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Love Letters     Love Letters is a collection of letters written as if from God to you to bring hope, inspiration and encouragement on a variety of topics.

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My Contest Entry for Midlife Collage

pink ribbon

When a Routine Mammogram Isn’t

By Linda Irene on March 3, 2014

Words: 1035 Categories: Midlife Medical

Before my COBRA health insurance terminated, an inner urging propelled me to get a mammogram. It was supposed to be routine. But before I could leave the outpatient department that day, a breast care coordinator asked to speak with me. She introduced herself and explained her job was to see patients with abnormal mammograms to coordinate services between the patient, doctor and the hospital.

My head was spinning. What was she talking about? Why do I need coordinated care? I just had a mammogram? The radiologist hasn’t made his report yet. My doctor hasn’t notified me. What is she talking about? What is she saying? Why is she standing between me and the door? What is she inferring? When her lips stopped moving, I realized she had stopped talking and was awaiting a response. What was the question?

“I really don’t know what you are referring to,” I blurted.

She continued with long string of explanations, which were just clumps of words bouncing off my brain, floating midair, words I could not wrap around my mind. Every cell in my body screamed to be free of her and to run out of the room as quickly as possible, to the safety of my home.

Days later the mammogram report came, “further studies recommended.” The next step, an ultrasound. I weaved my way through the hospital lobby and climbed the steps to the radiology department where I waited my turn.

I glanced at the television on the wall, but could not concentrate. The magazines displayed on the table beside me did not hold my interest either. One by one the waiting area cleared until I was the last one left. Then the door opened and a woman dressed in scrubs with a stethoscope draped around her neck, stood in the doorway scanning a chart, which seemed to fascinate her. She looked up and with a big smile asked, “Are you ready to get this over with?”

“Ready as I will ever be.”

She led me to a tiny cubicle where I was instructed to remove my blouse and bra and slip the gown on, open in the front. I followed her to an examination room where I lay on a table while the technician squirted cold gel on my chest and began the investigative process with the ultrasound probe. The machine whirred and clicked as she continued to go over and over the same area.

My thoughts raced. What is she finding? What does it look like? Can she tell if it’s benign or malignant? Should I ask? I thought about making conversation, but the sternness of her face advised me to be quiet and still.

“Okay, that’s it,” she said when it was all over.

That’s it? Isn’t she going to tell me anything? I couldn’t stand the suspense any longer and blurted, “How does everything look?”

She remained stoic. “Your doctor will receive the report in a couple days. He will notify you of the results,” she said matter-of-factly.

The days seemed to drag by, the unknown weighing heavy on my mind and body. I took long walks in the park to pray and clear my head. I fought to remain positive. I repeated comforting Bible verses to myself daily. Finally, the ultrasound results came, “inconclusive; a surgical consultation and biopsy are highly recommended.”

It had been one year ago that I had major surgery for endometrial cancer, now this. I’d been struggling for two years trying to control my raging estrogen. Did that have anything to do with my current situation? My mother had had a mastectomy five years ago. Was I going to be next? Fear reared its ugly head. One thing I knew for sure, I did not want a mastectomy.

“Not having a breast does not define who you are,” a friend said.

But she doesn’t get it, I thought. It’s easy for her to say. She is not faced with the possibility of losing a part of her body. She hasn’t seen the challenges Mom had to overcome long after the surgery or the feelings of inferiority she suffered. Never again could she look at herself in the mirror.

What would I do? I couldn’t allow my thoughts to stray any further. Except for a handful of friends I knew would pray for me, I kept the news to myself. I could not risk hearing discouraging stories or seeing the looks of pity, fear or dismay on people’s faces. I needed to surround myself with positive-thinking people. I had recently read that our body believes every word we say and responds accordingly. I don’t know if it’s true, but if it is, there was no better time to start believing and speaking to heal myself than now. It was all I had, all I could do.

“We’ll do an ultrasound-guided needle biopsy,” the surgeon said. “It’s an easy procedure. You will walk in, have the biopsy and walk out with a Band-Aid, no stitches,” he assured me.

I was stunned when he showed me the X-ray taken after the procedure. “Do you see the nodule?”

I stepped closer for a better look. “No. I don’t see it,” I said cautiously.

By now he was grinning ear to ear. “Well, that’s because I removed it completely. All that is there now is a metal clip to identify the spot for future X-rays,” he explained.

To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement. Dazed, I went into the dressing room where the attending technician applied the liquid bandage to the incision. When she left the room, I bent forward to gather my clothes and shoes. I tried to straighten up, but my breast had become “glued” to my abdomen. I began laughing hysterically, trying to free myself. A technician, who was cleaning up in the outer area, heard me and peeked in to see if everything was okay. By then we both were in stitches. She helped me get unglued and dressed.

I learned more than one lesson that day: wait for your stitches to dry and miracles do happen.

To see the other stories and to vote for your favorite, click here.

