Hope Through Cancer With Jay and Sofia Lyons

Hope Through Cancer With Jay and Sofia Lyons

When pastor's wife Kara Tippetts wrote an open letter to a fellow cancer patient who intended to take her life, her mommy blog went viral. And when filmmakers Jay and Sofia Lyons heard her story, they knew they wanted to help. This episode, hosted by Marti Pieper, shares the inspiring moments behind The Long Goodbye: The Kara Tippets Story.

33 Minutes • 18 days ago

Episode Notes

Charisma News

Special Series: Hope Through Cancer

Guests: Jay and Sofia Lyons

When pastor's wife Kara Tippetts wrote an open letter to a fellow cancer patient who intended to take her life, her mommy blog went viral. And when filmmakers Jay and Sofia Lyons heard her story, they knew they wanted to help. This episode, hosted by Marti Pieper, shares the inspiring moments behind “The Long Goodbye: The Kara Tippetts Story.”

Introduction

Marti Pieper: Kara Tippetts’ Simple Mom blog went viral after she wrote a compassionate letter to a fellow cancer sufferer who planned to commit suicide. When they heard Kara’s story, filmmakers Jay and Sophia Lyons knew God wanted them to get involved. Listen as they described the journey that led to their new documentary, “The Long Goodbye: The Kara Tippetts Story.” This is the Hope Through Cancer series on Charisma News.

This episode is brought to you by the E book Revelatory Combat by Ryan LeStrange. Revelatory Combat is a concise look into the prophetic ministry and the partnership between prophets and apostles. It provides clarity for the battle facing the church in this hour. Ryan LeStrange and Charisma magazine are proud to offer you a year-long subscription of Charisma magazine, as well as a download of Revelatory Combat for only $20. If you'd like to take part in this offer, be sure to visit combat.charismamag.com or call 1-800-749-6500 and mention the word combat.

 

Other Episodes in the Hope Through Cancer Series

·         Karen Schatzline

 

Marti Pieper: I’m Marti Pieper, and I'm speaking with Jay and Sofia Lyons, producers of “The Long Goodbye: The Kara Tippetts Story.” Obviously, when most of us hear about someone who has cancer, we don't respond quite the same way you did. Can you tell us a little bit about your background in filmmaking?

Jay Lyons: My background is as TV producer and my wife is a singer. And once upon a time, we traveled and toured the country as Christian music artists. So, it feels like a long time ago. It wasn't all that long ago, maybe 15 years ago. Then when we moved to New York City, which is where Sophia is from … we were in Nashville and we moved to New York City and started to do some pop music with some theme songs on TV networks, so MTV stuff like that. We just backed into TV producing. And now looking back on it, it was definitely the right career change for us. So, for the past 10-15 years, I've been a TV producer. I've produced for all the major networks. So, that is our background in a nutshell.

Marti Pieper: That's great. Well then, how did you first get connected with Kara Tippetts?

Jay Lyons: We develop TV shows and develop movie ideas and things like that. I had always wanted to do a show based around end of life issues. I felt like if the subject was handled correctly, it could be a beautiful thing, especially from a Christian worldview. So, I was on a show called “My 600-Pound Life,” which is on TLC. I was producing a lot of those episodes. A lot of the people I was dealing with are in life-threatening situations. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the show, but it's a show about morbidly obese people. So, it's very serious. A few of the people actually have died on the show. So, I just got me thinking along those lines. Also, several of my subjects I was following and producing and directing were Christian, Christ followers. So, I got to put that in part of the show as well, which was fun. So, I started to think about the end of life issues, to think this is something that should be touched upon … especially as a Christian person, I thought it could be a beautiful thing, even though it's sad. A lot of times it’s painful and we don't understand it. So, that was in my mind. I saw a Facebook post, believe it or not, from a friend of mine from high school who I hadn't spoken to in 20 years. She posted, pray for my pastor's wife, she has cancer. And that was Kara.

Marti Pieper: Wow, what is it they say? Coincidences when God does a miracle and remains anonymous? So, I'm sure God can even use Facebook, right?

Sofia Lyons: Yes, God totally used Facebook through this instance.

