Wednesday, October 30, 2019

HHMRH MINISTRIES is Sharing Encouragement on Facebook

Writing full blog posts hasn't been a huge priority for me lately, due to various reasons that I might share with you eventually. I'm not sure when I will come off of my blog-writing hiatus. However, I do still believe Christian encouragement is awesome and ESSENTIAL. So, that's why I have been posting encouraging thoughts regularly on our Facebook page:  HE HOLDS MY RIGHT HAND MINISTRIES. 

Instead of writing full blog posts, I have been adding new photos several times each week, attaching a Bible verse to them, and sometimes saying a few words about them. I have been enjoying this creative outlet, and it seems to be working out better for me at this time. I do hope to write some full blog posts again in the near future. But, until I do, feel free to head over to our Facebook page and follow along there. Just hit the LIKE button.

Most of the photos I take myself, but some have also come from online source, or from my brother, Daniel. He's a great photographer, by the way, and you can follow him at: SURE SHOTS 16.

Here is a sampling of some of the photos/verses I have posted recently.  You are welcome to share them freely for the purpose of encouraging others, but not for commercial use.

Photo taken of our kids, when JJ left for the Summer to work at Youth Haven Bible Camp.

Taken at the camp in Kentucky.

Near Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky

Taken in August at the home of David's parents in Northern, IL

Some of Mom Stankus's pretty flowers.

Photo taken by my brother, Daniel, at the camp in Kentucky.

Taken at a horse barn in Jasper County, IL

Taken a few miles down the road from us in rural Southeastern IL

Sunday, June 23, 2019

HHMRH 10-Year Blogging Anniversary

Wow! Ten years of blogging here! Over these past 10 years, several topics have been covered on HE HOLDS MY RIGHT HAND; so, I decided to share two of the top posts for each topic. I hope you enjoy reminiscing with me by taking a look at the following links. As always, thanks for reading, and I would love to hear from you.

























Sunday, May 26, 2019

Incredibly GRATEFUL for 50 Years on This Earth

I have friends who don't like the idea getting older, and dread the big milestone numbers like 40, 50, 60, and so on. They consider themselves as being "middle aged" or "over the hill" or "senior citizens," and it's all said with a negative tone. They don't like being reminded that their life didn't turn out the way they thought it would. They regret the things they did, or didn't do; and they feel sad. They are still looking for their "purpose."

The way I see it, life is a journey. It is full of good times and hard times . . . and its ALL good. Why? Because I truly believe God has each one of us here on this earth for a reason - and understanding that reason (or purpose) is not as complicated as you might think. The important thing is to accept how everything you experience in life - good or bad - can be used to help you learn, to grow, to encourage others, and (most importantly) to point others to Christ. Basically, the idea is glorifying God in everything you do. That is a purpose you can be proud of. 

I am incredibly grateful God has granted me 50 years on this earth. I am grateful I survived cancer (twice!), and I'm looking forward to the gift of more years, and of more service to Him.

Take a quick walk with me down memory lane as I share a few of my birthday photos from past years. . . .

Vicky - Age 1

Age 3

Age 9

Age 15

Age 22

Age 25

Age 30

Age 35

Age 40

Age 45

Age 50

Enjoy the life God has granted you. Quit worrying about all the things you did or didn't do, and concentrate on finding joy in the life you're living now. 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

GRATEFUL for Minimal Side Effects from New Meds

About a month ago, I started taking Arimidex in its generic form. I was concerned about the side effects I might have, but I'm happy to report I am doing very well on it so far. I have had:

  • some mild fatigue
  • occasional difficulty sleeping through the nights
  • mild joint pain, kind of like arthritis

Over all, the side effects have not been unbearable. It is definitely harder to open jars now, and my knees hurt when I'm bending down; but, over all, the side effects have not been unbearable, and I am giving thanks with a GRATEFUL heart. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for me.

NOTE:  The plaque above was given to me by my sister-in-law. At the time she bought it, she didn't realize how well it was going to coincide with my theme of GRATEFULNESS for this year, but God knew about it in advance. It is hanging on the wall in my kitchen to help remind me daily to give thanks and be GRATEFUL in all circumstances.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

God Uses Stress to Draw Us Closer to Him

I would never say I am "happy" about stressful situations that pop up in my life. No one is happy about stress. But, I am always grateful for how God uses these situations to draw me closer to Himself.

Life has been crazy busy for me ever since my surgery in January; not really anything earth shattering; its just been one thing after another that has come up. Sometimes it has been a good kind of busy, and sometimes not. Regardless, the busyness and stress these past few months has been distracting me. It has made it harder for me to take the time I need for sitting and "de-compressing" in God's presence.

