Bab's Blog

It's just me, in words.

The value of time. . . August 21, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — babscampbell @ 10:03 am

How long is 6 months?
• 180 Days
• 4,320 Hours
• 259,200 Minutes
If measured by a clock

What is the value of 6 months? You’ll get varying answers depending on whom you ask:
• A Soldier waiting to come home
• A bride-to-be waiting to wear that white dress
• An expectant mother waiting to hold that precious gift in her arms
To each of these. . .6 months seems a lifetime. It is so far into the future, they feel that it will never arrive. But, ask the same question of:
• A long-term employee, losing their job
• A Soldier waiting for deployment
• A parent planning their child’s college move
• A patient receiving the bad news of an expiration date
To them, six months is but a moment in time. It goes by so quickly, you hardly have time to savor it.

As I battled cancer I dreamt of all the things we’d do when I was feeling better. Like many others facing chronic illness and debilitating treatment, I formed a “bucket” list. However, DH and I began to realize that nobody really knows their future. So, we decided we’d start knocking off the bucket list items now. If there was something we wanted to see or experience, we should just make it happen.

Well, now we’re faced with another deadline. Mom’s condition has continued to decline and we’ve finally received the bad news that she probably only has 4-6 months before she goes Home. She’s starting to make a list of things she’d like to do and we’re trying to make sure she spends as much time with family as we can. We want our kids to have great memories with Gma J. Six months is going to fly past us so quickly and then she’ll receive her ultimate healing.

It’s yet another chance to remind those of you, in our lives. . . don’t wait until you receive bad news to make memories. Tell your loved ones how much you love them. Hug your Mom extra tight. Read to a child. Go fly a kite. Sit on the floor with a youngster and color a picture. Eat a popsicle. Ride a bike. Laugh with great abandon. Blow bubbles in your milk glass. Find the swings at the park and pump your legs until you fly. Splash in a puddle. Get some mud between your toes. Lie down on the cool grass at night and look up at the stars.



My Annual Word Search January 16, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — babscampbell @ 4:39 pm

Each new year, hubby and I choose a word to be our focus for the coming months.  Sometimes I pick a word and 6 weeks in, change it.  But generally, we have stuck to it for the year.  This happened in 2013.  I had chosen a word and then one day, while listening to a podcast of my BIL Stephen, preaching on “Deliberately Touching Jesus”, I changed my word.  Or rather. . .my new word changed me.

This process is a bit like the story of Harry Potter trying to pick out a wand.  He’s told that the wizard doesn’t choose a wand. . .the wand chooses the wizard.  And, so it was for me and my 2013 word. 

He spoke of the woman with an issue of blood and how she fought through the crowd, determined to just touch the hem of Jesus’ cloak.  She KNEW that if she could just touch Him, she would be healed and likewise her faith was answered.  It struck me that oftentimes, we go through our days just accidently bumping around and jumping out of the way of one crisis only to land in another.  I wanted to be more deliberate in my faith, my relationships my day-to-day functioning by choosing each action rather than just responding out of habit.

Of course. . .this theory of mine was tested.

This year, I’ve been struggling with a word.  I keep coming back to one however, “Grace.”

The simplest explanation of this word is this:
Grace is unconditional love and care; no judgment, no but-what-ifs, nothing.  Just love.

I feel I’m able to reach out in grace to most people, outside the church.  Unfortunately, the trickier part for me is to extend that grace to my own church folk.  You know, because they should “know better.”  But, as far as I know, they’re my neighbor too. . .so, when Jesus gave us the two greatest commands, He included the churched as well as those who have not yet found their lives in Him.

Matthew 22:37-40
. . .”You shall love your God with all your heart, and with all you soul, and with all your mind.”
. . .”You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

There’s nothing in there about instituting rules, holding court, judgments or punishments; JUST LOVE.  That’s all I have to do. . .love my God and love my neighbor. . .even those in the neighboring pew.

Please, hold me accountable this year.  If you hear me complaining about someone, remind to love them first.  It’s really hard to gripe about someone when you really, really love them.  Let me know if there are moments when you see less-than His light and love in me. I promise not to judge you for it. 



A Confession. . .of sorts. . . November 13, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — babscampbell @ 1:54 pm

Forgive me D.O.C. and Amazon Warriors for I have gone MIA.  It’s been 9 months since my last blog post.

