Feeds:
Posts
Comments

I got a huge compliment yesterday.

“she looks happy”

 

Which is funny, because at the moment it was said I was trying to hide how unthrilled I was.

I had just stepped outside my building for a moment to meet a friend who was delivering a custom skating dress for me. I had the garment bag over my arm and I was on my way back to the building.

With no make-up on.

In the middle of the workday.

Yes, I know…brave.

Foolhardy.

Just plain stupid for a 44 year old.

Whatever.

Coming up the sidewalk towards me were three men. I think of them as “young men” but really they are almost my age. They are all fit, neat, healthy and pretty decent looking guys. One of them is my former boss (whom I had a lite boss-crush on) and all three of them were people that I used to work with in the Chemistry Department here at Emory.

Last time they saw me I had long hair and was 40 pounds heavier than I am now.

fat christmas

this is what I looked like last time they saw me

 

So when Todd hugged me and said

“I’ve heard some rumors about you, are they true?”

I experienced my very first “I don’t want to talk about the cancer” moment.

I didn’t want them to attribute my weight loss to the cancer.

I didn’t want them to chalk up my hair cut to the cancer (chemo, hair loss etc)

I didn’t want my lack of make-up to be marked down in their minds as “oh she is strung out from treatment of her cancer.”

 

fat puttputt

and this photo really shows how bad it had gotten.

 

I’ve worked hard to lose the weight, I changed my hair cut because I wanted to and I didn’t have makeup on simply because I don’t feel the need for it most days. Sure I look better with it, but I prefer not to have to bother.

nomakeup

this is what I look like now….with no make-up.

 

So I laughed. I bubbled. I sparkled. And I said

“What rumor? The one that I’m going to U.S. Adult Nationals next week and I’m going to do better than last year? Sure! It’s TRUE! I placed 5th last year, but this year I’m gonna make it to the medal stand!”

In short, I deflected.

I knew what Todd wanted me to confirm.

But I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bear to have

 CANCER

be the word that comes to mind when they think of me.

I would ten thousand times rather they think of

Ice Skating.

spiral magnolia

recent competition.

 

 

The conversation went pretty rapid fire after that. All three of them shooting me questions about ice skating, competing etc…when suddenly one of them says to the other

“Man I almost didn’t recognize her! Deirdre, you sure do look different!”

And the other one comes back with

“yeh, she looks HAPPY!”

 

happy

just last week. minimal make-up. on a date with hubby.

 

 

At which point I got to tease them by saying that it was because I had gotten rid of all the stress in my life when I left off working with them!

All in all a fun conversation. And one that I have gotten more and more out of as it percolates through my brain hours later.

And yes, I’m insecure enough that I wore make-up today…… Just in case.

 

 

One day, one story

Testimony. Relatively small word with a huge amount of baggage. Movie sized baggage. I think that all too often that baggage squashes a lot of us and keeps us from sharing our very real, very worthwhile testimonies.  Even I have said it….“Oh, I don’t have a testimony, not like “the cross and the switchblade” or Tim Tebow, or Beth Moore.”  Nothing big like that.

This is where I think Facebook could actually be good for Christians. Forget about having a screenplay-sized testimony….Try telling what God just did in your life in the last 24 hours. Or 24 minutes. Make it short. To the point.

You don’t have to twitter about it, speaking of it as it happens in a play by play. Most times none of us actually recognize a happening as significant until days later anyway. But put it out there.  share.

Don’t be stingy with your testimony. God is alive. You are alive. God is in your life. Therefore, guess what? God JUST did something in your life. Period. If you tell me He didn’t, I’ll tell you you weren’t watching.

So what’s my testimony been recently?

Well last just week,  24 hours changed my life.

Or more accurately 24 hours changed my PERCEPTION of my life.

1 week ago today I was awaiting the results of a thyroid biopsy. I was at work. I was covering the front desk. The one place where you REALLY don’t want to get caught making a personal call.  ahem….

But my cell phone was dead. And that’s the number the nurse had for reaching me. So I dug out the phone number, picked up the front desk phone….and made a personal call.

