Info About the Past 2 Weeks

February 28, 2015

I know I was remiss in posting on Facebook last week. It was one of those days where the status was changing faster than I could type and post, so I will takethe liberty of posting a longer one today for those who care to follow the life and times of the Georgia Sack Family!

First off, many thanks for the overwhelming number of birthday greetings last week via Facebook, text, calls and cards. I didn’t hear any trumpets ushering in my year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:9) but I am for some reason going to embrace this year and wait with expectation and hope on God’s promises that it will be a great year. On the 25th anniversary of my 25th birthday, obviously Bruce wasn’t able to write me a letter or buy a gift or take me to dinner, so this year he gave me the unique gift of watching him battle a weekend of pneumonia, fever and seizures. Fortunately, I was able to take a break with David, Emily & Elizabeth and enjoy a wonderful birthday dinner, in part, thanks to the gift cards and coupons donated by friends of friends.

Bruce has had his ups and downs since my last post. He remains off the vent, only oxygen on the trach collar, and a low % at that. His vital signs have all been in the “normal” range. As he developed the pneumonia last weekend the elevation in temperature set off another round of seizures. Adding more meds for pneumonia consequently lowered his therapeutic ranges for other meds and so we have had a week of adjusting to get him back to “normal,” or rather therapeutic normal. (We all know there really is no normal for Bruce!) Fortunately for the past 2 days he has been seizure free, fever free and resting quite comfortably. Prior to his pneumonia he was becoming more and more responsive to the hospital staff and family and actually staying awake during his physical therapy. We know as he gets his rest he will return to those progress steps. For now, he remains at Select Specialty Hospital in Tallahassee in the step-down ICU.

For the rest of the Sack’s…..
We were blessed to have his mother, brother, and 2 sisters from PA stay with us for 3 weeks (from Jan. 20th). His one sister, Barb, remained an extra week as we cleared the hurdles before last weekend. I really appreciate all the family in PA who kept up with things (mainly shoveling snow) while Stewart, Ellen, Barb and Mom were in Tallahassee with us.
David & Emily are working diligently in their VSU classes. David is set to graduate this May and is beginning to look at the next steps. Emily is working VERY VERY HARD in her 2 statistic classes, challenged with the idea that both classes involve numbers and math!

In late January Elizabeth and I, and the PA clan, were welcomed into a 2 bedroom home in Tallahassee to stay in for the next couple of months. With the PA Sack’s back at home, it has been an adjustment for Elizabeth and I to realize that right now it is just the two of us. One night, while shopping in Walmart, we began giggling in the canned biscuit dairy case. As a family of 5, two large cans of biscuits or rolls wouldn’t last through one meal. A small 4 pack can of crescent rolls now covers us for two meals.
Elizabeth is continuing her homeschool work, in the ICU hospital room setting. She has her own alcove in Bruce’s room, complete with window, chair and table. She has a great area to walk outside and take fresh air breaks. Although we haven’t purchased any food in the cafeteria, the wafting aromas smell delightful and at minimal prices we are looking forward to the baked chicken next week. The hospital staff are all excited to teach her and train her as she desires. Last week she helped to operate the IV pumps and suction secretions. No, it is not her desire right now to become a nurse. The other day she came back in from a walk and shared that she had stopped in the waiting room as she saw a lady in there crying. Elizabeth initiated the prayer for healing over her husband. I am so proud of her spiritual growth over the past few months.

Outside of the ICU setting, we have joined the local library and are delving into excessive reading materials. The house we are in does not have cable or internet, so we spend our time in the evening either reading or playing games. Yes, we can survive without a TV in the house! We have tried out several churches in the Tallahassee area and Elizabeth has already connected to youth groups with homeschool friends her own age. I must admit it is a very different experience worshipping on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings without carrying the pastor-family type responsibility.

We try every few weeks to get back to Hazlehurst to continue the packing, never staying away from Bruce for more than a day. Fortunately, we have until the first part of June to pack up and move our items into storage until God unveils the next part of this journey.