I was mentioned in a tweet today, which led me to a blog post written by my friend Ninjabetic, and I am overwhelmed with his kind words. I’m so grateful for the support I receive from the DOC and I’m sorry I haven’t been involved recently, enough to return the love. Oh sure,  I’ve shared some items on Pinterest with a few of you.  I’ve commented a time or two on Facebook, but I really haven’t been all that active online.

 I’ve been off the grid for a while, for several reasons, a few of which I will disclose today.

  • I kept thinking over this past year that I wanted to “re-invent” myself, start a new blog, find a new voice. 
  • It felt that my disease processes were taking over my life and all I ever talked about was a new symptom, a pain, an uncontrollable urge to throw my CGM through a window. . . .you know. . . .  Is it not bad enough to have all this going on in my body, and then that’s all I talk about, everywhere, with everyone, in the whole wide world?  So, I chose to disappear from the blogosphere and Twitter for a while to relieve some of that pressure.
  • I have battled a bit of depression, but feel that cloud lifting, slowly but surely
  • I have fought with my writing persona about the need to be positive vs. telling it like it is

I have, in recent days, stated more than once, that I wanted to start writing again and renew those online friendships I so value.  But, nothing has really given me the kick I needed until today (Thank you George!)  So, here goes. . .

Here I am. . .it’s just me. . .in words.


The One That’s NOT About Chemo-Brain February 1, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — babscampbell @ 1:46 pm

So, Chemo-Brain is a real and ridiculously frustrating side-effect of chemo-therapy.  For many years, it was thought to be related to the patient’s age and them experiencing more “senior moments.”  However, in more recent years, there has been more scientific and clinical evidence to support “chemo-brain” as a common side effect.

This time though. . .it wasn’t about chemo-brain.

I was getting ready to send out some checks this afternoon at work.  I process accounts payable for my company and, as you can imagine, today being Friday AND the 1st of the month, I was fairly busy.  I was sealing the envelopes with a glue stick, which was now dry and gooey.  So, I went into the conference room storage closet to get another.

And. . that’s where I stood and stood;  in front of the storage closet, staring blankly into the many shelves of supplies.   Let’s see, there’s paper, pens, pencils, envelopes, post-it notes, batteries, file folders. . .why did I come in here again?  It’s easy to blame this on chemo-brain, but this sort of thing happened to me long before I ever enjoyed the pleasure of toxins being pumped into my blood stream.

Come to find out. . .it’s really “A Thing.”

It appears that the culprit is, indeed, the DOOR.

You think about something in one room and as you pass through the doorway, your brains “resets,” takes in the information from this new space and starts encoding it as memories.   All this makes you forget why you went in there in the first place!

I finally remembered the glue, stamped all the envelopes and dropped them in the mail slot.  Now, where did I put my keys?


The 3rd Anniversary of the Haitian Earthquake January 13, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — babscampbell @ 12:00 am

The 3rd Anniversary of the Haitian Earthquake

It’s hard to believe it’s been 3 years. There is still so much to do, so much pain, so much want. Could we, this Sunday, pause from our family dinners, our shopping sprees, our warm church pews and pray for a blessing on Haiti?


Meals of Hope and Hope. . in general January 1, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — babscampbell @ 7:12 pm

A look at Meals of Hope by Wandikweza

As many of you may know, I recently traveled with the One5 Foundation team to Malawi and honestly, the trip was so overwhelming, I am just now being able to put it into words.  I hope you’ll take a moment to follow the link above to read about the Nutritional Clinic and the Meals of Hope program as portrayed by Mercy Chikhosi Nyirongo.  She has beautifully shared the story on her blog and having read her explanation of the program, I will continue by adding a narrative of my experience here.

First, and foremost, I’d like to thank Mercy and her team for taking such excellent care to teach me as a volunteer, but also to call my attention to unusual cases so I could learn and share the story.  And, thank you to Mike for taking so many excellent pictures!  You are an artist, my friend.

And so we begin. . .

