Author Archive

Wanting the miracle and preparing for the fight | Faith and Cancer

Long time no post. I know… I’ve been busy.

But today’s revelation is blog worthy.

For some of us, God miraculously removes our cancer. For others of us, we have to fight.

Both roads are equally part of His plan. 

Both roads are good.

Jerichos and Ais…


Graphic from The Avenue Church

We talked about Joshua of the Bible today at church.

Most of us know about Jericho – Joshua’s squad marched around the city and the walls fell down.

But just a few chapters later, there’s another city, Ai, which God also told Joshua to seize.

Except this city didn’t fall like Jericho. Joshua had to follow God’s strategic plan for Ai to conquer it.

As my pastor explained, “Sometimes God gives us “Jerichos” in our life – our challenges can be tackled with ease and creativity. Other times, God calls us to “Ai” – our challenges must be faced with strategy and toil.”

And then it hit me.

This can apply to the fight against cancer, too.

Two roads to the fight against cancer

For some of us – our cancer experience is a Jericho.

God miraculously takes away tumors and cancer cells. The cancer goes away. We are healed.

For others of us, the road is not so easy. Roadblocks. Recurrence. Treatment. We put things in place to help us survive… which is not even a guarantee.

Even if we do not get dealt the Jericho, it does not mean that God’s turned his back on us.

We have to remember what “victory” truly means.

Just take it from Joey…

fight-cancer-hospital-hallwayAs a youth, I remember Joey Butler’s loud voice echoing through the old chapels at youth camp. I was saddened today to read an article in the KC Star about his advanced disease.

But just like God used him to encourage my young faith as a teen, I was encouraged today by his words now as a fellow cancer survivor:

“This circumstance [cancer] is teaching my family and friends to trust God,” he says. “This is not all there is. You know there’s more to come after this life. … This is not our final destination.”

For Joey, it seems that he didn’t get the road to Jericho when it came to his cancer diagnosis.

His cancer journey is more like the conquest of Ai. Aggressive treatments to fight the cancer have failed. I’m humbled by his response:

“Here’s what belief means: It means I put all my belief, all my weight, on Christ. I’m all in,” he continued. “I’ve had no regrets.”

But Joey knows that the “victory” in cancer for us Christians is not that we defy death.

Instead, it’s that we let God use our cancer journeys to save lives.

Even if those roads to victory look more like Ai than Jericho.

March 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm 1 comment

Mae Day – Take Two!

Can you believe it? We can’t either.

Two years ago I sat down and told the world I had suddenly become a Mama. And yes, I mean suddenly.

But, the Lord is good. There’s not much more to say.

(Oh – other than we absolutely adore this child and are blessed by her each day. That she is beautiful. Funny. Talented. And a perfect fit for our family. That I couldn’t have asked for a more precious daughter to be a forever mama to – and that I pray that God blesses her life in even more ways than she has blessed mine – which is pretty innumerable.)

To Celebrate…

We had a party – chili, cornbread and cupcakes. We watched movies. We talked about how cold it was two years ago. We talked about how God is good.

We’ve very much enjoyed our second Mae Day.

He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.

Praise the LORD. – Psalm 113:9


I took last year’s blog posts and made a book for Mae called ‘Mae’s Adoption Story.” Now she will always know what took place those crazy three weeks before she moved in.


The three of us – two years later!


Blessed by so many loving grandparents!


January 31, 2013 at 10:42 pm 1 comment


undone by Jim Branch

years and years of hard work
diligently putting it all together
piece by piece
thinking all is well
progress is being made

but then you
come and scramble the whole picture
leaving pieces scattered everywhere

you smile lovingly
as I sit in the middle of the mess
knowing that I don’t know
knowing that I’m undone
and thinking to yourself
now that’s progress

An Undone Christmas

I noticed a Facebook friend or two asked if it was too early to take down the tree last night. I publicly didn’t chime in and answer with a resounding “NO WAY!” But I certainly wanted to. Because if truth be told, I was wondering the same thing myself.

Don’t get me wrong – I had a very lovely Christmas. I was with much of my family. I ate enough food to last me the rest of the week. And I received very generous gifts.

