Today marks the first day I will be writing about my decision to treat my cancer holistically. If you aren’t somewhere on the spectrum of randomly interested in holistic treatment and healing through non-standard treatments to desperate to hear from someone else’s cancer journey, then you might want to move on. My desire to chronicle the next steps with this cancer diagnosis is birthed from a need to be accountable, to share what’s in my heart/head through this, and to hopefully be an encouragement or safe place to someone else with a similar diagnosis.

To back up a bit, I received the news about Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in the fall of 2015. I had gone to my doctor complaining about overwhelming fatigue. She ordered labs, and referred me to a hematologist/oncologist in the area. When I walked in the door, I had no idea that I was being referred because cancer was suspected. All I knew was that my white blood count was high. A mere 15-30 minutes after getting my bloodwork done, my new doctor (along with an assistant) was telling me that he was 98% sure that I had CLL. I had no clue what that meant. It was an altogether brief conversation that was life-altering. No one was with me, as I thought it was a routine consultation. As I reflect now, it was not like he was happy to tell me, but he didn’t seem unhappy. I guess it would be unfair of me to judge if he was just trying to be upbeat, but how do you hand someone a sobering diagnosis with such assurance and not realize that their head is not even processing what you just said? He gave a simplistic explanation and let it go at “we’re going to do extensive bloodwork and scans.” There is something definitely off about a practice that fails to care for how you are processing and handling the information. Or to follow up with a phone call just to check on you. You’re basically exited out of the office to go deal with the news in the parking lot alone.

I don’t even remember the conversation with my husband. I’m guessing I was still numb to what just happened and the news. I am a Christian, so my belief is that I am created by God for a purpose, and that is to bring Him glory in this life, however long or short it may be. It’s His great love for me that carries me through every trial and pain. I am never along, and that is always the greatest comfort to me.

In the days that followed, the processing mentally and spiritually began. Looking at the stats for CLL, they aren’t very encouraging. No cure (with rare exceptions), life expectancies, related cancer and infection possibilities, etc. Of course, at that point, I had no idea what stage, what markers, what the detailed labs would say. So, I was left to deal with all the possible scenarios for my future (or lack thereof). Basically, I came to the conclusion, and there’s no way to illuminate that process for you in any adequate manner, that whatever God chose to do with my life was up to Him, and if this was the path He had for me, then I was on board. Of course, as torturous as it seemed at that point, I knew I wasn’t dealing yet with any pain, horrific treatment or side effects, or all the related struggles. But, it was a first step in relinquishing my control (not like I had any anyway). To say, okay, let’s do this well. If it means dying, then let’s do that in a way that honors God. Not abandoning hope or not fighting the disease, but fully accepting that this was how God could use my story to help others.

To be continued…

Dandelions have always been a wonder to me.  I’ve forever loved their beauty and brightness where others often see only weeds.  Call it a gift, or call it denial, but I loved when my kids would bring me some clutched in their sweet, dirty palms.  To me, there’s no purer gift than that of a child seeing something they think is beautiful,  transferring that to “mom would like these”, and then hurrying  to deliver them in all their glory.  Most adults lose the thrill of the sweet, bright blooms that quickly translate into furry seed-bearers to our yards.  I can’t help but believe that God saw children as the best way to propagate the little plants, as who can resist blowing those seeds to the four winds?

A new artsy friend makes beautiful jewelry, with a sideline of spiritual encouragement (free).  She shared a picture of her latest creation, a dandelion necklace, which just hit my heart in a certain way today.  It’s been a tough season of life, and I can really relate to that dandelion gone-to-seed.

God has blessed my life in so many incredible ways, and I am always grateful to Him.  But life is never without the tough things, many self-imposed, and I’m forever dealing with fall-out.  I lose perspective when I navel-gaze, over-worrying about the past, present and future of which I have no control.  No matter how many times I preach truth to my heart, reminding myself of His love and sovereignty, I forget.  I’ve always been okay with relating to the bright yellow weed of God’s sovereign plan, but when I am becoming that gone-to-seed dandelion, with a tenuous existence and feeling like my place in life is shifting big-time, then I lose my joy.

But perspective on grace and letting go of permanence helps me realize that I need to be that cottony weed going-to-pieces.  Clinging to life and purpose and significance keeps me from reproducing out of fear of loss.  I tend to become self-protective and isolated and introspective, and it keeps me from people and sacrifice and investing for eternity.

I just ordered that sweet artwork as a reminder to my soul.  Life is ALWAYS tenuous at best, but God has set the value on a life, no matter what I or anyone else determine.  I’m trusting that God will use what He will and bring about a season of new life in the midst of change.

