/ / Groundhog Day and Manna

Groundhog Day and Manna


It feels like Groundhog Day, like the movie. It’s that situation in which a series of unwelcome or tedious events appear to be recurring in exactly the same way—as I rehashed all similar moments and appointments like this.

For the record, I was never a fan of Groundhog Day—the movie or a day celebrating an animal named Phil that predicts the weather. He’s a punk.

Are we here again. Will we always be on this recurring path?

The same drive, the same prayer requests, the same/similar reports, similar fears, disappointments, and sorrows. Then it starts all over again.

Our concerns and laughter reverberate as we head to another one of these appointments.

Before we left for the city on Tuesday, I knew from so many messages after sharing my last post that we were covered in countless prayers.

A dear friend prayed over us with the girls nearby just before we left to have supernatural peace, comfort, that miracle of healing we long for, wings beneath our feet to carry us to our destination free of anxiety, and the gift of supernatural joy.

Then it didn’t seem like it was entirely happening that way, as the GPS sent us on a different route from the minute we pulled out of the driveway.

None of it made sense. Yet it does, thanks to prayer.

While we took a different route, the drive was faster than ever on the road we would never consider taking—wings below carrying us effortlessly.

Flurries gently fall with snow—peace—we love snow.

We arrive on time and are escorted to a private room we never had for other appointments like this. I was grateful for the comfort as I waited and prayed.

Besides that, Jon and I somehow wore almost identical outfits, which I didn’t realize until just before we left. A host of other hilarious moments kept us laughing most of the day—supernatural joy—otherwise it wouldn’t make sense.

And, of course, I am reminded small flakes fell from the sky on the day Ian was born 20 years ago and on our wedding and his sisters’ birthdays, too—God is in the details.

Was this a sign, a gift, or, I wondered, was it Manna from Heaven?

It’s one of those mysteries.

It felt different in many ways, but very much of the same.

We hope and pray.


It’s Groundhog Day

Today (as I type this) happens to be Groundhog Day.


It also is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This is where we honor the Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows. In the Gospel reading from Luke 2:35 is the prophecy of Simeon that a sword would pierce her heart. Imagine the worry and stress she felt knowing the suffering she and her son, Jesus, would endure. She knew where things were headed.

I can relate to this suffering and sorrow and enduring and knowing.

I have been discerning and weaving words while also picking up the seeds of grace and mercy God is placing on this unrelenting path.

Groundhog Day—that situation in which a series of unwelcome or tedious events appear to be recurring in exactly the same way—is unrelenting, and so is this recurring brain cancer.

It has taken a few days to process the news, gather thoughts, honor our boy’s birthday, and then just carry on with the responsibilities of life.

Oh, and get some much-needed rest.

The sheer weight of emotion we carry leading up to the appointments holds is enough to knock us down, never mind what it feels like when we get results.

This is why we need rest and process and rest.

I wish we could answer all of the questions and messages of concern immediately. This is often why keeping the information private when we have appointments is more manageable. It allows us space and time to process whatever comes our way and not alarm others in the waiting.

Of course, the most important thing is to find the best words to share the news with our children, who are no longer children but now young adults and teens trying to figure out how to weave this story through their lives.
It IS our priority to always honor them first and allow them, Jon, and me the necessary space to process and rest in all of it.

Processing the sadness, sorrow, fear, worry, logistics, and holding space for our kids and ourselves—both Jon and I individually and as a couple—and all that we carry is the focus for our family.

It takes time; we do not choose to rush it. We need to reserve that time and space for us first. It is one of those things I never considered when others I love have walked a similar journey. I wish I knew how sacred this space could be. Cancer journeys are punks, too.

We have come to learn we are interior people. We process inside the walls of our hearts with God and inside the walls of our homes with each other first and foremost.

The results of the MRI were not what we wanted to hear—tumor progression and limits for where to go from here. Groundhog Day—unwelcome events appear to be recurring in exactly the same way.

We exhale a bit after receiving information from this last MRI because we are now past this one. BUT Groundhog Day starts again—watch, wait, worry, pray, hope, don’t worry—with another MRI down the road in a month.

Where do we go from here when we once again hear there is tumor progression?

We stay the course.

We stay close to the cross.

We feel the sorrow and a sword piercing our hearts..

We live well.

Stay grounded in faith, close the trusting God and His plan.

This doesn’t mean we like where we are; it means we stay focused on Him to receive peace, grace, and mercy.

We continue on this Desert Road and ask God to continue showing us that He is close to us on this path.

Remember the Desert Road song?

"I don't know where this is going 
But I know who holds my hand
It's not the path I would've chosen
But I'll follow You till the end..."-Casting Crowns.

May the Lord continue sending us Milk, Honey, and Manna from Heaven.Waiting for Manna

He already is providing in countless ways.

Over the last few days, I had several God winks in conversations and events, showing God is with us on this path.

A writing mentor who seems to have been placed in my life at such a time as this—as I am discerning my writing and where it fits with cancer—reminds me God IS the Path. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. She is not wrong.

It may not make sense to many when we are not getting our big miracle. I wish I could draw a big picture and show how it is connected. This masterpiece is so exquisite. In this suffering, we are being refined, but it still pierces our hearts.

Seeing it from our perspective makes sense to us. It is by faith that we can see even the slightest spark of light in this. I am grateful we see more than that.

We all suffer.

God never promised we wouldn’t suffer before we entered the beatific vision.

