Sunday, April 16, 2017


Christ is risen!  Alleluia!  Happy Easter!

This is my last blog post here.  I don’t know if I can express how much this blog has meant to me, and how much it  meant to Kate.  As I think back to when we decided to start a blog, it was more about survival than trying to reach people.  When she was first diagnosed in Feb 2016, our phones were buzzing non-stop with friends and family wanting updates.  I figured that it’d be easier to type it once and publish it than to answer dozens of calls and texts every hour.  Of course, this turned into so much more.  Your prayers and support have been truly humbling, and the stories you tell of people’s lives being touched by our story are inspiring.  Thank you for being a part of our lives, and for your continued prayers and support.

I think it’s fitting to provide a brief update on funeral and burial costs, given your overwhelming financial support.  As I type, the Funeral & Burial YouCaring site is at about $62k.  That’s a rough number that includes all online donations, and all the offline donations I could remember to add to that total (if you sent a check, gift card, or gave cash, there’s a way for me to add that to the total without being charged their fee).  The total for her burial and funeral will be $35k - $40k, after I purchase a grave marker.  The remaining donations are going into a college fund for the kids.  I am shutting down the YouCaring site this morning, and I ask that if anyone feels called to donate further, please support these two schools, both of which were very dear to Kate’s heart.

Franciscan University of Steubenville

The Saint Constantine School

As I reflect on our hope for this blog as it developed over the past year, our consistent prayer was that it would lead people to pray.  More than hoping for a cure or healing, we wanted you to pray.  Please let that be Kate’s legacy.  You honor her by continuing to pray to God in whatever ways He leads you.

And so, as my final request, I ask that you join me in praying the Divine Mercy Novena for the repose of Kate’s soul.  If you are on Facebook, you may have seen my short post a couple days ago to this effect.  If not, feel free to join us now to conclude on Divine Mercy Sunday - a week from today.
The Divine Mercy Novena

Thank you once again.  May God abundantly bless you, as He has abundantly blessed us through you.

Happy Easter,


Wednesday, April 12, 2017


This is the eulogy I gave for Katie on Monday night at the vigil service.  I'm posting it here after a number of requests to do so.  Also, I would be remiss not to mention how incredible you all are for showing up for Katie's vigil and funeral mass.  I was floored.  Thank you once again for your prayers and support.

If you follow the intersection of politics and the Catholic Church (because really, who doesn't?), you may recognize an homage to the eulogy given for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia by his son, Fr. Paul Scalia.  I tried to find a way to credit him in the eulogy itself, but everything I tried just broke up the flow.  This seems a more appropriate place to do so.  

Eulogy for Katherine Lorine Garcia April 10, 2017

Good evening.  

I must begin by thanking each of you for the truly overwhelming, incomprehensible support you have shown to me and our family.  Time, talent, treasure, and prayers, and more of each than anyone could ever imagine.  Thank you.  

We’re here tonight because of someone who is loved by many,
someone whose words touched countless people,
whose presence brought joy and peace,
someone who spoke the truth without shame no matter who was present, 
even if it ruffled some feathers,
especially if it ruffled some feathers.
We’re here to celebrate the person who was the center of our family’s faith life,
who nourished us at table, quenched our thirst, dried our tears, 
and gave us strength to make it through the hardest days,
Someone who pointed to God every day, whether it was popular or not,
someone who suffered greatly, and who consciously chose to use that suffering for the sake of others.  

That person, of course, is Jesus Christ.  

You may have thought that I was talking about my sweet Kate.  That’s because Katie lived her life pointing to Jesus, and she would want me to spend this time focused on Him.  

All of us here tonight, as well as thousands more around the world prayed for Kate’s healing from this disease.  By the way, I saw the stats on the blog, and thousands is not an exaggeration.  

So what, then, are we to make of her death?  Why didn’t He hear the cry of His people?  
Did God turn a deaf ear?  
Did Jesus abandon Katie?  
Did we choose the wrong saint to ask for a miracle?  
Perhaps He would have healed her if we had just… 

No.  That’s not how God works.  

