Monday, October 24, 2011
Coming back to Colorado this time has been like walking into a sanctuary of rest and restoration. Our days have been spent with strolls among the Aspens shedding their golden leaves, golf, and reading. Gary has also reclaimed his passion for painting. While here, he has painted a beautiful skull that we will leave here in the Woodson's Condo.
We have also taken lengthy challenging walks in the uneven terrain of Snowmass. I feel better now as I write this blog than I have in months. Each day we have walked at least 2.5 miles, however on Sunday, we got a little carried away and walked 3.5 miles. It was so beautiful, we couldn't resist. I have walked with an overwhelming sense of gratefulness.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
On August 26, I went to Dallas to visit my girlfriends, Amanda and Diane. Amanda is a hairdresser and has been doing my hair for about 20 years. When I began to lose my hair, she came and gave me a "high and tight" haircut. As my hair continued to fall out, it wasn't so dramatic for me. My hair loss was very random. It began to thin and fall out in patches. However, from about the crown of my head in the back it all fell out. I was totally bald in the back part of my head. So when my hair began to grow back, it was random. My hair began to grow on top, but the back part of my head remained bald. On one of my visits to the doctor, he told me that the back hair loss could very possibly be permanent damage from the radiation. We continued to pray and trust for restoration!
By the time I went to visit Amanda, my hair had begun to grow and fill in. She put highlights in it, shaped it up, and when she turned me around to look at it, she was crying and when I saw it, I started crying. She was able to cut it and blend it into a VERY CUTE short hairstyle.
I WAS SO EXCITED!! It was a day I will never forget...............................BUT DID I?
Yesterday, I had washed my hair and didn't fix it immediately, I just let it dry. Then when I was ready to style it, I put the gel on it and started trying to get the back to lay down, but all it would do was "flip". (the back has more curl in it than the top does). So I put more gel on it, put more water on it, blow dried it, but it still "flipped". I was standing there looking at it and said, "oh my, I can't get it to stop "flipping" and that's when Jesus said, "it wasn't that long ago that you didn't have hair to flip." I immediately said, "OH JESUS!! I'm so sorry! It's OK if it wants to "flip"!! I just really DON'T GIVE A FLIP!
I AM GRATEFUL!
Oh how quickly we can forget! BUT I'M SO THANKFUL that Jesus loves me enough to remind me of His provision!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
You see, at the time she gave me that compliment, I was very weak, I was very thin, and I did not feel very pretty. I felt sick! Certainly not beautiful. But after this young woman left, I was gratfeul that my appearance had encouraged a young woman facing the loss of her beautiful hair.
Today, I was in Dillards picking up a gift. As I checked out, there were two young sales associates at the register. One looked up and said "Your hair is so cute! It's a pixie cut!" I said "thank you, it's nice to have hair again" and she responded, in her innocence, "what do you mean?" I told her that I had finished cancer treatment and this was my new haircut. At that point she said "oh my gosh I am so sorry." (she thought she had offended me.) I laughed and told her that I really appreciated her compliment. The other young woman standing there, said "wow, you aren't just beautiful, you are so fashionable." At this point, I laughed out loud! These two young women have no idea what their innocent and refreshing conversation did for me! The memories of recent days are still so fresh, it doesn't take much for me to be teary eyed. As I walked away from that encounter with two young women I thanked God for His continued restoration of my body, my hair, and my strength.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
DEMONSTRATE YOUR TRUST IN ME by sitting quietly in My Presence. Put aside all that is waiting to be done, and refuse to worry about anything. This sacred time together strengthens you and prepares you to face whatever the day will bring. By waiting with Me before you begin the day’s activities, you proclaim the reality of My living Presence. This act of faith—waiting before working—is noted in the spirit world, where your demonstration of trust weakens principalities and powers of darkness. (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)
The predawn morning was absolutely beautiful! As I walked out to the bench for my quiet time in His presence, I couldn't help but think about the many strolls I took to this bench in the past several months. Although the path was the same, the feet that walked the path had a different step. I walked to the bench without the need to stop and rest. I walked to the bench without pain. I walked to the bench without someone holding on to me so I wouldn't fall. I walked to the bench this morning, GRATEFUL!!!