So, I love the Dallas Cowboys.  Yep, in fact, you might find this hard to believe, but I am part of the team.  I wear the uniform all the time!

What?  You’ve never heard of me? Why do you never see me play?  Well, I’m busy.  Yes, the games are usually an inconvenience, and the practices, um, they are too difficult and time-consuming.  But I love the team!!!! What are their names?  Uh….well, there’s a list somewhere.  And I certainly know the quarterback. Tony somebody. He’s got some great plays.  I could go on and on about what a great team we are.

My stats?  I’m good.  I mean, stats aren’t a true reflection of how good a player you are.  It’s not everything.

I don’t actually go to the games. But, I watch from home! Or have a pep rally with a few friends as I’m on the road.  But I am on the team, and I’m committed to their success!  You see, one time when I was young, my parents went to Dallas, and they bought me a jersey, and it has MY name on it.  So, there you go.  I’m on the team.

I don’t live in Dallas, don’t go to the practices, don’t go to the games, don’t do anything actually related to the team, but you better believe, I’m on the team.  Go Cowboys!

I have a distinct advantage at 54, I think, in offering a viewpoint on the dilemmas facing mentorship, from both the perspective of a younger woman (been there) and as an older woman (definitely getting there).  I’m going to plead the I Timothy definition of an older woman who qualified by being 60 before receiving assistance.  Over the years, I’ve heard many angles on mentorship, and read even more.  But, I’ve lived most of them.  Here’s the jist of the opposing viewpoints of both older and younger women in the context of mentoring.

I was part of starting our local mothers of preschoolers ministry because I saw a need for a vital means of encouragement for moms of young children.  That particular ministry, over the years, has served as a great help and a way for young moms to connect significantly with others at the same stage of life.  There have been some great ladies who have partnered with them by volunteering time to meet with them there, listen, and hopefully offer needed and valuable insight as needed.  Even so, I have heard for years, and continue to hear, that there are cracks in the plan of designed mentorship. Frankly, in a group setting, there are only a few mentors and only a limited amount of time.  And sometimes real life falls through the gaps.

  1.  Many young women feel on their own, but are reluctant to approach an older woman to mentor them.
  2. The older woman often interprets the reluctance of a younger woman as meaning, “I’m good, I really don’t need or want a mentor.”
  3. The younger woman feels she should be pursued and asked to be mentored.
  4. The older woman feels she should be pursued and asked for mentoring.
  5. The younger woman feels insecure about asking an older woman to mentor her, because the older woman appears to have it all together.
  6. The older woman feels insecure about asking a younger woman if she’d like to be mentored, because the older woman does not have it all together.
  7. The younger woman MAY not want input.
  8. The older woman MAY not want to be involved.
  9. A scheduled time feels awkward and fixed and too forced.
  10. They both may feel put on the spot.
  11. The younger woman feels that she does want to be mentored, but doesn’t exactly know what that should look like, or even what she expects from the relationship.
  12. The older woman feels like she should be mentoring, but doesn’t know what that should look like.
  13. The culture teaches us that the young have the answers, and the older generation just doesn’t get it anymore.
  14. The older generation feels useless and moves to Florida, to pursue their own interests.
  15. I have my peers, my friends who “get me,” and that’s enough.
  16. We’re all too busy.

That is just a capsulized version of the realities, and certainly not exhaustive.  You and I, undoubtedly, have our own unique reasons that we are not in a mentoring relationship with another person.

Suffice it to say, we need to continue the conversation and look at how we can overcome the obstacles to be involved in each others’ lives.  I’d love to hear from you about your mentoring experience on either end of it!




 “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”  Deut. 34:12




Moses, speaking his final blessing upon Israel, foresaw and reminded them that “there is none like God…who rides through the heavens to your help.”  God was eager and always there to come to the aid of Israel.  None like our God.  That is true for us as well. 


So, why do we run to other things, and other resources and worldly sources for answers or help?  We have the eternal God and His wisdom always there, but it’s not enough for us, seemingly. 


My own heart is quick to run to a friend, my husband, a self-help book or trusted author or speaker for help with whatever is going on in my life.  Sometimes, I think what we consider the little things are what we are quicker to source out to others.  I personally feel, often, that this is too little to bother God with, and really, after all, I should have a handle on it by now. 


But, God is a God who cares about details, and the details of my life are no exception, for it’s in those little things that big things are made.  The shaping of my character, my heart, my inclinations, my attitudes, are all in the little things If I cannot commit the nuances of my life to a loving, infinitely-wise God, then I will fail to trust Him in the big things. 


