Thursday, December 1, 2011

One Year of Enjoying God's Grace

Tiffany’s last post on facebook two nights before the Lord took her home was “Thanks so much for your love and prayers. I firmly believe my days are in His hands and no one or nothing can change His perfect timing. As for my God, His way is perfect!” Tiffany had told me the day before she wrote this that she did not think that she would live, and we moved that night to ICU in the hospital. Those last couple days of Tiffany’s life were in many ways surreal as we walked through many of the realities of life and of death. They were precious days of much love, singing, joy, tears, stories, and just being together. I believe that Tiffany’s facebook status that she wrote from ICU having told me that she didn’t think she was going to live point out two important facets of Tiffany’s life. One, she rarely thought of herself but rather thought of other people. I am confident that she wrote that post very intentionally knowing that it would be her last post, and she wanted people to know how grateful she was for their support and to challenge them before the Lord took her home that they needed to trust in God. She served people tirelessly even to her own hurt but yet she never complained but cherished the opportunity to live a life of impact. The second facet was her unwavering trust in God and His plan for our lives. We often told each other in those last couple of days that we were content with the will of God for her life - we knew that God’s way was best even though it did not coincide with my personal desires, and so she and I had to choose to hope in God and trust in the that reality that His way IS perfect. Looking back now a year later, I continue to see the hand of God at work using the life of Tiffany and working in my life today. His way is perfect, His timing is perfect, Tiffany's and my days are in His hands, and how grateful I am for the so many people who have come alongside of me and supported me throughout all of it. Thank you!

The picture below is of her headstone that we put together and placed at her grave this week. It is an aluminum plaque mounted on a piece of granite that came off of the family ranch. Although you cannot read it from this picture, the background graphic behind the lettering is a picture of her piano with a prelude sitting on the keys. The prelude is about the finished work of the cross and has a list of songs about Christ’s death on the cross.  The last two songs are “It is Finished” and “Satisfied.” She is enjoying her inheritance in Christ today! The plaque reads:

Tiffany Davis Brock
December 5, 1975 ~ December 1, 2010
A Life’s Melody
To The Praise of God’s Glorious Grace
Ephesians 1:3-14

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Concert In Tiffany's Honor

Had an interesting experience today -- I went in to Tiffany's and my favorite convenient store to get a drink and had a good conversation with the two lady workers. It has been over 9 months since Tiffany has passed away but yet she is still making an impact on people's lives. We are having a concert in Tiffany's honor this Saturday to raise money for the Davis Music Wing (named after Tiffany but using her maiden name) and I was inviting the ladies to come, and it sounds like they may come if they are not scheduled for work. It just amazed me that after nine months, someone could still have such an impact on people that you only got to know in short interactions over a counter.  What a great reminder to me that I must be purposeful in my interactions!

If your interested, we would love to have you join us for the concert this Saturday night September 17.  It will be a night of great music as a number of her music colleagues are coming together to honor Tiffany.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Faithful to His Promises

Well, my week was what I prepared for -- overwhelming. Overwhelming not in a bad sense but in the reality that I was feeling a whole bunch of things all at once. So many times we equate overwhelming times that are hard emotionally as bad things when in reality, if they are responded to with hope and trust in God can be quite good times. Good in the sense that it draws me closer to my God and allows me to work through the maze of emotions that come with some of life’s opportunities. It is these times that I must go to the Rock that is surer than I -- Jesus Christ my God. Friday morning was especially hard for me as I was working through the week and preparing to go to CO -- So I did what Tiffany did so many times, I immersed myself in God’s Word and reminded myself that He is “Faithful to His Promises.” Here are the verses that helped me through my overwhelming time.

Psalm 119
73 Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
75 I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
78 Let the insolent be put to shame,
because they have wronged me with falsehood;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
that they may know your testimonies.
80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
that I may not be put to shame!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Preparing to be Overwhelmed

The following post is from Tiffany from Sept. 5, 2010. It followed a difficult discussion with our dr.s when she was in the hospital and they started talking to us about a lung transplant for the first time. The post pretty much sums up how I am viewing this next week -- our wedding anniversary, the six month anniversary since her passing, and going back to her graveside for the first time since the weeks following her death. I am not sure what all the week will bring but I must simply do what Tiffany says in the last paragraph. 

“Do you ever have days where you are overwhelmed? Where you reach the end of your rope and feel like saying “no more-I can’t deal with this”?  For me, the past couple of days have been at this spot.  There were several events that just tipped the balance-not one of them was that huge but connected all together they made for something that just was too much.

I am so thankful for my hubby-he knew I was struggling.  He graciously cleared the room and just came and sat and held me.  There were tears (sometimes those are healing in and of themselves), questions, and venting; then a choice to rest in what God is doing-acknowledging that none of these things were a surprise to him-they had not caught him off guard. It did not make the struggles disappear and there have still been “it’s too much” moments.  

I am sure that we have not experienced the last of the overwhelming moments, however I pray that in those moments I will be faithful to respond in faith, trusting the One who is walking, shepherding me through them.”

