Monday, September 12, 2011

Guest Laura Hilton and her Journey from Cancer to Triumph

Blissful Life Journey opens its new blog format, formerly Blissful Writing Thoughts, by welcoming guest Laura Hilton. She shares a poignant true life story that will tug on your heartstrings but show you, too, what a great God we serve who has our lives in His most capable hands. Read Laura's testimony then find out about her wonderful Amish books, of which she is giving away a copy of her latest book, A Harvest of Hearts. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win. 
Laura writes: 
In July of 2008 I noticed a lump in my left breast. At first, I wasn’t too concerned. I was weaning my youngest daughter, and lumpy, bumpy, sore breasts are part of the process. But by August, the lump seemed to be larger.  I kind of stressed over it awhile, debating what to do: call the doctor or see if it goes away on its own. September came. The lump got larger. And I decided that I’ll call the doctor. I told him that it was a breast infection and I needed antibiotic. Silly man, did he listen to me?  Not at all. He scheduled me for a mammogram. My very first one.

Okay, we won’t go into a discussion about what a wonderful experience that was. . . Not. Instead, the doctor, unhappy with the inconclusive results, decided to schedule me for a needle biopsy. Now, apparently there are several different kinds of those, and the kind he did had a hook on it, and they had to put me “partially asleep” to do it. Meaning that allegedly I was awake enough to hear and respond to commands, but not awake enough to know anything that was being done. Then we played the waiting game while I recovered from the unnecessary surgery and fumed because the doctor wouldn’t give me an antibiotic. 

When the day came that the doctor read the results, he showed the same compassion that one would expect from a rural cattle farmer. He looked me in the eye and said, “You have breast cancer. I’m taking the breast.”

And I responded, “You’re kidding.” 


I proceeded to argue with him about how he was wrong and everything. He still didn’t listen. Instead he blithely went his way, scheduling surgery to remove a part of my body.

I didn’t know what to do. Blindsided by that totally unexpected diagnosis, I followed blindly in my doctor’s wake. He did a mastectomy. He’s old school, so he included my lymph nodes, the works. Then after I heal, he finally sends me to an Oncologist.

We won’t go into what the Oncologist had to say about my ancient doctor’s methods either. But despite arguments with him I was scheduled for three months of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation, and then three more months of chemotherapy.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer—or any cancer—is a serious wake up call. I started delving deeply into the Word, spending massive amounts of time in prayer and Bible study. When I wasn’t feeling one hundred percent from the necessary treatment, I had loads of time to spend doing that. I learned to put my trust completely in God. Not in Me. He had control over whether I survived breast cancer, lived to raise my five children, or to ever realize my dream of seeing a book in print.

That was three years ago this month that I got the diagnosis. I’ve been in remission from a disease I never really embraced or accepted. I’m grateful that He decided by his grace to spare me. That two of my five children are now considered adults by the US government. And that not only are two of my books in print, they’re in the CBD catalog, and they are going to bookstores oversea.

As a result of the diagnosis, I’ve been able prayerfully put my writing in His hands. He knows the plans He has for me.  And for you. It may not take a cancer diagnosis for you to put your complete trust in God, but know that whatever the circumstances you face, God knows. He is able. And He has a plan. The Bible says, in Jeremiah 29:11, “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.”

Sometimes it’s hard to see what God’s plans are when poison is pumping unto your veins to kill cancer cells. When the water company calls and tells you have an $800 water bill and a bad leak. Or when other things go terribly wrong. God has a plan.

For me. For you. And even in the midst of trials, we can trust Him. 1 Peter 5:7:  “Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” 

Laura's Amish Books

A Harvest of Hearts Book 2 of the Amish of Seymour series, September 2011

Matthew Yoder volunteered to be part of the swap of Amish men from his Old Order Pennsylvania Amish Community, to the Amish community in Seymour, Missouri.  There is nothing for him in Pennsylvania, as the youngest of twelve children, and the lack of farmland around Lancaster County, he felt he could make a better future in another district. Shanna Stoltzfus has been raised Amish, and couldn’t wait for her rumspringa so she could pursue her education. She hated having to quit school in the 8th grade to stay home and learn everything that makes a home run smoothly. But now she has earned her GED and is taking college courses, but her family is begging her to come home; her little sisters miss her. And there’s something about newcomer, Matthew Yoder that draws her attention.  But is it enough to give up her dreams of education and join the Amish church?