And got the “bad news” 

Funny really. The cancer had been there for years. I just didn’t know about it. What is it about “knowing” that changes how we see everything? I don’t feel any different. But there is an endless refrain in my head right now (the is the uncensored truth I’m about to share here. Not a piously edited version)

“I have cancer. Holy shit! I have cancer. Does it show? Can I feel it? Is this really happening? I have cancer. Cancer. Cancer…….really? I have cancer. Did you know? Does that person know? Does it change how they feel about me? Holy shit! I have cancer”

I’m not kidding. That paragraph up there, or some variation of it, has been running through my head almost continually for just over a week now. Hopefully it will go away eventually. But for right now it is a constant buzz in the back of my brain.

Why am I blogging about this? Hang on. You’ll see.

So I told my boss. She came up front to sub for me so I could go to my office in the back, make medical appointments and call my husband. Did that. Set the appointment with Dr. Amy Chen for March 24th (which was then a week away). Called Martin. Told him the news. Managed to laugh about it. Told him not to tell anyone yet. Especially don’t put me on the church prayer list.

Then I went back up front and told my boss that we were going to have to wait another week to find out what kind of impact this diagnosis was going to have on me, on the staffing situation at work etc. I also mentioned that I had asked the appointment staff at Dr. Amy Chen’s office to keep me on a “hot list” and call me if anything opened up sooner and I would drive right over.

I managed to tell my mom in a way that made her laugh ( I hope).

This is the point at which I changed my mind about the prayer list thing. I knew there were loads of people who would want to know so they could pray. But notifying all those people by personal email was just too much to contemplate, so….I posted it on facebook. Yes, the support poured in. But that wasn’t the point. I allowed participation in my life and when God moved just a few hours later, I was able to post that too.

Just before the end of the workday I called the appointment scheduler for Dr. Amy Chen’s office back and they said that an appointment had just opened up for 9 a.m. the very next day. I practically shouted “I’LL TAKE IT!”

And then immediately got on facebook again and was able to post the praise that God had worked out the timing and moved my appointment up.

How is that a testimony? It allowed me to demonstrate, in a tangible way that I truly believe God watches over our real lives and makes these types of things happen. And it gets better….

When I met Dr. Chen the next day she was wonderful, professional, reassuring and very likable right off the bat. But it gets better…One of the things I had written on my form when I checked in under the “what do you want to talk to your doctor about today” heading was “U.S. Adult Nationals (figure skating) in 3 weeks”

So we got to the normal end of the appointment, just about the time you expect a doc to shake your hand and leave. We’ve covered all the normal stuff after all, she has other people to see. When what does she do? She sits down, looks at me and says, “So, you’re an ice skater. Did you know I skated when I was a kid?” Then she proceeds to tell me stories from her time as a child skater and eventually we talk about the scheduling of my surgery, how it will impact my work and my skating. It was such a huge relief to be able to talk to a surgeon about recovery and have them already understand about skating. What it entails, how to return to the ice without endangering the surgical site etc.

Once again, I got to put a post up on facebook that demonstrates, by example, that I know God cares about each of us and knew that Dr. Chen was the right surgeon for me, not just because she is skilled, but because of her personal background.  We have a personal God.

These little bits of my life that get lived out in public ARE my testimony. The little things that will eventually add up and make someone who has known me say “why are so okay with this? Can you tell me more?” Whether they ask me, or someone else, the seed is sown.

To me “testimony” doesn’t mean telling people the GOSPEL in its entirety. It means living a life that causes them to one day ask for more information.

Live that life. One piece at a time. One day. One story. One Moment. One shared thought. Where people can see it, so that one day, they will ask for more.

One day.

One story.

One life.

One seed.

 

 

 

I’ve been needing to write this post for a while.

Some people have asked me to write more and I’ve blamed the non-writing spell on my skating, but that does an injustice to skating that I can’t bear any longer.

Really, honestly.  It’s about my job and doing it to the best of my ability.

I have a very distractible mind.  My mother says that when I was in school I “majored in distractions”

She is right.

I routinely have way too many activities, thoughts, and goals in progress at any given moment.  This applies to my brain in the car, at home and all too often, at work.

The job I used to have was very free-form and allowed for me to have time during the day to write blog posts drafts as they occurred to me.  The job I have now, frankly doesn’t have that kind of flexibility.  It is much more task driven.  And we are deeply understaffed.  I spend every minute here trying to catch up to the mounds of work that surround me.  In order to write, I would have to steal time from my employer and the tasks that have been assigned to me.  And that, my friends, is not good stewardship of my time as well as being just flat out dishonest.

Colossians 3:22-24(NIV)

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Which basically eliminates writing at work unless I write on my lunch break. (more on that later) 

So why not write at home?

