The Path of Faith: A Choice – 5

As I sit here in the beautiful sunshine with the breezes gently blowing on the palms, and the warm California air bathing my mind, body and soul. I am so grateful for the 98 years that I have been given to enjoy and participate in the energy of the universe, to serve, to learn, and to teach.

My house sits at the top of a hill: the view manifests the beauty in every direction.  I have had such an amazing, truly awesome life. The opportunities seem more than anyone deserves. The lessons are always beyond belief.  The opportunities to be, to do, and see never cease (and I say, to see) even though my eye sight is getting weaker, so much of the seeing has not to do with physical, but what lies in my heart and soul.

My walk with my Creator is hard for me to fathom; therefore, it is difficult to put to paper to explain to someone else the nature of my journey. It is particularly difficult to explain cancer’s journey with me. So many of the choices and episodes that I made are contrary to cultural attitude, cultural expectations, and what may be perceived as normal.  I have chosen to not let cancer dominate my life and not allow the “Big C” to frighten me or to control my choices.  I had cysts removed from my ovaries and suspicious tissue removed from my left breast when my children were small. My doctor told me in a matter of fact way and did not make a big deal of the findings. I don’t remember whether I was frightened.  As a very busy young mother, teacher, wife, and community member, somehow I lived with little thought about any cancer issues. I had my yearly pelvic exam, I had my yearly conversation with the doctor and went on with my life.

 

Thinking and Believing: The Choices We Make – 4

Quantum physics has given us information about consciousness, energy, thought, and other universal laws of nature that govern all of our lives, yet many view the information with skepticism. Many prefer to think that their lives are governed by circumstances, by some predetermined destiny over which they have little or no control.  Physicists have known for some time that what we once thought was solid matter is actually vibrating energy, a universe of unlimited potential.  This is a source that has no bounds and is always available to fill our orders. But it cannot fill what is not ordered, nor can it deliver properly when the address is not correct or the order is not specific.

The energy source never ceases. We can harness it for our personal and professional use. We accept the wonders of science that affect us; we understand the liberating influence much of science has had on our lives. Technology, travel, health, energy, space or any of the many discoveries decade by decade, year by year, moment by moment engage our fancy.

We accept most of the advances and learn to live with them, appreciate, and come to think of them as a normal part of our existence.

That is, until we enter the realm of the mind, the domain of thought, the energy of consciousness that we cannot see. These are the areas that should concern us the most.  As persons we need to understand the advances made in understanding consciousness, energy, thought, learning, the brain, knowing and being. We have grown up with a psychological paradigm that is difficult to change. That paradigm essentially teaches us that we must see something to believe it. We have generally been taught that “Seeing is believing,”  “Show me and I’ll believe it” or “I’m from Missouri, the show-me state.”  Unfortunately, we have the universe in reverse. The Biology of Belief and the studies done by Dr. Bruce Lipton and others inform us that what we believe we will see.

Our thoughts, our mind’s energy, are precious. They directly exercise control of the physical brain and, therefore, our behavior.  We must learn to monitor our thoughts because we get and we become what we think about.

Remember, we get what we ask for whether or not we want it.  Whatever you are thinking about, you are attracting to you. We are the thinker of our thoughts.  We can be the changer of our thoughts.

Generally speaking our culture is based on this premise to change to a paradigm of “believing is seeing” is very difficult.  That is why it is so difficult when negative thoughts about a person are presumably based on what scientists would call facts; learning to change that thinking to positive energy in the universe is nigh impossible, but absolutely necessary.

The succeeding entries (journals, diary, anecdotal accounts), starting several years ago, are a part of a book that documents the journey of faith and with cancer as the unwanted traveler on my journey.

If You Knew What Would Be Different? – 3

I traveled a different path, one of faith and trust–trust in my God and the body that I was given at my birth. It is a constant test of my faith and trust, and it is a constant research project for my always curious and creative encounter with life.

