Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Postcard Update

We are almost there! Here are the postcards that Ben still needs:

North Dakota

Only FOUR more!!! Can you help us??? :o)

Getting Back to "Normal"

Things are starting to get back to normal around here -- except Neal's home all day. That's a nice change for me!

We started back to school on Monday. It's been nice having a routine again.

The kids had 4-H last night, and that went well. While we were there, the Gray family gave us supper for tonight...Fiesta Chicken Rolls. We can't wait to try them! On the way home Ben got a "whiff" of the meal. I told him to be careful with the container so that it didn't accidentally open and spill out. He said, "if that happened the smell would leak out and the world would be at peace." LOL He can't wait until supper tonight!

Neal has a few prayer requests that I'd like to share:

1. It's allergy season and Neal hasn't sneezed once since his surgery. He's praying that it will continue to hold off, and that he will not sneeze for a few weeks. It hurts bad enough to cough, he can't imagine what it would feel like to sneeze.

2. Please pray that he will be able to come off of the Coumadin in about 4 to 5 weeks like they say he will. For some reason he has a fear that he may have to continue taking them longer.

3. (this one's from me) Please pray that Neal will be able to sleep in our bed again soon. He is still having to sleep in the recliner and it's really wearing on him. One or two nights is fine, but he's now at two weeks.

Thank you for your prayers!

Well, I'd better get back to school. Math is calling!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Super Hero!

We're into super heroes at our house. Right now my favorite super hero is my husband! I found this quiz to see which super hero I am, and here's what it told me:

Your results:
You are Superman

Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Update on Danny

I just heard that Danny's stroke was a mild one! Praise God! While in the hospital though, he found out that he has high blood pressure and diabetes. So I guess it's a good thing something mild happened to him, so that he would find out what areas he needed help in!

Thank you for your prayers!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Urgent Prayer Request

We just got a phone call to let us know that our good friend Danny Addair has had a stroke this evening. I don't know many details right now, but I ask that you please pray for him. I do know that his blood pressure is very elevated, as is his sugar level. His wife Donna is a dear, dear friend of mine who worked with me in our single mom's ministry at church. I tried to leave a message on her answering machine at home, but her box was already full. I'll update this when I know more.

We were struck again this evening with how powerful prayer is, and we ask that you lift up Danny right now and his wife Donna.

Thank you!

Four Day Review!

Sorry for the lack of posts the last few days...we didn't have a lot to report. I stayed pretty busy over the weekend, and when I wasn't busy I think I was sleeping! :o)

Neal has been walking more and more. Today we went by the church for a tour of our new building (sanctuary, fellowship hall, and children's area). We had our dedication service yesterday and, unfortunately, Neal wasn't able to attend. We thought it would be a good idea for him to go and tour the new facilities while they were pretty empty, and then when he goes back to church he can spend time talking to everyone. Our new building is gorgeous, and we both thoroughly enjoyed our tour today!

Neal also had his staples removed this morning! He was so happy!!! They were beginning to itch, and the tape from the bandages were irritating his skin. Thankfully the only stitches he had were in the pacemaker incision...all the other incisions were glued. While we were at the office he had his Pro-Time check (to see how thick/thin his blood is). It had gone up from 1.6 last week, to 2.0, but our goal is 2.5 to 3.0. He's getting there. We also met with the pacemaker lady. She gave us a box that he will use for his pacemaker battery checks. He just has to place our telephone into the box in a certain place, and then put two bracelets on each wrist (they have wires that connect to the box). Then she will call us at our appointment time, and he can actually get an EKG over the telephone. She'll do a 20 second EKG, and then he has a special magnet he places over his pacemaker site, and then she does 20 seconds more. That's it! The magnet will engage the pacemaker to its fullest potential. For instance today his pacemaker was working for his lower chamber of his heart, but wasn't needed for the top. When he put the magnet over his pacemaker it made the top chamber pace. That way they can make sure it works if needed. It just amazes me what we are capable of doing...even over a telephone!

Over the weekend we had a cookout (with our OMAHAAAAA burgers and frankfurters). Neal's mom, dad, and sister came over. It was nice visiting with them, and we enjoyed the food sent from the CT Beasleys! Oh, on Friday our friends the Sullivan's brought us dinner, as well. Kathleen made some yummy baked chicken, a cold bean salad, and diced cucumbers. It was all very good, but we especially loved the bean salad. I'd never had one like it before. It had kidney beans, chili beans, and a few other kinds of beans -- maybe Navy. Then it had celery, onions, and some herbs. I don't know what all was in it, but we all want the recipe! Thanks, Kathleen!

We watched a few more John Wayne movies over the weekend. The last one we watched Sunday evening was The Shootist. John Wayne's last movie. First of all, if you don't have TV Guardian (or something similar) it is not a family friendly movie, and there is gun shooting in it (which would apply to probably 75% of J. Wayne's movies :o), but it was a bitter sweet movie. The character John Wayne plays is dying from cancer. He is a renowned gun-slinger (shootist), but is facing his biggest challenge yet -- death. The sad thing is that during this time, John Wayne was also battling cancer and died only two years after he made this movie. Knowing that made it seem so much sadder! I think we all agreed though, that this is our favorite of his movies so far.

Neal's grandpa came over Sunday afternoon for a visit and he watched John Wayne's movie "McClintock" with us. We had a nice visit with him!

The kids and I started back to school today. Everything went well, and I think it will be good to have a routine again.

The Bethune family brought us supper tonight....a yummy rotisserie chicken, salad, and a corn/vegetable salad. They also brought grapes, cantaloupe, strawberries, and cookies. Thanks so much! I'll have to start cooking next week...whatever will I do?!! LOL These meals have truly been a blessing to us though, and we are so thankful for all who have brought them to us!

