Faithful

So, there’s this guy…

Haha that sounds so creepy.

OK, so we all know I am still single. While I am interested in being in a committed relationship that leads to marriage; I am not interested in settling for anything less than a solid foundation.

Do I think it will be perfect? I sure hope not. Perfect is boring. Would I like it to be soon? Ya, but I’m willing to wait for the one…and when he shows up…I’m ready.

As far as dating goes, I try my best to focus on Christ. On days when I am lonely, I work on remembering that lonely alone is better than lonely with somebody at my side. This does not mean that if I meet somebody and there is potential that I don’t step up to the plate…as I did this past weekend.

I casually met a man in June at the Single Mom’s Retreat. He was one of the men working security for the weekend. Although our visit was brief (and he really didn’t have a choice but to be nice to me as he was on the job); something about our interaction stuck with me all that weekend. I have prayed for this man consistently since June. Praying that he has peace in every aspect of his life, that he know his identity is in Christ, that God provide for him as He did for Adam…a perfect mate. (Of course, I wasn’t even sure he was single or married, so my prayers included that she also be a woman of God and that they be happy together.)

This last weekend at the Thrive conference, I saw him again. I won’t lie, I was quite excited to attend the conference because he had told me in June he would be working again at this one. Not only was I going to be spending two days with some amazing women…this was my chance to get to know him better.

Like a giddy school girl, when I saw him I gave him a huge hug and told him I was so glad he was there. He remembered me from Single Mom’s and although I wish I had the time to stop right then and there to speak with him; the conference was my priority and worship was starting!

Katie found him on Facebook and his profile says single, all his meme’s that are public are about loving God and living a Godly life…could he be any more perfect? She had told me the last time I was thinking about dating that she wanted me to find a man who loved Jesus more than I did. (I think that conversation actually took place the day I met him for the first time…while her and I were driving to the Single Mom’s retreat in June.)

On Saturday I made my move, I had written him a short note, telling him that I had appreciated our short conversations at the Single Mom’s weekend and was glad to see him again this weekend. I told him that he had been in my prayers since then and if he wanted to stay in contact, here was my phone number…

Wow…did I really do that?

Unfortunately, what could have been the amazing start to an awesome love story ends there.

He did not call, or text.

The funny thing is that it brings me this huge full of love feeling. I now know FOR SURE that there are Godly men out there…and when mine comes along, I know I’m ready.

I am so honored to remain faithful to my future husband; whomever he may be and wherever he is today. My heart is open and it is full!

Lord,

As I walk through this singleness, I am so thankful for being shown that there truly are single men of God out there. It strengthens my resolve to remain pure for the one You have chosen for me. It reminds me that dating for fun is not something I am even remotely interested in. As my heart remains full and open, give me the strength to continue to be vulnerable and allow that love to pour out over everybody in my life so that there is always room for more love.

I know Your plan works any season, regardless of my human understanding; it would be interesting to see how You would work a new relationship into a hockey and bowling season…

I am so blessed to have the friends I have who support even my wildest dreams; and crazy antics like giving a stranger my phone number at a Christian Women’s Conference. Thank You Jesus for giving me these women in my life.

As the Fall season is upon us, and it is getting colder outside, may our hearts remain on fire for You.

Amen

Advertisements

Now I’ve Done It

Now that inline skating season is almost over, it is time for Katie and our friend Katherine to resume their Thursday evening workouts. Good for them, right? Wrong. They brought their weights and video over to my house and we will be doing it together.

Trust me, I tried everything to get out of this. I am not a workout kinda girl. I skated my butt of this summer and I am quite happy seeing how much better I will be next summer with a full spring/summer of training.

Well, this is where Katie pushes back apparently. She knows I want to be on a podium of at least one race next year and there is only one way to get there…hard work.

So last Thursday we worked out…the three of us. I have not even LOOKED at weights for 30 years…never mind lifted them. They asked if I wanted to start with 3 lbs or 5 lbs. Well, here’s where my thinking gets me in trouble. I figure if I’m going to work out, I might as well make it worth my time and ache. I pick 5 lbs with the idea that if it does become too much, I can reduce to three.

Ya, we all know that never happened…oh wait, ya, for one of the exercises I picked the lighter weights…but only for one.

