when your heart overflows . . .

Sometimes you just find yourself at loss for words.
That’s where we are at these days. I feel completely at loss for what to say and write. Oh, my heart is overflowing beyond measure, and there is a sense of normal to our lives again. And it feels so good. God has been so good. And I’m humbled by His healing hand. He has done marvelous things! I want you to know, He is faithful.  Ever faithful. He gives grace. Amazing grace. And He will carry you. Through whatever you are facing! 

I find myself hanging on tightly to this hard time. This hard season. While I’m overjoyed at the thought of remission and no more chemo and all that. I don’t want to lose the things I’ve learned, the way it’s stretched my faith and softened my heart.  I don’t want to forget that life is precious. Fragile. To be treasured. That each breath is a gift He chooses to give. We are not promised the next hour. Or even minute. I want to wake up each morning clinging desperately to Jesus. Recognizing my dependence and need of Him. And using every day He gives to further His Kingdom.  In my humanness I fear slipping back into that pattern of normal living, for myself. For things that don’t matter. Losing the eternal perspective and striving for earthly things. I want to give more hugs and say more with less words. Kind words. Speaking life to those around me. Loving people just as they are. But most of all letting Jesus shine through my life. Sharing what I have been given. Realizing in true reality, that God is the point of life. Nothing more. Nothing less. Life is about Him. And I am called to live out the life He has given me, in a way that brings Him all the praise. Through the hurts. The joys. The disappointments. The cancer. The loss. The heartache. He is good beyond measure, in the flowering spring, the warmth and sunshine of the summer, and on through the colors of fall and the bare beauty of winter. He is faithful. He is good. He is enough. Through every season life brings. The very season you find yourself in. He gives you grace for the day. Your day.  Your situation. Your season. Run to Him and you will find His grace, poured out & overflowing

We found ourselves at Mayo the beginning of March, the place felt so familiar even after being gone 6 weeks but it still feels strange to walk into a place like that and know your way around, recognize faces and know the routine.  I wish I had more words to describe all the feelings of the day. I felt almost giddy and scared. Heaviness and dread. And yet I wanted nothing more than to just know what the doctors were finding. So many feelings and unknowns. And yet, there was that peace that He gives. And when you hear the word “remission”, you feel it all. Suddenly there is air in your lungs again and a spring in your step.  You feel like life has been given back.  Like that first day of spring. And I think to myself, that’s what Jesus does to my heart. Spiritual healing. Redemption. Restoration. He pours that out on the mess of life I bring to this world. The brokenness, the hurt, the sinfulness. Pure sinfulness, defiled humanness. He takes that and touches my heart with His healing hand and brings hope to each day. What a truly marvelous thing! Beyond the wonder of physical healing, is the wonder of a God who stoops down and restores the wretchedness of my heart. Just think about that wonder. It will leave you speechless.

The doctor told us they no longer see any cancer activity, and the cancer is in complete remission, although they can’t declare Wes cured until he has been in remission for 5 years.  Lymphoma is a cancer that if it comes back it usually comes back soon, within the first 2 to 3 years.  The doctor told us that the chances of being cured are high and he was very happy with the way Wes has responded to it all. God, His very hand, brings healing. He has done great things through the medical team at Mayo, and we are so thankful, but its Him alone that directs the healing. And we praise His name! We are scheduled back at Mayo quite often over the next few years, but it feels so good to know they are following up and caring for us. While fear of the future and all the what-ifs take over my heart some days,  I know my God is faithful. Abundantly faithful. And He has only promised me grace for a day at a time.

You have stood with us, cried with us, rejoiced with us, loved us and prayed hard for us. You have been the very hands and feet of Jesus. Thank you. We pray that you will be blessed for your many kindnesses and your prayers. Life is about glorifying God through relationships and you showed us this over and over again. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Somehow those two words just seem so small.  But we will always be grateful for you and the way you cared. We pray that He blesses you richly for touching our lives.

O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name;
for thou hast done wonderful things. . . Isaiah 25:1

-wes & kendra
olivia. ella. cassidy & hudson 

what to do with the waiting

Hello, from our little world again. Time certainly has a way of slipping away and leaving me trying to keep up! We have moved back to Indiana and have been trying to find the new normal for life. We’ve been home 4 weeks now and while it has felt so good to be home again, the reality of everything has been hard all over again as we face the way cancer has changed our world. But we are doing good. And God has been ever faithful and unchanging and still so good.

We feel caught in the waiting again. Which has been such a big part of the last 6 months of our lives, but I’m not sure if it gets any easier to wait for answers. We’ve been talking lately about how much of our lives are spent in the waiting and the percentage is quite large. Just stop and think about it. We wait for so much and every day finds us waiting for one thing or another. . .We wait in line, wait for our phone call to be answered, and than we wait while we’re put on hold. We wait for the food to be done, the light to turn green, the storm to be over. For the baby to be born, the doctor to call, the pharmacist to fill that prescription. We wait for the checkout lady to hurry us through. Waiting for the right person to love and to be loved by. We wait for the mail to come. For spring to come. Morning to come. The right time to leave. The check to arrive. The bill to be paid.  And at the end of the day we are still waiting some more.

