Friday, November 7, 2008

Every day Stephen continues to get stronger - and a little more active. Yesterday his big undertaking was going for a walk outside. It was so beautiful yesterday. He walked 5 houses down and 5 houses back. Naturally it wiped him out for the rest of the day, but he said it felt wonderful to get out of the house for awhile. Today he wants to go for a ride in the car to see all the fall color in the trees, but it is already 3:00 pm and he just hasn't had the energy, or been awake long enough.

Steve's mother was here and kept an eye on Steve while I raked leaves, put away garden hoses, winterized the flower garden, winterized the outside of the house. It took me all day raking leaves, but with the strong winds we had yesterday as soon as I raked a section the winds would blow more leaves off of the trees. Today it doesn't look like I did a thing yesterday!

Mom Beutler left today as there really isn't much we can do for Steve other than wait. He really looks great. His coloring is good, he gets up and walks around really well, his exercises he does with ease (oh yes, he complains, but he can do it!). Every day I am more and more encouraged.

As Steve and I were talking last night about how we were processing this entire episode in our life, we both have commented on the great peace, the gentle strength, the calm assurance we felt over the last 2 weeks. We have always said that the greatest asset that we have had in our ministry was our children. When we came to Kokomo Grace UMC we were afraid that we "couldn't do it" without our children. As the heart attack unfolded and the children all came home to support, love, nurture and care for us, we humbly needed to admit once again that it was our children that gave us the most pride, joy, peace, assurance, and strength. The nurses, doctors, and caregivers all commented that we were the most laughing, giggling, singing, praying family they had ever seen. Dr. Coffey (Steve's surgeon) even commented that he loved coming to Steve's room because he always left laughing about something and he said to Steve: "you have some family here Mr Beutler". I don't know if that's good or bad! Ha.

To be a part of a family like mine
where love is shown and support divine
is the greatest gift in all the earth
giving joy and strength, and good self worth

we laugh, we cry, "we're all we've got"
if one is in need and the others are not
my family pulls through with comforting ways
sharing acts of compassion to help through the days

There are no words that express my joy
in this gift of two daughters and one single boy
who have taught us as parents the beauty of life
and made it worth living as husband and wife

This family is growing as "in-laws" appear
and blessings continue as troubles draw near
these spouses that married our children three
were all at the Throne on bended knee

they too were "my family" offering much needed strength
holding my hand - it seemed at great length
I bow to the Father with humble devotion
and Thank Him for every bit of commotion

Then too, I found that my family extended
to the body of Christ - we all became blended
you stood by my side with prayers galore
and loved us extravagantly . . . and then offered more

There is nothing more precious on the face of this earth
than people, or love, and the promise of birth
for birthing across my spirit tonight
is a fresh love for "family" with all of my might.

Okay, enough of this smaltzy stuff. Jeanne Harland wrote Steve a get well note that said something like: "I know that God said "okay, okay, enough prayer already, I'll do it, I'll do it!" Thanks family for your prayers - God did it! Hallelujah, Amen.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Research, research, research . . . man, i didn't know there was so much to learn about food, nutrition, cholesterol, fats (saturated, trans, poly, mono), sodium, protein, and good or bad sugars. I keep telling my children as soon as I get them all together they are going to hear from me about heart healthy nutrition - as heart issues reign on both sides of the family. And as far as my church family goes, you should be very happy that I am not the "preacher" because you would definately get "preached" at as well.

One of my most vivid memories of the hospital stay was going to the hospital cafeteria after the health consultant met with Steve and I. She had just painted all kinds of horrible pictures (which grossed us out) about "fat" and how it destroys our arteries. Then I went to the cafeteria to purchase my lunch. I chose a salad with low-fat dressing and proceeded to the cashier. There in front of me was a gentleman with a big fat hamburger, french fries, Banana cream pie and a chocolate milkshake. You will never know how hard it was for me to keep my mouth shut! Since then I have mellowed out some because when I came home and someone had brought chocolate brownies and peanut butter cookies . . . I enjoyed every bite.

It doesn't take much to wear Steve out. Taking a shower was about all he got accomplished today. He talks about getting back to work as soon as possible. The doctors say that he is not to go back to work for about 6-8 weeks, however he has been on the telephone talking to other ministers who have had open heart surgery and he has convinced himself that after 4 weeks he will be back in the saddle again. Pastor Chris came to visit today and Steve "talked business" - oddly enough . . . that seemed to energize him.

A charming visiting nurse from Greentown came to visit today. She thought that Steve was really impressive. She was amazed that he opened the front door and greeted her this morning. It has only been 4 days since surgery. She talked to him about resting more and not pushing himself so hard. We picked up our dog today and they both seem very content to cuddle up in the Lazyboy. Since POOF has been home, Steve has settled down significantly.

Life is good - wasn't the day glorious. I walked outside today and the sun was shining on the beautiful red and yellow trees. The leaves were falling gracefully everywhere. I can't wait to get outside and rake them. Perhaps Mom will sit with Steve tomorrow and I can get out there and enjoy the season.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Long haul

Woah - what a day. It seems that Stephen always has alot of anxiety in the mornings. The pain medicines that he takes seem to make him hallucinate and have bad dreams that he thinks are real. This morning he was afraid that he was violent and had hit me. It scared him because it felt so real. As the morning progressed and we changed the pain medicine, he became less anxious.

