Wednesday, December 29, 2010

TWO years. Two Whole Years...

Today is my two year cancerversary. I’m glad today is not December 23, December 29, or December 31, last year. I’m also glad it’s not December 29, 2008, or January 2009.

I am glad to be where I am, as opposed to where I have been, even with the impatience and the fatigue and the wanting to be done with all of this cancer (curse word).

My Eucatastrophe and Thank You post still sums up my thoughts and feelings about my process.

Somehow I need to figure out how to be glad to be here, for however long I’m still here, instead of feeling like I’m making up stuff do to while I’m waiting to go Home.

I have recently had the terrifying thought that this cancer (curse word) could drag out for another year, or several more years.

Part of my struggle with being here is that I have this mental picture of “death,” of the final Transition Home, and I have more and more limitations here.

Oh well, that’s it for now.

Today is also my parents’ 48th wedding anniversary. My parents are an outstanding example for their ten children and they are responsible for instilling in us the mental, emotional, and spiritual resources we continue to grow in. One of the most awesome things about my parents, for me, is their ongoing desire for personal change and transformation as they seek God's direction for their lives.

I will always think I have the most amazing parents in the world.

Peace and many thanks to all of you for all of your support, prayer, and encouragement throughout the last two years... Martha

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas

May the Peace and Joy He offers fill your heart and mind today, tomorrow, and every other day.
This is what Jesus did for me, and continues to do for me, and this is why I celebrate Christmas:

Lord Jesus, come yourself, and dwell with us, be human as we are, and overcome what overwhelms us. Come into the midst of my evil, come close to my unfaithfulness. Share my sin, which I hate and which I cannot leave. Be my brother, Thou Holy God. Be my brother in the kingdom of evil and suffering and death. Come with me in my death, come with me in my suffering, come with me as I struggle with evil. And make me holy and pure, despite my sin and death.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Peace, Martha

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stuff and (Curse Words)

Several things:
--My scar is healing beautifully. It looks amazing. I still haven't had any post-surgical pain, which is awesome.

--I can’t eat solid food; not even saltines, rice, or pasta. I can’t drink anything other than Ensure and water.

I ate four bites of plain spaghetti with a minute amount of cheese and margarine, and thirty-six hours later, I’m just now feeling a little bit better.

There could be a shared cause between the digestive (curse word) and these (curse word) clots. See following....

-- I’ve been learning about clots this past week. This information sums up what appears to be going on in my (curse word) body most concisely:

Some types of lung, stomach and bowel cancers produce a substance called MUCIN. This mucous substance increases your risk of developing a blood clot. If you have cancer of the pancreas, bowel, lung, stomach, ovary, or womb, you are at a slightly higher increased risk of developing a blood clot. (Source)

Trousseau Syndrome: Mucin that activates clots in certain cancers that is associated with venous thrombosis and hypercoagulability; the blood may spontaneously form clots in the portal vessels, the deep veins of the extremities (such as the leg), or the superficial veins anywhere on the body. These clots present as visibly swollen blood vessels (vasculitis), especially the veins, or as intermittent pain in the affected areas; marantic/non bacterial thrombotic endocarditis. (Source)

Basically, it appears that this mucin is my problem. The bottom line is that the tumors in my body shed their malignant outer surface cells and these cells get into my bloodstream and mess my blood and digestive systems up. (Source)

It’s okay to only be able to drink Ensure and water when I’m home with Dresden; it’s a lot harder when I’m with other people who are eating and drinking all kinds of delicious things that I want to enjoy with them. Even when I’m at home, I can’t have the few things I was still able to eat a couple weeks ago...

--As for the clots in my arm and leg, they appear to be resolved or resolving. My left foot started hurting very badly on Saturday and I began putting Arnica gel on it... It took away a bit of the pain and I’m pretty sure it somehow helped prevent whatever was trying to start going on there. So that’s good, and it's something I'll know to do in the future.

That’s what’s going on with that stuff.

--I’ve also been having some insanely intense chills that last for hours and hours—and don’t stop until I sit in a bathtub of hot water for about thirty minutes or put socks on my hands and feet and get under a mountain of blankets.

I never knew my body could get so cold. The weird thing is that after I begin to warm up, my body often feels like someone turned up an internal furnace about twenty degrees, usually for about fifteen minutes to an hour. It’s very strange.

--I think that’s enough for one blog post.

I’m ready to be Home and it’s extremely difficult to keep this (curse word) in perspective right now.

I’m ready to be done with clots and mucin and Ensure and being exhausted all of the time and my hip hurting and random veins hurting and digestive anguish and cold chills etc etc etc.

In His Grip, Martha

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Clot #2 and Thank You

First, thank you very, very, very much for praying for my recovery from the general anesthesia. The problems I had were actually not from the anesthesia but were almost certainly from eating at Wendy’s last Tuesday. It could have also been a virus. Regardless, it was way worse than recovering from general anesthesia and it is better now.

I’m about to eat my first non-liquid food since Monday night. I’ve been drinking chocolate ensures and water since Tuesday morning... My stomach has been feeling much better on this diet than when I was eating other foods, but I guess I should start eating some gentle food again.

It is really good to feel better. Thank you for praying for me.

Second, the off and on pain in my right bicep for the last 4-6 weeks turned into a blood clot in the fold of my elbow this week. Side note: why is clot such a disgusting word, just as a word, apart from what a clot actually is?

The first lump/clot was there for several days and yesterday a second lump/clot formed a little bit below the first one. Here’s a picture of where they are. The little black dot at the bottom indicates where the vein softens again. From the dot up to the first clot, the vein is ropey and taut. If you look carefully you can see the slight discoloration along the vein...


I also have pre-clot pain in my left upper leg. Hey, if I can go Home by the ways a clot would take me instead of the ways tumors etc would take me, it would be wonderful.

Meanwhile, these clots hurt quite a bit at times. Pain meds help; just don’t grab my arm or knee me in the leg (like my dog accidentally did yesterday)...

Meanwhile, I’ve been crocheting a ton and will post pictures soon of what I’ve been making. Today is a painting day.

Peace, Martha

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Still Marveling...

I’ve spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (surgery) pain free... I still have the lower back pain and the slowly resolving aftermath of general anesthesia, but no post-surgical pain from the tumor/golf ball removal.

Friday night, after feeling wonderful and pain free all day, while I was at a performance of Handel’s Messiah listening to my dad and others singing, I had two thoughts...

