Oh, Kenny!

Oh, Kenny!

 

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4:6-7

It’s been almost a week now.  Almost a week since the lives of one family I dearly love have been inexorably changed. Ten people.  Two dead.  One wounded.  One who will most likely be in prison the rest of his life at age 31.  One mother, and my dearest friend, left with a gaping hole in her heart.  Three children who have lost their parents as no children ever should.  One Father grieving the loss of his wife and daughter.  All for what?  Because sin crouched at Kenny’s door and he did not master it.

Oh, Kenny!  My heart is so grieved and it cries out!  Oh, Kenney!  Why did you take a loaded gun with you?  Why, why, why, why, why! “Leave it at home, Kenny”, I would have counseled had he asked.  “You’re upset; no, you’re distraught.  Please!  Don’t take that gun with you!”  So many things so many could have said; would have said.  But, in an instant, in the midst of an ugly confrontation, he took out that gun and shot and killed his wife and mother-in-law and then exchanged gunfire inside the house where his three boys were and wounded his father-in-law.  Oh, Kenny!

My precious friend just lost her husband almost three years ago.  As she told me of the unfolding events we cried together over the miles.  She is out in California; I am here in Tennessee.  I wanted to be there, hugging her and crying with her face-to-face.  I loved Kenny and I still do.  I’ve known him since he was about ten years old.  He and his brother are like sons to me and our boys are like sons and brothers to them.  Our families are stuck together with love glue and always will be.  Oh, Kenny!

We read on the news about murders taking place and we say it is justice when they receive life in prison or the death penalty.  Michael and I were talking about that and it hit me that I’ve said that so many times, but, now…oh, Kenny; not Kenny!  Not our dear Kenny facing life in prison or death row.  It just couldn’t happen; it just isn’t real.

I remember waking up last Wednesday morning.  I went to get my robe out of the closet and shook my head.  I kept trying to clear my head thinking it must have been a nightmare.  You know the feeling; one of those terrible dreams you are so glad wasn’t real when you wake out of it.  But, there was no shaking this one off.  It was real and I still can’t wrap my brain around it completely.

What is it that causes things like this to happen?  How can someone feel enough rage and despair to kill another person?  I just can’t relate to that.  I think once I threw something (unbreakable) across the room and I’ve slammed a few doors in my lifetime.  But, that was the extent of it.  The only answer is back to what God warns Cain about in Genesis:  “Sin is crouching at the door.  Its desire is for you but you must master it.”  Sin was crouching at the door.  Satan wants nothing better than to destroy families and people.  Kenny’s wife may have been involved with another man.  They had been having marriage issues and were heading towards divorce.  Some might call this a ‘crime of passion’.  But, the best description isn’t really that complicated.  It was simply sin.  Sin got the better of Kenny.  In a moment; in as much time as it takes to pull the trigger on a gun twice, he forfeited through his own choice what was left of any kind of a normal life. In an instant he lost any opportunity he would have had to hug his kids; take them to the park; watch them play ball; meet their first girlfriend; see them walk down the aisle on their wedding day and hold his first grandchild. Never again will he be there to celebrate their birthdays or open Christmas presents with them.  Never, never, never; a lifetime of ‘nevers’.  Oh, Kenny!

I believe there exists within each of us the propensity towards good and the propensity towards evil.  I don’t understand sometimes what stirs within each of us to pull one trigger or the other.  As Christians we have the Holy Spirit residing within us whose job is to convict us of sin and wrongdoing and, as long as we listen, He does a great job of that.  But, also living inside is a sin nature that is constantly at battle with us selfishly desiring to pursue those ‘lusts of the flesh’.  Anger is a lust of the flesh.  It is sin.  It crouches at the door desiring to master us.  If you are angry, my friend, you must not allow it to master you.  You must master it.  You master it through prayer and meditation on God’s Word. You master it by making yourself accountable, getting godly counsel from other mature Christians and seeking help if you need it. But what you don’t do is allow it to rule over your life.  The truth is that if we do not master our lives, our lives will master us.