If you could see my home office you would understand why that suggestion just won’t fly.  

So what part does skating play in why I’m not writing?

Well….if I wasn’t getting up at 4 a.m. in the mornings to go skate, and therefore having to go to bed at 8p.m. each night, I guess I would have more time to clean house, and I might be able to find that home office computer desk.  If that home office was clean and neat, I might feel a desire to go in there and write.

But to be honest, even if I wasn’t skating, there would be Ginny.

Welcoming me home.  Wanting me to see what she drew, or watch some new tumbling trick she made up, or just sit and watch some random Disney movie with her.

And ya know what?  Ginny is gonna win over the computer every time.

Which is why I was writing at work, but I can’t now.  So….I’ll pop on here when I have something to contribute.  But for now, living life is taking a higher priority than cleaning house, or writing.

 

before yesterday I would have said that Martin and I make a great parenting team. (not that we are great parents, we won’t know that result for years to come)

but yesterday I found out that we have left a word out of that assessment, and it makes a significant difference…

TAG

We are great TAG – Team parents.

We have perfected the art of passing Ginny back and forth between us like a finely honed machine of efficiency.  While one is being an independent adult, the other is being a parent.  What we seem to have lost recently is the art, and make no mistake it IS an ART, of working together as a GROUP.  With both of us being parents TOGETHER.

Just as an example, yesterday Martin did something that he would never have done had he been alone with Ginny.  Becasue I was there, he abandoned our mutual pile of personal belongings and went off to some other portion of the venue to a change machine to get chage for Ginny to play a game. 

How is this wrong?

it isn’t…..in and of itself.

He had Ginny with him.  She was safe.

I however was fuming.

I had no idea where they were.

I could not go looking for them because I was now in charge ( by default) of a whole pile of stuff that couldn’t be left alone in a public venue.

I knew they had the ultimate goal of going to play some game that Ginny had wanted to show me.  But becasue they didn’t tell me about the need for change I thought they had headed off to the game and must be waiting for me. So I figured out a way to drape all the stuff all over my hands, elbows and shoulders and lumbered through the venue looking for them….and fuming.

I nearly imploded when I finally found them. 

It is such a simple thing, and yet two people who actually love each other have, temporarily, gotten out of the habit of working together as an actual team.

Thank goodness Martin had the sense and the maturity to text me an apology before I went too far off the deep end.  He gave me a way back and I took it gratefuly.

Why am I telling you this?  to air our dirty laundry?  no.  Becasue I just wanted to take a minute to remind myself and everyone who still reads my blog that you have to practice the skills involved in real teamwork. 

We got better at it as the day progressed.

By the end of the day we were back to working as a group.  We even managed to have our heads on straight enough to take advantage of a trio of police personel who sat down at an adjacent table during our lunch.  We showed Ginny the badges and how to recognize, and hopefully trust, a real cop.  By the way, I am so thankful that they were a very mixed bunch.  One black, two white and one female.  Gotta love it when your girl child gets to see the full range of human skin colors and sexes treated as equals.  Martin even let us pick up their tab annoymously.  Which was a really great thing for Ginny to see happen.

I guess my secondary point is that marriage is chock full of moments like that.  I over reacted to a realtively minor situation and my husband offered me a way back. 

No matter what has happened…..take that offer folks.  Or be the one big enough to make the offer.  But whatever you do, don’t be small enough to cling to a hatchet that someone else is trying to get you to put down. 

Relationships are precious.  Join something bigger than just you.  Dont’ just play TAG, be on a TEAM and be proud of it.

“my life is rough right now, but I take comfort in knowing that God won’t give me more than I can handle”

I’ve seen this concept popping up a lot recently in statuses on facebook, twitter, google+ and it keeps cropping up in conversations as well.

Frankly it makes me want to scream.

NO!

I don’t care if Mother Teresa of Calcutta said it, it is NOT BIBLICAL.

God promised to give us MORE than we, as frail, fallible, fickle human beings could possibly handle.

Why?

So that HE could step in and show off HIS DIVINITY.

His POWER in our weakness

His HEALING in our extremity

His MERCY in spite of our biggest messes

You will ALWAYS be struggling against an overwhelming flood of something in your life.  But  you can trust that God is Good (I John 1:5) and that your purpose in this life is not to show off your own ability to get through the struggles but to point to your savior and say HE is the reason I got through it.

