Dear Deb

Dear DebA Woman with Cancer, a Friend with Secrets, and the Letters that Became Their Miracle

“I’m going to have a miracle.”

I strained to hear her words, thin whispered sounds she wheezed with each ragged breath. “I need you to help me believe it.”

Deb didn’t say what the miracle would be, only that she was certain she would have one.

After we finished praying, Deb declined all offers to make meals, clean her house, or run errands. When we asked what we could do for her, she said, “Send me encouraging words, and believe in my miracle.”

Encouraging words was something I could do.

The first day I sat down to write Deb, I struggled with finding words other than “I believe in your miracle.” What could I say that was encouraging when Deb’s doctors weren’t? For ten days, I e-mailed Pollyanna snippets that sounded hollow, my words echoing my lack of faith in her miracle.

The day Deb received the news she had a brain tumor that had to be removed before her lung treatments could start, I felt dizzy thinking about how she’d stay hopeful with two cancers to fight. I knew Deb was strong. She was tall and athletic, played on a women’s hockey team. She was also a woman of faith and could fight this battle mentally and physically, but cancer in her brain and lungs had to be terrifying.

That’s when my letters changed.

I didn’t know how it felt to have cancer, but I knew about fear. I thought of all the times I was afraid of things out of my control, things I might have shared with Deb if we had been closer friends or if we’d had more time. So I began to tell her. I wrote about my divorce and how I didn’t see it coming. I wrote about getting caught shoplifting and about the best dancer I knew, who was a man with no legs. When Deb responded, “No matter how sick I feel your letters give me something to look forward to,” I kept writing. She was too sick to eat, but not too sick to read. Deb’s illness gave me the chance to press my face against the window of my life, and what I saw was startling—I saw miracles that had been waiting for me to give them a voice.

From Dear Deb. © 2012 by Margaret Terry. Published by Thomas Nelson. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Are you—or someone you know—battling cancer? Do you have a story about how someone supported and uplifted you during your illness? Have you, like the author of Dear Deb, found a way to encourage someone dealing with this disease? Please share in the comments below—your story may help someone help someone else on their journey.

Dear DebStory by story, letter by letter, Margaret Terry uncovered powerful pictures in her own life of the one truth that could help carry her friend Deb from this life to the next: God is at work. Together, Deb and Margaret found renewed hope in all the ways God shows up right to the very end. Which is where they found the miracle they’d been praying for all along.

Order Dear Deb here

Awareness Tee

Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to an end today, but here’s one way to promote awareness all year long: wear a reminder on your sleeve. This light-weight black tee with the Women of Faith logo across the front makes a bold yet feminine statement. On the sleeve: matching pink & white logo with “breast cancer awareness” in pink. Order tee here.

 

Comments

  1. 2 years ago
    Norma says

    My brother Larry did not have cancer but needed a double lung transplant. Seven days after the lung surgery his ammonia level in his body went sky high. There is a very small amount of people live from this. The level is to be 9-35. Larry’s got as high as 477 for two 1/2 weeks. Five days after this happened the doctors told my sister-in-law that they didn’t expect him to live through the night. We prayed for a miracle. God gave us two. One that he lived, and two that he has very little brain damage. We are so thankful for all the people who prayed for him and our family.

  2. 2 years ago
    Donna McCauley says

    I have had several frienda who have battled cancer, some made it, while others have gone on to be with the Lord. Now one of my brothers is going through the battle of his life fighting the hard go round with surgery, chemo, cumaden, ect….In all of the years I have not been able to understand just what was going on in their life. I have found an amazing book by a gentelman who has gone through and made it out the other side. He just tell us exactly what it was like, thoughts, feelings, and all. If anyone would like to understand cancer better, or if anyone would like to become more aware of the battle, and the “silver” lining, you sould read this book. It really opens your mind to help you under stand just what that friend or family member is going through. This man lives in my own town, went to the same hospitle as my brother, and has so many of the same things happen to him, Things that my brother was not able to talk about, what he feels, the pain, the fear, I know that my Lord put that book in the gift shop at our Salem Oregon hospital for me to find. The title says it all. ( Cancer it’s a good thing I got it! )
    the life story of David A. Koop. It is the best $ 24.95 I have spent, to help me to understand both my brother and something about cancer as well. The book sold out in the chemo area of salem hospital while I was there with my brother. Oh, and it does look as if my brother will beat his cancer deamon as well Yahoo!

