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Grateful - 12/31/23

Grateful - 12/31/23

We’ve been home a few days (since Thursday), and we have thoroughly enjoyed being together as a family with our girls.

Every day Brittney seems to progress a bit more with her stroke recovery.  We  are so thankful to God for every step forward

Continuing Prayers - Here are our Top 3 Requests:

- Brittney’s peace - every change that she feels (fatigue, weakness numbness, tingling, headaches, brain fog, nausea, etc) leads her towards anxiety of a new stroke - pray for God to help her to trust Him and to fight the many fears that come her way.  Pray for wisdom as to when the symptoms show that we need to head to the ER.

- Brittney’s healing - Brittney’s goal and prayer is to be back teaching by the end of January.  She is working as hard as she can to do the therapy she needs to improve.  Ultimately she needs the Lord’s hand to get the energy and abilities (vision, reading, writing, & math especially) to be back in the classroom ASAP.

- Brittney’s protection - Although Brittney is home we still don’t have firm answers as to why she has had the arterial problems (tearing, blockages, & pseudo-aneurysms) and brain bleed stroke. We are blessed with an appointment on Friday with the director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Cerebrovascular Center. Please pray that we can travel safely to this appointment and find answers about Brittney’s serious condition. We treasure your prayers for a miraculous healing and for His soveriegn protection from further blood clots, brain bleeds, and arterial problems.

Thank you for your prayers this past month for my amazing, God-fearing wifey.  We are so grateful to Jesus that He has allowed Brittney to survive her problems and recover as much as she has.  Every day is a gift from the Lord!

Proverbs 31:30 “a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised”

Hospital Day #26 - 12/27/23 - A Day Closer to Home - Another Day of Improvement


Hospital Day #26 - 12/27/23 - A Day Closer to Home - Another Day of Improvement

Brittney’s CT & ultrasound went well today and OT (occupational therapy) signed off on her out-patient rehab as well.  She’s been working hard on crossword and seek-find puzzles.  She got a lot of walking in and enjoyed some great conversations with a sweet friend.  She working hard and we are continuing to pray for a smooth finish at U of L and an easy transition home.  Since she can’t text/write much yet, she wanted to send a video thank you for all of your love, cards, and encouragement!

3 John 2 “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (ESV)

Hospital Day #25 - 12/26/23 - RELEARNING The 3 R’s of Learning - Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic

Hospital Day #25 - 12/26/23 - RELEARNING The 3 R’s of Learning - Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic

Today was a great day! Brittney took her PT (physical therapy) safety test (Berg Balance) and got 55 out of 56 points.  So when we are discharged, she safe to head home (no in-patient rehab needed).  She’ll likely have lots of out-patient rehab (occupational, physical, and speech) to get her back in the classroom teaching again!

Brittney has progressed in amazing ways with her physical, occupational, and speech therapies.  Reading, writing, and numbers continue to be some of her most difficult areas.  She has been working so hard on her speech “homework” the past few days. Crosswords, word finds, synonyms, and fill in the blanks are some of what is involved.  Although the words are still within her brain, she has to work very hard to “reconnect” them to her writing and spelling.  Imagine knowing the answers but struggling to communicate them.  It is a frustrating process, but Brittney is “relearning” her alphabet and how to spell many words in order to communicate them in written form.  Similarly text messaging on a phone is very tedious and it can take several minutes, letter by letter, to be coached through the typing of a one-phrase text message.

Apart from her therapy, Brittney has a great visit with her dad, one daughter, and a sweet set of friends. Her appetite has returned and her energy/stamina is improving.  Her headaches were well controlled and it was a wonderful day overall!  God is answering your prayers, thank you!

How to Pray:

  • Brittney’s progress with writing, reading, texting, and math - her most frustrating tasks currently!
  • NO BRAIN BLEEDS & NO BLOOD CLOTS - Brittney takes another dose of blood thinner tomorrow and has another CT scan and ultrasound for the doctors to study in consideration of her discharge timeline

Ecclesiastes 12:12 “much study is a weariness of the flesh.”

Hospital Day #24 - 12/25/23 - Jesus’ Birthday!

 Hospital Day #24 - 12/25/23 - Jesus’ Birthday!

We loved, loved, loved celebrating Jesus’ birthday with our family today.  Since we couldn’t be home, our family came to us in person and on video chats.  Christmas is such a joy to celebrate as we remember the amazing love of God in sending His Son Jesus into the world to make a way for the forgiveness of sin. O what love! (

As our girls visited us, we enjoyed some entertainment (see L’s fun song!) with lots of smiles and laughs.  The girls got to open some gifts at home first, then brought some of their other gifts to open with us in the hospital.  The hospital had a delicious Christmas dinner that we got to enjoy together too!  The girls enjoyed passing out the last few dozen Panera Bread gift cards that we had remaining.