God wants to give you more than you can take so that everyone around you will see you weather the storm…and then they will ask HOW.  How did you get through that?  and you can quietly point them to your Lord.

the long over-due thank you post from my 2012/13 skating season and first trip to the U.S. Figure Skating Adult Nationals

thank you post 7

Behind every skater,

of any level,  

stands a coach….who DIDN’T kill me on my worst days.

C30_2472

In the bleachers at every event clap the friends who stand by me…

even when I am down and don’t display my best side.

 60414_10200898409929314_1103771959_n
On the drive home, hands clenched on the steering wheel drive the husbands, brothers, parents and friends being tortured by tears they can’t comfort or endless re-hashings of all the tiniest details of the things that went right (or wrong) with the program THIS time.

IMG_8871
And at home waits a weary grandmother,

248111_4218192379873_995196205_n

proud of her daughter and a four year old who can’t understand why mommy didn’t bring home a shiny medal this time because she always thinks I’m a winner.

thank you post 3

I didn’t win…at nationals.  I placed 6th in one event and 5th in the other.  But still, I am grateful.

Grateful for the chance to even go to Nationals. After a year filled with injuries, coaching changes, sickness and a myriad of set-backs, honestly even qualifying was a victory worth celebrating but I was too busy setting my sights on the next goal.

Now almost a month later, I am celebrating and finally ready to send out the thank you post.

To Martin, for endless hours playing with Ginny and keeping things running and for backrubs that kept me on my feet when I just wanted to lay down and never move again.

To my parents, for endless hours playing with Ginny and keeping things running (grin)

To Julie for understanding that sometimes we can all get crabby. And for helping me find (and visit) every single Starbucks on the way home from Elllenton, FL to Atlanta, GA.  Julie, I need to give you a special thank you for putting up with my singing for the last two hours of that drive back from Florida. I know it’s not my greatest talent, but it DOES keep me awake at the wheel….

Oh, and to Martin again for all the various cuts of music we went through. You are a genius honey. Pure and simple.

To the folks at A.C. Chiropractic Spinal & Wellness center for being willing to venture into new territory to keep me functioning.

To Annette for “interpreting Davin” for us all.

To my neighbors Liza & Bryon and the kids, for just being there, being normal and delightful.  I know I couldn’t have done this without you.

To my previous coaches: Dawn Malone, Chuck Miller, Tim Zinc and Deena Bryant – thanks for helping put down a foundation that I will build on for the rest of my life.

To Sarah Bolocan, thank you for being willing to try just about anything I asked when it comes to new dress ideas.

To Kylie for just being yourself. Watching you on the ice is very peaceful.

To all the skating moms at the Duluth Ice Forum – thanks for encouraging all us adult skaters. It means a lot that you guys actually like us adult skaters and don’t see us as comedic or pitiful.

To Dr. John Xeroegeanes and the staff at Emory Sports Medicine for putting me back together…do three knee surgeries qualify me for a volume discount?

To Stephanie for being fun on the ice. Sometimes I need to be reminded to just play and have fun.

To my hair stylist Angelia Leong as we journeyed through finally finding a haircut that works for my life style and looks good on the ice.

thank you post 2

To Rob, as a guy afloat in a sea of female drama we must be an endless source of entertainment for you. Thanks for being such a great representative for our club and for Adult skating in general.

To PJ, Lou, Ben & Meredith Scafidi. I don’t know that I can ever possibly put into words all that your family has done for me. Starting with taking us into your hearts in Greenville and keeping us there. I will never forget your kids playing cards with Martin so I could get the hotel room packed up. Or you FIERCELY defending the chair that Martin’s foot was propped up on at the restaurant.

thankyou post 5

To Davin….just thank you. Thank you for all the times you didn’t smack me across the rink. You know you wanted to.

thank you post 4

And thank you for pouring yourself heart and soul into your own skating. Watching you skate is a joy and being able to count myself as one of your students is a privilege.

Yes, I am proud.  Proud of going to Nationals.  Proud of skating two beautiful programs that were the best of my season.  Proud of everything I accomplished in the 2012/13 season……and ready to go out and do it all again.   

thankyou post 1

 look out 2013/14….here we come!

I’m talking to parents here.

Ever done that thing where you sit in the hall, with the lights out and listen to your child cry?

Most parents are familiar with this as a way to try to get a child to learn to go to sleep on their own.  Learning to put yourself to sleep is a life skill that we all need.  But it doesn’t just happen, you have to learn it.  and learning is, sometimes, a pain-filled process.

