I Hate Cancer! Remembering Karen Long.

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I will not die but live and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” Psalm 118:17

Cancer sucks

I don’t know any way to sugar coat that comment and make it more “religiously” correct. I just know that cancer has robbed too many of my loved ones of a few more days with their families.

For me, it is more than pink ribbons and races. It’s more than t-shirts, bottles, caps and blankets. It’s not an opportunity to make money in October…it’s a reality that I have seen too often and have experienced with my own Mother.

Today, so many in Orlando mourn the loss of one of the bravest warriors I have ever met. Karen Long was a believer, wife, mother, daughter, sister, police officer, and friend to many. Her smile and happy spirit were infectious. She didn’t let cancer define her and Karen met this disease with a passion for God that she felt carried her through the “valley.”

Yesterday, Karen was victorious over her 8-year illness and crossed from this life into another with Jesus. She was 41 and leaves a husband and two children ages 10 and 12.

It’s not fair.

…and I don’t blame God.

The God I love weeps with us, while He welcomes Karen to glory with open arms of love and grace.

I cling to the words that Karen often said and shared with so many: “One thing I know for sure is that God will not give me one less day on Earth than what He intended. I will not give up, I will fight with all my might and continue to declare my healing!”

Karen is healed. She just isn’t with us on this side of heaven.

And that makes me sad.

Karen’s story:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-officer-karen-long-cancer-dies-20151011-story.html

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Magic Number

Mom Linda Easter

Yesterday was my annual mammogram. This day takes on an added importance when you have lost a mother to breast cancer.

The smells of the hospital, sounds of gurneys moving about and the whir of machinery take me back in time. Even eight years after losing my Mother, my five senses pick up and transport me back to uncomfortable memories. I’m a daughter hoping for a few more days with my beloved Mom.

Jean Parvin was a warrior and fought cancer to the end. The hospice staff considered sending her home because Mom had become the longest patient at the center. In my Mother’s world, every day mattered, even at the end when it was time to go. She just couldn’t give up. I admired that about her while still wishing her a peaceful journey.

One time Mom looked at me and said, “I always wanted to live to be 80.” It was the first time she uttered those words aloud. Soon thereafter she added, “But, I know I have drawn the short end of the straw.” She was 77.

From the beginning of her 15-year battle with this vile disease, we had agreed to talk openly with one another. So, we talked together and admonished the oncologist to always be honest with us both. It was a good decision.

I’m not a quitter and Mom wasn’t either. She just ran out of time and ran short of her 80-year age goal.

Yesterday, I sat in the waiting room saying the Lord’s Prayer. I didn’t want special favors; I just wanted to feel Mom’s loving spirit again…just a magic moment with her. That moment arrived when they told me I was clear for another year and I swear I could feel her presence in the room with me.

Thank you Lord Jesus for my Mother who taught me how to live and taught me how to die. I am deeply blessed.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

The Fault in our Stars

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After persistent harassment from my daughter, I finally surrendered and read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I devoured this book in one sitting and finally went to sleep after 3am.

What fascinated me about this novel? I think it was real and honest and truthful. I also think it struck a chord with any of us who have dealt with cancer and its lingering messiness.

When I wrote on social media about the book, one friend privately shared that she had survived the same cancer as one of the characters. I was shocked to hear this news.

So, while we peruse the same words, she sees the books through different eyes. The story resonates in her experienced soul.

As I sat in church this week, I was struck by the fact that this is how it goes with people of faith. We all come to God through different paths. We see the life of Christ through our own unique eyes. It doesn’t change the facts, but it changes how we relate to Him.

Leaving a mark on this world is important. But having my name in the Lamb’s book of life is imperative. That is about as real, honest and truthful as I can be.

Death is inevitable, but a life built on the reality of Christ is forever.

The birth of Christ was announced by a bright and shining star. Fear not my friends, for that is truly the beginning of great joy for all of us.

There’s a Song in the Air – “Holland and Harrington”

In the light of that star, Lie the ages impearled;
And that song from afar, Has swept over the world,
Ev’ry hearth is aflame, and the beautiful sing,
In the homes of the nations that Jesus is King!

Happy May Day!

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May 1st is celebrated throughout the world as a day of hope. It’s May Day.

Many years ago, I celebrated May Day in Belgium with my Mother who was recuperating from cancer and had completed her last chemotherapy. I bought my Mom a lily of the valley bouquet on the streets of Brussels and we ended the night with a savory crème brule.

The smell of the lilies mingled with the deliciously tasty crème brule turned into sensory overload for two happy travelers filled with hope for the future.

Life is made sweeter through memories and reminders of time spent with loved ones. This May 1st, I will remember my Mom and give thanks to Jesus that she was granted a few more years with us before crossing into paradise.

I am reminded of a poem we loved.

He paints the lilies of the field

Perfumes each lily bell

If He so loves the little flowers

I know He loves me well.

I thank God for another May 1st with my family. But I’m equally thankful that He takes care of those I love who live with Him in sweet victory. My hope is built on nothing less.