Neal's pretty wiped out this evening, but he had a good day! He goes to the doctor again on Wednesday afternoon. That will be a visit with his surgeon...probably the final visit with him.

That's all for now. Thank you all for your continued prayers!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


During our "intermission" while watching our latest John Wayne movie "True Grit," Neal had gone back to the bathroom and the kids and I were in the kitchen. All of a sudden we hear what sounds like yelling coming from the bathroom. Of course my heart leapt into my throat as Ben says "that's Daddy!" I took off running back to the bathroom and there was Neal standing in front of the sink yelling/singing "Omaha, Omahaaaaaa." I just about lost it. My chest tightened up and I started to hyperventilate. Finally as I caught my breath tears just started pouring down my face, and I was trembling from head to toe. He scared me to death!!!

Why was he singing "Omaha?" Earlier this week we received notice that we were going to receive a package from Omaha Steaks on Thursday. Neal heard a vehicle on the driveway and looked out the window and saw the UPS truck. He was just announcing in his unique way that the Omaha Steaks were here!

It's been about 30 minutes since this happened and I'm just now getting to where I'm not shaking. So those of you who have been praying for Neal, please continue to do so...but don't forget me in those prayers. I think I'm gonna need them!!!

Now, as for the shipment from Omaha Steaks. Neal's aunt and cousins in Connecticut whom we fondly refer to as "the Connecticut Beasleys," sent them to Neal! They sent us 16 gourmet burgers, 12 steak burgers, and 8 gourmet franks. Wow! What a treat! We'll be firing up the grill this weekend. :o)

Here's some pictures of what we received, along with Neal showing his appreciation. If the pictures are a bit blurry, it's because I was still shaking!!!

Neal giving a thumbs up when he heard what was in the packages!

Here are the packages and the cooler they arrived in.

Sorry'll have to wait until Saturday!

Thank you Mary Beth, Robin, Scot, Sean, Cale, Rick, Raeann, Larry, Jessica, Ron, Bena, Kyle and Ruthie! We love you guys!!!

Outside Pics

Neal is taking full advantage of the situation. "Pick those weeds, Beth!"

Ben got a little "tied up" walking Suzi

Beth and Daddy taking a walk

And here are some pictures from our flower beds. The last picture is of one of our strawberry patches in bloom.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


We had an adventure today! We went to Lowe's and Walmart! WooHoo!!!

This was Neal's first time into a store since surgery and it went really well. We only had a couple of items to pick up, and he didn't have any trouble with the walking. We also ran into several people we knew and had a nice chance to chat with some friends.

After our adventure into town, we came home and our next door neighbor came to visit. She brought us a yummy box full of fruit, bagels, and snacks. Very sweet! We had a nice visit with her, and then her daughter (who is a nurse at the hospital) came by for a few minutes, as well. After they left, our friends Marie and Jorge came by and brought us supper. I could get used to having meals delivered to my door! LOL But if it's at the price of having major surgery, then I think I'll cook my own meals. ;o) Marie made vegetarian tacos and they were yummy! She also made a spicy coleslaw that was wonderful! Ben's favorite part was the chocolate cake. Thanks, Marie!

We also had a package waiting for us when we got home. Neal's co-worker/friend, Bruce, sent him a big box of oranges and grapefruit. They look delicious. Breakfast tomorrow will be bagels and fruit! Can't wait to try fresh Florida oranges!

I took the kids to church tonight and then came home to stay with Neal. Neal's sister Janet came over and brought him a gift. I'll have to post pictures tomorrow. Let's just say we now have a pig theme going on in our house!

Walmart and Lowe's may not be exciting to most people, but two weeks post surgery it's a big Adventure!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

6 Word Philosphy of Life

My friend Amy tagged me today to do this meme. This was a tough one! Here's what you have to do:

1. Link to the person who tagged you. Check!

2. Post the rules. Check!

3. Share a 6 word philosophy of life Check!

4. Tag 3 other people (I won't tag anyone, but if you do this please let me know!)

So here's my philosphy (btw, I know I cheated a bit by using a couple of contractions. ;o)

When I'm weak, then I'm strong!

On Sunday morning when we had our "church service" with the kids, everyone shared what they had learned during the past few weeks. My answer was "When I am weak,then I am strong." That comes from 2 Corinthians chapter 12. Paul wrote these words:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NASB)

7Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself!

8Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.

9And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

10Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

The Lord really proved this to me over and over these past several weeks, and I thank Him for strengthening me through these trials!

Postcard Update

We're getting down to the wire! Ben's geography project has to be completed by May 21st! One month away!!! If you know of anyone who could send us one of these postcards, please contact me. Thanks a bunch!

These are the ones Ben still needs:

(we might have this one, I'm waiting on a phone call)
North Dakota
South Dakota
*update* I found an old SD postcard in my keepsakes box that my Dad sent me in the late 70's. I think I may have one of these on the way, but if not then I have a card Ben can use.*

Special Delivery

For a Special Guy! :o)

This morning Neal received this Fruit Basket

Not only fruit, but Chocolate!

This is from Neal's work -- Chalmers & Kubeck South. Thanks guys!

Monday, April 21, 2008


God continues to bless us!

Neal had more energy today, and his color is looking better. He had an appointment this afternoon to check his blood. It is still too thick, so we'll continue working on that. His pulse was 88 and his BP was 120/70! Looking good!

We ran a few errands while we were out and Neal sat in the car and made a few phone calls. I hear he was pretty skeptical on what kind of movies we would pick out at the library, (right, Don?) but we ended up getting several old John Wayne movies. The kids weren't so happy, but Neal had a big grin on his face!