Ronald Reagan Tribute

Fear of Rejection

The fear of rejection can be paralyzing.  It can hold us captive causing us to miss opportunities and blessings God has for us.  The fear is very real. It could be that things have happened in our lives that cause us to be extremely cautious about sharing too much of ourselves with others, or that stifles our ability to connect with  someone we are attracted to.  Perhaps it is just too threatening–the fear of being hurt is over-powering, instead we settle for safe, comfortable, convenient relationships.  There is a better way.

As we allow God to heal our hearts and our hurts, we will then have the freedom from within to reach for the golden prize God has for us.  Luke 4:40 says “Everyone was healed who came to be healed.” Ask God to heal your broken heart and your hurts; and  Psalm 147:3 says, ” God heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.”

Don’t let fear of rejection stand in the way of true happiness.  Allow God to heal the hurts, then take a step toward your prize with God’s help.  He promises to be with you and to bless you.  Allow Him to do that, won’t you?

image by: chrisharrison

Where Are You God?

Where are you God?

by Linda Silfies

Where are you God when I feel blue?

When I feel low and don’t know what to do, where are you?

When I curl up in a ball, overcome by grief, do you watch in disdain, without giving relief?

I wonder sometimes as I look into the sky…

What are you thinking?  Do you ever want people to stop all their chatter?

What makes you happy God? What makes you smile?

When my life seems empty and boring to tears,

I think about what is really important…what defines importance?

Is it important who I am?  What I am like? What I do? What I accomplish?

Is it important or even more important how I treat people?  What do you think?

In the grand scheme of things, I seem to accomplish so little.

I awoke one day realizing I was older; I was wiser; and I wished I had been wiser sooner.

Maybe then I’d have made better choices; been more compassionate; more understanding.  If only…

As I lie quietly pondering, I heard Him say…to me, … to all of us…

Do not worry or fret. I Am right here with you. I have always been right here with you. You are a pink pearl of great value. I am your God, you are my child. As your God, I provide for you. I protect you. I love and value you. You are important.  Your kindness toward others makes me smile; your compassion makes me happy.

As My child I will teach you.  I will lead you and guide you. I will help you and strengthen you. I Am here for you. Call on Me in the day of trouble, I will answer. Talk to me when you are happy, sad, afraid…anytime.  I never tire of you.

You have My heart.  My ear is always turned toward you.  As a mamma eagerly listens for her baby’s cry, so do I listen for you…I love you. I will always love you.  There isn’t anything you can do to make me stop loving you.  Be still, my child and know that I Am God.  There isn’t anything I cannot do.

Thanks, God, I love you too!

3/13/12

image source: GodTalkstoYou

When Death Stares You in the Face

By Linda Silfies

            When death stares you in the face, significant things happen that change your life.  The first thing that happens is that you stop taking life for granted.  I was brought back from the brink of death on several occasions.  You don’t have to take your last breath to be at the brink; the threat of death is enough to incite change.

            I have faced death at the hands of another; at the loss of  loved ones, through sickness, and for a fleeting moment when I thought the only way out of my hell, was to end it.

I remember that night many years ago, the night that for a brief, spontaneous moment, I saw the 16-wheeler barreling toward me; no one else was on the road, just he and I.  In that instant I thought, “I can steer my car head-on into him and it would be over in seconds—this deep, agonizing, inescapable hell of a life with an abusive husband–over.  This could be my escape—my only way of escape.”   But in the seconds before I would have had to make the move, I realized he may have had me fettered, but I would prevail.   I was not going to allow him to take anything more from me. He had already taken my youth, my dreams, happiness, self-esteem and self-worth. He was not also going to take my life also.

I allowed that 16-wheeler and all the other 16-wheelers in my life to pass me by.  It took years to find the way out, but I did, and the time spent waiting was not wasted. I grew stronger, wiser and more compassionate.   I learned what to look for to avoid future “mistakes.”  I discovered God and focused on getting to know Him.  I spent time learning to make healthy choices for myself—to allow myself to heal. I found ways to promote inner healing. When you are going through the fire, your only instinct is survival. I lived in survival mode most of my life.  It was time to come out—out into the sunshine of life; and allow the healing waters to wash over me.

Now that I am more than a decade free, I’ve had time to focus on my passions and purpose for being.  I love to write, listen to music and dance, but none of these activities satisfies the deepest longing of my soul.  For years I wrestled with the thought, how will I ever be able to fulfill my purpose if I do not know what my purpose is? I feared that at my journey’s end, if I had not fulfilled my purpose, my life will have been in vain.  My life has not been in vain; it has actually been in preparation for this very moment in time.  I am a multi-talented, passionate woman who knows more about life and how to live it now, than I ever would have had I not gone through all the fires I went through, and faced death as many times as I did.

