When Life gives You Lemons … Indulge

Lemon

Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.

~ William Shakespeare

“Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezy” is a tune each of my three boys has declared on more occasions than I can count.  The expression was mastered by the boys in Kindergarten, and has since become a jingle of choice, my little mantra in times of difficulty.   What I never realized, however, was the amazing truth behind the cutesy rhyme—in its very literal sense.   Lemons are truly an easy solution to a multitude of problems.

Many people have asked where I’ve been these days.  The normal “zest” I try to tap into every day in some ways turned sour this past month or so.  I think I’ve been in survival mode since Christmas, and as deep fatigue and malaise set in with the last phase of chemo, I guess the reality of the “big C” has really weighed on my mind much heavier.   I have found it difficult to find inspiration in the things around me that usually bring clarity and joy to my daily life.  Instead, I’ve been “puckering” up to the sour circumstances of this thing called cancer and all the un-pleasantries that come with it.

Chemotherapy is now done.  Finito.

The last few visits to Dana-Farber had me physically ill before arrival.  I guess you’d call it a psychosomatic response to the dreaded poison that was about to make its way into my veins.  Ironically, the last infusion of AC was bittersweet—a real sense of relief that chemo was over coupled with the real fear that chemo is over …. surgery looming on the horizon.  There were tears, hugs, well-wishes and love poured out on me and my heart ached a bit knowing that the very poison I dreaded every week , the very thing that made me so sick and tired was no longer going to be beating me up to make me well.  It sounds sort of warped, but there was a sense of trauma that accompanied me out the door that day.

Lemons.  A while back, my sister, Michelle lured me into a lemon love-fest, leading me on an exploration of this citrus gem and all the wonderful medicinal properties it delivers.  I won’t lie, as a woman, I love learning about hidden beauty secrets that…well, help me look and feel 20 again.  Who doesn’t?  So learning that this citrus fruit full of Vitamin C is also a great source of protection from free radicals, y’know those pesky little things that, theoretically speaking—“age” us … led me to begin my love affair with the savant of the citrus family—limones.

Cancer treatment does a number on your body.  For many, that number is called something like whopper-doozie or as I like to call it:  “le destructeur” to the enth degree.   Chemo is cumulative.  In short, different symptoms present at different times, many worsening as you go.  Completing 20 weeks of chemo—my “le destructeur” wreaked havoc on a few different areas of my body, some worse than others.

First up—Anemia.  This past month, my red blood cells were at a relatively speaking all-time low.  For me that equated to difficulty walking up a flight of stairs without looking like that annoyingly under-exercised person gasping for air at the top of mere 10 steps (no judgment here).  Yup.  I was that chick.  Only as I was gasping for air, chest pain and often severe headaches accompanied it.  It was frustrating.  I’m usually the one racing up six flights of stairs in 4 inch stilettos, with a resting pulse rate at the finish line.  Seriously—BEYOND frustrating.  On the bright side:  I could walk up a flight of stairs.  After all, some struggling with severe anemia can barely get out of bed because they’re just too exhausted to even put their feet on the floor.  Little by little, I am gaining back strength and stamina, but adding the bitter-tasting, yet miraculous power of lemon juice has the added benefit of aiding the body to produce red blood cells, thus speeding along the process.

The beauty of this little yellow fruit knows no bounds as it also helps ease anxiety.  Lemon balm has a calming effect and therefore may be able to help remove fatigue and exhaustion, anxiety, nervousness, and tension—pretty much the very things that sour my spirit.  I’m not saying Valium can be completely tossed to the curb, but hey…I’ll pucker up.   Ironically, I also earned that though I’ve been in a state of brain fog from the chemo, apparently inhaling lemon oil helps to increase concentration and alertness.   (I wish I had remembered this fact during all of my forgetful chemo-brained moments … that still plague me).

In many ways my lemon in life has been the source of much sweetness.  Cancer’s sour taste has become the old adage:  “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”   My lemonade has been tasted in the sweetness of new relationships and the beauty that comes with having people to love and be loved by….so many bringing light and joy to my life.

