Tuesday, December 30, 2014


For the last week our family has been knocked down by a very aggressive upper respiratory virus.  Its particularly hard on us in that while we are contagious we can't be near Jacob. He is very vulnerable to this type of illness and it would be detrimental if he contracted it.  So we have to stay away - its the hardest thing to do ever - but we must.

Our friend Debbie Allen (who is as close to a ministering angel as a human can get) has stood in the gap for us like Nehemiah for the last few days.  She sent Lorrie and I the message below today.


Sunday, 2:30pm.
I arrive. Jacob's been wiped out with fever all day. It's been like this for a week. Jacob is in 'mummy
Much Needed Rest
mode': wrapped scalp to soles in a sheet and blanket. He feels weak, exhausted, with severe chills. He hasn't eaten all day. Yet even though he fees this bad, I hear a muffled 'thank you' as nurses come and go.

Sadly, Jacob is about to feel worse. The nurse has just finished infusing another chemo. The hope is that this one will knock down the leukemia raging through Jacob's brand-new bone marrow. The chemo won't eliminate the cancer, but might give him a break from the fevers. Last night's was nearly 105.

However, the side effect of this chemo is nausea. Though Jacob wears an anti-nausea patch, and the nurse infuses an anti-nausea medication, it's not enough. She brings in a third.

Sunday, 6:30pm
After diligent work on the part of Jacob's nurse, his fever dips enough that he feels better. His temperature is 'only' 101. Instantly, Jacob is up, alert, smiling. He feels well enough to open some Christmas presents from his family.

Lorrie, Marshall, and all the kids have been down with a respiratory virus and fevers of their own all the last week, preventing them from visiting Jacob. Sadly, germs don't take a holiday so that families can be together for Christmas.

Jacob opens his gifts. Soft slippers for his fluid-swollen feet. A hoodie and sweatpants. A video game from grandma. And two pair of the one thing he asked for: skinny jeans.

We manage to temp him into eating two popsicles and half a bratwurst--the only food he's consumed all day.

The nurse changes the dressing over his central line, an important, but uncomfortable process of peeling off adhesive over an open wound, and swabbing it with a stinging solution. Thankfully, this happens only once a week.

Sunday, 8:00pm
The fever returns with a vengeance, and Jacob's window of feeling good disappears. 103, heading to 104, where it will hover all night. The nurse comes in with a bouquet of massive syringes in hand. Each medication will be infused through his central line. Jacob goes back into 'mummy mode', and we try to keep him from layering on too many blankets against his extreme chills, as they'll increase his fever.

Sunday, 9:30pm
Time for the meds that have to be swallowed. This is tough, as Jacob's nausea is still present, and he's reluctant to unwrap himself and sit up. He also has to take the dreaded nasal spray, an important medication, which works to prevent dangerous fungal infections. He has to pump two squirts in each nostril and hold it there. However, the solution burns his sinus passages, and it's just one more thing for a sick boy on a rough day.

Sunday, 10pm, 11pm
Monday, 12am, 1 through 6 am
The night passes slowly. Every hour, and many times, ever quarter hour is interrupted by beeps. One beep means his oxygen mask slipped off and his O2 levels are falling. Another means the IV bag is running low. Still others alert the nurse that one of the many medication infusions is finished. The nurse checks Jacob's temperature and blood pressure at least every hour, and sometimes every 15 minutes after certain medications. Then there are bathroom visits and cold compress changes. Jacob's nighttime is often busier than the day. It's a wonder he gets any rest. Thankfully, the staff is so courteous and sensitive, lovingly and quietly doing their job to care for Jacob.

Monday, 10am
A volunteer comes in to check on Jacob. She stops in to see him every Monday. The love she has for Jacob is evident in her words and on her face. She prays for him morning, noon, and night.

She tells me two things.

1. Jacob is the glue on this floor. He is beloved by the doctors, nurses, and staff. He has made a deep impression in the lives of those who work here.

2. Marshall and Lorrie's words and actions, and Jacob's attitude have started a ripple effect. She says those ripples have become waves of impact--and their effect has not even reached the shore.

Please continue to pray for this family walking a road none of us would volunteer for. Pray for physical healing so they can spend time with Jacob. Pray for God's presence and discernment as they navigate the next steps. Pray for the fevers to ease.

And pray for those waves to reach every shore God intends.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Suffering reveals Jesus

We readily accept the good from God.  Why then do we have such a hard time accepting suffering? Me included - I have a hard time with it.  Why do we think that any of us will somehow avoid it?

Suffering reveals Jesus - that is why none of us will avoid it.  It is, believe it or not -a mercy.  It drives us to the King when we are too stubborn to go on our own.  It strips me of all of the things that I place between Jesus and me - so its just me and him.  It is only then that I am ready to accept the mercies Jesus gives me during the suffering  -and I am certain the blessings after suffering.  Not just for ourselves but for others.

As I write this, Lorrie and I are processing what Jacob's transplant team has just told us.  His Leukemia is back.  It is aggressive and it will likely take his life.  We wonder "why?" to ourselves. He has fought so hard, so...bravely.  He has endured so much - we have endured so much.  We've never been alone.  You should know that we have encountered Jesus in this valley -in ways that could not have happened under any other circumstance.  I praise the one that conquered death for that.

We are asking you guys to pray for us once again.  Specifically we need wisdom.  We are facing some unfathomable choices and an unfathomable conversation with our son.  Pray for peace - for Jacob, for his brothers and sisters and for Lorrie and I.

Marshall and Lorrie

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Our Treasure

Christmas. The birthday of God made flesh, who took the form of man to rescue us. On the night of his birth, he received three gifts from the Magi.  Gold, that likely provided for the family of Joseph as they fled Herod's murderous rage to Egypt. Frankincense, an incense that was used in the temple - to worship.  And the most poignant to me - myrrh.  Myrrh was used to prepare a body for burial.  I often wonder if Mary understood what the gift of myrrh foreshadowed.

The word says that she "treasured these things up in her heart" and I am sure that the memory of this gift came to mind as they prepared Jesus for burial - while perhaps not yet understanding that in three days he would conquer the grave and in so doing open up a way for all of us to become exactly what God meant when he "meant" us.  This is Christmas: the great gift of setting things right by God - when we could not.

We all have things that we treasure in our heart.  We want you to know that we treasure you.  Your graciousness to us.  Your generosity.  Your unceasing prayers for us as we walk through the valley.  You know - we have never been alone.  You are treasured.  I've said it before - you all look alot like Jesus to me.

Hold each other today.  Love Jesus for coming to our rescue.

