Category Archives: friends

My year of cancer . . . uncommon peace


One year ago on Friday, Jan 13th, I heard the words, “I am 99.9% sure the lump is breast cancer” I sat stone faced, I nodded and after what seemed hours I uttered, “okay, now what?”. I had just had a mammogram and then an ultrasound of a mass in my right breast. Minutes later, I was having a biopsy. They do not mess around in this small-town teaching hospital. Side note, who goes in for a mammogram on Friday 13th?

I drove home unblinking, walked in the door stunned and in shock. I looked at Tim and told him that I had cancer. He never blinked, he never wavered, “we will do this together”.

I remember we were supposed to head into work, we found ourselves at the ocean. It is the place I can make sense of the senseless, it is the place that soothes my soul, it is a place of healing for me.

Tim was true to his word, all the chemo, the week in the hospital, all the surgeries, all seven and a half weeks of radiation, all of it. He sat with me, sitting in the hard chair of the watcher. I have never loved him more. You know who else was there through all of it? My heavenly father, holding me tight, always.

This last year has been a blur of doctors, operating rooms, needles, chemo and radiation. I feel like I have aged 5 years since last January. It has also been a blur of helping hands, urgent prayers, physical and virtual hugs, and the abundant peace that Jesus provided.

I was exhausted, so exhausted. I was, at times, void of emotion and in an instant full of emotion. I was never afraid, I always felt peace covering me.

There are snapshots that flash though my mind:
Shaving my head
Laughing with the nurse before my port placement
Laughing with the same nurse months later before my emergency port removal
Loving arms of my husband
Faithful friend’s offers of help
Caring nurses
Caring doctors
Days that I felt well enough to be in the sun
Farm-fresh eggs from my boss
Family gatherings
Friends visiting
Months of not having to shave my legs
Sweet times with my heavenly father
I chose to shuffle through only the funny or encouraging snapshots. The others are there, but I choose to dwell in the grace and faithfulness I experienced through this year.

I still have a journey ahead, but the tough stuff is over. I have my one year mammogram this coming Friday, I am expecting an “all clear”. I continue to feel the peace that has covered me this last year.

As I look back over this year it is with a grateful heart.

Calling all men . . .

I Promise . . . . . .

As a follow up to yesterday’s blog, I want to thank the men who recognized the need in my children for a male presence. There were many, my dad, my brothers, and wonderful men from my church family. Youth pastors played huge roles in my children’s lives.

To the men who complimented my daughter, who gently teased her, who showed her how a man should treat a woman, how a dad should love his children and how a husband cared for his family, I am eternally grateful to you.

To the men who took my son on father/son fishing trips, to the men who mentored my son, who pointed him to Jesus, who showed him how to be a man, how to shave, how to treat a lady, who showed him how to protect and care for the women in his life, I can not express my gratitude.

Men, I want to challenge you to look for the fatherless around you, take a few minutes to think about how you can fill the gap, how you can serve that single mom that has no idea how to teach her young son how to grow up to be a man. She probably won’t ask, a single mom is used to doing it on her own, she may not know how to ask or where to look for help. If she is like me she won’t even know, when asked, how to articulate what she needs.

This is what she needs: she needs whole families to take her children on outings, she needs for her children to see how whole families interact with each other. She needs her children to see you treat your wife with respect, she needs her children to see you hold your wife’s hand, and hug your children. She needs you to show her son how to shave, how to change the oil on the car, how to set up a tent, how to fish, and how to play ball. She needs you to take her daughter with your daughters on an ice cream date, she needs you to show her daughter how a man should treat a woman, how a daddy treats his daughters.

God blessed me with amazing friends and family that recognized what I could not express, my children would not have grown into amazing adults with out my God, friends and family. Thank-you is too small a word to express my gratitude, but it is the only word I have.



Remembering instead of mourning

One of Jason’s very good friends posted a blog about Jason yesterday. I wish I could express how it warms my heart when I read remembrances of Jason. Often I learn new things about him, things I did not know, things that touch me.


“An Ode to Jason Taylor” Revisited

**It has been 3.5 years since my good friend Jason Taylor went home to be with his King. With the passing of time, it doesn’t get any easier. Grief comes and goes. But the happy thought remains that I will see him soon and we will be reunited together with the Saints and Jesus Christ. Perhaps we’ll watch heavenly cartoons or shoot flaming arrows while the harps play. I don’t know. But I do know this: I miss you Jason and we will talk soon brother!** 

Four days ago saw the passing of a very good friend of mine. Today is his birthday. I would like to celebrate his life with this limerick:

When I first met the man Jason Taylor in the spring of Two Thousand and Six, I was blessed to say the very least.
He made me laugh and I did likewise. He was an amazing addition to the summer staff of Canyonview Camp.
We formed a quick bond with one another because we had a lot in common. We possessed some of the same goals.
He was widely known as TROGDOR THE BURNiNATOR around day camp. The kids loved this gentle giant.. . . . . read more here


I recently read something that is so true of where I am now in my grieving process.

