Thursday, February 16, 2012 a bright spot for Stephen, please

Yesterday my precious friend, Mark Nichols, posted a plea for help. Not for himself. For a friend, Stephen Phillips, who is thankfully recovering from emergency heart surgery following a massive attack while traveling from New Orleans. Multiple arterial bypasses and a valve replacement. Stephen will be in the hospital for at least a week, followed by at least two months of at-home recovery. Mark writes: 

Being self-employed and uninsured, Stephen is facing the very high cost of live-saving cardiac surgery and a lengthy recovery period. Stephen will be unable to work during this time. In lieu of balloons, cards, flowers or food, his family and close friends are asking for your financial support. Please consider this...what would you do if you were in Stephen's shoes? Stephen has opened his heart to so many of us over the years. Stephen now needs that same kindness, love and support extended to him. Any and all funds raised will go directly towards deferring Stephen's medical expenses and loss of income. In fact, the instructions below have been created so that you can send money directly to Stephen's bank account. If you would like to provide financial support to Stephen during this difficult time, please follow the instructions below to SEND MONEY FOR FREE directly to Stephen. You can choose how to donate funds - directly from your bank account, by credit card, or from your PayPal account.

 1.   Go to
 2.   Click on the "Send Money" link
 3.   Enter the amount that you would like to donate
 4.   Select the "Friends and Family" radio button under "My payment is for:"
 5.   Click the "Continue" button
 6.   Enter Stephen's e-mail address =
 7.   Enter your e-mail address
 8.   Click the "Continue" button
 9.   Log in to your PayPal account, or create one for free

If you have any technical issues at all, please contact Mark W Nichols on Facebook or at

Stephen's Valentine's Day was a heart-breaker. But we have an opportunity to shower him with a love that trumps Hallmark.  I know that he would appreciate hearing from you during his convalescence. Leave him a message in the comments below. Or go to 


Dear Stephen,
I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting you. But yesterday, when our mutual friend, Mark Nichols, posted your story on FB, mine and countless other hearts joined yours. What a long list of friends you have. I figure one can never have too many, so I am lumping myself into the new-but-prayin’-and-payin'  category. 
Six years ago, I became ill, Stephen, and lost my insurance. I thought I had "sickness” insurance. Silly me...the policy clearly said “health” in bold caps. Poof!  While my needs pale next to yours, they were significant to me. Mel, Mark, and many others reached out in countless ways. Thanks to God and all these helpers, I have lived to tell the story. What a relief to pass forward in some small way the undeserved but greatly appreciated gifts I received. Mercy and grace, love and forgiveness...that’s my theology. Amen.
Your job is to heal. If you so much as think about not following doctor’s orders, I will know. Just ask my kids. Re-read that “if you so much as...” sentence and picture this: my left eyebrow is in an upright and locked position (Under my bangs. Trust me) 

[Note to Mel and Mark: report if Stephen so much as begins to worry.] 
Your family, your friends - and, I daresay, anonymous strangers - have your back and your bills. We want to anoint you with love...and cash, checks and credit cards. I wish I could tell you that loads of people will leave you messages in the comments section below but my readership numbers are not that impressive. What IS important is that the great good God has spoken. And the message is real personal: 

I have called you by name, Stephen, and you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, Stephen. 
       When you cross rivers, Stephen, you will not drown. 
When you walk through fire, you, Stephen, will not be burned, 
       nor will the flames hurt you, Stephen. 
       ...You are precious to me, Stephen, 
Do not be afraid, Stephen, because I am with you. 
from Isaiah 43

I’m old, Stephen, and don’t ask for signs. 
But sometimes God just likes to put on a show. 
With a twist.

He didn’t just send a rainbow. 
He sent a double-wide over the Wal-Mart. 
Honey, you’re as good as well. 

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