Merry Christmas from:  Jacob, Naomi, Hannah, Noah, Joshua, Lorrie and Marshall

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What Would Jacob Do? - A dear friend's impression after a visit

Friends, we recieved an encouraging email from a dear friend who has walked with us through the valley since we entered. Her perspective on Jacob invited us to step outside of being the a parent of very a sick child and see him how others see him.

Debbie has often visited and stayed with Jacob since this started - so that Lorrie and I can rest and reconnect. She's been an incredible blessing to us. we hope this blesses you as much as it has us.

Debbie's Message:
Jacob on a 4 hour pass from the hospital

After spending a few days with Jacob last week, I can't get him off my mind. Stuck in the same four walls of a hospital room for weeks on end, suffering through virus symptoms, and trying to hold down medications, yet he seems so upbeat and cheerful.

I had a thought: is Jacob putting on a brave front for his family? Is he protecting them from his true feelings of fear or discouragement?

I decided to ask.

We happened to be talking about the two viruses he's fighting. Viruses that leave spots on his head, his chest, and--they just discovered--on his retina. Here's what I remember of the conversation.

Me: So Jacob, when the doctor tells you about new viruses, and uncomfortable symptoms you'll experience from the meds, how does that make you feel? Is it discouraging?

Jacob (working hard on a new art project): Well, I could think about that all the time. But when that happens, I just tell myself, "Jacob, it's time to work on your legos." or "Jacob, go call someone or watch a movie." or "Jacob, try to make your nurse laugh."

And he does.

Make the nurses laugh, I mean. They love to walk in his room and see his mega-watt smile.

The day I came, I had stopped at the Worthey home to pick up some of Jacob's clean clothes. It was 3pm. Naomi was on speakerphone with Jacob. They had been on the phone since noon. I said hi to him, and told him I was on my way to Denver.

When I walked in his hospital room an hour and a half later, the first voice I heard was Naomi's.

"You two are still on the phone?" I asked.

Their phone call lasted until 7pm. Just a brother and a sister hanging out together, except they're separated by 162 miles.  Jacob told me later that when he called, Naomi was playing a video game. "Why are you playing a video game?" he asked.  It turned out that Naomi was feeling down. Probably sensing the tension from the news you guys had received from the doctor the night before.

Jacob told her, "Naomi! Turn off that tv. Go for a walk. Find someone to talk to. DO something instead of feeling bad." And she did. She talked to her brother for the next seven hours. And he made her laugh. I heard it over the phone lines.

He talks about heaven. How cool it would be to go there. And minutes later, he talks about what he wants to be when he grows up. Places he'd like to visit.

This is not a kid who's giving up.

Even when he has to take the dreaded gray pills (There are two. They are huge. And as his sister, Hannah, says, "They smell like a skunk." She's right.). When Jacob takes those pills, he closes his eyes, clenches his fists, and concentrates. "My brain," he says, "tells me, 'don't swallow those'." But he knows they're part of his chance to get better. Even though he's tempted to throw them in the trash, the nurses trust him. He'll do it, even if they threaten to reappear. Even if they come up, and he has to take them all over again. Even if he starts to throw up, he'll grit his teeth and swallow it all back down. Just so he doesn't have to swallow them again.

This is some of the most incredible bravery you will ever see.

So, think about what would Jacob do?
He would stay positive.
He would encourage others.
He would plan for the future--despite how bad things looked.
He would bring joy to others.
He would love Jesus.

Jacob does these things every day. And that inspires me.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Old Friends

As you know we had a rough week.  We're not done - he's not done.  We're working the options with the help of the warriors on 7 East.  But if we've learned anything about walking in this valley its this - God gives you glimpses of the things that give HIM pause...

What is it about connection?  About history?  About experience?   It's this:  Old friends being reunited via Naomi's 13th birthday (You have to be 13 to be on the floor).  Enjoy this - we did today.  Read this to understand (click here) exactly how this friendship started.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Are you sitting down?"

“Are you sitting down?” Yes. “His clone came back”. What? “His clone came back.” What does that mean? “It means that the cause of his leukemia – the MDS has come back.” Airplane noise. I found out 2 hours ago that the great gamble – the generous gift from our unknown 20 something is failing.

Stunned. I am on a plane coming home from a meaningless business trip to Boise. I get the news in an airport waiting on a delayed plane to arrive to take me home. I’m sitting on this plane trying to process what the transplant doctor just told me. The people around me banter about…well – nothing. Jet noise. Laughter -while I try to process this. “Do you want to tell Lorrie – or should I call her?” Stunned. You call her. You explain it. I can’t. “Do you want me to talk to Jacob?” No let us get our head around this.

Thoughts rushing as the Jetstream slips over the wings. What do we do? He told me the options – but I don’t remember what he said. Something about maybe inducing graph versus host or host versus graph or graph versus leukemia and something about more chemo – maybe radiation….are you sitting down?” I’m sitting in a plane going back to Denver. What do we do? What do I do?

I’m tired. We are tired. He is tired I am sure. He just wants to get better. As I sit here I wonder if I am going to have to tell him he’s not going to get better. How do you do that? I have no idea what is going to happen. I do not know if my son will live or die. We descend. Twenty minutes out. I’m going to take a cab to the hospital and tell Jacob that I love him. He’s not seen any of us for 2 days. Sickness in the house. This is so hard. All of this.

I got to the hospital and realized I left my phone in the cab and headed up to Jacob’s room. There he was. Waiting on Dad and tacos. He asked me about Boise. I read to him out of Romans. We laughed. This morning the cab driver from Senegal brought me my phone. I cornered the doctor that has had leukemia before. “What do we do?” I asked.

I’m listening for His voice in a very high wind.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

One full day of almost normal

Prior to discharge, bone marrow transplant kids and parents have to go through a couple of hours of training.  The training largely focuses on the dos and don'ts of leaving the hospital.  For example going to see a movie with lots of people is a "don't" - so is eating berries.  Always wear your mask.  The blue one that makes breathing like sucking an ostrich egg through a garden hose. Don't go barefoot.  Avoid any crowds. If your friend that goes to public school visits, they need to shower and change clothes before they come to see you.  Lots of rules.

And then there are the medicines. Part of the training before you get to go "home"  is administering the medication to Jacob.  There are over 15 different meds of all sorts. He basically gets a 'meal' of meds for breakfast and dinner with and an IV snack in the middle.  The job seems pretty easy while doing it under the watchful eyes of the nurse.  But I learned  this past Monday it's just not.  Throw into the mix that Jacob's entire digestive track is still recovering from the hammering it got in the last chemo round - and it will be for months.
The Drugs

We started the regimen in the morning. Jacob has to battle to keep those meds down.  Sometimes he wins that battle and sometimes he looses and then he has to take them again.  How he endures this with only a glib comment like "my stomach is angry with me" is beyond me.  I watched this young man do this, just me and him for the first time and then it hit me again how hard this is on him.  Watching this in a quasi-normal setting without the noise of the hospital brought the intensity of this battle home to me.  This is not easy, there is no button to keep your stomach from getting "angry" it's just going to.  Every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner he perseveres.

