The Rocket Song
If I had a rocket
And if I could fly it
I’d hurtle through space where you are.
With that kind of speed, there would be no need
To travel so long or so far.
If you lived on an island
Somewhere in the ocean
I’d hop on a boat and I’d ride
And though I’m filled with emotion, I won’t make a commotion
I'd just want to swim by your side.
If you sat on a rainbow
I’d climb up beside you
And there in the sky we would be
With clouds all around us, and sights that astound us
And oh, what colors we’d see!
If you lived in a cold place
With snow all around you
I’d put on my warmest attire
And even though I am old, I’d weather the cold
Just to sit beside you near the fire.
If you moved to a city
With lots of tall buildings
We’d climb to the top and look down.
You’d show me the sights
And all the bright lights
Because you are the best kid in town!
But I don’t have a rocket,
Or know how to fly one
But that doesn’t have to stop me.
I can’t fly to the moon, but I’ll visit real soon.
And oh, what sweet times there will be!
c April M. Whitt 7/22/23
A New Season!
Though it may not feel like it, we are about to enter a new season. Even if we are feeling tired and used up where we are, we can trust God for something new for us.
For me, here at the end of August, I’m reflecting back on this past year and feeling pretty good about where I am. About this time last year, we discovered I’d had a recurrence of cancer and we were trying to figure out what to do about it. As we considered alternative treatment, we also consulted with my former doctors and oncologists and hoped they would still play a role in my treatment (depending on what we decided.) But my traditional doctors were not in favor of alternative treatment.
One of the doctors said it just wouldn’t work. Actually, he said it to my husband, not me. I felt more like an object as I sat on the examining table. He told Gary he was wasting his money. But my regular oncologist spoke directly to me. She looked at me sternly and said “Do you want some pain medication? You’re going to need pain medication!” We walked away feeling kind of alone, but we weren’t.
Turns out the trips to clearwater were positive and healing. And now, a full year later, I’m still here and doing alright. It’s still hard to find answers to the “what if’s” because who’s to say, maybe I’d have come through the other treatments just as well also. They’d wanted to give me new series of chemotherapy, then surgery followed by more chemotherapy. Maybe it would have helped me. But I must say, I didn’t miss the surgery or sitting in that chemo chair.
Getting older and slowing down more seems to be a part of this new season. I’m just getting over a bout with the shingles which definitely set me back some. And being a senior citizen and seeing my strength and appearance change is something I’ve not easily accepted. None of us wants to die young, but getting old can be depressing. We all hate to admit to being vain, but who wants to lose our looks and strength? We just have to do the best we can and take the time to find beauty in things and people differently. Fortunately, as we look, there is beauty to be found.
Another part of this new season in my life is that my husband and I once again have an empty nest. Our extended family (yes, those precious grandchildren) have moved back to Ohio. They just started school up there. A new season for them, and for me as well.
We made a trip to see them just before they started school. We wanted to reassure them, that we weren’t gone forever from their lives because it was something of a sudden change for all of us. I’m still adjusting, decompressing, trusting The Lord for His purpose in all of it. And Maybe it was foolish of me to invest so much in the children in the first place. Because when you put your heart into something, your heart can be taken away.
But now, I have more time to rest. Time to reflect and heal and time to pray. I have space in my life that my heavenly Father might wish to fill if I allow Him to.
So, as I begin to pick up the pieces of what was left behind, I call out to Him and I say “what do I do now God?” And I’m reminded of something Pastor David Wine said in his personal testimony. He said: “when I was flat on my back and wondering where to go from there, I asked God “what do I do now?” (and as he humorously tells it) he said that his statement translated into “here am I God, send me!” Well, I laughed when I heard him tell the story, but I’ve wondered…will it translate that way for me as well? I said it too “what do I do now God?”
So, I say it with trepidation, not knowing if I really mean it or not, but still, inviting Him to “send me” if that is His will. My human nature could still be a problem, but He’s brought me through so much already, and if He still has something, in particular He wants to use me for, then okay, I guess I’m “in.”
And as I begin this new season, I feel as if I am once again handing over that bunch of dandelions with most of the fuzzy wishes already blown off. And as before, if there are any wishes left, they’re His.
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
The Story of
by April M. Whitt
How an Ugly Duckling from The Far East,
Became a Beautiful Swan
Here in The West
Her classmates told her, “Your eyes are too small, and your face is too round.”
“You’re fat and you need plastic surgery,” said a “friend.”
Mina was often ridiculed. Born in a small village in southern China in the late 1980’s, she lived a traditional life within the customs and laws of a one-child family system. Her father started his own business when the Chinese communist party opened the market for people to do business/trading. Though he was successful in his entrepreneurship, her family remained in the farmer’s category--due to the family book system. It was not easy to change societal status, and she was seen as inferior and was often mocked at school.
Independence came at an early age for Mina. When she started first grade, her mother brought her to school. But after the first day, she was expected her to find her own way home. For many years she was haunted by the memory of a stormy day when she huddled near the other children, hoping to be picked up. But as the red taillights flashed and each car pulled away, Mina was left alone. She walked home by herself in the rain.
One day, due to hurt and frustration, Mina ran away from home. Sadly, her parents did not look for her. When she reluctantly returned home, she found a note written to her on the front door. “Ugly Duckling,” the note said, “You don’t belong here.” But she stayed and carried on because it was all she could do. But oh, how she wished she could sprout silver wings and fly to a place where others would welcome her.
Rejection also came from within the family. After moving to a nearby town, Mina sometimes stayed with her maternal grandmother. This felt like a safe place, except for problems with her paternal grandmother. This grandmother would often visit the front door stoop of the home to stand outside and hurl curses at those inside. Even as she grew older, this grandmother continued the unkindness.
