Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Wonders of Baseball

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.  America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers.  It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.  This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray.  It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again."  Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones) in Field of Dreams


Fenway Park, Boston
I love baseball.  I realize this puts me in the minority among USAmericans, who (as George Carlin would say) prefer the violence and land acquisition of football to a sport where the ultimate goal is to "run home."  But I do love baseball.  I love how green the fields are, and the amazing textures of the infields and the outfields.  I love the crack of the bat and sound of the ball hitting a leather glove.  I love the strategies and the cerebral nature of the game, yet I also love the silly rituals and ridiculous superstitions.  I still wouldn't step on a baseline when crossing from the field to the dugout. I love that there is no clock- you simply play until the game is over.  It is a beautiful game.


I love the history of the game and my history with it. I was at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1973 the night Hank Aaron hit his 700th home run.  I saw Reggie Jackson hit a home run off Tom Seaver at Fenway in 1986.  I have a Cal Ripen, Jr. autographed baseball from after The Streak. I get jazzed remembering that I wore #8 in Little League because Carl Yastrzemski (Yaz!)was my favorite player. I once saw Dale Murphy slam a pinch-hit home run off Doc Gooden to win a game- with a broken bone in his hand!  Legendary!  I love the details, like knowing that when I was 13 I hit a home run with a Ralph Garr model bat I got at a Braves game on Bat Night.  And it saddens me that most of you don't know who Ralph (the Roadrunner) Garr is...  Because the game never changes- 9 innings, 3 strikes, 3 outs, 90 feet between bases, 60 feet, 6 inches from pitcher's mound to home plate- it is the one sport where you can legitimately argue about who was better, Honus Wagner or Derek Jeter (it's Wagner, by the way) because the era doesn't matter.  I love that baseball is still better on the radio than it is on TV.  I love that I can still look at a box score (if I can find one anymore) and tell you all about a game I did not see.  I love this game, and normally I treasure this time of the year- Spring Training. It's all about hope and new beginnings.  It just makes me smile, and I am missing it.


In many parts of my life, I am a progressive, someone who enjoys and embraces change.  When it comes to baseball, I am a purist.  I have never liked the DH.  No baseball team (including my beloved Rays) should play in a dome unless it has a retractable roof.  It is criminal- CRIMINAL! - that there have been playoff games in Tampa with the temperature at 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, and they were playing baseball indoors. I believe that anyone who suggests tearing down Wrigley Field or Fenway Park is guilty of treason. Those are the 2 "sanctuaries" of baseball.  I have attended several games at both, and they were among the most special days of my life.  I believe that middle schools/junior high schools should teach students the mathematical equations for ERA (earned run average) and batting average as part of the curriculum.  And I believe that hitting a baseball is the single most difficult task in all of sports.  The very best fail to get a hit 2 out of 3 tries.  I love this game.


Ralph Garr, 1973
I know that many of you will say that you find baseball to be boring.  I read a statement back in 2011 from a baseball writer who said he never argued with people who thought that way because baseball is boring to the casual fan. Until it is not. No other sport (with the occasional exceptions of college basketball and playoff sudden-death ice hockey) provides the kind of dramatic, climactic moments that baseball does. Only in baseball- after 150 years or so of professional games- does something happen almost every night that has never happened before. Only in baseball does a team get the chance to complete a magnificent comeback (like being down 7-0 to the Yankees in a must-win game, or down 3 games to none ins a playoff series), because the clock cannot expire. You play until the 9 innings are over- and then you play again tomorrow. Only in baseball can you say at the beginning of September "there are no playoff races left" only to have the last day of the regular season be one of the most spectacular, meaningful days in baseball history. Baseball may be slow. It may seem to lack action on occasion because the intricacies of the game are lost on so many these days. It may even be boring. Until it is not. And then it is simply magnificent!

Have I convinced you yet?  :)  I am not alone in my feeling that baseball makes for amazing theater. And now back to the MLB Network to relive some history while I await the future...

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Lessons Learned & Bridges Burned

We are all well aware that over the past decade there has been a dramatic rise in the number of mass shootings in our nation. Despite the contentious debate surrounding gun control, it is safe to say that there is no one who thinks such carnage is a good thing. Most USAmericans would like to see us find a way to put an end to such tragic events. We disagree as to how that could be done. Some wish for more guns in the hands of more citizens- "a good guy with a gun is the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun." Others want strict gun laws that make it more difficult for anyone to own a gun. I choose not to have a gun, but that is my choice. Others claim they need their AK-47 for squirrel hunting. It's a complicated issue. The politicians who have the power to change laws and make a real difference in the debate tend to do nothing. They weep and argue and preserve the status quo. And after each horrible shooting, they are quick to offer "thoughts and prayers" to a grieving nation. As if that makes it all ok...

