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Lea once said to our adult children, “We are going to simplify, simplify, simplify!” We led very busy adult lives. She had been vice president of a national mortgage company, and supervised a large staff. I had operated a number of businesses over the years, sometimes two at a time. We had been homeowners for several decades, accumulating all the “stuff” that goes with it, served our communities through service in organizations such as Lions International, and operated a Victorian-era bed and breakfast. And, we had no idea how prophetic her words would become.

           Former Asher Walton House B&B

Asher G. Walton built our twelve room home as a private residence circa 1868. Possessing many examples of fine European craftsmanship, the hardwoods used throughout the home, and the Bavarian marble fireplaces added warmth and charm to the breakfast, parlor and drawing rooms. Victorian baths featured claw foot tubs. We loved the house, and the business, but took a break to vacation with friends in Prospect Harbor, Maine in 2005.

While returning home from that vacation, a thousand miles away on the East coast, Lea was struck down with necrotizing pancreatitis and spent six months in Hartford Hospital. Three of those months she was in a drug induced coma, and on a ventilator to keep her breathing. She had 32 debriding surgeries to remove dying tissue from her various organs, while her body was being filled with intravenous fluids to weaken the acids that were attacking her body. When she was brought out of the coma she had a hip-to-hip ventral hernia that could not be closed up, was atrophied due to loss of muscle mass, and had to learn to walk again through intensive physical therapy.

Practicing using stepsFriends and family stepped in back home to move much of our household goods into storage so the B&B could be sold to help cover our expenses. Her Mustang convertible was sold, my life’s savings were depleted, and her group life insurance exceeded her lifetime limit and would cover no more expenses. We had to fly home on a commercial airline with her still draining pancreatic fluids through her abdomen, and too weak to take more than a few steps at a time.

Family and friends arranged housing for us in an assisted living facility in a town near our former B&B, the town where our household goods were stored. After a few weeks of recovery, my brother and sister-in-law purchased a home they could rent to us on very liberal terms. I worked part time delivering career consulting via webinars for Lee Hecht Harrison, while Lea’s long term disability income started, as she had reached retirement during her hospital stay.  We gave our family truckloads of furnishings from the B&B that had been stored, and had a couple of garage sales to clear out even more.

Recipes for morecooking.netAbout a year later, we moved into a three bedroom single-story home with a modest lawn. Lea had recovered enough that she tried a little flower pot gardening on the rear deck, and we got to do some babysitting with our infant grandson, which really helped her regain a lot of her mental acuity as her motherly instincts kicked in. During 2008, we decided that a good mental exercise for her would be to publish our recipes as a Christmas gift for our families. She had dozens of recipes that we had used over the years. and still others were developed while we had the B&B.

We started cooking, double-checking accuracy of the recipes, and photographing the results. At first she needed quite a bit of help remembering procedures and processes, but eventually, the Lord strengthened her and opened a door for us to cook for fellowship dinners for 50 or more attending bible study and/or choir practice on Wednesday nights. The church had a nice, though modest, commercial kitchen adjacent to the fellowship hall, designed so that we could prepare and then serve meals through a large pass-through window.

http://morecooking.net

We had already published our recipes at http://morecooking. net for that Christmas in 2008, and now we had the opportunity to scale them up for 50 and 100 portions for large groups and publish those at http://cooking4groups.wordpress.com.  But, b the fall months of 2015 she began to have severe pain in her lower back/hip area, and we had to discontinue cooking for the church. In March of the following year she had a hip replaced, and during physical therapy for that, she began having severe pain in her lower back that made her uncomfortable while simply riding in the car.

Downsizing 2016Meanwhile, the house we were renting had been sold, and the closing/move-in date was approaching. We had decided that we were going to have to move into an apartment which would require less labor, and had arranged to have an estate sale the month before the new owner’s move-in date. The week before the estate sale was scheduled to be held, the auctioneer notified us that he was going to have to cancel, leaving us with very few options with the amount of time we had left!  Discussing our options, we found that less stressful was to donate almost all of our household goods to our church family. We held an open house for them, and let them carry away everything that we hadn’t tagged for use in the apartment or to be stored.

Lea’s pain continued to increase, and she gave up driving. Eventually, she couldn’t even ride in the car without suffering. She had to hold herself steady by grasping tightly onto the handgrip above her seat. Just going to the doctor wore her out, and all unnecessary road trips were from then on avoided. During an exam for her annual physical, the doctor determined that her gall bladder was causing a lot of the pain in the general area of the hip that had been replaced, and sent her to a specialist to see about having it removed.

Danielle, Lea and Chris outside Hartford Hospital, November 14, 2005

The surgeon determined that she could not have abdominal surgery, and that her gall bladder could not be removed, because of the surgeries and subsequent healing that resulted from the necrotizing pancreatitis. He felt that potential peritonitis leading to sepsis and septic shock was just too great. Two additional surgeons we consulted agreed.  So, she was prescribed a gall bladder medication that is rarely used today because of the simplicity of removing the gall bladder endoscopically.  She was told that she would just have to tolerate the pain.

