Monday, May 21, 2007

Of Beauty, Grace, and Wisdom

These three words I wrote on my daughters’ Mother’s Day’s cards. Words of challenge, words that call, words which speak of proportion and balance, ultimately words of hope.

I thought I would be able to explain what I had written, that in the course of that wild Mother’s Day celebration with six grandchildren blending in with our eleven children and my beloved there for the honor of the day – but somehow the moment slipped away. So, the blogosphere becomes the next best place to work through my wayward thoughts.

Of course, the kids themselves generated these thoughts. They blessed us with concert tickets to Celtic Woman, and then provided us with the funds for a very nice dinner – which we enjoyed to the maximum. There we were at the concert surrounded by exceptional beauty – my wife beside me (beauty of beauties), lovely ladies in a simple yet gorgeous set singing and playing music that expressed a veritable atmosphere of beauty. We were transported all over the world in our imaginations by the strains of those compelling melodies, rhythms and sights.

I got to thinking about how the Creator made us – male and female, and how that lines up with our experience in this world, and how that points us towards ultimately realities. You see, in His economy, nothing is ever wasted. So, if He made female and male the way He did, then He is telling us something about Himself and speaking eloquently of His message to mankind.

Women seem made to express beauty, and men seem made to notice and appreciate this beauty. I can’t say a lot about that other than to point to the observable obvious. Now in this life, I can’t say that the beauty expressed by those lovely ladies is without ugliness, nor can I say that the men who watch do so with the best of intentions. Such is the condition of this life. Nevertheless, the fact that each does what they were created to do speaks the message needing to be heard.

So my wife and I are watching these lovely ladies sing these beautiful songs, and I become aware of that sensation of watching a Watcher. I see that the way I as a man (in purity) can look at the loveliness of a woman, or of womankind, and the beauty that she produces or that comes out of the whole of womankind, and I am aware of the Watcher watching us – His redeemed – in the same way. There is an incredible delight and deep appreciation for what is coming forth, and yet there is an understanding that what is being viewed is not perfect, in fact is far from perfect. Still the delight and appreciation are not affected by the imperfect; rather there is a yearning for that which will be perfect, and a time of Perfection yet to come, and of the hope of that day.

Beauty is the earnest in Creation of the Creator’s intention to redeem. He didn’t have to build it in. He didn’t have to speak this way. But He did, and that is very significant. If He produced such beauty that may at times seem to us to be impossibly lovely, then we can believe that His tender intentions expressed in redemption are true, and that by counterpoint His predicted wrath is also true. As the opening chords of the musical piece draw one in to the “story in the music,” and the closing chords bring that same story to a close, so the twin chords of the kindness of God leading us to repentance and the wrath of God warning us of the end for those who don’t repent act as the beginning and end of His “story in the revelation.”

Which brings us to grace – for if the propositions are true, then the strength to believe and obey are there and available. Such is the nature of One Who would put impossibility before us. He does it with the beauty He lavished upon His Creation or in the beauty of a lovely lady; so also He does with this grace that infuses and strengthens, enabling the impossible for those who are called into that kind of beauty.

Why is it that some women become so much more than a pretty face and lovely figure, as though they mine the depths of a deeper beauty? Is it Grace? So men have for generations named their daughters, desiring to bless them with the call to a better loveliness. And what comes out of these women so graced if not service? It shows, oh it shows!

For beauty is used up in this world, as every woman knows – “Beauty is fleeting and charm is deceitful . . .” A woman can choose what to do with that fast fading beauty – to invest it in the service that comes into her hands, as wife and mother, or as a servant to the poor and needy, or in teaching, or nursing, and in a hundred other ways. Or she can invest in preserving her beauty, the quest for the impossible. Grace makes the difference. It is provided, but what is done with it? If received and obeyed, it leads to a better life, a life poured out. But if ignored, the fruit of that life becomes that of desperation, leading to all kinds of excesses in the name of beauty.

This reveals the heart of wisdom. Who has not marveled at the exceptional ways of a certain woman, generally older, who seems to possess that within her which is a beauty of a more compelling nature, coming from a place within her that is so deep so as not to be plumbed quickly. She seems like a fountain bringing forth waters from a deep artesian well, cool and calm, abundant and refreshing, deep and abiding. She is no longer like the garden bringing forth fruit in its season, but now she waters many gardens and helps cultivate life in a myriad of ways.

Oh, this woman is the rarest jewel of all. “Her worth is far above rubies.” Many have searched for this precious stone, but few have found her. Deep is the disappointment many feel who would seek this out, bitter the deepening gall. To find this glorious one, and to find her young, is to find a great gift.

This is the intention of the Creator in His work with His redeemed. That we should become such a wise expresser of beauty, He came and bought and died and rose. His revelation points to that which only grace can make real. And both wisdom and beauty lie at the heart of true believers – so that we might become wise so that the beauty of the One within us might be graced to flow out in service to a world searching for just such loveliness.

The eye of the Redeemer is on His beloved. His delight is on her – looking for her loveliness through grace to become service that wisdom might be evident, letting the deepest beauties flow.

So we as men and women reveal this – a living parable of an awesome relief to a fallen world, relief that ends in redemption and purity – purity like that of a bride . . .

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Reflections on Quiet Times

As I look heavenward, considering my inheritance in Christ, understanding how much there is to know of and in the Godhead, I am amazed and chagrined at how lightly I value this opportunity to fellowship with the Most High, and with His Son. The fact that I have received so great a salvation should long ago have driven me to that point of utter abandonment in the Presence, as promised (implicitly) by my acknowledgement of Him at the point of conversion. Yet as others have said, and I paraphrase, how easy it is to think well and how hard it is to do right (Romans 7). Apart from your grace, O Lord, I can do nothing.

Perhaps that is to be the cornerstone of the quiet time, at least on the human side – unabashed dependence. For there is within us a weakness that knows no bounds, that sprawls like an oil slick on the ocean surface, or splashes like spilled milk across the table top, speeding to drench placemats, seeping under plates and dripping over table’s edge.

What is my only hope for such a spreading darkness? It reminds me of the way those “shoot ‘em up” video games end, when the player is finally killed: the perspective suddenly shows the sky and then the view grows fuzzy-dark around the edges, spreading oh so rapidly to the center until there is nothing left but darkness.

