Thursday, April 28, 2011

60 years & counting

As I mentioned before, Wednesday was Daddy's birthday. He turned 60!!! Not exactly how we thought we might celebrate, but we were thankful to be together & that's all that really matters!

Our staff was in LR for Administrative Assistants Lunch so when we finished, Frances & I went to see Mom & Daddy. I took Daddy his card. Our gift to him was a small CD player so Frances & Dave gave him a couple of CDs to enjoy...James Taylor, Frank Sinatra & Jim Croce. He loves those guys so I know he will enjoy listening to their music since even though he can't play a guitar & sing (yet)! We had a good visit & then it was time for therapy so spent some time w/ Mom then headed back to Benton.

The kids & I left church early so we could head to the hospital to have some special birthday time w/ Daddy, Mom & Uncle Grant (Daniel had to work). For the first time, I tried my hand for the first time at Banana Pudding. This is one of Daddy's 2 favorites...the other is Coconut Cream Pie. He gave me a thumbs up when I told him what I made & he gave the nod of approval as he was eating so I guess I passed! Before he could eat, AK said we had to song "Happy Birthday!" We all sang (no candles since i didn't want us to be the cause of setting off the fire alarm...haha!

AK decided that Grandpa needed a little help eating so she crawled up in the bed w/ him & started feeding him. She was cracking me up bc every time she would give him a bite she would stick her tongue out...that's lots of work to get the spoon to the mouth ;-) Shawn suggested that they make their own cards instead of buying one so that's what we did. They were SO proud of their artwork & those pictures are now decorating Grandpa's room!

We had a great time together & at AK's commanded us in singing "Happy Birthday" probably 5 times! She's all about birthdays! When we would sing, Daddy would point his finger & wave it in the air like he was directing. It was so sweet!!!

Over the past few weeks when I've taken my camera out Daddy would shake his head or give me a look letting me know he didn't want his picture made. Well, he's gotten better in the past couple of days so we were able to get some actual birthday pictures. He & Grant even laughed a little about having to take birthday pictures. It's so nice to do some normal stuff like drive each other crazy bc Mom cuts everyone's head off taking a picture...haha! I decided not to include that one though ;-)

Well, it was a good day for him! Thanks for all the birthday wishes from everyone on Facebook, word of mouth & cards! That made the day so special!!! Prayers are being answered every day so please continue! We love you all & are so grateful for such a wonderful extended family!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Mom talked to Matt, Daddy's physical therapist, this morning after their staff meeting & Daddy will be staying at BRI until May 12!!!  Matt said that he pulled really hard to keep him b/c of the progress that he is making physically so we are thrilled!

Thank you for your prayers & once again God has provided.  He is faithful all the time.  I have to share a quick story about Anna Kate this am.  We were sitting in the van listening to the radio this am while I was putting on my makeup & a song that has really ministered to me came on the radio "I Will Lift My Hands" by Christ Tomlin).  It's an incredible song of hope & assurance of God's faithfulness.  This song & another of Tomlin's songs have become my theme songs in the last few weeks.  

Anyway, she & I were singing along with the radio just having a good time. There is a part of the song that says "I lift my hands to believe" & she raised her hands up in the air.  It was amazing!  I know she doesn't understand what it means to lift hands in praise to the Lord, but I want her to know.  I want her to not be ashamed to praise her Creator in any place or at any time.  I am so thankful for her praising even in the midst of storms or trails.

Thank you again for being our prayer warriors as we make our way this season of life.  We are so grateful for brothers & sisters in Christ who go before the Throne on our behalf.  All glory, praise & honor to the ONE TRUE GOD!!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Prayer Warriors Needed

Dr. Kiser & all of Daddy's therapists will have staff meeting in the morning to discuss his progress. Please pray that they agree he is progressing & benefitting from the aggressive therapy he is receiving. We really want him to stay as long as he needs so that he can get the best therapy & help available, but we also know that God is in control.

