Monday, December 16, 2013

To love or Judge

A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor stopped by. Once again, it started with, don't think I am crazy. I love when it starts like this. Usually means something fun:)) She talked about the lamp on top of her mailbox. It is not powered by a switch, instead it is powered by the sun. When the sun sets, the light turns on. When the sign rises, it turns off. The night David passed away, October 26th, the light turned on at sunset a little before six. Normal right? The thing is, the light bulb had been burnt out for months. At this time, she did not know David had passed. She checked with everyone that she could think of that may have changed the bulb. No one. The next day, she found out David passed. She remembered the light. It crossed her mind. Was there a relation? She thought no more about it. Until the next night when it turned on again at dark and off at sunrise. It did this every night, until Wed. Wednesday the 30th the light did not turn on again. Two days ago, as I wrote this blog, I felt the need to look at David's cremation certificate. The day, Wednesday, October 30th. The same day, the light burnt out, the day his body was no more a part of this world.

I think about the weeks before David and I got married. Several people had reservations about our union because in their eyes we were unequally yoked. This perception of others grew heavy on me for years. I searched the bible on what it was that would give this perception. I too had this same perception. It has only been in the last few weeks as I grow in my faith, I learn more, I understand more then ever. Our marriage was only unequally yoked, because of my Americanized version of Christianity. Let me explain................... but first off.....know this is my own conviction. Not that of others. This has been a long journey for me and I am still transforming into the person, mother, friend, daughter God wants me to be.
The first 8 years of our marriage I would harp on David about my concerns from day one. It was a constant argument. What I believed a Christian to be. He would always come back with the same answer. Dana, I believe in God, I believe Jesus is the son of God. But, to ask me to go to the front of church to say I accept? I believe I already have. My relationship with God is one that takes work. And I am not going to lie and say it is perfect just so people will think we are equally yoked, because as far as I am concerned we are.
So, that was it. I loved him, I knew he believed. His way was not my way, but he believed. This started our marriage. This constant conversation that went the same way. For 8 years I had a perception of what a Christian was and is. I was that. I was the one who had it right, David did not. I prayed and prayed and told others to pray for David's heart, because it needed work. I would say his life never really grew closer to God those 8 years, but neither did mine. But, again, I was right.. Why? No not because I am always right:) I think I just heard thunder?:))  But, because I made a commitment in front of the church at the age of 8. And I was right. I was the Christian in the eyes of the Church, David was not.
Two weeks before David was diagnosed with Cancer we had friends over.  I can't remember how. But, in some way our conversation went to our faith. I was always the first to " defend mine." A friend looked at David and said,  How can you believe in God, when you see young children get sick and die in the hospital? Those are children? I was curious for David's answer. I mean what did David know? I never saw him attend bible study? He went to church with me Sunday. But, his faith was not mine. He plain and simply said, they aren't our children. They are God's. They are going home. Perfect, true, not a defensive word in his bone, just truth. And the conversation went on to faith and hope. Two weeks later David was diagnosed with Cancer.
David was always great at all he did. He prided himself on his amazing health, his work ethic, his expert shot in hunting, his dare devil non fear of skiing. Oh and his wonderful wife. You name it, David was good at it. And he had it all. When the Cancer was discovered. It was a shock. David? He never did anything that would harm his body or give him Cancer. How could this happen? To him? If you read David's first blog you can feel and hear his frustration on why him?
In that first week we prayed with the Elders of our church. David prayed in front of everyone, Lord, I know I will be in heaven with you, but I am not ready yet. I need more time with my kids. Of course this brought tears to all. It was then that I knew in my heart that David would be OK and in heaven and I was the one with the unwavering faith. Miraculously, God provided. He gave us two years of trips and memories. Not only more memories, but besides a scan, David showed no change in quality of life. Many will look at this and acknowledge that God heard that prayer, loud and clear.

John 9: 1-7 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

From that day on. David's life changed. He grew in his faith, he grew in his relationship with God. His faith did not waiver. You would ask him if he was scared, his response until the day he passed no. He always said Heaven will be beautiful and that he will never stop watching over the kids. He was a leader in his faith. When asked how people can pray for him, he would always respond, don't pray for me. Pray for your families.I remember our Pastor walking out of David's room a few days before David passed and saying, I hope when I pass, I am half the man he is. WHAT? Never in my mind did I imagine a Pastor to say this about David.
It has been in these last two months, that I have grown more then I ever have in my relationship with Christ. I have started meditation and have a yearning for feeling and knowing. I journal and anticipate so much on what the next day brings. I have started wonderful friendships with a native American,  and a Hindu. Did you know we have the same God? Did you know they also believe in Christ and the spirit? I didn't. In our conversations we have talked about the mysteries of God, the beauty of the creation all around us. About eternal life. We have developed a great respect for each other. We reference scripture. We talk about the gift of life, the reward of heaven. We talk about the ways God still shows David is watching over the kids and I. We have deep conversations on what it is to live your God given purpose and feel the presence of God. All of this has helped the grieving process and the joy in Christ I find despite my circumstances.

Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

So, as I sit here.  And recall the question I was asked about David, 10 years ago. I wish I could replay it back and answer this time. I don't know? But, what I do know is God loves him and he loves God. And I do too. And in God's eyes that is what matters.

Romans 14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions
But instead...........

Galations 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

It was through our circumstances, David and I both realized what knowing God really does mean.
I encourage us all, as we go through this holiday season, to simply love. God does not need you to speak truth on your opinions. He may use you. But, he does not need you. So, when it comes to loving or speaking your faith or religion of truth, I believe the most effective and Godly way would be to start with loving first.

