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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Still learning

For some reason, the past week was not one of my best. In fact it was somewhat of a downer. Emotions kept surfacing at the most unexpected moments and I just simply did not feel like myself. Coming home to an empty house, without Carol, each day and processing all that so many friends are facing, just seemed to get me down. Through it all, I was thankful for friends and family members that listened and encouraged me.

As I finished my daily readings in the book of Job, I could really relate to many of his feelings. And when I read his conversation with God at the end of the book, the lights seemed to begin to flicker in my head. I especially related to Job’s statement; “I babbled on about things far beyond me” (The Message 42:2b). It is easy to try to out-guess God and His purposes. Even to want to ask why me? And let my emotions spiral downward as I try to understand?

Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You ask, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I. And I was talking about things I did not understand, things far too wonderful for me.” (Job 42:1-2) The chapter, and the book, ends with the words “Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, good life.”…He finished well...That is my desire!

That example from Job really spoke to me. He went through far more than I ever have, but when he got on the other side of his problems, he worshiped God! Many times I have experienced full relief from my “challenges” when I finally turn my focus upon praise and worship of the Lord. So then why don’t I always do that? I must be just a slow learner.

Friday I plan to head to our lake house to get my van back there so we can get the boat out, serviced and stored for the winter months. After bringing Carol back with the van in June, I have had all three vehicles here, which I do not need. I will be riding back home with friends who are attending a wedding up there on Saturday, so I am looking forward to that special time of fellowship with them on the return trip along with being together with many of my family members from Indiana and Michigan that will be joining me on the weekend.

Again, thank you for your love and prayers!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Prayer Needed

This has been a week of disturbing news from several friends…An opportunity to pray for them and their families as they feel as if their lives have just been turned up-side-down and they are seeking guidance and direction. Join me in praying.

Friend Joe received the results of his biopsy which indicate that his back pain is being caused by stage 4 cancer of the liver and pancreas. Plans are to start chemo and also radiation shortly, but the doctor is trying to get him into a study which world greatly reduce the cost and also could be of benefit for future patients.

Carol’s cancer buddy John, will be starting chemo today for the recurrence of his lung cancer which had been in remission. He is also a patient of Carol’s Oncologist so I know that he will receive excellent care.

Michigan friend Beverly just learned that she needs surgery to relocate a tear duct that is plugged and has been giving her much trouble. Surgery is scheduled for November which we trust will correct the problem.

Our friend Fran also learned that she now has a deep seated cancer in the other breast. It will be surgically removed but there is concern about the possibility of it having impacted bone and the chest cavity. Radiation and chemo are expected to follow the surgery.

Friend Bob reported yesterday that his CT scan indicated that the tumors are still growing, but at a slower rate. He is still feeling fine, taking lengthy hikes and on a special diet to supplement treatment. He said; “Please join me in giving PRAISE and THANKS to our awesome GOD – THANK YOU FATHER.”

A good report was received about Carol’s sister-in-law Marg who is recuperating well from her hip replacement and is expecting to return home tomorrow.

As I was thinking about these and others going through challenging times, I am reminded of a portion of Jesus prayer in Gethsemane when He said; “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death…Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me, Yet I want your will, not mine.” It is encouraging to know that God is in control and will respond to our prayers in accord with our best interest and His will. I was reminded of those words many times as we battled Carol’s cancer for over 2 ½ years...And I still continue to remind myself of those same words. As Bob said…THANK YOU FATHER!

Have a wonderful day and enjoy the weekend with your family and friends.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wonderful weekend

What a wonderful time with Lisa over the weekend! It was a time of relaxing, plenty of time for talking, and visits to some of the ever-growing attractions in DC. Our visit to the newly opened museum of news…“Newseum” was most sobering. As we walked away from the museum, Lisa commented on all of the bad news that was shown. There was a very graphic section about the 9/11 tragedy with footage and photos that I had never seen. What a tragedy for thousands of families! Another section featured a huge actual portion of the Berlin Wall along with the actual guard tower from that wall and many photographs. A sobering reminder of many hurting families during those years of a divided Berlin.

It was not all bad news. We attended an interesting seminar by a retired FBI Agent discussing his specialty, body language. It was interesting to hear about some of the things that have been learned about the subject, and then see them use that information to analyze clips from speeches of former and current political figures. It was interesting to hear what he had to say about body language and how it can be put into practice by candidates to influence us. I am sure that I will be watching the candidates presentations over the next weeks with a more careful eye, and then asking myself…was that body movement a natural one or something learned to “grab” me?

Sunday we enjoyed participating in the service at Lisa’s church. The reading was from Matthew 20:1-16 which is about the landowner who pays each worker the same total amount for their days labor regardless of the hours that they worked. The question at the end of the reading is a good reminder “…are you envious because I am generous?” A reminder for me to be constantly aware through which lens I evaluate situations. Envy is one of those subtle attitudes that can so easily slip into my thinking. Thank you Lord, for the way that you use your Word to speak to my heart. Help me to be quick to not only hear but to also apply what you are saying to me!

