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Jeff - this has been a year of changes. Jeff settling in to the fact he sold his coach and bus business in November 2015. This means he has fewer responsibilities, yet in some ways busier, as he has less full time staff. He is feeling less burdened so that is a good thing. And….is saying…time to downsize work life again and increase his day-to-day living. The 29th. of December he is 70.

Samoset Time Share - with my changing health we opted this year to switch our Time Share to a ground floor unit. So…it meant we spent week 14 in the old unit, and had an extra week in the new unit because we switched to week 18. No stairs, hurrah! (Part of the second week I had friends - Charly and Phyl join me which meant lots of laughter.)

House Hunting
This year we put a new roof on Queen Street and updated our kitchen. 2017 will do new windows and siding on Queen Street. And in the midst of all this work we are house hunting. We have reached that age (me more than Jeff) when downsizing is important. Finding an existing one floor house is challenging and the only other option is building and there are few building lots in St. Andrews. We keep looking.

Included Aunt Aileen and her daughter Sharon. It is a highlight of our year. With their visit we share such wonderful memories of Mum, Dad, Uncle Herb …and our time together is a treat. While they were visiting cousin David and Lise Hitchings came too. We are blessed with great relatives. I might add Aunty turned 95 a few days ago and what a wonderful role model for living life to the fullest as is her brother, Uncle Ken at 98. You go guys!

Health Issues
Gosh I do not know about the rest of you but health issues seem to play a part in all our lives. Jeff’s bookkeeper Kathy had hip surgery this fall. Well, I got pressed back into doing payroll while she was out. And Jeff? Had many piles of papers for her when she returned so I know she knew in no uncertain terms how much we missed her and not just for all the bookkeeping either. (Hope we did not mess up too much Kathy!)

Chris…was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has had surgery. When I went with him the day he had to fill out the form for the surgeon…under …list the times and reasons for hospitalization he answered: “Never”. Wow that was a real eye-opener. He awaits further healing to determine what next steps there will be. Kudo’s for his excellent recovery aided by his daily walking, eating well and generally doing the right things. Attitude helps and he’s doing well in that department too.

Jeff is awaiting surgery….as he has a herniated stoma. He too is blessed as it is the first time since his colostomy surgery about 40 years ago…that it has required updating. Whoosh goes time!

Sibling Updates
Blaine continues working at the Call Centre and quietly lives life along the banks of the Waweig River. He is resisting adding a cat to his life as his work schedules would be unfair to a pet, even an independent kitty cat.

Janet without a right hip on two canes is more active than I am. Church, volunteer groups and cookie maker extraordinaire keeps her busy. Next spring …the first time since the her dear little house was built we tackle the landscaping to split, add, subtract plants and ensure the land slopes
away from the house.

Ardeth’s Wellbeing
In January I hit an all time low with a stellar bout of gout that left me totally whacked. I was at such a low point I even talked to Jeff saying I was totally bereft of energy and if this kept up….it felt like my days were numbered. I will say my mind, body, and spirit tanked, there is no other way to describe it.

A friend recommended an internist in Bangor whose cards reads: “Integrative Medicine: Healing Alternatives”. And guess what? My Vitamin D (which I learned D is actually a hormone) was 1 point above the dangerously low level. Within a month of taking 5,000 IU of D/day I FELT so different. Amazing, eh?!

And then off to have mammogram and the last day of March a PAP test. The PAP test diagnosed inflammation (I’ve been on prednisone for inflammation here, there and everywhere since September 2013), and a cervical polyp to be removed. Early June I was at the Clinic to have the polyp removed but OBGYN decided that due to the fact he could not find the ‘root’ he would prefer doing D & C in surgery to ensure if complications I would be in a surgical unit. This procedure happened mid- August with a follow-up for September. If I was phoned before then it would mean that the atypical cells were something else. I was phoned two weeks after the procedure could I please come later that morning. The news? Stage 1 uterine cancer …prefaced by the OBGYN stating I have good news and bad news. Bad news….you have cancer. Good news…. early stages so surgical outcome would be very positive. I knew I would need to see my cardiologist for I have learned that no matter what goes on with my body…my heart condition plays an important role.

That was September 2nd and since then I have had CT Scan, seen gynecologic/oncologist/surgeon in Moncton, who sent me to the Internist in Moncton because of my high risk surgery status due to my heart issues, who consulted with my cardiologist whom I saw in person. He was there for me 35 years ago when I had my heart failure and said….this surgery would mean heart failure.

