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Tag Archives: OCTOBER

The Mindfulness of our Battles – Cancer Awareness Month.

 

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“We can change the homes we live in, the friends we’ve known and the clothes we’ve worn…

“We could fly across the world, visit new places or investigate new planets; but no matter what our minds sought after, our challenges remain the same; to accept what it means to be human…

To embrace our strengths, our weaknesses, our dreams and to learn how to walk away or fight our battles”

Yinka, 2010 Cancer Survivor.

I’d really been looking forward to vacation and wanted a-me-time alone to relax. I had also purchased the most practical swim suit to gracefully show off my post-cancer surgery scars that I have been battling to accept for years and also to shame the after-effects of thyroid imbalance! 

#BattleWithMyScars   #NoBodyShamingAllowed

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As I sat by the shoreline, chilling out, and soaking in the sun with my family, all I really wanted was to enjoy and take in every moment of creating fond memories, not chase after or flick uninvited ants away from my towel and off my legs.

But as it seems, all of the ants on this Island had arranged a massive dance party and had failed to inform me ahead of time. Literally, I missed the battle-memo!

I was un-invited and I had to leave.

I’d surrendered, not because I was weak and frail or couldn’t indulge my very-zealous 7-year-old in spraying a dozen-can of insecticide, but…’I was learning to let go and embrace my inner peace!

How do you pick your battles?

How do you fight your battles?

Through praises or lamenting?

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MAY 2010 Philadelphia Susan G Komen Race For The Cure- Cancer Awareness Walk

These ants didn’t want me to join their beach party and I didn’t want to be there either. I walked away discouraged and disappointed as I threw a little tantrum in my head. Why should I have to leave? I’m the human here! I paid to be here! Shouldn’t these ants be out there in the dirt? why here? why me?

Not today, I muttered as I adjusted my plans, packed up and gathered my family and went to the indoor waterpark pool instead.

Here, I allowed myself to lounge on the lazy river pool tube as I was selflessly carried through with the tides from the waves.

Mission Accomplished: Battle won!

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OCT 2014 Philadelphia American Cancer Society – Cancer Awareness Walk.

So, there are times in life when things don’t work out as planned. Times when our expectations go unmet and we have to move on or make major adjustments.

Moments when we are unexpectedly approached by life’s challenges and we must decide on which battle is worth fighting…

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OCT 2015 Philadelphia – American Cancer Society – Awareness Walk

You might feel like you’re spinning your wheels in a relationship right now. Or the word “cancer” just reminds you of a hopeless ailment that leads to tortured death? a word never to be mentioned, again?

Or maybe you haven’t moved on from something because you don’t like to quit, even though your time and energy might be more effectively spent elsewhere?

Perhaps, the recovery process of a situation is just too painful and overwhelming for you or the caregivers? Or you have a scheduled medical test coming up and you are in dire need of hope to sustain your doubts?

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Oh goodness! There-is-indeed-a-battlefield of un-reconciled, unresolved thoughts going on in our minds as we anticipate how to deal with it, what’s next? and what if?

You’re not alone.

It might feel like you are surrounded by raging battles, but really…

And still, we all have to wade through stormy waters at times, just to understand why it all started.

I don’t know the particulars of your delayed blessings, unmet expectations or beach-ant frustrations, but God does. Even if you haven’t talked with Him about them yet.

Listen…

It-is-not-every-battle-party we are invited to that needs attention or attendance!
Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

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OCT 2013 Philadelphia – Finish The Fight Against Breast Cancer Walk

But how can we know when to stay and when to let go?
How can we know whether we should say yes or no to that opportunity?
How can we know when our uncomfortable situation is to Refine us, to Rebuke us or to Re-route us?

There’s no simple answer, but there is a simple action:
PRAY.  Ask God for direction. Be still before Him and listen.
Be faithful to go where He leads… even if it means that you need to change your plans, your attitude, your location or vocation. Just surrender to His infinite mercies!

So, as we celebrate OCTOBER – Cancer awareness month, I am hoping we all can do more than just wear pink, look cute or display our external compassion on all our social media platforms!

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This is deeper especially when you have lost someone to cancer, and still dealing with the pain of accepting it and moving forward!

Today, I am hoping we can Call up, Visit or Engage with a cancer survivor, take them out to watch a silly comic relief movie and laugh-out-loud together like there’re no scars visible on or within their bodies!

Tomorrow, I am hoping we can Pamper the ones currently going through treatment – Be an escort to one going for chemo or radiation treatment, schedule a spa treatment or visit the children’s museum together and find humor together in the simple things of life!