One was: What will it be like to be in the worshipping multitude surrounding the Throne—singing the Hallelujah Chorus and the other songs in Revelation, singing with voices like I heard Friday night, physically in the presence of God?

I closed my eyes during several of the choruses and hoped I’d open them in Heaven... It didn’t work. But it felt like I was there. It really felt like I was there in His presence filled with joy.

The second thought was: Did I really have surgery yesterday? What if I’m not in any pain because there’s no incision? The golf ball is gone but what is under this bandage? Is there an incision under this bandage? I'm SUPPOSED to be in pain. WHERE IS THE POST-SURGICAL PAIN??? (Not that I wanted it, it just didn't make any sense.)

When I got home Friday night, I took off my bandage from the surgery, as I had been instructed to do, and there was/is indeed an incision. There is an incision and nice neat layers of carefully placed special surgical tape to reinforce the stitches for the first week or so.

So, my body was cut open, the tumor/golf ball was taken out, and I was sewn back up after considerable surgical stuff (for lack of a better word or risking grossing anyone out) and I’m not in pain.

AND all of that happened under general anesthesia because the golf ball was located on bone and muscle and if I had just had local anesthesia, "I would have felt pain during the surgery," according to my surgeon.

AND my surgeon specifically told my mother after the surgery that I would probably be sore/in pain when I moved my left arm for a while because of the golf ball’s former location on the muscle/bone.

So, the only time I feel any discomfort is when I do something kind of stupid, like shutting my car door with my left hand—which uses the muscles under the incision area. But even that doesn’t hurt that much. And I can lift my left arm higher with no pain than I’ve been able to for several months.

Anyway, I’m still marveling at all of this. I am still astonished that I’m not feeling any pain while I’m sitting here typing.

The only answer big enough to explain this for me is Divine intervention in my physical body.

 “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind.
 Is anything too hard for me?"
Jeremiah 32:27 


Please pray for fast recovery from the anesthesia. I’ll spare you the details.

In His Grip, Martha

Friday, December 10, 2010

Prayer, Surgery, Pain-YOU Tell Me!

My wise hospice chaplain, told me, among many other helpful things, that I need to present the honest reality to people and not worry about their response/reaction.

So here are two sets of facts for you and you can decide what you think:
Note: The term golf ball refers to a cancerous tumor that I had on my sternum.

1.
- Prior to my golf ball removal yesterday, I have had three surgeries, one major and two “minor.”
- Both of my minor surgeries were very painful to recover from in the days following.
- I was/am expecting intense pain as part of my recovery from the golf ball removal.
- My pain med is “take every two hours, as needed.”
- The last time I took my pain med was at 1:30am last night and it is now 11:00am.
- Hundreds of people are praying for me and asking Jesus to care of me and have mercy on me.

-I am in less pain right now that I was yesterday morning BEFORE the surgery.
-I can raise my left arm higher without pain right now than I could yesterday morning before the surgery.
-I had ZERO (0) pain upon waking this morning.

You tell me, why am I in not in intense pain right now?

2.
-Last Thursday, December 2, I went to visit my surgeon about the golf ball.
-My surgeon with thirty years of experience, his nurse with many years of experience, and myself with no experience saw the stem that went from the golf ball down between my ribs on a sonogram.
-Before my surgeon even pointed it out to me on the sonogram, I distinctly and clearly saw the stem.
-He saw the same thing and pointed it out to me as the stem.
-He told me that I could have the tumor/golf ball removed if I wanted to but that he couldn’t tell me when or how fast it would grow back because it had the stem.
-Before I left, I wrote down in my notes that there was a stem.
-Before I left, I double-checked with his nurse to verify that my surgeon said it had a stem and she said yes.

-When my surgeon did surgery yesterday, Thursday, December 9, there was no stem.
-When my surgeon did surgery yesterday THERE WAS NO STEM and he was able to remove the whole entire tumor (see previous post for surgery info).

You tell me, what happened to the stem?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

IT’S GONE! It’s Gone! It’s GoONe!

My surgery, surgeon, and medical staff way exceeded my expectations today, it was wonderful. They were all professional, kind, and helpful.

The very best part of it? It turns out that the golf ball did NOT have a stem going down in between my ribs, it was ALL on top—Which means that my surgeon was able remove the whole entire thing and it WILL not grow back, not ever, not at any rate.

And that is a truly awesome, very incredibly cool surprise, especially after expecting the mushroom shape which would have been very likely to grow back at some rate, at some point. I think God is feeling gleeful about this right now... He likes giving me happy surprises.... “Merry Christmas, Martha.”

My surgeon did have to use general anesthesia because the golf ball was located on bone and thin muscle, not soft tissue, but, so far, other than asking my dear patient mother the same question five million times in the first hour while I was waking up, it doesn’t seem to be a big deal in terms of recovery.

There will be healing pain, and it will get worse today when all of hospital/surgery meds wear off, but whatever. I have pain medicine, it will get better in a few days, and the golf ball is GONE : )

Thank you so very much for all of your prayers.
Please keep praying for Haiti.

In His Grip, Martha

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

PLEASE pray for HAITI

PLEASE pray for my brother and his wife and the people of Haiti. There are two brief posts HERE and HERE that will give you more information.

There is some very scary stuff going on.


Thank you, Martha

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Surgery Stuff

I forgot to mention that my surgery in about 37.5 hours is outpatient, will only involve local anesthesia and IV sedation (so no general or twilight anesthesia to recover from, which is really nice), and I’ll be staying with my parents after surgery for a few days.

It should be no big deal, except that I am VERY excited about getting this golf ball removed. It has grown since last week and it has been itching and hurting. I can’t take Ibuprofen until after the surgery because it’s a blood thinner, haven’t been able to take it since last Friday, and I miss it.

Note: My new pain med is working great so far, and is also awesomely helpful for the shortness of breath/coughing problems that have increased recently. It does make me a little sleepy/slow and unable to drive my car... So it puts some limitations on me... (It's not grass, in case you're wondering).

I have found that the Arnica Gel the nice lady at Whole Foods recommended works almost instantly to relieve the itching/aching of the golf ball and it takes the edge off the lower back pain... It is amazing. It is made directly from a plant AND it has no side effects. Too bad all of our meds can’t be like that. The only bad part about it is that it doesn't work for internal pain, only superficial pain.

I just wanted to clarify the surgery stuff—I would welcome prayer but don’t want anyone to spend their energy being worried.

