Monday, December 31, 2007

Brooklyn Tabernacle New Year's eve

Pastor Jim:

No one knows the future. God does. ''Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you"
God is everywhere - But he is saying God will never leave you alone. No matter where you are God will always be there with you. No matter if the human network breaks down. God is with me.

God makes a general promise - he will be with you.

The Lord is with me. Do you know I almost got killed today? Huge truck ran a light.

Warren Wiersbe, Jim's friend said today that he talks to God 1st thing in the morning.

How would you like it if someone wouldn't talk all day? God doesn't like it either. He wants to talk with you. Even if you see nothing and feel nothing God still is with you. He loves me.

God is a good God. Comfort the feeble minded. God loves us in spite if our failure.

Heb 13:5 The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid.

Guarantee. We will have problems in 2008. Jesus has overcome. The Lord will help us. I need him 24/7. God is the helper.

Expect God's help every day this year. My emotions, my body, my spirit. We will not live in fear because the Lord is my helper. He will never leave us. Guaranteed.

God will turn the difficulties in our lives to our good.

I want to pray that God will give you revelation God will help. Thank you for the cross, Oh Lord.

After church we went to Junior's for cheesecake.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Peacemaking: a Godly Challenge

Elder Fred Atkins
Based on a book by Ken Sande
4 Principle of peace making
1. Glorify God - how can I honor the Lord? - by trusting obeying imitating Christ. Acknowledge God in whatever steps we take.
2. Get the log out of your own eye. How can I show Jesus work in me by taking responsibility for my contribution to this conflict?
Take away the blind spot. Who is holding the knife? Is the Word of God A friend or foe?
3. Gently Restore the Other. How can I lovingly serve others by helping them take responsibility for their contribution to the conflict? Friend Felix had trouble w the kids. Together his friends helped him see what he was doing wrong.
4. Go and be reconciled. Felix and I met someone in church who we did not like. After a few hours I decided to nail him in a brotherly manner. Felix said STOP! Now we thank God for the friendships have.

Missionary Don and wife felt called to go to vicious tribe of head hunters and cannibals. These people had a code of honor that honored the most treacherous among them. Fatten up friendship for the kill.
Don the missionary brought the leaders together and taught them the last week of the life of Christ. Judas became the hero.
He tries to make peace but can't until the tribes get together for a peace meeting where small children were exchanged to become the "peace child". Now Don could explain that Jesus was the eternal peacechild and Judas is the betrayer of the peacechild, and a real villain. Finally the gospel resonated with the stone age people.
After church we enjoyed brunch at the Silver Star Restaurant on 2nd Ave

A God Moment in Manhatten

Renee and I decided to go see if we could take in a show on Broadway yesterday. When we got to the TKTS booth, there was a long line up and the Les Mis show we wanted was not available at tkts so we walked to the theatre to see if they had 2 tickets. They had 1 and suggested we wait to see if other tickets would become available. So we headed back to tkts booth and when we got there we were told the line was at least a 1-hour wait. Just when I was perplexed about what to do next, someone walked up to me with, "Hi Ray!. How are you?" I looked up in surprise to see that it was our E St Paul neighbour, Ken Friesen! He called Heather and Ray who were just getting to the ticket window, and asked them to get tickets for us for either Shakespeare's Cymbeline or Mama Mia. We got tickets for Cymbeline at the Lincoln Center Theater. Imagine the chances that we would be at exactly the same place at exactly the same time in a city teeming with millions of people!

We got to see Cymbeline, the late problem play by Shakespeare which, as one critic pointed out, is not actually as seldom-seen as some might think. (Someone is doing it in the city at least every two years.) This production, however, was the first big-deal Cymbeline in a long time, with none other than Lincoln Center Theater backing it. Director Mark Lamos directed a talented and various cast that included Martha Plimpton, Michael Cerveris, Phylicia Rashad and John Cullum. Reviews were split, which some critics taking issue with the unevenness of the cast. But, given that this play usually sets reviewers to carping, there were a notable number of very positive reactions, particularly in response to Cerveris and Plimpton, who is everybody's favorite "It" girl right now.

Friday, December 28, 2007

More Micafungin

I don't know how to spell Micafungin but Renee spent 5 hrs in the hospital getting it and more platelets.

Martha & Kara left the apartment at 7:30 this morning to find that- the flight from Chicago to Winnipeg was cancelled. Then the next flight got delayed again and again. That meant Alayna could not pick them up and Martha tried to arrange for her friend Martha to pick them up. Oh, the joys of travel!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas in New York! - Walking in the Winter Wonderland?