Enjoy this new day that the Lord has made for our enjoyment and growth.



Saturday, September 20, 2008

Overwhelming Thought

The trip to DC was without event. It is so good to spend the weekend with Lisa and “granddogger” Maggie. I am sure that we will have a full couple of days catching up with each other and seeing a few of the sights of DC.

I just learned that Carol’s cancer buddy John’s cancer has returned and he will be starting a chemo program again on Friday. Also our good friend Joe had a biopsy of the spots on his liver yesterday and is awaiting the report which will be coming next week. Do pray for both of these friends and their families!

Continuing my reading in Job, I love his response in 19:25-27 after the interaction with his three friends;

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!” I like that response. Might I have that response for my life too!

Thanks for your prayers. I trust that you have a refreshing weekend.



Thursday, September 18, 2008

First Response

As I have been reading the book of Job these past few days, my thoughts continue to go back to Job’s first response to the complete loss of his animals, his farmhands, and all of his children;

“He said,
I came naked from my mother’s
and I will be stripped of everything
when I die.
The LORD gave me everything I had,
and the LORD has taken it away.
Praise the name of the LORD!”
(Job 1:21)

WOW…now that is not the expected reaction to such a tragedy. It has to come from a consistent walk and trust in the Lord…Fully Relying On God (FROGin). Something that I am still working on. Then in chapter 2 we read about his three friends that traveled apparently for some distance to encourage him, and in verse 13 we read;

“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. And no one said a word, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.”

I believe that I am getting a message there. No clichés, platitudes, questions or quick answers. They were there to just share in his suffering…help in carrying some of the load of grief with him. Oh yes, later on there were some responses that may have been off-base, but I suspect that this was a first for them to experience such tragedy, and they were learning how to respond too.

This reminds me that from whom much is given, much is expected. I have been given so very much…especially a wonderful group of encouragers/supporters. Lord help me to learn how to be an encouragement/supporter for each of those facing difficult times, and at the same time quickly respond to bumps and turns in my own life with praise to You!

I am looking forward to spending this coming weekend with daughter Lisa in DC. We were last together for Carol’s celebration in July, so it will be great to catch up with each other again. I trust that the fuel situation does not present any problem as I drive there tomorrow.

Thanks for your love and prayers,


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


There are moments when I wish that I could better hide my emotions, but then the Lord draws my attention to someone or something that reminds me that emotions are a blessing from God, usable by Him to accomplish His purpose in our lives and possibly even in the lives of others.

Yesterday a dear friend stopped by my office. We talked about my Carol and about her husband, Jim, who is fighting cancer. Frequently my tears would start to flow, but I believe that through those tears we were able to better communicate and minister to each other. Do pray for Jim and the family. These are difficult days for them with all of the decisions they need to make coupled with the responsibility they now have for his sister who has been recently moved here under Hospice with stage four ovarian cancer. So much for one family to deal with…and I think that I am having a difficult time?

Blessings come in openness and honesty. Not in platitudes, clichés and false fronts. Eugene Peterson tells of an incident in his life following the funeral of his mother when emotions overtook him. An individual came up to him; “He put his arm around my shoulder and spoke some preacherish chiches in a preacherish tone. Then mercifully, he left.” Eugene said to his daughter; “I hope I’ve never done that to anybody.” It reminded me of the book of Job that I am currently reading. Thank you Lord for the encouraging friends that you have given me. May I learn to be an encourager to others without cliches or platitudes, honest and open about my own thoughts and feelings.

In my mail yesterday was the new Serving In Mission Together publication from SIM which Carol has edited for several years. It is beautiful! Working months in advance, this is the final issue that she completed. As I flipped through the pages, I could just about hear her voice as we would discuss items to be included in upcoming issues. The topic of this issue, Cultivating Vibrant Churches, is something that was close to her heart. You can guess the emotions that this generated for me.

Thanks so much for your honesty and openness in notes, calls and visits. It is a tremendous help to me both in the healing process and in my ability to encourage others.

Love to you all,


Friday, September 12, 2008


This morning before beginning my reading, I asked the Lord to speak directly to me from His Word. This has been a busy week and it seems that each morning as I read, there is nothing that seems to “speak” directly to me. This morning the first thing I read really connected. The reading today in Indeed was on Patience; “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11)

Discussing patience, the author says “Jesus could have won the kingdoms of this world at the Temptation, but He waited. He could have established His kingdom when He rode into Jerusalem, but He waited. He could have condemned those who crucified Him, but He waited. He could have called legions of angels to defend Him, but He waited. He could have returned yesterday, but He waited. Why is He so excruciatingly patient? Because the greater the investment in His people--in both time and spiritual maturity--the greater the benefit in the eternal scheme.”

Okay Lord. I hear you and will be working on that in my own life today and into the future as we continue down this very changed and winding road together!

Have a wonderful day and a fun weekend.



