About Lucinda McMurry

I'm privileged to be a child of God; the wife of a good and kind man; Mom to children who've come to us through birth, adoption and marriage; MiMi and YaYa to Alex, Addie, Emma and Will; a daughter; a sister; an aunt and a friend. Our lives are rich, filled with the love and the goodness of family, friends and God. The evidence of God's grace is ever abundant as we work through the challenges of cancer, disabilities, parenting a child from hard places, separation from family, advocating for our own children as well as other families who struggle with special needs and living in a community filled with lovely people, but also plagued with poverty and substance abuse. We endeavor to remember that we are all broken and imperfect people. God offered us forgiveness and grace when we were most undeserving. May we also do the same for others. "The grace of our Lord is more than abundant with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 1:14

Holy Ground

Written Oct 23, 2013 1:42pm by Cindy McMurry

It’s been a while since I’ve written, but not because I haven’t been thinking or busy.  Therapy is going well.  I’m starting to go from assisted to unassisted movement and lots of core work.  It’s important that I have enough core strength to manage balance and falls because I can’t really “catch” myself with my arms if I fall.  I’m also driving… just a little for now.  It’s a lot of work re-learning how to manage the steering wheel, but we are moving forward.  I’m so grateful!

John and I have been listening to a course on “Books that Changed History.”  One of the books the lecturer chose was “Exodus.”  I’ve been chewing on it every since.  I think sometimes we like to look for the easy answers to our challenges and wish the journey wasn’t so difficult.  Many in our family and several friends are facing painful and challenging journeys.  I’d like to share with you what has been an encouragement to me the last few weeks.

Moses was going about his business, doing his job when he saw the burning bush.  The Lord told him to remove his shoes, he was standing on Holy Ground.  And then the Lord proceeded to explain to Moses that he’d heard the cries of the Israelites and he was going to deliver them out of bondage.  And the journey began…

When thinking about this, it struck me that God could have just done it.  There did not need to be a process to the deliverance from bondage.  So, Why was there?

The journey was long.  It was complicated.  It was difficult.  It was frustrating.  It was painful.  It was draining.  It was work.  Even though the Israelites were desperate for deliverance, they also were uncomfortable going through the process.  Sound familiar?

I’m coming to realize that when we face difficulties or in this case, bondage; the journey, the deliverance shapes us.  It has purpose.  We move from one’s who are stuck in one place and hopefully arrive at a place where we become better, fuller, more gracious, with a clearer understanding, a more compassionate people.  If we allow it, this journey may be a holy journey, that leads to the promised land.

When I heard the news that I had a recurrence of cancer there was a part of me that just wanted to stand still and do nothing.  I mean N.O.T.H.I.N.G.  I was frightened.  Information seemed to coming at the speed of a bullet and yet I was moving in slow motion.  I did not want to change if change meant losing mobility… or even worse.  I had cancer and I was terrified.  If I did have it removed, I might lose my arm and mobility.  If I didn’t have it removed, I would eventually lose my life.  Fear became bondage for me… even if only briefly.  Then we had a burning bush moment, our friend Jerry spoke at church and we believed we could push onward.

In the past few weeks we’ve had many family and friends have unexpected journeys put before them.  Some of them are still in shock and are struggling to place one foot in front of the other.  Others are laboring and pushing against that which could consume them, fighting  against the pressure to give in.  Some are pressing forward through depression, some through grief, some through sickness, some through loss of relationships, some through loss of income, some through addiction, some through loss of identity, some through fear, some through demons that have tormented them for years.  But, for all of us, it can be a holy journey that shapes us and refines our character and our spirit.

It seems to me that part of the journey is also the decision about our attitude.  Will we allow bitterness, anger, regret and misery to rule us or will we choose to plow through those things and be further refined?  We also have a tendency to get frustrated with those who are wrestling with things that are destructive.  But as we would want for ourselves, they need us to extend to them grace and understanding.