Monday, May 16, 2011

False Guilt - The Application

So I have been trying to decide how transparent I want to be with this last post in regards to false guilt as I have written these posts as much for me as for other people who may be facing it. Living life whether you have CF in your life or not is filled with many difficulties some of our own making and many that we never asked for. I would like to share at least one very personal application of dealing with false guilt. 

Tiffany and I very openly discussed the end of life issues as we knew that we would likely face them sooner or later and end of life issues are very difficult. Tiffany’s last hospital stay was very unusual compared to her other stays as we were treating new things and the real culprit (MRSA) did not show itself early or very often. I am a person that asks a lot of questions and doesn’t just buy in immediately to every course of treatment.  I have a healthy respect for Dr.s and their opinions, but I am also very cautious of residents especially the first year ones. Because of their past mistakes we would rarely move forward without the primary Dr.s signing off on it or us confirming a course of action with our CF team. Consequently, this delays responses when a resident sees something on the weekend and wants to make all these changes to Tiffany’s treatment plan and wants to make all these changes without taking the time to get to know her. I pushed back quite a bit because they didn’t seem to know what they were talking about, but Tiffany and I could tell that something had changed internally. We made some difficult decisions over the weekend without the primary docs and some decisions were put off that looking back I don’t know if they were the best decisions as it seemed to allow the MRSA to come back even more. By the time we made it to ICU 24 hours later the MRSA had set in with a vengeance once again. We then had to make decisions about what we would or would not do with treatment specifically was Tiffany wanting to go on the ventilator. We had basically decided that if it gave her a fighting chance for the drugs to work or if it was needed to keep her alive till all of her family got in then we would do it, but we did not want to do it if it was going to only delay the inevitable. The Dr.s opinions was that it would only delay the inevitable and that if she went on it she would not come off of it. The evidence of the MRSA spreading was evident, and Tiffany could feel her body shutting down. 

It is hard now looking back and wondering what if we would have made those treatment changes quicker or would she have had a fighting chance if she would have gone on the ventilator and a whole host of questions follow. It would be very easy for me to live in false guilt wondering if I did everything right for Tiffany, did we do everything we could to fight the CF, did I make the right decisions. So I go back to the solution to false guilt realizing that this battle is a battle of the mind that can either lead to depression or can lead to trusting in God’s design for our life. The reality is that Tiffany and I have always been very aggressive in treating CF and we could only make decisions with the information that we had, and I believe that we made good decisions with the information and the circumstances that we had. Knowing that our identity and life was in Christ, Tiffany did not fear death, and I know that she is with Christ. Because we had the hard conversations before we were placed in the end of life situations, I know that we made decisions that were consistent with Tiffany’s desires and based on good information from the docs. Was it hard to watch Tiffany pass away as I held her hand, yes it was, but I can also look back at that last week of her life and rest in God’s plan for her life and for my life and not live in false guilt. Tiffany did not pass away because we did something wrong -- Tiffany passed away because it was God’s design for her life.  We often prayed for God’s will and that is exactly what God accomplished. I don’t have to live in false guilt questioning our decisions; I have to live trusting my God. That means I don’t spend my nights playing the what if game but rather I spend my nights meditating on my God and what Tiffany is enjoying in the presence of my God.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Living Between a Heritage and a Legacy

The following is my tribute to my mother-in-law, a mom living between her heritage and her legacy. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, I thought that this would be a fitting entry.

You see, my mother-in-law is a woman who has impacted my life in a great way. Over the course of the last 16 years that I have known her, she has taught me much. Over the course of the last couple of years, we have learned much together as we spent many hours caring for Tiffany and simply enjoying life as a family. In the last year, my love and respect for my mother-in-law has grown even more as I have watched her live through a very difficult time of life as she experienced the death of her daughter and her mom within six weeks of each other. Within six weeks her legacy and her heritage came together in Heaven. 

The Heritage that she had in her mother is a rich heritage. Her mother was a kind and gracious woman who passed on to my mother-in-law many of the needed traits she would need to live through the life that God had called her to live. She was faithful to her God, her husband, and her family throughout her life. She was a genteel woman who graciously served her God and her family. It is a Heritage worth emulating and a Heritage that should never be forgotten. 

The Legacy that she has in her daughter is an unfathomable legacy. By that it is one that is hard to understand. Usually your legacy is what you leave behind once you are gone, but Mom’s legacy went ahead to glory first. Although we all make our own decisions, one’s children many times is an indictment upon you. Mom’s legacy, my wife, is an indictment that speaks volumes about my mother-in-law. I got to see up close the impact that Tiffany’s mom had upon her life and how she lived with Cystic Fibrosis. Tiffany’s desire to not quit, to not make excuses, to trust in God, to keep living, to invest in the eternal, to pursue excellence, to love music, to love her husband and her family, and her gracious spirit towards people and life’s difficulties is a legacy to the life of my mother-in-law. It reveals a woman who lived that out in front of Tiffany through it all. Tiffany and I in the last couple years of her life would often laugh about how much she was becoming her mom whether it was how she wrote, spoke, or viewed life. Many fear that their wife may become their mother-in-law--Me, I welcomed it!