But something this Christmas felt off. It’s the first year that an active toddler consumed much of my energy and focus. It’s the first year I had the stresses of a business on my shoulders. And it’s the first year that I tried to make it “feel” like Christmas weeks earlier – only to find myself unsuccessful. It seemed to sneak up on me again. Wrapping gifts last-minute and running late seemed to be pattern. No matter what I did, I didn’t feel like I could “get it together” this Christmas.

As I sat down to reflect this morning, my devotional led me to Jim Branch’s “Undone.” And I began to see my experience this Christmas in a new light. Maybe… just maybe … my feelings of being spread out, disorganized and nearly unraveled … were just what I needed. Maybe there was purpose to them after all. My picture-perfect holiday schedule, sparkly-clean home and organized to-do list needed to go. This Christmas, God wanted me to find the meaning of Christmas in a new way. Maybe he wanted me undone.

December 26, 2012 at 9:18 am 1 comment

A New Normal

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and thoughts for our family. Losing our dog a week ago has been one of the toughest things we’ve been through, but having so much support and empathy helps soften the blow.

We’ve been asked how Mae & Joey are doing a lot, so I thought I’d post some fun pics of how those two are getting by. I think it’s a good thing Mae is two because she somewhat understands that “Ninney went bye-bye” but doesn’t really comprehend everything. And Joey, well, she’s still getting used to a new normal but I can say she is becoming one spoiled dog. And you know, that’s OK with me.


Joey is doing a good job of keeping me company in my office these days.

“Don’t touch” is probably spoken more than “Merry Christmas” right now.

A trip up to Lincoln, NE to see our cousins was good for the soul. Mae & Kylie played … and bathed.









Joey’s become our ride-along buddy. Yes, we take her everywhere we possibly can

Ahh, home. Something about a cold night and a cozy fire brings peace and comfort.

December 13, 2012 at 8:32 am 1 comment

Losing Lindley

“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”
-Robert Louis Stevenson


Lindley Ren

It’s been said that a dog is man’s best friend. Unyielding allegiance. Faithful support. So many canine qualities indeed make dogs a great companion. But for me six years ago when we brought Lindley home, she was so much more than a friend. As an infertile woman who wasn’t ready for the adoption process yet, my dog became my baby. And that’s why it was so hard to tell her goodbye today.

An unfortunate series of events led to her escaping the backyard yesterday within an hour and a half of me being gone. We came home to find Joey, our lab mix, alone in the yard. After about 20 minutes of yelling and hunting for her, Animal Control pulled up and let us know that they’d taken Lindley to the animal hospital. She was hit by a car. Quick visits and a review of initial x-rays last night had me hopeful my strong-willed dog would pull through. But today upon further review of more x-rays and her four pelvic fractures, we knew we had to let go.

I didn’t have a dog as a child so after Mike & I moved in to the Corner of Monroe, adding to our family was first on the agenda. We brought Joey home one month after we moved in and soon adopted Lindley three months later. The two dogs instantly became as close as sisters, some even asked us if they were born in the same liter due to their tendencies to cuddle and stay within a foot of each other at all times. I laugh at myself who sat on the floor the day we brought Lindley home, worried that we had made a mistake. “I’m not sure I can love another dog as much as I love Joey,” I told Mike. My how Lindley proved me wrong.


Lindley was named after Dawson’s Creek – Michelle Williams’ character, Jen Lindley.

Within a matter of weeks, Lindley had become my dog. Over the years she protected me from guests she wasn’t quite sure about (sorry again about her snapping at you, John & Matt Hayes.) She was always at my feet when it was time to relax and she kept me warm in the winter as our old house let in cold drafts. She’d find a way to sneak into Mike’s spot in the bed early in the morning once he left. She somehow figured out how to lay just like him so that I had no clue it was her.

Lindley let me dress her up and take pictures of her. She caught a mouse. And a rabbit. She was always up for trying something new. She instinctively knew that Kelley was pregnant. And while Joey hesitated to welcome Mae into our home, Lindley was the first to get in her face (and sometimes her bath) and enjoy her newest sister. She even let Mae ride her like a horse and climb on top of her just a few days ago.