As the medication started to take effect, she noticed that her left hip was hurting in much the same way the right hip had before it was replaced, so we went back to consult with that surgeon. He discovered, through an xray, that it was not her hip that was hurting her, but her lower spine. An subsequent exam revealed that the discs in her back were, in some cases, only 20% of their original thickness, compressing the nerves. She was in constant, debilitating, pain. After a few diagnostic visits to a spine specialist, she was given an ablation treatment to temporarily kill the nerves between some of the lower vertebrae. The treatment reduced her pain by about 70%, and was the greatest relief she had experienced in the past three years.

We are told that the treatment works for up to a year for some patients, but, for others, the nerves grow back more quickly.  We hope for the former, but realize that it is all part of God’s plans, and that he is using us for His purposes. We probably won’t know what those are until we arrive in heaven and have that “ah hah!” moment when it all becomes clear. Meanwhile, we give thanks to God for his provision and guidance, and submit ourselves to be used according to His will.

When we allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten our hearts to know the hope to which He has called us, we become better equipped to encourage our loved ones faith and spiritual growth. The apostle Paul, who, while a prisoner, said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NIV). We submit ourselves to the Lord’s sovereign plan and tender mercies, trusting Him to be faithful. After all, He did it for us: “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”

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Integrity is keeping a commitment even after circumstances have changed. ~ David Jeremiah

This is the right time for me to give a little testimony that, hopefully, will have meaning for you. I recently loss my employment as a content writer due to downsizing, and immediately went into damage control mode. Double checking our debts, liquid and fixed assets, and how long we should be able to “make it” until the Lord opens the next employment door for us.

We had run into dry spells before, where we felt a financial crunch, and had to adjust our budget. I had always abstained from reducing our tithe, because I told myself, “That’s God’s money.” We have conciously been living beyond our means in order to provide Lea with the lifestyle that makes her comfortable. Occasionally we would draw down on our savings to make up for the shortfalls.

Now, with only one more paycheck coming in, I felt I had to take drastic action. One of the things I did to control our situation was to stop the drafts on my checking account for my tithe. We then headed out for a long-planned visit to our oldest son’s home. The night after our arrival, he had a mid-week church function, and asked if we would give a five minute testimony. The audience was made up of young married couples, many with children, who had just finished a series of studies entitled, “The Art of Marriage.”

I gave a very high level explanation of the trials Lea and I went though in Hartford, and one of the revelations God gave me during that test; that there is a difference between the body and the spirit. I had always thought I was in love with Lea as a beautiful woman, and thought of that woman as a beautiful body. But, when she was in a coma for several weeks, I discovered that while her body was there in that hospital bed, and tended to it everyday, Lea wasn’t there. She was gone, and wasn’t back in that body until weeks later. It took the Lord beating me over the head, but I finally got it; It is her spirit that I am in love with, and her body is how I can love on her spirit.

That weekend, while attending services at their church, the pastor spoke on “control,” and how we try to take control instead of trusting in God to care for us. I felt a little twinge of guilt, because I had just stopped my tithes. He then stung me again, because he talked about our tithes being “first fruits,” and that we should give to the church first, so God can do his work, and that he will provide for us. Ouch! He stung me again! He said that we need to be able to trust in the Lord, step back, continue in our faithfulness, and let the Lord have control.

This reminded me of one of my favorite verses in times like this; 1 Samuel 12:24 – “Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.” If you’ve read our journal pages here on the site, or listened to our testimony on our church’s website, you already know what great things he did for us in Hartford, and there have been many more blessings since then, as well. Praise God! Amen.

Our pastor, Dr. Ken Baldwin, says, “One of the ways for us to measure commitment is by what it takes to make us quit. There are some things we should never quit. Our commitment to Jesus…to His Church…to His work…to our family and our marriage…to telling others about Him; and, many more. Integrity is being the right person and doing the right things. Never quitting on both of those is true commitment. We each have weaknesses, but God is our strength. Is today the day that we start again to be and do the right things? God has never quit on us. We should keep our commitment to Him.”

The Lord put all these things in front of me just after I stopped the automatic tithe deposits. I got the message! I reinstated the payments, just as it should be, and now wait patiently for the Lord to open the next door.

Lord, you gave your all for me; can I do any less for you, and call myself a committed Christian? Thank you for showing me the error of my ways. Forgive me my shortcomings of commitment and faith. Use me according to your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Hello friends and family,

I presume that most of you know by now that I have received a new heart. I went to surgery at about 1:00 AM on Friday, November 14th. They finished the surgery at 6:30 AM which was pretty fast. Everything went well, and continues to do so. I was in a chair most of the afternoon today. Sitting up was good but the transition from bed to chair was a little shaky.

My cardiac output numbers are much improved. I am off of some of the medicines and the Swan and arterial pic have been removed. Tonight they are weaning me off of the Milrinone that was being given to strengthen the heart’s contractions, and then tomorrow they will remove the external pacer. The doctors are very pleased with the progress. and I will probably be moved out of Cardiac Recovery into the stepdown unit tomorrow or Tuesday. They are targeting to send me home this coming Friday. Amazing!

I was totally surprised at how little pain I have experienced. No more than any other surgery for certain. Just thinking about getting a new heart one Friday and going home the next – WOW! They think that I received an excellent heart that will serve me well. I know nothing about the donor yet. They delay that information out of respect for the families, but encourage contact at a later time. I will definitely try to make contact.