Today, Daddy was in the easy stand chair pushing a shopping cart!! Mom said her phone battery died when she got ready to take a picture, but she said they will do it tomorrow also & she promised a picture ;-)

Thank you so much for your continued prayers & your faithfulness in reading the blog posts. As I've said so many times, our words cannot begin to express our gratitude for your thoughts & prayers. God is faithful...every day in every situation.

(I downloaded a new photo gadget for my phone & thought I would share a couple of pictures. I've used these photos before but they have a different look.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Glorious Day

Today has been a glorious day! Obviously, not what I would have chosen or asked for, but God is faithful regardless! His plan...not mine! Worship was amazing this morning! I was once again reminded of how blessed I am even when I think things are bad! We are continually told in Scripture that "when" bad things happen we mist cling to our hope-Christ. He is the one & only way will be able to stand under the pressures, trials & heartaches of this life. I mentioned that Shawn & I participated in the first ever Good Friday service which was a very reflective time focused on Christ's sacrifice & death on the cross. Today we celebrated the life & hope we have in Christ in the power of the resurrection.

Daddy had therapy this afternoon from 2:30-3:30 so we all meet in the garden to have Easter dinner together. I made mashed potatoes, green beans & 4 Layer Delight then we picked up chopped beef brisket from Famous Dave's. Those are all some of Daddy's favorites & I wanted to make this a special meal for him as well as all of us.

He smiled a lot & kept eating so I think he enjoyed it. Shawn & AK hunted eggs in the garden after we ate. It was a gorgeous day to be outside & to be together! I know Daddy was tired, but he did well staying outside for a long time then he, Grant & Shawn headed back up to the room. We had some visitors today that helped make the day be even more special. Thank you to all of you who have taken time to come by to say "Hi!" We really appreciate it. (I'm sorry that I don't have pictures of everyone that has come to visit, but we did get one of Faith w/ Mrs. Helen for her to share w/ Mom's class tomorrow.)

We hung out in the room for a while then started saying good-bye. AK crawled up in the bed w/ Grandpa & really didn't want to leave. It was so good for all o us to see them do something normal together. She & Shawn neither one wanted to leave so we persuaded them w/ the bribe of driving through Krispy Kreme (works every time) Haha!!!!! ;-)

Thank you so much for your continued prayers, words of encouragement, visits, cards & calls. We appreciate each of you so much. It is by God's grace & Him alone that we have made it this far & will continue each day.

I hope all of you have experienced the love, forgiveness & hope of the empty tomb this Easter weekend! One of the songs we sang Friday was "Glorious Day." It's a newer version that's been released, but a very old hymn. I just love the message of this song-hope you do too.

Glorious Day

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected

Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Every Day Is A Good Day...Some days are just better than others!

Since Shawn was out of school for Good Friday, I had told the kids we could go to BRI & see what Grandpa does in therapy. Shawn was there for speech on Wednesday, but he was really interested in Physical therapy & exactly what they involved. So we were able to experience Physical & Occupational therapies while we were there.

When we got there, Daddy was in group speech so Mom met us down in the garden to eat her lunch then we all headed back inside for therapy time. The day was ABSOLUTELY gorgeous!!! I think the sunshine did us all good!

Daddy was so excited to see Shawn & Anna Kate!!! He was more interactive w/ them than he has been so far. He was trying really hard to talk to AK & she looked at me & whispered "I can't hear Grandpa." I know that's hard for her to understand, but she knows he is trying! He worked really in OT to put his own shirt on all by handed! His OT has also started taping his right shoulder to pull it back up instead of it dragging due to the weakness. It seems to be at least in lime w/ his left one. They also put on the BioNess stimulator machine. He's not real fond of that & after a few minutes was pulling it off. They encouraged him NOT to do that or he would get a really bad shock! Ouch!! In PT, his therapist worked w/ him standing while bracing himself on the table. He had worked really hard that morning so he was worn out, but the more they worked the easier he seemed to move. They worked on him shifting his hips back & forth to shift his weight the same way we do when we walk.

