Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Extraterrestrial Faith

On our drive to Willie's 3rd birthday party this past weekend, something mysterious happened.  We had just pulled off the highway into a small Wisconsin town.  It was dusk, and the moon was full.  I happened to glance up into the sky ahead and saw two bright white lights.  They looked like stars, but were low enough to be airplanes.  They weren't moving.  Brad must have noticed them too because he was pointing at the windshield with two fingers, as if giving the peace sign.  I followed his gaze back into the sky just as one of the lights disappeared.  Seconds later, the other one vanished too.  Just like that they were gone, leaving a black, empty sky.  Hmm, I thought, that was odd.  I looked over at Brad.  His eyes were as big as the moon!  "We just saw UFO's!" he exclaimed.  "No must be a cloud passing in front of those lights," I replied.  "There are no clouds!" Brad replied.  "What was that?!  What were those?!"

I started laughing.  To be honest, I was excited too!  It was weird.  It was suspicious, odd, extraordinary if you will.  We've definitely heard plenty of ghost & UFO stories while living in Wisconsin, it comes with the territory I guess.  But now, it seems we may have our own mysterious siting to share!  We started with a little bit of faith, we got a little glimpse of light, and now we were giddy believers..sharing our story with everyone!

A few days later, after all the birthday shenanigans, I started thinking again about the lights in the sky.  I wondered if anyone had believed our story.  I stared up into the night sky, wanting to see something special again.  However, all I saw were the stars.  Hundreds and millions of stars.  Of course...the stars!  Right there above me, above all of their beauty, mystery, and vastness was God.  Those stars ARE the something special.  They are little reminders of something bigger, something mysterious, something special and amazing!  As excited as I was to share our UFO story, I should be even more excited to share my Christian story.  I should be shouting, "It's real!  It's the truth!  I saw for myself and I know without a doubt!  He lives!  God is REAL!"

But, I don't always do that.  At least, I didn't.  I didn't always shout from the rooftops about His love in my heart.  I got scared.  I got intimidated.  I was afraid of what others might think.  They might laugh at me.  I might lose friends.  I was unsure of myself.  Plus, it wasn't my job anyway.  Sure, I was a Christian, but wasn't it up to the pastors & priests & those crazy church people to do the screaming?  I thought I could go on with my life as a subtle Christian.  

Not anymore.

I have seen the light.  I know it to be true and real and I want to share it with you!  The light of God's love shines on us every single day.  Every single second.  It shines so bright, and so good.  It's everlasting...for eternity!  Just as the sun rises, regardless of our thoughts, feelings, and does God's love beam down from the heavens upon each one of us.  Individually.  Personally.  For you my friend, unto you my neighbor, into your heart my brother.

No longer can I hide in the shadows.  I've stepped into the sunshine and it feels so wonderful....especially now, especially on my bald head.  So, I will share my faith with you, regardless of what you may think or feel or say.  I'm not scared.  God wants me to, and He's got my back.  I know this by the twinkling in the sky.

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."  Matthew 5:16

Extraterrestrial: coming from or existing outside the planet earth
Faith: strong belief or trust in someone or something

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This guy's been on my mind.

Wednesday the 14th was the big day.  I mean, really, probably THE biggest day of my life so far.  I woke up and I felt good.  I wasn't nervous.  I was actually a little nervous that I WASN'T feeling nervous...if that makes any sense!  I read my daily devotional, which said:

"I am yours for all eternity.  I am the Alpha and the Omega: the One who is and was and is to come.  The world you inhabit is a place of constant changes - more than your mind can absorb without going into shock.  Even the body you inhabit is changing relentlessly in spite of modern science's attempts to prolong youth and life indefinitely.  I, however, am the same yesterday and today and forever.

Because I never change, your relationship with Me provides a rock-solid foundation for your life.  I will never leave your side.  When you move on from this life to the next, My Presence beside you will shine brighter with each step.  You have nothing to fear because I am with you for all time and throughout eternity."

