Sipping through a straw

Posted: February 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

My new favorite accessory is a straw.  It’s just easier to control all the liquid I want to consume that way.  My family has added getting out the “cup with lid and straw” to the table setting routine.  We are also adjusting to the “everyone is finished eating, except Dad” way of life.

Everything I do is slower…especially eating.  It takes longer to chew, swallow and just get food from the plate to my mouth.  Simple things, but nevertheless, things that take time and effort.  We used to be a family that does everything fast…but now we must slow down.  It’s hard to do, but we are learning from it together.  So I try not to get upset when they are clearing the table around me and they try to hang out longer and talk to me while I finish.

Another new daily activity is a short time of “resting.”  It may be 15 minutes at 4:00 that I just lean back and close my eyes or an actual “lay-down” nap earlier in the day.    These are things I never thought I would do until I was “old.”  But who defines what old is anyway?  For whatever reason, God has decided to slow me down now.  I may not like these changes, but I am trying to accept them as they come.  When we are together, I let Dena drive now;  she drops me off at the entrance and then is off to find the parking spot.  The cold just makes it harder to move quickly, and once again, time is of the essence!

I don’t expect everyone to adjust to me.  Pride is my worst enemy now and I have to fight it.  I could make my family miserable by complaining or talking about “the way it used to be.”  Instead, I try to communicate how I’m feeling when necessary and the rest of the time just allow them to help.  If my body tells me to rest, then I do it.  And because we are a family that loves to laugh, we have to make jokes about it occasionally. I would rather laugh than cry.

I am continually thankful for your prayers and cards.  Even if I don’t respond, please know I appreciate every kind word, whether written or spoken.  You are a blessing to me!

Psalm 16:9  “Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my body will also rest secure.”

  1. Janet Rice says:

    Dear Patrick, Dena, Paige and Parker:

    I continue to pray for you and your family during this journey. You are all such a wonderful testimony to our Lord and Savior! Thank you for sharing this journey with us, so that we know how to continue to effectively pray for each of you. I’ve been studying the life of Paul and the missionary journey’s. Running the race. I think about the perserverance and endurance that it takes for a runner and a disciplined life. We will continue to pray for you all, mentally physically, emotionally and spiritually! I thank God for each of you!
    Your sister in Christ,
    Janet Rice

  2. Lucy says:

    Patrick, you still teach the truth in every letter you write, I did not know that complaining is a selfish act and self-sufficiency is prideful behavior; is that being in a position of accepting help is God’s way to deal with it? It is tough but as gold is refined through fire, so we will if God sees gold in us. Keep preaching. God’s peace with you.

  3. Gretchen Linenger says:

    Praying for you!

  4. lorie smith says:

    exactly, yup, i understand, ima prayin

  5. Mary Rodgers says:

    Hi Patrick,

    Thank you for the up-date on your struggles. I’ve been thinking about you and your
    family. I will continue to pray for you and your family for strength during the days ahead.

    Mary Rodgers
    Estero Island Beach Club

  6. Mel Stull, Jr. says:

    Hey Bro, I love ya! Thanks for modeling Christ to us. Remember this promise often: He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

  7. Mandi says:

    I was up praying for you last night. Thanks for the update. We make all of our kids sit until we are all done eating – well sometimes Brian is still eating and we clean up around him because of different reasons – like “BIg B” is possibly eating too much:)


  8. Florence B. Frey says:

    Pat (somehow we have trouble calling you Patrick!) We are praying for you daily. Asking God for His will in your life and help for all of us to accept what His answer will be. Love you and your family. Pastor & Mrs Frey

  9. Dianne Schick says:

    My Dear Brother in Christ,

    I want to encourage you, because our Lord is using you to convict my spirit about my need to slow down and not allow my pride to get in the way of what is truly important. Thank you Patrick for allowing us to share in your story, your pain, your journey. Mostly thank you for allowing us to see Christ reflected in your life and in the lives of your beautiful wife Dena and your amazing children Paige and Parker. Should our God choose at some point to have you with, HIm rest in knowing that the legacy you leave behind in the three of them will touch hundreds if not thousands of lives for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!


  10. Matt Pollock says:

    Patrick, Thanks for taking the time to share each step. This last one you wrote, resonated with us…in particular, the “slowing down” part. Not trying to say that we understand everything you are experiencing but just in the regard to how the steady and gradual loss of walking function since 2007 has had us “downshifting” for awhile now. Your writing helps me to pray for you specifically and to think of you frequently!

    We love you guys and we continue to trust the Lord for His care and guidance for you!
    Your friend,

  11. Ron Lyle says:

    God continues to build our testimony, and the testimoney of our family. I know that God makes no mistakes, and i know that from the time i met and served with you, that you where walking with God, and you inspired me then, and inspire me now. I appreciate to be a part of your life, as you go through this trial, and excited to see how God will continue to use you in a mighty way. What a privelage it is to call you a friend, when I share your story with others, and as always, you inspire me to be a better man, and a better friend. I love you and your family, and pray for you to ride the whale with courage.

