Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Beautiful Day

Loved Ones,

What a beautiful day today was. Ray was outside, clipping some bushes and talking with neighbors. He went with us to the pool (no swimming yet) to the girls delight. Even during our time at home, he was talking with visitors and playing with the girls.

Our Lucy is an adventurous pipsqueak. While cooking dinner I was yelling for her only to hear "I've got her up here," from Ray. How that brightened my day. So normal. Even yelling for them all to come to dinner. What a joy to hold hands and pray and eat.

So besides all this? Ray gained a half a pound. Hooray!! We quickly took note of all he had eaten and hope to duplicate again today. It would be great to gain a few before the next round of chemo.

We continue to pray for healing and we look forward to the next few days with joy.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice!" Phillipians 4:4

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Friday, June 27, 2008

For Nothing is Impossible with God

Loved Ones,

Ray had another good day. Our highlight was going to see Nora in her soccer camp. A simple joy that we appreciate now without measure. Nora was delighted to see her dad. She asked if he was better. Oh how our hearts yearn to say yes!

The illusive weight gain is still a goal. Ray has done so great today. I am so proud of his eating. He's working to get in protein drinks along with all the cancer fighting foods.

We've had some nice visits from friends which always lift our spirits.

In all this, it is sometimes difficult for us to keep our mind on today and not on "what if." A comforting thought is the opportunity that our challenge presents for God to show his magnificent power -- more powerful than cancer! When I was rocking Lucy to sleep tonight this verse came to mind.

"For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Quiet Day Filled With Hope

Loved Ones,

We give thanks today for another good day! Ray is just feeling so much stronger. Today Nora and Maggie stayed at the house with him when I went on an errand -- something we wouldn't have done even a few days ago.

Still no weight gain. (How is this possible?) I feel like that Christmas movie, "Eat Santa, eat!" We are getting in every cancer fighting food on the list, which is a fun challenge. No weight loss either though so that is great.

Ray's liver numbers came back. Improved! Every category except one that looks like a fluctuation. Thank you Lord!! Thank you prayers!!

These are truly days to enjoy. We've been told by many that chemo side effects are greater each time. So we are making the most of each day. And, praying that the side effects will be minimal.

Another prayer is that Ray's healthy cells will be protected from the chemo toxins. While they do a great job on the cancer, they can be hard on the body too. So that is another request.

Days like today fill us with hope. We end each day by placing our hands on Ray's liver and stomach (and esophagus if we can reach) and praying for his healing. We thank the Lord for continued progress and we look to him for complete restoration.

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul." Psalm 23:1-3

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Loved Ones,

We had a good day. No weight gain, but no weight loss either. We're hopeful for tomorrow. Ray's been eating all day! Brazil nuts, tomatoes, soy beans... Hard to fit in all the cancer fighting foods any other way.

His friends came over and cut down a tree in our backyard. It was great to see Ray out in the backyard and hanging out with his friends.

We are so looking forward to this week! This is the week of building strength and Ray doesn't have chemo again until next Wednesday.

Besides all the meds and temperature taking and of course Ray's weight loss, it is still hard to believe he has cancer. In part just because it is all so new, in part because he seems to be doing better and in part just because it is still so hard to believe.

Do you wonder how you would respond? I used to also. I heard a report on the anniversary of Columbine and thought of the girl who did not deny God and died because of it. I wondered how it would be if it were me.

I didn't want it to be me. Others who were facing things like this struck fear in my heart. For years, I've "wrestled" with God, thinking somehow that I could prevent this exact scenario if I anticipated enough danger or prayed hard enough. Verses in the Bible about people who were blessed because they left their family for Christ just plain scared me. I love my family!!!!

A month or so before Ray's diagnosis I was talking about this with a friend and he said, "God knows the plan for your family. And it has met with his approval."

We do not know what that plan is. We are happy that today it was cutting down a tree. The girls reading books and singing songs with their dad in bed. Laughing.

When we wonder at all that has come about, it helps us to think of this verse. "All of the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16 It helps us to think that we will have enough strength to fight this battle when we think that before we were born, we were given the strength for today.

