Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dreaming of Hope

"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart"
-Psalms 37:4

What are the desires of your heart? If you let your imagination run wild - what is it you always dreamed of doing? A recent song by Tim McGraw encouraged us all to "live like we were dying." I found the time during my cancer journey was like a "time-out" in life. I was literally stopped in my tracks in the course of normal daily activities. My life revolved around the frequent visits during each week to Mayo Clinic. Much of the rest of my time was spent in my recliner at home. So I began dreaming. It made me take a step towards doing those things I had always wanted to do.

First of all, I decided to embrace my "inner-diva." Bald or not - I loved dressing up, I loved parties, I loved "chic flicks," and I loved my girlfriends! My first month of chemo was also my 51rst birthday. I wasn't sure I'd be around for my 52nd birthday so I decided to throw myself a "bash" of all "bashes." My daughter Scarlett and I had just been to see my the movie "The Notebook" and we had cried our eyes out at the ending. I'm serious! As the people all filed out of the movie we were weeping in each other's arms, just sobbing our hearts out over empty tubs of popcorn. I began thinking of all my girlfriends I wanted to tell to go see the movie when I got a brainflash. Party time!

Together Scarlett and I concocted a grand party scheme. Diva party! I decided to invite the twelve most important women in my life to gather with me to celebrate our friendship. First we would play dress up. In the invitations we told them to wear a dress and there would be tables full of costume jewelry, scarves, hats, shoes etc to "dress up" like a diva. Then I asked my Mary Kay Consultant - Deborah Leonard if she would consider doing makovers just for fun to complete the diva experience. She was an absolute doll and joined the party and made us all up glamourous and gorgeous. (Check out her website: - she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside and has a true gift for helping women be their very best)

Then we had our official "diva society indoctrination" ceremony as we formed a circle linked by hands. I made up our mission statement for the "Darling Diva Society" and for that day we each were assigned a "diva name" that we drew out of a hat that we would be called by as we acted out our alter-diva personas. Next, we piled into a couple of cars and headed to the local movie theater where I had arranged VIP treatment for our parade of dolled up divas that took the theater by storm. We had reserved seats waiting inside the theater and we were served by the staff as they marched our twelve tubs of popcorn and drinks in to us with a flair.

Next we headed to "The Olive Garden" for cake and ice cream. We were treated like royalty everywhere and it was a blast. I got the chance to have my twelve favorite gals with me and to tell each of them what they meant to me.

My next dream was to learn to play the piano. I scoured the want ads for weeks and finally found an antique Tresor piano for a couple hundred dollars! I has just watched a show on public radio that showed you how to play the piano in an hour. Bingo! I was on my way to playing more than "Chopsticks" and "Heart and Soul." Honestly, I never really learned to play it much but I did master putting on a piano CD on the stereo and kind of playing along by ear with it. It sounded good to me! Sometimes I just go sit in my parlor and gaze at it with pleasure. I own a piano!

Then I saw another show on PBS teaching you to paint. Ah! Another dream of mine! So I dialed the number and donated way too much money to public radio just to get a starter painting and training kit. I dabbled a little bit and did a couple of pictures but I ended up giving away my kit to my cousin Robin who loves arts and crafts.

Yes, some of my dreams ended falling by the wayside but others are still in progress. Like my writing. I began scribbling furiously each day my thoughts about this book I am now writing. It was the birth of the one dream I really want to make come true. I have dreamed of writing a book since the fourth grade when I wrote a Christmas story I had to read in front of class. The applause was deafening and at that moment I knew I would become a writer. Then life got in the way.

So, as I sat so many hours in my recliner during my cancer journey, I stoked the fire of that dream. I began visualizing myself in front of a crowd of women sharing my thoughts of getting through cancer with a smile. I pictured myself holding my book in my hand and flipping through the pages. I began to believe in the reality of being an author and a speaker and ministering to individuals to help them through their cancer journeys. It gave me hope and a reason to live (beyond my family and friends). It gave me what Tony Robbins calls "a magnificent obsession."

So here I am, 3 years since my masectomy which made me cancer-free, and two years since the end of the treatments that followed to squash any remaining traces........even tho I must continue to take Arimidex evety day for 8 more years and have check ups every six months..........mine was a big bad cancer that they only recently found treatments for. And despite it all.......I am filled with HOPE! I learned the hard way what hope is all about. But now since I have discovered the secrets to hope and the miraculous effects of having hope - in ANY challenge - I must tell the world and spread hope wherever I can.