Last Wednesday I had an MRI to see how the cancer responded to the chemo.  I won’t learn results until this Thursday, but ultimately know the full picture won’t be revealed until I’m opened up.  My prayer is that chemo did its thing … which will help guide the surgeon to a goal of a better outcome.  My surgery date has been set:  June 14.  I felt a pit in my stomach when I got the call confirming the date… but I know it’s time.  The date however does bring special significance—Logan’s birthday (also Flag Day).  I was further inspired by my friend and colleague, Sarah—her Grandmother also sharing that birthday, a precious soul who lived to be 101.

Nothing in life is a coincidence.  His timing is perfect.

My son, Logan recently placed a scripture on my bathroom mirror.  His note brought tears to my eyes as he wrote:  Mom, Isaiah 43:1-4 says it perfect— “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!”

Thank God, I am His.

Little by little, I’m shaking off my sour to make room for the sweetness and zest that comes from indulging in the lemon that has been sent my way for a season … for a reason … for a greater purpose than I may not be able to grasp just yet.  Though I feel changed, I know that my Father has not changed and will forever be in the business of unfolding His plan and purpose for my life.  That fact alone brings me peace that passes all understanding.

All my love . . . Nicole

What’s My Message?

Message in a bottle

“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it … we are going back from whence we came.”  

—John F. Kennedy

I’ve always been drawn to the sea.  In fact, in many ways I feel my body came equipped with a little internal homing device that guides me to the ocean—much like a bird flying south for the winter.

Those who have known me for some time and even those who may have stumbled upon this blog have most likely gleaned that my fascination with the ocean is in many ways, tied to the intimate relationship we share with it.  An earlier post even revealed my love for sea glass, describing how though I find each piece remarkable in beauty, what really intrigues me most is the story behind each gem—the intimacy attached to the moment it started its journey in the sea.

Going through my emails, texts and letters this week, I started thinking a lot about messages.  It seems, the best messages received in our lives come from passion . . . deliberate passion.

Although no one knows for sure when the first message in a bottle was released, the earliest records  show that Theophrastus, an ancient Greek philosopher was the first known person to release such a message in a bottle in an effort to prove that the Mediterranean Sea was formed from the inflowing Atlantic Ocean.  History also reveals many shipwrecked people who resorted to sending messages in bottles.  Often these messages weren’t discovered for 100 years or more.  Unfortunately, their cries for help were futile—most certainly dying long before the message in the bottle was ever found.

To even contemplate the feeling I’d have finding a message in a bottle makes my heart skip a beat.  The romantic in me would love to think all messages tucked away in a bottle would be those of a great love story.  That thought alone got my mind thinking.  What would my message be, were I to send a bottle adrift at sea?  Would it be that of a passionate cry for help, or instead a message filled with a rich love story, a Hope that can weather any storm.

Thursday started my new cycle of chemo—A/C.  Though I anticipated feeling very invigorated Friday with all the steroids onboard, instead by mid-afternoon, I felt rather ill.  I started the Neulasta injection that night, taken to help boost my immune system.  Though I was initially nervous giving myself a “shot,” it was really quite easy and painless.  Yesterday proved to be a different animal altogether.  I just didn’t feel like me in the least.  My movement was only to use the bathroom.  I just felt like junk.  There’s nothing more daunting than feeling helpless.  Helplessness carries with it a true sense of defeat.  Had my bottle been thrown out at sea yesterday, the message filled with earnest passion in the face of defeat would have certainly been  written as an S.O.S. — an urgent appeal for help.

Glass bottles, though fragile do very well at sea . . . seemingly bobbing endlessly through the sea with no damage.  I’ve read stories of sunken ship wreckage with bottles discovered in perfect condition well after 250 years under water.   It’s no wonder that bottles were often the chosen vessel during a crisis, as a means of reaching someone—their very durability having the potential to last forever.

Our messages in life need to be deliberate, and safely delivered with passion.  In our weakest moments—unable to fathom anything other than shuffling one foot in front of the other, it’s imperative to reach for victory.  Though difficult to look up when you feel helpless, it is at times like these, that God’s word reverberates in my soul:    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”  ~Ephesians 2:8

Through faith, God has thrown the life vest.  Not of our own strength, but instead His gift of salvation, the lasting message of Hope.