When Mina was ten, her mother gave birth to a baby brother. This complicated things in their household and family book system. The cruel favoritism of boys over girls increased, and her mother also suffered mistreatment.
After some time, Mina’s father went to jail. But in spite of her father’s incarceration, Mina’s family remained financially stable. She was able to attend a top high school, but the other students teased that she was only there because her parents were wealthy. She was told she was fat and lacked beauty. She also struggled with grades. In China, teachers rank the students’ grades and publish the results to the whole class. She was always on the bottom list and assigned to sit in the back of the room. A high school physics teacher once told her she would never go to college. But what the teacher and Mina didn’t know, was that God had bigger plans.
The first glimpse of a Holy God happened when Mina was in middle school. A Christian classmate invited her to attend a local Christian program. Prior to this, she had only participated in traditional settings involving the worship of ancestors and various gods. But after the exposure to Christianity, Mina had nightmares of being threatened by a Chinese goddess. She also sometimes felt fearful when she passed church buildings. But in spite of these strange beginnings, God’s hand was on her life, and things began to change.
After high school, Mina wanted to attend a good university. She lacked the grades and affluence to be accepted, but God arranged an amazing change in the university’s policies. For just that one year, the school switched to an interview policy for its admissions. Mina had a natural ability to learn languages and this one skill made her ratings high. She was accepted by the college and she enrolled in Language and Literature. She graduated four years later with a BA in Business Japanese.
Following her graduation from the university, Mina went to work full time managing short term rentals on Air BnB in China. She was successful in her work and was able to live a life that included many luxuries. But even with her successes, she felt incomplete. She didn’t know at the time it was because she was not living the life of her calling.
One Christmas Eve, Mina attended a Christian church service in China. She received Christ as her Savior and became a part of a Bible believing congregation. She also began reading and understanding The Bible in ways she never had before. God began a healing process, but she still struggled with low self esteem due to the issues from her childhood. She struggled with a spirit of anger within herself, and powers of darkness that still refused to release their hold on her.
One night, after attending a Christian service, a female ghost followed her home. No one else could see it, but later that night she awoke to pressure on her chest. The pressure moved to her throat and then began to choke her. Mina fought and cried out to The Lord to save her. The spirit left her, but there was still much to overcome in Mina’s life.
Mina was still trying to live up to other people's expectations. She describes China as a competitive place. With such a large population, people fight for lilmited job opportunites. Most people work long hours. She felt pressured to keep up, or be easily replaced. And she began to experience many failures in her life including a worsening relationship with her family and failed romantic relationships. She also became seriously in debt due to failed business investments in the amount of a half million in Chinese Yuan.
But then, at her darkest point, God began to reveal Himself. As She drew closer to the One true God, she began to ask if He had something more for her.
With help from The Lord, Mina was able to pay off her large financial debt. It took three years of hard work, but God was faithful and Mina persevered. She restricted her expenses (even learning how to live off of $1.00 per day some days) and she expanded her income resources by working full-time for a while and then doing several part time jobs. She also received love offerings from local churches.
Mina fasted and prayed and God gave her a vision which revealed that He wanted her to become a Christian counselor. He instructed her to not worry about funds, she needed only to trust that He would provide. She told her pastor’s wife about the vision and the pastor recommended Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, USA. As Mina looked into this new possibility, the doors opened, and she stepped into the next chapter of her God-directed life.
In late December of 2019 Mina arrived in Lakeland, Florida with $300 dollars, two suitcases, and a vision from God. She didn’t know anyone, and had no place to go, but she believed God had sent her. She booked a room for one week through Airbnb and prayerfully told God, “If you want me to stay, please make a way. Otherwise, I’ll have to return to China.”
Three-and-one half years later, Mina is still in Lakeland and has just graduated with a master’s degree in social work. She was no longer at the bottom of her class, but instead, she became a straight A student! The professors at SEU saw her potential, and helped her to achieve her very best.
God also made it possible for Mina to pay her tuition at Southeastern. There were five semesters in her MSW program, and God provided for each one in different ways. With the help of Student Financial Services, Mina was able to benefit from local community resources including an emergency relief fund and a variety of scholarships.
God also opened doors for an internship program which allowed her to work as a Graduate Assistant. This internship helped with costs as well as giving her practical experience. She also received donations from Christians in the community, many of whom still remain anonymous.
As Mina looks back at herself, she sees a young girl, curled into a dark corner. But now, she's living a life filled with light and hope! She loves Lakeland, and sees the swand downtown as symbols of her own personal growth. She notices their graceful necks and how they often make the shapes of number twos. This reminds her of Revelation 22:2, which speaks about God's promises of healing and restoration.
Mina has a heart that cares about others. She knows that many people out there are still in their personal journeys--gray and awkward like the baby swans.
She desires to help them see their potential, and hopes to minister to those who may need help along the way.
Gift of the Rose Gold Swan
God is the God of restoration. And as Mina finishes this chaper in her life,
she looks forward to seeing what God will do next.
"How lucky am I
to have something
that makes saying
Remembering Cheryl Richey Young
It is with a bitter-sweet heart that I say goodbye to my dear friend Cheryl; bitter, because I wasn’t ready to lose her, but sweet because no one is sweeter or kinder than her, and because of the wonderful memories I still get to keep.
We met in third grade and had many “adventures” from there on. She became part of my family and I was blessed to be counted “in” with hers. Over the years, miles and time sometimes separated us, but when we did meet it was as if we’d never been apart. She had a memory like no one else—and in later adulthood she surprised me with remembering things I’d long forgotten. She is one of the last people on earth who knew all of my family and many of my other friends. And she knew the real me, and loved me anyway.
