With a capital C, that rhymes with P, that stands for Pride

Life has a way of surprising you. When these moments occur, you find out more about your own character and the things that truly matter to you. My own story has recently added a new chapter, one I am not so happy about – one entitled Cancer. Three weeks ago I got the call from my doctor, informing me that I did indeed have breast cancer. Since then, I’ve done a lot of thinking, a lot of praying, and a lot of wondering what comes next. It is a new journey I am on, and a somewhat overwhelming one – but I am not alone.

Cancer is a small word for a big, scary concept. It is a disease that attacks the body, but even more perniciously so, it can attempt to attack your soul. I know that God has plans for me, and that He will use this time for His purpose. Some of that work I feel is to refine my faith, for I have already seen some of my weakness made plain.

You see, cancer has already attacked my pride. Though I hate to admit it, I have four main sources of pride. My strength, my intelligence, my hair, and my bustline. I heard a few chortles at that last – but I’ll explain. Having been Rubenesque my entire life, I always despaired of meeting the standard of beauty held by the society in which we live. I always felt ugly and awkward, and didn’t hold much pride in myself, or so I thought. Turns out, I just transferred those feelings over to the things that I felt I did excel in – being a strong, intelligent woman, with great hair and at the very least some top-heavy feminine curves to inspire jealousy.

Three of those pillars of personal pride are now being challenged. Surgery will eventually be necessary – though thankfully not a double mastectomy, and reconstructive surgery will happen as well. Still, I will forever be different in that regard. In the next couple of weeks, my hair will start to fall out from the chemotherapy treatments. It is only temporary, but it is still another blow. And for the strength, well…now I am forced to recognize that I cannot do it all on my own. I must rely on the kindness of others – and in some ways that is the hardest thing of all. For I am the one on whom others lean. I am supposed to be there for everyone else. It scares me so much to know that I cannot always be that bastion of strength. My pride has been attacked on three fronts, and it cannot stand.

God has already shown me some of the good He intends from this new adventure. I can only pray that He continue to use me to bless others as I have already been blessed.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9-11

English Standard Version (ESV)

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

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Nothing to fear but fear itself

We all often tend to be creatures of anxiety. I am no different, much as I would wish it otherwise. Inside me resides a spring, that winds tighter when various worries arise. Unfortunately, though these fears have different sources — personal issues, worry for family and friends, etc. — there is only one spring, which tends to tighten until I feel like latent energy is shooting out my fingertips, and I just have to do something to release the tension before I explode. Sometimes I can channel that energy into useful activity – and sometimes I just have to work off the stress in other ways (going to the gym is one current outlet) so that I don’t bounce off the walls.

The anxieties themselves are distressing, though – it seems as though the older I get, the more I worry about. No wonder the command found most often in the Bible is “Fear not.” Fear not, for God is in control – regardless of the uncertainty of the times, the Lord holds us in His hands, for we are His children.

Philippians 4:6-7

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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A glance back, and a look ahead

2013 has been…interesting. Not the worst of the years I’ve lived through, but not the best, either. Plenty of challenges have reared their heads this year, primarily in the last couple of months, but I wouldn’t give up any of the good parts to go back and try things over again.

Glancing back at my first blog post of 2013, I see that my goals for this year were simple:

“I think to continue working on strengthening my faith. To fully read the book of Romans (and then continue on through the works of Paul) – I mean with a good study as opposed to the surface reading usually given to it from a lot of Bible studies. To continue with my knitting and singing and photography, and to be as good a friend to all as I can.”

