Friday, January 29, 2010

"My Best Days Are Ahead of Me!"

The new Danny Gokey song,"My Best Days are Ahead of Me" is full of encouragement and reminders for us to keep looking for better tomorrows. Gokey, a former American Idol, had lost his young wife shortly before the last season of American Idol. His faith walk was obvious throughout the season of Idol and he always received my votes. I hope you will enjoy this song as much as I have. It is a good reminder for all of us and what a statement of faith: "Our best days are head of us!"

You Tube Link:

An Update & Request for Prayer: January 29, 2010

I have been away from the blog for too long. I am reminded when friends e-mail me to confirm I am not in the hospital (aka "the slammer") that it is time to update the blog. It has been a trying week or so. In the natural realm, I see my body crumbling, yet I continue to trust in Him to sustain me. I return over and over to Romans 4:

"God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

I need Him to give me (and my other leukemia cohorts) LIFE. We need the faith to call those things which do not exist (remission/cure) as though they did. I don't want to grow weak in faith or consider "my own body". We must not waiver at God's promises! And may He overcome our own doubts and fears so that we are strengthened in faith! I believe there are so many spiritual clues for us in this passage.

Yesterday, I spent over two hours at the doctor. I have had fevers off and on all week and we continue to be baffled. We restarted another antibiotic with the assumption it is the sinuses causing the fever. Although difficult to discern, the leukemia itself can cause fevers.

The doctor wanted a urine sample and it contained blood so she sent it onto the hospital laboratory for culturing. Gram negative rods (bacteria) grew out on culture, yet the count was more reflective of a contaminant.

I am having shortness of breath and the doctor said my iron levels are now dangerously low, in addition to a low hemoglobin (oxygen carrying blood component). The doctor said I need weekly IV iron infusions, however, "normal" people have serious reactions to iron and she believes it is too risky for me (with my drug reaction history) to try the IV iron infusions. My doctor wrote an appeal letter to the insurance to seek coverage on a prescription iron formula that might benefit me. My blood pressure was also low today.

I was just above the threshold of needing another Neupogen injection (Kevin gave me one on Wednesday). All CBC results were abnormal.

My doctor at the NIH e-mailed me with preliminary findings of their review of my MRI's. It appears that the marrow has been replaced by the leukemia and no normal marrow signals could be found in my vertebrae and hips. My estimation is that a great deal of my pain is coming from this marrow infiltration.

My spleen and lymph nodes have enlarged. My spleen tip is now back below my belly button (how is that for a medical term). I wasn't surprised about the spleen because I have not been able to sleep on my left side this week due to the spleen pain. It doesn't appear that the $160,000 worth of Rituxan treatments last summer gave me much "bang for my bucks"!

My toenail has been damaged from the nerve damage in my foot/leg/back. It had to be removed last night. I didn't want any more chemicals in my body, so I passed on the anesthetic. My daughter said, "Are you nuts, Mom?" That is quite possible .......

I have barely been able to keep going this week, so I initiated a discussion about Provigil or Ritalin to try to improve my strength. It has been used for fatigue in cancer patients (off-label). My doctor is going to do some research to see if either drug is one that I might be able to tolerate.

I have been reviewing a new treatment that is being studied in Phase 1 clinical trials. The agent is known as ISF35 - it is an immunotherapy treatment that will not further damage the immune system. Two end stage patients, like myself, achieved complete Minimal Residual Disease (negative) remissions. This is the deepest level of remission achievable by patients with my type of leukemia. Please pray that this agent will prove to be successful and will advance quickly through the clinical trial process. Currently, the drug is available only at the University of California San Diego and MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. I don't know that I could endure the travel required for the trials. I see glimmers of hope in this drug. May God offer wisdom to these researchers and allow this to be a possible treatment that could benefit me. It is being administered either via IV or as injections into the lymph nodes.

Which reminds me of a funny experience. Early into my leukemia journey, I researched a Canadian drug that was being studied in leukemia. It had to be injected into the lymph nodes in the groin - very, very s-l-o-w-l-y. Always the open minded guinea pig, eager to whip leukemia into the next universe, I decided to give this drug a try. We ordered it from Canada and my Mom was trained to administer the injections. Before the injections, an ice pack was to be placed on the groin to help numb the area. The needle had to be held in the lymph node and the medication dripped in over 7-10 minutes. My ice pack must have been TOO cold and I emerged with a dandy case of frost bite to the groin area. I went to the doctor and she diagnosed the frost bite and said that might be a medical first. Such is life as a human guinea pig..... I am pretty open to novel therapeutic options and perhaps God will open a door for me to this new ISF35 drug.

