How Often Do You Forget To Pray – For You?

Earlier today I was contemplating my schedule. I would like to build in a specific time of day dedicated solely to prayer. I tend to be more of a “Pray as it happens” kinda gal. Kid running a fever Swish prayer sent. Witness two cars narrowly avoid a collision Thanks God!. Receive a call/text/email from a friend asking for prayer – I do it then, because to be honest it might get significantly delayed if I don’t!

All that is well and good, there is definitely a need for those prayers, and God hears them all, but I want to spend more time just talking to God, letting whatever comes to my heart become my prayers.

So great. This evening I had a nice quiet spot that was likely to be free from interruptions. Everyone else was appropriately occupied and away I went. It gave me such peace to connect with God.

A short time later as I prepared for bed I realized that I’d prayed for friends and family that needed prayer and everything else that was on my heart, but I hadn’t prayed for myself, at all. Nothing. It’s not the first time during this cancer battle where I realized I didn’t reach out to God for myself or in this life … I can ask others to pray for me but apparently not do it myself.

I wish I could speak or write prayers like some women I know, their gift of prayer is an amazing blessing. However, I have learned that God doesn’t care if we use beautiful words, plain words, jumbled and confused words, the silence of our hearts or the tears on our cheeks. All He longs for is for is to reach out to Him with open hearts. So with that, I pray tonight for me…

Lord, you know my pain and illness this week. Please give the doctors the wisdom of how to treat my infection and me the rest I need to heal. Thank you Lord for your wonderful servants at the Tom Baker that have taken such good care of me this week, for those that work even now making a plan to help me. May I continue to grow stronger in body, mind and spirit so I can joyfully follow You. Amen.

I ask now that you add your prayers to mine, and don’t forget to pray for yourself!

Menu Plan … ya right, not this week!

I will be totally honest, I feel like crap, and therefore our menu plan this week will mostly consist of winging it, whatever Wayne or Savannah can cook or what I can drag out of the freezer.  We do have enough spaghetti sauce for probably two meals, a beef stroganoff meal that just needs noodles, and some chicken that can just go in and be baked, so we aren’t going to starve, but I don’t have the wherewith all the sort it out and frankly if someone else is going to cook I’m happy to let them choose whatever they want to make and shut up and eat it!  There will probably be more take out than I care to admit.  I don’t really care.

I think radiation is just catching up with me, but I’m fatigued, more than a bit sore, and have been spiking a fever every night that mysteriously goes away every morning.  I don’t think I have an infection or anything, just need time to heal.  So with support from an amazing man that works all day, comes home and cooks, then takes the kids to any evening activities, (and a little boy that is happy to play quietly for an hour each afternoon so Mommy can nap!), I am so blessed.

Onward and Upward!

I’m done, Done, DONE!!!

Today was my very last radiation treatment!  It is so relieving to be done active treatment.  The journey is not over, I have burns to heal and energy to regain, but treatment is complete and I don’t have to go to the hospital tomorrow!! After six weeks of daily treatment, that alone is exciting!

I’ve met a lot of wonderful people this year, the staff that have taken care of me, the patients, the volunteers, my life has been profoundly affected in ways I don’t know how to explain.  I have flashes in my mind of patients that especially touched my heart, like the little boy I saw today.  Radiation sucks for everyone, but this little guy was 3 or 4, and just wow, I don’t want to think about what it is like for him and his family.  Or the 70 year old lady who has battled two completely different cancers in the last two years.  The volunteer driver for the  Canadian Cancer Society that has terminal lung cancer yet drives other patients to treatment several days a week, with his teddy bear by his side and a smile on his face.

I don’t even know what I want to say, in some ways it is very surreal.  I’ve been on this ride for over a year and now I am nearing the finish line and I feel like I might finally get my life back, but then realized that I am not the same person I was, so do I want *that* life back?  I don’t think so… Yes, I want more energy, I want the pain to be gone, but I like a lot of the changes I’ve made, the growth I’ve achieved, so I am not going to leave that behind.

I have learned a lot about myself, about the true value of friendship and about my faith in the last year, and I still feel like there are parts of that I need to sort through.  I feel that God very much had a purpose and a message for me through this all, and while I have heard some messages, and found great peace in them, I don’t think He’s quite done with me yet.  I think there is more to come.  Not illness, but more work on me.  More molding of pottery, more refiner’s fire…

Menu Plan Monday – Last Week of Treatment!

Thursday will mark my very last Radiation treatment!  We are very excited, but six weeks of treatment are also taking a bit of their toll.  I’m fatigued and sore, so not getting to crazy ambitious with our meals.   I also caught little man’s influenza on the weekend so was bumped from cooking duty and that means we get Saturday and Sunday’s meals this week because we still want them (and I already bought the ingredients)!


Chicken Cacciatore over egg noodles and salad


Perogies and sausage


Lemon Pepper Sole, risotto, asparagus


Honey Garlic Pork Chops, rice, broccoli

Friday – Celebration Supper!

Make Your Own Pizza, Salad, ice cream cake.


Date Night!


BBQ Ribs, foil wrapped baby potatoes with carrots and onions.

Pretty Pictures: My Makeup Free Selfie

Wow. A very powerful piece on the no makeup Selfies for Cancer movement… A strong and incredible Alberta woman who has truly seen the reality of cancer. If you want to raise awareness about cancer, please share this instead of a no makeup selfie.