My immune system is at it’s lowest right now and the doctors recommend that I have only immediate family visitors now and for the first couple weeks at home until I recover somewhat. I ask that you respect that and when you are ready to come see me, please call first. I’m sure I am not going anywhere for a little while so there will be plenty of time. I look forward to seeing many of you in the near future and I think you will be surprised how am doing. My family cannot get over it.

All of you who have supported and prayed for me have made a huge difference, and I thank you so much. I hope I will able to give some back in the future.

Thank you for being there for me.

Joe Stroup
Born 13-Feb-1947 and 14-Nov-2008

From Dutch Sheets, Dutch Sheets Ministries

November 6, 2008

I feel certain that many in my stream of the Church want a statement from me concerning Tuesday’s presidential election. I will be frank in my remarks but I do not, however, intend to vent anger or attack anyone. I have read several statements from friends and colleagues I respect very much.  Their thoughts are well stated and, for the most part,insightful.  None of them, however, seem to want to say some things that I believe need to be said. I do not claim infallibility or to have the final word, but my convictions run deep and I believe I bear a God-given responsibility to share them.

Was This God’s Will?

Was what happened Tuesday God’s will?  I am quite confident it was not.  America was offered a very clear choice between moving further toward protecting the unborn or further away; between a Supreme Court that would move toward honoring God, life and morality or away from it.  The stakes couldn’t have been higher nor the cost greater. As a nation we put on blinders concerning Barak Obama’s background, associations, beliefs and practices, and set these causes back years, possibly decades.  And in doing so we took another step away from God and His plans for America, and another step toward judgment.

Judgment Will Increase

This is not a fire and brimstone warning from an angry,legalistic preacher.  In fact, I feel more sadness and grief than anything else.  Perhaps I feel what Jesus felt as He wept for Jerusalem while announcing its judgment. I am not hoping for judgment; I am saying it is inevitable. I don’t know where the unbiblical belief comes from that says a nation can live any way it pleases, can reject God and His ways-even mock Him-and not receive His judgments.  Nor do I know when the belief came that it is always mean-spirited or judgmental to warn of these things.  To the contrary, I believe it is our responsibility.

In warning of judgment, I am not suggesting that God is going to intentially and directly hurt people.  Much judgment is simply the absence of God’s protection and provision, caused by a rejection of His laws and ways.  We have been experiencing some forms of judgment in America for years, but God in His incredible patience and mercy has kept us from the level we’ve deserved.  I believe this will change to a degree and judgment will now
increase:

For those in the Church who aligned themselves with pro-abortion forces, I believe judgment will result.
For leaders in the Body of Christ who refused to take a stand for fear of losing people, money, and tax-exempt status-I believe there will be a degree of judgment.
For those, both within the Church and without, who voted money over morality-a potential raise or better health insurance over the life of a baby-there will be judgment. (The irony is that this decision to base one’s vote on the hopes of a better economy won’t produce the hoped for result anyway. The scriptures teach that it is righteousness which exalts a nation and that the nation is blessed whose God is the Lord.)

I have heard the argument that God cares as much about social justice issues (such as poverty and racism) as He does abortion, making a vote for Obama OK.  I certainly believe God puts a very high priority on caring for the
poor and I, too, have wanted to see equality demonstrated through a “minority” president. But to equate having a better income or the desire for a first black president, regardless of his positions on abortion and morality, to the issue of killing 50 million babies is not justice-it is a gross distortion of justice and great deception.

I fear that we have been desensitized to this issue of abortion.  I believe it kills babies and takes innocent life.  I also believe it is blood sacrifice that empowers demons. Let’s not forget this in our noble attempts to be kind and conciliatory. For African Americans I can easily see how it could bring healing to have a first black president, just as it would be for Native Americans to achieve this or for women if a woman were elected president.  Again, I have wanted to see justice in this way.  I am only saddened that the price for this healing ended up being Barak Obama, a man that will set the cause of life and, most-likely, our God-given destiny as a nation back so drastically. (I also realize there are some who interpret any criticism of Obama as racism. Racism is so NOT what I am about nor what I live, that I will not even dignify any such accusations with a response.)

What Can We Expect?

What are some of the judgments we can expect on our nation from this election?

. More economic woes
. More violence in an already violent nation
. Disease and death (satan, who is responsible for these things will have greater inroads to our nation.)
. Natural disasters (weather-tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, drought; fires; earthquakes; etc.)
. Terrorism (they will fear us much less now)
. War, perhaps on our own soil
. Judgments relating to the Court. The stacking of the Supreme Court against the sanctity of life and God’s influence on America will occur, which will in turn cause the shedding of more innocent blood, more rejection
of God’s laws and the stealing from us of our godly heritage-all of which will perpetuate a cycle of even more judgment.

How Did This Happen?

I’ve been asked if this could have been averted had there been more prayer.  I’m not sure. I believe there was a remnant of Christians fervently praying over these elections-I don’t think there was anything more they could have done. Others, obviously, should have done more.  The complacency and lack of discernment concerning our real condition in America-especially by the Church-is both appalling and horrifying.  America is in serious trouble and it seems no one wants to say it.  Fewer still are willing to do anything to change it.

Though I understand our reasons, we must be careful in our attempts to placate our feelings and calm our fears through religious phrases like “God is still on the throne” or “God has a plan”.  He was on His throne 35 years and 50 million babies ago.  And He had a plan back then. The problem is, it was us.  I understand our reasons for waving high the banner of God’s sovereignty at times like these-it gives us hope.  I will wave it, as well. But please be careful with this. Too much emphasis on God’s sovereignty and we’re worthless; too little and we’re hopeless.  Maybe we should say, “we lost a critical battle but God will give us strategy to win the war.” Then find the strategy.