But my Lord has not called me to darkness, rather to His marvelous Light! And perhaps the essence of the quiet time on His part is the perfect expression of illumination – God’s Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. In a very crass illustration, I as a run-out battery-driven light source (not generating but reflecting His light) “plug in” to His power-socket of illumination. It is not as thought I gain power-cells (as the description “battery-driven” would imply), but rather that I collect the Light Himself through this Divine Conduit. The Light then shines through me out to a blind-dark world, and also shines as encouragement to my fellow Light-repositories, and sometimes as an exhortation.

It is not as though I actively accomplish this role (like I could somehow “plug” myself into this Light Source and bottle up the “download” for distribution), but really as in the most passive of ways, in humble dependence. My simple saying “Yes” to Him for that time of intimacy is like a power cord lying on the floor near an outlet. The cord can no more plug itself into the source than I can flap my arms and fly. But the great grace is that the cord can talk – and as the Holy Spirit passes by, the cord says, “Please” (all the while meaning to say something more like, “I would really like to connect to the ‘Power Source of the Ages’ if you please,” with that human tendency to self-exaltation of which we are so fond), and the Holy Spirit, in great mercy, bends down to plug us in, and it is not so much power that we receive, but Light – Very Light – that we might reflect (not generate, not originate, not produce with our good works or stylish words) His Light – glowing from within as though we were in the Godhead – in Christ!

So this confession is much more about His Sufficiency and Righteousness. My call to quiet time is an acknowledgement of desperate need as I look to Him to fulfill ALL, for this reveals a condition of extreme poverty that is our constant companion.

If it were not so, He would not have said, “The poor you will have with you always.” We never realized that He was speaking about us, ourselves, about the reality of our present state. Our ministry to the poor is truly in part to shine into us as with a mirror the true condition of our hearts, where we actually live. Apart from God in Christ, we are nothing.

Dearest Lord, turn aside every excuse that we might make in delaying or avoiding precious quiet time with You. Truly, Light hurts as it opens up our personal darkness. But Light is our Life, and the Word is its Source, even Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, as the Holy Spirit passes by, we one by one whisper, “Please . . .”

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Just Thinking

Sometimes we think what we write is so important (at least some of us – make that me), that upon our demise others will surely sift through the morass and mess of our personal writings to find all the gems buried therein.

Unfortunately, I just don’t think that is true. Having owned my aunt and uncle’s diaries for years without any attempt at systematic reading and cataloging has convinced me of the error of such thinking. (And perhaps convicted me that not much time should go by without doing some work there!)

Hence my premise that letter writing, that (all but) forgotten art practiced by thoughtful folks like my mother, is perhaps the best medium for any writer (wannabe or otherwise). Consider the following. None but the most popular of authors writes for a known audience. Only the professorial fraternity can write for an audience who will engage in the discussion (and sometimes dissection) of their work as a given fact, at least in their classes.

Truly, letter writers are the only ones who have any hope of having the sheaves of their labor stored away lovingly in some shoebox or armoire drawer, among the book leaves in the library or lovingly enshrined in the lingerie drawer of the beloved. Of course, there is the nearly as great chance that they will disappear in tomorrow’s trash, along with the newspaper and the stale bread, a chance that clearly needs to be taken!

Blog writers have their own set of problems. Will anyone read this? Will the blog site stay up? Will those who read this care – understand – appreciate – sympathize with its content? Does what I say mean anything to the reader? Sure the comments come back, but we don’t even know many who write back. Blogging is perhaps more like an attempt at “random letter writing,” producing a letter and picking a few hundred names and addresses at random and sending copies of the same letter to all!

Perhaps blogging is our 21st century answer to a society that no longer sends or values snail mail. How tenuous are the connections we feel – touching more people and more information than ever, yet disconnected in our personal relationships. We cast our electronic net into the cyberspace world of internet readers, in the hopes that there is someone out there who is interested in communicating their thoughts and intentions via the written word. And when we pull in the net, sometimes they are full, sometimes they are not. But there is that chance . . .

So these blogs won’t end up in someone’s dresser or in the attic, saved but lost, but they may end up touching someone’s life, providing challenge, encouragement or comfort as the case may be.

Which brings me to my point. Whether blogging or letter writing, or talking with loved ones and friends, make every word meaningful, every thought revealing of the heart. Be willing to run the gamut of emotions, even be ready to be wrong. Then when the response comes, make the most of it. For we are so short a time upon this earth, and too often afflicted and troubled in our days. Make every word, every contact, each touch or look count. Tomorrow is no guarantee. Know where you are going, Who and What you believe in, as you live Today!

And write – often – and as much as you can. A few words on a simple card from Dad can mean the world. Looking through Grandma’s personal effects after she’s gone should reveal a lifetime of living. Did she leave you written keepsakes of her passing by here? Did you leave her any such remembrances?

Which brings me to my other point. I know a woman who has some boxes and notebooks of writing saved (some might even be in her lingerie drawer!). That woman is my wife, the companion of a lifetime. As with all husbands, I take her for granted all too often, and forget that she is not Superwoman (appearances to the contrary). But over the years, I’ve gathered together a few simple cards, scratched some poetry or other nonsense on a notebook sheet and sent them to her, even scratched out a few sorry sketches. These poor offerings speak volumes to her, though, becoming soul-links that help in the making of one-flesh, one-heart.

When I was on the cusp of life or death, there was already a lifetime of memories and shared values to strengthen her who would have remained behind alone. She would have been strengthened, by the Lord’s help, to complete the task of raising a family, and of helping others as the Lord has purposed. A key component in her strength though would have been the shared memories and values as reflected and chronicled in the writing she has saved.

So think about your own investments. We can’t guarantee that those who should hear what we have to share will actually hear it or value it. But like the sower in the fourth chapter of Mark, we must carefully but indiscriminately scatter the seed of our investment in every quarter and every manner, and especially in the medium of writing.

Which brings me to my other other point. We already have such a collection of letters from our own Father. Let us not neglect their time honored and proven value in our lives. Taking ever His example to our hearts, may we passionately and sacrificially invest in those who follow. Write on.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Why does “Taps” always remind me of Psalm 121?

A dear friend of a small town community is gone and buried now. Tom was his name. His life has stamped its mark on this earth, revealing indelible impressions on the people in his life. His beloved wife is still there, three sons and their wives, and 5 grandchildren. In addition, he left a town full of friends, and a lifetime rich with investment in all their lives. He is gone, and a hole remains.

Services were conducted in a small town church. Seating was tight, and folks were escorted to almost every nook and cranny of the old building. Perhaps as many as three times the population of the entire town showed up. Tribute was given, both solemn and merry.

