Breast Cancer Awareness – My Story

Keep calm get a mammogram

When I turned 40 a year and a half ago, my mom said, “Don’t forget to schedule your mammogram.  You’re 40 now.  You need to have one.”

What?  What was I hearing?  A mammogram?  Wasn’t that something that old(er) women had done?  Surely, as a 40 year-old woman, I was definitely too young to need one of those, right?  Nope.  (Why did I ever doubt my mom?)

I waited and waited.  You know…I was busy.  I’ll get around to it, I told myself.

As my 41st birthday neared, my mom urged me – again – to go and get a mammogram.  Reluctantly I made an appointment to have it while I was still 40.  Otherwise, as she pointed out, I would be two mammograms behind when I turned 41.

The procedure itself was relatively painless and was over in no time.  During the procedure, the technician informed me that because I had no baseline for comparison, I shouldn’t be surprised if I get a callback for a second test.  Ok, I thought.

A week later, I received a letter in the mail that mentioned something suspicious was detected and that I needed to return for further testing.  This news wasn’t really what I had expected when I was told not to be surprised if I needed to return for further testing.  I imagined going back because they couldn’t see something clearly, not because something looked suspicious.  The next step was an ultrasound.

Fast forward a few weeks…

The ultrasound confirmed that there was indeed a clearly defined mass (it looked like a chewed piece of bubble gum to me) and that a biopsy was the next step to determine if it was cancerous.  Biopsy??  This was getting more serious.  I left my appointment, went to my car, called my husband at work and as soon as I heard his voice, I burst into tears.  (No one ever said my timing or delivery was always perfect.)  He was able to understand my words through muffled tears and his words soothed me enough to pull myself together.  Then I began texting and emailing my family and friends to go to God on my behalf and pray for a benign tumor.

Fast forward a few weeks…

After the biopsy, four days passed before I received a phone call with the results.  A phone call that could’ve changed my life forever.  I’m a pretty optimistic person but honestly, God heard from me a lot that week!  And boy – my poor husband.  He is normally very even-keeled but he, too, was also pretty concerned.  He tried to be strong for both of us.  I love him so much.  (The funny thing is that before he left for work on the morning I received the phone call, he prayed a prayer over me like he’s never done before.  It left me speechless!  God used him to calm my nerves that morning.)

I was relieved when the call came in and I found out the test came back negative.  I was cancer-free!  Praise God!  My mom, who was in the car with me when I got the call, started screaming and praising God right then and there!  (I’ll never forget that moment EVER!)  I didn’t hear much after, “Kathie, I have good news for you”, but I was so relieved that God had answered my prayers.

Because of the size and location of the tumor, my doctor recommended that I have the tumor removed, but the ultimate decision was mine to make.  After doing some research, I decided to have the tumor removed after our church’s VBS wrapped up.

The morning of my surgery, I felt good and confident, ready to put this ordeal behind me.  With my husband and children by my side, we arrived at the hospital, checked in and waited…waiting is so hard, isn’t it?

Have you ever been in a place of anticipation and waiting?

My surgery went well, with no complications, although no one told me about the horrible nausea that followed.  The day after surgery was also tougher than I expected.  I was in an incredible amount of pain, had a sore throat (I was intubated prior to surgery), nausea and sleepiness.  Thankfully, I was able to take a week to just recover – it took 7 full days for me to begin to feel like myself again.

Why did I share my story?

I share my story because God answered my prayers!  I am so thankful for insurance, supportive family and friends and knowledgeable doctors and medical personnel.

I share this story because God often uses unexpected situations to draw us – and those around us – closer to him.  I had so many people praying for me, texting me encouraging words and sharing their stories of going through a similar experience.  We grew closer to God and each other through that scary time.

I share my story because two friends who had put off their own mammograms went to have theirs done.  If my story could help one person, yay!

I share my story because rest did my body a lot of good.  I was really a non-functioning member of society for the days following my surgery.  All I could do was take pain meds and sleep.  And that was alright with me.

I share my story because oftentimes, we don’t listen as intently about issues that haven’t affected us or someone we care about.  I have learned so much through this process and want to help others learn, too.

Needless to say, this year I’m paying more attention to stories about breast cancer awareness.  Last week on the Today Show, I saw a segment that the American Cancer Society is now recommending mammograms start for women at age 45, not age 40.  (I have no family history of breast cancer, but had I waited, my story could’ve ended very differently.)

I encourage you to take care of yourself, go get a mammogram and/or encourage someone you love to get theirs.  You have too much to live for to skip it!

