You are Faithful

Today, the kids and I spent the morning with our friend Michael.  Earlier this week, he was relocated from Stony Brook University Hospital to his new Rehab in Smithtown.  When we walked into his room, it was so good to see him alert and looking much better than he had when we saw him last.

I was delighted to get to talk with him for awhile.  And for a little bit of our time, he started to make noises in response and they were so, so good to hear.  It seems like it’s been awhile since I’ve heard Michael’s voice.  But since he’s recovering from his colon issues, it seems like these beautiful things are coming back as he heals.

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Christian and Ellee came up with me today.  Christian had told me last week that he missed Michael and he asked if we could go and visit.  As I’ve mentioned before, he spent a lot of time with Michael and I know that this journey has affected him in many ways.  But bringing him up to see Michael has been good and healing and I was so glad that he was with me today.  Ellee’s been a bit more tentative when we’ve visited.  I think she feels more nervous about everything.  But today, she warmed up a bit and came over to show Michael her new stuffed animal and it made me really happy to see her softly talk to him as well.

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We enjoyed the time we had together.  I was glad to see Michael’s new Rehab and even got to meet his new aide.  She seemed very sweet and I was thankful for the kindness and compassion that she showed.  At the end of our visit, Sarah and Luke arrived so it was good to talk with them a bit before we left.

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One thing stuck in my mind from our visit.  While I did a few range of motion exercises with Michael, I was able to play some worship songs that I had brought with me on a CD.  One of the songs we listened to was Chris Tomlin’s “God of Angel Armies.”   It’s a song that I love and one that we sing in Youth Group.  My favorite part of the song says:

And nothing formed against me shall stand

You hold the whole world in Your hands

I’m holding on to your promises

You are faithful, You are faithful

And it was just the reminder that I needed today.  Throughout Michael’s entire journey, God has been faithful.  He’s been faithful in seeing Michael through many, many ups and downs.  He’s faithfully provided for him and his family.  And I truly believe that God’s faithfulness will continue to show itself as Michael continues to work to recovery.

Also, for the record, whenever I’d talk to Michael about how much Jesus loves him and how He is with him always, Michael responded each time with his eye blinks.  I truly believe that it’s a great encouragement to Michael to hear these truths.  It’s a great encouragement to all of us.  In this world that is so broken and hurting, we can continue to stand strong and to move forward, knowing that God is faithful and that He is always with us.

And that would be my update for tonight.  We can continue to pray for Michael and especially for his new Rehab.  We are so very hopeful that Michael will have a time to be strong and solid in his recovery.  We can pray that God will allow Michael to have a good and stable time so that he can really get back into his therapies and make good progress again.  And once again, thank you for your faithfulness in continuing to love and pray for Michael and for his family.  You’ve always been an important part to this and I know his family is very thankful to know that there are so many people supporting them.

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Your Invitation

So this would be a post full of snapshots from our 2017 Breakaway Youth Retreat weekend as well as your invitation (if you are local) to join us for our Annual Spaghetti Supper.  For parents of our students, it’s the best way to hear all about the many fun and awesome things that we did that weekend.  For others, it’s a great way to get a glimpse of one of the yearly highlights of our youth ministry.  And for everyone, it’s a wonderful night of free spaghetti and fun fellowship with our church family at Eastport Bible Church.

We’re asking students to arrive at 4:30pm to help with serving and setup and families are welcome to join us at 5:30pm for dinner.  We will also have a youth led worship service following the dinner at 7:00pm.  And finally, we will end our night with ice cream dessert after the service.

Again, we would absolutely love to have you and your families join us!  Till then, here is a glimpse of pictures from our fun filled weekend.

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Best Way to Vacation

So ever since Sunday, we’ve been on what’s become our family’s favorite low key vacation.  It started two years ago, when, thanks to a Rite Aid promotion program, I couponed my way to two free nights at a Hyatt.  We ended up picking one in Philadelphia, because it was a city that we hadn’t visited before.  That year, we learned a very important secret.  And that is, that the best way to vacation is to find a place where you can truly just rest and not have to really do a lot of anything.  

Don’t get me wrong.  We are actually big fans of travel and have been on some pretty spectacular trips both with and without our kids.  We love the adventure of trying different things and seeing new and amazing places.  We’ve also enjoyed many trips to visit our families in Michigan, Arizona and Seattle.  But when it comes to our immediate family we’ve discovered that we really, truly love (and quite possibly need ever so often) is time to just rest, relax and recuperated somewhat from the craziness that is our lives.