So Mom, on this day that you remember your Heritage and your Legacy, know that you have forever changed my life. I am privileged to have walked this way with you. I love you and am thankful that today I can say Happy Mother’s Day as your Heritage and your Legacy are getting to worship our Savior face to face. Although they are not with us today, they are with the King of kings. Your Heritage will never be forgotten and your Legacy will always be loved!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

False Guilt -- The Solution

We have looked at the source and results of false guilt which leads us to the question, “what is the solution to false guilt?”. It is important for us to remember that we do not need to live our lives in bondage to false guilt otherwise those results will show up in our life. We can have victory, and we don’t have to live miserable lives.
  1. First you need to identify the type of guilt that you are having of whether it is true or false guilt. Dealing with true and false guilt are dealt with entirely different. If you need to, go back and reread my entry on the source of guilt. Identifying the source will help you determine whether it is true or false guilt. If it is true guilt, then you will need to take responsibility for what you have done and go and seek forgiveness. If it is false guilt, then the following thoughts will help you.
  2. Realize that the greatest battles that we face are in our mind. Rom. 12:2 tells us that we need to renew our mind in order for us to have Biblical thinking. Eph. 3:14ff tells us that we must be strengthened in the inner man, understand the love of God, and be consumed with the totality of who God is, and then He enables us to do His will. Moving forward in life does not start with “just doing it” but it starts with right thinking. 
  3. So what kind of thinking should I have? In short, I must have Biblical thinking but that is a broad answer that you probably are saying doesn’t help me very much. Here are some example of Biblical thinking. Life is not hopeless but rather hope is found in God. My identity is not in my life circumstances but it is in who I am in Christ (if you have accepted Christ as your Savior). God is not out to get me but rather is interested in my growth and me reflecting Him to others -- God loves me even though he designed my life to have this difficult circumstance in my life. God is in control -- I am not.  Loving yourself is not the most important thing but rather loving God is the most important thing.  Our problem is not that we don’t love ourselves enough but that we put ourselves first rather than God and others. Worrying is not trusting God. My personality is not an excuse for an incorrect reaction. Forgiveness not anger or bitterness is the path to restored relationships.  These are just a couple examples of Biblical thinking that we must maintain.
  4. Stop living in the fear of man. Living in the fear of man is allowing others people’s actions or reaction to determine my life choices. For example, someone who has been abused may feel that they can’t be loved or have good relationships because of someone else’s sin against them. That is living in the fear of man -- don’t let someone else’s bad choices determine what you will do -- you can still forgive and you can still be loved and love. Rather you need to live in the fear of God. It is this reverential respect that says I will live my life yielded to what God desires.
  5. Forgive -- this is such an important aspect when dealing with false guilt in relationships. Forgiveness does not equal trust and forgiveness is not putting life back to what it used to be, but it is a promise not to use something against that person to harm them. It is not holding on to the anger. Be willing to forgive.
  6. You can only take responsibility for what you knew at the time--not for what you would find out in the future. This is especially important in dealing with false guilt in the medical field. You can only operate with the knowledge that you have at the time you have it. W’e can’t go back and redo it but we make the best decisions we can with the information we have and move forward and then make adjustments as we need to make them.
  7. Don’t live in the the if only we had . . ., I wish we . . ., what if . . ., if only . . . world. That world of vast possibilities will get you into trouble if you live there trying to relive the past with its possibilities. You have to make decisions from where you are today regardless of the decisions that were made before. Yes, I have plenty of these moments in my life with my relationship with Tiffany in the medical field, in our marriage relationship, in our life decisions, and in our personal ives. I cannot relive the past though and it is foolish to try and figure out what life would have been if I (we) had done something else. Accept where you are today, learn from the past, and move forward making better and more informed decisions for the future. Don’t live in regret.
  8. Focus on the reality of who my God is and not upon my circumstances. Yes, I must deal with my circumstances but I am not defined by my circumstances but rather I am defined by who I am in Christ. Since I have accepted Christ as my Savior to pay for my sin by His death on the cross. My identity is not in my life circumstances such as my job, my family, my health, or my marital status -- my identity is in Christ. When I focus on my actual identity then the issues of false guilt begin to disappear because false guilt many times is tied in to finding my identity in that person, thing, or idea that is creating the false guilt. Who is my God -- He is loving, just, holy, sovereign, all knowing, all powerful, kind, tender hearted, forgiving, gracious, and above all. As I focus in on my God and who I am in Christ rather than my circumstances, then I am able to rest in Him realizing that my responsiblity is to simply make wise choices but I am not the determiner of the end result. I must trust God through it.
Don’t live your life with false guilt -- it will slowly erode your life to a place of misery and no hope. Rather, set aside the false guilt trusting God with your life. As Tiffany challenged me in the last days of her life, “Hope in God.”