Our neighbors, Jeff and Marla Stein, brought over lunch. Stephen hasn't been eating the hospital food very well, but Marla's beef and homemade noodles and my mother's baked apples prompted 2 helpings. Now mind you his helpings are about 1/8 cup, but nevertheless he really enjoyed lunch.

As my mom was here today, I ran some errands. One of my errands was to go to Maplecrest Elementary school and vote. I checked out the possiblity of bringing Stephen in to vote. They told me as soon as he got there, they would bring him to the front of the line. He was very proud of himself today as he got out of the house and honored his country.

We were both exhausted by 6:00 pm - so, I turned down the lights; lit candles; turned on the TV to watch the elections; put on pajamas/robe and got us all settled in for the night. Perhaps there will be some semblance of normality to our life tonight. Hopefully normality - my bet is that we will fall asleep and miss the whole lovely evening!

We're Home

Well, two weeks ago today Stephen had the massive heart attack and here I am sitting in our office at home thanking God for seeing us through the very dramatic events of the last couple of weeks.

We got home about 8:00 pm last evening. Jason came home with us to help get Steve in the house, settled and make sure he could climb the stairs. Steve got in the house fine and he climbed stairs beautifully (slowly, but beautifully). Jay stayed with his Dad while Jayna ran to the pharmacy to purchase all the new medications that Steve will now be on - Woah - Two weeks ago Steve took 2 pills, last night he took 10 pills. . . and I'm not even going to talk about what it cost!

The night was quite wakeful as Steve tried to sleep in his own bed - not so good, the Lazyboy chair that we bought from Grannys furniture last summer was the place of comfort - so about 4:30 this morning, we moved to the chair and he has been sleeping ever since. I know we were up about 15 times before the chair move, so he needs good sleep today.

I am hoping to keep things quiet around here for a few days. My mother is coming today to help me get groceries, laundry, clean out the refrigerator (you know 2 weeks with no one here - not a pretty sight). I will enjoy spending time with mom. Then Stephens mother is coming for awhile. She is helping with the elections today so it was nice that my mother voted early and could come to spend the day with me.

The kids are all home, Steve is home and my greatest nightmare of coming home alone was not a reality. I have great joy and the sun is shining. The trees are beautiful and someone came to the house and raked my leaves. God is so good that it brings tears to my eyes. If you see me and I cry - just know they are happy tears.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I have had alot of time to reflect on the last couple of weeks events and process all kinds of feelings, emotions and questions. I have also had the opportunity to meet many wonderful Christian people who are going through crises themselves. Hours of sitting in the waiting room you hear all kinds of pain and suffering.

We are so very fortunate. Ten days ago the doctors were talking with me about disability and life insurance - tonight they are talking about him going home on Monday or Tuesday. I know that God has laid a hand on Steve. I have seen the videos of his arteries and the damage to his heart. I know that oxygen was cut off to his heart for over 8 hours and that means dead heart tissue - imagine all that tissue regenerating itself - it is a miracle. God did touch him. I can't answer why God touched Stephen and others in the waiting room are suffering tonight - and they are believers as well. I find that I can only hold them in my arms and cry with them. I have spent hours listening to their pain - getting coffee for them - praying for them.

I have found it difficult to process why Steve is healed and others are not - I have also had a difficult time even saying "I know that God has laid his hand on Steve" - or "it was the prayers of the people" because there are other Christians here who are praying and thier loved one is not doing well at all. I see the pain in their eyes when I say we had a miracle. I know there were literally hundreds of prayers on Steve's behalf. I know you prayed and I believe that God heard your prayer and He was gracious.

People tell me that God's ways are not our ways. God knows when it is best for someone to live and someone to die. God will decide, so then I ask the question if that is the case then why pray The only thing that I can figure out in my mind is that I pray to know God's way; for God to reveal to me His thoughts, His will, and His timing. He tells me what and how to pray. As you prayed, God revealed to you what to pray for. Do you know what I noticed in each of the comments that came across the blog? You prayed for us to have strength. You prayed for healing; You prayed for peace; You prayed for safety; for us to feel loved. Do you know what we experienced through this ordeal? Steve talks about peace like he has never had before. Jayna talks about the love and support she has felt. The kids tell us that they knew God was with them in their travels and kept them safe. God did reveal to each of you exactly what to pray for - Healing was one of the components and I am so glad that God directed us to pray for healing - you know He could have directed us to pray for complete healing (which is death), but He did not. God gave each of us comfort. He brought everyone of us together as one in Christ - The power of prayer is not about going to God to be our own little genie that performs miracles and hallelujah for us we got the miracle- the power of prayer is about the minds/hearts/ spirits uniting as one to pray for God's will.

I am humbled and very grateful that God saw fit to bring Steve back to us. I also believe that God has something He wants Stephen, you and I to do on the face of this earth before He calls us home. God united us all in the name of His Son. It's going to be an exciting journey - at the rate that Steve is recovering - it's going to be quite the ride!