Let’s see — I never did complete that study of Romans, so I think that will go on the list again this year. The rest of the list was accomplished on an ongoing basis, and those things will continue to be priorities. Other things I want to do in 2014 (keeping it simple):

  • Finally get my Etsy store organized and open
  • Purge unnecessary belongings
  • Move into another domicile
  • Improve my organizational skills, for home and work

Although I am not so great at keeping a diary, having my blog and FB archives to remind me of the past year’s happenings is a useful thing. So many things can happen in a year, and it’s good to summarize and then look ahead to the new possibilities. So, here’s a few high- (and low-)lights of 2013:

  • Spent lots of good quality time with friends and family
  • Gamed a few times (though I would like to do more of this – both board and RPG – in 2014)
  • Moved into a new role at work, which is providing lots of new opportunities for expanding my skillset. :D
  • Welcomed a new baby cousin to the family.
  • Traveled to Boston for work, but I got to walk the Freedom Trail in my spare time.
  • Sang a lot of fantastic music with my church choir and with Conspirare.
  • Celebrated my fifteenth anniversary of working for Dell.
  • Joined a gym again and started swimming (semi)regularly.
  • Attended the Round Top music festival for the first time (and I still can’t believe I didn’t know about this when I was younger).
  • Took an intermediate swim class to improve my lap swimming technique.
  • Went to a Monkees concert in Houston with some old friends
  • Had my gall bladder removed
  • Had my apartment flood three times
  • Went to Israel!! Made new friends and had a great time. :)
  • Lost my eldest brother to liver cancer.

Several friends and family members had tough moments this year as well, and I continue to pray for those still challenged by these issues. Each new year’s beginning is ripe with possibility – I rejoice with those who had moments to celebrate this past year, and I pray that the new year brings blessings to all!

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Preparing for an adventure

God has blessed me in many ways, and one such blessing is an upcoming chance to mark something off my bucket list. Yes, the whole concept of a bucket list may be a little cliche, but nonetheless it is true. Am I prepared? I’m honestly not sure. Excited, yes. But prepared?

I’ll be telling bits and pieces of the story over the next few days, I hope – as the opportunity presents itself. Suffice it to say that I will be spending much less time online for the duration. Unplugging for a bit will definitely be a good thing. :)

As far as NaBloPoMo goes, I accepted the daily posting challenge because I really do want to get back into posting longer stories rather than quick blurbs in other formats. Writing is a skill that may be best left to other people more talented than I, but I do love to tell a good story.

Pax, y’all.

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Playing Games

Board games are on the list of my favorite things. I have quite a large collection of my own, but it’s always nice to get to try a new one from someone else’s stash. Tonight I was introduced to Lords of Waterdeep, a D&D-based game from Wizards of the Coast.

There are only eight rounds, but regardless of the number of players, the game should take about an hour (I think we took closer to two, but we had conversation and food going on as well). You play one of the Lords, and you hire adventurers to fulfill quests – standard RPG fare, but in an interesting and engaging board game. Now that I’ve played it once, I think I might add it to my wishlist. It’s definitely something that I would like to play more often.

Aside: I think this game might win an award for most unintentionally non-politically-correct comments during play.

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NaBloPoMo

Guess what – it’s November again! Well, perhaps that’s common knowledge. With November comes multiple creativity challenges – I’ve tried a couple of different ones, but one that I can usually stick to is NaBloPoMo, also known as National Blog Posting Month.

What this means is that I need to post something to my blog once daily for each day in November. This year I think it will be particularly challenging, since I’ll be out of my normal routine for a couple weeks of the month. However, I still want to give it a go. I don’t like it when I let the blog go too long between updates, and this challenge usually gives me at least a little impetus to get regular updates made instead of just posting shorter blurbs to other social media outlets.

I won’t be linking every one of these posts back to the book of faces, so if that’s how you got here, feel free to bookmark the site or add the RSS feed to your newsreader, and welcome along for the ride!

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The song title asks the right question

Tonight was our first church choir rehearsal of the new season. Of course, I couldn’t miss it. The very first song we sang is so very appropriate to my thoughts about music. How can I keep from singing? God has blessed me with this talent and I am blessed enough to have multiple groups with which to sing, not the least of which is my church choir.

