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