Birthdays and Anniversaries

Birthday CakeBefore getting started with that topic, here’s an update regarding the health and development of my two little grand nieces, Emma and Anna Collins in Evansville, Ind. Both are continuing to gain health and strength, on and off the respirator, weighing in at two pounds each. God be praised! Mother Amanda is recovering from her infection. On the other hand, father Jesse was admitted to the hospital earlier this week with extremely high blood sugar and was diagnosed with diabetes. Please continue to keep this family in your prayers.

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary and my birthday. Having both on the same day has enabled me never to forget our anniversary! I also have never forgotten Terry’s birthday. It falls on the same date (but obviously not the same year) as my mother Elda’s birthday—April 10.

January 29, 1966 was a Saturday. Our wedding took place at 5:00 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Austin, the congregation in which Terry was baptized. She went to St. Paul Lutheran School and was also confirmed there, making it the obvious choice for our wedding venue.

Terry and I met during the year I taught at St. Paul. Her little brother was in my fourth grade class. One begins to comprehend the rapidity with which time passes when one realizes that the students in his fourth grade class of the 1964-65 school year are now 59 years old!

Our wedding rehearsal was Friday, January 28. That afternoon I had driven to Austin from College Station, where I was in graduate school at Texas A&M. After the rehearsal dinner, I kissed Terry good night at midnight, drove back to College Station, and got to bed at 2:30 a.m.

Saturday morning I woke up in time for a 7:00 a.m. biochemistry final exam, which I barely passed, and drove back to Austin for our afternoon wedding. Pastor Albert Jesse’s wedding sermon, based on John 2:2, was titled: “They invited Jesus to the wedding.” Indeed, we had!

After a beautiful reception at which I never even noticed the groom’s cake, we drove 60 miles north to Salado for our honeymoon. It was 12 degrees that night, quite unusual for central Texas, even in January. We spent two nights at the historic Stagecoach Inn, at $20 per night. On a parochial teacher’s salary of $200 per month, we couldn’t afford to stay very long.

Monday afternoon we returned to Austin to pick up everything we owned. Then we drove to Houston for the first night in our $75 per month one bedroom apartment. Tuesday morning I began a semester of teaching the fourth grade at Pilgrim Lutheran School in Houston for a young teacher on maternity leave that semester. Terry worked a temporary job to help us save money for our move to Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, Ill. that summer.

Most of the rest of our story is history, some of which is still being written. How thankful I am for the privilege of being married to a beautiful, loving, patient, forgiving woman for what is rapidly approaching half a century! We are blessed beyond measure and thank God for his grace!

Remembering birthdays and anniversaries is very important. Doing so communicates to those whose special occasion is being celebrated that they are loved, honored and respected. A person’s birthday is a very real reminder of the intrinsic value of life itself. Isaiah writes: “Before I was born the Lord called me. From my birth he has made mention of my name.” Is. 49:1

New Births

Baby BottleLast week’s Perspectives reported the Christmas night premature birth of triplets to my sister’s granddaughter and her husband, Amanda and Jesse Collins of Evansville, Indiana. Little Logan Christopher passed away on the second day. Emma Grace and Anna Christine continue to be in stable and improving condition. Here’s the latest update from their mother, Amanda:

The nurse practitioner just called with our daily report. Both girls are eating 7.5 ccs now. Anna caught up to Emma. Emma had some residual last night so she did not increase today. Both girls’ x-rays and brain ultrasounds look good. Emma’s blood count is good, so she will not get more blood in the next couple days; Anna’s was borderline, so she will. She said they are getting close to coming off their IVs. They take them off once they get to 14cc feedings. She said once they get to 9ccs (probably in a day or two) they will start giving them Prolacta, which is a breast milk fortifier, and they will be on that until about 34 weeks, then hopefully just breast milk. We will probably go visit soon, because they need more milk!


Praise God for this encouraging report! And thanks to so many of you who responded to last week’s article with assurance of prayers for this family during a time of great need and concern.

A new birth of a different kind occurred earlier this week at Concordia University Texas in Austin. The first official session of the newly formed Christian Leadership Institute took place on Monday, January 13. While not a birth in the traditional understanding of that word, it was nevertheless a very special occasion.

Twenty-four Concordia students gathered in the Board Room for presentations by veteran church leaders whose sum total of experience is well over 100 years. While significant age differences separated students from presenters, the students received us “old geezers” remarkably well!

The multi-faceted topic was: “Building relationships, developing and modeling with courageous humility a biblical worldview, grounding identity in Christ and Christian principles, understanding life purpose, personal strengths and weaknesses.” Wonderful topics, beautifully presented!

To put it mildly, I’m very excited about this new venture, impressed with the quality of the participants, and confident that this endeavor will contribute greatly to the accomplishment of Concordia’s Mission: Developing Christian Leaders! Stay tuned for more updates!

In the meantime, join me in thanking God for the miracle of new births, especially those that truly bring new life!

The peace of the Lord be with you all!


Prayer 1Here’s a December 26 Facebook posting from Jesse and Amanda Collins of Evansville, Indiana:

“Our little Christmas miracles arrived at 11:43 and 11:45 last night. Emma Grace weighed 1 lb. 4 oz. and was 12 inches long. Anna Christine weighed 1 lb. 4 oz and was 11.75 inches long. Logan Christopher weighed 1 lb. 7 oz and was 12.5 inches long. Please continue to pray for these sweet babies, as they have a long road ahead of them.”

Amanda is the daughter of my older sister Carol Wheaton’s youngest son Douglas, which makes him my nephew. Doug and I share a birth date—month and day but definitely not year! I’m pretty sure this genealogical connection makes the triplets my great grand nieces and nephew.

Obviously born quite prematurely in the 24th week of Amanda’s pregnancy, these precious little babies were initially given by doctors a 50-50 chance of survival. On Friday, December 27, Logan Christopher passed away at 7:15 a.m. in his mother’s arms. That same day I wrote in a prayer request to a number of loved ones and friends:

“We know that sometimes our gracious Lord answers our prayers in ways beyond our comprehension or not to our liking. That’s obviously the case here. But our ways are not always his ways. And we trust his promise that “all things work together for good to those who love the Lord, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). So we commend little Logan to our Savior’s eternal love and care and continue to pray for that same love and care for Emma Grace and Anna Christine.”

Today, a little more than two weeks after they were born, Emma and Anna are still hospitalized in stable condition. Both have begun to receive nourishment. Emma has a very large appetite for her condition and Anna is coming along nicely in that category as well. Both little girls have a heart murmur, which hopefully will correct itself with time. Both now have a 75% chance of survival.

In the meantime, Amanda was hospitalized Monday night, December 30, with an infection that subsequently was determined to be MRSA, a serious infection caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. After re-opening her incision and draining the infection, doctors continued to treat her with IV antibiotics. She’s now at home recuperating.

Please continue to keep Emma and Anna in your prayers, along with their parents Amanda and Jesse Collins, maternal grandparents Doug and Diana Wheaton, maternal great-grandmother Carol Wheaton (my sister), maternal great-great-grandmother Elda Kieschnick (my mother), the rest of their extended maternal family and everyone on their father Jesse’s side of the family as well.

The peace of the Lord be with you all!