Category Archives: Thanksgiving

Endurance and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Great Antarctic Adventure

I just finished reading an excellent book about the greatest Antarctic adventure ever undertaken. Alfred Lansing wrote the book Endurance based on the compilation of diary entries of men who were actually aboard the boat aptly named The Endurance. It is an excellent read! The purpose of this blog is to write about “the human condition and everything pertaining to it.” Endurance pertains to the human condition.

Continue reading Endurance and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Great Antarctic Adventure


Thanksgiving 2014 Top Ten List

Happy Thanksgiving! This is the 7th consecutive year in which I have made up a list of the top ten things for which I am most thankful. We began this blog in November, 2008 upon finding out that I had a weird thing in the left frontal lobe of my brain called an AVM. For forty-four years this thing had been there, resting quietly. If you are interested in hearing the back story click here.

Then on the morning of October 23rd, 2008 I had a seizure. I had this peach-sized mass removed from my brain in February, 2009 by a world class neurosurgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  The day after surgery I awoke unable to speak or move the entire right side of my body. Three days later I developed a life threatening blood infection, which was followed by blood clots…many of them…one big clot in my heart and 22 in my lungs, which caused me to code. I had emergency open heart surgery that same day to remove the clot from my heart and lungs. Forty-six days later I came back home to Earlham, Iowa 50 pounds lighter, still struggling with some aphasia, and right side neurological “slowness.” Oh, and I also managed to lose my job as the pastor of Crossroad Church in July, 2013 after 17-1/2 years. So yes, it’s been a wild ride.

I am currently writing a book about our experiences from the last six years. It is roughly 80,000 words so far and not even close to being done. It will need some serious editing by the time all of my thoughts are put on paper…or my laptop as it were. But on the eve of Thanksgiving 2014 these are the top ten things for which I am most thankful.

10. My heated man-cave which provides me with a great space to read and write and swing

9. Karla’s homemade breadsticks

8. The human brain and all of its intricacies designed by the inscrutable wisdom and craftsmanship of God

7. Kindness fleshed out

6. God’s magnificence displayed in nature and the privilege of going backpacking in the resplendent Grand Tetons (just south of Yellowstone Park in northwestern Wyoming) with a couple of friends in September


5. The ability to move my limbs and speak at will

4. Valley E. Free Church and the tremendous amount of love, encouragement, support, and healing they have provided for my family and me over the past 15 months, largely through our Life Group (adult SS) Integra

3. Our five children ages twenty-two down to nine, who keep us young in some ways and not so young in others

2. My precious wife Karla for whom my love and respect increases at a disproportional rate to the 28 years of marriage we will celebrate in December. By the way I still have weekly date days with the love of my life…my wife.

1. The fact that at the end of all things I, and all who are resting in the finished work of Christ in his death and resurrection, will be receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken…and in the presence of God for all eternity (Hebrews 12:28-29)









Thanksgiving 2012 Top Ten List

Greetings one and all who have found their way to this site!  This is the fifth such top ten list I have made beginning in 2008.  This was the year that life in the Evans household changed for good…both in the sense of duration as well as in other ways that are not so obvious at first glance, or perhaps even a long, protracted look.

This was the  year that I found out I had an oddity in my brain, likely since birth called an arteriovenous malformation (AVM).  It was the size of a peach and was located in the left frontal lobe of my brain.  It was discovered after having a seizure on Jared’s 3rd birthday, October 23, 2008.  I had surgery at Mayo Clinic hospitals in February, 2009 where surgeons successfully removed it, and unlike some tumors, it cannot grow back.

I awoke the next morning unable to move the entire right side of my body, as if I were split right down the center of my body.  I was also unable to speak.  Gradually, both of these functions returned through the grace of God in response to the prayers of thousands, and sheer determination.

The surgery was followed by massive complications, blood infection,  multiple pulmonary embolisms, coding, emergency open heart surgery to remove the blood clots from my heart and lungs…and then rehab.  By the time I finally made it to rehab I had lost nearly 40 pounds of muscle mass.  We were in Rochester for 46 days.   There is basically no chance that I should have survived this ordeal.  But I did and here I am almost four years later writing another posting for Thanksgiving 2012.