Thanks for your continued prayers!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What Do I Know of Holy?

Holy is defined as "devoted entirely to the Deity or the work of the Deity". The lyrics of this Addison Road's song, "What Do I Know of Holy" reverberate though my soul. The only means for us to "know holy" is to spend time in God's Word and in His presence. Only there can we learn how to hear His voice through the Holy Spirit or how and why we should fear God. Strolling through life, occupied by the trappings of this world, will never, ever allow us to "know holy". Only through His Word and the Holy Spirit operating in our lives are we able to know Him when He speaks.

The lyrics also impart to us the truth that so many people know something "about" God yet do not KNOW GOD. Head knowledge of a few Bible stories from childhood or a casual glimpse at the words of the Bible are not all that is required to be saved or to know Him. We only can know God in His entirety when we spend time worshipping Him, praying to Him, spending time in His presence, and studying His Word. Once we do these things, we catch "that glimpse of who He might be" and that is life transforming. When that occurs, our hearts become tender toward Him. We do not want to dishonor Him. We do not want to bring grief to Him.

I rejoice that He transformed my life and I have savored a taste of His holiness. He is the Lion of Judah, roaring with fire and fury against the one who turns from Him and He is the Lamb of God, tender and beautiful to His children.

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life "its" name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?


Friday, January 15, 2010

For Reflection

He asked for strength that he might achieve; he was made weak that he may obey.

He asked for health that he might do greater things; he was given infirmity that he might do better things.

He asked for riches that he might be happy; he was given poverty that he might be wise.

He asked for power that he might have the praise of men; he was given weakness that he might feel the need of God.

He asked for all things that he might enjoy life; he was given life that he might enjoy all things.

--Author Unknown

Thursday, January 14, 2010

An Update & Request for Prayer: January 14, 2010

Please continue praying. I have been very sick (you might have guessed that since I hadn't updated the blog). I saw the doctor Tuesday - on top of everything else, our family dog's claw scratched my arm. The doctor was concerned since I am immune compromised. She ordered it cleaned by Hibaclense and Bactroban slathered on it with the order to go to the hospital if it reddened or temperature worsened (difficult to discern temperature when I already had been running one since Sunday).

I felt poorly yesterday and my temperature increased, so I called the doctor. Blood had been coming out of my sinuses all day, so she was inclined to think that the fever and feeling so poorly is more sinus infection related than wound related. I added Biaxin and Tobramycin (2 additional antibiotics).

The doctor drew labs - everything single item on the CBC was in abnormal ranges yesterday - and I am very neutropenic again. I cannot go much longer than 3 days without Neupogen injections and then I am neutropenic again. Mom gave me my Neupogen injection as soon as the doctor e-mailed me. I had uncovered a study using Vitamin B3 to assist with neutropenia. My wonderful doctor located a source of it for me and I started that on Tuesday. We are hopeful that this will work for me and eliminate the need for all of these very expensive (and not without risks) treatment.

In addition, I take very large doses of Vitamin D3 (15000-up IU daily). On last week's labs, the level came back very low despite this dose (and I had been able to increase the level on the past tests). Now, she suspects that my GI tract is not absorbing nutrients. There is a test she wants for that but I just cannot cope with anything else right now.

I continue losing blood and ask your prayers for this since I am already anemic from the leukemia, this blood loss only worsens that. I don't want to have to receive a transfusion since the blood must be irradiated, leukodepleted and washed and that complicates things for me. If the bleeding does not stop, I will have to have a uterine ablation - a surgical procedure that we would rather avoid with low platelets and neutrophils.

Last night I walked and cried from the pain and feeling so poorly until 3 AM. This evening, I am beginning to see some decline in the fever and feel a bit better.

Next week, I will receive my IVIG treatment all day on Monday and I will see the Infectious Disease specialist in Indianapolis on Thursday. Please pray that all goes well with the IVIG and that I can see improvement, hour by hour, with the other concerns.

