Prayers for the Week: Happy Anniversary Cindy

Happy Anniversary Cindy

‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’

Genesis 2:24

Happy Anniversary Cindy

My friends, my brothers and sisters-in-Christ, on this day 19 years ago, Cindy and I were married. It has been 19 years by the calendar, and 20 years that we have known each other, but I can truly say, like my brother-in-law Jerry, when asked how long I’ve been married, the correct answer is “All my life.” The simple fact is that, when God gives you into your keeping the woman that He had picked out for you from before you were even a twinkle in your parents eye — well, that is a time for rejoicing, for praising Him, and for realizing that she is just one of the countless blessings that He has granted to me, and I would be a fool if I didn’t recognize it.

My friend Tisha asked me after we had been married for a while if being married was difficult. At the time, she had not been given her soul mate, and she wanted to know what it was like. My answer to her then is the same as it is today — being married to Cindy is the absolute best decision that I’ve ever made, and being married to her is easy — except for those times when the world buts into our affairs. What I’ve learned, though, is that this isn’t entirely accurate, because those worldly interruptions have given us a better reliance on God, on trusting Him with all our heart, mind, and soul.

Before we start our prayer requests, my brothers and sisters-in-Christ, would you please pray for all of the marriages out there — those that are rooted in God’s Love, and those that aren’t; those that are strong, and those that are facing troubles; and pray for those that are no longer married or have never been married, that they would live for the fulfillment of God’s Plan in their lives, whether married or not. Thank you, my friends, those prayers work wonders, so please continue praying for those we have listed below.

Prayer Requests and Praises

  • Vickie starts us off with a prayer request: “Prayers for my cousin. They have found a tumor that is usually benign so we are believing that everything will be fine. Please cover in prayer. Thank you.”
  • We have been praying for Robin’s colleague Bill. Here is a sad update from Robin: “From Jill regarding my colleague Bill, her husband, ”This news is hard to share. The fact that it is 1:30am is indicative of how I’m handling all this.
    Yesterday Bill had his appointment to have his scans at City of Hope. And to say we didn’t get good news is an understatement. The chemo isn’t working. His CEA (tumor markers) went from 25 to 80plus. The overall tumor growth is about 20%. More (albeit tiny) tumor particles were found in the lungs. There are no other traditional chemo routes left to choose from. Our only option is to look at clinical trials.
    We found some hope in one that the doctor shared with us, but that won’t be “active” and available to sign up for/start for 6-7 weeks. In the meantime we will make appointments at Georgetown and National Institute of Health to see what trials they have coming up.
    I have tried half a dozen times to write down my feelings relative to yesterday’s news, but I just can’t. I don’t have the words. And I’m afraid if I really start processing how I feel, I might just dissolve in pain.
    For now, we’ve decided to extend our trip in CA and rent a car to go north to visit Katie and Dave and the grandkids.Maybe seeing those sweet faces of the grandkids will help heal the gaping wound in my heart.
    I love you William Turgeon.
    Thank you for praying.”
  • Jodi asks for continued prayers for her family: “Please pray for my sis-in-law, niece, and nephew today/this week, as they are moving Tatum into her college dorm. As you can imagine, doing this without her dad (my late brother) is rough. Thanks!”
  • Lori shares a praise, a Scripture, and a Witness with us: “Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV): 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for you to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
    Well, Happy, Happy Birthday to me! I just got the word that I will be starting a NEW JOB in 2 weeks!!!
    Only 7 minutes from my house, & better pay!!!
    I cannot THANK YOU all enough for the PRAYERS & SUPPORT that you have offered me. The last 5 years (exactly!) have been a roller coaster (with mostly downs) ever since my ex-husband (of 16 years) walked out the door on my birthday 5 years ago and left me to pack and sell the house, refused to negotiate with me & would only go through the attorneys ($$$’s!); and I might add that he made ME be the one to file for the divorce!
    Praying that streak is over! Thank you all!”
  • Sheila has a prayer request for us: “Please add my Architect, Don, to your prayer list he was recently diagnosed with Kidney Cancer. Don is scheduled for surgery on 8.8.2019. Will keep you posted please pray.”
  • Lastly, please continue praying for the families of those affected in the El Paso and Dayton shootings, as well as for all of our nation, our leaders of all political parties, and all of those that are afraid to ask for prayer. Please continue praying with us the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not in temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever.

