Carol Wilson Update

Stage 4 Cancer brought many challenges--and also a host of loving and praying friends. Almost-daily postings to this site are to help my friends walk with me through this journey, and to express my gratitude to them and especially to God...On 7/8/08 Carol passed through that final curtain of death and is now healed. We thank God for her life and "arrival"! Chuck

Saturday, March 31, 2007


Our time at the lake has been refreshing. Lots of walking and talking and laughing.

We’re heading over to Bluffton this afternoon, anticipating a good time with the friends there. This evening we’ll have dinner at their church and then hear Steve Chapman speak. Tomorrow morning Steve and Annie Chapman will sing and no doubt speak in the worship service. And after that, we’ll start on our very long trip back to Charlotte. I’m sure there won’t be a blog at all on Sunday.

I started reading the book of Judges this morning. Every time I do, I want to cry. It says the people of Israel faithfully followed the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and all the old people who remembered His miraculous deeds of deliverance and guidance and the conquest. Apparently, when the last of the rememberers died, the people lapsed into their “natural” behavior, which was to rebel against the Lord and worship the local idols. Isn’t that sad? I guess the issue for all of us is how to internalize our commitment to God to such an extent that even after we lose our mentors, we remain faithful. Every day we need the humility to realize that within us is the potential to rebel or forget. I hate it, but I think it’s true. When Joshua said, “Choose this day whom you will serve,” maybe he meant literally that it would be a daily choice: choose today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and every day, whom you will serve.

See you Monday.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Thankful Heart

Our trip Thursday was lovely. Friends came along, and our conversations were wonderful. Stopped at a glass-blowing studio along the Ohio River; what creative artists! Now we’re at the lake, where the swans are once again swimming around at the dock. We hope they’ll soon create a nest and start a family. The house is full of joy with our guests and family members.

You’ll recall that we keep a devotional book on the back of each of the toilets in the bathrooms here. This morning I read, based on John 13, the three things Jesus talked about as He was preparing His followers for His departure. First, He spoke of the cross and the sacrifice He would accomplish there for our redemption. Second, He talked about and demonstrated the high way of servanthood. Third, He taught about the Person Who would take His place here after Jesus left, the Holy Spirit. The author said that if Jesus chose these topics as His most significant teaching points, we should do the same.

On Saturday we’re heading over to Bluffton, Ohio, where we’ll spend the night with folks at the Mennonite Church and will worship with them on Sunday. They come to Charlotte every February to help SIM for a week. They’re a great group of Christians.

I’m not sure when I’ll have internet access again. Should be back to normal Monday morning.

Have a blessed weekend.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Off on a trip

Early this morning we’re leaving for a 4-day trip, so postings will be erratic Friday through Sunday. Assume I’m okay. Saturday evening and Sunday morning we’ll be with our friends at Ebenezer Mennonite Church in Bluffton, Ohio. They’re the folks who come to SIM for a week every February, bringing a trailer load of delicious farm products, and working as only Mennonites know how in our kitchens, grounds, and offices. It sounds as though their whole church exists for mission, both at home and abroad. We are so looking forward to visiting them.

Chuck has created a spreadsheet that tracks all my lab reports throughout this journey with “little c.” I see that a reading of hemoglobin 11.8 really is the highest it’s been when I’m on a taxene-based kemo, both a year ago and now. In between were two other protocols that allowed the CA 125 to keep rising (not good), but also allowed a higher hemoglobin (good). Of course, the cancer broke through the first taxene-based drug last year in April, so there’s no way of predicting what will happen this time. God knows. He cares. He’s in control. He wins. We’re okay.

This discussion puts me in mind to think about science. Dr. Francis S. Collins directed the highly successful Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health. He is also a deeply committed follower of Christ. An atheist for many years, he was nevertheless impressed by some patients who showed strong faith in God despite terrible suffering. At last, he says, “Something came to me. As a scientist, I had always insisted on collecting rigorous data before drawing a conclusion. And yet, in matters of faith, I had never collected any data at all. I did not know what I had rejected. So I decided I should be a little better grounded in my atheism. I had better find out what this is all about.” He was advised to read the Gospel of John, then C S Lewis’ Mere Christianity. He continues, “I realized … that I needed to study the Creator. After struggling many months, I realized that if there was a God, He was holy and I was not. I realized for the first time just how flawed a person I was. I then recognized what Christ did by providing a bridge between God and all His holiness and me and all my unholiness. Finally I gave in….” Then about 12 years ago came the call to the NIH, with the resulting science of genomics, which I think will unwrap powerful medical benefits in coming years. He says, “Scientists who are Christians have a critical role to play in this genomic revolution both as scientists and as contributors to the ethical discussions. ... I think scientist-believers are the most fortunate. We have the opportunity to explore the natural world at a time in history where mysteries are being revealed almost on a daily basis. We have the opportunity to perceive the unraveling of those mysteries in a special perspective that is an uncovering of God’s grandeur. This is a particularly wonderful form of worship.”



Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I could have predicted this good news. Ever since two weeks ago, when I was complaining about fatigue caused by low hemoglobin, I’ve sensed a growing energy level. The past few nights I haven’t even felt like going to bed before 9:00 (except last night, of course). A friend was praying that my hemoglobin would dip below 11 so the insurance company would cover the injection that wakes up the bone marrow and motivates it to make more red blood cells. But that’s a slow process. God did something better. He boosted my count to 11.8. I haven’t done anything different, so I’m sure He did it, in answer to prayer.

I’m uncomfortable to talk so much about my cancer and treatment, but I hope for many (most) of you it’s the closest you’ll ever come to the little “c.” (Some people call cancer the Big “C,” but we save that name for Christ Who conquers cancer in the end anyway.)

The doctor’s greatest concern with continuing this regimen is the neuropathy (tingling and numbness) in my feet. I’m also concerned about the growing damage to my toenails from the taxene. So during the infusion yesterday I kept dipping my toes in ice water for as long as I could stand it. We hope that kept the kemo from traveling there.

