Saturday, December 26, 2009

2 weeks of pure entertainment

Sara and Chris came home for Thanksgiving from Jacksonville FL to spend a couple of weeks in Indiana before they take off for their month's missionary work in Africa in January. We really enjoyed having them at home...we were so busy. Chris left after 3-4 days, but Sara and the boys stayed for 2 weeks. Which was good because I will be watching them for the month of January, and they do not know me very well.

We sure did alot of fun things while they were here... We went to the zoo, to a gymnastic club, we played on a zip line and played in the leaves... My yard has so many leaves... it takes forever to rake them but the kids thought raking leaves was a real treat, so one day we raked the entire yard and jumped in them for 2 hours... Kids make work so much fun!

It was rather sad to see them leave for Florida again, but it won't be long and I will go down to Jacksonville for 2 weeks to watch the boys while Sara and Chris will be on a month long medical mission trip.

Our entire family came to our home for Thanksgiving. I was so excited to use my brand new Dining room table and chairs.
When Stef and Dan moved back to Indiana, they needed a dining room table and chairs. We had been using Jayna's great-great grandmother's Dining room table and chairs for 33 years . I was afraid if Stef purchased a table/chairs, then in a few years when we are ready to scale down our posessions, no one would want this family heirloom, so we gave it to her now.

I pulled out my china and I had a wonderful time getting ready for our party.
This will be the only time this holiday season that we will have all our children and grandchildren together since Sara and Chris will be going to serve as Missionaries in Africa over Christmas.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

This year is supposed to be getting better...

The week after the birthday party, I was running between the church and the office complex, tripped over a post and landed on my chin... Off to the emergency room for a few stitches and then many trips to the dentist as I had sprained my jaw and my teeth were out of alignment. Talk about alot of pain! Ibuprofen was my best friend for a couple of weeks. A piece was fit for my mouth...the whole while I am still teaching 2 bible studies, and doing special music for the United Methodist Women's conference meeting the day after my fall.

A week goes by and I thought I had a sore throat, but it kept getting worse. I started running a high fever. Could it be the swine flu? Oh, no a trip to the doctor said I was fine, so a couple more days of misery that would not end, I made my way to the dentist's office and wouldn't you know it...I had developed an infection that caused me to have to have a wisdom tooth extracted the day before Sara and Chris came for Thanksgiving (which was Nov 20th). By the time I finally got around to going to the doctor the infection was pretty advanced. I was taking 2 different anti biotics - which we all know causes other problems intestinally... How in the world am I going to be able to host Thanksgiving dinner for my family of 14 while on pain killers and strong anti biotics -- Man do I feel old...

Nov 6th

In the midst of getting the animated light show up and running, I planned my step-father's 80th birthday party! I asked what kind of party Daren would enjoy...Mom said "let's have soup beans and corn bread". Oh, my. I have never made soup beans...and how do you have a beautiful birthday party while serving soup beans? Yes, it was a challenge...but we managed to pull the party off beautifully!

Wow, it's been a long time

Woah - it has been a long time since I've written in the blog. Life has been so busy - hardly time to breathe. Life should not be like that... we need to slow down...

In 2007 Steve had the brainy idea that Grace UMC needed to begin an animated Christmas light show on the outside of the church building. Everyone said that "It can't be done"..."we are an older congregation"...."there isn't anyone who can do this kind of thing"...well, don't say it can't be done to us... Jayna began researching the programs, did a lot of calling around, visited other animated light shows in the area and ...last year (right after Steve's heart attack) we strung, hung, and lit over 30,000 lights on the side of the church building. So, once again, come November, the process began. You cannot imagine all of the hours it takes to produce something of this magnitude. Not only did it take a cherry picker, professional "hangers" and expert electrical engineers, we utilize computer guru's and sound techincians...all overseen by "yours truly". I never imagined that when I became a pastor's wife that I would be going to town hall meetings to get streets closed and learn computer software, but here I am today - stretched beyond my capacity and loving every moment - okay I didn't love it when I had to call support to get the thing up and running again, but other than that, once the lights began made it all worth while.
Right after Christmas we are going to begin the process of programming an animated portrayal of the birth of Christ..I'm very excited about trying to do this. It's going to be great! Okay I think it's going to be great ...if we can figure it all out. This year we tried to figure out how to put our list of songs in groupings and we fried the monster brain and had to order a new one..ugh!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Jaybins 4th birthday