He was interred on a hill overlooking a farming valley with striking, snow-covered peaks in the distance. The day was cold, but the sun cast a warmish brightness over the snow-covered hardscrabble surface. Trees framed the cemetery, mostly evergreens, dark green against the stark-white landscape. How good to consider life’s end.

I wrapped my muffler around my neck, and tugged at my hat to adjust the glare out of my eyes. Around my feet, my grandsons scratched and fidgeted in the frozen turf, waiting for the graveside service to begin. Family, townspeople, and friends from near and far gathered under the awning.

My pastor-son shared from Tom’s old Bible, reading the Lord’s Prayer, one of Tom’s favorite texts. Then a short, halting prayer and he was done. Simple words to end with – for a simple man, a humble man.

The military was on hand to honor Tom’s passing, as he was a WWII veteran, a paratrooper and bronze star recipient. Two honor guards took their places, one at each end of the flag-draped casket. The slow salute, and then the mournful tones of “Taps” resonated in the cold-crisp air.

Suddenly I could no longer look on the so familiar scene taking place before my eyes. Turning slightly to one side, I stared across the barren farmland and hills, my eyes no longer seeing clearly for their tears. And Psalm 121 came to me: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills . . .”

Perhaps it is the solemn tone of that Psalm that gets me – or maybe the sense of awe that encountering creation at life’s end engenders. I don’t know. But “Taps” and Psalm 121 go together like earth and sky, like moonlight and starlight, like clouds and rain.

Tom was a man who understood this. He too had been a shepherd, like the Psalmist, watching many a sheep wander around the pastures. And he had worked with his hands as a carpenter, struggling to meet the needs of family and hearth. And he had responded to the call of his Savior, himself a carpenter.

Tom had learned the way of humility.

The story my pastor-son told me was that it was one of Tom’s children who, as a young child, asked him a pointed question that helped Tom to respond to God’s call. The simplicity of a child penetrating the heart in conjunction with the Savior’s invitation. And Tom was graced with humility to receive that simple question – as the Savior’s call.

Humility. Where would Tom be today without it? For it made all the difference.

A loving family, a grateful town, many, many friends. From a life empowered by dependence on his Savior, and tempered by a humble spirit, Tom went about doing what he did, and the fruit was there for all to see that last day. People came by the scores and hundreds, bringing tribute.

Many years before, he had sat under other skies, waiting for battles to begin or end, waiting for the next jump, the next skirmish. Like the Psalmist, he had wondered if he would live through the next fight. What would the hills reveal, what would come from beyond them?

Psalm 121 tells us what the Psalmist was expecting:

I will lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

And the rest of the Psalm speaks about being “kept” by the Lord. That simple humility of believing, that simple trust of confirmation when the Lord keeps us. Tom lived that.

Later, when the Lord spoke through his young son, he was ready to respond because his heart had been prepared on the foreign soils of Europe, in battles and firefights where he survived. He was ready because he had returned home having seen the sustaining help that appeared from beyond those hills.

The slow notes came to an end, drifting away across the quiet air, echoing slightly in the open space, yet swallowed up in its vastness. My grandsons were quiet now, watching the flag folding with solemnity and curiosity. For Tom was their friend as well.

After all was done, my pastor-son came out away from the awning a short distance, and turned to look back at the casket, now bare except for its spray of evergreens and winter flowers, a cowboy hat and carpenter’s measure added to indicate his vocation. He is a good man, my pastor-son. His eyes dripped tears as he looked back at the casket of the man he knew and loved as one of his parishioners, an elder in the church, a friend, and a father figure. I stood with him a moment, and then others came up to speak with him. Back he went, doing the work God has called him to – another humble man.

My grandsons obtained permission to run, and off they went across the snowy hills, chasing back and forth with Tom’s youngest grandson. Precious youthful life being appreciated, even as we celebrated one that was over.

Yes, all three of them will do well. Tom’s grandson is an heir of his grandfather, and my grandsons are heirs of their Dad – both humble men – both worthy men – both sons of their Father in heaven.

The Scripture tells us that it is good to consider our end: Better to go to a funeral than to a party. I found more life standing there on that windswept hill with my pastor-son and his sons, watching and listening as my Father spoke with His eternal wise-voice, than I have found at many an otherwise fun gathering.

Consider this: One day we will all meet our Creator. It is not a matter of “if” – for it is one of the great guarantees of life. If you aren’t sure of your end, then heed my recommendation, and start attending a few funerals. They’ll do wonders for your outlook.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Thoughts on Children

(If you have come to this web site to read the initial writing of my experience with surgery to correct a blocked cardiac artery, click here to see that post.)

Since we have so many children it only seems appropriate that they should all appear in my writing somehow, some way. Certainly no particular part of my life brings me more joy – and heartsickness; more hope – and fear; more encouragement – and conviction. There is only one human relationship closer, more precious, and that one is with their mother, my dearest Judy.

She first appeared as a grammar school child in my summer music class, and as the subject of my Dad’s comments about his many students. I didn’t know any better, but she already knew something of future meaning, of hope and faith. She had a plan . . .

Sweethearts from the age of 15, married at 18, we were in trouble early on from such a young beginning. I had much to learn about the responsibilities of manhood, of what it means to love a woman. I had not given anyone the time or the respect to help me grow into it. So, we suffered the consequences of my pride and arrogance. Ah, youth . . . . If you are like me, you NEVER want to go back! Ah, but the fruit of those youthful days lives on.

We did discover many joys as we both grew up and faced our sin and ignorance. Chief among them are the eight children that God has graciously lent us. With the three eldest, we also received the first of our children by marriage, as precious to us as our own, making the “number” of our children eleven (so far). And with these three couples, we also have six grandchildren and another on the way. Precious are these little ones, the children of a new generation.

That which tops my thinking at this time is the reality that children challenge us and reveal our weaknesses faster and more effectively than many a well-preached sermon. I have heard plenty, and always feel like I could hear more (read on and YOU will be convinced as well!). I’ve also read the many books offered by others who have found it necessary to parade my flaws publicly, and for a sometimes painful price tag! But I can ignore the sermons, as long as those who gather around me don’t see my sins too clearly. And I can shun the books and their advice – I mean, when was the last time you met a famous author? So God chooses to use my children.

