Trials and Triumphs: Happy Anniversary to Us and This Blog

We recently celebrated our fourth anniversary. And what a special celebration it was, after hearing the good news that I am cancer-free. Mike and I reflected on all the trials we’ve faced in these four short years. We’re praising God for every thing we’ve been through: both kind and dark Providences.

Our marriage has endured unique difficulties. We lived apart almost our entire first year. Mike worked in Portsmouth, Ohio and owned a home in Cincinnati. He had a long commute to work, so he also had an apartment near Portsmouth. He’d get three days off in between rotating shifts and that’s when he’d visit his wife [me!] in Indy. So we were in perpetual dating mode for a while. Fun, but not really. We were living in limbo.

When does this end? I can’t live without you!

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Husband moves in. What do I do with all his junk?

It ended the following year, when Mike lost his job in Ohio. That’s when we had to sell his house fast, and get mine off the market (which I was very thrilled to do. We love the Storybook House). That’s when we suffered six months of unemployment for Mike, financial loss on the Cincinnati house (bought before the housing bubble burst), and total confusion (having some stuff packed for Cincinnati, and now packing Mike up for Indy).

 

When does this end? I can’t live WITH you!

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The Cave Man, or The Cook in the Nook.

Yes, it was hard seeing him plopped in his favorite spot — our cozy, cave-like breakfast nook. Guys do love caves. They don’t seem to need much light. Poor guy searched for jobs every day. I murmured that I couldn’t get anything done. I felt like I was chained to the stove. He was hungry every two hours, like an infant. Sometimes he’d look up from the nook and say, Is that burning? A most insulting thing to say to an Italian American cook.

I have been cooking for forty years! I know what I’m doing! I’d shriek.

I continued my job as web editor from my home office, but I was greatly distracted by this lumbering, lurking man. I guess this was technically our adjustment year. God gave us a crash course in tolerating each other’s habits, er, um…sins.

By 2014, things were looking up. And we certainly kept looking up to our Lord Jesus Christ, but not enough. Mike was blessed with a great job in the Spring of 2014. Shortly after, I quit mine.

2014 and 2015 were pretty good years. This year was the most difficult so far. My cancer diagnosis was a shock for us, but praise the Lord, we are rejoicing that He has healed me. Happy Anniversary to my beloved husband, who has stood by me for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, truly!

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

We received this timely mailing [pictured above] shortly before our anniversary.

I can promise you this, Michael, I would have thrown this book in your face if you handed it to me on our anniversary. This is a lazy cop-out of a gift, and what’s worse is its COST. I prefer the blundering, blithering fool I’ve got than the poetry of dead men and women who never knew me. So there.

Marital Bliss

I tell him repeatedly, stop hovering over me (because he thinks he knows how to cook, or clean, or whatever). Or, stop pacing (because sometimes he can’t seem to stay still). He calls me Old Befana (because I love to sweep) or the Crumb Nazi (because I see every speck even without my glasses). But now these words are tempered with love. Most of the time.

Our current trial is Mike’s new work shift: 3pm-11pm. You can be sure there’s lots of hovering, pacing and shrieking between the hours of 9am-2:30pm.

New school year, new blog year

When I started this blog back in September 2014, I used the subtitle: the trials and tribulations of our second time around. I had no clue just how numerous or difficult those trials would be. Looking back in hindsight, I can see how God used these trials for our good.

My favorite season is coming soon. Autumn is a great time for a fresh new start. New notebooks, pencils and folders. Time to get writing. Time to continue learning in the school of Christ. I am a forever student.

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Divorced, Reformed and Remarried!

I want to return to its focus on marriage and remarriage after divorce. Stay tuned for more of our adventures.

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Our Storybook House where we live happily ever after.
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Oppressive Seasons and Cancer Buzz Words

My favorite weather forecast is cloudy with a chance of meatballs, but you can’t always get what you want.

What a hot, humid, utterly oppressive summer it’s been. Nothing in our garden is doing well this year. How I long for autumn. How I long for just a refreshing breeze. How I long for this cancer to be gone.

To keep my summer theme going, sort of, I am taking a break from my original buzz words to attack a cancer buzz word, or phrase I hate:

Cancer Journey

I’m not on a cancer journey. If you must use the word journey, call it my Christian journey. I am a pilgrim on this earth. This cancer is an affliction I must suffer, but it must not overwhelm me. Calling it a journey gives it too much power. It is not a separate journey, it’s a season in my pilgrimage. My entire life on this earth is full of trials and tribulation. So please, don’t ask about my cancer journey. Ask about my walk with the Lord. I am a daughter of the King. Let me tell you how He sustains me. I have been through much in my pilgrimage. This is just another season.

I’m not walking with cancer, I walk with the Lord God Almighty. I’m not on the road of life with cancer, I’m on this road with God. He is my God, mine! He’s all powerful, cancer is NOT.

Maybe I’m rambling in this post. Probably. I’m trying to keep calm as my surgery date approaches. My Lord supplies all the consolation I need in His Word. He works through my dear brothers and sisters in Christ who encourage me. What a privilege it is to belong to Jesus!

So back to this oppressive heat. Every night, Mike and I look sadly at our gardening efforts withering away. Of course, I blame him for being so stingy with the organic dirt. There’s not enough room for deep roots. All the plants look stunted. (Hmmmm, there’s another blog post right there.)

My rooftop garden is doing so much better than the one below. Herbs thrive on our rooftop. We’re getting some peppers, too. And red cabbage!

There’s always hope.