Peace, Martha
P.S. Picture post below, a more-than-one-post-in-a-day day...

In the Past Few Weeks...

Thank you to the people who took these pictures and shared them so nicely... You can click on any of them to see them larger.

Dresden got back to her inner feral dog in one of her favorite spots... I love watching how insanely happy this makes her.



I’ve been crocheting and helped teach my nieces how to crochet. I learned about ten new stitches amazingly easily by watching video tutorials like this one, and this one and this one for more complicated stitches. If you want to learn how to crochet, forget the books and diagrams and look at video tutorials, it makes it 500% easier and it’s nowhere near as headache-inducing and time-consuming... Crocheting is so relaxing it’s addictive. Maybe it channels excess energy and stress out through the fingers, whatever it does, it’s great.






I also did a lot of hanging out with family over Thanksgiving.


When I spoke with my mother one recent morning, she asked me if I was going to paint that day. I said no, because the single pane, mostly glass door next to my painting space made it too cold. Being the ever-resourceful and creative mother that she is, she suggested using an old foam mattress I’ve had leaning up in my workshop to cover the door.

It works perfectly and it is a perfect fit for covering the glass.  Thanks Mom : )


Hopefully the paintings I'm working on will be finished soon and I'll be able to post pictures of them...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Surgery Date

December 9, 9am.
I have to point out that it is VERY unusual to see a surgeon the day after you call to make an appt, and it is VERY unusual to have surgery within a week. The God of the Universe IS involved with me, and with the lovely people who made this happen for me.

"I will go before you and make the rough places smooth;
I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.
"I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden wealth of secret places,
So that you may know that it is I,
The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.
Isaiah 45:2-3

Surgeon Visit, Awesome Photograph Link

I had a great visit with my surgeon and his nurse yesterday. They were both exceptionally kind and helpful. The bottom line is that the ping pong ball starts under my ribs, sneaks up in between them, and balloons out on top of my ribs... If you can picture a mushroom top with a skinny stem you’d have the jist of it... He did a sonogram of it, so I got to see it.

He said he can only remove the part above the ribs. He said he didn’t think I’d want the kind of surgery it would take to go inside my chest wall and get the whole thing. I agreed.

He said he couldn’t tell me when or how fast it might grow back. He also asked me if I am okay with having another scar. Hmmmmm, let me think about that, another scar and it might grow back, or a grapefruit stuck to me in another few months? I basically told him, what’s one more scar? When I go Home and my body is healed, it won’t have any scars. Scars schmars, death schmeath... Whatever. Scar's and death’s days are numbered anyway.

I’m waiting to hear the surgery date and I’m pretty surprised by how excited I am about getting rid of this thing. I guess that tells me how much it’s been annoying me.

On another note, check out these pictures, they will amaze you: http://justpaste.it/3ky

My question is this, after looking at the human made stuff in these pictures (it is incredible, even if not all of it is good): If God has given us the creativity to build stuff like this with the current usage of "only ten percent of our brains" that people say we use, what spectacular things will we create when He heals us and the Earth, and we can use 100% of our brains, and we use them only for good?

Peace, Martha

Thursday, December 2, 2010

For Clarification

Okay, when I posted the thing about asking God to take me Home between November 26 and December 10, it was supposed to be funny. I realize that it was (and still is) only funny to me, and I would be ecstatic, euphoric, and overjoyed if that did happen, but want to clarify that I was at least partly joking... Furthermore, God has changed my disposition toward being here for Christmas, so don’t worry, I’m not going to flip out or anything.

Peace, Martha

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Peace/Encouragement, Lumps, Pain Meds....

These are the verses that God has given me recently, for obvious reasons. He never ceases to amaze me with how clearly He shows verses like these to me:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.... As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
James 5: 7-8, 11

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans :35-39

.... I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

....I will turn their mourning into joy;
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

Thus says the LORD: "Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work,
declares the LORD...
Jeremiah 31:3, 13, 16

I’m pretty excited about tomorrow... I’m going to see a surgeon about getting the most annoying, aching, itchy one of these lumps removed-it’s growing fast and it needs to get gone. Hopefully it will be removable and hopefully he’ll be able to do the surgery soon. I’m not worried about the surgery: been there, done that. It will be inconvenient and there is a little bit of recovery but it’s a heck of a lot better than having this thing growing and growing to God only know what size during however long He's planning for me to be here. I have been trying to ignore it but it has past the ignorable level.... Removing it is a comfort measure.

Other than that, I’m going to try a new pain med because the one I have was terrible. I had some substantial pain in the last couple weeks in several places, so I tested out taking the pain med that I have... The first time it was fine and I was amazed by how cleared my body was of anything uncomfortable, but the following four or five times I had worse and worse problems with it.... Let’s just say that the first few times it kept me awake, then I had one night of waking up dripping with freezing cold sweat four or five times, and then I had another night full of cold sweats and two terrible nightmares—the first of which I couldn’t wake up from, and knew I couldn’t wake up from, until I finally did wake up after the thing had gone on and on and on.

So, hopefully the new pain med will be better. I’m usually just taking ibuprofen and it is usually fine, but sometimes I need something more... I'm not in bad pain all the time, there is usually only relatively low level stuff that needs to be taken care of, and occasionally, some worse pain.

I’m trying to get some pictures together to post... I’ve been doing some fun stuff and some creative stuff and it’s been good.

In His Grip, Martha

Monday, November 29, 2010

More Later...

I am okay.
The clot in my foot has resolved itself.
I will post something soon.

Peace, Martha

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jesus and "Death"

“Death” has stolen again. Last night I heard that someone who has been a huge encourager to me, and her son, have been separated from her husband suddenly. He made the Transition and they know he is Home, but what about them?

I found myself really upset emotionally for her family and trying really hard to remember what I’ve learned, what God has taught me.

I tried to remember what He taught me about unnatural disasters after the earthquake in Haiti almost a year ago, when I didn’t know if my brother and his wife were “dead” or alive. (Instead of “dead” I should say Alive at Home, as opposed to alive here).

Then I was trying to remember what He showed me only weeks ago about hope in grief.

Then I remembered something I’ve heard my pastor say several times, that this life is an hors d'oeuvre, an appetizer before the real thing; before Life eternal.

But that doesn’t make it unpainful for a loved one to Transition, it doesn’t make the grief just vanish, it doesn’t make all of the stuff surrounding a transition just not need to be done, and it doesn’t make continuing without the person not an excruciating adjustment.

