Friday, April 27, 2007

I Look To The Hills...

I lift up my eyes to the hills from where will my help come? (Psalm 121: 1)

Several weeks ago, I learned I had blockage in one of the main arteries in my heart. It was a complete surprise, especially for a hemophiliac who prides himself on eating appropriately and exercising regularly. In fact, it was while exercising that I felt the first of those uncomfortable feelings that led me to schedule a series of tests that eventually identified the problem.

After a week of various appointments and consultations, it was decided that a single by-pass surgery would be the best long-term solution. Of course, when you add hemophilia and HIV to the mix, what is a routine (albeit serious) surgery becomes extremely complicated over night.

Thankfully, I live in a community where the quality of medical care and expertise vastly outreaches the size of the town and, in my opinion, equals anywhere in the country. From the doctors to nurses to hospital personnel, I could not be happier with the process or outcome. To say that people have gone out of their way to provide support and care is an understatement.

Like so many in my position, I could not begin to name everyone who has made this journey bearable and possible. Family, friends, even strangers have provided a glimpse into the very best of what the Body of Christ can be when we come together and act like it.

One person whose support meant a great deal to my family was our next-door neighbor, Chris. Everyday from the time we entered the hospital, Chris would send a bible verse via text message and would provide a “devotional theme for the day”. It never ceased to amaze me how perfectly each day’s Scripture passage matched the particular issue we faced.

The day I was to take my first walk around the hospital, the verse came from Isaiah reminding me that we would mount up like wings of eagles and “walk and not faint” (Is. 40: 31).

The third day after surgery, when all surgery patients face that mystical, but all too real “wall” of pain, the scripture verse encouraged me to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1: 9).

The day I woke up feeling particularly concerned about what would happen next, the verse echoed Jeremiah’s words of a God who “knows the plans He has for us… plans for good…” (29:11).

Everyday was a new day, not always easy, but always wrapped in the sweetness of God’s word sent sincerely and humbly by one of God’s most precious servants.

My neighbor is not an ordained or professional preacher. He works at a church, but doesn’t have the title “minister”. But… I could not have had a better pastor during the past weeks of my life.

Chris reminds me that the best of who we are in Christ has little to do with titles or training and everything to do with our hearts. And, anyone of us, lay or clergy, could learn a thing or too from his actions, not from preaching a great sermon or growing a mega-church, but by simply being Jesus in our midst.

We Christians often make things too complicated and take ourselves way too seriously. We convince ourselves that the size of our congregation or the vastness of our programming is the mix by which the Jesus formula is spread. We too often believe that the size of our church facility, the pedigree of our pastor or the quality of our music defines the depth of our faith. However, it remains that the best way to be like Christ is to simply live like Christ using everyday as a means by which everyone we meet knows that the God who created the universe is desperately in love with you and me. Wow! Think about that!

One of the last Scripture passages that Chris sent was from Psalm 121. This was an especially important verse not because of its familiarity, but because I live on a hill at the end of a cul-de-sac…well, I live on one half of a hill. On the other half lives my neighbor who reminds me that we do not need to look far to see Jesus at work. In fact, I just step out on my front porch and look to my left.

The nature and value of the Gospel is not just about eternity. It is also about here and now. One word, one touch, one prayer… can change a person’s life forever. You don’t need a church budget or seminary degree to be Jesus for your world… although text messaging does come in handy!

Be Salt and Light!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

One Final Update

Good Morning Friends... This is Shane.

What a great feeling to wake up on this Third Sunday of Easter knowing that so many people have been and still are praying for me and my family! What a reminder of the power of God and potential of prayer when God's people join together.

I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate your continued prayer and support. The past few days have been long and, at times, difficult. But, they have also been a blessing in deep and meaningful ways. Pokey, the girls and I have experienced the very best in care from so many, and we are humbled by the outpouring of love and grace.

