Thursday, June 11, 2020

A long, hard journey, but slowly coming back!

Hello, sweet friends! It's been a long time since I have posted anything on my blog -- actually well over a year now. So much has happened in the last year, but through it all God has been faithful -- as He always is and will be.

Both my husband and I were in and out of the hospital and rehab last June and July. Walt had his second knee replacement surgery in mid-May and developed cellulitis and had antibiotic IV infusions. Then I ended up in the hospital in early-June and had Whipple surgery for pancreatic cancer (I was able to have Whipple surgery because of the location and the size of the tumor). After fifteen days, I came home to be with my husband who a few days later developed a staph infection in the knee that required more surgery. Several friends took turns staying overnight with me for five days, but I ended up back in the hospital for another five days unable to eat or drink. Walt had to have another round of IV antibiotic infusions three times daily and went to rehab to finish the treatment. Because I was so weak, I followed him to rehab, and we were there (just down the hall from each other) for more than two weeks before finally coming home and where he continued the remaining IV infusions. 

I started chemotherapy in August but had to have another major surgery for a small bowel obstruction in late-October and was in the hospital for another two weeks. After healing for more than a month after surgery, I resumed chemo and finally finished the six months of chemotherapy on March 18 -- not without numerous side-effects, some of which still linger. A month after completing chemotherapy, we praised God for the good reports from my blood work and CAT scan. The oncologist will follow me for two years with blood work every three months and a CAT scan twice a year. We will see where we go from there and are praying for complete healing.

It has been quite the journey, and there were times I truly wanted to give up. But we know that God was and is with us through all our trials and uses them to make us more and more into the image of Christ and increase our trust in Him. I am slowly regaining strength and energy, and I look forward to feeling better and more motivated.

Through this entire journey, we were covered in prayer by family and friends around the world and are so blessed to have such wonderful prayer warriors that continue to pray for healing and good reports. Thank you does not begin to express our appreciation for the many prayers, cards, gifts, flowers, and encouragement. We have felt so loved!

One of my sisters shared her favorite Scripture verse with me, and it has been a great comfort to me. 
It is the LORD Who goes before you.
He will be with you;
He will not leave you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 31:8
This verse should encourage us all as we encounter hard times. Each of us will certainly deal with hardship sometime during our lifetime. While the entire world has been dealing with the COVID-19 virus and unrest, God is always available to comfort and give us strength and hope. 

Another wonderful verse that encouraged me is a long-time favorite.

I can do [endure] all things
through Christ Who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

I especially appreciated that my friend said "endure" in his text because it fit what I experienced. After my second surgery, I did not think I could go another minute feeling the pain. A very dear and precious friend came to the hospital and prayed for me asking Jesus to give me His strength to endure. I have learned this year that we can endure trials of any kind only through God's strength. Some are more difficult than others, but I assure you that God is always with us and will strengthen and encourage us -- and give us peace. May you be assured of His love and care as I have been.   

Well over a year ago, I made this card that was never sent. However, it's been on my table as a reminder that God is always with me to give me strength and hope. My true hope is that I shall one day be with the Lord in Heaven, my real home. It's because Jesus has paid the price to make me acceptable to the Father when Jesus died on the cross for all my sins. I yearn for you all to know that kind of peace. This world is a mess and so flawed, but Heaven is a place where there is no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears, no more hatred -- and where we shall be with the Lord forever -- happier than we could ever imagine here on earth!

I found this digital image in my UFO box that I had printed from Rose and Chamomile and decided to finish coloring it and then fussy cut it to put it on a card with a sentiment. I remembered the beautiful decorative die from my dear friend Tracy, and I thought it would be perfect for this card. Doesn't it remind you of Battenberg lace? I cut the die in white and then traced the die on Rose Red and "loosely" fussy cut it. I traced the inside of the decorative die onto Rose Red and used it as a mat for the white layer. I used my Mini MISTI to add the sentiment from the Bridge Set, leaving room for the rose. I shaped the rose with my Empressor to give it dimension and popped it up with thin adhesive squares. I cut a card base that hides behind this card front. Using the clear set Everything's Even Rosier, I stamped the single rose in Rose Red inside at the bottom left, adhered it to the card front...and it was done. This card has encouraged me this past year and will be sent to someone who needs encouragement now herself.

We all have trials, difficulties, and suffering, and we should trust in God alone to guide, comfort, and love us through all circumstances that pass through the Father's loving hands. He promises to never leave us or forsake us.

Sweet friends, I have missed you so much. You have continued to be in my prayers, and I praise God for His mercy and for bringing your names to mind as I have prayed this past year. Even in my darkest moments, God has brought so many of your prayer requests to mind, and I have found joy hearing about praise reports as well as updates. Thank you for your friendship, love, and especially your prayers for us. Prayer is powerful! May God continue to give peace, comfort, and strength to us all. May God Almighty be praised always! You are a great blessing to me and to those for whom you pray.

Blessings and love, sweet friends,

StampsRose and Chamomile and Everything's Even Rosier - retired (Power Poppy), Bridge Set by Dina Kowal (Impression Obsession)
Paper: X-Press It Blending Card, Solar White #110 (Neenah), Rose Red - retired (SU!)
Ink: Printer for digital image, Tuxedo Black (Memento), Onyx Black (Versafine), Rose Red - retired (SU!)
Tools/Accessories: Copic markers, Lacey Edge Rectangle die (Gina Marie Designs), Empressor tool, Mini MISTI, Thin 3D Foam Squares (Scrapbook Adhesives), Tombow Mono Glue, white tape, red tape
Techniques: Digital images with Microsoft Word, Copic coloring, fussy cutting
Card Size: A-2