In the past week, we had an event that took our breath away.  It completely caught us off guard and frankly broke the hearts of many.  But through that we learned a few things.  First: There but by the grace of God go I.  Second:  The journey ahead will be difficult, but taking the first step forward propels you toward deliverance and a holy journey it will be.  Third:  Pain, Grief, Loss, Bondage of any kind, is not exclusive to the person at the center of it.  Your family and friends will have the opportunity to be shaped by the journey as well.

When we reflect on our journey from the past few months, we’re in awe of how the Lord has used this time to shape us.  We pray for each of you as you walk your journey on holy ground.

We love you,
Cindy and John

The Best Surprise!

Derrick and AlexWritten Oct 3, 2013 9:18am by Cindy McMurry

Thank God for his mercy…

My son, Derrick arrived back on US soil about 15 days ago.  I had a lot of folks ask if he’d called or if I had seen him.  I kept responding that he needed to reunite with his wife and son and I didn’t expect him to call or come see me anytime soon.  I was enjoying the pictures they posted and just thankful they were with one another. They needed time together.

However, after about 5 days, I began thinking that he really ought to call.  I texted his wife and asked her to have him call when they had time.  Silence.  My flesh got in the way and I started to let my feelings get hurt.

John took me to NC to meet my sister, and brother in laws.  He acted a bit grumpy on the trip.  My exhaustion was getting the better of me and I thought he was annoyed that he had to help me so much.  In my head I was coming up with all kinds of ideas that made no sense… yada yada yada.  Does this ever happen to you?  My flesh was getting in the way, but I was trying hard to keep my frustration under control.  Thankfully, I did not stick my foot in my mouth.

When we got to NC, we met up with Betsy and Rich at a little Italian Restaurant.  John disappeared.  I was beginning to think he was sick or something.  We placed our order and just about that time, Rich and Betsy looked up in shock, I turned around, and there was my son, Tanya and Alex.  I still get teary eyed just thinking about it.

Tanya and John had worked out all of the details and made arrangements to surprise me.  It was so sweet and touched my heart.

I’m overwhelmed by the love of God and the love and support from our family.  This has not been an easy time in our lives and seeing the kids was just what I needed.  We had a lovely time together.  Betsy did a lot of the cooking (Thank you Bets) and Derrick spent time showing us pictures and telling us about his time in Afghanistan (he climbed a mountain that was like 10,000 ft folks, the pictures are amazing!).  We all enjoyed watching Alex play and bonding with him, he’s a lot of fun.  The sunsets were stunning and we were richly blessed just being together.

Betsy, John and I have all gotten a virus since the weekend that’s taken the wind out of our sails, but I’m still relishing the trip and the time we all had together.  Thanks to John, Tanya, Bill, Betsy and Rich for making this such a great time.  Especially thanks to Derrick not just for surprising me and supporting me through this time, but also for serving our country with honor and dignity.  Welcome home Bud, we are so grateful to have you back.

“When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord saying; ‘For He is good, for His mercy endures forever.’” 2 Chronicles 7:3

Please remember friends and family who face illness, heartbreak and difficult times, those serving in government, those serving in the military, our wounded veterans and those who are unemployed.  Many are facing difficult times and need to know that God is near.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We love you,
Cindy and John

“Wrestling with Alligators”

Written Sep 24, 2013 2:11pm by Cindy McMurry

“Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24b

My husband uses the term “Wrestling with Alligators”.  I always had some sense of what it meant, but these days it’s taken on a whole new meaning.  Have you noticed that with one significant challenge, there are many others that will  hitch a ride?  Some are easier to work through than others… but challenging they are.

This recurrence of chondrosarcoma has given us many opportunities to shout out to God, “Lord We believe!”  But help us when we our faith grows weak.  There are spiritual, emotional and physical battles.  I remember a book from years ago “Man on Three Dimensions” which addressed the body, spirit and soul.   This book helped me to see that wrestling in one area, affects all areas.  Overcoming a physical challenge requires the body, the spirit and the soul.  A spiritual or emotional battle also effects all three.  I don’t believe we can separate or divide that which God has made to work together.  But try we will… Lord help our unbelief.

