Thursday, January 19, 2017

In the Hand of God




Dana Gretzinger: A woman of great faith

February 15, 1974 - January 19, 2017


Dana went home to Jesus at 1:30 AM this morning.  She recorded this song with her siblings on December 28, 2016, the one year anniversary of her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. They recorded three other songs, which you can also find on YouTube: Anchor, Undivided Heart (Dana wrote Undivided Heart), and Hope Will Rise

In addition to her parents, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends, Dana leaves behind her loving husband, Jimmy, and three children: Jamie 15, Charlie 13, and Scout 10.

Dana was married to my husband's cousin, Jimmy.

Below are the final words Dana shared with her friends via her Care Page ten days ago:

It's January 9. Today was the first day back to school for our kids here in Grand Haven. I am feeling a bit of sadness today over the ending of the holidays, the dullness of January and February that hits pretty hard around here, and to top it off I haven't been feeling good for a few days now. I believe it was a bug i caught (that left me throwing up, etc) but you never know on this journey if it's chemo related or something else.
All that to say, I needed to hear from God today. He is so timely and I am so running late in my time. I often realize my need when it's already been lingering for awhile where He is always ready with a word of encouragement or challenge before I knew I needed it. That was today. I was just saying I was tired and discouraged and needed something for this next part of the journey. I've been dehydrated for real a bit lately and often realize that when you take a drink BECAUSE you are so thirsty, you are already late to the solution. We need to be drinking our Living Water before we are thirsty and not waiting until we are in need.
So this morning, I decided to listen in to one of the Passion Talks from their conference last week in Atlanta. Passion is geared at college students, but they bring in some of my favorite authors, pastors, and speakers so I love to listen to what God is leading them to say to that age group and what I can learn as I "eavesdrop in." I listened to Pastor Levi Lusko as God used him to talk to ME. He talked about needing to know where to go to get our second wind. I have another Scan on Thursday and I want to enter this scan FILLED UP and ready and not depleted and on empty. So where do I get my second wind? From time in God's presence, allowing His Spirit to invigorate me once again. I've experienced the "second wind" in my running when I used to be a runner. What an amazing feeling that is! Just when you think you can't go on, something kicks in and you are given the energy you need to keep going.
Are you in need on a second wind today? Feeling like you are out of your own energy? We were never meant to carry all of this on our own. The second wind is a gift from God and the reminder that I can do NOTHING on my own and was never being expected to or asked to do it all on my own. I'm praying once again that this kindness from the Lord would lead me to repentance for trying to manage all of this. I can't manage it. The weakness, the throwing up, the lack of energy, the amount of brain power that this disease is taking from me- I can't manage it. Thanks to the One who knew that about me and gave me the reminder this morning of letting Him give me my second wind. Then, I can face a scan Thursday, news about tumor growth/stability, and all that I need to 'handle" in the next few weeks. Only with Him.
Another gift from that talk this morning was the reminder that I am not chained to my circumstances (or chained to the chemo). My circumstance is chained to ME. That way of thinking about it gives me the ability to see that I bring God and the mindset that I want to have into my situation; not the other way around. Chemo and cancer don't define me- they are just along for the ride. I think that the last week has allowed for some false thinking in me about this and it was time to remember who is leading who. God is leading me, with circumstances straggling behind. Not God leading my circumstances with me straggling behind. I don't know if that distinction makes sense to you, but it was another perspective shift for me on who I am following. I am directly following God with nothing in between, not being led by sickness trying to see God around the sickness. Don't make that same mistake. Your view of God gets blocked by the situation. And when you try to see God around a situation you think is in charge, sometimes you lose sight and start to take the situation as bigger than it really is. Thanks Lord, for all of this today.
A quick update: we did find a potential match for the gene mutation therapy idea. Depending on what the scan shows Thursday, we will come up with a plan and I will have more info. I have done 6 rounds of this last chemo and it was harder on me than I was expecting! Please keep praying for wisdom to know what to do next, depending on what the scan shows.
Thanks family and friends! Your support continues to encourage me! I love reading each comment even though I can't comment back to each one.
Find your second wind today in Him!

Dance, Dana, Dance!

Fond Memories


1977      -       2017





My dear friend, Eileen (age 26 on the left, 1977) asked me to make her a pair of skin tight, black satin slacks. I am pretty sure I used taffeta, not satin, but I did sew up a pair for her to wear to a party. We had so many laughs while making these slacks because Eileen kept asking me to make the legs tighter and tighter; she wanted them pencil thin!

Fast forward 40 years! Eileen called me last week and asked if I thought she could wear those SAME slacks to a wedding. She always told me that she'd never get rid of them, and she never did. Of course, I told her they would work since all the younger girls seem to be wearing leggings everywhere. She pull them out from the back of her closet; matched them up with a top, and there you have her (on the right, soon to be 66, 2017) wearing the very same slacks 40 years later!

Way to go, Eileen, even more beautiful today.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Highlighting Talent



Today I am highlighting my sister-in-law's most recent piece of artwork.....



Look at those gorgeous faces.  LLE, you did an amazing job on this piece.



Sunday, November 13, 2016

Around Our Neighborhood

There is such beauty all around us, but sometimes we hardly notice!


The sky this morning from our back deck.
So gorgeous!






All of the above pictures were taking while walking along a path about a half mile from our house.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Look What I Grew

It's time to harvest my sweet potatoes!



I never grew potatoes of any sort before. Unlike white potatoes, which I understand you start by cutting up old potatoes with 'eyes'  these sweet potatoes I grew from plants.

I have several plants to dig up; these two potatoes I discovered by pulling back surface dirt. I need to get out there with my shovel and dig to discover how many potatoes I will actually harvest.

Anyway, yay me!

Godfather is 90!

After returning home from the women's conference on Saturday, my mother and I went to celebrate my Godfather's 90th birthday!


First cousins: my mom, a young 98 and my Godfather, trailing behind at 90!




How blessed am I?!
Happy birthday, Dear Iggy!


Woman...God's Masterpiece

On Saturday I had the opportunity to attend a women's conference in Breinigsville, where two very dynamic but very different women spoke.


Johnnette Benkovic spoke first on "The Gift of Womanhood."

Johnnette has a very evangelical personality and made all 450 woman present at the conference stop, think and reflect on our uniqueness. We, the feminine gender, are physically the most complicated of God's creations....we whom can create and give life! She had so much to say that I can't even begin to share it here. 

 After Johnnette spoke; we heard from Helen Alvare'. 


Helen is very intellectual and presented her talk "Called to Serve: One Woman, May Roles" from a more cerebral context. She spoke on matters of marriage, parenting, and the First Amendment religion clauses.  She has an amazing background and I could have listened to her speak all day long!

You can learn more about both of these women by visiting their websites: Johnnette and Helen

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