There is proven power in the hopeful mind. One of the things you will discover in the pages of my book are 50 ways of living in hope. It's a combination of my wild and craziest ideas to squeezing every moment of living out of life. It jump-starts your own mind to lead you to making up your own list of things you want to do before you die. I want to lead you to the thrilling concept of living every moment to the fullest. That is the stuff of dreams! That is the substance of finding hope- no matter what.

Yes, hope can activate your immune system and many other vital body functions. Hope can heal. So start dreaming. I came to realize that you never truly live until you truly believe you might really die one day. It brings a whole new perspective on life and makes you cherish every second. And dream big! Cast care to the wind and ask God to lead you to your heart's desire. Then keep your dreams in front of you and walk toward them. I wish you the courage to take the first step.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Consuming Hope

"I AM the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst"
- John 6:35

Hope is something you must feed everyday to keep the fires of hope stoked and burning brightly. There are many ways to do this. First and most importantly, don't let your bible get dusty! It contains the substance that will sustain you in good times and tough times. The WORD is the "sword of the spirit" that cuts to the quick, any obstacle that impedes your faith. You will find your greatest strength by immersing yourself in the truths to be found in the bible.

When I think about hope I have to think about the source of my hope. What is the foundation of everything I believe in? Who is my God to me that I can trust Him in all things great and small? How can I have hope unless I know in my heart and soul why I believe hope is possible?

I created a morning prayer of thanks that I begin each day with that reminds me of everything God does for me that gives me reason to hope that all is well all the time no matter what my current circumstances are:

Morning Prayer of Thanks

Good Morning Lord,

Today I open my eyes and bless you with every breath I take. Thank you for:

Always being available to me every second, every minute, every hour, every day of my life. You are always on time no matter what time I call you and always answer all prayers.

Blessing me with beauty in all I hear, all I say, all I see, all I feel and all I do. Your beauty is everywhere and in everyone.

Comforting me with compassion when I make mistakes. Your understanding and forgiveness get me up off my knees when I am knocked down. Today I forgive all who have offended me.

Designing my dreams according to Your divine plan for my life, which is always perfect for my true heart’s desire. You alone know what makes me happy, and what I was born to do.

Expecting excellence in all I say and do bringing me to my very best potential to serve you and glorify you in all things great and small.

Freshening the foundation of my heart with your unconditional love and power. With You, I can do all things. I know whatever the question, love is the answer.

Giving me grace to get through the day to handle every problem, obstacle or situation with Your divine solution. There is nothing that can happen today that you and I can’t handle together.

Helping me to heal when my heart, my body or my spirit is broken. Your love is the best medicine I could ever take.

Instilling integrity in my soul to always do the right thing, at the right time, at the right place. I do unto others as I would have them do unto me.

Jumpstarting my joy, with laughter and music ,to praise your name, and to thank you for all your marvelous creations. You keep a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

Kindling Your kindness in me, to remind me of how to treat each person I meet, remembering that every person is my neighbor., to be loved as I love myself.

Lifting me with love and showing me why I was created……to simply love and be loved.

Making my life a masterpiece that is a portrait painted by Your mighty hand, in brilliant hues of amazing grace.

Never noticing my flaws, and always magnifying my best assets to demonstrate your glory.

Ordering opportunities to appear each day that lead me to my divine purpose with an expectant heart. I know that miracles are all around me if I will just open my eyes and watch for them.

Quenching my soul with quietness so I can hear your voice and direction in the stillness. In silence I can find you whenever I seek you.

Restoring my righteousness when I lose sight of the truth. You are the beacon of light that keeps my soul on course.

Strengthening my spirit when I am weak. Your mighty shoulders carry me when I cannot walk alone. It is during these moment I see only Your footprints in the sand.

Teaching me to trust You that all is well all the time, even when I cannot see the light in the darkness.

Unveiling my universe and showing me the magnitude of how great Thou art when I look up at the stars or across the ocean. Your magnificence takes my breath away.

Visualizing my victory, and planting the vision in my heart to make all my dreams come true.

Washing me in wisdom each morning as I set out to do Your will each day and spread Your amazing grace everywhere.

X-pressing your x-pectations for my life, by laying the world at my feet, through Your death on the cross, and Your instruction book called THE BIBLE.

Yanking out my yesterdays, to make room for my tomorrows, that are filled with your promises for today.

The Zeal and zest for life I know in living each day according to Your will, knowing that good things come to those who trust YOU.

Help me Lord to be a blessing to all I meet today.