Revelation 1:8; Hebrews 13:8; Psalm 102:25-27; Psalm 48:14

This spoke directly to me.  It's amazing when that happens, and it always seems to happen when I really need it to.  Wednesday was definitely one of those days, as Brad and I were about to meet with my oncologist to get the results of my PET scan.

I had the scan on Monday to check on how well the chemotherapy was working.  When we originally had our meeting with the oncologist to discuss the chemo plans, I remember him saying we would do a scan after 3 rounds.  He said the scan would show 1 of 3 things...

1 - the cancer would be completely gone (not very likely, he said)
2 - the cancer would be shrinking, the chemo working and I would do 3 more rounds (this is what they expected)
3 - the cancer wouldn't be responding, at which point we would discuss what's next

I had been asked by many of my prayer warriors what they could specifically pray for.  I told them option number 1!

But, as the hour drew nearer, I braced myself for anything.  On the car ride in to Madison, I kept thinking about the last part of the devotional...God is with me.  "You have nothing to fear because I am with you for all time and throughout eternity."  I was praying, I really need you Jesus, right here, right now.  The closer we got to the hospital, the more anxious Brad and I were getting, and the more we needed to feel God's presence with us.  He's the only one who can get us through these situations that are FAR bigger than we are.

It's then that I pictured Him.  HIM!  My own personal Jesus.  He was right there in the car with us, sitting between us on the middle counsel.  Not a smaller version, just a hunched over version, with one foot on each of our seats.  He was wearing Birkenstock leather sandals, a soft tshirt, worn out jeans.  His hair was medium brown and long, in a pony tail, but not perfectly combed.  I told Brad that He was sitting there in between us.  We laughed because we decided maybe He was wearing Sperry's instead of Birkenstocks (isn't that what's popular now?!)  So, for the rest of the ride, I kept visualizing my Jesus, sitting there with us, looking so calm and peaceful.  It was all going to be ok, no matter what.

We arrived at the hospital and checked in.  Again, the anxiety kept creeping up.  Once we were sitting in the exam room, it got worse.  Our minds were everywhere, from option 1 to option 3 to everything in between.  Every time I saw footprints walk past our door, my heart stopped.  We were holding hands, Brad's were sweating.  My mouth was dry.  Once again, I needed Jesus.  I asked Brad, "Ok, so if Jesus is in here with us now, where is he?  Over there, in the exam chair?"  Brad said, "No, He's over there, by the door."  I said, "You're right!"  That's exactly where I had felt Him standing too.  Off to the side, but between us and the hallway door.  His hands were on His hips, like He was ready to intercept whatever entered.  He was still peaceful, so calm, almost grinning.  He gave me strength.  He gave us hope.

After 45 minutes, my oncologist entered.  He had a smile on his face.  I think he's genuinely a nice guy, and I completely trust him.  However, this smile wasn't totally comforting, as he has entered the room with warm hello's before, and told us very bad news.  He immediately started asking us if we've heard of the Globe-athon walk.  He told us that gynecological cancers are the number 1 killer of women around the world!  Not in the USA, but in the world it's #1.  (For more info on the walk, see link at bottom)

Anyway, Brad and I were holding our breaths while the doctor talked about the walk.  In my head I was screaming, "just tell us what my scan said!  I just need to know!".  He finally looked at us, and said, "Well, I have some great news for you.  Your scan showed no sign of cancer.  There is a spot that is a little hazy, but we think it is scaring from your surgery."  I couldn't believe it!  I mean, I could, because this is what we've been praying for, but I still couldn't!  I do believe in miracles, and I think this is one of a few that have happened to me lately!  I looked at Brad and we squeezed hands and smiled and laughed!  The dr said I'm basically in remission.  He told us that they want to do 3 more rounds of chemo just to be safe, and then another PET scan, and then I will start with regular 3 month check-ups again.  He said at some point, the cancer will come back, as it's considered incurable now.  I asked him what happens then.  He said more chemo, until the cancer becomes resistant, and then we would have bigger things to worry about.  But, let's not talk about that now!

I'm in remission!  I'm cancer free!  Right now!  Today!

