Chapter Eleven

Uncharacteristically, rain is falling in the desert. Rain sounds lulls me into a comfort from somewhere in the past. The desert rain fragrance is very different from the fresh, clean smell of rain from the heartland of America. It is the musty scent of the creosote bush touched by moisture, life giving water.

From Isaiah 35 (NIV)

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shouts for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
    the thirsty ground bubbling springs.

This year’s monsoon has been very productive. More rain than I recall for a number of years. Yet it will not make up for the deficit in rainfall that causes water shortages here in Arizona.

We will see our desert plants bloom and blossom in varied hues and intensities. The ocotillo (oh-koh-TEE-yoh) often appears to be dead sticks with dangerous two inch thorns. Those sticks have been used individually to construct rattlesnake proof fencing for cattle and other livestock. When the monsoon arrives it transforms into the most beautiful, blossoming plant.

Without Blossoms
With Blossoms

Reflecting upon this, I can see clearly how the storms of our life can also be transformed into something beautiful. Often, we need only to sit quietly and listen, then the revelation becomes clear.

Sitting quietly is difficult with all the other peripheral sounds that permeate our lives. We hear the hum of electrical appliances, the chirping of birds outside our window, dogs barking down an alley way, sirens... Anything and everything that will turn us away from listening for the voice of God…

On Monday, I attended a “Look Good - Feel Better” class provided by the American Cancer Society. It is a no cost course designed for woman with cancer to help us deal with the changes we are facing during our cancer treatment. Our skin changes, we may or may not lose our hair. Our skin becomes washed out and perhaps more dry, we may get dark circles and puffiness under our eyes. 

I met a number of ladies with various cancers in various stages. I met women with breast cancer, lung cancer and one soul with stage four pancreatic cancer. 

We all arrived with our "butt naked" faces and learned to apply makeup. We were given wonderful bags full of makeup, concealers, moisturizer, SPF, cleansers, etc. to keep.

We learned to clean our faces, not to dry them but then moisturize our faces and to apply at least a 50 SPF and to apply it frequently throughout the day.

The medium tone they selected for me was too dark, so I will mix it with my own to "customize" it. The eye shadow was a "sparkly" type and I won't wear that - I like flat, earth tone colors... yeah, I know!

The one instructor took blue eyeliner and used it on the top and bottom of my eye, then blended it in. I then had to do the other eye. This is NOT a technique I will use again. Perhaps if I were my granddaughter's age, but not at mine.

We were given lip liners, and rather than outline our lips, we filled them in with the liner, blotted, used the lipstick via our finger, blotted again then applied a gloss. This keeps your lipstick from "bleeding". I will probably use this technique.

We were NOT shown how to "tie one on" meaning a scarf, but I located a number of tutorials on YouTube!

The biggest thing I learned was the grace of these women around me. A number of them bald, or in various stages of hair loss. Yet here we were, tired… tired of being tired and wanting to be as attractive as we can be. I think the makeup makes a statement saying, "I choose life." Thank you, American Cancer Society for making that possible.

If you have friends with cancer diagnosis, this program is available throughout the country. It is free.

Yes… cancer is one of those storms in life and I saw beauty in the face of adversity.



  1. I have always been fascinated with the transformation of desert plants after a rain. Beautiful!
    May the Grace of our Lord continue to shine on you and through you.

    1. I often think the ocotilla could have been called a resurection plant.

  2. August 5, 2015
    Sending you another hug this day....letting you know that I am praying for you and thinking of you.


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