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Monday, September 29, 2008

Memory Lane Monday

Memory Lane Monday is about precious memories relived in photographs. This was an idea that Sis thought of. Choosing the pictures will be so much fun for me! It could get crazy!






Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hello Thursday

Huge Grey fan! Grey's Anatomy returns to night, can't wait!
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Bubba
and I drove to get Sis' car at her apartment yesterday. It was scratched and trashed on the inside. It looked pretty sad. I now have to do the "mom" stuff to get it fixed and get the insurance check. Had to go cut my hair again as I didn't quite care for the look. I had the ends of my hair razored so it had to be cut off, so I have a "boring" bob.
I will have to get use to it...hair does grow back I know. Just had it done today, so haven't got the fam's reaction, which is usually they don't notice because I live with males and I have to say "Do you like my hair?" They don't really want to answer me most of the time! Still love them though!
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Please continue to keep Joe in your prayers (he had the same surgery Pat had). He got to go home last Friday, but he is still on the feeding tube with liquid supplementation. The doctors wanted him to go home and heal some more as they found a small leak. Therefore, he has to have another swallow test next week.

Hugs!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

They Found The Car

Yes, they found Sis' car just down the street from her apartment! The insurance company was actually going to turn the claim over to the Loss Department today as it has been two weeks since it was stolen from her apartment. She has not picked up the car yet, but the policeman said that the only damage that he found is that the passenger door handle is missing. I am not sure that I am that excited as the car had 90,000 miles on it and I was looking for a "gift" inside this unfortunate event. She would have gotten more money for the car stolen than trading or selling it. SIs is excited though because a lot of her clothes were in the trunk. I guess stranger things could happen!
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Pat is feeling so much better and he has been eating really good, although he lost a couple of more pounds. I am just excited to have my (now skinny) Pat back! If you have not seen him, he really looks good and I think he looks younger. I am so very proud of him!
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Poor Bubba has had a terrible migraine for the past two days that included some numbness. I took him to the doctor this morning and he now has some new medicine to try if the migraines continue. We enjoyed hanging out together as we went to Panda to eat, went to the library to checkout a book on Israel, and he hung out in the car while I went to Ulta!
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Got a new "doo" today. I cut my hair off because it was time for a change. I will see if I like it after I get the chance to blow dry it myself!

Hugs!

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Testimony

Sunday night, our church was presenting a musical entitled "God With Us" and during the musical a couple of people were asked to give testimonies. I was asked to give a testimony on my prospective of Pat's journey with cancer and how I felt God's presence. Below is a guideline to what I said.

Isaiah 12: 4-5 says “Thank the Lord! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is! Sing to the Lord, for he has done wonderful things. Make known his praise around the world.”

In October of 2006 our friend Keith Gilbert was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer. The following February he died. One of Keith’s main symptoms was reflux.

Fast forward to June, this summer, my husband, Pat scheduled is 50-year-old checkup. Since Pat had had reflux in the past and he was encouraged by Keith and his wife, Jeanie, to be scoped, so Pat asked for a doctor that could do an endoscopy at the same time as his colonoscopy. We received that phone call June 19th that we all fear. Cancer was found. He had a 1.5 mm nodule at the juncture of his stomach and esophagus. We were in complete shock. Things were moving fast so we had to tell the kids. The boys were leaving for church camp in a few days and our daughter was at college. We called a family meeting and told the kids. That had to be one of the worst experiences that Pat and I had ever endured.

The next step was that Pat was scheduled for a procedure with sonogram eight days later. Everything seems to be a waiting game with cancer. The blessing here was that the boys were at camp which was a huge distraction and were with friends. It was also good because Pat and I literally sit in our living room staring and crying. Looking back Pat can now see why there was a wait. It made Pat and I pray and seek the scripture for comfort.

Thursday night prior to Pat’s procedure, five Godly men came anointed and prayed over Pat and it was the most beautiful scene I have ever seen. Pat was ready and he was at peace and all the faith that God was in control.

The test was done as outpatient the next day. They were not able to remove the nodule as it was too close to the muscle. It did indicate that it was a stage one or two.

