Posts Tagged With: Resilience

Pedal Pusher

7crabbycroc.jpgAgain, there are limitations on the extent to which I can be creative or insightful with this entry. The real good stuff takes time to distill… me sitting at a keyboard, staring at the screen, juggling words and ideas in my head like plastic balls in a bingo machine… until they land on the page where I arrange and rearrange until they make sense… As mentioned before, these days I must ration my words. Rather, I can only sit and stare and type for so long before my joints begin to decay and my muscles grow moss. They go rigid like tree bark, and it gets that much harder for me to move any at all.

And right now I need to be moving. Doctor Joel says movement is life. My physical therapist says my job is to under do it, but to under do it everyday. On this point these two warring factions (physical therapy and chiropractic therapy) agree: a rolling stone gathers no moss – even if it’s rolling, ever so slowly, uphill.

7slugger.jpgThe general trajectory as of late has been pleasantly upward. In spite of some recent setbacks, there seems to be some notable progress in how much energy I have to spend and the things I am able to spend it on. Most significantly, I spent the better part of two days this past weekend alone at home with my boys, who collectively burn more calories in an hour than I burn in a whole day. What’s more, I actually enjoyed it (though I’m recovering from the activity, still).

This is a mark of progress more valued than any medical test might give me. One of the more difficult things these past years has been the extent to which I’ve been unable to be “dad” and “husband” for my busy young family. It’s one thing to be absent and unable, it’s quite another to be here everyday with my hands tied.

And there’s more to say about that, but not right now. There’s too much else. And my hands are only given so many letters.

I spent what letters I had between the last posting and this one on preparations for a talk I gave at the Roseau County Fair grandstand a week back. It’s a neat deal. Apparently forty years ago a guy on the fair board proposed having the fair initiated every year with a grandstand event called “Church Night at the Fair.” Every church in the county is invited. They’ve been doing it ever since.

7fair.jpgThere were two things particularly special about the evening this year for me, besides the fact that I was the guy speaking. The first was that I shared the stage with lifelong friend Tami Fugleberg (now Osweiler) and her singing group, Sweetwater Revival (her Star Spangled Banner made me cry). The second was that I was speaking to what seemed like half the population of my hometown. More specifically, these folks knew more of my story than most, and many of them had played a part in it at one time or another – most many years ago.

It was a bit difficult deciding which message and which testimony to give for such a crowd. So many things to say, so little time to say them, and the desire, of course, to say them well (add to that chemo brain and it’s really a wonder I made any sense at all).

All said (and there’s always more to say), if it was communicated that suffering and death are really bad; that Jesus did something profoundly great by stepping into it and dying himself; that resurrection is real and really good; that we partake of God’s salvation by humbly asking for and gratefully accepting the help we need (in Christ and through others), and that we participate in God’s salvation by giving the help we can, then… I think I said enough.

I hope it was also clear (as I told so little of my story and touched upon it so briefly when I did) that Jen and I both are genuinely and deeply grateful for the love and support we’ve received from those folks… you folks… thank you.

7steps.jpgAnd I am disappointed we didn’t have the opportunity to chat with as many of you as I had hoped to. Still the few conversations, glances, headnods, hugs, and handshakes that happened were good. Real good. Like the first bite from a box of chocolates: good in itself, but best because there’s so much more to be had.

Speaking of talk and chocolates, there is an application of self-discipline that is new to me these days. Much self-discipline is packaged as an avoidance of something bad for the pursuit of something good (Subway instead of McDonalds). But most self-discipline in my life has been a regulating of good things so as to keep the good things good (eating a bite of chocolate in one sitting is good/eating a box of chocolate in one sitting is bad… too much of a good thing, anybody?).

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to me that I have to nearly give up writing and reading – even healthy conversation (the eternal kind that makes time irrelevant) – these days if I am ever again to enjoy them at all. It seems my sedentary lifestyle prior to cancer (driving, recording, writing, reading, playing guitar and piano) has teamed up with the inactivity of the past two years and rendered the whole of my body in real bad shape.

7beretta.jpgWay back when, I may’ve been in no shape for softball, but I could still drive around and play music. Then when I wasn’t fit enough to regularly perform, at least I could sit and write or record. And when that became difficult, at least I could lie in bed and read. Now all these things are difficult – almost impossible – for any significant length of time, without incredible amounts of pain.

Or if they aren’t (topical analgesics and caffeine go a long way), the end result robs me of any justification. It’s hardly worth it.

