Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pictures :)




These pictures were taken earlier tonight. Don't my mom and dad look great?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Home looked good to Dad on Wednesday, but after spending all day and night yesterday in the hospital again, home looks even better to him today. :)
I brought him home around noon and he ate a good lunch, and now Dad and Mom are both napping. It felt good to me to do something as normal as preparing the noon meal. We are glad to have the hospital experiences (hopefully) behind us for a time.
More later...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back in the Hospital

This morning Dad woke up not feeling well at all. He did eat a good breakfast, but I felt it necessary to call his doctor about some problems Dad was having with his 'plumbing' and how he wasn't feeling well. Also, around that time we checked his blood pressure and found that it had dropped seriously low. So at 9:30 am he and I took off to the Emergency Room.
They re-admitted Dad into the hospital. He'll probably be able to come home again tomorrow, but before then he will be visited by a urologist and also hopefully his BP can come up a bit and stabilize at a more normal level.
He's bummed to be back but realizes that it's for the best, as he was most miserable. At least now he is resting comfortably, and help will be on its way. Another plus is that he got to eat non-hospital food for dinner last night and breakfast this morning so he has some good nourishment in his system :) ...he barely touches the hospital food.:(
So yes, it's been another long day at the hospital. I am taking a quick break at a nearby office to get some work done, then I'll grab some dinner and head back to be with Dad for a while this evening before returning home.
Mom has been able to stay at home all day and a good friend has stayed there with her and helped her.
We'll be alright... just please keep praying for Dad to improve.

And for any of you northerners who are jealous that I am here in "sunny" Florida... just know that it's rainy and cloudy here today. But it is in the 60s and that is very nice. :)
"Oh, the sun'll come out tomorrow.....bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be sun...." :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

He's Home!

After another long day of waiting, waiting, waiting at the hospital, I am happy to report that Dad came home today around 5 pm. Yippee! He's so glad to be home and we're glad to have him home. He looks good and is overall doing very well.
Mom, Dad, cousin Becky, friend Gail and I enjoyed a delicious carry out dinner from Cracker Barrel and have been having lots of good fun, laughs and conversation. Truly we are blessed....caring friends...precious family...skilled doctors...health, protection....the list goes on and on. I'm trusting that this finds you blessed and counting your many blessings also.
More later :) and thanks for reading.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Long Hospital Day on Tuesday

Just a quick entry before hitting the hay tonight...and hopefully it won't have errors due to my tired state of mind and body.
It's been a long day at the hospital. I was there for a long shift today, leaving only twice in a 9 hour period. Mom and I arrived at 11am and stayed until 8pm. Mom took an afternoon break in the nearby hotel room that my cousin Becky is staying in, but I stayed with Dad or at least in the vicinity of his room, mostly waiting around to not miss the doctor...(the nurse said she'd be a millionaire if she could accurately find a way to tell at what time the doctor would make his rounds....of course, no one ever knows.)
Well, finally I happened upon the doctor when I least expected to see him at 7:30 this evening and was so happy that I had not missed seeing him today. :) Mission accomplished.
Basically Dad did fairly well today....his vitals are good and all that. But he did have some areas of unexpected discomfort. However, once the doctor arrived this evening he was able to suggest something that brought a lot of relief.
Dad is also more confused today than he has been in many weeks. It's slightly disappointing since he's been making such great gain from the stroke, and then today is not doing as well in his word choices and expression. However, the doctor fully expects that this confusion is temporary and a result of the medications and anesthesia in his system. They did a CAT scan tonight simply to double check that all is well - and we do believe the tests will reflect that nothing has changed.
So, tonight Dad remains in the hospital but the doc says that he most likely will be coming home tomorrow. Dad is very eager for this as you can imagine. :)
We sure are grateful for your continued prayers!
Overall, everything is going quite well and we are thankful!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Successful Surgery for Dad

I have good news for you regarding Dad's surgery today. And I am so grateful because I know so many of you were holding my Dad up to God in your prayers today. Therefore it really should be no surprise that things went very well. :) Instead of Dad's carotid artery being 70% blocked as we had been told, the artery was actually over 90% blocked, so - wow - are we ever grateful that this surgery happened in time to prevent other problems from developing. Indeed it was a serious situation.
When we saw Dad in his room in ICU we immediately noticed that he looked good and there was a better color to his face than before. What a nice and unexpected benefit; proof of the improved blood flow to that area. Dad was quite clear minded and talkative earlier this afternoon, although in quite a bit of pain, which is expected. By evening Dad was medicated fairly heavily for his pain,a bit more comfortable and quite drowsy. Hopefully he will be able to get good rest tonight.
If all goes well he may be able to return home tomorrow....or the next day. I feel great relief that Dad has crossed this major health hurdle, and continue to hope and pray for things to continue to go well in the days ahead. Thank you so much for your prayers!

