Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moving forward

It has meant the world to our family, that you followed our story the past two years. We have moved this blog to a website and would love you to follow and subscribe as we begin the second part of our God Given Story. 

Taking Steps By Faith,


Sunday, May 4, 2014


This blog has been our diary from day one. It served as a place where we could write our progress, write our story and when we thought we were touching other's lives...we found God used it to touch ours instead.

It has been hard sometimes to I feel humbled not by the words God has given me..........because they are not mine but his, but by the emotion he has laid upon my life. The emotion is real, it is honest, it is truth. It takes me places that sometimes I have to step back to understand and embrace. 

I believe by now, you know my heart when I write and understand that this platform has been the one place, besides my one on one time in prayer, I feel I can openly and honestly share our journey and be vulnerable. Through the last six months it has been comforting to know how our story has helped others,  but in reality...the biggest blessing of this blog is how it has blessed our family through your ministry to us. 

I struggled. The people I thought God would use in my life, the people that were my Christian superhero's God did not use. I will be honest.....he shocked me...saddened me....and disappointed me by not using them. But, at the same time he surprised me, humbled me, healed me, by using those I never expected. Whether it was an acquaintance who took a bold step checking in on old friendship from High school where it brought email from someone I never met who shared their hurt and heart to inspire me......or the yard guy who speaks barely any English...he used them. 

Just looking at the bible...We find God used ordinary people to share his love and purpose. Abraham, a normal man who all were blessed through..........Moses a man who led a nation but was reluctant and insecure........A young shepherd David, who later became king of Israel.........and a young virgin Mary who was the mother of Jesus. It was the people that were least expected and just ordinary, like you and I.

Just when I feel alone and like no one gets this feeling of wanting to move forward but needing to step back........he uses the " salt " of the earth to show me he is not far. I have hovered over the many way's God uses the reference of salt in the bible........I have often wrote on this desire to be that salt.......and I am thankful to you, for being the salt in my life......

I believe our children speak so much truth. Let's face it...they are the most honest little things. And with that truth, it is always a fine line teaching them what is appropriate to say and not to say:)  But, they also see more then we can see. They open their eyes to the world around them. Often something we fail to do with our busy lives and schedules. 

Just as I struggle with my purpose in life.... Audrey brings home this the other day........

" Cloudy with a chance of Salt" I had to laugh. Once again........God......Wink Wink.....
( they don't stop!:) When asking her......she has no idea why she put salt...she just did:) It's raining salt mommy. Yes , it is:)

This phrase...represents my daily walk with Christ. Our circumstances...loosing an amazing man......present some cloudy days...but just when I least expect it......there is that chance, if I allow myself to open my heart to it and to accept it....for God to rain a little salt in my life.

My revelation this past week......It was the ordinary...simple gestures of others hearts that showed me God's love. I want to continue to open my heart to accepting it more and at the same time......pray my ordinary and simple actions will show someone else that despite their cloudy days...God is raining a little salt in their lives. 

My favorite song right now, is the Matthew West song, Do something. I think this YouTube video is great representing the lyrics of a song that shows the ability for us...ordinary people....." to do something" Do Something- Matthew West

Dear God, let us go about this week and understand our gestures do not need to be mighty to be impactful, but instead can be simple to be lasting. Allow us to search our hearts and you,  in ways you can take our ordinary lives and take cloudy days to make sunshine. At the same time, let us be humbled to know, you will use other's in our lives and our hearts are always a work in progress and the chance to be ministered an opportunity to see you.

Taking Steps By Faith,


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stepping Up

Parker enjoying his first fish catch of the day
Many people don't know this. But, David and I met through the story of a little boy. At the age of 28, David stepped up, loved and took care of a child that was not his own. He treated the child like a son and cared for him until the age of 6 when it was time for him to grow, be loved and cared for by his mother. During the time David cared for the child,  I came into the picture ( that is a whole other story, but a good one:). I admired and was comforted seeing a man  step up to care for someone that was not his. I was amazed at who David became as a father to this young child and his heart for the situation. I always told David that is why I fell in love with him, it was his heart.
That same young boy is turning 18 this month. Through some crazy God winks.....that are unexplainable..... we have reconnected and I have had the chance to tell him about who David was and how David loved him. 