Take the issue of my slothful ways – yes, I am lazy. Through the unusual presentation methods of my Redeemer, I might be presented with a child, who thoroughly and unashamedly demonstrates the character quality of laziness in such painful ways that I am completely convinced of its evil and odious nature. Then another child might point out my own sloth – right as I am in the midst of enjoying it and perhaps even justifying it (bless her pea-picking honesty). A third child might shame me through their hard-working dedication that completes a project or household task truly worthy of parental praise. And like a prize fighter overcome by the up-and-coming challenger, my knees buckle and down I go.

What provoked this line of thinking is the way I find that I use my free time. It is bothersome to have a household full of those who can justly and insightfully point out my weaknesses. And I am constantly convicted by their accomplishments. But this is a reality that I also appreciate. Who else will do this odious task, the one of challenging and confronting me, and all the while still loving me? And my children do that so very well!

One of the fine examples that have encouraged me (from within the midst of conviction) is how my children are raising their children. They are working hard at not only doing what we taught and modeled for them, but also attempting to understand and put into practice the instructions of the Scriptures that we haven’t done so well. When I see how the grandchildren relate especially to their fathers, I am challenged to do better with the five that we still have at home. And all my life, this example and challenge will remain before me, and help spur me onward.

Take for instance my son-in-law Kevin, who prepares and ministers to as few as two, and as many as – well – “half of half” a hundred parishioners in his rural congregation (that’s 25, but somehow it sounds better to our numbers-oriented way of thinking to count using fancy words). His faithful and hardworking example is humbling to me, who finds it hard to serve on many an evening. And his patient and fun interaction with his children makes me wish that I had had him for a dear friend when I too was raising my own young family!

And his wife, my daughter Elise, working out her maturing faith in writing, all the while as she serves her family. That challenge has led to this blog – in fact, she set it up, and remains my inspiration for producing not only high-quality writing, but writing that is challenging and useful, that is beautiful and gritty, and most importantly, that glorifies God. So she looks to redeem her time, and I am further convicted that I must also redeem mine.

One would think that my recent brush with death would have made me into a passionate aficionado of time and its value. Not so. My prior bad habits continue to plague me. Hence my ongoing need for the push my children provide. And so my great thankfulness for the gift that they are to me.

In various and in similar ways, all of our other children also challenge and encourage. To focus on just two is to spare you the long and involved story it would become were we to discuss them all. Just know it is so!

Which brings me to the subject of Humility. Why does the Lord use those things which are humbling in my life – my own children to do better what we taught them to do – and to confront that which is displeasing to God in my life? But that is a discussion for another day.

Finally, my children, a word to you. Thank you for your faithful love and concern for us. Yes, we value these lessons, and are grateful that the Lord would so care for us by lending you to us. And we pray that you also may have many children, that your lives might be similarly challenged and blessed. We pray for our children, all our children – for the children by birth, for those who come by marriage, and for those who are adopted – that all of you, throughout all the generations of our family, will come to know and bow to the Lord of all Creation. We pray that we will see you all around the throne of God on that last day. For there we will receive our reward, brought about in part by the faithful love of simple children.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Heigh Ho – Heigh Ho . . .

(If you are in this web site for the first time and want to read about my thoughts about surgery, go to the article entitled “Morning by morning” for that post.)

Yes, it’s off to work I go! Tomorrow, as a matter of fact. No more excuses, no more delays.

Once my physical problem was identified, it was doctors and nurses, medical technicians and assistants, who worked hard and effectively on behalf of my health and well-being. Meanwhile, our daughter Elise disrupted her life and family to come live at our house (assisted by younger sisters), freeing Judy to take care of her man, and our sons determined to be Mom’s escort. All great blessings – all essential to healing.

Then it was a multi-faceted parade of support, coming in the form of prayers, cards, flowers and plants, and meals – lots of meals. That steady stream was a thing of great encouragement and practical help that greased the wheels of the healing express.

Then, while the expressions of love and care continued, it was simply long, quiet days of recuperation, aided and abetted by the policy of an enlightened employer, St. Luke’s, which has taken this into account in its employee management. David, my manager, and Erin, Matt, Tory and Zane, my co-workers, took all of the care and concern away. They managed my e-mail, kept the customers satisfied, moved the office to a new location, and did it all with equanimity and grace.

Do I look forward to work? On several levels – yes. But I mostly look forward to spending time again with my colleagues in a vibrant and satisfying environment. They have carried the load, and I am most grateful. Reunion will be sweet. Will probably involve coffee.

I am feeling very well, thank you. My strength continues to broaden, and my energy level is more robust. Even the problems with my lower back and legs (numbness) are being alleviated by chiropractic care and a lot of stretching.

Mostly, I am simply overcome with gratitude. Gratitude to the many that have simply done what they could to let us know they cared. Thankfulness for the many ways that practical help was given. Joy at the thought of so many smiling and loving faces that represents a cloud of witnesses, as it were.

But over all, under all, surrounding all, is the overwhelming Presence and care of the Lord in my life. How merciful, how gracious, how encouraging He has been in this time. He has ministered a thousand ways, through so many helping hands and eager faces. How can we ever say how grateful this makes us?

So we live for Him!

Friday, January 5, 2007

Meditations of a Man on the Mend

(If you are in this web site for the first time, click here to read the initial writing of my experience with surgery to correct a blocked cardiac artery.)

I’ve been sharing with the children about the call that Jesus makes, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow after me.” This passage, combined with a John Piper message on suffering from the Passion 06 conference (an exposition of Col. 1:24 with parallel references to Phil. 2:29-30) has been most instructive in revealing more of His eternal purposes for us.

For a number of years, Judy and I, along with our married children, have discussed various plans for moving from our current residences into more of a co-op type of setting. Yet every time we discussed these possibilities, we failed to get from the talking stage to the acting stage. I had thought about our motives and was fairly certain that we were thinking properly, but somehow or other it just never happened. We were content with the timing and continue to very much enjoy our present home.

Here was our list of criteria for moving:

1. Care for elderly parents – have a detached/attached residence available for them when they need it.
2. Live closer to parents in the meantime.
3. Economic improvement
- Attempt to become debt-free
- Increased property value (until the real estate market crashed)
- Bigger property
- Bigger house
4. Opportunity for us to better serve our children and grandchildren.
5. Improved facilities for hospitality.
6. More country living.

In retrospect, one of my strongest personal motivations was the more selfish and self-centered desire to have more of what I want here on this earth without regard for the higher and more eternal purposes of God. I wasn’t aware of this until I listened to the John Piper sermon referenced above. Suddenly it began to come clear.

Now, don't get me wrong - I am not opposed to the Lord’s blessings – rather I want to embrace them, along with the trials He sends – both are part of the many blessings He provides.