When you’ve faced death, you realize who is important in your life, and you tell them; when you see the mistakes you’ve made, you apologize. When you see that you could have done better, you do better next time.  Everything you do has purpose; it is not to fill time or space.  For instance, when I marry again, it will not be for financial security, or out of loneliness—it will be to love unconditionally, with the highest level of love and commitment possible between two people.  It’s the place where God has taken me in my recovery.  He has shown me what it means to love someone to that degree, because He first loved me.

My passion is not to write words on a page. My passion is to write words that make a difference.  Many times as I was going through the fire, I wrote for solace. Things are different now. It is safe for me to look inside—to peer over the edge of my heart, to look into the depths and to marvel at the strength and tenacity within.  Writing gives me insight into where I’ve been and where I’m going.

My purpose no longer evades me like trying to catch a butterfly with a torn net.  Purpose has emerged from the ash heap of my life; to bring a glimmer of hope and sunshine into a world where pain, whether physical, emotional or mental, may be an everyday occurrence; where hope falters and dreams fade.

If I can leave you with one thing to hold on to, it would be this: Wherever you are, whatever you are going through, you are not alone, God is with you. He will bring you out unscathed. You will become stronger and wiser.  He will bless you with everything you need to succeed.  I know, because He did it for me.  “For I know the thought that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.  He loves you unconditionally. He sees what you are going through. He cares. He will help—just ask.

Letter from God for Cancer Patients

Letter from God, for Cancer Patients

By Linda Silfies

My Dear Child,

 

I see your fear and your pain. I know what you are going through. I love you and will be with you every step of the way.   When you think you cannot take another step, call on Me, I will strengthen you.  When you feel afraid, know that I have you by the hand; I will not let you go. I will give you peace and comfort. There is power and healing in My name.  If you can do nothing else, speak My name. My name is Jesus: your healer, protector, provider, and friend. I know what you need and will give it to you.  I am willing to heal you—I want to heal you—just ask—even if you think it is hopeless. Know that nothing is impossible for Me. I created the world. I have all power and wisdom. I know where you are; I know your name; I know how many beautiful hairs you have on your head. I know you intimately, and I love you unconditionally, in spite of your faults, weaknesses and quirks.  You are my beloved.

 

It is not my will that you suffer. You are not going through this because you did something wrong. I am not punishing you. I came to give you life—not just life, but an abundant life—a life of hope, healing, and happiness.  Trust Me. I will not disappoint you.  If you feel you don’t have enough faith to trust Me, ask of Me and I will even give you the faith you need to believe. I will never withhold any good thing from you. Nothing can separate you from My love.

 

You are safe in My care. I have built a hedge of protection around you.  Lean on Me. I can bear your weight. Give Me your sorrows and fears. Talk to Me about your troubles. I am always available to hear your cry to Me. I am closer to you than your very breath.

Do not allow negative thoughts to overtake you. Replace negative thoughts, doubts and fears with My promises. My promises are true and sure.  My children go through many trials and have many problems, but I am with them, and I deliver them out of all their troubles.  “All things are possible to him who believes.” “Peace, be still, and know that I am God.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Life lessons

source: quotes

Where Was God? A 9/11 Reflection

This September 11th was the tenth anniversary of the devastating events surrounding the World Trade Center in New York City,  The Pentagon and  a hijacking in Pennsylvania.  Every television station broadcast  story after story, and interview after interview  with the families of those who perished.  Spouses shared their emotional stories of what it was like during those last telephone conversations.  Survivors told graphic, gut-wrenching details about their harrowing experience, which most of us can only partially assimilate. Firefighters and EMTs on the scene went into the buildings to rescue those trapped within, knowingly risking their own lives–heroes.

I watched with horror scenes I had never seen before and listened to stories that broke my heart.  Interviewees struggled to keep from crying ten years post trauma; I cried with them, unable to imagine the terror, anguish and helplessness they must have felt.  The events of 9/11 shook people to their core.  Everything they believed in came crashing in around them.  A common thread that ran through many of their stories was the question, “Where was God? Why did He allow this? Why didn’t He stop it? Why my husband, my wife, my child, or my mother or father?  Why God, Why?”  Many still do not have answers only memories of better times, and deep, abiding pain.  Many of the interviewees angrily blamed God for this destruction and their losses, vowing never to forgive Him.

But what if it wasn’t God’s doing?  What if all those who died that day were heroes,  along with the firefighters and EMTs?  What if  God used every single person who gave their life on 9/11, to fortify America?  Think about it….prior to 9/11 we did not have Homeland Security.  Prior to 9/11 we mistakenly thought we were invincible.  What if God used a horrific situation, plotted by Mr. Evil himself, to show us where there was a break in our armor, so we could be made strong?  What if those that died gave their lives to make America more secure? If that is true, then they are not victims; they are heroes!. ….   What do you think?

I humbly thank every person who gave their life that day for my sake and for the sake of our country.  Thank you! I would like to say thank you also to each of their families who gave up so much. May God richly bless you.

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