in need of prayers…again

(if you can’t tell, Martha is the one in the middle / Adare Manor County Limerick, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Three years ago I came here and asked you all for your prayers…
prayers for my aunt…
otherwise known as my partner in crime…
Or to most folks, it is simply Martha….

If you are from the South, that is pronounced Mothaaa
like a moth with a bunch of a’s tacked on.

Three years ago and very much out of the blue, doctors discovered a malignant mass
in my aunt’s left kidney. It all happened so very suddenly and quickly,
catching us all off guard.
The doctors immediately decided the kidney had to be removed and so naturally,
I did the only thing I knew to do,
I asked you for your prayers…

Prayers of good wishes,
surgical success
and for the continuation of healing and good health.

Life has rocked along these past three years, since Martha had her kidney removed,
with nary a blip on her radar…
as all the scans and tests since that day have showed only a full and complete picture of health.
Three years allowing us to add to our numerous mis-ques and harrowing adventures.
With last year’s trip to Ireland being one of our most magical and marvelous journeys thus far.

A couple of weeks ago the routine scans came back with worrisome news.
Spots now on the remaining kidney, pancreas and liver.

She is to have the liver biopsied today…and depending on the outcome–
the other organs may or may not be biopsied, leaving us to deal with the results…

I’d offer you a good picture of Martha…just so you’d know who it is you’re exactly praying for
but both Martha and our traveling buddy Melissa love for me to take all the pictures my
little heart desires…
just as long as they are not pictures of them—
so I usually catch them when they least expect it…
only to have such pictures followed by death threats and destruction of my camera…

I thought to throw a couple of them in, but valued my life and the life of my camera…..

(Martha waiting for dinner at Adare Manor, County Limerick, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

(Martha wandering with her back to me, which is very common, at Timoleague Friary /
County Cork / Julie Cook / September 2015)

Martha and I each believe very strongly in the power of prayer…

So just know that I thank you for joining with us as prayer warriors during
this worrisome time…

(Martha in rapt awe watching the youngest Daly boy cutting crystal in the family’s workshop in Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / Sept 2015)

(see what I mean…Temple Bar district, Dublin, Co Dublin, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Martha… my aunt, my partner in crime, and one who is in great need of your prayers

Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”
― Mother Teresa


Martha, pronounced Maaathha.
You must remember this is the South.
It was not until I was much older, did I finally realize that my aunt’s name was not spelled, as my mother had always pronounced it–Mothaa—like a moth with a pronounced “a” at the end but rather like the traditional spelling of m a r t h a.
She is my mother’s younger sister.
She and I are our only remaining links to that side of the family….
We are 20 years apart in age.
We have been through thick and thin…which I suppose started around the time the above picture was taken in what I believe to be 1963.

She lives in South Florida, where she’s been for the last 30 some odd years, but was born and raised in Atlanta. 27 years ago she and I dealt with my mother’s short lived illness and eventual death—we did so together. I never could have survived those dark days with Dad by myself. Three years following that, my grandmother, her mother, died after a sad lengthy battle with dementia. And lastly Martha, who had lived in a 30 year long marriage of emotional and mental abuse had had enough…

That eventually left just the two of us.

To do what you ask?
Travel of course….


Wonderful Salzburg during Oktoberfest


In front of the surreal world of Swarovski’s Crystal world in Wattens, Austria outside of Innsbruck

And so we have, for many years now all over this planet of ours, sought adventure. In part I think we go for my mom who never got to “go”– who lived a life, we have both come to discover and understand, was not the happy life we had assumed. We go to celebrate the lives of those lost and we go as wayward pilgrims on a necessary journey–most often of self discovery. And of course we go to eat…

As in the bowl of Bouillabaisse she had in Bruges….maybe not something to eat in Bruges…


Or the zuppa in Florence at Il Latini—guests had a choice of one soup– since Martha couldn’t make up her mind, the waiter, who seemed smitten, brought her all three—this before the entree of Bisteca a la Florentine–that was the best pappa pomodoro we have ever tasted.


But it has been the news from a week ago that has me reaching out to those of you who are inclined to Pray.

From a routine physical last week at her doctor’s office, blood was detected in her urine. She was feeling fine as she is never one to really get sick. She has joined her local Y and is now a svelte, lean mean fighting machine of an aunt…. so needless to say Martha was stunned when the doctor sent her for a myriad of tests consisting of an Ultra sound and CT scans.

This is when the mass was discovered.

Her left kidney has a very large mass, which appears to be totally contained within the kidney, thankfully. Surgery is scheduled for Thursday in tomorrow—October 17th. They will remove the entire kidney.

As my aunt reads this blog, I asked her if it was all right that I send out this “request” as I am now humbly asking those of you who pray, to please remember my aunt tomorrow morning. I also ask that you please include her daughter and granddaughter in your prayers as they, along with my small family here, nervously approach Thursday morning…and as Martha undergoes the removal of a kidney, I ask for your prayers of Peace…prayers for the doctors and the surgical staff, prayers for recovery, prayers for Grace and finally prayers of Gratitude…..

We jokingly wonder if this has anything to do with her current health scare as she is seen here following the Milanese tradition for luck of, umm, twisting one’s heel on the b@*ls of the bull in the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II…perhaps the bull had had enough twisting….


Here is to my aunt, my friend and my partner in crime—Prayers for good health, healing, Grace and Gratitude….and many more adventures…..