In my professional career, I wonder about the questions I might have had in the progression of jobs that I have been so blessed to have.  I don’t even know when the beginning time of the cancer was. But it has been there for decades, that I know. What would have been different about the questions of the reporters when I ran for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1970 if they had known I had breast cancer? Would I have been able to be an Associate Professor of Education at Cal Western University, if the Dean had known that I had breast cancer? Would I have been invited to be an Assistant Dean, Graduate Studies, at the University of Cincinnati? What questions would have been asked about my health at Oregon State when I was chosen Dean of Education? Would cancer have been a part of the reason for retiring from Oregon State University if it had been known? Would I have been able to have the wonderful career I had at National University for 13 years after my retirement? I was then in my sixties. It wasn’t in the mix at all.

Age was starting to factor in employment. What would cancer have added to the mix? I had wonderful years at National University. Would I have had the same incredible relationship with my students over the years if they knew I had breast cancer? Would they have attributed anything they disliked or saw in my behavior to cancer? As it was, we could always have a dialogue without any thought about what might be happening “because I had cancer.”

Would I have had the same relationship with my church family? This was a little tougher. I often had the desire to share my secret with them because I believe in prayer. But I didn’t. If I could have suggested only positive prayers and a concentration of wellness with trust in our Lord, it might have worked. I’ll never know about that past. It was a conflict for me. Somehow I had a pact between me and my Creator; that was my source of support, hope, and comfort. It was, and is, a constant struggle to keep in the river of faith.

I still consider My Lord to be my Great Physician. I believe everything that I need is there; being able to access it for my cancer and life is a daily challenge. Maintaining an attitude of gratitude is so important. I have to think each day about what I can do, not what is lacking. Every day. Every day.

My Secret Journey with Cancer – 2

How did I live this long with cancer?

As you are thinking as you are reading this, why wouldn’t you want to take care of this when it was little?  Because it didn’t bother me. I lived these many years in what most people would say perfect health. How many times was I asked how I stay so healthy? I cannot begin to innumerate the times people have talked about my energy, my health in general, and my capacity for work.

I have been a professional in education at all levels for over seventy years. I suppose for most people this would be three careers. I was fortunate to include in all these beautiful years a family with two incredible sons, four awesome grandchildren and many, many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, as a lucky person born into a big family. I have had the opportunity all these years to live in the greatest country, experience the world United States of America, this great Republic. I have been given opportunities to serve, to grow and learn that are boundless and seemingly impossible.

I know it is difficult for anyone reading this to believe that no one knew.

I did not tell my family, I did not tell my friends, I did not tell my pastor, I did not tell my personal doctor, not other specialists, I did not even tell my friends or family who were experiencing cancer, not anyone. There may have been a couple of doctors involved in my first life scans. In essence I told no one. It really remained between me and my Creator who gave me the body and will to fight it. I believe my professional life would have been difficult if it had been known by all those living around me that cancer was living with me.

They would have thought about me as not completely healthy. They would have thought about me as a victim. They would not have the same impressions about my superior health, my superior energy, and my ability to work for many years. The things that make a professional life as successful. There would have been literally hundreds of people looking at me knowing I had breast cancer; hundreds of people seeing Sy Tucker as not well rather than incredibly healthy and energetic. My opportunities would have been quite different if many of the people I’ve met in my life had the knowledge of cancer being present in my body.

As a pioneer woman in the greatest generation, I have had the opportunity to work in many fields. As a professional, my main research field has been the study of the brain and thinking and learning. The critical aspect of the brain is our thoughts. We become what we think. Consider thought as something we create at all times, and something that is created around us by others at all times. This creative process is our connection to the Divine and the Infinite.

I must ask you the question? If hundreds of people I worked with knew that I had cancer or disease, would they continue to think of me as a healthy, energetic professional? I know the answer to this. It’s scientifically one of the reasons for my choice.