Is there hope for Kenny?  Of course there is.  Life in prison isn’t an easy one.  It is a life of deprivation.  However, at the same time, it can be a reasonable life.  People can accomplish things in prison.  They can gain knowledge, skills and even college degrees.  There are Bible studies and church services.  There are things with a semblance of ‘normalcy’.  And, God can work just as well inside prison walls as He can anywhere else in the world.  People can find peace in prison.  Many have done all of those things.  There are challenges, but, we all have challenges.  There’s just a different set of them, but, they can be overcome just like the challenges outside prison walls can be.

In God there is always hope.  The hope I wish for Kenny is a repentant heart that is seeking to be in all ways right with its heavenly Father; right within its owner, and a right witness to others no matter what the future will hold.  My hope also includes healing and restoration for Kenny and comfort for his grieving family and father-in-law.  My hope is that they can somehow, someday, be comforted enough to accept that which they can’t change and begin, once again, to rebuild a life without Kenny’s presence. My hope is that joy will return to their lives.  My hope expands to his children who, at ages 2, 5 and 9, can return to some kind of a stable, normal life so that they can heal from the trauma they have experienced. And, for me, my hope is that I can be the support I long to be for my dear friend…and that I will someday stop crying.  That hasn’t happened yet, but, I know that with the Lord’s help, it will.

Does God still love Kenny?  Of course He does.  Can Kenny be forgiven?  YES!  Murder is both a personal sin and a capital crime, but, there is no sin that cannot be forgiven by God.  If you are reading this, please join me at the throne of God in prayer for this family.  This pain and sadness will never really go away, but, things will get better in time.  In the meantime, they need lots of prayer and support.  Once again, they need the Lord more than ever.  How thankful I am that His well never runs dry; His love is unfailing and His hope is eternal.

Michael Update in the New Year

Happy New Year!

We hope your year has started off well and that you are looking forward to a fresh start! I thought I’d take a few minutes to share with you how the year has been going for us so far and give you a ‘Michael Update’.

Michael’s year didn’t start off too well. He spent Christmas Day in bed and has felt pretty horrible for several weeks. The main complaint is this terrible and seemingly chronic sinusitis which he’s been dealing with to one degree or another for a year and a half or so. His appetite has decreased, so he’s lost weight, he has an awful, wracking cough which keeps him up at night and has become bothersome enough that it has truly disrupted his life.

Both his doctors at Vanderbilt and our local, wonderful doctor have tried many rounds of antibiotics and nothing has helped much. Our local doctor finally referred him to an ENT specialist. Oh, how we have prayed and prayed for healing. Finally, I began to pray for answers, and here’s how God has answered our prayers:

I was going through Michael’s history a couple of weeks ago to put together a synopsis for the new ENT doc for his appointment a week ago. In so doing, I remembered how he had this problem in 2015 and his IgG levels were too low and he needed IVIG infusions. IgG is one of the things that works with his immune system so that it has the antibodies it needs to resist infection. Hmmm, I thought. After those infusions it was more than 6 months before the sinusitis issues began to creep back in. I took the results of my research to him and asked him if he thought that his IgG levels might have dropped enough that he needed more infusions. He heartily agreed that might be the case, so, I sent a message to Vanderbilt and also to our local doc, Phil Thwing. Phil messaged me back immediately and said that could easily explain what was happening and encouraged me to get in touch with our local Hemotologist ASAP. All I wanted was someone to order a blood test for the IgG levels.

Well, Vanderbilt didn’t get back to me, so, I called the Hemotologist’s office and they wouldn’t do the test without seeing Michael first and that wouldn’t be for a few weeks. He was scheduled for a checkup at Vanderbilt already on 1/5, but I knew that if I could just get a blood test and it showed the levels were low that they could arrange for him to get an IVIG infusion on 1/5.

So, back to Phil who agreed right away to order the blood test. Yay!