Marti Pieper: So, He used Facebook to connect you, and then and obviously Kara already had cancer at this point. Wasn't it her blog? Weren't you initially just doing a video for her blog? Was that the plan God gave you, or how did that come about?

Jay Lyons: That's true. Like I said, this is a broader TV show idea initially around people in the end of life. So, Kara was like, maybe the first episode or even like a teaser, or a demo tape. We went to meet with Kara. We had fun time with Jason and Kara. They're just wonderful people. They're sweet people, they were like our couple friends, even though Kara was at a very difficult point in her life. But still, we laughed and joked with them and, of course, had more serious moments. But yes, we left there and then edited a piece for them that was about three minutes long. And, and in our mind, it was sort of like, OK, this is this is done. What I was going to do was take that and maybe pitch that around to networks for a possible TV show. Well, Kara put that on her blog and it exploded. It got several hundred thousand views basically within a week. And the Washington Post did a big article and a lot of international newspapers. Hundreds of online publications covered it. Then after that, and this was near the end of Kara’s life, I contacted her and said, I think there's something more here. I think that this could be a full documentary.

Sofia Lyons: In the very beginning, we were missing a little bitty piece of the story here. I had actually been in a small group of ladies here at my home and we were just praying about Lord, what do you want for us? Jay had been very discontented in his TV work. Not because it wasn't going well, professionally, but just spiritually he felt like, you know, when you're doing TV shows, you really can't do a Christian narrative. So, he wanted to do something with his skill set in television filming, and do something for the kingdom. So, when we first met Kara and Jason and Skyped with them, we were excited to think, wow, we could do something for this family, and maybe even just their church. We could film their family so they could have it as a time piece, like a time capsule. At the same time that he was pitching this tape around, we were also going to present them with footage just for their family and for the church. So, in the beginning, we did not realize it would be a film, but it was sort of like God laid a path out for us. I like to use the analogy of breadcrumbs. If you have a long path and there's these little tiny breadcrumbs, I feel like God gave us this film in a series of tiny little steps like breadcrumbs. The first breadcrumb was the Facebook post, like, oh, wow, Kara Tippett. She would be perfect for this little television reel. Second breadcrumb: We love this couple. Third, breadcrumb, let's go to Colorado Springs and do something nice for this family. Fourth breadcrumb: Let's do a video. So, you get the point. This is really a God story to where He wove together this entire film without us even realizing it.

Jay Lyons: It definitely didn't start off as any kind of documentary movie, full thing that somebody cooked up in a board room, to where there was executives saying we need to do this. It just happened.

Marti Pieper: Step by step is what it sounds like. That's amazing. One thing I was thinking about as a storyteller, we believe in miracles. We know God can do miracles. He could have chosen to heal Kara physically at any point. But short of that, as you said, you basically knew the end of her story, even before you started filming. Was it hard for you to keep things uplifting, I guess you would say?

Sofia Lyons: Oh, yes. You're talking to someone who previously has had a fear of death my entire life. Even as a believer, I know I'm going to heaven and life is eternal. But yes, it was very difficult just to kind of be in the midst of someone else's great pain like that. And not just physical pain, but also the pain in her eyes sometimes, when she talked about knowing that she had to leave her children … knowing that she wouldn't see her daughter get married, and she wouldn't be there for graduations. That was an intense thing to be a part of, but also a beautiful privilege to get to walk alongside someone in their journey. She was such a faithful Christ follower that I absolutely learned so much from her, and soaked up every ounce. I mean, she just lived out the Bible.

Jay Lyons: For me, it was a little different because I had my producer and director hat on when I was with Kara. So when I was editing, this project took several years because it wasn't a budget-funded thing to where we had someone throwing money at us. It was basically something we just completed on our own and squirreled away our own money and did on our own little by little. It’s been doing great now after it's been released, but it took four years. So, in that process, while I was editing Kara, that's when I got emotional. I would watch footage and cry. But when I was with Kara, I guess I put on my producer hat. I was there to do a job, which was to tell her story. I guess we’re just different in that Sophia might have been more in the moment. I was just more like, we have a job to do, we have to do this interview.

