To help financially during this time of great need, please forward your offering to Tom's sister:
Darla Wexttsen, 16738 N. Tolle Lane, Mount Vernon, IL 62864
checks may be made payable to "Grace Community Church"

There is also a deposit account set up at US Bank to help defray Deb's uncovered medical expenses.
Visit any US Bank branch office to make a deposit in cash or by check for "Deborah A. Smith Memorial Fund".
Please be sure to mention Charity Paddock or Nellie Haverkos to be sure the gift is properly deposited.

If you use this link to join, then go shopping there, as much as 26% of your purchases will help the family.

RECENT COMMENTS (Add one by clicking on a post"s Comments link)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Your financial gifts are a blessing without measure!

Since Loving Deb Smith started (kudos Barb and Ric for hearing and speaking the leading of the Holy Spirit) the financial gifts on Deb's behalf "have been great", and "unbelievable", which has blessed Deb and Tom without measures since the magnitude of the financial need is staggering. The community of caring now includes known and unknown persons and organizations from all over the country and possibly abroad.

Your gifts are large and small. Darla and Deb and Tom are treating all these gifts as very precious and pray over every dollar.

The gifts provide for uncovered medical expenses (which are unfathomably huge). As previously noted here, Darla and a medical social worker are working every angle to insure that they take advantage of every benefit and charitable source or discount. Those of you who are familiar with any opportunities in this regard should contact Darla using the contact information provided elsewhere on Loving Deb Smith. For example, just yesterday there was a breakthrough regarding the free provision of one medication, but there is a long way to go, and readers of this blog can help. Through the facilitation of one of the Deb's doctors, Kroger will be providing one of Deb's medications free for three months. The nausea medications are the surprisingly expensive. Tom and Darla are also working with the local pharmacies to find ways to maximize the effectiveness of your sharing what God has provided. There are few words to express Deb and Tom's continued appreciation for your kindness.

For Those who would rather have a more direct way to help with Deb and Tom's financial needs, here is an idea: Kroger and Wal*Mart, where Deb's prescriptions are filled, offer gift cards at many different amounts. These gifts will be used to defray the cost of medications and other medical needs. If you have other suggestions for non-cash ways to help Tom and Deb financially, please share them in a comment or e-mail them to Loving Deb Smith. Thank you.

An update on Deb from Thursday, June 28, 2007

Medically for Deb, much is the same as of June 28, 2007. Because Deb came home from the hospital with a morphine pump to help control pain, yesterday Darla and Tom received intense training on how to manage the pump, hoping to avoid/repeat potential complications. The pain continues to be a biggie. Deb's gifted eyes, especially one of them (I think the left), are not good.  ENERGY! from out of nowhere after reading the blog. Nausea is a comfort issue, and as expected has an impact on nutrition.

An Extreme Measure of Happiness!

On Thursday, June 28, 2007, Darla Wextssen, Tom's sister had this to say: "I just returned after having had the privilege of spending 12 hours in the presence of Deborah Ann Smith. I wish all of you could have that opportunity."

Deb had an opportunity for the first time to actually see the Loving Deb Smith endless love letter to her (as best she could) while Darla read to her when she had difficulty seeing. Darla reports that Deb is quite thrilled and overjoyed by "everything that is there". In fact, Darla said of Deb's protracted reaction that you could see on Deb's face and in her spirit an "Extreme Measure of Happiness ".

Deb, Praise be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the God of All Encouragement. What Joy in the hearts of those who Love you! Your happiness in the midst of great pain profoundly ministers the Boundless Love of God in Jesus Christ.

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who,

although He existed in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant,
and being made in the likeness of men.
Being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him,
and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW,
of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and that every tongue will confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
NASB, Philippians 2:1-11

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Devotions with Deb and Tom --

Deb and Tom have been using the Joyce Meyer's book, Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind during the past year or so for there personal devotions.  You might want to join them.  If you do, and purchase the book from Amazon, you will help Deb & Tom with Deb's medical expenses not covered by insurance or other forms of assistance. See the link in the left side bar.


Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name!

The Psalms of Davidare full of joy and sorrow, lament and celebration, confession and forgiveness, and especially praise.

