An Important Thank You Ten Years in the Making

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The alarm rang at 4:30 that Thursday morning although we didn’t need it, neither of us had slept much.

We were both trying to be upbeat and hopeful for the other as Rev went through the ritual of washing his upper body with special soaps in preparation.

It’s funny.

I remember that day and those around it in emotional snapshots now. Those moments that left big imprints on my heart.

Moments like…

The Sunday morning before when hundreds of people left their seats to surround us in prayer as our pastor said, “We’re asking you to spare his life, Lord!”

The drive to the hospital, when everyone else was just living life and we didn’t know if our day would be one of life or death.

The aide who defended me as I defied nurses not wanting to leave him alone in pre-op.

The long six and a half hour wait and the expression on his surgeon’s face when she walked into the room afterward.

It’s 10 Years today – 3,653 days!

And I’m writing thank-yous to the people who touched our hearts, literally and figuratively, as they helped to see us through.

An Important Thank You Ten Years in the Making

Dr. Jennifer Lawton

Rev and I stand in awe of the ways God used her to heal him.

On only about 5 hours of sleep, because of an emergency the night before, Dr. Lawton held Rev’s beating heart in her hands as she chipped the thickened and hardened pericardial lining away allowing his heart to expand and beat fully and freely.

We are so thankful for her willingness to do something others doctors thought futile in a beyond hope situation. She gave us hope and encouragement. Her kindness and compassion, as well as her surgical skill, are a gift we will remember always.

Thank you, Dr. Lawton, for your kindness and for willingly using your gifts on our behalf. We are so thankful for you!

Lisa Cunningham

When our doctors had no idea of what to do or where to go, Lisa, went to her friend and former boss, Dr. Greg Ewald, chief heart transplant surgeon at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, asking him to see Rev and to see if he could help him.

Through Lisa and Dr. Ewald, Rev was connected with Dr. Lawton and the rest of the cardiac team.

Thank you, Lisa, for your friendship and boldness to give us hope when hope seemed lost. We thank God for you!

Lisa Calliott and Melva May

Two precious friends, who sat with our family during the long hours of surgery . . . helping to keep us somewhat distracted and made us feel so loved.

Thank you, Lisa and Melva, for blessing us with your love!

The Staff at Barnes Jewish Hospital

Countless people who could have just done their jobs throughout the 10-day hospital stay but instead offered patience, kindness, and compassion to Rev and this hovering wife.

They allowed us to have a cot in his room so I could stay at the hospital with him. (I still count that a gift from God, you never hear of that happening.)

Thank you all for all you did for us through that difficult time!

Kelly Hart and Midwest Medical Supply

Thank you for allowing our daughter, Angie, to be with us and help hold our lives together at home. We are so thankful for your kindness.

Everyone Who Took the Time to Visit and Send Cards

Thank you, for taking moments out of your busy schedules to make us feel so loved during that time. Your words of love and the laughter we shared helped those days to pass more easily as they gave us hope for the days ahead.

Wow, you blessed us!

Angie and Josh

Thank you for being ours! We thank God for you!

Most Importantly – Father God

Father, I added you at the end of the list . . . not as an after-thought but as the One who deserves all the thanks and praise for this miracle in our lives.

Thank you for placing Dr. Lawton in St. Louis ten years ago. We were humbled and marveled how You made it possible for her, this gifted surgeon who just a handful of years later became the Chief of Cardiac Surgery at John’s Hopkins Medical Center, to be in the right place and time for us. Nothing is an accident in Your economy. You knew all along and prepared the way. Thank you!

Thank you for the wonderful friends and family with whom You’ve blessed our lives. So many have encouraged our faith and left imprints on our hearts. Please continue to bless them with Your hope and encourage them with Your love.

Thank you for our children and now also for our grandchildren. What a precious gift these 10 years have been! Thank you for every moment and every blessing.

Thank you for Rev and for every bonus day we share.

Father, thank you for Jesus. Rev and I quote the words of Paul often… 

For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. Romans 14:7–9

Thank you for making us Yours. Thank you for giving us the purpose of living to honor You. Thank you for Your grace and mercy. Thank you for Your love.

May we never take a moment for granted. Thank you, in Jesus name, Amen.


Our family has been celebrating “bonus days” since September 20, 2007, and I’ve learned something so important through this journey.

You don’t have to survive a near-death experience to celebrate bonus days.

Every day is a bonus! A GIFT!

If God gives us the blessing of a day it’s a bonus!

Last year, I wrote the following…

“Don’t let today slip by in the routine everyday normal or ordinary that goes by unnoticed!”

Stop and celebrate your life! Celebrate God’s love and the love of each precious person God has placed around you!

Say “thank you” and “I love you” often.

Today is a bonus day!

Get out the good dishes and throw a party!

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  1. This reflection today hit so close to home, Deb, with all Danny and I have gone through. Yes, every single day should be celebrated as a bonus day! May we love large, say thank you often, and rejoice in our blessings!
    Blessings to you, Rev, and your beautiful family!

    1. I agree, Martha! I remember thinking how about the similarities of our experiences as I read through your posts. So thankful, you and Danny are continuing to enjoy bonus days! Blessings, my friend!!

  2. What a beautiful tribute, testimony, and God honoring post! This blessed my heart this morning. Enjoy and celebrate today!!❤️

    1. Thank you, Pam! We are so thankful!! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!

  3. Patty Townsend says:

    Debbie I remember the day that we prayed over Blake at Christ Memorial. Mike and I talk to this day on how much we were blessed to sit in on his Sunday School lessons. God is good. 10 years ago wow. You are blessed.

    1. Oh, Patty, Rev and I loved our time with all of you in Bible Study. We were the ones most blessed!! Love you!!

  4. I’m celebrating and thanking God with you today! What an amazing story of God’s goodness this is. I love the concept of thinking of every day after as “bonus days”. We should all be thinking that way. Every day truly is a gift.

    1. Thank you, Dawn! You bless me! Love you, my friend!!