The kids and I have been overwhelmed with thankfulness for your love for us. Everyday there is a new item being delivered from people we know and don't know. Our tree has become a daddy tree:) You all have sent amazing ornaments made with pictures of our family.  It has also become an angel tree with the angel ornaments from those in the Waco community. But, most importantly it has become one that shows love from all of you. Thank you. It has brought us joy this season.  It has also given us the courage to spread joy to others in small ways. 

Tonight I go to sleep with the sweet ornament that came at the perfect timing.........

I still hear the songs
I still see the lights
I still feel your love on cold wintery nights

I still share your hopes and all of your cares
I'll even remind you to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you, You still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment, to stay in his grace
I came here before you to help set your place

You don't  have to be perfect all of the time
He forgives you the slip, if you continue the climb

To my family and friends,
Please be thankful today
I'm still close beside you, In a new special way

I love you all dearly,
Now don't shed a tear
cause I'm spending my Christmas with Jesus this year.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Child Like Faith - a real true blessing

1. made holy; consecrated.
2. endowed with divine favor and protection
3. bringing pleasure or relief as a welcome contrast to what one has previously experienced
4. those who live with God in heaven

1. Aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful.
2. Expressive of gratitude: a thankful smile

Four weeks after David's passing. There has been no time to breath, with birthdays, anniversaries, thanksgiving and now Christmas just around the corner. I mean seriously? I could have handled a holiday like St. Patty's day? But, these are the real deal holidays. Holidays, when I, like so many others, sit there and count my blessings. For the past 33 years, my blessings? My family, my children, good health, my marriage, our home, the abundance of what we have. We were blessed? But, was I? 
If I was, the past 33 years. If I was blessed with all the things I mentioned above, then that means that this Thanksgiving, this holiday. I am not. I am not blessed because, my husband is gone. No, we are not divorced. No, he did not leave us. No, he is not on vacation. He is somewhere that is untouchable. He was not healthy before he left. By, our version of blessed. Our facebook version of blessed. My version of blessed a few years ago. You are blessed with good health? But, David was sick? He was dying? Was he not blessed? 
Absolutely not........he was the closest thing to God............which makes him the most blessed.

Thank goodness for A God that unveils himself on  the darkest of days. That shows me, he is not a God that gives house, health, family to bless. He is not a God that takes away, so that we may say, this God did not bless me. No. He constantly blesses us with his love. When we feel him, we are blessed. We have a choice to feel him and to be blessed. If it is in the things we rejoice, or the things we suffer. It is experiencing him that makes us blessed. How can we know true joy if we don't experience sadness. How can we experience the good of people, if we don't experience the bad? How can we experience good health, if we don't experience sickness. The beauty of being choose. Not God, you choose. You choose if you want to receive the blessing of his love in your happiness or your suffering. This season....This Holiday.....among the night tears of loss...... I wake up.....I feel.....I choose....And learn what really matters.........Life is a gift.......we have a God given purpose......and can say, I truly feel blessed. 

As many know, when asked about my ten year anniversary, my response... I survived. When asked about my thanksgiving holiday.....I survived. I miss David every minute. But, I am finding joy in each day and living. I am blessed more this thanksgiving then I ever have been, I have an appreciation for life that I never had before. I treasure it as a gift and a purpose. This Thanksgiving, I was thankful to be with David's family. I am thankful as this weekend opened communication on their importance in Audrey and Parker's life. That one day soon, Audrey and Parker will want to know more about their daddy. David's family can share this. That when Parker looks at his Uncle, he see's someone that looks a lot like his daddy. I am blessed with in laws because through them God has shown me, they grieve with me, they mourn with me and they find joy and the permission of it with me. Through the suffering and brokeness of death, God has shown me, the strength he has given me through them. That I am still their daughter in law, and death will not sepreate that. 

I will admit, I woke up Thanksgiving heart ready. But, as I looked at Facebook, my heart sunk. Beautiful family postings.... blessed for good health..... and I thought, this was me....this was us. But, then came the heart of a 3 year old to teach me the true meaning.  We sat around the thanksgiving table saying what we were thankful for. Twelve of us saying, Family, health, job, friends......and then came Parker's turn. He said, I am thankful for my daddy. Yes, thankful for a daddy that is not here. A daddy that was not healthy. But, Parker, unlike so many of us is probably the closet to the spirit then any of us. And their is no doubt in my mind, that although he endures the daily sadness and loss of his daddy, he feels his daddy. And he feels Christ. And for that Parker is blessed and thankful. His daddy. Something he can't see, or touch. But, he knows he will one day.The faith of a child. 

Matthew 18:3
And said, " Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 

David is blessed in heaven and the last four weeks we have been blessed, and say that and believe that:) with his constant presence. Because we know that is only from God. Many who follow us on facebook, know that I hesitated to put up Christmas decorations. Baby steps:)  Instead, I started a new tradition of taking Audrey and Parker to go pick out little tree's for their room and a handful of ornaments. As always, was amazed with Audrey's choices of cross, angel, green for daddy and the word peace.

As we drove out each morning after our decorations, I noticed a little leaf staying on a tree in our backyard. It stayed there for both cold fronts that blew in below freezing temperatures and high winds. One single leaf. Shaped like a heart. Every day, a constant reminder from a conversation I had with David before he passed, that he will always be watching over us.