This morning I saw this:



I have heard the hallelujah chorus hundreds of times; it is one of my favorite pieces of music. But today when I saw this, and heard the lyrics, what breathed hope into me was the reminder that the words of the song are true: Jesus already kicked death’s ass, and death’s days are numbered. When He comes back, He will annihilate death forever, forever and ever. There will be no more pain, no more tears, no more separation.

When I listened to this song this morning, it struck me as a triumphant battle song, a proclamation of hope and life, a reminder that He already reigns forever and ever, He will continue to reign forever and ever, and nothing in this life can overcome Him. He is more powerful than death.

Death seems so overwhelmingly powerful that, for me at least, it’s hard to remember the hope we can have.

We grieve, but we don’t grieve without hope.

Hallelujah Chorus, From Handel's Messiah.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
For ever and ever, forever and ever,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

General Update with Specifics

-- Three nurses have examined my foot and all three think it’s a clot. Obviously no one knows what it will do; it may do nothing, or it may be my ticket Home. Yes, I am hoping it’s my ticket Home because going by the ways a blood clot would be most likely to take me would be WAY easier than the most likely cancer options. I’m trusting that God has everything under control and that His timing and means will be perfect.

--I had an excellent first visit with my hospice chaplain last week. I was intrigued by the vocabulary she used and by her insight on all things nearing “death” and spiritual. She refers to “death” as transitioning, she refers to saying a prayer as voicing a prayer (and there is a big difference between the two), she talks about “nearing death” spiritual experiences....

--My mailbox and I are expecting a book today that I’m pretty excited about. I’ll post more on it after I get into it a bit.

--I’m taking a time out for a few days by myself to paint and read and sleep.

--It turns out that about 90% of my recent irritation was caused by increasing my sugar uptake without realizing it. After I eliminated most sugar from my diet I felt very dramatically better within the first day (which was a week and a half ago), and I’ve been feeling better and better since. I know part of it was just me processing what I’m experiencing but a staggering amount of it was the sugar. If you get to the point of scaring yourself and everyone around you, your sugar intake is worth examining.

--A large segment of my enormous family is gathering next week. Please pray for grace and Love for all of the families and un-family-ed gathering next week all over this country and elsewhere and for those who don’t have families or places to gather...

--A lot has been going on in Haiti. If you want on site information and incredible photographs, you should check http://www.blexi.blogspot.com/ My younger brother and his wife have been living in Haiti for over two years and they have a lot of insight on the situation that I have been finding very helpful.

Peace, Martha

Oh, and here is a song I've been encouraged by, lyrics are below the video....



Are we left here on our own?
Can you feel when your last breath is gone?
Night is weighing heavy now
Be quiet and wait for a voice that will say

Come awake
From sleep, arise
You were dead
You’ve come alive
Wake up wake up
Open your eyes
Climb from your grave
Into the light
Bring us back to life

You are not the only one
Who feels like the only one
Night soon will be lifted friend
Just be quiet and wait for the voice that will say

Come awake
From sleep, arise
You were dead
You’ve come alive
Wake up wake up
Open your eyes
Climb from your grave
Into the light
Bring us back to life

Rise, rise, rise, rise, rise

Rise, rise, rise, rise….
Shine, shine, Oh shine
We will shine
We will rise
We will shine, shine, shine

Monday, November 15, 2010

Violette : )

My brother C (Violette’s dad), Martha Elisabeth, and Violette Elisabeth


Violette was about five days young in these pictures, and teeny tiny, but with the hugest yawns you’ve ever seen from a mouth so small. It was an honor to see her and her amazing parents. All three of them are doing well. It was a very special twenty-four hours.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tulips

A friend of mine gave me these spectacular tulips last night... I keep looking at them and thinking about how all creation worships Him, so I thought I’d share them. I was going to try to narrow it down to two pictures but couldn’t, so you get four.

You can click on the images to see them bigger.









Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Foot

This wasn’t much of a break, but that’s okay.

I have a blood clot/phlebitis/issue in my right foot. It’s been hurting since last Wednesday, it got worse a few days ago, and yesterday it hurt a lot more and the symptoms were distinct enough to indicate something abnormal.

It is pretty painful. It’s a throbbing aching pain which is worse if I move around fast, put weight on it, take a warm/hottish shower, or elevate it... Thank God for ibuprofen.

I looked up info on blood clots and read all kinds of stuff, took it all with a grain of salt, but hoped I would go to sleep last night and wake up at Home... I’m still here.

Anyway, a nice hospice nurse came out this morning. She checked it all out and then spoke with my supervising nurse practitioner who has put me on an antibiotic in case it’s an infection and on aspirin to thin my blood. It should improve within 48 hours, if not, I’ll probably get stronger blood thinners.

Apparently blood clots are common in cancer patients. The nice nurse told me why but I’m not going to try to paraphrase what she said because I don’t want to misrepresent her.

It was interesting when she asked me how aggressive I wanted to be with treatment. She explained that some people want to be very aggressive because they’re afraid, if it’s a clot, that it will come loose and go to their brain, lungs, or heart and kill them. I told her, A. I was hoping that would happen last night because I’m way past ready to go Home and, B. I have two goals for treatment: 1. I want relief from the pain. 2. I don’t want my toes or foot rotting off from gangrene, that “death” is welcome but that being incapacitated is not. She didn’t bat an eyelash.

Meanwhile, Dresden has been very needy and anxious for the last several days. This is what she did this morning with the five empty six packs from the pansies and violas that I just planted yesterday...


Inspecting her handiwork...

Peace, Martha

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Break

I’m going to take a break.

I’ll be back.

Peace, Martha

Friday, November 5, 2010

Untitleable 2

Okay, I’ve already been told that my last post was frustrating and disturbing.

What can I say? I wrote this last October, a whole YEAR ago, and it still holds true:

“Most of my family and friends know my thinking about this.... the bottom line is that it's my body and I'm the one in it dealing with all of this. And as I said, they are going to have to release me, and I them, at some point anyway.”

Same thing, another whole year later: They will never have had enough time with me, they will have to release me sometime, we’ve all known the cancer was terminal for as long as we’ve been willing to acknowledge it, and I’m the one living in this (curse word) body.

I understand their point; that it’s hard and painful and disturbing, and I’m not unsympathetic. It’s just that it has been hard and painful all along. And, living in a 33 year old body that feels like it’s 65, knowing I’m terminally ill, and knowing that I can’t do a lot of the things I’d like to do while I’m waiting to die because of my energy limitations makes me want to be done.