Our friends, the Toals, brought us dinner tonight and it was delicious! It was so nice to be able to sit down to a meal that I hadn't prepared. What a treat!!!

Now I guess I'll go see what John Wayne is up to!

Edible Bouquet

This "bouquet" arrived for Neal today!

Here's a close-up of the flowers. :o)

Thank you Flowserve for this yummy bouquet. Someone knows Neal really well!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Another good day. :o) A very RESTFUL day!!! We all stayed home the entire day. For church we watched Jonathan Falwell on The Old Time Gospel Hour (if that's what it is still called), and by the way I think he is doing an excellent job. I really enjoy hearing him preach. Then we turned off the TV and shared what the Lord had taught each of us through the past couple of weeks. It was neat hearing the kids insights. Then we read some scriptures and prayed together.

This afternoon we watched "Hondo." An old John Wayne movie. Neal dozed off and on throughout it, but watched most of it. I took a nap after it went off, and Neal tried to but wasn't successful. That's probably a good thing so that he'll sleep better tonight.

Last night I got asparagus out of our garden! Yaah! I steamed it tonight and we ate it with some chicken salad that Neal's sister Janet made for us. Yum! We all love steamed asparagus, so that was a big hit. Unfortunately asparagus is one of the foods that thickens the blood, so Neal had that in place of his spinach today. We'll go tomorrow sometime to have his blood tested. Hopefully we're doing a good job.

That's about it...a very uneventful day. Hallelujah! ;o)

Spinach Strawberry Salad

Neal loves spinach! He's on coumadin now (for about 8 weeks) and we were afraid he wouldn't be allowed to eat it, but the doctor told us if he eats the same amount every day he can adjust the medicine. While we were in the hospital, one of the doctors told us about her favorite way to eat spinach... Spinach Strawberry Salad. I looked it up online the second day we were home and found this recipe. It is delicious! I made a few changes for what I had in my pantry, and it turned out excellent.

Serves 8

1 lb spinach
1 pint strawberries, sliced set a few aside
1/2 cup pecans, toasted


1/3 cup raspberry vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I used sucanat with honey)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
2 teaspoons poppy seeds (I omited)

1. Toast pecans over low heat, set aside to cool.
2. Combine dressing ingredients and shake well.
3. Toss and garnish with a few sliced strawberries.
4. Serve immediately.

(I added mushrooms, cucumber, feta cheese and crumbled bacon)

Homemade Granola Bars

I got this recipe from Kathleen Sullivan last summer and my kids love it. I made a batch the day before we went to the hospital and shared them in the waiting room. A couple of you LOVED them, and wanted the recipe. :o) So I thought I'd share it here:

Line a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick foil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees


3 cups oatmeal (I used old fashioned)
1 cup puffed rice cereal
1 stick butter, melted
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk (I use fat free)
1 cup mini-chocolate chips (or one cup of raisins, mini-M&M's, etc. or any combination)

In large bowl stir melted butter and peanut butter together until blended. Add oatmeal and cereal. Stir well. Add 1 cup of chocolate chips and stir together. Add sweetened condensed milk to all ingredients and mix well. Pour into foil lined pan. Press mixture down firmly (I use wax paper or something on my hands and press it down really hard. This will help it to stay together after you bake it and cut into bars.) **I tossed some M&Ms on top of the bars and pressed them into the top on this last batch.**

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until brown on top. Let them cool, and then you can take hold of the foil and pull them out. I place them on a chopping board and cut them into bars.


Saturday, April 19, 2008


Okay, so it didn't turn out to be quite the day of rest we had planned. :o) Neal slept fitfully last night. Hopefully tonight will be more restful for him. I ended up taking a nap mid morning, and then went to the library and a few movies for us to watch. I think we'll watch August Rush tonight.

Neal's Dad, my Mom, Ben and I worked in the garden today. Well, I didn't work too much in the garden, but I mowed grass. I actually pushed mowed about an hour or so. I'm tired this evening, but it feels good. I needed some exercise.

It was difficult for Neal to sit by and watch us work. It's going to be a long three months for him!

Beth had Teens Involved at church today (a competition through Word of Life). She entered a gospel tract and one a trophy. She had a good day.

Now I'm going to get Neal and I some yogurt and we're going to watch a movie. Tomorrow we really are going to have a day of rest!!!

Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes again! :o)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Home...Once Again

We finally made it home tonight around 9:00. Neal is feeling fantastic with his new pacemaker. He can't get over the difference in his breathing. After the surgery/before the pacemaker he had to concentrate to breathe and talk at the same time or to breathe and eat. That's why he was having difficulty with visitors because it was so difficult to breathe and talk to them. Poor guy! He came back from surgery around 10:00 and ate two cups of pudding, but didn't want a full breakfast. At lunch he ate everything on his plate except the bread, and he ate it quickly! We couldn't believe it. He didn't have to stop and take several breaths in between each bite.

He did have quite a bit of pain this afternoon, but they finally got it under control. Now he's kicked back in his recliner (again) and just finished taking all his meds. We're going to go to sleep and all we're going to do tomorrow is shower, eat, and rest! Yaah! We are worn out!

Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes. Neal came home to about 10 cards in the mail today, so that was a nice gift to him. :o)

Have a great weekend...I'm pretty sure we will!

Update on Mike

I spoke with the aunt of Mike Branham this morning. Remember the young man who was in the 4-wheeler accident? He had surgery on Wednesday and they had him up walking yesterday! He is doing extremely well, and the doctor said he should not have any permanent eye damage. They are all so thankful, and know that they witnessed a miracle!

Thank you for praying for this young man.


Neal is now the proud owner of a brand new pacemaker! :o)

Last night was a little emotional and scary, but throughout the night we regained peace and Neal's heart rate climbed until it was at 62 this morning. He woke up around 3:00 and (thankfully) let me sleep until 5:30. Then he woke me up and we read and prayed together. They took him down around 7:30. The doctor that did the procedure was extremely nice and spent time talking with us about what he was going to do, and afterward about what he did. They used the latest model of pacemaker. This pacemaker only "paces" when Neal's heart needs it to. In other words, when his heart can't keep up on its' own, the pacemaker will kick in. When his heart is doing fine, it will be on standby. I like that idea.

EKG came in about 20 minutes ago and tested him and the pacemaker was hard at work, so they were able to capture it while it was pacing.

Neal is having some pain in his left arm from the surgery. He won't be able to lift his left arm above his head for a couple of days and will have lifting precautions, but I don't know that they will be any different than the lifting precautions he's already under. He will be able to get out of bed around 2:00 this afternoon, and should get to go home this evening!

I'll keep you updated on his progress!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Back In the Hospital

Neal's back in the hospital tonight.

I took him to the doctor's office this afternoon for his scheduled EKG. After lunch he began feeling really tired and out of breath. He could barely make it to the car when we left. At the doctor's office I got him a wheelchair because he had zero energy. I took him back for his Protime check (to check the thickness of his blood since he's on Coumadin). At that time they took his pulse and BP. His pulse was 56 (I am supposed to call the doctor if it falls below 57) and his BP was 98/50. His protime count was 1.2 and it was supposed to be between 2.5 and 3.5, so that meant his blood was too thick. Less than 10 minutes later we were at Dr. M's office. They took his BP and pulse. I don't remember his BP, but his pulse was 39! She thought the machine might have read it wrong, so she read it with something else and again it was 39. After that everything was a blur of activity. The doctor said we needed to do the pacemaker and that they would admit him to the hospital right away. I drove him to the hospital (less than one mile) and took him through admissions. They had him in his new room within 15 minutes.

His pacemaker surgery is scheduled for first thing in the morning...probably about 7:00. It should only take about an hour or so, and then they'll bring him back to his room. They'll either discharge him tomorrow evening or Saturday morning depending on how he does.

Again we can only praise God for His timing. If his pulse had dropped like this at home I would have been scared to death. Thankfully we were in the doctor's office and close to the hospital! Isn't the Lord good?!!!

I'll be spending the night with Neal and the kids are with my Mom. Please pray for their peace of mind, and please pray for Neal's peace of mind. It's very difficult for him to be laying there in bed feeling his heart beat so slowly. They have equipment right beside his bed if he crashes, but I don't know if that is a comfort to him or not. His heart rate is still only 39. While you're at it, I wouldn't mind having some peace of mind, as well! :o)

Thank you all for keeping up with my blog and praying for us. I'll check in tomorrow and let you know how everything goes!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kicking Back

Neal had a great night's sleep!

It was kind of funny last night. We were told not to let him nap past 4:00 in the afternoon so that he could sleep through the night. I woke him up at 4:00 and he stayed awake a little while, then he kept dozing off. I place my hand on his arm and he'd rouse and grin a little and before long he'd be snoozing away again. Every Tuesday night we watch "Biggest Loser." Last night was the season finale. Neal was trying his best to stay awake, but I would have to wake him up just about every time someone weighed in. "Dan's weighing now, Neal." He'd open his eyes and watch. Then, "Mark's weighing in." LOL I asked him this morning if he could remember who won, and he did. I guess he was awake for the most important parts. Another funny thing was when he wanted to get his watch out of his overnight bag. He had Beth get his bag for him and she set it on the couch next to him. He would unzip it a little bit and then fall asleep. Then wake up and unzip it a little more and then fall asleep. The kids thought that was hilarious.

Neal slept until about 9:30 or so this morning. I woke him up at 4:30 to give him some pain medication. I didn't want his pain to get out of control during the night. Other than that, he slept like a baby. He tried to take a nap this afternoon, but wasn't sleepy enough. He was just exhausted after the hospital stay.

Tomorrow afternoon we go to see Dr. M. He'll do an EKG and let us know if the top and bottom of Neal's heart are communicating with each other yet. I'm not sure how long he'll let Neal go without them "talking to each other" before he'll put in a pacemaker, but our prayer is that everything will be fine tomorrow!

Now that I'm home and I have my Bible close by I want to type out those verses that Mike gave to they are:

Romans 5:1-5 (New Living Translation)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. (2) Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.
(3) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. (4) And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. (5) And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

I love these verses, and I pray that they bless you as well!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I wore mine and Neal's wedding bands while he was in the hospital. He put his back on tonight.

Neal and I last night

Neal used his heart pillow to protect his chest on the ride home from the hospital.

The pets were very glad to see "Grandpa" home. We had to hold Suzi back so she wouldn't jump on his chest!

What we looked like after 8 days in the hospital!

Home Again, Home Again

Jiggity Jig! :o)

They released Neal from the hospital around 12:30 or 1:00 today. Now we are home trying to adjust to to things here. I'm afraid Neal thinks I moved the bathroom while he was gone...much further away than it was before. It seems that way anyhow.

It's going to take some time, but he does seem to be improving all the time. He's glad to be away from hospital food. I baked him some tilapia tonight and made a fresh spinach salad. Tomorrow I'll probably start on some of my frozen meals, and then next week some friends from church will bring us some meals.

I'll write more tomorrow, but right now I want to go sit next to my husband on the couch!

Good Night!

Monday, April 14, 2008

End of Day Five

He's going home tomorrow! Wahoo!!!