  3. Amazing stuff. Deb’s example is one I want to share with others. I teach memoir writing and will share this blog post and Deb’s book with fellow memoirists and on my blog and FB Page. Bless you!

    Linda

    • Thank you, Linda! I visited your fb page and liked it so we can follow one another – my page is called “Margaret Terry Author”, a place where I connect with readers, discuss the joys of writing and the wonder of God! Hope we can visit there…

  4. 2 years ago
    Kathy Eberly says

    Margaret Terry has written a heartfelt book. I am still working on reading it but I was privileged to meet her. This book is a genuine reflection of Margaret’s relationship with Deb. If you ever get the opportunity to buy her book, you should. If you get the chance to hear her speak…do it. She will bless your heart!

    • aaaaaawww, Kathy…it was my great joy to meet you and your Coffee Break group. I will never forget your gracious hospitality and the pieces of your hearts you gave me before I left. Big hugs to you and your group!

  5. 2 years ago
    Gretchen Cleaves says

    I have a sister who called on Ash Wednesday this year to say that she has stage four lung and liver cancer. You can imagine the shock for her family and to her siblings’ families. I sat through our Ash Wednesday service in tears. She asked if I would call the rest of the family and let them know. Each day I would call her to hear the results of testing and then call everyone in the family. With lots of prayers from our church, relatives and friends, she has made it through 7-8 rounds of chemo and the cancer has shrunk enough that she will stop chemo for a while. She returned home two days ago from visiting me for a week. What a glorious time we had together. She has made it possible for me to get stronger and deal with this disease because she is strong.

    • I am so glad you had a great week with your sister, Gretchen! Isn’t it amazing how those who are struck with a serious illness can end up blessing us while we care for them? Blessings to you for all the ways you love her!

  6. I fought cancer all last year stage 3 type b colon cancer and was on chemo for 8months and had major surgery, But God is good i am here and doing okay. I really grew from this and I am thankful to be still living and I know even if I hd lost the battle I still would of won because I would go from life to life.

    • God bless you, Maggie for sharing the tough road you have been on and showing us your grateful heart. You are an amazing woman with amazing faith!
      PS – I love your name – always wanted to be called Maggie…

  7. 2 years ago
    Kathy says

    Today a dear sister in our Lord told our bible study group that her cancer is back. I have known her for 5 years and all this time she has been fighting! I know she will continue to fight for her belief in our Father is strong. She makes me feel that my struggles in this world is just not to be compared. God has her back and he has mine. Daily He reminds me that I have so much, I need to stop thinking on me and keep thinking on His Love for His children. What I keep saying is Thank you Father!

    • I am so thankful for bible study groups where our friends feel protected in sharing news like the return of cancer – blessings on you Kathy for staying by your friend’s side in prayer and in friendship.

  8. The one thing I can say about caring for a loved one with breast cancer is to let Jesus carry you both through The lord showed me a heart His heart with a flame in it. He said “The flame burns brightest for those who dare to touch the flame.” That carried me through it all and still does today. I was given the gift of enlightenment,courage,strength,and faith. I prayed each day before I saw her let my eyes be Your eyes ,let my hands be Your hands, let my thoughts be Your thoughts so I know what to do. Those were the most important ,lifechanging days of my life. No matter what, we have to dare to believe what we believe. Love Jesus with all your heart and give your heart to Him and to others every day. Each one is precious.

  9. 2 years ago
    yvonne Hoosava says

    My friend of over 50 years has cancer, she is believing in a healing miracle, I told her to have faith and believe that Jesus would use her situation to bring her unsaved family members to him and he has, I tell her that she is strong in the Lord and no matter what the outcome and I do believe Jesus is working a miracle in her body, that she will be victorious both here on earth and when she is called to her heavenly home, because we are all running our race to the end and that is to be with Jesus – What a Prize to look forward to. Blessings to everyone who is struggling with Cancer or other issues – Jesus is our healer, advocate and our all in all ,

    • You are a great friend Yvonne, to stand tall in faith and believe in a healing miracle with your friend. We all need someone to walk with on the cancer road. How wonderful that God put you two together 50 years ago so you could help her now! Blessings to you both.