The loss of our dog today leaves a deep hole in my heart and a pain I’ve never experienced. I know dogs are dogs but I know even more today that dogs are family. And even beyond that – dogs are worshippers. The only thing that keeps me going to make sense of Lindley’s “all too soon” passing is that her time was up. She’d served the purpose God had for her and He was ready to bring her home. I’m certain that are dogs in heaven. She was just too great of a dog to not be there right now.


They say dogs don’t really smile or hug – but I like to think they do.

Scripture says let everything that has breath praise the Lord. And although she didn’t have a soul, Lindley praised the Lord and pointed me to Christ more than I realized. As I pet her head today and told her goodbye, I realized how great of a gift from God she has been. She filled a longing to love and nurture before a “real” baby arrived. She was a buddy who sat next to me while recovering from surgeries, wanting nothing but to show me love and support. And she protected me the way the Lord intends to do so – she wouldn’t let anyone she wasn’t sure about come near me. While it took a few minutes for her to warm up sometimes, once she trusted you, she was yours for life. As I always used to say, Lindley was the lover. This dog showed me God’s love in many, many ways.

I will miss my dog… my baby… but I am glad she’s not in pain. I wish our time together would have been longer but I’m thankful for the six years we did have. I couldn’t wish for a better pet to get me introduced to the dog world. Although I might have to throw on another blanket this winter if the cold winds come, I will take it as a reminder to remember Lindley and be thankful for the blessing it was to give her a home.

December 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm 7 comments

Learning to obey :: a devotional on parenting

Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you. – Deuteronomy 8:5

There’s something missing from photos of children featured in adoption calendars and brochures. Sure, they are adorable and cute. But a small line saying something like “Warning: these children are normal and may cause you to pull your hair out from time to time” needs to be somewhere in the marketing materials. At least I think so.

Teaching a child to obey


Photo from

To say we’ve entered the “Terrible Twos” might be a decent way to describe most days and nights at our house. It’s a roller coaster of emotions. The highs are a bit higher as Mae gets older and builds a relationship with us. My heart swells when she says “love you” before I walk out of her room at night. Mike digs the fact he asks, “Mae, who is this?” while riding in the car and she answers back either “Beastie Boys,” “Chili Peppers,” or “Dave Matthews.” She even requests “Beach Boys” these days.

But with these highs come a few lows too. I wasn’t ready to be told “no” and physically hit and smacked. Telling a toddler to change her attitude and close her eyes, only for her to repeat those words back to me, can get under my skin. “Mae, obey” is a famous phrase around our home and the time-out spot is beginning to show some serious wear due to her hesitation to follow the rules.

Learning to obey

In the midst of trying to keep my cool, hold my tongue and not overdose on chocolate, I’m humbled by how gracious of a Father we have in Jesus. As I nearly go bald trying to parent an independent two-year-old, I am humbled by the Lord’s grace as I try to pull the same stunts in the spiritual sense. I ignore God some days. I don’t want to sit and read his Word, much less obey it. I have my own ideas of how my day will go, how my money is spent, how to use my time and what my future holds – I don’t want Him to interfere. I want to do my own thing.

Following God’s discipline and instruction

Any parent knows that discipline and instruction for our kids is ultimately for their benefit – it’s not fun making anyone mad, much less a two-year-old. We don’t upset our kids because we want to, we instruct them because it’s ultimately best for them. And while this concept makes sense when I’m in control, when I put myself in the “child’s seat,” it seems to be a bit more difficult.

God’s commanded us to love and obey him. To surrender our independence and to follow the commands and calling He’s placed in our lives. When we choose to push back on that, half-way obey or even “hit and scream” at Him, we’re missing out on the joyous relationship He offers us. Sure, he offers us grace over and over. But the chance to know Him and experience true joy and fulfillment is lost each time we say “no.” We become just like those sweet kids on the adoption calendar who need a disclaimer under their name. “Warning: this Christian may look sweet and say the right thing but her heart is really a mess.”

Friends, it’s time to obey… without being told twice. God’s love awaits us.

November 26, 2012 at 10:28 am 1 comment

My Yearly Pink Soapbox – Reposted


Blue is the next pink! Check out this graphic 2013 Colondar model Dawn and The Colon Club’s designer Troy Burns came up with!

Each October, I still have one or two Facebook friends post “pink parade” things on my wall. It’s not because I am a breast cancer survivor. It’s because of the post below.