Our God is a God of love and compassion, healing and redemption.  God is not a magic spell, or a recipe that we have to follow to the letter or else.  Jesus is a person, and Katie was deeply, madly in love with Him.  

I think it’s fitting that she passed when she did - on the cusp of Holy Week, when we remember Jesus’ passion and death, that death which was the only acceptable payment for our sins.  It’s almost as if Kate wanted us to connect her death with His, and so draw us deeper into the mysteries we celebrate this week.  

And then after our mourning, joy of joys, we get to celebrate Christ’s rising to new life, opening the door for Katie and all of us to join Him in unutterable ecstasy.  And on Sunday, I encourage each of you (and I’ll be doing my best to follow my own advice) to celebrate Easter.  Celebrate Kate’s rising to new life.  Celebrate the friend, sister, daughter, mother, wife that she was to each of us.  

I’ve been reading through her journal these last few days, and it’s clear that in the deepest parts of her soul, Kate gave her fiat, her yes, to our Lord each and every day.  She struggled, as we all do, to understand why He would ask certain things of her.  Why He would ask her to die.  

I don’t know the whole truth of it, and I probably won’t until I meet her again in paradise, but I know this:

Katie’s deepest desire was for God to use her to call others closer to Him.  Thank you for answering that call.

Friday, April 7, 2017

In Media Res

How can I even begin to sum up Katie’s life?

When writing a story, sometimes an author will begin in media res - ‘in the middle of things,’  as when beginning a book with something like “Jim shielded his eyes as the mortars exploded overhead,” or something like that.  The action is already happening.  You’re just thrown into it and have to figure out the back story later.

For Kate, her earthly life ended in media res.  The action is still happening.  Nine and a half years of marriage, four young children, brand new landscaping.  These aren’t things that typically accompany death.  There’s no easy way to sum her up because the second half of the book was torn out, or at least that’s how it feels.

These past days have been unbelievably difficult for us grown ups.  There have been more tears than I can count, and I know they’ve only just begun.  Our pastor, Fr. Hai, came by recently and mentioned how we’re being strong for the kids; that we’re here for them in this difficult time.  I think the truth may be the other way around.  They accept without question that Mommy is happy now.  She’s healthy now.  She’s no longer in pain and she’s with God in Heaven, and that makes them happy.  They’re processing in their own way, but I think our good friend Tricia is right when she says that they’re much closer to Him than we are.  They haven’t separated themselves from Him like we have over the course of decades.  So in many ways, they’re here for us more than we’re here for them.  They still need three square meals, two snacks, some naps, diaper changes, hugs, baths, stories, and prayers.  These things can at times feel like chores, but for us right now they’re blessed work to keep our hands busy.  Their hugs are more healing that I could have ever guessed they could be.

The truth is that I know that she’s happy and healthy, too.  When she passed, I saw her healed.  Not clearly, not anything I can quite put into words, but something I know in my heart.  She has that joy beyond all measure that can only come from beholding the face of our Lord without stain of sin or sadness.  She still loves us, in some ways more than she could before.

These days have been hard, and they will be hard for some time.  I have faith that the Lord is sending His Spirit, the Consoler.  It will just be some time before it doesn’t hurt like it does now, and that’s ok.  The pain confirms that I loved her.  It confirms that this is a great loss, and knowing that I loved her is comforting.  Please pray for us all as we mourn the loss of our dear Kate.   We will be praying for your healing and consolation.  And you can be certain that Kate is interceding for us all; that is how she lived on this earth, and I know that she’s continuing in Heaven.

Obituary and Service Details

Katherine Lorine Garcia was born January 10, 1983, to Paul and Tina Hoffman.  Kate was the second of three children along with her older brother, Joseph Hoffman and younger sister, Lisa Loftice.  The family grew up going to the lake, and Kate loved the lake best of all places.  It was for her a refuge, a retreat, and a second home.  Weekends and summers at the lake were mandatory, for it was there that she could truly relax and simply enjoy time with her family.