As always, I am hoping we can Encourage and Pray with the one who’s lost a family member or friend to cancer by just being there for them emotionally….and then only can we confidently carry the banner and campaign for awareness, intervention and erase all hopelessness.

Yours in HOPE as I share Michael Smith’s “Surrounded – Fight My Battles”

Yinka. (Team: Greater Than Cancer)

 

 

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Set me free from my prison that I might praise your name: CANCER AWARENESS MONTH.

A young vibrant guy who conducted an interview with me on Cancer Awareness stepped back, arms bigger than cancerakimbo, with an exaggerated comical look and blotted out “No Way Ma! ah,’You are too young and fine to have cancer! How can? Oh please be serious! – Oh yes! I smiled back at him. “Forget the stage make up, the girlish attitude and the glamorous accessories you see, “Yeah! ‘This girl is a survivor” and for the next 5 minutes, everything became still and silent, we became deep in thoughts, hands clutched together like a praying mantis as he began praising God.20141018_104043

October is national breast cancer awareness month. It is one of those months that challenges me to sit up and be proactive in the campaign for raising awareness about the importance of early detection and treatment. Not necessarily because I am a cancer survivor, but more so, it is a season for me to reflect on the peaceful acceptance of finally stepping away from my confinement.

When we hear the word “PRISON or CONFINEMENT”, many times we get cold feet, we tremble and begin to panic. Our imagination begins to run wild and far, flashes of hardened looking incarcerated criminals in jumpsuits, locked up behind metal bars, dangling and clanging of handcuffs, organized and monitored scheduled visits with restrictions as prison security officers stand by with un-assuming looks tough enough to crush a wandering cockroach! But, that’s just the physical aspect of the lockup, and with time upon release or admonishment life goes on.

But really, our emotional state of mind (feelings) is actually one of the most dangerous and poisonous prison we have created for ourselves, without even knowing. It is our man-made confinement. An habitual lockup. A casual second skin jail. A renowned penitentiary that usually needs no administrative admittance. We casually stroll in and out of it without realizing it or knowing the damages it’s capable of. Hmmm.can 3

There are many emotions that cause us to slump and become crippled emotionally. Worry wears us down. Regret ruins our confidence. Hatred hardens our hearts. Unforgiveness stains our souls. Bitterness binds our hearts. Insecurity incapacitates our capabilities.

Not knowing what our God-given purpose is or suppressing our enthusiasm or pessimism is a form of imprisonment. It is not only when we are locked up or detained physically. Being blessed with a story and not using it wisely for its purpose, is an emotional confinement. Not creating or maintaining a desired platform is a jail term. Our conscience becomes the court of law that requires no physical judge.

Are you crippled emotionally today? Do words from your past tell you “not good enough,” Procrastination and inadequacy were my two close companions. I didn’t like these two lurking shadows, but they followed me everywhere I went. Stalkers, that’s what they were. They stalked me, yelling taunts and accusations that no one heard but me. The more I listened to them, the more emotionally crippled I became. Until I re-branded my passion by turning my pain into someone’s gain. walk instead

Are we aware that there is a message for us all during our time of confinement? To be able to declare God’s goodness in our lives. That we are indeed a living testimony irrespective of our past, our shame or our dirt!

As you are reading this today, Ask yourself, what is my prison? Is there something in my life that is crippling my spirit? Pain? Unforgiveness? Bitterness? Resentment? Guilt? Sorrow? Worry? Regret? Comparison? If so, let’s cut it loose with the saber of praise, cast it off, and throw it away. God calls us sheep; and sheep are not pack animals. We are not meant to carry such burdens with these scrawny legs of ours. If we try, we will only bend under the pressure we were never meant to bear.woman

Get out of your confinement and join me this weekend, as we prepare for the annual MAKING STRIDES FOR CANCER AWARENESS 4k WALK ON Saturday, October 17TH @ 7:30AM, right in front of the PLEASE TOUCH MUSEUM, MEMORIAL HALL, in PHILADELPHIA PA. No more slumping in self-doubt or hunching in half-hearted conviction. But rather LET’S stand up to the full stature of a confident being, equipped by God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and enveloped in Christ.

Yours in HOPE as I share Mary Mary ” Shackles”.

Yinka.

“Set me free from my prison that I might praise your name’ (Psalm 142:7a NIV).

 

 

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Any plans for October? Anything Special? Here’s an open invitation into mine!

womanOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Make a difference! Spread the word about mammograms and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.