But still yet, since God is usually willing to work through a remnant, I thought we had enough prayer. Obviously, God decided otherwise.  There comes a time when He will not forgive or bless the majority based on the prayers or actions of only a few.  America rejected God and asked for a king; believe we now have our Saul (see 1 Samuel 8:5-7)-a man who does not have God’s heart for America but his own. Like Israel in scripture, our nation believes it can turn from God and still be blessed.  In His mercy and justice He will show us otherwise.

Like many, believing I had many promises and confirmations that God would “grace” us with a pro-life president in this election, I failed to consider strongly enough that all promises-even scripture-are conditional 99.9% of the time. Though I never prophesied or made guarantees that McCain-Palin would win, failing to factor this principle in strongly enough no doubt caused me to share my optimism with others inappropriately. If this
caused any harm or confusion, I apologize.

Has the fact that my prayers weren’t answered shaken my faith? No. I’m a little confused and discouraged. I’m also somewhat angry at the nation in general and much of the Church. Mostly I’m grieving over the nation and what this will cost us. I am not, however, angry with God and do not question His justice. And it is not true that we wasted our time, energy and money in our efforts anymore than it is a waste when we share the gospel with people who don’t get saved.  We must keep in the forefront of our thinking the fact that ultimately we are doing this for Him and that He will reward us for our faithfulness.  And who knows, perhaps He will store up all those prayers for the next battle (Revelation 5:8, 8:3-5).

A friend and fellow warrior said it well: “We did ‘give it our all.’ I know the Lord was pleased with that. A coach wants to know one thing at the end of a heartbreaking sports loss: ‘Did you leave it all on the field?’ (your passion, your commitment, your strength, your courage, etc.) I know that we ‘left it all on the field.’ We didn’t hold anything back until the game ended. Tragically, it ended in defeat. We will rise for another day because Jesus is worthy.”

Where Do We Go from Here?

Does this election outcome shake my faith that we can see a great awakening and ultimately reformation in America? Absolutely not (and it strengthens my resolve).  We will simply get there through greater pain and loss.  Even my passion to see the Supreme Court shift is not from a presupposition that there can be no spiritual awakening without it.  It is simply due to my deep conviction that their decisions bring so much death, destruction, curses and judgment to America; and because our full destiny as a nation is unquestionably linked to their decisions. So, yes, we will get an awakening and reformation; but the reality is that this reformation of the nation will reform the Supreme Court (and government, in general), not vice-versa.  My faith has never been in people or a political party; my faith is in the God who works through them.

I’ve been asked if my feelings about Sarah Palin have changed. They have not. I believe she is an Esther, a Deborah, with a huge mantle from God for reformation. God has a great destiny for her related to this nation if she chooses to continue down this path.

So, in conclusion, we must re-group as an apostolic, praying church and advance.  We must maintain an immovable faith in God, His plans for America and His mercy.  And we must move beyond simply asking God for a spiritual awakening and ask Him for strategy to produce reformation, as well.  I, for one, am just getting started!

For God and this great nation,

Dutch Sheets
http://www.dutchsheets.org/

1 MINUTE EACH NIGHT

This election is the most frightening of my lifetime. In fact, this may well be the scariest election we as American Christians have ever faced! Our country is in REAL danger from within and without our borders! We are in real danger of losing our Christian country, and haven’t been in such tremulous times since the great depression. Even those days we, as a nation, called upon God to deliver us from our financial woes.

He responded with blessing after blessing and gave this country financial healing and the experience to ensure financial disaster of that magnitude never happened again. Still, I’m not sure we were then in as much danger of losing our country and core Christian values as we are today. Will our country be eventually ruled by a non-Christian religion and other religious values? Will we live to see our country plundered and ravaged as so many others have experienced over history? I pray not!

Prayer works. Group prayer works even better. I have seen prayer bring about miracles in my own personal life, and in the lives of others. I also know that prayer can help this country through this extremely dangerous time. The loss prayer in public schools started the decline of Christian values in this country, and we are beginning to clearly see the effects of that loss with this generation. The United States of America and our citizens need God’s presence more than ever!!!

This country needs help! Christian values need to be reestablished as our guideposts, and healing begun. This is going to require a great effort on the part of those American Christians who will dedicate themselves to a special calling on our country’s behalf. We are going to have to become vocal about regaining Christian values and guidelines if we are to save our country.

During WWII, Churchill’s administration organized an historic group of Brits who became prayer warriors for their country. They dedicated themselves to joining a spiritual effort to save their countrymen from the constant bombing from Germany. They stopped every night at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace. History tells that this had an amazing effect, as the Nazi war focus suddenly changed, and the bombing stopped.

