Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lost? ~

I invited a friend to church this morning. He stopped by and picked me up and drove me to Denton.

Denton, Texas.

If you aren't familiar with Denton, let me tell you a little bit about it. I grew up there, lived there for almost 30 years (man that makes me sound old!) and go back there to visit my family all the time. 
-Denton is the Redbud Capital of Texas, so named for the many Redbud trees in and around the city.

 -In 2006, Money magazine named Denton No. 58 out of the "Top 100 Best Places to Live in America."
-Denton is sometimes referred to by its nickname "Little D". (a reference to "Big D" - that'd be Dallas, of course!)
It's a college town, has 2 or 3 of them, maybe more. It was smaller when I left but it has sprouted up shopping centers and restaurants all over the place. It also has history, a square with a malt shop, some bed and breakfasts, and a lot of little attractions.

But the streets are all messed up.

Not only are they bumpy and always under construction, they are also curvy. And the ones that are straight don't go just North and South or East and West. They also go diagonal. And then we could talk about the amount of one-way streets there as compared to any normal city in Texas. Having lived there for many years, I've still been guilty of driving the wrong way on a street for a bit before figuring it out. 

So, as we approached Denton, my friend started asking me which way to go. The conversation from that point to the church was pretty much me saying "exit here" or "turn here" or "no, get in that lane!" As we twisted and turned and avoided potholes, he finally said, "I am so lost!"

I didn't say it out loud, but in my head I was thinking, "No you aren't. I'm right here and I know right where we are."

And then I just started thinking. I know it's a shock but I really was. There are songs about being lost and then being found. But if you think about it, has God really ever lost anything? We may have been lost but God knew all the time right where we were. Proverbs 5:21 says,
"For a man's ways are before the Lord's eyes, and He considers all his paths."
That really doesn't sound like God has misplaced us and is frantically searching for us. And what about Psalm 139?
"Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways."
That doesn't really sound like He has lost track of us either.  Hmmm...

So, my friend was lost in Denton this morning but he really wasn't. I am in NO WAY comparing myself to God. However, I did know right where we were and I knew where we were going after the next turn. And after he followed all of my directions, he wasn't lost anymore. See how that works??

God knows where we are.  My heart takes great comfort in that. Sometimes I don't know where I am or where I am going but we aren't really lost. God knows right where we are, all the time.

Banana Muffins ~

  • I walked into the kitchen this morning and saw two bananas that were ripe beyond eating. Those are the best only kind to make into any kind of bread or cake. So see? I had no choice but to make these delicious banana muffins.

  • The best part is that I made them up using only one bowl! Ok, so that really isn't the best part but it's still good. 

So I found this recipe on the Internet. Problem is, I only had 2 bananas, not 3. So I had a feeling there would be a problem with them being dry. Luckily for me, the site lets you adjust the serving size. So I adjusted it down from 12 servings to 8 and voila! It only calls for 2 bananas now. 

  • So here is the new recipe. Read it closely - does anyone see anything odd in these ingredients? 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 5/8 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

  • You are so right! How in the world do you use only 5/8ths of an egg?!?!  I didn't notice that until it was too late though so I just threw the whole egg (minus the shell) in. 

Also, in an effort to feel like I was being healthier, I replaced a bit of the all-purpose flour with wheat flour. You can not tell the difference, I promise. You could probably also throw in some walnuts or pecans and they would have been good too. I'm just not a nutty kind of person. Um, you knew what I meant so shush it. So here ya go! Bake some up!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with papers. This makes 8 cupcake size muffins or 5 perfect big muffins. I chose 5 big ones.

Place butter in a bowl and melt. Add 2 large ripe bananas and mash with a fork. Crack 5/8ths of an egg (hahaha, or 1 whole egg) into the same bowl and mix everything together. Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar and stir until combined well. Lastly, add the flour and stir. Divide into the muffin papers and bake for 25 minutes.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Healer ~

We sang this song last Sunday in church. Oh my goodness, I was touched by it! And then we sang another song and it kind of knocked the lyrics out of my head, all except for "I believe You're my healer." So I kept trying to remember all week long. Then on Friday, I was driving to work, listening to KCBI instead of Steve Harvey. And guess what! It came on the radio! Here's the song that's been with me all week. It's called "Healer" and if you want to watch the video, then turn off the sound on my music box on the right side of the page.

You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease

I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You're my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my Portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus You're all I need

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

I believe You're my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my Portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus You're all I need...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sew.Craft.Create.: Joe's Totes Giveaway

This is an awesome giveaway!!


And here is the yellow one that I am dying to have...

Rose - Marigold

Look how roomy it is inside, so easy to organize!

And here is how it will look thrown over YOUR shoulder!

Head on over to the Sew.Craft.Create blog and enter for your chance to win it.