Sunday, March 27, 2011

They're Back!

Friday night was a good night. Tiffany and I used to host the college group from our church almost every other Friday night for quite a few years. Many a college students has come through our home with many laughs and some good talks about life. Over the course of the last two years as Tiffany’s health declined and our schedule became more full with living with CF we have not been able to host them as we wanted. This last Friday night though I was able to host a group of about 35-40 college students who filled the house with music, laughter, serious conversation, games, and more laughter. What a blessing it was to be able to host our college group once again.  Here are a couple blessings from the night.

  1. Tiffany’s piano was very active with former piano students and others making music.
  2. We had an hour and half singspiration -- what a blessing to just worship God together
  3. The fire pit still accomplishes its purpose -- a place to have great conversation that many times leads to spiritual issues.
  4. Laughter was heard throughout the house
  5. It was fun to just watch people enjoy each others company and to develop friendships that would never occur in the normal walks of life.
  6. I was actually able to stay up till they left (around 1:30 a.m.)  :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wise, Eternal Ways


My best friend from college wrote the below poem and sent it to me in memory of Tiffany. It is a poem of great theological depth that considers God, life, sin's effects, God's deliverance, and the need to make eternal decisions in light of these realities. Thanks Wade for focussing me in on the eternal!

Wise, Eternal Ways
From Psalm 90
In memory of Tiffany Davis Brock
December 5, 1975— December 1, 2010

O Lord our God, You are our dwelling place,
Security in every age we trace.
Before firm mountains stood or sun had shone,
From everlasting, You are God alone.

You turn the sons of man to dust again,
Our long, full years come to their mortal end;
Yet in Your sight the years are moments past,
First promising, but soon like withering grass.

Consider now why all mankind must die?
It is our sin; Your wrath is justified.
Your fury poured in death on fallen men,
For open deeds and sins hid deep within.

Though death's cold curse my body still must face,
No condemnation comes beyond the grave;
God's final wrath Christ drank for my poor sake,
And then He rose the chains of death to break.

So teach us, Lord, to number out our days,
And live for You, in wise, eternal ways.
In faithful love, give joy in place of tears,
And bless our work to last beyond our years.

~Wade Williams, Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Used by permission

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Blessing of Giving

I know that I still have one more entry in dealing with False Guilt, but it is still not ready for publishing. I wanted to share a blessing though with you.  About a month ago I was able to go into the CF clinic and give them the rest of Tiffany’s meds that we had on hand. What a blessing to hear soon after that they were able to give out some of the drugs to some CFers that could not afford it. You see, the retail price for a month of CF drugs depending on what you are on is usually around 10k a month. These drugs are key to the health of a CFer to keep away infections and to keep the lungs open. What a blessing to know that these important meds are being able to help another person -- it was fun to go to the clinic and give them away.

Today, I also had another one of those blessings. Tiffany had CFRD (CF related diabetes) and had been on insulin for the last two and a half years. About a year and a half ago we were able to get set up with an insulin pump and a continuous glucose management system. All together, I think it was somewhere between 7-10k of equipment and supplies. We were in the process of switching endocrinologist when Tiffany went in to the hospital so we had never had an appointment with her but knew that she worked closely with CF patients. Today I dropped off to their office all of Tiff’s diabetic equipment and supplies so that they could give it to someone who needed it.  What a blessing to hear that they already had someone with CF in mind that needed a pump but could not afford one. The insulin pump gives so much greater control of the diabetes and makes life so much easier -- what a blessing to give!

We must never forget that there is more to life than ourselves and even in the midst of difficulties we need to keep a heart to give. I am confident that the meds and equipment will be a blessing to those who received them, but I also know that I have been greatly blessed by being able to give them away. It is true -- it is more blessed to give than to receive!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

False Guilt -- The Results


When I do not properly respond to the unbiblical thinking of false guilt it will lead to more wrong thinking that eventually will show itself in my thoughts, attitudes, relationship, and actions. Here are some example of these four basic categories of results.

  • Bitterness -- I hold a grudge because my “rights” have been violated which leads to devastating relationships and anger. I see this often in bitterness towards God because of what He gave me in a disease or life circumstance.
  • Feelings of unworthiness -- People think how could someone love me if I am like this or have this disease. If I have had “this” happen to me then I am unclean or too sick for anyone to love me.
  • Depression -- When we convince ourselves that there is no hope it leads to despair. 
  • Anxiety -- When we can’t fix it, take it away, or prevent it we allow worry to take control that leads to anxiety and a sense of overwhelmingness that has no hope or deliverance in sight
  • Anger -- This response can be internal or external as we buy the idea that life is not fair and that I should be treated better or my life should be easier and we respond with this emotion.
  • Broken relationships -- unresolved sin, bitterness, depression, and basically all of the above will often times lead to broken relationships.  Conflict that is based on circumstances or relationships lead to hurt feelings that left unresolved will lead to broken relationships
  • Fear of man -- we live our life based upon other people’s actions or attitudes rather than basing our life upon the fear of God and who our God is. For example, we allows someone’s view of us keep from doing what is best or what is Biblical.
  • Do not move forward (not on) -- We simply stop living because we are frozen in this guilt and to move forward in life we believe would only bring more guilt and hardship
  • Make bad decisions motivated by false guilt -- we make unwise medical decisions because we feel like giving up, or in our anger we stop taking care of ourselves to get back at someone. We abandon support out of anger because of unresolved conflict or because our guilt leads us to believing we are causing too much trouble.
  • Giving up -- we think “well, if life is going to be like this then I might as well not even try.”

