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I’m sitting here in my big comfy chair listening to the soft rhythm of my infusion pump. 

As it pushes the delightful chemo cocktail into my body, it makes an almost reassuring noise that sounds like “kuusshhh”. Occasionally it makes a little beeping noise that lets me know that it’s almost time to go to the doctor’s office to get a refill. 

I’m ready.

I’m wearing some happy green socks with Gumby and Pokey on them. 

Why in the world would a 53 year old man be wearing Gumby socks?!

Because, I’m a fan of fun.

I’m also a fan of Gumby.

I grew up watching it.

I learned things from my green pal that are guiding me now…

It’s good to be flexible. 

Sometimes life is sweet, sometimes it is sour.

It pulls you in all sorts of directions. If you aren’t flexible, you can break. 

Friends are vital.

No one escapes from the blockheads alone. We need friends, faithful companions to join us on the journey. Your best friend might not be an talking orange horse, but you need somebody!

Friends make each other better.

I’ve learned that friends can help carry your burdens. 

Sometimes life is stop-motion 

You can’t be in constant motion, you’ve got to stop and rest. It might look or feel a little herky-jerky or awkward, but that’s okay. 

Stop…blink…breathe.

Anne Lamont puts it like this: “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

Sometimes you need to get reanimated.

My pal Gumby has made several comebacks since 1953, remember the Eddie Murphy version?

He even became the mascot of a college town pizza shop, if you’ve never had Pokey stix you are missing out on a culinary delight! 

and now he finds himself on my socks.

We all need to be reanimated.

We all need refills.

Because we leak. 

That is why, this morning, before my chemo pump gets refilled, I got flexible in my faith.

I stopped moving, and I took the time to talk to my very vital friend, the Holy Spirit, and I asked Him to refill and reanimate me.

And He did.

And then I asked Him to come out and play.

Because I am a fan of fun.

And, He invented it.

From the beginning, fun was meant to heal. 

So, I’m going to get my chemo cocktail refilled, but I’m going to enjoy some holy mischief while I do it. 

Thank You.

Posted: October 16, 2018 in Postcards from Cancerland., Uncategorized

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This morning during my sponge bath…
I realize that not many stories start like that!
But, this morning during my sponge bath, my rockstar wife and I started something.
We started a conversation with our Creator.
We started telling God what we were thankful for.
We didn’t ask him for anything, we just expressed gratitude for what we already have, know, and believe.
We are thankful for…
Family.
Friends.
Running water.
Good books and music.
My remaining body hair that makes me look like a random Dr Seuss character.
Incredibly understanding and kind employers.
Steroids that make my face my favorite color.
Grocery store fried chicken.
We are thankful for…
The fact that Jesus still heals!
That miracles are the currency of heaven, and heaven invades earth all the time.
God gives gifts based on his great love and not based on our sometimes not so great performance.
The thanksgiving carried over to the kitchen…
We are thankful for…
Coffee and hot tea.
Delicious protein shakes (I never thought I would be thankful for kale, but I am!)
The chance to hear our daughter and granddaughter on speakerphone.
A sweet but ornery beagle.
Crazy socks, it’s Tuesday so I’m wearing socks with little flying tacos.
Gratitude changes everything!
We have to choose gratitude over grudge or guilt.
We have to choose thankfulness over cynicism or comparison.
Gratitude is a higher and harder road, but the view is amazing. You gain a perspective that changes everything.
Thankfulness invites goodness to run wild.
Several roads diverged in a wood.
We chose the one marked gratitude.
And that has made all the difference.
By the way, I’m SO very thankful for a wonderful wife who is willing to give me sponge baths during treatment weeks.

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The scrappy old Fighter walks from the locker room into the musty old Sportatorium arena to prepare for the fifth round.
He looks toward the boxing ring and he sighs…
He is sore.
He collects his scattered thoughts and draws inspiration from stories of old..
Underdog stories where odds were defied and the impossible became possible…
There was a story, maybe you’ve heard it, of a tough but kind-hearted small-time young boxer from Philadelphia who gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship. He faces an intimidating opponent. But, YO! He overcame tremendous odds and he went the distance.
There’s another old story of a second string shepherd boy facing off against a giant professional warrior. The boy faces tremendous odds. His opponent was a beast. His name alone paralyzed people with fear. The boy though isn’t afraid, he knows the size of the God who fights for him. And so, as he climbs through the ropes into the ring, he has got a brain full of faith, rather than fear. He also has a slingshot and a few smooth stones. He takes the giant down.
Underdog stories.
As a five foot tall man who has the eye of the tiger…
But the motor skills of an elderly sloth, I love underdog stories.
I currently find myself facing an opponent whose name alone paralyzes people with fear.
I’m not gonna lie, round four was tough.
We got a report that brought some fear to the fight. We wrestled with our feelings, and we chose faith.
Round four was tough.
The belly bully has packed some powerful punches
The side effects seem to stretch farther and pack more of a punch.
There have been sleepless nights.
There have been really bad backaches and hands that are still wonky, it’s a major accomplishment just to button a button or pick up a little pill.
The sluggishness lasts longer.
The confusion is thicker.
The chemo drugs have caused some major acid reflux, resulting in some of the most epic belches of my life!
Twelve year old me would be so proud.
I have unwanted superpowers…
I have super smelling.
My normal sense of smell has been multiplied by about 74 times.
That has been kinda cool with the fresh fall air.
But, not so cool with other things like when I burn my bagel.
Aromatic things like AXE body spray and perfume are a total kick in the lungs.
I also have selective super hearing.
I’ve always been a loud dude. I shout and like to make sudden outbursts of spontaneous noise. But, that has been turned around. Now, if someone claps, it’s like they clashed some cymbals inside my brain. Any loud noise is like a hand grenade going off in my eardrums, it’s kind of frightening.
I’ve had super rosy cheeks during this entire round, my red face has made me look, because of the shape of my head, like a happy tomato.
The belly bully has packed some powerful punches, but I’m ready to punch back.
I love underdog stories.
In part of the story about the boxer from Philadelphia, he starts taunting his opponent by saying, “You ain’t so bad, you ain’t so bad, you ain’t nothin’. C’mon, champ, hit me in the face! My mom hits harder than you!”
I’m not going to get cocky, because after all I have the motor skills of an elderly sloth.
But I can be confident because I’ve caught a small glimpse of how big my God is.
He fights for me.
I also know that my mom is a prayer warrior and she hits hard.
I climb into the ring.