We pray for Ray's body to be filled with the spirit of Christ that is stronger than any cancer. We pray for victory in this battle. We pray for happy days when this battle is but a memory!

God knows the plan for our family. And it has met with his approval.

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Answered Prayer Part II

Loved Ones,

Today I was reminded of a movie, Broadcast News. In the movie, a reporter calls in with some facts that are repeated, almost in real time, on the news broadcast. He says, "Wow. I say it here, it comes out there."

That's what today felt like for me. I write it here, you guys pray, and it comes out here!

Ray gained weight today!! A pound and a half! We'll see how it goes tomorrow, but we are encouraged. We cut back a medicine that speeds digestion. Hoping that plus his better appetite might make a difference. We almost got in all the foods for the optimal cancer diet!

We also had nice moments with the girls today. Drawing all together in Ray's room, eating popsicles, going on a walk as a family. See what I mean? Didn't we just pray for this?

We can only imagine what is going on in Ray's body with all these prayers! Home health is slow with numbers but Ray looks good and feels a lot better. So we continue to be hopeful and we pray for miraculous healing without ceasing!

Here is our verse for tonight:

"Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear." Isaiah 65:24

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Monday, June 23, 2008

Answered Prayers

Loved Ones,

What a good day!

After the last couple of days we thought we'd see more of the same, but Ray had a much better day than we expected.

First, he did not lose weight! Our first answer to prayer. No nausea and he was able to eat, more and more each meal.

And, we just had a great day. I was able to take Nora and her carpool to her soccer camp which was great and NORMAL! Ray sang the girls to sleep. The first time in a month!!! Oh the joy. Truly. For all.

Ray's color looks good and we can't wait to hear the results of his labs taken today. We are just praying and praying. Every cell! Every drop of blood! Cancer free!!

And, we continue to pray for freedom from fear and anxiety. I realized today that those are completely different things. With the fears, they are so out of our control that we are just giving them to God. With the anxiety, it is more little things -- will the chemo spill in the house? did I just wash my hands before I gave him that drink? did I unhook that IV right? will he get an infection? So then we think they are in our control. And thus the worry. Whatever the worry it steals our joy.

We wanted to share something with you about the impact of prayer. On Saturday night when we prayed, we felt immediate peace. Today we got an email that 114 luminaries were lit for Ray that night as a part of the Sangamon County Illinois Relay for Life with the American Cancer Society. We find no coincidence that those prayers helped to answer our prayers.

Tonight as we prayed together, we knew our neighbors were praying. Each time, this strengthens our prayers together -- knowing that we are praying in chorus, in unison with those of you.

A few weeks before this all occurred, I was in church and I prayed that God would strengthen the faith of our family. As I prayed it I got scared. I wanted to take it back, put conditions on it and tell God, only through easy ways!

But God heard my prayer and he is answering it. Tonight we prayed that the lessons we learn from this be burned on our hearts forever. It is truly in these times that we learn we must trust wholly in Christ.

These scriptures from when Paul was in prison fearing for his life spoke to us about the trust that comes from these times and the power of the prayers of others.

"But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God... He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." 2 Corinthians 1:9-11

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Loved Ones,

Ray had a tougher day today. Here's the rub on pressing forward with eating for nutrition's sake. If you eat when you don't feel like it, you throw up. Argh! But if you don't eat, you keep losing. Important when you've already lost 30 pounds. And, as we've learned, it's about all we can do to maintain, much less gain weight. So, a continuing prayer request will be to be on the right side of this balance. Making the most of the days where Ray feels good so that when he doesn't we won't be as stressed. And just keeping the weight on if possible!

The White Sox are killing us! We thought we were going to be thankful for good TV. We think not.

The girls had a great day, filled with art projects from friends. They danced in their Little Mermaid sprinkler with abandon.

We are looking forward to the coming week with hopefully the return of better days. From past experience, Tuesday seemed to be the day Ray turned the corner.

We thank you for your continued prayers for healing, and for all of us. We thank you for emails that remind us that God knows each hair on our heads!

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray