Saturday, August 29, 2009


Matthew 25:34-40
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

Today is Day 150. The last 50 days have flown by. It just seems like a couple of weeks ago that we celebrated Day 100. That seemed to take forever, especially the second 50 days. Yet we've gone another 50 days since then. We're about a month away from the next milestone of 180 days, which is when the last of the restrictions should be lifted.

The time has gone quickly because of the support we've received from so many people. We've been ministered to by a lot of people in many ways. We've been blessed by the help, and also humbled by it.

We haven't posted as much in the last few weeks because things have just been going smoothly without a lot of changes. Kind of like trying to raise your batting average late in the baseball season, you have to have a spectacular day to see much change.

Well, we had a spectacular idea presented to us late this week. My district manager came into my office and told me he has been training for a half-marathon in the early fall. This is in preparation of a full marathon next April.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has a program that allows runners to raise money in honor of cancer survivors. Ty asked if we would be willing to spread the word about his marathon next spring. He will be running in Tammy's honor.

It's too early to start taking pledges, but if you think you'd be interested in sponsoring him, send me an email ( I'll put together a group and as the time draws near I'll send you an email to get your pledge.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society does a great job with research and also in helping victims get through the difficulty of cancer. They have donated funds to us to help with prescription costs. We appreciate what they do and look forward to helping them.

Ty's offer of support--and this is not a new offer--brings to mind how much our friends and family have been there for us through this time. Ty has orchestrated financial support from my fellow insurance agents. Our church family has supported us with meals, cards and letters, and even such things as mowing our yard when I was focusing all my attention on Tammy's daily needs. And of course, the prayers of people all around the world have carried us.

When you support someone, you bring glory to God. Sometimes we don't even realize it when we have been God's representative during another person's trials. The key is to be open to His leading, so when opportunities present themselves we can respond.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Happy Anniversary

1 Corinthians 13:13
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Twenty-eight years ago tonight, I said the two words I am most proud of in my entire life: "I do." It has been an amazing 28 years, and we know that the best is yet to come.

Tammy and I grew up together, as we have posted before. I fell in love with her 43 years ago and that love has grown stronger. I can't imagine loving her any more than I do today, though past history tells me I will love her even more tomorrow. Tammy feels the same way about me.

We've been told that hardship like the battle Tammy has gone through over the past 10 months often breaks apart couples, even couples who love each other very much. The constant struggles are too much too handle.

We feel blessed that we have grown closer not apart. We feel that God has given us the strength we need, and our dependence on Him has been the difference.

Tammy continues to do well. We went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant and tonight we're going to watch a rented movie (we're not real fancy). We'll curl up on the couch and just love on each other, much like we have for the past 28 years.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Special Day

Mark 12:30
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."

I have been a part of a business networking group, called "We're Talkin' Tuesday," for more than three years. We meet every other Tuesday and talk about business, giving each other tips, referrals and a friendly ear during tough economic times.

I have become quite close to many of the people in the group. As Tammy has gone through this battle, these friends have been a constant support. When I finish my 30-second "commercial" about my business, they always ask for a "Tammy update." Many people have told us they were praying for Tammy, and as I shared the good news of her progress they shared in my joy.

But the joy was never like it was today. Tammy was cleared to go out in public on a limited basis in late July, and today was the first opportunity to introduce her to "the family" at "We're Talkin' Tuesday." The leader asked me to introduce our special guest, and so I introduced "the love of my life and my hero."

She got a standing ovation.

I had a friend take a video using my phone. We're trying to get it into a form that will show on the web. If we do, we'll post it in the next couple of days.

I had looked forward to this day for some time. I am so proud of her, and I couldn't wait to show her off. I can hardly contain myself when I get the opportunity to talk about how much I love her.

It's not as easy to have that much enthusiasm when it comes to sharing our love for the Lord. It doesn't mean that we shy away from our faith when somebody asks us about it, but can we say that we jump at every opportunity to show off our Lord? Do we act like we're proud of our Savior? It is our prayer that we could demonstrate our love for the Lord in a way that will show everyone that He is the primary focus of our lives.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Joy of Rain

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Do you like rain? How about thunderstorms? We love them. We live in the midwest, where a good thunderstorm is very common. We've had a weekend full of them, and we really enjoy them. It's not that we like the destruction that can come from the severe storms, but we appreciate the awesome display of God's power that is very evident in a thunderstorm.

When our kids were in Poland for extended periods of time, one of the things they each mentioned that they missed the most was the thunderstorms of home. It just rains there. While rain and storms can be a nuisance and an annoyance, they are necessary for growth. They also represent many aspects of our lives.

Rain symbolizes the troubles we face in life, but just as with the rain from the clouds, it's hard to have growth in our lives without going through difficulty.