This heart of David's continued as we had kids and grew in our friendships with other families. With the busy schedules of many dads, and the required girls night out for us mom's, he was the first to step up and be the fun dad and take the kids on walks, pecan tree visits, jeep rides and even change that occasional diaper. He was a man that........stepped up 

As the months have gone by, I have seen many fathers/husbands.......step my children's lives.  Whether it is taking Parker golfing, allowing Audrey the chance to join in a school lunch to just coming up and having a genuine heart to heart talk with my kids.... they have stepped up. Yes, they have busy schedules and families of their own, but they recognize the heart David had and the heart of the children he has left behind. They carry on the legacy and they......step up.  It is not out of obligation....but of love. Some have amazed me and I go home and the best way to thank their families is to pray for their rewards in heaven. That they will recognize the Godly legacy they are living and honoring. 
Today, we celebrated Parker's 4th birthday. With out asking, two men from our church........stepped up. Their wives and their families.......stepped up. They understood Parker's desire for fishing and what seemed like the impossible, they made possible. Of course, like all major Hurst events the last 6 months, it rained and rained. My prayer.........

Lord... keep the rain. We know the beauty in it. But, today. Today let Parker see the beauty in friendships. Let him see and feel creation and the joy of the wilderness and outside. Let him look to these men and see what it means to step up and know one day that his daddy was one of these men. And the rain...well, we will just dance in it. 

What do you know? The rain stopped when we showed up to the fishing pond. It was the most perfect and beautifulest of days for fishing. Each boy......caught a fish... ( with a little adult help). Our friends, Scott and Jeff organized the whole afternoon and fishing of fun. The part that makes it genuine.......they were not asked. I even tried to veto. This is not their job. They have families and busy jobs and lives of their own........but....they took time out of their day and did what we are all called to do........ step up. 

I thank each and everyone of you that have loved on our family. It is not an expectation, but when you do, it is a comfort. You have stepped up in our lives in ways that I know and you know, David would in yours. You have loved us, you have embraced our family, you have been models to my children and you have left and carried a legacy. We thank you for the non physical ways you step up......praying, thinking of us and following our journey and love you for it. 

As we came home, Parker, Audrey and I sat in the living room opening the presents..... just us. I sat there thinking how much I wish David was there with us three....ooohing and ahhhing with parker over all of his gifts. It was just then my phone beeped and later looked at it to see this picture from a friend saying........look outside your house! Look at the sky!

He hasn't stopped stepping up.............................

Taking Steps of Faith,

More pictures

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Black Dress

Audrey happy and jumping on the day of David's Memorial, October 26th 

The past few weeks, it has been a struggle between the anticipation of the future and the fear of the unknown. What do I know when it comes to writing? So many different options?  Am I willing to take these steps? So many different opinions? Where do I go from here?????????????????

I am thankful to all of you that have followed, shared and validated the emotions I feel daily as I take one step forward . The steps are towards hope and joy of what is to come. You have encouraged me in ways that I miss greatly from David.  What is amazing and Godly is that 99 percent of you,  I do not know. But, you know me, you know my heart and the raw emotions our family experienced the pass two years.  You didn't turn away, you cheered us on, you prayed us forward and you loved us no matter.

When we knew David was only a few days from passing a friend mentioned my need to hunt for The Black Dress. As the time approached there was no way I would stain one of my dresses with the stain of loss and suffering. Sounds dark doesn't it? That is what The Black Dress represented to me. My options? I didn't want to buy a new dress. This dress would be one I could guarantee would not be worn again. I did not want something hanging in my closest that reminded me each day of a sad day where we said goodbye. So, instead, I rented my dress. That is easy right? Arrives the day before, wear it, embrace it, pack it up and then send it off. Not to be looked at again?

Not so much.................. 

No matter, what dress I chose, rented, used, stashed away,  let's face it, I am still the owner of The Black Dress. I may not have a visual representation of it hanging in my closet, but that does not mean it is not there. I am not divorced, I am not separated, I am a widower. The word sounds so strong, black and dark. Especially at the age of 33. But, through these last 5 months, I am learning I can wear The Black Dress.  I can own it. I can embrace it. It can be bitter but sweet, it can be hopeful, vibrant, faithful. It CAN BE BEAUTIFUL. And it can have a future.