How am I doing? Well... each day is a new and better day. This goes not only for my body but also for my spirit. Of course, I get impatient. I have never liked "being down" but I am learning that healing takes time and occurs one step at a time. Oh the sermons that will come from this! (Not to mention maybe a book or two... ha,ha).... By the way, if you would buy a book, my accountant would appreciate it... so would Forrest General, Hattiesburg Clinic, Southern Heart Center (ha,ha--- just kidding!)

I do want to take a moment to say "thank you" to a few people who have made this journey possible and bearable....

To the nurses and staff of Forrest General Hospital... I can't say enough about your qaulity of care and compassion. What an amazing place! A special thanks to Bill Oliver for making Pokey and my family's stay so comfortable. You are great!

To the doctors, Dr. Robbins, Dr. Bellare, Dr. Campbell and Dr Enger, for taking such thought and care in this process. It was no easy task, but I would rank you guys with the best in your fields... I guess trusting you with my life proves that! By the way, everyone reading this should get a Cardiac CT done!!!!!

To my pastors, Christ Eaton, Vicki Hughes and Eddie Rester for your support and for the care of my family. Chris' daily "text devotions", Vicki's ongoing presence, and Eddie's communion on Easter calmed my spirit and made a tremendous difference.

To everyone who brought food, sent cards and visited... I am very blessed to have a group of friends who believe so deeply and live so genuinely in their faith. There are too many of you to name... Just know I know who you are...

To the St. Johns, Kents, Leeks, Smiths and Shannon Decker... can I ever say "thank you" enough... probably not, but I will spend my life trying.

To my family...

Dad, thanks for being there everyday...
Mom, Buford and Whitney, Nanny and Patty, thanks for taking care of those who matter so much to me... I am such a blessed man.
To my girls... for giving me the reason to fight and for reminding me why we keep some journeys moving forward even when it hurts and seems too difficult.
To Pokey... for being their every second. You are truly my "soul mate"... I can never say "thank you" or "I love you" enough... But you will never wonder!

And, finally, to my friend of friends, Jesus.... thanks for letting me ramble... for letting me be afraid... for letting me rant.... for letting me cry.... for letting me ask the questions... for letting me lean on you... thanks for, once again, reminding me that faith is not in vain... and that what we seek, we already have and what we already have.... well... is sufficient.

And so... another chapter.... Thank you, everyone. You are all blessings to me! I can't wait to see what God will do next.

I love you all...


Thursday, April 19, 2007

From Friends of Shane

Hi Everyone,
So many of you have been asking what can I do to help? And hear it is. An account has been opened at Bancorp South. Although insurance will pay some of the expenses, the out of pocket amount is still extremely high. Since Shane and Pokey would never ask for financial assistance,(nor do they know I am posting this) some of their friends have opened a special account for them. You may make a deposit at any Bancorp South in the Hattiesburg/Petal area. Simple tell them you would like to make a deposit into the account set up for Shane Stanford. All of the branches have been made aware of this process. No receipt will be given after the deposit, so you will need to keep a copy of your check for tax purposes.

Shane and Pokey have made such an incredible impact on all of our lives and I know they appreciate all of the love and support you have graciously shown them. If you have any questions about this special account, please email

"Give, and it will be given to you... for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." - Luke 6:38

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wednesday 18, 2007 8:00 PM

Another day!! We are so blessed! Shane has been up almost all day. He is walking in the neighborhood, and now my only problem is convincing him that he still MUST rest. He does tire easily and I think that will be in my favor as time goes on. I've begun to tell him stories about happenings in the hospital, conversations with may of you and the outpouring of love/care/concern from our brothers and sisters in Christ.Some of then bring laughter (which is pretty painful with a cracked chest=-))! Others bring tears from your kindness and generosity. I'm amazed how God is using even this electronic communication to lift Shane during this recovery time. He reads and rereads the blogs (I've printed them and put them in a notebook for him) through out the day. Again we love each of you and thank God many times during each day to have such prayer warriors praying for us. You guys are truly serving and the hands and feet of Christ to us during this interesting chapter of our lives.

