What I Never Knew About Chemo

Did the title intrigue you? It did for me as well.

Once school was out in May, I went straight down to Belleville, Illinois to visit friends. For those who don’t know, Belleville is right out side St. Louis and is where I lived for three years before I went to Providence. I arrived there on a Saturday and stayed at Melissa’s house. *Insert a huge thanks to her family for letting me stay there. * The next day at church one of the ladies (I shall call her Mrs. S.) told me in what seamed a jokingly manner, that I was going on a road trip with her and Mrs. C to OKC. When she told me they were going and visit Mrs. M who was having her last Chemo treatment. Since I didn’t have any other official plans I said yes. The next Tuesday, May 26 I was with these two lovely ladies.

I can’t remember knowing anyone while they had cancer. What I mean by that is since the time I really understood what cancer was, I have not known anyone personally who has had/has cancer. I have several family members who battled it before I knew them, or understood what cancer really was. So for me, there was a strange aspect of hoping in the car to drive about seven hours to spend the a day with someone I didn’t know go through their last Chemo treatment. I mean, what is Chemo anyways!? I had never even thought about it. I had a few thoughts though going around my head. First and maybe the most selfish of them all, I would get to spend three days with two ladies that have greatly influenced my life. Second, I would (ideally) be able to support and encourage another Christian. Because her family had attended the church I used to go to before I went there, I had already many good things about her family and I knew they were a wonderful family. Third, the experience. OK, so this may also be selfish but I am a firm believer in stepping out of comfort zones and taking advantage of situations that may benefit you future.

Though I could talk about the many funny things that happened on this little road trip, or the mercy God gave us in HIS safety during the intense rain storm on the way home, the most impactful part was my eyes being opened to Chemotherapy. In my mind, getting a Chemo treatment was like getting an X-Ray. In my mind they put this big machine in front of the body and blasted you with radiation. Though I latter learned through my own research that radiation is a part of most cancer treatment it is not the same as Chemo. The night before Mrs. M’s treatment we meet her family for dinner. You could never tell she was a cancer patient. She had all her hair; she was smiling, happy, hungry and joyful. I am sure inside she had different feelings at different times but that was what a complete stranger got at least. I didn’t talk with her too much at dinner; I was talking more with her children and adorable granddaughter. I did listen for to a good part as she talked about her battle. I don’t think I need to share her story, because it is not mine to tell. Though I could tell her journey was not an easy one. It was also very evident that all she had faced, she had a good spirit about it and was relying on God to get her though.

The next day started early at the hospital, and I had no idea what to expect so I just stayed in the background as much as I could. The first thing that shocked me was how long the processes would be. Then, it wasn’t till I was at the hospital that I realized that Chemo was not Radiotherapy. When we went back into the room, she started to explain all the different things she had to be given before they even gave her the actual drug. It took a good hour and a half before she even started. Once the actually medicine was started it was about four hours (if I remember right). There were other people visiting and coming and going as we were too. But watching how the treatment affected her was shocking. I know that everyone reacts differently to medicine and it wasn’t that she had a drastic change I just was trying to apply that to my life and think, would I have such a good spirit? Would I be so strong? Would I rely on God as she did, or seek pity from others? Watching what she went through with her opened my eyes to the victory that God had allowed her I know that God allows others to not beat caner. Many times God allows a person to pass from Cancer and that is something people cannot understand.

As I was walking down the hall, I tried to be respectful and not look into other peoples’ rooms but it was hard. As I looked around I saw a girl about my age, just sitting alone, reading a book, hooked up to her machine. The next room, I saw an older black man, who looked about 80 sitting with his wife, hooked up to his machine. Then next, a middle-aged man, who looked like a businessman, sitting alone on his tablet. It hit me, I could be next, would I know someone who is have cancer? Only God knows. Though it was a great thing to see her ring that bell and find out she was cancer free the next week I was sitting at a funeral of a women who had died from cancer just a few days after Mrs. M had her last treatment.

Just a week later I went up to Westville Indiana to visit Stepheny before meeting my sister in law for our road trip. She did not inform me that that night I would be going to a funeral of a family friend. I cannot remember her name but I did not know her, I had not ever even heard of her. Her battle with cancer was not the same as Mrs. M. She had a loving family that would not be able to spend time with her any more. For that being my second funeral ever, I was extra shocked to with how my life had lead that past week.

