Think Positive

When I started this blog a few years ago, I thought I would connect with other crafters. I had seven published books, a line of fabric, a garment pattern line and had taught quilting and fiber crafts extensively for 30 years. I was and still am involved in Quilts, Inc., but I no longer teach or write books. I missed my students and thought blogging would be a good way to connect.

Judy Murrah published books

“Jacket Jazz” series

Instead of reaching new friends through tutorials, I have connected more with family and friends whom I’ve made over the years in the quilting industry. I have written several “Play Date How-To” posts, but they are not the ones that get the most hits. My audience has been more interested in my every day life…our family and most recently my journey with bone marrow cancer.

Since I was a pre-teen, I have sporadically kept some sort of diary, journal, or thoughts for the day in various types of notebooks. Some I have since burned, others I read occasionally, but mostly they are just left behind somewhere on a shelf. I sometimes wonder if my children/grandchildren will run across them someday, or if they’ll just be hauled-off with the tons of other stuff my husband and I have collected over 49 years of marriage.

I guess my blog is somewhat like a journal or diary. I put it out there publicly not knowing if anyone will read it. I still like to tell my story even if there aren’t huge numbers of listeners.  I’m encouraged by the comments that are left behind on my blog or Facebook. It pleases me if I can make a difference in someone’s day by taking the time to visit.

It’s always good to hear back from a reader to learn a little about what is going on in her life. If what I have experienced can make me a better listener, then some of my day-to-day living makes sense. Being drawn to become a Stephen Minister eight years ago at First United Methodist Church in Missouri City has much to do with helping others by listening to their story. Recently the topic of our Stephen Minister supervision meeting was on Forgiving. We were instructed by our leader to bring books or articles we had read on Forgiveness to help facilitate the conversation. I recalled a book our friend and pastor, Reverend Dr. Michael Barry, had written and given to us over a year ago.

In looking for “The Forgiveness Project” written by Michael S. Barry, to my surprise it was with another book Mike had written in 2004. Mike had sent me the book, “A Reason for Hope” many years ago. I had read it and brought it to an earlier Stephen Ministry in-service supervision meeting. To date, I have not been assigned a care receiver who is battling cancer. My journey with cancer is new, but my experience is growing.

Books by Michael S. Barry

Books by Michael S. Barry

Finding Mike’s book at this time was a God-thing. I have no doubt. I took the little book to bed with me many nights and found much to read and ponder. Reading the fifth chapter, “Why Do You Want to Live?” was an “aha” moment. My prayer life is simple, but constant. However, I found difficulty in praying to God to let me live when others have died. Why was my life so much more important than all the others? Yes, of course, I want to live to see our grandchildren get older and pass milestones. I want to live so Tommy and I can do the traveling we have waited many years to do. It seemed selfish, but in Mike’s book, he gave me real purpose that I cling to and that is: I want to live to serve and glorify God. I can do that in my every day living with family, friends, and people I meet. I can stay positive and be supportive of them. I can listen and care. I can love as He loves us. It’s a big order, but it’s a reason to live.

Now let’s talk about being positive. Oh, my, I am challenged by that daily. I know being a positive person makes me and those around me feel better, but sometimes that’s a tough one. Tommy and I have been talking about and planning for our 50th wedding anniversary next year. We decided we would plan a cruise in Europe. Wait a minute. We have never been on a cruise. Maybe we should do something in the states to see if we even like cruising. So we researched and talked to many friends who have taken dozens of cruises. We settled on an 8-day New England Island Cruise on American Cruise Line. We were scheduled to set sail on July 4. Best laid plans of mice and men don’t always work out as planned. With my cancer treatment and transfusions often twice a week, I could not be gone that long. We knew this 6-weeks before we were to set sail, but we had missed the cancellation, money-back deadline. Even with a formal letter from my oncologist, to date the cruise line will not give us a refund or rain check.

Our Small Ship

Our Small Ship

But let’s think positive. With permission from my oncologist, PA and research nurse, I could be gone from MDA hospital visits for four days. I looked at Tommy and said, “Hey, let’s go back to Long Beach to see our one-month old grandson.” So we spent the 4th of July week-end with Troy, Michelle, and T.

Troy, Michelle, and T

Troy, Michelle, and T

To my surprise, Michelle and Troy gave me T to hold after each nursing, diaper change, bath, playtime, etc. Often he slept in my arms, and other times we talked, snuggled and kissed. I felt a renewal and healing holding that sweet little guy. What precious children to let Grammy have so much time with their baby.