Some days it feels like we’ve got it all together… Easy Peasy, no problem.  But then there are days when the alligators seem to be getting the best of us… and we cry out… “Lord, Help my unbelief.”

Our girl Bethany has had many struggles lately.  She’d been doing better, but me having another chondrosarcoma seems to have set her back a bit.  Trying to help her sort out her pain and be grounded is difficult in itself.  Add to that fear, loneliness and frustration and she becomes unhinged.  Wrestling this alligator never ends, for her or for us.  Sometimes it’s more difficult than others… Lord, help our unbelief.

Dressing, reaching, cooking, laundry… all are some big ole alligators.  I will wrestle them… yes I will.  I’ve learned that if I stand on my tip toes and brace my right arm with my left hand I can reach a bit.  I can dress myself, but wrestling into clothes has aggravated a hemangioma on my left elbow so I’m trying to only dress myself in a crunch and relying on John otherwise.  (He’s been wonderful, by the way.)   Thank the Lord for frozen meals… you may not call it cooking, but right now, it’s what I can do.  This is a huge departure from our normal… but we will survive it.  I can do laundry, yes I can.  Well, sort of.  I can wash and dry… it’s the folding and hanging that requires creativity, twisting, turning and using my tip toes.  Thank God for clothing that does not require ironing and for strong legs and feet.

We’ve hired a housekeeper.  Believe it or not, hiring someone to clean my home was very difficult.  Don’t misunderstand, she’s doing fine work.  It’s just hard to ask for help.  I’ve always adapted and managed in the past.  My parents are “Can Do” people and are not afraid to tackle jobs that seem bigger than them.  They taught us to be self sufficient, and to be “Can Do” people too.  Now, there are times I find myself saying “I can’t” and I don’t like it.  I feel less than whole… Less than able… Just less.   “Lord, Help my unbelief.”

In my adult life I’ve never had to be as physically dependent on others as I am now.  Trust me, it’s not easy.  When I had cancer before, I still had my right arm to cover everything I needed to do.  There was very little I didn’t work out someway.  Changing a ceiling light was one of the few things I could not do… now it’s a different story.  But how can that be?  It was just a couple inches of bone and cartilage, not much in the big scheme of things.  But that little bone being removed has added a lot of alligators to my daily routine.  Will it change, I sure hope so.  In the mean time, I’m committed to learning whatever it is that God will teach me through this.  And today it would seem that I need to learn to trust that God’s not too small, that God is able… that in my weakness God can strengthen my faith.  While “I believe”… it’s a great comfort to know that when I grow weak, God is willing to hear me when I say “Lord, help my unbelief.”

Many of you are wrestling alligators today too.  Some of you are facing health crisis, some are facing personal, financial, relationship and/or spiritual challenges.  God hears your cry, he knows.  He’s willing to hear your word… “Help my unbelief.”

We are lifting you up to God.  May the peace of God reign in your life.

We love you,
Cindy and John

Her Children Will Rise Up and Call Her Blessed

Mom Dad Nick Em 2Written Sep 20, 2013 9:40am by Cindy McMurry

My Mom left for home today.  John and I are so grateful for all she’s done to help us.  She’s covered the things that John didn’t have time to do and the things I simply couldn’t do.

Between helping with meals, dishes, laundry, cleaning, driving, watering plants, helping pack lunches, grocery shopping and so much more… her generosity goes unmatched.  My Dad might argue, since he thinks it was him who sacrificed by “loaning Mom” to us.  😉

Mom stayed with us for nearly 3 weeks and I know she was greatly missed by everyone at home.  Dad told her he was going to start cleaning yesterday at noon to prepare for her return.  🙂  Kevin will be anxious to eat her cooking again, I’m sure.  The great grandkids will LOVE having Grandma Melanie back home… she’s one of their favorite people.  Her friends have missed her and she’s missed them, I know they are anxious to be with her again. Everyone missed her presence, no doubt about it.  Mom is a Godly woman, one who is loving, generous and encouraging.  She makes herself available to those in need and often gives others a listening ear and words of encouragement.

