jillphotoThank you so much for your outpouring of love and encouragement concerning my recent cancer diagnosis.  I couldn’t possibly respond to all of your emails and comments, but I read them…every single one of them, and I am humbled by your words and prayers.

There’s nothing like receiving a cancer diagnosis two weeks before Thanksgiving. Of course, this was not in my plans. This wasn’t supposed to be a topic we will likely talk about when my family comes home for Thanksgiving today and tomorrow.

In recent days, the tears now come in waves.  I’m fine; then I’m not fine.  Learning about my cancer and the options for treatments have taken priority over other everyday concerns.

Today, however, I’m moving my focus from the “what isn’t” to “what is.” I’m looking at the light and not at the dark.

In fact, that’s what Thanksgiving can do for each one of us.  It can help us move our focus to the abundance we have in our life, even when it’s hard.

So this Thanksgiving I am personally thankful for:

  • A caring family who will walk this journey with me.
  • Wise doctors who went to school many years ago to learn about the body and help me and others like me.
  • A work environment that prays together and walks alongside one another through good times and bad.
  • The firm foundation of faith that God gives me to stand strong even when the winds of life blow hard.
  • The pioneers in cancer research that have paved the way for me to get an early diagnosis.
  • The giggles of my grandkids playing in my family room and bringing joy to my life.
  • The willingness for my kids to pitch in and bring a lot of the food for Thanksgiving.
  • The lessons I’ve learned to stop pursuing the “perfect life” and to embrace my real, messy, sometimes challenging, imperfect life.
  • The depth of communication and vulnerability I’ve experienced with my husband as we face this hard thing together.
  • Incredible friends and family who don’t just say, “tell me what I can do,” but rather “just do it.”
  • A warm home that I can rest and recover in.
  • Health insurance.
  • Excellent care and resources right here in my community.
  • A church that cares for me and prays with me.
  • A God that never leaves me.
  • The fact that pink is already my favorite color!

What concerns you right now? What challenges are you facing?  Join me in finding beauty in the ashes.

It’ll do your heart some good.

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