They will be removing the pacemaker tomorrow. The top of the heart and the bottom of the heart are not communicating but they are both working. We'll give it a little time and see if they start talking to each other. ;o) If not, then the doctor will want to put in a permanent pacemaker. We're fine with this. It's not the same as before when the bottom of his heart wouldn't function at all without it. Now it's not life and death, but more of quality of function. We're very thankful for the prayers for his heart to start beating. It worked! Now we'll pray that the two parts will start working together. As I understand this is not too uncommon.

Another blessing we had is that he was never transferred to a regular floor. We liked him having such good care on the ICU unit. I went up to the floor where he was supposed to go and saw that a lot of people had contact precautions posted on their doors. I was not excited about him being in close contact with so many infections and such. Thank you, Lord!

Our first week or two at home will be a healing time for Neal and our family. This has been pretty difficult on the kids, and we're going to take this time to restore our family. After a week or two, then we'll start accepting some visits and phone calls. In the meantime, I'll continue to blog updates every day or two and keep you all posted. It has been wonderful having this outlet, and source of communication!

Thank you all for every prayer and good wish you have sent our way! We love you!!!

Neal's friend Mike mentioned Romans 5:1-5 to us. Neal and I read them in his room earlier and they were wonderful, comforting verses. I don't have my Bible with me or I'd type them out, but if you get a chance read them. God's Word is such a source of comfort! Thanks, Mike!

Day Five of Recovery

Neal moves to a regular floor today! We're seeing some progress with the pacemaker, but will know more later. Neal's blood pressure stayed high last night, so we're working on getting that down. Other than that, he's doing really well!

I spoke with Mike Branham's mom this morning. The 4-wheeler fell back on his face and crushed most of the bones in his face and he broke 5 bones in his back (no paralysis!). He also has no brain swelling! They will do surgery on his face tomorrow. They will make an incision from ear to ear over the top of his head and pull everything down to work on the bones of his face. They're main focus, apparently, are his eyes and eye sockets. They are concerned that he will be blind or may not be able to move his eyes from side to side. Since we're moving to another floor, I don't know if I'll continue to hear updates or not, but please keep praying for this young man.

Neal and I started studying Adonai this morning...The Lord of lords!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Day Four, Final Update

Great day!

Off of oxygen for good it seems! Yaah! No more IVs. He only has in his drain tubes and a line in his neck (which he can't WAIT to come out!).

Blood pressure went up again this evening, so he continues with BP medicine. He's fine with that.

We find out about the pacemaker in the morning. Keep praying!

He walked four times today. This was the first day he walked without holding onto a wheelchair or something. The nurse walked by his side, but he was unassisted!

I had some great visits with friends in the waiting room today. Everyone has been so sweet and understanding about not visiting Neal. Our Pastor came by again today. (our church has 8 pastors so our head pastor doesn't do all the visiting) This was his second visit with Neal and I missed both of them! I'm with Neal about 22 out of 24 hours a day, and I missed both of our pastor's visits! I'm sure he didn't think anything of it, but it bothered me!

I guess that's all. Neal will probably move out of ICU tomorrow, and then we're (Neal and I) hoping he'll get to go home Tuesday or Wednesday.

I know it's become cliche, but..."God is good...ALL the time!"

Psalm 62:5-8

Day Four of Recovery

Good things are happening! I can't tell all of it yet (per doctor's suggestion), but let's just say he's doing MUCH better! Hopefully I'll be able to tell you something definate tomorrow.

This morning he had respiratory treatments, a bath, and went for a walk. Oh, and by the way, he walked with NO oxygen!!! And he still doesn't have his oxygen on!!! God is doing great things this morning. My prayer last night and this morning for Neal was that he would see vast improvement today, and let me tell you, that prayer's already been answered!

Well, most of you are at church right now, so you'll see this later. Please keep praying for the same things as yesterday. We'll be working on keeping his blood pressure down today.

Thanks for praying!

I have one more prayer request. I'm sitting here with a family right now who brought in Mike Branham. He's 21 year old and wrecked his 4-wheeler. He's not doing good. I don't know the extent of his injuries, but I do know he's on a ventilator. There's lots of family here right now and they're upset. I told them you all would pray for him.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Day 3 Final Update

Neal was moved to CICU (Coronary Intensive Care Unit) today. He's still in ICU because of his heart not getting its' rhythm on its' own. The doctor is giving until Monday before he makes a decision about a permanent pacemaker. Please pray for God's will to be done! Thanks!

Progress: His body is strengthening, he's more mobile, and he's more coherent.

Setbacks: Still on oxygen, BP is rising again, and although this is minor his nose is very irritated due to the oxygen. He started having nose bleeds this afternoon, so they put him back on the oxygen cup (covers his mouth with an opening at top).

He really is doing better, but today was kinda discouraging.

I just remembered something though. I needed to find him a pillow and the nurse said it was difficult to find pillows on this unit. Then she came back with three of them! Neal lifted his mask and said to me: "Another one of God's blessings!"

Thank you for praying!

Day Three of Recovery

Neal had a great night! We both slept really well. My good friend Jackie suggested I take some Tylenol PM or something to help me sleep through the hospital noises. I looked through Neal's toiletry bag from home and he had some Advil PM. Great stuff! ;o) I had only had a combined total of 12 hours of sleep for Tuesday night, Wednesday night, and Thursday night. Last night I had about 8! There were several times when I had to get up and help with something or that I was awakened, but I always went right back to sleep. Same with Neal. It was a good restful night.

Right now he's waiting on his walk, on x-rays, and on a visit from the surgeon. We're just going to kick back today and relax.

Gary Lawhorne called with some verses for us to read this morning. I wrote them down in Neal's room, but I think they were Psalm 59:16-17. He read them over the phone and they are good ones. Look 'em up! :o)

Have a great day!