You never know where a message in a bottle will end up or even how long it will take to get there.  What we do know is that the messages we send forth in life through the shipwrecks or heartaches we face can have a lasting impact.  As I just begin this voyage on a rough sea, I know that there will be many times when I will feel weary and lost and in desperate need to send out a cry for help in my message in a bottle.

My hope is that my message will always be that of the ultimate love story—a message of victory, not defeat.

 

The View from Below

Santorini

“One sees great things from the valley, only small things from the peak.”

― G.K. Chesterton

Pent house suites, mountaintop lodges, castles atop grand cliffs . . . the allure of high places is something we all crave to experience at one point or another.   Top level retreats seem to indeed be sought out destinations of choice—the very essence of luxury.

When traveling to Santorini, Greece—John and I chose the breathtaking town of Oia to call home for the duration of our stay.  The idea of staying in a traditional cave house carved inside volcanic earth was in and of itself—thrilling to the core.  Add the fact that it’s panoramically set 1000 feet above the Aegean Sea—well, let’s say the feeling was nothing short of Utopia on steroids.  The views coupled with the meandering narrow paths along the steep cliffs proved that though Oia is certainly not for the faint of heart, it is most definitely the choice destination for anyone seeking ultimate beauty . . . on high.

Recently, I’ve hit a low point on this pilgrimage called cancer, a point where time seems skewed, warped in fact.  One moment everything appears to be moving in slow motion, then BOOM—time seems to be running full speed ahead.  As if by magical “clockwork,” my emotions follow suit, stuck in vacillation-mode.  One minute, I’m eager to have chemo in the rear view mirror, while a split second later I become crippled with anxiety about moving beyond chemo onto the next phase of treatment—desperate to stop time in its tracks.

Just hours from now, I’ll be infused with my final dose of Taxol, followed by 4 rounds of dose-dense A/C every other week— that lovely chemo cocktail better known as the “Red Devil.”  How pleasant.  Not exactly a happy hour beverage of choice.  It would seem anything with the word devil tied into its nickname . . .  can’t be good.  As appealing as a free Brazilian wax may seem, if it means having someone gown up to stick a syringe of bright red poison into your vein . . . well, I guess I would have to say hair isn’t such a hardship.  All joking aside, as eager as I am to be done with chemo, the thought of what awaits me on the other side is almost too unbearable to embrace just yet.  Don’t get me wrong, I yearn for the fatigue, pain, neuropathy, malaise, and hairless head to be in my rearview mirror, but it’s hard to fathom the idea of surgery . . . that which will permanently change me.  Forever.

I recall the goose bumps I got over those surreal cliffs in Santorini.  Truthfully, those goose bumps never came while looking down at the “tiny” wonders more than thee football field lengths away at the bottom.  Instead, they came when we were at the bottom—looking up.

The view from below always took my breath away.

Right now I stand somewhere at the base of my cliff in this cancer journey, longing for that destination on high.  Why aren’t I looking up?  Only here can I really see the hope and future blessing stretched out before me, the surreal beauty that might even take my breath away . . . if I let it.

Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  (Romans 8:25)

Love,

Nicole

xoxo

Castaway

dingy

We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.

~Winston Churchill

I’ve missed you all.  I’ve had “behind the keyboard withdrawals.” I find this wonderful forum or as I like to call it:  my c-blog therapy sessions behind the computer, help to keep my spirit soaring as I express my heart.  I won’t get into too many details about my computer drama causing my longer than normal absence, but let’s just say when the hard drive goes unexpectedly on your computer and you lose all your files and pictures because they weren’t properly backed up . . .big girls do, in fact, cry.  Actually, they bawl.

As many of you can guess by now, I’m about as right-brained as one can get.  As such, my scattered mind makes me more of a creative thinker than other, perhaps more organized folk.  I’m wired by feeling and intuition as opposed to sequence and logic when gathering information.  I tend to visualize the whole picture first then work my way backwards to fit the pieces together that create that whole picture.