Once makes it easy for me to memorize by alphabetizing my blessings from A - Z. I encourage each of you to make a copy of this prayer and attempt to memorize it over a period of time. It provides a beautiful foundation for the day and a reminder of how powerful our God is.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Happy Anniversary To Me!

Hello Dear Friends!

I am celebrating a wonderful day today with the love of my life - Johnny Ray Williams. Our eyes first met my last year of college at Florida State University in January 1975. What a great way to start that year! I knew he was "the one" and I was right. We were married October 4th of that year. He told me there would never be a dull moment and he was right!

I recently made a list of things I appreciate about Johnny that I read every morning during prayer time. I thank God for the man of my dreams each day. So far there are 35 items on my list. Last week when he was very sick with a bad cold I decided it would be good medicine for him to share my "appreciation list" with him. He was thrilled. He had no idea how much I recognized his marvelous traits and qualities. He was walking on air for a few days afterward with a great big smile.

I encourage you all to make your own "appreciation list" for someone you love. It helps to keep you centered on the strength of your love during all times. Whether or not you share it is up to you. But I found it good to be good medicine for both of our matter how old or new your love is.

The most important revelation about love that I can share is that love takes 101% of work from both people. The best of marriages is always a result of giving from the heart and understanding that your love is always a work in progress. But it is worth every ounce of blood, sweat and tears!

Here's to love....and to my favorite passage in the bible: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Believing in Hope

“Do not be afraid; only believe”
- Mark 5:36

Before you can truly believe you must banish doubt and fear! Sometimes it is a process. When I first discovered I had cancer I was in denial for awhile. Then I got angry. I have the broken mirrors to prove it from a screaming pity party I had for myself. But that was all about fear. And once I realized how silly and futile it was to allow fear to rule me, I turned to God and decided to believe in hope. In doing this, I gave power to hope rather than giving power to the fear.

I had allowed my doubt to separate me from God. Doubt is the biggest obstacle to receiving our blessings and activating the power we have through hope. Hope waits for us patiently. Doubt can destroy us. It is like a poison that creeps through our system and de-activates our body’s marvelous healing powers. Hope can nourish our immune systems.

Only believe. It sounds so simple. Actually, it is simple, once you turn the fight over to God. Remember how David faced Goliath? His simple weapons were BELIEF and a slingshot. The moment you say “yes” to God and decide to believe, the universe starts moving to align itself with God’s thought. It is our job to simply hang on to hope and keep believing, no matter what things of the world swirl around us.

Determine in your mind that our God is a good God, and that He wants only good for you and all you love. What is it you hope for? Believe it and you will receive it. You alone choose victory or defeat. Know that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. The moment of your decision to fight for hope and to believe you already have everything you need, is the moment of victory.

Listen to the doctors. Believe in God.

What will you choose today? What will you do to show what you believe? Are you ready to walk the walk? Take a step of faith today and shout it out loud “I believe!” Believing with all your heart in that which seems impossible will bring you that peace which surpasses all understanding. I wish you peace!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Accepting the Gift of Hope

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”
-Romans 15:13

The first choice you make each morning is the backround music for your day. Hope is a gift from God that we can either accept or reject. It begins from the moment you open your eyes each day. You must choose to believe that you will ABOUND in hope. That means you believe you are filled with it and it is overflowing in your life. It is “shaken and pressed down.” You have more than enough to go around not only for you, but for everyone you encounter.

Do you think you are worthy of so much goodness? That is the question God is asking of you. Until you believe you deserve such a gift of hope you can never experience the magnitude of this gift God offers. I am here to tell you that you are worthy. Why? Because God offered His only Son on the cross to pave the way for us to accept all His wonderful gifts and if you can believe that you can also believe in all His promises.

He promises us hope. He promises us that He will always be there, even in our greatest trials. Wherever you are, God is. His arm is long enough to reach down into our deepest of pits and pull us out. But we have to reach our hand toward him and accept His help.

In doing this we are putting on the whole armour of God to protect our attitudes, our decision making, and our healing, which determines our happiness each day. You MUST embrace hope and allow it to become who you are, how you think and what you do. When you accept hope you surrender to God’s will and allow Him to take control. You trust that God is good and everything that is happening leads to your greater good.

So, today, allow God to fill your heart and soul. Know that He is watching over you today and every day. He wants you to feel His power and rest in it. Accept it. Believe in it. Trust in it. Take a leap of faith in it. You will not be disappointed. Everyone will see the light of hope shining from inside you and be blessed by it.