Coming back from Thanksgiving, Audrey acknowledged Christmas was right around the corner. We all know, it is literally right around the corner. I reminded her of their already decorated Christmas trees in their rooms. She insisted we pull down our big family tree and do the outside lights. At first I told her, it was just too hard for mommy to do on her own this year. It was then I realized, how my kids are still processing. LIke it was no big deal, she asked me to call daddy in heaven because they have to have cell phones. Everybody does, right? After a heart felt conversation, I couldn't say no to the tree. I had to suck it up. And David, would tell me to also:) So, with some help from neighbors we got our tree up and decorated the whole outside with lights. Already looking like a beautiful Christmas. The best part of doing this, it was a high of 80 degrees. The next morning, I pulled out, all happy to start the day and of my accomplishments and I noticed........the leaf was gone. It wasn't a windy day, it was calm. It was beautiful. The leaf never blew in the windiest of days, but there in the prettiest and calmest of days, it was gone. And for once, felt David saying, You Got this. 

The day went on as one of joy, as I kept telling myself, you got this. But as night came, it felt lonely. My mind ran as the leaf was gone, symbolized David being gone. I cried to God for the strength for the next day. For just one more sign...just one more. I mean come on.........just one more. Again, this is when someone looking in probably says, COME ONE, haven't you had enough.  But, I am human:)  Today, I kept myself busy. My best therapy:) Planting pots, finished the last of the lights, enjoyed the 80 degree weather and an unexpected guest showed up. She introduced herself, Leslie. She said she has been following the blog and wanted to take a few minutes to talk to me. She said she bought me a gift weeks ago. That she didn't know when the right time would be to bring it. She talked to her husband about it. He said, just go over, it will be fine. She prayed about it. And like so many of us, she said give me a sign when the right time to take this over would be. As she sat on my porch, she showed me a box that arrived, weeks after this prayer. It was from Amazon. It held Christmas gifts for the holiday season. The return address.......David Hurst. Of the Millions of people that Amazon ships to and from, her return address was David Hurst. She needed no more and came over to deliver the gift. Little did she know, today was my first day to experience the no leaf, the you Got this, the first day after crying out to God...... please one more........... And there in my hands she handed my the UPS box for me to have and her gift, a sweet pillow that read...Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain. 

Taking Steps By Faith,

Dana Hurst 

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    Anonymous....not so much

    “Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.” Albert Einstein 

    A few days ago I received an email from a neighbor. She wanted to confirm before she wrote, that she was not crazy. Crazy? Lately, I think I am crazy, so I am not one to judge anyone else:) She woke up from a vivid dream the morning of October 26th, the day David pass.

    Her email read.............
    I was in a  quaint town… the kind that has cobblestone roads. I was running some errands and as I walked out onto the sidewalk I see  David. Your David… He looked like his normal self-- all smiles. I looked at him and said “ David, Hi!” He didn’t seem to know who I was so I said “its Priti… Vik’s wife and he nodded and said “ oh Vik’s wife- Hi.” ( we think he looked at Priti like this, not because he didn't know her, but because he was wondering what she was doing there:))  
    So then I said “How are you?” and he said “ I’m good and you know Dana’s good now” I said “ that’s great... but  what are you doing?” He said “Oh I’m just saying my goodbyes” So I then hugged him and said “ please be safe” and he smiled this huge smile and said  ”I will be” I then saw him pushing two glass doors open of a red brick building. Through the glass I could see a room filled with people… young and old. I also vividly saw a tall older man with a full head of white hair with kahki pants and a white button down shirt.   It was like they were waiting for David to come in. Like a get together of sorts and he was the Guest of Honor.I don’t know anyone of those people and I have never been to a town like that. As soon as he started to push the doors open I woke up and saw that it was 7:00 a.m. and I immediately felt that feeling that maybe David had passed. I quickly looked at my  emails and your blog…just to see if anything had happened. I don’t usually remember my dreams and I don’t think much of the ones that I do… But that dream… felt so real…

    When I received this from Priti, I thought long and hard. What does this mean? The past three weeks I have learned nothing is of coincidence. Yes, it is easy to choke it all up to that. But, where is the beauty then? Where is God? Life is much more amazing and God is much more alive when we stop, look and feel his every day prescense. So, what does this dream mean............

    First off, I have said since the day that David passed I felt he was entering the spiritual realm way before his body let go. The reason being, he continued throughout the day to raise his hands to the air. Thinking of Priti's dream I think about the ways his hands were raised and it was almost like he was giving hugs. I believe that is exactly what he was doing. What about him referencing saying goodbye? Saturday, October 26th was the day that I said goodbye. I said all I ever wanted to say and released David the best way my heart knew how. It was also the day that I called some of his closest friends from out of town, put the phone to David's ear, walked out and let them spend time saying goodbye to their friend.... so far everything to my neighbor's dream could be true? Right? OK, you are thinking...sure...where are the facts? The tall white haired man?

    This can go a million directions. But, I choose to think one. I thought long and hard about this man and then I remembered one of David's best friends father. He is over 6 foot tall and has white, white hair. He passed away a year ago. His name was Bob. He was always the first to welcome anyone to any gathering:) What always stood out about him, beyond his smile, was his height and white hair:) I got a picture and showed it to my neighbor and she said that is him! That is the man, Dana. Who is he??? Well, I was sold then. Another come to Jesus moment:) But the rest of you may think, come on...we need more. We always do right???? 
    So, I called the family members of Bob. I shared this same story that I shared with you today. Only, each of them stopped me with one important fact. And let me remind you...I called them at different times. Each one, wanting me to share the story to the other. And THEY ALL stopped me at one part of the story, the kahki pants and white shirt. The outfit he wore every day to work. They said, Oh my goodness Dana!! That is what he wore every day. A fact to you and I, that we simply look past like nothing. And no, the picture I showed Priti he was not wearing this. And no, there is not one picture of Bob in my house that would give her his look or outfit. Instead a fact, not mere coincidence, that God knew would seal the truth of his story and Priti's dream.