Top Ten Things I am thankful for this year in ascending order:

10.  That Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s ACL injury is as if it never happened as he is tearing it up this year in yardage!

9. Krispy Kreme Donuts

8. A loving church family who has put up with me for seventeen years at the end of this November.

7.  Karla: You are the love of my life and dearer to me now than you were even four years ago when we entered the arena of the unknown.  I mention you further up the list as well, but this year you deserve two mentions on this hallowed list.

6. The intoxicating aroma of home-made pizza and breadsticks!

5. The Incommunicable attributes of God (ways that we are unlike God) unchangeableness, omnipresence, eternal self-existence
(aseity), unity.

4. Life

3. The privilege of continuing to see and experience all of life with a heightened sense of my own mortality…and four years out some of my permanent limitations.

2. My family: Karla, Luke, Benj, Elisabeth, Gabbie, and Jared each of whom I love dearly!

1. The knowledge of the certainty of a future inheritance of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.  “Therefore, let us be thankful and worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” Hebrews Ch. 12.

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

Mike’s Thanksgiving 2011 Top Ten List

Thanksgiving 2011 Top Ten List

For the past 3 years I have made a list of the top ten things I have been thankful for in that particular year, beginning in November 2008, one month after the discovery of a large AVM (arterio venous malformation)  in the left frontal lobe of my brain.

Thus began a saga that would be a forever turning point in my life and one that has made me a tad bit more thankful for…well…everything!  Especially the little things like being alive, the ability to speak, move both sides of my body, etc. stuff I took entirely for granted for the first 44 years of my life.  I personally believe it is impossible to be as thankful as we ought to be no matter how gloomy our situation may appear to be at any given moment in time.

Here is my list of top ten things I am most thankful for on this day, November 24,2011 (in ascending order)

10. The  St. Louis Cardinals’  improbable win in the 2011 World Series.

9.  Texas Roadhouse any day of the week.  6 ounce sirloin steak, several fresh rolls with cinnamon butter, peanuts, fries, and a salad.  Good stuff!

8. Power tools.

7.  The fact that I am now officially off the blood thinner coumadin,which is the same stuff from which rat poison is made.  Just got back from Mayo on Monday and received the news that the bloodwork shows that I have a gene mutation called PT20210A (catchy huh?) that I share with 3% of the population that puts me at a slight increase for blood clots as the prothrombin gene has been altered.  I am officially a mutant and  I have the papers to prove it.

6.  Crossroad E. Free Church and the precious saints who make up her constituency…and the body of Christ worldwide.

5.  Today, tomorrow, and every day of life after that (if in fact they come) that I have yet to live on this earth.

4.  The continual privilege of seeing all of life through the lens of a heightened sense of my own mortality that only a razor close brush with death could bring. 

3.  My five children: Luke 19, Benj 17, Elisabeth 13, Gabbie 9, and Jared 6.

2.  My precious wife Karla, who has stuck with me, is sticking with me, and will continue sticking with me as is evidenced by the fact that on December 27th of this year marks our 25th anniversary!

1. God Himself and the guarantee of a future inheritance of the Kingdom of God which cannot be shaken and where all things will be made new (Hebrews 12:28-29).  The fact that I, even  as an imperfect follower of Jesus, am receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken makes me very glad indeed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mike Evans

Thanksgiving 2010 Top Ten List

As I have done for each of the past two Thanksgivings so I continue this year, in 2010, in coming up with my personal top ten list of things for which I am thankful.  

I hereby declare my thanks for the following (in ascending order):

10. That the Minnesota Vikings finally fired  Head Coach Brad Childress.  (now if only Favre would return the Favor…) Note to naysayers: I am a lifelong Vikings fan.

9. Yesterday, Today…and Tomorrow if it comes (see James 4:13-17).

8.  The continual privilege of seeing all of life through the lens of a heightened sense of my own mortality that only a close brush with death could bring. 