Many of you have asked to send us mail. While we have our Hazlehurst mail on hold, we have had cards and notes and packages routed to the kids apartment in Valdosta, and yes we really do enjoy receiving words of encouragement. I have highlighted all the scripture references from the cards received in Bruce’s Bible and read those scriptures to him constantly. Their address is: David & Emily Sack 2201 Baytree Rd, Apt. 332A Valdosta, GA 31602

Thank you all for every little blessing you have graced us with, from short text messages, to longer words of encouragement, from coupons to local establishments to gift cards for gas and groceries, and for the love offerings that have flowed abundantly in our direction. Even the Facebook post “likes” help us to stay encouraged.

As we continue in our journey, we continue to ask for your prayers for Bruce’s healing. My heart cry today is for focused prayers as we move forward in healing and restoration. Healing in the brain from the seizures this week, restoration from the weakness from the meds and protection from other adversities that could come just by being in the hospital such as bedsores, trach bronchitis and malnutrition. We continuously lift up the healthcare workers that God has placed to care for Bruce, that they may have the wisdom to manage his health and the endurance to read through his ever growing medical history chart!

Today, the Sack family is believing in faith in these words….
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Building Improvements Offering

February 19, 2015
The Trustees asked for a special offering Sunday,  February 1st which is needed for repairs to our buildings.
Gerald Smith, chair of trustees, spoke of these needs during “Living the Ministry” segment of morning worship on Jan. 28th (go to 15 minutes into the video here).
Report:  over $14,000 was given on Feb. 1st.

We Had a Wonderful Revival

February 19, 2015

Revival services were February 8 -11, 2015 with the Rev. Jim Dominey as the evangelist.

Rev. Dominey was appointed to serve at Andrew UMC in Kathleen in June 2012.

He is an ordained elder in the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. He became a student pastor is 1993 after serving in his home church (McRae UMC) as the director of children and youth ministries. He earned his undergrad degree from Columbus State University and earned a Masters in Divinity from Erskine Theological Seminary.

We had average attendance each night of 109.

Death of Church Member Carole Stone

February 19, 2015

Carole Dukes Stone passed away at her home on Tuesday, February 17th her husband and children with her.

Carole was born October 15, 1940 in Atlanta, GA, and lived most of her life in Appling and Jeff Davis Counties. She was a graduate of Appling County High School and Georgia Southwestern College. She served 30 years with the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services in the Dublin, Douglas and Hazlehurst offices.

Carole was a life long member of the United Methodist Church, the past 40 plus years at Hazlehurst First UMC. She was a member of the Pairs and Spares Sunday School Class and United Methodist Women and served her church in numerous positions including the Board of Trustees and Staff-Parish Committees. She had a near perfect attendance for those 40 years.

Carole was married to Bayne Stone in 1961. They have three children: Rob (Jan) Stone, Dan (Rhonda) Stone, and Meg Minchew. There are six grandchildren: Brantley and Ethan Stone, Duke Stone, and Stone, Jake, and Maggie Minchew. Also surviving is one nephew, John Stephen Dukes.

Carole was the daughter of the late Juanita and John Wilson Dukes. She was preceded in death by her only sibling, her brother John Watson Dukes.

Services for Carole will be Saturday at Hazlehurst First UMC at 11:30am. Visitation will be Friday, 6:00 – 8:00 at Wainright and Parlor Funeral Home in Hazlehurst.

Valentine’s Day Report

February 14, 2015

It’s Saturday and it’s the day that the Lord has made! The Sack’s are rejoicing and are glad in it – because it’s not only a Saturday it is Valentine’s Day and as we were reminded this morning – Jesus loves us! So how do you know that Jesus loves you?

When I was asked this question at a Jesus Loves Me brunch this morning, I was reminded of the song – Jesus Loves Me – this I know, for the Bible tells me so. It’s so easy to repeat those words in the song, but WOW, reading God’s Love Letter to us and living those words mean so much more than just singing them.

Jesus loves me, today, as I shared in a morning brunch at Christian Heritage Church with Elizabeth and Barb Malinich (my precious sister-in-law who has stood by Bruce’s bedside for over a month now). Yes, Ellen & Elaine, you are very precious to me too! While I know my husband won’t be treating me to chocolate, flowers and jewelry today, I started this morning being reminded, God’s love for me is so much more than what gifts Bruce could provide for me in the material world.

Jesus loves me, yesterday, today and ALWAYS as I am reminded that Bruce and I had our first date on Valentine’s Day – 38 years ago, and today Emily & Brandon share their first Valentine’s Day anniversary!

