Update No. 1 concerning Jon . . .

Here’s what we know so far, but keep in mind . . . information changes without notice.

  • Jon has tested positive for MSSA staph infection (staphylococcus aureus).
  • There is still fluid in his lungs.
  • They performed a TEE test yesterday (TEE – A transesophageal echocardiogram is a special type of echocardiogram. It is usually done when your doctor wants to look more closely at your heart to see if it could be producing blood clots. Like an echocardiogram, the TEE uses high-frequency sound waves [ultrasound] to examine the structures of the heart.) Jon was required to swallow a tiny camera for this procedure.
  • Jon’s TEE was inconclusive—the doctor noted enough shadow or “vegetation” on the valve to be suspicious.
  • This type of staph is known to cause infection on heart valves, especially heart valves that have been altered/modified—Jon had an open-heart mitral valve repair in 2004.
  • Jon had a PICC line inserted yesterday to prep him for a six-week round of home-health antibiotics, but we just learned that line will need to be swapped out for a different PICC line tomorrow.
  • He was moved out of ICU late last evening to a step-down room.
  • His blood platelets are low, but they’re not sure why.
  • His appetite seems to be improving—he ate a pretty good breakfast and lunch today.
  • He could be discharged as early as tomorrow. No guarantee.

This has all been very overwhelming. Kathryn arrived Friday evening. Liz flew in yesterday from Houston. Todd and our three-year-old Grandson Finn, will fly in on Wednesday evening. Without their help, I may have been put out to pasture by now.

Thank you for your concern, prayers,
and heartfelt comments.

Even though it may not be possible to respond to each of your notes, please know I will read each and every one. As I texted to a friend yesterday—

“If life here on earth gets any more ‘exciting’ than this,
I don’t want to know about it.”

A Call For Prayer

My husband, Jon, needs your prayer in a very desperate way!

Jon began feeling exceedingly tired on Thursday, September 17, and by Friday morning was doing very poorly and quite unresponsive. After texting our daughter, Laura in Chattanooga, Tennessee, she summoned two of our neighbors who immediately came to help and called 911 for the paramedics. He was transported by ambulance to our local French Hospital, was immediately tested for COVID-19, and when admitted, taken to a special isolation unit in ICU until test results became available.

Here’s the latest as of this morning. By the way, since I cannot talk on the phone, Laura has been fielding phone calls with the hospital and some of my medical professionals. Kathryn, our San Francisco-based daugher, drove here yesterday to help me. Liz and Todd, our daughter and son-in-law in the Houston, Texas, area are also assisting with communication and updating prayer lists.

An initial COVID-19 test came back negative last night. At the time, it had not yet been determined whether they would run a second test.

Jon has been diagnosed with Bilateral Pneumonia. Bilateral interstitial pneumonia is a serious infection that can inflame and scar the lungs. It’s one of many types of interstitial lung diseases, which affect the tissue around the tiny air sacs in the lungs. You can get this type of pneumonia as a result of COVID-19, although in Jon’s case, apparently not. Bilateral types of pneumonia affect both lungs.

Jon is on Antibiotics, Tylenol, and Valium. He will not be tested a second time for COVID-19 as his CT scan showed no signs of COVID-19. Laura was told that Jon is, so far, responding well to treatment. He is on oxygen, pain free, and resting comfortably.

I’ve had some difficult days in my life, but yesterday made all of the rest seem not so bad. Being unable to converse with anyone is extremely stressful. So grateful to our neighbors for stopping everything and quickly coming to help and for other neighbors who have also offered to assist. Thankful for all three of our precious daughters and caring son-in-law who are working overtime with barely a moment’s notice.

By now, my ship would have surely sunk without their help!

Because He LIVES . . .

We’ve all read the agonizing stories . . . 

  • Seasoned hiker in his 40s heads off alone, gets off the trail, slips and falls knocking himself unconscious. Wakes up with injuries and desperate for rescue. 
  • Exhausted mother leaves her young children home with her husband while she shops for groceries. She falls asleep on her way home and drives off the road leaving no skid marks. Badly injured, she is unable to summon help.
  • Prisoner unjustly incarcerated during a war with no way of communicating with the outside world that he or she is still alive.

In each instance, the distraught victims
cling to hope because of their
overwhelming desire to live
and again be with those they love.

During these times we find ourselves in and facing this progressive disease day in and day out, what sustains me is being CONVINCED that my Savior, Jesus, LIVES and clinging to the PROMISE of being with HIM for all of eternity.

Everything else pales in comparison.

Wikipedia – Gaither

Uploaded to YouTube 2012
Uploaded to YouTube 2017

Three more kisses for Leslie from Father God!

(1)  The Midnight Sun

It was the summer of ’72 when my parents decided to send my younger sister to meet up with me in Stavanger (pronounced Stuh–von–gurr) on the southwest coast of Norway. She brought along two Student Rail Passes. Those prepaid passes allowed us pretty much unlimited travel on European trains. What could our parents have been thinking? Two girls—ages 20 and 17—backpacking alone in Europe for two months! Texting, email, Skype were not even words in the dictionary. It was definitely one-way communication—we sent picture postcards home but they could send us nothing!