Cancer is real, but God is bigger than it. God is sovereign in all lives. He allows a person to have cancer or not. It is not your decision, it is not your decision how your body reacts to it or the treatments but, what is your decision is how you react to it. I know that I say that with never going through it but I have seen two families, that I have never meet celebrate the victory over cancer and a family celebrate the life of someone who given a different outcome.

Just Start Typing…

Just start typing, Tory. Just start typing in 3…2…1…

I have spent the past several months off of Facebook so many people do not know what is going on in my life. As much as I am ok with this I know that people do want to know what I am up to. So I decided to actually do my blog. Maybe later I will rant on my distain for Facebook but for now I will briefly (if that exists in my vocabulary) write about the past year and what my plans are for this summer and the coming years.

This past year God opened the door for me to go to Bible College. The first semester I had many struggles. Adjusting to dorm life, living with girls, getting used to being a nanny, on top of the usual growing emotionally and spiritually through trails of life. Sadly, most of it was because I had a bad attitude going into this year and it took me till Christmas break to figure it out. I truly wish I could go back and change it but I can’t so I just have to live with it and move on. I will share a few things that have stick out to me from this past year of school. As I look back on it, it was really quite an adventure.

  • I learned what prayer is. It is strange to say that because prayer is simple. You just talk to God. What I learned was how God answers prayers. For example my needed about 2 grand of work on my car over the year and God provided money for that. I have never seen such blessings poor in. I am so grateful for the people who helped me over the past year, especially with my car. I am truly amazed how God answers prayers and that prayer does work.
  • I learned that pants are actually talked about in the Bible. They are referred to as “breeches”. It is first mentioned in Exodus 28:42. This was really amazing for me since many people say that they are not talked about in the Bible.
  • I am very possessive about the car controls when I drive. Sorry I had to learn that with you Amber…
  • I learned that there is hope for me singing in key! HA! Who knew!? Now if I could only learn to. (=
  •  Things I have been able to do this past year.
  •  I was able to go to drive Ohio over Thanksgiving break with Amber. We were able to go to the Creation Museum AND the planetarium there for free!!
  • I was able to go to Connecticut for Christmas break and as usually I fully enjoyed my time with my family and friends. I was also able to go to a performance of the Nutcracker. I had never seen a live or full performance of the ballet. It was one of those, “I am glad I went but don’t feel the need to again” kind of experiences.
  •  In April, my Tia came down to visit me. I am really glad she came; we had a really good visit and enjoyed Midlevel Times for the school banquet.
  • Oh, and how could I forget, Vanessa’s Wedding in March??!?! This was so much fun! I was able to see a few of my siblings, tour Seattle, see my mom, meet my newest nephew and my sister in law, Sam. This was probably the high light of my semester because all I did the rest of the semester was work 40 hours a week and do homework for my 18 credit hours.

For the rest of the summer I will be seeing friends and road tripping with my Sister in law Heidi along with her kids. We will be traveling through the mid west and up to Alaska. This means we will be driving through Canada (so will I be an “international traveler” then?) After that I will be able to spend a few weeks in Alaska with my family. In August I will be back in school at Providence.

 

For now, it’s traveling, sight seeing and my correspondence Systematic Theology class.

 

The most random picture from school that turned out pretty cool.

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My Personal Testimony

I would like to start my first “official” post off with my personal testimony about the way God saved me.

When I was young one of my older brothers started riding a church bus. When I was 6 I remember him bring home a tape of Jim White(a now deceased evangelist). It was while listening to that tape I realized I was a sinner and going to hell. My parents had taught me about God, who he was and many Bible stories but I do not remember ever being taught that I was a sinner in need of God’s saving grace. I then prayed and told God “I don’t want to go to hell”. Years had past and I was allowed to attend church with my brother. One day as I was getting ready to get on the van for an evening service, I asked my mom what it means to “be saved”. She had told me it is when God saves you. Not really know what that meant, I sat through the main service with my brother. At the end of the service, the invitation was given and I went forward to “get saved”. I went forward and prayed a prayer that someone told me to.  I understood the verses that I was shown; I understood that I was a sinner. I assumed that that prayer meant I was going to Heaven.

