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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th of July!

Today we Celebrate our Nation's Freedom
Honor the Brave Men and Women
who have fought to Preserve & Defend it!

Grateful and Humbled every day
for God's outpouring of Grace and Blessing
upon this beautiful land!

Be safe, Be kind,
Be the light someone needs desperately to see,

Love, Always,

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Be strong...

Dream. Struggle. Create. Prevail.
We can all find ourselves somewhere here in the midst...
Are you dreaming? Or Struggling?
Creating? Prevailing...

May Grace give the strength to reach for that which dares our souls.

You are Strong.  You are Brave.
You are so very Loved.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Fear No More...

Sometimes a song can just speak the words we can't find.

Building 429 has nailed it with one of their newest releases, Fear No More... the lyrics stopped me in my tracks the other day.  Speaking a genuine hope over the pain of our cancer journey. We have it on replay here at the lake.

It means even more after hearing the story behind the song...

Those lyrics, the reason this one song has rung truth for me... Cancer has a way of stripping away all the superficial, the inconsequential and trivial things in our lives and makes us face the hard questions... each verse is a glimpse of our struggle, the answers to our cry when it was all out of our hands...


I'm wishing I could see the finish line
Where this ends, where it lands
Guess I lost my vision when the pain set in.


Can I believe
When I don't see
Can I really let it be
Out of my hands
When it's out of my hands


This isn't what I'd choose
But it's where I'm finding you
When I'm broken and undone
Your mercy's just begun
You overcome my doubt
Your hands are reaching out
You hold me through the storm
And I will fear no more.


Can't look into the future but
I know where you have been
Before me, after and always within


Can I believe
When I don't see
Can I really let it be
Out of my hands
When it's out of my hands


This isn't what I'd choose
But it's where I'm finding you
When I'm broken and undone
Your mercy's just begun
You overcome my doubt
Your hands are reaching out
You hold me through the storm
And I will fear no more.


I'm not giving up
I'm giving in
To what You've planned
For Your Glory


This isn't what I'd choose
But it's where I'm finding you
When I'm broken and undone
Your mercy's just begun
You overcome my doubt
Your hands are reaching out
You hold me through the storm
And I will fear no more.

Might you be encouraged this night, for it is true... when we are broken and undone, His mercy has just begun... we need fear no more.

All My Love, Always,

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Finding Grace in the Shadow Valley

How do you even breathe after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis?

The mind and heart can shut right down when this cancer comes to shatter your life.  We know.  It can be a living nightmare... an all-consuming darkness that threatens to extinguish any light of hope. 

If pancreatic cancer has touched your life in some way, then perhaps our book, Finding Grace in the Shadow Valley, will offer hope as you journey.

It is the story of our walk into the dark pit of a terminal cancer diagnosis and the Grace that carried us through...

In November of 2010, cancer interrupted our very comfortable, extremely ordinary lives with a vengeance when our mom was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer.  I believe it was the moment our Shadow Valley walk began.

Finding Grace is written as a diary of sorts… the day to day battles, the difficult decisions, the roller-coaster ride of a cancer treatment… we share our heart, the emotional questions, the hard answers.

We also recount the joy and grace that surrounded us in the midst of the terrifying darkness.

This is the story of Finding Grace in the midst of a cancer diagnosis and the way it changes how we live out our stories.

If you are wondering what it is like to walk this valley road, if you are desperate to find hope for yourself or a loved one, we pray this book will offer a light for your path.

We are humbled to know that mom’s story has resonated with so many.  Perhaps it is as one reader so aptly put, “It is good to know that I am not alone.”

Yes, It is good to know we are not alone.   We are walking hand in hand, taking a journey together that none of us wish to take.  Never doubt that Grace walks that road too, each and every step, right alongside us.

Finding Grace… it is what makes facing those horrific days possible.

And it brings Hope to the Shadow Valley every. single. time.

Available Now

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Protect Life or Pursue It?

When mom embarked on her journey with pancreatic cancer, I'll be honest... Our primary, and only, objective was to protect
and preserve her life in any way possible. 

The end goal was always full healing... finding the cure to beat the detestable disease that had her in its cruel grip.

We lived, breathed, and slept with the belief that if we just searched long enough, and prayed hard enough, we'd be able to keep mom safe from harm, wholly protected.

It was a hard fall, that awakening to the reality of our losing battle.  Mom accepted the terminal prognosis long before any of us could see the truth behind the solemn words of her diagnosis:

You have inoperable pancreatic cancer... 

And I can't say that we really ever accepted it.  Until her last breath we prayed for a miracle.

It has taken time to give perspective to the fight.  Our pastor shared a message several weeks ago that profoundly changed my outlook on the way we live life well.

{Spoiler Alert:  Mom figured it out much more quickly than we did!}

The passage came from a familiar scripture:

"Whoever finds their life will lose it,
and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it."
~ Matthew 10:39

Here in the gospel account, we find Jesus sending out the Twelve disciples, and we can almost hear the authority in his voice, the heaviness in his instruction. These 12 were, for the most part, uneducated commoners, a ragtag bunch of men, called out for a life they surely felt ill-prepared to handle.  

And yet Jesus sent them out with a paradox.  Perplexed, yes, I imagine they were.

Finding our Life... only to lose it?   Losing our find it? 