Last Monday, I shared those thoughts in an e-mail to David's mom, as we often keep in touch about things going on in our lives. Then, a few days later, God used one of my recent stress factors (i.e. car troubles), to get me alone with Him. You see, David's car was no longer safe for him to be driving to work and he had been using my van. So, my mom graciously allowed me to use her car to go to a scheduled checkup with my surgeon. Mom's car did not have a working radio or CD player. So, since I was alone in the car, I was able to use my travel time to pray and sing praise songs to my Lord. It ended up being refreshing for me to have that alone time with Him - because the Joy of the Lord is my strength.

  • for being able to share my heart with David's mom, and my mom as well. They are both great listeners.
  • for the use of my mom's car when my car was unavailable.
  • for the lack of music in mom's car. 
  • that my mom was willing and able to stay home with EL while I went to the appointment.
  • that I was able to have some alone time with God.
  • for stressful situations that remind me of my need for God.
  • for the strength God gives me when I need it most. 

Oh, and, I'm also grateful that David was able to find a good deal on a "new" car that will also provide much better gas mileage as he drives an hour to work each day.

God is good ALL the time.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Mack Brock: COVERED

Mack Brock has been a  worship leader for 15 years, and his greatest passion is to lead people into a heightened awareness of the presence of God. 

I'm excited to announce that Mack's newest album, "Covered," will be released on March 22nd, and it can be pre-ordered here from Amazon or iTunes:

NOTE:  When you pre-order the EP album, you will also get the digital single of "I Am Loved." 
Watch and listen to the lyric video here, especially if you are feeling un-loved. This is a reassuring worship song that reminds us how we are welcomed by God just as we are. We can go to Him and He will accept us with open arms, because we are loved by Him:

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this product information. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I will receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

I'm Beginning Arimidex Tonight

Yesterday's appointment with my Oncologist went well (once we finally got to see him, that is. We ended up waiting 2 hours past my appointment time before he walked into the room!)

The doc quickly went over my lab results. There were 3 of them:  Estradiol, LH, and FSH. Two of them showed I am post-menopausal. The third one showed inconclusive, but the doc said that one was the least reliable of the three. So, based on the lab results and all the other evidence, he said he is 98% sure I am post-menopausal. If not completely, then I'm almost there. So, he felt comfortable prescribing the generic version of Arimidex for me, and I will begin taking it tonight at bed time.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I was concerned I was going to need another surgery to have my ovaries removed in order to force me into menopause (if I already wasn't). But, now, that doesn't need to happen. I am extremely GRATEFUL about that.

The side effects of the med do not thrill me - things like increased risk of osteoporosis, increased risk of high cholesterol, increased risk of blood clots, bone pain, hot flashes, fatigue, mood changes, nausea, etc. - but the risks of NOT taking it are a little more bothersome to me. So, I am going to give it a try. Some women have very little problem with it; so hopefully that will be the case with me. 

I will see my doc again in 3 months to discuss how I'm doing. I appreciate your prayers, and will update you when I can.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Not Done with All Treatments Yet

If you've been looking for a new post from me, I'm sorry I haven't been posting much lately. Between my recent surgery and also getting Mom moved in and settled, life has been extremely busy. (Yes, if you haven't already heard, Mom had decided it was time for a change, so the family worked together to make it possible for her to move in with us.)

Things are finally beginning to slow down for now, so I wanted to take this lull time to update you with my recent visit to see my Oncologist. 

On February 20th, after my second checkup with my surgeon, I had a consultation with my Oncologist. I received some GREAT NEWS from him, which is, I will not need any chemotherapy or radiation to treat my cancer this time around! He said the left-side mastectomy surgery was all that was needed for this one. So, we are very grateful for that bit of news.

However, it has been recommended that I begin taking a daily medication called Arimidex. 

At first, the doc said I would not need any meds; but, as David and I began to ask questions, and we all discussed my case further, the doc ended up changing his mind.

It was decided, the most recent cancer (left side) is not really a concern anymore, because it was non-invasive. But, the previous cancer (right side) WAS invasive. So, that is the one we still need to be concerned about. That is the one that has a potential to return - to metastasize - to another part of the body. It could still come back into the small amount of tissue that remains after surgery, or come back in the lungs, or in the bones, or somewhere else. So, that is the one we need to continue addressing.

Then, it was decided we needed to know for certain if I am past the menopause stage, because Arimidex is most effective in post-menopausal women. So, labs were drawn to help determine this. At this point, the results are inconclusive, and I'm not exactly sure why. I have another consultation coming up this Tuesday to discuss it more, and we will determine the next step in the process.