So this is our current formula.  We get a good set of nights at the Embassy Suites.  Because they have a spectacular breakfast with made to order omlettes and a fun snack hour every evening.  Our kids are old enough that in the morning, they’ve been getting themselves up and down to breakfast early, so they can bring it back to our room and eat in bed.  They find this super fun because, well, it is.


We also like our hotel for its amenities.  It has a small gym, which I’m proud to say we used every day.  The kids enjoyed the treadmill and elliptical and I logged nine miles of walking/running as well (mostly just to try to counter all of the fun food I ate on our trip).  It also has an indoor pool and hot tub which the kids loved, especially this one.  She happily utilized it every day, though she found it more enjoyable when she had the whole thing to herself (as opposed to the first day we were here when the hotel was hosting a hockey tournament and it was overrun with elementary aged hockey players).


The other key to our vacation is that we are only a five minute drive from the largest mall in America.  The King of Prussia mall is kind of amazing, with its 400 plus stores.  To be honest, we aren’t even big mall people, but for some reason we all love this mall.  Jeremy and Christian entertain themselves at the Apple Store which is right next to a Tesla store so they are pretty much set.  And Ellee and I have a blast just shopping our hearts out.  Well, kind of.  It’s all in fun moderation.  Our newest discovery this trip was a store called Primark, which is apparently the IKEA of clothing stores.  Their fun fashions at crazy low prices kept us coming back each day to discover new and interesting treasures.  

And in addition to our shopping, we also enjoyed a fun variety of what I would say is he best mall food ever.  For fact, they have the best Golden Dragon roll ever and take note, Long Island malls, it’s right between a Chipotle and a Chick-fil-A.  We also enjoyed gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches at Melt Shop and a few stops at Shake Shack as well and that again explains why I felt the need to log in a little bit of exercise on this trip.  Thankfully, because the mall is so huge, we also logged some good miles just getting around to all of the stores.  


So yes.  Even though it might not seem like the most extravagant or crazy of family vacations, it truly is one that we love.  In the past four days, we’ve been able to rest and relax and just take a needed break from everything.  It’s been fun and re-energizing and even though it comes to an end tomorrow, for us, it was the very best way to vacation and I know we will cherish our time together very much.

Dear Tracey McAdams

Dear Tracey McAdams,

A month or so ago, I started hearing about a Basket Fundraiser that the English classes at ESM were doing for our friend Michael Einfeldt.  And in the coming weeks, I’d learn more details about this incredible project from your posts on the community page and from talking to many of our ESM Youth Group students.

I believe it started out as a service project with the College English classes.  And from what we heard, our friend Cameron was a driving force behind this project as well.

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Cameron and Michael have been great friends for what seems like forever.  We had so many great times with them.  They both always had such kind hearts and everyone loved hanging around with them.

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Cameron has stayed close with Michael all throughout his recovery.  He joined us many times when we would take trips up to the ICU to visit and came to see Michael at Rehab as well.  I was so excited when Cameron shared about this project because I knew it would mean so much to him to have others help Michael and his family during their time of need.

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 Also, I know it started with the College English classes, but somehow it must have been shared with other English classes as well.  Our son who is in Jr. High came home one day and shared how his English class was going to put together a “Disney Themed” basket.  He went up to his room and got his own money to bring in to school the next day.  Christian grew up hanging out with Michael and spent a lot of time visiting him in the hospital and at rehab over this past year with our family.  In his very best Jr. High boy way, he shared with us how much it meant to him to have his school care so much about Michael.

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Tracey McAdams, it’s an incredible thing to inspire others to do good.  And this is exactly what you did.  You inspired an entire Jr. and Sr. High student body to get involved.  Which is not always an easy task when working with teenagers.

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You inspired an entire community to give.  So many businesses and other individuals came together to donate goods and services and even 50 pounds of candy!  Amongst the beautiful and amazing baskets, there was a drum set, a lot of nice electronics and even an entire theatre camp tuition and when we came to the rotunda at the high school on Thursday evening, I was blown away by the generous donations.

And for the record, whoever was the force behind the Superheroes “basket” that was overflowing with Marvel themed goodies and a stand up cardboard Batman…  This is the basket that Michael would have loved best had he gotten to pick one.  When I saw it, it made my heart so happy because it just reminded me of him.

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Finally, Tracey McAdams, I know for fact that the hard work that you put into this fundraiser was not only a blessing to the students and to our community.  I know it will be a huge blessing to Michael Einfeldt and to his family.  I visited him this past Friday at the hospital and was there with his cousin Matt when he showed Michael the hearts and notes that the students had made.  I saw Sally tear up when Matt shared what a great success the fundraiser had been.  And I know that the money donated will be a huge blessing to this family as they work to care for and love their son.