Now a word about joy from Richard Foster. “God’s normal means of bringing His joy is by redeeming and sanctifying the ordinary junctures of human life … When the power that is in Jesus reaches into our work and play and redeems them, there will be joy where once there was mourning … Celebration comes when the common ventures of life are redeemed.” (From The Celebration of Discipline)

So let’s reach out to the common ventures of this day, looking for the redemption Christ brings to every dimension of life.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

An Appeal for Kindness

Another round of kemo this morning. It is surely God's kindness that enables me to absorb these toxins without great bodily damage. We're trusting Him for the blood count numbers and for the port to work well. And, of course, for the kemo to do its duty against the cancer cells.

If you've been with me for awhile, you know that "kindness" is my word for this year. So I'll use an appeal to kindness in my comments about the growing number of email messages that appear to be trying to stir up hatred against a large religious group. May I suggest, before your finger makes its automatic trip up to click "forward" when you get one of them, that you pause and pray for this group of people? Remember that God loves them, each one. Then read the message critically. Do the words and attitudes expressed sound like Jesus? Are you sure all the "facts" are really true? If you sent it to your circle of acquaintances, what would be their likely response? Would it evoke godly and legal action? Or would it simply spread terror?

Jesus said, "Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you" (Luke 6:27-28). And He showed us the way: "Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in His steps. He never sinned, and He never deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when He was insulted. When He suffered, He did not threaten to get even. He left His case in the hands of God, Who always judges fairly" (1 Peter 2:20-23). Please don't misunderstand; I'm not making a political comment on how a nation should defend itself. I'm only addressing individual Christians, including myself, and urging kind and compassionate attitudes towards adherents of this religious group, even though some individuals among them are determined to destroy christendom.

After kemo today I'll probably rest most of the afternoon. I hope your day is great.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Jeremy says thanks

Jeremy reports that his fever and headache are gone, and he's on antibiotics for the infection in his multi-colored foot. No explanation yet about the origin of the trouble. He lanced it last evening and promised to spare us the gory details. Ibrahim is asking for Bible studies twice a day, wanting to learn as much as he can before Jeremy leaves Niger.

Yesterday morning we went to City Church to observe the kids' program, since we plan to work with the director in the Justice Project children's outreach in Optimist Park. Deep breath. What energy! She's beginning a series of lessons on God's Word as the foundation for our lives. She asked if we thought we should use the same material for our outreach. Oh yes. I am more and more convinced that His words are even more essential than our daily food. A snag has come up regarding the venue where we were going to meet, so it looks like the start will be delayed. We need to pray. A local high school senior, whom I "met" through her comments on this blog, went with us yesterday and is planning to help. I'm very excited about that.

"I will be with you." Those are the words that God said to Moses in support of His "impossible" call to deliver His people from slavery in Egypt and lead them to the promised land. He also said those same words to Joshua, Moses' successor. And more than a thousand years later, Jesus said to His followers, "I am with you always." That adds a plural and permanent feature to the promise. His followers who heard Him say the words eventually died (most of them violently for their faith), but the "always" means the promise is still good today. Whatever today holds for us, it also holds His presence. Celebrate!


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Please pray for Jeremy

Grandson Jeremy in Niger needs prayer. His foot is swollen and infected and he has a fever and a headache. Those are the only details he put in his blog yesterday. (I didn't check it until late last evening.) There are lots of strange and scary germs out there; please pray that God will heal him, and that if necessary he'll be able to find medical help. (He's still in Niamey, the big city.) He asked prayer for another big need: his friend Ibrahim made his way to Niamey yesterday. Jeremy takes this as another opportunity to study the Bible with him and help him grow stronger in his new faith. Normally they walk around for hours as they talk--not easy with a diseased foot. We're praying that Ibrahim will connect so strongly and personally with God that none of the massive forces aligned against him will be able to destroy his faith or his life.

My chronological Bible reading has brought me to the book of Joshua. I was captivated by God's sense of priorities in Joshua 5:15. Joshua was preparing the people of Israel to take Jericho, their first battle after crossing the Jordan River. He walked alone towards the city, maybe at night. He encountered someone who turned out to be either an angel or maybe the Lord Himself. Joshua asked, "What do you want me to do?" And the holy One said, "Take off your sandals, for this is holy ground." Interesting! With such a big battle to prepare for, and the welfare of the entire nation on his shoulders, his first assignment was to worship. Then receive instructions from God. Then go out and get to work. We are silly and ineffective when we reverse that order.

Yesterday we took our guests to Kings Mountain, site of a key battle (October 7, 1780) in the revolutionary war. War is horrible, no matter where or when! It was a gorgeous day, and we walked the paved up-and-down trail that encircles the battlefield. I remembered the last time we did that; it was during the summer before my diagnosis. I was so short-winded that at times I doubted if I could make the climbs. Yesterday I kept up with the others with no problem. It was a sweet reminder of how much God is doing for me day by day. Thank you so much for your continuing care and prayers.

Have a blessed Sunday. Or, for you in the south Pacific and Asia, I hope your Sunday was blessed.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Watching for God

Sometimes it seems that God fades from view in the clamor and busyness of everyday life. I hate that. He deserves to be the focus, even when we're concentrating hard on a task--whether it's housework, correspondence, our profession, or shopping. Joni Eareckson Tada tells about a time when her husband Ken surprised her with a bouquet of roses. She says, "They took my breath away--and not simply because of their lush texture and color, but because they were so different from everything else around me . . . brass and glass, plastic and metal, tile and paint. Everything around me was machined and manmade. Everything but the roses . . . . Nature is only a name for an effect. And the cause is God. The touch is His . . . from a lowly daisy to a queenly rose . . . from a tiny pine seedling to a towering redwood . . . from the whisper of April wind in the cherry tree to the crashing of a storm-driven surf. Bring something into your home or office today that reminds you of his creative touch. Let these God-breathed, God-caused touches remind you of your real home."

So I'm taking inventory. In almost every room I find at least one object that's God-made: seashells, dried hydrangea, grape-hyacinth in a tiny vase, an orchid plant. Problem is that I was ignoring the message calling to me from those lovely objects: God made me! Think about Him! (I still really appreciate all the manmade objects that make life comfortable, as well as the medicines that help us live. I'm not promoting a back-to-nature survival. I'm only urging myself to a back-to-God thought life.)