You can help save America. Join American prayer warriors each evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central, 7:00 PM Mountain, 6:00 PM Pacific), and spend one minute praying for:

1. Safety of the United States, our military troops, and our citizens;

2. Peace around the world;

3. Wisdom in the upcoming presidential election;

4. That the Bible will remain the basis for the laws governing our land;

5. That Christianity will again grow in the US.

Where ever you might be during those minutes of dedicated prayer, you will feel the presence of angels all around you, joining in prayer, on holy ground, as you join other prayer warriors around the country in lifting these desires to His attention. You will be blessed in this effort, just as you will be a blessing to this country. As one who has witnessed first hand the power we have available to us through group prayer, I know that our prayers are the most powerful blessing we have. Please join us as a prayer warrior to help save this country. Join American prayer warriors each evening for one minute at 9:00 Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central, 7:00 PM Mountain, 6:00 PM Pacific)

God Bless You, and GOD BLESS  AMERICA ! !

I continue to be awed by God’s workings through our lives. Those of us who have been following the flow of requests for prayer on this blog have seen the power of group prayer again and again as God has worked miracle after miracle.  If you haven’t yet subscribed to our prayer page, here are some of the prayer requests and praises for His responses to those prayers:

7/19 – Praise the Lord for a wonderful family reunion, with an attendance of almost 100 family and extended family members. Glory to God that our friends Joe and Pat were able to attend. Joe is on the heart transplant list, and had to sign off for the weekend in order to be with their extended family. We lift Joe up in prayer than that ideal heart will become avaialble to him very soon, and that his recovery will be quick and miraculous through the will of our Lord. We lift up Dennis and Larry D, who are approaching surgery for chronically critical arthritic conditions. Also, their brother, Bob, who has had life threatening cardiac problems. Here’s a note from his wife: “Bob was released yesterday. He is supposed to call the heart surgeon tomorrow for an appointment to see when they want to do the other stent, it is needed on the left part of his heart, which the nurse said it is in a critical part of the heart. He does feel a lot better, but has had a few times of light burning and some shortness of breath. Keep him in your prayers. I told him God gave him to us one more time. He could have died at any moment!!” Glory to God that He continues to work His plan through our lives.

7/17 – Father, we pray for your healing intervention for this family: A note to update you on Bob. He is to have a heart cath tomorrow at 7 a.m. The stress test he had last Thursday, showed he has had a heart attack!! The doctor said his heart is in excellent shape–they just need to see what caused the attack. Keep us in your prayers, it has been very stressful here, with Jason and Kyla needing back surgery, Jason and Jeff both lost their jobs, and I found out I have mild a cold, probably chronic bronchitis. I am sooo depending on God, he helps me through my anxiety attacks, etc. Our vacation time was not what we wanted, but I am glad we were not on the road when Bob needed help. Also, one of our friends that was very close to Bob, died a week ago last Monday. We did make the trip to Port Byron, IL, for the funeral.

6/27 – Father, we pray for your healing intervention for Elaine, rushed to the hospital with a possible ruptured appendix. We also pray for the family of Kristi Perrin who returned to Your glory Wednesday. Give them peace and comfort in knowing that she resides in Your loving protection.

6/27 – Father, take this grief from me. I realize that it is my pride that has been so severely shattered, and that I have been praying to overcome pride in my life. I just didn’t expect Your help to come in this form! Please help me understand, Lord, so that I may become a better witness for You.

7/3 – We pray for peace and comfort for Thomas and Annetta Black as they face complicated, and potentially serious medical issues.

7/2 – Praise to the Lord for the healing we have witnessed being worked among those we fellowship with. We pray for the faith and wisdom to accept our challenges gracefully, that we might always honor You.

6/27 – Protect Amma and Papa during their travels to their home in New Mexico. Place a shield of protection around them, Lord, that they may return safely to Austin to provide for Kristin and Lance’s lovely family as only they can do.

6/27 – From Deanna: Dad (Lee) took a tumble today outside….he’s ok…but two things in specific to pray about please that the doctor mentioned….he’s got a big goose egg of blood on his left eye brow..(they don’t want it to drain)..the doctor said to watch for any secondary bleeding inside that might occur within the next week or so and cause changes in thinking, actions…. so pray for that not to happen at all and that this will just heal completely and quickly. Secondly, his right knee is swollen and scraped and may have twisted during the fall….pray for complete healing of that as well

6/26 – A prayer for Benjamin, who is 8 months old today. Please continue to bless him Lord with Your love through us, that he might continue to increase in You. Protect him, Lord, from evil.

6/16 – We pray for comfort and a compassionate strength for one who is embarrassed to be in front of her church family because of an ungodly relationship a family member is continuing against advise of many others. We pray for understanding of that person’s ability to rationalize away God’s direction in these matters, and for the unwillingness to befriend those who have sincerely offered friendship. We pray for compassion, grace and happiness in working your will.

6/14 – Our friend Jocqueline Kowrach, from our Living Stones church family has had an accident at gardening class and cut off a large portion of her index finger and thumb. She called en route to the hospital and requested prayer. No other details, but your prayers for wisdom of doctors and rapid healing is requested.

6/11 – Please keep Terrys mother in your prayers. Terrys brother Jeff called Terry in California this morning, where he has been working, and told him. She is in Mexico, Missouri. They found two main arteries clogged. One was 90% and they stinted that one to open it up as much as they could. The other one was 100% and needs surgery and she is too weak for that. This afternoon Jeff called Terry and their mother’s heart has stopped twice and she’s been revived but she is bleeding internally now. She’s has had heart trouble for many years but her heart is wearing out. She’s wanted to give up since Terrys dad passed away 4 years ago in August this year. We would appreciate all your prayers. We’re needing Terry to be able to go home and money is tight along with his job right now (as it is with everyone). If it is God’s will, she will survive. Thanks, Carol.