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There is this verse in the Bible, in John 15:13 and it says “Greater love has no one than this:  To lay down one’s life for his friends.”  Tracey, you inspired so many people to “lay down” or set aside time or money and their own desires for an ESM graduate and friend.  You inspired them to love and to serve and for this, I just wanted to say thank you.  Thank you for your passion, thank you for all of the work that you and other put in and thank you for being something beautiful and good in our world.

Sincerely, Laura Herr (and probably many, many others who feel the same way as well)

Team Einfeldt: First Meeting

On Sunday, February 12th we had our first Team Einfeldt meeting.  Granted, the weather that day consisted of icy slush, so some weren’t able to make it.  As I was setting everything up, I remember feeling nervous if people would be able to show up.  But then I remember the wise words of my friend Lisa Anderson who shared that God would bring those who needed to be there.  And indeed He did.

Thirty-five friends were able to make it for our first meeting.  I shared a welcome and some updates about Michael and then we watched a short video that I had put together with clips and pictures of Michael through the years.  I didn’t realize how much seeing those pictures would stir up memories and emotions until I tried to share right after.  Tears started flowing and wouldn’t stop, but thankfully Jeremy came in and started our time of prayer for Michael and his family.

And oh.  Those prayers were so powerful and so beautiful.  Many of Michael’s friends poured out their hearts, asking God for strength and peace for the Einfeldts.  My heart was pounding as I felt the overwhelming power of the words that were lifted up.  It was a very moving to see so many praying on behalf of our dear friend.

And just on a side note, I have to share that I know that throughout this entire journey, God has indeed heard our prayers.  Most recently we spent time praying for healing in Michael’s colon and as of Sunday, those prayers were answered.  Sally shared that the medications were working and that it was most likely that Michael would not need any further interventions or surgery.

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After our prayer time, we got down to business.  Basically, our goal is to join together a team of family, friends and community for the Einfeldts.  Our goal is to support them through four different “crews” that I’ll detail below.  Each crew will work to meet different needs and together we’ll do our best to come alongside of Michael and his family.  Here is a list and descriptions of our crews:

Coordinating Crew- These team members will work to help coordinate Team Einfeldt.  Their jobs will be to work with the other crews as they organize ideas and efforts.  It’s a bit administrative and definitely for those who like to organize and delegate.

Creativity Crew– These team members are in charge of coming up with creative ideas and ways to help the Einfeldts.  I had a woman share an idea for a possible future garden that Michael could enjoy and it prompted me to create a group that could help by thinking outside of the box for ways to help.

Care Crew- This would be a team of people who were willing to help with way to care for the Einfeldts.  Cleaning, cooking and similar practical ways to help would be the job of this team.

Home Crew– As I’ve shared before, Sally’s dream is to someday bring Michael home.  This means that renovations would need to be made to their current home so this is the team that would help with those efforts.

Right now, our goal is to organize crews for Team Michael.  At our meeting, we took down names and contact info for those willing to help with these various areas.  Another idea we have is for a Facebook Group for Team Einfeldt.  We figured this would be a central location to share ideas and events with those who want to be either a specific part (by joining a crew) or a general part of our team.

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So that sums up our first meeting and ways that you can help.  If you’re interested in joining the Facebook group, you can by clicking the link above or by clicking here.  As I’ve mentioned before, this is a group and community effort.  More than that, it’s an opportunity to do good.  To make a difference.  To help.  Please consider how you can get involved with Team Einfeldt and thanks so much for checking in.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me through Facebook or email: lauraherr8@gmail.com.

Not Return Empty

We shared so many times like this with Michael.  So many times of serving others and sharing life.  And these are the times that make my heart both happy and sad.  Happy because of the beautiful ways that Michael chose to live his life, loving and serving.  Happy because I always loved to see Michael’s big, beautiful smile.  Happy to know the influence he’s had on his friends and peers.  But also sad.  Sad to know that it’s now been over a year of his long and difficult journey after an accident and a traumatic brain injury.  Sad to know that even today, the struggles still continue to be very real.

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I talked to Sally this afternoon and she shared some updates as well as some very important prayer needs.  The biggest update, is that Michael is back on Long Island at Stony Brook Hospital.  He is in the ICU and there are serious concerns about issues with his colon.  He is on antibiotics, but if they don’t do their job and the issues don’t resolve themselves, he may need surgery and could face further unwanted complications.