    I don't believe this was heaven that David experienced, because he had not yet pass.  But, believe it was just the beginning. We know we will never understand all of it...but once gives us hope on the reward of life after death. I think about how tall Bob is, and how David is not:) I think about David's hands reaching up so high to give Bob a hug and I remember. I remember one of the times David reached so high like he was giving  the biggest hug.This story is only one to the many other's I received from people I know and don't know. Stories where they have felt David's prescense and his life of love, hope and faith. I am so thankful for this gift they share with me. It reminds me of the beauty of whats to come. But , most importantly it reminds me how much God loves us. 

    The children and I spend countless hours talking about daddy. All the conversations have been about love and our hope of seeing daddy one day. But, I am reminded. David is the bonus...God is the ultimate reward.  I asked Parker and Audrey how much they loved mommy and daddy? They said, to the moon and back. I said, do you know God loves me more then you love me??? No way, Audrey said.  Oh yes! But, that doesn't mean your love isn't needed and important to mommy, Audrey. Your love is! But, I need God's love too and he loves me more then just the moon and back. He loves us more then we can even say or know.  To outer space and back a million times over. And I think Daddy is experiencing all that love right now. Let's just say a little hard for them to wrap their minds around. Which I fully understand, because it is hard for me too. The amazing things that have happened, admist the loneliness times these past few weeks, I am reminded....I am not alone, God's love is enough and it is more abundant then I will ever know and understand. 

    Because of your love! We have started to carry on David's memory! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Tonight was the opening of the new Baylor/Scott and White Cancer Center at Hillcrest hospital in Waco, Texas. The kids and I gave a blessing over the remission bell, thanking all of you and reminding people when patients ring this, it is for Team Hurst! You did this!  You showed what a community can do together when it involves love and faith. This bell is to give hope to each person that completes treatment! To remind them of their gift of life and the joy they can find in it.... thank you....we have just begun with the Memorial and will update with our progress. Tonight we honored David and glorified God. Thank you. 

    Taking steps by faith,

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Taking Steps by Faith steps

    Proverbs 3: 5-6
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge
    him ,and he will make your paths straight. 

    I don't know what the next few weeks, months hold. But, when I look into the future I feel emptiness without David. At the same time, I feel an overwhelming amount of anticipation for what God has planned for myself, Audrey and Parker. 

    My heart is eager to live and to share our story with others. I don't know what this means? These past few days I have felt comfort and encouragement that only comes from each of you. You all are what make our story. You are the community that has surrounded our family and has continued to pray for us and encourage us.  There have been an abundance of emails to encourage me to continue to write. I have read these and disregarded, as nothing in my life has ever defined me as a writer. I am pretty sure English was my worst subject and if it is one of your better subjects,  you can read my grammar errors all over. But, what I am good at, is knowing my story. Knowing the foundation behind it. Knowing when God sends you enough emails that says....  My child, just wait, just listen....I have just begun..........."  Have you ever read a story in the bible and wanted to yell? What are you thinking! How do you not see God all over this? How did the Isralieties see the Red Sea part and STILL NOT BELIEVE!? Well, I think David and God are up there right now having their own..." Come on Dana! Open your EYES! " moment. 

    If the emails weren't enough it was like a flash of history that flashed before my eyes one morning this past week. I was reminded of some of the things David did within the last 24 hours before his death. He would casually raise his hand to the air and look up. Never saying a word. He did this maybe a total of 5 times. I really believe he was making the transition already. But, one thing he did do, right before he fell into the non responsive state, he raised his hand in the air and started writing. The hospice nurse and I looked at him and thought maybe he thought he was writing perscriptions. Going back to his doctor days? I mean.... what else would he be doing? We had never seen him do anything like this. It is now that God once again says,.." Open YOUR EYES! " I believe God was telling me through David to share our story and continue to share. I mean? Writing in the air. Craziness. 

    If it doesn't get weirder then that...a nice girl sent me an email a few months back. She said she had a dream.  I was sitting in a room with a green journal and was so eager to share of David's healing, I kept writing. Once again, I disregarded her email and her dream, because I knew at that time David would not be healed and I would not be sharing that story. I never shared this email with anyone. Just a few weeks ago, my friend bought me a journal. A journal she said to just write and let it flow. I set the journal aside as I have never been one to write in a journal. What did I find myself doing this last Saturday?  Sitting in a room....just writing. Just like that sweet girl said months ago. I did not remember her email until later that day when I was going through emails and ran across the archived ones. Because, facebook never fully deletes. Thank goodness. Once again.... " Oh Dana! OPEN YOUR EYES! " 

    What does this mean? I have no idea? Maybe nothing? Maybe something? Will I continue the blog? Will I share our story further? Will our story be a platform for something else later? I don't know? All I know is God is not done...he is just beginning.  And this story belongs to him. All of you that follow, I ask that you continue to encourage me. Provide me with truth, prayer, wisdom and understanding. 

    Many have asked to see the Funeral Service. Below is the link. Some behind the scenes info. At minute 40 you will hear music and see the Pastor sitting there. This is when the tribute video is being played. I am so thankful we have this link. I spoke at the end of the Memorial service and do not remember much of it. But, the kids and I had the chance to ring the Memorial bell that you all have graciously supported. Can't wait to update you all on the progress! 

    Taking Steps By steps

    Friday, November 8, 2013

    Happy Ten Year Anniversary

    David is not far.......... I am amazed at the ways God continues to show his prescence in our lives. Again, opening my eyes to the little things to see the big. Last week, minutes after I told the kids of Daddy's passing we went outside. Audrey came back a few minutes after playing in the dirt, her favorite, with a leaf. A leaf that she told me daddy gave her. I asked her where she got it? She said," From daddy, mommy!." I asked, " But where?"  I guess you can say I didn't believe it with my own eyes:) She took me to a pile of acorns. Not a leaf around...just dirt, but there, daddy gave her this leaf. To see the big, you have to see the little...........

