The Reason Chimps Don’t Talk and Other Random Facts

Each and every day seems to hold something new and interesting.  The following represents just a smattering of these facts and activities in the past week.

  • Last week’s two Wedding posts on this blog have amassed a total of 406 “views.”  You folks must be saps for weddings!
  • One month from Monday, on February 12th, I am scheduled for brain surgery.
  • We received a $19,000 bill in the mail from the hospital asking for immediate payment (Mayo’s $5,000 bill has already been completely processed).  Karla nearly had a coronary until we found out the insurance company messed up.  All we have to cover is two reasonable deductibles for all this fun and adventure.  I wonder how much brain surgery costs.  I’m guessing $100,000.
  • My wife Karla is amazing.  For over 13 years at our current church she has faithfully seen to it that each one of our children is up, fed, dressed, and delivered to church on Sunday mornings…without so much as the lifting of a finger by me.  I am normally at the church on Sunday mornings long before anyone else is up.   Granted, it is somewhat easier with the 16 year old than the 3 year old.  Nevertheless, I stand amazed.  All this, and nearly a 100% on-time arrival rate.  She stands as a stellar model for all families (in this and many other ways)  to be prompt for corporate worship services.
  • Karla bought me a green beanie hat to wear in public after surgery.  I have no idea what my head will actually look like.
  • I really am supposed to be right hand dominant.  The final comprehensive report we received from Mayo last week included the results from the functional MRI. One of the assessments was this: “There is ambiguity to the handedness of this patient…Based on cortical activation, the patient should be right-handed dominant.  Based on cerebellar activity the patient should be left-handed dominant.”  What I think this means is that since this massive AVM has been there since before birth, in God’s design of the brain, He caused my brain to largely re-wire itself to account for the deformity…confusing my “handedness” but compensating for much more important things.  While I have been mostly a left-handed person my entire life, I don’t think I started out that way.
  • I am certifiably pathetic.  There are days when I have spent  hours reading my own blog and the comments left behind by you all…which I greatly appreciate. You have to agree though…that’s pathetic.  Narcissism, depression, something else, or some combination? Who knows.
  • I seriously do wonder what will fill the space where this AVM is located once it is removed… if indeed it is the size of a peach.
  • Karla and I saw the movie Seven Pounds starring Will Smith Sunday evening.   Very thought provoking.  My contention is that the best movies, other than documentary type films, always have a very strong and undeniably redemptive theme.  I think God has designed the human soul to resonate with the theme of redemption.  And so, if one ever watches a movie and feels empty afterwards, I contend that one has wasted one’s time and money.  While I think the producers of Seven Pounds wanted the audience to walk away thinking they had seen redemption, that is not what this couple saw.   Attempts at self redemption yes…I see it everywhere.  But the redemption that Christ offers is far superior. Romans 3:23ff. says “…for all have sinned and falls short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forth as a proptitiation by his blood to be receive by faith.  This was to show God’s righteousness…so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”  One take away from this movie:  Don’t text and drive.  After the movie we redeemed a gift card at Texas Road House and proceeded to put on at least seven pounds between us.
  • I found out this week that of the 206 bones in the human body there is only ONE that is not connected to another bone.  It is a V-shaped bone in the neck called the hyoid  that supports the tongue and serves as an attachment point for several muscles and elevates the larynx for speech and swallowing.  If this bone did not exist speech would not be possible, but chimps also have hyoid bones and all they can do is make chimp noises.  Because of the precise placement in the human body this bone makes intelligible speech possible.  The Bible tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  God has designed human beings in such a way so that we are to praise Him with words…written, thought, spoken, and sung.

9 thoughts on “The Reason Chimps Don’t Talk and Other Random Facts”

  1. Hi Mike,
    Just happened to be on line when your blog came on. Must be a God thing. Have been thinking about you and your family and continuing to pray for all of you. I am sure this waiting period for you has been the hardest. Again, I appreciate your comments and thoughts and continued humor from your blog. Don’t lost your humor. After 30 years of marriage, I do see how we complete one another and support one another. Praise God for Karla who can take care of your family so that you can concentrate on your ministry. I know Karla is alot like me too, where we are organized to get our family together early enough so we can be ready to go. She is a special lady. I know I will be seeing you both soon, even though it is under difficult circumstances, but it is where I want to be. Take care of yourself now. God bless. Kathy


  2. Good morning Mike,
    Your words display your attitude of trust in God. I was reminded to pray for you this morning. And now I see a correlation of your situation and verses that stood out in my reading … “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” “By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:5,8
    Kelly Gifford


  3. As for that empty space in your head… That will be filled with love, compassion, hope and understanding from all who care for you and your family, including the good Lord who has many things planned for you.
    Exercise the Narcissism. This may be one of the few times we will all grant you the latitude and be excepting of it. lol
    If you have not seen it, I encourage you to see “The Secret”. In there it talks about how God has endowed us with the ability to heal ourselves through positive beliefs and laughter. There is no place or time for depression and no need for it. You have much yet to offer all those you meet and many years in which to do it. I know you will look back on this many years from now and wonder why you were even concerned about it.
    Cherish that wonderful wife and beautiful family you have there. And worry only that you will need to prepare to officiate their weddings and baptisms of your grandchildren.

