Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ethiopia Bound

David went to Ethiopia last summer with Ordinary Hero, a group based out of Nashville. Since returning, he has talked about it with excitement on many many occasions and has talked lots about going back some day.
I have always wanted to go to Africa to do mission work since I was a nurse. I always assumed it would be on a medical missions trip and I actually had an opportunity to go to Kenya this coming November, but something kept holding me back. The more I talked with David about it, the more we decided that we wanted to go together. But Kenya was just not the trip for us because David had fallen in love with Ethiopia and the people there.
So, about 3 weeks ago, we filled out our applications and were accepted to go with Ordinary Hero at the end of June 2013...that's just 9 months away!!! Our group leaders will be the founders of OH and we couldn't be more thrilled about that. I don't have specific details about our trip yet as those will come in the near future. But what I do have is this...



A CHANCE TO WIN A $1000 GRANT FROM ORDINARY HERO.

The contest is running just this week and the top seller of merchandise from the OH store gets this grant. This would be such a blessing to us as not only does 40% of your purchase go directly to our trip fund, but the grant would be HUGE since we are paying for the both of us to go.

Please visit this website SOON (www.ordinaryherostore.org) since the contest ends on September 30th, and pass it along to everyone you know. It's really simple. Get something cute from the store and when you go to check out, you will select "Kelly Blevins" in the affiliate drop down box. This will alert them to put the 40% in my account and to credit me the entire purchase cost for the grant. I am really hoping and praying that I will be the top seller.

Friday, September 21, 2012

DONE...AT LAST!

What a year...12 months...365 days...

Last year, on September 13th, I got the awful news that the clinical trial I had taken part of for aggressive breast cancer had been stopped because the primary data had come back showing that the people who took the clinical trial drug were getting recurrences a lot more frequently and were dying sooner. Within 5 days I was back taking the standard drug for the aggressive part of my cancer that I would have gotten anyways had I not been a part of the trial. Within 8 days I was having another surgery to put another portacath in my chest for the next year of chemo I would be having infused every 3 weeks.
It's been a very trying year. What was supposed to be a drug that caused very few side effects left my body worse than the heavy duty chemo I had 3 years ago. No, I didn't lose my hair this time around, but I would much have rather been bald again than to go through all that I did. I was nauseated more than I wasn't. My bones from my hips to my feet were in severe pain to the point I thought I had stress fractures or bone metastasis. I developed the horrible cough with treatments which was later determined to be that I had actually developed asthma. My heart function was monitored every three months as this chemo was cardiotoxic. Over the course of the year, my heart function went from the high end of normal to the very low end of normal. Thankfully though, it IS still normal. My white cell counts have been all over the place as has my hemoglobin leaving me severely fatigued.
HOWEVER, I document all of these things to tell you, and remind myself, that no matter what, GOD IS GOOD. Even when it doesn't seem like it, even when the world and circumstances tell us otherwise, GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD! Has it been a horrific year? Yep. Has it been the most trying year in regards to my faith? Yep. Has it been hard to take care of and love on my family the way I want to? Yep. Has it left me feeling defeated? At times. Do I still wonder from time to time WHY this had to happen? Yep, sure do.

BUT NO MATTER WHAT, GOD IS GOOD! 

We must always remember this because without this simple yet profound and true statement, we lose hope, and without hope, we have nothing.
What is weighing you down right now? What trials or sufferings are you experiencing? What stresses or worries are keeping you up at night and robbing you of your joy? I challenge you to grab an index card and write the above statement on it. Tape it on your mirror, put it in your car, purse, pocket, Bible, kitchen cabinets, etc... and read it every chance you get. Let it sink in and once it does, you will begin to see things differently... with an eternal perspective. I promise. And things sure do look a lot different from that perspective.

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Responsibility

Yesterday's sermon has been weighing heavily on my heart. I've come to know through the years that when something is impressing upon me that much, that it is the Holy Spirit and I need to be obedient. So, I'm taking my responsibility seriously and sharing it with every single one of you, my precious readers. I am constantly in awe and humbled when I look at the map at the bottom of my blog and see the various states and countries that you all live in. I often wonder why you would want to read about little old me, but then I remember that God has a bigger plan and he has given me this blog as a way to not only air out my feelings and thoughts about cancer, but a way to share His love, His sovereignty, His grace, etc...
So, back to my responsibility...before I tell you what it is though, I want to tell you that when I first heard the sermon yesterday, I sat in my seat thinking that my circle of friends already KNOW all of this stuff that I am about to share and began wondering WHO I was supposed to go to and HOW I was supposed to do it. Aren't those two questions that we quite often ask God? Especially the "HOW?" And isn't it quite remarkable that He always provides the answer! For me, His response was "Who- your readers and How- your blog."

So, what is this huge responsibility that I have? It comes from the Old Testament book of Ezekial.
After seven days the Lord gave me a message. He said, “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me.

So, here we have Ezekial being told by God that he is basically to watch over Israel and warn the people. He was supposed to deliver the message that God told him. What a HUGE job that was! Can you even imagine Ezekial knowing he was going to have to tell people that they were under the penalty of death?? These were wicked people...not people who were ready to hear this at all. But Ezekial was also told by God that if he did not follow through with it, that he (Ezekial) would be responsible for their deaths. But if he did tell them and they still did not ask forgiveness then at least he tried and that he would basically "be off the hook."

So, how does this apply to modern times? I mean, a guy named Ezekial in the Old Testament has pretty much nothing in common with a girl named Kelly on her Apple computer, right? WRONG! Applying this to me, Ezekial's responsibility becomes mine too.  As a follower of Christ, it  is my responsibility to tell each of you too that if you are not a follower of Christ, then the penalty is eternal death. Eternity in hell...forever separated from God and His Son Jesus. Forever separated from everything.  I don't want that for anyone!!!! I would love nothing more to meet every single one of you in Heaven one day which is why I am taking the responsibility and telling you these things so that you can have eternal life. And I would venture to say that you would rather be in Heaven for an eternity instead of Hell. So, if you are reading this and you have no idea what I am talking about or HOW to become a Christ follower, it's like this.
1. You believe with your whole being that Jesus is God's Son and lived a perfect life on Earth.
2. You believe that he took the penalty for your sin by dying on the cross so that you would not have to live an eternity in hell. You believe He then rose from the grave 3 days later and ascended to heaven where He lives and reigns with God.
3. You ask Jesus to forgive you/ repent (turn away from) of your sins, and to become the center of your life.
4. And then you walk in victory knowing that Jesus is your Savior and He is your life...your old life of sin has passed away and a new life in Christ has been created.

There are many questions that I am sure that some of you have...maybe about faith, maybe about what happens after you surrender your life to Christ and become a follower, maybe about facts, maybe about this whole salvation thing, maybe about my personal story of coming to Christ...whatever it is, I am happy and more than willing to share with you and answer to the best of my ability. If you have a question that I am not equipped to answer, rest assured that I will most definitely get the answer for you and that everything I tell you will be backed by Biblical Truths.


2 Corinthians 5:14-20: Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (I italicized the words that spoke greatest to me and pointed out the responsibility I was speaking of earlier)