Tuesday, November 5, 2019

What Every Mother With Cancer Needs to Know

Oh dear cancer mom, how my heart aches for you. I know the feelings, the fears, the thoughts that go through your mind and rip at your heart. Whether stage 1 or stage 4, questions we can't answer loom large.

How will my cancer and my possible death affect my child? 

 What will happen to my child when I am gone? 

Will my precious ones make it through the pain?  

Fears for our children are stronger than fears for ourselves. In the uncertainty of the unknown, we must cling to the promises of God. Promises not only to us, but promises to our children as well.

"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

God is with us and God is with our children. He promises. He will neither leave nor forsake our loved ones.

God doesn't take us and then leave our children alone. He stays. I've seen God's Presence in the lives of children whose mothers died young. Angels seem to encircle them in human and divine form giving needed care and love. Of course mom is missed, but the family survives and is all right because God watches over them. His Presence is sensed and embraced.
"For He will command His angels concerning you 
to guard you in all your ways;" 
Psalm 91:11 (NIV)

Yesterday I was blessed to read a son's birthday wish to his mother only months after her cancer death. Derek West's words touched my heart and I'm sure his mother, Corinna Parker Walkowiak, smiled big watching God reveal the Hope of Heaven to her son.

"Happy Birthday, Mom.
 It would have been your 48th here but 
it's your first in Heaven.
 I remember last year having a strong urge to make you a cake, 
even though I hadn't ever made one for your birthday before.
 At the time, I thought it was just me getting older and
 feeling the need to take care of those things on my loved ones' birthdays, 
but in the back of my mind I wondered 
what things might be like this year with your cancer.

When you first died
 I couldn't think much about you being in heaven because
 all I could feel was that you weren't here anymore. 
Thankfully, over the last month or so 
the hope of heaven has been revealed a little clearer and 
I can actually believe today is the best birthday you've ever had.

I miss you so much and 
wish I could make you another cake. 
See your low-key love being the center of attention 
while asking everyone else about how they're doing. 
Enjoy the warmth and ease of being around you.

But it's good knowing you're home.
 Soaking in the greatest celebration everyday. 
Happy Birthday, Mom.
I love you."

Thank you Derek West for sharing your birthday wishes with us. What a tribute to your wonderful mom. Corinna Parker Walkowiak who was indeed special. A healthy woman with a giving heart, she was first diagnosed when she volunteered to be tested as a potential liver donor. Corinna went to Heaven April 25, 2019, age 47. 

May we all have splashes of serenity and peace knowing that God is with us. He won't forsake us and He won't forsake our families. 


Friday, November 1, 2019

The Ultimate Speaker's Guide: Practical Tips, Tools & Takeaways

Wow! This is the book I was looking for  years ago when my speaking ministry started to grow and I wanted to blossom as a speaker. Not knowing how to get to the next level, I trusted God, and I prayed as He provided speaking opportunities across the United States and then to Europe. I was blessed, but, honestly, the speaking life would have been easier had I been guided spiritually by God and professionally by Kathy Carlton Willis, author of The Ultimate Speaker's Guide: Practical Tips, Tools & Takeaways. Or, as Kathy says, The Grin Gal's Guide to Public Speaking.

If you've asked yourself the following questions, this book is for you:

 Has God called you to speak, but you don't know where to begin? 

Are you speaking now and you'd like to expand your audience? 

Or, like me, did God make you an author, 
and all of a sudden, you are considered a speaker, 
and you want to do your best for the glory of God, 
but you don't know how?

Do you struggle with the business end of speaking?

Do you want to glorify God with your speaking ministry?

"Packed cover-to-cover with invaluable information, The Ultimate Speaker's Guide is the new bible for communicators. With almost two decades of industry knowledge under her belt, Kathy Carlton Willis has coached hundreds of speakers to help them develop successful speaking businesses. This book covers all the tips, tools, and takeaways you'll need to ensure that your audience increases and your message is heard, including: 

Setting up your business
Finding a brand that fits
Getting more bookings
Polishing your style
Discovering God's plan for your business

An extensive resource section containing a sample contract, media interviewing tips, fee schedules, checklists, and much more, makes The Ultimate Speaker's Guide an essential toolkit you'll use time and again." ~ from the back cover, The Ultimate Speaker's Guide

Kathy Carlton Willis is God's Grin Gal. She writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. Over a thousand of Kathy's articles have been published in books, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her most current book is Grin and Grace. Kathy is active as a book industry pro, and her coaching group, WordGirls, propels women toward their writing goals. She graduated with honors from Bible College and has served for 30+ years in full-time ministry.