We arrived at the compound of the MUMC in Nancholi, early in the morning.  I was told this would be a very busy day for the nutritional clinic, as we were expecting to see 40+ clients in just 4 hours.  I was a little nervous, not knowing what to expect or how I would be able to help.  Mercy escorted me to the clinic, past the trailer currently holding many clinic supplies, down the dusty road – now muddy from the previous night’s rainfall, past a pile of bricks with a detour to spot a millipede and into a small white building with a sunken porch where many clients were already waiting to be seen.

I was given a brief introduction to the people who would be teaching me to serve here and we were off and running.


New clients are given a nutrition lesson during their first visit.  They are  taught to use locally available, nutrient-dense foods to supplement their diet.  Maize is a staple food of Malawi.  It is eaten as a porridge and as a side dish with vegetables and, if available, meat.  Many of the items on this table can be added to this staple meal to boost the healthfulness of the meal.

Pictured here:  raw soya beans, processed soya, soya flour, groundnuts and groundnut flour, casava flour, fermented millet and its ground version, dried pumpkin leaves, moringa leaves and ground powder and ground, peanut butter like product which is intended for small children.


Once the nutrition lesson was complete, we started evaluating clients.  Some were young children who had been referred to the clinic due to malnutrition.  Other clients were adults who may be suffering from a chronic, debilitating diseases such as HIV/AIDs or TB.  I was also introduced to some women, who had walked for several days, to collect the nutritional supplement packets for their dying family members.

They walked for several days. . . yeah, I did say that.

For the clients being evaluated, we measured their middle-upper-arm circumference, height and weight; determined their BMI and height/weight to age; examined them for anemia and edema.  All of these statistics are recorded and followed to determine whether their health is improving on the program.  As improvement is seen, they continue on the program and eventually, are released.  Otherwise, after several visits showing no improvement, they are referred to the hospital for further testing.

Here are some of the precious children, with whom I was so honored to work.










So, this little one on the baby scale. . .

SO adorable, but would NOT sit still for a moment.  This precious sweetie kept bouncing on the scale and we ended up having to weigh Momma with and without the baby to determine the baby’s weight.

It was a very busy 4 hours and time seemed to fly by.  We saw some very sick children and a few adults who have been so ill. . .it just takes your breath away. But, we also saw children who at one time were unresponsive, underweight, wasting.  And now, they are laughing, playing, hugging, smiling and thriving.  We saw 52 clients that day, in just 4 hours.  I am so thrilled to report we were able to release 17 from the program, because they had met their nutritional and growth goals!

One5 Foundation supports this nutritional clinic, along with Church of the Resurrection (COR) in Leawood KS.  It is so exciting to be part of the solution here in Malawi.  It has been so exciting to learn how COR has been involved here and to see the results of their gifts and their work over these past years.  I know several people who attend COR and am so happy for their continued support here in Malawi.

It’s an act of faith to write a check or drop a $20 bill in the offering plate at church, never really seeing it be spent. . .and still, quite another to hold these children in your arms and see the results of those gifts.  Thank you.  Every day. . I thank you.

While I was working in the clinic, Jon, Glenn and Mercy were interviewing construction and engineering firms. One5 Foundation will be building a hospital next to this nutritional clinic and they are forming their team to accomplish this.  They also were able to finalize the plans and make arrangements to submit the final plans to the city for approval.

But, then. . .that’s quite another story. . . .stay tuned.


Seeing tomorrow, today. December 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — babscampbell @ 9:54 pm

December 6th – Leave for Malawi

That’s what the calendar says.  So, as you can imagine, December 5th was a very busy evening indeed.  Packing for a trip to another continent, another hemisphere, not knowing what is available and how expensive it might be, having medical supplies to consider, all made for an interesting night of guessing, calculating and predicting our future.  You can only take so many bags, filled with so many things and what if . . .

We had Christmas gifts to deliver, treats for the kids at the orphanage, donated toys for the kids at the Lakeshore Nazarene Church, 9 days worth of clothing changes, even more because we aren’t sure of the weather, the heat, the rainy season. Of course we had to include some of our creature comforts; Starbucks Pumpkin Spice VIA packets, packages of cheese and cracker snacks, nuts and granola bars.  What gets carried on in a back pack and what do you pack in a bag which might not arrive?

DH and I had each started laying out clothes earlier in the week.  I had asked him to also setup a table in our entryway as a staging area for all the suitcases.  We gathered “space” bags, consolidated what we could and repacked and un-boxed other items to allow us to take advantage of every inch of empty space in the bags. It was like a giant game of Tetris. . blocks dropping and fit together.