Friday, April 11, 2008

End of Day 2 Update

Neal is tired! I guess that's to be expected, but he's really tired. He walked twice today and they want him to walk again. I think he's going to turn down that offer. ;o) He just cannot keep his eyes open, and he's having some discomfort.

Yesterday we asked for no visitors and we didn't extend that on to today. Now we realize that was a mistake. As much as we love visiting with everyone, Neal just cannot handle the visits right now. He had over 10 visitors today and it was just too much for him. (If you were one of the visitors, please DO NOT feel bad. He loved seeing you, but now knows that his body can't handle it right now.) We'll let everyone know when he's up for visitors again. In my class this morning, they suggested waiting until he had been home a couple of weeks. After today I can see why, but we'll wait and see how he feels. If anyone wants to stop by the hospital and visit with me, I can always come out to the waiting room if I'm back there with him. Thanks for understanding!

Well, I guess that's about it for today. He never did get a room in CCU, so he'll spend another night in CVRU. I'll be with him. :o)

Good night!

Day 2, Part 2 ;o)

We're still seeing improvement! Praise God! He's still on oxygen and still has the external pacemaker. This morning Dr. M said there was still hope that he could get off the pacemaker, so let's keep praying!

I had a nice, romantic lunch with Neal today. lol He was sitting up in the only chair in the room, so they brought me a chair and I sat across the tray from him. He ate some of his lunch, and I ate my sandwich. We've decided that he's gotten spoiled with home cooking every night and is having trouble eating the hospital food! He does eat what he can though, and seems to choose the healthiest parts of the meal -- salad, fruit and veggies. They may not taste too good, but there should be some nutritional value in them. I took him a homemade blueberry/strawberry muffin this morning and he enjoyed that. He won't eat the white bread they're serving him. ;o)

They can't move him away from ICU yet, but they want to move him to a different ICU unit: Coronary Care Unit (CCU). So far no beds are available, so he'll stay where he is for now.

The kids are doing well. Beth is spending the night with a friend, and Ben is here with me right now. He'll go home with one of his grandparents tonight.

Neal has asked me to stay with him at night now, so I guess this will be my home for a while. I guess I'll try to go home during the day some.

Oh, I went to the caregiver class this morning and found it very helpful. They have a great support system here for cardiac patient's families. This hospital, btw, is in the top 100 cardiac hospitals in the country, and it has been for four years! We feel very confident that we couldn't be in a better hospital!

Day Two of Recovery

I talked to the nurse a little while ago and Neal had a good night! He's still on oxygen, but it's at 99% (it was in the high 80's with oxygen yesterday). His bloodwork this morning was good, and he slept well.

The kids and I will be heading out in a few minutes!

2 Corinthians 5:7 "For we walk by Faith, not by sight."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

End of Day One

Okay, I'd better make this quick since I need to get a good night sleep tonight in my own bed!

Neal is still in ICU, but feeling better. They removed lots of tubes and lines today, and they turned down his pacemaker so that it wasn't running so "roughly." (it made his stomach jerk up and down and his chest looked like his heart was going to beat right out of it...very disconcerting!) His oxygen level is still low, so he is still on oxygen. He is still using the external pacemaker. We are still praying for both of those items to be corrected!

We had an interesting talk with his surgeon today. He told us he had never operated on an aorta as large as Neal's. He compared it to John Ritter's situation, and if you are familiar with him you know that he died from his heart issue before they had a chance to operate. Again, another praise that the Lord allowed us to find out before it was too late! He told us he has another story to tell us, but will wait for another time. He said it will make a great story at the Thanksgiving table. When he told us that I couldn't help but reflect on the moment yesterday when I felt pressed to pray. I don't mean a light need. I felt we had to pray NOW! I told my friends and then I told Gary Lawhorne who then got everybody's attention. We all joined hands in the middle of the waiting room (there were probably 25 or more of us) and those who felt led to pray took turns praying. This was between 11 and 11:30 during the time when they had his heart stopped and were working on his Aorta/valve. We're really curious, but the doctor didn't want to talk about it quite yet. Hmmmm....

Tomorrow I'll go to a caregivers meeting. I guess they'll take that time to tell us what to expect once we get home and what we will need to do. I'm glad they have a program like this.

When I left Neal this evening he told me in a very slurred voice that he was ready for bed! He got up and walked today! I can't believe how quickly they get you moving after major surgery these days! He did really a little nauseous, but did well. I took pictures. :o) I'll leave with one picture of the man you're praying for:

Day One of Recovery

Pacemaker is still on. They are changing some medicines hoping that will help his to start beating properly on its' own.

After they removed the ventilator tube last night his oxygen level dropped (not right away, but probably within the hour). So they had to give him an oxygen mask-type thing (can you tell I never went to medical school?). They said this is due to having to increase his blood pressure medication. They hope to correct this today.

Those are our two main prayer requests today, along with pain relief as he gets up walking today.

Beth and I got home around 8:45 this morning, and now we're both going to try and sleep for a couple of hours and then go back.

Neal has requested not to have visits outside of family today. He's really just not up to it. However, if anyone wants to stop by the waiting room to visit with us you are more than welcome!!! Beth and I will probably be back over there by 1:00.

Thank you again to all of you for your prayers, visits and calls. They mean to the world to us and so do you!!!

Jeremiah 29:11!!!


The ventilator tube was taken out and he is breathing on his own. Another praise! :o)

Something I found out is that they are having to use a pacemaker. Our new prayer is that his heart will find its' own rythm and that he will not have to have a permanent pacemaker. We should know this within the next few days (I think).

Beth and I are staying the night. I can't bring myself to leave.