Life is full of waiting. So many of the things we wait for are good things. Things that bring us joy. And make life pleasant. And there is lots of anticipation when we’re waiting for the good. But with all the good, there is the other side of things. The hard. The not so good. The times the waiting disappoints us. When the news we get at the end of the waiting shakes our world. Waiting for the day your husband can do more scans and for the day the doctors can tell you if the cancer is still growing in your husbands body. How do you do that? Or how do you wait when it’s the hard news of a loved one that is barely hanging on? When it’s a precious soul that is gone astray and the waiting is hard and the prayers desperate?  Or maybe you’re waiting to hear that tiny little heartbeat, when they told you they weren’t sure it was beating anymore? What do you do with the waiting life brings your way?  Hard waiting. Desperate waiting. Days of raw feelings, emotions, waiting with open hands and yet a desperate grip on hope. How do you go about it? What do you do with all the waiting?  And I know our story is only scratching the surface in the waiting life brings. But here I wait. I wait with patience and rest some days. Believing that what God has for me is for my best. And whatever this waiting brings it will be okay because of Jesus and His grace. Than there are days when it puts me on my knees, tears streaming I fight the reality of our lives right now, wrestling with the truth, the ugly unfairness that life can bring. I feel worn out and weak and wonder at this waiting. The purpose of waiting. The fight of waiting. How am I to live in this waiting? 

The word ‘worship’ is a word my heart has heard so often in the last months. Like a little whisper.  And I know it’s a soft reminder of what God wants these days of waiting to be. Days of worship. What if I took all this time of waiting, the hard waiting, the desperate waiting, what if I turned it into a time of worship? And not just me and my waiting, but you, that waiting you are doing? The hard, big waiting. The waiting that hurts your heart. And the little waiting. That line you’re caught waiting in at the grocery store, do something with that time, smile at someone, start a conversation, encourage that cashier. Worship and bring Him glory while you wait. Even there. In that grocery store check out line. Or if it’s the waiting that’s hard. The silent, desperate waiting for a diagnose. For a soul to find hope. The raw pain of waiting, hanging on for the words to make your world okay again. God is in the middle of that. Worship Him. Through the emotions of it all, the tears, the painful seeking, and when you hear news you never wanted to hear. Turn it into worship. Even when you can’t find words. And the tears don’t stop. Turn your heart to the God who loves you. Who created you. The God who feels your heartbeat and counts your tears. Turn that waiting into worship. 

And I want to find myself there. Worshiping in these days of waiting. Giving. Serving. Blessing my little family with love. Choosing to give. And when the days are hard and the questions overwhelming and the thought of waiting another day seems like just too much, I want to turn around and give more. Worship some more. This is what I want to do with this waiting we are in. To leave no room for bitterness. But turn it into praise. An offering of worship.

Waiting is what we have been doing . . . We are scheduled for March 8th & 9th back at Mayo where they will redo all the scans and blood work and than we’ll meet with his doctor to find out what is next. Other than a week or two of back pain when we moved home, and having his blood count pretty low, Wes has been feeling good. He did blood work again this past week and it came back good. He has a head with hair again and brand new eyebrows and lashes! 🙂 The chemo look is gone. We were still advised to not interact with a lot of people because of sickness and so we are still not getting out much at all. Wes is able to do a lot, just not much physical labor. So he’s been doing lots of tech work & bookwork for the farm. My heart is full of thankfulness for the way that he is feeling and we feel very hopeful. We were told that sometimes it takes more than one treatment plan to take care of all the cancer. But from the results of the last scan he took in October the doctors were very hopeful about it all, so we wait with our hearts hopeful. I just have to keep looking at this time in our lives as a season. A hard season, yes. But also a season where I see God doing so much. And because of that, my heart is finding gratefulness for this very season of our lives.

As we go back to Mayo for the scans and the results on March 8th, will you pray with us once more? Pray for peace and for continued healing. That our hearts will be accepting of whatever the news is that we hear. But most of all that God will be glorified. That we will worship in all the waiting. The prayers you offer on our behalf are felt and appreciated more than words can say.  Thank you, again. You have played a big part on this journey we are on. You continue to bless us with tangible gifts and you have made so many days brighter for our children. Thank you. But knowing that we are surrounded by your prayers is the greatest gift you can give! And our hearts overflow with thankfulness once again.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.”
Psalm 130:5, 6

May the waiting you find yourself in today, the big or the small, be moments of worship to our ever-faithful Father. For He alone is worthy. 









when your Christmas is different

You’re getting ready for Christmas at your house I’m sure.  The Christmas spirit is in the air. This season of hope. This season of Christmas. Of remembering Jesus.  I hope there is joy at your house this season. Lots of joy. And laughter. I hope you’re taking time for the things that matter. Like hugs and words of encouragement and kindness. Tell people they matter. Tell them how much they are loved. How much YOU love them.  I hope there is lots of excitement about those wrapped presents. And lots of good food. Christmas carols. Christmas candy.  I hope it’s brimming with goodness, with love. But most of all, I hope it’s filled to the brim with Jesus. And your heart? I hope it’s overflowing with gratitude to God for that tiny little baby that came and changed the world.