Overall the result is a life lived that is controlled by this false guilt that negatively impacts almost every area of my life. It is a life lived in bondage rather than a life that is lived in freedom from guilt. What is great to know, is that we do not have to live here. There is a solution to living life with this false guilt. My next post will talk about the solution to false guilt.

(footnote: the reality is that most of the above mentioned results of false guilt are also results of unresolved true guilt as well)

Friday, March 4, 2011

False Guilt - The Source

The first step in dealing with false guilt is identifying the source of that false guilt -- what is causing the sense of guilt on one’s part. This is important because there is true guilt that needs to be dealt with at times in our own life. By identifying the source or cause of the guilt, we will be able to identify whether it is true or false guilt. True guilt is a result of doing something wrong or sinful that has not been made right or resolved. False guilt is the result of hanging on to something that was not wrong or something that has been resolved. Here are a couple examples of true and false guilt:

False Guilt
  1. Someone else has sinned against me, and I feel shame over it (abuse many times fits in this category)
  2. Regret over past action or lack of actions that cannot be changed or resolved such as did I exercise with my wife enough that may have helped her lungs
  3. Regret over decisions made with less information than I have today such as medical decisions of when to start or stop treatments
  4. Guilt that I could have done more despite the reality of the progressive nature of Cystic Fibrosis
  5. Guilt over something that has been forgiven already such as when you may have sinned against someone but you have asked for forgiveness already
  6. Guilt over letting someone down 
  7. Guilt over being the “cause” of life hardships. Tiffany would sometimes have to deal with these feelings because of the implications that CF brought upon her family and me as her husband -- sometimes she would feel like it wasn’t fair that we would have to endure the CF because of her.
True Guilt
  1. Shame over unconfessed sin against God or others such as deceit, violating trust, etc. . .
  2. Unreconciled offenses such as arguments
  3. Clearly evident bad choices not made right such as ignoring one’s health and not caring  
The source of false guilt is my wrong thinking or feeling that I am responsible for something that I actually am not responsible. True guilt is my shame or guilt over something that I am responsible for and have not properly resolved.  Identifying your source or cause of guilt is very important if you are going to be able to resolve that guilt. My next blog will deal with the result of keeping false guilt in your life and thinking.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

False Guilt

Today is the third month anniversary since Tiffany’s homegoing on December 1. It has been a good day with work being a busy day and some good meetings, some good conversations with family, and some good therapy at In-N-Out burger. 

What I find as one of the most difficult things since Tiffany’s death is dealing with the what ifs and could of, should of thought processes. One of the dangers in dealing with death and in dealing with chronic disease is that it is easy to have a false guilt. What I mean by a false guilt is a feeling of guilt that is not legitimate. It is a feeling of guilt when we imagine of what could have been if we simply would have made different choices, choices that could have given more life or choices that in hind sight we think would have been much better than the choice we actually made. I believe that this false guilt can really lead to more heartache and difficulty in life that is not necessary. But it is so easy to question did I do everything right or should I have done more or in my case should I have done less with work and such.

The battle of the mind is probably the greatest battle that one faces with a chronic disease and great loss. Although the physical trials are hard, the mental trials are harder. Although the physical trials have great pain, the mental trials can hurt more. Although Tiffany and I never made it through the transplant process, much of the reading that we had done pointed to how difficult the mental aspects of the process would have been. It is important for us to recognize that there is this great battle of the mind that leads to wrong thinking that leads to false guilt that leads to discouragement, depression, anxiety, and choices that lead to a downward spiral of life. So the question then is, “How do I deal with this wrong thinking and false guilt?” My next couple of blogs will deal with this false guilt and how can we deal with it in our own lives.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Will of God

I wrote this journal entry in my journal November 9, 2010. Later that morning, we decided to take Tiffany back to the hospital. God was preparing me for the weeks and months ahead -- Don’t we serve a great God!

“I find myself going back to 2 Timothy lately.  This book has become a real source of encouragement and challenge to me over the last couple of years.  When I am going through hard times I usually come back to here as I have for the last three days. I didn’t get pass the first verse.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus.

Two things jumped out at me today.

1. Paul’s position of life was established by the will of God. My position and status of life is clearly founded on the will of God.  Tiffany and I are in the situation that we are in with her health by the will of God.  I am president of IBC by the will of God. It is not my will but God’s will that I am where I am.