Cheryl was non-judgmental and as loyal as they come. She was funny, quirky, brave, smart and the best friend so many of us have cherished. She dearly loved and happily served her husband and son, and her siblings adored her. No one could count how many friends she leaves behind.
None of us wants to let her go, but we cannot keep her. I’m so thankful she knows our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ because we will meet again. I look forward to more grand adventures in Eternity. I love you Cheryl. Until Then...
When We think God Has Abandoned Us
As I look at my church prayer list, my own troubles and the problems of this world, it’s easy to get discouraged. I can get as dark and depressed as anyone else, but it helps to read my Bible, other Christian books and spend time in prayer.
Right now, I’m reading a book called “The Red Sea Rules” by Robert J. Morgan. In it, the author assures me that God has me right where He wants me. It’s been a reminder that if God has allowed troubles into my life, then it is for His greater purpose. And even though I feel trapped by the Egyptian army and pressed against The Red Sea, I am exactly where He wants me to be. I’m finding comfort in that reality, and learning to relax and let go, while I wait for Him to open a way.
God doesn’t owe me any more days on this earth, and He’s already given me His best when He gave me eternal life through Christ. It’s just hard not to be greedy for more. And as I struggle with weakness and sometimes pain, it’s easy to think He has abandoned me, even though, He told me He’d never leave me or forsake me.
Mary and Martha thought Jesus had abandoned them too. When their brother Lazarus died, Jesus waited 4 days before he showed up to help them. Those 4 days were probably very long days. I know my mind can go a lot of places in a short time, and maybe you've waited a long time for answered prayer as well.
Mary and Martha knew Him in a way that most of us have not. They saw His physical presence, saw His miracles and even called Him “friend.” But when He stayed away at their time of great need, they may have begun to think He didn’t care.
In John 11:35, the Bible says that when Jesus finally met up with Mary and the others He actually wept. But He couldn’t have been grieved over losing His friend because He knew He had power over life and death. I believe, instead, He was moved out of compassion for his hurting friends. I think He cared so much that He felt their sorrow as if it were His own.
God is not unkind, even though He can be hard on us. He tests our faith to reveal the greater truth that He is our Savior. And we know that Mary and Martha knew Him as Savior too, because they expressed their belief that Lazarus would rise on the last day. But even with the hope of eternity, they wanted their prayers answered now, just like we do. And like us, they probably began to experience doubt.
Doubt is a human emotion and not easily defeated. The good news here though, is that God is a forgiving God and His blood covers all. But in order to live in contentment, without a lot of stress and fear, we have to trust Him. Even when we don’t know the outcome or if the hopes and dreams we’ve worked for will ever come to pass, we need to trust that He really does have the best plan.
So, as we wait beside the Red Sea, we rest in His grace. Even when things seem as dead and hopeless as a four-day old body in a grave; we must remember what Jesus told Martha: “I Am The Resurrection and the life!”
Let’s encourage each other and hold onto our hope. Jesus has overcome the world!
We all have our journeys to follow, and soon I’ll begin another phase of cancer treatment. I’m glad the alternative treatments are not as harsh as traditional programs, but it’s still not something I'm looking forward to.
I’m thankful the PET scan showed improvement. There was less SUV (standardized uptake value—which indicates size of tumors.) But the best part was there was no metastasis (no spreading to surrounding organs.) My doctor said colon cancer commonly spreads to the liver.
Since the tumors responded well to the recent treatments and chemo drugs (IPT) I will have follow up IPTs every other week for the next 3 months. Also, I will be on a low dose chemo pill for the “in between weeks” and another treatment called SOT therapy (which is something like a cancer vaccine.)
Health is a mysterious and precious thing. Our bodies are amazing healing machines, and yet health (and life) are fragile. We easily take it for granted in our youth and sometimes even in older age. I’m no exception. I enjoyed robust health most of my years, but I also indulged in risky behaviors such as alcohol and recreational drug use. I didn’t struggle with food issues as much as some people do, but over the years I’ve consumed my share of “sinful foods.”
It's interesting to think of certain foods as “sinful.” And please don’t take me wrong when I say this, but we live in a fallen world, and isn’t it just like the enemy to try to kill us with something as beautiful as a cupcake? I'm not saying you are doing something wrong whenever you have dessert, but if you eat a lot of unhealthy foods, you will most likely, eventually, end up sick. Just remember to use moderation, because we have an enemy in this world who wants us sick (or dead.) And while God has the very best plan for us, the enemy has one too.
My husband and I were always health conscious. We didn’t do everything right, but we read the health books and listened to experts, took our supplements and tried to avoid sugar and bad fats etc. I think we enjoyed better health because of those disciplines, but here I am, not exactly a “poster child” of good health, with a diagnosis of stage 4 cancer. I should have seen it coming. My mother died of metastatic colon cancer. I thought it wouldn’t happen to me.
I probably had the original tumor for many years before it bothered me. Occasionally, I felt something in my abdomen, but I thought it was a small hernia due to my job of working with students who have special needs. The work often included heavy lifting and positioning of teenaged students. And since I was inclined to avoid seeing a doctor, I paid no attention to the occasional mild sensation. It wasn’t until quite a few years later (following major stress) that I began to experience the telltale signs of weakness and pain.
So now, as before, I’m reading health books, listening to experts, watching my diet and the truth is—it’s pretty discouraging. If you listen to the “experts” you’ll find many of them disagree. You have your “Plant-based” people who think you shouldn’t eat meat at all, and of course “Keto” is almost the opposite extreme. I think the only thing both sides agree on is to eat plenty of vegetables. It is important to eat some raw fruit or vegetables every day because we need the living enzymes that are present in raw foods. The trouble is, most of us would rather eat the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) which consists of processed foods full of bad fats, lots of sugar, preservatives and pesticides.