You and I. We have so very much to be thankful for.
Even if Christmas is anything but what we thought it might be this year.

If your smile is pasted on.
If your laughter is heavy.
And your heart feels a million miles away.
If the gifts feel like too much. Or not enough. And the joy feels so far away. And Christmas seems anything but fair. When you feel overwhelmed and alone.
Tell your heart this:
That little tiny baby that came so many years ago? He came for you. For you. To hold you close this Christmas. This different Christmas.  To offer you hope, even through your tears. The broken dreams. That empty chair at your table. He cares. God sees your tears. Those fears that loom big before you. That diagnose you wish you could change. The future that looks so scary. Hope radiates this Christmas from the Bethlehem Child. And that hope is looking for room in your heart.

We have a Christmas that is different this year. We have a hospital stay scheduled for  Friday. Chemo. So many realities stare us in the face, things that are different from any other Christmas. We have blood work and that appointment with the doctor, to talk about things we never dreamed would be in our lives a year ago. I know a little bit of the different Christmas feel. And honestly somedays are so hard, leaving me with that lump that you just can’t quite swallow.

And I know, Christmas is different for a lot of you too. Some of you are missing a mother. A wife, a friend. She had such a heart for Christmas. For giving. For family. And my heart holds a deep ache for you. Courage, dear soul, I pray Jesus pours out courage into your different Christmas.
And for the ones missing a father. A husband.  A son. A brother. And so much more. Christmas hurts. That empty spot at that big Christmas table. Making Christmas so different for you. It’s part of your story, and it hurts. You miss him. I pray Jesus fills that void. With grace. Sweet, amazing grace in the midst of your different Christmas.

 In the hearts of people you and I meet everyday.  The people of this city, of this country, people in your little town, who are lonely, with families so broken I can’t begin to put together the pieces. But Jesus can. I pray that their hearts find Him. So He can bring His healing to their broken world. To their broken Christmas.

Maybe you feel unimportant. You feel overlooked. Left out. Forgotten. Christmas is different, because you thought you’d be somewhere different in life by now. Jesus knows exactly where you are. You have not been overlooked this Christmas. 

All of these stories. Your story. No matter how broken. No matter how far out there they may seem. That little Bethlehem babe, He came for you. He came for me. For this ‘season of different’ in my life. To bring me sparkles of hope. Like the sparkles the lights bring to the dark night. Sending out little rays of hope. I hope they find your heart.

I have been reminded of God’s presence so much lately. He is here. He is with me. And the same goes for you. He is there, right there, right now, He is with you. Regardless of what you are facing this day, this Christmas. No matter how different you find it. He is with you. He never promised life would be easy. That every Christmas would be full of joy.  But He did promise that he would be right there with me. With you. Even in the hard and the different. 

And that’s why this Christmas will be okay. This different Christmas. Today will be okay. Tomorrow will be okay. This next year will be okay. There will be tears, hard days ahead, there will be things we hear that we don’t want to, things we must face that will tear at our hearts and moments when it will hurt to breathe. That different might be here to stay. But He will be there. Right beside you. Right beside me. And that is the only way we can be okay in the different. The only way we can be okay this Christmas. Because of Jesus. 

So what’s been happening here in our world?  We are planning to move back home sometime the beginning of January!  Wes’ treatment plan has gone really well, and initially we were told it could take up to 6 months to complete and so that is what we planned for when we knew we would be moving to FL. His last treatment is scheduled over the new year and than we do our famous waiting game for 8 weeks, which takes us to the beginning of March before we are scheduled at Mayo again.  They will then do all the scans again to see how much, if any of the cancer is left in his body. (please pray with us, that it will be completely gone!) And depending on what the results will be, determine  the next steps. Waiting has been such a big part of our lives the last 6 months, but I don’t know if it ever gets easier. But I do know God will be there, even in the waiting.  Our little family is so excited to be moving home, even though it brings lots of mixed feelings. We have come to love this city and our neighbors have been true blessings.  The kind that have found their way to our hearts.  I wish to hit the forward button and just be home, the transition and moving is not so much fun. But it will be so good to be home and close to family.  We will most likely live the life of ‘hibernation’ for awhile till Wes’ immune system is built up a little more and the sickness that is going around isn’t so heavy, but we are all looking forward to having a little bit of our normal life back.

 Wes is scheduled for his last treatment, which is a hospital stay, on Dec 29. The hospital stays are no fun, just lots of mixed feelings and some big fear battles. But I know that God is stronger than all of that, and He sees and knows, and He cares.
Wes has been feeling pretty good, mouths sores have been a struggle, and are so painful. But other than that and the normal nausea, He is good. And we are still so grateful.