Many thanks.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


When the nurse came back to get us, she said the kids had to be 14 or older to go back. My kids were devastated! She then told me to go back first and then judge for myself whether or not the kids could handle seeing him. So I went back along with Neal's parents, sisters, and our friend Gary Lawhorne. He really looked good considering what all he had been through! He was a little puffy, he had in all kinds of tubes running out of him, and he was asleep. The ventilator was doing his breathing for him. But he looked much better than I had expected.

I went back and told the kids they could go see their daddy. They were SO happy! I was so proud of them. They handled it really well, and were just so relieved to see him. It would have been much more traumatic for them not to see him. I appreciated the nurse's concern though.

I'll hang around here this evening until he wakes up and comes off of the ventilator. Then I'll go home and get a good night's sleep! My waterbed is calling my name right now!

It is finished!

He is fine!!!

After 7 hours (almost exactly) they finished surgery. We spoke with the surgeon around 4:00 and he said that everything went smoothly and as planned. No surprises! Thank you, Lord!

They were not able to repair the valve, so they replaced it with the pig "root." They also replaced the ascending aorta and the arch of the aorta. (I hope I relayed that correctly)

The nurses should be here at any time to let us see him. He will still be asleep, but it will be nice to see him!!!

More later!

Update #2

He is OFF the bypass machine. Praising the Lord here in the waiting room! He was on the bypass machine for almost 4 hours!

They will observe his heart for a little while until they are satisfied that everything is working well, and then they will close him up. If all goes well they should be finished around 3:00.

The nurse will let us know when they are getting ready to move him to ICU, and then the doctor will come and talk to us. She told us that they did an echocardiogram earlier and didn't think they would be able to repair his valve, but wouldn't know for sure until they got in there. We know God is able if that is what He wants! We are so glad that He holds Neal in His hands!

We have had such precious times visiting this afternoon. We've had spontaneous prayer sessions, and lots of laughter.

Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts this day (and the past few weeks!).

Until Later...

Update #1

At 10:05 someone came out to tell us that they had just put Neal on the heart/lung bypass machine. So far so good!

I have lots of company here with me and it's been very comforting.

More later!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New Prayer Request

The surgeon came in to talk to us tonight. He told us a new possibility. There is a chance that once he gets a good look at Neal's heart that he can repair the aortic valve (the defective valve -- not the aorta) with Neal's own flaps. Don't ask me how, but just know that this could be a very good thing. The reason this could be good is that by using a pig valve Neal will have to have open heart surgery again in another 15 years or so. If they can use Neal's own parts to repair the valve (instead of replace it)there's a possibility it could last a lifetime...or at least much longer than the pig valve. We are praying that when he gets in there that he will find this to be the case and that he can indeed repair it instead of replace it! It's one of those things that the doctor won't know until he's in there.

We had an awesome opportunity to pray with the doctor tonight. After the surgeon finished talking to us we asked if it would be all right if we prayed with him. He said that would be fine, so we asked our dear friend Gary Lawhorne (who came in from SC for the surgery) to pray for Dr. M. Our kids and my mom were there at the time, so we all gathered around Neal's bed and Gary prayed for the doctor and for the other staff. It was such a special time!

Well, I've gotta run. I'm at home right now. I brought Ben home and I'm going to get a shower and go back to the hospital. I'll update tomorrow as we know what's going on!

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18:2


Neal's catherization went well. The doctor said there are no blockages! Surgery will go ahead as scheduled tomorrow at 8:00. He will have to get up at 4:30 tomorrow morning to shower with a special soap, and then they will wheel him away around 6:00. The nurse said she would give us 2 or 3 updates throughout the surgery.

Neal is still in good spirits. He is suffering with a bit of a headache right now, but is resting in his room.

The waiting room has a computer, so as I get updates tomorrow I will post them here. (as long as the computers are up and running)

Thanks again for your prayers!


As we get ready to leave for the hospital this morning I want to leave with one more reference to the names of God. Jehova-rapha is the Lord who Heals!

There are various ways God heals us...not just physically. Right now, of course, that's mostly where my thoughts and prayers are focused. Here are some verses in the Bible where Jehovah-rapha heals...some physically some in other areas. Do you need Jehova-rapha today?

2 Kings 20: 1, 4-5

In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD, 'Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'"...The word of the LORD came to him (Isaiah), saying, "Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of yoru father David, "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD."'"

Psalm 147:3

He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 103: 1-3

Bless the LORD, O my sould; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases.

Luke 4:18

"The spirit of the LORD is upon me, because He annointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD."

1 Peter 2:24-25

And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Where are you hurting today? Is it physical or spiritual? Do you need to be healed by the great Physician? Call on Jehova-rapha! "Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for Thou art my praise." Jeremiah 17:14.

Neal has shown such calm through this past month, and he continually says he's not worried. When I asked him about that this week he said it was because he was prepared either way. He has faith that everything will be fine and truly believes it will be, however, if the Lord chooses to take him home to heaven at this time he's ready for that too. It's a wonderful peace to have.

Thank you, LORD!


We received some more postcards the past week, so here are the ones we still need: (some are "on the way," but I listed them anyway since they are not in hand)

North Dakota
South Dakota

The project fair is in 6 weeks and we have 9 more cards...Can we do it???

Monday, April 7, 2008


We're down to the wire now. We received a call from the hospital this morning, and the catherization is scheduled for 8:00 tomorrow morning (at least that's what time we have to be there). Then Neal will be checked into the hospital and his surgery is 8:00 Wednesday morning.

Neal said he feels like he's going over the last hill of a roller stopping him now!

Thank you for your continued prayers! God is GOOD!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Checking off the List

It rained today so we couldn't get any of our outside work done, but we got plenty of stuff done inside.