Despite all of this Jacob liked being discharged to a "normal" place this past Monday. Dad cooked his favorite meal 'adobo' for dinner - three helpings!  He promptly set up shop and began yet another lego kit.  He enjoyed standing in the sun Tuesday morning on the balcony of this apartment at Brent's Place.  Smiling as he worked on legos, grimacing as he struggled to keep the meds down.  Laughing when Dad told him something funny. We had a hard, but good day on Tuesday. Then we get a call:  "Marshall when you bring Jacob in for labs tomorrow morning, bring his stuff."  What? "A virus that we all have woke up in him - he'll need to be on antiviral medication round the clock  until his numbers come back up."

One full day of almost normal.  Jacob is back in the hospital hanging out with his brother as I write this.  He will probably be there for another two weeks.  It's normal for these BMT kids to go in and out but I don't think its ever easy for them.

I want to always write the truth here.  Right now we are still learning how to  "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds" as James encourages.  What I have learned is that takes reflection - looking at small increments of where we have been so far and seeing changes in our outlook on things and realizing that we are different.  Different in a good way - maybe deeper, maybe "more" somehow through all of this but we still don't see it all.  I do know we will get it someday.

Weirdly Thankful


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Uniform ≠ Warrior

I got scolded the other day about not writing by a nurse that has been with us since the journey started last March.  This young lady and many others on this floor have become our friends.  We celebrated veteran's day this week - a day set aside to remember those who showed up to serve all of us.  But did you know you don't have to wear a uniform to be a warrior?
Bone Marrow Transplant Unit Nurses Station

I want to take moment and tell you about the warriors that serve on the 7th floor here at Children's Denver. The people that work here are passionate about beating cancer and other disorders they treat here on 7E.  They are selfless, they are kind - they are one of the best things that have happened to us in this journey. We've learned their stories - at least some of them.  They are all over the map with one commonality - they love what they do and they love these children and their families.

They are on a mission.  I think that's what resonates with me - the mission, having a mission, a purpose a goal.  Having been on a few and knowing what it takes to complete them these guys and gals get it. Their weapons are different to be sure:  compassion and empathy, a listening ear, IVs and stethoscopes, thermometers and blood pressure cuffs, masks and gowns, all wielded by highly trained warriors who defend that kid on the roster on this shift, right now. Then they go home, get up and get here early to do it again - because they love it and I think they even love him, or her as they apply the gifts of healing and mercy to these kids.  In some cases, I think they can hate it too.  It - meaning loosing.  An infection getting around them, a virus sneaking in or the worst loss - that I will not speak about.

If you are on a mission of any type, you want people around you that hate loosing, that play to win. They are confident, they are bold and unwavering - more importantly they are our team.  I praise God that he made people like this. It is a great honor to have these people on Jacob's team - a great honor.

As you pray for us - thank the High King for these warriors, ask that he sustain them and confirm in their hearts what they are doing.

Now for Jacob.  The worst of the chemo side effects are gone.  The ulcers mostly gone.  Soon we'll move into Brent's Place to stay near the hospital for the 100+ days to ensure he recovers fully and has rapid access to the hospital should he need it.  We'll be dividing our household for that time between Denver and Green Mountain Falls as Jacob will require 24x7 care from Lorrie, myself or someone else.

Pray for us here because we have no idea how to do that.  How do you balance work, home school the other children and do cancer from two places separated by 87 miles?  (If you have ideas we are all ears)   But I do know one thing: my hope is unwavering, we'll be sustained...my King has got this...just like he has all along and the "how" will come.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Coffee Filters, Glasses and Mercy

Last Saturday morning I stumbled into the kitchen to make coffee.  I fumbled with the filter thingy
and it fell apart in may hands.  I struggled to put it back together looking very much like a chimpanzee fixing an airplane.  I could not see what I was doing - no glasses.  Then I wondered "why do we loose our eye sight?  and then thought "Glasses are really cool." Then I thought about mercy.

God hates what happened to us as a result of our rebellion. Think about it... as he watches our fall he watches our bodies start to fall apart as we age, he watches us struggle in our work and our appetite for contentment. Not that I know the mind of God but there must be some element of "..if only you had listened, all of this could have been avoided." He made us to be free, to walk in friendship with him instead we broke faith, we rebelled.

So many stories and mental pictures out there depicting God hurling us from Eden.  He did not want that - we chose it.  And then his mercy started chasing us.  I have proof that he is merciful:

  • We loose our sight, he gave us the ability to develop optics to help us see
  • We get sick, he gifts some with the talents to heal (research, treatments you name it)
  • We work sometimes it satisfies...most times it does not.

We're not content. It's as if we have what was meant to be hard wired in our souls. - We do.  That in itself is a mercy - His mercy.

We have the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.  Namely that its not going to last these lives we lead here, we will live, love, suffer, live some, love more then we will pass like smoke. That elephant in the room is proof of his mercy.  He gave us Jesus as if to say "yep there's an elephant in here all right."  He gave us Jesus to recognize that and turn to him and be healed. Mercy.

For those of us who know Him and will allow Him to know us...He will restore:

  • One day, my eyes that are seeing less and less detail now...will be able to see every detail, every thread of his intricately woven robe
  • One day, I will all of the sudden notice - that have no ache, no pain, no stuffy sinuses and will marvel how far short of reality is for what I used think "feeling good" was -and then realize the gravity of what he rescued me from.
  • One day, I will forget what "being sick" or "having cancer" or "stubbing my toe" is. 

One day I will be who I was meant to be, a new creature, with a new body, living life - real life to the glory of my High King. There will be no more young men laying in a hospital room with ulcers in their throat caused by chemo therapy.  No more.    I love that fact.  I love the fact that I can rest on his promises - that YOU can rest on his promises if you choose to.  Why would you not?

As I write this, Jacob is experiencing the full brunt of chemo side effects.  Painful ulcers in his throat - probably for 5 more days the docs say.  This will go on until the gift our 20 something gave him grows and replaces the cells that would be taking care of this issue now but are gone due to the chemo.  Despite this, Jacob is still expectant, he is still strong and he is very much in the fight.  I think he's going to win.

