Much of Susie and Mark's journey was chronicled in their original, personal Facebook page. Three excerpts that appear in the book are offered here for your initial exploration.
Facebook post by Mark on September 10, 2013
I have been a part of a Bible Study group on Tuesday mornings at Belmont University for more than twenty years. Seven or so of us take turns bringing the breakfast and leading the discussion. It is a good gathering. While most of our two decades we’ve walked through a book of the Bible, of late we’ve taken to books of sermons. One of our favorite preachers/writers is Barbara Brown Taylor, whose collection of sermons, The Bread of Angels, we have just begun.
Today’s installment was the title chapter in which she bases her sermon on God’s provision of manna to His ancient chosen children wandering around in the wilderness those forty years. Consistent with her giftedness, she did all manner of good things with that text. Being a southern gal, she likened manna unto grits and explained that the word manna comes from the Hebrew man-hu, meaning, “What is it?” God reminded Moses, and she us today, that manna wouldn’t keep so there’s no need to hoard it, that if it is to serve its purpose of sustaining life, it has to be gathered and consumed on a daily basis.
Since March 1, Honey and I have experienced a bit of wilderness wandering ourselves. There have been some scary times, some times that we have neither known the road nor could even see the path. With Paul the Apostle, we still “see through the glass darkly.” Oftentimes, deciding which turn to take or what call to make was a shot in the dark. By the grace of God, we hadn’t been here before. I have put Honey to bed too many nights with her hurting to tears and there’s not one thing to do to help. Sweet dreams! Yeah, right!
Since day two, there has remained a sense of peace, okay-ness, and even joy along our jagged journey that we certainly didn’t expect and have had difficulty explaining. We knew it was there, but just didn’t know what to call it…until today. It’s manna! Back to Barbara Brown – “If you are willing to look at everything that comes to you as coming from God, then there will be no end to the manna in your life…because it is not what it is that counts but who sent it. The miracle is that God is always sending us something to eat. Day by day, God is made known to us in the simple things that sustain our lives.” Whoa!
The prayers of friends, the constant support of family, a Meal Train, and a peace that passeth all understanding, etc., etc. Man-hu “What is it” we ask? It’s all manna. “‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat,’ you will believe it. You will say ‘Thanks be to God,’ and start trying to figure out how to eat the stuff.”
In no way are we proclaiming that our wandering is done, for we know not what all lies ahead for either or any of us; there may well be some serious bumps yet to come, but we know to look for and to celebrate God’s daily manna. Thanks be to God.
“Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God.
Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.” (A-manna!)
Andrea Crouch © Copyright 1966. Renewed 1994 by Manna Music, Inc. (ASCAP) 35255 Brooten Road, Pacific City, OR 97135. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Guess which publisher holds the copyright to that little song; well, of course – Manna Music, Inc.
Facebook post by Susie on November 27, 2013
Good pre-Thanksgiving Day to each of you. We hope you all have special time with good food and good family. Some friends brought us a Thanksgiving Tree tonight – a simple branch from the yard and paper circles cut out for us to write on. All of us who can write will add circles to the tree this weekend. This will be a new annual tradition.
Infusion four went well yesterday. I think I have noticed that the beginning of a round of infusions is easier mentally than the end of the round. I am now two-thirds through with this round, and they are harder. Not sure what makes it that way but, for me, it is what it is. Last week, God used Mark and music to help me over the bump. Last night, He used Mark and humor to help me. Why am I still surprised at all the ways God shows Himself and blesses me? I am so thankful for each new insight.
The scheduled Meal Train arrived yesterday with wonderful soup, bread, and pumpkin roll. Thanks, Janis, for the great soup on a very cold night. The unofficial Meal Train arrived on Monday night with another excellent offering. Thanks, Rick and Janet. And today, Marianne and David brought most of our dinner for Thanksgiving. Our cup – and pantry and fridge – over flows. What generous people you are and how very thankful we are for your meals and for you.
Besides the Meal Train, we have a flower family. Without fail, the day after an infusion, gorgeous flowers arrive. They have been coming since my first infusion of my first round. They bring sunshine and love into our home, and the card always reads, “Encouraging Day Flowers!” And they are. Thanks, Sam and Barbara.
And there are the card senders. You are still keeping the U.S. Postal Service operational! I can’t name every one of you, and I receive cards from people I have never met. The words and thoughts and Scriptures always seem to come at just the right time when I need them the most. Thank you.
Weslee [daughter] and her family are here tonight. Chris [son-in-law] has the turkey soaking in brine, Corri [daughter-in-law] is bringing the dressing, and with things brought today, we lack for nothing. We know several families who have lost loved ones recently. For them this will be a hard time. Remember in prayer those who are sad and thank God for them.
A new song for me, “I Thank You, Lord”:
I thank You, Lord, for each new day for meadows white with dew,
For the sun’s warm hand upon the earth, for skies of endless blue,
For fruit and flower, for lamb and leaf, for every bird that sings,
With grateful heart I thank You, Lord, for all these simple things.
I thank You, Lord, for wind and rain and for the silver moon,
For every daisy’s lifted face, for every lovely tune,
For winter’s white, for autumn’s gold, for harvest and for home,
With grateful heart I thank You, Lord, for each good gift I own.
I thank You, Lord, for hand and heart to offer up Your praise.
I thank You, Lord, for tongue to speak of all Your loving ways.
For health and strength, for work and play, for loved ones far and near,
With grateful heart I thank You, Lord, for all that I hold dear.
Mary Kay Beall Words and Music © 1991 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
This is a very special Thanksgiving for us. We have been on a rough journey this year, but through it all God has been faithful providing everything we need. We are thankful that He has provided you, our herd, to minister to us and be His hands on earth.
Facebook post by Susie on June 27, 2014
Several people along this journey have asked me if I have moved past my anger stage. The answer is no, because I haven’t had an anger stage. I know that in grief, and I suppose a diagnosis such as cancer, there are stages that the person and family go through: denial, anger, bargaining, etc. I really have not been angry at anyone and especially not God. I don’t ask a lot of “why” questions and certainly not why me. I have been so blessed all my life – from a birth mother choosing adoption rather than abortion, to very loving parents, to a wonderful husband and children. What do I have to be angry about? I can’t think of anything.
Next Tuesday is my fifth infusion. We will probably keep the dosage at 70%, which is okay with me. I want to get used to the side effects of this before we add harsher ones. My anxiety level goes up in the days leading up to the infusions. Please pray for calm and grace to endure. Also, pray that these drugs are kicking these cancer cells in the teeth, never to come back again – in the present locations or any other places!!!
“Now Thank We All Our God”
Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done, in whom His world rejoices;
Who, from our mother’s arms, hath blest us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills in this world and the next.
All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given,
The Son, and Him who reigns with them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God whom earth and heaven adore,
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.
Martin Rinkart, 1636; tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1858
We are so thankful for each of you, our herd. You provide love, prayers, support, encouragement.