Thursday night we celebrated the fact that Stephen's heart attack was one year ago and Praise the Lord... this year is over! We went to eat at Half Moon Restaurant. They serve VERY good hamburgers there and we ordered one to celebrate that Stephen has gone an entire year eating healthy and watching fats...but not tonight! We ate a hamburger and french fries! We were good...we split one meal! Actually the hamburgers are so large there, that half a hamburger was more than enough for both of us. Stephanie made dessert - so we then ate pumpkin cake.

Friday we went to Indy to go to the Children's museum for the King Tut exhibition. Wouldn't you know it...Friday the kids were out of school and there was no place to park and there were kids everywhere, so we opted to go to circle center mall downtown Indy. It had been years since we have been to the circle center, so that sounded like fun...well, until we realized that the FFA convention was going on and there were 40,000 high school kids running around the mall and over the streets. They were all dressed in blue pants and blue "FFA" jackets. We spent about 30 minutes in the mall and decided to get out of that chaos. So, then we decided that we would go Christmas shopping for the grandkids at Toys R Us. That didn't work out either. A semi truck had crashed into the bridge on the corner of Highway 69 and 465, so all traffic was re-routed past the mall. We turned onto 86th street and soon discovered that the traffic was so congested that it would take hours to get to our destination, so we left town and came home!

Saturday we went back to Indy to celebrate Jaybin's 4th birthday! We went bowling! Yes, Stephen bowled for the first time since the heart attack. He was pretty slow at first, but the second game he got his "mo jo" back...he beat everyone that game. Jaybin and Kinsen used bumpers and Grandma got to bowl on that lane! (I'm embarassed to say that even with the bumpers Grandma only bowled 78 pins!) We did have a fun day bowling and watching the Notre Dame game. Then Jaybin got to open his presents and we all got to play with them!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Let's Celebrate

On Thursday of this week, Stephen will be celebrating the fact that one year ago he suffered the massive heart attack - AND, blessing upon blessing, he is still with us. Mom and Dad Beutler, Jason, Kendra, Kinsen, Jaybin, Stephanie and Daniel are coming over to Kokomo and we are going out to eat to celebrate!

I would have to say that 2009 was the most difficult year of our life - if I think about it very long, I get overwhelmed. October 22, he suffered the heart attack. Because the heart attack was so massive, we waited 10 days before the doctors thought he was strong enough to endure surgery. Nov 1, 2008 Steve was recuperating from open heart surgery. Amazingly, one month later Steve preached at the Christmas services. That's about all he could do, but he got up there and proclaimed the message of Christ once again. That was a milestone for us and we celebrated big time by taking a 4 hour nap that afternoon!

The first of January Jayna's father was diagnosed with Alzheimers. February Jayna's mother had surgery which resulted in blindness for 7 months, so Jayna was traveling back and forth to Plymouth IN to take care of her parents.

February and into April, Steve was going to therapy and getting stronger every day. Except for the great pain in his left arm, he was doing well. The doctors thought that perhaps the muscle tissue was damaged during the heart attack, so we treated him with therapy for months. In May we went to Disneyworld and Stephen did very well. He couldn't hold the grandkids because of the pain in his arm that was creeping into his jaw by this point, but Steve did love being with the family. After Disneyworld, things began to fall apart. The pain became greater...his arm, his jaw, and now the chest hurt him so badly. We kept going to the doctor, and finally in August after Steve did not pass the echo stress test, Dr Ritchie did another heart catheter and discovered that two of his bypasses had failed and Steve had 2 more aterial blockages that needed opened. We also learned at that time that the lower portion of his heart was completely dead heart muscle tissue that will never regenerate itself. He will forever function on 30% heart function.