  10. 2 years ago
    Rose Hanson says

    I have just been told I have Thyorid cancer my youngst daughter is taking worse than I am so I have to be strong for her to. She sends me little notes on Facebook every day. I will be going to a sugeren to find out my therapy options. I know that God heals all and if it is meant to be He will heal me. I have a great group of friends that are there for me also. I live in a small town of 230 so everyone knows and are very supportive. God dosn’t give us anything we can’t handle and I really beleave that so I know as long as I beleave I will be fine.

    • What a sweet daughter you have to send you love notes on facebook – I love that she is taking the time to let you and her friends know how much she loves her Mom! And, how wonderful to have a community who support you – I will pray one of them is with you when you are at the surgeon’s to hear your options. I’ve learned it helps to have a friend take notes so you can sort through it all and make the best choices for YOU. May God bless you each and every step of this journey, Rose.

  11. My gynecologist found the lump-it was cancer. I waited for the “proof” before I told my family. My first response was to be expected-”oh my”; my second thought? “I might be able to wear a halter top!” Weird sense of humor gets me through a lot. Lots of support from family, friends, my church, and co-workers got me through six chemo treatments over 18 weeks; surgery and radiation. A year and a day after the mastectomy I had a hysterectomy as a result of something “suspicious” on the PET scan. That turned out to be benign. My sense of humor again-first thought? “Mom is going to have a fit.” second thought? “parts I’m not using anyway”. Lots of prayer..and some tears..along the way but.. God is so good! I am trusting Him again now as I’m “under-employed” and trying to pay bills. I KNOW He has a plan for me!

    • I love your attitude, Lynda – keep on smiling and praying, He does indeed have that plan for you!

  12. My dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer almost two years ago. He has had ups and downs, but today he is doing well. He is working full time at a local feed mill and I help him with the farming that isn’t rented out almost every weekend. I get a little sad to see how some things have changed, how hard he has to struggle with his health at points and how others are working the farm, but I’ve had my dad a year and a half more than what I thought I would have upon receiving the diagnosis. He has an incredible attitude and a strong faith. He is certain that the only thing that has kept him going has been the prayers of family, friends and so many others. I’ve been so blessed to be able to work along side of him and to know that there is nothing left unsaid between us. I have been blessed to have an earthly father that I admire so much.

    • Oh, Christina, how blessed your father is to have you for a daughter! Thanks for sharing your love…

  13. 2 years ago
    Jane McMullen says

    Going for a routine mamogram in November of 2007, I found out I had breast cancer. I had put off the test from September to Novemeber, so I could collect the $75 refund that my new cancer policy gave to you if you turned in the receipts from any cancer screening. The insurance agent that came to the school where I worked, had tried to talk me into the policy for 3 or 4 years in a row. I knew it was going to cost extra money, so I put it off each year, telling him I knew I needed it, but would wait until next year. This year, for whatever reason (miracle #1) I decided to sacrifice the extra earnings, and get the insurance. You had to be on the policy for 2 months before it would cover any cancer related illnesses. I postponed my rountine mamogram, so I could claim it on this new policy. Had I not had this extra coverage, my treatments would have cost me thousands of dollars in out of pocket expenses.
    The first report was that it was probably not cancer, but that the doctor needed to take more pictures to be sure. This was the first year that my doctor had used digital imaging, so this picture picked up more hints of tumors, than the old scans (miracle #2). They told me it was probably something that had been there all along, but this new machine picked up better images–not to worry.
    The second report showed that I did indeed have breast cancer. However, they thought it was self contained, and not in the lymph nodes. This would mean surgery, but no chemotherapy. I was so thankful. The thought of going through chemo and losing my hair was more than I could bare. I prayed that God would heal me and use me to help others who had cancer. As I was praying one day, for no chemo, I realized that God could probably use me even more, if I had experieced the whole thing.
    Sure enough, when the pathology report came back, the cancer was indeed in my lymph nodes. This would mean one more surgery to remove the lymph nodes, 4-5 months of chemotherapy, and 7 weeks of radiation.
    Miracle #3: It has been 4 years since my diagnosis and I am cancer free. I feel that God has used me to help others who have cancer. I can be a positive role model and a source of hope to those who are diagnosed. I am a school counselor. I can be a source of hope (as well as a source of information) to students who have a loved one that is diagnosed with cancer. Isn’t it amazing how God works His miracles and sometimes we don’t even realize that it is happening!

