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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Could this Tiny Little Herb be a Game-Changer in the Cancer Fight?

Sometimes when we're in the trenches fighting cancer, struggling with the emotional and physical weariness, it's very easy to feel all alone.

And to forget that their are angels working diligently in their labs around the world to find new treatments that will turn the tide on this cancer fight.  Their work continues, often in the shadows, to investigate and track down leads that give hope to each and every cancer fighter.

Some of those angels work at the Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Their team in the cancer center has focused their work on a traditional  herbal medicine called Nigella Sativa.

They have found that this ancient herb can actually kill Pancreatic Cancer cells... in controlled studies... in their lab.

Can I get a shout out?!!

Very exciting news on the pancreatic cancer front.  But... you knew there would be a But right?!

But... the research is still so very preliminary.  The work is yet to be replicated in a large human study.

Yet, this is a breakthrough worthy of sharing.  And worthy of watching.

So what, exactly, is Nigella Sativa?  You might be surprised to find it sitting in your spice rack already.

You may know it by one of its more common names: 

Black Seed
Black Cumin
Black Caraway
Small Fennel

Nigella Sativa is actually an annual flowering plant found in mostly in Asia.  

The flowers are small, usually a pale blue and white, growing up to 12 inches tall, producing a fruit with seeds that are used to flavor many cuisines.

In addition to its culinary uses, the Nigella Sativa's seeds are also know for their medicinal properties.  Through the ages, the black cumin seeds, or Black Seed Oil, have been used in various traditional herbal remedies for a wide range of ailments such as respiratory disorders, headache and back pain, diabetes, infection, hypertension and digestive tract afflictions.

Among the wide range of illnesses treated with Nigella sativa there were some early studies showing the black seeds had some anti-cancer properties in both prostate and colon cancers.  Dr. Hwyda Arafat led her team at the Kimmel Cancer Center in using the active ingredient in the black seed extract, called Thymoquinone, to treat a human pancreatic cancer cell line in the lab.

The results were nothing short of amazing.  The team found that adding thymoquinone killed approximately 80% of the cancer cells.  Their work demonstrated that the thymoquinone triggered programmed cell death in the pancreatic cancer cells.

While the Kimmel Cancer Center has still not been able to pursue a human trial, there has been a small study done at the Bezmialem Vakif University in Turkey with 20 pancreatic cancer patients...

The study used the nigella sativa seed and pure honey in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation and was conducted by a team of 8 doctors in the Department of Oncology. The results were reported in the Journal of Nutritional Health and Food Engineering.  

Again, news worth sharing!

The results from their trial revealed that chemotherapy supported by Nigella Sativa and pure honey consumption increased the survival time when used before and during treatment of pancreatic cancer patients. 

And that is a Huge win for the pancreatic cancer world!  Still not the cure we are fighting for, but it is a breakthrough for more time.  

More time to spend with family... More time to fulfill those dreams... More time to say I love you...

And more time to find the Cure!

Graced to Hope this night,

P.S. Always, always check with your oncology team before adding or changing your diet and/or supplements.  Nigella sativa may be a game-changer in the cancer fight, but it also comes with its fair share of warnings... when used in high doses, the black seed oil can become toxic.  Never try to dose yourself with herbal remedies without the care and guidance of a qualified doctor... 

My Love, Always!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A New Step...

Praying Grace over every step.

My Love, Always,

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Finding Grace Update...

Hello friends,

If you were on the fence about downloading our book, Finding Grace in the Shadow Valley, then today might I share a bit of happy news??

If you head on over to Amazon right now, the Kindle version is free!  (for a few more hours...)

If you find yourself on the difficult road of a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, or know someone who is,  perhaps our story will resonate and give Hope... because there is much too be hopeful for on this journey.

And we are determined to champion hard for a cure in our lifetime!

Come read along for FREE!

Graced to Hope,

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Yesterday's a Closing Door...

Yesterday.  New Year's Eve.  Time to bid 2019 goodbye.

And I tried.  Wanted to.

But... it was hard.  Funny thing.  2019 was such a year of loss.  You would think I'd be ready to say farewell and embrace a new year.

You'd think.

And I know that grief can color a world gray.  Yet, it was more than the grief.

Saying Goodbye to 2019 moved me farther away from Dad.  Odd how a mind works.  But moving forward into a new year seemed to feel as if I was leaving him behind.

Each new day, each new memory made, will be one without him in it.  And that's ok. Truly.  Dad would want nothing less than for us to live our best lives.

My head gets it... but my heart has remained firmly entrenched in 2019.

Until a song spoke some truth.

The song... Tell your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey.  It simply touched a place deep.

The music is beautiful, but the words were meant for me today...

Danny Gokey is no stranger to the grief valley.  To learn more of his story head on over to this interview with Danny on CBN, Find Purpose in your Darkest Moments.  It is a beautiful story of loss and love and learning to hope again... 

You're shattered, Like you've never been before,
The life you knew, in a thousand pieces on the floor.

And words fall short in times like these,
When this world drives you to your knees.

You think you're never gonna get back
To the you that used to be...

Tell your heart to beat again,
Close your eyes and breathe it in.
Let the shadows fall away,
Step into the light of grace.
Yesterday's a closing door.
You don't live there anymore.
Say goodbye to where you've been 
And tell your heart to beat again.