I hope that I can maintain a sense of humor for the time I have left, even if it is dark humor, and I hope my time of suffering will be over as soon as possible.

I’m doing the best I can to be with people and to use my time well, but that’s the best I can do. I can’t change my limitations or their limitations.

It is what it is. I’m sorry and I wish it were easier for everyone but I can’t make it easier. I have been trying to make it as much easier as I can, but there's only so much I can do. I’m not God.

Untitleable

Spite cancer: Drink tea, eat dark chocolate, make beautiful things, and be with the people you love.

That was my first thought, my second thought is about something I’ve been stressed out about at some level for a while. It’s this: I don’t want to have another last Christmas. I did that last year. My family did that last year. I DON’T want to do that again. I can’t describe how I feel about that thought, so I’m not going to try.

I’m good to go for Thanksgiving though, and looking forward to it. Plus, right now I’m looking forward to meeting my little niece Violette when she arrives (She was due November 3, please pray she comes ASAP).

So if you could pray that Jesus would come for me between November 26, and, oh, maybe December 10, it would be great. That would leave plenty of leeway for my memorial service and the after death logistics to get wrapped up (ha ha, get it?) before Christmas.

Peace, Martha

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Disclaimer

***Edited 11.7.10***
Disclaimer—there are a lot of things I can’t or don’t post on here. I don’t/can’t post them because they are too disturbing/intense, or would include language which some people would find offensive.

Because these things aren’t being posted, you’re only getting a partial story, for better or for worse.

It strikes me as what I have to do, but as for worse for two reasons: First, you’re not getting the whole story. Second, because of the omissions, some people have a skewed view of me—that I’m a pillar of strength, a bright and shining example, that sort of thing, and it’s inaccurate and unrealistic.

Anything good coming out of my terminal cancer is because of the transforming work of Jesus—there would be no good in it otherwise, not for me.

So for clarification: Know that you’re getting a partial story and please remember where the good stuff originates.

Peace, Martha

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Nice Fluffy Post

Okay, here’s a light and fluffy post for a change.

I got sick of maintaining the red-violet/violet streak in my hair and I figured I’d just bleach it white and then put a wash of lavender over it. I’ve always admired elegant older ladies with their classy lavender hair...

So I bleached it, with the thrill of first-time bleaching and some fear and trembling. I got hair lightener stuff from some nice ladies at Sally Beauty Supply who promised me it wouldn’t make my hair fall off. I was remembering of a friend of my oldest brother who bleached his rattail (weird 80’s hairstyle) with household bleach and it fell off...

This heinous bubblegum/cotton candy/pepto bismol/fluorescent/glow in the dark pink was so appalling that I stared at it for ten minutes. And when light hit it, it looked like it was glowing with some kind of radioactive energy. It didn’t fall off but it was horrid... I'd call this "Nightmare Pink."


I went back and got more of the noxious fumed putrid smelling hair lightener. The results were much better the second time, I put lavender over it, and it worked exceedingly satisfactorily.

All’s well that ends well, right? I figure now that my hair is a more ethereal color maybe I’ll get into Heaven faster.


There is a point to this post and it is this: One good thing about having a terminal illness is you can do all kinds of things and get away with them. I try not to abuse the privilege but it works great for stuff like crazy hair.

While I’m posting pictures, here’s a magnificent Dutch Puff I made the other night; proof that I do eat for those concerned.


In His Grip, Martha


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Into the Unknown

twinges
here
twinges
there
throb
here
sharp
there
pulsing
here
shooting
there
aching
here
burning
there
then
gone
or
staying
consistent
inconsistent
a
lump
here
a
cramp
there
and
there
chilled
warm
chilled
hot
warm
hot
chilled
here
gone
here
coming
going
unknown
unstudied
shrouded
no
reason
no
knowing
“progression”
unanswerable
unexplainable
unknown
into
the unknown
into
the mist
progression
tedious
progression
ambiguous
progression
unknown
into
the unknown

martha depp 10.28.10

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Good Information

This is from an email I sent my family last week:

I would STRONGLY recommend this site to anyone who's going to die, dying, or who loves someone who is dying. There are topics for patients, parents of young children, caregivers, and piles of information on many many topics... I've spent hours and hours reading on this site because it's so helpful for me. Youghta check it out: http://www.hospicenet.org/

This is one example, about grief/bereavement http://www.hospicenet.org/html/knowledge.html

Here's one you probably don't want to read but should read on end stages of life http://www.hospicenet.org/html/preparing_for.html

This is an AMAZING description of how children from newborn to age 18 understand/respond to death/how to support children--all of you parents of children in this age range should definitely read this http://www.hospicenet.org/html/understand.html

I would apologize for being bossy or demanding, but I'm not going to because I think this information would be really helpful for you and your children.

Heaps and piles of warm fuzzies and love, Martha

Monday, October 25, 2010

Something Dangerous

something dangerous
something powerful
something flaming
something fills me

Daughter of the King
Bride of Christ

He is my Dread Warrior
I am the apple of His eye

death is dead
He has killed it
Heaven awaits

He is in me
He is with me
He surrounds me

something dangerous-His courage in me
something powerful-He treasures me
something flaming-His Spirit in me

His love fills me
fear is gone
He is with me
He is with me

He is with me


martha depp 10.24.10
For D, another Daughter of the King. May she be courageous and fierce and tender in her battle.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stupid Lumps

Okay, I have a prayer request.
I don't have something specific for you to pray but this is what's going on:

I’m tired of these stupid cancer lumps everywhere and how achy a whole bunch of them are right now. Tuesday or yesterday, I can’t remember which, it seemed like every lump in the upper left part of my body started hurting. It’s not excruciating pain; it’s something between throbbing, aching, and feeling bruised.

There are so many lumps now that I’ve lost count. There are two under my left arm, one under my right arm, one on my breastbone below my collarbone, one on my right side, and so many in my neck that it feels like a bag of marbles. No joke, it does. And there are new ones spreading up the lymph node chains in my neck. Oh yeah, then there’s the boney lump in my mouth—new as of last week and only slightly bigger than when I noticed it...

Then there are all of the unknown lumps, God only knows where they are, I’m sure there are lots. I know there are some deep in near my left hip joint because it aches the same way as the junk in my neck sometimes. And I know there are some on the surface near there because there’s some very minor swelling (I thought it was going to be lymphedema back in June but thankfully it hasn’t gotten worse).