Probably everyone knows our farmers are being forced into terrible practices by large companies. The result is; we are consuming animals that are inhumanely treated and full of antibiotics. Our crops are grown on depleted soils and sprayed with poisons. It's best to buy organic if you can, and eat food that is as close to the way God designed it as often as possible.
For me, right now, I’m on a type of keto diet (because sugar and carbs feed cancer.) Keto has been all the rage in the past few years. It truly works for weight loss, but of course, in my case, the goal was not to lose weight but to starve out the cancer.
I don’t like what I see in the mirror. I’ve lost so much weight it’s frightening to me. (I'm down to about 95 lbs.) A few well-meaning friends have said they wished they had the problem of needing to gain weight. What they don’t realize is that I too could have fun eating pizza and ice cream. But I have to help my immune system get stronger by avoiding harmful things.
I got discouraged with myself at Christmastime because I went off of my diet. It’s been difficult to avoid bread and potatoes and many of my favorite foods. I made Christmas cookies with my grandkids. It started out with the cookies, and then I proceeded to blow my diet all the way around. Unfortunately, my PET scan was scheduled right after the holidays. I felt like kicking myself because otherwise, I might have gotten better results from the scan.
But then, I think God showed me something. There wasn’t any point in beating myself up. The fact is—I have only so much control. Sure, He expects us to use the good sense He gave us and the knowledge He has provided, but ultimately, only He can heal me. The life and welfare of each of us lies in His hands.
So, I’ll be starting a new (but thankfully less intense) program soon. I hope to keep posting and I hope you’ll stayed tuned for more health tips, blips, mishaps, and more importantly, my journey into total dependence on God. He is the author and finisher of our life and faith, and (Hallelujah) He has overcome this world!
The Story of
by April M. Whitt
How an Ugly Duckling from The Far East Became A
Swan Here in
The West !
Her classmates told her, “Your eyes are too small, and your face is too round.”
“You’re fat and you need plastic surgery," said a "friend"
Mina was often ridiculed. Born in a small village in southern China in the late 1980’s, she lived a traditional life within the customs and laws of a one-child family system of favoritism of boys over girls.
Her father started his own business when the Chinese communist party opened the market for people to do business/trading. Though he was successful in his entrepreneurship, her family remained in the farmer’s category--due to the family book system. It was not easy to change societal status, and she was seen as inferior and was often mocked at the school in the city.
Due to being born a girl, Mina also suffered rejection from within her own family. After moving to a nearby town, Mina sometimes stayed with her maternal grandmother while her parents were busy with work. This felt like a safe place, except for problems with her paternal grandmother. This grandmother would often visit the front door stoop of the home to stand otside and hurl curses at those inside. Even as she grew older, this grandmother continued the unkindness. Mina's mother also suffered mistreatment by the paternal grandmother because of gender. This left Mina feeling "less than" about her own existence.
Independence came at an early age for Mina. When she started first grade, her mother brought her to school. But after the first day, she was expected to find her own way home. For many years after she was haunted by the memory of a stormy day when she huddled near the other children, hoping to be picked up by her parents. But as the red tail lights flashed and each car pulled away, Mina was left alone. She walked home by herself in the rain.
One day, due to hurt and frustration, Mina ran away from home. Sadly, her parents did not look for her. When she reluctantly returned home, she found a note on the front door written to her: "Ugly Duckling," the note said, "You don't belong here." Nevertheless, she stayed and carried on because it was all she could do. But oh, how she wished she could sprout silver wings and fly to a place where others would welcome her.
When Mina was ten, her mother gave birth to a baby brother. This complicated things in their household, and the cruel favoritism of boys over girls increased. Mina often felt unwanted and neglected.
After some time, Mina's father went to jail due to a business charge. But in spite of her father's incarceration, the family remained financially stable. She was able to attend a top high school, but the other students teased that she was only there because her parents were wealthy. They also mocked her physical appearance and told her whe was fat and lacked beauty. She also struggeld with grades. In China, teachers rank the students' grades and publish the results to the whole class. She was always on the bottom list and assigned to sit in the back of the room. A high school physics teacher once told her she would never go to college. But what that teacher and Mina didn't know, was that God had bigger plans!
The first glimpse of a holy God happened when Mina was in middle school. A Christian classmate invited her to attend a local Christian program. Prior to this, she had only participated in traditional settings involving the worship of ancestors and various gods. But after the exposure to Christianity, Mina had nightmares of being threatened by a Chinese goddess. Thereafter, she sometimes felt fearful when she passed a church building. But in spite of these strange beginnings, God's hand was on her life, and things began to change.
After high school, Mina wanted to attend a good university. She lacked the grades and affluence to be accepted to her dream university; however, God arranged an amazing change in the university's admission policies. For just that one year, the school switched to an interview only policy for its admissions. Mina had a natural ability to lean languages and this one skill made her ratings high. She was accepted by the college and she enrolled in Language and Literature. She graduated four years later with a BA in Business Japanese.
Following her graduation from the university, Mina went to work full-time for well-known international companies. She eventually started her own business managing short term rentals on Airbnb in China. She was successful in her work and was able to live a life that included many luxuries. But even with her successes, she felt incomplete. She was still trying to live up to other people's expectations.
Mina describes China as a competitive place. With such a large population, people compete for limited job opportunities. Most people work long hours, and she felt pressured to keep up-or be easily replaced. She began to experience many failures in her life, including a worsening relationship with her family and failed romantic relationships. She also became seriously in debt due to failed business investments in the amount of a half million in Chinese Yuan (about 70,000 USD.)
