Tag Archives: God

How Can I ‘Be Still’?

There are at least two verses where the Psalmist is telling us to ‘be still before the Lord.’

  • Psalm 46:10 …Be still and know that I am God…
  • and Psalm 37:7 … Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him;…
Powerful verse that continues to encourage me.
Powerful verse that continues to encourage me.

My Thinking

This tells me to ‘hush, hush, hush…Laura’. Hush your mind. Hush the negative voices in your head and stop trying to figure it all out. It’s up to me (God) to figure it out for you.

What God is trying to tell me

‘I am the Lord your God…I’m the one who made you. I’m the one who knows the number hairs on your head, before and after chemo. I’m (God) the one who’s here for you. I’m the one who has hope for you. I am here to give you good. I am here to see you through the hard times…so just be stillJust be still, Laura.

Just be still and let me (God) do my work. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. You are not on your own. You have me (God) to rely on. You don’t have to plan 5 steps ahead.’

Me the ‘A’ Type Person

You see …I am an ‘A’ type personality and I like to set goals, especially career goals.  I’m going to get my Masters by 2002, become an Assistant Principal within 3 years and then a Principal within 4-5 years. But these verses always brings me back to my center. It’s all about God’s plan not mine.

I have learned through various life experiences, parenting teenagers and through cancer that God never gives us more than we can handle, even though it doesn’t feel that way to us when we are going through the hard times.

Be still and know that HE is God.  He has it all under control.

I invite you to follow me on FB @http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed.

Renewal

IMG_5036

Along came a beautiful hummingbird and then his mate a couple of minutes later. They fluttered around the aloe plants and obtained the nectar from the aloe bloom.  Now, we had lived at that house 14 years and I had worked in the yard at all times of the day and I had never seen a hummingbird, much less a pair of hummingbirds.  Then, I remembered a verse in the Bible about God taking care of the birds of the air.

Matthew 6:26 (NIV)

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

I sat in silence once again but it was a good silence.  The kind of silence and time with God that renews your soul.  I knew God had my back in all of this.  I knew God was in control.  I went inside and began to review notes in my devotional book.  I read the notes from the Sunday that I was in the hospital, March 15, 2009.  In those notes was a phrase…“I know God remembers me.”  If fact, that phrase is listed 73 times in the Bible in reference to God taking care of us.  Then,  I listened to my favorite praise and worship song, “He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker. Here are the words to the first verse/chorus:

I have a maker

He formed my heart,

before even time began

My life was in His hands

He knows my name

He knows my every thought,

He sees each tear that falls

and hears me when I call

He, my God, remembered me all along.  I just needed to go to the source of strength. My spirit had been renewed by some quiet time with God and the hummingbird visit.  I only saw them one more time after that day and haven’t seen them since.

I have looked for them again this April and May but so far, there is no sign. I believe that was a moment just for me.

I invite you to follow me on FB @ http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope

Be Blessed.

Laura

A Tribute To My Mom

...with Great Meme
…with Great Meme

I dedicate this post as a tribute to my mom in celebration of Mother’s Day.

She is my ROCK! She was there during my chemo and after my surgery and even before all of the medical stuff.  She raised two girls as a single mom during the time when child support wasn’t given much priority. I never felt as if I ever missed out on anything.

She kept us active in church and always prioritized church over all other activities. My sister and I were involved in the music department at church and participated on tours with our respective singing groups.

I played basketball and volleyball and would go to away games with the team.  My mom would give me her last $5.00 so I could go on these away trips. In retrospect, she gave me her lunch money.  I would venture to say that there were many times she sacrificed so that my sister and I could have what we needed.

We enjoyed a lot of ‘staycations’.  A ‘staycation’ is a weekend get away or vacation just a few miles from your home.  Our neighbor had a small cottage near the beach and would rent it to us at a discounted rate.  As I reflect back on these memories, it is no coincidence that we just happened to live by a neighbor who had a beach cottage. That is the favor of God on a strong Christian woman just trying to raise her girls.

