Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spiritual Comfort

It is amazing to me how God envelops us with His comfort in our time of need. He protects us and shields us in our times of need. He brings others in our pathway that have suffered for Christ, so that in our time of need those who have "walked in our shoes" can be an encouragement and comfort to us.

Our God offers comfort to us all, "For when God comforts us, it is so that we may in turn, be an encouragement to you [others] 2 Corinthians 1:6." Know that when you patiently endure suffering, you will also share in God's comfort. In the times that you are feeling overwhelmed, allow your Daddy God to comfort you; read and study His word, know the promises He has given you, recite them, rehearse them, allow them to sink into your spirit so that the God of all creation can comfort you!

Share your times of suffering today to encourage others through their situations. If it is you that is in need of comfort and encouragement, allow your Daddy to wrap His arms around you; ask Him to comfort you.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A time of graduation and celebration

Over the past couple of weeks we have received graduation invitations from our beloved "children" as I like to call them. This time of year allows me to remember and reflect of how I have seen "our children" and ourselves journey over the past year and for them the past four years.

I am so proud of all of the graduates that will be walking across or have already walked across the stage. What a commemorative and exhilirating moment to always remember! These moments in time represent all of the hard work, struggles, difficulties, fun, laughter, opportunities for growth, and a time to count all of the blessings that God has given you.

God has given us this journey of life to do and will as we please; however, we will reap the consequences of the seeds that we have planted. Those of you who are graduating and moving on to the next phase of life, remember that God is guiding your every step, "For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will be our guide until we die. (Psalm 49:14)."

At some point in time, we think we have it all figured out...things are going to go this way or that; we can be stubborn into thinking that our plans should work out just so, only to find out moments later, that what we thought SHOULD happen, didn't quite work out the way we had planned, but we need to remember that God's guidance can come in unexpected ways. Remember the story of Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3)? I am sure that Moses did not expect God to speak to him by way of a burning bush. God speaks to us in many different ways; we must just be open and come with prepared hearts to hear what God is speaking to us.

I say all this to say, "Congratulations, as you embark on this new journey and new phase of life." We all face new phases of life throughout our lifetime...I am excited to embark on my own...for my scheduled last day of radiation is June 7th; however, remember to enjoy the lessons in life in between, enjoy the moment you are in, for it passes in the blink of an eye.

I pray that you seek God's wisdom and guidance as your new journey begins. Whether it be that you are walking across the stage with your diploma, beginning a new job/career, beginning parenthood, learning what an "empty nester" looks like, or even beginning a new phase of your walk with God. I congratulate you all! Celebrate each and every waking moment that God has given you!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Over the past couple of years and more recently, the past several weeks, the lesson of delegation and allowing others to help me has been an eye opening experience. To say the least, very humbling.

In the past, I have been one to be very independent and shamedly, I admit to being prideful in thinking I could to all things by myself and have always tried to avoid being a burden to others. Since my diagnosis in 2009, I battled with fatigue on a daily basis (sleeping, many times 2-3 hours during the day and all through the night). Which really didn't leave me much time to do my daily wife, mother, and friend activities. Lately, I have slowly noticed that I have begun to get fatigued a little quicker than before my radiation.

I have had to learn to lean on others for support. When God lead His people out of Egypt, across the wilderness, and eventually commanded them to move their camp from Mount Sinai by Moses; Moses addressed the people of Israel and said (as he mentioned before to them), "You are too great a burden for me to carry all by myself. (Deuteronomy 1:9) He then asked the tribes to choose men from each tribe that had wisdom, understanding, and a good reputation and he would appoint them as their leaders.

Moses recognized the significant importance of using wisdom to delegate responsibility to others, as he knew that he was unable to carry the tremendous burden of leading a nation by himself. As in our case, at the moment, the day to day activities could be a burden, but over the past couple of years we have learned to allow others to use their God given talents and abilities to bless us.

Someone once insisted and insisted to help me and I eventually relented as they told me that "I was stealing their blessing from them, if I didn't allow them to help me." I had never thought of my decision as "stealing a blessing" from someone. Once I saw the perspective from their point of view, it gave me a whole new appreciation of allowing others to care for and help us; and almost instantaneously I felt a burden lifted off my shoulders. For my intentions were never to take away from others, but for them not to be burdened by me.