Then, at her darkest point, God began to reveal Himself to her. One Christmas Eve, Mina attended a Christian church service in China. She received Christ as her Savior and became a part of a Bible believing congregation. She also began reading and understanding the Bible in ways she never had before. God began a healing and restoration process in her. With help from The Lord, she was able to pay off her large financial debt. It took three years of hard work, but God was faithful and Mina persevered. She restricted her expenses, (even learning how to live off of $1.00 per day some days) and she expanded her income resources by working full-time and then doing several part-time jobs. She also received love offerings from local churches.
Even though Mina had become a Christian, she still had problems with low self-esteem due to issues from her childhood. She struggled with a spirit of anger within herself, and powers of darkness that refused to release their hold on her. Mina still remembers a night, after attending a Christian service, a female ghost followed her home. No one else could see it, but later that night she awoke to pressure on her chest. The pressure moved to her throat and then began to choke her. Mina fought and cried out to The Lord to save her. The spirit left her, but there was still more to overcome in Mina's life.
Mina still felt unfulfilled, but gradually, her life was being transformed by God's grace. She felt unhappy with her work, but she didn't know it was because she was not living the life of her true calling. But as she drew closer to the One true God, she began to ask if He had something more for her.
After fasting and praying, God gave her a vision which revealed that He wanted her to become a Christian counselor. He instructed her to not worry about funds during the transition, she needed only to trust that He would provide.
She told her pastor’s wife about her vision and the pastor recommended Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, USA. As Mina looked into this new possibility, the doors opened, and she stepped into the next chapter of her God-directed life.
In late December of 2019 Mina arrived in Lakeland, Florida with $300 dollars, two suitcases, and a vision from God. She didn’t know anyone, and had no place to go, but she believed God had sent her. She booked a room for one week through Airbnb and prayerfully told God, “If you want me to stay, please make a way. Otherwise, I’ll have to return to China.”
Three-and-one half years later, Mina is still in Lakeland and about to graduate with a master’s degree in social work. She is no longer at the bottom of her class, but instead, she became a straight A student! The professors at SEU saw her potential, and helped her to achieve her very best.
God also made it possible for Mina to pay her tuition at Southeastern. There were five semesters in her MSW program, and God provided for each one in different ways. With the help of Student Financial Services, Mina was able to benefit from local community resources including an emergency relief fund and a variety of scholarships. God also opened doors for an internship program which allowed her to work as a Graduate Assistant. This internship helped with costs as well as giving her practical experience. She also received donations from Christians in the community, many of whom still remain anonymous.
But from the beginning, God miraculously connected her with people who opened their homes to her and people who would give her rides. Mina gratefully recounts how she stayed with four different host families who did not charge her rent, and she has many friends who still happily give her rides to school and other destinations.
Today, Saturday, January 28,th is my birthday. I am 66 today. I’m grateful to be alive and able to celebrate another year of life! Considering I received my first cancer diagnosis in February of 2020 (almost 3 years ago) I feel like I am doing pretty well. But at that time, I was ill and discouraged with life in general. Things just hadn’t turned out the way I thought they would.
It was difficult to go through surgery and chemotherapy with toddlers and extended family in my house. But somehow God brought me through.
I finished up the chemo in October of the same year (2020) But I was stressed and angry because I was still taking care of other people and carrying too much responsibility. I'm sure I brought much of it on myself, and I am still finding it hard to stop.
Currently, I’m walking through a second diagnosis. But as many of you know, my husband and I chose an alternative route which took us to Clearwater to a health clinic there. The results have been good as much of my health has returned and my recent PET scan showed improvement.
God takes us down roads we’d sometimes rather not travel. But I know He is and has been with me in every step of the way. He is teaching me to Be Still before Him, and to seek His face every day at all times. Its often hard to see His purpose in things—but I feel that He allowed this into my life to slow me down so that I might actually do His will (instead of my own and everyone else’s) and to teach me to trust Him.
I believe He has called me, and separated me. Not so I can avoid the world and its problems, but so that He can use me in the way He intended. He calls each of us believers to reach the lost, and to help the hurting and those who may be going through seasons of doubt. He also brings us down, so that at the right time He can lift us up. Without trials and sufferings, we’re not likely to have compassion for others.
When I first received the news that I had cancer again, I felt like a beaten dog. I was depressed and I felt like I was getting “kicked” again, and I felt like saying “just go ahead and kick me some more.” But somehow, in His mercy, I am healing. He has given me rest, and He has brought me by the still waters and restored my soul.
In this new year, none of us can know what lies ahead of us. We have to go forward, without fear, into the unknown. We need to consider that we are living in unique times. What once would have been science fiction, now has become common reality. We see signs that point to “end times” and we are likely, in our lifetime, to see amazing things come to pass. So don’t be afraid, the Bible tells us not to fear because “He has overcome the world.”
And so, on this 66th birthday of mine, I’d like to encourage you to put your trust in Him. If you do, He will never leave you or forsake you. He cares about you and even the small things that matter to you. God Bless you all, and Thank you for your prayers, I am praying for you too.
A fist full
Gathered. hand chosen
Each one representing doubt or
To pluck one more
Unspoken meaning carried in each bent stem
Extended in uncertainty
The sweaty palm unclenches, releases
This is my frailty, all bunched up and a little squashed
Most of the fuzzy wishes already blown off the top and
But this is my gift
Taken from God’s precious bounty
By my perspective
And offered to
And if there are any
Thoughts on Dandelions
Over 10 years ago I wrote the (above) poem “Dandelions.”