I'm truly living for every day, as best as I can.  Nobody knows what their tomorrow will bring.  That's something I've always heard, but never really understood until now.  Live in the present.  Be with who you love.  BE who you love.  Help those less fortunate.  Share what you need to share.

We left the hospital.  I called my mom laughing, I called my dad almost crying.  Brad was texting.  My phone was buzzing.  We stood in the parking ramp letting everyone know the good news, I thought our phones might blow up.  So, again, thank you, thank you for your prayers!  Thank you for your support and your love!  It's working!  :)  Please, continue to pray for my health.  Pray that my remission lasts a long, long time.  Maybe I will prove those doctors wrong, and I will be cured, maybe the cancer will never come back.

And, thank you Jesus, for being with us so presently on Wednesday the 14th.  We couldn't have gotten through that day, or any other, without you.  You're always on my mind.


From the United States to Ghana, from Austria to Antarctica, from Peru to South Korea, people from all over the world are joining in the first ever international relay for GYN Cancers. On the weekend of September 29, 2013, participants in over 80 countries will make history by walking in solidarity with each other and with millions of women and families affected by gynecologic cancers. These cancers rob women of choices, of their identity as women, and rip families and relationships apart.
Global cancer statistics indicate that gynecologic cancers accounted for 19% of the 5.1 million estimated new cancer cases, 2.9 million cancer deaths and 13 million 5-year prevalent cancer cases among women in the world.  Each year, over 230,000 women are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer worldwide. The majority of these women will die from the disease: Ovarian Cancer is responsible for an estimated 140,000 deaths per year, worldwide. Cervical Cancer is alarmingly on the rise in South and East Asia, Latin America and Africa with the incidence and death rate higher than it has been in 30 years.  These silent and deadly diseases are a major global priority.
Globe-athon is an unprecedented, international call-to-action that will shine a light on below the belt cancers. Join us.  Kickstart a movement long overdue. It takes just one step to make a world of difference!
We are planning on walking, for more information visit:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

This Thank You Isn't Big Enough

This is the best (and cutest) thank you I can give!

Although his arms are stretched pretty far, they are just a small part of the big BIG thank you I need to give.  Since we found in April that my cancer returned, my family has been beyond blessed with support.  From meals to donations, gifts & visits, calls, cards, emails, flowers, texts, prayers, prayers & more prayers...our home has been overflowing with love.  It's simply overwhelming.  People from my past, whom I thought had forgotten all about me, have reached out.  New friends have stepped forward in unbelievable ways.  Old friends have been amazingly persistent, when I've been horrible about returning calls & emails.  I've gotten support from people I don't know, whom I've never met!  My family has been here.  Every single one of them.  That means everything.  I've laughed, cried, and prayed with them.  They are my whole world.  Even though some days are hard, you all make them easier and for that I am so grateful.  Thank you, thank you!

I know God has a plan for me, and that's what I'm holding on to.  He has an amazing, perfect story for my life.  I can't understand it, but I have to trust in His plan, His timing, His love.  It's bigger than anything else.  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  - Jeremiah 29: 11-13

Update on my health: I've completed 3 rounds of chemo.  On this coming Monday the 12th, I have a PET scan.  I find out those results on Wednesday.  This will tell us how well the chemo is working and what the next step is.  Please continue to pray for my healing and strength.

I also want to ask for prayers for 2 other people fighting cancer...

Hillary, 17 yrs old, fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma.  She starts chemo on Monday, please pray for strength for her.  Pray that she feels God's presence, and is comforted by the blanket of prayers wrapped around her as she begins her battle.

Collin, 5 yrs old, diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.  He just went home after having a bone marrow transplant.  Please pray that his battle has been won and his cancer never returns.

Pray that their families, along with my own, hold strong in their faith and never forget the power of God's love.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dear Senator or Representative...

Do me a HUGE favor and contact your local Senators & Congress members urging them to make the Adoption Tax Credit permanent!

The awesome people at Save The Adoption Tax Credit have written the sample letter below (go ahead and just copy and paste it).  I filled in my personal story in red.  This is very important to families, like mine, who are hoping to adopt or who have already adopted.  The tax credit, as it currently sits, doesn't do us much good.  Please, please, help out!