6/11 – Father, we lift up, again, little Anna Yutzy, hospitalized since birth and struggling with recovery. We pray for a complete recovery, Lord, and a long and fruitful life in Your service.

6/10 – Father, we lift up Lance as he prepares for a new career path, and that You will guide him in Your purpose for his life.

6/7 – Father, we lift up Moni, and pray that her course of treatment will not only be successful, but that it will glorify You, and bring hearts closer to You.

6/5 – Praise, Lord, for the uneventful dental surgery, and the recovery. Thank You for the many blessings You shower upon us. Guide us, Lord, that we might serve You perfectly.

6/4 – Peace for Lea as she has, what we pray, will be minor dental surgery tomorrow. Lord, we know her bones are very weak, and that the surgery could easily fracture her jaw, or cause other complications. We know You will be there with us Lord, we just pray that Your will is for this to be a non-event. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

6/4 – Lord, I pray that You will be with Lea and me as we undertake bible studies this summer with our church family in Austin, and another with our church family in Kona. Open our minds, hearts, and eyes, Lord, that we might be filled with the Holy Spirit as we seek Your will for our lives.

6/4 – Comfort and joy for those who loved Bill Sampson, at his passing this morning. Praise You, Father, that his trial here on Earth is past, and he is now forever in Your glorious presence. Hallelujah!

5/31 – Praise, Father, for the safe return of Marlowe and Dean from their travels.

5/27 – Praise You, Lord, for the surprisingly good news about Pam’s friend’s health, and the peace you have given them both.

5/23 – We join our church family in Hawaii in praying for Darren, who was near death due to drug addiction. Dear God, we pray that you will bring him back from the brink of death, heal him of this addiction, and bring him to salvation.

5/20 – Comfort for Pam, grieving over her loss of a dear friend. Prayer for bountiful blessings in her life.

5/7 – Father, we continue to lift up Anna Yutzy, as she struggles overcome her medical problems and become a normal, healthy little baby. We pray, too, for her family members, and all those who love her, that You might be revealed to them through her healing.

5/2 – Praise our Father in heaven! Glory to God for another glorious day together, in His service!

4/30 – Blessings for Carol, who sends news of these blessings and prayer requests. “My oldest son and his wife have a new baby girl Elyza Ruth Bridgeman born March 9 weighing 9lb 2 oz, she joins 2 1/2 year old Everett Ray. My youngest (Scott) is back in Qatar for a couple of months…keep him in your prayers please. I do have a prayer request. A young mother in my church is waiting for a heart transplant. She also has Lupus. Her name is Marnita, her only child is 9 year old Mary Lou who has recently been diagnosed with ulcers (worrying about her mother). We are well and God blesses me daily.” Amen!

4/29 – We lift up our beloved Bill Barley, Don Jennings and Ken Baldwin as they lead their congregations. Bless them with wisdom, conviction and inspiration that they might continue to bring those wandering souls into the holy church family.

4/27 – Thank You, Lord, for bringing Lea safely through a bout with restaurant food poisoning. Please protect Lea this week as she prepares to bake a dessert for our midweek bible study.

4/26 – Thank You, father, for protecting our church family members during their travels, and bringing them home safely to lead and nurture us.

4/25 – We lift up Lance as he enters training for a new career, and that You will guide and provide, Lord, according to Your perfect plan. Give him wisdom and understanding. Protect his family during a time when they have no insurance coverage.

4/23 – Bless Moni, Lord, diagnosed with rare epithelioid gastro-intestinal stromal tumor. We pray that the chemo will not only be successful, but a gentle course of treatment.

4/21 – We lift up our loved one who continues to search for work, health insurance for his family, and for patience and peace in knowing that You always provide for Your children.

4/20 – Praise, Lord, for safe journey provided. Blessings of safe travels for members of our church family as they attend to family matters. We lift up our pastor that You will continue to lead and inspire him.

4/13 – Quieting of spirit and provision of peace of mind for mom during her drive through unfamiliar surroundings to a new home in a distant state. Prayer for her children as they try to provide for her needs.

4/12 – We lift up our loved one who is searching for work, for provision, and peace in knowing that You will provide. We lift up our church family and each of their needs to You, Lord, that Your will be done.

4/10- Praise the Lord for blessings of successful surgeries for Marjorie and Junior, as they receive improved health as a result! Glory to God!

4/10 – Praise to God for continued improvement for little Anna Rene. We continue to lift her up for healing, and lift up her extended family for the blessings received from knowing You.

4/7 – Wanted to write and ask for everyone prayers for Dans mom (Marjorie) and his step dad (Jr.) . Mom has to have triple stent surgery Wednesday morning as the main artery in both legs are clogged and she needs a stent to her heart. As of now all they are thinking they have to do is go in and put stents in all of them. She had a bypass a few years ago, so I sure hope and pray everything goes ok. Jr. has to go in Thursday and have a stent put in the artery to his heart. So they both are going to be down for a while. Please everyone pray that it all goes well for them both.

3/31 – Uncle Jimmy, for relief of his shoulder and neck discomfort. For Larry D’s knee and back problems, Kathy’s continuing pain following extensive back surgery, Dan’s flu, and for all those who need Your healing hand on this day.