In July Stephen's mother had a total knee replacement, so our life consisted of traveling back and forth to South Bend. No sooner was Mom beginning to recover from her knee surgery, Jayna falls off of the front step and breaks her foot in three places and is on crutches for 12 long weeks. You can only imagine the total frustration for both Stephen and I as we struggled once again to survive. We thank the Lord for our church family and good friends that helped us once again through this time.

As soon as Jayna gets the cast off, 10 days later (obviously not walking very strongly yet) she trips and falls on her chin - creating the need for 4 stitches in the chin and treating the sprained jaw with heat/ice and a mouthpiece to keep the jaw in place at night. (of which she is still wearing and has a doctor's appointment next week to see how the jaw is doing)

Can you believe such a year? It's been crazy and we certainly are celebrating the fact that this year is almost over! Surely we will not have to endure two such chaotic years in a row.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nice days have been few and far between this Fall - it has been so rainy and cold. Yesterday about noon our daughter, Stephanie called and told us that she and Dan, Jason and Kendra and the two kids were coming to Kokomo to go to Guffy Farm. They also informed me that a nice hot bowl of chili would be a welcome treat - and they would be here in an hour! So the kids came and began the afternoon by raking and jumping in the few leaves that had fallen in the back yard.

Guffy farms was a great place to take the kids. There was mounds of bales of hay for them to crawl all over...a whole pit full of shelled corn to waller in...a barrel horse to try your hand at lasso-ing...a big hay mound to jump in... and a 5 acre corn field carved into an impossible muddy muddy maze! We had a delightful afternoon and came home a filthy mess. Stephen had a funeral to officiate so he didn't get to play with us.

Check out the muddy path - our shoes were ruined.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Could life be normal this week?

This week has been much better. Our schedule is just as busy, and we are working our tail off, however, we are both handling the stress of life much better this week. Steve has had alot of energy this week. Actually this is the first week that he hasn't had to take a nap - and we have not been going to bed until after midnight. So we are celebrating that some energy is coming back. We seem to do better during the week if we rest during the weekends.

Today was the Conference United Methodist Women Fall meeting. It took place at Grace this year. I was so proud of our people. The men were there to park cars and greet the ladies... We had a lovely chicken salad luncheon - our ladies knocked themselves out... The church looked beautiful; there were signs everywhere, and I could not have been more proud to be a part of Grace UMC in my life. They were great hosts. I got to sing at the meeting with Nancy Hefley. Nancy's husband just passed away and it was the greatest blessing for me to watch her get back into serving her Lord. She had tears in her eyes most of the day as people expressed thier sorrow for the loss of the love of her life. However, she got up there and sang with joy in her eyes. I think that made my day - just watching her. I'm glad this meeting is over - it took alot of planning and organizing. It's a relief not to have to plan something right now...

We have seen and/or heard from more people from our former churches this past week -that has been a great joy. I think the Lord knows when we need encouragement and it certainly was showered upon us this week.

I'm missing seeing our daughter Sara who lives in Florida. It has been since May and I'm getting pretty homesick for her, Chris and the boys. Mason is one now - and when I talk on the telephone with him, he tells me what the duck says, and the cat... He says "Luh oooo" for "love you" and when you say "let's sing Mason" - he says "la, la, la". Grant is 3 and can now carry on a conversation with Grandma and Grandpa over the telephone. They are all coming for Thanksgiving. I can't wait. I guess they are going to be here for a couple of weeks! That will give me lots of time to play.

Jason's kids are in school now. Kinsen is in first grade - that seems to cramp their style a little; They are not used to being in by 8:00 pm - nor are they used to homework! I remember those days! Jaybin is in preschool 3 days a week. He loves being with other children.