(Find your Senators at  Find your Representatives at

Dear Senator ______ or Representative _________,

Thank you for making the Adoption Tax Credit permanent!  When Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, it made the adoption tax credit permanent; as a result it helped children find forever families. The credit makes adoption a more viable option for parents who might not otherwise be able to afford adoption, allowing them to provide children with loving families. With more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster care available for adoption, and countless millions of orphaned and abandoned children around the world, the continuation of the Adoption Tax Credit is vital to providing love, safety, and permanency to children.

We are so grateful for your support of the Adoption Tax Credit, but more must be done. The Adoption Tax Credit was made permanent, but it lost a key provision when it was renewed – it is no longer refundable. This is devastating to many low and middle-income adoptive parents. One-third of all adopted children live in families with annual household incomes at or below 200% of the poverty level, meaning many do not have a tax liability and cannot utilize a non-refundable tax credit. Nationally nearly half  (46%) of families adopting from foster care are at or below 200% of poverty the level. A refundable Adoption Tax Credit makes an enormous difference in terms of which families are able to claim the credit. Many parents who provide loving homes to waiting children cannot use the non-refundable adoption tax credit at all – and these are among those who need it most.

We urge you to reinstate the refundable provision, which was in place in 2010 and 2011, so that all adopted children have the ability to benefit. It will encourage adoptions, particularly from foster care, and that will help ensure children have the permanent, loving family they need.

We have been waiting for a match with a birthmother for our domestic adoption for 1 year.  We are a low-middle income family.  My husband is a graphic designer and I stay at home with my 2 year old son.  I am unable to bear more children.  In 2011 I had cervical cancer and had to have a hysterectomy, 4 months after birthing my son.  We are very excited to adopt and cannot wait until a birthmother chooses us to parent her child!  However, with domestic adoptions averaging $30,000, this is a huge blow to our bank account.  After our adoption, we will have little to no savings account.  We realize that a child is more precious to us than money, and we will slowly rebuild our bank account.  With the adoption tax credit being non-refundable ,as it now is, we will be able to claim $500 for 5 years for a total refund of around $2,500.  It will definitely help, but it's a small dent in the bill!  If the adoption tax credit were once again refundable, we would receive a refund of around $13,000.  What a huge help that would be!  We would once again have financial security and could start college funds for our children.  We could even use the money towards another adoption, building the large family I've always dreamed of!

Please work with your colleagues this year to reinstate the refundable provision of the adoption tax credit – to ensure that children waiting to be adopted have the ability to thrive in a family of their own.


Torri Hennig

Monday, April 1, 2013

Scrumptious Chocolate Easter Cake

I've been seriously craving chocolate cake for almost 2 months.  I needed a reason to make one, so I've been patiently waiting for Easter.  And here it scrumptious chocolate Easter cake!  It was by far the best one I've ever made!

(original recipe found at delectabledeliciousness)

Scrumptious Chocolate Cake

1/3/4 C Flour
2 C Sugar
3/4 Cocoa Powder
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt
1 C Buttermilk
1/2 C Vegetable Oil
3 Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 C Freshly Brewed Coffee

1 - Preheat oven 350
- Butter & flour two 8 or 9 inch round pans

2 - Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, & salt.  Set aside

3 - Mix buttermilk, oil, eggs, & vanilla
- Slowly add dry ingredients
- Slowly add coffee just until combined

4 - Bake 35-40 mins

Chocolate Frosting

1 C Butter (softened)
3 C Powder Sugar
1/2 C Cocoa Powder
1 TB Vanilla
3 TB Milk

- Cream butter until smooth
- Add remaining ingredients (add more powdered sugar for thicker & more milk for thinner)

So, are you wondering what this chocolate cake has to do with Easter?  Haha, me too!  Hmm...well, besides my cravings for a chocolate cake, and Easter being the nearest approaching holiday...We did make a big meal & had family over, so it seemed like the perfect dessert.  From now on, I think it will be my traditional Easter cake.  Besides, every celebration needs a cake, right?!