The Lord’s Prayer

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

Today is a very special day in the lives of my Mom and Dad.  Today is their 49th Wedding Anniversary, just one year shy of the coveted Golden Anniversary!  Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

It is hard to imagine that 49 years ago today my parents were off going to the Justice of the Peace, eloping after just a few months of dating.  My parents were a blind date — and I guess  you could say that the date worked out quite well!

I have so much respect and love for my parents, it is really hard for me to put my feelings for them into words.  But you know me, I’m going to try!

As I’ve gotten older and hopefully wiser (although Dad would probably disagree with the wiser part of it) I’ve come to realize that there are so many little things that really contribute to become the man you are (well, not in my sister’s case, cause she isn’t a man…)

In any event, seeing my parents work hard at their marriage, seeing them sacrifice this luxury or that thing they wanted because something else was needed, those little lessons that they taught Robin and I became learning lessons in life for us to teach our kids.

Being married to Cindy for almost 13 years has taught me one valuable lesson: Being married and loving your wife is the easy part; what makes marriage difficult is when outside influences, such as job stress, school issues, the economy, etc, come into play into your relationship.  It is those outside influences that play the major roles in making a marriage hard work.

The biggest key that I’ve learned is that it is extremely important to love your wife, and to tell her that, day in and day out.  Those sorts of lessons, I learned from my parents by observing their marriage.

So, today, Mom and Dad, I congratulate you, I raise my glass to you, and I celebrate the life that you have had together, and the life that you will continue to have in the years to come.

I thank you for the influence that you have had in making me the man that I am, and I give God thanks for you both every day.  Most of all, I love you.  Happy Anniversary!  May God bless you with many more years of wedded bliss!

Happy 50th Anniversary

Prayers for the Week — Wedding Vows

Happy 50th Anniversary

Today my parents are celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary by having a vow renewal after church.  Their actual anniversary was May 1st, and I was touched when my Dad said that he wanted to say his Wedding Vows again with Mom.  God talks to us about marriage several times throughout the Bible, including Genesis 2:22-24:

22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[a] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

I’ve seen a lot of life in my 46 years, faced my share of both struggles and triumphs, but the one constant in my life has been my parents.  Throughout the years, I’ve been the cause of some grief in their lives — of course, not as much as my sister ;) — but some.  Throughout it all, though, Mom and Dad were always there for us, and for themselves, and Robin and I are better as a result of it.

Prayer Requests and Praises.

  • First up today is a comment from my sister Robin.  Here is what she wrote: Mike, this came from Pastor Travis Moger. He does a blog called Salty Bread on Word Press. It is a great blog and always gives me food for thought. This post seemed appropriate. I am going to try to attach the link but here is the text from Pastor Moger. “The week after Easter I spent three days on retreat at the Holy Cross Abbey near Berryville, Virginia. It was my first retreat in many years, but not my last I hope, and my first time at a monastery apart from visiting as a tourist. My goals were modest: catch up on sleep and spend time praying, reading, and relaxing. I accomplished these goals and learned a few valuable lessons I’d like to share with you.

    One thing I learned is that I eat too fast. At our communal meals, eaten in silence, I was usually the first one done, even though I took bigger portions than most. I need to eat less, chew more. The same goes for prayer. Monks pray slowly and deliberately as if chewing on every syllable. I need to slow down and take time when I pray.

    Not only do I need to pray more slowly, I need to pray more frequently. Monks pray seven times a day, following the example of the Psalmist: “Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments” (Ps. 119:164). These aren’t short God-bless-us-all prayers but prayer services lasting from twenty-five minutes to over an hour. They even rise every night at 3:30 a.m. and shuffle on groggy feet to the chapel where they pray and read Scripture aloud, their voices still raspy with sleep. Some days I am so busy that I only pray three times – breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

    I also learned that monks stay busy too. In addition to their set times of prayer and worship in the chapel throughout the day and night, they are required to perform manual labor. This requirement goes back to the sixth-century Rule of Saint Benedict, which prescribes daily periods of prayer, work, and rest to help maintain a healthy balance. The monks at Holy Cross Abbey run a bakery and sell their products in the monastery gift shop, and they also stay busy maintaining the grounds and running the monastery. It’s a good reminder that I need to balance work, rest, and prayer, allowing sufficient time for a healthy dose of each.