When therapy was over, we asked if he wanted to go outside & he said yes so we headed back to the garden. Daddy seemed to really enjoy watching the kids play on the rocks & in the water. Again, the day was gorgeous so it was definite therapy for everyone. Is this just not the sweetest thing?!? AK needed to help get Grandpa where he needed to go. She walked right beside him w/ her hand on his chair the entire time we walked...inside or out!

While we were in the garden, Grant came up also & we were all there together. When Grant sat down to eat his lunch/snack/supper, Daddy started moving his chair bc he wanted to be at the table w/ him. Daddy was very involved & interactive w/ all of us yesterday. It was amazing!!! Mom goes down to McBride's Cafe almost every day to see what kind of homemade desserts they have so she can get Daddy a treat for after therapy. Yesterday was Chocolate Four Layer Delight! He ate his dessert while we were in the garden & AK wanted to give him a bite.

She also shared the cream from her mall cookie w/ Grandpa! It felt so good to do something kinda normal as a family (we did miss Daniel though)!

AK didn't want stand still very long so I didn't have a lot of luck w/ a pic of her :-( She had a blast though!

Shawn & I went to the Good Friday service @ church last night when we got back to town. It was incredible & we both needed to be reminded how wonderful our Savior is!!! He is our hope in the good times & bad! He is Faithful!!!

Today seems to be a little of a downer for us all though. Dr. Kiser told Mom this am that Daddy wasn't progressing as fast as they had hoped. He said we have to get the speech! We aren't real sure what to do w/ that information & what all that means for now or the future. Even though we don't know what tomorrow holds, we know the One who holds tomorrow. He has been faithful every day of this journey & will continue to be. I am constantly reminded of how a day can't go by w/out my total dependance on Him for every need! Please pray for progress that no one can explain except by the hand of God. (Dr. Kiser is a believer & has ministered to mom this week. He has worn a different "Christian Faith" tie every day this Holy Week. What a testimony & opportunity to share his faith! I pray that I do the same in my world!

Also, please continue to pray that Mom will be able to stay. They are very full @ BRI so she is constantly aware of the fact that they could walk in & say they need her bed! Probably her biggest worry & fear! I hope you all have a wonderful Easter celebrating the resurrection of our Savior!!! Christ is Risen!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Every Day Is A New Day

I'm sure some of you are wondering what has happened to me not posting for a couple of days & want to know what's been going on in Daddy's world the last couple of days. I've been back to work this week so I'm trying juggle spending time w/ Daddy, getting things done @ church & my household people. Mondays are my hospital visitation days so I was able to spend a couple of hours at the hospital w/ Mom & Daddy. I introduced Mom to McBride's Cafe on the first floor @ BRI. They have such good food that doesn't resemble hospital food at all!!! Mom said she had found her new favorite place! Haha!

Daddy didn't feel 100% Monday bc his blood pressure was really low so he was having trouble standing & doing some of the things they wanted him to do in PT. I think Dr. Kiser has that leveled out now though so he is feeling much better. Please continue to pray that they will be able to keep his meds where they need to be so he can get the most out of his therapy.

Yesterday, his speech therapist enrolled him in a reading/writing group therapy session as well. We don't know much of what happens during that time since we aren't allowed in the group bc of HIPPA rules. He has is going to the "SIP" program that is when he has a specialist watch him eat & basically in her own words "nags" him about slowing down, taking smaller bites, etc. He is doing well w/ eating & today they started him on chopped foods instead of pureed. He ate it all! We are seeing little things everyday where he is improving, but we also have to remember that we are still in the early stages of the marathon so we can't get discouraged!

Even though he is "technically" not supposed to be eating regular food, where there's a will there's a way! Daddy had a student nurse w/ him during all his therapies yesterday so Mom decided to run home to get cleaned up, do some laundry, etc. Well, she got back & Daddy was already in his room looking @ himself in the mirror by the counter. She looked down onto the counter & this is what she saw...

Daddy had managed to get his wheelchair over to a gift basket that someone sent & found what he wanted to eat! Thankfully, he didn't actual choke on either item since he was alone in his room! Whew!!!! Mom asked him if he got choked on that apple & he shook his head yes! Lovely! When Mom told Dr. Kiser this am, he just laughed! She promised that she was taking it home so he wouldn't get into again!