If You Knew I Had Cancer – 1

Introduction:

As I start to publish pieces of a special book, If You Knew I Had Cancer, it is important for the reader to know that this journey has been long and a journey travelled solely with my Great Physician. These are accounts of the deepest journey of faith I have travelled in my lifetime. This is the documentation of cancer trying to exist and grow in my body and finding it very difficult because the Great Physician and I were teaming against it.  No one knew. I told no one that I had breast cancer; I did not tell my family, not my doctor, not my friends, not my church family, not anyone. It is important to know that I viewed cancer not as a victim, but as someone having an unwanted travelling partner. I would not let cancer control my life nor would I have others spending time asking me about the big “C.”

These writings, diary entries, are an effort to help with choices women have who live with cancer. I am not advocating for any specific choice; I just want to tell my story of faith as medicine.  I am quite certain that the incredible career that I have had over these many decades with the unwanted travelling companion could not have existed in the same way if people were aware that I had cancer.

Part of the reason for my choice grew from not only my belief in my Great Physician, but from my knowledge and professional career involved in the study of the brain, learning and the power of our thoughts. It grew also from my belief that I was given at my birth everything that I needed to become all that I was created to be.

All of these ideas are contrary to the way cancer is viewed in our culture. The minute persons are diagnosed with cancer they become victims to that culture. I refuse to live like a victim. Once my cancer was known to my family and my physicians, medical options were introduced as treatment. Faith still remained dominant.

The excerpts that follow are personal accounts from my unpublished book, If You Knew I Had Cancer: My Personal Journey with Faith.

Special Thoughts for the Christmas Season

It’s time to go back and look at the Mayflower Compact as an original self-governing document.

Yes, I remembered the Mayflower and those aboard that historical ship in my Thanksgiving prayers. These 102 brave souls endured the hardships of the journey only to find that they had landed in a place where they did not have a patent. They had been given permission by the Virginia Company of London to land anywhere on their holdings. They also were given permission to govern themselves. They knew with the winter coming that they had to go ashore. Before they went ashore, they produced and signed The Mayflower Compact.  They pledged to create a political body that would be ruled by law and based on the consent of the governed and in the “name of God.” It was the creation of a political document patterned after an original spiritual covenant.

The document clearly represents people of God creating their own government.  The creators made clear that the political power or the power of any person elected to govern would have such power come only from the people governed. It also made clear that they believed that they received their liberty and freedom from God. That’s what they were advancing. They were called Pilgrims because they moved from the tyranny of rulers and risked all for freedom of religion. That’s how they wanted to live and what they wanted to secure for those who followed.. These first freedom pioneers on our shores understood and acted on the covenant they knew between them and God. The incredible addition was the covenant between each other. Founding documents that  followed have been founded on the same Christian and political principles.

One of the paintings in the U.S. Capitol depicting great moments in  American history is of Reverend John Robinson’s prayer meeting aboard the Mayflower before it sailed for America. How many children, or the rest of us, have been shown or have seen the Bible and the name of Jesus on the open page as a part of the true history of America? The painting is just one visible sign of our beginnings. Most of our founding rests in the documents like the Mayflower Compact and those that followed. They were explicitly and carefully designed to help us be a self-governing people and to remind us of the origins of our freedoms.

Yes, this Christmas is a good time to go back and look at our self-governing document that was created before we ever landed and see what those first pilgrims produced.

 

Filling the Spiritual Tank: An Important Ordinary Day – 18

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Sunday May 3, 2015

For so many years Sunday has been spent in much the same manner. From the time I was a child, Sunday was reserved as a day spent with your Lord. It usually embraced Sunday school and church and youth group in the evening. For the last thirty plus years I have been a member of the Fallbrook United Methodist Church and Sundays have been reserved for church and family activities.  For some time I have risen early enough to watch Dr. David Jeremiah on television. For the Sundays I was unable to attend my church, I was blessed to listen to Dr. Jeremiah.