I felt so disheartened when Sally shared this news.  I hate hearing that Michael isn’t doing well and that he is facing other needs in addition to what he is already going through.  But I realized that dwelling on this would do me no good.  I thought back on all of the times that Michael has needed prayer in the past year and remembered all of the ways that God so faithfully answered those prayers.  And so I resolved to keep praying and to ask others to do the same.  Michael will have a CAT scan tomorrow to see where things are at, but in the mean time, will you please join me in praying for healing for his colon and that he won’t have to have surgery?

Other prayer needs have to do with finding the best care facility for Michael in the months to come.  There are some different options out there, but right now Sally is just asking for prayers for the right doors to open for what is best for Michael and the care that he needs.  Her current desire is that he stays on Long Island and closer to home but what it looks like is unknown at this point.

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This afternoon, I spent a good three hours, shoveling snow.  And every time I look at snow, I always think of the same passage in Isaiah 55 that says:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

Snow, even a foot of blizzard snow, has a purpose.  It waters the earth and causes plants to bear and sprout, which in turns provides us with the food that we need.  And God says that this is the same with the words that He sends from his mouth.  They do not return empty, but they accomplish God’s desires and his plans.

I truly believe that God is working in all of this.  I believe that everything that Michael has gone through will not return empty.  I don’t know why bad things happen, but I do know that God is good and that He can work good into even the most tragic of situations.

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So we continue to pray with hope.  Please pray for Michael and that God would heal his colon so that he would not need surgery or have further complications.  Please pray that Michael would find the right place to be where he can heal and start to recover.  Please pray that God would work miracles for our Michael and that he would fulfill his promises in any and every way.

Thank you, to everyone who is reading this.  Thank you for your place in this story and for allowing Michael’s life to influence yours.  And again, if you are local and available this Sunday, please come and join us as we set things in motion for our first meeting for Team Einfeldt.  It’s a quick friends, family and community meeting at Eastport Bible Church this Sunday, February 12th from 6:00pm-6:30pm.  Our goal is to pray for the family and to start to put together ways we can come together to help and support the Einfeldts.  We would absolutely love to have you join us.  Please feel free to message or email me (lauraherr@gmail.com) with any questions.  Hope to see you there!

Happy Snow Day

Am I the only person who can look out the window and see all of the snow, but still likes to go and check out weather.com just to see if there are any new updates on today’s winter storm?  It’s something I was just wondering as I did that very same thing for the fifth time today.  And also, it’s funny to think that yesterday at Hangtime, we were enjoying temps of 61 degrees with the faint smell of spring in the air.

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The Sports and Games workshop was having a blast playing Thunderball in our church parking lot that is now covered with a foot (or more) of snow.  What a fun difference a day can make.

(Also, God bless Mark Northrup for so graciously plowing out our church parking lot.)

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Since the forecast called for a blizzard warning for our area, schools canceled yesterday evening.  Which made our kids pretty excited for their first snow day of the year.  They enjoyed sleeping in and watching shows before moving on to their other snow day activities.  Ellee broke out her cash register and has been playing “Store” all afternoon.

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We’ve all enjoyed entertaining her by stocking up on all sorts of Snow Day accessories.  She’s kept us all supplied with credit cards and fake money and has been carefully handwriting all of her receipts.

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Christian’s been enjoying the afternoon playing a new game on his computer.  It’s funny, because I’m not a huge fan of him playing a lot of video games.  But with volleyball and his school workload, his schedule is so tight lately that I’m happy for him to have a day off to relax and unwind.

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Jeremy went to work today, which wasn’t a huge deal since he only had to walk across the street.  And I enjoyed sleeping in late this morning and then doing chores in between my  hourly weather checks.

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The last check out our back door looked like this.

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I had bought my obligatory loaf of Wonder Bread last night before the storm, but probably should have checked my jelly inventory.  Thankfully, it was enough for lunch today and hopefully by the next time we need it, we’ll be able to get our car shoveled out from the snow drift it’s currently stuck in.

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Oh, and dinner will consist of our new family favorite of Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice soup. I’ve made it three times since I randomly saw it pop up on Facebook.  Today I finally got wise and wrote it down instead of trying to make it by watching it on my iPad and pausing it multiple times to see what ingredients I’d need next (which is how the first two batches were produced).

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And that about sums up our Snow Day.  Hopefully, the snow fall is going to wrap up in the next few hours, though it looks like we’re going to have to wait till tomorrow to start digging out.  With temps well below freezing tonight, it will be interesting to see what the school forecast will be for tomorrow.  Happy, happy snow day to everyone!  Prayers for safety for those who have to be out and hopefully for the rest of us, we can enjoy our time, safe and warm indoors.

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