I'm feeling well again this morning. The daughter of Chuck's cousin is coming with her fiance for the day. We're looking forward to their visit, and now I must prepare...


Friday, March 23, 2007


Many years ago a house guest handed me a note with the above string of letters. Then she explained that they stand for "Please be patient; God is not finished with me yet." (She'd got it from Bill Gothard, a popular teacher at the time.) I thought of it again yesterday when I heard someone say on the radio, "The worst thing imaginable is to have the inspectors show up when you're half finished with a job and slap a 'rejected' report on it." I wonder if that's how God feels when I, using my "gift" for seeing what's wrong with anyone or anything, criticize a person whom He is still working on. We are all, especially me, works in progress. I do believe we should encourage one another to grow up, and surely there are times for personal confrontation. But criticize a fellow struggler who is in God's hands? No, He's not finished yet.

Thanks for all the encouraging messages I received after announcing the CA 125 drop to 88.51 yesterday. It reminds me how many are supporting us in love and prayer as we wait to see what God will do.

Have a blessed day.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Thank You, Lord. The CA 125 has dropped again. (A year ago, when it was dropping, the doctor was wishing for a reading below 15, so I'll keep hoping for that.)

I meant to include include in my early-morning blog this acronym from today's reading in indeed:
F.E.A.R.==False Evidence Appearing Real

Blessings, and thanks,

Refugee from Fear

Yesterday we had a guest for dinner. In the morning I'd said, "Oh, it would be so nice to be able to eat outside, but the weather forecast promises a cold front moving in." Surprise! The day stayed warm and I got my wish. I'm loving spring.

Our dear nurse accessed a vein for blood yesterday morning with no trouble. This morning I should get the CA 125 report. Last month I simply added the number inside the day's blog, and several people watched in vain throughout the day for a new posting. So this time I'll do a new posting when I get the report. Last evening my unruly mind went astray. "What will I do if the numbers rise?" Almost at once I pulled it back to the real reality. I will still FROG. Even more important, God will still be in control. No more "what if's."

Today's reading in my chronological Bible includes this affirming promise: "The eternal God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are under you" (Deuteronomy 33:27). A refugee from fear, I am safely carried by Him.

Fully Relying on God,

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Happy Birthday, Johann --- sDg

sDg. These initials stand for the Latin phrase “Soli Deo Gloria,” to God alone be the glory. Johann Sebastian Bach, who was born on this date (March 21) in 1685, signed “sDg” at the close of his compositions. He loved God, and he wanted Him to get pleasure from the music he created. Writing the initials “sDg” wasn't especially spiritual; it was the sublime craftsmanship Bach put into his work that made it worthy of the glory of God. (Some of my happiest and most trying hours as a music student long ago were spent trying to master his intricate creations.)

I doubt if Bach’s greatness will ever be exceeded. But, you know, all of us can sign “sDg” at the close of every day if we have done our work (or our play or our relationships) with excellence. That would be a great goal for the remaining days of Lent. May it be so! Soli Deo Gloria!

Each day I’ve been feeling a little better. I’m indebted to the cancer patients who participated in testing this kemo drug some years ago; they proved that it’s too difficult to get it every week, but three weeks on and one week off is tolerable. I’m very glad that I’m not heading up for another kemo today. I will get blood drawn for a CA 125 test, and sometime Thursday I can let you know what the number is.

We ate dinner in our back garden last evening. Ah, spring! Today is supposed to be cooler again, but yesterday was fabulous.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

He Wins

Last Friday I closed a paragraph of the blog with one short sentence, “He wins,” speaking about God, of course. A friend (who is himself being monitored for cancer progress) wrote, “How great to say, War…He wins! Slavery, all kinds…He wins! Global warming…He wins! Grief…He wins! Cancer…He wins! Nothing in the universe can overcome the simple fact…He wins!” What a great way to face the day, knowing that the One who wins is infinitely good and kind.

Our friend with back pain was able to get in for a shot yesterday morning literally moments before her doctor was leaving for the day. She says it can take a week or more to know how effective it was, but oh, how we’re praying that she’ll get some lasting relief.

Thank you for your prayers. I know God is answering.

I was awake a little while in the night and relived a terrifying yet satisfying memory. One of our daughters went from her 3rd grade school day to do some shopping with a friend, with permission. It was a brutally cold winter day, and when she hadn't returned home by dinner time, I began to panic. First we took turns waiting at the bus stop so she wouldn't have to walk home in the dark. Then I called her friend, who had been home a long time already. Turns out our daughter had headed for home a bit earlier, and had unwittingly gotten on the wrong city bus. I had visions of her getting off and wandering lost in some dreadfully dangerous area. I called the bus office and soon my anxiety was resolved. Someone in the office called all the drivers (I didn't even know they had that capability--this was decades before cell phones) and found our little girl riding patiently back and forth, east to west, who knows how many circuits? We arranged to meet the bus at its nearest stop rather than have her transfer. The reunion was sweet. "Weren't you scared?" I asked. "Oh no," she replied, "I knew you'd find me." I felt incredibly honored by her trust. I wonder if God feels the same way when we completely trust Him, when we Fully Rely On God.


Monday, March 19, 2007

This Is Cool

This is cool! Last week I asked you to pray for grandson Jeremy in Niger, who had apparently eaten something awful. He’s now back in the big city and able to update his blog, and here’s what he wrote: “Basically, my stomach staged a revolt. Everything inside wanted out. I was really tired and had a mild fever for a day. But after that day (and after Grandma’s prayer army prayed for me) I was feeling much better. The next day I was able to go out and dig more holes. [He’s been digging “zai” holes, which he fills with chaff and manure to produce rich soil in which the people can plant their grain when rainy season starts in a couple of months. You can Google “zai holes” for more information. The photos above are of Jeremy and helpers on the zai project.] So, friends, thanks for praying for Jeremy. And for me; I'm definitely feeling stronger this morning.

We have a wonderful friend who is suffering excruciating back pain. She needs another steroid injection. Please help us pray that she’ll be able to get it done today.

