ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As I stared out the window of my use-it-or-lose-it Tennessee condo, my frustration was mounting. My hopes of a mind cleansing week of golf were quickly being extinguished by the magnificent ice-storm on the other side of the pane. It was the pain inside the pane that should have been my concern.
There was a time when I had the world in my hands. Success seemed so easy, ... why didn’t everyone do it? I cruised through school without much effort, having set what is likely the school record at Indiana University for the most “B’s.” I knew just how much (or how little) I had to do to achieve this less than outstanding mark. I had learned to cut corners.
“Be careful what corners you cut on the way,
it may lead to somewhere you don’t want to stay.” -kp
I had done what “they” said, grow up (okay, that one is still in question), get a good education (BA-Accounting, IU 1983), get a good job (Asst Controller, Bloomington Hospital), and you’ll find success. I didn’t realize “they” were just repeating what they had heard. It seemed okay measuring myself against the guy next to me, not recognizing we were all willingly stampeding towards a cliff.
Life appeared great, family, kids, money, job promotions, prestige, respect. I even kept up the church-going, make-an-impression, wanna-do-better, arms-length-Christian mystic. Success seemed right in my grasp. The good-life was well within site. My path was set, my way was secure, my life was drawn out. What “they” told me appeared to be working. Looks are deceptive.
It seemed ironic looking out that window, in the mist of a major storm, that suddenly, I could clearly see. What had I been thinking all those years? ... and that was the point, I hadn’t been. I had just jumped on the hamster wheel of life and started running. No where in particular, just wherever it would take me; which, by definition, was no where.
“Do you know where you’re going?
Are you sure of the way?
Will the road that you’re taking
define you some day?” – kp
As I stood there, age 41, I recalled eight years earlier sitting in my doctor’s office as he noticeably struggled to tell me, “I might have, ... it could be, it’s likely that, ... you have an insidious, incurable disease. You have Parkinson’s.” My response? “I don’t have time for that.” And I proceeded to jump back on my wheel and run, ... for eight more years. Although I had managed to physically hide it from most everyone, the mental fatigue of knowing there is a time-bomb inside of you, can be devastating. There were so many times that I wished it were something even more horrendous. Something I could just take care of and it would be gone. But this disease is a 24/7 constant barrage, consistent attack, and relentless reminder that something is terribly wrong. I had allowed my diagnosis to slowly and methodically steal my dreams, hopes, and desires. But today is different. Today I take control. Today I decide what will or won’t define me. Today ...
The Mourning is Over
A twitch of my finger that didn’t feel right.
A prelude to battles I’m destined to fight.
A message my body was attempting to give.
Stop speeding through life and learn how to live.
Life passes you by when you go way too fast.
Things that take time are things that will last.
The voice grew stronger and louder each day.
I’d speak to my hand, but it wouldn’t obey.
This inner-rebellion, this fight for control,
a breakdown of mind, of body, and soul.
My thoughts were ignore this ridiculous stand,
when my foot then decided to join with my hand.
What once worked together as a unified team,
defiantly mocked the pursuit of my dream.
A spiritual turmoil, a conflict had dawned.
My body’s left side reluctant to respond.
I went to the Doc, to confirm what I felt.
A Parkinson’s diagnosis was unjustly dealt.
A “woe-is-me” attitude came out for a while.
A guilty conviction without going on trial.
I started to withdraw so others wouldn’t see,
this insidious destruction going on inside me.
We all have our struggles or demons we face.
I’ve learned to live life at a much slower pace.
But the mourning is over! I now am confessing,
this burden I bear is more of a blessing.
I don’t fly through life like I did once before.
Enjoying the journey, you see so much more.
What I used to condemn, I now “Thank God!”
I refuse to be shaken by Satan’s facade.
God gave me a purpose, it’s my humble prayer,
this might be a blessing to someone somewhere.
I recall that week, sitting at my laptop to check the weather forecast, when something happened. At the height of frustration, in the depths of despair, I typed on my screen, “What if it’s all a hoax?” Before I knew it a story was unveiling itself on my screen. By the end of the week, a Christian-based full-length screenplay, “The Truth About The Truth” was complete. It was as if the words would magically appear on the screen, more like I was reading them, not writing them. There was even a poem that came out about a childhood memory, leading to discovering some crazy gift of writing in verse, or the curse of verse, I sometimes call it. If you knew me, a 23 year accounting spreadsheet guru, you would know how strange that was. God was calling, I was reluctant. I explained to Him that I don’t even like poetry. I have no writing background. I have zero punctuation skills. Everything I read said there is no market for rhyming poetry. I reasoned that there are so many more worthy, more likely, more qualified than me. Besides, God, it’s embarrassing. How can I tell my friends I’ve turned into a poet?
