Friday, January 16, 2015

If you can...




"If you can breathe and murmur your thanks, it’s still a mighty good day."  Ann Voskamp

The street by the side of my house goes straight past our house, and down in a straight line where if you squint your eyes, you can see a car down by the tree line, in the photo.

But what you can't see?  The sharp curve in the road to the left, down by those trees. Because if you continued to go straight?  You'd end up right in the mighty Red River.  

A second later, the brake lights would be streaming from that car.  You have to slow down, to take the curve.  But you do it, without thinking about it.  With a new flood wall that's been built, and the thick trees, you might never realize the river is merely feet past the embankment.  So you bend with the curve.  Because its simply the next thing to do.  

The reason I like this picture?  Has little to do with it being a great photo.  It was more about taking the photo.  I love the fact I could take my mittens off, and stand there, still feeling warmth in my hands to shoot the photo.  Again and again. It was close to 5 pm, and just light enough to shoot a glorious sun setting.  I stood there taking it all in, a long time.  It captured a mere moment, but one I lived well. 

Because...

It's mid-January, and the temps are mild, and the snow is thin, and as I breathe deep, I think this is all gift.  Plus the sun?  Has been peeking out through the clouds, more times than I can remember in decades of January's in Northern Minnesota. 

" …the way you live your ordinary days is what adds up to your one extraordinary life…"  Ann Voskamp

So I was gathering up Colton, and his gear, and my Target list, and jumping in the truck and leaving.  I smile, even though the engine light glowed at me, and the rumble of the truck grows louder as the rusted sides grow more pronounced.  It's showing its age and gentle decline.


Dr. Foster says my brain scan is a bit like that truck.  There is a "fissure," a bend along part of my brain, near the front, on the side, behind my eye.  If you follow the natural curve, an old rusty spot of cancer resides along the edge of it.  Its been treated before, and appears to be growing now. So it can't be treated with a targeted therapy again.

But you have to keep following the curve, and as you do, the next spot appears.  A new one.  A small one.  Not so very far, from the old one.  Close enough, that targeted therapy to this new spot is highly questionable too.  

We're staring at this juncture in the road, pondering what to do…  because even though the engine light is shining, and the rust is gathering, and the signs all lead to a truck veering down the embankment… 

the truck still goes forward.  It still steers.  It still drives.  It may not be held together with anything more than a wing and a prayer.  But it's going where the road is taking it- forward- into all it's tomorrows.  We already know-the terrain is uncertain, unknown.  So we'll slow for the curves, and watch for the sunsets, and live all our ordinary moments.

And if by chance you're standing on the side of the road, and you want to come - just throw your thumb up, in hitchhike fashion.  We're so happy to have you come along.












42 comments:

  1. Beautifully articulated Vicky. I hope that all of the swirling thoughts and fears have now settled...just take the curve and keep moving forward. As you would say..."Believe" and all shall be well... :-)

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    1. Hey there- always great to see you popping in here :) The thoughts still swirl- haven't figured out how to make any sense out of anything, but despite that we move forward, somehow...

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  2. Oh Vicky...I held my breath through this one, from the very beginning. The way you sneak something difficult to process and express into a post that glows beauty like a January sunset is something to behold, appreciate and accept as gift. I am one of those who is standing there with my thumbs up. In fact...you've already picked me up a while back. I hope that's okay! :) I'm actually enjoying this ride even though I, too, can't see exactly what's coming, because you are such a joy to journey with, and we are giggling a bit, and being serious sometimes, and praying together, and it's all such a gift. By the way, I have to share this. I have seen several sunsets and sunrises lately, and for whatever reason, mostly other obligations, I have been unable to stop. And I have felt burdened by this, perplexed. There it is. Why can't I stop? Why does life have to be so complicated that I can't stop anymore for a sunset? What happened? But then I see that YOU have captured it, despite my current limitations, and I know that God has everything in hand, and it's okay for me to let you snap the sunsets for now. So thank you for that! XXOO

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    1. So many of you, Roxane, have graciously jumped on board from the very beginning, and I have been so immensely grateful for that. Do you know, I have thought of you with each sunset I've managed to witness. We will always share that bond! They're fleeting this time of year- and it truly is a gift to capture them somehow. Yes- maybe He is speaking to us in how we can always be there for one another :) Much love to you- and sending prayers for a safe and beautiful trip to DC and back!