Over the weekend, the boys wanted to rent a movie—one that in all honesty, I’ve had no interest seeing, despite all the acclaim it has received.   Life of Pi was the chosen feature presentation and all I can say is that my initial “non-interest” turned to—WOW!  I was truly blown away by every aspect of the film.  Sadly, I’ve never read the book, a New York Timesbestseller that the movie is based on.  Perhaps if I had known how incredibly rich in symbolism and full of deep truths this gem was, I would have read the book ages ago and been more than eager to see the movie.  Actually, I’m usually not fond of endorsing movies based on novels, because often the film doesn’t live up to the book.  However, book or no book—the movie was wonderful and moved me to tears.

Pi, the film’s protagonist, is a shipwrecked castaway that spent over 220 days at sea.  This boy, in the face of unimaginable tragedy and inconceivable adversity, brings the viewer into a truly magical journey—weaving a fantastic story in the face of a cruel reality— the story, becoming his life vest of survival.

Do you ever notice that during times of great suffering and tribulation come unexpected, powerful moments that give meaning and purpose to life?  Often these moments become the very necessary tools for survival.  Pi’s storytelling became his means of survival.   In fact, the Bengal Tiger in the life boat with Pi, is the symbolic side of him that though he wishes to escape from, he instead embraces, learning how to live in both opposition and partnership with it.

Though I refuse to be defined by it, breast cancer is unfortunately in my life boat whether I like it or not.  Though I’m also opposed to embracing its hold on my life, the truth is . . . it’s real and I need to be in partnership with its place in my life, so I can positively bring hope and light to others who may be a castaway in the face of darkness.

My appointment on Friday was semi-optimistic and difficult all at once.  The oncologist confirmed that what I’ve been feeling on my skull is real, discovering that in addition to the lymph node at the base of my skull, the bone above that area feels different because there is another lymph node on top of the actual bone.  She honestly felt these areas were “normal” and not to worry about them because the size of the lymph nodes are not at a worrisome size.  Meanwhile, the pathology report I’ve never actually held in my possession finally was printed . . . and honestly, that was more difficult to look at than I had thought.  Though I have hope and trust in the plan laid out before me, the truth is the staging is a bit scary to look at in black and white.

The same earnest hope in the face of a cancer diagnosis still comes with the reality that there’s a bad side of breast cancer—not all “pretty in pink” as the awareness ads dangled in front of us make us believe.   In fact, the reality is that in the U.S. alone, breast cancer death rates among women are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.

Reality can indeed sometimes scare us . . .  but it’s okay to acknowledge it and even talk about it, as long as it exists in partnership with God’s promises.  Like Pi, I’m but a castaway on the open sea, ready to use this moment to produce an inspirational story of hope and survival that blesses many.

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.   

~Psalm 119:50

Riding the Wave

girl-surfer

(transferred from my CaringBridge site created on 3/9/13)

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”

~ Helen Keller

It seems like “chemo-Thursdays” always falls on a birthday or holiday.  This past Thursday was my birthday and it was wonderful to have some ultra-special people with me:  my mom and my sister in addition to my three little princes.  As per normal, we livened and lightened up the infusion floor . . . birthday presents and all!

Tired of the cold and feeling a touch of Spring fever (even during the lovely chemo-induced fatigue and allover malaise), I’ve been busy thinking about warmer thoughts . . . like surfing.  I love watching surfers being challenged by huge waves.  To the ordinary swimmer, like myself, being in the midst of such a wave would frighten me to the core.  To the seasoned surfer, however, that same wave is precisely what produces their tremendous thrill.  Many of you may remember “soul surfer,” Bethany Hamilton, who in 2003 at only 13 years old, while relaxing on her surfboard waiting to catch a good wave—in a split second, lost her arm from a great white shark attack.  Amazingly, this talented, faith-filled girl got right back in the water, surfing with one arm—less than a month after the attack!

Thrill-seeking has always been the subject of much speculation, from Sigmund Freud’s “innate death drive” philosophy to some modern psychologists’ view that dangerous activities make us feel more alive.  In reality, though, thrill-seeking behavior can mean different things to different people.