The ENT doc was very nice. He put Michael on another round of antibiotics, this time in concert with some steroids and nasal lavage. He, too, thought it was possible Michael’s IgG levels might be the culprit.

The blood test results came back the following Wednesday and yes, Michael’s levels were extremely low; less than 109. Normal range for most people starts around 640. Wow! We got the results FAXed to Vanderbilt and they reserved time for an infusion on 1/5. Yay again!

So, yesterday Michael saw Dr. Savani at Vanderbilt and we finally got the answers we had prayed for. Yay, God! It turns out that what Michael is experiencing is quite common for patients who had the type of ablative transplant Michael had using the drug, Thymoglobulin, that was used to wipe out his immune system prior to the transplant. The unfortunate results of this drug and method is the dire effects on the B cells and B lymphocytes that help the immune system resist infection. And, of course, I’m sure you don’t have to guess that these cells work directly with his IgG levels. Dr. Savani told us that in many of these patients it can take even 10 years for the B cells to recover and begin to function properly.

He also explained to us (and I actually had done some research prior to the appointment and read about this) that chronic, bacterial sinusitis is one of the primary problems that these patients deal with. The meds prescribed by the ENT doc are exactly what he should have been prescribed, so that was good to hear. Furthermore, this bacterial sinusitis is always worse in the winter months. Thinking back to how Michael began last year, also sick, that made so much sense. He had a touch of it during the Spring and Summer, but, it defintely began to be worse once Fall had begun and during the winter. Hallelujah, we had an explanation! Praise the Lord!

We now have an established treatment protocol in place. Michael will get IVIG infusions every year as winter is approaching until such time as Dr. Savani is satisfied there is no recurring infection which indicates his B cells are beginning to function on their own. Michael is 3 1/2 years out from the transplant, but, there’s no way of knowing exactly how long this will take. He will also get IVIG infusions now every two weeks for a time yet to be determined by his Ig G levels and body’s response. He will also get an annual flu shot and pneumonia shot every other year. Dr. Savani also encouraged him to take more precautions about being around sick people, even our Grandkiddlkins. The rule is: “no direct contact”. That’s going to be the hardest part of this because it means I have to be careful as well not to pick up any bugs and expose him.

Michael is so encouraged to know that he will soon start feeling better and getting stronger. This has been a very rough stretch for him. I don’t think I’ve seen him so weak or so sick for a couple of years. He so looks forward to feeling like himself again.

We prayed and God answered our prayers. Michael is finally, finally on the path to healing and for that we are so grateful. We are also so thankful for the many friends and family who have prayed alongside us. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ll keep updating about his progress over the next month or so. Please keep the prayers for healing coming.

Love to all,
Michael and Jan

Christmas Newsletter, 2017

Rogers Family Christmas Newsletter
December, 2018

Christmas Greetings to our Dear Family and Friends!

As always, we do hope 2017 has been a good year for you and that our annual newsletter finds you and those you love doing well. As I sit here typing this, the late afternoon sun is kissing the mountains behind our house. We had a dry Fall here and it seems as though the trees held onto their leaves longer than usual. It looked like Fall color was going to be a bust but then we got a couple of inches of rain and everything suddenly went from drab to dramatic seemingly overnight. We’re finally having a good dose of cooler weather. We’ve had some temps down into the low 20’s accompanied by those sparkly blankets of heavy frosts in the hayfields that are so lovely. I still have pumpkins on the front porch, but, they’re going out to the garden tomorrow.

So…where to begin? It’s been an interesting and exciting year. I guess I’d have to say there were two highlights of our year: the first was the birth of our sixth Grandchild, Jonah Michael, to Tim and Samantha. He’s a darling little guy and reminds me so much of Tim. The second highlight was our first and extremely spiritual and emotional trip to Israel in October. More about that later. Then, there were other interesting tidbits here and there, but, I’ll start at the beginning and bring you up-to-date on how everyone in the family is doing.

