How the West Was Won

You know how the west was won? The good guy shot the bad guy. Do you ever wonder what our crime rate would be like if we had good ol’ fashion public hangings still? Clearly we needed to “civilize” the west, but I am not certain everything shook out as it should.How the West Was Won

I have been in the middle of serious dilemmas lately. I have been struggling with the idea of making sure people see Jesus within me and my insatiable desire to chop block some jackholes (note the creative removal of the naughty word I am not suppose to say). We were in Wal-Mart and Roy, Jake and Matt were attempting to exit the boy’s clothing section, when an older, well-dressed, walking-with-a-purpose gentleman, who on the wrong side of traffic, came blazing past everyone nearly knocking one or two of my family out of the way. We had just left church and we had heard John Hackbarth speak an excellent message about Jesus calling the disciples. John spoke about the most important things we must do as Christians is to make sure we put people first. People matter. Then we go to Wal-mart and my next thought is that people also need punched in the nose…

How do we draw the line between grace and a swift kick in the pants?

Matt's pants

Matt’s pants

How do we handle situations with patience and still move forward in a timely manner? Jesus drew a line in the sand with his finger. When a line is that thin, you cannot stand on it – literally our feet are too wide to stand on a line drawn by a finger. I think that is the point. You either have to stand on one side or the other. For those of you trying to think outside of the box and wanting to straddle the line with both feet, the answer is a resounding NO. No you may not do that. We have to pick a side. Our real dilemma is our constant desire to exhibit grace when we are frustrated, patience when we are fed up with a situation, and love when we are mad at someone. I don’t think I am going to be able to finish figuring this out tonight. I hope not to punch anyone tomorrow though.

My family had a wonderful Christmas. A typical ranching Christmas. We soaked up presents from Santa and then Roy left to go do chores for a couple of hours. Upon his return the boys tore up the presents under the tree. We waltzed around the Christmas tree that evening and I got my very first cap gun! Being raised by “The Great American Hunter” I am sorely disappointed that I never experienced the sheer excitement of popping off a cap gun until I was 33. We were very fortunate that the smoke alarm didn’t go off. December 26 roared like a lion as I went to meet with a neurosurgeon. After my port was removed in late September, I woke up the next morning with the most irritatingly painful kink in my neck. That kink is still there and does not show any signs of letting up. I have had severe headaches and decreased mobility. I can’t even look in my own blind spot while driving. After my own 12 Days of Christmas… 5 chiropractic appointments, 2 massages and 1 physical therapist, I had an MRI done. Both my primary care physician and oncologist saw no red flags. My 2nd chiropractor on the other hand was highly alarmed by the presence of possible cysts along my spinal cord. It put us in a bit of a panic. I saw two very real possibilities: cancer again or dangerous surgery near my spinal cord. After the consultation on the 26th with the neurosurgeon he gave us both great and somewhat frustrating news. Good news: no cancer, no surgery. Frustrating news: no solution. We are still working through the idea of remedial care.

At this point, I am not sure it is safe for anyone to read this. I do not want to be responsible for a good black eye, but then again, maybe I do…

January 2014 are you here yet? I am incredibly thankful for all that I experienced in 2013, but I think a fresh start sounds pretty good right about now. I hope you had an incredibly Merry Christmas and that a superb New Year is around the corner for you and yours.

Thankfulness

I know Thanksgiving came and went, but as it did I found myself in tears thinking about the amazing blessings that came into our lives this year. There were so many things I was thankful for. Maybe more than ever before in my life. I mostly was thankful for people. For individuals who were willing to help us along one of life’s toughest journeys. These thank you’s are in no particular order, just as they come to my mind…

I am thankful for Roy. He had a horrible, awful job of driving me to chemo. He had to  watch me while I was sick and hurting. He saw me in my deepest lows, but because he promised to love me “in sickness and in health,” he persevered through this storm with me. I would not have made it without you Roy!