Nancy Eckel of Cincinnati shared in a comment that Ps 103 is one of Deb's favorite scriptures, and that she thinks of Deb whenever she reads or hears it. Here is Ps 103 for your reflection and devotional use:

1 Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children--
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Amazon Grace!

Dear Ones,

You may have noticed the unobtrusive Amazon search box in the left side bar.

Please encourage anyone in your circle of love who may have a propensity to help to do their Amazon shopping using this link, since Deb & Tom will receive a portion of all spending. The wider you can share this story the more "Love Bombing" you can accomplish through Loving Deb Smith. Those who prefer to offer Deb and Tom something tangible rather than send a check (see instructions elsewhere on Loving Deb Smith), may want to purchase those items on Amazon and have them shipped to their house. Anything from paper products, to consumable household items, food, gift cards, etc.

One thing you can do easily to spread the word about the Amazon opportunity is to copy this post and paste it into an e-mail that you can share with anyone and everyone.

In the left side bar section titled "HELPFUL CHRISTIAN WRITING AND MUSIC" there are a growing number of books and music resources you may wish to consider. If you hover over the text links an Amazon preview bubble may appear. In any event, clicking through the links will take you to Amazon to purchase the resource.

Any other respectful ideas you have in this regard definitely are welcome. Please pass them on as comments to this post or e-mail them to Loving Deb Smith.


Loving Deb Smith in Music

There is now a podcast player here on Loving Deb Smith. The intention here is to provide Deb with the opportunity to hear music she loves that has been lovingly prepared by brothers and sisters who love her. Also, this is a way to share any recordings of Deb speaking, singing, calling the Body to worship, etc. So if you can help in this effort, please send an e-mail with .mp3 formatted material attached. The more material you offer, the more joy for Deb in God's healing presence.

To listen to the material already provided in this podcast, just click on the play button. To subscribe to an RSS feed of the podcast, click on the Subscribe Free link beneath the podcast player.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Latest News

The blog looks incredible!

I keep running into people who have seen it and they tell me how wonderful it is to know what's going on.

The latest news: Deb is currently in the hospital as of Tuesday evening. Her doctor plans to release her tomorrow, Wednesday the 27th. She will be on a morphine pump and go back on the Tarciva (not sure on the spelling), a cancer drug. She will also return to St. John's Mercy in St. Louis on Monday, July 2 for a round of chemo. Please pray for a way for her to get consistent medical care at home.

Thanks again, Charity

Monday, June 25, 2007

Everybody's gotta eat Cincinnati's favorites!

Often, caregivers of seriously ill people have little time or energy to care for themselves -- little sleep, a bite to eat on the run, etc. You can help Deb and Tom concretely by providing homemade food for the family. But if you live in Cincinnati, or North Carolina, or Colorado, or Michigan, home cooking might be out of the question. Perhaps you would consider sending along some Skyline Chili, Montgomery Inn ribs, Graeter's ice cream, Busken's baked goods, or LaRosa's pasta sauce and all the fixins. Check out Cincinnati or Best of if you feel led to help in this way. You can find Deb & Tom's address in the left side-bar, along with those of Nellie and Charity.

The latest word from Nellie and Charity today (6/25/2007) is that Deb is back in the hospital

The latest word from Nellie and Charity today (6/25/2007) is that Deb is back in the hospital. Deb enjoyed a weekend with family at home. But her pain increased greatly on Sunday night. By Monday morning, she was admitted back to St. John's Mercy in St. Louis. Her oncologist met with her this morning and he put her back on a morphine pump. His plan is to try to send her home sometime in the future with a morphine pump at home. Your prayer support is needed and greatly appreciated right now!

Among other news:

Darla reports that Deb's pain is "manageable" now but the cost of pain medication is very high. The financial contributions, including those coming from readers of Loving Deb Smith, are making a real difference, and the family is very grateful. Praise be to God.

The medication is hard to take and often makes Deb sick; please pray for relief from this additional discomfort.

Darla and others are working to get free meds from pharma companies. A medical social worker is helping the family and they exploring every way to get support and insight. If you can help, let her know.

When Deb returns home again, a visiting nurse will come to the home twice weekly to check medications, pain, vital signs, etc.