Jon and Kara and their three kids, Asher (12), Sadie (10) and Elsie (5) are doing well. Jon’s business seems to be doing well, although I’m not certain about all the details because I finally retired from doing the bookkeeping and being involved in the business a couple of months ago. But, from what I can see, things are going great. Asher is in his second year of Middle School, plays trombone in the school band, tennis and is going through all of the adolescent ups and downs. He’s so handsome. Once he decides to really like girls…well, we all know how that’s going to go! Sadie is gorgeous with some of the most beautiful big eyes you’ll ever see and a sweet temperament and has turned into a voracious reader, winning awards at school for reading more books than anyone else in the entire school. This is her last year in elementary school. Elsie is now in Kindergarten and is just as exuberant about life as ever. She’s still ‘the princess’ and still has fun entering local beauty pagents. Kara is head of the parent association at their school so between tennis lessons for all 3 kids, piano for the girls, that and helping Jon with the business she is constantly on the go.

Tim and Samantha are doing well. Samantha finally decided that she was tired of all the ups and downs of the job she had and Jon was looking for a Financial Coordinator for the office, and she ended up getting the job. She’ll be great at it and is very excited to have this new opportunity. Tim is still at Premium Waters and is thankful to have a job, but, it’s not an easy place to be because it seems like the company is constantly making changes. However, he does the best he can to roll with them and enjoys being a Team Leader. They are both very busy between work and managing their family. Aiden (8) is in 2nd grade and has a vivid imagination. He’s doing really well in school and we’re very proud of him because he’s really worked hard to get where he is. Noah (almost 4) is in daycare as is Jonah who will be 1 towards the end of January. Noah is a darling and very smart and strong willed little boy. Jonah is just a sweetheart; easy going and always with a smile. He’ll be walking soon I think and he’s a busy little beaver now. I believe life has much in store for them and look forward to seeing all it has.

Michael is still working up at the community dental clinic about an hour north of here. For a time we considered moving to Cookeville (about 3 hours from here) because a seemingly great opportunity opened up for him there. So, in August he quit one of his jobs and we travelled back and forth while he ‘tested the waters’ but, after a month or so it became clear that it wasn’t going to work out. We went between being a bit disappointed because Cookeville is a neat place, and relieved because we love it here by our mountains and being closer to family. He still wants to practice fulltime and there is a temporary opportunity about an hour south of us that he is looking into through the middle of March. After that he’s not sure exactly what he’s going to do but we trust that the Lord will direct him.

I guess it was around September or so that the Lord called us to leave the church we’d been at for a number of years to get involved with a little country church out here in our community that was in need of a worship leader. I had met a number of the ladies through our Ladies on a Mission for Ghrist (LOAM) service group I joined last year who attend that church. We visited several times and when it was clear we weren’t going to Cookeville, Michael stepped forward to answer that call and it’s been a blessing to see him leading worship again. We love the Pastor. He’s a great teacher and we love that, for the most part, he teaches expositorily and it’s so refreshing. It’s a small church but we’re enjoying that, too, and it’s only about 5 minutes from our house.

So, how is Michael’s health? He’s really doing well. He’s back to doing everything he was doing prior to the transplant and I couldn’t be happier about that. The only issue he struggles with is chronic sinusitis that has been a significant problem for him for a couple of years now. Both his family doctor and his Vanderbilt hematologist are working on it, but, so far nothing seems to have caused it to resolve completely. We just keep praying and hoping for some resolution. Other than that he’s great.

So, what else have we been up to? Well, one thing that’s significant is that we’re putting an addition on our house. We actually had the plans drawn up in 2011, but, I just kept dragging my heels on it for a number of reasons. However, after looking for a house in Cookeville where I saw at least 100 houses over the span of 6 weeks, we saw a lot of different features we liked. After that was all over we sat down and discussed what we’d really like to do for our future and staying here was the decision. So, why not change the house as much as we could to get more out of it what we wanted? Thus…the addition. Hopefully, it will be completed in late February because it sure is a mess around here.