So we set off traveling up the coast to see the Midnight Sun in Bodø (pronounced Booh–duh). The Catholic nuns who managed the hostel told us that for two weeks before we arrived, many tourists had come and left highly disappointed because it had been raining every single day with clouds completely obliterating the sun.

The day we arrived it was gorgeous weather!
Bright, warm, mostly blue sky with just a few clouds.
We ventured out to the area where tourists wait until midnight
to watch the sun never disappear on the horizon and were not disappointed.
It was amazing!

The following morning when we departed, it was raining.

– Pictures taken with my trusty Kodak Instamatic camera! –

(2)  Unexpected Show

In the spring of 1983, Jon and I were tent camping with our first daughter at Plaskett Creek Campground. The campground is situated on the Pacific Coast south of Big Sur in the Los Padres National Forest. At the time, I was pregnant with our second daughter. After breakfast, we ventured out on a leisurely walk to the ocean. The shoreline in that area is extremely rugged with rocky outcroppings. Just a few moments after reaching the bluff overlooking the sea, we saw probably the most thrilling sight of our entire lives. Near the rocks—not more than 100 yards directly in front of us—a big whale spy-hopped . . . twice! It was as if we had been given free tickets to a ballet performance we knew nothing about. Neither Jon nor I had ever seen anything like it before nor have we witnessed anything like it since.

(3)  The Bus That Quit!

Having errands to run in nearby San Luis Obispo, I set off from our home in Morro Bay driving our 1970 V. W. bus . . . our three young daughters in tow. We were happily singing a song together as we drove up a big hill past the California Men’s Colony state prison located outside of San Luis Obispo. Just as we got to the top of the hill, the engine suddenly stopped. The girls realized something was wrong and asked, “What are we going to do?” I responded:

We are going to pray and
coast down the hill.

After safely navigating to the bottom of the hill, there was a turn-out among some eucalyptus trees. That’s where the bus came to a stop. Together, we prayed that God would take care of us. Then we gathered our belongings, exited the bus, locked the doors, and began walking toward San Luis Obispo. Before taking more than a few steps, a car pulled up behind us being driven by our good friend, Harry Beier. Harry had been on his way back to Morro Bay when he noticed our familiar red and white V. W. bus and the four of us out walking. He offered us a ride back home where I was able to call Jon at work to let him know we would need to make arrangements to have the bus towed. 

I’ve done a lot of praying in my life, 
but that’s the quickest answer to a prayer I can remember.
Another evidence that God loves me and my girls
and was watching over us that day
more than I even realized!


All Important Touch

Our third Bloodhound’s home was Thousand Oaks in southern California, and her name was Shelby. Her owner’s home was repossessed and they were no longer able to keep her. Concerned neighbors took her in, but that didn’t last long. Shelby was passed off to a woman named Olivia who lived several hours north of Thousand Oaks. Olivia was temporarily sheltering dogs who were displaced due to home repos and military deployments. A neighborhood girl was also named Shelby. She had a reputation of being a bully, so Olivia’s daughters changed the Bloodhound’s name to Sadie. Alas, Olivia was unable to find a home for Sadie so she drove one hour north and relinquished Sadie to Woods Humane Society in San Luis Obispo. That’s where Sadie spent the next 40 days until we discovered and adopted her on July 3, 2010. Jon didn’t think the name Sadie suited her. My words to Jon—”If you allow us to adopt this Bloodhound, you can name her whatever you want.” Jon liked the name Annie.

When we found Annie, she was about 15 months old and had been passed around four times. Imagine how confusing that was for a young Bloodhound! She never forgot the insecurity and fear that stems from rejection and not putting down lasting roots. So when we found Emma at San Luis Obispo County Animal Services in January 2012, Annie wanted to make sure she felt welcome and secure in our home. Emma had been picked up as a stray in nearby Arroyo Grande at only seven weeks old. The day before we discovered her, Emma had been adopted by someone with a very big dog. The following day the adopter promptly returned Emma to Animal Services saying they were afraid their dog was going to kill Emma! Traumatic for a small puppy. When an Animal Services volunteer took Emma outside to meet Annie, 4½ pound Emma took one look at Annie and let out a blood curdling scream that sounded like a human who had just been terrorized. She was so afraid! Jon carried Emma to our car while I completed the adoption paperwork. 

What happened next still amazes us. Jon was sitting in the front passenger seat with Emma in his lap, I was behind the wheel, and Annie was in the back seat. Annie instinctively put her long Bloodhound nose in-between the front seats, reached over and touched Emma’s nose with her nose. No scream. No panic. Just superb reassuring communication between a Bloodhound and an eight week old mixed-breed terrier. From that moment forward, Annie and Emma developed the most wonderful relationship imaginable.

Annie and Emma (February 2012)

Continue reading “All Important Touch”

May the Mind of Christ My Saviour

On Christmas Day 1970, I boarded a passenger train at the station in Pasadena, California, along with many other college students and traveled by rail all the way to Illinois to attend InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Urbana 70. The students filled at least two cars! Urbana is InterVarsity’s Student Missions Conference that takes place every three years. It is a five-day catalytic event bringing together a diverse mix of college and graduate students, faculty, recent graduates, pastors, church and ministry leaders, missions organizations, and schools.