We were talking lately, about how much we have with so many friends and family who have committed themselves to walk this journey with us. I wish you could see our hearts. Because it feels like there are no words to describe the way we feel. They are literally overflowing. We have had so many moments of God just pouring out grace in tangible ways.  It humbles us, and makes us realize again what really matters in life. So many times we just find ourselves in tears. I think I say it every time I write here, but you all have done above and beyond what we could ever of asked for. Thank you. Thank you so very much. We pray that God blesses you richly in return.  I look around at so many of the people here in this big city, people so close to us, and if you look around, you can find them in your world too.  So much loneliness. So much pain.  And here we are surrounded with so much. So very much. Even in the middle of a Christmas that is different. If we have Jesus, we have more than we could ever ask for. What an incredible gift God gave. And my challenge for this Christmas is to not just keep this gift for myself.  For yourself. The incredible gift of Jesus. Share it. Tell people. May it be what I think on. What consumes me. May it be so much a part of me that it radiates from my heart. From my face. And may it be the very breath I breathe. Because really, it is.  

  May Jesus be the reason there is joy in your Christmas, even if it’s different.
Merry Christmas from our little family!


the little word called fear.

You know the word. You’ve heard it many times. Probably felt it even more. If you’re honest with yourself. It’s just a little word, but sometimes those little words hold the most power. They may be small, but what a mighty weight they can carry.

Four little letters.
Making one little word.
That little word fear.
It may be little,
but it can control your world.

It can eat you alive. Destroy any good day. Take over your mind. Play games with you. It can leave you breathless. Scared. And it can make you want to hide away. It can keep you from living life fully. Totally paralyze you. Keep you from loving. Hold you back. Knock you down. And bring you to your knees. It loves the dark. And it creeps in any little opening that it can find. Hoping to find it’s way to the core of your heart.

But it only does all of these things if I let it.
If let it. If you let it.

I can tell you all about fear. Describe in detail how it has done all of the above to me. How I have let it.  I can tell you about the huge fears I battle. The ones that have left me scared to move and terrified of tomorrow. I can tell you about the little fears that creep in and leave me feeling confused. Alone and questioning God. And I know, you face a lot of these same fears too. You have many stories you could tell. Many of them bigger than the ones that have shook my world. I know your heart knows what I’m talking about. Life is hard. Rough. And scary.

The middle of the night fears. The daytime battles. And when the sun goes down? Those fears? I have let them knock me down. Make me shiver. And really, make me feel like giving up. They have caused sleepless nights and tired days. Does it have to be this way? Is this just part of life?  This has been my battle lately. Fear. And I have gotten so weary of it. So discouraged. Fear is so real. I know you know how it can feel. And we could sit all day and talk about fear.  But through this battle, my mind kept coming back to this verse;

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7

Listen. Just hear this! That spirit of fear? It is not from my Jesus. He doesn’t give the spirit of fear! No. Never. Not even once. Don’t claim it. It is not from above. He has something much greater for His children. Listen to what He offers, to what He gives if we claim it: He gives power – power to love! To overcome! To be victorious over fear! Let His power wash over you, cleanse your mind from fear. All those fears I have given room? Those fears you battle? Don’t even go there! Run from them. We have been given the power. Be so busy with loving and giving and serving, using that power that He does give – that those fears, those fears?? You don’t have time for them. He gives the spirit of love, so that we can love others. Not so we can fear what others can do to us or what the world can cause in our lives. Not so we can fear that cancer. Or that mountain up ahead. No, that spirit He gives is to spread love to the world, so they too can know the God who is greater than any fear. And He doesn’t stop there, He gives a sound mind – a calm, peaceful, self-controlled mind. No panic or confusion. Just peace and quiet trust. The complete opposite of fear.

Oh, how I need to remind myself of this. So very often. My God is so much greater than the middle of the night fears. The many daytime battles. The fears that leave me so discouraged and wore out.  I’m writing this out, so it sticks to my heart. This is what I need to hear. There is no room for fear in my heart when God is there. He is so much greater. My heart needs this daily reminder. And maybe, just maybe, your heart does too. Take that fear to the cross and leave it there. Daily. Hourly. Minute by minute. Whatever it takes. You have been given the spirit of power. The spirit of love. And the spirit of a sound mind. What an amazing gift. A truly amazing gift.

We are very much still living and breathing, although we’ve been kinda quiet on here.  Wes was sick for awhile about a month ago, which led to his doctor putting off two of his hospital stays, just to give his body time to recover from the sickness before they load him with that kind of chemo again. He was still able to take his outpatient chemo, and was just in for another round on Friday.
It’s all becoming quite familiar, the routine, the hospital, the best parking spot, the nurses and doctors, when to take certain pills, when he will feel his worst, his best, when to be concerned, when not to be, and we can even say some of those big medical words and we know what they mean. I hear things from my children I never dreamed I would hear. Things like “Daddy, how do they give you the medicine?” “Does the needle hurt?” and “Dear Jesus, please be with daddy. Heal the bump on his back.” and “Wash your hands, so daddy doesn’t get sick.” And little giggles about daddy not having hair right now.  As much as it brings tears to my eyes, it’s our life these days. Our reality.  And can I be honest? It’s exhausting. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally.
So much to take in. Yet it takes so much from you. So much to fear. (we’re working on that!)  So much in the future that is still so unknown. And simply a day by day step. But we’re getting through it! We have been loved on by family and friends, so much. They have been so good with coming and helping us. Loving on our children. Lifting our spirits and encouraging our hearts. We have had people from a nearby community stop by for a little visit and bring freezer meals. Our neighbors have been so caring and we feel so safe and at home here. You have kept our mail lady busy. Thank you! You have overwhelmed us. I wish to thank each of you personally, but my little mind is having a hard time keeping up! So from our hearts, thank you. So very much for what you are doing for our family. I pray God blesses you in return. And not only are you giving in that way, but I know so many of you are giving of yourself in prayer. We can feel it. And we can’t thank you enough. You are being vessels in His hand. And we will always be grateful for your prayers.  And we can still testify greatly of the amazing grace and faithfulness of our Father God. His grace is so real and He is so faithful Life is hard. You know that. But it’s good. God is still good. Even in the middle of cancer. 

