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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks for More Time

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

In October I posted this tribute to my father-in-law on his birthday on the F.A.I.T.H. Blog. Today I post it for another reason with slight modifications. Yesterday we found out he only has 3-6 months, but we know that God is able to give him more time, yet we must be thankful for the time we've had.

For the past couple of years we have spent the last weekend of October in the mountains with my father and mother-in-law. We celebrate my birthday on the 30th and Winston's birthday on the 31st. He's my father-in-law. The photo on the left is of him eating his favorite food--hotdogs--on his birthday in 2008. This year we didn't go on our mountain trip, where he is from, Bryson City, NC. You see, he's in a fight for his life. Instead, we and the rest of our extended family took him out to eat and we all shared in his special day when he turned 73.

Winston has survived pancreas cancer several years ago, lung cancer two years ago, and several blockages in his heart that forced them to do triple-heart by-pass surgery. For the past year he has lived with an heart aneurysm and now the lung cancer is back--stage 4. Through it all, he has stayed strong, his faith has never wavered, and he continues to serve so many others. In the photo to the right he is at Myrtle Beach marveling at the fish aquarium as my husband points out a shark to him.

I love this man! He is so kind-hearted--and I mean tenderhearted. I watched him cry and pray over my baby when she was born with her seizures and in the hospital for almost a month. Years later I've watched him look at her and wipe his eyes in awe of what she overcame. "My eyes are watering," he'd tell me. But I knew better. He was thanking God for her. Winston is stubborn, too. In the photo to the left, he is eating ice cream with my husband. He stubbornly sat through a great meal, refusing to eat any lunch at the beach and held out for a meal of coffee and ice cream--like a kid. We had to explain to my daughter that she had to eat a real meal. 

He is always at the hospital visiting other church members, still serves as a deacon, and goes on church trips inspiring others and spending time with them. There isn't anything he wouldn't do for my mother-in-law. Winston has never let his fight or his diagnosis change or alter his life. If someone in the family or church would offer him a beach trip tomorrow, I daresay, he'd pack up and take off. They were just there 2 months ago with church family. Yes, he thinks of his Christian brothers and sisters as family. Of course, we worried about him, but knew better than to try and stop him. In the photo to the right, my in-laws on Blowing Rock, NC.

In November he started radiation again. He had radiation almost every day for 3 weeks and then he became too sick to start chemo. He has decided not to have chemo. I keep reminding myself of all he's already overcome. In the photo to the left, Winston is at his favorite place--the beach.

My daughter is the youngest grandchild in the family. The rest of their grandchildren are grown and have children of their own with the exception of one. The rest of the children in the family are great-grandchildren. She is aware of Pawpaw's fight and she's been praying for him. In the photo to the right, my husband and his father at a mountain waterfall.

This year I am reflecting on the wonderful birthday parties he and I have shared over the years--all the great memories. I'm sharing a few of those photos with you this morning. I'm looking forward to new memories this Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2010.

Here we all are at the Biltmore Estate on the weekend of our birthdays in 2009. 

For those of you who have already prayed, thank you! We welcome your continued prayers and support.



We are praying. What a legacy and testimony this man has. God has truly been good. To have such a warrior in his service to raise future generations what an awesome blessing! Keep us updated. In Christ Alone, Holly Sharpe

Praying for all of you.

Your story and testimony about your FIl brought tears to my eyes. He sounds like a wonderful man who has been blessed with a family such as yours--and you as his DIL--who could ask for a kinder heart than you have to share like this about him. I'll be thinking of you and the memories you will make on Thursday. Blessings.

Your father in law and the family is in my prayers.

S. Oslin

Holly, Thank you for the prayers. He has been so wonderful through all of this. I can't imagine what he must be feeling and thinking.

Redeemed, We appreciate the prayers.

Terri, Thanks for stopping by and for your prayers. They mean a lot to me.

Sherri, Thanks for praying for us. He asked for Celina to sing Amazing Grace at his funeral, but she didn't think she could do it so we will try and record it on a CD for him. It's hard to get up and sing in front of a crowd when you aren't used to it, but even harder when you're grieving.

Many years ago, when my own father was diagnosed with leukemia, he was given but 6 months. Nearly 18 months passed before he bid his farewell.

How hopeful it is to know that God alone knows the end from the beginning. Praying for more time, and for a concentration of the time you have this very moment.

Blessings this Thanksgiving Day,