BUY this book or Laura's first Amish novel in the series, Patchwork Dreams.

Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college.  Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.

Her publishing credits include Hot Chocolate and Shadows of the Past from Treble Heart Books; a devotional in a compilation from Zondervan; and the first book “Patchwork Dreams” in her Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House released in April 2011, the second book, “A Harvest of Hearts” in September 2011, and Promised to Another in April 2012. Laura has her business degree from Ozarka and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Laura is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites.

To enter the giveaway, please leave your name, a comment, and your e-mail address. Ends Wednesday, September 21, 2011.  

(For US residents only. Odds at winning depends on number of entries received. Void where prohibited)


lollipops said...

thanks for having me, Lauralee!

C.C. Almon - my journey as a Christ follower, wife, mamma, and fibromyalgia fighter said...

Laura is an amazing woman I am privileged to know through an online group. Her writing is amazing. I'd love to win this 2nd book in her series. The first one was so powerful.

wfnren said...

WOW, this sounds like a great book, can't wait to get my hands on it and my eyes in it. Thank you for hosting the giveaway.


Marilynn Walton said...

I am glad Laura is beyond cancer now! All of the trials she has gone through has probably added a bit to her writing about human affairs..her gift just keeps getting better!

Debbie Clark said...

Laura, I understand your journey. I am a 5 year colorectal cancer survivor. However, last year they found a benign sigmoid tumor wrapped many times around my colon. It was quite a journey that I have walked through & I just had my last surgery a week & a half ago to repair the damage from last year.
Please add me to the drawing. Thanks for the chance to win.

Debbie Clark

Carmen7351 said...

What a testimony! So glad you followed through!

Would love to win your book about the Amish, as I haven't read one by you as of yet. Love to learn of new Amish writers.

Linda at:
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Lauralee Bliss said...

Laura and Debbie, you give hope in the midst of supreme trials. God bless you

Beth Barcellos Bell said...

I'm so happy that the L-rd has answered so many prayers for Laura, and that she is seeing her books published! I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, and am very much looking forward to reading her subsequent ones!

RubyKat said...

Touching article. Please add me to the drawing and thanks for the chance to win.

lollipops said...

Thank you so much for your kind words, CC.

I hope you'll enjoy it Wfnren.

Marilyn and Beth, that is so kind of you to say. Thank you.

Debbie, that must have been so scary. I'm praying for you during your recovery.

Linda and RubyKat, thank you. I hope you'll enjoy mine when you do read it.

beemama said...

I am also a homeschool mom of 5. Jeremiah 29:11 has been a mainstay for me.
I am so grateful that the Lord has seen you through such a journey.

cjajsmommy said...

Great interview! Laura, do you think you might one day write your cancer experience into one of the character's lives in a future book? I'd be thrilled to win a copy of "A Harvest of Hearts."

karenk said...

a wonderful posting...would love to read this novel...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

lollipops said...

There's always a possiblity, Debbie. :) But no one would ever believe my story if it were written into fiction.

lollipops said...

Thank you, Shirley. And I love that verse. One of my favorites.

Good luck, Karen

Judy said...

Laura, while reading your post about your breast cancer I was right there with you. I am a 12 year survivor and pray that you will be cancer free as each and every year passes. I already feel a bond with you. Putting our cancer journeys in God's hands has amazing results. We are alive to tell about it!! I don't know about you but God used my cancer journey as a testimony to others.

I would love to win a copy of your book, A Harvest of Hearts.

God Bless You!


lollipops said...

Judy, when I was first diagnosed, I didn't know anyone who survived breast cancer. Everyone I knew who had it had died. But then God brought people out of the woodwork who had it, survived, and showed me it COULD be done. He is so good. Congratulations on being a survivor!

Faye said...

Thanks Laura for sharing your story with us. I've heard some pretty great things about your first novel :)

crazi.swans at gmail dot com

Joy said...

What an amazing testimony. God is so good. Loved the scripture 1 Peter 5:7 you shared. Thank you for sharing your story.

Would love to win this book!
jumpforjoy at gmail dot com

Tracy Smith said...

Amazing journey. I am so glad to hear that you are still in remission. May your good fortune continue!!! Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

countrysunset40(at) aol dot com