God has instilled wisdom in each and everyone of us; allow Him to guide you in every decision you make. Especially understand that by sharing responsibilities with others you are allowing each and every individual to exercise their God given gifts. Be like Moses, recognize you cannot do it all by yourself. The Lord has given each and everyone of us strengths and where we fall short, others are there to help "fill in the gaps."

On a side note, day 20 of my radiation vacation was today is day 21. All continues to go well, I am super excited that they have lowered my steroid dosages (don't remember if I mentioned before that they weren't allowing me to sleep, despite given several different sleeping meds); all that to say, I can now sleep through the night without waking up with the help of a different sleeping med. I am hopeful that I will soon be weaned off the steroids completely; therefore, I can stop taking these sleeping meds.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Update on my radiation vacation...

Last Tuesday (May 17th) we met with both my neuro-oncologist (Dr. Yung) and the radiation oncologist (Dr. Mahajan). They both seemed very pleased as to how well I was doing (as am I). Dr. Yung commented, "I can't believe how well you are doing." I also saw him at the Brain Tumor Conference and he asked what I was doing, and all I could say was "G-O-D." He too is a Christian and was in total agreement with me. I told him, ultimately God has control of all things and I have to leave it all up to Him.

I apparently seem to be doing quite well overall. I know it is only Jesus who sustains me through all of this; as well as being obedient to sticking to my dietary needs and listening to my body when it needs to rest. My daily break-through seizures have disappeared; except for this past Saturday (I finally figured out why I had five of them; I forgot to take my medications that morning...Oops!) This seemed to be a great indicator to both of my doctors that the radiation was definitely the right choice for me and that it was working to stop the cancer from growing.

I am pretty much bald on the top of my head ( I actually look like one of those men with male pattern baldness)
I look like the image in VA except for that pretty much the whole right side of my head is bald (with a sprickets of hair here and there). I can't even do one of those bad combovers that those old men do when they are basically completely bald (see image VII). LOL! I tried, but it didn't really work. :) I do however still have the length of my hair (a little on the back and bottom of my hairline) that is still I can wear hats or scarves to help protect my head from being sunburnt and also (of course, like any other woman) to feel like my hair is somewhat "normal". I have thought about shaving it all off, given that the hair that is falling out seems to be sensitive in that area and hurts on occasion; however, since it wouldn't look like a buzz cut and more like a baby's bottom (LOL!)...I honestly am not ready for that and don't want to do it. :) But like I said before, what a small short-term sacrifice! Besides the whole hair side effect, I have had some minor fatigue issues, but since I have had so much fatigue in the past, I have learned to function in my dysfunction, but rest when I know I need to.

Today is radiation day 18...I will go get zapped later tonight and keep you updated as the week goes on. I have about two and a half more weeks. My last day is June 7th. Yay!!! And then I get to ring the infamous BELL for everyone to hear to commemorate the grand finale of your last treatment! It really is an exciting day...and typically the people in the lobby clap and cheer for you! I can't wait until that day I can say, "it is finished!!!!" As I sit and write this...I have tears of joy running down my cheeks...because it reminds me of what a great and mighty God I serve. He has never left me, never forsaken me, and has always followed through with His promises and will for my life!

An Attitude of Hope

This weekend was a refreshing and wonderful celebration. Aaron and I attended a conference for Brain Tumor patients and their families. We met several people who were "standing in the same shoes" if you will, as we are. Many of them in seemingly more difficult trials, as they have faced what the statistics made it seem to be a very grim outlook for them, given that they had what is called a stage IV brain tumor (a tumor that seems to always come back and is very aggressive). One couple in particular, we seemed to really connect with, as the husband had gone through both surgery and radiation and was in remission at this point.

Throughout the attitude of hope seemed to be what kept all of us moving forward. Throughout our battle with this brain tumor, God has always been the power that has moved us forward and He has always promised to guide us.

