‘Tis the season and all that. Just found out we had two more sign-ups to go to Israel with us. I thought it was too late, but it turns out our reservations still allow us to sign up nine more people who might be able to go with Brad and I to Israel at the last minute. We depart January 22 for three days in Jordan and then those not going to Jordan will be flying to Israel on January 25 for our ten-day stay there. You can get all the details here! Yes, I know it is expensive, and a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but it might be just the thing for someone you love this Christmas. But you have to have a passport and move quickly. Imagine, in six weeks you could be walking along the shore of Galilee, standing in the ruins of Capernaum, Beit Shean, or walking the old city on the very stones Jesus would have set foot on. And you’ll have Brad and I to mess with you! It could be a win/win.
On the less expensive side, we have lots of books and recordings in our Lifestream store. A Man Like No Other makes a perfect gift for anyone who appreciates the story of Jesus. And as a way to thank you for all the love and support we have received this year from so many of you, for all orders placed between now and December 31, we’re offering a 15% discount to help you buy for someone else, or use your Christmas money after. Just enter the discount code: “LSChristmas” in the appropriate box. I hope you can find something there to enjoy or pass on to a friend.
Finally a health update: It has been four weeks and a day since my surgery, which is a milestone in my progress. Most of the pain and soreness is gone and I can function to about 80% capacity during the day, so I’ve spent a lot of time this week catching up on emails and recording two more podcasts with Brad. Yesterday, my cardiologist and I took my refurbished heart out for a test drive on the treadmill while all hooked up to monitor how it’s all working inside. He said everything is perfect at this point and all the numbers are above expectation for only being a month out of surgery. My incision has healed well and runs about four inches down the top of my rib cage. He traced his finger from there another four inches to the bottom of my sternum and said, “In the old days, the would have cut you to here.” I nodded with a grimace having watched my dad go through that 12 years ago. “The old days,” he added, “were eight months ago!” Wow! That hit home. I’m glad my valve held out long enough to get to this procedure because it makes recovery a whole lot easier.
The next milestones come at 6 weeks when I can begin to lift things heavier than ten pounds and at 12 weeks when my heart will be mostly healed and I won’t have the weird stuff going on in there or the shortness of breath. Thank you for all the prayers, love, and concern you’ve shared with me and my family through this process. I’m walking about 5 miles a day now on two separate walks. One I do with Sara and the dogs usually in the afternoon and the other I do in the morning with God, a friend around here if I can find one, or with my cell phone in hand talking to many of you who have been gracious enough to call me and help pass the time. Next week I should begin cardio rehab which will be an hour a session three times a week and learn how to care for this thing! They say it’s a hoot.
If some of you want want to shift your prayers to Sara, that would be awesome. For the past five months she’s had some medical challenges that aren’t as eye-catching as open-heart surgery, involving her back, right hip, some weird food allergies, and neuroma in her feet. She negotiates a lot of pain every day as the doctors and therapists try to find a solution for her. Prayers and love her way would mean a lot to her.