Cancer is a word, not a sentence.
Hi! My name is Jenny. I have been married to my best friend for 33 years, I have two wonderful children and on June 30, 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am determined to get well and I know that with the strength my Lord provides and the love and support of my family and friends, that will happen. The road to healing is a difficult one… however I strive to be thankful for the blessings I have, to find joy in every day and maybe in some small way be a blessing to those I come in contact with. The support and encouragement that I find on this blog makes my heart smile and helps me to realize that I am not alone. All of you are so much appreciated and help me more than you will ever know. So thanks for stopping by....if you would like please leave a comment after my post....I would love to hear from you.
Saturday, February 6, 2016
Okay…I admit it…I have a great LOVE for handmade things. I treasure all things handmade and have since I was a little girl. I love to cross-stitch, I love to quilt, I love to knit and crochet and I love to make gifts for others and decorate our home as well with items made with love. That is just who I am…grins…
On Wednesday morning I had my usual blood draw for chemotherapy. It was a beautiful day….a whole lot of sunshine, just a little chill in the air, the smell of Spring that will be here before I know it. It made me want to go outside and smell the roses, pick some flowers and watch my little birds begin to make their nests in my trees. Oh wait….Jenny what are you thinking? It is only February after all a little early, even in Southern Ca., for flowers, roses and nest building. Okay then…..Scott had the perfect solution….why don’t I spend the afternoon with him. Really? How fun! I would love to do something together. So off we went.
He took me to my favorite little shop. I love this shop! It is my favorite place to go, to wander the isles and see what treasures are there. It is not fancy. It is just a little second hand shop that holds some beautiful second hand things that have lovely stories to tell. This shop makes me happy. I don’t always find things to buy but that doesn’t matter…..I love to look and to wonder about some of the items I see there. I have not been there since I began my chemotherapy treatments. So I was happy to be back and to wander the isles. Happy, happy, happy! After a while I found myself in the section where they sell linens etc. I always love to look there. There, in a basket, buried under other things a speck of color caught my eye. I peered closer and then I caught my breathe…..I pulled up this little speck of color which turned out to be a rainbow of color and my heart fell in love with what I pulled out. A quilt! A beautiful, HANDMADE quilt! It was a wall-hanging in one of my favorite patterns…..Sunshine and Shadow. I fell in love with this little quilt but I know how expensive handmade quilts can be….so I checked the price tag. I read the price and then looked again. This could not be right….I am reading this wrong….but there it was. It was marked $ 6.00. Six dollars for a handmade quilt? I hugged this little quilt to my heart and brought it home. Home…where it will be loved and treasured. Home…where it will be appreciated and valued for the time this quilter put into it. Home where it will be a constant reminder to me how special life is, how something wonderful can happen on just an ordinary day when you least expect it.
Sunshine and Shadows……
Scott and I lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana for a while before our children were born. I loved it there. I loved the changing of the seasons. Spring was so exciting after the cold of winter. Fall was beautiful with all the leaves changing almost before my eyes and winter was magical with the snow. I know some of you will be laughing….snow…magical? To me it was because I had never lived in the snow or seen it snow for that matter…grins….I also loved the Amish people who lived there! I loved their farms and watching them harvest their crops by horse and wagon. I loved driving on country roads and having to slow down for horse drawn carriages, I loved to see their HUGE birdhouses standing in their gardens and it touched me deeply to see large families and friends coming to visit loved ones in the hospital where I worked at the time. I also fell in love with their quilts. They were beautiful and the workmanship was and is outstanding! I was hooked. I taught myself how to quilt because of those quilts.
The Sunshine and Shadow quilt is a favorite among the Amish. The Sunshine and Shadow quilt shows two sides…the dark and the light and the challenge of bringing the two together into a larger unit. It is a balancing act that includes opposites. For me personally it has come to represent the balance that I have in my life….the good and the bad….the joy and the sorrow….and how they are all stitched together to make something beautiful, something whole.
I have found out something about myself since I was diagnosed with cancer. I tend to find the sunshine in my life and try to focus on that instead of the shadows. I try really hard to stay positive, to find the good in small everyday moments, to see the blessings that God has given me every day. That is really important to me….to find joy and sunshine in every day. The shadows are still there however. That is part of life. I shared with you that I am doing okay with my second round of chemotherapy and I am. What I didn’t share was that on my first day of this chemo session I broke down in the chemo room and really cried because I was so afraid….because it was a whole new drug with a whole new list of side effects and I didn’t know how I would handle it or if it would work. I was afraid of the pain it could cause and the reaction I would have too it. Sometimes fear knocks on my door and foolishly I let him in. I worry about so many things….I shared with you what a fun time I had at my little second hand store and I did. I didn’t tell you however that I had been feeling so awful for the last three days with fatigue and a lot of bone and joint pain, that fighting this battle seemed really, really hard and I didn’t know if I was up for the challenge. Yes I was feeling down. Everyone told me these days would come during my battle with cancer and that they are normal. Maybe….but it was still hard.
Helen Keller once said that “If you keep your face towards the sunshine you cannot see the shadows.” This is one of my very favorite quotes and one I try to put into action. Shadows come into all of our lives but the sunshine is there, waiting to share its warmth. Yes I cried in the chemo room that day but the sunshine was there too. The sunshine was there in my family and friends who hugged me and told me it was okay to cry, that we all need to cry and let these feelings out to make room for the healing. Thank you Ting, Shana, Parris, Scott and Andrew who were there that day and offered me encouragement, support and friendship when I really needed it. I know I couldn’t have made it through the day without all of you. Sometimes the challenge seems overwhelming. When I look at what I have to do this year I get scared….and I ask can I do this? Those are the shadows….but the sunshine….I think back to what Scott told me early on in my battle…..”Yes Jenny you CAN do it….because you already are doing it….one step at a time, one day at a time.” That is my sunshine.
I have always said and I firmly believe that God gives me the strength to get through every day. He gives me the strength in many different ways…..through the love of my family and friends…..through the little wooden hearts in the mail….through new friends I meet along this bend in the road….through quiet moments. Can He give me strength through a little handmade quilt that was in my little second hand shop? Yes I believe He can…..because He did. When I look at this little quilt I will always be grateful to the quilter who took the time to make it because when I look at this quilt I see the beauty of two opposites…sunshine and shadows…put together as one unit that makes a thing of beauty. I am still a work in progress….God is not finished with me yet…..but I firmly believe that He will take the sunshine and the shadows of my life and make a thing a beauty out of it…..something that will reach out to others and hopefully touch a small part of their lives….and bring them a little joy and encouragement when they need it….just like this little quilt did for me.
Since I shared a little about the Amish I thought I would share another “sunshine“ in my life. I have been working on my Amish sampler “The Quilting“ for the last few weeks and I am really enjoying it. Oh how I love these samplers….grins….so Carolien here is the update picture I promised you… working on these samplers is such fun….Grandmother’s House is next!
I hope all of you have a great week filled with sunshine!