3/30 – Rosalie White, for relief of her pain, comfort during her hospitalization, and blessings for her family. Peace and guidance for Marjorie, her children and other family members during this difficult time of decision making.

3/29 – Ruth Ballis for recovery from a variety of illnesses.

3/25 – Lord, be with Anna today as she struggles to gain control of breathing on her own. Grant her a full recovery, Lord, as You show Your might to those who need the revelation. Praise You, Lord, for your grace and mercy. Amen.

3/24 – Dawn & Lance for successful interviews and networking. In our church family; the Hurley family for peace and comfort as various members struggle with illness and the need for employment. We hold up Kathy for abatement of the pain she suffers as a result of extensive back surgery. Glory to you, Lord, for victories over sin.

3/23 – Praise God for the gift of His son, that He might suffer a human death to give us salvation!

3/21 – A special prayer for you, Anna, on this Good Friday, as you enter this very important surgery. May God’s abundant grace be with you, and may your miraculous story be a testimony to His love throughout your life.

Father, please bless Anna today. Show the power of prayer submitted in Your love, by granting Anna a successful procedure, and wondrous recovery. Father, you know what a blessing she is to so many who have followed her trials. We just pray now that it is your will to bless all of us through her complete triumph over illness. In the name of the Father, the risen Son, and the Holy Spirit we give thanks. Amen.
Praise God!

3/20 – Praise God for the provision of a good job for Dawn! We pray that You will continue to have Your hand in their lives as they work through the next few months to get a home purchased and their family back together under one roof.

3/9 – Provision for Dawn, Troy and family as they home-hunt and relocate their family.

3/2 – You know what is in our hearts, Lord. We pray for provision of employment where that is needed, compassion where there is shortsightedness, forgiveness where there is hurt, and love where there is still distrust.

3/1 – Clarity in life choices being made, and that You would have Your hand in the decisions.

3/1 – For Lea. Protect her from the horrible bronchitis that is so pervasive in the community.

3/1 – Thank you for the pain relief with which You have blessed Kathy, and that no further surgery would be required.

2/28 – Softening of that heart, Lord, forgiveness where there has been none, and a glorious return to Your service

2/22 – Relief of the severe pain that persists six weeks after Kathy’s back surgery.

2/19 – Your hand in the lives of Chris & Amanda for a blessed pregnancy and joyous delivery of their first child.

2/18 – Healing and quick recovery from the colds and flu being experienced by our loved ones.

1/20 – Thank you for the delay in Kathy’s back surgery that allowed the surgeons to find a previously unknown complication that will ensure they take appropriate steps for her stability during the procedure. Guide their hands, Lord.

1/20 – Andy – for compassion, clarity and faith. Also for Robyn, who needs your guidance and support.

1/20 – Marshal Gary as he enters the new year with adversaries at his door

1/15 – Kathy David – back surgery

1/14 – Larry, as he seeks Your will for his life

1/9 – Comfort for the family of Anna Flessner who passed from this life at the age of 96 to join our Heavenly Father.

1/8- Comfort and peace for the family of JoAnn Singell, 71, who passed from this life to join the heavenly host.

1/6 – Lee Bergmeier – safe, peaceful and comfortable travel for him as he relocates to Hawaii. Blessings for Link & Deanna as they provide for him in this season of his life.

Dr Tom Miller and staff – continued love and joy for the kindnesses they give, without hesitation, to others

Scott & Jeanie – Your guidance in working through the differences that challenge their marriage

Marlowe Donaldson – continued success for her personal ministry and the church ministries she serves

Danielle – assistance in her studies, and compassion in her duties, to help her achieve success beyond her highest goals

Anna Rene Yutzy- for miraculous healing

Lance – success in achieving the certification for which he is studying

Chris Watkins – A shield of protection for him, and peace for Amanda

Armon & Barbara – peace and comfort

Gary Roush – peace, comfort, happiness, salvation

Dallas Wilson – Your guidance, and the strength to endure in Your service

Rick, Teri, Madeleine & Jack – showers of blessings and Your protection

Kora David – miraculous healing and Your hand in her life

Kim – success in her career, happiness in her life, and the joy of salvation

Maria – happiness, comfort and joy for the kindness she shows others
Adam and Angela – happiness in marriage and Your hand in their relationship and their nursing careers

Ken Baldwin – Your guidance as he leads Kinney Avenue Christian Fellowship church

Steve, Rose & Stephanie – showers of blessings, and Your hand in their lives

Marjorie – clarity of mind

Benjamin Lucas Vaughn – Your hand in his upbringing

Lance and Kristin – Your grace in their day to day lives

Cory David & children – Your grace, their faith, comfort and joy in You

Lyndi & Megan – protection as they travel on Your mission trips

Paster Don Jennings II as he enters his 26th year with Harbor Shores church – clarity, leadership and a multitude of blessings

Eric Blair – a closer walk with You, and Your guidance in his life

Liz Blair, wonderful caregiver – peace, Lord; A closer walk with You, for her career and her family…for John and Emily

David & Dottie – clarity, comfort, joy as they go about Your work

Bill & Jane and those Sacred Grounds – that You would move mightily through their ministry of love