    • Thanks, Jane for sharing your 3 miracles – you are an inspiration AND a role model. I believe when we share our stories it’s healing for everyone. For the teller who is empowered by the freedom in telling and for the receiver who gets a chance to step inside your story to say, “me too” ….Blessings!

  14. 2 years ago
    Robin Clark says

    I had bone cancer 25 years ago & at that time I was not a Christian. A few years later I met my husband & he introduced me to the Lord. I was hoping to do something special to celebrate being cancer free for 25 years & ended up in the hospital with breathing problems, which in turn showed to be heart problems that medication alone could not fix. I needed heart surgery. I was so at peace during this proceedure as my faith & so many people being “Jesus with skin on” made the experience a celebration of life & friendship.

  15. 2 years ago
    Sharla Parry says

    Although not dealing with anyone with cancer I am carrying my friend through phone calls, emails and text messages as her husband now has ALS and unless God intervenes he will not be with us for very long. It has only surfaced in the past few months and he diagnosis was just confirmed last week.
    Others have stepped in to do other things for them.
    No matter if it is cancer, ALS or something else, I know we are all called to bear one another’s burdens.
    We may or may not know the reason that certain people come into our lives or how great a blessing we may be to them.
    We lovingly place those we uphold in any way into our Heavenly Father’s hands, for He knows that which we do not.
    I plan to order this book as it sounds like a book for us all to read.

    • What a blessing you are to your friend, Sharla – I have learned how much healing there is in the power of our words whether in a phone call or email, it’s our caring presence that means so much!

  16. 2 years ago
    Donna Miller says

    Earlier this year, the unthinkable happened; my strong, vibrant, never-sick-a-day husband was diagnosed with cancer! For several weeks prior to the diagnosis, my husband kept complaining of having a severe back ache and headache. We thought it was the stress of a new job; it was a desk job, something he had never done before. Titus had always been very physically active. He worked in the broadcast industry and in telecomm. Not only was he an engineer, but he also loved to climb the tall towers all that technical gear was hanging onto. Titus was my Super-Action-Hero!
    On Friday, April 13, 2012 the doctor told me my husband had cancer and it was very bad – he was dying. My mind screamed “NO!” I found myself sitting in his hospital room watching him sleep. Sleep was something he had not gotten much of in the last six weeks due to the excruciating pain. I couldn’t wake him up to discuss this great big problem because he was so heavily sedated. We would always talk about everything; especially something this big!
    I called our Pastor, then I called a few others I knew would pray for us before I called any family. I needed immediate prayer support. This was not something I could tackle alone. Right away several people gave me the same scripture to claim over my beloved husband: Ps 118:17. “I will live and not die and proclaim what the Lord has done.” I began writing that one down and continued to whisper it into his ear. He was unconscious, but it didn’t matter, I was speaking to his Spirit. After ten days of being semi-conscious, he awoke one morning and asked how long he had been in the hospital, why was he there and then asked me what scripture had I been saying over him. Titus claimed and made it personal.
    He began chemo treatments and the slow, but steady walk back towards good health. We went through everything together; I never wanted him to feel like he was facing this alone. Titus said I kept him strong and was reminded often of God’s love through me. On July 13, 2012 his doctor informed us he was in full remission. That was just 90 days! Titus went from Stage Four cancer to being in complete remission in just 90 days. Only our God can do that!

    • Thanks for sharing your amazing story, Donna – you were your husband’s angel whispering God’s words in his ear over and over. Blessings to you and Titus and your beautiful friends who led you to use those healing words…

  17. Our senior pastor’s wife has cancer – a bad kind – ovarian – yet she has lived 5 years with this…

  18. I know a gal who had to deal with aggressive breast cancer a year after she got married. As a young gal I can only imagine the uncertainty and fear she must of felt. I year or so after her treatments she shared that we don’t know what circumstance or baggage we will be asked to carry but just that we are to carry it. Regardless of what we are asked to carry, we have a God that is with us every step of the way. He is holding us in the palm of his hand. When we believe is Jesus Christ not only are we to believe but also to receive. Am I fully open to receiving His love, His grace, His healing, His peace. All we have to do is asked in HIs name. I wish you all of these gifts in the name of Jesus Christ.