Yesterday’s performance of “Messiah” was beautiful and restored my heart and soul. I got a clear message during the closing section. I know I’ve already received daily miracles. But even if God would choose to completely heal my cancer and give me another 20 years to live, it would still be a small thing compared to the miracle that lies ahead for all of us. Please allow me to quote the words that filled my heart with such hope and joy yesterday. (As you know, Handel created music for selected Bible passages.)

“The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. Amen.”

That’s not an “if.” It’s a sure thing! Celebrate!


Sunday, March 18, 2007

It Was Grace

"Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come.
It was grace that led me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."

That wonderful stanza from "Amazing Grace" soothed me back to sleep early this morning. It was, is, and always will be grace!

Now I'm happily looking forward to our Sunday school class this morning. Teacher Tom wrote in his pre-class letter: "You are chosen to 'set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light' (1 Peter 2:9)." Then he gives us this awe-inspiring assignment to "display the nature of God by demonstrating integrity, or forgive someone who doesn't deserve it, or give of yourself instead of waiting for others to give of themselves to you, or show love to a hard-to-love person, or serve even when you feel entitled to direct, or respond with gentleness to anyone who has earned hardness." This is how God has acted towards us, so when we behave like Him, we show His wonderful deeds and virtues. And that's a wonderful hope for every grace-filled day of this life, isn't it? I need to go and read 1 Peter again.

This afternoon, trusting a nap to rejuvenate us, we're going to hear parts II and III (Easter and Ascension) of Messiah. Our loving neighbor is going with us, and I'm so pleased.

The flowering trees (pear, peach, plum, cherry) have been glorious. The temperature dropped so low this morning that I'm afraid they've all frosted. Brrr. It will be sad if the peach crop is also destroyed--sad for the growers and for us eaters.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


"Your will, Lord. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else." How many times have I prayed that prayer? I was awake in the night, feeling still the evening's sadness over being so tired. Sadness bordering on self-pity. I know it's silly; many of you deal with tiredness all the time. Anyway, once I told the Lord (and reminded myself) that I will gladly accept His will, whatever it is, peace returned and I slept well until morning. Last evening I had to run an errand after work, and driving home I thought, "I'll be glad to get home awake. I don't think I have energy either to cook dinner or to go out to eat." But of course I did cook and eat and clean up. And felt sad, until I surrendered several hours later. (I'm sure the low hemoglobin is causing the fatigue and the "poundy head" which wakes me up at night. I'm praying that the doctor will order an injection of aranesp when I see him next on March 27. A year ago when kemo was causing anemia, that shot was helpful--if slow.)

People like to complain that God seems so stern in the Old Testament. It's true; that aspect is there. But as I read it, I see also His tenderness. Deuteronomy 11:22 says, "Show love to the Lord by walking in His ways and clinging to Him." "Clinging" sounds like the behavior of a much-loved and secure child who knows his place of safety in the arms of a tender, strong, and caring parent. That's God! I'm glad He wants me to cling to Him.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Time for Praise

Our Nassau friend was admitted to the Proton treatment protocol for his lung cancer. We're all thanking the Lord for that far less damaging radiation. Even so, he was warned that eating will become difficult because his esophagus will necessarily become burned. So we continue to pray. There will be a delay now while physicists at the cancer center compute all the measurements that were made yesterday in order to precisely direct the radiation at the two tumors. (In case that sounds like I know what I'm talking about, it's deceptive. I surely don't understand it.) Thanks to all who are praying for him and his family.

Yesterday I felt more wilted than I have felt for several weeks. I went to work late and left early. But then I caught a second wind, and spent the rest of the day reading newsletters from SIM workers. It is so invigorating to travel mentally around the world, catching glimpses of wonderful things God is doing to advance His kingdom. It always appears that bad news is what sells T-V and newspapers. And of course we grieve over the bad news in our world. But God is into good news, both for individuals who trust Him and also for the world and the cosmos. He wins.

I'm reading Deuteronomy these days. This was in yesterday's reading, from Deuteronomy 10:12-21. "What does the Lord your God require of you? He requires you to fear him, to live according to his will, to love and worship him with all your heart and soul, and to obey the Lord's commands and laws that I am giving you today for your own good.... The Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords. He is the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and takes no bribes. He gives justice to orphans and widows. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. You, too, must show love to foreigners.... You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him.... He is your God, the one who is worthy of your praise,the one who has done mighty miracles that you yourselves have seen." Oh! He cares so much for all of us. Why would we not trust and obey Him?

Today our adopted daughter and grand-daughter (who used to live in the home directly behind us and had to move to Alabama for work) are coming for a short visit. I can't wait to see them!

Have a blessed day.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Watch out

"Watch out! Be very careful never to forget what you have seen the Lord do for you. Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live. And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren" (Deuteronomy 4:9). As I'm reading through the history of God at work in the Bible, I keep seeing truths that help me make sense out of life today. Here's another, from Numbers 35:34: "You must not defile the land where you are going to live, for I live there myself." God said this to Israel as they were nearing the promised land, but I believe it's true for us now too. I imagine God saying, "Don't defile your home, because I live there myself." How can I defile my home? With negative words, with selfish indulgence, with resentment and bitterness, with lack of trust. Isn't it wonderful to think of God Himself living in our home? I know He is everywhere, which is comforting, but this feels more intimate--He actually takes up residence here.

I'm glad next week is an off week for kemo. The port gave us a little trouble yesterday, but finally worked. My eyes are watering and burning more. I have to fight fluid retention. It seems I'm more fatigued and short-winded. Yesterday's nurse reminded me that I've had a lot of kemo, and it takes a toll. My hemoglobin is still hovering a mere .2 above the level where I would qualify for an injection of aranesp, which would relieve the fatigue. Comparatively, I'd say that by God's grace and your prayers, I'm maybe at 5 on a scale of 100 being the worst, so I'm not complaining. Life is sweet. Life is a gift.

I rested and slept awhile on the chaise in the back garden yesterday afternoon, and then I went to work for a couple of hours. I'm glad I did; I was able to handle some important stuff.

Today our Nassau friend with lung cancer gets the word on whether he qualifies for the Proton radiation. We're certainly praying that he will.