A little over a month ago when Brittney’s carotid arteries started showing desiccation (tearing) and other irregularities, Brittney started thinking of a special gift idea for the girls and her mom.  When Brittney and I dated, I gave her a special silver and gold “love knot” ring.  Brittney was worried about her condition worsening, or becoming fatal, so she wanted me to find a similar gift for her mom and daughters to always remember her by.  In recent days we were able to find a unique “mother-daughter love knot” ring that Brittney was able to surprise her mom and the girls with today.  It was such a special and sweet moment of love between these ladies.  Brittney overflows Jesus’ love in so many amazing ways :)

Brittney and I finished the day with a bit of Christmas movie watching together…Brittney even shared her fancy hospital bed! Thanks for your prayers for Brittney’s first day back on her 2nd blood thinners…things have gone great so far and we appreciate continued prayers for NO BRAIN BLEEDS and NO BLOOD CLOTS!

We hope and pray that you and your family had a great Christmas celebration as well. May we all realize and believe in the purpose of Christmas, to enjoy God’s witness of love and truth in His Son Jesus the Messiah.

“for this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37 ESV)

Hospital Day #23 - 12/24/23 PM - Prayers Needed Tomorrow - NO BRAIN BLEEDS (restarting a 2nd Blood Thinner)


Hospital Day #23 - 12/24/23 PM - Prayers Needed Tomorrow - NO BRAIN BLEEDS (restarting a 2nd Blood Thinner)

Brittney had a great finish to her Christmas Eve, saying  “I feel like a kid at Christmas…and it’s not because of the presents…I just can’t wait to see everyone.”  I love how the love of Jesus overflows her heart with a love of others.  We absolutely cherished some great family time today and look forward to more great time with our crew tomorrow.  Regardless of location, we are so blessed to be able to spend time with one another as we celebrate Jesus’ birth (

ONE BIG PRAYER - Brittney’s clear CT scan today (thank you Lord!) allows for her to begin the 2nd of her two blood thinners again tomorrow. The doctors have waited two weeks post-stroke to start it back up (at a half dose this time) because of the danger of her brain bleed restarting.  So while she has remained safe from clots and brain bleeds the past two weeks on one blood thinner, this necessary step of returning to two blood thinners (to keep her 4 carotid/vertebral artery stents from clotting) is a serious step.  So please pray tomorrow (and the rest of the week) that specifically Brittney has NO BRAIN BLEEDS (and still no blood clots too :)).

Thank you prayer warriors!

Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (ESV)

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (ESV)

Hospital Day #23 - 12/24/23 - Merry Almost-Christmas!!!

 Hospital Day #23 - 12/24/23 - Merry Almost-Christmas!!!

While we would have loved to be home for Christmas, we are thankful for the watchful care of our U of L health care team.  Brittney has had a wonderful start with worshipping our Lord Jesus with our church family by watching our church service online. We then had a sweet visit with Brittney’s aunt, uncle, and grandfather before resting and having lunch.  We had a followup CT on her brain bleed to ensure things are clear to restart one of her blood thinners tomorrow.

Brittney keeps perking up with energy and initiative.  She showed off her walking and standing skills to her family and even read through two bags of cards on her own. She so loves all of the notes and photos from friends and family.  She wanted to make the video to tell everyone how grateful we are for your prayers and love for us, but also for how you’ve cared for our U of L and Baptist Health care teams!!! Y’all are amazing lights of Jesus’ love.  Keep shining!

We’ve attached a photo from the distribution of gifts at Baptist Health too.  All of the hospital nurses and staff have been so grateful for your gifts.  They all keep working so hard through the holidays with such cheerfulness!

Ways to Pray:

  • For Brittney’s brain bleed to remain stable after restarting a blood thinner tomorrow
  • For continued protection from blood clots and strokes
  • For Brittney’s carotid and vertebral arteries to stay open and sufficiently provide blood to Brittney’s brain
  • For continued recovery of her stroke losses - particularly reading, writing, and cell phone use - all of which can still be very challenging
  • For a Merry Christmas for all of the U of L and Baptist Hardin hospital staffs!!!

Matthew 5:14–16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. [15] Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. [16] In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (ESV)

Hospital Day #22 - 12/23/23 PM - Best Day Yet! Treats for all of the U of L Nurses & Staff!