The road is not complete.  There are still twists and turns that we'll experience.  But knowing - really knowing how merciful God is... knowing how he is carrying our burden...makes it bearable.

We love you all.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Gift

The Christmas Tree
The Gift


Today started like most days in Children's.  The nurse coming in, doing the rounds, taking vital signs.  Jacob - tolerating it but hanging on to just a bit more sleep.  Dad on the fold down couch -tolerating it but hanging on to a bit more sleep.  Then remembering...

Today is the day that just might save Jacob's life.  Yesterday a young man, somewhere in the country woke up and drove to a bone marrow donor clinic.  In that clinic he filled out forms, was asked if he had anything to drink or to eat in the last 12 hours, he was given one of those lovely hospital gowns and then asked to count backwards...10, 9, 8, 7, 6... out.  The docs inserted a needle into his pelvis and perhaps his femur to extract healthy bone marrow - what  Jacob needs so desperately.

While our young man was recovering, the marrow was processed by doctors, lab techs and others to get it into the form Jacob needs - T cells.  This morning, as our young man was popping a tylenol to take the edge off the pain in his hip and catching up on the lack of coffee the day before a Fedex truck arrived at Childrens with a small insulated box - probably at about the time Jacob and I realized the nurse was not going to let us sleep any more.

As I sit here, Jacob eats breakfeast, and is giggling as he watches Tim Hawkins videos on youtube.  He makes a passing remark about how his stomach hurts this am - the last chemo round is catching up to him.  This is the day. The day we thought we would not make it to and the day we hoped for a hope.  It's here.  In about 5 minutes they will bring some of the IV meds to prep for the transplant.  In about an hour they will bring in the most precious gift we have ever recieved second only to the gift Jesus gave us.

I have no idea how it will feel to watch this.  I have no idea.   I'll write again after.  Right now I'm catching up on my coffee like our young man is. Maybe popping an advil to take the edge off of what the hospital couch does to my back and asking the High King to bless the man who gave of himself and Jacob giggling under the covers.

Not my prayer but His plan...he's soverign and good, we're His and He's ours.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Waiting to exhale

Bone Marrow Biopsy.  THE indicator of winning or loosing the fight. A week ago Jacob went in for  a biopsy.  The last one was clear - no leukemia blasts - some funky cells, but no leukemia.  That wait was long - but the wait between last Monday and the following Thursday was really long.  During that wait a parent thinks "was the last time a fluke?" and "is it safe to hope?"  Notice - not "is it ok to hope?"  Because you want to with every fiber in your being - but rather..."is it safe? ...do I dare?"

During the waiting of last week we had appointments every day in Denver with Jacob.  It's called "the workup" for transplant.  It's exhaustive(ing).  They check everything and then do what is needed to get him ready for transplant.  The last meeting was a 3 hour consult with a passionate transplant doc that takes cancer personally.  In the meeting we got the news...

He's clear.  No blasts. No Leukemia.  Some cells with "dented heads"  pre leukemic to be sure (Myelodysplastic Syndromes or MDS) but not Leukemia.  It was probably the cause of Jacobs AML M7 Leukemia but it's not leukemia.  Do you know what this means?

Transplant.  A chance for this boy to live.  We went from discussing hospice to....hope.  He has a match -not just any match but an 8 out of 8 factors match.  A generous 20something taking 3 days of his life and giving it to my son.  Exhale. Let it settle in. Dare I say...disbelief?  Breathe.

A flower called hope bloomed in my heart.  A slow welling up of praise and thankfulness to my Jesus.  Someone told me " ...celebrate it's like a touch down!"  Kind of.  To me it was more like that 4th quarter 1st down on the last drive of the game to give you a shot at winning by 1 point.  Know what?  He could win.  He could really beat this thing.  I'll take this form of hope.  It is the rawest, probably the most hopeful hope I have ever really felt.  This has taught me to hope -again.

I love how Jesus knows just when to act.  It is ok to hope - again. So the way ahead.  The work up is complete. Admission on 20 October.  Straight into the chemo that marks the end of a big part of Jacob's genetic code and marks the beginning of what to me is as close to a re-birth as one can have physically.  He gets the 'gift' from our 20 something on the 30th.  Did you know Jacob will take on the blood type of his donor?  He will have to get all of his inoculations all over again. In alot of ways...reborn.

He will get a new start - a new start because someone gave of themselves.  Sounds...familiar... I hope you can see the allegory that I do.  Jesus bled...he saved us all.  He rose again...and so did we.  Rebirth.  Life.  I am now inhaling...one of the sweetest fragrances ever....hope.  If you think your life needs a 'transplant', Jesus is the donor you are looking for.

Glory, Honor, Strength and Power be to Him!  The High King and Lover of ...us.

By the way... Jacob has been home for the last three weeks.  Here's a picture of how it's going...Weston Pass 2 weeks ago...one family 2 4X4s and alot of fun..

From Left to Right: Naomi, Bella the dog, Lorrie, Marshall,
Rosie the dog, Hannah, Joshua, Jacob and Noah

Friday, September 12, 2014

Count Your Blessings

"Count your blessings one by one, count your blessings see what God has done".  We (I) don't do this enough.  As I was reading through the last few months and processing where we've been, I was amazed at how intense this has been - reading through this, I'm amazed we are still here. I'm not going to apologize because frankly things are still intense.

Reading though all that warfare made me want to glorify the High King.  Want to know why?  He's been faithful.  He's been our strong tower when we have had enemies on every side.  He's been the one to break through when we are surrounded and relieve us.  Do you want to know how?

You.  His church, his bride.  His people.  I would be blogging 2000 years post rapture if I tried to quantify all of the things people have done for us. People that don't know us, people that do. People from literally all over the world.  The goal here is to try to convey both a universal THANK YOU and more importantly give you a chance to understand what happens to people when they surrender their lives to this man, this God, this Jesus we love.  In fact he loves us so much that the God of the Universe, the maker of us all includes you and I in what he is doing.

