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Navigating Your Cancer Treatment: Andrew Griffith

15 Jan

If you are dealing with cancer, there is no such thing as too much good information. Please note the my use of the word “good.” There is plenty of information available to us online that is not good, but the good stuff – that’s gold.

I’d like to introduce you to online friend and author of some good stuff. His name is Andrew Griffith, and his latest position was as the Director General of Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch at the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.


He also happens to be a mantle cell lymphoma patient who was initially diagnosed in 2009 and relapsed in 2011.

Andrew blogs about his experience at My Lymphoma Journey. If you are a cancer patient, this blog will be an excellent resource for you because what you will find is a first-person account of someone walking through cancer. Your cancer and treatment plans may be different, but many of the emotions and experiences Andrew talks about are universal. His blog is full of experience that he shares in a unique and incredibly meaningful way, hitting not just the surface level details of his treatment, but also providing personal reflections on this trial.

In addition, Andrew has written numerous articles for other cancer resource sites, such as the MD Anderson CancerWise online publication, KevinMD, and Cancer Knowledge Network. One recent article, Tips on Navigating Cancer, provides valuable information for any cancer patient, but especially those just starting out on the journey. One of the things Andrew recommends, and I whole-heartedly agree with, is to come to your appointments prepared. Do your research, come with written questions, and understand your “file” – your medical records, reports, and such. You are responsible for you.

Andrew recently authored a book, Living with Cancer, A Journey, available at AmazoniBookstore (media-rich edition), and Kobo. A hard copy version is available at Lulu.


The Kindle edition is a bargain at $3.99 because amid the 300+ pages are the heart and soul of a cancer patient who takes his treatment seriously, but living life even more so. If you want to  know what a cancer patient thinks or feels, read this book. If you want to know what the treatment experience is like, especially one that involves stem cell transplants, read this book. If you want to know good book or movie recommendations, read this book because he includes those as well! :)

I think you will find Andrew’s blog and book, both, valuable resources, well-written, and deeply thoughtful. You can also follow Andrew on Twitter where he posts links to quality cancer and healthcare related articles.



What Are You Reading This Summer?

1 Jun

Welcome to June!  Can you believe it’s already here??

Are you a reader?

I’ve gone through phases in my life where I’ve been a heavy reader, an average reader, and a virtually non-existent reader.  Right now, I’m an average reader.  I’m not devouring books every free minute of the day, but I’m constantly on the lookout for a new, good book recommendation.  I can thank my Kindle Touch for rekindling (get it, re-kindling?) my love of reading.  {grin}  I had no idea I would enjoy reading with it as much as I do.  I know there are scores of people who say it’s not the same thing as reading a physical book, but I love being able to 1) carry all of my books with me wherever I go and 2) get a new book any time I want without having to wait for it to be delivered or going to the store to buy it.

I just finished reading what might be my favorite book ever:  Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell.  It’s the first-person account of a Navy Seal who was the only one from his team to return home alive from a mission in Afghanistan.  It’s been on my list for a long time and I’ve been afraid to read it.  I finally just dove in and I’m so glad I did.  It was even harder to read than I thought it would be, but this book sucked me in and kept me – literally – riveted from the first chapter to the very last word.

A few others that I’ve enjoyed this year are:

  • Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley
    Andy explains how guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy can reek havoc on our lives if left unchecked and offers Biblical direction for overcoming their power.  This was a good book, but it gave me so much to think about that I will likely have to read it again to fully absorb everything.
  • Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
    A great, true story of a little boy who had to undergo life-saving surgery and experienced heaven during the process.  He talks about the people he met while there and through little conversations with his dad reveals glimpses of what is to come.
  • What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst
    Lysa gives some practical and Biblical advice experiencing life and your relationship with God in a fresh way.  This was a very good book, easy to read, yet substantive.
  • One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer
    This is one of the first books I finished this year and I would recommend it to anyone wanting or needing to make a change in their life.  The author uses The Kaizen Way (making small changes consistently over time) as a method for bringing about significant change.  It’s the think big, start small principle.
  • The Final Summit by Andy Andrews
    This was a really good story about the search for the one principle that will save humanity.  Andy Andrews is a great story teller and he introduced all kinds of historical figures in this novel.  After I began reading it, I realized I should have read The Traveler’s Gift because it actually leads up to The Final Summit.
  • My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife by Sara Horn
    I’ve just started reading this so I can’t fully recommend it; however, after three chapters, I can tell that this is going to mess with my mind and the way I view my role as a wife – in a good way.  I can relate the author in so many ways so I’m very interested to read about her experience with trying to be a Proverbs 31 wife for a year.

