Friday, January 27, 2017

We're loving 2017 so far

When Noonie and I turned the calendar page into 2017, it was indeed like starting a new season.  Behind us, the cancer treatments of 2016-- chemo, surgery, radiation and all the side effects. 

As I write this, Noonie's strength has returned and she is doing so well.  She even swims a mile a couple times a week.  It has been a great joy to see her improvement.  Thank you for your prayers.

We marvel at God's goodness.  His healing.  His grace to time the end of chemo and radiation to coincide with the calendar year.  There's something special about that.

Thanks to a recent message from our pastor, God has repeatedly laid this on my heart for this year:

Wait on the Lord.  And that means obey, relax and expect.  
"But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength."  Is. 40:31

Obey, relax and expect.  That runs through my mind often.

January is almost behind us.  Can you believe it?  I want to encourage you with a podcast episode I recorded with Reach Beyond President Steve Harling:

What Will It Take in 2017?

Thanks for listening and share it with others as you seek God for his direction this year.

Life is full of surprises.  You never know
what's ahead.



Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Around the World



Need some inspiration this Christmas?   Maybe a bit of refocusing?

Well, this podcast episode is the answer.  Hear some incredible stories from around the world about people who are celebrating their first Christmas this year... in some of the hardest places.

I had a great time recording this episode, and had many of my Reach Beyond staff friends in the studio to tell the stories.

As you listen, I think it will renew your spirit.  We celebrate Christmas year after year, and sometimes lose sight of its significance.  After hearing these stories, you might see Christmas through the eyes of new believers.

Listen and enjoy!

http://reachbeyond.org/podcast

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee!

"Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love..."

For Noonie and me today, our hearts are full of joy.  We are downright happy!!

This morning, Noonie completed her 25 radiation treatments.  This ends another season in her treatment and she gets to return home from Houston.


You see her here ringing the bell that all radiation treatment patients get to ring after their last session at MD Anderson Cancer Treatment Center.  It was an emotionally moving time as this chapter came to a close.

Noonie has not gone through this alone.  Of course, God Himself has walked with her.  It has been a long journey, and human care is not enough.

But so many people have walked with us, too.  Prayers, texts, meals, cards, emails, phone calls, being with her during treatments, and so much more.  We are grateful for you.


Thank you for your continued prayers.  Noonie will continue having infusions of herceptin through June every three weeks, but this is not a chemo drug and the side effects are minimal.

Noonie is surrounded by her radiation team after her final
treatment this morning.  Joining her were me and my
niece Allison (far left).
As we sing carols this Christmas, I think ones like "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" will have special meaning to us.

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!


All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.


Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.


Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Gospel in 30 Languages




It's been a blast bringing the world to listeners' windows through the Reach Beyond Podcast.  Have you listened to any episodes yet?  I co-host the podcast with our new Reach Beyond President Steve Harling.

Every two weeks, you'll meet a fascinating guest as we discuss some highly interesting topics. Yes, it's like being back in radio.  Subscribe on iTunes or go to our podcast page (www.reachbeyond.org/podcast) on the 1st and 15th for a new episode.

You're going to love the latest episode -- and the accent, too.  Here's a quick intro below. Then click the link to listen or find us on iTunes.

From law enforcement, to family ministry to global outreach. In a few words, that’s been the career path of Australian Dale Stagg.

You’ll meet Dale in this episode and hear how God is using him to take the light of the gospel to one of the hardest places in the world. Dale leads Reach Beyond Australia, a ministry that beams hundreds of thousands of watts of radio power to Asia in 30 languages.

The power is really in the message, though. You’ll hear encouraging stories of how God is releasing people from spiritual bondage to freedom in Christ.


  LISTEN NOW


And... here are some of my favorite recent episodes you can listen too, as well:



   

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Reunited in Houston

I've been a bad blog poster.  I'm sorry about that!

We are "counting" these days.  Today, the number 10 is significant.  That's the number of radiation treatments Noonie has remaining.  She's had 15 so far and is doing very well.  She  is, however, feeling "sunburn" from the inside out, and she still has a couple more weeks of treatments.  Please continue to pray for her.

We were so close to the Houston Thanksgiving Parade, we were
able to bike there.  Had a doggone good time!
I arrived here in Houston for Thanksgiving and I'll be here until Wednesday.  Our days together here have been relaxing and enjoyable, especially since Noonie has had the weekend off from treatments.