"My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."
-Jesus of Nazareth

Like our Dad you have been working:

-Meals:  Since March, at least twice a week people have brought us meals. With parents splitting time between Children's Hospital, work and home this has been one way in which god has sustained us  kind of like the Ravens fed Elijah (Thank you for being a raven)

-Cards, letters, visits:  We have been showered with well wishes, letters of encouragement, written about in blogs (not this one - right Adeye?) which spurred a no kidding deluge of mail to Jacob from people from all over the globe. Each word written by you was used by our King to say "Never will I leave you, Never will I Forsake You to Jacob and to us. This is like having personal messages of encouragement from the High King delivered by the King's personal emissary (Thank you for being the Kings Presence)

- Support for Gas:  You have sent us to be with Jacob.  He lights up.  The floor full of suffering - lights up.  Lorrie comforts other Moms.  Nurses smell Jesus in that room.  The gospel is lived out.  You sending us not only comforts us and Jacob but people feel the hope that comes with your sending. As I type this I am starting to realize that this is a mission field - it is.  And you are sending us.  (Thank you for sending us)

- Shoulders:  Back to those intense blog entries. Lorrie and I have used many of your shoulders. You let us be a mess and you love us anyway. You told us its ok to be ok.  You carry our 90 lb ruck sack.  You don't get all churchy on us when we tell you that this sucks.  You cry with us.   You rejoice with us.  You comfort us in this trial we are in.  (Thank you for being our Comforter and bearer of our burden like our Father is - you are starting to look just like him you know...)

-Warriors:  I related to a friend a month or two ago that dealing with all of this is kind of like that first horrific scene in Saving Private Ryan.  We've been in the enemy's kill sack.  He was and still is intent on taking us all out to sow despair, to steal kill and destroy.  We've been down. Wounded. Bleeding out.  And out of nowhere - there you all are.   You drag us to cover, sprinkle scripture sulfa on our wound and bind us up. You are fearless. And the part I love is the enemy fears...you.  (Thank you for being warriors like our High King)

-Servants: A family just left my house and I am 40% sure (you know who you are) they just walked our dogs. My goodness people you have walked dogs, toilet paper and paper towels mysteriously appeared at our home yesterday. You have sat with our Son, given up your time so Lorrie and I could have time. You have washed our feet. (Thank your for doing what Jesus does)

-Gift Givers:  Jacob now has more legos than any kid in Colorado I think. Someone sent him the coolest globe ever. T Shirts, hats have appeared to many other things to mention - all with one goal: Ease Jacob's Suffering. People have slipped us checks, paid more than what I asked for when selling a tent and then told us "we want to help."  (Thank you all for being a lavish Giver like Dad)

So many people, so many "Statues of God walking about in the Garden" as one theologian put it. You all remind me of my Abba. All of this also reminds me of this:

As it is, there are many parts, but one body
                                                          -Paul to the Corinthian Church

Each of you acting through the Spirit has been part of that body, that beautiful bride that our Jesus is madly in love with and no small wonder why he is. He's jealous for me, for you, for us.  

I want you to see in this post what I see.  The church is not a building. Christianity is not Religion.  It is the power of Jesus to transform you and I into what we were meant to be, a reflection of him and my friends you certianly do look and act like my Jesus.  

We will never ever be able to buy enough thank you cards for each of you who has prayed and acted on our behalf, so I wanted to give you all the highest compliment any person could get outside of a card.  You look like Jesus to me.

Glory, Honor, Strength and Power be to Jesus the One Who Was, Who Is and Is to Come.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What I learned about being OK.

Just a quick update.  I really am hoping that those of you who are going through something hard consider what I am about to say - particularly you men out there who like me feel the wieght of responsibility and duty.

Maybe you are ex military like me or your father taught you these important virtues of responsibility and duty.  They are important to be sure.  But here is what I have learned going through the muck of the last month.  Responsibility and duty do not trump these truths in God's word:

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. 
Proverbs 55:22 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you
1st Peter 5:7

Do you men know what this means?  It means it's ok to be...well ok.  Here is what I mean.  It is ok for you not to carry the wieght of a trial,  it is ok for you to give your 90 lb rucksack to Jesus. In other words, this means that the weight of a trial is only ours to carry when we refuse to give it to Jesus to carry out of duty or honor or obligation or what ever 'ought to' that is plagueing you.

What I will call a 'false obligation' kept me under that rucksack.  I chose to go into the hole.   I felt it was my 'duty'. While Jesus only wanted to free me of the burden...I chose duty over Jesus's offer of rest.  In his book, 'It's Your Call' Gary Barkalow told a story of being asked by Jesus "Is it heavy enough for you?" referring to a burden Gary had been carrying for many years.

Gents - Jesus wants your burden - for whatever reason - He wants it.  No matter what you are up against.   I now know what these scriptures mean.  Learn from my mistake..drop your rucksack...It's ok. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Not all better and it's OK.

So it's been a long while since I last wrote.  Suffice it to say - I went into the crawlspace (see the last post).  I love how I can  articulate to others how it's bad to go there and then I go and do it.  I was there for a long month.  I got angry, good and angry about everything.  I tried to do it all while at the same time realizing that was impossible and I failed. Then of course came the enemy, "you're not up to it" and "you're dropping things, you are...failing"

I started to make agreements with that enemy.."yep I am failing" and "I'm not handling this well". Then of course when the enemy has you there he easily gets you teetering on the brink of absolute dispair.  And there I was on the edge.  Then as God often arranges, a friend got me to open up....Kurt.  I had been complaining mightily to God. So he asked me how I was... I was honest.  Eventualy in our conversation I told Kurt " Man I am not doing this well!"  Pause....Kurt says "Marshall who could do this well?" And there it was. I had been trying to carry everything myself.  That conversation gave me permission to "not do this (my son having cancer) well."

Now then to say I am all better would be a lie.  I am not all better.  I am however now "not all better" and it's ok.  I  am (the whole family is) still in a tempest and we have no idea what beach we're going to wash up on.  But I've given myself permission to rest some and not try to carry all of it - that was an impossible task and the enemy took me out for a bit.  There is much much more to the story. But I wanted to be honest about where I've been.

The Laughterof a Warrior
 Now then Jacob - here's part of the "more". When we  checked out of the Hospital after numbers recoverd from  round 2 we had what we now call "the meeting".  Chemo  had not worked, Jacob was not in remission, we were  dealing with what the docs called a "refractory leukemia".  We were given 3 choices:  1. Take Jacob home and call it  done - he would have 3-4 months.  2. Take his already  sevearly weakend body through chemo round 3 right away  and hope for remission.  3. Go home rest, recooperate and  then try again.  No Brainer right? Option 3 it was.

And how he played, how he visited with his friends, how he laughed!  They wanted us to take him
in on that Friday after the Monday he was released.  We called the docs and told them - give us the weekend and they did.  So when Monday came we grudgingly took Jacob back to the hospital.  Now there is a routine to this.  First he gets a bone marrow biopsy.  Then he gets admitted.  Then chemo starts.  After a week of chemo and its side effects we get the results for the biopsy that Friday.

I (and the Doctors) fully expected to find Leukemia Blasts in the biopsy.  They didn't find them. I had fully expected to hear the same 'thats it' kind of news.  I heard the opposite.  The doc's even said they were surprised.  All of the sudden.  Hope.  We have even started to use the transplant word again and there are 2 perfect matches.  So pray for the Lord to 'Surprise' these doctors again.