Thanks again for your love and prayers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Words of Life

Yesterday's paper contained an article about a woman in New York who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer (not as advanced as mine) three years ago. Apparently she gained a remission, but recently her cancer blood test numbers shot up again; so she went to her church to plan her funeral and then she threw a big birthday party for 130 friends and relatives. I don't know why the Charlotte paper published the article, and I certainly don't know why I read it. Guess where my mind wanted to go as I was trying to fall asleep last night. I thought about the Bible verse that says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue," and realized that the words I was thinking, even without being spoken, were powerful in their effect over my life and attitude. What a war! Over and over I had to reach out and firmly corral my thoughts and direct them towards Life. (I don't intend to be in denial. I just don't intend to let death fill my mind until God says it's time to think about it.) Jesus said He came to give life in abundance; that's what I choose for today, even while I'm reclining in that kemo chair with healing toxins flowing into me.

I got a letter from the SIM worker in Asia who has been appointed our advocate for children at risk. That means she will provide encouragement, ideas, and resources for other SIM workers who are trying to reach that needy population. My heart hurts to think about the millions of children (and others) in our world who are suffering in slavery and other forms of abuse. Here's something I was sad to discover: nearly half of the chocolate sold in the world is harvested by child slaves. Until candy companies learn to certify that their products are totally free from trafficking, I guess I'll boycott chocolate--even that wonderful dark chocolate that they say is so good for us. I learned in the movie "Amazing Grace" that lots of people who objected to slavery in 18th and 19th century England learned to drink their tea without sugar rather than enjoy sweetness produced by slave labor in the West Indies. I'm sure you don't want to know this fact about chocolate either. But if you're curious, you could check It's sobering.

Daughter Karin told me about research in compassion. The study found that people responded strongly to photos and stories of one child, either a girl or a boy, in need. But the compassionate feelings dropped measurably when subjects were exposed to a photo and story about two children in need. What! So easily we tire of compassion? How will we respond to 15 million AIDS orphans in Africa? Or sex trade slaves everywhere? Or victims of malaria and land mines and war and injustice? May God soften our hearts.

I'm so grateful for your prayers as I head out to kemo this morning. You are a blessing!


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Song Released

The wife of Charles Spurgeon, famous preacher of a century ago, was a near invalid for many years. One evening the darkness outside seemed to penetrate her room and her soul. “In vain,” she said, “I tried to see the sovereign hand that I knew held mine.” As she questioned why God allowed her to suffer, suddenly she heard a soft, sweet musical tone. No, it couldn’t be a bird singing at that time of night. Then the melodious note sounded again. She realized that the song was escaping from the oak log burning in the fireplace. Had the song got buried in the heart of the oak during bright days in the past, then become locked in by ring after ring of hard wood, which only the fire could set free? Mrs. Spurgeon wrote, “Then I realized, when the fires of affliction draw songs of praise from us, we are indeed purified, and our God is glorified.” Even fire is a blessing, if it sets our song free.

Last evening I researched one of the stories for the SIM magazine I’m working on. It’s about some intrepid evangelists and missionaries from the Me’en tribe in Ethiopia. Are they even living on the same planet we’re on? It sounds like it rains endlessly for months, turning already daunting roads into slick mud holes. These people who love Jesus and other people so much that they gladly endure those miserable treks were, a mere 15 years ago, uneducated, slaves to witchcraft, and still waiting for their first introduction to Jesus Christ. I hugely admire the Me’en workers who have taken their families to live among the Bodi tribe—worlds away from all that’s familiar to them. I also hugely admire the SIM workers who first entered Me’en country about 15 years ago. The daily hardships they faced then and continue to face cast an amazing light on the puny struggles we like to complain about in our western comfort zones. I’m not sure I can tell this story as it deserves to be told.

I’m still feeling strong and good, hoping to be productive today before tomorrow’s kemo slows me down again.

Thanks for your love and prayers.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Please pray for Jeremy

We spoke with Jeremy by phone today and learned that he is ill. He says he's better already, but obviously his stomach is rejecting some of the "everything" that he's been eating in Niger. Please pray with us that it will clear up and not leave him with troublesome parasites or other disease. Thanks.

Grace Craters

Yesterday afternoon I sat in our freshly-trimmed back garden. I enjoyed the sunshine and the song birds and the fountain, and caught up on some study and reading, including the new RELEVANT magazine which arrived this week. (Besides designing our SIM magazine, Relevant also publishes a terrific 104-pager for young people—their “day job.”) One of the articles is “The End of the World as We Know It,” by Earl Creps, and I have to share a few lines with you.

“Jesus…did not go to the cross and raise from the dead so we could live more successfully in a world that is temporary. Rather, His purpose was to make it possible for us to live right now in another eternal world that is breaking in all around us. Jesus’ announcement finds its ultimate expression on the cross. He carried our sin on Himself there, our insistence on ruling the Kingdom of Me like little gods, so that we can take part in the Kingdom of God. When we do that at the end of biological life, we call it “heaven.” In the meantime, grace craters our lives as tiny fragments of heaven impact us like invisible showers of near-earth asteroids.” Grace craters! I like that.

I know how easy it would be for you to get weary of this long journey with cancer, when nothing seems to be happening. In truth, I think the “nothing” is a direct and miraculous answer to prayer. How else could I feel so well and have such minimal effects from 25 kemo infusions? Heartfelt thanks to each of you. I am so grateful for your patience.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Changing my Story

I've always insisted that I didn't like gardening. Partly, I think, because I don't really how to do it well, and partly because I'd rather be doing something sedentary like reading. But yesterday, after we spent a half day tidying our garden beds for the coming summer, I changed my story. I like gardening. I like it a lot better than lying in the hospital or getting kemo. I like doing it because I can (even if not expertly). I like doing it because it looks so good when the work is finished. Funny how words shape attitudes and attitudes shape emotions!

That reminds me of yesterday's reading in 31 Days of Praise. "Thank You for all the ways I'm inadequate, for they prod me to trust in You and not in myself...and i'm grateful that my adequacy comes from You, the all-sufficient God who is enough. Thank You that I can trust You to remove or change any of my weaknesses and handicaps and shortcomings the moment they are no longer needed for Your glory, and for my good, and for the good of other people..and that in the meantime, Your grace is sufficient for me, for Your strength is made perfect in my weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

This morning a friend is going to church with us and she's bringing her friend along. We're excited about that.

