Coming Alive Again

It’s a crazy mixed up world we live in.  All you have to do is turn on the news to realize that.  Then there’s our own personal challenges added to the mix.  And…well…that can make us feel overwhelmed.  But there’s still beauty to be found in the middle of the broken.  My camera helps me seek and find it.  I’d like to share another poem that I wrote, several years ago, that was just published.  Go figure…just published after all these years!  Another surprise for me.  I thought I better hurry up and post this since spring is going to shift into summer soon…

Coming Alive Again

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In spring there’s a freshness

and a beauty unfolds,

all that was sleeping

awakens for us to behold.

daisies

There’s a sigh of relief

that winter has ended,

even the birds are aware

of all that is splendid.

woody

Woodland animals awaken,

peeking out their faces

slowly at the beginning,

from their resting places.

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Everything comes alive

like a rebirth,

a sense of anticipation

fills the whole earth.

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Dormant flowers rise up

to feel the sun’s warmth,

brown grass turns green

and color comes forth.

colors of spring

Gray skies become blue,

clouds look like marshmallows,

a tapestry on the ground

that is no longer fallow.

clouds

A colorful picture

and a marvelous sight —

when the world around us

is no longer black and white.

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Written by:  Nancy Janiga

All photos taken by: ©Nancy Janiga

Our Hearts Are Being Refreshed

macarons xxx

It’s early.  I woke before dawn and watched daylight break through the darkness.  I glance at the cup a dear friend sent to me and read the prayer printed on it.

“May God grant you courage, and through His grace provide the peace that lies in knowing He’s always at your side.”

More than ever I need to know this.  We, my husband and I, need to know this.

My friend sent two different but special mugs.  One for me and one for Bob.

The other mug says:

FAITH, is being sure of what we hope for.  Hebrews 11:1

Our hope is in the Lord.  Our hope is knowing that He will give us strength and courage to walk through this valley.  And as the prayer on the cup says…and through His grace provide the peace that lies in knowing He’s always at our side.

We believe.

Bob went to sleep with those words on his lips last night:  “I believe.”

There have been bursts of glory knowing God is near as His overwhelming presence carries us.  It’s actually more than knowing it.  We’re experiencing it.

We arrived here in this place, 170 miles and three hours away from our home, at the end of August.

It is the beginning of December now and we are still here in our home away from home.  In this apartment 2 miles away from the hospital where Bob is being treated for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, we are living our new normal.

Bob spent 34 days in the hospital during his induction treatment.  Now he is having his treatments out patient as we wait for news about a stem cell/bone marrow transplant.

A donor match hasn’t been found.

We’re running against time and soon the transplant team will be making a decision to do either an umbilical cord blood transplant or use a 1/2 match from a family member in an attempt to save Bob’s life.

Chemotherapy alone will not keep the aggressive fast growing cancer in remission.

Without the quick decisions and chemotherapy program that Bob’s doctors designed for him, he may not be here today.

We were whisked away within days to begin his treatment.  They didn’t waste any time.

Bob is in remission receiving chemo to keep it there until a transplant can be done.

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A couple of weeks ago, we found flowers on the doorstep of the apartment where we’re living.  A gift from friends back home.  I clipped and arranged them, put them in a vase and they have been giving us many days of joy.

As we look around at the gifts and cards that so many friends have sent we’re overwhelmed with gratitude.

My sister and her husband have been coming at least once a week.  Dave stays with Bob and Judy takes me out for a while.  My other sister, Diane and her husband Andy visit and Diane meets Judy and I for lunch often.

The doctors and nurses ask me, “What are you doing to take care of yourself?”  It’s easy to forget that if I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to care for Bob.

My sisters have been lifesavers for me, rescuers who won’t let me slip into depression or neglect my emotional or mental health.

Our sons; our daughter-in-law ~ ~ they’re like life-saving medicine to our hearts.

My brothers, my parents, many friends ~ their cards, their calls, their texts, their visits, their prayers are bathing us with hope and courage. We have an army of prayer warriors standing with us in prayer.

We arrived here in the summer…

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Saw the beauty of autumn come…

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then slowly slip away…

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droplets

and stood amazed at the winter wonderland of our first snowfall…

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Through the seasons of change and waiting, we are refreshed by the love and prayers of so many people.

In the fights of life, people can be conduits of great joy and deep refreshment.  Margaret Feinberg

There are many friends and family members fighting this fight with us.