Today, I checked Shawn out of school @ lunch & we headed up to see Mom & Daddy. Daddy was glad to see Shawn but had just finished lunch so he was ready for a quick powernap before heading back to therapy. While he rested, Mom, Shawn & I headed down for lunch @ McBride's. (I told you we really liked it!) We then headed back upstairs to get ready for therapy. The staff has started moving Daddy from his chair to the bed w/ holding onto him as he stands instead of the sling that they were using. He doesn't have lots of control but can help some. Every little bit helps! Mom had stepped into the restroom as once they got into his chair he looked at me & motioned his arm in the air to let me know he was ready to roll! I asked him if I got to drive today & he shook his head yes! He wouldn't let me on Monday. Haha! Shawn was asking but I told him I didn't think that was a very good idea! We had hoped for Shawn to experience PT, but we went to speech instead. Daddy did well & worked really hard to voice his numbers while counting w/ his therapist. He was getting some sounds out so he just has to keep working. It was really good for Shawn to see first hand what Grandpa does every day & how all the therapists are helping him get better.

Several of you continue to ask...Mom is eating & taking care of herself. She is still able to sleep @ BRI. Grant has been coming up in the afternoons & e evenings some to stay while Mom leaves for a little bit.

I think that pretty well sums up the past couple of days...besides the weather which has been ridiculous!!! Thankfully, we have remained safe!

Thanks again to everyone for continuing to keep up w/ Daddy's progress & your continual prayers! They truly mean so much to us! Hope everyone is having a blessed Holy Week as we look towards Easter! Praise God Christ is risen! He is our HOPE!!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Standing Strong

Even though I haven't seen Mom yet this morning, we both seem to be a little emotional today. As Frances just said, "wearied, worn & worried.". I think that pretty well sums it up. God is still, He's great & the same yesterday, today & tomorrow. 

As I read my devotion this morning from "Jesus Calling," it was talking about God's DAILY grace being sufficient bc He wants us to depend on Him every day. If He gave us more than we need for the moment, then we would depend on ourselves not Him.  We see throughout Scripture where God gave His people only what they needed for that day.  When wondering in the wilderness, the people tried to store up manna & it spoiled b/c that was not God's intent.  He wants us to trust Him in every second & moment when we are needy not just when we feel like we need a refresher.  We are trusting Him day by day.  Pastor Rick always says, "Every day is a good day, but some days are just better than others."  How true is that???

Mom sent me this picture of Daddy from therapy this morning & it definitely made me smile! I think will for all of you also.  He is making daily victories which we praise God for every step of the journey. far we've come since Friday, April 8!!!!  Mom sent me a text just a few minutes ago that Daddy was in Recreation therapy & guy was playing a guitar.  She said he was really enjoying that!  Please continue to pray for physical, mental, emotional & spiritual strength for all of us.  Also, pray for Daddy's blood pressure.  Dr. Kiser is working to get his med just right b/c it seems to be staying low which greatly affects his energy level when doing therapy.  They need to find that perfect balance for physical safety as well as energy.

This is a great way to start of the week & I'm looking forward to sharing more exciting victories!  Thanks once more for your continued prayers & support!

We love you all!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Road to Recovery

This is the road is filled with hills, valleys and twists & turns. The journey is different for everyone, but the desired outcome is the same...healing, complete recovery & independence. As you travel this road, you rejoice in every victory & just try to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

On Thursday, Daddy moved to BRI to begin his first stint of rehab. We don't really know how long this part of our journey will last, but probably a couple of weeks. The transition was difficult for several reasons, but things seemed to have smoothed out now. Over the weekend, Mom has raved about the staff (attitude & care). I am so grateful for people who feel called to serve in healthcare positions that are not the most prestigious but could be some o the most important.

