Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chasing Blue Butterflies

“And you will seek Me and you will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” - Jeremiah 29:13

This weekend we had a special family moment with Scarlett while Johnny still felt good. She brought over a DVD called “The Blue Butterfly” and I boiled a cauldron of fresh peanuts to munch as we watched. Yum! Salty, soft and “sinfully” delicious!

I love how God always finds a way to deliver messages we need to hear at the right moment and in delightful ways. Our family gathering on Sunday was such a day. I wish everyone could watch this movie. I think we each have our own “blue butterfly moments” in life and the message is for all of us.

I take this story to heart as Johnny descends into “chemo-storm #3.” The stormier the times the more our faith gets bombarded with fear and doubts and questions. We seek the answers through the jungles of life looking for the “blue butterfly” that will make everything clear.

In this movie, a little boy with a passion for the study of insects, had brain cancer and 6 months left to live. His “hero” was a reknowned scientist who had found the rare blue butterfly in the amazon rainforests. The scientist believed the butterfly held magical powers and the answers to all life’s questions if you held it in your hand.

The little boy convinced his Mother to find this scientist so he could take him to this blue butterfly before he died and find the answers to all his questions. The scientist at first refused but was persuaded when he realized that they shared the same passion for nature and had the same courageous spirit to venture into the jungle in search of a dream.

So off they went, with wheelchair in hand, in search of the impossible. They only had a one week window of opportunity to find it in season and the odds were stacked against them totally. I mean really. Here’s a boy who can’t walk straight because of the tumour on his brain. But yet the jungle, the monkeys and snakes and insects, the trees, the leeches, the rain, the chug-a-long boats, the canoes, the heat, the primitive natives, the descension into the farthest corners from civilization – nothing could stop this little boy from finding the truth or believing it was even possible. He knew with every fiber of his being that if he just could be shown the way he was going to find that blue butterfly!

He does eventually find the butterfly – in its favorite habitat near exploding waterfalls. But the truths he seeks were unexpected. They were found IN THE JOURNEY to find the butterfly. The natives had tried to tell him that the blue butterfly was everywhere – that one had simply to open your eyes – that the miracles we look for are all around you.

In the end, the butterfly found the boy and was captured by “love” in a beautiful and heartfelt way by someone who wanted to help him. In the end, it was not only the boy who was touched with a miracle. It was everyone on the journey with him that was transformed.

The most beautiful part of this story is the fact that it is true. The young boy’s cancer magically disappeared and he lived many more years.

Ok. Is it just me or can all of you see the wonderful analogies in this story that apply to our search for God and the power we have through Him living in us?

When my faith is tested I plunge deeper into the word. When I search with all my heart the right verses “light up” before me in brilliant hues and reveal just what I was looking for.

We cannot make the journey alone. Every heart that has touched us in one way or another is a candle that lights the way through the jungle of the unknown and shows us the right paths. Oh! This reminds me of a favorite poem but I don’t know the author:

You can’t light a candle
To show others the way
Without feeling the warmth
Of that bright little ray.
And you can’t give a rose
All fragrant with dew
Without some of it’s sweetness
Remaining on you.

Here is another quote by Dwight Moody that really reminds me of how miracles find there way to us:

A little faith will bring your soul to heaven,
But a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul.

The little boy in the movie had that giant kind of unadulterated faith that moves mountains. Or at least jungles. Now I know what it means when Jesus tells us that unless we become as little children we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. We need to keep that childlike faith that believes no matter what – despite the circumstances we see around us.

The prospect of imminent death forces you to draw the line in the sand. Faith cannot wait another second. It is now or never. In my own journey battling cancer I truly was able to see my diagnosis as a gift. I realized you never really live until you honestly believe you are going to die. Suddenly every second counts. Every moment has meaning. You feel as if you have sleepwalked through life and now you are awake.

My wish for you all is that you too will find the blue butterflies you seek in life. As you journey through your own jungles I encourage you to keep your eyes wide open and gasp at the precious things that are right in front of your eyes. Hug the ones you love. Forgive those who have hurt you. Cherish all the blessings you have. Thank the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for the gift of life – as long as we have it.

