Mark and his wife, Glenda, had been married 12 years and had three children when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. They fought the disease for three years, but lost the battle in 1995. After her death, Mark played Mr. Mom while juggling an art and architecture career. In time, love found him again . . . in a most unexpected way. This tale of unexpected love is retold in Mark and Sue's collection of love letters entitled "Heartwork: Loss, Love and Art in the Ordinary Life" illustrated with Mark's paintings . . . .

Serialized excerpts of Heartwork can be viewed here.

The background of Heartwork:

They live ordinary lives hundreds of miles apart, unaware of each other.

His weekdays are packed with client meetings and design issues at the architectural firm. On the weekends, he mows the lawn and takes his family to church. Sometimes, his wife takes their three kids to Gram's so he can have an uninterrupted day to paint. Even then, he catches himself looking out the window, wishing his art wasn't so pressed into the corners of his life.

She cooks and cleans and reads the Classics aloud to her three daughters. She teaches English at the community college at night when her husband can be home. On Sundays, she sings in the church choir, full of gratitude for her life, which overflows with blessings.

Then, almost simultaneously, their lives shatter.

His wife dies of breast cancer. Exactly one month later, her husband dies suddenly of a ruptured aneurysm. Their lives enter a parallel course marked by grief, flagging faith, and fatigue. Still, they are unaware of each other.

Until . . . the inexplicable destiny we call God, moves.

How their parallel lives merge is much more than a love story. It is a rare glimpse into an authentic reality, where real people with real pain grapple with their faith, struggling to accept God's sometimes difficult grace, to make peace with fear and uncertainty, to risk love and hope again after a personal holocaust.

But art is the miraculous, serendipitous subtext of this book, as each image finds its place in a story it must have been waiting for. The art, in a sense, becomes the story, a gift and a promise in itself, as it affirms in its half-magic way, all is well.