Though I still have a bit of a risk-taking drive in me, I’ve grown more conservative over the years—especially as a mom . . . in a way hoping that my boys will not completely follow in some of my crazy footsteps.  John will laugh while attesting to some of my craziness, like on the slopes.  From the moment we started skiing together, even as a beginner, I would hit the slopes—racing to the finish, often times on trails I had no business being on.  For me, it’s all about the thrill and challenge, and ultimately the whole experience in the moment.  I guess most people will both seek and avoid risk at different points in their lives.

Now if my slope were instead replaced with that ultimate wave, a surfer’s dream . . . I’ll be honest, I’d be running for the hills.  Cancer, in many ways . . . has become my wave.  I would love to run far away from it . . . or simply remain in the still waters.  Some people will say of one going through a cancer trial as “brave.”  I laugh when people say that to me because the truth is bravery is about the furthest from the truth in my reality.  A firefighter running into a burning building is what I envision as brave.  I would do anything to run far away from this, not toward it.

Though Bethany describes that tragic morning on her surfboard as her Tsunami moment, infringing on her pro-surfer dreams, she also realized that bad things happen to everyone.  “But for me, knowing that God loves me and that he has a plan for my life—that no shark can take away and no contest result can shake, is like having solid rock underneath me.”  Wow . . . what an amazing young woman.

I desperately seek to apply the same thrill-seeking behavior I’ve often sought in life to meet me on this latest adventure—the very wave I would love to avoid and fight against.  The truth is, tribulation, suffering, and persecution—are the very things that produce abundant joy in us.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  James 1:2–4

God tells us that trials produce perseverance . . . perseverance produces character; and character brings hope, which never disappoints.

I’m on the board, ready to put my sights on the wave before me.

Thank you my friends for your constant prayers.  My regular chemo-Thursday will be changed to Friday this coming week as I meet with my oncologist to further examine the lymph node at the base of my skull.  Please continue to pray that this is nothing.

I in turn will:  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Mastering the Keys with Precision

piano keys

(transferred from my CaringBridge page from 3/5/13)

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.

~ Bob Marley

This weekend, I had the distinct privilege of experiencing one of my favorite jazz pianists and composers—Joe Sample.  Working with the likes of Miles Davis, B.B. King, Eric Clapton and George Benson (to name a few), Joe incorporates jazz, gospel, blues, Latin and even classical style into his amazing compositions.

Jazz.  There’s something about listening to it that brings such peace to my spirit—in many ways like a deep soul massage.  Just thinking about Joe Sample’s music relaxes my shoulders.  I’ve always found the best musicians to have a distinct sound that can easily be discerned from the ears of a true fan, even if you were blindfolded.  Sample could play a simple melody like Chopsticks on the same Yamaha as hundreds of other pianists, and still have it sound incredibly unique to him.  At one point during his performance, he talked about all the painful hours he has spent exercising his fingers.  He continued to share that the exercises were not about how well he could execute an entire piece of music, but instead how well his fingers landed on each key.  The precise placement of his fingers touching each key—determined the kind of sound only he can produce.

This past week was tough.  No sugar-coating . . . it was exhausting, trying and demanding of all my focus and energy.  “Mental drain” sums it up well.  In a moment during the week when my spirit seemed too weak to think let alone pray, it brought priceless encouragement to see one of Colby’s scriptures on my mirror:  “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  (1 Peter 5:7)  Because He cares for you.

I was doubly blessed to have my mom join me on Thursday for chemo.  While we were able to have some great one on one time, I was also able to share some of my struggles with her.  Though I can’t imagine the intense pain a mother must feel having a sick child with no way to fix it, my mom always encourages me while also allowing me to have moments of weakness, moments of human frailty—without going into meltdown zone because of my lack of optimism.  Though people don’t mean to communicate additional stress, often a sick person feels pressured with an expectation to be perpetually positive.  “Stay positive” is the mantra of choice.  The mentality behind the saying is sensible and wise, yet with it comes the added anxiety of probable failure.  Instead, my mom listens earnestly, never discouraging me from expressing honest pain.  She’s the perfect best friend/mother combination—loyal, unconditional, honest, loving and true . . . never letting me sit in worry and confusion, but also never dismissive about my feelings.  I thank God every day for her.