We are so grateful for my niece, Allison, who has been a part of this journey since the beginning. Thanks to her employment as a PA at MD Anderson, that has facilitated things much easier for Noonie to get treatment here.  It is a blessing beyond words.  In addition, Noonie has been staying with her (and so have I) during the treatment periods.

We also counted the number of trips we have made here for various treatments and appointments since March.  It has been five.

Two weeks from today, December 10, Noonie will begin her trip home.  I will be flying down to join her for the drive.  This Christmas will be extremely special for us as we come to the end of a year that has been both trying and God filled.  As we replay this year in our minds, we are already overwhelmed in so many ways.

Above all, we are grateful that the cancer has been disappearing.  We know that so many of you have been praying.  Thank you!

May you be as blessed as we are this Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Another Hurdle Crossed ... and Great News!

The view from the pulpit  before the
service.  I didn't feel right snapping
pictures while I spoke. :)
This past weekend, we had the opportunity to speak at a log cabin church near Estes Park, Colorado.  I shared about the ministry of Reach Beyond in Nepal, while Noonie had the chance to thank the congregation for their faithful prayers for her this year.  Yes, even in the mountains of Colorado we've been supported in prayer.



In our last post, it was surgery day and Noonie came through it so well.  She was in the hospital overnight and was amazingly energetic the next day.  We even had a nice Mexican food lunch!

That's why I was dumbfounded when she fainted the next morning.  Yes, she was thrown for a loop, but so was I.  I know nothing about emergency care, so I did what I see on TV-- I called her name loudly.  I started calling 911 when she came to.  I did take a few hours before Noonie felt like getting up and walking around.

Amazingly, we flew out later that day and her energy rose as the day went along.

Here's some miraculous news.  We got the biopsy back from the surgery a few days ago.  The surgeon removed 29 lymph nodes and NONE had any cancer!  Whatever was there is gone.  We cried when we heard the news.  It was totally shocking.  Not that we didn't expect God to heal, but hearing it plain and simple as that was incredible.

Noonie does move on to the next phase of treatment... radiation.  This will kill any tiny cancer cells that may remain.  She has several months of herceptin, an antibody which attacks her specific form of cancer.  There is no side effect to that, and it takes about 90 minutes to infuse, every three weeks through June.

We are rejoicing!  God showed up in a big way.  Thank you for your prayers, love and support.

We head to Houston on September 25.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Surgery Day

I'm sitting alongside Noonie in her hospital room as she recovers from surgery.  She is sleepy but more and more alert as each hour goes by.

Looking good after surgery.

Our day started dark and early with a wake-up "call" (our alarm) at 4:00 am.  We had to be at MD Anderson Cancer Center at 5:30 for Noonie's surgery. 

We are so thankful for our niece, Allison, who has been our confidant, guide and advisor during Noonie's seven-month ordeal.  She is a P.A. in the breast cancer clinic at MD Anderson.  She has led the way for us to assure we get the best treatment possible.

Allison's girls, Lilly (top) and Delaney (bottom)
surprised Noonie last night with a pre-surgery
cake that said "Stay Strong."

Today treatment was no exception.  Noonie's surgeon was Dr. Kelly Hunt, the chair of the Breast Cancer Surgical Oncology Department at MD Anderson.  Allison is her P.A.

Of course, we were a little nervous as we walked into the unknown.  But I am proud of my wife, who has exhibited so much courage through the whole process with its many hurdles, both physical and emotional.  Today, Noonie looked peaceful and upbeat.

That's amazing, because yesterday she had ten hours or consultations, tests and procedures.  We left the Center after 6 pm.

The surgery went very well.  Noonie was here to have lymph nodes removed in the area where her cancer was discovered.  We were praying that not many would be removed, because the side effects in the future can be bad.  She did have quite a few removed, but Dr. Hunt was confident that all the cancerous lymph nodes are now gone.  Pathology will give us the official report in about a week.

Noonie will be here overnight.  We plan to fly home Thursday late afternoon.  Please pray for her recovery to be smooth.  She has kept the pain under control and we want that to continue.  Pray for her healing over the next couple weeks especially.

We return to Houston in a month for the beginning of a six or seven week stretch of radiation.

Thank you for your love and prayers during this time.  We are experiencing God's goodness and presence.