Kathy will fill your speaking ministry with splashes of serenity! 


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Conquering Cancer

I have blood cancer.

Blood cancer is different than other cancers because it's not a tumor a surgeon can cut out. As my body deteriorated and my pain increased in the sleepless, pain-filled nights, I felt helpless realizing  cancer-filled blood runs through every organ in my body and there is not a thing I can do about it.

Fear gripped me. 

Then Jesus took hold of my thoughts.

Yes. I have cancer running through my veins. 
But Jesus' blood runs through my veins too. 

Christ lives in me!!! 

Jesus is more powerful than cancer. 

Christ is my big C. Not cancer.

 Christ is my Healer. 

Christ, not cancer, holds my life in His Hands.

"And this is the secret —Christ lives in you! 

Who is more powerful in your life?
 Christ or cancer? 

Cancer can eat away at your bones and cells,
but cancer can't touch your soul. 

Cancer can steal time,
but cancer can't take away a moment God planned for you. 

Cancer will not win the victory for your life.
Christ already won it.

 Jesus Christ is the big C.

 Keep your eyes on Jesus Christ the healer,
not on cancer the destroyer. 

Cancer is vicious,
but Christ is the Victory!" 

  - from my book Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality.

We conquer cancer when we stop worshipping this disease by living in fear that cancer has more power than Christ. 

"I have been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live,
 but Christ lives in me."
  Galatians 2:20 (NIV) 

Not cancer. 

I am very happy to report that not only is the fear of cancer gone, but targeted therapy continues to keep my leukemia from progressing. I no longer have pain-filled days or nights. I am healthy and happy and loving Jesus every day. Thankful that even this disease in my body can be used for God's glory. What a splash of serenity!!!

More of my cancer journey is shared in my book Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality.  Available on this website, Amazon, Target, and Walmart.


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

My Just-for-Fun Birthday Poem

Oh, happy birthday fun!
Today I am seventy-one!
So thankful God gave me this race to run 
And allowed me the joy of being seventy-one.
I'll rise early with the sun
And celebrate 'til the day is done.
I'll start the day with a birthday bun
Knowing there's a birthday cake to come!
I'll spend the day golfing with my hon.
Thankful for my two daughters and a son.
Thirteen grandchildren I love a ton.
In this race called life I'd say I've won.
Another birthday I will not shun
Because God's plan for me it is not done.
Another book I've just begun!
Hooray! Leukemia has come undone!
Trusting targeted therapy will prevent a rerun!
So, I refuse to be happy birthday blue.
As I pray God gives me birthday seventy-two!

Happy Birthday Splashes of Serenity on me today!


Sunday, September 29, 2019

EVERYDAY BRAVE Blog Tour Giveaway. You Could Win This New Book!

And the winner is Rhonda Roemer-Stephani!!! Wow! Congratulations Rhonda. I prayed God would pick the right person, I mixed up all the entries, shut my eyes, and chose. There you were! Please private message me your address so the publisher can send the book to you.

When Waiting Takes Courage and Trust

It’s difficult waiting for anything—a medical test result, school grades, an acceptance letter, a prodigal returning, the sale of a home, a move, a job offer, a baby, family arriving safely on a wintery night, a phone call, a predicted storm, restored health, Christmas, or a birthday. I know you can think of more waits that are difficult. I’ve had them too.
When I was writing Everyday Brave and asked women to share the bravest thing God ever asked them to do, many answered “wait” and “trust God.” Who hasn’t waited and trusted God to answer a prayer request, but how many of us considered waiting as brave or courageous, even though there are many verses like,Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous” (Ps. 27:14 nlt).
We’ve all experienced times in our lives where it took sheer grit to wait on the Lord patiently, without impatiently taking matters into our own hands? Some women mentioned surrendering their will to God’s will as the bravest thing God ever asked them to do.

Waiting on God’s Timing

When we put our concerns and requests before God, we never know for sure how or when He is going to answer. It’s easy to say, “Trust in the Lord,” but when you’re on the waiting side of things it’s not so easy. Waiting requires stalwart courage and bravery to trust in the Lord’s perfect timing.
Waiting can fill us with anxiety, apprehension, angst, anger, and worry—or anticipation, awe, expectation, eagerness, hope, and trust. Depending on our personality, we might experience a combination of many of those emotions. I know I do. I don’t like waiting. I want answers now. The only way I calm an anxious heart is to pray about the situation, and then go about daily activities keeping my mind focused on other things, trying not to dwell on the looming object of my wait.
Don’t get me wrong, calm doesn’t come easy for me. I actually chose “Calm” as my word to focus on one year. My husband laughed when I told him my annual word because I’m not naturally a calm person. Descriptions more appropriate of my personality are excitable, energetic, eager, and enthusiastic—anything but calm!

