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Author Archives: Healing Eyes

Faithfulness

After sharing my story with a church back in April, before moving to St. Croix to help out at Lighthouse Mission, my story was made live for others to see this past Sunday. I watched it from a friend’s house and shed a few tears as the person who introduced it shared how he remembered helping paint my house while Andy was sick. Before putting our house on the market a group of volunteers came over and painted it the Blue I had wanted for years. Andy lay inside exhausted from Chemo treatments while the house got a makeover. For some reason that part made me cry the most, it was nice that he remembered that bit of help he did for us.

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Healing Eyes

Pink ukulele brings joy

I had a brilliant blog entry all typed up and then the internet dropped and I lost the whole thing. Another part of island life to get used to…free wifi means compromise, but then again I think its much slower than the states anyways.

Today was a fulfilling day at the Boys and Girls Club, although quite frustrating with the Junior high kids. They seem to have no respect and consider me a bother to deal with. Alas, I did get two of the young ladies to listen to me and I think they remembered some of the computer skills I taught them. After the abuse from the older kids was done I got to grab my pink ukulele and searched for Angel who asked to play it again.

Outside the kids quickly swarmed around me to play the ukulele. We ended up having a cute sing along to the ‘Let it Go’ song from Frozen. It’s amazing how many words they know from the song but how little they remember about word comprehension and math. Oh well, a downfall of not enough adults to give them one on one attention with their homework it seems. Some days its me and 20 some 3rd and 4th graders in a small room with picnic tables, needless to say its a lot of yelling and not so much concentrating. Slowly we’ll get there.

I let each kid have a turn with the ukulele and taught them a few notes and how to strum. They really were drawn to it and it was a great encouragement after the older kids put me through the ringer. After I gave all my love and attention to them I drove home to my little apartment by the water. It’s a beautiful view but at night its lonely and dark. When I got home my stomach started to grumble and I realized it was the dreaded time of night where I have to figure out what to make. One thing about gastric cancer is the repercussions it takes on the ones left behind. Andy lost his stomach and ultimately his life but in the process food now has a stigma with me. It seems I have some post traumatic symptoms to work through on dinner time. I remember when I set up Andy’s feed tubings through his gut and how he hated not being allowed to eat real food, so I would eat in another room and away from his gaze. Months later when he was eating small amounts of food there was one evening where we were eating subs. I had a 7 inch sub and he only was allowed a couple inches to slowly eat. We both broke down crying and I had to tuck my sandwich away so not to make him upset and later that night I silently finished it so not to hurt him more. Gastric cancer took a lot away from us and changed me forever…food is not a pleasant affair and lots of food brings back memories of Andy losing his favorite thing while he was ‘alive’. Somehow I’ll have to work through this one but it’s going to take a lot of work since we take food for granted.

Healing Eyes

Technical Changes aloof

Upcoming changes are in the making as I transition my blog further into my ministry tool to reach others. My heart has been heavy over the past weeks with deciding what changes to make. This morning you will notice some small tweaks to the naming of the site and at some point the url will be changing from sarahandycancer.com to a new exciting one. In a way its a shedding of the story that got me to where I am and a start to a new one.

So stay tuned and don’t fear the url will re-direct to the new one and you shouldn’t see any interruption in posts (unless you use the RSS feed and then you might have to redirect it for those tech saavy readers).

Healing Eyes

So many kids

First day of school at the Lighthouse Mission. It was a nice break from the Boys and Girls Club since I only had 12 kids to attend to. However, I missed my kids at the other club and wished I could be in both places at the same time. Too many kids and not enough of me. Readers you will notice when I am too tired to write a brilliant blog entry:)  Letting kids pull at your heart is more exhausting than one might think, especially for a woman who closed the door to children a long time ago. Now I have too many kids that I love and not letting them wear me out is the new challenge. Each child has the same problem it seems, reading comprehension is just not there, it’s frustrating to see them struggle with words their age should know. I worry for their future and it makes my heart cry. We need more teachers or volunteers to mentor these children…there has to be more that can be done so each child doesn’t get overlooked. The kids at the Boys and Girls club are literally screaming for attention and the staff is doing it’s best to help but they are understaffed and need more teachers. The kids that misbehave get more attention while the quiet ones get left behind. Somehow there has to be a way to change it…there has to be a reason why I am here other than to feel inadequate in helping sooo many little hearts.