One of the things that came about as a result is that we lost water and power out to the chicken house and trekking things out there was becoming cumbersome. So, I decided to rehome all my chickens to a local ministry and start all over next year. The very day the guys were coming out to pick up the chickens the Project Manager told Michael they should have the power and water out there in a couple of weeks. I had understood it would be more like a couple of months. I didn’t have the heart to tell the U-Turn guys I was going to keep them after all and they took all of them. A couple of days later I decided I missed having my own fresh, delicious eggs, so, the hunt for new chickens began. I now have 5 chicks in the garage and will be adding more in the next month or so.

The other animal-related thing was the sad point of our year. Our beloved Polly whom we’d had for 13 years got sick and after a few months of seeing her in pain and understanding from the Vet that her illness was not recoverable, we made the heartbreaking decision to put her down. Oh, how my heart ached! We missed her so much that we began another search for a Chocolate Lab and found a breeder near Cookeville. That’s when Molly entered our lives and came home with us July 4th. She’s a typical Lab…all energy, chews on everything and plays incessantly. She even chewed parts of several of the pumpkins on my front porch! I left them there anyway deciding it gave her something to do and them some additional character. But, she’s a load of fun and smart as a whip and is in puppy training classes. She will eventually settle down and when she does she’s going to be just as great a dog as Polly was.

Another highlight of our year was a return trip to Germany in December. We first went up to Northern Germany, an area new to our travels, to meet Patrick, the young man who donated stem cells to Michael. While we know that God did the real healing, it was Patrick He used to save Michael’s life. That meeting was extremely emotional and we are so glad we were able to meet him. He’s just a wonderful young man. We also traveled back to Bamberg and went to a number of Christmas markets as well in Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Bayreuth. We had a wonderful time revisiting the places we’ve been so many times and seeing what’s new. Bamberg has changed a little bit, but in most ways it’s still the same town it’s always been. We also visited with Erich and Annaliese Bauer, longtime family friends as well as my friend, Christiane who owns a small quilt shop outside of Frankfurt. Great memories.

So, what’s new for me? Well, I’m now leading one of our Wednesday night Bible Studies at church. I’m slowly introducing that group to inductive Bible study and everyone is enjoying it as am I. I was also leading a different study on Thursdays which has now ended. Between that and our LOAM group, Molly, helping with Tim and Samantha’s kids due to their work schedules, my life is pretty busy. I was watching Jonah fulltime until the Cookeville move possibility came about and then he joined Noah in daycare. I loved watching him but it was more of a time commitment than I anticipated and I just couldn’t go back to doing that fulltime. It did allow a wonderful relationship with Jonah to develop and it’s one I hope to always have.

I didn’t plant much of a garden this year because I didn’t think I was going to be here, but…next year…watch out! The seed catalogs are already rolling in and I’m already drooling over them and planning, planning, planning.

Our trip to Israel was a dream come true. It was everything we always hoped it would be and so much more. We went with the Christian Medical Dental Association and made some new, good friends. For me, the most emotional and spiritual highlights of the trip were a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, being baptized in the Jordan River, and following the footsteps of Jesus in the Old City of Jersualem. As we walked along parts of the original Via Dolarosa, I did so with tears reflecting on the pain Jesus experienced as He labored along that path. Now, when we read our Bibles or listen to our Pastor teach, we exchange looks because inside we are silently shouting “We were there!”. We were in Israel for a week and then went on an extension tour into Jordan. I could talk or write about that trip for hours. It was life-changing and unforgettable. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling in my lifetime, but, I’d have to say that for me, it was the most memorable trip ever. I hope to go back and rejoin that piece of my heart I left there. In fact, it’s funny. I was telling Michael just yesterday that Germany fuels my creativity, but Israel…well…it has captured my heart.

