Staying the Course

 

 

Well my friends, a lot of the people have followed my last update this last week on Facebook, but since many of you are my cyber friends, I thought I would give you an update since I last posted.

I had my Mohs surgery on Thursday, two weeks ago, and found some more difficult steps had to be taken.  Mohs surgery is when they remove a layer of skin one at a time until they get a clean margin. After three rounds of removal from the right side of my nose, they finally got all the cancer.  However, it has left me with a large crater looking spot on my nose; deep and quite large. My options are not such that I could close the site with stitches, or stretch skin over that spot.  So this means a cosmetic surgeon will be needed for repairing the spot.  As most would know, it isn’t so great to think about the procedure or how this may look on my face. After this news, and seeing it, my emotions were all over the place and I could come up with all kinds of scenarios regarding its outcome.

  • I will now have areas of healing spots, where the flap was taken from (incision) my cheek, and the area of the repair of the top of the nose, and they took cartilage from my ear in order to support a nostril that was almost gone now.
  • I have to look like this with a flap on the side of my nose for three weeks.
  • I’m not a great healer and tend to get scar tissue easily, so how will this heal?
  • How long will the healing process take where I feel like I want to go out in public? So far, not even…
  • How will the outcome actually look?
  • How will I feel about “being seen” afterwards. I had a hard time with the little patch that started this whole thing.
  • I had to do what I did under local anesthetic and will have to do the next procedure of cosmetic repair in the same way.  Not. Fun.

I had all kinds of thoughts going through my mind.  Not withstanding was, the very things I was praying WOULD NOT happen, actually happened.  Thanks for that God.  But as soon as that thought came to mind, the Holy Spirit seemed to speak God’s message to my spirit…”So…do you really trust me?  In this too?? You say you do, so…”  Ok…Yep.  Buck it up buttercup. It is a scary thing. My surgeon said this isn’t life threatening. Ok. That’s something to be thankful for. So I said, “Ok Doc coming from you who has never had to have this done. For me,  however, it IS life altering. This kind of experience makes you rethink a lot of things. I believe there is a purpose for everything that happens in our lives. It can teach, correct, bring us back if we have taken some detours, allow us to share our story to help another, and many other blessings if we allow ourselves to see it.  So, if I believe that, then I have to trust His purpose for me in this also. It’s an all or nothing thing. I either believe Him in all circumstances, or I don’t believe. I believe God’s promises are bigger than anything I face. For this reason, I have decided to share my experience in words and pictures. There is always someone else that needs to hear that they too, can make it through a challeging time. I want to make it count for something. It has also brought me to a place of examining my priorities, asking God what He has next for me, getting myself into a position of pouring into my own soul and spirit, so that, I can be ready to do the same for others that God places in my path.

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that there are times when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see, but I realize I have to trust God with what I see and its outcome. It’s all or nothing for me.  I either believe in Him, or I don’t. I do… so I trust. He has a plan which is certainly not mine, but He knows the end of this from the beginning in this also. So a new JoAnn emerges with a stronger countenance and purpose. I stand at the edge of a huge ocean ready to put my foot in the water in faith, my spear in hand ready for the darts of enemy, and the Word is in my mouth to speak out boldly.

The week of October 21st, will be the second part of the surgical cosmetic repair, and I would ask if you think of it, remember me that day. I really don’t want to go back in that chair again, but I have to. I also will look forward to have this extra off my face. Please pray for skilled hands, and good healing for me. This upcoming Tuesday, I have a one week follow up appointment and I hope the skin tape comes off and that will be another step to feeling better. It’s a journey for me dealing with something so public as my face… not in a vain way, but just because of what it looks like. See??? God still has some work to do in me. 🙂 I leave you with this vulnerable photo of today, six days post surgery. I can’t wear makeup, have my hair around my face or ear, so hair pins and a hat work. My cauliflower ear is still visible but much better then even two days ago.

I am thankful for each of you who visit the blog.  Always a joy to hear that it encourages others.  My hope is that being transparent about my struggles will bring hope to you.

Until next time,

~JoAnn

Vision Changes Our Life

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I’m sure many of you have heard the expression, “He/she has an eagle eye.” I think we sort of know what that means; the person sees everything.  However, here are a few fun facts about the eagle’s vision:

  • The eagle’s eye is 4-8 times stronger than a human.
  • An eagle can spot a rabbit that is 3.2 km away, which is 4-5 times farther than we can.
  • They can swoop down to their prey at 125-200 mph
  • they can pick up details in their vision and their vision magnifies them.
  • The angle of the eye gives them a 340 degree visual field.
  • They turn their head to look for prey, and when found, the prey is magnified to see how far they have to fly and at what speed.

So when we think we are sneaking up on an eagle to get a shot with a camera, I doubt we are hidden at all.  It is amazing to me when we study God’s creation, that He made them so intricate.  I often times have wished I could see that far ahead of me just in one day, let alone my life ahead of me.