Over my 60 years (including 30 spent in ministry), I have witnessed a similar attitude in the way people respond to friends in need. The primary response of Christians to hurting people is to let them know that "I'll be praying for you." Sometimes, due to situation, distance or circumstance, prayer is all we can offer. Prayer can be a powerful thing, although sometimes more powerful for the pray-er than for the pray-ee. We often pair it with a good spiritual cliche, such as "God's got this" or "everything happens for a reason." The past 5 years have taught me many lessons that all those years in ministry did not. And lessons learned often leave us with bridges to burn, so hold on tight. When someone you love has cancer or has watched their child die or lost everything in a hurricane your prayers may be a comfort to them- and yet still not much help. Friends often ask for my prayers in such situations and I would tell them, of course, I will pray- it's the least I can do. I realize now that often that was far too true. It was the very least I could do. Faith is a strong and powerful ally in times of great stress and tragedy. But sometimes- often, in fact- our words offer not hope, but spiritual guilt. When faced with personal horror, most of us both cling to and doubt God. We cannot read God's mind. We seldom hear the voice of God speaking directly to us. We get no burning bush. So we have questions that are not answered by cliches and prayers. What does "God's got this" mean to a woman watching her husband's mind disappear with Alzheimer's? What are you saying to parents whose teenage daughter just took her own life when you remind them that "everything happens for a reason?" Our cliches may not be as comforting as we think. In fact, it is possible that we force friends to lie and feel guilty because they do doubt God's place in their story while the Church sounds like we have it all figured out. Lisa was a woman of great faith and courage, but she seldom wanted friends and especially family to know how bad she felt (she felt like telling them she had stage 4 ovarian cancer covered that) from day to day or that she had any doubts about being healed. They often spoke of the faith she showed in her occasional Facebook updates on treatment and progress; they didn't know she had me edit them to hide her pain and doubt. She stayed positive and faithful in public, keeping quiet of the bad days and living life to the fullest on the good ones, and some who loved her hid behind HER smile and pretended all was well. We use our cliches and we offer prayers because we don't know what else to do. It is my theory that people feel more comfortable visiting sick friends and family in the hospital than at home because at the hospital they know little is expected of them. Others find excuses to stay away until their loved one reaches the point of near-death and Hospice steps in. They can deny the reality of impending death and someone else will actually provide the care. And we are scared to death someone might ask the bigger questions such tragedies raise. If "God's got this, then why does my mom have terminal cancer? Did God allow (or worse, MAKE) her to suffer?" If there is a reason for everything, explain to Vanessa Bryant the "reason" her husband Kobe and daughter Gigi were killed in a helicopter crash. Where was God in that story? And prayers? Everyone who knew my friend Lisa prayed for 4 years that her cancer would be defeated- and she had faith that it could happen. Hundreds of people, of all denominations and faiths, spoke to their God asking for her burden to be lifted. In the end, it was not.  I have another friend lots of us pray for, diagnosed with 2 forms of often terminal cancer before Lisa was, who is currently in remission. Praise God, but show me the "reason" in that. We all know the feeling of praying for someone and having prayers go unanswered. One of Lisa's best friends and I had several conversations about not even knowing what to pray for when you know death is coming for someone you love. A cure? No suffering? Some sort of theological clarity? We are taught to pray for God's will to be done, but if everything is God's will, does that mean it was God's will that they got such a horrendous disease? It's all hard. That doesn't mean we give up on prayer. God is still with us. But for me, everything changed when I realized that what I could DO was significantly more important than what I could say- even to God. 

Family and friends would occasionally text or call Lisa to check on her, and she had a wonderful group of friends and fellow teachers who did help take care of her. But the closest others came to action was another cliche- "If there's anything I can do for you let me know." They would invite her to come to see them but never visited her. Another friend of mine with cancer has pointed out that asking is sweet, but just doing something is sweeter!  Ask them specific things- if they need a ride to the doctor or something from the grocery or drug store you can pick up for them. Ask if you can stop by and bring them a smoothie. On bad days offer to sit with them even if only to hold their hand while they sleep. Ask if they feel like getting out of the house and take them to lunch.  Prayer in action is much better than passive prayer when someone is in pain.  No matter how much faith we have, we need the people in our lives to step up and SHOW God's love. Most people experience the answer to prayers and the love of God through the actions of the people in their lives. Because let's be honest- when you are the sick person or their primary caregiver, figuring out God's role in the tragedy is like trying to smell the color 9. These words from Christian recording artist Chris Rice say so much...