Grammy Loving T

Grammy Loving T

We came home on Monday and then back to MDAnderson on Tuesday. I should have started my third round of chemo over a week ago, but my blood count has been too low. Dr. Garcia-Manero wants to give my body a chance to recover more from the chemo treatments. Last week my counts were higher than the previous week. We are hoping they will be high enough this Tuesday without transfusions to start chemo again.

You’ve asked about side effects with the chemo. There are few. My body does not feel like my body as it tires easily, and my muscles are weak and sore. My hair thinned, but I did not lose it. While I’m taking chemo I don’t feel much like eating, but that’s the extent of it. If I get to start chemo on Tuesday, I will take it in tablet form from home. This is a good thing because our darling 18-year old granddaughter is coming on Wednesday to spend 8 days with us. Yes, isn’t that amazing that our first grandchild, who goes off to Texas A&M this fall, still likes to be with us in our home. We are so lucky.

Madison Murrah

Madison Murrah

So there is always a positive to each day. We just have to find it and hold onto it. My positive will be Madison Elizabeth Murrah, or as I called her from the beginning “Little MEM,” will be my playmate once again. Let the fun begin.

Blessings and fun to all of you dear friends. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Hugs, Judy

 

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38 Responses to “Think Positive”

  1. Barbara Weiland Talbert Says:

    Wonderful post from you, sweet friend. Beautiful photo of Little Mem! Enjoy your play time with her! Hugs and love!

    Like

  2. Elizabeth Ford McDonald Says:

    Thanks for the reminder of our purpose in life, to serve and glorify God!. Your positive outlook has been such an inspiration to me. Enjoy your time with Madison. Hugs, Liz

    Like

  3. PeggyFrankovich Says:

    Judy, I really did enjoy your blog. It made me feel good about you and your struggle with cancer. I have always looked up to you as you are someone I aspire to be like. A real lady. Please keep writing these blogs to keep us updated. I will keep being positive and keep you in my prayers. Love, Peggy Frankovich

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

    • judymurrah Says:

      Peggy, you ARE a real lady now. It’s always a treat to see you and Laroyce and crew at Quilt Festival all decked out with your outfits and hats. Such ladies. Thanks for your kind comments.

      Like

  4. Teresa Duryea Wong Says:

    Judy: Your thoughts are so beautifully written… and your positive energy is an inspiration to us all, for sure! Keep being you and you will beat this thing! You are in my prayers.

    Like

    • judymurrah Says:

      Thank you for prayers, Teresa. I believe there is strength in numbers. Hope your latest writing project is going along well. Let me know if I can help you any further.

      Like

  5. Carol luther Says:

    Judy, I enjoy reading your blog. It is fun to read about your family

    Like

  6. Michele Bilyeu Says:

    A beautiful life well lived and with so much love to give and to share. Your grandson is exquisitely beautiful as are his mother and father. What a special family, indeed!!!

    Like

  7. MaryJ Says:

    Dear Judy Kay, sweet cousin, so glad to read your blog. It was timely for us as we needed your inspiration and positiveness this week as I begin this journey with my husband to oncology to explore next steps with his bladder and prostate cancer. I too have been reading “little books” taken from the Chapel at Mayo Clinic Hospital.

    I pray that you are able to go forth this week with your new round of chemo, and I know your precious 8 days with Madison will be everything you look forward to. She is a beautiful young lady. I look forward to hearing more about her on your blog. And, of course, baby T is changing daily so keep the pictures coming of him.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your life so openly.

    Love ya,

    Mary Jane

    Like

    • judymurrah Says:

      Mary Jane, I’ve been thinking of you and hubby a lot since I received your last email. He is so fortunate to have you by his side during this time. I pray that you find answers and solutions for his treatment. My love to both of you.

      Like

  8. Patty teufel Says:

    Even though we see each other only once or twice a year, your story on your blog make me feel a part of your life. Your words are good to ponder on.

    Like

  9. Mary Jo Dupre Says:

    You are blessed ! To see all your grandchildren grow, have one entering college, to hold a brand new one, you are indeed blessed. Continue on your path, continue to love, stay safe and do good works.

    Like

    • judymurrah Says:

      All good advice, Mary Jo. I’ll take it to heart. Yes, having our oldest grandchild starting collage and then the youngest a babe in arms is pretty incredible. We are blessed, I agree.