Friday was filled with therapy evaluations & a glimpse of what is to come. The BRI facility is amazing & their therapists are incredible. I was able to observe part of his occupational therapy Friday when they were fitting his right arm with a stimulator machine called a BioNess. It fits around his hand & comes up his arm giving shocks/stimulations to the muscles which reminds the brain to start working that part of the body again. His weekend speech therapist has worked with them on singing "Amazing Grace." Mom said he tried to mouth some words but no sounds yet. We just have to remember to be patient!!! He also had a very exhausting time in physical therapy Saturday when they used a "frame" to help him stand. It locks his knees in place & helps him stay upright. He stayed up for 7 minutes which they said was really, really good & were planning on 10 minutes today. I can't imagine how tiring that must be. Makes sense why babies & toddlers sleep so much...learning all this stuff is really hard!

Saturday was a big day for our family since Shawn has Regional Bible Drill & we determined that would be the day for Shawn & Anna Kate to finally go see Grandpa. We all went to Sherwood for the drill & ate lunch with our entire group. Shawn did great & passed the Regional Drill (means of 24 calls he had less than 8 mistakes-he actually only had 4-5). He is qualified for State later this month. It was a great morning & day together. When we finished we ran to Kroger to get some surprises & treats for Grandpa. They picked out vanilla & chocolate pudding (since we couldn't find banana cream in sugar free) & applesauce. Then it was time to head to see Grandpa...

We didn't time our arrival very well since he was just heading to supper. We let the kids entertain themselves for a few minutes & waited in his room. When Mom wheeled him into the room & he saw them, he smiled big! They both hugged & loved on him them showered him with his gifts of food ;-) AK proceeded to dance around for him some & Shawn showed him his new Monster truck he finally found that they had been on a search for during Shawn & Grandpa Days! Daddy seemed to be glad they were there, but at the same time I could tell that it made him sad too that they had to see him not talking to them or doing whatever they wanted! We tried not to overstay our first visit & left when he was ready to get into bed. They thoroughly enjoyed watching the sling & lift which moves him from the chair to the bed. All seemed to have gone well until we were saying our byes & Shawn asked Mom when he was going to get to go home. Of course, we all started crying & that was the first real emotion we have seen from Shawn through all of this. I think the reality of what was happening & him seeing it for himself. We wanted to stop by & see a friend that is also in BRI bc a tree fell on her. Phillis has pretty much everything broken on her right side except her hip. Her daughter, Kris, has been staying with her & they had visited Daddy so we wanted to repay the favor. I'm so thankful that Phillis can encourage Daddy to keep pushing through even when therapy is hard! Mrs. Phillis was one of AK's MDO teachers for about a year when she was a baby so she is pretty special to us!

As we were heading downstairs, Shawn asked if we could walk through the garden. We said yes which was really good for all of us. Just outside the BRI entrance & by the parking lot, there is a beautiful garden area. It is called the Psalm 91 Garden. It is absolutely gorgeous right now with all the azaleas blooming! It was perfect bc we read the marker that was placed with Psalm 91 on it. We definitely needed to hear those words & promises! I took a few pictures of the kids while we were down there. Not really where you would plan a photo session, but I am thankful to catch a few pics of my cuties! They are just from my phone so not great quality, but they make me smile!

How sweet is this with her looking down into the water?

Love all these flowers around Shawn!

I turned around & AK was try to climb on top of the Scripture marker!

She made it!

Well, that was our weekend & now we are getting geared up for this week. It's a short week with Easter next weekend, but I can't believe that April is almost over!! I do have to say that I will not really be sad to see it go! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend & thank you again for your continued prayers! God is faithful & will continue to be each & every day. Thank you for allowing Him to bless us through each of you!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Today is the day that Daddy is moving to BRI (Baptist Rehabilitation Institute)!!!  He is scheduled to be transported at 1:00 p.m.  I know several of you are wondering what happened to the early morning post, but I was laying in bed typing on my phone almost half way finished when I accidently erased the entire thing!  I actually cried!  Writing has been an emotional therapy for me through this process & it just really hurt my feelings that I did that.  I’m better now so here we go!