Loss of a Family Fur-Friend

Our family was saddened to lose a dear companion - our cat Holly Lynn. Our then small daughters (2nd and 1st grades) begged and pleaded for a cat, almost nineteen years ago. One day the school principal came over the intercom and announced to the students if anyone was interested in a kitten, to contact him. Three excited brown-haired little girls ran off the school bus with the news they had found their kitten! Since we picked her up shortly after Christmas, the girls named her Holly.

Holly lived with us until our oldest daughter married and Holly moved with them. She has been a loving companion to our family and we will sorely miss her. On Tuesday evening, she worsened and could barely stand. We met our twin daughters at the animal hospital and she was in kidney failure and failing quickly. The veterinarian recommended that we put her to sleep, given her age and the severity of her health status. And on that cold, snowy night we brought our beloved kitty home for the last time.

Last night we held her funeral. My husband built her a kitty coffin and we buried her wrapped up with her Ocean Whitefish cat food and other favorite treasures. We buried her in our flower garden with our beloved Golden Retriever who passed away four years ago next week. It is amazing the grip that our fur-friends have on our hearts. Holly, you will be missed by your loving family. Hope to see you in Heaven!

A Prayer for Today: January 14,2010

Precious Lord,

On this day, riddled with disaster and death in Haiti, and great suffering around all of us, remind us to praise You. The spirit of praise will lift the burden of heaviness in our hearts. You long to hear the praises of Your people. May each of us offer You words of thanksgiving and praise today (without looking at life circumstances).

Forgive us of our sins. I know that the practices of voodoo and other false religions are rampant in Haiti. And I know Your Word teaches us that ALL things can work together for GOOD for those Who LOVE you and are called according to Your purpose - open the blinded eyes of those in Haiti who have not known You. In the midst of disaster, draw these broken, hurting people unto You. Let each one seek You and Your gift of salvation. To see a nation saved for Your Kingdom and glory would make it all worth the suffering.

Do not let us give up our Hope in You, Father. Nothing is impossible - plant that truth deep in our spirits. Grant a special touch and measure of healing to those who are suffering in their bodies. Let our focus never rest on disease and disasters, let our focus always rest on You and Your Promises. When the world literally shakes to its core, let us not be shaken by anything that comes our way. We will love You and Praise You forever, dear Father.

In Jesus' Name I pray. AMEN. In Jesus' Mighty Name I pray. AMEN.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"While I'm Waiting"

A wise Christian woman once told me, "God always, always answers our prayers. Sometimes he replies with a YES, sometimes with a NO and sometimes with a WAIT." With regard to deliverance from leukemia my answer has been, "Wait patiently, child." Only eternity will reveal to me why I have had to wait. I am certain God has healed my body over and over again, otherwise I would not have survived leukemia and massive infections for nearly 14 years.

The truth of the matter regarding waiting is that most people become impatient and give up right before their prayer answers arrive. How sad that the doubt and weariness planted by Satan often rob believers of amazing answers to their prayers. As the wait for a petition to be answered is delayed, Christians become angry, impatient, and stomp off on a path that does not lead to God's answers.

Learning patience in regard to waiting for prayers to be answered is a timeless trait and one near to God's heart for us to master. The Bible, from cover to cover, is replete with writings on waiting. If you believe that waiting on God is something new to our Christian walks, think again.

Psalm 25:5
Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.

Psalm 27:14
Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!

Psalm 33:20
Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.

Psalm 40:1
I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.

Psalm 130:5
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.

Psalm 130:6
My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning— yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint

Lamentations 3:25
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.

Micah 7:7
Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

Romans 8:25
But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

As I wait for answers to prayers my mouth have uttered, I pray that my life models the lyrics of this John Waller song. I want to remain hopeful, patient, peaceful, and worshipful as I wait. I pray my heart will continue to seek to serve Him, even if it is only with my written words, penned with prayer and praise, as I await my answers.

Lyrics to While I'm Waiting by John Waller

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You


Angel Gabriel

Recently while we attended an ice show, the conclusion featured an awesome ice-carved, life-sized nativity. Across from the main stable scene, was this large angel - probably 15 feet or more in height. The Angel Gabriel - Champion of God - grabbed my attention. My spirit leaped as I envisioned God's protecting angels - warrior angels - this large, surround my loved ones and me. Forget the little angel replicas we often see, I am believing that our guardian angels are as strong and mighty as this artistic interpretation.