Vi & Ron – faith and peace as they enjoy the golden years of life together

Lyndi – guidance as she matures in Your service and caring for others

Stacy – stable heath, enriched faith, Xandrick awarded, a closer walk with You

Joe Stroup – comfort, peace, and stable health as he awaits a heart transplant, and a suitable donor

Pat Stroup – comfort and peace as she cares for Joe as he awaits a heart transplant

Megan – as she handles the technical duties trusted to her during church services

Deanna – joy from doing her hospital ministry and her music ministry

Raymond & Janie – a closer walk with You, salvation, joy through friendship

Glenn Bridgeman – healing

Our beloved church family at Living Stones Church in Kona – joy in walking with You

Billianne and family – a shield of protection, joy in sharing Your blessings

Paster Bill Barley & the leadership team of Living Stones Church – clarity as they do Your work

Dr Tom Miller – peace & joy in knowing You, and comfort in providing gentle care for others

Lee Bergmeier – comfort in faith

Christy McNeal – comfort and peace

Kathy David – healing and reduction of pain

Caregivers of Hartford Hospital Bliss 9I who cared for Lea and me – peace, comfort, joy at their achievements

Dr John Mah – clarity, compassion, peace, joy through receiving Your guidance – happiness in his upcoming marriage

Lea, continued healing and showers of blessings

PRAISE GOD! I give thanks today on so many levels for SO many blessings our family has received! God’s shower of blessings for Lea and myself during and following her illness have just been absolutely humbling. Even though Lea’s medical expenses left us financially devastated His provisioning for us has been constant and steady. Along the way we have found a much better relationship with Him, with each other, and with our service in a local church body.

I am greatly relieved that the Indiana house Dottie & Dave purchased to provide for our needs has indeed been sold. The house was certainly a perfect blessing for us, and its provision was one of the most generous acts I have ever heard of. I know the Lord has arranged for their compensation, and Lea and I feel an undying gratitude, and love them all the more. The house again became a solution when my mother suddenly needed help with housing.

Just as that occurred, the Lord opened a door for Lea and me to relocate to Texas for the next phase of her recovery. We were led to a fine doctor who accepted the special challenges of Lea’s medical needs, we were provisioned a lovely rental home in a delightful setting in close proximity to my younger son’s family, and I was able to continue the part time consulting work that helps with expenses. Lea has found a renewed sense of purpose in caring for our new grandson, and her mental progress has been amazing since we relocated

She now has accepted the fact that it is unlikely that she will ever have her abdominal ventral hernia surgically closed, and that she will have to wear an elastic binder that reaches from her hips to her shoulder blades 24 X 7. The joy of caring for the grandson, and seeing God’s wonders reflected in his development, has been the best medicine for her and has lifted her from the troublesome place her mind resided prior to our move. Again, the Lord provisioned for our needs according to His plan!

When Lea’s illness devastated our financial reserves, we sorrowfully abandoned the lifestyle we had enjoyed, and just got down to the basics of survival. Back then Lea still had an active fistula draining pancreatic fluid onto her new skin graft over her bowels, which had been left exposed by her many surgeries. Her medical needs were intense.

Her physical weakness caused her to be confined to a wheelchair or walker, her mental acuity was very poor due to the addictive narcotics she was taking to control her constant pain, and her emotional state was tremulous at best. Providing a continual flow of positive experiences, and protecting her from negative ones, was a constant requirement, since it could take her days to recover from mental anguish.

Over time, as she continued to heal, she was able to reduce the amount of narcotics she needed to offset the pain and was able to get back to meal preparation, which is one of her favorite activities. She improved physically, too, and eventually was able to progress from using a walker to a cane, which affords better mobility. Even though she subsequently had knee joint replacement surgery, the implant was not entirely successful, and she still has to use a cane to maintain her balance. Perhaps some day we will have that surgically corrected, but she isn’t ready to consider that yet.

We are becoming active in our local church as her health permits, and really enjoy going to adult bible study on Wednesday nights. It is a delightful gathering of like-minded Christians with a prepared meal and study of the scripture led by the pastor, who has a charming demeanor and comprehensive knowledge of the scriptures. We were led to his church by our new neighbors.

We have had the privilege of getting to know our grandson’s maternal grandparents better, and delight in being able to spend time with them. They have vastly different backgrounds than our own, but we share the love for our family and a love of the Lord that has made our move here much easier. We look forward to growing closer as we all help our grandson grow in the Lord.

Looking back over the past three years, I am so glad God intervened in our lives! I had mistakenly planned for security, but God planned for spiritual growth. I had tried to build security for Lea’s retirement, expecting that I would be the first to go to my heavenly reward. He took security away to remind us that our purpose here is to prepare for eternal life. Lea and I have much less now, but have gained so much more. We no longer have financial security, and I continue to struggle with that emotionally, but we have the peace and comfort of knowing that He is moving mightily in our lives, and that His purpose for us will play out in His way in His own time.

ABOUT HARTFORD LETTERS

Experience the Miraculous Healing and Recovery of Lea Vaughn, and the incredible spiritual journey of her husband during 180 days in Hartford Hospital. Read his original daily emails in "Hartford Letters" above. ____________________________

In “Prayer,” above:

For Dave
Praise: Lea
For Bill and Jane
For Megan
For Charlotte
For Marnita
Praise: Gary
Praise: fellowship
For Herb
Praise: Joe
For Lea
For Unnamed

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