But I must be willing to “deny myself,” something that does not come naturally to me (nor do I think to any of us). And taking up my “cross” involves staring the potential life of suffering in the face. The Lord is usually gentle about such things, rarely revealing the ultimate cost of our decisions made in obedience to His call. But in the end, the reward will always outweigh the cost (God is no man’s debtor) whether in this life, or more importantly, in the next, for that is where we are aiming.

Jonathan Edwards said about this topic something that dovetails nicely – from his Resolutions:

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

God made all things for us to enjoy. Jesus came to call us to a joyful life of self-denial for the purpose of embracing as much of Him and His Sovereign Will for our lives as possible!

Sounds a little like old Mr. Edwards to me . . .

And sounds like the missing motivation for all our family’s future planning . . .

Sunday, December 31, 2006

This is Love – More updates on my health and progress

(If you are in this web site for the first time, click here to read my first post of going through surgery to correct a blocked cardiac artery.)

No fear.

It is one thing to walk around with a t-shirt proclaiming that we are fearless, as though being a walking billboard for such bravado is somehow the aphrodisiac that will make it so.

It is another thing to come face to face with that nameless something that we all dread – the something that we know is reality, yet in our prescient foresight think we can avoid by avoiding.

Mine shocked me in those dragging minutes of pain, of terse conversation and succinct announcement, of silent painful waiting. Where was the fear, where the overpowering anxious thoughts?

Such thinking is normal. “What about Judy? What about the children? There are so many financial decisions and problems, the tasks left undone around the house, the unsaid words of encouragement, of correction, of strength, of tenderness . . . of love.”

And yet, as I lay there, came the peace. Where does such peace come from to trump so many “important” threads of thinking and reacting, of reaching out to those who “need” me, of managing what I must handle?

But if the end had come for me, would the result have been any different? Would the world have suddenly spun out of control, throwing good people all over the place, and leading to universal disasters of gargantuan proportions? I think not.

Some would have been thrown for a major loop, challenged to come to grips with that universal specter – death. My beloved and our children would certainly have felt the earth spinning off kilter for some time as they adjusted to life without.

Life without me - as though I was the center of the universe; how subtly I have bought into this ego-centric perspective.

If I lay there facing death without fear and anxiety, what does that say but Someone greater has all this in His hand? I claim no power over the universal anxious threat, no overriding strength to quell the rising bile of fear. Rather, it was rest that overcame me and that not of my own thought or intention – it was a rest born of a deep and transforming grace working its natural fruit in my life.

“‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’
‘O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?’
The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law;
But thanks be to God, who gives us
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Cor.15:54b-57, ESV)

My life is not worth much, in and of myself, but because of the sacrifice of Another, my life takes its value from Him. So, freedom from fear is to His credit, a rest-driven life the gift of His making.

Let this post leave you with another George Herbert excerpt, this from his poem Even-Song:

My God, thou art all love.
Not one poore minute 'scapes thy breast,
But brings a favour from above;
And in this love, more than in bed, I rest.

My prayer is that all who read this will find that rest that surpasses all human knowledge. It is found in profound peace with God and with man. Only there will we be truly free to trust to such a measure that we discover rest. (Philippians 4:4-7)

Happy and Blessed New Year to you all! - Kevin

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

No Bragging Allowed – Updates on My Health and Progress

(If you are in this web site for the first time, click here to get the gist of what it meant to me being on the “other side of the knife” as I went through surgery to correct a blocked cardiac artery.)

I title this article as I do based on the fact that I live and breathe and have vigor on the merit of Another, not on anything of my own. You see, people think that I was doing everything right, taking care of myself, eating properly, exercising regularly, managing the stresses of life with grace and equanimity. (I was “trying to,” as we are humanly fond of saying.) The truth is I love cookies, chocolate, meat and potatoes, bread and butter AND butter and bread, special coffees, etc. I am also willing to compromise on exercise if I don’t “feel” just particularly so. And the fact is I don’t manage stress all that well because I want MY way – and that gets in the way of grace and equanimity.

So, what about the fact that I did not take proper care of myself in the years that led up to the heart attack? It simply means that I can’t take any glory for me because I didn’t and I couldn’t do it myself. I am the recipient of a profound mercy.

My daughter Elise sent the following quote to me early on in my recovery, and it has been an inspiration. George Herbert writes in his poem,
"The Flower"

And now in age I bud again;
After so many deaths I live and write.
I once more smell the dew and rain
And relish versing: O my only Light
It cannot be
That I am he
On whom Thy tempests fell all night.

How very much like that I feel, as I review the events and ponder the mystery of my life in the context of what might-have-been. Surely I am like a newly awakened life, aware of the joys and perceptions of each day as though they are all new. I feel the sharpness of pain in my ribs, and it is a tonic for good; the pain makes me remember that I live! I see my loving wife caring for me, maintaining a warm and hospitable home, and I see her in beauty and in concern for me as though it is all new, yet she has faithfully done this for 34 years! My children are like young trees growing in a fertile meadow; they cast their shade over grass and flower, and reach up towards the sun and clouds as though to pull down those sources of life. They are fruitful (and multiplying – seventh grandchild is on the way!).

I am amazed. What more can I say? I take my walks, eat my food, read and write, rest and nap, play, and then the night takes over. A new day dawns, and we do it all over again, but it is for a joy, and there is no sense of boredom. Oh, to have understood this better before.

I am reminded of another snippet that daughter Abbie shared with me in my confinement. It is from translations that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow did from Sinngedichte of Friedrich Von Logau, 17th Century.

The Best Medicines
Joy and Temperance and Repose
Slam the door on the doctor’s nose.

Joy have I had, but little have I valued it, confusing it with the weaker and more fleeting happiness. Temperance has been compromised by my insipid self-serving approach to all things. Repose? That implies a view of life’s concerns as being yielded up to One who can truly care for me. May I learn in this season to better appropriate the blessings described in this simple aphorism.

I have hope to be able to do more, achieve what once I may have thought beyond any waking impulse or ability, because there is the promise implied in my recovery that a grace is here for this very end.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory . . .” Ephesians 3:20-21a
- Kevin

Friday, December 8, 2006

Morning by Morning...

...New mercies I see . . .

I suppose everyone who goes through some type of life-trauma, an event or time that brings them face to face with ultimate realities, has a deeper, enhanced perception of each new day’s graces. Certainly none of us can claim a corner on the “human troubles” market, nor can any of us hold out our experience in handling these times as the epitome for such-and-such a trauma. Somehow, confronting ultimate realities simplifies our thinking, crystallizes our belief, and sets the rudder of our ship towards its final destination.