This conference reminded me of when God told the Israelites of the Promised land that was rich and fertile, "a land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27)." Moses sent out scouts for forty days to explore the land and report back to him, Aaron, and the people of Israel what they had found. They reported back that it was a "magnificent country" and brought back proof of its fruit. But they also reported many reasons why it seemed that they couldn't conquer the land (e.g. the people living there were powerful, their cities and towns were fortified and very large, and there were giants there that made them seems as though they were just grasshoppers standing next to them).

The scouts brought fear and discouragement amongst the people of Israel, but I Love what Caleb shouted, "Let's go at once to take the land and we can certainly conquer it!" (Numbers 13:30).

Although there are many "scouts" in our world with negative opinions that cause others to accept negativity and fear into their thoughts and eventually it leads to affect our lives. Because it is our nature to accept opinion as fact at times, we must truly be careful of the words we choose speak. We can heavily influence the lives around us, especially those that trust us and weigh our opinions very heavily.

Even though the Israelites chose to complain and grumble (as at times we/I do) I want to be a "Caleb" a spirit of hope, a person with the right attitude, a person that may have the "unpopular" attitude, but in fact one that takes hold of the promises that God has given me!

I saw spirits of hope and positive attitudes amongst those in the conference, and I pray that I spoke into others' lives that gave them encouragement.

I pray today that whatever difficulty, big or small, that you don't back down through your trials, even though it may seem discouraging and very difficult at that moment, stand where you are and let the Lord rescue you! Take hold of the promises He has given you. Be a "Caleb" today, encourage others around you to "conquer" what is before them!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Listening and Doing

Last night as I sat and listened to myself tell my beloved three year-old, Katie, three times to go and put her clothes back on as we were to have company in a while (it seems these days, that is the way to go around the house, either just in her panties or her birthday suit...LOL). I then told her, "First time, everytime, Katie." She then looked at me straight in the eyes and yelled, "First time, everytime!!" and then soon after dressed herself.

I pondered those words this morning and thought why is it that when God says something to us we may listen (pay attention to His words), but we don't always do (perform or execute) them. Why is it that my expectations of Katie are one thing, yet many times when God says the same thing to me, I conduct myself as my three year-old does? And at THAT I expect God to move on my behalf and make the mountains of opposition disappear. I thought to myself, "how self-centered is that!"

James, Jesus' brother, wrote, "But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (James 1:22-25)

Sometimes it is so easy for us to be passive and not be a "doer" because doing takes effort and faith on our part. There are many a times that I have been just that, a passive listener, only to later figure out if I would have done it "first time, everytime" I would have bore so many more blessings and fruit. Honestly, it has been in the times that push came to shove, that I have grown more in my spiritual walk with the Lord. I have come to know that when I am obedient to my Father God, it is for my own benefit and the benefit of others (this blog is a testament to this). My heart is to simply desire to please Him, knowing that He loves me unconditionally.

Today, listen to that still small voice inside of you, step forward in faith...even though the path that you are going isn't clear...and watch as God moves in your life and the life of others because you were a "doer" of His Word.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Day 13 of my radiation vacation was the day before yesterday (May 16th). I had to truly learn as someone once expressed..."To win some you must be winsome." As this past weekend came and went...I learned you win some, you lose some, but in the end, winsome, should be the outcome of the matter.

I learned the drawing power of humility within myself and had my best friends there to speak into the matter. I felt the power of the words in Proverbs 18:4, where it says that a person's words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook. Also, the true meaning of ...but a real friend sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). This past Saturday, I felt almost as if my prayers had failed, my heart seemed broken-hearted, the places where they have been "zapping" their beaming lasers on my head, my hair has fallen out. On Saturday, I grieved over the matter and then had my best friends there to comfort me with their words of encouragement. God's word says, "you can make many plans, but the LORD'S purpose will prevail. (Proverbs 19:21). God always has a bigger plan, I thought to myself (selfishly) :), maybe my hair may just come back even more beautiful and better than ever. LOL.