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  3. I'm with Roxanne, from above. I was holding my breathe too. I was right there with you.

    Goosebumps right now. Murmuring thanks with you. I love you.

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    1. I love you right back, Julie. So thankful to have you come and read, and offer such kind and supportive words, always.

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  4. You. Are. A. Writer. No doubt about it. I have always had a high regard for your way with words, but recent posts have been shining even brighter.

    I am honored to be one of the many who are on this journey with you. Praying and believing.

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    1. Oh Susan- I truly feel like He allows the words to flow through me at times. I sit down with only a sense that there is something to say, and somehow the words pour out. It truly is a gift to me, and its a blessing if others can share in it in some way. Thankful to have you, steadfast, in being here with me. Much love to you~

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  5. Vicky...I call shotgun! We never know what is around that bend, we only hold fast and hard to His promise to be our guiding star. You are 2 Cor 1:6-7 sharing the overflow of the comfort received from Christ with all who know you. Thank you my friend...gathering courage from your transparent and honest faith.

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    1. Hehe- shotgun it is! I'm taking you all on and yes- love that description- holding on fast and hard to HIs promise to be our guiding star… thank you!

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  6. what can I add that the others above haven't said so perfectly, exactly right. And you are definitely a writer of the most extraordinary kind.

    Beautiful sunset capture... and a life lived well and fully.

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    1. Thank you, Karen- those words resonate deeply with me. So thankful for you!

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  7. Wow, I can't even justify this brilliant piece with words - its just lovely! The symbolizm is wonderful! You are wonderful! And I am sending you move love and faith! Giving thanks right along with you!
    xo

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    1. So sweet of you to say, Tiffany. Thankful for your kind and loving words, always!

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  8. Roxane said it better than I could ever hope to, so I'll just say, "Ditto!"

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  9. My dear sweet friend,
    I have read and re-read your post and gazed at your photograph and taken in the most poignant words ever. You there taking that picture, your fingers still warm from the loves. Capturing the sunset. A gift. All of it.

    That truck, rusty and held together with a wing and a prayer. An embankment leading to a river. The curves so graphically described I felt like I was on each one with you. And then the news. So kindly delivered. The news I have been holding my breath for.

    What I know for sure is that I love you more than words can express. What I know for sure is that I wouldn't miss this journey with you for anything. I am all in! No matter what. No matter the curves or good chapters or hard chapters. I'm not going anywhere. I am honored to be on that truck with you. Count me in.

    And a wing and a prayer...my favorite picture. I remember during WWII pilots would radio back when things looked dismal and they were running out of hope and gas. They would let the ground know they were coming in on a wing and a prayer. And on one base, the entire population came out to guide them in with candies. They could see the light of ALL those who believed in them. They guided them home. They were there as they landed.

    So know this, my precious friend, we are all out there, with you, with candles. We will not stop praying or hoping or believing with you. We are here for the joy and the sunsets and the tears. We are here for you and we won't stop praying. Not now. Not ever. You can count on that.

    I love you Vicky Held Westra...to the moon and back!
    Linda

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    1. I love you, so much, friend, so very much. To the moon- and all the way back :)

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  10. Once again, I marvel at your ability to not resist the events in your life, to see beauty and witness life as it takes place. People say we are not our bodies, but I'm sure your challenges have made you identify closely with your physical nature. I'm in awe of your willingness to live at your highest possible level, despite what may lie straight beyond the end of your street. When you live this fully, nothing can be taken from you.

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    1. You've written so beautifully, I find myself slowing down to take each thought in, as they resonate so with me. Kass, I was so moved and touched by your journey with your mom. I remember what she said, and what you helped her do and that has stayed with me. I think, its a daily choice, and I realize some days, the ability to truly choose to be fully in, will be harder to achieve. Goodness-so much more I could say, but that last line of yours is a keeper and a quote I will hang onto, as well! Thankful for you, friend. Your insights and wisdom are refreshing and comforting.

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  11. I simply love you, my friend.
    <3

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    1. Miss Jackie- I just love you, right back!

