Looking intently…

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It’s been too long since my last post. I know this because so many of  you dear folks have been asking how I’m doing. I apologize for causing you concern. I am grateful for your care, kind words and prayers. I’m not really sure why I haven’t posted in such a long time … part of the answer is that I have been busy living life rather than writing about it! I’ve jumped into some new hobbies which have held my limited focus. Part of my current reality is decreased discipline and increased forgetfulness, and not really feeling like spending much time on the computer.

But probably the deeper reason I haven’t posted with my typical frequency is because I have needed time to work through some cancer grief. Cancer attacks and steals too many beloved people, and some days that’s really, really hard. This winter has been a hard season, but not without grace and joy and beauty. Sometimes we have to look intently …

March brought scans and good news from the oncologist: cancer is shrinking! Praise God! Each month a large box arrives by courier, free of charge, containing my supply of pills. Four in the morning and four in the evening. Each time with a high fat large snack or meal. No wonder people on this med tend to pack on the pounds! I am no exception, and I am happy to be alive and fat, though many of my favourite clothes aren’t fitting. Alive! So much to be thankful for! We rejoice!

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I feel better than I have since before my diagnosis. I’m still tired and have various aches and pains and side effects, but so much better than the side effects of any of the other treatments! Praise God!

In March, our middle child went on an exchange to a small hamlet in Northern Canada. What a great opportunity for which we are very thankful! The youth from up North are scheduled to arrive here for six days next month! When we first signed him up, I told the group I wasn’t sure how much my health would allow me to help. I am thrilled to say that by God’s grace I’ve been able to do my part, including baking several dozen cupcakes in February, and making art for a silent auction fundraiser.

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I hunkered down* through the last of the Winter, and threw myself into a variety of creative pursuits. I made three long scarves, numerous beaded jewelry items, and started painting for the first time since I was a kid. Painting became part of my Lenten pilgrimage, and I learned more about looking intently. I was pleased with the pictures I made, and had fun doing it! I found inspiration in the daily bird calendar, which is obvious if you look at my work! Here are just a few, starting with the Toucan which was my first ever:

*Hunkered Down is a reference to a Malcolm Guite poem that has been rolling around in my heart and mind this Winter season. You can read /hear it by clicking on this link: Malcolm Guite “Because We Hunkered Down” Feb. 2017

Here is my Easter 2017 picture:

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This next one was inspired by my son’s trip up North. I made it for the silent auction, but it was kind of hard to let it go! The words in the “footprints” are from “Dene Laws”, which he saw at the Northern school. The person who won this item in the silent auction was one of the trip leaders. He took photo’s which inspired me to make this art, so I’m really happy he has it!

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I’m always eager to head out in search of Signs of Spring! What a gift to be able to be out walking and breathing (fairly) easily! I’ve enjoyed many walks with family and friends. So much beauty! So much joy! Grace abounds! Looking intently …

Before I forget to mention, I’m off in the morning to Washington DC, for LUNGevity’s big Lung Cancer patient HOPE summit, which runs Fri. evening – Sun. I’m also attending the Advocate summit all day Friday. I’m looking forward to connecting with some excellent people and hoping to learn a lot! I’m thankful for the anonymous donor who made it possible for me to go, and I hope to honour that generous gift and make a difference! Being away for four days is a huge step for me, and it will take loads of discipline to not overdo it! If I’m up for it, I may tweet about it #DCHOPE17, and possibly post on fb. I certainly plan to update my blog upon my return! 🙂

Very often I am deeply moved by the care and compassion that dear people show. I promise you: it makes a difference! It’s hard work, being a cancer patient. Thank you for helping our family carry this load! You never know the full impact of a kind word or deed. Look intently for signs of love and goodness, and know with certainty that grace abounds even beyond what we can imagine or see! May you receive showers of blessing, and may you see flowering and fruitfulness resulting!

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14 thoughts on “Looking intently…

  1. Thanks for sharing your journey, Jill. It’s nice to be truly kept in your ‘loop.’ Blessings to you as this new season unfolds….

    ~ He is enough…

    >

  2. Beautifully written, dear Jill! So good to have the encouragement to look intently. Your creative pursuits are filled with joy from above. So grateful for the good news in March.

  3. Thank you dear Jill for this beautiful blog posting. What a blessing you are to your friends and family, There is so much encouragement here for all of us who are on this journey called life. To yes, look intently, to count our blessings day by day and hold fast hand in hand with the one who has promised to never leave us or for sake us, no matter how hard the journey.
    With love in spirit and in prayer,
    Lesley

  4. Thank you Jill for sharing, I am always so blessed when I hear from you. Praise the Lord for such happy news in March!! Keep persevering in this journey! Praying for you and your family!! =)

  5. So wonderful to read your update Jill and to know you are feeling better. Such a gifted, talented lady – writing/painting/photography – certainly using your God-given gifts. May you have a truly blessed time at the lung summit. You continue to be in my prayers.

  6. So pleased Jill to read about the positive impacts of this new treatment and the wonderful Lenten journey you have had enriching your life and creativity. Thanks for sharing it and may God continue to bless and enfold you all in his love and care. Mx

  7. Thank you, Jill, for sharing your journey with such grace and beauty. To say your post is “inspirational” is true but inadequate. Your courage and joy and honesty shine in every amazing sentence and every glory-filled picture. Warmest thanks! – Susa

  8. My dear Jill, Your faith and your journey are such a blessing to me! Praise God for the strength you are feeling!  Praise God for improved scans!  Praise God for you! I will pray that your time at the conference is amazing and that God provides for you in remarkable ways. Know without a doubt that your faith and your life is a blessing to many!!! Love Paula

    From: Through the Valley To: ernsts@rogers.com Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 3:10 PM Subject: [New post] Looking intently… #yiv4005434413 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4005434413 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4005434413 a.yiv4005434413primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4005434413 a.yiv4005434413primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4005434413 a.yiv4005434413primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4005434413 a.yiv4005434413primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4005434413 WordPress.com | Jill posted: “It’s been too long since my last post. I know this because so many of  you dear folks have been asking how I’m doing. I apologize for causing you concern. I am grateful for your care, kind words and prayers. I’m not really sure why I haven’t posted in su” | |

  9. Thank you Jill. You are such an inspiration. Beautiful art that inspires me too. I’ve given up so much perfectionism in life, which is good since it robs the joy. However, I still need to aim for discipline and excellence in painting by enjoying the process as you clearly have. I pray for you a balance of energy while in Washington. Love and prayer to you and your family.

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