Tuesday, February 11, 2014

abundance amongst the mess

The knock on the door came early in the evening, Thursday night, last week.  Rick and Nolan were in East Grand Forks for a hockey game.  Our friends had graciously given Colton a ride to hockey practice.  I had decided to spend some time downstairs in the laundry room.  I missed the sound of the ringing doorbell completely.  Crosby barely barked.

But when I finally came upstairs, I heard the alert buzz on my phone.

A text telling me to check the front step.

Oh. My. Stars.  Super ones at that.  

Would you look at what my friend Melissa found for us?  

Look at how cute she had them packaged!  Actually, the paper in the bag was much cuter, the boys had already torn through it excitedly when they got home later that night.  

“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.”
-Wayne Dyer

It'd be easy to tell you right now, how drained we are, in all honesty.  How the "overwhelming obstacles" in the Christopher Reeves quote are what we find ourselves facing, around each new corner.  How in the middle of the mess we are.  Just like so many others… we don't think we are alone in the hard stuff of life.

It's things like...

We have just two weeks left to get all of mom's things out of her apartment.  

I have infusion again next week and in all likelihood will start a new drug treatment therapy.

How is this one going to effect me?  

Colton starts his playoff hockey this weekend in Park Rapids, and Nolan's regular season games are winding down in Brainerd… the momentum is building for playoff hockey! Our weekends are full. 

All of this while I recover from surgery.  

Plus, the page upon page of charges, on my latest medical bill.  

Thousands and thousands of dollars being billed out all the way back to November, when I had radiation… then December when I had the unfortunate trip to the ER... I stopped counting when I got to 4o… thousand…  I wanted to just stop breathing.  

How much will get covered?  How much won't?  

Surgery hasn't even begun to register on there

And yet?

The icing on the cake.

Mom calls to tell me she'll stay at Bethany through the end of the month since its paid for, but then she'll be moving back to her apartment in March!  She thinks she's ready to tackle living on her own again… oh maybe with a "LITTLE" help.  

I can only shake my head in utter exhaustion and comedic relief. 

Part of me admires her spunk, and her spark.

Part of me marvels at how she can overlook how much help she is truly getting at Bethany.

She doesn't say she dislikes it at Bethany.

I just hear it in her voice- it doesn't feel like home yet, and she misses "home."

I so badly wish I could tell her we can honor her heart's desire.  

Instead I steel myself, to begin the conversation again, about how she needs to keep trying at Bethany.

Plus, my gracious cousin Pam, on her vacation day off from work, spent the entire day yesterday, helping me pack, box, sort, and organize mom's things for moving or donation.  

We accomplished a great deal of work, with Pam's skillful guidance and physical work, and me lending a hand- most carefully.  

It felt enormous to be making decisions about so much of my mom's entire life played out in front of me in "things," acquired and accumulated.  

and yet…

My favorite part of each day lately, has been the trip to my mailbox.  

I grip each envelope, run my fingers over each name, inhale each word.  It's like manna to my soul. 

Elizabeth, Roxanne, Kim, Susan, Jennifer, and Melissa.

"Abundance is what we tune into…" says Wayne Dyer.  Abundance then, is what we feel, not what we have.  

As I stand photographing the cards, Rick silently drops two more at my feet.

This one from The FM Breast Friends Support Group here in town.  A beautiful card, encouraging words, and a check- an enormously generous and thoughtful check.  Thank you friends!  So completely thankful for all of you Sistas! 

And this card- filled with the most kind and gracious words from a friend whose compassion and generosity knows no bounds.  Thank you Heather.

“Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness 
of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it 
with an open and grateful heart.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

It's this… all of this that leaves me in tears.  Not the "obstacles that overwhelm" it seems… thats not what I feel… it's the pure life-giving grace that falls in waves in and around me… that moves me so. 


  1. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
    Blessings come in so many forms, Vicky. The cards and unexpected gifts from friends...the calls and prayers. So many blessings. I'm thankful for your family and friends.
    I continue to lift your Mother up in my prayers.
    Please, tell her that I asked about her.
    Love to you and your family, sweet friend,

    1. I couldn't add a single word to what Jackie said. She always says it perfectly, like you. I marvel at how you can face what to do about your mom in the midst of all your own trials. You give me strength and courage when thinking about being the only one for my 82-year-old mother. You know why it scares me but you also inspire me - incredibly, Vicky. Praying for strength and endurance for you and for your mom. XO

    2. Jackie, I agree with Robynn! You've summed up so well exactly what this experience has been like for me- filled with blessings flowing from everywhere. I will definitely tell my mother you asked about her and she will be so happy to hear that :) Hugs and love to you!

    3. Robynn, there are so many of us in the midst of being caretakers of our parents in one form or another- we all to need to encourage one another- don't we? Thank you for your thoughtful perspective always :)

  2. My dear sweet friend, Vicky,
    Abundance amongst the mess...what a perfect title for this post.
    What my heart wants to shout is ..."Thank goodness for Jesus!" Thank goodness for Jesus
    when we open hospital bills and are breathless at what we owe. Thank goodness for Jesus
    when the most perfect gifts arrive, and we are showered with LOVE! Thank goodness for Jesus
    when we walk the ending journey with our parents and they struggle so hard to be flexible when so many things change at once. Thank goodness for Jesus when the walk to the mailbox brings
    words of encouragement from near and far. Thank goodness for Jesus when we start therapy again. Thank goodness for Jesus when we realize that simple abundance surrounds us. Our grateful heart ushers it in.

    Thank goodness for my Jesus when my eyes fill with tears and my heart feels like it's breaking.
    And thank goodness for Jesus when we get two more weeks and two more weeks and two more weeks!