When I was in 6th grade my parents had stated going to a different church where I got involved in an Awanas program. My mom told me I had to get baptized because I had been “saved”, like I had told her. So I did. When I got to high school I was very confused about what a “Christian” was, I said I was but didn’t think that God loved me. I had trouble believing that God would have loved me enough to die and pay for MY sins. I dropped out of church and didn’t really want to have any part of church yet, I knew I should be serving God. I didn’t understand then why but I knew God had more for me that I didn’t understand. At 16 I meet a friend that I rode the church bus with in middle school. She still went to church and invited me back and asked me to go to teen camp with her.  That spring when I went to camp, I realized that I was trusting in a prayer, in words to get me to Heaven. I was not trusting in God’s love, his blood that he shed on the cross. It seamed that all my friends were “getting saved” so I went and prayed a similar prayer I did when I was 6. I couldn’t admit to God that I could do nothing on my own to get to Heaven. To convince my self and every one else of my salvation, I got “baptized” again. I knew all the right things to say and to do. Even though I knew I was not saved, I lied to my church, my pastor and God.

I spent the next year, with little sleep, white knuckles while driving and living the biggest lie. That next year I went to teen camp yet again, knowing that I was not saved. After 5 days of camp I knew I could not do this any longer. I knew that that week would be the last time God would convict me of my sins. The invitation had not even stated when I started balling, stood up, grabbed my counselor, told her I wasn’t saved and I didn’t know why. She had known me since I started riding the bus, and was sure I was saved. Once she even tried to reassure me that I was, and then she realized I really wasn’t. With God’s guidance she helped me to realize that the burier stopping me from fully trusting Christ was my doubt of His love for me. The fear that Christ could never love me was so great I couldn’t see anything else. Once I realized that Jesus came down just for me, that there are things in every day life He does to show His love I couldn’t help trust His love. The blood that Christ shed on the cross was out of love for me, and every body else. It was then I took my “head knowledge” of Christ and made it my “heart knowledge”. I placed my trust of His love in HIM. The trust that he loved ME enough to DIE for ME and that nothing I could ever do would SAVE me from HELL.

Now…you may be asking your self “What is this “saved business?” she is talking about….Well, here it is.

1)   ALL of us have sinned…ALL…of…us…have…sinned.

  • According to Wikipedia (for those who may not like the Bible) “sin is the act of violating God’s will”. Meaning if you have done any thing that goes against God, you have sinned. I have sinned, you have sinned, your brother has sinned, your mom, you dad, pastor…get it?
  • “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10
    • Righteous is someone’s “goodness”.
  • “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
    • Because of our sin and lack of “goodness” we cannot reach God’s standard.

2)   The penalty for sin is DEATH and HELL.

  • “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12
    • Because Adam was the first to disobey God and is the earthly father of all men, his sin nature has passed to ALL mankind.
  • “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (Revelation 21:8, Luke 16:23)
    • God can have NO sin in Heaven; He must have sinless people in heaven. That is why we must go to Hell that is our punishment, to be separated from God forever. BUT because God loves us and made us for HIS pleasure, he made a way to escape Hell. This “gift of God” is Jesus’s death on the Cross.

3)   Jesus died to pay the price for your sins.

  • For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him (trusting ONLY in Jesus) should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
  • “Who His own self(Jesus) bare our sins in His own body on the tree(the Cross).” I Peter 2:24

4)   Jesus wants you to be saved TODAY.

  • “God … now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” Acts 17:30
  • “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.” Revelation 3:20
  • “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7
  • “He (Jesus) came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1:11-12

If you believe these Scriptures, and see your need to receive the free gift of eternal life you see you need for saving from Hell. God is a loving and tender God, yet he is perfect. When you believe that JESUS died to pay YOUR debt of sin He takes the shed blood of Jesus and covers all your sins…past, present and future. This is more than a “head knowledge”, this is a HEART knowledge of Jesus. That HE ALONE has made the way to get you to Heaven.