On August 11, 2007, she married David Thomas Garcia, her high school sweetheart.  In 2010, they welcomed their first-born, John David, followed in 2011 by Lilia Marie, Thomas James in 2013, and Andrew Paul in 2014.  In February 2016, Kate was diagnosed with appendiceal cancer, and after a brief remission in the fall, was diagnosed with stage IV in December.  On April 5, 2017, while holding David’s hand, she entered into her heavenly rest.

Kate loved Jesus and his Church with a passion that could be felt by all who knew her.  In public, she could be the life of the party or a quiet confidant, often switching from one to the other at will.  Despite her gregarious nature and ability to befriend anyone she met, she was strongly introverted, and maintained a healthy balance of time with friends and time alone at home with just her children and David.  She loved watching TV and movies, and would often spend nights at home, snuggled on the couch with David, enjoying a show.  She loved to write and kept a daily journal for most of her life.

Katie took her vocation to marriage and family life seriously, and worked tirelessly for her marriage and children.  For Katie and David, marriage was like a garden: beautiful to see in bloom.  And like a garden,  it took work to keep it pruned, to pull out weeds, to water, and feed.  Kate was always reading and researching ways to be the best mother she could be for their four children, and she was an incredible mother: kind but firm, gentle even when disciplining, and purposeful in decision making.

Throughout her illness, Katie wrote and shared her thoughts and reflections online, touching hundreds, even thousands of hearts and drawing them closer to Jesus.  That was always her driving force - to bring others closer to God.  While at Franciscan University, Kate joined a sisterhood of faithful women - Stella Mariae.  Their household greeting, though short, seems fitting as she departs us for her final reward:

“It is the deepest desire of my heart to see you in heaven.”

A public visitation and vigil service will be held on Monday, April 10th at 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm, respectively, at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Houston, Tx.  The funeral mass will follow there on Tuesday at 10 am, with a public reception immediately after mass at the parish hall.  A private graveside service will be held at a later time.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to one of the two schools below:

Franciscan University of Steubenville
Steubenville, OH
We are working on setting up a memorial fund, but I'm sure if you make a note with your donation we can get it applied to the fund at a later date.

The Saint Constantine School
Our two oldest are here, and the two youngest will start attending when they are old enough.
Please make checks payable to The Saint Constantine School and send to:

The Saint Constantine School
6000 Dale Carnegie Lane
Houston TX 77036

A gift receipt will be mailed to you before January 31 of the current tax season.

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Around 10pm tonight, my sweet Katie went home.  She asked that everyone pray a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the repose of her soul.  At your next opportunity, I ask that you pray one, if nothing else than to honor her wishes.  If you haven't prayed the Chaplet before, go here for a step-by-step.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support.  We have been loved beyond anything I could have ever imagined.  You have been in our prayers, and please know that Katie is now praying for you in eternity.

I'll post something more complete in the next few days.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Nearing the End

I know there are some who follow the blog but not Facebook.  So you know, I posted this on FB on April 1st around 6 pm.

God, in His infinite mercy, will likely bring my sweet Katie home sometime very soon. A priest was by this morning to hear her confession, give her anointing, and pray the prayers for the dying. Please pray for her peace as she prepares to look on Him who is the deepest longing of our hearts face to face. Be assured of His goodness and of her intercession. 

I look forward to reading your comments here when I can, but please respect the family's privacy during this time. She is only seeing immediate family, and not able to respond to texts or answer calls. 

God bless you!

The past few days have been hard, and I imagine the next few will be even harder.  Kate is still with us.  Those who have experience in these things tell me that it may still be a few days yet - maybe more, but maybe not.  There's no way to know.

So many have asked how they can help, and I struggled with whether to share this or not, but I think I ought to.  Part of the struggle is that this is exactly the kind of decision I would usually discuss with Kate.  She's no longer able to talk as she once was.  I am making decisions on my own already.  Whether to send the kids to school tomorrow, when to call the priest, who to have around the home at different times, how I spend my own time.  Her voice in my heart struggled with this as well, but I think we would have come to the same conclusion if we had talked about it.  I think sharing this need is the better part of humility.  It certainly is humbling.

