I have been holding off on this post for some time. Not because it is not important (nothing could be farther from the truth) but because just writing down these words is a solid reminder of the reality of what I am about to write. I am not one to put off reality, truth... as a matter of fact I love truth and actively seek it, but being human sometimes the truth is more than your heart can bear, and that is what I have been struggling with.
A few months ago I fell ill. Our life this year has been a roller coaster of ups and downs which had eventually taken its toll on me. So from September to November I was in and out of doctors appointments trying to figure out just what was going on (The final assessment was that I was under a whole lot of stress, go figure). During all of this, I had a close group of friends praying for me and uplifting we with their words and messages. In October I went into radiology for a test to examine my stomach function (which ended up being just fine after a few more tests). It just so happened that on this same day, by friend Cheryl Waters (artsyfindings.com) was going in for a regularly scheduled mammogram. As we texted back and forth about our procedures, suddenly I got the text that no friend wants to receive. "Please pray for me, they want me to see a specialist". This was just a routine mammogram... that is NOT what your friend is supposed to hear.
We were both supposed to go home after our tests to our families, happy and just fine. This wasn't the case. My friend Cheryl was diagnosed with breast cancer. Never have I hated cancer so much as I do right now knowing that it is effecting my beautiful friend. I am sorry, but I do, I HATE YOU CANCER.
Cheryl has been my friend for about 6 years now, we met through the Scrapbook Industry through various events that have crossed our paths, but I know that God brought Cheryl into my life. Our lives haven't just intertwined, they have meshed and from this have created a beautiful friendship based on love in Christ and for others. Our families were meant to live life side by side. Our lives have paralleled, sometimes even our lives have happened just in the event that one would go through something and then be able to council the other... but regardless of the details our lives were meant to cross and be lived along side each other.
Cheryl has become a friend to me similar to an oak tree, sturdy, strong, dependable, comforting... embracing... I can say that I am thoroughly proud of her and the journey that she is about to embark towards healing. In our conversations and messages, I have seen a true authentic person, one that I never questioned was there... but one that no illness could take away or shake. I know that this is a struggle for her, but what I have seen from her is a beautiful abounding grace that shares with others the true humbleness of going through her journey. This is such a beautiful treasure to know that she is real... this is real. And that is ok.
One of the conversations that I had with Cheryl, she mentioned that through this journey all she wanted to do was to make each day count for the lord. This spoke volumes to me, as a christian and as a human that no matter what life hands us we still have the opportunity and the responsibility to make our best efforts towards utilizing what ever our given scenario is for good. So with these words: MAKE TODAY COUNT... I want to invite you to join me in a few exercises not only to keep my friends spirits up, but to remind ourselves of the importance of each day that we have to give.
This print (above) is one that I created, not because I wanted to do something kind for my friend but because I had too. I can only describe it as part of my own healing process or perhaps a part of God's greater plan. I had to keep my hands busy while I worked through the emotions of Cheryl's diagnosis. Regardless... I take no credit in the words or the thought behind this print, merely that my hands were the ones that hit computer keys and made it happen, nothing more.
A few of my friends have joined forces in taking this 8x8 print and altering it to share virtually with Cheryl. If you would like to join us the idea is simple and here it is:
- email me or message me on facebook (primadonnaliz@yahoo(dot)com or Liz del Real Hicks
- I will send you the original file
- print it up
- alter the print
- post pictures on facebook and tag Cheryl or myself (if you are not friends with Cheryl)
- If you want to write a blog post or do more, you are more than welcome
Another way to show some love (as some of us are heading to our trade show for CHA) is just to share a simple message or picture on facebook. One of my most treasured times with Cheryl was a night a few years ago that a small group of our friends had fun with some sharpies... After a long day of working the trade show we met at a restaurant and somehow we pulled out some sharpies and we ended up with Cheryl's art adorning our arms, hands, some killer finger staches... and a few of the ladies vowed their devotion to my husband and wrote TEAM JAMES on their arm ♥ It was a wonderful time of friendship, silliness and just wonderful time spent together.
So as we get together for CHA, we will continue this legacy and show our support with a Pink Sharpie.
There are so many ways to honor friends, help them through tough times or even just lift their spirits up... This is as much a part of our journey as their support. I know that Cheryl has started on this long journey for a reason, I have no question of that. What that reason is exactly is not for any of us to understand. As much as I want to take this burden from her and throw it out into the deepest part of the ocean, I can't... but what I can do is be as much of a help and support as I can for my friend. I hope you will join me in support of my friend... and perhaps be inspired to take action for your friends if ever the time calls for it.