Where that future is? I wish I had the answer.. ..For now, lots of prayer, obedience, time, patience, faith and your constant encouragement.....

But, what I do know... The Black Dress does not define me.... it is how I choose to wear it that does. 

The Owner of The Black Dress

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Amazing what one year can bring. One year ago, David was crowned King at a local fundraiser, me... well i stole his crown and thought I was queen. Happy, joyful, little did we know 7 months later, David would be receiving a different crown in Heaven.
David and I were married when I was 23. Which was considered very young in my college group of friends. Most of my friends were starting their 4th or 5th years of college and our gifts consisted of spatula's and kitchen tools. I was the first to get married and the first to have a child. With these milestones of celebrations came change. As a married couple we moved to Nebraska away from all that I knew and with the non existent social media, friendships changed. They weren't loss. They just changed. Conversations about poopy diapers didn't seem quite interesting to my friends and their nights out. We still remained close, things just changed. Now, it has been ten years and we are finally united in the same stages, marriage, kids, jobs, but now my life has changed. My family of ten years is made up of a different dynamic. I am not divorced, I am not separated, I am widowed. A change that many my age don't experience.

It has been one year since David was crowned King for a cause close to both of our hearts. This past Saturday, I told myself like a Chu Chu train getting to the top... I think I can.. I think I can... wait?! I can ... I can.. I can... Sensitivity to the realness of the situation, I choose not to see the crown being passed and attended and supported a different fundraiser of a local school. My determination....can I embrace this event solo? With out my husband? With out my link?

It was beautifully put together and all for a wonderful local school. I felt special to be included with the same group of friends that David and I have grown to call family. I didn't even mind the dressing up in hideous 80's wear. It was fun. ( theme of the event).We took a limo and danced away to 80's music that only someone born in the last ten years has an excuse to not remember. As I sat there embracing the moment, listening to the same band that I last heard at David's celebration, eight months earlier, I recognized the change I had anticipated. My link was missing...I didn't have him to go out and dance with, I couldn't chuckle at the noticeable age difference in our dancing, he wasn't there to get my drink, to check if I needed anything, we couldn't talk about what time we needed to be home for the sitter, my partner, my best friend, what made us " The Hurst" was just me.... things had changed......... 

I can handle this change. I can take it with a positive attitude I can embrace it.  The loss. The loss I cannot handle. The loss I can say sucks. The loss I can only embrace with the joy I find in my faith. The loss, that I hand over to God.  As the wife of David, his best friend, I recognize more everyday, there is more involved then just me. I grieve for so many of the relationships that have been loss with his passing. My grieving is not for me, but tears for them.  I grieve daily for the loss of a relationship between a father and son. Parker does not go a day with out mentioning Daddy at least ten times. Today he told me he picked mint chocolate chip ice cream because it's green and that is his daddy's favorite color. I smile, and say you are right! Good job buddy! And then I grieve for this heart. His loss of his daddy. 
I grieve the loss of a relationship between a father and daughter. David was always the easy parent. He would take Audrey to ski school. If she cried, he brought her right back. As many may remember, the most read book by David, Strong fathers, Strong Daughters. His little girl. If she played in a soccer game and decided she didn't want to play, he let her sit out and hang with him. I grieve this loss. We balanced each other as we raised Audrey. There are many day's I see in Audrey's eyes her loss of the parent who treated her like, " daddy's little girl." No matter how hard I try, I am not both.

I grieve the loss of a relationship between a mother/father and their son. David's parents visited us for the first time since the memorial. We have made an effort to see them monthly in their home, but this time invited them to see us. It was challenging, it was difficult. As they walked in the doors to a home that their son put love and dedication into. Pictures surrounded them and the familiarity and loss were all too close. I grieved with them, the loss of their relationship with their son. No son should pass before a parent we say. But, it happens, and we grieve the loss of the loving relationship that was once held.

I grieve the loss of a doctor. It didn't matter the hours or day. Sometimes I felt like we had a 24 hour ER in our home. Stitches on neighborhood kids on our kitchen counters, late night calls on how much ibprophen to give their child, and early text messages of pictures... Do you know what this is David? I don't feel so well? That loud activity is now gone. That easy way to catch David at any minute and know he would take care of you. I grieve the loss of the way his passion helped so many others.
And lastly, I grieve the loss of his friendships. I feel so lucky to have a husband that had so many wonderful friends. The majority of his friends check in on me weekly to see how I am. They keep updated on the kids. They pray for our family, they encourage me, they remind me of the brothers they were to David and they grieve his loss.