In 2009, I had just re-entered the colon cancer game after 8 years in remission. At age 25, I was facing cancer yet again. Thankfully, only surgery was needed. But the emotions that came with it hit me harder than ever before. So when October rolled around that year and everything came out pink, I tried to funnel my opinion into the nicest way I could put it. And below is what came out (on my old blog.)

I wanted to make sure this post made its way to the Semicolon blog, so here it is re-posted. Also, it gives me goosebumps to see that at the bottom of the post, I had linked to a fellow Colondar model’s blog – Becca’s blog – where she wrote about the same topic. I had forgotten this until tonight. She passed away 6 months ago; I hung out with her mom this weekend. I re-post tonight in her honor. I met her only once, but her legacy ripples throughout our community.

I will say it again – I fully support breast cancer awareness. But I also support the other cancers. And hopefully one day, other organizations, sports teams, manufacturers and marketers will catch on too. Hopefully.

So with that – here it is. My yearly pink soapbox.

My Yearly Pink Soapbox

(originally posted Sunday, October 4, 2009)

Most of you’ve heard this rant before. But this year’s outrageous display of pink EVERYTHING has fueled the fire. It seems even more hyped this year. And it’s just Oct. 4th.

I’m not a cancer hater. Obviously, one is closer to my heart than the others. But I genuinely want the world to be rid of them all. I will state for the record, I support breast cancer awareness. I’ve got family and now two fellow ’09 Colondar gals who’ve fought it. But I support it just as much as I support lung cancer, skin cancer, colon cancer, etc. Anyone have an idea what month brain cancer awareness is? Know what color represents lung? Understand the severity of pancreatic? Realize it’s just as important for MEN AND WOMEN to get frequent colonoscopies, especially after age 50, as it is for women to get mammograms? Shocker!

Maybe I wouldn’t be so turned off by the ridiculous pink ribbons on every product lining super market stores if I didn’t have a marketing communication background. I hardly believe it’s a coincidence that the target audience of most of those well-loved store brands are moms who manage the household and do the grocery shopping. How convenient, slap a pink ribbon on your product and give a few pennies to breast cancer research and you’ve got a loyal customer to your brand and more money in your pocket. As much as I’d love to believe it – I don’t think the pink’s there for the cancer stuff as much as it is the brand loyalty of the female customers. If that was the case, there would be blue stars all down the toilet paper aisle come March. But butts aren’t as fun nor pleasant to hype up than boobs, let’s face it.

My point is this: if you’re going to support a cause, support it through genuineness. Don’t have strings attached. Don’t stand behind the cancer cause to really make money or fluff up your brand. Don’t go get drunk with a team of people at a cancer crawl and feel better about it because you did it for “a great cause.” People are dying from this disease, it’s pretty serious. I urge companies and individuals to remember this as we use the “cause” to further our own agendas or pleasures. It can be seen as a slap in the face to many of the 10 million diagnosed each year.

You want to help promote cancer awareness? Get screened and tell somebody. Figure out your family history. Meet people who have been through it, and help them find ways to tell their story. Raise money for cancer societies. Wear the t-shirts, the bands, etc. But don’t think slapping a ribbon on something you’re trying to sell is going to cut it. Us survivors see right through it. And we’re not BUYING it.

Want more insight from another cancer survivor? Read fellow ’08 Colondar model Becca’s blog.

October 7, 2012 at 11:45 pm 1 comment

My Colon-Themed Weekend

Sometimes, I let my mind wander back to the hospital bed. I hear the beeps on machines pumping to carry fluids in and take fluids out. I feel the pain in my stomach from a fresh incision. I roll my eyes at the doctor’s voice reassuring me that “checking out” my tumor area will only take a minute. But I try to only let myself stay camped in those memories for a second. Because there are better ones to be dwelt upon.

Making New Memories

This weekend was big for me. And it gave me many new memories upon which to dwell. But these aren’t filled with trips to the bathroom or toilet paper. Instead, they’re full of moments I realized how blessed I am to be a survivor. Minutes I felt so loved and supported. Situations that made me realize I’m not alone. Instances that showed me I am strong.

