Spread the Secret

There are many me, there are lots of me’s that enjoy a big pot roast, me’s walking the isles at Publix, I see me picking up my kid at school, or even the multitude of me’s sitting in churches across this Western World. 

I have lived my life following the crowd of the must have. The media has influenced what I say. Oh!  Don’t get me wrong!  I have spoken out enough to make enemies with those I don’t like anyway, but never enough to get a label. I have lived my life in search of bigger and better, prettier and stronger, richer and more powerful. 

But last week, I took a trip that I didn’t want to take. Remember the day I had to write?  Remember me holding in the tears in Target?  Well, my levels were up where they shouldn’t be up and my oncologist ordered lots of scans. It sounded just like the previous six times that led to surgery. And not all surgeries are created equal. Add the C word for a dramatic effect and as the surgeries multiply, the risks and recovery are harder. Well, that time I wrote about what I couldn’t write about, it was that. Last week, Nana stayed with my girl and James and I took that oh so routine trip to Duke Medical Center. It is worth the drive. It is the difference between life and death. 

A sick feeling rises in my stomach while I try to prepare myself, thinking about things I had not let myself think about before. But my husband slips his hand into mine and then it can’t all be wrong. What I care most about is right. And I get an email from my mentor sent around the 5 o’clock hour and she has prayed in the presence of the Holy One on my behalf. And I get a text and another text and more that dear friends are praying and what more can I ask?

It all begins with an ultra sound, I grab James’s hand and I am prepared for the worst, “Completely normal. Nothing to worry about.”  Followed by a CT Scan and a bone scan:  My oncologist sent in his PA. (Pause here. I absolutely adore my doctor but when he sends in his PA, that is the news I want!)  All normal. 

But, ya see, this is the third time in 2015 that I have lived a similar situation. It never gets easier, maybe even harder, but each and every time I learn something. And they will continue. I am a 19 year cancer survivor. Since 19 long years ago, my blood levels are off. My doctors continue to search and scan to locate that microscopic cancer that they know is somewhere. But their hope, and my prayer, is that I live my life being poked and prodded and that it never grows to a size where they can find it. It has before. Six surgeries. But I live my life with routine medical bills and visiting the best doctors in the world and this cancer is slow growing therefore I proclaim that my life is a beautiful life with cancer. 

And living my life from this perspective teaches me enough to write about it. The thorn in my side can also become the blessing. Although I would have never picked this road on my own, and I would switch lanes at any point that I could, the suffering is never wasted. And what did I learn this time?  

I learned MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Yesterday, I accompanied my eight year old and her classmates to an assisted living home to spread some holiday cheer. My daughter, her friend, and I sat across from an elderly man coloring a picture.  As Madison chatted, like Madison does, the man must have told her a hundred times how smart she is. I smiled and introduced myself. He followed suit with his whole name. I then introduced my daughter and her friend. The sweet man we just met, smiled and told me he had two children, he pronounced the full name of one of his children and then paused with great pain on his face, “I am not smart like her. I forget.”

Not able to fathom the pain of forgetting the name of my own child, we moved on with the conversation. Because my God is awesome, he moved my daughter and her friend to share their recent memory work. They memorized all of Luke 2. (All 20 verses!)  As they recited the story, this precious man beamed. It was spiritual. 

When I do not have the option to take this life for granted, THANK YOU JESUS FOR SHOWING ME WHAT I LIVE FOR!  There was this tiny little baby, he was God Almighty coming to earth to save me!  There is no other religion where god loves me like that!  No other faith that says that I am good enough. No other spiritual life where I measure up to the God of the universe pursuing me! 

There are so many me’s walking around this world. We know God but we don’t want to get too weird about it. Ladies and gentlemen, ISIS is cutting off the heads of the infidel, mass shootings are the new norm, our president does not even recognize our enemy…this world is headed straight to hell!  I will strive to be more like my eight year old daughter:  “Here is the story of Jesus.  And when life hurts more than possible to endure, there is hope!  The story starts with a virgin birth, announced by angels. Hosanna in the highest!  I have good news of great joy for all the people!”  

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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My Dog and I

Today, our home underwent a little renovation. The screened in porch was knocked down, opening up a patio to the backyard. I am pleased with the change. James and I sat rocking on the patio and complementing the recent change, Madison and a friend giggled while they jumped on the trampoline, and Tucker ran around the trampoline barking, believing he is one of the children. 

Suddenly from the bright blue sky, an intense boom of thunder shook our world. The girls screamed and began their sprint to the safety of the house. But with a look that he had just been spanked with a bolt of lightning, Tucker took off with the fastest hot lap that I have seen performed, running for his life. 

The hilarity was in watching his determined face as he passed the open patio…open patio…open patio, where he could have entered with ease, as he high tailed it to the spot where the old screened in door used to hang and he entered where that creature of habit has entered since he was a wee puppy and he first became house trained. 