7. The Crossroad Church Family and all of my genuine brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world.

6. The ability to speak and move limbs at will and build stuff again.

5. Karla’s (my wife)  homemade breadsticks hot out of the oven with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese and tomato sauce and a Dr. Pepper …to die for!  I have a thing about   doctors.

4. The intricacies of the human brain designed by the inscrutable Creator God…the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. The Privilege, Blessing, and Responsibility of Life itself! (In Acts 5:20 when the Apostles Peter and John were imprisoned for preaching the Gospel of Christ an angel of the Lord came to the prison during the night and did three things: 1. Opened the prison doors.  2. Brought them out.  3. Told them precisely what they were to do: Go and Stand in the temple and teach the people “all the words of this Life.”  This word Life here encompasses all that surrounds the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus).  May God grant us all a proper perspective of our own mortality (life) and also of the immortality of the most important message of this Life.

2. My wife and five children: Karla, Luke, Benjamin, Elisabeth, Gabriella, and Jared.

1. God Himself and the guarantee of a future inheritance of the Kingdom of God which cannot be shaken and where all things will be made new (Hebrews 12:28-29).

Happy Thanksgiving everyone out there in the blogosphere!

Mike Evans

Thanksgiving 2009 Top Ten List

On or around this official Day of Thanksgiving, 2009, I, Mike Evans, declare that I am thankful to God for:

10. The fact that I was able to receive the surgeries I needed before the President’s Health Care overhaul ambitions were codified.  I have to wonder if the  $600,000 or so this whole ordeal has cost our insurance company would have been approved under government plans currently being considered by Congress.  

9. Incremental daily improvements both neurologically and physiologically…Even after working out for six hours a week for the past 5 months with weights, elastic bands, cardio, jumping exercises, etc. I am still unable to do a single pull-up.  Using the machine at the gym I see that I am still 50 lbs. away from being able to do an unsassisted pull-up.  I have to laugh or I would cry.  The muscles on the right side of my body do not correspond to the effort I have put in to gain them back. I have a goal of being strong enough by Feb. 12, 2010 to do a single pull-up.  I’ll keep you posted. (For those of you who were wondering…before the surgeries I could do 9-10 pullups). 

8. Culvers concretes anyday…chocolate custard with Snickers mixed in thank you very much.

7. The Human Family… The sheer number of people, both Christian and otherwise who care and show concern,  is much higher than I had expected…or fully appreciated!

6. The support of my biological and extended family… How could we have made it through this past year without your support?  This is a rhetorical question. 

5. Church Family… Our dear Crossroad Church has been very supportive through this whole ordeal.  I couldn’t ask for a better church.  Well I could I guess…but I wouldn’t get it. 

4. The privilege of having endured a severe trial with our faith still intact.  We have now experienced in a visceral way what the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”  We have now tasted and we have now seen that the LORD is good.

3. Karla my wife who has been my constant companion through hills and high waters.

2. Life (if not due to the manifold and amazing Providences of God and the skills of scores at the Mayo Clinic you probably would not be reading this right now as I most likely would no longer be among  the living). 

1. God Himself and the assurance of a future inheritance of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken and where all things are made new (Hebrews 12).

Happy Thanksgiving my dear friends and family!

(From a posting last November,  2008 Thanksgiving)

I am officially taking Thanksgiving Day off from this blog thing.   But before I do I wanted to make a top ten list of things that I am thankful for this year, in ascending order:

10.  Buffalo Wild Wings on Tuesdays

9.    Technologies and human beings that can repair things even in the human brain

8.    Yesterday

7.    Health Insurance

6.    Today

5.   People like you who care and pray…and leave comments: extended family, friends old and new…even strangers whom I have never met, yet who have jumped in the wagon with us on this journey.

4.   An amazing church family whom I love dearly and who reciprocate in manifest ways 

3.   The privilege of seeing and appreciating all of life through the grid of a heightened sense of my own mortality

2.   My wife and children: Karla, Luke, Benjamin, Elisabeth, Gabriella, and Jared.

1.   The future inheritance of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken; where all things are made new (Hebrews 12)

Happy Thanksgiving!