In Luke we read: "When Gabriel appeared before Mary, he announced: 'Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, 'Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!'

But when she saw him,she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end'.”

Parents, Beware!

Parents and grandparents need to be vigilant with regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child(CRC). Please bring yourself up to date on this threatening treaty of the United Nations. This treaty, a looming threat to parents and their rights, is nothing new - I recall rallying against this UN proposal, in the 1990's as we home schooled our children and wanted to defend that right that we cherished as parents (in addition to numerous other parental rights).

Madeline Albright, past U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child on behalf of the United States, however, the treaty was never sent to the Senate for ratification. This treaty looms again over our nation as the likes of Senator Barbara Boxer supports its ratification by our government.

Two vital aspects of this treaty are:

Government can override parental decisions on the best interest of the child without proof of abuse, neglect, or harm.
Children have legally enforceable rights to complain about parental decision-making in every area of their life, including religious and educational decisions.

To review this treaty in its entirety, go to:

An excellent summary of this frightening proposal is offered on the HSLDA website, written by Michael Farris, JD. In part, this summary states:

Ten things you need to know about the structure of the CRC:

It is a treaty which creates binding rules of law. It is no mere statement of altruism. (1)

Its effect would be binding on American families, courts, and policy-makers.(2)

Children of other nations would not be impacted or helped in any direct way by our ratification. (3)

The CRC would automatically override almost all American laws on children and families because of the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause in Article VI. (4)

The CRC has some elements that are self-executing, others would require implementing legislation. Federal courts would have the power to determine which provisions were self-executing. (5)

The courts would have the power to directly enforce the provisions that are self-executing.(6)

Congress would have the power to directly legislate on all subjects necessary to comply with the treaty. This would be the most massive shift of power from the states to the federal government in American history.(7)

A committee of 18 experts from other nations sitting in Geneva has the authority to issue official interpretations of the treaty which are entitled to binding weight in American courts and legislatures. This effectively transfers ultimate policy authority for all policies in this area to this foreign committee. (8)

Under international law, the treaty overrides even our Constitution. (9)

Reservations, declarations, or understandings intended to modify our duty to comply with this treaty will be void if they are determined to be inconsistent with the object and purpose of the treaty. (10)

Ten things you need to know about the substance of the CRC:

Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.(11)

A murderer aged 17 years and 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.(12)

Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion. (13)

The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent’s decision. (14)

A child’s “right to be heard” would allow them to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed. (15)

This treaty has been interpreted to make it illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children’s welfare. (16)

Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure. (17)

Teaching children about Christianity in schools has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC. (18)

Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC. (19)

Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services without parental knowledge or consent. (20)


1 Page 3, paragraph 1 of this document and pages 17–19.

2 Pages 4–5 of this document, and pages 17–19.

3 Page 5, paragraph 4 of this document, and footnote 22.

4 Pages 17–19 of this document.

5 Page 21, paragraphs 1–2 of this document.

6 Pages 8–9 of this document.

7 Page 5 of this document.

8 Page 9 of this document.

9 Page 4 of this document.

10 Pages 19–20 of this document.

11 Page 5, paragraphs 4–5 of this document.

12 Page 15, paragraph 1 of this document.

13 Page 27, paragraph 4 of this document.

14 Pages 10–12 of this document.

15 Page 26 of this document.

16 Page 9, paragraph 2 of this document.

17 Page 15, paragraph 1 of this document.

18 The American Bar Association, which supports the CRC, said that a Christian school’s refusal to teach “alternate worldviews” would “fly in the face of article 29” of the treaty. Children’s Rights in America: U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child Compared with United States Law, Cynthia Price Cohen and Howard Davidson, ed., (1990) p. 182. Ms. Cohen was a member of the Ad Hoc NGO Group on the Drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Mr. Davidson is the Director of the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law. The book was published by the ABA in 1990 and is available from that organization. It is cited throughout as (ABA).