Since this past weekend, even more of my hair has fallen out...more than when they shaved my head for my original surgery in March of 2009. (Thank you Aaron for being such a wonderful and supporting husband in this matter). I think this all came as a shock (at first) to me because my expectation and thought process was different than when I went into surgery. When I went into surgery, I expected a portion of my hair to be shaved off, but going into radiation I didn't think that my hair would basically be burnt off. :) If you've ever had your hair singed either with a flat iron or curling iron (ladies) because it was too hot and/or you held it on their for too long or with flame from a fire (gentlemen)...that is what it is like. Except for the fact that it comes out in chunks singed together and in my case (praise God I have thick hair) lots of chunks, but it doesn't smell like typical burnt hair.

I love what the author Selwyn Hughes says, "The real ornament of life which is precious in the sight of God is a meek and quiet spirit." As I went into my radiation appointment on Monday, God spoke to me in my spirit to tell the therapist a few words, I humbled myself by telling the radiation therapist that he was right about my hair falling out. As I spoke that to the therapist, something in my spirit rose up and said "but what a small sacrifice that is to pay, Tina. A temporary sacrifice, for a long life of great health, joy, and being cancer free is what will be!" Speaking those words to that therapist gave me a sense of relief, in a sense that I felt I no longer had to feel as though I had to somehow justify myself and my stance to him...for his prior experiences had some validation to them (brain cancer patients hair falls out with radiation). Maybe this experience will open up opportunities for me to speak God's life giving words to him? God's plans are always greater than my little mind can ever fathom.

Today remember that God always has a bigger plan and purpose for you, His plans will always prevail. They will all work out for your good. Be a great friend today by speaking life giving words to those around you, humble yourself, for humility precedes honor, and remember temporary sacrifices may be difficult in the moment, but they are repaid a million times over in the end.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Unwavering Confidence

Today was day 9 of radiation treatment. Praise God that He is the Lord who protects me from danger, his mighty army of angels have surrounded me this whole time during treatment these past several days. There have been days that the enemy will try to attack my thoughts and he tries to use others' words to instill doubt in my mind as to His promises to me. Promises that He will protect my lil' punkin head from any harm, negative side effects, or damage to my cells and brain function.

Every time that they snap into place the mask that they created to form the shape of my face and head. I imagine myself putting on my helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6:17) and imagine an angel sitting on top of my head, guiding the exact direction of the laser beams (as though that angel is a neurosurgeon) that they are radiating in those yucky cancerous cells. I recite over and over to myself the promises of God's word every moment I am there. I have unwavering confidence in God and use it to combat any fear that the enemy tries to attack me with. I know that my Father God is mighty to save and he protects me from danger (Psalm 27).

Today I wait patiently for the Lord as he continues to heal me. He tells me to be brave and courageous. Continue to wait patiently. Be brave, be courageous. I pray that you continue to way patiently as the Lord works through you! Allow His angels to take over and control all things, even though things may seem unfair at times. He is worth waiting for!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


This morning brought me back to a verse that we had painted on Katherine's wall in her nursery. It was in Psalm 139. Verse 13 says this For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother's womb. I think of how God created each and every one of us uniquely and individually. God formed us so intricately; no one of us is the same. Each one of us have our own unique DNA strands and before each one of us was born; God had our every day recorded. He knew what you would be like, what would happen at your every step. He created you especially for your parents. He knew who your mommy would be. He gave her a gift and that was you! God reminds us that children are a gift from the Him;they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. (Psalm 127:3-5).

God created you, he designed you intricately like a tiny snowflake. He gave you the perfect mother. Celebrate and tell your mother today how much you love her, appreciate her, and thank God that He gave you to her. If your mother is not with you today, simply say a prayer to God and thank Him for designing you and giving you to her.

I pray that you have a wonderful and beautiful mother's day! Happy Mommy's DAy, mom! I celebrate you today. I love and cherish you! I give thanks to my Lord and savior Jesus Christ for you! For He gave me such a wonderful gift. Thank you for loving me, caring for me, and giving your all to us three! Love you!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Purposeful Gifts...

In this season of my life I have had to learn to allow others to use their "unwrapped" gifts to serve our family. As much as I feel like I don't want to inconvenience anyone, God reminded me through a friend, of how important it was for her to share her gift of service to us. In Romans 12: 4-5 God's word says, "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."

