Sunday, March 31, 2024

Sunday Morning Sanity - Easter Version

Sunday Morning Sanity
I Corinthians 15:13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

My Favorite Easter Poem
He Wouldn’t Stay Dead
by: Willard G. Thomas

This video was from 2022.

He Wouldn’t Stay Dead
by: Willard G. Thomas

They laid His body in Joseph’s new tomb
And filled His disciples with sorrow and gloom
They did not remember what He had said
That He would die, but He wouldn’t stay dead

Mary came at the break of day
And found the stone was rolled away
She saw an angel and in terror fled
And told His disciples that He didn’t stay dead

In that cold dark tomb, He would not stay
He conquered death and walked away
And now that old grave has lost its fear and dread
He lives again! He wouldn’t stay dead

Full atonement and pardon were made
And forever the sin debt was marked fully paid
The price was His blood as it flowed crimson red
And I’m thankful today that He didn’t stay dead!

Let’s go to our churches and cry aloud
Let’s go to the marketplace and talk to the crowd
Let’s go to the mission fields that lie up ahead
And tell the whole world that He didn’t stay dead!

Because if Jesus Christ had only died
Then the gulf between us and God would still be wide
But thank God He did what He said
He got up out of the ground, He couldn’t stay dead!

Last Stanza by Davy Boggs

Saturday, March 30, 2024

CeCe Winans March 2024

Hey Friends,

This is Odie checking in from Ohio. Happy Easter, my friends! Today, I am thankful to celebrate our risen Savior! He is alive and working in all of our lives!

Last Saturday, I told you the week had been eventful for me. On Monday night, I got to see Jeff and Sheri Easter. Click here to see that recap.

I promised to tell you about the second big event today. Wednesday was a special night. I got to experience something that I had not done before. 

CeCe Winans March 2024

CeCe Winans was in Liberty Township, Ohio, which is less than an hour away from my home. I was able to tag along with my cousins Jacqueline Coffman and Katie Smith. I barely snagged a spot before the concert sold out.

I rode with Jacqueline; upon our arrival at the church, the crowds were crazy. Jaqueline dropped me to wait in line while she found parking. 


I made it inside quickly. A kind gentleman helped me find a seat and allowed me to save seats for the girls, too. We ended up having wonderful seats.

Jacqueline and Katie made it inside. The Princeton Pike Church of God was soon packed with people. Everyone was so excited to be there to hear the great CeCe Winans!

CeCe was finally on stage. She came on stage singing Lord Prepare Me To Be A Sanctuary.

We were blessed to hear a mix of old and new songs. Incredible is the one word I use to describe the experience of CeCe Winans live!

Most of the night, I sat with a smile on my face. The singing was amazing!

Here is a picture of the band. It was so good. I wish Mom was there with me to enjoy this phenomenal evening!

One of the fantastic backup singers

The one and only CeCe Winans!

I am thrilled I was able to spend some time with my sweet cousins! We have been able to spend much time together lately, so this night was special. We had so much soaking up the music, singing and worship! 

The entire night reminded us of the goodness of God in our lives!

CeCe's husband, Reverand Alvin Love, was with her. During the concert, he was sitting in front of us by the stage.

From the opening song until the ending note, we were blessed by CeCe's music.

She sang so many great songs. At the moment, they were all my favorites. 

I had a few highlights of the night:

Alabaster Box, 

Believe For It 

and Goodness of God.

The night ended with one of the songs from the new album coming next month. That's My King is a CeCe Winans' song that will go down in her fantastic hits catalog.

I did not want the night to end!

I had to get a picture with the CeCe before I left, well... the CeCe backdrop.

This is an event I do not think I will ever forget. I am so thankful it worked out for me to be part of it! Thanks to Jacqueline and Katie for letting me tag along with you!

See you next week. Hope you have a fabulous Easter weekend.

Friday, March 29, 2024

A Tribute to The Real Stars Of Recovery

This Mile Marker is a heartfelt tribute to a few special individuals that we love. I would appreciate if you take a moment to read it and look at the pictures of these beautiful people. 

KJo and I are still very much in the process of recovery from the stroke I suffered on December 29, 2023. I include Kelly Jo in that sentence because she has worked as hard and probably much harder than I have in this course of recovery.

She has diligently stayed by my side since the first moment and completed absolutely every task that needed to be done and found even more to do. I do not understand how people can recover without dependable and faithful people to help them.

I am praising God for my dear wife standing beside me, walking with me and propping me up for the last 90 days.

Speaking of 90 days, yesterday was the 90th day since the stroke. As one friend said to me yesterday, on the one hand, it is hard to believe it has been that long and on the other hand it seems like an eternity since that dreadful day. 

It is quite a Mile Marker for us and we are so thankful that God has brought us to this point without more difficulty than we have had. The personnel in Neurology and ICU were very concerned about subsequent strokes in the beginning and we are thankful God kept me. 

This road of recovery is not over, but God has placed people in our path all along the way to encourage us, teach us and help us. We are sure He will continue. 

Much of the help that we have received has come in the form of the therapists at Atrium Hospital in Middletown, Ohio. I had a lot of therapy.

I had at least 6 sessions of therapy while in the ICU unit. 

I had 33 one hour long sessions of therapy over 11 days as part of inpatient therapy. 

I had 52 one hour long sessions of therapy between January 19 and March 22 as part of outpatient therapy. Those sessions involved 18 days of therapy. 

