Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

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Smoke Signals

Please contact me – I would love to hear from you.

Check out my previous post. I ask some questions and value your feedback.

Use the contact button at the top of the page, the box in the side margin, or the box below.

Your message will come directly to me and will not appear on the blog.

Let me know what you are thinking.

Abigail ūüôā


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Scary – isn’t it?

A whole new horizon – and no markers in the sand to say ‘THIS WAY’

This is how I feel as I begin my journey beyond breast cancer.

And yet there is warmth in the sun and the breath of life, and boy does it feel good.

I am thankful to be alive.

6th October marks the anniversary of the day my life changed when I was told I had breast cancer. This is my week of transition when I step off the bridge.

Please come with me on this new journey.

I look back at the things we did before my year of breast cancer treatment. We had workshops on Spiritual Journalling, Touching the Edge of His Cloak, Listening to God’s Heartbeat. We joined the Benedictine Monks for retreats, and we spent a season Listening to God’s Heartbeat.

And now we can also look back on a long slow year exploring a journey with God – making breast cancer an opportunity to get to know God better.

I would like to keep learning and keep sharing – and to do this I value your help.

We have a Celebration on 16th October. BC and I are thrilled at your enthusiastic response. Please let us know if you have missed an invitation and would like to come.

And after the party, I want to build again on the foundations we laid. I value your feedback on two questions:

  • FIRST – I would like to run another WORKSHOP or RETREAT in the New Year? Are you interested to join me, and if so, what topic would you like?
  • SECOND – I would like to start another blog. This would be about what it means to have life to the full: taking John 10:10 and exploring what that means in our lives day by day.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full

Please let me know what you think. You can comment in the usual way by clicking on the comments tag at the end.  Or you can email me directly.  The next post tells you how to do that.

And about the new header to my blog. I took this photo after one of my early morning radiotherapy treatments. Sitting in the peace of a summer morning, I recognised how much the obstacle of treatment had become an opportunity to listen to God. What do you think – do you like it or did you prefer the orchids?

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I made it to the Knit and Knatter group today.

12 women knitting, one man crocheting and me looking for inspiration.

One woman called herself a born-again knitter – there were a few of us rekindling dormant skills.

But it was the man who inspired me. He has been crocheting for 30 years and was making a replacement for the astonishingly complex jumper he was wearing. I have never seen crochet like his before.

I crocheted blankets for both of our children when they were babies. But my favourite creations were my wooly hats.

And look what I found online – a man crocheting hats. What a great idea.

I sense a project coming together.

Hats are achievable, portable, colourful – and I now know a man who can help me if I get stuck.

I can’t wait to have a go!

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I didn’t think I struggled with denial – but I was wrong.

The truth is I am still not sure I have come to terms with having breast cancer. Writing about the stages of grief has helped me recognise some of my own struggles.

The astute among you might have recognised my reluctance to put breast cancer anywhere in the headings of this blog.

I didn’t want to become a woman who has breast cancer.

I didn’t want you all to look at me and see breast cancer instead of seeing ME.

I didn’t want to cause my family any anxiety.

I didn’t want to put a black mark on our family history for my daughter and my grand-daughters.

I didn’t want my life to change.

And so the easiest thing to do was to hide from the layers of loss.

But one by one the layers peel away and a new reality settles.

And I can bear the truth.

There is another truth; I didn’t think I struggled with anger – but I was wrong.

Last week a friend sent me her newsletter full of information about all of her activities and achievements. My mind wandered to explore what a tragedy it would be if she was diagnosed with breast cancer . . . and then it hit me.

TRAGEDY! . . . of course!

And the layers of loss washed over me all together Р that breast cancer has entered my world. My family is anxious for me, and my life has changed.

Anger rumbled inside me.

Today, 9 months since starting the blog, with 150 posts already published, I changed the heading of the blog and added breast cancer right at the top.

Making an obstacle an opportunity – Abigail’s breast cancer blog.

Breast cancer is the underlying driver for the blog. It is an obstacle in my path. Making it an opportunity is my challenge.

I have watched the words in the tag box in the margin grow and change over the months. They reflect what I am blogging about. I kept hoping that the words breast cancer would get smaller and smaller – but instead they grew bigger week by week.

And yet the encouraging thing is that other words like prayer, knowing God, happiness, soul-training and transformation grow to match them – and that is what keeps me going.

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Is there anything that you really enjoy doing but never seem to find time to do it?

I find myself wandering through the knitting wool section of John Lewis again – always looking and never buying.

And there on the table is a masterpiece in production – still on bamboo needles. I pick it up, scanning the colours, enjoying the softness of the yarn, inspecting every detail. How are the ends joined . . how are the colours carried through . . what is the tension like?

This is a long-sleeved Fair Isle jumper dress in the softest of 4 ply.

You could never do that” says the voice in my head. “You would never finish it.”

“Maybe I will finish it by Christmas.” Her gentle voice lets me know that I am holding her work.¬†She not only knows she can do it, but she believes she can finish it.

She is petite, beautifully dressed in another hand knit garment and wearing her official Rowan badge.

We have the most delightful conversation. Me speaking about what I used to be able to do and my doubts and fears about starting again. She speaking about opportunities and possibilities.

My sisters and I wore Fair Isle berets, gloves and jumpers when we were young, knitted by my grandmother. She won championship prizes for her work.

My hands caress the soft masterpiece they are holding and my grandmother’s genes stir inside me. I hear the accusing voice changing to “Yes you can!

“Maybe you would like to come along to the monthly group I have started – we meet next Thursday”

‘Knit and Knatter ‘– now that sounds like a great idea.

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How can I not speak about grief?

This picture says a lot about my journey – especially the baseball cap. And as I look at it I can revisit the feelings that it expresses.

But sorrow, however, turns out not to be a state but a process

. . . and C.S. Lewis is right. Each day is different from the one before, and we can be thankful for that.

We are told there are five stages of grief or loss

Denial  Anger  Bargaining  Depression  Acceptance

The experience does not come with a map or directions. We live it day by day with all the confusion, exhaustion and blurred vision that comes with it.

Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape

Yesterday I read C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed. Far from being a morose experience I found it to be encouraging.

We all experience grief. Knowing it is a process, not a state, gives it movement. And movement means change is possible.

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My birthday

My birthday present – the box set of Poirot DVDs.

Such delight!

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