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  12. I read this last night...the beauty in it..your wording and the object lesson's of the old truck...well.... it all came together so perfect.... it was strait forward, it shared the MRI results...but you did it with such grace, ...but in your wording...I saw how you had processed this...becuase Vicky it truly is written with such a positive attitude, a knowing, and acceptance that you cant change the results at this moment in time...but your still working, still moving forward into your tommorows...I did not reply last night because I linked this to my FB page..I wanted others to read this because it truly is so uplifting and such a gift... You teach us all how to move forward despite the going on's in our lives..because if you can do it...we surely can!!! I so loved this post due to how you wrote it. Much love to you, your boy's and your superman who is fighting shingles...many prayers for all. your simply amazing!

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    1. Thankful for you, Peggy Sue, in so many ways. He truly orchestrated the words, and I was the tool, and simply grateful to be used in a manner that teaches, or touches others in ways that matter. xxoo

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  13. P.s I have my thumb out! dont mind sitting in the back of the truck :) as long as I am along for the ride.... love You!

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    1. My dear Peggy Sue- you have been there- for so long now- its what has kept me going. Love you!

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  14. You leave me in tears Vic. as usual.
    Trucks go round many curves, for a long long time.
    They are resilient and strong and faithful and very loved and full of life.
    They perform many functions and drive forever, proving to you
    There is life... and only life..... and life ...and life......
    Vicky we live and we will all keep on living.
    Have faith in that.
    xoxoxoxox

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    1. So beautifully said, Vic. Am clinging to those very images. Thank you, friend- sending love to you!

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  15. I have been sitting quietly in the back seat of this journey for years, commenting infrequently, but always learning from you and holding you and yours in prayer. Thank you. Again.

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    1. What a lovely profile pic~ so great to see you here. So thankful for those prayers that have gotten me so far. And I believe they will sustain me all the way through- thank you for letting me know you're here- such a gift to me :)

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  16. Heavy sigh here. Resonating with Roxane and Linda and others in response to your words, which are powerful imagery and piercing poetry all in one. And they express so much and I KNOW I don't want any bends in the road but I long for the plunge into the river far less. So, I'm traveling with you. Learning. Listening. Waiting to see and looking for more sun and knowing that hope is on that horizon every day. Praying. Love to you, dear Vicky.

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    1. Thankful, to have you along, always. Yes- the proverbial "between a rock and a hard place," seems to apply. But He has always seen me through- along with all of you and somehow, I am just hanging onto that, and YOU! Love to you~

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  17. I know two things. One, and most importantly; that you are loved. Two, and still important; that every day and every thing matters, both on a large scale, and in their minuteness. Thank you for your grace.

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    1. Thank you for your life-affirming words, Michelle- such truth in those words. Thank you for extending grace right back to me!

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  18. As usual, you have told your story beautifully and let us in on your news in a gentle way. I know this was hard to hear. Praying for the right solution and grateful for the promise of new grace for each morning.

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    1. Didn't she have THE most gentle and graceful way of sharing this with us, Melissa? Stunned. Still.

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    2. Melissa- its one of those where it flowed through my fingertips. I worked to phrase it right, but surprisingly, it was all there, waiting for me to spill. New Grace each day- yes- clinging to the hope in that.

      Thank you, Robynn :)

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  19. I have learned more from you about being in the moment, even when you know there is a bend in the road. The imagery is so beautiful. I know there is uncertainty but if you focus on that, you miss the now and the beauty that is right in front of you. Thank you for giving of yourself so completely. You bless us more than you know.

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    1. Thank you for such sweet words, Jenny. I pray that I am living His will for me right now, and if something that has come through me, resonates with you, than I feel I am right where I am supposed to be. Thank you for the gift of telling me. Much love to you!

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  20. Love to you, dear friend. You are never far from my thoughts and always in my prayers.

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    1. How fun to see you pop up here, Katy! Thank you- am sending love and prayers right back to you and yours~

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  21. Your words are so beautiful in the midst of all that you're facing, I find myself not knowing what to say that could be meaningful to you. So I will just send you my very best, most positive energy across the miles and tell you that you are an inspiration to live in this moment on this day and treasure those we love and the beauty of this life.

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I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

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