Of course, I was hoping for no further treatments at all, but I know it could be a lot worse.

  • I don't need chemo or radiation.
  • For an involved husband who asks a lot of questions.
  • For good doctors.
  • For modern medicine.
  • For family and friends who care about me and will continue to pray me through.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Jonathan has been looking forward to his release from prison for over a decade. So many life events have been missed - milestone moments with his family, such as his daughter's first day of school - and he is now ready to be with his wife and kids again.

This transition isn't going to be easy. With over half of prisoners returning to prison within two years, the odds are against him. Jonathan is aware of the challenges set before him, yet, he is determined to take the skills he has learned into the world outside of incarceration and help build his community.

NOTE: Although the USA is home to only 4% of the world's population, we house more than 20% of its prisoners. Recidivism - the tendency of a criminal to re-offend - is out of control.

Prison Fellowship presents The Restoration Series: Jonathan’s Walk, a 5-part documentary film series following Jonathan as he re-enters his community after 15 years in prison. It also tells the story of men and women who have experienced The Academy, a revolutionary in-prison program that is combating incarceration and recidivism head on.


Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this introduction video. 

Go to the main website of THE RESTORATION SERIES and enter your e-mail address to unlock the series and watch it for FREE. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Post-Surgery Gratitude

I had my 2nd mastectomy this past Tuesday, and I have many things to be grateful for. Here are just a few that I want to mention:
  1. I did not get sick before surgery, so it did not need to be postponed. 
  2. The nurse who took care of me before and after surgery was wonderful. I was not able to have an IV placed in either of my arms/hands, so it had to be inserted in a foot. She was having trouble with my tiny veins, and ended up sticking me 3 times, but the 3rd time worked. She was very patient and calm through it all, and I even heard her whisper a prayer, "Please, Lord" before sticking me for the 3rd time. God answered her prayer.
  3. Surgery went well, without any complications. It took around 3 hours.
  4. I did not get nauseous after surgery like I have in the past, because they gave me a Scopalamine patch behind my ear to keep the nausea away.
  5. I was doing well after surgery, so I was able to go home that same afternoon.
  6. I am thankful for our new recliner. It has been helpful for me, because laying down on a bed was difficult and painful for the first few nights.
  7. My mother was not able to come for the surgery, due to sickness, but David's parents were able to be here. David's dad went with us to the hospital, and his mom, Sharon, stayed at the house with the kids. Sharon is still here helping out where needed, and I am very grateful for her help. 
  8. Several ladies from our church have brought over meals, which has been a true blessing! Other friends and family have sent private messages, cards, flowers, and/or made phone calls to encourage and pray with me. True Christian hospitality in the works.
  9. It is a blessing to have my husband, David, with me through doctor appointments, surgery, post-surgery care, etc. I trust him and am grateful for his wisdom and medical knowledge.
  10. The surgeon I had was the same one I had 6 years ago. So, I was comfortable with him. Before surgery, he always initials the area that is going to be operated on. This is how he did mine: 
11.  I know my surgeon's hands were guided by "The Great Physician," just like it shows in the picture below. This picture was hanging in my surgeon's office when I went in for a pre-surgery consultation. David pointed it out to me, and I had to take a picture of it.

Here's a close up look at the verse on the bottom of the picture.
12.  The nurses and doctors took good care of me at the hospital, including the way they wrapped me in warm blankets after surgery. It made me feel warm and cozy as I was waking up.
13.  Pain medications worked well, so my pain has not been unbearable. I'm mostly just really sore, and also uncomfortable from the drainage tube and side effects of surgery. I am taking things one day at a time, and look forward to Wednesday, when the drainage tube will be removed.

14.  We are still waiting for the pathology report to come back but, from what we know so far, we are anticipating all the margins to be clear and all of the cancer to be gone. Time will tell.

15.  I have had good days and hard days but, through it all, I am counting my blessings. God is  good all the time.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Start of My Gratitude Journal

At the end of 2018, I saw and shared a photo on Facebook that showed a glass jar with folded up pieces of paper in it. The words on the photo gave the suggestion to write down one blessing each week and put it in the jar. Then, at the end of the year, go back and read them all. I thought that was such a great idea and decided I wanted to give it a try. But, then the thought came to me that a "gratitude journal" would work just as well, and I would be more apt to actually follow through with doing it if I did it that way. So, I found an empty, spiral notebook and began my entries on January 1st.