OH!!! and Juli Anna is home tonight..yea...for the first time in almost 2 weeks our family will ALL be home. What a good God!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

We are finally home! We started the hospital dismissal process around 9 a.m. Then made a stop at the cancer center for blood work and finally the drug store; putting us in our driveway around 2 p.m. It was a very long and tiring day but Shane said pulling in to our neighborhood never felt so good! I have to admit, coming home to a clean house was very refreshing.

Juli Anna is still running fever so after 10 days of sleeping without mommy and daddy was very disappointed to learn that she had to make it another day without us. Please pray the fever will be gone tom. and that the rest of the family will remain in good health.

We continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of God's grace through the love and support of our friends. The number of cards, blogs and emails sent to the house moved Shane to tears today. We are truly blessed and cannot thank you enough.

Please pray specifically for patience as we try to find a sense of normalcy in our new routine. Also, pray for continued healing. We will make daily trips to the cancer center for blood work and will make daily postings on Shane's progress.

Monday, April 16, 2007

9:00 p.m.

We are going home! They spent today getting us ready to go home in the morning! We are so nervous but excited. Fortunatly, Shane will continue to make daily trips to the clinic for check-ups. So although we will be at home at night, we will continue to be in close contact with all his doctors.

A slight disappointment tonight; Juli Anna is running fever and had to leave. She was a very brave little girl as she stood in the doorway of her daddy's room. The reality of being a heart patient with three young children is quite scary but we trust that God will protect and strengthen us all. Antibiotics were started on her, but she will not be able to be around her daddy until the fever is clear for 24 hours. Please pray that God will bring good health to us all and that our transition home is smooth. We so look forward to spending the night in our own home!

We will continue to blog updates about his health throughout the week. Shane wants to make the final blog; hopefully at the end of the week. Thanks again for all the prayers, well wishes and thoughts that have been lifted up in our names. Please continue to post as Shane looks forward to reading them and please continue to pray.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Well, another good night and day to report. Shane said today is his best day yet! How marvelous is our God. They put the picc line in this morning. His appetite continues to increase and he is starting to crave food again! We got a nice suprise this morning when Emma Leigh came by. Thankfully it broke up the monotony of the morning.

Although Shane continues to run a low grade fever and his factor levels have been a little off, the rumor is we may get to go home as early as tom. morning! Praise the Lord! It's a little frightening to think of doing it alone, but so refreshing to think we will be at home with the girls! Ten days in the hospital is long enough for us both! Please keep up the prayers! We are so grateful for you all.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

We had another good day. Shane really missed preaching and felt the need to tell anyone who stopped by how God's hand had worked in his life over the past 10 days. They will be putting a picc line in tomorrow for factor in preparation for our departure from the hospital. The word is early this week, so please be praying for us all. He still has a low grade fever and continues to take antibiotics. Thankfully, his blood sugar has been within its normal range for the past 48 hours without the assistance of insulin. We contine to be greatful for all God has done for us and how He continues to opens our eyes to even more miracles each day.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

8:32 p.m.

Today continued to be a miracle day. Shane sat in a chair most of the day and made several rounds walking. He is doing incredible and continues to gain strength and energy. His fever was up a little tonight but I guess that is why he is on antibiotics. Please pray that his body and the antibiotics will continue to successfully fight the infection.

The doctors also told us that visitors are allowed but asked that visits be restricted to 5 minutes. Also, they stressed that people be considerate and remember that Shane is still very vulnerable to infection when stopping by. So if you are not feeling well or are aware that you have been exposed to something, please wait before coming to see him. We so appreciate everyone obeying doctors orders for the No Visitor policy and look forward to seeing you!

Unfortunatly, during the storms this morning, our basketball goal fell on Shane's car and busted his windsheild! If we didn't know God was so near, we would consider this all a series of unfortunate events! (Ha Ha!) At least Shane won't be needing it for a while and everyone and everything else was safe. I think He just tries to keep things in perspective.

The girls are very excited about the talk of Daddy coming home next week. Please pray for us as this big event in our lives approaches. God Bless!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

'Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 28:11

And that is what He did. Praise the Lord, Shane feels much better today! He is talking like the old spirit filled Shane; talking about the future as we went for our walk around the hospital this morning. Glory to God for the peace and renewal that Shane is feeling today!