Over the weekend I took part in several events related to my colon cancer. I shot a national PSA for Fight Colorectal Cancer. I ran in the Get Your Rear in Gear 5K in Kansas City with 50ish fellow team members, team B-Hinds. I had a “Colon Club” reunion with some fellow Colondar models. And most of all – I realized how lucky I am to still be here and going strong.

I’m Not On The Back of the T-Shirt

All cancer races feel somewhat like a running cemetery to me – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. But many times it’s those who’ve lost a loved one that come out for cancer events. Many form a team and rally the troops as a way to have a very personal Memorial Day. T-shirts and signs displaying the years their loved ones lived and the battle they fought are all around. It’s very moving. Especially when you’re a survivor.

At Saturday’s 5K GYRIG race, many t-shirts passed me along the 3 miles listing fellow survivors whose battles have since ended. I realized how fortunate I was to be out in the crowd – running in my black tutu and red beads. My name was listed on the race roster as the B-Hinds Team Captain. Not on the back of the shirt as a beloved daughter, wife, mama and friend.

Survivor’s guilt? Maybe just a little.

Humbled beyond belief? Absolutely.

After a weekend full of great friends, much love and a little sweat (I did run the whole 5K) – all I can really say is thank you. I’m blessed to still be here and have such an amazing community. And Jehovah-Rophe:  God is my healer.

Enjoy some pics…


Shooting the PSA for Fight Colorectal Cancer – should come out in March!  Photo courtesy of Michael Sola



Did I mention that I got to meet Frank White at the PSA?



Me, Mike and little Miss Mae out at the GYRIG 5K


All of my parents (also now known as the grandparents) came out for the 5K!


The runners from B-Hinds – we had 4 who placed in the race!


Team B-Hinds ended up having around 50 people (including kids!) What an awesome experience!



Me and two of my long-time best buds – Em & Leah


My dearest friend Ber traveled over 3 hours with her family and her 9 month old to be on team B-Hinds.


The Colon Gurl herself came all the way from Evansville, IN for my B-Hind


Colon Club party! Colondar model Belle (Feb ’12), myself, Krista (president of Colon Club) and Colondar model Adam (Sept. ’12)


October 1, 2012 at 2:04 am Leave a comment

Help Needed: The Adoption Tax Credit

When you adopt, there’s this “little” thing called the Adoption Tax Credit. Let’s just say the tax season after your adoption is final, it’s your best friend. Unfortunately many adoptions do not come free (there ARE some routes where costs are minimal) … however in the case of our domestic adoption of a little gal outside of the foster care system – it took a little capital to have it all go through.

The Adoption Tax Credit allowed us to claim up to a certain amount of dollars on our tax return and receive a nice refund around tax time. It’s a one-time credit you can claim in addition to claiming a dependent. And while it doesn’t cover all the adoption expenses for some, it’s certainly a very nice chunk of change that comes back for anyone who’s adopted a child.


Help Keep the Adoption Tax Credit

Unfortunately, this tax credit isn’t a permanent feature in our Congressional system, and it happens to be up for review and is set to expire if we don’t take action. It needs our help.

If you have a few minutes, can you help write your representative and ask them to sponsor & support the bill? (It’s easier than standing in a Chick-fil-A line or making signs to protest, right?)

Our adoption agency, American Adoptions, has made this very simple. Follow the steps below. I just did it and it took less than five minutes. Help stand up for adoption and keep the tax credit in place!

If Congress does not act, the tax credit will expire on December 31, 2012.

Action: Contact your Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. You can reach your Representative by calling the U.S. Capitol Operator at 202.225.3121 and asking for your Representative’s office. You can find your representative by going to and entering your zip code in the box provided.

I opted to send an email to my representative once I found his page.

Message: Here are some good things to include in your message:

  • I am a constituent in your district and the adoption tax credit is important to me. (It matters to me because…)
  • I urge the Representative to become a co-sponsor of The Making Adoption Affordable Act, H.R. 4373.
  • If Congress does not act – the credit as we now know it – will expire in December 2012.
  • H.R. 4373 is bipartisan, and it supports all types of adoptions (domestic private, foster care, and international adoptions).
  • This tax credit has made adoption a more viable option for many parents who might not otherwise have been able to afford adoption, allowing them to provide children with loving, permanent families.
  • Thank you for your support of H.R. 4373.