We see now in hindsight, Christ's redeeming plan... we understand through the prism of a cross, an empty tomb, a risen Savior.  But these Twelve?  The riddle must have been confounding...

It never occurred to me that we struggle with the paradox still today.

Searching in panic for treatments, cures, a way out of the pancreatic cancer nightmare.  We sought Life, wanted to protect what we held in our arms.

Our pastor asked a pointed question:

Do you seek to protect Life or pursue it?

Maybe there is a glimmer of truth breaking through...

The Passion translation speaks it plain:

"All who seek to live apart from me will lose it all.  But those who let go of their lives for my sake and surrender it all to me will discover true life!"
~ Matthew 10:39

There are two ways to view life, there are those who protect it, and those who pursue it.

On which camp do we stand?

Protecting life at all costs
Pursing it with abandon for His sake?

Mom chose well.  In choosing Christ, she was freed from the meaningless chase of  finding life to the satisfying walk of  living an Abundant Life.

Yes, she still sought treatment, and yes, still prayed for a cure, but was at peace with the truth that she could let go of this life, knowing full well that the riches of eternity far out-weighed anything we were trying to protect in the here and now.

For Christ's sake those who lose their lives will find it...
Abundant Treasure!

And that's Grace enough for this day,

Friday, May 31, 2019

Final Alarm...

This week past another Ft. Worth Firefighter was laid to rest.

It hits too close to home for this mama.  And not just because our son has served with the Ft. Worth Fire Department these past 9 years.

Captain Keven Teague passed away from pancreatic cancer last Friday, May 24, 2019.  He was only 46 years old.

Pancreatic Cancer.

It is a shockingly cruel disease.  Our son called us 2 weeks ago.  We heard it first in his voice.  Solemn. Quiet.  As the words spilled out, we learned of Captain Teague's diagnosis.  They had worked together when Travis was just beginning his FWFD career.  He thought highly of the Captain and we talked long about treatments for pancreatic cancer... The same cancer that had taken his grandmother.

How is it that I could have lived half a century before pancreatic cancer knocked on my door, and then our son has watched 2 people he cared about suffer through the agonies of this disease in his too short years?

Pancreatic Cancer.  Ruthless.  Cruel.  Devastating for those caught in its deadly grip.

And for Captain Teague, only 2 weeks between diagnosis and his passing.  It is inconceivable.

Our hearts break for the young widow he leaves behind and grieve for his 2 sweet children.  We pray for strength, for comfort, for peace... May they feel the arms of a grateful community holding them close, and the great love of a Faithful God giving Grace and Mercy for the days ahead.

The Final Alarm has sounded for Captain Teague...

Your tasks complete,
Your duties well done,
The bell rings your final alarm,
Rest easy comrade,
You are going home...

Monday, May 27, 2019

Lessons from the Changing of the Guard

On a hill overlooking our nation's capitol, there is a monument.  It stands sentinel over the last resting place of an unidentified soldier from World War I.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

This burial ground is a bit of sacred space.  It is guarded continually.  In every kind of weather.

Be it searing sun, or driving sleet, a drenching rain or balmy night... the men and women who stand guard over this Tomb do so with the a steadfast devotion.

They are the Tomb Guards.  These soldiers are part of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment known as "The Old Guard."

It is one of the highest honors to serve this post.

The changing of the guards is also one of the most solemn events to attend... One day the farmer and I will go and stand in quiet gratitude, but until we do, there's a part of the ceremony that just stills my heart...

At each changing, the relief commander appears with the new relief soldier. They face the current soldier on duty and in unison all three turn to salute the Unknown in the Tomb...

The commander then turns to the soldier on duty and gives the charge, "Pass on your orders."  To this the soldier replies, "Post and orders remain as directed."  The new soldier ready to relieve him responds, "Orders acknowledged" and steps into position on the mat to begin his turn guarding the tomb.

This changing of the guard, it is somber and dignified and holds such meaning.  Post and Orders, Remain as Directed...

And so it is with us.  We are all given our Post and our Orders.  Through life, no matter what comes, they remain as directed.

Mom would be the first to say that her battle with pancreatic cancer only sharpened her post and her orders.  For her, it was to love and cherish her husband, her children and grandchildren.  The cancer, it simply laser-focused those orders.  It did not change them... Her Post and Orders, they Remained as Directed, no matter what came her way.  She loved us so very well.

Mom walked through the cancer fray with a grace and a dignity that would do the Tomb Guards proud.

Wherever your Post, Whatever your Orders, may I encourage you to Stay the Course?  I speak it to myself,  When we grow weary in the journey, when we face the storms and searing heat of battle... might we remember the charge,

Your Post and Orders Remain as Directed...

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Mother's Day Meme...

I think Mom would have enjoyed the sharing of today's memes.  Universal themes that poke fun at the very things that drive us crazy... yes, she would have loved sending us texts that made us smile!

In honor of a day that is often so bittersweet... here are some of our favorites!

Yes!  Truth for moms everywhere!

And, then, there are these sweet mommas...

I can't even!

And then there's my most favorite mom of all...

Heaven's gates stand guard,
til the veil thins and God calls us home
Yes, there is coming a day...
Can Not Wait!

Blessed to have been loved so well.
We are the lucky ones!

Happy Mother's Day Mom,
Love you, Always and Forever