Christmas 2017

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These are art cards I sent my financial supporters this year.

Well, It’s been six months since I have written a blog post. I have had a couple of different types of chemo surging through my body, and some radiation. These treatments have taken their toll on my energy level, and writing the blog posts seemed like a good task to fling out the window. I’ve been in survival mode. However, here I am. Still alive. Still here.

I am on a targeted therapy now. Two pills everyday at lunchtime. Two months into this treatment, and I feel stronger than I have in a very long time. However, I am on pain pills that soften the deep ache of cancer, and I need the comfort the pills bring. I have leaned into the guilt of being on opioids, and I am past the need to be off them to save some sort of reputation. The pain won, and I needed help. So, while I “target” cancer cells, which is huge work, I will happily mask my pain.

Oh, but it’s Christmas, and this is a Christmas blog……….

What I really want to share with you, dear reader, is the transformation that has happened in my heart. Recently, I found myself, while driving of course, weeping over the love I have for God. (Lots comes up with me when I am driving.) You see, I have spent the last 7 years in an emotional healing journey that has coincided with fighting cancer. So much emotional healing has occurred, and I can happily report I no longer “leak” love and kindness poured into me by God and others.

I used to have big emotional “holes” which drove me to throw myself at unusual/dysfunctional people for love and affection. Through soul care, counseling, group support and choosing kind friends, these aforementioned holes have filled in a great deal. Now, when someone is kind and loving, I can actually feel it. When I am praying, I can now feel God’s care, and I really sense He hears me, sees me and loves me.

So, yes, much has happened in the last six months. I have much to celebrate. I am healing in many ways, and I still pray God might release me from cancer. On my driving through my tears day, I actually thanked Him for the cancer. Crazy, right? Well, in a mysterious way, the pain, I mean cry out loud pain, has brought me close into the arms of my God. I’ve found it a very safe place full of love.

Isn’t that what Jesus is all about? God with us? He came to us first. Loving us? Why not come to Him this Christmas? I sure have, and it is the best place to be here, and into eternity.

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Thanks for reading! God’s blessings on you now, and into the new year.

Shalom,

Marcia

Bombastic Tomfoolery

Once, when I was taking down one of my oil paintings that was displayed in a Christmas show, an older gentleman took one look at the painting and said, “I could have done that.” Since I have oodles of time to process all kinds of  experiences I have had, due to my cancer journey and resting in bed for hours, I have processed this experience and actually become appreciative of this critical man’s bombastic tomfoolery.

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The Holy Family, Marcia Carole, oil on canvas

I think of the eight years of art training, both on the undergraduate and graduate level, that I completed. I think of the tricky aspects of oil painting, and how I shy away from the fumes and glazes of that medium. However, occasionally, like with this painting, I embrace the fumes with an open window, and I experiment once again with the buttery textures of oils and glazes. This painting came on the heels of eight years of academic training and thirty-five years of practicing my artistic skills.

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The beginning stages of this painting

While lying in bed, fighting chemo nausea, I think of the idea I had, even before I started painting – the wonder of the Trinity dancing and communing in Heaven in eternity past, and the moment Jesus chose to leave that perfect union of three persons in One God, to come to earth for us. And to do what? He came as a humble baby, grew into manhood, died on a wooden cross for our wrongs, rose from the dead, (defeating Satan and death) and He has now danced back to the Father and Holy Spirit, and secured a place for us in Heaven for all eternity. Serious hard work! He did all that because of His great love for each of us in our hopeless, darkened, fallen, never able to quite get it right, condition.

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Adding more layers and glazes

And what is our response to all Jesus did? All He gave? (Think of His MANY years of preparation???) Well, of course, in our bombastic tomfoolery we say, “I can do that.” I can save myself.  Our way of saying, “I can do that.” is usually something like this: “I’m a pretty good person; I haven’t killed anyone,” or “I think God loves me and will overlook all the bad stuff I’ve done,” or, “I’ve done more good than bad, so I’ll probably go to Heaven,” or, “There is no God.” The reason why I am an authority on this is because I used to say these very sentences. I’m one of us. I was full of bombastic tomfoolery.

Then, one day, with the help of those further along in admitting their tomfoolery, the scales began falling from the eyes of my haughty and yet shame-filled soul, and I humbly saw the need for the work Jesus did for me. I began to appreciate it, rather than say I could do it. Eventually, He became my greatest treasure – clinging to Jesus and the work He did for me, is more precious to me than life itself.

So, when someone says to me, in all their bombastic tomfoolery, “I could have done that,” I will smile and think of my own silliness in thinking I could save myself from sin and death. I almost weep for joy at the gift of humility God has given me, so I could know, appreciate and receive the work and the gift of Jesus.  Merry Christmas!

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My home in Seattle

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6