Stephanie and Daniel are adjusting to the ministry. Last week Stephanie invited me over to Indiana Weslyan University, where we took a pottery class. I actually "threw" a pot on the wheel. I did fine centering the pot, but I was lousey at pulling the sides up... I threw 6-7 pots, but nothing was keepable. I really enjoyed the class. If I lived closer I would love to take the class on a weekly basis.

Tonight we are going to order a veggie pizza and watch a movie....does anyone know of any good movies out there?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Last weekend we pulled a halt to our activities and just rested most of the weekend - except for Sunday of course. I missed my family reunion on Saturday which saddened me greatly. I had a cousin from Arizonia that was coming and I haven't seen him since I was 8 or 9 years old. Another cousin was coming from California - However, after Steve last week ending up in the hospital and then having a couple more painful episodes, we decided to just play it quiet.

This week has been very very busy - the church is bustling with programs, fall events, fall planning, stewardship campaigns and preparations for the coming holidays. So, once again, we decided to take a quiet approach to our weekend. Friday is Steve's day off, we went to Indy to visit a couple of our members that had surgery, then we went out to eat (at PF Changs - my favorite restaurant). Then we came home, rented a movie, cuddled up on the sofa and ate pop corn and apples!

Today Steve did a funeral in the morning and then we went over to Marion - Indiana Wesleyan University to see Stephanie's pottery that she is making in the class she is taking at IWU. We also wanted to see the hall that she decorated for Homecoming. Stef is one talented girl. She always does a fabulous job at whatever she does. She sure loves to be creative.

Tomorrow Steve will preach, lead Sunday School, and then we will come home and rest for the duration of the day. I think we will pull out his stamp collection and continue to log each and every stamp! Now, doesn't that sound relaxing? ha. Steve loves it - and it's not "work" - it's his hobby!

Steve seems to be feeling a little better this week. We do insist that he take a break in the middle of the day to rest. That has seemed to help alot.

I need to work on my Bible Study for the week. There are 35 women taking the study on the Holy Spirit. We are studying the book "The Promise" written by Tony Evans. We have discussed being "baptized" in the Spirit (whoa, now that was controversial) and last week was on "eternal security" (another highly controversial topic)...I'm not sure I'm cut out for this kind of discussion...I think I'm way in over my head. We had to call Steve into our study last week - I thought that we could whiz through this book, however, we should be on chapter 6 - and we are on chapter 2! Must go study...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dr. Ritchie says "You have to get to know your body" - Stephen runs this vicious cycle - he has so much he wants to do.... he doesn't feel 100%, so he pushes harder...the harder he pushes the more tired he gets... the more tired he gets, he thinks he has to push harder to get it all done... and by the end of the day - well, his body gives out.

Get to know your body - know how much you can take - know when you need to rest! Stephen has a tremendous work ethic. He knows what needs to be done and cannot rest until it is completed. I am not sure he will ever "get to know" what he can take/do. He just "runs" until it all gets done - and then he begrudginly falls into bed without calling on someone he knows he should have. This is something we will have to work on. I don't know about how to do it. He does delegate and he does do a good job of letting his staff do their thing without him interfering with their responsibilities. He could do a much better job of taking his day off. But he has had 57 years of a pattern that it is going to be hard (impossible?) to break. Yeah, I hear you now..."good luck Jayna!"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Today started out lovely - Bible Study on Tuesday morning - (which by the way has over 25 women in this particular study). I went to lunch with a friend and came home to lots of phone calls - Then about 2:30 I received a call that made my heart stand still.

Steve was on the other line saying "Jayna help me..." - he was in tremendous pain again and extremely frightened. We called his cardiologist and went directly to the emergency room. We were there for at least 4 hours. The tests all came out okay. Tomorrow we meet again with Dr. Ritchie. We don't seem to know what is causing him all of this pain. We gave him pain medicine and since we have been home, Steve has been asleep.