Friday, January 23, 2009

the time has been set...

....Dad's surgery time is Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. Please pray!

Prayer

Through this time since Dad's stroke, wonderful friends have expressed their desire to help. I recall friends saying to me in the early days following Dad's stroke, "If there's anything I can do, let me know." I knew that they were referring to anything practical and helpful, useful, things. But my response was almost always, "Just please pray." Because, in this time of physical crisis for my Dad, suddenly everyTHING else took much less of a priority and all I found that I really cared about is him getting better, and it was apparent that to do that requires a touch from God.
So, if you pray......for me, for my dad, for any friend going through a tough time, that is truly the best gift you can give them!
When we pray we are calling on the power of the God who made the universe, the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, which is at work within us and available to us,and far greater than any power here on earth.
Ultimately, God is God and can do as He wishes. But He delights in his children calling on Him, asking Him to 'fix' things. Just as a loving father wishes to give good gifts to his earthly children, so our Heavenly Father longs to give good gifts to us.
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.
Later today we will find out the time of Dad's surgery on Monday and I will pass that along to you so that you can be praying for him specifically during that time.
Thank you friend, for praying!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Up in the Air

I'm pondering the phrase "up in the air". Things with Dad are definitely 'up in the air'. He's scheduled for surgery one week from today, but the result? Who knows? God and only God knows how he'll make it through. We're staying hopeful and faith-filled....yet truly, who knows the days ordained for each one of us? Again, the only answer is God.
So then, just as it is unfathomable to me how the huge, heavy jet that I will board on Sunday will carry me through the sky at a rapid pace and safely bring me down to a safe landing again, I trust that it will be so.
So it is with God. Though unfathomable to me, God has all our days planned out, all the hairs of our head numbered. He cares for all peoples on the earth; all our needs, cares and concerns are foremost on his mind. This I know to be true.
When things in life are changing constantly, swirling at a rapid pace, feeling out of control, He is trustworthy. He can be trusted and His ways are best.
So, being "up in the air": when God's involved it's not as bad as it sounds. It's actually a great place to be.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Guitar-Playing Dad

I mentioned that I'd upload a video of Dad and me singing the duet last Sunday night, but unfortunately it is too large to upload to this blog. So, since that didn't work out, I am going to try another. This video shows Dad playing his acoustic guitar on his birthday, October 2, about 6 weeks prior to his stroke. He mentioned just before he played that he's "a bit rusty" because his fingers have lost their callouses. Maybe true, but his rusty is pretty good, don't you agree?
On a very happy note, :) Dad can still play just as well now, even after the stroke. We are so grateful for this! video

Swimming....

...I'm swimming in a sea of responsibilities and details - things to do and decisions to be made, and just under the surface at all times are my worries and concerns about Dad and Mom and their health and current situation.
I have one week before I leave to go resume my daughterly post in Florida, and before then, there's a very long list that's growing longer every day of things that I need to get done before I go. I honestly wonder if there'll be enough hours in this week to get it all done.
But let me just say that at a time like this, I couldn't go on without my friends, my family. We really do need each other to get through each day, and this is especially apparent in times of crisis.
Thanks to each of you - for encouraging notes, words, prayers you've prayed with me and for me, offers of help. I am so incredibly blessed by you, my friends.
In church today we sang the song "Everlasting God" and the words blessed me again...."You (God) are the Everlasting God; you do not faint, you won't grow weary. You're the Defender of the weak. You comfort those in need. You lift us up on wings like eagles."
He never changes - God is the same today and He was yesterday, and the same as He will be tomorrow. Friends and family may come and go, but God we have with us always; to the very end. He's my constant, never changing friend.
And you my friends, are "God with skin on" to me. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ups And Downs

I am writing this entry 10,000 feet in the air as I sit aboard a jet taking me from St. Petersburg, Florida to Lansing, Michigan. As the plane goes up and comes down, repeating the cycle of take offs and landings over and over again for the purpose of transporting its passengers from one place to another, so in life, as we move to accomplish our purpose on life’s journey, we have continuous ups and downs.