One of my best memories was when she signed me up for college while I was on tour with the church singing group.  I told her as a wise 18-year-old girl, I just needed a semester off from school.  Funny.  She wasn’t having that. When I returned home, she informed me that I needed to go to the college and sign up for my classes because I was enrolled in Southeastern University.  Now that is a strong woman. She saw my potential.  I  graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree and became a teacher,  Then, I went on to earn a Master’s Degree and became and Assistant Principal and eventually a Principal.

During my first year as a Principal,  she needed heart surgery to replace a valve.  During the operation, she also needed a pacemaker/defibrillator to keep her heart beating.  She made it through the surgery.  However, she had to stay in the SICU twice as long as the surgeon anticipated. The total days in the hospital were also twice what the doctor anticipated. He had no explanation for the delay in her recovery. I visited daily and posted Bible verses on her encouragement board. I sat by her bed and begged God for more time with her. My prayers were answered. She is a fighter and she continues to fight every day.  She continues to exercise 3+ times per week.  It just took some time after surgery to regain her strength back. My mom is a 4 year survivor of heart valve replacement surgery.

In the 4 years since surgery, she has been blessed with 3 great-grandchildren.  I am blessed that she lives close enough to really know her great-grandchildren.  She visits them weekly and helps me on days that I have the kids. I value every minute with her. I am thankful for God’s favor on our lives and so blessed to write this tribute to my mom, the survivor, woman of God, and fabulous Meme.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/LLStarner.

Be Blessed.

Laura

Happy Birthday, Doug!

Happy Birthday, Doug!

Doug is:

  • kind
  • loving
  • a giver
  •  a helpmate
  • a caregiver (when needed)
  • a Godly example to our children and grandchildren
  • and my soulmate.
Handyman
Handyman
The Adventurer
The Adventurer
The Hunter
The Hunter
The family that hunts together...wears camo together.
The family that hunts together…wears camo together.
Dance partner at Paige's wedding
Dance partner at Paige’s wedding
Papa to our first grandchild, Madison
Papa to our first grandchild, Madison
My Soulmate
My Soulmate

I am blessed to be on this journey of life with him.

To be continued after his celebration tonight….

No Matter What

Wearing my awesome new geek glasses tonight at work. Equip with multiplication and division signs. Not pictured the equal signs on each side. I love them!
Wearing my awesome new geek glasses tonight at work. Equip with multiplication and division signs. Not pictured the equal signs on each side. I love them!

No matter what, I will always trust God.  I have been going through a challenging time with my broken wrist and my beautiful daughter posted these song lyrics on her FB page. WOW! It was just in time to put things in perspective for me.  I was encouraged by my little girl. Life is so good.

“I’m running back to your promises one more time. Lord that’s all I can hold on to.

I gotta say this has taken me by surprise.

But nothing surprises YOU.

Before a heartache can ever touch my life,

it has to go through Your hands

And even though I keep asking why

No matter what, I’m, gonna love You

No matter what I’m gonna need You

I know You can find a way to keep me from pain. But if not, I’ll trust You. No matter what.”

No Matter What by Kerrie Roberts

Let me tell you about Kelsey. She is an amazing young woman. She is kind and compassionate.  When she was a child, she would write a poem for everyone at Christmas. She exudes a kindness and unselfishness that is very rare. She is an encourager. She is also very brilliant. She has a Biology Degree from one of the elite educational programs in the Southeast. (Hence the math symbols on her glasses.) She posts the most amazing things on FB and I am going to add a page to this site for her.  It’s coming soon.

Be encouraged.  God is with you no matter what.

I invite you to like my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed.

Laura

Renewal of My Soul

IMG_5036

Along came a beautiful hummingbird and then his mate a couple of minutes later. They fluttered around the aloe plants and obtained the nectar from the aloe bloom.  Now, we had lived at that house 14 years and I had worked in the yard at all times of the day and I had never seen a hummingbird, much less a pair of hummingbirds.  Then, I remembered a verse in the Bible about God taking care of the birds of the air.

