Sunday, January 24, 2010

Life Unexpected is Still Life!

Ever hear anyone say, "You never know what to expect next in this life!"? But life happens anyway, expected or not.

A couple of weeks ago, I was happily planning a get together at my apartment with some friends from work and another friend who used to work with us. I had gone through the recent routine of my annual physical, including a mammogram. I got a call to come back in for a follow-up mammogram as they had found something they didn't like. I didn't like it, either! It was interrupting my life! I had the repeat mammogram and they scheduled a biopsy. One of the girls at work asked if I wanted to postpone the Saturday get-together. Absolutely not! Just because something had invaded my body was no reason to cancel life and crawl into a hole until the storm passed. We had our afternoon tea that Saturday and got caught up with each other and laughed and ate gingerbread scones and leftover Christmas cookies. One of my favorite teas, and one I always prepare for a tea party, is Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer. It seems to go with anything and was particularly appropriate this day.

After an MRI, I was scheduled for surgery to remove the cancerous lump this past Tuesday. Initial reports were that they got it all, but the final pathology report showed that in the middle of the non-invasive tumor were some invasive cancer cells, so now it is back to the operating table next week to check things out further. This time, I did want to crawl into a hole and wait out the storm. I called a friend to come sit with me for a while and she came over, hugged me and let me cry. Then she put my head in her lap and stroked my hair and comforted me as we talked about cancer and unfulfilled dreams and myriads of other things. When she left, my heart was stronger. My sister asked me how my courage was when she called that night and I had to admit that I didn't have any right now. She said that was okay, everyone else could be courageous for me.

It is not that I expect to die, because I don't. God highlighted Psalm 118:17 to me: "I will not die, but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done." And no, He did not highlight the next verse to me! I do not sense that He is chastising me in any way, but He is doing a deeper work of trusting Him through this experience. What I am dealing with is the shock of the unexpected; this shock came in wave upon wave and I could not get through one wave before another hit. So, I gave up trying. My prayer has been, "God, you are faithful and do not lie and I am staying in agreement with You." Father God says Jesus healed me and who am I to argue with God?

I have stopped trying to be strong and in control. That is the job of the Holy Spirit in me. When Mom asked what she could do for me since she could not be here for me, I told her I wanted flowers. The very next day, flowers were at my door! I stick my nose in them and touch them and enjoy their life-restoring fragrance. A friend asked me how she could pray, so I told her I am concerned about paying the bills for what my insurance won't cover. I know she prayed because I am no longer worried about the bills because God is already providing in unexpected ways. Not all of the unexpected things in life are dreary!

And, being a writer of sorts, I felt the need to write this blog and share not only the recipe for the gingerbread scones, but my heart as I walk out this journey of faith and trust in an "unseen" God who shows Himself through the friends and family who are surrounding me with their faith, love, prayers and support. I see Him in you and my heart is comforted.

Gingerbread Scones

2 cups flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon each ginger, cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon each cloves, nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1 large egg
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2" cubes and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form.

Mix the egg, molasses, milk and vanilla together and add to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add a bit more milk if necessary. The dough should be sticky and slightly crumbly.

Pat into an 8" circle on a greased cookie sheet and cut into eight wedges with a serrated edged knife. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove to wire rack and cool for about five minutes. Recut into wedges and serve with Maple Butter.

Maple Butter

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons maple syrup

Blend well and serve at room temperature.