Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Oh, I miss my Mattie boy on his second birthday. We celebrated a bit early this weekend with cake and cookies. He couldn't have been more delighted with his Cars cake.

Mattie holds a very special place in my heart. He is the reason Rob held on so long.  He wanted to see this little guy's entrance into the world two years ago. Rob was too sick to travel to Austin, but he met him through the wonders of technology. Matthew gave all of us a few more weeks with our sweet Rob.
He may have not held him in his arms, but he left this earth holding his second grandson deep in his heart.
So each time he settles in my lap, I discover a little more about hope.  In the midst of the chaos of Sunday's party, Mattie grabbed my hand and said, "Gigi...Go."  And we escaped to a quiet place to play cars, the memory I will hold until we play again.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Mattie Boy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It's here!!!
We can start advent now!
Dave and Jess are two of the most wonderful people in the world. 
They have ministered to me through their friendship and gifted music in some of my darkest times. Their music always makes me look a great and marvelous God.

Unto Us (Isaiah 9)
Dave and Jess Ray

Let the celebration begin!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I can't sleep; hope's been on my mind. We had a beautiful night of worship at my church tonight: Joel and a choir of women, a young mother still in the throes of grief and one of our home-grown favorites sharing the real reason for hope in a crazy, mixed-up, broken world.
I saw it on the faces of women, young and old looking for some hope to keep them afloat.  
Pancreatic cancer has been on my mind as well; our 5k/walk to fund research is this Saturday, the 21st. I looked back at my journal to see the details of that date 2 years ago. Seldom do I do that; maybe I needed to revisit to remind me why I continue this fight for a cure. Funny how memories can point us forward. 
We were in the palliative care unit at MD Anderson, Rob's last in-patient stay there.  It was a difficult two weeks of both emotional and physical pain.  Rob's body was shutting down, we were not going to be present at Matthew's birth, our Galveston visit was but one more unmet wish.  We were grieving hard and staring at despair. I began listing one gratitude after another. 
One of the entries read: Sounds of Dave Ray singing Hope in the middle of the night. Hope, Jesus, a flicker of light in our nightmare.  I remember it well, a song written in honor of a beautiful newborn girl. Raw, honest music carried me through the dark that night and many more to follow.
So hold me through the hurting, Jesus
Walk me through the fire, Savior
When everything is lost and broken
I'll be holding on to hope.

Hope revisited. Hope found. Hope still holding on to me.

To hear Dave and Jess Ray's music, go to youtube or facebook

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Funny how plans change. I'd planned a daily post to promote PurpleStride Houston 2015. I will still add a few until the run/walk, but my heart just isn't into the creative push right now. 
Yesterday, I lost another friend to pancreatic cancer. Vickie went to my church. Three years ago, we were briefly introduced and a year later, I discovered she was praying for my Rob as he fought his cancer battle. It wasn't until she called to tell me that she, too, had been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreas cancer that I really came to know her.  A beautiful, brave, talented, compassionate woman in her prime. We talked about symptoms and treatments as well as living while dying. But mostly, we talked about family, especially her new grand child. I truly fell in love with Vickie's beautiful soul.
This evening, I once again realize the profound loss caused by this dreadful disease. Pancreatic cancer robs families of so much! I've lost too many friends, including the love of my life. 
It's a solemn battle to wage hope, to find an early screening tool, to eventually find a cure, but we must address the need for research and funding.  
Will you wage hope with Team Rob & Friends  by simply wearing purple this Friday on World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day?  Post a photo on social media, honoring a survivor or one who fiercely fought this disease. Purchase a specially marked purple Pentel pen in November to help raise funds for research. 
And, most importantly, may I ask you to pray this month for courageous patients, their families and their amazing doctors?  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

“Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days – when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when your out of options, when the pain is great – and you turn to God alone.”  Rick Warren
I'm in the final countdown until I lose my precious family, a place I hoped I'd never visit again. I'm learning firsthand worship under trial all over again.   My heart hurts something fierce, I feel abandoned, and I don't desire to worship in the least little bit. But I choose to...
Oh, it's not pretty. It looks more like closing my eyes and reciting: You are good, You will never leave me, You are faithful (mixed with a few desperate why's.) I search for even a few things to offer weak gratitude.  There are no polished hymns or beautiful acts of service, but, instead, an out-stretched hand, reaching for His tight-fisted grip.
Profound...intimate? Can one describe complete, fetal-position dependency in such terms?