Monday, October 5, 2015


My daughter, Kara, started rhythmic gymnastics when she was 6.  Late in that year, she did her first competition.  I’ve been thinking a lot about her focus and determination that dayJ  There she sat, a small little girlie in blue, surrounded by a host of strangers.  She needed me next to her, but she didn’t need me to talk to her.  She sat taking it all in.  I’d see her eye’s roaming the room, focusing on the coach in front of the carpet… squaring her shoulders.  I leaned over and said, ‘You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to lovie…’.  Her name was called…  Up she got.  Head up.  Gaze focused.  And, she did her ribbon movements beautifully.  She finished… came back and sat down.  No fuss.  She’d done it.  She was satisfied.  And, we went back home again.

Kari doing her very first gym competition 2008 age almost 7
Hebrews 12:1b  ….let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

I’m so thankful to the Lord for Kari’s example to me as I approach this 2nd course of cancer treatment.  The road is marked out before me.  I need to choose to travel it.  I could choose to give up before I start.  I could choose to shout and scream at its unfairness.  But, the Lord has so gently reminded me to be obedient this past week.  He has reminded me of His great love for me.  He has reminded me of the sufferings of many around me and those that have gone before.  He has reminded me that He is in control.  He has reminded me that I can trust Him. 

Like Kari, I need to focus on the path ahead of me.  Gather my strength (which He also promises to give).  Give thanx for the huge support network He has around me (how priveledged I am as soooooo many do not have that).  I need to straighten my shoulders… lift my head without shame or uncertainty (because He loves me)… and walk the path laid out before me as best I can… with His strength and holding His banner high. 

The path will end, as Kari’s music did that day.  I will grow in ways I cannot know now.  I will experience Jesus in ways I cannot now anticipate.  I will meet people along the way… who will help me and who I will be priveledged to help.  Pray with me, that when I reach fork in the road of this particular part of the journey…  that I will experience the warmth of His smile of pride … that I did my best… that I allowed Him to show Himself real and true.  May my life bring Him glory. 

Cancer does not define who I am.  But, it is one of the things that determines a path on my road of life.  Cancer is not the whole journey.  It is part of it.  My journey is in the hands of my Savior.  Tho hard, I can rest in His hands, as I travel. 

Thank you fo much for your prayers.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Help me learn this ... already

In July this year, my 4th PETscan came back…. Clear!  PTL.  Then, last week, just 2 months later… I find a lump on my left chest wall, underneath where one of the tumors would have been if we had not had the mastectomy.  Though my oncologist and surgeon both feel hopeful that its not malignant… one doesn’t know for sure until it is out and tested.  This will happen shortly. 

Giving God the glory for our 4th clear PETscan in July
Celebrating after the service with our church family

But, being faced with this scare when I least of all expected it, got me thinking.  Nothing in life is certain.  Everything in life is subject to change at any minute.  The only things that remain constant are the truths that firstly, He, Jesus, is in control… and secondly, that life is our chance to prepare for life on the other side…  prepare ourselves and to be in relationship as we do that, so that we can be mutually encouraged as we prepare alongside others.

I so want to be able to dream again about what I want to do with my lifeJ.  But, He wants me to foremost want to be in His will and following His direction.  Lord, help to to LEARN how to make plans and allow you to direct my steps.  Help me learn how to keep ‘me’ out of your wayJ.  Thank you for your patience with me.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


December 2014 with my brother and his family.  My sister-in-law is photographer:)
‘Thank you Jesus for these clear blood tests’… While pondering the joy of time I didn’t think I’d have, the Lord took my thoughts back to the days of chemo.  Cancer brought me to the end of myself. .. to think about the end of my life here on earth.  Cancer caused me to think about the reality of heaven and my Savior, Jesus.  It brought me, and many of my loved ones, to our knees.  Yes we asked for healing.  But, for me that knealing position became more of a picture of the challenge of submission… ‘Not my will, but Yours be done’… 

This was easier said on the cancer-free side of cancer, let me tell youJ  Saying that to my God and King, while still knowing a huge cancer tumor was still in my body…  meant I needed to submit my desire to be alive on earth, under whatever plan He thought best for me… and the people around me.  I had to submit under the knowledge that great pain could be the result to the people I loved the most. 

