Susan's aunt lives in a small village 10 Km outside of Apeldoorn.  Since she has a cat (and Rod is severely allergic to cats), she went looking for a vacation house for us to stay in.  As it turns out she found this place only a 3 minute walk from her home.  The village she lives in is close to the forest and to the heather fields.  This is so PERFECT...and will give Susan some good places to go running.
In the midst of the struggles of this past year, this song has captured the depth from which HOPE emerges...  
"sometime we long for the morning, 
for a refrain from from etchings in pain...
yet our loneliness draws us to You.
we come , we cry, we watch, we wait, we look. we long for You"......and God has planted "wisps of solace"  (read Rod's poems, below)

This song is sung by Kim Thiessen, who works with Peace and HIV/AIDS programs for MCC in the Calgary office.  She has recorded 4 CD's  and all the proceeds go to MCC's Generations program to the fight HIV/AIDS pandemic. This song is found on her Christmas CD "the Light Shines"  (click here to read more about her music)

I (Susan) love working for MCCA.  I often work from my home office so on Thursday, after hearing the news, tthe Calgary staff gathered to SKYPE us at home to celebrate with us!!  They have walked this journey with us and have provided so much encouragement and support over the past months.  We are blessed by them!!

Pain locked in my bones from birth,
no longer do I mock you.
Horizons of this mortal,
under whose once grand arch
fertile fields of promise once lay,
now barren.

Your relentless, encroaching presence,
too intimate, too crushing for words,
I scarcely now endure.
You invade, encroach,.. until....,
in my exhaustion,
the two, we, become one.

Oh, dreams of my youth,
how I mourn your loss
For proper measure of work, gift, desire and love,
is all reward lost?

Was Job only righteous? 
Blessings, only his?

God, will you answer?


God, can you listen?
Are you really there?

Questions, mine are many,
answers I dare you utter.

Is it right that a man should live in ruin?
Suffering, his closest friend?
My body, now my prison,
surrounds me in affliction.

Above me, a roof of torture,
below, a floor of fiery hell.
To the right, a wall of agony,
the left, a barricade of misery.

But hope, I've not forgotten,
and, so I wait in silence,
attempting to hear your voice.

If, you do not answer, God,
all hope is lost from me.

Speak, now, I'm listening!

After days and days of silence,
still nothing have I heard!

But, still, I'm left to wonder,
when in silence, I lay,
from where did wisps of solace come?
Thank you for passing on the website to your friends--
The stats for Unique Visitors:
Sunday: 540
Monday: 698
Tuesday: 611
Wednesday: 578 
We are truly amazed!!
At 2:30 pm, Wednesday, Feb. 8  Susan phoned the Out of Country Health Services Appeal panel office to inquire if the panel had made a decision.  She was told that the decision had been made and a letter would be drafted and sent within 18 working days.  She indicated that, with all due respect to process, Rod had been given a potential date for the implant (March 15) and we were at a critical stage of decision making.  In addition,  if the Appeal Panel had approved the application, it may be advantageous for the government to be aware of possibilities as soon as possible so they could take over the payment arrangements.  The administrative assistant put Susan on hold and came back with the response that the appeal had been granted!! 

We are SO grateful for this outcome.  Susan put in HOURS and HOURS of work on the application -- submitting over 120 pages of documentation.  We both are overwhelmed with this news.  In the long term, this is the absolute best of all situations.  Although this is the case for many reasons, the most significant reason is that Alberta Health will accept the financial responsibility for my medical care.  Should our appeal not have been granted, Alberta Health would have been able to  circumvent the responsibility of providing potential future medical costs related to the stimulator.  

For all of the people who have sent donations already and/or indicated their willingness to support us with pledges, we are profoundly grateful.  We are truly blessed.

Rod for us all
If J. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings isn’t one of your all-time favourite novels and/or if you weren’t as similarly enamoured with the resulting trilogy of movies as I have been, then you can be forgiven for not understanding the statement in the upper right-hand corner of this blog page. If you scratched your head when you read the quote, help is on its way. Let’s start with a super condensed synopsis of Lord of the Rings:
  • The action begins in the idyllic rolling hills of the Shire, the home of the hobbits, a fun loving, cheerful group of people.
  • All does not stay cheerful, however. Frodo, one of the hobbits, receives a ring from his Uncle Bilbo Baggins. When worn, the Ring causes the wearer to disappear. Soon thereafter, Gandalf the Great, a towering wizard, realizes, that the ring carries with it great danger.
  • The ring is the One Ring forged by Sauron the Dark Lord thousands of years before to enable him to overpower and enslave the people of the Middle-Earth. Should the ringbearer wear the Ring, he/she becomes capable of incredible evil.
  • Frodo soon learns from Gandalf that should the Dark Lord succeeded in capturing the Ring, the Middle-Earth will fall into his evil grasp.
  • Despite the extreme danger and hopelessness, Frodo accepts the challenge of carrying the ring to Mordor, the center of Sauron’s domain. Only there, in the fiery pits of Mordor, can the Ring be finally destroyed. To get there, however, Frodo must enter into the highly fortified lair of his enemy.
  • Not only is every step of Frodo’s journey fraught with danger, but the very proximity of the Ring’s evil weakens Frodo’s spirit. Increasingly, Frodo finds himself tempted by the Ring’s seductive promise of power.
  • Frodo does not travel alone in his journey, however. While others representing the forces of good attempt to draw attention away from the ringbearer’s movement towards Mordor, Frodo goes forward accompanied by his best friend Sam.
  • Together, Frodo and Sam accomplish the impossible. When Frodo weakens, the resolve of his spirit softening and his determination to not succumb to the temptation of the Ring gives way, his ever-present friend, Sam, is there. Sam continually encourages his friend, affirms his progress, chastises his belligerence and, when Frodo weakens, Sam stands ever vigilant, knowing that should his friend ultimately answer the Ring’s evil call, he disappears and all good will be lost.
A number of years ago when Susan and I finally went to the movie theater to watch Lord of the Rings, I was, of course, extremely excited. Susan, on the other hand, entered the theater with only a very basic understanding of the plot line. As we exited the theater, I turned to Susan and asked, “Well, what did you think?”. At the same time, however, I saw that tears were streaming down her cheeks, which, of course, startled me. “Oh, what’s wrong?” I queried. She responded, “If pain is the Ring, then you are to Frodo, as I am to Sam”.

From that point forward, we have often cited this line to each other. The Ring, is symbolic of my pain. I have few choices other than to carry it through life, but, at the same time, I have options regarding how I respond to my pain. Like Frodo, when I figuratively choose to slip the ring on my finger, I disappear from my family and friends. Although I may feel justified in allowing myself to become overwhelmed by bitterness, anger, or depression, from the perspective of my family or friends, I disappear before their eyes. In other words, pain is the ultimate winner. The rest of us, including myself, end up suffering even more.

So, what does this all mean? It means that my constant traveling companion, is Susan. She is also my friend Sam. Over the years, she has encouraged and affirmed me, chastised my belligerence and stood ever vigilant should I succumbed to the temptation to wear the Ring. Without her, I would’ve never made it through this long, arduous journey with pain. I can never thank her enough.


This has been a busy day for Rod.  The e-mails , pledges and donations, notes, cards and phone calls have created a sense that this is really going to happen.  We can hardly believe that the graph shows we have reach 87% of donations and 10% of the pledges.  Even IF we do not  need the pledges, they serve as a reminder of your incredible willingness to support this decision.  Thank you so much. Rod and Susan
Well, it's done... we are e-mailing and Facebooking this website link out to various groups of friends. It is tough to put our lives out in front of others in this way.....but we value the many ways you have already walked this journey with us.   If you were not on our contact list , our apologies!  We did not mean to leave you out...There are bound to be gaps in our e-mail list of friends.

    Rod and Susan

    "If Pain is the ring, Frodo is to Rod as Sam is to Susan."
    (see 02/07/12 for an explanation)

    for the FUNDING progress update 

    A theme song:
    "We Come" 
    by Kim Thiessen
    (Kim works in the MCC Office)

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