Yesterday I begged daughter Sue to send a photo of her first attempt at painting (a copy of a work by an artist she admires). I'm pretty impressed, and uploaded it below in case you'd like to see it.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Our daughter the artist

First daughter Sue got "creative" this week and painted a "faux Debilzan." (So little do I know about modern art, I'd never heard of that artist.) So I have to show off what she did. And I hope some day she paints something for me too. Cool, huh?

Oops! We slept in!

Our Nassau friend has decided to be treated for his lung cancer at the MD Anderson Cancer Clinic in Houston, TX. He will have daily radiation and weekly chemo-therapy for six weeks, and they’ve warned him that it will be rough. The big request right now is that he will qualify for radiation by a Proton machine, which directs the radiation in a controlled manner to the tumor only, so there’s less damage to surrounding organs and bones. He will find out next Thursday if he qualifies. We’re surely praying.

I felt well enough for a full day’s work yesterday, followed by a very brisk walk. Surely this is God’s gift.

I have a story to tell you. At Christmas time I bought a holiday specialty, and on it was a small folder announcing a contest for a dream family vacation. I didn’t bother to write the required essay, but the contest got me dreaming. I envisioned going with our whole family to Cat Island in the Bahamas, the primitive island where my parents taught Bible classes in public schools in the 70s and 80s. Our family enjoyed several fantastic vacation visits there, the last one in 1983. I pictured a large house on a bluff overlooking the ocean, with easy access to a white sandy beach. (My parents lived in a tiny wood bungalow that long ago succumbed to termites.) I said nothing about this dream to anyone. I didn’t even pray for it to come true. Then daughter Sue began dreaming about the same thing, but she took action. She hit the internet and found a big rental house on a bluff overlooking the ocean with easy access to a white sandy beach. When she asked if we’d like to go along, I could hardly believe what I was hearing. Anyway, the dream is coming true. The whole family will be there May 13-20, except for our oldest grandson and his wife and baby, who can’t get away. My sister and her husband (from Nassau) and their daughter will round out the party. I hadn’t even dared to hope for such a wonderful gathering. It still seems too good to be true. Surely this, too, is God’s gift.

I hope your weekend is wonderful. Thanks for your love and prayers. Thanks, also, to Chuck for the fine blogs he posted while I was in Milwaukee.


Friday, March 09, 2007

A Skipping Revolution?

Yesterday after my two-hour stint at the office I took a walk around our neighborhood pond. A woman ahead of me was walking her dog, talking on her cell phone, and skipping! Skipping! It looked like so much fun that I tried it myself. The years fell away and I felt like a kid again. Try skipping next time you walk. Of course, your first thought will be, "What if someone sees me?" Stifle it. If someone sees you, maybe they'll try it too. We could start a skipping revolution!

In the kemo room yesterday morning, the woman to my left got bad news on her white blood count; it was so low that she'd already gotten an infection and she had to skip kemo. The gentleman to my right had such a low hemoglobin that he too had to skip kemo and head over to the hospital for a blood transfusion. In that context, I felt like celebrating when all my counts came back within range and I was able to get hooked up to that series of bags that certainly appear to be extending my life. Thank the Lord. (After 14 months of kemo, it really is a miracle that I can keep moving forward.)

The March 6 reading in Streams in the Desert was about hope. It's appropriate for this lenten season. After Christ's resurrection, he walked alongside two of his disciples who were heading home to Emmaus (Luke 24) and asked why they were so sad. They told Him about the death of their Master Jesus, and then they said, "We had hoped...." The author of Streams says, "I have always been so sorry that they did not say, 'We still hope.'" There they were, walking beside their risen Lord, proclaiming that He and hope were dead. Jesus had to say to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe!" Rather than give in to despair over what our human senses perceive, we need to anchor our hope in what God has said. Keep FROGin'.

To my delight, when I got to the office late yesterday afternoon I discovered that our designer had sent a draft layout for the next magazine a day ahead of his promise. (Again, I'm eating my words of several months ago that designers are always late. This one isn't!) It looks beautiful. Over the next few days the communication team will look it over carefully for needed corrections, but I'm pretty sure they will be few. We have a fun assignment for Monday morning: a session with the current class of SIM missionary candidates on the topic of Communicating for Impact.

Our Nassau friend with lung cancer has completed two consultations in Texas, and now comes the hard job of deciding how to proceed. Please pray that God will give clear guidance.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

No Panic

I've been thinking about delayed luggage. It was no big deal, because for the past 25 years I've packed with the assumption that my checked bags would go astray. That means putting everything needed for survival in my carry-on. For this trip, that included my PowerPoint CDs, videos, handouts, and teaching notes for Sunday night's class. No panic. My suitcase was waiting at my host's home when we got back from the class.

Maybe there's a lesson there. Worse things than lost luggage lie in wait along our life-trail. What if we prepared accordingly? Whether trouble at work, financial crisis, disease, bereavement, or death, preparation would be wise. Whatever else you do, take time to get to know God well, let His Word work its way deep into your soul, and nurture your relationships with family and friends. That's my advice. If you do that, even when the "worst" comes at you, you can "laugh with no fear of the future" as in Proverbs 31:25. Assuming the worst and preparing accordingly does not lead to pessimism, but to optimism. All will be well.

Thank you so much for your prayers. I had some excellent conversations with students of all ages in the classes. And in between, God gave me a series of encounters with much-loved friends and relatives; each event felt like opening a valuable gift. Please permit one sentence to brag about our great-grandson Joshua and his parents who drove to our halfway meeting point Monday evening for a leisurely dinner together. The 3-hour evening classes resulted in a couple of late bedtimes with no bad consequences. And my dear brother drove us safely over increasingly icy roads Tuesday evening.

I wish I could introduce you to all the students I got to talk with. A young woman who's heading out to Uganda this summer. A mid-life woman who is feeling nudged towards China. Several men and women who faithfully reach out to hurting people in Milwaukee and/or help their churches do mission better. And wonderful Dan, the facilitator for both of the Milwaukee courses, who--even though he hates administrative details--devotes himself to this leadership role because of the potential impact on so many people for the sake of Christ's kingdom.

