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Archive for January, 2011

Since last year’s earthquake in Haiti a groundswell of individuals, businesses, churches and organizations have partnered with Convoy of Hope to help Haitians. Recently, a church and a leading shoe manufacturer donated items for distribution in Haiti.

Our friends and partners continue to amaze us with their generosity. There are still hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti who need help and our partners keep demonstrating that they are as bent on helping Haiti as we are.

I am privileged to be a member of Hope Community Church in Springfield, Mo. who recently donated funds to purchase 40,000 doses of cholera medication. Convoy of Hope added an equivalent batch and was able to ship 80,000 doses to Haiti where Mission of Hope — Convoy of Hope’s in-country partner — is dispensing it. 

Developing partnerships to help people in need is a cornerstone of Convoy of Hope’s work. We could not do what we do without our partners.

A leading manufacturer of shoes donated 15,000 pairs of shoes for children enrolled in Convoy of Hope’s feeding initiatives in Haiti. The shoes are already being distributed.

Since the earthquake last year Convoy of Hope has expanded its feeding initiatives in Haiti to more than 25,000 children each school day.

You may Become a partner, donate online today.

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The Jonas Brothers’ Change For the Children Foundation recently awarded a $70,000 grant to Convoy of Hope for its global children’s feeding initiatives.

“Like us, the Jonas Brothers want to fight hunger by making sure impoverished children have nutritious food to eat each day,” says Hal Donaldson, president of Convoy of Hope. “We are very thankful for their generosity and for linking arms with us.”

Each school day Convoy of Hope feeds nearly 35,000 children a nutritious meal in impoverished countries such as Haiti where the organization has expanded its feeding program to more than 25,000 children since the earthquake last year.

Providing children with nutritious meals is the first step in Convoy of Hope’s comprehensive approach in fighting hunger. The organization also intervenes by providing clean water, healthy living environments, agriculture training and education.

“Our program areas work together to address the root of hunger, which is poverty,” says Donaldson. “Our goal is to lead children down the path to healthy, productive and self-sufficient lives. This grant will help in doing that.”

Be a part of changing children’s lives by giving online today.

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A Few Bad Days…

…and the fight rages on. 

Some good days, some bad days, but all “God” days!

Tarah shares more of her journey …and more encouragement!

I hate this.  There, I said it.  I’ve been scared to say it.  I’ve been scared to feel it.

I’m a positive person, by nature.  I have just never seen the point in moping around and complaining about things.  If you’re not happy with something, change it.  End of story.  The last few days, I have been a very negative person.  I have actually been making a conscious effort to be positive so that I would have something to write on here, and it’s SO frustrating that I can’t.  I try to keep busy and think about non-cancer things, but then I get tired or my pain increases and I’m reminded that I can’t keep busy or think about non-cancer things.

I went to work on Monday and had such an awesome day! I felt so great when I got home that I went grocery shopping with Justin and Noah.  Then, the next morning (yesterday), I work up determined to have another awesome day, even though I didn’t get hardly any sleep.  My body pretty much broke down after only two hours there.  I rushed home, got sick, and simply collapsed into a coma-like sleep on the couch.  I woke up tired and frustrated that my awesome days seemed to be limited to one-at-a-time.  I had an awesome time last week building a table and benches with my dad! It was fantastic to feel productive and energetic again! But, all that work came back to bite me in the butt and caused several days of severe pain and fatigue. 

I hate feeling like this.  I hate this negativity! I hate the fact that this is just the way it’s gonna be for a while.  Everything now revolved around how I’m feeling, my chemo treatments, my doctor’s visits, etc. I can’t even plan a birthday party for Noah this month without worrying about when it’s going to fall in my treatment cycle!

Today, I was reading about God’s Grace with Noah (Ark Noah, not my Noah). I read about how Noah was on the Ark and probably feeling very lonely and completely overwhelmed by what was ahead.  I mean, he had to re-populate the Earth! But, then, God comforted him with a rainbow.  That rainbow, that promise, was exactly what Noah needed right then. 

Yesterday, I had a really bad day.  I surrounded myself with so much self-pity and, therefore, self-disgust that it literally took me all day to realize what God had done.  I was in almost no pain all day!!!! I mean, it was dialed down so much that I even forgot to change my super-narcotic pain patch!