    That same night the kids and I did our bible devotion. And if the leaf wasn't enough. 1 Samuel Chapter 17 was our devotion for that night. The David and Goliath story. The story that each of you wear on your green bracelets. I started I felt David more then ever, ( and a couple goosebumps). ok.......... 

    Isaiah 41:10
    'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

    Mourning with hope....would be the phrase as I celebrate our ten year anniversary today. Ten years. The kids and I woke up and we looked through Daddy and Mommy's wedding album. Parker wanted me to get my dress out and wear it....don't think that would be such a pretty sight anymore. He had the ME bag for school and he wanted to take a picture of Mommy and Daddy to show the class on Mommy's princess day. Princess day it was. Today, not so much. Ten years......a big milestone. We celebrated two birthdays, an anniversary and mourned a death all in the matter of weeks. 

    But, mourning with hope. What we are encouraged to do. is necessary and needed to experience hope. This week as everyone left and David's ashes arrived I felt the loneliness I needed to feel. I need to feel today, I need to feel the sorrow so I can have the hope. Mourning with hope..... I never yell out to God why? I never say why me? I just plain old miss David. And I mourn. I cry. I miss him. I miss waking up this a.m. and seeing one of his cards he wrote for me. I miss seeing the cards he always had the kids make for me on birthdays and anniversaries. I miss the flowers and I miss whatever gift or trip we would be doing. Last year we told the church for our ten year anniversary we wanted to go overseas and do mission work. Our first mission trip ever. No better way we felt to celebrate our love then to spread love. Today, we are not overseas, David is not here, but he is in an amazing place, but he is not with me. And selfishly I want him here. 

    I have grown in my faith and learned so much. I believe with all my heart that heaven is not as far as I always thought it was. I believe David is very much apart of our lives. Granted, not sitting right next to us:) That would be freaky:) But, he is not far. So, I mourn today, I say happy anniversary and I have hope. Hope on what is to come, hope in the eternity in heaven he is living. Living. I am reminded, that life is a gift. David believed this and lived this.  Life is a gift....Not all gifts last a life time. Not all gifts are always our favorite, gifts can be taken, and everyone experiences gifts. Life is a gift. I don't find joy in my circumstances, but find joy in my faith and that the prayers from all of you will get me through this. This week as I Mourn with Hope and see David's testimony still shine through his memorial...........God keeps telling me, " My child, just wait, just listen....I have just begun..........." Today I focus on Hope.

    Because of all of you, we are able to carry David's memory on. Through Waco, North Platte and even MD Anderson. We will update you daily on the progress we make. Next week we begin the process of naming the TEAM HURST bell at the HillCrest Cancer Center. Through the Memorial Fund we will share the story of David and community. Each of you are a part of our story.  But, most importantly we will share the story of someone who lived. 
    At the end of David's Memorial the kids and I got the chance to give David an early anniversary gift. To ring the remission bell for him. For he is Cancer free. He is free.

    The day of the Memorial it was beautiful weather. It was beautiful all weekend. But, monday, as the last guest left it started to rain and rained for several days. I believe Jesus wept tears for  all of us that wept the loss of David. John 11:35 " Jesus Wept ." We left a celebration to go back to life but process the loss of a wonderful person. Below find the link to  a video that was played at the Memorial. I hope you can watch this with me today and see all that life has to offer and the gift of it and the joy you can find in it, but before you find the joy, mourn with me as we continue to miss a great soul.......
    Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those you mourn, for they shall be comforted.


    Sunday, October 27, 2013

    The end

    You read a story and you wait until it is going to end.  A really good story you read so fast, you rush it, you can't wait to see what the finale is. 

    I waited for that Saturday. I kept trying to create that. I saw David going, we provided David with pain medicine. I did not leave his side, looking around that room, crazy thinking I was going to see some spirit coming to get him. Kept looking, but no supernatural experience:))) There was nothing. Just silence and his deep breathing. It was him and I. I told him everything I wanted to say. I read books on how you tell your loved one goodbye, what to say so they will let go. I made many promises, that now sit here thinking, oh goodness did I really say that??  I can see David in heaven saying, oh yes you did:))) For the first time in 3 1/2 weeks it was just him and I in our home. He was peaceful, but he was dying. I wanted this experience to be beautiful. I closed the windows the night before, because Texas allergies are the worst. This was the first time I closed them in 3 1/2 weeks because the weather has been so beautiful, but it wasn't enough for a raging cough for everyone in my home. He was peaceful, our home was peaceful. I lit candles, I turned down the lights, I laid by his bedside and cried out to the Lord to take him with dignity, but still nothing.

    It had been almost an hour after everyone left and I remembered what I had told Parker just a few days earlier. How do we feel when we can't touch? I gave David a kiss and told him I would be right back. I walked out our back porch and sat in the grass. To do what I told Parker to do just a few days earlier. To sit outside and feel. I looked up into the sky and just asked God, what else do you want from me? What do I need to do? I felt God saying, stop looking for that perfect finale. I am that perfect finale. Stop looking and just listen. Many may ask. No, I didn't hear this big voice from heaven speak this. But, just like I tell my three year old, I felt God and he was telling me this. I closed my eyes and did what I told Parker just 3 days earlier. I listened. It was then that there was a breeze and I heard the front door slam. (remember i was in the back). I immediately looked back as I thought someone had walked in our house, saw the privacy of the moment and left. As we have averaged 15 visitors a day in our home. But, then it clicked to me, the front door was locked and then I knew. I ran inside and went in the bedroom and David was gone. He looked just like he was sleeping and I knew and felt, he was gone. He went right out the front door, the moment there was no one in the house for the first time in 3 1/2 weeks. Even me. He knew that even though I wanted that experience to see his soul leave... it would freak me out for years to come:))) It also confirmed to me how beautiful, peaceful heaven is, that David simply walked out the front door and I heard it so that I could have my closure he was gone. My children were at a birthday party a few doors down, I believe with all my heart that he went out that front door so he could stop by that birthday party and see them one more time. It was the perfect finale, and I did not create it, it happened and it continued to happen.