Sometimes we put our Faith in full compositions, instead of individual key strokes.  I often find myself busy praying over the big picture instead of the smaller, intricate steps that would be easier to hit with ease and precision.  I need to exercise my Faith the same way Joe exercises his fingers . . . not on a mission to perfectly execute my ballad of sorts.  Instead, the crux of this composition laid out before me is about the way my fingers graze each key.

I recognize that every step along the way of this trial is going to be difficult, even unbearable at times.  If I look too far down the road, it will be easier to falter.  Instead, I need to look at the placement of my feet, one step at a time . . . trusting the Lord’s lead.

“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.” ~Oswald Chambers

This week marks week 9.  Almost ½ way there!

 

The Architect

Boston

(Originally posted on my CaringBridge page on 2/27/13)

The space within becomes the reality of the building.

~ Frank Lloyd Wright

Though perhaps not as magnificent as other larger cityscapes, Boston’s skyline at night is magnetic.  Whether approached from the north or the south, I always find myself drawn to it.  I remember when Logan was really little, he was in awe by this vertical city stretched out before him, and he began a series of questions:   “How does somebody make those buildings so tall?” . . . “How do they not fall down?” . . . “How long does it take to build one?” . . .   Always earnest in his questions, Logan refuses to settle for the vague-vanilla parental answers we often provide.  So each time I tried to give him a somewhat “knowledgeable” answer about tall buildings, architecture and construction, the reality of my lack of knowledge became evident to us both.  Finally I waved my white flag of defeat and explained to him that I didn’t know a lot about these towers in the sky, and maybe it was a good subject for us to learn more about.

We discovered that to build a skyscraper, careful planning is required.   It can take years to build.  A foundation must be dug a few stories deep below the earth, after which cranes are used to raise a steel frame up into the sky to form the superstructure with steel and concrete beams.  Both the foundation and the superstructure are needed to support the weight of the building—so the complete structure of the skyscraper must be finished before the most important insidecan be started.  It’s amazing to think that modern skyscrapers are also designed to hold off strong winds—safely able to swing a bit in each direction without damaging the structure.

Today marked exactly two months since diagnosis.  As far and wide as the road seems to loom dauntingly ahead on this highway to healing, it’s both encouraging and mind-boggling to think that in a mere 62 days since I heard the words Invasive Ductal Carcinoma—the day my world spun off its axis, I’m already on day 49 of chemotherapy, eight weeks into treatment.  It still seems blurry to me . . . an unreal reality wrapped up nicely with a big ‘surreal’ bow.

Yesterday, sitting in a small, narrow exam room watching a DVD on breast reconstruction, my mind wandered instead to architectural design.  This was my first plastics consult, and as I sat there in my Johnny after the video ended, waiting for the plastic surgeon to come in—I suddenly felt completely claustrophobic in the space.  I started sweating and had to really talk myself out of the intense urge to bolt from the room, Johnny gown and all.  I’ll admit I’ve definitely had a few Valium moments since diagnosis, but the sick feeling of sheer panic that confronted me in that room came out of nowhere—an anxiety I haven’t felt before.  I closed my eyes and finally managed to pull it together before the surgeon came in to meet me.

The lengthy appointment was filled with the challenges, possibilities, impossibilities, risks and “rewards” associated with the future rebuild of the imminent teardown that will follow chemotherapy.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  ~ Hebrews 11:8-10

Though I’m overwhelmed by the path laid out before me, I know in my heart of hearts that I need to surrender to God, so that He, the trusted architect of my life might use this “structural” teardown moment to help refill and build up the space within my tower—the most important part, the reality of the building.  Though the structural process takes time and effort, the final inside portion of the architectural plan is the integral part of the finished product.

Please pray that as I sway in the wind, I will remain confident and secure in the plans and purposes my architect and builder has carefully crafted for my life.