And He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Nate Update

"We are in a temporary holding phase again. Waiting for counts to come up. It seemed a few days ago that Nate's counts were a big issue, but today his lab results looked very promising. He will have the weekend off, and if all looks good on Tuesday then we will start chemo again. He also has bone scans on Tuesday morning. I spoke with the doctor breifly today and he is up beat about next week. Things are very day to day as Nate's treatment is being specifically built around his response. So today is a good day and we are thankful for that. He also had a ct-scan when he was in the hospital last week and his lungs and stomach are clear of any tumor, so nothing new there (which is great news). We press on and everyone is doing well!

Ty's heart surgery was a great success. Thank you for praying for him. He should get to go home next week. Our boys will miss their friend, but we are thankful he is doing so well!"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nate Update

"Nate finished his inpatient chemo yesterday. He was delayed a day because of a possible reaction between his pain meds and one of the chemo drugs. He seemed to tolerate the chemo fine, he didn't have any immediate problems. Nate is still feeling well and was ready to get back to the Ronald McDonald House with Jake and Luke. He got a blood transfusion before we left and his platlet count has dropped some. We are praying for a big response to the chemo, and that Nate's body can handle the chemo, which is shown through blood counts. We will be watching numbers over the next two days and praying to continue with the chemo cycle. He is still adjusting to the back brace. We wanted to say thank you for all the encouraging emails, cards, and packages. We love you all very much!!!"

Monday, May 24, 2010


‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV)

How cool to witness God work today!! He heard you before you even called out to HIM!!!

As I was pressing the "publish" button on the blog, we got a call from the doc's office to get up there quickly. He decided to see us in between his two surgical patients.

He had great "bed-side manner!" He had many great recommendations for our visit at The Mayo Clinic. He listened much better than other docs. It was impressive. There are symptoms that I have mentioned to every single doc I've ever seen and they all say, "yes, that's part of seizures!" However, he took it a step further and pointed out different definitions of each symptom and how each one points to a different part of my brain. For example, I feel as if my memory has been erased. I have told each doc and they all say it's part of epilepsy. This doc explained to me today that not only can memories be erased, but you can even lose the ability to "create a memory." This is huge for me!!! I have been to funerals and then a few months later, I ask Mom or B how that person is doing...they have to remind me that I went to their funeral. The doc explained that this is not forgetting so much as never remembering and that points to a specific part of the brain.

Point being, we learned so much from him and received great advice!!!

Thank you all for being such Rockstar Prayer Warriors!!!

Prayers today

Well, we are in Tyler today...

We came to meet a new neurosurgeon that a friend introduced us to...they met at a boy scout camp and our friend told the neuro our story and he said he wanted to see me. He trained at Mayo. So, that is exciting to us since we have an appt. at Mayo at the end of June.

Anyway, we came out last night and stayed with some sweet friends. When we got to his office this morning, we found out that he had canceled all appts for the day because he had two emergency surgeries. However, he wanted to keep mine on the books. They don't know if he will be able to see me in between the two surgeries or not...the second surgery is expected to be long.

So, we are sitting at a Dairy Queen right now waiting for him to complete his first surgery. We are praying that his patients in surgery are ok. We are also praying that he can see us fairly soon as I don't have enough food with me to stay much longer.

Thus, will you each say a quick prayer that we are able to have good, productive time with this doctor and fairly soon, but that his surgery patients will also be safe....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

From Nate's Mommy

"Nate is getting adjusted to wearing his back brace. It is a little tough to sit in, but he does well walking in the brace. He is doing okay with the chemo so far, his platelets are a bit of an issue. He will have an echocardiogram in the morning before he is admitted tomorrow afternoon for more chemo. It is a routine test that has to be done before he can receive certain chemo medications. Please pray that he responds well over the next few days in the hospital and that his platelet count will not become an issue.

Our boys have made a friend here at the Ronald McDonald House, he is an 11 year old boy who will have open heart surgery on Sunday. Please pray for Ty and his mom as they are far from home and scared about the upcoming surgery.