There are aspects of the lump crud that I am thankful for—like the fact that other people can’t see most of them, that the pain isn’t a lot worse, that I can still do a lot of the things I enjoy, and that I did have a break from anything hurting for nearly two weeks.

But the lumps are still irritating.

The fact that they are hurting tells me that they are growing. They don’t always hurt when they grow but they always seem to grow when they are hurting. So, the fact that they are hurting is almost encouraging because if they are growing it must mean I’m closer to going Home.

Going Home would be so wonderful.

Monday, October 18, 2010

One Day



You can read the lyrics here. This is a song one of my friends sent me a while ago.

I was thinking about this song this morning, and how intensely I long to be done with this cancer BS, and how one day we'll all be free from suffering... And it reminded me again of Revelation 21: 3-5

"Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.
He will dwell with them, and they will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them as their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,
and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning,
nor crying, nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away."

And He who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."

And it is true; one day there won't be any persecution of people who follow Jesus.
One day women won't have their noses cut off or acid thrown on them or be brutally raped with sticks because they are believers.
One day a mother will be judged for holding her son in boiling hot water, burning seventy percent of his body with third degree burns.
One day men and women and children won't be beheaded or buried alive or tortured because they are believers.
One day there won't be any cancer.
One day there won't be any Lou Gehrigs's disease.
One day there won't be mental illnesses tormenting people.
One day there won't be a single cell malfunctioning in my body.

One of the things that made me think about this more is finding a boney lump inside my mouth, on the inside of my upper jaw. It's still tiny, about 1/8 of an inch, but I started to get afraid as I imagined dying by suffocation from an enormous tumor in my mouth, or of starving to death because I couldn't eat anything because my mouth was completely blocked, or of not being able to close my mouth because the tumor was so huge.

Then, trying to be rational, I stopped and thought about it more carefully: If the cancer is so advanced that it's in my mouth, it's very highly likely that cancer somewhere else in my body is way more advanced and way more likely to get Jesus to come for me. 

Being rational and focusing on His promises really helps...

I also have been encouraged by a book called Safely Home, by Randy Alcorn. If you enjoy a well crafted story, have questions about why people suffer, why God allows suffering, and how God feels about our suffering, or if you have any interest in the persecuted church or human rights issues in China, you should read it. It's a life-changing, paradigm-shifting book. I dare you to read it.

One of the things that has really helped me is to remember how much worse my suffering could be. Not that it won't ever get worse, or that I'm not suffering, or that my suffering doesn't matter, just that there are many people who are suffering much more than I am and I need to be asking God to protect them and keep them in His grace and peace.

Friday, October 15, 2010

More Horse

We went on another ride in the woods today. The horse I rode today is named Basil. He seemed rather huge at first.




Meanwhile, after watching these massive creatures for almost a week, I keep seeing them as giant moving sculptures as well as beautiful animals.




Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hopeland Gardens, Aiken S.C.

My friend and I spent several hours in the gardens here yesterday... We took 336 photographs. Here are a few.

The close-up pictures will look better if you click on them and view them separately...

Some of the largest Deodora Cedars in the country are located here.
(Took this picture for you, Mom...)

This is the largest Live Oak I've ever sat in.

Bald Cypress.

Reflections on the koi pond.
 Many of the koi were well over 30 inches long but they didn't want their pictures taken.

Some flowers, whose name I've forgotten...

And the sun lit clouds last night.

FYI: I am feeling okay. I'm not having any new major symptoms. Weirdly enough, I've been feeling less of the low level symptoms for the last week. Although one of the newer surface mets/lumps is continuing to grow. I'm hoping it doesn't get too much larger. Often new lumps grow and grow and then just stop growing and remain the same size.

And I'm having a good time in Aiken, it's like a restart button in my head has been pressed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Horses...

I went trail riding with good friend and her horses today. This is the first horse I've ever ridden for more than fifty feet. My friend is a professional horse trainer, and rider trainer... so I was fairly relaxed knowing she'd tell me what to do.

Her horse, Faline, is very, very responsive, but she's also playful/questioning enough to keep me very attentive. Faline kept wanting to break into a trot in the middle of going up a hill, when I hadn't asked her to, so that made things a little unpredictable and a lot more fun.

The smallest touch made her move one way or another, so I was trying to learn how to make sure I wasn't sending her mixed signals, say by moving her over to the right with my left leg while the rein was (accidently) touching the right side of her neck, making her think I wanted her to go two directions at the same time... It's a little like driving a stick shift but with a lot more variables....




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hope in Grief?

For the last several weeks, I’ve been struggling with the idea of my loved ones grieving. I know after I leave I’ll be way more than fine, but what about my family and friends? How will they be? I’ve been putting myself in their position, thinking about how I would feel if one of them were dying.

I’ve been feeling like I’ve had a rug pulled out from under me. I've been feeling like everything I’ve learned about death and dying, which has been so helpful to me, is useless in the face of their grief.

I know in my head that they are God’s responsibility, not mine, and I know I will see them again, but there is still the concern, there is still the pain of their pain. There is still the wondering if they’ll be okay. Will they be okay?

This morning I sat down to read Revelation. I knew there was some stuff in there about the New Heavens and New Earth and I was curious. I read Daniel yesterday for the same reason.

Instead of learning about the New Heavens and New Earth, I learned about how deeply God cares about me and for me; about each of us and for each of us. I learned that He cares about my eternity and He also cares about me now; that He cares for my loved ones' eternities and that He also cares for them now.

So, what does that really mean? How does that really help anything?

Well, there is Eternity. There is hope for Life to come. There is the promise of Revelation 7:15-17

"... and He who sits on the throne will shelter them with His presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and He will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

This is repeated in Revelation 21: 3-5

"Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.
He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,
and God himself will be with them as their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,
and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning,
nor crying,
nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away.
And he who was seated on the throne said,
"Behold, I am making all things new." "

And this first part has been huge for me. Really huge. Huge because if I live with the framework of eternity in mind, the here and now stuff isn’t as hopeless. It can still be terrible, but it is not, it cannot be, the final word.

The final word is that Jesus tells us, "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Revelation 1:18

Death’s days are numbered. And when Jesus comes back, death is going to be annihilated, blown to smithereens so minute no trace can be found.

I find that very hopeful. These promises for the future help me keep stuff in perspective.

But what about right here and right now?