The next step was to see a surgeon and an oncologist. We met with Dr. Lin, the surgeon, who explained the procedure called an esophagectomy. His recommendation was surgery and then followed by chemo and/or radiation if needed. The blessing here was that Dr. Lin was one of the only surgeons in this area who specialized in going through the neck instead of breaking open the chest cavity. He rarely sees patients who have found the cancer this early. Another miracle. Surgery was scheduled for August 5th.

Our next visit was with the oncologist who then recommended chemo/radiation first followed by surgery. What were we to do? The oncologist and surgeon couldn’t agree after discussion, so they turned over the decision to be made by the Tumor Board at Harris Hospital. In the meantime, Pat and I were calling all to pray for discernment and wisdom in making this huge decision. I did not have a peace with the oncologist or facility so we tried to find another oncologist. After two closed doors with recommended oncologists, we found Dr. Ross. He agreed with the surgeon that he should have surgery first as Pat was an exception because of the early finding of the cancer and that he was young. Please note that the oncologist never presented our case to the oncologist, so God was behind the steering wheel in making this decision. A decision that we were in complete peace.

August 5th arrived and Pat’s surgery was three hours. Dr. Lin felt that the surgery went well and he removed five to six inches of his esophagus and two inches of his stomach. Pat was in the hospital ten days. The pathology report came back that It was indeed stage one and the cancer was found at the very earliest stage you could find it. A miracle. Dr. Lin felt that Pat did not need any further treatment such as chemo/radiation. The stay in the hospital and the recovery at home has been a tough one. Pat has had all kinds of struggles in learning to eat again. His struggling with depression was also a new experience, and the one thing that was the hardest for me.

Our visit with the oncologist was last week. This I felt would be the biggest decision that we might have to make chemo or no chemo? Pat felt he would probably need it as we were going to an oncologist…they of course are going to sell their cars! Right? No. He said that it was not needed and that he would follow him closely for the next five years. We were ecstatic.

I just gave you the summary in five minutes of how it all played out. What I have not mentioned are all of the blessings, miracles and gifts that God has given our family. May I list a few: That Pat chose to have an endoscopy and find stage one cancer and not need chemo is a miracle in itself. To hear my husband say that he thanked God for his cancer. Coworkers of Pat’s have confessed to him that they were believers and were praying for him. That our life group was created nine months prior to this so that they could carry us, love us and support us. That I had spent 20 hours creating my blog which was for fun that could actually serve a good purpose of keeping friends and family in the loop of Pat’s journey. To receive the cards, food, letters, emails and texts of people praying and loving on us. To hear my 14 year-old son say that his faith is stronger and that he is closer to God since his dad had cancer. To realize that what is truly important in this world. To be a part of God’s miracles and recognizing them as miracles.

Personally, I discovered that God will equip you, but not one minute before you need it. Also, I remember in the hospital sharing with one of my friends that I felt absolute joy in the midst of all of this. And, I remember several said that they were praying for me to have peace and no fear. That is exactly how I felt.

Pat, the kids and I are still held firmly in his grip!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hello Alstons!


Hurricane Ike blew in the Alstons this last weekend into town and it was great seeing them. Amy with her kids, (left to right) Madison, Macy, and MaKenzie! I loved seeing you guys and Chris too! I miss you!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Bad News and the Good News

The good news is that G scored is very first touchdown tonight! He caught two passes tonight and made some very good tackles. That was so exciting to watch as a Mom! Good job G! The bad news is that Bubba's place of employment, the local sporting good store, got robbed last night by four guys. He and his manager were helping these guys with shoes to try on and when the manager went to the back they shouted "lets go" and ran out of the store with about $500.00 worth of items. At the time Bubba was at the register and the manager was in the back. Bubba made a b-line straight to the back and pushed the silent alarm. He said that was the scariest night of his life. I am so thankful that they did not demand money or have any weapons. Thank you, Lord for protecting them.

Hugs!

Monday, September 15, 2008

This is my favorite weather ever!