They are trying to keep her eye problems to a minimum so she can see the grand kids.

Darla is trying to for arrange friends to come out to the farm and be with Deb so Tom can work. If anyone reading Loving Deb Smith can offer this kind of support, please contact Darla.

As many of you know, it is sometimes difficult to ask for or accept assistance. Please continue to
pray for Tom and Deb that they will be able to accept and embrace the Boundless Love and Grace of God offered by the Body of Christ in the form or critical emotional and financial support.(John 13-17, 1Cor 12-14). Darla, Nellie, Charity, and Jordan are doing their best to provide emotional and physical support, but it is a long drive to Illinois and back.

Praise be to God that Loving Deb Smith is blessing them. Deb is receiving a lot of love and affirmation from all of you brothers and sisters, and you should continue in every possible way.

Thanks for all you are doing on their behalf.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Resting in God

Deb Smith's friends and the readers of Loving Deb Smith know that she is a gifted artist and teacher at Frontier Community College. Among her treasured paintings is this one, about which she wrote:

Resting in God
An angel hovers near to God's warmth
The three small yellow dots represent the Trinity
The scarlet orb represents the fiery warmth and energy of God
We can't get too close, or we're consumed.
Our existence lies within the warm, pinkish mist ..
Close to Him.

Thank you, Deb.

If you have images of Deb's work and are interested in sharing them, you may forward them to
Loving Deb Smith via e-mail so that others will be blessed.

Peace and All Good!

PowerPoint Love!

Paula Clouse, a friend of Deb & Tom's who is involved with missions at Grace Community Church, forwarded the following cool PowerPoint slide along with an explanatory note. It asks folks to visit Loving Deb Smith. Perhaps this effort will inspire others like it. If anyone wants to use this slide themselves, please e-mail Loving Deb Smith, to receive a modified version that includes a bit of explanation about Deb's illness and asks folks to check out this blog for ways they can help Deb, Tom, and the family. Thanks so much, Paula.

I submit to you the attached slide. I created it for our morning worship service...the dance team is going to minister during the call to worship, we thought it'd be an appropriate time for a word about Deb. She was always very supportive of those seeking to artistically worship.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

In the words of Steve Perry...

Jill_Klinehamer, Charity's friend since college, offers the following:

My name is Jill. I am 35, and live in Cleveland, Ohio. And that is enough about ME! I know Deb through her daughter, Charity, who was my freshman roommate at Taylor U. I haven't seen Deb since Hal & Char's wedding, but I am deeply interested in, concerned about, saddened and moved by Deb's battle with cancer. Charity has been a dear friend for over 15 years, and an inspiration to me. I would not be who I am today without knowing Char, and Char would not be the amazing woman she is without the dynamic influence of her inimitable and fantastic mother, Deb.
Deb, I can't begin to imagine the depth of your pain. I am so sorryyou're feeling lousy. Pain is a drag, and I know a spunky gal like you has a billion better things to do: paintings to be painted, animals to be fed, children to be loved and squeezed! So, I am using all my might to hope and wish and pray as hard as I can to SEND THAT PAIN PACKING! Knowing such an ebullient soul as yourself is in such misery tears me up (either definition of the word "tears" is applicable, here.)

When I was in junior high, I had a crush on Steve Perry from Journey. He had a ridiculously huge nose, an unusual facial mole, and a mullet to beat the band, but I wanted to marry him anyway. I've since come to my senses, but I still can't help moving to the beat on the odd occasion that I hear certain Journey songs.

Don't Stop Believing is a flagrantly cheesy song, but if it would make you smile, I would don a mullet wig, stand up on the end of your bed, and sing (into the imaginary mic of my thumb) "Don't Stop Believin'!!!!!" for you. You would probably kick me in the shins, and I would fall off the bed, crashing to the floor (which would not necessarily stop me from singing) but IF if would bring a grin, however fleeting, I would do it for you, girl!

I have always been a champion of the underdog, and I've never let personal humiliation stand in the way of my attempts to make someone feel better...if only for a moment. :)

I love you, Deb!!! Hang in there! You can do this!!! :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Kind words from Mission of Grace

Over at Mission of Grace, you'll find these kind words of concern for Deb from Paula Clouse. Thanks, Paula.