10 mL per hour of suck.
There is hope, there is a break in the clouds - like an eye in a Typhoon.  The trial is not over. But as I sit here and watch Jacob sleep peacefully after a day of being a light to others on this floor with so much suffering on it I am thinking about this:  in a storm you have to struggle to hear someone speak to you through the wind and the rain - its been kind of like that for me. I know God is good. He never left us. He never left me. He used a friend to give me permission to "not do this well".

I have to apologize to my beautiful bride who knew I was in this hole and tried to help me when I was in that crawlspace for about 30 days.  I was a mess.  But having Lorrie greet me when I came out of the hole with that smile of hers well...there are no words. I Love my Lorrie very much.

And as for Jacob - a man can learn alot about how to walk through a trial from him.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Walking out of the crawlspace

I wanted to write a brief update.  So as I said in my last post it's been hard the last couple of weeks.  A big part of this has been the fact that since Jacob got out of the ICU he has not been himself.

You have to understand before the infection Jacob was light on the 7th floor -people who came into visit left...well, feeling better.  Well for the past week this has not been the case.  Jacob came back to his room -changed.  Sad I guess is the best word.  It was not simply speaking - him.

So last night we had a talk.  I asked Jake to tell me what it was that he was feeling since that terrible time in the ICU.  Two words:  sad and...mad.  So we dug deeper.  "Jacob - what is making you sad?"  He replied:  "I'm sad I feel bad"  and  "I'm sad that I can't be with my family."  I listened then I  asked "Jacob why are you mad?"  To which Jacob said "I'm mad that I have Leukemia."  and "I'm mad that I'm in the Hospital."  Clarity.  Honesty.  A weight lifted. I was able to answer:  "You know, we are all mad and we are all sad.  We are missing you too.  We are mad that you're not home with us - that you are stuck in here. We miss you."

I went on. "Jacob you have every right to be both mad and sad - but mad and sad are only two very, very small parts of your life.  Your life is bigger than mad and sad."  I went on to explain to him that if he lived out of those two very small parts of his life - it would be like having a big house and choosing to live in the crawl space like our cat does.  I'm sure the Lord was giving me the words - because he got it.

Today Jacob chose to live his life and turn away from mad and sad.  He chose to turn his light on again and not live in the crawlspace.  And the staff here - they noticed. (Jacob does not yet fully realize that his light is needed on the 7th floor) We all have those you know - our crawlspaces.  We hide in work, in business, in what we feel people value us in or for or the other lesser things in life to deal with things. We all (me included) do that.  But today I watched a young man choose to live out of the most important thing in the world - the life that the Lord gave him.

Getting that out, verbalizing the fact that this...well -sucks was so huge.  It freed him. Today was a 180.  A good 180.  I think that the light is back on.   Answered prayer for sure.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Jars of Clay

ICU.  Three letters I never wanted to hear.  Two weeks ago Jacob was taken to the ICU with a very high fever.  For a week his body battled the infection.  He spiked  at 105.7 at one point.  The impact on him was severe.

The good news is that last Monday he was returned to his room - paroled from the ICU. He's recovering as we speak.  Slowly but surely coming back.  We're waiting on his ANC to come up again after the last round of chemo - kind of like oh yeah we beat the infection now we need to get back to beating leukemia.  But the good news is I heard him laugh again today ;)   -Nothing was funny during that last week in the ICU so that was huge!  And...he's snapping legos together again!

I'm going to be the first to tell you - this is a hard, hard road.  We're tired. We are all (especially Jacob) so tired.    But obviously quitting is not an option.  Now I know what this means:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is 
from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; 
perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; 
struck down, but not destroyed. 
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, 
so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

Even though I know what it means now, I feel like I am such a mess at this moment.  I can't yet see how Jesus is being revealed in my life because of this.  Mostly I am just simply a mess.  "How's Jacob?"  I get tired of fielding that one.  "How are you?" that one too.  The answer is "we are a mess".   The answer is we are being pressed on every side - but we're still in the fight.  We are perplexed, confused and have no idea how to face all this - but we are not despairing while still acknowledging the fact that this is harder than we could have imagined and shows no sign of letting up.  We are certainly not abandoned.  Struck down?  Yeah this is a gut punch every day.  But we are still here....by God's grace alone.

So what do we need?  Pray for Jacob for him to recover from this infection both physically and emotionally - it was hard on him.  Pray for a bone marrow donor and pray that when we go to transplant it takes - pray obviously for recovery.  Pray for Mom and Dad and Brothers and Sisters - we're a mess.  Pray mostly for the life of Jesus to be revealed in all of us. You can keep up on Lorrie's facebook that gets updated more often than this.

For all of you who have cooked meals, driven kids to Denver, helped make Jacob's room ready for an immune compromised kid, prayed for us, bought gas, talked with us, hugged us, loved us.  You have no idea the kindness you have shown us - no idea.  Thank you.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Home and then back again.

As you know we've not been writing much lately.  So the last post left us at 45 days in the same room - quarantined. Jacob spent another two weeks in room 760 at Denver Children's Hospital.  He was in the same room from March 21 - May 19.  So the prayer was "Lord, let him be home for his Birthday" and that prayer was answered.  We celebrated his 14th birthday at home.

What a beautiful time that was!  He was reunited with his best buddy (Naomi) for MAJOR romps in the Colorado sunshine.  He was able to just be Jacob, hanging with his big brother Noah his sister Hannah and play with the dogs.  He was able to be simply speaking himself.

The only difference was frequent Dr's appointments and Mom and Dad gearing up to flush his brovi catheter (two people who chose careers other than medicine for a reason).  The last appointment was a bone marrow biopsy and getting the news - "blasts were found".  - No remission.  Leukemia coming back.  Pretty hard news after a great two weeks of "normal".  Shock.  Anger. Fear.  Lorrie and I had all of that within about 3 hours of the news.

So the procedure is when you don't achieve remission on the first round you are fast tracked to the bone marrow transplant lane.  This is a place we had hoped not to go.  But once again here we go - Jacob is once again running down there with a smile on his face beckoning Mom and Dad to follow.  Where does his courage come from?

He's not said so - but it seems to me he's like a kid hollering at his dad from a cliff to catch him as he launches himself totally confident that Dad will catch him - he just ...does it.  But you know what I think?  I think he know's who's arms he's jumping into.  My arms are a small, very small metaphor for the real arms that catch us - His arms- the Carpenter's arms.  Its breathtaking to me.  I want that courage. I have learned so much from my children.

