Happy New Year, friends! I hope your new year is off to wonderful start. Ours certainly is! We are still reeling from the magnificent time we had in New York (details below). Additionally, I had a PET scan last week...the scan did not show any signs of cancer growth or progression! Praise the Lord! We are breathing some BIG, BIG sighs of relief. My next scan will be in early April, and every three months thereafter until the cancer is detected again. In the meantime, I am absolutely enjoying the break from treatment and getting stronger with each passing day. I still get tired easily, but I feel great. My hair is starting to grow back and I’m acclimating to having hearing aids. Some of you have asked if my hearing loss from chemotherapy is permanent…yes, unfortunately so. I can still hear though (even if it's not well), and for that I’m truly thankful! While I have significant general hearing loss, I also have a loss in clarity of sounds. As a result, much of what I hear sounds very distorted. As aggravating as that can be, it does make for some interesting conversations and lots of laughs. So, be warned, friends…if you have a conversation with me on the phone or in person, I may just put words in your mouth! HA!
Speaking of words..in addition to new year’s resolutions, it's come to my attention that at the beginning of a new year some folks like to choose a word to focus on for the year. I’ve pondered what my word should be. So many words seem appropriate, but one stands above the rest. Hope. So much has changed over the past few months that some days I don't know if I'm coming or going. Yet in the midst of all the instability and uncertainty there is something that has not changed...hope. I have hope. Beyond that, who knows? I mean, life can change in an instant (for reals!)…for any one of us. We expect to pull out of our driveway each morning and head down the road to another mundane, routine day…but, sometimes, the road gets slickery and we find ourselves slipping and sliding down a path we never intended to travel. And, heck, perhaps never even saw coming. No matter what road we’re on though – there is hope - an unwavering, firm and secure anchor for our soul. The light at the end of the tunnel. Not dependent upon situations or circumstances, hope reminds us better days are coming and that they will come! For me, hope is faith. It’s love. It’s grace. It’s mercy. Hope is Jesus. He is the reason I can keep my head above water. He is my peace…the provider of my strength, and my joy. He, my hope, does not disappoint, and in Him I choose to dwell. I will not dwell in the fear of my diagnosis or of what may come. The ground is too shaky there, and it's awfully hard to stand on shaky ground. Hope...that's my focus. Hope steadies my stance. It's my word for the year, and Jesus, my hope, is my word and focus for life.
"In Christ Alone" - Lyrics by Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty
In Christ alone, my hope is found.
He is my light, my strength, my song.
This Cornerstone, this Solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
As I mentioned above, we had a magnificent time in the Big Apple! We were able to visit NY for a few days right before Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. In addition to the Stella’s Wish Foundation, many additional people came together to bless our family and offset the costs of the trip. We are so very humbled and grateful for the kindness bestowed upon us. The Christmas lights and decorations in New York were simply beautiful! I loved seeing Times Square, Central Park, Rockefeller Center (and the gorgeous and HUGE tree there!), the Plaza Hotel, the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, a Broadway show (School of Rock), and so many of the other sites I’d only prior witnessed on TV, in movies, or online. We feasted on pizza, hotdogs, and cheesecake, of course, and soaked up every bit of the sights, sounds and tastes of the city as possible! More important than the trip itself though was the gift of time with one another. That was the greatest and most wonderful gift of all. I cherish the moments, now more so than ever, that I am able to spend with Todd and our boys. So, THANK YOU for an amazing trip filled with priceless, lifelong memories and time with my family. Below is just a few of the photos from our awesome trip.
May your new year be filled with all the joys, blessings and peace that Hope brings!
Much love to each of you - Angela
“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” -Romans 5:5