Place your bid before Dec. 15th. See directions below.
Today is Connie Henricks' birthday. Many of you regular blog readers will remember Connie as my college friend who came to visit me during my stay in Fairhope.
Connie & I met at Metropolitan Baptist Church back in 1975 when I first moved to Oregon. Connie is, in fact, the first person to befriend me after I moved out west. She is the reason I went to Oregon State University. A Kappa Kappa Gamma girl, she enticed me to the Willamette Valley, home of the Big O.
She and I got married the same year to two really wonderful men, and we've parented four children. Those of you who own the book will recognize Connie's name as one of the women I dedicated Where's Your Jesus Now? to. She is also the woman I named my youngest daughter after.
Connie met her husband Ed the year before I met Tim. I still remember the first time Connie brought Ed to meet me. I was living on campus in what was then called a cooperative. The low-rent form of a sorority. We were standing in my study room when all of a sudden people started running up and down the hallway banging on pots and pans. Ed whipped his head around, as to say, What is THAT? I laughed and explained it was the boys from the house next door, partaking in some sort of getting-to-know-you ritual.
I learned from Connie that Ed had grown up in The Dalles, Oregon. His parents had an orchard there. He was an outdoorsman, who'd grown up hunting, fishing, camping. To be honest, Ed made me a little nervous. He was so polite, and so very smart. Ed was in the Engineering program at OSU.
I wasn't surprised when Ed asked Connie to marry him. I am not sure my memory serves me right, it's been so long ago now, but I think the way it went was that Ed went over to the Kappa house early in the morning, before daybreak. Got Connie out of bed, still in her pjs and took her somewhere to watch the sunrise. I might have that wrong but I think that's when he asked her to marry him.
She, of course, said yes.
They got married in July, 1978.
I was in the wedding, along with Connie's sisters, Chris and Sandy. We wore yellow dresses -- one of Connie's favorite colors. Connie gave us necklaces with a tiny cross on them. I was such a goof, I didn't realize she gave them to us to wear during the ceremony. So I forgot mine. I still feel bad about that. Her sorority sisters sang the sweetest song to the happy couple at the reception. It was really a lovely, lovely day.
This is the part where I'm supposed to tell you that we all lived happily ever after.
And for the most part we have. Connie and I celebrated 30th wedding anniversaries this year. How incredible is that? She and I both know that it is because of God's faithfulness, and not that of our own, that our marriages have been one of life's greatest joys.
We married two of OSU's finest men.
Two of the finest men anywhere. They are handsome, smart, loyal, and hardworking. Most of all they are devoted to God, and to us.
Ten years ago now, I was startled awake on a Sunday morning by a nightmare. A nightmare that involved Connie & Ed and their children. I told Tim that I felt like I needed to call Ed, to warn him that Connie was in some sort of danger, that he and the kids needed to lay hands on her, pray for her.
So call, Tim said.
I can't, I replied.
Why not? he asked.
Because Ed will think I really am a nut, I said. He's an engineer.
Tim just shook his head and walked out of the room.
Connie answered. I asked for Ed. She didn't even ask me why. She just put him on the phone. I told him that I had a dream, that Connie was in some danger. That he and the kids needed to pray over her.
He thanked me. Hung up and gathered their four kids and prayed over Connie.
Three weeks later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite surgery, chemotherapy and a host of other things, the cancer continues its persistent invasion. It is now in Connie's lungs, her liver.
Fighting cancer is no easy thing. It takes courage and conviction, the latter is something Connie has in abundance. The courage part she works on day to day.
It helps knowing how many people, coast to coast, are praying for her. That encourages her.
But it is Ed who needs encouragement now. Since graduating from OSU, Ed's been a professional land surveyor specializing in industrial site surveying for project design, estimates, construction, and optical alignment. He's had 30 years of engineering management experience in a corporate engineering design group.
Those are his words, not mine. Ed didn't want me to tell you the name of the company he works for. You'd recognize it right away. I think he's afraid you might be tempted to send them hate mail.
You see, Ed has received notice that his job is being eliminated. He has till April to find a new job.
Oh, sure, he can pick up Connie's health insurance under Cobra, but do you have any idea how expensive that is, when you don't have a job to begin with?
I was telling my friend Stacey Howell in Fairhope, Alabama about Connie and Ed's situation. God gave Stacey many gifts, one of which is the gift for beauty. She's an artist.
After hearing about Ed and Connie's situation, Stacey was moved to paint the following picture. She calls it the Fountain of Hope. Here, I'll let Stacey tell you about the painting:
Hope is something that I seem to follow around, I was director of a camp named Camp Rap-A-Hope. I painted this scene of the fountain down at the bay in Fairhope, Al., thinking about another painting I am working on of an angel. Connie and her family kept coming to my mind and I knew I should donate this painting as a symbol of hope for their family -- hope that people would rally and make good things happen.
This is the part where you come into the story. At Stacey's request I am auctioning off the Fountain of Hope. Between now and Dec. 15th I will take bids on this painting. The entire donation will be handed over to Ed and Connie, to help defray the cost of treatment for her cancer. Please help me get word around. Refer your friends, families and others to this auction site. The painting will go to the highest bidder. Bids can be emailed directly to me at email@example.com
And if you know of someone who is looking for someone with Ed's abilities, please feel free to contact me. I'll put you in touch with Ed.
Meanwhile, join with me in praying for Ed & Connie Henricks and their family, and passing along the Fountain of Hope from which we all draw strength.