The Bucket List

*Revision-1/4/14:: This blog was actually started for a class project but I wanted to make a blog any ways. I kept this post just for fun. *

I want to make my first blog post about my Bucket list. When I was a kid I wanted to do so many things, from year to year it jumped around, from being a ballerina, a cop with a K-9, a fire fighter, to an Olympic ice-skater. This list goes on! As I got older, maybe about 6th grade I stated to want to travel the world. I had learned about so many place but they seamed more like “The Enchanted Forest” from fairy tails. When the World Trade Centers were struck down I realized the world is bigger than my little “whole in the wall tourist attraction”. That was the first major event that made me realize people; millions of them had their own lives going on while I had mine. Sure, I had left Alaska a few times to see family but that is when it really hit me, I really had this whole world to see. We do not know what is going to happen in five minutes or even 5 hours. That is when I stated making my Bucket List. So with a little explanation here is my bucket list I have been forming since about 6th grade. As you can see God has allowed me to check off many of them.

Snow Boarding
My older brothers were allowed to and most my friends did but I wasn’t allowed. I went for the first time when I was about to turn 19.

Ride a hot air balloon
When I was a kid we didn’t live far from where they launched. Almost every night(or so it seamed) in the summer for about 9 years I tried to climb a tree and talk to the people because they were not very high up yet…or so that’s the way I remember it going.

Visit Greenland
When I was in elementary school I learned Greenland was cold and icy but Iceland was the opposite. I have wanted to see for my self! I have also recently learned that there is a great need for people to share the gospel and love of Jesus Christ.

Go to Build a Bear
Stupid commercials, who wouldn’t want to build one?

Go upside down on a roller coaster
Again, who wouldn’t to!? I went on my first real roller coaster when I was 19. I also went upside down!

Swim in the ocean
Just for the experience, I love water and lakes so the ocean is a natural desire. Though as a child I hated water, I blame my big brothers =) I not only got to swim in the North Atlantic but just two weeks after that I got to walk on the shores of the North Pacific! I was 19 for both.

Go to New York (Time Square, Empire State Building, See the stature of Liberty)
I know that it is not where the Pilgrims landed but it is practically the central hub for America. It is rich in history and stories, both of which I love. I just happened to be 19 years old for this trip as well.

Go to Boston
I blame The Pirates Who Don’t Do Any Thing for this. ( I just re-watched this, I never realized they mention Greenland…)  Also I love early American history, and Paul Revere.  I was 19 for this trip too.

Sky Dive
Call me crazy but I love doing “daring” things, just think of the view on the way down?

Go backpacking
I love hiking and sight seeing. There are many places I would like to backpack.

See the Grand Cannon
Yet an other American “must see”. God’s handy work and glory is truly shown in the magnificence here.  One place I would like to hike/backpack along.

White Water Rafting
Lets see: Water + Adrenaline + Thrill + Adventure +  Possible Danger? Sounds like that’s just up my alley!

Go to Pairs
My Grandma went to Pairs and sent me a few things back from there, I also want to see a “real” mime. I even took a year of french in High School…that did’t go too well.

Drive over 100 mph
I can neither confirm nor deny this action…

Learn to Fly
Before I moved to Illinois I was going to go to school to become a small aircraft pilot. I will someday, Lord willing!

Go to a Major Professional Sporting event
I have never been a fan of any “professional” sports teams, till I moved to Illinois. I am now a Cardinals fan and have gone to 3 games.

Learn Piano
This one came in high school. When I was young my mom had me in Violin lessons but I didn’t want to, so I stopped, which I regret now. But in high school someone asked me if I played piano and they told me I seamed like I would be good at. When I had the opportunity to take lessons I started. I won’t check this off till I can play for a church congregational or a special. 

 Meet Julie Andrews
I have wanted to meet her since I first saw The Sound of Music.

Go to a Rodeo
This was one I also put down at the end of high school. I had a friend that loved them and got me into them. I was able to go to one just a few years later when I was 20.

Learn Golf
This is probably the newest one. I don’t really consider it a sport any more than bowling but it seams like a nice relaxing activity…And I really like gulf carts. =)

Serving God with all my heart (In progress see missions statement)