Some of the books that are on my want-to-read list are:

I’m hoping that you will help this girl out and tell me something – what are you reading this summer?  I would love, love, LOVE to know what you are reading, planning to read, and what you’ve really enjoyed reading this year.  Do tell!

  1. What are you reading now?
  2. What’s next on your list?
  3. What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
  4. Do you have any recommendations for me?

Have a beautiful Friday and a fabulicious weekend!!
♥ Rachel

Empty Promises by Pete Wilson

10 Apr

I’m excited today because a new book by Pete Wilson is being released!

Empty Promises is a book about each of us, about how we look for satisfaction and fulfillment in all sorts of places, and how we become disappointed and dejected when those people and things do not meet our deepest needs.

I don’t know about you guys, but I can definitely relate to this subject.  So often we look for something to fill a void – we know something isn’t the way we think it’s supposed to be and we are convinced that if we could just get that one thing we know we are missing, everything would be great.  What we overlook during our search, though, is the truth that we will never be satisfied as long as we look to anyone and anything other than God to fulfill us.

This trailer can explain the book better than I can:

{If you are reading this in email, you may need to click over to the blog to watch the video.}

I wrote previously about Pete’s first best-seller, Plan B and what an impact it had on my life, so I am anxious to begin reading Empty Promises.  Barry pre-ordered it and it should be arriving on my Kindle today!

You can find out more about Empty Promises from these sources:

Have a wonderful Tuesday!
♥ Rachel

BOOKsneeze Has Nothing to Do with Seasonal Allergies

29 Mar

Book what??

What in the world is  It’s a site run by Thomas Nelson Publishers where bloggers can get books for FREE to read and in return they ask that you write a review of the book.  For someone who loves to read, and who has a blog, it’s a great arrangement.  You can usually get some of the newest books as soon as they become available to the general public.

I’ve written one BOOKsneeze review so far and will start reading Andy Andrews’ The Final Summit in the next few days so that I can write a review it.

A few things you should know if you are interested in signing up for this (they explain all of this on the site, but here are the highlights):

  • They ask you to write a 200 or so word review and post it on your blog.
  • You will then post the review on BOOKsneeze with a link to your blog post so that you can get credit for the review.
  • They also ask you to post the review on another site such as or
  • They want the reviews to be honest and do not expect you to write about how much you love the book if you truly did not love the book.
  • Books are available in print versions as well as for eReaders.  They tend to run out of print copies faster than the eReader versions.
  • They send out a newsletter once or twice a month alerting you to the books soon to be released to BOOKsneeze readers.

They have fiction and non-fiction titles, Bibles, and children’s titles available.  Some of the current books available now are:

  • Empty Promises by Pete Wilson (Spiritual Growth)
  • Constantly Craving by Marilyn Meberg (Spiritual Growth)
  • Brush of Angel’s Wings by Ruth Reid (Christian Fiction)
  • Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler (General Interest/Lifestyle)
  • Stand by Me by Neta Jackson (Christian Fiction)
  • The Little Red Book of Wisdom by Mark DeMoss (Business & Culture)
  • George Washington Carver by John Perry (Business & Culture)
  • Billy Graham in Quotes by Franklin Graham (Spiritual Growth)

If you have a blog and are interested, you should sign up and give it a try.  It’s a simple process and a great way to get new books.  Plus, the publisher gets some honest reviews out there about their products that will hopefully result in more sales for them.  It’s a win for everyone.  :)

Happy Thursday!!
♥ Rachel

[Book Review]: Plan B by Pete Wilson

16 Feb

I recently read Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would by Pete Wilson.  Pete is the pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville and writes regularly at his blog, Without Wax.