Not that adjustment can’t be made, that further light or darkness might not provide additional ultimate reality collisions. Nor that further mercies when perceived might not remove more of the fog of earthbound vision. Nor that a Sovereign Grace might not remove all doubt, and that not of ourselves . . .

How we love that feeling of being in control, of believing that we set and then maintain the course of our lives. Somehow we perceive in this that all is good, that we embody goodness, which then flows out through all our myriad decisions, feelings, words and actions. Surely everyone else must be aware of how right we are. Surely the fruit of our lives bears witness . . . what more is there to say?

Control was gone for me – palpably, irreversibly, irresistibly. Lying on the cool hardwood floorboards of our front living room entryway – boards my self-determination and the strength and decisiveness of my children had laid piece by piece, weaving patterns of beauty and grace, warmth and utility, form and function, throughout the heart of our home – had now become my bed, my resting-place under the cruel, crushing hand of a heart attack. Unrelenting pain bearing down on the center of my chest, I writhed uncontrollably on the very wood my own strength short years past had helped to build. None of that strength from those bye-gone days was available to me in this time – not my strength, nor my children’s strength, nor even the strength of our friends who had helped.

Short moments before I had gotten a big drink of water, and a couple of cookies for a snack, had ascended the stairs to our bedroom to resume my work (what was I doing anyway?), when it hit. I had just spoken with Judy by telephone a couple of minutes before; now I called back:
– come home now
– you must tell me why
– my chest hurts
– call 911
It was a conversation full of essentials, devoid of, well, non-essentials. In it my hurting heart heard all the care and devotion of a true soul-mate, through words so austere.

A quick call to 911. Now I am struggling to talk. It is near agony to answer their questions. Relief when the deed is done.

I try to call the kids, who are downstairs in the house. This is wrong, as I am separated from them. A very brief and small relenting in the pain, and I slide down the stairs “bump-bump” to lie on the hardwood floors.

My recollection of anything happening apart from my own pain-focused immediacy is sketchy at best. Pain had grabbed my face and made me look into the vortex of my mortality. I know I made some sort of brief announcement to the kids:
– heart attack
– called 911
– ambulance coming
– mom home soon
– trust God

There it was – the first Mercy. The briefest laundry-list of need-to-know information, summarized, encapsulated, punctuated in the final statement. All that mattered to be conveyed to the ones who most needed to hear it, the last phrase saying it all. Where did this come from – this platitudinous simplicity, or this obvious statement of fact?

Was this a new mercy for a morning gone horribly awry? No, for its roots were planted deeply in the soil of my heart, early and often, by believing parents. God Himself had made it clear from my childhood that the only reason I lived was to love and serve Him. And a lifetime of trusting Him had led me through trials and mercies galore that I might trust His sovereignty.

But wasn’t this a new mercy this morning?

Yes. Yes! Oh, yes! Never before had I been tried in this mercy in my own flesh.

Many times before, I had been placed in situations of earnest concern for loved ones, for friends, even for strangers. In all of these trials, the sovereign God had been revealed. My own children had been healed, helped, every time. In other cases dearly loved friends and acquaintances had died, not receiving healing in this world. So I had learned the way of every cast of the die . . .

And now – unbidden yet unfettered – it had rolled out of my mouth. Was this a simple triviality? No, for such meaninglessnesses fumble and fail in the light of ultimate realities. Simple? Yes. Trivial? No, for this simplicity is of the wise and deep kind. The simplicities we know as mercies are largely hidden in the world, being seen and understood best by children, who in their simplicity are not fooled, and by the silver-haired, which having spent their foolishness become wisely simple.

For trust is not trust until tested. Tests must contain the potential for ultimate realities. Ultimate realities drive belief, from which comes the faith to receive new mercies.

Anther test has come and gone. More adjustments to the rudder of life’s ship – minor in this case. And the vessel runs lightly once again, being driven before the wind.

. . . All I have needed, Thy Hands have provided;
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord, unto me.


The story you have just read is true. I follow it up with a clinical description of the same event. My, how differently it sounds when compared with the reality of my perceptions of these same events!

Kevin began having a heart attack on Monday, 11/27 around 12:30. Three doses of nitroglycerine administered by the paramedics interrupted the attack, and he sustained no heart damage. Two days later, double bypass surgery was performed to fix the blocked artery in his heart. He is recuperating quietly at home.

- Kevin

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Papa - A Cautionary Tale

Just because your shirt covers your scar doesn't mean it magically disappeared. You mustn't walk three blocks when your wife thinks you are walking one. Walk up and down the stairs slowly, for heaven's sake. Take care in ringing that bell - wanting a kiss from your wife does not count as an urgent need. DO NOT quote or act out any Harvey Korman and Tim Conway skits, because you know it hurts to laugh so hard.

And as a reward for following these rules, bask in the Father's love. Dive into his grace, swim in his mercy. Revel in the life you have been given.

Papa is doing well - just resting, enjoying his family, overdoing it! because he feels so well.

In your prayers, please pray for his (and Mama's) wisdom in knowing when to rest, in being protective of their time as a family, and of course, continued healing for that great heart we all love.

Papa is compiling his thoughts from the past week. When it's posted, it's gonna be a doozy.

To help you wait until that time, here are a couple of pictures.

...and visiting with Maddie..., go hug your loved ones!

Elise for the Kircher Family

Sunday, December 3, 2006

He's Home!

One whole week ago - the major surgery wasn't until Wednesday - and he's already home! He looks wonderful, is managing the pain well with very little medication, and wants to sleep alot - as he should! I gave him a bell to call me when needed. He has rung it twice - and the children have gone running to him. I didn't even hear it. Over the years, I think I have learned to shut out alot of different noises (for survival reasons). Hopefully, I'll do better tomorrow in the race to see who can get to Papa the quickest!

I spent the last two nights with him at the hospital. Sure glad I did. The hospital was extremely busy, and little jobs just weren't getting done. I know he would not have asked a nurse for some of the things he needed. I had to correct an ICU nurse about the timing of his pain medications. He was sure I was wrong, checked his records, and oops! - I was right!

Kevin will be home for 6 weeks - ah-h-h - bliss! He is a delight to have around, and the children are going to love the time he gets to read to them - after he can stay awake!