    For weeks I told everyone I wanted to be alone when this happened, but sitting there with David's body, I realized I could not say goodbye to it with out support of friends. So, within minutes of hospice arriving, friends arrived. Right away, they all said, go outside you have to look above your house. With a bottle of wine, we took glasses outside and sat in the grass and looked up in the sky. It was the most beautiful sun, with blue clouds all over. Our pastor then showed up and offered to pray. We sat in a circle and began to pray and that is when the finale continued.......

                                                          A friend took this picture, this was minutes after David's death above our home. 

    One year, one month ago, I lost my dear friend Wren. Many followed her story and know the relationship and friendship we had. Watching her die was the hardest thing to go through. The first person I ever saw pass.  A mother of three young ones. Her faith amazing. Many also know it doesn't rain in Central Texas very often. And in October we may get a shower or two, but not much if any. We are drought central. The day I held Wren's hand in the hospital and she decided to go home and start hospice,  it poured down rain. We got her in the car and I told her I wanted to walk in the rain. For me, many know, I feel rain is God's way of washing away all the tears and beautifying life all around you. I think rain is beautiful. That week with hospice Wren and I joked how we were going to get her rain boots and the next time it rains we were going to take her wheel chair out and dance in it:) David knew this and thought I was crazy! But, he always thought I was:) The day of Wren's funeral it DOWN POURED! I told David, this is her gift to me. After the funeral, David and I walked to the car. We decided to just get wet. Embrace it. We laughed as we got in the car. It was 2 in the afternoon. We had a babysitter and we were soaking wet. We decided to go to a movie, a funny one. But, we were starving. But, where could we eat and be drenched like we were? We went to Pei Wei. We had never been. We thought it must be fast! It's by the theater! And who cares if we are wet. We ate there. 

    So back to our finale.... October 26th.... friends and I sat there with a glass of wine out on the grass and looked at the beautiful sun and sky above my home. The pastor showed up. We sat in a circle outside and he prayed. As he prayed, we held hands. Minutes into the prayer, it began to rain. It rained and rained.  It began as a drizzle, just enough to feel and to continue praying. Hospice later told us, as we prayed, it was just raining over our home. We finished our prayer and we began to cry. Pastor Brady said ( he knew my thoughts on rain) Dana, open your eyes to all the signs David is showing you.... And then it thundered! We all laughed, David would totally scare the day lights out of me with this.  We sat in the rain and embraced it. It rained for 3 hours. Lighting, thunder, hail. Every funny story we shared about David, another thunder. It was BEAUTIFUL. And just when I thought it was done..... a neighbor called and asked if she could bring me some food.... I was starving and said sure. At this point it was after 8. She showed up and I realized she never really asked what I wanted, but I didn't care, I could have ate a cow at that point. When she walked in, what do you know she was carrying Pei Wei. She had no idea and that is when I knew, David and God sent me more signs then I could have ever imagined. I also believe Wren was right there with David watching over every detail. It is opening your eyes to the little amazing things in life that God does for you to see the big picture, the finale.... God had is finale planned. I didn't need to create it, it was created before I David and I existed. David left with peace and love and let me know, just like I had asked, that he is OK and that he will love me forever and always...... and we will see each other again........................

    Tonight I tell my kids. And I ask for prayers of strength. As it is now me and them. Our new Team Hurst. Little things like Donuts with Daddy this coming week and ski adventures will be hard. And that is when I feel the weakest, pray for strength that I can honor David daily and be the parent he was to them and love them and show them, just like their daddy did, how to live. That we together as a family, will live carrying David with us each day. 

    The Memorial Service will be held Saturday, November 2nd 10 a.m.  First Baptist Woodway Church, Waco, TX. 

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013


    The days are getting longer as David is completely confined to the bed, he opens his eyes a total of maybe 5 minutes a day and his words become more and more mumbled each day. I am amazed and sit here in gracious tears at the individuals that have come by to sit with him. Some with faith, some without, which makes it even more beautiful of a scene. They sit by David's side and pray for their brother, read scripture and talk. Talk, getting no response, but they know David can hear them. They tell stories of adventures with David. Stories of the impact he has had on their lives.  I know how hard it is for those that come, to see your dying friend. I am in awe of their love they have for David and their gracious ways of saying goodbye as they hold his hand.  Our kids have seen these visitors and have seen people come in peace and leave in peace praising the amazing daddy they have. Peace. Peace. Peace. David is still in peace. As he sits their sleeping most of the day, many are amazed that he is not on any pain medicine. None.  Leave it to David we all say:))) Hospice continues to ask me if I notice him experiencing any pain?  My answer always...none. His always....none. It confirms how strong and healthy his whole body beyond the brain is. 