There's a bit of a story here, if you'll permit me.  Or if you'd rather not read a short novel - TLDR.

We loved a lot of things about this house when we bought it in July 2009, 7 months before John, our oldest, was born.  Near the top of that list were the two huge live oak trees in the front yard.  We’re at the end of a cul-de-sac, so the trees have a ton of space to spread out, and they are gorgeous.  Unfortunately, the landscaping around the trees was never quite what we wanted.  Since roughly the day we moved in, Kate has had a vision for what she wanted the front yard to be, but something else was always more important – paying off a car, saving for the future, etc.

Over the past months, when we discussed what she'd like to do or see in the time she has left, she could never think of anything.  "I've lived the life I always wanted - marrying you, raising our children, building this life together."  She's never wanted to fly in a fighter jet or go skydiving or eat exotic fruit while being fanned with palm fronds while lounging on a dais atop an elephant.  That's not her.  The desire of her heart has always been for family - me and the kids, her parents, her brother and sister, my family.  That's who she is, and she has no regrets that we have been the focus of her life.  For the record, I'd totally take the elephant thing. 

And yet, there's always been that front yard.  Those trees.  "Oh, if I were going to live, we'd redo the front yard the way I'd always dreamed." On a whim (or more accurately, I think, by the prompting of the Holy Spirit), I decided to call my mom’s landscaper on Sunday morning, Mar 19.  He said that he’d love the business, but was swamped right now.  He could come out to talk to us on Wednesday, but couldn’t start work for at least six weeks.  I knew that Kate may not be here in six weeks.  Oh well.  I tried. 

A couple hours later I got a text message from him saying that he could meet us at 5:00 pm and could start work Wednesday.  Apparently my mom had called him, and Tilo has a big heart.  Tilo came at 5:00 as promised, and Kate and I walked around the house discussing her plans.  He took notes, offered suggestions, and confirmed that he and his crew could make her dreams a reality.  He did, however, have a condition.  Before he could plant anything in the front yard, he needed the trees to be thinned to allow some light through.  

I met Grant Crowell back in college, when I was a young praise-and-worship guitarist, and he was a slightly older praise-and-worship guitarist whom I admired for his magnetic personality and that incredible quick double-strum that I never really mastered.  A number of years ago Grant started The Urban Foresters, and has made quite a name for the business.  I'm no industry expert, but I understand from others who don't know him and are in the industry that his crews are the best in the business.  I called Grant Sunday night, knowing that his crews were probably swamped with big corporate contracts and getting everyone's trees ready for spring.  "We'll be there tomorrow morning, David.  It's the least we can do."  If you need tree work, call Grant.  They're amazing at what they do, and he is a good good man.  Some day I'll master that double-strum.  

Suddenly Kate had a big job ahead, and she dove into it.  Designing the layout, selecting plants, choosing locations, materials, and more.  Her strength may have been waning, but her spirit was still strong.  With a  lot of help from Tilo and our neighbor’s friend who also works with plants, we had a rough design complete by Wednesday morning when Tilo and his crew arrived.  With his guidance and vision, along with a lot of work from his crew, the front yard has been completely transformed.  

We’ve also had a fencing crew here at the same time erecting a new cedar fence to make it safer for the kids to play in the cul-de-sac without risk of them running into the major thoroughfare just on the other side of the fence.  The fence includes thick concrete-filled metal posts to protect the kids if a wayward car were to ever attempt to break through.  Our sprinkler system has been refurbished, and my brother-in-law Michael and I spent some time adding electrical to the front yard to support Christmas lights and new landscaping lighting, which I installed with the help of some friends.  The back yard and both sides of the house have been completely transformed as well.  

In short, what was once a source of frustration and disappointment for Kate is now a true joy. Throughout the project, she would come out a couple times a day to see the progress as the men are working, to provide input on plant placement, and to enjoy the new world of our front yard.  The space that our kids would previously avoid at all costs is now the space where they can’t wait to run around and explore, and that is something that is truly priceless.

