Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hope on the Train Tracks

I got an email a while back where apparently Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, was being interviewed. It was a very interesting interview but one thing he said struck me and stuck with me. He said that he used to view life as like a type of roller coaster going through hills and valleys, but now after the great success of his book coming at about the same time as his wife's diagnosis of cancer, he views life as a set of railroad tracks, running side by side, parallel to each other. With every praise in our lives right now, we do have something to pray about and with every prayer request we all have a blessing to be thankful for. Running side by side, parallel to each other.

I want to stop right there and say that I want to dedicate this post to Katie Leach and her amazing parents, Ashley and Ron. Folks, this family has more than their share of prayer needs. For those of you new to my blog, Katie is a 6 1/2 year old, sweet angel girl who recently had a FOOTBALL-sized tumor taken out of her abdomen. She also had a small spot on her lung that was cancerous. Yet, to read Ashley and Ron's posts on their Facebook group page, they are so faithful! They have counted their blessings amidst the prayer needs. They have been completely honest and open about what they are going through with their sweet child - things I personally can't get my brain to wrap around. I don't know Ashley, Ron, and Katie personally. I've never met them face to face, but they are in my heart and a part of my family much the same way that my characters in The Heart's Journey Home have become real, true, honest to goodness friends of mine. This is a part of Ashley's latest post. I think you'll easily see how I've come to love this family so much: There is relief in my heart and a renewed hope that Katie will be able to tell this amazing story of hers to anyone who will listen. There's a song that keeps running through my head these days (actually one of many) that says that "we can pray with hope." I studied the word "hope" some time ago and learned that "hope" does not mean just wishful thinking, as we sometimes use it. It is a confident expectation that God will fulfill His promises. That's what I feel: a confident expectation that God will do as He's promised. So, yes, I pray with expectation that God will work ALL this for our good; that He will remain faithful to His own character and love toward us; that His glory will be shown in my Katie's life. Thanks for praying with the same hope, even when Ron and I cannot. I truly believe Katie's "bounce-back-ability" is fueled by your prayers. You are quite the team! And we are so very grateful! I pray God's blessings for you, too, as you've somehow opened His storehouse for us! Ashley and Ron, if only you knew the storehouses YOU'VE opened for US through this journey you've been on. I for one have begun to see each and every day with a new clarity. So thank you!

Okay. I got that much written last night before I fell asleep! Isn't that terrible?! So, now time is of the essence. I'm going to get through this as quickly as I can and still do justice to all of the prayer concerns on my lists, but I have to also get some work in on The Heart's Journey Home before Ali's softball game this afternoon and right now the girls are actually behaving nicely. Opportune time!

Status update on The Heart's Journey Home: Progress is still good but slow. I got over 800 words done Thursday night which was really great progress for me on a school night, but then last night I fell asleep before I could open the file so tonight I have some makin' up to do. And I will. My deadline is May 1st - less than 2 weeks away. It's slightly nerve wracking. I'm not for sure but I think every author gets nervous as it gets closer to their deadline. My biggest "issue" is that I want it to be perfect NOW, even before editing, and it won't be. I've really got to put that out of my mind and JUST WRITE! After my manuscript is turned in and we begin editing it, the real fun begins - cover design, the editing process itself (isn't it always such a great feeling to make something good even better?!), and all of the little extras that The Heart's Journey Home will include. Oh, you'll love it and I'm beyond excited! I feel like a kid two days before Christmas!!! Really!

Moving on . . . You might have noticed I changed the list of Prayer Concerns to two lists. I was starting to feel like I was getting so many requests and I'm pleased with that. I want to be able to serve you all in this way, but I didn't want any of the requests to get over looked on a growing list of prayer concerns. I didn't want to take off the requests for those who've lost loved ones because the grief process is a long one and comes in waves. Someone may very well need more prayer 6 months after their loss. So I put them on a separate list and intend to keep them on the list for a year. Please pray mightily for those individuals. I don't have updates on any of them - what really can be said? As for the rest of the list, I am going to go down the list and update you on the ones I have updates on, but first let me bring your attention to a concern I just added yesterday:

Trey Grant is a friend from our church. He's a husband and a father of two girls (the oldest is my Alison's age) and a baby boy born this past summer. Trey was in a very serious motorcycle accident. From what I understand, he sustained a brain injury, skull fracture, broken sternum, and many other broken bones. He HAS moved his legs so that is a good sign, but as of last night they had him in an induced coma. Please pray for Trey and his family.

My granny, Betty Moltz, was recently readmitted to the hospital with fluid retention in her legs. She is very weak trying to recover from her mild heart attack. Please pray for strength for my granny and my grandpa who has been wonderful at taking care of her during this time - a true role reversal after 60+ years of marriage.

Time for not one but two HUGE praises! Both of the missing persons on the list - Dave Dean and Leif Sherry - HAVE BOTH BEEN FOUND ALIVE AND SAFE! Praise God!! Please continue to pray for them for hope and healing as I believe both men have some issues to work out.

