packing and then close our borders. Too much hate and not enough love? Easy. Outlaw hate speech and engage in random acts of kindness. Sin? Hmm. That’s a tough one. A little too close to home. But, then again, maybe not. Because maybe the only way to save a nation is one heart at a time.

There is a way that seems right to a man, until the terror of life and the fear of death causes us to run from all our little gods straight into the arms of God Most High crying the prayer that touches the Father’s heart, “Help me God.”

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

Love and joy, SandyJesus-Lamb

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Aside

What’s Brewing – The Heart of a Soldier

Buds Boot Camp002

In honor of this Memorial Day weekend I am pleased to re-publish this post about just one of the many who’s lives have been dedicated to the well being of our country. Blessings to all who, like him, live with honor and courage and selfless service; some to the point of death.

Because I married a soldier

I’ve learned

How to make a bed with tight corners

How to iron creases in fatigues

How to honor the American Flag

Because I married a soldier

I’ve seen the place where enemy planes flew unnoticed just before all hell broke loose on December 7th, 1941

And I’ve seen the bullet holes left behind following the attack on Pearl Harbor

Because I married a soldier

I’ve watched families say goodbye to their loved ones leaving for Iraq and Afghanistan

I’ve sat next to thoughtful young men and women on their way home from Iraq and Afghanistan

One young man gave me a 50 dollar bill with Sudam Hussein’s picture on it. His name was Daniel. I still pray for him.

Because I married a soldier

I’ve eaten lunch in mess halls

Shopped in commissaries

And flown in cargo planes to amazing places around the world

Because I married a soldier

I’ve learned how to respect authority

How to lead with integrity

And how to stop, stand up, and put my hand over my heart during the National Anthem

Because I married a soldier

I’ve learned why we cherish freedom

Why we live for it

And why we die for itBuds Incentive Ride 1998 001

Yes, everything I’ve ever learned about God and Country, I’ve learned from a soldier

Chief Master Sergeant Burton E. Snavely

The man whose uniform is ready for his final goodbye

Because the soldier I married will always be a Soldier at Heart

Love and joy, Sandy

 

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What’s Brewing – Our Journey Through Cancer – More

more-768x1024Treasures. I’ve been thinking a lot about them lately. There are things, usually small things, that warm my heart when I see them and fill me with tears when I hold them. Mostly because they remind me of something lovely. Something precious. Irreplaceable. Meaningful.

Which caused me to wonder just what the word really means. After some searching I discovered that the word treasure comes from the Greek word, Thēsauros, which translated in today’s English means – thesaurus. For word lovers everywhere, the thesaurus is one of our greatest go-to’s. Like a wrapped gift on Christmas morning it contains a plethora of more. More words giving us more ways, to express what we think and feel and love.

Looking back over our life with Lymphoma, is like rummaging through a box of seemingly unrelated items and realizing they all have one thing in common; memories. Treasures. A thesaurus of beautiful, difficult, challenging, and unpredictable words that have become treasures we never want to lose, or forget, or throw away.

I’ve shared many of them while blogging our way through cancer. But, this morning, my heart is overwhelmed by just one word that, when I press the key that unlocks the thesaurus, becomes many. Bud. I’ve been married to this man for fifty-two years. I should have learned everything there is to learn about him, but Lymphoma has opened up a whole new window into his character, his soul, and the heart of who he is. Treasures, lying under the surface of his character, waiting to be discovered along the path leading the way through cancer, all flowing through his name and giving me MORE to see than meets the eye.

Bud is a strong man. Cancer has made him stronger. More patient. More kind. More enduring. But, it has also made him more confident, more hopeful, more easy to please. More determined to finish unfinished things. More protective of who he loves. More committed to what he stands for. More faith to build upon until Jesus takes him Home. And more determined to build more memories to leave behind as keepsakes for the ones he loves. Like me. Our kids. Our grandkids. Our friends. And our kitties. Treasures stored in a thesaurus of words that last and gathered up in our journey that’s nearing the end. Bud, is definitely MORE of every thing I knew and More than I could ever have imagined him to be.

At the end of this month he will have, what we hope will be, his last infusion. Because Lymphoma is not curable, we will walk away from this season of doctor’s appointments, chemo treatments, and handfuls of pills, grateful, that for now, it has been conquered, and yet knowing it could return at a time when we least expect it.

And so life goes. Right? Expect the unexpected. Prepare for the worst and be grateful for the best. Gather your treasures along the way. Store them up in words that mean something. Share them with everyone. And make them count, knowing, that in this life, as long as we have breath, we aren’t finished. There is more to come.

Thank you for sharing this journey with us. For praying us through. For listening. For loving. And for rejoicing with us along the way.

Love and joy, Sandy and Bud.

 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

1 Timothy 6:18-19

 

Life that is truly life

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