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

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

From Nate's Mommy

Update on Nate - 12/29/2010 - from Jackie
"Nate's MRI results from last week appear to be stable compared to his last MRI, which is very good news. The sonogram for the stomach issues he has been having are inconclusive, so please pray his stomach issues resolve themselves. Each time he has gone to the clinic over the past few weeks it has been very difficult to draw his blood, which makes it very hard to make sure all his levels are good. The doctor recommended he get a port placed again so he doesn't have to get so many needle sticks and he can be monitored more closely. We came in yesterday morning for the port placement surgery, but because Nate's levels were not in check he was admitted for the night and given what he needed. Today his port was placed and he did very well in surgery. We should be going home tonight. We are hopeful that the last couple week's difficulties are behind us and Nate continues to move forward and get stronger everyday. Thank you for all the prayers! We did have a wonderful Christmas at home in between hospital stays. :)"

From Connor's Mommy

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas was wonderful, sharing time with family and friends.  Our children had a great time, though Connor was truly missed.   His big, enthusiastic, energetic personality had a way of lighting up a room, so we were reminded constantly of his absence.  In spite of this, we joyfully celebrated Jesus birthday and were grateful for God's cherished gift of our Saviour.
I realized this Christmas that I'm getting used to this new normal of no hospital trips, doctor visits, clinic visits, constant angst, chaos, fear and feelings of high adrenalin.  Over the last three weeks, three of my friends have been diagnosed with 3 different cancer diagnoses.  Now, I see my friends and their families scrambling and readjusting to their new normal.  Knowing some of what lies ahead for them, my heart aches for them.  I cry out to God to help them all through this.  I wish there were some way to take all of this away for them.  It's unbelievable how one's life can change in an instant.  One morning, you're healthy and the next morning, you are fighting for your life.
All of this has brought to the surface memories of Connor's battle with cancer.  There is so much suffering in this world.  Some people would use this as an excuse to believe that a good God does not exist.  We had a debate at our school a few weeks ago - an atheist versus a biblical scholar.  Does a good God exist?  The atheist has terminal cancer and he believes that his diagnosis is just more proof that there is not a good God.  I wish I could have 5 minutes alone with him.  His view is so skewed; it is so temporary.  We all face death.  Our bodies will one day give out, some sooner than others.  So, I'm not sure why he's mad at God for the cycle of life. Why would we stay angry at God for not providing us a temporary solution to our physical problems, when He has provided us an eternal solution for our spiritual lives?
I think we spend so much time looking at our lives through a physical perspective.  Teilhard De Chardin said "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience."  Our home here on earth is just an environment in which God is developing our spiritual life.  My friend, Brent, who was diagnosed with cancer about 2 weeks ago, looks at his cancer differently than the atheist with cancer does.  He shares with everyone that he is not afraid.  God has given him a peace about this, and he knows where he's headed.  His life is not terminal; it's eternal.  What a different perspective.
This holiday season, my friends have weighed heavily on my heart.  But their situation has brought with it a fresh gratitude to God for His salvation.  It has made this Christmas season that much richer, that much more appreciated.  The knowledge that Jesus birthday was just the beginning of God's grace being poured out onto all our lives brings joy to my heart in the midst of all this.  Because of this precious gift of salvation, I can still feel joy and peace, even when I miss my sweet Connor on Christmas morning.  So, I say thank you God for Christmas and what it means to me!  And, hopefully, what it means to you!
"Therefore, we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
  II Corinthians 4:16-18

Always believing,
Joy Cruse

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nate Update from his Mommy

Update on Nate - 12/23/2010 - from Jackie

"We are still waiting for the final read of the MRI. Nate's MRIs have to be compared to previous ones, because of the amount of treatment and cancer his brain has experienced there is always something that looks abnormal. All that being said the preliminary read doesn't show any signs of new tumor, which is great news. There is something still going on with Nate that isn't normal, but the doctors are not exactly sure what is going on. His meds have been adjusted and some new ones added on. We are praying this is just a minor bump in the road and Nate is back on track very soon. Thank you for all the emails, texts and prayers for our little man. We are thankful to be home for Christmas, and wish you all a blessed Christmas. Love, Jackie"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Update on Nate - 12/21/2010 - from Wes

"Nate was admitted to Cooks Children's Hospital in Ft Worth today after a visit with the oncologist here who is collaborating with Nate's doctors in Los Angeles. Nate has been experiencing weakness, stomach pains, bone pain, throwing up randomly, and shaking quite a bit all happening in the last couple of days and becoming worse. The Dr here decided to admit him, run some labs, watch him for a few days and perform an MRI on him in the morning (Wednesday) to check for cancer. Of course we are concerned right now as we sit here in the hospital, but we know God has seen Nate and our family through so much and we have no reason to doubt HIM now. Please pray for a clear MRI and for these behaviors to go away and for him to return back to beating all of this. We thank and love you."