Don't forget about our Rockwall kiddos fighting cancer! (Matt, Ethan, Devon and more)

We love you all and thank you for your prayers!!!!!!!"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

From Connor's Mommy

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

JOySaturday, May 15, 2010 was the 5 year Anniversary of Connor's original diagnosis of Stage IV Neuroblastoma. It was the beginning of our metamorphosis, the changing of all our lives forever. I can't say that I feel like a beautiful butterfly now, but I definitely feel like I have gone through the painful transformation.

This roaring train that began 5 years ago still has its effect on Tait, my children and myself. I thought that when Connor's struggles ended on earth, that the effects of this war would somehow ease on my family. Not so. I see how Mason has anger issues. Wouldn't you be angry, if you were born into this life of cancer chaos? Carson deals with being "bored" every day since Connor's been gone. That's what he told Tait. I believe he's starting to accept this new life without Connor and trying to embrace new friendships and these new circumstances. Kenzie is mature beyond her years. She's had to grow up and be so independent, because Tait and I were not there for her emotionally and physically. Tait and I struggle to help ease our children's pain.

I thought days of watching my children suffer were over. Wrong again. It's just a different kind of suffering. Not physical like Connors, but still suffering. I've had many conversations with God.

"Enough, already! We've gone through four years of pain. Why, more pain? Isn't our punch card full yet? What is your plan in all this?" I thought that at this 5 year mark, I would be shouting praises to God. I could tell all the doctors who doubted my God and Connor's healing, that my God is powerful, awesome and a miraculous God. It wasn't supposed to be this way. "Couldn't God's plan be served better if Connor were healed on earth? Isn't that a better plan, God?" I start doubting his Sovereignty; his willingness to heal in this day and time.

As soon as these cries of doubt leave my mouth, I feel guilty. Should I really say these things to God? Is it disrespectful? Then, I think of my daughter, MacKenzie. If she had a problem, or especially a problem with me, I would want her to come straight to me, not to anyone else. Bring her cares and worries to me, so I can help her. How much more does our Loving Father in Heaven feel about our worries? "Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you." I Peter 5:7

The prophets, Job and King David give us many examples in the old testament of crying out to God, throwing our doubts, complaints and worries His way. Job said, "Though I cry, 'I've been wronged!' I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice. He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. He tears me down on every side till I am gone; he uproots my hope like a tree. His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies. His troops advance in force; they build a siege ramp against me and encamp around my tent." These honest complaints from Job (some I can relate to) give me confidence to share my innermost worries, without fear or restraint.

I love this new song by Amy Grant, "Better than a Hallelujah". I think she gets it, too. God wants to hear EVERYTHING, good and bad. He wants all of our hearts, not just the good and pretty pieces, but also the hurting, ugly and angry pieces.

God loves a lullaby
In a mothers tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
God loves the drunkards cry,
The soldiers plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

The woman holding on for life,
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
The tears of shame for what's been done,
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah.

Always believing,

Joy Cruse

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Nate Post from his Mom

"Nate's counts finally recovered on Thursday. He was able to start his first chemo medication Thursday night as an outpatient, which will be taken everyday for 21 days. We will go for counts every other day for about a week. If his counts maintain then he will be admitted to the hospital for two more medications, all under the guidance of Dr. Finlay. Please pray for this to happen. His back brace will be ready on Tuesday. He will wear it during the time he is out of bed. This should offer support and hopefully protect his spine from any possible damage from the tumor growth. Thank you for your continued prayers. We miss Texas and all our friends and family, but we are so thankful to be here for Nate's treatment."

Pics at the Arboretum

Our sweet and talented friend, Haley, did another round of pics for us last week. She put a post on her blog with a couple of the pics.

She is so talented. If you ever need pics, reach out to her.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Update from Nate's parents

"Nate is still feeling well. He is getting adjusted to living at the Ronald McDonald house. As always, he is having fun playing the Wii and enjoying the toy room here. Most of his counts are looking good, but his platelets have not recovered yet. He got a platelet transfusion again yesterday. He can not begin chemo until his body is making his own platelets. We are praying that he will be ready in a day or two to begin. Please keep praying with us!!!

