Rogers Family News
Christmas Greetings to our dear Family and Friends!
As I sit down to write this, the fields in front of my mountains are covered with mist and the sun is beginning to caress the sky with fingers of reds and pinks. It’s truly a beautiful morning! We greet you in the Lord and hope with heartfelt sincerity that this finds you and yours well. Of course, I’m writing this to bring you up-to-date on what has been happening in our world in the past year, so…onward!
It’s been a year full of both blessings and challenges. Aren’t they all, though? I should probably begin with Michael, especially since I shared with you last year about his bone marrow stem cell transplant and recovery. I’m happy to tell you that Michael is doing well! It’s been a tough year for him in many ways. It’s so hard to surrender your plans to the Lord for His greater good, but, that’s exactly what Michael has had to do in more than one area of his life.
He was ready to go back to work in February and did work for a couple of months helping out a dentist about an hour north of here who was having some tragic health issues of his own. It was a great place to work and he loved it there. However, that job was only temporary as a new dentist had bought that practice. However, a month or so later, he was back at work and happy as a clam. He was excited about his second career in dentistry, but, then, at the end of September he had a stroke and a couple of seizures. He had an abnormal brain MRI a month or so earlier, and had a lumbar puncture Monday, 9/21 at Vanderbilt so they could test his cerebral spinal fluid for any evidence of toxoplasmosis. For those of you who’ve kept up with us, you understand all that. The concern was the possibility of a new lesion in his brain and the test was necessary to prove or disprove that.
The entire week after the test Michael had a terrible headache followed by some numbness in one of his hands. He had experienced numbness previously and also had experienced a pretty bad headache following the previous lumbar puncture so he thought nothing of it and continued working that week. Saturday morning, he had the seizures and was airlifted to Vanderbilt. It was determined that he had a stroke resulting from a small clot in a rather different area of his brain. He was admitted to the hospital that day, but, recovered so well that he was discharged three days later with the OK to return to work the following week. However, after returning to work two weeks later and working for a couple of weeks, the Lord woke him up at 3:00am on 10/15 and told him he was to quit his job. Well, what do you do when that happens? You quit your job. You don’t question God or wrestle with Him. You simply obey.
One of the restrictions he has to deal with is that he isn’t supposed to drive for six months after the seizures. So, who’s doing all the driving? Yours truly. It’s so ironic; Michael loves to drive and I hate it. If money was no object, I would have a driver take me everywhere. This has been a big challenge for both of us. In fact, for Michael it’s almost as difficult as what he went through in Nashville and some of the things he’s experienced since we got back. It’s really like having your independence taken away. At the same time, we realize six months is like a blip on the radar screen of life and despite how hard it is for him, he’s being a real trooper about it and I so appreciate the example he sets once again. My dear Michael is an incredible man.
The other challenge for him is the medications he’s on following the stroke and seizures. One is affecting his stamina to a small degree and the other has affected him with a very annoying dry cough that he can’t shake. He goes back to meet with everyone at Vanderbilt next month and we will be discussing all of that then. At this point, according to our last appointment a couple of months ago, the doctors at Vanderbilt have decided this stoke was a ‘provoked stroke’ and they only want him on those medications for 3-6 months, so, we’re hoping to see a number of changes following next month’s appointment.
In the meantime, we continue to pray for the Lord’s leading for the next chapter of our lives. Michael has no residual affect from the stroke whatsoever and that is a real blessing. God has brought us so far in the past year. In fact, he was carrying up some boxes of Christmas decorations a couple of days ago and he stopped when he got upstairs and said, “You know, I couldn’t have done this a year ago”. As I watched him bowed over I was at first concerned, but, quickly realized he was bowing in worship before the Lord thanking Him for all He’s done. It is amazing how we can still look back a year past almost every day and see how far the Lord has brought us. What an incredible God we have! So, if the Lord brings us to mind, please join with us in praise for the healing and in prayer for direction as we go forward into the new year.