    David celebrated 43 yesterday. We told him it was his birthday. His response.. get out of town:) He also thought he was 24:) We didn't make a big celebration of it. As we know his understanding of it was minimal. He amazes us all as we start to feel he is fading, his vitals become more positive. He may not move all day, but at night when I crawl into bed, it does not fail, he reaches over to grab my hand. Our wonderful friends just had a baby a week ago. After some health scares the father and good friend of David's,  Lance, was able to visit. It was an emotional evening as I knew the friendship David and Lance shared. And I knew that David would be right by Lance's side through his journey if he could. When Lance showed up, I told him that David had said few words all day. When Lance sat down, he told David about his baby. He told David that sweet Rebecca was born with Downs. The first thing David asked, How is her heart? Amazing. A man that has spoken so few words that make much of no sense....knew his friend. Being a physician, he also knew that with Downs their can be heart problems, which their was. God gave Lance and David that moment back. That moment for David to be their for Lance to hear about his new baby girl. To acknowledge him and know he welcomed sweet Rebecca.

    In just a few weeks David and I celebrate 10 years of marriage. Crazy to think. Ten years. Looking at pictures I am amazed at the years we have spent together. I wish I could say ever minute was like heaven:) But, I would be shocked of many marriages that say every minute was like heaven:) But, I will say. We never gave up. Difficult times or arguments, we never gave up. We figured it out... we worked it out. And when I may not have thought the work paid off, then came Cancer. And I realized we were stronger then I ever knew we were.  We had a basis to get through anything. We had our faith and each other. We knew that we could get through it, but we had to do it together. We also knew we had to live. The word living has become a staple in our home. We explained to our kids what living is. How between beginning and end, we live. I can say with the most confidence, David never stopped living. Which is why my heart breaks now. He is not living now. I don't know how much he even knows about what is going on. And I know his heart would not want to be dying this way. So, I struggle. I have tears. I have hard days. But, then I get in bed, and he grabs my hand one more night. And I am reminded...peace and living. To not think about tomorrow or the next week. But, to savor that moment. 

    Last night our friend Lance brought up an amazing point. How often do we sit there and pray to God as our 911. God, why haven't you healed David? God why are you having him die like this? God, why are my kids seeing this? Why is my sweet 3 year old praying to God for his daddy to not go to heaven? Why does my 5 year old have to explain the amazing heaven as my heart hurts? All of this...I admit I do. But, do we ever stop and praise God for the miracles he is performing right in front of our eyes? It took me some time to think of this. 

    Parker and I were driving today. As we drove I told him daddy would be dying soon.  He said when? Today or tomorrow? I told him I don't know. But, if he remembers what we do when daddy goes to heaven. Parker's response, we feel him in our hearts. Just like we feel God in our heart. I love the heart of a 3 year old. But, then he asked. How do you feel God in your heart mommy. We were in the middle of the road. I pulled us over. I rolled down the windows and said..." shhhh this is how, " we sat there for maybe 3 minutes. Me silent with tears praying. Parker staring out the window.... never felt God more...sometimes it just takes stopping and remembering the little miracles and feeling the fresh air and all that is mighty all around you. My prayer.......

    Dear God, I thank you for the amazing people that you have put in our lives. The people all over that have carried us through. Their love, their support of our story.  You have grown our hearts together.  Connecting me with so many new and old. When I feel weak, the doorbell rings and it is joy. It is another person you have put at my doorstep to remind me, you have not left my side. When I want to cry, the doorbell rings and a sweet gift shows up to remind me we are not alone. When I want to crawl in bed and feel so alone, you give my husband the strength to know I am there and to do what he has done each night for ten years...reach over and grab my hand to let me is ok. We will be ok.....savor this moment. Lord, I pray I will stop trying to understand all of this but instead enjoy these moments and time I have with a husband. A husband you placed in my life who continues to be brave, peaceful, faithful and still loving.

    Coming together is the beginning 

    Keeping together is the progress 

                                                               Working together is the success 

    Saturday, October 19, 2013

    We have celebrated, we have loved, now we must have peace

    It has been one week since our last post and it is amazing the celebration and sorrow we experience together on a daily basis. I was lucky enough to celebrate my 33rd birthday with a house full of amazing visitors and flowers and a special gift from David, that he planned weeks before. I was also able to smile as my phone beeped with notifications of Pi Phi's and friends across the country posting green in support. The best birthday gift.  Celebration continued last night with friends from Ohio carrying the TEAM HURST name with love and support at the Varsity Club in Columbus, Ohio.  Friends, old and new gathered to show support for our family. I called my dad first thing in the a.m. begging him to let everyone know how thankful we were and the joy they were giving us in our hearts. It still amazes me the amount of love out there and I am often speechless. My heart feels such an overwhelming amount of gratitude. I cannot tell you how often I pray, please Lord let each of them know how thankful our family is. I am about 550 thank you cards behind and wish I could hug all 3,500 plus followers. David is at the point where cognitively he can not show his thanks but with a meaningful heartfelt smile he does when I show him pictures. And I hope you each hold that close to your hearts.

    I think about the Team Hurst name and how it even got started? I think about the very first day this all began 2 years ago on August 5th. I remember our hesitation with a blog. David and I laughed as we posted each blog and my grammar errors all over the place:) We laughed at how you could always tell the difference in each blog, David's were more medical based and mine all sappy and emotional. But, we both always had faith and their was that common factor in both. It has proven to be what strengthened us each day. I remember a friend calling and asking us David's favorite color. With no thought at all, we said green. Ever since then our life has been nothing but green:))) 

    Last night, David's parents and I sat in tears as we received updates about the Columbus, Ohio party. It was so joyful and amazing to see. We sat their re mincing about David and the stories people have sent us about how he was as a physician. We have received everything from, David walking into a room with tears telling a little girl her body was filled with Cancer to a patient who said his smile just brightened their day.

