Hold my hand…

“Fine.” That’s what most people say when you ask, “How are you doing?” Most people are also liars when it comes to this question, but we still ask just to be nice, or fill an awkward silence or make us think that by asking we are somehow better connected. They talked about it at church last night. The pastor talked about people coming to church to feel a sense of community, but not being willing to get past the “fine.”  I get it. I’m there with you. It’s scary. It’s scary to open up to someone else and/or someone new. What if they look at you funny? What if they avoid you next time? What if they laugh, think you’re crazy or tell their friends to avoid you? But what if they care? What if, by opening up, you make a new friend or a new connection? What if you are the listening ear that someone else needs & you make their day? (By the way, you may never know or realize that this happens… people don’t always come back saying, “thanks for listening or caring.”)

So, here I am… being vulnerable… asking for you to hold my hand. (Virtually, of course.) I have my “routine” mammogram tomorrow (Friday) now changed to Monday 10/23. It comes 6 months after the MRI. This is the schedule for a while, after finding breast cancer on my left side. It still makes me nervous. It still takes my breath away. It still makes me feel like an actual elephant is sitting on my chest. I was thinking it would be later in October, but they had an opening this week, and it worked into the schedule. It’s for the best that I didn’t have 25 days to think about it. I only had 2. (I literally wrote this post at noon and they called me to change it to Oct 23rd, so I DO have 25 days to wait. I guess this gives me extra time for prayers.) This will be my first one at the clinic in town instead of driving back to Fargo.  I can do this. It’s quick, it’s not super painful and it’s necessary. I know God’s in control of this, but I can’t help wonder what is up his sleeve for me. I hope it’s to live a long life, see my kids grow & marry, and have families of their own. We aren’t guaranteed that… but that’s my hope. 

I learned to pray more intentionally after several significant life events. So here is my request: Imagine you are holding my hand on October 23rd. I may squeeze your hand when they press the machine down. The scar tissue is still tender. I may shed a tear because I’m just so thankful to be alive. Pray specifically for peace… for a sense of calm to wash over me. Pray for a good, clear scan. Pray for quick results & good news. Then, go hug someone. If you are a female, schedule your damn mammogram. Just do it. I don’t care what size or shape you are… just make the appointment. And when you do, you can message me to pray for you and I promise I will. 

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you have enough courage to open up and let people in. May you have enough faith to get you through tough times. May you have enough friends to hold your hand so that you don’t even notice the mammogram machine smush.

Better Connected


I looked in the mirror after the church service Wednesday night, looking for grey hair. When did I become a grumpy old church lady? Do you know what I’m talking about? We had some sweet grey haired ladies in our Lutheran church growing up. They sure would give you a “look” if your kids were misbehaving. As our pastor talked, people talked amongst themselves… loudly. Not just kids, but adults too… talking without respect for the pastor. Their conversation was much more important than whatever he was saying about the new Confirmission year (confirmation + mission). I felt myself being annoyed and wondering what the pastor was feeling. I certainly was grumpy about it but I didn’t make any “church lady glances.”

Our church has a “theme” each year. Last year, it was Church in the Wild. It focused on getting out into the community to share our faith. This year, the theme is Better Connected. They bring in a guest speaker every so often. That night it was a youth pastor who spoke of being called out of our comfort zone. When he spoke, those side conversations stopped. Everyone was paying attention. (Thank goodness) This topic was perfect for me. Although I’m no longer considered a youth, the idea of being better connected with strangers is certainly out of my comfort zone. As part of the Better Connected theme, they are starting small groups. Ugh small groups? Will there be “ice breakers” also? Normally, I’d pretend that I didn’t see the sign up sheet, come up with an excuse not to do it, or avoid everyone who tried to ask me about it. In the spirit of trying new things, I signed up. Aaahh. Can you believe this?! Add this to the list of things I never thought I’d do. Oh and while I was at it, last week I also went to a Parents Advisory Council (kinda like PTA) at Myles’ school. 

Why, oh why am I doing these things? Modeling. No, not in the sense of fashion (for sure that’s not me)… in the sense of modeling for my kids. To show them that it’s ok to step outside your comfort zone. It’s ok to try new things. It’s ok to open up and let people in. Scary? Hell, yes. But, I felt that tap on my shoulder to do this. I’m excited to see what will come of it. If I don’t try, I will never know. 

My journey of enough is taking me on a different path. A path that I never thought I’d go down. It’s safe and comfortable to stay with what you know… but what if something great comes out of the new path? What if I inspire my kids or make a new friend? I’ll keep you posted on how this all shakes out. Maybe you’ll feel compelled to try something new too. Maybe you’ll find your new favorite hobby or wine or friend. 

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Hang on and enjoy the ride!