I feel tired, yet my eyes won't close. I would have to admit that this entire year has been the most difficult year of my life. Feelings of fear...depression...mortality...of feeling old...of watching the one you love struggle...trying to keep it all together when you feel like you are falling apart... I have trouble with concentration, depression, anxiety, being overwhelmed and unorganized. I forget everything, I can't remember things or even people. I feel old - we talk about retirement - but with all of the doctor bills finances are a big issue with us; retirement is out of the issue - we discuss whether we are effective in ministry anymore - This is not fun. I know God is with us. I feel His presence all the time - I have had so much support from the church and family - and I am sure that all of these overwhelmed feelings come with the trauma that has happened in our life. I keep asking why I am going through all of these feelings when it is Steve's body that's "broken" -- I guess that is what it means that when two become one, whatever happens to one of us affects the other just as incredibly.

I don't know what to do anymore. I just cast it all on the Lord - but there is a great fear and sadness that keeps clutching at my heart.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New hair

Stephanie's birthday was Sept 9. I asked her what she wanted for her birthday - she said she wanted to go and get her hair cut/done with me. She also said she wanted to pick my hair style. Okay - off we go. I drove to Marion Indiana - picked up Stef and we went to get our hair done. It is taking me alot to get used to short hair...but here are the pictures...

Labor Day

We met Stephanie and Daniel after church, ate a quick bite of lunch and took off for Lake Michigan. Jason and Kendra had rented a hotel in St Joseph, MI, so we all met at the hotel and had a lovely day on the beach. The kids loved the water - we ate pizza at the waterpark and played in the sand building sandcastles, digging holes and watching the waves fill them in... we had a lovely weekend.

We did have quite an eventful night's sleep at the Hotel. About 2 am, the fire alarm went off - we were on the 7th floor - so we bounded down the stairs in our pajamas. It was about 55 degrees, so it was a little nippy out there in our jameys... For some reason the fire trucks did not come for 2 hours, the guests were furious and it was not pretty! We finally got the kids back in bed around 4:30 a.m. It was pretty frustrating and stressful. I'm glad I'm not in the hotel business.

The next morning, we got up and ate our breakfast and then wandered the quaint little shops in town...there was a great fudge shop and and Ice Cream shop that caught our fancy -- so Grandpa (Steve) bought the kids ice cream at 9:00 a.m. - and peanut butter fudge. We then went to Tower Hill in Southern Michigan and climbed the mammoth sand hill there. We were talking with Jaybin (age 3) about how that hill got up so high...he decided that a big bulldozer pushed it up there. He loved the climb and expecially the "run" down - I think he had more fun jumping and falling than actually running. Stephen and I did not take the hill - my cast was just taken off last week and I wasn't sure my foot could handle the soft sand yet so Steve stayed behind with me.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Notre Dame Season

Hooray for Notre Dame season! Yes - Jason and Kendra take off for South Bend and we get to watch Kinsen and Jaybin! We have been having such a wonderful day. Steve and Daniel went with Jason and Kendra to the game so Stephanie and I have been playing all day with the kids.

Yesterday Steve and I cleaned out the attic. We ran across two boxes of toys that our kids used to play with - but have been put in boxes for 20 years! You know, toys like "make and bake oven"... "Light bright"... "Jewels in the attic"..."Labrinth".... "giant coloring books"... "tinker toys"... "lincoln logs"...."pick-up sticks"... We had to run to Walmart to get some pans to bake in the oven; we also picked up a tiny light to go in the light bright! The kids came at 9:00 this morning, and before you know it, the Notre Dame game had started (3:30 pm) and we missed the kick-off.

Jaybin has been playing with an old game of Jason's called "Weapons and Warriors". He has sat there for over 2 hours contented to shoot cannon balls and set up his kingdoms.