"Santa Claus is Coming to Town", "Sleigh Bells Ringing" and "Walking in the Winter Wonderland" were played over and over at the store where I do most of my grocery shopping. It helps to get you into the "Christmas mood"! I always got a kick out of "Winter Wonderland" because we have had hardly any snow here and it is all gone now. Yesterday it felt more like spring, which made it very enjoyable making all those trips to the store to get all the stuff we needed for our Christmas meals.

Ray, Alayna and Kara came back yesterday from Florida in time to go to the Christmas Eve service at Trinity - "The Messy Gift of Christmas." Jesus was born in a messy stable to show that God is not afraid of messes. He came to this messy world to help us clean up the messes that we get into all the time. All of us have to decide if we will let God do what he wants to do with our lives.

We had a really good Christmas day, starting the day off with our traditional Strawberry Blintzes. I wish Justin could have been with us, but I was so happy to have the rest of the family here and that Renee got out in time for Christmas. Renee was excited that she could help cook the meal that we started planning weeks ago! She was a bit tuckered out after all that cooking and we all were a bit tired after that yummy dinner. After we all had a little rest, we went to see the 85 foot Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. We walked all the way there, but took a cab on the way back. Finished the evening off with the delicious Cranberry Chocolate Tart that Renee had made. (We got all the recipes from
Check out Renee's elfyourself fun1 and fun2

Renee got out of the hospital last week Wednesday, December 19. That means she was in there for 5 weeks and 5 days, for a total of 40 days. Now she just has to go to the day hospital three times a week to get IV medication for the lung infection and to get transfusions as needed. She doesn't need the GCS-F shots anymore since her white cell counts are good, so the platelet counts will soon start to improve. Yesterday morning the platelets were very low. I think they should have given her two bags on Friday. The plan is to do the transplant, anywhere from the middle of January to the beginning of February.

Alayna is leaving tomorrow evening and Kara and I the day after that. The plan is that I will come back to New York on January 4, but since we mostly operate on a day to day basis, nothing is ever for sure. Ray will stay here with Renee while I am gone. I have very mixed emotions about going "home".

A big thank you to all who sent cards, packages, emails, and most of all for praying. Reminds me of 2 Cor. 1:11 from the Message. "I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God's deliverance of us, which your prayers played such a crucial part."

My prayer is that we will all be able to continue keeping our focus on the Lord and say as Mary did: "How I rejoice in God my Saviour....For He, the Mighty One, is holy, and he has done great things for me", during this Christmas season and all through the year, whatever it may bring.


Monday, December 24, 2007

The Messy Gift of Christmas

Keith Boyd
Christmas can be messy. Baby born in a barn wrapped in rags. Barns are messy. Mary didn't say- "Sweet they gave us the stable- what a unique birthing experience!"

This is a messy world. We can't fix it. The angel said God is coming into the mess of this world. Sometimes we think we need to fix our messes before we can come to God. We are a roomful of messy people. God is not afraid of a mess. God smiles when someone comes to him to clean up their messes.

We have to decide here tonight. You may not be buying this whole Saviour thing. That's ok. The shepherds went to check it out. They didn't know for sure either.

Lord show me how to clean up my messes. If you choose to move forward with God this next year can be your greatest ever.

When your home is a mess this Christmas remember God came into a mess.

Emmanuel we worship you. We honour you our God with us.

Church service on board the Sovereign of the Seas

Corporal Sonny Moore, Mississippi, Chaplain with the United States Army:
Phil 4:19
Be Yourself
Be Positive
Be mindful of Others
Be going Somewhere

What an encouraging time of worship with 20 other passengers. Closed the meeting in a circle of prayer

Cruise Info:
Ship launched 20 years ago
Travelled 635 miles on this cruise
2652 passengers 33 nationalities
893 crew 56 nationalities
73,529 tons
886 ft long
105 ft wide
25 ft drought
168 ft above water
25,500 lb anchor
15.9 ft dia propellers

Activities on shore included a Segway tour with Alayna ard Kara thru a park in Bahamas and a walk thru the 2B$ Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island
Alayna, Kara, and I enjoyed snorkling on Cocoa Cay Island and exploring a shipwreck and an underwater airplane crash site.

Swallowing water in the process, reminded me again of my friend Denis and his untimely death in the ocean waters off the coast of Nicaragua.