I would take no for an answer
Just to know I heard You speak
And I'm wonderin' why I've never
Seen the signs they claim they see
Are the special revelations
Meant for everybody but me?
Maybe I don't truly know You
Or maybe I just simply believe
Well I can sniff, I can see
And I can count up pretty high
But these faculties aren't getting me
Any closer to the sky
But my heart of faith keeps poundin'
So I know I'm doin' fine
But sometimes finding You
Is just like trying to
Smell the color 9

Even when we trust in God and know we are loved by Jesus, facing death is scary and confusing. We are supposed to look forward to heaven, but at the same time, we are also aware we are facing the unknown. We KNOW what we are leaving behind- people we love and things we still want to accomplish. And we struggle to find answers. So if you know someone who is facing a tragedy like a terminal illness, reach out NOW. Pray for them, please. But also do things that show you understand what they are facing. And the same is true for the people taking care of them. The only way to have a clue about what they are going through is to spend actual time with them because most patients are unlikely to share over the phone that they have been getting sick several times a day for 6 months and cursing life as they do, even if they do appear to be living a normal life. I can tell you from personal experience that if I had heard one more person tell Lisa "God's got this" while not spending any time with her and having no idea everything she was dealing with on a daily basis I might have punched a wall. Kate Bowler, a cancer patient, pastor, and professor of religion at Duke Seminary wrote a best-selling book titled "Everything Happens For a Reason...and Other Lies I've Loved." Two friends of mine, both strong Christian women who have been/are primary caregivers to terminal cancer patients, agree. I'm not alone with my feelings on this. So please, be there for those you love, do things for and with them, and understand that sometimes the best words are no words.

I still believe in prayer, in a God that works miracles and who will never forsake us and loves us all. But some bridges have burned with the lessons I have learned. I know from life experiences that miracles don't often happen and that it is easy to feel alone and hard to sense God's presence when you are the ones in the storm. Another favorite platitude of the Church is "God will never give you more than you can handle." That may be technically true, but all of us have felt overwhelmed at times, and no amount of faith can rescue us from that despair at that moment. It takes honest, hands-on caring from those around us. So pray. Trust God. And remember that Jesus calls us to be the hands and feet of love in the lives of the sick and hurting. Just know that the ones dealing with the pain can love God through the doubts, even if finding God in their situation really is like trying to smell the color 9...

9's not a color
And even if it were you can't smell a color, and
That's my point exactly...

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Super Memories

It's Super Bowl weekend, which always brings back floods of memories for me. So many youth group parties and chili dinners with old friends are stored away in my vault. But for the past 10 years, we have spent the day at Winners Sports Bar here in Tampa watching the game and eating good food. The tradition started with Marilyn, Will, and me but quickly became a "family event. Michelle joined in, along with her brother Alex and much of the rest of her family. And for the past 7 or 8 years, Lisa Jewett joined in the fun. Her son Scott came at least once as well. Tomorrow will be another first without her, another day full of happy memories and the sadness of not being able to create new ones. I've missed her during the playoffs when she would ask who was still alive for the big game and "who do we want to win?" She knew my loathing of the Patriots and knew if they were playing we wanted the other team. But she had no great knowledge of football. So game night she would sit near me and ask a lot of questions. And, as always with Lisa, the questions were a hoot! Things like:
* Why don't the coaches wear uniforms like they do in baseball?
* If you have offensive and defensive coordinators, why do you need a head coach?
* Why can't the first guy who touches the ball (the center) just pick it up and run with it? 
* The signals the refs give for penalties are too confusing. Why can't there be a different color flag for each penalty?
* Can you substitute in the middle of a play like in hockey?