Friday my body must have still been in shock, because it didn’t hurt too bad. I knew I had worked out but could still walk up and down stairs without cussing at these two women.

Saturday came and Katie and I went for a quick five mile skate (not sure when that became quick…or normal…but it has). While doing some one legged glides, I lost my balance and fell.

I tore a hole in my only pair of sweatpants, I figured there must have been some road rash but didn’t bother looking as we were not even a half mile into our skate and there was nothing I was going to do. I could not feel blood dripping so it’s all good.

We enjoyed the first 2.5 miles just skating along on some new pavement by my house. Then we turned around…into a 10+mph headwind.

The conversation came to a dead stop.

The next two and a half miles was full of “This is stupid” and “We should have parked a vehicle at one end and just drove back” kind of comments. “Are we there yet” has taken on a whole new level of understanding.

I did notice that the strong headwind was great for my form though. I struggle with leaning forward and a proper, slow stride when I have no resistance. I was much better at putting my hands behind my back, leaning forward and a proper stride.

Silver linings, I guess.

Then off to watch the older boy start his bowling season…sitting for an hour.

Then I had to get up…HOLY HANNA…WHAT THE…

Ya, my body was letting me know what it thought of not only the fall, but the entire workout silliness now. I was nearly in tears when Katie dropped me off a sweatshirt (because I got the skate shivers while at bowling). I was telling her that now I had to go sit for another hour to watch football…oh my aching muscles.

By Saturday evening I could not even lift my arms to brush my hair without my triceps screaming at me. I screamed back…much to the enjoyment of the boys.

Now it’s Monday and my body seems to have forgiven me. I don’t yet have the nerve to tell it we are working out on Tuesday this week because we are leaving town for the weekend Friday morning to attend a women’s conference.

But…makes me wonder if we shouldn’t be working out twice a week…just when our body is not hating us…do it again. In theory it sounds like a good plan. Wait…what?

My legs have some serious work to do when it comes to strength. I also know that with that strength I will likely try to save enough money to spend on a skate coach for a couple of hours to work on my technique. The closest one I know of is down in the cities so will likely try to fit it in during a Rochester trip.

I am already looking forward to next summer…something I could not do just a few months ago.

Before healing, I could not think beyond the next month, or the one after that. Now, I’m back to planning a future, living my life as if I had never heard those ugly words, “I”m not going to lie, it’s not good.”

I am so thankful for the ability to work out and hurt like I’ve been hit by a tank. The ache reminds me of all those who cannot workout due to treatments, side effects, and those who have graduated from earth…I workout because they can’t. I hurt by choice…I remember when I hurt just because I was breathing…

How blessed am I.

Dear Lord,

This last week has sure been a roller coaster of living, to put it mildly. I am so thankful to be buckled in and eyes open to enjoy the ride.
As this week moves forward and we say good bye to a dear friend, help me serve his family as they have served others for so long.
I need help discerning the work situation as well, this is a tough one.

Amen

Hockey and Dates

Today I was gifted four tickets to a University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks hockey game. As a huge hockey fan, I cannot even begin to explain my delight at this. I have never been to a college level hockey game. Unfortunately, my boys cannot join me so I am taking friends.

While I was at the grocery store with my youngest son after school today we were joking about me looking for a date. He even asked a friend of ours and our checkout guy if they would be my date. He did not seem to care that our friend is married and the checkout guy has a girlfriend. Too funny.

At one point we were standing by a store employee who was giving out free brownie sundaes and he was still trying to convince me I needed a date, and he would find me one. He even asked the guy at the meat counter…he declined as it is his mother’s birthday tomorrow.

The lady said to him, “Aww, he just is worried about his Mama and wants her to be happy.”

I responded that he worried enough when I was sick, he should never have to worry about his Mama ever again.

Then he caught my eye…

A look of terror and dread and anguish flashed through his whole body. It rocked me to the core.

“Ya, I worried enough, I never want to worry like that again” was his reply as he moved closer and put his head against my arm and looked up at me.

“That’s legit buddy; I’m sorry.” I wrapped my free arm around him as we walked away, his head still leaned against me. What else was I supposed to say, what could I say? We walked like that in silence for a few minutes through the store, eventually easing back into conversation.