Its a pretty simple thing to do. Each day, I write out one or two (sometimes more) things I am thankful for. I have my notebook and pen on a table next to my bed and usually write in it before turning out the lights. It is a good way to help me fall asleep while thinking about the blessings in my life. I write down things from my day that made me smile, kind acts from someone, a kind act I did for someone else, or just something or someone I have thought about that day. 

Here's a look at my entries from this past week:

JANUARY 6 (Sunday): I am grateful for my teen son's hugs. Tonight, as we were getting ready to eat supper, I spilled an entire pan of pizza onto the bottom of our hot oven. I was upset and stressed, but JJ helped me clean up the mess, and then spontaneously gave me a hug. It really helped calm me and made things so much better. Just a simple hug can make a world of difference.

JANUARY 7 (Mon): Today is JJ's birthday. I am grateful to have shared 16 years with him so far. He is growing into a fine young man with a kind heart. I love him so much. I am also grateful his cousin/best friend was able to be here to help us celebrate.

JANUARY 8 (Tues):  I am grateful for the new recliner couch that arrived yesterday. It is very comfortable and was MUCH needed to replace our old 22-year-old hide-a-bed couch. This recliner will be VERY helpful as I am recovering from surgery next Tuesday, the 15th.

JANUARY 9 (Wed):  I am grateful for the way God brings strength and encouragement at just the right time. I have been really stressed this week, trying to get things accomplished before surgery, and frantically trying to  keep things disinfected so I don't get sick. Then, today I read a devotional in "Our Daily Bread" (it was actually the one from yesterday). It reminded me that worrying does not help the situation I am worried about. God is in control and I need to place my trust in HIM.

JANUARY 10 (Thurs): I am grateful for the relaxing, inspirational piano music that I can listen to on my tablet as I fall asleep tonight. It soothes my soul.
JANUARY 11 (Fri):  I am grateful for the safe travels of friends and family who needed to travel this afternoon in bad weather.

JANUARY 12 (Sat):  I am grateful David and I were able to sleep in this morning. I love our Saturday morning snuggles. I am also thankful for snow plows, the people who drive them, and my warm home. 

If you haven't already started your own GRATITUDE JOURNAL, its not too late to start. Just grab a notebook, or notebook paper, and start writing. It will become a blessing to you - I am sure of it - as well as a treasured keepsake to look back on at the end of the year.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Focus for 2019: GRATITUDE

For the past few months, I have been praying about which topic I should focus on in 2019 - for myself, as well as for sharing on my blog. One idea that came to me after reading a devotional in Our Daily Bread was that "every moment matters." So, I started making some notes, but wasn't yet convinced about that topic being the one. 

Recently, some friends told me that last year's posts about TRUST had been great; however, with my newly diagnosed cancer and other difficult things that have happened this past year, they thought maybe I was being “tested” on my trust - you know, sort of like "practicing what I preach." So, instead of writing more about trust this year, it was recommended that maybe I should write about blessings. I laughed at the suggestion and told them I would think about it; but that did get me to start thinking, "Hmmm, that might actually be a good topic to write about, and it could be right in line with moments that matter." So, I continued praying about it.

A few weeks later, I was chatting with my mom. She also said the TRUST posts have been good, and she has enjoyed reading them. Then, she reminded me about how my dad was often “tested” on the things he preached and taught when he was alive. So, she was sort of joking, and sort of being serious when she laughed and said, “Maybe your next topic should be about praises!” I laughed also, and told her I might have to do that.


They are all similar.

It was already pretty clear at that point about what God was trying to tell me; but, silly me, I still wanted to be sure.  So, I asked for one more sign.

Shortly after that, I found a short, online questionnaire from DaySpring that helps users find their "one word" for the new year. I took the quiz, and the word they gave me was . . . GRATITUDE.

The comments given to me after taking the quiz said:
2019 is your year to be thankful and practice gratitude in all things. It can be easy to take for granted the tremendous blessings you’ve been given, but this year is about mindfully thanking God for what you’ve been given, and sharing that gratitude with others!
Did you read that?

Bingo! It all made sense! GRATITUDE is needed in order to count your blessings. GRATITUDE is needed in order to praise the Lord for what He has done. GRATITUDE is the word I had been looking for. It's the one word God made clear that I am meant to focus on in 2019.

I really have no idea where this is going to lead, but at least I have goal - a direction to go in. So, my Sunday posts are going to be about GRATITUDE. That includes sharing about the ways the Lord has blessed me and my family, giving Him praises in all circumstances, and focusing on all the precious moments that really matter in this life.

I hope you will follow along; and please feel free to join me in this new year prayer:
Dear Lord, in 2019, use my words and actions to spur others on towards gratitude. Help me to be an encouragement as I praise you for all the blessings you have given. Amen.