In one word, I can sum up my feelings about the book: FANTASTIC.

I highlighted more passages in this book than in any other book I’ve ever read.  It’s that good.  I’ve already re-read pieces of it and will probably do so many more times.

The very first passage to get the yellow marker was this one:

“Your dreams may not be happening, and things aren’t turning out the way you expected, but that doesn’t mean your life is spinning out of control.  It just means you’re not in control.  It’s in those moments you can learn to trust the only one who has ever had control in the first place.”

It just means that you’re not in control, Rachel!

What do you mean I’m not in control??  :)  For someone who likes to maintain [ahem…] slightly more than her share of control, this piece grabbed me by the arm and shook me awake.  I knew this book would resonate with me because I’m in the middle of my very own Plan B right now.  I never planned, dreamed, or imagined I would have cancer.  This is not at all how I envisioned my future, yet, it is what it is.

This book helped me see more clearly that sometimes God can do some amazing things when our plans do not turn out the way we had hoped.  Sure, this is not how I saw things happening, but that doesn’t mean He can’t make something good out of this difficulty.  I just have to be willing to trust Him and keep my eyes open for the good stuff that He is doing and is going to do.

There was one part of the book in particular that surprised me, but made sense to me the more I thought about it.  Pete refuted a saying that many of us have repeated in an effort to comfort someone, or even ourselves, at times.  You know the phrase – God will never give you more than you can handle.  You’ve probably said it before.  I know I have, to myself and to others.  But Pete says,

“Here’s the truth—and this one is thoroughly biblical: throughout life you will face one situation after another that will be completely beyond what you can handle.”

Well, all right then, there you have it.  When I read that, I took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly.  YES, we will – we ALL will – experience situations that we feel are beyond our strength, beyond our ability to cope or process because they ARE beyond OUR ability to handle them.  It’s in those moments that we cry out to God for help and we know that He will give it to us.

I can’t say enough good things about this book and about the hope that it points us to in the Bible.  It really is a fantastic resource for anyone struggling to make sense of a situation that has or is turning nothing like we had planned.  If you are interested, you can download a chapter of the book for free at and see for yourself if it is one you might like to read.

♥ Rachel

Book Review: One Call Away by Brenda Warner

5 Dec

One Call Away, by Brenda Warner, is the story of Brenda’s struggles and triumphs through a life that left her feeling the next crisis or disaster was just one call away.  Some of her life experiences are hard to fathom; others are similar to what many of us face in our own lives.  In the book, Brenda shares her own personal struggles and how she managed to not only endure them, but to find a life of happiness despite the challenges she faced.

This was a book I really looked forward to reading.  My family has experienced several of those “one call away” moments this year and I thought I would be able to find some nuggets of encouragement in the book.  I was disappointed to find that was not the case.

Let me start by saying that Brenda did not have an easy life, she faced incredible challenges and it appears she does have a strong faith in God.  She may be married to a former football star now and have what many would consider to be a life of comfort; however the road to her current life was pretty bumpy.  It’s certainly not a life I would have wanted to endure and I don’t envy her for the tough places she walked through and the hard decisions she had to make.

That being said, I was a little turned off by what came across as a sense of arrogance and pride that seemed to overshadow her faith in God at times.  I had a tough time relating to her personally because of her “my way or the highway” approach to life.  She is a take-charge kind of person (as a former Marine, that is no surprise), and expects everyone in her life to follow her rules or hit the road.  I just had a hard time connecting with her story, which made reading the book a bit of a chore.

The book was also a bit tediously long – at 368 pages, so it took quite a bit of effort to make myself finish it.  There is an incredible amount of detail provided about Brenda’s early years and first marriage.  To much detail, for my taste.  I think she could have made her point with far fewer words than were used.

To anyone reading this, I’m not saying this book is not worth reading.  I just felt like it was not a good fit for me.  Someone else might pick it up and connect with her, her life story, and her relationship with God in a way that I did not.

If anything, we can all be encouraged by the fact that she overcame some incredible struggles, shows a tremendous amount of love to her family, and is now sharing her success with others.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”