Yesterday, Uncle Ronnie (he would prefer I call him Uncle Ron, but old habits are hard to break…sorryJ) came to visit since he was working in Russellville.  While he was here, PT sat Daddy in a chair where he stayed for almost an hour.  While Uncle Ronnie was here, Frances came to see Mom.  They were able to go sit outside & enjoy the beautiful weather.  We have tried to go outside at some point every day since she admits it does make her feel better.  And yes, she is eating (for those of you who are keeping tabsJ).  Thanks Uncle Ronnie for letting Mom have that time with Frances & to be out of the room.  She really appreciated that!

Daddy is continuing to eat more & more every day.  He was very anxious for lunch yesterday b/c as soon as I put the tray in front of him he grabbed a spoon & started eating.  It is so good to see him wanting to eat & the desire to do it himself.  As I have said so many times, this is going to be a physically, emotionally & mentally grueling journey, but we know that God will give each of us the grace & strength for each day.  For PT in the afternoon, he was tired from the day that they only helped him stand on the walker a couple of times.  We are seeing some small movements in his right leg & I have been told that these weight-bearing exercises are great to stimulate the brain to relearn the movement commands.

Mindy, his speech therapist, was working with him yesterday on saying his numbers.  He was moving his mouth to say them, but no sound.  She started pointing at me asking him what my name was.  He was moving his mouth & trying, but not quite getting it.  We have had some pictures of Shawn & Anna Kate for him, but he has been interested in looking at them.  Well, Mindy showed him a picture of Anna Kate (it was on top) and he broke down crying.  Then I started crying.  Mom had stepped out to visit with someone so I told her to get back in here.  He calmed down, but it was hard to see that emotion.  I know that stroke victims are very emotional & I can’t even imagine how he feels right now not being able to communicate or express himself.  Mindy did give us a picture chart so he could point at various things to help him & us.  We know we will get there just one day at a time.

I talked with Jessica at their apartment yesterday & she has reserved them a first floor apartment at the beginning of May which is a huge relief for Mom about when he is able to come home.  She said that she just had one come available & that she would let them transfer without paying any type of fee!  Once again God provided!!!

Just one more thing that you may want to grab a Kleenex for…I have to share a special story.  Barbara, a member of the family that I mentioned earlier in this post, shared a prayer that her grandson, Mason, had prayed for Daddy Friday night.  His mom told him when he was getting ready for bed that they needed to pray for Mrs. Laurie’s dad b/c he was very sick.  He said ok & proceeded to pray.  He said, “God” then stopped.  His mom reminded him to say his prayers so he could go to sleep.  So he said, “God, Mrs. Laurie’s daddy is really sick and please make him better.”  He paused for a moment then looked at Holly & said, “God said yes!”  The faith of a child!  I am so thankful that they shared this story with us.  I know that there are lots of prayers from children being said for Daddy & I have to believe that God smiles when a child boldly comes before the throne on behalf of another.  What an example to us as adults to never forget that God is in the miracle business & He wants to come to Him with every need.

“Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.”  Psalm 105.4

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could think or ask.” Ephesians 3:20

New post coming soon!

I wanted to let you know that I've multiple technical difficulties. I deleted the first post then decided to write once I got to the hospital & now can't get on blogger :-/

Daddy is transferring to BRI @ 1pm today. I'll get the other post on as soon as I can get online.

Thanks for keeping up & praying!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Next Step

I've started this post several times last, but brain was way too foggy to put a sentence together last night so I'm trying again this morning. It looks like the big news from Tuesday was that we will be making the next step of our journey to rehab at BRI on Thursday. The BRI admit nurse came for an assessment & visit with Mom about the transition.

BRI is the rehab institute affiliated with Baptist Hospital in Little Rock. I've been visiting church members in BRI for years & the results with patients are amazing! We are praying for the same results for Daddy. This next step of the journey will be a difficult one for many reasons.