Our most notable and wonderful thing this year, apart from how well Michael’s recovery has done, was Tim’s marriage to his sweetheart Samantha. What a wonderful wedding it was and how happy they are! We just love Samantha. She’s every bit a Tennessee country girl and is like a breath of fresh air. Tim has jumped in with both feet to being a step-daddy to her two boys, Aiden who is 6 and Noah who is almost 2, and is doing a fantastic job. They have the challenges of both working fulltime and opposite shifts, and juggling all the schedules around, but, they have made great strides in many areas of their lives and the Lord has done so much in them which is a joy to see.
Tim works at Premium Waters in the water quality lab and Samantha works in Customer Service for Forward Air, a local trucking company. Tim still plays bass on the worship team at church when his schedule permits.
Jon, Kara and their family are also doing well. Asher is now 10, Sadie 8 and Elsie 4. The kids are involved in different things and Kara spends a lot of time getting them to and from tennis for Asher, swimming for Sadie, and dance for Elsie. Elsie is now in the Mom’s Day Out program at church two days a week and that frees Kara up a bit to get some things done.
Kara has had a tough year. She lost both of her dear Grandmothers a few months apart. Her family has always been very close and her Grandmothers were a central part to their Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays which has made this year has been particularly difficult. So, they will have to be starting new family holiday traditions and hopefully those will turn into special and fun times of their own.
Jon is busy at his office and Kara helps him some with that. He still plays adult soccer and plays guitar beautifully on the church praise band. The kids are growing so fast and it’s hard to keep up with them. Asher and Sadie excel at school. Asher loves to read, build things and work on the computer and Sadie who is an intersting mixture of tomboy and girly girl, loves to be outside. Elsie loves to be a princess, shopping and all things girly. They are such a joy!
As for me, well, I’ve managed to keep pretty busy, too. I had a huge garden this year and canned a lot which was a lot of work but a lot of fun. I must have harvested several hundred pounds of tomatoes, and that was certainly more than I’ve grown for many years. I still have chickens and that’s fun. It gives me great pleasure to serve and share what I grow. Any of you who garden understand that perfectly.
I think my most exciting event this year was the writing and publishing of my first book, “More than 100 Days, a Stem Cell Transplant Journey of Faith”. The book became available in June through Amazon and Barnes & Noble or directly from me. As the title suggests, the book is about our journey over the last couple of years and God has not only blessed me in writing it but through the responses of people who’ve read it. We now have a website, www.morethan100days.com and I try to keep that updated with blog posts and other news. If any of you would like an autographed copy, please get in touch with me right away. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if I get your email by 12/18 I should be able to get the book to you by Christmas. It’s a very encouraging book and would be a wonderful Christmas gift. I am praying about a second book which will be entitled, “Swinging Wide, what to do when Life Throws You a Curveball”. If I go forward with it, it should be out sometime in the Fall of next year.
One of the things that God has shown us this year is that He and He alone knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). It is God who orders the steps of our lives and who has a plan for us that cannot be thwarted. We so often make plans for ourselves that fail or never come to pass because God’s plans for us are different. Once Michael can drive again, he would like to go back to work. Where will that be? We aren’t sure about that at this point. Will we do missions work? Will we travel? Again, all those things are up in the air and given up to prayer. The most important thing is to be doing whatever God’s will for us is. Life is so short. James calls it ‘a vapor’ and how true that is. It’s here today and tomorrow it’s gone. Michael’s doctors have all told him there is no reason he can’t live a normal life now doing whatever he wants to be doing. So, we go forward, prayerfully, carefully, trying to follow God’s lead. No matter where this next chapter of our lives takes us, it looks like we will be in for some new adventure, and that makes life fun and interesting. So often it’s perspective and attitude that makes the difference between positive and negative experiences. I guess you’ll just have to check out our website blog or wait until our next Christmas newsletter to find out what’s next!
We do wish you and yours a blessed Christmas and a wonderful 2016. It’s hard to believe that it’s just around the corner. Time goes by so quickly when you get to be our age. You realize that the days behind you are much longer than the days in front of you, and your measurement of time changes significantly. So, dears, seize that time while you can. Don’t let opportunities go by. Don’t waste the precious time you have because once it’s gone, well, there it goes and there’s nothing worse than living with regret. One thing we have purposed to do in 2016 as we always have but to do so even more circumspectly is to follow Paul’s wonderful admonition to us in Colossians 3:23-24:
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
As always, you are in our hearts, ever near and ever dear.
Michael and Jan