I’m facing that with Ginny right now.  We used to have a pretty solid routine and she knew how to go to sleep by herself.  We were very good at the whole “never put her down asleep, always put her in her crib when she is drowsy, but still awake” thing. She learned her lessons very well and we hardly ever had to get up in the night or spend hours begging her to just please go back to sleep.

We thought she had learned that life lesson perfectly.  Chalk one up for the awesome parenting duo of Martin & Deirdre.  Congrats.  Your child has passed this test.  Please move forward.  You won’t ever have to learn this one over again.

WRONG.

Over time we let the routine slip.  Inch by inch we moved so far away from a child that puts herself to bed with no fuss that we are now living in the land of a tyrant who never gets enough sleep herself, and never lets papa get enough sleep. She crawls into bed with us in the middle of the night, she insists on a movie to fall asleep to, and papa must sit down with her to watch it.  Which leaves papa asleep on the sofa and Ginny getting just enough of a nap between 8 and 10 p.m. that when Martin finally wakes up to take her upstairs, she wakes up pretty thoroughly and either makes him read to her half the night or begs for another movie. 

Martin’s poor tired, sleep deprived soul is not strong enough to resist her at that hour, so she pretty much gets whatever she wants.

But the lack of sleep is getting to be a serious problem.  Not just for Martin, but for Ginny’s friends and playmates.  She is a crabby, bossy spoiled, violent little terror these days.

Ginny is unhappy. Martin is unhappy.  I am unhappy.  and Ginny’s friends, school-mates and teachers are definitely unhappy.

Don’t get me wrong, Ginny is also blindingly intelligent, adorable, sweet, loving and kind.  But she can go from one extreme to the other so fast it is really scary and I’m convinced that half of it is a lack of sleep.

So, we are going to try the old, “sorry, I know you don’t want to, but you have to go to bed now” routine again.

Which means her parents are going to find themselves in that hall again…listening to her cry.

Why am I telling you all this?

to make myself look bad? no.
to belittle the parenting skills of myself or my spouse? no. Martin is a hero as far as I’m concerned.
to humiliate my child? no.  she’s just being a kid.

It’s because of a song that got sung in church this week.

Nichole Nordeman’s “Why are they screaming”

We rode into town the other day
Just me and my Daddy
He said I’d finally reached that age
And I could ride next to him on a horse
That of course was not quite as wide

We heard a crowd of people shouting
And so we stopped to find out why
And there was that man
That my dad said he loved
But today there was fear in his eyes

So I said “Daddy, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why is He dressed in that bright purple robe?
I’ll bet that crown hurts Him more than He shows
Daddy, please can’t you do something?
He looks as though He’s gonna cry
you said he was stronger than all of those guys
Daddy, please tell me why
Why does everyone want him to die?”

Later that day the sky grew cloudy
And Daddy said I should go inside
Somehow he knew things would get stormy
Boy was he right
But I could not keep from wondering
If there was something he had to hide

So after he left I had to find out
I was not afraid of getting lost
So I followed the crowds
To a hill where I knew men had been killed
And I heard a voice come from the cross

And it said, “Father, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why are they casting their lots for My robe?
This crown of thorns hurts Me more than it shows
Father, please can’t You do something?
I know that You must hear My cry
I thought I could handle the cross of this size
Father, remind Me why
Why does everyone want Me to die?
When will I understand why?”

“My precious Son, I hear them screaming
I’m watching the face of the enemy beaming
But soon I will clothe You in robes of My own
Jesus, this hurts Me much more than You know
But this dark hour I must do nothing
Though I’ve heard Your unbearable cry
The power in Your blood destroys all of the lies
Soon You’ll see past their unmerciful eyes
Look there below, see the child
Trembling by her father’s side
Now I can tell You why
She is why You must die”

http://youtu.be/sRKV8Jh5IgQ is the link to the song. 

The whole song is breathtaking and was presented by a teenager in our church in a very moving way.  She didn’t sing it perfectly, she sang it with absolute participation and consequently brought the audience to tears.  The verse that really gets me is the one about God the Father listening to His son’s screaming  and having to wait for the time to be right to respond.

I know that my sitting in the hall listening to Ginny crying doesn’t even come close, but it gives me a tiny glimpse into “that dark hour”

And makes the coming of Easter just a tiny bit more real to me this year.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 753 other followers