2. Paul lived based upon the promise of life in Christ. I must live my life based upon the promise of life which is found only in Christ. My identity is not found in myself but in Christ alone. Because of having this eternal perspective it gives me a foundation for living that is not myself but is Christ.  Who I am and how I live must be rooted in Christ. I am willing to faithfully endure because of the Life that Christ gives now and in the future. LIfe is not according to me but according to what Christ has established.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Value of a Good Nurse

Today I was reminded of the value of a good nurse especially a good home health care nurse. I was out to eat with a friend when I saw across the restaurant one of Tiffany’s former home health care nurses. This nurse is probably one of the best nurses that Tiffany had in our marriage and definitely the best home health nurse we ever had. She was great because she educated us and didn’t just tell us what to do. She taught us how to live better with all of the I.V.s and struggles that come with at home care. She is the one that taught us how to be independent with the port. Not only was she great because she educated us, but she was great because she genuinely cared. It has been at least two years since we saw her last but yet she remembered me and especially Tiffany.  Although it was hard to tell her of Tiffany’s death, it was a blessing to hear her remember Tiffany. She took time to listen to us today and the many visits that she was at our home. When it comes to dealing with a chronic illness, there really is nothing like a good nurse. They are of great value!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


The below was Tiffany’s second to last journal entry before she passed away, and I shared it with our church family this morning. I think this entry really points to the struggle that one faces with chronic illnesses but also reveals the hope and quiet rest that Tiffany had in God. Sometimes we think that God is only working if He gives us deliverance, but God is at work in our difficult circumstances and gives us His grace, strength, and peace.

“often i find that night time is one of the hardest times for me.  there is something about the stillness, the quietness that brings thoughts and emotions.  last night was a time of some frank discussions with my Lord.

there were some tough questions that He and I talked through....

why did he allow the cf? why was i the one blessed with it?  why couldn’t i just be normal and be able to enjoy a quiet life with my hubby-looking forward to many years together? why were we faced with these tough choices?  why is this sooo hard? why can’t it just be easy? i don’t think i can do this? i don’t want to live life like this?

it was a time of wrestling, of tears, of frustration, even sometimes anger and yet His quiet peace permeated it all.  i don’t have all of the answers and much is still raw, but i know i can rest in His grace-it is sufficient.  this is not out of his control...he is ordering each and every step. There were no new earth shattering revelations-just peace, a peace that it hard to explain-a quiet rest.”

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Fill-in -- Delighting in the Simple Things

Sometimes in the trials of life like what Cystic Fibrosis brings you need to just take time and delight in the simple things. When we go to one of favorite vacation spots our first and last stop is to a little store that sells ice cream, fudge, and huge variety of carmel apples. That little store has made a lot of money off of us! Tiffany’s favorite was a white chocolate carmel apple covered in cinnamon. That with some coffee made for a great treat. Take time to delight in the simple things of life. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Never Thought About It Before

I think one of the greatest joys in marriage is when you do something for the spouse that they really enjoy or appreciate.  I just loved doing things for Tiffany whether it was something to do with her health or it was just everyday things.  I especially enjoyed doing things for her on special occasions like Birthdays and such. One of my really fun things would be to fix her a fancy steak dinner and get all of her nice dishes out and use them. It was just fun to watch her and to enjoy showing love to one another.

The day after Tiffany’s burial, her brother and I went by the old tree where Tiffany and I got engaged, and we noticed that one of the huge branches had fallen down in some past storm. The following day we went down and cut out the branch (about 18 inches round and 15 feet long) and brought it up to the ranch house. I had decided that I wanted to make a temporary grave marker so that there would be more than just a 3x5 card there until we got a permanent headstone. Well, over the course of the next couple weeks, I spent many hours cutting a flat surface, sanding down the 2 ft section I had cut off the log, routing in her name and dates into some cedar that I mounted on the log, and putting it all together. As I was working in my Dad’s woodshop routing her name in the cedar, I realized something that I had never thought about before -- Even following your loved one’s death, you still enjoy doing things for them. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is It Worth It?

Another question that ties right in with the question of “how could you marry someone with a terminal disease” is the following: was it worth it marrying someone who had Cystic Fibrosis? This once again seems like a pretty bold question but yet a question that some may be wondering if they are in a dating relationship or a marriage with someone who has a terminal condition. Not everyone gets to choose whether they will marry someone with a terminal disease because the disease may not show itself until after marriage. One of my good friends and roommate in college lost his wife while they were still in their twenties but yet I was supposed to be the one to lose his wife first. I also want you to notice that the question is not “Was” it worth it? but rather the question is “Is” it worth it?. You see, being married to someone with CF is not over for me. Tonight I went to starbucks and looked at pictures of Tiff on her mac as I took time to just stop and contemplate on the two month anniversary of her homegoing. Sometime soon I get to go to the CF clinic to deliver meds that can still be used by others -- being married to someone with CF does not end with the end stage of CF--it is a continuing effect in my life. So, looking back not only over the last two months but also at the last 17.5 years that I knew Tiff and looking forward to the years ahead that God may give me -- Is it worth it to marry someone with CF or a terminal condition?