As we celebrate new changes and we experience loss in life, we grieve, we hope and we move forward. Our relationships change and we gain new relationships. They are not the same, they are not better, they are not worse. They are different. They are new........... They are beautiful........The are more true and vulnerable because these relationships have loss together, celebrated together, they have grieved together....... and with joy in our faith...... and the love of life.........we move forward together.  

Taking Steps of Faith,

Dana Hurst 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

He is laid to Rest

It was read..........
David, you are loved, you are missed, you are cherished and you are forever in our lives. We will always honor you and believe your soul rest with us...........You are daddy, you are husband, you are friend and you are love. Your body will now rest back to creation. Your request, where nature prevails. Your spirit will live in our hearts forever.  We will always feel your continued peace in our lives... we will see you soon, love you always and forever. Dana, Audrey and Parker
David loved the freedom of skiing, the thrill and the peaceful beauty of the magnificent creation of God's mountains. It was decided weeks before David's death, half of his ashes would be spread where he found the most peace, the Colorado mountains. For the pass eight plus years, fifteen guys have gotten together, to travel, to experience and to share in the joy of skiing. These were David's " buddies". Many who were close to David knew his excitement and anticipation upon the yearly, " guys ski trip." I on the other hand, will fully admit, I did not share in that same excitement. Which is why, I did not attend these, nor was I invited:) There are some things just meant for the guys:)
Many may question, why I did not take part in this most symbolic ceremony. Again, there are some things just meant for the guys. David was suppose to be on this trip this year. David was the first one down the mountain, hollering his Woot Woot and skiing fearlessly with a huge smile on his face. That is where David should have been this year. But, he was not. This year, these guys, these friends took on the task of doing something their hearts never planned and their lives did not intend. Instead of racing down the first place of fresh powder, they were carrying a black box of ashes of a body of their dearest and closest friend. These loyal, loving men, who I am proud to call David's friends hiked to the top of Telluride, Colorado mountain, 13,000 feet and shared their hearts in prayer, in the most beautiful place imaginable and spread the ashes of their dearest, most loving friend, David. I felt a peace all day today, knowing that David was honored in a way from those he loved and called family. I was comforted to know, the planning, the perfection put into every detail to put David's earthly body to rest. I was saddened as this moves us one more step forward in a place where I wish I could be ten steps backward and never even have to enter. But, we are here. And we will continue to move forward, knowing that David is with us. Friendship  means so many things on so many levels. These men took their hearts to a level that I know will be with them forever. Our family, Audrey, Parker and I , are forever grateful for the way they stood up today for our family, for their daddy and my husband and friend. These pictures will serve as a memory for Parker and Audrey. They will know who their daddy was, because of the friends he carried in his life. It will show Parker the example, of what it means to be a man and to stand up for a friend when God calls you.  

Did you know you need a knife? As these men hiked to the one else around. They pulled out the black box. But, couldn't open? No one thought about a knife to open the box. Kind of like, a lighter to light the birthday candle. Who would of thought:)  Out of nowhere a snowboarder appeared. They hadn't seen him their whole way up the mountain, nor did they see him again. He noticed what they were doing and said, "Hey man. Sorry about your friend, do you need a knife?"  The guys of course said yes, opened the box with the borrowed knife. Told the guy thanks and with in seconds the snowboarder was gone.
There is no doubt in my mind, although David was not with them physically, he was present, one step ahead the whole time.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I won't forget

I have had three dreams with David in them. The first one happened just a few weeks after his death. He was still sick. He couldn't talk, the community was around him and I watched as I saw him wither away once again in my dream. The second dream happened just a few weeks after that. He was healthy. We were all standing around him in awe. Thinking and believing his body was no longer dying. Have you ever had one of those dreams you want to talk, shout scream, but you can't? That was it. I sat there running up to him. Trying to tell him all that I wanted to tell him. I was apart of this dream. It wasn't real. It looked real. But, my emotions were felt in this dream and I knew I was seeing him and he would soon be gone. I ran to him...I tried...I tried so hard. He simply put his hand up to my mouth and said...Shhhhh. He said he would be leaving in 5 days ( still have no idea what that is all about), but that he will ALWAYS be watching over the kids. And then I woke up. It was light outside...Audrey and Parker standing there wide eyed, waiting for me to get up. ( never claimed to be mother of the year)., I wanted to go back to bed. I wasn't done. I needed to tell him all that I didn't get to say.