Where there is life there is power. It is waiting for us to find it – just like the blue butterfly. So claim it. Decree it. Use it. Spread it to everyone you meet. Find the life you have always dreamed of. Every moment counts. So keep the faith.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Circle of Christian Love

"Blessed be the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Tomorrow is Johnny's next chemo session. He got a week's reprieve from last Friday's scheduled chemo due to his low platelet count. So he has spent the last week enjoying the good moments and improved appetite, to build his strength up for the next weapons launch against the enemy cancer! I googled "low platelets" to find some good food to assist rebuilding platelets. I'm sure everyone will welcome the good news that the highest anti-oxidant food on earth is DARK CHOCOLATE! The higher the cacao content the higher the anti-oxidants. So 60% and above is your best bet. It also listed vitamin B-12 as a helpful aid. So Johnny has been enjoying guilt free chocolate treats each nite along with his B-12 drops.

We have been enjoying quality time with friends and family as Johnny's endurance allows. His hair gets thinner each day but his spirits continue to rise as he feels the warmth and love of so many people letting him know they care. It simply confirms our faith and belief in the power of prayers and the goodness of our fellow man (and woman.) We truly feel humbled by the comfort and joy we receive from so many people. It makes me wish there was a way for EVERY person going through cancer to receive the blessings we have so richly.

I encourage each of you to start something in motion for someone you know that has cancer. One simple act can explode into a glorious movement that takes on a life of its own as the power of God takes over. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about.

When my Dad got Lymphoma several years ago, I got a bright idea to lift his spirits and help him deal with the loss of his crowning glory. I knew how proud he was of his beautiful silvery locks and couldn't imagine how he would feel with nothing to run his comb through. So I got a list of addresses (that I happened to have from their 50th wedding anniversary invitation list) of all his friends over the many years and wrote a personal letter that I copied to each. I explained his current health situation and asked them each, if so inclined, to send him a hat of any kind. I planned it as a surprise and imagined the glee my parents would feel when suddenly boxes started arriving on their doorstep.

Indeed they did! In the end he received over 90 hats in the mail. What I discovered was that people were thrilled to be given a way to express their comfort. Everyone always wants to help someone in these circumstances but few know what to do. And so it was when Johnny received his news of the cancer. I remembered how much I loved going to the mailbox each day during my own cancer journey to see if I got a letter. So I sent out a general email to everyone I knew asking them to tell everyone they knew to send Johnny a letter by snail mail. He never goes on the computer.

It wasn't long before letters started pouring into the mailbox! Every day we find letters or gifts of encouragement. It amazes us how many come from total strangers. So you can see how just one letter started a chain reaction of love. It is such a simple thing to do also. You don't even need THEIR list of friends and family - though if you can get it that helps even more. You can just start with YOUR own list because people have a heart to comfort - even strangers they don't know. We read comments from people that tell us they think of us daily and pray for us and even cry tears over us. It is hard to fathom this heart from strangers but I'm here to tell you the Christian spirit is alive and well in our world!

Comfort one another! There is no greater joy than knowing that because you live - one life has breathed easier. I read that in an Ann Landers column long ago in her definition of success. Giving is a two way street. You always get so much more than you give and I am sure the body reacts with special endorphins that are released from benevolent acts. God tells us in Ephesians Chapter 6 that every good we do for others He does for us in return. That's what I call a win/win situation!

Just imagine the circle of love we could start if everyone who reads this stopped and did this one act of kindness for someone suffering with cancer right now. We ALL know someone with cancer. That's a scary but true statement. So I challenge you to ring the bells of hope and prayer and rally everyone in your address book to reach out to that someone YOU know who needs a "love transfusion." Some will not do it because their friends will think it "silly."

One of the greatest truths I discoverd in my own walk was this. I used to only talk to people I thought would be "receptive" about the Lord. When I was battling cancer I really started talking about my faith to EVERONE and I found that MOST people wanted to have the conversation. But they were afraid to speak first. So act boldly. Uplift someone. Challenge those on your address list to do this random act of kindness for someone you know who needs it. It is such a simple act to send a card or letter. And its effects are MIGHTY.

Stay tuned for future blog entries that will give you a list I made up, of 100 things you can do for someone with cancer. Meanwhile, start your own circle of love and let's set the world on a "holy fire" of Christian love for our neighbors in need. Thanks to all of you again for your continued prayer and support.

Beautiful Blessings,


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hallelujah! The Devil Is On The Run!

