Survivor Story

Survivor Story

One of the most difficult but defining parts of our story was Dixie’s battle with cancer in 2016.  We had sold embroidered belts for a few years under the ‘Cowboy Couture’ name and had registered for ‘Pure Dixie’ in 2015.  It was at this time the idea for the interchangeable belt, and mini attaching to the front of the handbag started to come together.  We also thought that we were heading for a path in wholesale marketing as well, in fact the very first tradeshow Pure Dixie ever did was the wholesale show in Dallas, TX in March of 2016.  I made her one very bulky display that would fit in the back of the suburban.  She told me about how she wrestled it out of the car and onto the pavement where she had to assemble it before she wheeled it into the building.  She went by herself and it was a lot for her to do alone.  We thought it was a good step and worth the sacrifice of us being apart for a few days.


Two months later, in May of 2016 through a series of events, we learned that Dixie had cervical cancer.  Everything we learned about it made no sense and did not add up to why she would have this at this time, or ever for that matter.  It was a shock, and as many of you know who have been through something similar, every time that you finally get a question answered from the doctors, you are left with 2 more unanswered questions.  I remember just wanting a plan from the doctors so that we knew what we had to do to get back to where we were.  There were 2 problems with this:  The plan was God’s (not the doctors) and He never intended us to get back to where we were!  After a few doctor’s visits and many unknowns, we finally gave into the plan that was simply to trust Him.  2nd Corinthians 12:10 became our defining scripture which says ‘That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong’.  From that, we launched the Dixie Strong FB page to keep people updated on how she was doing.


Weeks before the diagnosis, we had planned the Pure Dixie Launch Party to take place on July 14th.  That time frame turned out to be a waiting period for us in the treatment schedule, so we went ahead with the Launch Party.  It was incredible to see the support we received through that party and the other support from the ‘Dixie Strong’ page and those who chose to represent her in the Valley’s annual cancer walk in Saratoga.  Dixie’s best friend Amanda sold bracelets that many people bought and wore for financial and prayer support.  Friends made meals, sent cards, and the elders of the church prayed over us.  I know everyone is different in how much they want others involved in their personal struggles.  I don't know how we would have gotten through without our family, church and community.


The rest of the summer (we thought we were going to be selling Pure Dixie) we ended up in and out of the hospital with surgery, another trip for a very bad infection and finally just being so thankful to be home and together as a family.  

Praise God, Dixie has been cancer free for 8 years!  And this became one of the greatest defining moments of our lives and our pursuit of where God has called Dixie and myself.  Two very important things came from this: 

  1. Making today count, because we don't know if we have tomorrow.   Psalm 90:12 says ‘Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom’.  We don't know how much time we are given.  Our life is a breath and we must do what we can, while we can, with what we have.  And just like Cody Johnson's song, ‘If you got a dream chase it, cause a dream won't chase you back’.  God put this dream in our hearts and we are chasing it!
  2. Family is more important and we are going to pursue it together.  Wholesale shows hundreds of miles away and Dixie trying to haul it, set it up and sell it all by herself was putting things out of priority.  We brought things back home.  We started small, focusing on taking care of customers and being home and together as much as possible.  Since then, we have taken it one step, one show, one idea at a time.  We would like to see further down the road, but God knows how much Dixie and I can handle, and the path isn't lit up very far most of the time.  


This is a survivor story and a story of finding strength in weakness.  Our strength and vision come from the Lord.  Had it not been for this struggle, I think we would have still pursued Pure Dixie, but not with the same kind of passion and determination.  The reminder of the difficulty has helped us push through several obstacles where we might have otherwise given up.  Neither of us want to go through that again, but we wouldn’t change it because of how it changed us!

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