Let's not forget the other Rockwall kiddos fighting cancer:
Matt Burpee, Ethan Tate, Devon Kerr, Reese, and so many more in the area. Thanks so much!!!!"

Monday, May 10, 2010

How You Can Love on Nate & his family

This is from their neighborhood HOA. Everything in Red is from me!


I've had a lot of e-mails asking how Nate is doing and how you can help.....

I just spoke with Jackie and wanted to keep everyone updated. The reality is that Nate has been given 2 weeks. His doctor pretty much sent him home and said to make an appt with hospice.

Wes and Jackie are not giving up. Wes is already in California and Jackie is flying out in the morning, although Nate is not a candidate for stem cell, they still want to try other options. They will be trying a different type of chemo to see what happens.

I have come up with a couple of different ways we can help as a community. I know many of you have already helped and donated and I thank you very much, but they need our help now more than ever and I know we can dig a little bit deeper to bless them.

I spoke with the city of Fate and what we can do is put money towards their water bill, when you go pay your bill in downtown Fate, you can put any amount towards their home. How wonderful would it be for them to have one less bill to worry about. Just mention Jacob (Wes) Oxford, their address is (I am not comfortable giving their address. So, call me or leave a comment on the blog, if you want to do this and I'll share it with you).

Another way you can help is to bless them with an offering, there is an account that was originally opened through Washington Mutual, now Chase, and the account # is 4942119193.
This acct is under Jacqueline M. Oxford FBO Nathan E. Oxford.

I hold this family very close to my heart and it really hurts to see them go through this, so please make any small donation that you can, I can't imagine being in their shoes.

Meals will not be necessary at the time since they will be in California for at least 3 weeks if everything goes as planned. We already have someone donating their time to mow their yard and clean their home (Thank you).

I thank you in advance and please feel free to ask me any questions and I'll respond to the best of my knowledge.


Thank you all for always checking in to see how Nate is doing and your willingness to pray for him! Now you get a chance to truly love on them!! Yeah! Thank you, Lord, for opening the door for us to love on the Oxford's. Please heal your sweet child, Nate!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Changes for Nate

Keep your faithful prayers going for sweet little Nate!!


"First all we want to thank everyone for all the support and prayers over the past few weeks as we have had to make difficult decisions and research what we should do for Nate.
We have decided to come to Children's Los Angeles and continue with a different form of chemo since Nate did not respond to the last two rounds. The oncologist is very optomistic, and hopeful that Nate might respond. We feel deeply that Nate is still strong and ready to fight. His attitude and spirit are just as strong as ever. He is being fitted for a back brace that should help with the spinal conpressions being cause by tumor. He will sleep in this in hopes that it will help this situation.
We know it is a big job for man, but God is more than able to heal Nate by whatever way he chooses. Thank you for standing with us in prayer. We are so blessed!!!!!"


There are some ways to help the family financially. If you feel led in that direction, you can e-mail and she will forward the information to you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nate update from his Mom

"Nate had his MRI this week. It was split into two days, both days showed poor response to chemo. He has had a lot of new tumor growth and this is very concerning. He will not be a candidate for stem cell transplant at this point. His counts are still low and so we will not be able to start any new treatment until his counts come up. We are planning on leaving the hospital today. Please pray for Wes and I as we make plans for the next plan of action for Nate. We are still hopeful and working on a plan for Nate. Despite everything, he has been feeling well and playing and laughing with Jake and Luke. He is a fighter, with a strong spirit. We love you all, please pray for our little angel."

My Granny

Well, today is the three year anniversary of a wonderful day for my Granny and a sad day for those of us here on earth...She was such a beautiful gift to this world!