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Why am I talking about the eagle’s eye?  For one thing, God sends eagles to soar over me almost every time I go out.  It’s our thing.  Another thing, I think it gives me a good open door into the idea of vision.  We hear people talk about vision in a few of the following ways:

  • What is your vision for your education when you get out of school?
  • What is your vision for your career?
  • What is your vision for the project?
  • What do you think is God’s vision for you?
  • We are casting a vision for the direction we want to go.

That doesn’t mention how vision is used when we talk about our eye sight.  Vision is how we see things.  It’s our perspective as well.  Think about it.  Have you ever had a vision for what your career would be, only to have it change?  Or what about a vision for who you will marry and what that would look like, only to find its lots of work laced with difficulties.  I have found in my life that my vision changes and evolves.  Here is an example from my own life.  When I was growing up, music was my life.  I got involved in everything I could get involved with where music was concerned so that I could enjoy my passion.  I wanted to go to college and become a music teacher.  I knew how musicimage
was important to me and I wanted to share that passion with others.  I was even a delegate to the All State Chorus from Washington State my senior year.  The choir performed under the direction of Jester Hairston, which was a life altering experience all to itself!  Then after two years and an Associate Degree and Certificate in Special Education, I could no longer put myself through school.  Instead, I went to work for a local school district in Special Education.  I wrote a grant letter to get funding for a small bus for the Sp Ed department to have for transporting the students to and from school.  I had currently used a station wagon to do that.  I got my CDL to drive the bus routes and sports runs.  My vision was changed.  It evolved into something else.  I have had many, many of those vision changes in my life.  All of them making me who I am today.  I still got to direct choirs and community choirs in my time.  Just wasn’t the original vision I had.

untitled-3-2I think we sometimes have this idea that our vision is stationary and doesn’t change, and if it does change, then it is lost.  But I have come to know that it is how I SEE those changes, that then give me a new vision.  It evolves into the next thing that I get to do.  We are each given vision to see the world around us.  HOW we see it can make all the difference.  If I had stuck with my earlier vision, I may have felt defeated and disappointed in myself that I didn’t continue.  But I would have missed all the other visions that God has placed in my spirit.  I would have missed the people he has brought into my life.  I would have missed the promptings to expand and readjust my vision of my life and circumstances.  THAT would be a total loss of vision.  Instead, I have allowed my visions to change and I have changed with them.  I have gotten to do some marvelous things in my life.

That word vision has been so used up.  Don’t let it discourage you.  Start lookingGuitar Mandolin around and ask for new eyes to see; a vision to open up to you.  Watch out when it happens though because it will be life changing and life altering.  You may find a new zeal in your life that wasn’t there before.  It may move you to do things you haven’t ever done.  It COULD even make it so you take part in activities that others think are kind of wild and crazy.  I say this:  “DO what you love, and do it every day.”  It’s like drinking from the good glasses every day!  Or…a different mocha cup!

Here are a few of mine:

  • I’m getting back into music and playing instruments.
  • I’m singing more.
  • I do more with my photography by taking classes through books I’m reading, My Story 365 project, adding a lens to my bag, and asking God to help me see the unusual.
  • The cabin we purchased to enjoy more down time.
  • More time spent with family and friends.
  • Reading more again.  I used to read with a goal of a book a week.  I never made that goal but I read around 200 books in a year, of all kinds.
  • I enjoy decorating to make our home, and now the cabin, more like we want them to be; which is our vision for retirement years.
  • Sew into the life of my kids and grandson.
  • Take out my Mini for rides just to enjoy driving it more.
  • Time on the patio enjoying the feeling of quiet time.
  • The joy of a mocha in the morning as I choose a cup from my collection.
  • Taking pictures I love and enjoy because I LOVE them, and think about who else make like them.  The pictures I take speak to ME, and that is what taking photos is about.

I can’t say the above ideas works for you, however, at this point of my life, THAT is myIMG_2473 vision of happiness.  Yours is of course different depending on where you are in life journey.  It doesn’t mean you can’t have a vision geared toward you.  Would you do me a favor?  In the comments here on the blog, share a part of what you feel your vision is for your life at this time?  It may just be that you get through your day.  It could be a new craft you want to spend time doing.  It could be more family time.  It may be doing something different on the job.  Whatever it is, I would love to hear about it, as well as, how you see that coming to fruition.  What do you see?

I hope this post has fanned the flame in your soul for making you feel more alive.  The fact that our vision isn’t carved in stone is liberating to me.  I hope the idea that visions can change makes your heart skip a beat. IMG_7900It will change until the day I pass from this world into my heavenly home.  That is a really great way to live in freedom…a vision that excited me!  You see the picture to the left is me with a Tootsie Pop out camping and staying in a cottage; something our family did a lot of growing up.  That vision has always been a live in me, and now I am establishing that vision for my family; our cabin.  Yes.  Having vision IS important and can be life changing for generations to come.

Until next time,

~JoAnn