Right now we don’t know what the future holds for us. Or how long Florida will be our home. We’re still just taking it a day at a time. The sunshine and warmth have been lovely and it has a way of lifting our spirits. And we have ever so much to be thankful for, even in this season of our lives. Wes is in his ‘low week’.  Although he never feels too terrible, he struggles with some backache, nausea and tiredness. But overall he is doing pretty good. For which we are so grateful.

Thank you again for walking with us on this journey.
And I pray that those fears you are facing will be carried to the cross.
Minute by minute. I’m leaving mine there.




when hope is given

We were given hope this past week. Good news. Good results. Hope. We heard the good news. And we claimed it. We took it to heart.

You have good news too. I wonder if you know about it?
I wonder if you have ever claimed it. If you have it in your heart. If you know true hope.

I’ll tell you what we heard.

Waiting in the doctors office, there we sat. You have been there before too, in the waiting.  I know some of you are there now. When you feel like your life hangs in the balance. Hangs between the good and the bad.  The strong and the weak. Sickness and health. Life and death. Faith and doubts. And as I sat there, I wondered how we would feel when we walked out of here. What we would know.

In walks the doctor and right away he offers hope. Good news. And this is what he says, “The tumor is shrinking and what we do see of the tumor, it appears to be dying.” I feel tears. Happy tears. Joy tears. I feel humbled by God’s touch. And hope. I feel HOPE. The feeling that maybe, after all, you’re gonna be okay. Bright rays of sunshine shining through these storm clouds. Pure hope. Like having a lifeboat appear when you feel you are drowning.  Oh, I know, the road ahead still appears to be dark and long. To be lonely and scary.  But just knowing the treatments are working. That Wes’ body is responding to it all in a good way. It’s hope. And the doctor starts talking, showing us the scans, explaining to us what it all means, what they are seeing, what the concerns are and showing us the good results. He says that there is no other cancer activity in his body that they can see. We see good things. We see hope. We feel hope. 

Wes has been struggling with a cold. He lost his voice and had a pretty bad cough, along with fever. And so we wait as the doctor checks him out and talks about his next treatment. But I can’t squelch the hope I feel. It literally overwhelms. It breathes life to my heart.  It’s a good news kind of day. And I think of what Jesus offers me. What he offers you. It’s hope. Pure hope. Just like the doctor offered us hope. Jesus does the same. But on a much, much greater level. Hope that is worthy of believing in. Worthy of claiming. If not for the hope He gives, life would be dark, it wouldn’t be worth living, it would be unforgiving and heavy. Frustrating and alone. But with Jesus, when we are faced with these things, there is hope! And He offers this life giving hope to you and to me.

I pray you have claimed it. That life giving hope that Jesus offers. But just maybe, you’re somewhere in the balance. Not sure if He is worthy of trusting in. If the hope He gives is real.  Struggling between doubts and faith. Fearing what you know is reality. Wondering at the news the doctor will give you next. What life is gonna throw your way tomorrow. Or how you will find strength to face that mountain in front of you. Jesus is there, offering you life in Him, standing in the balance, holding you up, offering you hope. Claim it. Take it to heart. To the very core of your soul. Claim that hope! Because Jesus is always safe to trust in. I promise you that.

And I know, life hurts. It’s painful and messy. It doesn’t make sense. It’s full of sickness and sorrow. It’s lonely and sad. Scary and dark. Full of doctors, whose words aren’t so hopeful.  And it’s all you can do sometimes to face another day. But Jesus is there. Right there. Freely giving hope. Hope that is so much greater than our human minds can take in. Hope that will turn those hard things around. Hope greater than any doctor can give. And He delights in you finding hope. He is waiting for you to claim hope. And with that hope comes so much more, there is strength, courage, grace, mercy,  forgiveness and love, and a God who will not leave you hopeless. Life may not always go our way, how we desire or plan, but Jesus will always be there, holding out hope. Holding you up. Even when the world around you seems to crumble, when it’s a bad news day, when the doctor says words you never want to hear, when you feel death close, the hope Jesus gives will not change. It will carry you through.

We have felt your prayers. Thank you. I wish I could tell you how much it means to know you pray. It overwhelms our hearts and brings tears. Thank you ever so much. We have felt that peace that passes understanding. And God’s amazing grace. And we have been given hope. And knowing we are being lifted up in prayer, brings such strong courage to our hearts. The road ahead still looks long, and we still need your prayers. There are long days of chemo ahead, doctor visits, blood work, and Wes is fighting germs and a nasty cough and fever that just hangs on. We fight discouragement and overwhelming days. Hard reality of why we are where we are. But we are claiming that hope that Jesus offers. Wes was scheduled to go in for his hospital stay for another treatment on Friday, but because of his sickness, it was put off till Monday (Oct. 30). Please pray that he would be able to go ahead with it. He is still fighting a fever and cough. The last two weeks have been tough with Wes not feeling as well, and the doctor told him that as the treatments keep on, each one could make him feel worse. So pray against that! And again, thank you. For caring and lifting us up in prayer.