Wherever she isn’t present, she is missed.  On some level my Dad is correct… it’s a sacrifice when my Mom is somewhere else.  We will miss her.  Her calmness, sweetness and selflessness continue to teach us to be better.

Mom, thank you!  Thank you!  THANK YOU!!  for everything you did to help us… and just for being willing to be with us during this time.  You sacrificed for us and we do not take your generosity lightly.  We are so grateful.  You are a Mom whose children are all quick to “Rise Up and Call Her Blessed.”  You exemplify to us this text…

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:                                           “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.                           Proverbs 31:10-31

… But You excel them all Mom!

We love you,

John and Cindy

Good News!

Written Sep 17, 2013 8:50pm by Cindy McMurry

Just a brief note to check in and let you know Dr. Wurtz says everything looks really great.  I can s.l.o.w.l.y. and g.e.n.t.l.y. start physical therapy next week.  He said it will be at least a few weeks before I can drive, but I’m really better than expected.  The only glitch we seem to have hit, some nerve damage.  He’s hoping by my next appointment in 5 weeks that will be greatly improved.  If not, then we have to address that.  I also will get a baseline MRI in 5 weeks and sometime soon a new baseline PET Scan.We are all so thankful. Each day I am improving.  Only a few weeks ago in order to eat I had to take my mouth to the fork, or be fed, now my hand can reach my mouth and as long as I brace my arm, I can tip my cup to drink.

BTW… the best news we’ve gotten, Derrick is in Germany and will be home soon!   And, it’s Alex’s birthday.  Happy 2 Alex!

Thanking God for answered prayer and trusting that God is doing a good  work in your life today.

We love you,
Cindy and John

You’re Not Going to Believe It!

Written Sep 16, 2013 8:19pm by Cindy McMurry

Well, you might believe it and you might not think it quite as big a deal as I do, BUT…. (Drumroll please!). I was able to dress myself completely today, no assistance required.  Well, I did use powder to make my skin slick so clothes would slide AND I figured out a way to wiggle my shirt past my left elbow that won’t straighten and voila!  I was dressed!

I see my surgeon tomorrow.  Hopefully, I will get to start therapy soon… And driving will happen in the blink of an eye.  My grandchildren are calling my name, I’m sure I hear it everyday!  BTW, grandson Alex turns 2 tomorrow!

Please pray for all who are serve our country!  Life is fragile.  Our hearts broke over the base shootings today and we are so concerned about the folks in Syria.  There is much to pray for today… Our friends and family who are ill, struggling, marginalized, broken, lost… Our country and all in authority and leadership in our world.

We love you… Pray without ceasing,
Cindy and John

1 Thessalonians 5:17

The Dance and the Arm Holders

Written Sep 13, 2013 2:05pm by Cindy McMurry

My Mom needs to go home… Kevin reports that Dad only cooks one item at a time… a gallon of potatoes, tomato soup etc.  They eat that till it’s gone, then and only then will he cook something else.  Kevin says he’s “starving to death.”  Poor boy!  lol  Dad hasn’t resorted to salsify soup yet… but he will if Mom doesn’t get home soon.  I’m sure she misses being in her space, with her friends and church and I know they miss her too.  I’ve even heard the rumor that “Dad has Mom’s house a mess.” I choose to believe this is only a rumor.  🙂   I don’t know what we’d have done without her though and she’s staying to take me to my appointment next week.  She’s been amazing… and she coddles John, getting him ice cream etc.  Thank you Mom!

I’ve given a lot of thought to scars lately, and what has brought about the one’s my body bears.

As a teen scars worried me and I mentioned this to Dr. Wiley.  I’m sure he must have thought to himself that I had no clue how hard he was working just to save my fingers, hand and arm from Maffucci Syndrome.  Thankfully, he was sweet and understanding with my vulnerable self esteem.  I can’t even count all of my incision scars now, much less fret over them… I feel certain there are over 75, some reused more than once.