For the past four days Tim and I’ve been in Florida to check on my parents; primarily my dad who is recovering from a stroke he suffered nearly 8 weeks ago. What an encouragement it was to see how much progress he has made. It has been 5 weeks since I had seen him last, and the improvement I witnessed was remarkable. His communication and cognitive skills, severely impacted by the stroke, are probably around 75-80% back at this time, as opposed to around 20% when I saw him in early December. Most interactions were very clear and close to normal much of the time. He has a great attitude, and this, along with the touch of God on his body and mind, combined with the prayers of many friends, is a great reason for his improvement.

Dad’s recovery from his stroke is going through an “up” right now. However, other areas of his physical need have presented us with a “down”. Yesterday Dad had an appointment with a vascular surgeon, referred by his cardiologist to follow-up with a couple of concerns found in the heart catherization Dad had just prior to his stroke. The vascular surgeon, from reading the test results, confirmed that the two remaining cardio problems that Dad has, are very serious, and need to be dealt with as soon as possible. First, Dad need to have surgery on his left carotid artery which is 70% clogged. A plugged carotid artery could lead to yet another stroke, so this needs immediate attention. The, following Dad’s recovery from that, he will need another surgery to repair an aneurysm which is on Dad’s aorta, the main heart artery. Dad’s aneurysm (bulge) is 2 inches in size on his aorta. The concern is that should the aneurysm burst, there is an extremely low survival rate if that were to happen. Clearly this needs to be dealt with very soon, however before the aneurysm surgery can occur, the carotid artery needs to be cleared to ensure the greatest chance for success.

It is as though Dad, who was taken down by the stroke, is just starting to be able to figuratively ‘stand’ again, but before he could get all the way up, was given this news which feels like a punch in the gut, and now he'll be going through a couple more huge challenges now before he can be all the way ‘up’. And we who love him and care for him are going through this same up and down cycle.

So I am headed back to Michigan where I will be for 11 days until January 25th when I will board another plane and once again come to Florida. On Monday the 26th of January Dad will have the carotid artery surgery.

Concerning the ups and downs of life, this I know:
Quoting the words of a song I heard sung this past Sunday,
“The God on the mountain is still God in the valley……God in the good times is still God in the bad times. The God of the day is still God in the night.”

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday in Florida

Greetings from Florida where Tim and I are visiting my parents. Yesterday we left Michigan with the temperatures in the 20s and the plane needing to be de-iced before we could take off, and today we wore sandals, no coats, and enjoyed a most pleasant 78 degree day. So, so nice!
Of more importance than the weather however, today we witnessed a very special event. Tonight Dad played his bass guitar in the band for the songs in church, and did a tremendous job, for the first time since his stroke 7 weeks ago and he played just as good as ever. AND (drum roll!)Dad also tonight sang a duet with me for a special in church. It was an anointed time - believe me! His singing truly was a dramatic statement for how good God has been to Dad during all that Dad has been through physically the past 7 weeks....We sang "Greater Than These", with "How Great Thou Art". The congregation of over 500 people at the Brooksville Wesleyan Church applauded and stood to their feet in a standing ovation afterwards. It was a 'moment'...one that many of us will remember with gratitude for a long time. And it was truly a blessing, one that was unexpected and would have seemed impossible a few short weeks ago. But what is impossible with man, becomes possible with God. So we are truly thankful and blessed.
****I hope to post a video soon of our duet so you can see for yourself. Check back in a few days.****

Friday, January 9, 2009

Good things happening....