“If you call me a poet, I won’t disagree,
But inside I will cringe, for I know that’s not me.”-kp
I made every excuse not to, but the words came anyway. God was calling me to step out, do what seems foolish and illogical. Follow a vision, follow a passion, and follow a dream. At first, I attempted to negotiate the details, but finally ...
... it occurred to me God wasn’t likely to say,
“It never occurred I should do it your way.” - kp
So my burden became my blessing. My incurable disease became my cure. My hope was renewed, my faith was refreshed. The fact that “the world” said over and over again that it cannot be done only made my conviction rise. I have to admit, if someone had asked my advice on this, I would have politely said, “What are you thinking?” But, if God tells you to wear black socks, what are ya’ gonna’ do, huh?
Confirmations came quickly when I met Marla, who would become my encourager, my best friend, and my bride. She is a battle-scarred warrior, with an incredible story that I will one day write. Her servant’s heart and her tested-faith gave me the courage to follow God’s call. We had little idea where God would lead us just two years later.
Marla was the youngest with three brothers (I was the oldest with three sisters). She had little choice, but to grow up a tom-boy. Horses became her passion at an early age. In early childhood, a rare hereditary brain disorder, called hemangeona (like blood clots), flared up. She woke up one morning with eyes crossed and weakness on her right side. This stroke-like attack would set her back, but not keep her down. At sixteen she met her first love, Kent. Married the first day out of high-school, Kent and Marla started a family shortly after that. Living the American dream, but carrying a time-bomb inside of her. The stress of delivering her first child caused her second brain episode. More physical setbacks, but her determination would outweigh any discouragement.
It was two years later that she sat in a doctor’s office, and he told her not to get pregnant again, it would kill her. Too late, she already knew the seed of life was within her. Despite strong advice that she abort the child, with a self-defense rationale, she refused. As she went under anesthesia for a C-section, she said her good-byes knowing she’d likely not come back. But she is a tremendous fighter.
“When the forces of evil parade on your soul,
you carry the power to take back control.”-kp
Having fought through the battles her body was causing, a third, this time major, brain reaction would occur. Doctors gave her little hope that a rare major surgery dangerously close to her brain-stem would work, but it was all they knew to do. They say they “lost her” three times during that eighteen hour surgery, which resulted in some drastic medical measures. A major facial nerve, a balance nerve, and a hearing nerve on one side had to be cut. She woke up to “The good-news, ... you’re alive. However, you probably will not walk again, your right side won’t work as well, and we think we can fix your face (which had fallen on one side).”
While many would drown in their sorrow, bask in their anguish, or rightfully complain how unfair life can be, Marla instead strengthened her faith and made the decision to fight. She walked out of rehab, to everyone’s amazement, one-week later. A few more surgeries, but hope had returned. She is a fighter.
Then, as if she had not endured enough, eight years later her loving husband who stuck by her through numerous trials (that would have made many turn and run), was stricken with cancer. Marla’s caregiver heart quickly took over, but he would lose his battle six month’s later.
A thirty-five year old widowed mother of two, battle-weary, battle-scared, had little reason to praise God, but that’s where she put her trust. Depression, anger, loneliness, frustration, despair, ... they were all throwing a party in her honor. What a chore even taking a step forward must have been.
“A warrior will never relinquish defeat,
it is never an option to consider retreat.”-kp
It was Christmas eve, 2001. A bright harvest moon filled the sky. Two lonely, weary hearts prayed the same prayer, cried the same tears, and watched the same stars. One month later, in a series of unexplainable circumstances, I met my beautiful bride-to-be online. Yes, we are living testament that it really does work. 75 e-mails in our first week established our deep-seeded friendship. Though neither of us was looking for anything more than someone to talk to, a spark had been ignited, a dream had been born. We decided to meet, though had never once discussed or shared what we looked like. We just knew that a strong bond of friendship would always last.
I knew from the moment I looked in her eyes. Marla wasn’t quite as convinced. We shared some incredible coincidences and similarities. It seemed we were destined to be together. We joke that, her right-side doesn’t respond correctly, nor does my left-side, together, however, we are perfect.
It wasn’t always the smoothest courtship, with so many issues to overcome, but nine months later we said our “I do’s” in front of family and friends (and God). Hope was alive.