Nate Update from His Daddy

Prayer Request for Nate - 12/20/2010 - from Wes

"Please pray for Nate. He has been showing some unusual signs lately. We have an appointment in the morning to check into and see what it could be. Please pray all is ok. Thanks. We know God is with us."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Update on Nate - 12/16/2010 - from Jackie (his Mommy)

"Many people have been asking and wondering how things are going since we have been home. We have been very busy trying to keep up with work, Nate's clinic appointments, keeping the house very clean for Nate and just living normal life. We are so blessed and thankful for this time of somewhat a normal routine. Nate has been doing well overall since he has been out of the hospital. He is 86 days post-transplant and the doctors continue to be pleased with his progress. He is still regaining his strength and stamina. He has a long recovery ahead of him and needs prayers as his little body continues to heal. It is be many years before we know the true extent of the long term side effects of Nate's treatment. Jake and Luke are both doing well and have adjusted to being back at school. All three boys are looking forward to Christmas! They have decorated the tree and been busy making cookies and treats with Sugar Momma. We are so humbled and thankful as we watch our boys play and spend time together. We know what a miracle Nate is, and are thankful for God's mercy on us. We hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the true meaning of the holiday season."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I'm sure I could come up with a more creative title...sorry, the marketing major in me must have disappeared with the seizures...

Anyway, we have a precious friend, Haley, that is a very talented photographer.  Go check out her site.  When my surgery was complete, she offered to do four sessions for us...basically to track the progress, healing, etc.  We thought we would knock it out by doing one session per quarter and have a year worth of pics.  Well, not so much!  We started in January 2009 and just did our last session last week!  However, that allowed us to truly see big changes!!!

So, we started in February 2009.  I can't find any of those pics online.  However, this is a pic from around that time.  So, you can see how much hair we both had about two months after the surgery!

Okay, I just found the post HERE from January 2009.

Then, she did more pics in September 2009.

This was the third round of pics that we did in May 2010.  This could be TMI, but let's just say that we didn't know we were pregnant, but she was being formed while these pics were being's that?  Sorry, if I'm sharing too much!!

We did our final round of pics with Haley last week.  We were 33 weeks prego in these pics. She put some belly shots in there, too.

So, we now have about two years worth of changes and growth in our family captured!!!  Thank you, Haley!!!  We always have so much fun with you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

From Connor's Mommy

Thursday, December 9, 2010

So many questions arise as I wrestle with God.  Suffering causes us all to look deeper at our own beliefs about God and what the Bible says.  I've always loved the verse "And we know that in all things God 
works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose" - Romans 8:28.  This verse has always given me comfort, knowing that God was going to work good in my life from 
all things, even my suffering.  Since Connor's death, I've struggled with this verse.  I find myself doubting all the hope I've placed in it.

Don't get me wrong.  I know that there have been many "good" things that have come from Connor's brief and courageous life.  I still receive e-mails and letters from people telling me how he has impacted 
them.  I know that he is a great example to us all of bravery, faith, and joy in the midst of sorrow.  He is my hero.  He has definitely done a great work for God's Kingdom.

I have to be honest here.  When I read this verse for the first 39 years of my life, the words "God would work good in all things" focused on a more personal level for me.  Meaning, I understood it to be that God was working out everything to be good FOR ME!  Blessings 
were in store for ME!  If I love the Lord and am called according to His purpose, Blessings are certainly ahead.  Surely, he will answer my prayers and fix my problems.  It's really the focus of the "name it and claim it" philosophy of some churches today.  At a closer examination of this verse, I understand that this "good" that is being worked out, is for God's Glory.  This "good" will be for His Kingdom, and that doesn't always line up with my own expectations and wishes.

For some, this knowledge may not be so difficult to swallow.  But, for those of us who have been disappointed by God's choices for our lives, it can be very disheartening.  It leaves me sometimes feeling like my wishes and desires aren't so important.  I have always wanted to 
further God's Kingdom and glorify Him in all my actions, but I never expected that to come with such a high cost - MY SON.

I've also loved the bible verse that said "He will give you the desires of your heart."  Doesn't that sound marvelous?  Well, it doesn't seem to be true, because I did not get the desire of my heart.  Connor is no longer here with me.  What about that family of four children that I always wanted?  It still hurts to have a child missing in the back seat of my car and around our dinner table. Last week, I looked up the whole verse.  It's Psalm 37:4.  "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."  AAAhhh.  Now, the meaning is
clearer.  If God is the desire of our heart, then yes, God will give us more of Him.  That's what He meant by the desires of our heart.  He wants us to draw nearer to Him.  He wants our desire to be just Him.

So, now, I'm faced with this knowledge that it's not all about me.  Wow!  Shocker.  As I look at the life of Paul, he is a great example of putting his earthly, selfish desires aside and only wanting God's purposes to be lived out through his life.  Christ was the source of Paul's continual joy, for Paul's life found meaning in Christ.  I admit that I'm not always there.  I do know that every day, I constantly have to bend my knee to His Will and lay my selfish desires at His feet.   This is the battle that wars within me.  I suspect that others have fought in this same battle.  My prayer (like Paul's prayer) for us all is that "whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him!"

Always believing,
Joy Cruse

December 8th

Yes, I'm a bit late since the calendar now says it's December 9th!  However, I couldn't let this opportunity sneak away!

December 8th, 2010, is the four year anniversary of B being cancer FREE!!  Are you praising the Lord with me?  Come on...let's jump up and down and shout for joy!!!

Praise be to the ONE who healed my hubby!!!  Praise HIM!!!  Praise HIM!!!!  Praise HIM!!!!!