Monday, August 22, 2011
In November, 2010, I was advised by my surgeon that the swollen lymph gland in my neck should be removed and biopsied. With that news, my Trusting Journey began. Surgery took place on December 14, 2010. I was not prepared to hear the report on December 16, “Mrs. Pratt the mass that was removed in surgery is cancer.”
As I began to navigate through the days and months that followed, I found that the Quiet Influence of so many of my friends and family sustained me during the difficult and almost debilitating moments that I faced on my Trusting Journey.
In her book, Becoming a Woman of Influence, Carol Kent encourages women to discover the power we have in Christ to influence others like Jesus did. That no matter what happens to us in this life, we can choose faith, we can choose hope and we can choose to Trust. God can use whatever happens to us in our lives to be a platform upon which He can give hope, peace and even joy to others during the darkest, most difficult storms in our lives.
I found this to be true. There were days, I could not communicate with the outside world. I couldn’t even talk to my own children. I would call my husband on my cell phone, although he was in the next room, and when he would hear the silence, he would come to me. One of my girlfriends later gave me a “cow bell” to use to summons him……………….that was interesting………..LOL!
My blog became my voice.
I decided early on in this Journey, that I wanted to encourage others to navigate with faith during difficult time and I was determined to turn my fear into a catalyst of courage. Even in the most difficult struggle of this Trusting Journey, there were Girlfriends, Ministry Friends and Family that continued to be a “Quiet Influence” in my life. With every card, every text, every email, every comment on my blog, every meal provided for my family, every pedicure or manicure, every massage, every act of kindness, I was strengthened and encouraged. I was constantly lifted in prayer which sustained me.
This wasn’t a journey I anticipated. Although this appeared to be a major interruption in my life, I quickly realized that this interruption could actually be a divine appointment. The Lord began to impress upon my heart that I should live in such a way that my walk, my talk, (or my whisper) should be moments that impart God’s love to others and impact their lives with HOPE. We have a responsibility as Christian Women to be Jesus to people and to allow them to see us in action, living our lives the way Christian Women should.
The scripture that I stood on during this Trusting Journey was Proverbs 3:5 & 6, Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not to your own understanding, but in all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. I did not “UNDERSTAND”, but I decided that I would ‘TRUST”.
This may have seemed to be an interruption in my life, but I have been given so many opportunities to share the love of Jesus with women that are going through difficult times too. Just like Karen.
Gary and I took a few days of vacation to Snowmass, Colorado. My girlfriend, Christie, arranged for me to have a massage at a local spa after we arrived. Although we split the trip, the long ride in the car rendered my body very sore and tired. So you can imagine how much I looked forward to being pampered and enjoy the soothing, relaxing moments I anticipated. As I sat in my robe in the peaceful atmosphere that had been created in this elegant setting, a very soft voice said, “Mrs. Pratt I am here to serve you. May I wash your feet.” In that moment, I felt the presence of Jesus. It was as though He was saying to me, “May I wash your feet, I know your journey has been long.” I opened my eyes to a beautiful young woman kneeling at my feet, with a beautiful smile, a tender touch and a turban wrapped around her head. She said, “I see from your paper work, that you have just completed cancer treatment. I am in my third week of treatment.” As we began to converse I realized that this was a divine interruption. Karen, although not a professing woman of faith, was so compassionate in her care for me, and God gave me the opportunity to share with her how He had sustained me during this difficult passage of my life. When the massage was finished, with tears in our eyes, I hugged her and told her I wanted to bring her a gift, a “TRUSTING” shirt that would remind her that a Girlfriend in Oklahoma would be praying for her and that she was not alone in her Journey. She in turn gave me a stone with the words “HOPE” engraved on it.
Friends and Family, you will never know how much your prayers and encouragement have meant to me. Your Quiet Influence has inspired me. Thank you for your continued prayers on my behalf. There are so many people out there just waiting for our lives to be interrupted, so that they can hear the good news, that JESUS LOVES THEM. We never know when God will allow our paths to be interrupted so that we can share our faith with others.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
This is the first hamburger I had eaten in over 9 months! It took a long time to eat it, but I enjoyed EVERY bite. Thank you Gary for your patience and tender care for me, through it :)
Monday, June 27, 2011
Last Monday morning I was up early (3 am) drinking water, preparing for my PT/CT Scan, the first since my treatment was completed in April.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
We went to Bridgeport, Texas on Friday night. Adolfo and Shanda have been hosting a Bible Study for some of the Texas Troopers that Adolfo works with. He had ask Gary to come and speak for the Study. We had a great time with everyone and definitely knew that it was a God ordained appointment. God showed up and hearts were ministered to.