What about today and tomorrow, and tonight?

What about the families who’ve been separated from fathers or mothers or brothers or sisters by death?

What about the horrors they’ve seen as the people they loved most suffered?

What about the ravages that some people experience while dying?

What about the people who had no time for closure, whose loved ones have died or been killed suddenly?

That’s what I wanted to know: What about NOW, what about this life? What hope or comfort do we have RIGHT NOW?

I read The Shack last week. I know it’s controversial and I really don’t care. What it helped me understand much more fully is that God is in me and with me all the time. He’s not a spectator; He is in it with me. That’s not a promise for the future, that’s a reality right now.

And He will be in and with my family and friends too. He won’t just be looking on analyzing and observing from a safe distance; He will be feeling and comforting, weeping with them and wiping away each of their tears, He will comfort them and probably even remind them of a funny memory.

I remember a while back when my pastor said that God feels our pain. I remember it because I was startled. I was startled because I had this sort of subconscious idea of a god who was watching me suffer from afar, possibly thinking “Sucks to be her, how awful.” or something trite and lousy like that.

It hadn’t occurred to me that my God was feeling my pain with me; that it hurt Him too, that it grieved Him too.

The story of the death of one of Jesus’ loved ones shows an example of this in real life. How did Jesus respond to His friend’s death? He wept. He felt pain. He was "deeply moved and troubled in spirit." Read John 11....

He’s not some far off pie in the sky god who doesn’t feel or care. He’s not a god who wants us to suck it up and push it away and pretend it’s not happening.

As I read the beginning of Revelation, what amazed me most was how intimately involved God is with us, that He knows our hearts and minds, He knows our needs and our weaknesses, and He is with us in every single bit of it, forever. He chose to be in it with us for forever.

Seriously, check it out. It’s in chapters two and three.

And this is my hope as I anticipate leaving those I love—it’s in knowing that Jesus is with and in each of them; and that He will never, never ever, leave them or forsake them.

My peace comes from knowing the hope they can have right here and right now and in the hope they can have in His promises for Life everlasting.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Pause

a whirlwind
a cigarette
a sleep
a wake
a walk
a song
a prayer
a dream
a wish
a hope
a desire
a wait
a stop

a pause
a pause
a pause
a pause
a hope

a dream
a rest
a sleep
a wake
a tremble
a hope
a wish
a dream
a wait
a pause
a pause
a tumult
a peace
a wait

a pause
a pause
a hope

a dream
a hope
a tremble
a hope
a pause

a pause

martha depp 10.1.10

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Violette's Mural

This is another recent artwork... One of my younger brothers and his wife are expecting their first child, a daughter named Violette, in the beginning of November. C and B painted the wall light purple and then I painted the mural—since C and his wife J love the Northwest, mountains, snow, and evergreens, that's what they got about 4.5-5 hours later. It was a lot of fun to paint.

You can click on it to see it bigger...


Photograph © Ben Depp

Self-Portrait

I started this painting a long while ago and just finished it a week or so ago… It's my first and last self-portrait painting. My brother Ben is a professional photographer and he photographed it for me. He also photographed almost all of my other paintings, which was awesome and a really interesting process to experience. Thank you, Ben.

You can click on the image to see it bigger.


Photograph © Ben Depp 

"Kidney" Update

In a nutshell:
I took ibprofin for the pain in my sides, which was supposedly kidney related, and now, even without ibprofin, the pain is still gone three days later. How weird is that? Consistent pain for a week or two, worse pain for three days, took ibprofin (and only one tablet each time, mind you) for two days, and now, nothing.

This is cancer life for you. Symptoms come, symptoms look like something serious, then symptoms disappear again. Some symptoms have stayed, but it’s crazy how some of the things that seem like they would be something significant vanish.

In the beginning of my cancer process these things made my life feel like an emotional rollercoaster, and in some ways, they still do. The good part is that regardless of the junk in my body, God is keeping me in His peace. I am staying centered because the Center is holding on to me.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Questions for You.

Dying is the process up to death; death is the split second transition to life eternal.
This post isn’t about dying, it’s about death.

Why are we so bent on avoiding the subject of death?

As my grandfather used to say, “We’re all terminal.” All of us will die.

You are just as terminally ill as I am; you just have a different timeline.

You might die peacefully or in unspeakable suffering, but you are going to die. Yes, Jesus might come back in your lifetime, but He might not.

Why don’t parents talk to their children about death?

How is it helpful to pretend it doesn't happen or to be dishonest about it?

Wouldn’t it be better to equip children, and people of all ages, with the ability to think about death?

Why does our culture consider death a taboo topic? (My parents didn’t and the ability to talk about anything growing up has been very, very beneficial to me.)

Why can’t we talk about death?

What are you doing to prepare for death?

Do you think about death?

What do you think about death?

Will you know that you have used your life for something worthwhile when you are dying?

Are your Earthly and Heavenly affairs in order?

If you died this second, would you leave your relationships in pain or peace?

Why is death almost always considered negative?

Why don’t we hear more teaching on Heaven as a main topic instead of just hearing fragmented information?

What if we did talk about death?

What if we were consistently aware of our fragility and the brevity of this life?

What if this awareness were something positive, something helpful, or something valuable?

How would that awareness change how we live?

What if death were something we accepted as something we all must face, a common experience, something for which we all must be prepared?

The fact of the matter is that we only have to be afraid of death if we choose to be. We can take hold of the freedom Jesus offers us, we can hold on to the fact that when He comes back, death will be annihilated altogether:

       There He will remove the cloud of gloom,
       the shadow of death that hangs over the earth.
       He will swallow up death forever!
       The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears.
       He will remove forever all insults and mockery
       against His land and people.

       The LORD has spoken!
       In that day the people will proclaim,

      “This is our God!
      We trusted in Him, and He saved us!
      This is the LORD, in whom we trusted.
      Let us rejoice in the salvation He brings!”
      Isaiah 25:7-9

      Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this
      Scripture will be fulfilled:

      “Death is swallowed up in victory.
      O death, where is your victory?
      O death, where is your sting?”

      For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God!
      He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
      I Corinthians 15:54

“No one has yet believed in God and the kingdom of God, no one has yet heard about the realm of the resurrected, and not been homesick from that hour, waiting and looking forward joyfully to being released from bodily existence.