While Daddy is in rehab, Mom will not stay with him. This will be the first time ever that he has been in the hospital when she hasn't stayed overnight with him...or ALL the time for a matter of fact. So that will be a huge adjustment for both of them. Also, his therapy will be very intense which will be exhausting as well as frustrating at times. Pastor Rick just keeps reminding us that we are running a marathon not a sprint & to think about where we were Friday. I need to constantly be reminded of both those things! Not very many people can run a marathon without points of frustration, but they set their eyes on the finish line & continue to push through the pain, frustration & fatigue.

We have already seen some frustration with him trying to speak to tell us. We get frustrated since we can't understand and even more so for him! We just keep reminding him that it will just take some time, but he will be able to talk again. He had speech yesterday & his therapist was working with him on making different mouth shapes which he did. He also had PT twice yesterday. He sat assisted on the side of bed in the morning using his right hand to help support himself. Then for PT in the afternoon, his therapist & his nurse actually stood him up on a walker 3 or 4 times to begin that reconnection from his leg to his brain that there's work to be done.

I know I keep repeating myself in saying how much we appreciate everyone, as I've also said words cannot begin to express our gratitude. Thank you for the visits, calls & offers to help with anything.

We are very thankful for every victory...big & small! Please continue to pray for his recovery as well as Mom (Grant & I also) for peace & endurance through this journey. We are taking one day at a time & asking the Lord to let us not miss the lesson in each day. He is in control & we trust Him completely! Thank you to each & every one of you who is praying, calling & offering help. Part of God's faithfulness has been the incredible support system He has surrounded us with. What a blessing!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011


Dr. Roy Buckelew, one of our favorite college professors, used to say, "WOW" when he was awed by God's grace & how He was working in people's lives. Today, "WOW" seems the only adequate way to express how we feel about our day. The day began as the past few, except for the rainy drive to the hospital.

Daddy had a very full day today. His day consisted of...
•Physical therapy
•Another hyperbaric chamber treatment (time where he gets 400% oxygen to stimulate the stroke sight)
•Physical therapy...sat with help on the side of the bed for a couple of minutes
•Swallow study
•Multiple doctor's visits & a few other guests

Now here's the exciting parts...
I got another smile this am when I arrived at the hospital while talking to Daddy & holding his hand. We are seeing some small, small movements on the right side. We will take it! Mom spent some time outside during lunch while Daddy was at his chamber treatment. My cousin, Lauren & her sweet baby, Austin, came to visit with us for a while. Thank you Lauren! While we were outside, Sandra came by with some goodies, which have already been enjoyed ;-) Thank you Sandra! We ended up cutting our time outside short bc we saw the doctor pull into the parking lot & we didn't want to miss him making rounds.

All of the excitement started when one of our former music minister's from Magnolia came to see us. We had a wonderful visit w/ Ken & he had just prayed for us when Daddy started to wake up. Ken went to the end of the bed & started talking to him. Daddy smiled at him!!!! We were so excited that he recognized someone he hasn't seen in several years. WOW!!!!

He enjoyed his first meal in several days...mashed potatoes & applesauce. He ate all of his potatoes & at least half the applesauce. While he was eating, we had some friends call to say that they were dropping off some goodies so I went to meet them at the elevator. While I was there, another couple showed up. We stood in the lobby & visited for a while then I told them we could walk down towards the room to so that they could at least hug Mom, but not go in the room. I walked in to tell Mom they were & that she could step out for a minute. Well, what I didn't know was that while I had my back to Daddy, he raised his left & motioned for everyone to come into the room. They came in & as they all said hello he gave Olan the biggest grin! As everyone spoke to him he made grins & smirks when teased! We were absolutely thrilled to have seen such expression of emotion to others. We all prayed & were so thankful for the progress he was making. WOW!!!!

Not long after they left, Dr. Murphy was making rounds. He came in & said that he was thrilled with the fact that Daddy was looking him in the eyes & that he was doing so well. He just couldn't believe it! WOW!!!!

Then within about 15 minutes, Dr. Thomas came in making his rounds. He was equally impressed & pleased with the progress that Daddy is making. We even asked if we were too excited about everything that happened throughout the afternoon & he said absolutely not!!! WOW!!!