I had a wonderful time of fellowship and encouragement with our friends Carlin and Marcia Weinhauer. Thank God for sending them my way at this time.

We will miss Justin this Christmas while the rest of us spend Christmas in New York.

May God bless you this Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Renee is out!

She got out Wednesday. She needs to stick close to the hospital for further treatment related to her lung infection

Her sisters and her dad are heading to the cruise today with friends Carlin and Marcia

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cruise to Bahamas

Wow! Carlin & Marcia Weinhauer are joining Kara, Alayna and I on the cruise from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and back. We got to know Carlin and Marcia a year ago on our travels in Thailand. I look forward to spending these days with them.

Renee got moved from her private room on the pediatric floor, to a shared room on the 7th floor which the neurology floor. She was very thankful to have this private room for as long as she did. It was so nice for her to be in her own room when Alayna and Kara were here the last two days. They could be as loud as they wanted too, without bothering anybody.

Last night Martha prepared a wonderful meal of Eggplant Lasagna with Parsley Pesto and Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce (thanks to Jerry and Chris) topped off with a delicious ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery. What a way to Celebrate Alayna and Kara's birthdays! Kara is turning 19 tomorrow and Alayna turned 21 in November, so Martha and Renee had not been able to celebrate her birthday with her.

I'm writing this on the plane while on the way to the Florida Sun. Alayna is sleeping and Kara is reading. I'm trying to finish "The Family Business Doctor" by John Fast Ph.D.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thanks for the Gift, Jerry & Chris

We enjoyed that tiramisu cake at midnight last nite. Such a treat! We will enjoy the steaks (oops! it's actually a roast!)and the rest of the goodies over the Christmas holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Kara and Alayna have arrived in the BIG Apple

Renee's ANC is now up again. She had a lung biopsy done this morning to see what is causing the lung infection and should know in a few days whether or not she can get out. Alayna and Karalee arrived 2 hrs later than scheduled. But that's normal for flights coming into LGA. Martha made a delicious supper that we all shared in Renee's room.

Renee's Wall of Fame

Here is her wall - room 902
Includes the Christmas gift - Advent Calendar from her Aunt Gloria

Farm grown Cavier on sale

Only $75 per ounce or per mouthful! Buy it now before someone else does!

We all enjoy fish eggs!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas is Coming

In a few days The Story will be proclaimed around the world in German, Swahili, Japanese, Slovak, Spanish and many other languages.
Let every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord Amen

Song - You are Holy you are Worthy I will bow down and worship the King who is worthy. Joy to the world!

Notes - Did Noah get seasick? Did Moses have bushophobia? Did Joseph and Mary ever call Jesus Father? Did Mary say to herself God is eating my soup?

Joseph and Mary were engaged (married but not living together) to be sanctified. Huupa came later.

During this time the angel came to her, a virgin. The text is clear. She never had sex. She became pregnant. She was a good hard working chaste Jewish teenage girl. She was highly favored by God. A woman of great faith. "I am the Lord's servant. May it be as you have said" No fear of the change coming into her life. If you were Mary what would you have said? How do you respond to God today? God puts us in positions we don't understand. God gives us a path of faith. Do we say your will be done?

What about Joseph. He was righteous hard working Jewish man. Matth 118 he was considering a quiet divorce when he heard this news. He thought he knew Mary. He could have had her stoned. He loved Mary. God appeared to him in a dream. He acted on the dream. Expecting Mary's child to sit on the throne. No union till the baby was born.

Luke 2 v4 says he belonged to the house of David. This kid will be the Messiah. Joseph might have thought - I'm obedient - why is my Son born in a barn? Where is the glory in this? Where is the big picture? Sometimes God gives us only enough light for one step.

Will I be faithful even when things don't make sense? Think of the baby born in a manger who grew up to die for our sins.

Thankyou Father that you are faithful. Forgive me my disobedience and unfaithfulness. Help us to respond to you with "Lord I'm your servant"

Song - There is a king - God with us Emmanuel we worship you Emmanuel we honor you our God with us - Tommy Walker

Christmas 2007

This comes to you from New York City's MSKCC hospital. The picture comes from a website forwarded to us by our friend Laurie.

PTL! Renee's ANC is now at 0.5! It would be time to get out of jail - I mean hospital - but now Renee has some infection in the lungs. She will remain in hospital till a biopsy of the infection gets done Monday. Once they know what kind of infection it is, they will know how to treat it and that will not necessarily have to be done in the hospital. If it is a fungal infection they might have to remove a piece of her lung surgically, and that would delay the date of the transplant to the end of January or mid-February.

