Monday, October 30, 2006

death and life

Oftentimes we will have people comment on how cool it would be living on a farm….well not to piss on your parade but here is a glimpse of what is involved in the enchanted world of farm-life…
Yesterday morning as we were feeding animals Christy noticed one of the ewes was laboring and actually had something distended from her hindquarters (best way to say it) she thought the ewe was aborting her pregnancy because it is very early for them to lamb…but alas a few hours later finds a little black lamb sucking at momma’s teat. The ewe, “Blue,” looked like she maybe had another in there so we left them alone. When we came back in a bit blue was on the ground with what appeared to be another lamb coming out but what turned out being a prolapsed uterus (look it up if you want the gory details, it is not pretty). We have some books that help with this stuff and with blue being very old we didn’t want to spend a small fortune on getting a vet down our three miles of dirt road. We worked on her for a while and tried to get the uterus back in place, but to no avail.
This is where it gets hard. We realized that blue is failing rapidly and have to make the decision to put her down…which is my job…I hate it! I do it in the least painful, quickest way possible. She is a 200+lb sheep and with only one good hand and Christy pregnant there isn’t any way in anywhere that we are moving her…so I fire up the tractor and take her out back where she is now giving back to the earth.
So…now we have this little girl living in our kitchen and making my daughter laugh, but actually needs to be fed more often than K1. Life is a give and take…and it is never easy.

So if you ever have a twisted notion that life out here is grand come on up and help us out anytime…we will be glad for the company, the help and we will let you walk through some shit…

Friday, October 27, 2006

update on mike menning

An up and down week it's been. I'm writing this from Greg and Cindy's house in Tampa (Kara's brother and wife). As the week went on we started to believe more and more that this was not going to be an urgent condition. Let me just cut off my explanation and let you hear it directly from my mom's version:

Well, welcome home! We have changed location of our waiting room and for that we praise Our CREATOR!

After consultation with the kidney specialists it was determined that the cause of part of the problems Mike has faced in the past ten days may VERY LIKELY -- not for sure -- may be caused by some kind of allergic reaction -- to what? Not yet determined, but a hunch was even something as simple as aspirin or ibuprofen!!!!!!!! So, no kidney biopsy for at least 7 - 10 days due to potential of bleeding in the meantime watch symptoms. Stop even the baby aspirin and no ibuprofen, as well as a couple other adjustments on his diabetes medications.

In the meantime -- what about the gal bladder? Well, after more consultation with a surgeon resident doc and the main team of doctors who have dealt with Mike since Saturday evening -- we are at peace about waiting to sort out the kidney problem first and then proceed with the surgery -- it is agreed that his wish will come true in due time.

When I specifically asked the question whether all felt we ought to be at peace at this point in regard to the non-presence of cancer, they of course, were not able to give a black or white answer, but feel there are not enough signs to point that direction and feel adequate tests would assure us that all has been done for now -- to be at peace.

Now, we are at home, our path is not necessarily that of understanding, but surely it is God's. We have prayed for good reports, good medical care and peace -- and we do have that. We have prayed for healing and ask you to join us again in that prayer -- for complete restoration and clarity. We know that God alone is the peace giver and we are willing to receive!

Thanks again for all your caring and loving messages, cards, visits, and greetings, and most of all your prayers.

Mitch again - let me thank all of you too for all of your concern, prayers and care. It's almost embarrassing if this turns out to be nothing more than a bad gall bladder and an allergic reaction. It's great news, but far from potential lymphoma!

Have a great weekend,

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

for mike menning

O Lord, Holy Father, creator of the universe, author of its laws, you can bring the dead back to life, and heal those who are sick. We pray for our sick brother that he may feel your hand upon him, renewing his body and refreshing his soul. Show him the affection in which you hold all your creatures.
Dimma, a 7th Century Irish monk

Christ, give him the strength; your servant is not well.
The tongue that praised You is made silent,
Struck dumb by the pain of sickness.
He cannot bear to sing your praises.
O, make him well again, make him whole,
That he may again proclaim your greatness.
Do not forsake him, I beseech you.
Let him return now to your service.
Gregory of Nazianzus (modified)

Lord, we pray for our brother Mike that you would heal him and restore him.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Monday, October 23, 2006


i haven't heard from my friend mitch since our camping trip....this was in my email this morning...please pray

Hey, everyone,

I know I've missed someone on this email, so please don't take it personally if you're getting this forwarded from someone because I forgot someone. And feel free to pass it around to whomever you wish.

Last weekend (13th-15th) Kara, the boys, and I went camping with my parents (ages 61 & 59) in Southern Utah and had a great time. During the weekend my dad mentioned that he had gained 12 pounds over the past couple of weeks and being diabetic he was quite concerned about this (went from 170 lbs to 182 lbs). Also, my mom stepped in some broken glass in their motorhome after shattering a coffee pot. Due to having a piece of glass removed from her foot on Tuesday of this past week, I had to cut my workday very short on Wednesday to take care of our boys (my mom normally watches them on Wednesdays). Well my mom’s foot is now doing well and has turned out to be the least of our concerns.

Thursday my dad was diagnosed with pneumonia (turns out incorrectly). He continued to get more and more sick by Friday (pain, more bloating – gained 8 more pounds putting him at 190, a rash that developed across his belly, legs, and arms, and nausea). Friday night my mom took him to the ER at St. Mark’s Hospital in SLC. They ran a bunch of tests and released him during the night on Saturday AM without a diagnosis. He continued to worsen and by Saturday morning we finally talked about the similarities of his symptoms to that of his older brother of three years who died in 1993 17 days after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. (Both of my dad’s parents died of cancer and three of his six siblings died, had, or currently have cancer so there are familial concerns.) So it was back to the ER on Saturday noon. His abdomen was full of fluid and he was now weighing 198 lbs (28 lb. gain over three weeks). His lymph nodes were very enlarged. Concerns were now lymphoma (an often-aggressive cancer of the lymph nodes), various other types of cancer, kidney issues, or gall bladder. Ultra sounds showed the gall bladder was fine. He did feel some better after getting anti-nausea meds through an IV and morphine, but the ER at St. Marks released him on Saturday afternoon and said to follow up with his family practice doc on Monday upon the family practice doc’s return to town. (Had he been in town, I believe things may have gone differently, but everyone looking at him had no history.)