May you find that hope that Jesus so freely gives.
Claim it in your life. And never let it go.
This is your good news. The good news of HOPE. 




the turtle and its shell

You’ve seen the turtle by the side of the road, bravely living life, suddenly it senses danger and it quickly pulls back inside it’s shell. Scared. It hides. Avoiding the danger, the hard and unknown things. Closing itself off to the world around it. Protected in it’s hard shell there it stays until it feels life is safe again.

Lately I have felt a lot like a turtle. Wanting to pull myself inside my shell and hide. Life feels scary and I want to avoid reality. To pretend that nothing is wrong. I want my normal back. That cancer word? I want it gone. For life to just be all okay again. These hard times come and this is my human reaction. Like the turtle, I just want to close myself away and hide until life feels safe again. Just like I want it to be.

The death of a loved one. Cancer. Shattered relationships. A marriage that is just barely holding together. Broken dreams. Financial difficulties. Anger. Abuse. Fear of failure.  You have your list and I have mine. And what a long list it can be. So many things we would like to pull back from. And we do, we pull ourselves inside our little shell and there we hide, and we make our excuses and have our reasons. And really, who can blame us, for life is hard. And we all know how deep it can hurt. And how scary it is to have your head out there when you know danger is near.

But I’ve been challenged lately to live a little more ‘outside my shell’.

What if instead of closing myself off, hiding away and avoiding the hard, difficult things, instead of pulling myself back in my shell when the scary times come, what if I would turn and face it?  And not only face it, but face it with Jesus. With joy. With gratitude. Turn that fear into something beautiful. Something Jesus can use. And that long list? That list of scary things. Turn it into your joy list. That person that hurt you the most? Put them at the top of your prayer list.  That cancer? This gets my heart, because this is close to the top of my list and I’m still trying to find the good in it. But it’s there, right outside my shell. And all I want to do is hide. But Jesus is working on me, and maybe joy and gratitude aren’t always in feeling it, but choosing to believe it? And someday I want to look back and be able to say, “That season of my life, that season of cancer, it was hard. But it was good.” And those shattered relationships? Broken dreams? Abuse. Anger. Oh, there can be bitterness, I know.  But forgiveness, choose it!  Choose to let Jesus use that hurt and turn it into something beautiful and useful. And choose to let that shattered relationship drive you to the relationship you need most of all. The one with Jesus. The things you find on your list? Face them. Head on. Get out of your shell. With Jesus, you’ve got this!  I know, life hurts and there are many things out there I have not personally experienced. Many of you have wounds and scars deeper than I will ever know. But I challenge you, with whatever you are facing, choose to be grateful and have joy, even when you can’t find anything good in the situation, in the hard you are facing, choose to believe He is working for your good. Because He is. He really is.

I’m writing this for me, to put the confidence back in my steps. Through Him I can do this! This week there have been hard days. Tears. Weariness. So much humanness. Scary “what-if’s” But there have also been rainbows. Moments of hope. Of laughter. Big moments of Jesus. Things I want to be grateful for, to count them as joy,  even when I don’t understand and feel like I just can’t take anymore.

Wes spent last weekend in the hospital for his chemo treatment. Everything went as was expected and he was able to come home on Monday. Wes’ mom and sister came to spend the weekend wth us while he was in the hospital and then Grandma stayed with us all week, which we were so grateful for. It always gets long for the children when Wes has his hospital stay because they aren’t allowed in the hospital to see him. So we are always so ready to have him home again. We had a rough week with sickness, the children and Wes all were sick, making for nights that were hard with sick children, and just a lot of not feeling well. We thought Wes’ chemo schedule would probably get bumped back a week, because he was running a fever and had a cough, but Saturday morning he was feeling a lot better and was still able to go in and do his outpatient treatment.  (thank you Lord!)

Can we ask you to pray? He is scheduled for another MRI of his spine Wednesday evening (Oct. 18) to see if the treatments are working, or if the tumor is growing. While we have been given hope to the success of the treatments, we all know that it is God alone who heals. So please pray with us that the tumor is not growing and the treatment plan is working. And Monday (Oct. 23) he is scheduled for a PET scan, which is a scan of his whole body, looking for any new growth or signs the cancer is spreading. Please pray with us, for peace, for strength, and for healing. These days look hard and I want to hide, but I want to choose to face them boldly, with Jesus.