Trusting God with the Wait

It’s hard to trust God to take care of everything for us while we wait, even though Jesus reminds us: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matt. 6:34 msg).
Elisabeth Elliot wrote about brave waiting in Passion and Purity,I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.”
Still, we’ve all been there. Sometimes we feel brave and courageous and can flow with whatever the future brings. Other times, we feel weak and weepy like Hannah in the Bible when she waited to have a child. But when we read Hannah’s story, we see she was distraught before she gave her burden to God, and then she seemed willing to bravely accept whatever he decided was best for her, whether it was a child or not. She became peaceful and content in God’s waiting room. (1 Samuel 1:1-2:11)
Hannah trusted God and waited on him to decide whether she would become a mother.
We’re all waiting for something every day.
When you prayerfully and patiently wait on God, you’re braver than you know.
What helps you be brave in times of waiting?

*Any excerpts from Everyday Brave used with permission of Leafwood Publishers.

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 20 books. Her passion is to mentor other women in sharing their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. Her new release is Everyday Brave: Living Courageously as a Woman of Faith.

Visit Janet and sign up for her weekly blog and free online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com.
Join Janet:

About Everyday Brave: In Everyday Brave, Janet explores the extraordinary bravery of fifty ordinary women in the Bible. Twenty-eight women of today also give testimonies of realizing their strength and courage through God’s love. As Janet shares the stories of these women, she reminds us that the real heart and substance of bravery comes from unconditionally placing our hope in the only One who can give us the courage to stay the course.

Any who leave a comment will be entered to win a free copy of Everyday Brave! Give away ends and drawing will be announced Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. 

And the winner is Rhonda Roemer-Stephani!!! Wow! Congratulations Rhonda. I prayed God would pick the right person, I mixed up all the entries, shut my eyes, and chose. There you were! Please private message me your address so the publisher can send the book to you.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month

I chuckled when I learned September was Blood Cancer Awareness month. Believe me, those of us with blood cancer are very aware — not just in September — but every moment of our lives. We are aware each time we see lymph nodes swollen on our necks or feel them in our groin or under our arms, when an ugly bruise appears and stays for  months, at every tiny mosquito bite that doesn't heal, when a miniscule paper cut bleeds and bleeds and bleeds, and every sneeze threatens to lead to pneumonia and death. We are aware when the night-time pains shoot through our bones. We are aware as we fight cancer's attack of our bodies and satan's attack of our minds.

We are aware.

Are you aware:

According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the United States in 2019 approximately

 every three minutes one person is diagnosed with blood cancer,

176,200 people are expected to be diagnosed with blood cancer,

ten percent of new cancer cases diagnoses will be blood cancer,

1,3999,180 people are living with blood cancer,

Approximately every nine minutes someone dies of blood cancer,

156 people die each day from blood cancer,

six people die each hour,

56,770 people will die this year,

9.4 percent of cancer deaths this year will be from blood cancer.

I thank God  and prayers, and cancer research that with treatment and a daily targeted therapy pill, most of the symptoms I experienced in the first paragraph are gone. I now live a healthy and happy life. Thank you for your prayers for me. Please keep praying for all cancer patients every day and month of the year. They suffer. They endure. They conquer thanks to your prayers.

My cancer care costs approximately $350,000 a year. Thanks to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and other grants, I am not hit with that financial burden. Won't you consider donating for cancer research and funding for grants to help patients like me? You can donate at www.lls.org.  Thank you. 

I was thinking of the money spent on Halloween candy. Perhaps giving the same amount  to www.lls.org will free children with leukemia from the fright of cancer.

To encourage cancer patients, I share the lessons God taught me on my cancer journey in my book Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality. Do you know a cancer patient who needs encouraged? Available on this website, Amazon, and Walmart.

Splashes of Serenity to all my fellow cancer warriors and thank you again to all who prayed for my healing. God heard. God healed!  Praise the Lord!!!


