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This has been a challenging year. I never imagined I’d have to deal with cancer, yet here I am getting ready to return to work next week. It’s a little cliche to do a generic thankful post on Thanksgiving like everyone else, but I’m doing it anyway. Here are some of my thanks from trials this year.

  • Loving, beautiful, mostly patient wife. We said, “in sickness and in health,” and she has definitely proven it. She has cared for me in ways I never imagined with love and grace, and even when I or the situation frustrated or angered her, she did what needed to be done. I can’t imagine life without her.
  • Friends. We’ve had some friends step up in huge ways. From the small gestures that let me know they care, coming by to just hang out, or bringing food over, it all helped to brighten my day and keep moving forward. A good friend I don’t get to see much helped walk us through what the journey would probably look like. Another was dedicating his summer races to me. Untold numbers kept me in their prayers.
  • Organizations. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to help a number of organizations with their annual events. While you sort of expect friends and family to help with what they can, I never expected these organizations to reach out. They sent gift cards, notes, and messages. It was so touching with their generosity, as many of them never leave fundraising mode so they can do what they do.
  • Family. Whether near or far, they sent gifts, dropped by to visit, or helped out with things. My brother made a point of setting up FaceTimes, and it’s nice to see the smile that lights up my wife’s face when the niece and nephew get on the screen. My cousin here in town helped with whatever she could, and her wedge pillow was amazing after surgery. Her brother’s family even surprised me with a ‘surgery sucks’ basket with chocolate.
  • Connecting Point. Over the last decade, a lot of people have seen their premiums jacked up, and people had to make decisions with their health insurance, some of which led to huge deductibles. My employer not only has maintained excellent insurance coverage, but the disability insurance they provide is also a welcome benefit. Those benefits left our financial picture a lot better than I imagined it might have been.
  • Churches. Here in town, Legacy and Century especially gave us a tremendous amount of support that helped us keep driving forward, but there were churches across the country who had our back. Special gifts from friends and their churches brightened my day. St. Cloud, Denver, Creighton, New Leipzig, Elgin, Turtle Lake, Mott, Dickinson, Jamestown, Burlington, and untold more, the support they gave was incredible.
  • Steer, Inc. One of my favorite times of the year is the annual Steer Banquet, and things lined up just right that I could still help this year. I don’t farm or ranch, but it’s a great opportunity for me to use my gifts to make an impact. This year, Keith took a moment to pray for me during a lunch. Missionaries from around the world, as well as farmers in the region, surrounded me for a moment and covered me in prayer. It was a small gesture, but one of the most touching moments of my life, as a weekend devoted to missions was interrupted for a short time to lift me up. At a time we were preparing for a major surgery, dozens of prayer warriors joined the effort. Thanks to Layn Mudder for snapping the picture above.
  • Geremy and David. Geremy has become one of my best friends over the last decade. His visits to just hang out and talk about tech, church, and life were wonderful reprieves from the doldrums during chemo. He also helps pick up the slack when I need production help. Likewise, Dave has been one of my best friends since high school. There’s one night in particular when he stopped by to visit where we were able to talk about farming, and life, and his farmer point of view as it related to Steer. I stayed up too late that night, but it was a great few hours that helped keep my creative gears spinning. Both of them always asked how Tiah was doing too.
  • Dan and Carson. These two young guys were willing to jump in and make sure some Sunday morning audio was covered when I couldn’t. They’re both great friends who selflessly serve whenever they can. I have seen instances where each of them have been overlooked because of their youth, and there are some churches somewhere that are going to be appreciative of their technical skills some day.
  • Danelle and Becky. During times like these, the focus generally goes to the patient. These wonderful women were always there for my wife, helping in whatever way they could. From a shoulder to cry on, to getting her out of the house, to helping make sure everything at church got done when she couldn’t be on site, they helped her in more ways than I’ll ever know.
  • Medical Staff. I have been so well cared for from start to finish. When this started I kept getting asked who my doctor was, and I didn’t have one. The entirety of this journey has been me getting referred to someone, who always seem to turn out to be the best person I could be seeing, culminating with a surgeon who was phenomenal. But the people I saw most were the nurses at the infusion center. They were always so friendly and caring, making both Tiah and I feel welcome in a hospital environment that you’d expect to feel very clinical.

There’s so many more people we could call out, but I can’t type forever, and you only want to read so much. I have felt more love and appreciation these past 8 months than maybe ever, some of you really understand how to speak my love languages. While the primary focus in restarting this blog was to be a place to keep people updated without having to endlessly repeat ourselves, it was also an outlet for me to begin writing again on topics I’m passionate about. There was also hope that it could be inspirational for some that might go through similar circumstances, and we’ve already encountered some who have been emboldened to share their circumstances in part because of the transparency we have tried to bring.

While the first chapters of this journey are coming to a close, there will still be more to come, and hopefully future checkups will forever be clear. I’ll continue writing here, and I hope you’ll join us in the comments to share your thoughts. Whether you agree or disagree, the discourse helps to inform me and see other points of view, which help shape and refine my future thoughts.

Thanks again to everyone for everything. Life is looking up, and you’re all a part of my thanks from trials.