For this I am grateful,  Jesus and all that He gives so freely. For you, dear friends and family, we are loved and cared for so much by you. Thank you seems like such a small thing to say.  For doctors and nurses, who know what they are doing and care about their patients. For this season in our lives, may it bring Him glory. And may I face this season of my life, head on with joy. For I have Jesus.







the ‘why’ question

There is an older man sitting in the waiting room, with his sweet, gray haired wife of many years next to him. Why him? And the young, beautiful lady we see as we wait to meet Wes’ doctor, she is right in the middle of her battle with cancer, for she bears the marks of chemo. I wonder if she ever asks the question why?  And another girl, even younger yet, being pushed by her mother in a wheelchair, they aren’t new here, for they know their way around. A blanket covers her too thin body, obviously battling a diagnose that is hard. I’m sure her mother, as she pushes her wheelchair, often wonders why. And there is the one who’s fiancé is fighting stage 4 liver cancer, she is waiting for a new liver.  God only knows how long they will have to wait for it. The one with the newly diagnosed brain tumor, after battling cancer already, she just found out that it is now in her brain. Why her?  The big why question looms so near, when I think of the two beautiful people who we knew, who lost their fight with cancer just a few weeks ago. Leaving behind dear families who loved them. Why??  What determines whether the Lord grants healing? What determines when He doesn’t? Hard questions. I know, we don’t have an answer for them. Oh, how I know that.  And than there is our story. And why my husband? In the prime of life. He loves life. Loves people. And loves Jesus. And I’m sure you have some questions you could ask about happenings in your life.

And than I think, “why-not?” Why not the older man? Why not the young girl, the one who should be thinking about college and just starting out in her life. And bringing it real close to my heart….Why not my husband? Why not us?

So many different lives. So many different stories. So many different souls. But each a soul.  And as I walk in and out of the hospital, I meet many strangers, but yet it’s almost like we know each other. For there is something common there. Pain. Sickness. A fight for life. Someone we love and know is facing something. That’s why they are here. And I wipe away a tear, as I think that’s why I’m here too. Because someone I love is sick. Reality hurts these days. The questions hurt. Not having answers hurts.

How do you get past the “what-if’s”? All the wondering? The many questions of why? And how do you deal with these disappointments, these life altering diagnoses? How do you deal with them without Jesus? And when you have Him in your life, what are you suppose to do with all these questions?

And that’s when I hear it, this little voice that whispers softly, “Let your questions drive you to Me.” And suddenly it makes sense.

I look at this life, through my human eyes, and life doesn’t make sense. It never will. Not through my eyes. When I have questions with answers that aren’t there, I can either let them go and trust, or allow bitterness and hurt to creep in and take over.  I believe God places situations in my life that bring questions to my mind, questions that only He can answer, they leave me hanging, gasping for breath, and scared.  My job is to turn them back into His hands, and let them go. {Let. Them. Go.} It’s trusting that He has my best in mind. It’s having faith that He knows what He is doing. It’s loving Him so much that the questions just fade away to a deep trust. My questions are not wrong, all the “why’s” and “what-if’s” and the million other questions that pass through my mind, they are gonna creep in.  It is what I do with them that makes the difference and determines how they affect my life.

 I’m so glad I don’t have to do this life without God. And He doesn’t let me go. I  hope I can respond the way He wants me to and learn what He is longing for me to know. And I’m so thankful He is patient with my questions, that He doesn’t give up on me, even when I feel like giving up.

Our week has been pretty quiet as far as medically. Wes went in last week for his outpatient chemo. He was scheduled for Thursday,  but because of the clinic being closed for 2 days when Hurricane Irma came through, they were behind 2 days, so instead his appointment was changed to Saturday. Everything went normal and he has been feeling the chemo effects again this week. Which aren’t too different than the last time, a little bit of nausea, aching and tiredness.  His white blood cell count is always the lowest this week, so being around any sickness and a lot of germs is something he has to be extra careful with. He goes in for blood work the beginning of this next week, just to make sure everything is looking the way it should and than his hospital stay is next weekend if everything is going like it should. His mom & dad are planning to come stay with us over this time.  We really just take this a day at a time right now,  I would like to just rush ahead and know if this treatment is working, I’d like to just take a look inside and see that tumor shrinking, that nasty cancer just disappearing and know that everything is gonna be okay. But this is where I need to let go and let my questions in His hands. It sounds so easy, but trust and letting go of the things you have little or no control over, is anything but easy.

Through all the unknown ahead, we feel covered in grace and strength that is certainly from above.  Having life slow down, hanging on to what we have as a family, enjoying each day, our children and just being together, is a huge blessing. The girls have adjusted so well, better than we could have hoped, and the baby isn’t wasting time being little. We are loving him. We were blessed with a few visitors that stopped by this last week, and we loved seeing people that we know and enjoyed our time with them.

God has me and you where we are for a reason, although we might never know exactly what that reason is. But even if it is just for one. One precious soul. A soul He is wanting to reach. To offer a little bit of hope through a smile, to let them tell me their story, even just for a minute, til the elevator dings, or they move along down the grocery aisle, or they finish filling their car up with gas and we go our separate ways. I am here, you are there, (right where you are!) to encourage. To offer love. To show them a little bit of Jesus. And I pray that they see Jesus in me, in my little family, in the hospital room where the chemo is given, and in my little corner of this big city of Jacksonville.