I have asked myself "How many people does it take to run a house when a Papa is gone"? I can't even imagine how we would have managed if Kevin Hooper hadn't brought Elise and Eliana to us. They kept to a schedule, and I do believe, had alot of fun! I walked in the house late one night and made myself stop and look around to see what everyone was doing. My favorite tea cups and saucers were in the dish drain. Yes - they are for special occasions - and that means daily use. It was a delight to my heart to imagine the conversation that went on during tea.

Two young men were playing Playstation - probably getting rid of some extra emotion and energy. They were laughing - music to my ears. Caleb was checking out the latest sports information, headphones on and newspaper pages turning. Abbie has had finals and papers due this week. The poor girl has felt badly that all she could do was work and study. We have all encouraged her to just dig in and get done. That was her job this week. She believes that if her grades don't turn out too well this first semester, she'll always have the excuse of her Papa's surgery to blame. We were chatting yesterday about the fact that during her senior year she had testing the morning my Dad died. Talk about one distracted girl. Oh well - those grades got her into Who's Who of American High School Students - guess she's better than she thinks under pressure!

I have seen such maturity and sweetness from all of our children this past week. Poor Dana (who is 3 months pregnant, with very bad morning sickness) has also had the flu this past week and never once got to help out with the children or even go see Papa. Aaron said she was in tears yesterday. I saw two sons embracing as one saw Papa for the first time after surgery - leaving the rooms in tears - crying over what he had seen and also crying because he was so relieved. Daniel and Aaron have been my 6' 2" shadows this past week. Once they determined "from this time on, Mama is not to ever be alone". I tried to encourage them a couple of times to go and get some rest. You should have seen the look I got. I gave up. I was outnumbered - and they are large! Miss Bethany was a little mama, big sister, friend, cook and (I am assuming) Elise's right arm. And then there's Little Miss Madeline - constantly telling me "I miss Papa - oh, I miss you, too, but I really miss Papa". I saw something different this time. She has grown up some. In the past, it has been difficult for the two of us to be separated for any time. She did very well! And that is because her big sister was here, praying with her, playing with her, distracting her, and doing all of the things Mama usually does. What comfort that brought this household. I have tried to find words to thank Elise - they aren't coming - I am just so full of thankfulness to a God who cares so deeply about all of the things that concern us.

And finally, what a blessing and a joy it has been to connect with old friends throughout this - your prayers are felt. Everyone who has given rides, made phone calls, sent meals, and loved our children - you are worth more than gold. We are so thankful.

Soon, Kevin will write to you with his own hand! And we just might include some pictures - if you're very, very good. :)

Until then, please keep us in your prayers, as we keep you in ours.

Judy for the Kircher Family

Friday, December 1, 2006

Thursday and Friday

Poor Mama. She had a whole post written last night, and lost it. She just didn't have the heart to type it out all over again! So we apologize for the delay in updates.

Yesterday could be called "Papa's Day of Pain", as pretty much everything hit him at once. He definitely needed his pain meds, especially for the ache in his ribs, and spent a lot of the day sleeping.

The doctor still felt that his progress was good enough to be sprung from the ICU today, so he is now in a regular room that overlooks the cross on Table Rock - a blessing. He has showered, taken some visitors (family), and is in such good spirits that he's actually been reminded to take his pain meds! He expresses his gratitude often - to be alive, to have such a wonderful outpouring of support, and to have family nearby.

Mama is spending the night tonight - just because she can! He's been downgraded to one nurse, not because he was naughty, of course, but because he is doing so well. I'm sure she feels like Papa should still have more nurses; but I'm positive that she is all he needs - good medicine!

There is definitely a different spirit to the room now that they have left the ICU. Everyone has a new bounce in their step - or shuffle, in Papa's case. (Can you bounce-shuffle?) We're praying for good rest for the next couple of days, and for everything to stay on track for a Sunday release date.

Something Mama mentioned to me that has been running through her mind all day - "How many people does it take to run a household without a Papa?" (I would add "and a Mama?") She's very thankful for Aaron and Dan, who have driven her to and fro, stayed with her so that she was never alone at any time, and shuttled the other children to their classes and jobs. We are all doing just fine at home - keeping up with the schoolwork, playing board games, rolling in the snow (well, not me. Brrrr.), watching movies, and eating yummy meals.

Everyone is anxious to have Papa home again so normal life (and Christmas decorating!) can continue. Thank you all for your prayers, your calls of support, and the wonderful dinners that are about to begin! God has blessed our family with you - may He bless you right back.

Elise for the Kircher Family

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wednesday Night

Good Evening, Precious Ones!

I have sat at this computer tonight thinking about what I would write. I love being funny and I do feel sweet, funny laughter inside - but I think I'm too tired for it to come out- weird feeling. So - how about if I just write the facts.

Our day started before 5 as I wanted to arrive at the hospital before they took Kevin for final pre-op preparation. Well - it was too late to have any kind of a "serious" conversation with him, as he had already taken his happy drugs. I was met by a sweet, sleepy looking guy with a peaceful grin on his face. And that was wonderful, because he wasn't thinking about the details of what was ahead. He said he had had a night of sweet fellowship with the Lord with a little bit of sleep. What a blessing!

I did have a few moments to pray with him and I read him all of the scriptures that people had sent. The Chaplain came and told him to go to sleep thinking about something that made him happy - like the beach or the mountains - and that would be the first thoughts he would have when he woke up. Well - I do know what his thoughts were as he was drifting off, and it wasn't the beach or the mountains - but the Creator of the beaches and mountains! Amen!
And then they took him away.

I think Dan and I were totally unprepared for the moment he would be wheeled away. I am so glad that moment is over. We almost did ourselves some kind of permanent damage by stifling our tears. Our eyes have hurt all day - we should have just totally let the floodgates open at that moment instead of just off and on throughout the day.

Surgery was finished in under 4 hours. Everything went according to plan - a double bypass - I thought it was going to be a single. The Doctor said there were no surprises and his heart looked great and strong and the right size. He was very pleased. We were greatly relieved! A pacemaker is used after the surgery to allow them to regulate his heart should it need some help. I was looking for it on him tonight and couldn't find it. The nurse stated that it was there - but there had been no need to even turn it on - his heart was right on the beat without it!
He was supposed to be able to sit in a chair by this evening but was just too sleepy. The downside of that is that he wouldn't/couldn't wake up enough to use the breathing machine. They kept threatening to re-insert the ventilator and he answered that threat by just snoring louder! At that moment I realized that they had neglected to "fix" that little issue - snoring, that is - and I can't wait to have that "sound" back in my bed again!