Kinsen always loves a grand tea party. We got dressed up in beautiful princess dresses and put on fancy hats. (I noticed that my "shape" has changed since I last wore my fancy dresses - humm... I guess more rigorous exercise will take place in my daily routine). Kinsen and Stephanie used the make and bake oven to make our special tea they were beautiful! Our dog, POOF, got the little debbie snack cakes as they were on the bottom shelf of the tea cart! She's laying around on the floor not moving for the last hour - - -

Right now the kids are playing a game I forgot all about called "Jewels in the Attic". This game is a "make your own story" game where you run all over the house ...Kinsen just told me that there is a green frog that keeps crawling up her pant leg...and a wolf is in the attic scratching the door trying to get out.. Stephanie used to love this game when she was a child and she is having a grand time remembering and running all over the house with the kids...I'm very happy to just be quiet right now.

Stephanie brought a movie for this evening. We are going to watch "the absent minded professor". I'm having such a great day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Steve's 57th birthday is on Sunday (Aug 30)! Every day is a celebration as far as I'm concerned! Steve is always so hard to know what to do (or purchase) to let him know he is loved and appreciated. He doesn't like to spend money on himself, so every dime I spend on him, he complains. So...I typically plan something that doesn't involve much money. This year however, I had a really good idea - and I spent money on it too! We had purchased a new car in February that has Sirius radio. The "free" service was only for 6 months - it expired yesterday. Steve loves 50's and 60's music...I love the broadway, classical, easy listening and big band music. The variety of music is so incredible... and there are no advertisements! We have really enjoyed Sirius radio. However, if you know Steve, it is not a necessity, so we were not going to renew the subscription. Well...I just picked up the phone yesterday and called Sirius and renewed it for a year. I was amazed at how thrilled Steve was that his radio was not shut off! So, I guess I got him a gift that he really likes this year! And, he only complained about the money I spent on it once!

Also, to celebrate his birthday we are going to Frankenmuth Michigan to meet Steve's baby sister (age 40) on Friday. I love to eat at Zenders. My favorite thing to eat at this famous chicken restaurant are the wonderful fried chicken livers smothered in sauteed onions. No one else likes them...but to me they are like candy! I can't wait.

Then, on Steve's actual birthday, after church, we are going to meet Jason/Kendra/Kinsen/Jaybin and Stephanie/Daniel at the Tipton park for a picnic and a geocache! Sure wish Sara/Chris/Grant/Mason lived close. It always seems so hard to meet with the family when one link is down in Florida.

On Monday of next week I am supposed to be released from the foot doctor - Wow! It will be 12 weeks. This week I have been wearing a tennis shoe on my broken foot. The tennis shoe works really well. When I put on any other shoe, my foot aches after an hour or two. I tried going to a wedding in a rubber soled black shoe (not very pretty, but at least not a white tennis shoe). I was hardly able to get to the car that evening. When I got home my foot was swollen again. So, I wore tennis shoes to church the next day. Tennis shoes and white socks! Now that was a fashion statement. It was rather humorous to me that it is not the women that noticed that I wore a pair of slacks and tennis was the men. They were the ones that made a big deal out of the fact that this was the very first time they saw their pastor's wife in a pair of pants on Sunday morning - let alone tennis shoes.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

33 years and counting

Our 33rd Wedding anniversary was this week on Friday, August 14. Thursday evening we hopped in the car and headed down to French Lick Indiana and stayed at The West Baden Hotel. It is a lovely old hotel that was remodeled in 2007. This is the first time we have ever stayed here. There really is not much to do in French Lick but rest. That we did very well. Friday morning we got up and sat out on the veranda with a cup of coffee and the newspaper letting the sunshine wake us for the day.

Then we headed out to Spring Mill State park. The park was quite rustic, but very nice. Since I have a broken foot, we did not hike, but we did take a boat ride through a cave and walked through the old inn. There is a pioneer village at Spring Mill that was delightful to walk. There is also an old mill that is still used to grind corn. Stephen was very tired the entire couple of days that we were there. As soon as he would sit down, he would fall asleep. I am hoping that there is still some anesthesia in his system that is making him so tired. It has been over a week since the heart catheter. It was a very minor surgery and Steve was awake through most of it... Never-the-less, Steve slept alot this weekend. Perhaps he was exhausted with all of the excitement and pain he has had over the past month.