And I realize that doggie and I have something in common. WE ARE CREATURES OF HABIT. I like a BBQ sandwich with cole slaw on top, because that’s the way I’ve always eaten it. Don’t try to keep me from my Sunday afternoon nap. Christmas decorations are hung the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Don’t even think about straying from the traditional turkey and dressing on that day of ️thanks. And if my side of the bed gets switched, I am bound to wake up on the wrong side, if you know what I mean. There is a certain way that our culture talks and acts and does life and if you get too weird on us…well, we don’t like it. Why?  WE ARE CREATURES OF HABIT. That’s not how we do it. 

And then there is the part I like to keep a secret. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. When my house is messy, I am grumpy. When I get mad at my husband, I get quiet. When I mess up, it is hard for me to let go and move on. I value comfort much too much. And I judge people that judge people. (Hmmm)  I am a creature of habit even when it comes to my sins. 

I AM FREE FROM SIN!  Jesus paid the debt. The chain is broken. Satan is defeated. I do not have to worry about this world and comfort and what others think of me!  I am a blink away from eternity. The movers are called and I’m packing for my mansion in glory!

I am like a prisoner with the prison door open and I still sit upon my cot. I am holding the shackles that have been cut off my arms. I am eating the crumbs under the table when the feast was prepared for me. And I am dressing in old rags when a designer dress was ordered and the party was planned for me!

Sinner of habit, the whole patio is open!  Stop running from the storm and chasing my old habits!  The race is won!  The price is paid!  Jesus loves me. NOW LIVE!

I Am Growing Up

One of the best things about being a parent is learning alongside children. Starting back at the very basics and building from there. The continued education of James and Caroline began the day the test had two lines. 

With Madison in my tummy, her Daddy and I began to research and read like never before.  We were about to be responsible for a miracle called: life. One of my favorite pictures shows James sitting Indian style on our bed reading a children’s book. On first glance, it looks like he is reading to himself. You really have to search to find the brand new baby (maybe three days old) sleeping among the covers to know the book is not for his own enjoyment. 

One of my favorite traditions is, every year for Christmas, buying Madison a new Bible. We started with Children’s Bibles like The Big Picture Storybook, The Jesus Storybook Bible, I Can Read Bible, The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos, and other jewels. With her Daddy reading every night, she has read through the Bible several times moving up to an NIRV Bible. Guess what that means?  It means James and I have been more consistent in our devotions than ever before. 

And when Madison wants to know why Evergreen Trees don’t turn brown, and every single thing about every single animal, and how to make origami, and where all the fifty states are located and who all the presidents were, and why doggies don’t get married. Guess what that means?  It means that Momma learns them also!

Recently, my little Renaissance girl wanted to learn to sew. So, (haha. Homophone)…so, her Daddy and I purchased a sewing machine for her birthday. You should have seen James and I trying to figure it out. But we did!  And Madison and I spent one of our Spring Break days purchasing fabric and making a travel laundry bag, couch pillows, and her new very favorite stuffed bunny. I can sew!  And that is one of the very small ways that having a daughter has made me a better person. 

Being a mother, gazing into the eyes of a precious little girl with a curious mind, has taught me something I should have known before I was a mother. Knowledge may be power, but LEARNING IS JOY. 

Hosanna!  An Emotional Entry

I know it is Easter time, but I am painting a picture of CHRISTMAS.  The season took it’s time, but the night air was whispering winter time. It was time to build a fire and cuddle indoors. The weekend after Thanksgiving holds the tradition of the Hendrys picking out a Christmas tree and decorating. The day was perfect. Picture perfect memories. The tree was chosen, the lights glowed, and we sat and gave a sigh of adoration of the tree and the promise of Christmas before us. Madison’s eyes had sparkled with joy and excitement the entire day and now was the great cresendo. And then she did something her Daddy and I did not expect.

Madison plopped down on the couch, crossed her arms, puckered out her bottom lip and complained, “Humph!  It is all going to go away!”

Her Daddy looked at me with terrified, shocked eyes, “What is the matter?”

I, surprisingly, smiled with understanding and replied, “She’s a girl.”

Madison understood, maybe for the first time, that nothing of this earth is forever.  Madison was conflicted with emotions of wonder and excitement, and celebration, and a realization of something sad. 

Although girls can sometimes be labeled as emotional roller coasters, emotions are to be shared by both genders. The human race is fickle, easily given to extremes in emotion. 

A few thousand years ago, a man walked into Jerusalem. The word had spread about his arrival. Some of them had recently seen him raise a man from the dead and they thought, “This is our King! He has come to be our ruler!”  

As was fitting, they rolled out the red carpet, spreading their coats and palm branches for the triumphant entry. They yelled out, “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”

They praised and worshiped Jesus!  As should be done!  As he is deserved!  

But just a few days later, they let their emotions get the best of them. They were the same crowd yelling out, “Crucify him!”

Why?  They saw he was not going to lead an army. He was not going to be their earthly king.  They got mad. Jesus was not who they thought he was. 