We certainly have been through some thunderstorms in the past 10 months. We nearly lost Tammy after her transplant when she got very serious pneumonia. She has been very sick many times in her recovery, as her body fights off the effects of the chemotherapy that was necessary to kill her old cells so the new ones could take root. And the latest set-back with her gall bladder was yet another microburst on this journey.

But we know that God has overcome the world. He will not give us anything that we cannot handle with his assistance. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'"

Our prayer for you is that when you face life's storms, that you will rely His grace and be able to praise Him.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Joshua 24:15
"...choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, ...but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

We're glad to report that we don't have to go to Hollywood for the movie production. Actually, there isn't going to be a movie. We hope you didn't really believe that; we were just having fun.

The names listed in the "credits" really have made a huge difference in this story. There are too many people to mention each one by name. But there were some special people we wanted to get some props. We actually thought of the idea a few months ago, and waited until most of the story was written before we ran with it.

Now I know that I'm going to get most of the credit/blame for that story, especially if any of you believed it. But let me set the record straight. While this one was mostly my idea, Tammy is the one who came up with the idea for our wedding announcement in the newspaper that said we went to the Mediterranean for our honeymoon, when we really went to our newly rented apartment in Shawnee. We were in church the next morning. Some of our best "stories" came from the seemingly innocent mind of "Sweet Tammy."

Tammy continues to make progress, allowing us to have some fun with the blog. Yesterday, after a visit to the clinic, I had to drive to the eastern part of town to look at a few buildings we might insure. Instead of taking Tammy home first, I just took her with me. We got some lunch and drove around town looking for the final building we never found. She lasted the whole three hours without any repercussions. Her stamina continues to improve, and nausea is less and less of a problem. That means we can spend some time on, well, having a little fun.

We continue to praise God for His amazing grace. Four months ago, Tammy was still in the hospital, just four days removed from ICU. Today, she stayed home alone while I went to church, then helped me clean the kitchen and do some stuff around the house. Through this whole process, our focus has been on serving the Lord, whether that means recovery, ministry or having fun.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. You'll never know how much they mean to us. We thank God constantly for you.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Going Hollywood

1 Thessalonians 1:3
"We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."

Many people have told us that the story of Tammy’s journey has been an inspiration. Others have even suggested that we turn the blog into a book. Well, recently we got a call from Hollywood, with the voice on the other end of the phone telling us they wanted to make a movie out of her story! As a writer, they asked me to do the promotional material.

What do you think?

A woman in her late 40s had led a life of service to God and to her community. On one of those acts of service, she went to donate blood and found out that she had a blood disorder of her own. Over the next year, she went through a life-threatening ordeal that tested her faith and gave her the opportunity to be “used in a mighty way,” as has been her prayer for years.

This is the remarkable story of that woman’s perseverance, determination and faith through the battle with Leukemia.

Tammy Smale as “Herself”
The doctors, nurses and aides at KU Med Center and the KU Cancer Center as “The Medical Staff”
David Smale as “The Supportive Husband”
David Lee Smale as “The Noble Son”
Julie Smale as “Sunshine”
Lynn and Carleen Young, and Carol Smale as “The Lead Caregivers”
Barbara Jarman, Beth Barnlund, Michelle Alexander, Brooke Knapp, Gary LeSuer, Mary LeSuer and Thelma Reed as “The Caregivers”
Anonymous Bone-Marrow Donor as “The Provider”
Christians across the U.S. and around the world as “The Prayer Warriors”

Producer: God
Writer: God
Director: God
Casting: God
Music/sound: IPod
Art direction: Emily, Noah and Maizie Young and the children of Holy Cross Catholic School; and the children of Cedar Ridge Christian Church
Costume design: One True North
Hairstyling: Joe (aide at KU Med Center)
Special Effects: Chemotherapy
Best boy: “Steve” McGarry

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back in Church

Deuteronomy 4:29
"But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul."

Today was another special day for us. Julie came into town last night and we all went to church together. I was able to preach (about missions) at Tammy's parents' church, and Tammy was able to attend. She's still restricted from going back to our church, because it's a much larger crowd and she still has to avoid big crowds. You just don't know who is sick or unknowingly might have been around somebody sick. But that church is a small church, so she was able to attend.

It was special for Tammy and me because we grew up in that church. I told stories of how I fell in love with "the new girl" when her family moved into town in the summer of 1966. As a young boy preparing to go into second grade I couldn't admit it. But I did a lot to get her attention (not all flattering stuff). Fortunately she forgot about a lot of it, so when we got back together when we were in college, I had a chance. Many of the people who were part of our lives as kids were there today.

Julie led the singing and David Lee did the children's sermon. Then I was able to bring the message about our family's passion for missions. After church, we went to my Mom's house and celebrated Tammy's birthday (a little more than a week ago), Julie's birthday (three weeks from tomorrow) and Tammy's Mom's birthday (four weeks from tomorrow). We spent the afternoon laughing together and celebrating life.

We hope your week is a good one. Look to the Lord and seek His will.