You get the idea. Lisa also added her own unique flavor to the party. In 2013 we had to find her a Baltimore Ravens jersey for their game against the 49ers. Why? Her son Scott's high school mascot had ben the Ravens, and she loved Baltimore's purple jerseys. In 2014, Seattle was playing Denver. We were rooting for The Broncos and Peyton Manning. But the crowd at Winners was overwhelmingly against us. Periodically one of the fans would start a cheer by yelling, "SEA!" And the rest would respond by yelling, "HAWKS!"  After several occurrences of this, Lisa turned to me and said that she didn't understand. Why were they yelling "HAWKS SEE?" She was not hearing the initial sea, only the response and second sea. So, of course, we laughed for quite a while, and we did a HAWKS SEE cheer several times after that.

Over the last 4 years of her life, Lisa always came for the fun, even though she left early most nights and couldn't eat for several others. She made me call her the moment the 2018 game ended and Will's beloved Eagles had actually beaten the hated Patriots. It's was just another way she was a huge part of our family.

So enjoy the game. Throw a few brightly colored flags and make up your own penalties. And oh by the way...this year WE will be cheering for the Chiefs!!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Empty Chairs, Empty Tables...and an Empty Stocking


Happy Christmas Eve! 2019 has been a year filled with highs (the wedding of Will & Michelle comes to mind) and lows. As so often happens in life, it takes a holiday or special occasion to bring life's changes into full view. This Christmas season was already very difficult, doing so many things we used to with Lisa Jewett without her for the first time. But it is also the first Christmas with Will not at home and with Michelle as his wife. Most of you know I have never been someone who feared change. But today, right now, I have to say enough already!

For most of the past 5 years, our Christmas Eve began at Steak'N'Shake eating breakfast with Michelle while she worked. Lisa would join us, and the 5 of us would do our own little gift exchange right there in the restaurant. This year, Will is also working at Olive Garden- a 12 hour day! So missing breakfast is not the only change to our traditions. A normal Jones Christmas Eve would consist of us going to a Candlelight Service at church, followed by a hot dog (with chili and slaw!) dinner and a watching of A Muppet Christmas Carol. Marilyn and I will still go to church, but the hot dogs and Muppets will now wait until tomorrow when Will and Michelle can join us. The empty chairs and empty tables are making what was already difficult feel very, very sad. It is a day when I should be proclaiming JOY TO THE WORLD but I confess to it being a struggle.

And then there is the empty stocking. On Christmas Day 2015 Lisa was in the hospital, and after our family opened our presents that morning I went to see her. I had picked up this cool Snoopy stocking for $1.99 at Walgreen's the night before and lots of junk to fill it up. I just didn't want her to miss Christmas. For the following 3 years, I kept the same stocking and filled it each Christmas, usually giving it to her on Boxing Day. The gifts got better each year, but that didn't really matter to Lisa. She told me after the second time that she couldn't remember the last time anyone had done a stocking for her, and that it was her favorite part of Christmas. So I have the stocking out this year, and for most of the season, seeing it made me smile as my mind flooded with great memories. But today- knowing I have nothing to put in it, knowing it will continue to be empty- it just makes me miss her even more. Add the empty stocking to the empty chairs and empty tables and it is hard to feel merry about much of anything today.

Tomorrow is the day we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. It's the day we remember that HOPE came into the world, and that LOVE came down so we could all understand what love really means.  Tomorrow I will be ok, as the family gathers and we remember the promise of Christmas. But my word for today is empty. I know I am not alone in that feeling, and for any of you who are hurting and feel loss during this season, you have my prayers. May we all find the HOPE that came that first Christmas.

Peace be with you,

Carl

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Apple Pie

Today is Lisa Jewett's 55th birthday, and so it will be a hard day for her family and friends, and especially for me. But I want to share a happy story, so I'm going to talk about apple pie! At some point during the time Lisa lived with us following her surgery and during her initial chemo treatments in 2015-2016 she began craving warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream, so Publix and I provided it for her. Quite often! Those cravings went away for a few years, but in early 2019 returned and we often went to The Village Inn after her weekly chemo for apple pie- and a caramel sauce drizzle. She loved her apple pie. But that's not really what I came to talk about today...