 

Connect with Jay and Sofia Lyons

·         Jay on LinkedIn

·         Sofiaj.com

·         Sofia on Facebook

·         Sofia on Twitter

Episode Notes

Charisma News

Special Series: Hope Through Cancer

Guests: Jay and Sofia Lyons

When pastor's wife Kara Tippetts wrote an open letter to a fellow cancer patient who intended to take her life, her mommy blog went viral. And when filmmakers Jay and Sofia Lyons heard her story, they knew they wanted to help. This episode, hosted by Marti Pieper, shares the inspiring moments behind “The Long Goodbye: The Kara Tippetts Story.”

Introduction

Marti Pieper: Kara Tippetts’ Simple Mom blog went viral after she wrote a compassionate letter to a fellow cancer sufferer who planned to commit suicide. When they heard Kara’s story, filmmakers Jay and Sophia Lyons knew God wanted them to get involved. Listen as they described the journey that led to their new documentary, “The Long Goodbye: The Kara Tippetts Story.” This is the Hope Through Cancer series on Charisma News.

This episode is brought to you by the E book Revelatory Combat by Ryan LeStrange. Revelatory Combat is a concise look into the prophetic ministry and the partnership between prophets and apostles. It provides clarity for the battle facing the church in this hour. Ryan LeStrange and Charisma magazine are proud to offer you a year-long subscription of Charisma magazine, as well as a download of Revelatory Combat for only $20. If you'd like to take part in this offer, be sure to visit combat.charismamag.com or call 1-800-749-6500 and mention the word combat.

 

Other Episodes in the Hope Through Cancer Series

·         Karen Schatzline

 

Marti Pieper: I’m Marti Pieper, and I'm speaking with Jay and Sofia Lyons, producers of “The Long Goodbye: The Kara Tippetts Story.” Obviously, when most of us hear about someone who has cancer, we don't respond quite the same way you did. Can you tell us a little bit about your background in filmmaking?

Jay Lyons: My background is as TV producer and my wife is a singer. And once upon a time, we traveled and toured the country as Christian music artists. So, it feels like a long time ago. It wasn't all that long ago, maybe 15 years ago. Then when we moved to New York City, which is where Sophia is from … we were in Nashville and we moved to New York City and started to do some pop music with some theme songs on TV networks, so MTV stuff like that. We just backed into TV producing. And now looking back on it, it was definitely the right career change for us. So, for the past 10-15 years, I've been a TV producer. I've produced for all the major networks. So, that is our background in a nutshell.

Marti Pieper: That's great. Well then, how did you first get connected with Kara Tippetts?

Jay Lyons: We develop TV shows and develop movie ideas and things like that. I had always wanted to do a show based around end of life issues. I felt like if the subject was handled correctly, it could be a beautiful thing, especially from a Christian worldview. So, I was on a show called “My 600-Pound Life,” which is on TLC. I was producing a lot of those episodes. A lot of the people I was dealing with are in life-threatening situations. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the show, but it's a show about morbidly obese people. So, it's very serious. A few of the people actually have died on the show. So, I just got me thinking along those lines. Also, several of my subjects I was following and producing and directing were Christian, Christ followers. So, I got to put that in part of the show as well, which was fun. So, I started to think about the end of life issues, to think this is something that should be touched upon … especially as a Christian person, I thought it could be a beautiful thing, even though it's sad. A lot of times it’s painful and we don't understand it. So, that was in my mind. I saw a Facebook post, believe it or not, from a friend of mine from high school who I hadn't spoken to in 20 years. She posted, pray for my pastor's wife, she has cancer. And that was Kara.

Marti Pieper: Wow, what is it they say? Coincidences when God does a miracle and remains anonymous? So, I'm sure God can even use Facebook, right?

Sofia Lyons: Yes, God totally used Facebook through this instance.

Marti Pieper: So, He used Facebook to connect you, and then and obviously Kara already had cancer at this point. Wasn't it her blog? Weren't you initially just doing a video for her blog? Was that the plan God gave you, or how did that come about?