    I talked about you in my class this week. We were talking about how to frame the tough stuff , the challenges that rock us to the core. How your self talk guides your mind and heart. I told them about you and mentioned you were "healthy with a side of cancer." They LOVED it!

    Your light shines everywhere, dear friend.
    I'm praying and praying for any worry that might settle in your heart to be put in the palm of the hand that stilled the water. All will be well.
    Loves and hugs!

    1. nodding my head and agreeing. Thankful for my Jesus, where would we be without him?

    2. Linda- I love what your heart wants to shout- I felt mine shouting right along side of yours and I have gone through and read several times now. It preaches to me! So touched to think you talked about me with your students… I somehow know I would love to be a student in your class! Thankful to YOU for the prayers and affirmations and the love!

  3. Vicky, you and your family are heroes to us. I'm feeling heavy in my heart for you, and all that is set before you to accomplish or simply be present for. At the same time I love reading about the gracenotes and the happy moments. LOVE the mail call :-) Yay for glimpses of gondolas. But just a drop in the bucket when it comes to all the love, prayers and good wishes to you and yours.

    I pray especially that the Lord would give you grace and wisdom on how to best talk things over with your mama in the days ahead. For understanding. God bless!!

    1. Thank you Susan, your words are so insightful and I appreciate your perspective. Thankful to have your prayers that I know He hears and answers. God's blessings to you!

  4. Dear Vicky, every day my grandma tells my mom she's heading home, that the nursing home isn't where she's supposed to be. And every day my mom has to say the same thing. "This is where you are for now." And then she has to leave for the evening. It's a pattern that is repeating over and over. But each day, somehow, we get through another day. Your mom may never embrace it, but she will know in her heart that she is very blessed to have you and all the others God has put in her life to help her along and tend to her needs. It just might not show on the surface. Detach if you can and take care of yourself mostly and know that like you and your family are, she, too, is in God's hands. Thanks for expressing this, though. It is a grieving that everyone is going through. XXOO and missing you!

    1. Shall we schedule a coffee date? I am fairly open next week if that suits you :) Love hearing about your Grandma and how your mother and you are coping with it- I know I am not alone and its worth sharing how we manage and get through it so both ends do as well as they can. Love to you! Look forward to seeing you soon!

  5. i am glad to know all the facets of your life, those that are mess and those that are abundance, and those that straddle both categories.

    i read this post this morning from my dear friend Donna who is doing life in Kenya. i think it will have words you'll resonate with in it.


    i am thankful that His mercies are new EVERY MORNING and GREAT GREAT GREAT is His faithfulness. wishing i could come help pack up boxes and bring a meal. will pray from here. we're having a snow and ice storm, so my day started with thoughts of you. again, now i know why.

    1. Such a beautifully expressed message by Donna- oh my goodness- it was so poetic and yet filled with such praiseworthy insight! Thank you for sharing- that one will stay with me. And I was thinking of you quite frequently too this morning (!) as a friend and I had a wonderful morning at Starbucks, having coffee, and catching up.

  6. God bless you and your family. I am in awe of all you have to bear. Asking that our blessed Mother will hold your hand in these trials set before you.

    1. Thank you Norma- so appreciate your steadfast prayers and I believe She has, She does- She will. Blessings and love to you!

  7. Now those are some fantastic mugs! It would make me happier just to be drinking coffee every day from a mug like that. I'm funny that way - I have very specific coffee mugs that I use and love. No ordinary cups for me. LOL

    Continued prayers as you navigate this transition with your mother. I know it has to be so difficult to explain things over and over to her, knowing that she is just not understanding.

    Do you know what chemo drug you'll be taking next? I know that is nerve wracking as well, not knowing the specific side effects. If I can give you any insight, let me know!

    1. Aren't they great? I am cleaning them up and preparing them for a workout as we are coffee and tea lovers! Yes- mom is convinced she will somehow garner her wish, and yet she isn't fighting where she is at exactly either, so we'll just keep working at it day by day.

      I believe I will be doing an AI- either Arimidex or Aromasin. Since I had 6-7 months on Tamoxifen that worked he decided to go this route and has also mentioned Affinitor as a possibility. Will see next Tuesday- have not officially seen him for 6 weeks and its hard to believe so much time has elapsed :)

  8. I read the following in my Everyday Grace devotional. It reminded me of you, and how you choose to live your life in gratitude.

    God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more that just ready to do what needs to be done. 2 Corinthians 9:8

    "Blessings are God's grace visible to us in tangible form. Sometimes they are so small we nearly overlook them - the sun on our faces, the smile of a friend, or food on the table - but other times they amaze us. Day by day, God's grace makes us ready for whatever comes our way. He gives us exactly what we need."

    Thank you for helping me remember not to overlook the blessings that surround me every day!My prayers continue for you with each challenge that you face. Take care, dear Vicky!

  9. I'm writing down your beautiful quotes. I'd never heard them. Ohhhhh, so true, my friend.

    I'm ABUNDANTLY grateful for your words. Your Spirit. Your Heart!

  10. Dear Vicky, I love your super mugs! the fit for super you and your superman and your super boy's and well we can go on...super family and super friends....and I also Love love your quotes... I didn't have a clue you posted...and as always I read...but i came to let you know that it has been a year since I first found your blog...a year! and it had moved me, humbled me, been so insiteful, so helpful, so real, so filled with heart wrenching reality and yet utter grace... could I be the president of your fan club??? I don't think you fully realize the lives you touch! you just amaze me. Much love to you on this Valentines day! much love to all of you and continued prayers! Big Hugs Dear dear friend!

  11. Oh those darn medical bills. I remember my mom panicking over her open-heart surgery medical bills. It's so depressing when those itemized bills start coming in. Praying that you and your family will be blessed.


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