    A final lesson comes in the form of a wonderful mixed metaphor from the previously mentioned Rule of St. Benedict: “Listen with the ear of your heart.” This is a good lesson for all of us. If we listen with the ear of our heart, we may be surprised by what we hear. “
  • My friend Joyce has a prayer request for us. Here is what she wrote:Friends and family we need prayers for 4 year Makayla Lassiter. She needs our prayers as well as her family. Lord I ask you to lay your loving hands upon her and heal her. Lord I believe and will keep on believing that prayer helps. I have been anointed with oil and prayed for Makayla at church. I know it is Gods will not my will. Come on prayer warriors my family needs you right now.Please pray for Makayla’s healing, and for God’s Peace, Comfort, Strength, and Love to descend upon her and all of her family. Thank you everyone!
    • Here is an update from my friend Joyce:This is from Makayla’s Mom: Well Makayla update is great prayers do work. Dropping meds and lowering ventilator and basically she had fluid messing with her heart rhythm so she gets fluid out she’s great.This is from me: Thank you all for helping me pray for good news. Family need lots of prayers. Someone broke into their home Saturday night and stole several things. Pray that they get the person or persons that are doing all the break ins in Woodland. Be safe family and friends who live there. I pray that Makayla will continue to improve. We know that none of us can make it without our Lord and Savior. Thank you.
  • Update from my friend Amanda on her husband Daniel’s cancer:It’s been a while but things have been moving fast so we were waiting until we had a bigger picture to send out the update. This is going to be a long, technical one!
    The CT results show the tumor is resectable but they would need to take 80% of his liver if they did the surgery today. That would not leave enough healthy liver behind if they took the margins they want to take. Fun fact – you can survive with 20% of your liver without significantly increased risk of liver failure! So, we started chemotherapy yesterday to shrink the tumor and prevent, hopefully, more from showing up. We will have 4 cycles of chemo with each cycle being 2 weeks long. The tumor was KRAS positive so we had to drop one of the chemo agents from the regimen. As for the regimen, Daniel gets 2 agents in the office and then brings the third home in a portable chemo pump that he wears for 48 hours then we go back to the office to have it removed. That way he is getting the agents continuously for 3 days.
    In addition to the chemo, we will be having a bypass embolization of the portal veins – all 4 branches of the right and at least 1 of the left sometime in the next week or so. I’m oversimplifying this explanation. This will shut off the blood supply to the tumor and hopefully increase blood supply to the healthy liver. The hope is the tumor will stop growing at the very least and shrink as cells are killed off due to no blood at the best. In addition, we hope the increased blood supply to the healthy liver will grow as well. If everything works the way it is supposed to, between the shrinking of the tumor and the growing of the healthy liver, we will have more than enough liver left after they take the tumor plus a good margin.
    We will reimage in 8 weeks to see if everything has worked the way we wanted. If it has, the liver resection will be scheduled. If it hasn’t, then we’ll figure out where to go next. So far, he’s had a little nausea that we are trying to regulate and we will probably end up going into the office for more fluid until we can get that fixed so he can eat and drink appropriately. Other than that, it is going well for now. They said a lot of the side effects kick in at the second cycle so we’ll see.
    So, prayer requests for this round is that the tumor shrinks and healthy liver grow as we need them too, that Daniel do well with the chemotherapy so he can keep his nutrition and hydration up and that Daniel, Cate and I have the stamina, patience and perspective to get through this hard part of the road. Thanks so much for all the prayers, calls, cards, thoughts, emails, PMs, etc! Everyone’s love and support really helps keep us focused on the ultimate goal – to kick this in the butt!! We’ll be praying for each and everyone of you too!
  • Please pray for my wife Cindy’s co-worker Glenn and Joyce.  Joyce has been diagnosed with a tumor, and needs to have surgery next week.  Please pray for healing for Joyce, as well as for God’s Peace, Strength, Comfort, and Love to descend upon them and all of their family.  It is a scary time when you are sick, so please pray also for God to take their fears away, and to remind them of how great God is in case they need the reminder.