I think it may have been prophetic in a sense, but at the time I wrote it, I didn’t know who it was written for or what it was all about. I suspected it might be God but I wasn’t mature enough in my Christian walk to really see it. And I wasn’t in a place where I was ready to hand everything over to Him.
But now as I let go of more things, I’m beginning to understand some of what God is doing. I see how He strips things away. Not in unkindness, but for His purpose. Oftentimes it is to remove many of our weaknesses. The Refiner’s fire burns away the dross.
Some things we’d all agree we are better off without: such as resentments, judging others and holding onto past hurts and unforgiveness. It’s easy to drag those things around like heavy bags full of “stuff,” when we could empty them out, turn the bags inside out and dump them before The Throne. God can handle every trace of the worst of our “junk.”
But one of the hardest things to let go of is our fears. Those things we are afraid might happen (and truly could happen.) How do we let go of those things? When we lie awake at night there is only one way to find peace. He doesn’t make it easy, but we have to trust Him. We have to focus on the promise that He loves us (and the people we are worried about.)
We have to forcibly “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5) and believe that He will bring us through every trial we may face. We hold onto His promise to “cause everything to work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28.)
Sometimes, He asks us to hand over our dreams. Even when most of them are broken, we still hold onto them. We think we know what’s best for us, and we want to do things our own way. But in reality, most of the time He’s the One who gave us those dreams in the first place.
Everything we hold dear, including our lives, was given to us by Him. We often resist, but eventually we come willingly to that broken place. We hand over to Him all the things that didn’t turn out. We give Him every failure, every mistake, and those dreams we tried so hard to bring about but did not come to pass.
Right now (along with that other stuff) I’m trusting Him for what will come next in my cancer journey. I had my last IPT treatment the week before Christmas. Some of the therapeutic treatments will continue on for a short while, but on January 12th I’ll have a PET scan and bloodwork to find out if the treatments did in fact kill the cancer. I do believe the treatments have helped me regain strength and have weakened the cancer, but I am fearful that it has not truly “worked.” What I am asking God for, and need prayer for, is what to do next. I don’t want to go anywhere He isn’t leading.
The only thing I can do, and the very best thing to do, is to trust The Lord. In 2 Chronicles 20:12 It talks about The Old Testament king Jehoshaphat who discovered that three armies were about to attack his kingdom from all directions. The wise king called the people together to fast and pray, and said these words to God: “ That’s where I am right now. Handing everything over to Him, and waiting to see what He tells me to do.
In looking back on that poem from my past, maybe I had some sense I would come to this place of relinquishment. It says I’m giving this to You—even though You really gave it to me first. I would not have had anything, if You had not first given it to me. But I’ve bent it, destroyed much of it, warped it and thought (in my arrogance) it was something I’d done myself. But now I give back to You these damaged goods because I believe it’s the best thing to do. The only thing to do. And if there is anything left; I want you to use it for Your Glory.
When we are willing, and give everything into His hands, there is no limit to what He can do. Because each tiny dandelion flower is a bundle of seed; just one fuzzy wish blown by the breath of God can fill a field. A field that will soon become ripe for the harvest.
Be Still and Know
As I write, I am starting my 8th week of treatment at the wellness center in Clearwater. At first, the time went slowly, but now it’s speeding by like time generally does. I’m away from my house nearly all day every weekday. And in some ways, I have a totally new life.
Prior to this, my life was out of balance. It’s true that when pressure comes, we tend to find out what we’re made of. Most of my “problems” started about 5 years ago when I asked God to “change my life.” I said it quite heroically, but I didn’t consider that God’s ideas about changing my life might be a little different from what I had in mind. At the same time our “Dream” home was ready enough for us to move into. So, I told God to use our beautiful new home for His purpose. I didn’t stop to think that I might not exactly like what He would do.
What followed is my youngest son became ill with testicular cancer at age 29. Shortly after, my older son and his family moved in with us due to financial distress. As they all came home to "roost" in our new home things really spun out of control for me. I ran frantically about trying to help our children and grandchildren while attempting to keep our new house nice. I retired from my job, but I couldn’t stop stressing. I gave up my dreams and thought I had to do everything. I never knew (until then) how obsessive and controlling I could be.
But today, as I sit with my laptop open while receiving a high dose vitamin C IV treatment, I’m thinking that this is the most time I’ve had to write (consistently) in a while. Yesterday I listened to some of my favorite songs on my phone and relished the uninterrupted time to myself. Later today I will sit in the sauna for 30 minutes and then go into the hypobaric chamber for an hour or so. The sauna flushes out toxins and the “chamber” oxygenates my cells and is known to heal various traumas. Tomorrow I will have my 8th IPT treatment. (Insulin Potentiated Therapy.)
IPT is the use of insulin and low dose chemotherapy. This is accomplished by having me fast for at least 6 hours, then they administer insulin through the IV to lower my blood sugar (glucose levels are monitored throughout.) The low blood sugar makes the cancer cells hungry (as cancer loves sugar.) The nurse then delivers low dose chemotherapy and the cancer cells gobble it up. It sends the poisons where they are needed and are not so hard on healthy cells.
All of the therapies combine to help improve the immune system and encourage the destruction of unhealthy cells. But, of course, none of this will do anything without the healing presence of Almighty God. Only He knows the number of our days, and the purposes He has planned for us. We can only keep seeking Him and asking Him to lead us and instruct us. I know He is a God who does not waste anything, so therefore I know He has a purpose in all that I am experiencing. And one thing He is teaching me I believe, is how to be still and know Him.
In at least 2 of my treatments, I can't use a cell phone or even hold a book. This is because one treatment uses a magnetic field (so you can't have electronics near it.) The other is the aforementioned sauna that leaves only my head sticking out while I sit enclosed in a medical grade heavy duty plastic tank (called a HOCATT.) The sauna removes toxins and sends oxygen into the pores and also delivers infared light.