One of the worship songs we did at church yesterday was “Come, O Come, Emmanuel”. I love that song and there’s so much rich theology in all the Christmas hymns we sing. Sometimes we miss it because those songs have become so familiar to us over all the years that we just sing them without really meditating on the words. As we were practicing that song I just broke down. We’ve been to Israel. We’ve seen the place Jesus was born. We’ve seen Jerusalem both from a distance and close up. Israel is in lonely exile here and it desperately needs it’s Savior. But, we can rejoice! Romans 11 explains to us that God has had a plan for the ages and part of His plan was to harden the heart of the Jews so that the fullness of the Gentiles could be completed. What a blessing it is to know that we, ‘the wild olive branch’ have been grafted onto Israel’s tree of life so that we can share in the Covenant blessings of God. You see, when Jesus returns as Israel’s Emmanuel, we, too, will be delivered. We will rise up and meet Him in the air as the trumpet sounds just as 1 Thessalonians explains. We will be delivered from this world and from this body of death and that, my dears, is reason for rejoicing!

The news is troubling today but every day, it seems, we are seeing the pieces for the fulfillment of God’s prophetic plan being fit together. It’s exciting really, because all these things simply hasten the coming of the Lord. So, dears, just as is sung in “The Little Drummer Boy”, as you are looking up preparing for your redemption, be asking yourself as he did, what gift can I give Him? The only gift God really wants is our undivided, obedient hearts. A soft heart, fully surrendered to the Lord is the best gift we can give because those are the hearts that are listening to His great commission, sharing His love and His truth with a lost and hurting world. Amen?

As always, you are in our hearts, ever near and ever dear.

With much love,
Michael & Jan

Happy July 4th!

 

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July greetings! Even though July 4th isn’t until Tuesday officially, we’re going to begin celebrating it this evening with family and friends because everyone’ schedule is a bit wonky on Tuesday. Michael and I will most likely go to watch the show after our local baseball game that day, but, we’re doing the backyard BBQ & fireworks show today.

I was thinking about the freedom that we celebrate. Sometimes we forget about the concept of freedom and what a blessing it is. In this country, we are still free. Those of us who are Christians have seen those freedoms slowly chipped away at, however, for many years. How grateful I am, though, that we still can move about freely and discuss our views without fear unlike people in so many other countries.

Freedom also has a Spiritual and an emotional context to it. If you are a Christian, then, the Bible tells you that in Jesus Christ you have the ultimate freedom (from sin); a freedom He gave His life for. What this freed us from was sin and death. What we celebrate on Tuesday is a national freedom for which many people also gave their lives.

Michael has faced death. No doubt. But, in that also comes another freedom; the freedom from fear. Fear is real and at times it seems almost palpable. But, we need not be fearful for what the future holds even if we can’t see the entire picture. What a blessing it is that I don’t fear where I will spend eternity because my eternal future was secured by Jesus’ death and resurrection.

I don’t know who all follows this page or where our followers are spiritually. There is one thing I do know and that is if you haven’t surrendered your life to Jesus Christ then you will never be truly free. While we celebrate July 4th one day a year, those of us who are free indeed in Jesus Christ can celebrate that freedom every day, and for all eternity to come.

 

Three Year Michael Update

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Dr. Savani and Michael 5/19/17

Hello all! I know, I know, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I apologize for the ‘busyness’ of life.   But, I wanted to share with everyone how well Michael is doing. In just two days we will be celebrating the third anniversary of what Vanderbilt calls his ‘new birthday’. Almost three years ago is when the transplant took place and oh, what a journey it truly has been!
I wanted to update you about how his Vanderbilt visit went yesterday. To sum it up with one word…’FANTASTIC’! The truth of it is that Michael is doing incredibly well. Who would have thought that would have happened a couple of years ago when he got so sick! But, he’s not sick now; not by a long shot.

Michael’s hemoglobin has topped 18. Considering it was once down to 5 at its lowest point, that’s just amazing. In fact, amazing is the best word to describe my dear hubby. His recovery has amazed everyone; even me. God has been so faithful and on the way home from Vanderbilt yesterday, we were giving God all the glory for what He has so wonderfully done. Psalm 139 tells us how we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. And, that is the truth!