They had to give him platelets because he has been continuing to bleed more than they liked. The blood is so thin for a heart patient - so this is not a surprising problem. The platelets make the blood more sticky and therefore, slow down loss of blood. They were considering giving him a second dose when the first round was beginning to work. Blood sugars are high and they are giving him insulin. That is just because of the stress on the body - not a normal problem for him. The sweet nurse promised to call me during the night if he started to wake up more and needed or wanted me there. She said he wasn't going to remember that I had been there at all today but she would vouch for me! She told me if I called her when I got home that she would put the phone up to his ear so I could tell him good night. I did that and I heard the first complete sentence come out of his mouth that I have heard all day. He said "This is pretty high-tech, huh?" I told him not to give the nurse any trouble during the night. He responded by saying he thought he would just sleep. Good boy! And then he finished off, in typical Papa fashion, by telling me to keep encouraging the children in their faith. Such a beautiful heart he carries for his children. We are all so aware of the gift this man is in our lives, as well as many others.

Thank you all for keeping us in your prayers! When I start praying for the specifics of things I believe he needs in the next couple of days and weeks, the list can go on and on. Thank you Jesus for surrounding and protecting us when we don't even know what we need! We can fully trust in his grace, mercy, faithfulness - and that list goes on and on and on...................

Thank you for the visits, and sitting with us in the waiting room, and your cards, and your flowers, and your care for our children, and this list goes on and on and on.......................
We so need each other!

Hope this letter was clear and not too much information. I think the last coffee I drank today was not decaf.

Under the Mercy! Judy, for the grateful Kircher Household

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Greetings, Everyone:

Just an update to let you know what the angiography (they didn't do an angioplasty, after all) revealed. Kevin has a main left artery with a blockage of 90%. The doctor could not do a stent in that area because the artery that is blocked feeds into more arteries (shaped like the letter "Y". Too tricky and probably would not have been good in the long run. So...........he will be having open heart surgery (bypass) tomorrow around 8:30 a.m.

We are so extremely grateful to God for protecting Kevin's heart by aborting the heart attack. The doc showed me a picture of Kevin's heart pumping beautifully, with no damage at all. Just that nasty old blockage. It was a reminder once again how blessed we are that God provided the way to get him help immediately. It was definitely heading toward a massive coronary with a high probability of death because of the location of blockage. The Great Physician has been at work all along! Rejoice with us!!!

Kevin does not do well, typically, with anything going wrong with his body. He is very sensitive to where he is hurting and can identify pain, the area of pain, the length of pain, the reason for pain.... well - you get it - don't you? But certainly the positive part of that "talent" was his being so aware of his pain yesterday that he moved quickly to get help. The negative part of that "talent" is - tonight his mind is doing overtime on what they are actually going to be doing to him tomorrow morning. I kind of wanted to see the video for patient preparation - but he didn't, so, we'll just experience it all tomorrow. What a cutie he is!

Before I left tonight, I told him I didn't know what his problem was - he gets to sleep through the surgery tomorrow - I'm the one that has to stay awake! He snarled at me - so that was the end of that conversation!

We have been surrounded by so many prayers, read your precious comments in emails, enveloped in so much love, and even seen a few of your sweet faces! How very beautiful is the Body of Christ! We love you and we'll keep in touch tomorrow.

Blessings on you ALL! Judy for the Kircher Household

P.S. I get to have Kevin home for 6 weeks! - I told him that was a sneaky way to get me to do all the driving in this family (can't drive because of danger of accidents to the chest area), I get to do all of the Christmas shopping, and it gets him out of a big weekend of work that was coming up. Flip side - he gets to help me with the schooling and I get to look at his sweet face! Not dreading that at all!


Kevin had a near heart attack yesterday - out of the blue. He was home on an extended Thanksgiving vacation, working with the kids, etc. I was out running errands. We chatted once about the schedule for the p.m., and he sounded great. When I left he was pleasantly reading the curriculum to the kids and Caleb was having a chess lesson. Two minutes after we had spoken, he called me back, and asked me to come home right away. It sounded like he was a wee bit angry (unusual for him). Now I realize he was dealing with pain and fear. When he told me his symptoms, I told him to call 9-1-1. He said "OK" and did it immediately.

I was in bad traffic coming home (of course), and feared I would see the ambulance leaving our house before I got there. I arrived home in time - they had things well under control, but it looked serious. They told me his EKG showed he was having a heart attack and they would be transporting him to Meridian St. Luke's. Dan arrived home about then, and Abbie was home also, so I was able to leave the children in good hands.

After arriving at the ER, they continued to administer meds and do tests. He was not showing any output of the enzyme that shows up when you have a heart attack. They said that was excellent, and that he was one lucky dude and should run out and buy a lottery ticket - yea - right - it's all about luck, you know! They said the enzyme could still show up in the afternoon blood draw - but it looked good at that point. They moved him up to CCU, and continue to monitor him at this time. The tests came back showing he has a blockage (we're praying it will be one or NONE), and they will be doing an angioplasty this a.m. The second blood test came back negative for the enzyme and the Doc said he believes the heart attack was aborted and that there will be no heart damage. We're believing that will be true as the day progresses. We believe (and the Doc will talk to us more about this later) that his cholesterol (up and down) for years has been the issue.

They said that he has been doing very well with diet and exercise, and this could have happened sooner and more severely if he hadn't been taking good care of himself - so we will not look back and second guess our refusing cholesterol lowering drugs, etc. We move on from today - that's all! He knows Dr. Watt's is going to fillet him when he hears what has happened.. can't wait for that...!

Anyway, I'll let you know how things go today. We've seen God's hand all over this situation - it could have been so much worse. We've been to Midvale, out of phone range, in backed up 4 hour traffic delays in Midvale with ice over the pass, etc., with a trip planned to Midvale YESTERDAY - not Sunday as previously planned. It's all good!

I am so thankful that Kevin was willing to get help right away. We have had the conversation many times, that if he even suspects chest pains might be related to indigestion, etc., that he is to get to ER. They would rather diagnose that, than deal with a too-late heart attack! We did have to run around the neighborhood looking for aspirin. He had some in his gym bag, but that was in the car that Dan was borrowing. Oh well - it all worked out.

Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and this time finds you all peaceful! Check out Bethany's blog site! It has some pictures of our Thanksgiving. Her site is called "For His Glory". She is loving taking pictures and is showing great ability with her eyes and writing. It's fun watching her put it all together.

Blessings on you all! I'll be in touch! Judy