It’s been a little interesting to find myself “tied” to these devices/treatments with absolutely nothing to do but sit and relax. In our modern world most of us are pretty task oriented, and if not that—at least entertainment addicted. We find the experience of just sitting still, without music/texting/writing/working/multi-tasking etc. a little bit hard to do. But when I lie on my back and look up to The Lord and be still, I’m finding out that He is God, and there is none like Him.
I also find it interesting that The Lord has taken me away from spending my days with extended family and doing household duties. I knew there was too much demand on my life, but it’s been hard to stop. But by sending me to Clearwater each day, it’s like He made a way to give me rest from it all--without taking me on up to Heaven. I miss the kids, but at least they are still in my life and I’m less burdened. I’ve had to let go of everything.
So, as I revisit this valley of the shadow, I know that He is with me. I get scared sometimes, because I don’t know how well (or if) all this treatment is working. I have about 3 more weeks and then I assume there will be scans as well as suggestions of what we might do next. I remind myself that I am 65 years old and many people do not get anywhere close to that many years on this earth. Therefore, I am blessed. I do hope to stick around longer, however, to see my grandkids grow up and hopefully create for The Glory of God. I live knowing that I wasted many years, but perhaps in God’s hands even those things can be used for His glory.
Most importantly, I do know where I am going whenever that time comes. And I hope (if you have not already done so) that you will invite Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior. He will wash away your sins so that you too can live forever in the best place there ever could be.
And make sure you take a moment today (and every day) to be quiet before our Creator. He promises that if we will be still before Him, we will know Him.
to a reluctant,
Many friends and family walked with me in the recent past during my battle with colon cancer. It began back in 2019, just about the same time things got serious with COVID. I had surgery and chemotherapy and I recorded many of my experiences here in this blog during that time.
It’s now been over 2 years since I completed the chemotherapy. I assumed I was done and thought cancer was behind me. However, as of this past August I’ve now had a recurrence.
I’ve been wrestling with whether or not to write more blogs about cancer. I didn’t want to write just because I have it again. I should have been writing anyway. Not just because of my health, but because I had believed myself to be a writer. So, as I begin again, It is my hope I will have some insights to share, and more importantly, the Love of The Father who has already brought me so very far. I know He will never leave me or forsake me. And He will never leave you either. So please join me on this grand adventure! I call it an adventure, because it truly is.
Of course we were shocked when my routine PET scan back in August revealed 3 small tumors. I felt well and didn’t notice much of anything. I was still regaining strength from the original chemo and thought I would at least have a few more years before I had to worry about cancer again. But, I guess I will deal with it now.
Early in August I had bloodwork prior to a scheduled CT scan. The bloodwork was slightly alarming as my CEA levels were a little high. I also had begun to experience some weakness. The CT scan showed some more concerning stuff, and I could feel a lump on the right side of my abdomen near the original cancer site.
The CT scan was followed up by a PET scan in September (2 months ago.) That scan showed 3 spots or tumors. One is near my bladder and one near the colon and I don’t know about the other. My doctors wanted to do a biopsy to make sure it was all colon cancer and not ovarian (as I have had some ovarian cyst issues.) The biopsy would reveal the cancer type and thus the treatment.
It was assumed that most likely I had metastatic colon cancer and would probably be treated in a similar way as I was before. But If ovarian, it would mean chemo first, then surgery, then more chemo. Either way, it sounded like a slow death to me. It might slow the growth of the tumors, but the chemotherapy would just wear me down. Chemotherapy didn’t kill all of the cancer cells the first time, so how effective would it be a second time? I had to stop and think, and pray.
I avoided their calls and cancelled my appointments. We began to look into alternative treatments. My husband and I have always been interested in alternative health and we were familiar with treatments some might consider risky or fraudulent. However, there are other sides to this “fraudulent” equation because of the concern that pharmaceutical companies are controlling most of the cancer treatments carried out in our nation. New (and even well-established-but-not considered-conventional) treatments aren’t even an option from available providers.
We had already learned about how doctors who use mistletoe, Ivermectin, low dose chemotherapy, high dose IV vitamin C and other such treatments produce positive results. We discussed some of these possibilities with my doctors but they were (of course) adamantly opposed. We were faced with a big decision. I needed The Lord to intervene. I didn’t want to get out ahead of Him. I needed Him to show me what to do and to lead the way.
20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30: 20- 21
I truly struggled with this bread of adversity, and I did not wish to drink the water of affliction. But we aren’t promised a life without trouble. And if it were not for the trouble, we may not see the ways in which God is working to bring out the very best in us. The obstacles are our teachers as we learn and live and lean on Him. How else would we ever find the diamond without the polishing of the stone?
We chose the alternative route that led us to a clinic in Clearwater. I wasn’t completely sure if I was going “the way” or not, but we asked God to block it, if not. God showed me some rainbows at opportune times, opened up some ways that otherwise might not have opened. Even the storm (Hurricane Ian) that cancelled my first appointments (and made me wonder if I was going the right way) still opened up for me. I feared Clearwater might be blown away in the storm. But it was not, and I am now traveling to Clearwater 4 to 5 days a week for treatments there.
I will have at least 10 weeks of treatment which include High dose (IV) vitamin treatments, hyperbolic chamber, sauna, mistletoe, Ivermectin and fenbendazole as well as low dose chemotherapy and mega dose supplementation and keto diet. But only God can heal me. in the process I am learning about being still before Him, and leaning on the everlasting arms: The One who created all things; The Author and Finisher of my faith.