All Michael’s labs came back showing great counts. The sinusitis that plagued him is just about gone. Dr. Savani agreed with me that it was quite possibly allergies at this point.

We had an extensive conversation with Dr. Savani about our future plans (more of that to be revealed as the next month or so goes by) and about whether or not Michael should continue working and, once again, Dr. Savani encouraged Michael to do just that. He said they are really working hard to encourage all their long term care patients to resume their normal lives. “We want them to go back to what they were doing before they got sick. We want them to continue on with their lives.” I wonder if Michael’s recovery has had any impact on that philisophy there? It sure wouldn’t surprise me to learn that it had because everyone we talk to there is so delighted with how well he is doing and Dr. Savani continues to praise his outlook on life and working. I say that only because Michael was never a ‘normal’ case throughout this journey. If you’ve read my book, you know that. We also shared with Dr. Savani our plans to go to Israel and Germany later this year and he was thrilled for us.

Another thing that we discussed with Dr. Savani is the outlook for Michael’s future. Of course, there are never any guarantees. We asked him about risk factors. The doctors at Vanderbilt have always been very honest with us about everything. As Dr. Savani told us, having truthful, open and honest communication with patients is of the utmost importance. During our very first consultation there Dr. Greer told us that there was no guarantee that Michael’s original illness won’t return some day. Those types of future things are ones only God can see. But we did discuss potential risk factors with Dr. Savani and what he told us yesterday was that, of course, no one can reliably predict what the future holds, so he couldn’t say there was ‘zero risk factor’. But he puts the risk factor at about a ‘1’. How exciting was that to hear!!!  And, what should our attitude be towards those risks?  Well, as he put it, “I have to come to work every day and every day I have to go drive home on I-65”.  What he means by that is that one can’t look at difficulties or challenges of life and decide to just stay home and do nothing out of fear that this or that ‘could’ happen.  Life must go on and we must go on with it.  In fact, on one of the walls in the stem cell clinic was a new quote from Chuck Swindoll.  It said, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations”.  What a great quote and how true!

We always learn new things when we go for Michael’s checkups. This time we learned about new research that has come down the pipe that has shown that when patients are Michael’s age it’s much better for their donors to be young; even kids. Patrick, Michael’s donor, was 18 when he donated. We are so thankful upon learning this new information that Michael’s sister wasn’t a match because she’s even a few years older than he is. There is a lot of scientific jargon to accompany this but in a nutshell what it said to me was that the younger the donor, the better, stronger and healthier jumpstart or boost it will be to the patient’s immune system. That may also partly explain why Michael is doing so well.
So…all-in-all it was a great visit. As always, we left excited and encouraged and ready to roll into the next chapter of our lives. We thank you all again for the prayers, support and encouragement over the last few years. It has been such a blessing and a help to us as we have gone along a sometimes difficult journey. It is such a blessing to be on ‘the other side’ of all of this. Again…God gets the glory.
And, I still have a number of copies of my book. If you know anyone who would like one, please let me know. At this point, I am happy to simply give them away. After all the thank yous and comments I have received from readers I have come to realize that this is really a ministry; not an opportunity for financial gain. All I ask is that if I have to ship one, the reader pay the postage.
Jan
Isaiah 46:10

Such a blessing!

We are beginning to receive a few book reviews and comments from folks and we are so delighted to know that the book is making a difference.  Here is a new review we just received:

“A true (recent) heartfelt story loaded with inspiration of our friends real life walk of faith They endured more than you could imagine. One trial after another, only to get another. God’s work was nothing short of a miracle. So blessed to have them in our lives. You will love this book!”

Our thanks to Darleen B. for taking the time to post it!

New this week:

We met with Velma Southerland from our local paper, The Greeneville Sun, yesterday.  It sounds like there will be some article in the paper tomorrow or so about the book and the Book Launch Party on Sunday.  Woohoo!  The word is slowly getting out!