Sometime around 2013, a group of us were having dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. At some point, a birthday was celebrated near us, and the servers did their version of happy birthday, which is more of a chant than a song. It goes, "Fried chicken, country hog, it's your birthday, HOT DOG!"  Lisa had never heard it before and just loved it. A few days later she called, saying she was trying to remember the words and wondering (as always) if I could help. I told her the words, and her end of the phone went silent for a moment. Then she told me that I was wrong because she was certain the chant included the words "apple pie." I repeated the chant (with confidence) only to be told once again that I was incorrect. She spent a great deal of time over the following weeks trying to figure out just where her beloved apple pie fit, but with no luck. When we finally returned to the restaurant she was certain she would be vindicated. As luck would have it an adjacent table was celebrating and the chant was performed. They finished- with no apple pie. But our Lisa was not to be denied. As the servers began to disperse she yelled out, "APPLE PIE!" As so often happened when she and I were together, we broke out in loud laughter and almost no one else understood. From that point on, almost anytime we were anywhere and anyone was singing a birthday song, at the end we would look at each other, grin and say, "APPLE PIE!"

So if you are like me and you are missing Lisa today on her birthday, break out your favorite birthday song for her. And don't forget to finish it off with some apple pie...

Carl

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Farewell, Lisa

My friend Lisa Jewett passed away early Saturday morning September 14, 2019- her heroic 4-year struggle with ovarian cancer finally at an end. My friend Lisa. Even as I typed those words the word "friend" seems overwhelmingly and heartbreakingly insufficient. In truth, there is no single word that describes what Lisa and I shared- but I shall attempt to tell you our story.

By August of 2015, Lisa was already a part of our family. She, Marilyn and I had dinner together as often as 3 or 4 times each week. Lisa and Marilyn were Disney buddies, often including our son Will and his girlfriend Michelle. And Lisa and I had become very close. We talked and texted often. We were keepers of each other's secrets. A very special bond developed between us. So when she came to my house one afternoon to tell me she had been diagnosed with cancer and was going to Moffitt Cancer Center to have it confirmed, I was devastated. She sat on my couch and we both cried. She told me her greatest fear was having to go through the fight she faced alone. I promised her then and there she would never be alone. "Always and forever, no matter what." And I spent the last 4 years keeping that promise.

Many people know that I went with her to almost every appointment, every chemo treatment, and every emergency room visit. I stayed nights with her in the hospital after her surgery and on many other occasions. She lived with Marilyn and me for several months as she recovered. I was her nurse, giving her shots and treating her incision. I was her cook as we tried to find foods that tasted good and didn't upset her system. And I was her friend as we watched TV and took walks and tried to guess what the future might hold. After she moved back to her home I was still her lunch buddy, her Uber driver, and her emergency contact. I was at the hospital with her when she had her gallbladder removed in the Spring of 2016.  And right through the end of her life, I was by her side every chance I got. I will be forever grateful to her son Ken and his family for inviting me into their home over her last 6 weeks to continue being part of her care team. Ken was amazing at the end of her life, loving his mom so well.

But our bond became so much more than medical. When she started back to teaching I often delivered lunch to her at school. At Christmas, I filled a stocking for her each year, which she once told me was the sweetest thing I ever did for her. She joined my family for so many special events, from movies to dinners. For the past 3 years, I did most of her grocery shopping for her (not that she required much!), was often sent for emergency school supplies, and kept Amazon in business ordering things she needed...or wanted! One particularly bad week of school I sent her flowers anonymously to her classroom. She immediately called me to thank me, and I questioned what made her think I sent them. Her response- "Who else would do that for me?"- may still be my favorite thing she ever said to me. We watched TV together most every night- from separate homes! We would text as we watched. In the summer of 2018 I was blessed to be able to send she and Marilyn on a dream trip for both of them- a Disney Cruise to the Caribbean! In November of that year I took her to New York City, keeping a very old promise I had made to her in 2005. Lisa, Marilyn, Will, Michelle and I had the trip of a lifetime, including 6 shows and nearly freezing to death at the Macy's Parade. Her friends Chris and Carol Miller also took her on great trips (including an Alaskan Cruise in July of this year with Marilyn going as well), and she got to spend incredible times with her 5 grandkids in Asheville and at Disney. I loved that she always came to me for help planning things for her grandchildren. Over the last 4 years of her life, Lisa LIVED better than most of us.  And it was amazing to be part of her journey.

My family will never be the same without her. We will miss her every time we see a movie or a musical. We will miss her every time we celebrate a birthday. They will miss her every time they go to Disney. And me? When will I not miss her? Every time I see an orange car I will want to yell "Skittle!" Every time I watch anything related to "The Bachelor" I will miss her. Every time I have a story to tell, a sadness to defeat, or a need to talk about Sharknado I will miss her. And every time I see a Joe's Crab Shack my eyes will water. That was our place.  She was a special, courageous, funny, beautiful woman with whom I shared a unique bond. And it hurts to know she is gone.