  12. Vivian Poole says:

    Patrick and Dena,
    Thank you for your update yesterday. My heart aches for you and your family. Earlier today I was emailing another friend who has been encouraging me and I told her I wished I had the energy and drive that I had even a couple of years ago. I understand the frustration; the spiritual weakness of wanting answers from God. Dena, remember when ‘Nita McWilliams had to take over many of Coach’s normal responsibilities? She must feel burdened many times but she always seems to have a genuine smile and lots of patience. I asked Dick a couple of weeks ago how he was doing these days. He said, “Well, I can’t see very well, but I’m doing fine.”
    My battle with the cirrhosis has taken away many of my former activities but I can still read God’s Word and enjoy fellowship with Him. I don’t get to church much (especially in am) because the bathroom visits are pretty constant, but I can walk there with only my cane. I drive very little because when the toxins aren;t getting out of my system enough because the liver isn’t functioning properly, there can be a sort of “brain fog” and confusion has caused me to become disoriented and get lost even on familiar roads. When I need help with the driving, I have several good friends who have been very willing to help. And my husband, Daryl, is very good about getting me out of the house when I’ve not been out. I keep in touch with many through Facebook. The liver disease, once thought to be brought on by abusing alcohol, (passing my lips would be abusing the Temple), so I was surprised when I was diagnosed last summer. Reading about the liver, I found that for those who don’t drink,, there are other causes–diabetis, obesity, medicines…..
    I’m sorry that this has gone on for so long. What started out to be an encouragement to you, turned into a somewhat theraputic session for me. It has certainly helped me focus on the things I can do and the ways God has provided for help along the way.
    Dena, feel free to pass this on to your folks and to Tim and Faith. And I do sincerely covet your prayers for me for trust, patience, consistency in spiritual growth, etc.
    In Christian love,
    Viv Poole

  13. Amy says:

    We love you and your family, and continue to lift you up in prayer. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us!

    The Hudsons
    Mike, Amy, Carissa, Kyle and Brett

    • It is strange how most people, expect the elderly, complain about being so busy. And it’s true, much time is spend running after things that really don’t matter. So many times in the past month I’ve been happy to see the weekend because there just wasn’t any breathing space during the week.
      So maybe this is a good part of your condition. Actually having to slow down and drop activities that weren’t all that important. It sounds like you have more time to listen to your family and even though your kids are so busy at this time in their lives, I’m sure they will gain much from this.
      Thank you for your honesty and sharing. Pride is something that we all fight but I never thought about it in the way you are experiencing it.
      We’ll keep praying and praying for you and your family. You never know what God has planned for you, but I Know it will be amazing!

  14. Jana Braden says:


    We continue to pray for you daily. We pray for complete healing. I found it interesting that you quoted Ps.16:9 in your post, since that Psalm has meant so much to me in my journey with cancer. The day before my surgery, the Lord gave me verse 8: “Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Last year I used that entire Psalm to speak at a retreat at our church where a lot of what I shared was God’s faithfulness through my illness. It is a passage that has become near to my heart.

    Love from all the Bradens,


  15. Pamela E. Bennett says:

    When I see a straw I will always think of you and pray. My grandchildren and I prayed for you the other day. No matter how busy the day gets with them I will now have a reminder when they use their straw cups, “It’s time to pray for Patrick.”

  16. Lisa says:

    As you model Christ to us, know we are praying for you, especially now every time I see a straw! Take time to enjoy the slowing down. Sometimes I think God puts us on our back so we look up (and slow down). You are finding what is truly important, and teaching us along the way. God bless!

  17. Charlene says:

    Like……is hardly the right response to this post. By God’s grace you will triumph.

  18. Joe & Gail Asaro says:


    Through all of this, your smiling face is convicting, but we love to see it. Your outward testamony of living out the Gospel is encouraging and that makes us want to know Christ in a greater way. Where God has you, allows others to lift you and your family up in prayer and that brings greater unity. God tells us that He will grow us into the image of His Son, but He the process is of His choosing. There is no better place to be than in the Potter’s hands.
    With muchg Love,
    Joe & Gail
    Ps. 4:8

  19. Sandy Love says:

    Pat, reading your post has brought tears to the eyes and sadness to my heart. Here I am complaining about the usual aches and pains that come with getting “old” and you are experiencing far more. Please know you will be in my prayers constantly. May God give Dena and the girls the patience and strength that is needed for them to be an encouragement to you. I have such fond memories of you. God bless. sandy

  20. Dawn Ferguson says:

    I just want to thank you for all your posts. I look forward to reading each and every one of them. You help me to refocus my thoughts. It seems like each of your posts touches on areas that I am struggling with in my own life regarding living with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (changing out the door-knobs, moving slower, taking naps…I kinda like that one 🙂 ) As for my pride, I do not like to ask for help to do what once was a routine task. But that quickly came to a crash when I was trying on clothes at a shop just a few days ago and had to ask my 8yr old son to help me get out of a shirt because I could not reach my arms up over my head to get it off on my own. Like you, at times my thoughts go to “I’m too young to need help with this.” But here I am
    Prayers for you and your family

  21. Lisa Kotal says:


    You are such a blessing and such an example for us. You are living it out loud everyday!

    Thank you,
    God Bless you,

  22. sharonkonop says:

    We love you guys and are always here to laugh with you, cry with you, and support all of you in this journey(: I have this scripture next to my bed and read it often!

    Ephesians 3:16-18
    I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

    Love you,

  23. Pat depue says:

    Thanks for your post Patrick. You and deena are an example to many, and as you walk through this, we are learning as well. Praying for your whole family. Bob and pat Depue

  24. Julie Rosol says:

    So appreciate your transparency! Was led to this verse during my time with God today and wanted to post!
    Habakkuk 3:17-19
    “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights”.

    There is so much beauty that goes unseen because of the hurried lives we live! I pray that during this time that there is a refreshed vision of God’s beauty that surrounds you on a daily basis!

    Pressing on with you!

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