Jesus loves Bruce today (and me) when the Doctor shared the report on Bruce. While we had some challenges this week, seizures while adjusting meds and while he was put back on the vent – we have overcome those challenges as the Lord has blessed us in this healing journey! Today, the doctor shared that Bruce continues to amaze the hospital staff – he is breathing on his own – again, and has been seizure free for several days! His vital signs and stats are all within the normal range. The doctor suggested we take up bets on when Bruce will be totally off the vent (yes full vent weaning, that was expected to take 4-6 weeks). His guess is for next Friday Feb. 20th! With God’s amazing healing power, I expect it too!

While I know next Friday is a long way off in an ICU – I am praising God today and thanking Him for the incredible blessings and miracles he has favored the Sack Family with this past week.

And I know that Jesus loves me today because he has surrounded the Sack Family with incredible friends who have remained strong in their encouragement and prayers and have blessed us in this journey. And I know that all of you will continue to pray for Bruce’s healing and pray for and encourage not only myself but David, Emily & Elizabeth as we continue to walk in the ways God asks us to.

So how do you know that Jesus loves YOU? I pray that you will dig deeper into the Scriptures and find new meaning in His Love for you on this special Valentine’s Day.

Bruce Has Moved to Select Specialty Hospital

February 7, 2015

Let Hope Thrive
…that’s the motto of Bruce’s new ICU home at Select Specialty Hospital in Tallahassee and that’s the sign displayed prominently outside the door to his private ICU room.

Some Biblical scholars define hope as: To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.

Over the past few weeks there have been many who have tried to redefine my “hope” for Bruce’s recovery into something more “realistic.” I’ve been counseled to take Bruce off the vent because he would never breathe on his own, I should not expect him to ever open his eyes, I should be ready to take him home to die because no healthcare facility would ever want him.

Today Bruce is resting in his new ICU home, breathing on his own since 7:30am THURSDAY morning and with fewer sedation meds and seizure meds in his body, or the stubborn seizure that was present earlier in January. While this new facility first declined to accept him, when Bruce began the task of breathing off the vent, they realized they needed to “Let Hope Thrive” and admit him for the vent weaning task that is next for him.

Sure, I am realistic to understand until he is fully awake we do not know what, if any neurological setbacks he may have. But this week I have been blessed to speak with several healthcare “angels” who have all agreed the brain is an amazing creation by God and that He does amazing healing wonders and we need to let Hope Thrive and give Bruce time.

So, today, as I watch Bruce resting comfortably, my hope remains in our Lord, who continues to be the same Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. My hope isn’t on what doctors alone can do for Bruce, or what Bruce will achieve on his own, my hope has been and will continue to be built on nothing less than Jesus’ Love and Righteousness.

I continue to ask for your prayers for Bruce’s healing, for prayers for the healthcare professionals who have taken care of Bruce in the past and for the ones that the Lord has placed in our path today, that they may have the wisdom and discernment from the Great Physician to care for Bruce in the way the Lord wants His healing to be and that truly believe that we should “Let Hope Thrive.”

So today, I ask, where is your hope? Are you hopeful for a warm day? For rain? Are you hoping for your favorite sports team to win? Are you hoping to win the lottery? Are you hoping for your loved one to cook your favorite dinner tonight? Or are you, like the Sack Family, hopeful in the Lord as we begin this new phase in our journey?

Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Bruce is Breathing on His Own!

February 4, 2015

Praising God and thanking Him this evening for all of the special blessings He has bestowed upon the Sack family, and for all of our family and friends who continue to remain faithful in prayer for Bruce’s healing.

On Monday several medical providers were positive Bruce would never be able to take a breath on his own. Monday afternoon he spent 4 hours off the ventilator breathing on his own, yesterday over 10 hours and today he got an earlier start and has been breathing on his own since 7:30 am!

We then had a chance to meet with a rehab hospital that specializes in brain injuries and they said they would be willing to consider working with him once he is off the vent. They also said he is on a ridiculous amount of meds and couldn’t believe he could be breathing on his own with such a mixture.

Praising God for these blessings of hope he has shown us this week. We continue to covet your prayers as God leads us in this journey.