I got to spend a couple of hours at the office yesterday afternoon handling urgent matters and deleting spam from my inbox. Now leaving for kemo in a couple of hours. I don't want to be presumptuous and assume everything will be easy as usual, but I'll certainly be grateful if it is!

God bless your day.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Just after I finished the blog (about 5:00 AM in Madison) yesterday, Carol called. She was “bubbling” about the delightful time she had with James, Liz and little Joshua. Their dinner plans worked out so well, and her visit with Paul and Barb was wonderful. Being with brother Phil and his wife Nancy has been so special too, and they have been so helpful making arrangements to spend time together at a motel and being her personal chauffer. Most of all, she was thanking the Lord for the health and strength to make this trip, and for all of our friends and family members that continue to uphold us in prayer. Every day that the Lord gives us to serve Him here and to enjoy all of you is a tremendous blessing!

In May, Lord willing, Carol will pass a special milestone. For her 70th, the girls and I have been planning an open house/reception on May 26th for all of you friends and family that can make it. When I told Carol about it, she was excited about having a chance to express our appreciation for all of the encouragement that you have been to us. But she made it clear that this is not to be about her, but a time to connect with dear ones and thank them for their love and encouragement. So she says “no cards, gifts or focus on her, just share the time in thanksgiving and encouragement with each other “

For any of you that may be driving in from a distance, we have an arrangement with a motel close by that gives us an attractive rate. This is a holiday weekend (Memorial Day on Monday) so they will fill rapidly. To get these rates we have to make reservations through our office. For more details just send me an email:

For some reason, my computer is not obeying me. It locked up and lost what I had typed. I am now reconstructing the blog on my laptop, and will attempt to transmit it from here. Okay, that’s one way of keeping it short…Time is slipping by and I have a full day ahead of me.

Thanks for all of your encouragement and prayers. Carol will be leaving Milwaukee at 9:00 AM today, arriving in Charlotte at 1:40 PM if all goes as planned. Needless to say, I will be delighted to have her back. I am certain that she will have much to share on her return.

Our love to you all,

Chuck…and Carol too

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Me Rich?

When I talked with Carol last evening, she was awaiting the arrival of our grandson James, his wife Liz, and our great grandson Joshua, at a restaurant somewhere between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin. Carol’s brother Phil and his wife are providing the transportation for her. I am sure that they had a wonderful time together. I hope to hear all about it later today.

Have you ever noticed how after hearing something, or more likely having written out your thoughts, your subconscious keeps bringing it to the forefront of your mind during the day, and even on occasion will attach dreams to it? Well, that is what King Asa from yesterdays blog did to me.

I was reminded of a Proverb (30:7-9) that I first heard a dear friend, Cleon Morrill, discuss in a class some forty-five years ago. “Oh God, I beg two favors from you before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ And if I am too poor, I my steal and thus insult God’s holy name.”

Right away my very human nature wants to say “You need to listen Bill Gates, Warren Buffett” (or one of those rich guys). But then I recall another friend pointing out that every one of us is rich if we have a choice. Right, I though. If I have to decide whether to drive the BMW or the Jaguar today. But he quickly brought me back to reality saying that if I looked into the cupboard this morning and made a choice about breakfast cereal, I am rich! Many today have no choice, but would be thrilled for a simple crust of bread. Okay Lord, you are speaking to me too!

Carol has often said that keeping a journal and doing a daily blog keeps her mind better focused. Well, it sure has done that for me. At this age, I need every help possible to keep my mind better focused and focused on better things. How about you?

I trust that each of us today will be focused on God’s goodness, mercy, grace, love and ________. (I will let you fill in the blank). As another good friend and teacher, Tom Bowers asks us each week in class, “Tell me about God.” Well, my mind will work on that one today.

Have a wonderful day!

Chuck…and Carol who returns Wednesday. I can hardly wait!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Still FROGin

Chuck here filling in for Carol who arrived safely in Milwaukee about noon yesterday, with her lost luggage promised to arrive on a later flight. At last report, it is to be delivered this morning. Fortunately all urgently needed items were in her carry-on.

These past months dealing with Carol’s cancer have caused me to think much about the importance of my daily decisions. Frequently I think about dear ones who have entered eternity, and stop to think about what I have learned from them, and what it was that drove them on to finish well. Every time I come back to recognizing their humble reliance on, and obedience to, the Lord. Frequently Carol and I ask each other…”You FROGin?” (Fully Relying On God) It is so easy to develop a confidence or faith in our own abilities, a doctor, a medication (even chemo) and forget that it is God that is at work accomplishing His purpose as we obey Him. At times He may work through someone or something, but ultimately it is His working, His will, and what ever the outcome, when I let Him be in control, I know that the final result is GOOD…Every time!

Recently while reading about King Asa (2 Chronicles 14-16) I was reminded how easy it is to be FROGin for many years, and then rather than trust God, believe that we can handle life on our own and “blow it”.. It appears that things went well for Asa as he reigned for thirty-five years, seeking God’s guidance, crying out to Him when confronted with problems. Then in his thirty-sixth year as king, when faced with a major problem, he proceeded to handle it on his own without consulting God. I have thought a lot about that recently, and I suspect that pride may have overtaken his heart. More success and comfort than he could handle, and he proceeded to “do it his way.” Even when that wrong was pointed out to him by Hanani (16:7) he refused to repent, and threw Hanani into prison. Before long Asa developed a life threatening disease, still refusing to seek the Lord’s help, only looking to physicians for help. Chapter 16 ends “…and at his funeral the people built a huge fire in his honor.” What a sad ending of what could have been a fully productive life, ending with a pile of ashes.

Even though we would have chosen to avoid cancer, it has been good for us. We have seen God work in ways we would not have otherwise seen, helping our faith and trust in Him to grow. We have connected and reconnected with people who have blessed us richly. And the bottom line I believe, is that we are daily becoming better prepared for that final step from this life into eternity with our Lord, while at the same time being more available to Him for the remaining time that he gives us here.

Recently I read “God never does something through us until he does something significant in us.” May our hearts always be open for Him to accomplish His purpose!