I am thankful for Mom. She was here with us during almost every single treatment of chemo. I think she may have come to the Cancer Center once with the boys, but her job, she was doing in my home was so important to me. She did the job I was suppose to be doing. She was raising my children. Caring for their needs. Thank you Mom!

I am thankful for Richard. He listened (and talked) to me daily. We often talked about life’s struggle of fighting cancer. He offered words of encouragement and made me laugh. His stories helped me forget for a little bit that I was in a battle. Richard you are one of my dearest friends!

I am thankful for Jessica. She listened to me on the phone almost every single day. She helped share the prayer burden with her church family who then in turn blessed my family abundantly. Thank you for all of the wonderful meals you helped coordinate as well. Jessica you bless me!

I am thankful for Nita. Thank you for having such kind words of encouragement. Thank you for praying fervently for our family. Thank you for all of the times you filled in the holes with the boys. I love you Nita!

I am thankful for Dad. Dad was great at playing with my boys and the boys love him for that. Immediately following my diagnosis I saw the most compassion and care (and stress and pain) I have ever experienced from my Dad. I will always cherish that time. Thank you Dad.

I am thankful for Danny and Sarah. Danny regularly checked in with Roy and their brotherly relationship fostered. Thank you for being the guy who checked up on my guy. It blessed is immensely. Sarah thank you for the wonderful meals and generous prayers.

I am thankful for Brittney. She kept life in perspective.

I am thankful for Heather. She worked diligently to line up meals for the better part of half of a year. I can’t imagine how much work that was, but she did such an excellent job. Thank you to the entire Forster family and the Crook Church for diligently praying for us. Heather thank you for your kind donation of time and resources!

I am thankful for Frank and Andrea Waitley. They graciously donated their time to lead a Prayer and Praise night right after my diagnosis. Andrea and Frank prayed for me faithfully. Daily. Diligently. Thank you for being our friends and mentor. Thank you for praying for me!

I am thankful for Carol. Thank you for sending a card every week!

I am thankful for Winona. Thank you for just showing up on my door step with food.

I am thankful for Aunt Linda. Thank you Aunt Linda for using up all of your annual vacation time to come take of me for an entire week. Thank you for making replacement heifer tags while you were  here. Thank you for playing with and spoiling my boys. I love you and sincerely thank you Aunt Linda.

I am thankful for Aunt Jane. You worked so hard in the heat of the summer taking care of me, my garden, my flowers, my boys, my home, my ironing. You are an amazing working woman. There is no keeping up with you. Thank you for helping with all of it and doing it so well. I love you Aunt Jane!

I am thankful for Earline. Thank you for your kind Facebook notes and wonderful meals. Roy will never forget about the peanut butter covered brownies. Now that sweets taste better I will try out that recipe. Thank you for your faithfulness during the duration of the journey.

I am thankful for Pam and Jack Harper. Your consistent and faithful Facebook posts constantly warmed my heart. You were so wonderful and kind. The encouragement you provided me and my spirit was phenomenal. Thank you two!

I am thankful for Kat. You called regularly and consistently checked up on me. Your willingness to fly out and work on the wig search was so kind. Roy and I cherish your friendship and constant cheerful disposition. You are so dear to me!

I am thankful for Laura Pfaltgraff sending numerous packages to my boys.

I am thankful for Amy’s generous monetary gift that made the medical bill burden so much lighter. Thank you also for the super cute sandals and beautiful Bible verse plaques.

I am thankful for Pastor’s Ben and Beth who checked in with us regularly. I am thankful for the steak Beth made.

I am thankful for Sam, who’s daughter was battling a neuroblastoma, taking time to talk with me.

I am thankful for my neighbor Jaci, who was so gentle in providing help and advice.

By no means, is it my goal to forget anyone. I was just bursting to tell people how thankful I was of them. I am so grateful to everyone who sent a card, picked up the phone, made a meal, prayed for us, and everything in between. If you did ANYTHING… Thank you!

I am so thankful I had cancer. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am at. Thank you Jesus for the opportunity to be thankful.