If you or anyone else you know is blogging about Deb & her family, or providing links to Loving Deb Smith, please let us know at

Peace and All Good in Jesus!

I am including the following link to our Mission of Grace webpage because I believe that missions is as much about ministering to and caring for members of our families and local communities, as it is caring for those in faraway cities and distant countries.

As most of you know, our dear friend Deb Smith has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Her family has created a blogsite for friends and family to stay in touch, send encouragement and prayers, and generally keep up with Deb's progress.
Please avail yourself to the website, and write a prayer, post a photo, send a card or a few words of encouragement. Deb has meant so much to so many of us...let us give honor to whom honor is due...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Audio Hugs from Barb Hine

My Mom

Charity offers this "getting to know Mom" portrait of and accomplished artist and musician, her Mom, Deb:

Deb loves music, both in her home and at worship (the two lines blur). If you enter her kitchen, which was designed to be a combo art studio and eating space, you will see her giant boom box that fills both spaces with music. She listens to a wide variety of music, from Selah to Michael Buble to all types of movie soundtracks. She took many of her personal favorites to work with her as she taught painting and drawing at Frontier Community College. She would tell us about how her students enjoyed listening to music as they painted.

-- Charity

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Deb and Tom have 5 grandchildren.

  • Adam (7),
  • Bella (6),
  • Shane (5),
  • Eden (3) and
  • Violet (9months).

Things the kids love to do with Grandma (the short list):
  • paint,
  • sit on the porch swing for a long time,
  • read,
  • watch SpongeBob,
  • jump on the bed,
  • make up songs,
  • draw people,
  • laugh,
  • eat a lot of sugar,
  • take naps, swim,
  • cook,
  • play at the park,
  • draw on fake tattoos and
  • put on Grandma's jewelry and perfume

Deb is doing well at home on her first day!

Dear friends, Thank you for visiting this blog, for praying, for caring so much about our mom. We want you to know how much we appreciate and recognize your love for our family!

The great news is that she is at home after 3 weeks in the hospital. Thank God!! Today, she said she was able to put on her clothes and walk around. Over the phone, her voice sounded better than it has in all these weeks. She was also able to eat a little more than normal. Right now, the goal is to get all of her medicines straight. My dad said a nurse visited the house today.

Shane (age 5), Jordan's son, came over for the evening and entertained her. Nellie and Zach came in from Cincinnati to help out.

She said her eyes are really bothering her. Since the cancer is also in her retinas, she has been having trouble with her vision. She says it gets blurrier by the day. Can you pray specifically that her eyes are healed as well as the rest of her body? Thanks again. --Charity

Shared Notes to Deb and Tom and the family

Dear Ones,

A growing number of visitors to Loving Deb Smith have clicking on the e-mail links in the left sidebar to send Deb, Tom, Charity, Nellie, Jordan and the whole clan amazing words of Love and Encouragement. Some of these notes have ended up here as comments to other posts. All those who have sent these notes have agreed to share them with the growing Loving Deb Smith community. Please feel free to add your memories and loving encouragement to the comments for this post.

Peace and All Good!

Everybody's gotta eat! Favorite recipe's from Deb Smith

Dear ones,

It's likely that Deb has shared yummy recipes over the years with many folks in Cincinnati and Illinois, especially fixins her family really enjoys. Here is an opportunity to bless Deb and Tom and the whole clan in the breaking of bread. If you have a recipe that Deb has told you her family loves for her to make, why not share it here in the comments section of this post for all to see and try. Better yet, share it here, make up a batch, then send the food to Deb and family at home or drop it off to one of the girls if you are in Cincinnati. That way they can enjoy it here or take your loving kindness (the sweetest dish of all) with them the next time the go to be with Deb and Tom in Illinois (see the addresses at the left).

We just got word that mom is coming home tonight!

Nellie provided this update. Looks like Deb will be/is home.
I just can not tell you how nice it was to be among people who truly care for my parents. There really are not words to express how grateful I am ... It has helped to give me a much needed boost of energy.
I began the social security/medicare application process a few weeks ago. We were automatically denied for any type of asisstance, but I was told that we could be eligible for medicare benefits which would be wonderful. I also learned that if you are approved (which can take six months) there is a mandatory 29 month waiting period. I am going to pursue it anyway. You never know.