19 Pages 12–14 of this document.

20 Supra, and pages 26–27.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sixteen Months of Amazement

Sixteen months ago my eyes locked with two of the brownest little eyes I have ever seen. Lil Man was born and so was a Grammy - all on that special day. I can vividly recall all the "firsts" we have shared with him - his first diaper, first photo, first bath, first car ride, and first day he stayed with me. Sixteen months of amazement have come and gone. A little life is growing faster than we ever imagined (or hoped).

No one ever told me what a delight being a Grandmother would be. My grandmother-friends would share stories and photos, however, I never dreamed what a special day it would be when I joined that elite club (Grandmas Rule).

Lil Man's last month has been filled with many special events - visiting Santa, going to church with Grammy on Christmas Eve, opening gifts on Christmas morning, his vacation to Nashville, making snowballs and baking cookies on a cold Sunday night, and one other amazing feat that I am about to announce!

It all began when Lil Man's Mommy placed a new Elmo Potty Chair in the bathroom. No one really anticipated that he would show much interest in the colorful chair in the corner. But preparations were in place should the urge to abandon ship on the diapers ever appear. Boy, did Lil Man ever surprise us. Within minutes, he was signaling to his Mommy, CEO of all things potty-related, that he knew what to do and how to do it! No training required for this Lil Man. I had three daughters and never saw any of them take off with potty training like this and I always had heard boys were more of a challenge to potty train.

Onward to our seventeenth month with the world's greatest little boy! Who can imagine what he might be doing for me to report next month? Reading? Driving the car? Mastering a second language? That is a wonderful aspect about being a Grammy - I can ramble and rant and rave about this little person and everyone just tolerates it and says, "Just go along with her comments, she must be a grandmother!"

He Is

Lyrics by Mark Schultz

Father, let the world just fade away
Let me feel your presence in this place
Lord, I’ve never been so weary
How I need to know you’re near me
Father, let the world just fade away

Till I’m on my knees
Till my heart can sing

He is
He was
He always will be

Even when it feels like there is no one holding me
Be still, my soul
He is

Father, let your Holy Spirit sing
Let it calm the storm inside of me
As I stand amazed
Lift my hands and say

He is
He was
He always will be

He lives
He loves
He’s always with me

Even when it feels like there is no one holding me
Be still, my soul
Through every fear
And every doubt
And every tear I shed
Down every road
I’m not alone
No matter where I am

He is
He was
And He always will be

He lives
He loves
He’s always with me
Even when it feels like there is no one holding me
Be still, my soul
Be still, and know
Be still, my soul
He is

The Joy of Obedience

A friend sent me this devotion written by Charles Stanley. Its message is vital to our having blessed lives with the promise of eternal life. Disobedience to God may feel right or good for a moment, but there will always, always be consequences. The sooner we master this principle, the sooner we will reap God's blessings and joy in our lives.

Consider this story. Before leaving for work one morning, a father says to his son, "Straighten your room, take out the garbage, and sweep the driveway." When Dad comes home, the son explains his approach to the chore list: "Well, Dad, the garbage can was only half full. And, I figured nobody would see my room. But I cleaned the driveway, just as you said."

How many of us treat God the same way? We approach Him with rationalizations and arguments instead of submission.

Many people associate obedience with raising children—particularly when they see one misbehaving. Submission to God’s will, however, is important at every stage of a believer’s maturity. As our faith grows, obedience becomes a cornerstone of fellowship with our Father. Through it, He teaches us more about His love and precepts while drawing us closer to Himself.

Oddly, physical maturity can diminish our obedience. An adult believer may tell himself that he has learned to live righteously and therefore no longer needs to make a concentrated effort. In a short time, he will find himself far off the path God intended, wandering around with a pile of rags he thinks are righteous acts (Isa. 64:6). Disobedience says to the Lord, “I know better than You how to govern my life.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. We might think our rationalizations sound convincing, but God isn't fooled. He requires complete obedience. When we decide to follow only portions of His will, we choose rebellion. Anytime we step outside God's will for our lives, we can expect consequences for not following the right path.

Scripture and church members are full of stories to prove that obedient submission is the only way to experience deep, lasting joy. Nothing good can come from rebelling against the Lord, and nothing bad can come from obeying Him—even physical death for the sake of following the Lord is better than denying His will.

Obedience is the pathway to wisdom and blessing. When we conform our will to God’s, we place our hope and trust in the One who created us and loves us without condition.