HE WAS MORE!  He was not going to be a great King to rule Jesusalem, grow old and die. He came to set them, and us, free forever!  He had come to crush Satan and deliver us from the grips of Hell!  He was MORE than they could have possibly imagined!  

As mirrored by my daughter, sometimes my emotions get the better of me. But next time I am pouting about some earthly condition, I want to think on a grander scale. Today, while I worship Jesus on Palm Sunday, I want to look ahead to the purpose Jesus came to accomplish. 

Jesus is King not just of earth, but also of Heaven!  He is not only King now, but he is King of eternity.  

And, like the emotional crowd, sometimes when things take a bitter turn and it looks like defeat (the cross had to apper to be a crushing defeat!) I want to get ready and learn from experience that SOMETHING EVEN BETTER THAN I THOUGHT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!

Caroline’s Creed

I believe in the Son of God. I believe in forgiveness of sins. I believe I have been forgiven. That can never be taken from me. I believe what I believe. I believe I have a daughter. She is a miracle living before me every day. I believe in love. I love her in her strength. I love her in the impatience of a bad day. There is no one, no amount of money, no power, no spirit, no sin that can take that love away. I believe.

I believe Jesus lived. He walked among this earth. He had no questions of this earth. Only answers. And conversations with God. He was God. He is God. He will always be God. I believe in the Trinity. I believe this God lives in me.

I believe in Science. I believe the Bible and Science always compliment each other. I believe in asking questions. I believe in reading. I believe in right and wrong. I believe I do not have all the answers. But I know the one who does. I believe.

I believe in love. I was loved and now I return love. I was picked and chosen. There is a plan for my life. I believe in forgiving others because I was forgiven much more. I believe in serving. Because much is required. Love makes me who I am. That I believe.

I believe in holy matrimony. I believe this oneness points me to God. I was created in his image. Marriage reflects the Trinity. I have been loved in marriage. Loved more than any other way. My life is who we have become together. I believe in love. It has many complexities, many wonders, many joys.  I believe in the mystery of marriage.

I believe in a good fight. Standing up, holding firm, a power from above. I believe it is good to hate evil.  I believe in evil.  Helping the helpless, hugging the lonely, comforting the sad, learning with the curious. I believe in others. I believe we are all made different, unique, and with a beautiful purpose.

I believe in the beauty of the earth, the ugliness of sin, the hurt of a broken heart. I believe in blessings of this world, enjoying good food, gifts of love, friendships, and celebrations of holidays. I believe in life, it’s sanctity and purpose. I believe in believing. What do you believe?

I Love You. I Told You So.

My baby girl, that pouty face is going to get you into trouble one day. Daddy is wrapped around your pinkie, grumpy face. And I don’t want to have to tell you again: that dainty, pretty you holds the key to his big heart.

You want Momma here. My little baby won’t go to sleep. Your pudgy hand is wrapped around my neck and playing with my hair. The clock is ticking away, you should have been asleep hours ago. If you keep this up, I will not get impatient at all.

Hey little sassafras, watch that little attitude, I might laugh when I see that side of you, that you got from me.

You want this and you want that and you demand. Don’t make me tell you again, because I am just content to hold your little hand.

Don’t make me count to three. One. Two. Please sit here with me. It is my love, I lavish on you. The days go too quickly, you grow up too fast. You learn and you struggle. I am thankful even that you do things wrong, because I get to be the one to teach you. And when you come running to sit on my lap and cry on my shoulder, I cherish the moments because there won’t be many more.

I’m not sure who needs who more. As I read to you, I learn. Giving you advice, has instilled those morals in me. I fight bad and love good so much more fervently. Christmas is more delightful, animals ever more insightful, and this whole world has a different meaning to me. And as I love you my daughter, my dreams have come true. Thank you Jesus that I get to be the mom to you.

Because you are the most amazing thing that I’ve ever seen grow. You are going to do big, world changing things. I know. Because you’ve asked every question, you never stop! You are going to climb this life, right to the top. And as you are succeeding, know that others admire you. Help those that are less fortunate. Lead in the fight of good and pure and true. Because you are smarter, and stronger, and prettier. You are the blessed, incredible, amazing YOU!

I am published!  Please click on the link below for more information and to purchase

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_15?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=caroline+hendry&sprefix=caroline+hendry%2Caps%2C186

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On The Road

Literally and metaphorically, On the road. Christmas tradition has it that the Hendrys celebrate Christmas morning at home with our family traditions of the three of us. The night brings celebrations of one side of the family and then the morning of the 26, the car is loaded down and we set off for a second Christmas with FL grandparents. Somewhere along this trip, it hits us: another year is gone. We have partied, stuffed our bellies, and ended the year in more fun than should be allowed.

Now here we are, on the road, driving home. We are leaving 2014 behind us and each mile brings us closer to 2015. I will, literally, spend the last hours cleaning up our messes from our 2014 adventures. I will, metaphorically, clean up Caroline and start over in a new fresh year.

Happy Memories of the Past and Happy Welcoming the NEW YEAR!