"And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith" - 1 John 5:4

We were so excited by the good news from the doctors yesterday that we could hardly go to sleep last night. It was raining blessings all day and we didn't want it to stop. We woke up yesterday morning very encouraged and hopeful. We had that gut feeling that a good report was waiting for us and we couldn't wait to get to Mayo Clinic to talk to the oncologist. We met with a "fellow" doctor who was being supervised by Dr. Johnson. Her name was Dr. Bueno and that was a "good" sign to me!

She showed us the CAT scan from last month side by side with the CAT scan from Thursday on the computer screen. She said they were AMAZED by the results. The infected and enlarged adrenal glands and lymph node where the cancer had spread to had been reduced in size by half! The tumor on the lung did not show much change but Dr. Bueno explained that it was still excellent news that the chemo drugs were having such a dramatic effect on the areas it had spread to. At this rate we can soon focus all attack specifically on the tumor. She said they had never expected such dramatic results. They had only hoped to relieve symptoms and improve Johnny's quality of life.

So we are claiming this battle a victory and marching onward to win this war one step at a time! We have the devil on the run and hereby serve him notice that he can run but cannot hide in Johnny's body. Our friend Connie Hail from Marianna has received a similar report of victory in her own battle against cancer and we are taking her advice as she writes us:

"Needless to say were are shouting the victory...............but are even pressing harder in our prayer time..............the devil would love for us to lighten up because we have had a good report but he has another thing coming................we are going to blast him even harder.........No devil is going to take me down. He has messed with the wrong chick!!! I will live and not die to declare the works of the Lord."

I love her fighting spirit and refusal to be intimidated. She calls and leaves us messages speaking "the word" and has sent us healing verses to read and speak aloud. Her faith is contagious. It is amazing to me how God sends us angels from unexpected places in times of our need. We have never met Connie. She found us through Johnny's highschool friend Kay Trammel who writes often to encourage us.

So many other angels have found their way to us in the forms of friends, family and strangers. We continue to find our mailbox full of cards, letters and surprises. My cousin Maureen Bowdren has started a "relay for life" raising funds for cancer on behalf of friends and family she knows who are battling the disease and ran a track from 8pm til 6am the other evening carrying Johnny's name on a torch. My cousin Robin sent us a delightful "prayer box" she made filled with pieces of paper she had stamped with bible verses and encouragement. The box was covered with butterfly ornaments. This leads me to a story about why butterflies are significant to us.

Last week before Johnny had made a good turn from the chemo storm I brought him upstairs to the computer and read him my latest blog entries and people's comments. During the one entry describing a couple lost at sea and battling to stay alive I started crying while reading it and suddenly we both just burst into tears and clutched each other sobbing. Johnny told me to remember he would find a way to come back to me and always watch over me and protect me. He told me his biggest regret about dying was worrying about who would take care of me when he was gone.

I told him then about a pact that I had made with Scarlett long ago, that in the event of my death that I would come back to watch over her and Johnny and my special sign would be blue roses. That came from my favorite movie as a child called "The Thief of Bagdad." In the movie the "thief" was on an endless quest in search of a rare blue rose to save the princess. So, because blue roses are a rare sight I determined it would be an irrefutable sign to Johnny and Scarlett that it was indeed me! I had never told this to Johnny because i thought he would think it was silly. But last week I finally told him and he loved it.

He thought for a minute what sign he could send and his first idea was butterflies. I said "but butterflies are everywhere!" He just smiled and told me that was the point. So when we got the butterfly box from Robin we looked at each other and smiled. We placed it on what we are now calling our prayer table.

It is the coffee table next to the couch Johnny lays on when we do our "holy healing" sessions. It is filling up quickly. On it we have the healing water from Ephesus given to us by the Carter family. We have our plaque from my bible study teacher Shirley Howell that reads "I believe in miracles." We have holy water from 3 springs in one bottle given by our neighbors The Mayhues. They also have beautiful rose bushes in their yard and keep us supplied with fresh flowers that we put on the table. The Martins family gave us a "prayer blanket" that has been blessed and prayed over and includes a Catholic Rosary in a specially sewn pocket with slips of paper printed with healing verses. We have our healing book of verses from friend Connie Hail. We have our "Faith" plaque from my brother Jeff and wife Kim and kids Andy and Kellie.