Hi everyone-

Tomorrow Tim and I are headed to Florida to visit my Mom and Dad. It's been around 5 weeks since I was last there with them, and I am eager to see them, in their home again and be able to witness the progress Dad is making firsthand.
When I speak with Dad on the phone I have been able to tell that he has made a lot of improvement.
Mom and Dad are still using the services provided by a caregiver between 9 pm and 9 am each night. That is going well and providing good help for both of them.
Starting soon Dad will be receiving some sessions of speech and occupational therapy. I had anticipated this starting right away after his release from Rehab, but to this point none has occurred. This week on Tuesday when I called the doctor who was to authorize the therapy to check on why it had not started yet, his reply was that Dad did not need therapy. Well, this was a most unexpected answer - and the doctor who said that was the only professional so far who has checked on Dad during all this time who felt that way. Everyone else has agreed that therapy - as much of it and for as long as possible - is extremely needed and would prove to be most beneficial for my Dad's recovery. To say that I was upset is putting it mildly :) because this is the doctor with whom 'the buck stops' - and if he says Dad isn't getting therapy, it would make it difficult to get the therapy.
But there was a miracle. God used the lady from the Rehab Center as well as the doctor's own receptionist, as best I can tell, to change the doctor's mind, and the very next day his office called my mother up and said that Dad would be receiving therapy - the doctor wanted him to get therapy. Great news!!!! Finally.....
So I will be interviewing a couple of places Monday and Tuesday and deciding where he will receive the therapy and we'll get that set up soon. I am so grateful that he will get the needed therapy. He has progressed really well on his own these three weeks without getting therapy, so I expect the therapy will accelerate his progress in the weeks to come.
Please pray for wisdom for Tim and me while we are there with Mom and Dad. We desire for God to guide our conversations and decisions....and expect that this will be a very special time together. We'll return home on Wednesday.

The bigger the problem....

In this morning's devotional I read these true statements about God and wanted to share them with you today:
"The bigger the problem, the more all-encompassing Your abiding presence will be. And the more complex the problem, the greater will be the wisdom You offer.
Equal to the strain of each problem will come the strength You give."
Go in God's strength, wisdom and in His presence today!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Saturday morning Tim and I will be heading down to Florida to check in with Mom and Dad, and see how they are getting along. It will be a short visit - we'll get there Saturday afternoon and return home on Wednesday afternoon. But we'd appreciate your prayers for safe travels and continued wisdom and creativity in decisions while there....and for safety for Tyler and Emily here in Michigan while we're in Florida.
thanks!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Remembering 2008

2008: It was a very good year.....we are blessed.

As I look back here are some of the highlights of the year for me and our family.

January: Tyler turned 16. He got his license and started driving in March. He got his first job in May at Little Caesar's and the pace of life for him has picked up quite a bit. His interests are music (guitar, sax and singing), writing (novels and music), basketball, and he is part of the student leadership in our church's high school youth group.

In February Emily turned 14. Her interests are music (singing, piano, clarinet, bass guitar), sewing, basketball and drama. She is currently rehearsing for her involvement in the chorus of "My Fair Lady, to be performed in Late-February.

Tyler and Emily are two terrific teenagers!

In April Tim and I went to Zambia, AFRICA! Wow! I can still hardly believe it. I am so thankful for this great opportunity. We were part of a worship team that led worship at a couple of youth conferences on purity. What a privilege to go there and meet so many other wonderful people in God's family! To read more about this trip, you can read my journal at www.paulastitt.com - click on ministry. This trip changed me.
















In June I had the privilege of leading worship at the East Michigan District Family Camp in Vassar Michigan. It was a lot of work (!) but I loved doing it - and would love to have the opportunity to do this more and more. It's what God wired me to do!

In August our Family took a trip to Mackinac Island - and instead of taking the ferry across from the mainland to the island, we drove our own boat across Lake Huron! It was a fabulous and fun adventure! We all had a great time together!
















Also in August we gained a new niece, from Albania! Tim's brother Bob and his wife Lori are the blessed parents. God is good. We are thrilled to have Hannah Grace as part of our family.


















Another highlights of this year is that two of the songs I have co-written got national radio play....They were both recorded by my friend, Sarah Schieber. A love song, "Until the Very End" played in the fall of 2007 and winter of 2008, and worship song "Show Us Your Glory" played this past summer and fall. The main network of stations that played these songs were American Family Radio. What a blessing - God expanded my territory and I am so grateful!
He has been expanding Sarah's territory as well - I am so proud of my friend!....In fact Sarah's latest single (written by Paul Marino), Christmas in Heaven, placed #17 on the National Inspo charts nationwide! Sarah has a remarkable story, and God is doing great things in her life and ministry. For more info go to www.sarahschieber. com

In October Tyler and I took a trip Florida to visit my mom and dad around the date of my dad's 75th birthday. We had a very good time together.



Then in November, about 6 weeks later, my dad had a stroke. He is still recovering, is at home, and needs your prayers. What is affected has been his cognitive skills and mostly shows up in his communication (words get mixed up).


In the photo below is my dad with his brother, my Uncle John.















All in all, we can truly trace God's hand, leading, guiding all the way. We look forward to a wonderful new year ahead.

We wish you and yours a most blessed 2009!