Just try…

We went to a Cross Country meet Thursday. It was 88 degrees in the shade and there was only a slight breeze. Buses lined the street and there were cars as far as we could see. We had never been to Little Falls, Mn, but that’s where the meet was. JV boys, JV girls, Varsity Boys then Varsity girls ran a 5k on the golf course. We were most interested in the JV boys. I love watching running. While I have completed 4 half marathons, I don’t really love to run like my husband does. I’ve never driven by someone who was out for a run and wished I was them. But I love to watch it.  I love the crowd of kids and seeing them race. I love cheering for them – all of them. The fun went off and the crowd came racing towards us. I always try to pick out my runner, and in that first sea of kids, it’s sometimes difficult. As I scanned the crowd for Alexandria shirts, I cheered for the Cardinals and clapped for everyone else. Then a boy in a green jersey ran by with an adult. The adult had a strap around his wrist attached to the kid in the green jersey. He was leading him through the course because his sight is impaired. I instantly got a lump in my throat. Wow. We wove our way through the golf course, cheering at different intersections. There was one big hill on the course. After our Alexandria runners went by, I stayed to cheer on the rest of the kids. Myles asked me why we didn’t just leave. I said, “Because nobody is here. No one is cheering these boys on. We are staying until the last one runs by.” And we did. First, last or in between, they all tried.

As the sight impaired boy came closer to the finish, I heard his guide say, “26 is a PR (personal record), you’re almost there!” I cheered for him, never knowing his name or his story. I talked to my husband after the race and asked out loud, “Why does that make me so emotional to see a blind kid running?” Why? Because he tried. He didn’t give up. Last week we were at a race in Detroit Lakes. It was a hard course with lots of hills. As usual, Cameron went to the back of the course to cheer the kids on… the spots that nobody goes to, except maybe a coach or two. He saw a kid start to go up the hill, start walking and walk off the course. He didn’t finish. He wasn’t going to win, so he stopped. He didn’t appear injured… it was just hot and hard. 
To me, this is one of the big things that sports teaches us. Yes, I understand that many won’t go on to be big college runners or win the Boston marathon, but they learn to try. Hopefully they have a coach that puts more emphasis on doing your best than winning. If you learn to keep going in the face of adversity, maybe you will apply that to other areas of your life. If you do your best, that’s enough.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you keep going when you feel like walking off the course. Listen for the cheers, and just try.

Stand by me…

Are you sitting down? Stand up. It’s ok, I’ll wait… Stand up. How long did it take you? If you are able bodied, it took you a few seconds maybe? How many times do you do that in a day? Ever think about it? Ever give thanks for it? We did, 3 years ago. 

My brother-in-law had been in a farm accident, where a tractor drove over his back. He had broken ribs and needed a plate put in to hold his pelvis together. He spent weeks in the hospital recovering, and even longer in a wheel chair. He needed time to heal without walking. Then the OK came… “You can try to stand.” I can’t imagine how scary and exciting and overwhelming that must have been. Can you imagine the faith that took? The faith that the doctors knew what they were doing? The faith that God had pulled you through? The faith that your family would be there if you fell? He stood with a walker, and we all cheered!

The thought of that “anniversary” yesterday made me cry. Thankful, overwhelmed tears, even after 3 years. There is so much that we take for granted each day… walking,  seeing, talking. We forget to be thankful for the small things until something happens to make them more difficult. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Isaiah 40:29. There is no doubt in my mind that God gave him strength to stand. God continues to give him strength, as he does to all of us…Strength to overcome obstacles we never thought we’d win. 

When things go wrong, or seem out of control, we are more likely to cry out for help. But, just today, stand up – and then whisper, “thank you.” Make a list of all of the things you are thankful for – big or small. Then do the same thing tomorrow. If you focus on the good, more good will come.  When you feel like you’re not enough, remember that God is standing beside you. To Him, you are always enough. 

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. 

Good news and donuts…

I’ve transitioned almost everything after our move… new dentist, orthodontist, new church, new doctor, new place to change the oil and find cheap bread (different places). One thing that I’ve held out on is my oncologist. I can’t bring myself to change that one just yet. There’s a reason why we are reluctant to change – it’s safe and comfortable and predictable to stay with what you know. Even with all of the changes that I’ve gone through in the last year, this is one that I’m waiting a little longer to change. So, for now, I will drive back to Fargo every 6 months to meet with my oncologist. 

Leading up to the appointment, we were on a family trip, so my mind was pre occupied with vacation stuff. I did find myself being “short” with my family, but I didn’t make the connection- appointment was coming up and I was anxious. It’s been more than 2 years since I rang the bell signifying the end of my cancer, but the what ifs are hard to push out of my mind. What if I missed something in a self exam? What if there is a different cancer somewhere else? I tried to quiet my mind on the drive to Fargo and stopped for a quick cappuccino Heath Blizzard before my appointment. 


I checked in to the front desk at the cancer center. Every time I’m there, I’m one of the youngest people there. I also look healthy, aside from being a little overweight… I don’t fit in. I wonder about everyone’s story. We all have a story. The grey haired couple argued about which direction to go. The lady in a wheelchair wanted her leg adjusted. The lady with a walker and a scarf on her head looked for a place to sit. All different stories with a common thread… cancer. I didn’t have to wait long before the nurse called my name. I stepped on the scale and walked back to the exam room.


Vitals and verbal updates, then wait for the Doctor. While I waited, I thought back to that first appointment with him, when they had to re-do my blood pressure because it was off the charts. I didn’t have to wait too long before he came in. I had nothing new to report, but he would check things over just to be sure. I got the all clear – stat on the same “anti-cancer” meds and see him again in 6 months. I can have my 3D mammograms and MRI done in Alexandria.  

Wheew! BIG breath.

As I left the clinic, I found my way down to Broadway and just had to stop for donuts. I wish I didn’t tie food to celebrating, but I do. Good news called for good donuts. Maybe someone will start a trend of celebration carrots, but until then… peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you be blessed with good news and donuts!