Aside from that, at my doctor’s appointment yesterday, my doc was doing an exam and she was checking on one of the smaller tumors in a lymph node under my arm that was walnut-size when I started my chemo. She couldn’t find it! She dug all up in my armpit and could not feel it at all!! She said, “Amazing!”

I am so ashamed that I was so completely buried in self-pity that I didn’t even realize what God was doing! He was trying to comfort me and I was ignoring Him. 

Last night, I read some of my messages on FB, and my friend, Jennifer’s message to me that she was woken up the night before to pray for me, and it all just hit me at once!

People everywhere are praying for me and God is answering those prayers! He is with me every day through this; even the crappy ones! And, even when….no ESPECIALLY when I’m lost in despair, He will do whatever needs to be done to bring me out of it so that I can see Him surrounding me!  I am so grateful that He loves the ungrateful!!

I felt His love and His comfort last night as I prayed with my husband.  All of the pain left my body as we prayed and I got a good night’s sleep for the first time in weeks.  Today, I’m in a little pain, I’m a lot nauseous, and I’m tired. But, for the first time in DAYS, I’m feeling positive again!

Tarah

Read Part 1: A PINK CHRISTMAS here…

Read Part 2: Round 1 of Her Fight here…

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Round 1 of Her Fight…

Last month I posted the start of Tarah’s battle with Breast Cancer (A PINK CHRISTMAS)

…today we’re continuing her journey:

Last night, as I was reading my devotional in my new “Breast Cancer Awareness” Bible that my mom got for me, I was drawn to a Scripture on the page next to the devotional that I was reading.  It was completely unrelated to my devotional, and I just know that God directed my eyes toward it.  It was Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Now, this principle is nothing new to me; it’s a pretty basic Christian philosophy.  It ties in with a lot of other basic Christian philosophies: “Love your neighbor”, “Turn the other cheek”, “Don’t let Satan bring you down”, (Obviously paraphrasing a little.) etc.  But, over the course of the last month or so, I’ve learned that there are many forms of evil.  Or, more accurately, that evil comes at you in many forms.  It comes at you emotionally, mentally, spiritually and, of course, physically.  Evil can come at you through people – people who Satan uses to bring you down.  I work at the Lake Jackson Municipal Court.  If you have ever gotten a speeding ticket, you know that you have 10 days to contact the court to let them know if you’re going to pay the ticket or take defensive driving….well, I’m one of the people you would come to.  Last Monday, I tried going back to work.  I even almost made it a full day before I got so dizzy that I had to have my husband come and pick me up.  Right before I left for my lunch hour, a man came in who must have been in his mid-sixties.  He handed me his defensive driving certificate and started to walk out.  I told him to give me a minute, as I needed to make sure he was within his deadline before I could accept it.  It turns out that he wasn’t within his deadline.  The judge had even granted him an extension, but he didn’t complete the course until two days after his deadline.  I told him that I was sorry, but that after the judge grants an extension, there’s nothing I can do.  He started yelling (which is not unusual) about how he has been in and out of the hospital with emphysema and simply couldn’t get it done in time.   I apologized again and told him that I was sure that the judge took that into consideration when he was granted the extension.  The man then said, “I pray to God that he gives you an incurable disease and you have to take this stupid class so that you have to go through what I’ve had to go through!”  I responded, “Well, Sir, it just so happens that I’ve just been diagnosed with an incurable breast cancer, and I DO have to take defensive driving next month, so I guess I will have to go through what you’ve been through.”  He answered, “Good.” before he turned and left.   I was so angry that I was literally shaking on my way home on my lunch break.  I was just so MAD that there are some people in this world who can be so utterly cruel over something as simple as a speeding ticket!  Once I calmed down, I realized that Satan through this man in my path to try to bring down the joy that God had already given me that day, through a HUGE act of kindness from my co-workers.  It shames me that it worked, even for a few minutes.  But, believe that I’ll be ready the next time Satan tries to steal my joy! 

Aside from the evil, I’ve also learned in the last month or so that good comes in many more forms.  Good comes from people you barely know showing you humbling amounts of love and generosity, or people you don’t know at all sending you a card just to say that they’re praying.  Good comes from random strangers telling you that you’re beautiful or from your son rubbing your cheek and saying “I love you, Mommy!”  Good comes from a sympathetic smile, an understanding nod, an “I’ll pray for you.” or just from a hug.  God has surrounded me with overwhelming acts of love and kindness and generosity and goodness that it has been really hard to pay the evil any mind.