      Like

  10. Sarah Roberts Says:

    God has blessed you with a wonderful support team, with head cheer leader, T. Hoorah for you in your healing journey.

    Like

  11. Wilma Hart Says:

    You are such an inspiration to all of us. Such a great Mother and Grammy. You are fun to be with and oh yeah, a faithful wife. So talented and a very good friend. I just love you. Thanks for my card. Love it.

    Like

  12. Anne Esteve Says:

    Judy, you are an inspiration to so many. Prayers for you and your family will continue. Bless you and may you be healed soon.

    Like

  13. Carol Doak Says:

    Hi Judy:
    You have been and always will be a beautiful lady inside and out. Keep up that positive spirit and enjoy your friends and family. Hugs and kisses to you,
    Carol

    Like

    • judymurrah Says:

      Carol, I miss seeing you at our shows or all those years ago hanging around That Patchwork Place. Those were some fast rides, but we were young and could handle it all night and day. Thank you for your kind comments. Hope to see you soon.

      Like

  14. Richard Zey Says:

    Well, it looks like you have a following. Look forward to the next post. I have some close friends who have taken several European river cruises and all have been excellent. Does require some energy as you will want to tour the cities where you stop.

    Like

  15. bbquiltmaker Says:

    Nothing like grandbaby time to keep us positive. Enjoy the special time with Madison. I love your blog posts too.

    Like

    • judymurrah Says:

      Thank you, Barbara. I’m certainly not as prolific as you are in the studio or on the blog, but I enjoy what I do. I imagine Madison and I will be creating this next week. Thanks for taking over for me at QKS. I feel it’s in good hands with you.

      Like

  16. Cathy Van Bruggen Says:

    You are so inspirational! Your comments made me realize that there is more to life than the pressure of growing a quilt business.
    Thank you for being so positive. I will work at following your example!
    Take care….my thoughts are with you.
    Cathy

    Like

    • judymurrah Says:

      Hi Cathy. Growing a quilt business takes a lot of time and effort. It is a real job so it IS work. You still can bring lots of joy and happiness to those lives you touch along the way. I was 32 when I first began teaching quilting. I taught many women who were in their fifties. In that generation they had not been acknowledged for much more than well-behaved children and a clean floor. I loved seeing their self-esteem soar when they were able to create a thing of beauty that others admired and appreciated. So find positive ways to make this world a better place in what you do now. It can all be good works. Thank you for your thoughts.

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  17. Linda Carlson Says:

    You and your family are in my daily prayers, Judy! Your written sharing of this experience is a blessing to all who are able to read it, be sure!
    If you do get your deposit back from the American cruise line, I have done that same cruise and loved it! Small ship with more retired passengers without kids. It was a great company to work with 5 years ago. I would call the president directly to get some action.
    I’m sending my very best thoughts your way!

    Like

    • judymurrah Says:

      Good advice about going to the president of American Cruise Line to try to get our money back for the cruise. We had paid in-full. I’ll see if I can find a contact for him/her. I do hope we get the chance to take the New England cruise another time. I think it would be wonderful. Thank you. Linda.

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  18. Karen Greer Says:

    positive thinking really works…….mind over matter. God rewards us everyday, he gives us a gift we call the “present”.

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  19. judymurrah Says:

    You are so correct, Karen. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  20. Kay Smith Says:

    Judy, your “Think Positive” posting came to me today and if I didn’t know better, I would think it was “heaven sent”. As I have said before I always look forward to your words and family events as you meet life with a smile and of course a warm, positive attitude! I am so interested in the 2 books by Michael S. Barry and plan to see if I can purchase them online. I feel I can never have too much guidance on having hope and a positive attitude. And the Stephen Ministry is a group I have been checking into at Laurel Heights since our retirement back to Texas.
    Your written words I hold close in thought as they give me support and encouragement!
    I continue to keep you close in prayer and agree that you do indeed have many reasons to continue on your path of life! I am happy to hear you have not had severe effects with your treatments and do indeed pray your body’s response will allow them to continue.
    I hope you and Tommy have a great time with your sweet soon to be an Aggie! It is special she is visiting!
    Take care and I pray each of your days are filled with joy and meaning! You are a ray of sunshine!

    Like

  21. judymurrah Says:

    As always, Kay, I appreciate your comments. Hope you find Mike’s books. I think you’d be glad to have them. Good to hear from you.

    Like

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