I also had a couple of phone calls with the surgeon in Moncton…who from my first visit realized I had a great reluctance for surgery because of all the things that would need to be done being a high risk patient. The surgeon also sent me to a radiologist/oncologist thinking Stage 1, high risk for surgery perhaps radiation would allow me to opt out of surgery and do radiation only. Radiation also high risk with heart condition as I would need four procedures which would require anaesthetic. Heart failure was a given no matter what direction I chose and when I combined that with abdominal surgery, 45% chance of needing radiation…and my current general health….inflammation, inflammation, inflammation ……it just seemed
all too much.

On September 2nd I sent out to family and friends a request to be put on prayer lists. I was added to prayer lists here, there and everywhere. I could feel the energy of love and healing. I did my due diligence and saw every specialist, listened with my brain and kept gathering information. Here is what I learned. Each and every medical professional in my healing circle has been kind, compassionate, and competent. And the miracle of all miracles is that the speed with which I have been seen and tended to has been amazing.

When the last of the reports came back it was then time to truly go into that mode of stillness…the one for me….Be Still and Know That I Am God….the one where the answers come with the full knowledge that your choice is not from fear, or avoidance but the one that literally and figuratively rests within the soul of your heart as the best choice for you. I have opted for no surgery or radiation being a high risk surgical candidate.

This little chick knows exactly what it feels like to have heart failure, abdominal surgery and these last four years I have already coped with much which is still not resolved so when you add all these things together….all I could see was me flattened…not an ounce of energy, and the simple tasks of everyday life which somedays are already challenging be completely unable to do…anything.

The good news? Making this decision as we move forward into the Christmas Season has brought peace into my world. And in a Christmas letter a few years ago I stated:
Let There Be Peace on Earth….and let it begin with me. I have great peace.

Joy to the World….the Saviour reigns…and I am being showered or should I say "rained" upon with great joy too. I have a deep abiding faith in God and His Graciousness having experienced it again and again. I have the joy of living in the now with great peace. I have received the most wonderful notes, cards, terms of endearment and prayerful cheering section that a girl could ever wish for including a cousin’s niece in the UK. Wow!

I am reminded too of so many little things… the Sunday School concert…where we dressed up in yellow crepe paper skirts, white satin tops with silver trim and little golden tiara’s singing Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam to shine for Him each day…..and a few years ago….I changed it to Jesus
Has Me for a Sunbeam (might not have shone every day but sure worked on it….and VITAMIN D really helped this year!!!!).

And I think of another Sunday School song…This Little Light of Mine I’m gonna’ let it Shine. Here’s a really interesting thing….since making this decision I have never felt so lighthearted and joyful.

Things, people, experiences happen in our lives to give us the potential for personal growth. A friend phoned me one day to say I got this message for you….
cancer is a gift. This required me to sit in stillness and let that phrase swirl through me.

Everything comes full circle in life….to teach us things that grow our soul to enliven, illuminate, and encircle ourselves in the fruits of the Spirit…, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Another Christmas Letter stated I had more work to do on self-control. The
gift of cancer brings to the forefront of my soul growth….the word self-control. I have made many changes in my life to support my well-being - mind, body, and spirit.

I have learned that healing comes in so many packages. And healing can mean being in someone's presence for only a few seconds, yet it makes you feel good. Dad’s hugs would qualify for that. Mum’s joy in the pleasure of simple things… from tea and homemade bread with freezer jam to being a prayerful cheering section for others. And my earthly family and friendship circle has been another healing presence.

A special paragraph is devoted to my hubby Jeff who in 1982 one year and two months after we were married …witnessed within a seven day span….me being diagnosed with bronchitis, bacterial infection, myocarditis, congestive heart failure and dilated cardiomyopathy. While there are extreme sports….I have had extreme health issues. Jeff has remained grounded, rock-solid and true to wedding vows including the “in sickness and in health”. Now that’s love!

My healing circle includes each of you and my medical professionals sharing the fruits of your Spirit with me and wonderful prayers. I have gratitude for each and everyone including God’s grace.

I am reminded of the quote by Deepak Chopra: “The diagnosis need not be the prognosis”. I believe this to be true. I know too….that there is a time to be born and a time to die. God knows I am willing to carry on….doing whatever plans He has for me in the next phase of my life. He knows too exactly what I will need to do so. I am blessed.

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Jeff joins me in sending each of you…… peace, joy and love.

Blessings from Our House to Yours….Love, Ardeth & Jeff

I sprinkle Joy and Gratitude from my dear little heart to yours for being a part of my healing circle. Your notes, thoughts, prayers and a multitude of kindnesses has illuminated, enlivened and cheered my heart and soul.

The other good news is that my GP and two internists (and my self-control) are working on my day-to-day health issues. My mind and spirit are sparkling and continue to uplift my body.

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