    Take care my friend. God Bless. There are many congregations here in Texas praying for your quick recuperation from surgery.

    Brad Versteegh
    Austin, TX


  4. Dear Mike.
    I love reading your blog. The hardest time I had was waiting three weeks for my biopsy, and I can’t imagine waiting for as long as you have. Your blogs have humor, and Karla’s are serious…just like you usually are. I can just picture her with a $19,000 medical bill needing immediate payment! Yes, and she is all you say she is and more in getting the kids to church.
    I remember when you lived in Des Moines and had a much younger Luke and Benjamin. She was still there before service…even if she only heard a few words of it from her seat in the back.
    Keep laughing! Especially at yourself! After seven years of adventure with God and my family in is world of illness upon illness, I laugh. I laugh when I take a fall, I laugh when I’m home sick for five weeks. I laugh and enjoy life on what ever term He has for me because He is good and no matter how it appears, all He gives are good things so therefore life is good. The insurance company now has a nurse call me monthly to check up on me. This month I had her laughing with me as I had an open door to share my life. At the end of the call, she told me that I had really brightened her day and that she wasn’t even going to ask me the last question…”Had I been depressed the last few days?”.
    I hope and pray that this is a quick over and done adventure for you Mike. You are living out what you have been preaching for all the years I’ve known you. Of course you would, because your words are from the WORD. I once prayed for you and your family for a year and I fasted a day per week for all of you that year (after our trip to Hungry). I’m on too many meds to fast now, but I am praying daily and whenever I can’t sleep, too, that our Father in heaven will guild the doctor’s hand and grant him/her skill so that you will be healed completely in Jesus’ name. A fellow follower of Jesus, Donna Haxton


  5. We are all still thinkiing and praying for you and your family. Your know.. you will have to continue the blog after this little issue is corrected. We would miss hearing about you, your family, your walk with God, and all the humre and wit he has belessed your life with!


  6. Good Morning just getting caught up from my KC trip. A few factoids, your mayo bill will likely be in access of $400,000. The parking rates alone can casue one to mortagage his home :). Chris, myself and my favorite three nephews saw Seven Pounds before Christmas, very interesting movie. I dislike movies where the good guy dies, its an old cowboy thing.

    I to wonder what will fill the space when the AVM is removed. This would be a great question to ask the Doc. At age sixty you don’t want your skull to start drooping, just a thought.

    Time to get to work John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


  7. My sister, Marilyn Sesker, told me about your problem. I pray that your surgery is a success. I am confident that the Lord has more in store for you. My family has enjoyed services at your Church whenever we are in Iowa. You are also on the prayer list at the Church I attend here in Kentucky. You are a wonderful minister and a human being.


  8. Brain surgery is not cheap, but think of it this way — it really holds its value, unlike, say, a car. Thanks be to God for insurance. Maybe you should take home all the soaps, shampoo, and towels from the hospital (like some people do at hotels!), since your insurance company is paying good money for them.
    Perhaps the empty spot in your brain will make room to grow a less-developed part of your existing brain, and you’ll start exhibiting talents you didn’t have before. Maybe you can start a part-time second career as a rock star when this is all over, or speak Italian, or become a professional baseball player. Our God is a God of second chances, after all, and hidden blessings, even in the seemingly troublesome. Carpe diem!

    (Vicki, Great idea about getting the most for the money. When our fourth child was born I asked the nurse if I could take the nearly full box of latex gloves home to use in the shop for various things. She said, “Yes, you’re going to pay for a whole box anyway.” However, I am out of gloves once again. I look forward to more good stuff. Mike)


  9. Time is a strange thing, isn’t it? “One month from Monday” does not exist for us, but it does for God. He has gone before and beyond that day, and that is a comforting thought. Still…I remember when “that day” arrived for Jim’s surgery. I felt like I had been waiting to jump in the deep end of the pool for a month. You know at that time when you’re just about to jump, you’re sort of scared, excited, and drawing in your last breath? I literally felt like I’d held my breath all month when the nurse came and said, “They’ve made the first incision.” I totally lost it. I realized two things in that moment:

    I was not in control.

    I was never in control.

    Now, I would say that I knew those things before…but the concrete realization of those two things stood starkly before me at that moment. I think Jesus always lived in those realizations, and I’m thankful I have a “clouded mirror” to look in while on this earth as far as that goes.

    YOU ARE IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND, and His hand is HUGE. It holds time, space, and teeny tiny you.

    For the record, I read your blog over and over, but I don’t always come to the site. (I have a few favorites that I’ve saved, and I email to people.) I also read Psalms and passages from the Bible over and over. Why? Because I like to know I’m not alone in suffering…or joy. Because I like to be encouraged. Because I like to read people who are sharing their heart, being transparent. I see both you and Karla as being encouraging and transparent, and quite often I don’t get a matter the first time I read it, or the second or third.

    Wish I would have known about the box of gloves thing….


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