I said earlier that this is not a sprint - its a marathon.  It's true.  But know this our family is now yelling "Catch us Daddy!"  And I fully expect to land in those strong arms - maybe even listening to a giggle from a 14 year old boy as I land.  So the way ahead:

- We're now on day 2 of a 6 day chemo session.  We hit zero, come back hopefully having achieved remission.  Then we transplant.  We have no idea what this looks like.  Sounds awful. But  he's down there and we better catch up.  So what do we need?  Prayer, cheaper gas prices and to become artists at making things as normal as we can for our kids.

We Love You All.  - will try to write more often - but th ese last two weeks at home - we were just basking in the glow of a happy young man and a family reunited if only for a short time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

45+ Days and....You.

I have never heard of a kid that can stay  in a room (one room) for 45+ days and still be happy.  Jacob has. His attitude blows me away.  He is no kidding, honest to goodness happy.  One of the nurses told me today that Jake has a 'list'  -of nurses that like to care for him.  Now what guy wouldn't want that!?

Do you know why that is?  It is his heart.  He "just want(s) to get better". The most negative thing I have heard him say during this whole thing is "I'm bored".  Really?  Who wouldn't be.  But I have heard that maybe twice.  He did get in a bad mood yesterday though - want to know why? Nope - not being stuck in a room for 45+days.  Nope- not because he has leukemia.  -Because he lost a part to the R2D2 lego kit that dear friends bought him.  Do you believe that - it's true!  So you know what he does?  He just goes into his spare lego parts bin and jerry rigs it to work - expertly.
The coolest globe ever - sent by friends

Why this positive attitude?  I think it is because people like you are holding him up in prayer and our God has taken up residence in this room.  There is something supernatural going on with this boy and with our family.  Its both beautiful and awe inspiring.

What's beautiful you ask?  Well for starters the courage of a young man that comes from somewhere both deep inside and from God.  And then there is the blanket of love our family has been cocooned in by both friends and complete strangers.  Our church family mobilized and are helping us get Jake's room ready for him (ensuring its ready for an immune compromised occupant).  People are coming out of the woodwork to help.  Our church, other churches all over, my Mom's Sunday school class, my Dad's church, home school groups, MoPs moms that Lorrie worked with, co workers, friends, neighbors you name it - all being the hands and feet of Jesus.  Such generosity, such beauty.

What is awe inspiring is the fact that God is using you to carry us, to hold us, to speak peace to us - and I mean the family - not just Jacob.  People often ask us "how's Jacob?"  I have lately answered them "He's fine - its the rest of us that are all banged up."  So you know what these people do?  They step in and patch us up.  They give us a break, they come spend the night with Jacob, they buy us gas, they bless us with meals and above all else they pray -and they patch us up so we're not banged up any more.
R2D2 Lego Kit

I have been humbled to watch and experience these people, this church.  It's like the hands of Jesus himself carrying us.  No.  It is the hands of Jesus holding us -and now I see it.  This is the clearest understanding of the church -what it really is that I have ever had.  The church, what the word refers to as His Bride is ...you.

I think you can only see this if you have been on the receiving end of abundant grace as we have been these last 45+ days.  Don't run from trials, don't fear them - it will open your heart to receive gifts that you would otherwise never understand.  Experiencing all of you is a great gift.

Now for Jacob:  We're finally seeing some movement (a little) in his blood work.  The indications are that his bone marrow might be waking up.  The biopsy from last Tuesday showed no Leukemia that's huge - it means the first round of chemo did its job.  So we need the right cells to come back so he can come home for a short visit - then round two of chemo.

We love you all.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Necessity

So I got to go worship for the first time in about a month last week.   During worship I started thinking about necessity.  Specifically my thought was this:  "is Jacob's illness a necessity?"  the more I thought about it I remembered what I believe and that is this:  My Jesus loves Jacob - more than I could ever love him. He has plans for Jacob - to do him good - not harm.  So if I believe that (and I do with all of my heart) then Jacob's illness must be a necessity -a holy necessity.  As I thought more about this I wondered ...but for what?  Here is what I concluded:  Jacob's illness serves the purpose to demonstrate hope. It demonstrates an assurance that Jacob and his family has - Jesus will never leave us or forsake us and Jesus has plans for our good - for the good of others.

After worship I got to speak with a dear friends who are going through some serious hardship with their child.  You know what they told me?  "I get the feeling this struggle is a necessity" - exactly what I was wondering as I worshiped.  That my friend is confirmation that I am onto something important here.

Hope and assurance like fear and despair is contagious.  You know what I can tell you - Jacob's hope is exactly that - contagious.  I have seen it brighten the day of the staff here at Children's.  I'll bet that some just don't understand how this young man has "such a great attitude".  I would wager they wonder why he's always "all good". I believe that the effect Jacob is having  on the wonderful people we have the privilege of being with here on the 7th floor is part of the "necessity" of his Leukemia - and I believe there is more that we may or may not understand until later.

It is so tempting to get in a fetal position and despair when unthinkable things happen to those you love.  But that is not a necessity - especially when you trust that someone bigger than you, who loves more than you and "knows the plans he has for you" is holding your hand.

Jacob Update:  So we are waiting for a certain type of white blood cell to reappear in Jacob's labs.  They
The Obi Wan Knobi of Legos
are called monocytes.  Now when I first heard that term it reminded me of some old testament biblical people - as in "the Israelites subdued the king of the Monocytes and there was great rejoicing in the land". Nope - its a type of white blood cell.  He's at 0.  That means the chemo nuked everything and we're waiting for it to come back.  The Monocytes are an indicator that that is happening.  Today - no Monocytes.  We want Monocytes bad.  Four days we've been at 0.  Jacob feels fine other than being quarantined to his room.  He keeps busy.  He's still building stuff:  legos (thanks to folks that are sending him kits ;), model airplanes and other things.  He's still happy.  He says "I just want to get better".  It's as if he just knows this is where he needs to be.  Its a necessity.

Continue to pray for the families on the 7th floor.  There are many here - many worse off than us.  Try commuting from Montana or the 4 corners area for example.  Pray for the staff here from the housekeeping folks, the nurses, docs, techs - they all have a demanding job.  - Pray for Monocytes ( we wonder if there is a lego kit for those).  Love your kids, Love each other, Give Glory to the High King today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bumpy Road - Great View

So.  We're still here.  Jacob is still there.  I have to say if you have to have Leukemia you need to do it like our son.  He's through his first round of chemo and waiting in his room patiently for his numbers to come up - which will enable him to come home for a brief visit.  I said earlier that this is going to be a marathon and not a sprint - boy did I make an understatement.