Tuesday, September 09, 2008


What a blessing family and friends are! Special times of fellowship, renewing memories from years ago, and many miles safely traveled…Thank you Lord!

During the many hours of travel alone, I had much time to listen to various CDs and radio programs, but most of all time to just reflect on God and draw closer to Him. I thought about David’s instructions to his son Solomon as his life on earth was soon coming to an end. As he passed on instructions for the construction of the temple, he also gave Solomon encouragement and instruction about life:

“And Solomon, my son, get to know the God of your ancestors. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and with a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and understands and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you reject him, he will reject you forever.” (1 Chronicles 28:9) “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not forsake you.” (28:20)

I see that as a challenge for me. Family and friends are a tremendous blessing, but nothing compares with my relationship with the Lord. After everyone had left the lake Sunday, and I was alone for that last evening, the tears started to flow freely. Fear, discouragement, loss and all sorts of emotions can overtake me if I let them. It made me realize how easy it is to put my trust in the wrong things…even wonderful people…even Carol, the love of my life. As I poured out my heart to the Lord, I realized that I really was not alone. That too is choice.

This will be a busy day with hundreds of emails awaiting me at the office along with a pile of mail. Tomorrow I will fulfill one of Carol’s last requests by getting a complete physical. Our focus has been primarily on Carol the past couple of years and I have not been keeping up-to-date on my own check-ups. Her words keep ringing in my ears…”Chuck, take care of yourself, the kids and grandkids still need you!” So tomorrow I will get started on that task, and trust that there are no serious problems on the immediate horizon.

Thanks for traveling this road with me. I am blessed!


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Special visits

It has been a special time visiting with family and friends in Michigan and Indiana. Yesterday would have been our 49th anniversary. I sure miss Carol, but find myself reflecting frequently on special memories of fun times that we enjoyed together. I am thankful that my thoughts seem to be focusing more on the positive memories rather than simply feeling sorry for myself. I believe that is a real answer to prayer.

I have been listening to a lot of talk radio programs as I travel, and again found my daily reading yesterday to be a most important reminder: “The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simple, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.” (1 Timothy 2:1-3) A good reminder as we listen to the politicians and media in preparation for the November voting.

I returned to the lake house last evening and will spend the weekend here with family members from Indiana and Michigan, heading home on Monday. As I hear about storms and potential storms, I pray that all of you will be safe as the winds and rain hit various parts of the country. I appreciate the regular reports from neighbors keeping an eye on the house and updating me on what is happening back home.

I trust that you will all have a wonderful weekend.



Thursday, September 04, 2008

Special visits

These have been special days as I visit with family and friends. It is amazing how easy it is to pick up conversations with friends that have been out of my life for years, and it seems like we were together only a few days before. We quickly update each other about family and experiences and enjoy the special time together.

Yesterday was a restful day in Michigan with Sue who had the day off. We caught up on email and just chatted and took it easy. The newlyweds, Justin and Laura stopped by in the afternoon and in the evening I visited their lovely new apartment located in a converted 1800's prison. It is a loft-type unit, very spacious with very high ceilings and an exposed original red brick wall with a huge barred oval topped window. The unit is new and they are enjoying it very much even if they do not spend much time there with Justin in medical school and Laura very busy managing two dance studios. Sue, Jeff, Justin and I went out for pizza but Laura was unable to join us because she was starting new classes of students.

This morning I plan to head to Traverse City to visit a special friend that I have not seen for several years, and who lost his wife some time ago. I plan to end the day at the home of some friends in the North that volunteer at SIM for several months each year and have been a special blessing.

As I travel from place to place, I am reminded of the Lord's words to Moses in Exodus 10:2. "You will be able to tell wonderful stories to your children and grandchildren about the marvelous things I am prove that I am the Lord." Yes, these visits are very special but difficult without having Carol with me. At the same time it is a special blessing to hear about what the Lord has been doing in each life and be able to enjoy such wonderful fellowship.

I just cannot thank each of you enough for your prayers, emails and phone calls of encouragement and updates as I travel. You all are so special to me!

May the Lord be your encouragement today!

Love to you all,


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Headed for Michigan

This has been a bit of a difficult trip, following the last trip that I took with Carol when we stopped here at the lake house for some rest and infusions for her then proceeded on to Michigan for Justin and Laura’s wedding. It was a fun weekend with the family here, but after everyone left yesterday, it was a quiet and lonely evening…a time of wonderful memories, but at the same time a keen sense of loss. Today I am heading to Michigan to wrap up some business matters, visit friends, and will end up at Sue and Jeff’s for some time with them. This trip without Carol brings Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 to mind:

“Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken”

I like to think of that third person as being the Lord in our relationship. Carol is no longer available for me to discuss thoughts/ideas, but the Lord is still very much a part of the relationship for which I am most thankful. I continue to be amazed how His word repeatedly speaks directly to issues that I may be facing at that moment.

Thanks so much for your love and prayers as we make this trip together.