Jay Lyons: That's true. Like I said, this is a broader TV show idea initially around people in the end of life. So, Kara was like, maybe the first episode or even like a teaser, or a demo tape. We went to meet with Kara. We had fun time with Jason and Kara. They're just wonderful people. They're sweet people, they were like our couple friends, even though Kara was at a very difficult point in her life. But still, we laughed and joked with them and, of course, had more serious moments. But yes, we left there and then edited a piece for them that was about three minutes long. And, and in our mind, it was sort of like, OK, this is this is done. What I was going to do was take that and maybe pitch that around to networks for a possible TV show. Well, Kara put that on her blog and it exploded. It got several hundred thousand views basically within a week. And the Washington Post did a big article and a lot of international newspapers. Hundreds of online publications covered it. Then after that, and this was near the end of Kara’s life, I contacted her and said, I think there's something more here. I think that this could be a full documentary.

Sofia Lyons: In the very beginning, we were missing a little bitty piece of the story here. I had actually been in a small group of ladies here at my home and we were just praying about Lord, what do you want for us? Jay had been very discontented in his TV work. Not because it wasn't going well, professionally, but just spiritually he felt like, you know, when you're doing TV shows, you really can't do a Christian narrative. So, he wanted to do something with his skill set in television filming, and do something for the kingdom. So, when we first met Kara and Jason and Skyped with them, we were excited to think, wow, we could do something for this family, and maybe even just their church. We could film their family so they could have it as a time piece, like a time capsule. At the same time that he was pitching this tape around, we were also going to present them with footage just for their family and for the church. So, in the beginning, we did not realize it would be a film, but it was sort of like God laid a path out for us. I like to use the analogy of breadcrumbs. If you have a long path and there's these little tiny breadcrumbs, I feel like God gave us this film in a series of tiny little steps like breadcrumbs. The first breadcrumb was the Facebook post, like, oh, wow, Kara Tippett. She would be perfect for this little television reel. Second breadcrumb: We love this couple. Third, breadcrumb, let's go to Colorado Springs and do something nice for this family. Fourth breadcrumb: Let's do a video. So, you get the point. This is really a God story to where He wove together this entire film without us even realizing it.

Jay Lyons: It definitely didn't start off as any kind of documentary movie, full thing that somebody cooked up in a board room, to where there was executives saying we need to do this. It just happened.

Marti Pieper: Step by step is what it sounds like. That's amazing. One thing I was thinking about as a storyteller, we believe in miracles. We know God can do miracles. He could have chosen to heal Kara physically at any point. But short of that, as you said, you basically knew the end of her story, even before you started filming. Was it hard for you to keep things uplifting, I guess you would say?

Sofia Lyons: Oh, yes. You're talking to someone who previously has had a fear of death my entire life. Even as a believer, I know I'm going to heaven and life is eternal. But yes, it was very difficult just to kind of be in the midst of someone else's great pain like that. And not just physical pain, but also the pain in her eyes sometimes, when she talked about knowing that she had to leave her children … knowing that she wouldn't see her daughter get married, and she wouldn't be there for graduations. That was an intense thing to be a part of, but also a beautiful privilege to get to walk alongside someone in their journey. She was such a faithful Christ follower that I absolutely learned so much from her, and soaked up every ounce. I mean, she just lived out the Bible.

Jay Lyons: For me, it was a little different because I had my producer and director hat on when I was with Kara. So when I was editing, this project took several years because it wasn't a budget-funded thing to where we had someone throwing money at us. It was basically something we just completed on our own and squirreled away our own money and did on our own little by little. It’s been doing great now after it's been released, but it took four years. So, in that process, while I was editing Kara, that's when I got emotional. I would watch footage and cry. But when I was with Kara, I guess I put on my producer hat. I was there to do a job, which was to tell her story. I guess we’re just different in that Sophia might have been more in the moment. I was just more like, we have a job to do, we have to do this interview.

 

Connect with Jay and Sofia Lyons

·         Jay on LinkedIn

·         Sofiaj.com

·         Sofia on Facebook

·         Sofia on Twitter

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Hope Through Cancer With Jay and Sofia Lyons