Thank you, once more, for all your love and prayers, your letters and boxes. Mail time has become a highlight of our day, especially for our girls. So thank you! You are blessing us more than you will ever know. And I pray that the questions you are facing in your life, the questions that come up this week, drive you to Jesus.





when you find yourself there

You find yourself so many different places in life. Sometimes the place you find yourself is better than you ever imagined, more beautiful, just all around better. And sometimes you’re in that place where you wish you could pinch yourself, wake up from the reality of the nightmare that seems to be unfolding. It’s darker than you’ve ever known, harder and yet somehow, as oddly as it may be,  more peaceful.

I have wanted to “wake up” lately. To pinch myself, let my day start like any normal day, and forget the nightmare. It started a few months ago, soon after Wes was done planting this spring, that he started mentioning a pain in his leg. It started keeping him awake at night and we thought it was just a muscle, or maybe from sitting too much in the tractor. But it didn’t get better, even after going to the chiropractor a few times a week and favoring that leg. Finally, the end of June, we ended up at a muscle and spine doctor, where they thought it was a pinched nerve and scheduled a MRI just to confirm it.  What they found concerned them and they sent him to the hospital to do another MRI with contrast and figure out what they were seeing.

No one likes the unknown. Not when it comes to medical terms and the what if’s that keep you up at night.  They told us they see something on his spine, a mass of some kind. So we did more CT scans, MRI’s, we did the biopsy, so much blood work and we waited. And we waited. And you know how it goes when its medical questions that you need answers for. You wait and you wait some more. For results. For answers. For the nightmare to go away.

We got in touch with Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. where they took on Wes’ case and scheduled him in right away.  We heard the word cancer. That word that has changed millions of lives.  Making havoc and nightmares, creating empty places in families and lives and changing so much for so many people.  We heard so many scary things, words we didn’t understand, and couldn’t pronounce, possible diagnoses and what kind it could be and where it could be and what it could be doing. And so many times our minds went wild. Imagining the worst, and fearing so much.  We wanted to run away, only to find out, this time there was no running away. It was in our lives. There was no getting away.

So we prayed. And we cried tears. And we gave ourselves up. And hung on tight. And we try to live with open hands.  Letting go is painful. Releasing our grip on what we think we own is hurtful. The giving up of what we want, our dreams, our goals, what we want from life and how we want it to go. The number of years we want to live. We think we know what is best. And we hang on, telling God what we think He needs to hear.  But He knows. The God who is good. And He is. He is good. And i say it, “God is good” when my life is good, when it’s easy to say.  But when your life gets turned upside down, it’s a minute by minute decision, a little bit like breathing, you say it through the pain, repeating to yourself over and over, “He is good, He is good, He is good.” And before you know it, your heart is saying it and you believe it in your deepest part. God is good. He has been good. And i know He will still be good at the end of our story.

So many decisions come with the word “cancer”. And it’s overwhelming and finally you just want someone to say how it should be done and tell you to do it.  So many opinions, so many options. So much to decide.  Wes was diagnosed with Large B-cell Lymphoma.  A cancer that starts in the lymph nodes, attacking the immune system.  He also has a tumor on his spine, which is what was pinching the nerve causing the pain. It is a very treatable cancer, and we were given hope to Wes being cancer free again. So after much prayer and open doors, we chose the treatment Wes would take, and that we would be moving to FL so he could take his treatment at Mayo Clinic.

We have been in FL for a week now. Renting a house close to Mayo.   And while it has been overwhelming, and some days feel dark and unknown, we are getting settled in.  Wes started chemo about 3 weeks ago.  And we have seen a lot of those results this week, with him losing his hair and feeling “not so normal”. He just came through the chemo treatment where he was hospitalized for 3 days.  My parents came and spent a week with us over this time and we’re so grateful for family that gives support and stands with us through these times.  We are so grateful too for the medical team at Mayo, they have treated us so well already, explaining the steps, answering our hundred and twelve questions, calling us to see how he is feeling, and we have felt so cared for.  And our little family is together, which we are so grateful for. And God is good. Meeting our needs, bringing caring neighbors and people into our lives as we find our little place in this big city.

So this is where we are right now, some days we feel overwhelmed at this journey. It looks dark and so unknown. Other days we see rays of sunshine streaming through. We know that God is faithful and will be with us each step of the way. As of now, our plans are to be here in FL for 6 months, which is the length of his treatment plan.  After that, the Lord only knows where we will find ourselves.  But we are hanging on to hope and claiming God’s grace and strength for this journey we are handed.  And know this, that wherever you find yourself on your journey,  many of you are going through deeper valleys, facing harder mountains, God is a good God, He loves you.  Even though life isn’t often how we would choose it. Someday I know we will understand. And I pray that you feel and know of His love for you.

We are writing here to keep you updated as we journey through this. I can’t guarantee updates a lot but we will certainly do our best. Wes has another chemo treatment on Thursday (Sept. 21), which is done as an outpatient procedure. Although he has had some nausea, it hasn’t been anything too dramatic and we hope it keeps going like that. So pray with us that his body would respond to the treatments and that he could keep feeling pretty normal through this next cycle of treatments.

Thank you for your many texts, phone calls, gifts, for your love and support. We have been overwhelmed by your kindness & care. But most of all thank you for your prayers. Please don’t stop lifting us up to Jesus.