Friday, April 13, 2007

10:30 p.m.

Shane had a fair day and thankfully the pain began to ease up as the day progressed. He is doing ok but has a slight fever again. So please pray for the fever to go down and for the upcoming transition to home. No news of when that's to come but can't hurt to start bathing it in prayer. God bless!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sorry we are so late getting this out. Some of you expressed concern but Shane is doing fine. He is feeling the pain considerably more today but has managed to make one round around the floor this morning. We are both very tired as the lack of sleep is setting in, so please continue to pray for strength and rest for us both. The highlight of his day is seeing the girls at night. He seems to save all of his energy for those 15 minutes with them.

The doctors have still not lifted the "no visitor" policy. I know many of you want to just see him for a minute and as soon as the orders are lifted we will let you know. On a positive note, Shane is the start student of the breathing treatments on his floor. You know him; always an overacheiver! Prayer for today is healing; clotting as they taper off the factor; resistence to infection; rest and strength.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

10:30 p.m.

Shane continues to do very well and was ready to enjoy a sugar-free apple pie tonight! He loved it! Please contine to pray for clotting of his blood. His clotting levels are up to normal with the continuous infusion of factor but they will begin to taper that off soon. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for all the prayers! God is listening.

Thursday, April 12th

"But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31

More praises to report today! Shane has been up walking this morning and has already made two rounds around the hopital floor. His fever is down this morning and he is in good spirits. He is still not sleeping well but hopefully will be able to rest today. The doctors are still enforcing the "No visitor" policy but if he continues to progress as well, hopefully he can start seeing people next week. We will let you know as soon as they give us the ok!

God continues to bless us through Shane's recovery and we pray that He will continue to heal and protect his body. God bless you all and keep sending the blogs. He has really enjoyed reading them.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

10:29 p.m.

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." - Hebrews 4:16

For the first time since Sunday evening, we were able to say our family night time prayer as a family! Shane has been moved from ICU and is doing very well. The girls were able to see their daddy briefly tonight and Shane was thrilled to see them. Yet another example of how incredible our God is. We are so thankful!

However, Shane has been running a low grade fever on and off today and antibiotics were started. Because of this, the doctors are insistent on a strong "no visitor" policy. They are concerned about his suppressed immune system and want to take every precation possible. Please continue to pray for energy and strength to fight any infection.

Thank you so much for all the messages. Shane is now able to read them (and remember them). We can never express how special it is to know that people all over are lifting us up in prayer. We will contine to post twice a day; with a morning and evening blog. We will also let you know when the "no visitor" policy has been lifted (middle of next week is what we are being told). We have so much to be thankful for and we thank God every day for all of you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Shane continues to make progress and ate a pretty good breakfast this morning. He is being encouraged to get up and move around more (notice I said encouraged!). Please continue to pray for strength, healing and endurance! We still have such a long road but God has been faithful and we have faith that He will continue to provide us with the strentgh we need. Please don't stop praying now! Thanks again for everything. Your prayers are helping us through!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

9:23 p.m.

Just a late evening update, many of the tubes have been removed and Shane is holding his own. He is making steady progress and doing very well. At this point, we are grateful for his progress but realize the road ahead will be long. Often times, hemophiliacs take longer to heal and he of course is very vulnerable to infection. Prayer warriors from around our community. . . please prayer specifically about these issues. We are very grateful for your continued support and the many, many prayers of our brothers and sisters.

12:00, 4-10

Shane is doing just as we all have prayed and already exceeding expectations with his recovery. He is breathing deeply, sitting in a chair, and talking (albeit through the morphine...if I had video I could really make you laugh=-)). Please continue to praise God for his mighty works in this servant. Updates will continue until he is on to his full recovery. We feel certain that he will remain in ICU for another day. He smiles when I read him your comments. We love you all!