We spent the next sixteen months trying to blend a family (five teenagers), combine households, adjust to a three hour daily commute (I moved to Indianapolis), and trying to find an audience for my written material. We hit roadblock after roadblock as far as publishing a book of poetry. I kept trying to explain that what I do “is not poetry”, at least how I know it. The words just kept coming, but it seemed destined to be a hobby that might thrill a few family members or dazzle a few friends, but beyond that was like whispering in the wind. I began to wonder how many other artists, authors, musicians, crafters, or inspired creators were out there making marvelous things that they had no way of connecting with people.
“Fighting through all those continuous blows,
prepares you for when opportunity shows.” - kp
It was Valentines day 2004. A trip to Sedona, Arizona would not only open our eyes to the magnificent beauty God has surrounded us with, but it would open our eyes to a vision of sharing hope with the world. Marla had always wanted to be a photographer, and I had this creative spirit being unleashed more and more everyday. A trip to the store to buy a simple digital camera would change our lives forever (although it took a while to figure it out). Our first picture of a tree growing in the rocks seemed to symbolize our lives, our union, and our direction.
“Don’t tell us it’s something that we cannot do,
or that is the path that we will pursue.” - kp
When for fun I put a caption on the picture we had taken, we sold it to some friends (without trying to sell it). Well, I’m no dummy, if something works once, then hey, it could work again. I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of doing something once, but getting paid over and over again. There is a big difference in continuing to get paid for something you’ve already done, as opposed to my job where I had to keep putting in more time to get paid. Especially with the uncertainty lingering that one day I may not physically be able to perform. The vision began coming clear, the next few months were filled with images, words, learning graphic design, and dreaming great dreams.
At work, however, the stress level was reaching unbearable proportions. My body was not responding well. The door was closing on a twenty-three year career. All I’ve ever known, all I’ve ever worked for, all I’ve ever done was cracking beneath my feet. Finally, my diagnosis, my greatest burden, my nemesis, came into good use. I was able to negotiate a pretty good early-retirement package that would allow me to phase out over time. As scary as that step was, we knew that God was calling us to greater things. We knew He would not cast the vision and then not take care of us. By faith, we knew. My last day of work, November 2004, marked our first day in business for ourselves. The American dream, which few Americans ever pursue, was ours to embrace. We had cast our hopes, pinned our wishes, gambled our future on a few simple words from an inexperienced writer, and a few simple images from an inexperienced photographer. What were we thinking?
“The mountain will move that stands in your way,
If you tell it to move and believe what you say.”-k.p.
We thought our business, “Words Do Matter” might be a way to fund the production of the books I had been writing. We quickly discovered it was much more than that. We had found a way, or rather God had found a way through us, to spread hope to the world.
Throughout vendor shows we do, the common reaction is a jaw-dropping look of amazement, followed by, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” Marla, a true prayer warrior, blankets the Holy Spirit over our booth wherever we’re at. We have found that often times our sports material draws people in, where then the true seeds of life can be planted. What a great opportunity for witnessing this has opened.
“Our business consultant said we should do more
We agreed, do you know Jesus?” –k.p.
2007 is hard to imagine, but the vision (at least the part we can see) is to open the opportunity up to artists, authors, musicians, crafters, and creators everywhere. The “normal” avenue seems to be, the promoters take all the profits, leaving little for the true artist. We will change that concept by not only rewarding the artist handsomely for creating something people buy, but also giving them an avenue to share (and sell) their work, their calling, their passion.
“If I were a fish, I’d tell all my friends, that worms
come on hooks with sharp pointy ends.” - kp
The world is place where evil can methodically, meticulously, quietly, and strategically break down the values that the Bible teaches. Words Do Matter is using those same principles to honor God, raise awareness, inspire hope, make people think, and connect purpose-driven people throughout the world. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” So be it.
“It’s hard to imagine, it’s tough to conceive,
how anyone watching could still not believe.”-kp
Parkinson’s taught me to slow down (literally), enjoy life, bask in the beauty of God’s creation. If you are following your calling (and you do have one), God bless you. If you aren’t sure, come join us. I’ve often questioned who am I, to think that I could make a difference in this world. Thank goodness two-thousand years ago, eleven scared men, huddled in a room, given the task of sharing the gospel, did not think that way. You are a child of God. You have a mighty and magnificent purpose. Are you too busy to find it? Are you negotiating the deal? Are you ready for the peace that comes from embracing the thing you were meant to do? You have been prayed for.
Kevin & Marla Pace
Words Do Matter
2931 N Buck Creek Rd
Greenfield, IN 46140
It is our humble prayer that you have enjoyed this collection of sayings, rhymes, limericks, quotes, quips, thoughts, … whatever they are, whatever you call them, we hope that they help you in some way.
Thank you for reading, and Thank you God for all you are doing through us and for us. We know from your Word that these seeds will grow.
Thank you Father, in Jesus’ name, Amen.