Frustrated and really concerned, Kara called a friend of ours who is a hospitalist doctor (internal medicine specialist) at the University Hospital in Salt Lake. Given the symptoms, some of the test results, and my dad’s history our friend was concerned that he was sent home. Our friend stuck his neck out and made arrangements for my dad to be directly admitted to the U. Hospital and by Saturday night he was in the hospital. Our friend’s feeling was that whatever is going on, it’s serious and moving quickly. He (and the rest of us too) didn’t want to lose one, let alone three or four days. He said, “We’re admitting you and you’re not going home until we find out decisively what’s going on. In the meantime we’re going to try to get you comfortable.” I guess there’s something to the “it’s all about who you know” saying.

By this afternoon (Sunday) they had found the right mix of morphine and anti-nausea meds to make my dad fairly comfortable, but still no diagnosis. There are signs that it might not be lymphoma (soft, moveable glands) which is a great relief, but there’s still a lot of unknown. Some kidney conditions are also of concern.

To top it all off, Kara, the boys, and I are supposed to be leaving for a family vacation in Florida to see her brother’s family on Wednesday. Needless to say, that’s up in the air.

So as you can imagined, we're pretty messed up right now. My dad was my best man in our wedding and we're incredibly close to him. So if any of you are the sort to pray, we could use as much of it as possible.

We know God can do amazing things so we're praying for either a treatable diagnosis or a miracle of healing. Also, he's going to be poked, probed, and messed with a lot over the next couple of days so we need to pray that he'll hang in there and be a patient patient.

Thanks for all of your support,

Mitch (and Kara, Isaiah, Joey, and our baby girl due in January)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

here's the deal

just exorcising some demons from my head:

--the gathering was great not because of what it was but of those who made it so. there were great sessions on the good news of god and what it means today, communal living and why people do it, women in ministry and women in emergent as well as emerging, i heard the one by tony jones on theology was good something about theology is everywhere (if you went to this one fill me in more)and the one by doug pagitt on post-augustinian christianity (which i listened to...thank you ian) BUT the real bread and butter happened outside of the sessions...talking with people like mike stavlund who spoke with me openly about his son, will, dying just about a month ago (amy - i would love to hook you up with he and his wife)and watching him and stacy dealing with it while still being in community with people there... in fact, if i knew nothing else about emergent and the books i have read and people i have met, and i saw mike and stacy come up at the beginning of the week and explain WHY they were there in light of will's death, that would be all i need to know about the people there and would have been sold on emergent from that point. this is why emergent is so appealing to me... it is real and love and freedom and honest pursuit of god and christ and it is messy but it recognizes the reality and beautiful place messiness has in life (thank you mark and adam for the "beautiful mess")
--through this time i have decided to go ahead and start the cohort, with directed encouragement from sarah notton and tony as well as andrew and becky..originally i thought i would wait and see who was interested but it seems good to just go ahead and get the ball rolling and see who comes along side
--mitch and kara are incredible friends of fact they are family... you get to a place where you realize that people become involved in your life, if you let them, to such a degree that the categories of FRIEND don't apply but the categories of FAMILY are more fitting...anyway, they came along side of us again and supported us by loving us and pledged support by action and that is wonderful...during our conversations i expressed a frustration about not living by the disciplines that i hold dear, at least by word, and through mitch's encouragement we are embarking on an eight month trek to live better primarily through health but i plan to use this as a catalyst for other things that are important, issues of justice locally, better life for those around me, active love...
--christy and i have a relationship that is defined by tension, it is not easy. we also have a lifestyle right now that is demanding and trying, therefore out of love for her as well as needing to get things done and living my love more actively i am limiting myself to computer use in the early morning and late evening. we have a lot on our plates and we need your prayers and persons (i.e. hands, feet, mouths, ears, eyes, minds) to help us be all that we desire to be and dig ourselves out of the mountain of stuff that we are buried under.

FINALLY, i will be adding more people to my sphere of blogfluence...please visit them because i believe it will be worth your time

my little love is awakening so i must tend to her...peace
Sunday Heroes: Matthew

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


we got back late last night from our trip to utah and my trip to the life-giving (i am diggin' that, ryan) emergent gathering in new mexico.
if, by chance, i met you at the gathering and you are maybe expecting a hello from me please be patient, we are experiencing the worst diaper rash known to this household, weird muscle pains in chest as well as in side and butt (one for me two for christy)after 14 hours in a car with everyone in pain and feeling trapped, christy whirling off to work, me going to school for some catchup, a messy house and lots of animals who want attention.
will there be more peace in the world tomorrow?

Thursday, October 05, 2006


the fam and i are heading out today for utah to visit mitch and kara...and then on monday i am heading down to new mexico for the gathering. i'll check in when i can but probably no posting for a while. we will be back on monday the 16th. pray for traveling mercies for us.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

when your left and your right get obfuscated

when i was recovering in the hospital, i overdosed on television (because we don't have one) and watched some south park....and laughed my ass off!
this is an interesting interview with a couple of very honest guys
Matt Stone & Trey Parker on Nightline Pt. 1

a day in the life

my sister linked this on her site originally but i was so struck by the realities of it i had to share.
Daddy Survival Guide - Part 1 (of 5 parts)