So Different and So Close

urlSOMETIMES I WATCH out the window the little birds hopping on the fresh watered lawn. There are all kinds. A pair of grey doves are the most sophisticated. They have a special spot where they scratch the ground for seeds. Every single morning.

Then there is this little black one that likes to hang out on the rail by the tomato pots. Yellow beak, with a chubby body, he puffs up his feathers to look bigger. Then we have a crow. Loud, demanding but pretty scared of any loud sound. Finches? There is a couple of them chirping when they find something good. And those mocking birds that spy our grass and plants from the palm trees across the street: when they fly over, everybody else has to go. Otherwise there would be a fight.

But the most numerous kinds are the hummingbirds. Some of them are so curious and daring that they would come to pick on my colorful shirt.
New visitors, the yellow birds and the blue ones, come now and then and hide in the bushes on the side of the driveway. They are so beautiful! Seagulls? They love to be right by the water and don’t fly on top of the hill very often. And when they come it’s early in the morning, and only to take a tour of the neighborhood.

All these creatures are so different, but they make my world beautiful. And yes, they can coexist together.

The Bay

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I WALKED DOWN to the water last evening and, after crossing through one of the restaurants’ parking, I took my way on the paved alley by the bay. There was nobody there, but a lot was happening on the water. I turned around before the bridge to Balboa Peninsula and went back to get to a spot I liked.
Most of the restaurants have a dock in the back of their buildings, and there is where you can sit down on the wooden moving wharf and watch the boats.

The sun was setting and this huge fancy boat was trying to back up and reach the small harbor. I didn’t know why, but then I saw a server holding a trey with food and waiting for them.

I was maybe 5 years old when mom and dad took me on the city’s boat, “The Sparrow.” It was an easy way to float from our city down the river to former Yugoslavia. But we were not allowed to do that. We didn’t have passports under the communists, and the only Romanians who could cross the border to buy stuff were some of the inhabitants of the villages closest to the border.
“The Sparrow” floated quietly about a mile down the river and turned back. I was so happy on that trip. Then my parents took me again and again, almost every Sunday since Sunday was the only day for cruises. The town closed the boat rides one day for good.

Then I remembered the rowing boat one dear friend took me on a lake in the mountains. I was on one of my fencing training camps at “Trei Ape”/ “Three Waters” when this friend came for a day to see me. I talked to my coach and he agreed to give me a couple of hours off. My friend got a rowing boat and he rowed the boat on the water between the evergreen forests while we talked about everything. Then life separated us.

The big boat on the bay reached the server, and a woman picked up the trey of food with a shout of victory.
The water was glittering under the sun caught on fire. A sailboat passed by.
It was peaceful.

Why – Three lumps plus one

“Meanwhile, the three lumps under my arm were still there, and another little mass grew on my abdomen. I kept covering them with Swedish Bitter and cabbage leaves. The mass on my stomach disappeared after 2-3 months, but those under my arm didn’t vanish.

Taking showers and feeling the mass growing was frightening. But I didn’t want to talk about what was going on and I went on with my life the way it was. When I was feeling too tired, my body was just lingering on the bed and waiting to get some rest. After that, I would continue to write. Now when I look back, I see that writing was an engine from the Lord to keep me moving on and give me a sense of purpose.

God’s humor was so unique to call me into a field where I was far from being perfect since English was my second language.

 

When I shared that “the Lord called me to write books in English,” I was told that I should work what other people work and keep the writing as a hobby. That could have been a wise advice for many, but I knew I was called to do more than that.

 

I stumbled over this quote, “Follow your dreams. Or you’ll spend the rest of your life working for someone who did.”(1) What a statement! I knew I was doing what I was called to do.

 

Since I was young I had two passions: writing and teaching. I was an elementary and junior high teacher for many years and had already published a few books. My careers didn’t pay much at that time and that’s why so many can’t afford to follow their passion like this. It involves somebody else’s help, and leaning on God and not on your own performances while you have to pay your rent and bills. It involves wisdom, timing and the assurance that you do what you are called to do. I had no idea why I wasn’t called to fit in a common box, because that would have been easy, instead of standing against the norm, like others said.

 

 

Some considered that trying to make a living as an author was too out of the line, and that was why I had to conform to society’s norm the way everybody else did. That expectation was

pretty confusing for me because, growing up in a communist country, I was punished for using my gifts and talents. That society didn’t even let me finish my education during the regime.

 

Now when I look back, I really believe that when some people tell you that you can’t do something and that you would not make it, they are actually afraid that you would indeed make it.”

Why – Fear, Soul Wounds and Cancer

“Meanwhile, something weird happened to me. When taking a shower before going to see my friend, I felt something unusual under my right arm. It was a lump. I pressed it and tried to feel its dimension. It was the size of a cherry kernel. I started to keep Swedish Bitter on it and cabbage leaf. It didn’t decrease in its measure and it didn’t grow larger for a while.

 

My friend passed away on February 2013. I was so sadden. I missed her every single day. My office called me and told me to take as many days off as I needed to mourn. In an effort to comfort me, one of my sons bought me a plane ticket and sent me to Romania. I stayed there with my family for almost three months.

That was a good change. I didn’t pay attention to the lump under my arm, I didn’t talk about it, I only prayed over it. After finishing up some business I had in my birth country, I was ready to come back home to the US. By that time, there were three lumps under my armpit. I took a blood test in Romania. The test came with an indicator for infection. I took antibiotics and flew back over the Atlantic. That was the month of June 2013.

 

3.