Last Saturday night the Worship Circle (100 Portraits, et al.) was in Minneapolis doing an outdoor thing at the Fallout. They had hand drums set up all over in front of the stage for anyone who wanted to pound out a rhythm during the show. I stoically refrained for about an hour. Then the spirit moved, I cracked, and whacked a djembe, then a conga. Five minutes maybe. And it hurt like crazy, and it was so much fun. But as soon as it was over, I regretted it. I regretted doing something I so love to do. Like I’ll regret spending the better part of three days typing out this update. This isn’t fun.

7suds.jpgArtists in general want to be carried away by whatever it is they’re doing (except whatever it is they’re supposed to be doing). I am no exception to this (I love getting lost in a book, conversation, making music, watching a movie, mowing the lawn… just about anything). Which means that if I am to heal and be strong again, considering the amount of attention I must give to the healing, there can be little else. The fewer potential distractions, the better.

I’ve always preferred physical activity to be a peripheral activity – like the optional add-on at the end of a good day of cerebral busyness. But these days, to be able to do much of anything that requires sitting or standing in one place for a while, I must first spend the better part of every day moving, stretching, swimming, walking, and driving between clinics. Moving, and moving the right way and for the right amount of time (not playing a djembe or chucking suitcases or toddlers), is primary.

7bike.jpgIf I’m not proactively healing, I’m not only not getting better, I’m getting worse. There’s no such thing as coasting… yet. Like pedaling a bicycle down a dirt road: as long as I’m just crawling along, I can’t stop pushing. But if I keep pumping, I’ll likely pick up enough speed to coast for a while without slowing to a standstill.

And so even writing this is an indulgence, a distraction. But I write now mostly to point out that although I am pedaling uphill, I am picking up speed, nonetheless. And the ride down the other side is bound to be a rush, as long as I keep pedaling.

I think I’ve found a routine – a regimen that works – and as long as I keep all those gears spinning I continue to feel better. Physical therapy, pool therapy, massage therapy, and regular realignments with Doctor Joel, bolstered by consistent sleep habits and decent nutrition (and a cupful of supplements and vitamins everyday) give me the momentum needed to heal. You might imagine how difficult this is to keep at with the blessed interruptions of toddlerhood and the unpredictable impulses of an artist. Whenever I fall out of rhythm, it takes some time to recover, like I’ve got to make up for lost ground.

7juliascar.jpgOur one week trip to the northland was that: the car ride both ways, the time at a computer screen tapping out a message, the standing (or sitting) and yapping with old friends at the fair or in town, and the carefree (if not careless) running around the yard with my boys and their cousin Julia. But it was worth it. It was real good spending time with family at home. And I’m not nearly as shot as I’ve found myself many times after such activity in recent years.

But it’s time to be pedaling again, and it’s a bit difficult hitting stride.

So as much as I’d like to write until I happen upon something clever or profound, it’s more necessary that I hang it up before my hands turn to branches and my hair to leaves.

Being it’s likely I won’t get to this again for another couple of weeks, I’d better briefly mention just a few more things:

7kids.jpg1) Uncle (I’ve been uncle-ed three times over this year…). But I mean I give up. I think I’ve been convinced to get one of those voice recognition programs to “write” with (it’ll at least keep the ball rolling). I use an Apple, so the options are limited. iListen is $300. Anybody know of anything cheaper? Write me.

2) I’ll be speaking the first three Sundays in August at Living Hope Church in St. Michael. It’s a series on Suffering and the Sovereignty of God. Pray the prep goes smooth, the truth would be clear and received, and that the record button will work. I’ve given this package three times now, but this is the first time for an entire congregation, and not just the students. I’m really excited about this, but can’t spend as much time at the computer putting it together as I’d like to.

3) I get a root canal tomorrow.

O goody.

Grateful I can still yap. At least when nobody’s got their fingers in my mouth.

Still His,

7cake.jpgP.S. I turned 31. I did. Special thanks to Jenn Olson/Spadine for the night at Bandana Square for my Jen and me. And to Erika and Danka for the ridiculously yummy German Chocolate Cake. I just ate the last piece yesterday. It was STILL incredible. How about another root canal…

P.P.S. More rants to come. I haven’t said much yet about Chemo Brain. I will… when I can remember what it was I was going to say.

Categories: Cancer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lament Intent and Bouncy Balls

How hard it is to look good and not feel good.

How often I’ve wanted my bald head back. Or a band-aid on my forehead. In grade school, a band-aid invoked sympathy. Invited attention. “What happened? Are you okay?” I remember one sunny, wet, spring day in elementary school gym class when we were running around the playground near a chain-link fence. I was goofing off and intentionally stumbled into the fence, getting my foot caught beneath the bottom pokies and the ground.

My foot got snagged and I tripped. It tore a hole in my tenny. We laughed, I got up, and we finished our run. My foot hurt, so I said so. Yet in spite of the hole in my shoe, nobody believed me.

adefence.jpgAs we lined back up in front of the teacher to do stretches and jumping jacks, I knelt to remove my shoe. I needed to take a peek at my foot. The other kids were laughing. Even the teacher was walking down the row to order me back up. I was trying to explain how my foot hurt; that I was removing my shoe to see what was wrong. Everyone thought I was exaggerating or being a baby.

Until I pulled my shoe off, exposing my bloody sock. Then everyone got really quiet.

Mrs. Glassman removed my bloody sock, and there was my pinky toe, barely hanging on by a messy piece of flesh, the blood oozing from the place where it was supposed to be attached to my foot. Gym class took a break on account of me that day. Mrs. Glassman walked me to the nurse’s office where my aunt Karen came and picked me up, and drove me to the hospital where I got a shot and seven stitches. And the rest of the day off from school.

eliball.jpgThe trouble with looking good and feeling so rotten, is people expect you to be feeling as well as you look, and if you’re not, you either have to accept that misinterpretation of your well-being and get over it, or justify your inactivity and irritability at every juncture, engaging in explanation time and time again. An exhausting activity, as it tends to be quite self-centered, and disagreeably so. Sometimes it’s just easier to stay in bed. To keep to your cave. It’s almost like a Jekyll and Hyde routine, except the good doctor locks himself up every evening so as to keep the monster from hurting anyone when he’s out.

Unrelenting pain can so easily make a person cantankerous. Pain nags until the person does.

And these days I hurt. I have been in more pain this week than I have been in a good while. Perhaps it is in relation to prednisone-withdrawal, or a consequence of the inactivity of these winter months, and the ensuing atrophy. Perhaps it is another bug.

In any case, the pain often takes my breath away. On my back or up on my feet, I am stiff and rigid, needing to command my exhale. Without intentionally doing so, I nearly cease to breathe – stuck in the breathlessness of a constant ache. The ache in my back, in my neck, in my jaw, and my legs.

My wrists give out with a turn of the steering wheel, or a push of a button on my keyboard, the pouring of milk into my chai. My head is heavy with hurt. My wrists weak with pain. My calves are rigid – hard as bone, my wife says. I am regaining weight, reclaiming muscle mass, but every fiber of those muscles is fired-up to the max. Flexed as flexed can be. My tendons are taut. My softer muscles twitch and threaten to go hard like the rest. My bones creak under the pressure. I walk again like an old man. Bent. Mechanical. Slow. Grimacing.

My gut is slowed by the pain meds necessary to keep me moving – the pain meds that further diminish my energy and capacity for productive thought, making me sleepy, putting me back in bed.

I am in worse shape now than I was at this time one year ago. A glance wouldn’t tell you this. I look better. I have more hair, better color, and a beard. But I hurt more now than I have in many months. I am more fatigued. I’m supposed to be on my way up and out. Then why does this feel more like deeper down and further in?

What is this? Why is this? Aren’t I almost done? Shouldn’t I be getting better now?

It’s been nearly two years. Two years is enough. A month and a half from now I will swallow my last dose of chemo pills. I can understand why some folks opt out of chemotherapy when they relapse. It is hard enough the first time. Even the easy stuff has proven hard for me. At best, imagine being sick with an intense head and chest cold – or the flu – the kind that puts you on your back in bed – for three to four days a week, every week. For two years.

bouncyguy.jpgImagine bouncing back every week. But a little less every week. Eventually you wouldn’t be bouncing back at all. Drop one of those dime-store bouncy balls and watch it until it stops moving and you’ll get what I’m talking about. Eventually, you would stop bouncing altogether, rolling into a hole or a rut in the ground, stopping. You’d just sit there. Unless someone bigger than you came and picked you up.

This is what it has been like for me. It just gets harder and harder to get back up. This past week, rather than feeling a little bit better every day, I felt a little bit worse. Ahhh, and it feels no good to complain. It doesn’t make things better. Especially when there is so much good that goes unheralded (though not unnoticed) in my grief.

Perhaps there are some unaddressed psychological reasons I feel the need to give voice to my pain. There are a few that come to mind. Yet, in spite of this, there is a simpler reason why I write paragraph after paragraph of what Job calls, “speaking from the bitterness of my heart.”

When either of my boys gets hurt, they cry. Even when their hurts are being mended, if the hurt still hurts, they join the primal chorus of lament. Infants, toddlers, and big people, too, have been lending their voices to this work for thousands of years. It is what we do when we hurt. It may grow in complexity as we age – may find more syllables, interesting syntax, less volume, clever wit – but it is still the primal cry of pain. Very often, these posts have been little more than this.

Because of that, it is a wonder to me that so many of you continue logging on to hear me cry. When my boys cry, it raises my blood pressure. I want to do something, and if I can’t, it bothers me. And I realize that this is most often the situation most of you reading this find yourselves in with me. You hear me hurt, but what can you do?

jeremyhats1.jpgTo the many of you who continue praying, thank you, thank you, thank you. To those of you who send kind words, thank you. It is an amazing thing that there are people who weather these sorts of storms alone. I have not had to do that. Because of you. And I cannot say thank you enough.

But the cry is necessary. It is a reflex. It is instinct. It tells us, and the world, that we are still alive. And it screams that something is not right. The Lament is a witness to the brokenness of this world. It demonstrates that something is not how it should be, and we know it. And it communicates our desire for someone somewhere to know this brokenness with us.

And for so many of us, myself first and foremost, if the hurt is not ours, we so rarely let it interrupt or intrude upon our lives. If we know about it, we are near enough.

This is what makes Jesus so amazing. This is what most attracts me to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is what draws me in and keeps me at His side:

God stepped into the pain.

He entered into it, and entering into it, He began and secured the eventual healing. But He felt it first. He knew it. He knew it like we know it.

He didn’t have to do that. If anybody didn’t deserve it, it was Him.

This is the best story that has ever been told. And I get to be a part of it. It is simply amazing.

bouncies&car.jpgBack to the bouncy ball again. When the ball has stopped bouncing, stopped rolling, stopped moving altogether, the ball must become the object. There must be a Subject bigger than the ball that moves the ball. The ball can’t do the moving, it must be moved. The verb must happen to it.

This is something we don’t understand in our strength. This is something that is hard to get: sometimes we just can’t go on. These days have often been to me like traveling through the Dakotas on an almost empty gas tank. The little gas light is on, and I may run out any minute. And there’s no gas station for miles.

But God isn’t fuel. God is framework. God is transportation. I am not the vehicle that needs God like fuel. I am the passenger that needs God like a ride. A real pick-me-upper.

Anybody can bounce… for a while. But to go higher than you were before – that takes becoming the object – that requires a Subject other than the self to do the action. We need to be acted upon, to be propelled.

Lance Armstrong can bounce. Humans bounce. We were made to be bouncy. Some theologians call it common grace. With the right resiliency (and a little God-given propensity for internal exertion, i.e. survival) some can bounce higher than the height from which they’ve fallen.

ballhouses.jpgBut we are all still bouncing balls and not birds. To truly soar, we need to be transformed. To become what we are not. And to be transformed, we need to be acted upon. The verb needs to happen to us. We need another outside ourselves to initiate and complete the action of transforming.

This is the promise of Christ’s resurrection. Christ purchased redemption. He promised resurrection. Remission isn’t resurrection. Remission is redemption. Lazarus was dead and then wasn’t dead, but even his resurrection at that time was redemption. Or remission, as it were. His body died again.

But final resurrection is promised. It will one day be his, like it will one day be mine. Brand new bodies. Not the old body brought to life again, but the old body changed. A new body. Ahhh, how we were made to want this. The Longing (like the Lament) testifies to the brokenness of this world, to God’s intent to make things right, to His commitment to make things right, and to the fullness of things made right in Christ. He did it. It’s done. And it will be mine.

That is one reason why today, I celebrate sincerely.

He is risen, indeed.

And though I fall down, I’m gonna get up.

Can I get an Amen?

His because of Him,


PS. Click on any of the bouncy ball images in this post for a link to an incredible video.

adejammyhat.jpgPPS. Jen and boys are doing well. Eli is emerging a musician. He sings intervals better than I do. And Ade is an athletic little artist. He throws strikes consistently (across the living room, at least), and loves to paint. And Jen, well, she’s Jen. And I love her. Thanks to Ben, Dre, and Tom for seeing me through a difficult weekend without them.

Categories: Cancer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Surfing Mortals

The Other Side

On my way into the Cancer Care Center yesterday morning, walking from the parking ramp to the check-in desk, I met another patient on her way out. It was Catherine. She had hair. When I first met her, she was as hairless as I was at the time. She wore bandannas, I think. I wore Old Navy beanies.