I am going to talk to Darla this week and see what is available as far as services go in their area. It is so rural, that I fear that they won't have a lot of the services that we might find here. If only we could get the medicaid approval!!!! All of that would be covered.
My mother-in-law has agreed to post something in (her) the restaurant ...

We just got word that mom is coming home tonight! Zach and I will be there in about 24 hours to help with getting hospice in and cleaning the house.
Regarding Nellie's note that her mother-in-law will be "posting something in the restaurant", if you own a retail business and would like to do the same, or know others who would be interested in doing so, and want some help with materials, please contact LovingDebSmith

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Visit the Loving Deb Smith photo album

Nellie and her husband Zach lovingly offered the several photos of Deb and her family that you can see here on the left side of this blog. There will be others. If you would like to see any of these photos in a larger format, please visit the Loving Deb Smith photo albums space. If you want to add an RSS feed for this photo album to your RSS reader, here is the link. Besides the photos Deb & family have posted, you may post your favorite photos of the time you have shared with Deb over the years. To do so, just send digital versions of the photos you want to share to the Loving Deb Smith e-mail box so they can be added to the collection. Most digital formats are acceptable. Deb & Tom, their kids and grands look forward to seeing how Deb has blessed you.

Thank you for spreading the word!

Dear Ones,

Thanks to your kind response and efforts to spread the word, brothers and sisters from around the country who dearly love Deb and Tom Smith and their family have visited this blog and heard of the Smiths' situation. They are passing the word as well. Praise be to God! The need, as you know, is great.

You may like to know that over on his Brave Heart blog, good friend Gary Sweeten asked his many readers to visit this blog to find out how to help and encourage Deb & Tom and their family. Pastor Buck, who serves up the Community blog kindly asked his readers to pray and visit this blog. Surely there are other bloggers among you who are doing this as well. Please send a note to LovingDebSmith so we can let folks know about your kindness.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Update on Deb and Tom from Nellie -- June 17, 2007 -- Evening

I spoke to mom and dad several times today. Her pain level is at a 6 out of 10 which is a great improvement of the 9 1/2 of the last couple of days. She is confused and frustrated about why she can not go home. We are hoping that tomorrow could be the day, if they receive MRI results, and if they can get the in-home services in place. I got her to laugh several times today which is also a wonderful improvement. My mom and I love to laugh.

My desperate hope is that we can get her home and with the familiarity and peace of her home her situation will improve. The Dr. apparently told my dad over the weekend that he hopes that my mom will have at most six months to one year.

My dad is having a rough day. I think he is just overwhelmed by everything; the despair, the stress, the loneliness, the work and the travel. I know that he fears that he wont be able to provide the care that my mom needs. That is making us all petrified. And with me being so far away and having a tenuous job situation, I think he is afraid to ask me to be there all of the time.

The distance has always been a struggle for us as a family, but now it is even harder. I can't just stop by and check on them and that makes me sick with worry.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Update from Darla on 6/16/2007 @ 11:00 PM

Darla, Tom's sister, provided the following update late this evening. Your prayers on Father's Day are most urgently needed, brothers ans sisters.

We have been with Deb in St.Louis. Charity and Hal are here this weekend. Nellie was here earlier this week. Our sister Sheila, and her husband are coming in this weekend from Dallas, TX, our niece is coming from Philadelphia, so ASAP means ASAP to us. Our dear sweet Pastor, sister, mentor, is gravely ill. Please pass this on so the body of Christ can pray tomorrow morning in corporate worship for dear saint, Deborah Smith. Gratefuly, Darla-

Other Ways to Help Encourage Deb & Tom

The needs Deb & Tom and their family have at this time are overwhelming. Surely some who are reading this blog know this first-hand. You have enjoyed the Boundless Love of God in those times. Your loved ones, church family, co-workers, and even strangers lifted you up in countless ways.

Please share suggestions and resources you found helpful to you. These could be very practical steps you took to ease a loved one's pain and anxiety, how to get help with financial matters, or they could be references to online resources, what's a good book to read or the music you and your loved ones found most comforting. The great suggestions are surely limitless. Thank you in advance for whatever you can offer.