As I develop a deeper walk with Him, studying His Word so I KNOW what He says, and opening the recesses of my inner thought processes to be exposed to His light and truth, then my very framework will be molded into a pattern designed to trust Him and talk to Him by default.  It will become my habit to talk to my closest friend about whatever struggle or question comes into my life. 


Do I trust Him fully?  Do I believe that He loves me unconditionally?  Then my daily habits will be open to the scrutiny of my Father, and I will relinquish my hold and control over those little things…that make the big things. 







April 19, 2017


Jeremiah 17:7-8


“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”  


This passage in Jeremiah is part of the declaration that God made concerning Israel after they had forsaken Him and had run after the foreign gods, falling into great apostasy.  Even within the chastising words of God are couched the promises of how He would bless those who trust in the Lord, whose trust IS the Lord.  Jehovah, the national name for God, who is the self-existent and eternal God, was the One who had called Israel as a people unto Himself, set-apart for His purposes and ultimately, for their own blessing. 


While we cannot transfer the blessings and promises of God directed toward Israel to our own position before God as a nation, nor can we read ourselves into this script,  there remain principles that are true whether it is a nation or “a man” as God indicates in this passage.  The truth stays that whoever, regardless of what their country, their leaders, or their culture does, trusts in the LORD as their only hope, their salvation and their strength, will be blessed by God for their obedience and faith. 


It is easy to be swept along with current trends, changes in morality and lifestyles and feel that it’s no big deal.  Staying true to God is not only unpopular, it also subjects you to ridicule and charges of intolerance and even unkindness.  There are popular writers, authors and teachers who insist that a Christian will be only motivated by love (that is, the current cultural perception and definition of love). 


Israel decided that they liked the environment of their surroundings more than they loved God.  I’m sure it seemed like the nice thing to do.  Peer pressure certainly existed in their world!  It came across as unloving and rigid to keep those boundaries that God had insisted upon for them to remain set apart to Him.  They couldn’t see the line in the sand that they were crossing that led them worlds away from the God who loved them.  Not because of any particular sin, but because of the pride of their hearts, and their willingness to exchange the love of God for a love of their world that surrounded them.  They were won over by the attraction to a way of life that promised them things they thought they wanted.  In the end it led to poverty, disease and death (see Jeremiah 16).


The world apart from God has always promised us glitter and fun.  The freedom to do as we want and be who we want is alluring and attractive.  It even seems to make sense that we should do whatever our hearts desire to do.  After all, isn’t that where we find contentment and happiness and peace?  The lie has been exposed, but still we run after it as the solution. 


God gave us His Word, Himself through His Son incarnate, and promised us eternal life beyond the grave.  He has provided a way to be his children and reap all the blessings that entails.  When I still run after the world and the siren call to pursue lesser things, then I lose my contentment and peace.   And I lose my ability to be a light to those around me. 


God’s intent and purpose for the nation Israel extended beyond their own peace and happiness.  His plan was for them to be a light among the nations, and ultimately His own plan for redeeming mankind came through them, such as they were.  It’s right there in the Abrahamic covenant, the promise that God made to Abraham back in the day.  (see Genesis 12) And that’s part of why they incurred the punishment of God.  It wasn’t just about them.  It was about losing their influence among a people who desperately needed to hear the truth.  But when all look the same and live the same and believe the same, then the truth will not be heard.


 Is that true of us as believers today?  Have we allowed our own desire to be accepted and approved to dictate silence and a blending in that disallows anything of God to be seen in our lives?  I pray that God will give me (and us)  the courage and boldness to live in the world and demonstrate God’s love for the world, but not be of it. 


Christmas 2011

Somehow it has taken me until today to actually get in the Christmas spirit this year. While John is nestled all snug in his bed (he has a trip in the a.m.), I thought I would write a few words (or so) to share where we are in our lives.

John and I have been blessed to share another year of growing together & loving each other through the usual trials of life. Between flying, maintenance & dirt-moving projects he’s been staying busy. I’m still trying to finish high school (with the kids) and keep up with my little Joneses (Adam & Dylan, grandsons #1 & #2). Jamie (29) continues to be happily married to Lindsey (teacher & coach) and has been successful in launching an at-home career balancing little boys and a home-based business. Mark (21) moved on to continue his college pursuits at Columbus College of Art & Design & will be attending College for Creative Studies in Detroit next semester to major in transport design. It’s great having him home for a few weeks, though we don’t see a lot of him for some reason (she’s cute and really sweet). Allison (17) is working on her senior year of high school and pursues a creative bent with art in various forms. Her real passions are Ivan (mutt), Tito (newly adopted feline), and a couple goldfish. Luke (15)’s claim to fame is his 6’5” frame and a talent for modifying Nerf guns to be deadly weapons (at least in Nerf wars). We are an average family who loves God and enjoys being together, and we couldn’t be more grateful for that.