IMG_0096 Dad’s selfie taken a month before his diagnosis

This is my makeup free selfie. No, I don’t need to wax my upper-lip – I did that last week, actually. The person in the selfie is my dad, Julian Raphael. He died on December 4th, 2013 of pancreatic cancer.

I was nominated to share a #nomakeupselfie on facebook in order to raise awareness about cancer. Initially I thought, “I have no idea what this has to do with cancer, but why not?” I’m not ashamed of my makeup-free face. I used to be. From the ages of about 15 to 25 I was afraid to leave the house without it. Now, however, I have come to really love my face without makeup – zits and all – and I would be pretty proud to show off how pretty my makeup free face is. With the right lighting, hairstyle and camera angle…

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A Year in Retrospect

baldIt was a year ago now that I first found the lump on my breast and the whirlwind of testing began, but really God started preparing me and our family for the journey months before.  I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few days about that and thought I would share where we came from, a summary of what we’ve been through the last year and where we are now.

In the Fall of 2012 Wayne and I were spending almost every waking moment together (aside from work, etc.) and he and Savannah also began attending church with me regularly, but it was obvious that ‘my’ home church was not a good match for our emerging family, so we started a frustrating couple months of ‘church shopping’.  While we visited many lovely communities, none were the right match for us for one reason or another.  In November I attended a Cursillo weekend as a team member.  While there I was given the message to “Be Still” and not be afraid.  That verse has continued to come to me throughout this journey and has brought me a lot of peace.  I spoke with many of my friends there about no longer feeling like I had a church home and was invited by my friend Nicole to join her at their church, Harvest Hills Alliance, which was very near my home.  We went the following Sunday and knew immediately that we were home!

We had a wonderful Christmas together and in January Wayne’s roommates announced that they were moving out.  After a lot of discussion between us and with the children, we decided that Keeghan and I would move in.  It was a hard decision, we were making it not only for ourselves, but also for our children, and with my divorce not yet complete and no end in sight, we had no idea if and when we would ever be able to formalize our relationship.  I gave notice to my landlord for March 1 and we started our life under one roof.

So we had formalized our relationship, found a Church and I’d heard the message from the Lord to “Be Still” … and then we knew why.

At the end of March I had a sore spot in my breast and in a couple whirlwind weeks of testing, I received a preliminary diagnosis of breast cancer on April 23 and the more detailed diagnosis of Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma just a few short days later on April 26.  I went off work and started the first of eight rounds of chemo by the end of the first week of May.  Wayne was by my side at every single chemo.  He didn’t have to be, I had other friends and family that had offered to be there with me, but he wanted to support me through this.

There were ups and downs through chemo, I had amazing support through some tough spots, including a horrible round 5.  A round that had me confessing through tears to my oncologist that if I didn’t have a family who needed me I didn’t know if I would carry on.  I was (figuratively) on my knees begging God to either heal me or take me.  Obviously I made it through!  The last four rounds of chemo were a lot tougher with several emergency room visits, but through amazing friends and family, we made it through.  I had too loving girlfriends who came very late one night to support me through a horrible nose bleed that almost resulted in another emergency room visit.  Instead it stopped, we enjoyed some tea and time of fellowship.  I guess God knew we needed some time together😉

September saw the end of Chemo (yay) and just a few days later we went on the CIBC Run for the Cure.  October brought Thanksgiving, where I was very much reminded of how much I had to be thankful for and then my surgery.  While surgery was more invasive than we had hoped, it was done.

Radiation was to start 6 weeks later, but ended up delayed multiple times as I faced post surgical complications and then delays at the radiation planning team replanned my treatment to reduce the potential damage to my heart and lungs.  During January I hit a rock bottom of depression and was once again on my knees before God praying for Him to lift me up or let me go.  That is a very scary place to be, but once again He brought me through it.

And now, a year after finding that fateful lump, I am almost done, just 8 treatments to go.  I look back, truly in awe of our God of wonders, who prepared me for this journey and has carried me through it.  I could not imagine facing cancer alone, there are so many times where Wayne has cared for the kids, cooked dinner, held my hand, dried my tears, cared for my sick body… not that friends and family would not have helped me out, I know they would have, but God was good and placed a partner by my side and I am SO thankful.  I have been graced by a wonderful family, awesome group of friends (some that I have never met and know only through online communities) and a church home that has been by our side through this all, and I can’t wait to celebrate the end with everyone.


Menu Plan Monday – Here we go again!

Second last week of radiation and I am definitely feeling the effects.  This week will see some simpler meals or things that can be made earlier in the day and just tossed in the oven at dinner time when I’ve run out of energy.  I need to go pick up fresh fruit and vegetables so some meals have no vegetable side dish yet until I see what looks good and is on sale at the store.


Dijon Pork Chops, pasta with sauce, green beans.

These got put off last week as the roast lasted two nights and pushed things back.



BBQ Chicken Thighs, potato salad, veggies.



Sole, mushroom risotto, brocolli



Breakfast for supper! French toast, bacon, strawberries and maybe even some whipped cream!



Meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, veggies.



Chicken Cacciatore over egg noodles, salad



Perogies and sausages


And for in snacks/lunches I made my favorite banana bread recipe ~ it is cooling now!