There's something about a well done garden that speaks to the deepest part of our souls - that part of us that God inspired the writers of Genesis to capture by making our unspoiled natural home a garden.  Something about our very nature as humans was made to garden, or at the very least to appreciate a garden.  I'm not sure I understood that before this project.  This garden is among Kate's final gifts to me and the kids, and we will enjoy it for many many years to come.  

And that brings me to our need, and my own seemingly constant need to be humbled.  

You have already been more generous than I could have ever imagined.  I had intended to use your generosity to cover funeral and burial expenses, and they would have done that very nicely.  But if you've ever done a landscaping project, a fencing project, and sprinkler renovations like I've just described, you won't be surprised to learn that they've used up the vast majority of those funds.  

Please don't misunderstand me - we have life insurance, and I knew when we started these projects that if nothing else, there's a very simply way for me to take a loan on one of Kate's policies to cover any of these expenses, and with the proximity of her passing, the interest would be negligible.  There was no financial risk in moving forward with the landscaping even with the looming funeral and burial expenses.  Or at least if there was any, it was well worth it for Kate to be able to see her dream realized.  And yet, if I listen to Kate's voice in my head, I know that she wouldn't want me to take out a loan on the policy, or at the least it would make her squeamish.  Side note - I don't think I've ever typed the word 'squeamish' before.  It looks funny now that I see it.  But I digress.  

Many have asked how they can help over these past months.  And so, without expectation, and I hope in humility, I make known to you a need for help covering funeral and burial expenses, which should total $25-$30k.  I've started a new YouCaring if you feel called to help.  

Image result for youcaring logo

I cannot express how grateful we are to every person who has already donated to us.  We pray for each of you constantly.  Thank you so much. If you choose to donate to this funeral and burial expenses fund, I pray that God returns your generosity a hundred-fold as only He knows how.  Regardless of whether or how much you donate, please know that you are in our prayers, and that Katie will be praying for you when she reaches her eternal reward.  
I'll end with the blessing we pray over each of our kids at bedtime, and that we've been praying over Kate as she nears the end of her race.  I've heard many translations - this is the one we use. 

God bless and keep you.
God's face shine on you.
God be kind to you and bring you His peace.
And may God bless you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017


This is another one of those posts that I don’t know how to start, other than to just say it.

Last Thursday, Mar 9, following another CT scan, we met with our oncologist to review.  He told us what we already knew, or at least strongly suspected - that the chemo was not working, the cancer is spreading, Kate’s body could not withstand further treatment, and there are no other treatment options.  He recommended that we switch to focusing on treating her symptoms and spending time with the kids and loved ones.

We’ve known since December that this is an aggressive cancer, but we had hoped that the chemo would be effective and buy us a lot of time, or at least some time.  After a scan in January and just before chemo started, he told us that it’s progressing much faster than expected, and he and all his colleagues were stumped as to why.  Note that this is the pre-eminent Appendiceal Cancer expert at what is widely accepted to be the best cancer hospital on the planet, and he was stumped.

His team explained that if chemo was effective, we’d know pretty soon just by observing her pain and other symptoms.  Kate’s pain has been increasing steadily since October, and the chemo didn’t have any effect on that trajectory.  Given what we saw with her symptoms, we expected this news and agreed with his assessment and recommendation to switch to hospice care.  He didn’t give a time frame, because truly no one can but God.  In the most general terms, he told us ‘weeks to months’, but that’s as much of a guess as it is experience or science.

So as of Thursday afternoon, Kate transferred from MD Anderson to Houston Hospice as her primary care team.  She’s home, and hospice nurses visit regularly, though we’re still her primary caregivers.  She can go into their inpatient care center if needed, but the goal is to keep her at home as much as possible.

We continue to pray for the intercession of Fr. Margil that God would heal Katie.  We know that He will heal her, though it looks like He is planning to heal her in heaven, and not here on earth.  In addition, I've been praying to St. Joseph, patron of the departing.

Oh St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, so that having engaged here below your heavenly power I may offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most loving of Fathers. Oh St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms.  I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart.  Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.  St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us.  Amen.