This past Sunday, our pastor of many years delivered a message that really spoke to my heart. Not your traditional Christmas sermon, it focused on the “surprises” surrounding the first Christmas. At the end, he challenged us to be open to God surprising us this Christmas. Well, I’ve been around for 49 Christmases, and except for the Christmas our house burned down and one spent overseas, they’ve been your average, traditional Christmases. I knew this one was going to be different when we received the news that our dear son-in-law’s father was found dead last Friday. Clay, a confirmed hippie, lived alone and free of most of the constraints most of us find ourselves bound by. We always liked Clay & were blessed to have him in our home for some special get-togethers with the family. This simple, down-to-earth guy was evidently loved by many people we never knew, as evidenced at his funeral. His talent with people was that he made many of his friends feel that he was their best friend.

It would be easy to look at his appearance, his unusual collection of friends, his almost primitive living situation (no electricity, no running water, by choice) and his lack of interest in church, and come to the usual conclusions. And, I admit, I did. Then I heard and saw another side. He loved people and he raised his son to love others because of the love he found in Christ many years ago. A lack of love from those who should have been demonstrating love in difficult circumstances influenced his decision to abandon the formality and function of “church.” But he kept his focus on I Corinthians chapter 13. Look it up.

While I may not agree with some of his decisions, I also readily admit that he had some things really right.

If I dress nicely, have a nice home, pursue ministry to others, and do all the things that Christians are supposed to do, but fail to share the love of Christ with everyone, then how am I exhibiting the ultimate test of the evidence of my faith in Christ? The Bible clearly teaches us that true believers will be demonstrating a combination of truth (saving knowledge of Christ), obedience (live it), and love (God & others). Somehow in our zeal, we may become so focused on one that we fail to live out the others. I think my Christmas surprise this year was the realization that an old hippie with a penchant for keeping everything that was important to him and letting go of the rest has a lot to teach me about loving others. I’m thankful for the reminder that Jesus loved not the self-righteous religious, but those who realized their need for a Savior. And for grace.


Kisti for the Huffmans

Pastor John’s sermon: “Christmas Surprises” scroll down to the Special Sermons section, date 12/18/11


I became a mother for the first time 28 years ago today…another Sunday. It was in less than ideal circumstances, but my young mother’s heart was thrilled to finally hold my precious newborn. Motherhood caused me to grow up and to learn unselfishness for the love of another. 2 A.M. feedings, endless diapers, teething, spit-up and such are not as easily endured when there is no one with whom to share them. All those “cute” moments are even painful sometimes…a kind of angst of what your child is missing. Yet I adored everything she did and we balanced work, school & dating sometimes, until I met her daddy. He later adopted her as his, and though he is not her biological father, he is definitely her daddy. Anyone who can out-cry me at milestones is worthy of the title.

We have been so blessed with three more beautiful children whom I love just as much, but somehow that “first,” with all we went through together, will always hold a special place in my heart.

I have been doing a Bible study about the patriarchs, and interestingly enough, the part I read yesterday was about Hagar, the Egyptian slave, who was cast out by Sarah & Abraham when she was expecting a baby brought about by their own scheming to “fix” things for God. God intervened for this one who was cast aside.  Often God designated names for Himself or others, but this is the only time a person gives God a name.  El Roi…the God who Sees. Whom did He see? A young woman cast out with her child…the father abandoning his responsibility for that child. Perhaps you have never been down that road or experienced being a single mother (of your own course or not)…but I am here to testify that 28 years ago, a gracious God generously gave a naive, immature young woman another chance at life. He has restored me and given me blessings beyond measure. Surely not because I was always obedient or wise or altogether lovely. It is by His grace and His mercy that He bends down in His amazing, boundless compassion to the hurting, lonely souls who cry out in desperation for Him. I have learned so much about God as He has walked me through those times. He is always good, always gracious, always there. Unmerited favor is the definition for grace…He not only forgave & restored me, but He gave me a beautiful reminder of that journey that I have seen nearly every day for the past 28 years. Thank you, Father, for seeing me.

Today we are covered up in snow here in southern WV.  It is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful…it creates the ache inside for heaven, as C.S. Lewis alludes to often in his writing.  So quiet, so still that it moves your thoughts inward and upward.  “Stuck” here after a very trying month of taking care of parents’ health issues, I am grateful and simply enjoying the peace, quiet and chance to do nothing.  The monochromatic scenery is a reminder that, yes, sometimes it all is just black and white.  God loves me today, yesterday, and everyday, no matter what.  That is enough for right now.