Today it was in the 80's and felt wonderful.  The cool brisk morning while walking Cash just put me into an instant good mood.  I love how Fall smells!  Pat says that it reminds him of approaching deer season....please!   The Cowboys are playing as I post this and Pat is cheering on the first touch down with TO (I heard him begging TO to not show out!)  G is actually at the game and watching his first professional football game.  He is so into football now and loves to play the sport himself.  He has the first season game tomorrow Away.  I love watching him play, but I get that "O my gosh, please don't get hurt" look on my face when I watch him.  He tackled two guys at once during the scrimmage game last week.  Pat was hootin and hollerin and I was cringing!  Basketball is a calmer sport, G!
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Pat is still trucking right along.  Today he really didn't feel very good and I think that these days are hard for him as he just wants to feel good and feel normal.  Continue to pray for Pat's continued healing and that his body will adjust to his eating.  He is back on his treadmill and ready to get back in shape.
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Still no word on Sis' car, but that is okay as we don't want the car back now.  She came home this weekend in her little rental car.  It was good to see her.  She always makes us laugh!
~~~~~ 
Sunday evening our church is having a musical and my friend, Bill our music pastor, asked me to give a small testimony on my perspective of how our family has have been blessed during Pat's journey since he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in June.   I was just making a list of the blessings and answered prayer on paper and five minutes is just not long enough to tell of them all.  My prayer is that God will speak through me as I share and that He receives all of the glory.  "Lord, I pray that I never forget.  I pray that I will always remember this journey even though we did not know where we were headed and we feared the unknown. I pray that I never forget your faithfulness and the sense of your presence at all times.  You bent down to hear my cries, my prayers and my thankfulness.   I am changed and I don't want to forget. I love you, Lord!"  

Hugs!

Friday, September 12, 2008

"Cash" the Door Dog

video

I told you that the video was coming. Ta Da!

This is Cash opening and closing the door! We can be sitting on the couch watching TV and when he comes in we tell Cash to shut the door and we never have to leave our seat. I have never had a smart dog before...this is fun!

Hugs!

TGIF


Yep! "Watch out, mom is going to put that picture on her blog!" If I have the camera, look out! Just remember that those I love eventually get mentioned or their picture posted here!
~~~~~
Our day was full yesterday with two doctor appointments. We met with the nutritionist at the The Cancer Center yesterday and she was helpful in confirming what we know along with suggestions on improving Pat's diet. She touched on the Dumping Syndrome and then eating nutritionally. Since Pat has to focus on the quantity of food he eats, then his food should be quality, which means lots of fruits, vegetables, good fat, high fiber and protein. All this sounds familiar to all of us, but we all seem to get off track too. We also met with Dr. Lin. Pat got a good report and he is very pleased with the outcome. He can now workout and get back to his regular routine. Dr. Lin will see us in three months. He said that Pat will have to be checked every year for the next five years.
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In between appointments, Pat and I stopped by the hospital and I introduced Sherri and Joe to Pat. Joe was having a good day and seemed excited to meet us. His journey has been tough and I ask that you continue to pray for him and his family. Joe said that he is ready to get home because he misses his dog. I left there remembering Joe's smile.
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It looks like rain is headed our way. I know of families that are coming to our town to stay with friends and wait out the storm. Let's keep those leaving their homes in our prayers. I really can't imagine what that feels like and then have to do it many times as many of these evacuees have had to do.
~~~~~
I want to send birthday wishes to Amy Alston!

Have a great weekend!

Hugs!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Still Smiling

Yes, I am still smiling, and if I am not smiling, I have tears in my eyes.  My heart is filled  with complete thankfulness.  This morning I was doing the dishes and listening to praise music on Pat's fancy IPOD.  My thoughts were about how this journey could have been so different. While praying today I told God that thanks and praise sure didn't seem big enough to thank Him.  My friend, Brenda from Idaho, sent the following message via text as soon as she heard our great news:  "To those who believe, will He not give that which you have asked for". Thank you for all of your sweet messages and your prayers of thankfulness. 
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Remember the gentleman I told you about from our church, Joe, who had the same surgery as Pat last Tuesday?  He has had a major set back because he had to have the surgery again yesterday.  Since Joe had to have radiation prior to surgery, some of his tissue had died so he was leaking fluid.  Dr. Lin also did his surgery and he told Joe's daughter, Sherri, that this would be the last time he will be able to do the resection. I am asking that you take those mighty prayers and now pray for Joe, Sherri and her husband.  Sherri is his primary caregiver and she has two small children at home who are missing her.  She called tonight to update me and asked if Pat and I could come to the hospital and encourage Joe as he is losing his fight.  
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No news on Sis' car, but truthfully, I really would not want it to be found now as it is probably stripped and damaged.  She is trying to stay positive, but she keeps remembering what she left in the car.  I told her that there may be a gift in this somewhere.
~~~~~
G had his first football game as an eighth grader.  It was a scrimmage but he got a lot of action.  Last night he was a starter as safety and receiver.  A terrible accident happened today while at practice.  There was a dog pile with two or three and  G heard the guy yelling to get off.  His knee was facing one way and the foot the other so it was broke and dislocated.  He went to the hospital by ambulance.  G is feeling bad and he said it was hard to look at.  Will you please say a prayer today for Mason?
~~~~~
Bubba is now a youth leader for his church for seventh graders.  Tonight was his first night, so I am anxious to hear how that went.  He seems to be enjoying school and work.
~~~~~
Pat and I go to see Dr. Lin tomorrow and meet with the nutrition.   