Life is full of mountain tops, plateaus, gentle plains and deep valleys.  I so wanted to protect my loved ones from a deep valley,especially caused by meJ.  But, as hard as it was to submit under His will completely, when I did it, it also brought a deep sense of calm on my ‘inside’.  The process of submission, in my experience, is just that…a process, sometimes easier, sometimes impossible… not always complete, not the same everyday and certainly not without tears (shed very privately for my dear hubby and kiddos)…  This was something between me and Jesus. 

So here we are with a year of treatment done.  3½ years of tests and scans clear  but a ways to go (5 years was the 50:50 prognosis for recurrence I was given – with the warning that I would always be a cancer patient).  Still the Lord reminds me, in His gentle way, that ‘on my knee’s’ needs to remain the posture of my heart.  ‘On my knee’s’ in thankfulness maybe at this point.  But, also ‘on my knees’ in continues submission with the quiet prayer of ‘Not my will but Yours be done” on my lips. 

I remember lying on my bed recovering from that weeks treatment and looking at this picture from my bed.  I had asked Mark to hang it there because it was taken just before we got the cancer bombshell.  All the excitement over the soccer world cup being in South Africa had been such a wonderful time for usJ  I would look at the three of them and plead with the Lord to not take me away from them just yet…  Then, with tears, I would say…’not my will, but Yours be done’.  As the tears rolled down my cheeks… a great and unexplainable calm would enter my heart. 

Cancer has a way of stripping away the not-so-important things.  It is an opportunity to focus on whats most important.  Finding another way of holding onto His hand.. finding joy in building into the lives of those one loves and fulfilling my part in His plan for them! 

So I continue stumbling along in this journey of life, learning more about my faith in Jesus Christ.  I’m so thankful for the image of my Father’s face as I stumble and stagger…  His gentle eye’s filled with joy when I get it right…  His gentle eye’s filled with love when I try and fail…  His gentle eye’s filled with patience when I go my own wayJ  Oh the joy of being 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Christmas 2013... a special one spent at our own Christmas tree as the request of J and K:)

In January this year we got our clear 3 and half year blood work.  What a joy to get this good news.  We can plan and live another 6 months! 
That sounds great I know.  In reality, it’s a hard thing.  To not plan past 6 months.  Our ministry plans span a year, my daughters gym training has a year or at least 3 school terms goal, we as a family plan trips together, we buy homeschool materials for longer than that … all past 6 months.  I remember  while going through chemo:  the phrase that came back over and over… ‘one day at a time’.  It was true. One survives like that.  You don’t know whats around the corner.  Even now, tho the one day has increased to 6 months, we still don’t know whats around the corner.  Our 5 years are up yet…  and even then!?

There’s nothing wrong with the coping strategies we use.     We make our plans, we dream our dreams… but now we submit them before His grace and His plan.  Only He knows whats ahead and around the corner for any of us……  We make our plans, but in faith, we allow Him to direct our steps.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Its two and a half years after cancer treatment ended, and I find I’m still recovering.  I wanted to share these realities so that others might understand more of the process that one goes through.  Maybe if you’re coping with cancer treatment yourself, you’ll be encouraged to take a breath and extend grace to yourselfJ  And, maybe if you’re an onlooker of someone elses cancer treatment, you will be able to prepare yourself for the longhaulJ 

With my very own superhero
Our Lord Jesus is faithful through it all.  I can look back and see His fingerprints along the way (even the hard days)…  His grace to endure…  His softening of the difficulites… His demonstration of His love in miraculous and practical ways… even His reminder from time to time, that I’m not the only one facing a giant.  His gentle reminder to give Him the glory no matter the journey is a constant lesson.

I imagine that it might seem to folks not living with me, that I’ve been in a good place physically for quite a while.  In reality I’m still recovering.  The 2 big physical things for me have been fatigue and pain.

