Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My Cancer Miracle! Thank You for Praying!



"Did she just say I was terminal?" I asked my husband as the oncologist left us alone to digest the test results.

"We're all terminal." The only words my hand-holding husband could say as he comforted me and grasped his own sudden grief.

We didn't tell anyone. Not one. Try telling your children you are soon to die. Impossible to do. A mother's heart can never hurt her child. I couldn't inflict that pain on them. Not yet.  I was still stage 0, so we held on to that hope and the promises of God to carry us through this quick journey to Heaven.

Doctors chastised us. "You must tell people. Your children need to know. You can't bear this alone." The conclusion of test results saying "rapid progression, low survivability, high risk, not responsive to treatment" haunted me all hours of the day and night.

Then it happened. I got sick. Thanksgiving 2016 I thanked God that He had given me nine months, because in one month I went from stage 0 to stage 3 high risk leukemia.

"We've got great news for you!" was not what I expected to hear the oncologist say. "A new drug specifically for high risk leukemia has just been approved. You take three pills a day. There are no
side effects. You won't get sick or lose your hair. It has a 90 percent effective rate."


Good news indeed! The week before Christmas Dan and I prayed over our pills (Ha! They are our pills, not my pills, because from day one Dan assured me we are one in sickness and in health.)  We asked God to Please destroy the leukemia and keep it from progressing. And please Lord, let me be in the 90 percent where they are effective and not the 10 percent who die.

Celebrate with me that I had no side effects from the medicine and the best news ever:

Last week my blood count was normal!!! 

"Phenomenal!" my oncologist gasped and then said again, "This is phenomenal!"

Why are we surprised? We're not. We have a phenomenal God who can do not only the impossible, but also the phenomenal.

Thank you for your prayers. Oncologists expect I will live a full and long life. What joy knowing He has more work for me to do here on earth.

Yes, I am writing a book as I travel the cancer road, for God has taught me much about the joy of life that healthy people miss. Please pray my words will be God's words. Thank you.

Splashes of Serenity. Every day there are splashes of serenity. Don't miss yours today.







Monday, March 20, 2017

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

I'm Pregnant!!!


I've been trying to get pregnant for years! Ever since my last baby was born. Month after month went by with no conception. My timing wasn't right, but God's timing is perfect. He had lessons to teach me before He allowed me another child.

Voila! Here's the photo of my recently conceived baby, still a bit fuzzy. Not quite sure how he or she will develop, but progressing nicely.


Authors compare writing a book to having a baby.

 I'm right now at that ecstatic stage. I want to tell the world I'm pregnant! A new book is on its way! So excited I want to shout the title from the rooftops, but my publisher and agent warn against divulging the name until the actual birth. Day by day my baby grows.

As excited as I am, I fear the days ahead knowing satan will do all he can to destroy my child and me. There will be sleepless nights when the baby just won't stop moving and I can't sleep. Middle of the night book writing is not my plan, but sometimes my unborn child won't settle down until the written page lulls him back to sleep. There will be worries that the baby will have something wrong with it or will have little impact in this world. And then there is the birth to look forward. Oh my, the pain of editing and having others chop up your masterpiece.

Delivery day is another moment of exultation. Huge announcements and parties and fun. Everyone will love the baby at first. But, there are always the doubters who think your baby isn't quite as cute as another baby they just read.

After delivery, reality hits. Oh my, am I prepared to parent this child? How do I market my baby so he or she becomes effective in the book world of competition. Truth is, once the baby is born, the real work begins. Raising your child. I don't expect to raise a genius, but I do pray some lives will be touched by His presence.

I just became pregnant and I am giving myself nine months to birth this book. The Lord may have other plans. Some books are early and some late. I leave it in His Hands.

Would you pray for me during this pregnancy, labor, delivery, and parenting a newborn to adulthood?

In my heart I feel this book could be a powerful source in the less-than-joyful world where we live.

My husband read the first chapter and said,

"That came straight from God. It looks like you need to write another book." 

And so I do.

Pray for Dan too. Expectant fathers must deal with craziness when their wife is expecting. I mean, sometimes I get so wrapped up in the script I forget to eat, ignore the time, and can neglect my man. Pray I will have words from the Lord in His timing, so I can finish the work He planned for me, while being an excellent wife to my dear Dan. Thank you.

Praying this baby brings splashes of serenity to many and to me as I write,


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Friday, February 17, 2017

Life Lessons Learned in a Cancer Center Waiting Room



I'm glad I have cancer. Here's why:

I've met the most amazing people in the world. Why amazing? Well, because they have cancer and cancer changes you from mundane to amazing.

Cancer patients  

Live life to the full. 

Treasure the moments. 

Love deeply. 

Don't worry about the small stuff. 

Don't complain about the lateness of their doctors appt because they know 
(1) the person ahead of them may have gotten awful news, or 
(2) cancer patients aren't eager to hear what could be their own awful news. 

Cancer patients smile and greet everyone. 

They play like little children with little children. 

Cancer patients make each moment a God moment. 

They work at blessing people wherever they go. 

They smile. 

They live in the reality that this day could be their last, so they live full, and well, and joyful. 

They give because they know there is no reason to keep. 

They purpose to bestow a kind word of encouragement to every human they see. 

They don't complain about head colds or hang nails. 

I have never heard a political discussion in a Cancer Center waiting room.
 Their eyes are on the King, not the president.

Cancer patients want to give back all the kindness people gave to them. 

They live each day full.

Splashes of Serenity in the midst of cancer! Thank You, God for this gift.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

When a Husband Learns His Wife Has Cancer





The tears. The silent knowing that in a moment of a test result your life has changed forever.

I read that the majority of  patient's reaction to a cancer diagnosis is,
"Why me, God?" 