I believe a key component to answering this question is having the right perspective on CF. I have read many blogs by CFers who live lives of anger and frustration and bitterness toward Cystic Fibrosis. The reality is that it is not an easy disease and that it does kill people much earlier than we would ever desire, but CF is not something to be angry about. I believe one of the problems is that people define themselves by the circumstances that they find themselves in rather than finding their identity in Christ.  For sure, CF shaped Tiffany’s life, but more than the actual CF, Tiffany’s response to it shaped her life.  Tiffany was not defined by CF, but rather she was and is defined by Christ and her faith in Him and Him alone. About a year ago, I had to work through some of these issues again. I found myself getting frustrated with CF and the hardships that it was bringing into Tiffany’s and my life. God worked on my heart again and brought me to the place where I could honestly say “Thank you God for giving Tiffany CF.” It is counting it all joy in the difficulties and trials of life not because pain and suffering and limitations are fun or “happy” occasions but rather that I can rest in God’s design for my life and my wife’s life. That God is using trials to bring us to a greater conformity to Him -- to teach us that we might change and give up our will to His will.

So I sit here in my house alone (o.k. our dog is keeping me company) having gone through the ups and downs of CF, having spent more nights in the hospital than I care to remember, having my wife die as I held her hand and quietly slip into glory, having experienced much of what CF brings and I ask myself, “Is it worth it?” YES!, it is worth every joy, trial, up, down, thrill, love, tear, loss, gain, difficulty, and experience as CF was uniquely used by God in Tiffany’s life to conform her to the image of His son and to conform those around her to the image of His Son. I have been changed forever by choosing to love that cute girl from CO who had a terminal disease -- It was worth it and I would marry her again!

One of our favorite places


Monday, January 31, 2011

What Great Love!

Here is a chorus for which a good friend of mine wrote some music. We sang it this last Sunday morning, and all I could do was weep as I thought of Tiffany enjoying the boundless love of Christ in His glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

by S. Trevor Francis

Sunday, January 30, 2011

How Could You?

When I think back to my college days and when I first started dating Tiffany I had a number of issues and questions to work through.  I remember one of the guys in the dorm asked me how could I marry someone with CF who would die early. Although it was probably an innocent question at the time it was also an offensive question that someone would even ask it. The reality though is that it was a question that needed answered. Perhaps now I am better prepared to answer that question than I was 16 years ago when we started dating. 

When I asked my father-in-law for Tiffany’s hand in marriage, and we talked about the future ahead I simply told him that I loved his daughter. Tiffany and I were hitched 27 days after college graduation, and we were married for thirteen and a half years and one day. When I think of all the years that we spent together, my mind and heart are flooded over with such great memories. Memories of love, laughter, hardship, CF clinics, a little apartment, new houses, her grand piano, music, piano playing, recitals, ministry, family, traveling, IV treatments, vacations, crying, talking, planning for a life together, planning for dying young, dreaming, making her music CD, prednisone, grad school (in our thirteen years I think we only went one year when one of us was not working on a grad degree), business, choosing to slow down, Big Bear, the beach, college students, more health issues, diabetes, progressive issues, chronic illness, enjoying little things, God’s grace, ranch life, brandings, rural life, sinus surgeries (we lost count, around 5-7), city life, disappointments, successes and the list really could go on for awhile. As I look back, I am faced with that question -- how could I marry someone who I knew had CF and would most likely die young -- I love her. Yep, that pretty much sums it up -- simply put -- I love her! That is how I could marry someone who I knew in all likelihood would get to worship God face to face sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I.V. organization part 4 -- Ports and when to get one

This is was my last post that I wrote last summer for the series on I.V. organization. Tiffany had posted all the other entries but had not gotten around to posting this one.  If you are interested in reading the others you can click here for the July entries and you will find 3 other entries about organization. 

This was a tough decision for Tiffany and I -- when do you get a port put in. A port is a semi-permanent (Tiff’s first port lasted around 4 years) line that is put in with a reservoir that sits right below your skin that you access with a needle.  To start IVs your simply put the needle into the port and you are good to go -- you are up and running in 15 minutes.  PIC lines are temporary and have to be placed in every time you do IVs. Usually they are now considered a surgical procedure so you have to get admitted to the hospital as an outpatient to have it placed.  Tiffany’s first PIC line after we were married was put in by her CF nurse in the office -- they don’t do that anymore. PIC lines are more fickle but then again, you don’t have something permanent in your body.