How are the rest of the Smith's doing

Nellie provided the following update of 6/15/2007 on what the rest of the family is doing:

My dad is driving to St. Louis every night after working two jobs during the day. I have been able to take some time off of work to drive back and forth from Cincinnati to cook, clean and do laundry for he and Jordan and visit mom in the hospital. My sister also makes the trip, but she has four small children, so it is not easy for her to get away. My aunt helps as well, by spending one day per week doing anything my mom needs. Please pray for safe travels for us, I had to drive home in the middle of the night Wednesday night in order to get to work on time Thursday. My dad is exhausted (though he will not admit it) and making a long drive every night.

An update on Deb's health from Nellie - 6/15/2007

Nellie Haverkos (Deb and Tom's second child) provided the following update on Friday, June 15, 2007. Please read it prayerfully:

An update on my mom: She has been hospitalized since 5/31. She is in tremendous pain despite the pain meds that she is receiving there. They have decided to stop radiation, as the Dr. feels that it is not helping much and possibly making the pain worse. They are sending her home on Monday (tentatively), and getting in-home hospice care. She is going to continue a condensed chemo that is administered every three weeks. Also, the chemo is supposed to help with the eye cancer. She reports that her vision is failing very, very quickly. She is having great difficulty eating. She is not sleeping much at night due to the pain.

Friday, June 15, 2007

How you can help Deb and her family

You may have already seen this information. If so, please pass it along to others in your life who know and love Tom & Deb Smith of Ashley, IL and Cincinnati, OH, and would want to know about their situation.

Deb Smith (of Tom and Deb) was just a few weeks ago diagnosed with cancer. The cancer is already very advanced and is in her bones, lungs and lymphatic system and eyes. The doctors initially gave her 6 to 18 months, depending on treatment and so forth. However, it has been much more aggressive than even they foresaw, and she is now (just in the last few weeks) hospitalized in St. Louis. She is in a lot of pain, which they are trying to control with a morphine drip. She also has difficulty swallowing, presumably due to the radiation treatments. The doctors say they expect her to stay hospitalized. Tom drives 200 miles round trip to be with her every day. While insurance covers some expenses, there is still much it can't, and they are really strapped. The medicines and the travel are particularly draining on their resources.

A number of Tom and Deb's friends are calling on those who know and love them and suggesting ways we can all get involved to help. And quickly. Here are some ways.

PRAYER. God still heals, and Deb needs healing. Her daughter Charity said that we should pray for healing, for hope, and for freedom from pain.

MONEY. Tom's sister Darla is taking charge of processing contributions to help them. Checks should be made out to "Grace Community Church" and sent to:

Darla Wexstten
16738 N. Tolle Lane
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

CARDS. Deb receives great encouragement from the cards and notes she receives from friends. Calls, visits, and e-mails are out. She has very little stamina right now. So an encouraging note or card to remind her of the many ways she has blessed you over the years both personally and through support of Tom and the church could help brighten her day. Here's her address at the hospital:

c/o St. John's Mercy Medical
615 South New Ballas Rd.
Creve Coeur, MO 63141

Tom could use encouragement too. Here is his contact information:
Tom and Deb Smith
10517 N. Panzier Lane
Ashley, IL 62808

There may be an opportunity for an informal fund-raising get-together of some kind in Cincinnati in the very near future, so that the local folks here could meet, maybe get some musicians among them to ply their talents, gather picnic-style, pass the hat, and pray. We'll see what comes of that, and let you know.

STAY INFORMED. Read this blog for updates. Thanks to Barb & Ric Hine for the inspiration. Also, in you wish to be added to the e-mail update list, send a message with your contact information to Loving Deb Smith.

GET THE WORD OUT. If you have the e-mail addresses of others who need to know about this, that would be most helpful if you pass the information to Loving Deb Smith or spread the word yourself.

You may receive this information from other folks who love you and Deb and Tom. If you do, it just shows the unity of the Body of Christ, the truth of John 13-17. Might be a good idea if you could also send this note to folks in your life who might want to know this information or be able to help Deb and Tom Smith in some way in this time of great need. Please ask them pass along to their networks as well.