Well, why not me? I mean I've sat at the bedside of young mothers taking their last breath. Why not me? Why them? Stupid questions that humans will never answer.

"You have leukemia" the doctor said.

"For the glory of God" I said.

 Just being honest. That's what I said. I mean, who knows what you will say when cancer rings your doorbell and death's door moves next door. You don't plan a speech for this moment  because you know it won't happen to you. But it did to me.

And what did my husband say? He held me and said "I'd do anything to trade places with you. I wish it was me and not you."  Bless this man who loves me as Christ loves the church.

True love.

How blessed I am to know the love of a man wishing he could die in my place 
and the love of a Savior who did.

"Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . ." Ephesians 5:25

May you all know the great love of our Savior Who holds you when life falls apart.


PS: Praising God for "targeted therapy" which targeted the cancer cells, destroyed them, and continues to stop their progression, while leaving my healthy cells alone. So, no hair loss, no sickness, no side effects. I have full energy and look forward to many years of service to my Lord Jesus Christ and to my dear husband.


PPS: I wasn't going to share my story, but, as my first response was "For the glory of God," I realized, if I don't tell people, how will God be glorified?


Splashes of Serenity, in the midst of cancer. That's what God does. He never leaves. He never forsakes.



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Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Gift of Cancer






Clinging to the cross. Always.


"I have a praise report! I have cancer!" George announced at our church's Wednesday night prayer meeting many years ago.




"George! How is that a praise report?" I asked.




"Can you imagine the group of people I will meet who I can tell about Jesus. Doctors! Nurses! All kinds of medical staff! Why, I'm having chemo every week with the same seven people in the same room. I'm going to tell all of them 'I know I'm going to Heaven. Do you?' And they won't be able to leave because we're all having chemotherapy."




Then there is the oncologist who said "George, this is serious. You are a sick man."
George answered "Doctor, if you don't know Jesus as your Savior, you are a lot sicker than I am."


Cancer was a gift to George.




Today, I laugh with George as I too have a cancer diagnosis.


Don't panic! I'm fine.



A month ago I was diagnosed with active stage 3 high risk chronic lymphocytic leukemia. That's really the only bad news. The great news is I started chemotherapy (taking three pills a day for the rest of my life) in the comfort of my home or wherever I travel. I will not lose my hair, but I should lose some weight. Leukemia burns up calories. How funny is that. All these years I've been trying diet plans. Who knew? Well, God did.




Cancer is a gift because cancer  makes you a better person. God opens your eyes to the important. The eternal. Priorities change. Each day (each moment) is a gift you treasure.




 I am excited to share this journey God knew about before I was born. He has me in this place for the glory of God. And so, like George, I look forward to a new audience, new stories, perhaps a new book. For, indeed, God ordained this day for me. He knows and He cares. He holds me and He will never let me go.




"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:16
  


Prayers are working.


Three weeks of chemo and I have not one side effect.
Not ONE!!!

I have energy by day and sleep well at night.



I asked two oncologists if I should cancel my speaking and they both replied "ABSOLUTELY NOT!"


Over the past six days, fourteen women gave their hearts to Jesus at luncheons where I shared my story.
Blood tests reveal the chemo has effectively stopped the progression of the leukemia. Hallelujah!!!

Your prayers are always appreciated.



If you are going through a difficult cancer diagnosis, please know that Jesus loves you, He holds you, and He will never let you go. If you need assurance that you are going to Heaven, please read "Elaine's Testimony" at the top of this webpage. I am always happy to pray with any in need.




Who knew cancer could be a gift that brings a splash of serenity? God did. To God be the glory.




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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

See Jesus this Christmas — Our Family 2016 Christmas Wish to you


"That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby. . . . Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared. . . and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them, 'Don't be afraid!. . . I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born today in Bethlehem. . . . The shepherds said to each other, 'Let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this thing that has happened. . . . They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby lying in the manger." Luke 2:8-15

This Christmas our prayer for you and for us is that we will see Jesus everywhere in all things. No matter what is happening in life that seems unsettling, may we keep our eyes on Jesus just like the Shepherds who were terrified when they saw the angels, but filled with glory and praise when they saw the Baby Jesus. That's what Jesus does. He brings peace on earth and good will to men. He brings joy and hope to the downtrodden and hopeless. He brings the promise of eternal life to all who believe in Him. For indeed, He is the Savior of the World. We pray He is your Savior too.



In so many ways we saw Jesus this year. He was in Bosnia Herzegovina last March when Dan and I taught marriage seminars to Bosnian Pastors and wives and to the Bosnian Herzegovinan communities. Christian and Muslim marriages came together to hear how God  saved our marriage. Truly two of the best ministry weeks of our lives.



Jesus was there in the miracle of creation as we welcomed two precious grandsons into our family. Gunnar Miller Sliwa (#8 for Elizabeth and Joe), born May 25 on Dan's parents wedding anniversary. 



James Samuel (Jack) arrived early but healthy on November 3 to Katie and Sam and Lily. 

We see Jesus nearly every day in the words and wonder of our 12 grandchildren. We're thankful.




We see Jesus as He leads our children. Joe started his own handyman business , JOE Pro Services (607-583-8111) . Please call him for about anything needing done around your house. He's good. 

Sam (and Katie) serving selflessly at Andrews Air Force Base, moved to Alexandria, VA near where Dan and I rented our first apartment. 



Bob fulfilled a promise he made to Joanna in writing before they were married. They are now parents to Bruno, a bassett hound.

This Christmas we pray that whatever is going on in your life, your eyes will focus on Jesus.    He is the Savior of the world. Our President won't save us. Our money won't save us. Our intelligence won't save us. Our healthy bodies won't save us. Only Jesus saves us. What blessed truth. See Jesus this Christmas and celebrate with great joy!

Merry Christmas friends and family!

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