Matthew 6:26 (NIV)

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

I sat in silence once again but it was a good silence.  The kind of silence and time with God that renews your soul.  I knew God had my back in all of this.  I knew God was in control.  I went inside and began to review notes in my devotional book.  I read the notes from the Sunday that I was in the hospital, March 15, 2009.  In those notes was a phrase…“I know God remembers me.”  If fact, that phrase is listed 73 times in the Bible in reference to God taking care of us.  Then,  I listened to my favorite praise and worship song, “He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker. Here are the words to the first verse/chorus:

I have a maker

He formed my heart,

before even time began

My life was in His hands

He knows my name

He knows my every thought,

He sees each tear that falls

and hears me when I call

He, my God, remembered me all along.  I just needed to go to the source of strength. My spirit had been renewed by some quiet time with God and the hummingbird visit.  I only saw them one more time after that day and haven’t seen them since.

I will look for them again this April/May.

I invite you to follow me on FB @http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope

Be Blessed.

Laura

Is Everything Okay?

Survivor flowers (6 years) from Kelsey and Josh waiting for me at home after my appointment this week..
Survivor flowers (6 years) from Kelsey and Josh waiting for me at home after my appointment this week..

Is Everything Okay? 

That is what I asked Dr. Wonderful (Hematologist-Oncologist) this week. I had my 6 month visit.

Usually, it goes well but this time when I asked her if everything was okay she said, “I don’t know.”  The next 24 hours are a blur. She ordered an ultrasound but the Women’s Center made me get a mammogram, too.  Mammograms are so painful for me.

The time leading up to the ultrasound seemed like weeks even though it was only 24 hours.

My initial reaction to everything sent me right back to where I was 6 years ago.  I was so upset.  I had a few minutes where the doubt began to creep in my mind.  When I came home I told my husband about the ultrasound. Also, I told him that if I needed a biopsy that I was going to cancel….STOP RIGHT THERE…

Then I said, “NO…I’m not going to cancel anything.  If I need to fight this battle again, I will not change my schedule.”  He encouraged me that it was going to be okay.

While waiting for the appointment, I prayed, spent some time with my grandchildren, and listened to praise and worship music.

Kelsey apologized for the 6 year survivor flowers on the counter that were waiting for me when I came home from the appointment.  I told her that we will celebrate the 6 year survival until we know different.  That is the first time I had flowers waiting after a doctors appointment. It was so thoughtful of Kelsey and Josh and made me feel so awesome.

Is everything okay?  I am thankful to report…YES, Yes it is.  I was reminded this week of just how precious life is…just how undeserving I am to have this second chance…just how blessed I am by a supportive husband and daughters…just how blessed I am by my three grandchildren…and the promise in Joel 2:25…”God can restore what is broken…”

Is everything okay?  YES!

I invite you to follow me on FB @ http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed.

Laura

What Does ‘Be Still’ Mean?

There are at least two verses where the Psalmist is telling us to ‘be still before the Lord.’

  • Psalm 46:10 …Be still and know that I am God…
  • and Psalm 37:7 … Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him;…
Powerful verse that continues to encourage me.
Powerful verse that continues to encourage me.

My Thinking

This tells me to ‘hush, hush, hush…Laura’. Hush your mind. Hush the negative voices in your head and stop trying to figure it all out. It’s up to me (God) to figure it out for you.

What God is trying to tell me

‘I am the Lord your God…I’m the one who made you. I’m the one who knows the number hairs on your head, before and after chemo. I’m (God) the one who’s here for you. I’m the one who has hope for you. I am here to give you good. I am here to see you through the hard times…so just be stillJust be still, Laura.

Just be still and let me (God) do my work. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. You are not on your own. You have me (God) to rely on. You don’t have to plan 5 steps ahead.’

Me the ‘A’ Type Person

You see …I am an ‘A’ type personality and I like to set goals, especially career goals.  I’m going to get my Masters by 2002, become an Assistant Principal within 3 years and then a Principal within 4-5 years. But these verses always brings me back to my center. It’s all about God’s plan not mine.

I have learned through various life experiences, parenting teenagers and through cancer that God never gives us more than we can handle, even though it doesn’t feel that way to us when we are going through the hard times.

Be still and know that HE is God.  He has it all under control.

I invite you to follow me on FB @ http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed.

How A Locket Helped Me Tell My Story

My Locket
My Locket

On December 26, 2008, my life changed forever.  I was 47 years old when I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.   I did not think this would ever happen to me. In all reality, it did.  By the time I was diagnosed, the cancer was Stage 3a and Grade 3, a very aggressive form of cancer.  The silver lining in all of this is that it was triple positive cancer.