For a minute though, I saw it. I saw cancer in my young son’s eyes. I could see it written on his heart. He is nine years old. In a split second, I watched him age a hundred years. I watched him become a man, with a little boy’s broken heart.

Cancer will be a part of who my boys become as young men, as partners, as fathers, as leaders. I am so glad I get to guide them and raise them up!

Lord,

That fear I saw tonight…it was the first time I’ve seen it in a long time. I am so grateful that he had that moment with me, so he could be validated and comforted.
As we move further away from cancer and as I raise these young men up into Godly men; give me the patience, the strength, and the integrity to do it right.

Amen

What To Say

Another warrior discovered her cancer had metastasized to her bones a few weeks ago.  Her doctor ordered a brain MRI and she received the results today that she has three lesions on her brain.

I do not even know what to say. I am sorry sounds like a death sentence. When I think of what I would want to hear, I cannot even imagine.

I think the most logical, honest, heartfelt response for me would be, “Oh Fuck, now what?”

Seriously…because for women who have breast cancer that metastasizes, it means life-long treatment. It means facing the unknown and every fear you have faced since your initial diagnosis has been realized.

One lady said she feels such peace now. She had spent years wondering if and when it would show up again; now she knows and can make a treatment plan and move forward.

I would like to think I would also feel that way; but I am not that strong. Oh, I would look that strong on the outside, of that I am sure. On the inside, and at my Mommy’s house though, I would be a mess. A puddle of mush.

And when it was time to get to work, I would get to work. Maybe I would be like that. I am glad I do not have to find out.

Being healed has brought me a peace I had before I ever heard that ugly word; Cancer. I am different though. I no longer am able to be naive about my mortality. I am no longer willing to let simple symptoms go for more than a couple of weeks.

What if I had gone to the doctor when I first felt pain in my left breast? Would that have changed my treatment plan or outcome? I never want to be that close to death ever again. So from now on, if I have a pain, a twinge, a feeling something is not right, I will get it looked at sooner rather than later.

I may be healed yet I still take medications on a daily basis. My body tried to kill me once, I will do everything in my power, to not let that happen again. As I still have one natural breast left; I am still at risk.

My risk for a new primary cancer in my right breast is pretty slim; I get that. I also get that it was pretty much a fluke of nature (if I believed in such a thing) that I had it in the first place.

So difficult to put yourself in the shoes of somebody receiving such devastating news; I am blessed that I can though. I am thankful I know her well enough to ask what now and have her know she can share the details with me, they will not scare me away and I will not tell her to eat more carrots.

To my stage IV warriors, my friends; this sucks, and I’m coming along for the ride. Hang in there and you do you.

Lord,

I pray for all the metavivors out there, those I know and the ones I don’t. I pray for their medical team to be the best, I pray that the treatment decisions are sound and successful. I ask for relief from any pain or anxiety as they live their new life.
I ask for a miracle, for radical healing as only You can do.
Lord give me strength and courage to continue to grow these friendships and not back away. To not fade.
I praise You for my healing, God. For giving my another shot at life. For allowing me to serve you with grace and wisdom.
Amen

Always Training for Something

My dating life has been pretty much non-existent for over a year, maybe even longer than that! There was a guy who gave me his number this summer and we hung out quite a bit when the boys were in Canada but it was definitely a no-go as far as trying to make it into a relationship.

I used to joke with my friends about my very short deal breaker list; (he has to be a practicing Christian, over 30, have a stable job, and not live with his mother), it seemed to me that at my age finding those four things would be pretty simple. Then you just go out and do life and God brings you together and you work your butts off to live happily ever after. Right?

Yesterday my mood was sad and lonely. My kids are doing some real awesome things and I want a partner to share those things with. My baby started flag football, my oldest is knocking his social life out of the park at his new school. When I lay in bed at night, in those moments before I fall asleep, and when my eyes first open in the morning, I want somebody there with me, just as proud of them as I am.

Because this is hard.

We are still figuring out the new school and schedules and now sports is involved so there is the extra spinning in circles. Having back up on scene would sure help. Thankfully I have great back-up that I can call for transportation and other needs.

I whined yesterday that even crappy girls have boyfriends and I had no idea what I am doing wrong. I know they usually have crappy boyfriends and I know that when my life partner shows up all this belly-aching will seem ridiculous; but right now it is difficult.