Shane is doing great! Pokey wanted to let you know that she gets to feed him breakfast this morning! How great is that! God bless and will keep the updates coming!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

6:20 a.m. - The breathing tube was removed from Shane and he has been breathing on his own since midnight. He was alert and talking up a storm! Who else but Shane! Praise God for the wonderful team of doctors, surgeons and nurses who have cared for Shane. Please continue to pray for their guidance during his time of recovery.

Monday, April 09, 2007

9:15 p.m.

Praise the Lord, Shane is doing great! He looks really good; no swelling and good color. The doctors said he has been text book so far. We have been so overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support by everyone. We are truly blessed to have such wonderful support.

However, the team of surgeons have issued a no visitor policy until further notice. They said that although he is text book now, that a simple infection or germ to you and I, could be very serious to him with his supressed immune system. We so appreciate your concern and would love for you to continue posting on the website, or making donations to United Blood and the United Methodist Hour.

God is so good and we feel very confident that He will continue to give us strength and courage as we battle with Shane's recovery. I will continue to update his progress and keep everyone posted on when visitors are allowed. God Bless you all!


The doctors said that Shane did great and that there was no bleeding! Pokey will be able to see him in about an hour. How wonderful and amazing is our God. Thank you so much for all the prayers. God must have been bombarded with request for Shane!


Shane is on his way to ICU and is doing great! Praise the Lord! He is so good!


Shane is off the bypass and will be in ICU in about an hour! Praise the Lord!


Shane has just been put on the bypass machine and they say things are going well.


They have just taken Shane into surgery and Dr. Bellare (the hemotologist) says that everything looks good and is going well. Please continue to pray.

12:52 p.m.

They have just come to take Shane down. Pokey has left with him and will stay with him until he goes into surgery. All is well so continue to pray. Will update when surgery has started.

11:55 am

Just an update that they have not taken Shane back for surgery yet. Please continue to pray! Will hopefully take him back in the next hour. Will keep you updated as soon as the word comes in.

Monday, April 9, 2007

8:00 a.m. - They have told us they will probably take Shane back around 11:00 a.m. and that he should be out by 5:00 p.m. We will be posting updates as we receive them. Thank you so much for all your prayers! We truly feel His presence!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Today was pretty much an uneventful day which we count as another of His many blessings. They are continuing to monitor Shane and get him ready for surgery on Monday. The doctors feel very confident that the bypass should be successful. Thank you for all the prayers and messages you have left for us. We have enjoyed reading them and can feel your prayers all around us. We are so blessed to be surrounded by such love and support. If you are having problems logging on to leave a blog, try doing the following:

Sign up under No Blogger account, enter your email address and a password.
Then fill out a Display name, and type the word under word verification and accept the terms.
Enter a title for your blog (ex. your name)
Next enter a blog address or url. which is a name of your choice.(ex. shanestanford)
Choose a template and then go to and enter your info. under login and publish.

Thanks again and God bless!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Blood Drive

9:20 p.m. - Day 1 has gone well. As we count our many blessing from today, we thank God for the physicians who are researching the complexities of his health and family and friends who continue to lift us up in prayer. Open heart surgery is scheduled for Monday afternoon at Forrest General.

If you would like to donate blood for Shane, please go to United Blood Services and specify that you would like to donate for Shane Stanford. Thanks again for all your prayers!

In Lieu of Flowers

3:28 - Shane has requested in lieu of flowers that donations be made to The United Methodist Hour. Donations may be sent to 1604 S. 28th Avenue Hattiesburg, MS 39402 or online at God Bless!
1:30 p.m. - Shane made it through the heart cath and is doing great. They found only the one blockage and said the rest of the heart was clear and very strong. They will do the by-pass on Monday so want to keep him in the hospital over the weekend. Please continue to pray for us all. We appreciate all your love and prayers and will continue to keep you posted on his progress!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Shane will be entering the hospital this morning for a heart cath to determine the next steps of his treatment. Please be in prayer for all of us. Feel free to leave your posts here along with any messages for Shane. I will attempt to update the blog at least daily. I hope this helps provide accurate information to family and friends. We covet your thoughts and prayers...
Much Love,