Ethan Bibb is an 8-year-old who recently underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor. Unfortunately, the tumor was cancerous and the doctors discovered the cancer went down the poor baby's spine. Ethan needs a lot of prayer, as does his mother and father, Robyn and Farris, and sister Lana. Ethan is in an immense amount of pain. If you have a facebook account, please join the group Prayers for Ethan Bibb and follow the link provided to his Caring Bridge site. Leave them a note of encouagement. They SOOOO need it! According to the last update on the Caring Bridge site, he will be starting radiation on Monday and hopefully that will help a lot with the pain. Please lift this "Small Soldier" up to the Lord in prayer and let your hope or "confident expectations that God WILL fulfill His proimises" cover Ethan and his family.

I took off Mr. Fred Gross because he has been doing so well the he and Ms. Esther have traveled to Texas recently! Praise God for that!! I also removed my sister Julie and bother-in-law Jon Roeder as their sweet little Kaylee Ann is doing just fine. I can't wait to see them and love on that gorgeous little angel baby. June can't get here fast enough for that!!!

Katie Leach has started her chemo and according to her mama and daddy, is doing great! Seriously, if you haven't joined the group, Praying for Katie Leach, on Facebook, do it. This amazing family has changed my life and I truly love them! Please pray for continued healing for our sweet Katie. Pray that the world can one day know a faith like this family has! What a wonderful world this would be! Love and prayers go out to you, Leach family and especially to you, Angel girl! :o)

Kelly M is the daughter of one of the fellow authors at Sheaf House. The last report I received is that Kelly is in constant pain. Please, please pray about this for them. Kelly has a young daughter that is torn up to see her mama in such pain and of course Kelly's mama is torn up to see her daughter in such pain. Something HAS to be done for Kelly. Please, pray for hope and HEALING for her!

2-year-old Lilly with lukemia is receiving maintenance chemo for another 9 months or so but the report is that she is doing well. Praise the Lord! Please continue to pray for her, that God will remove this disease from her little body PERMANENTLY! That is my "confident expectation"!

Logan West is a 12-year-old that was recently added to the list. It sounds like he is having problems with his platelets dropping. From the information I received, he was rushed to the hospital three times with excessive bleeding. His mother is frantic, and I'm fairly confident that she has a constant knot in the pit of her stomach. It's how I was with my Olivia. Bleeding and issues with the blood is very, very scary stuff! Nancy, if you read this, please have Logan's mother email or call me with any new information. In the meantime, my friends, please pray Jesus' own words over Logan: "This is my blood given for you."

Mark Frohock is a friend of my publisher, Joan. Mark has been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer that has mestacised to the bones in Mark's spine, the lymph nodes, and the liver. He will start this Monday. Sounds not very good, but our God is bigger than any kind of cancer. They gave percentages, but I'm not going to report that. Mark is an individual, not a statistic (I learned that from the family and friends of Ethan Bibb - I learn so much from all of you!) and God IS still in the miracle business! Please pray MIGHTILY for Mark, his wife, Tillie, and his children. Pray with CONFIDENT EXPECTATIONS THAT GOD WILL FULFILL HIS PROMISES! Pray, friends, pray!

Ned Oeder, suffering from liver cancer, went to the Cleveland Clinic yesterday. I haven't heard yet the outcome of the visit, but I know that over Easter weekend he had to go to the hospital because of complications with his blood. I'll have an update on our friend, Ned, soon. In the meantime, please lift him up to the Lord. Pray for healing and HOPE!

Yesterday there was a benefit dinner at our old high school for my best friend, Patty Smith. I couldn't be there, naturally, so I'm waiting anxiously to see how it went. My mom went and said it looked liek they had a good turn out and she said Patty looked really good, too! Yesterday before the dinner Patty said she was just a little achy. I suppose that is to be expected when your body's fighting such a battle! Other than that, she seems to be doing well! Please pray for continued HOPE and healing for my very best friend! I love her so much and I WANT HER HEALTHY!!!

Oooo, oooo, oooo. I just couldn't wait to give you this update! Robin Baughman, the 40-year-old mother of 4 that was diagnosed with STAGE 4 cancer in her brain, breast, and lung, IS CANCER FREE IN HER BRAIN!!! Her one lung is completely clear now and the breast cancer seems to be only an outer ring of cancer cells attached to a fatty tumor. The doctors are still concerned enough to begin radiation soon, but, my friends, THAT IS GOD! There's nothing else to say! When my friend Shelly brought Robin to us as a prayer concern there was minimal hope. Just look what our God can do! Just look!!! (Whew! It moves me to tears that I love and serve such an awesome God!) Please continue to pray for Robin for HOPE and healing. The next update I want to give you is that our friend, Robin, is cancer free. That is my confident expectation!

That is an excellent way to end this post and so, until next time . . .
Love, blessings, and HOPE to you and yours,

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