A life well lived is one in which our eyes are focused upon the Lord, our ears are open to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit, and our hearts feast on Scripture. When we choose this existence, we guarantee ourselves the finest that God has to offer.

There is no second best for the obedient child of the Father.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Faith Challenge

",,,,,In the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform." (Romans 4:17-21)

Power explodes from these Words. When I read and meditate on certain passages of Scripture, instantly my mind and spirit realize how intensely life changing they can be for me. And this is one of those passages of Scriptures. Abraham's acts of faith are numerous and impressive. I long for that degree of faith in my own life. Here, he is an old, old man and his wife, Sarah, is an old, old woman and they are trusting God for Sarah to become pregnant to bear Abraham a son. To me, that is faith deserving to be replicated by us. Several points in this passage are worth our attention.

It is established that Abraham "believed God". If we are lacking in this basic spiritual foundation, we have nothing but shaking sand to build our lives upon. I want the bedrock of faith in God that guarantees, no matter what I have to face in this life, I will not be shaken to despondency and hopelessness.

God's ways are never our ways. This passage reminds us: "God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did". I cling to these words - God IS the giver of life (even to the dead). Life is a priceless commodity, especially for end stage cancer patients. Too many times to enumerate, my Lord has reached down and rescued me from the brink of death. He does give life! Praises be to His Name! And, since we are wise to follow God's example, what do these verses tell us? That God "calls those things which do not exist as though they did". Midway through this leukemia battle, I began to study a great deal on the importance in the spiritual realm of the words we utter with our mouths. Of the life-changing studies I have done, this one has proven to be vital to my lengthy survival, despite overwhelming odds. From hospital beds, I have uttered these words over and over as death loomed at the door: "For by Me your days will be multiplied and years added unto your life" (Proverbs 9:11). "Give attention to My Words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes for they are LIFE to those who find them and HEALTH to all their flesh." (Proverbs 4:20). I don't meditate on these words as a futile exercise - I am obeying God's example to "call those things which do not exist as though they do". His Word has not failed me.

We are told about Abraham, "And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead..." Although 100 years old, Abraham's faith did not waiver in his belief that God would bless him with a son born of Sarah. He did not look at his aged body. He believed. He trusted God. Circumstances did not inflict doubt on his prayer. This is a tough assignment. How many of us can have a life-threatening diagnosis tossed our direction and not waiver or flinch? Yet, this is precisely the instructions God has given to us through His Holy Word. Circumstances and situations must never cloud our spiritual vision. We must not doubt God due to the difficulties that approach our lives.

Abraham's actions are memorialized in these God-breathed words: "He did not waiver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform." We need to take heed and listen and word by word, ingest this passage of Scripture. We need to memorize it. We need to imitate Abraham - he did not waiver; he did not allow unbelief to interfere; difficult times only strengthened his faith; he continued to praise and give glory to His Father; and he was" fully convinced" that God was going to do what He promised to do.

In my humble opinion, if Christians will make a concerted effort to obey the example that Abraham has left for us in these Holy Words, our lives will be changed immensely. Problems and life situations when faced with the power and example of God's Word are eradicated and Satan is placed promptly in the corner. Impossible situations suddenly appear possible when anointed with the faith of a believer, touched by the power of All Mighty God. God is unchanging - His Word tells us this fact. If He orchestrated a birth for an aged couple who believed, He will perform no less impressive miracles for those of us who love and serve Him.

Let us not be weak in our faith.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

You have probably heard the adage, "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!" The terminology originated from an Italian western starring Clint Eastwood. The Italian pronunciation being "il buono, il brutto, il cattivo". And it referred to their search for gold in the midst of battles, prison camps and other downsides of the hunt for treasure.

Searching for cancer treatments could be prefaced with the same phrase. The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. I have yet to discover a cancer treatment that I have required that was not without significant side effects and risks. Thus, I place those risks on a balance scale and seek to determine if the benefits will truly outweigh the risks - otherwise known as the bad and ugly side of modern medicine.

For instance, IVIG is the treatment that I take every 28 days that supposedly offers "the good" benefit of supporting my damaged immune system. Monthly, I request pray and pray myself that the known risks of kidney damage or infections from blood-borne pathogens will not compromise my body. These "bad" side effects are serious yet, thus far, I have believed that the potential for protection from infections has outweighed these potential side effects.