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.  Philemon 1:7

Blessings,

Nancy ❤

(All photos were taken by me in or near our home away from home.  I believe God has given us the ability to find and create beauty in the middle of this messy often painful world.  I hang tight to Him and to His promises and will continue my search for beauty through my lens)

The Certainty of Change

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One thing that we can always be certain of, in an uncertain world, is that life changes.  Sometimes it changes swiftly, sometimes slowly but it is always changing.

I’m looking out my window and see change.  The once green reeds blowing in the wind on our hillside are turning yellow.  I see Goldenrod between the fronds from the tall grasses that edge the side of my house.  There are pops of color especially red sparkling in the sunshine on tree branches.   The hues in the foliage dotting the landscape are turning different shades of gold, my summer flowers are fading and my mums are starting to bud.

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I’m writing today but haven’t been doing much of that lately, because I’ve had migraines.  They often intensify while sitting in front of my computer screen so I’ve had to put the screen down on my laptop.  I tried to string sentences together in my mind, write them out with pen and journal but I needed rest more than I needed to write.

This is a change.  I’ve never had migraines.

A friend of mine asked how she could pray for me today.  Before I could share about how I’d like her to pray for Bob, she said “For YOU!  How can I pray for YOU?”

Bob has been at the top of my prayer list and he has been in many of your prayers too.  He is handling his chemo medication well and the markers for the leukemia are decreasing in his blood.  God is answering our prayers.

Bob’s illness was a big change.  We’ve had to make adjustments in our life, we’ve learned a new medical language with our visits to his Hematologist/Oncologist and this will be on-going for the rest of his life.

So when I’m asked how someone can pray for me, I immediately ask for continued prayers for Bob.

Getting back to my friend’s question…I finally shared with her that I’ve experienced migraines lately and haven’t been able to write much.

Relief has come and I’m able to write again.  I’m thankful for my friend, Sherry, for asking about me and for her prayers.

Yes, things change.

I see it when I visit my parents.  It seems like yesterday that they were young, raising 6 children and we were all a big lively family doing life together.  Now they are in their mid and late 80’s and all their children have children and some of us have grandchildren and great-grandchildren of our own.

A year and a half ago my 57-year-old brother passed away, unexpectedly, in my parents’ home.  That was a big change and an adjustment for his family and especially his children.  I know my parents have felt the intense pain of it at a different level from most of us.  Yet they are strong in their faith, know he is with God and when they have a hard day they hold fast to that truth.  The God who is taking care of my brother is taking care of them too.

Friends have moved to other cities, new friends have come into our lives, Family and friends have gotten ill–some seriously and some have gone home to be with the Lord.

Time marches on and change is inevitable.

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I glance at my reflection in the window as I gaze out at the ever-changing landscape.  What happened to the young woman I once was?  What happened to that young woman raising kids, going to their sporting events, parent teacher conferences, and making dinner for more than two people everyday?  Where have the years gone?

My husband and I have a quiet home.  It’s just the two of us.  It’s a different time, a different phase of life.

As the season is changing out my window, our lives have seasons too.  Change is hard.  Maybe it’s from wisdom that comes with age, but change isn’t as scary as it was when I was younger.  Or maybe it’s because of God’s grace.  Looking back at how he’s seen me through so many changes already gives me confidence that he’ll be there through whatever lies ahead.

In this season of my life, instead of thinking that life is passing me by, I lean into each new day and grab hold of it right where I am.  I grab hold of it knowing that tomorrow may never come.  Someday I will close my eyes here on earth one last time and open them in the holy presence of the Lord in Heaven.

Leaning into each new day and grabbing hold of it doesn’t mean that I find some new adventure or experience to wrap my life up in.  To me it’s as simple as finding something to give thanks to God for everyday.

It’s harvest time and the new apple crop is in.  I think I’ll lean into it and make an apple crisp soon.  Thinking about filling my home with the scents of fall…apples baking, cinnamon, pumpkin pie, harvest spiced candles is a comforting thought.  There’s always some element of joy in the midst of every season.  I want to see everything through kingdom eyes, lean into it, grab a hold of it and find joy.

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Seasons have come, seasons have gone, change will come slowly or swiftly but change will come.  We can be certain of that.

But there’s also one more thing that we can always be certain about.  God never changes.  In the middle of our uncertain world and a life of constant change, he is immovable.  He is a solid rock and a firm foundation and he’s never surprised by change…whether it comes slowly or swiftly, it never surprises him.  It’s under his control and he has everything in control.

Before I can fully lean into each new day, find joy, and be thankful in it, I need to make sure I’m leaning in God’s direction first.  As I lean into and on him, he keeps me steady so I’m not tossed about by the ever-changing circumstances of life.

Written by:  Nancy Janiga ©2014