A year out from treatment, I was still needing to nap for a hour every day and was out for the day by just after 7pm.  This wasn’t laziness, it was physical exhaustion.  I share that, because I felt I was being lazy.  Looking back, I had to rest in order to cope with my responsibilities to my family.  Life goes on no matter…  I had to homeschool, cook, wash etc.  We had to carry on living.  This meant that I fell asleep while the family watched a movie together.  I couldn’t go to the shops for longer than a half an hour.  I had to sleep after I did anything physical… like water the garden.  I could also phsyicall cope with little while homeschooling.  It has slowly improved to the point that now, 2 and half years out from treatment, I am only needing to lie down a couple of times a week and most of the time can hang in there at night with the rest of the family.  I anticipate further improvement in the months aheadJ

Rythmic gymnastics has been central in my daughters life and coping
 I developed hip pain toward the end of my 2nd course of chemo.  No real cause was found… we were just thankful at that point it wasn’t cancerJ  But these symptoms steadily worsened to the point of waking me at night.  A physio, specializing in oncology, diagnosed the problem…  decreasing activity had led to poor muscular support of my spine, causing the muscles in the rest of my body (hips especially) to try and compensate to support it.  This led to decreased mobility, range of motion and constant discomfort.  Functionally I was unable to cook an evening meal without lying down at least 2 times because of pain (and fatigue of course).  After a course of physio, she had me see a pilates trainer once a week.  My sessions were eventually lengthened and upgraded.  It has been life changing.  I have no more pain and again can sit on the ground.  I can even go shopping with my children and come home to cook a meal.  I still need to maintain the range of motion in my hips (but I now do my streatches every few days rather than 3 to 4 times a day like 6 months ago). 

Its funny because so often I remember responding to people questions with … ‘I’m almost back to normal’…  “I’m feeling better than I have in ages’.  They were all true.  I just wasn’t aware of how far I still had to go.  And, from where I’d come… boy was I soooooo much better. 

My son has enjoyed his art lessons over these last years
I would not change any of the choices I made regarding my treatment.  The reality of cancer treatment and recovery is that its LONG, SLOW … but DO-ABLE.  Amazingly, one is able, with the Lords help, to find the joy of living even when your body is not working quite up to speed.  I’m not ‘there’ yet but I’m encouraged with the progress the Lord has allowed my body.  I also want to acknowledge the many people who have supported and assisted me and my family.  I am unable to do this alone.  Its not easy feeling so needy for so long.  It has been a humbling time.  Thank you Lord for your many lessons.  But, thank you most of all for the strength and encouragement you are providing day by day. 

If you, or anyone you know, are looking for a physio and Pilates instructor in the Durban area, please don’t hesitate in contacting me.  

Friday, April 19, 2013


Taken toward my end of my second lot of chemo...  bloated, unable to see very well, tired all the time, hair  hanging in there but looking strange...  it used most of my energy just to lift my head, let alone have a smile...  but the JOY of His salvation, comfort and presence never left...  Boy do I want to know that JOY more and more, deeper and deeper...

JOY is a fruit of the spirit that grows in us the deeper we walk with Jesus.  Happiness is our reaction to our circumstances.  JOY is our spirits response to the grace of our salvation.
My sense is that our JOY need not disappear as we go thru a trying time... tho we may become unhappy, sad, frustrated or unsure.  Evidence of these yucky feelings doesn't mean we have lost our joy.
My experiance has been, that when I allow myself to wallow into self-pity...  I start to loose my joy.  I have been very aware of my JOY, even tho my inital response to a difficulty has been less that happy:) Oh the release of tears... oh the freedom to be unhappy about something that makes me feel that way.  But, thank you Lord for the caution... to keep your perspective and not embrace self pity.  Easier than it sounds...

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Mark is my hero.  He has had to put his feelings on the back burner, he has had to think of everyone else in the family first, he has had to leave his fears unvoiced and he has had to still try and carry on working.  This pic was taken of us during chemo.  I felt cherished amidst a time when one looks and feels very uncherishable.  He is an incredible man.  I love him dearly.  I am so thankful to Jeremy who has allowed Mark the space and time to process all he has needed to process.  The Body of Christ is so vital to our survival of trying times.  I want to be reminded constantly to be looking for those around me who need holding up.  That is what we needed and I know that others need the same.
Thank you Lord for Mark.
Thank you Lord for those who have walked this long hard road with us.