Then yesterday, I uncovered a recently released medical journal article where "the ugly" side of IVIG becomes very obvious, very quickly. And it is a very ugly discovery that I am now going to have to reevaluate against the potential for the IVIG to benefit me. This article details how a patient with the same leukemia that I have was given IVIG and within hours, had a heart attack that was followed by a stroke. He died shortly thereafter. It is believed that these thromboembolic events (blood clot induced) were a result of the IVIG. The study also points out that patients with a history of past thromboembolic events (I have had a blood clot in my lung also known as a pulmonary embolus) are at higher risk for this complication.

When the natural side of my life reviews these bad and ugly risks of treatments that I supposedly need to survive, life can become very dark and frightening. My brain shuts down. My heart races. Confusion attempts to set in. I am certain, only by living a life where I rely upon the Holy Spirit, can I make these disturbing decisions based on my best interest. When I feel that unsteadiness in my spirit, I can rest assured that the Holy Spirit is attempting to bridle my own knowledge and opinions and "steer" them in the direction that only God Alone knows is best for me. This is part of the reason that I depend upon the prayers of so many believers. I have to make too many life or death decisions for myself each and every week to rely upon my own human instinct. I am grateful to God Almighty for his gift of the Holy Spirit!

I encourage you not to be perplexed or overwhelmed when people talk about the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 precisely explains to us: "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'." And Luke 11:13 informs us: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him."

Carefully consider these Scriptures. We learn that the Holy Spirit is a gift that our Father bestows upon His children. Yet, Acts 2:38 teaches us that there are some prerequisites to receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. We cannot live a life replete with sin and expect to ever hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit or sense His guiding our steps and decisions. We must repent of our sins and believe in Jesus as our Savior. Then the pathway to the power of the Holy Spirit is paved for us.

An Update & Request for Prayer: January 7, 2010

A quick update - I had labs drawn early this morning (the drive to the doctor's office took 40 minutes versus 20 minutes due to the wind and snow). Several concerns emerged .....

-I am severely neutropenic (again). I am awaiting the arrival of the B3 that my doctor ordered for me to try to see if the chronic neutropenia can be reversed or improved. Neupogen injection again tonight. We don't like this indicator of a failing bone marrow. Please pray for this to reverse and for the insurance company to be generous and not stop payment on these frequent injections (cost is over $400 per injection).

-My lymphocyte percentage is back to 96 percent which is the highest it has been since my half-dose Rituxan in June-Sept 2009. My informed readers know that lymphocytes are what are cancerous in my case. Unless a major new drug breakthrough occurs, there are probably no further treatment that I can survive.

-My iron levels are almost non-existent in the blood. My last bone marrow biopsy showed that the iron stores there are absent. This is contributing to my low hemoglobin, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Insurance is refusing to cover the drug the doctors want me to take to assist with this.

-My thyroid levels indicate a substantial worsening of hypothyroidism. I need to do some research, I am not certain what would cause this worsening of this condition.

-Liver enzymes were elevated. I am suspicious that this is related to all of the medication I am taking. Leukemia can infiltrate the liver and I have a spot on CT that doctors have been monitoring on my liver but it has remained stable.

We are awaiting the NIH review of my MRI's on my spine and hips - I am still battling this bone pain.

Thank you for your continued prayers. We are under a winter storm warning due to high winds, frigid temperatures and blowing and drifting snow - please pray for safe travel as our daughters all have substantial commutes to their places of employment.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

364 Other Days of Christmas

The celebrations and chaos of the Christmas holiday have passed. Gifts, parties, cards, carols, trees, decorations, and tidings of comfort and joy have come and gone. Jesus has fought and attempted to squirm His way into each celebration - disappointed that His day is now referred to as a Holi-day and not Christ-mas. He must weep as government officials vote to remove the nativity scenes and Christmas trees from city halls and other public buildings. Greeting cards declare HAPPY HOLIDAYS or SEASON'S GREETINGS. The one and only day that Christmas is celebrated is being watered down and downplayed by a secular society, bent on being politically correct.