Hospital Day #22 - 12/23/23 PM - Best Day Yet! Treats for all of the U of L Nurses & Staff!

Brittney had her best day yet since her stroke (12 days ago).  She slept great and woke up with an appetite.  She was surprised by PT taking her out for a few laps and climbing a flight of stairs.  Through the day she continued to do well with minimal headaches, good rest, and more energy.  She worked independently on some of her speech rehab homework and was even able to watch a little TV.

The giving for the U of L Hospital nurses stations kept rolling in and we are currently at over $11,500! Way to go.

Our hometown stepped up big time with The Sweet Shoppe putting together 35 sets of fudge trays and cookies and Hinton’s Orchard & Farm Market putting together 35 bags of fruit and homemade apple cider donuts.  This was a monumental task by two amazing groups of people.  If you see any of our friends from the Sweet Shoppe or Hintons, please give them our love! The McDowell clan filled their van to capacity and brought 25 sets of everything to U of L hospital.  The other 10 sets are being delivered to Baptist Health Hardin hospital tomorrow (Christmas Eve). Plus we were blessed with some incredible artwork from the McDowell kids that the nurses and staff loved!

The gift cards became a challenge when I discovered, after loading $5,000 of cards in my cart, that Sam’s only allows a purchase of $500 of gift cards per day.  I knew I needed $9,000 worth of cards but was unsure how to make that happen. Thankfully a nearby Panera Bread (Middletown) had 600 gift cards available.  Their manager and one other worker spent a solid 90 minutes scanning and loading 900 $15 cards.  This is a perfect gift for our U of L friends because there is a Panera Bread store attached through their hospital walkway system.  As a bonus, Panera threw in $1,800 more in gift cards too!  We ended up getting over $11,000 of gift cards to give to the nurses and medical staff of U of L and Baptist Hardin....WOWSERS!! God is so good!!

By about 6pm we had all of the gifts assembled and started getting them to all of the nursing stations we could find across the hospital.  They were touched by your love and generosity. We were able to tell them how grateful we were for their selfish service to so many families everyday, but especially over the Christmas weekend.

As we journeyed through the various parts of the hospital….maternity ward, neurological ICU, trauma ICU, surgical ICU, oncology, burn unit, psychiatric ward we were all reminded about how blessed we are.  Brittney especially loved getting to visit some of her pervious nurses and units from the 9th and 7th floors.  We are so grateful for the care we have received.  We thank God for every day He gives us and know that Brittney’s health could be much worse than it is.

I can’t put into words what a blessing you all are to us and to so many medical staff families within U of L (today) and Baptist Hardin (tomorrow).  Y’all rock! Thank you for letting Jesus’ love shine through you!

John 13:34–35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. [35] By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (ESV)

Hospital Day #22 - 12/23/23 - Giving Update + Brittney’s Stairs Workout


Hospital Day #22 - 12/23/23 - Giving Update + Brittney’s Stairs Workout

God is blessing through your generosity! Over $10,000 has been given towards the gifts to the nurses stations for both U of L & Baptist Hardin Hospitals.  We are finalizing the details of this last minute plan but are so excited to see how the Lord uses your giving to share Jesus’ Christmas love! (

Brittney was so excited that she wanted to get in shape to do the deliveries herself (just kidding).  So here she is making it up her first flight of stairs since her hemorrhagic stroke!

Ways to Pray:

  • Final details of the nurses’ stations distribution to come together
  • For no more brain bleeds or blood clots
  • For continued progress and healing

1 John 3:16 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (ESV)

Hospital Day #21 - 12/22/23 PM - WOW!! Giving Update….Y’all Are Amazing!!! God is so Good!


Hospital Day #21 - 12/22/23 PM - WOW!! Giving Update….Y’all Are Amazing!!! God is so Good!

So God has blessed us today in so many ways. We had some sweet visits from wonderful friends.  We “down graded” out of ICU which is a big step forward!  We miss our ICU staff so much but are thankful for steps towards heading home.  The Lord answered your prayers and we got a wonderful individual/private room too…so perfect for the rest Brittney needs for healing! Some generous souls brought beautiful flowers and TONs of food for our ICU nursing staff as well as our new nursing staff. We finished with a great visit from Mia and Brittney’s parents. Finally, Brittney is able to read again!!! We are so thankful!!

On top of all of these blessings, your giving is already nearing $9,000!!! 

Which means we will be able to bless the hospital staff with some yummy treats plus some gift cards too!!!  We can’t thank you enough.  When we get to start distributing the treats and gifts, we will let you know what a blessing you are :)

Philemon 4–6 “I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, [5] because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, [6] and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” (ESV)

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