Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Sunday, June 26, 2016

When It's Not what You want To Hear

Alison went for her pre-surgery MRI this past week, and was handed some very discouraging news.

Doctors found spots in both breasts, and now they want to do biopsies next week to see what is going on.  Alison had a horrible experience with the initial biopsy, so this was very distressing news to her.  The doctor assured her that her team in San Fran, are all very talented and that it shouldn't be that traumatic this time.

 If they are benign, or they are found to be early stage, then they will proceed with the surgery.  If it's more aggressive (due to her CHK-2 gene and HER2 path) they will start with chemo.

All of this is very distressing.  We were all believing that when she had her MRI, she would be miraculously healed.

It's very hard for me, as a Christian, to understand what is happening.  I believe in God, I believe in miracles, I trust Him with all my heart and soul.

Yet, He allows this to happen to my cousin, who is probably one of the closest things to a saint, this earth has to offer.

I. Just. Don't. Get. It.

When trials like this happen, the urge to start the Blame Game really kicks in.  The Devil gets in there and causes the doubt and worry and tries to magnify it to an impossible level.

The bible clearly reads,
It is so hard to hand God your worries.  Almost impossible.  I was distracted yesterday, and left my wallet laying somewhere at a race with over 500 people there.  Didn't realize I had left it until well over an hour later, and 45 miles away.  As I raced back to the course, my heart in my throat, crying and praying "Oh Lord, please let someone turn it in", I felt a peace, but still that nagging, "What am I going to whole financial world is in that wallet?" feelings kept creeping in.   As I ran to the volunteer tent, praying against the odds, I wept in relief when the volunteer handed me my wallet, CASH HANGING OUT OF THE EDGE, everything in it, nothing taken.  My kids exclaimed to me, "Oh, Lolly, God takes such good care of you.  We knew you would find it".   

I'm not gonna lie, here.  I want that same certainty that Alison is going to be 100% healed.  And it is given, in large, by having Faith.  

Faith is believing.  
I ask all of you to continue to believe and pray without ceasing for my Alison.  Everytime you close your eyes to throw up a prayer, include her name.  

I'm a big risk taking, bet the farm kind of believer.  I want you all to be one too.  God never fails to come through for me.  

I'm praying this for Alison.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Keep Your Eyes On Me

I've had several people ask me how Alison is doing.

She is heading to San Francisco tomorrow to do an MRI, and then make her battle plan for surgery, next Wed, June 29.

She is asking for specifics in prayer.... I will copy them here for her perfect words...

Good evening, praying friends and family,
Scott and I head back to San Francisco tomorrow afternoon. I have an MRI on Thursday morning and meet with my surgeon and her team on Friday to finalize a surgery plan. Here are some specific prayer requests if you have time to pray for me and my family. Thank you!
God’s wisdom in making a surgery and treatment plan. Only HE knows all the information, and we want to walk in HIS wisdom.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Surgery: no infections or complications, skillful surgeons, lack of any cancer growth or spreading, complete and speedy recovery. A cancer-free future!
Remove fears; let me see and feel God’s presence in every moment. Faith to not worry about surgery, to not worry about future risks and cancers from my gene mutations; living every day fully and joyfully. Eyes to see the good in every day and cherish it.
Phil. 4:6-7: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace that surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Rest peacefully in God’s grace and be able to let my desires and expectations go.
2 Cor. 12:9 – My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness.
Absolute trust and submission to God. To fully feel in my innermost being that HIS way is perfect; that HIS plan is best; HIS love for my children exceeds my own. 
Trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding. Acknowledge him in all my ways and let HIM direct my path. Proverbs 3:5-6
Remove dread of chemotherapy and ensuing hormonal changes. Wisdom in how to handle chemo-induced menopause; able to adjust to body changes. 
Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Family prayer requests (in their own words):
Scott: Wisdom in knowing how to best help Alison; medical discernment; patience.
Victoria: Patience and a very long fuse; dealing wisely with any stresses inside or outside the family; emotional intelligence; wisdom in making the best use of time and being a good leader.
Savannah: Patience and emotional intelligence as I work with my siblings, peace and a quiet mind to be able to fall asleep at night; no bad dreams.
Ashlyn: Patience; diligence to do all that needs to be done; faith in God’s ultimate plan.
Laramie: Freedom from stress and anxiety; patient with siblings; trust God.
Ethan: To be calm and trust in God.
Levi: To be obedient when asked to do something and not obstinate.
Much love and appreciation to all of you praying,
Alison & the Grants

Join me, if you will in praying for my family.  I also had a friend, Sandra, who got some distressing news last week, as well.  Add her in your prayers, too.
It's overwhelming, sometimes, this dance called life.  Enjoy this video from one of the most talented singers I know, Marcy Priest.  We were honored to have her and Trent Austin sing at Laynie's celebration, and she holds a very special place in my heart.  Listen to the words of this song, and let it become part of who you are.  
Keep your eyes on Me......Matthew 26:38

Blessings and Love Friends....