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Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9 {Review & Giveaway}

I recently took a sneak peek at Phil Vischer’s new movie for kids, Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9.  It had my attention from the very first scene!  Keep reading to find out more and how you can win a free DVD copy of the movie, which releases tomorrow, October 20th.

Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9 is a must-see for all ages, from VeggieTales creator PHIL VISCHER! Kids will enjoy Buck Denver’s latest adventure with his friends from What’s In the Bible? and parents will appreciate the humorous nods to Star Wars and Star Trek.  More importantly, Phil Vischer’s gifted teaching delivers a clear message to kids and adults about God’s love and purpose for our lives.  Galaxy Buck communicates important Biblical truths that will add to everyone’s faith foundation, whether a life-long Christian or a new creation in Christ.

Galaxy Buck
About the movie:
Buck Denver has a simple dream – to save the galaxy.  Working for the Galactic Mission Board, Buck dreams of carrying God’s love to every corner of the Milky Way!  Except he doesn’t have a starship.  Or a crew.  Or even a captain’s license.  He just needs a chance.  But when that chance comes and Buck finds himself leading a real mission into deep space, things don’t go at ALL like he imagined!  If he’s doing what God wants him to do, why is everything going wrong?  From VeggieTales® and What’s in the Bible? creator Phil Vischer, Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9 is a wild, galactic adventure that teaches kids a powerful lesson about trusting God with everything – even our dreams!
Run time: Approximately 40 minutes
My thoughts:

I am always amazed at how simple messages designed for children often speak to me as an adult.  There are too many spiritual lessons and will be a great foundation for really good family (or ministry discussion).  From a visual perspective, while I thought the graphics were awesome (it was really top notch), some characters might frighten younger viewers.  I’d recommend the movie for kids ages 7 & up – they won’t be as frightened and will definitely enjoy the movie’s humor.

My favorite line in the movie:

“God doesn’t want you to DO anything.  He just wants YOU!”

Enter to win a copy of this family-friendly DVD in one of three ways:

  1. Leave me a comment below, telling me who you’ll enjoy the movie with (either at home or in a ministry setting).
  2. Leave me a message on my Facebook page, telling me who you’ll enjoy the movie with (either at home or in a ministry setting).
  3. Tweet about the giveaway to your Twitter followers.

Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, October 21.  Winner will be announced on my Facebook page.  Happy entering!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

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My Unintentional Prayer Posture


During my prayer time the other day, the Holy Spirit nudged me in a way that shocked me a bit.  I had just spent a few minutes praying before realizing that my posture was just wrong. It was unintentional but wrong nonetheless.  What was my posture?  My arms were crossed tightly over my chest.

I know enough to know what this posture conveys most of the time.  Body language experts will tell you that arms crossed tightly over your chest signals defensiveness and resistance.

In retrospect, I honestly don’t think that I was either defensive or resistant, but only God knows the true depth of my heart that day.  Maybe deep down, I was.  Maybe I was afraid to go to my Heavenly Father with the longings of my heart.  I don’t know.

What I do know is that when I recognized my posture, I changed it right away.  Instead of tightly crossed arms, I held my hands up and open, posturing myself to receive from the God who created me, loves me and delights in me.

Psalm 134:2 (ESV)

“…Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD!”

Psalm 5:3 (NLT)

“Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD.  Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.”

Here is a brief video from John Maxwell that speaks to POSTURE.  Position yourself to win – and receive!

What are you trusting God for today?  Are you postured in a position to receive or are you resistant to what God has for you?

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11 Great Team Meeting Questions

11 Great Team Meeting Questions

Good leaders know to ask questions.  Great leaders know how to ask the right questions.  When you gather your team around the table, it’s crucial to ask the right questions.

Every Tuesday, I gather my team to debrief the previous Sunday and plan for the upcoming week(s).  Debriefing is important to celebrate what went well and to adjust what didn’t.  Planning is important to execute things well and make sure everyone’s on the same page.

In order to debrief well, here are some questions that I might ask:

  • What were the ‘wins’?  What went well?
  • What didn’t go well?  What needs to be improved?
  • What stories did you hear from volunteers, children or parents?
  • Does anything need to be fixed or replaced?
  • What volunteer(s) needs an encouraging word this week?
  • Who can we personally thank this week? [This is usually done with a handwritten note.]

When moving forward in planning for what’s coming up, I typically ask one or more of these questions, depending on what we’re working on:

  • What events are coming up this week?  What prep needs to be made?
  • Are there any supplies that need to be replenished/purchased/ordered/borrowed?
  • What needs to be communicated to our volunteers?
  • What needs to be communicated to parents (via email, snail mail, newsletter, social media or website)?
  • Who’s responsible for what? What are the action steps?

Keep the conversation going!  What questions are asked at your team meetings?

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