Those words, sung to a broken heart.  It is true.  The grief and the loss find a way to keep us living in yesterday's shadow.

Danny Gokey penned the truth.  For yesterday is a closing door.  We don't live there anymore.  It is time to say goodbye to where we've been, and tell our heart to beat again...

And if I wasn't already captivated by God's faithful assurance of His everlasting care, the next verse moved me to a place of hope and promise...

Just let that word wash over you.
It's alright now,
Love's healing hands have pulled you through.
So, get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun,
'Cause your story's far from over,
And your journey's just begun.

Tell your heart to beat again.

Without a doubt, that is the lesson I needed to hear at the start of this new decade ... Perhaps you too?

Our story's far from over.  Our journey's just begun.

Yesterday is a closing door.
We don't live there anymore.
Say Goodbye to where you've been,

And tell your heart to beat again.

God is just beginning to do a Great Work
And I can't wait to be a part of the journey.

Welcoming 2020 with a Heart full of Hope!
My Love Always,

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

This Christmas...

Wherever you find yourself this Christmas season,
may you find Grace right there in the midst of
the grief and the joy...

It's the message, beautiful and sacred, the angels proclaim...
this tiny baby born, as shepherds and wise men rejoice,
has come to face the grief of a cross.

A grief that is broken with a Resurrection
that brings the dead to life.

Graced to celebrate this Holy Season with joy midst the grief,
for He has come to proclaim the good news,
bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release the prisoner from darkness. 
                                                         ~ Isaiah 61:1

That is Hope and Blessing Abundant for this grieving daughter...

Sending My Love this Christmas,

Friday, December 6, 2019

The Valley Road of Grief

Isn't it ironic that dad's memorial would fall the week of mom's passing?  If the grief weren't so deep, we would find that aptly fitting.  Dad has missed mom with an intensity that has never lessened with time.

We have all felt the grief come in waves this past week.  Dad's memorial service was on Monday and the anniversary of Mom's passing fell on Wednesday... We have journeyed the valley one faltering step at a time.

I believe that only God can sustain a body when the sadness would crush a soul.

Dad's service was small, a private gathering of his loved ones, family and friends that cherished and loved him so.

We shared stories, we sang his favorite hymns...there were tears and there was laughter... a promise of grace for the days ahead.

And a peace that felt right as we settled their urn into the columbarium, together, just as they had planned so many years before...

Family came from near and far.  A reminder of all the good there is along the valley road.  They cheered us, loved us, cried with us, and held us as we stepped into the unfamiliar, new normal of life without dad.

Then Wednesday morning found me walking back through the doors of the columbarium, alone, bearing the yellow rose that dad always brought on the anniversary of mom's passing...

Only this time, the chair he sat in was empty...

The memorial service was finished, the family lunch served, sympathy cards read and the friends and family gone... the suddenness of being alone on this day, missing dad and feeling the weight of these 8 years since I heard mom's voice and leaned in to her hug... the tears fell unheeded and the grieving tore my heart as I sat in the chair that had always been reserved for dad. 

Now it was my turn to sit and mourn. And remember. To reflect and grieve. And simply miss their very presence like crazy.  The tears would not be stopped...

And perhaps that is exactly what I needed.  A time to stop, and breathe deep, let the tears soak through, allowing the sadness and grief to just be.  For missing mom and dad is and will be my new normal.  And so are the tears...

"There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness,
but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are the messengers of overwhelming grief,
of deep contrition
and of unspeakable love."

~ Washington Irving

Blessed with an unspeakable love this night,
Graced to grieve and hope and remember on this valley road...
For that is part of my new normal as well.

Resting on God's faithfulness,

Thursday, November 28, 2019

An Empty Chair at the Table...

Thanksgiving... in the midst of grieving... a hard grace to find gratitude when our hearts feel such a keen loss.

We have worked on Thanksgiving menus right alongside the planning of Dad's Memorial service.

It would seem that there is no slowing down time, nor stopping the world's spinning... Thanksgiving came whether we wanted to celebrate or not... This morning dawned grey, cold and rainy... kind of matched our mood to be honest.

Dean and Lisa graciously offered up their lake place for the gathering and the house filled up fast.

It's a testament to this family that there were more smiles than tears today!  Poppy would have been proud... and eaten way too much turkey!

There is a healing in spending time together.  A deep gratitude for the love of family and the gift of sharing the heartache as well as the joy.

The smiles were genuine.  The peace settling sure and sweet.

A Thanksgiving without Poppy came too fast... the Empty Chair at our Thanksgiving table was a painful reminder of all we have lost this season.  And I know we are not alone.

A dear friend sent me the following Thanksgiving poem earlier today.  It makes the rounds on social media every year during this hallowed season, but this year it is especially poignant for us:

So many have lost loved ones and struggle hard with the missing and the grieving every single day.  Holidays can add a layer of hurt that compounds the pain a thousand-fold.

This simple prayer turns us back to the One who is able to comfort our hearts when nothing else can.

The Psalmist speaks it well and offers a hope to sustain our faith when our grief seems impossible to bear:

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
that I would see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

  Psalm 27:13-14

God just smacked me upside the head and reminded me that He is here with us in the land of the living... just waiting to reveal His goodness.  Yes, even in the midst of the grieving and the loss... He has never left us.

The giving of Thanks begins when we open our eyes to every good gift from His hands.  And today was a very, very good gift.

My Love,