This afternoon, Sophia and I chatted with an incredible guest for next week’s podcast episode. This interview was initially set for last week. It was rescheduled for today, last minute—a divinely appointed conversation landing today where the Gospel points to Simeon’s prophecy on suffering. I am sure you are not surprised part of our conversation was about suffering and Our Lady of Sorrows, which he wrote about in the first chapter of his book.

I can’t wait for you to meet him and hear this conversation. None of us wanted it to end. You will find some nuggets of wisdom in this inspired conversation on suffering and parenting and a few funny things.

If you haven’t listened to this week’s episode with Claire Dwyer, the writing mentor I mentioned above, there were many connections, and God winks with her this week, too. Some came as affirmations on another path I am walking—the writing one. Things that were divinely inspired, answers to unspoken prayers, and to make clear how God continues to guide my writing journey. I hope to share more as these chapters unfold.

I also want to share a few of the God winks I mentioned above with you because I believe there is some beautiful truth in seeing where God works in our lives, even in hard times, even in suffering. We all suffer, and isn’t it nice to know we do not suffer alone.

We are made for community.

I messaged a friend yesterday, apologizing for not returning her call from last week (or the week before). After the last crazy weeks of the heating debacle and other things, I have no concept of time anymore. I need to conserve my energy, like my heat.

We exchanged some quick texts. I wanted to tell my friend the girls recently spoke of her mouthwatering homemade beef stew she dropped off in the fall after some exhausting days. Since she said she wasn’t feeling well today, I decided to refrain from mentioning the beef stew for fear she would feel obligated to make it.

But God hears our hearts.

Within seconds of thinking of this, another friend texts me, “Can I bring you homemade beef stew for dinner? Tonight or Friday?’

God is in the detail. He sends manna to sustain us on this journey on our Desert Road.

We had delicious beef stew and bread for dinner.


On Monday, a beautiful friend I haven’t seen in some time came to mind as I was scurrying about cleaning up my kitchen. I thought of our walks and special moments our families shared, like New Year’s Eve and a few Super Bowl gatherings. Appropriate after I just wrote about missing our gatherings, the cupcakes, the Super Bowl, and otherwise.

She and her husband were part of the fabric of our lives as we raised our kids. Their family was affected by a devastating cancer journey. When I thought of the friend, I remembered how she was always respectful of privacy and refrained from judging those involved in the story. She knew this was not her story but “theirs” despite her ache for her loved ones. I always remembered how she honored those she loved and handled it with so much grace and respect.

Yesterday I opened the mail, and would you believe I had a card with a thoughtful sentiment and a gift from that same friend. After gathering my thoughts and wiping tears, I sent her the following message:

"Dear Friend—Only God knows that on Monday, I thought of you and all the beautiful times we got to walk together and chat about so many things and our Super Bowl & New Year's Eve memories, and I thought of you and the hard stuff (cancer) your family endured and how you were always so respectful to not share much other than it's hard and (they) are doing their best. These cancer stories ARE really hard & I know you understand in so many ways. And there is redemption in them too because beauty comes from them through the gift and spirit of people in our paths. I'm so so grateful for you, miss you and life when things were different. I know God is still in it with us because your card and generosity shows me He hears our heart and finds ways to let us know. Thank you for answering the call on your heart to let me know God never leaves our side."

I love the God winks and more manna.

Jon and I spoke with a friend yesterday about how God continues to shower us with small doses of manna, and we do not yet have the whole picture. There is life giving conversation about writing, God in the smallest details and prayers.

While preparing for the podcast interview, I was putting away a book and picked up an old journal. It fell open to a page dated August 1, 2021.

It just so happens the following notes were scratched on the page:
“The Bread of Life
Exodus: manna from heaven.
The Lord Gave the Bread from Heaven.
Out of Egypt into the Promise land. In the story, the Israelites believe they are better off in slavery than living in Freedom in God. What is Jesus asking us to do with our talents and gifts this week, even if it is out of our comfort zone? One Day at a Time.

Remember the Milk and Honey post? Did you know scripture says manna tastes like honey: “The Israelites called it manna; it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”-Ex 16:31

Did you also know in this story in Exodus where Israelites were complaining but not choosing the freedom of God and it is written: ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'”

Last night, my friend brought us beef stew and bread. That’s it. I found this simplicity an endearing and affirming message back to scripture—meat and bread, manna.

The Lord our God, the great I am, weaves stories, He sends us a great storyteller in Jesus, and if we are attentive to the details, we can look back and have eyes to see Him moving through our lives even if we don’t understand.

It helps us to move forward, onward and upward, with courage and strength.

He IS weaving the writing and the Desert Road together in ways I am beginning to see more clearly. Let’s be clear, I may see the writing part more clearly, but not necessarily the part of our suffering through this unrelenting disease. But I know He is using it—our suffering.

Make no mistake, God is connecting the details of this story with just enough manna in the form of beef stew and bread and many other things.

I wish we had better news and there wasn’t a change suggesting progression from this MRI.

For now, we discern, pray, hope, and try not to worry about our options and trust God with the details, even in our sorrow.

We will continue to rest, hope, and wait for manna, the Bread of Life, beef stew, Milk, and Honey, and maybe an Eagles cupcake on Groundhog Day while we walk this Desert Road.

By the way, Ian was given the most beautiful surprise with cupcakes and his friends and big sis at school to end that hard day, his birthday, on Tuesday—manna. It helped ease the pain on a day that delivered unwelcome news to our kids living miles away.

While stopping numerous times in traffic, I captured the green lights from the city, hoping and praying for a big win.

We continue to hope and pray too.

It’s not over yet.

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