The transplant will be difficult, and if all goes well, Renee should be healthy 6 months after that.

Alayna, and Kara are coming to New York on Monday, and then I will go with them to Florida, and on the cruise to the Bahamas on the 21st - 24th. Because Renee, Justin and Martha can't go, one of the cabins I booked is still available. If you know of someone who would like to take that, please let me know as soon as possible. The price is right. They will not let me cancel, but they will let me change the names on the reservation.

We expect to celebrate Christmas in New York, and then Martha will join the girls at home for a week, and to celebrate Christmas with our extended families.

If you know of anyone that needs a home for the next 3 - 6 months, please send them our way. We have 3 empty bedrooms and we would be happy to have some one using them.

Have yourself a Blessed Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Morning Glory Muffins

Martha made some for Renee!

2 c flour
1 1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 c carrots, grated
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c nuts
1/2 c coconut
1 apple, grated
3 eggs
1 c salad oil
2 tsp vanilla
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Mix dry ingredients. Stir in carrots, raisins, nuts, coconut and apple. Beat 3 eggs, salad oil and vanilla, then add to above mixture. Spoon into muffin tins and bake.

Counts are UP

Today the ANC came in at .4! If she gets a .5 tomorrow, she'll get out of jail! can she join us on the family cruise next week? maybe!?
Renee cancelled her trip to her friend's wedding in the DR. Now it means filing trip insurance forms to get her money back.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Can anyone come in case it's needed?


We have air miles points available for Renee's friends to come visit. Please email to arrange details. Your cost in New York would be travel to/from airport $2 bus or $30 cab each way, plus spending money. We have an empty queen bedroom available. Renee would love to see some friend's faces.

Is there any one who could come Dec 19- 24? We had booked a cruise for us all and Alayna would VERY much like to do that still, but Renee may not be leaving New York for Christmas. Justin has to work, and he is sorry that he will be stuck in Winnipeg for Christmas.

- Ray

Please make a note of our correct address:

359 E 68th Street Apt 2A (not 2B or 28 or 26)
New York, New York
10065 (not 10021)

There is another thing I wanted to clarify, in case it causes any misunderstandings. Of course the underlying cause for getting infections, such as pneumonia is the fact that the white cells get knocked out by the chemo. That's why we have to take all those precautions with the food, and why Renee is getting all the antibiotics and anti-fungal medications. But the doctor has mentioned quite a few times that moving around more helps to prevent pneumonia. However, this is very hard to do when you are in isolation or just feeling too nauseous to get out of bed.

Thank you so much for remembering us in prayer.

Once again I would just like to say thank you to God for making his presence so real to me and giving me peace in the midst of this emotional roller coaster.

- Martha

Monday, December 10, 2007

Week 6 Update

December 10 - time for another update. This time it is Martha doing the reporting. It is 30 days in the hospital and since the chemo was finished and the ANC is still only .2. Two years ago the longest it took was 31 days for the ANC to get to .5.

No fevers last week! Yeah! That is something to be thankful for! The week also went by a lot faster for both Renee and I with Ray being here in the beginning of the week and Kara for the last part of the week, including yesterday.

Renee was still having a lot of nausea caused by the antibiotics and all the medication she is on. So Renee requested to again be given anti-nausea medication around the clock. She gets platelets and red cells as needed. Today it was both.

Preparations have been started for the transplant. This week started off with a CAT scan, EKG and an echo-cardiogram. This time they sent her to the pediatric echo, which was so much nicer than the adult one she went to two years ago. When they did the Cat scan this morning they found a little bit of pneumonia, so they are going to change the anti- fungal medication. Renee came off isolation for droplet precaution on Friday. Being forced to stay in her room and not walking around enough can lead to pneumonia. Dr. Steinhertz told her almost at the end of the isolation time to walk around late in the evening when there would be less people around, but the nurse she had that night didn't think that was a good idea. It sounds like the transplant will be sooner than we had been told at first, but haven't heard a definite date. They have a donor that is a 10 out of 10 match.
Praise the Lord for that!

Please continue to pray for our family that we will all experience the peace that only Jesus can give. We will probably not be able to all be together at Christmas. Justin only gets Christmas Day off and we don't know what Renee's situation will be, whether she will be able to go any where. Justin is working as assistant manager at Subway.