    • Praise God, Praise God, Praise God, I love the Lord he hears our Cry. We bind the hurts of the past to just that the the hurts of the past and press forward. His badgage is light and his yoke is easy lol :-)!! We are not alone in what he calls us to do so I pray for us to keep the faith. I thank him and there is nothing like Gods love. If we look you will find his comfort and protection.

  19. 2 years ago
    Rachel Fisher says

    When I was in the throws of battling breast cancer, I was overwhelmed with cards, calls and letters.
    My church family wrapped their arms around me leaving groceries and dinners for my family.
    One girl I barely knew went with me to my initial appointments.
    I had such support through that time.
    When I first found out I had breast cancer, I couldn’t believe it. I was 28, I felt great!
    Upon telling a close friend, though her tears, she said, “God will use you through this.”

    • Thank you Rachel for sharing your story, a lovely reminder of the power of community and the love our faith family gives us when we are in need. I too, have been blessed by a faith family and the truth is I wouldn’t have this book without their support! I hope you keep an eye out for God, because I believe your friend is right – He will use you in the most wondrous ways…

  20. 2 years ago
    Rae says

    I’m one of the newer statistics; a woman of 38 years old, just had her second baby, and goes back for 6 week check-up to find a lump that is Stage 2A breast cancer. Becoming very common in new moms; too much estrogen, stirs things up. Luckily, that means there are specific drugs to target this type of tumor, so we do chemo first and shrink it. That’s very successful, but because I’m young and still have so much life to live, they still want to do a full mastectomy of that breast, take some lymph nodes, AND do radiation. Wow! And the new baby is at home and being carted around through all of this! While the 11 year old daughter deals with becoming a big sister and having a sick mom. What a trying time for us all. But our family, church family, friends and acquaintances in the community jumped in and took care of everything, and I was blessed with minimal side effects. Now, 3 years later, I forget about it most days (also did reconstruction so from the outside I don’t look any different). We simply thought positively, accepted the love, help and support that was offered, and prayed a lot. I’ve got so much more to see and do in life, wasn’t ready for this to bring me down. Think of me and know that you can do it to! And trust in God.

    • I love your words about how you accepted the love, support and prayers offered you while you traveled the difficult cancer road – what a beautiful example you were for your daughter to learn about grace – may God bless you and your family, Rae.

  21. 2 years ago
    Susi Folks says

    My dear friend and cancer survivor and I began a ministry about 3 years ago that has changed my life. We make fabric bags with padded handles and pockets and fill them with prayer and love and useful items for women going thru Chemotherapy treatments. There is a blanket, because the treatment rooms can be cool. There are warm fleece sox and hand knit hats. There are unscented lotions and sometimes nail polish because your nails can get kind of nasty. There are journals and date books to write your doctors’ appointments in. There are sometimes puzzle books and always literature about where to get wigs or prostheses or other helpful information. There are mints because your mouth can taste like aluminum foil. And ALWAYS, there is a teddy bear.
    These bags are prayed over from the time we get a name, as the fabric is selected, as the bags are sewn and filled and as they are delivered. Most times we don’t know or never meet the recipiant as the bags are requested by friends and family. We have been so blessed by the heartwarming thanks we get knowing that we have helped a woman on this most difficult of journeys

    • 2 years ago
      Angela says

      Susi,
      What an amazing ministry you have! My girlfriend is having surgery next week for a single mastectomy and once she heals from that she will have the other. I find myself at a loss of words and support for her as I am not in her shoes. I do tell her to trust in the Lord with all her heart. I pray for her and so does our church. I know God is in charge.
      Thanks for telling your story about your bags, you are an inspiration.

      • Bless you, Susi for sticking close to your girlfriend – I learned from Deb the most important thing to her was my presence – being there, doing life with her, talking about my sons, the dog and a good movie I saw. No matter how sick she was, she wanted to do life with her family and friends! I hope you keep praying and doing what you are doing…it’s how we love, isn’t it?