This morning in the garden with Jesus, I saw this rose. My hybrid teas have not been doing well, but behold, suddenly, what a beauty! The bee thought so, too. I wanted to sniff this sweet rose but I hate bees, remember?

BUZZZZ.

I ran inside for my camera and pruners, thinking maybe by the time I get back, the bee will be gone.

He was still there. But I boldly grabbed my rose. Snip.

The bee flew away. I cringed at the buzzing sound.

Safely inside, with my AC cranked up, I happily placed this rose in my sunny dining room.

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This evening, I received this Grace Gem, Walking With Jesus, by Mary Winslow, in my inbox. Here are some quotes taken from her writing. I encourage you to use the link to read it in its entirety.

“Dearest Jesus! help Your pilgrims to live more like pilgrims, above a poor dying world, and more in full view of the glory that awaits them when they shall see You face to face!”

This world is not, and never was intended to be, our rest. It is a wilderness we are passing through, and shame, shame to us, that we so often want to sit down amid its weeds and briars, and amuse ourselves with the trifles of a fallen world lying in the wicked one. All here is polluted and tainted by sin; therefore does Christ say, “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”

Jesus is the Fountain, yes, the Ocean, of living waters. We draw supplies from His infinite, inexhaustible fulness. “Lord, impart to me more of Yourself. Fill this heart with Your love, engrave Your image there, and let me not lose sight of You for one small moment.”

Jesus is all in all to me. I feel a blessed nearness to Him, to heaven. My soul holds converse with Him, and sweet I find it to lie as a helpless infant at His feet; yes, passive in His loving hands, knowing no will but His.

What a mercy, thus to unburden the whole heart; the tried and weary, the tempted and sorrowful heart; tried by sin, tried by Satan, tried by those you love! What a mercy to have a loving bosom to flee to, one truly loving heart to confide in, which responds to the faintest breathing of the Spirit! “Precious Jesus, how inexpressibly dear are You to me at this moment! Keep sensibly near to me. Lift up upon me Your heavenly countenance, for it is sweeter, dearer, better than life!

This rose.

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This Jesus:

In all your sorrows, pour out your heart to the Man of sorrows. He will bow down His ear and listen to all you say, and will either remove or moderate your trial, and give you strength to bear it. Even this bitter draught He has given you to drink shall result both in your good and His own glory. Remember, not a sparrow falls upon the ground without His guidance, and that the very hairs of your head are all numbered. How much more has this trying event been ordered and arranged by Him who loves you! Infinite wisdom has appointed the whole! Never doubt that He loves you when He the most deeply afflicts. “When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” May He lift up upon you the light of His countenance, drawing you nearer to Himself, that you may see what a tender, loving heart He has for you, and how deeply and tenderly and considerately He cares for you, as if there were not another poor sorrowful one to care for on the face of the whole earth!

My Jesus. My hope and trust is in Him.

Are You Ready To REALLY Love Me?

What a horrible summer it’s been. Forget buzz words.

This is a special break from our regularly scheduled programming.

Buzz words are far better than the C word. I didn’t want to ever have to deal with that one.

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It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year (in Judith Viorst’s words. I love children’s books, so nothing says it better than that).

It all started shortly after New Year’s Day, when I broke a tooth on an almond. So much for healthy choices.

So that got me to the dentist, after a ten-year hiatus. Yes. You could only imagine the bill I’m still paying.

Then with April rains, came a mysterious spot of blood. Just one spot and tiny at that. I thought it was, maybe, I dunno…maybe I’ll ignore it. But I couldn’t.

So that got me to a gynecologist.

Fast forward to June 20, after having a PAP (abnormal but not showing cancer), uterine biopsy (abnormal but not showing cancer), ultrasound (looking good, but fooled ya!), and finally, a LEEP and D&C, I get the dreaded call. I had been praying fervently that morning, that I would finally get a good report, after all these other inconclusive tests.

 

IMG_4189Ring.

It wasn’t the receptionist or nurse from the doctor’s office. It was the doctor. My heart started pounding.

“I have your pathology report here. I’m so sorry. You have uterine cancer.”

“Okay” I said, shaking, but not crying…yet.

I called a dear sister from church, immediately asking for that APB (All Prayer Bulletin) to be put out across our church family.

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My plans and lists. His plans are far better, for His glory.

Then I cried. And prayed. And did some chores, zombie-like.

Then I called my daughter. My daughter, who has survived her father’s abandonment. My daughter, who has survived her own daughter’s cancer. All by God’s grace. And now she is the most positive, upbeat, loving woman that I can lean on.

My poor husband was next in line. I hate telling him horrible stuff over the phone while he’s at work, but he knew I’d get results today and he would ask anyway.

“Honey, we have a dark providence to deal with.”

“Oh, no.”

“ARE YOU READY TO REALLY LOVE ME?”

I will be weepy. I might be mean, impatient and irritable. I might not have dinner for you when you get home.

Later on, he said he cried, and I think I believe him, though I couldn’t see his tears through the cell phone.

Are you ready to really love me, husband? Are you ready and willing to put physical intimacy on hold? Can you appreciate greater spiritual and emotional intimacy in exchange?

The Lord ordained this for me, for us. Be there for me. You don’t have to speak, just wrap your arms around me. Be selfless. Stop making crumbs, haha! Be sensitive to my emotional tumult. Forgive me when I scream at you. Please.

I’ve been so volatile.

We are still newlyweds. From the beginning, I told Mike how I would love and savor the years the Lord gives us. I pray that He has many more in store for us. We’ve only just begun. Continue reading