I am working on treating this as no different that training for my marathon. Until Katie wrote about all my physical ailments, I had forgot about most of them. My knee I ended up getting a cortisone shot in August because the pain was unbearable, my busted finger healed, and prayer took care of my hip. Oh those bad hip days hurt so much…and my poor knee. If anybody else was telling the tale I would immediately claim I could not do all that.

But I did. I already skated with a bum knee and a broken finger and a hip that thought skating was stupid.

And I kept skating. Over and over again when I wanted to take the easy way out and use any one of my issues as an excuse to not skate…I kept going.

And I will keep living my life. I have no idea when this man God has planned for me will show up. I just believe that he will. I just know that I know he is worth the wait. And waiting is hard.

As we figure out life here with schedules, football, hockey, bowling, archery, homework, and life in general, I will walk close to Jesus as He holds my hand. I will do my best to spend each day joyful that I am even alive to have these concerns. When the time comes for a man to take my hand, he will also be walking hand in hand with God and we will all join hands together and keep walking.

I used to get a lot of backlash, although always lovingly, about wanting a boyfriend. I have been told I need to not want it, and that is not fair. Some people are okay with being single and staying that way. I am perfectly fine with being single; I just have no intention of staying that way.

The hard part of that is being intentional. I do not just want any man, I want the right man. So I can whine and cry over being single, or I can know in my heart that I am not settling for less than I deserve. Some days, I can do both. Because single is lonely.

Lord,
I have no idea what Your plan is for me; I’m not even asking to know. I would like to pray for this period of singleness to come to an end…but I’m not going to tell You how to do Your job.
Father, as you prepare myself and my partner for each other, can you please calm our weary hearts. Fill them with Your presence when we begin to question our worthiness.
Remind us that this is actually the easy part and the real work starts when we are together. Whisper in our ears that we don’t want to wish this time away because there is meaning in it as well.
I lift up the homework situation in our home to You; help me help him and fill his love tank as he struggles.

Amen

Emotions

Our shirts are finished. Team Kiss My Skates is ready for business. We have matching shirts, pants, helmets, and wrist guards. The front of shirts are adorned with 66 names of people who have or have had cancer. Some are in remission or NED (No Evidence of Disease), others are dealing with recurrence, and unfortunately we have lost a few.

Seeing my own name on the shirt along with my grandpa and my baby sister is killing me. I had no idea that seeing us together on this shirt would hit me so hard. It was a pure gut-check moment for me.

There was a brief moment when our shirts almost did not get made. Katie’s was finished and there just was not going to be enough time to get mine done. I told the friend of ours who was doing the shirts that it was ok. He had already gone above and beyond for us and the time he had taken to just get hers done was already more than I could ask for.

I told him it was fine if I did not have a shirt.

After he left, Katie asked if I was really okay with not having a shirt and try as I might; I could not hide my sadness. We started to brainstorm for ways to make me a shirt.

Little did we know, our friend had gone home and printed out a new sheet of vinyl letters for my shirt; saving the day.

When I skate with those names…I cannot even describe the power, the feelings, the drive. I have pushed myself so hard physically. Although I would like to say I have never pushed myself as hard before, it would be a lie. I would like to say this is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. That would also be a lie.

While I was doing chemo, I fought this hard (and harder) every day just to get through the day. I had to will myself to breathe when I did not think I had any strength left in me. I had to will myself to move my legs so I did not develop blood clots. I had to trust God when I was not sure I would make it, that I would wake up from a nap.

That fight makes all this skating look like child’s play. It also reminds me that I can overcome any obstacles. I have already proven to myself just how strong I am.

My biggest task right now is to not expect too much of myself on race day. It is my first marathon, my first time ever on this course. I truly have no idea what I am up against. I have told myself (over and over again) that my goal is just to finish the race. Anything above and beyond that will just be icing on the cake.

I would like to work myself up to eventually skate in one of the advanced waves; just for the fun of it. That may take a couple years, but it would be so worth it. Next year I want to skate more than one marathon.

I was bitten by the inline skating bug…and I like it.

Seeing the reactions of my friends in the chemo group has been so humbling and inspiring. I am skating not only for myself, I am skating for each one of them and they are all skating with me. Just as chemo would have been unbearable without them, I could not finish this marathon without their support. When I cross that finish line with Katie, we will be crossing with 66 warriors. We are each of those warriors, they are with us.

