In the Book of Mormon, there is a record of a family who traveled from the Tower of Babel to the American continent. The family of Jared soon received their first glimpse of a vast, stormy ocean, having been required of the Lord to crawl into some mysterious air-tight vessels they were promised would carry them safely to a better place. As they gazed into the deep, moving water, they breathed the unfamiliar sea salt and felt the ice cold water lap at their feet. "What will become of our family?" "Can we do this thing that God requires of us?"

These were the questions we asked as our family stood on the edge of a new journey in February 2011. Before Cathi was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, we saw the waves of an unfamiliar storm brewing and felt the fear of anticipation. When the cancer was certain, our family was required to wade into the cold water, crawl into a mysterious vessel and trust the Lord would be in charge.

The family of Jared was given stones touched by the finger of the Lord that provided light inside their vessels "that they might not cross the great waters in darkness......and it came to pass that...(they) set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God. And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind. And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind. And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters. And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind. And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord. And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water." Read the rest:

This blog is the captain's log of our family's journey. It will serve to keep all of you updated on Cathi's condition but also be a place where I can express the lessons we are learning so that it might be a source of strength for others who are going through difficult challenges. We are certainly not unique in this regard. I hope to continue trusting in the light we have been given and to lead our family when we are encompassed by the dark ocean or tossed by its waves. We sincerely seek for your faith in asking the Lord to calm the water, give strength beyond our own and lead all of us of us to a better place.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Miracle #9 - Real Love

Cathi is doing well and ready to move forward with this next phase of her cancer treatment! Last night, we went out for her "last" big meal at Outback Steakhouse...before her taste buds change with the chemo therapy. We had a great time!

As we spent time with each other, I started realizing one of the many blessings we are experiencing from Cancer. We are falling in love again. Rather than half looking at the big screen television in the restaurant, I wanted to hear every word Cathi said. I caught myself looking at her smile and thinking, "I am married to the classiest, wittiest, most beautiful woman in the world." Like many married couples, over time, we've allowed ourselves to focus more and more on our own work, church responsibilities, my hobbies...her books, maintaining our home, transporting the kids, etc. Life can become so routine and predictable.  But who could have predicted cancer?  Last night, I put everything aside and focused on Cathi.

We came home, kicked the kids out of the basement and enjoyed watching a classic romance on Netflix. After a few
hours of watching these attractive movie stars portray the true meaning of passion and love, I turned off the TV and looked over at this 48 year old woman sitting next to me;  a woman who was raised in a small western mountain community that willingly uprooted from everything she knew to move to the East Coast with a husband and a brand new baby who she was a bit afraid of; a woman who bore four more children without family nearby as we continued to move around the country and leave familiar surroundings; a woman who, so many times, stood by patiently while her husband wrestled with pride and self-centeredness; a woman who, day after day, quietly built a place of refuge for her family, with tradition, music, literature, humor, faith and sacrifice.  I may not be brooding Heathcliff with extra broad shoulders and a manly chin...and Cathi may not be your typical tortured heroine with flowing tresses running down her slight frame...but we are learning what it means to really love and what it feels like to truly be loved.  Last night, after the credits stopped and the music faded, I was left feeling very grateful for something Cancer is teaching me.