There is another side of Grief

Where the tears still flow
not as often

Where memories bring smiles
not just sadnes

Where blessing are recognized
not just struggles

Where joy and peace are present
not just sorrow

Where you are remembered
not just mourned


Gratitude Production 101

gratitude production 101

Here are all the links to all 7 blogs in case you missed one. Trust me you do not want to miss one. All on the same subject, all so different yet so similar.

Before November gives way to December and all that seems to go with this time of year, make sure to read these. After this week of reading these I feel better prepared to enter this busy season. I will be more intentional with my thanksgiving, more satisfied with what I have, more compassionate to those who don’t have, more focused on the real reason for the season. I will be more thankful.

Take a few minutes, ready them one right after the other, like chapters in a book. it won’t take long. Choose just one or two of the suggestions to try see if it doesn’t change the way you look at celebrating the birth of our Jesus.

Day One by Traci Castaneda : Thanksgiving Blog Venture Day 1

Day Two by Terry Porter : Thanksgiving and Gratitude

Day Three by Bev Landgren : 365 Days of Grateful

Day Four by Joe Castaneda : Be Thankful. Be Thankful. Be Thankful.

Day Five by Tom Tanner : Rooted, Built, Established and Abounding in Thanksgiving

Day Six by Danny Ray : 3 Ways to Make this Thanksgiving the Best One Ever

Day Seven by Becca Forrest : Intentional Thanksgiving

I am working on a special project for this weekend. Stay tuned!

Have a blessed tomorrow.

Stretcher Friends


When they couldn’t find a way to get him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down on his stretcher through the tiles into the middle of the room, right in front of Jesus. Luke 5:19

From the time the fireworks tents start appearing through August is what I call the season of Jason. (You can read the whole story here.) This season the story of the man being lifted up on his stretcher and brought to Jesus by his friends has been running through my head.

Many times through these three years when I have been at my lowest I have heard from you that you are praying. Your prayers have carried me time and time again to Jesus. You did for me what I often could not do for myself. When the grief was crippling you picked up my stretcher and carried me. You spoke the words to Jesus when I had no words.

I write this today to say thank you to all of you, I have felt your prayers, I have felt you lifting me to the presence of Jesus. I have felt his healing grace over and over. Thank you for being there still, three years later. Thank you for allowing me to grieve, for not telling me it was time to get up and walk on my own, for giving me the luxury of being carried. Thank you for walking beside me when I can walk, and then carrying me again when I need to be carried. I don’t have enough words to thank you properly, but I want you to know, that I know you are there, I know you are lifting me up to Jesus. Thank you.

I thank my God every time I remember you. Phil. 1:3

Happy Father’s Day

Dad, Steve, Dave, & Bev - sea wall at San Diego

First to my Dad – I remember trips we took, places we saw, your humor and your aversion to camping. But we did it one summer, 6 weeks in that camper van, all of us sleeping in it every night all the way to Indiana and back. We survived. I remember driving down the highway in a station wagon and you eating as many cherries as you could, holding the pits in your mouth until you could hold no more, then in machine gun fashion spewing them out out the car window as you drove. I remember driving back from grandma’s in Richland and the huge blizzard in the gorge. we got in that fender bender, by the time you got back in the car one side of your face was coated with about 1/4 inch of ice. The first thing you said when your face thawed was “never again”.  And never again did we travel the gorge at that time of year. And then your love for my kids, how you cared for them and helped me so often as a single parent. Thank you for the love and example you were to all of us.

Paul & Jody in Rogue River 05

One thing I just remembered today as I was looking at some pictures, you loved photography. I remember you telling me how to compose a picture to give it depth. I wonder what your photography would have looked like had you been able to afford a nice camera? Love you and miss you, I am so glad you were there to welcome Jason to his heavenly home.

Jason 022steve & mendi







To my brothers, what great uncles you have been to my children, I don’t know if I can ever express to you my gratitude for the care and love you showered on my kids as they navigated life with out a dad. Dave, even without children of your own you have loved and cared for so many kids, you have been a great example of unconditional love. Steve, your example to my kids of  a daddy and godly father is something that I will be forever grateful for.


Tom, papa, I can not tell you what it meant to me when you and Sammye “adopted” my kids. Your love of them is something I can never thank you enough for. What a godly example you have been to them.


Last but not least, my husband, one thing that attracted me to you was the love you had for your kids, they are your heart. I had seen too many single dads fade from their kids every day lives. I was so impressed with your love and care of your kids, I knew I could trust you with my heart. Then you loved mine too, you are a wonderful “Dod”.

A letter to my son on this Mother’s Day


Dear Jason –

My heart overflows with things I want to say to you. You were my first, I truly did not know what I was doing with you, and you tested me from the first few minutes of your life. When they handed you to me I wanted to look at you all over, you had different ideas, you wanted to eat and you made your will very plain. You were loud and active. Even then I realize you were charting your own course.

As you grew I began to see the soft inside of that hard exterior, you had a heart like no ones I had seen. You loved everyone. You saw beyond the surface to the person beneath, you had such an eclectic collection of friends. I loved that about you.

What I want you to know today is that I miss you every day, but I am okay. People told me that pain would dull, I did not believe it. I thought I would always have this huge sharp pain every time I took a breath. God is good, when I think of you now it is with a smile of warm memories. God was gracious to let me be your mom for almost 30 years.

I wonder about you still, what life is like for you? How did it feel to take that first full breath of heaven? Know this today, that I miss you with every part of myself, but I am okay, I am happy, I am content.

I love you more than I have words for, I miss you as much.

Love you forever,


A letter to my daughter on this Mother’s Day

1 Dear Chelsey Anne –

The day you were born was an amazing day, you came into this world in a crazy backwards way. You scared us just a little bit, and then there you were in my arms. Pink, round and wide eyed. I was in awe that day. You were beautiful, your eyes were so big. You were quite the contrast to your older brother, soft, quiet and content. You slept through the night from the day we brought you home.

As you grew you carried that same soft, content spirit with you. Your beautiful long blond hair and big blue eyes brought you attention that you were so uncomfortable with. As you grew you became a beautiful thoughtful young woman that was equally beautiful on the inside.

One of my greatest and most often prayed prayers is  that you would grow to be a woman who sought God, and that you would grow to be an independent woman that was comfortable with who she was. God answered my prayers far beyond my dreams.

I am not sure where you got your steady confidence, it certainly was not from me, but I admire the way you live your life, and the people you surround yourself with.

I am so amazed that God gave me you, I cannot imagine my life without you. I love you more than I can say. You are my heart.


Love you always –




Lately, I have been pondering some of the pros and cons of social media.

One of the biggest pros is that, whether we live near or far from those we love, life is busier than ever, it is so easy to peek into our loved ones lives through social media and feel very connected to them. I am thankful for the glimpse I get into my family’s everyday lives as we don’t live as close as I would like. I love being able to look into my nieces and nephews every day lives, and see how they are growing and changing. I love being able to see what is happening in the ministry my brother and his wife are evolved with half a world away. I love seeing what my brother is cooking up for dinner, and seeing the wonderful everyday life of my daughter. I get to peek into my husbands families lives and feel like I get to know them a little better by seeing little snippets of their everyday lives.

One of the biggest cons is that we get to peek into people’s lives that we don’t have a real close relationship with. We believe that this is how their life is, these snippets that are shared. We envy their nice home, perfect yard, and well dress family, all the while behind the little picture we are allowed to see, may be the storm of a wayward child or broken marriage. Sometimes we peek in this window and see  a “mess”, not knowing the work that God is doing, and God is very pleased with “this mess”.

We make judgements about people based on these snippets. We assume their life is perfect, we wish for that life, not knowing what we are really wishing for. Or we make a judgement about how messed up their life is, we secretly thank God we don’t have the problems they have, not knowing that they have a peace that passes all understanding.

These posts on social media are just glimpses of a person’s life, and usually just what they want the world to see. We have this unique privilege that no other generation has had, to peek into each others lives, but let’s be careful not to assume that the snippet we get to see is the whole picture, and use this privilege to hold each other up in prayer.

(the whole picture)whole picture

six years ago, today

14Not that many years ago this day, Valentine’s Day, was just a day. Not really dreaded, but not a day to really look forward to. I thought I had forfeited my right to romantic love years ago. There would be no romantic dinners, roses, or the hand of a true love in mine. I had stopped wishing for it long ago.

I was happy and content, I loved my life. I loved my children, I loved the friendship and love we shared. I loved my family and friends. This was enough.

Then one day, out of the blue, there he stood asking me to lunch, on Valentine’s Day, I opened my mouth to say no, and yes came out. I was shocked. A first date on Valentine’s Day? Really? What was I thinking?

The rest of the story is nothing short of a fairy tale to me. For almost half a century I had no idea that this kind of love existed. I am more in love than I thought was possible.

I will be forever grateful that my heart over-ruled my brain this day six years ago.

New Wedding Album Book