When I told her goodbye as I left Ken's house on Friday night, I kissed her forehead and said the same things I had the previous 2 nights as she slipped away from us. I told her I loved her, and that it was ok- she could let go now. Her family was there. And then I reminded her one last time that I  was too. "Always and forever. No matter what."



13 weeks have passed since I wrote the above words, and it has not gotten any easier. We celebrated her life in a service just last weekend, but the hole in my heart feels no closure. Her birthday is coming fast, as is Christmas. Hard times for all who loved her, but if I may be allowed to say so, even harder for me. So many memories, so many treasured moments flood my heart. I still say good morning and good night every day, and suppose I always will. No mater what.

Carl

Monday, August 6, 2018

Three Years Later...and Cancer Still Sucks

Greetings friends! When I stopped blogging on a daily basis a couple of years ago, I said that I would still post from time to time if I felt I had something important to say. Today is one of those times. 
Lisa, Carl, Marilyn, Michelle, Will & Michelle's brother Alex.
The fam at opening night of Infinity War.

Many of you may recall that in August of 2015 my dear friend Lisa Jewett was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. In the months that followed Lisa had two rounds of chemo with a major surgery sandwiched in between. She had to take a year off from teaching. She lived with us for 4 months while she recovered. Many of you prayed for her and contributed to a GoFundMe account by voting to save my mustache. She continued dealing with side effects from chemo, had her gallbladder removed and slowly recovered. The treatments worked and cancer mostly disappeared from her body. Then it came back with a vengeance almost a year later. Prospects looked bleak until her wonderful oncologist got her into an experimental drug trial. For the past 21 months, the drugs worked wonderfully, despite their somewhat horrible side effects. But Lisa never quit fighting, never quit living her life, and remained full of life and vigor. She went hiking in Utah and NC, took a Disney Cruise with my wife Marilyn in June and continued to spend lots of time with her 5 grandchildren. Her strength has astonished medical professionals who work with cancer patients for a living. 


I know these things because in the past 3 years I have been to all of her monthly oncologist's appointments with her- I think I have missed 2. We talk almost every day. Lisa joins our family for meals on a regular basis. I get to have lunch with her son Scott on occasions as well. She, Marilyn and sometimes Will & Michelle visit Disney together quite often- and she is is currently plotting some way to play the steel drums at their wedding next March. We have attended countless movies and plays together, and in November the 5 of us are going to NYC. The point is, I KNOW these things because Lisa is a huge part of our family and I have walked with her every step of the way. And just when we had settled into the treatment and the side effects and her life was feeling somewhat normal again, we got hit with a bomb this past Wednesday. The cancer is back. And it will mean big changes- again.

Lisa posted the following on her Facebook page so I will let her words give you the details she wants us to know. 

Dear prayer warriors- First of all, I am sorry for the long post. An update with what is going on. First of all I want to say I trust in the Lord and have faith that He will continue to bring me through this trial. So much so that I signed up today to do my very first 5K. I registered for the Disney Princess 5K and anyone who would love to run (walk) with me please do! Ok, so now on to the news I received yesterday. My cancer cell count is back up to 800 and there are new tumors that have grown. So that means the trial I was on is no longer working for me. They officially took me off the trial yesterday. But the good news is there are new trials and therapies being discovered all the time. They have screened me for an immunotherapy trial that I should start in 28 days. Here are the specific prayers I need lifted up.
1. I get in trial
2. I can handle the side effects that come with it.
3. It works!
4. In two years when the trial will be over for me, God has another awesome plan waiting.
My heart and soul tells me God has this and always has and I will continue to be a fighter and trust in Him! My hope is in Him. But right now just finding all this out, I will admit is a little scary. Than
k you all for praying for me. I know prayers work! The fact that I am still alive proves that





I believe in Lisa. I believe that Dr. Shahzad and his team have never led us astray and that trusting them has led to great things thus far. And I KNOW that Lisa is one of the toughest, most courageous people I have ever met. As her friend Jen Robison likes to remind her, no matter the odds, Lisa can always "be the one" who will beat them. This is her third round of the battle with cancer, and I will not bet against her! Her Jones family will be there to support her in her fight. As I have told her since day one, "Always and forever- no matter what!"  I invite all of you to come be a part of Team Lisa. I promise she will inspire you to great things.

And as for cancer? #CANCERSUCKS