You'll notice we've not written too much lately.  I guess we just needed to get our heads around this. when this happened to Jacob it was an instant left turn for everyone in our family.  Kind of like a car getting lassoed and turned in an instant onto an unknown road. But here we are on the road.  We're now getting familiar with this road.  Its bumpy to be sure but it also has some pretty incredible scenery.  Let me explain.

Jacob as the Avatar
First let's start with Jacob.  How do you thrive with Leukemia?  Yet this young man is doing it.  Sure - he's lost his hair.  He's stuck on the 7th floor of Denver Children's Hospital.  He is smiling - always. His attitude is incredible.  All this guy needs is something to do.  Bottom line up front:  If he has legos, paracord to weave, binoculars to look out of the window, a kindle with a good book on it (thanks friends) he's good - no seriously he's really good.  He's better - he's happy!  Crazy right?

It get's better. We get affirmation that adopting Jacob was God's plan.  As I spent the night with him we had a dude's night.
 We talked, we played, we watched the hobbit.  I tell Jacob:  "You know I'm not always going to be able to be here Jake".  He answered: "I'm not worried about that Dad - I know you'll come back".  Now that might appear insignificant to you - its not.  Remember that Jacob was abandoned three times in his life:  first as a newborn, hours old outside of the orphanage he grew up in, second a failed adoption -that was a very bad situation for him, and then third, another failed adoption one spouse wanted him, the other did not.  Having undergone all of this, he told me:  I KNOW YOU WILL COME BACK.  - Now that is a nice view out the window on this bumpy road.

Nothing Beats A Grandmother
Another beautiful view we have had is that of the people who care.  We have had our friends show up and stay the night with Jacob - playing battleship to keep his mind off the chemo.  We have had food - really good food delivered to our family as mom and dad have been taking turns staying with Jacob - people have come out of the wood work to help. Prayers - we believe God is Sovereign - period.  And we praise Him that we have many, many others out there praying for us, praying for Jacob and who knows what else.   All kinds of people - folks we know and others we don't have been showing up.  We've had people offering to buy gas for us as we travel the 160 mile round trip almost daily.  Finally we have a Grandmother - Peggy Manthiey who rolled into town for two weeks and did what grandmothers do - take care of  grand kids. The boy gained over a pound under her watch! (A very good thing) When she got here Peggy had only met Jacob a few times - now they are fast friends - he even beats her at canasta.

Thank You for your prayers.  Thank you for your time. Thank you for your love.  Thank you for sharing meals with us.  Thank you for putting gas in the car, Thank you for sitting with our kids, Thank you for spending the night at the hospital, Thank you Nurses (you guys rock!), Thank  you Doctors (ditto!) Thank you all for being the people God created you to be.

Thanks and Praise be to the Lord our God who sustains us and heals us!  - Make much of him today!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Never alone..not even at Bass Pro...

Survival bracelets.  Jacob loves to make them.  So how do you pass time at the hospital?  That's right you make bracelets - well Jacob makes them.

So yesterday Jacob decided it was time to make some survival bracelets.  Given that is NOT a video game I'm all in.  So I start calling around, looking for surplus stores where you can find this stuff.  I made one call to Bass Pro in Denver and get the operator.  I told her what I was looking for and she transferred me to a young lady in the sunglasses department.

Survival Bracelets

"So do you have any parachute chord?" I ask. "You mean to make bracelets?" she asks.  "Yeah.  I have a son that's going to be in the hospital for a long time."  "I'm sorry - what's wrong?"  "Cancer." I said.  The young lady asks me if I can hold on a minute then gets back on the line and says "I have two bracelet kits in stock - will you be coming today to pick them up?"  And I told her I would.

So I drive to Bass Pro and get directions to this young lady's station in the store.  I arrive and introduce myself as being "that guy".  She pull's out a huge bag containing a shirt, a hat, a beginner's fly rod, fishing tackle and a pair of polarized sunglasses - then announces that the bracelet kits are down in there somewhere.  "Take it and tell him to get better she says".

I almost lost it. It was overwhelming to think that there are strangers who care for our Jacob. Another pointer from the Master "You are not alone".  We  ...are not alone.  So if you ever feel alone, know this - you are not.

So we make bracelets, we get blessed by people God puts in our path. We do chemo therapy, he gets sick and cracks a joke about it.  I hope, I really hope that as nurses and doctors and friends come in this room Jesus is made much of.  I hope that as we do our laps around the hall and we meet people they sense his presence and smell the hope that is Jesus.

As I write this, Jacob sleeps. Chemo is catching up..."not fun" as Jacob says.  We are hard pressed and tired but we are never alone.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power 
is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; 
perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, 
but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, 
so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive 
are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be 
revealed in our mortal body. "
II Corinthians 4 7-11

And you know what?  Life is being revealed in all of this.  Love the Lord and hug your kids today.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Valley and Courage

Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  Cancer.  Words a parent never wants to hear.  We heard those words yesterday.  "He'll need chemo - right away".  Jacob needs chemo. Who would have thought this boy who has already faced being abandoned - thrice, watched his friends get adopted while he stayed behind, who finally found home would be told "-cancer".

As I sit here in Children's Hospital in Denver, my son is in surgery, getting a 'central line' added to his chest. Through this line will pass medication that will make him feel terrible while saving his life.  Six months of chemo perhaps - a very, very long road ahead. He's heroic this boy.  He came out of his second of perhaps many more procedures and the first thing he says is "are we done already?"
Jacob at Denver Children's Hospital

We are stunned.  Our lives changed forever in one meeting with a doctor.  We are stunned - he is peacefully eating jello as I write this.  We love this boy.  He gets tubes in his chest - we cringe, we empathize - Jacob watches Tom and Jerry.  He gets blood drawn, pressures taken - we wonder when it will end - he plays a round of madden  on X box making Denver actually beat the Seahawks. All this since Saturday mind you. This convinces us that Jacob will not just get through this - he going to thrive. He
is courageous and it makes me so proud
to be his Dad.

We've seen our share of valleys and here is what we know:  it is there and only there that you get to walk right next to Jesus.  We're now on the edge of one of the scariest valleys we have ever seen or imagined - We know Jesus is there, waiting to walk with us through it.  And as we stare down into the unknown - Jacob goes running past us, yelling at us to catch up -he's running right down in there.  We're going.  It seems like Jacob already knows that's where Jesus is and that is where he'll meet us - down there.   We know that no matter how hard this gets we will NEVER be alone.

"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
Joshua 1:5

We will keep you informed in the coming weeks.  This is going to be a marathon - not a sprint.