As a Christian, I had a revelation this past weekend. The company had left. The decorations were being packed and returned to their storage home for the next 11 months. The gifts were unwrapped and being utilized. The hubbub of Christmas, the holiday, had drawn to another finale. And in the midst of the final motions of celebrating Christmas were concluding, I sensed the Holy Spirit guiding my heart to a new revelation.

I am going to allow the world to impose December 25th on the calendar as "the" day we are to celebrate Christ's birth. And I am going to hope and pray for Christians to make a stand against judges and other God-less leaders who attempt to snatch Christ out of Christmas. Then I am going to begin my 364 day celebration of Christmas. Each day I am making a dedicated effort to thank God for sending his Son to this earth on that holiest of nights. It seems to me that such an event is worth celebrating every day, and not just on December 25th. I anticipate in my newly formatted plan to celebrate the birth of Christ each day is going to be life transforming for me. I want to study the details about His birth. I want to reflect and savor the emotions of young Mary as she carried and delivered the Christ Child. I long to have the quiet outside of December's hectiness, to focus on the true meaning of Christ and His arrival on earth. I yearn to celebrate His birth without the distractions that the December 25th celebration impose.

As I enter into my daily celebration of Christ's birth, I will give the gift of prayer to those I love. I have never been so impressed as to pray for the lives and souls of my loved ones in 2010. Instead of a push to address and drop Christmas cards in the mailbox for a December delivery, I am going to attempt to encourage others with sending weekly cards to those who are hurting or lonely. I have just begun to orchestrate all that I will do during my year long Christmas celebration. I do know that the simple decision to purposefully focus on Christ's birth and all that Jesus represents to each of us, will be life-altering for any of us who take time to be in His presence.

Would you like to join me on my 364 day Christmas Celebration?

Isaiah 9:6:
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

My Prayer for 2010

Recently I have listened to the John Waller song, While I'm Waiting. And each time I listen to this song, I realize that the lyrics are the cry from my heart for this time and season of my life. I have been waiting. I am waiting. I will continue to wait for my body to be healed and restored. Some might question why this leukemia battle has been ongoing for over 13 years despite our prayers and pleas to God. Yet, I know with certainty, that I have been blessed and healed many times over - my body continues to defy the "predictions" of the brightest medical minds. Remember, God's ways are not our ways! Prayers have been answered and continue to be answered. Please, do not cease praying.

These lyrics are going to be my prayer for 2010.

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait
I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting I will serve You
While I'm waiting I will worship
While I'm waiting I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord


Sunday, January 3, 2010


We took our grandson to experience the ICE! show while in Nashville.
Over thirty Chinese ice carvers were brought to sculpt the scenes from
A Charlie Brown Christmas
with 2 million pounds of ice.
The ice was colored
and everything you view in these photographs is colored ice.
It was a chilling (9 degree), extraordinary experience for all of us.

Gaylord Opryland Resort

These photographs are from the Gaylord Opryland Resort.
It is a beautiful place to visit and at Christmas,
the nine acre hotel comes alive with life-sized nativities and lights
too beautiful to describe.
I will allow my photographs to illustrate .......

Wish You Were Here

When I hear this Mark Harris song, I always sense that the lyrics are ones that I would want to sing back to my loved ones, once I am residing in Heaven. Or if I could pen a letter on Heavenly stationery and send it back to earth on wings and a prayer, this is what I would write or sing to those I love the very most, as a reminder that I live on - forever - in Heaven.

Take a listen and consider that Heaven is a place none of us should ever want to risk missing .......

I wanted to tell you how closely
I've kept the memories of you in my heart
And all of the lifetimes that we had to share
Live even though we're apart but don't cry for me
'Cause I'm finally free

To run with the angels
On streets made of gold
To listen to stories of saints new and old
To worship our Maker
That's where I'll be
When you finally find me

No don't you be weary cause waiting for you
Are wonders that you've never known
Just hold on to Jesus, reach out for his hands
And one day
They'll welcome you home
And that's when you'll be
Finally free, finally free

I wish you were here, I wish you were here
And all of the dreams that you treasure
Will soon come together
And that's when your sorrow will find tomorrow
And you will rise again

We'll run with the angels on streets made of gold
We'll listen to stories of saints new and old
We'll worship our maker that's where we'll be
When you finally find me I wish you were here