Saturday morning, Grammy had Cinco all to myself. We slept in, had a late breakfast, went for walks, had snacks under the shade tree, talked about every bird that flew over, had more snacks, sat on the porch and talked about everything and nothing. Treasured moments with my grandson.
I made Cinco scrambled eggs (with ketchup) for breakfast. In the middle of eating, he laid his fork down and looked up at me and said "Grammy do you feel better this morning". Through my tears I said "Yes, Cinco, I do feel better" and he said "Good Grammy, we can play" It was then that I realized, that even my 3 year old grandson was aware and sensitive to what was going on.
The new addition to the Patterson family is "Toodles" Such a cute little schnauzer. She follows Cinco around like a shadow.
Gary and Shanda had a great time at the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament, but I am convinced they didn't have as much fun as Cinco and I had:)
Saturday, June 18, 2011
There was not one day that I did not receive something from S.A.Y.
On May 29, the LFA Singles held their dinner and a movie. Gary said he would like for me to go even if it was just for a little while. This was the first Sunday night I had felt like attending. So when we arrived and walked into the Youth Center, there were tables set up in a circle, with one table in the center and that is where they ask me to be seated. I thought how thoughtful of them to welcome me back, little did I know what was happening. I HAD NO IDEA.
After the meal, one by one, people began to stand up and quote a verse from Psalm 91. I quickly realized they were quoting the scripture to ME! (many times in the cards, Psalm 91 was referred to). Then Aletha, (our coordinator of LFA Singles) stood up and said "Pastor Debbie, we know that you have been receiving cards, gifts, and flowers from S.A.Y. and you have wondered who that was. Well, look around at the faces and you will know. S.A.Y. stands for SINGLES AROUND YOU. I burst into tears. They had no idea how TIMELY the cards and what they wrote in them were. They had ministered to me from afar, touching the depths of my heart so gently with each of their encouraging acts of love. They truly displayed what love and compassion is really all about.
Friday, June 17, 2011
On June 4th, Matt and Lisa revewed their vows in a beautiful ceremony in Colorado Springs, officiated by their Pastors, Todd and Kelly Hudnall.
Monday, June 6, 2011
During my treatment, Matt and Lisa came to visit. I told Matt I had gotten a hair cut just like his, "a high and tight".
Friday, May 13, 2011
The 98th Oklahoma District Council convened in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on April 25. The Ordination Service which took place on April 26, without a doubt has been indelibly etched into our hearts and minds!
In the Assemblies of God, attaining Ordination is the highest level of credentials available in the Fellowship.
Gary and I have been in ministry for 27 years. In the beginning of our ministry, we knew that holding credentials with our beloved Assemblies of God, would not be an option. Because of a previous marriage, the standards prescribed by The General Council of the Assemblies of God prohibited our pursuit of credentials. Nevertheless, we were called to the ministry and continued to function in the call God had placed on our lives within the Fellowship of the Assemblies of God.
In recent years the General Council standards on remarriage/credentialing were revised. We were contacted officially to apply for our credentials, which we did.
On April 26, 2011, we realized a miracle/dream come true. We never thought we would see this day.
We are so grateful for our wonderful family and friends that celebrated with us, either in person, texts, phone calls or cards. The journey has been a very rewarding one. Thank you for sharing this monumental event with us.
When our application process began, neither Gary or me were having any health issues. However, in August of 2009 Gary was diagnosed with prostate cancer. That was a difficult year as we walked through the uncertainties of his diagnosis and treatment. In October 2010, Gary’s 1 year test results came back cancer free. We took a trip of a lifetime to Israel with our dear friends Ron and Christie Woodson. We celebrated Gary’s good reports and rejoiced in God’s faithfulness.
Upon our return from Israel in November 2010, I was diagnosed with cancer. In spite of the challenges we have faced over the past 2 years, we continue to experience God’s Faithfulness!
We look forward to what God has on the horizon, as we continue to walk in the calling He has placed on our lives. We BELIEVE our BEST days are ahead.