First, we slept in! I was the first to get up and that was at 9:30! Wow! Of course, Neal and I stayed up talking until 1:30 this morning, so that may be the reason we slept in so late!

Neal wanted me to make buckwheat pancakes, but we had an errand to run first. By the time we finally sat down to eat "breakfast" it was 2:10! The pancakes were very good though! I love grinding my own wheat. Almost everything tastes so much better. I made chocolate chip pancakes, pecan pancakes and blueberry pancakes.

I gave Neal and Ben haircuts today and we gave Suzi a bath. She was beginning to be one stinky dog!

I also made two more meals to freeze: spaghetti pie (or casserole as this actually was) and chicken enchiladas. I also froze some ground venison and onions, and some shredded chicken.

Neal did some little jobs around the house, and the kids helped out a lot, as well. Neal was in very good spirits today and we all had a lot of fun playing and working together!

Three more days until he goes into the hospital!

“My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us."

Psalm 62:5-8

Friday, April 4, 2008

Happy News

An online friend of mine received wonderful news today! They are the winners of a home makeover. She and her husband have 12 adopted children (most with special needs) living at home, and their house was built in the 1850's. They are a very giving, sacrificing family...very much deserving of this wonderful gift that is coming there way!

I couldn't get the video to download on my blog, but here is the link to the news broadcast that announced them as winners for the makeover.

Congratulations, Linda!


When someone as popular as Oprah speaks, people listen. Now Oprah is speaking about a lot of things including "spirituality" and politics. This clip is almost 7 minutes long, but gives you a good look at what Oprah believes about Christ and religion and faith. It's very sad...not only for her, but for the hundreds of thousands of people who hang on to every word she says.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hotel, Grass, Piano, Hearts and Pizza

Hotel: This morning while Neal and I were talking he inadvertently called the hospital a hotel. LOL I said "I told you we should think of this as a vacation!"

Grass: I wanted to get the grass mowed (I just started to write mass growed) before Neal's surgery next week. So, I made a deal with Beth and told her she didn't have to do Math today if she mowed the grass (we only do math 4 days a week, so she can do it tomorrow). She thought that was an awesome idea! So I went outside and did some prep work in the yard (i.e. rolling up water hoses that were strewn out to the garden), and she dressed warmly to mow grass. After a few minutes she came back in and told me she couldn't get the mower started, so I went out and gave it a try. The battery was dead! (Beth: "Does this mean I have to do Math today?") Long story short -- Neal's Grandpa brought his battery charger over and it is now charging, but when will the rain stop???

Piano: Beth had piano this afternoon at 2:00. While she was at her lesson, Ben and I drove over to Sams Club to do a bit of shopping. On the way there we were driving down an interstate when all of a sudden we came upon a traffic jam. Up ahead I could see the problem: a power line was down across the road. The work crew was there fixing it, but the traffic was backed up for quite a while. I don't know if it was a fallen line, or if they were just replacing a line. Anyway, poor Beth ended up having to wait an extra 30 minutes for us to get back from Sams.

Hearts: Neal went in for his EKG and blood work this afternoon. They told him they had him scheduled for next Tuesday...not today. He said "well, I'll be having my catherization at the hospital next Tuesday." They fit him in. It kind of makes me nervous when they make mistakes like that. We decided that we have to make sure on Monday that this surgery is pre-approved with the insurance. (the doctor's office said they would take care of it for us) Now that would be a doozy of a bill to have to pay!

Pizza: Tonight we had a friend and her boys over for supper. She is moving away later this month, and we wanted to have them over one more time before Neal's surgery. We had a fantastic visit. I made homemade pizza, salad, and mac 'n cheese. I also made some homemade mini-M&M cookies. Yum! Amber has two is Ben's age and one is almost the same age as Beth. So they paired up and played together. They took turns on the Wii, and Ben and N played super heroes downstairs, and Beth and K played a board game. We adults just sat in the kitchen and talked. It was fun!

Tomorrow I'll do some more cooking and freezing. I've got a big container of chili in the freezer and some pork and pinto beans (for chalupas). I'm also going to make chicken enchiladas (can you tell we like Mexican food?). I'll probably make some more muffins and sandwich rolls and freeze those as well. I'll have to make the rolls on Saturday though, because it's supposed to rain tomorrow. I've found that every time I make bread when it rains, the bread falls. Oh, I'm also going to make spaghetti pie and freeze it. That will give us four meals in the freezer, and then our Sunday school class is going to bring us some meals. I think we'll be fine.

If you're still hanging in here with this post, I'll give you a way to pray for me. I've found that the closer the surgery date gets the more agitated I have become. I'm crying easier and I'm very fidgety. I'm wanting to eat more (which isn't good at all) and I'm wanting to shop more (which is very surprising as I am not a shopper). Maybe I feel like I'm trying to store up for winter. LOL Anyway, if you would please pray that I lean on the Lord for strength and help through this time of uncertainty. I don't need the scales to go up any higher, nor the credit card bill!


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fire, Fire!

Everything finally came in and we have our fireplace installed and working! Yaah!!!

This is our new Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm:

This is how close our new Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm is to our new fireplace (we just put it where the old smoke detector was located):

See the blue stool? That is what we use to reach the Smoke/Carbon Monixide Alarm to turn it off every five minutes while the fire is burning.

Actually it doesn't go off anymore, however, the first few times we used the fire place it was pretty annoying! The first time was funny...the 5th or 6th time? Not so much.

It starts out with this somewhat loud "Beep, Beep," then a woman's voice loudly says "FIRE, FIRE," THEN THIS REALLY EARDRUM SPLITTING "BEEEEP, BEEEEP" keeps going until you turn it off. Fortunately, as I said, it no longer does that and we are enjoying our nice, toasty fire!
Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."