    • Susi, I LOVE this ministry – I’ve read your post a few times and each time I’ve filed up with tears over the loving hands that create the bags and for the recipient who will be so blessed by the intimacy of what goes in each one. If your bags are big enough to hold a book, I would like to donate copies of Dear Deb for these women to have something to read while they are receiving their chemo. The book is a series of 55 letters, each one a stand alone short story that would be simple to read while they are at their appts. They are a memoir via letters about my wildly messy life, some funny, some tender, all filled with hope. It would be my great blessing to be able to share some of that hope with the women you make the bags for – how many bags do you make each month? You can reach me via my web site margaretterry.com

    • 2 years ago
      Gretchen Waldrop says

      Dear Susi,
      What a wonderful angel you are!!!! Making those wonderful bags for the pateints that are going through chemo such as I went through 6 years ago. Every bit of your bag is so useful because it CAN get so cold in the Infusion rooms. The Crossword puzzles are perfect, because it helps with your memory that chemo affects, you have heard the term ‘Chemo Brain” well that is no lie!! If you look it up, there is or was a study done at the time I was going through it and it only went back as far as 10 years, but it may go back farther now, but there are people with the affects of “Chemo Brain” . This is caused by the affects of the chemotherapy that interacts with your brain cells. The puzzles are perfect to work the brain! The lotion, wonderful, soothing, and the mints are a blessing as well, as yes your breath is awful and you don’t have much energy to do anything but sit.
      I was diagnosed with “Diffused Large “B” Cell Lymphoma Stage 3″ cancer, which is a combination of 2 cancers, colon cancer and lymphoma. I had the operation to remove my “Ulcer” as it was called, and then, underwent 6 months of intense chemo. I went once every 3 weeks for 6 hours for 6 months, so it was to be for a total of 6 treatments. Durring the time of the 4th treatment, my Oncologist payed me a visit in the infusion room, (I had dropped 30 pounds durring the treatment so he was worried I wasn’t takeing the treatnent well) he gave me the option of stopping or continuing, I told him, “I have come this far, why stop now? (even though I hate needles ) I only had two more treatments to go, so I finished. After, I saw him on my follow up visit, and he said to me, “You know, if you hadn’t continued treatment, you wouldn’t be here” I told him, Yes I would, i never had a choice!!! I wasn’t going to stop!!” (he was referring to the doctors point of view, but I knew I had God on my side!!!!) I couldn’t have done it without family, friends, all the support and prayers that I got!!! So what I am saying, Keep up your great work!! They will really be blessed and so will you!!! Oh by the way, I am cancer free!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!

  22. 2 years ago
    Judy Kostelny says

    Thank you for letting me share my year long story. I am so glad to be able to type, share and think about such a change in my life. October 30, 2011, I was kicked in the face by a cow, hit my left cheek bone, I flew through the air, landing on concrete. I had a brain bleed, stitches in my skull, a broken collar bone and a chipped bone on my hip. While waiting for the ambulance, my kids, who were there with me, sent out prayer requests on their cell phones. My pastor and family met at the hospital, where hands were laid on me, prayers sent. I was then taken by another ambulance to another hospital, again prayers sent. I can only say, that after four CT scans, many ex-rays, many months off of work, by God’s grace, I am here today to testify that God is good, no really God is great.

    • Wow, Judy, you have an amazing story! I am so grateful you are here to share it, that you can sit and type and remember the events of the last year. I too experienced a brain trauma in Sept. of 2011. A virus crossed into my spinal fluid causing swelling of the brain which resulted in many CT scans, MRI’s and tests over 6 months all accompanied by memory loss, horrific head pain and hearing difficulty. I can relate to the fear and uncertainty and I can also relate to the power of prayer and God’s grace that stayed with me throughout the experience. I continue to struggle with fatigue and a few other things, but the docs tell me to wait another year before we can assess any permanent damage. Thank God we are Christians – waiting is something we know about – praying and waiting and praying some more…am so glad you shared your story, Judy – let us pray for each other!

  23. I simply LOVE this story! I have a similar one that was just published by Westbow Press entitled, IN HIS GRIP…a Walk Through Breast Cancer. My story is about an ordinary life being intersected by an extraordinary God! Through so many others being His hands and feet, a transformation occurred where God shows how he wants to meet ALL of us in our darkest hours, and not just through cancer but any of life’s trials. You can order from any bookstore or through our website! I will be ordering the above story for sure!
    In His grip, right with you all!
    Amy

    • Thanks, Amy! I loved your chapter “Smudge”, your honesty and your conversational style – oh, boy, can I relate to the drama of a “smudge” when I am feeling overwhelmed by life…and BTW, cereal and waffles is a great breakfast by my standards :) Blessings on your ministry!