Election Season

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Culture shock hit for the first time in a while when the beauty of the changing leaves became peppered with signs for candidates. I realized I felt as helpless and frustrated about these signs as when I pass the homeless. Then I realized there wasn’t much difference. They’re both begging for enough people to help them hold on to a way of life. In China the people don’t have to deal with this unwelcome pressure-from candidates I mean, not the homeless.

Wrap or unwrap?

How does one wrap their head around something? I’ve heard and pondered this phrase a lot recently. During this season of chemotherapy for Luke and my own continual personal journey with The Lord and career path, some days I just find my head rolling around.

You can’t literally have your head wrapped around something, however something can be wrapped around your head. For example, a mummy. Driving home from a doctor appointment with Luke I said I felt like a mummy, but with only a tiny piece of “cloth” is wrapped around my head.

But as I write, I think for myself it might be the opposite. I think for myself I have been a mummy and the wrapping is coming off slowly. The hint of a start happening in China. Being back in “America” (as the Chinese students always called it, not “United States”) for almost a year and half has rocked my world in many, many ways. Being rocked and unwrapped is possibly the reason why I haven’t written on our blog. I didn’t know what to say, because I didn’t necessarily know what was happening.

In a sermon from our home church, our pastor said we need to know the reality of life and that reality is knowing God. Believing, trusting and relying on God for your everyday needs is the reality of life. So when you go on a vacation, it is still reality, just in a different place. When we lived in China for two years, it was reality. When we came home and Luke worked full time and I part time, it was still the reality of knowing God. God was and continues to wake up my mummy of expected life to revealing what His will is which comes in the real things that occur for me and my marriage everyday.

Allowing God’s reality for my life has unwrapped the mummy and I’ve become more alive in this world. The mummy analogy is a very new one, but growing up and even to this day, I would say I lived in a bubble. It wasn’t my parents that kept me from experiences and I was not sheltered, but I was not aware of “the outside world.” Revisiting this idea with my dear husband, he drew a picture to help with his understanding.

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Jesus tells his disciples in John 15:19, “you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” Then in 17:11,15,16 Jesus prays to the Father for the chosen, “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world… My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”

The drawing and scripture combined, you can see that I feel more free, believing I can be in the world, but also that I am not of it. God has a plan for each one of us; that plan may not always be the same thing as we see it, but His plan is to keep, those who trust in Him, on course to eternity to reveal His glory along the way.

Are you still a mummy wrapped up in your own world or are you allowing God to unravel your life to see His beauty in this world and beyond?

Updated: The none too gentle giant

Update: Happy to say that this week is actually going a bit better. I made some changes to the picture to add clarity and a little less self pity.
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Here’s the original:

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Late night doodle before a week of chemotherapy.This is how I’m processing.
I know this is saving my life, which I tend to think of as a super thing, like a super hero might do.  So this is my attempt to personify chemotherapy. I’m being saved; I don’t have to romanticize or even like it.

(more…)

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Delay of Game

Today was supposed to kick off my second full week of chemotherapy, but my white blood cell count is still coming back from round one. Doctor says “take the week off,” so we’re taking the week off. My feelings are mixed on this. It will be nice to get more time to rest, but it also pushes the finishing date back. It’s also just another complication which usually translates to more pain at some point. Yet, for now, it is meant to allow more time for recovery, so that’s my job.
This past* week has been my “weak week.” I was surprised because I thought that would have been the week before, but even yesterday, I felt too crummy to go to church. My hope is that I feel gradually better, get some exercise and work in, maybe go to the beach as my Aunt Georgia recommended.
The cards and notes we’ve received from friends and relatives have been sweet and encouraging. We feel well loved and a sting of pity for those in more difficult circumstances with fewer friends. We are certainly blessed beyond what we deserve and thankful for God’s grace to us through you. 
It’s also been fun to see people’s reactions to the video posted a week ago. I hope to put something similar together this week. It isn’t all that difficult with the right tools and some practice, but that’s true of a lot of things.
Keep thinking of us. The journey continues.

*UPDATE:
This post was updated because Shannon’s grammar skills are sharp. I thought I had the whole passed vs past thing figured out. Here’s the website that proved me wrong gracefully: Grammarist.com

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

It’s a special kind of trauma when gazing at a pinch of whiskers casually pulled from your own face. Should you laugh, cry, or shrug your shoulders? It’s all moth and ruin anyway. But I’d grown to like my whiskers. I was quite attached to them, until very recently. As a male, I’ve got nothing to complain about. This would be a Les Miserables level problem if I’d been caring for a long crown of glory all these years, but my gender and DNA have never made me any promises. The only improvement to my condition would be if I were black with a solid round dome instead of the oblong lumpy brain case I call a head. 

Whiskers have always been a consolation prize, a symbol of maturity and distinction, a subtle suggestion that I’m not going bald, my hair is just relocating. Now with them trimmed back to a stubble, I must face the world and myself even more openly. Fingers crossed that I keep my eyebrows.