Thank you all very much for praying each week for all of our prayer requests and praises.  It means a great deal to me.  Now, let’s close by praying the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our Daily Bread,
And forgive us our Trespasses,
as we forgive those who Trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory,
Forever and ever. Amen.

Friendship Friday: My Grandpa!

Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of Friendship Friday.  Today I have another one of the special people in my life — my Grandpa!

Grandpa and I have always been buddies — for as long as I can remember.  Grandpa worked at United Airlines for 41 years, stepping down in 1978.  Gramps was assigned to different airports by United as their Chief Maintenance Manager (or something like that) — so he and Grandma and Mom and Aunt Bette and Uncle Roger were always travelling to different states.

My Grandpa was assigned to work at the United Airlines Hangar for the then unopened Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia.  It was Grandpa’s job to make sure that the United hangar was ready for business when the airport opened up.  It was while Grandpa and all the family were there that my Mom and Dad met and got married!

When I was born, my Grandma and Grandpa were living in Buffalo, NY, where Grandpa was in charge of the hangar at the airport there.  I don’t remember Buffalo much because I was young, but my Grandma always told the story that I would be off somewhere, and they would find me playing with the toads that I would find over by the cellar windows outside.

After Buffalo, my Grandpa was stationed at the last airport he worked at before retirement — Newark, located in Newark, NJ.  My Grandparents lived in Berkeley Heights, NJ, and I remember our trips north to visit Grandma and Grandpa there.  It was then that Grandpa and I started forging our bond.  We would go to the airport and look at the planes land from the observation deck — back in the days when you could go to the airport, park, and watch planes all day if you wanted to!

Grandpa had so much knowledge about the airplanes.  He would look at one and say — there’s a DC-10, or a 727, or a 737, or, of course, a 747.  It was great to see him in action, and I learned a few things about planes back then.

In October 1978, I believe it was, Grandpa retired, and Grandma and he began their last move — to Port Richey, Florida!  It was there that my fun with Grandma and Grandpa would begin in earnest!

In 1979 My Mom, sister Robin, and I flew down to visit Grandma and Grandpa.  Dad was a self-employed cabinetmaker, so unfortunately he didn’t have much time off, so he stayed behind.

It was during that summer visit that I got my first visit to Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom!  I’ve forgotten some of the details, but the one thing that I never forgot was what I wrote about for my friend Donna from DISTherapy for her 40 days to 40 years project in 2011:

As you pass under the railroad tracks, somehow, Walt Disney has magically taken you out of the here and now, and transported you back to a different time, a different place, where small town Americana is alive and well; where Main Street isn’t just the name of a street, but it is a place to hang out with your friends, where you can eat, shop, and even catch a movie.  As you gaze at all of the incredible buildings, you are taken aback at how long Main Street, U.S.A. is.  It seems like it goes on forever!  But you peer at the end of the street, and what do you see?  This magical castle waiting for you, beckoning you to take a look at it, daring you to even go inside of it!  You have heard about that castle, how it is Cinderella Castle, and belongs to her.  You have read about how you can walk all the way through the castle, and come out in Fantasyland.  You have even heard that you can even have a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table — but that memory is for another trip.

After that first summer, my Grandma and Grandpa started asking if I wanted to visit with them during the summer months when school was out.  Hello!  Of course I said yes!  I remember the first time I drove down with them, and I had been visiting for a while when my Grandpa said, “Mickey, when do you think you want to go back home?”  I thought for a while, then I said something to the affect that school started September 5th, so I guess I needed to be home a couple of days before so I could get school clothes.  I think my Grandpa thought I was homesick, but how could I be?  I had my buddy with me!  And did I mention it was Florida?!

Grandpa and I did so many things together.  We took care of the neighbor’s pool together — so we could swim in it.  We learned how to swim together.  We would go to the library and check out a book on a particular swimming stroke, and we would read a page by the pool, then go check it out in the water to see how it worked.  During that summer, we learned all the major swimming strokes!

We would go to the beach together while Grandma was playing Bridge with the ladies.