If you want to learn more about the adoption tax credit, visit You can also like the Save the Adoption Tax Credit mission on Facebook at

August 4, 2012 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

I want affordable health care. And a chicken sandwich.

Over the past several years, I’ve kept the Semicolon blog focused on one thing: life after colon cancer. I’ve covered various topics like eating organic and adopting a baby; however, I’ve steered clear of discussing one topic. Politics. My views are across the board, and even that stance is unpopular. However as a twenty-something, cancer surviving, Jesus-loving, mom of a biracial little girl – I’m still sorting out where I stand on many political issues. So you can imagine the dilemma I’m currently facing:

On August 1, I might just want a chicken sandwich.

I hope that means I’m not denied health care.


Suddenly my #1 with lemonade has become a political stance…

Torn between two groups

I have so many friends discussing Chick-fil-A, Facebook is now grouping all of their status updates together just like they do on Halloween when people post about their costumes. I come from a very conservative background and have many relationships with people supporting Chick-fil-A (Group A). On the other hand, I’ve also got several relationships with people who’ve been outspoken health care advocates, yet are unhappy about this restaurant chain’s recent comments and planning to boycott (Group B). I find myself in the middle of these two groups, wondering what it will take for all of us to get along.

In defense of the chicken sandwich…

If this restaurant chain was denying service to certain groups or making people sit in designated areas of the restaurants based on race, lifestyle or any other identifier, I’d certainly not patronize them. I’d probably be with my buddies from Group B. I’ve got a biracial kid so I get the anti-discrimination thing. However this restaurant, I feel, is not acting discriminatory. Sure, they have unpopular viewpoints and their leaders have offended some with their comments – however every group out there who’s passionate about something is likely to offend. Christian principles and Biblical truths are not always very popular; however, I feel like this restaurant delivers a good product, great service and stands by its values. So that’s why I will continue to go, and will most likely be eating a chicken sandwich next week.

However, can I still get health care?

So okay – I support Chick-fil-A. And while this might seem like a win for Group A – I’ve got a dilemma. In the event I buy a chicken sandwich next week – can I still support changes to health care? Many of my buddies in Group B are the ones who seem to understand why I got so excited that the laws are changing. I’m a walking pre-existing condition. I’m denied health care because of choices I did not make, nor have any control over. And the only reason I have health coverage now is because my husband works for a company who, thankfully, can afford a group plan. If that were not the case, we’d be scrambling. And I’d be denied. And I’m not sure what we’d do for health insurance. Owning my own business would probably be out of the picture. We’d have to look at changing jobs to get health insurance. And something about that just doesn’t feel right. Many of the people in Group B have been outspoken advocates for this. Yet if we agree on this issue, is it OK to disagree about Chick-fil-A?

Love covers all

I don’t hate politics, but I very much dislike the type of people we can become when “hot button issues” get involved. It’s not that I feel dialogue is unneeded and that our country doesn’t need run well – it’s that we can’t seem to respectfully disagree with one another.

I think it’s awesome when someone stands up for what they believe in – from both sides of the platforms. However I’d like to think that we can create a culture where people who are standing up will be respected, regardless of the issue. When someone stands up for something we disagree with, we need to respectfully disagree and not sling mud or slander. We’ve become a generation that “takes our ball and goes home” because we’re offended. What we need to do is link arms and sort it out. We might still disagree, however, isn’t there a way to live peacefully with one another?

As the Big Guy put it, “treat others the way you want to be treated” or “love one another; for love covers a multitude of sins.” While it might seem like the easy answer, or that I’m playing Switzerland, I really do feel like focusing on love is what we need to get us through these hard issues, and the upcoming months leading to November. We need to realize that as people from different backgrounds and cultures, we’re going to disagree. On the surface, the debates are about health care plans and a fried chicken combo meal. However what’s under this is much bigger, and I feel like a commitment to loving others first and foremost is the only way to get through. It’s what will make life worth living… and ordering waffle fries a non-political decision.

July 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts Newer Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,128 other subscribers

Danielle on Twitter

We're a hit!

  • 71,953 hits

%d bloggers like this: