Newsletter – Volume 47


Newsletter – Volume 47

May 20, 2024

This Week

Confessions From the Back of the Pen
Meet Aaron...

I’m an avid Yankee fan, and I came by it honestly. My mom raised us this way. We grew up just an hour from Yankee Stadium when we first immigrated to the States. Part of how our family learned conversational English was by listening to the Yankee broadcast on the radio. It stuck; the whole family has been fans ever since. The latest Yankee hero is Aaron Judge, who, despite his massive popularity, has remained grounded. He attributes it to how he was raised and his strong personal faith.

Aaron Judge learned that he was adopted when he was 10 or 11 and noticed that he didn’t look like his parents. He said he never felt the need to search for his biological parents because of the love shown him by his mom and dad. “I’m blessed,” he explained. “I feel they kind of picked me. I feel that God was the one that matched us together.”

In 2022, Judge was chasing the historic home run title set by fellow Yankee Roger Maris in 1961. Part of what set Judge apart was his demeaner and attitude. Rather than flipping the bat or pounding his chest whenever he hit a home run, he’d simply raised his eyes up and point to the sky. He calmly trotted around the bases. Judge said he thinks about “the Lord” when he points. “He put me in this position, blessed me with so many opportunities in my life. I just try to take a quick moment just to kind of thank Him.”

As the 2022 season neared its end and he got closer to breaking the record, Judge could feel the weight of the moment. “I kind of felt bad for my teammates, because every single at-bat, I got teammates stacked up, they’re on top of the step waiting for me to do this. I’d hit a double, or I’d walk, or I’d do something where I kind of felt like I was letting them down.” Obviously, the fans were hopeful every game and the whole world tuned into his every at bat.

Judge tried to keep a level head, saying, “I never tried to think about it as pressure. I tried to enjoy every single moment and not really think about (it). (I was like), ‘Hey, they’re all on their feet to see you hit a home  run. Try to think about the fact that they’re just here to see an exciting ballgame and see something special.’ So just having that mindset kind of helped me stay pretty calm.”

On October 4, Aaron Judge broke Roger Maris’ record – and he did it right here in Texas, As he approached home plate, he made his signature jester toward the sky. And in a sports world often marked by bravado and/or scandal he is a refreshing difference maker – he is his own kind of Black Sheep Messenger.

Word of the Week


Noun: The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

When we moved from the Netherlands to the United States it was a big deal, because we were the first of our family to venture away from our beloved homeland.  My folks missed their family dearly, so they would send tapes every couple weeks to stay in touch.  We all got a chance to say something, and apparently, I enjoyed speaking.  Not surprisingly, I ended up a preacher/teacher.  God in his grace, gives us signs and signals throughout our lives to help us discover our purpose – and when we are walking in it, we discover our reason for being.  Perhaps this week we can take a few moments to check and see if we are still walking in ours.

A Podcast I Found Especially Helpful

Dr. Casey Means

Overview:  An interview by Andrew Huberman of Dr. Casey Means, where they discuss how to leverage nutrition, exercise, and environmental factors to enhance one’s metabolic health.

Don’t let the podcast title throw you. It doesn’t sound very compelling, but this is actually one of the best interviews I’ve heard on the Huberman Lab podcast. The reason I found it so helpful was that they go back to the basics. So much of the information in the health/fitness space tends to focus on specific diets and types of exercise, and one can lose sight of the forest for the trees. This podcast takes a step back and brings focus and clarity to the big picture – what helps the most when you are trying to get better at taking actionable and reliable steps toward improving your own physical fitness. They also talk about the value of personalizing the approach by becoming proficient at measuring one’s own blood markers and what to look for. Super helpful discussion – highly recommend!

Prayer Focus This Week

Surgical Update

From Carol:

Well, friends, today was dubbed the turn around day! Our family is so pleased.

With major surgery on Wednesday, another super invasive surgery Thursday, and a really hard day yesterday, we are so happy to say that today we’ve seen Piet somewhat himself again. This afternoon we were allowed to wheel him outside to the courtyard where there are large trees, chirping birds and a beautiful fountain. He is taking short walks in the hallway too.

It’s hard to know how much detail to put in these updates because it’s unpleasant stuff.

But just let it suffice to say that blood chemistry levels continue to come into balance, the re-routed ureter seems to be taking hold, the pain is not too bad, and Piet feels a lot more hopeful than yesterday.

There’s still a long way for him to go and we still ask our loving Father for the following things. Will you join me in prayer?

  • to continue to cause the re-routed ureter to work/heal/flow
  • for zero infection
  • for his body to send all the blood/body waste to the one remaining kidney efficiently and effectively
  • for internal sutures to hold
  • for excellent sleep

We feel fortunate to be at this point, but he’ll probably stay in the hospital until Monday.

Kidneys are interesting! Read more here if you’d like to learn more about them! 

During these last few years of dealing with cancer, I have prayed quite a bit, asking God for healing and health for Piet. It would seem those prayers have gone unanswered. To be honest, I’ve expressed my disappointment to God a number of times because I didn’t get “my way.” I’ve been really angry with God!

I do think the Father wants us to be honest, just like parents want children to have honest conversations with them. I’m a parent and I want this with my children, and I think God does too. I told God that I want my future with Piet to be one of vibrance and fruitful activity, definitely not of doctor visits and all the things that accompany a bad health diagnosis. I’ve told him this many times!

The truth is, those prayers may have changed the trajectory of the cancer by slowing it down or in some other way altering the course of health. We’ll never know what effect all our prayers have had. And just to let you know, I don’t sit in the anger, I take my thoughts captive to what the Word says and discipline myself to remember His love!

Skeptics would say that unanswered prayer indicates that God doesn’t exist and we are wasting our time. On the other hand, the multitude of intelligent believers agree: we find comfort, hope, peace, and even joy in the Lord. Our theology accounts for all scenarios in life, all the way to the hardest experience anyone can face. Our faith gives us hope that God has a reason, a purpose for the hard things we face, and it’s all wrapped up with an ultimate love.

Isaiah 40:31 – But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (even when facing the hardest of trials!).

Thank you, friends, for sticking with us! We know you appreciate chirping birds too.

If you are interested in daily updates, you can e-mail Jenn at to be put on the list. Thanks in advance for your ongoing prayers for our family!

Know Someone?

Got Cancer?

I have started putting some thoughts together for my next book project. And I want to solicit the help of other cancer warriors (both patients and their advocates) to address some of the most common challenges/questions people face once they receive a cancer diagnosis. Questions like:

  • How do I pick a doc?
  • How should I pray?
  • What to do when it comes back?
  • When people think I’m doing it wrong?

If you have thoughts on the questions we should address, or know people who might be helpful in addressing them, would you please send a reply to

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