I owe that to all of the people who God has surrounded me with.  I thank Him every single day for giving me those people, because they are going to play a huge part in my day-to-day attitude.

The day-to-day part has already started getting kind of tough.  My first chemo treatment was on December 1st.  Afterward, the first few days were just some random nausea and dizziness – kind of like morning sickness, but I never actually vomited. Around the 4th or 5th day, it was mainly just dizziness and fatigue, but it’d come on so suddenly without any warning! I would literally be sitting, playing with my son on the floor, and lay my head down on the couch and be asleep! I’d wake up 30 seconds later, feeling completely refreshed and ready to go! I started losing my taste for stuff almost immediately, but it’s gotten progressively worse every day. I got some V8 fruit drinks and Ensure shakes to make sure I at least have something in my stomach when I can’t force anything else down. The 2nd treatment was worse, but kicked in a little later. The first couple days after the 2nd treatment were totally fine! Hardly any symptoms at all except for fatigue. When the dizziness and nausea hit, they hit hard! I actually DID vomit that time, and I’ve had to start taking daily naps. I tried to keep working, at least a few hours from home, but between the symptoms and the stress of not getting any work done because of the symptoms, I was causing myself too much stress and pain that my doc told me to take a couple of weeks off. Since then, all of my symptoms have toned down except for the pain.  When I saw my doctor last, on December 21st, she said that a lot of the pain is coming from the tumor “nucrosing” or liquefying as it dies, and all of the excess fluid builds up and swells.  So, I’m in pain because my tumor is dying!  This is awesome news, but I have to force myself to be happy about being in so much pain.  Honestly, a small part of me wishes it were some kind of infection that we could treat and then move on pain-free.   But, the bigger part of me is extremely grateful that I am able to have this pain, because it’s a confirmation that the chemo is working!  Other types of breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter, have no way to indicate whether or not the chemo is working. They just have to go through their treatments hoping and praying, and then have another PET scan at the end to see how much, if any, of their cancer was killed.  So, I THANK GOD that I’m in pain, and I THANK GOD that I have a rare, painful kind of cancer. 

My hair started falling out last Monday, December 20th, which was exactly 2 1/2 weeks after my first chemo treatment. As you may know, I had already gotten rid of most of it, but I didn’t want to look like I had mange, so I asked my hubby to shave the rest of it. And, you know what? It wasn’t sad! I thank God for my husband and my sister for helping me make a sad thing into a fun group shaving party!

The worst thing about all of this is the frustration. I hate not knowing what’s coming. I hate being up and cleaning the house and have to sit down every few minutes to steady myself. I hate not being able to look at the computer for too long, because it makes me wanna hurl. I HATE not being able to work; regardless of how awesome and understanding the women are that I work with, I was raised to do my job and do it to the best of my ability and it irks me that my ability has been diminished. I’m not quite a control freak, but I like being in control nonetheless, so the hardest part of this for me has been to remind myself over and over and over that it’s okay that I’m not in control,….because God is!

God has given me the Scripture Isaiah 55:8-9 through two different sources; it says “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways…”  This reminds me that God’s Will, thoughts, plans, and love are completely out of our world!  We try so hard to see and understand God’s Plan and purpose for us, but we just can’t!  There is no way we could ever understand the intricate steps He’s always planned for us, or the ones He has in store.  So, why try?  He’ll show me what I need to see when I need to see it.  I just have to pray that I’m ready and able to recognize it when it comes and act on it in pure, courageous faith!

Tomorrow, I have my 3rd chemo treatment.  I’m learning that it doesn’t matter what I expect, because every day is different.  I just pray that I have a good day full of laughs and smiles!  THANK YOU ALL for your continual prayer and support!  I love hearing from everyone about what God’s doing in your life, so please keep the messages coming!  They bring me so much joy and comfort!  Thank you all again for keeping me in your hearts and God bless you all throughout the New Year!!!

Tarah

Please take time today to pray for Tarah and all those you know fighting this disease.

Read Part 1: A PINK CHRISTMAS here…

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