Background HTML Whitewashed

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hello from St. Lucia!

We have arrived on the sunny island of St. Lucia to begin our much anticipated vacation here in the Caribbean.  Tomorrow we board the Mandalay for a bucket-list, week-long cruise on an old sailing schooner!

But before we board we have packed in some major sight-seeing... and for the record, the Island does not disappoint!

From flowering abundance:

to lazy waterfalls:

and amazing vistas:  

The peace and beauty have already begun to unravel our tangled nerves!  

And we say that there's no time like the present to start making some great memories...

We're not waiting another second!

Sweet sailing... See you in a week!!

P.S. We've got this self-stick thing down!!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

An Easter Selfie...

Taking a moment to breathe in the blessings of this weekend past...

An empty tomb.

A risen Lord.

A Love so deep it cannot be fathomed.

From the darkness of that Good Friday to the Joy of a Resurrection Sunday.

It is a Celebration of Love and Family and Hope... and we have worshipped together with arms and hearts full...

There was also laughter bubbling over as we practiced with
the selfie-stick our sweet daughter gifted us for an upcoming trip.

No time like the present to try it out!

First attempt was, like, what???

Second try was getting there...

Finally think we've got this!

Love each sweet face!

And this is the beauty of God's Amazing Grace...
No matter how dark our nights,
the struggles, the grief...

He brings Joy and Hope in the morning.

May you feel the Hope of new beginnings this night
no matter how the darkness pulls...

The Son has Risen!

And that makes all the difference in the world.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Good Word this Holy Friday...

                        ~ graphic courtesty of ibibleverses

Even in the darkest night,
we have Hope.

In Grace Waiting...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

When a Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis Becomes Unbearable...

The Jackson men are a strong bunch, but nothing could prepare them for the devastating news that all 3 of them have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer...

It is a nightmare that few of us could even imagine.

In late 2014, Wayne Jackson was diagnosed with neuroendocrine Pancreatic Cancerous tumors resulting from a rare syndrome called MEN-1.  He underwent surgery to remove 12 tumors in 2014, but has recently seen a rise in his tumor markers...  In early 2016 his 18-year old son, Parker was also diagnosed with the same neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer and a short 6 weeks later his 21-year old son, Preston, was unbelievably diagnosed with the same cancerous tumors.

Unknowingly, the MEN-1 Syndrome was passed down from Wayne to his boys, causing the shattering diagnoses in these young men.

Heartache of unimaginable proportions.

Their story has haunted me... As a parent it is one of our worst fears, that one of our children would suffer such a devastating diagnosis... and for Wayne, he not only is walking his own cancer road, he is also struggling to be there for both of his sons as they too find themselves on a cancer journey...a journey that none of us would wish on even our worst enemy.

How do you handle something this catastrophic?  Who picks up the pieces when the struggle overwhelms?

And yet, Wayne and his boys are moving forward.  There have been tears.  There has been prayer.  There has been sheer determination and grit.  They are standing solidly with each other, walking into the fight together, proving the strength of family and the hope found in God's constant provision can make all the difference.

The Jackson men are so very much in our thoughts this night. Join me in lifting them up as they fight hard. Trusting in God's Amazing Grace to meet each need and bring joy out of the heartache and strength in the midst of pain..,

Kneeling in Grace tonight,

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Just Breathe...

Life gets hectic.

There can be so many demands on our time that we lose sight of the things we value most.

It's been happening to me more often lately... hard to reel in the time it seems...

And those demands?  Most are so good.  Family, Friends... A shoulder, a meal, a ride here, an evening out ,,,

But then some of those demands??  Some can squash the life right out of us...

Work loads, long hours, Snappy coworkers,

Clogged sinks, Colicky babies, Sick dogs.

Grocery shopping, Supper making, laundry sorting kinds of demands.

And those demands pale in comparison to the dictates of cancer... Cancer can make time disappear with an endless list.

Doctor appointments, medication pick-ups, chemo lab treatments, blood and x-ray work-ups, forcing the meals down, vomiting them up, ER visits, surgery schedules, bill paying, insurance arguing kinds of demands... and all the time we are waiting, and praying, and crying... watching the time slip away, helpless and angry and afraid.

This song.  It stopped me in my tracks today.  I needed to listen and be reminded.

Might you listen too, and be encouraged??   Just Breathe...

When our weary souls can take no more... He calls us to come and rest, in His presence the chaos stills...

and our hearts slow to the beat of Grace...

May you find Beauty in the stillness this night.  Praying His Love over the fear and pleading for Strength to rest in that Love no matter how the storm rolls on...


Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Power of Oranges...

I can smell the citrus fragrance from here... Ummmm... Divine!

And now research studies are targeting the health benefits and cancer fighting properties of these delicious summer fruits... Tasty and Healthy?  Yes, please!

So, here's the thing.  The technical explanation gets, well, technical, so hang on... it's information that offers potential hope to the pancreatic cancer patient... and we feel that's worth wading thru heaps of scientific mumbo-jumbo to get down to the nitty-gritty of this alternative cancer fighter...