Over the past couple of years, I have learned that I cannot do it all, Aaron cannot do it all. I truly believe that God has sent us so many people in our lives with special talents to care for us. By accepting their gifts, I feel like God has let me know that I am allowing them to be obedient to the calling that He has given them. I know this has allowed me the opportunity to spend time with others, grow friendships that needed watering, and it has opened my eyes to see what a gracious, loving, mighty, and powerful God I serve.

Day 5 of radiation treatment was yesterday. All went well...they "zapped me" (LOL) and I was in and out fairly quickly. As I sit here writing this, it made me think of how we truly are members of one body and how each member has to do its part. I know that I am not gifted in the area of giving treatments of radiation to others; therefore, God has provided that gift of service to me. I have to say, that Joel (the radiation therapist) that is working with me has a great sense of humor and that in and of itself, is a gift. Working with people going through treatments, seems to me, could be a difficult and taxing job. I am just glad that it isn't me behind those machines. However, I did let Joel know yesterday, (after he reminded me a few times...that one of the side effects of this treatment for brain patients was losing their hair), that he did not have the ultimate say so in this matter...that God had the ultimate and final word. I reminded him that I was aware that it was a side effect that people have had and not that I am in denial that it could happen to me, but that I was praying against it! In that moment, I was excited to give glory and honor to God for listening to our prayers.

I want to thank God first of all for you! Thank you for allowing me to share our journey with you. I pray that this blog ministers to your heart and that you allow this to be a blessing to you. I am trying (although I am not perfect) to obedient to God's calling me to serve others by writing this blog. This blog has not only been a joy and an honor for me to share God's word, His power, and His glory, but it has also allowed me to open my eyes to the healing it has created not only within me, but also others around me.

I want to thank everyone who has been obedient to God's call upon their heart of serving us. I pray that God blesses you a hundred fold for serving and using your gifts and talents for His purposes. For God has equipped each and everyone of us with different gifts and talents. Take today, and willing seek opportunities to use them for God's glory.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Armor of God

Yesterday I was reminded, yet again, about how important it truly is for us to put on all of God's armor daily so that we may be able to stand against the enemy. I think many times we feel as though we are impervious to the schemes of the enemy.

In Ephesians 6, Paul tells us about how we need to use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil so that after every battle we will be standing firm. Imagine dressing your self as a knight while you read this next scripture, "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph. 6:13-18).

These words paint a perfect picture of what our every morning "dress" should look like. There are days that I mentally picture myself putting on every single piece of God's armor and I will walk out the door of the house with such confidence, knowing that I am "armed" for the battle that day. And it seems that over time, I can be in such a hurry and am too busy to stop and put it all on. That I am "half-dressed" at times. Some days I am missing parts of my armor, I will forget to put on my "helmet" or my "shoes" because I was distracted by one thing or another. There are days that I "look" like someone just pieced me together.

We must remember that the enemy doesn't necessarily come running at us, screaming "I'm gonna get you, you'd better be suited up." Rather he comes to us in more subtle ways, and many times we don't even realize what has even happened until it has passed. Then we look back and are awestruck by the chain of events that occurred before us. It is in those times we have to truly reflect back upon how those situations transpired.

The enemy will use ANYTHING to keep you distracted from the things of God. For some of you it might be the company you keep, the things that you look at, the life you involve yourself in, or even the things you don't do (e.g. not keeping in God's word). Sometimes it can even be in the "good" things that we are doing. For example, if you are passionate about serving others and all you do is serve at your workplace, in your church, or your neighbors, and you don't focus your time and attention to God's word or the people that need you most in life. Then you are allowing the enemy a foothold in your life. You are allowing yourself to be vulnerable to his attacks.

Donning the armor of God is a choice each and everyday. It is our personal responsibility to "guard our hearts above all else (Proverbs 4:23)" and "dress" ourselves each and every day so that we may be protected from the enemy. As much as we want to help and protect others, know that only they can do that for themselves. We each have our own responsibility of clothing ourselves and when we don't go into battle with our armor, we may get hurt. Remember today and everyday to put on your helmet of salvation, your breast plate of righteousness, your belt of truth, your shield of faith, your shoes of peace, and draw the sword of the spirit (the word of God). Don't get too busy, that your "half-dressed" wardrobe isn't shielding you from the strategies and tricks of the enemy.