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Among Possible Topics

Dear VSM LifeSharers,                                                                                                          May 2011

This is one of those months when I’m kinda mystified about what topic I should write.  And that’s not because there’s too little to talk about but too much!  So much is going on and so much of what’s going on is momentous and interesting.  In fact, there are several happenings that could easily take up an entire letter if I covered them in detail.

For instance, I could tell you about the two-hour conversation I had with a Swedish journalist who works for his country’s largest newspaper and magazine.  Michael came to Omaha to cover the Berkshire Hathaway meetings but while he was here he was also slated to do a story about abortionist Leroy Carhart.  He knew of me from the interview I had done for a Norwegian TV crew last spring and so he called for a meeting.  We met and had a very relaxed, wide-ranging conversation, spending a much longer time than either of us had planned for.  We talked a lot about abortion and other life issues but he was also interested in my conversion and my Christian worldview as it impacted many things.  It was one of those meetings which have all the distinctives we associate with “divine appointments” and I’ve been praying for Michael ever since.

Or should I talk about the changes in our sidewalk counseling schedule, refer to a couple of book reviews I wrote to promote Christian books on Amazon, or maybe review the things I’m preparing to add to our Russian-language web site?  A completely different topic would be the plans formed by a new pro-life coalition of which Vital Signs is a part, a coalition whose purpose is to more effectively oppose Planned Parenthood in our area.  These last few weeks have also seen us busy with efforts to persuade the Unicameral’s Judicial Committee to let two key pro-life bills get to the full legislative body for debate.  That was quite a fight but one which ended in sudden and surprising success.  LB 521, the bill to stop web-cam abortions, and LB 690, a parental consent bill, are now available for the full legislature to debate and vote on.  Pray.  And contact your state senator, asking for his/her vote on these measures. 

Like I said, any of the things above could fill up a LifeSharer but then I wouldn’t have any room to tell you about the two letter-writing parties we conducted in these last few weeks.  One of them was the normal Vital Signs P.A.L. Night while the other we held in conjunction with Faith Bible Church.  And those letter-writing parties produced over 70 letters each!  How cool, huh?  Especially when it may well have helped get those pro-life bills out of the Judiciary Committee!  We also wrote to persecuted Christians, addressed business leaders about issues of decency in the public square and contacted federal officials about freedom of religion matters. 

And if I wanted, I could also write a whole LifeSharer letter about the numerous presentations we’ve given of “When Swing Was King.”  The program continues to produce the most remarkable results and more nursing homes are inquiring every month about Vital Signs bringing “When Swing Was King” to their facilities.  If you could see the smiles, hear the stories and watch these seniors sway with the music, you’d know why our hearts have been so touched by giving this gift to them.  We are getting pretty close to our saturation point but still have room for two or three more facilities. 

What else is going on?  Well, a review of Vital Signs Blog would certainly qualify.  We’re getting a lot of cross-posting on other sites plus counting 600-700 hits a day.  That’s really great.  There was also a lecture I gave to a Grace University theology class about the biblical perspective on suffering.  And I could fill two or three LifeSharer letters if I tried to describe everything Claire has been doing: Vital Signs taxes, volumes of correspondence, typing, organizing my schedule, sidewalk counseling, phone calls, and running the PowerPoint in “When Swing Was King.”  Oh yes, there was also her organizing the open house for Kurt Oyer’s graduation, receiving commendations from two nursing homes, planting flowers, overseeing our new diets, painting the kitchen cabinets, escorting me to an emergency visit to the dentist, reorganizing our personal finances (especially crucial in this Barack Obama economy) and spending hours and hours helping me oversee my Mom’s care.  What an incredible lady Claire is!

The subject of my Mom is another very big one.  The latest news is that Mom has been in the Intensive Care Unit of Immanuel Hospital for two weeks.  In addition to her regular health issues, Mom has been dealing with lower blood pressure, a particularly vile UT infection, pneumonia, greatly increased weakness and lethargy, severe edema and a new problem with her heart which, after they finally beat the infection, required a pacemaker.  The most serious battles involve the edema and keeping her nutrition up.  It’s been a tough time (we spend many hours at the hospital every day) but, of course, it’s more than worth the effort.  Your prayers are appreciated more than we can say.

Finally, here is the next (and last) update for this month’s LifeSharer.  And, again, like almost all the other items I’ve mentioned thus far, this one could easily have a few pages dedicated to it – particularly if one was to count the number of prayers that have soared heavenward for it to happen.  It concerns my conducting a very special marriage ceremony last week.  Now, marrying a couple is momentous enough in itself, but this wedding was a particular treasure for us because the couple getting married was my Harley-riding brother from Florida, James (aka “Highway”) and his long-time girlfriend, Tenna!  I might mention too that the ceremony took place in Mom’s ICU room!

It was my brother’s first marriage (he’s 54) and it was at his request that the wedding occur with Mom present and with me officiating.  Claire and my little sister Sherry were the witnesses.  Tenna was very pretty in a peach dress and holding a bouquet she had made herself.  The groom, more casually dressed as is his style, nevertheless wore a resplendent smile throughout.  Mom was fully awake for the whole ceremony and even with her dementia, the memories of the event are staying with her.  The wedding was the talk of the hospital and staff members were coming from different wards (even different floors) to congratulate the couple…and to sample the wedding cake!  It was quite an event – unusual, memorable, and most delightful. 

So, you get the idea.  The last few weeks have been packed.  The last few weeks have been very emotional.  But we know also that the last few weeks have been blessed by the Lord’s enablement and comfort.   I hope this month’s LifeSharer format (a little about a lot) reflects that.  As always, thanks for your support for Claire and me.  It means more than we can say.