As tired and worn out as Steve was on our little trip, this morning he got up, walked in the pulpit and he was strong, vibrant and shared the WORD this morning with conviction and passion. Grace UMC is doing a sermon series on the book of Phillippians. This morning we were on Philippians 2:5-12. ....Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.... I wish you all could have heard Steve this morning. He has a new sense of power in his preaching since his heart attack. At the end of the sermon, we began singing "He is Lord....He is Lord...He has risen from the dead and He is Lord....every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord .... and one by one people all over the congregation began standing on that Historic confession of faith.

Sometimes, in my weakness/humanity I wish that Steve would retire. Then he gets up in the pulpit and "does his thing" and I relax, placing my trust once again in the fact that we are called to pastoral ministry, and it is good...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Update on Stephen

Steve has been having alot of pain in his left arm, neck, jaw, and chest. He has had this pain in his arm for 5-6 months. The chest and jaw/neck pain has almost immobilized him for over a month. At our last Doctor's appointment, Dr Ritchie suggested that he needed to do a few tests to find out why Steve is in such pain. So, Aug 3, 4, and 5, Steve went through a battery of tests. The first two tests came back normal, for which we were grateful. The third test came back abnormal, which then promoted more testing. After hours of testing, we now have a better understanding of the extent of the damage that was done to Steve's heart during his massive heart attack on October 22nd.

We knew that the bottom portion of the heart was where his heart attack was. We were told after Steve's bypass surgery that the heart was regenerating itself. However, after 9 months since the surgery, we are now facing the fact that the bottom portion of Steve's heart is nothing but dead heart muscle. We also were informed that one of the bypass grafts had failed and is now completely blocked again. Luckily, the stent that was put in before the surgery was still holding and adequate blood flow is getting to the heart.

Dr Ritchie informed stressed with both of us that there is nothing that Steve cannot do. He has no restrictions. He needs to continue to keep on living, and pushing and working. We just need know his body and when he gets tired, back off for awhile.

We know that Steve will have to live with the pain perhaps for the rest of his life - it is just lack of oxygen to the left side of his upper body. We do have a new medication to help with the pain. He has been home for the last 48 hours (per doctor's orders) and has rested alot. The rest has seemed to help the pain as well. He is bored, wrestless and can't wait to get back to work.

As we have been processing what the tests showed, we have had mixed feelings. Feelings of gratitude that Steve does not have to have another surgery, or another stent at this point...but feelings of great sadness that one of the bypasses has already become blocked and that the heart tissue to the bottom of the heart is totally gone now. We are also sobered that his body is still making cholesterol and blocking arteries, even with all of the diet changes we have made.

New Experience

Conner Prairie in Indiananpolis has a new exhibit - a helium balloon that you can ride in. There is a difference between a Hot air balloon and a Helium balloon. This one is helium - there is no fire to warm and cool the air...there is only a pully that allows the helium balloon to rise and then the pully line pulls the balloon back down to earth. We went over 350 feet in the air and it felt like a hot air balloon ride - the wind was blowing in our face and we were dangling in a basket. Conner Prairie is a wonderful day - and I was able to walk the entire experience with my walking cast.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Getting Ready for the Fall

I have a group of about 30 women that are in Bible Study with me on Tuesday mornings and Thursday nights. I always stew around all summer long trying to decide what to teach/learn in the next Bible Study class. I've stewed and stewed all summer long, I've been praying about it for weeks and I think today I have decided that we are going to do a study on the Holy Spirit. If I were a wise woman, I would have seen God's answer along time ago, but it just dawned on me today...

My mother was talking the last time we were together about the Holy Spirit and the "power" that was promised to us when Jesus left the earth. John 16:7 has Jesus saying the it was to our advantage that he go away so that the Holy Spirit can come upon us - then Christ goes on to say that we will do even greater things than he. Mom and I were discussing this at great length. Where is the Holy Spirit's "power" in our life...etc....

Another friend was talking to me last week absolutely frozen at the thought of publically praying. We talked once again about the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit intercedes for us.