My Grandpa was — and is — an inspiration to me to this day.  He and Grandma lived through so many things — the Great Depression, wars, the Cold War, uncertainty, illness — yet they never wavered from who they were, and what they believed.  That is a lesson for all of us in this day and age.

My Mom is the oldest of my Grandma and Grandpa’s three children.  When she was one or two years old, she got bitten by a mosquito and became extremely ill.  My Mom had to learn how to talk again, and she had to learn how to walk again.  Through all of that, my Grandma and Grandpa were there, helping her, guiding her along as she learned the things she needed to learn again.  My Grandpa would work with her when he got home from work — all the patience in the world.  Infinitely more patience then I have, that’s for sure.

We are all miracles, but I think some of us are a little more of a miracle then others.  When I think back on how sick my Mom was as a baby, just the fact that Robin and I were even able to come into this world is a testament to God’s Power and Strength — and his Mercy.  Carry that forward, and it is obvious to me that Sophie is a miracle of her own — so tiny, such a little baby, but now an 11 year old.  None of us are perfect, that is certain, but the blessings we have — in my mind, they outweigh the problems we have so much, if we just choose to see them.

At the end, my Grandpa passed away the way I think we all would like to pass on — at home, in his bed, with his family by his side, singing him Happy Birthday one last time.  My Grandpa was born on September 4, 1913, and he passed away on September 4, 2011, and the tender age of 98.

Gone…but never, EVER, forgotten.  I love you Grandpa.

My friend Heidi is the inspiration behind the Friendship Friday series for me!  She even lets me link up with her site each week!  Click on the image below to see what friend she is highlighting today, and thanks for stopping by!

Friendship Friday: Happy Birthday Jim!

Kara Smith Photography

Image Courtesy and ©Kara Smith Photography

Welcome to a very special Friendship Friday.  Today is my brother-in-law Jim’s birthday!  Everyone wish him a happy birthday!  As you can see, just a few weeks ago he was receiving a kiss from his baby girl, my niece Stephanie, before she was married to Shane.  You can read his story here, but this isn’t about that day, this is about Jim, and all that he has meant to me over the 27 years that he has been married to my sister, Robin.

Jim has a big heart and a funny personality.  Not a day goes by when I see him when he isn’t cracking a joke about something, and that personality trait has been passed on to his kids as well.  In addition to that, though, Jim is mostly a soft-spoken person — although, let me tell you, he can make his point well-known when he needs to!

Some of my best memories from my later teenage years were from the time Robin and Jim were married.  In the blink of an eye, gone was the crabby older sister — and boy, do I mean OLDER — so Jim, if for nothing else, thank you for marrying my sister so she would move out! In fact, I’ve often said that Robin and I didn’t appreciate one another or become friends until she got married, so thank you Jim for that also!

When they first got married, Jim had the unfortunate circumstance of knowing that their first home, a townhouse, was about a block from our home.  After they got settled in, it became normal for all of us to spend some early evenings playing Monopoly, Spades, or other games after dinner.  I had fun during those times, I hope Jim did too!

Brett was born about a month after Robin and Jim celebrated their first wedding anniversary, Leslie two years later, and Stephanie, two years later after that!  It was around this time that Jim and Robin bought their house in Round Hill, and they were able to get away from my parents some!

I’ve known Jim for all of these years, and now that I’m a parent, I’ve learned a few things from Jim.  When Sophie was first born, she hated burping after eating (now, not so much — just kidding!)

I’ll never forget watching Jim hold Sophie — itty bitty little Sophie, for what felt like an hour at least, just gently massaging her back, when all of a sudden she burped!

I’ll also never forget the one and only time I ever babysat Brett as a baby — boy oh boy, what a mess did I make with Brett’s diaper! Jim was closer to home, so he came home and bailed me out.

Now that Sophie is getting older, she doesn’t seem to need us as much, and before I know it, the day will come when Sophie is kissing me on the cheek just like Stephanie kissed her Daddy.  Jim, when that day comes, count on me to come calling on you for advice!

Jim, I hope you have a great birthday!  Give all the kids a hug and kiss for us, and say hi to the newlyweds!

My friend Heidi is the inspiration behind the Friendship Friday series for me!  She even lets me link up with her site each week!  Click on the image below to see what friend she is highlighting today, and thanks for stopping by!