Goodnight!

Hugs!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No Chemo or Radiation Required!


I am so excited!  The oncologist, Dr. Ross, said that Pat does not need any further chemo or radiation!  We are seeing a miracle right before our eyes.  Dr. Ross has such a great personality and he is so easy to talk to.  He said that he wanted Pat to continue healing and return on November 10th for some MRI's and x-rays of his chest and stomach and then follow up with a visit with him on November 18th.  He said that Pat will have to watch over his shoulder for the rest of his life for the return of the cancer and there is an 85% chance that it will never return. He will be checked regularly.  We are also meeting with a nutritionist on Thursday so that we can education ourselves on the proper nutrition to keep the cancer at bay.   Thank you again for all or your prayers and your specific prayers that were prayed in the last few days for our specific meeting with Dr. Ross.  My specific prayer was that he would not be required to have further treatment.  Thank you, God!  
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One last thing to end your reading, Sis got her car stolen in front of her apartment sometime this morning.  So, if you know her at all, she is devastated!  She finally got her rental car ten minutes ago.  I told her that our God has shown how big He is and He will take over her worries.

Big Hugs!



Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy 24th Anniversary to Us

Lake Murray Lodge, Ardmore OK.
This is where we met on July 8, 1981

I actually met Pat while he was on vacation with his mother. I was the reservationist at Lake Murray. He asked me out for Pizza that night. He said that he liked my "yellow pants"!

This is a picture of Pat when he came to my house the following
weekend and went to the rodeo to see my Mom ride.
Pat and I at Homecoming 1982
Southeastern Oklahoma State University


Newspaper Announcement
Wedding Chapel

Pat and I were recently in Ardmore, and we drove by and took pictures. It brought back so many memories. The lodge looks so much smaller than I remember. I sure would like to replay our wedding day as we would be able to see those family members that aren't with us anymore.



September 8, 1984

Our wedding was small and so special! I cried before and during the whole wedding and i just don't remember much about the ceremony. That was before I knew about video taping. Management forgot to turn on the air conditioning in advance so Pat was dripping sweat through the whole ceremony. Also, did you notice that my flowers didn't match the flowers that were already in the chapel? I certainly didn't know about floral design then. I wish I hadn't chosen a hat and went with the veil. I think it really looks silly now! After the wedding we had a reception at the Ramada Inn in Ardmore then off to to Hawaii the next day. Can we do that honeymoon again soon, Pat?

I received via text this morning this message from Sis. Thanks Sis!

Happy 24th anniversary to my parents who I love dearly. I am so blessed and thankful to have you two in my life and so glad that I have such a wonderful relationship to look up to and hope to have one day. I love y'all so much! Have a wonderful day!

Looking back on the 24 years, it got easier each year. We are blessed to have a very happy marriage and thankful that God is in the middle of our relationship. Our marriage would not be what it is today without Him!