Thursday, June 9, 2016

When It's Not what You want to Hear

Alison, and her rock, her husband of 27 years, Scott

The first step in Alison's journey was finding out exactly what is going on in her DNA.  We were hoping that the test results would find no breast cancer mutation in her gene, and in getting the results, there was no presence of that gene, however in her CHEK 2 gene, which ups the chances of cancer showing up elsewhere, that is present.

This is a huge disappointment, plus a scary time for all of us, as we have found that my aunt and uncle both are "Carriers" and while being a "Carrier" isn't too much of a risk, having the gene passed to you, puts you at risk.

So in light of this diagnosis for Alison, I will be checking with my doctor to get a CHEK 2 DNA swab for myself, to make sure that I am not a "Carrier" or a "receptor" of this gene, since my uncle does carry the gene, making my mom a candidate to be a "Carrier" as well. (Have an appointment next week for genetic testing).

When Aunt Nancy called me to tell me the news, I hung up from her and bawled my face off for all of their family.  (That seems to be a "thing" these days) and I called Lacey and Kip to share with them, in talking to Lacey, we recalled the bad diagnosis after bad diagnosis with Laynie, and how things seemed so doomed.  And how she beat every odd.  Over and over and over.

If we had let fear consume us during that time, we would have been frozen.  What we lived in, was a full out live life to the

People, God is in control.  I remember telling my Christian friends that came to me and told me "God is BIGGER than this diagnosis" saying...  "But He can't change her genetic makeup" and in looking back, God not only changed her genes one time, he changed them three.  Three different times, as we looked at her DNA makeup, it was different every time.

Our God is a God of miracles, and He stands firmly in control.

No matter what this DNA diagnosis is for Alison, HE is in control.

We won't understand why this is happening, we just stand in faith that He is a good, and faithful and loving God, and throughout this process, HE will receive the glory.

For God is Good, all the time.

A New Chapter

About three weeks ago, I found out that one of my cousins has breast cancer.

On my mom's side, my brother is the not only the oldest cousin, but he is the only boy.  He always lamented that he wished someone would "Give him a boy to play with", but it was not to be, we were presented girl cousins, 5 times over.

I, however, was in heaven.  Because cousins are better than sisters, because you have that family connection, without the reality of having to share, live and breathe every second of every day with them.  (kind of like grandkids, get to enjoy all their gifts, and then send them home).

So when I heard the news that the "Mother Teresa" of our family, my baby cousin, had been diagnosed, I bawled my face off.  Broke my heart.

I just saw her when Lacey, Deaton & I made our quick trip to California the first of April.  

Alison and I, without knowledge of the other's thinking, got into the adoption thing about the same time.  I had no idea she was working on an international adoption, and she and her family (Scott, husband, 4 daughters, Victoria, Savannah, Ashlynn and Laramie) adopted 2 little boys from Ethiopia.  Levi and Ethan.  She runs their farm, she homeschools her kids, she is the REAL deal, people.  

And she gets this kick to the gut.  Her first reaction is not one of sorrow for herself, but her first thought, "I don't want to do this to my kids".  Which doesn't surprise me, because she is one of the most selfless people I know.  

I don't tell this much, because most people wouldn't get it, but for the sake of transparency and my obedience to God in all of this, I'm sharing this.  When Laynie was alive, it started for me.  In my early morning hours, when you start to wake up and your subconscious is  awake, but your brain hasn't kicked in fully (I know you all are thinking that's how I roll 24/7, but keep those thoughts to yourself), that's when God speaks to me.  

During that anointed, blessed time with Laynie, I heard Him almost daily.  He spoke truth and positivity into my daily life, and usually, I would sprint out of bed, and put it all in writing, and share that with you.  Most of my blogs during Laynie's life and beyond, came from the voice that led me every single day.  

After we lost Laynie, that voice told me to foster, and later, adopt, and then I didn't hear it (probably because I'm so exhausted from raising kids !!!) for the last year and a half or so.  