FEAR, SOUL WOUNDS AND CANCER

 

After spending three months with friends and family in Romania, I came back to the US. This was my new life, my reality. As a single mother for many years, with adult children who had their own lives now, I was feeling pretty alone.

My body was tired most of the time. One day I mentioned to my children about what was going on with me, trying to keep it as light as possible. They wanted to take me to the doctor, but I refused. I didn’t want them to go into debt for me. I trusted God and I was ready for anything.

 

Weeks went by, and I chose to go through this heaviness pretty isolated. The lumps didn’t hurt and I kept myself busy by writing children’s books. I wanted to write as much as possible. I continued working on my books and writing projects with the hope of leaving something of quality and worth behind. I was preparing for the worst.           These kinds of thoughts may come across as over the edge, but my life was that way. With the help of a few friends, I self-published my first book at the end of July 2013 and that brought me great joy. It was a precious confirmation that I started to make progress, in spite of the language and cultural barrier. My youngest son encouraged me not to take another client for the rest of the year and focus on my new career. He worked extra shifts only to keep

me at home to recover and write. At that point I put on hold my job with the elders and continued to write, self-illustrate and self-publish on Amazon and Kindle at a fast rate. I kept my expenses at a minimum. My youngest son’s help along with my other children’s gifts now and then eased my life in the process of writing. It was a time of great proliferation. I was writing and drawing long hours every day and I felt my wings growing. ”

Why – Going Through the Unknown

“At this point, after quitting my job at the bank, I was looking to change business fields. I had already started writing books in English, my second language, and wanted to turn it into a writing career in the US.

Before that, in Romania, I had several volumes published by traditional publishing houses. Writing books was my passion along with teaching.

Now I needed a part-time job with flexible hours, a job where I would interact with people. One day I found out about a company that helped elderly clients with their appointments and everyday tasks. They hired me and after a few weeks of helping an elderly couple with their appointments, the office called me on my phone.

“We have a new client who asks for a Christian caregiver. We told her and her daughter about you.”

The elderly lady and her family had prayed before God for the right person who would come to help them. The office introduced us to each other and that was the beginning of a precious friendship between this sweet eighty-year-old lady and her dear family and I.

My new friend had had breast cancer and it was in remission for a few years, but it eventually came back. I remember taking her to the doctors’ appointments. They scheduled chemotherapy after a while. We went there. Everything was well during the procedure, but when my friend got home, she felt that the technique was too hard on her body and she didn’t want to do it anymore.

Her family looked for alternative procedures. They talked to doctors, friends and prayed consistently and they decided to have their mother on Vitamin C infusions, along with the ‘oxygen chamber’ technique and other non-invading practices.

My dear friend’s schedule was pretty busy with these procedures and we became regulars at the medical offices. Everybody knew us there. We laughed a lot and kept our spirits high. But after a few months – it was during the fall of 2012 – the cancer began to spread in her body. My friend’s strength was fading away to the point that she wasn’t able to do her treatments anymore.”

Why?

TWO- ‘ “My father in Romania passed away unexpectedly that spring in 2012. The news saddened me deeply. He was the man who encouraged me all my life. I flew over the Atlantic for his funeral and I had cabbage leaves in a baggy to use during my stay. By the end of the three weeks with my mother, the mass on my thigh

was gone. Before leaving my birth city, I paid to do some blood tests at a lab and it showed there was some infection. I didn’t see a doctor. After talking to a pharmacist, I asked for antibiotics. I took them and that was it.

I’ll come back with more details, but after a few more months, I found myself with a mass under my arm.

After reading medical articles and the results of a number of scientists in this area of study, this is what I found out. The increasing level of stress and other factors developed the lumps in my body.

“Stress fuels cancer spread by triggering master gene.” This article was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. “Stress could be the unifying theme in cancer spread. Previous studies have shown that stress is a risk factor for cancer, and for example that, psychological stress is linked to breast cancer aggressiveness.” (1)

If you, dear ladies, want to know how to search for lumps in your breasts, I found that there are three ways you can do it.

  1. When you take a shower and wash your upper part, feel with your fingers if there are any abnormalities.
  2. In front of a mirror – look for any modification in size and color of the breasts.
  3. When you lay down on your back, search with your hand for any hard mass in your breasts or under your arms.

If you find something, make an appointment with your doctor. Be also aware if there is any liquid coming from your nipples. (2)

 

Stress, worry, fear, anxiety, they have the potential to pollute the human body. After years of observation, a doctor in Alba Iulia, Romania, who helps patients fight against cancer, stated that, “The main factor that leads to cancer is stress.” ‘

Our Brain Listens

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I remembered a song one of my dear friends was clinging to for a while last year, “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again.” The title says it all.
 
A doctor I respect and admire, Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology specialized in Neuropsychology, encourages her patients to speak to their brain. That action is full of power when associated with faith in the Creator, the One who created it.
 
Our brain will follow our command.
I’ve learned that every time when we say statements about ourselves, our brain cells listen and follow.
“I can’t do this.”
“They will hire somebody else anyway.”
“What to expect from my body after 60 years?”
“That sickness runs in our family and I will get it,” and so on.
Our brain cells will start working to put in practice what we think.
 
In the same way, don’t agree when other people speak words of discouragement over you.
“You will never change.”
“Nobody is able to do that.”
“Your career is over.”
 
Words of declaration are powerful. Your brain will believe them. Use them to water others and bring life to them. Their brain listens as well.
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CHECK OUT “Cancer, You Have to Go” by Rodica Iova