Look Up!

Posted: October 13, 2018 in Postcards from Cancerland., Uncategorized

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I’m learning again to look up.

When I walk outside I look up in the air,

it’s wide opener there!

Looking up changes everything!

It opens everything up.
It’s expansive and endless.
I look up…
even at the risk of not seeing where I’m going.
Because, even if I do fall down, if I’m looking up, I have a reason to get back up.
If I keep my eyes on the ground I’m grounded.
I see limits and litter.
I can’t keep my eyes on my situation and surroundings.
I’ve got to get my eyes off myself.
I need to look up!
That is where the stars and rainbows are.
Infinity plays out there.
Up is where my help comes from.
I need to get my head in the clouds.
I’m learning again to look up.

Today I find joy in the most everyday places…

in a cool morning! It’s FINALLY Fall!! I’m ready to break out the sweatshirts and warm beverages!!

in the unbelievably loud noises that emanate from our sweet little beagle. There is snoring and snorting. There are strange guttural noises that wake us up at night. The wonder hound snores like a constipated middle aged linebacker. It’s obnoxious and hilarious at the same time.
in this picture of my granddaughter…
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in the color red.
in making my wife laugh.
in old music and new books.
in “White Chocolate Wonderful” from Peanut Butter & Co. This stuff is basically a mouthful of magic. It’s peanut butter blended with white chocolate and it is AWESOME!
in angel hair pasta. It’s the finest of the pastas. It’s good to eat, it’s also fun to fling at unsuspecting strangers.
in podcasts about the Enneagram, Star Wars, and the Marx Brothers.
in candy corn, it’s definitely my favorite candy vegetable.
in slip on shoes and baggy cargo shorts.
in a good nap in a comfortable chair.
I find great joy in the familiar and flawed places, because that is where it is hiding in plain sight.
Joy is all around us, it just has to be seen to be-lived and believed.

Fabric.

Posted: October 11, 2018 in Postcards from Cancerland., Uncategorized

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My worth is NOT found in what I do, or what I have.

What makes me valuable is NOT where I’m from, or who I’m with.

The thing that gives me value is what I’m made of.
I am woven from the fabric of my Father.
So are you!
That is what makes us priceless.
It’s nothing that we do or earn or buy.
It’s who we are.
We are fabric.
We are beautifully diverse threads, all made of the same divine fiber.
Woven into EACH of us are the same raw fibers…
There is nobility…
and hope…
wonder is woven in from the beginning…
there is goodness…
joy and peace are sewn into who we are..,
Above all, there is love woven in you and me.
We are fabric.
Together we are tapestry.
We have to realize that our fight is not against fabric.
Our enemy is not other fabric.
When we tear or cut the fabric of another, we are really hurting ourselves, because we are all woven together.
No matter how different we are, we are one.
There are certain things that would stain the fabric…
things like fear, despair, insecurity, judgment.
We have to choose to use love and kindness as stain repellents against those things.
We are woven from the fabric of our Father.
This is the fabric of our lives.

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AHOY!!

We heard from the doctor first thing this morning (which is a miracle in itself, we were ready to impatiently wait for a while!)

Here is the news: nothing has really changed. the tumors have NOT gotten bigger, they haven’t really gotten smaller yet either.
But, it seems that the good Doctor believes that will change, so we are staying the course.
We are not going to plan B.
We are proceeding into chemo treatment round five next week.
The Doctor feels good about that.
I feel good about the fact that this gives us even more of a baseline and that God is about to show up and show off.
As a grizzled old pirate I totally understand the charge to stay the course, it means  to pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism.
That is what we will do.
It’s a new day, and Joy has come in the morning.
I can smell it!! (Joy smells like a combination of good coffee and fresh baked bread).
I raise my sails and unfurl my flag.
I can feel the Spirit like a refreshing sea mist upon my face.
I fix my eyes on my Captain. He works wild wonder and does miracles that no man can take credit for.
I’m so incredibly thankful for the queen of my pirate heart, it has been a tough twenty four hours!
We have hugged and cried and laughed and hoped.
Now, we dance.
It has become abundantly clear once again that we have an amazing crew of family and friends sailing with us.
We have been flooded with hope, prayers, and love.
Thank you all! We love you so much.
We sail into yonder horizon not fully knowing what it holds, BUT, fully knowing who holds us…
We stay the course.