This is the month where I get super-empowered to win the cause, where I get to talk-non-stop about CANCER AWARENESS, pressure and maybe annoy some friends and colleagues with more emails and articles about early detection, a month where I get to show off all the friends I made during treatment, wear Pink like it’s the new white! ‘Remember those we lost, who couldn’t win the race but whose legacies lives on and inspires us, a month where I get to celebrate and HUG so many people at the finish line! Probably the month where I get to say more of “Yes! I am a conqueror! Only by God’s mercy!

But before then, I know we’ve all had one of those days when nothing seems to be going right. You have a bad toothache, lost a button on your way to work, bump your head, struggled with that zipper again! The ‘R’ key on your keyboard is not cooperating. The car will not start, One-hour drive takes two. A missed call from the school nurse, you and your spouse can’t seem to agree on that issue. The kids can’t seem to stop screaming. The day becomes a series of small annoyances that get under your skin. Or maybe you’re struggling with a deeper pain, a more stubborn stressor. Maybe you’ve recently experienced a difficult loss. Whatever the reason, you may want a break away from that negative feelings and bask in a brighter day. Flip the coin over, you are still blessed!

Probably what you need is an encounter with people whose morning is usually a dreadful ride to the hospital, for another round of Chemo treatment, another session of Biopsy, another period of Infusion – this is nothing compared to the annoying printer at work!

Sometime ago, at Abramson Cancer center, next to me sat a middle-aged lady who was receiving IV treatment and deep in thoughts, I don’t think she even noticed my presence. One of the oncology nurses walked over, nodded in my direction and gave us both extra pillows. With my questioning look, she urged me to go ahead and engage her if I wanted.

Every time I tried looking her way to start a conversation she will quickly look away with a disgruntled sign. I began to feel uncomfortable. About 30 minutes into our IV treatment, she looked my way and said “Honey, tell me, how do you feel when people look at you and feel sorry for you? Or when they call you hurtful names? Like…Baldy? You know…’cos am losing my hair gradually!

Ah! My heart melted, wasn’t sure if I was happy she was making conversation with me or just because I needed someone to talk to. I stretched as far as my wired-up iron IV could take me, grabbed her in my arms and held on to her for as long as I could remember. The embrace was warm, cordial and spoke volume. I looked her up in the face, using a calm tone, “Honey, it doesn’t matter – I’ve been called different names too especially behind me. Names like… “Dying Woman” “Sick lady” but guess what? ‘Am still living and looking great!

But really, I said, looking down at the gorgeously crafted emerald-green diamond ring she has on her feeble finger, I tilted her face up and said “Sweetheart, even God knows you will eventually be bald someday, that’s why He made you a “drop-dead-gorgeous-baldy! Especially with this ring you have on! ‘You sure are one parade of envy and beauty to behold! That line made the blood rush from her neck to her face, she swallowed quick and hard, which gave way to reveal the cutest dimples ever! “Really? She asked… I grabbed my bag, pulled out my small compact mirror and shoved it at her face… ‘Here look inside…you are wonderfully created by God! That moment, the spell broke! The floral bandana covering her head came tumbling down!

We became children again. We giggled and laughed so hard we started shedding tears. Tears of ‘Thank-God-you-feel-me” and not “feel-sorry-for-me” joy. The nurses came around, with questioning looks and amazement and of course that silly scene earned us extra free hospital-pack graham crackers and cranberry juice!

So, we all face difficult times that make us want to shelter our hearts. When people we love hurt us, it is a natural reaction to want to shield ourselves, and put protection around our hearts, to keep pain from entering. A shut down heart makes it impossible to open up and allow in happiness, great opportunities, and good people. However, when we open our heart, we have room for growth, forgiveness, and change. Most of all, we can let love in, again. To open our heart to someone means exposing the scars of the past. When pure sincerity forms within, it is outwardly realized in other people’s hearts.

This month, I am hoping that someone will humbly give genuine and unconditional love. To make this month a memorable one by reaching out to a just cause and be proactive. Like my dear friend “Ms. Baldy” who even during her chemo treatment was still able to open up and love again. I am so looking forward to seeing her at the upcoming walk – where I can HUG her again and remind her about how beautiful she’s still looking, bald or not. She’s a living testimony to connect with. Do something extra ordinary this month, Encourage someone with sincere humor, Support a just cause! Donate, Advocate, or Walk with me during the 2014 Making Strides for Breast Cancer awareness on OCT 18th.

Yours in Hope…

Yinka.

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/yinkalawrence

 

 

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