Many have asked me how I'm doing.  If you know me well, you know that I'm mildly Type-A (heavy sarcasm).  I like to know what's happening, develop a plan, and execute the plan.  God has been very clear with me these past days - there is no plan.  There is very little I can do to prepare (or help her prepare) in any meaningful way.  There is only today.  There is only the gift of another day, another hour, another minute with Kate by my side.  My prayer has been that He give me the strength and wisdom for today.  I don't need to worry about next year, next month, next week, or even tomorrow.  My calling is to live my marriage today.  It's to be the best husband, father, son, friend, employee, and man that I can be today, at this moment.  Please don't take that to mean that I do it well - I still need lots of prayers just like everyone else.

In this season of Lent when we practice turning back to God, perhaps He's asking the same thing of you.  Perhaps all we ever need is the strength and wisdom for today, to spend our energy on today, on the people we're with, on our calling today rather than what our calling may be in the future.

As difficult as this news is, we feel peace with where we are right now.  There are, of course, good days and bad days, but through it all we know that we are where God wants us to be.  We've looked into alternative treatment options; Kate and I agreed that we'd rather spend her last days enjoying time with one another, the kids, and our friends and family.  As you can imagine, time here at home is precious.  Kate is sleeping more these days, but still awake most of the day.  She needs a lot of her day just to do the things that you and I take for granted.  Visitors have been such a blessing, but it's a tough balance between seeing friends and spending time with me and the children.  Most days, she'd rather not take any visitors and just spend it with us.  It's been such a blessing to spend so much time with my best friend these past days, and I'm truly grateful to God for this time.

Thank you all so much for journeying with us this past year.  We feel the strength and support of your prayers.  Your generosity has been overwhelming.  We love you all, and are honored to have your attention and your prayers.  Please continue to pray for us - we will need your prayers more and more over the next days and weeks.

May God abundantly bless you.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Home Again Home Again


Well it's been quite a week.  Time in the hospital is always such a challenge - navigating the specific symptoms for which Katie is being treated, meeting a bunch of new doctors and other specialists and learning how they fit in with the overall plan of treatment, deciphering how a particular hospital stay impacts plans for chemo, trying to spend some time with the kids and finding the best way to communicate what is happening to them, not to mention all the work that our parents do caring for the kids while we drop everything to be in the hospital.  It's a lot to work through.  

As much as it's a challenge, though, we always meet such incredible people there.  I couldn't possibly tell you about all of them here, but I'd like to tell you about a couple.  Katie may tell you about a couple more because she's so much better at stuff like this than I am.  I'll call mine Steve and Stevia.  

Steve walked into our room Monday evening as Katie, my sister Christina, and I were watching an episode of Parks & Rec (Season 2, "Kaboom") on Netflix.  We paused, Steve recognized the show at once, and we struck up a conversation.  He recognized some holy candles (Providential Co.  You should definitely check them out) we had in the room, and we asked if he was Catholic.  He Non-denominational Christian, but he ran into them at a design conference he was at and picked up a few because "it's so hard to find good contemporary Christian design."  Steve is an architect, he's roughly our age, and he lost his first wife to sarcoma a little over six years ago, not long after they were married.  He's Christian and seems to be very involved in his faith, and one of his favorite theologians is Catholic, though I can't recall the name right now.  We exchanged information and will very likely meet up in the coming weeks.  I don't doubt that he'll be a blessing in our lives.  Meeting him was one of those moments where you just know that God brought people together, and regardless of whatever other fruit comes from the encounter, it's a reminder that God is at work in our lives, and that's perhaps the best comfort.  

Stevia... well... that's a terrible name, and actually an artificial sweetener.  Let's switch that to Stephanie.  Much better.  