Yesterday another treasure arrived from Chipola college. It was an 8X10 picture taken of Johnny and I with his Coach Johnson from his highschool basketball team. Coach Johnson was one of the greatest influences on Johnny's life as a teenager and taught him core fundamental values of life as well as basketball. We framed it immediately and placed it on the prayer table. Between the hundreds of cards from well-wishers and prayer groups and family the entire house is filling up with so much evidence of the Christian spirit surrounding us everywhere we turn!

Johnny sends his heartfelt thanks to all who keep him uplifted and strong in his faith. We also received a card yesterday stamped with "keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows." Thank you Shannon Williams for that thought and your sweet words inside. We hope to meet you one day also. Every card we receive from others is special and such a blessing. It gives Johnny something to look forward to each day. He re-reads each one many times and smiles.

There is only one way to handle such an outpouring and overflow of love. We take it and spread it. Johnny has begun to pray out loud spontaneously for so many people. I love his "man-to-man" conversational style of talking to the Lord. He apologizes for his simple words but I protest and tell him that is EXACTLY how God wants us to speak to Him - heart to heart - friend to friend - son to Father. I believe its not how "pretty" you say it. It's how much you mean what you say.

And so, I encourage each of you to walk towards the light of victory in your own battles of everyday living. Stay strong in YOUR faith. Talk to God everyday and lift your concerns to Him. He can accomplish that which we cannot. He is a promise keeper. He fulfills that which He promises. It is up to us to claim those promises by the simple faith of believing what He says is true. Keep the devil on the run in your own life with a faith that refuses to give him the smallest toehold.

It is a heavenly cause that is worth the battle we get up each day and fight again and again. The good news is - if you fight you will win. So never give up - never, never, never! Keep fighting. Keep winning. Keep the faith.

Beautiful Blessings!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We Are More Than Conquerors

“Yet in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” - Romans 8:37

The tide has finally turned in the “chemo-storm #2.” This storm lasted longer than the last one. It took Johnny a week and a half to get his appetite back and to get over all the side effects that kept him in the bathroom day and night. He lost 12 pounds during that time but is now on the way back up. His appetite is better again and we are getting him ready for the next battle of “chemo#3” which comes this Friday.

We are gearing up especially, for the CAT scan he will have done Thursday. We will find out Friday, the results of the spiritual and medical warfare we have waged against that nasty enemy called cancer. We are believing for a miracle, and that Johnny is healed by the stripes of Jesus. But we also stand ready to praise the Lord no matter what the results, because we cleft in His everlasting arms and humbly bow to His will.

Meanwhile, we follow the instructions for battle in Ephesians 6.

We are remaining strong by plugging into the power of His might.
We are protecting ourselves by putting on the whole armor of God.
We have identified the enemy in the shadows of darkness.
We still simply stand and will not be moved.
We have girded our waists with truth and the authority it gives us to win.
We have put on the breastplates of righteousness for a heavenly cause.
We have shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace spreading love.
We have taken the shield of faith to quench those fiery darts from you know who.
We have put on the helmet of salvation to guard our thoughts.
We have taken up the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God and thrust it.
We pray always and supplicate in the Spirit with the language of love to all.
We watch with expectant hearts for miracles and to guard against attacks of the enemy.
We persevere and never give up no matter what things look like.
We open our mouths boldly and share the mystery of the gospel through our experience!

We know this is war and we are fighting the battle of our lives. We have a “take no prisoners” attitude. Failure is not an option so we are using every weapon we can lay our hands on to win. We will leave no stone unturned to rout the enemy out. We are wielding the “sword of the spirit” and blasting the cannonballs of faith non-stop!

We are so blessed to have so many standing with us in this battle. The numbers continue to grow daily as we hear from more and more, of those we know, and those we don’t know! How could it be possible to NOT have faith, when we know so many people are standing in
the gap for us! So many hearts joined in prayer really makes its clear that the true spirit of Christianity is alive and well today. It is a force to be reckoned with.

It is as if we all take turns being angels to one another and lifting each other on wings heading upward.

Johnny’s CAT scan test is this Thursday at 1:10p.m. EST. Please send out the word for prayer at that exact time to everyone you know, so as the machine scans the site of the cancer, please pray that they find NOTHING there. Anything is possible with God! So, as usual I’m going for “no guts – no glory!” If I’m going to wish I must wish big! You just never know what God can have up His sleeve. He is the miracle maker. We are more than conquerors. Here’s to a love that can never be separated!