Finally, the last suitcase was squeezed and zipped shut.  The carry-on backpacks were zipped up and locked.  We were ready to go. . .

What had happened over that week of preparation was much like predicting the future.  Put this in the carry-on because a bag might get lost.  When we go through security, they’ll ask about this, so put it in an easy place to pull out for inspection. I’ll probably get hungry at this time, so let’s make sure there are snacks in this pocket.  We had lived an entire week in that night as we worked though the logic of each piece of clothing, each pair of shoes, each item added to the bag.

Don’t we follow this same process everyday?  We try to pack more and more into each day; work, fun, friends, food, exercise. . .we pack and repack, turning and twisting until everything fits into our week, like a giant Tetris puzzle. Once I’ve got it all calculated and zipped up tight, I feel the same feelings of accomplishment and exhaustion.  The trick is, to be able to enjoy the journey and not be so worn out from the prepping that you sleep through the whole trip! 

I had such a feeling of accomplishment the next morning as we awoke early, ready to go, bags sitting by the front door. We were able to run to our local Starbucks and enjoy our favorite breakfasts before starting our journey.  We headed to the airport, found our seats and before we knew it. . .we were on our way to JFK – London – Nairobi – Lilongwe.


Hang on tight. . .we’re heading to Africa!


Blessed Be the Tie That Binds. . . November 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — babscampbell @ 12:12 am

Thanksgiving. . . .

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.  We certainly did.  We had Nana and Pop in from CA.; Uncle E, Aunt L, B and D from Chicago; G from Lee’s Summit; M from Malawi via Grandview; Aunt L from Gardiner; Mom, E and J from Olathe; H from KU; s, J and M from KC; and my dear hubby and me.

We had so much food, we had to put it on another table in the adjoining room.  As we passed the side dishes. . .one after the other, then another. . .and yet, another. . it was fun to hear all the comments about how “good” it looks, how tasty this will be, etc.  My DH slaved away in the kitchen for hours and hours preparing for this meal.  E, Mom and Nana all worked pretty hard, as well, in preparing these tasty treats.  I am thankful for all they did to prepare the meal.

All that preparation, over the week prior to the holiday, was all gobbled up in a mere 20 minutes.

That evening, the newlyweds arrived; J & M.  It was also M’s birthday that day and Nana made sure she had a birthday cake and we all sang to her.  We cut the red velvet Happy Birthday cake and they were soon off to the next family gathering.

We played games, told stories, took photos, laughed, teased, ate some more, watched some football, compared gadgets and technology. . .you probably did the same.

There was a very special moment, on Friday. . .with everyone facing the aging process and disease striking several, we wanted to make sure to pray together as a family.  You just never know when this visit, will have been the last.  We stood in a circle, Pop asked my DH to pray.  It was a very emotional moment as he thought of what to say.  DH choked back tears and then it happened. . . .

I felt other hands joining the circle. . .you know, when you’re praying like that, and someone realizes they’re late and they run up and grab two hands, separate them and slip their own hand into yours.  Usually when that happens you take a quick peek to see who it is and giving them a “knowing nod.”  “Hey there, glad you could join us.”

Uncle H, my Dad, Aunt P, Pap and his bride. . . .I felt many of them, of whom we had just been sharing memories, stories, pictures, laughter, love, step back into that circle, grab a hand, and give a little squeeze as “amen” was spoken.

At the conclusion of the prayer, Aunt L started to sing and we all joined in, “Blessed be the tie that binds, our hearts in one accord. . . .”  It was a sweet, poignant moment. . and as we sang together, those of our heavenly audience, slipped away quietly.  For a moment, heaven and earth were joined in the grasping of a hand.

And I am thankful. . .


On Breathing. . . . November 19, 2012

Filed under: Faith — babscampbell @ 11:52 am

Isn’t it strange to look back at the timing of events, thoughts, conversations and see how things fit together?  Little did I know, when I posted to my blog last week, circumstances would arise to give me opportunity to practice what I preached.

Just breathe. . .