Positive moment though was when the Lighthouse kids all said my name really loud because they remembered me. It’s nice to be remembered. One of the girls hugged me and did all her homework today. Another girl was sassy and loud as usual but stood up for me in class, I love that young lady.

Goodnight everyone…I am at my end for the day and will pass out soon

Healing Eyes

Sometimes photos are enough

 

 

 

 

 

Healing Eyes

Abundance with little

I am truly blessed! Living an abundant life of simplicity. I just finished a delicious dinner of chicken and mac & cheese with a corn on the cob, I totally splurged! After a few hours at the Boys and Girls Club I needed it though. Today I was with 7th and 8th graders trying to teach them about computers for the Digital Literacy Program. Exhausting and rewarding. At one point while on my knees talking to one of the boys and going through his answers on the computer. The talk turned from computers to a pep talk about believing in himself. He kept saying ‘I’m dumb, I am stupid’. I told him if he keeps saying that it will become true and he needs to say ‘I am smart’ over and over again.  He basically was a disruption the entire time by goofing off but I am not giving up on him yet.

Before class started I pulled my ukulele out. I debated heavily on if I should bring it or not but I gave into my potential embarrassment and brought it anyways. A little girl was playing outside by herself and so I asked God that if he wanted me to show it to her that he make the first move. Soooo he did… the girl came over to me and asked me if she could play on the computers and I said no.. but I have something cool to show you. It turned out her dad has musical tendency and she likes the guitar so I showed her some chords on the uke and she was doing C and A chords in no time. Then other girls started to show up and I taught them a bit while talking about life and how my husband died and that I don’t have kids (yes the girls started that conversation with their questions).


 

This week I chose to start reprogramming how I think. When I start to feel insecure I remember this:

“Now you are my friend, since I have told you everything the Father told me.  You didn’t choose me, I chose you.”
John 15:15-16

When I start to doubt and think what I am doing is crazy I remember this:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Prov 3:5-8

And when I am clouded by my own problems and end up blind to what’s around me, I think of this:

Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you.  Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that is where the action is.  See things from His perspective. Col 3:2 

Enough Scripture talk! I have ran 3 times this week and I got free French Toast twice! What more do I need?! Free breakfast, good conversation, and exercise to clear my thoughts.

Healing Eyes

Registration for kids program filled up fast

Registration for the After school program at the Lighthouse. I am in charge of the 3-6th graders and it filled up fast! Most are returning kids from last year. We were up to 9 yesterday with 1 spot left and I was praying it would be filled by one very special girl! Her mom showed up today and took the spot, yay!!! Then I gave in to one more returning kid so I’m a bit over capacity but it’s ok…it’s nothing like the Boys and Girls club of 15 + kids in a small hot room.

Next week Tuesday Miss Sarah’s class starts and we shall see who really teaches who over the next months.

As always I need prayer for strength and perseverance. Between two clubs my week will be quite exhausting but I can handle it, the business world of politics and drama prepared me for this (kinda). Screaming kids compared to screaming coworkers hmmm…ya no worries:)

I am so thankful for the donations I have received to help with my mission. I almost have enough collected to pay for my October rent and I know God will somehow provide the rest.

You can Join my supporters mailing list here if you want to join.

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Healing Eyes

Empty and numb

For the first time I have no desire to blog…to share anything…to even go on with this stupid journey. How ludicrous to move to an island where all it does is isolate you more. People come and go and then there is no one…it gets dark early and the electricity is too pricey to use. So I sit in darkness, the light reflects off the walls at least on a full moon. I have one stuffed animal, Olaf, to hold me back at night. No arms to hold me…they were taken away. God’s arms seem so invisible that I can’t even feel them. Break me no more dark grief. Break me no more broken world. 

Others have opinions on how to cope.

Yet I still remain alone. You appreciate what you have when it’s gone. I even miss those damn chemotherapy visits and pointless doctor appointments. The midnight runs to the Emergency room. The lack of affection from Andy when I lost him before he died. I would take anything if only to see him again, to talk to him!

All is meaningless under the sun.

