I know it is out of the ordinary for me to post things that have nothing to do with furniture, upcycling, painting or DIY, but since you all are such wonderfully supportive people who read my blog, I know you’ll agree that sometimes we just have to get things off our chest. In fact, come to think of it, this does actually have something to do with my business and the running of it, so bear with me …
A couple of weeks ago, my beautiful mum had a CT scan after symptoms of memory loss, along with mixing up words & pronouns, began to get worse. Our family GP looked shocked as she read the results, and announced to mum & dad that there was a large tumor on the left, top side of mum’s brain. What the?! Brain cancer?
How does that happen, that one day life is normal … and the next day – it is SO NOT!
Mum, My Hero:
If you’ve been to my workshops, you know my mum LOVES to help out and enjoys chatting to each of you as we have morning tea, or as she lends a hand to someone needing help finishing off a piece of furniture. She has such a love for people.
She is and always has been, such a cheerleader and major supporter of anything involving each of her 5 children, our spouses AND her 20 grandchildren (yes, TWENTY)! As many of you know, when I needed an extra hand with my bookkeeping as my little business grew, I hired my mum to do this. She’s been amazing, learning new skills and rocking our online accounting system like a pro! She’s followed me to markets and helped with setting up and making cups of tea and all the important stuff. Mum, if I haven’t told you enough, I LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOU AND ALL YOU HAVE DONE FOR ME!
The Journey so far:
Mum was admitted to hospital immediately, but before leaving, mum and dad called together the five of their adult children (of whom I am the oldest), and we gathered at their house to do the one thing that we always do as a family when a crisis arises – PRAY!
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
I grew up in a family that taught the teachings of Jesus, read the Bible often and were encouraged to attend church regularly. Our faith in God has strengthened us, given us courage to face the journey ahead, and emboldened us to believe for miracles, because I believe they still happen today.
And rather than take this time to lash out at God, as may be a valid, human response, we have felt a compelling need to draw closer to Him. We have had so many moments in the last couple of weeks where we have literally felt His peace and known without a doubt that He has been with us. Check this out:
Here’s an example:
One such time was on the Sunday at the hospital, while Mum was waiting to have surgery, booked for the following morning, my sisters and I were downstairs in the hospital foyer, taking a break from the ward and giving mum a needed rest. One of my sisters recognized a song coming from Starbucks across from where we were sitting. It was a worship song by Chris Tomlin, called “Good Good Father”. Were we hearing right?
“I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide,
But I know we’re all searching for answers only you provide
Because you know just what we need before we say a word
You’re a Good, Good Father – It’s who you are, It’s who you are, It’s who you are
and I’m loved by you – It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am”
I had to go and ask the staff about the song, because it seemed fairly unusual to have a church song coming from a random cafe. I said to the lady at the counter, “I love this song, who’s in charge of the music?” to which she replied, “Oh, it’s some digital machine out the back that just plays random stuff, sometimes you get good music and then on comes a jazz song or something random.” You know, we never heard another song like it coming from Starbucks for the rest of the week that we frequented the coffee shop.
Then later that afternoon, we took mum down to the Hospital worship centre (chapel) as we knew she would love singing some songs together and praying before her scheduled surgery the following day. We asked her what she’d like to sing, if there was anything on her iphone music app that she’d like us to play. The first song she requested was Chris Tomlin’s “Good Good Father”!
Later that night, I was back home and messaging my son’s girlfriend who was asking how grandma was doing. Incidentally, her own mother is undergoing treatment for a brain tumour also. I told her we had taken mum down to the hospital chapel for a sing-a-long that she really enjoyed. She messaged me back with a link, saying “This is my favourite worship song at the moment if you need another one for the chapel.” Yes, it was a link to a video of Chris Tomlin’s “Good Good Father”. I think God was trying to tell us something … (feelin’ the LOVE like a great big hug!!)
The Journey Ahead
Well, now we have a journey ahead of us. Mum’s surgery went well, without complications, but they were unable to take margins due to the dangers of doing so in the brain area. She will undergo radiation and chemo in the next few months to treat the remaining cells of the tumor.
We have been overwhelmed with all the love poured out to mum and to our family from literally all over the world. She is an amazing woman, and there’s so much more to her story. She has affected the lives of so many in positive ways, SHE has no idea! Dad & Mum have hosted countless people in their home, including long and short term boarders who she would often counsel and advise, and continue to call her their second “mum”. She has volunteered most of her life, for community and church projects, more recently assisting women who have been having a hard time in life, to be pampered via their “Pamper the Princess” program. Her and dad have taken missions trips to the Solomon Islands for the last 10 years, giving of their time to help another nation less prosperous than ours. I could go on, but needless to say, I love her, her friends and family love her, and we believe she still has great purpose left to fulfill!
Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you. I know there are so many out there who are affected by this horrible disease, and it is not until it happens to someone close to you, that you begin to treat life and loved ones with a little more tenderness.
Meanwhile, I Restore Stuff will continue to function, grow and spread RESTORATION LOVE all over the world, by painting and restoring forgotten pieces one brush stroke at a time. Painting is so relaxing and almost therapeutic for me. When my husband finds me in the workshop, he’ll often come in saying, “oh, there you are, in your Happy Place.” It’s so true.
Our sales of Fusion Mineral Paint and Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint have really taken off here in Australia, as people catch on to the benefits of using non-toxic, eco-friendly alternatives for updating their homes. We have recently added Cling On! paint brushes to our range of products and you can read more about them here. And of course, Sandi Hands sanding gloves are continuing to sell well. The founder of Sandi Hands, Mum’s youngest sister, Jenny, will be travelling with her hubby, Steve, in 2016, promoting their product, visiting stockists (including Mitre 10 stores), and a part of their vision is to help our Aussie Farmers who have been doing it tough.
I will drop a line or two every so often, to let you know how mum is going.
I would love to hear any encouraging stories, if you or someone you love has been through the trauma and treatment of cancer. How did you find strength, peace and hope? What were the biggest “keys” that you took or used through the experience?
Please use the comment section below …