We love you all,

Chuck…and Carol

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Fear vs Faith

For the next two months we’ll be learning faith in our daily devotional readings in indeed. You know, faith is not a magical stand-alone quality that makes some people strong. Faith works for us only because of the One we’re trusting. A friend sent a beautiful list of contrasts between fear and faith.

Fear imprisons…Faith liberates.
Fear paralyzes…Faith empowers.
Fear disheartens…Faith encourages.
Fear sickens…Faith heals.
Fear makes useless…Faith makes serviceable.
Fear puts hopelessness at the heart of life…Faith rejoices in its God.

I read that the Bible says “Fear not” 365 times; that’s once for every day of the year.

I’m leaving in a few minutes for a very early flight to Milwaukee. I’m looking forward to the classes I get to teach Sunday and Tuesday evenings, and also to a visit Monday morning with dear friends living in the city. Then my brother and his wife are coming so we can spend Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday together. Who’d have guessed there would be these extra delights?

God is good!

Our Nassau friend with newly diagnosed lung cancer is flying to Texas Monday for consultations on Tuesday and Thursday. Please help him and us pray for clear guidance.

Every blessing for today.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

First Resource...or Last Resort?

An amusing but sobering interchange goes like this:
"Well, we've run out of options. All we can do now is pray."
"My dear! Has it come to that?!"

Desperation seems a terrible place to be. But if we have to go there before we'll pray and fully rely on God, it's actually a beautiful place to be. Yesterday's reading in indeed, the devotional Chuck and I read together, said, "While we were trying everything we could before we got to the end of our rope, we were dreading the day we would reach it. But God was excitedly anticipating it. He stands ready to be the strength in our weakness, the wealth in our poverty, the health in our sickness, the deliverance out of our captivity, and the comfort in our despair. From beginning to end, He is our ony hope."

I admire strength, and I like to be strong. But if personal strength interferes with faith, it's a very bad use of a good gift, isn't it? "Prayer should be our first resource, not our last resort."

I'm sharing this, not because there's a new crisis making me feel desperate but because it's true and worth remembering. Reminds me of the children's hymn "Jesus Loves Me." Little ones to Him belong / they are weak, but He is strong."

Yesterday we connected by phone with grandson Jeremy in Africa. He's doing well, but was a bit discouraged because his friend, who has been eagerly studying the Bible and growing spiritually, "relapsed" yesterday and participated in a big soccer brawl. Fighting used to be his way of life. Don't we all have our ups and downs as we grow in Christlikeness? We'll keep praying for his friend! And for Jeremy.

This morning I'm feeling well and looking forward to using the day to put things in order at home and prepare for my trip early Sunday to Milwaukee.

Every day I'm aware that God is answering your prayers and keeping me alive and functional. Thank you and Him--so much.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Positive Goodness

Last Thursday, the second day of Lent, my daily reading in the One-Year Bible included Leviticus 19. It's a sort of expanded summary of the ten commandments. Now I've been claiming to be a Christian for way more thn 60 years, and I've always looked like a "good girl." So why did I feel like crawling under the rug as I read that chapter? I've been thinking about it, and I believe God blessed me with a fresh gift of repentance. I'm afraid that I've been way too willing to settle for "negative morality"--for not violating the laws. What's often missing is positive goodness. For example, I've never placed a stumbling block in front of a blind person (one of the prohibitions in Leviticus 19). But have I ever gone out of my way to help a blind person? Not that I can remember. Repenting from a lack of positive goodness brings me to the point of asking God for a new heart, as David did in Psalm 51. "Create in me a new heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." A heart tilted towards positive goodness, please.

I'm feeling well again this morning, and looking forward to wrapping up another week at my editor's desk. Praying for our designer in Florida as he's working these days to put our words and pictures in beautiful arrangement for the next magazine. I'll fly to Milwaukee very early Sunday, will teach mission classes Sunday evening and Tuesday evening, and return here Wednesday afternoon. I think dear Chuck is willing to keep the blog going while I'm away.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hope for the future

In January President Bush signed the Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act, commonly known as Johanna's Law. Johanna died of ovarian cancer, and her sister Sheryl advocated tirelessly for this law, which will provide federal funding for a massive program of education about this largely ignored and hard-to-detect killer disease. Simple screening methods still don't exist, so public education is the best that can be done for now. Several emails listing the vague symptoms of ovarian cancer are making the rounds. If you're a woman, or if you care about a woman, please pay attention. If you haven't seen one, please click on Comments below, and tell me. I'll then post the list as a comment, which you can access at your leisure. (I may not get to it until late next week.)

More good news. Last fall the National Institutes of Health announced that ovarian cancer is one of three (the others are lung and brain) that will be studied as part of the Cancer Genome Atlas. If the three-year project is successful, it could lead to new preventive measures or diagnostic tools and individualized treatment plans.

In the same magazine where I read the above, I also read an interview with a cancer survivor who is the wife of a well-known political figure. Her view of God makes me so sad. She said, "I have come to accept a God who does not intervene in accident, disease, or violence." She went on to affirm that her faith is in the human giving of care and support, which is mutually healing and strengthening--both to the one who gives it and to the one who receives it. I feel sorry for her. I agree that care and support are wonderfully healing and strengthening, but they're no substitute for God. I admit that He allows a terrible amount of suffering and death. But He always stands ready to intervene--if not to heal, then to give a full measure of His presence, peace and comfort.

Yesterday's kemo went well, and the doctor agreed to reduce the pre-infusion steroid (given to prevent adverse reactions) by 60%. We hope this will stop my rapid weight gain. This morning I have the usual day-after-kemo red face, but I feel well and plan to work.

You may have heard that Philip Yancey, beloved Christian author, was in a horrific auto crash Monday, with a likely broken spine and possible punctured aorta. We learned yesterday that he is already back at his home, wearing a "collar" for his neck, and able to type a two-page first-person report of his story. It would be worth looking for that report on the internet.

I'm leading prayers tomorrow morning at the office, following a Lenten theme. We'll sing "How Deep the Father's Love for Us," by Stuart Townend. It ends, "But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom." That's my hope for today and for the future.