To start, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering research team, there are compounds in the citrus peel that have specific cancer-fighting potential.  The phytochemical in the citrus peel is called d-limonene and through laboratory studies d-limonene has shown anti-imflammatory, wound healing and anti-cancer effects.

The d-limonene was found to alter the signaling pathways within cancer cells in a way that stops cancer cells from multiplying and causes apoptosis (that's a fancy word for cell death... hmmmm, apoptosis might be my new favorite word!).

The laboratory studies so far have just been animal models, but there is promise as the d-limonene slowed the growth of pancreatic, stomach, colon, skin and liver cancers.  It's important, however, to emphasize that these results have only been shown in animal models, not in human clinical studies...yet.

In a new article from TTAC, we find that d-limonene has been used to assist pancreatic cancer researchers in another surprising way.  A study reported in 2015 in Molecular Pharmacology shared that scientists examining the effectiveness of gene therapy in overcoming pancreatic cancer were encountering trouble with the delivery system and turned to d-limonene for help.  The gene therapy, called MDA-7/IL-24, is a tumor suppressor and when introduced into cancer cells it fosters an anticancer immune reponse.  The trouble?  Getting it into the cancer cells.  D-limonene was found to be an effective and non-toxic delivery strategy. 

In Japan, the Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases did a study on the effect of d-limonene on pancreatic growth using hamsters with induced pancreatic cancer tumors.  The hamsters were fed a diet containing d-limonene.  After 26 weeks, their results showed that prolonged treatment with d-limonene significantly reduced the number of pancreatic carcinomas.

So, if you're like me, you're wondering how can I apply this to my situation?  Like, how many oranges would I need to consume on a daily basis to get any benefit???  Right???  Well, here's an article from Life Extension that shares a little bit on dosage and just how high the doses need to be for potential medical effectivness...

"Limonene is well tolerated in cancer patients at doses that may have clinical activity (Chow 2002).  One partial response in a breast cancer patient at a dose of 8 grams taken twice daily was maintained for 11 months.  Three patients with colorectal cancer showed disease stabilization for longer than 6 months on d-limonene at 0.5 or 1 gram twice daily (Vigushin 1998).  The tentative dose recommendation for d-limonene is 7.3 to 14.4 grams per day (Boik 2001; Vigushin 1998).  Daily consumption of d-limonene from food sources is estimated to be 16.2 mg/person/day (027 mg/kg body weight/day)(Sun 2007)."

Did you get that?  Normal people might consume roughly 16.2 milligrams of d-limonene a day from eating oranges or other citrus fruits.  The potential dose recommendation for disease stabilization according to Life Extension is 7.3 to 14.4 grams a day...

That's a lot of oranges!

And this is definitely in the realm of alternative treatments.  But I'm sure you already figured that out... so, please, as always, please talk with your oncology team before beginning any new protocol. 

Could the power of citrus and d-limonene offer hope for the pancreatic cancer patient?  There are no clinical trials yet... only animal studies and lots of research... and whenever I begin to wonder if there is any hope in these natural "alternative" remedies I am reminded of a story from many years ago...

... involving dying sailors and scurvy... and a little known treatment at the time... a treatment that was so simple many called it crazy... but a treatment that worked... Vitamin C.  

The cure for scurvy was as simple as mending a vitamin deficiency... so, No, I don't believe all alternative treatments are crazy.  I do believe we need to be sensible and first, do no harm... But d-limonene is showing promise in studies... could this be Hope for Cancer Patients?

Praying for clinical trials soon.  And even more so, praying for healing and hope as we journey on, hard into this cancer fight.

In Grace, My Love, Always,

Thursday, March 2, 2017

When the Familiar Slips Away...

I am utterly spent... my heart aches and I have struggled for words to wrap up these long days past.

2 weeks ago, Dad sold his house.  That's the black and white of it.

But, oh, it covers a multitude of deep and hard emotions...

That house... our home.  The place we all last remember mom, sitting in her recliner, smiling happy... cooking up a storm in her kitchen... entertaining friends joyful around her welcoming table... the boisterous Christmas celebrations all together...

That home is now empty... belongs to strangers... and the weeks leading up to the sale have been hard... filled with packing, so much packing and sorting... and talking... reminiscing... and just plain hard work, inside and out...

The sale makes sense.  It does, in the black and white of it all... After Dad moved into the assisted living at the end of the year, his house sat empty, utility bills piling up, taxes coming due.

The realtor was compassionate, but a bull-dog, and the home sold quickly... estate sale was a whirlwind, and all of a sudden, much too soon, the house was empty...

That was a hard thing... closing that front door and walking away from all the memories we have made over the years...

A piece of our heart remains...
for this has been a home filled with love and laughter

Being gentle with ourselves these days as we allow the sadness, weep over the goodbye, trace the legacy created here, and determine to carry the joy forward.

Trusting in the strength of family and God's sweet Grace
as we walk into our next chapter... with Hope

For There is Hope even in the midst of transition,

My Love, Always,