The Journey begins…
This Present Rain By April M. Whitt
This is the day we saved for
Like pennies stored in Heaven
Blessings run from the rooftop
Down to rivulets
At my front door
I sit beside the window
Holding the moment like a tea cup
Outside, my yellow rain boots
Fill with rain
My Upturned red umbrella
Replenishing and quenching the dry ground
This is a time of refreshing
Not for hurrying to the next thing
Not for worrying about tomorrow
Or for grieving a past sorrow
I sip the moment
And savor every swallow
I’m drenched with quiet joy
This present rain
© April M. Whitt 2018
Psalm 23:5, Isaiah 44:3 Mathew 6:34, John 4:14
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Hope For Our Schools And This World
In reaction to yet another shooting, our local schools have announced that no backpacks will be allowed on campuses for the remainder of the school year. Law enforcement officers will be stationed in all schools, and everyone is on high safety alert.
These are trying times for all of us. Even if you are a follower of Jesus Christ you might begin to wonder why and how such terrible things could be happening in our schools and in this world. Is there any hope that things can get better? And how can we feel safe when it seems that everything is out of control? There is no easy answer, but there is hope.
First, its important to remember that life in this world is temporary for all of us. And although it isn’t Hell, it isn’t Heaven either. The presence of God is here in the goodness of life and love myriad blessings. But there is also an increasingly active presence of evil. And because people are turning away from God, we are becoming more open to sin and its destructive path. God does not cause the evil in this world, but He does allow the natural consequences of sin to play itself out.
That’s the bad news. But here is the good news: God has complete power and control over everything! But you might wonder why He doesn’t simply step in and stop all the things that are happening—and the truth is that He will do just that at the appointed time. (But no person knows exactly when that is.) The important thing to focus on, is that He will step into your life at the exact moment you ask Him to. And He will begin a work in you—that you will actually be glad for. And you don’t have to change yourself first, just come as you are. You really have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
He is your shield and your mighty strong tower! You can ask him to protect you and your loved ones! And by trusting in Him you can live under His protection, AND you can look forward to an eternity without fear, pain or sorrow. Seek Him, and become someone who will help to bring light into this darkening world!
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened
“You are the light of the world... let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14
"What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee." Psalm 56:3
"Trust in The Lord with all of your heart" Prov.3:5
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Also please contact me if you would like to know more about trusting Christ as your Savior. (Use form below or send email.)
The Forever King!
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the final 7 days of Christ’s earthly ministry. Riding on a donkey’s colt, Jesus began His triumphal journey at the Mount of Olives.
Luke 19:29-40 tells us the colt He sat upon had never been ridden before. Most colts have to be trained before they will tolerate a rider. I wonder, though Luke doesn’t tell us, did the colt have some sense that his burden was The Light of the world?
And what a unique parade it was as the disciples and crowds of people threw down their cloaks and branches of palm to honor Him! Most Kings would enter a city with much more pomp and regalia; but in the same manner our Savior entered the world humbly in a stable at His birth, His splendor was also hidden when He entered Jerusalem as Messiah and King.
The Pharisees who were in the crowd asked Jesus to silence the praises of the disciples. But Jesus answered them by saying: “if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” What a spectacle that would have been if the rocks began to praise Him! We know God can do anything and if He led Moses to bring water from a rock in the desert, He could easily give voices to stones. But I believe Jesus was actually referring to the Law which is written on stone. I believe He was stating that even if no one saw Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, The Law itself (The Ten Commandments) would proclaim who He is! He is the only One who could fulfill the law! He is the only One who lived a sinless life! And He is the ONLY ONE who could be the perfect, Holy sacrifice to pay the terrible sin debt owed by you and me!
That’s why we rejoice at Easter because He is Risen! He paid for our sins at the cross and defeated death by His own death, burial and resurrection! He lives forever and He is coming back for us! But this time when He comes again to the Mount of Olives, His glory will not be hidden. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that He is LORD!
Happy Easter Everyone!
January 1, 2018
It's A Brand New Year!
And many of us are wondering—what will this new year hold? Will it simply be more of the same from last year—or, might it be a new adventure just waiting to unfold?
Perhaps you’ve laid some groundwork. Maybe you saved up a little cash, or started a new job or began a new relationship or moved to a new location. Or, maybe you’re starting off in exactly the same place and state of mind you remained in throughout 2017. It doesn’t really matter where you’ve been or even where you’ve set your heart on going…until you have placed those hopes for a great new beginning in “His” hands.
God is the creator of all things, and the One who created you also implanted your heart’s desire. He gave you your talents, strengths and abilities and gave you the potential to do and be all that He has created you to be. He doesn’t make it easy (I’m still learning that) but with an attitude of trust and the willingness to try—comes the possibility of great change.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
Change can be scary, but change could also be wonderful! It could mean seeing dreams come true or seeing yourself or loved ones increase in strength and character or producing in ways you never thought were possible!
Maybe it’s time to look past our problems and try to see what new thing God has for us. Invite Him into those places you may have kept Him away from in the past. Lay out your plans and your fears before Him, and then allow Him to direct the way!
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Psalm 32:8
Happy New Year! 2018
A Tree Chosen And Carefully Planted
Learning to completely rely on The Lord is a lifelong process, but I have found the more I trust Him, the more He blesses me and brings about His will for my life. A tree planted by the waters is a tree that is chosen and loved and carefully planted right where our Creator wants us to be. When you are “planted” in Him, you’ll be solid and full of life and wisdom. You will be strong and not “wither” even when things get tough. You will bear fruit to help others—even later in life. So don’t give up and think you are too old (or too young) because sometimes that’s when we produce the best fruit of all!