Monday, August 3, 2020

Here I Raise My Ebenezer

On the first day of August last year, I found out I had breast cancer. I thought I was going to die.

(Spoiler alert: I didn't.)

It's ONE YEAR LATER. (Happy anniversary, Left Boob. You did it! You are (mostly) here after this mighty eventful rotation around the sun.)

Did the experience change me? If that plot-twisty chapter's purpose was character development; did I develop? How did I grow? Change? Am I a better person now? Is there some way to measure that?

I think I'm the same.
Well, physically I've changed, THANKS A LOT Tamoxifen, for blocking my hormones. The hot flashes are mind-numbing. But other than that? I feel the same. (I hope I've learned something from the experience, otherwise WHAT WAS THE POINT?)


I've been rock painting.
I may have mentioned that?

The thing with rock painting is, well, you need to have rocks.
Also? Rocks are heavier than say, pieces of paper.

So when hunting for rocks, one should be prepared. With a backpack or a strong male who loves you enough to carry the rocks from the dry river bed, up the ridge to the trail and then over to the car. I have neither. So I lugged them, very ungracefully, in a satchel that kept falling off my shoulder, making me lose my balance. I considered giving up my latest hobby after my first rock hunt n gather expedition.

(Yes, it WOULD be easier to go around at midnight and help myself to my neighbour's landscaping stones (which are PERFECT), but I just can't. They PAID for those rocks. I can't just steal them. It would be wrong.)

All that to say, please appreciate the labor involved in creating these totally useless pieces of colourful art. I risked my left knee to get something large and flat and smooth to paint on.

I'm at the lake this weekend, and there was no forecast for rain, so I placed my newly acquired rocks in a pile in the middle of the outside table. And as I painted, I placed the finished rocks onto the pile.

It occurred to me that I'd built an Ebenezer.

EBENEZER: It comes from a Hebrew phrase that means “stone of help.” The name appears in the Biblical story told in the Book of 1 Samuel, in which the Hebrew prophet Samuel sets up a stone to commemorate the help that God had given the Israelites.


To commemorate God’s mighty intervention on behalf of his people,
Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. (1 Samuel 7:12–13)
In Hebrew, Ebenezer means “stone of help” (eben = stone; ezer = help). Samuel wanted the people to remember, not just for a few days, but for years, for decades, for generations, how God had come to the rescue of his people when they humbled themselves before him. They were vulnerable, with their enemies approaching, and they did not deserve God’s rescue, having been chronically unfaithful. And yet in his gracious fidelity to his convent people, God intervened with thunder to throw Israel’s enemies in confusion and turn their enemies into the vulnerable nation.

Perfect, yes?

I want to remember, for days, years, decades and GENERATIONS how God brought me through this latest challenge and healed me of breast cancer. And I'll do it with rocks/stones.

One of my boys wondered if I had depression; he thought this rock painting phase was a cry for help for my mental health.

Another one of my sons is worried that I've lost my way. He thinks my life must feel empty and meaningless and lacking in purpose if I've resorted to painting rocks on my long weekend.


None of the above are true.

I started painting rocks because I wanted there to be fun things on trails for kids to find.
Then I continued painting for the challenge of learning how to do mandalas.

And now, I can say I have a spiritual purpose in painting. They're my way of saying thank you to God. I'm making tiny Ebenezers.

That said, I've decided I'm going to sell most of the larger ones.
For $20 each.
100% of all proceeds will go towards helping my new English Twitter friend pay for surgery. (Our friendship started when I was having daily radiation in January. My health has improved while hers has deteriorated. Covid isn't helping matters. I'd love to be able to send her some funds to help her get the medical attention she needs...)

(My smaller ones will still be "hidden" on trails and gardens and pathways. And I haven't figured out how to deal with actually selling the mandalas. Ideas, anyone?)

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here there by Thy great help I've come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home


Thought I'd take a YAY! The oncologist confirmed I'm cancer-free ... Selfie this week.

So awkward:

No filters. No photo-touching. Just me.

AND then I thought.... I should have a pic with my teeth in it. After all, I was getting alot of dental work done last summer too.

Fake smile.
And bunched up eyes.

With eyeliner that was still wet.

This is why I don't smile with my teeth.
It wrecks my make up.


Speaking of last week, it was grand.

Last Saturday Maxine and I fed the homeless. I have two pictures:

The menu was cheeseburgers (patties made by Maxine from scratch) with fried onions and potato salad (also homemade, by Maxine). My contribution to the meal was the lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, buns and watermelon.

(I had a burger and some salad and it was absolutely DELISH.)

On Sunday, Clint looked after the 'mouse under the kitchen sink' issue:

(Plug the hole they're entering from (where the plumbing pipes exit the cabinet) with steel wool.

And then he took everything out and washed away the turds.

Then went back to work, checking the value of our Pokemon cards, leaving me to put everything away. I guess that was a good division of labor.

Starting the week with a clean 'under the kitchen sink cabinet' is a very good feeling.

Monday night was rock painting night, again, with Rock Star Julie and a couple friends. I love these nights. Three of these rocks were painted by first time artists:

This was Julie's:

I have SO much to learn. I have dot envy.


Tuesday after work:

Eating supper with a friend in her garden is really just the best, yes?

Thanks, Maureen...


Wednesday after work:

Donna was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago, and she's started her 6 months of chemo...
I was planning on popping in to say 'hi'; NOT have her prepare a meal for me:

She looks fabulous: (she's making me a goodie bag to take home with me...)


Thursday evening, at the Vedder:

One of the arms of the river had dried up, leaving MILLIONS of rocks exposed and dying to be chosen...

I could only carry 23.

But they were beauties:


On Friday evening, I asked Val if she wanted to meet me at White Spot and then go for a walk in Jesse and Sharalin's garden. (Also known as the Cultus Lake Flower Festival)...

I have the best people in my life.
SO many home-cooked meals and great conversation this week.

And then we walked around her garden for more colour combination inspiration:

^ This one inspired her next rock; orange, pink and white. It was cheerful and beautiful.


Long weekends are just so very low-key during Covid, yes?
Our Annual Regatta was cancelled. No gatherings or races, no dinner in the park, no fireworks on the beach, no potsnpans parade ...

It was actually lovely.
(Mostly) quiet.

Drew and Dani spent alot of time reading:

Plus she painted rocks with me...

(Hers are the 'word' rocks. )

Today? Sunday afternoon? We both took our chairs and our books to the lake and read for a couple hours. As I sat there, I asked myself, "Is there anywhere you'd rather be?" The answer was no. So I stopped reading, put my head back and just let the beauty of the moment sink in. I was perfectly content and at peace with my world.

Three things I'm Thankful For:

1. I'm cancer-free.

2. Clint, Drew and Dani are hanging out here; reading, napping, snacking ... Everyone's tired and just needed a break. It's Covid, so we have no extra guests. It's very quiet. Hours go by when no one says a word. Very relaxing. Kinda how I dreamed it would be. (Max is with friends at Tofino for the week. He's sending us pics of his vacation and I'm happy that it's started well for him.)

3. There's still 4 weeks of summer ahead.

Take care, be safe,
Wash your hands,

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