I once attended some group counseling sessions and was taught about our inner “Dragon.”  After much soul-searching and introspection, I learned my Dragon’s name:


The theory of our dragon’s life is that, most of the time we’re all fine, rational, emotionally- tamed adults.  But, there are certain situations in life that will nudge our dragon from her sleep.  She’ll wake up slowly and just move around the cage a little. . .bumping in the night and stepping on things.  Then suddenly, something will be said or perceived and our dragon will bust right through that cage door, nostrils blazing and smelling of brimstone!

What in the world is she talking about??!!  What does this have to do with that other post about breathing the name of God??!!

Well, last week, some things were perceived to be a threat to my dragon and all weekend long, she was bellowing in my head.  She would wake me up at night with all sorts of “what ifs” and “what now?”. . .and last night as we went to bed, I cried and shared my concerns with my sweet husband and found that I was NOT breathing the name of God as I so want to do.   I was breathing the name of MY DRAGON!

How many times did I say, in just one conversation: “I don’t want to be a disappointment” or “I try so hard, are they disappointed in me?”  Not once did I speak the one name that can calm the beast inside me.


My Yaweh, my Deliverer,  Jehovah El-Roi, my God Who Sees Me, forgive me for speaking another’s name in my distress.  Your name is the only one that will bring peace, shelter, safety, trust and security.  I will speak YOUR name only, no matter WHAT comes my way each day.

YHWH. . .breathing in, YHWH breathing out.


Just Breathe. . . November 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — babscampbell @ 11:43 am

I’m sensing a trend, a message from above. 

This month’s Real Simple magazine had an article written by Kate Braestrup, called, How to Say Grace (pg. 74).  I finished reading it and was so moved, that I immediately read the whole piece to my DH.  It’s as if we each suddenly had a light bulb flicker above our heads.

In this article, Rev. Braestrup talks about the name of God, as written in Hebrew: YHWH. 
To be able to pronounce this in English, we’ve since added some vowels, to be read as: Yahweh.  She thoughtfully presents the sounds of YHWH as the sound of a breath.  When we speak the name of God, it need not be in King James, booming, fist raised to the sky voice.  Rather, He is in our breath.  He IS our breath and life.  Our very first act is to breathe in, our very last to breathe out.

Genesis 7:15 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils.

Job 33:4 says, the Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

John 20:22 And when he had said this, be breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.

And this all makes sense to me. . .

There have been times in my life during which there were no words available to pray. 

  • There is no word in the English language to express the level of pain you go through during a divorce. Nothing can express the level of agony experienced when you have to tell your children that Mom and Dad are splitting up and break their hearts like that.
  • I still have no word to explain the pain of losing a parent. I didn’t get to say good-bye.  I let my job dictate my schedule and I couldn’t go to him and be there during his surgery.
  • There is no phrase to properly convey the feeling you have when a man, with no expression on his face and a sterile white coat looks across the room at you and says, “You’ll just have to wrap your head around the idea that you have cancer, and it’s aggressive and we’ve got to act quickly.”
  • What do you say to God when your child is in a war zone and you know they’re not telling you everything. . .and you know they’re being shot at?

 How do you pray when there are no words?  You breathe. . . His name is on our breath.

If you’ve been following my Facebook account, you’ll also know that I’m trying to learn a new language.  In an effort to “immerse” myself, I’m trying to speak Chichewa as often as possible. . .even as I pray.  Again, not from pain, but from ignorance, there are MANY times I don’t have the right words.  And, once again, I find myself just breathing His name in each form I know, “Mulungu, Atate, Yesu, Yesu Christu. . .”  and I know He can put the rest of the words together for me as I see the faces of those I’m lifting to Him.

Then today, I got this on my Facebook account: On this day of your life, Barbara, we believe God wants you to know … that you are a human being, not a human doing. Take time to just be, to breathe slowly, to feel your body that is the temple of your soul. No activities, no worries, no buzzing.

The holiday season is upon us. . .we have family arriving on Saturday (I’m so excited!)  and food to prepare and rooms to prepare and things to get rid of and cleaning and laundry and work and Drs. appointments and holiday parties and choir practice and gym time and we’re getting ready to go to AFRICA and then its Christmas and B will come home and  C will be here and we’ll have food to prepare and rooms to prepare and cleaning and laundry and presents to buy and  trees to decorate and cookies to bake. . . .

Just breathe. . .