The hardest part of the decision is the feeling that your are giving in again to CF and that you are progressing. To have to need a port makes you feel like you are in a different stage of treating the disease. We finally based our decision on the number of times that Tiff would be on IVs.  We felt like if she was only on them once a year, it was worth the hassle of the PIC line so that everything was temporary.  When she needed to be on IVs more than that we decided to get the port.  We are very thankful that we made the decision to get it.  This year Tiffany has been on IVs three different times. Of the last 7 months, she has literally spent 50% of the time on IVs -- having a PIC line now would be miserable.  Once she had to be on IVs for 5 months to treat mico-bacteria. The port gives us convenience and speed of therapy.  We can go to the Dr., decide to go on IVs, and have them running that very same night -- that is usually not possible unless you check in to the hospital if you have a PIC line.

For us, the port has given us more control and convenience and it is when you reach that place with treating CF, you should strongly consider getting a port, because the reality is -- CF is progressive and you probably have reached the next level of treatment to maintain your health.  That doesn’t mean you are giving in, it just means you have to be more aggressive in the treatment in order to stay healthy -- and that is the goal -- staying as healthy as is possible in God’s plan.

So this concludes what started out as a simple explanation of our IV organization but turned into a diatribe.  Would love to hear your tricks of the trade on how you organize and what you do to help maintain your health!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Updated title, description, and about me

Well, I was advised to update the title, description, and “about me” section so I have made a stab at it.  Hopefully it clearly communicates what the blog is and what it is about. I found the following description of what Tiffany hoped that this blog would accomplish. She wrote this back in April.
“Starting this blog has been a long process--a long process in evaluating whether the transparency necessary for a blog of this nature would be worth it. A good friend of mine (and many others) has been challenging me to share with others what I am learning as I live the life that God has given me with Cystic Fibrosis.  The intention of this blog is to inform others about CF and practical ways of dealing with it, to encourage a dependence on our only sustainer (God), and to promote a Biblical view and response to life. I hope that as you read what is in my heart, that it will help you in your life.”

I am looking forward to carrying forward what Tiffany began.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Our Inner Strength

So where does the inner strength come from in order to handle the difficulties of life.  The more I understand what all Tiffany went through and understand her personal strength the more I am coming to understand where her inner strength came from to handle those difficulties. Tiffany’s greatest strength was not physical with the ability to fight but it was an internal strength with the ability to rest in God. I think God specifically had her studying Ephesians and the gospel because understanding who you are in Christ is that key. Eph 3:14-20 are key to understanding.

It is by understanding who we are in Christ that we are strengthened. It is according to the riches of His grace and in the context of Ephesians it is according to how much we overwhelming have in Christ because of who He is and what He has done for us. My strength is not rooted in who I am as a person, but it is rooted in who I am in Christ.  When I understand these great riches of who I am in Christ, then that strengthens my inner man because my identity is not based in me but in Christ and His grace.  Understanding who I am in Christ helps me understand the love of God and then I am content and willing to do God’s will for me life. That road may not be easy, but when I know how rich I am in Christ I love him more and am willing to follow him anywhere.

What is needed most to handle the trials of life such as a chronic disease is not physical strength but rather inner strength. Our greatest battles were not physical but rather emotional and spiritual. When I understand this reality, then it helps me focus in on what I actually need.  I need to know who I am in Christ and what I have because of my faith in the gospel of Christ that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. The key to battling any type of physical hardship is the inner battle -- I must endeavor to know my God!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My First Night

Written last Wednesday.

Last night was my first night alone since Tiffany’s passing. I miss her. Because I had a dinner appointment with work I didn’t get home till 8:30 so that made the night go quicker.  Honestly, I think the day was worse anticipating the night than the actual night was. It was not a night of emotional breakdowns but rather it was another step in the finality of my life situation that Tiffany is no longer here. How weird it was to drive up to my house at 8:30 p.m. with having not been at the house since I left for work in the morning. I could never do that before if I was going to properly take care of Tiffany these last six months or it would have meant that she would not eat till 9 p.m. My schedule change so far has been one of the biggest changes.  CF took up so much time in our life. It was not something that was despised or to be mad about it, it simply was our life. I also see now that my life choices have to be much more deliberate because before Tiffany’s health would dictate so many of our choices while now my choices are simply dictated but what I choose to do or not do.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Friday Fill-in Catch Up -- Never Thought About It

I am going to start a new series of blogs that will come and go as life happens.  They are called “Never Thought About It.” You see, when you live with someone who you know will most likely die at a young age you have some very interesting conversation, and you think through many things about what life will be when the Lord finally does take that person home. This series of entries will be about those things that I never thought about -- some will be serious, some will be funny, and who knows what the others will be because I simply don’t know what they will be as I have never thought about it.

One of my first ones happened the Saturday after Tiff’s memorial services.  I had just dropped my brother-in-law off at the airport, and I needed to stop somewhere for lunch. Well, right now I am going through a lot of firsts without Tiffany and that was the first time that I went out to eat alone following Tiff’s death. I decided to go to Taco Bell (not because I really wanted to but because that has always been one of Tiff’s favorites) and finished eating.  I had a two hour drive ahead of me, so I decided that I had better use the bathroom before I leave. Who in the world is supposed to hold your drink for you when you have to use the bathroom at a restaurant and you are alone? I am not sure as I never thought about it before!