PHEW, He isn't going to ask any more of me!  I DID IT!  I answered His call and I'm Done!!  

Then about 4-5 months ago, He came back and told me that a girl in a wheelchair was going to come and live with us.  

I have to tell you, I sat straight up in bed, and said, "Oh NO, LORD, I can't do that.  I'm too old, we have NO room, and I have to tell you NO".

The very weekend after I heard it, I was at church and lo and behold the sermon is in the "Neighbor" series, and it's on adoption.  Now normally, anytime I'm at church, and they talk about fostering/adoption, I'm all  "Oh yeah, no guilt there, been there, done that, got the adoption papers to prove it", and can move straight on.  This time, I sat riddled with anxiety, because I was told and I didn't listen.  

That night, I begged, pleaded and prayed for God to task me with something I could handle, something that wouldn't squeeze my already exhausted life into more chaos than I already have.  

Then, Alison was diagnosed, and a few days later God laid it on my heart to write about it.  To share her story, just like I did Laynie's, and have world wide prayer for her.  And the anxiety about the wheelchair kid disappeared.  God gave me a different direction.  Because....

Prayer changed lives in Laynie's life.  

Prayer will change lives in Alison's.  

He also told me, he would give her full healing.  I'm standing on faith on that.  I'm counting on that.  I'm believing without limitations on that promise.  

My cousin is gifted with the writing gene.  She can write brilliantly, so when she feels she can share things with me, with her permission, I am going to share her words with you.  She leaves me in tears with her confidence in our Lord, her selfless love, and her devotion and unconditional love for her family.  

After seeing surgeons in her area (Redding), she opted to go to San Francisco, as they have a world class breast clinic there, and she saw the leading surgeon, and built a plan.  The first thing to do, when you are diagnosed is to see if you carry genetics for this type of cancer.  Then you build your plan.  (remember Angelina Jolie, she carried genetic profiles in her DNA, so she opted to have a double masectomy, oopherectomy, pre-cancer, to knock down her chances of cancer)/  That's what we were waiting on when I approached Alison, telling her I'm suppose to share her story.  This was her response a few days back.....
" I am working through life hour by hour, day by day. God and I have been having many conversations lately, and although I do not know if He will choose to heal me completely before, through or after treatment, day by day I am learning to let go and let Him have control of my life.  Words like “submission” and “total abandon” rattle through my head. I cry to the Lord that this is not fair to my children... that the boys have already experienced too much grief and loss and insecurity in this life. He replies that the boys are HIS, that God knew all of this before the boys ever came to live with us and He STILL chose me to be their momma; that HE is the owner and I am the manager, and I need to trust Him. This is so difficult, as I am a control-freak and I love to plan and prepare for all outcomes. However, through my Bible time since my diagnosis, I DO feel that the Lord wants to use this trial to make me look more and more like HIS character. To show my kids that God is good and trustworthy ALL the time, even when the story of our life makes a major left turn that we did not see coming. I plead with the Lord to help me never cause others to stumble when my grief and fears are out in the open, especially my kids, as I walk this journey and learn whatever it is He wants me to learn. I do know that my role is just to give all glory and honor to him. So, that is where my heart is. I am a jumble of emotions from hour to hour... one hour I have complete, utter, ultimate faith in the Lord; the next hour finds me in the bathroom with the door closed (the only quiet place in the whole house!) where I can cry and plead with God to take this cup from me.  Whether God chooses to miraculously heal me before my MRI and He is glorified that way, or whether I face a year of treatment and therapies and come out at the other end healed and alive through God sustaining me day by day through all the yuck, I know that He loves me and His plan is best, and all honor and glory belong to Him.
Does that make any sense at all? I feel like my brain is all jumbled and I am having difficulty forming coherent sentences. I do know that I love you and so appreciate your prayers and your support; your rallying your prayer warriors on my behalf. Please let them all know how much I appreciate each and every prayer.'

So, what I need from you, my faithful and unbelievable prayer warriors.  My Laynie team, my rock and strength through the anointed time with her.... I need all of you on your knees, praying for Alison.  So many of you have told me, how your lives changed, during Laynie's life.  It's because you prayed without ceasing on her behalf.  Now I am asking you to do it again.... for Alison.  I'm asking you to rain prayers on heaven, with her name on your lips.  

Because I want to be a faithful servant to what God asked of me, I will share her journey with you.

Because God is Good, All the time.  

 Latest Grant Family picture - No filter.