Thursday, January 14, 2010


The letter I posted last night was an email I typed and sent out 5 years and a day ago. Today marked the 5th anniversary of the day I completed my cancer treatment and rang the bell. What bell? As I mentioned in the email, there is a bell that hangs in the hallway of the radiation area and when a patient completes their therapy, they get to ring the bell. I remember the day like it was yesterday. Surrounded by family, new friends, old friends and my radiation team. I remember tears rolled down my face and feeling this sense of peace. I had no idea what to expect for the rest of my life, but knew the Lord had walked with me the entire time through my treatment and that he would continue to walk with me on the other side.

"The Ringing of the Bell" is a letter I have gone back and read numerous times. I have this image in my head of the Lord helping me type that email and understand that He had a message to share through it as well. Last May, some of my girlfriends were so sweet to help me celebrate this five-year milestone here in Houston. At the end of the weekend they presented me this letter in a beautiful frame. A sweet reminder that the Lord has a plan for my life and that He continues to use my battle with cancer for His glory.

And back in 2006, a sweet lady I met while I was in Kerrville even asked if she could publish this letter in a book she was writing. Her name is Debbie Williams and she is the founder and president of Hill Country Ministries. ( Debbie loves the Lord and is an incredible teacher of His word. She has written numerous bible studies and books and I was so honored to be apart of her book, "Pray With Purpose, Live With Passion". The subtitle of the book reads, "How Praising God A to Z Will Transform Your Life". My letter was included in the "W" chapter titled "Lord, You Are Wonderful". Tonight I will leave you with a excerpt from her book.

Hospital bed. Sterile sheets. Dimly lit hospital corridors. Loneliness. Heartache. Medicine. Chemotherapy. Hair falling out. Nausea. Pain. A doctor's solemn countenance speaking volumes before a single word declares the cancer has spread. IVs. Collapsed veins. Tears and more tears as loved ones search for comforting words.


"God, are you there?" "When will this end?" "I'm ready, God, for whatever Your will is. Take me. Leave me. I'm Yours."

The faint sound of a bell ringing. Hope at the end of the hall. Someone has finished her final treatment! In a world wracked with suffering and disappointment, how do we understand and pray to the Lord who is wonderful?

Consider the exceptional perspective revealed in the following letter, written by a young lady who battled cancer for eight months and whose testimony gives praise to our Lord.

(Insert my letter here from previous post, titled "The Ringing of the Bell")

Who would have thought that a young woman with cancer would one day be praising God for the wonderful day He gave her and thanking those who prayed for her?

The fact is, God is Wonderful. Although not all of us will be healed is this lifetime, all Christians will celebrate God's wonder and power when we are wholly healed and raised in His presence. In the meantime, God gives each of us the opportunity to know Him as a Wonderful God and to seek His wonder-working power, counsel, and presence in whatever situation we find ourselves.

Thank you, Debbie, for sharing this letter in your book. And thank you, faithful friends, for celebrating life with me today.

And if you listen closely, you just might hear a little bell ringing tonight.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"The Ringing of the Bell"

Dear Precious Ones,
Well....this is it. At 10:30 a.m. on Friday, January 14, 2005, I will complete my final radiation treatment. And at around 11:00 a.m. you may be lucky enough to hear the faint sound of a bell ringing. What exactly does that mean? At M.D. Anderson, all radiation patients have the honor of ringing this huge bell near the waiting room, signaling to all that you (the patient) have finished treatment. Yes, just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. I am VERY excited! And at the moment I ring the bell, I also imagine that the angels in heaven will begin singing and God will part the clouds as rays of sunlight shine on my face. He will then look down on me and smile. We will finish the last day of this journey together.
If you can believe it, my time here in Houston began 8 months ago. On June 14th I began the first round of chemotherapy and on January 14th I will take my last round of radiation. And in between those two dates...a great miracle took place. Most of you already know, but on October 22, 2004 I was notified that I was cancer free. Knowing that, I still had to complete my final 2 rounds of chemo (out of 6) and then take 22 rounds of radiation therapy.
All of these dates and numbers may soon be forgotten, but the miracle of my healing is with me forever. It's funny that cancer, which at first we all think takes so much from our life, has actually added so much to mine. I have never felt as close to God, my family or my friends as I do now. That just shows how great and big the body of Christ is and how powerful a person's prayer can be. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you so much-- for each and every prayer. Your prayers gave my family and I such a peace, and helped us through the most challenging of days.
So maybe you are wondering what lies ahead....well, I wish I knew exactly. I think God likes to surprise us all. As of now, my plan is to return to my job with the H.E. Butt Foundation in Kerrville, Texas, coordinating the Free Camp Sponsorship Program. I will also begin hanging out with high school kids again as a Young Life volunteer and want to become a more active member at my church in San Antonio. I look foward to seeing my family and friends more frequently-- meaning there is always an open invitation for you to visit me in Kerrville!
And of course, I will remain a part-time Houston resident as I make several visits back here for check-ups. These first few months I will be here weekly, with my first "big visit" mid-March. They just can't get enough of me! You know, I really think they might miss me a little bit. And I too, will miss my friends here. It's hard to put into words, but this place will always be very special to me.
So as one journey ends, another begins. That's what the "ringing of the bell" means to me. Thank you for celebrating in this wonderful day. I couldn't have done it without you and our very faithful Father.
All My Love,