Now it is off to my church. It’s different now because I can no longer sing in the choir or do some of the other activities which I did for so many years. But it is always great to see my friends and to be with my church family.  This is a community of people who come together to worship and to be renewed spiritually.  It has been a big part of my health to have this spiritual renewal.  It has been a big part of my health to express my gratefulness to my Creator for the many gifts I have had and will continue to experience. Sunday is a process of feeding the soul and filling the spiritual tank in readiness for the week coming. Sunday has been and is a time when the interactions with those present, the music that touches you deeply and the messages which often seem to be meant just for you. That is the nature of the Bible and its messengers. They often seem to be meant just for you.

It would be a special day in another way. My grandson, Colin, called and said he would be able to come from Palm Desert to spend the day with me. He said he would be able to get here in time for church. This would be very special because it is the church where he began his journey of faith.  After church Colin, Lynn, and I went to a local gathering place, a place with good food and a place where you always have to wait to be seated. It is the Z Cafe in Bonsall. While we were eating breakfast, the man who was the pastor that day came into the cafe. Colin and his former pastor had a good conversation.

Then it is on to another activity that Colin and I have done together since he came back to California after graduating from college to pursue a golf career.

I have orange trees in my backyard that are a joy to me all year. Colin picks enough oranges to make fresh orange juice. It is a ritual that we have carried on for several years and it is an activity that we enjoy doing together.  When the bottles are filled with delicious juice we toast each other.  The juice is as fresh as any juice can get. It’s more wonderful and delicious then anyone expects. Anyone who tastes juice this fresh is spoiled forever.  You cannot order juice in a restaurant or buy juice in the store anymore. The entire kitchen is a wash in the fragrance that emanates from the activity.

Then it is on to another special family activity.  We have been invited to my son’s home, who lives next door, for dinner.  We are treated to a wonderful dinner of barbequed salmon and the trimmings.  The family conversation is always interesting, and the presence of Colin always adds to the mix. Next week, Hailey will be finished with her first year at the University of Southern California. She will be with us for our family dinners and always adds to the family conversations.

These seemingly ordinary activities of my family have been going on for many years. They have been the same and have produced the same kinds of interactions, whether or not I have had cancer. We are trying to keep them the same now that family knows I am living with cancer. I think everybody is doing a good job. No cancer talk.

 

God’s Creations Revisited

I want to share with you a document I wrote when I had nearly-full sight and had the mobility to walk greater distances. Now I cannot see some of the things I talk about in the article below; I do not take the extensive walks I used to take, but as I reread about God’s creations and the magic palate, I found that I was just as grateful now with the memories as I was when I first experienced them. Now let me share with you what I experienced in May 2014. The beauty is the same; I see it differently.

What a beautiful day. The walk to the end of the driveway is always an adventure. It is one I take everyday in my trek around the house. While it is the same driveway, the walk is always different. The blossoms are at a different state in their journey. The birds and their songs are different at different hours; their flight patterns vary with the tasks of the hour. The palm fronds are greeting the sky in different ways as they meet the morning breezes. The sun greets me at a different angle. The shadows cast their magic with the path of the sun. The breezes say hello with a gentle brush across my face.

            The sky is its own study each morning. This morning it is a blue dome with white, fleecy clouds covering it like a white lace covering a blue tablecloth. Yesterday it was a beautiful, clear, blue dome. The silhouette of the palm fronds against the blue is an impressive piece of nature’s artistry. The mountains across the valley stand majestically as they lend their beauty to the horizon.

            The yellow iris proudly present themselves as they add their beauty to the scene; it seems each is proclaiming it is the perfect blossom. The  bronze day lilies vie for attention as they stand among the iris. Nature mixes in the red, pink, and rose colors of the geraniums that trail along the driveway and sometimes climb the palm trees. God’s artistry creates amazing pieces of art in nature.

            As I proceed around the house, I can smell the last vestiges of the perfume of the orange blossoms; they are rapidly pursuing their journey. In a few days there will be little green nubbins, the first sign of the next piece of their destiny. They, too, will soon mirror the mature fruit left on the trees. An orange tree, like so much of nature, is a beauty to behold. And how magical when you can see the evolution day by day. How can one not be grateful?

            I never cease to be amazed as I turn the corner. I leave the fragrance of the orange blossoms; I know in just a few feet the roses will start  to share their varied perfumes. They have to share their beauty with the vastness of the view across the valley. As I look across the valley, the avocado trees in the foreground add the incredible greenness of their foliage to the scene. But in a few more steps, the roses send out their calling cards. A rose is something special. And each of the many that I have sends its individual greeting card. The beauty of the buds, the fullness of the blossom, the attempt of each petal to last as long as possible–all magic. The colors an variety are unbelievable.

            And that’s just some of the plants. Now add the glory of a hawk, the pride pace of a road-runner, the scamper of a ground squirrel. or the tail of a rabbit scurrying away. The sound of the music from the many birds that love their nests in my palm trees, add the symphony to the scene. Even the crows add their base notes to the sound.

                 How could I not be grateful enough to understand that tomorrow my walk will be looking at another artistic rendering of God’s magnificent creations? I hope your grateful walk today was as beautiful as mine.

A Walk to Remind us of Our Christian Heritage – The Capitol Part 1

We leave the magic of the Tidal Basin in cherry blossom time and head for the Capitol. The significance of the three “greats” we have just visited in our walk, Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson, will be even greater as we see the home of the Legislative Branch of our government. This branch was created to make certain that we remained “We the People.”  I thought about the arguments that were present as our Founders struggled and argued passionately about creating a government that would ensure a legacy of freedom. What was needed to insure the continuation of this great experiment in self-government?

They had no pattern; this was not a cookie-cutter government. They had no former path to follow. They knew that power had to always rest with the people; they knew that they had to have checks and balances. They also had to have a branch that adjudicated when differences could be settle no other way. They created our republic. They created this “shining city on a hill.”

They fought; they struggled; they died to create a new birth of freedom under God with justice for all, with the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. They declared their independence from tyranny and abused power. They created this government where the Executive Branch, the president, is one leg, but only one leg of three. The Capitol building we see ahead houses another one of the legs.  The arguments about this branch were vigorous and passionate. Some wanted a strong central government and others wanted the power to be decentralized.

The Founders finally decided on having two groups: to create equality between the small and large states, each state would have two senators; the second group would be based on the population of the state, the representatives.

Our next part of the walk is to explore the art in the Capitol that depicts our Christian heritage.

Giving Thanks After Thanksgiving

An attitude of gratitude often seems to be seasonal. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, and some other happenings are thanks giving days. In between, we often live a life of entitlement; good things happen and we forget to be thankful. Not so good things happen, and we complain and forget completely what we have to be thankful for.

 We just take things for granted.

I have talked about taking my gratitude walk to the end of the driveway as a reminder to be grateful. It helps, but it is not nearly enough. Having an attitude of gratitude every moment of every day is the real goal. When I maintain that attitude, my day is filled with accomplishment; everything and every moment has meaning and worth.

The morning shower feels more soothing to body and soul. The aroma of the freshly ground and brewed coffee is more inviting.  With an attitude of gratitude, I notice what is in my refrigerator and remember when I was young and didn’t have a refrigerator. I am thankful for the food that I have, not what I don’t have. The rainbows on my living room ceiling are more vivid and beautiful when I am grateful for the promise they bring. When I venture outside for the first time of the day, the sky is more beautiful as the blue of the California sky becomes the magnificent palette for the wispy clouds floating overhead. The breeze is more gentle in the palms, the songs of the birds are a symphony, the blossoms on my elephant foot palms are new to me and very interesting. The jade bushes are in full bloom and striking as they declare their ability to bloom in the winter. The air is fresh after the recent rain.

Oh, my goodness!!!  And to think that I would miss all of these wonderful blessings and gifts if I took them all for granted, if I were not grateful  for my incredible fortune, each day a gift from my Creator.

An attitude of gratitude pays huge dividends. I highly recommend it as a great investment.