Then the holidays and New Years approached. I was humbled as so many outreached. You loved our family, in a way that I promise and hope to pay it forward to others. You showed that among suffering, we are not alone. Many over the last few months have acknowledged and accepted my vulnerability. They have understood and grieved with me. Friends and family have been a foundation for getting through any day. The blog has hit over 6,000. I remember the day David passed it just reached 4,000. There have been 2,000 more likes since his passing. Those likes are a constant reminder to the love that never fails. It is crazy. On some of my dark nights, 30 more people will like our page. It baffles me...but maybe God is more into social media then we realize:) Created it for his good right? They are reminders at just the right time of the love that is lost on this earth from David, but being carried on by you and the unchanging God.

I am glimpsing into 2014. Wanting to miss David so I remember him. Fears creep in of forgetting ( grief 101). David's father said it best, we miss, so we don't forget. This is the one part of my grief that I struggle with the most, believing the baby steps to move on is necessary, but what if I forget?  Before David ever got sick he always acknowledged that one day he may not be here. He would always express his worry and fear of me not being able to move forward. He wanted me and encouraged me to. When Cancer hit, he encouraged it more, for the kids it was important. But, again, what if I forget? What if I forget what it was like when he proposed? What if I forget? I tell myself over and over...don't forget. You won't forget.

And then the God wink happened.....Two nights ago, I had the pleasure of another visit from David in my dreams. After weeks of struggle, trying to figure out and praying for wisdom on how to move forward without forgetting. David was there, in my dream. We were taking a plane somewhere. I guess their is no FFA in dreams, because I was able to sit on his lap:) I bet David fit that one into the dream:)  Again, I wasn't able to talk. He just looked at me. And with the same simplicity he does with any dream, he looked through my heart and knew and said, I will not forget you. And I woke up.

The crazy thing about this dream, is.............. it wasn't David speaking. It took me a few days of reflection to understand this. There is one thing I know about David. He believed, preached and encouraged everyone to realize the gift of life. To move forward. This life is not hell. It is not heaven either.  But, it is creation, It is God's creation. Meant to find joy in him in him alone. While I sit here worrying about forgetting, deep down, I worry about being forgotten. For it is in the suffering the last two years that I felt the strongest in our faith, the most encouraged from God. And now that journey is over... and less God winks happening.... and I don't feel the closeness I once felt. I anticipate what 2014 holds.... And am set free knowing that the most important person, God.... has not forgotten me. David gave me the reassurance when he was alive. Over and over. It was always the first thing he said each time, each tumor came back. He had no fear. But, he knew I needed to know, he would always be with us. And now I continue to have the reassurance, the God of all,  in my sad days or my good days, will not forget me. He is walking alongside me.  And David..........that is a love that will always be connected. When your soul feels it you can't do anything else but believe it and know it, you just have to allow yourself to.

Today I was at our local grocery store, HEB, trying to be a fly on the wall. The sweet lady checking me out said I looked familiar? At first I said I don't know? Maybe being at HEB all the time! I then brought the blog up out of the blue...and with a heart that shined she shared with me how she had been following. She even started bringing up some of the stories in the blog about the leaf and other things and had to stop in fear of tears..... you see on days when I miss David with fears of forgetting..God brings people like Mandi in my life to remind me..........I won't forget. He hasn't forgotten. Whether he uses his God winks, others, or just the awakening of your soul. It is his story. Meant to be remembered, cherished and shared.

As we anticipate what 2014 holds, I am reminded on what David wrote July of 2013 when the third tumor had substantially grown and use it as we go into 2014.........

So, we will accept this new challenge and attack it head on with strong support from God and all of our prayer warriors.  I am excited to rise to this new challenge as I feel we all have in the past.  Dana and I appreciate all the prayers you all have given us over the past few years and only hope to return your love by our faith in the Lord as our savior.  Please Pray with us as we continue the next chapter in our journey.

In the dark, there is light. Taking Steps of Faith,