Her work can now be found on MASS LIVE and will be published in the paper in the coming days.
The Republican / Mass Live article
Life can get crazy, calendars confused, priorities misaligned. When that is your reality it is easy to miss a significant life event.
I have worked hard to be present at all the important events in the lives of my children and family members. I have sat through soccer games as my daughter stood in the middle of the field watching a hawk circle the field while the game went on around her. There were concerts where I waited patiently as hundreds of children proved it is near impossible to make music using a recorder. Saturday mornings filled with boys basketball games where the teams simply swarmed the ball and ran off excess energy. I attended Nancy’s high-school reunion with her. The list goes on. I have worked to ensure that I was present for those events significant to the members of my family.
Tonight, I failed. It was not just falling short, it was a failure of epic proportions.
I was not present for Nancy’s return to the basketball court!
The last time she stepped on the hardcourt was 1986, the year we graduated from high-school! The last time she laced her shoes for a game of basketball was over thirty years ago. I know, some of you may be shocked I would share that number…but it astounds me. Thirty years without playing. Many of the boys she was playing against have yet to see their thirtieth birthday. Think about that for a moment.
I had scheduled my conference with the Nehemiah Leadership Network and was out of town. In the middle of our evening presentation, my phone started to “blow up.” There were pictures on Instagram along with texts filled with images of Nancy mixing it up out on the court. I could barely hear what the presenter was saying. I had failed. This was an epic moment in the Nicewonger household, and I was not there to support Nancy.
I am so proud of her strength, her fight, the toughness that resides within her. The church team asked her to play and she pulled on her shoes and went out there with the boys and gave them a run for their money. This is the resilient resolve that I know to be at the core of who Nancy is.
Needless to say, I spent time reviewing my calendar so I can be sure to find a seat on the sideline and cheer her on for the rest of the games.
Oh, the difference a year makes. I find myself reflecting on how much has changed in just a year. I am thankful and hope-filled.
As I reflect on what has changed in this past year, it is significant.
Last year I attended this conference knowing I would be going home to start my second round of chemotherapy. We had done the scans and found my metastases’ had started to grow. Dr. Saroha and I had made plans, the schedule was set, and I knew the path that lay before me.
As I met this group of people for the first time, I had to share that I was unsure how long I would be able to participate in the program. My future was unclear as I thought about the loss of energy and how my body would respond to chemotherapy.
Looking back God was very gracious, and I always had the energy necessary to continue to participate in the program. The times of learning and fellowship have been very important to me. [Read more…]
This past Saturday Nancy and I got to watch some basketball. We spent a couple of hours with Deisy, Isaac and the Avon Grove Recreation Association.
Deisy and Isaac are an active part of life at First Baptist Church.
Isaac helps lead worship, collect the offering and he provides leadership for our Wacky Wednesday Worship program. Each Sunday Isaac and I find a few minutes to talk about our favorite football teams.
Deisy was helping collect the offering and was looking for other ways to serve. We talked and worked together. If you worship with us today you will hear Deisy pronounce the benediction at the close of every worship service. She has found a special way to serve. A few weeks ago she asked if she could start writing her own benedictions to share with the congregation. I am extremely proud of these two young people and the way they have found ways to use their skills serve.
Their basketball games were great fun to watch.
If you look closely you may notice that First Baptist Church is the sponsor of Deisy’s team!
Every now and then we are blessed to be a part of something so special, so amazing that it simply makes us filled with joy.
I had such an experience tonight. Monte Horeb and First Baptist Church joined together to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Monte Horeb is the Guatamalean congregation that worships at First Baptist. We share our building and over the past few years, we have been working to partner in ministry. Tonight was the first time our congregations came together in a joint worship service.
Each part of the service was done in Spanish and English. When we sang each person sang in their native language. The blend of voices singing Christmas carols was nothing short of breathtaking.
Pastor Martin and I each shared a short message from Luke 2 where the angels appear to the Shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus.
Our service ended with candlelight and voices united in singing Silent Night.
It was a beautiful experience that reminded me of what true community looks like. Our two communities were able to look past all those things which make us unique and focus on the one whom we have in common.
In a very real way I got to celebrate the birth of something yesterday.
Today was the first time I have held a copy of The Journey Continues in my hands.
I had seen the proofs, read the e-book but something about holding a copy of the printed book in my hand brought the project to completion.
The Journey Continues is available for purchase today. Inside you will find the story of my journey over the past few years and how God has met me in the midst of chaos and helped me find Joy amongst the struggles.
Please feel free to share with your friends, families and anyone who may benefit from sharing in the journey.
THANK YOU – For the past few weeks, the many groups and people who call First Baptist Church home have helped us collect 520 lbs of rice to supportKACS Christmas Baskets.
Thank you to Monte Horeb, JAM Daycare, and all the groups that use our facility throughout the week who contributed to the collection.
I am humbled by your generosity. It brings JOY to my heart as together we care for others in our community. I am reminded that alone 500 lbs of rice is a big commitment. When we come together around an idea and work together the big becomes small.
Over the past few weeks I have watched as 520 lbs of rice has been collected a few pounds at a time. Ten pounds here, twenty there. I would walk out from my office and find someone had left two bags in the middle of the day. Nobody did this by themselves. If we had to do it by ourselves we may have given up or never taken on the challenge. Together we accomplished something great.
What is our next “big” project to serve those in need?
My new book, The Journey Continues is now available.
“Dan, where do you see God in the midst of all this season?” In the midst of colon cancer! Cancer was not my plan. That was/is not the question. Where in the midst of this journey have you seen God at work? Slowly, very slowly, and sometimes better than others I have begun to wrestle with that question.