IVpole.jpgWe’d sit across the room from each other in the infusion-room. She in her chair, plugged into her IV pole, me in mine. Once I overheard her telling another patient about a smoky potato soup she makes often. I’m into soups. So I asked her about it, and she wrote me the recipe.

So yesterday when I saw her waiting by the front doors for her ride, I smiled (she did too when she saw me) and I asked if she was done. Our monthly chemo-infusions had been scheduled on the same day for several months. And at roughly the same time, too. I was merely assuming she had come in earlier than me, and that she was “done” for the day.

She was done with much more than that. Her smile widened at my question, and she opened her bag to pull out a pink certificate signed by all the infusion nurses congratulating her on the completion of her course of chemotherapy. I gave her a good handshake and said, “well done.”

Her gladness dimmed just a little as she told me she expected to return someday. Relapse loomed as certain in her imagination as dusk does every dawn. But whereas the weather page of any local newspaper can tell you when the sun is going to set each day, she didn’t know when the next occurrence of cancer might be for her. She just had a hunch (and a statistically-informed one at that) that her cancer would relapse.

chemo.jpgNevertheless, for now, on this day, she was happy. And I shared her joy. For as she was walking away from her last administration of chemo, I was sitting down for my third-to-last: number 76 of 78. One year ago, as I headed into the final phase of my treatment, I wrote that the light at the end of this tunnel was so bright I was squinting. As it turns out, if I’d held my eyes open long enough, I may’ve seen the light to be the front of the oncoming train that it was, rather than the final release into wide-open spaces for which I was hoping.

Nice Hit

Somebody at church last Sunday asked me if I had been rehabbing. I had gone to the Y a few days earlier for a swim (which for me means aquatic stretching in the therapy pool), and so I was tempted to push out my chin and my chest and say, “Yup. Don’t it show?”

But the perpetual reality has been otherwise. If I may make another football analogy (sorry, Jesse):

When I was in junior high, I was a big kid. I mean, I had my growth spurt a year or two before nearly everyone else, and so I was five-foot-six, one hundred and thirty pounds in seventh grade. As such, I was one of the bigger kids in my class. I played football for two years. Football was fun for those two years. But when I showed up for conditioning in grade nine, every other ninth grader had gotten bigger over the summer months, and football wasn’t as much fun any more.

This was when I more or less decided to give my time to music rather than sports. I thought it’d be safer.

One great thing I remember learning in football was that, if you wanted to take down the guy with the ball, hit him low. It didn’t pay to jump on his back, especially if he was bigger than you – he might just keep on running. Nope, take him out at the knees and he’ll go down fast, and he’ll go down hard.

Trying to rehab this year – to build back strength and stamina – has been like running downfield with no offensive protection. The other team has twenty-one guys rather than eleven, and I am my team. What’s worse, the referee has a broken whistle. So when I start rising to my feet after a good tackle (as the tacklee, not the tackler) the other team hits me again – takes me out at the knees – rather than gaining ground, I’m losing yardage every time I try to get back up.

aedanshovel.jpgWeekly and monthly chemo (as well as this accursed week of prednisone) takes me out at the knees on a regular, almost predictable basis. I typically have two bad weeks a month (utter mental, emotional, and physical fatigue), and two good weeks (just the physical fatigue – and I can sometimes overcome this with Chai tea and Pepsi). If these two good weeks happen to be the two weeks I get sick with some sort of bug (like the head and chest cold I’ve been fighting these past two weeks), then these two good weeks are just “not-so-bad” weeks. But regardless of the adjectives I end up using to describe my two better weeks, once they’ve passed, I take the prescribed drugs that drag me into the bad weeks once again.


This cycle, however, will soon be coming to an end. After yesterday, only two more chemo-infusions mark my calendar. Come mid-May, I will wait for my ride at the front door of the Cancer Care Center holding my certificate of completion (I do hope it’s a color other than pink), walking away from infusion #78, and into the first phase of this new life.

And while that day will hardly be an instantaneous resurgence of health and vitality, it will signal a stopping of the clock, in a sense. Time to get up and regroup. Time to fuel up and taxi round for another good run down the runway – perhaps this time, finally up off the ground and into higher places.

But for the time being, I have a few more dark places to explore. This week and the coming weekend are one of them. I have taken my first dose of five of prednisone, and will venture through the haze of withdrawal once again come Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Please be praying for Jen and me this week… that we would know what kinds of preparations to make so as to render these days easier to manage… and for the right help to make that happen. The experience a few weeks back detailed in my last post has us a bit wary.