This One Is For Me ~

I don't write for you. I mean, I do, but I mostly write for me. It's cathartic. It helps get it all out of my head and onto a place where I can look at it and sort through it and organize it. Sometimes it is personal stuff and sometimes it is also spiritual - maybe a struggle or an enlightenment that I need to work through. Sometimes I don't have much to write about because I'm not thinking about much. Other times, I have a lot. 
Like now. 
You are always welcome to follow along when I write it here, but this one is definitely for me to sit down and sort through. I wrote this one for me.

A little over a year ago I felt a lump in the left side of my neck, right under my ear. Whenever I get a sore throat or get tired, I get a lump in my neck over there too. This one wasn't exactly in the same spot but I figured there were plenty of glands over there so I wasn't too worried. Around the same time i saw my doctor for a spot on my arm that I was worried about. So ironic now that I think about it. So my doctor cut this thing off my arm and sent it off to the lab to be tested. I felt like he thought I was being a bit paranoid but hey, you never know. Turns out it was nothing. At the same time I told him about this lump in my neck. He felt of it and said it was probably a swollen gland, nothing to worry about, and I should just keep an eye on it and let him know if it grew or changed.

Fast forward 4 months. Back to the doctor for my normal yearly exam because I try to keep ahead of any health problems by taking advantage of preventive exams. I mentioned that this lump had grown slightly and the doctor wrote out an order for an ultrasound. Nothing to be alarmed about he said, just to make sure. 
Then BAM! I broke out with a heinous rash due to some medication I was taking. Medication reactions, I've been told, can take a year or more to get over and I've found that to be true. Anyways, with this rash I had hives for a solid month and a rash from head to toe that itched like crazy. So I wasn't really concerned about this small lump in my neck. I forgot all about the ultrasound for another 4 months while I battled this rash.
THEN, I was transferred to another area of the hospital where my co-worker noticed I kept rubbing my neck. When she asked about it I told her it was probably nothing, my doctor even said so. I can still hear her alarmed voice in my head, "Jennifer! Anything that isn't normal in your body, you need to get checked out!" I don't know why, maybe it was the tone of her voice but I was motivated to call my doctor immediately and get the order sent again so I could have that ultrasound.

Ultrasound done. 
Report sent to primary doctor. 
Referral to head/neck doctor.
Fine Needle Aspiration

Let me stop here and explain something about this fine needle aspiration. Yes, the needle is very small. It is definitely not fine. The doctor who performed this procedure was supposed to do it 3 times but he felt so sorry for me after the first time that he wouldn't proceed. I was sobbing like a big baby. However, he looked at the slide under the microscope and said that he didn't see anything to worry about but they would send it to the lab to make sure.

I saw my head/neck doctor a few days later again and he stated that the lump was a tumor, what they call a pleomorphic adenoma which is simply a benign tumor. Boy was I relieved! He said it would still have to be removed surgically because it would only get bigger, may effect the nerves in my face (OMG) and had the potential to become cancerous (OMG). 

Scheduled surgery
Recovery (Lots of time with my mama!)
Suture Removal
Pathology Report = BAD NEWS

I did NOT have a pleomorphic adenoma. The tumor was adenoid cystic carcinoma a rare and unusual type of cancer. But who cares what it was called, it was cancer. My doctor was almost as shocked as I was. I almost fell off my chair. My mother was there, she was stunned
Next came a trip to the oncologist. My blood runs cold every time I hear oncologist now. Thank goodness he was very easy on the eyes, it made my visit there so much better! 

So, here is the low-down:

I had a tumor that turned out to be cancer. I had it for over a year, I don't know how long it had been malignant. I think I dodged a bullet. Better yet, God was watching over me. Whew.
They got the whole tumor with clean margins, meaning they got a bit of tissue around it so it is gone.
I will have scans to make sure it is nowhere else. I will have CT scans of the chest periodically because that is where it would probably go next if it ever came back.
The chances of it coming back in the next 5 years is less than 10%. 
After 15 years, the percentage is much higher but my prognosis is still good and I have an excellent doctor, as far as I can tell.
I start radiation treatments in 4 - 6 weeks, every day for 30 days as a preventive measure, just to make sure...
Before radiation starts, I will see a special dentist so I can learn how to take care of my teeth and prevent bone more bone damage in the future. Radiation weakens bone and teeth are bones. Plus I have a jaw bone. You get the idea.

As far as I can tell from the research, I didn't do anything to get or facilitate the growth of this cancer. I'm glad I found it when I did. I'm glad for my co-worker who urged me to find out what it was. I am a bit confused about the 15-year statistics but plan to ask my oncologist next time I see him.  Websites and medical terms can be so confusing.

If you are still with me at this point, I applaud you. Thank you for listening to me sort through what happened and what is happening. This one was for me but I'm glad you cared enough to go there with me.

God is good, ALL THE TIME.