In addition to exceptional teaching throughout the conference, I was exposed to songs—some that I’d never heard before. May the Mind of Christ My Saviour is one of those that has since become a favorite.

Katie Barclay Wilkinson

Born  ~  Au­gust 27, 1859 – Wood­lands Bank, Tim­per­ley, Che­shire, Eng­land
Died  ~  De­cem­ber 28, 1928 – South Ken­sing­ton, Lon­don, Eng­land

Katie was the daughter of mechanical engineer William Beckett Johnson. In 1891 at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Altrincham, Cheshire, Katie married Frederick Barclay Wilkinson, a clerk. She is said to have worked with girls and young women in London and was apparently involved with the Keswick Convention movement.* Little is known for certain about her, except that she died at home in South Kensington. She is remembered for this one hymn, May the Mind of Christ My Saviour.

May the Mind of Christ, My Saviour was written in the early twentieth century. It is based on the words of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament book of Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” A description follows of the way the Lord Jesus surrendered His rights and took the place of humble service, even unto death (vs. 6–8). It is a theme the Bible addresses a number of times, perhaps because the tendency of our sinful nature is to do just the opposite—to cling to what we see as our rights and expect others to serve us!

* Keswick Ministries

Some thoughts on the incalculable worth of voices

If you’re anything like me, you’ve had infrequent times in your life when you’ve temporarily lost your voice due to a viral infection or yelling too much at an athletic event. The larynx—the structure at the upper part of the human trachea that contains the vocal cords—becomes stressed and inflamed resulting in laryngitis. Typically after several days of resting the vocal cords by not talking, your voice returns to normal. 

When our youngest daughter was around eight years old, she had a yellow, male cockatiel named Simba who had quite a repertoire. Simba would recite “Joy to the world the Lord is . . . “, but much to our chagrin, he never learned to finish with the word “come.” He even whistled familiar tunes. Then one day Simba suddenly got very sick and almost died. In fact, it happened a second time before we realized the fresh parsley we were feeding him [homegrown from our garden—no pesticides!] is poisonous to birds. OH NO! We were unintentionally responsible for both of his near death experiences. 😧   Following a prolonged convalescence, Simba appeared to fully recover, but he no longer talked nor whistled—we thought he may have suffered brain damage. Many, many long weeks later, Simba surprised us when he began to talk and whistle again. He hadn’t forgotten a single thing! Until Simba’s extended period of complete silence, I had never fully grasped just how much energy it takes to . . . simply talk.

Birds are recognizable by their unique voices. Even with my eyes closed, it is easy for me to tell if the bird I hear is a crow, English sparrow, mockingbird, mourning dove, owl, scrub-jay, seagull, or towhee. And there’s no mistaking the chatter of a squirrel nor the howling of coyotes—heard again last night—following a successful hunt. God has blessed each creature with a distinctive voice that sets them apart.

In this electronics age, Siri talks for me when requested. An app on my iPhone called “Text to Speech” speaks the words I type. The same app will also talk on the phone; but I’ve been reluctant to use that feature because typing messages on my phone is not a quick endeavor. The person I’m “talking” with would need to be exceptionally patient.

Another communication assist is the Boogie Board—the ALS Association Golden West Chapter gave me one of these nifty devices. It is used like pen on paper. Simply write and push the button to erase over and over again. It’s lightweight and handy in well lit areas; but there’s no backlighting, so it is not helpful in low-light settings.

Continue reading “Some thoughts on the incalculable worth of voices”

How Great Thou Art!

This morning as I was awakening to face a new day, a passage of Scripture came to mind that encouraged my heart. It comes from Isaiah, chapter 30, verse 15 (Living Bible)—emphasis mine:

For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, says:
Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved;
in quietness and confidence is your strength . . .

Chapter 30 should be read in its entirety so that you begin to gain an understanding of the context and sense in which Isaiah wrote these words. Time and again, God demonstrated His steadfast love for His chosen people, Israel. But Israel had utterly forgotten God—they believed they were capable of living without listening to or acknowledging Him. In today’s language you might ask Israel, “How’s that been working out for you?”


1)  O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the works Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

2)  When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.


3)  And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.


4)  When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then shall I bow, in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art!”


How Great Thou Art [Wikipedia]

Story Behind How Great Thou Art


I Know Who Holds Tomorrow!

California Native Sticky Monkey Flowers   ~   Sands’ Garden

by Ira Forest Stanphill

1)  I don’t know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to grey.

I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Many things about tomorrow

I don’t seem to understand
But I know Who holds tomorrow
And I know Who holds my hand.

2)  Every step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb;
Every burden’s getting lighter,
Every cloud is silver lined.

There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eye;
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky.


3)  I don’t know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the One who feeds the sparrow,
Is the One who stands by me.

And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood.


Ira Forest Stanphill

Born ~ February 14, 1914 – Bellview, New Mexico
Died ~ December 30, 1993 – Overland Park, Kansas