In total, we had somewhere around 90 hours of therapy. I am not sure the exact length because the 6 sessions in the ICU unit may not have always been an hour, but all the other 85 sessions were an hour in length. 

I had 28 sessions of occupational therapy. 
I had 31 sessions of physical therapy. 
I had 32 sessions of speech therapy.

The therapist involved in all those hours of therapy, literally changed my life. I was determined to improve as much as possible, but I could not do it without somebody teaching me, encouraging me and even pushing me beyond my limitations.

I wish you could meet all of these people, but at least I can show you some pictures of some of them. I did not even think to take pictures in the first few weeks, there was just too much going on. So for some of the therapists I have no pictures. 

However, I did get a few pictures.

The speech therapist who helped me during the inpatient and ICU time was Katie. She is pictured below on my last day of inpatient therapy. 

I had taken my first swallow of water the day before and we had been crying and rejoicing together right before this picture was taken. And she had just given me my first small bites of food. 

Katie worked so diligently during those first 18 days to help me swallow. I will never forget her commitment and dedication to helping me. She first came into the ICU less than 48 hours after the stroke.

I am still struggling to swallow some things, but I believe I am swallowing today because of her devotion to her job and to me as a patient. Katie Rocks!

Charlotte was my main inpatient physical therapist. 

She worked with me on using the wheelchair, the walker and the basics of balance and walking. I called her a drill sergeant and she lived up to the name. I am very thankful for those early sessions when she pushed me to try again and again. 

Because I went home with a feeding tube, we were assigned a home health nurse. Once I was evaluated our nurse came once or twice a week until the feeding tube was removed.

Her name was Lauren and she was a tremendous help medically and emotionally to us. She answered all of our questions and still would. She was very kind and thoughtful. 

My outpatient physical therapist, for most sessions, was Emma. Each and every outpatient physical therapist helped me tremendously, but Emma seemed to pour so much emotion and dedication into my therapy. 

She pushed me hard and I teased her constantly about it, but I never felt unsafe in her hands, even when I knew she was asking me to go beyond my perceived ability. She was a jewel to us. 

My outpatient speech therapist was Phyllis. 

She also improved my swallowing tremendously, building on everything I had learned from Katie and expanding what I could swallow to where it is today. 

There is no way I would be eating foods that I am eating today and looking forward to eating things that I cannot eat today, without her constant encouragement and the knowledge that she poured into Kelly and I. 

Phyllis also taught me so much about using and building strength in my vocal cords. I cannot sing at the same level that I have in times past, but I am 1000 times beyond where I was when I began. 

In the days after the stroke, when I discovered I could not sing, I was heartbroken.  Singing has been such a huge part of our family, our lives and our ministry. I felt completely crushed when I realized how much voice strength and control I had lost. 

Phyllis was eager and earnest about strengthening the muscles in my throat and teaching me the techniques I would need to regain what I have lost. She was amazing. 

This process was very emotional for me and I appreciate that she gave me room to be emotional and call on God and rejoice with us when he helped us. The three of us shared many tender moments. 

She brought a keyboard in and coached us each session as Kelly would play and as we warmed up my voice. Then we would sing songs that have been important to us through the years. It was wonderful.

The inpatient occupational therapists were instrumental in helping me function in the shape I was in after the stroke. They taught me how to dress, to brush my teeth, wash my face and all the other daily functions. 

They were tremendous, but unfortunately, I did not get a picture of any of them. McKenzie was the main one while an inpatient. 

As an outpatient, my occupational therapists have been Melissa and Allison in the pictures below. 

They have both been very attentive to carefully improve my balance, the use of my hand and also in my cognitive abilities in relation to driving. They have been so patient with me.

Full use of my hand may be out of my control as long as my right side is still asleep. But they have helped me to improve the use of my hand and arm in amazing ways. I believe my right hand might be stronger than it was before the stroke. 

Kelly and I felt very close to Melissa, as we did others and we will never forget all of these people and more who helped us regain as much of our life as we could. 

On March 22 we stood in the hallway of the therapy area and cried tears as we departed from these wonderful people. There were hugs and tears all around and we will always feel they are a part of our lives. 

Honestly, it felt pretty weird not to be there the following Monday and not to be going there this morning on Friday. We will be paying them a visit as soon as we can. 

The truth is, we are able to launch out and see if I am able to travel because of them. They made it possible.

I am able to sing a little and preach a little, I am able to walk, talk and function somewhat normally because of the love and care administered to us with professionalism mixed with compassion and tenderness from these folks that God brought into our lives. 

One of these precious therapists told us that she thinks we were brought into her life for a reason. That is amazing. But it is even more true that she and all these others were brought into our lives for such a time as this.

May God bless them in their lives, families, health, vocation and in every area. Kelly and I can honestly say we love these people and all the others very much and we are so thankful for them. 

Thank you for spending some time with us today.


Thursday, March 28, 2024

West Harrison Pentecostal Church Pictures

We enjoyed a great Sunday with our friends at West Harrison Pentecostal Church. I told you Monday of our long relationship with Pastor Hicks and the saints of God there. Bro Hobert Bowling and many others there have been our dear friends.

We felt very blessed to be with them and we enjoyed the presence of the Lord the whole service. What an amazing privilege to be acquainted with wonderful people all over the USA and beyond. Wow! We are blessed!

Odie captured several pictures and Sis. Crissy sent a few from her phone as well.

Thank you for spending time with us today.