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Fifty Reasons Why We're Still Kissing Forty-nine Years Later

"So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore what God  has joined together, let no man separate."
Matthew 19:6 NIV

We didn't get it right all of the time. In fact, if you read my books, you'll understand there were times we almost threw our marriage away. I'm so glad we remained true to the vows we spoke through our happy tears forty-nine years ago. When the hurting tears came, our vows to God and to each other were the glue keeping our frayed marriage together.

As we celebrate forty-nine years, I jotted down fifty ways (in no particular order) we got it right. In  hopes one will touch your heart and bless your marriage, I share them with you.

     1. Read your wedding vows and repeat to each other often.

     2. Go to bed at the same time whenever possible. The late-night pillow talk was precious and sometimes the only time we were alone during a busy day.

     3. Make intimacy a priority.

     4. Our marriage took priority over our children. We cherished our daughters and son and they knew they were loved. They also knew mom and dad loved each other, which brought joy and balance to our family.

     5. Be polite. My husband opened the car door for me when we dated and on our wedding day. He still does today. Those little courtesies mean a lot and speak volumes to our children.

     6. Date frequently. Your children will survive and thrive knowing mommy and daddy are going out just the two of them. Your child's greatest fear is that their parents will divorce. Seeing the two of you leave to enjoy each other may bring tears in the short run, but smiles for a lifetime.

     7. Vacation as a family. When you vacation together, you bond as a family. When another family is included in your plans, the kids bond with the other kids and not with each other or to their parents. An occasional vacation with friends is fun, but not every year.

     8. Overnight as a couple. Dan set as a priority that two weekends a year we get away together. I once said, "We can't afford this." He replied, "It's cheaper than a divorce." Dan was right.

     9. Your friends should never be more important than your spouse.

    10. Serve together at church or in the community. Find something you can do to work as a team.

    11. Discover activities and fun you can enjoy as a couple. I learned to love golf.

    12. Go on dates alone. Don't always go with another couple.

    13. Read Christian books on marriage. 

    14. Keep going to marriage retreats. This can be one of your weekends away.

    15. Your bedroom is your love sanctuary. Keep it clean and tidy and beautiful.

    16. Play romantic music and light candles. Make your home and your bedroom a retreat you both want to escape to.

    17. Do chores together. Raking leaves and shoveling snow is more fun as a twosome or a family.

    18. Seek ways to make each other's life better. Ask yourself What can I do to make my honey happy today.

    19. Celebrate big! Birthdays, Anniversaries, holidays are memory creators and make life fun.

    20. Be flexible. A rigid spouse is not very huggable.

    21. Practice kindness. Please and thank you never grow old. Kind people smile. So, smile. A lot.

    22. Be patient. Spouses and marriages need time to grow up.

    23. Consider your spouse before you consider yourself.

    24. Romance never grows old! Be creative and romantic and fun!

    25. Be content. Be happy with the person you married.

    26. Build your spouse up. Don't push or nag.

    27. Show and tell your spouse they are the most important person in your world.

    28. Plan surprises!

    29. Look nice at home and in bed.

    30. Sit close.

    31. Be present for big events whether a sick bed or a job promotion.

    32. Pray for each other. Pray for your marriage.

    33. Hold on during the bad times.

    34. Disagree, but don't disrespect.

    35. Choose your battles. Let go of the little irritations that don't matter.

    36. Hold hands.

    37. Fight fair. Stick to the subject of the dispute and never attack the person.

    38. Forgive and forget. Remember, we all make mistakes.

    39. Your spouse is not God, so don't expect perfection.

    40. Encourage their dreams.

    41. Avoid immorality of all kinds by watching and reading only uplifting, pro-marriage movies and television.

    42. Choose your friends wisely.

    43. Seek advice and counselling from Bible-believing, Godly pastors and friends.

    44. Remember: This too will pass. What upsets you today may be forgotten tomorrow.

    45. Leave your parents and cleave to your spouse.

    46. Live, act, and speak like a married person. Leave your single life behind.

    47. Don't belittle your spouse in public or private.

    48. Our children knew our marriage bed was where mommy and daddy slept, not them. I know this is controversial, but it was important in our marriage.

    49. Buy a lock for your bedroom door. Especially necessary when living with teens (for their sake and yours!).

    50. Always seek to glorify God in your marriage! Your marriage is not about you, but about God's glory.

We're celebrating our 49th Anniversary big, by redoing our honeymoon through New England. I'm so glad we held on to each other when our marriage almost fell apart. Be blessed. Enduring love is the best!

Happy Anniversary to us! Remembering the splashes of serenity and forgetting the mud and muck, we press on!