I was leading our Sunday School class and someone in our class was discussing the fact that they were feeling guilty about the way they had treated their fellow Christian,....and yet....their friend had it coming to them, but nevertheless, they couldn't shake the fact that they had hurt their friend...So, we again talked about the Holy Spirit and how he convicts us of something out of kilter in our life...

Another situation came up this summer with a friend and substance abuse. We talked at great length that Christ is the authority in our life and that His Spirit gives us a new identity and that we need to fill our thoughts/mind with the Spirit, not things of the flesh... you see a theme developing here? You'd think it would have been obvious all summer, but this morning I was outside, having a cup of coffee with my neighbor, watching/listening to the birds at the bird feeder and she said "it's so peaceful back here, sometimes I wish I had peace in my life, it feels so out of control...where is God...?" And we spent two hours talking about His Spirit living within her ....

After she left, it dawned on me...I know where to go this Fall in Bible Study, we are going to talk about the Holy Spirit. No more stewing... I know where to go, now only by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Spirit may I walk humbly as I study and listen to His Word.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The summer is going by so fast. I cannot believe that July is almost over and I haven't even got to enjoy it yet. Actually today I was able to walk around the house without my crutches. What a difference that makes in my attitude about life. I was almost to the point of deciding that I was overwhelmed, stricken, moneyless, friendless, worthless, that my life correlated with that of Job in the Bible,... and then today came. I could actually fix lunch without having my hands tied to the crutches. I even folded laundry out of the dryer without having to "kick" a folding chair across the room so I could sit down to reach the clothes! I was invited to lunch today, and I got to drive myself and converse around a table and for over two hours while I totally forgot about my hurt foot. Okay, maybe life is going to be all right after all - perhaps I am not a burdensome noose around my husbands neck anymore.

I took some pictures today of my flower garden. I have taken great delight today walking outside and snapping pictures. Shade gardening is not near as colorful and whimsical as gardening where there is alot of sun. Flowers are much stronger and bolder. The color is much more subtle, but there is a beauty of their own, even in their simplicity. This is the first time I have had only shade to work with and I really do find great beauty. A friend said the other day "it is so 'green' in your back yard....I've never seen such 'green'!" I agree with her, It is "green" and quite forestly looking.

I have been so grateful for Christian friends. They have kept my head above water through this whole broken bones ordeal. Whatever I was unable to do, I always had 5-6 people offering to do whatever they could do to help me. Some people really complain about being a pastoral family with all of the great demands and expectations there are in the ministry. I have found that ministry is extremely rewarding. Or, perhaps the issue is not that I am "in ministry" - the issue is that I have Christian brothers and sisters in Christ that know how to love.

The other day I was marveling about one of my friends that has an obvious gift from God of loving others.... She was over here taking care of me for over an hour, then she informed me that when she left me, she was going over to help another friend clean out her mother's estate now that her friend's mother had passed away. Oh the joy that I am learning from the servant's heart of others to be the hands and feet of Christ. May I always remember this lesson.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I have always heard that having Grandchildren is even better than having children. I could never fathom that as any kind of truth, but here I am a grandparent and I do believe that this is the life for me!
Our little Kinsen was given a Lego castle for Christmas last year and then when we went to Disneyworld a few weeks ago, her parents purchased a Medieval village to go with the castle. While we were at Jason's for 4th of July, we put the castle and village together. We set the entire village up in the living room - with the castle up on a tall kitchen stool (to make a large hill) covered with a green (grass) blanket. Kinsen has spent the rest of the week pretending and playing with this castle/village. Jason says that Kinsen has been in her own little world with a fabulous imagination. Fondly, I remembered that when I was a little girl, I believed that I was a princess. I would sit in the upstairs bedroom window (my high tower) and imagine all kinds of "princes" running to rescue me! Wow, that was 45 years ago... I still remember that like it was yesterday!
Of course, after building a Medieval town/castle, we need to pull out the styrofoam swords and imagine that we are medieval knights!