As I’ve gotten older, scars represent much more to me than just a gash on my once smooth skin.  They have become a part of our story.  Most of the people in my life who have tattoos seem to have thought them through and they represent something about their story.  Personally, I do not love tattoos, but I do understand they may tell a story, much like my scars do.

Each time a tumor/hemangioma/lesion has rebelled and gone rogue; swelling, causing pain or in 3 instances become cancer, we had to decide how to respond.  Do we watch and see what happens or do we fight by going into the OR?  It’s a big decision… I’m really tired of surgery.  It’s no fun and while I may have been in pain before surgery, surgery is likely going to make things more intensely painful for a period of time.  And then there is recovery time… PT, adjusting to changes in our lives, modifying our lives once again.

However, I’ve decided that when necessary, going into the OR is the best choice for me.  Deciding and having surgery to remove a tumor or tumors that are challenging our lives and then the recovery process has become to me the Victory Dance.  We’ve decided to take authority over and fight that which is threatening to destroy my life.  The scars serve to simply remind me… “You fought.  You are not defeated.  You have danced the Dance.”

Dancing “The Dance” has come at a cost for all of us… for my husband, my children, my parents, my family, my friends.  Sometimes I cry when I see the scars, they aren’t just physical, they represent an emotional toll as well.  As in any battle, there are always others who are affected.  I grieve over the days I have missed playing with my children and grandchildren, days I cannot get back.  I miss the way my husband and I used to sleep in the bed and may never be able to again.  I miss driving and pray I will be able to again.  I miss cooking for my family and friends.  I miss dressing myself and wonder… Will I ever again?  I wonder if brushing and flossing my teeth will ever be painless again.  Have my husband and I reversed roles… I loved being able to care for him, but will he spend the rest of our days taking care of me?

John said the kindest words to me last night… he was helping me get in bed and covered me up (I cannot pull up the blankets) and he said “I think I could get used to this.  I enjoy helping you get in bed and ready for sleep.”  He’s been so tender and so kind… I am often overwhelmed by my husband’s goodness.

I chose to and continue to choose to fight The Fight… to dance The Dance.  Some days, I admit the dance is exhausting.  It’s a lot of work to do the simplest of tasks.  But fight we will… we will not give up.  We are richly blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who stand with us and who have promised they will help us through the challenges ahead.

We are overwhelmed by the way so many of you are demonstrating your love to us.  Thank you!  We are humbled by your generosity and kindnesses.

The love, support, concern and compassion that John, my family and our friends have shared with me reminds me a lot of one of my favorite Bible stories:

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.  Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”  So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.  As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.  So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army.  Exodus 17:8-13
May each of you who face “The Dance” (surgery/health/spiritual/emotional/family) have your own Aaron and Hur to hold your arms when you grow weary.  May they prop you up and help to sustain you as you dance “The Dance.”  Praying this for Margaret, Mary and others who are facing cancer and my family and friends who are fighting for their children who have experienced early childhood trauma today.

We love you,
Cindy and John

The Best Question

Written Sep 9, 2013 8:02pm by Cindy McMurry

Please be in prayer for my friend Margaret and her Momma, Mary as she began the fight against cancer today.  She started chemo and radiation today.

My Brother in law, Rich asked me the best question of the day.

Today is my b-day and he wanted to know if I had big plans?

My answer… “Yep!  Living another year!”

Somehow getting presents seemed much less important this year… last year we took a lot of action concerning Bethany, John’s and my health.  Derrick fought for the year in Afghanistan.   This year we are going to live as fully as we can.  Praying that we will be a blessing to each person we meet and bring God glory!

We love you and are praying for you!
Cindy and John

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

It Was, But is No More.

Written Sep 5, 2013 2:33pm by Cindy McMurry

My surgeon, Dr. Wurtz just called to share my pathology report.

He reports that the cancer was intermediate grade (“was” being the best word of the day).  My two previous cancers were considered low grade, I was hoping for the same grade this time.  But, as I said earlier “was” is the word of the day!  All the borders are clear.  The tumor had broken through the bone but they removed enough tissue and cartilage that nothing was left behind.