All of those were God moments! God has been totally faithful in giving us the grace, patience & peace these past days. Not to say that we haven't had our fair share of tears, anxiety & frustration. We have! We have somewhat taken turns though so that we are able to hold each other up when one is weak. We know that the strength & endurance that we have experienced the past days is from God & Him alone bc He is faithful all the time & the sweet prayers of all of you. I've said it before, but will continue to say that our words are completely inadequate in expressing our appreciation for your calls, texts, visits, goodies & above all, prayers! Please continue to remember our family in your prayers in the days and weeks to come. We are running a marathon, not a sprint so we will be on this journey for a while. We are not guaranteed anything except that God is good, all the time!!! All glory to Him & Him alone.

P.S. Please excuse any missing words or typos...remember I'm sleep deprived!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


It seems all too often these days that my plans for the day are not what actually happen...and if you know me very well I like a plan to work! Hello, my name is Laurie & I have control issues. There, now that's out of the way & you understand where I'm coming from.

Mom & Grant (my brother) stayed at the hospital last night with Daddy. I went home to spend time with my family which was much needed. Mom wanted me to go to church & come to the hospital later. I thought that was a good idea also so that was the plan. Well,
Mom had text me a few times & I just knew that I needed to go. Pastor Rick always says "if you have to ask yourself whether to go or not, then go." So I came on to the hospital.

Mom didn't know I was coming so she was surprised! I went over to talk to Daddy. I was holding his hand talking to him when he smiled at me! I about jumped straight off the ground! What a miracle from where we were Friday! I'm glad that I'm here since some special friends of Mom's from Magnolia showed up about 20 after I got here she was able to go out & visit with them while I stayed with Daddy.

He is resting pretty well & still very sleepy so we are trying to stay quiet. The speech pathologist came in yesterday & worked him some. He ate some applesauce for her & drank some water. He will have a swallow study on Monday to get some pictures making sure everything is going down properly. He wasn't too interested in eating this am, but it will happen. He helped bathe himself which was a really good thing!

We are able to see God's hand on everything all day long! God is faithful & we know He will give us the grace & strength to endure the days of this journey. As I reminded Mom this morning, we are not promised tomorrow so we take one day at a time & praise God for all the miracles along the way!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Next Day

Yesterday is a day that I would like to quickly forget, but will never likely happen. My dad was scheduled for a routine

heart cath & a couple of stents. He's had these procedures done a couple of dozen times...yes, that many! Everything was as usual until the doctor was getting to place the second stent. A piece of plague broke off from his artery & traveling to his brain...resulting in a massive stroke! His doctor's words were "a big, big stroke!" We were told that death was imminent & there was no hope. God immediately put people in the consultation room with us before Daniel could even arrive from just a few miles up the interstate. People were praying & God was working!

As the day continued & more people came to love, hug & encourage us God continue to cover us with His grace & mercy! I'm saying that I wasn't breathing into a papersack...bc I was! But God was there! Every time the doctor returned he said that things better & not as bad as first expected. He was finally physically stable & moved to a room. We were warned that there was certain damage, but we would not know the extent until he began to awake from the drugs used during the procedures and the stress of the stroke. We were prepared for the worst. Waiting, waiting & waiting is the name of the game at the hospital though.

Dr. Thomas, the neurologist, finally came by the room this afternoon to give us the results from all the reports of the tests. He said his stroke was in the front lobe of the brain. Strokes in this area of the brain cause extreme drowsiness & sleepiness for several days so Dr. Thomas said rest is the best thing for him right now. He didn't even wake him to examine him. He wants him to rest as much as possible!

The wonderful miracle is that Dr. Thomas says frontal lobe injuries are the easiest to recover from & he said that he should regain his speech & movement over time with therapy!!! We have a very long road before us, but God is in the business of working miracles.

We are praising God for His love, grace & mercy! Thank you to everyone for their countless prayers, calls, texts & fb messages. We are trying to respond to everyone, but please understand if it's not immediate. Words cannot begin to express our gratitude for you interceding to the throne for our family!