AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Mark Phillips enjoys making wooden crafts. It’s a past time that developed during a tough stage of his life when he was nearly killed in an accident.
“First I started working with wood after a near death motorcycle accident," Phillips said. “Just as a therapy to regain some use to my hands. I started making little crosses.”
Mark continued making crosses as part of physical therapy, but suffered yet another serious setback being diagnosed with cancer.
He started taking his handmade cross for his own personal strength during treatments.
“First one I made was one that I took with me to to hang on whenever I go to my chemo-treatments,” Phillips said. “Just to hang on to to remind me that I wasn’t there alone.”
Mark found that his cross was attracting the attention of others in challenging situations to begin sharing their own stories.
“People started asking me what I was holding and they wanted to see,” Philips said. “They wanted me to make them one for their friends and loved ones.”
He quickly recognized that his crosses were creating the opportunity to reach out and encourage others. Now, he always carries a bag full of crosses to offer people.
He has also compiled a collection of personal stories shared by others that he has encouraged, Phillips calls them crosswords.
“I had it in my hand while I was seated in a chair getting my chemo and nurses or other people to say ‘What are you holding their Mark?’ and I’d show them this cross," Phillips said. “The cross is cut a little unusual just made to be held, and then they asked me ‘Do I make them?’ and I said ‘Yeah.’ Soon after that I started making them for other friends of theirs or family members of theirs just to encourage and inspire them as well."
Mark continued, talking about how the crosses weren’t just for those receiving chemo treatments.
“I started posting stories because I kept a little box of these little crosses in my vehicle, and I wouldn’t be out there just in everyday life,” Phillips said. “I’d be at a drive through and asked the person there how their day was going, they might tell me a little bit of their lives. I had a flat tire on the way to work or behind my mobiles or some kind of illness or something in their life. I call these little stories cross words. I started putting them on my Facebook page and many people said to me, ‘You need to put those into a book!’ ‘They are very inspirational, very encouraging.' So, I did.”
“CrossWords: a weekly devotional prayer reflection and encouraging thoughts," Mark’s book of encouraging stories generated by his handmade process is available on Amazon.
Through the process of overcoming his own setback in life, Mark found a way to encourage others going through their setbacks in life.
The crosswords keep coming, and that’s some good news!