So there was cancer, but there is no longer cancer.  Now that is good news!

Thanking God for his goodness!

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful to him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100:4

I love you,

These are the Moments…

Written Sep 4, 2013 2:24pm by Cindy McMurry

These are the moments I get tickled and laugh at the things we take for granted. These are the moments I’m in wonder at the goodness of God. These are the moments that the change in my body distresses me. These are the moments that I try to process what our tomorrows will look like while being eternally grateful for our today.

I’m healing. Thanks be to God. There are some obvious challenges and some obvious changes. There are also obvious blessings.

John gave me a shower today and I realized washing my own hair was something I took for granted. Now my husband is learning how to care for me in a way I hadn’t expected and demonstrating love for me in new ways. Receiving care from others that we expect to provide for ourselves is both humbling and a blessing. John has teased me that I “have more skin surface” than he does even though he “is nearly double my body weight”… and has wondered if all girls wash their ankles. 🙂 I’m amazed at how tenderly he’s caring for me.

Yesterday John left quickly for work, before making himself a cup of coffee. I discovered the coffee maker hadn’t been plugged in since we returned home and there was no water in it. Not being able to reach or being steady with either hand made plugging it in rather interesting. Essentially I hiked my belly on the counter, braced my left arm with my right hand and the counter just to get the thing plugged in. Then I had to add water and hit the button on top to turn it on… I’m sorry you missed it. I’m sure you would have laughed… I’m learning to contort my body to meet our needs in ways you would be amazed. Yoga friends… beware. I’m going to need you.

Eating is not too rough. I brace my arm on the table and move my mouth to the fork instead of the fork to my mouth. I’m not sure if everyone else enjoys my meal that way, but I’ve found the food tastes the same… it’s also more work so perhaps I will eat less. I might be starting a new diet trend, who knows?

When I had my left scapulectomy I was much younger and it worried me that I “looked like a ballerina on one side and a football player on the other” because of the way my muscles adapted to accommodate my needs. Well… I don’t match this time either. I took a good look in the mirror today and I’ve lost my corner… no more sharp turn at my shoulder. It’s a lot more like a slope. Who knows how clothes will fit… most of my time right now is in pajamas.

My Mom is here and doing her best to help every way she can and our friends are preparing meals. I continue to be in awe of the sweetness, kindness and generosity of our family and friends. Just today we had three visitors, a fresh pineapple from Hawaii and flowers from my Rotary friends and a girlfriend.

In the middle of these moments I’ve been reminded that in 1987 a physician told me that my life expectancy was less than 5 years. F.I.V.E. Y.E.A.R.S. When I struggle to relearn to function and when I get discouraged because of the changes I remind myself what a glorious gift the last 26 years have been, even the struggle itself is a gift.. I may have to relearn to function in some areas, but I’m alive.

In those 26 years there have been more gifts and blessings than I could begin to mention… Derrick grew from a toddler to a man. He became a husband and a father, he serves our country with honor and dignity. Our girl Bethany came into our life and through her struggles has taught all of us to be better people and what courage it takes to face the challenge of everyday life. I met and married John who is an extraordinary human being. My Father has beaten bladder cancer and been a trooper through many accidents. All of my nieces and nephews have been born and grown into fine young men and women. And our grandchildren… Alex and Emma… let’s just say John says I have “Grandmother Derangement Syndrome.” What a gift they are to us. I’ve had the honor of serving God in churches as pastor and youth minister. We’ve been richly blessed with relationships that have challenged us to grow in faith, courage and strength.

Today I am not the same girl I was when I received that scary diagnosis 26 years ago and the prediction that my life expectancy would be less than 5 years. No way. Today I’m so blessed it’s hard to fathom. The fact that I CAN plug in the coffee maker is a gift. My shoulder may slope, but it’s still a shoulder and moves and will learn to do more. These are moments I will treasure, reminding myself that I CAN and if I can’t, there are others who will. What a great life I have.

I love you,

And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 1Timothy 1:14