Lord,

As I focus on bringing the glory to You, wrap all these warriors in your loving embrace as they skate with me in heart.

Amen

 

Training

In August I skated 23 times for a total of 185 miles. Not bad considering I was unable to skate for 12 days last month. Those are the days I was in Canada with my friend and then my family. Of course the first morning I was back and ready to get back to skating…it rained.

About a week ago I knew I had to do some practice on hills. There are a few hills along the marathon route although most of them go the right way (a decline) there are a few that are backwards (an incline).

I have figured out that I can pretty much skate forever on a flat surface. I also know that hills nearly kill me. One evening I told Katie I was going to go up a very small incline on a bridge beside the trail we usually skate on. When I got to the top of the bridge I decided that I was going to try a park that has a very steep hill.

And that is when it happened. Mine and Katie’s lives were changed that night.

Every time we skate now we go up and down that hill a few times. It is a crazy steep hill. Steeper than anything we will encounter on the marathon route. It is a great workout. The first couple of times, I could not make it all the way up without stopping and would have to step off into the grass and catch my breath.

I bomb the hill, reaching speeds of 20 mph then trudge back up with every ounce of muscle and energy I can find. By the time I reach the top, my heart rate is in the 150’s. I let it recover…and head back down the hill again. Four is my maximum reps at this time.

Last night, we were to meet at the trail at 6:30…but I fell asleep on the couch (being back to work and having a routine is hard). I got there late, skated just over 4 miles before heading to the hill and then did four down/ups. I think it was on rep three that I almost fell coming up the hill and had to stop. Unfortunately it was near the top so I actually had to wait for my heart rate to recover a little bit before finishing the way up.

I think the five miles before heading to the hill is going to be the secret to our success though. Those were the some of my fastest miles ever…because I couldn’t wait to get to the hill.

Unfortunately there is a bit more traffic on the trail in the evenings and I am thankful that people are very courteous when it comes to right of ways. There are two older couples who ride bike and each time we passed they cheered us on. I told Katie I want THEM at the finish line.

And I know there are spectators along the route, and at the finish line; I am selfish…I want our own cheering section. People that know how hard we have worked to make this happen, what we have accomplished in just 88 days.

To the spectators, we are just two more finishers to cheer.

In our hearts, God has brought us here and given us this opportunity. Finishing this race means we have not only beaten cancer, we have WON. We have finished with each other and the 66 warriors whose names are on our shirts, on our hearts.

Each of those men and women who are listed on our shirts has been prayed for, has fought a battle that cannot be described with words. The warriors we have lost are not only written on our shirts, they are written on our hearts.

The privilege of racing for these men and women is so amazingly humbling. I can only speak for myself (but think Katie feels the same way). Skating with these warriors on our shirts gives me strength. It reminds me not only of how far I have come but how many never got the chance.

My friend Denise did not even get a full year between being finished treatments and her cancer came back in her bones. It was then less than a year and she was gone. It does not even seem real or right that this is how it works some times.

When we reach that finish line, I cannot wait to hold Katie’s hand and let out a huge victory cry! There are tears in my eyes just THINKING about what crossing that finish line means. I have a feeling the finish line tears may turn into an all out bawl…

We are going to come around that last corner…join hands and finish strong…for God…for the people on our shirts…for our hearts. I guess I really do not need a cheering section at the finish line when I know that we truly will not be finishing alone.

Lord,

I ask for your protection as the race draws closer and the emotions become too big for us at times. Give me the strength to be vulnerable and to give myself permission to feel all the feelings as they arise. I want to be able to process this all in real-time…not look back and wonder where the time went or what happened.
As we finish our training and complete our race, may the warriors on our shirts feel the same satisfaction that we feel.
God, I know without You, none of this would even be possible and am humbled to be chosen You to complete this task. To shout from the race track to the training trail to the hills how great You are has been my honor.
Thank You for your provision and your protection. Your faithfulness is amazing.
For the families who have had to say goodbye to their cancer warriors, give them comfort. Help them feel the love around them. Remind them there is no pain, no sadness where You are and that even though our earthly trials are sometimes harder than we think we can bare; we can bare them with You.

Amen