I am thankful for you, Pat and love you with all my heart!
xoxo





Sunday, September 7, 2008

Update

Pat is feeling really good and his eating is going well right now. We went to church this morning and had a relaxing afternoon. Relaxing for him is watching football! Go Cowboys! I think he is planning on working full days starting this week. Life is feeling normal again. We are off to our Life Group this evening.

Tomorrow Pat and I celebrate 24 years of marriage. Check my blog tomorrow for some pictures of long ago.

Please keep us in your prayers regarding further treatment.

Hugs!

My Day With Becky

Me and Becky
Becky, Brenda and Me

Friday was so much fun and such a gift to me. As I told Pat, I really needed this day. I left at 9:00 am and got home at midnight. Becky is an author, writer, motivational speaker and Life Coach. She has written numerous best-selling inspirational and motivating books and speaks to men, women and students on a variety of topics including prayer, leadership, balanced living, mentoring and parenting. The first book that I bought of Becky's in 1995 was entitled "Let Prayer Change Your Life". This book was one of four that I brought from Crossings for $1.00. That $1.00 changed my life as she taught me how to pray and journal. I have now been praying and journaling for 13 years. How did I meet her? Last year in February she was to speak at our church and I shared with a pastor friend of mine about what Becky and her books meant to me and he had the idea that I might be able to pick her up from the airport. I picked her up on a Saturday night and escorted her through the weekend until Monday. We became fast friends. When I picked her up that Saturday night I was so nervous about where she might want to eat. She chose IHOP! I was surprised and relieved. I had mentioned that my friend, Keith, was in the hospital and that the end was very near for him. Keith had esophageal cancer. She asked if I wanted to go and pray with him. We drove to the hospital, prayed in the chapel, and went upstairs to meet Keith and his wife, Jeanie. That was an emotional and moving experience for me and I was pretty much on a high for the weekend. It was so surreal for me to meet my mentor and experience God working all around me. After Becky left she and I stayed in touch. She came back to the Metroplex about four months later where Jeanie and I met her for the taping of "Life Today". After the taping guess where we went to dinner? IHOP! She is a health nut and loves their whole grain pancakes and I do too now! Back to this weekend. Becky spoke at two events on Friday and I just hung out with her and her assistant, Brenda. Brenda is a professor of Speech and Communication at Idaho State. We became fast friends. At the end of the evening as we were through with the event and we were driving to eat (IHOP again), she prayed the whole five miles for Pat and for me. I love how she encourages me and challenges me to be bolder and courageous in my walk with the Lord and to pray more. When we part, I always feel encouraged and refreshed. Wow! Becky, what an amazing day and I was so excited to spend it with you and Brenda! Love ya both!

Hugs!

Hugs!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Happy Thursday

Hi All!  What beautiful weather today.  I love the change of the seasons.  Every morning, including last week and this week, I have been walking Cash after I get back from taking G to school.  He has already caught on and just goes nuts when he sees me put on my tennis shoes.  Many of you that have met Cash knows that he can open the door from the outside when he is ready to come in.  Well......he can now close the door after he comes into the house.   I am not kidding you (just in case you are impressed)!  I really don't want to be one of those people who loves their dog and tells everyone about it.  I am going to try to video tape it and then post it so that you can all see.  Don't hold your breath waiting though.  
~~~~~
Pat is still working half days and says that he feels good today.  He is trying to eat his six small meals per day.  We were at the hospital Tuesday to visit our good friends, Grant and Ashley Hall as Grant was having surgery.  He will be in the hospital about ten days also.  My heart went out to them as we have been there...done that. I just remember what a long week that was and I didn't have two small children to worry about like they do. Please keep Grant and his family in your prayers.  Grant use to mow our lawn as a teenager and as a teenager he had a very successful landscaping business.  I admired Grant so much that I always said that I  hope my boys grow up to be like him.   I wanted to mention that while we were in the waiting room we ran into Dr. Lin, Pat's surgeon.  He looked at us kind of funny You know that look of someone being familiar, but out of place.  He told Pat that he looked good.  We will see him next Thursday for a follow up visit. 
~~~~~
While I was at the hospital today visiting Ashley and Grant, they were telling me about a man from our church that had the same surgery (esophagectomy) on Tuesday that Pat had.  His daughter, Sherri was talking to Ashley today and said that she would like to meet me so that I could share with her about our experience and what they can expect.  I walked over to the same ICU where Pat was and introduced myself to Sherri and I met her dad.  How do I describe that moment?  I felt honored to meet her and I feel like this is exactly what God orchestrated for the two of us. Please pray for Sherri and her father.  
~~~~~
I am so excited about tomorrow as I am going to spend the day with Becky Tirabassi.  She is speaking at Southlake tomorrow for a luncheon and a conference tomorrow night.  She has asked me to work her book table.  If you would like to know more about this author, speaker, and amazing woman, visit her website at www.changeyourlifedaily.com.  I want to share with you in the next day or two how I came to meet her and how her book changed my life 12 years ago.   
~~~~~
Have a blessed night!