Even the serving at the Boys and Girls Club today felt empty. The kids kept fighting my authority, all of them yell and misbehave, there is no structure or respect for authority there. The kids that need the attention sit quietly but the misbehaving ones steal it all away. The older kids disrupt the classes and its understaffed. The only positive was the meeting I pulled together with the Director on ideas to reign in the chaos. I again am placed in a ‘mediator’ role and at least in that I feel some of my old self coming back. I know I can at least give the ‘soft spoken’ and stern approach to leading. If one of God’s gift to me is Leadership than I’ll take it. Through my quiet spirit God will use me but it is draining. So many emotions pulling at me right now and in the midst I have grief and loss. I don’t want to be a victim but its easy to feel sorry for myself.

I am angry! Damn it! and I miss Andy’s cooking ha!

 

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Healing Eyes

Fog

I awake from a fog of loss. Last week a storm blew through and now a light mist lingers over the dew of morning. Seeing for the first time the depth of damage done in the wake of a great storm. Lives touched by the loss of Andy, loss of family, loss of fuzzy kids, loss of self, and loss of dreams.

Each wave that crashes shakes free another memory thought long gone. In those days after Andy died I dived deep in the pain felt from losing part of yourself. Feeling hopeless in knowing he’s gone but I remain, as if his life was more important than mine.

Now as the fog lifts I see my chance to view life differently. Andy was taken from me tragically but I blame no one. For this loss I don’t blame God, I don’t blame myself, death just happens. I am thankful for knowing Andy and loving him but now I am thankful for a second life.

Thank you for the rain and thunder of the waves.

Thank you for the clash of thunder and lightning.

Thank you for taking everything away to set me free.

 

Timeline for newbies:

Valentine’s gift from Andy

Cancer Sucks

42 Days 

It has begun..now what

Healing Eyes

Choices in grief

Life is full of choices and decisions to live. Those who have experienced great loss can choose to live in that past or be bound by the chains of grief. There are times when those chains serve a purpose, forcing us to face the evil face of grief and cry those tears loss. Then there are times to accept what loss has done to us and be strong. When our strength fails it’s time to rely on other people, let go of our pride and humble ourselves before others and show our vulnerabilities.

Today I experienced all of those feelings and by the end I went so dark into the pit of despair that I feared I would suffocate. But then I took the life line God was throwing at me, he forced me to see my weakness and do something I stubbornly fight against. I reached out to other people for help, I cried out in my pain for a ear to listen to the guilt I carry. God knew my burden was too much for this frail heart to take and he sent me angels today. So many voices today gave me hope and insight into the web of guilt I have choked on. I have learned that in my solitude I am twisting my thoughts into a tiny little prison of guilt. For a moment I broke free in talking to others and seeking help from my therapist. I am weak, I know many think I am strong for flipping my life upside down but I am so frail.

My most precious moment today was when on my second day helping at the Boys and Girls club I saw this look in the kids eyes as they opened up to me. It was madness all around, me and 15 kids with severe A.D.D., and I was teaching them. ‘Miss Sarah, Miss Sarah, help me with this or can I go to the bathroom, I’m thirsty, help me next, help me’. It’s hot and the mosquitos are hungry and I have these 3rd and 4th graders looking to me for guidance. At that moment I wished I could clone myself because I am darting here and there trying to help each kid, frustrated when I had to leave the behaved ones to read on their own. One boy who was working so hard on his homework, quietly, comes to me for help a couple times but each time another kid interrupts. My heart! My heart aches! Why for so many years did Andy and me hide from children, why did we harden our hearts? Kids surrounded me today and I saw how hungry they were for knowledge. They are so far behind in comprehending words and I am just making up ideas on the fly to reach them. The staff today even saw me use discipline and assertiveness to keep the kids attention, I got a thumbs up from one of the teachers. I got on bended knee with one boy in the library and explained how important it is to understand what he reads and not just race through a book. He looked at me, he looked at me with an eagerness to try!

Assembly at Boys and Girls Club

Assembly at Boys and Girls Club

I think of Andy and I smile because he has to be laughing his ass off at this. Me of all people, working with children and adults, instead of hiding behind a computer in an office. Oh Andy, I wish you were here to change with me, that your heart could be healed like this. Andy you would have made a great father. Perhaps you got your wish and are in heaven taking care of little Hope.

Angel Fruit Cake, Andy's Favorite

Angel Fruit Cake, Andy’s Favorite

Healing Eyes