When you receive a diagnosis of cancer, your life changes forever.  From that point on, you are known as the one who has cancer.  Some people deal with it by talking to everyone about every detail.  That just wasn’t me.   I prayed, spoke as if I was already healed and immersed myself in worship. I am a woman of faith and I put my trust in God to bring about His divine will.

It took years for me to be able to talk about my diagnosis and progress without tearing up. Eventually, I  became the principal at my own school.  I began to share my story with those who needed words of encouragement. Inner healing began to take place every time I reached out to help others.

During that time in my life, Origami Owl Custom Jewelry found me.  With the assistance of one of my teachers, I designed the locket in the picture above.  Wearing my custom locket gave me voice when I had no voice. I chose each of the charms because they have special meaning to me:

  • Pink Ribbon – Symbol of Breast Cancer
  • Cross – My hope is in the Lord.
  • Pink Hope oval – I was speaking ‘hope’ over my situation. (positive attitude)
  • Sparkle Pink Heart – I love anything pink and sparkly.
  • Blessed Plate – I am blessed.

In October, 2014, I began to share my story through my Facebook page and on my blog.  The purpose for my Facebook page is to: inspire, encourage and empower. I recently reconnected with Origami Owl to discover that their Mission Statement embraces the very purpose I started my Facebook page.

“Our mission is to be a force for good; to love, inspire & motivate people of all ages to reach their dreams & empower them to make a difference in the lives of others.”

I recently became a designer with Origami Owl to tell my story and to continue to be a force for good, inspiration and to make a difference in the lives of others. Every story is unique and important. I invite you to visit my new website and create your story @ http://www.laurastarner.OrigamiOwl.com.

Also, I invite you to join me on FB @ http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.com.

Be Blessed.

Laura

Caregivers Need Care

Me with my wonderful husband at Paige's wedding, January2010
Me with my wonderful husband at Paige’s wedding, January2010

My definition of the caregiver…

A caregiver is the person who…

  • changes his/her work schedule to drive you to chemo (my mom)
  • ensures you take your anti-nausea medicine when you are so sick from chemo/surgery that you just don’t care
  • ensures you eat a little protein when you can’t taste a thing because protein rebuilds cells
  • sits hours upon hours at doctor’s appointments, chemo labs, hospitals and pharmacies
  • prepares menus for your family when you can’t
  • stands by when you got to the bathroom to make sure you don’t pass out or start heaving your guts up
  • gives you Neupogen shots at home (in my case, my daughter became a nurse a few days before my diagnosis.)
  • greets guest with a smile while you put your wig on
  • thanks visitors for the food and explains that you just can’t see them today
  • moves from out-of-state to stay with you as long as possible (mother-in-law)
  • pretends to never see your bald head because you would just cry if you knew the truth (my wonderful husband)
  • gives up softball because of the need at home, even though a scholarship is possible (my youngest daughter in her senior year)
  • buys groceries because you are not allowed to go to the store, per Dr’s orders
  • assumes the coordination of all school functions
  • cleans the house, folds laundry, does dishes…when you can’t
  • watches you go through ‘hell’ and tells you that you look great
  • sprays Lysol in your office every day when you leave (Monica, Principal’s’ Secretary)
  • makes pink curtains for your office (Monica, Principal’s’ Secretary)
  • hold’s a Pink Celebration (RBW Staff)

Caregivers need to have someone to talk to when they feel overwhelmed. They need plenty of rest, a break now and then, to have an outlet or to join a support group, if possible. For example:

  • if a husband is caring for his wife, his buddies need to take him out for a guys night, football game or just get away for a few hours
  • if a wife is caring for her husband, her friends need to plan a girls night out
  • the same if a parent is caring for a child…aunts, uncles, friends need to come over and take turns so that the primary caregiver can have a break

Cancer has the ability to interrupt so many lives.  Don’t let it.   Don’t give away your power! Cancer does not have to control your life. The power in living comes when you keep your schedule and routine.

I invite you to follow me @ http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed!

Laura