Hugs!

Happy Birthday Daddy-O



He truly is as sweet as he looks. Arby Ray McNatt is his name, but he has always been called Buster or Papa Buster by his grandkids. He has five grandchildren biologically, but he actually claims 16 and one great-grand child. He is also older than he looks and it is hard to believe that he is 77 years old today! Dad is one of the sweetest and most loving person I know. He has always helped out in his church and community as well as helped with family and friends. He is devoted, loyal and loves the Lord. He was born in Aubrey Texas in 1931 and he lacks about 3 hours having a degree from North Texas. (Math was his problem too, so that is where Elizabeth and I inherited our inability to do Math.) That is okay, he makes up for it elsewhere. Dad knows how much I love him, but I wanted to tell you how great of a man he is and how thankful I am that God chose him to be my father. I am a daddy's girl and couldn't imagine my life without him. I love you, Daddy-O!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day R & R

The Wild Hog Trap

Pat went to work a few hours last Thursday and Friday. His weight is now down to 217 which is a total weight loss of 29 lbs. He really looks good! The highlight of his weekend was Friday at 3:00 when Dr. Lin's nurse called to tell us that she finally caught up with Dr. Lin and he said the tube could be removed if Pat was eating good and his weight was stable. Pat was sleeping when she called, so when he woke up, I said "Okay, take that tube out"! He was elated and asked me if I could do it. I said "nope". So, he did. He clipped the stitch and started pulling and kept pulling. That tube was about 12 inches long. Pat felt so free that he was practically dancing a jig! Pat and I headed to the ranch Friday evening after we dropped G and Mr. P off at Chili's before they headed to the football game. We dropped the dogs off at the house in Hico and headed to town to share a cheeseburger in town. The burger tasted good to him, but he didn't feel too good before bed. Sharing food sure is helping my serving size, but I had to eat all of the onion rings! Saturday morning he started out mowing, but I stole the mower from him claiming that I needed some sun. I mowed and weed-eated until about 4:00. The above picture shows Pat putting corn in the trap so that we can catch those wild hogs, but no luck yet. Pat still did not feel very good most of Saturday. Saturday evening our friends, Brian and Lecia came over and treated Pat and I to steaks and baked potatoes. Lecia's twin sister, Linda, and her fiance Brandon were there too! Late Saturday night about 11:00 the boys and their friends, Mr. P and Arty came with big plans to dove hunt. Sunday morning I had to sing (on the Praise Team) so we drove back to Burleson for church and then returned back to Hico. The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful and so was the dove hunting for Bubba and Arty. They shot two and one fell in the lake! Oh well!

Pat is still battling his eating. It is emotional and psychological, and many times he just dreads eating. His appetite is gone and food is not appealing to him at all. Sometimes he feels like he has to force feed himself. If he does feel like eating, he doesn't quite know when to stop as he never feels full until it is too late. He has also struggled with depression this week and I have to say watching him go through this has been the hardest part for me during this whole journey. I just feel helpless. I know that all of this is normal, but it is a hard hurdle to overcome for all of us. Please continue to pray for his complete healing. We are so very thankful for his progress and so touched by all of the people who love and care for us.

I hope all of you had a great long weekend!

Hugs!