This is the note that I sent out after she passed:

Well, it has taken me a while to sit down to write this. Not because I haven't wanted to, but because there are no words that are adequate. I want to say something clever and cute or inspirational, but it's just not coming to me.
I had the privilege of holding my Granny's hand as she reached out and took her Savior's Hand on Saturday, May 5th at 12:40pm. She woke up Friday morning at 3:20am with severe chest pains. She called Ben & me and we got her to Lake Pointe.
She was diagnosed with very severe Pneumonia. Granny was 86 years young! She was such a trooper. Granny and I used to always have Friday night slumber parties at her house. They were special memories! So, I got to have my last Friday night slumber party with her. Ben brought breakfast Saturday morning and we all laughed and had a good time. Within an hour, she went down hill very quickly and was in excrutiating pain.
My amazing husband held my Granny and comforted her for almost an hour so that I was able to get doctors, nurses, etc. I fell in love with him all over again watching his sweet heart as he loved my Granny through her unbearable pain. He even told her at one point that he loved her more than I did! What a blessing to be married to such an unbelievable man!!
Very soon after, she had a full code. They saved her and moved her to ICU. She coded a few more times. After two codes, they let me go in and sit next to her and whisper in her ear. I had the privilege of thanking her for sharing Jesus with all of us and told her how much each one of us loved her. I also got to pray for her sweet transition into the arms of her Savior. I told her we would fight like hell to keep her here, but if it was time for her to meet Jesus face to face, we didn't want to get in the way. Then, I got to sing "Amazing Grace" and "It Is Well with My Soul" to my Granny. When I started to sing "Amazing Grace," I heard her, though intubated, try to sing Amazing Grace back to me. Those two sweet words...WOW!!
Mom was on her first vacation in years. She never wanted to leave because she was afraid something would happen to Granny. We had Mom on the cell phone and she was able to speak to Granny and tell her how much she loved her. Very soon after, Granny reached out to take her Savior's hand and entered into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior. As I was telling my Mom how beautiful the transition was as her soul left her earth suit, Ben said, "Look, look!" Her cheek was twitching as if she was winking agreeing that it was so beautiful! I didn't let go of her for the next 2+ hours.
Granny always wrote precious poems. When we finally made it back to the house, I got to read through many of them. A most special moment was when I read the line of one that said,
I had entered the gates of Heaven and I put a smile upon my face.
Now I could sing out loud that beautiful hymn “Amazing Grace”.
Mom is back from her trip and the arrangements have been made. We would be honored if you would celebrate Granny's life with us.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

PRAY for sweet Nate

I just received this update from a local church on Nate:

Hi Everyone,

There has been a lot of action on the Facebook e-mails for Nate. He had had two rounds of chemo and then a MRI to see if the chemo was working. In the meantime, Nate's dad, Wes, flew out to CA to meet with a stem cell transplant specialist at Children's Los Angeles to discuss options. The MRI results came back not good. It shows that the chemo has not worked and the tumors have actually grown and spread.

I received an e-mail this morning from LR advising of a conversation that Jackie (Nate's mom) just had with TR (LR's hubby). The doctors told her that Nate has only 2-3 weeks left to live. Wes is still in Los Angeles.

This is so heart-breaking! Please be praying for the family as well as ALL of the people who have been praying for them for all of this time. I think even though we may not know them personally, they have definitely captured a place in our hearts. Praise the Lord that the family knows the love and peace of Jesus. Please pray that they would feel His presence. Now, doctors are not always right with dates. Only the Lord knows what day Nate will go home to be with Him. We can still pray for healing.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


April 30th

"Nate is having an MRI in the morning. They will see if he has responded to the two rounds of chemo he has been given. We will make decisions based on these results. His counts are very low right now and he is at risk for infection. Please pray for good news tomorrow and that he does not get a fever before his counts recover. Thank you for all the prayers and support!!!!"

May 1st

Just wanted to send out an update for Nate. The Dr's have delayed the MRI at the moment. Nate was admitted this morning due to a fever. His counts are very low right now and he is at risk for infection. Thank you for all the prayers and support for Nate.