Here's to each of you also conquering that which obstructs you from living fully in the power of the Lord and accomplishing here on earth that which He sent you here for. Arm yourselves for battle each morning and make yourself invincible through the power of Jesus Christ.

God will help you overcome anything and bring you that peace that surpasses understanding - no matter what. There is no greater treasure on earth. It is that abundance which is priceless that He intends for each of us. It is a power no man can buy. It has already been bought for us by Jesus on the cross. It is that simple unadulterated love that God has for us that no power on earth can separate us from. So be still today - and know HE is God.

Beautiful Blessings,


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ours Is Not An Endless Hope - Our Hope is Endless

"Now may the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" - Romans 15:13

I get teased alot about my screen name "Endlssdrmr." I have always lived with a hope that impossible dreams can come true. I have always believed in hope. I have clung to it fiercely through many valleys in life. It truely is all about believing that which you cannot see. My bible study teacher Shirley once shared this quote with the class and I wrote it inside my bible...."Faith is the assurance (the knowing) and the conviction of the reality of the unseen promises of God."

It is that hope which I cling to today, as Johnny's still continues to struggle to recover from the side effects of his last chemotherapy. This round has been alot tougher on him then the last. He hardly ate anything over the weekend. Now he is trying to get small amounts of food in. His nausea waves come and go. He is very weak. Today he did not lose another pound. He gained half a pound. We'll take every half pound we can get.

Last night we watched a true story on 20/20 which recounted the harrowing 19 hours a couple spent lost at sea off the coast of Thailand when they drifted away from their scuba diving group's boat. They shared their fear and courage and how they endured the ordeal with hope. One statement touched my soul that the man said. "We didn't know for sure if we would be rescued but we had to BELIEVE it to survive." Johnny and I stand fast and hold on to this same belief.

Another strategy they used was over and over and over they kept telling each other "I love you. I will not let you go." The woman shared that those words kept her going because it mattered that someone cared whether she lived or died. I have told Johnny often that I will not let him go without a kicking and screaming fight to do everything I know to be true in my power to save him. I am standing in the gap for him.

The man was smart enough to free them from their heavy equipment and tie the two of them together so the mighty crashing waves would not separate them. He told the woman "You must be stronger than you have ever been in your life." That part made me cry. Because it is what I am trying to do for Johnny right now. Be strong enough for both of us. It is an exhausting task which I am not complaining about. But like the woman in the story shared, I determine to just be strong enough for today - for the moment. Someone once told me that you can endure ANYTHING for a short period of time.

I find myself sitting in the my recliner at night sighing with relief that we made it through another day and thinking "we're still here!" I look over at Johnny where he sits in his recliner just a few feet away and freeze frame the picture of him in my mind. Often during the evening one of us will say "touch!" And that is our cue to reach across the space between us and connect by touching fingers. It reminds me of the couple at sea who were connected by the several feet of rope. Every now and then they would pull the rope in and wrap theirselves around each other and just cling together for warmth or strength.

The worst part of their ordeal was when the sun set and darkness set in. It frightened both of them. They kept telling themselves the dawn was coming. But it was the longest night of their lives. All they could do was wait and wait and wait for the light. And by the grace of God the light finally came. Many hours later they WERE rescued. But interestingly enough, as the helicopter made its way to them a deadly sea snake also discovered the pair and was making its way towards the woman.

She was helpless to do anything but glare back at the snake as it reared up its head at her and looked her right in the eye...yes! Face to face! Then it slithered away as if to tip its head in deference to the courage of the woman he could not defeat....until another time to try again. Isn't that so like the devil?

I really took that story to heart and it encouraged me to never give up. Just when it seems like you are beaten the gates of heaven open up and send the troops! I encourage each of you, in whatever journey you are on, with whatever cross it is that you bear....DO NOT GIVE UP! Abound in hope and let God fill you with joy and peace and refresh your soul. The battle is worth it, whether to save yourself or someone you love. I still believe that anything is possible with God.

Beautiful Blessings!


Friday, July 4, 2008

I Come To The Garden Alone

"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." - Luke 12:27

I miss my garden. Today I really needed to get my hands in some dirt and to trim up the jungle that is growing up around all my beautiful flowers and bushes. I needed to go find God where I can always find Him - in the awesome beauty of nature. Johnny is going through a rough period right now. His white blood cell count is a "hair" below what it should be and consequently he is sleeping alot and very weak and losing weight again. His taste buds have changed. I have to force him to eat small bits and drink Gatorade and water to counteract his surprise bathroom visits in the middle of the night. I don't want him to get dehydrated again.

