Cancer soundtrack helps heal mind, body and soul

I’m writing this from the Duke Cancer Clinic in Durham. I’ve been here a million times before, but today I’m just thinking back, reflecting, because I learned a lot during my treatments. Back in 2007, I was diagnosed with a kind of colorectal cancer that, statistically speaking, made me a total anomaly. The diagnosis came in March and the treatments began in April — that was also when a teenager at my church gave me a Red Hot Chili Peppers cD he put together, mixing songs from their Stadium Arcadium double album. Still, more than just the Chilis, getting through those two months of radiation and chemo treatments, I needed a lot of music and I was surprised at the diversity of music that gave me what I needed.

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Art of Marriage Conference registration deadline is Tuesday. The six-video conference will be held at Chamber's Chapel Church on April 10-11.

Couples interested in keeping their marriage strong have the opportunity to take part in a program designed to enhance the marriage experience.

The Art of Marriage, a six-session video event, will take place April 10-11 at Chambers Chapel Missionary Baptist Church at 4089 Chambers Chapel Circle.

Interested parties are urged to make reservations by March 31.

“It is important to register by March 31 so we know how much literature to provide,” LaDonya Edwards said.

She is organizing the event along with her husband Carl.

The couple attended a marriage conference in South Carolina that was part of the Family Life Today Art of Marriage series.

Edwards said her husband was searching online for a marriage conference in order to offer the opportunity at the local church.

“He (Carl) found a church in Spartanburg that was hosting one there,” she said. “We registered, and we went to see what it was like.”

Gwenna Cuthbertson, church member and wife of the pastor, said the Edwards presented the idea to the pastor about having a marriage conference at the church.

“They had seen the art of marriage as a video conference, and they wanted to bring it to the church,” Cuthbertson said.

The video series designed by Family Life includes the following video presentations: Love Happens: God’s Purpose of Marriage; Love Fades: Overcoming Isolation; Love Dances: Fulfilling our Responsibilities; Love Interrupted: Communication and Conflict; Love Sizzles: Experiencing Real Intimacy and Love Always: Leaving a Lasting Legacy.

The video conference features well-known pastors along with marriage and family experts, and it provides real-life testimonials to share God’s design for marriage.

It’s not only for married couples, but singles or engaged couples can take part Cuthbertson told.

“It’s for those that might eventually come into marriage and those that may have expectations for having a marriage in a Christ-like way,” Cuthbertson said.

Edwards agreed and said it’s not just for those who are married.

“It is for couples that were dating couples that were potentially getting married or engaged and people that are already married,” Edwards said.

Cuthbertson said the church is backing the event and calls have been received from other areas including Lenoir and Hickory.

“They are excited about the conference,” she said.

Edwards said the response has been good from the church but they welcome more community members to register.

“We wanted to bring it to the community here,” she said.

The marriage conference helped Edwards realize every marriage can progress.

“All marriages are worth improving and there is always room for improvement in any marriage,” Edward said.

Prior to attending, Edwards said presentation was important, too.

“One of the things we were interested in was how the videos would be presented,” she said stating that a video presentation is different. “We are generally used to having speakers in front of us.”

The videos will be presented on a screen in the sanctuary with two videos being shared Friday and the final four Saturday.

Couples work together through projects during the conference.

“The manual that goes along with the conference has pages where you work along with your spouse in 3-minute segments,” she said.

The Edwards found the conference to be beneficial.

“It really helped us,” she said. “It’s been rewarding — we enjoyed that it’s about you and your spouse.”

The seminar is not expected to eliminate problems couples may have in their marriage.

“It’s not a problem solver, but a conversation starter,” Edwards said. “It’s up to you to solve your problems.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. on April 10 and the event will begin at 7 p.m. The series continues on April 11 at 9 a.m. and doors open at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments will be served and a lunch is provided Saturday.

There is no cost to attend the conference, but donations of canned foods are being requested for the church’s food bank.

Early registration helps with planning and ordering of materials.

“With the video, there is a work book and we want to make sure that everybody has a workbook,” Cuthbertson said.

Door prizes will be given away including an opportunity to attend an evening at the Cove.

Registration for the event is free and ends March 31. To register, call 828-443-2803 or 828-443-2816.

Tracy Farnham can be reached at or 828-432-8940.

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