I often found that my cancer journey led me to many wonderful conversations with people about the power of God. I was thrilled at how many people seemed to be waiting for a chance to talk about God. But they needed someone to start the conversation. It is one of the reasons I say that cancer is one of the best things that ever happened to me. When people could see the light of hope burning inside me despite the cancer, they could begin to believe in the power of hope for their own lives.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The ABC's of Hope

"Be doers of the word and not hearers only"
-James 1:22

How do you hold on to hope? Believe it or not - it is not as daunting as it might sound. You simply "become" hope. To "become" hope you "become" pro-active. That means, you make the decision that nothing else matters in your world except for one thing - you have hope. If you want to find hope with all your heart and soul, it is time to put feet to your faith and go after it with a vengeance.

Here's how I did it. I created a morning prayer that started my day in hope so that everything that happened during that day flowed from a faith consciousness. Then I immersed myself from "head to toe" in hope by creating what I called "ABC's of Hope" that I memorized to plant the seeds of hope in my subconscious mind. I printed it out and posted it on my mirror so it would be the first thing I saw as I washed my face each morning. Here is my prayer:

Good Morning Lord!

Today I glorify You, serve You and seek Your will in all I do. I come boldly to Your throne and ask for Your grace to sustain me and give me the strength I need to hold on to hope. I confirm my faith and trust in Your promise with every step I take by committing to the works that will transform my hope into answered prayer in the twinkling of an eye.

Therefore, this day, I will do everything it takes to fight for hope. I will:

Accept hope
Believe in hope
Consume hope
Dream hope
Express hope
Follow hope
Give hope
Harbor hope
Imagine hope
Join hope
Know hope
Live hope
Manifest hope
Nail hope
Open my heart to hope
Protect hope
Quicken hope
Restore hope
Seek hope
Teach hope
Understand hope
Visualize hope
Want hope
X-pect hope
Yearn for hope
Zero in on hope

I will carry my message of hope to all I meet and multiply the blessings of hope by spreading it everywhere - AMEN!

Recite those "abc's" daily until you have them memorized by heart! I used my morning walks as "prayer walks" and recited to myself as I walked along. Then I chose one letter (and the action with it) to focus on all day. I'll go through the whole alphabet of hope with you in future columns, so you too can begin to immerse yourself in the power of the sword of the spirit!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Finding the light of hope

“Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path”
-Psalm 119:105

Do we find hope or does hope find us? I found it appears to us in moments of surrender. In my own cancer journey, the light of hope glimmered when I finally stopped fighting the fear that cancer could destroy me, and surrendered my fight to the power of God to fight for me. It was at that moment I decided to win. I faced my fear and remembered my brother Chip’s motto about fear – that it is False Evidence Appearing Real. So what is the true evidence that is real? These “facts” can be found in the greatest book of truths – THE BIBLE.

I started scouring the bible for verses that revealed the promises of God to each of us. I found a blank journal book and began recording the truths I found to feed my soul each morning and arm myself with the protection I needed to face each day. It brought me great joy as the nuggets of power jumped off the pages at me. They had been there all along but I think the difference was my new receptivity to embrace them. I finally understood what is meant by “power in the word.”

A popular country music song “Jesus Take The Wheel” by Carrie Underwood offers us great advice. It encourages us all to remember that God is in control. If we can begin by believing this, we can allow hope to perch itself and make a nest in our souls. But the key to this, is believing with all your heart and soul. Hope is believing in the outcome. It is believing what you cannot see. It is realizing the victory is already ours. Cancer is not so much a battle for your body as it is for your soul.

What we cannot see is more important than what we CAN see. What we CAN see is limited. What we CANNOT see is unlimited power of God’s universe that is available to us. There is great power in the unseen – it is that place where we can cleft in God. When we learn to abide in God, to immerse our spirits in quiet, we start to hear the whispers God speaks to our hearts.

The most important aspect of hope is understanding that you can hope because YOU ARE NOT ALONE. God has promised us He is there all the time. Wherever God is there is power. It’s up to us to accept that truth. Once we do the universe unfolds and begins to unleash mighty miracles.

The spoils of our victory is that peace that surpasses all understanding. It is knowing that no matter what God’s will is for our bodies, we have won the battle for our soul. When we can honestly say “No matter what happens – it is well with my soul” then we become filled with a happiness that makes us want to run out and bless the world. That, my friend, is what winning is all about. It is a battle we win day after day if we refuse to give in to despair and choose life.