Stephanie and Katie hit it off immediately.  Stephanie has a 15-ish-month old daughter who has the biggest, cutest cheeks ever.  We threatened to kidnap her and eat her cheeks, but we probably won't follow through.  Scheduling and all.  Stephanie and her husband tried for 10 years to have their daughter.  They spent more money than I'd care to say, and 5 months into her pregnancy, she was rushed to the hospital, where they told her that she was losing the baby (I forget what specifically was wrong), and they'd have to take her out.  Stephanie knew better, and told them that she was NOT giving up her child.  Doctors said that she'd have to spend the rest of her pregnancy in bed with her legs in the air if she had any hope of carrying her daughter to term.  Stephanie didn't hesitate.  Kate, of course, encouraged her to have more children and recommended they look into NaPro Technology and the Creighton method, as a NaPro doctor is very likely to be able to help them have more children with a lot less time, money, and effort.  Stephanie was excited to hear about NaPro and said she'd look into it right away.  And again, God brought people together.  We'll probably never know whether Stephanie and her husband pursued NaPro or had more children, but that's not really the point, at least not right now. 

The point is that God is at work.  I'll say it again because I need to hear it again.  

God is at work.  

Our God is not a God who sits by an watches.  He is not a God who simply suggests.  He is not idle.  God is at work in our lives - every day, every hour, every minute, every second.  Our creation stories tell us that we're made in His image, and He made us to work - to tend the garden.  As any gardener will tell you, tending a garden is hard work.  So if we are made to work and we are made in His image, then God must be a God who works.  Note that the command to tend the garden comes before the fall.  We're not doomed to work because of our sin; we're made to work because it is integral to our being.  The fall made the work toil, but work is inherently good.  

God is placing you in situations at work and at home, with your friends and acquaintances.  He is introducing you to new people and placing problems in your inbox that you are uniquely suited to solve.  He is working for you and through you.  May our eyes be opened to His work that we may recognize it, and may we be strengthened at His table and with his word that we may have the courage to follow where He is leading us.  


On the medical side, it looks like Kate was dealing with a few things when we went into the ER late last Tuesday night (Feb 21) - dehydration (again), acute infection / sepsis (that's a new one), and opioid toxicity (also a new one).  

First, the dehydration: as I hinted at last time, Kate received a lot of IV liquids in the hospital, and they seem to have helped a lot.  Doctors did decide to give her two units of blood, though the transfusion didn't have the instant-energy effect that we were led to believe it might have.  As a result of all the liquids and the transfusion, she's looking a lot better than she was when we went in, which is really nice to see.  The dehydration is primarily a result of her ileostomy.  She has a shorter overall digestive tract than before, and the small intestines aren't designed to absorb water - that's what your large intestines are for, among other things.  The small can learn to adapt, but dehydration will likely always be a challenge, despite Katie drinking five to six 24 oz glasses of water a day.  

Regarding the infection, doctors found that she had Pseudomonas, which is a nasty bacteria that is pretty rare in the normal population, but not uncommon for advanced cancer patients with compromised immune systems.   Luckily, it's treatable with antibiotics, so we should be in the clear on that, though I'd ask you to pray for it to clear up just the same.  This does present a bit of a wrinkle when considering the chemo regimen, as the chemo she's on suppresses her immune system and makes her more susceptible to infections, which require week-long stays in the hospital, which delays chemo.  It's not unforeseen, but it's a frustrating loop.  Please pray for wisdom for us and our doctors and we move forward on this.

Finally, Kate had been experiencing some other symptoms as a result of opioid toxicity - aka pain killer side effects.  Her hands were intermittently shaky when she'd try to perform fine-motor tasks like texting on her phone or writing.  Her thoughts were frequently cloudy, the drugs made her very drowsy, and she may have had increased pain that wasn't directly from the cancer.  These symptoms can all be traced back to the pain killers.  We learned a bit more about the pain meds she's on during this hospital stay.  It's a bit of a long story, but suffice it to say that we've switched around her meds and these symptoms have largely subsided.  We're still working with the pain docs to get the dosing right so her pain is at a manageable level, but it looks like we may be able to get that sorted out in the next couple of days.  

Kate was discharged yesterday Feb 28, and we are very happy to be home.  Please continue to pray for her increased strength and continued recovery.  

God's blessings be on you, and may you have a blessed Ash Wednesday.