Jesus is the Light of the world. With all the darkness in this world and in ourselves, we sure need that Light, the forgiveness, peace, hope, love and joy that he came to bring. As you are all preparing to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, let us rejoice that he is a God who is with us and he wants to meet us where we are.

Pray for Martha's health. She needs to stay healthy for Renee's sake.

Check out our blogs
Raymond and Martha Dueck

359 E 68th Street Apt 2A, New York, NY 10065
Martha 917-751-0421
email phone Renee (917) 750-4128

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Vidir Morris Christmas

Flowers by Alvina. Entertainment by big hand Leland Klassen. Good clean fun.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Counts are UP!

Martha had some congestion, felt like she was coming down with a cold so she was resting at the apartment all evening while Kara was with Renee at the hospital.

ANC was .2 today, waiting for .5 to get out of the hospital. Platelets need to be up high enough to fly if she'll still be able to go to the DR.

We still hope to spend some time over Christmas relaxing in Florida. We'll see how that goes!

Tonight Justin and I had a wonderful evening with our world class sales and marketing team and their spouses at La Vieille Gare. 17 people in a dining car makes for a lively group.

Goodnight - I'm sleeepyyy

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The 5th Week!

It was snowing on Sunday morning! In the evening it was raining, so the snow was all gone in a hurry. And on Monday it was WINDY!

Our blogs have been updated

Your emails are very important to us. They provide companionship and comfort. We know many of you are praying and it warms our hearts when you tell us that.

This week has been up and down. Feeling good, not feeling good. That includes, me and most of our family. Stress can wear you out.

Renee's neutrafil count is coming up, and has reached the dizzying height of 0.1!! 0.5 is the minimum to get out of jail - sorry - I mean hospital. Renee has been in mask, gown, glove isolation room since Saturday. The big day we are waiting for is Dec 13 so
Renee can go to her friend's wedding in DR. Then on a cruise from Florida. Miracles happen!


We have air miles points available for Renee's friends to come visit. Please email to arrange details. Your cost in New York would be travel to/from airport $2 bus or $30 cab each way, plus spending money. We have an empty queen bedroom available. Renee would love to see some friend's faces.

I'm travelling back to Manitoba tomorrow via MSP while Kara is flying to NYC via YYZ. I guess I'll wave at her when we pass in the air!

Thanks again for being a friend.
Raymond and Martha Dueck

359 E 68th Street Apt 2A, New York, NY 10065
Martha 917-751-0421
email phone Renee (917) 750-4128

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Stress is catching up with me

Now I'm in the hospital waiting for a doctor. I'm in pain and urinating blood.

I headed to Concordia hospital at 5:30 PM and have been waiting for doctor since then.

When stress comes it comes in piles. There is not much we can do about Renee's situation except to pray and trust God and the best professionals to do the right thing for her.

Addional stess has been added due to issues at the Arborg plant.

We had a good LifeLight meeting this morning and then it was a day filled with meetings with consultants and lawyers. At the end of the day I had a very exasperated call from one of our front line people about a big mistake that our office had made.

That's when my urine turned red.

I called Martha on the way to the hospital. She said Renee had another nausea filled day.

Thursday Renee had a bit of fever, but plenty of energy to work on her computer.

Thursday night was our first of three church Christmas dinner theatre productions and Karalee and I invited friends and relatives to join us for a delightful evening.

I hope my bladder will be OK for travel again on Sunday. Back Wednesday for sales meetings and company Christmas while Karalee travels to NYC for visit from Wednesday to Monday.

I got home at 9:15 to an empty house. Kara was volunteering at our Church Dinner theatre and Justin was working.

Went to bed early and woke up at 2am shortly before Justin came home. I read the paper and did a Soduko. After that I slept fairly well got out of bed at 9:49

We are going to Anne and Vern's for supper Saturday.

Kara has a music recital on Monday night Dec 10

Off to New York. 6:20 am flight means you got to get out of sleep mode at 4:15 am!

Renee has been moved to isolation - Caps gowns masks so the staff won't give her bug to anyone else. Otherwise she is in good spirits except for the occasional vomitting spells. Vistoral or Adavan helps for that but that makes her sleepy.

We watched several episodes of the Confessions of a Mennonite pastor on utube. I brought along a season of everybody loves Raymond. Look forward to watching that.

We also want to watch last Sunday's service at Eastview. Spiritual nourishment is so important.