But at least we got that under control by noon today. I give him his pills for nausea and pain and make him comfortable. I make him drink a little protein drink. I take his temperature. I closely monitor him so his temperature doesn't get above 100.5 degrees. But he's fine. He just has to ride it through and hopefully the pattern from the last chemo will repeat itself and he'll be better by Monday. These are the times that try women's souls! When you've done all you can and the rest is in God's hands. So I grabbed my clippers and spade and headed outside for a conference with God while Johnny dozes.

I've been avoiding this moment for awhile because there is so much to do in the yard it is overwhelming - I don't know where to start. So I just start clipping my red blooming Hibiscus bush to clear a pathway through my white picket fence gate that was becoming blocked on both sides from colorful bushes gone wild! With every branch I clipped it was as if a cobweb in my mind went with it. The sunshine and fresh air were clearing the lines for my "God connection." My impatiens, begonias, peace lillies, gardenias, trumpets, dianthysus, poinsettas, mums, lantana, ferns, azaelas, roses, petunias, confederate jasmine, bouganvilla and the rest all beckoned to me welcoming me back.

As with any dreaded project, once you get rolling, one thing leads to another and before you know it, things start taking shape as you chisel the clay away from the masterpiece within. This often leads to so much more than you could have imagined. And so it was God had a MOST delightful surprise waiting for me today. It was just what my soul needed. I have some bromeliads (tropical flowers with big thick leaves and HUGE lovely pink flowers bursting forth from the middle) planted around the angel fountain on my yard's centerpiece landscaping. I planted them there years ago because they stopped blooming elsewhere. They never bloomed again. But because I went to the trouble to clear alot of vines and weeds away - I discovered two huge incredible blooms waiting for me! What a gift from God.

I really believe God was refreshing my soul. He, above all, knew I needed some "spiritual nurturing" today! It has been such a stressful week. My garden experience made me think how similar it was to our everyday trials. God is always right around the corner waiting to renew us with the wonders and beauty of His love. But we have to open the doors of our soul and walk through to Him to find what He has waiting for us. It is always good with God.

As I strolled my yard with God clipping and pruning along, I kept rediscoveriing so much beauty I had forgotten from neglecting the gardens. Butterflies flew by me with airy greetings. Strangled flowers thanked me for rescuing them from choking vines. Squirrels danced amongst the live oaks. Lizards darted here and there. Birds chirped in the sky high branches. And my precious knock out roses were blooming.

They are a hardy bush that survives on its own. Without tending they still continue to straggle along but still burst forth with sporadic pink blooms that smell divine. Well, I guess they are! It's a miracle when roses survive my garden. But "knock-outs" are tough enough. I feel a spiritual kinship with them. "Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'."

I cut a flower and brought it inside so Johnny could smell it. I put it in a little cup of water on the counter so every time Johnny passed he could bend down and smell it. Then I dug some hibiscus flowers out of the trimmings can because I couldn't bear to throw them away. I found another little vase and placed the flowers in it on the table by the couch where Johnny lay.

After I came in and showered I splurged on a cup of coffee in the afternoon. Sinfully delicous! But as I was brewing my Paul Newman special blend I thought about my gorgeous porcelain cups from Japan that my parents bought me before they left. There they were sitting behind glass in my formal dining room where no one evers sees them. I walked to the glass cabinet and found a lemon yellow cup and saucer and etched with hand painted flowers on it and rimmed in gold. I washed the set in the sink and determined that from today on I use the good china!

I sat in my favorite chair in my Victorian reading room and savored my 90 year old Tresor piano and my flowered wall paper, and my books and framed pictures sprinkled on the end tables besides the ornately carved couch. I sipped from my porcelain cup slowly savoring every sip from something special. Johnny joined me and we talked - almost like old times. This room is where we sit to solve many life problems together in peace.

I sang Johnny two hymns today. "I Love To Tell The Story" and "How Great Thou Art." I still have my Baptist Hymnal from when I started the "Senior Choir" at our church. I wanted to preserve the tradition of the old hymns in all their simple heartfelt beauty. I thought they sounded so poignant coming from the voices that knew them best. Today things have got so modern. People don't even pick up their hymnals anymore because the words appear on the big slidescreen above the altar.

