God Morning, sweet friends! Oh yes…I just said God morning! After all, shouldn’t all mornings be God mornings? Could it possibly be a good morning if it’s not a God morning? 🙂
I hope your study yesterday gave you a glimpse of a humility that is beyond our comprehension! Amazing! What an amazing God! I really have been in awe! How ’bout you?
I’m so thankful for each of you who are walking with me through the Word! Your emails, comments and Facebook messages have been not only encouraging, but I want you to know that I’m learning so much from you ladies! I’m glad we’re in this together!
Today, I want to introduce you to a sweet lady that I “met” about a year and a half ago through cyberspace. It was right after I signed my first book contract and I soon realized that God was calling me to write – it was then that I knew that I had better get busy learning how to become a better writer and so I joined an online writing group called TWV2. During that time I “met” Yvonne Ortega. I don’t think she had “met” me yet, but I saw several of her comments and checked out her webpage where I learned that she was a sister in Christ who had survived breast cancer and was committed to share hope for those who were facing similar circumstances.
So please, grab a cup of coffee, sit a spell and get to know Yvonne Ortega as I share a little Q & A with her:
During your illness and now in recovery, have you ever asked God, “Why” or “Why me?”
Stephanie, I didn’t ask, “Why?” or “Why me?” I did, however, tell God I thought He had made a mistake. After all, He called me to become a counselor. I was half-way through my residency in counseling when I found the lump.
I had been through a divorce seven years earlier, and I reminded God that He said He would make up for the years the locusts had eaten. I didn’t think cancer was a very good way of making up for the divorce.
How did you keep your spirits up while going through the chemotherapy and radiation?
I asked God to help me keep my sense of humor and asked family and friends to send me humorous cards. I read joke books and watched comedies on TV or DVD.
I played praise & worship music as often as possible.
After my diagnosis of breast cancer, I accepted an invitation to present a workshop on writing devotionals at the Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers Conference the following August. I prepared for my workshop and looked forward to the reunion with fellow writers in Maine, meeting new friends and snacks of delicious Maine blueberries.
I planned the party I would have after the completion of my residency in counseling and passing the state exam to become a Licensed Professional Counselor. I selected the music, the invitations, the refreshments, the singing and the dancing.
Why do some cancer survivors say cancer is the best thing that ever happened to them?
We say this because we have been refined like silver and gold. Through cancer surgery and treatment, we’ve become better people and stronger Christians. We live with passion and purpose. We don’t take things for granted anymore, and we express gratitude to God and others more often. We think more about what we really want to do and do it.
How do you live differently today as a result of having had cancer?
I eat better, rest more, exercise daily, have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ, and make time to live life. I will drop my work for a peaceful walk at the beach, lunch with a friend or a vacation somewhere I haven’t been before. I know life is precious, that it is a gift and I’d better enjoy it while I can.
What can men and women do to improve their health?
We can cut down on our intake of sugar. We need to remember that sugar in its natural form, such as fruit, is the best form of sugar intake. We need to lose weight if we are overweight. Excess body fat increases the risk of developing cancer. If we eat red meat (beef, pork and lamb), we need to reduce the consumption of it or eliminate it as I have. If we eat processed meat (bacon, sausage, ham and lunchmeat), we need to eliminate it. We can limit consumption of alcohol and salt. We can exercise daily. If we smoke or chew tobacco, we need to stop. We can make time for family and friends. We can laugh every day. We can rest on the Lord’s Day. We can remember that we aren’t God. We aren’t invincible and immortal and therefore, we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves.
Yvonne Ortega is a ten-year breast cancer survivor, speaker, and author. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner, and a Clinically Certified Domestic Violence Counselor. She is the author of Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer, released by Revell September 1, 2010. Yvonne is a contributing author to The Embrace of a Father (Bethany House 2006). She has also been published in The Christian Communicator, CBN.com, Spirit-Led Writer, The Secret Place, The Quiet Hour, The Virginia Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors VAADAC Views, and other magazines. Yvonne has taught workshops at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, the Richmond, VA Fall Conference, and the Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers Conference. Check her Web site at www.yvonneortega.com. Yvonne is on the board for the Virginia Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors and also on the board for Christians in Recovery. She is a Stonecroft Ministries speaker and hosts the blog talk radio show, Hope for the Journey, for breast cancer patients. Archives are available 24/7 at www.blogtalkradio.com/hope-for-the-journey.
How you can contact Yvonne:
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Yvonne as much as I have. What a beautiful lady! Please be sure to visit her site and find help for those with hurting hearts!
Tomorrow, we’ll be back in Philippians. You can click here if you’d like to receive my Bible study in your inbox. Or you can click on the Google Feeder or the Networkedblog links on the right hand side of the page.