And my body hurts so badly. I swim and it feels good when I’m wet. Then the next day, I’m sick and achy and fatigued. Almost thoroughly unable to move. I remember those days in ninth-grade, conditioning for football: each day’s workout caused aches and pains greater than the day before, but each workout developed an otherwise unknown and unrecognized strength. Endurance. I need this still. And I’m eager to be able to work in such a way that I do nurture endurance, rather than this destructive atrophy (and consequential apathy) that seems to greet me on the far side of whatever efforts I muster.


elisnow.jpgIt’s a humiliating thing for humans to know real weakness – when you just can’t make things better – but it is eventually as much a part of our lives as dusk is a part of every day. Unless the Lord returns first, we will all die. And there is both greater courage and fuller joy living in the recognition of that fact, than there is in pretending it’s not the case.

This morning, Catherine demonstrated to me that she gets something not all of us do: she lives in hope and momentum in spite of the anticipated end. Some people spend their lives frantically swimming against the tide, denying at the same time that the tide exists. But the swell is taking us in, either way.

When in the surf, one rises to the surface with much less effort when willing to agree with the water. It is both humbling and wise to recognize mortals cannot compete with the swirling waters of mortality. To live well, we must acknowledge that living life each day brings us one day closer to death. To surf well, one must know which way the wave is going. Point your board in the right direction and the wave will pick you up and give you a view like no other. And you can do tricks. The guy fighting the current just gets water in his face.

So I pray I will surf into this new and (if the Lord wills) stronger season of my life with the awareness that I will yet someday die (again, unless the Lord returns). And I will trust that this awareness will cause me to receive the Love of Christ and His Call all the more, in the hope that His fortitude will bring life to and through my fragility, until at last I journey through one last valley, and land safely on heaven’s bright shore.


hats.jpgIt’d be fun to unpack this more specifically, and maybe I will someday, but for now these metaphors will have to do. The writing I’ve done already has taxed my wrists more than what makes me stronger. And I haven’t yet written about much of what I intended to.

The last few weeks have been more the “not-so-bad” weeks rather than the flat-out good, but there have been a few things in the midst of them worth mentioning that were flat-out great.

I spent the good part of these weeks preparing two different messages for two different occasions. I’m coming to enjoy the entirety of this process more and more. One was for a Valentines Banquet hosted by Living Hope Church in St. Michael. Jen and I were invited to do the program, so I spoke and we sang. A recording of much of it can be downloaded or listened to at the Living Hope Website. We closed the program singing “Love Real” from To Entertain. I played guitar. It was so good to do this again. But it was just as disappointing to be reminded of how much my wrists hurt in the days that follow. Ten minutes of guitar. Ten days of tender wrists.

The second message was for the Ash Wednesday service at Emmaus. This ended up being one of the most necessary messages I’ve ever prepared (for me and for others, too, it seems), and I’m excited about it. I will end up posting it for download on this site eventually, but for now, I’ve posted a rough transcript as a post on the musings blog of this site. It’s called “Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death,” and it’s a narrative meditation on Psalm 23. Read it while listening to Ginny Owen’s “If You Want Me To,” and you might even cry like I did when I gave it.

The last web thing I’ll make note of is a new downloadable mp3 we posted last week of a studio track that never made it to an album. It’s a recording of Psalm 142 that Ben Monseth and I did a few years back. Piano, cello, and vocals. There’s a link to it from my homepage and the music page. I figured it was fitting to give it away in light of some of the experiences I’ve shared from this last month.

Finally, along with a reminder to pray for us this coming weekend, I’d like some of you to know that I’ll be speaking at a FLY District Day Retreat at the YMCA up in Fergus Falls on March 11th. The theme is a common one for me: “In Uz With Abba: Trusting God Works All Things For Our Good,” and the content I’ve presented at least twice before – once in five sessions and once in three. This time I’ll be doing it in two. Please pray as I prepare. I know I’ve said it before, but I really like doing this. Nevertheless, there are certain days when even the appealing nature of this task isn’t enough to call forth the strength to do it. I need more.

Your comments on past posts have been very helpful in encouraging me to this end. Thanks each of you for taking the time to read and respond. I pray you are blessed.

Still His (and hanging ten),

gooseinsnow.jpgPS. Thanks to the Wiley’s, the Barlands, and Ed for digging us out of the snow this weekend!

Categories: Cancer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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