Give me that old time religion! We also did our daily "holy healing session" with the holy water from the spring at Ephesus where miracle healings have happened. Johnny lay stretched out on the couch as I began with a hymn to praise God first. Then I kneeled beside him and read healing scriptures for him to repeat after me. Before I grabbed the vial of precious water I held up my fist and let the devil have a peace of my mind! Whether it is coincidence or not, that little vial seems to jump out of my hands whenever I try to screw the cap back on. I know the devil is messing with me and mighty mad whenever "two or more gather in His name" to glorify God and claim His promises.

Johnny told me he pitied the devil when I was done because I gave him quite a "tongue lashing." He laughed and said the next thing he was expecting was for me to ask the devil for the CEO! (That's a family joke around here - I always head straight to the top when I deal with customer service issues of life!) I ended my tirade by telling that devil to get back to the gates of hell where he belonged with that 1/3 band of God's angels that were stupid enough to leave heaven with him. I told him it was his own fault that he and his "entourage" were destiined to burn in hell for eternity because of their own vanity. So I told him to "GO!" the way Jesus did that one time he cast a devil out of a young girl in the bible. And I reminded him of the authority I had to command him gone as a royal heir to the throne! I also reminded him that he NEVER wins because 2/3 always beats 1/3.

Then I anointed Johnny's chest with the water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as my friend Retha Mae from Varnville, South Carolina suggested. I asked God to use me as a vessel for healing Johnny as I "stand in the gap" for him until he is well.

Tonight we ended the evening with a glorious display of fireworks we could see from from our back porch through the trees. The glorious cascade of electric color in the sky made me feel like a kid again. It made Johnny smile but he couldn't stay out too long. He was covered from head to toe to guard against mosquitoes and his stamina was low. So we went back in and watched fireworks on TV and listened to a great concert from the capitol that captured the beauty of patrotism so well.

I tucked Johnny in early. It's after midnight and Johnny just got up for another long bathroom. I grab the thermometer and the Immodium D and here we go again.

Please pray for Johnny's expedient recovery from this bout of "chemo-storm" round 2. Also keep those cards and letters coming. They cover our kitchen table and counters and walls. Johnny goes back and re-reads each one many times. There are well over a hundred at last count. Each card is a blessing. He loves waitimg for the mail each day. Thank all of you for your continued prayers and support. I return it to you multiplied!

Meanwhile, "my soul waits quietly for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I SHALL NOT BE MOVED." - Psalm 62:5

Beautiful Blessings,

Rene Williams

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

From Johnny's Heart to Yours

"Exhort one another daily, while it is called Today" - Hebrews 3:13

For several days Johnny and I have been talking about a message to all of you, that Johnny wanted to tell you all here, who read the blog. The following are words from his heart as told to me to tell to you:

"Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to send me one or more cards. You have no idea how much each one inspires me and uplifts me. The cards come from family, old friends, new friends, close friends, acquaintences, neighbors, strangers and churches. I am truly humbled that people go to the trouble to show their Christian spirit of love and caring for me. I do not feel worthy of all this attention. But I do feel blessed. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The cards come in all shapes and forms. Some are funny. Some are musical. Some are religous. Some are inspirational. Some are postcards. Some are letters. They come from children. They come from fathers. They come from Mothers. They come from couples. They come from people my age. They come from people much older and wiser. But the most touching part of every card yet, is that the sender includes a handwritten note of encouragement. They don't just sign their name. They don't just let the words on the card speak. They add words from their hearts.

This really means alot to me and inspires me to keep my faith strong. Some messages are short. Some messages are long. But they all remind me to trust and believe in the power of God to overcome. I may go down physically as I go through this process of healing. But it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to go down spiritually because so many people are "standing in the gap" for me. There truly is power in "The WORD" the Lord speaks to us as well as "the everyday words" that people convey in their own way to help.

I wish EVERYONE who was going through a cancer experience could receive the exhortation I receive from all your cards, letters and phone calls. Thank you again for caring enough to go to the trouble of showing it and reminding me that nothing is impossible with God. As far as I am concerned this battle is already won because no matter what happens to my body, my soul triumphs and the devil is defeated.

I wish each of you the same victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

In His Love,