Monthly Archives: May 2008

doc visit

Yesterday, I went to a new Ortho doc in Grand Rapids to have him look at my leg braces. The braces I have keep hurting my feet and legs, and provide little in the way of balance. The doctor, Bill, told me that they are great braces for someone who has a different disease than I. Plus, they are shot and I shouldn’t be wearing them as they are causing more muscle damage.

A nice thing about Bill is that he worked under Dr. Shy and Dr. Hinderer in Detroit’s CMT clinic (the ONLY one in the whole country) so he know’s CMT. In fact, since leaving the clinic to venture out on his own, he’s come up with a special leg brace just for CMT patients! They are amazing! They weigh only 8 grams, and address the real problems I have with walking.

My insurance is covering most of the costs, but we have to pay $270 for them (which is 10% of the costs). To me, it’s well worth the investment. So, he cast me right there and I should have them in three weeks!! They’re even coming in Spartan green!!

I’m very happy.



Ok, after watching the finale last night I came to the conclusion that I have a fav. line from the WHOLE show so far: 

“Jesus Christ is not a weapon.” – Hugo’s mom 


Remembering to Remember

If you are a reader of this blog, you understand that lately my mind has been filled with empty spaces.

A stark reminder of this comes as Memorial Day approaches tomorrow.

Fortunately, my long term memory is fairly un-tainted. It is a pretty cool holiday set aside to remember (kind of like communion in a way as we come together to purposefully remember the death of Christ on our behalf).

On my Farrand side, I was able to visit my Grandfather’s grave last weekend with my Grandma, Mom, Aunt and Uncle along with my sister, cousin, niece and daughter. It has been way too long since I’ve driven over to Armeda to see him. Grandpa died in 1981. He served in the Marine Corps, and was a carpenter. He was a man of God who really walked tall. One of my best memories of him was one night while I was staying the weekend with them, he came home at night and asked what I wanted to do. I didn’t have to think too hard before saying, “Let’s go up to the trailer and fish!” We were in the car within an hour. I remember him picking me up in the back seat and then lying me down in his bed while he chose to sleep on the couch

On the Aldrich side, I am still stung by the death of my Grandfather on this side as well. Grandpa was an amazing man. He worked at Oldsmobile in Lansing, and was also a carpenter (no, I have no excuse for my lack of carpentry skill). He was fiercely funny, and was always thinking of others. One of my fav. memories of Grandpa A was when he woke me up on a Saturday and said, “Get your stuff, we’re going camping.” My sisters and I piled into his car and we drove up into the UP to camp with my Grandma, and all my great aunt and uncles (of course, grandpa didn’t tell any of them we were coming). Grandpa died of a stroke 10 years after his first one.

Then there was Doug. Doug was the man that my Grandma Aldrich married next. Their courtship happened to be at the same time my and Mel’s was, so we would go out on double-dates together. It was a riot. Doug was nothing like Grandpa A, but he really made us all laugh in a different way. Doug was in the Airborne in WWII, in the last Glider division. He and Grandma had met years earlier while both worked as bakers at Michigan State University. A day after their honeymoon, Doug died of a sudden heart attack.

There are many other stories I could tell of those gone before me. Uncle John, Uncle Jerry, Uncle Howdy and so on. Each have amazing stories to tell, each intertwine with mine. I realize more and more how important it is to keep remembering the stories of their lives as they really are a quiltwork of my own life. Everything from how much I loved watching ball games behind 5 points, to the smell of fish frying at my Grandparents place in the thumb of Michigan. How the campfire stories in the UP never seemed to stop, and how each of these people made time for me, and made me who I am.

This morning, Melody sang with the worship team at Fifth, so we were at the service. At the end, John prayed a great prayer and said something like, “Lord, help us through this war and may we honor those who have gone to fight. Let us hope for the day when we forget to war, and have no more need to morn the loss of those who would die so that we may live.”

Test Results

So here’s the story: 

For the past few months, I’ve been experiencing at times a “fog” in my brain, and at others complete short-term memory loss. This has raked havoc in my life, especially in my Masters pursuit (thank God for the wonderful people at Western!!!). So, it’s been getting worse and worse. My specialist down in Detroit ordered an EEG and two different MRI’s (one on my brain and one on my spine). Those tests got done a week ago at the new Metro Health hospital in Grand Rapids – which is an amazing place. 

Well, I got the report back today and it’s your classic good news, bad news situation. 

Good news: EEG came back clear so no strokes or seizures. MRI brain scan came back clear, so no tumors or undue pressure buildup or various other scary things. 

Bad News: MRI from my spine is showing that there is deterioration in the bones in my neck/spine. 

What this means, I don’t know. I don’t know if this is somehow tying to my memory loss, and won’t know until my doctor is back in the country in two weeks. Don’t know the treatment, help in stopping it or whatever. 

So that’s the scary news. (although I still think I’m in good enough condition to accept the nomination for VP – don’t count me out Barak – just think, an African American President with a crippled, unexperienced white guy as VP…it’s like a trifecta)

Obama’s VP


Apparently, Barak Obama has begun secretly searching for his VP running mate. While some may perceive this a pre-mature, I’ve thought about it long and hard and have decided to accept the nomination as Vice President of the United States.

Todd Hunter Returns

After a three year silence, Todd Hunter has come back to the blogging world.

Check out his new project at:

Steven Curtis Chapman and family

I wrote a few weeks ago about my own distance from the CCM world and how I still respect and listen to a few artists. Steven Curtis is one of them. I just got the terrible news of the accidental death of their 5 year old daughter Maria. My prayers and sympathies go out to the family. Here’s the press release.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — The 5-year-old daughter of
Grammy-winning Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman was struck
and killed Wednesday by a sport utility vehicle driven by her brother,
authorities said.


Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter was fatally struck by a sport utility vehicle driven by her brother Wednesday.

The girl, Maria Sue, was hit in the driveway of the family’s home
Wednesday afternoon by a Toyota Land Cruiser driven by her teenage
brother, said Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway

The brother, whose name and exact age weren’t available,
apparently did not see the girl, McPherson said. No charges are

“It looks like a tragic accident,” she said.

Several family members witnessed the accident, which happened in
Williamson County just south of Nashville. The girl died later at
Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, hospital spokeswoman
Laurie Holloway said.

In a statement, Velvet Kelm, a publicist for Chapman, said Maria was the Chapmans’ youngest daughter.

Chapman, who is originally from Paducah, Ky., and his wife have
promoted international adoption and have three daughters from China,
including Maria. They also have three biological children.

singer’s Web site says the couple was persuaded by their oldest
daughter to adopt a girl from China. The experience led the family to
adopt two more children and create Shaohannah’s Hope, a foundation and
ministry to financially assist thousands of couples in adoption.

The Chapmans did missionary work at Chinese orphanages in 2006 and 2007, according to the Web site.

“After our first trip to China, my wife and I knew our lives were
changing — our eyes and hearts were opening to how big God really is,
and we have wanted to experience more of that,” Chapman says on the Web

“We’ve really wondered whether or not we should just go to
China and stay there. But I don’t think so. I believe God is saying, ‘I
want you to go, get your heart broken, your eyes opened, and then take
this story back to the church in America and around the world.”‘

The 45-year-old singer also has released a book about being a father
titled “Cinderella: The Love of Daddy and his Princess.” He has won
five Grammy awards and 54 Dove awards from the Gospel Music
Association, according to Kelm