Whether we are young or old makes no difference. What are twenty or thirty or fifty years in the sight of God? And which of us knows how near he or she may already be to the goal? That life only really begins when it ends here on earth, that all that is here is only the prologue before the curtain goes up—that is for young and old alike to think about. Why are we so afraid when we think about death? ... Death is only dreadful to those who live in dread and fear of it. Death is not wild and terrible, if only we can be still and hold fast to God’s Word. Death is not bitter, if we have not become bitter ourselves. Death is grace, the greatest gift of grace that God gives to people who believe in him. Death is mild, death is sweet and gentle; it beckons to us with heavenly power, if only we realize that it is the gateway to our homeland, the tabernacle of joy, the everlasting kingdom of peace.

How do we know that dying is so dreadful? Who knows whether, in our human fear and anguish we are only shivering and shuddering at the most glorious, heavenly, blessed event in the world?

Death is hell and night and cold, if it is not transformed by our faith. But that is just what is so marvelous, that we can transform death.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In His Grip, Martha

My Kidneys

I’m doing not as well physically. I don’t know how much less well, but less well than a few weeks ago.

I’ve been having symptoms, consistent symptoms, of kidney issues. Tests were done yesterday, and as of right now the first results show no sign of kidney infection—which means, based on what my nurse told me, what my nurse practitioner told her, what I’ve read, and what my gut instinct (no anatomical pun intended…) tells me, that my kidneys are probably being messed up by the cancer, and I’m most likely losing kidney function. At what rate, I obviously don’t know. But the symptoms are there and that's what seems to be happening. It could still turn out to be a kidney infection, the second set of test results will be in on Monday or Tuesday.

Right now I’m processing this. It is another change. Mostly I’m excited, because it means I’m closer, closer to death—that glorious doorway to Heaven.

But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….

Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you….

Do not be afraid, for I am with you….

From Isaiah 43.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bonhoeffer, Lumps, and Quilts

Well…. I’ve been reading a book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I didn’t mean to but when I tried to just glance through it, it was so well written and intriguing that it sucked me in. It’s called Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.

This challenge from him resonated with me:

Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God—the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I am doing okay. I have a several week old lump/met right on top of a bone that has been hurting more since Saturday. And, since I can feel it so easily, it was easy to notice Saturday that it was puffier, and to notice today that what was puffy Saturday seems to be hardening. It was much smaller and better defined at first. It is disturbing right now. What fun.
(When I say the piece of junk hurts, it's not excruciating pain, it's low level kind of aching discomfort. Just enough to be irritating, not enough to take any pain meds for...)

I have one more quilt that needs another hour or two to be completely finished. But these two are completed, and the last one (#4) looks a lot like #3, so I will just post these pictures for now:

You can click on the images to see them bigger.

#3, This is for my parents

My favorite part of rag quilts is the texture along the edges of the squares...

#2, This is for one of my younger brothers and his wife

Still in His grip, Martha

Thursday, September 16, 2010

On Death

Death is hell and night and cold, if it is not transformed by our faith. But that is just what is so marvelous, that we can transform death.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Dream House

Since I read Heaven, by Randy Alcorn, and heard what he has to say about Jesus preparing places for each of us, I’ve been thinking about what mine might be like… This is along the lines of what I’ve come up with so far. I just realized I forgot to include the open-metalwork-Victorian-style spiral staircase up to the loft...


It has been pointed out to me that my plan doesn’t include a kitchen or a bathroom. The kitchen was excluded because it never occurred to me to include one. I hate cooking and my plan in Heaven is to trade meals from people who love to cook for artwork of some sort. I guess I might have a mini fridge and a cabinet for milk and cereal… As for the bathroom; I figure we don’t know if we’ll need them, and it can always be tacked on the back somewhere.

In all seriousness, I drew the most awesome house I could and I know this plan is crummy, at best, compared to what Jesus is preparing. How exciting is that???

What is your place going to look like?

P.S. I’m having an awesome time with my family, my dog needs to be eating more, and the two quilts are almost done. I’ve been feeling almost annoyingly well for the last few days. Isn’t terminal cancer supposed to be terminal? Doesn’t terminal mean having an end point? Okay, I am incredibly grateful for the peace, excitement, and good time God is giving me while I’m waiting.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Poem

Love never disappears for death is a non-event.
I have merely retired to the room next door.
You and I are the same; what we were for each other, we still are.
Speak to me as you always have, do not use a different tone, do not be sad.
Continue to laugh at what made us laugh.
Smile and think of me.
Life means what it has always meant.
The link is not severed.
Why should I be out of your soul if I am out of your sight?
I will wait for you, I am not here, but just on the other side of this path.
You see, all is well.

St. Augustine

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stuff. Good Stuff.

Okay, so… a few people have asked what I’m working on…. Thank you very much for praying for the completion of my projects… I have issues with uncompleted projects, so this is very helpful for me as I prepare to leave.

I just finished a very big project that is a secret for now. It took a ton of time, thought, troubleshooting, and prayer, and it turned out incredibly well.

I just finished my first and last self-portrait painting. I don’t know if it looks like me or not but I am very happy with it as a painting.

My next two projects are quilts. And since I know everyone really wants to see fabric portraits, here are a couple pictures (Each quilt will be composed of 48 different squares. They will be like paintings, but with fabric instead of paint):

You can click on the images to see them bigger and be thrilled by the vibrant colors....


I'll post a picture of the quilts when they are completed.

Other than that, I'm very peaceful and very excited.

I’m enjoying hanging out with my cool parents and am looking forward to time with siblings over the next few weeks. For those of you who don’t know, I have seven brothers and two sisters, and they are all awesome.

One of my siblings had a vision of Jesus coming for me, and the overwhelming sense was joy and how excited He was for me to be with Him. For whatever reason, I hadn’t thought about Him being excited to see me before I heard that. Someone else made a comment about me being a daughter of the King about a month ago, and it's been echoing in my head ever since with an intensely helpful sense of identity and protection accompanying it. So I’ve been trying to soak these ideas in. My ideas about the Trinity have a long way to grow.

Also, I’ve had two recent questions about Heaven:
1. Will our hair grow in Heaven? Because I’m okay with short hair, but I’m pretty well over it, and I would like to have long hair again.
2. Will we all have at least baseline skill levels in areas like singing/music and physical ability/athletic skills? Because I’m looking forward to being able to sing well enough that I don’t have to worry about people hearing me and I have a big long list of things like hiking (as in up and down super huge awesome mountains), running, swimming, and handsprings, that I’d like to be able to do really well.

In His Grip,
Martha