    Lately we have felt like we are just waiting. Sitting here quietly in this house...waiting. Waiting for David to go be with the Lord. As David has been confined to the bed, not eaten in the last 24 hours and cognitively declining, he still remains the MOST peaceful individual. Literally, sits their quietly in peace. I have let David know that, Audrey, Parker and I will be OK, ( suggested by hospice). But, then yesterday, one of our pastors mentioned bringing communion over since David and I have not been to church in awhile. As I sat there the next hour thinking about it, I thought about how we have all come together as a community through this whole journey. We have been hopeful, joyful, celebrated, but we have not let David go. And while as a close family we have, we are not in this alone. You all are apart of every step of this. I have asked at 4 p.m. for men of our church and close men friends of David's to come over and pray over David. To represent you all and this community of followers. They will pray, they will do communion and let the Lord know as a community we are sending him off to be with his maker. Yes, we will grieve, we will mourn, but ask that David can die peacefully and with dignity. I know many cannot be here and I ask you all to pray in your own homes at 4 p.m. for David. To pray that this will all be peaceful. This is the day we prepare for our whole lives. This is the day that David has prepared for especially this past two years. 

    I don't know what the Lord is waiting for and I may never know. I don't know the purpose in the wait and I may never know that either, but what I do know is with my faith I can gain peace and strength. Each a.m. I ask David, are you happy? Yes he says. I say are you in pain? He says no? I ask him about heaven? He says beautiful. He says God will reach his arms out to him very soon. David is at peace, no doubt about it. But, now it is time for the rest of us to have that same peace. Please pray with myself and others at 4 p.m. today and come together as that same TEAM we have been since day one and send David with peace in our hearts, the same peace he feels in his. 

    " Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. " John 14:27 

    David's smile last night. With love, 

    Monday, October 7, 2013

    Bumpy day

    We had quite a scare with David last night. At about 4 a.m. he fell when getting up to go to the bathroom. When I turned on the lights, I noticed the whole left side of his face and lips completely swollen and blown up. He was unrecognizable. My mom was in town and I immediately called hospice for help as we did not know if the swelling was from infection ( that we had been watching for days) or the fall? 

    Once David got the appropriate medication this a.m. to lower the swelling and treat infection we started to notice huge signs of improvement. THANK GOD.  Being the evening now, I still continue to watch it go down hour by hour. I am so thankful as my main worry and fear has been him experiencing pain. At the same time, I do not want him sedated enough that he can not appreciate the joy of visitors and love ones that come to spend time with him through out the day. And last night it seemed there may be no option but to pump him with pain medication. Thankful to our local oncologist and hospice who worked with me to find the source of the problem and treat David so he could be interactive and comfortable and improve greatly. Because this was what the old David would want. This is the man that didn't take one pain pill after any of his brain surgeries:) But, instead welcomed a room of friends to the ICU only hours after. 

    We did pursue the private aid last Wednesday that we wrote about but it was not a successful match unfortunately. God once again provided when I felt another dead end. As many of you know, my good friend Wren Horn passed away one year ago. She also had cancer. She was diagnosed when she was pregnant with her third child. Many friends and I came together searching for a nanny for Wren's children when she was diagnosed. We felt this was needed so Wren could focus on healing. This was when we met Luz. Luz became more then a nanny. She was a companion for Wren, taking care of her and the children . She was an angel to us all. Well, now I have the overwhelming blessing of Luz being a part of our life. In just a week, our lives have changed with her help. I can focus on being a wife. I can be a mother. And I can be a friend to the visitors we have. Luz, watches out for not just David, but my kids and me, making sure that all is running smoothly. I think I tell her at least 10 times a day, how much I love her and am thankful for her. David warmed up to Luz right away and knew she was someone he cared about. 

    I am thanking you all for your prayers, and ask that you pray hard for peace and comfort for David at this time.  Seeing him in pain last night was the hardest thing I have had to go through. But, not just me, I know he was feeling it in his heart too. I have not seen that pain in his eyes once and last night I did. But, will say once it all got managed, he continued to tell us he felt great and was still happy:) Many who have spent time with David the past two weeks can attest to this happiness. All leave our home amazed at a man that may struggle with sentences, but when it comes to his faith and love for his family and friends he talks perfectly and clearly. 

    Knowing that David was going to look quite different with the swelling I made a decision to take both Audrey and Parker to therapy today. The therapist and I spent ten minutes explaining how daddy fell and may not look the same. The kids handled it so well. Because of their ability to handle this we moved the conversation a little further discussing what happens if Daddy dies. This was Parker's first time attending and we were amazed with that little mind of his. He was the first one to let us know that Daddy would be with God. But, that Parker was going to get a rocket ship that went farther then any rocket ship so he could see daddy in heaven. Because a boat just wouldnt do it. To say hard, is an understatement, but we explained how when Daddy is in heaven you can't touch him anymore. Parker told us this makes him sad. We confirmed us to! We asked them for ways they can feel Daddy if they can't touch him and I was amazed at their little minds. They both ranted off a list of ways....sleeping in daddy's spot in the bed, sitting in the couch that he always sits in, praying  to God, smelling his shirts..... amazing. I have a lot too learn from these munchkins and love their hearts. 

    Today was the first day I got out of the car and picked Audrey up in front of school. Audrey was super excited and so were all these little kindergartners who started to surround me. They presented me with this green blanket and all of them , Including Audrey, were so excited to tell me how hard they worked tying the knots and making this for Audrey's daddy. One kid said if anyone needs a hug this blanket will do it ;) it also came with ties that were undone for others to take part in the love when they see David. 

    Trying today to focus on the love from you all that we are so thankful for. You all remind me daily that the lord has not let go of me. Thank you for that constant peace .