While I admit it was probably more of a workout than my midsection needed, it was exactly what my spirit needed. The opportunity to praise God with friends in a worshipful setting is a marvelous and awesome thing. Now I will admit to being tired, and I will dutifully go lie down for a while. But the music plays on…

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Forced downtime

Since I am healing from a recent surgery, I’ve been forced into a level of idleness I usually avoid. The downtime is good for me, I know – I tend to rush through life, always pushing ahead, when sometimes God just wants me to slow down a little. While I tend to be good at caring for others, I’m not so good at always caring for myself, or even asking for help. In this, I’ve been incredibly blessed by friends and family who have not let me go unaided – and I am incredibly overwhelmed and thankful for all the love and assistance and prayers and offers of help that I’ve received over the last few days.

To keep my overactive nature under control, I’ve once again pulled out my needles and yarn. Being that it’s already the end of August, I’ve had to give thought to whether I will have handmade items ready for gifts for Christmas – but there are a few other gifts I’ve been working on in the meantime as well. My attention span tends to wander (if it surprises you that I have multiple projects going on at once, you should see how many books I am currently reading concurrently) but I did want to get started on a couple of special items. Right now I am working on something called Bowtie Pi – a crocheted shawl I am making from a multicolored fingering weight yarn. I started a different pattern with this yarn yesterday, got quite a few inches into it, and then decided I would run out of yarn before finishing the length I wanted. So today it has become something new, and I think this version will work out swimmingly.

Pardon the pink PJ bottoms, but comfort in clothing is paramount this week. :)

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Ruminations

I found myself standing before the king, explaining the situation. My heart was heavy with the news I was about to impart.

“Your majesty, as your majordomo, it is my duty to report a crime perpetuated by one of your advisors. The prized Oracle Medallion, which was to be covered in gold and protected from abuse by any human by a law enacted generations ago, has not been so protected. The outer layer was never placed on the medallion, meaning the Wizard of the time and all his successors have had free access to listen – no, to spy – on conversations all over the kingdom. I am not sure what limits the medallion may or may not have. The crime was recently discovered when we found correspondence between the Wizard and the court of Britain about actually selling them a duplicate of our national treasure.”

The king’s countenance grew dark, and he ordered his guards to bring in the Wizard. As I glanced at the tall figure being led into the throne room in chains, I noticed something astonishing — the man’s features shifted! He looked like himself, then one of the guards, and then even me! Angrily I strode over to the traitor and demanded, “Where have you promised to sell these fakes, these duplicates? To whom have you promised power that should not lay in mortal hands?”

The Wizard stood there and laughed. The king’s countenance grew darker, and he looked about to strike the criminal. Yet, before the king could approach the Wizard, I found myself becoming overwhelmingly angry, almost to the point of unreason.

“How many did you sell? Out with it! Speak, betrayer!”

“Why should I tell you,” scoffed the man. Well, I thought he was a man. Disconcertingly, he still held my visage as he glared back at me.

Angrily I threw him to the floor. I felt my anger rising and came close to beating his prone body, but forced myself to stop and step backwards. It would do no good to drive myself to the level of a thief and abuser of power. Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath and turned back to the king.

…and then the alarm woke me.

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Mismatched socks and a bloggiversary

Yes, mismatched socks. I’ve discovered that I have finally hit critical mass of single socks and can no longer find a pair to put together, even of white ones. Time to dump the sock basket and buy some new ones, because socks need to match, even if you’re just going to the gym.

At any rate, as it turns out, today is my bloggiversary! Yes, it was 11 years ago today (on another Monday, as it happens) that I started blogging. From a knit blog to a photo blog to just a mix of random thoughts and updates, this blog has been an adventure. It’s kind of fun to dive back into the archives for random dates to see what I was doing and see how my writing style has changed.

I’ve been more conscious of taking time to actually update my blog in the past year than I had been in the year or two prior – and this despite my Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr accounts. FB will probably continue to be my primary repository for thoughts, but it is nice to break out here with a longer stream of consciousness now and again. :D Let’s see where the next twelve months lead!

 

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